Tastes Like Cheap Chicken – #1

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Some exciting news for the blog today!  I have finally got some guest bloggers, woot!  If you haven’t started following regularly, do it now.  These people are good.  Really good.  Without further ado, my longtime friend, Lindley.

Tastes Like Cheap Chicken

The Introduction

Greetings!  My name is Lindley and I am a CouponAholic.  I am a Coupon Queen, a Frugalista, a FreeHugger,  a Master-rebater.  I am the lady in line right in front of you at the grocery store when you are in a huge hurry who whips out a giant stack of coupons and ruins your day.  I can see you and the cashier rolling your eyes at each other.  Sometimes you huff and puff and make a big show of looking for a new line to get into.  That’s okay with me-especially when the cashier cheerfully (forced) announces that I saved $42 today.

I am not, however, an Extreme Couponer.  I don’t descend upon my local grocery store with an army of savings soldiers and raid the shelves for 47 bottles of mustard and 68 candy bars (stores caught on to the Extreme Couponing thing pretty quickly and have implemented limits of 4 or 5 coupons per item anyway).  I am also not a “cheapskate”.  I don’t bake cookies on the dash of my car on a hot summer day to save a dollar off my electric bill.  My family enjoys eating out, exploring all the fun things to do around Colorado and we love taking vacations.  This all costs money.  I do not believe in saving every penny we earn for a rainy day, but I would certainly prefer to spend our money (guilt-free) on a family dog sledding adventure than a roll of toilet paper.  And yes, I live in a house with a husband and two growing buys, so toilet paper is a pretty hefty investment.

My friend Jenn asked me to share some of my money-saving tips, resources and ideas on her blog.  I met Jenn in college- back when it would have made sense to use coupons and shop smart because I was dirt poor and considered adding Vienna Sausages to ramen a gourmet treat.  But I didn’t do a whole lot of things that made sense in college. I worked two jobs- the college library (where I met Jenn) and writing a bi-monthly humor column for the school newspaper.  My column was called “Tastes Like Chicken”.  It was meant as a reference to my attitude about the world- that nearly everything in life depends on how you look it at.  With the right “sauce” and a little positive outlook, even pigeon meat (or Vienna Sausage) tastes like chicken.  It was a fun idea that, in reality, earned me a lot of awkward “hey, you are that chicken chick” encounters around campus.  So I was kind of okay with the last squawk being choked out at graduation.

Fast-forward to now, a decade (ish) later, and I think I am ready for the Chicken to rise from the ashes to talk about something that I think is interesting and useful.  I am mostly a stay-at-home mom now ( I work part-time running youth basketball tournaments) so I feel like the amount of money I save every month is almost like earning a salary in an abstract way.  I realize that you can’t pay a phone bill with a $1 off County Crock coupon.  I also fully acknowledge that the amount of time and energy I invest in saving money through coupons, online savings tricks, rewards and rebate programs and a whole host of other resources is not feasible or realistic for everyone.  Much like starting a weight loss program, results will depend on your level of commitment and ability to battle excuses.  And whether you are just naturally “big-boned”.

My goal is to provide some fairly painless options and resources for getting more for your money, help you organize your tools, and really save on things that you need to buy to free up more cash for things you want to buy.  The plan is to focus on new money-saving topic every few weeks (purposely vague on the time-frame because life is like that these days) with some specific links and examples.  Please feel free to comment, ask questions or contact me if you would like more info.  First up (just in time for Thanksgiving shopping) will be a look into the daunting world of coupons- a.k.a. the colorful money with barcodes.

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Core Value:  Have a voice, Be a renegade

Project Life – Girl’s Trip – Day 4

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Last day of our trip!

I used Digital Project Life to put together memories from our recent girl’s trip, and then put them into a Shutterfly book.

The book turned out great, and it tells the story better than I ever could on this blog.  (Be warned:  There are plenty of “inside jokes”.  It’s what we do.)

Day4_1

Page 15

Day4_2

Page 16

ForsythPark2

Page 17

ForsythPark

Page 18

Day4_3

Page 19

Day4_4

Page 20

GuyAtPark

Last, and most important page.  The guy playing at football at the park.

