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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Only Two More Days!

I can't believe we're leaving for Disney World in just 2 more days!  This week has seriously flown by!  Now, if I could just wave my magic wand and have all of our bags packed, the house cleaned, and all the laundry done.  Oh!  And the van cleaned...inside and out.  I guess once we're there, I'll have to ask Mickey where the Sorcerer keeps his wand.  Then, he'll have to teach me how to use it.  The jobs will already be done by that point but I can still save the information for future reference. ;)  Based on what I've seen of Fantasia, I think it's best if I just go straight to the source on this one.  Mickey doesn't have the greatest track record, if you know what I'm saying.  I don't exactly trust him to "keep things under control". haha ;)

Anyway, I'm so excited about the trip (and so overwhelmed with what needs to be done before we leave) that I'm finding it hard to sleep.  This is nothing new for me.  I usually find it hard to sleep whenever we plan to go somewhere.  My to-do list, which is already long on a normal day, becomes easily twice as long AND has a definitive deadline when we're planning a trip.  I insist on having the house clean before we ever go out of town.  It drives my husband crazy.  He doesn't understand why the house has to be cleaner when we're gone than it is while we're living in it.  Or why it's OK to leave it untidy when we're out shopping and strolling around town, but not OK if we're spending the night elsewhere.  When put that way, it does sound sort of irrational.

My initial argument has always been, "I just don't want to come home to a dirty house."  Which is absolutely true!  But it does beg the question why it doesn't bother me to come home to a mess unless we're away overnight.  Actually, it bothers me to come home to a mess anytime.  I just don't typically make a fuss over it unless we're going out of town.  When I'm asked why that's different, I don't really have an answer besides, "It just is".  I don't know how well that answer works at your house, but in ours, not so much. lol

Better get back to my packing and cleaning now, since sleep is still eluding me.  I am curious, though.  Do you also go into "cleaning overhaul mode" before leaving to go out of town?  If so, what reasons do you give to justify your behavior?  Also, if you've been to Disney World, what tips can you offer for a successful and relaxing visit?  And don't say, "Don't go!"  Haha.  That's not an option.  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tidy-Up Tip Tuesday 5/24

No, you're not crazy.  Today is really Wednesday.  Yes, I'm a day late posting this.  For whatever reason our computer (or blogger, not sure which) refused to sign my husband out of his blogging account yesterday so I could get into mine.  Anyway, here's your tip for the week.

This week I'm not showcasing a product as much as an idea.  With the kids now out of school for the summer and vacations on the rise, I thought this might be a good time to encourage everyone to set a routine early and stick to it.  (I'm preaching to myself now, too.  Ideas and theories I can handle.  Putting them into practice consistently is another matter entirely. haha)

So, my tip for the week is #1) set up a plan, #2) get the kids and spouse involved, and #3) institute the "pick-up before play" rule...or "PBP".  Now, this is a useless tip to all you super-moms out there who are highly organized and orderly.  However, for those of you who have trouble with this like I do, we can benefit from the accountability that comes from simply admitting our struggles and developing the discipline of a stable routine.  It will truly make for a happier home.

From what I understand, the first 21 days are critical to establishing new habits and behaviors.  Apparently, if you can stick to a new routine for 21 consecutive days, you are more likely to continue that pattern.  (I can only surmise that I haven't reached the golden 21-day mark in this respect yet. ;) )  So, my challenge for you today is to mark your calendar for the 21st day after implementing your plan.  Then, find an accountability partner (preferably someone who will call you out when you need it) and share specifically what you plan to accomplish and how you'll measure success.  Then, after 21 days, reward yourself for a job well-done!

Your plan will depend upon many factors affecting your specific family so it probably won't look exactly like ours or anyone else's.  Only you can determine what works best for you.  For us, my part of our plan is to start and finish at least one load of laundry and empty the dishwasher every MORNING (which also means the dishwasher will be loaded and dishes cleaned the night before).  For the kids, they will pick up their rooms and other toys before we go out anywhere (and before computer or television time) and everything will be put away before bedtime.  This is just part of the plan but if we can do this for 21 consecutive days, I'll consider it a success!

