Monday, June 30, 2008

Consignment Sale

Just typing the words seems crazy to me. Yes, the fall consignment sale is right around the corner. I will be spending this week getting fliers ready, website updated, fliers printed, worker schedule posted, etc.

This is the time where I always feel stressed and yet, creative ideas usually start flowing. I had this idea this morning and wanted to see what you think.

Word of mouth is ABSOLUTELY the best form of advertisement and I want to reward that, but I am constantly running out of creative ways to do so. I thought about this: the person that refers the most people to consign for this Fall 2008 sale will be able to shop first and have a 5 minute head start? It will be easy to monitor as we ask for who referred you when you get a consignor number.

I'm also looking for other creative ideas so feel free to post your thoughts on the above idea and share a few of your own!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some ?'s & Thoughts on CVS and coupons

As I am still walking on cloud 9 after my CVS deals today, I had a few thoughts and questions for all the fellow CVS'ers out there. Would LOVE feedback.

Does CVS take other stores coupons? For instance, I have a coupon that printed from Kroger that would be great on some paper towels that CVS has this week. Will they take it?

I saw on another blog that you can use the $5 off a $25 purchase and then turn around and use the $4 off a $20 purchase in the same transaction. Is that true?

If you get to the end of a transaction and let's say your total is $3.50 and you only have a $5 ECB left, will they let you go back and add something else to your transaction? I had this happen today and the WONDERFUL sales clerk let me, but I wondered if this was normal?

CVS Trip : $200.90 for $22.70 OOP


Yes, I am officially addicted.

I've been a few times since I did my first post on CVS and although I got some great deals, I always came home realizing I could have saved even more or I should have planned my shopping better.

Today, I am proud of being cheap. Yes, I got $200.90 worth of stuff for $22.70 out of pocket and I even came home with $18.98 in extra care bucks. The best part? I figured it out on my own.

The last few weeks I have been reading awesome sites like money saving mom, Ashley Smith's, etc. and although they are SUPER helpful, it seems like every time I go to CVS with a game plan, they are always out of something I need to make all my coupons work and I end up messing up. So today I went with no plan and just decided to see what happened.

I am going to make this post super detailed for those of you, like me, that are just starting out doing the whole "CVS THANG."

Here's what I took to CVS (which, by the way, I went to Rivergate, as the last few times I have been to the one in H'ville, they have been wiped out):

*all my coupons
*my June extra care booklet
*my June 29th flier that came in today's paper
*I had a gift card from having a prescription filled that had $8.64 left on it (when you get you an extra care card, you will get a coupon that tells you if you transfer a new prescription there you will get a $25 coupon. FREE MONEY!)
*I had a $5 off a $25 purchase which had printed off at the register the last time I had shopped
*I had a $5 off a $30 purchase which they sent to me via email
*I had $5 in extra care bucks
*I also had my husband and all my kids so I immediately felt like I was totally going to mess up b/c of being rushed, ready to kill the kids, etc. but it really wasn't bad

I started off walking through the store looking for anything that ended up being free once you got the extra care bucks back. I then went for anything that ended up being dirt cheap once I got extra care bucks back and used coupons. Here's what my first two transactions looked like there:

1 Accu-Check Compact Plus Diabetes Monitoring Kit $9.99 earned $9.99 ECB back
1 Listerine Smart Rinse $3.49 earned $3.49 ECB back
1 CVS plastic band aid $1.99 earned $1.99 ECB back
1 CVS plastic band aid $1.99 earned $1.99 ECB back
1 Physicians Formula mascara $7.99 earned $7.99 ECB back
SUBTOTAL $25.45
USED $5 off $25 coupon
USED $5 Extra Care Bucks I already had from previous purchase
USED $8.64 gift card I already had from previous purchase
PAID $8.22 OUT OF POCKET
RECEIVED $25.45 in Extra Care Bucks Back AND a $5 off a $25 purchase
Receipt said I saved $78.10 - diabetes kit retails for $74.95!!!

