Tuesday, May 31, 2011

and Madison's middle name is....

For so many reasons. But most importantly we know that by the grace of God we are having this little girl.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Shopping trip total:

Well I picked the absolute worst week to blog about my saving money because this week we spent more than we had planned. One problem was that Alan went with me. I wasn't feeling 100% today so I'm glad he did, so he could do all the work, but every aisle he was saying "Oh, we're out of this" or "I need this".. I told him before going in that we were strictly sticking to our list and we failed miserably. I also forgot to add breakfast bars, gum, beer and gatorade to our list so that was an extra $18 I didn't have down in my total and I under calculated the price for fruit, since ALDI was closed today for Memorial Day. We stopped by Big Lots on the way and their clearance rack was empty. We did get 2 things of juice and a loaf of bread for $5.20 total. That saved us about $2.

The total for Big Lots and Publix this week was $85.57 but we saved $32.57 with coupons and store sales. That included a bottle of All laundry detergent, a bottle of Mens One A Day vitamins, a bottle each of Suave shampoo and conditioner, 12 rolls of Angel Soft paper, Sunlight dish soap, 4 bananas, container of strawberries and 5 apples, 3 bags of veggies, 5 lbs red potatoes, 2 boxes of Raisin Bran cereal, 1 box of Nature Valley breakfast bars, 1 box of Lance crackers, 6 bottles of Gatorade, 6 pack of Coors Light beer, box of Margaritaville frozen shrimp, 2 bottles of Kraft salad dressing, 2 bottles Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce, 1 bottle Lawry's marinade, 1 container LLoyds BBQ Pork, a 3 pack of 5 React gum, 2 Clif bars, hamburger buns, Luigis Italian Ice 6 pack, gallon of bleach, 2 bottles of Ocean Spray juice, 1 loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.

That's more than I like to spend but we got a ton of stuff too. And most of those items are not weekly items for us and we are still right on target for our monthly grocery budget. This list also sounds like a bunch of junk, but it will give us 4 meals(I didn't like 1 of them) with sides. I will try to post some of my better weeks on here. Even if you use one .50 coupon, you're doing better than a lot of people out there!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not so Extreme Couponing...

My friend, Holly over at When Two Became Four reminded me that I have never blogged about my money saving experiences while grocery shopping when she blogged about her experiences last week. I am no Extreme Couponer and actually, I rarely watch that show cause it stresses me out. Anybody that knows me knows that hoarding gives me panic attacks! I don't see buying 150 boxes of cereal if you have 460 at home already, unless you are giving it to a charity, which I have only seen a couple of people on that show say they do. I do not go and buy 10 papers like some people do. We suscribe to the paper and I print coupons online. That's what works for me at this time, so that's what I do.

I also use E-mealz to plan my meals. I pay $15 every 3 months and they plan a menu(meat and sides or a soup or an easy/crockpot meal) with grocery list, based on sales. All I do is print it out, put my coupons with it and go! Sometimes I will replace the sides if I have lots of frozen vegetables on hand or if I don't like what they have as a side. I always have frozen veggies or rice or potatoes on hand so it's not that hard for me to find something to replace it with. Sometimes there are meals that I just don't want to fix, so I will use something out of our freezer or I will buy a pizza or we'll go out that night. For $5/month, you can't beat it. I am not a person that likes to have the same menu every week and I love trying new things so this is the best option for me and we have really been pleased with 95% of the things I've fixed, and I've used this plan for probably 2 years.

To make my couponing easier, I have 2 coupon organizers. One for FOOD items and one for NON-FOOD items. I sit down once a week, with my grocery list from E-mealz. I go to I Heart Publix is a blog I follow that matches up the weekly sales ad with all of the coupons that are available to match. Publix is my store of choice because they double coupons, the store is clean, the employees are all so very helpful, they always load my groceries onto the conveyor belt and always ask twice if I want help out with my groceries. Alan went with me one time and we were buying milk that was on sale and the shelf was empty so I asked the guy loading yogurt if they had any and he went to the back and got some. Alan said "They actually stop what they're doing to go to the back for you?" and I said "That's one of the many reasons I shop here!"

