Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reading Reading and MORE Reading!

I remember when my oldest started to school. I thought in a way it was going to be a relief and free or at least not the cost of daycare.  Bwahahahahahah! I am still laughing at myself. I remember crying because I felt like a failure of a mother because I couldn't teach my kids how to properly write their ABC's.

As they got older the assignments changed and we were introduced to a reading program required by the school.  You  know, read so many books, take tests, get points = part of your grade.  This is a great program especially if you have a kid that likes to read BUT I have one that can't stand it and I have one that is slowly finding out she LOVES to read certain books.

We came up with an incentive to "make it worth their while". Other than the fact they had to do it and I expected them to do it why not give a little motivation? I mean adults are motivated right? We like raises, bonuses, extra days off for doing a good job - so kids are no different. We implemented the reading goal jar.

What a simple system huh? A glass Mason Jar.

Together the kids and I came up with incentives that they would love to have.  Some of the items maybe cost a little money and some of the items may not cost me one penny. Each kid had their own jar and we created the incentives for each kids separately and it was "prizes" that they wanted and I agreed to. Here is a list of examples of the items they kids listed, we put on small pieces of paper, and dropped in the jar folded up:
1. Friend spend the night
2. Go to the movies
3. Pick what is for dinner
4. $5.00 item of their choice at the store
5. Go to skating rink
6. Pick place to go out to eat
7. Skip responsibilities (chores) for the day

These are just some examples of what the kids would choose to put into their own jar. At my kids' school they have AR goals they have to meet. Well to get to pull from the jar my kids had to meet their AR goal.  Sometimes if they were struggling we may have alternative ways to get to pull from the reading goal jar but for the most part they had to meet their goal.

It's a simple system but as I was talking about this as I was blogging one of my kids asked if we could go back to this system. Give it a try, tweak it, change it, use it if you want. I hope it helps you help your kid(s) meet a goal they may have or you may have for them.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Being a Mom, Being a working Mom, Being a working mom with husband gone to training.... This is how it goes and does seem to always happen like this. Yesterday Haley and I both weren't feeling the best. I sucked it up this morning and went to work. Haley didn't feel great but then perked up through the day. I came home and was so glad to lay down and be a bum on the couch.

At 7:16 pm. Haley tells me she think she has strep. Really? Are you sure? How bad does it hurt? Seriously? I am running through the list of questions. Is it because I am lazy? I am tired? Am I a bad mom? Well in my gut I decided to go ahead and take her. I mean we have the same symptoms but I didn't feel strep like. But she said really mom, my head and neck hurt I know I have strep. We got dressed, packed up, set the DVR and headed out to urgent care.

Heading out with the pillow and the dankie (both my kids have dankies - they love them and when they are sick they still take them with them...most of the time).

My poor baby!


More Waiting.... and I am TIRED and don't look feel good at all!

Having fun and protection - not a bad idea right?

Well she was totally right! Strep it is! BOOOO!! I am so glad I listened to her and listened to my instinct to take her tonight. As I type this her fever is now 101.2 big boo because she took meds over an hour ago. As the time ticks by I seem to be going down hill but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

After the Dr. we headed out to Walgreen's to get her meds. We scoped out all the cool stuff they had and I looked for tear off coupons (because if you have read some of my other posts you know I will get coupons any way I can). While I was there I finally caved in to buy a new thermometer. Exergen Temporal Scanner Infrared Thermometer Yep - I caved in and got one of these really cool slide it across your head thermometer. I swear it is the best thing ever! It is worth every penny. Where were these things when we were kids and all they had were rectal thermometers? LOL But seriously this thing is quick and easy. I am not as good as the nurses but we are getting the hang of it and it takes like 2 seconds.

So wish us well. I am getting off of here to try to drag my behind up the stairs and into my bed. I am guessing hoping I can work from home tomorrow. I hate having to take sick days especially when I took a scheduled one last week to take the kids to a bunch of appointments. But what do you do? I mean my kids DO come first, it is such a struggle having to tell your boss you need to take another sick day or say hey can I work from home?

