Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grace & Mercy

"Return to God with all your heart, the source of grace and mercy;
Come seek the tender faithfulness of God" ~ Marty Haugen

grace: Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and eternal life. ~ CCC 1996

mercy: Mercy is a virtue influencing one's will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another's misfortune. ~

My husband is the one who technically named Mercy. One day at church we were singing the above mentioned hymn and he leaned over and whispered that if we ever have another girl we should name her "Mercy". I laughed it off and basically said no. I had heard the name "Mercy" on a TV show a while back and didn't really care for it.

Then we got pregnant again.

And it was a girl.

I was set on the name Nora. Not sure why. The name Mercy came up again and something just hit me. That was our baby's name. And now as I look at her laying peacefully on the floor, sucking her binkie with her hand casually covering her eyes, it fits her so well.

They say your child's name will affect their personalities later on in life. If this is true, Mercy is going to be the giver. She'll be compassionate, thoughtful, kind-hearted and always will to help someone in need. I know it's a little too soon to tell, but how much of that is shaped by our teaching? How much is shaped by the way we raise our children?

Grace was going to be named Heidi after Mike's paternal grandma. Not sure how far along I was in the pregnancy when the name Grace came into play. Mike instantly said he loved it, and we changed our minds. I don't think we could have picked a more perfect name for our first born.

Grace is a helper. Doesn't matter what I'm doing, Grace is there and willing to help. She's always been that way. When we're in the car and Mercy starts crying, Grace reaches over and holds her hand. She says in a sing-song voice "Your big sister's here!" which always puts a smile on Mercy's face. I know that Grace is going to be there to help Mercy with whatever she needs throughout life and Mercy will be willing to do anything to help Grace as well.

My children have changed my outlook on life. They give me reason to wake up in the morning, and to make myself be a better person. A lot of things have changed in the last week, and as many of my friends have told me, maybe this is a blessing in disguise. I finally get to be home with my kids and watch them grow. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Smith's Trip 1/28/11

Super savings at Smith's today. I did 2 transactions, partially because it was just me and the girls and I was getting 4 cases of bottled water and that pretty much fills up one cart and leaves little room for the rest of the groceries. And partially because the before-mentioned bottled water is part of a Catalina event, as well as Kleenex, so I used the coupons received from the first transaction on the second transaction.

Transaction #1:
(4) 24pk Arrowhead Water $2.99
(9) Kleenex (200 ct) $.99
Used (3) $.50/3 coupons
(2) Bar S Franks $.89
Used $1/2 coupon
(2) Finish Electrasol Tabs (20 ct) $2.99
Used (2) $2.25/1 coupons
(2) Whisker Lickins Cat Treats $.49
Used $1/2 coupon
(1) Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers $.99

Total before coupons & discounts: $60.46
Total OOP: $23.97
And I received 2 catalina coupons totaling $7.00

Transaction #2
(2) Desitin Diaper Cream $2.50
Used (2) $1/1 coupons
(3) Pampers Baby Wipes $1.49
Used (1) $1/1 loadable coupon
(2) $1/1 coupons
(4) Reach Advanced Toothbrushes $.99
Used (2) $2/2 coupons
(3) Dinty Moore Beef Stew $.99
Used (1) $1.50/3 coupons
(3) Hunts Canned Tomatoes $.49
Used (1) $1/3 coupons
(4) Hormel Chili Master $.79
Used (4) $.75/1 coupons
(4) Rotel Canned Tomatoes $.49
Used (1) Buy 3 Get 1 Free coupon
(4) Hormel Chili $.79
Used (2) $.55/2 coupons
(6) Finish Electrasol Tabs $2.99
Used (6) $2.25/1 coupons
(9) Kens Salad Dressing $1.49
Used (9) $1/1 coupons
(2) Frenchs Spicy Mustard $1.19
Used (2) $1/1 coupons
(6) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter $1.29
Used (3) $1.50/2 coupons
(2) Gallons Milk
(1) Dozen Eggs
10 lbs potatoes

Also used the $7.00 in Catalina coupons.

Total before coupons & discounts $156.37
Total OOP: $29.79

So I got $216 worth of groceries for $53.76 for a 75% savings!!

Wanna see how I did it? Check out Savvy Shopper Deals!

So I have been tracking my savings so far this year. We originally had set a budget for $500/month for groceries, but since I lost my job (boo!) we're going to try and shoot for a $350 budget instead. I'm going to have to watch for those deals! Anyway, in January I bought $806 worth of groceries for ..... drumroll please..... $390!!!

Which means I made my original budget by $110 and only missed the new budget by $40. Looking back I know I could have only spent $350 this month, but I wasn't anticipating loosing my job. Then again, does anyone anticipate that? This is amazing! In December we spent $550 on groceries AND $130 in restaurants. In January we didn't eat out once. Well...ok I guess I had Little Caesars this past week, and Starbucks, and Carl's Jr but that's all cause I was stuck at work cleaning up and we got hungry. So not too shabby! Bring it on February!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Let's talk coupons. I became addicted a few months ago, thanks in part to my sister-in-law Kahra. I saw something she posted about an awesome shopping trip and I had to ask how she did it. Now I'm spending my free time clipping coupons, filing them, and searching for deals. I went crazy when I first started doing it. I was trying for every deal and getting frustrated when I'd go to a store and they were completely out of what I wanted.