So, what will you do for the next 21 days?  Leave a comment below and let's help each other reach our goals  and enjoy a more relaxing and tidier home even during the hectic summer months!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Did Grocery Shopping Become Such a Headache?

I've been procrastinating for days but at some point before the end of the day I will have to go to the grocery store.  We are completely out of milk, bread, and peanut butter (among other things, but these are true necessities at our house.  Our kids go through peanut butter like it's going out of style.).  So, unless I can find a recipe for popcorn and ketchup, I will grace the door of a local grocer...before midnight and preferably before dinnertime.

What I'd like to know is since when has grocery shopping become burdensome to me?  I used to love going and finding bargains, taking pride in how much I saved.  Actually, I still do most of the time.  For some reason, I just haven't been as excited about it these last few days.  I can think of several different reasons:

  1. I don't like taking the kids with me.  Even with just 2 during the day, they tend to slow me down.
  2. With gas so incredibly high, I've been paying much more attention to where I go and how often.  This means that ideally I would plan to visit all the stores during one trip to town but this is near impossible for reason #1.  So, I'm weighing the cost of what's in my tank with what I'm planning to purchase and if it's worth the savings/speed with the kids.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.
  3. We're leaving for Disney World in 12 days so every penny counts at this point.  I'm much more conscientious now as to whether or not we really need what I'm planning to buy or if it's just something that happens to be "a really good deal".  Sometimes the deals are worth it, sometimes they're not.  Right now, for us, they are more often "not" just because there are other things that we will "need" more immediately for our trip.  Truth be told, these "deals" will come back around again and as mentioned before, I don't really need them right now.
I imagine many of you are like us and doing everything you can to "squeeze a nickel until the buffalo farts"  (You can thank my husband for that expression. ;) ).  So, I think these reasons are worth noting.  Sometimes I don't think we pay enough attention to them.  Those of us couponers will often feel guilty for not getting the best deal on something or missing a sale.  Maybe we don't have a coupon for something and that's reason enough to feel badly.  Really it's not.  Sometimes convenience is more important.  Sometimes we need a break from coupons...and that's ok.  So what if you missed out on getting dishwashing liquid for free when you've got 3 bottles left at home?  So what if you paid $3.79 for a gallon of milk when another place in town has it for $3.29?  You'd probably spend that much in gas (not to mention the extra time) traveling 20 miles just to save 50 cents.

So, now I don't feel as bad about my lack of "shopping" lately.  I use quotes there because many times I find some really fantastic deals and get many things free!  But this week I've needed a break.  Next week, we'll be vacationing.  Maybe the following week I'll be back to my old self!  What about you?  Is couponing a blessing right now, or a burden?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tidy-Up Tip Tuesday 5/17

Today's tip: Bleach!  I just love bleach!  (As long as it hasn't spotted my favorite shirt, that is. ;))  I love the smell of it, too.  It's cheap.  It's powerful.  It's versatile.  We use bleach in nearly every room of our house.

Laundry room: Most of you already know that adding a cup of bleach to a wash load of whites leaves them brighter and can get out even the toughest stains.  But did you know that you can also use a q-tip dipped in equal parts bleach and water to save a white garment that is not all white?  It works just like the expensive bleach pens but at a fraction of the cost.

Kitchen:  I'm always amazed at how much better our floor looks after I clean it with simple bleach water as opposed to the expensive mop cleaners.  It doesn't require as much elbow grease either, which is always a plus.

Bathrooms:  Again, the floors, but also the toilets.  When I'm cleaning the bathrooms, before doing anything else, I'll add a little bleach to the toilet and immediately flush.  Then I pour a little more in the next time and let it sit until the rest of the bathroom is cleaned.  By the time I get to the toilet, bleach has done most of the dirty work for me. :)

Clogs:  Did you know that you can also pour straight bleach down the drain to clear clogs?  Now, it's not as quick a fix as Drano might be and not as powerful but if it's mostly hair or tissue paper that's causing the problem, pouring bleach down the drain and letting it sit for about an hour, then following it with hot water will probably be enough to do the trick!

