Tuesday, April 30

Grateful For #116: A New Niece

Congrats Alicia and Craig.

Thank you God for their lovely newbaby girl.

Our April (In Photo/videos)

April was not a great month for us. As much as some majorly cruddy things happened this April, I think the normal good memories still won out. April had major medical and insurance problems, expensive car problems, a tornado warning and our house was broken into. However, hopefully when we remember April 2013 we remember treasure hunts, decorated flower pots, bug worlds, dress up, park play, yummy food, lots of laughter, smiles and love =)

Below are some of the pictures that helped tell about our April 2013.

Monday, April 29

Grateful For #115: Hobby Lobby

I have been keeping my eyes out for stickers of the presidents for the past couple weeks for a project. The needed to be between 1"×1" and 1.5"×1.5". I probably could have created something on the computer using public domain images.... but I really just wasn't wanting to find and resize the images then make 44 squares with dates, names and etc... I had hoped I would run into them at a stare, but no luck. So I actively went looking this morning. Hobby lobby had exactly what I was looking for :)

Thank you God for all the amazing products available today.

What are you grateful for today?

April Home Improvement Savings

In the month of April we saved $25 at Home Depot in coupons alone from the Passport Book =) We had three trips of getting things we needed that we bought $50 or more at and so used $5 off $50 coupons. We had one trip we spent $100 or more and used $10 off $100.

That was not our biggest savings at Home Depot though. We saved even more by finding self stick $1+ linoleum tiles for 25¢ each on clearance there when we were planning on going with an 89¢ self stick tile for the floors and 99¢ self stick tile for the counter tops in the kitchen and 75¢ self stick tile for the counter tops in the bathrooms. So, we saved 50¢-74¢ each tile, that's about 67%-75% (not including the $15 off from coupons) and got a thicker, nicer quality tile =)

Sunday, April 28

Grateful For #114: Strawberries and Creme (and small children)

Thank you God for the delicious strawberries and creme today. Trace especially enjoyed his.

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, April 27

Grateful For #113: Getting Stuff Done

Today we sent in all the pictures from the break in to the insurance adjuster. Found a pic of the treadmill that was stolen and sent it in with the emails from when we bought the treadmill off Craigslist. Found the receipt from the 12volt Black and Decker Lithium Drill and sent that in. Measured the rooms that were affected and sent those measurements in and re-tiled the dining room floor where whoever stole from us pulled up the tiles with their shoes. Cleaned that off and will be able to seal it next time, and sealed the bathroom countertop. Paid car, phone, mortgage, etc and so forth. Looked into what it would cost to get Trevor a new phone (the volume button fell off his on top of randomly dropping calls. We haven't even had it 2yrs, he got it for his birthday September 2011).

Thank you God for the gumption to get stuff done.

What are you grateful for today?

Hahaha- My Boys

I think that expression might qualify for Pleased As Punch status...

Friday, April 26

Grateful For #112: Playdates (for Mom and Kids)

We had Amanda, Brittany and Brittany's kids over today. So Mom (me) got to have a playdate with my friends and the boys got a playdate with theirs =)

Tristian and Jelly playing dress up.

Other Vacation Thoughts

So that's our plans so far....

This year we've left open some time unplanned. We also tried to balance the vacation plans better between the parents and the kids, rather then just having child oriented stuff. There are a few things we are still talking about doing (like the marina or mark twain boat hour cruise) that will come down to dollars and sense. I think we have a good plan so far and can't wait for the actual vacation =)

Thursday, April 25

Grateful For #111: Homeschool Recess

Thursday's is recess day for a homeschool group in our area, the boys had a blast!

Vacation Plans- Barry Before Art Afternoon

Barry Before Art Afternoon

Saturday 6/15 Spent $48 So Far

I am waiting to hear back from one place in Barry, IL but I am hoping to visit Barry the Saturday morning before going to the Hannibal Art Fair and maybe ending our day at Trevor's 10 year highschool reunion =)

Wednesday, April 24

Grateful For #110: Finally Some Quiet wih Trevor!

We have been cleaning and putting kids to bed since after supper tonight. Trace JUST went to sleep, FINALLY!

