Jun 29, 2009

Fun Weekend With Friends

We had one of the most fun weekends! Our friends Jeff, Sarah Ellen, Stacy, and Emily came to visit, and we were all three just giddy to have them with us for the entire weekend! We love the four of them, and they're the kind of friends that you don't have to do anything special with, but you just enjoy sitting around and being in each other's company. On to the pictures!

Friday night we had breakfast for supper - pancakes, sausage, and grits - and then played Scattergories for the rest of the evening. And, we stayed up past midnight talking ... well, some of us, anyway! :)

The Scattergories champion

The Scattergories non-champions!

Silly girls

The last time the four of them came to visit for the day, we tried to take them to the Cheesecake Factory for supper around 6 pm on a Saturday night. Yeah, I know ... what we were thinking!? Because of the wait that night, we ended up eating at the mall food court. We had to make it up to them, so we left for the Cheesecake Factory at 10:30 am Saturday morning!

My pretty girls ... Stacy, Em, and SE!

Group shot

Sweet smiles

Family pic

These two cannot resist a puzzle. Even when it's a butterfly puzzle in the pink, frilly, little girls' section of Pottery Barn Kids!

Girl time ... looking at wedding pictures

And, of course ... there was Rock Band. Camryn was boogieing down in the front.

Camryn and her Emily

Chick band

We played and played ....

until we were silly....

and even a little loopy!

We got to take the four of them to church with us on Sunday to show them off and, as usual, tried to convince them of how much happier and fuller their lives would be if they would just move here with us. After church, we stuffed ourselves at the Chinese buffet and then attempted to do a little coupon training, although that ended up being a disaster due to a rude manager at Rite Aid. And as always, because we hate to see them go, we think of different ways to stall when they're trying to leave. This time we let Camryn do our dirty work for us and bar the door. It wasn't a pretty sight ...

Thanks, guys, for such a fabulous weekend!

Jun 26, 2009

Great Bi-Lo Trip!

Yesterday was shopping day, and I got to go alone this week! Camryn and Jason were at home napping while I was off getting great deals, so everyone was happy! I had a super shopping trip. I paid $10.90 for everything above. I should mention that a big part of that total was the angel food cake I bought for $3.50 (no coupon) and the sweetened condensed milk for $1.30 (after coupon). Those are both for the Paula Deen Strawberry Shortcake I am making for our guests this weekend. Our guests are worth the splurge! So, if you subtract those two big ticket items, I got 2 boxes of Suddenly Salad, 2 bottles of salad dressing, Kraft mayo, 3 bottles of BBQ sauce, 3 bottles of Lawry's marinade, 2 bottles of mustard, 3 packages of Hefty plates, 3 packages of Hefty plastic cups, Shout laundry spray, and 3 bottles of Dial hand soap all for $6.10! My total before savings was $62.72. I paid $10.90, a savings of 84%! Today was a good day.

Jun 25, 2009

Our Frugal Find

The countdown to our Disney World vacation has begun! Only 23 days until we are Mickey-bound! As we've planned for our trip, we realized we were going to need a bigger umbrella stroller for Camryn. We bought the one we currently have when she was much younger, and she has definitely outgrown it. We looked into renting a Disney stroller while we were there but decided that wasn't going to be the best option for us. As we researched new strollers, we found the Maclaren line was the best for her age and weight. However, almost $200 for a new stroller was not in the Disney budget.

There is a small place near our church that is basically one big yard sale every day of the week. As we were leaving the VBS kickoff party last Saturday, we passed by and Jason noticed they had a Maclaren stroller for sale. We went to check it out and found that it was still in pretty good shape. It is definitely an older model and definitely needed some TLC, but when we found out it was only $15, we couldn't pass it up. When we got it home, we took it apart, and I put all of the fabric pieces in the washer on the stain wash cycle with warm water - a 2 1/2 hour cycle on my washer! I cleaned the frame and wheels, and it looks pretty darn good! The fabric is still faded in spots, but after 2 1/2 hours in the washer, I at least know it's clean! It's not new, but we've decided if it only lasts us through a week at Disney World, it's worth our $15!


You may not be able to tell much of a difference from the pictures, but I will at least allow it in my house now if that tells you anything!

By the way, has anybody else been having trouble getting pictures to move around on Blogger lately? It's driving me crazy!

Jun 20, 2009

Family Fun Friday

I just love summertime and all the fun family things we are able to do together! First we camped out in the playroom. Last week we went to the zoo. This week's Family Fun Friday took place here:

I have never been to a pottery painting studio, but before we were even halfway through yesterday, I promised Camryn we would take a trip back before the end of the summer. SO MUCH fun - and next time Mommy gets to paint something, too! Here are the pictures from our afternoon. Camryn looks bored, but really, she was just concentrating so hard! She talked about her experience nonstop once we got back in the car!

And nothing tops off a great family day like an early Father's Day dinner at Chili's!

Like father ...

Like daughter!

Next week's edition of Family Fun Friday ... visitors from Anderson!!!

Jun 18, 2009

Life Lessons for a Coupon Shopper

Today I learned a valuable life lesson: Three year olds and coupon shopping do not mix.

This was the first grocery shopping day since our summer schedule started. I shop on Thursdays. This was Camryn's first Thursday home with me. Jason had a haircut appointment, so I decided there wouldn't be any problem taking her with me. Should have thought that one through a little more.

