Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Spending

With the holiday’s fast approaching I thought I would share some of the tips I use to keep our budget in check. 

I keep a wish list on and add to it throughout the year when I get ideas for presents for people.  Then I always have a price reference too.  If I see an item on sale elsewhere, I know what my price point is.

-       I make sure I stick to my weekly menu planning.   It can be too easy to spiral out of control and eat out when everyone gets busy. 

-       I plan what dishes I am taking to family gatherings/parties a few weeks before.  Then I can break up my shopping over the course of a few weeks.  Then I am not stuck with one huge extra shopping trip just for all the parties.

-       Throughout the year I save all my points up at various websites and cash them in around the holidays for presents.  Swagbucks, Huggies points, Kellogg’sfamily rewards just to name a few.

-       We use an envelope system, and start an envelope for Christmas usually in September. 

    The biggest reason we coupon, is so we can spend more time together as a family. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting Crafty!

I have started on Christmas gifts already!  Pintrest really has my creative juices flowing.  Here are a couple of projects I am working on.

I have been wanting to make the kids new blankets since they are getting bigger, and their toddler size blankets just aren't cutting it anymore.  So first up is a rag quilt for Mary.  The pics are a little dark, the red fabric is really a hot pink.  I got my inspiration here.

Next is a cute set of fabric ABC's for a baby cousin.  I will probably make two boyish sets too.  I used the tutorial found here.

I have also made a cute marble maze that I will make more of for gifts.  And one more gift that I could not picture in case the recipient saw this before the party, is a crocheted baby blanket and matching hat.

Birthday Girl

Better late than never, right?  I thought I would post pics of Ryann's birthday.  She wanted a pink castle, so here it is!

My little 4 yr old was so excited for her birthday!  She still talks about it, and can't wait for her next birthday!  I love this girl, she makes me smile everyday. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Our First Family Summer Vacation!

On June 3rd, we left for our first family vacation!  We had decided on Colorado.  We thought that would be a great first vacation, since both of us had been there before.
So we set out super early, in hopes that the kiddos would sleep for a while before the sun came up.  Wrong,  they woke up enough getting them to the car, that they were up for at least an hour before they fell back asleep.  By 8am poor Weston was crying , wanting me to get him out of his carseat.  The longest trip we have ever taken Weston on , was three hours.
We had a pretty uneventful trip out there.  We made lots of stops, so the kids could get out and play.  We stopped at a school park in North Platte, and stopped at a McDonalds outside of Denver and shared a cherry berry chiller (yummy!)  and made the kids run, do jumping jacks, walk funny around the patio to get sips!
We stayed in Colorado Springs first.  We stayed right off the interstate across from the Air Force Academy.  That first night there we went to the Garden of the Gods.  It was probably the most beautiful place we visited on vacation.

On monday we drove down to Royal Gorge.  What a neat place!  They had a ton of stuff for the kids to do.  I would recommend driving across the bridge, as its a long walk up the hill on the other side to get to the activities.  But we didn't know that, so we walked.  We did the old time pictures in the western town, got to see white buffalo, big horn sheep and elk , the kids loved the carousel, and the kiddie train ride.  We also took the elevator to the bottom of the gorge.  

Later that day we went to Focus on the Family  .  It was a great  place to look around, and they have a great place for the kids to play, and its FREE!  

On tuesday we decided to head up to Pikes Peak.  That was a long drive up the mountain.  The top of the mountain was in a cloud, so we really could not see anything up there.  And it was so cold and windy, the kids couldn't even open their eyes!  We had to run to the gift shop carrying them.  I would recommend taking the cog railway up there if you are not a fan of driving in the mountains, as Cecil and I found out,  we are not!

We had lunch in Manitau Springs.  What a pretty town!  we found a nice playground for the kiddos, and walked up and down the beautiful main street.  Then we decided to go up to the Cave of the Winds.  While waiting for our tour, the kids wanted to pan for gemstones.  

