Monday, September 24, 2012

It has happened.  While  I was on my blogging hiatus my baby turned two.  I'm not sure where the time went.  It seem like just yesterday I was holding him in my arms for the first time.  It seems like yesterday I was holding him in my arms for the first time, but today those sweet moments of holding him are few and far between.

I am so thankful for our fussbucket.  He's a tenacious, mischievous, active, yet loving little man.  His laugh is infectious.  Here's a little picture of our big two year old.  I'm going to try to do these yearly.  How cool will it be to compare what he's like at five to two and ten to two, etc.

I'm thoroughly smitten with this little man!  How could you not be?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

You've Got to Be Kidding Me!

I know it's not my normal blog post, but Living Social has the BEST deal going right now for Starbucks!  You can purchase a $10 gift card for only $5 here!  I know you're thinking 50% off Starbucks is a total steal, but you know what's even better than that?  Share it via Facebook, email, etc and if three of your friends purchase the deal too you get it for free!  They have to purchase it through your special link.  I thought the deal was too good to pass up, because who doesn't love a 50% off chai latte, or pumpkin spice maybe?  But when I saw that I could get it for free, I thought it was even better!  Then I can take the money I would have spent on the gift card and put it in my Disney fund!  So, if you want to help a sister out, click on my link and purchase some 50% off coffee!  Better yet, share it with your friends and get it for free! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back on the Blog Wagon

I have fallen off the blogging band wagon once again.  Despite my best intentions this seems to happen all too frequently.  The past month has been a crazy one!  It has flown by so quickly I hardly had time to blink, and no time to blog obviously.  Our days were filled with rehearsals, family visits, birthday planning, doctors visits and more!  It was insane.  I had planned to blog a number of things, but they've all been pushed to the side.  So here is the first of many catch up posts!

The big brother participated in a School of the Arts program put on by our fabulous local, community theater Legacy Theater.  He was so excited to be a part of this program, and even more excited when he scored the lead role of Aladdin in Aladdin, Jr.  I gave up my Zumba classes to cart him to camp and it was totally worth it, even if my waistline disagrees!

Here are the top five reasons Legacy was an amazing experience for my son, in my eyes:

1.  He learned to take constructive criticism and use it to better himself.

2.  He saw first hand that working hard and preparing for something makes him better at what he does.

3.  He was schooled in the arts, an experience that many children don't get as the arts are disappearing from our schools.

4.  After years of dabbling in a bit of everything he decided, of his own free will, that he is passionate about acting, singing, dancing and wants to pursue that as a hobby.

5.  It provided us opportunities to bond as we ran lines and sang songs together.

There is nothing better than seeing your child love what they do.  However, the life lessons he learned during the four or so weeks at Legacy's School of the Arts summer camps are invaluable life skills.  Things we've tried to impart to our son, but that he of course learned better from others.  And when all was said and done, the kids put on a fabulous show!  It was so spot on.  It was funny.  They were awesome!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Little Magic at Home

I have seen many a cute way to keep the Disney magic going at home on Pinterest.  Just one problem, it's a little hard to do when you are planning a SURPRISE trip super far in advance.  Because of that our magic is being saved for the surprise announcement and the trip itself.  However, there is one place the magic lives on the boys bathroom.

When we moved into our house I let the big brother choose whatever theme he wanted for their bathroom.  We'd had a beachy theme in our old house because the bathroom was a hall/guest bath as well so I didn't want anything too kid-centric.  However, since this bathroom is upstairs and we have a half bath downstairs I put the beach themed items in the downstairs bath and he chose Mickey for their bathroom.  We bought some Mickey themed items at Target, but the bathroom seriously needed something more to jazz it up.

I had seen some super cute signs with reminders to "wash your hand" and "brush your teeth", etc.  However, even searching on Etsy I couldn't find any Mickey themed ones.  So I decided to make our own.  I don't own any fancy programs like Photoshop or anything so they are simple, but still came out super cute!

I started by spray painting some frames yellow.  Well, the Gunny helped with that one.  I bought black frames thinking if a  little black showed through it would look cool.  They required a few coats as a result, but they looked good when finished!

I then downloaded a free "Disney" style font called Waltograph to my computer.  I simply created three signs (because everything looks better in odd numbers, right?) in Word using the font.  I chose "wash your hands",  "flush the toilet" and "brush your teeth".

