My Wonderful Life…

This morning, as I was getting out of bed I was met by a toothless boy who insisted I needed to stay in bed and have a cup of coffee first.

He took off down the stairs yelling, “Daddy, Mummy needs a coffee!”

A few minutes later there were footsteps coming up the stairs and a Little Professor complaining that he wanted to deliver the coffee.

Instead, Daddy appeared with two mugs of coffee and we actually sat for a little while drinking coffee together…alone.

That never happens!

We enjoyed our time while listening to the chaos going on downstairs.

Eventually, it came to an end and we made our way downstairs.  Daddy built a fire and then disappeared into the kitchen.

A little while later he returned with homemade, from scratch, Banana Coconut muffins!

Yes, that’s my life…coffee in bed, roaring fire in the morning and homemade muffins worthy of small town bakery!

No complaints here!

Thankful…

There are so many things I’m thankful for…

If I listed them all it would take all day to read it – maybe not all day.

What I’m most thankful for is my family.

I’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children and an amazing husband.

I am so thankful we get to spend so much time together.

I am thankful for their kind and gentle hearts and their thoughtful ways.

I’m thankful for the privilege to watch my little one’s personalities blossom.

I’m thankful my children have an amazing father who sets an example of patience, love, and self sacrifice for the benefit of his family.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

I hope you spend the day surrounded by those you love.

Fashion Designs…

Lately, my little Princess spends a great deal of time drawing fashion.  She likes to grab a pad of paper and her crayons and sit on the kitchen floor by the toe kick heater and draw clothes.  I’m sure this is just a normal girl thing, but for me it’s a little more special than that.  As a little girl, I spent a good portion of my childhood drawing fashions.

I’ve kept this one for at least 28 years now!

I would spend hours upon hours drawing and painting outfit after outfit.

The other day Daddy was up in the attic and came across my portfolio that had all my drawings in it.  Not only did I draw fashions throughout my whole childhood, I went to college for fashion design.

To say my little Princess was impressed would be an understatement.  There’s just something about that special look that only my children can give…it’s pure admiration.  It’s the look that makes me feel like I’m the greatest person on the earth and that everything I do is perfection – even when I know that’s clearly not the case.  But in their eyes it’s the honest truth and I love it!

I have to say, the admiration flows the other way too.  My little Princess impresses the heck out of me with her drawings.  She spends a lot of time concentrating on making each one.  I love when she comes to me for advice on how to draw the eyes, or do I think a hat would go with that particular dress.

 I’ve been trying to think of a way to take her love for designing to the next level.  I was thinking about creating our own paper dolls and then making outfits for them.  This idea led to a memory of sitting at the kitchen table as a child with my mum.  She was creating papers dolls with me and teaching me how to draw.  Now I definitely have to do that with the Princess and who knows, maybe she’ll do that with her little girl.

Tonight the Princess asked if she could keep some of her drawings in my portfolio too.  What a wonderful idea.  I can’t think of a better place to keep them!

Clipping Coupons and Saving Money…

 

Recently I was inspired by a friend to start using coupons.  Up until now I had thought it too time consuming and a little annoying to coupon.  I had watched the Extreme Coupon shows and researched it a little (very little) and came to the conclusion that coupons just wouldn’t work for my family’s needs.  I didn’t have the use or space for 50 jars of mustard or whatever condiment the women on the show were buying out.  I’ve always thought it a fine line between the Extreme Couponing show and the Hoarding show.  It was definitely not a line I wanted to dance around.

However, my friend was doing it and saving a lot of money.  She was buying real items and real food that she was actually using and in all the times I’ve been to her house, I’ve never seen a cupboard stacked with jars upon jars of mustard.  The real inspiration came from the fact that I knew she prepares healthy meals for her family.  I realized that if she could do it without compromising, so could I.