How do you use bleach at home?

Ebates Celebrates 12 Years! *Promotion ends today!*

If you plan to shop online in the near future, today's the day to do it!!  Ebates is offering 12% cashback TODAY on purchases made from a wide selection of stores such as DSW, Gap, Old Navy, Sephora, Teleflora, Jcpenney, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer, philosophy, Petco, shutterfly, snapfish, The Body Shop, Birthday Express, and many many more!  For many of these stores, this is more than DOUBLE and in some cases TRIPLE the usual cashback award.  Be sure to check coupon codes for the stores you are visiting and you could score additional discounts and/or free shipping!  If you are new to ebates, click the button below and you'll receive a $5 bonus just for signing up after your first qualifying purchase!  It's so easy and I just love getting my Big Fat Check in the mail!

To see a full list of all stores participating in the birthday celebration promotion, click on the "monopoly man" in the upper right hand corner of the home page.  Happy Shopping!

Here's what I found:  I received a DSW giftcard for Christmas last year and have been waiting for their store to be the "Ebates Daily Double" but this birthday promotion was even better with TRIPLE the amount of cash back!  Plus, as a DSW member (it's free to register) I got free shipping on my order of $35 or more.  I ordered a nice pair of crocs and 3 pairs of men's socks.  After my $25 gift card discount and free shipping, I paid $15.55.  Once my $4.54 cashback comes in from ebates, I'll have paid $11.01 for all of it!  I'm really looking forward to slipping my feet into those crocs!  I think these may be the first pair I've ever owned.  What deal did you find today? :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Free Samples

I just love free stuff, don't you?  That's why one of my favorite websites is All You where they have truly free samples nearly every day!  This is not like freeflys or other websites that require you to complete silver, gold, or platinum offers before getting your freebie.  With All You, most of the time you just enter some basic information like your name and address so they know where to send your "swag"!

Today's free sample is Alpo dog food.  Maybe you're like us and you don't have a dog.  I bet you know someone who does, though.  Why not order one for yourself, then share the information with your dog loving friends so they can have 2?  Everyone loves free stuff and maybe next time it will be diapers (or something else you need that they don't) and they can help you out.  Even if you don't know someone with a dog, donate the sample to your local animal shelter.  Every little bit helps.

Either way, I advise adding All You to your favorites list and checking back every day for their sample.  Some of the previous days' samples are still available so if you follow the link and scroll down, you'll see additional samples to choose from like Tampax, Ester-C, and other name brands!

**Tip:  Although most companies will not sell or distribute your email information without your consent, I advise setting up a "junk mail" email address.  It's been a lifesaver for my personal mailbox and I can still go peek at my "junk" to see what hidden treasures I may find there (coupons, promotions, free samples, and the like).  Enjoy your freebies!

Sock Insanity!

Who knew there were so many different types and brands of moisture-wicking socks?  I wasn't even really familiar with the term until I began planning our Disney vacation and read a suggestion about wearing them to keep your feet happy and blister-free after long hours of walking around the parks (and getting your feet potentially soaked on wet rides).  Sounds great to me!  But now I'm swimming in a sea of possibilities...on a limited budget.  I'm on a mission to find at least 10 pairs of moisture-wicking socks in at least 3 different sizes for less than $30.  Quite a challenge.

I also happened upon something called Blistershield and wondered if any one who might read this had heard of it or used it.  I also wondered if we were to use it, would it still be necessary to use the "special socks" as well.  Another question then came to mind; Is there a "homemade" prevention that would work just as well and not cost as much?  One more thing: how does this stuff feel on your foot?  We have a son with Asperger's who is very particular about how things feel on his skin, particularly his feet.  Blistershield, great as it may be, would be of little to no benefit to us if 1) Jackson won't wear it or 2) we make him and he's screaming and pitching fits about it...kind of defeats the purpose of making our trip a more pleasant experience for everyone. haha

I would love suggestions and advice!  Military friends, I reckon you probably have loads of experience in this regard and can offer ingenious insight!  Please help!  I would really hate for a small blister or foot pain to reek havoc on our joyous and exciting days in the parks.  Thanks in advance. :)

Performance Moisture Wicking Low Cut  Sock (3 Pack) - Youth

Free Molten Monday!!!

