Wednesday, May 25, 2011

blessed to bless to be blessed

yes this is another coupon story, but with a much more serious tone.....Joplin, MO was hit really hard with a tornado and it affected people in Austin who are from there. They decided to plan a trip to drive there with donated items to help out those who were affected by the tornado.

Instantly I thought of my small stock pile i have begun to work on and I knew that God has blessed me so much with this whole couponing thing that I wanted to be able to bless others in the only way other than prayer I can at this time. I showed the news feed to my son this morning and told him that we were going to bring stuff to the church after a quick walmart trip to get more stuff. He was sad for the people who lost their homes and was so happy to help out.

I went to walmart on the way and was able to get over 18 dollars worth of needed products for $0.68. While I was in the travel size aisle finiding toothpaste that would pay me .03 cents to buy I decided to check the deodorant aisle and see if I could get a good deal on any as it was a top need. A man approached me and asked if i wanted a coupon for nexcare bandaids that would make them completely free I said yes thank you so much and told him that I was shopping for the people in Joplin and that our church was collecting stuff for the people there. He then offered to get the rest of the coupons he had in his car if i would be in this aisle for a while longer and i was like oh my gosh yes that would be so great! He ended up giving me a total of 6 coupons and I was able to get 6 free boxes of bandaids. I love that he saw my coupon binder and offered me his coupons as well as where he got them and that my son witnessed all of this! T thought it was so nice of the man to give us the coupons and it sure melted my heart to see God work so many blessings through this horrible situation in Joplin. Especially watching my son carrying in a package of toilet paper almost his size and grocery bag of diapers. I am so thankful for all the many blessings from our dear Lord Jesus Christ!
104. coupons
105. nice men who share their coupons for a wonderful cause
106. a church that is really for the city
107. a son who offered his only penny to the people of Joplin
108. God opening my eyes to the things around me every day!

fun day

101. Champion Park-an amazing park that is fun for literally any age-me included!
102. beautiful women inside and out that inspire me daily (G and M thank you)

Yesterday was so fun for me and my kids! Daddy is training and it has greatly affected my 4 year old son, he is really having a hard time with daddy's absence and all the more showing how important it is to have a mom and dad around for your kids! T is pretty tough, but one of his friends took his stick away after he stepped in her hole and he flipped out crying as if he had been hurt (which he hadn't been) and I am struggling to be a good mom this week, but I have got to give it up for places like champion park, it was so fun.

It is a splash park in which the water drains into a big huge sand area that has pretend dino bones to dig up and it creates these big puddles. There are tons of buckets and shovels to play with that are left there and there is a decent amount of shade covering the sand. I really enjoyed crawling around with my kids in the sand
103. free exfoliation from the wet sand at the park

It was so cool to watch my 8 month old crawling around playing in the sand instead of sitting on a blanket with me watching all the other kids have fun and wishing she could participate....

After the park it was time for a bath to get the sand out of hair and everything else and it was awesome that as soon as I got both of my kiddos clean, Tanner says "oow mom kenni pooped" yah she pooped in the tub and I scooped T up really quick and got him safely out then proceeded to fish the poop out of the tub p.s. no joke I didn't know babies could poop that big, it was bigger than some of the poops my son has it was crazy...rewash and clean toys and bath tub.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

blog happ today

93. Blogs from people who inspire me and gently remind me of what I need reminding-Thanks G!

I started reading a chapter book to my kids--yes they are only 4 and 8 months, but Tanner seems to enjoy it and kennadi just crawls all over me while I read-thus we all enjoy :) We are reading Beverly Cleary's "Strider" Tanner likes that it is about a boy and his dog. We need to go get our library card and he wants me to read to him "Ralph S. Mouse" after this. It excites me to read these childhood favs of mine over again and share them with my kids! I now understand why my mom was so excited when i read "Jean and Johnny" by Beverly Cleary --she enjoyed it when she was a girl and so did I!

94. people who love to read, planing the seed for their children to love to read.
95. Books---so great for the imagination, vocabulary, spelling, etc. In a such a digital age it is nice to enjoy a good old fashioned book!

Daddy is coming back tonight from yet another schooling for his Marine Corps job-we cant wait to see him for a day!

