Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Birthday Party!!!! Not Until September

I plan ahead. I have to with 5 kids. We have been planning Ashlynn's and Riley's joint birthday party since May. It has been a very big ordeal. Ashlynn will be five this year and wanted a party that she could invite her school friends to. Riley will be 3 and just looks forward to the cake and presents.

So we searched for a good party venue (our home will not hold a bunch of screaming 4 and 5 year olds). We priced around 5 different places. Pizza and games at 2 different locations were both around $300. Kids meals and play areas wouldn't cost much but just really wasn't something we wanted. Then we found the perfect place on a sign as we were leaving Wal-Mart.

The girls will be celebrating this year at The Sunshine Ranch! They have a picnic area with a grill. Hot dogs it is!! And since I coupon we got the hot dogs for $0.62 a pack. I won a contest to get invitations made really cheap, so they have picked out Toy Story 3 as their birthday theme. We picked out the cake already, the decorations, and the party favors. I already have plate, napkins, and cups for the party that I got for around $2 with my coupons. There is a play set, tons of animals to pet, and pony rides at the ranch. Entertainment is covered!

Now we just have to wait for the party. Ashlynn is convinced it is tomorrow every day. She is planning out everyone she wants to invite and I really hope she can get it down to 15 kids(that's the pony ride limit). Ashlynn and Riley are so excited. They look at all the pictures of the animals at the ranch and make tons of plans. If only I could get them to understand that their party isn't until September!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Do I Coupon?

Everyone seems to think that "extreme couponers" are bad people. I have seen us called "glorified hoarders". People assume that we all steal inserts, commit coupon fraud, and clear shelves. I have seen a lot of hateful feedback against couponers. And although in some cases these people may be right; usually couponers are honest, hardworking people just trying to save money.

I am a mom of 5 children. 4 of them are in diapers. I recently heard on TV that diapers cost $2000 a year per kid. That is $8000 for us!!! I almost died. I have twins on formula and baby food. Not to mention food, clothes, school costs for my 4 year old, and any extras. In short I try to make my husband's one income support all seven of us and pay all the bills. It's a pretty major stretch and my family has had to chip in more than I would like.

I bet you're thinking I should just go get a job, right? Trust me I have felt that way many times. I loved working. But now I have to consider the cost of daycare or a nanny. For 5 kids?? That would cost my whole paycheck if not more. So I decided I would rather spend time with my children instead of paying someone else to.

So there is still the question of supporting my family. That is why I have decided to coupon. I do not want to need my family's help during the rough times. I want to know that if my husband gets hurt or loses his job that we can make it on our own for a while. My mom raised my sisters and me by herself for a few years. Those were hard years some of the time. My mom worked hard but in some things we still had to do without. I never want that for my kids. And my mom coupons and stockpiles, too, for the same reason. So for us it is something we are doing together, and hey, it's fun! I love saving money. I love getting things for free. It is amazing going into a store and only pay a few dollars for $50 worth of stuff (no I can't go get $3100 for $50, yet).

In response to all the accusations I wrote about in my first paragraph; I do not steal coupons, commit coupon fraud, or clear shelves. Nothing makes me more upset then to walk into a store and find the entire shelf empty of the deal. And the people who are stealing inserts and committing fraud are giving us honest couponers a horrible name. Now as for being a "glorified hoarder", OK, that is your opinion. If it saves me money to have a stockpile then go ahead and call me a hoarder. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I absolutely love shopping with coupons. I have only finished reading one of my books, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey, and I have learned so much. I am much more organized and I learned how to pair my coupons up with sales to get awesome deals. My first shopping trip I cut my bill down by 40%. Woohoo!!

Today I haven't figured up my totals yet but for around $70 I got 4 body washes, 10 tubes tooth paste, 12 boxes of popcorn (an awesome and quick snack for the kids, also, movie nights), two bottles of Sunny D, and my other regular groceries for the week. Thank you coupons, and thank you stores for having such amazing sales! I will end up spending just a little more because there is another sale at Walgreens that I want to get.

I am midway through the second book, How to Shop for Free, and I am learning even more. I love that both of these books teach you the right way to shop. They are very adamant about doing everything the legal way, and I agree. People shouldn't ruin it for the rest of us by being dishonest.