Then I cut out Mickey heads using my Silhouette Cameo in a fun red with white polka dots scrapbook paper.  I attached the Mickey heads to the bottom of the page after printing them up.  then I had to trim the 8 1/2x11 paper down to the 8x10 size of the frame.

Once the paper was fixed to the right size I simply placed them in my bright yellow frames and voila! 

After I had the frames ready to go the Gunny and I hung them up in the bathroom where they're easy for the brothers to see them, even if only one of them can read them right now!  I love that we added a quick pop of color to the room with very little effort.  I love that the whole project was about $15 even more!  (I probably could have found cheaper frames, but I was picky about the "hooks" on the back.)

When the big brother saw them he was so excited!  I told him I made them so I never had to nag him again.  He thought that was pretty cool, and a little funny, too!

Now we just need to paint the room!  Since we hate painting with a passion, this is probably a little ways off.   But for now, we've made one more room in our house look like we live there.  Bonus is that we're keeping the magic alive for our kids, without ruining the surprise!  How do you keep the magic going at home?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Disney Fund Update - July

What a fabulous month for the Disney fund!  We sure needed to make some progress and I'm happy to say we did!  Here are our deposits for this month:

$25 - Surveyhead
$30 - Opinion Outpost
$3.29 - Pam Rebate
$6 - Anheiser Busch Rebate
$6 - Pinecone Research
$1.70 - Ebates
$15 - Military Opinions
$57 - Yard Sale
$10 - Corona Rebate
$19.28 - Ebay Sales
$500 - Sold Bunk Bed

Total Deposit: $673.27
Total Savings: $851.70

There you have it folks!  I'm pretty stoked that we came so far this month.  It is and probably will be our biggest month thanks to selling the bunk bed, but we also won't have to shell out the cash for a new bed and bedding, etc in the upcoming months so I hope it continues to grow at a good rate.  I've been slacking on my surveys and such this past week with the 4th of July holiday so I need to get back into my routine so I can continue to add to our fund!  As such, I need a little less typing here and a little more survey clicking so next month's update is just as grand! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mail Call

This is exactly what was in my mail box the other day.  I love when everything in the mail makes or saves me money!  Samples, coupons and a $10 rebate for the Disney fund!  Woo hoo!  Wouldn't it be great if my mailbox were full of goodies like this every day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Disney Details #4: Splurge

Sometimes I just can't help myself.  I am trying my best to save money and coupon my way to Disney.  But when you see these great OPI Minnie themed nailpolishes I just couldn't resist.

At least I only bought two colors.  Because there was at least one more I HAD to have, but resisted.  I think these will make for fun summer pedicures.  That I give myself to save money!

 I got these adorable colors at Ulta to spoil myself a little.  Maybe I'll do a fun Disney manicure before we go.  But for now I think this purchase might officially qualify me as a little obsessed with Disney.  A little being the key word!  Hey, at least I'll have cute toes!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Disney Details #3: Autograph Books

Getting his book ready!
This Disney DIY is still a work in progress, but so far I'm in love!  These autograph/scrapbooks are a true labor of love.  They are time consuming for someone like me who's a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to scrapbooking.  On our last trip to Disney we weren't sure how into the character autographs the big brother would be.  We bought him one of the standard books at the last minute when we ran into Buzz Lightyear, his favorite character EVER!  The book definitely did the trick, but thanks to Pinterest I wanted something bigger and better this year for him, and the fussbucket too. 

After pinning a million ideas my friend Jennie & I got together to work on our books and I started on the inside pages first because I had an idea and couldn't find any paper I liked at our local Michaels.  I really wish we had a nice scrapbooking store, but I guess it's not all the rage like it used to be.  Either way, we had fun working on them and I plan to continue to build pages over the next couple months, but wanted to share the general idea of what I'm doing. 

I always draw up a little design for my pages before I do them.  It helps me visualize what I'm doing, even though I always have to fiddle with things as I put it together.  I love how the covers turned out!  They are so fun!  I'll be adding some ribbon to the top, but wanted to wait till I was done with the inside pages so it's easier to turn them all.   Yes, they're a little sparkly, but it's all part of the magic, right!

The inside cover has a great fireworks and castle scene!  My plan is to put a family picture opposite it after the trip. 

The rest of the pages follow the same model of scrapbook page on the "top" and autograph page on the "bottom".  The boys will get an autograph on the bottom page for each character and we'll put a picture of them with the character on the top. 

I have quite the list of characters to do based on our character dining and those C got autographs for last time.  I figure then there will be blank pages for any who pop up that we get autographs for and we can do the decorating when we get back home. 

I did make the books almost exactly the same based on the papers I had on hand.  My main reason for this is that even though my kids are 10 years apart, there is still that sibling rivalry so I didn't want anyone to feel left out. 

Now the challenge is to finish these before our trip!  The autograph pages are relatively quick once I put my mind to it and find paper I like that matches the characters.  That's the catch 22!  I have one more week to work on them before C gets home, then they'll have to wait till he's back in school so we can keep the surprise element of the trip.  This is the one project I wish I'd gotten more done of, but a week is a week so we'll see what we can check off the list between now and then.  Either way, they'll get done and I'm positive that these will only increase the magic for my kids, not only for the trip, but for years to come!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Disney Details #2

This is the first installment of what I should call DIY Disney I guess.  The first of my many Disney oriented projects I'm working on while the oldest is away.  The joys of a surprise trip mean that I can only work on things when he's not home so I've been trying to check some of these off of my to do list while he's gone so I can focus on the other projects when his eagle eyes and ears return!  I, of course, have a million Disney ideas pinned.  There's one problem...I don't sew.  For some reason in my home ec class we never learned how.  However, I CAN sew on a button so when I saw this project on Pinterest I knew I could handle it!

These adorable button shirts were so cute and so easy I couldn't resist.  Plus, all the materials for these four shirts cost about $25 tops so I made four shirts for the price of one at Disney and they are much more unique.  As I said this project is so easy I can do it so here are some quick instructions in case you don't want to click the link:

The Fussbucket's Shirt

1.  Cut out a Mickey silhouette shape.  I imported an image into my Silhouette Cameo, but you can google to find one online and size it as needed.

2.  Trace around the Mickey cut out with Tacky glue.  (The gold bottle in the craft section of Wal Mart or found at your local craft store.)

3.  Place buttons in colors & pattern of your choice on glue outline.  Wait for them to dry.

4.  Sew buttons in place permanently. 

5.  Done.  You are the creator of a super cute Mickey shirt for your Disney trip or your Disney fanatic. 

The Big Brother & The Gunny's Shirts

The little brother's shirt looks similar to the inspiration post, although it might be a wee bit crooked now that I'm staring at a picture.  But I don't think he'll care!  I decided though that my 12 year old and the Gunny may not want a giant Mickey made out of buttons so I got them polo shirts and put the Mickey on the breast of the shirt.  (Although according to the Gunny Mickey is 'huge" so I guess it's all a matter of opinion.)  For mine I put Mickey in the lower left corner of the shirt for a little something different. 

Little brother counting buttons while I try to take pictures.
I wanted the shirts to be matchy matchy without being too matchy if that makes sense.  Even the Gunny says they're cute so I think these shirts are crowd pleasers, even if they are cheesy!  My plan is to where them to our first day at Magic Kingdom.  Hopefully they'll make for some cute pictures!  I'd better make sure I pack a Tide to Go stick since we'll all be wearing white!   I just can't wait to see my whole family in our shirts.  That will be the true reward, even if the almost teenager rolls his eyes at me!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Disney Details #1

I have a feeling there will be a lot of Disney centered posts in the months to come and the posts will cover a wide range of things.  As I prep for Disney there are crafts, tips, etc. that I might just HAVE to share.  I grew up going to Disneyland.  It's got a million and one childhood memories for me.  As a kid Disneyland was a day of magic and a late night car ride home.  We ate hot dogs, churros, burgers, fries and ice cream.  We got to drink soda instead of milk!  But my, how times have changed.  I now live on the opposite coast and a trip to Disney can't happen in a day.  Instead we drive 11 hours and stay for a week!  I'd been to Disney World once in high school with my dad, but other than that when I planned our last trip I was a bit of a novice.  I spent a lot of time reading up on the ins and outs of Disney World.  The info paid off and we had a fabulous trip of course, but as we plan our upcoming trip I'm much more informed.

