Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School - 2nd Grade

I try not to post too much personal information on my own children, as the blog is open to the public, and recently I have found my blog and content to have been copied by another blogger (to include my children's images). - Nothing that took too long to resolve, the google staff was quick to purge my content from the other blogger's site.

So, I hate to watermark my personal images, but I feel for my own best interest, I will have to.

On Monday, the 27th, MiMi started 2nd grade. I'm sure she was equally relieved to escape her clingy little brother and venture into new, yet familiar territory. Of course, I had to walk her to school (her classroom, let's not leave off how clingy I am as well hehe) - and take photos. Just a few though.

It's always hard for me each year to remember, that just yesterday - though it was 3 years ago, I was walking her to pre k for the first time. My shy little 4 year old, in her cute little school uniform, while I hoisted a chubby baby boy on my hip.

Then came kindergarten, Ethan was in a stroller, and I would walk her to class for only a week, before the teacher encouraged independence and had me break free to let her grow.

First grade, was a little different, I was baby sitting my sister's best friends little girl and I loaded my little car with two toddlers and MiMi and walked her to class just twice.

Second grade, as luck would have it, both of our neighbor's little girls share a class with MiMi and so I was able to bring them both in for their first day. She once again, has been blessed with a wonderfully friendly beautiful teacher, and I couldn't be happier. - If only all teacher's could realize how special they are to most of us who realize how hard they work. To me they are one of the most important influences in each child's life. They are after all like family, you grow accustomed to seeing them for nearly a year, they are trusted by you and your children and more importantly, they give the gift of education - one of the most special gifts a child carries throughout their lives.

After that she explained very matter of fact, that she could walk herself.

No problem, I thought, I have my first day pictures, I'll just creep in on the major school events and leave it at that.

I really must say though, once your children hit pre k, the years just fly..they fly so far away and you are trying to do a mixture of balancing time and enjoying each moment.

Some are successful, some not so much. :))  I hope my baby has a great year in school, and I hope she will always apply herself and enjoy her education.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gymboree Fall Shopping Saved $164.11!!!

Since I typically only shop Gymboree on sale, or with gymbucks redemption, with codes etc, I figured I'd splurge a little for fall and because I had a 20% off code and made $50 in gymbucks I scored pretty decent :)

Embroidered Pumpkin Tunic Sweater $36.95
On Sale for $20.99

Fringe Faux Suede Boot $46.95
On Sale for $20.99

Boys Pumpkin Orange Plaid Flannel Shirt $26.95
On Sale for: $20.99
Boys Hooded Puffer Vest $39.95
On Sale for: $20.99
Boys Skull and Crossbones Laceless Sneakers $26.95
On Sale for $20.99
Boys Skull and Crossbones Striped Double Sleeve Tee $18.95
On Sale for: $10.99
Boys Pirate Ship Tee $18.95 
On Sale for $10.99
Earned $50 in Gymbucks!!

SALE TOTALS: $126.93

The only reason I initially went online shopping today was because I WANTED to stray from the usual Halloween Costume pictures I take of the kids and do something orangey and fall like instead for portraits.

That's where the whole plaid orange shirt for Ethan comes in (he has a Gymboree brown zip sweater already to go ontop of it) and has the tan boots, so for MiMi I just got the boots to match Ethan's and the cute pumpkin tunic. I can FINALLY put my photo studio to good use and get cute fall portraits of the kiddies :) YAY!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

FREE + $6.46 PROFIT at CVS :)

Using the $6 in extra bucks I had from the previous purchase - will be posted below this one. I rolled them into a sweet deal to make more money back at CVS today!  - With the help of some other awesome coupons!
Here is what I bought today:

$6.54 out of pocket (taxes included) Made $13 back
So it's like getting everything FREE and making a $6.46 profit :))

Here's How:
Honest Tea 16.9 ounce Tea on sale 5 for $5 (earn $1 ECB back)
(use 2 $1.25 off 2 printable coupons found here:   YOU CAN PRINT TWO!!)
Makes them 30 cent each!!

