Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things I said I'd Never Own

Now that we are almost 6 months in to this baby thing...(seriously time flies)...I thought I'd share some of my must have baby stuff. More specifically, the things I said I would NEVER own.

#1 The Dreaded Entertainer

Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper

The most fabulous thing we purchased for Ethan to date is the Baby Einstein Entertainer. I vividly remember walking through Babies R Us and telling my mother-in-law (who has an affection for all things noisy and colorful) that she could NEVER under any circumstances buy us this hidieous contraption.

I have a vision that my home will be like one of those pictured in the magazines one day and this would surely blow that image to pieces. Four months after Ethan's birth it was ordered online BY ME who was desperate for a place to put Ethan that didn't involve my prescence.

I did make sure it could fold up and be stowed out of sight if needed. Silly me. The secret is out.....we have a baby and he has taken over!

#2 Counter Hogging Bottle Rack

Another thing I said I'd NEVER own was a stupid bottle drying rack. The Babies R Us registry lady looked like I had seriously lost my mind when I told her I didn't need to put that on my registry.

My kitchen has very little counter top space and I knew being a stay at home mom I'd be spending a lot of time in there cooking 5 star meals (oh, how naive I was) and I'd need that counter top space for prepping meals, rolling out pastry dough and the like.

I thought I'd just throw the bottles in the dishwasher everytime and let it do the work for me. Well........I didn't think about just how many times a baby has to eat and how FREAKING long it takes my dishwasher to go through a cycle. I honestly stood there with a screaming baby praying that it would finish up quickly. Thankfully I was still breastfeeding and we had other options. Bottle dryer ordered.....also collapsible, also never put away.

#3 Uncomfortable Bodywear

Don't take this as me being obnoxious, but I've always been skinny around the waist area. When I got pregnant I thought I'd have no problem losing the weight and going back to normal. Ha, normal....that is long gone I'm afraid. Three weeks post pardum I was out trying to buy new jeans and shapeware to fit into them. Idiot, idiot, idiot!!!!

Really this crap just created rolls elsewhere....especially at that point. I honestly about hurt myself (C-Section) trying to get into this crap and ended up with rolls underneath my boobs. Ridiculous. I was soooooooooooo upset that day.

Fast forward to now. I own this....and it's okay.


It still rolls up, it sucks things in but still just makes the rolls look...different. But it's better than nothing and helps reduce overhang. Yuck, now I've just grossed myself out. Thank GOD for yoga pants that make me feel normal.

I guess you could say having Ethan has taught me.......NEVER say never.

**This post does include affiliate links that might pay me a few pennies if you click them. All opinions are my own.**

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Traveling with Baby

This past weekend our little family traveled down to Meridian, MS to celebrate my husband's friend, Charlie. He is currently in the Navy and just received his wings. He found out he has been selected to fly an F-18 Superhornet E/F....whatever that is, I'm sure it's a big deal.

We couldn't be happier for him and wish him the best of luck!

Originally it was supposed to be a trip just for my husband and I. We were soooooo looking forward to a little getaway, just the two of us and this made for the perfect excuse. Unfortunately last Sunday, my baby became unpredictable.

He stopped taking his bottles...he was down to drinking 3-5oz from his usual 7oz. He wanted to sleep all the time and when he wasn't sleeping he was screaming. At first I thought he might have caught the 24hr stomach thing I had that past weekend, then I thought it might be allergies because I found him in his bed covered in boogers one night (for real, it would have been funny if he hadn't looked so pathetic), and finally I settled on the idea that he MUST be teething...although no actual teeth have yet to appear.

Whatever it was/is, it meant he was tagging along. I really thought that a 5 hour drive, a graduation ceremony, an after party, a hotel stay and a loud air show would spell disaster for sure. Surprisingly, he was AWESOME. I couldn't be more proud. I apologized up front to Charlies family saying "I just really don't know how long we will hold out but we are going for it" and as always my baby proved me wrong. He was an angel and everyone couldn't get over how happy he was and how perfect he behaved. I'm a proud momma, can you tell?

I won't lie. Our trip wasn't without hitches along the way. He cried for the first half hour of the trip and my husband and I immediately wished we had brought ear plugs. However, I calmed him down by turning up the radio and singing and dancing along....he fell asleep for the rest of the for me, I continued singing much to my husbands dismay. Once we got him to the hotel at 1AM, Ethan was ready to took us an hour and a half to get him down. The next morning we skipped an early morning speech (thanks Ethan) so that he could at least get his morning nap in since it was going to be a long day. Honestly....he would have gotten better sleep if we had just taken him to the speech. Our presence in the hotel room made it impossible for him to sleep. Agh.