Thank you God for a little alone time with my honey.

What are you grateful for today?

Vacation Plans- Quincy Mall Day

Quincy, IL Mall Day 

Cost ATM $42.50

This is not set for a specific day yet, may depending on what movies are playing when or what is going on the rest of the week. 

Tuesday, April 23

Grateful For #109: Remembering to Back Up Our Blog

I ran into a blog post about a blogger being hacked who hadn't backed up her blog. I hadn't even considered the possibility myself for some reason either. Hopefully we will never need it, but we already have quite a few memories in this blog that would be nice to preserve =)

Thank you God for forethought.

What are you grateful for today?

Vacation Plans- Quincy Museums and Tours Day

Quincy, IL Tour and Museum Day 

Cost ATM $14.50

Friday 6/14 for the Blues in the District concert that night.

Monday, April 22

Grateful For #108: Monday Coming

I bet you don't often see that statement. Usually Monday is a bad thing, but for me it's a new week- and last week was pretty awful.

*Insurance refused to pay for Tristian's growth hormone. Which we are out of, and remember how he wasn't growing even with the growth hormone and the dose needing increasing? Well the insurance isn't sure that he really has a growth disorder. Cause you know, a kid without a growth disorder wouldn't grow even with injecting growth hormone.

Vacation Plans- Hannibal Day

6/13 Thursday Hannibal Day

Cost So Far- $38

What We're Doing

Sunday, April 21

Grateful for #107: Golden Corral

Golden Corral is probably the easiest place for us to eat out at. We can get fruit, steak, baked potatoes and etc... for the boys and I that is allergy free without issue and everyone ends up with food they like and can eat for a reasonable price. Including dessert =)

Summer Vacation Planning Update

We are planning to do our family vacation this summer in North East Missouri and South West Illinois- the Quincy, Monroe City and Hannibal area. June 10th-16th.

This is what we have so far for summer vacation plans and we've spent about $193 total so far.

Saturday, April 20

Grateful For #106: Rechargeable Batteries

I wrote this yesterday to be #105 before the break in -.-

Batteries are expensive! It seems like we are always needing AAs for remotes, the boys cameras, toys, and other random things. A few years ago I bought a few dozen rechargeable energizers, but sometime in the last year or two they have each stopped holding a charge. We bought a bunch of disposable ones during the holiday season when you could get them free or two for one or etc... But it's April and those are nearly gone. So I finally looked for rechargeable ones again. The price has gone up since I last bought them (of course lol) by about double. I was able to find some Rayovac AAs 40 for $36 on Ebay on a just listed (literally 15 minutes before I saw it) buy it now auction. That was significantly cheaper then I could find the same battery packs anywhere else on the web.

At 90 cents a battery they will have earned their cost and then some after just a few charges, compared to even the cheapest disposables =)

Thank you God for afforadable batteries =)

What are you grateful for today?

Break In Pictures

Pictures of the damage done by whoever broke into our house. It almost had to be more then one person, because one of the items stolen was a big heavy treadmill.

Called the Police out

Friday, April 19

Grateful For #105: Being Gone When House Was Broken In To

We have lived at this same house since Tristian was 15 months old, never, ever had an issue with it being broken into or property damaged. Ever. Until last summer. Last summer also happened to be a time when we got 3 new neighbors.... -.-  A new room mate to our right, a new family to our left and a new single occupant behind us. Last summer we had pool table balls break a car wind shield. A rock hit my 2 year old on the head, hit by a tennis racket by a boy next door, whose father refused to believe his son did anything and became very hostile towards us himself- despite myself and the child's stepmother seeing it happen.

Dollar Store Bug World

The other day I saw a very cool post about a 'small world' made with bugs from a Bug Toob the blog author had been given by the company that made them free of charge to review. I checked out the product and it was $12, yikes! The bugs did look awesome... but $12 just for the bugs isn't in my budget. The author used a clear tote, contact paper and other elements to create a habitat for the toy bugs. The whole idea was just awesome and you can see their's by CLICKING HERE.

