For the couponers...

I mentioned in my last update post that I was getting back into couponing...  I haven't decided if I will stick with it or call it quits for good, but for now I am pressing on.  Trips like my most recent one to Target definitely make it hard to quit.  These are pictures from a short trip for some easy bargains.  This trip didn't require too much planning.

I used a lot of Target store coupons available on Target's website...most, if not all, of the Target store coupons state "limit one per transaction," even though you can print two per computer. Several months ago when I was shopping and using some of these coupons, I had separated my items into separate transactions to account for this.  The cashier said that it was no problem for her to ring them all on one transaction and still use all of my coupons.  I went into this trip thinking that was this particular store's policy, only to discover (from a very impatient cashier) that it apparently is a cashier's choice as to whether or not they will accept it. For this trip, it only affected my deal for the dog treats, so it wasn't a big deal to just separate everything into two transactions, and the dog treats were still a good deal.  

When I first started couponing in 2008-2009, it was easy to get free stuff ALL the time...it wasn't always the healthiest, though.  Now, I'm finding that the freebies are rare, and even rarer are the healthy and nutritious freebies, so my personal goal is just to find a price that is cheaper that I would pay at Aldi, Walmart, or Costco, and for the whole trip, I like to see my total savings amount higher than my total = I saved more than I spent.

The (hopefully) brief breakdown on this transaction is as follows:

Bananas - $0.24 EACH...I thought I still had a valid mobile coupon for $1.00/1.00 or more, but I didn't and we needed some bananas, so I paid more for them than I would at Aldi but my last bunch from Aldi never turned yellow..................

Vans Waffles - $0.99 after a manufacturer's coupon

Fruttare Bars - $1.49 after a target and manufacturer's coupon stack  (these are really yummy!!)

handsoap - $0.39 after a target coupon

paper towel - $0.49 after a target coupon

hydrogen peroxide - $0.02 after a target coupon 

baby shampoo - $0.49 each after a target coupon

And then my second transaction:

For the details...I will not list items that are already listed in the previous transaction...

All detergent (10 pacs) - $0.99 ea after manufacturer's coupons

Dog treats - $0.82 each after a Target and manufacturer's coupon stack

Hair detangler - $0.32 ea after a Target coupon

SO -- $32.62 worth of items for $12.87...  


We've been wanting to get a garden in this year, but for one reason or another we were delayed.  Finally, I was able to get some boxes together for raised beds, and we purchased and planted some veggies yesterday!  We're on a smaller scale this year as we're trying the beds...I hope to add two more...one to begin some fall plants, and one for composting.

This first box is what I am calling the "salsa box" as it contains 4 tomato plants, 4 pepper plants, and basil seeds.  I can almost taste the fresh salsa right now.

The second box has cucumbers and beans...  and, those are my mums from last year that are growing quite heartily this summer!  Hopefully they will be beautiful enough to put on the porch this fall.

Some other "growth" around the yard includes...

very colorful zininas

chives...post trim

LOTS of roses

We're also enjoying the rosemary bush hedge, a newly blooming pink geranium, lavender, parsley, and strawberry plants.  Pictures of those soon?  Perhaps.

Stay tuned for future posts and watch our garden grow. 



We're enjoying getting to know our little turtle and learning his patterns.  He has some pretty funny antics that I especially enjoy.  After he did not eat for the first 5 days that we had him, we all still get pretty excited when he attacks his food.  Currently he is rejecting all food except for dried shrimp, and I haven't had the heart to make him get hungry enough for the other stuff yet.  But, I will have to soon, because he does need a balanced diet. And, C has agreed to let his name be Franklin...I may or may not have shown her old youtube videos of the Franklin cartoons to influence her decision.

Here are some videos of lil' Frankie boy enjoying his supper tonight... 
(my apologies for the poor quality...our camera is almost 9 years old.)


In Review...

My poor little neglected blog.  Every week starts out with good intentions...3 posts this week, so many things to share.  And then life happens...and blogging drops further and further into the abyss of items-left-unchecked-on-my-to-do-list.  I'm finding myself pulling away from the computer more and more and some days barely check-in at all.  It's a good thing and I'm okay with it.  But, it means my blog is neglected.

So, here's a massive (random) update for those who keep up with us here...it has to be massive as it will probably be months before I do it again. 

I have willingly and exuberantly welcomed a reptile into my home.  Shocking, I know.  But, this is probably the ONLY kind of reptile I would be interested in housing because they move slow enough to catch should they escape.  We had been planning to get an aquarium for quite some time (although with fish), given C's affinity for ALL THINGS WATER.  (Marine Biologist in the making, yes?  She's going to be GMa's ticket to finally get up close with the dolphins, I think.)  But, after rescuing this little guy from impending doom in the Bi-Lo parking lot, we decided to go ahead and get the aquarium and hope that he responded well...if not, the aquarium is re-usable.  (Yes, that is how two frugal-minded first-borns make these sorts of decisions.)