So anyway, I retype my grocery list in a spreadsheet so I can add in what coupons I have and what I expect to pay and at the bottom it totals up my whole grocery list. Over-organized? Sure, but at least I know about what I should be paying when I check out. The E-mealz list is already a spreadsheet with room to write but I like having the total and everything being really neat. I will first retype my E-mealz list, taking out any replacements that I have made and adding in everyday things I need. I also have that list broken down into categories like "Frozen, Dairy, Meat, Health Care/Groceries" to help me not wander around the store 20 times. In the middle is a spot for me to type what coupons I have. I will put (2).40, $1, 2/$2 or whatever. However many coupons I have, I will type that exact thing so when I am shopping and pulling coupons out, I make sure I have the right amount. The right column is "Expect to pay". I will take the amount of the item, minus the coupons I have and subtract it. So if it's a $2 item and I have a $1 coupon, I will put $1 in the "Expect to Pay" column. Then at the very bottom, I have the total of the whole list. After I retype my list, I will go to IheartPublix.com and go through their list. If that item is at it's best price, they will put a check mark by the item. So even if I may not need more Cole's Garlic Bread, if I have a coupon for it, I'm going to stock up on it while it's at the best price. I will go through the entire list, adding stockpile items and matching up my coupons with my E-mealz menu and print it out! I put all the coupons I'm going to use in an envelope and I'm off to the store! I also carry another empty envelope with me to transfer coupons over. I also carry my coupon organizers with me in case I see something that wasn't in the ad or something that was on clearance or if I just plain forgot to add it to my list. As I put items in the buggy, I will pull the coupons from my "Publix" envelope and put in my "Using" envelope so I don't keep thumbing through the same coupons. It sounds all complicated but it's actually really easy! I've seen people at Publix with baseball card binders in their buggies flipping through. I don't want to be in the store that long and I don't want to drag a 10 pound binder with me either. Like I said before, this is what works for me. And what may work for me, may not work for anyone else.

Still awake? :) With all that said, Publix is having a great sale this week so I'm going to share some of my grocery list with ya'll. Anything with a * is a stockpile item.

*Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce-BOGO $2.35-coupon for $1/2 = $1.35 for 2 bottles or .68 each.
Kelloggs Raisin Bran- BOGO $4.29-coupon for $1/2 = $3.29 for 2 or $1.65 each
*Lawry's Marinade- BOGO $3.15- coupon for .50 = 1 bottle for .58
Luigi's Italian Ice - BOGO $3.19- coupon for .50 = 1 box for .59
All Laundry Detergent - BOGO $5.99 - coupon for $1 = $1.99 a bottle
Lance Cracker creations - 2/$4 - coupon for $1 = $1 a box
*Sunlight Dishwashing liquid - 10/$10 - coupon for .25 = .50 a bottle

I will post my totals tomorrow evening after shopping. I am expecting to pay under $65 for my menu for the week plus a lot of filler items(toilet paper, makeup, shampoo/conditioner, vitamins, etc). I had to guess on prices for a lot of those items since none are on sale at Publix this week. That's pretty high for a typical week but it seems like we ran out of a lot of our basic things! I usually spend $35-$50. I try to usually stop by Big Lots to see what's on their clearance rack. I racked up for our beach trip, finding 4 pack Gatorade for $1.35 and lots of crackers and snacks for $1 each. I also try to stop by ALDI for our fruits and veggies since they are a lot cheaper most of the time. I will also take in my grocery list and compare prices. If I can get an item at ALDI or Big Lots for cheaper than I can at Publix with a coupon, I will buy it at that place instead and mark it off my list.

Sorry this turned out so long but it was long overdue. Lots of people ask me how I spend so less on groceries and some people even giggle when I say I coupon or say that I'm cheap... I say, why pay full price for something if you can save money? The most important thing for me is not taking Alan shopping. He tends to impulse shop and that's the worse. When I go, I stick to my list. It also sounds like I spend hours getting my list together and 3 hours shopping. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to get my list and coupons together. I typically spend 30 minutes or so in Publix. About 15 minutes in Big Lots and 15 minutes in ALDI so I'm back home within the hour. I hope this helps someone who is looking to coupon or motivates you to coupon sometimes. I am no where near as good as some people but I do what I can without spending 2 hours putting my coupons together and going to 3 different grocery stores. If you have any advice, please share! I'm always open to suggestions!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

25 weeks

May 19-26, 2011

She is now about 13.5"(the length of one of those recorders we played in Elementary school) long and around 2 pounds! She is gaining some baby fat which is smoothing out her skin and making it less wrinkled! She is also growing hair and if we could see it, we could tell what color it is. Her hands are also fully developed and her brain and nerve endings are developed so she has sense of touch. Her nostrils have also cleared up, teaching her to start breathing through her nose! Her capilleries are also forming which means her once translucent skin is turning pink and her blood vessels in her lungs are also forming. She has been so active, patting her hands below my belly button with her stomping feet under my ribs, which is slightly uncomfortable. Alan's brother told me at the beach a few times I had that "typical pregnant woman look" lol. When she digs under my ribs, it's very uncomfy but luckily if I press there, she will move. On our ultrasound this week(see below), she was folded in half with her ankles right at her head! She's so flexible..