I knew my boys would love this sort of hands on activity being added to our bug week, so I headed over to our trusty Dollar Tree to see what I could do, within our budget ;-) I got everything I needed to make our own bug world for less then $10.

Thursday, April 18

Grateful For #104: Completed Tasks

I have been meaning to restore the netbook for a while. It has just gotten two loaded with malware and other crud that was not easy to go in and get rid of because of the way it crawls into multiple processes =p

Our netbook is whipped, restored, reloaded with our personally pictures, videos, and etc and officially virus free. But not updated (holy cripes I forgot how sloooowwww and buggy internet explorer is to use compared to firefox... I got to get that downloaded!).

Thank you God for helping me find the gumption to not reason away not donig this again today ;-)

What are you grateful for today?

Couponing Cost April 2013 Update

There's a saying along the lines of can't make money w/out money. You can coupon w/out spending money, but it helps to spend a little so you have a good intake of coupons.  Everyone has their own way; circular services, ebay coupon buying, printing coupons, checking stores for free mags, buying newspapers or coupon books. This post is about how we get our coupons.

Some sources for the magazine deals discussed below include: 
Swagbucks- CLICK HERE to visit.
BestDealMagazines- CLICK HERE to visit.

Coupon Source Breakdown:

Wednesday, April 17

Grateful For #103: Passed Tornado Warning

Thank you God for the tornado warning passing and leaving me and my boys safe. Please let the same be true for others. 

What are you grateful for today?

$5 Bug Exploration Kit

$5 Got Us

2 Dollar Store Butterfly nets
2 Dollar Store Bug Catcher Sets w/
   * Miniature Bug Net
   * Forceps with Container on End
   * Ladybug Tweezers
   * Butterfly Larger Magnifying Glass
   * Smaller Tweezers
   * Wearable Bug Container
   * Small Bug Jar
1 NoodleBug Backyard Bugs DVD
1 NoodleBug Backyard Bugs CD
1 Show-Me Bugs Guide Book

Tuesday, April 16

Grateful For #102: Wonderful Friendly Restaurants

Trevor loves Mexican food. I'm throat swells shut allergic to corn... not a perfect match there. Today we used a deal we bought and went to La Siesta here in Columbia on N 9th Street.

The food was awesome. I just got the La Siesta Nachos (cheese, lettuce, avacado, chicken on top of corn chips) and just ate the toppings avoiding the corn chips (basically a chicken salad). Tris got a taco, rice and beans. Trace got chicken fingers and fries. Trevor got steak burritos.

As great as the food tasted... what truely stood out was the service.

10,000 Steps A Day (goal)

You may or may not have heard the buzz the last few years about how a healthy adult should average 10,000 steps a day. I have no idea how many steps a day I take, but I decided to make that my goal now that my lungs are getting better. I use to be a runner. Health problems (mainly lungs that don't want to do their job) have made running still a bit out of my reach atm, but stepping is not =) While stepping does not give you quite the same feeling as jogging, it isn't a bad substitute by any means.

Monday, April 15

Grateful for #101: Having a Vacation Date

Yay! Trevor finally was able to nail down a vacation week date for this summer (June 10th-16th), so now I can really start to cement plans of what and how we are going to do stuff for vacation. Woo-hoo!

Thank you God for Trevor's vacation dates.

What are you grateful for today?

So Ready To Be Done!

We are moving forward... slowly but surely ;-) Between Trev working 10-12 hour days, me homeschooling the boys and just life in general the house is taking forever to finish.

I just want to get it listed!

We are very nearly done with the bathroom (finally) and master bedroom. Started retiling in the dining room and kitchen and replacing the counter tops. Yay.

Sunday, April 14

Grateful For #100: Library Book Sales (when my parents go)

Yesterday Mimi and Papa came home with a ton of books from the Library Children's Books sale. Several of the books were on animals and one was even some very cool stuff Tristian and I can do about insects. They also had two Caillou books, which made Trace very happy =)

Thank you God for Mimi and Papa and children's book sales =)

What are you grateful for today?

Trace Sings His AB Boom Booms (video)

Saturday, April 13

Greatful For #99: Trace Said "Love You Mom"!!!

