All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible....

August 31, 2008

Kitchen and Bathroom Progress

It's no secret we moved into an unfinished house and that we are crazy for it but I really have enjoyed being able to work on the house a little at a time versus every weekend and pulling long days and late nights. At first, I felt like I was camping. The stove didn't work, the plumbing had to be shut off a few times for repairs, the tile was not and still is not finished in the kitchen and we hadn't put up the shelving units in any of the closets. It was a mess! Now our house is starting to feel more like a home. We are still missing trim in places due to uninstalled doors, windows and window treatments need to be installed and the paint is still not finished but we love it all the same!

Some long overdue pictures of our progress:

August 30, 2008

My Lesson in Fruganomics

Last night I checked one of my favorite blogs, Money Saving Mom and found this wonderful post. It's basically a guide on how to get paid for shopping at Walgreens. Paid? For shopping? No way! I was sucked right in a spent at least an hour trying to figure out how I could pull this off!
So this morning I headed to Walgreens with my $10 off $40 purchase coupon and my arsenal of other random coupons. I grabbed a August Easy Saver coupon booklet in the front of the store and went on my way. After grabbing the items I wanted that were advertised as FREE after rebate I had to load my basket with a few more items so my total ran over $40.00.

Here was my "scenario":

* Walgreens Soft White Light Bulbs 4 pack = $1.99
* (2) BioInfusion Conditioner @ $5.99 Each = $11.98
* Chemistry Hair Tonic = $7.99
* Jane Powder Brush = $4.99
*Feria Hair Color = $8.99
* Colgate Total Toothpaste = $1.99
* Deer Field 2% Milk = $3.39
* (2) Nivea Mens Hydrating Face Gel @ $1.79 each = $3.58

Total without Coupons = $44.90

Used $10 off $40 purchase Coupon
Used 1 $3/1 Chemistry Coupon from August Easy Saver
Used $2/1 Feria Man. Coupon from August Easy Saver
Used $2/1 Feria Man. Coupon (printed off website) ~ I almost didn't think she would take this coupon and combine it with the ES Man. coupon but she did! Woohoo!

Total minus Coupons = $27.90

Walgreens Light Bulb Rebate = $1.99 ~ That's FREE AFTER REBATE
Jane Mineral Powder Brush Rebate = $4.99 ~ That's FREE AFTER REBATE
BioInfusion Conditioner Rebate = $11.98 ~ That's FREE AFTER REBATE

Total OOP after Rebates = $8.94

No to shabby if you ask me. While I didn't get paid to shop I sure got a lot of products for a great price. I also am opting to recieve my rebate back in the form of a gift card I will be getting back 10% more just for choosing this option and that will bring my total OOP to less than $8. My plan is to stack up earnings on the gift card and use the gift card to purchase next months products and so on. Next month if I jump on board before all the FREE After Rebate products have all been scooped up, I should have enough in FAR products to reach the $40 limit and paired with any coupons I can find, I'll be getting paid to shop or I'll at least get it all free minus sales tax! That Rocks!

August 28, 2008

Coupon Giveaway!

Yesterday I went through my coupons and discovered I had a ton I wont use so I'm giving them away to someone who will. The coupons are not close to expiring. The soonest expiration date is the middle of September but most don't expire until Oct. through the end of the year. There are too many to list and more will be added after I clip coupons from this Sunday paper. There are too many to list them all but I'll list a few:

$2/1 Dove Cool Essential or Clean Clinical
$1/1 Jet Dry Dishwasher Cleaner
$2/1 Olay Facial Cleanser
$1/Olay Facial Moisterizer or Cleanser
$1/1 Right Gaurd or Soft & Dri Deodorant
$3/1 BIC Soleil System or 4-8 pack refills
$2/2 Oust Air Sanitizer
20% Off Linens and Things
$1.50/1 Sunsilk Creme or Styling Aid
$2/1 Bare Naturale Lip Conditioner or other L'oreal lip product
$1/1 Bare Naturale Eye Product or any other L'oreal eye product
$1/2 V8 Splash Juice

There are also coupons for Max Factor, Air Wick, Cover Girl, Pillsbury, Pepperidge Farm, Caress, Spot Shot, Eat Smart, Fiber One, Pup-Peroni, Band Aid, Lysol, Ban, Chex Mix, Dole, Beggin Strips, Minute Maid, Cheerios, Campbells, Advil etc...

