Friday, February 29, 2008

Frugal Friday: My Cup is Full

Welcome Again to Frugal Friday!

One of my all time favorite sites for saving money is A Full Cup. This site is just loaded with coupons, rebates, bargain alerts, freebies and so much more. I've only discovered A Full Cup in the last few months and I'm already addicted. I've learned so much from others who have shared their money saving techniques that I'm pretty sure I've saved a couple of hundred of dollars just by shopping at CVS alone. And I haven't even begun to check out the entire site. You'll find everything from Target coupons to the best on-line deals. It doesn't matter if you are a coupon pro or a newbie, you are sure to find new ways to fill your cup at A Full Cup.

To find out how Frugal Friday got started go here. If you have a frugal tip you'd like to share, just let me know. I promise to give you full credit and I'll even link your blog.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Per Your Request

Ask and you shall receive, I always say. At least in this case it just took one person (my sister) to ask for more photos of my son. Of course I am happy to oblige.

For your viewing pleasure...

Playing outside (yes it was 80 degrees today)

Preston the Giant

Whatchu talkin' about Willis?

Deep Thoughts


Wait a second! How'd that get in there?

Am I the only one who thinks my child looks like Haley Joel Osment?

And finally... the Many Faces of Preston

Saturday, February 23, 2008

So Long, Old Me

You may or may not have noticed that I am sporting a new look in my profile. I used to look like this:

Yahoo! Avatars

Now, don't get me wrong, I think I look pretty good here. My outfit is cute, my hair is cute (although not my current style), and my blue eyes are pretty dazzling. But honey, the shoes have got to go. I promise my shoes are much cuter in person. And the two-story house is just all wrong when compared to the one-level ranch style I currently dwell in. The pile of leaves? Sadly all too accurate. Too bad I haven't found the virtual me raking the not-so-virtual leaves in my front yard.

But no time for drawn out, sappy goodbyes. So long virtual me... hello, real me:

Ok, ok you can't see my dazzling blue eyes, or my really cute shoes but this is the best you are going to get. I have to admit I take lousy photographs. Meaning, the camera points in my direction and I suddenly grow two more chins, my blouse decides to do crazy and disproportionate things, one eye decides to be smaller than the other, and I look four foot six inches... seriously! So, when challenged to do a self-portrait I did what any other self-respecting busy mom would do and headed into the bathroom, donned a daisy (that's real by the way) and used the mirror to snap a photo of my good side. Mischievous blouse and multiple chins defeated!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Frugal Friday: Freecycle

You've heard the phrase one man's junk is another man's treasure? Well Freecycle is the perfect place to get rid of your junk or find some new junk. Freecycle is an on-line network that allows folks to receive or get rid of stuff for free. It works on a simple principle, you post your items (which is free), someone wants your item, you coordinate with that person and your lovely piece of junk ends up in a new loving home and not in the landfill.

There are groups in just about every area in the country and even the world. I have freecycled a bunch of stuff and have actually received a good deal as well. Go here to find a group near you and once you sign up (don't worry, it's free) you're a freecycler! It is super easy... and did I mention, it's free?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Purple Rain

Unaltered photo taken last Saturday during an early evening rain storm.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, go here and here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Have a little Compassion

Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.

According to Webster compassion means a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. The second part of that definition really struck me as there are often things I would say that I have compassion for, but rarely follow through with the desire to do something about it. Fortunately, there are people out there who do genuinely have compassion for others and are passionate about doing something about those who are less fortunate. And those awesome people are called Compassion International. According to their website: "Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults." I don't know about you, but to me that seems like a momumental task. I mean, don't we as parents strive for the same thing for even our own children? I know I get overwhelmed and I am fortunate to live in a country where food, water, and basic living needs are easily met. I cannot imagine the time, effort and finances required to accomplish this in a child who has the deck stacked against them.

I first became involved with Compassion through my husband, Phillip. Phillip sponsored his first child in the early 1990's and was able to maintain his sponsorship up until that child became an adult and graduated from the program. He then decided that he immediately wanted to sponsor another child and that's where Jennyfer comes in.

The great thing about Compassion is that you and your sponsored child are encouraged to get to know one another by writing letters and sharing information. We have received all sorts of pictures and letters from Jennyfer, and it is always a joy to receive a letter from her. Jennyfer lives in Columbia with her mother and father, and two siblings. She enjoys singing and art, and is an avid Bible reader. We first began sponsoring Jennyfer when she was very young and in the beginning her letters were dictated (as she was too young to write) but she would include a beautiful drawing that she had done. Now, Jennyfer is 13 and her letters are thoughtful and insightful. She often tells us that she is praying for us and how much she appreciates us being faithful to sponsor her. We often discuss the various parts of the Bible she is studying and what she is learning in school. We can tell that she has a quiet spirit, yet she loves the Lord and is passionate when talking about Him. It has been such a blessing to our family to get to know Jennyfer.

