Monday, February 28, 2011

Couponing experiment

I stumbled upon a tv show about extreme couponers and was about to change the channel when this lady bought $600 worth of groceries and after coupons only paid $2.  My jaw hit the floor and I was mesmerized.  And so began my wild hair to try using coupons.  (This is what daytime television has turned me into!)  Now I didn't plan to go dumpster diving for coupons like one lady does.  Or walk 7 miles each day picking up coupons from my neighbors.  My goal was simply to use one coupon.  I've never bothered with coupons because I figured I wouldn't remember to use them.  So I figured it would be wise to start small. 

Except...I'm never one to start small.

One coupon turned into an envelope full of them.  My rule was to only clip a coupon for things we would have already planned to purchase.  But I'll be darned if Proctor & Gamble wasn't sending out their coupon circular this week.  I have no idea how often this happens but the timing was perfect.  And many retailers were running sales and additional coupons for P&G products to coincide with their circular.  That meant that I would have a sale price, retailer coupon and manufacturer coupon for some items.  That's like the Holy Grail of couponing!  Or so I'm guessing.

Long story short, I went to the store today with my detailed list and my envelope of coupons.  The result?  (Drum roll please...)  I saved over $75 between manufacturer coupons ($20) and retailer coupons/club discounts ($55).  That was 23% of the total.  Not too shabby!  My big learning is to indicate the coupon details on my shopping list - size of package, item limit, etc.  The list is really the key, then all you have to do is hand the pile of coupons to the cashier and watch the total chip away.

It wasn't really that difficult but if I'm honest, I'm not sure if I'll keep this up once I go back to work.  That's the way my wild hairs have historically worked.  In the meanwhile, I'm looking forward to receiving the coupons in the Food Day tomorrow.  And hopefully the bigger lesson of stocking up on sale items sticks. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Kid's First Concert

Rachel from Signing Time is a star in our house so we are jumping at the chance to see her live in Portland!  Jeff was shocked when I told him VIP tickets were only $20 for adults.  Clearly Rachel's fame is not as widespread as it should be.  A VIP ticket earns us early entrance for better seats and the chance to actually meet Rachel.  I only hope Ian will be as excited as I am.  And that the risk of skipping a nap does not impact our fun...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Practice makes perfect

I've always like to bake but haven't really had the time.  With a back-to-back sabbatical and paternity leave, I've had the luxury of baking lots of cakes.  And by lots, I mean 4.  Considering I do the baking and decorating while Ian is sleeping, I think 4 is a lot.  I could bake while he is awake but then I have to listen to him say "whatcha making mommy" and "want some" about a billion times.  It's just not worth it.  What I've ultimately discovered is that I enjoy trying new recipes and am pretty darn good at baking.  But on the decorating side, I'm just ok.  I need to spend more time smoothing the icing and such to ensure a better outcome.  And I probably need some tools.  I love the process though and I think with practice I will be much better.  I'm looking forward to more excuses to practice! 

Ian's birthday cake:  dark chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and fondant dessert decorations (cake and icing are my go-to recipes)

Ian's other birthday cake:  chocolate cake with candy bar filling and chocolate buttercream icing (DELICIOUS!!!)

Our friend Bethany's first birthday cake:  cookies and cream cake with buttercream Oreo filling and vanilla buttercream icing and cake ball bee

Valentine's cake (per Jeff's request):  chocolate cake with fleur de sel caramel filling and ganache icing (the ganache wasn't sweet enough for me so I would leave it in the filling and sub chocolate buttercream for the icing)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Changing my mind

As is my prerogative, I've changed my mind.  I decided the family blog was better for pictures and I'd keep this site for the random update about well, anything I want (although I've been terrible at that). 

We've been home for a little over 2 weeks and this is the first week that we have nothing on the calendar.  Visiting friends have been wonderful but we were at the doctor's office every other day for a while there not to mention the lawyer and adoption agency.  So it's nice to have some quiet time.  (Any friends who want to come visit are always welcome!  Ian loves the entertainment, I think we're becoming quite boring.)  And we're slowly but surely starting to get more sleep as Calla begins to settle into some semblance of a routine.  If you call sleeping all the time and eating every 3 hours a routine.  So the next goal will be to start potty training Ian.  Wish us luck!

My life is all about bottles and books and naps and playing right now.  And I've got to say, I'm enjoying it.  I don't miss work much...yet.  Hopefully I'm starting to miss it right around the time I return. 

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