Posted by: Amanda | February 19, 2013

Lent 2013

This year I decided to give up Twitter (except if I have no other way of contacting someone that I need to contact, which is rare) and Facebook (except for printing coupons) for Lent. The first day, I surprised myself with how many times I went to open their respective apps on my phone, but I moved the icons out of my immediate line of vision and it was much easier. It was a little eye-opening in terms of how often I was in the habit of mindlessly opening those apps to check for updates. What’s been even more surprising is how my mind has still been composing a lot of un-tweeted tweets. At nearly a week in, I have not yet determined what’s been happening to the extra time that should be freed up by not using these forms of social media. We had our annual winter getaway over the past weekend (more on that later) though, so I’ve only had a few days of my regularly scheduled life whilst giving up Twitter and Facebook. I’m making a note to re-visit this near the end of Lent.

I also like adding something that directly benefits my spiritual life during Lent to complement my sacrifices. I didn’t commit to any particular reading or devotion this year, but to the more vague notion of “do some extra spiritual act 1) myself and 2) with my family everyday.” I kind of hate admitting this, but we struggle with keeping faith in the foreground of our lives sometimes. Basically, it seems like any interruption to our day and something falls to the wayside. It’s not always faith-related, but it is often. Finding little extra ways to make our Catholic faith more present has been a nice way to help all of us prepare for Easter.

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Posted by: Amanda | February 9, 2013

Favorite Finds, Volume VII

I’ve taken the last month or so off from blogging about my couponing finds, but I haven’t taken it off from couponing. The last couple of weeks have been rather good though, so I wanted to share them.

Week of January 27-February 2
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From Target:
(4) Dove Men Care bar soap, 6-count
Saved 87%

From Rite Aid:
(6) Tide Boost, 30-count
(2) Dove body wash
(3) Dove Men+Care body wash
(1) Dove Men+Care shower tool
(25) Dawn dish soap
(I purchased these items over several days due to coupon restrictions)
Saved 92%

Week of February 3-9
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From Target:
(2) Scott bath tissue, 24-count
Saved 50%

From Rite Aid:
(2) Finish dish tabs, 20-count
(2) GE soft white light bulbs, 2-count
(2) Biotene mouth wash
(2) Reach toothbrush
(1) Clear shampoo, trial size
(4) Clear shampoo or conditioner
(12) Revlon beauty tools, assorted
Saved 92%

Posted by: Amanda | January 21, 2013

Random January Update

So there were a couple of holidays in the last month. Christmas was pretty wonderful. Then a couple of days later we were stricken with what may or may not have been a strain of the flu. So the boys and I spent a lot of time homebound and JR was grateful that it wasn’t his weekend to work. Then the holidays were pretty much over.

We watched the entire Back to the Future trilogy over the course of one weekend and the boys liked the idea of a time machine, especially a flying time machine, and even more especially a flying time machine steam engine. So even though the movies themselves were only kind of interesting to them now, I am hopeful that we can all enjoy it together at some point in time, even though I’m pretty sure that 2015 will be in the PAST by then.

I realized sometime in the last quarter of last year that even when I was healthy, I spent a lot of time feeling kind of run down and crappy. So I’ve drastically altered my diet. Which is currently vegan + no bread or processed foods. About 75% of my daily intake is raw too. So far I haven’t had any of the crashes that I’d gotten used to, and I find my meals to be so much more satisfying. So I’m quite happy with these changes. The side benefit of my diet change is that my family is eating a little healthier too.

I’ve still been doing plenty of couponing. I’ve had several good finds this month. Maybe I’ll get back to sharing only my most favorite finds.

It’s been so cold lately (I know, it’s happening to everyone), that the boys and I haven’t been going outside much. Which makes everyone a little stir crazy because we’ve also been avoiding going to places that germs frequent more than we need to.

