Friday, April 22, 2011


I wanted to apologize for any and all typos in my previous post. It was written while on a double dose of painkillers.

I have been feeling an increase of pain this week. At my doctor's appointment yesterday the doctor told me that I have a bladder infection (other than that, however, he said that I am healing very well and he is happy with my progression). I've been feeling the pain of surgery but now I have the pain from the infection, as well. I'm just hoping it doesn't repeat what happened after Finn's birth. I don't want another hospital adventure!

The doctor told me to take the pain medicine. Tonight I was really hurting so I took one and it didn't touch the pain. So the second did the job, but may have resulted in me missing lots of grammatical issues. :)

Thanks for your understanding.

A Mailbox Full of Free: AKA: I Heart Free Stuff...

I wanted to take a minute to share some helpful information with you all.

I have been couponing and entering blog giveaways for 6 months now (thank you Amanda :) ). I don't have a complete breakdown of my savings in that time, but last month I saved $372.31. So using that figure, I've saved $2233.86 since November. Not too shabby.

On top of the benefits of couponing, I've also reaped in the benefits of giveaways. I follow around 50 different blogs. When I say I follow them, I don't mean I go to each everyday. I subscribe to some with email and the rest are on Facebook. I check a couple a day, but don't spend more than about 20 to 30 minutes a day looking at them - unless I'm looking for specific deals. Well, on these sites I enter giveaways. Since November I have won around $400.00 in free stuff. Here's the rundown of my freebies:

  • An envelop of about 50 coupons
  • $50.00 GC to Dayspring (a motivational/spiritual online catalogue)
  • $100.00 in Hasbaro Toys - A playdough fun factory, an infant ball toy w/ gears - Finn LOVES it, and a small monster truck
  • $10.00 GC to Subway
  • $25.00 Visa GC
  • Dominoes Megablock Game (for Chloe)
  • The Hungry Caterpillar Hardback Book and Hungry Caterpillar Zoobie (like a pillow pet, but inside there's a blanket that zips in and out of the Zoobie - Finn ADORES the Zoobie and the blanket!)
  • A one year free membership to an online Cake "school". (A blog that trains you to make and decorate cakes - SUPER excited about this one. I love making cakes and this makes it seem like I can do the "hard" stuff
  • And most recently (today in fact) a $75.00 Gift Pack from HappyBaby (oraganic baby food products): includes a tote, bib, baby shirt, Dr. Sears book on nutrion, 3 canisters of baby cereal, 3 canisters of Baby Snacks (puffs). 2 Canisters Baby Snacks (wheels), 10 Pouches baby food - This one has me REALLY excited - Lots of free baby food - with the baby food I already have and the 5 coupons for Happy Baby products (FREE), I shouldn't have to buy baby food or baby snacks again. Now, just to get through the next 3-1/2 months and I'll be done with formula!
So, the moral of this story is: Enter giveaways! If you want a list of blogs that have good giveaways with good odds, let me know. I'm happy to share! Some have higher entries than others, so I pick and choose the ones I enter. Today, I entered 15 (this took about 15-20 minutes - would have gone quicker if I wasn't wresting with Finn at the same time!). I won the one. So, 20 minutes of "work" to get $75.00 in stuff for free...not too shabby!

I also take the time to do daily sweeps (also have a link I'm happy to share if you're interested). This takes me about 20-30 minutes to do a day (but I enter for Amanda at the same time)...I don't do this everyday, but when I do, I tend to do fairly well. I also sign up for Freebies on different websites. For example, in the past 2 weeks I have gotten a lot of my "winnings" in the mail (or through email). Here's a run down of what I've gotten in the last 2 weeks. 

