Harvest Sunset 3 column

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Have We Been Up To?

Well I'm long overdue for a blog post, I'm sorry it's been so long!! There has been so much going on with our house loan, Kevin starting a new job, Callie's birthday, Keira going to camp, Keira's first dance recital and now Keira's birthday party this Saturday.

We've enjoyed our time here at grandma's swimming & playing, but now we are really ready for own own place!! As I am sure grandma and papa are too! We were originally scheduled to close on the house June 30th, but it's been pushed back to around July 15th. We had some setbacks with the loan since Kevin started a new job and had to start over with a new lender. That combined with the fact that the builder is a little behind schedule. However, it's coming along nicely; we have a driveway, tile inside on the floor and bathrooms, our granite is in as well. Now we are waiting on light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, carpet, and grass! Hope to have some updated pictures soon.

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures of the girls and what we've been up to the past month!

Callie learned how to drink out of a straw! She is so proud of herself!

Gardening with Grandma! The girls LOVE to help water plants, plant new ones, and generally anything outdoors!
I got sprayed with the water hose by sissy!

Keira getting her nails painted

And showing off her dance moves

Here is a turtle we found on one of our many walks. It was pretty hot so we moved him back down into one of the small canals so he can get to the water. We thought about keeping him but with the dogs around thought it might not be a good idea!

The girls love swinging in the hammock out by the pool. Mommy & Daddy do too!

I have some adorable photos from Callie's birthday party & Keira's first dance recital I hope to post this week. Quiet time to do this is rare with the 2 girls and Keira not really napping anymore!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Looking MORE Like OUR House!

I drove by our soon-to-be new house today, I hadn't been in a week or so and had heard the brick and stone were being put on. Here it is!!!

Again, I took a photo with my phone so not the best quality. But you get the picture :)  It's getting more exciting the further along it gets!! I can't wait till it's really OURS!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Callie!

I can't believe my baby girl is ONE today!! It just doesn't seem possible. It feels like only yesterday that we were bringing her home and getting up at all hours of the night to feed her. Now she is almost walking. She has taken several steps here and there all on her own. It's only a matter of time before she is chasing after big sister Keira!

She has been so much fun, her little personality coming alive every day. I think she is going to be our funny but devious one!! She loves to get into everything and knows how to scream LOUD when she is not getting her way. When Keira takes a toy away from her, she definitely lets her know how she feels. But she also loves to rough-house with daddy on the couch or bed, laughing hysterically and getting right back up again everytime she falls down! It's so fun to watch her changing every day. I just really wish it would slow down a little!

Here are a few more pics I took of her. She did not want this hat on and took it off several times before I could get some good photos!!

Trying to get away

Hat falling off

Today we made a red velvet cake for her and sang her happy birthday. Of course she has no idea it's her birthday, so Keira enjoyed it for her!! Saturday we'll have a small party with mostly family and a few friends. I hope she has a good nap so she can enjoy it! Will post pictures soon!

New House Update- a Roof!

The house is coming along & changing so quickly. It's really started to sink in this will be OUR home. I drove by our old house the other day after taking Keira to preschool. It already didn't seem like our old place, like we were never there. SO strange!!! But I've realized it's the family you are with that makes your house a "home" so no matter where we are, as long as I have my husband and girls, and the dog of course, all is well! We are getting so excited to move in!

We still have a few hurdles to overcome though and need all the prayers we can get. My husband was laid off from his job at the end of April. But thank the Lord he had begun looking a few weeks prior, and he got a new job the same day!! He was laid off via conference call around 3:30pm, then got a phone call from the recruiter he was hired for the new job at 5:30! Crazy how that works out. I know God definitely had a hand in this-my mom volunteers at her church pulling job listings from the web and and putting them together for people out of work. While volunteering one day she came upon this job listing and thought it would be perfect for Kevin since it was in his field of sales. She passed along the information to us and Kevin submitted his resume. A few weeks and 2 interviews later, he was hired! It couldn't not have come at a better time. Obviously it's not the best time to start a new job when applying for a home loan. We wouldn't have had a chance at all had he not already had a job hunt going. Now we are just hoping & praying & waiting to see if everything works out. A new job is not what the loan officers want to see!! He starts the new job this Monday. I know he is anxious to get going!

