Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I've had my Toddler Tuesday planned out for several days, which is why I'm still writing it a day late. I so enjoy reading other blogs for mommy ideas. So I thought, "Why not share some of the things I do with my kids. Someone might like my ideas!"
I've been amazed to read different emails and sites, as well as to hear from other parents, how children are expected to be developing at the age of two. There are two different extremes. Many of the children we know have been in daycare since they were six weeks old. Somewhere around 18months the parents start calling the daycare their child's school. The children are given worksheets to color, and begin training with their numbers and letters. When I found this out, I was all ready to drive to the textbook store and pick up all of the preschool books for my daughter because I didn't want her to get behind. But then I read things that indicate that the lessons my daughter's friends are getting at school are more age appropriate to a three year old. One Sunday I was talking with some ladies in our church nursery who has each been a kindergarten teacher at some point, and each of them told me that they get children starting kindergarten who don't know anything--no numbers, shapes, letters. I know this to be true, because I remember being the only kid in my kindergarten class who knew those same basics. So, what does my child really need to know now? What should I be doing to make sure she's not behind, but also make sure that I'm not pushing her to be ahead of what she needs to know right now. I was discussing this with one mother in order to figure out what books I would need to begin schooling my two year old. (All the while I'm wondering, "Is it really necessary to begin schooling her now?") This wise mother told me something that helped me relax. She said, "They're just babies, and they're going to be in school for at least fifteen years anyway. Why push them now?" I totally agree with her! I've also come to realize that, if I'm being a diligent mother, my daughter will still learn the things she needs to know before kindergarten without having any formal schooling.
This said, I would like to share some of the things I do with my children to help educate them. Some of these are things I have done since the day they were born. They may seem simple, (and I'm definitely not professing to be some type of child-educating expert!) but each little thing helps mold their minds. From the day my children were born I've named their body parts to them as I'm dressing them or giving them a bath. Another thing I've done is point shapes and colors when we're looking at objects or pictures. No, I don't expect my six month old to know her colors, but as a result her sister had an awareness that objects have colors and shapes at a very early age.
Recently I've been working with my daughter on the concept of sorting things by type. We've done a few fun things to help her understand.
Crayons - The other day my daughter was trying to put her crayons away and accidentally dumped the whole container of crayons. Rather than having her just put the crayons away, I sat down on the floor with her and put the pile of crayons in between us, and the container next to me. Then I asked her to hand me all of the green crayons. We then counted each green crayon as we put it in the container. We did this with each color. I saved gray for last since that was a color name she hadn't learned yet. It's simple, but through this "activity" she practiced her colors and numbers, learned a new color, and worked on sorting by types.
Letters - My daughter has this foam alphabet puzzle, and each row of letters is a different color. She loves putting the letters into the puzzle, and she's very good at it. When we're doing the puzzle together I will have her separate the letters by colors and then put the puzzle together one color at a time. As we put the puzzle together I'll tell her the name of the letter and the sound it makes. She does pretty well recognizing some of the letters and their sounds just through this activity, but I'm not pushing her into learning everything now. Through this activity she practices colors, letters, sounds, and even some shapes. She knows the "Q" because it is a circle with a stick. (I thought I had a picture of the colors separated, but couldn't find it, but at least you have a visual of what the puzzle is like.)
Groceries - My daughter likes to help put the groceries away. Yesterday I was organizing the food that we've purchased for vacation (enough for ten people for a week!), so I had her hand me the things as I wanted them in the cabinet. "Hand Mommy the cereal," and she found all of the cereals and brought them to me. "Now the crackers," and so on. It wasn't much of a sorting on her part, but it still helped her recognize the different items and separating them from others.
