Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Bean and her BFF's

The Bean has always slept w/ her lovey, Bun Bun. But now she has decided to add a few friends to the mix. Usually every night she'll ask for several extra stuffed animals to sleep w/, and if she doesn't ask for them then, then she wants them first thing in the morning b/f I get her out of the crib. It's a little crowded in there, but pretty cute!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Grocery deals of the week

I think I may start posting my grocery deals and steals, and maybe you can copy me if you use comp ads and coupons. Maybe this will save some people a little bit of time. Or maybe I will inspire you to start using them yourself! :) Anyway, here are today's deals:

1) Piggly Wiggly ad - strawberries for $1.99/pk ($3.99 at Wal-mart), Ronco pasta 2/88 cents (89 cents/pk at Wal-mart)

2) Bruno's - french baugettes for 99 cents ($1.33 at Wal-mart)

3) Target - All liquid laundry detergent (32 load or Small & Mighty) for $4 ($8.22 at Wal-mart) - got 2 of these!

4) Western - 93% lean ground beef for $2.49/lb ($3.68 at Wal-mart), Simply Orange juice for 2/$6 ($3.38 at Wal-mart) - got 4 lbs!

5) Winn Dixie - Gwaltney 40% less fat bacon for 2/$4 ($2 something at Wal-mart)

I also used $3.50 in coupons, so my total coupon/comp ad savings for this week was approx. $20.80. Not bad!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Blog Name

When we have Baby G, we won't be able to call this blog "And Baby Makes Three" anymore. Any ideas for a new title?

My narcoleptic child

For the past week I have been transitioning the Bean to one nap instead of two. She's been going back and forth anyway since she started MDO in the fall. B/tw MDO, Bible study, and church on Sundays, she wasn't taking a morning nap 3 days a week, and on her "off" days she had started to refuse one nap or take two tiny naps or something. So I figured it was time to make the switch. And last week she did great. For some reason today though, she woke up a little earlier than normal, and we had no morning plans to keep her busy. So she started nodding off during her lunch...yep, while she was still putting food in her mouth. I didn't have the video camera handy, but I did take a few pics.
*If you are wondering what in the world I am feeding the child, she is eating grilled roast beef and cheese sandwich (which she tore to shreds) and some pretzels.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bargain Bonanza

In the spirit of my friend Lauren, I wanted to let you know that Target is having a 75% off winter clearance on select items, and I got the Bean two turtlenecks for 94 cents each!


The Bean has been learning how to use utensils for the past month or so. She's still not very good at it, depending on what the food is. Oatmeal is much easier (b/c it's sticky) than yogurt, for instance. She also has been really into dipping things. It really doesn't matter what the condiment or the food is, she'll dip anything. She especially loves salsa. Here are some recent pics of her eating exploits. :) Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Groceries: The Final Analysis

Okay, so I have finally done the tally for the Publix vs. Wal-mart matchup. Now, to review, I have been doing a comparison of which is cheaper - using coupons and shopping sales at Publix vs. general shopping at Wal-mart. Other things I have included were Costco, coupon usage, comparison ads, and Super Suppers. As for those things, here is what I have decided:

1) Costco - It's definitely cheaper to buy some things there. I have been buying ground beef, frozen chicken, diapers, wipes, bottled water, and milk there every month. Occasionally I will buy other things there when we need them and/or when they have a coupon, like toilet paper, dish detergent, etc. Then there are always some miscellaneous deals there as well. But in regards to the Publix vs. Wal-mart competition, Costco shall not be factored in, since I bought basically the exact same items there during both my Publix months and my Wal-mart months. I recommend joining Costco or Sam's, b/c the savings far outweighs your membership fees.

2) Super Suppers - You can definitely make meals yourself cheaper, depending on the meal, so as a general savings tactic this is not the way to go. But for smaller families that can split the entrees in half and get 12 meals for $130 instead of 6, it is awfully convenient. And the meals are very tasty. I would recommend using them for times when you know things will be busy and you won't have as much time to cook, like right after having a baby or during the holidays. The nice thing is, you freeze all the meals, so they'll last as long as you need!

