Saturday, May 30, 2009

House Progress


Well, today is one month to the day that we're supposed to sign our contract on the house. We're guessing it's going to take a little bit longer and not actually finish on time but it is coming along.
The outside of the house is nearly finished. They just need to hang the shutters. The yard still isn't finished but it's coming along. They put the wall up for the back patio and the side garden. It looks great.
Inside the house, they have done all the wiring, insulation and drywalling. They just finished actually putting the drywall up. They haven't yet filled in the seams and textured it. Paint should start going up near the end of this week or early next week I'm guessing. It's exciting. I walked through the house tonight without my camera but it's amazing the difference a lot of white drywall makes. It really defines the rooms and their sizes. Before this, it was hard to really tell what each room would feel like size wise. It looks awesome though. I'm just imagining how it will look when it's FINISHED!! For now, here are a few pictures that I took probably a week or so ago. The outside really hasn't changed any.

Looking out from the upstairs front bedroom.
View of the mountains from the side bedroom.




Taeya and Daddy hanging out on the upstairs landing. Master bedroom to the left and guest bedroom center doorway. To the right is a linen closet.



Closet in Taeya's room. I was a little sad at how shallow they are. My storage tubs won't fit in these closets like they do in my current place. Thankfully, they're decently wide.




The beginning of our flagstone patio. We've decided to lay concrete and then flagstone on top of that. We didn't want the original gravel filler and then have to deal with weeds.





There's our house! Isn't it a beauty? You can see a good 'ol Colorado thunderstorm rolling in behind. Love it. Who wants to come for a visit when it's done?! We'll have guest quarters in the basement and another guest room upstairs. We love visitors!



We're thinking about painting the front door black or possibly even a deep red. What do you think? We're going to have black shutters and there will be black lights. One by the garage and one on the front porch.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Many Faces of Taeya

Taeya's expressions change moment to moment. Here are a few I took in the car while we were waiting for someone.


Isn't that such a sweet little grin?



Here's a genuine Taeya smile.




So serious.






Another of Taeya's favorite "toys"



What I see when my little one wants something that I have.



Hehehe, I don't know where this look came from. Pretty crazy though!




Taeya-16 months

My little sweetie just turned 17 months yesterday. Here are a few pictures of her from the past month. She is a joy to be around most of the time. She is moving into a temper-tantrum stage which can definitely be challenging. Today, she pointed to the book, "Goodnight Moon" which was out of reach. She enjoys carrying books around with her but hasn't really shown an interest in actually listening when I read them to her. Today, as I was reading "Goodnight Moon" I asked her where the kitties where. She loved pointing them out and also pointed out the mouse when I asked her where it was. She loves her animals for sure!

What Taeya is Doing at 16 months
Walking more steadily
Climbs on the couch by herself (with effort!)
Love to play ball with anyone
Giggles a ton when tickled
Enjoy being scared by Mommy & Daddy
Beginning to use her imagination when she plays with her toys
Like to chew on ice (although I'm trying to break her of this)
Is always getting into trouble for standing up in her booster seat
Loves picking up smooth rocks outside (and licks them)
Helps Mom clean out the dishwasher (she hands me each item on the bottom, one at a time)
Sucks her fingers whenever she holds one of her soft blankies
When we're shopping, she'll reach forward and grab a handlful of my shirt and pull me to her
Dances to music
Says: Up, Please (puh), Mama, More, Book (uk), Points at many things and says "oh, ooh"
Understands SO MUCH of what we say to her

Taeya LOVES to play with her little plastic animals. Here she's making them climb up really high. :)
My dirty little girl was having fun playing on the balcony. She loves being outside. A picture from Mother's Day. The cute dress was a gift from some friends from church. Unfortunately, this is the best picture I was able to get of her on Mother's day.
All tuckered out from her time in the nursery.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I DID IT!!!!

*EDIT* I found out my actual time. It was 1 hour 3 minutes and 48 seconds. Here's the breakdown of my miles:

1. 9:39
2. 10:43
3. 10.52
4. don't know
5. don't know
6. 10:10

Megan, Kristi & Kerri
Today, I ran the Bolder Boulder. This was my first 10K race. For those not into racing, a 10K is the same as 6.2 miles. I was very proud of myself for not just finishing, but jogging at a pretty steady pace the whole time without having to walk once. I finished in about 1 hour 10 minutes. I'll know the official stats later on when they send out a sheet with my time on it. Each runner has a special electronic tag that they wear on their shoe that records their speed for each mile of the race. They then send out a chart showing you how fast you ran and what your final time is.

