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Sunday, September 29, 2013

What I'm Reading...

Narcissism Was A Bad Thing, Until We Started Calling It "Self-Esteem". (The Matt Walsh Blog)

How To Bring Peace To The Witching Hour. (Simple Mom)

Running Late? How To Get Out The Door On Time, (Almost) Every Time. (The Happiest Home)

Let's Play A Minimalism Game Together. (The Minimalists)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jonah's Lego Party!

I love birthday parties! Maybe even more than the kids do...

Birthday Banner: I printed the letters from here and the little guy from here. The big yellow Lego sign is actually a bag from the Lego store, which we visited a few days before the party.

I also cut out extras of the little guy and hid them around the room for the kids to find.

Coloring Pages: I printed several copies off from the Lego site here.

I saw several versions of the juice boxes on Pinterest... well as the utensil holder, which I built from our larger Duplo blocks.

My favorite part, although it ended up being trickier than I thought, was the Lego cakes, which I made with a combination of loaf pans and mini cupcakes.

We also had lots of Lego building time.  All in all, the birthday boy had a great time!
I saw so many great ideas online for Lego party ideas, but I knew that realistically these few things were what I would be able to accomplish. And we all had fun!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

  • 2 Kellogg's Cereals: $1.67 each. Used two $1/1 printables = paid $0.67 each.
  • Honey: $4.99 (ad coupon). Used $2RR from last time.
  • Total spent: $4.33

Other Coupon Shopping
  • Target: 2 Edge Shave Gels : $2.44 each. Used B1G1 printable (took off $3.50), $1/1 Target printable, and 10% Target Cartwheel (took off $0.40) = free! I also got 5% off of an avocado through Cartwheel (saved $0.07).
  • Starbucks: Used $1 coupon from my email.
  • Hobby Lobby: Used 40% off of 1 item coupon to save $1.32 on some yarn.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Menu Plan September 16-30

This month has just flown by! We enjoyed our few days at my parents' house, and Jesse even took me out to a super fancy French restaurant for my birthday.  And now we're almost up to Jonah's birthday, which means lots of party prep and cake-baking for me.

(16/17) Monday/Tuesday: Black Bean Taco Salads
(18/19) Wednesday/Thursday: Pinto Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
(20) Friday: Mushroom Baked Chicken and Spinach
(21) Saturday: Zucchini Boats with Mushrooms and Onions
(22) Sunday: Jonah's Birthday Party! We're also hosting family dinner afterward - Ham & Bean Soup and Homemade Bread.

(23) Monday: Homemade Pizza (Jonah's actual birthday, and his choice for dinner)
(24/25) Tuesday/Wednesday: Veggie Minestrone Soup, Biscuits
(26/27) Thursday/Friday: Chicken Bacon Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Broccoli and Mushrooms
(28) Saturday: Veggie Omelets
(29) Sunday: Family Dinner
(30) Monday: Chicken Fajitas (a favorite in our house, so we have it quite often)

I also have several pounds of apples to play with, although I haven't decided quite what to do with them yet.
Also on the plan for the next week or so:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping


  • 2 Huggies Jumbo Packs: B1G1 50% off at $11.99 = $17.98 for 2 packs. Used $2.50/1 printable and $2/1 printable = paid $13.48/2, or $6.74 each.
  • 2 Huggies Wipes: B1G1 50% off at $7.79 = $x.xx for 2 packs.  Used $0.50/1 printable (only had one with me) = paid $11.18/2, got $2RR.
  • Gillette Mach3 Razor: $9.99. Used $3/1 (RP 9/8/13) = paid $6.99, got 2000 points ($2.00).
  • 2 Starbucks Coffee: $6.99 each. Got 1000 points ($1.00) back on each.
  • Starbucks Frappuccino: $2.99. Used Free with purchase of 2 bagged coffees coupon (store display) = free.
  • Total with tax: $47.61.
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Target: Used 10% off of C9 Menswear (Cartwheel app) to save $1.40 on some shorts for Jesse.

What I'm Reading...

Life Is An Acquired Taste. (The Minimalists)

On Cake And Having It All. (The Minimalist Mom)

Here's Some Honest Dating Advice and I'm An Introvert, And I Don't Need To Come Out Of My Shell.  I just found this blog and I really enjoy reading these posts so far. (The Matt Walsh Blog)

12 Features Of A High-Need Baby. "In some ways all babies are high need babies, and most babies have high needs in at least one area of their life." I can definitely see this in my two younger kids - Matthew was "Mommy-only" clingy for over a year, and Hannah just doesn't nap much.  (Ask Dr. Sears via Simple Organized Living)

Are Your Armpits An Exit Ramp? (Kitchen Stewardship)

Hobby: For Fun Or Spending?  "If you’re spending as much time shopping for your hobby as doing your hobby, your real hobby is shopping." (Gal Vaz-Oxlade via Organizing Junkie)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On My Birthday

Today I turned twenty-seven. It's not a milestone year by any means, and though my boys were sweet enough to bring me Starbucks and flowers, it isn't much different than a normal day. I still changed diapers. I still wiped noses. I still comforted a crying baby.

