Saturday, August 30, 2008

paying it forward...

I have just sent out a really long email to a very dear friend of mine that is pregnant. I sent her links to all of my baby blogs sites that I frequent and gave her lots of tips and advice that I find useful. I hope she can use some of the info and doesn't think I was being pushy. lol

Although, if she knows me at all, she'll know that I just get excited about good deals and I want to pass them along.

I'm a member of an online group that shares information on deals and coupons and sales around the country. I posted on there about my great 50% off all fabric, lace and trim sale at my local WalMart that I found this week. Because I posted this, I prompted several other people across the country to check their WalMarts and many others were able to take advantage of this great deal (sadly, not all WalMarts had this going on). I love coupons and sales and clearance sales. I love saving money.

Getting good coupons at the checkout or in the mail makes my heart skip a beat! :-)

About two months ago, at church, we had a 5th Sunday lesson that was combined with Priesthood and Relief Society. It was about budgeting and saving money and things like that. I was given the opportunity to teach on my saving and couponing skills. It was such a high for me! I felt like I was bouncing off the walls!!! I was able to give really good tips and advice to people that I really care about so they could save more on their grocery shopping. I taught some how to go about shopping with coupons and where to go online for online coupons and how to find sales, etc. I'm so passionate about it, I can't help it. The members were very excited, too. I got thanked a lot, even in the following weeks. The husbands even thanked me, saying they've been able to save more thanks to their wives listening to my advice. It felt gooooood!

Honestly, though, its been such a big help to our home's finances, that I don't know where we would be without the knowledge I have. I remember getting really passionate about this subject right after we got married. This is my way of financially contributing to our household, since I don't work outside the home. I try to stretch Ben's hard earned money as best as I can.

My mother taught me a very valuable lesson when I was growing up. She said, never turn anything down that you are given for free or for very little. If you do, you may never be approached again by that person with other offers, and then you lose the opportunity of helping someone else that may be in need with the goods that you are generously blessed with.

And I believe its true. Take what you're offered. If you can't find a use for it then pass it along, or find someone who is in need of it. I've become a resource for people around me. Its very humbling and very rewarding.

This is how I pay it forward!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Many of my family and friends know that I love to save money. I love to find bargains and I love to have stock ups of things that I have found on sale or on clearance. I am not ashamed and in fact, I am very proud of my skills. I try to hold off the urge to buy things full price. I search for coupons and sales and I always check the clearance sections at my favorite stores when I go shopping. You never know what kind of bargains you will find!

Today we bought Ben some much needed shorts that were on clearance for $5. Yes, I know we just bought another pair for $3 at another store, but this pair was a better brand, and therefore, more expensive. But now Ben has a new nice pair and another new nicer pair.

Anyway, I could go on and on about all the deals I've gotten this month, but that's another post.

I have already started my Christmas shopping. In fact, I started it about 2 months ago. I want to be prepared for the holiday season. I like to look for sales and find good gifts that won't break the bank. I already have a gift each for my nephews Sam and Drew out of our family gift exchange and I also have a gift for my dad, and my brother in law Paul. I also have a small gift each for my son Ben and soon to arrive son Ezra.

The gifts I've gotten are worth double or more what I paid for them. I also think about birthdays in advance and things to use the next year's season.

For example, we already have an awesome selection of Christmas wrapping paper and decorations for the tree and home, all of which I paid only about 20% of what the original price was. I also have a ton of really cool and spooky Halloween decorations that I got last year at only 10% of what the original price was. I have "ingredients" for Easter baskets for when Benny is a little older that I also bought when the price was 90% off. I have Halloween costumes for Benny for the next 2 or 3 years, all of which again, I only paid about 20% of the original price.

I get a thrill when I find such good deals like that!! That is why I like to start my Christmas shopping now. By the time November and December rolls around I've already been done for a while on my holiday shopping. I then can purchase things on sale for myself, IF I feel like it and I don't feel pressured to buy things full price. I bought my dad a $20 shirt for this year's Christmas and I only paid $3 for it. Yes folks, $3! What a steal!