All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address. I'll randomly select a winner Sunday night and have the coupons in the mail by Tuesday morning. I'll pay postage!

Good Luck!

August 27, 2008

New Years Resolutions in September

As the Holiday season approaches Josh and I have begun to talk about our budget. Budget? What budget? We have gotten out of control! It's got to stop. Careless spending is eating our non-existent budget alive. So we are starting a little early with the New Years Resolutions. We are taking it one month at a time as every month is different and it's always easier to start off small. I'll be printing out a calendar page to hang on the fridge and we will put a gold star for each day we accomplished each goal and a red star for the days we failed. Just breaking one rule will cause the entire day to be a failure. This way we wont cheat and feel like we only broke "one" rule so it's OK. Hopefully I'll never have to put a red star up. Wish us luck!

*Absolutley NO SODA for 1 Month - Easy Peasy!
*No Energy Drinks for 1 Month - We will utilize our new coffee maker and drink coffee at home. This is going to be hard for me as I consume at least 5 Redbulls or Full Throttles a week. Possibly more.
*No hitting the town for 1 Month - Should be easy as we only go out about once a month anyway. This one is key as we spend the most amount of money on this. If we cut this out alone we will be saving over $200-400 a month. Josh has officially thrown away his Casino cards! Ya!
*No Fast Food for 1 Month - The boys and I only ate out 4 times this month as Josh ate out every day but with Josh's new diet he can no longer eat out so this might be the easiest one.
*No Ordering or Eating Out for 1 Month - I threw out all the pizza flyers and menus. There are no birthdays in this month that might require us to attend a birthday dinner. The hardest part is not ordering pizza when I'm too tired to cook.
*No Alcohol for 1 Month - No wine and no beer. We had two BBQ's this month and my Silpada party so needless to say we spent a ridiculous amount on liquor for all gatherings. No more BBQ's or parties. No more Alcohol. The 6 beers and the bottle of Sparkletini leftover will have to last us in case we have unexpected guests over for dinner.

Money we will save if we complete each goal: $600 Minimum!

Sweeet! I spent $650 on Christmas last year. That's almost my Christmas budget!
We are also re-vamping our food budget and setting weight loss goals. More to come on this later!

Loooooong Weekend, Short Recap

Saturday night was the Silpada party and I had a blast. The Silpada Consultant did a wonderful job and had a ton of pieces available to view. I purchased the pendant and earrings shown below. I didn't even plan on buying them as I had my heart set on a toggle bracelet but I saw these babies and fell in love!

After the jewelry party I picked up my girl Erica and headed out to celebrate our good friends birthday. Boy did we celebrate! I left the bar with over 30 drinks on my tab and some of the craziest pictures ever!

Sunday we hosted a BBQ for friends and family. Some of which hadn't seen the progress on our house and it was fun to show it off. Our niece Triniti came and I can't believe how big she is getting! She is such a ham!

Sadly, the only picture I took was of the cook!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm still exhausted...

August 22, 2008

Drinks, Jewelry and Gossip = My Saturday!

I have been invited to attend a Silpada Party on Saturday night. Silpada specializes in Sterling Silver jewelry. It will be thrown by a very good friend of mine who's parties I often attend. I haven't seen her in awhile and can't wait! Drinks, jewelry and gabbing. Who doesn't have fun when all three are involved? Speaking of I'll be bringing some Pomosa's, Pomegranate Juice and Champagne, Yum! I'm going to bring a food item but am not sure what...

Somehow I always seem to get invited to these shopping parties. I go to about 5 a year. Amazingly enough I actually enjoy these parties. Maybe it's because I have mastered the art of declining to have my own party and (with the exception of being dragged into becoming a consultant ONCE) I know how to dodge the "You would be a great consultant for my company" comments with a smile and a sweet "No thank you. I wouldn't have the time".

