Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guest blogger: Sabre Hollinghead

As promised, last night's post (which couldn't be added until today because I couldn't get the site to pull up) is from a guest contributor, Sabre Hollinghead--who just so happens to be my oldest daughter (my only daughter, but my oldest--you get it). Sabre is 7 years old and is homeschooling through the 1st/2nd grades this year. Sabre wrote about her experience with satisfying her need to shop on a tight budget--hmm, let's say, a zero budget. She just spent 10 weeks' allowance to go halfsies on a ticket to an Auburn basketball game. But a girl needs toys, no matter what age she is. So without any further adieu (and remember, I'm copying verbatim):

Uncle Tim came over here and gave Curtis two coloring pages and gave me a white posterboard square and I had to make one big poster all by myself and we were entering a safety contest. Today Uncle Tim came over and told me I was in 1st place in my division and Curtis was in 2nd in his and I got $30 and Curtis got $15 and I bought perfume and lipstick and a bag that you can color on and Barbie doll clothes and Curtis got three Bakugans and a fizzy bathtub egg with a dinosaur in it. I really liked entering the safety poster contest because I liked getting free money.

And there you have it. A couponista started early.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I got the FEVER!

Well, actually, Trace really DOES have a fever right now, but that's a different story. I just sat down in my cute (FREE) new jeans I got yesterday at Target to tell you about my shopping trip today, so why don't you take a moment to think about what you paid for your yours and then continue reading.

Sabre went with her Grandmother (aka Nonnie) to eat lunch with Windows GS--just kidding, ladies! I know, W(omen)inG(od's)S(ervice), WinGS, but Lee and I like to call you the aforementioned nickname--so I took Curtis and Trace to "the GREATEST PARK EVER" (or so I was told a few dozen times), and, of course, do a little coupon shopping. The Rite-Aid I chose didn't have ALL the deals I was hoping to score, but you take what you can get when you live in small-town Alabama.

First of all, I had prepared by watching all the video values at If you don't do this, you HAVE to start. It's like throwing away money not to. The deal is this, they have a bunch of little mini-commercials you can watch (about 30 seconds each), and at the end, you get either a coupon or a credit towards a bigger coupon. For example, by watching 16 short videos I received a $4 off coupon. Not bad for 10 minutes work. And to be honest, I didn't really watch them. I played them while I checked my email and answered messages on FB. There were three or four different promotions this last time. Check it out!

Another big coupon I was excited about was for Loreal Youth Code, a new anti-age skincare regimen. The 3-piece value kit retails for $34.99 (one solitary bottle is $24.99!), but Rite-Aid has it discounted right now for $29.99. I used a $10 video values coupon and received 2 $5 UP rewards, meaning I paid $10 for it! Next time you see me, I had BETTER look about 12 :OP

Some of the things I got were necessities for right now, with all the sickness that has been going on in my house lately. But luckily for me, it was all on sale and came with UPs! I got Sucrets lozenges and Halls coughdrops for 99 cents (minus my 50 cent coupon = 49!), and the Rite-Aid brand Head Cold medicine and Sore Throat Sprays were both B1G1Free. I also got Lee some body wash, since he was out again, and in case you're wondering, after UPs, Right Guard is 99 cents, too!

Oh, and last but not least: the kids needed shampoo. What to do? Pay full price or just the tax? No brainer. This week's promotion offers Wellness members the chance to get unlimited $2 UP rewards for select Johnson and Johnson products that they reduced to $2.99. I didn't need Desitin, but that's included, too. Ninety-nine cents for a big bottle of tearless shampoo is awesome, especially when your kids have as much hair as mine do! But why pay even that much, if you know how to use your computer? There's always loads of different places to get JnJ coupons on the web. Try, for one. Rule #1: Never pay for something if you can get it for free (now, I'm talking legally, here). $1.00 - .99 = 1 cent to use towards the .24 tax.

So let's add it all up: $35 for skincare, $30 for medicine, and $36 for 'soap'. So I spent just over a hundred bucks. No, wait, that was REGULAR prices. What I would have paid if I waited to buy it one shopping trip at a time, when I needed something, you know, like I used to shop. What did I really pay? OOP (or Out Of Pocket), I paid $49--and got $29 in UP rewards!

Not a bad day, all in all. Twenty dollars for 14 things I actually needed anyway. Well, 13 things I really needed and one awesome splurge for me ;) I actually gave $14 in past UPs, so only 35 dollars actually left my possession today. Hmmm... that's the price of the skincare. What a coincidence :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

EXTREME Couponing

So I went to Dothan today for a bit of shopping. Whew! I am so exhausted--3 different stores with 3 kids in tow. I am also very proud of myself, but that was quite a job. I wish I'd gotten the kids motivated to get out the door a little earlier, and then we could have taken a break instead of going from one store to the next. Anyway, here are the results:

First, we went to CVS. This trip was actually disappointing because I forgot my ECB card, so I didn't end up purchasing any of the items that would have given me ECB. But oh, well. I still scored 2 packages of Purex 2-in-1 sheets (love those things!) and a box of Guitar Magnet valentines from the clearance box that the kids picked out, all for 7 bucks. Not bad. Still less than the price of one package. But not the most awesome thing that happened that day.

