Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Of My Recent Savings

It's been a little while since I've posted anything about a couponing trip here but the past couple days have yielded some pretty decent shopping trips, so I figured I'd brag a little about it.

Today, I hit Giant Eagle for a few things:

5 doz Eggs: 5 dozen for $5 (no coupon but that's a good deal around here)
8 Lunchables: 2 for $1.98 - $1/1(7x) = $.01 money maker each (except one)
4 Kraft Meltdowns: $.99 each - $1/1(4x) = $.01 money maker each
4 Capri Sun Sunrise 10 pack: $2 each - $1/1(4x) = $1 each
5 Marcal Bathroom Tissue 4 pk: $2.69 each - $2/1(5x) = $.69 each
Total OOP: $13.81 (77% savings)

I also went to Fashion Bug to pick up my new swimsuit. I went to the store a little over a week ago after looking online and seeing a suit I liked. It was on sale online for $37.59. The price in the store was $49.99 - regular price. There was a sign that above the swimsuits that said "sale" but nothing rang up on sale. I told them I would order it online and have it shipped to the store for free and I left. I went ahead and ordered it online but just before checking out, I did a quick search for promo codes and found one for $10 off a $30 or higher purchase. I entered it and my suit was down to $27.59 with free shipping to the store! Yay! Hahaha! I love saving money!

On Saturday night, I did a quick Giant Eagle run to get juice before my coupons expired. I got 20 Q's each for juice and peanut butter from ebay.

20 V8 V-fusion Juice: $4.29 on sale 2/$5 - $.75/1(20x) = $1 each
20 Jif Peanut Butter: $2.69 on sale 2/$4 - $.35/1(20x) = $1.30 each
Total OOP $46.00 (67% savings)

A funny little side note: Today was the first time I've had to buy toilet paper since last October. I need to keep my eyes open for another good deal so I can go another 6 months without needing to buy it again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's a Double Birthday Party!

We decided to have a combine birthday part for Laural and Micah this year since we've been so busy with so many other things. We originally planned for May 1, but since my brother and his family are visiting from Florida, we switched it to this weekend. We weren't sure how many people would end up coming since a lot of family would be in town for Grandma's party, so we decided to have our party at the church too. It was convenient also because the church was still decorated from Grandma's party. We didn't end up starting until around 2 PM. We had lunch first. We had hot dogs and sloppy joes, crudités, fresh fruit, chips & dips & a relish tray. After lunch, Laural & Micah opened their presents. They got so much fun stuff!

While I set up for cake and singing Happy Birthday, Steve took the kids to the other side and played Disney Dance - Stop. Basically, the kiddos dance to Disney music and when it stops, they freeze in whatever position they happen to be in. That was fun to watch!

Next up was the build your own cupcake bar. I made cupcakes and set out 4 different flavors of frosting, some decorator bags of frosting and different toppings and let everyone make decorate their cupcake the way they wanted it. It went oveer rather well. After Laural and Micah had their cupcakes ready, we sang Happy Birthday and they got to blow out their candle and eat their cupcake.

After that, the kids went bowling for candy. Nothing fancy, just when they knocked all the pins down, they got a candy bar. It was good motivation but even after I was done handing candy out, they continued to bowl like mad. We were going to have a water squirtie battle, but the weather got kind of bad toward the end of the party, so I just let the kids take their squirties with them.

Since all of the grandkids were together at the same time, we did a quick pic of all the kids with Grandma & Grandpa, well their Great Grandma & Great Grandpa.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Grandma's Surprise 80th Birthday Party

For Grandma's 80th birthday, we planned a surprise birthday party. We told her that we were having Laural & Micah's birthday party. Yep, I lied to my Grandma - again. LOL I think we managed to pull it over on her though she may have been a bit on to us near the end. We had the party at our church. A lot of the family from all over came for the party: Uncle Sonny from Alaska; Aunt Sue, Roman, Shane and his family, Brandon & his family and Alan & his family all from Columbus; Uncle Bud & Aunt Pauline; Bud & Cheryl Sperring, Becki & her friend; Marvin & Darla; Aunt Shirley; Ray & Kristin and the kids from Florida plus all of us "locals" and so many other family & friends. Grandma arrived with Grandpa & Uncle Sonny, carrying Laural & Micah's birthday presents just before 4:30 PM.

