Friday, February 25, 2011

Can I coupon, or can I coupon?

Well, there's a lot of excitement going on around here these days. It's not about the weather or the dog's latest trick;

i-i-i-i-i-t's couuuupppooooons!

I started couponing about a year ago and it has opened up a whole new world for me. Gone are the days of generic food and paying full price. Coupons have changed the way we shop tremendously. I had no idea there was an actual method or strategy to using coupons; then one day my eyes were opened to the truth about store promos, catalinas, stacking coupons, and register rewards.
I joke because I used to say I was a compulsive spender. Instead, now I use coupons to see how little I can spend. My husband doesn't think it's funny because I'm still dragging stuff home; only now he has a year's worth of deodorant and toothpaste stocked up instead of vases and duvet covers (I say- tell him not to laugh when he's handing out Old Spice body wash and Schick razors to the neighborhood like Santa).

Anyway, I was at Rite Aid not long ago with Sam and the girls and purchased some items (paper plates, household items, medicine, cereal) totaling $122, and after all of my coupons, the total was only $16.84!

But that's not the best part- at the end of my receipt, I received $34 in up rewards!! (they are like cash to use in the store, I usually use them to purchase the next week's groceries). moneymaker.

Somebody get me a cookie!

I really outdid myself. In fact, it was a sort of a celebration.

So we did this when we got home:

Over seven feet of receipt. Longest receipt on record!! That's Sleeping Beauty holding that, by the way.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A White Couch?

A while back, we were fortunate to inherit a sofa from my Father-In-Law's Mother's estate (say that three times fast) when she passed. Yep, it's a dead Grandma's couch! However, it is a custom made Norwalk sofa, practically new in every way, and nicer than anything I could ever afford. As we loaded it up to take home, Sam's little brother Nick said "Jenny, just remember, my Grandma had to die so you could have this couch!" We all had a good laugh over that one!


I would personally like to thank Marianne for the couch (sorry about the dying part).

I love the design. The couch has good bones. But Good Lord, that is some garish Grandma fabric covering that thing!! All I think when I see it is "Florida Retirement Community" along with red hats, purple scarves, and knick-knacks. No folks, it's not just covered in extra large floral print, it's extra large floral on jacquard. That's like Grandma x2! That's Grandma squared!! It's got color, it's got texture...'s a whole lot more than I can handle.

Whoa Nelly!! Clear the baby out of the room! Call a priest!

I took on the project with ferocity. This was officially my third slipcovering project. First, I covered a 70's wing chair that was a cast-off from my Aunt Farel in an off-white chenille. A success, but man, it was a nightmare to complete. If I stare at it too long I start to get mad. I purchased a bare minimum amount of yardage so the cover ended up really tight where the arms meet the back. You will see I have a pattern of making things too tight.

See it? Right there behind the guitar-wielding man of my dreams?

Next, I tried my luck at a $30 thrift store couch. I found a paisley fabric (yes paisley, but it was pretty neutral) and actually did a full reupholster job on it. I absolutely loved it for about a week till the couch frame broke in the middle and it was beyond fixable.

My husband is going to love that I posted this:

that'll be our secret.

My brother-in-law used that old broken couch as a bed for about 8 months till he bought his own house down the street.

Poor guy.

A lot of work went out the window pretty quick. We threw that one on the curb, and a neighbor had it picked up within the hour ( I hope whoever is sitting on it now can appreciate all the sweat and tears that went into that one; as they sink to the center, that is).

My advice: Make sure the sofa is structurally sound before you go all crazy buying fabric and sewing yards and yards of welting.

Enter the white couch:

(Country Living Magazine)

I've always wanted a white couch.

So clean looking, so fresh; a perfect canvas for fun throw pillows. There's something about a white couch that just makes me feel good inside. Maybe it's just me or maybe it's just Pottery Barn, but a white couch says so much. Sometimes it says "Come, sit, I've got Kenny G coming over for lunch" or sometimes it says "Don't even think about putting your feet on me!"
After years of flipping through magazines, I came across an article in Country Living with Rachel Ashwell on decorating with white couches. She said how great they were, how easy to fuss, no hassle. Simply slipcovered, and when they get dirty, "You just throw them in the wash!"

The Insider's Guide to Decorating with White - Ashwell Advice

I can do that. I will sacrifice a few more loads of laundry a year if it means I can live with my children and my dream couch.

This is doable.

So, off to the fabric store I went. I think that Jesus really willed this to happen because I happened to find an entire bolt of white cotton duck marked down to $2/yard because it had a grease mark that ran every couple of feet or so down the bolt. See? There is no coincidence with God.
I figured I could work around it or maybe if I was lucky it would wash out. I purchased the fabric and left quickly before they could say the price was a mistake and went home to get started. The only compromise I made was a patterned piece on the seat cushions. I chose a stripe with my favorite shade of green (pea soup=love) and a little brown. Something is inevitably going to spill and I wanted to give myself a fighting chance.

I opted to remove the arm pillows, as I felt they bulked up the couch and I preferred the clean lines of the sofa frame. I wanted a nice, clean skirt with corner pleats and just one pleat in the center. Only issue, like all things fabric, I tend to go too small. Whether it's the fit of my pants, the bust in my cardigan, or the cover on my couch; it's just a smidge too tight!

