Monday, July 30, 2012

Grocery Groove part 3

Ok so I'm pretty sure if I don't finish this thing now it will never get done so here is part three. I am not an organized blogger and am realizing nothing is special about this but here is then end of my grand idea. Sort of a two-parter. 

Know your Store
One of my favorite stores to shop at in my town in Fred Meyer. I used to know exactly where everything was (until they moved everything around when Washington changed the laws and allowed grocery stores to start selling liquor and now I am totally lost). I know where they put clearance items and love seeing this yellow and orange sticker. I know their coupon policy. I know several of the checkers. I know it and I am comfortable this makes my shopping trip so much easier. 

Shopping with Kids
Shopping with kids isn't always the easiest thing to do, but for most of the stay-at-home-moms that I know, shopping with kids is a part of the deal but there are tips to make it an enjoyable experience.
Warner on the front.

Lincoln on the back. Obviously he's more mobile.
Know when to hold them.
Both of my boys in the Ergo. This is the single best tip I have. Keep the kids happy, but contained. Non e of my babies liked to stroll around in their baby carseats while shopping like so many other moms I see in the store. I have found through holding an infant in one hand and pushing a cart with the other that I should always have a carrier of some sort with me or pay the price. My toddler would love to walk next to Mommy but I know I will end up in a puddle on the floor if I try to chase him around the store.
And when to fold them. 
I finally realized that if I want my 7 year old to behave during shopping that I need to give him a job. I haven't joined the smart phone revolution so he can't play games so I actually have to do something with him. As of lately he will help me by reading the shopping list and keeping track of what we have so far. Even Lincoln can help pick out what type of apple we buy.
Keep them full.
After about 8 months of age I learned that I needed to start bringing snacks with me while out and about, especially when shopping. Fruit, pop corn, granola bars, cheese sticks etc. Anything portable and not too messy keeps the kids happy and buys me a few more minutes of bargain hunting.
Yes you kids should be well behaved, but for me perfecting isn't going to happen. I've learned to expect reality and it makes things much easier.

One final note: If you don't ever start going to the bakery counter, your kids will never know they can get cookies there for free. Having your toddler yell "goo-goo" until you cave is never a pleasant experience.

Friday, July 27, 2012

My 27th Birthday

This was the only picture of me during my birthday weekend extravaganza. We went camping, out to dinner, had a family movie morning (couldn't miss the bachelorette finale), a shopping spree and even went out to a movie with the hubby. I don't think we've gone since Avatar was in the theater. I feel so blessed to have family and friends in my life!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Camping at Silver Ridge Ranch

We went camping with all three boys for the first time this weekend. We didn't go too far away (Easton) and we went with another family which provided extra entertainment for all of my boys (Shane included). We had tons of fun getting outside, the weather turned out really nice, and the baby did great. Luckily I was pretty organized and even prepped a meal before hand. I only forgot two big things, the creamer and the syrup. 

Lincoln loved playing in the dirt. 

Dylan and his friend spent much time biking. 

All day fires are my favorite.

Linc is such a cutie.

Posing on his bike... since he can't figure that darn pedal thing out yet.

Shane and Warner.

Boys on the bed of the trailer.

Lincoln's battle wound. I think the ground won.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Talking runs in the family...

And it's started already. Warner is 2.5 months and a little chatter box when he's not sleeping away the day. Yup he's vocal much like his brothers. Something is always going on when the house is silent :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Paper Boys

I ordered diapers the other day off of and they sent this extremely large amount of packing paper in with the box so things couldn't shift around in transit. I decided that rather than throwing the whole thing away, the boys could use it to make life size paper boys and decorate them however they saw fit. Dylan started his while Lincoln was still napping so he got pretty creative. He had a few lows when he couldn't get the Nike swoosh just how he wanted it, but he didn't give up. Lincoln wasn't too thrilled with laying down on the paper, or coloring in general but when I told him to color the face he started drawing on his own face. I guess I should have clarified. The boys ended up with some cool tattoos, some lifesized paper boys and some new buddies to practice boxing with. Yes, they had to put on gloves so punching didn't hurt so bad. Silly boys. 

Measuring Dylan

Measuring Lincoln

The body art begins.

Busy, busy coloring. 

Linc's leg tattoos

Taking a snack break.

Holding hands with their new friends.

And now punching their new friends. 

Mommy's Sweet Moment

Normally I feel like a slave to the kitchen so it warmed my heart yesterday when I turned around and saw this without any prodding. I don't really like the little one "helping" me with the dishes because he will usually end up pulling out dirty utensils (which he did with a steak knife right after this was taken) but it was so cute to watch and hear Dylan telling Lincoln how to do things :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

An Easy Reminder

Dylan came up with this idea the other day after I informed him that he is going to start helping out around the house more, starting with putting his cereal bowl in the dish washer. After spelling out "clean" and "dirty" we decided which ever word was on the top was the state the contents were in. Man that thing gets a lot of use!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Boys of Summer

Man my boys are pretty rough and tumble, check out these legs. I guess it it just a badge to show all the bike riding, tree climbing, pool jumping and other activities the have done so far in this early summer season.