 Everybody sang happy Birthday after the surprise.

After Grandma took a few minutes to say hello to everyone, we had dinner.
A hug for her brother. Sorry this one is a little blurry. My camera has zooming issues.

The dinner spread: Rigatoni, Meatballs, Bread & Butter, Deli Trays & Rolls, Relish Tray, Veggie Trays, Salad, Chips & Dip. Mom & Dad made and/or prepared everything.
The cake & gift table. The yummy fruit arrangement on the left was made by Sharon.

The cakes I made.

I took pics of the cakes before leaving home - just in case. I've not made or transported sheet cakes before and I was a little nervous and wanted to have evidence. LOL

After we were done eating, Mom, Aunt Sue, Uncle Sonny & Uncle Tom surprised Grandma with the new Lazy Boy recliner they got for her. After that, we cut the cake, which turned out to be super yummy. Yep, I'm tooting my own horn here. LOL After cake, Grandma opened her presents. She got a lot of nice things. I wish I had taken pics but I was writing down what she received and Steve was probably chasing Micah around.

Overall, it was a great party and it was so nice to have so much of the family there. I haven't seen some of my cousins in years. There were so many little ones there! Laural had a ball playing with all her extended cousins. It would have been great if Aunt Barb could have been there too. Maybe for number 85?

I hope you had a great day!

*Note: I have some of Uncle Sonny's & my Mom's pics on the other computer and I will put some of those up soon. I would have done it tonight if my laptop was here but Steve needed to take it to work tonight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Micah's 2 Year Check-Up

Even though Micah has been 2 for nearly a whole month now, he just finally had his 2 year check-up today. I have to admit, I was a little nervous because he has been such a slow gainer that I was afraid we would see another tiny weight gain. I was thrilled, though, when I saw that he gained 2 whole pounds since his last check-up! Good job little man! He also grew 1 inch which makes him 33 inches tall now. He's finally starting to pick up! He might even have been heavier if it wasn't for the fact that he is just getting over a stomach bug. 

He did ok with the exam - he clung to me while the doctor listened to his heart and lungs. He started crying and seemed a little panicked when the doctor tried to look into his ears and freaked when the doctor tried to look into his mouth. He quited right down when the doctor handed him back to me. We got a new prescription for his skin condition and wll begin using that tonight. Hopefully it will alleviate some of the itchiness for him. I really hate drugging him up with Benedryl all the time like the doctor suggests, so I really hope this works for him. I hate it when I see him scratching at himself to the point of making himself bleed. His little fingernails grow so fast that I need to clip them every other day so he doesn't cut himself up. He's still getting over his intestinal ills and has a bit of diaper rash as a result. I hope that it clears soon for him. Poor guy. But other than that, I have a healthy and happy little 2 year old. It's amazing to think that 2 years ago, he was just finally getting out of the hospital. He's come a long way! And to think, there was a time that they thought he might not live to see these days. God is AWESOME!


Congratulations Debbie, Stephen, Laural & Micah!

