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.
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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Game Ball

Dustin gives out a game ball after every game to the MVP of that game. The game ball has become the highlight of the game with each kid eagerly waiting to see if they have earned the coveted prize. Brayden got the game ball on April 23rd. He got 2 great hits off of the pitcher, fielded several balls, and got an out at 1st base by beating the runner to the base.
Brayden showing off his game ball
Brayden and Daddy
Bryson, Mason (Bryson's best friend), and Brayden

Last night Bryson got his game ball. He has been very concerned he wasn't going to get one. Truthfully there have been at least 3 other games where Bryson earned a game ball, but one of the drawbacks of being a coach's kid is if it was close we have given the game ball to the other player. Not to mention we thought Bryson needed some motivation to keep trying his best, he sometimes wanted to quit in practice if he had already gotten his chance to bat. He got a great out at 2nd base by fielding the ball and beating the runner to the base. He also is getting pretty good at switch hitting. He hit a ball into right field off the tee his 1st time up batting right-handed. Then when he came up to bat again he hit the ball off of the pitcher to center field batting left-handed.
Brotherly love: Brayden mobbed Bryson in his excitment!
Brayden finally gets to hug and congratulate him.
Daddy and Bryson
He was so proud of his game ball, and even slept with it last night.

Brennan didn't want to be left out of the pictures. Please ignore his horribly messy shirt, he poured my soda all over himself as soon as we got to the game.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Not Me!" Monday

This week I turned 30, gulp! The boys took me out to eat to celebrate my birthday. No way was my 2 year old so terrible that I pretended that I had to use the bathroom to just get a few QUIET minutes alone. Nor so bad that Dustin asked the waitress to not sing to me so we could make a quick exit to our car. So it wasn't me that sat quietly in the car and cried until I could compose myself. I guess he is taking it heart that he turned 2 last month so he needs to exhibit the terrible 2s now.

This week I did not show up at the ball park to take pictures of the boys only to realize I had left my memory card at home in my computer. The next day when I got to the ball park I was so proud of myself for remembering to grab the memory card on the way out the door, but when I went to take a picture nothing happened. No way did I grab the memory card, but fail to grab the battery that was still sitting in the charger at home. Nope, not me!

This week during one of Brandt's games (you know one of the days when I could actually remember to grab ALL necessary parts of the camera) I did not let the boys catch tadpoles. I mean how redneck would that be? Imagine 3 little boys in just their shorts standing in 2 pools puddles of water aimlessly grabbing into the murky water. I would never allow that...never to the tune of over 50 tadpoles currently swimming in a glass bowl in my kitchen.
This weekend we took the boys to Sea World in San Antonio. While we were feeding the sea lions my 4 year old started shouting he had to go potty. I of course dropped everything and immediately took him to the nearest bathroom. So it wasn't my child that peed all over himself and his daddy while he was at the hand washing station. Nope, not us!

Would you like to share what you have not been up to lately? If so, join the Not Me! Monday fun! Simply write your own post on your blog, link back within your post to MckMama's blog, and sign up with MckLinky.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Frugal Friday

My family jokes about me being extremely frugal. Some people may take that as an insult, but I take that as a compliment. While I try to spend as little money as possible it doesn't mean that I want to live without certain luxuries just that I want to find a cheaper way to do it. So I am going to start Frugal Friday where I will share one of my frugal tips with you hopefully each Friday.

My 1st tip is how to get a salon looking pedicure at home for a fraction of the cost. One of the great things about a salon pedicure is they can easily remove the callous you get on your feet, especially when you are wearing sandals a lot. A friend recommended a Ped Egg to me. I was very skeptical at first. It looks like a small cheese grater, and honestly scared me. However, it does not hurt at all and does an amazing job at making your feet smooth. I love my Ped Egg and could not live without it.No matter how hard I try I just can't get my toe nail polish to turn out right at home. Even regular nail polish doesn't look the same if it is painted at home vs at a salon. So after I have my feet nice and soft using my Ped Egg I go to the salon and ask them to just paint my nails. Most salons charge between $7-$9 to paint your nails depending on if you pick a plain color or white tips, etc. That is drastically cheaper than the standard $25-$30+ for a pedicure. In the end my feet end up looking and feeling the same. I just did the grunt work easy stuff at home and saved myself at least 66% of the price. Gotta love extra money in your pocket!