The last place we went for the day was Target, and alas, Trace was very cranky by then, so I didn't bother with most of my list. Just got the things I REALLY wanted/needed. I came out of Target with a huge $36 box of Huggies, a big box of Huggies Supreme wipes, and 2 pairs of $20 Mossimo jeans (that look pretty un-Mommyish on me, if I do say so myself :D) all for a mere $23. Feeling pretty good about that one. I was actually just about to have to spend Lee's hard-earned money on some pathetic Faded Glory Jeans or something, when I received the info about the $5 Target coupon denim that I could pair with the $4.98 clearance jeans. You saved me there, Coupon Mavens of FB! And I was feeling pretty savvy myself when I spotted the big box of reduced-price diapers on the clearance endcap with the peelable dollar-off coupon, remembering I had a Target couopon AND a manufacturer's coupon for $1.50 and $2.00, respectively. Huggies diapers for less than generic? Sweet.

But wait, you say, didn't I say I went to 3 different stores? Why, yes, I did. I scoured the clearance racks at Kohls for the better part of 2 hours and, well, I spent almost $200. OUCH? Let me tell you what I got:

A dress.
A swimsuit.
A dress shirt/shrug/necklace combo.
And 3 pairs of dress shoes.
For Sabre.

A pair of corduroy pants.
A pair of pajamas.
Khaki shorts.
A Polo shirt.
And 5 pairs of shoes.
For Trace.

And for JC?
A flannel shirt.
A sweater.
2 button-up shirts.
2 dress pants.
A vest.
A tie. The kid LOVES ties right now. Carried it through the store.
And 6 pairs of shoes.

Yup. Oh, and a nice dress for me. I splurged. ;) You heard me: Over 30 items including 14 pairs of shoes for $198 and some change--that's including the $20 in tax! The cashier purely giggled when she told me I saved over $700. With the tax that I would have spent, that was $1000 I carried out to the car. Do people actually buy things at full price?

The shoes were my favorite part. I have absolutely dreaded every time the boys grow out of their dress shoes. It's impossible for me to find good dress shoes for them. I mean, I know I could go to a shoe store and shell out 20-40 bucks a pair, but puh-lease! Not when Kohl's has them for $2.49-6.99 each! So now we're good for the next, oh... 3 years or so, I should think...

Sigh... I did have to stop at McDonald's in Enterprise, about halfway home, to get a Mocha to keep me awake ;) My second splurge of the day. (No, wait. The kids and I had lunch at Goldfingers. Mmmmmm....) And as soon as we got to Opp, we rushed straight to the softball field! Now, it's ten o'clock, so I'd better get some rest before tomorrow's Rite-Aid/Walgreens run. It's hard work saving money.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Feelin' blue...

Well, I'm sad. My kiddos are at the in-laws. Again. They've been there since Saturday afternoon. I hurt my neck carrying Bacon on the hike at Camp Wiregrass on Thursday, and since I just went about life as usual Friday and Saturday, by Sunday, I couldn't move. The doctor at the ER gave me some shots of happiness and prescribed some pills of survival, and I've been chillin' at the crib sans l'enfants ever since.

Carl actually came and got me this afternoon and I spent a couple of hours with them. I didn't pick them up or really do much but feel their gentle hugs and kisses for awhile, but my neck and shoulders were screaming by the time I got home. But it was very much worth it. And now I'm alone again. Sigh.

I thought I'd blog about it to get it off my mind, and I think it's helping some, just to get the feelings into words and out of my psyche as meaningless yearnings. Kinda' reminds me of how the Bible says the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don't know how or what to say. Hmmm... not meaning to compare my blog to deity, just, yeah, whatever.

One of the things I've become depressed about is weaning Bacon. Yes, Bacon is 14 months old, and until Saturday, I was still breastfeeding him. If you think that's weird, well, I think you're ignorant, so there's that ;) I breastfed the first two until around 20 months, but Bacon was already showing signs that he was getting ready to be weaned. I hadn't come to terms with it, yet, though. However, the doctor and I agreed on a course of treatment that would allow my injury to heal most quickly (5-6 days), but I would have to suspend breastfeeding for the week. Since I was already thinking about weaning Bacon, I decided this would be a good time to do it, but it's kind of a shock to my emotions that it's so sudden. Luckily enough, Bacon was ready, and he's doing great so far. When I visited this afternoon, Sheila placed him on my lap, and he wordlessly signaled to me that he wanted me to feed him, but I told him we didn't do that anymore, and he accepted that and just hugged me and nuzzled me instead for a minute. He's such a sweet little old man. I think he's gonna' do just fine.

