It was my first major coupon expedition. I had been training for months. I had scoured bargain shopping websites and coupon databases. I took full advantage of my three computers when it came time to print coupons.
I don't know if my total balance would land me a spot on TV. But I had a huge mound of stuff in my cart, and there was a fair amount of sweat tripping down my neck, so... I think I'd qualify.
Four separate transactions.
Coupons used: 135
Items purchased: 220
Total value of coupons: $108.71
Total bonus coupons (Fry's made every coupon worth $1): $47.86
Total sale/coupon savings: $463.05
And...here's what I bought. We have toilet paper coming out our ears. Mostly stuff I buy anyway, plus a few new things I thought it would be fun to try, since they were really cheap, or free.
Brawny paper towels, 6-pack : 6
Angel Soft toilet paper, 4-pack: 6 (I hate this brand, but these were free)
Scott toilet paper, 16-pack: 3
Cottonelle toilet paper, 12-pack: 2
Kleenex boxes: 9
Pixy Stix Valentines, 32-pack: 2
Hefty Gallon Freezer bags: 2
Haribo gummy bears: 3 (free)
Orville Redinbacher popcorn, 3-pack: 2
Quacker snack size rice cakes: 4
Huggy baby wipes: 1
Powerade: 4 (free)
V8 Fusion juice: 4
Sunkist 2 liter: 1 (free)
Palmolive dish soap: 4
Softsoap refill: 2
Softsoap pump: 2
Gerber Graduates ravioli:6
Boost kids chocolate milk, 6-pack: 1
Betty Crocker Mac & Cheese:14
Red Baron pizza:12
Ronzoni veggie pasta: 8
Dole fruit cups, 6-pack: 4
Barilla pasta: 7
Starkist tuna creations:4
Wolf chili sauce: 2
Ragu sauce: 1
Franks Red Hot: 2
Kens Salad dressing: 2
Vlasic pickles: 2
Herdez salsa: 4
Del Monte canned veggies: 4
Minute Rice, brown: 5
Hanode brown rice: 3
Ortega green chiles: 4
Fiber One Protein cereal: 2
Kellog's Krave cereal: 3
Apple Jacks: 4
Duncan Hines frosting flavor packet: 1 (free)
Dole frozen instant smoothies: 6
Oscar Meyer Ham: 6
Frigo string cheese: 2
Yoplait Greek 100: 2
Yoplait yogurt cups: 24
I've put a lot of thought into this year's goals. I recently read The 7 Habits of Hightly Effective People (habits that Bree and Mason's charter school teaches), and it gave me some great insight into how to better prioritize and organize my life. So I'm "beginning with the end in mind" by thinking of what I want to be said about my life when all is said and done. I narrowed it down to 5 key roles/areas that are important to me, and I centered my goals around them. This year's list of "things" is not drastically different than those in the past, but I think that attaching them to principles that are important to me will be a great motivating factor. And I plan on finishing my 32 things by the actual end of my 32nd year: November 19th.
So here they are! My 5 areas, along with 32 color-coded things to do in my 32nd year:
It's New Year's Eve, Chad is at work, and the kids are asleep. I can see and hear the neighbor's fireworks through our upper windows. I didn't have the energy for a New Year's Eve "party" with the kids this year. So here I am with my mug of cocoa and my laptop. Party of one. Time to look back and look forward.
I'm chalking this year up to a lack of focus. I was busy, but didn't
always choose the best things to be busy with. Moving was stressful for
me, and threw a wrench in some of my goals for my 31st year, and I had to change a few of them to accommodate unforeseen issues. But I have
discovered that I am totally okay with not having done several of the 31
things on my list. It's been good to evaluate and re-evaluate. And the 22 things I did accomplish feel good.
Organize my recipe binder
Make ricotta cheese Attempted and failed. That counts right?
Make a pumpkin roll I made one for Chad's birthday. It got a bit dried out. Oh well. Next time.
Give sweet rolls to someone I dropped some off with a new family in our neighborhood. I had never met her. She and her husband looked very confused. I felt like a crazy person.
Finish 2011 blog book
Reupholster dining chairs
Organize and consolidate my old half-filled, half-finished scrapbooks
Assemble bug-out bags for the family (extreme 72-hour kits)
Index 20 names a month, for a total of 240 names
Attend the temple or Family History Center at least eight times (I honestly lost count here. I know I didn't make it eight times, but I came close.)