This time around I knew that there was more to Disney than hot dogs and churros.  Don't get me wrong,  I love me some churros.  They are so much harder to find on the east coast than in So Cal!  But I digress.  Last year I learned, a little late, that I could make reservations for our sit down dining experiences in advance.  I was still early enough to get most restaurants I wanted, but we ate at some funky times or some of our second, third, etc choices.  Not this time!  This girl was on the computer at exactly 180 days before our vacation making dining reservations!  Despite a set back of one restaurant not being in the system for over a week I am happy to say that we got reservations for every restaurant we wanted except one.  (More on this one later...)  So here is where we'll be eating on our trip:

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge:  We ate here on our last trip and, what can I say, my boys love a good buffet!  Another perk is this restaurant is at our hotel this trip so it's a perfect arrival night restaurant.  Since the fussbucket will have spent quite a bit of time in the car I'm positive he'll have a ton of energy to burn off, as will the rest of us.  Hopefully it will be warm enough for the pool or the playground before dinner that evening.

Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios: We'll be eating my birthday lunch here.  The best part of this restaurant is that it's set in the 50's so everyone is aunt, uncle or cousin and the food is just like mom makes.  Your table may even have a little black & white TV running old TV shows while you eat.  Best of all you can get a milkshake for your drink on the dining plan!  Hello, delicious!  Oh, and that viewfinder on the table, that's the kids menu!

Dinner 50's Style at Prime Time Cafe

Biergarten in Germany at Epcot: This will be our first experience here and I'm nervous about whether the fussbucket will have anything to eat.  However, I think he'll love the oompah band so if worse comes to worse, he'll just eat dessert or something!  I think it will be a fun experience for everyone.

Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom: We did one character dining last year at the end of our trip.  We ate at Cape May Cafe right before pulling out for home.  This time we scheduled the character dining earlier in hopes that it would help us gauge how the fussbucket would react to the characters.  Crystal Palace features Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore.  The little brother sleeps with a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal and enjoys the movie so I'm hoping this is a good way to start.  Plus, I was able to get the earliest reservation so I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to get some photos in front of the castle without a million people in them!

Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast Last Trip

O'Hana at the Polynesian: I've heard nothing but good things about this restaurant and it was one we couldn't get a reservation at last trip.  I'm really excited to try it out!  Pineapple bread, meat delivered to your table on skewers and lots of fun antics.  I hope it lives up to the expectations!

Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room in Britain at Epcot: I had wanted to eat here last trip, but it seemed wrong to sit in a pub without a beer and I was pregnant so the beer just wasn't happening.  This trip I plan to induldge in a Snakebite and enjoy some fish & chips!  We've made a late dining reservation in hopes of being able to see Illuminations from the patio seating.

California Grill at the Contemporary: This is probably my favorite restaurant at Disney World!  The food is delish and the view is amazing!  It's a signature dining experience and take 2 table service credits, but they are so worth it!  Each time we make our reservations around when Wishes is shown so we can watch the fireworks from the viewing deck at California Grill.  Plus, it's a good excuse to get cleaned up for the evening and do Disney in style.  It really can't be beat! 

Special dessert plate made by our waiter at California Grill for Den
Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary: Just in case the little brother likes the characters or we're really brave I made reservations at Chef Mickeys for the morning of our departure.  It's a great way to get the big guys autograph without standing in line and supposed to be a lot of fun.

T-Rex at Downtown Disney: This is the one restaurant we didn't get a reservation at.  I guess everyone and their mother will be eating there the same day we planned too!  However, we have this magic card called the Landry's Select Club.  We love Landry's, the restaurant, but one of the great things is that the Landry's corporation owns T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe and Yak & Yeti, all of which can be found at Disney World!  Here are some of the reasons why we love Landry's Select Club:
  • Earn one point for every dollar spent
  • $25 Welcome Reward - You do pay $25 to join the club, but are credited with your $25 welcome reward as soon as you activate your card
  • $25 Birthday Reward - Hello, Disney in December when my birthday is!
  • Priority Seating - aka, your name is moved to the top of the list & you get the next available table!
So we may not have reservations, but we're still confident we'll be able to get a table in a reasonable amount of time.  And we should have $50 in rewards to spend so we don't plan to use our Disney Dining Plan credit for this dinner, even though it is now on the DDP.  And if I'm lucky I'll earn enough points on Swagbucks or MyPoints for a Landry's gift card so that the meal will be totally free saving our dining points for other dining adventures.

We are clearly set to eat well at Disney World this trip!  What is your favorite restaurant at Disney?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Best Intentions

I had every intention of blogging about all the projects I have been working on lately.  But here's the thing...these projects take time.  With the Gunny off riding his motorcycle and the big brother away I thought I'd have loads of crafting time.  I had some, but I also had to assume all of their "chores".   Nothing like some vacations you're not included in to make you realize how much the two big boys in the house do to make my life easier every day!  So I have projects, and I promise I'll post them soon, but in the meantime let's talk  couponing...

It's Super Doubles week at Harris Teeter this week!  This means I've spent a ton of time clipping and organizing my coupons.  I've made lists and scoured couponing blogs.  I've looked at ads and printed coupons I needed.   Before I knew it the day was upon us and the fussbucket and I were off to the Teeter for some super doubles fun!  He was very unfussbuckety, which was a welcome surprise.  Maybe it was the donut I got him before hand?  Or maybe he's just growing up.

I got quite the haul this week and I'm very proud of it! (Please ignore the paint swatches on the wall...)

My total before coupons was $136.60 and I paid only $22.76!  Pretty exciting stuff!  I got five 12 packs of soda, two pizzas, three frozen meals, four packs of hot dogs, two bottles of BBQ sauce, one box of feminine products, one thing of ketchup, a container of butter, two packages of cookies, two pints of ice cream, two boxes of cheese and crackers and two packs of organic salad for just over $20!    The fussbucket got a balloon and a cookie on the way out.  (Thanks Harris Teeter!)  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture.

This haul should greatly help with my couponing to Disney goal!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of projects to tend to so I can get them finished off and posted!  Happy couponing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wuv, true wuv!

Watch out Gunny, I've found a new love!  Ok, I exaggerate a wee bit.  However, did you see what showed up on my doorstep yesterday?

I spent the better part of naptime setting it up and just fiddling with it.  Today I've started on some projects.  (Pictures to come soon!)  Clearly the Silhouette Cameo is the key to being a crafty goddess.  I've been wanting some kind of electronic cutter and settled on the Cameo because it connects to my computer so I don't have to invest in tons of cartridges.  Images are only $0.99 on the Silhouette site and I can upload and use images from my computer.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So, while the Gunny is off riding his bike all over the state and back I'll be sitting right here, crafting away.  It could be worse!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Changes

Big brother holding Little brother for the first time

Today is our last day together as a family, and not for the reasons many may think.  Our oldest is going away for a month.  When he has to go, it breaks my heart.  I cry after he can't see me any more every time.  However, this time is different.  This time he has a little brother who adores him.  Who can't wait for him to come home every day after school.   Who follows him around and mimics what he does.  For almost two years the big brother has been a constant in his little brother's life and I'm worried about how it'll go.  I'm sad thinking about it.  I'm worried how the fussbucket will react when he doesn't come home.  I'm worried about how he'll react when his big brother does get home a month later.  They have such a sweet special bond.  I really hope it sustains this trip.  I'm sure it will, but there is still some fear because kids are unpredictable.  Out of everything I worry about when C leaves this is probably the least of my worries.  I know these two love each other.  I also know that we're all gonna miss C like crazy when he leaves. 

Now I'd better go think about Disney projects to do while the big brother is gone or something else happy before I break into tears.  Nobody wants a crying mommy!

At Busch Gardens in April, almost two years later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Disney Fund Update - June

I'm Dreaming of a Disney Christmas!

Well, it's been one month since I last updated you on our Disney fund.  It's coming along slowly but surely.  I really need to be better about putting a set amount into the fund each month besides the additional deposits from outside sources.

Deposits since last update:

-$30 from Opinion Outpost*
-$5 Miller NBPR Rebate
-$10 "Found" Money**
-$2.19 Lysol Rebate

Total Deposits: $47.19
Total Saved: $178.43

*TIP: Opinion Outpost is a great survey company where you earn points for surveys taken.  When you have 100 points you can cash out for $10 via PayPal.   I've found them to be easy to use, that I qualify for a fair amount of surveys and that the points add up quickly.  I was able to cash out three times last month!  Not too shabby!

**TIP: Found money is any extra money I find in my budget.  For instance, if I budget $150 for the electric bill, but it's only $140 then I would have $10 of "found" money to add to my Disney fund.  The same is true for the grocery budget.  If, at the end of the pay period, I have $10 left over in my grocery budget then I add it to the fund.

