Monday, January 17, 2011

Saving Money

I have been racking my brain on what to write about. Sure, my life is crazy enough to tell plenty of stories, but not everyone wants to hear about an almost 4 year old with an attitude, a feisty 1 year old, a crabby cat or a sweet, but lazy dog. There has to be more in my life than that, right? Now, those kids and animals mean more than me than life itself, but I KNOW I know more about other things besides poopy diapers and sassy toddlers. So as I thought about what to write, I still couldn't think of anything that would blow your socks off (as most of my blog entries do, I'm sure), but I did think of a new hobby or art, if you will, that I'm trying my hand at in 2011. This will actually benefit you maybe too.

I am trying my hand at couponing. Not cutting one or two coupons here and there and saving like $1.25 on a trip to Walmart, but REALLY couponing. There are many blogs and people out there that have this down to a science, I'm trying to learn it. It takes a lot of time and patience to learn, but will pay off in the long run (literally!). These people that have it down can have a total at the check out for like $156.00 and after coupons come out paying about $6.00. NO JOKE! You have to learn the ins and outs of it all. My friend, Hilary, invited me to a class that kind of teaches you some of the tricks of the trade, so as of right now, I'm on fire wanting to learn more.

Its always nice to save money, but in our case, its more out of necessity than luxury. Money can be so tight around here, its crazy. Now, don't get me wrong, God has ALWAYS provided for us, we have never gone without, but we could also save as much as we can, in case we run into a snag along the way. We don't have cable, we do have the Internet, that could be cut if need be, but other than that, we pay our bills and that is it, so why not save on groceries and household items, if I can. Make our dollar stretch. So I'm trying, I hope I don't give up on it, as I normally fizzle out of things I start, but my nature is to get good deals, so I'm going to try. If I ever run across a wonderful deal, I will pass this along to you. I say ALL of this (which is by far more than I thought this post was going to be), to say, I do have a deal to pass along to you (IF you are going to be in the Branson area).

Go to this link and sign up for a free voucher. This is to the Tanger Mall in Branson ONLY. They will e-mail you a voucher, print it off and take it to the customer service area. They will give you a FREE $10 gift card and a Tanger Coupon book Free (a $5 value!). A lot of people shop down in Branson, and personally Tanger is my favorite place to go down there. The offer ends April 30, 2011, so you have some time. IF you think you are heading down here in that time, you ought to try it out. Hey, I'm all for free gift cards!

Like I said, I will pass along any good deals as I get them. I know this one is good for this area only, but wanted to help out anyone that I can.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

100% ALL Boy!

Paxton is developing more and more each day. There is such a difference between boys and girls. Paxton is ALL boy! He is a sweet, loving boy, but look closely and you will see a little ornery gleam in his eye. When Adriana was his age, and would get in trouble, she would just break down in tears at the thought of getting in trouble. Paxton is quite different. He thinks its so funny to get in trouble and will even save me the trouble, and smack his own hand when he knows he's doing something he's not suppose to.
His newest thing is to dump things in the trash. I have found shoes, cups, magnates, balls, and who knows what else that has actually been thrown away.
He still isn't saying too much. "Ba" is ball and he has a MELTDOWN if he sees one in the store and can't have it. He saw tomatoes in Walmart the other day and thought they were balls, so he was crying, screaming "Ba, Ba, Ba" for all of Walmart to hear. He knows what he wants!
Can't believe he is less than 2 weeks away from being 14 months old. Can't wait to see how the toddler years play out for this little man of ours!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Allow me to introduce the newest member of our family. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Milo....

He is a puggle (a Pug/Beagle mix). He actually looks nothing like any puggles I've ever seen, he looks more like a puppy lab. I know what you are thinking right about now, who cares what kind of dog he is, what on Earth are they doing tacking on another member to that family. I know, we are CRAZY! He was a TOTAL spur of the moment buy. This last Saturday, Jan 1, we went to Chuck E. Cheese to get out of the house for a while, and while we were there, I told Ryan we needed to look at PetSmart for a new litter pan for Zoe (they are in the same shopping plaza). Mistake number one!
It was adoption days there, and Adriana LOVES dogs so much. She heard them barking in the back of the store and asked if we could go and see the puppies. Mistake number 2.
I am a SUCKER for animals in need. I CAN NOT stand to go into shelters, pet stores or anywhere else that has caged animals who don't have homes, it breaks my heart. Me and Adriana made it back there to look at the dogs and Milo caught my eye. Mistake Number 3.
Don't make eye contact with the sad animals in the cages, they will get you every time! I actually thought he was a puppy, and there was NO way I wanted to fool with a puppy. When I read his chart, I saw that he was full grown and about a year old. I talked to the lady a little bit about him and she told us we could take him on a walk around the store. Mistake number 4.
Adriana was in LOVE with him. He is so gentle and laid back. He let her love on him and kiss him and be right in his face, and he never barked, growled or snapped at her, so I thought that was a good sign. Me and Ryan talked for a while about it. I haven't wanted a dog for many reasons, but mainly because they can tie you down so much. Don't get me wrong I LOVE dogs and always have, but as an adult you see having pets in a whole new light. Adriana has been BEGGING for a dog for a long time. Her and Ryan were all for it, so when I brought Milo to Ryan, Ryan said it was up to me if we get him or not. My heart was breaking for this dog, something about him brought tears to my eyes thinking of him being in the shelter. After I was told by Ryan not to cry in PetSmart, and after talking to the lady a little more about him, we went ahead and adopted him.