I know sorting may not be something overly important, but she has two OCD parents when it comes to sorting and organizing. So that's just something she's going to learn. :)
Monday, June 28, 2010
PYP Blog: Dry Erase Workbooks
I got a three week break from grading packets as that area of the ministry was closed for staff vacations and training. I had so looked forward to those weeks. Although it would mean a significant gouge in our income, it would also mean a chance to go to bed before 10pm because I didn't have to stay up and grade after settling the girls down. It meant an opportunity to catch up on scrapbooking, make some cards, do some crafty things, catch up on around-the-house projects, catch up on Shutterfly and my blog, and be able to spend my evenings with Nathanael rather than he sit on the computer and I sit at the table grading. Let's see....nope! I didn't accomplish ONE of those other things that I had wanted to do in my "time off." Instead I spent my entire day and night (and sometimes even in my dreams!) looking at sales ads, clipping coupons, organizing coupons, reading blogs on how to best organize and use coupons, going to the stores and pulling blinkies, making shopping lists and menus, and getting excited about saving money! And I believe my work has paid off. I haven't finished totaling up this past month, but I do know that we saved a TON of money! It won't necessarily reflect that way in our bank account this month, but we should start seeing the savings reflected over the next few months. The big idea with coupons and sales is to stock pile and create a build. Then to maintain that build. Now I have a build of some items, and still need to create a build for others. But at this point I haven't bought peanut butter for several weeks, and still have enough for a few more weeks. I have 6 weeks worth of milk in the fridge, and by buying with the sales I paid less than half of what I would have paid at full price if I'd waited til I needed the items. So, overall, I'm pleased with my progress. Even though I know I still have some more work ahead of me before I really feel successful.
Now, today, I sit at home on yet another rainy day with two sick little ones. I think the toddler has allergy issues, and the baby has teething issues. So it's been a dark and dreary, mopey and whiny day around here. I'm trying not to get frustrated, but I have thought several times how nice it was as a kid that my sister was at school when I stayed home sick so that I had mom's undivided attention, rather than her trying to pamper two sick kids. I know there were times we were sick together, but my memories of being sick are always of me home alone with my mom.
So, what are some things we have done recently? We've volunteered at a local Christian camp the last few weekend helping with camp transportation and registration. The girls have enjoyed playing outside in the sprinkler a few times. I set up the beach umbrella along that back porch, put the baby in the walker (with shoes on, which she doesn't like) and we sit in the shade. But she does like getting wet, too! Yesterday the baby got her first (and last for a few more months!) taste of solids when she swiped a lettuce leaf off of my plate and started sucking on it. She is very grabby, and very quick! We haven't been to the beach in a while as the oil has come ashore. But my oldest keeps begging for the beach. We took the girls blueberry picking a few weeks ago, it was also my husband's first time going picking. He enjoyed the experience, but we all much better enjoyed the gallon of free berries that we were able to get at Publix! We plan to do a bit more picking so I can make some freezer jam. Much of what we already have in the freezer will be used for baking, and some will be for baby food. (I'm very excited about making my own baby food with this baby!)
Well, the baby's waking up, so time to sign off!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
There is one person in particular whom I have idolized since I came to college. She always had lots of friends (something I've never been very good at making), she is so vibrant and energetic, and is always dressed SO nice! In college I would dig through the mission barrel trying to find clothes like hers so I could dress like her (never happened). As we graduated and went on to stay in the area, we see each other often, and until recently I still struggled with envy. Recently, however, I've come to realize that while there may be times that I envy those around me, their appearance and possessions are not without sacrifice.
I can't count how many people have made such thoughtless comments as, "Is it really worth it?" (Referring to my being a stay-at-home mom.) In my mind I don't understand how there could be any doubt as to whether or not it is worth it! What I get out of what these people are saying (based on other conversations with these same people): "Is it really worth giving up cable/satellite tv? Having two new(er) vehicles? Being able to shop and buy clothes any time you want to? Purchasing something at every direct-sales party you're invited to? Going out to eat at least once a week? ...to stay home with your children?"And my answer is a very resounding, "YES!" In their minds, I am sacrificing a comfortable lifestyle in order to stay home with my children, and this is true. (I find it sad that so many Christian women have been roped into being full-time career women and part-time moms, rather than learning to make-do with the simple bare necessities of life. (This is a soap box that I have already drafted a whole other post about, but I can't decide whether I should really publish it!) ) In my mind, these women are sacrificing their children in order to live that comfortable lifestyle. I've been beating around the bush when answering this question to people with simple answers like, "We felt it was best for our family." Which is true. However, the other night when someone asked me if it was worth it, I answered what I've been wanting to say to everyone else around me, "It's worth it not to let someone else raise my children."
