Sunday, January 25, 2009

Insight from another money saving mom!

In our local paper this morning, there was a huge full page article about a mom near me that has an excellent website for saving money. In ust 2008, she either earned or saved $26,153!!!!!! In my opinion, that is just incredible! Imagine having over an extra $25K a year! But what's even better? She shares with her readers exactly how she does everything so you ca save along with her!

So here's her website in case you want to check it out. I'm sure I'm going to be hooked all day on it! Hehe!

Date Night on a Dime!

Normally date night includes maybe a $20 meal between the two (water only to drink) and a free or nearly free "activity" afterwards, like going to a park to watch the sunset, attending a free festival, shopping the mall sans kids, etc. But twice a year, we go all out! Okay, maybe not all out, but it's a splurge for us. Two times a year our local restaurant association puts on restaurant week where we can each get a 3 course meal for the price of the year, so this year $20.09. And to save even more money, since this event lasts a whole week, we work out a babysitting switch for Friday and Saturday night. One night we watch all the kids while our friends go out to dinner, the other night, the other night we switch.

So now the only decision, which restaurant do we try this time? We have it narrowed down to these three:

1. Carvers (a local steakhouse):
Choice of one: Tomato Zucchini Soup with Parmesan or Mixed greens with goat cheese, pine nuts & pinot noir vinaigrette or Romaine with bleu cheese, sweet onion, bacon and balsamic vinaigrette or Classic Caesar salad.
Choice of one: Prime Rib with Port Au Jus and Baked Potato or N.Y. Strip Steak with Steakhouse Fries or Filet Mignon with Port Shallot Sauce and Au gratin Potatoes or Tilapia Oscar with Asparagus, Lump Crab and Roasted Root Vegetables or Atlantic Salmon with Basil, Citrus, and Mustard Seed Crust and Rice Pilaf or Chicken Breast with Sun Dried Tomato, Pine nut and Garlic Sauce served with mashed Potatoes
Choice of one: Creme Brulee " Carver's Speciality Creme Brulee of the Day or Butterscotch Fudge Brownie's

2. Cena (a local Brazillian Steakhouse):
Enjoy Cena's feat table- laden with 40-50 items including specialty salads, salmon, grilled vegetables, cheeses, sushi and homemade soup. Then enjoy a plate of five Churrasco -cooked meats inlcuding our signature cut, picanha (beef top sirloin) and parmesan chicken. Starch of the day and speciality sauces included OR Award winning Brazilian Beef Stroganoff served over a bed of white rice accented with sauteed onions and garlic. Rolls included

3. The Melting Pot:
Appetizer: Cheddar Cheese Fondue
Entree: Chicken and Sirloin Fondue with a variety of vegetables
Dessert: Your choice of Chocolate(Dark, White, Milk) Fondue Dessert

Hmmm.......decisions, decisions! I'll have to let you know when we finally decide. Oh yeah, and most importantly, how much will we be saving??? Well, using Carvers for example. Three courses would have been about $40 per person. So its about a 50% off deal. Not too bad!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's a........GIRL!

We had our ultrasound last night at 5PM. Todd and Luke of course came along as well. Even though we were at least 10 minutes early, somehow the girl that was supposed to be after us snuck in before us. So we didn't get to go in until 5:50! Needless to say, we did kind of rush through it since Luke wanted nothing but to go home and eat dinner at this point.

But everything is perfectly on schedule and we found out it's a GIRL!!!!! I'm of course thrilled, but Todd not so much. All he can concentrate on is paying for dance, watching her cheerlead, paying for a wedding, and her having her heart broken by boys, none of which he says he can handle. So we weren't as quick to call people this time b/c Todd was so upset. I'm sure he'll come around, at least after she's born and he becomes wrapped around her little finger, but still, it's kind of upsetting. I want to celebrate and go buy a bunch of cute little pink clothes.

The only upside, I still did secretly want the third child I always dreamed of. Now, of course, he says we are having a third so we can have another boy. Haha! So we'll see. I was kind of looking forward to getting rid of all the baby boy stuff so I could buy a bunch of little girl clothes, but oh well. =)

I'll scan the ultrasound picture today hopefully.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It was a productive day!

Today was a federal holiday so thankfully, I had the day off from work. Whenever I get an extra day off, I always feel like I need to make the most out of it. Today, I think we accomplished our goal......and then some! We got so much done!

After returning from the countertop store and Home Depot, here is everything we got done:

1. Got bookcase finally built for Luke's big boy room.

2. We got the candle holder from Kirklands over a year ago and I finally found the perfect spot for them, the dining room. Here's a few pictures:

3. Then we the wine glass rack I bought over a year ago finally hung:
4. Then we also got the tray dividers installed in our kitchen cabinet. We paid almost $130 extra for (dumb mistake when you can buy the same thing from Lowes for about $30!) almost a year ago.
5. Then I got the cabinet next to the fridge organized! This has been the space where everyhting just gets thrown, so it needed organizing BAD. Here's the after:

6. Then I got the mantel and entry way cabinet redecorated. They were looking pretty bland after the holiday stuff got put away:

Then, I went to Once Upon a Child (local 2nd hand shop) and got a whole bag of maternity clothes from the clearence rack for only $42! I had to pick up some dog food as well.
Now since I'm on such a roll today......I'm heading off to do the laundry. Hopefully I won't be up till midnight again! =)

Countertops are on order!