This week we had a huge scare when I passed some blog clots when using the restroom. I called the doctor and told them what was going on and they got me in there fast. I saw the doctor, who did a pelvic exam and urine sample. She said my cervix was closed but there was blood in my urine. To take every precaution, she sent me to the hospital so they could monitor Madison's heartbeat, make sure I wasn't having contractions, drew 4 things of blood and do a catheter sample to see if the blood was coming from my bladder. They put us in a labor & delivery room, (very scary as I was worried what was going on, but a really nice room!) hooked me up to all types of monitors and left me alone. They came in about an hour later and did an ultrasound to make sure everything looked okay, drew blood and put in a catheter to take another urine sample. The tech said Madison looked great on the ultrasound and that her head and chest measured right on track but her legs measures 27 weeks, so that means we have a long legged little girl! We may have a ballerina or supermodel on our hands! She also said she was 2 pounds! Around 6:30, they came in, said that Madi's heartbeat looked great, that I wasn't having contractions but there was blood in my urine which indicated a bladder infection but we had to wait on the blood work results just to make sure it wasn't something else also. Around 7:30, Alan went to see if my results had come back since the doctor said it would be an hour and she said my blood work was negative but I did have a bladder infection. They gave me a prescription for some meds and sent me on my way. I'm so glad everything is okay with Madison though. I hope this is our only bump in the road. It's amazing how much we worry about this little girl already!

We also got her crib assembled this week so her room actually looks like a nursery! We got her mattress in this past week and we are going to order her bedding this coming week. We also took back the chest we got because the quality didn't seem great. We went yesterday and found one we like that we will go get this coming week.

My weight this week was 118 and my belly measures 34"!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trip to the beach!

We haven't been to the beach in 2 years.. So when Alan's dad and stepmom asked us to join them at their house in Litchfield, SC we happily accepted! We don't like the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach nor the temperatures of the beach after May, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect!

Here is what it looks like on the beach. It's all houses. No skyscraper hotels or junky beach fronts. Just really gorgeous homes! And the beaches stayed this way the whole time. Saturday was the busiest day but it's nothing like Myrtle!

Me and Alan prepared to stay the entire day!

Alan's dad did lots of this the whole week. Doesn't he look relaxed?
William(Alan's youngest brother) came down on Thursday and tried a bit of wake boarding. He did pretty good for his first time!
Alan, William and their dad
Alan's dad and stepmom
There were many of these consumed that week....
and a whole lot of relaxing!
On Saturday night, me and Alan decided to go out on our own. We decided to try a seafood restaurant called Nance's in Murrell's Inlet. It was right on the water and the food was yummy!
And of course we didn't forget Madison while we were there! Saturday we rode into Myrtle Beach so I could spend my Baby Gap card Alan got me for Mothers Day. We went to the Tanger Outlets and found these cute outfits!We had a great week. It's so relaxing down there! Thanks to Alan's dad and stepmom for inviting us and making us always feel so welcome! We really appreciate it and had a great time with you guys and William!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

24 weeks

May 12-19, 2011

Inside Madison's skull, the brain is dividing into lobes. All the neurons she will need in a lifetime will be in place this month, although the connections between the nerves will be years in the making. Things are moving along outside the skull, too: Facial features are becoming very distinct and individual, and eyelids and eyebrows are more defined. She is now over 12" long and weighs about a pound and half! She is more aware of sounds now. Loud noises will startle her but she will turn toward soothing noises. She is also becoming familiar with the voices around her.

We had a doctor's appointment on the 16th which showed her heartbeat at 158, which is very normal. The doctor said it can range from 130-170 and be normal anywhere in between. She said my weight and belly measurements are right on track! I am now going to the doctor every 2 weeks instead of 4 and my next appointment will be the glucose test to test for gestational diabetes. My weight is 116(my pre-pregnancy weight!) and my belly measures 34 1/2".

Sunday, May 15, 2011

23 weeks!

May 5-12, 2011.

I can't believe it's been 23 weeks! Time is flying by! Her face is now fully formed-all except the fat. She is now over 11" long and weighs over a pound. By the end of the month, she will have doubled in size! Blood vessels in her lungs are now developing to prepare her for breathing and her hearing is picking up all outside sounds and the most common sounds won't bother her when she's born because she's already used to those noises. She is getting more and more active everyday. She has the hiccups about 3 times a day now. It's the weirdest feeling! She is also stretching out a lot more now. The bottom part of my belly is stretching out which hurts just a little. I am constantly touching my belly now. I touch it when I feel her kicking or stretching or when it just hurts a little. I am also getting more and more leg cramps, about 4 times a week now. I am trying to eat bananas throughout the day and stretching before bed but nothing seems to help them. I am going to try eating carrots with my bananas! I also bought my first pair of maternity pants, shorts and shirt. I had no idea how comfy these things were! I thought I would hate them but I may just wear them after she's here :) Mother's Day was also during this week which was special for me. Obviously next year will be more special. I got lots of cards from friends and family and the sweetest card from Alan. I say it a million times but he's such a good father already. He's always telling me not to overdo it and doing things for me that I could probably do but he gets concerned if I do too much. I am now having to ask him to do certain things I used to could do though and he always does it without complaining! We also got her crib and dresser ordered this week and it should arrive at the store(yay Site to Store Walmart free shipping!) sometime this coming week! My weight this week is 113.6 and belly is now 34".