Posted by: Amanda | December 21, 2012

Holiday Donations

I like to donate to those in need year round, but it’s especially nice to remember them during Advent. Since we live on a tight budget, couponing helps make this possible.
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(1) Cheer laundry detergent
(1) Olay body wash
(2) Dove Men+Care body wash
(1) Dawn dish soap
(2) Colgate toothpaste
(2) Suave Shampoo/Conditioner
(2) Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner
(2) Oral B toothbrushes

The local parish has a giving tree during Advent. Initially, we chose a six year old boy that would like a toy for Christmas, because it would be fun and relatively easy for Gabriel and Joshua to help choose a gift (from our gift stash) for a boy of a similar age. When I was at the vigil for the Immaculate Conception, however, I decided to take a look at the tags remaining on the tree. It turned out that a sixteen year old girl asked for makeup for Christmas. Since I’ve been picking up drugstore makeup when it’s “free,” I decided that it would be perfect to help brighten her Christmas as well.
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For the Boy:
(1) Sorry! Revenge card game
(1) Cars Lightening McQueen

For the Girl:
(1) Small Makeup Bag (freebie from Target that I would probably never use)
(2) Lipsmacker lip gloss
(1) Wet n’ Wild glitter nail polish
(3) Covergirl eye shadow singles

Posted by: Amanda | December 16, 2012

Favorite Finds, Volume VI

The last couple of weeks have been slow in terms of couponing. That tends to happen before holidays. Still, I’ve managed to pick up some items that we can use as well as some nice little Christmas gifts or future donations.

Rite Aid
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(1) Axe Shower Tool
(2) Axe Body Wash
(1) Axe Deodorant
(1) L’Oreal Paris BB Cream (Thrifty time to try this, since I’ve heard good things online, and it’s a “3” on the skin deep database, not bad for a drugstore brand).
(1) John Frieda Precision Foam Colour (I had a free coupon, and it printed a $3 store reward. I’ll be giving this away).
(1) Conair bobby pins (not pictured)
Saved 98%

Rite Aid
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(2) Fruit Loops
(2) Apple Jacks (Both the Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks are being used toward a mail-in rebate).
(2) Burt’s Bees Gud Body Wash
(2) Burt’s Bees Gud Body Lotion
Saved 76%

Rite Aid
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(2) Bic Ladies’ Silk disposable razors
(2) Ricola Dual Action Cough Drops
FREE + moneymaker

Target
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I decided to do the Glade gift card deal one more time.
(2) Glade premium room sprays
(2) Glade jar candles
(1) Glade scented oil candle & holder
(2) Reach Floss
Saved 97%

Posted by: Amanda | December 7, 2012

St. Nicholas’ Day

Yesterday was St. Nicholas’ feast day, so we celebrated.

On December 5, there were new dinosaur pajamas for Gabriel and Joshua. Mostly for cute picture taking purposes.
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We also put up the Christmas tree on the evening of December 5. We don’t strictly follow the St. Nicholas tradition, in that he fills the Christmas stockings instead of shoes at our house. Mostly because I have invested in stockings and want to use them for more than decoration.

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Joshua was so excited about his orange (he really enjoys them and eats them all of the time), that he almost stopped at the first item in his stocking. Gabriel had continued on and found candy and a toy dinosaur though, so Joshua powered through and found everything that was in his stocking. Then he noticed that St. Nicholas had given me pistachios, so we all had some of those with our lunch. Gabriel, Joshua, and JR may have all had some candy with their breakfasts as well.

Gabriel and Joshua have been telling everyone how nice St. Nicholas is, since he gave them each a Styracosaurus. I know I say it every year, but it’s true: each Advent/Christmas season with children is better than the last.

Posted by: Amanda | November 30, 2012

Favorite Finds, Volume IV

The best deals this week were on Christmas candy and Dove Men+Care products at Rite Aid. I don’t usually do the Procter and Gamble deals, but it rounded out a mail-in rebate I’ve been working toward and gave us some super cheap paper towels (can you believe the price tag on those was $14.99? Apparently I buy paper towels so seldom that I have no idea of what the going rate is. Though shelf price at a drugstore probably isn’t the going rate either).