  • A makeup bag from Target: (includes) $25.00 coupon book, chapstick, 2 shampoo samples, 1 conditioner sample and 1 lotion sample (Freebie)
  • A Pyrex pot holder (which I was excited about b/c I only have 2 - both of which were my parents and they've had as long as I can remember.) (Freebie)
  • Clinque Mascara (Giveaway on FB)
  • Free Halls Coupon (Sweeps)
  • Free Glade Coupon (Freebie)
  • $1.00 Check from Miller (beer) (Website signup)
  • Lipstick Sample (Freebie)
  • Sunkist Tuna Pouch Coupon (Giveaway on FB)
  • Mirilax (2 doses) (Freebie)
  • Dove Men's Deodorant and Bodywash (Freebie)
  • Degree Women's Deodorant (Freebie)
  • And a whole lot more (but I can't remember it all right now).
So all in all - I am thankful for Amanda showing me how to do this and thankful for the success I have had. I know this was a long post but I hope this encourages people to save money and get free things, as well. Even if you aren't interested in hardcore couponing, take a few minutes to explore the Giveaway, Freebies and Sweeps worlds! It's wonderful to have free things in your mailbox!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meal Plan

As much as I love to cook, one of my biggest weaknesses is opting for a trip to Taco Bell or Wendy's instead of cooking on nights I am tired. Although I was just slightly over my "budget" for eating out last month, I still spent more than I allotted us and I want to do something about it. 


I'm staring a meal plan and going to post it here to get some accountability. That way, when I want to go grab something fast, I think about having to tell my readers that I was weak. :)

So here's my current meal plan:

Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce with Ground Beef
Creamy Mustard Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes (haven't decided what I'm doing with the potatoes, but I have them. :) - I think this will be our Easter Meal. For dessert, I'm making a Lamb Cake.
Homemade Pizza with Mushrooms and Pepperoni
Modified Chicken Divan - John doesn't eat broccoli, so I'm substituting green beans or asparagus (haven't decided which yet. I'll wait to see what I'm feeling at the time). 
Cheesy Bacon Rollups

Do you have a favorite go-to recipe? I'd love to hear some of your favorites. I'm also looking for a new meal. Lately, I've been loving making Indian recipes (although none this week...). 

Ok, now I'm hungry. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Been a while...

Just wanted to add a little update.

Recovery is going pretty well. It still hurts to sit up, but not awful. I'm just taking the pain pills at night - that's when it hurts the worst. I have a follow up with the doctor on Thursday, so hoping all is going well.

I weighed myself today. I have lost a few more pounds. I'm not at a total loss of 7 lbs since I started all of this. I'd like to further along, but I'm happy that I'm making some progress. We'll see how things go after I start working out again - hopefully 4 more weeks!

I've been working consistently, making the money we need to get things accomplished. It's slow going to get out of the hole we've been in, but I think we're almost there.

I've been very patient with Chloe and Finn - for the most part. Some days are easier than others, but I'm happy with the progress I've made. It's helped a lot that bills are being paid on time and I'm not writing 10 a day - everyday.

Tomorrow starts our new attempt at potty training with Chloe. She is the most stubborn child. But starting tomorrow - no diapers. I told her she'll have one on for nap time and bed time, but during the day she has to wear panties. I told her that if she has an accident, she's cleaning it up. So I'm hoping this will work. We're starting with the "rubber" pants - the panties with the plastic outer so that she doesn't pee on the couch or rug. But if those don't work (b/c she treats them like a diaper), we'll try just panties. I'm going to give the rubber pants three or four days to see how it goes first.

Couponing has been great! The other day I got 1 can of Similac concentrate, 2 cans of powdered Goodstart, 1 loaf bread, 3 half gallons of milk and a pack of gum for $0.80!!! Today, I managed a trip with 5 12-packs of coke and coke zero, 1 box (bottle) of infant Advil, 1 easter basket, 1 pack of plastic easter eggs, 2 bottles of Bayer aspirin, 1 bottle Head and Shoulders shampoo, 1 bottle Head and Shoulders conditioner, 1 concentrate Similac & 2 cans of concentrate Enfamil. I spent $14.97!!!

And since I forgot to share. Last month I ended up spending $437.64 for $809.95 in merchandise!!! That's groceries and "stockpiling". A total savings of 54%!