Often when I attend these parties the hostess is worried about not pressuring her guests to buy something and I always try and make that a little easier for the her. I have been to several where guests acted rude and complained. The usual "Gosh, I didn't know everything would be so expensive" line is often used. I've even been to a party where a guest who happened to be a hostess from a previous party didn't order anything from the hostess who happened to be her best friend! I'm no Miss Manners but I wish all guests did their research online beforehand, figured out what they could spend and really showed interest in these types of parties or declined to attend. I always try and find a catalog online - pick out a few pieces and set my budget before I R.S.V.P.

I can't wait to see some of this jewelry in person. I know these photos do not do them justice!

This one is for you Nana!

I have a very special reader of my blog. My Mom. Jaxon and Jordan's Nana and someone we miss VERY much.

Mom, I know you wish you could be here as the boys grow up and their lives change. Jaxon had a very special day today. It was picture day. I took this picture just for you so you could feel as though you were a part of his day.

We love you!

August 18, 2008

Proof that I am a Nerd

I love The Hills. So much that I'm actually blogging about it. As Season 4 approaches I can't help but get excited. I've watched all three previous seasons of the hills. This way may just pan out to be my favorite.

Season 4 premiers tonight on MTV. Will you be watching?

August 17, 2008

Mojito's Anyone?

For years I have been wanting to grow herbs and spices but never got around to it. Last week I took a trip to Jaeger Greenhouses located less than a mile from my house. I was on the hunt for simple plants I could individually pot and keep until we did the landscaping next year. It's a little late in the season to be searching for plants but I knew I would get a deal if I waited this late and I found just what I was looking for.

Pink Candy Pops Mint.

It's a lighter, sweeter tasting mint. I potted it in one of our drink buckets from the wedding.

Mint can be used for so many things and comes in over a 100 different flavors. Sweet, Spicy, Citrus. You name it, mint comes in it. Even Chocolate Peppermint! Mint is also used in tons of drink and food recipes. One of the most popular being a Mojito!

Making a Mojito is simple. All you need is a few sprigs of Mint, Bacardi Light Rum (or rum of your choice) Lime Juice, Sugar, Club Soda and Ice.

In a glass add together the mint leaves, 4 heaping teaspoons of sugar (more or less depending on your taste. I like mine sweet) and 2 tablespoons fresh Lime Juice. Muddle together with a Muddler or spoon.

Add 1 shot of rum and ice. Smart people stir the rum, sugar, lime and mint mixture together before adding ice. I didn't do this but next time I will ;)

Fill to rim with club soda. Garnish with extra sprig of mint and lime wedge (not pictured) and enjoy!

There is a whole list of mint recipes I'd like to try. Mint Juleps, Peach & Mint Lemonade, Cucumber Mint Salad, Mint Granita etc...Stay tuned for more mint recipes!

August 14, 2008

Proud Mommy

Today, my oldest son Jaxon started Kindergarten. So many emotions hit me all at once when I left him in his little chair at his class this morning. I couldn't let him know how I felt and how nervous I was. I had to keep calm. After asking him 10 times if it was Ok to leave he said "Mommy, I'm fine. You can go home". He waved goodbye and smiled as his little brother and I walked out of the classroom. Jordan waved back and yelled "I'll miss you Jaxon" and I instantly burst into tears. It was very hard for me to leave him there. Part of me wanted to stand outside his classroom and peek in the windows all day. Part of me wanted to run back in and ask him just one more time if it was Ok for me to leave. The rest of me was so proud that my little man was growing up!

His Daddy and I have tried so hard to raise an independent, loving, trusting son and today I felt as though we were accomplishing our goal. It's almost 12:00 and I haven't received any phone calls from the school so he must be fine. I on the other hand have already been to the school twice. Once to drop of his lunch money we forgot on the counter and the other to drop pick up the car signs for when we arrive to get him after school ends. Both things could have been done this morning ;) They must think I'm a nut! I am not the only one though. The log in book was filled with parents who were visiting the Kindergarten classes. At least this Mom didn't go as far as to go to her sons class. Boy it's been hard though!

I can't wait to pick him up and have him tell me all about how his day went. I can't wait to hear about lunch and recess and his new friends!

Such a proud day!

August 5, 2008

Getting settled in

We have finally moved! We are getting settled in. Boxes are slowly being unpacked and we couldn't be more happy. We won't have the Internet until the 13th so this will be my last post until then.

Hope everyone is staying cool!