Sunday, July 31, 2011

not so extreme couponing

Ah coupons. I've attempted to try couponing in the past. We've bought Sunday papers. A printer, mainly so it'd be easier to coupon (thanks for the sweet deal, Jenn and Jeff!) And I've never really caught on to it. Mike and I both see value in couponing..I just haven't made the time. And let's face it, its time consuming.

So I've been following this blog, the Frugal Family. The posters are from Central Illinois, so everything they post is for our local stores. They are GREAT at pointing out good opportunities to get free/cheap stuff by steering you right to where you need to print off/pick up coupons and at what stores during what sales. Basically, they do all the work I don't want to do for me. Hence, why I'm plugging them here.

So this morning I decided to dip my toes into the water as far as couponing. The Frugal Family told me about a couple deals that I just couldn't pass up at Walgreens. So off we went :)

Now we'll play a game my friend and couponer Carrie likes to play. How much did I pay for all this stuff?

Before sales, coupons or register rewards (which I learned about today!) these 4 items totaled $20.96. And I paid $10.25 today and earned $3.50 off my next trip. So its like I spent around $7, all for things I would have bought anyways!

I think I just need to focus on "couponing" for a few key items each week and hopefully I'll catch on to the money-saving craze!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

birthday weekend breakfast

After a late night of fun, we decided to go to Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast with Brian, Von, Nat and Joe. It was delicious! This was actually Troy's second trip to Cracker Barrel today. He went earlier with Gramma and Grampa while we slept in. Unfortunately he made a bit of a mess with an upset tummy and we were hoping we wouldn't get the same server when we went back three hours later. Sorry, Gramma and Grampa, that you had to deal with that but THANK YOU for letting us get some more sleep!

surprise party success! party post part 1

Phew! After over a month of secret-keeping, I successfully delivered my husband to his surprise party without him having any clue! Thanks to all the people that were "in the know" for keeping the secret and celebrating Mike's 35th birthday with us last night! (More pics to be added once I get some of Su's photos...thanks for snapping away all night, Su!)
Gramma and Grampa arrived to "babysit" while we went to dinner with the Page's. Not a lie, as Su and Marty were just some of the guests we would be dining with :)


Surprise! Uncle Brian is here in Urbana!

Delicious cake from Sweet Indulgence

Troy playing with Daddy's autograph Troy football

that is NOT what we do with footballs Troy!

Playing with Liam at the party
Happy Birthday to you, blow out the candles!

beat the heat

Only one of my plants have successfully thrived this summer season. Not a shock, its the cactus.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

wacky schedule

I knew that I'd be messing with his schedule by working in some overnight sleep training. But this morning while I got ready, this is what happened while I put Troy down with a book for a few minutes...

sleep training: day 4

Ah, sleep. If there is one area in which Troy has been inconsistent, its sleep. Sometimes he takes two one hour naps in the day and that's it (those days are usually a little rough). Other days he sleeps two hours in the morning and two-three hours in the afternoon. Then he started sleeping through the night last month...inconsistently. It was literally one or two nights on, one or two nights off. Then we had a two week stretch where he didn't sleep through once and was waking up anywhere from 1-3 or 4 times

So at 4am a few days ago I decided something needed to be done. We have yet to do any real sleep training with Troy until this point. And have been blessed with overall, a great sleeper. Just an inconsistent one :) So here we are three days into crying it out. I decided to start with giving him one feeding in the middle of the night, usually his first, which is between 12:30 and 2. And then that's it. Other than that, he's on his own to cry himself to sleep (which I can't stand listening to!) We're not going in at intervals or anything, just letting him cry to sleep...I pray a lot while its going on...

But he's actually been doing really great so far. The first night he cried for a half hour straight. The second night he had his one feeding, woke up an hour or two later and cried for 15 minutes. The third night was almost the same. Then last night he just woke up once at 3:30 or so. I decided not to go in and just let him go back to sleep. He cried maybe 20-30 minutes off and on (I try not to pay too close attention). So he went all night without a feeding. And now I think we're done. I don't plan on going in at all tonight. We're going to do this!

all by myself

Troy was grabbing the spoon out of my hand last night while I fed him dinner. The good news? His meal was sticking on the spoon pretty well, so I let him experiment. He was pretty messy when all was said and done but he did a fairly good job (with help) of getting the food in his mouth!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

sunday evening fun

I love evenings where we're all home and keeping things low-key. Tonight was one of those nights.

Troy eating cheerios while I finish cooking his dinner

eating, playing, whatever

almost bedtime for baby!

Troy sucking "his" thumb...haha

culinary masterpieces

Okay, maybe not masterpieces but I had a lot of fun experimenting with three new recipes this evening. And I think I scored 3 out of 3, because all turned out pretty good! (I might tweak the shrimp dish next time though.)

First, pasta with butternut squash, tomato and cheese for Troy. (Thanks for the awesome puree book, Michelle!) I've been using a lot of jar food because its just so convenient, but Troy is getting big enough where I can have a little fun with some recipes for baby food. So I think I'll try to give him dinners from our ktichen rather than Gerber or Earth's Best, and stick with the jars for the other meals :) I used the tiny "alphabet" pasta from Meijer, though this recipe really didn't use much. The main component was butternut squash. It made enough for three servings so I'm planning to use that for his next two dinners.

Second, Rachel Ray's Italian Style Garlic Shrimp with Cherry Tomatoes. Just realized this has the master recipe note next to it..yikes! As I said above, I might tweak this in the future. And I overcooked the shrimp. Still trying to figure that out since I've only cooked with shrimp a handful of times, much more recently though, thanks to inspiration from Sarah!

