Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crazy Couponing

So, what's been new with me? Couponing, that's what!

Albertson's does something called Twice the Value (TTV) coupons. These allow you to double the value of a coupon up to $1. Ie. a $1 off of Life cereal coupon becomes a $2 off of Life cereal coupon with the TTV coupon. This is one of the ways that "Crazy Couponers" are getting things for free. And I gotta tell you, it's sort of amazing and addictive! Last weekend I got Ronzoni pasta for .25cents a box and Bullseye BBQ sauce for .29 cents each. I got 3 Twizzlers for free and I've now gotten about 40 boxes of Nature Valley granola bars for free and 9 gallons of free Darigold milk! I've gotten Herbal Essence shampoo and conditioner for .79cents each (full size) and 4 Skintimate Shaving Creams, large size, for .90 cents each. I've gotten Oreos and Ritz crackers for .99 cents, 30 bottles of Powerade Zero and Vitamin Water Zero for .18cents each, and Dove Men's Bar Soap 6ct for $2.99 (instead of $8!), to name a few.

It's pretty incredible when you ring up a ton of stuff and your total is only 70 cents! All that being said, it appears that Albertsons is changing their TTV distribution. In the past we've been able to get a stack from the store to make sure we have enough. I've read today that they will discontinue having them at the store and they will only be available in your newspaper. Yikes! You only get three TTV's per paper :( This sucks!
Here's an example of last Monday's shopping trip:

20 boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars
6 pack Dove Men's bar soap
4 gallons of Darigold Milk
Dial hand soap
3 Oreos
1 Ritz Cracker
1 Skintimate Shaving cream
Nalley Pickles
4 6-packs of Seneca no sugar added applesauce
12 pack mountain dew

Spent $25.62 on $131.46 of groceries!

nally pickles $1/1 (doubler and on sale), Seneca Apple sauce $1/2 (doubler and on sale), Dove Men's Soap $4/1 (also on sale), Dial hand soap $2/1, Nabisco snack items $1/2 (doubler and on sale), Skintimate Shave Cream .55/1 (doubler and on sale), Mountain Dew .55/1 (doubler and on sale). The Granola Bars were supposed to have a coupon in the Super Saver but mine didn't. BUT, there was a surprise Catalina! Buy 4 boxes of Nature Valley bars get $7 in Catalinas and a free milk! Woohoo!


Anyone have a couponing question? What is confusing you most? If I can't answer it, I'll work to find the answer!

Monday, June 27, 2011

We took Jacob to the pediatrician for his well child visit today. Overall he is healthy. It was a tad surprising to find out he is having a hard time seeing in one eye. His mom said he had eye insurance with her, so I'm a little befuddled as to why he never got glasses. We have a referral to an eye doctor for him because as it stands, he won't even be able to see the blackboard in class this fall. Poor kid.
He is 75% for height and 90% for weight, and that's after having lost nearly 12lbs in the 2 months he has been with us. She said to keep doing what we're doing; keeping him active, healthy meals, etc and his weight should continue to even out over time. There is a night and day difference from pics when he first got her until now. He looks so much leaner and healthier and not puffy like he was. He makes comments about his belly shrinking and feeling good about that :)

While at the dr's I had her look in Evie's ears and sure enough, another infection. It's only been 6 weeks since the last one :( Looks like both my girls will be having tubes done. The ped said Evie has the worst ears she's ever seen in a baby her age and especially one who is breastfeeding. Bummer.

We started Evie on some non-breastmilk food a few days ago. She gnawed on my watermelon on Father's Day and LOVED it. 3 days ago I gave her some pureed squash and she was digging it! She age a whole 2 ounces after just breastfeeding. Today she had some ham and wasn't a huge fan, but I'll keep trying. There is good research out about good first foods and I gotta tell you, cereal is not it! I chatted with the ped about it today and she agreed with this- Weston Price- Nourishing a Growing Baby .