So what is the idol? And what happened to the one lady I mentioned earlier? She has been an idol to me. But there have been many thing that that lady has done in the last two years that have helped my eyes be opened to the fact that we are all still human, and we all make mistakes. She is one who can't take what she dishes out. Yes, she has lots of nice things, but many of those things have been obtained by greed. Yes, I'm being judgmental, but I get so frustrated when people who have boast about robbing those who are without. In my opinion, those who have two incomes and plenty of resources, don't need to be going to a mission that is giving things away to the needy just so that she doesn't have to pay for something! We live off of one income, and I still feel that I have been too blessed to go to a charity giveaway when there are so many others around me (especially here) who truly have needs! She is also one who feels she can be extremely blunt with others, and downright rude sometimes, but can't handle it if someone makes suggestions to her. I use to think I didn't mind her rudeness because at least I knew what she truly thought of me. But I've come to realize that she still possesses that glorious "Southern Belle" characteristic of saying one thing to your face, and another behind your back. There was one time she said something rather harsh (of course it was via the internet, so reading something doesn't always carry the same expression that may have come out face to face), and my husband just looked at me and said, "I really don't know what you see in her."
I'm not trying to tear apart someone's character exactly. This is more for me to reflect on and understand why I should not hold this person as high as I have in the past. We can and will continue to be good aquaintances, but I refuse to allow myself to sit here and wallow in self pity and jealousy because I am not just like her. I have been truly blessed. Our needs have been provided, and my husband really wouldn't like it if I looked all preppy anyway. It's just a hard thing where we are to not compare myself to all of the women around me. People with nice vehicles that run quietly, as opposed to a vehicle that causes many people to plug their ears as we're driving by. :) But we have nice, cold a/c! People with nice homes that fit their families and are nicely decorated. People who have bought clothes since graduating college (or highschool even). People who have health insurance. People who have the means to eat out on those nights they just really, really don't want to cook. But these are also the same people who, while in conversation in church nursery, can even answer a simple question about their child's development. One lady and I were talking one night, and she was telling me how the daycare had told her her daughter was kissing the boys. I asked if her daughter was scooting around yet, and her answer still makes my heart break as she replied, "I don't know. We're not really home long enough with her to know if she's moving around or not."
I am SO thankful that I know what is going on in my girls lives. I understand the little toddler talk, I know exactly how each is developing day-by-day. Nothing is worth sacrificing being the mother to my children.
Friday, June 18, 2010
...and three more things of blueberries that are not pictured.
So, all things considered, we have for this weeks spending:
11 pints of blueberries - 2/$3 on sale - $1.50/1 coupon = FREE
6 Almond breeze - $2.99 on sale - $1/1 MQ - $1/1 Publix Q = $.99/ea
4 Seventh Generation dish soap - $2.99 - BOGO - $1/1 MQ = $.99/ea
2 cantaloupe (because I got some last week and it was so good I couldn't resist!) = $1.99/ea
2 potatoes (to satisfy a craving [splurged]) - $1.09/lb = $2.26
*not pictured* (birthday gifts for my sister)
1 - 12 pack caffeine free Dr. Pepper - 4.00
1 Pillsbury funfetti frosting - 1.69
Coupon savings = 32.50
Total spent = 23.58
To me that total just doesn't sound as impressive as I would like, but when I look at the receipts individually, it looks pretty good. For example, the receipt for the second picture comes to $4.24. The milk in that picture alone, with no coupons, would cost me $7.38 at regular price. So, I didn't do too bad!