For the very first time ever today Trace came up to me and threw his arms around my neck and said, "Love You Mom." My heart melted! Then he snuggled up and fell asleep, lol.

Thank you God for such sweet mommy moments.

What are you grateful for today?

Thank You for the Micky Mouse Birthday!

I wanted to post a special thank you for a box of Mickey Mouse Birthday fun I just received today.

A wonderful blogging friend of mine (http://monstersgonewild.ca/home/) from Canada won a contest that could not be shipped to her and she thought of me =)

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Some things don't change. Bill Nye is still one of the coolest ways to learn science =)

We were talking about gravity the other day and I remembered that we happened to have a library discard dvd of Bill Nye about Gravity.... So I put it in. Tristian loved it! He even asked to watch it again after it was over!

Even Trace was entertained by the show =)

Friday, April 12

Grateful For #98: Tape

I was doing something today for the bajillionth (technical term that) time this week that used tape. It popped into my head that there is so much we do with it that we take tape for granted. As far as homeschooling goes, tape is an invaluable resource. It allows us to create and do so many different things and projects. Glue is great, but if I had to choose one or the other it would have to be tape. You can always use tape in a similar way to glue (albeit not as well sometimes) but there are so many things that glue could just not substitute as tape for.

So anyways, thank you God for tape.

What are you grateful for today?

Home Remedies You Take For Granted

Back during the February magazine coupon round up I mentioned we wouldn't use the Lysine coupon because peppermint chapstick is more effective for cold sores. It's not just my opinion, there is research to back it up. I've been cold sore free for more then 6 years now, and haven't had to deal with a full blown shingles re-occurrence for nearly as long. All because of peppermint chapstick and peppermint essential oil. It's such a, "Well of course it works, duh!" thing for me, that it still sometimes blows me away that other people won't even TRY it because it seems like a hocus pocus home remedy. So silly, seriously, what is a little $2 tube of chapstick going to hurt you in the long run? If it works you spent $2 and discovered something that will take away countless moments of pain, discomfort and embarassment. If it doesn't work... you spent $1 more on chapstick once then the cheap $1 kind you might normally buy. Eh.

Another home remedy we use a lot is vinegar for thrush.

Thursday, April 11

Grateful For #97: Bonus Checks

The radiator in our car has a leak. Gonna cost a few hundred to fix. Wasn't sure how we were going to budget that in until Trevor got a bonus check for the last quarter for right about the cost of the radiator. Talk about God providing!

Thank you God for Trevor's bonus check.

What are you grateful for today?

Get Alerts When the Price is Right!

This is an amazing shopping resource! If you have your eye on something from anywhere on the web you can enter the items URL and Shopping Notes will send you an email when it hits or goes below the price you want it for. How awesome is that!?

I start looking for gifts several month in advance, so this is perfect for us! I can see something I wish I could get for someone- decide what my realistic price point on it is, then set up a shopping note so that if it goes below that price it emails me. Fantastic!

There's a much bigger view of the picture showing examples below and more explanation. You can sign up for Shopping Notes by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, April 10

Grateful For #96: Nature In Our Yard (geese pair on the pond)

Each year these two geese come and nest in my parents pond. That is especially awesome this year with Tris so into animals (especially birds atm).

Thank you God for these geese.

What are you grateful for today?

Spring Treasure Hunt Planting and Decorating

This is the planting and decorating part of our spring planting treasure hunt activity. 

You can see the post about planning this using dollar store supplies by CLICKING HERE. Yesterday's post was showing the actual treasure hunt and you can see that by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, April 9

Grateful For #95: NWT $4.99 Shoes

We found some summer shoes me and the boys at Good Will new with tags for $4.99 each. The boys are matching Star Wars sneakers in children's sizes 8 and 12 with vent holes and they light up when they walk (that was a huge cause for excitement for the boys). Mine are Cherokee brand close toed sandals that will be good for hiking, the zoo and etc... They are size 4 in boys... but fit me fine and I don't really care whether they were suppose to be boy or girl shoes ;-)

Thank you God for affordable shoes.

What are you grateful for today?