I love how Linc is holding Warner's hand
They also like to chill out and play computer games inside when Mommy says it's ok. I love how lvey they are most of the time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Warner Month Two

I just can't believe how quickly babies grow up. Just last month Warner was a little scrawny thing without any chub rolls, he couldn't smile or interact and didn't really have a rhyme or reason for scheduling. Now he is starting to get those extra rolls in his arms, he smiles at people and tries to grab things and he pretty much set his own bed time. At his doctor appointment yesterday he was up to 11 lb 13 oz. and 21 1/4 inches. What a stud. 

Showing off his sly smile.

He loves to kick kick kick.

Not so sue he likes this any more. 

So tiny in the giant chair.

Garlic Scapes Pesto

While in a produce stand at the farmers market this weekend I asked the woman if she had anything else to throw in the bag to make it an even $5 and when I first heard about garlic scapes. They are basically the cut off tops of garlic so the heads grow bigger. You can use them to add garlic-y flavor to many dishes but I wanted to give this pesto recipe a try.

1 bunch (about 12) Garlic Scapes
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Walnuts (I used sunflower seeds because that's what I had)
3/4 cup Olive Oil

Place first three ingredients into a food processor. Chop finely. With the processor on slow, pour olive oil in. Continue chopping until the ingredients turn into a nice green smooth consistency. Refrigerate any leftovers.

It is very garlicy so I knew it needed to be cooked to bring down the zing. Shane bbq'd up a bunch of chicken breasts so to go with it I smoothed the pesto on half of a wheat bagel, layered on tomato slices and broiled for a few minutes then topped with shredded mozzarella cheese and a basil chiffonade and broiled for a minute more. Yum! I don't like tomatoes much but will eat them this way all day long. I froze the leftover pesto to use in a quick pasta dinner later in the month.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Smarty Shorts

Dylan has been cracking me up lately. He is so smart and is learning so much it amazes me, but then he will have moments where he doesn't even realize he's wrong but I love it. The other day he was using a flash light looking under a table yelling "We're investing. We're investing!" I do believe he meant investigating. You know, like a detective. Then today we were putting on a movie (both the younger boys had doctor appointments and we had assessors at our house today so I am wiped from cleaning and cuddling after Warner's shots and need some lazy boys)  and all the sudden after reading the screen Dylan says "Francis? We can watch this in Francis!" I'm not sure what he thought Francis means... but I know he was reading the language selection screen and read fran├žais. What a goof ball. 

Grocery Groove 2.5 example

Shane's diet has been going great, plus he is working out and doing stuff in the yard, he has lost about 20 pounds already! We decided together that since both of us could still loose some more (yes yes baby weight should take 9 months but I'm still ready to get rid of those 10lbs left!) that we really need to make a small adjustment in the way we are eating. Hot pockets out, more fruits and veggies in.
Saturday morning I took my two youngest boys, and the dog, to the farmers market. We had a great time walking around and checking everything out and even got some information on a CSA (oh that would be so fun to join but it would be the money up front part that I don't think I could talk Shane into). Lincoln acted like such a big boy but I could tell that he was getting sweaty just being outside for half an hour. This week is supposed to be a scorcher so we went over to the inlaws to cool off and feed the baby. For $15 here's what we got:
5# Apples - I see crock pot applesauce in my future.
20 Apricots - Ok I see apricot applesauce in my future.
Small container of Bing Cherries, half eaten by Lincoln and myself.
Swiss chard
Turnips - I mashed them in with potatoes to go along side bbq'd steak, first time tried and yummy
A bunch of garlic scapes and a recipe for garlic scape pesto which I will post soon

After everyone cooled down I headed to Fred Meyer while they watched Lincoln. Grocery shopping with only one small baby is so much more... uh... relaxing. I was able to find a bunch of items on clearance and buy some healthier foods to stock the pantry. I don't planning on going back to the store too often the rest of the month because we are going to have some crazy summer plans coming up. For $54.02 here's what I got:
2 bags of Dole Salad marked down to 1.49 each, had a buy two get $1.50 off - $1.48
Kraft Fresh Take $2.99, used e-coupon and $1 off when you buy two salads - $1.24
2 bags Food Should Taste Good chips, on sale 2/$5 used 2 $1 off coupons - $3
Organic baby carrots on sale for $1.50 (the boys' favorite snack with ranch to dip in, I should have bought more!)
Bulk Flax Seed, Quinoa, Israeli Couscous and Whole Wheat Flour - hence the giant white blob in the picture.
Cascade Organic Granola Bars, used $.75 ecoupon - $2.54
3 boxes Kashi Strawberry Fields cereal on clearance for $1.99 each - $5.97 and oh so good
FM Whole Wheat Bagels on clearance - $1.19
Fruit cocktail on clearance - $.49
fat free Cream of Chicken Soup - $3.16
Pure Protein Bar $1, used $1 off coupon - FREE
Diced Tomatoes on clearance - $.29
Green Beans on clearance - $.29
Fiber One Brownie Bars, used $.50 ecoupon and $.50 manufacturer - $2
Basil fresh  - $1.99
Cornstarch on clearance - $.99
Renu contact cleaner $7.99, used $2 ecoupon and $3 manufacturer - $2.99
Degree clinical deodorant on sale $7.49, used $2 ecoupon and $2 manufacturer - $3.49
Cottage Cheese - 2.59
Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles - $2.19
Coconut Water - $1.67
Capri Sun juice pouches on clearance - $1.09

