"" Three Ladies and a Dad: June 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's menu was fantastic! Everything was so good. Jeremy and I I found a great Vegetable Fried Rice recipe and the Chicken Burritos are now our 'tacos'. They were just as easy but so much better! The Quick Spinach Roll-Ups reminded me a lot of our stuffed shell recipe, but these were easier to stuff, which is a plus! Here is this weeks menu:

Monday - "Stuff you put over toast". Only my family will know what this is. It is something my mom made and this is what we have always referred to it as.

Tuesday - Baked Sandwiches and Fruit Salad (Take one loaf of French bread and line it with turkey and mozzarella cheese. Then top with cooked bacon or cooked turkey bacon. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bread is heated through.)

Wednesday - Spinach and Chicken Caesar Wraps

Thursday - Turkey Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and a Veggie

Friday - Happy Fourth of July!!!

Saturday - Out to dinner with my parent's.

Sunday - Whatever we can find.

Head on over to Laura at Organizing Junkie (or Laura at Heavenly Homemakers this week) for more menu ideas.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday's Event

Earlier last week, while eating corn on the cob, Macie's tooth that was a little loose suddenly became really loose. It had been loose for a while because about a year and half ago, she bounced right into a wall, knocking out a front tooth. This caused her other front tooth to be 'dead' and slightly loose.

Approximately 20 minutes ago, we went on a Diet Coke run. Macie has been teasing me the last few days, saying "Look, I pulled my tooth out!" I would look back and she would tell me, "Just kidding!".

This time she was not kidding.

"Mom, look! I pulled it out."

"No you didn't. Stop that please."

"No, really I did," she said, showing me the tooth.

It was my best mother moment of the year.

She said she just reached up and pulled it out.

I guess we the tooth fairy needs to go to the ATM.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Financial Check for June

We just completed our first budget and found a lot of extra money to put towards our first debt in the debt-snowball.

Here is what our plan looks like so far:

Step 1: Fund an emergency fund with $1,000.00. Start a budget. (We also plan on using the envelope system, which I think this little tool will work great for that.)
Step 2: Pay off all debt with the debt snowball.
Step 3: Put 3-6 months expenses into savings.
Step 4: Invest 15% of income into Roth IRA's and Pre-tax Retirement Plans
Step 5: College funding for our girls.
Step 6: Pay off home early.
Step 7: Build wealth and give!

Here is our plan - personalized and updated:

Step 1: Fund and emergency fund with $1000.00. Start a budget. (We also plan on using the envelope system, which I think this little tool will work great for that.)
Step 2: Pay off all debt with the debt snowball. (Now that everything is up with the budget, we are starting the snowball this month.)
Debt 1: Student Loan 1
Debt 2: Student Loan 2
Debt 3: My car
Debt 4: Land
Debt 5: Jeremy's car
(We are using a different method to get his paid off early. We are also altering the snowball a bit as well. My car has a higher interest rate than the land, and even though my car has a larger balance, we are paying it off first.)
Step 3: Put 3-6 months expenses into savings.
Step 4: Invest 15% of income into Roth IRA's and pre-tax Retirement Plans
Step 5: College funding for our girls.
Step 6: Pay off home early.
Step 7: Build wealth and give!

At the beginning of each month, I will post an update on our progress. We have to discipline ourselves to this budget. It is now the 'final say' in our house.

Help keep us on track, people!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's about time...

I have had seven cars in ten years. Not always the wisest decisions, but Jeremy sold cars for a long time and knows everyone in the business. Therefore, we always got the best deals. He drove whatever we could afford after my car. He has always looked out for me when it comes to my cars, mainly because I transport the most precious cargo in the world.

Tonight, Jeremy reaped the benefits of putting the girls and I ahead of him. He finally got it.

The Cadillac CTSV. If you are unsure what the 'V' stands for, it's Corvette. The perfect family car for a dad: Four doors with a Corvette motor. It's a 6 speed, which means this girl cannot drive it. Bummer, huh, considering we have been drooling over these cars since the day we spotted them. (Kara, haven't we talked about this before?)