I also keep things in stock. I have a storage bin full of cards. I've gotten $4 or $5 packs of cards for only 50 cents. I refuse to pay more than $1 for packs of cards. That's my rule. I keep wrapping paper stocked up and I also keep little knick-knacks and bottles of this or that for emergency gifts, such as birthday parties that I don't want to show up empty handed, or white elephant gifts at church things, or even if I just want to brighten my visiting teachees' day. All on sale, or clearance, or really cheap with a coupon, or even free.

I hope that I can teach these skills to my children! It really pays off to plan ahead and be organized. You can save a lot of money and still give really good gifts that are within your budget!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

(Today) Happiness is...

1. Having the doctor say "everything is good, good, good!"
2. Packing boxes and moving closer to my final goal
3. Thinking of personal insights that might help someone else
4. Having a yummy lunch with my favorite boys-Ben and Benny
5. Paying all of the bills on time!
6. Looking at my big, round belly and watching the baby poke at me from inside
7. Listening to Aleks Syntek's great lyrics and music
8. Going into Benny's room after he wakes up from a nice long nap
9. Saving over 50% on my grocery bill thanks to great deals and great coupons
10. Getting TWO new Pampers coupons!!
11. Surfing the net
12. Taking a shower
13. Holding Smoochie
14. Getting great compliments on my sandals
15. Ben telling me that my belly is cute while I got dressed

Monday, August 18, 2008

Snip Snip

What a feeling!
I cut my son's hair on Saturday night. His first haircut. He's almost 15 months old. He also just started walking!!
His cute little head, with his perfect little curls and beautifully shiny dirty blonde hair just makes me want to smile! His hair was getting long! It was also uneven, so we thought it was finally time to get the clippers out.

He sat in his booster seat in the middle of the living room with Daddy kneeling in front of him to help me keep him from wiggling like crazy. I took some shears and clipped the first curl for a setimental keepsake. I felt that snip through every vein in my body! I almost shivered and definitely got some goosebumps. My little guy's little curl-gone! with a single short snip. Of course, it didn't even phase him, but nonetheless it was sort of a horrible feeling for me. Oooh, I even shudder at the thought of it. The rest of the clipping of those curlies was better. It still was somewhat of a hard thing, but I was fine. I gingerly placed the curls on a napkin so I could later preserve them in between some big pieces of clear packing tape. :-) I got the clippers out and started buzzing away. This was nerve-wracking, because I didn't want to scare him or hurt him. He looked so funny with bald spots on the top of his head! At one point little Ben seemed to get nervous, probably due to the buzzzzzz noises of the clippers. He held on to Daddy and Daddy held him close while I continued to try and get an even clip. Once I was finally done, I felt relieved that we all lived through it and that it had finally been done. I had been putting it off because I loved his head of hair! That, and those darn cute curls!! He looks so much like Daddy now!

Now Benny's hair will grow out evenly and hopefully a little thicker. My cutie! I'm glad I was able to cut it myself and that we didn't need someone else to do it for us. It was cool to give him his first haircut!

We put Benny in the bath and then to bed. Afterwards, it was Daddy's turn to get his haircut. He sat still for me and wasn't scared at all! :-) We showed up to church the next morning and everyone commented on how cute Benny was and how much he looked like his Daddy.

It was a good weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I've got faith!

I debated a while about whether or not I should post about this. Because this IS the Internet I want to try and be discreet about what I want to blog about tonight. You never know who will find this and read it! We are being faced with a really crappy situation right now. We can't change it ourselves, because its basically someone else's doing (aka their free agency). We are having to do things in a way that we don't want to and aren't happy to do, either. I'm battling with emotions of hate and anger. I'm frustrated, sad, once more angry, confused, irritated...goodness, the list just goes on and on. I feel like I'm in a far away land where I don't speak the language, understand anything and everyone looks like an alien. I am just so at a loss for words. I don't know what to do or how to react.
But fear not, we will survive through this trial. Also, don't freak out thinking that something is horribly wrong (even though, for us it sorta is). If you ask, we'll talk about it. I'm just a dork and don't want it on the 'net. For all I know Ben will blog openly about it tomorrow. If he doesn't have a problem with it then I won't be cryptic. LoL After all, it IS more about him than me. Have you gotten my hint about it being a work situation? ;-)


This experience, although its only really beginning and hasn't even come to a head yet, has really opened my eyes and I am seeing a new me. I believe more in what I have the power to do for myself and my family. Even if my physical hands are tied, I can provide moral support to my husband and words of comfort when we are at a loss for words. I feel that I am relying more on my Father in Heaven, and that my faith is shining at its brightest. I know that we will be OK. I know that we will deal. I know that we will be comforted and protected and that years from now (maybe even next year?!?!) we will look back at this situation and marvel at how we handled it. Or perhaps laugh at how big a deal we felt it to be at the time.

