Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Preemies Galore... #1

     I've never sat down to write the birth story for any of my 5 children, and I guess that's as good a reason as any to do so.  While each baby has their own individual birth story, each Mother has their own birthing history.  Varying pain levels, lengths of laboring, "war stories", birth methods, and other details lead us down incredibly different paths to arrive at one amazing location: Mother-ville.

     I feel blessed to have experienced pregnancy as a few different people.  Meg came along when I was 22-23 and had NO clue about much of anything... even though I strongly believed otherwise.  The 2nd wasn't too far behind, and at the age of 25, I had Emily.  We were very poor, very unhappy as a couple (on the verge of divorce... our marriage was over shortly after), and very stressed out.  I was a totally different Mom to those two toddlers than I was several years later when Elle came into the world shortly after I turned 31.  I had grown up a LOT in the five years between their births and Motherhood was very different this time around.  3 years later, Abby was born... only to be followed by my son, Lars, just 11 months and 11 days after her birth date. 

     Five children in 11 years time is no award winning feat as many Moms do that (and more) in much shorter time spans...  but it always makes me stop for a moment when I realize how different I was with the birth of each baby. 

    In spite of all the differences, each pregnancy shared one common theme:  BEDREST. 

    I inherited some not-so-wonderful pregnancy genes, and ended up with horrible morning sickness, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia early on each time.  Before I even knew I was pregnant, I was hospitalized for dehydration due to what was believed to be the longest bout of influenza ever had.  Wake up, and throw up.  Have a glass of juice and throw up. 10-12 times a day... throw up.  After a week or longer of this, I ended up in the hospital with an IV for fluids.  Several hours later, and some wonderful nausea meds later, life was looking up a little.  I remember being asked if I could be pregnant and more specifically, remember answering "NO".  As mentioned earlier, I really had NO clue - and being I hadn't been using ANY protection for several months, there really isn't a good reason for that answer.  The nurse was apparently used to dealing with idiots like myself and suggested a test.  Positive.  Huh...  who new?!?!?

    From that day on, most of the time was spent in the bathroom with several nice breaks of hospitalization for Hyperemesis Gravidarium.  Which is a nice way of saying "You're gonna puke your brains out until you can't walk yourself out of the bathroom anymore".  It wasn't pretty. 

    As if that weren't enough, with Meg, it was at about 20 weeks when I was made to drink that horribly sweet fizzy drink they fed us pregnant girls to check for diabetes.  It seemed rather strange to me as they were in a sense saying, "Here, drink this, and if you have a bad reaction, we'll know something's up"...  Something was always up for me, and this time was no different.  They suggested a diet low in carbs yet high in fat.  Since I was still not keeping much of anything down, I took Snickers motto - Packed with peanuts, it really satisfies" - to heart.  Peanuts were very low carb... and I was technically only renting the food for 10-15 minutes at a time before it was being sent back.  

    My doctor (Dr. L)  had a terrible sense of humor and didn't really like me much.  I could tell.  He assigned me a home health nurse to come check on me DAILY from about week 24 and on.  We settled into a nice routine that went something like this:  She'd come over to check on me and I'd end up back in the hospital for a couple days until my blood sugars and blood pressure was better.  I'd go back home, she'd come over the following day, and then we'd rinse, lather & repeat.  

    One very specific memory is of an afternoon somewhere around week 30 when I was laying on a hospital bed out in the hallway near the nurses station as I waited to be taken down for ultrasound #658 (or so it seemed).  Dr. L happened to watch as I sat up to take a drink of my water and I was SCREAMED AT by him to "GET BACK ON YOUR LEFT SIDE NOW!!!!"...   He's lucky that 37 year old me wasn't there that day - and I'm probably lucky he was there... so I figure we're all even for now :) 

    Bouncing in and out of the hospital ended around week 31 when nothing helped to keep my blood pressure down any longer.  Truth be told, I felt better than I had in months.  I was only sick a few times a day by then... and thought I had lots of energy  (turns out that really high blood pressure makes ya jittery and I mistook it for energy!).  It was a few days before Easter that year when they announced that I was "in" for the duration.  Could be a few weeks, could be a couple months... and I wasn't getting out early regardless of how good I was.

    I was crushed.   