We got a good deal on it and our plan is to have it paid off within a year. (Don't call us to do anything - no offense. We are on a tight budget. Ha! Ha!)

I am so happy for him.

But now I have a question for my dad. Jeremy wants to know when your date with him and the car is.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Making the Switch

If you are a working mom, you know how it is. You go from being an employee at your day job, then automatically you are supposed to mentally switch over to being a mom, then a wife. Sometimes Most of the time, I just need a few minutes in between to organize my thoughts and make the switch.

Yeah, right.

The only time I get is the one minute drive to my mom and dad's house to pick up Macie, then off to pre-school to get Zoa. Then we throw in any errands I might have to run, then home, only to start on dinner.

On the flip side, I really enjoy cooking. It relaxes me, as long as I don't have any kids at my feet or toys in the kitchen. It is my downtime.

Back to the point of this post, Monday I was driving home. We have about 20 minutes in the car between work and home. Sometimes, this can be alot of fun, or if it has been a cRazY day, it can be a very long and stressful 20 minutes.

Picture it:

Macie and Zoa are talking non-stop. Nit picking. Yelling. Encouraging each other to be louder.

Me: Girls - PLEASE be quiet. I need to think. No talking!

Macie: What do you have to think about?

Me: I don't know, Macie just be quiet.

Macie: TELL ME!


Macie: You are not going to think, are you?

Finally, they were quiet.

Only for a moment though. But sometimes, that is all you need to regain your sanity.


Here are a few rebates that I have found online the past few days/weeks, either from myself searching, Money Saving Mom, or Freebies 4 Mom. Some of them may be Satisfaction Guaranteed Rebates, but nonetheless, you can try them and if you don't like them, get your money back.

If you choose to start "rebating", I would use a chart or spreadsheet to keep track of them all. Sometimes, you might need to contact the company if you have not received your rebate. There are a few rebate software programs that are free to download, if you would rather have something like that. You would just need to search around. The blogs I mentioned above also suggest keeping a copy of the rebate form, and any items you may need to send in with it (UPC's, reciepts...).

I also wanted to share another tip - If you don't like something you buy, tell the company. (Usually, you can find the contact information on the company's website.) I have recently tried Seventh Generation's Dishwashing Gel and was extremely disappointed with it's outcome. (They said the reason is they do not use phosphates, something other name brands use.) I bought two of them so now I was stuck. I contacted the company and they are now sending me $10.00 back (more than what I paid for it!) plus 2 product vouchers for the Dishwashing Powder, which is supposed to work better than the gel.

And finally, here are the rebates, all of which are free after rebate:

Dawn Dish Direct Foam

Arm and Hammer Plus Oxi-Clean Detergent ($1.00 off coupon here.)

Yo-Plus Yogurt
($1.00 off coupon here.)

Scotch Brite Stainless Steel Cleaner or Cooktop Cleaner
($1.00 off coupon here.) I will definitely be giving this one a try, considering I cannot find a good cleaner for our appliances. Any suggestions for a good stainless steel cleaner?

Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
(Instead of a rebate, they send you a coupon for a freebie.)

Noxzema Shaving Products

Hunt's Ketchup

LiveActive Products ($3.00 off coupon here.)

Here are some coupons I have found the last few days:

$10.00 off any bra plus a free cotton panty
at Victoria's Secret

Free Body Scrub with any purchase at Victoria's Secret

(They are also having their Semi-Annual Sale! I went yesterday and came out like a bandit!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Sometimes, you just have to wonder...

What in the world are they thinking?!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wet Kisses and Tomatoes

As a child, I have vague memories of running to my Grandma and Grandpa's house, grabbing some Pringles and a Pepsi, and plopping on my Grandma's lap. And then came the wet kisses...to get some more of those kisses, what I would give.

