Friday, July 29, 2011

CVS and Target, 7/27 and 7/28

This week I ended up making two trips to CVS because I forgot something the first time.  During the first trip, I had to feed my husbands soda addiction ;-)  Yes, I could have gotten a better deal on soda at Target, but only if I was buying Sierra Mist, which is not my husbands soda of choice.  I also took advantage of the deal they had going on with the Finish dishwasher detergent.  I do make my own dishwasher detergent, but I like to have a back up in case I run out.  Plus, sometimes I need to run a store bought through, along with a dishwasher cleaner, to help clean things out.  I really scored on the Aussie product.  It was marked down to $1.24, plus the Herbal Essence products were 2/$4.97 and I had $4 in coupons for those.  The total amount of product is $44.91, I spent $15.19, a 66.2% savings.

Today I headed back to CVS to pick up contact solution that I forgot.  I also keep forgetting my green bag tag, so I picked that up.  The total amount of product was $17.98, I spent $9.98, a 44.5% savings.  Plus, I got 5 RR, so it is like I only spent $4.98 out of pocket.

I spent a little more at Target then expected.  I wanted to take advantage of their toy sales.  I was disappointed that some of the things others had mentioned weren't on clearance at my store.  I did get some good deals.  I decided to spend a little more on the granola bars than I normally would since we are traveling this weekend and they are an easy snack.  The total amount of product was $54.21, I spent $29.52 (before tax), for a savings of  45.5%.  The best scores were the jeans for $1.98 and the graphic tees were $2.  One of them is even the Marvel comic characters. 

I am really looking forward to some of the deals I have seen for Krogers and Aldi's next week.  Looks like I will be stocking up on cereal and strawberries!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I Want for You

So, I am not quite sure what led me to this train of thought last night.  I don't know if it was just randomness in my head, or if it had to do with the fact that, since May 29th, there have been six different people who have died who were either related to or somehow connected with my immediate family.  To put this in perspective, I didn't have anyone that I knew pass away last year and the previous few years there was normally just one person.  So, this is a lot for me.  The most recent two people to pass away was someone I went to school with who was younger than me and a father who worked with my husband.  Both affected me in different ways, but they both got me to think about what I would want my kids to know before I would pass away.

I know, a morbid thought. 

Always a ham!
I started thinking about what I would want Sweet Pea to know about raising kids.  What I want Wildman to know about being a real man.  I want both of them to stick to their guns, yet be open minded enough to listen truly listen to someone.  Try and see their side.  I would want Sweet Pea to know that, no matter what anyone says, breastfeeding is best.  I want Wildman to support his future partner in whatever decision they would make, but to also know this (since he wants to breastfeed a baby, I think I have this covered with him).

I want them to know how much I love them. 
To have no regrets.
To live a life that makes them happy. 
To know that their parents aren't perfect, but darn well think they are.
To know that we are very proud of them already, and they should always be proud of themselves.

The list could go on and on.  I have been so lucky to have the family support I do.  I have really been able to raise both of my kids they way that worked best for me at that time without any outside pressure.  I sometimes wish that I had been able to do more of the things for Wildman that I have been able to do for Sweet Pea, but I know I was doing what was best for all of us at that time.  Plus, I don't think Wildman could have turned out to be any more wonderful than he already is.

The loves of my life!  I can tell they will always be there for each other!
I want you to think about what you want your kids to know.  Write it someplace, e-mail, journal, somewhere. 

I remember having to write to my future children when I was in college.  I wish I could find that letter and see what I thought I knew then and compare it to now. 

I have so many wishes for my kids, but I know they will travel the path that is best for them.  I just hope that I will always be there to help them when they need help, guide them when they need guidance, and to hold out a hand and help them dust themselves off when they stumble.

Make sure you tell those you love how much they mean to you everyday.  Especially your children, for, while adults may have years of memories of your time together, your children live in the here and now.  Make it count.