I am in denial of my true size, I think. Actually, I know. But that's another story for another post. Look under the tag "gym" or "weight loss." Oh that's right, they don't exist.

...But I digress.

I would have liked a more relaxed, looser fit than I got. But overall, I am pleased. Since I am fairly experienced at slipcovering furniture, I'd say the project went pretty well. The end result was sofa heaven. Just what I had envisioned, and all for under $60 bucks! Now that doesn't happen every day.

Goodbye flowers. Goodbye Jacquard.

Hello Beautiful.

She's been through the water, and she's come out clean!
(pictured here with her sister, wing chair, on the left)

We've had a white sofa for almost two years now, and I'm happy to report that it has fared well. I think that I would have chosen a heavier fabric if I had to do it again. I've read several articles about using inexpensive painter's dropcloths, but when I checked them out they just seemed a little too rough for lounging on. I wash it once in a while, less than I should I suppose, but I'm lazy about laundry and I knew that before I made the commitment.


I remember when I first finished the slipcover, I put it on the couch, and stood back in awe.

*glistening tear*so beautiful.

Then I let the dogs in.

It was raining outside and they both ran in and rubbed themselves all the way around the sofa!
AAAAAAAHHH!! FREAKING DOGS!!At that moment, I thought FOR SURE the couch was ruined, but it just turned out that it needed another wash. I am quite surprised just what has come out of this thing:

Cheeto dust...

...and that's why I say Jesus willed this couch into existence. Thank You Lord. Amen.

Linked up here:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Montessori in the Home

Prior to being a SAHM, I worked as an assistant teacher at two private Montessori schools. After five years of teaching preschool and utilizing the Montessori Method, I knew that someday when I had children of my own, I was going to incorporate the Montessori Method into my teaching. I was completely blown away by the natural approach of Montessori teaching and how the children were so drawn the to the materials. It just made sense.

Today, while at Target, I came across some great practical life materials. Wooden trays and a little divider. These are perfect for presenting sequencing and classification activities. And such great spring colors too! I am super jazzed and will find a great activity to use these with in the near future.

Trays $2.50 + divider $1.00 = SCORE!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

Today was a great day! We went out tonight as a family for one last hurrah before Sam's return to work.
As Sam's time off from work for ACL surgery is coming to a close I honestly expected (realistically) that by the end of two weeks there would be some serious tension in the house. Between Sam being immobile, my waiting on him, and two small children driving us crazy, I figured there would be a few "flare-ups" along the way. But overall, it has been wonderful! Sam and I have spent the evenings together watching movies and enjoying eachother's company. Ava has really enjoyed all the attention from her Dad, which I fear will be a tough couple of days when he returns to work.

We spent Valentine's Day morning in our regular routine. Sam went to physical therapy and the girls and I stayed home and picked up. However, once noon hit, I broke out the cookie dough so Ava and I could make and decorate sugar cookies. I love that she loves to bake. So we made a few to pass out to family and friends.

When Ava woke from her nap, she found a trail of pink rose petals leading from her bedroom door to all ends of the house. The trail led to different Valentine surprises each attached to a balloon. My mother always went out of her way to make holidays extra special and I want to continue the same with my girls. The girls liked their prizes and the rose petals were a nice touch.

Nana came by to bring the girls their Valentines too. After she left, we went around to our neighbors and took them the decorated cookies. Ava chose to share a couple of her balloons with Isaac and Kaetlyn, her two favorite neighbors. Then we jumped in our car to go have Valentines Day dinner. Our favorite Mexican restaurant (Jalepeno's) was full so we opted for Chapala. It was amazing. What a treat! I wanted to cry. I don't remember the last time I sat through a meal and had such a great time- and that's not the margaritas talking either!

The food was awesome. The drinks were awesome. The girls were awesome.

Sam and I shared fajitas and Ava ate beans like they were going out of style. Lyla sat for us the entire time and just bounced around in the highchair to the mexican music, it was adorable.

I spent the day with people who love me. I am blessed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How do I homeschool?

In case you're looking, this isn't a how-to section; more of a rhetorical "Just how do I really do this anyway?" type of thing. My girls are three and one, so I am just beginning my journey of homeschooling. Excited? Yes. Nervous? Oh yeah. Scared? Like a kid caught cutting their hair and I've seen that look firsthand (you bet I can put the fear in my childrens' eyes).

That's me right now, with all of my insecurities out there too. Yes, I'm intelligent, and I'm blessed with two super smart children and a supportive husband; but we've got a long road ahead of us and I've got the wheel. God has a big job ahead of him, I wouldn't want to be trying to tell me what to do. I'll admit it, I'm a space cadet half the time.

Thankfully, I'm not the first person to do this and there is a whole wealth of information to glean from lots of moms out there so I'm sure this will be a dumping ground for resources and whatever else I find along the way. There are so many questions, I had better get crackin'.

Here is my prayer for the time being- "Help me God, please Jesus, HELP!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Check 1, check 2... first post. hmmm. what to do? I'll think about it and check back later. peace.