3) Coupon usage - It is never a bad thing, no matter where you shop, to get an extra amount off of their price. It can be a bit of work, but really, it takes me about 5-10 minutes on Sunday afternoon to cut the coupons out of the paper, and then another 5-10 minutes to look over the coupons right b/f I shop to see which ones I can use. Of course, I saved a lot more w/ coupons at Publix, b/c they do double coupons every day up to $1, and a lot of times it's cheaper there to use the coupon on a name brand than it is to buy their store brand. At Wal-mart, I still can use a few coupons each trip, but they don't double them and most times their store brand is cheaper. But there are always certain items that you don't want to use the off-brand on, so I try to find coupons for those things. I definitely recommend using coupons if you shop any place other than Wal-mart.

4) Comparison ads - This only applies to shopping at Wal-mart, as they are the only ones who honor them. I have found that there are usually around 3-6 items I can get for a pretty good savings using the ads. It is a little work also, although it only takes me about 5-10 minutes to go through all the ads and see if anything stands out. You also have to have a decent knowledge of what things cost to begin with. I am still learning this. I would recommend trying it if you shop at Wal-mart. Start w/ things you know the prices of, so you know just by looking at the ad if you are getting a deal or not, then try to learn the price of a new item or two each time you go shopping. Or you could keep a receipt or two around for reference, if you preferred.

Okay, so for the big question: which place is cheaper? After averaging what I spent at each place over several months, Wal-mart is still cheaper. I spent an average of $136.64 per trip there (I go grocery shopping twice a month, plus there are the things from Costco, if that amount sounds low to you.), and an average of $146.27 at Publix. So that means I save about an extra $10 per trip, or $20 a month by shopping at Wal-mart. However, I will say that there are perks to shopping at Publix that Wal-mart does not have. They have baggers that will load your car for you; it's smaller, cleaner, less busy, and generally more pleasant; they have free cookies for the kiddos (ok, maybe half for the kiddo and half for mom!); they are very helpful; they have great BOGO sales; and they do double coupons. And the Publix near my house is closer and easier to get to than Wal-mart, which makes the whole trip faster.

So for the bottom line: I will continue to shop at Wal-mart b/c it's cheaper, but I will not feel guilty for shopping at Publix if I want to for convenience sake. Particularly when baby boy is born and I am getting used to grocery shopping w/ two kids. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Big Day

Since I have been berated by many of you over the waiting period to find out the sex of our baby, I am, as a gesture of good will, posting this tonight instead of tomorrow or Monday. You are welcome. :)

It's a....


We are thrilled! Just for the record, I was right. :) RR really thought he wanted a girl again b/c we love the Bean so much, but he was pretty overwhelmed w/ emotion when the ultrasound lady told us we were having a boy. We think we have decided on a name...we are saying that we're 99% sure, but there are a few others we're still mulling around on. But the main frontrunner is Harrison Grant Skinner. And we would call him Grant. RR thought that up all by himself! I would post an ultrasound pic, but honestly we didn't get many good ones. Plus I'm too lazy to scan it in.

Speaking of it's a boy, that's probably what the doctor was saying to RR's mom about 34 years ago...we celebrated RR's 34th b'day today. (What a great segue!!!) That's the reason we were waiting until today to tell my fam, since we were going to see them in person. Today was a perfect day for RR. He slept in a little bit (8:30 am...that's sleeping in nowadays), then I made him bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits. After getting ready, my family arrived, and we played w/ the kiddos for a bit b/f putting them down for naps. Once they got up, we ordered pizza for lunch and had cookie cake. Then all of us went to Recreation Station where the Big Kid (RR) played just as hard as the little ones. RR loves an arcade. Then we came home and put the Bean down for another nap, and RR watched football. He said it was a great day. :) The only thing that went wrong today was that the Bean got her first (and hopefully last!) bloody nose. She was running up an incline at Recreation Station and tripped. She was fine about 30 seconds after she fell and wanted to go play again, but we had to stop the bleeding. Hopefully her new outfit won't be ruined, but we're just glad she was ok! Here are some pics from today.

Our front door "announcement."

RR requested a cookie cake, and Publix did us up right w/ the icing! Yum!

The big kids playing air hockey. (My brother Drew beat RR, so did I later on!!)

Evan sliding down one of the many the blow-up thingies.

The Bean and Evan playing on the bouncy thing.

The Bean in my latest project. Not the most attractive pic of her, but it was the best I could get of the outfit.