You are going to Walt Disney World!
This was the message waiting in my inbox once we got home from Micah's 2 year well visit check-up. Wow! I am really starting to get excited over this trip. I cannot wait to see Laural's face light up when she meets Mickey and when we have dinner with the princesses. I think Micah might be  a little nervous at first, but I really think he is going to have a blast as well. Now, all I have to do is get packed!
Ok, so there is one more thing. Since the entire reason we even started planning this trip was so we could see a space shuttle launch, I have to get that planned out as well. We have decided that since these last few launches will be historic events, we are going to try to do it all the way too - which means getting up early tomorrow morning and waiting for the tickets to the Kennedy Space Center NASA Causeway to go on sale and then hope I am able to buy them. You log in to a virtual waiting room and then hope you are one of those who are randomly selected to purchase tickets. I've heard that the available tickets sell out within minutes, so we shall see what happens. I'm really hoping we can get the tickets but at the same time, a part of me is afraid that we will get the tickets because they are SO expensive! It will be worth it though. There are only 3 shuttle launches left before the program is retired for good. Getting to see the shuttle launch from KSC will be an amazing experience. I almost wish Micah were a little older so he could remember it. One thing is for certain, we will be taking about a million photos & video, so he will certainly be able to have the memory saved for him in photos.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Today, we changed things up a bit. We had a heavier lunch and saved our muffin tin meal for dinner. The theme today was Leftovers Rock which was actually perfect for us since I haven't had a chance to get out to shop in a few weeks now. It's a good thing I stockpile! We've been living off all the goodies I have tucked away in our freezer and pantry and a few fresh items I've grabbed in a hurry here and there. This was actually a combination muffin tin meal and bento for us tonight. Here is what we dug out of the fridge:
Leftover mac & cheese, strawberry fans, carrots, snap peas, kiwi slices, mini bell peppers, half of an Uncrustable, Nut Crisps crackers, star bologna & cheese.

Laural and Micah had nearly identical meals with the exception that his had smaller portions of everything. I didn't get a pic of his because he has no concept of patience yet.

My meal was a little different. I had: Leftover mac & cheese, strawberry fans, a small salad with carrots, cheese and french dressing, snap peas, baby carrots, Nut Crisps crackers and mini cheese stars. Isn't it pretty? I had some kiwi slices too that didn't make it into the box. It may not look very filling, but here I am a few hours later and still full!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Look at what I bought today!

I am not a person who spends money easily. So, when I went out today with a particular item in mind, it wasn't a simple purchase. Actually, I have been wanting one of these for about 3 years, but just didn't want to spend the money on it. The item in question? A new carpet cleaner, of course. Yeah, it's not a huge amount of money but like I said, I don't spend money easily! And since I've started with the couponing, I've become even more tight, er, frugal with the funds at hand. And, who wants to spend money on something as mundane as a carpet cleaner when there are so many way cooler things out there I could have bought for that kind of money?

The problem is that over the past 5 days, both kids have been spontaneously puking in the most inopportune of places. Last night was the final straw when Micah was sitting on my lap and suddenly exploded causing a splatter zone with about a 3 foot radius. Trying to clean the mess out of the carpet after cleaning it off the billion Mega Bloks that happened to be in the zone, was enough to convince me that the investment would be worth it, especially after I looked over at another spot on the carpet that is still stained from the Christmas morning puke Micah deposited on the floor.

So, out I went and bought a Bissell ProHeat 2x Healthy Home Upright Deep Cleaner.

It took about 15 minutes to put it together and get all the attachments popped into their correct places. It's really heavy, especially once you fill it with water. I really like the fact that it heats the already hot tap water up to a max of 190°F. It also blows warm air out the bottom on the sides so it helps to start the drying faster though I'm not really sure how effective it is. It did seem to clean the puke zones up pretty nicely. I am glad that I bought it. When it comes down to it, the money spent was well worth not having to be on my hands and knees for hours trying to scrub puke out of the carpet. Tomorrow, after hitting some yard sales in the morning, I'm breaking out the upholstery tools!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our 1st "Official" Bento

We've been into the bento thing for a little while but I until recently, I've been hesitant to start buying actual bento supplies because: 1) It isn't locally available - everything has to be ordered and I tend to have bad luck when I order stuff and a lot of this stuff comes from Hong Kong or Japan. 2) What if once I spend $100 on stuff, I decide I really don't want to do it? 3) It's more stuff to find places for and I just cleared my cupboards a couple weeks ago.

So far, we are really enjoying bento lunches, so I decided to go ahead and buy a few things. I ordered a couple of bento snack boxes from Hong Kong and was quite surprised that they arrived in only about a week! One is Hello Kitty for Laural and the other is a cute Shinkansen for Micah.