    The days were spent in a dark room (light raised my blood pressure) on my left side (right side raised my blood pressure).  I couldn't watch tv (it raised my blood pressure) and visitors were 1 a day for 15 minutes (people raised my blood pressure too).  I could shower every 3rd day... but was allowed to pee freely! 

    Easter passed - and as a gift, Dr. L decided it was time for me to try out Magnesium Sulfate.  Now - for those of you who know this drug, you won't even need to read the following description.  You'll just close your eyes, and say a prayer for all the other women out there suffering from it at this moment!  Mag Sulfate is the DEVIL! (I love The Waterboy!).  This stuff slows you down.  It slows your thinking and your reflexes and your ability to open your eyes.  It gives you a headache that just won't go away, but you really don't care too much because you can't focus on anything for more than 2 seconds at a time.  You're in a grey-zone.  You sleep... you drift in and out.  Food doesn't taste.  Conversation is impossible.  Opening your eyes becomes the biggest chore of the day and when you DO finally open them, it's not very far and not for very long because your head is all fuzzy and swollen-feeling... and it's just not very good.  It's the Roofie of pregnancy - and I there are only a handful of women I'd wish this stuff on! 

    BUT - apparently, Magnesium Sulfate kept that baby cookin' awhile longer and that's what it's there for so THANK GOD for it.  Right? 

    On April 28th, I woke up (as much as I could) to my nurse dragging in the scale.  It was the fun part of my day... seeing how much fatter I had gotten from the day before.  Sometimes I'd race my stretchmarks to see which was getting closest to my boobs... sometimes I'd forget :)  This particular morning, she got all excited when she charted my weight gain:  11 lbs since the morning before.  She got me back in bed immediately, said Dr. L would be right in - and that this baby was likely being born today. 

    I'm sure being so anxious had something to do with the high BP numbers (164/116) - but regardless of why they were high, they were high in spite of all the bedrest and meds.  Dr. L. had me in the OR within a couple hours time. 

    God wanted me to have the full effect of hell (being unwed and pregnant and all), so It took the anesthesiologist 3 pokes to get my spinal done and then I experienced vomiting non-stop on the OR table while my baby was being born.  There is something HUGELY unsettling about being cut wide open and having to throw up and the whole getting a spinal procedure was horrible enough that with my next three deliveries I BEGGED to be put to sleep (and only had that granted once!). 

 
    The actual surgery wasn't nearly as bad as my imagination had believed it would be.  Before they started cutting me open, they dipped a foam brush into cold water and ran it down my sides from my armpits to my groin.  I couldn't feel much of where they touched which told them it was okay to being.  When a mom has extremely high blood pressure and is having a cesarean done, it's customary to strap the Mom to the operating table (mine was at least 6" wide!!! LOL) - and then tilt them to their left side.  This was convenient when it was time to throw up. 

    After hearing the sound of someone, somewhere sucking up fluids - it dawned on me that they must have already started.  I felt no pain, very little pressure, and within minutes, the whole procedure became boring.  It seemed to take a long time, and I just wanted to be DONE.  God, having heard my prayers, gave me something new to focus on and made me colder and shakier than I had ever been before in my life.  The first heated blanket didn't help nor did the fourth or fifth. 


     Time passed a little more quickly however, and the next thing I knew, I was finally in the recovery room... throwing up in a whole new environment. 

    At 33 weeks, 5 days, Megan Noelle was born weighing 4 lbs 12 oz.  She was breathing on her own, but taken to the NICU immediatly and spent the following 2 weeks there.  I was taken to recovery where I continued to vomit, and then back to my room for the rest of the day.  My blood pressure was still so high they only finally allowed me to see her later that night when they wheeled my whole bed down to the NICU. 

    She was TINY - and I was so out of it (had to be on Mag Sulfate for 2 days after delivery).  She was still breathing on her own, but had help via CPAP.  Meg was dubbed as a "Feed & Grow"... meaning she only had to learn how to eat on her own and gain weight before they'd let her go home.  The down side of this is of course going home without a baby.  The silver lining to this is also going home without a baby.  Bedrest for 2+ months had taken it's toll.  2 weeks was a decent recovery time for myself and it was nice to spend each day next to her nursing and pumping and being her Mom.  It was also nice to get almost 2 solids weeks of sleeping through the night before she came home and put an immediate stop to almost ALL sleep :-) 


    
     About a week after she was born, I could fit into a pair of shoes - and a few days later my toes stopped feeling squishy.  I credit this to the gallons of milk I was producing each day - and to the wonderful people at Medela.  My cups runneth over and I believe I had over 100 8oz bags worth frozen by the time Meg came home.