Friday, January 11, 2008

An Easter Challenge

I have, in fear and trepidation, decided to smock/sew the Bean an Easter outfit. I went to Thimbles today and selected a smocking plate (it's this plate, but I'm doing the lamb, which for some reason isn't shown here), and this pattern (the one on the left). It's one of those dresses that has the smocking just in the middle, not all across the front. (This is less work!!) The dress will be in done in a pale pink w/ a white collar. I had a hard time finding a smocking plate that wasn't a bunny or eggs. No offense to anybody who is planning on dressing their kiddos in those things for Easter, b/c I think they are adorable, but I'd rather use something more related to the real reason for Easter if I can find it. But believe me, they don't really make "Christ is risen, He is risen indeed" smocking plates or appliques. And a smocked cross seemed more like a Baptismal or Christening outfit to me. So I went w/ the lamb. And as a bonus, she can wear the outfit's not one she can wear just around Easter. I am blogging about this so that all of you know about it and will be expecting me to post a picture when it's done. I need the accountability!!! This dress has a collar AND smocking AND sleeves AND buttons all down the back. This will put my sewing skills to the test! If any of you would-be seamstresses like me want to take on an Easter challenge w/ me, let me know and maybe we can work on our outfits together!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

This past Sunday was our 7th anniversary. It's hard to believe we've been married that long! We'll be in the double digits b/f you know it. For our anniversary, we went on a date Friday night and got a babysitter for the Bean. We were going to go to P.F. Chang's, but there was an hour and twenty minute wait (At 5:45 pm!! I know it was a Friday, but good grief!), so instead we headed over to Patton Creek to look for restaurants since we were going to a movie there. And we found the perfect place...J. Alexander's...still a nice restaurant that we never go to, romantic atmosphere, tasty food, and best of all - a 10-15 minute wait! RR HATES to wait for food. :) And being pregnant, I tend to be the same way. We also went to see I Am Legend, which is a good movie but a freaky one. Then we went to get some ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. (And I got a double scoop in a sprinkle cone...ahh, the joys of having a higher metobolism for a few months!!) A tasty end to a fun evening.

Also, I thought y'all would get a kick out of our gifts for each other. We don't make a huge deal out of anniversary gifts usually b/c it's right after Christmas and right b/f RR's b'day. So here's the story of my gift: a couple of months back, I was looking through the $200 and less section in the paper, and I stumbled across a silver tea service for $100. I figured it was probably a piece of junk, but I figured it didn't hurt to check it out. (I've had my eye out for one for the past couple of years...I wanted a six piece set, and usually you don't find them for less that $200 for silver plate, and that would be a good deal.) So I called the lady, and long story short, she was selling a six piece silver plate set in great condition for only $100. Now, this is a very frivolous purchase, even though it's a good deal, b/c I don't have high tea or throw showers every day. But I knew I could set it out as a decoration, and use it on occasion for holidays or showers, etc. So I asked RR about it, and as I thought w/ Christmas coming up and all, he shot me down. But after Christmas, I brought it back up again, and he changed his mind, as he was looking for an "easy" anniversary gift idea. (Also, in the back of his mind, he was planning on buying himself new wheels for his bike, which actually cost more than the tea set and aren't a "necessary" purchase either. I think he felt justified in buying the wheels if I got something frivolous too. Ahh, the way our little minds work.) Anyway, the lady lives about 5 minutes away from us as it turns out and still had the set, so that was my anniversary gift! I love it, of course, and even though it wasn't RR's idea initially, it is still a very generous and nice gift! I say all that to preface what I got him for our anniversary. RR never wants or needs anything, for the most part, and he is picky about a lot of things. In short, he is hard to buy for, so if he ever mentions anything he wants, I jump on it. So he mentioned something one morning recently that he needed, and I thought "Perfect!" So what did I end up getting him to compare to his nice, generous, and romantic gift?? A nose hair trimmer. How romantic and thoughtful is that! I'm like the husband who gets his wife a blender or something. Of course, he needed the nose hair trimmer and was happy to get it. I don't know what my gift-giving says about me, but all I know is this: we had a very happy anniversary and I am blessed to be married to such a wonderful man. It's been the best seven years of my life, and I look forward to many more years with him, God willing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pink or Blue?

Well, I can't tell you yet. :) Sorry! RR wants to wait to tell my family on Saturday when we are having his birthday dinner. And my brother does read my blog, and so do other family members, so I'll have to wait for the big reveal. I will say that everything on the ultrasound looked fine, and it looks like we have a healthy baby. We are also 99% sure about the name, so we'll reveal that too.