Took the kids to Gilleland park today to walk the path because Pfluger Park was closed for the Pluger Park Phest that is starting today. We walked along and found a small waterfall on the creek that we had to check out, me, the kids, and our dog Hank, it was beautiful and we saw a turtle swimming off (probably heard the crazy pierce clan coming)

96. walking trails--so many in texas its awesome!
97. new perspective
98. mommies who want to stay home with their kiddos and teach them and raise them up in the Lord's ways!

It's funny that I have always considered myself a quick learner, good in school, straigh A student-things have come pretty easy to me as far as learning goes and i would count myself successful in school. How ironic it is that i feel like teaching my own would be so overwhelming and have doubt in my ability to do it right--as if it's me that is doing anything--all this time it's been God working through me and in me and i know that He will provide the knowledge, patience, etc. for me to step up to the plate and fulfill this all too important task of homeschooling our kids---I can't trust anyone else to do it and honestly I wouldn't want to let someone else do it, these are my children and my hubby and I love them more than any other person ever could-true this can create more challenge, but all the more motivation to do it right...Everything is challenging to start, to find a way that works for you, but all things that are hard to do are worth doing--I know it would be easier to send the kids off to school and have a less than adequate education in a secular system that values test scores more than anything else, and i could go off to some job and spend only a few hours each night with my kids, but why????? really why do that? Your kids are only in your home for 18 years they fly by so fast and what a special time to spend with them teaching them, loving them, sure you could fail, but that is when Christ steps in for us, we will make mistakes for sure, but I trust God will fill the gaps and man I am so thankful for that peace! Think of what kind of kids we would have if every one homeschooled? true teachers would not have a job, but think of all that tax money that could go elsewhere also and what kind of kids would turn out that are loved so much and taught God's word and ways and given quality time.....radical and crazy I know it will never happen, but I am so thankful that I will be able to do this for our kids with God's help and guidance-what a special gift for me and them! I don't know any kid that is homeschooled who wishes they weren't---just something to think about
99. homeschooling
100. trees= oxygen, shade, beauty, wood, paper, etc. the best part is you can cut one down and plant another---great sustainable resource!

courtesy of my good friend G

Her's is called "Why do I teach" mine would have to be changed to "Why am I going to teach (homeschool) my kids?.....

Proverbs 22:6
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Psalm 78:4-8
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.

For he issued his laws to Jacob;
he gave his instructions to Israel
He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them- even the children not yet born-and they in turn will teach their own children.

So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.

Then they will not be like their ancestors-stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 and again the same in 11:19
And you must love the Lord your God with all you heart,
all your soul,
and all your strength

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today

Repeat them again and again to your children

Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road,
when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

Is He really talking about me, the parent doing these things?  Many of us certainly hope not

How much easier to send them to school for 7 to 8 hours each day, then perhaps on to after school "care". 

Then come Sunday we put them into groups with same age peers to be taught by other adults.  Then we're back to Monday again and it's off to school.

But I do teach my kids....when is that?  You find the time to dedicate yourself to their training when exactly?  At home, on the road, going to bed and getting up?

I have some of my children at home and some at school.  I see the difference.  I know they need to be at home.  I can't keep them safe at school from all that public school is, and honestly .... it is mostly bad. 

The thought of 5 at home overwhelms me, and then I remember that when I am overwhelmed He steps in, my Superhero, and He makes it all happen. 

Next year I will have three at home; this summer I will prayerfully ask Him to guide me, do they all need to be home now?  Or if I wait and bring another home the following year will that be okay, Lord?

Why does God command me to teach my children?  The written thoughts of author Israel Wayne resonate deep with me:

To refine me in the trial of the homeschool.  Me, refine me.  The hard place of homeschool is a fire for me and separates out the dross in me as I teach them about Him. 

I never thought about what teaching does for me.  But in reflecting I can see my own growth, I can see the trail of ick left behind in this trial of teaching. 

As a family to seek first Matthew 6:33
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need
All, everything you need, even academics.  Seeking Him first, all that we need will be found.

What we know is insignificant compared to what we believe

Nothing is more important than our relationship with God and each other, not chemistry, not algebra, not even early reading. 

God has good plans for our kids, they will have success as a natural result of obedience to God.

Give them tools.  Teach them how to learn, how to research, how to dig....Trust them.

Is what you are doing right now drawing you and your children closer to God or just frustrating you?
Thank you so much Gretchen for putting this in perspective again for me! I have been sure I wanted to homeschool for a while now, but it is so awesome to have a great reminder!

