Freebie of the Day- Loreal Vive Pro Hair Products

Try a free sample of Loreal's Vive Pro shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatments!

Frugal Confession- My Parents Were Ultra-Frugal Too!

This week's frugal confession: my parents used the beans and rice plan before Dave made it popular! They even made some very interesting bean patties... :)

Freebie of the Day- Fiber One Cereal

Get a sample of Fiber One Cereal here. I love cereal samples because you aren't committed to eating an entire box if you don't like it! :)

Monday is the Busiest Day!

It seems like every Monday this year has been extremely busy!

Yesterday I had to run to Target to get diapers with all three kiddos and then rush back home to meet my husband so I could go to the doctor. I have had a thyroid cyst since Noah was born but since Isabella was born it seems to have gotten larger. So I went to the doctor to get a sonogram of my thyroid. It looked like it was still just a cyst and not cancer, which is good news. I was quite worried about it for a while since my neck lymph nodes were all swollen (but later went down). The results aren't officially in yet, but we should hear something next week.

I've also been busy doing web design work for a friend. It's fun and pays well, but is somewhat tedious. Luckily I have a genius programmer husband to help me with the technical aspects of web stuff. He's the greatest! :)

Last week I was on a church roster to make dinner for a new mom. I tried out a new recipe and it was really good- I can't wait to make it at home! I made Creamy Burrito Casserole, with homemade rice and black beans.

Saturday we went shopping at the outlet mall and went to dinner with my parents at my one of my all-time favorite restaurants: (Johnny) Carino's. They were having the two-can-dine with dessert special. Three of us ate the best dish they serve: Skilletini, -spicy spaghetti and sauce, grilled meat and peppers and onions served in a sizzling skillet. Yum! I also calorie-splurged and ate a piece of their chocolate cake. And you know I love that chocolate cake. :)

Life seems to be getting busier and busier these days. It's fun, and flying by- I just hope I remember to take more pictures.... :)

Freebie of the Day- Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix

Get a sample of the new Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix. Sounds really good!

Freebie of the Day- Sunsilk Hair Products

Get a free sample of Sunsilk hair products here.

Isabella Rose



Isabella will be 5 months old this Sunday. I can't believe how 5 months passes so quickly when you aren't pregnant! She is the happiest baby I have ever seen. She coos and laughs and smiles all day. She also likes to squeal at the top of her lungs- a sign of what's to come I'm sure! ;)

Freebie of the Day- Yoplait Kids Yogurt

Get a free kids yogurt from Yoplait. My kids love yogurt- it's like ice cream to them!
(Full value coupon is not available in all states.) Hat-tip to Freebies4Mom!

Frugal Confession- The Gazelle has Jumped the Fence

The cat's out of the bag, so to speak. It's confession time, and the gazelle has been missing for a couple of weeks now.

35th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade

I write this post with a sick feeling in my stomach. Abortion is something I don't want to think about- something that is so awful I don't even want to write about it. I look at my three precious little children and can't even comprehend how someone can justify killing their own children.

But if I turn my head away and plug my ears because it's so awful and every other Christian does the same, who will be left to defend these precious little lives? We can't stop fighting for those innocent souls. Not only are their lives being taken, the lives of their mothers are changed forever.

My husband sent me this article from Breakpoint:

Here's an excerpt:
This is dramatic testimony that abortion is not, as the abortion lobby claims, something women will “get over” in a week or two. It is evidence that we know inherently that we are made in the image of the God who gives life. When we do violence to that image—when we destroy life instead of nurturing it—it has a profound effect on our emotions, our psyche, and our souls.

Today, as we mourn the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the tens of millions of abortions that have resulted from this dreadful decision, we must recognize that there are likely many women among us who are silently suffering abortion grief decades after their babies’ lives were snuffed out. As the De Veber Institute notes, these women need our compassion, and their trauma should be recognized and acknowledged by their care providers.
Do you know someone who is suffering from the effects of an abortion? Rachel’s Vineyard, Ramah International, and Healing Hearts Ministries International are ministries created for women and men dealing with post-abortion grief and trauma.