Spring Planting Treasure Hunt Activity

I was going to do a post about the whole activity- both the treasure hunt as well as planting and decorating the flower pots... but that made for a very long post with so many pictures. So instead I broke it up into the treasure hunt today, and tomorrow the planting and decorating.

You can also see the post about planning this activity using dollar store supplies by CLICKING HERE

Monday, April 8

Grateful For #94: GORGEOUS Weather!

Today was BEAUTIFUL, picture perfect! So we got to do our Spring Planting Treasure Hunt. The boys had a BLAST =)

Thank you God for the wonderful weather today!

What are you grateful for today?

You might be getting older...

There are some little events in life, some phrases that you hear, some moments that you witness, that make you realize that maybe, just maybe, you might be getting older...

You might be getting older... #1

 ...when you start to use terms like "decade" when referring to your own life. When you're young the only time you might possibly use that term is during history and at that time the word "decade" would have been grouped with words such as "era" or "eons".

Sunday, April 7

Grateful For #93: Master Bathroom Floor Being Done!

I am so tired of our house! I just want to list it and be done with it. Today we finished tiling the bathroom floor (we had to change out the floorboards from where the waterheater had flooded). We got wall molding in around the bathroom and the bedroom (we put new carpet in the bedroom after we switched out those floorboards a few years ago, but never did the molding). We put frosting on the windows in the master bathroom and the 9 mini windows on the back door. Trevor worked til 5pm so we headed over after he got off work. I am tired! But so glad we are that much closer to being done.

Thank you God for progress.

What are you grateful for today?

Cleaning Recipes Dos and Don'ts

Spring Cleaning time is here! If you do or will make you're own cleaners you may want to take a look at this post. I have made a lot of my own cleaners. I also have a basic understanding of chemistry. Lots of the liquid recipes I run into online make me smh.

Liquid recipes that contain an acid and base are NOT going to be your best bet... might work... but only as well as salt works. Which might work well even if you have hard water.  That's what you've made, though, expensive salt. ** Acid + Base NEUTRALIZES which means = SALT(and h2o) **  Any recipe mixing vinegar (acetic acid- acid) and baking/washing soda (sodium bicarbonate/carbonate- base) is going to create salt water and won't be more effective then just using salt water would be... just more expensive to make. Exception being when you are using the chemical reaction itself to clean, like some dishwasher recipes. Just wanted to put that info out there.

Below are some recipes that don't ask you to make this faux pas:

Saturday, April 6

Thankful For #92: Children Bringing Me a Dinosaur Stuffed in a Carrot

LOL!!! I just had two little boys bring me a carrot bottle they had stuffed a spongy dinosaur in during bath time and couldn't get out.... it's moments like this that you think, 'before I was a mom I NEVER would have thought I would have children bringing me a dinosaur stuffed in a carrot and begging me to find a way to rescue it."

Thank you God for the joys of motherhood =)

What are you grateful for today?

Yoga with Mimi

Note the creepy glowing eyed cat in both pictures ;-)

Friday, April 5

Grateful for #91: Funny Pet Moments

Can you not just see the gears moving in both Brockley and Tris' head? 

Thank you God for life's funny moments.

What are you grateful for today?

Christian Money Board Game (printable)

This game was designed for my boys, specifically for Tristian. It has two main purposes. To help learn about and be more comfortable with coins and to integrate the concept that if you do the right thing, good things will come to you (and vice versus that if you do the wrong thing, not so good things occur). To that end a lot of these examples are actually things that we have had to deal with (ie: screaming in church).

See below for what you need to play.

Once Upon a Time (I don't like Emma)

Trevor and I finished catching up to Dr. Who and have been watching Once Upon a Time now. I have to say, I really dislike the main character. And it's not the actress- because she's still my second favorite on House reruns... second to Dr. House lol. No I just don't like the character. She ticks me off.