About 4 months ago, my friend Kristi's sister, Kerri decided she wanted to do the Bolder Boulder for a school project and invited Kristi to do it with her. Kristi in turn invited me and I said "yes." We started training back at the end of January and my best month of training was February...by far. Once we got into the whole house purchase, my running kind of fell by the wayside although I continued to run about once or twice a week up until the race.

Phil stayed home and watched Taeya while I drove to Boulder with Kristi. It was my first time spending the night away from Taeya and Phil's longest time alone with her since she was born. They did great and it was fun to get away for a day and a night to go do this.

Kristi and I stayed with her sister and her roommates in Boulder, CO. I got very little sleep (about 3 1/2 hours) and after a breakfast of oatmeal and a 1/2 cup of coffee for some caffeine, we headed out to the race about 7:00 am. Kristi had already registered us but we had to pick up our registration packets with out bibs. Our heat of the race started at approximately 8:30 and I finished at about 9:40. Kristi and I had a fun time talking on the way home. This was a big race for both of us. It was interesting because as we were running, we both got emotional at different points in the race. It was such an amazing atmosphere. There were people cheering us on at every leg of the race and some very interesting characters running as well. It was a lot of fun and I WISH I could have taken pictures throughout the race. The one from above was taken before the race while we were waiting in line for the bathrooms. I took a picture of a father/daughter team and then he offered to take one of us and he emailed it to me while we waited in line. How cool is technology?
The event was very well organized and flowed very smoothly. This is the 31st year of the Bolder Boulder and it started with about 2,800 runners and has grown to over 54,000 runners! Amazing!! I can't wait to do it again next year, hopefully. Kristi and I are already planning on running another 10K in June. If I'm not too stressed out with the house and moving, I'll be running in the Strawberry Shortcut in our area.
I am not "a runner" but had a great time today and am finding that if I want to get out and exercise, I need to have a goal like a 10K to motivate me to exercise because you can't just get up one morning and decide to do a 10k that day. It takes planning and some training. So, if you want to get in a little better shape, find a friend and challenge each other to complete a goal like this. You can do it too and you won't regret it!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Grocery Savings

I've gotten pretty passionate about my coupons this year...ask just about anyone who knows me. Many people question whether it's really worth it to use coupons. I had a few minutes to crunch some numbers today so I thought I'd share with you just a taste of what I'm saving on my grocery bill. I keep the majority of my grocery receipts. Today, I took JUST my City Market receipts and decided to figure out how much I've saved overall since the start of the year. Keep in mind this doesn't include every receipt. There are also some savings not counted on the receipts. Upromise adds money to an account so I don't save it at the time of purchase but I do get the money saved into an account for later use. Also, if I buy an item on 50% off clearance (which I frequently do with my breads) the discount doesn't show up in my savings totals. It rings up at 50% off but the savings don't count towards my savings since it's on clearance.

Anyways, here's what I came up with. Please keep in mind that I live in a rural area and things here generally cost MORE than more populated areas. Your savings can be even greater if the overall cost of your items is less.

This is the totals from the 11 City Market Receipts I have since the beginning of the year:
Total spent out of pocket (OOP): $406.65
Value Card Savings: $209.43
Manufacturer Coupon Savings: $167.05
Total savings of: $376.48
Total I WOULD have spent if I didn't have Value card savings and coupons: $783.48

Total percent saved of my purchases: 48%!!!

These are my regular grocery receipts! I'm buying items like milk, eggs, cereal, fruit, veggies, canned products, meat etc. I try very hard to just buy items that we use. I don't buy random stuff that I'll never use just to get good savings. This system works! If you have the time and you want to save money on your grocery bill, start looking at some of the links I have on the top right of my blog. My three favorites are probably couponmom.com, A Thrifty Mom, and Shortcuts.com

If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to help you through the process. I used to try and fail at using coupons until last Fall. Now, I LOVE my coupons!