Macie, like I have mentioned before is spending the summer with my mom. My mom works evenings. Her shift is from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and she ever-so-kindly took Macie on for the summer while I work during the day.

Macie, along with Zoa and their cousin Ethan, has always been involved with my parent's. They help plant gardens and when the time is right, Macie is always willing to be the first who reaps the benefits from the plants.

I received an e-mail from my dad a few days ago. In the subject line, it said: To Macie. It showed the above picture and told her they were ready to be picked. Not all of them, but those first few you are most excited to see.

Today, Macie made more memories. Memories that, like her mom, will treasure for years to come.

She picked the fresh tomatoes, washed them off, and tossed them in her mouth. She even came by my office to tell me, which let me know how much she enjoyed the time spent doing just that.

Sorry mom and dad, but you will have to wait for your share of tomatoes. I have a feeling she will be looking out for new tomatoes the rest of the summer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Monday - Vegetable Fried Rice (One dish meal.)

Tuesday - Chicken Burritos, edited some items on the recipe

Wednesday - Paninis on French Bread with Fruit Salad (Am I the only one that thinks this sounds so good?)

Thursday - Spinach Roll-Ups with French Bread

Friday - Chili Parmesan Chicken and a veggie.

Snacks - Popcorn and fruit. (I forgot how cheap popcorn is for snacks - $2.00 for a week of snacks...not bad!)

Head on over to Laura at Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Free Thomas the Train Toy at Toys R Us

Free Sunflower Seeds from Burt's Bees. Read why they are giving them away here. (Thanks Freebies 4 Mom!)

Free Coffee Sample

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Band-Aids Anyone?

(4) Neosporin tubes at $3.89 each. (On sale for $3.11)
(1) Band-Aids at $2.64 (On sale for $2.11)
(3) Band-Aids at 2.67 each (On sale for $2.13)
(1) Band-Aids at $1.97
(1) Band-Aids at $1.87
(1) Band-Aids at $1.77 (On sale for $1.41)
(1) Band-Aids at $2.69
(1) Band-Aids at $2.87 (On sale for $2.11)
(1) Band-Aids at x.xx (Don't know where it came from but I ended up with an extra!?)
(2) Johnson and Johnson No More Tangles at $3.29 each (On sale - 2 for $6.00)
(1) Carefree at $2.84
(1) Package of 3 cleaning cloths at $1.00
(1) Package of swimming pool toys $1.00
(1) Clean Well All Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray at $6.99 (Clearance for $3.49)
(1) Package of children's pasticware at $1.00

Total before Sales and Coupons: $56.79 (Wow!)

Coupons Used:
(1) $.50 off any Carefree product
(9) Band-Aids coupons found here and in my Sunday paper insert. The Neosporin coupons are here also. (Maybe I am overlooking it, but I don't see them anymore.)
(2) $1.00 off Johnson and Johnson
(5) $5.00 Target coupons in my Sunday inserts. ($5.00 off the purchase of three: Band-Aids, Neopsorin, Stayfree, Carefree, Johnson and Johnson and something else.)

Total after sales, manufacturer's coupons, Target coupons and tax:
$8.22 or a savings of 86%!

It really was all free, except for the last 4 items. I picked those up for some overage so the cashier would not get all nervous when the register would say my total was negative. You know how they can be...right, April?

I hope you still have the Target coupon because by using it, you can obviously stock up on some things.

Happy Couponing!

Patience is a Virtue....

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Let's play a little game of catch up, shall we?

Jeremy and I are starting to become debt-free. We don't have any everyday credit cards, but do have 2 car payments, a mortgage, land payments and those student loans that never seem to go away.

We are in the process of reading a book by Dave Ramsey, titled The Total Money Makeover. People we know have paid tens of thousands of dollars off in as little as one year and a half.

I have heard that the book is tough on you. No shopping - am I sure about this?

In all seriousness, the plan works. Only buy what you can pay cash for. Might sound easy right? Jeremy and I thought we already did this.

Nope. Wrong!

