Monday, August 29, 2011

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on a wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day.

"One Thousand Gifts":

1582. wonderful family time
1583. 4 generations serving together at Feed My Starving Children . . . and having LOTS of fun doing it!::1584. learning new things
1585. glorious weather
1586. celebrating my Grandma's 85th birthday::

1587. Joe's glasses on order
1588. playdates (I really hate that word, but I love having them!)
1589. preschool teacher home visit (our 9th preschool home visit and our 4th kiddo to have teacher Anna)

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

flashback friday

state fair 2006::






the 2011 state fair started yesterday . . . our favorite time of year :: fair time! are you going to the fair?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

thrifty thursday

Well, it's opening day at the Minnesota State Fair. We LOVE the fair in our family. But, the fair is anything but "thrifty". It costs an obscene amount of money to take a family of 8 out for a day of fair fun. Gate admission went up this year, everyone wants to eat something different (and LOTS of it!), the rides multiplied by 5 ride-loving kiddos (ok, Rebekah will gone on her share, but I'm not sure she actually qualifies as "ride-loving"). So, if you want to be truly thrifty you should probably skip the fair. But, we're going! There are a few ways to save a bit while you're there though.

It's too late for this one (sorry), but you can buy advanced fair tickets. Discounted admission tickets, ride tickets and state fair coupon books are on sale at various places for the couple weeks leading up to the fair. We always get a coupon book ($4 if you pre-buy . . . and worth every penny! Even if you pay the $5 full price it's well worth it, so get one the minute you step inside the gate) and save on a few of our favorites and usually risk trying a few new coupon items too. Our kids all did the summer reading program at the library, and one of the prizes is a state fair admission ticket, so, thankfully, all the kids that are old enough to be charged admission have also earned their own ticket by reading over the summer! We buy our ride tickets in advance too and then limit the number of rides the kids go on. We're sneaky (although the older ones are catching on) and always say something like "Do you want it to be a 3 ride day or a 4 ride day?" Like it's up to them or something. We knew all along that it was a 4 ride day, but it makes them feel like they are in control a bit.

Plus, there's free stuff all over the fair if you know how to find it. Our favorite :: in the southwest corner of the food building you can get a sample of fabulous ice cream -- we'll head there straight away when we arrive. Even if it is 7:30 am. That's what the fair is for, right? One year we got free bike helmets for all the kids. The line was pretty long, but, do you know how much 4 nice quality bike helmets cost? Yup, it was worth the wait. I'm not sure if they are doing that again this year (that would be nice since now we have 6 kids and a few of them have grown out of their 2008 bike helmet), I'll have to check.

So, although we do a pretty good job of getting some decent fair deals, the fair really isn't a thrifty place. So, just throw it out the window, for the most part, for a day (or two or three, depending on how hard-core you are about the fair) and enjoy your time at "The Great Minnesota Get-Together". You'll be glad you did! And, in case you wonder, we'll be there next Wednesday, the 31st. Maybe we'll see you there.

Check out this site for helpful thrifty fair tips.

Monday, August 22, 2011

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on a wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day.

"One Thousand Gifts":

1574. visits with friends
1575. authenticity
1576. trust
1577. safe travels
1578. a weekend filled with celebration
1579. lots of crafting and a first load of goods sent to the orchard
1580. being gifted 2 "extra" Twins tickets . . . and to see the Yankees play too :: it made the day year of a certain boy of mine!
1581. water parks

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

Friday, August 19, 2011

flashback friday

Here we are meeting Schaeffer for the first time. It was his birthday yesterday. Wow, that year went fast. I can't believe he's one already!






Thursday, August 18, 2011

thrifty thursday

Double coupon day::
Double coupon day is our favorite. Did you know that on Wednesdays and Saturdays Rainbow storess will double up to 5 coupons that are up to $1 in value per order? They will. And I guess if you wanted to be tricky about it, you could check out multiple times. But we don't really have the time or patience for that. Yesterday, we got a box of cereal (Jacob's new favorite!) for less than a dollar because we had a $1 off coupon which doubled to $2 off. It's a pretty fabulous deal . . . if there are Rainbow grocery stores where you live anyway. If you had to drive to my neighborhood to double your coupons and you live -- let's just say, in Idaho (hi Robin!), chances are good you wouldn't end up actually saving any money (although there would be other advantages to the trip, right?)

Monday, August 15, 2011

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on a wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day.

"One Thousand Gifts":

1557. glorious weather
1558. impromptu visit with friends
1559. LJ and Kir laughing and playing together in the pool
1560. a backyard fire
1561. being the hangout spot for Jacob's friends
1562. good books
1563. ice cream shops
1564. a wonderful family walk
1565. spending my life by the side of a fabulous man {it'll be 20 years this fall since we met and I've pretty much been by his side since then}
1566. the growing independence of the "bigs"
1567. a not-too-busy week
1568. a productive crafting day::1569. celebrating Amy
1570. kids on fire for God
1571. yummy Sunday dinner
1572. a perfect night to eat out on the patio with family {the cousins had fun together and didn't have to be quiet or stay in their seats!}
1573. my dads safe arrival home . . . and almost immediate departure again {I think he had 7 hours between flights. So glad I got to give him a hug and hear a little about his trip . . . even if it only lasted less then 10 minutes and was nearly midnight when it happened and we met in the dark outside on my driveway.}

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

thrifty thursday :: school supplies

Well, school supplies can be a killer . . . especially when multiplied by 4! But if you do it correctly, you can save quite a bit. Stores have amazingly cheap deals on a few items each week (for example, this week I got folders for a penny a piece -- limit 10, you know). If you look through the ads and make your lists according to the get-you-in-the-door, crazy-cheap deals, you can tackle your entire supply list for much less than you think.

