Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday

Did you know it was Cyber Monday? Do you know what Cyber Monday is?

Cyber Monday is the online version of Black Friday. Once again, I didn't have an agenda and was just browsing the online ads for some deals and I found the one that I needed at Babies'R'Us!!

We have been wanting a double stroller for some time. And we've been saving for some time as well. Now with a 2 year-old and a 3 /12 year-old I'm wondering what I'm doing buying a double stroller. But I figure we'll probably have more kids so it would be a good investment. We decided on a double sit-and-stand stroller where the rear seat can be removed so the toddler can stand. Great idea!!

I'd like to say that I haven't purchased this stroller because we're still saving, but I have the cash in an envelope ready to be spent on this stroller. Mostly I've just been procrastinating because I'm still a little nervous buying online. My husband purchases things online all the time, but I'm fairly new at it so I was waiting for him to do it. Last month he told me to go ahead and buy one, but still I procrastinated.

That brings us to today. I decided to peek at Babies'R'Us and see if they had any strollers on sale and they did!! The stroller we've been wanting and saving for:

Original Price $169.99 (+ $19 shipping)
Discounted Price $135.99

Not only did we receive the Cyber Monday discount of $34 but we also got $10 off for using a new way to checkout and we didn't have to pay shipping ($19) because we purchased over $100. What a deal!!

Grand total spent: $125.99
Grand total saved: $63!!

Thanks to Cyber Monday our new stroller will be arriving in 10-14 business days. ;)

Christmas Wreath

I got this great idea from Monica (The Homespun Heart). She made a beautiful Advent wreath for her table and I needed a new wreath for my door. I had some Christmas fabric left over from a project I did last year and I got the wreath for $4 at Hobby Lobby (50% off). I think it turned out supercute! Thanks Monica for all your great ideas!!

I will be posting more inspirations by Monica later this week.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giveaway at Marie-Madeline Studio

You have an opportunity to win a beautiful quilt!! Not here, but at Marie-Madeline Studio. She's giving away one of two scrappy quilts and I thought you should you can comment on her blog (not here) and have your chance to win too! ;)


My First Black Friday

My first Black Friday shopping experience was overall very positive. It was actually a pretty relaxing moment for me. That's a surprise, huh? ;)

I didn't have much of a shopping list. I knew what we wanted to get our boys and I had some stocking stuffers to purchase, so nothing big like a 32" LCD tv that were in limited stock. No fist fights for me. ;) And there was an ad for the dishes that I've been eyeing so I went to bed at 12:30am and was up at 5:05am to get ready to shop (which consisted of dressing, brushing my teeth, putting my hair up and putting on my eyebrows). ;)

5:27am - Wal-Mart
That's where the sale for my dishes was. I parked way in the "back 40" (that's farmer speak) and grabbed a cart from the parking lot on my way in. The Wal-Mart greeter was not very friendly, but it was 5:30am and she had just experienced 30 minutes of madness. I had mentally prepared myself for the number of people shopping (so I wasn't overwhelmed) and headed straight to housewares. And there were my boxes of dishes. I needed three and there were three boxes left!! Yay!! But I noticed that there wasn't a discounted price listed. So I asked the staff down the aisle. They said they didn't know about the discount and I would have to go to customer service if I wanted to know "for sure." So I went to the auto-ring-up-thingy in the aisle and discount. THIS is what I got up at 5am for!?! Oh, well, I returned my boxes of dishes and started to browse. I didn't really find any deals to die for so I picked up a few items that were on my weekly shopping list at home and to walked to the checkout area. To my surprise there were no real lines!! I think I was had to wait for 2 minutes max. It was superfast and not what I had expected at all.

6:21am - Target
I parked in another "back 40" parking space and picked up a cart on the way in - and was so glad I did since there were no carts available when I entered the store. Oh, to think ahead. ;) Again, I had no agenda so I was pretty relaxed. I hit the $1 area and picked up a few books and things and then walked past the women's clothing where all the DVD's were. There was a great selection and they ranged from $3.99-12.99 and included seasons of "House", "Friends", and "Psych". Fun, but not really on my list. I did pick up a movie for myself, "The Holiday" and continued to peruse the store. The toy section was horribly picked over. I didn't really need anything but noted how some people were upset about the lack of restocking that was (or should I say wasn't) going on. There was some confusion in the electronics department because all of the discounted movies were "sold out" and there wasn't anyone relaying the message to the customers that there was a HUGE supply in the women's clothing section. I mentioned it to a few people but alas, I kept moving and headed to the checkouts to purchase my DVD and my dollar items. The line was horrible. And that's all it was - ONE line. It went down one entire main aisle and around the corner. I didn't have anything to lose by wandering so I made my way down another aisle closer to the checkouts. And there weren't really any lines. I don't know how those people decided to get into that line for one checkout counter. I made it into a fairly short line and waited about 6 minutes to purchase my items. Yay again for me and for my curiosity! ;)

6:44am - Starbucks
A few months ago I received a gift card from Denise for winning her giveaway. And I thought that this morning after 4 hours of sleep I deserved a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. And it was delicious and free! ;)

6:58am - Hy-Vee
I needed to pick up some bacon for later in the week and since I was out and about I decided to stop at the grocery store before heading home. And I'm glad I did. They had a huge bin of books that were originally $7.99-23.99 discounted to $1.99-8.99!! Books are my weakness and these were awesome prices so I started to dig through the piles and ended up with quite a few books. And they had previously viewed DVD's 3 for $10. So I picked up 2 movies for my boys and a movie for my husband. Fun stuff!! Oh, and I got my bacon. ;)

7:32am - JoAnn Fabric
JoAnn Fabric is right next to the grocery store so I decided to peek in and see what they had. They had some great deals, but nothing that I needed so I just browsed through the store sipping on my latte. It was great.