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mr. 2

My little Lincoln is now officially Mr. 2. He's been pretty busy the last few days since his birthday...

He got a fancy hair do a la Danielle.

He spent some brother lovin' time.

He now sits at the table like a big boy.

He loved opening cards from Auntie Lyn,

and Grambetz and Richard (and yawning too).

He didn't so much want to open presents with everyone watching.

He had an Elmo cake

and couldn't wait to eat it. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lincoln the Birthday Boy!

Oh my how did my little boy get to be two so fast? I am so thankful to have this curious, determined, sweet, independent, silly little love bug in my life. I am just amazed at how much my little spit-fire has grown in the last year. Happy Birthday Monkey!
No longer the baby but forever my little boy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grocery Groove part 2

My tips on saving you money at the grocery store with

This next section... well you either love 'em or you hate 'em. I've found that I can actually save money by using coupons, as long as I do it right. First of all couponing does take extra time and like in part 1, planning. I've seen this crazy show on TLC called Extreme Couponing and seriously those people are a little out of control. I applaud them for getting a truck load of stuff for a dollar but how much time and energy did they put into it. In my mind couponing shouldn't be a part time (or even full time) job. I have a job and it is to take care of my family. I don't devote days or even hours trying to get rock bottom prices. I just use coupons to get good deals on things I would buy even if I didn't have a coupon for it.

Clip from the Sunday paper. Most newspapers come out with several manufacturer coupon flyers in the Sunday paper. If you subscribe then great you are already saving money. If you don't one of my favorite tricks is buying a copy at The Dollar Tree for yup $1. See you've already saved half the cost. You can get them from your neighbors or friends who don't coupon. Maybe even your mother-in-law will give you hers. You won't necessarily use most of the coupons, but usually they are high value and you can find a few to use that make spending that dollar totally worth it.

Print off the Internet. There are several great coupon sites out there that group manufacturer coupons by different catagories and are user friendly. You might have to download a coupon printer application to your computer once but other than that it is quick to find exactly what coupon you want and you don't have to waste time going through what you don't want. Places like Target have a section on their website where you can print store coupons and when you stack them with manufacturer coupons it's saving double. Also companies now are creating facebook pages and websites where you can print coupons for their products, especially if they are new. Also if you hit the back button on your computer after the coupon has printed, you can print another coupon. That's right, you are legally able to print two copies of a coupon from one computer. (so those of you with two or more computers in your household get printing like crazy)

Load virtual coupons. Virtual coupons? Yes. These are coupons from sites like where you upload your store card information and they automatically load coupons directly to your card. Easy Peasy.

Add e-coupons to your loyalty card. I shop primarily at Fred Meyer so every so often I log onto their website and can load up to 150 coupons directly onto my rewards card. I don't have to clip anything and I don't have to remember to hand them to the cashier at check out. If I know at some point I will probably buy a product I will load it to my card and watch the savings add up. Another awesome bonus with store? They can be stacked with manufacturer coupons to double the savings. For example, I saw Chrystal Lite To Go Packets on sale the other day for $1.60. I wasn't planning on buying this item during my trip but because I had all of my coupons with me I was able to actually get this for free. By combining a $1 off coupon I got in the mail with a free sample and with a $.75 off coupon that was on my card I actually made fifteen cents and got a free product. Whoohoo!

Keep them organized and handy. I use a check file to keep my coupons somewhat organized. I am definitely not the best person to give advice on this but at least they are all in one place. I have my separated into about 5 categories. Food, Non-food, coupons that I want to use that expire soon, Fred Meyer store coupons and baby. Well the baby one is actually gone now because I bought everything he needed so I guess I have 4 categories. Other people group them completely differently but I guess I don't use them enough to have more than one place for food etc. On certain websites they describe using the giant binder method which really works well for some people.

Now you know how to find them but actually using them is the hard part. You have to keep them organized. You have to remember to use them. You have to make sure they aren't expired. You have to make sure that they are for the right product type, size and quantity. You also have to know your store's coupon policy. Basically you just have to find out what works for you.