So the party line until Saturday is "The Bean is going to have a baby sibling!" If you call, I will tell you I can't talk about it, b/c if I do, I might slip up!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas pics

Here are a few Christmas pics. A great time was had by all. A side note to the Laughlin's: I thought I took a pic of the babies at the Laughlin Christmas, but either I thought I did and didn't, or it didn't take. So if any of you have one, I'd like a copy! These are in no particular order. :) Merry belated Christmas, everyone!!

The Bean tackling and/or trying to kiss Evan. Both are common. :) This was Evan's toy tunnel but they both loved it.

With the HS friends' kiddos.

With all my HS buds.

Opening presents w/ Daddy on Christmas morning at Mimi and Grandpa's house.

Doing the happy dance about her vacuum-esque toy.

So excited about her ball popper. This is probably her favorite gift, along w/ her stick horse that whinnies and neighs.

The Skinner fam in the swing at my Aunt Pat and Uncle Earl's house for my mom's side of the family Christmas.

My nephew Evan and cousin Madison w/ the Bean and Mimi (what we call my mom).

Invading Evan's personal space, as usual. The Bean loves to snuggle up w/ Evan. The riding toy was just a bonus.

Being greeted by Maggie, my brother's dog. Maggie licked the Bean for about the first 30 minutes we were there. Of course, the Bean had just downed almost a whole bowl of salsa, so you can't blame Maggie. :)

At Evan's baptism w/ our family and my sister-in-law's family. They did it the Sunday b/f Christmas so everyone could be there.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, all you bloggertons!! (College friends, you will appreciate this...lately I have been adding -erton to the end of all my words. For instance, I may call the Bean "Boogerton" or "Sugarton", or say Hey Bean, would you like more milkerton? For all you non-college friends, I was known for making up words and rhyming things back in the day. My roomies Jess, Ginny, and Amy are saints for putting up w/ my annoying habits. That's all I can say.)

I am sort of copying my friend Angie here, but this post will be about the things I am looking forward to the most in 2008.

And in no particular order...

The Prince Caspian movie
I read all the Narnia books two Christmases ago right after The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe came out, and I couldn't put them down.

Using my new font software
The embroidery machine I have only came w/ two fonts, and neither were all that pretty. So for Christmas RR got me the font software that allows me to use any TrueType font on my computer. Yippee!

A new little Skinner
We find out the sex of the youngest Skinner on January 8th...don't worry, of course I'll blog about it! She/He is scheduled to arrive on May 28th. I think it's a boy. :)

Finishing the Bean's 1st year scrapbook
Ok, so maybe this is more of a New Year's resolution, but I've only finished through her baptism, which was when she was 6 months old. I'd like to finish this b/f the next baby comes.

This new-ish children's fabric/sewing shop in Hoover opened Feb. 07, but I just found out about it a couple of months ago. I think it's better than the Smockingbird or Elizabethanne's. And I promise I'm not just bitter toward the Smockingbird.

A Talking Bean
Her first official word has been Da-da. She's been saying it all the time the past couple of days and following him around. But it will be nice when she can say, "Milk, please!"

Surin 280
At some point, I will actually eat at this place. RR doesn't "like" Thai food (he's only eaten it once), so he won't go. I LOVE their Chicken Panang.

Babymoon 2008
Ok, so it's not really a "babymoon" (the trip you go on right b/f you have a baby), but RR and I are planning on going to Fairhope, AL at the beginning of May. It's a reward trip through his work. Unless I'm way dialated or something, I will be there! I've heard Fairhope has great shopping.

That's right, I'm going to Dresden, Germany for a week in February to visit my friend Holly. We went to HS together, and she is a teacher there. It was a little bit of a debate in my head about going since I'll be leaving the Bean, but RR thinks I'd be crazy not to go (Holly is only there for 2-3 years.). My Mom will keep the Bean for a few days so RR can work, then RR will have her the rest of the time. And the Bean LOVES her Mimi and Grandpa, so I know she'll be well taken care of...probably too well!! And w/ the new little Skinner arriving in May, it's doubtful I'd be able to do anything like this again for quite a while.

Ok, so I'll stop. That's probably more than you wanted to know anyway. I hope you have a happy and healthy 2008!