The first week I tried it, I saved 40% on our groceries and with the gas rewards program that the grocery store has, I also saved us $1.20/gallon  in gas.  With an Expedition, that’s a good chunk of money!  I knew right away that I was addicted, and I threw myself into my new found hobby.  When I got home I analyzed my grocery bill and realized I had made some mistakes that had cost me.  Yes, I’m a total geek that way.

The first thing I needed to do was get organized.  Between all the coupons I had, the screaming baby, the annoyed little kids and a husband who was happy we were saving money but wasn’t enjoying the process…I was getting more confused than anything.  There was too much stress and the shopping trip took way to long.  Now I have my coupons organized in groups and I keep them in a binder.  Before I even leave for the store I create a spread sheet that shows what I’m buying, the amount, the cost, the savings from the coupon and the total number coupons I have per item. It makes things easier and now I have our shopping trips down to a science.  We are in, we get what we need and we are out.  We’re a well oiled machine.

The second thing I realized is I had to change the way I shopped.  Instead of buying what we need, I now buy what is on sale.  I still only buy things I know I will use, even if it’s way down the line, but now I’m not just shopping for the week.  When diced tomatoes are on sale, I buy a lot.  I also clip ALL the coupons I come across for items I know I will use, even if I don’t plan on using them now.   I do not clip coupons for items I would never use, because it’s not worth my time.  Money is money, even if it’s only cents.  I refuse to waste any money on things I won’t use.

Lastly, I only use coupons when I can combine them with a sale.  For example, this week I bought Bailey’s Irish Creme coffee creamers.  Not something I would normally buy but I thought they’d be nice for guests at Christmas.  Thinking ahead.  They are regularly $2.59 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off which is not a bad deal, but this week they were on sale for 2 for $3.00 which meant I bought them for .50 cents each – a much better savings.  So, if I don’t need something right away I just hold on to a good coupon and wait.  I’ve noticed that the items that have coupons to begin with usually come on sale eventually.   Also, I always check a sale product’s website to see if they have coupons there.  A lot of them do.

Once I figured out a lot of the “rules” for coupons, I found I could save even more.  This week I saved 57% on my groceries.  I don’t foresee any Extreme couponing in my future but I do see some Darn Good couponing going on.

Thanks to my new way of shopping I am fully loaded with pantry items.  Today I decided to cook a turkey I had bought for very cheap so we could make sandwiches, or add it to salads during the week.  As it was cooking it smelled so good, like thanksgiving, so instead I quickly threw together a full turkey meal.  There was homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggies, mashed potatoes and biscuits.  We called up Nana J and invited her to our small feast.  I even made a pumpkin pie.  This was something I would never have been able to do before without planning and at least one trip to the grocery store.  What made it even better was I did it all for $18.57.

Last Camping Trip for the Season…

This is me in the hot tub reading my kindle.

I was going to say relaxing in the hot tub but that would be redundant. It was wonderful and I plan to do it again tomorrow on my birthday.

This is our last camping trip this year and even though we are doing it on my birthday there is a necessary reason why we are taking it. We need to close up the trailer and we need to be hooked up to a sewer line to do it. As it turns out the only Campground open this time of year is Normandy Farms. Since we would have to stay two nights on the weekends, their rules not ours, a week night fit our budget better. So it all worked out wonderfully.

The kids loved swimming and once again, we had the whole pool to ourselves. My children are going to start thinking we are much more well off than we actually are. I hope they’ll have these memories forever! I always sleep so well in the trailer and I’m looking forward to a great night’s sleep.

Sent from my iPhone

 

Daddy Says… Rock the Vote

Today I did my civic duty and voted in the state election as well as the national Presidential election.  I’ve always felt it was important to take part in the process and vote in every election, and this one was no different.

Today however, I didn’t vote alone – the Little Professor & Mighty Princess came along.  When talking with them before we went, I found out that the Professor wanted Abraham Lincoln to be President and the Princess wanted George Washington.  I couldn’t argue with either choice, but I did have to explain that they simply weren’t an option this time…

They were pretty impressed that we vote at the same school where they play soccer.  After a minor setback at the sign in desk – I had neglected to complete my town census, so I was dropped from the rolls and had to be added back in – we picked up our ballot and found ourselves a booth.