Here's to hoping I can at least triple, if not quadruple, the deposits this next month!  Momma's got a lot of saving to do!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Just Call Me Farmer Gretchen!

I am by all accounts a born & raised city girl.  However, the Marine Corps had other plans for us and we now live out in farm country.  It's an interesting adjustment to say the least, but there are pluses and minuses to where we live.  I could do without all the bugs.  And I'd like more culture and things to do.  But we own a nice house in a safe neighborhood that we probably couldn't afford without a second income in CA.

So, I'm trying to embrace my new "country" lifestyle and realized a little dream of having a vegetable garden.  It has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done!  First the Gunny and the boys built me a nice raised vegetable bed.  We scaled in down in case we didn't like gardening and I totally regret that decision.  It has been such a fun project for the older brother and I to do together.  We water and inspect the plants.  We watch for new growth and exclaim over the sprouting veggies!

Recently we picked our first fresh vegetables.  There is a thrill to picking something in your own backyard.  To knowing you grew it.  And you all know I love to save a buck so not having to buy zucchini for my Turkey Zucchini Vegetable Pot is a huge plus!  Fresh veggies are expensive and I'm happy to save on my grocery bill.

Maybe I'm a little bit country after all!  You might be too...get out and grow something!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Wanna Be Just Like You!

...and only you!  I remember that feeling well.  That little tag along of a pesky little brother.  Ok, mine was pretty darn cute, just like the fussbucket is, but sometimes it's hard to see the cuteness through the annoyance.  The joys of being a big sibling!

Playing guns with brother!
Yes, we did have to buy L a gun to match his big brothers after he spent half of our trip in Williamsburg trying to steal his.  And now, a month later, they run around the house chasing each other with these guns.  Most days C is great at playing with his brother, but others, he gets annoyed and frustrated.
Aiming like brother!
I hope he looks at these pictures though and remembers how fun it was to play with his little brother.  I hope they continue to grow an amazing bond despite their age difference.  I hope L grows up to be as smart, creative and kind as his big brother.  Most of all I hope that C will continue to love his brother, spend time with him and be a great example to him.

Watching our two boys grow up and change is one of the greatest joys I could ever have imagined.  Seeing the sibling relationship from a whole different perspective makes me appreciate my own little brother so much more!   I hope they realize how lucky they are so much earlier than I might have!  Having a sibling is a great blessing!  I'm so glad I have one and that my boys have each other!

P.S.  Totally unrelated, but Liam now says "cheese" and smiles for pictures...sometimes!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Simple Joys

Life holds many simple joys for us all. One of mine is watching my kids interact with their grandparents. Maybe because they don't get to do it everyday. Or maybe because it brings back memories of my childhood. Either way, I love it!

Liam had a hard time remembering my dad on his latest trip. I know it's part of the age, but it still made me sad since they were best buds at thanksgiving! And of course as soon as my dad had to leave to go back home the fussbucket was less fussy with grandpa and starting to bond again!

They did have some sweet moments. Quick hugs I didn't catch on camera and lots of laughing! But my favorite was probably the little man sitting on Grampys shoulders on our way back to the car after a long day at the air show. What could be better than this?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Disney Fund Is Underway!

That's right!  You heard it here first!  I made my first deposits into our Disney fund!  Keep in mind, every little bit adds up!  Don't be surprised with the little baby steps!  This deposit was pretty decent actually:
  • $92.30 earned at a consignment sale selling clothes & other kids items that we no longer use
  • $29.30 refund from On-Star
Total Deposit: $121.60
Total Saved: $131.24

Obviously we have a ways to go, but we will be making regular monthly deposits as well to be sure we meet our goal.   I'm optimistic that we'll be able to make it!  Watch out Mickey, 'cause here we come!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ready for Rebates!

In the past I've only submitted a rebate for my phone.  But recently I read a blog post on Couponing to Disney about using rebates to grow your Disney fund.  Since we have limited time I decided this was something I need to take advantage of.  Today I am prepping my rebates to mail off.  They're rather easy to put together and mail off.  The price of a stamp is well worth the return!  Here are some of the rebates I'm working on today:

1)  Lysol Dual Action Wipes.  You can download the form here, but the purchase must be made by April 30th.  Since this date is fast approaching get on it!  They will refund the purchase price of one canister of Lysol wipes.  These are something we use regularly, although I haven't tried the dual action ones yet so getting some was a no brainer!  Plus, I had a coupon for $1 off of two so it saved me even more money!