Notice all the baby paraphernalia...
He was wonderful through the graduation ceremony. Once we got there and I heard all the other screaming kids...I knew I was golden. Ethan laughed once. That's it. Yay us!

Is it acceptable for babies to be shoeless at formal events?
 Hmm, not sure what Emily Post would say about that one.

Afterward we went back to our hotel to nap and the got ready for the after party. Ethan has officially attended his first kegger. Wow. We started him early. It's not as awful as it sounds there were actually other babies there as well as grandparents so it was a family style kegger I guess you could say? Anyways......we made it until the late hour of 10:30 just when the beer pong games were starting to warm up and headed back to our hotel to catch some sleep.

The next day we headed out to the air show...our last test. The first loud jet made him jump and then Michael tried to put earplugs in his ears. That was the only thing that made him cry all day (nice try hubby).

I'm pretty certain you aren't supposed to put things in a baby's the time it was either that or possible hearing loss. We finally decided that hearing loss would be acceptable.

When he got antsy I strolled him around to look at airplanes and had fun taking pictures. Is it bad that I want to go back to another air show....just to take pictures? It's fun to have new scenery to try and take shots of.

After that we were on our way back with our mounds of crap that a baby forces you to bring. It was crazy how packed our car was. I do want to take a moment and pat myself on the back though......I didn't forget one.single.thing. Hell yeah! From the sun hat, to the water for his bottles, to the dish soap I got it all.....and I packed the car myself :)

I feel sooooooooooo much more empowered now that we have "trip with baby" checked off the list. I'm ready to go again!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Saturday Morning Scene

This weekend was supposed to be a fun little "Remember when we were just Michael and Laura?" getaway. One of Michael's friends got his wings this weekend and we thought we would come down and celebrate and leave Ethan at home with his Papa.

Apparently the Teething Monster decided this weekend was also the perfect weekend to come visit us for the first time so we have a little extra baggage. I have to admit E's been a better traveler than I thought he would be. More of that story to come once we get back.

Saturday Morning Scene

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Extreme Couponing: I Succeeded!

If you didn't read part 1 here it is if you want to catch up.

Ok so, I decided to give this extreme couponing another try. I was determined not to let it conquer me and I'm happy to report that it didn't. I won. Well, I'd say I probably came in more around 2nd or 3rd place. I still felt a little flustered, it took a little longer than I wanted, and I still have the feeling that I can do better. That's just motivation to give it another go though right?

On to the loot.....

CVS Shopping Trip: 3.21.11


Here are my stats for this shopping trip....

Product Value: $49.71
Total Savings (Coupons/Promotions): $34.28
Total Cash Out of Pocket: $15.43
Extra Care Bucks Earned to spend later: $16.98 (basically I earned $1.55)

Here's how I did it....

I used to create my shopping list. They link printable coupons, tell you where to find clippable coupons and even give you different scenarios to try. It's time consuming at this point, but I can see how it will eventually get easier and take a lot less thought.

Side note: I brought my husband with me who also had a CVS card which was beneficial because they limit certain amounts of deals to one or two per card like the Allegra deal I'm about to share with you. Consider that card stolen...and yeah not sure if that's kosher or not? Oh well, the CVS employees all seemed to be into the extreme couponing thing and were even giving us tips so I don't think they mind. End of side note.

First you go in and scan your card(s) at the coupon station in CVS. It prints off several coupons to use on your shopping trip (supposedly you can do this twice but it never works for me). This will be the first point of confusion as an inexperienced coupon shopper. Stick to your plan my head tells me, this is where mistakes are made! But I didn't and it worked out alright.

Then you find your items....

  • 2 boxes of Allegra: $6.99 (plus I used a $2.00 coupon on both) - buying this gave me $6.99 in ECB each for a total of 13.98
  • 2 Reach Flosses: $1.00 (plus I had a $1.00 coupon on both) - FREE
  • Alaway Eye Itch Relief: $12.99 (plus I had a $4.00 coupon) - earned $3.00 ECB
  • Clear Care Contact Solution: $8.19 (plus I had $1.50 coupon)
  • Starbucks Frapp: $1.99 (Coupon printed at store for $1.00)
  • CVS Green Tag: $1.00 (This gives me $1 ECB for every 4 times I use my reusable bag instead of plastic, yay future savings!)
After all that rang up I used $15.00 ECB that I had earned my last shopping trip and paid the rest in cash.