Here is the hard part - this little "rule" applies to everything - even vehicles and homes. Wowzers! Do you know how much we like cars? We are the family that trades all the time! This is going to be the hard part.

We are going to go on a little spending break. Believe it or not, grocery shopping feeds my shopping addiction. It always has. But now, instead of me going shopping with a husband who impulse shops like I do and two tired little girls, I go by myself, which I enjoy.

So, this is our "Becoming Debt-Free" story. It better work since I can't buy anything! I am sure it will work.

In other news (Ha! Ha!), today is Macie's last day of summer school. She is then out to spend the summer with Grandma Donna. I am sure this will entail long conversations about small things, plenty of kid songs in the car, and many episodes of The Suite Life with Zach and Cody. Looks to be a memorable summer mom!

Last night, I made the Stroganoff-Style Chicken from our menu this week. (Very yummy, by the way!) Macie said the sweetest thing after eating dinner.

"Mom, if we were going to infinity and beyond, I would want to take that chicken stuff with me."

This being said to a parent who likes to try new things but sometime they are not the way you anticipated, forcing you to eat leftovers...

My heart melted.

Long time no speak....what's wrong with me?!

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great week. Mine has been packed full of things - from work to housework to yard work - I have been go, go, go. This explains the lack of posts.

This is to let you know two things:
1. Pictures of the vacation are coming today! I have not had time to sit and write everything, but making a picture slide show with a short description should give you an idea of what our trip was like.

2. I have started a new blog as well, a place to share coupons and such. It is called Coupons to Share and can be found here. Never mind, I already dislike having more than one. Keep coming here!

I hope you find it very resourceful and realize that clipping those $.50 coupons can really add up! Today I am making a few errands and should be getting Neosporin, Band-Aids, shaving cream, dog and cat food, cat treats and four boxes of Smart Start cereal all for less that $5.00. That should give you an idea of how much it can save!

Check back today for pictures!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Monday - Whatever we can find. I have to go shopping tonight and we have a showing. See where I am going with this?

Tuesday - Grilled Chicken Salad or Grilled Chicken Salad Wraps. Can you tell it's summer? We love salad in the summer, which works out good because they now have a Farmer's Market in our city!

Wednesday - Stroganoff Style Chicken with a veggie.

Thursday - Jeremy's request - Fajitas, with Shrimp & Chicken with veggies.

Friday - Let's grill some burgers! I will make (yet another) salad and some veggies.

Snacks - Popcorn!

Head on over to Laura at Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Daily Dose

This is a good one! Free $10 to Outback Steakhouse. You must either visit Outback on Father's day to get an activation code or request one by mail, according to the rules. You must include a self-address stamped envelope. The address is: Outback Steakhouse Fathers Day Certificate Request, 2202 N. West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607. Requests must be received by July 5, 2008. Limit: One (1) per envelope. One (1) request per day.

Call 1.800.521.6300 to take the 30 day challenge with Purina and receive a free bag of dog or cat food.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Daily Dose

Fruit Sense Juice - Buy 1, Get One Free

If you purchase two of the following products and submit the requested information, Country Living will send you 25 disposable placements for free. These are some pretty common products, so it might be easier than you think!

Zout is free after rebate! (Thanks Be Thrifty Life Us!) If you are like me, I have never heard of Zout before. I am pleased now to know it is a stain remover.

Free Sample of Sinucleanse.

Save $8.00 off Science Diet Pet Food.

Save $1.00 off Listerine for kids.

Save $2.00 on Honey Bunches of Oats Chocolate Clusters. this is 1.98 at Wal-Mart - making it free!

Free Sample of Post-It Flags

Free Sample of Advil plus $2.00 off coupon.

Save $5.00 at Walgreen's. I have not made my trip yet this week to Walgreen's and I am glad now!

On a side note, if you like the thousands of other people keeping up with Nate, Tricia, and Gwyneth - they got the results back. Go leave them a note of encouragement!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Can you tell I was thinking about blogging this?