Finally, Mezzo Mezzo cupcakes from my Cupcakes Galore cookbook I got from Nat for Christmas one year. Neither the cupcake nor the frosting came from a box or a jar (though I think in some ways those taste better than the homemade) but these were DELICIOUS! I do need to figure out a better way to frost them and make them look pretty. I wasn't able to do a very good job with what I had.

a tub of gerber puffs works as a great cupcake stand!

(almost) birthday treats for the hubby!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

more love, more power

We've been planning this conference for months at work, and this weekend it was FINALLY here! Its kind of hard to sum up what an awesome experience its been over the last couple days but I definitely had the most fun I've ever had worshipping on Friday night. Then today, I made sure to take a few photos as our resident staff photographer left last month and I'm trying to fill in the gap he left. (Note: there's a big difference between my skills with my own digital camera and a professional photographer with his equipment. Gap filling fail.)

Apparently Troy didn't get the memo that its "more love more power" not "less love more power". I went down to the children's area to feed him on a break and he was eating cheerios with the big kids, so I thought, how cute, I'll grab my camera. Then as I start snapping he gets into it with 2 year old Alex over some cheerios...hope you don't mind, Anne, these photos are too funny not to post! (All other kids faces have been blurred because I try to follow the rules my own team sets for the church on not posting kids faces unless you have consent.)
Alex takes a cheerio that apparently Troy was going after. Troy is unhappy...

Troy decides to go right after Alex's cheerios, despite having several others in front of him. And its time to start teaching Troy about kindness and not overreacting now. More love, Troy, more love.

mother's helper

This Friday, my friend Donna let her 10 year old daughter Micaiah come over to play with Troy for awhile as I did some work. Donna (and her kids!) have blessed us with a few nights of babysitting since Troy was born and Micaiah just is great with Troy. She's the kind of girl that you can tell will be the most sought-after neighborhood babysitter in like 5 years. (I think she reminds me a lot of myself at her age too. I was so eager to become a babysitter and people started leaving their kids with me at some crazy young age, not that I'll be doing that with Troy!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

sleeping pics

Several months ago, a friend of mine talked about how I probably had countless pics of Troy sleeping. Now, I barely have any recent ones. Usually because he's tucked away in his crib for sleeping and I don't like to disturb :) But Mike and I have taken a couple in the last day of our sleepy little guy..we just have to be quiet!
he loves sleeping with his lovey right on top of his face. many night we go in and move it to the side before we go to sleep. its usually back on his face quickly though

he looks so big in his crib, dropped down to the bottom now. he also got his bumpers back since his feet were getting stuck in the slats and he likes smiling at the animals when I put him in there

stinky face

Monday, July 18, 2011

a good night for the pool

Troy and I picked up and went to the pool tonight for a few. It was after 6 when we decided to go but it was just too good of a night to pass up potential pool time :) We played a new game tonight...where did Mommy go? He thought it was hilarious when I popped up from underwater. He really does love the water and I can't wait to spend lots of summers hanging at the pool with this little guy!
splashing around
thanks granny for my shark towel!
And another quick video splashing around in the pool, pretty similar to the only other pool video I have posted this summer. Nonetheless, I know that Grandmas (and Great Grandma) will enjoy it :)

fun with daddy

puffs obsession 2

Bear now has a puff obsession. She knows they're going to go flying off the tray and that when I pick him up out of his high chair, puffs will fall off. We've switched to cheerios now for awhile...
I'm just standing here...not doing a thing at all..don't mind me..

canine vacuum cleaner!

Friday, July 15, 2011

new blankie

he loved playing with new toys!
This week Gwynne was on vacation, so we were left to come up with alternate plans for childcare while I worked. For a good portion of the week, Troy hung around the church, but a couple days he went to my friend Michelle's house. He had lots of fun there and I really appreciated you taking him for awhile, Michelle! Here are a few pics from the time Troy hung out at their house.

I guess while they were playing, Troy picked out this little blankie from Madelynn's toy box and really got hooked on it. So much that when we left, Michelle sent it with us. He loves it and its turning into his new lovie. Here we are playing with it this afternoon :)

last night of VBS

3 years ago (whoa!) when I first attended VBS I was totally blown away. Actually, backing up a year further, the second or third service I ever attended at the Vineyard was the Sunday following VBS and the kids came in and sang a few of their songs. The whole church got up and tried to follow along with the motions. And on that day I knew that the Vineyard was my new church home and that I wanted to raise my kids to know Jesus like THAT, where they danced around and raised their hands and had a ball worshiping him.

So this whole week we (Troy and I) have been at VBS in the evenings, working with registration. Tonight, I took off my registration hat and put on my communications hat to take some publicity-worthy photos. We have a policy not to show the faces of kids in photos (that are mass distributed or on the web) unless we have a signed release from a parent. When things like VBS come up, we very rarely get photos we can use because all the photos have kids in them that we can't get a release for.

One of the things that is different these days is that I look at activities like this totally different. I look at them with excitement and anticipation to when Troy can fully participate. It just makes my heart happy to think about him learning songs about Jesus and get excited about singing them! Troy was in a fantastic mood tonight and we had a good time. I am so, so glad we went!

one of the better photos I took

Troy was hanging by the tech booth with Tia while I snapped some pictures of the kids and then I looked over and saw him raising his hands. Love.
His happy mood continued all evening and we played for awhile after we got back.

the stressful life of bear

Thursday, July 14, 2011

fuzzy head part 2

Sorry Mike, but Troy's giggles apparently translate to all buzz cuts not just yours!

Troy had some fun with the Vander Logt boys while waiting for VBS to start tonight.

what a ham

I started snapping pictures of Troy earlier today and he was hamming it up for the camera, big time :)