PS. I know my blog sucks lately. I'm beyond tired, what can I say. lol

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Having a really crappy night. It's 1am and Evie is screaming her head off. She refuses to sleep. Every week I pray and hope that her sleepless ways will change and I might get to live my days with my brain intact again, but nope. She won't sleep. She won't nap other than 20 minute catnaps in the Ergo which are few and far between and the VERY occasional longer nap but only while I'm holding her. NEVER in her crib or the swing. She hardly sleeps at night either. I mean, come on, it's 1 AM Evie, go the freak to sleep! And Elly will be up in about 6 hours so my opportunity to get any sleep tonight is very quickly passing by.

Jacob is at a slumber party and Elly has been asleep for over 4 hours. I was looking forward to a Friday night with Craig, but that didn't happen either. He put Elly down for bed and left to chop and stack wood til the sun went down. I feel about as wanted and desirable as a dirty sock in the bottom of a gym bag right now.

About 3 minutes ago I put Evie in her crib. She's in her room screaming right now but I needed to put her down because I was getting too angry. Craig is passed out on the couch so it's just me and the frustration and exhaustion of having a 7 month old that doesn't sleep. I think it probably sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I wish I was. I can't find words when I'm talking sometimes, I forget to do things or call people, I'm irritable with Elly and Jacob; I'm just so freaking tired!

I'm not a fan of cuss words and particularly the F word, I think they are unclassy. But tonight I can really appreciate this book- http://www.amazon.com/Go-F-Sleep-Adam-Mansbach/dp/1617750255 .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Creamy Potato, Chicken, Corn Chowder

This is a meal I make fairly regularly. Very easy and inexpensive ingredients- just about everything is fresh and my family loves it! It also makes your house smell delish while it's cooking and serves great the next day as leftovers.

Diana's Potato, Chicken, and Corn Chowder for the Crockpot

1 sweet onion (vidalia, Maui sweet, or walla walla)
2 celery stalks
3 carrots
3-7 russet potatoes, not peeled (amount depends on the size of your crockpot)
2 Cups frozen corn
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tsp Better Than Bouillon low sodium chicken bouillon
3 Cups water


(that's a Reynold's crockpot liner, available at your local grocer)
Chop all fresh veggies and add to crockpot. Add frozen corn. Add seasonings, bouillon, and water, no need to stir. Cover with lid and turn crockpot to low heat for 3 hours. At 3 hours stir the soup and turn to high. Check soup after 1 hour to see if it's done, but it'll probably need another hour or so. You'll know by checking the onion and potato. To cook only on low you could probably leave it for 6 or 7 hours just fine.
>While the soup is cooking there is some prep for later (or do this ahead of time if you are heading out the door to work).
1)Cook until crispy 4 slices of bacon. The crispier the better so it won't get soggy later. Chop up the bacon and set aside.
2) Place 2 chicken breasts ( 3 or 4 if they are small) in an oven safe container. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Bake @ 350 for 20-30 minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Allow to cool then chop in bite size pieces. Set aside.

Once the soup is just about done or ready to be served it's time to make it chowder!
Add:
1 package (8oz) cream cheese
Milk- just enough to make it the thickness you desire. For thicker chowder, omit the milk.
Chopped bacon
Chopped roasted chicken


Mix all together and serve! But, before I serve I always do one last taste to see if it needs more salt or bouillon.
For garnish sprinkle parsley on top. I love to serve this with a Rosemary Bread :) Trader Joe's is super yummy.
(c) 2011 Diana Frazier

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chicken or Turkey Enchilada's, my mom's recipe

This is a super easy recipe. Freezes well, great to make for company, potlucks, etc.