How to coupon

ok friends people are asking about couponing so for those of you here in Texas I would be happy to get together and show you a couple methods to the madness and for those afar I will give some ideas: has a section for beginniners that is really helpful and they have 7 or 8 short videos for shopping at each of the large chain stores (walgreens, walmart, etc). You have to decide which method works best for you, how much time you want to spend on it and how much you want to save.

If you really want to save money you can get ad inserts (smart source, red plumb, and one a month P and G) from friends or neighbors if they are not planning to use them. You can do what I have done and go to the nearest recycle center and dive in their newspaper recycle bin (we have scored tons of coupons that way and its how I was able to get 10 of the similac formula coupons that paid me .81 each to go towards the rest of my shopping trip at Target). Or you can subscribe to your newspaper for sunday only if it is offered that way. (I was resistant to buying the paper, but we deicded that it is worth the time saved to just get 4 copies of the paper because it makes it so much easier to clip the coupons and we get that time to spend as a family instead of in a newspaper bin. I have not called to check yet (I need to) but apparently some newspapers will give you a discount for ordering mulitiple copies of the newspaper for your household and you can get a subscription for each member of your family and it is cheaper than just going to a convient store and buying them--plus you wake up to it on sunday morning sitting there all pretty in your driveway :)

Ok so once you decide how you want to get your papers then you decide how you want to go about organizing them: Write the date on the front of each circular--tip if you are getting yours by newspaper bin diving and the ad is whole the outside binding has the date written very small on it so you will know what date to write--or if you get like me you will recognize the date just by looking at the cover :) Now here is where you get your options-I clip every coupon and file it into a binder by category this way if I am at the store I bring in my binder and check for the clearance--sometimes a coupon can make you money like the similac did for me------some stores pay you overage and Target, Walmart, Safeway (or any of their sister stores including Randalls and Von's i believe) So lets say you check your store's clearance section and you see something you think you have a coupon for open your binder flip to that section and you can see all the coupons--say you find a pet food can that is priced at 39 cents and you have a coupon for 50 cents off take as many cans as you have the coupons for and (say you only have 4 coupons) you then make 44 cents and can apply it to your order total. This is why I cut every coupon, you never know what will make you money and the great thing is that you can donate your free stuff that you dont use to charity (like the similac formula I dont need because I nurse my baby will go to someone in need and it was a big help on my order since I made $8.10 on it.

Another method of organizing your coupons is by simply filing the circulars by date in a file cabinet or something of the like I have one of those plastic file cabinets and a bunch of file folders that hang and I wrote the date on them (this was the method i started with). Red plumb is abrieviated with RP Smart source is S or SS and Proctor and Gamble is PG-I label each file folder with the date and which circular it is this way. When you get your paper you check the 2 websites I use (there are plenty more out there though feel free to explore) and they list what the best deals are and on couponmom you can sort the deals by percentage saved -this is what I do so I wont get anything unless I am saving at least 50% (working on getting that to 75-100%) There is a short video on as well that explains this method and how to use the site really well, I watched it and started couponing this way. Then we started watching TLC's "Extreme couponing" and my hubby decided I needed to be the krazycouponlady and because he is so amazing offered to clip the coupons for me while I sorted them into the binder at night when we watch our shows. It helps so much to havea  supportive husband to help do this-makes the time fly by much faster and now i have my binder pretty well memorized as to what order my categories are in so I can hand him my stacks to be cut in that order and then i am not flipping all around my binder.

Another way is very similar to the file cabinet way, but it requires at least a 5" binder you sort by date as well but file it into a binder.

So you have your circulars and you have the method you want to use: Now you check your sites and cut your coupons if you are using a sort by date method-how do you cut them? If you have 4 copies of each circular you lay out each page of the circular and stack each of the remaining 3 circulars on top so when you cut one coupon you are cutting all 4 at the same time. they staple each stack together, but I don't need to-seems like a waste of staples maybe you could use a paper clip to hold them together while you cut. Also i am a scrapbooker so I havea  really nice cutter that I got so I can cut 10 of the same coupon at the same time and I bought my cutter at hobby lobby when it was 40% off (they often have coupons for 40% off any regular priced item too so you can check the website and get one that way--it really is so much better this way it saves your hands big time! my hubby can atest to this!

Ideally you would get your circulars and immediately lay them out so they are stacked by each page then sort them by date if not cutting them now so when you check your sites tos ee what you are buying that week you can easily cut the coupons then and there.