4o boxes of cereal later....I've scaled back some.

Until today when Mike told me he didn't care how much food I bought cause prices are going to go up. I'm not too worried though. That's why they make coupons!

Today I hit up Wal-Mart for our weekly groceries. Usually I'm at Smith's but they had pretty much the same deals this week as last and I really don't need more cereal (or do I? There's some good coupons that still need used!). I was planning on going without coupons, but then I remembered that my favorite site Savvy Shopper Deals has just posted a link for Wal-Mart deals. So I browsed the site and added a few things to my list. I got all the things for our meals this week, plus some Johnson & Johnson Head-to-Toe baby wash (Grace will now be using that since I have a TON!), popcorn shrimp, red wine vinegar, spicy mustard, toilet paper and rice. Here's the link to the forum that lists the Wal-Mart deals. She is pricing the Payson Wal-Mart and silly Wal-Mart has different pricing from store to store. Even the two in Logan have different pricing and different products. For instance, I was going to get Toaster Strudels and Totinos Pizza but the pricing was a lot different in Logan so I just kept walking. But I wish they had them cause Grace practically breathes Toaster Strudels in the morning and we go through them fast. Oh well!

Anyway, my trip was $92 before coupons and $65 after. I have a weekly grocery budget of $125 so I'm only halfway there and don't need anything the rest of the week! I'm hoping for a sale on ground beef soon cause I really, really need to stock up. Our meal plan for this week called for 4lbs of beef and I thought we were out (there was a pound of beef hiding in my freezer, darn) and so I bought two 2 lb pks at $3/lb. OUCH!

Ok I'm done. Till next week that is....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mike's Birthday

Tuesday was Mike's birthday. He turned 32, which is quite hard for me to fathom since in my mind he'll always be 26 or 27. It's weird how the older you get, you tend to forget how old you actually are, yet you seem to stay one age, or age range, in your own mind. I think I'm 24ish all the time. He had to work for his birthday cause when you have a "real job" you can't take random days off. I, on the other hand, took his day off so I would be sure to spend some time with him. We were planning on steaks for dinner (Thank you Galen & Kahra for the gift certificate!) and I always make bread pudding for him for dessert. He really, really likes bread pudding. I really, really don't so I usually only make it for him on his birthday as a special treat.

I decided I wanted to make a cake for him too. When my mom was out here last, she brought her Wilton cake decorating set for me! It's full of different tips, piping bags, paste colors and other fun cake stuff. Needless to say, I don't need any huge reason to bake a decorate a cake now. I also happened to have a 40% off coupon for Michael's so I figured I'd get a cake pan and make him a cake. I let Grace pick out the pan and she choose a car, after I told her Daddy didn't want a princess cake, or a train cake. I figure I can use the car mold again some day.

When I made Grace's princess birthday cake, I only used one box mix and it didn't quite fill the pan, so I decided I'd use two mixes for this one. I filled the pan to the top. Mistake #1. I didn't think about it overflowing. Mistake #2.

As you can see, the cake overflowed in the pan and dripped all over my stove. I slid a cookie sheet in, after I smelled the smoke, and it helped a little, but our house was filled with smoke. None of the smoke detectors went off which means we probably need to replace some batteries. Thankfully, it still came out of the pan.

Icing it went ok, but I think I need to find a recipe without shortening. I'm not liking the taste too much. And the warmth of my hand was softening the icing too much and it wasn't piping very well, but in the end, it turned out ok. And pretty yummy too!

I think he had a good birthday. I got him Call of Duty: Black Ops. He's been playing it for the last 2 nights, so he must like it. Grace got him a battery charger for his drill. She wanted to get him a saw (or a "sawl" as she says) but the only ones Wal-Mart had were circular saws or reciprocating saws and she didn't want to get him either one of those. Not sure what he'd use them for anyway. Mercy got him World of Warcraft trading cards (She's a future geek).

This was the 8th birthday I've gotten to spend with Mike and I'm glad that I'm the one he chose to grow old with and share those days with :D

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I did it!

I have absolutely no time for this but it's something I've been thinking about for a while. I'm finally in the blogging world. LOL I have written so many journals that I'm surprised it took me this long.

And speaking of no time...I have more coupons than I know what to do with that need clipped and filed, I have a dishwasher than needs emptied, and then reloaded, a few loads of laundry need folded and put away and we need to get some "Thank You" notes written, and here I am starting a blog. I must be crazy!

But we'll see. Maybe this is a great way for me to finally get organized in life. An on-line to do list. Well, everything else is going to have to wait until tomorrow. Right now my bed is calling my name.