Monday, May 31, 2010

Learning How to Coupon

Lately, I've been reading all about how to use coupons and save lots of money.  I'm really interested in shopping at CVS and Walgreen's and buying my household and personal care items for next to nothing.  I cook a lot from scratch and I can't see that I will ever buy a lot of boxed groceries, but I am trying to go through online coupons and print the ones I might use, especially if there is an extremely good deal.

There are a couple of websites that I have found very helpful.  Southern Savers and Money Saving Mom  lists the best deals to be had each week.  I am so glad they do all of the work and I just read up on the best deals around.

So here is the first deal that I have completed.  I shopped at Walgreen's last week and purchased 42.00 worth of items.  I bought 2 packs of diapers, 1 pack of wipes, 5 toothbrushes, 1 pack of hair barrettes,  1 tube of toothpaste, 1-12 roll pack of toilet paper, (I think that's all).  I received 12 dollars in register rewards.  So its like I spent 30.00.  This wasn't a great deal compared to some deal-makers out there, but I was going to Wal-mart in a couple of days and I had these things on my list anyway.

So this week I purchase the above items with coupons and register rewards and it cost me 2.00 out of my pocket.  I came away with 7.50 in register rewards to use next time.  I had one more coupon than items so I had to grab a small hand sanitizer.  Next time, I will have everything organized before I go in and determine how many items I have and in which order to hand the coupons.  I was proud of my first deal and I think I will get even better with time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some Beach Pictures...

Here's the sand turtle that daddy and the kiddos sculpted.

Here's the birthday girl, eating seashells

beautiful sisters

handsome brothers

boys...just being boys

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl...

Our sweet girl turned one last Friday.  We were on vacation last week in Florida for my brother's wedding.  So my nursling got to have a beach birthday party.  She wasn't very cooperative for picture time.  I can't believe she's already one.  She is such a loving little girl.  She loves to lay around and snuggle when she first wakes up.  She cries when we tell her no and she seems eager to please us.  Although she turned one she seems to still love nursing as much now as ever before.  My other little ones had already begun to lose interest around this time.

(Here she is loving that birthday cake)

(Not cooperating at the wedding)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Outdoor Nature Hour 12 and 13

We have been working on the next two outdoor nature hour challenges as we plant our garden and observe the beautiful spring wildflowers that are blooming in our area.

We took a trip to the wildflower garden located in one of our local parks.  There were are few flowers blooming.  The little ones enjoyed the bridges over the creeks much more than they enjoyed the flowers. Here they are taking a break on the little bench alongside the nature trail.

We have also planted a variety of flowers in our garden.  Some have germinated and some of the seeds got washed away with a heavy rain.  The boys chose a couple of different variety of sunflowers to plant.  The sunflowers are growing taller each day.  Here  are the boys taking a look at their sunflowers.

The boys wrote in their nature notebooks about planting the sunflower seeds.
We have observed lots of flowers and wildflowers in bloom around our yard and pasture.

field daisy
white clover flowers
purple cone flower (not blooming yet, but we planted a couple in our yard last year and they are growing.)
red clover flowers
sweet white violet
bird's foot violet
We planted: sunflowers, marigolds,  and zinnias

Friday, May 7, 2010

Couldn't Get Enough

I just couldn't get enough of my nursling's cuteness today.
chocolate chip curling over her ears...eyes shining bright
She was such a princess...I had to make her a crown!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ministering to the Least of These

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about raising sons and daughters who are deliberately trying to be Jesus' hands and feet to a world that so desperately needs him.  As I shared my heart with Chris, he told me that opportunities will present themselves, we will just need to be sensitive to them when they do.  I believe that God has recently opened one such door for us at the local nursing home.  We had been visiting my great-grandmother and made several friends at the nursing home.  So when she passed away in March I contacted the activities director for a list of names.  I wanted to visit with some residents who did not get many visits.   So with my list of names in hand, we have been making the rounds every couple of weeks for two months now.

I can't explain the joy I feel as we make our rounds each time we visit.  Starting out I explained to the little ones how I wanted us to be a blessing to others because God has so graciously blessed us.  We have ended up being so blessed by our opportunity to show love to some of the least of these.

It was such a blessing when Mr. Bailey looked at me and said, Just to think...that you would take time out of your day to come and see me...but I was thinking what a blessing it was to be able to sit and listen to him share with my children and I about his thirty years in Alaska.

It was such a blessing to finally have Gracie respond after several weeks of visiting and no noticeable response to my questions.

It was such a blessing to have LouLou help me sing to Audrea.  Audrea who had trouble speaking joined right in with Tell Me the Story of Jesus and just a few days later she was meeting that Jesus that she so joyfully sang about.

It was such a blessing when Nell responded by actually following me with her eyes instead of just staring at the ceiling.

It was such a blessing to meet Helen and give her a flower and to see how meaningful a flower could be.

But the greatest blessing of all has been to see my little two-year old girl reach her hand out and stroke grey hair as we sing and read the Bible to Gracie.  In that moment, the tears well up and I think to myself...that's why I'm doing show my children what Jesus meant when he said:

 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Matthew25:35-40

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thanking Him Even When I Don't Feel Like It...

This morning I awoke a little earlier than usual with a sweet smiling girl by my side.  Thinking I could get a jump start on my day before the rest of the little ones woke up, I start folding the four loads of laundry that were spilling from the laundry basket.  It didn't take long before things began to go wrong.  I was on edge...I was annoyed that my mental to-do list wasn't getting accomplished. 

I thought about the things that had gone wrong over the course of my morning and I even shared those things with the boys.  "Mommy is frustrated because..."  I still couldn't shake the one word that kept popping into my mind in the midst of my chaos...JOY... 

So I began to take a step back and consider the things that had gone wrong.  Yes, I was frustrated.  Yes, I had a reason to be irritated..BUT...I am also called to live by the Spirit and not by my flesh.  So I am choosing to be thankful in all things...

sweet little baby...diaper falling off...soiling the floor...and her dress...BUT...I get to give her a bath hearing those sweet coos and watching her hands splash the water

little girl...forgetting to go to the potty...puddles on the floor...BUT...I take time to consider she is at the awkward stage...caught between being a baby and a big girl

breakfast smoothie...waiting for little girl to drink...she spills it all over the table and her chair...BUT...I have an abundance of delicious, healthy food to feed these little ones

my little man...complaining about tucking his pants into his mud boots..tears begin to fall...BUT...he is trying to get dressed so he can go outside and take care of his morning jobs

my oldest blessing...can't find boots...can't turn the water on to water chicks...BUT...he is trying his best

And as I was reading this post today, I find others choosing to be thankful anyways...