So we just got back from the countertop store, and suprise, I had it narrowed down to two Silestone choices, Antique Gold and Ivory Coast. But, neither seemed just right to me. One was a little too light, one was a little too dark. So I started looking around the store and low and behold I came across LG Quartz. Here's is a sample of ehat we choose:
Afterwards, we headed to Home Depot to get paint. I decided on Ralph Lauren's Burlap. Here is a paint sample:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Great deal on bottles!

Okay, call me crazy, but before Todd and I were even married, I started shopping for baby stuff. Todd knew about it, but we both agreed we wouldn't tell anybody because they'd think we were crazy. But I did it partly because I knew we'd eventually have kids together, partly because it would space out the "upfront" costs, and partly because, well, I was bored out of my mind on Saturdays while Todd worked. We also lived about thre blocks from a really rich area of town. So, every Saturday, I'd get up bright and early, make Todd breakfast before work, and circle the garage sales in the paper I wanted to visit that day, even mapping out my route around town. Each week, I had $50, so each week it was a challendge to see what I could buy for the money. I found all kinds of great things, but I kept coming acorss these sales with barley worn, name brand baby clothes. I kept thinking, $.50 HAS to be a good deal. I might as well buy it while I have the time and money. I started buying boy and girl things, thinking I'd just sell what I couldn't use and at least make back what I bought them for. After two summers, I was ashamed to admit how many boxes full of baby stuff I had. Toys, equipment, clothes, etc.

So this is where I originally got all of our bottles from for our first son. I had visited a garage sale just before they were closing. I was looking at a giant box full of Avent bottles and the lady said she was about to close up and she'd give me the whole thing for only $10 (originally priced at $50 and probably $400 with of bottles and assessories.) I figured I'd just replace the nipples with new ones and save some money when it came time. So I literally spent nothing on bottles for Luke.

The whole BPA thing had just made it to the lime light when he was about 4 months old, but at the time, the last thing we had money for was new bottles, and there wasn't any BPA free bottles besides glass on the market anyway. So I just crossed my fingers and soon switched him to sippy cups which were fine.

But with the new baby on the way, I was totoally freaked out. Of course I needed new bottles, but it seemed like such a waste. UNTIL, I found out you could return your old Avent bottles for new BPA free ones. Sure, they only returned them for a mere fraction of the price ($35 for 12 bottles) but it was better than nothing. And, as luck would have it, Born Free (which I had heard were better anyway) were on sale. $5 off any 3-pack. Score! So for 12 new bottles, we only spent $43!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More Guest Bathroom Purchases...

I almost forgot to post all the new bathroom fixtures we bought on Thursday. So here they are:

MOEN Lindley shower (only ours has a bathtub faucet as well)

MOEN Lindley faucet
And the lighting for above the mirror. And here's the glass lamp shades that go over the blub:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh, and I almost forgot...

Which countertop???? We decided to go with Silestone since it's got the beatuy of granite, but a better warrenty, it's man made, and it doesn't need to be sealed. We're getting it for $700 installed for 61" inches with a built in sink and 4" backspalsh. So which color???

#1 #2 #3 #4

Now I need your help!

So I've narrowed down our tile choices to one main tan tile, a 10 x 30 cm tile for the shower area which will be laid "brick" style or "subway tile" style as they call it. The floor will have a matching tile, but will be 12" x 12" tiles. About four feet from the floor, around the tub area, we're putting in a decorative boarder about 3" wide. I've narrowed down to two kinds, which I must add are VERY similar. Now, help me choose:

#1 #2

And from a distance:

So which choice would you go with?

More Bathroom Progress!

The bathtub and surrounding drywall all got ripped out this weekend using Todd's new jigsaw he got for Christmas from Santa. Too bad he now needs a new blade for Valenine's Day! Haha!

He's now working on patching the various spots of drywall which he got a chance to work on today.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The guest bathroom reno has begun!

So here is some before pictures of the bathroom. I will admit up front that all pictures of this bathroom are going to be horrible on my Nikon D40. It's just too big of a camera to take pictures of a small 6 x 8 bathroom! Errr!

Here's some before pic:
Again, horrible picture from our real estate listing, but at least you can tell from the picture how the tiny bathroom part and toilet is seperated by a stupid wall and door that couldn't even close if you were sitting on the toilet and didn't open all the way because it hit the tub! Who's idea was that?!?!

And some pictures now:

So far we've spent:
  1. $150 for the electrician to rewire an electric outlet on the wall we removed as well as the light switch.

  2. $60 for the plumber to install shut off valves where the sink/vanity was.

  3. $180 for our 60" vanity on clearence

4. Mirror from Kirklands for $59.99

6. Lighting for above mirror for $99.99

Sorry for my absense....AGAIN!

So my morning sickness thankfully took a few days off for Christmas, but quickly returned and was even worse this time. Thankfully, yesterday, after missing three days of work, I got some medicine to take care of me.....Zofran! And since this is a saving money blog, THANK GOD for DH's UPS insurance. The pills were $399.99 for 10 generic pills (5 days worth). And how much did it cost us? $0!!!!! Thanks UPS! Sometime I get mad that DH has to get up and go to work at 2am every morning and instead of having our Saturday's together, he goes and works, but it's days like these, I'm thankful he makes that sacrifice for his family! It's like getting a bonus check, hahaha!