We started planning our family vacation to go visit my parents in Florida. We're planning on 10 day trip in October with hopefully a few days spent in Greenville visiting our friends. We're planning on going over Halloween and taking the kids to Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween at Disney. Can't wait!

That's about it for now. I'll post again soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Very Productive

Over the weekend I was really sick. I don't know if it was the stomach flu or a result of the surgery, but I couldn't keep water down. This was really rough for me, especially since I really never throw up (this was the second time in the 7 years John and I have been together!) Yesterday, I wasn't throwing up, but I still felt pretty worn down. Finn ended up sick last night - running a fever, coughing and snotty, and then threw up like crazy. Today, he seems much better. I hope Chloe is able to avoid it.
But, no rest for the weary: I went back to work today. Got my 10 done PLUS an extra one this evening. I'd love to write a few more, but it hurts to much to sit up. Dragon is a great work tool, but with as out of it as I've been, when I lie down, I just want to go to sleep. So, for now, I have to sit up to work.
Proud of the extra one done. Now, time to rest a bit before turning in for the night.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Just a Quick Update

The surgery went well. The doctor said he thinks everything should be much better for me once I'm healed. The first day was rough, until they up'd the morphine dose. I was on a constant drip and a morphine button. Once doubled, there was no pain. Actually, yesterday, once they took the morphine away and switched me to the percocet, I didn't feel much of any pain. He said that was because the morphine took up th 24 hours to get out of my system. Today, is a completely different story. Lots of pain all day. I worked hard and got my 10 articles written. Now I"m lying on one side, with 2 painkillers, a motrin for swelling and a stomach pill. Hoping they all kick in and let me get a good nights sleep!
My wonderful inlaws have taken great care of the kids. They came home yesterday when I was released. But they went back tonight. John has to work in the early morning and I didn't think I could handle 4-5 hours alone with both the way I"m moving. Hopefully I'll be up for it on Sunday. Really don't want to keep sending them over, not fair to them and a handful for Mamaw and Papaw. Certainly don't want to take advantage of them. 
Well, on that note, I'm going to finish watching a show and then hopefully fall asleep. :) 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Here we go...

I woke up early this morning - 4 am - to get ready for the day ahead. We have to leave here by 6:30 to get the kids to Mamaw's and settled in and I have to be at the hospital by 7:15. I'm hoping to get a few extra articles done to lessen my work load next week. Although it's nice that my surgery was moved up twice, I'm not looking forward to waking the kids (more importantly Chloe) so early and trying to get her out of the door without a meltdown.
Those of you who know my surgery history know I'm a pro. But this one, it's got me nervous. I'm not sure if it's the idea of the whole thing, the pain or perhaps the fact that I'm going to have to take care of two kids afterwards. I think it also has to do with what happened in August. I know that was a fluke and the likelihood of that kind of infection caused by the same hospital a second time is slim to none, but that was the scariest thing I've ever been through.
Oh well, I know I be fine and by tomorrow evening, I'll be curled up on the couch with my babies, recooping. So, for the next little bit, I probably won't be up to too much updating. But, as soon as I have the energy, I'll be back to blogging...
Wish me luck!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rough Week

This week has been full of ups and downs. I haven't come close to meeting my writing goal any day this week, with the exception of today. I just finished my 8th article (and it's after 1 am). Hoping to get 10 tomorrow, but think I'll be happy with 8. We'll see how it goes...

My patience has been awful this week. Poor Chloe has been in trouble constantly. Today I felt like throwing in the towel and crawling under a blanket. But I made it through the day. I'm starting to think I need to go back on the anti-depressants the OB put me on for post-partum. I feel exactly like I did after Finn was born - out of control and depressed. Today, for example, I just felt defeated. We'll see. I hate to take pills if I don't have to and with surgery on Wednesday, I don't want to start anything immediately. Maybe after a few days of rest while recouping, I'll feel more like myself again.