We had been planning a trip to the park today and taking bento for a picnic but both kids have some sort of bug and have been puking, so we decided to stay in today. Instead, I made lunch to stay in but put Laural's in he snack bento since I didn't want her eating a whole lot anyhow. It was so cute!
She had fried rice and veggies, gyoza, blood orange sections and 2 m&m eggs. This was just a quickie since she has been dying to use her Hello Kitty bento box. I didn't take the time to decorate since we were all hungry for lunch. Here is Micah's box which is empty. He was miserable today and just wanted to sleep so he was in bed during lunch. Poor guy.

I have to say that I just love how cute and convenient the bento boxes are. I am so looking forward to getting my next package that has 4 regular size bento boxes and some picks in it! It's coming from Japan and will take at least 2 more weeks to get here. I hope it gets here before we leave for Florida because I'm anxious to see them!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Alexander

Today would be my angel Alexander's 7th birthday. It is stunning to me that 7 years has passed since the day he silently entered the world. I miss him more than words could ever say. This is a song/poem I wrote for him this year.

In my mind I see him
Walking golden streets
Laughing and singing
At his Father's feet

Today should be a party
Celebrating 7 years on earth
Instead it's just a day
That marks his silent birth

Nothing in the world can bring him back
Nothing in the world can make me forget
Nothing in the world can be worse
Than saying good bye

I know one day I'll see him
We'll walk those golden streets
Weeping tears of joy and singing
At our Father's feet

Until that day I'll hold him
But only in my heart
Until that day when we will
never have to be apart

Nothing in the world can bring him back
Nothing in the world can make me forget
Nothing in the world can be worse
Than saying good bye

I love you, my dear son. I miss you. Happy Birthday, Alex. ~Mommy♥

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I have been threatening to make gyoza for quite some time now but it always seemed like a lot of work, so I kept putting it off. Well, I finally did it and it was a lot of work, but they are so very yummy! For those who don't know, gyoza are little Japanese dumplings, filled with ground pork and cabbage seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onion and sesame oil. The recipe calls for mixing everything together and putting the uncooked pork in the wrappers but I am paranoid about them not cooking through, so I cooked the pork ahead of time and broke it down into very small bits. If I had done it the proper way, the middle of the dumpling would be a more solid little piece of meat. Mine are more crumbly, but I don't think the flavor is all that different. I might try them the proper way next time. If there is a next time. It takes a lot tof time wrapping 50 dumplings. I hpe they last in the freezer for a while, but they are so yummy, they just might not. Here is a plate of some of my dumplings. They may not look as pretty as pro made but they are pretty tasty!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Has Spring Sprung?

Or is summer already on it's way? The weather here has been fantastic the past several days. Temperatures have been in the low to mid 80's during the day making it the perfect weather to be outside. It's been a bit windy, but still wonderful. Laural has been playing outside every day this week. It almost seems as though spring has been passed over in favor of an early summer but according to weather forecasts, we might be heading back to typical spring weather for Western PA by the end of the week. In the meantime, I am busying myself with preparations to make spending time outside more convenient this summer. I'm really hoping that this year, we will be able to have some backyard jams and hot dog roasts. Since we have musicians on both sides of the family, I was hoping to start them last summer, but it never came to be. So, family & friends who are reading this - be prepared! We will be having at least one this summer!

Today, we put up a new clothesline - on a pully from the porch - so I can start getting our laundry out to dry. I really hated trudging all the way out to the side yard and battling the spiders that hung out amidst the trees. Unless it was quite breezy, the clothes took a while to dry anyhow because they weren't in the sun. This one is more out in the open, so it should make it better all around. I put the first load up on the line shortly after hanging it - diapers!
They look so bright and nice on the line, especially with the dreary looking trees behind them. The line sagged quite a bit, so on the schedule for tomorrow is trying to tighten that up a bit.

We also dragged out the grill but sadly, I think that it has come to the end of it's life. We bought it with some of our wedding money (almost 16 years ago) so, it's served us long and well. A couple of years ago, it was getting unusable as a gas grill, so we gutted it and turned it into a charcoal grill, but this year, it needs too much so, I think we will be grill shopping this weekend.