 
     Life was good...  and little did I know - just really starting!

    

Monday, April 15, 2013

FREE 8-DAY FIT PACK!!! ($68 VALUE!!)


COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOAL TO BE ENTERED IN A DRAWING FOR A FREE 8-DAY FIT PACK OF ZIJA PRODUCTS.

VISIT:  www.LoseWeightWith.MyZija.com and register on my website for an additional entry into a SECOND drawing for yet ANOTHER FREE 8-DAY FIT PACK OF ZIJA PRODUCTS!!

I will take all comments & registrations through April 16th, 2013.

Winners will be announced on my blog on Wednesday April 17th by 4pm - and product will be shipped Wednesday as well!

FIT PACK INCLUDES:
8 Zija Drink Packets
8 XMam capsules
8 XMpm capsules
2 Premium Tea bags

Zija is made from organic Moringa Oleifera.

What is Moringa Oleifera?   Check out The Discovery Channel Documentary as well as the Dr. Oz SegmentJohn Hopkins University LOVES this stuff as well!!

Want to see MY weight loss results in just 90 days?  CLICK HERE   over 55 lbs!!!! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Goals (More Specifically - How I got back to being as fat as I used to think I was)

Willpower.  
One single word...
Yet it is SO big.  
Especially when you don't have it. 
I don't have it either. 
But today - I'm happy to say
I AM FINALLY AS FAT AS I USED TO THINK I WAS!!!








This is me on December 12th, 2012.   
I weighed... 
Uh...
Lets just say I was well over 200 lbs.  
Well.  Over.  
But not quite halfway to 300.   
Okay? 






This is me on March 11th, 2013. 
52.6 lbs less.
Seriously... 
I lost a WHOLE kindergartener worth of fat.  
In just under 90 days
(which isn't that impressive I guess)
Except for the past where I tell you
I HAVE ZERO WILLPOWER.  




     I'm a Mom to 5 kids - and have no time to count calories or work out.  I DID join Snap Fitness recently, and have gone 7 times total (in 6 weeks time)... which still sucks, but is better than before. 

     Before Christmas I saw a friend of mine was having some good results from a healthy weight loss plan called Zija .   It was less than a dinner out for Brandt and I - so I bought an 8-day sample pack.


     I thank GOD for that decision daily.


     By the end of the 1st DAY - I had more energy (NEVER anything jittery -  I just wanted to DO things... I felt good!) - and I had a much smaller appetite.  I simply wasn't hungry.


    This continued for all 8 days - and while I DID continue eating the foods I normally would have eaten - I stopped having cravings.  SERIOUSLY - they were gone within days.  I didn't want junkfood - and when I ate, I got full so much faster than normal. 

     Is it safe?   YES.    If you can eat food YOU CAN USE ZIJA PRODUCTS. 

     Zija is simply a nutritional weightloss program made from Moringa Oleifera.


     Moringa is a tree that grows in India.   John Hopkins University has done a TON of in depth research about moringa.  They love it.   The Discovery Channel has done a documentary on it.   More recently, Dr. Oz did a segment on his show. 

    Zija has literally PERFECTED Moringa.


     They DO NOT heat pasteurize it.  When you get it -  it's enzymatically alive.


     Moringa sold in stores comes in 400-600 mg capsules.  ONE DRINK MIX  (Xm+ or SmartMix) has approx 30 GRAMS of Moringa (meaning you'd need to take 50-75 capsules worth to equal this).


     Zija organically grows their Moringa.

     For weight loss - they have added some green coffee bean and dutch cocoa to help with fat burning, and have added sea kelp, ashwagandah, and gynema sylvestre to aide in appetite suppression (and LEMME TELL YA... IT WORKS!!!).   There is some natural plant derived caffeine in 2 of the products for those that want some extra energy (a little more than a cup of coffee's worth) - and THAT IS IT.

     NOTHING artificial.  NOTHING fake.  NOTHING bad.  