Rite Aid
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(2) Queen Anne cordial blueberries
(1) Venus & Olay razor
(2) Reese’s miniatures
(2) Reese’s bells
Saved 95%

Rite Aid
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(2) Queen Anne cordial blueberries
(2) Heshey’s Kisses
(4) Dove Men+Care body wash
FREE

Rite Aid
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(1) 12-count Bounty paper towel
(1) Reese’s miniatures
(1) Reese’s bells
(2) Dove Men+Care shower tool
(8) Covergirl single color eyeshadow
Saved 98.5%

Thanks to a cumulative +Up Reward that I earned over the course of my transactions, I saved 99% this week overall. It was a fantastic week for me at Rite Aid.

Posted by: Amanda | November 29, 2012

Shows I Didn’t Watch as a Teenager but Have Now

When I was a teenager, I wasn’t aloud to watch many television shows. I distinctly remember that the television didn’t really come on until after we had gone to bed at night as a child, and my parents pretty much stopped watching whatever they watched when I was younger by the time that I was a teenager. So I remember watching a lot of Jeopardy! And Wheel of Fortune. Also, TGIF on Fridays. So tonight, I will outline my reactions to a few shows that I didn’t watch as a teenager and have since.

Friends
It’s actually a lie to say that I never watched this before moving out on my own, because I clearly remember watching a few episodes. I even remember watching the one with Chandler and Joey and the game of cups with my mother and brother. Still, even though it is a pretty mild show, it dealt with topics that my parents wouldn’t have approved of us watching on a regular basis. Friends is pure gold in terms of adult hilarity, however. I watched the series when Gabriel was a baby, and then got JR hooked on it when I was pregnant for Joshua. I really only have positive things to say about this show. JR and I can (and have) watched it over and over in a loop. We also enjoy throwing out quotes from it. It’s surprising, really, how pertinent Friends quotes can be to real life. In sum: I knew that I was missing out on this series when I was still in middle school, but guess I’ve made up for it now.

Star Trek
I remember my parents referring to Star Trek as “fake crap” at one point in time. However, they’re not into science fiction AT ALL. While Star Trek differs pretty vastly from our reality, that is the point of the show. If my children decide to take an interest in Star Trek, or something akin to it, as teenagers, I doubt I’d have a problem with it. And I would probably watch it with them. I like Star Trek well enough now, but I question whether I would have as a teenager. So maybe my parents did me a favor on this one.

X-Files
I remember talk of how the X-Files was such “a scary show!” I’m pretty sure it would have been referred to as “fake crap” if it came up in conversation as well. Considering the time frame, especially for the early episodes, it probably was scary. But some of the episodes were pretty laughably not scary to me now, especially in the context of how it was scary to the point of not being appropriate in my youth.

Jerry Springer
I didn’t ever really want to watch this as a teenager, and it shouldn’t technically be on this list because I haven’t watched more than a few minutes combined as an adult either. But for some reason about 75% of my class did watch it on a regular basis. Really, my parents did us a favor by not watching stuff like this.

There are probably other television series that aren’t coming to mind right now. I have thought of a lot of movies that my parents’ generation (though not necessarily my parents) touted as great movies, and I eventually watched. But really wish I hadn’t wasted my life on them in hindsight. Maybe some day I will write a post on those movies, in an attempt to spare someone who hasn’t yet watched them.

Posted by: Amanda | November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Brotherly Hug

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Posted by: Amanda | November 27, 2012

How I Have (Mostly) Managed to Complete NaBloPoMo 2012

I have managed to post every day this month. Whereas I rarely managed to post more than once per week over the course of the last year. So, how did I manage it?

1. WordPress App on my phone.
I already used this app at least partially for most posts, but there was only a day or two that I even logged into WordPress on my computer over the last month. I’m not going to pretend that the WordPress Mobile App isn’t seriously deficient compared to blogging from a computer. But it helped me “bring pen to paper” every day, which cannot be discounted.

2. No Recreational Reading.
This one makes me a little sad, but I had to carve the extra time out of somewhere. I was reading a few books per month prior to NaBloPoMo, but I didn’t even make it past the first few pages before I had to return an ebook earlier this month because my rental was over. Maybe I’ll find a way to strike a balance between blogging and reading so that I can have a nice amount of both in the future.

3. Lowering the Bar.
There was a lot of randomness this month. Still, I have managed to post something every day. Sometimes done is better than perfect. (It kind of hurts my perfection-seeking self to say this, even though I know it’s true).

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