Reconcile my parents' books of remembrance with familysearch.org What a cool website.
Read the Book of Mormon
Establish a chore routine for the kids, with allowance Need to revisit this one. It got established...and then forgotten.
Take the family hiking (So easy to do. We are so lame.)
Go camping in a place we've never been (We're a little farther from campgrounds now. We'll have to get creative.)
Establish a daily schedule for the family, including home-school, preschool, and therapy
Play 12 different board games with my family (Made a valiant effort here. We played Dora the Explorer Memory, Dinosaur Train Make a Match, Candy Land, Yatzee, Disney Trivia, Up-Words, Skip-Bo, Big Picture Apples to Apples. We probably played Sorry! too, but I couldn't remember if that was with Chad or not, so it doesn't count. The family got a few new games for Christmas, so we're going to keep working on this one.)
Go to a baseball game with Chad
Remain at or under my goal weight for longer than one month (Ha! I still haven't gotten back to what I was in January.)
Do 20 real pushups with good form (I think the best I did was 15)
Learn to draw a cartoon person, worthy of a children's book illustration (nope.)
Finish painting Christmas village
Read 52 books (I got to 49. So close. I definitely need to watch less TV.)
Watch a documentary I watched "The Perfect Human Diet" which was interesting, but not necessarily credible. I started watching "The Dust Bowl" but it was taken off Amazon Prime after I watched the first hour. I would have much preferred it.
No TV or movies for one week I did this at the beginning of November, and it was a great week. I got stuff done around the house, and I finished my 2011 blog book. More importantly, I reevaluated the shows I had been watching on a weekly basis, and decided that 90% of them were not worthy of watching. So my Hulu queue has undergone a major overhaul. No more Vampire Diaries or Bachelor. I'm keeping Master Chef, because, you know, cooking is a vital part of motherhood. And Bob's Burgers...don't ask.
Eat Brazilian food Brazilian steak house. Pretty sure this is not how your average Brazilian eats, but nevertheless delicious.
Send flowers to someone In this day of emails and texts, there is nothing like an actual IRL bouquet of flowers on your doorstep.
I was doing just fine with my dumb phone, thank you very much. But I was fed up with our contract and its ridiculous price--especially considering that I was paying extra for a measly 250 texts a month. So I shopped around for a new phone provider, and I found a no-contract plan with better features for much less than we were currently paying. And then I realized that I could get a smart phone for just a little more. So, when I saw a Black Friday ad with a Samsung smart phone for $29, I jumped at the chance.
And I still can't get over how many possibilities can fit in the palm of my hand. For instance, I can take pictures...and then actually do something with them! Like, I can take them off my phone! Put them in my computer! Amazing.
So, without further ado, my first phone photo collage:
1. We got a new food place around the corner. Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. Literally around the corner. As in 0.6 miles away from our front door. Dangerously close. And yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.
2. Can you have a favorite child? Yes. Bree is my favorite child when it comes to shopping. Lincoln is my favorite when it's time to snuggle. Mason has my favorite impish grin. He's my favorite when it's time for homework (he's really smart)...he's also my least favorite when it comes to homework (he is SO easily distracted). He's my favorite for pure energy and enthusiasm. Aaaand he's my least favorite when it comes time to deal with bugs (the kid screams like a little girl about to be murdered...unless it's just a regular fly...he has no problem catching those...weird).
3. Our first Christmas in our new home. The tree is my favorite--an eclectic mix of homemade ornaments, mementos from vacations and life events, and cheap unbreakable stuff from the dollar store. It became clear very quickly after we decorated the house this year that we need a whole lot more Christmas stuff to fill up our bigger home
4. Chad and I bought little ceramic houses at Walmart waaaay back when we didn't have kids yet. And we painted them together. Over the years we've added a few more to our town, but the painting kept getting put off (because, by this time, we had kids). I finally finished the last house this year. Actually this little town might tie with our tree for our favorite Christmas decoration.
5. Mason probably wrote and mailed 5 letters to Santa this year. All on his own. I convinced him that letters to Santa are given a postal exemption, and therefore don't need stamps. Most of his letters were sealed before I had a chance to read them. But I am so glad I got to see this one. "I WONT A INDE ANAJONES LEGO SET"
6. Lincoln keeps surprising me with what he can get himself into--and how quickly he gets there. Of course, if sugar is involved, he is very resourceful. He is in a stage where I frequently find myself feeling proud and terrified at the same time."Wow, you climbed on the counter! (Awesome gross motor skills!) But you shouldn't do that, because then when you fall and hit your chin we have to go to the doctor and you get three stitches!" (That visit was fun: trying to entertain him with a smart phone video while the assistant held his head "still" and the doc tried his best to put those stitches in...all three of us sweating profusely).
