December 26, 2010

Fun Christmas Photos

I just thought I'd share some Christmas photos with you all!

Before photo with Grandma and my boys:
After photo of Grandma and my boys:
Here is our annual grab-bag game with all the freebies I get throughout the year. It's so much fun to see what everyone gets!

My boys so excited to see what gifts they got!
A family photo before opening gifts...a sneaky way of getting the boys to behave!
Grandma and her annual reindeer poop!

December 25, 2010

Christmas Thoughts.

This year doesn't really have the Christmas feel to it, I'm not sure why...maybe it's because Pudge has the stomach flu for the second year in a row!! Yup, he got it last Christmas as well. Even my dad remembered, and said, "you can only pull that excuse once!" It was funny coming from him.

So I was really bummed that we missed out on my family's Christmas get-together, especially since it was the first year that we weren't exchanging gifts. I wished I could have been there to just see what it would be like without all the stress of finding the right gift, and what the feeling would have been to just "hang out" with the family on Christmas Eve.

I got to spend some quality time with Pudge, since he was sick. We got to cuddle in my bed, while watching "Frosty" & "Charlie Brown" on our laptop. I will remember that from years to come.

But at the same time, it was probably good that we didn't drive an hour to my parents, because there was a lot of snowfall, and we probably would've ended up in a ditch somewhere. Our Hybrid is not meant to be driven in the snow.

Nothing makes me happier than to see snow falling! You can ask my family. Whenever is starts snowing, I just dance around the house and say "It's so pretty! Look at it snowing boys!" Last night, Christmas Eve, we got 4 inches of fresh snow. That's on top of the already 6 inches of snow we got earlier this month! It really helps us get in the Christmas spirit!

So today I'm thankful that Pudge is feeling better, and that we got to spend Christmas with my in-laws. It was great to be around family and to watch the boys get excited about presents. I will have to post pictures later to show how much fun it was.

Thanks for reading my thoughts, and it's nice to actually sit down and write some feelings down. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and got to remember what's really important this season.

December 19, 2010

Grocery Shopping this week = $44.42

I was excited to go grocery shopping by myself this week! I'm still amazed how fast I can get in and out of a store without a little one in tow.

Target = $5.07
Lots of dairy! I was so excited that I got all the above for a little over $5! Even the cashier was impressed. Those are the thrilling moments for me, when I can show someone how much you really can save with coupons.

County Market = $11.40
The random items in the front were for a pistachio pudding I made and then forgot to take to a Christmas party. Bummer.

Meijer = $27.95
I was excited to get those pasta boxes for a QUARTER each! And it was some pretty tasty pasta too! We also needed lots of fruit and cereal in our home this week.

Total spent $44.42.

December 11, 2010

Hallmark Cards = $0.46!

I love to use coupons! Sometimes I feel like I'm robbing the store, but all is fair. I only spent $0.46 on the items pictured below:

Hallmark has been issuing tons of coupons lately. Wether they're in a magazine I get in the mail or through the internet. I used a $10 coupon (internet) and a $5 coupon (in a magazine) to get all the items above for pennies.

Have you seen these coupons around? They can get you some freebies at Hallmark if you've got them!

Grocery Shopping this week = $53.62

If you ever need bread and are in Champaign, make sure you stop at Big Lots (the one located on Springfield) first! I went there on Monday and they had a whole cart full of bagels, buns, tons of bread!! The were only $1 a bag! Granted they do expire within a couple of days, but just throw them in the freezer and they will keep. I promised myself that I will never buy regular bread at the store now that I know Big Lots secret.

Big Lots and Dollar General = $ 10.04

County Market = $38.74

Lots of good in-store coupons that I used. If you bought 5 items of Knorr, then you got $2.50 off of meat. Each Knorr item was $1.

We love Mona's noodles, so I was excited to see that the tortellini and egg noodles were on sale this week.

Walgreens = $4.84

I had a manufacturer coupon for both the eggs and the Jello pudding.

Overall we try to stick with our $40 grocery budget, but this week I think I got a little excited about the bread at Big Lots. I spent a total of $53.62. Yikes! I'll be taking some of next weeks budget to cover this week.

Thanks for looking!

December 7, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

I bought a bunch of sweet potatoes the week of Thanksgiving, because they were only $0.25/lb. I've been meaning to make a bunch of sweet potato chips, but instead, we used a couple to make sweet potato fries.

All you need to do is preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half:

Then cut into 3/4 inch chunks and toss into a plastic bag to season:

Then add about 1/4 c. olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Zip bag shut, and toss around:

Then lay them on cookie sheet and make sure they aren't touching. If they do touch, it will make them mushy.

Then place them in the oven for 15 minutes, and when the timer beeps, turn them over. Place them in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Then within a half an hour, you have homemade sweet potato fries! Much healthier than normal fries.


December 6, 2010

My first 5k race!

I have found out that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.

I have been trying out a new running program called "From Couch to 5K". I heard about this program through a couple of friends at church. It really is an obtainable goal to work up to, because it starts out small and gradually increases your running time.

I have never been a runner. I always hated the thought of running. I was jealous of those who could run for miles and not be totally exhausted when they were done. But when I had been working out to Jillian's 30 Day Shred, I felt like I needed something more. Something that included running. So I went to the c25k (couch 2 5k) website and printed out the program for Free!

So this past Sunday was my official 5k race that I had been gearing towards. It was a cold, and breezy day. I was a little nervous at first, because it had snowed about 6 inches the day before and the sidewalks were snowy and icy! But as we arrived, I saw that they had set cones in the road, so that we could run there instead.

Here we are before the race:

My husband was a great support and wanted to run the race with me. He's been running cross country since high school, so he was just along to support me. I don't think that I could've done it without his encouragement.

On Sunday, December 5th, I finished my very first 5k in 37 minutes. Not that great of a time, but for me, finishing the race was all I wanted to do.

My husband even made me a trophy for the accomplishment. How fun!

Us after the race:
I feel so much healthier and stronger since I've done this program. And I'm still amazed at how far I can run now! It feels great!

So for those of you who are looking for a new workout program, or are looking for a way to start running, try this program out. You'll be amazed if you stick with it.

December 3, 2010

Grocery Shopping this week = $38.70

Each week we have $40 budgeted towards groceries. I like to post what I bought, because it keeps me accountable to our budget and also encourages people to spend less.

This week we just went to Dollar General and Meijer in Urbana.

Dollar General = $10.64
There is supposed to be another jar of Planters nuts, but my husband snagged them to take to work. So just imagine it being there. I had coupons for everything except the cheese.

Meijer = $28.06
I think this was my best run to Meijer in a long time. I had a huge stack of coupons, and my cashier was so nice and didn't question a single one (none of them beeped either!). So I was very happy about that.

The pasta was only $0.59 each after coupons. And the soup was only $0.50 each after coupons.

How did you do this week on grocery shopping? I'm trying to cut back even more now that the holidays are approaching.

Pajama Day at School!

I love that my son has PJ day at school. Today Z-man was so excited to wear his pajamas to school, he was telling everyone the day before! I took a quick snapshot of him before we went to school.
We have been receiving boy clothing from a couple of people. Our neighbor on the corner has a 5 year old, and we get all his hand-me-downs, which are great! We also get clothing from Z-man's cousin in Chicago. This time around we got a super cute bath robe with Cars on it. Z-man loved it! He wanted to wear it to school instead of his winter coat...and since it was PJ day at school, I allowed it. Kids are so funny!

He also got a cute drawing from another girl in his class. How precious!

Z-man is so excited about all his friends at school. I was tempted to take pictures of all this friends because he talks about them so much. So here are a few of them: