Extreme Couponing version #1

Okay I have a little confession to make, yesterday I went to the same store twice to maximize my savings on a limited item purchase. My grocery store has my favorite brand of organic pasta sauce on sale for $0.99/limit 2. They also had pasta on sale for $0.79/limit two. Along with pasta and sauce they also had my husband's favorite cereal Wheaties on sale 2 for $5/limit 4. Now when Wheaties goes on sale I like to stock up because it is normally pretty expensive, my store regularly sales it for almost $5 a box! So 2 for $5 is getting one for free, plus I had 3 $1 off 2 General Mills cereal coupons and 2 $0.75 off Wheaties coupons that I had clipped a week earlier from the Sunday paper.

I felt a little guilty about making two grocery purchases at the same store, but after my first transaction I took my load to the car and went back in a made my second purchase. I ended up with 4 jars of sauce, 4 bags of pasta and 8 boxes of Wheaties. So yes 8 boxes of cereal is a little ridiculous, but seeing how I bought 8 for the same price as 4 normally priced boxes, I think I scores a good deal.

My "extreme couponing" day didn't end there. I also made a trip to Target because I recently learned that you can stack Target coupons with manufactures coupons. So I planned my shopping trip every carefully and did the math before I headed to the store. I was able to get everything I needed and because of the coupons I saved about 60% off my entire total!

Between my two shopping trips I was able to get all of this for about $60:

So yes while I did save a lot of money, I carefully planned my shopping trips. My philosophy of clipping coupons and shopping is to only buy what I need and stock up on items when it is a really good deal. I do not have a ridiculous stock pile like the TLC show Extreme Couponing portrays. Most of the time coupons are for processed, junk food, which is food that I tend to stay away from. (Yes I did buy four boxes of Oreos, but 2 of them where free, and one was 1/2 off. And Oreos are the one snack that Brett and I view as a little delicacy!)

For me it is not practical to make a stock up grocery trip like this very often. But when I can stock up and save money at the same time, I will.


Just One of "Those" Days

Every once in a while you just have one of those days. Today was my day. My day for feeling tired, worn out, lonely and isolated. I am learning that staying at home, while very rewarding, sometimes has days where I miss being "out and about."

My heart has been in a weird place over the past few days. I miss being around friends, my feelings were hurt by my church, I'm struggling with thoughts of frustration towards extended family members and I'm starting to feel anxiety about the upcoming five weeks were I am going back to work away from Silas (my former co-teacher just had a baby, and I am going to be her long term maternity sub to start the school year for her.)

Due to the extreme heat, I have kept Silas at home with me rather than going out on errands or outings so I have also felt a sense of loneliness and isolation. Brett comes home for lunch during the day and today when he left my heart sank.

Most days when Silas naps I am busy with chores around the house, today the silence just seemed unbearable, so I spent my afternoon on the couch watching TV (which is something I rarely do). Finally by about mid-afternoon I decided to stop throwing myself a pity party.

I have been reading through and meditating on the book of Philippians this summer as part of my Maximize Your Morning challenge, and this week I have been reading Phil. 4:1-9. This afternoon I went back to verses 5-7:

"The Lord is at hand do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I started to turn my mind to the many gifts and blessings that the Lord has given me. I spend some time in prayer and I decided to bake some fresh home made bread for dinner. Cooking and baking in the kitchen always lifts my spirit.

So yes, it was just one of those random days where I just wasn't feeling myself. But after time in the Word and prayer, baking, and chatting with Brett this evening, my spirit is lifted and I am reminded of how important this season in my life is.


First Foods

This past week another "first" milestone occurred, one that is bitter-sweet for me: Silas ate his first bite of solid food. Until last Sunday evening, Silas was exclusively breastfeed since birth. While this is exciting to see him do something new and experience more of these firsts, it is also the beginning of the end of a very long, difficult, often frustrating journey of nursing which has since transformed into my favorite moments of my days.

While I was still in the hospital I thought that nursing was going well, but the first afternoon we returned home Silas wasn't latching on. We returned back to the hospital for a weight check and to test to see if his biliruben levels had gone down. They hadn't and he had lost almost a full pound down from his birth weight. He was admitted to Children's Mercy hospital to be placed under the photo therapy lights to bring his biliruben levels down ( he had an extremely high reading, and his jaundice was causing his skin to look very reddish/orange.)

He also was hooked up to an IV to help replenish his fluids, watching a three day old get hooked up to an IV is not a fun thing to watch. I was devastated. Since he wasn't feeding regularly, the nurses wanted to start him on formula supplement, again that was a crushing blow to me. I had planned to nurse him. I thought that nursing would be easy and natural, but it wasn't. Instead of offering formula, the hospital let me pump and give him milk in a bottle. I wasn't planning on pumping or giving him a bottle for a while. He started eating through the bottle, gaining weight and his biliruben levels started to lower. He was able to come home the next day.

The next few weeks were an exhaustive period of pumping, bottle feedings and trying to get him to latch on. I worked with a lactation consultant through the hospital where he was born. She was a great help, resource and advocate for me. I probably would not have continued if it wasn't for her.

After many tears of frustration, a month later we were happily nursing. There have been several bumpy spots along the way, including three different nursing strikes. Both Brett and I joke about how Silas is a very strong willed little boy! Looking back now, I am grateful for the challenge that we went through. I feel like an expert on nursing due to all the resources and research I read. Pumping also allowed Brett to be involved in the feedings. Many times he would take Silas in the middle of the night and give him a bottle so I could sleep. Cuddling with Silas after nursing is now my absolute favorite thing.

So now he almost 6 months and eating his first taste of solid foods. He enjoys eating his rice cereal and is evening opening his mouth when I bring the spoon near his mouth!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


The Power of the Grandma Hour

A few days a week I have the opportunity to benefit from having my mom or mother-in-law come over and spend time with Silas. I am pretty lucky that I live very close to both of these women. In the days and weeks following Silas' birth, my mom practically moved in to help me out.

Cooking, cleaning or actually having an adult to talk to have made this time really easy for me. Probably the best thing about having Grandma's come over is that it gives me the opportunity to take a nice, long shower without feeling the need to rush through. I had taken for granted how nice it is to take a shower at your own leisure before Silas was born.

Sometimes, though, it can be a challenge to live so close to both Grandma's. They want to spend a lot of time with Silas, which is a good thing. However I have had to be very diligent about when they come over and for how long. Some days I don't want to share my time with Silas.

Is that selfish? I don't think so.

I only get a little time with Silas before this stage is over, so I am told. I know with the next child, if we are so blessed, I won't have quite the same leisure to spend the morning cuddling after nursing, I'll have a toddler running around the house!

So I am cherishing our time time together, as well as embracing the benefit of having eager grandparents so close to allow me a little break each week.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


The Daily Habit

As a new mother, I have been feeling an overwhelming since of responsibility to train and teach Silas about the ways of the Lord. Yes he is only 5 months old, but I want him to develop a daily habit of having a quiet time with the Lord.

My own personal time, while hard to get up early, has been such an encouraging time and a refreshing way to start my day.

I have been reading various motherhood resources and have learned that children can pick up habits from disciplines that parents put into place long before they are aware of what is happening around them.

It is my heart's desire that someday Silas will profess his faith in the Lord, but I can't just expect that to happen on its own. I have the responsibility to teach him about God, faith and the Bible. So I have started Silas' devotional time for him.

Everyday, usually about mid-morning, we retreat to his room and sit in his rocker. I start by praying over Silas aloud, so he can hear me. Then I read one of the Bible stories from his Pajama Bible that his Nana gave him. Next I read aloud a story from his Read and Share Jesus Storybook. At the end of each story, there is a discussion question. I read the question and answer if for him. Finally we conclude with a prayer from his First Book of Prayers.

Out time together is sweet, and he loves looking at the colorful pictures in the board books. Everyday I pray that he will come to know the Lord and have a personal relationship with Him. So yes while he is only 5 months old, I am starting this daily habit now.


A New Favorite Summer Treat

This week I discovered a new favorite summer drink. I was reading about Money Saving Mom's weekly menu when I came across her link for a Watermelon Frostie. I looked up the recipe and decided to give it a try because it sounded really good!

I adapted the recipe because the original version calls for including maple syrup which I am not a fan of because many varieties have HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). There are more expensive brands that do not contain HFCS but for the little amount that I actually use maple syrup, I can't justify into the grocery budget. So here is my adapted version of the recipe:

Watermelon Frostie

2 1/2 cups of frozen watermelon cubes

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 banana

1 lemon squeezed for juice

Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until slightly smooth. I like a little chunk in my frosties and smoothies.

I was pretty excited that I had all the ingredients. We had a lot of watermelon left over from the Fourth of July and I hate to throw away fruit that is starting to go bad. So now I freeze all my fruit that is starting to look a little pathetic for smoothies and frosties!

Here is a picture:

I wish I could say that while I was enjoying this most delicious (and healthy!) afternoon snack I was doing something exciting, like reading a book on my back deck soaking up some rays. But I wasn't. Instead, while I was indulging myself with this treat, I was simply nursing my son.

I say "simply" because that is the truth, but honestly I wouldn't trade that time for anything else, including reading a book on the back deck (one of my favorite summer activities). I love the peaceful, tranquil times that Silas and I spend together every day, several times a day. A time that no one else gets to spend with him. My favorite moments together bonding in a way that is so meaningful and important to his well being.


No Rest for the Weary

The past few nights have sent my memory back to the early days of mothering Silas when I wasn't getting much sleep. Since then I have been really fortunate to have a son who sleeps for about 8 to 9 hours straight. Not so the case in recent memory.

Silas has been waking up extremely early, as in before 5:00 am, wanting to eat. I guess waking up to early is not something to be to worried about, it just messes up with my schedule. But in reality life with a four and a half month old really doesn't set itself up for "scheduled" success.

Sunday morning was when I first hit the wall because I was sooo tired when I first heard Silas' adorable, little coos coming from his room. I do say adorable because when I go in to get him, he is smiling, cooing, and babbling. Who could get upset to waking up to that?

Then last night happened, which I attribute to a busy, out of routine, Fourth of July, and the noise of nearby fireworks. Silas had only taken three 30 minute naps all day. We had a houseful of family all wanting to play with Silas. Who could sleep through the battling grandmas grabbing for egual attention from a cute, little one? I knew he was going to be extremely tired and sleep really well. Or at least I thought.

An hour after putting him down, I was already half way asleep myself, when I heard an ear piercing scream-cry. There is nothing like bolting out of bed, half asleep, to a heart pounding cry! I quickly picked him up and soothed him. After a bit of walking, rocking, singing and feeding, he finally feel back asleep. About an hour later, the same thing happened.

I awoke to another scream-cry. I picked him up, soothed him, changed his diaper, then put his pacifier in his mouth. 30 seconds later, he was out cold. I hung out in the nursery for a while, rocking in the glidder to make sure he was in fact asleep.

Three hours later, he was back up crying. It was a long night, and I was quite tired this morning when he awoke, cooing and babbling this time. Even when it's early, I would much rather wake up to a happy baby, than a screaming, crying one!

The most challenging thing that I have been learning in these first few weeks of transition to staying at home, is that as hard as I try to create a schedule, God has other plans for me. While I definitly didn't enjoy my three wake up calls last night, I most enjoyed holding my little one and looking into his eyes, trying to assure him that he was okay. It is such a wonderful feeling watching Silas fall back asleep in my arms, knowing that he is safe and loved.

As I spent most of my night rocking Silas back to sleep, I prayed for God's guidance and peace over his life. I sang my favorite hymns and worship songs to him, and I thanked God for giving me the opportunity to be Silas' mother.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


A Hymn For My Son

Every morning when I go to wake Silas up, I sing his hymn. I sing it to him while I am changing his first diaper of the day. Usually I too, am first waking up so it is with my groggy, morning voice that I sing it. I have a copy of his hymn typed out and placed on his special bulletin board I made that hangs over his changing table.

I wish I could say that there was some deep, theological reason for choosing this particular hymn, but I can not. The reason this hymn has such special to meaning to Silas, and to me, was that is was the first song of worship that we sang at church the first Sunday our new family attended after Silas' birth. I was holding my sweet two week old son in church for the first time. My new mommy hormones were raging, so of course there were many tears as the worship band led us with the hymn "Take My Life", the Chris Tomlin version.

As I was singing it, I was moved my the words. It is my prayer for Silas that someday he will sing the words for himself, and mean them.

Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord for thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing, always only for my King. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as Thou choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love my Lord I pour, at Thy feet it's treasure store.Take myself and I will be, ever only all for Thee.

I typed the hymn out and placed it on Silas' board above his changing table so that I would see it every time I changed a diaper during the day. When I see it, I am reminded to sing the hymn over him.

I'm linking up to: Like a Bubbling Brooke

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