Ok enough about that, here are a few photos taken last week:

Front view

Side view

Back view

Then Kevin went by a few days ago and the cedar was put in on the front of the house and the brick delivered!

Yea!!! My friend and soon-to-be neighbor a few doors down told me they started bricking the other day. Can't wait to go see it this weekend!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

CVS Week 5/9-5-15:Lots of Free Toiletries! Almost Free Huggies Diapers!

This week was great at CVS!!! Several freebies & moneymakers, although I was missing a few of the coupons due to our move & not getting the paper. Ugh-I hate it when I miss coupons!! But I did pretty good anyway. Here is what I got & the run down:

Excuse my photo quality- I've been using my phone camera since it's so much easier!!

Crest ProHealth Toothpaste $3.50- Get $3.50 ECB (limit 2)
plus if you have the coupon, use $.75/1 from PG 5/2 insert, makes it a $1.50 moneymaker if you use both!!!
U by Kotex tampons $4.99- Get $4.99 ECB (limit 1)
Use $1/1 U by Kotex from SS 4/18, makes it $1 moneymaker!
Right Guard Total Defense Deoderant $2.99- Get $2 ECB (limit 2)
Use $3/2 printable, makes both FREE!
Carefree Liners $1 sale
Use $1/1 Carefree product from SS 4/25, makes it FREE

I bought the above and had the listed coupons except for the Crest ones. My total was $14.96 after coupons
Used $9.98 in ECB's from my previous trip
Total OOP with tax: $5.13

Then I got the ECB as listed above, $4 ECB (2 Right Guard), $4.99 ECB (Kotex), $7 ECB (2 Crest).
$15.99 ECB total to use for next week!

Actually I'm planning to go back this afternoon if I have time for the Huggies Deal!! A new $3/1 coupon was released since my last trip. Here is the deal if you have time today:

Huggies- sale $8.49, Get $2 ECB (limit 1)
Pair this with the HOT $3/1 Huggies coupon available, get your diapers for only $3.49 plux tax!! That is cheaper than most any store brand diapers!! Use up some of your ECB from a previous week and pay almost NOTHING out of pocket! For those of you new at this, here is what the transaction will look like:

(1) Huggies Jumbo pk Diapers $8.49
less $3 coupon
=$5.49 plus tax
Use $4.99 ECB (from buying Kotex earlier)
Total spent: $.50 plus tax
Get back $2 ECB to roll again!

See isn't this fun???

Walgreens Week 5/9-5/15: Free plus Moneymaker!

After a couple weeks break from shopping the deals at Walgreen's & CVS, I was so happy to have the time now to go this past week. Not a huge week for me at Walgreen's, but there were a couple freebies and a moneymaker!! Here are the 2 things I got:

EOS Shave gel- $2.99, Get $3 RR = FREE
Schick Hydro 3 Razor- sale $7.99, Used $5/1 coupon from SS 4/18 insert making it $2.99, then got $5 RR back! This makes it a $2.01 moneymaker! :)

I didn't have any Register Rewards to use from previous weeks so I spent $5.98 plus tax out of pocket, but got $8 RR to use for next week! We will need a few other toiletries, like toilet paper, that I plan to use these on. Going to work on tomorrow's shopping trip this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Belated Mother's Day!

Hope all you mommas had a Happy Mother's Day!!! Mine was great-Kevin brought me Starbucks first thing in the morning along with some breakfast tacos! Mmmm. Then I went to lunch with my favorite people at Cotton Patch Cafe. We stopped on the way out for the girls to ride the horse :)

Then daddy took the girls home for nap & "rest time". Keira, now that she is almost 4, is giving up naps these days. We have tried to convince her to at least have rest time where she reads quietly in her room so mom & dad can get a break now & then!!

