Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lily....or Lillian

This is has been Lily's first experience with official school. She's had sitters before and still does - but, this is her first official school experience. On all of the school forms they ask for her birth name. Well, that is Lillian. So...I write down Lillian.

She knows her name is Lillian, but we NEVER call her that. She's Lily. From the day she was born she has been Lily.

On meet the teacher night - her teacher asked all of us if our children had any nicknames. She wrote Lily down and has called her Lily since the start. But...it looks like she prepared some things ahead of time - things like her homework/activity kit. So...Lillian it says on that bag. Lily was confused at first because she knows she spells her name L-I-L-Y and Lillian is not the same.

Well, the other night she surprised us by telling us she wants to be called Lillian. We laughed. She was serious. She also said she wants Lily to have two L's...Lilly. Yep. Seriously.

So, introducing Lily Lillian Lilly Mae Campbell. Hilarious. Lucky for  us - we got to pick her name. That's our right as parents...isn't it?

I'm thinking we're sticking with Lily.
Sorry Bugs!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Beginning of Couponing

I've always been all about a good deal. I'm not someone the frivolously spends money....especially on myself (on the Cuties...that's another story). I'm always plan any shopping excursions based on who has the best deal - vs. what I really want. It works for me. I don't have millions - and I've learned (after trial and error) that I can't spend like I do. 

I love using coupons. I go to printablecoupons all the time and print my Gap coupons, Hobby Lobby coupons, Kohl's coupons, Michaels, Old Navy...you name it. It's rare that I go into Old Navy without a coupon. Or Michael's. Or really any of those stores. I use coupons while shopping at Fry's. We buy Fry's brand whenever it's cheapest (except for Fry's brand Fruit Loops - yuck!) I save my cashier printed coupons (that I've learned are called Catalinas) that they give me when I checkout. I also save all the Fry's coupons they send me in the mail. I have a teeny coupon book that I asked for during Christmas awhile back. 

I thought I was doing a good job. But, the fact is - if couponing was a class, I'd get a D. Seriously. My teeny coupon book is filled with expired coupons. I thought it was just a matter of 1) make a list of meals, 2) make a list of groceries needed for said meals, 3) check my teeny coupon book to see if I have a coupon for any of said groceries, and 4) shop and use the few said coupons that are NOT expired. Oh, and of course buy generic, Fry's brand. 

Wow - was I wrong. 

I recently took the kids over to one of my old friend Jaime's house for a playdate. She has 2 stinkin' cute girls, Alex and Sammie. We went around lunchtime. She fed all of us. The cuties LOVED it. When I talked to her before our playdate I remember thinking (as she told me she'd whip something up for lunch for all of us) that thank goodness it was at her house because if I was having a playdate at my house - I'd for sure have to grocery shop. I mean, I have quick throw together lunches for the cuties...but, I don't think I could feed a whole group. 

While at her house - the kids all ate and played. After chatting for awhile, I helped her clean up the kitchen from the mess of all the kids. As I was putting away something in the pantry...my mouth about dropped. Holy crap! Her pantry was S-T-O-C-K-E-D! And, I really mean stocked. I'd never seen anything like it in person. We're not talking psycho Extreme Couponing - we're talking normal, everyday items and A LOT of them. And no, she doesn't have toilet paper hiding under beds. She has normal groceries, toiletries, etc. all in the right places. Each space (pantry, laundry room, and linen closet) was organized, clean, and FULLY STOCKED with everything we use. 

Uh-oh...I guess she could tell that I was beyond dumbfounded and she giggled and said that she normally doesn't let people in there. She was joking. The "always look for a good deal" person inside of me was immediately curious. I asked her if she coupons. She of course, said yes. She said that she has been couponing for the last two years. I said - yeah, I coupon...but, I guess I'm not doing it the right way. She then went on to say that now that she is fully stocked that she only spends $150 a month in groceries. 

I about died.

$150 a MONTH??!!! That's pretty much what I spend a WEEK to feed all 5 of us. So, the curious, psycho, easily influenced, addictive-personality person that I am immediately wanted in on this phenomenon. 

Yes, I coupon. But - now....I could learn from pretty much a pro. 

