How Much Can I Save in a Year? September Link-Up!

 How in the world is September already over?!

September Savings 

2011 Total Savings

Best of Savings

Free or Almost Free Items this month with coupons:

-Avent bottle with purchase of my prenatals

A Little Savings Tidbit

Check this post out to see how I have re-organized my coupon system!
Now it's your turn! Link-up below! Whether its an update on your savings so far this year or just a great trip you had with great savings! Anything goes! Also, make sure to go check out Thankfully Thrifty to see how Ashleigh's savings are going so far this year!

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crazy coupon lady

The title coins the phrase that my dad used when he first saw my new coupon system....my coupon binder.  (Don't be fooled, he was kidding and, as an avid Dave Ramsey fan himself, is always intrigued to hear what I'm up to with my couponing.)

I started out my system with a small picture album that I wrote about here.  It worked great, but I ran out of room for all my coupons.

Next, I went to one of those small accordion type plastic folder systems.  It worked okay, but I hated how I couldn't see the coupons.

Hence, why I finally broke down and decided to be one of those shoppers in the store with a binder at hand.  So far, I'm loving it!

THE binder
 I like how I have room in the pockets to keep my grocery list and a list of my electronic coupons that are on my store loyalty card.

To organize, I purchased baseball card sleeves (found at Target).   I used small pieces of paper and taped them onto the pages to use as dividers.  Among my sections are "canned", "breakfast", "Boone", "baby", and I even have a section specifically for Target coupons.

Each section of the page holds one coupon (unless I have multiples of a coupon, then it holds them all).  If I have to fold a coupon to fit, I just make sure to fold it to where I can see the specifics and the expiration date.

So what works for you with couponing?

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shower #1!

We had our first shower this weekend!  My wonderful aunt and a close family friend/my grandpa's distant cousin threw the shower at my mom and dad's.  It was a great mixture of family and friends.  We are already blown away by the love! Among so many other wonderful gifts (adorable clothes, baby care necessities, and tons more), we received our Graco travel system, umbrella stroller, Pack-N-Play, and highchair!

wonderful hostesses--my aunt on left and Claudetta on right

with my best friend, Cheri (left), sis-in-law, and mother-in-law

work friends!

Amanda guessed my belly size

my momma, aunt, and grandma

another shot with these lovely ladies

so we're both much more excited than this picture shows ;)

Justin came to load up the cars

pretty shower bouquet

success after the shower--the pack-n-play is together and in our room!
We have our church shower next weekend and then Justin's family shower the following weekend---can't wait!

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bump update: weeks 33 and 34

my dad told me this week it looks like I swallowed a basketball...this picture tends to make me agree :)

How far along: 34 weeks

Baby size: Cantaloupe (length average: 18 inches and weight average: 4.75 pounds)

Total weight gain: About 17 pounds

Sleep: Not bad.  Some good nights...some more restless.

Movement: All the time--and super strong. Part of me not sleeping is her being so active.  A couple nights ago I had to get up and walk around a few times to try to get her to calm down and quit moving so much just so I could sleep.  Her foot is almost always stuck in my rib and a lot of times I feel a foot (I think) poking out from my side.  Her movements amaze me sometimes with how strong they are and how much my belly moves from them.  Not complaining, though...I know the movement means she continues to progress and is staying healthy!

Food cravings/aversions: Hungry all the time.  Salads and cheesy soups are tasting really good.  I'm also craving Coke a lot more.  For some reason, meat is less tasty right now.  Justin is convinced I could be a vegetarian.

Pregnancy Symptoms: Fatigue, achy legs, constant bathroom trips, and occasional Braxton Hicks.

What I miss: Again, I'm going with normal energy level.  Also, I'm looking forward to having my body back as far as not so restricting.

What I'm looking forward to: Meeting this little girl.

Milestones: For me-- My next doctor appointment (next week) is my first internal exam to check on progress toward delivery.  After that visit, I will start to go every week.  Crazy! For Adeline--Her central nervous system and lungs continue to mature.  She's also adding more fat to help with body temperature when she's here.

Best moment this week: Our first shower was great! We are so blessed by the amazing family and friends that shower us with love and will love on Adeline when she's here.

Moments with Justin: Sitting in the nursery floor amidst all the shower gifts as he read one of the books we got as a gift aloud so Boone and Adeline could listen.  I can't wait to see him holding her in his arms as he's reading to her!