     Moringa has:
 92+ verifiable vitamins& minerals
46 anti-oxidents
36 anti-inflammatory properties
(have I mentioned the pain from my herniated discs is 90-95% GONE???)
ALL 9 essential amino acids
11 ADDITIONAL amino acids
AND MORE!!!

For $20 you can get an 8-day supply to try. 
PayPal your $20 and name/address to:  Cathy.Schmainda@gmail.com
OR call me!   612-282-2242.


If you want a whole month worth (which has a money back guarantee through Zija)
It's $200 for any of the packs (SuperMix, SmartMix, or XM+)
AND with this - THIS WEEK ONLY - you get a FREE 8-Day Supply either shipped to YOU or a FRIEND!!!

www.LoseWeightWith.myzija.com 







Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Zija




      Here I am on day 33 of a weight loss / nutrition program and have lost 20.6 lbs so far with ZERO effort on my behalf.  I have energy every single day - I'm NEVER hungry anymore - and I feel incredible despite still not making it to the gym.

      For those of you who don't want to know MY details - check out the links directly below.  If you want to know my story - keep on reading down below the links. 


 




The Discovery Channels video on WHY Moringa Oleifera is AMAZING.
90 verifiable vitamins & nurtients. 

     



Dr. Oz also RAVES about Moringa Oleifera...



      The mere fact that I've lasted 33 days at ANYTHING should speak volumes to you - unless, of course, you don't know how I've given up on every other weight loss plan/program/shake/drink/etc within a week or two tops.

     Maybe you don't know how this is at least the 5th or 6th thing I've tried to lose weight...  or know that I forgot to turn off AutoShip on the last program I used and ended up giving away $400+ worth of products because I could not gag down even one more shake or shot glass full nasty cleansing juice.  Maybe you don't understand how having to make 2 shakes a day could be too difficult for me to follow through with - and that when I could finally eat for a day or at least a meal, how 500-600 calories just wasn't gonna cut it.

     Maybe you don't know that in 2009 I herniated 2 discs and then re-injured them this fall and have been too scared to go to the gym... or that I've continued to pay for our membership month after month because I just knew that somehow, paying for it would motivate me to go.  HA!

     Maybe YOU have willpower and haven't ever chewed up an Oreo cookie and then spit it out into the sink JUST so you could taste it.

     As for me?  Notsomuch.  I have no willpower whatsoever.  Never have and probably never will.  While I don't consider myself lazy (We have 5 kids and own a business) I have issues with following through - and regularly will leave the kids folded laundry in nice neat piles on the washer/dryer instead of carrying them upstairs and putting them away.   I fail on so many levels (at least feel that I do) and any time I could spend working on growing my willpower (if this is even possible) is spent frantically looking for a child's shoe, or a hat every morning before we can leave the house for the day.  I digress - I'm a mess.

     So... longer story shorter, there I was - I had just gotten my Zija Fit Pack in the mail a few days earlier.  In a hurry I opened it, took out the contents - and opened up a pack containing the XMam capsules.  It was still before lunchtime - so I took one without reading anything on the box.  I went to work, accomplished quite a lot - then went home and cleaned both the little kids bedrooms.  Top to bottom.  Then I brought up the kids clothes and put them in their dressers.  We ate a late dinner because I simply can't multitask as well as everyone else - and at 9pm all the kids were asleep.




     For the next few days - I took an XMam capsule before noon each day.  I had energy ALL day long.  I'm not talking about jittery - coffee energy... but I just DID things I normally wouldn't do.  Mt. Laundry dwindled and I even took all 6 sets of bedding to the laundromat and washed it all at once.  I was SuperMom compared to normal.  That night, Brandt asked how my back was.  I told him it wasn't too bad.  I figured that all the moving around had probably loosened it up a little.  Besides, I was down 5.2 lbs and didn't really care about much else!



     I decided to order a months worth of the XMam capsules - and I finally got around to trying the drink packets that came with my Fit Pack.  There were 2 different drink packets.    XM+ and SmartMix. 
    