First, I had to wait until she woke up from her nap at 2:00. I'm usually home by that point, have groceries unloaded, and have taken pictures of my deals for the blog. Typically I shop with my coupon notebook right in front of me. Because there was a wiggly little body taking up that space, I had to store my notebook in the buggy and constantly walk around it to find the coupons I needed. I typically shop with my Wal-Mart list and Bi-Lo list in front of me, because I can almost surely mark a thing or two off my Wal-Mart list by finding a better deal at Bi-Lo with double coupons. My Wal-Mart list didn't even make it in the store with me today.

So, off we go on our shopping experience. We've just crossed the threshold of Bi-Lo, and my ever-observant daughter loudly states, "Mommy! I just saw a man with a ponytail and an earring!" Unless ponytail, earring man has severe hearing issues, I'm sure he heard her, as he was no more than 3 in. in front of my buggy when her declaration was made. So, we take pause-from-grocery-shopping-number-one to have a discussion in the produce aisle about why we don't say things about other people in public.

A few more aisles in, she needs her snack. Pause-from-grocery-shopping-number-eight (by this point) to fish the water and pretzels and raisins out of my pocketbook. I turned my head for no more than 30 seconds, and she had downed the entire sippy cup of water. Great - there's a bathroom stop in my future.

After her snack, she starts complaining that the buggy is hurting her legs. Well, I can't blame her, because our cart is missing the little plastic seat, leaving her bare legs up against the metal. Pause-from-grocery-shopping-number-twenty-one to help her out of the buggy. She asks to help me push the buggy, which I decide is a good idea in order to keep her close. So I'm now waddling down the aisles like a 9 month pregnant woman because she's right at my feet, preventing me from walking normally.

Soon I hear, "Mommy, I need to use the bathroom." I'm completely engrossed in my coupons at this point and tell her I'm not sure where one is. She gives me a huff and says, "Mommy, they have one, you just have to ask to use it!" I'm not ready for pause-from-grocery-shopping-number-forty-three yet, so I hold her off for just a little longer.

Then, right in the middle of the cookie and cracker aisle, it happens. She stops and loudly states, "Mommy, my poopie is on it's way out."

Be. still. my. heart. Did she really just announce that right in front of God, country, and the Chips Ahoy?

Pause-from-grocery-shopping-number-fifty-two to hurry off to the restroom.

And, oh my, what a doozy of a restroom is was. Nasty. Just plain nasty.

We walk into the stall and Camryn immediately points out utter grossness on the toilet. "Yuck! What's that?" she says. This earns her an impassioned five minute lecture about why we do not like to use public restrooms. I take great care in lining the toilet with about 20 layers of toilet paper, do my best to shimmy her pants down without letting any part of me or her touch ... well, anything. I'm engaging in an awkward squatting/balancing act while I try to hold her in a half-sitting, half-hovering position on the toilet. We finally get settled and she looks at me dead in the eye and says, "I don't have to go."

Well, because I'm the ever-patient mommy that I am, I told her if she didn't go right then she would have to poop in her pants, because I wasn't bringing her back in there.

So, there I crouch, my legs aching from holding that position so long, and when she finally gets around to doing her business, I look over and see "Crystal C + Eric G" written on the top of the sanitary napkin disposal.


Because, really y'all. Nothing says love like the sanitary napkin disposal.

So, she finishes, we exit, we bathe in hand sanitizer when we get back to the buggy, and then we're off to the finish line.

During the remainder of the trip, I had not one but two panic attacks when I misplaced my coupons. Probably because I was answering more questions about the ponytail, earring man. But, can I tell you what a terrible feeling it is to a coupon shopper to think you've lost your coupons in the middle of your trip? And, not once, but twice. I might as well have lost my child.
And then, to end the trip, I spent $31 at Bi-Lo. The last time I spent that much was during my rookie days of couponing. Not quite sure how that happened, but I think it may have something to do with an inability to adequately concentrate on coupon doubles and frozen pizza sales when your calculator has been turned over to your child as an entertainment tool, and when you spend every other minute explaining why we can't buy the princess bowl, the Curious George fruit snacks, or the Mickey Mouse toothbrush.

But, all in all, I have to tell you - she was a good girl. Truthfully, she's always been a good kid on shopping trips. And, as tired and frazzled as I was when we got home, my heart just had to melt when she looked at me and said, "Mommy, why are putting everything up? Aren't you going to take a picture?"

That's my girl.

Jun 15, 2009

Seven Years Ago Today

"In all of life, rare is the moment that is filled with more hope, more joy, and more expectancy than this sacred moment. The vows you are about to make will be locked into your memories as reminder that you have pledged to love for a lifetime the one who stands willingly and expectantly beside you. Through the years, your remembrance of this moment is intended to strengthen your marriage and cause you to give thanks to God for having each other."

Jun 14, 2009

He's Here!

Our nephew, Keller, was born this morning at 8:21 am! He has already stolen our hearts!

Jun 13, 2009

The Great Gorilla Escape

Friday, we took a family trip to Riverbanks zoo. When we got there 25 minutes after opening time, there was an unusually big crowd, and we noticed the gates were still closed. As we stood there waiting to get in, we started to hear stories that a gorilla had gotten loose. And, sure enough - that's what happened! Apparently right before we arrived, the zoo had to be locked down because a gorilla climbed out of his exhibit. They got him back in pretty quickly, but it still caused a 45 minute wait while the zoo staff made sure everything was secure. We were just glad we had not left earlier like we originally planned and that we were on the side of the gate that we were on! Once we got inside, Jason was interviewed by the WIS news crew about his take on the whole thing. However, he didn't tell any crazy stories about narrowly escaping death's grip and didn't complain about our wait, so course, he didn't make it on the actual news. Here he is being interviewed, though!

Once we got inside, we still enjoyed our trip. Here are some pictures from our day, although there are no exciting pictures of rampaging gorillas or anything like that!