Monday, December 20, 2010

Welcome to the world, Kaylynn Noelle

Congrats to my sister Kathryn and her family as they welcomed their 2nd daughter into the world tonight at 10:07. Kaylynn Noelle was 6 pounds 4 ounces and 18.5 inches long.
Kaylynn and big sister Bridgett

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shutterfly Cards

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is giving and receiving Christmas cards and getting updates from family and friends. For the past several years, I have purchased my holiday photo cards from Shutterfly. Their quality is great and their prices are very reasonable.

One of the things that I love about Shutterfly is that you can choose a variety of pictures and put them all on one card! This is so helpful with large families like mine, because it would take a miracle to get 4 young boys all looking AND smiling in the same picture. I am planning on using Shutterfly again this year and can't wait to get started.

Shutterfly has hundreds of cards to choose from and this year they have three great design options to choose from.
  1. Folded greeting cards (available in 5X7 size)
  2. Flat stationery cards (available in 5X5 and 5X7 sizes)
  3. Flat photo cards (available in 4X8 and 5X7 sizes)
Shutterfly also has great photo gift options:
Make a photo calendar and share your favorite family pictures all year long plus important family dates such as birthdays and anniversaries. This is my mother-in-law's favorite gift, and she requests a new one each year.
How about a photo mug to show off your cute kiddos? My father-in-law's favorite coffee mug is one of my older kiddos from several years back that I made at Shutterfly. It has really held up well, and I love looking back at how much they have grown and changed.

Shutterfly is a real life saver at my house during the holidays.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Photos

A friend took pictures of the boys yesterday. We took them at the Academic Building at Texas A&M. The Corps of Cadets was also taking pictures there at the same time, and lets just say the boys had a hard time focusing on the task at hand. Here are the best ones from yesterday.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

He could go all the way...

video

Way to go Bryson! Not too shabby for a 4 and 5 year old team.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Here are the top 5 things I am thankful for...
1. A wonderful husband, Dustin.
2. A sweet and compassionate son, Brandt.
3. A wonderful helper, Brayden.
4. Someone who can always make me laugh, Bryson.
5. A 2 year old that gives the best snuggles, Brennan.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Muddy Flashback

We met some friends at the local Splashpad today, but the boys were more interested in playing in the mud than playing in the water.
Kind of reminds me of this picture from a few years back ...
Sorry this isn't the best quality, but it is a picture of our sepia canvas print

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pictures galore

Sorry I have been MIA from my blog this summer. Trying to keep up with 4 busy boys, not to mention only having a handful of "free" days on my calendar all summer long has made blog time almost non-existent. However, with summer winding down (we start school on Wednesday) I am hoping to make more time to blog and catch up on all the summer happenings.

I have gotten really behind on taking the boys yearly pictures. It is just so hard to find time, and then to take all 4 of them...well let's just say that is not very enjoyable. I still hadn't taken Brayden's 6 year pictures or Brennan's 2 year pictures both of which happened in April. Then Brandt's birthday is Tuesday and Bryson's is just 2 short months later. So we decided to get it out of the way in one fatal swoop. After church I realized they were all dressed nicely and didn't have too many stains on them so off we went on a spur of the moment decision. Here are my favorite ones of each of the boys.
Brennan
Bryson
Brayden
Brandt

Monday, August 2, 2010

Great deal on Energizer batteries and iTunes gift cards at Sam's Club


Sam's Club has a great deal on Energizer Batteries and iTunes gift cards right now.

Currently, when you buy (2) 24 count specially marked Energizer Max AA or AAA batteries for $9.96 each, you snag 4 codes (2 codes per package) for a $10 iTunes gift card to be redeemed online!

However, you only need 3 codes to qualify for the $10 iTunes gift card. So if you buy 6 packs of batteries, you’ll end up with 12 codes total which means you’ll spend $59.76 on batteries and then you’ll snag $40 worth of iTunes gift cards (note that there is a limit of four $10 iTunes gift card redemptions per person/household/email address)! Allow approximately 2-3 weeks for receipt of an e-mail from iTunes with your gift card information. For more information and to redeem your codes, click here.

Also keep in mind that these specially marked packages of Energizer batteries are available at many different stores, not just Sam’s club. For a list of participating Energizer products, click here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Frugal Friday

This week's tip is to find out what days your local restaurants have specials. For instance in our town on Monday's our favorite places to eat are $5.99 large pizza from Papa Johns and Family Night at Carino's where you get the family meal for the price of the single meal (our whole family drinks water and after tax & tip our dinner is $15 total). Tuesdays Double Dave's has B1G1 Free pizza rolls. Wednesdays and Sundays Dickies BBQ has free kids meals and our family's total is usually around $15. C & J's also has kids eat free on Wednesday nights. By going on certain days we save a ton of money, usually approaching 50%. When you have a large family, this can really add up.