The lesson I learned this shopping trip is that I need to do multiple transactions to reduce the actual amount of cash that I have to give in the end. Here's what I should have done and this is without using my previous $15.00 in ECB.

Transaction 1:
  • 1 Allegra (limit one per card) - $6.99 minus $2.00 coupon - $4.99
  • 2 Reach Flosses - $1.00 coupon off each - FREE
  • 1 Starbucks Frapp - $1.99 minus $1.00 coupon - $0.99
Total: $4.99 before tax
ECB earned: $6.99

Transaction 2:
  • 1 Alaway Eye Itch - $12.99 minus $4.00 coupon - $8.99
Total: $9.98 before tax use $6.99 ECB from Transaction 1 and $3.00 in cash
ECB earned: $3.00

Transaction 3:
  • 1 Allegra - $6.99 minus $2.00 coupon - $4.99
Total: $4.99 before tax pay $3.00 ECB from Transaction 2 and $0.99 in cash
ECB earned: $6.99

Transaction 4:
  • 1 Clear Care Contact Solution - $8.19 minus $1.50 coupon - $6.69
  • 1 Green Bag Tag - $0.99
Total: $7.48 before tax pay $6.99 ECB from Transaction 3 and $0.49

TOTAL CASH OUT OF POCKET: $9.47 before tax

We'll see if I get my nerve up to do the multi transaction thing next's obviously a lot better in the savings department. Agh. Why didn't I think of this before! Oh well, this coupon thing is going to take some time to learn. I'm sure all of your heads are spinning now. Go take some Tylenol and then get to couponing!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Report and Today's Challenge

We were fairly productive this weekend. We got our front landscape done. I just need to do a little spreading and cleaning to really finish it.

Ethan was suprisingly very co-opperative while we were doing the yard on Saturday. He took long naps and when he was awake he was content to hang outside with us in the stroller on the shady porch.

Here's a look at the before and after!



And yes, the new bushes are small (that's because I'm too cheap to buy full grown ones). Supposedly these will be doubled in size by the end of summer so it won't be too long of a wait.

After a full day in the yard, we even managed to make it to church Saturday night and had a good lazy morning couponing in bed on Sunday. I meant to make it out to CVS yesterday to try my hand at extreme couponing again. I actually have a good plan this go around and was about to burst with excitement, but unfortunately I got sick last night and couldn't make it. I'm feeling better now, so hopefully we will go after Michael gets home tonight.

Now onto today's challenge. We are going through a little non sleeping period at night. Although he's fully capable of sleeping through the night, we always seem to have a week or two where somethings just not right. Sometimes it's that he's growing, sometimes he's got gas, this time it's because he's lazy. Or so I think. I'll explain.

He's been able to roll over both ways for quite some time now. Lately he's been waking up on his stomach and screaming his head off. Apparently he's forgotten how to roll back over to his back or has figured out that we will come do it for him. He's even doing it during the day now and momma says it's time to buck up and get his roll himself. Sorry to sound like a tough mommy but this is happening waaaaay to frequently and I know he's capable of doing it on his own!

I'll flip him to his back and 2 seconds later he's on his tummy and 30 seconds after that he's screaming again!

I so need some ear plugs. This is going to be a long day. Today we will determine which one of us is more stubborn. Mommy or Ethan?

****Disclaimer**** I'm not a mean mommy. I wouldn't do this if I didn't fully know that he was capable of doing it on his own.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Project 52 - Final Catchup

Week 9: Diaper Lineup

Now that it's finally warm outside, I'm going to try and line dry my diapers to save a little energy. Just another step towards being green (and cheap)!

Week 10: I Haven't Killed It Yet

Michael gave me a beautiful orchid for Valentine's day and much to my surprise, it's still alive. I'm notorious for killing house plants, although I can manage to grow a garden outside. I guess God lends me a helping hand outside. If your silent in this house....I'll probably forget to feed you.

Week 11: Lola in the Morning Light

I have to say Lola is the hardest subject for me to capture. She always ends up blurry or has her eyes closed. This time I bribed her to pose with Cheerios and had to deal with shooting her in direct light.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Our Saturday Morning Scene


Today we are redoing our front landscape and getting dirty once again in this beautiful weather! Say "bye-bye" dead monkey grass and ugly rocks; "hello" beautiful mulch and new bushes.

Saturday Morning Scene

Friday, March 18, 2011

Enjoying the Sunshine

Today is a beautiful day! The sun is shining, the windows are open, and lawn mowers can be heard running around the neighborhood. I think I can officially say it's spring time. I might even say it's a little hot outside.