While they had naps, I went shopping, alone!!! How rarely that happens with 2 little ones. I got some of my favorite Bath & Body candles that were on sale, window shopped at Ann Taylor Loft and a few other stores. And bought myself a summer dress at Francesca's. It's a long, flowy dress which are usually too long for me being only 5'2 but this one looks to be the perfect length. Hoping it fits b/c I didn't try it on!! Will do that later today :)

Callie is calling-up from her nap!! Hoping to post more pictures later of house updates, Kevin's DIY project and the girls.

Ebates 11% Cash Back Birthday Celebration

In celebration of their 11th birthday (wow didn't know they have been around so long!) Ebates is offering 11% cash back at some of your favorite stores!! Go to Ebates online, sign up & receive $5 in your account after your first purchase. Find the store you want to shop at and click on the link provided. After your purchase is made, within a few weeks Ebates will credit your account with the % cash back. Once your account reaches a certain balance think it's $25?), you will receive a check in the mail.

I use Ebates a lot when shopping online. So far I have heard $62.50 back :) A few I saw were Macy's, Ann Taylor, Old Navy, GAP,White House Black Market & tons more!

Happy Shopping!

12 hour sale: Entertainment Books $12 plus Free Shipping!

For the next 12 hours only Entertainment Books are being offered at just $12 and Free shipping! If you've never used one before, these are great little books full of coupons for meals out, entertainment etc that can save you a lot of money over the year!! Normally $35 full price (I've seen them on sale for $20 here & there) $12 is a great deal, plus no shipping charges!! Go here to find a book for a city near you.

AND if you first sign up and shop through Ebates you will get an additional 25% cash back in your Ebates account. Also if you are new to Ebates you get a $5 bonus for signing up. This would make your out of pocket cost only $4 for the book!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day! Bath & Body Works Candles & Coupon Plus Avon Lipgloss for $1.99!

Happy Mother's Day!! A few deals for MOM or yourself, I plan on taking advantage of these today!

Bath & Body works has a $10 off $30 coupon right now to use in store or online. If you shop online you can also get free shipping off a $25 order using the same code. Print the coupon here or use the online code MAY25. Some of my FAVORITE candles of theirs are on sale, 2 for $20, regularly $19.99 for one. These are made by Slatkin and smell delicious!! A few of the scents are Summer Orchard, Pomegranate Lemonade, Summer Melon, Pineapple Mango & Island Nectar. Love the smells of summer :)  Hurry, ends today!


Another fun deal!  AVON always has really good sales on their makeup and other products. Right now as part of ther Mother's Day Weekend Spree lipgloss is on sale for $1.99!!  Sixteen colors to choose from.  And to make the deal sweeter, spend just $5 on any order and get FREE shipping with the code MOM2010.  Ends Midnight 5/10/10.  Love me some cheap lipgloss!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

House update: What a Difference a Week Makes!

A quick house update- we closed on the sale of our old home on April 29th. Everything went smoothly thank goodness! That afternoon we rode out to check on the new house. The lumber had just been delivered the Saturday before and here it was 5 days later and this is what we saw!

WOW!!!  I am thinking that closing the end of June may actually happen. That is if everything else on our end works out....praying for that.  Will post more about that later! Let's just say it has been a very stressful week. We need all the prayers we can get!!  Hope to have more postiive news and will update more this weekend!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Packing, Playing Princess & More Packing!

Well we survived our trip to New York and had a great time visiting family! I did manage to come home with a cold though which does not work well for packing. On top of that I got food poisoning Monday night and am still recovering. Not fun!!! Yesterday I was pretty worthless but today we did make a dent in our never ending list of things to do.

Of course you can always count on kids to bring fun to any situation. Keira loved playing with the boxes & helped me out with some packing while Callie napped.

Keira in her "house"

Later, to get some sunshine, we took some boxes outside and made a princess castle. I was the witch and she was Snow White :)

Then we had a little chick-fil-a picnic for lunch then it was back to Packing!!

Tomorrow we close on the house. Kind of bitter sweet! I hope all goes well but I am definitely sad to leave our first house! We do have a few more days to finish moving though. That will help me get my closure and say my goodbyes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrating Earth! My Goals & a Few Free Ways to Participate

This year is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. It was started back in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as way to encourage environmental awareness and appreciate our Mother Earth.