I remind myself that in 2 years, 5 years whatever will my work suffer in any way or even remember that I had to take the day off? Or will my kids remember that I wasn't there when they really wanted me to be because they didn't feel good or they wanted to share something special with me? I know which it is and that is why I will be staying home tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fabulous Deals!!!

OK - I was so excited about the deals I got I had to go ahead and blog about it tonight.  The last week  I hadn't been very motivated about getting my coupons together. I am tired... what can I say?

But my neighbor and super mommy friend Dawn had a great deal the other day and posted on her facebook and it really got me motivated again. Yesterday, I posted a link to a blog with some great deals at Fry's grocery (check it out if you haven't already) and got my stuff together last night.

I normally do this while watching TV so I do feel productive but also get to relax. Remember the tricks. You can "stack" coupons at a lot of different stores, just check out their coupon policy. Fry's grocery will let you stack coupons right now and Target always lets  you stack coupons. Stacking is when you use a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for the same item. Right now Fry's is accepting all competitor coupons and then all manufacture coupons are worth a dollar. Target normally has great coupons you can print off their website.

This is how the madness started last night.

This the result after the grocery store.

OK so if you are trying to count the boxes of pasta just give up! There are 41 boxes of pasta ALL FREE!!!!! This is $230.16 worth of groceries and I only paid $49.14 for all of it!  I normally don't buy bottled water ( I am trying my darndest to go green) but for my Emergency Kit I need to have a stock of water so I ended up getting these 24 pks of bottled water for $1.79 each after my coupons. Another really cool deal I got was purchasing that new Philadelphia Creme Cheese Cooking Creme on sale for $1.49 and I had a coupon for $1.50 off! Plus I had another coupon for $1.50 off any chicken when you bought the Philadelphia Creme Cheese product, so I found a pack of chicken legs on clearance for $1.99 so I got both items for only $.49

I would love to hear about your deals! Come on people I know you can do it too! Let me know how you do!

Honor, Protect, Serve

It's been over 7 years since my husband exited the United States Army.  I was a military wife for 8 years and I believe once a military wife, you never forget and you are always part of the military family. Michael and I got married when we were 18 and Michael joined the Army to provide for our little family of 2.

18 and so young ready for our adventure. We just had no idea where this adventure was going to take us!

My husband was first assigned to the 300th Military Police company at Ft. Riley, Kansas straight out of basic training.  We lived there for 18  months before we had to move overseas to the country of Panama. While stationed in Panama, Michael completed one deployment and several schools. We lived in Panama for just at a year and then we were moved to Puerto Rico. While serving in Puerto Rico Michael was part of the several special teams that provided important necessary security details. He was gone very often and I will often say that it is so unfortunate that he missed out so much when the kids were babies and toddlers. After 2 years in Puerto Rico we then moved back to Ft. Riley, Kansas for a 2nd time where he ended back up as part of the 300th MP company again.

We had only been back in Kansas for about 5 months when 9/11 happened. I will never forget that day (as so many others). That day changed so many lives forever including the path our lives were getting ready to take.  By this time Michael was promoted to Staff Sergeant (SSG E6) and he was only 23 years old. He attended another school for 2 1/2 months returned back and was only back for about 3 1/2 months before he deployed on Operation Noble Eagle.

Haley welcoming Daddy home from Operation Noble Eagle in late September 2002. As a military wife there are times when you can not cry, you can not break, you can not succumb to the pressures, the sadness, and the fear.  The day Michael returned from Operational Noble Eagle was great! We were all so excited and just couldn't stop smiling. Almost 6 months prior was a different story. I remember dropping Michael off at his company around midnight and having to say our goodbyes. Cody was a 3 1/2 and he was crying when we left because I am sure he saw me upset but then he asked why I left daddy there. He kept telling me to go back and get him! He was crying so hard. The half of my heart I still had was completely broken. We went home and I finally fell to sleep after hours of crying. The next morning I picked myself up and we started to recover and survive, I knew if I stayed broken it wouldn't do any of us any good.