So what else can we do? Here are several other ways you can help in your community, church, and with friends and family.

One ministry that stood out to me was developing websites for pro-life Pregnancy Care Centers that can't afford them. Teens and young people who need help are searching the internet (not their parents or church) for answers and without a website to make their local presence known, a teen might not realize they have options besides abortion. I am going to do a google and phone book search for my area to see if I could help in this way.

We must do all we can to stop the atrocity of abortion. It's up to us- let's not turn away from the murder of innocent children.

Freebie of the Day- Schick Quattro Razor for Women and More

Moneysavingmom has posted a great round of freebies like a Schick Quattro Razor, toothpaste, a free magazine subscription and more here. It's more like freebies of the day!

Kitchen Tip Tuesday- Peeling Hot Potatoes

I was making one of my husband's favorite meals, corn chowder, for dinner a couple of weeks ago, and after baking the potatoes in the microwave, I started peeling their skins by hand. Of course, they just shredded while the potato burned my fingertips. After many painful minutes of trying to peel the hot potatoes, my post-third-pregnancy brain started working again, and I figured out how to make these skins fall right off! Just rinse them in very cold water for about 20 seconds and amazingly enough, the skin will just come right off and your fingers will thank you!

That's probably a kitchen tip that someone figured out long before I did, but I learned it the hard way so I thought I would share! Check out more kitchen tips over at Tammy's Recipes to avoid other kitchen related mishaps! :)

Busy Monday

We had a busy Monday- we listed our car for sale last week and had a potential buyer look at it today, as well as had company over, errands to run, and bills to pay. It was a long day for us, and the boys didn't nap so they were extra tired this evening. We had a very late lunch and ate Honey Bunches of Oats for dinner- no menu planning required there. :) Whew- on to the rest of the week!

Freebie of the Day- Pop-up Post-it Notes

Get a free sample of Post-it Pop-up notes from 3M.
*This freebie has expired.

Swango.com- 99 cent Clothing Swap Website

David over at My Two Dollars wrote about a new website called Swango.com, where you swap clothing for credits and a .99 transaction fee. If you are like me, and your local thrift stores are more expensive than new clearance clothes, you might want to check it out. You share the shipping cost with the seller at $2 for each adult item and $1 for each baby item you buy.

Swango wants you to post brand name clothing so you get brand name clothing in return. I have plenty of clothes I would like to "swap" for different ones rather than just giving them away at a garage sale or to Goodwill. I am going to upload some clothes and see how it works!

From Swango.com:
We all have clothing and shoes that we fell in love with when we first got them, but the interest has since fizzled. What if you could remix your entire wardrobe with stylish, brand name clothing for only a few dollars per item? Even better, what if it was as easy as dropping items into an online shopping cart and clicking the checkout button? With the rapid posting process, multiple-item checkout, and user-friendliness, Swango is the most innovative peer-to-peer clothing exchange on the web.

You Know You're a Dave Fan if...


You know you're a Dave Ramsey fan/frugal zealot if...

You refuse to pay for a happy meal.

You stand at the register with four people behind you and wait for the manager over 50 cents.

Your child wears secondhand underwear handed down from his older brother.

Your husband puts in requests for free CVS items.

Every time you take a picture of an object your 4 year old asks if you are selling it.

You pick out hair products, candy, and medicine at CVS specifically for Christmas gifts. :)

Your find your kids putting their entire room contents in the hallway because they are going to sell them since they don’t need them anymore.

Your brother saves plastic bags for you as a present (and joke ;).

You admire every 13 year old Honda minivan you see and wish you had their car payment.

Freebie of the Day- Schick Quattro Titanium Razor

Sign up to get a Schick Quattro Titanium Razor while supplies last! Razors like these cost $9 at the store!

Freebie of the Day- Glad Simply Cooking Steaming Bags

Get a free sample of Glad's Simply Cooking Microwave Steaming Bags. This looks really neat- just toss in some sliced zucchini and it will be done in minutes and you'll have no dishes to clean up! I wonder if they are reusable?

