Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coupon Clippin': Part Deux

It's official. I am a crazy coupon lady. I spent some time this weekend sorting my coupons, and they are now organized by category in a binder. I am kind of embarrassed that I just typed that, and I was even more embarrassed to bust out said coupon binder at Target today. I kept it under cover in my reusable shopping bag, and only pulled it out when I needed to find a coupon, but I still felt like a huge dork. Next time, I think I will get all of my coupons together before the shopping trip. Carrying an envelope of coupons doesn't seem quite as bad as hauling around an entire binder full of them.

So, here's this week's purchases: two boxes of Raisin Bran, two jars of Skippy peanut butter, two bottles of Tums, three bags of M&M's (probably shouldn't have brought those into the house, since we are now down to 2 and a half bags...), two boxes of Nutri-Grain bars, a two-pack of Colgate Dora toothbrushes, Colgate Dora toothpaste, a Dora dvd, a shirt for Baby Girl, and a book from the dollar spot (a complete necessity to entertain my little monkey).

I used a manufacturer coupon in addition to a Target store coupon on every item here except for the dvd, which I only had a Target coupon for, and the shirt and book, which I didn't have any coupons for. The total before coupons was $45.27, and I paid $29.63 after coupons. That's a savings of $15.64. It doesn't look quite as impressive as my first Target adventure, but I'm still new at this.

On the agenda for tomorrow: CVS. I still haven't tackled this store, but I'm giving it a try tomorrow. My shopping list consists of only two items, so we'll see just how strong my willpower is. First on the list is a Venus Embrace razor. It is $9.79, I'll get $5 in Extra Care Bucks, and I have a $2.00 coupon. Next (and hopefully last) is Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. It is $3.97, I'll get $2.50 ECB's, and I have a $.75 coupon. I also plan on signing up for Extra Care emails online, which will earn another $4.00 in ECB's. So, if all goes as planned, I will spend $11.01 plus tax, and come out with my two items plus $11.50 in ECB's for future purchases. My brain hurts now, and if you are kind enough to still be reading, I'm sure yours does, too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Look Who's "Talking"

As I've mentioned on here before, Izzy's only major delay has been speech. She's never babbled or made any noises that remotely resemble words. No repeating consonant sounds, nothing. She relys on sign language, grunting, crying, laughing, clapping, etc. to communicate, and she's pretty good at getting her point across. Aside from a few diva moments here and there, she is a pretty quiet baby. Her doctor isn't overly concerned at this point, but he definitely wanted us to start her in speech therapy. Apparently the first step into speech therapy is to have a hearing test to rule out any potential problems since the two are so closely related. So, she had her test today at Cook Children's, and 15 minutes and $300 later, they told us what we already knew: she can hear. Now we have a speech consultation at the end of September. In the meantime, she will start seeing a Speech Therapist twice a month through ECI.

I'm sure the therapy will help, but I just think she will talk when she wants to talk. Clearly this girl isn't big on following anyone else's timeline, so why would talking be any different? In fact, she made some major progress earlier this week. She finally found her voice and started saying, "bababababa....," on Monday afternoon, and she hasn't stopped since. I have to admit, it's music to my ears. I'm still patiently waiting for "Mama."

I'm crossing my fingers that this video works... And my apologies in advance for the 'Blair Witch'-eqsue camera execution.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Forgive Me?

I've been a bad, bad blogger. It seems my mind had taken a little break, and I was suffering from severe blogger's block since my last post, but after this weekend, I've got plenty of material for you guys. We're talking a Vegas wedding complete with Elvis, a celebrity spotting, a milkshake I would marry, a new family member, some new Izzy tricks, and more. Just gotta find the time to write it all down.