     Each morning for the next 8 days - in addition to using an XMam capsule before lunch, I mixed up a drink pack (tastes like mildly sweetened iced tea) and drank it before breakfast.   My back pain lessened each day - my energy level was still amazingly high - and I lost another 6 lbs for a total of 11.2 in 16 days.  I figured there HAD to be something to this and my back hurting less... and when I brought the info to my chiropractors, I was told that while it wasn't magic and certainly didn't put the cushioning back between my discs - it DID have some awesome anti-inflammatory properties.  This isn't a drug - it's nutrition... vitamins & nutrients.  It's safe - and I should keep on keeping on :-)

    As of this past Monday (Jan 7th, 2013) My back pain has been completely gone.  DAILY back pain that was a 6 to an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 was now gone.  And I had lost even more weight.  As of today... day 33, I'm down 20.6 lbs.  I don't get hungry at all.  In fact - the first thing EVERYONE else who has tried this (from me) has told me is that they have huge amounts of energy and they are NEVER hungry.   The next thing they tell me is that they're surprised at how good the drink packets taste.  I've had people RAVE about their backs (and other aches) hurting less and less...  I've had people lose 5 lbs in their first 2 days - and EVERYONE except the already skinny people has lost weight.  I can't say enough good stuff about it.

     It's the easiest thing I've ever done.  I mix up one drink packet with 12 oz water and a few ice cubes each morning and drink it.  Then I take an XMam capsule before I eat lunch, which makes me not want to eat lunch (although I've been starting to make myself eat in spite of not wanting to).  Occasionally, when I remember, I take an XMpm capsule before dinner... and sometimes I make a cup of Premium tea in the evening before bed.  The tea is a detoxifier - and MAN... ummmm.... it works.  I recommend you take it on a Friday so you can be home near the bathroom the following morning.  It gets better (likely because I'm cleaner) with each time I use it - so sticking close to home isn't a necessity so much anymore. 

     I am so thankful to have found Zija.  It's the easiest thing I've ever done to lose weight - and to become healthier.  In fact - I recently joined yet another gym and won't be paying for it without using my membership this time around.  I feel that good!  



     

    

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to save a TON of money on your Christmas





Had to start off with pictures of some cute kids :)


     We are a family of 8 in our home, with many many other people in our extended family and quite a few friends that we are so close to that we consider them family and celebrate the holidays with them.  At least once a week, it's normal for us to have 15-20 people in our home for dinner - and even more for Thanksgiving & Christmas.

     Now - those of you who know me, know I love Christmas.  It's magical for me... and it's my goal to make it magical for everyone around me.  It's truly a celebration of Jesus' birth, and is the time of year for family to be together and celebrate with one another.   I completely understand that some families don't celebrate with presents and gifts - and that is very much ok.  I'm not too keen on "presents".  Presents to me are generic.  It's giving someone something with no meaning behind it other than for them to have something they might like to unwrap.   A gift is so much more.

     A gift is something you've put thought into.  Something you may have made.  A scarf you knitted while praying for the recipient, hair clips you've made picking out the perfect colors for someone, personalized ornaments, or anything bought in a store that ties the gift giver and gift getter together... such as a wine bottle opener for a dear friend who is moving away after sharing many "wine nights" together.  I can't bring myself to give presents very often... and hate doing so.

    Being thrifty, frugal, cheap, etc - whatever you want to call it is as important to me year round as Christmas is to me this time of year.  With a little planning, some time spent scouring the internet for good deals, shopping clearance items in the off season, and FREEBIES - everything comes together nicely while I spend about 25% of what things normally cost.

     Here are a few tips:





*** FREE STUFF (Or almost free stuff). 
  
     It's everywhere all year long - you just have to find it.  This year, the Paper Coterie (www.papercoterie.com) had 2 offers for new/existing customers to get $40 worth of their products for FREE.  Their personalized photo journals are $18 each.  I uploaded a picture, added a cover caption for each of the 2 books I ordered - and it was just under $9 to have them shipped.  Then Brandt did the same.  For $18 in shipping, we got 4 GORGEOUS (Seriously - their products are VERY VERY high quality) personalized photo journals to give as 4 gifts.  This NORMALLY would have cost $90 to have purchased and had shipped.  We paid 20% of what it would normally cost.  $4.50 for a gift I am excited to give - and that the recipients will LOVE.

     Yesterday, a blogger, Heather at the EO gave away a $20 photo book from The Blurb to her first 50 commenters.  I was lucky and was one of them.  However - when I got to their website - they had such great deals on other items (50% off 2nd copies too!) that I ordered more photo gifts (like Instagram books, and Facebook picture books) for people too.  Watch blogs for giveaways on items that would make great gifts!!