As Preston gets older I pray that he will have the desire to be compassionate. Having a sponsored child through Compassion it allows us to talk to him about other cultures, lifestyles, and God. Albeit still a bit young to fully grasp the meaning of it all, I hope that by seeing his parents and how we interact with those who are less fortunate, he will do the same and much, much more.

I want to encourage you to consider sponsoring a child through Compassion. For around a dollar a day you can give a child the opportunity to receive an education, be healthy, build self-confidence and social skills, and most importantly hear the gospel and learn about Jesus. It truly is a way for each of us to display our true compassion.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Frugal Friday: Library

Welcome again to Frugal Friday!

This week's tip involves your local library. While a great place to check out a great read, most libraries offer so much more. Instead of heading to your movie rental place, check out the DVD rental section at the library. Some libraries even allow you to go on-line and place a hold on the new releases, then they email you when your movie is in. Not even Blockbuster does that! And all it costs is a library card and those are mostly free!

Also, libraries are great places to take your kids. We love going to the library on a rainy day to just look at all the books. Our local library has a small area with puzzles and games for the little ones as well. And you don't even need a library card to browse and play! Check with the librarian about different scheduled activities that take place during the week. This is a great way to meet those with similar interests or hobbies, and to find new playmates for your little one.

We love our library!

For more Frugal Friday entries and to find out how this all got started go here. And if you have a frugal tip you'd like to share, just let me know. I promise to give you full credit and I'll even link your blog.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Love Day!

Although Phillip and I decided to not exchange gifts this year - we agreed to put that money towards paying off the house - I had a fantastic Valentines Day! Here's how our day went.

8am - Awaken by noisy toy being played in the hallway outside by bedroom by equally noisy boy. Superb hubby has allowed me to sleep in a bit.

8:02 - Noisy boy standing bedside, "Mommy, see my toy?" (Of course I've seen the toy, and apparently I have unsucessfully hidden said toy.) "Happy Valentine's Day, Preston" "Happy Valentine Mommy." Hugs and kisses exchanged.

8:45 - Get in the car take Phillip to work.

9:10 - Return home to get started on our Valentine's Day craft which produced these lovely paperplate Valetine holder/purses/door hangers for good friends Kylie and Maya.

Preston used a crayon to color the underneath side of a paperplate. Although hard to see as Preston was not very adventurous with the crayon. Preston helps staple the two plates and I trim the tops to make them look more like hearts. I then cut out the paper hearts and Preston glues them on the front and applies the stickers for the names. (Another alphabet recognition opportunity, thumbs up!) Preston holds the ribbon, I cut and attach them. Voila gift complete!

10:15 - Begin name writing on individual Valentines for Rec Center teachers and friends.

Preston's first attempt at writing his own name without my guidance. You can clearly see the "P" and "T". The "O" got squished against the "T", but all in all I would say he did a great job. We had seven of these to do so by the time we got the end he was all a bit done with it. I'm so proud of my little guy! We've only just started working on writing our letters.

12pm - Lunch is served: peanut butter and jelly, celery sticks and cheese puffs. And that was just for me. Just kidding! I had leftovers.

12:40 - Time to leave for T-ball at the Rec Center and deliver Valentines to teachers.

1:15 - I return home to sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Typically this is impossible to do with a 3 year-old who thinks he has to sweep and mop too, so I've taken advantage of the alone time. Also started on dinner - lasagna - and speed cleaned the house as mother-in-law was coming over for Valentine's Dinner.

3pm - Pick up Preston at the Rec Center and drive to friend's house to deliver paperplate Valentine holder/purse/doorhanger thingy to Kylie and Maya.

Kylie giving Preston his Valentine she made. Pixie stick included. Score!

Love how Maya is looking at Preston in this photo.

Showing off their Valentines.

Looks like we have Valentine success!

And this is what it looks like right before you sneeze. Visit friends, spread germs, mission accomplished.

3:30 - Race to the store to pick up milk and mozzerella for the lasagna. Well the milk isn't for the lasagna, that's for breakfast in the morning.