Staples and Pier 1, 07/26/11

Today I decided to put some $10 off coupons I had to use before they expired.  I started at Staples.  I had a $10 off $10 coupon from their Rewards program, a 20% off one item coupon and a Charmin mfg $0.25 cpn.  They still have the 16 pack Charmin Basic on sale for $4.99, the 10-pack of poster board was listed at $6.50 (needed for some homeschool projects for Wildman) and the Crayola dry erase crayons were on sale for $3 (homeschool and fun).  With all discounts, I paid $3.50 for $14.49 worth of product, a 75.85% savings.

Then we headed over to Pier 1 to use another $10 off $10 coupon.  After looking through all the clearance items, we picked out the two mini martini glasses (usually $6 each, marked down to $1.98), the monkey ball (Wildman chose as a gift, was $4.50) and the three mini gift boxes (I thought these would be great to display some of the jewelry I make, normally $12, marked down to $3.18).  I paid $1.78 for $28.50 worth of product, a 93.8% savings.

Tomorrow I hope to get a few things at CVS and Target, but we will see.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Something I heard today...

So, I was at a playgroup that they hold at the library today and a mother wanted help because she was trying the Ferber method with her 13 month old. She had tried it for 2 days and it was breaking her heart. She was following the chart and everything. I told her (and the "leader" of the group agreed) how I had slept with my two kids. My son (who will be 4 years old) moved to his own bed around 1 and he sleeps fine. I told her that they will find a sleep method that will work for them, that maybe this isn't the one. Two other moms then said that she should stick with it because they used the method with their kids when they were 4 months old because the would wake up when they laid them down in their cribs (one mom also closes and gates her sons door, but that is another discussion). I guess this mother and son have been traveling for the past month to take care of sick family members and have been sleeping together (I don't know if that is bedsharing or co-sleeping). The leader said that this may not be the time to try this. 
What do you guys think? I know there are many of you who don't like CIO (like me), but do you think there is a certain age where it does work and an age where it is just too stressful?  How did you decide what worked best for you?  Did any of you try CIO and then decide it didn't work, or has it worked for you?

Aldis 07/21

So, I was trying to get all creative and get all three shots of my purchase to come up side by side, but it didn't work.  I ended up getting 36 items for $38 at Aldis.  I ended up with 5 lbs of strawberries (3 of which are already cut up and frozen for smoothies).  They were also doing a BOGO on nectarines and peaches.  I ended up splurging for dinner this weekend.  I bought some ground beef for my husband so I could make him hamburgers for that nights dinner and to freeze.  He also really wanted some Swiss cheese, so I appeased him ;-)  Otherwise, I think that I did really well considering that Aldi's doesn't let you use coupons!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shopping Trips, Week of 07/17

This week I went ahead and did a few small trips to the stores.  There was nothing that I found I absolutely had to stock up on, so I am mainly pantry and freezer cooking this week.  Now, I don't know if you guys want me to list the coupons used or not.  I am not going to this time, but let me know if you do want them listed.

Krogers,  07/17
 I am not as impressed with this shopping trip.  I ended up with $47.17 worth of product and paid $25.03, a 47% savings.  I was proud of myself for sticking to only items on sale and with coupons.  Unfortunately, it was a spur of the moment trip and we were all hot and tired by this point.  Hopefully I will do better next time.

CVS, 07/18
The CVS I visited didn't have everything I wanted. so the trip was kind of a bust.  I got $11.34 worth of product for $3.02, a 73.4% savings.  I have finally used up all my formula coupons, which is good because Wildman will soon be too old to attend the group I donate the formula to.

Target, 07/19
Again, since so many deals that I see posted are regional, I didn't get all the deals I had hoped for.  Plus, I don't have a SuperTarget that I shop at, just a regular old Target.  Today we got $58.94 worth of product for $26.54, a 51.7% savings.  I do wish I had used some of my Recyclebank points to get some better Kashi coupons, then I could have used a coupon on the free product, but overall, pretty happy.  Again, I stuck with only items I had coupons for and most of the items were on sale.

