Friday, August 27, 2010

Using ALL Coupons for the First Time

I have always been overwhelmed by coupons, but I love seeing them. My giddiness at home never feels the same in the store. So today I tried it out at our local Dollar General to see what I could do.
I learned quite a few things.

1. Don't take your toddler. Or if you do, get the Nilla Wafers first and open the box.
2. The generics cost less than the name brands, even after coupons. I did get the ziplock bags instead of the generic though because we reuse them and I wanted quality ones if we reuse.
3. Bring two calculators, one to compare prices the other to keep a running total of what you have with coupons added in.
4. The deals that some coupon bloggers post are not fully researched. One said Purex was totally free because it was $1 off and it was only $1 at DG. The only thing is that the $1 was a to go pack and the coupon says, "excludes to go packs"
5. Some coupons are too specific. Huggies diapers were only for Little Snugglers, which when I was at the store realized was only Size 1.
6. The best coupons are the broad ones. Like $5 off if you spend $25. It's worth grabbing a 50 cent item to bring your total from $24.50 to $25 for the discount.
7. Additional coupons are usually on the counter. For my own sanity I would probably grab one the day before if I could or come back the next day so I could peruse without pressure.
8. Clip the coupons out, even if you print them. They are a hastle if you don't use them all.
9. Bring an envelope with you to keep them in for your sanity.
10. Coupons don't get added in completely until the end so if the running total is $26, it stay may drop below $25.
Today I saved $10.75 and spent $20.88.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Diaper Free or Circumcise

We took Lincoln to the doctor today because he has a sore on the tip of his penis and we had seen a similar sore on his sack a few weeks earlier. The previous one went away, but if it was continuing to occur we wanted to check out to see what it is. We went to the same hospital but saw a different doctor. The doc was super nice, but he was definitely not our doctor who knows our philosophy on parenting and didn't even offer us circumcision when Link was born. When this new doctor was looking at the sore his first words were "Well, if this keeps occuring we could easily have him circumcised." I think we were both equally shocked. Us at what he said and the doc at our reaction. Bryce and I view circumcision as genital mutilation and cannot even fathom doing it to our son. The problem boils down to Link's penis rubbing against the diaper is causing these blisters, just like running in sweaty socks. He has super sensitive skin anyway, breaking out in large heat rashes every time he sweats. The prescription is neosporin, but there is no promising it won't return as long as he continues to wear a diaper. Ahh, we thought. There is the solution. No diaper. We have several friends who do this but have never been brave enough to do it. Now, there really isn't a choice. We are either doing "elimination communication" or we may end up having to have a medical prescribed circumcision. As soon as we got home the diaper came off. Link loved it. We're warming up. My observations on day one: Lincoln does not like sitting on a big toilet for fear of falling in. Even if Link is grunting to poop he will stop when he is sitting on a small potty so that he can get up and play with the potty. Lincoln likes to hold in all pee and poop (yes, we had one solid accident) until we are out of sight. We had basically three accidents. I did put a diaper on him at bedtime. Because he is no longer sleeping in bed with us every night I do not want to wake up tomorrow seeing him playing in or with something he made himself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weaknesses and Frugalling Up

A while back I mentioned we were going to be doing more than a pantry challenge. We were going to try to spend no money this month other than on bills. Well, we have been doing pretty well so far. Halfway through and the only thing we really needed to buy has been gas and another car repair. We have learned our weaknesses and also some ways to be more frugal.

My weakness seems to be wanting to purchase things while driving. This kind of makes sense being so removed from stores that when you pass them you want to purchase a drink or just see the sales, etc. Bryce and I both seem to have a weakness with doing things with friends and in the end I don't really see myself stopping this. This is the one expenditure I don't mind spending. Nonetheless, we have had a great month with friends without spending any money. We had a birthday party for Lincoln using stuff we already had. I went the movies and spent $7 on a ticket, but didn't get anything extra. I went to a free concert at the fish hatchery in Decorah with free popcorn and shakes. I met up with several friends at a free concert and free meal at Schera's the other night.

