Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting Ready for Pictures

We have an appointment at a portrait studio this afternoon to get family pictures taken , so I have some preparation to do to get us all ready (ironing clothes, figuring out what to do with my stick-straight hair, etc.) 1-year-old is teething and trying to suck and chew on everything he can get his mouth on, so hopefully he won't be too fussy for pictures.

I am reading everything I can about pregnancy and birth. I just got four books from the library yesterday, so I have enough to keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Change in Birth Plans

I was leaning more toward a home birth with this next baby, but now we are planning to use the same freestanding (not affiliated with a hospital) birth center where we had 1-year-old. The main reason we were thinking of a home birth (other than how nice it would be to not have to pack up and drive across town in the middle of labor) was that there is a group of midwives that does home births for which my insurance would cover 80% of the cost. My insurance would only cover 50% of the cost of the birth center, since it is out-of-network. But the more we thought about a home birth, the more it just didn't seem right at this time. In the first place, we live in an apartment with lots of neighbors around, and in the second place, we decided that 1-year-old is really too young to see and hear Mama in hard labor. It would be too distressing for him. We will probably ask my mom to come and stay with 1-year-old at our house while we go to the birth center.

So, after lots of thought and prayer and E-mails and phone calls, we (well, the Lord, really!) worked it out so that the birth center will bill my insurance and accept whatever insurance pays as full payment. Wow! That means that the birth center birth will end up costing less than a home birth would have...all we have to pay is a small deductible. And I get to use the nice big birth tub with jets again....ahhhhhh! That really made my labor with 1-year-old more manageable. It was still incredibly, ridiculously hard (he was posterior) and long (about 2 1/2 days total), but God and my sweet Hubby helped me get through it once, and I know they will help me again. I am also hoping that labor won't be as long this time.

Anyway, I am feeling good about the decision to use the birth center again, and I am so pleased and amazed at how God worked out the financial aspect that I just had to share!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I like Walgreens


1-year-old and I walked to Walgreens today (it’s about a mile from our house) and got home just before it started raining. Here are my deals for the week so far. I hope to go back to my Walgreens later in the week or maybe to a different Walgreens to see if I can find the Keri Renewal Milk Body Lotion that I like (and will be free after $5 manufacturer's coupon and $10 Easysaver rebate).

Venus Breeze razor and two blades (not pictured)--$9.99, FREE after rebate (this deal was good on Black Friday only)

1 12 oz. Dove Pro-Age shampoo and 1 12 oz. Dove Pro-Age conditioner, $5.99 each (Walgreens BOGO, used 1 BOGO manufacturer’s coupon worth $4.50 and one $1.50 manufacturer’s coupon)—both FREE

13.5 oz. Pert Plus, $3.49 (used $1 manufacturer’s coupon, will do rebate for $2.50)—FREE after rebate

Loreal Feria haircolor, $8.99 (used $2 Easysaver coupon and $2 manufacturer’s coupon)--$4.99

2 9.2 oz. packages Hershey’s Special Dark kisses, $2 each (used Easysaver coupon for $2 off 2, manufacturer’s coupon for $1 off 2)--$.50 each package

2 8-pack 5-stick packages Wrigley’s Extra gum, $1.99 each ($.99 each with 7-day coupon)

Walgreens 8-pack batteries, on sale for $2.99

To see other's Super Savings Saturday deals for the week, go here.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 26, 2007

Should I enter him in a toddler spelling contest? :-)

This evening, as we were getting 1-year-old ready for bed, Hubby and I were discussing whether or not it would be worth it for one of us to make a run to the grocery store. I said, "Well, we're all out of m-i-l-k" (spelling it so 1-year-old wouldn't get unnecessarily excited). 1-year-old's eyes lit up, he said, "yeah! yeah!" and began rapidly making the sign for milk. Can someone tell me how my kid learned to spell milk? Maybe Hubby and I will have to come up with a code word for it, just like we have to refer to bananas as "monkey fruit" or "the long yellow things."

Our Thanksgiving


Wow, we've done a lot of traveling in the past few days. It was wonderful to visit with family, but I am glad to be home! My parents recently sold their home and moved in with my grandma to help take care of her and her large house, so it was interesting to see how they are unpacking and getting their things settled in to a house that was already full!