Then I drove home. I had about 3 hours of quietness all to myself. I didn't shop with anyone else and ventured out on my own. I was a little nervous about this because I thought I might get bored and tired and just want to go home. But I really enjoyed this time alone and it was quite refreshing. That's probably the statement of the year - Black Friday was an enjoyable time of peace and quiet and I felt quite refreshed by the time I arrived home. Oh, and I only used cash so it was even more peaceful!!

Hope you had a great Black Friday, not to mention a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Only 26 days until Christmas. ;)

**Update: My husband and I took the kids out on in the afternoon to Target, Wal-Mart and a local game store after we discussed (always a good idea) some deals that I saw when I was out. I think we have 85% of our Christmas shopping completed. ;)

**Update: My husband went to Wal-Mart on Saturday afternoon to pick up a few storage tubs for stuff we're moving to our shed and he saw and end-cap with my dishes for $18!! He called me right up and asked if I still wanted 3 boxes and I said, "YES!!" He went to the checkout and they rang up as the original price. He told them about the end-cap and the sign and after she had it checked he purchased my dishes at a discount!! She told him that they had trouble with them all day on Friday because they kept ringing up at the original price. So, I guess they were on sale when I was there, I just missed the end-cap. A BIG thanks to my husband for finding my dishes!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Candy Train

Several weeks ago our homeschooling theme of the week was trains. We had a wonderful time reading books about trains and watching the trains that roll through our town. I had a fun craft prepared for the end of the week. I just wish they would have enjoyed it a little longer before they started to disassemble and eat this cute little train.

You can create a candy train of your own by clicking here. It can be made into a Christmas ornament to decorate your tree. Kaboose is a great resource for kid-friendly crafts. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's For Dinner?

Last night we had this

and this
Short Stop's Homemade Beer Bread
picture from Short Stop

for dinner and it was delicious!!

* soup tip - add the chicken stock gradually, I added it all at once and the soup didn't really thicken up
* soup tip - whatever you do, don't bring the soup to a boil because the milk will curdle (oops!). take your time and heat it slowly, it's worth it
* bread comment - this was the best beer bread I've ever had. my husband said it was the type of beer (Samuel Adams Octoberfest), but I said it was because it was made from scratch and not from a packet


Check out Sarah's other recipes. She's one of my favorite foodie bloggers!!

French Vanilla Hot Chocolate

This is a modified version of El's Hot Chocolate. It's super delicious.

French Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix

10 cups powdered milk
1 lb Nestles Quick chocolate milk
2 tbsp cocoa
1 lb jar French Vanilla creamer

Mix and store in an ice cream bucket in the freezer.

Put 1/3 cup of mix into a mug and top with 2/3 cup of hot water. Enjoy!

This makes a great holiday gift. I've tried adding different flavored creamers, but French vanilla tastes the best.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catching Up with School

It was hard to get back into the groove of homeschooling after our two week illness in October. I hate that "behind" feeling and honestly I didn't know how we were going to catch up. I had planned some great things and didn't want to skip any. I had planned a break in there, but we were going to be out of town during that time so it wasn't a great time to catch-up. So, I had to cut things. Fun things and I was bummed, but I'm feeling SO much better now that we're caught up.

These are the things we got accomplished:

letters: F, G, H, I, J
numbers: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
colors: yellow, orange, green
shapes: rectangle, pentagon
themes: seasons, autumn
memory work: John 3:16, Mark 16:15, Deut 5:16, Phil 4:13, John 14:6

I combined the colors and the shapes since he has most of them down (we're still working on pentagon). And I put the numbers (he knows up to 10), the letters (he knows most of them, just working on their sounds), and the memory work together. It went pretty well. I'd have to say that it's easier for him to memorize Scripture when he has a week for each verse instead of a day. But we review them daily as we go along and his memory is pretty great! We've been doing a craft everyday which he loves. I'll be glad to be back to our normal routine after Thanksgiving. I'm just glad that he didn't feel stressed out and we ended up having a lot of fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

El's Hot Chocolate Mix

This is one of my favorite recipes...only I just received it a year ago. It's something that I grew up with and it was made by a family friend. We drank this hot chocolate when we went camping and when we visited their house. Delicious and fun to make at home!

El's Hot Chocolate Mix

10 cups powdered milk
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1 lb Nestles Quick chocolate milk (sugar-free)
2 tbsp cocoa
1 lb jar Creamora

Mix together and store in an ice cream bucket in the freezer.

For hot cocoa mix 1/3 cup of the mix with 2/3 cup hot water. Enjoy!!

Back from a Long Hiatus

After being away from the blogging world for over a month, I'm back. And I'm so ready to be back! It started off with our computer dying and that lasted about 2 weeks. Then I decided just to take a break and focus on cleaning my house, playing with my boys, catching up on some laundry (and sleep), and refilling my heart.

It's been a great time of refreshment. I went to the North Central Hearts at Home Conference at the beginning of November and my husband and I just returned from a trip to San Diego for Rebound (the national youth pastor's and spouses retreat). And a retreat it was. More on that later.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to catch up on all the things we've been up to and I decided to start with the most recent and fill in with previous exciting events. ;) That way I won't feel behind and I won't stay behind.

So glad that some of you missed me, but I'm back and I'm ready to post. Have a great week!!