 

 

10 Things Right Now – Casey

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Casey is 2 and a half years old.

1.  Your speech is finally taking off!  We had been so worried about the lack of words and almost instantaneously, you are almost saying full sentences.  Thank goodness.  This also means you tell me “no” more often.

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2.  You love to play, play, play!  Especially with Cameron (and Noah when he visited).  Your favorite game is to growl at Cameron and then chase him in circles around our house.  You love growling so much, sometimes you will answer questions with just a growl instead of words.  It’s pretty funny.

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3.  You like candy.  We took you Trunk-or-Treating last Friday.  Daddy gave you a package of Nerds (against my advice).  We have a giant bowl of candy leftover, and you have become a candy monster.  You woke up at six this morning and the first thing you asked for is candy.  I am going to hide it good while you are at school today.

4.  You do not like wearing clothes.  It’s bad.  You take them off whenever you realize you are wearing clothes, and we can barely get them back on you.  In fact, this morning you wouldn’t let me dress you at all.  So I put you in the car with just a diaper.  When we got to school, you let me put on your pants, socks and shoes, but no shirt.  So we got into the school, I tried to force a shirt on you.  By the time we got to your classroom, you had it off again.  It didn’t even phase your teacher, and by the time your cousin got to school 30 minutes later, your shirt was on.  Sigh.IMG_2725

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5.  You have stopped climbing the gate.  After almost 4 long months of teaching you how to sleep in a big boy bed, I think you are finally getting it.  I’m still tired.

6.  Your laugh is contagious.  Just watch the video.  You’ll get it.  This also showcases the “roar”.

7.  You are adventurous.  Head first down the slide.  Jumping off couches.  Climbing high.  You are an adventurer.  I’m planning for broken bones, blood and black eyes now.

8.  You still have a pretty legit flip-flop tan.  This one kind of goes along with not wanting to wear clothes.  When you do wear clothes and/or shoes, you prefer your flip flops.  We tell people you are just getting ready for the big move to California.

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9.  You prefer to cuddle Chuck.  Chuck is my bear, and you are slowly but surely making him yours.  This makes me infinitely happy.

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10.  You got pretty sick this month.  You started with a cold which turned into croup.  It was awful and you were having a hard time breathing, so you had to get a steroid shot to calm your lungs down.  After you got your shot, you said “Ouchie!  Sticker?”  No crying at all.  It was the cutest thing.  Also, on the way out of the doctor you blew him and the nurse kisses.  So cute.

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Showing me your sticker. Yes, I let you wear that to the doctor. I was tired.

Core Vales:  Laugh, Be a Renegade

Parks and Recreation Kid’s Night – Papillion

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Our Parks and Rec department here in Papillion is awesome.  I am not sure if I just didn’t pay attention to my Parks and Rec department growing up, or if was just a bummer, or if we hit the jackpot here.  Either way, we totally hit the jackpot here.  In August, they had Kid’s Night at the local park.  They served hot dogs, chips and Popsicle’s, and had a few fun activities.  It was also the same night as our little local farmer’s market, so we took a gander through there as well.  Such a fun little evening for my family, that we spent outside and playing.

IMG_6771Starting off the evening by doing some serious swinging.

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Flowers for sale at the Farmer’s Market.

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Collin is a serious slider.  No smiles until this kid gets to the bottom.

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Sitting in the fire truck is a big hit with all three of my boys.  They could pretend to drive for hours.  Casey in particular.

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Cam trying to put the truck in reverse.

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The high school and college kids who run all the camps, also set up little obstacle courses for the kids.  This particular section was a favorite of the Kearney boys (maybe because they are so used to yarn at our house?).  They went through this section a few times.

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Running under the sheet on the way to kick a soccer goal.

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At the end of the night, Rian was so excited and happy, he did a nice and high karate jump.  Just kidding, I was working on my iphoneography class and made him do this at the top of a hill, while I laid down at the bottom of the hill.

Laugh.