Anyway, in case any of you out there in cyberspace were wondering, I'm doing fine, as long as I don't move too much. I've got a doctor's appointment scheduled for Thursday, during which I think I'm supposed to be getting a referral to a chiropractor or physical therapist or something... someone's supposed to be teaching me how to "get my spine back to a 30-year-old's spine" as Dr. Revel said. I'm also not taking all my calls, so don't get worried if I don't answer. I'll keep you updated somehow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting back to basics

I just realized something. I was shelling peas during Bacon's morning nap, and my older son, Bean, interrupted me to make him a PBJ. As I sliced the fresh, homemade bread, and slathered on organic peanut butter and blueberry jam my mother-in-law made, it hit me--we've come a long way!

My husband has fought me tooth-and-nail for every 'green' or 'crunchy' thing I've tried to do over the years. And for good reason--I can take on A LOT. But little by little we've become a much more self-sustaining family. We've love to become even more self-sustaining. If we could ever get up the courage to put this house on the market, we'd be looking for about 40 acres in the country with woods and ponds and plenty of room for veggies and animals and everything you can think of! (Side note: anyone looking for a 5bd/2ba in Opp?)

But here's the crux. I don't know what most of you guys do that's "Back to Basics"... Why don't you let me know? I'm all for hearing about your 3R's (reduce, reuse, recycle), but what else are you into? The best answer wins... my awe and admiration! No, seriously, let me know if you have any original ideas, ok?

Monday, June 21, 2010

look out world! CHOMPERS!

Oh my goodness gracious cow! Bacon finally has a tooth. One of the usual first teeth--the bottom front ones. I have never been so excited about a child of mine getting a tooth before (I mean, c'mon, I'm still nursing, so teeth are not necessarily that awesome of a deal to look forward to), but this is something I've been waiting on for the last 13 months!

Being toothless hasn't really hindered him so far. He eats strictly table food in addition to breastmilk, and he eats EVERYTHING, just about. I'm super paranoid about chokeables, anyway, so my kids always have to wait until they're three to eat any of the choke-worthy foods (popcorn, raisins, etc). It's considered some kind of big honor amongst my crew to turn three. Bean was so stoked about chewing gum, I think he would have given half his birthday presents over for the chance.

Of course, this means that the Tasmanian Barnes had better watch out, because his time is coming. My nephew never misses a chance to try to take a chunk out of my chunky monkey, and he's a little sneaky about it, too. Once he enticed Bacon into sharing a taste of his finger; another time he pretended he wanted to hug him--then tried to eat his shoulder. Once he just came up behind him and tackled him, pinning him and chomping away till I could separate them.

Naw, NJ's sweet. I kid about the kid, but he really does have a beautiful smile and a nice healthy set of pearly whites. I hope Bacon has his father's teeth when they finally fill out his father's smile, on his father's face, which is above his father's body... he's got my lighter hair color, though. Sigh...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Funnies

Happy Father's Day to my sweet hubby who is en route to the unluckiest spot in the Gulf of Mexico right now. He should be home in about a week, and the kids and I have a trick or two cooked up for then to celebrate, but for now, I decided to steal an idea from a friend to give him a smile.

I asked the older two kids (Snuggle, age 6, and Bean, age 4) a series of questions about their father (separately, I might add--so they didn't feed off each other's answers, which is quite interesting, actually... you'll see) and compiled their answers here.

Father's Day Pop Quiz

1. What is Daddy's whole name?

S: Carlton Lee Hollinghead, Jr.
B: I don't know. Carlton Lee Someone.

2. What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?

S: Go camping.
B: Play games and go camping.

3. What is Daddy's job?

S: Going to the oil rig.
B: Shooting. 'Cuz he needs to get more food for the Army 'cuz the Army might starve.

4. What does Daddy do during the day?

S: He watches TV and goes kayaking.
B: Sleeping.

5. What does Daddy do at night?

S: He sleeps.
B: Sleeping.

6. What does Daddy like to wear?

S: Two shirts.
B: All sorts of stuff he has in his closet.

7. How old was Daddy when he met Mommy?

S: 16
B: 6

8. What makes you love Daddy the most?

S: That he loves me.
B: A deer.

9. What does Daddy do that makes you laugh?

S: Tickles me.
B: When he tickles Baby Trace.

10. What is Daddy's favorite book?

S: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
B: An alien book that he reads all the time.

11. What is Daddy's favorite food?

S: Ribs.
B: Chicken.

12. What's Daddy's favorite TV show?

S: King of the Hill
B: Army

13. How much does Daddy love you?

S: A whole bunch
B: (Throws his arms back as far as he can, outstretched)

14. What's your favorite memory with Daddy?

S: When we went swimming in the lake.
B: Mario Galaxy. He plays that 'cuz I like it.

15. What do you want to say to Daddy on Father's Day?

S: Happy Father's Day! I love you!
B: I love you!