On Tuesday night Rebekah and I headed out to get this weeks bargains. We went to 4 stores (Walgreens, Staples, Office Max and Target), were gone for a couple hours and saved probably $70 on school supplies and only spent about $60 -- not including Jacob's fancy schmancy calculater that was on sale for $90 (down from $130, plus I got 10% for using my Target card, plus my bonus 5% off, so I paid about $87 with tax). Plus, I submitted my online rebate with Staples and will be getting $13 dollars back just about the time that field trip money starts coming due!

Even if we don't need certain items, I'll buy them if they are the ultra-good-deal-of-the-week and then donate them to our churches school supply drive for urban schools in our area. For example, I don't need very many pencil top erasers this year, but at 10 cents a package, I bought the limit. A 2-pack of Sharpies for a quarter? Yes, please. I'll take my limit of those as well.

We still have a few things on our list that we haven't gotten, but there are a few weeks of ads left and if those items haven't been on sale by then, I guess I'll just play full price for the last couple items and still have saved a bundle!

Another great way to save is to re-use. Make sure the end of the year that your kids bring home their salvageable stuff from the previous year. Little pencil sharpeners, rulers, pencil boxes and scissors can all be re-used. Plus, I re-sharpen colored pencils and call it good. Who needs them to be new when you only use about 10% of the pencil in a whole year anyway? Not us, that's for sure! Notebooks with only about 12 pages written in? Just rip out those 12 pages and the notebooks as good as new. I've never yet had a kid that used every single page in their notebook. Have you?

It takes a little time and research and you have to travel to more than one place, but fortunately we've got all the powerhouse places within a mile or two, so it's no big deal for us. Well worth the effort, I'd say! Happy shopping!

Oh, and if you have to send the kids to school with SHARPENED pencils, I highly recommend Ticonderoga pencils. They really are the best and sharpen up better than anything I've tried. And when you have multiple kids that each need to bring 48 sharpened pencils, you'll thank me. I promise! They are more expensive, it's true, but I think it's money well spent (and I'm a pretty frugal girl.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ten

our sweet little babe is 10 months old ::

she's on the go, and movin' quick
she is sweet as can be
these months with her have gone so fast, and i fear it's only going to speed up

happy 10-month birthday, sweet Sara ::






Monday, August 8, 2011

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on a wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day.

"One Thousand Gifts":

1543. book club night {and nearly into the next morning . . . oops!}
1544. going to the park and discovering it was puppet wagon day. extra fun!
1545. the farmer's market
1546. a nice day to walk to the library
1547. a special fun trip with the littles involving a hotel stay and a waterpark
1548. Sara in her swimsuit {possibly the cutest thing ever}::


1549. pure joy on little faces
1550. a WONDERFUL week at camp for the bigs
1551. 3 resounding yeses in answer to :: "are you closer to God now than you were when you got here on Sunday?" {I think that makes camp worth every penny it costs . . . and it made me cry}
1552. everyone home again sleeping in their own beds
1553. sleeping bags {smelly, wet ones at that} drying on the line
1554. my dad's safe arrival in Mexico
1555. a super fun evening involving food, friends, great music, hula hoops, dancing and gliously beautiful countryside
1556. the still newish curls on an adorable 3-year-old head. i just love them!


Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

Friday, August 5, 2011

flashback friday

"the bigs" summer 2006::
These 3 have been gone all week at camp and I'm so excited to see them tomorrow morning, give them each a big hug and hear camp stories all the way home!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

thrifty thursday

I know I've mentioned this one before, but I've been doing it so often lately that I thought someone might have missed it and could benefit from this little tip. It's been SUPER hot and humid here lately, so we've been running the dehumidifier in our basement and nearly everytime I go downstairs it needs to be emptied. We also have quite a few people here who make dirty laundry, so I do lots of that as well. What do the two have in common, you may ask? Well, just empty the water from your dehumidifier right into your washing machine and you can save a bit on your water bill by doing something you would be doing anyway. If the thought of that grosses you out or the inside of your dehumidifier water collection jug-thing is nasty, you could also use the water to water some house plants or outdoor flowers or something. Anything to not just waste all the perfectly good water you just got out of the overly-heavy air we've had lately.

Ok, now go do some laundry or water the plants, 'cause I'm pretty sure your dehumidifier could use emptying!

Monday, August 1, 2011

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on a wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day.

"One Thousand Gifts":

1532. a great end to Rebekah summer soccer season
1533. a night out with friends -- REALLY hard laughter and not getting home 'til nearly midnight! yikes!
1534. fresh cut flowers
1535. new experiences
1536. watching kids have fun
1537. smooth camp drop-off -- and really, really excited kids
1538. a quiet(er), less busy house for the week
1539. spending some birthday gift cards
1540. crafting {I got a new sander and it's just fabulous, I love it! . . . it's possible that I missed my true calling as a carpenter -- that would be another way to be more like Jesus!}
1541. aniticiapation {I sent someone a surprise in the mail -- UPS, actually, the post office was closed -- and I'm waiting to see when it arrives and hoping she likes it!}
1542. craigslist and unexpected "small world" connections

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.