I've got to say, if you want to learn to shop and save as much as possible you should look into these books. I didn't spend much on the books at all and I consider them to be a great investment. I've already saved more money for my family than what I spent on the books. And it will only get better!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Motherly Love / Trusting My Father

I never wanted to be a mom. When I was 15 I got pregnant and then miscarried at three months. I decided that I didn't want kids. I figured I would just be an aunt to my older sister's awesome little ones. I did not think I would make a good mom, and I loved all of my freedom way to much. I figured my miscarriage was God's way of telling me that I wouldn't be a mom.

So fast forward and I meet my husband and I became pregnant almost right away. I was so terrified. What if I lost my baby again? What if I suffer from postpartum depression? What if Stuart doesn't stay with me? What if my baby hates me? So many questions!!! Then I saw the ultrasound with my baby's little heart beat, and then we found out it was a girl. My heart melted.

When she was born I felt an immediate absolutely consuming love for her. I knew that I would do anything for my little Ashlynn. She was my whole world. But I was still scared. What if I didn't wake up when she cried at night? What if I couldn't handle all the crying? What if I didn't know how to take care of her? My family were amazing and stepped up to help me when I got so stressed and scared. But everything just kind of came to me, and things turned out great.

With my second daughter I was terrified that I could not love her as much as my first. But that worry was all for nothing. I fell completely in love with Riley, too. She was so beautiful. I thought how blessed I was with 2 beautiful daughters. And again my family helped me out with everything.

Then I got pregnant with my son. Robbie was a very difficult pregnancy for me and since he was breech he was my first c-section. What if I didn't bond with him? I had heard that with c-sections it can be hard to bond with your child. What if I don't know how to take care of a boy? Robbie was born 3 weeks early and spent his first week in the Special Care Unit to help him with his breathing. Even with not being able to hold him I still fell in love right away. And my family helped me more.

I thought  with three kids I was done. There was not enough of me for anymore. Then I got pregnant with my twins. Again I had a million worries. How would I take care of two babies? Would I have enough time for all my children? How in the world would I take care of 5 kids under 5 years old? And it was another c-section, so would I bond with my twins?

Well my twin girls came 7 weeks early by c-section, and spent almost the first 3 weeks in the NICU. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with them because I had to take care of my three older children. But still I love them so much. They have completed my family perfectly. And I know without my family I couldn't do this.

So why was I so scared? I doubted myself so much. I never wanted children. But God knew better than me. He blessed me with 5 amazing children. He gives me the energy to get up and clean my house everyday  even when I had no sleep the night before. He gives me the patience to handle a kindergartner, 2 toddlers, and 2 preemies. He has given me an amazing family who will help me anytime I need it. And He has filled me with so much motherly love for my children. I just have to learn to trust in Him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Extreme Couponing

So I have been very inspired by this new TV series. I would love to be able to go to the store and get $1000 of groceries for $100 or less. That would be just absolutely amazing. With a family of 7 I always need ways to save money. Last night my husband watched the show with me and he was amazed. Then he asked me where in the world I plan to keep all the items. Lol. We decided that we will wall in our carport as soon as we can. We have discussed doing this many times, and if we need the extra storage then that will be a good reason.

My first steps in this process was to purchase a few books that have been written by moms who already extreme coupon. Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey: Save Big Money & Make the Grocery Aisle your Catwalk! (Lakeland Fellranger)  Written by Joanie Demer, Heather Wheeler.  How to Shop for Free: Shopping Secrets for Smart Women Who Love to Get Something for Nothing  Written byKathy Spencer, Samantha Rose. The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half: The Strategic Shopping Method Proven to Slash Food and Drugstore Costs Written by Stephanie Nelson. I cannot wait to get these books and start getting a good couponing system set up for my family. And my mom is going to do it too.

Who knows, maybe one day you'll see my mom or me on Extreme Couponing.

Monday, April 4, 2011


It seems like there is always something missing in my house. It is always part of a set of items and it is always only one. For example, the dryer gremlin is always taking one sock from a pair, especially Ashlynn's school socks. Then my second culprit is Riley. She always seems to take one shoe and then it disappears. Poor Robbie is apparently only allowed one shoe at a time in Riley's opinion.