Do you have any frugal tips you would like to share? If so, please leave them in a comment.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Not Me!" Monday

The boys stayed with my parents Saturday night so we could get some work done on the house. It did not take me all day long just to clean my bedroom. I never use my room as the catch-all-room to throw things in when company comes and I don't have time to put things away. Even if I did I would immediately put it away after the company left. Plus, wouldn't it be hypocritical of me to expect the boys to keep their room clean, but not keep mine clean? So since I would never do that, it wasn't me that had this conversation with Bryson this morning:

Bry: "Wow, your room is clean. Who is coming over?"

Me: "No one, we just decided to clean it".

Bryson: "Well that was a VERY good decision".

My children never teach the baby bad things (by the way how long until he tells me I can't call him the baby anymore? I mean he is 2 now). So it wasn't Brennan who walked into the living room this morning shaking him bottom and whacking it. He now makes monkey faces, silly faces, and can shake his booty all compliments of his brothers.

Our family has decided that we are going to homeschool the boys next year. I will no longer be the computer teacher and they will no longer be enrolled in school. I am not at all anxious or completely excited by this huge step. Nor am I counting down the days until the huge homeschooling conference this summer when we get to actually touch and feel all the different curriculum. I mean summer isn't even here yet, I should totally not be looking forward to the next school year already.

Would you like to share what you have not been up to lately? If so, join the Not Me! Monday fun! Simply write your own post on your blog, link back within your post to MckMama's blog, and sign up with MckLinky.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

You might be a redneck if...

...this is your antenna topper
and these are your backyard pets.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Not Me!" Monday

This week Dustin was gone to Dallas on a business trip and on my end we had a trip to urgent care, a positive strep throat test, and poop in the bathtub. Yep, not a very fun day at all! With Brandt being sick I had to miss my in-service day at work. I did not take the boys out scooter riding and to the splashpad on my sick leave. When my kids are sick they stay in bed all day, and every move I make is centered around them.

Nor did I take the afternoon off of work this week for an appointment that happened to be a hair cut, highlights, and a pedicure. I never do those things for me and I never take time off unless I absolutely have to so that certainly wasn't me. It isn't like that I am trying to spend my last few hours before the end of the school year.

For Mother's Day my husband asked me if I wanted to go to Target (my favorite store). I did not tell him that I wanted to go to my all-time favorite Target (an hour away). That would be ridiculous, because I have a Target 10 minutes from my house. Nor did my awesome hubby take me there. We made a detour by the outlet mall so I could look for a specific outfit that I desperately wanted that was sold out at local stores. This outfit of course would have been for me, and not a Gymboree outfit for my 2 year old. I mean a 2 year old boy could care less what he has on. I would never have been so incredibly excited for them to have the shirt I wanted in the size I needed that I had to refrain from jumping in the store. Nor would I make my child wear it today without washing it 1st. I always wash my kids clothes BEFORE they wear them.

Would you like to share what you have not been up to lately? If so, join the Not Me! Monday fun! Simply write your own post on your blog, link back within your post to MckMama's blog, and sign up with MckLinky.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Funnies

My friend Karlise emailed this to me:

Truths for mature humans....

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How in the world are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

7. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

8. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

9. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

10. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

11. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -Ever.

12. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? DangIt!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

13. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

17. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

18. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


A while back I posted a Q & A post. Sorry it took me a while to answer the questions, but without further ado...