1 Crest Tarter Control Toothpaste $1.99 earned $1.00 ECB back
1 ORAL B double toothbrush pack $6.99 earned $6.99 ECB back
1 ORAL B double toothbrush pack $6.99 earned $6.99 ECB back
1 ORAL B double toothbrush pack $6.99 earned $6.99 ECB back
1 Gummy Savers candy $2.19 (these were buy 1, get 1 free)
1 Gummy Savers candy FREE
1 Gummy Savers candy $2.19 (")
1 Gummy Savers candy FREE
1 Brut deoderant $3.39 earned $3 ECB back
1 Brut deoderant $3.39 earned $3 ECB back
Subtotal: I think it was $42ish
USED $5 off $30 purchase coupon from email
USED $.55 off Brut coupon from an old Sunday paper
USED $.55 off Brut coupon from an old Sunday paper
USED $.75 Crest toothpast coupon from old Sunday paper
USED $6.99 (BUY 2 GET 1 FREE)coupon on Oral B toothbrushes from old Sunday paper
USED $2.19 (BUY 1 GET 1 FREE)coupon on Gummy Savers from old Sunday paper-this made both packs FREE!
USED $2.19 (BUY 1 GET 1 FREE)coupon on Gummy Savers from old Sunday paper-this made both packs FREE!
USED $9.99 ECB from last transaction
USED $3.49 ECB from last transaction
PAID $1.91 OUT OF POCKET and received $27.97 in EXTRA CARE BUCKS!
Receipt says I saved $41.37!!!

*PLEASE NOTE: It was later that I realized that chick-e-poo took all my extra care bucks but didn't use all of them, so I am going to have to call them to get my $7.99 ECB back :( I don't know if I would have even realized this even without the kids and I feel kind of silly going back, but that is $8 worth of free stuff I will get with that coupon so I am definitely going to try. I will call first before I spend the money on the gas. I also noticed on this receipt that one of the Gummy Savers didn't ring up right so really my transaction should have been free but I'm not complaining about $1.91 worth of stuff.
**EDITED TO ADD: I DID GET MY $7.99 ECB BACK. I CALLED AND THEY REMEMBERED ME AND I WENT BY AND GOT IT!**

We were going junking for the day, so we headed into Madison and what do you know...another CVS! We went in and decided this time, we weren't worried about ECB's and free stuff, we were blowing the $27.97 on stuff that was on our grocery list. The first thing I noticed upon entering the store is that they have a SCANNER there...WOO HOO! I was so excited. You take your extra care card and scan it and it checks for coupons. It told me there were no available coupons for me today but to check back tomorrow. I have seen online where people are getting $3 off $15 purchases, $4 off $20 purchases, etc. on these little scanners so I was happy to see this little guy.

Here's transactions 3 and 4:

Dr. Pepper 12 pack $3.00
Dr. Pepper 12 pack $3.00
Dr. Pepper 12 pack $3.00
Mountain Dew 12 pack $3.00 earned $3.00 ECB back when you bought 4 packs
1 Bic razor set $13.98 earned $5.00 ECB back when you bought the set
SUBTOTAL: $25.98
USED $5 off $25 purchase coupon from transaction 1
USED $4.00 off Bic razor coupon from old Sunday paper
USED $1.00 ECB from transaction 2
USED $6.00 ECB from transaction 2
It's at this point that I realize that I am missing my $7.99 ECB. I am flustered and M.E. starts screaming. Jonathan sees THE look on my face and takes all the kids outside except for Anna who stays behind to help. I decide to just figure it out later so I just pay for this one of pocket.
PAID $11.09 OUT OF POCKET and get $8 in ECB
receipt says I saved $22.36

Then cashier realizes that my $5 ECB from the razor didn't print. She calls a manager. Yes, there is now a line and I want to die. They question me as to if I have already bought one. No. They decide to just go ahead and give me some kind of $5 coupon since it didn't print. They also decide to open another register when they see the amount of crap left in my buggy and my coupon holder bulging at the seams.

As I am typing this, I now realize I have somehow lost my receipt for transaction #4, but let's just say that I got a bunch more for next to nothing. This is where I got the 4 boxes of pop-tarts, reese's snacks, band-aids, brut deoderant, 2 24 packs of water, etc. for I think about a dollar.

It was an AWESOME DAY and I can't wait for the new July deals!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Shack Attack

Now that life is somewhat back to normal (is there ever really a NORMAL around here?), I wanted to let you in on a little something I am doing right now. Laura, my lifelong friend, called/emailed to let me know that she was putting together a little summer reading group. The first book? The Shack.

When she first told me about this, I was in the midst of THE migraine. I immediately began looking for this book, but I also immediately began having trouble finding it. It seems that Lifeway had pulled it from it's shelves. My first stop was Target. Now, I will admit I had some other things to pick up there, but I was hoping that I would be able to find it there. Nope.