These are the little things my life is made of.  This is what I do.  And it's occurred to me, over the past few days, that somewhere over the past few years, I've kind of lost myself in the little things that come with being a parent. I can define my role as a wife, as a mother, and the things that come with those roles, but I've lost me.

I've let myself get lazy and not followed any sort of news lately.  I've wasted time being stuck on level 65 of Candy Crush on my phone rather than read books.  I've lost my motivation for learning, for doing, for trying new things.  And this year, I want to get that back.

It won't always be easy. But I've started. I downloaded some news apps on my phone so I can at least skim the headlines in between games. I've got a whole bunch of books on my Kindle, and I browsed at the used bookstore yesterday looking for a new title or two.  I want to be a good wife, a good mother, yes. But I'd like to be a little bit more myself too.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What I'm Reading...

Love Isn't Just A Feeling. (Money Saving Mom)

The Ballad Of Joe And Mike: How Expenses Hold You Back. (The Simple Dollar)

"It's Not Fair!" We All Should Complain About Chocolate. (Kitchen Stewardship)

It's my birthday week! I have already been enjoying various birthday freebies (free drink at Starbucks, free breakfast at IHOP) and plan to bake myself a yummy layered cake.  I'm thinking chocolate with a peanut butter frosting.  I will share that later this week!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping


  • Huggies Diapers: $8.99. Used $2.00/diapers and wipes Target coupon (mailer) and $1.50/1 printable, plus 5% off from Cartwheel (took off $0.35) = paid $5.14.
  • Huggies Wipes: $2.39. Used 5% off from Cartwheel (took off $0.12) = paid $2.27.
  • Market Pantry Cookies: $2.09. Used $1/1 Target mobile coupon = paid $1.09.
  • Total with tax: $10.33. Used $5 gift card from last time = paid $5.33.
  • Submitted for $0.75 ibotta rebate for the wipes and $1.50 ibotta rebate for the diapers, plus got an additional $2 bonus for buying both at the same time = got $4.25 back!
Pick 'N Save

Double coupon days! That means I could double 5 coupons in this trip.
  • 4 Kelloggs Cereals: $1.77 each. Used two $1/2 printables (doubled to $2/2) = paid $3.08/4, or $0.77 each!
  • Langer Apple Juice: $2.00. Used free coupon = free!
  • 2 Huggies Wipes: 2/$4.00. Used $1/2 printable (doubled to $2/2) = paid $2/2, or $1 each!
  • Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs: $1.68. Part of $5/5 Kraft or Oscar Mayer products (in the ad) = paid $0.68.
  • 2 Oscar Mayer Lunch Meats: $2.88 each. Part of $5/5 Kraft or Oscar Mayer products (in the ad) = paid $1.88 each.
  • 2 Kraft Cheddar Cheese: $1.88 each. Part of $5/5 Kraft or Oscar Mayer products (in the ad) = paid $0.88 each!
  • 2 Packages Chicken Breasts at $1.99/lb.: $4.72 and $3.62.
  • Larabar: $1.59. Used free product coupon = free!
  • Green Grapes at $0.88/lb.: $1.63
  • 2 International Delight Creamers: $2.19 each. Used two $1/1 printables (no longer available, doubled to $2/1) = paid $0.19 each!
  • 24 pack bottled water (not shown): $1.99.
  • Total before coupons and store discounts: $62.xx. Total after coupons and tax: $23.77. Used $10 gift card from signing up for a month trial of the area newspaper = paid $13.77.

  • 2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch: $1.67 each. Used two $1/1 printables = paid $0.67 each!
  • 2 Walgreens Diapers: 2/$11.00
  • Total spent: $12.89.