My friend Jenn from high school asked:

When do you plan on coming to Austin for a visit? We will be there some this summer for sure. My MIL is having hip surgery June 2nd so I know I will be in town for that.

When you do, can we meet up for lunch/dinner/drinks/laughs? Absolutely! Preferably sans kiddos. lol Although I would love to see McKenna and for you to see the boys!

Did you know that I follow your blog? No I didn't, but glad you do! I just found your blog from your comment.

If you were a hot dog, would you eat you? No, but my kids would give me a run for my money. They LOVE hot dogs.

How many times a day do you call one or all of your boys by the wrong name? Until recently I could have answered never, but now sometimes I have to stop and really think hard of who I am wanting to call. I blame this on 4 children, and not that their names all start with a B, because I have several friends that do this and their kids names are not even similar.

Are you and Dustin planning on adding to your already awesomely adorable family? Nope, Brennan is our caboose, and we have taken permanent measures to ensure this. Although, adoption is something that has always been on my heart and we haven't shut the door on that option yet.

What is your favorite memory of me? Definitely being in the same company in Blue Belles together. That was a really fun year.

Do you remember what I wore to your wedding? I do, which is weird because I can't remember a conversation I had last week. I was going to cheat and go look at pictures, but alas I decided to be honest here. No I don't, but I do remember what I wore. lol

My friend Kierstyn asked:

What's the most romantic thing Dustin has ever done for you? Dustin does so many sweet and romantic things for me. I am all about the little things. When he was gone on a business trip for almost 2 weeks when the boys were 6 months, almost 3, 4 1/2, and 6 he sent me a wonderful edible arrangement (they are like a bouquet of flowers, but made from fruit instead). Being as frugal as I am, I am not really into getting flowers. Granted I love flowers, but I can think of way better ways to spend our money. So it was a huge surprise, and made me feel so special knowing he was thinking about me while he was gone. Not to mention he sent it to work, so I got to munch on it all day.

If money were no option, what would you want for Mother's Day? A trip alone with Dustin sans kids. Maybe somewhere in the Caribbean. Ahhhh, sounds heavenly! Feel a little guilty that my Mother's Day wish does not involve my kids. lol

My friend Amanda from high school asked:

1. How did you go about choosing your boys' names? I picked out names I liked from baby books. Dustin vetoed them all, he could come up with a reason against every one (Colby: it is a cheese, Cameron: my parents live off of that road, etc). Once I picked a name or 2 I liked I would mention it every so often and after a while he came around to them. We didn't intend for all the boys to end up with a B name. In fact, had we known we would have had 4 boys, we probably would have named the younger 2 something other than a B.

2. Ever wish for a girl? :) Growing up in a family with 4 girls and 1 boy I always envisioned myself with a lot of girls. God knew better than I did. While I would have loved a girl, I can't imagine my life with out my boys. I love boys. In the future if we do adopt, we will adopt a little girl. But if we do not I will be content with my 4 amazing boys.

3. Does your family have any pets? Yes, we have a 3 year old lab mix named Shelby, a 1 yr old boxer named Kendall and a 90 gallon fish tank with guppies, mollies, etc.

4. What kind of car do you drive and is it your dream car? If not, what is your dream car? I drive a Chrysler Town and Country minivan. It is very practical for this stage in my life (all 4 boys are still in a 5-point harness and we have no plans to change that anytime soon) so there aren't many other vehicles that could easily handle 4 car seats. My dream car would probably be the brand new Chevy Suburban fully loaded or a fancy little 2 seater convertible, but until we get completely out of car seats I am not planning on leaving the minivan stage.

5. Do you like to cook? What is your favorite go-to meal? I like to cook when I have time, but that doesn't happen very much. My favorite go-to meal is chicken spaghetti. Every one of my kids LOVE it, even super picky Brayden. They get several servings each and our family polishes off the entire 9x13 pan (normally that size pan makes at least 2 meals for us).