Next stop, Walmart. This time I went there for two purposes. To see if they had any Wii Fits in stock and to purchase The Shack. Strike two. Anyone that knows me realizes that I am cheap...super cheap. So I was not about to pay full retail for a book that I was certain I could find on sale. As I drove away from Walmart empty handed, my cheapness was stamped out by common sense. Was I going to continue to spend $4 a gallon driving around trying to save $4 on a book. I finally just went to the new Barnes and Noble at the Streets of Indian Lake and bought the book. Of course, I still had the raging migraine so it sat on the counter for several days before I even picked it up. Honestly, I was starting to wonder if God didn't want me to read the silly book.

I am about half way through and I am still forming my opinion. Jonathan actually picked it up and has already finished it. I'll let you know our thoughts on the book after I have finished it (hopefully this weekend). If you want to read it, we've got it. It has a $1 per day rental fee (totally kidding although I am that cheap to think of that).

So has anyone else read it? What are your thoughts?

I am anxious to get together with Laura and the rest of the group and discuss!

Mary Elizabeth Update

We woke up this morning at 6am and immediately went to check on M.E.'s leg. Although the spot isn't gone, it has gone done quite a bit...an answered prayer!

Jonathan gave her a warm bath and drained the area again (trust me, this is not fun for M.E. or the person doing it) and she has been in a MUCH better mood today. You can just tell she feels better. We will continue the Bactrim 2 times a day and check in with the doctor if anything changes.

THANK YOU for your prayers. They work. They really do. I immediately thanked God for his protection and healing for Mary Elizabeth as soon as I saw her leg this morning and I continue to send up prayers of thanks and gladness. What a mighty God we serve!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Diaper Deal



If you are a Pampers fan, I have a found a great deal I wanted to share with you real quick. My sister, Ali, and I are always trying to find great deals on diapers and this one is the best I have seen in a while.

Right now, Target has their size 3 80 count Pampers Cruisers at $19.99. There is an online coupon (just google it) for $5 off a box of diapers and a pack of wipes. Target is also giving you a $5 gift card if you purchase two boxes of the diapers. I then had a $2 off one pack of diapers and a $1.50 one pack of diapers coupon. The 388 count of wipes was on sale for $7.99 making this the best deal on wipes. So, for EVERYTHING, I spent $34.50 which is cheaper than the same size box of just diapers at Sam's Club.

So, if you need diapers, this is the best deal I can find on Pampers!

Urgent Prayer Request

Sorry if I haven't called some of you reading this, but this all came about pretty quickly and to be honest, I am just sitting here holding my girl.

While changing Mary Elizabeth on Wednesday morning, I noticed what I thought was a heat rash and put normal diaper rash meds on it. While doing this, I *thought* I felt something under her skin, but when I began really feeling around, I couldn't feel what I *thought* I had felt.

Fast forward to today, M.E. was at Grandmother's house and she seemed to be fussy and have a low grade temp. When I called to tell her what time I would be picking her up, Grandmother discovered a "boil" on her upper leg in the same area where I thought I had felt something on Wednesday. I immediately called the doctor and got her in today at 2:30pm.

Dr. Eidson was able to drain the abcess and thinks it is probably the result of a spider, etc. bite that has gotten infected. He sent some of the yuck that was drained out to the lab to determine exactly what we are dealing with. He felt confident that what I thought was heat rash was actually staph infection, and that staph was actually set in at the site of the bite.

We have started Bactrim to hopefully nip this infection in the bud, but please PRAY for healing for our little girl. Because M.E. has a shunt, there is a risk that the infection can travel to this so we have to watch for any change in behavior and if the site has gotten bigger in the morning, we will be back at the office. On top of all this, this is the one month we don't have health insurance. With Jonathan's new job, his insurance doesn't kick in until July 1 and his old insurance stopped May 31. They gave us a wonderful cash discount today, but if things aren't better in the morning, we are probably headed to Vanderbilt. We can always go back and get Cobra but we were really hoping to self insure this month and so far we haven't had issues.

I wanted to get real with you...well, you have me. I am scared.

I trust in God and I know that His WILL is perfect and I also believe in the POWER OF PRAYER. Please pray for Mary Elizabeth. Pray that we wake up tomorrow and this hard, red spot on her skin is gone. Pray that a ring of protection is formed around her and that Satan will stay away from her body. Pray that the staph doesn't spread and that the medicine that they put her on today is effective on this infection.

I will update as I know more. Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Birthday Present

I got some wonderful gifts for my birthday yesterday, but this was by far my favorite.

On Saturday night, we went to dinner and a movie and Aunt Ali, Uncle Josh and Maggie kept all the kids. Little did I know, they were also taking pics to surprise me with.