For now, enjoy this commercial I stumbled upon the other day. I happen to find it hilarious.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Step Aside, Nastia Liukin

Baby Girl has several cousins and little friends, and she gets to play with them pretty often, but on most weekdays, it's just Izzy and Mama. And let's face it, Mama gets old after awhile. So, I've been looking for an activity for Izzy that will allow her to have some fun and be around other kiddos her age. And okay, I'll admit it, Mama gets bored, too and would like to occasionally speak to people her age as well. I decided on The Little Gym for a few reasons, but mostly because I get to dress her up in cute leotards. Just kidding. Well, kind of. ;-) We took Izzy to a free trial class last Saturday to see if she liked it well enough to pay for classes. Looks like The Little Gym will be getting our money because she loved it! She got to shake little maraca-ish thingys, play with bouncy balls, chase and pop bubbles, march in a circle, jump up and down, dance to cute little songs, roll around with Mama, do back flips with Daddy, walk the balance beam, hang from the uneven bars, and run around the gym for some free time, all while looking super adorable. She was in heaven! We signed her up for 5 months of classes, so she better not change her mind! Oh, and yes, she was the only child in the class wearing an actual gymnastics leotard. Are we surprised? Not one bit. :-)

This was the parent & child log roll. Can you see the concern on my face?

Jumping with Mommy.

Perfecting her back flip with Daddy. 1....


3! (I think she liked it!)

She wasn't so sure about the balance beam.

The skill of the week: The Wheelbarrow

Hillarie and Alex will be taking classes with us. Yay!
Looks like Izzy is getting ready for a one-handed dismount.
What a natural.

Hanging from the bars.

The girl loves to climb!

Kind of blurry, but oh, so precious!

She saw the bouncy balls and took off running!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Look Ma, No Hands!

Izzy loves her some corn!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Date Night

The in-laws kept Izzy overnight a few weeks ago which allowed Hubs and I the rare opportunity to go out on an actual date. It seems like anytime Izzy is away from us, it is for something we are invited to and need to get a sitter (one of the grandparents). So, It's not often that we find ourselves sans Baby Girl and plans simultaneously. And I gotta be honest....on the rare occasion that this does happen, it is really hard not to just be lazy and stay home and watch tv in our sweats (aka "fat pants" around here) all night.

We got out of the house this time, and we had a great night. First, we were off to Terra Mediterranean Grill for some grub. We shared Black Angus Beef Ribeye and Chicken Kabobs, both served with saffron rice and roasted vegetables. The beef was really good, and the chicken was good, but very lemony, so we didn't love it. The rice and veggies were delish. The portions are HUGE. Wish I would have known this because we could have easily split one order of kabobs.

Next, we were off to Yogurtland. I was recently introduced to this little slice of heaven, and I've been completely obsessesed with it ever since. If you haven't been, stop reading and go right now. You will thank me later. It is self-serve frozen yougurt that is ah-mazing. There are close to 20 flavors to choose from, and they give you litte sample cups so you can taste-test before commiting to a flavor/flavors. And the toppings...everything you could imagine from gummy yorms, to granola, to fruit, to cheesecake bites. Yes, cheesecake bites! My favorite is 1/2 cheesecake yogurt and 1/2 vanilla wafer yogurt, topped with granola and strawberry. To. die. for. The only downfall is that you pay by the ounce. Here's hoping I can refrain from eating my weight in yogurt this year!

After dinner and dessert, we were off to see Inception. Since I don't really watch commercials anymore (thanks to my trusty DVR) and my car stereo has been taken over by the Backyardigans (which my child insists on watching every single time we leave the house), I had never even heard/seen a preview or reviews for the movie, but the hubs had heard good things about it and wanted to see it. So we did. And it was good. I'm not normally into that type of movie, so I was surprised I liked it so much. Only problem was that I was a bit miserable from stuffing my face beforehand. You see, I did not plan well and ate too much at dinner. I was not even slightly hungry for dessert, but I had been dreaming about Yogurtland all week, and I was not about to skip it. So, I soldiered on. Not just for me, but for yogurt lovers everywhere. I was truly miserable, and I may or may not have needed to unbutton my jeans during the movie for comfort. My poor hubs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Confessions of a Coupon Clipper

My sister is a coupon expert, and she is really good at finding good deals. Me? Notsomuch. My idea of saving money is returning something I didn't need in the first place for a refund. Seriously, I'm like the queen of returns (Only stuff I buy for myself, though. Don't worry, I'm not returning gifts, people.) Here's how this goes: I return impulse buy to Target, and get the money put back on our credit card. Hubs comes home and asks how my day went. I tell him that I made us $ at Target. Hubs gives me an annoyed look. Repeat at least once a week. Not even kidding.