2 C turkey or chicken, cooked and chopped. (To roast: place chicken breast on shallow baking sheet, sprinkle with EVOO, salt, and pepper and bake at 350degrees for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Allow to cool and then chop up.)
1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 pint (16oz) sour cream
4oz can chopped green chilies, undrained
1/4 C chopped onion
1 can sliced olives, drained
1 Cup + 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
1 package large flour tortillas (the bigger size is easier to work with)

Combine all except 1/2 C cheese and tortillas. Spread some across the bottom of a 9x13 pan, just to coat it. Roll up some of the mixture in each tortilla and then place the tortillas in the pan. Pour remaining mixture over the top and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 C cheese over the top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
*This is also yummy with sweet corn added in :)

I'll try to add a pic later after it's done baking.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

If only you had my view right now....I'm the luckiest girl. Evie, all 21lbs of her, is passed out on my lap. Her lips tend to open up as she sleeps and I can smell the faint scent of breastmilk from her mouth :) She is precious. When this happens (her falling asleep on me), as it does daily, I have 2 options- try to put her down and get things down or just relax and let her sleep. I've decided today to not fight it and just let her sleep on me. I get to Facebook, watch Rachel Ray, and the house will get cleaned....later.

Cloth diapering is going well. I have almost 40 diapers now. How did that happen? Ebay and amazing friends. Heather and Stephanie, you ladies rock! I can go at least 3 days without washing diapers and sometimes longer. I still love the Fuzzibunz and Goodmama's and I'm liking the Rumparoos also. I got my Sunbaby order last week and they are very cute and soft inside. However, Evie leaks in them. I change her and within an hour her pants are wet. Super annoying. I'm thinking I'll have to use 2 inserts in the Sunbabies unless I want to keep changing pants all day, which I don't.

There has been so much happening in life lately and it's sort of like I'm just hanging on for the ride! I am praying a lot and trying to step out in faith and make good decisions about things. I feel happy with myself to look at the me of 4 years ago and the me I am today and I know I've changed, grown, and matured as a person. Being a mother is a huge part of that. Now if only I had 5 minutes with my husband with no kids...that would be nice! Evie is 6 1/2 months. Guess how long it's been since we had a date??? Ding ding ding, you have answered correct! Over 6 1/2 months! lol

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jack

This is my little sister and me the summer I met Craig. I was 21 :) Oh to look like that again and to be able to wear a halter without a bra- lol!

Me and one of my besties...we were about 17.

That's me in the middle. I was about 19, on tour with the Continentals. We were somewhere in middle America in this picture in some funky old diner.


These days I feel like a Jack of All Trades, and not in a good way. Sort of like I do a million things and I don't do any of them excellently. Boo! I remember before kids and as busy as I thought I was, I wasn't really! I could shop or go for a run or spend 2 hours learning a new recipe or stay up til 4am reading and finishing an amazing book. I could curl my very fine but very thick hair for an hour and a half or dye my hair just cuz I was feeling bored (and I changed colors monthly!). I could experiment with makeup and try on 6 outfits to get it just right.  I had TIME. I could watch 4 seasons of Sex in the City (naughty me) in a row doing crunches and painting my nails during. These days my life is filled with meal making in hurry, nursing, laundry, diapers, cleaning, tidying up, running errands, and then POOF my day is over. There are times I miss the old me. I miss that I had time to really spend on myself and it showed. It makes me sad when I look at old pictures and remember what I used to look like and then I look in the mirror and feel really bummed. This is the "I've let myself go" stage and it sucks. I was wearing a size 6/8 when I met Craig, believe it or not. That size said goodbye years ago. What will it take to put more focus on me? I'm not really sure right now.

I make meals, but not the ones I want to make or the ones I wish I could take time to figure out or learn.

I clean, but never as much as I want or as deeply as I wish I had time for.

I put on clothes, but rarely an 'outfit'. It's just whatever is clean and easy for nursing and getting spit up on.

I feel stretched in a million directions and like I should be able to balance it all better and give more to each of my kids, my husband, and still give more to me. But I only have so many minutes and I only have so much energy.

Do all moms struggle with this? I think they must.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Big Changes

Wow, life has been busy and it's not even officially summer yet! The three kids keep me busy from 7am to 9pm and then I have a few hours to watch TV/google/birth group chat/coupon research/etc with Evie passed out on me.