I got this in a beautiful frame last night at my birthday dinner. Josh, your talent never ceases to amaze me!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

This is Jonathan (Brea's husband) and I decided to hack into my wife's blog! Today is Brea's birthday and I knew she would not post anything about it so I hacked in to wish her a happy birthday. I won't tell you her age but I will tell you she is just like a fine wine. She gets better with age. I've had the privilege to be a part of 11 birthdays and I am thankful for that. Brea is a wonderful wife, incredible mother and the most honest and sincere person I know. Today I thank God for my wife and all the wonderful times we have spent together. Please take a moment to wish her a happy birthday and if you have the time, let her know how much she means to you. I am guilty of not always telling her how much I love her and how much better my life is for having her in it. So let's show Breagirl how much she is loved today. Happy Birthday!!

P.S. - Brea has been fighting a migraine for about a week now so please lift her up in your prayers today.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Holiday World Trip : The Big Day

After returning from yard sales, we headed to Denny's for breakfast. I had never ate at a Denny's and it was pretty darn good. Two important things about breakfast:

1. There was a transracial family next to us at breakfast. I thought it was cool. There little girl was about 2 and her name was Fran. She was adorable. They, too, had a plethra of kids.

2. Every family that was heading to Holiday World was also eating at Denny's. That's because the only restaurant in Dale, IN is Denny's.

When we arrived at the park, there were several things to make those of you reading this that have never been and might be planning to go aware of:

1. Holiday World is in the middle of nowhere. Seriously. Like, you are driving through corn fields and bam, there's Holiday World. While driving there, especially if you driving straight up the morning of, if you need to pee, you might want to stop in Owensboro. Otherwise, there is a bush on the side of the road in your future.

2. Although this park is wonderful, clean, fun, etc., etc., etc. the people that visit are not necessarily of the same descriptive adjectives I just used. You know that song, "Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world..." Well, whoever wrote that was thinking of Holiday World. As we pulled into the gravel/paved parking area, I immediately realized that I was going to have the best day of people watching in MY LIFE!

3. Everything at Holiday World is priced cheap. Parking: free. Food: cheap. Drinks: free. Life jackets to use while in the water park: free. Lunch for the five of us: under $20. So, yes, you can do this little mini-vaca on a small budget.

Ok, so back to the day of fun. We had decided before heading up that we were going to spend the majority of our day at Splashin' Safari, the water park portion of Holiday World. Our kids have never been to a REAL water park. Killer pool at Beach Club Resort at Disney? Yep. Water Park? Nope.

We went through the entrance gates, rented a wagon to carry beach towels, etc. and rented a locker to store valuables. Then we walked to Splashin' Safari, which is kind of at the back of the theme park. Now, for those of you that are reading this and have never heard of Holiday World, I should explain that it is in Santa Claus, IN. I'm not kidding. Hence, the name. AND, yes, when you walk in the gates, they ARE playing Christmas music. We're talking Silent Night and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. Did I mention that I had a migraine during this little adventure?

Anyhoo, we got to the water park, changed into our swimsuits, locked up the goodies, and headed to Kima Bay, the newest part of Splashin' Safari. Let me also take a minute to tell you that this water park is ginormous, as in HUGE. Now, I have never been to Nashville Shores, but this sucker is AT LEAST 6-7 times the size of Wave Country near Opryland. It has two wave pools which our kids loved, multiple water slides, a small water area for babies and toddlers, two larger areas for kids (including Kima Bay), two lazy rivers (my personal favorite), tons of food and (did I mention) some of the best people watching I have EVER seen.

Seriously, and I say this with all due respect, as I have a tattoo and I don't have a problem with any person that has a tattoo....but if you didn't have at least 10 tattoos at HW, you stood out. If your bathing suit wasn't at least 3 sizes too small, you looked abnormal. If you weren't pasty white turned hot pink by the end of the day (like ME!), then something was just plain wrong. If you are reading this and weigh 900 lbs and haven't left your home in a year, trust me, you will feel loved at Holiday World. No one cares. I LOVED IT! I walked around with my thunder thighs all day and I actually felt good about myself. Diet? Who needs to diet? Go to Holiday World and have a BIG OLD ICE CREAM. Life is good at Holiday World.

We rode tons of water rides, even the scary ones. Our kiddos LOVED the wave pool. The great thing about their wave pool is that it stays pretty shallow most of the way out and their waves ARE HUGE! Our kids could stand about half way out and felt comfortable jumping waves because they could touch the bottom which was nice.