If you have some favorite restaurant specials, please leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Frugal Friday

One thing that is a must for a healthy marriage is alone time for the 2 of you. That means finding a babysitter and going on a date with no kids, just the 2 of you. Now if you have a large family like ours and no family in town this becomes very difficult. Once we have paid for a babysitter for 4 kids there is no money left over to actually do anything fun with. So my tip today is to find a friend or group of friends and exchange babysitting time. For instance this week you watch their kids for them to go out and then the next week they watch your kids for you to go out...or any other arrangement you work out. We have done this in the past and it was so nice. We got to have some much needed "us" time and our kids got play dates every week. We are in the process of setting this up again and can not wait!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Frugal Friday

This week's Frugal Friday tip is on extending the life of your pedicure. If you have a nail polish that you absolutely love take it with you to the salon. They can use your nail polish to do your toes, and since it is yours you can touch up knicks until it is time to get another pedicure. Doing it this way I can have great looking toes for over a month as opposed to the normal 2 weeks before I start getting knicks.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Houston Astros

Dustin was Brayden and Bryson's head tee ball coach this year. One of the parents on our team gave us tickets to the Tuesday, July 6th Astros vs Pittsburgh Pirates game as a thank you for a great season. These were amazing seats. We were literally on the 2nd row behind the Pittsburgh dug out. I spiked the boys' hair red for fun since we were going to be so close to the field. We got several calls during the game that the boys were on tv 3 times during the game and once at the end of the game. Man, I wish we had recorded the game before we left! My sister who lives in Houston was able to go with us, which was really nice to spend time with her during the week. Some friends of ours that were also on our tee ball team this year and their 4 kids went with us. Their oldest and Brandt were on the same tee ball team 2 years ago, and their middle 2 were on the team this year with our middle 2. We had an absolutely great time with amazing company, and the 'Stros won 6-2...who could ask for more?
Daddy and Bryson
Brandt and Kannon
Brayden and Aunt Kimmie
Mommy & Brennan
Bryson
Look how close to the cameraman we were!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lost

I am just keeping it real today. Somewhere between changing dirty diapers, folding laundry, cleaning toilets, wiping up spills, picking up toys, cooking dinner, washing dishes, breaking up fights, kissing boo boos, feeding the dogs, taking kids to the dentist, paying bills, and bathing children I have become lost. I see this form that resembles me, but the true me appears to have gone MIA. In my place is some sort of robot that starts first thing in the morning and doesn't stop until late at night, but still doesn't finish a fraction of the things on the to-do list. I feel invisible to the people around me. People that I once thought good friends seem to have gone with the wind. I have somehow lost my identity. I must be in a strange phase of life I guess. I love my kids dearly, it is just that I miss me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Frugal Friday

My tip for today is to know which stores take both manufacturer coupons and store coupons on the same item. These combine for a great deal! For instance Target, CVS, and Walgreens all let you combine their store coupons and manufacturer coupons for the same item while HEB does not and you have to choose which coupon you would like to use. My favorite is Kroger which will allow you to combine a store coupon, manufacturer coupon, and an Internet coupon all on the same item. I have gotten lots of Huggies and Pampers diapers for $2 a pack...sometimes even FREE doing this. Shortcuts and Cellfire are my favorite 2 online coupon sites where you load ecoupons onto your shopping cards. I get tons of yogurt for free from Kroger combining ecoupons and manufacturer coupons from the paper.

In a nutshell, today's tip is to know your local stores and their coupon policies. There is a TON of money to be saved using coupons.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Plum Picking

Another homeschooling mom that is on a local email loop with me invited us to come out and pick plums at her house. The boys have never picked fruit before so we decided to take her up on the offer. The plums this year were very small, but they boys had a great time and said they tasted the same as the larger plums.
Brayden

Bryson
Brandt and Brayden
Brennan
It was a dirty job......there were butterflies to watch...
...and toads to catch.
In the end we had a colorful bounty to show for our hard work fun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Frugal Friday

Sorry I missed last week's Frugal Friday, but I was attending a homeschooling conference out of town and my sister took us to the Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs baseball game that night.