The Cave of the Winds was really a disappointment to me.  So much of the cave system had been dug out for tours.  Not much of it was natural anymore.  It also didn't have too many neat formations.  Defiantly skip this if you have other things you want to see in the area. 
That evening we got tickets to the Flying W Ranch.  They had a lot of stuff to look around and for the kids to do.  There was a Native American dancing demonstration, and a wonderful cowboy dinner and show.  I am so saddened to hear that they were caught in the path of the Waldo canyon wildfires currently burning in Colorado Springs.

On our way home that afternoon, the front brakes on the van started to squeak.  So wednesday morning Cecil took the van to a mechanic.  The front brakes ended up being ok, but the back brakes were falling apart. We were so lucky we even made it down the mountain tuesday!
After getting them fixed, we packed up and drove up to Estes Park.
We stayed at the Lazy R Cabins.  We had a wonderful little cabin, the last one on the hill, back away from the other cabins.  There were big boulders all around.  The kids had so much fun playing on them!

Our first night there we got stuff to cook out.  It was wonderful eating out on our picnic table.  Then I left Cecil with the kids and went and walked around downtown Estes by myself.  The kids were more than happy to stay and play on the rocks instead of window shopping!
The next day we ventured into Rocky Mountain National Park.  We walked around Bear Lake, and Sprague Lake.  Then drove up to the top, and had lunch at the Alpine visitor center.  When we got back down, we went to the Alluvial Fan.  I think we played for an hour at least in the stream there.  The water was so cold, but it was getting pretty warm that afternoon.  The kids had the best time finding pretty rocks.  

That night we went to a great restaurant called Mama Rose's.  It was the best Italian i've had in a long time.  We walked around downtown a while, and stopped for ice cream.

Friday morning it was time to pack up and go home.  We headed back downtown to pick up some t-shirts for the kiddos.  This time we went through the Big Thompson Canyon.  That is such a pretty drive!  
Around 4pm we decided to stop in Ogallala and check out Lake McConaughy.   We found a secluded beach and let the kids play.  It was a nice stop and a break from driving.  The beaches are all white sand beaches.  

We had dinner at the Front street cafe.  It was too bad we had to get going, because they had a shoot out between the cowboys after dinner. 

All in all , we had a great vacation!  And our prayers go out to all those affected by the wild fires that are now in Colorado Springs and Estes Park.  I'm so saddened that alot of the places we were just at three weeks ago, are no longer the same.  

Please consider donating to the American Red Cross disaster relief.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last Day Of School!

I can't believe Mary is done with her first year of school!  We were so blessed to have a wonderful teacher and teacher's aide.  Miss Sokol is always so patient, quiet, and kind with the kiddo's!  I hope Ryann can have her in two years.  
But with the end of school, comes the dreaded summer.  How am I going to keep Mary as busy as she was in school?  Here is a list of stuff i have started of things we want to do this summer:

Mindbender mansion at the Durham  may 26-Sep 2
Summer kids movies:
Swanson library story time 10:30am Friday's (clifford on june 29th)
Swanson library shows:  June 14 1pm Magic show, June 28th 11:30 wildlife encounters, Make and take crafts 10:30 Wed's. 
Wed June 27th @ Abraham's library , learn about reptiles
July 14/15 Railroad Days
Barnes and noble storytime, saturday's at 11am (oakview Tues at 10am)
 Wizard of Oz at the Children's Museum
Lincoln Children's Zoo
Crafts from Oriental trading Company
We'll probably spend most afternoons or evenings at the pool.  I think it's going to be a great summer.  No naps to really worry about, and Hubby will be home 2-3 days each week!  I think we'll have a lot of great family time.  

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Love. . . . .

I love that my oldest is so excited to go to school every morning.

I love watching toddlers run.

I love how Ryann calls Mary "Murry".

I love that the kids laugh at jokes now.

I love that my kids still cuddle with me.

I secretly love it when my kids get into things.

 I love that my mom is our go-to babysitter.

I love finding my kids cuddled up together.

Birthday time

I have been really getting into making birthday cakes for the kiddo's.  Its getting way to expensive to buy them even at the grocery store!  A friend of ours did a dump truck cake for their youngest last summer.  And Weston was in love with it.  So here is the cake and some other pics.

He was so excited to open presents!