I admit in previous years I haven't paid as much attention to this celebration as I would like to. However, throughout the year I do participate in keeping our Earth beautiful by recycling, reusing, sharing, gardening etc. There are several ways I would like to improve.

These are my goals this year:
1)ALWAYS recycle when possible. I am usually good at this but sometimes can be a bit lazy!
2)Use less "throw away" storage; For example, instead of sandwich bags for snacks & lunches, use other washable storage containers I have on hand. I have been doing this most of the time this past yr. Saves $$ too!
3)Switch to Environmentally Friendly cleaning products. These are not only better for the environment in general, they are better for our family's physical health. There are several great brands out there. Right now I am trying Seventh Generation Multipurpose Cleaner & Clorox Green Works.
4)Carry my reusuable water bottle to the gym & stop buying bottled water.
Got a cute steel container at Old Navy for $5.
5)Bring my reusable shopping bags with me to all grocery and drugstore trips.
6) Unplug electrical items not in use.
7)Start my garden!! Very excited about this. It will have to wait until we move so it will likely be a Fall/Winter garden this year.

Here are a few deals/activities that I wanted to share:

Pottery Barn Kids is celebrating with free Earth Day activities in their stores at 11am & 3pm. Check your local store to make sure they are participating.

Join the Home Depot Garden Club for coupons and gardening tips. Right now they have a Buy One Tree get one Free coupon! Also the Sunday ad mentions the current promotion: Buy One Get One Free all vegetable, herb & flower seed packets. Perfect time to start that garden!

Walgreen's is currently running a promotion offering 22% off all Earth friendly products. In addition, they are donating 30% of those sales to the World Wildlife Fund. And don't forget, stop by your local Walgreen's store & get your black ink cartridges refilled for $1 on Thursday, April 22nd only! See store ad for coupon.

It's National Park Week which means entrance to all 392 National Parks is FREE!

Visit EPA Event Page for more events in your area.

Go out and enjoy the day! Make it beautiful!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cleaning out Clutter & Packing!!

I've been following a long over at Money Saving Mom with the Clear out the Clutter Challenge. I'm sure we all have clutter that we need to get rid of from time to time. Me especially, since we are packing to move next week! I haven't been able to follow on the same schedule as her. However I did work on one of the girl's bedrooms today. I only have a picture of the closet, which is bad enough, but you don't even want to see the room since it is being torn apart and packed up! Here it is before I started:

I don't have an after because it is still not finished! And most of it will be in boxes for storage with the exception of what is going to grandma's for two months til our house is ready! We did get one LARGE box of items to donate, a trash bag full of old, worn out items and several boxes for storage. I have a feeling I will be doing even more "Clutter Clearing" when we move in. With Keira in the room with me, it's very challenging to get her to let go of things. And I admit, I am a sucker at times!  With that said, I leave you with the most adorable photo below. She has a thing for stuffed animals. She didn't want to get rid of any or send any to storage. I had her choose a couple favorites and the rest went into a box. All on her own she hugged each one, told them good bye and that she would miss them and placed them gently in the box. Awww!!!! My sweet girl!

Walgreens Week 4/18-4/24: Clearance Deals!

I made my weekly trip to Walgreen's on Sunday. Got a few advertised deals but then 2 things I stumbled upon in the clearance section! A few of the Free advertised deals were already gone since I went in the afternoon.

(2) Fiber One Bars- $1.99ea with Walgreens ad coupon
Used $.50 off 2
Geisha Mushrooms- 2 for $1 with ad coupon
Dawn- $.99 with ad coupon
Used $.50/1 from P&G 4/4/10 insert
Energizer C Battery 4 pk- $5.99 sale price (missing b/c they are in the baby's music machine!)
Used $1/1 from 3/28 SS insert & got $1 Register Rewards back
And here were my other fun deals:
Packing tape- regularly $6.49, clearanced 75% off for $1.62
Awesome since we are packing and using A LOT of tape!
Home Charging Station- regularly $19.99, clearanced for $4.99!!
Between my husband's 2 cell phones, mine, our camera etc there are always things charging and I can't stand looking at all those cords. This way they can be plugged in & charging  but the wires will be discreetly hidden. It even comes with it's own power strip. Definitely using it in the new house to keep it looking good!!