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fall fun

Our home has been humbly decked with Fall decor.  I decided that if I didn't do it now, it might not happen before Adeline makes her debut.  Now let's hope we have the energy to take down the Fall decor to put up Christmas. ;)

Happy Fall!!

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nursery peeks

So it drives me crazy to be thisclose to having the nursery finished, but I am so, so thankful we're at the point we are.  We're waiting on adding a few final touches (and hoping some of these items come in with our showers...we have one a weekend for the next three weekends!!).  However, it's to a point where this nesting pregnant gal can sleep at night now without thinking about all the things left to do for the nursery.  Because now the list is super short....which makes me so happy!

So because I couldn't stand being able to look at it and love it each time I walk by and not show y'all some pictures, I decided to take a few "sneak peek" pictures to share!

somethin' fun for the sweet girl to look at that her daddy meticulously hung for her

something special painted by her mommy

a little nostalgia....one of my faves from childhood

can't be a girlie girl without a monogram

love, love the little bird and something very specially handmade for her is in the background
More to come very soon!

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our weekend

This weekend was one of those great weekends where Justin and I were able to spend a lot of time together relaxing.  We also were very productive.  Relaxing and productivity....weekend perfection in my book! (Sorry for being a bad blogger and slacking on pictures...)


-Dinner out with my parents and little brother.  He was in from school and I was happy to see him!

-TJ Maxx trip where we found the perfect lamp for the nursery.  (Justin actually spotted it--go hubby!)

-Home Depot trip with Justin to get much-needed hardware items for hanging things in the nursery.
-Couch time

Saturday a.k.a. "Baby Date"

*Justin decided that this past Saturday was a "Baby Date" because we had lots of things to do that revolved all around Adeline (yes, she's stealing the show already ;)*

-My first experience at IHOP (Justin loves the place!)...the traditional French Toast hit the spot! I received my first crazy stranger attention.  As I walked in the door, the ladies went crazy over my "cute bump"...oohing and ahhing.  It didn't stop until we left.  So funny.

-We had our "Basic Baby Care Course" at the hospital.  Some good stuff.  But we both decided that all-in-all it was pretty boring.  The breastfeeding class kept our attention a lot more...much more informational.

-Our hospital tour followed right after.  (Not gonna lie...seeing the actual delivery room made me nervous.  I'm still going with the "what you don't know won't hurt you" motto.  I can remain naive for a few more weeks, right?)  The tour was good.  We feel great about the hospital.  Their security system for newborns really impressed us.

-Wendy's stop because this pregnant girl is always hungry.

-Hobby Lobby stop to get mirrors I just had  to have for the nursery...but we ended up not even using them.  Now I have to take them back.  Grr my indecisiveness and impatience.

-Home to relax for a bit and then we worked for a long time on the nursery.  So fun...but definitely took patience.  Let's just say my husband holds me together when I often want to fall apart over silly things...such as the curtain rod not looking just right.  (We are still placing a few finishing touches and then I will let y'all see it!)

-I actually cooked dinner--Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken--it was Justin's "reward" from me for working so hard on the nursery.  Food works every time. :)



-Lunch after at Arby's with our families

-I organized my new coupon binder (more to come on that).

-Justin worked outside while I went to the grocery.

-I took my first attempt at freezer cooking (more to come on that, too).

-Dinner at home

-Decorated the house for Fall

-We ended the evening playing Yahtzee (Justin had never played!) and relaxing.

That's it in an nutshell.  It was one of those great weekends that makes a Monday morning even more difficult! How was your weekend?

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bump update: weeks 31 and 32

How far along: 32 weeks

Baby size: Large jicama--whatever that is (length average: 16.7 inches and weight average: 3.75 pounds)

Total weight gain: About 15 pounds or so

Sleep: Getting comfortable is definitely getting more tricky--especially when she's in certain positions.  However, once I'm asleep, I'm sleeping like a rock.  I have also been having really vivid dreams about random, unimportant things that I wake up wondering if they were real or not.

Movement: All the time--and super strong.  She has some body part--bottom or feet or something hanging out near my ribs quite often now.  If I lift my right arm and take some deep breaths, that usually coaxes her out.  She hit my arm so hard with her foot today that it propelled it off my stomach.  Pretty funny.