$10 off $75 at Home Depot thru 1/30/08

From Slickdeals.net:

Home Depot $10 off $75 and more

Go to link above.

Enter your zip or 19101.

Go to Home and Yard tab, then House Improvement.

Coupon will be listed good to 1/30/08.

$25 Coupon for New Prescriptions at CVS

Thanks to Babychaser, I can use this coupon to get a $25 gift card for any new prescription this year at CVS.

Freebie of the Day- 3 Bible Bookmarks

Encourage your children to read their Bible on their own with these Bible bookmarks- each one has a list of passages for each day of the week and a checkbox for when the reader completes it. You can get three for free here. This looks like a really neat idea!

Easier Breadmaking Tip

I started doing this kitchen tip a little while ago and it has worked wonderfully for me!

When I make homemade bread in my bread machine, I also make several dry mixes of the same recipe in gallon ziploc bags to store in the refrigerator. It saves me so much time and mess and it makes it more likely that I will make fresh wholesome bread every day because I only have to pull out milk and oil for each batch instead of 5-6 ingredients and other dishes. I just pour in my liquids and add the mix and I am done! We love fresh bread at our house, and now we have it regularly!

You can also check out more kitchen tips here!

CVS and Target Deals 1/8/07

It's been a while since I've made a CVS run- when I saw this week's awesome ECB deals, I knew I had to go!

We stopped at Target and got all of this for under $3:




Then got all this- $150 actual cost before coupons- for nothing out of pocket! I spent $14 ECB's, and $8 from a free gift card to CVS and got back $22 in ECB's.


2 Blood glucose mini monitors
2 Aquapods
3 boxes Colgate total
2 Robitussin pediatric cough
1 Loreal Mascara
1 Loreal Bronzer
1 Loreal Lip gloss
1 2 pk EPT's
1 bottle Oil of Olay lotion
2 Garnier hair gels
1 Garnier hair color
1 bottle Tide naturals
4 Reese's Whipps bars
1 Excedrin Sinus Headache
1 Carefree Pantyliner 56 ct
1 Viactiv box of multivitamin chews
1 Palmolive dish soap

It was a good week for bargain shopping! :) I am hoping to score some of those awesome clearance deals at Old Navy this weekend. I used to really like their clothes 10 years ago, but they aren't as well made anymore. If they only cost pennies like others are posting, they might be a decent investment though. :)

Check out more super savings over at MoneySavingMom!

Freebie of the Day- Two Luggage Tags from TripAdvisor

Get a free set of luggage tags from TripAdvisor!

Walgreen's Came Through

After much trouble, I have finally "redeemed" my SpaRewards from Walgreen's!

You might remember the deal- purchase 4 Wyeth products and receive $100 in SpaRewards. I purchased four boxes of Robitussin in early October and sent in my receipt with the EasySaver booklet.

After 6 weeks I hadn't received anything so I called Walgreen's and they said, oops, it must have been overlooked, we are sending it out. After waiting three more weeks I finally received my rewards, which expire on the first of March this year.

I called the number for authorization right after I got them, the week after Christmas, and got a message saying the Customer Service is busy, and leave a message. I didn't the first time, but after attempting to call them almost every day I left a message. I didn't get a call back, so a week later (this week) I decide to call the corporate line and talk to someone. I got connected with a very nice lady who verified the number I was calling was the newest number and she emailed someone in charge of the SpaRewards with my information. Two days later I get a call from, guess who, Walgreen's SpaRewards!

They asked which spa I would like to go to- I told them and they said they were going to call them right now and order my $100 gift card. We hung up and he called me right back and said the $100 gift card is all ready and waiting for you there, and please just mail in those rewards certificates to this address.

Of course, it's second nature for me to verify everything, so I called my spa (we know the owners, so I trust them) and they are now sending my gift card in the mail! A $100 gift card good for massages, haircuts, manicures or even spa products!