Papa Murphy's, 07/19
This is more as bragging for Sweet Pea and Wildman.  We had 3 coupons for free mini pizzas at Papa Murphy's.  One was from Wildman's Parent Educator for doing so well with reading.  The other two were from the summer reading program the library held this summer.  Both kiddos have finished all 6 levels of reading.  Sweet Pea listened to over 60 books since June 1 and Wildman listened to over 120 books since June 1.  Those numbers don't account for books that had to be re-read.  I am so lucky to have kiddos that love books.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Babies Have Blissful Booties, Do Yours? My Blissful Booty Review

Right to Left:  Large Cloth Diaper w/ booster pad in Buttercream, 4 wipes, Just Peachy Wipe Water Concentrate, Wipe Water Bottle, Wild Berry Lip Balm, Medium Cloth Diaper w/ booster pad in Celery

So, I recently had the honor to try out some of the products Blissful Booty has to offer in order to review them. I had previously purchased a Blissful Booty Cloth diaper from them for SweetPea after reading a review on Instinctual Mamas. The diaper I had gotten at the time was their Ultra Cloth Diaper in celery with pink snaps since, I must admit, I prefer snaps to hook and loop. For the review, I was sent an original Medium cloth diaper in celery for SweetPea, an original Large cloth diaper in buttercream for Wildman to try at night, 4 cloth wipes, the Wipe Water Concentrate Just Peachy scent and bottle, and Wild Berry lip balm.

These are photos of my diaper I purchased without any booster pads. As you can see, the fit is very trim.


Sweet Pea's Diaper

Side view of the medium diaper with two boosters.  Still very trim.
As mentioned above, I had purchased one of the Blissful Booty AIO Ultra diapers a few months ago.  I have loved that diaper, but never tried using it overnight.  I didn't get the booster pads with it and Sweet Pea and I already had a diaper routine that worked, so why mess with it.  The usual nighttime diaper consists of one of the inserts my grandmother has made wrapped in a prefold and covered with a cover.  I haven't had any leaks with this set up and she wears it all night.  I decided, for this review, that I should step out of my comfort zone.  I took the Blissful Booty Cloth Diaper and put two of the boosters in, then put it on her for the night.  Since Sweet Pea sleeps with me, I kept checking her throughout the night for any leaks (because we all know how much fun it is to wake up in a wet bed ;-).  I was super happy to wake up to a dry bed in the morning!  The other great thing is that Sweet Peas' skin wasn't as damp as it can sometimes be from our prefold method.  The Blissful Booty diaper and boosters did a great job of wicking the wetness away!  I think I have definitely found another go to method for my daytime and nighttime diapering needs!
Rear view of the Blissful Booty diaper with two boosters.

Wildman's Diaper

Front and side view with no booster pads.
Wildman has been fully daytime potty trained for almost 2 years now, he just uses diapers at night.  Up until March of this year, I had been using the disposable pull-ups.  I then decided to see if I could find a cloth trainer that he could use at night.  The Blissful Booty Cloth Diaper is the first "diaper" I have used on him.  Everything prior has been cloth trainers.  We had some issues to start with.  I don't know if I didn't prep the diaper correctly or what, but we had some leaks the first few nights we used this diaper.  After three different occasions of leaking, we finally had a few nights where he stayed dry.  We began to have a few leaks again, but this was more attributed to the need for more padding.  The boosters that the diapers come with are pretty small, especially for the larger diapers.  I wrote Cathy to find out if she made bigger boosters.  She stated that she had placed an order for larger and thicker boosters.  She had said that she had never needed those for her kids, but is seeing that there is a need.  At the time she had said it would be a few months for those to become available.  What I ended up doing is using one of the inserts that my grandmother has made and a bumGenius insert.  Those, along with the lining in the diaper have helped curb the leak issues we have had.  I do look forward to getting some of the thicker and bigger boosters so Wildman can have the same soft material on his little bum that Sweet Pea gets to enjoy ;-)

Side and front view with homemade and bumGenius inserts.