I started this in April and I am a much better learner by seeing it done so I am likely better at showing it than explaining it as well, so sorry if any of this is confusing, but feel free to watch the videos and they helped me a lot. It is so awesome when you get your first free item and it feels so good being able to use the coupons to help out someone else in need. Honestly I thought I would just save a few bucks each month, but it goes way beyond that if you want to take the time and strategically shop each week. I am at Walgreens every week now and they give me the best deals. I used to only go there for printing photos and getting prescriptions until I learned about Register Rewards (my best friend) i would never just run to walgreens for a few items i needed-they are over priced, but if you buy what is on sale and use a coupon you get amazing deals there. I really encourage you to watch the videos on to understand how to shop there. The first time I went I just bought everything in one transaction and saved my rewards for the next visit, but that requires a lot of out of pocket cost. The smart way is to separate your transactions and roll over you RR's to your next transaction to keep the cost down.
     Example: last week I got a smoking hot deal on toothbrushes and razors (2 things that can be stored forever) This was the way it went down: I bought 2 colgate toothbrushes that were on sale 2 for $6 I used two .75 cents off/1 coupons and paid $4.50 for this transaction. I was given a $4 RR. My next transaction was on a gillette proglide razor that was on sale for 9.89. I had a coupon for $4 off 1 and I wanted to use my $4 RR as well. Their coupon policy requires that you have as many items at least as coupons and so I had to find a filler item if i wanted to use my 2 coupons on my 1 razor. The cheapest thing they had in the clearance section was a .25 cookie package so I got that with it and used my 2 $4 off coupons so the total was 10.14 before my 2 coupons, i paid 2.14 and received a $5 RR to use on my next purchase. So total out of pocket was 6.64 and i now had $5 RR to use on my next purchase. I bought a total of 9 razors (unfortunately I didn't learn of the toothbrush deal at first so I paid more out of pocket for some of them, but ultimately those razors should have cost over $105 and because on the websites they count RR as part of the total taken off what you get I paid about $8 for all 9 razors). My hubby is a marine so we go through razors with him shaving his face daily and his head weekly.

The great thing is that the websites are free to use and they do the hard work for you, they find the deals you just have to cut the coupon and go to the store for your purchase. It is tricky at first and can be confusing (I may be making it more so) but the pay off in the end is worth it. It took me about a month to get it all figured out and decide on a method officially and i really am still learning, but I am much more confident at it now. The key is to have mulitple of the same coupon so that when you can get something at rock bottom price you stock up because you can use 1 coupon for each item that counts as "purchase." Also cool is if you have a store coupon and a manufacture coupon because you can use both on one item. You may also print coupons from your computer (2 for each computer you have), but that of course requiers ink and paper, i only print them if it is really worth it like the $3 off 1 package of huggies that I got once) There is a link on the couponmom website to get discounted ink  and paper subscriptions.

If you need help or have more questions after you check out at least those 2 sites than feel free to ask me I enjoy helping others and feel that everyone should be saving money.
**For those of you who want to go really crazy and do the binder, I recommend getting a 3" avery brand and baseball card holders (both available at Target-the binder is about 10 bucks and the card holders are 5 bucks for every 30 sheets) do couponing for a month and it will pay for itself trust me! If you are planning to dumpster dive for your coupons and therefore get many more than 4-6 copies of each coupon you may want to get 2 binders-1 for food items and 1 for non food items (toiletries, etc). Also you will need somewhere to store your stockpile. Check your local craigslist for the free section for people giving away book shelves, etc. or make your own out of some scrap wood (also often free on craigslist). Make sure to rotate your stock so you use the items expiring soonest first then if you get to where you think you might not be able to use something before it expires donate it to a foodbank or shelter--if you do it right you got the item for free or just pennies on the dollar so in the long run you still save money and who feels bad about giving something to someone in need. Imagine instead of running out getting a 50 cent can of tomatoes or two that you buy them when they are free or dirt cheap and buy several so you dont' have to run out when you need it, you have it already......

Overwhelmed????I was at first too so you are not alone, but just keep reading and decide how much time you want to put into it, pick your method and go at it. i am working to make this a  part time job to help out with finances at home since I stay home with our 2 kids (a hard job at times yes, but I would never trade beign able to be the one home raising our kids) and hopefully I will be able to give even more to charity as well and use this as a ministry.....Good luck all and God bless!
~Glory to God alone for providing couponing for our family, thank you Lord for your Might help!