Recently I have noticed that this problem has extended to my book collection. I just finished reading the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. I thought I had them all, but after reading the first 2 books I learned that the third was missing. So I skipped it, which was really horrible. I hate incomplete series. I decided that I would read the Harry Potter series again in what little spare time I get. I checked to see if I had all the books, and found out that I am missing one. Where is my book?!?!? I have no clue. And it isn't like the last book so I have time to search, no it is the second book, so I can't start the series until I find it. Then just out of curiosity I looked at my Twilight series and I found that I missing one of them too! Do I have a bookshelf gremlin too? I'm really starting to think so.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My son Robbie is so much fun to watch. He is 1 year old and just seems to be learning so much all of a sudden. He took forever to say anything other than "dada" but now he says all kinds of things, including "I love you" "bye bye" and "hey".

My husband has recently nicknamed Robbie, Thor. For his first birthday, Robbie received a toy that he hits things with a little plastic blue hammer. That hammer is now Robbie's favorite toy. He hammers everything and everyone and he likes to hold it up in the air and yell at people. It is so cute and funny. And so now he is Thor.

Today he has been very busy with his hammer and also on his play phone. He keeps holding it up to his ear and saying "hey" and "yeah" and then babbling a whole bunch that I can't understand.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"That's My Woohoo"

I know that according to the doctors you are supposed to call all body parts by their correct names but there are a few that I just can't. From day one it has always been that little girls have a "ya-ya" and boys have a "woohoo".

Lately my two year old daughter, Riley, has become very interested in everyones' bodies. When I have changed my son in front of her she has been very worried about his privates. "What's that?" all the time! So I told her it's his woohoo. "Ohhh his woohoo." And then we inevitably had to have the discussion that it was not for touching. So we got that all established and now she seems to think she has a pretty good understanding of it. Smart two year old, huh?

Today Stuart was getting Riley dressed for the day. Suddenly he started laughing and sent her to tell me what she said. Well into the bathroom she walked and pointed at her bare chest, "That's my woohoo." I laughed so hard. And so we had yet another talk about her body. She is so much more curious about everything than her older sister ever was. Maybe she'll be a doctor!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Money Making Ventures

I used to work full time outside the home. I did that until I had my son. Then with three kids daycare would have cost my whole paycheck. I figured, why work? I can just stay home with my children. I also decided that I would try to find a way to make some income from home. And so began my journey to becoming a work at home mom(WAHM).

I signed up for Avon. I loved all the stuff and that was a problem. I was always buying things for myself and my children. That really cut into any profits I made. I also hated going out and bugging people to buy from me. Then when the items came in I hated harassing people to pay me and get their items. So I decided that maybe Avon just wasn't for me.

I tried doing an envelope stuffing job. Well after signing up, spending a fortune, and working like crazy, I found out that I was not making any money at all. All the envelopes that I had mailed were returned to me. I decided that I should just cut my losses and move on.

Then I signed up to sell products for a kind of health/nutrition company. I tried finding people to buy it but no one was interested. I tried to find people to sign up to sell, because I could make money that way too, but no one wanted to. I tried the email and phone call method they had and I wasn't getting people signed up. And everything just cost more money. Every time I turned around there was another charge for something or the only way I could get information was to pay for it. I decided it was costing more than we could afford at the time. I cut my losses, again, and moved on.

Then I tried to start a bow and craft making shop. I made bows, hats, and blankets. I had so many plans to make other things. And this probably would have taken off and done great. Plenty of other people make it work. I just found out very quick that my daughters were very interested in helping me. This would have been great but it involved a lot of cutting, hot glue, and needles. Also during this time I was pregnant with my twins and taking care of my infant son. Sad to say I quit this too. But at least I could sell off all my supplies!

I have also tried online surveys and mystery shopping. Both of these have actually panned out and I still do both. Especially the online surveys because I can do that while at home with my children. And major plus for both of these....they were free.

Now I am ready to move on to my next money making plan. I am going to take pictures. But I am going to start slow and just practice taking pictures of family with my digital camera for now. If it seems like something I want to do and I am good at it then I'll buy a better camera and put the word out. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sleep??? What is that?

My twins were preemie so for the first week at home they had to be waken up every three hours to eat. At their first appointment they had gained enough that we could go four hours. Well they did sleep really great at night. And I thought, wow I am so lucky, 2 newborns, and still managing at least 6 hours of sleep each night. And now, I am lucky to get 2 hours total. Abigail has tummy problems like no other lately. She is very gassy and cries. Brittany does not like to sleep alone and she has constantly got a stuffy nose. So all night they are very restless. Right now they are co-sleeping in my bed so that I can try to get some sleep. That is the only way I can manage getting the 2 hours that I am getting. But who needs sleep, right? My husband does. lol. He cannot stay awake with them. When he is helping I'll look over and whichever baby he has is laying awake in his lap while he is asleep sitting up. Haha. Poor guy. Guess God made mommies to be able to handle no sleep. And He made grandmas to help mommies find time to sleep. Thanks to my mom I got an extra hour and a half this morning. And I feel so energized now! All of my kids are taking a nap and I could be taking one, too. Instead I am wide awake. I guess I'll just have a little "me time".