I explained the process to the kids, and showed them the ballot while we filled out our choices.  I answered questions about the various candidates and gave some information about their positions and they impressed me by making a lot of the same choices I had.  Though, I think there were more questions about the uncontested positions, than the others.

“Why is there no-one else listed?” “What if we don’t like what that person does?”

I also explained the various ballot questions we were voting on and let them come to their own conclusions on each.  Again, they impressed me by reaching the same decisions I had. Overall, they were pretty impressed with the process and yet surprised at how quickly it was over. As we were leaving the Princess asked “so, did we win?”.

Wild About Mom…

Today while I was searching for a picture I came across all of the Milk Monkey’s baby pictures.

It made me miss the little baby days.

And the smell of baby…I love that smell.

I felt the longing for another baby sneak up inside me….

and then the Milk Monkey woke from his nap.

As cute and as wonderful as he is, and he really is adorable, he’s such a busy, busy little boy.

I started looking through some of his more recent pictures…

   

The toilet paper incident.

and…

The time he locked us out of the tv.

It brought me back to reality.  The baby days are over and that’s alright.

I’m enjoying our new stage in life.

I love hanging out with my children, goofing around with them and listening to all their wonderful creative thoughts and ideas.

I have funny and interesting kids.

My Monkey is just beginning to communicate with me and it’s amazing even if it’s not always what I want to hear!

Early Birthday Gift…

My family gave me my birthday gift early!

I was pretty confident I had dropped enough hints to everyone but still wasn’t sure they’d actually get it for me.   Well, it wasn’t so much hinting as as it was letting them all know exactly what I wanted.  I even showed my husband the various places he could buy it from.   I’ve dropped hints in the past for things and ended up getting completely different gifts, so I needed to make sure everyone was really aware of what I wanted for my birthday.

Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and I had gone long enough without a working sewing machine!

My family did not disappoint.

 The kids gathered around me as I opened the box.  I tried to act as surprised as I could but 2 of my 3 children had already broken their silence after the delivery man dropped the box off.  Since the Milk Monkey has a vocabulary list of about 10 words, and sewing or machine isn’t one of them, I’m sure you can guess which two can’t keep a secret.

I hadn’t even removed it from the box before the Professor said “Now that you have a new sewing machine, you can start working on a quilt for me.”   He asked if we could go to the fabric store and choose some fabric so I could get started.  That’s what I did Saturday, only I chose the fabric without him so it could be a surprise when I finally get it finished.

Unlike some people I know, I can keep a secret!

This is what I chose…

and this is my first block layout…

I hope he loves it as much as the Princess loves her quilt!

This is my machine when it’s lit up without the extended table attachment…

Isn’t it super cool?!

I really like my new sewing machine!   It makes sewing so easy and I was able to try free motion quilting on this machine and I absolutely love how fun it is.  With a name like Confidence Quilter, it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing.

I see much quilt making in my future!

The Tooth Fairy Returns…yet again!

The Little Professor is keeping the Tooth Fairy busy these days!

She even made a trip to the hotel last night…it’s amazing how she can find us no matter where we are.

I’m loving how cute my little guy is without all his teeth.  It’s very hard to concentrate when he’s talking to me because all I want to do is squeeze him and kiss him, especially with the little lisp he has with all the gaps.

The Little Professor is loving it because he’s filling up his piggy bank.

The Princess is beginning to catch on to the Tooth Fairy business and is vigorously wiggling her teeth to cash in herself.

I have to remind her that the teeth will fall out when they’re ready, we can’t force them.

Meanwhile her big brother has big plans for his new found wealth!

I’m secretly hoping the other top front tooth falls out soon because even though I don’t think he can actually get any cuter, I’m still going to love it!