...after dinner, the girls and I went outside. I got out the sidewalk chalk and we all had...

We colored for at least 45 minutes, drawing and writing notes to each other. I am a bit of a "doodler" so I enjoyed it as much as they did!

This one is a bit blurry because I tried to edit out my license plate number.

In case you are wondering, my girls are not wearing pants, but Macie is wearing a blanket!

We are so high-class like that.

Off to baths and bedtime. G'Night!

Free Lunchmeat!

Click here to enter the Land O' Frost sweepstakes. Once you enter, you will receive a coupons for free Land O' Frost Taste Escapes lunch meat and $1.00 coupon. It is a PDF file so no limit on how many you can print. They expire on July 31, 2008.

(Dad - print this off for mom. She uses this kind too, I think.)

One more prayer...

Without mentioning any names, please say a prayer for a friend of ours. We received some news today concerning our friend.

At the request of the prayer-ee, we are not mentioning their names.


One more thing,

Do you remember Tricia, Nate, and baby Gwyneth? They need some prayers again this morning. Please head over to this post and get updated. From there, click on the header and you will get any new updates.

If you feel the need to comment to let Nate and Tricia know you are thinking and praying for them, let them know where you are from. It doesn't have to be any extravagant comment, but just a few words. (Mine said "Praying from Missouri)



...life got in the way last night and I didn't go to bed until 11:30.

In the meantime, visit AdPerk, where you can 'earn' a free subscription to Redbook, Parenting, and Good Housekeeping.

Free Cat or Dog Food

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Daily Dose

Rebate on Tums Quik Pack (Thanks Money Saving Mom!)

You can also get a $2.25 coupon off the Tums here.

Also, if you get the Sunday paper, you will find a coupons for a free Purina Healthful Life Cat Chow (16 oz. pouch) on the first page. Even if you don't have a cat, plan on picking them up and donating them to your local animal shelter.

Almost free oatmeal! Macie loves oatmeal. When you sign up for the Kashi club, you can print a $2.00 any Kashi product. This is $2 and some change at Wal-Mart. (Thanks Be CentAble!)

Wal-Mart has Zantac for $3.00 and some change. Click here to get a $5.00 coupon to make it more than free. (Thanks Money Saving Mom!)

Walgreen's has Band-Aids on sale for $.99. Click here to get a $.75 coupon, making them $.24!

And if you have a baby (Ashley!), (or have a sister-in-law about to have a baby - Kara!), click here to fill out a short survey and get free coupons from Orajel (Thanks The Centible Sawyer!)

Free Sample of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice. Click here, then find the 'coupon' and select print. Follow the prompts.

$4.00 off Tyson Meal Kit. Click here.

Vacation 2008

This post has been long overdue, please bear with me...it may be a long one!

Day 1 - Day One was spent driving. Ten hours doesn't sound like a lot until you get to Memphis and realize you are not even halfway there! The girls did great in the car. Oddly enough, the worst time in the car for them was the first hour, all of which we spent getting the situated, comfortable, and making sure snacks and drinks were within their reach.
We made a pit stop in Jackson, MS for the night and took advantage of a Chili's gift card Jeremy won at work. Yummy! Why don't we have one of these!?

Once we got back to the hotel, Jeremy and I were going through our luggage, unloading just enough to get us four through until the next day. (Meanwhile, the girls were in the car, watching their movie.) I noticed a man walking up to us, as did Jeremy. He comes up to me, and proceeds to ask us a question.

Man lurking at hotel parking lot: "May I ask you something without you getting offended?"

My thoughts right about now: Is this a trick question. Hmmm.

Jeremy and myself: "Sure."

At this time, the man proceeds to reach out and shake out hand, introducing himself , as we introduced ourselves to him.

Before I continue, I want to all to know I try to be very non-judgmental of people and their sexuality, color, race, religion, etc. etc.

He then proceeds to tell us he is HIV positive.