After a fun filled day, we decided we wanted to do one non-water ride, so we rode the biggest wooden roller coaster at Holiday World, The Voyage. Well, Isaac and I rode it and Jonathan and Luke rode it. Anna was hysterical and decided against it. It was really good and I was sore for a few days and it especially didn't help the migraine. But it was great.

We finally remembered to take pics as we were leaving. Here's my crew:


Here's Robert, Angie V. and Alexandra. Can you tell Alexandra was ready to go home?


So, all this to say, it was a WONDERFUL trip. We will be back and next time, we will probably spend two days at the park. One day back at the water park, one day at the regular park riding rides. Definitely worth the money AND the scenery! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Our Holiday World Trip : Mary Elizabeth's New Trick

I forgot to mention in the last post that we didn't take M.E. with us to Holiday World. We were going to the water park and we knew she would be miserable. Grandmother and Papa Sam graciously offered to watch her for us and when we picked her up today at lunch, we noticed she had a new "trick" to share with us. Any tips on how to break this "trick" would be greatly appreciated.

video

Our Holiday World Trip : First Stop? Yard Sale

After planning the last few weeks, Jonathan and I finally got to take the kids to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana on Saturday. Angie V. had won the opportunity to purchase the tickets dirt cheap from a local radio station and asked us if we wanted to go. Of course we said yes.

So, Friday night we headed to Dale, IN. Our hotel was there and we planned to get up first thing Saturday morning and be at Holiday World when they opened.

If you have never been to Holiday World, let me just go ahead and tell you that it is not in a big city. It makes places like Millersville, TN look big. Nice? Yes. Big? No. As we headed into Dale (about 10 minutes from the theme park), it was also on the tiny side. They did have one traffic light and a Subway. Our hotel plus a Motel 6 and a Denny's pretty much rounded out the city. While driving through the "city" of Dale at 10pm at night, Angie and I spotted a yard sale sign and giggled about how we should get up and go to the one yard sale in Dale on Saturday morning. The guys weren't giggling.

As we checked in, we asked the front desk ladies about the fastest way to get to the park. One of them replied, "well, now, normally you would just go through Dale, but since tomorrow's the once a year city wide yard sale you might want to go interstate." Angie and I just about died. Matter of fact, we leaned back and gave each other high fives. As we got back in her Suburban, it was obvious the boys had seen our hand smacking inside and they immediately wanted to know "what?" in a groaning voice.

We were so excited and made plans to meet at 6am in the lobby. The park didn't open until 9:30am and we would have PLENTY of time to hit some sales while our hubbies and kiddos slept. Jonathan called and asked for a wake up call for me at 5:30am and we headed to bed.

At 4:50am when I got my wake up call, I wanted to kill someone, but of course I was up so I showered, shaved, and headed to the lobby to drink two cups of coffee and read the paper. Angie arrived at 6am and our adventure in Dale began.

We hit about 30 yard sales and did really good. We definitely could have bought more but considering that we had 8 people in one Suburban plus luggage, there wasn't a ton of room. I bought some books for the kids, a Medela Pump In Style breastpump (for ebay), a Vera Bradley purse, some baby stuff for M.E., and other various items for $18 total. Not bad especially when you consider the great people watching and the fun comments we got. We loved it when people said to us, "if you know of anybody that collects Avon bottles, send 'em my way." Yep, I'll get right on that since we are from Nashville. Matter of fact, we told one family we were from Nashville and they said, "Nashville, Indiana?" I didn't even know there was a Nashville, IN.

Anyway, we got back just as everyone was getting up and then it was off to Holiday World. As my mom said, only Brea could go on vacation and find a city wide yard sale. Yep, only me. Good times!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

September's Restaurant in Hendersonville : Part 2


As promised, I went to September's Restaurant at The Streets of Indian Lake to form my own opinion. Here's the scoop:

Who went: Me, Mary Elizabeth, Cierah, Alison, Maggie, Alison, and Norah. At the last minute, JuJu, Isaac and Luke got to join us. They were at the free movie and it got out right as we got there. Perfect timing.

When we went: Today at 11:30ish.