Revlon Lipstick/Glosses $6.49 EACH and earn $4 ECB back on EACH
(coupon center is spitting out $3 off each purchase coupons - I had two from two different days)

CVS Brand Lotion $3 off any CVS Brand Body Lotion = FREE PLUS OVERAGE online coupon that CVS emailed me


5 teas $5, 3 Revlon lip glosses $6.49, CVS Lotion $2.19
- $4 off $20 purchase coupon (CVS emailed me it)
= $22.66
- $3 off Any CVS brand lotion coupon
= $19.66
- $3 off any revlon product (red coupon machine)
- $3 off any revlon product ("") I got two over the week, just saved em:)
= $13.66
-  (2) 1.25 off any two honest tea products
= $11.16
-$6 in extrabucks (from previous purchase transaction from two days ago on listerine etc)
= $5.16 +$1.38 sales tax on pre coupon totals
= $6.54 OUT OF POCKET!!
GOT BACK $1 ECB on TEA deal (making them 30 cent each) and $12 back on Revlon)
$13 TOTAL BACK!!! - $6.54 Makes everything FREE and they PAID ME $6.46 PROFIT :))


Only paid sales tax on these, TWO transactions
$.84 tax on transaction 1 (made back $8 in ECBS)
and $.61 on transaction 2 (made back $5 in ECBS)
I paid $1.45 out of pocket for everything (which was only sales tax)
and still have $6 in ECBS back :)

Here's How!
Transaction #1:
2 Listerine (@2.99 each) (will earn 4 ECBS back on two)
1 Revlon Nail (@4.99) (will earn 3 ECBS back)
1 Right Gaurd Deo (@2.99) (Will earn 1 ECB back)

- $1 off any right gaurd deo in sunday insert
-$1 off any revlon color in sunday insert
-$10 ECB from transaction on TP earlier this week
-$2 ECB that CVS emailed me
= FREEEEEE ONLY PAY .84 in state sales taxes
Got back $1 ECB, $3 ECB and $4 ECB MONEY MAKER!!

Transaction #2

1 24 ounce Dove Body Wash @ $7 (only buying because I get back $5 ecb)
2 Gain dish soaps @.99 each

TOTALS $8.98
-$2 Off any Dove body wash (sunday coupon insert)
-$4 ECB (from transaction #1)
-$3 ECB (from transaction #1)
= FREEEE ONLY PAID .61 in state sales taxes!!
Got back a $5 ECB on Dove deal

So I only paid taxes on both transactions and still have a $5 ECB and a $1 ECB

Monday, August 20, 2012

..Bad Luck Spree..

I don't know what it is, but the last 3 weeks have been unusually stressful this way.

First the A/C completely breaks, and due to financing options being unavailable we are still with out.

Then other small things happen here and there, but not enough to raise a stink or fuss over.  Then this weekend the sink drain clogs and nothing is helping it. (We don't have a garbage disposal, and men don't see to know how to scrape their plates in the trash). hehe ;)

So needless to say I have been unable to do my usual washing dishes by hand in the sink, NOR can I use the dishwasher, because they run off the same line and the dishwasher then overflows all over the floor due to the sink being backed up.

So, this is what I have been doing for 3 days:

I don't care how clean my bathroom is, I'm not a fan of this, more so because I have chronic lower back pain and it just isn't a lovely feeling. But, things happen, it's part of the joys of home ownership.

I just wish for once the load would be lightened. I have been sick for 3 weeks now and can't get rid of this cough. MAMA NEEDS A BREAK...BAD..

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CVS couponing trips for the week of 8/19/2012

So, I know I have once again, neglected to update this blog as often as I'd like.  My a/c is still out, and there has been a lot going on, but never the less, I have still been finding ways to save with the blessings I call coupons & CVS sales :)

Here is just an example of a great deal I partook in today at CVS on Charmin toilet paper.

CVS has the 16 double rolls of Charmin TP on sale for $9.99 a package. When you spend $30 you receive $10 back in store credit (ecbs). - Don't worry if you're a few cents below the $30 cut off, you will still receive the $10 credit back!

These same rolls are at Wal Mart for $13.47, so right away it is a great deal! Now let me show you how you can roll your previous ECB's onto new deals that ALSO earn ECB's to maximize your dollar!

So for what you would be paying a little over $40 for at Wal Mart, here is what you can get at CVS using your store coupons and ecb's wisely!

Here's the break down:
THREE 16 Double Rolls of Charmin @ $9.99 each
- $3 off $15 purchase coupon (CVS email)
= $26.97
-$10 in extra care bucks from previous weeks transaction
= $16.97 
-.25 coupon in newspaper insert
= $16.72 + $1.89 pre coupon tax total
=$18.61 out of pocket

You get back a $10 extra care buck on this transaction making it $8.61 for all THREE packages
(the same ones you would pay $40 for at Wal Mart).

This makes it $2.87 PER 16 ROLL PACKAGE!!! WOW!! :)

Want to learn how I got the $10 extrabucks from last week?  