Poor Monday never gets a break.  For most of us it's the beginning of the work week and can be the most disagreeable day for that very reason.  Well, here is a reason to LOVE this Monday!  Chili's is giving you a free molten cake (or other dessert) with coupon with the purchase of an adult entree.  Don't wait!  Print your coupon now and dive in!  This offer is for today only.  Ah, Monday.  Finally a reason to celebrate you! ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Josiah's Beginning

It started out as any other normal day, except it also happened to be Justin's birthday.  I was working as a special education paraprofessional for a local middle school.  Jackson was just shy of 7 months old.

I was talking with one of the science teachers that I aided, Mrs. Jorja Berg, in the office adjoining her room and Mrs. Mandy Welch's room, another science teacher next door, both of whom I considered my good friends.  I don't exactly remember how this conversation got started (There's really no telling.  We were known for our randomness.), but at some point we stumbled onto the subject of menstrual cycles and the fact that I was late.  I wasn't worried about it because I was breastfeeding, after all.  I couldn't be pregnant.  Jorja was not so convinced.  This part I do remember.  "Just how late are you?" she asked me.  "Eleven days," I replied very flippantly and nonchalantly.  "ELEVEN days?!?!  You need to get tested, girl."  Well, I still didn't think I was pregnant but her alarm definitely shook my confidence.  Mandy just happened to be at Target on her lunch break so we called and asked her to pick up a pregnancy test and bring it back.

Mandy came racing through the door about five minutes before the bell rang for class carrying the now infamous test (in a bag, of course.  No need to traumatize the children. ;) Sadly, it probably wouldn't shock them at all, but that's a story for another day.).  She said, "I got it!  I just know the cashier thought I was crazy checking out with a box of tampons, pads, and a pregnancy test."  (Yes, she's hilarious!)

Our Little Songbird

Jackson is almost always singing. It's a well-known fact, too. Just ask his teacher who assigned him the Indian name, "Songbird", for their annual Thanksgiving costume party this year. He's a really great singer for his age, too. Most six-year olds have little self-awareness but this is particularly true of Jackson, among others diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I mention that to point out that when he sings, he really sings. He doesn't care who is listening. He is oblivious of whether or not his noise may be bothersome or distracting to someone. He just sings loud and strong. I truly love that about him and I hope it never changes! I love that he enjoys singing so much...but that's probably not surprising to most of you, considering my own passion for music.

Anyway, last night Justin and I were cracking up while listening to Jackson singing one of his new favorite

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

McDonald's Coupon!

Head over to McDonald's website to print a $1 off coupon for a frozen strawberry lemonade!  The coupon is good thru June 15th.  Who doesn't like frozen treats?  Especially when they're so cheap!  Enjoy!

Free John Frieda!

Hurry over now to grab your free sample of John Frieda haircare while you still can!  I love getting these sorts of freebies in the mail!  Sometimes I will save them for traveling since they are the perfect size to fit into a toiletry bag and you don't have to worry about packing it up when you leave.  Of course, you don't have to do that.  They are perfect to use anytime! ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tidy-Up Tip Tuesday 5/10

I had hoped to get this out earlier this morning but today has been crazy with a sick child at home.

Anyway, I definitely want to keep this a weekly routine and possibly something you'll look forward to reading so here's your tip for the week.  You can use white distilled vinegar as a fabric softener!  I've been doing this for years and have loved the results!  It has so many benefits besides just it's mere cost.  It will keep your washer clean and reduces the amount of lint in your dryer which as a result can prolong the life of both appliances.