The details: Alison, Norah, M.E., Cierah and I arrived first. Alison had her stroller as we stopped by Gymboree before going in. When we told the hostess 4 adults and 3 high chairs, she seemed a bit confused but told us to sit for a sec and she would get it set up for us. We were seating quickly and had the whole side room to ourselves which was great because I later realized that had we been in the main part, our kids would have annoyed everyone. Plus, Alison had plenty of room to park her stroller without worrying with breaking it down or leaving it somewhere else. Our waitress, Jessica, arrived and took our drink orders while we waited. Several other women including the bartender also came over and gushed over the girls which was sweet and one lady even had crackers at the table before we could even ask. I had their yummy fruit tea, Alison had diet coke (I think). No kids' cups, but they totally didn't mind bringing us water in a cup for Norah's sippy.

My sister arrived with Maggie, JuJu, Isaac and Luke in tow. Since we weren't expecting them, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the staff acted in adding an extra table to our already long row. Jessica immediately got their drink orders while the same lady that brought the crackers told us about the kid's menu (it's not printed). They actually had a great selection of kid's food: hamburger, cheeseburger, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, chicken fingers, ham sandwich, turkey sandwich. We looked over the menus and this is what we ordered:

Brea: prime rib burger with american cheese cooked medium with grilled veggies as my side (side was included)
Cierah: kids chicken fingers with fries
JuJu: sonoma chicken sandwich with grilled veggies
Alison: sonoma chicken sandwich and fries?!?!
Norah: grilled cheese with fruit cup
Alison: prime rib burger with american cheese cooked medium well with fries
Luke: grilled cheese with fries
Isaac: grilled cheese with fries
M.E.: just kidding, wanted to see if you were paying attention

Our drinks stayed full and did I mention it was great having the side all to ourselves. I'll take a minute to tell you that the restaurant is REALLY pretty. You can tell they put a lot of thought into laying it out (except for the restrooms, they are in a WEIRD spot) and the wine collection looks impressive. I didn't see a wine menu (nor did I ask) so I can't tell you how vast it really was, but it looked beautiful.

Jessica made sure it was ok to bring the kids' food out first. The portions were really large and the kids dug right in. Our food quickly followed and everyone was impressed. Everything was cooked to perfection and tasted GREAT! Not much conversation followed as everyone was too busy eating. The burger was HUGE, so big in fact that I ended up taking half of it to Jonathan to eat for lunch (aren't I a good wife?) As we finished lunch, we were all impressed and talked about how we definitely intended to come back.

Cost: $62 plus tip. I left $12 for tip. Jessica was GREAT and deserved every penny. The kids' meals were only $4 each. Yes, $10 for a burger is a little high, but the atmosphere and the food was totally worth it. For those that have complained about the price, the menu is RIGHT AT the front door so I feel you should definitely check that out before you commit to eating there if you are worried about cost. If you don't check out the menu or the website before dining, it's your own fault for being shocked at the bill when it comes (just my opinion). I didn't feel the price was high at all for what you got.

Final impressions: GREAT! I am very impressed with this restaurant and will DEFINITELY be back. September and Kirk (the owners) had no idea I was there nor did I receive any kickbacks for giving my honest review. They may have had a few bumps in the road starting out (like any restaurant probably would), but if today was any indication of future trips we will definitely be back.

P.S. I was a hog and ate Norah's fruit cup which was DELISH...definitely try a cup of their fresh fruit! It was full of kiwi, strawberries, mango, blackberries, etc. YUM YUM!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CVS at last...

and Target too!

Ok, so many of you that read this blog are probably familiar with the craze of CVS shopping! I had seen the blogs with pictures of an array of items where the writer told of $35 purchases for $.13 and the like. I didn't believe it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is right?

Well, I can admit it...I was wrong.

So this post is going to tell you what I got/at what price/at what store. I will then walk you through what NOT TO DO and how I got some of it so cheap.



At CVS, I got:
1 box of CVS brand band aids
2 Listerine Smart Rinse for kids 8.5 fl. oz
2 Johnson's buddies easy grip sudzing bar
2 bags of Chex Mix
2 boxes of Honey Nut Scooters by Malt-o-Meal (knock off of Honey Nut Cheerios)

I paid $7.47 and saved $11.98 on my purchases. I am going to be returning the band-aids (see below) so I will actually only have spent $5.00 and I also got a $7.?? voucher off my next purchase (with no minimum purchase)

At Target, I got:
1 bag of size 3 Pampers Cruisers 35 count
1 mega bag of Huggies Natural Care wipes 232 count
and a headache (see below)

I paid $10.00 and I saved $7.00 on my purchases. I am going to be returning the huggies brand wipes and swapping them out for Pampers wipes as I really like Pampers brand better. I don't know why, I just do.