I've tried coupon clipping in the past, but I just wasn't good at it. I always ended up buying crap I didn't need just because I had a coupon. So, if anything, I was spending more money than I normally would. Well, recently, Tracy introduced me to a few money saving blogs that have inspired me to give it another try. I've added a few of them to my blog list, but my favorite so far is hip2save.com. She gives you the best deal scenarios at various stores, including the Mecca, Target. Oh, and get this...Target has store coupons you can print online or from the kiosk in the store...you know, where you print baby/wedding gift registries. Please tell me I'm not the only one who didn't know this! You can use the store coupons in addition to the manufacturer coupons you find in the Sunday paper to save even more money. This is called coupon stacking. I'm telling you, these crazy coupon people have their own lingo. Another source of coupons she recommends is the magazine, All You, and you better believe I have already subscribed via Amazon. Check her blog each week for the best deals at each store, and she specifically tells you which coupons to use in order to get the best price. I just started clipping coupons this week, and she refers to coupons that were found in last month's paper/magazines/ etc., so not every deal works for me, but it is still very helpful.
So, pretty soon, I'm going to be one of those shoppers. You know the kind. They have a binder full of coupons and are holding up the line, meticulously watching the cashier's every move. Yep, that'll be me. Today I made my first actual money saving trip to Target, and I got all of this for 10 bucks!

That's 4 boxes of cereal, a 12-pack of pudding cups, 2 packages of Bic pens, 2 boxes of Morning Star black bean burgers, a 4-pack of mandarin oranges, 1 can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli, 2 bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo, 1 travel size Pantene hair spray, 1 travel size Degree deodorant, and 1 travel size first aid kit. Not too shabby for my first try, huh? I was pretty impressed with myself, but my sister kicked my butt. Her original total was $46 (or somewhere around there), and she payed $13 after coupons! Teach me your ways, oh wise one!

Now, notice I didn't say my total bill was $10...that was just the stuff pictured above. Target has a way of sucking me in, and I find all sorts of things I didn't even know I needed in my basket when I get to the check-out line. This would explain all the returns I make.

Today's best non-coupon purchase: Izzy's new outfits for gymnastics class.

How adorable are they? Yes, I realize most gymnasts don't wear tutus, but mine does. Her first class is Saturday morning. It's a trial class to see if she likes it. By "likes it" I mean anything short of throwing herself on the floor and screaming in protest. I don't expect this behavior, but ya never know. That's why we are doing the free trial before signing her up for the fall semester. I'm going to be really sad if she doesn't love it because she is going to look precious in these leotards. Not to mention the fact that I'll have to return them if we don't sign her up for classes. Oh well, at least I'll make some money. ;-)

Next on my list is CVS, and I'm not going to lie. I'm a little intimidated. I know they have their crazy followers (sister and sister-in-law included) who know how to expertly play their little Extra Care Bucks game, and it's a little overwhelming as a newby. But Tracy and Katie can spend $2 and come out of that store with sacks of stuff, so I'm going to bite the bullet and give it a go. Anyone else do the CVS thing?

And for the Izzy fans:

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Final Rose

Papa and Nanna will be happy to hear that the Bachelorette season finale aired tonight. Ali took Chris and Roberto to meet her family in Bora Bora. Her family was nice, and very accepting of both men. In fact, her dad gave his blessing for both of the guys to propose to his daughter within 5 minutes of meeting them. I joked that he will just give his daughter to anyone, and Hubs joked that maybe he should ask for his blessing, too. At least I think he was joking...

I was really rooting for Chris, the obvious underdog. He is so nice and normal and has a sweet family. He always seems so nervous in front of the cameras that his cheeks blush a little and he kind of stutters over his words. But he doesn't at all appear to be doing this for the fame, which I like. I was hoping that Ali would see how great he is, but it was pretty clear early on in this episode that she had already decided on Roberto. Not that Roberto (or Robirdo, as Ali pronounces his name) is bad. He just still seems a little too Rico Suave for my taste. Like he's trying too hard to be the perfect guy. Maybe he is the perfect guy and I'm just a cynic, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up cheating on her. There. I said it.