All you do is add the vinegar to your liquid fabric softener compartment in your washing machine.  If you don't have one, add it during your final rinse or try pouring it into a Downy ball.  A half-cup is plenty, even less for smaller loads.  It's that easy!

When I first heard this tip, I was very skeptical and concerned that all of my clothes would come out of the

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Josiah Says

I had the pleasure of taking my 4 year old out "garage saling" with me today.  He brought his wallet and we headed out to find some bargains!  It wasn't too long before he wanted to purchase something.  I guess being cute lowers prices considerably because he really did well!  However, it appears he hasn't grasped how money transactions work quite yet.  I take partial responsibility for this since, well, here's what happened...

After securing a Disney puzzle for a quarter during one visit (which I loaned to him because he'd left his wallet in the car...go figure!) and then buying a battery operated toy guitar for fifty-cents at the next (That time he'd asked me to hold his wallet so I took a dollar out for him to pay and tried to hand it to him but he didn't take it so I handed it to the seller myself, then she handed him fifty-cents back.), we came to our final stop.  At this point, it was late and they were already packing up their wares.  Josiah found a Blue's Clues book and when I told him it was time to leave, he started to walk off with it without paying.  He was carrying his own wallet this time so I was explaining to him that if he wanted it then he needed to get his money out and pay for it.  The asking price was ten-cents but right as I was telling him to get his money out, they said he could just have it.  That's when Josiah went up to the sweet teenage girls with his hand out and said,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jackson's Birth- Part II

If you're just now joining this story, here are the links for the prerequisite and Jackson's Birth- Part I.

So, we're finally in a room of our own and I'm anxious to start walking around.  I had to wait for them to hook me up to a drip which meant walking the halls with a metal pole and hooked to an IV...pretty cumbersome.  Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the walking, in between bathroom breaks.  Those are fun, too, with an IV...having to unhook the bag from the pole, carry it into the bathroom, latch it to a hook on the wall.  I suppose it's easier than having the pole in there with you but when you're past 9 months pregnant...well, you can imagine how often I took those breaks when I was constantly being pumped full of fluids.  A little annoying.

Anyway, eventually the nurses made me stay in the bed after the doctor broke my water.  I think they were getting nervous that I might drop the baby on the floor or something.  Not likely, but I still relented.  Once

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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After placing your order, turn right around and go through ebates AGAIN for and get an ADDITIONAL 16% cashback!  Already ordered flowers?  No problem.  Save the special code as it is good until 5/31!  If this is your first time to proflowers, you will most likely also qualify for a free shipping rebate up to $15 after prompted and signing up with for a 30-day free trial!

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A wonderful treat for mom, a wonderful savings for you!!

Tidy-Up Tip Tuesday

I'm going to try to make this a weekly thing.

This idea came to me this morning while killing a roach.  I know that sounds weird.  I was in the laundry room getting a washload started when I spotted him.   I HATE roaches.  Since I didn't have any bug spray nearby, I grabbed the nearest thing, a bottle of Lysol Neutra-Air Fabric Refresher Mist Spray, not sure if it would work.  Well, it did!!  And it smells SO much better than Raid, not to mention safer for families with small children.  I'm thinking about making this a permanent change.

That got me to thinking that there are probably other household items we all have at home that would do the job just as well as a bug spray.  I priced Raid Ant and Roach killer on a recent CVS trip.  Granted, it's probably more expensive there than say, Walmart, but even so, it was over $6 for a 17.5 ounce can!  While the fabric refresher doesn't have the residual power of Raid (or another brand of bug spray), just a couple squirts will kill them on contact and it's WAY cheaper than $6 and possibly more environmentally friendly, although I haven't researched that theory.

So that's my tip for Tuesday.  Have any of you used something other than traditional bug spray to rid your home of pests?  If so, please share!  If you have a blog, why not join me in sharing your household tips every Tuesday?  Feel free to post your link in the comments section and together we can help each other keep a tidy home while saving time, money, and preserving the safety of our abodes.  :)