6. Something you never leave home without? My cell phone and a diaper. Both very vital and equally important.

7. Favorite guilty pleasure? I had a pedicure yesterday and it was heavenly! It falls into the same realm of I can think of so many other things to spend money on, but every once in a while it is so nice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another eventful day

Yesterday was certainly a doozey of a day, but I wasn't going to let that slow us down. We had another extremely eventful day today, but this time a good eventful. This morning when I took a dirty diaper outside (ah the joys of being a mother to young children) I noticed it was pretty cool out. When Brandt woke up he was feeling great, and acting like his normal self. He wasn't feeling bad and hadn't run a fever since yesterday evening. We decided to make the most of my unexpected day off and the nice weather since it was suppose to be 90 by the afternoon.

I loaded up the boys' scooters and went up the road to where there is a nice sidewalk.
Brennan quickly decided he was too big for his sit and push scooter and decided to carry it instead
We got out Brayden's old scooter and with Brandt's help it worked well

Brayden sharing his knee and elbow pads he just got for his birthday
Brayden was a scooter pro: He would push off at the top of the hill, and ride it all the way down
After riding scooters I took the boys out to eat lunch. On the way home we stopped by Redbox and rented the boys a movie. When we got home the baby took a nap and the big boys got to watch a movie and rest for a little while.
Once everyone woke up we headed over to a local splashpad.
The boys love the bucket of water dumping on their heads
Bryson and Brandt



After the splashpad we went home and got ready for baseball. All 3 boys had a game tonight at 6 and at 2 different fields almost 10 minutes apart. My dad came into town and took Brandt to his game, and I took the middle 2 to their game. After their games he treated them to a kid's meal from Sonic for dinner. When we got home I realized I had forgotten Brayden's homework, so we quickly finished that. At that point I am not sure who was more tired me or kids. Whew, what a day! We sure had a lot of fun though.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Whew, what a day!

Have you ever just had one of those days? Well today was my turn to have one of them. Dustin has a business trip out of town and had to leave this morning. He took all of us out for donuts this morning, and after all the last minute running we did he ended up also taking us for an early lunch. It was really nice to get to spend a little extra time with him before he left.

Next on the plate was Brayden's best friend's birthday party. The boys had a blast and thankfully were well behaved so it was pretty easy for me to watch all 4 by myself even with them going in different directions. About halfway through the party it was time for cake and when I looked over at Brandt he was holding his stomach and grimacing. I asked if he felt ok and he told me his stomach was really hurting. I told him I wanted him to try to use the restroom, but when he stood up he was in too much pain to walk. So I picked him up and carried him about 2 minutes way to the bathroom. I told him I would be back to check on him, but I had walked off and left Brennan sitting in a chair eating cake and I needed to go back and check on him. I told him if felt like walking to come back to me, otherwise I would be back in a few minutes to check on him (note: this was a private party so there was nobody else there except our party...otherwise I would never have left him). So I got the baby and went back to check on him. When I got back he was sitting on the floor bawling. He said it hurt to bad to walk. So I had the 2 yr old walk and I carried the 7 yr old. Our good friend (birthday boy's mom) is a nurse and she told me she would take him in to be seen since at this point he has now been in fairly severe pain for almost an hour. She offered to watch Brayden since she had an extra booster and 1 extra seat in her car. So I loaded up the other 3 boys and headed off to Urgent Care.

I called my mom to tell her what was going on (she lives an hour from me), and she tells me that she was actually in town buying mulch and would meet me at Urgent Care to watch the other boys. I remember seeing a new Urgent Care in town and head that direction not sure if they are even open since it is 4:30 PM on a Sunday. Low and behold they are open until 5 AND they take our insurance at just a doctor's copay. By the time we get out of the van Brandt is feeling much much better. At this point I am not sure whether to take him in to be seen or go home now that he appears to be ok. I decide since it is almost after hours it is better to go ahead and be seen just to make sure he is over whatever was going on earlier. After a few minutes my mom and dad show up and go on Brennan and Bryson duty respectfully, and I head back with Brandt to be seen.