The third picture is from Flowers Bakery discount bread store. This past week the Nature's Own was $2.85 and BOGO at Publix--or $1.43/loaf. I got it $.99/loaf, the English muffins for $.50, and the crackers for $2. So all for $4.48--another receipt under $5!
Considering we had very little money left last week, and I still spent some, I REALLY need to avoid looking at sales ads this week!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Peach Cobbler Muffins
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches (you can used drained canned peaches)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 16-18 muffin cups.
In the mixer, mix the oil, eggs, and sugar. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour to the oil mix until well incorporated. The batter will be thick! Fold in the peaches. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Pecan Streusel Topping Recipe
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped, optional
- 4 Tbsp butter (or margarine), softened
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Mix together all of the above ingredients. Fingers work best. Sprinkle a TBSP on top of each muffin before you bake!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
At a birthday party the other day, I saw signs that my daughter can be a bossy child! None of the other children were obeying, and she took it upon herself to walk around to each child and tell them, "No, no, Sweetie." And if they didn't stop it became a more forceful, "No, no." Or if someone fell, she'd help them up, "Ok, sweetie? You're fine." (As a side note here, I was SO proud of how well behaved she was that day. Especially in light of the fact that she was the only one obeying!)
Yesterday, Daddy was reading her a bed time story, and they were counting the puppies. She always gets stuck at three. Usually she counts "One, two, four, one, five six, seven..." Daddy was helping her count, and when she got to two, he asked what came next. She counted, "One, two,....yellow!" ....the doggies in the picture were yellow. :)
This morning we had a classic moment! My toddler loves to give the baby kisses, and keeps trying to kiss Baby on the mouth. Well, the baby had just finished nursing and was being burped when big sister came over for a mouth-to-mouth kiss. The baby got all excited and burped--spitting up right in her sister's mouth! I began to laugh, and my toddler just burst into tears (little Miss Drama Queen!). Poor thing. I was laughing and laughing, and she's crying and crying while I'm trying to wipe the puke out of her mouth. It took a while to get her to calm down. :)
A friend who recently moved away commented that she misses my big girl, and I replied that some days I'd almost be willing to ship her to Michigan, but then she does something cute and it makes up for all of the un-cute moments we had that day! We definitely have our share of those un-cute moments as she's struggling with selfishness and sometimes jealousy toward her sister. But I love my big girl!
Monday, June 14, 2010
So, my first store today was CVS. They had General Mills cereal 3/$10 with $4 ECB. So it made it like 2/$6 --comparable to Publix sale price.
General Mills Cereal - 3/$10
Coupons - $2.05
Spent - $7.95
Got - $4.00 ECB
Then I went to Winn-Dixie to get the meal deal, but changed my mind. I did want to get a $10/$50 print out so I bought two packets of taco season for $1 total--but sadly I didn't get a print out. So that trip was a waste of time and money. :(
Next I went to Publix. Here I struck gold! And may I just say I LOVE Publix customer service! One item I was getting didn't have a BOGO sign on it, so the guy went to check the sale for me and told me to continue my shopping and he'd find me to let me know if it was indeed on sale. When he found me he brought with him 4 bottles of the juice and asked if I wanted any more. I did, but I told him I was fine--I should have let him get me more, because when I went back to get it I had to climb up the shelves to do so! :) Later, as I was ready to check out, my toddler bumped her mouth on the cart and her lip started bleeding. So an employee grabbed a paper towel for her mouth and a sanitary wipe for the finger that my daughter would keep out of her mouth since it now had blood all over it. The employee then asked if I was ready to check out, pulled my cart up to the line, and unloaded all of my groceries for me! And of course when I was done, someone took my things out to the car and put them in the car for me while I got the girls settled in. Where else do you get such great service and still save money?! I still didn't walk away with free groceries, or getting paid to shop, but I still did pretty well I think. Especially since I'm still learning.
This may take me a while to type out as I have a six-month-old assistant in my lap!
