Artwork for Always and Ever

I have 3 kids. I would like to save all their wonderful works of art but I would need an extra garage to store it all. My kids get so excited when they show me their art. I have found I not only love their art but their huge smiles as they show it to me and explain all the fantastic details of their finished master piece. I’m sure you have heard the idea of taking pictures of your child’s special works of art, but I have taken that a step further….take a picture of your child holding their art work. Not only will you get some of the most fantastic smiles on film but you freeze in time what your child looked like in preschool or whatever age when they made this most wonderful creation. Most likely they made it for you.

My son Milan holding his prize creation from preschool. He loves pumpkins and going to pumpkin patches.

Couponing and Potty Training….What??

Are you starting to think about potty training, dreading those words or don’t even want to talk about it?? I have 3 kids and have successfully potty trained 2 of them with the last one heading towards a training session soon. So what could potty training and couponing possibly have in common? Depending on your approach to potty training, couponing could really come in handy. If you are thinking about giving your child some type of reward….here is where the couponing comes in. Start stocking piling rewards now. When your child goes #1 or #2 in the potty for the 1st time and after you jump up and down a few 100 times and terrorize your child with a crazy 4 minute long hug, you may want to give him/her a small reward. Now is not the time to hop in the car and go get one. Children live in the now and they need their prize now. Because you have been couponing for this very thing for a few months you have a great assortment to choose from (stickers, small cars, books, a piece of candy, or bigger items you picked up right after a holiday that were marked clearance). Clearance is one of my favorite words.

My 3 yr old son loved stickers. When choosing rewards go with what your child loves, what is important to them. We had a potty sticker chart (a piece of paper taped to the bathroom wall). Every time my son had a successful bathroom trip he got to pick out a sticker and put anywhere he wanted on his chart, he loved this idea. He received other rewards too, especially when we were out of the house. I always had a few little things from my stockpile in my purse.

I would love to hear any potty training ideas you have, each child is different, some things that work for one child may not work for another (even in the same family, I learned this early on). Happy training. You may want to start couponing cleaning supplies and detergent as well.

Couponing Car Kits

Does your medicine cabinet look like a pharmacy having a sale on band aides and Tylenol? Or do you have a ton of samples you have collected from just about everywhere? Round up anything you have a surplus of that you could use while you are away from the house. This is not a travel kit, its a car kit,  so anything from Tylenol to tissues, Motrin to mouthwash, deodorant to diapers, pack it. It’s awful to have to make an unexpected trip to buy something at the store that you know you have at home. Even more worse, you couponed that item that you need and have 6 sitting on the shelf in the bathroom!!! If possible use an old make up bag or an out dated lunch box that your kids would rather go hungry than be seen with in the lunch room. For my 8 yr old, that would be her old Cinderella lunchbox. I used it a few months ago (could not find her current one), and wow did I hear about it when she came home from school. “Mom, Cinderella…..really? Can you not use that lunch box ever again?” Now it is my car kit.

It’s Tadpole Time

Early Spring is Tadpole time. I am always looking for things to do with my 3 kids on a dime. Spring is here and and thankfully it brought some rain, prefect ingredients for tadpoles. Find a pond or very large puddle, grab some cups (or a net but be careful not to harm the pollywogs) and start scooping. It is so much fun trying to scoop up pollywogs, they are really fast. We grabbed 6 large tadpoles, remember they are going to turn into frogs so you don’t want to grab too many. Also, try to get a few cups or a jar full of pond water for the tank.

What you will need: small tank with a lid (you only fill it up about 3-4 inches of TREATED and pond water). We already have a critter tank for all our backyard catch and releases. Wash it out with water, NO soap. At the pet store buy: tadpole pellets (yes they make them) $5, live floating plants (that will actually live in the tank) $3, some sort of land (for the frogs) $ varies or make it at home (ask pet store about how to make your own land) free and de-chlorination drops $3.50. We got fancy and bought a background for the tank $3, but that is definitely not needed). You will need to change the water 2 times a week. This is a great project to bring to show and tell especially when the tadpoles have legs but are not out of the water yet, most children have not seen a tadpole at this stage before and are fascinated.

Couponing: A Different Way of Thinking

I am a mother of 3 wonderful children and I shop on a budget. Couponing was a gift from heaven. When I started couponing I also started to think differently about shopping. I will run you through a few scenarios that hit home for me and maybe for you all as well:

Couponing is about buying things you need before you need them at significantly reduced prices; so you never go into a store and pay full price again.

Example 1: Around 6pm, your child says” oh ya I almost forgot, could you make brownies for school/soccer tomorrow”? You run to the store after dinner and pick up a box of brownie/cookie mix, which at full price will cost around $2.5-$3.50 a box, most likely you will buy 2 boxes. You have just paid full price for 2 boxes of mix plus the time/gas of going to the store. Even if you found the mixes on sale you still had to go the store last minute, couponing prevents that for the most part.
Solution: Already have the mixes at home (because you couponed them for free-$1/box). By couponing the mixes, you can open your pantry and say to your child, “brownies, great, why don’t you pick out which kind you want to bring tomorrow”.

Example 2: “Honey, I’m out of deodorant, could you pick up some if you go to the store today?” You go shopping at CVS/Rite Aid/Walgreens to pick up a few things and some deodorant, and you even find some on sale, SCORE!! How many do you pick up? Most likely 1 and maybe if its a good sale, 2.
Solution: A few weeks ago there was a sale on deodorant at CVS. You could have bought 1 or 2 on sale and been happy but if you couponed the sale correctly you would have walked away with 6 deodorants for free! No more “Honey I’m out deodorant” for a year! Who goes to the store and buys 6 deodorants when you need 1? Coupners do, and we do it so we ever buy full price again. “Honey, I am out of deodorant.” You say, “just look in the bathroom on the shelve,” and go back to solving real problems, like where your 4th graders homework went, it was on the kitchen table a minute ago………

Example 3: You think about what to plan for dinners this week, hummmm lets see lets go with the regulars. You make your shopping list and head out to the grocery store. The regulars aren’t on sale but they are what you like to make and at least you aren’t taking the kids out to eat all the time, right?? Wrong.
Solution: Grab a cup of coffee/tea and sit down with a red pen and the Sunday or Tues/Wed grocery ads. Circle what is on sale. Do a coupon match up online (call stacking). Make a list of things on sale and things you have stacked coupons for (item on sale +manufacture coupon and maybe even a store coupon). Try and come up with some meals from those food items before you go to the “regulars”,  you will save a bundle. From time to time couponers don’t need to do a big weekly trip because we already have what we need in our pantry, we just go and get parishables like dairy and veggies (which all can be couponed as well).

There are hundreds of examples I can think of, I just named three. If you are thinking about starting up couponing, I hope these were helpful. I know I have not taught you how to coupon, and I will, I just though I would share with you the different way of thinking that comes with couponing.

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