After returning in late September 2002 Michael went back to work and training as all soldiers do. The following March our world was getting ready to rock-n-roll again! We knew it was coming and BAM all of a sudden we were given a few weeks notice that Michael's unit would be heading to Iraq. My dad came out to help the kids and I move home with my parents during Michael's deployment. This time we were talking war, this changed the whole situation and I knew enough to know I needed support from my family. I was 24 years old with a 4 year old and a 2 1/2 year old.  The preparation for his departure was grueling they would give us a date and then it would be changed.

This was one of the hardest days of my life. We walked in and I just kept repeating in my head, hold it together, hold it together, hold it together. Michael had just been assigned as 3rd platoon Sergeant just weeks before they were slated to leave. 24 years old and responsible for about 32 other peoples lives.

My man and my babies the night before he left for Iraq.

Saying goodbye is not easy on anyone.

Believe it or not I held it together. I kept my tears down the back of my throat knowing if I didn't stay strong in front of him it would only bring him down. He needed to be strong, he was strong, he needed me to be strong.  I can still here the songs they played, I can see the pride in his face as he led his platoon out of the gymnasium and to the buses. My heart swelled with pride and broke with fear and sorrow.

Believe it or not I held it together really for several weeks before breaking down. It was like once I swallowed the fear and sadness I tried to keep it buried.

Welcome to the restroom - which funnel would you like?

Burn detail anyone? Did you know that human waste can be burned? Who wants this job? I bet you will be so appreciative the next time you go to the restroom and get to actually flush the toilet.

This picture is deceiving but this is where my husband slept almost the entire time he was in Iraq. This is inside a small trailer that you pull. Iraq in the summer, no AC, no windows, no moving air. Hot enough it made the water bottles in their humvees explode from the heat.

Bored after/between missions. Big shout out to Heath behind Mike! We all still keep in touch after all these years. -

Daily views during OIF1

(left) Michael (right) JC - JC is currently on his 5th deployment (I do believe it his 5th - God Bless him and his family!)

Michael and Heath doing the Army thing again.

3rd Platoon - 300th MP Company - RENEGADES!! - I am sure it was as hard if not harder to leave his Renegade family as it was all the times he left us.  The men and women that served with my husband are part of his family. They are his military family and although I don't understand the situations they were in (because I don't ever ask) I do understand that they understand him in ways that I do not. Our soldiers tend to not divulge a lot of details about missions, sorrow, or regret. However, those that lived the life, went into battle, stood to have each others backs (literally) understand one another. I am grateful for each and every one of the Renegades that served with my husband.

I meet some people that ask me how I don't want to know the details of battle. It isn't that I don't ever think about what my husband and our friends went through. It isn't that I don't care. I do care, I care more than he will probably ever know (although I think he has a good idea).

Our welcome home banner for Michael when he returned home to TN after we made one of the toughest decisions for him to exit the Army when his stop loss was lifted. (this is too long of a story to include but nonetheless we came to this decision).

My hero and my veteran! He continues to serve our country!

I want to salute all of our brave men and women that serve our country every single day! I want to give a standing ovation to the wives, husbands, parents, and children of our military men and women. I think people often forget that our military members volunteer to step up and serve each and every one of us. We are so blessed to live in a country that has a volunteer military.

My husband continues to serve our wonderful country but just in a different capacity now. The family we have built is similar to the military family we made through the years. I feel so blessed to have all these wonderful people in our lives!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fry's Grocery Deals!

Why recreate the wheel when it is already good? Check out this blog about the great deals at Fry's this week! You can also sign up to follow this blog to get the great deals each week! I have signed up so you can always click off my blog but you can sign up too! You can also sign up to follow my blog!

Find Your Style

A room fit for a Tween!  We have tweaked Haley's room a few times but a few months back we worked on some re-dos since she is starting to get older and she wanted an more teen  tween room. There is a lot you can do with some paint and a trip to Walmart!

This was a plain white wall. I took painting tape and just pulled different size pieces off and just made designs throughout the wall.