Everything I need to mail in for the Lysol rebate.

2)  Science Diet Ideal Balance.  Also, a try it free promotion.  I regularly use Science Diet food, but getting to try a new type for free is great!  This was also a great deal as it was $1 off at Pet Smart.  Then I had a $5 off coupon I used cutting the price in half.  To top it off I had a coupon for a free can of wet food with purchase of dry food so I really made out.  You can download the rebate here!

3)  Miller 64 $5 Rebate for meat purchase.  This is a no beer purchase necessary (NBPN) rebate I got off ebay.  They reinburse you for the cost of your meat.

4)  Landshark $6 Rebate.  Another NBPN rebate.  I bought chicken and they will refund me $6.

5)  Corona $10 Rebate.  Yet another NBPN rebate for meat purchases.

Here's the deal.  I obviously purchase meat on a regular basis so the NBPN rebates are great!  I am refunded for the items I need to feed my family or clean our home.  Then I take the rebate and put it into our Disney savings fund.  Basically, thanks to rebates I should have about $33 in rebates coming in 6-8 weeks for our Disney fund.  While I spend the money on stamps and I purchased the NBPN rebates on eBay so I spent a little over $4 on sending them all in, but the profit will go straight into the account and the rest comes out of our normal budget.  Small price to pay for big rewards.

Not too shabby for "found" money in return for what I normally would buy anyways, eh?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Super Doubles Haul

I promised to share some of my couponing adventures on the road to Disney so here is an example for all the inquiring minds of a super doubles trip at Harris Teeter.  This was my trip last Wednesday.  The only thing missing from the picture is two packets of taco seasoning that I forgot to include in the photo. I've been been meaning to make a second trip back to HT for some more steals and deals, but so far our schedule this past week hasn't allowed for it.  Either way, the savings were a plenty!

Retail Price: $77.32
I Paid: $20 and some change
Saved: $57

If you're not couponing, don't you think it might be time to start?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I love a good bargain and follow a lot of the bargain sites such as,, and the like.  Often times I can find great Disney items on these sites.  I missed out on Mickey t-shirts today, but I did score a great burger press and cookie cutter combo for $10 on zulily.  This will be perfect for our surprise moment for the kids come trip time!  Our plan is to have them open a card on their advent calendar and find out they'll be leaving for Disney the next day!  Originally I was planning on getting a Mickey cookie cutter and making rice krispy Mickeys like I'd seen on Pinterest, however now I think I will make a whole meal of it!  Burgers and dessert all shaped like Mickey!

If you're in the market for some Disney at a discount they have a few other items that are fun for those of us who love the mouse!  Mickey, Toy Story and Cars t-shirts for only $8!  (Sadly they seemed to run out of Liam's size in all the Mickey ones before I could check out.  Next time!)  There are also ADORABLE dresses in the Disney spirit.  I so wish I had a little girl to get these for!  They are to die for!  And there is even numerous versions of the slinky dog from Toy Story!  (I so debated getting one of these because they are adorable!)  There are even tons of Disney books!

And I even spied, with my mesmerized eyes, a Mickey bag slatted for tomorrow's sale!  So, if you're not a member of zulily, hop on over and join!  Score some great deals to get you ready for Disney or whatever life throws at you!  You won't regret it!

*Please note: I'm in no way affiliated with or compensated by zulily for giving them a shout out today.  They just have cool stuff!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Couponing To Disney?

Being a military family we are pros at flexibility.  For once, this seems to have worked in our favor.  (Knock on wood.)  Needless to say, when one of my closest friends booked a pre-deployment trip to Disney I was insanely jealous.  I have been wanting to go back since our last visit and couldn't handle waiting any longer.  I called Disney and booked our own magical pre-deployment vacation.  It's going to cost a pretty penny as usual, but I know it will be worth it. 

Disney 2009
Recently I stumbled across a great blog called Couponing to Disney.  (Thank you Pinterest and my fabulous friend Jennie!)  I am infatuated with the idea that by couponing, something I already do, I could save for Disney.  My goal is always to pay cash for everything, so I'm really enjoying her take on saving for Disney, even if I am doing things a little ass backwards.  (Pardon my "French"!)  While we've already booked our vacation we only put down a deposit and are growing our own Disney trip fund each month to pay off the balance.