Cameron’s “Last” 1st Day of Preschool

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When I was pregnant with Cameron, and found out he was a boy, I decided that he would go to an extra year of preschool. I had previously researched this topic before I had any kids, and always felt it was the right decision.  I had no idea how many times I would have to justify my decision (even to myself a few times).

For the record, Cam’s birthday is June 28th.  The cutoff here in Nebraska is July 15th.  So we were only 17 days shy of the cutoff.

I wanted the extra year for a few major reasons, and a few not so major reasons.

  1. He will now go from the youngest in his class, to one of the oldest.
  2. Kids who take the extra year, usually are at the top of their class.
  3. Kids who take the extra year, usually have higher self-esteem.
  4. I taught high school at the time.  The maturity difference between a 17 year old senior boy and an 18 year old senior boy is SIGNIFICANT.
  5. I like the thought of my son starting preschool at 19 instead of 18.
  6. Rian was a late bloomer.  He grew 7 or 8 inches freshman year of college.  Rian’s dad was also a late bloomer.  It 100% affected Rian’s self-confidence.  If I can help Cam with that now, I am going too.

Cam started preschool a while ago, right before his brother’s were born, Spring 2011.  He went T/Th.  Fall 2011 he started M/W/F.  Fall 2012, M/W/F again.  So this year, I knew I was skipping the kindergarten, but still wanted him to get used to school every day, so we signed up for the M-F half days.  I didn’t receive any push back from the school I signed him up at (just our local YMCA), but other parents seemed to be shocked.  At Cam’s birthday party this summer, we invited all of the kids from his class.  Every single kid went on to Kindergarten except for Cam.  Most Mom’s just asked why and listened.  Some Mom’s didn’t ask at all.  One Mom said “What’s the matter with him?  Is he struggling in school?”  Basically, she voiced what every other Mom seemed to be thinking.  Which is fine.

Driving Cam to his first day a few weeks ago, I even questioned myself.  Did I make the right decision?  Should he be going to kindergarten now?  Stress!  I came home, re-read some articles and justified my decision.  I trusted me and I trust Cam.

Cameron's 1st Day of Preschool 2013

Cameron’s 1st Day of Preschool 2013

I know how smart Cameron is, and I am positive he would be fine in Kindergarten right now.  But, this is so much more to me than being fine in kindergarten.  I am the one making the decisions for Cam’s education, NOW.  I want to set him up to be the best he can be, NOW.  I want to do what’s right for him, NOW.  Then, in the FUTURE, when it’s Cam’s turn to make the educational decisions, he has had every opportunity to make the right and best decisions for himself.  And hopefully, by giving him this extra year to grow and play and learn, he will be mature enough to make the decisions to take the harder classes and go to the harder college, because he believes in himself.

The twins were born in April.  They will also be taking the extra year for all the reasons listed above and because they were preemies.  They have taken a little longer for just about everything, so I am going to give them a little longer to grow, learn and play as well.

Lastly, with all of this kindergarten talk, I am STILL in shock that people pronounce it KINDIE-garden.

Core Values:  Be a renegade, Stick together, Have a voice.

 

Project Life – Girl’s Trip – Day 1

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In April, I went on a girl’s trip with, well, three of my girlfriends. We had been planning it for a long time, and knew exactly where we wanted to go. The South. Specifically, Savannah and Charleston. It was great. Amazing. Fun. Beautiful. Etc. The list goes on and on. Over the next few weeks I’ll share our adventures with you, through the personal storytelling my friends and I did.

While there, I made my friends write down the memories we made for a few reasons:
1. So we don’t forget them.
2. I’m a memory keeper! I knew I would make a scrapbook, and they helped me do some of the work.
3. Now I have a snippet of their actual handwriting in the book.  (I had them write directly onto to blank Project Life cards that I scanned into my computer when I got home.)

I used Digital Project Life to put together the memories, and then put them into a Shutterfly book.  I waited until I got one of those awesome Shutterfly book coupons, and then sent them off to them!

The book turned out great, and it tells the story better than I ever could on this blog.  (Be warned:  There are plenty of “inside jokes”.  It’s what we do.)

Title Page

Title Page

Day1_1

Page 1

Day1_2

Page 2

Day1_3

Page 3

Day1_4

Page 4