This week my tip is to check out your local hair design schools. We have a local one named Charles and Sue's. I call and ask for a student who is close to graduation, and I usually get someone who is within 2-3 weeks of graduation. I get lots of compliments on my hair, and people can not believe I get it done there. The plus is I can get a hair cut, 2 different shade of highlights, the special shampoo and conditioner, blow dried and styled for $50 after tip. That is at least half of the price of having the same person do my hair 2 weeks later at their new job. An instructor does check your hair before you leave. The downside to this is you always get someone new doing your hair since your last person is now graduated and working at a salon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10 on Thursday

Dustin and I went to our very 1st homeschooling conference last week in Houston. Here are 10 things I learned at the conference.

  1. Deciding curriculum is overwhelming, there are so many to choose from.
  2. In the homeschooling community we have a small family, average at best. There were so many families and people that we met that had 5+ children (6 seemed to be average).
  3. While there were families there that the women had very long hair and only wore skirts, most people did not fit that stereotype.
  4. I love spending time with just my husband, even if it is just sitting in a session with him.
  5. We have very similar taste, and only once did we decide to go to different sessions.
  6. When I had my last baby a month before I turned 28 that made me a super young mom. There were lots of women there in their mid 40s and pregnant.
  7. What works for one child might not work for another child. We could end up having to buy each child new curriculum that is best suited for them each year.
  8. Curriculum is not cheap.
  9. The possibilities are endless out there for my children and their education.
  10. I am very excited to start this chapter and considering my children have asked me everyday if we can start homeschooling now I would say they are too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frugal Friday

This week's Frugal Friday tip is to always check out non-traditional ways to purchase tickets to places your family wants to go. For instance, my family loves Sea World in San Antonio but it would cost us over $270 for regular 1 day tickets plus $15 to park...not to mention the cost of all the food and drinks in the park which you know is not cheap.

So I started doing some researching. I came across a bunch of different options. Sea World offers adult tickets (regularly $58.99) at kids prices ($49.99). 4 packs of tickets good for adults or kids tickets for $47.25 each. A Fun Day card, you purchase a regular ticket and get to come back the rest of that calendar year for free. If you have a friend with an annual pass you get 15% off 1 day admission.

They also have a few "better" options in my opinion. Sea World is doing a Sea World Cares promotion right now. When you purchase an adult ticket at regular price you get a child's ticket (ages 3-9) for $5. Kids under 3 are free all the time.

They also have EZ Pay for their annual passes. Annual passes include free parking each time you go, 20% off all food, drinks, and souveniers in the park plus discounts on behind the scenes tours, dining with Shamu, and coupons you can print every month and use in the park like buy 1 tray of fish get 1 free. The one year pass expires 1 full year from the date you first use it. They cost $89.99 or you can set up EZ pay. With EZ pay they will take $7.49 every month out of your checking account for the 12 months to make paying a much easier option. You can also purchase a 2 year pass which expires 2 years from the date of first use and costs $149.99 or $6.24 a month on EZ pay for the 24 months.

Right now they are offering a vacation package promotion where kids stay and play free. Most places offer 1 free kids ticket per 1 paid adult ticket, but not Sea World. We were able to get 3 free kids tickets and only purchased 1 adult. These tickets are also annual passes and not regular fun cards. When I called to verify the staff couldn't believe they were giving out annual passes with this promotion. So we got $360 worth of annual passes, plus a night in a 3 star Marriott branded hotel for $179 after taxes. It is a terrific deal, especially the more kids you have.

So my tip today is don't just settle for regular gate prices. Do some research, it is sure to save you a lot of money!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tadpole hunting

Last week we had several huge storms come through dropping lots of rain. During one of Brandt's baseball games the other boys went over to investigate a few puddles left behind. Low and behold there were hundreds of tadpoles swimming around. There were some that were so small you could barely see them, and then some whose bodies were about the size of a pen cap. These weren't huge puddles so the boys were pretty successful at catching them. They took probably 30+ tadpoles over to a friend and we still have probably 50+ swimming in a glass bowl in my kitchen. These things are really hardy. I think only 1 has died so far. They still look almost the same size as they did when we caught them last week. As soon as these tadpoles turn into frogs they are going into the woods in my backyard. Hopefully we don't loose too many in my house before we can get them outside. l.ol
Yes the boys took off their shirts and shoes so we truly looked like the redneck family.
Brennan and Bryson Brayden caught the 1st tadpole and started the catching frenzy. His secret tadpole catching weapon was a plastic spoon.
Brennan enjoying a candy break
Once Brayden caught the tadpoles he put them in the Fuze bottle.
Brennan
Bryson
Success! Brayden was able to catch 2 in one attempt

Brandt did join his brothers after his game. He immediately took off his cleats and shirt as well. The battery on my camera died before he got over there so there are no pictures of him (although I did manage to get a few with my phone's camera). Almost everyone leaving the ball park had to stop and make a comment to the boys.