Brandt has a 101 fever even after Tylenol, but isn't bothered at all by the poking or prodding on his tummy. The doctor tells me that Strep throat is going around and it can do really weird things to you including severe stomach pains. Brandt tells him that his throat does not hurt at all. We go ahead and test him, and it comes back positive. The doctor is certain this was the culprit of his stomach ailment which is just really odd to me. Of course this is after we were at my parents' towns' homecoming yesterday, a wedding last night, and a birthday party today. Nice. I am suppose to have in-service tomorrow at school, but will now be staying home with all 4 boys.

I get to the pharmacy to drop off his Rx and pick up Bryson's Eczema Rx since he is having a severe flair-up that is not responding to Aquaphor like normal. The Pharmacist tells me that Bryson's prescription is not covered by insurance at all since it has to be mixed. I see dollar signs floating before my eyes. I am too afraid to ask how much, since the last Rx he got for his eczema was $75 our part AFTER insurance. I finally get up enough courage to ask what it will cost and we he tells me a little less than $12 I have to hold myself back from jumping out of my van to kiss him, but I refrain and stay seated and just had him my debit card instead.

I finally have a chance to go pick up Brayden and get almost there and my children pipe up that they are hungry. I look down and it is almost 6:30 and they normally eat closer to 5:30. I pull into McDonalds (for the 2nd time today...I have to get bonus cool mom points for subjecting myself to that 2 times in 1 day). I grab food to go making sure everyone has their own drink and really stress to the boys to not drink after each other. We had the following conversation:

Me: "Boys I bought you each your own drink, so please do not drink after each other"
Bryson: "So I can't share with him? But mommy, we are suppose to share".
Me: "No Bry, please do not share with him. This is just for you and no one else".

Wow, after all my hard work getting them to share with each other without squabbling and then I just kill it.

I finally get there to pick up Brayden and I tell the boys they are not going in since I don't want to get the other family sick. Brandt is very concerned that I am going to stay in there talking to long. Who, me? So as I am getting their food out to hand it to them (you know so they have something to do while I am talking talking talking) birthday boy's daddy comes and gets us and tells us to come eat inside. They have Brayden in the shower so that would be one less thing I have to do tonight. Have I said how much I love them? Really, they are plain amazing!

I finally get all of my chickadees home and get ready to start baths/showers. I get Bryson is the shower downstairs and just as I set Brennan in the bathtub upstairs Brandt comes running in to tell me that Bryson has pooped in the shower downstairs and is screaming and crying for me. Keep in mind Bryson is 4 1/2 and has been potty trained (day and night) going on 2 years now. So my mind starts imagining that there is massive blow-outs and soon to be throw up everywhere. Brayden is helping me with Brennan. I tell him I have to run and check on Bryson and I have to leave him in charge of the 2 year old. I give him very strict orders on what to do and race down the stairs. By the time I get there Brandt has gotten in with Bryson and most of the poop has gone on down the drain. I ask Bryson how he feels and he is so upset with himself he starts crying. I explained he wasn't in trouble I just wanted to make sure he was ok. Turns out he thought he was tooting and a little more came out. Whoops! He wants out so he can finish on the potty which I way prefer to the bathtub. So I get him out as quick as I can and race back upstairs.

As I get to the middle of the stairs Brayden yells down that Brennan is crying and wants me. So I am about out of breathe at this point and turn the corner to see soap suds all over Brennan's head. I ask Brayden if he did that, and he very proudly tells me that he washed Brennan for me. He actually did a really good job, minus the soap suds in the hair. I finish rinsing the soap out of his hair and he rewards me by pouring 2 huge cups of water all over me and the floor. Nice, icing on my already wonderful day! I am hoping Dustin's day wasn't nearly as adventurous as mine.