Tomorrow, it's back outside to get the play area ready for some serious PLAYING! I think Laural would approve.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Micah's Skinned Knees, Laural's Cruddy Feet and Other Easter Fun

We had such a full day! We started the day with the Easter Basket hunt. I don't know what made her go right for the bathroom, but Laural did and found her basket right away. I figured she would have gone for the kitchen first. Micah also saw his basket right away. I hid it in a simple place - the seat of his high chair. He usually completely ignores his chair, but today he looked right over at it and went right over to see what that was all about. I managed to keep the baskets in tact long enough to get a couple pictures before they started digging through.

 After some fun and sweets, we had to get ready for church. I dressed the kiddos in their coordinating outfits. They looked so cute!
Once we got home from church, I took some pics of the kids in their Easter outfits.

Micah enjoys the warm weather while checking out the driveway.

Laural never misses and opportunity to spin.

We weren't home long before it was time to head out again. Easter dinner was at my Grandparent's this year. Besides my Grandparents and us, my parents, Brian & his kids, Amy & the kids (Rob had to work), and Uncle Tom & Sharon were there. We had ham & turkey, mashed, scalloped and sweet potatoes, biscuits and rolls, deviled and pickled eggs, stuffing, Waldorf salad, and even more stuff that I can't remember. It was all delicious and I ate way too much. After dinner, most of the family went outside but Amy had to run something out to Rob at work, so I stayed inside and held little Rilee Jane while she slept. Laural and Micah went out with everyone else. Micah had a ball running around the yard! I hope he didn't wear my Grandma out too bad after all the work she did getting dinner made. He fell a couple of times and got his first skinned knees. He didn't shed a tear though. He just jumped back up and was on with his playing.

Laural spent the time running around with her cousins and playing all sorts of games like tag and hide & seek. She fell a couple times herself but she didn't get too beat up. She did bite her lip a bit and bruised it but she was fine - because she couldn't see it.

Laural had a nice pair of white sandels that she wore today for Easter. The key word here is *had.* After a couple hours of playing outside they didn't quite resemble the white they once had been. Look at this pic and you will have an idea of what they look like now.
The tops of her feet were just as filthy. Ahh, the fabulousness of outdoor spring and summer fun is upon us. Love it!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Coloring Easter Eggs

We had quite the time coloring Easter eggs tonight. We've been so busy the past couple of days that we just finally were able to get to it tonight. While this was not Micah's 1st Easter - and not even his 2nd, it was the first year he was able to participate a bit in the fun. At first he was content sitting in his high chair, coloring with some crayons. But, that must have grown boring after a short time because he started letting us know he wanted what we had. "Ee-yet!" The little arm stretched out in a futile attempt to reach the various cups filled with brightly colored liquid. So, being the sometimes brave mommy that I am, I decided to let him have a try. I held on to the cup as he splashed the spoon into the cup and around the egg. I was a bit concerned that he was going to crack the egg, but he managed to avoid that. After a couple of minutes, he realized he could lift the egg out and was quite surprised and pleased with what he had done. It was very cute watching Micah color his first Easter eggs.

Laural did a fine job as well. After she had done her first egg, I broke out the crayons so she could make designs on the eggs before dipping them. She decided that the egg she had already dyed needed to be decorated, so she made an alien face on it. It was quite fun to watch her get so into coloring the eggs. She loves to be creative anyhow, so this was right up her alley. Now all that is left to do is wait for the Easter Bunny to come for a visit!

 Here are a couple other pics of Micah learning how to dye eggs:




Lady Bugs, The Return

It seems our lovely lady beetles are quite hardy little bugs because they have been with us for quite a while this year. We only would see 2 or 3 at a time around the house through the winter, but now that we are enjoying absolutely gorgeous 80°F weather, Laural's little pets have made a major comeback. There are about a dozen wandering around my kitchen as I am typing this - and that is not counting the one that Laural has captured to be her pet of the moment. She has a rather unique one at the moment, actually - no spots!
Yep, I took a pic. Several actually.

Ok, she did have one spot - clear down on her side.

PS. In case you are wondering, all of our ladybugs are females. And most of them are named Alaina. Just ask Laural.


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