So there's a big ibotta bonus deal going on. If you complete 10 offers, you get a $20 bonus. There are also a couple other bonuses that overlap with this deal too (the $2 diapers/wipes one from Target is one of them, as well as a $5, and two $3 ones).  I also price matched the Kashi cereal since they were out of stock at Walgreens.  The rest of the items purchased are part of the ibotta deal. I got a bunch of ideas and coupon links from this post.
  • 2 Kashi Cereal: price matched to Walgreens at $1.99 each. Used two $1/1 printables = paid $0.99 each!
  • Kleenex 3 pack: $4.47. Used $1/1 printable = paid $3.47. Submitted for $1.00 ibotta credit.
  • Sctott Toilet Paper 12 pack: $5.97. Used $1.50/1 (Pullups House Party booklet) = paid $4.47. Submitted for $0.75 ibotta rebate. There's also a $1/1 printable here.
  • Scott Flushable Cloths: $1.96. Submitted for $1.00 ibotta rebate.
  • Poise Liners: $2.72. Used $2/1 (Pullups House Party booklet) = paid $0.72. Submitted for $1.25 ibotta rebate. There's also a $2/1 printable here.
  • U by Kotex Pads: $3.78. Used $1.50/1 printable = paid $2.28. Submitted for $0.75 ibotta rebate.
  • Softsoap Hand Soap: $2.27 and Kleenex Hand Towels $2.67. Used $0.50/1 hand towels printable = paid $4.44 for both. Submitted for $1.50/1 ibotta rebate.
  • Colgate Advanced Whitening Toothpaste $2.96, Colgate 360 Optic White Toothbrush $2.96, and Kleenex $0.97. Used $0.75/1 Colgate Toothpaste (insert) = paid $6.14 for all 3. Submitted for $3.00 ibotta rebate.
  • Cottonelle Toilet Paper 12 pack: $6.97 and Cottonelle Cleansing Cloths $2.48. Used $1.50/both printable = paid $7.95 for both. Submitted for $1.00 ibotta rebate.
  • Total spent: $35.42. I got $10.25 back in single product ibotta rebates.  These 8 offers, along with the diapers and wipes from the Target trip earlier in the week, were my 10 offers for the $20 bonus.  I also got a $5 and two $3 bonuses.  That means I spent $40.75 on the two shopping trips (and I also got other things on those trips), and I got $45.50 back in ibotta bonuses. Moneymaker for products we'll use! Love that!
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Spoonflower: I used the code PKSWATCH to get a free 8x8 fabric sample (expired 9/4/13). Saved $6.00.
  • Newspaper: As I mentioned above, we got a gift card (and a free umbrella!) for signing up for the area newspaper.  Most weeks I buy one anyways, and this subscription is for Wednesdays and Sundays, at the cost of the paper, but then we got the $10 Pick N Save gift card back.  We can cancel at any time, but I think for the same price, I may as well have someone bring it to my door.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Menu Plan September 2-15

Here's what we have planned for the first half of September.  I did all the grocery shopping on Saturday and then did a bunch of prep work too so that I would be able to take it easy for most of the time surrounding my birthday.  A trip to my parents helps!

  • Pumpkin Muffins from the freezer
  • French Toast (or an overnight French Toast Casserole if I remember to make one up)
  • Chocolate Chip Monkey Muffins
  • Oatmeal with Dried Fruits and Nuts
  • Cereal
  • Tomato Soup from the freezer
  • Chicken Enchilada Chili
  • Turkey Sandwiches/Wraps
  • PB&J Sandwiches
  • Cheese Tortillas
  • Salads
  • Hot Dogs

(2) Monday: Stuffed Mushrooms
(3) Tuesday: Chicken and Black Bean Lettuce Cups similar to these
(4) Wednesday: Simple Potato Soup (veggies except for potatoes chopped and in the fridge)
(5) Thursday: Black Bean Burgers
(6) Friday: Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken (prepped this on Saturday and stuck it in the freezer)
(7) Saturday: Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Roll-ups with homemade spaghetti sauce from all the tomatoes we've been given (mushrooms are already chopped and cooked and in the freezer)

I'll be cooking up a big batch of black beans all at once for 3 meals on Tuesday, and making broth in the crockpot on Monday. 

(8-11) Sunday-Wednesday: Trip to Winona
(12) Thursday: Veggie Stir Fry with the sauce from this recipe
(13) Friday: Chicken Fajitas (prepped this on Saturday and stuck it in the freezer)
(14) Saturday: Broccoli Mushroom Alfredo
(15) Sunday: Family Dinner

I'm linking up to Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Goals

  • Continue to track my eating/workouts with My Fitness Pal.
  • Read three books.
  • Try 1 new muffin recipe.
  • Try 1 new snack recipe.
  • Make a cool Lego cake for Jonah's birthday. 
  • Teach the boys at least one song from the liturgy.
  • Continue my homeschool research and finalize letter of the week plans.  Hopefully I can get this started this month too!
  • Throw a Lego party! Jonah is turning 4, and he is into all things Lego. I'm actually really excited about this party, but I need to make sure I plan ahead enough to get everything done.

What I'm Reading...

Top 10 Back-to-School Issues That Might Not Be On Your List. (Kitchen Stewardship)

The Worst Thing That Could Happen. (The Minimalists)

What Two Months In Thailand & A Daily Walk Have In Common. (Simple Mom)