My total after coupons was $16.69 plus tax
Used $4 Register Rewards from last week
Total OOP- $13.35
Value of items purchased - $49.00! 72% Savings!

Not too bad and I recevied  $1 Register Reward to use for next week.  For a complete list of weekly deals and coupon match-ups, visit Southern Savers. She even gives you the option of a printable shopping list! Love it!

We've Got Progress!

While it seems not much has been going on in the new home front, it looks like things will be picking up quickly. I got a call yesterday from our builder to let us know that the foundation has been poured! Yeah for progress! I drove by yesterday afternoon to check it out myself.

Follow the little concrete path they made and up at the top is the foundation for our home! A little hard to see, but it's there :)

They hope to have the lumber by the end of the week. From what I have seen with a few other houses, once the lumber is delivered, the house is framed in a matter of a couple days. God willing of course! It is April after all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Weekend

We had a busy weekend filled with kids birthday parties, packing and hanging out with friends. Actually it was more of the other two and not much packing. I must set myself a goal to actually get this house packed before we have to be out by the 30th!! I'm starting to stress. Not to mention we are going to NY this weekend for a family wedding. Can we say CRAZY!?!

Here are a couple photos of the girls from the weekend. A little blurry-I took them with my phone & Callie won't stay still! They had such a great time at their friends birthday party on Saturday. Keira also went to a "Princess" themed party on Sunday. Hope to get some cute photos from that!

Speaking of birthdays, both of theirs are right around the corner!

Time is flying! Can't believe Callie will be ONE next month!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Target: Earth Week Begins-Free Reusable Bag

Earth Week begins! Today, April 18th stop by any Target store and receive a free reusable shopping bag with any purchase!

Not going to Target today? Just check out your local Sunday (4/18) Target ad where you will find a postage paid label to use for this deal: Mail in 5 Target plastic shopping bags and they will send you an e-coupon for $1 off another reusable bag, normally priced around $1.49.

For every reusable bag you use, you receive 5 cents off your order.

I don't know about you, but I am tired of saving plastic bags to recycle! They are piling up in my garage! But I refuse to just throw them away. I am trying to get better about bringing my earth friendly bags with me!

More details and other Target Earth day offerings here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cooking with Caroline: Oven Roasted Chicken

I'm in no way an expert cook, so I thought I would share my kitchen experiences, good & bad in hopes it will encourage others to try cooking new things as well.
Last night I had a dear friend and her kiddos over for dinner. My husband is out of town so it was a fun time for just the "girls" and our little ones. I have had this chicken in my freezer waiting to be cooked. Since we are moving soon I'm trying to eat everything up!!

And, first I must confess, this is only my 2nd time cooking a whole chicken. The first time I sort of cheated and used the crockpot. I say cheated since it just requires you to toss everything in, turn it on and it go, for hours! And after 4 hours or so it's obviously done.

For this chicken I started with a recipe from Martha Stewart here. I changed it up a little to fit what I had on hand. No fresh Thyme so I used dried and sprinkled it all over the chicken. Stuffed the cavity with onion, garlic & lemon. I did not have any kitchen twine to tie the legs together. I wonder how much difference this makes in taste? Someone please enlighten me!!!

Also the recipe recommends an instant read thermometer which I don't have but now wish I did. I couldn't quite tell if it was done after the specified time, so I had to cut into it and put it back in a few times. I am paranoid of meat not being fully cooked and feeding it to others!! Hopefully with future cooking I can get myself a thermometer!

Here is my before:

Another thing going against me was my ancient oven!! I think it is original to the house, built in 1980, and heats 75 degrees ABOVE the set temperature. We have known this since we bought the house but never quite made it to getting a new oven. So we always guesstimate and lower the temperature approx 75 degrees from what a recipe calls for. Sometimes this works fine, other times it is a disaster!!

Here is the proof of my OLD oven:

And here is the chicken after:

The skin came out nice & crispy and the meat was still juicy!! Overall I think it was a success. Hopefully with future chickens I can make some progress :)

I served it with Roasted Potatoes & Carrots.