We met with a group of midwives last week that does homebirths and is, surprisingly, 80% covered by our insurance. They seem experienced and kind, so we will most likely go with them. Now I just have to fill out all the forms! I am 18 weeks along now; I feel Baby kick and squirm once in a while, but not much yet. We did not have an ultrasound with 1-year-old, but we are considering it with this baby and doing some research. The group of midwives we met with recommend one diagnostic ultrasound to check for birth defects. If we were to find out that anything was wrong with this baby, of course we would keep and love him or her anyway, but it would be good to know if there are any potential problems that would be better handled in a hospital.

When I was pregnant with 1-year-old, I did a lot of research about the safety of ultrasounds, and there was so much conflicting information that we decided to just play it safe and not get one (also, I was determined to not find out the gender ahead of time). But when I voiced my concerns about ultrasounds to the midwives we met with last week, they said that the level of sound waves a baby hears/feels with an ultrasound is much lower than when a Doppler is used to hear the heartbeat (which we did at every appointment with 1-year-old), and that a lot of the "scare" information out there about ultraounds is written by lay people who misinterpret and misapply studies. SO, all that to say, we need to do some more research, and then if we decide to get an ultrasound for diagnostic purposes, we will probably find out the gender while we're at it.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Walgreens Deals This Week

No picture this week, as I've already demolished the boxes of a couple items I bought in order to cut off their UPCs for rebates, but here's what I bought at Walgreens this week:

12 oz. Clear Care contact solution ($8.99; used $2 EZ Saver coupon, will send in rebate for total purchase price)--FREE, made $2

.05 oz. Orajel Medicated Cold Sore Brush ($8.49; used $1 manufacturer's coupon and $3 EZ Saver coupon, will send in rebate for $7)--FREE, made $2.50

12.5 yard 1/2 in. Scotch tape (I despise off-brand tapes, so this is worth it to me) --$.50 with 7-day coupon

4-pack AA Walgreens batteries --$.99 with 7-day coupon

6 30 oz. Hellman's (a.k.a. Best Foods) Real Mayonnaise (the only kind of mayo I really like; on sale for $2.50 each, used 1 $.50 coupon)--$14.50, got $5 Register Rewards from Unilever promotion

3 100-count One-A-Day Men's Health Vitamins (3/$20, used 3 printable $1 coupons and $5 Register Rewards)--$12, will do EZ Saver rebate for $10 Walgreens gift card and calendar with $50 of coupons

2 8x10 photos (used code for free 8x10; Hubby submitted one and I submitted one)--FREE

Be sure to visit Money Saving Mom to read about others' great deals this week!

I Love My Little Guy

1-year-old, who is now 14 months, loves to "help" around the house. Any time he does something he regards as helpful, he will get a big smile on his face and clap his hands. I think it's sweet that he wants to please his parents, so I usually encourage his efforts by clapping along, telling him thank you, or saying, "What a good helper you are!" Yesterday, Hubby was putting away some dishes and had left the silverware drawer open. 1-year-old noticed it was open, crawled over, pushed it closed, and then said what we think was "helper." Isn't that sweet?

Also, today I was positively smothering his cute cheeks with kisses, as I am known to do. He had a stuffed toy in his hand, and he literally shoved it into my mouth to stop the kisses! Hey!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Menu Planning

Nisha asked, "I am a newlywed and I've notice that you always have great recipes especially desserts. How do you organize your meals and desserts? I would love to make desserts, I just need to know how to organize myself in making new meals and desserts without getting discouraged."

Hi Nisha, I do love to cook and bake and try new recipes, but I have to admit that I am not the most organized person in the world when it comes to menu planning. I like having a little flexibility when it comes to deciding what to make for dinner. What this looks like for me is, when I notice that our food supply is getting low, I make a menu with around six to eight dinner ideas. Then I just look at the recipe for each dish (or just rack my brain for the recipes I’ve made up and/or know by heart) and write down the ingredients I will need to make it. I also make sure to check my calendar to see if I’m scheduled to make anything for church or a special event, or if we are having anyone over for dinner that week. If that is the case, then I add what I will need to my grocery list.