Food cravings/aversions: Sweet tea, citrus things.  Still a pretty strong aversion to most authentic Mexican food.  Nothing sounds overly wonderful right now.

Pregnancy Symptoms: Fatigue, sore body, and pelvic pain.  I've also started to have some back pain in my lower, right back.  I've had tons of achiness but I think I've been trying to get a cold on top of regular pregnancy pains.  There were a couple days that my arms were even aching.  A headache and neck-ache have also been pretty common.  I've also had a few pain-free Braxton Hicks.  I could keep going, but I won't bore you. :)

What I miss: Normal energy level and not being in pain every day.

What I'm looking forward to: My first shower a week from Saturday.  I'm also not trying to wish time away at all (it's been a prayer of my heart)...but I'm ready to have my body back and my baby here.

Milestones: For me-- I've hit that "miserable" feeling of pregnancy.  For Adeline--She has hair by now and is spending her days plumping up.

Best moment this week: Our breastfeeding class was really informative and went really well.

Moments with Justin: He was pretty entertaining on the way to and leaving our breastfeeding class.  Also, it was neat to see how it struck him how important breastfeeding is for Adeline and how adamant he is about it.  I'm so thankful to have such a supportive hubby as my partner during such a life-changing time.

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you know you're almost 33 weeks pregnant when...

bump @ 32 weeks 2 days
*You take multiple baths in one day just because it's the only time you feel semi-"normal".

*Everything aches.  From your ears to your toes.  It all hurts.

*You are starting to fully understand that weird pregnant-lady wobble you have seen other pregnant women do.  Up until now it just seemed weird and over-the-top.

*You are thinking that you should maybe create a to-do list of all the to-do lists you need to make.

*You google and/or call your mom about every.little.thing symptom that is a little weird just in case it means something.

*When people ask you, "How are you? How are you feeling?" you pause for a second to decide if you should give them the straight-up, all-details-included answer, or the quick, "Good, thanks!"

*Every weekend includes a baby shower and/or baby classes.

*Your belly looks as though it has one of those gerbil balls with a gerbil on the inside running all around inside your tummy.  And you wonder if people notice the random morphing that your stomach is doing as they are talking to you.

*On the way back to your couch, bed, desk, table at a restaurant, etc. from using the restroom, you wonder if you may need to pee again.

*Your arm is kicked off of your stomach by this little one you have yet to meet while watching TV.  (So bossy already! ;)

*You praise your hubby for going to breastfeeding class with you when so many other hubbies didn't...and then insist that you talk all about what you learned on the car ride home.  (And he happily obliges. Funny how all body awkwardness leaves once your pregnant.)

*You are starving most of the time, but can only get through half a bowl of soup before feeling full since baby is taking up so much room.

*You feel like a fire-breathing dragon due to the indigestion, heartburn, reflux, etc.

*Sadly, you have no sympathy for someone with a cold or allergies or whatever minor sickness they may have...after all, you're growing a life.

*You cannot squeeze into that pair of athletic pants, pajama pants, shirt, etc. that you just knew you would be able to wear your entire pregnancy.

*Going to the grocery is not the puke-fest it felt like it was in the 1st trimester, but it is now like a full blown-out marathon as you push the cart through the aisles.

*You wake up every morning excited you're one day closer to meeting your precious blessing.

Go ahead...all you pregnant gals or already-mommas out there, add your own in the comment section!

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weeks 29 and 30

How far along: 29 weeks (in my 30th week)--I can't believe I'm 3/4 of the way through my pregnancy!

Baby size: Squash (length average:  15-16 inches and weight average: 2.5 to 3 pounds)

Total weight gain: About 13 pounds

Sleep: I'm sleeping great still, thank goodness! I have to get up twice to go to the restroom, but as of now I go right back to sleep.  I would just prefer more sleep--it doesn't seem to matter how much I get, I'm still tired.

Movement: Lots and lots of movement...and it's getting much stronger! At times my belly seems to jolt around in all directions.  I can feel a big bump on one side of my belly and then a leg or something kicking on my opposite side.  She moves and grooves throughout the day, but really puts on a show around 9 or 10 at night.  Also, one evening this week I noticed a steady up and down movement right next to my belly button.  It happened for just a couple minutes.  I researched it, because it was such a soft, different type of movement (and wasn't like the spasm you feel with hiccups).  Supposedly I found some things that said you can sometimes catch them "practice breathing"...something they do in preparation for birth....and you will see the soft movement from the inhale/exhale.  Has anyone else heard of this or have seen it before?