Easy directions:
Slice the vegetables about 1/2 - 1 inch thick and put them in a medium sized baking dish. Sprinkle salt & pepper all over and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven uncovered approximately 30 min until tender.

These came out quite good! The carrots almost tasted like sweet potatoes since they had carmelized some. My daughter who hate carrots actually liked them! I'm thankful we have leftovers so I didn't have to cook tonight!

What have you been cooking this week? Please leave a comment to share!

Walgreens Savings: Week 4/11-4/17

I made a quick trip to Walgreen's this week. Didn't need much but they did have a freebie and found two other great deals.

Kashi cereal- on sale 2 for $5, used 2 $1.50 0ff coupons from my Vocalpoint home mailer
Carefree liners - $.99 using an in ad coupon
Schick Hydro Shave Gel $2.99, get $3 RR (Register Rewards)
Coppertone SPF 15 oil free sunscreen-found clearanced for $2.99 (these are regularly $8.99+
Not pictured- a Princess kite for my daughter $1.99 & bubbles $.79 (see what happens when I take my 3 yr old shopping with me!!!)

Total after coupons $11.75
Used $10 RR from previous week
Spent $1.75 OOP (out of pocket)
Got $3 RR for next week!

*FREE* "U" by Kotex Sample & $1 Donation

I saw this on the Today show and checked it out online. Kotex is launching a new campaign along with their new product "U" to encourage girls and women everywhere to be more comfortable with their bodies and talking about related issues.

The new line comes in all sorts of fun colors. Sign up for a free sample here.

Also click on "Join the Cause" here and sign the Declaration and Kotex will donate $1 to support social change with their partner Girls For Change.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CVS-My shopping trip today, only $.50 spent!

Another quick and easy trip to CVS for a few things we will use or can pass on to someone else!!

Here is what I got:
Dial Nutriskin Body wash $5.49 (get $4.50 ECB)
Dove Conditioner $4.49 (get $4.49 ECB) *free* plus moneymaker with coupon
CVS toilet paper roll 2 for $1
Not pictured- M&M's $.99 and snack bag of cashews $.99 (I was starving!)
Total before coupons $12.96 plus tax

Used $1.50 Dove haircare (RedPlum 3/28-newspaper coupon insert)
$1 off any CVS paper product (spits out at coupon queue at front of store)
$10 ECB from last week.
Total OOP(out of pocket) $.50!
Got back $5.49 ECB & $4.49 ECB to use next week!

CVS Savings!

One of the ways I LOVE to save money and even make money is by shopping at my local CVS and Walgreen's store. This is a little late, but for last week's ad I got a great deal at CVS! They were running a baby promotion where you get $10 ECB ( Extra Care Bucks) when you spend $25 on baby items (excluding formula). Since we always need diapers I decided to take advantage of the deal. But what made it even sweeter was the CVS coupons I happened to have! The week before when i checked out I got 2 awesome coupons I used on this deal. One was for $2 off $10 baby purchase and another was $4.50 off a Pampers big box.

As you can see pictured, here is what I got:
Pampers Big Box diapers $19.99
(2) J&J Bubble Bath & Wash $2.99 ea
Total $25.97 (before coupons)

Used $2 off $10 baby Q
$4.50 off diapers big box
$1.50 Pampers Cruisers (got out of previous diaper packages)
(2) $1.00 off J&J baby item (from newspaper insert)
Total after coupons $15.97

Lastly, used previous Extra Care Bucks I had earned for $13 and paid only $2.97 plus tax out of pocket!!

Then got another $10 ECB to roll for next week! Love it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New House-Getting Started!

Finally!!! We have been patiently awaiting this day to arrive, the builder has started on our new house! With our other home on it's way to being sold, it's nice to see we really will have some place to live, eventually. Hubby drove by there Friday and they had started the plumbing. Not much to look at but for us it's definitely a start!

Our *very hopeful* close date is June 30th, however we are realistic this is probably not going to happen. They have got a lot of work to do!

Hope to post pictures of a little more substance very soon :)
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