So, here's what I did. I went to this post (who is the queen of CVS shopping in my book) and printed off her list of what to buy and printed off the coupons from her links. Jonathan found the Target diaper/wipe information somewhere else I think.

I took a tired and hungry baby and two active 6 year old boys to CVS after a fun day of playing at Sarah's house (where her 4 year old told me that M.E. looks just like me-I loved it!). Jonathan met me there on his lunch break and I can promise you that had he not showed up, we would have walked right back to the car and came right back home. As we breezed through the doors of CVS, Luke and Isaac immediately became possessed monsters shouting, "I know where everything is mommy" or "I can help you find that daddy!" So much for not drawing attention to ourselves. M.E. fell asleep in the buggy that is about as big as my sink, but hey she was asleep and how big of a buggy do you REALLY need at CVS. We started on the hunt with the shopping list and coupons in hand. Here's the first thing we did wrong:

*we didn't go the minute we found her blog (evidently the stuff sells out quick)

The band-aids were gone. There was one pack (I was hoping to buy two) and sure enough when I got to the car later on, I then realized that the one pack I did get was obviously in the wrong spot; therefore, I paid too much and wasn't able to get my extracare credit for later back on them.

Second thing I did wrong:

*I sent Jonathan to find the chex mix.

He got the wrong ones even though I told him to get the $.99 version. He picked up the $1.99 version so we ended up paying $1 per bag instead of getting them free. Chex Mix was on our grocery list though so I'm not worried about that one.

Take my advice. Shop with no kids. I really did LOVE having J there, but the kids, NOT SO MUCH! As we put stuff in the buggy, they would loudly say "Who's that for mommy!" or "I want that one...I want that one...puhlease, can I have that one" I almost had to venture over to the liquor section to see how many bonus buy extracare credits I would get back on that purchase.

As we got to the counter, I saw the man eyeball me with my mountain of coupons and computer generated list and I decided to just bite the bullet. "We're doing the coupon thing," I told him. He replied, "oh goody"

Next, daddy was back to work and the now AWAKE and even more grumpy M.E. and the boys and I headed over to Target to try my coupon magic out there. The deal was buy one pack of Pampers and one pack of Pampers wipes and get $7 off. ($5 Target online coupon, $2 manufacturer coupon) By the time we get to the front, M.E. is hysterical. I'm serious. People staring. I think I am hearing Isaac and Luke whining about how hungry they are, but I can't be sure because M.E. is breaking the sound barrier. As I load my two items on the counter, I then realize I have accidentally picked up Huggies wipes. I need a paper bag and Kleenex as I am about to cry the big ugly cry. I am trying to explain to the check out girl who is staring at me that I have picked up the wrong wipes and I'll be back after I've lost my mind in aisle 13 picking out the right ones when she says, "just give me your coupons, I'll make them work." AND SHE DID.

So, what did I do with all my money I saved? Well, today, I went to McDonald's and bought the kids happy meals. They looked at me like I had horns on my head. We don't do full blown McD's very often so they were happy campers and mommy got 4 minutes of silence while they ate.

Monday, June 9, 2008

11 Years

On Saturday, June 7th, Jonathan and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. ELEVEN YEARS!

Our only plans for the day were to attend our friend Lisa H.'s 40th birthday celebration at 3pm. On Friday, my friend Katie called to ask me a medical question about her hubby Ray. Come to find out, he had to have his appendix taken out at Hendersonville hospital on Friday afternoon. While I spoke with her that morning, I remembered that his first auction for his company Priority One Real Estate was on Saturday morning so I volunteered Jonathan and I if he needed help. Needless to say, he needed help.

We were actually pretty excited as Jonathan and I used to LOVE to go to auctions pre-kids. Although we usually spent too much, it was so much fun watching to see what everything went for and seeing people go crazy for some pretty funny stuff.

We woke up at 6am, dropped of the kids and headed to Greenbrier to the auction site. We spent the day moving stuff around, holding stuff up for people to bid on, I helped out Katie a bit in the booth, it was really fun. AND hot. AND I can't wait to do it again (if I'm invited)

We got home in plenty of time to make it to Lisa H's birthday which was a blast and had a great evening spending time with old and new friends.

Happy anniversary dear...I love you more today than 11 years ago. Here's to another 60!

More on Accountability

I've had a couple of Dr. Pepper's. No, I didn't cave. I just had a few answered prayers and I thought it would be ok to drink a couple as long as I didn't forget to keep praying.

Answered Prayer #1: I think we have found a space for the Fall 2008 consignment sale. We are still working out the nitty gritty, but it looks good and hopefully I will be updating the website this week with the details.