     SWAGBUCKS  Use their site as your search engine - and earn swagbucks.  Which in turn can be redeemed for Amazon.com giftcards.  Which in turn can buy almost anything you need, want, or wish for to survive... including some awesome Christmas gifts that can be purchased during their Black Friday Deals Event or Cyber Week Deals Event...  I used Swagbucks casually this past year - and was able to redeem them for $225 in Amazon Giftcards.  I used that FREE $225 to buy over $750 worth of gifts during their Black Friday sales this past week.  Total NO-BRAINER.




*** MAKE STUFF  (It's MUCH easier than you think - and SO much better!!!)

             Handprints for Grandparents are an awesome gift... portrait ornaments are nearly free when you buy the ornaments after Christmas on clearance for the following years gifts.  I bought 4 boxes of picture ornaments (snowflakes) for $1.90 a box last year on clearance.  I snapped pictures of the kids in their Christmas clothes - popped them into the frames - and have 4 gifts to give to the grandparents and great grandparents for about $11 total.

          Name ornaments.  For $30 on ebay I was able to purchase a BUNCH of scrabble tiles and scrabble trays.  B cut the trays down to size for me - to fit 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words/names - and everyone got their own name + a couple of seasonal words (Hope, Joy, Love, Gift, Fir, Tree, Jesus, etc) for a gift.  I made 10+ gifts that everyone LOVED.  Some hot glue to secure the tiles to the boards, and a red ribbon glued behind the middle tile in a loop for hanging - and Voila!  Perfect gift!

     Bath Bombs:   For about $50, I was able to buy everything I needed to make a TON of homemade bath balls in some pretty incredible scents (epsom salts & essential oils are the 2 main ingredients - add a drop of food coloring for some beautiful colors).  Martha Stewart has an awesome recipe and guide on how to make these.  I made over 100 large bath balls, decorated some tins/jars to "wrap" them in - and had 15 + really REALLY nice gifts to give to some very deserving ladies who said these were better than any store bought bath balls they'd ever used.  

     Sugar Body Scrub:  For about $35, I bought everything needed to make these jars of body scrub in scents like Gingerbread, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Citrus & Basil Lemon.  It's just sugar, coconut oil, essential oil(s),  a pretty jar with a printable label for the lid, and a ribbon to finish it.  Package it inside a box with some tissue paper and wrap it nicely - and for about $2.50 each, you have a $20 gift to give.

     Scarves:   For $10 at Walmart, you can buy a circle knitter (which is re-used for each scarf) - and for $6 more you can buy enough yard to make a gorgeous scarf for someone.  $6 for a homemade scarf is a GREAT deal.  Add a nice card - pray for the person while you make it - and you have a gift anyone would love to receive.

     Holiday treats:   Bake some cookies or some fudge.  Go to your thrift store and buy all the old metal tins you can find (ya know - the ones some cookies come in).  Buy some beautiful holiday colored spray paint and paint the tins.  Buy a paper doily, and paint a 2nd color over the tin through the doily (OR leave it just a solid color or use some Holiday rub-on decals).  Package cookies inside wrapped in tissue paper or wax paper...  you have a beautiful handmade, homecooked gift for less than a few bucks each. 
     







*** SHOP WISELY:  Clearance is your friend!!!

     I shop clearance year round for stocking stuffers - and gifts too.  Target has a wonderful after the Holidays toy clearance.  We're talking 70% off!!!  I buy much of the kids clothes a year ahead in the off season - just find the clearance rack, and buy a size or two bigger than your kids are now.  Next year - those $3.50 Christmas PJ's will fit them - and you'll save yourself some money!

     Each year, everyone gets a pair of Christmas socks in their stocking - and we take a picture of our feet all lined up.   These socks are just over $1-2 on clearance and are normally $5-10.

     Even if it's not for Christmas - it's a good idea to stock up on Birthday presents when you can.  Each of my kids get invited to a few parties throughout the year - and it's so nice to pull out a $5 gift when the time comes than go shopping and pay $25+ for one.   