Walgreen's came through! I was expecting to end up with just four boxes of Robitussin, but hey, thanks to Walgreen's and Wyeth, I got $100 to my favorite spa and cough medicine! :)

Freebie of the Day- Perfect Pie E-Book

This one's really easy- just submit your email and first name and they wil email you a link to their 22 page Perfect Pie E-book, including many pie recipes!

Frugal Confession- I Love Expensive Makeup

I am in love with this less-than-frugal stuff, and I am not sure I will ever be able to stop buying it... :)

The Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

We built gingerbread- graham cracker houses for the first time this Christmas. My husband and brother each built one with the boys help. They weren't really into the whole decorating it thing- they enjoyed the construction of it a whole lot more. Next year I think it will have to be mine and Isabella's job to decorate them. :) We had lots of fun though!

I think someone used to build model cars...


The very carefully constructed stack of marshmallows made the side peak.



And then came the fun...


My brother told them they had to eat it like this- it was the only way to eat a gingerbread house. That's what uncles are for, aren't they? ;) They loved it!

Freebie of the Day- Quaker Simple Harvest Bar or Oatmeal

Get a free sample of Quaker Oats Simple Harvest granola bar or instant oatmeal. I love granola bars, especially ones with chocolate... ;)

Works for Me- My Very Favorite Ask You a Question Edition!

I love asking questions. Newbie moms like me need all the help we can get!

In November's edition of Works for Me Backwards Edition I asked how to lay a baby down to sleep somewhere besides my lap. You all were so helpful with your suggestions! I used a swing and the playpen and routine, and within a few weeks it worked! Isabella will lay down on the floor, and in the playpen for naps and nighttime!

This month I have another question: how do you get melted crayon out of clothes? Twice my youngest boy has decided to hide a crayon in his pocket and twice an entire load of little boy clothes has been coated in spots of green and orange wax. I can't get it out either. Even if I scrape the wax off the stain remains. Is there anyway to remove crayon? Any stain removal secrets you could share with me? I definitely know to check their pockets now! ;)

My husband's take on stained kids clothes is too funny, he says, "pretend they just did it today and it won't bother you!" I just can't stand seeing those little bright stains in random places. Can you help me?

$15 free at Lane Bryant

Get $15 off $15 at Lane Bryant (free $15 in stores only, $25 off $75 online). I am hoping to score a cute scarf or a pair of earrings with this coupon!

Freebie of the Day- 8 Weeks at Bally Total Fitness!

Bally and DiscoveryHealth are giving away a free 8 week membership! Sign up for their National Body Challenge and get a certificate for 8 free trial weeks at the gym.

"Most People Stop After Two"

I thought this was a great post from Kelly about allowing God to choose our family size. I get these kind of comments from Christian friends and even church leadership. It is so sad how the church has lost sight of what a blessing children are to us. I want God to choose the number of blessings He wants to give me!
"Most people stop after two, Kelly," was the matter-of-fact comment, spoken of course with a smile (because that makes it OK), from a dear friend of mine, and, believe it or not, pastor. I hadn't seen him in a while, and more than once during our visit he reminded me (with an "innocent joke") how bizarre and "weird" our choice to let God be sovereign over our family size was.

Every time I witness other believers "joking" about the large family, my heart hurts. Not because they have hurt MY feelings, even though usually I am the brunt of the "jokes", but because it is a constant reminder of the true condition of the "church's" heart toward children, and ultimately toward God and family.

Read more....

Freebie of the Day- 5 Free Songs from Rhapsody and Nokia

Enter this sweepstakes and get a code for 5 free songs from Rhapsody by email. It also says you can get 5 more songs per each friend you send it to, up to 30 songs. That's about 3 free CD's worth! :)

Menu Plan Monday 1/7/07

It's nice to get back in the swing of things. I missed making my menu plans! :)

Breakfasts:
Waffles
Eggs
Oatmeal
Wraps
V8 and bagels

Lunches:
Soups- chicken noodle, chicken and rice
PB and J
Mini pizzas
Baked Potatoes
Leftovers

Dinner:
Monday: Corn chowder and homemade bread
Tuesday: Taco Soup and cornbread
Wednesday: Turkey, Red Pepper, and Bean Burritos with Mexican rice
Thursday: Chicken Stir fry with rice
Friday: Homemade pizza with chicken and veggies
Saturday: Bean Margherita Penne
Sunday: Chicken soup

Check out more menu plans at Orgjunkie!