Yesterday I took Ethan outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and touch grass for the first time. Part of me was a little fearful that he might has some kind of crazy reaction, but all is well. He.....sort of enjoyed it.

The sun is his worst enemy right now. He can barely keep his eyes open outside. Honestly, the kid really hadn't be exposed to sunlight until recently considering it's been a dark and dreary winter. It's funny to think about all the simple little things in life that he has yet to experience. 

Today I headed out to get him a sun hat, baby sunglass goggles and some sunscreen. The sun hat is too big (apparently my child has an abnormally small head) and he hates the baby sunglasses which also look ridiculous. And yes, he's not even suppose to be exposed to sunscreen yet (you are suppose to wait until they are 6 months old) but I'm gonna do it. I'm such a rebel. I got the PABA (or whatever) free kind and I plan on putting it on him this weekend when we redo our front landscape. I figure 5.5 months is close enough and it's gotta be better than burnt baby skin.

Ok that's all I've got for today, now you all can excuse yourselves and call child services.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's to Eat? Wednesday - Buttermilk Baked Chicken

This is a very easy go to recipe. There is no picture because the one I took did not do this dinner justice. I really have to figure out a better way to take pictures of food. Try it out, you won't be disappointed. Don't skimp on the's a very important touch.

Buttermilk Baked Chicken


1/4 cup butter

4 bone-in chicken breasts, skinned
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ cup buttermilk, divided
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Garnish: Lemon wedges

Melt butter in a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish at 425°.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in ½ cup buttermilk and dredge in flour. Arrange chicken, breast side down in baking dish.

Bake at 425° for 25 minutes. Turn chicken and bake for 10 more minutes. Stir together 1 cup buttermilk and soup; pour over chicken and bake 10 more minutes shielding with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning if necessary. Spoon sauce from pan over chicken and squeeze lemon over top.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Sunshine


You truly are the light to my day. You are such a happy child! Your smile and laugh are infectious. The littlest thing can make you start laughing or give your big smile. Before you know it everyone else is smiling or laughing right along with you.

I'm so lucky to be your mom. You make me feel so special. You light up the moment I walk in the room. You make my heart melt when I peak over your crib in the mornings and see you smiling back at me. Who knew I could love such a drooly, poopy bundle of joy so much? And I do love you. Unconditionally. A love no one knows or understands until they become a parent. Thank you for giving me that!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Extreme Couponing.....More Like Extreme Headache

I've been dutifully collecting those little coupon magazines that come in the mail and in the Sunday newspaper for two weeks in preparation for my new hopeful hobby of saving money via couponing. After all the raving over "Extreme Couponing" I decided to join in. Little did I know what a job it would be!

I began my adventure at (recommended by several blog sites) and found out that one of the secrets to couponing was combining coupons with sale prices. Simple enough. They have a handy program that lets you see the actual percentage of savings on multiple items at multiple stores. I went through and created my list of potential buys. 

The next part is where the headache really began. After searching several stores....CVS, Walgreens, Publix, Target, Wal-mart, Kroger, etc.....I found that most of them had similar sales on the same items. So I started comparing the lists. Yikes. That took forever and I eventually gave up and decided to just buy a few "sale items" to get started.

Then I started the process of finding the actual coupons. Links upon links of printable and downloadable coupons and stacks of clipable coupon magazines had to be gone through. Abbreviations of SS, RP, RR, and ECB had to be deciphered. Oh great, I forgot to organize all my clippings by store. Ugh...starting over. 

2 hours into this process I realized the time period in which I could go to the store before I was in baby meltdown zone was dwindling and I still hadn't made my actual list of items I needed to make this weeks meals. I gave up. I felt like a couponing failure. I sadly drug myself to the store fully aware of the high prices I paying.

I have decided to give this another shot. Apparently extreme couponing takes a little more work than just sitting down for 30 minutes on Sunday and clipping coupons. It's time for me to head to couponing school. I'm hitting the internet in hopes of finding the secrets to this new hobby. Get day there will be a part 2.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Project 52 Catchup: Part 1

I have been a total slacker on this. I think my problem is that when I'm given a theme or any type of constraints on a creative project, I tend to just shut down. So, with that said, I'm going rouge, forgetting about themes and doing my own thing. I will just solely focus on taking creative pictures and getting more experience with my camera.

Week 6: Our Sign


Week 7: I Spy a Cat

Week 8: Clover Galore

Hopefully by next Sunday I'll be all caught up!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Saturday Morning Scene

Saturday Morning Scene

Time to Get Dirty!

Ethan is staying with his BeBe so Michael, Lola and I are busy getting things done. First things's time to bring in the spring!

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