4:10 - Finally home, Preston has a snack and watches TV *gasp* while I finish the lasagna, shower, more speed cleaning and put on my make-up so that dear hubby is not totally frightened on Valentine's Day.

5:40 - Mother-in-law brings Phillip home and gives Preston his present which just happens to be this green teeter-totter. May not mean that much to you, but this goes to his marble run and he thought it was the BEST THING EVER!

Mother-in-law gave me a bag of candy which included a large box of Junior Mints. May not meant that much to you, but trust me it was the BEST THING EVER!

6:00 - Dinner is served. Lasagna was mother-in-law's recipe and my first attempt. I must boast that it also was the BEST THING EVER!

9:00 - Mother-in-law helps Preston to bed, reads a book, says prayers and heads home.

10:00 - Everyone is fast asleep except for this tuckered out housewife. What? Are those my Junior Mints calling me? Gotta go!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Welcome to Frugal Friday!

After visiting a ton of blogs through the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival I noticed that some bloggers have themed days. Like 13 Things Thursday, Wordless Wednesday, etc. I really like the idea of themed days, it helps keep me organized and gives me a goal with my blog. Besides I really like alliterations and coming up with my own themed day completely satisfies that need. For instance, I could have Tasty Tuesdays - a blog about really good tasty things, like Twinkies and taffy. There could be Sappy Sunday for all things sticky and syrupy. Uhm, I'll keep working on that one.

So Frugal Friday it is (my best alliteration thus far). Every Friday I'll post a tip about how to save money. The point will be to keep it brief (I don't have all day, you probably don't either) and hopefully put some dough back in your wallet. I also can't promise that my frugal tip will be in any way original. Hey, like you I'm busy, I can't always remember where I read or heard something. So if I've "stolen" your idea I only did so in a moment of forgetfulness.

Here's your tip today (another alliteration! WOOT!):

If you are looking to be more green (And who isn't? It is all the rage, you know) and you've been setting your recyclables out on the curb for the trash truck, consider recycling for $$$. Look in your area for places that recycle aluminum cans or paper. Here in the DFW area (that's Texas, ya'all) check out Texas Recycling. They pay you cash for your newspapers, aluminum cans, and cardboard. It's quick, easy, and relatively painless - unless you throw your back out loading the back of your car.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Macaw

Colorful Macaw at a Rainforest exhibt (photo taken by my hubby in 2006).

Thanks for stopping by!
For more Wordless Wednesday visit here and here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bringing Back the Classics

Somehow I managed to get out of highschool without reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. In fact when I think about it I somehow got through a higher education without reading a lot of classic literature - but I digress. Fortunately, Karen at Mommy of Three is doing her best by redeeming my less than stellar education by giving me my very own copy of Wuthering Heights. I had entered my name in the drawing during Rocks in my Dryer's Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. I'm actually still working on the last book that I won during the last Bloggy Carnival. Hopefully I'll be able to post a review soon. Gee, it's like I'm back in highschool preparing for a book report. I'll get started on it right after my algebra homework.

Thanks again to Karen at Mommy of Three for hosting the giveaway.

Monday, February 4, 2008

And the winners are...

A big thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog during the Bloggy Giveaways. I had a lot of fun reading everyone's responses and I'm still making my way through everyone else's blogs. Apparently we have a lot of moms around here who like to win stuff since I had a bunch of responses that stated to the fact that they were blog hopping instead of taking care of their children. However, I was surprised that some moms confessed their greatest slackiness (is that a word?). Here are just a few of my favorite responses:

  • Tasha said: "... my kids had cake for lunch b/c it was already out and I didn't have time to fix a "real" lunch, ha!"
  • suzzcq70 said: "I tell my son its later than it is, to get him into bed when I need time to do something!"
  • Debbie#3 said: "I'm a slacker mom because I'm thinking getting a dog would be a good idea to get rid of the crumbs on the floor."
  • Oh Amanda said: "I'm a slacker mom b/c I think that whole washing your hands after the potty is just a scheme. KIDDING. I'm a slacker b/c I think M&Ms make a great side dish to any meal."
  • Stacey said: "i am a slacker mom b/c my kids have eaten cheetos with oj for breakfast before!"

And now for the winners! According to the winner of the book "Confessions of a Slacker Mom" is Stacey at The Truest Thing! Who just happened to have one of my favorite responses. Cheetos with OJ for breakfast?! High five, slacker mom! LOL!

And the winner of the "Believe" frame is Sandra at Penny Pinching Pookie (sounds like a woman after my own heart).

Thanks again to all who stopped by and visited my little ole blog.