The first night we hit a BIG road block with him, when we took him over to my parents house. He actually settled in quickly there and was content (we hadn't gone to our house yet, we went straight over there after getting him). We let him out in the FENCED in backyard, when it was dark and he got out. Long story short, we had our van, my dad's car and a neighbor of theirs driving around chasing this dog around the block for over an hour! All I can say, is he runs FAST and is very hard to see at night, since he is black. We got him back, safe and sound. We were kind of dishearten when this happened thinking this dog is going to be trouble, but really that was his biggest strike against him. He's a sweet, loving dog, who is taking his time warming up to us and trusting us, but is getting better every day. I think he will fit in perfectly around here.

A Zoe Note: She has actually done really well with him. It helps that he is laid back and doesn't run around and chase her. She has let him know she is boss, and he's actually scared of her. He has gotten the memo that Zoe runs the house and that he will be under her authority.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Well, we have seen Christmas come and gone. We have seen the New Year come and not go, but at least off to a good start. I'm going to be honest with you. This Christmas season was so busy and hectic, I have to say, I didn't really get a chance to sit back and enjoy it. I enjoyed Christmas day, but I literally didn't get to sit and rest until Christmas Day. Between decorating, shopping, traveling, entertaining, coordinating gifts and food for an adopted family for church and all the other little stresses of the holidays, I didn't get to enjoy it like I really wanted to. I didn't get to bake Christmas cookies or take in Christmas music or lights or all the little things that the holidays can offer. I know, everyone is busy this time of year, but its so sad to me to think that our kids will only be this age for one Christmas, and I didn't really get to take it all in. I made a promise to myself after feeling this way, that I will never be this busy for the holidays. I don't want to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I want to enjoy them with my family. I mean, I was so tired and worn out, I was so sloppy with the kids gifts. I would wrap them and just leave them in the office, under a sheet and hope that the kids didn't see them, since they were the ones from Santa. That's pretty bad. Never again. So excuse me for not writing any sooner about Christmas, I was burnt out on the whole holiday season (by the way, no, this is not the Grinch writing this, just one tired momma!).
Even though I just got finished complaining about how busy I was, I did have fun and tried to take in as much as I could. One of the first weekends in December our family and my parents went up to Jeff City for a weekend to see friends and do Christmas w/ family up that way. I do regret that I didn't take more pictures, but we did have a great time. As we get older, our traditions change and this year was one that was a turning point for that change. A time to start new traditions and hold on the memories of the old ones. Because of those changes, we did Christmas at my parents trailer with my Grandma Bowen and my great aunt Dee. It was so good to see them again, and to spend some time with them.

Dee opening some gifts.

Grandma opening some gifts.
I guess they were both good girls this year to
get some gifts! :)

Mom and Dad not opening gifts, I guess we
all know what that means....
It was funny, after we all opened gifts, Adriana was laying on the floor playing with something and we looked down and saw this....

Adriana had a Christmas bow stuck to her rear end, and had no idea, it was so cute!
After we did Christmas with Grandma and Dee, we went to see my Grandma and Grandpa Veltrop. We had a good time visiting with them. Unfortunately, my camera was packed away and I didn't get any shots with them.
It was a good trip and great to see family that we haven't seen in so long.
Quickly, Christmas approached and was here before we knew it. Adriana was fun this year. She is at the age where she is starting to know who Santa is and to know that it is Jesus' birthday, but still too young to know that Christmas is only one day and not several days. It was fun to hear her randomly sing Christmas songs. See her excitement as Christmas movies came on, such as Frosty the Snowman, The Grinch (or the Grouch, as she called him), and the Santa Clause.
Playing Santa, for some reason, I found kind of overwhelming, and I think it was because I was just so worn out. I tried my hardest to hide the wrapping paper that Santa was using, but made the mistake of leaving a roll of Tinkerbell paper out one day. She saw it and on Christmas morning, she saw the gifts wrapped in that paper and told Ryan, "Daddy, Santa and Mommy have the same wrapping paper". Ooops! I just feel like I slacked on the job and I'm glad she is too young to put two and two together. Anyway, here is the gifts after Santa came and visited.

Paxton, was obviously too young to know what was going on, but he enjoyed the gifts that he got. He was cute to watch toddling around, playing with all the new stuff. Adriana was ripping into the gifts left and right. She was more than willing to help her brother open his too.

Christmas afternoon, my parents and brother came over for the remainder of the day. We had a fun afternoon. We busted out a good ol' game of Mexican Train Domino's, we had a great time.

After a nice dinner, we opened gifts with my parents and brother.
Paxton loved the snowman my mom got from my dad. He kept giving him hugs and kisses.

This last picture is kind of a random picture. I started giving the kids ornaments each year that represents them for that year, and so I thought it would be fun for them to each have a tree in their rooms with their ornaments on it. I unfortunately couldn't find a tree for Paxton's room (I'm still hoping to find one somewhere) but Adriana LOVED this idea. I let her put on her own ornaments and tried not the imperfections bother me. She was so proud of it and was tickled to death to have her own tree up.

If this blog entry seems negative, I'm trying not to make it seem that way. I just don't want to regret another year, like I did this year. Christmas is about the birth of our Savior and we can get so wrapped up in the gifts, cookies, decorations and all that, that we forget what its all about. Christmas is a precious time of year, we need to savor it for what it is, and this year, I feel like missed out.
We hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas holiday full of wonderful memories and that your 2011 will be super blessed!