Who knew he would be SO fond of hiding in the plants -- we think he thinks we can't see him....  I'm sure it feels just like home because everyone knows there are neon pink plants growing in ponds all over the Southeast.  (I went for cheap, not realistic.)  

He's really responded quite well to the new digs and finally (after 5 days) is eating well! (Turtle pellets and dried shrimp pieces, anyone?!?)  He is developing some patterns which amuse me greatly.  As soon as the shades are pulled in the evening, he positions himself in the plants and promptly goes to sleep.  Once the shades are raised and/or heat lamp is turned on in the morning, he goes to his rock for sun-bathing.  He is really ridiculously cute...for a reptile.  C is delighted with him, and gives him a new name everyday.  I think I've finally convinced her that we should stick with boy names...today he is Kelly.  

Speaking of changes in C's room (that is where the aquarium landed)...we made the switch from the toddler bed to the BIG bed.  It's been a great transition and everyone LOVES it.

It does mean, however, that we are without a bed in our guest room until we replace it, although at present I am working on The Great Book Purge of 2013, so the entire guest room floor is covered with piles of books while I sort and rearrange. (Exaggeration?  Sadly, no.)

Having taken in two baseball games so far this season, and the influence of her best-bud Andrew (who adores baseball...and all things sports, really), C has decided that she wants to be a baseball girl...  

Game face.  Oh, and yes, those ARE her Sunday dress shoes...  She's also been dressing herself lately.  Our system is that I choose the outfits (or we choose them together) when we're going somewhere, and on the days we stay home she choose them all by herself.  

Summer is almost here...for reals this time.  Much to my own amazement, I gave in and purchased Roo-Cups for us to take on our adventures to the pool, fountains, etc this summer.  $0.25 refills, which includes slushees...  Here's to a summer of entirely too much sugar...but oh-so-much-fun.  

Speaking of fountains, we did make our way there this week and had a lovely time...with the multiple school groups that were also there.  I am a magnet for school groups, which is hard to avoid during the month of May in a town with so much great stuff to do.  I don't mind the groups -- I'm glad the kids get to have a good time.  I mind that I go all nazi-mama when there's that many kids and freak out about losing MY kid in the crowd.  Lessons in faith.

C is growing up too fast and her imagination is really coming alive...and she's strong enough to put into action the thoughts in her head.  So, yesterday she took her stuffed animals on a train ride to Mississippi.

Life has been exceptionally busy lately and I'm looking forward to the "lazy days" of summer...it is a tremendous privilege to be home with C and to enjoy this time with her.  It is going by so fast.  We've enjoyed many play dates this spring with friends from church and also some new friends as I get to know the ladies from my moms group.  C is enjoying meeting their kids as well.

Greg and I have both been running with a goal of 3 times/week.  We don't run together for two reasons -- childcare and I would greatly slow him down.  He completed his first 5K in April, and I have signed up for my first at the end of June.  I'm at week 5 of C25K, but have had to take a week off due to being sick.  Having to call the paramedics out to the track because I'm coughing so much I can't breathe just doesn't seem worth it.  Guess I'm not a real runner...yet.

We thought after Greg got his MBA in 2009 we were done with school, but in the back of our minds, we knew that wasn't true, and so 2013 finds us back at school again for the next 3 years.  I am overwhelmed as I try to support him in his studies, so I can only imagine how overwhelmed he must feel.  But, that is usually how things begin, so hopefully it will even out soon...like in 2016...when he's done.  

So far we have not put in a garden this year, and it's looking like we probably will not...apart from a few things that I have in containers (flowers/herbs).  I really want to switch over to raised beds, so we may begin making that transition and try to do some fall gardening.  I may give in and put a few tomato/pepper plants in pots though...

C has surprised us with beginning to read...so we're practicing and working through some lessons.  How crazy is it that she is old enough to be talking, much less reading?!?

I'm back into couponing and am finding it to be more beneficial than before.  Most of my coupons are coming from the internet this time around and several new programs.  SO far I'm staying away from the "Drug store game" and just going for Bi-Lo, Publix, Target, and Walmart.  The Ibotta app is fantastic, and I'm loving Target mobile coupons as well as their new Cartwheel program.  It's a lot to keep up with and I'm trying to keep it all in check, but so far it's good.  I'm pleasantly surprised at the natural/organic coupons that are becoming more readily available.  I'm mostly a "perimeter" shopper, so being able to save on those things is really helpful!

Next week, we will celebrate our 9th anniversary.  Hard to believe we are old enough to be married that long!  No big plans this year, but we're scheming about next year....

And lastly, our church is updating our photo directory, so we got a new family picture out of the deal.  It's a blessing to have multiple talented photographer friends...credit for this one goes to Willa.

Summer 2013 looks to be quite full with school for G, a cousin's wedding, visiting family, weekend beach trip, C's 4th bday and family in town, trips to the pool, activities at church, a GMa's 90th bday, week at the beach, and Fall will be here before we know it and we'll be diving into the world of pre-school activities.  

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