I have actually never used purchased cloth wipes.  My mom had made a bunch of wipes for me when I was pregnant and had decided to use cloth wipes and diapers.  It was definitely interesting trying something different.  The Blissful Booty Cloth Wipes are great and are a perfect size (so no fingers hanging over and getting dirty!).  They are 100% cotton and dual sided.  One side is super soft and perfect for wet diapers.  The other side has more texture and is great for the dirtier diapers.  Sweet Pea definitely loved them and, during a time when we had to use some diaper cream, I even used one as a liner in her diaper so she could still have something soft on her booty.

Wipe Water Concentrate

This is another product that I have actually never purchased, I have always just made my own wipe water.  The first thing I loved about this product was the smell.  The Blissful Booty WipeJust Peachy scent just puts you in a better mood and you don't mind that you are changing a diaper.  I also loved the squirt bottle.  For my own solution I have been using the peri bottle from the hospital, but it is not the best thing to travel with since it doesn't seal very tightly.  The spray bottle is wonderful.  I have to steal it back from Sweet Pea (she thinks it is her own personal chew toy).  It does feel like you are spraying a lot on a wipe, but this is because I have been use to just squirting it out.  It obviously isn't a lot because it takes 2+ weeks for me to go through one 4 oz bottle. 

The directions on the bottle state to add 1 tsp of concentrate per 12 oz bottle, then fill with water.  Now, this is where I have a slight complaint.  I was super excited to try this product, so I followed the directions on the bottle.  It wasn't until after I had made the solution that I looked at the size of the bottle that I was sent and realized that it was only 4 oz.  On-line the breakdown for the amount of concentrate for different size bottles is given.  I think that, especially for sleep deprived mommies (and daddies), it would be great if the directions on the bottle for mixing the concentrate were for that size bottle.  Again, it isn't a hard conversion for the amount for different bottles, I am just thinking that it would definitely make it easier knowing that the directions for the bottle you are using are the ones on the label.  Otherwise, this is a wonderful product.  It is definitely something that I may have to splurge on.  I can also say that I have had the concentrate for a little over 2 months now and have barely made a dent in the bottle, so it lasts A LONG TIME!  I have also heard of other mommies using it as a body spray and room freshener.  Just some ideas for you.

Lip Balm

I was really excited to have received a sample of the Wild Berry Lip Balm with the diapers.  The lip balm smells fantastic and it made my lips feel wonderful.  I use lip balm every night and I normally apply some type of lip product during the day.  I found that I preferred the Blissful Booty lip balm to any of my other lip products, including lipstick.  It just made me feel better.

Now, all of the previous products in this review have been reviewed before and have a description on the Blissful Booty webpage, so I haven't gone into great detail about the product, just about how it worked.  The lip balm, on the other hand, is not on the website, so I feel the need to give you some more info about it.  Cathy has stated that she will put up a listing soon and that it should retail for $3.  She also hinted that there will be another "flavor" available soon.  The lip balm has an SPF 15 and can be used on anyone 6 months and older.  The active ingredients (sunscreen) are Octinoxate (7.5% and Oxybenzone (3%).  The inactive ingredients, which make this a very natural product, are organic palm oil, beeswax, organic virgin olive oil, flavor, organic hemp seed oil, vitamin E, and rosemary extract.  I don't know what the price is for the lip balm, but I do know that Blissful Booty just rolled out a wonderful selection of new Blissful Booty Body Products and to read a great review on the products, just head over to Adventures in Mommyhood:  Mommy Outnumbered.