The wall to the left with the squares has been done previously and for this room re-do I only wanted to change the center square to a different color. However to get this wall like this I really enlisted the help of my mommy friend Tess! She was so wonderful helping me do this wall. The idea is that you have have a level and painting tape. We taped off the center square first and painted this and after it dried when then pulled the tape and then re-taped even over top of what we just painted. You have to do this for the squares that are side by side so that you do not have a white strip where you have placed the tape.

I found these really cool letters at Michael's Craft store and they just so happen to be in the color scheme we were working with.

This bedding set was at Walmart so it was really affordable and then we found an assortment of pillows at different places like Ross', Marshals, TJ Maxx etc. Always watching the budget. Haley had received her stereo for Christmas the year prior but there were holes for nails and so I hung it on the wall which made it look so totally cool. We already had these really cool string lights and we just wove them through her bunk bed slats. The circle mirrors we found on clearance and they were just peel and stick.

We also found this really cool rug on clearance for $5.00! (see that really cool dog? each tween needs a really cool dog!)

It took us a day of fun and painting to really get her room pulled together! But she loves it and we did it on a really minimal budget! With the comforter, mirrors, rug, and pillows I spent roughly around $75.00 for her entire room.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beiber Fever? Will.I.Am? Are you Down With the Sickness?

Did I even spell Beiber right? Well, having kids young helps me stay "connected" to my kids, at least I think it does. I have to say that we do have some things in common, we like a lot of the same music and movies but sometimes I feel disconnected when they look at me like I have 3 eyes. BUT we try very hard to stay connected with our kids.

We have taken the kids several times to the Pumpkin Patch an hour away. This year Michael got to go with Haley's class on a field trip! I told him she will always remember her daddy going!
Watch out people! These 2 are one in the same!

Super Fun Vacation time in Phoenix

Haley and I had a great time at the Sweet 16 Party for Miley Cyrus a few years ago! Yes, I splurged and bought the tickets and it WAS worth it! We were the only ones on the entire ride!

Cody and I both got all dressed up to head out to the neighborhood Halloween party. Haley was a witch and dad was a Dr. (ignore the evil red eyes we have lol)

Having so much fun with my mini me.

Trying super hard to teach Cody his ABC's when he was 5. Trying to stay connected every was possible.

We had a blast at Metal Mulisha!

We took the kids to the Grand Canyon.

Cody and I hanging out at his 2nd Nascar Race!

Haley and I love to shop together! She goes for great deals too!

Michael and Cody love to go hunting together! Good ole country boys. They have to target shoot!

We jam it out, hang out and watch movies, take them for family activities. Trying to build memories the kids will always remember. Sometimes it's the small things that we never know that will stick. But I love making memories with our kids and I hope to stay connected by staying involved.

What sort of family activities do you do? I would love to hear about them.

It's a Mad Mess

Every so often I have to redo our closet. It seems that it takes on a life of it's own!
I keep trying to convince my husband that he needs to find his own closet so I can just have his 2 racks as well. He laughs at me of course. So I decided to do the next best thing and that was to get some totes to put up my winter clothes since I need to make room for my summer clothes. It was 90 degree by mid March!

I will be the first one to say how fortunate and lucky I am to have such a big closet to hold my clothes and shoes. I am blessed, fortunate, and lucky so don't think I am just a brat that isn't appreciative for all the wonderful things I have in my life, material or not.

I have cleaned these shelves many times over. I hope that I won't have to do it again for some time.

I bought this very inexpensive over the door shoe holder. I have never bought one of these before. Does this mean I am officially getting old? Mostly I put all of my different pairs of flip flops in the holder. I do live in AZ so I have LOTS of flip flops. This cleared up so much room! Plus it will keep my cute shoes from getting squished by the manly shoes that get thrown onto the shelves.

The shelves look so much better and I even had room for my make up so I could get this off the bathroom counter.
The clothes are straightened out more and organized into the bins on the top of the shelf. I would love to have all matching hangers and I may get there one day but on a budget it really doesn't matter I guess if the hangers match in my closet or not. Who sees my closet? (except all my blogging friends lol!)