7. My mom gave Bree and Mason subscriptions to Highlights and High Five magazines. They loved the calendars that came with them. We spent a long time putting all the holiday stickers on the correct dates.
8. Gingerbread houses 2013. Bree designed this one, and I helped her with the frosting. And now that we have a kitchen island, we actually got to display them nicely, instead of shoving them on top of our refrigerator to get them out of the way.
9. I admit that when I took this picture I was trying to channel another blogger who frequently posts pictures of her stockings/shoes which always reflect the season/mood of the particular post. This particular sock/shoe combo not only imbued a holiday spirit to our outing that day, but it included the bonus of me getting asked if I was a Bass Pro Shop employee (to be fair, I was wearing a green Christmas shirt as well, and was standing next to the carousel in the Winter Wonderland).
10. Aaah, the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights. We went last year, and I loved it. The lights were gorgeous, there was a great spirit, we stopped to listen to the message being played through hidden speakers, and I took some great photos. This year...we made the grave mistake of going on a Saturday. It was. So. Crowded. It was impossible to enjoy it. But I did get a couple decent photos without throngs of people in the frame. Still gorgeous. But we won't make that mistake again.
11 & 12. Mason and Bree did a decent job of wrapping their own gifts this year. Bree didn't need any of my help. And I assisted Mason a little. That kid gives up easily on certain tasks, but the excitement of the presents kept him going surprisingly well.
13 & 14. Since we were going to be spending Christmas day at my parents' house, Bree and Mason opened their gifts from Grandma and Papa Wallace before we left. Mason got the whole set of Ninja Turtles and Shredder. Bree got a grown-up purse and some shelves for all the nick nacks in her room (she seriously channels an 70-year-old woman).
15. Laundry is a bi-weekly chore now. We got away with doing all our laundry once a week for quite a while. No more. I think it was the kids school uniforms that sent us over the edge. Chad always helps with the chore. His location preferences for folding vary, and on this particular day the spread was quite impressive.
16 & 17. Ok, so first Freddy's opened up, and then this? Right around the corner! Donuts are one of my favorite food groups. On this particular day I treated myself to a cheesecake filled, double-chocolate topped one.
18. There's no real explanation for this photo other than it was cracking me up watching Lincoln chasing the chin strap of this hat with his tongue. Totally counts as speech therapy, right?
I continue to work on figuring out my camera phone. Sometimes the pictures turn out great, and sometimes they're blurry beyond all recognition. Not sure if I'll relegate them to their own unique posts (like this one), or mix them in with the others. Time will tell.
But I do know one thing: I love being in the Smart Club.
Arizona. My beloved home for the last 8 years.
Baking. It's an obsession.
Cupcakes. Mine are delicious.
Dust mites. I am severely allergic to them. And grasses and trees.
Eating. Clearly I am a big fan.
Friends. I am realizing that I need to feel like I am friends with everyone around me.
Games. I enjoy board games. Especially word-centered ones.
Habits. I have a few bad ones, including biting my cuticles.
Interests. I have a lot of them. There is never enough time for all of them.
Jewelry. I love fashion jewelry, the fun trendy kind.
Kids. I adore mine. Other peoples' can be okay too.
Laugh. If I do it hard enough, I snort.
Movies. I love them. I own a lot of them. I use any excuse to watch them.
Nine hours. That's how much sleep I need every night. How I wish I was a seven-hour person.
Opera. Sometimes I sing really loud at home. Opera style.
Perfectionist. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. But having small kids has mellowed me.
Quietude. It has become a rare and highly valued commodity.
Reading. I make time for it.
Sunshine. I require a daily dose to feel happy.
Tea parties. I don't drink tea, but I love the idea of tea time with cute cups and tiny sandwiches.
Undershirts. Layering tees and tanks under my clothes really bugs me, but sometimes it's a necessary evil.
Vacations. If I had more money, this is where I would spend it.
Water. I carry a stainless steel bottle of water with me wherever I go.
eXotic locations. I drool over travel brochures.
Yawning. When I'm sleepy, I yawn frequently and violently.
Zero. The number of pull-ups I can do. Sigh.