I feel very lucky that I got to try all of these wonderful Blissful Booty products.  The company is Mommy owned and family operated and is doing a wonderful job.  They have helped out many different moms in need through some of the various donation groups that are available.  They are also quick to respond to any questions you have about their products.  I definitely think that you will all love any Blissful Booty product that you would choose.  Everyone should have a Blissful Booty diaper in their cloth diaper arsenal.  Now I just need to wait until I can splurge on some of the body products!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Facts of Life

It is sometimes amazing to me how difficult it can be to explain things to children. It doesn't even have to be a difficult topic. Many times, it is just defining something that we just know. Sweetpea and Wildman have had more than their fair share of facing the facts of life this past month. Particularly, dealing with death.

During the past month we have been to two funerals for family members. Sweetpea is too young, of course, to really understand what is going on. She has been a real trooper with the long drives and flights that we have taken. Wildman, on the other hand, is at the age of questions. Prior to this month, Wildman had been to a military memorial service at 2 months of age and then a funeral for a different grandmother at 2 years of age. At the funeral, there was an open casket and we made sure not to use the words "sleeping" or she got "sick" so that he wouldn't get confused. The difficulty with the most recent funeral experiences was the differences between the services.

The first service we went to at the beginning of June was for my Great-Grandmother, so Wildman and Sweetpeas' Great-Great-Grandmother. She was 4 months shy of her 100th birthday. Her visitation and funeral involved an open casket. We had also visited her a month beforehand, so it was easier for Wildman to relate the person he had visited with the person in the casket. He was able to see her and see that she was not moving.

The difficulty was with the second service. Exactly a month after my Great-Grandmother died, my paternal Grandfather died. He had been ready to go. He wanted to be with my Grandmother, who had died 3 years ago. My grandparents had decided they would be cremated so they could be buried together at the veteran's cemetery. This is where the explanation gets difficult. At the end of the service, everyone had their chance to go up to the front and say their goodbyes to both Grandparents. Wildman was confused about the "box" being so small. At that moment, I told him that both Great Grandparents were in there and we were saying goodbye. I said I would explain when we got to the car.

As we were heading to the car, I was trying to decide how to explain cremation to a 3 year old. I explained that, when a person's body stops working and they die, some people choose to have their body buried, while others choose to have their body turned into ashes. I reminded him that your brain and body no longer works. I explained that Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma wanted to be together and decided to have their bodies turned into ash to be buried. I left it at that and he seemed content with that answer. He didn't ask about how bodies are turned into ash, so I didn't feel the need to mention fire. We are also not really religious, so there was no need to mention afterlife or anything along those lines. I feel good about my response. It seemed to help Wildman and he seemed content with the answer.

Have you had to explain death to your kids? If so, how did you explain it? If not, are you waiting for them to ask you or do you have an age that you plan on discussing it with them?

On a lighter note, but still dealing with the facts of life. Wildman was in the tub the other night and he was discussing how, when he has a baby, he will feed it with his boobs ;-) I then had to explain to him how boys can't have babies. He wanted to know why. Now, he does know about the differences between boys and girls, so I just had to expand on our previous discussions. Needless to say, he didn't seem to think it was fair that he wouldn't be feeding any future babies!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Target, 7/5/11 and CVS 7/4/11

CVS was an OK trip. Total product worth was$18.47 and I paid $5.18 for the first transaction and $0.54 for the second transaction, a 69% savings. The first transaction was the Oral-B Pulsar and the 2 Oral-B Crossaction toothbrushes and the Hershey's Bar. I had a CVS coupon for a free Hersheys candy bar (it was actually for a different one, but they didn't have it so the cashier let me pick another one). I would have gotten 2 of the Pulsar toothbrushes, but they only had one left.

Transaction #1
Oral-b Pulsar $5.99 - $3/1 = $2.99 + $3 in Extra Bucks
Oral-b Crossaction (2) $3.00 - $2/1 - $3/1 = $1.00 + $2 in Extra Bucks
Hershey's Bar $1.19 - $1.19 cpn = Free
Total: $5.18 and $5 in Extra Bucks

Transaction #2
Dean's milk $2.79
Starburst $2.50 - $2/1 (CVS cpn from the machine) = $0.50
Total: $0.54 and $2.00 in Extra Bucks

I then used the $3 in Extra Bucks from the first transaction. Now, if you wanted to, you could have done three transactions. The Crossaction toothbrushes could have been first, then the second could have been the Pulsar and you could have used the $2 Extra Bucks towards that. Just an idea for someone else.