Sadly, the military discount Disney offers expires in September.  Of course, we have planned our trip for after it expires.  Go figure.  We are praying it is extended.  We took advantage of Disney's generous military offers three years ago and they paid off!  Of course, when it is extended the good people at Disney will magically adjust our balance "just like that".    Fingers crossed our fairy godmother is looking out for us!

But I digress...because all of the balance won't magically disappear I will be working to increase our Disney fund by scrimping, saving and couponing!  Kristin at Couponing to Disney has some great ideas and tips.  There are things I haven't tried and I plan to explore some of these options in the coming months.  I'm going to do my best to keep up with the blog and my savings exploits.  I'm a crazy planner when it comes to a Disney trip.   Being goal-oriented I'm hoping this motivates me to stay on top of my couponing and be more responsible with our budget.  (I feel like I've been slacking lately.) 

To start off I'm focusing on really staying on top of my coupons.  I had two weeks worth of inserts to cut and file this week before super doubles at Harris Teeter.  Organizing and planning are key to successful super doubles trips for me so I am well on my way to getting that done.  I spent the past 24 hours clipping and filing and will spend tomorrow putting together my shopping list.  Hoping to stock my fridge, freezer and pantry with lots of staples for my family of four.

So, join me as I embark on prepping for a memorable, magical family vacation.  I plan to blog my journey as I prep, scrimp, save, craft and coupon my way to Disney!  A dream is a wish your heart makes and my dream will be reality soon enough!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The End of an Era

Last week our oldest turned 12.  As in, the year before being a teenager.  The last year of being a child in his mind.  It's a little scary, and quite sad to see how quickly time goes by.  (Because I'm not reminded enough of this watching the fussbucket grow up the past year and a half!)  I think it's fair that I shouldn't be calling him our "little" boy anymore, but I can't promise I never will.  Because even though I see him every day, there's still part of my mind that sees him as a five year old still.  (We won't get into why...ha!)  Regardless, I've decided I'd like to be 12 again solely for the awesome birthday celebration!  C really took the cake with a special birthday weekend planned just for him!

It started on his actual birthday with a relaxed evening at home.  Pizza, a move of his choice and cupcake fondue.  That's right folks, I said cupcake fondue.  Now, I may have been more excited about this than the birthday boy, because from the moment I found the idea on Pinterest I had to do it.  C was the lucky one with the next birthday!  I thought it was much more fun than a boring old cake!  He thought it was cool, but the adults definitely spent more time around the fondue pot!

Saturday morning we headed out to Myrtle Beach and treated the birthday boy to a rocking good time at Medieval Times.  We'd been once before as a family, but this was by far the best trip for us.  We were joined by great friends and neighbors which made it extra fun and  we splurged for the celebration package and were seated in the front row!  This meant that the knights could actually hear us heckling them.  Right up a 12 year olds alley!  The poor knight next to us was such a good sport and really gave it back to Cody!  It was a lot of fun!  Even the fussbucket enjoyed the evening.  He went a little crazy with the banner nearly poking his parents eyes out, but he was well mannered throughout the whole thing and didn't freak out at the loud noises.  What a great present for his big brother.

   We rounded out the weekend with a trip to Ripley's aquarium and lunch at Landry's at Broadway on the Beach.  I thought both boys would really enjoy it.  To be honest, who doesn't love an aquarium.  They're peaceful, colorful, educational and downright amazing!  The best part was the shark exhibit by far.  Oh, and the 75% military discount!  Thank you Ripley's!  (If you're ever in Myrtle Beach, they offer a 75% discount on all their attractions!  Awesome!)  We missed the mermaids, but maybe we'll time it right next time.  Cody got to touch some rays while Liam splashed in the pool and scared them away! It wasn't crowded so the fussbucket could run around which made him happier than being in his stroller.  All around, I'd say it was a hit and we'll go back again.

And now it's back to normal at the Gunny's house.  School, work, tax returns, cleaning, shopping, cooking, Zumba classes and all that being a military family entails.  I'm so thankful for our tween, even when he does drive me insane.  He brings us joy and laughter.  He's not afraid to give us a hug still and he puts up with my crazy ideas.  It's a blessing to be his mom.  I can't imagine a life without him.  I'm glad he has a birthday each year so we can celebrate how special he is and the special role he plays in our family.