He then goes on to say he is homeless and trying to get in shelter. His family is non-supportive. He tells us it is hard being an African-American, gay Baptists preacher son. (Got all that?) He tells us he is not trying to take money from our children, understands if we don't have anything, but if we did, that would be great.

Jeremy then goes on to say, "I have some cash but it is the hotel, Can I bring it to you?"

The man waited.

Once Jeremy and I got into the hotel, we discussed how much to give. Here is how we have always dealt with situations like this: This man may be a complete liar and may very well go spend any money on alcohol, drugs...etc. However, that is something he will have to deal with once he sees God's face. We feel we are doing a kind deed, taking what he had to say for face value, no lies or scams.

After discussing how much to give, Jeremy walks back outside, leaving myself and the girls in the safety of our room, and hands the gentleman $40.00.

He started crying, people. I tell myself they were real tears.

I hope and pray he didn't spend it on the above mentioned things.

But I do have a valid reason to think God was watching us while we did that...


...I am going to blog about our trip. It will take a while - the pictures getting uploaded to blogger and organizing the pictures to correspond with the text the follows it - but I will do it.

I have to.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Can you tell retail stores are targeting dad's?

Sears is having a sale on Docker's now! Buy $100 in Docker apparel, and get a $75 gift card to Shell Gas Station by mail. Check out the details here.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Mushroom, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna

Wednesday - Build Your Own Salad Wrap (Shrimp and Caesar Salad)

Thursday - Sloppy Joes with Roasted Asparagus from the Farmer's Market (Thanks mom!)

Friday - Spicy Beef with Shrimp and Bok Choy Jeremy and the girls love chinese!

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Happy Father's Day! Church and eating out for lunch...Jeremy's pick! Dinner will be with family, I'm sure.

Snacks and Dessert - Fruit Salad (Yummy, Yummy - Wiggles, Anyone?) and Oranges.

Head on over to Laura at Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hurry and go get it! (Ashley, this is for you!)

Thanks to Freebie Friday for the heads up on free magazines!

Woman's Day is all gone, but now you can get Family Fun, which I have been wanting for so long!

(Once again, Mom, Tara, and Whitney...you are all signed up. How much nicer can I get?! Ha! Ha!)

I like diamonds and all, but this, this I love!

Look what I ordered yesterday?

Obviously, it will have our two girls' names on it. I love it so much and cannot wait to get it in. (Thanks mom and dad for the birthday money!) Also, if you are interested in Lisa's jewelry, you can sign up for her mailing list and receive a 15% off Coupon Code for your first order.

I have so much I want to blog about but cannot seem to get motivated enough to do so. This weekend, we will be in St. Louis so maybe on Sunday I can find the time to sit down and blog about our trip. I want to tell you, for my sake to document it and yours, and show you all the great pictures.

If I don't blog (again) today, have a great weekend everyone!

Freebie Friday!

Check out this link!

(Mom, Tara, and Whitney - You have the magazine coming your way already.Your welcome! Okay, Dad, if you want Woman's Day, let me know. I will register you too!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Calling All Docker Lovers!

JCPenney is running a sale this week on Dockers. If you buy $75.00 in Docker apparel, you can receive a $50.00 gift card by mail to use in August. Check out the details here.

This works out perfectly as Jeremy needs new pants/shorts for work!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 2, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This week may look like a re-run from a few weeks ago, but that was a busy week and we were here and there at the time. We just kind of ate where we were at the time.
Monday - Seven Layer Tortilla Pie
Tuesday - Beef Taquitos

Wednesday - BLT's

Thursday - Oprah's Favorite Turkey Burgers with Oven Baked Zucchini
(Okay, I changed my mind. I saw a recipe in a Kraft magazine...chicken breast marinated in Kraft Sun-Dried Tomatoe dressing. If they don't have fat-free, I will use italian. Also, Jeremy can grill these!!)

Friday - Baked Spagetti I will add garlic and some veggies to this and serve with Garlic Bread

Head on over to Laura at Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

We are back...