First HENRY IS NOT HER SON!!! I'm sorry, but that whole thing really bothers me. I'm probably more sensitive to it because we plan to adopt in the future, but Henry isn't her child. She gave birth to him, that's it. She gave him up immediately. That's great that she did it for good reasons. I admire that. I am a big proponent of open adoption situations, so am totally for her having a relationship with him (although Emma herself requested a closed adoption). Even in open adoption situations the parent is still the one raising the child, not the one with a biological link. Regina is the one who has raised Henry since he was a few weeks old, and it is obvious was doing the best she could and truly loves him. This isn't a case of her abusing him or anything else. Heck, he's so not worried about her anger that he repeatedly sneaks out and off with Emma and constantly goes against Regina's wishes. Those are not the actions of a frightened, abused or mistreated child. Those are the actions of a confident child that is secure in his place at home. That's because Regina has been a good mother to him. Even Jiminy Cricket said that Regina might hurt everyone else but NEVER Henry.

Thursday, April 4

Grateful For #90: A Day Spent With All My Boys!

Today was Thursday, which is our normal errand day. Errands can be frustrating and it never seems like we manage to get everything we need to done. But spending the day with all three of my boys more then makes up for the frustration ;-)

Thank you God for this day with Trevor, Tristian and Trace.

What are you grateful for today?

I Wish I Could Sleep Like That (on a pillow in the middle of the floor)

Trace was tired, so what did he do? Got a comfy oversized pillow, put it in the middle of the floor and went to sleep. Of Course! What else do you do when you're sleepy?

So jealous of this little boy!

Wednesday, April 3

Grateful For #89: Dinner With Family

We had a nice dinner with my father tonight talking.

Thank you God for dinner with family.

What are you grateful for today?

Spring Treasure Hunt Plan ($ store supplies)

For $13 we got: 

2 shovels
2 flower pots
6 flower pot liners with drain holes
1 flower box
2 bags of potting soil
3 packs of stickers
3 decorative butterflies
1 box flower seeds (covers 100sq ft)
1 wooden cigar box with clasp

Cigar boxes are free at your local grocery store that sells cigars. Call before you'll be shopping and ask if they have any and can set one aside for you. We got ours from the Hy-Vee where Trev works. Everything else we got at Dollar Tree.

Here's what I'm planning...

Tuesday, April 2

Grateful For #88: Online Resources

I am putting together a themed school week (bugs for later this month) for Tris and was thinking how much easier this is with the internet and online resources! Seriously, there are so many activity ideas, free printables and etc... that would not have been available a couple decades ago.

Thank you God for Online Resources.

What are you grateful for today?

The Ultimate Sorting Lesson (laundry)

I have no idea why I have never considered this before! We are in our Kindergarten/First Grade year. So sorting is something we have lessons on a lot. The other day I was sorting out laundry and realized... laundry is the ultimate real life sorting application. It is the one thing, throughout your life that you will most use sorting for (of course you is used generally). So we did some real life sorting. First we sorted the clothes into piles of whose they are and household (I know most people don't do that, but it's so much easier to put clothing together and away when it's all the same persons). Then we sorted them into darks and lights.

Funny quotes and other tidbits from Tristian-

Monday, April 1

Endocrinologist Appointment Didn't Go So Well

Boys had endocrinologist appointment today. Not great news =/  

Trace has completely flat-lined on growth since last appointment 6 months ago. That means he hasn't been growing for at least 6 months. Maybe longer since the appointments are 6 months between. 

Tristian was not growing much anymore either so the Dr raised his hormone amount. Should be fine now. 

Doing labs and x-rays for both again Thursday. Expect Trace's results to be closer to Tris' before he went on hormone. Last time Trace's growth hormone was 1/2 normal minimum. Tris at 2 was 1/4th.

Grateful For #87: Easter Wagon Rides (video)

Trace and Cousin Henry being pulled in the wagon by Uncle Caleb yesterday.


Thank you God for family and wagons.

 What are you grateful for today?

Spring Charm Bracelet

Spring time makes me think of butterflies and bees, and other flying critters. Spring is that time of year when you can almost see fairies and sprites playing in the new found warmth and just bloomed flowers.

That's what I was thinking of when I made this charm bracelet. It's purple with lots of flying critters. Several sparkling butterflies, a dragonfly, a bee and two fairies/pixies. There are several purple sparkling charms and the classic glass charms are are  gorgeous clear and opaque with purple swirls. So spring!

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