Answered Prayer #2: One of my adoption friends from the forums that I had been praying specifically for brought home their precious new baby on Friday. They had been waiting over 2 years.

What's on my prayer list right now:

*the lady that posted a on the first accountability post that is having some marital issues.

*several other families that are at the 2+ year mark of waiting including Amy from Australia who posted a comment on here.

*my mom's best friend Patti's mom Purr. She got some bad medical results last week and I just can't imagine the stress Patti is under.

*still chipping away at getting more real.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thought for the day....

When you are about to spend 4 hours in the middle of the day sun in 90 degree heat, check your prescription bottle and make sure that the medicine you are currently taking doesn't make you more prone to sunburn.

Fridays

I love Fridays.

Not just because it is the end of the week and I have the weekend with Jonathan to look forward to.

Not just because it is the best yard sale day.

Not just because M.E. goes to my wonderful mother-in-laws every Friday (don't get me wrong, I love this little girl to pieces, but the big kids need some time with their mommy to do big kid things)

Not just because Cierah (my wonderful summer mother's helper) comes to help with the big kids while we go to do our fun summer big kids activity.

I just love Fridays...it's a good day!

We're off to my parent's houseboat for the day. The kids are so excited and according to the retiree's report, the water is perfect for a hot summer day like today!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Saying Goodbye...

to Homer that is.

Yes, we sold the Odyssey. Homer is going to a new home, actually one of my consignors from the sale bought it although we didn't realize that at the time when they responded to our ad on craigslist.

I know people must think we are nuts (Dave Ramsey would say we are doing something right if people think we are nuts) but you know what, it's just a van. I have been thinking about it the last few weeks as I watched the kids not take any care while in the van. It's a wonderful, beautiful van with all the bells and whistles (literally, this van could drive itself better than I drive it). I find myself cringing every time the kids eat or drink anything in it and the reality is that we don't need a $20K van. Can we afford it? Yes. Do we need it? No.

Now, just because I am becoming more real doesn't mean I am going to start drinking wheatgrass milkshakes and sleep under bridges, but I am becoming more concious of the fact that it is just stuff. AND like the chorus of a song we sang at church a few weeks ago said, "this world has nothing for me."

So, as we go and give her to the new owners tomorrow I will be a little sad to leave my power doors and 8 million cupholders behind, but it's just stuff and I want to give another child a home more than I want a nice van.

I'll update you with the "new to us" van tomorrow. A hint: Helga is going to have a new friend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Accountable Part 3

My brain is full and yet my time is short.

Sometimes I wish all that I was thinking/praying/worrying/rejoicing about could be magically published on this blog by just thinking about it, but alas, that's not happening anytime soon so I sit here typing wondering where to begin. (Can you tell I really wanted to use the word alas and sound important tonight?)

I still haven't drank a Dr. Pepper. Yep, I still crave them which reminds me to stop in my tracks and pray for several things:

1. The space for the upcoming consignment sale
2. The lady that posted on my blog (see previous post)
3. Those who post on my adoption forums that have been waiting over 2 years. Yes, you read that right...2 years. They have been approved and waiting on bringing home their child for over 2 years. The patience and faith they must have is amazing to me so I pray for peace for them and a speedy phone call telling them their time has come.

I have referenced prayer many times in this blog. It works. It really does.

Today I met with my awesome commercial leasing agent and we went and looked at two potential spaces for the fall consignment sale. At the second site, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the building and it looks like we are going to be able to work something out. Hopefully that will be marked off as an answered prayer soon as we work on completing the nitty gritty this week.

On Saturday, we had a yard sale to help Angie raise money for little Abigail to come home from Russia. I should say that I was surprised that someone approached me about my blog and shared with me that she, too, had some issues and was struggling with being real. But I wasn't surprised. Why? Because everyone has issues. I recently told someone that it's not always black and white, that sometimes life is gray and ugly, but you know, I am beginning to understand that I was wrong. I believe our God is a black and white God. He doesn't deal in abstracts, maybes, when I get to it, etc. He laid out a plan for our lives through his son, Jesus Christ, and he EXPECTS us to strive daily to live using the example he gave us which was perfection. Will we fail? YES. But HIS grace is enough and without his compassion, we wouldn't need him or crave that relationship with him.

So, I leave you tonight challenging you to dig deep and clean out the gray and ugly. I'm working on it. The facade of the "old Brea" is being chipped away and getting real is getting easier. How's it going for you guys?