Food cravings/aversions: No aversions.  No weird cravings.  Just hungry all the time. :)

Pregnancy Symptoms: Fatigue, sore body, and pelvic pain/round ligament pain.  I'm also dealing with allergies which has nothing to do with pregnancy, but it's pretty annoying.

What I miss: Not having to depend on others to help me move and lift things, getting up easily from sitting, and having my normal energy level.

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing the nursery when Justin is finished painting (he's in the process as I type this) and a three-day weekend next weekend (which then means a 4-day work week after that).

Milestones: For me-- Nothing special this week.  For Adeline--Supposedly her skin is getting smoother, she's developing more wrinkles on her brain which is important for brain tissue, and she can now grasp a finger.

Best moment this week: Buying my "mommy car"!! And having a successful yard sale with my mom!

Moments with Justin: It's fun to watch his reaction when she has her crazy dance parties each night.  He's also turned into super protective hubby reminding me constantly to sit down and rest.  (I follow directions most of the time.)

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I'm wondering...

How in the world do I not have the most toned, amazing looking legs right now at one day shy of 31 weeks pregnant? (I guess it could be the pounds being packed on week by week... ;)

After bending over to pick up what was probably the fourth ruler that had found it's way into a nook and cranny of a part of my classroom, I started to think about this.  You always hear to bend and lift by squatting to help with your back.  Well at this point in pregnancy (and let me add, being a person that never followed that direction), bending over at the waist to pick something up just isn't going to happen.  Belly hits front of thighs...and there you are stuck, not being able to reach whatever it is you're trying to pick up off the floor.

So my method of picking things up for the past few weeks has been the squat method , leaving room for this belly between my legs, as I reach to the floor.  And I can't help but think that my legs should be amazingly toned each time I push myself back up from that crazy squatting position.  It's like lunges on steroids with this baby belly.

Another thing...

I'm carrying around close to 15 extra pounds at this point all the time that I didn't before.  When I wake up for the 5th time at night to pee.  When I walk up and down the stairs at school to take my kids to recess, lunch, and Related Arts.  When I walk to the kitchen to get another glass of chocolate milk.  All. The. Time.  That's like a constant workout on these two legs.  Forget the machines at the gym...I've got my own built in weight attached to my mid-section.

Again, how are my legs not more toned than they've ever been?

Oh well, forget the looks of things, I'm still counting that as some of my work-out...being on my legs a lot of hours out of the day...

I read recently that the pregnant body at rest is basically working at the same rate and intensity as someone not pregnant running a marathon.  I'll buy that. (And does that mean that after I have this sweet girl, I can tell people I've completed a marathon?!)

Happy Friday!

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How Much Can I Save in a Year? August Update!

 This was another slow month for me with starting back to teaching.  I did seem to score quite a few freebies this month, which I can't complain about at all! I also was able to utilize coupons to save on some purchases for nursery decor!

August Savings 

2011 Total Savings

Best of Savings

Free or Almost Free Items this month with coupons:

-Secret Deodorant
-3 pack of onesies
-3 trial packs Cascade Action Pacs
-Hostess Mini Muffins
-Rightguard Deoderant
-2 packs of Safeguard soap
-Carefree Liners ($0.09)

A Little Savings Tidbit

It's often cheaper to buy travel size and/or trial size of items.  A lot of people think, "Why waste a coupon on a travel or trial size item when you can put it toward a larger size?" Two words:  Unit price.  (The price of the item per quantity (oz., lb., etc.).  Yes, I could have put my three $1/1 coupons toward bigger bags of Cascade Action Pacs, but instead I put them toward the 4 trial size bags and got three packs for free, plus a fourth for almost free due to overage from my coupons (the packs were actually less than $1 a piece).
Now it's your turn! The linky isn't working today, so comment below with a link to your page! Then go to Ashleigh's blog and comment with your link as well!  Whether its an update on your savings so far this year or just a great trip you had with great savings! Anything goes! Also, make sure to go check out Thankfully Thrifty to see how Ashleigh's savings are going so far this year!

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