So, both of the meet-the-parent dates went well, and it almost seemed like the guys were on equal playing ground. Except I did notice that Ali dressed way cuter for Roberto's date than for her date with Chris. She did the same thing on the last episode, too. Roberto got a sexy little dress and Chris got a tie dyed tank top and palazzo pants. Anyone else catch that? No, just me?

Anyway, after meeting Ali's parents, each of the guys was supposed to have one last date with Ali. Roberto's date was first, and it ended up being the only date. He told her he loved her and gave her a framed picture of the two of them with a little love note written on the back. It was very obvious that Ali was over the moon with Roberto and had forgotten all about Chris by this point. And I'm sorry, but did someone color Ali's hair with a yellow highlighter? I know I'm not nice for judging, but homegirl's hair was not looking good.

I have to give her credit though, because once she was sure that she was in love with Roberto, she immediately told Chris he wasn't the one, instead of stringing him along for one last date and the final rose ceremony. I'm so glad she did that because it would have been painful to watch Chris fall so cluelessly in love with her, only knowing that she wouldn't pick him in the end. My poor little Chris. He didn't even see it coming, but the way he handled the news that Ali was in love with Roberto spoke volumes about his character. He thanked her for being honest with him and wished her luck. And his mom's rainbow at the end?? Loved it! I'm thinking he might be bachelor material for next season. I don't know though. I don't want to see him get all cheesy like Jake and then have to hate him. It's a tough call.

So, in the end Roberto proposed to Ali, and they are officially engaged. To be married. After knowing each other for two months. All while Ali was dating 20 other guys. On television. In Tahiti. With no real-life responsibilities. Sounds perfect. What could ever go wrong?


The hubs and I (and two other couples) were lucky enough to get away to Cabo for a week last month. Papa and Meme were on full-time Izzy duty while we were gone. Bless them! Even though I took 4 semesters of Spanish in college and two years in high school, I can barely string a Spanish sentence together. Sad, I know. But it's more than hubs can do. Our Spanish-speaking travel destinations consist of our now 3 trips to Mexico and one trip to Costa Rica, and he pretty much just yells out ¿Dónde? randomly while we're there, even after my efforts to explain to him that it means "where?" In fact, when our friends picked us up on the way to the airport for our crazy early departure, it was the first thing out of his mouth. Hubs is kind of weird like that sometimes. Anywho, it seemed like an appropriate title for this post.

Back to Cabo. I could definitely get used to that place. Bright sun, zero humidity, cool breezes, endless cocktails...yes, please! I really loved it there. The weather was amazing. You could even wear a light sweater in the evenings. I had a great time relaxing by the pool, reading, people watching, napping, and eating my weight in guacamole. It was heavenly. We also checked out the marina, took a water taxi to Lover's Beach, did some dancing at Cabo Wabo, drove ATVs through the desert, rented jetskis (the boys), and visited the resort spa (the girls). We had a fabulous time, and would go back in a heart beat, if it weren't for one thing...

We missed our baby girl! We were only in Cabo for 5 nights, but because of our crappy flight schedule (6am departing flight, 11pm arrival) we were away from her for 7 nights. That's a long time! I did better than I thought I would. I didn't even cry when we left her at my parents' house. I was a little sad about leaving, but once I was there, I was okay. By the time the last two nights rolled around though, I was definitely ready to see my girl. And of course, whenever I saw a sweet little baby girl, my heart ached to hold mine. We even got busted zooming in on a picture of her sweet face on our digital camera the last night there. Rookie parents! My mom was really good to send emails each night letting us know how Izzy's day went. Mom and Dad had a blast with her, and I even think they were a little sad to hand her back over to us. They each called me on the day we picked her up (not knowing that the other had called) asking when I was bringing her back. Gotta love grandparents. Who wouldn't miss this girl?!?
So, we had a great time and a nice little break, but we've decided to keep the baby-free vacations a little shorter for now. However, Baby Girl is cutting some mean molars that have made the nights around here pretty miserable lately, so I could probably be talked into another 7-night vaca. Hey, Mom and Dad...;-)

Enjoy the pictures! I am too lazy to put them in any certain order.