Friday, May 08, 2009

TP Taeya Time








The other day it was rather quiet while I was working on dinner. I went to find where my little one was and here's what I found. She decided it would be fun to unroll the toilet paper. When I found her, she startled a little and then decided she should go flush the toilet. She helps me flush sometimes but can't quite do it on her own yet. Thankfully, she didn't make too much of a mess. She definitely keeps me on my toes though.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Super Duper Deals

Today my friend, Kristi, and I went to Target and Safeway together. We did a bunch of pre-planning with our coupons and came away with some sweet deals. It takes a bit of work but in the end, it is totally worth it.

At Target, my purchases WOULD have cost $81.30 total but I ended up spending only $10.30 out of pocket (OOP). I ended up saving 87% of my purchases!

At Safeway, I saved 76% and spent only $22.74 instead of $87.26.

Between the two of us, we ended up with 13 boxes of free cereal. 10 packs of free gum. 12 boxes of free Fiber One granola bars and toaster pastries. 3 bags of free cough drops. 3 free bottles of Vitamin water. 6, 4-packs of good quality razors that cost us $1.50 total. That's 0.12 and a half cents per razor. Each razor is normally $1.63 each. We had many other discounts as well but those were some of our best.

What you see in the picture are just some of my discounts. I had more as I mentioned above and Kristi had lots of the same discounts as well athough I don't know what her totals were. Here's what I bought...
All of the products that I brought home (after I gave some to Kristi)

My Safeway purchases. I gave her most of the cereal since she has 6 people in her family and I only have 2 that eat cereal.
Most of my Target purchases

How did we manage getting such deep savings you ask? I'll share the gist of it, but you'll have to do a bit of research to get the same kind of deals yourself.
First of all, I use Couponmom.com. This shows me what's on sale and what I have coupons for. Read their free little booklet or watch their movie to see how it's done. It really works. I was skeptical at first but I usually save at least 50% on my grocery trips...including items that aren't on such super sale. (Last week I bought delicious whipped butter at $0.66/lb...I stocked up.)
Read other people's websites to get ideas and links to good printable coupons. I have a local one for CO that helps a lot and one that is based in Vegas that helps me as well. Click here for the Vegas website.
It also helped that Kristi and I pooled our coupons. We were able to get better deals working together than each going individually. For example. At Target right now, there is a sale for buy 4 Fiber One products and get a $5 gift card at checkout. We did this deal 3 separate times because between the two of us, we had at least 12 coupons for Fiber One products. We ended up getting all of our Fiber One products for free because of the money we received back at the end.
Here's another example. One pack of 4 razors normally costs $6.49. I had 3 TARGET coupons I printed offline a couple weeks ago for $2 off the razors. I also had 3 MANUFACTURER coupons for $4 off the same razors. That brought the price down to $0.50/pack. I could do this three times. However, I also had three buy one get one free (BOGO) coupons. So, I bought 3 packs of razors for $0.50 each and got three more packs free. Both Kristi and I are now set on our razors for awhile. :)
One thing I learned recently is that if something is on sale for BOGO free and you have a coupon for BOGO free then you actually get two items for free. They basically cancel each other out so you get both for free. That's how we got 10 packs of gum for free. We had 5 BOGO free coupons between the two of us and they were on sale for the same.
Hope this post inspires you to start couponing if you don't already. I have saved SO MUCH money since I started couponing last fall. I rarely buy full-priced items anymore because I've learned so much about sales, coupons etc. over the past few months. The stores where I live also tend to be more expensive than many parts of the country and do NOT double coupons but I am still able to receive savings like you see above.
I used to try to cut coupons and I would just get frustrated at only saving 2-3 dollars on my grocery order for a whole bunch of work and half the time I would forget my coupons. It still takes a bunch of work but I am now saving 50% or MORE off of my purchases with the help of couponmom and a little research on my part.
If you would like some free KFC meals (2 pieces of grilled chicken, 2 sides and a biscuit). Go to Save a Penny and check out the link. I just printed off 4 for Phil and I. Hey, it's free food. You can't beat that!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

House Progress








Here are pictures I took on Friday night of our house progress. It's coming along well. The stone in the front yard will be going on the house where the black is. I think it'll be done early next week. Inside the house, they're running the piping for the plumbing. The showers are all in and everything is coming along nicely. We've made a lot of decisions and still have many more to go. In about 2 more months, we should be living here. I'm so excited!!