Here's How:
(2) Tide @ 11.97 each
(2) Crest w/ Scope @ 2 for 5.50

TOTALS: 29.44 (Also bought a 60 cent candy bar to make it a $30 purchase 
to use the $5 off $30 purchase coupon CVS emailed me today) :)

So $30.04
-$5 off $30 purchase = 25.04
- $10 in ecb's from previous coupon trips
= $15.04
-$2 off the purchase of two Tides (P&G coupon insert in paper)
- (TWO) $2 off any crest (coupon on goodie bag from my kids dentist)
=$9.04 out of pocket
Got back $10 in extra care bucks back for spending $30 in proctor and gamble products per the
sales paper.. making it all FREE plus a $1.04 cent profit :)
(I look at it like this, wal mart doesn't pay you money back to buy certain products)
or you can look at it as $9 bucks for all this (which retail price at wal mart is like buying ONE tide getting
everything else FREE or $$2.25 each item and getting bacfk $10 :D either way it's an incredible deal :D


So, as you can see, you can make that dollar REALLY stretch in a tight economy! With two children, I consider each coupon and CVS's generous rewards program a God send!  :))

Saturday, August 11, 2012


One week of no A/C - one estimate for the replacement 2.5 ton goodman with install came back at a little over 4k (I think that's a bit high considering the a/c unit is under 2k and we are using existing duct work) PASS!

The second contractor came out today to evaluate and will have an estimate by Monday. Tomorrow it is going to hit the 90's again, which means my 65 ranch home is going to be close to 100 inside :/ it's always 10 degrees hotter in the house. It's sad when outside is cooler than inside. Like, the other day it was 77, I thought, YAY I can deal! Only it was 87 inside, which was sticky, humid and gross.

A couple of electric fans only go so far. :(

The kids and I have been camping in the living room (it's the coolest room in the house) we set up 3 fans and attempt to sleep some what comfortably..

Since money is tight, we can't just go for any new unit, I mean, whatever we get is gong to completely exhaust our credit line and cash in savings.

I kind of wished this would have happened closer to tax return time.

I hate to know all my savings and credit limit will be completely maxed out in mid August, and Christmas will be 4 months away.

It's already a situation where we live paycheck/paycheck with little  money left over it any (that I coupon to build on things we need when I can, or do budget home upgrades).

I try to be positive and say, well after this it will be another 10-15 years, so it will be well worth it. I also think about how the new unit will cut energy by about 40 percent or slightly less (maybe more if we're really lucky).

I'm glad I got my daughter's back to school shopping done already. Now I am going to have to figure a way to nickel and dime groceries until the time we usually get our tax return (which is always February).

6 months will we get by? I can only pray...

As if the heat wasn't bad enough - I finally caught the bug my son had, so this morning my fever was 101, on top of a sore throat and feeling some kind of aweful an groggy.  Why A/C? Why must you completely die during the hottest summer ever, and then when I get sick?

But, you know what? I will count my blessings, some have far less, some have no a/c EVER, some are fighting wars in countries hotter than my home will ever be and not complaining (God Bless You!). So I'll just keep counting my blessings and stop being a grouch.  What's meant to be will be (and hopefully a 3k install) hahah  - wishful thinking..

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer's No Fun When Your AC Unit Dies..

..Summers. Normally they can be enjoyable; time in the sprinkler or pool, warm weather, lots of outdoor fun with the kids, a tall glass of iced tea. No, not this summer. It's been the hottest summer in Fayetteville, since I can remember. It's so hot, we've spend many a day inside cooling off and letting the 105+ humid days roll by, praying for a nice long fall to not skip us again this year.

And then, one day, as luck would have it, I am sitting in the den when my breaker box starts making an on and off buzzing or humming noise, the lights begin to flicker and I am like "great, we have an electrical issue, wonder how costly this is going to be".

After isolating it to the breaker controlling the air conditioning unit, we replace the breaker switch, just to learn it wasn't the problem. So instead, to avoid a risk of a possible fire (I guess, I don't know it didn't sound too nice, don't want to take my chances), we turn the a/c off and wait until morning.

So, at this point, I am not sure who to call. The A/C is running fine, but the breaker box wants to sound like it's going to burst when it's on. Do I call an HVAC tech or do I call an electrician? hmmm, I think a while..