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day

We got up around 8 and Alan gave me a card he had gotten. It made me cry it was so sweet.. He is also supporting my shopping habit for Madison by giving me a BabyGap gift card. He said I wasn't allowed to buy anything under 6 months in size for her since she already has enough of 0-6 months clothes. I can deal with that. He then said we could go to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden - the place we got married - if I wanted. Of course. We headed up that way and I was pretty hungry so we stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch. He had started feeling bad so he didn't eat much. We then went to DSBG and there was a huge line. I begged him to let's just go home and come back a day when he feels better but he toughed it out. We had to stand in line about 20 minutes and got in and walked around. I didn't take a lot of pictures because it was so crowded! I have never seen so many moms with kids or pregnant women all in one spot! People were bringing in picnics and sitting by the flowers and eating. We will remember that next year! Here are the very few pictures I did take:
Alan's mom and Rhobie got me a baby book for Madi's first 5 years. She had been telling me to pick out one and I just kept forgetting! This one is perfect. It has places for first tooth and first haircut and all types of information and places for pictures, including birthday pictures for the first 5 years. Thanks Nonie and Papa Rhobie!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week 22

April 28-May 5
She is now 11 inches in length and almost a pound! Her eyelids, lips and eyebrows are becoming more distinct and she's forming tiny toothbuds beneath her gums! Madi now has sleep schedules, sleeping 12-14 hours a day! It seems like she's waking up around 9am, wakes up a little around 3pm, then is a little more active between 5-11pm. I'm sure she wakes up before 9am but I'm such a hard sleeper, I don't notice her activity. Speaking of sleep, it's hard to find a comfortable position now and I have had 2 bad leg cramps this week and am constantly dreaming. Nightmares to crazy dreams. They are all night long and very annoying. She is becoming more and more active though. Lots of times during the day I feel a knot come up to the right of my belly button. It will be there for 20 seconds and then it's gone. That has been happening about 10 times a day lately. My weight is 114.8 and my belly now measures 33 1/2"! I bought my first pair of maternity shorts, a pair of pants, and a top today. I didn't buy one thing for Madison today. Aren't you proud? :)

On another note, Alan hasn't felt very well the past 2 days. He went to bed around 6 last night, getting up around 9 to eat and then back to bed. Today he went to bed around 4 and is still there. He had a small fever of 99 yesterday but it broke and was normal this morning. It was 100 today around 6. He's taking medicine around the clock. Just pray he gets better. He never gets sick, so this is very abnormal!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Shopping annonymous

So I admit I may have a slight problem. The problem is that the stores cater to little girls more than they do boys. Dresses, tights, shoes, hairbows, and on and on... I stopped by Target Friday after work to just look around. All of these items were on clearance so that counts for something, right? Just look at those little dress shoes! For $2/pair, I had to get 2 sizes! And the socks were $0.25/pair. The 2 pink pants were $1 each! I got all this, a pack of Huggies 72 count wipes and 30 hangers for right at $20. I vow to stop shopping for this little girl unless it's a super good deal.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's garden time!

I promise this blog has not turned into Madison-land. I will try my best to post about things other than our little girl! She has just taken over and everything interesting lately has revolved around her! It's already started and she's not even here yet!

So after weeks of basically begging Alan to till up the garden, we decided the best option would be a raised garden. With my growing belly and our ground being red clay, we feel that this will be easier for me and will also produce more veggies! Here he is digging out the ground after he had already put the frame up. We decided to do an 8x6 frame and the boards are 12" wide.

Measuring the corner pieces so he can attach some support beams..2 trips to Lowes, 20 bags of manure, 27 bags of top soil and 2 bags of Miracle Grow later....
Ta-da! I helped clean up a little bit and raked the bags out while he emptied them and then planted the plants but he did all the manual work! Thanks again babe! You're the best :)

3 tomatoes plants on right, a cucumber plant and 2 rows of sweet onions in
middle and 4 okra plants on left.

And the 2 worst helpers ever. Wilma
and the neighbors dog, Dakota.
Thanks to my dad too, who every year reminds me what brand/type of plants I need to get and answers all my crazy questions. I will learn soon enough!