Seeing that I was extremely excited and curious - she went on to show me her laundry room and linen closet. In her laundry room she had a backup freezer (that many of us have) stocked with her meats and frozen meals. In the linen closet she had a good deal of toothpaste and toothbrushes and deodorant and soap and pretty much all of the toiletries you would need. She said that to get a stock like this and to get everything you can out of coupons, you can't always be picky on brands. So...if you absolute MUST use one type of deodorant, you just won't have as big of a supply.

We're not picky over here (remember we buy Fry's brand anyway on a lot of things). I am kind of partial to my Secret deodorant - but, I'm definitely willing to give other brands a try when they end up being free. I mean...unless I'm allergic - I'll use it.

Yes, seriously.

So - she showed me her paperwork she received from a coupon class that she took. She introduced me to thecentsableshoppin.com (best site EVER!!). And, she showed me her coupon system. She even has emailed me a few times telling me what store she was going to, what she was getting, and what coupon she was using. For instance, she was going to Target because they had these Papermate pens on sale for $.88 and she had a coupon that makes them free. Do I absolutely NEED pens right now? No - but, I do work from home and I am always looking for pens. And heck - it's FREEEEEEEEEE!!!! I'm going to Target anyway - so, might as well pick up a free "gift" for entering the store!

couponer. I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking mostly to Fry's...but, I'll make it work. If I can even eliminate $150 from my monthly grocery bill I'll feel like it's worth it.

Thank you Jaime!

p.s. Bryan is totally indulging me on my couponing. He even went into the dollar store to get me 3 (the maximum) Sunday papers while I went into another store for 3 more. Yes...did you know that you can get the Sunday paper at the dollar store for $1? 

p.s.s. If you run into at the store with my box of organized coupons, checklist, and spreadsheet. Don't laugh. I'm saving money. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Night Brady Wrote an Apology Letter

Brady was a handful today. Very needy. Very whiny. Lots of complaining. Tantrums. Arguments. Kind of like a 2 year old little girl. Not kidding. 

We'd had enough. 

By the time dinner was ready - he was on about the 8th time of being sent to his room. We called him out for dinner and he said - hold on I'm writing something. 

We waited. 

And this is what he presented to us at dinner.
 You can't help but feel bad for him. The only boy and the oldest. It's like 2 strikes against him! 
So sweet. 
This one's a keeper. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Diamondback Nights

We're fully in the swing of D-back season. In fact...it's more that half over. Today the cuties and I napped, made dinner, and went out for ice cream. Then - they wanted to pose for some pictures. They love being models. And, I love watching all of their poses. They are so stinkin' adorable!

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Day of School

Wow...the summer F-L-E-W by. Literally flew by!! The kids have been sooooo excited to start school.
New clothes - check.
New clothes washed - check.
School supplies bought - check.
Backpacks ready - check.
Haircuts completed - check.

School started for us in Gilbert on Wednesday, August 10. Wednesday began with Bryan running to grab eggs at the store so we could make pancakes for breakfast. By 7:30am, everyone (including me) had showered and were dressed. Lily wanted curly hair - so I turned on the curling iron. Brady wanted "cool hair" - so I got out the gel. By 8:10am we were ready to go and the kids even had a hot breakfast! (this is a big deal since they are normally stumbling out the door with cereal). Of course - I had to snap a few photos before we left. On Pinterest - I saw this idea to take a picture on the first day of school every year with a sign that says, "First Day of..." Well - I just happened to find a free downloadable template on HowDoesShe and I printed them off at Kinko's. I only wish I had this a few years ago when Brady started Pre-K. Oh well....first borns, we get jipped :)

After pictures, we headed over to the sitter's house so that we could drop off Charlie and walk from there to school. The sitter lives very close to the school - so we all (Bryan, Brady, Lily, and Me) walked with the sitter, her husband, and their kids to school.

When we arrived at school - I wanted one last picture of two of the Cuties before they went in. Brady was so embarrassed, but he played along. The four of us walked to find Brady's teacher's sign on the basketball court where they line up every morning. What a change from last year. He was so excited and such a "pro." He literally dropped his backpack and ran off to his friends. What? We didn't even get a picture of him in the line. We pretty much had to chase him down to say goodbye (yep, just what every kids wants - their mom and dad yelling out their name to give them a kiss). :) We then walked Lily over to the Preschool drop off area and waited. And waited. And waited. I guess the buses for some of the Preschool kids were running late. The teachers did NOT want us to walk in with the kids (boo!) and so we said our goodbyes outside the school. Lily could have cared less - she was so dang excited!

The school year has begun.