I tend to be a “what shall I make for dinner tonight?” person. Most of the everyday meals I make don’t take that much preparation, and my husband usually gets home from work early enough to entertain our 1-year-old for the twenty minutes or so it takes me to make dinner. I think when we have more children, I will probably try to do most or all of the necessary dinner preparations in the morning, so that I will just be able to pull the completed meal out of the fridge, pop it in the oven to heat, and serve, but I haven’t really found that necessary yet.

As far as desserts go, my husband can’t eat more than one tiny bite of sugar, or he will feel sluggish and awful, and we don’t give 1-year-old sugar except on a very special occasion (like his birthday), so basically, I’m the only one in my house who can eat desserts--and I certainly don’t need a whole pie or batch of cookies to myself! So I really only make desserts when I take them OUT of the house and serve them to a group of people (we attend a small house church and eat dinner together every Sunday, so I often take desserts to church).

I recommend building up a base of four or five dinners that are pretty easy to make and always come out right. Then, once you get those down, you can flip through your recipe books (I love getting new recipe books from the library!) and try some new recipes. If one of your new recipes comes out right and is a hit, you can add it to your “frequently prepared dinners” list. You can do the same thing with desserts. Maybe start with cookies, then try cakes, then move on to pies, cheesecakes, and other more challenging desserts.

Here are a few of my “frequently prepared dinners”:

Spaghetti or Lasagne
Tacos or Nachos
Chicken Casserole
Chicken or Beef Stir-fry
Fried Rice
Omelettes (it’s fun and easy to make breakfast for dinner!)
Tuna Melts
Linguine with Clam Sauce
Asian Chicken Salad
Fried Chicken
Tuna Casserole
Twice-Baked Potatoes

A couple of easy-to-follow recipe books that I use are Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook and Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. I also use Allrecipes quite a bit. I like reading through the reviews and tips of other people who have tried the dish I am considering making.

Hope this helps, Nisha. May God bless your marriage and your homemaking efforts.

Friday, November 09, 2007

FREE Stuff from Walgreens


These are the items I got absolutely FREE from Walgreens this week. I don't even have to send in a rebate for any of them; I just used lots of coupons to get the price down to zero.

Motrin, 24+6 bonus count, $4.29, used $5 printable coupon
Sudafed, 18 count, $4.99, used $5 printable coupon
4 Wrigley's 17-stick gums, $1.09 each, used Walgreens BOGO plus 2 manufacturer's BOGOs
Aquafresh Advanced, $1.99, used $2 printable coupon
2 Purell Gentle Foam hand sanitizers, $3.49 each, used $2.50 EZSaver coupon plus 2 $1.50 manufacturer's coupons

Total before coupons: $22.61. Total after coupons: FREE, plus I got back over $1.50 in overage.

To see others' Super Savings Saturday deals, go here.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Quick Update

Tomorrow I will be 15 weeks pregnant. Supposedly, Baby is about the size of a softball! I am gaining weight more slowly than I did with 1-year-old. I don’t think someone who didn’t know me would be able to tell I’m pregnant, but I’m sure that will change in the next couple of weeks!

I tried to crochet a wool diaper soaker for Baby, but the pattern was from the 40’s or 50’s, so the specified yarn isn’t available any more. I used a different yarn, and though I thought my tension was right on, the soaker ended up way too big, even after I tried shrink it in the washer and dryer. Besides, all the cutest soaker patterns are knitted. My favorite are the ones by Little Turtle Knits. So I really need to learn how to knit.

1-year-old likes to put things on his own, or other people’s heads, and say his current favorite word, which is “hat.” He also likes to pretend-feed milk in a sippy cup to his stuffed animals and say “yum yum!”

I am glad today is Saturday. Hubby has had to work extra, as well as run errands and attend meetings, so 1-year-old and I have not seen as much of him lately as we would like. He is finishing up making wedding invitations for some of our friends this morning (he is so good at that kind of thing!), but then he will be home.

I made this Asian Chicken Salad for dinner last night. It turned out great. Another current hit is Linguine with Clam Sauce, which I made following Pioneer Woman’s instructions in her story about the first time she cooked for her husband.