Some things I am learning to be more frugal with is drinks. I don't like drinking water so I plow through the milk and juice. I started making large batches of sun tea and am enjoying it now. We ran out of oil so I am using leftover grease to cook. Meals have not become too dull yet. I am craving onions and chicken. We have a better idea of what we really need from the grocery store now. Coupon hunting is easier because we known what we want/need. We look up ways to make things when we don't have something. Like dish soap. When my computer wouldn't start again I used Bryce's instead of calling the repair guy and Bryce looked at it more. We also fixed our camera lens without buying another one. I am being less bashful about asking for refunds and not just accepting my fate. I have been on the phone a lot. I have been using the library more to preview things and rent movies. Oddly enough the movies I am drawn to are Suze Orman sessions on money. I am also researching alternative ways to make money and reducing clutter in our life by selling items we don't need.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ning a Ning a Ning a Ning a

Link's new favorite thing is to plug his nose and say "Ning a ning a ning a ning a." This is a take off of "One, one, one, one, one" which he learned from his auntie Amber as what to say when someone asks how old he is.

Link's first mole is showing lightly on his right side of his belly.

He is a very creative kid who loves music.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Words Lincoln knows in Sign Language

All Done
Brush Teeth

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today Link ate with a spoon by himself and practiced standing on his own. He also has made it clear he can say and sign night night, more, done, and almost has food.

Tonight he added tickle to his vocabulary on his own. And despite having only worn shoes twice in his life, when given a pair his size he tries to put them on his feet.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back in the Groove

All those thing put off are instantly on. We had Link's 1 year exam. Link was a gem and even gave blood without even caring for a lead test. Since he is one year WIC changed and we have less food and more whole milk, which will impact what I though we would be eating on our $0 spending month.
Thus far it not spending money hasn't been too hard. Mom and Dad missed us and my mom is now retired so they have been over every night with food to grill out. They came tonight too, but as they walked in the door I got a phone call that church council was tonight so I had to go. The meeting was long and filled with tension so it lasted longer than my parents could stay.
Lincoln's sleep pattern has changed from 3 naps a day to 1 really long nap in the early afternoon. I was very surprised to find this out.
When we got home my sister had done lots of landscaping as part of her rent for our house. The yard looks great with bushes trimmed, branches cut, flowers planted, holes fixes, sandbox built and a swing set up. Link has loved swinging everyday. We also bought him a baby pool on the trip which he enjoys sitting in daily.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More than the pantry challenge

We are back from visiting over 20 states. While we did travel well financially we were hit hard by an unexpected car repair at the end of the trip. To cover the cost as well as make up some other expenses Bryce and I decided to go beyond the pantry challenge (cooking only what you have in your house for a month) and we are going to go all of August without buying anything. Yes, we will pay our bills but there is a difference between paying and buying.

I'll keep you updated on how we do. Already we have a list started of things we will be purchasing Sept 1.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lincoln's Imagination

Link has been excelling at the dinner table. He now blows on ALL his food before and sometimes after it is in his mouth. He signs "more" intentionally now and when he is hungry and we are not feeding him. He occasionally signs "all done" AND he can say it too! This advancement in communicating is good because we are already in what I think is considered the terrible twos. The way I see it the terrible twos are mostly the lack of understanding between parent and child due to communication inabilities. Well, it is here. Probably not as bad as it will be in the future, but enough to be annoying and enough to think I was dealing with tantrums for a while. I guess Lincoln really never has had a tantrum, he just gets whiny and brisk in his movements when we understand what he wants.

He also has a great imagination. He loves to pick up imaginary food and eat it. I noticed this first when he seemed to be picking up cheerios from under his butt in the car seat. I thought I had cleared them all out but then I realized what he was picking up was non-existent. He also does great with animal sounds and raises his arm for an elephant trunk when making the sound.