Personal Goals for 2008

Even though Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, I have to say I love the beginning of a new year. It's like a fresh start. Last year at this time I was in a major transition period from full-time school and working part-time to being home again all day every day and being in the first trimester of my 3rd pregnancy.

This year is much different but comes with even more challenges as we add a third little person to the mix and as we are trying to get out of debt as quickly as possible. It will be fun though. I am all about a new start, with new lists and new goals!

So here are my new personal goals for 2008:


-Create a new schedule and routine system by next week and stick to it, changing it if necessary (rather than abandoning it) by reevaluating it monthly.

-Continue breastfeeding exclusively until Isabella reaches 6 months (we usually add cereal at 4-5 months but I want to extend the time before we start baby foods)

-Run a 5k in under 30 minutes (I've run only one before in 39 min)

-Add in 1-2 hours per day to my schedule for web/design work (this will be much easier when I get my routine in place)

-Start Elijah's homeschooling, with him reading by his 5th birthday in October

-Exercise 5-6 times per week including classes at the gym and home

-Eat more fresh and natural foods- whole grain, preservative-free, locally grown foods

-Drink at least 3 liters of water per day

-Potty train my 2 1/2 year old (he'll be three in May)

-Increase household purging of clutter and excess, including selling furniture, shredding papers and giving away or selling toys

-Slowly change my body clock to go to bed earlier and rise earlier (I am so not a morning person!)


Reading over them, it looks like a lot of goals! :) I know that all of these are possible for me to accomplish, with my willingness to do them and God's strength. :) I know I will need lots of extra patience and strength for tasks like homeschooling, potty training, and early rising but thankfully God is so graceful I know He will give it to me if I ask and trust Him.

Time to Revamp the Cleaning Routine

As Mrs. Pear and many others in the blogging world are revamping their cleaning schedules and routines, they have inspired me to do the same. Since Isabella's birth, cleaning has been more of a sporadic event than a routine. I clean and clean for a short time, get the house completely clean and then it stays clean for a few days then it goes back to messy and I feel behind again. It's not a pretty cycle.

Before Isabella was born I had a household notebook with my routine and cleaning list in page protectors and a dry-erase marker ready to go. It worked very well for me and my house was clean and company ready almost all the time. Now, with three little ones, more often than not my house looks more like a tornado just hit and I look at that book and think however did I do all that? Where did that girl go? Just thinking about the list makes me feel a bit tired...!

I think it's about time to redo the cleaning/maintenance schedule to include life with a baby. :)

I hope to get it posted very soon!

Freebie of the Day- South Beach Sample Kit from Kraft

Get a free sample kit of South Beach food products including granola bites, a drink mix and coupons.

Frugal Confession- I Hate Kids Meals

This week's frugal confession- I really hate paying for kids meals.

Freebie of the Day- Buffet Dinner at Country Buffet, Ryans

Get a free buffet dinner at Country Buffet, Ryans, or Fire Mountain when you sign up for their e-club.

The Christmas Wedding

We attended a beautiful wedding right before Christmas, my very first Christmas wedding! It was beautiful. We opened our Christmas present a little early so we could take pictures. During the reception they played Christmas music, and we had a great time visiting with friends and taking pictures.

I love how they laid out the desserts and food- they used boxes underneath layers of cotton batting and tulle to give the table vertical dimension. I wish I had thought of that for our wedding! I thought they did a great job- it was very nicely done.








We brought Isabella along- she was a very good girl and didn't talk at all during the ceremony.

I couldn't resist adding this picture. There's nothing that melts my heart faster than to see the man of my dreams holding our precious little girl. :)