Evangeline is 6 months old. She is a very happy, smiley baby. She's 20lb15oz and 27 inches. That puts her at greater than the 97th percentile for weight and the 82nd percentile for height :) She is fat and happy with just mama's milk. I'm not sure when I'll start her on 'food' but for now we're doing just fine with breast milk only. I only wish she was a better sleeper. That is really my only complaint with her. Most days she doesn't sleep more than 20-30 minutes the entire day. She won't nap in a crib, won't nap in her swing, and will only fall asleep on me on or in the Ergo (which is still on me) and even then she doesn't sleep long. It's rather amazing how pleasant she is considering the major lack of sleep. It's mostly just hard as a mom when you honestly never get a break. At night she usually sleeps from 7:30-10 or 11 on me and then nurses and goes in her crib and sleeps to anywhere from 3am-6am, then nurses again and gets up for the day at 6:30 or 7. I never even knew a 6 month old could go 12 hours without a real nap. It's craziness!

She is doing great in her cloth diapers. I am still waiting on my Sunbaby Diapers shipment so for now I'm doing laundry every other day. Once I have the Sunbaby's and a package a friend is sending me (whoop whoop Heather!) I should be able to go 3 or 4 days easily :) That'll be fabulous! The Fuzzibuns have been wonderfully easy and we haven't had any leakage. One time I forgot to change her for several hours and she leaked a little but that was my fault. At night I double stuff her Fuzzibunz (2 inserts) and she's fine in the morning. I love the look and feel of cloth diapers and I can't believe I never did this earlier!

There have been some major changes in the Frazier household over the past week and that's what has kept me off my blog, sorry about that!
Jacob has been staying with us since the night before Easter. He is a sweet, caring boy with a sense of humor, zest for life, and lots of energy! After about a month we started noticing that he really wanted to be here for school and to try things out here. He was making little comments here and there and if we'd try to ask him about it or talk with him about things he'd just start crying and saying how much he loved his mom and that he didn't want to hurt her feelings. We were praying about things and trying to decide what to do. We didn't want to insult, hurt, or make his mom feel attacked, but yet we sensed in our hearts that it was maybe time for him to stay here for a little while. Our fear was that his mom would say no without event thinking about it, but we were really feeling a stirring in our hearts that I know was the Holy Spirit. I believe it was last Monday and Jacob seemed kind of down. I was in the living room with him and the girls and just started talking to him about things and he got very emotional. I could tell he was really worried about how his mom would feel, but also really wanted to stay here for school. I tried to comfort him and explain that there are things that kids need dads for and it doesn't mean his mom is a bad mom at all, but boys need their dads. He got even more emotional and was trying to tell me that he wanted to be able to do boy stuff and be with his dad and just be a kid. My heart felt so sad for him and I was crying with him. I talked with Craig about the conversation later and he felt strongly that he should just call her. He prayed and then I prayed and then he went outside to call. Long story shorter it was a good call and the dialogue was left open; she needed time to think it over understandably. Craig, Jacob and Jacob's mom ended up having a speakerphone conversation that night and she told Jacob she was fine with him staying here for the school year. After the call Jacob seemed so relieved, it was like an elephant was off his back. He was happy and chatting up a storm about all the things he was excited for. I asked him if he felt better knowing his mom was OK and not mad at him at all. He got quiet and nodded his head. I sent him and Craig off to DQ for celebratory blizzards :) Since then things have been great. Jacob seems freed up to enjoy life here and get settled. It's hard to really invest in people and a place when in the back of your head you keep thinking about leaving. Now that he knows he gets to stay for a while he seems so content and open.

We really feel so blessed. The Holy Spirit has been working and doing some amazing things here and we're just along for the ride! Eliana loves her big brother and it's really great getting to know him and spend more time with him. The longest we'd ever had him prior to this trip was 2 weeks. It's extremely hard to get to know someone in 2 weeks a year. Just when things start to feel comfortable it's time to go! We're praying and trusting God to work out the details and to continue to provide for us. Maybe a 6 or 7 passenger vehicle will just fall out of the sky! lol. For now Jacob is sitting in between his little sister's carseats. He doesn't complain but I feel bad for him being squished between them. Anyway, all in due time...