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Party and Pneumonia

Ashlynn came home from school today and let me know that she had invited all her friends to her birthday party. Her birthday is not until September! I tried to explain this to her. But no, she needs to get her invitations made and "Can I please have my party at Chuck -E- Cheese?". I once again tried to tell her that her birthday isn't until September. Well then she proceeds to tell me that she told all her friends that her birthday is March 16th. Well that is already past. But all her friends' birthdays are in March! And they already said they would come! Oh dear. I did not expect to already be dealing with this with a 4 year old. And Chuck -E- Cheese?? She wants to play games and use the ticket blaster. Wow, I wonder if this is how I was at 4. Probably so. lol

In other much more serious news today, Riley has pneumonia. Every time Ashlynn brings home a cold from school Riley gets it, too, and it always goes to her chest. She'll start wheezing and struggling to breath. So we have a breathing machine and an inhaler. Her allergist doesn't want to call it asthma, and her pediatrician says that it is asthma. I'm leaning toward my pediatrician's diagnosis on this one. So two weeks ago we went in for her wheezing and she got some steroids and the inhaler. It went away pretty fast and when we went for the follow-up last week her lungs looked great. Two days ago she started with a runny nose. Yesterday a little cough. Last night wheezing and fever. This morning her wheezing was horrible even after doing breathing treatments all night, and her temperature was 104.1. So I called got her an appointment. I figured it was just the same thing and would be a waste of time appointment since I already have all the medicines from her first spell of this. Nope, it's worse. She has pneumonia in her right lung. Thank God we took her in today. I cannot imagine how much worse this could have gotten if we had waited. So now my angel is on some very strong medicine as well as her breathing treatment and inhaler. She goes back to the doctor in 3 days. I pray she is better fast from this. She is usually my firecracker so it is hard to see her so sick.

Meet The Family

Hello all! My name is Melissa. I'm a 24 year old stay at home mom (SAHM) of 5 wonderful little children. My husband Stuart works full time to support all those little mouths. We have been married almost 5 years now, which seems crazy to me. I guess time flies when you're having babies. lol.

Now to meet my little ones!! Ashlynn is our oldest and she is 4 years old. Next came our second daughter, Riley, and she is 2. Then came our little man Robbie, who just recently turned one. And we were finished. We had our beautiful daughters and our little boy. Then, Suprise!, we were expecting twin girls. So we recently welcomed Abigail and Brittany to our family. They are 5 weeks old.

So there you go, now you know a little about the characters in our story. I suppose I could also set the scene for you a little.

The seven of us live in a 3 bedroom house. A little packed right now, I know. But since we have three in cribs we will have a nursery and then a bedroom for our 2 older girls. I say we will because it hasn't happened yet. Right now our children are either in the soon to be nursery or our room. The third bedroom has been a storage room until now. We have 2 bathrooms, which is no big deal right now but when they are teenagers I think there will be trouble. So in our future could there possibly be an addition to our house?? I sure think we need one! Our dining room has been converted into a playroom of sorts. Mostly it is just a disaster waiting to happen. It can be spotless one minute and the next there are toys, books, and puzzles everywhere. Our kitchen is supposed to be turning into a kitchen/laundry room soon, I hope!

I can't really give you much plot since I never know how my days will go. I know how I want them to go but I have learned that I just have to go with the flow. I never know how much sleep I will be getting each night. One or both twins may be really fussy all night. Someone may be sick. Riley's asthma may be acting up. I never know if I will be able to get any cleaning done. Some days I have so much spare time I could get bored. Other days my house stays a mess and by the time my husband gets home I feel like crying at everything that needs to be done. Some days I may get to take a nap. Not very often, but sometimes everyone goes to sleep at once, and I may be able to squeeze in an hour of no interruptions. Sometimes not knowing can be hard, sometimes it can be scary, but mostly it is fun, and it is always chaotic.