I call a random electrician here in Fayetteville, I explain my problem, tell him I replaced the breaker switch, tell him it's ONLY when the a/c comes on and the lights flicker the box makes a loud noise. I ask, "honestly, do you think this is an electrical issue or an hvac issue". He tells me, "it's electrical". I ask what is fee to diagnose the problem is, he tells me "$75 service fee and then $69 an hour to fix it". I tell him "okay, come on by".

He shows up, he and his assistant turn my oven burners on the highest heat setting EVER, leave them on and my smoke alarm goes off and my house smells like death. After a while he turns it off, does more testing with a meter at the breaker box then says, "let me try the a/c" - which is what i told him it was to begin with mind you!  After that he says, "it's your ac" I say, "I know, so is it something on your end you can fix"? He says, "no you'll need an hvac tech". okaaaaay?? Did I not just ask him this? Did he just waste 20 minutes to test my oven which isn't even on the same circuit as my a/c to tell me what I told him on the phone?

So I feel kind of "duped" and when I am ready to pay I am expecting to pay the $75 service charge. Only he  tells me $95!? I mean, I am all for paying the $75 because he came out, but why am I being charge $20 for 20 minutes?! NOTHING was fixed! There was no electrical issue, $20 is a lot to me. Anyway I don't say anything and pay it, but I can't help but feel totally blind sided and taken advantage of. I semi want to tell the world who the company was, but am hesitant. AND the kicker?! He has me make a personal check out TO HIM, not the COMPANY? He must be the owner..but very shoddy, to take advantage of apotential client and know the problem isn't electrical but weazle your way in to get 95 bucks..YOU'RE WELCOME sheister!! But do know you won't get reference in the market I work in :)) Bad call for you!

Moving along, we called our usual a/c guy, who will come today to diagnose it, which is a $65 service charge..part of me thinks it is going to be a pricey part, and the unit is old, I pray he can fix it for the time being, but I feel it is going to need a new unit.

I have no idea what a new unit will run for a just under 1300 sq. ft.  home with existing duct work. I'm sure it's 3k+ and to be honest that exhausts both my savings and credit line.

(SIGH)..ooooh a/c, why couldn't you wait to take your final sputters towards fall. Why during the hottest summer in God's Green earth when times are already tight must you decide it's time to commit suicide.

If by chance an hvac tech happens upon this post and lives in my area, and wants to qoute me for a new unit, I'd be more than happy to consider it.

As it stands, I have a migraine, I want to cry and my luck just comes in the worst assortment.

THANK GOD I have been doing well with couponing..or else I'd really barely get by. Well, so much for budget remodels, more issues have suddenly sucked me dry of money.

It really is, waaaaaaaaaaay to hot for the a/c to be down :((

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ALL This back to school cuteness for ONLY $78.12 (GYMBUCKS factored in) at Gymboree Today!!

WOW, am I glad I randomly wanted to check out Gymboree online today!! I was mailed a 20% off coupon code and when I saw the jackets and boots were deeply discounted I KNEW I had to jump, and the fact I could earn gymbucks too?! Well shoot me and send me to heaven ;)) Had to get the last of my daughter's school/fall shopping done!! I saved SOOO MUCH!! Let's take a peak!

(Gem Bow Faux Suede Boots: $46.95 ON SALE FOR: $20.99)
She wanted these to go with the dress I bought a few entries down)
(Below - Bow Pleated Plaid Skort: $29.95 ON SALE FOR: $20.99)
(Below - Bow Sequin Pony Long Sleeve Top: $21.95 ON SALE FOR $15.99)
(Below - Gem Bow Argyle Short Sleeve Sweater: $34.95 ON SALE FOR: $20.99)
(Below - Bow Cherry Sneaker - $26.95 ON SALE FOR $17.99)
(Below - Bow Cherry T - $21.95 ON SALE FOR $15.49)
(Below - Chordory Hooded Jacket $56.95 ON SALE FOR $20.99)
(Below - Smart Girl's Guide Long Sleeve T $21.95 ON SALE FOR $15.99)
(Below - Toggle Corduroy Jacket $49.95 ON SALE FOR $20.99)
(Below - Bow Plaid Skort $29.95 ON SALE FOR $20.99)
$$$75 IN GYMBUCKS BACK$$$ !!
After using the 20% discount my totals were: $153.12

Then if you count getting back $75 in gymbucks it's like getting EVERYTHING here for only $78.12 !!

Where else can you get TWO jackets, TWO pairs of shoes, TWO cute skirts and FOUR nice tops for $78.12?! Especially that has a near FULL retail value when you list them on ebay later! :) LOVE GYMBOREE!!