I am really proud of todays Target trip. The only downside was I wasn't aware of an item my step-daughter needed until we were already in the store and the coupon was outside. Oh well. Overall, I think we did pretty well. We got $33.25 worth of product for $8.58, a 75% savings.

KC Masterpiece $0.99 - $1/1 mfr cpn = FREE
Oretega taco seasoning (6) $0.59 - (3) $1/2 mfr cpn = $0.54 or $0.09 ea
Uncle Bens rice (2) $1.29 - (2) $0.75/1 = $0.54 ea
Honey Nut Cheerios (2) $2.50 - (2) $0.50 = $2 ea
Vitamin Water (3) $1 - B2G1 = $2 or $0.67 ea
PaperMate Ballpoint pens 10 pk (2) $1.02 - (2) $1/1 = $0.02 ea
Bic Easy Glide Ballpoint pens 9 pk (4) $0.99 - (2) $1/2 = $1.96 or $0.49 ea
Scotch Magic tape (4) $1 - (2) $1/1 - (2) $0.50/1 = $1 or $0.25 ea

I also needed 2 shower curtains ($2.34 ea) and a soap dish for the new ducky creamsicle scented soap I got from Good Bath Company ($0.99).

Not pictured
Notebook $0.50
Skintimate shave gel $1.97 (I had a coupon in the car for $0.55 off)
Ponds make-up remover $4.39 - $1.50 cpn = $2.89

I then had a $5 Gift Card from the last trip, along with 2 $3 coupons from customer service.

Proof for any doubters ;-) This is just Targets receipt. I think the CVS one may be in my wallet, which is somewhere!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Staples and Target, 6/30/11

I went ahead and took advantage of the Staples toilet paper deal. The shelf said the price was $7.99, but it rang up $4.99. Plus I had the 15% coupon so it was only $4.56 for 16 rolls.

I then headed to Target. We don't have a Super Target, but they do have a decent amount of food items. I got 5 Edy's ice creams ($2.99 ea - $1 cpn), 3 bags of frozen chicken breasts ($5.99 ea - $2.50 cpns), 2 bags Starburst ($2.50 ea - $2 cpns), 3 Ritz Crackerfuls ($2.40 ea - $3 cpns), a free box of Fig Newton thin cookies ($3 - $1 cpn - free for buying 3 Ritz Crackers), nail polish ($2.49 - $2 cpns), and Hefty one-zip bags ($2.04 - $1.15 cpns). I got $67.20 worth of product for $38.95, plus a $5 Gift Card, plus $6 in "Our apologies" gift cards.

I should explain the "Our apologies" gift cards. I had an issue a few weeks ago with a cashier who chose not to scan all my coupons but still deposited them all. She made this big fuss about having to deal with coupons. Now, I didn't realize not all of the coupons had made it on until I was looking over my receipt. By that time, I had two cranky kids and was done for the day. I called back, once I got home and everyone settled, and I spoke with a manager regarding my concerns. Well, I unfortunately got the same girl again. There were only two lanes open and they didn't open anymore until I had everything out of the cart. Same issue again. Plus, she wouldn't give me the discount for bringing my own bags because she said they weren't allowed to unless they were Target bags. Well, this time the kiddos were doing really well, so we headed over to Customer Service to speak with a manager. He was so apologetic, especially about the fact that I felt I needed to avoid a cashier. He gave me the $6 gift cards and would have taken the bag discount off, but it wasn't worth trying to get $0.15 added back to my card. Long story short, don't let a store employee guilt you when you are in the right. Like I told the manager, they don't loose money with coupons, they actually make money. He actually agreed and he felt the coupon programs were some of the best things they had.