     Restaurant Gift Cards ROCK this time of year.  So many places offer you an extra $25 if you buy $100 of their giftcards.  I gladly do this for places we typically eat out at.  It's like feeding the 3 little kids for free!   Restaurant.com has some wonderful deals (literally $5 for $50) too - just read the fine print... sometimes you can only use them on certain days - or have to spend a certain amount.  I've used their gift cards several times with no issues and LOVE them!

     Groupon has wonderful deals too - Just pick your city/state - and you'll get some awesome bargains!  Yesterday - I bought an indoor waterpark pass for $10 that's normally $35... VERY cheap entertainment for our larger family!  I've purchased Pumpkin Patch tickets for less than 50% off there too...  I check it daily to see if there is anything ridiculously cheap that I'd use.


     Zulilly.  If you're a mom - check this out.  I've clothed my kids with their unbelievable bargains for the past several years.  I bought this years Christmas clothes there for UNDER $30 total for the 3 little kids.  It would have been almost $100 had I bought them through another store.  Zulilly also carries many many other items besides clothing for kids.  I've brand name clothes for our whole family, shoes, boots, Christmas decor, household items and MUCH more for 60-80% off.







WHEN IN DOUBT - Stuff a Stocking!

     Anyone who spend any part of Christmas with us, gets a stocking to open.  Stockings can be bought for $0.50 to $5.00 each after Christmas on clearance.  I always keep a handful of the $0.50 ones.  Personalize them with some Elmers glue and glitter - and stuff away!   With what?

     Gum, Candy, Candles, Handsoaps (trust me on this one -nobody can tell the difference from clearance Christmas hand soap from Bath & Body works even if it's a year old!), fishing lures, nail polish, nail polish remover, matchbox cars, a bottle of microbrew/imported beer, single serving bottles of liquor - coloring books, crayons, and SO SO SO much more... 

     It's really simple to make a stocking for someone... to personalize it or tailor it to their liking - and finding stocking stuffers on clearance year round is a cinch.  Anything small enough to fit in a stocking is fair game!  I typically keep a large laundry basket FULL of stuff I've found on hand and can almost always find a stocking for it to fill!



I hope this helps!  I'll be posting again tomorrow with a MASSIVE Stocking Stuffer list sorted by whose stocking you'd put it in!   
    
    


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

As Random As Can Be...

I FINALLY made time to take the little girls Christmas pictures for our Christmas cards that I WILL get out this year!  For those of you who know me, you'll remember that in the past my good intentions haven't always helped much.  I've even gone so far as to order the cards, address the cards, STAMP the cards, and procrastinate my way out of mailing them.   YAY me!  It takes talent to be THAT absent-minded :)







     It's deer hunting opener (gun season) here this coming weekend.  Brandt & Dad will hopefully  each come home with a big buck!

     I can't EVER walk past the snow-globes without shaking at least one of them.  I reminded myself of this today at Target.


     The girls BOTH went to the schools first dance this past Friday night with their friends.  Can you tell it was an Eighties dance theme?  

    


     It's hard to believe this picture was taken exactly 7 years ago... I can't believe how much they have changed... 

    

     There are LESS than 60 days before Christmas!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm BAAAAAACKKKKKK :)

     I have to admit, in real life, I'm the friend who will send you a card a day the week of your birthday, pick out a wonderful gift for you, make you a fabulous birthday dinner... and then proceed to disappear off the face of the earth for the next 4 days not returning any text messages, e-mails, or phone calls.  I'm that girl. 

     It's never because I'm angry or upset about anything - but most likely have just gotten busy (busier) with life and children and work and crafting and most recently wrapping Christmas gifts.  So please use this as an excuse for my not-so-current-blog if you will.


     We've been taking pictures and more pictures and then for good measure even more pictures. 




      Then we napped.  Though not enough in my opinion.



    

     We had our first day of Kindergarten.




     We've been crafting everything from camera strap covers to HERDS of wine-cork reindeer ornaments to cinnamon scented wax dipped pine-cones... and hair clips, and lit garland, and wreaths, and a dozen other different kinds of ornaments...

    


     We've been busy.  In a good, it's almost the Holiday Season kinda way.  

And we've been dreaming of what we'd like for Christmas.

Newer, longer pants are definitely on the list!




And we've been taking some time to have a relaxing bonfires with friends & family.



So while we're preoccupied with things like making cookies & chili & homemade bread...  I'm GOING to find time to write more often.  I promise!