I feel worse about everything because I feel like someone else is controlling my body. Being pregnant is so weird because you start to cry and then you can't stop! :-) I feel like that. My sad and angry reactions about this situation are over the top!

I guess I just needed to vent. It doesn't even matter if no one reads this. I feel better already. I'm glad, so glad, that we have an end in sight! New beginnings are coming and hopefully they will be good beginnings! :-)

The main point I wanted to get across in this blog is this:
I know who I am and who is watching over me. I know who Benjamin is and who is looking out for him. We will come forth out of this "personal misery" feeling like winners. I know what I am capable of and I know for sure that Benjamin is capable of wonders. We'll make the most of what we've got to deal with. I have faith that we will not be left alone.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wonderfully organized, or OCD?

Lately I've been thinking about a lot of different things and I've been making mental and out on paper lists about all the things I need to get done.

I get so excited about upcoming events in my life (all the time) that I try to be as prepared in advance as possible. We're expecting our second child the first week in December (although I'm rooting for the end of November) and of course there are things to do to get ready for this event, but its too early to get to them. For example:

Bring baby bassinet into our bedroom
Wash Baby's clothes and blankets
Install baby car seat in the car

Although I can't do these things now (even though I want to very badly, because I find them to be fun!) I have already chosen dates to get these things done and have written them down in my planner. That way I will be on track and things won't be left for the last minute. It's my controlling side, I'm sure, that makes me need to do these things. I love my planner, though. I love to write things down that need to get done on specific dates and I love writing down my appointments. I love to look through the planner and see what things are coming up. Even the simple things like on the first week of November the infant car seat needs to be installed in the car. No excpetions.

I have a notebook which I call "Sharline's List Book" and I keep an ongoing list of things to get done. I love the feeling of accompishment it gives me and I also feel organized. As I mark things off that I have completed, I add a few more. I add simple things like 'wash the dishes' and 'do laundry.' I add 'throw the trash out' and then I get more out of the every day stuff like 'glue broken handle back onto the tea cup' or 'sew button back on Ben's coat pocket' and things fo the sort. I even have a section in the back of it for projects that I KNOW I'm not getting to anytime soon, like 'start working on quilt' or 'read such and such book.'
I get as specific as possible in my listings so I keep meticulous track of what I need to do and have already done. Maybe its a form of mild OCD. Who knows? But it makes me HAPPY!

(Sharline is now going to her list notebook and she is crossing off that she wrote a new post in her new blog. Check!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Random Thought for the near future...

What a weekend! My brother and sister in law Ed and Kelly came to visit from Maryland. They left early this morning. It was so great to get to spend so much good time with them. We talked and laughed and frantically searched for an article in some church magazines (we weren't successful-I think I threw it out! :-/ ) and had lots of soup (i.e. ice cream). Good times.

It was difficult to see them go and give them that last goodbye hug until next time. Next time for us will be the first weekend in October where we will meet up in Jersey so we can take them to NYC. I feel lucky that we get to see them sooner than everyone else. I remember what it felt like to say goodbye to them the night before they moved to Maryland-it'll be a year in January. I cried a lot, it was really sad-they were/are some of our best friends. We love them and their kids. We were married 6 months after they were. We relate and have a lot of the same humor. We are family. That's the key word: Family.

I was thinking about that day, the day they left, because I was wondering what it would be like for us, on the day that we leave. We will leave behind our house and our friends, and most importantly, our family. My husband's family is not just his family, but they are MY family, too. My sisters and brothers. My nieces and nephews. My parents, too. It will be so hard to leave this all behind. I will truly miss the corn fields, the roads, the streets, the people (and Super Walmart!!!! We won't have one close AT ALL). It will be a hard time.

I am thankful, however, that I have the Gospel in my life. I have faith that this is the right decision for my little family right now. We will survive the heartache. We will be strong and confident that we will still have good relationships with these sweet spirits that I am now eternally linked to. And we will be able to give tours of NYC to them, too!