6 Mott's Medley Juice - $3.07 BOGO - used $1/1 coupons from Publix Summer Savings
4 Mott's Tott's - $3.07 BOGO
1 Tombstone Pizza (not pictured) - $5.95 - had Q - purchase pizza and dorito's get free Mt. Dew
2 Dorito's - $3.99 BOGO
3 Mt. Dew - $1.57 B2G1 - one free with coupon, paid for one more, got the third free!
2 Almond Breeze - $2.99 - $1/1 Q from Publix flyer, $1/1 MQ
6 Yoplait - $0.50 - $.0.50/6 coupon
4 Nabisco crackers - $4.49 BOGO
6 General Mills Cereal - $4.09 BOGO - coupons
4 Ronzoni pastas - $1.39 BOGO
2 Craisins - $2.25 BOGO
1 Rubbing Alcohol - $1.49 - FREE - Baby Club coupon
.75 lb cherries - $2.36
.60 lb tomatoes - $0.59
1 cantaloupe - $1.99
Merchandise Total = $119.00
MQs = $7.55
Sale Savings = $48.88
Store Qs = $9.49
ECB's = $4.00
Total Spent = 39.08
SAVED = 79.92
Not too shabby, I think!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Sara Lee Bread = 0.99
Pampers = 2.50 - 2.00 coupon = 0.50
John Feida hair products 3/$15 - 7.00 coupons = 8.00
Paid: 10.81 (with tax)
Got: $5.00 RR
6 Old Spice body wash @ $4.49/ea
2 Old Spice deodorant @ 4.99/ea
- 4 BOGO coupons
Used: 5.00 RR
Paid: 16.73 (with tax)
So, to sum up: I got 13 items, spent 27.54 out of pocket, got $15 back in RR, so technically I only spent $12.54. That comes out to $0.96 and item! I'm so excited I finally had a successful trip. Now, I'm hoping to get a $10/$50 coupon from Winn-Dixie Monday so I can go to Publix and get FREE groceries! I can't wait til I can say I got free groceries!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
2 Peter Pan Peanut Butter 40oz - BOGO = 4.49 (after coupon)
3 lb oranges @ .99/lb = 2.96
Almond Breeze = 2.29 (after coupon)
3 Kraft shredded cheese @ 2.0/ez = 6.00
Ritz 12 oz = FREE (with cheese coupon)
4 A&W 12 pack sodas (for vacation) = 10.00
Tax = .75
SPENT = 25.83
SAVED = 18.97
I plan to do with this as I did with my last receipts and compare it to Wal-Mart prices to help me see how much we really saved. I'll keep you posted.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
So, one thing I can join the club on: I did take pictures of my venture. This will be my first time posting pictures on my blog, so we'll see if I get it right.
So, Publix: Kellogg's cereal BOGO. Cereal was $4.09/box, had $3.50 in coupons, got 8 boxes. Spent $12.86, saved $19.86 at Publix. I stress that I saved that much at that store, and on store brand, because this still came out to an average of $.012 an ounce. That's approximately the same as what I spend on the gigantic bags of Malt-o-Meal at Wal-Mart. So I really didn't save any money, and got a head ache doing it.
Wal-Greens: This was my first attempt at using RR and doing multiple transactions. Didn't pan out as well as I would have liked because I wasn't able to get all of my q's printed. Then due to a mess up with the first transaction, my q didn't get processed for the Pantene, but I didn't notice that until I got home.
Transaction #1: Pantene 2/$8 w/ $2 RR (should have had a $1/2 q attached) = $8.60
Transaction#2: Nivea Men's Bodaywash BOGO ($4.99) and Dial Men's Bodywash BOGO ($5.99) Had a $3/1 q for Nivea and $1.50/2 for Dial. Minus $2 RR from first transaction = $5.31
Not as good as I was hoping, but I guess not the end of the world. Comes to $3.16 per item.
DH is at Wal-Mart now picking up all of the true necessities that had to be neglected because of tired and hungry babies. He's going to check WM prices and see how much I really saved. Considering the time I put into this, not enough.
I hate the quitter attitude I've developed toward this, but I also had the frustration that radiates my entire being when I attempt to make this work.