Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How I Grocery Shop Once a Month

You heard me correctly! I only go on one major grocery shopping trip in a 30-day period, and it saves us $200-$250 a month. That's money we can use for other things. It's how we got our car paid off 15 months early! Here's how I do it...

1. I keep a running list of items we need/have run out of on a notepad on the fridge. When we run out of something, either Brent or I will add the item to the list.

2. I keep a list of what I have on hand in my freezer. As an item is used, we mark it off the list. This helps me add to the notepad on the fridge more easily.

3. When it's time to shop, I look through the sales paper of the store I am going to shop at, keeping in mind what meals we will potentially have on the menu for the month. This helps me know what items are on sale. If I see an item on sale that we need, I'll add it to my list. I mark items that are on sale with an (*) on my list so I can do some comparison shopping when I get there.

4. I use coupons when I can if it's a good deal. If I have a good coupon for an item that we need, I'll add it to my list and put a ( . ) beside it. If an item is on sale and I have a coupon for it, then I can really save money. These are the items that I stock up on. (Cereals, Snack Crackers, Pasta Sauce, etc...).

5. When possible, I use cash for my purchases. This helps me stick to my list more easily. Any money I have left over goes to Chandler's piggy bank, which will eventually go into his savings account.

6.  I keep a calculator handy. This helps me do some quick comparisons while in the store, and it helps me stay in my budget.

7. I usually shop alone and I eat something before I go. Shopping alone allows me to take my time and really look for the good deals. Eating before going helps me not to splurge on things we don't really need.

8. I strive to stick to the list as much as possible. I do give myself a little room because sometimes I see a good deal that I just can't pass up, but sticking mostly with the list is a must in order to really save money.

9. I don't always buy name brand products.  In many food items, the store brand tastes just as good and is a lot cheaper. My theory is that we can try it at least once and see how we like it.

10/ Look at the size of the product.  If you are looking at two different brands of the same item and you are trying to decide which one is cheaper, take a look at the amount of product being sold in each package. Figure up the price per ounce or pound and you'll see which one is the better deal.

Linking up with Many Little Blessings....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Not-So-Terrible Twos (Well, Most of the Time, Anyway!)

The other day, in a moment of fury,  I posted my frustrations on Facebook about how, at almost 2.5, Chandler has entered his "Terrible Twos". It had been an exceptionally challenging day at our house because there had been several unexplained meltdowns, but after I read some of the comments from some other more seasoned mothers, I felt so guilty for what I said. 

Here I was, still grieving the recent loss of a fifth sibling of Chandler's, and I was taking the child I do have for granted instead of appreciating and enjoying every single minute I have with this precious little boy. God gave him to me for a reason, just like he took my other five for a reason. No one can ever convince me otherwise that Chandler is a miracle. He is a blessing in my life, and even though he may have entered a more challenging period of his growing up, I have vowed to make the best of it and try to focus on all the wonderful things he does to make my heart melt. Here are a few of those things...

* Dancing in the living room floor with me, even though it's really more like marching
* Saying, "Oh, me!" when something seems funny to him 
* The endless books and puzzles that we look at and play with together
* The Legos, balls, and cars on the floor all over the house
* Answering "I'm here" when I ask him what he is doing while I'm cooking, cleaning, etc...
* The "raspberries" he attempts to give me and how he giggles when I give them to him
* How he absolutely LOVES to crawl and wrestle on our bed
* How he runs to me excitedly when we've been apart
* The way he declares "I'm done!" both at the end of a meal and when he's on the potty
* How he absolutely loves running around with nothing on after going to the potty
* The way he seriously ponders things these days by saying "Let's see..."
* The cute, mischievous grin he gives me when he knows he's been caught being naughty
* The precious way he says "Nope!" or "Uh-Uh" when he is asked a question 
* His sweet laughs, even though sometimes there is really nothing funny happening
* The way he still sleepily rubs his eyes and cuddles with me every night before he goes to bed

My list could go on and on, but my point is, I love this little boy that God has given me, and I don't ever want to take him for granted. He is too precious for that, and like I was reminded the other day, before I know it, I'll be helping him pack for college. For now, though, I will enjoy all the sweet things he does, and I will make it through the tough times just like millions of mothers before me have done.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Laser Show

Each year, Brent's work sponsors some type of family day event or gives a gift that families can enjoy together. This year, he received two vouchers for a year-long membership to Stone Mountain Park, which really is an awesome deal! So, before school is back in session and things get super busy at our house, we decided to take advantage of the passes and head down to the laser show this weekend. (We're thinking we might go back and enjoy other parts of the park when it's not quite so hot!)

On the way to the park, we stopped for a quick bite at Burger King. Chandler loved people watching while he ate and waving at all the people who were coming in.
When we found our spot on the lawn, Chandler enjoyed running around and around our chairs and blanket. He was too cute when he danced to the music! I guess he gets his dance skills from his Mama. (Poor thing!)
He also loved the glowstick bracelets that I gave him (that I found at Walmart for 25 cents!), and he insisted that they be put on his ankles. He played with the bracelets long after the laser show was over and amazingly kept himself awake for almost an hour after we left the park... a full three hours later than when he usually goes to bed!
During the actual show, his favorite thing was the strobe lights. He would turn around and try to figure out where they went, and he said "WOW!' and "YAY!" a lot. He only jumped a little when the fireworks boomed, and it made my day just to watch his face during the show. I am thankful that I got to share this memorable evening with my two favorite boys. I can't wait to share many more memories with these two!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"The world would be so lonely, in sunny hours or gray. Without the gift of friendship, to help us every day." - Hilda Brett Farr 

                                     Linking up with...

This week, I am so thankful for my close friends and family who have been there to give me a "pick me up" just when I needed it most. (You know who you are...know that your gestures of kindness have not gone unnoticed!) Life isn't always going to be fun and games. There are going to be some hard times along the way as well as some difficult decisions to make, but with friends and family beside me, I can make it over the bumps and move forward on the path set before me. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hot Summer Evenings

It's been super hot around here lately, and several evenings after Brent has gone to work, I have filled up Chandler's pool and we have both taken advantage of the cool water.

Chandler loves to pour the water back and forth between his two sand pails and pretend to wash his hair (which is ironic since he actually HATES to have his hair washed!). I usually soak my feet in the pool and try to get in some reading while Chandler plays. Before going back inside, we usually have some splash time. We both look forward to going to the pool!


The first time I went tubing behind a boat, I was 24 years old. I guess you could say I lived a sheltered life.

Well, Chandler is not quite two-and-a-half, and he had his first ride on a tube this 4th of July on Lake Rabun with his Daddy. Now, believe me...I was on the boat beside the driver, so I didn't let him go fast, but it was neat to watch my little boy out there on the water. However, it also made me realize that it's not going to be long before he becomes a little dare devil just like his Daddy. I may just have to close my eyes when that moment comes!