Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diapers and Smurfs in the Amazon

Sorry. Just trying to break up the seriousness.

I am happy to report that our long drought finally saw a break and it stormed and rained all night! Seriously could not have come at a better time. There were fires in various parts of the state that the firemen could hardly control. So, so thankful for rain.

Micah and I had the welcome opportunity to go see a movie together last night. Daddy sent us off to enjoy ourselves and have a little quality time outside of the house!

We saw The Smurfs in 3D. Very cute!

Rockin' our 3D specs.
I can hear it now. "Yo mama so blind she got glasses owwwwn her glasses!"

Yes. I do. I wore two pair of glasses through the whole movie. And it's not the first time, either.

Craaaaaft updaaaate.

This is what I've been currently working on:

That first pic looks awful. Yeesh. But you can see the detail in the second. I'm still finishing the tacking aaround the "i" and "n" and then it will be washed and ironed and look much nicer, but this is Gavin's big brother bag! I'm making him a little goodie bag for when his little brother is born at the hospital this November. I plan to make a crayon roll in that matching Cars fabric and add a few goodies!

(for those who aren't aware, Gavin is my nephew, my sister Mandi's son. Mandi is having her second little boy, Joshua, this November. Gavin is 6 months younger than Micah, which makes him three and a half right now)

I am looking forward to making Annika her own tote for little toys and such. It will be my first girly one! Some of you may remember back when I made Micah's. He usually takes it to church just about every service. :) But these are particularly great to take to the library as bookbags for little guys or girls.

I also repurposed the ice cream bucket from the kids' party to make a carrier for Micah's cars. He loved it! Word of advice, though, painting plastic doesn't work so well. It chips off. The car and red and blue decorations around the bucket are decoupaged but the lid is painted. It chipped very quickly. Lesson learned. :)

So, I have been wanting to do a big, long update on how Amazon Mom works and how we save money by buying our diapers and several other things (as needed) online. I don't think the single update on Amazon is ever going to happen, but I did want to show you all how I buy our diapers in case you are interested!
For a long time we saved by buying Wal-Mart brand diapers. They work very well and we still use them occasionally, but I found an awesome alternative to get my diapers very inexpensively and gain something in the process. :)

^^THAT^^ is my diaper order that came today.
For those interested, size 4's were the same price and 204 diapers.

Size 6 is the same price and 136 diapers.
I pay a little less than I would buying two boxes of Wal-Mart diapers a month, but last I checked, get just as many diapers.
I get this price by being a member of Amazon Mom (a free account) and by using the subscribe & save option. If you are savvy you can find additional discount codes or use swagbucks gift cards to get your diapers nearly free -- I am not quite that advanced, and I like to use my Swagbucks Gift Cards for other things.
Signing up for a free Amazon Mom account gives you three months of free shipping on any qualifying item. And let me tell you... there are tons of qualifying items (TONS of books!). I think more items qualify than not!
You may ask, "Why would I *want* an Amazon Mom membership, Candi? Why do I need it?"
Let me give you some examples of the things we have saved money by buying on Amazon, items that have also shipped to us free by having this account.
One item I save largely on is printer ink. I do not lie, I bought two full sets of ink (all three colors and a black cartridge) for $5.90!! Two sets! Shipped free! In. Sane.
I purchased Micah's Cat in the Hat hat for his party for around $7 (shipped free) and this item was hard to find elsewhere. It was also $15 before shipping through party suppliers.
I purchased the Jesus Storybook Bible for $10.05 -- shipped free -- and it is $24.99 from the publisher.

We purchased an adjustable dog crate for $60 (they are at least $120 in any pet store and we sold it after we were done with it for $50 getting nearly all of our money back).

I purchased a Dr. Mom otoscope for $26 -- this is a great otoscope with an LED light. Love it. I use it all the time if I even suspect an ear infection in either of my kids.

 But here's where it gets good. Every $25 you spend on baby items (like diapers or the otoscope I purchased) gets you another free month for up to a year! We just purchased this car seat for Annika and I earned FOUR months.
We paid almost $110 for it. It is almost exactly that price at Wal-Mart (though it costs around $30 MORE at Target) but we saved by purchasing from Amazon meaning we did not have to pay sales tax on this item.

So as I said at the beginning -- I buy my diapers through the subscribe & save option. They send me one box a month and I can cancel or reschedule my shipments with no penalties. I can rearrange them however I need to, including skipping a month's shipment without losing my discount. This is definitely the easiest and best product subscription I have ever had. Super easy to manage, no gimmicks or bizarre fees.

Well... I think you get the idea. I wish Amazon was endorsing me for this glowing endorsement, but I am just so thrilled with the money we save by checking Amazon for some of the most basic items that I have to share. The printer ink alone is a huge money-saver!!

Whew. Well I've been wanting to break that down for ya'll for a while so there ya go. I highly recommend signing up for an Amazon Mom account. We made the decision that we will buy the paid Amazon Prime account when we have earned all of the free months Amazon Mom allows. We easily save the $79 and more in the span of a year.

It's worth a try for free! :)

I hope that benefits you in some way! Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Micah Day!

"It's my birthday!"

They donned their festive wear again and we've been celebrating at home today!

I resolved to make slideshows for the kids this year. AJ's was one song in length. Micah had four years to catch up so his was a bit longer! Still only two songs, but it took a lot of whittling to get down to that!

No matter. The person I *really* made it for loved it. :)

We spent most of the day being lazy and letting Micah watch a lot of his favorite Blue's Clues.

But when Daddy got home we had our promised festivities of chili dogs for dinner and cake pops and ice cream for dessert!

He was ready for cake pops!

Iiiiii'llll taaaaake THIS one!

My kids are fans of cake pops, suffice it to say.

Annika is going to think birthdays are always three times in a month.

What?!? No BIRTHDAY next week? But where will I get my ice cream?!?

We will beg someone into sugaring us up. Who can resist these eyes?

At his special dinner he said, "Thank you EVERYONE for my birthday!" :)

Happy birthday to my special little Micah! I sure hope you felt the love today, little man!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Saucy Crescent Ravioli

So, I love learning new recipes. Until recently I haven't been much of a recipe-follower. I'm an experimenter! I love to try a bit of this and a dash of that and even a squirt of something now and then.

But as the family has grown, my time and energy for creative culinary endeavors has dwindled a bit. Now my "concoctions" are becoming less frequent and my cookbooks are becoming familiar friends.

I recently purchased a Casserole Cookbook from a church fund-raiser. I bought it from my little sisters-in-law and I have to say -- it did not disappoint! This little book has some awesomely mom-friendly recipes. Usually not more than a few ingredients are required and they are all easily-accessible sort of things. Things you can find at Wal-Mart for the most part.

I had slated the Saucy Crescent Ravioli for tonight on my meal plan. Forgive the gross-looking photos below. My memory card was being used elsewhere and I had to use my phone. It was delicious. But must of the substance is hidden under the sauce.

The cheese was not the color of mustard. Ick. Again, this photo deceives. I'll do better next time.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. parsley flakes
2 c. spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (8oz.) tube refrigerator crescent rolls
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp flour
3 slices of cheese (one could use shredded cheese as well)

In a large frying pan, brown ground beef; drain. Stir in 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, onion, flour and parsley flakes. Set aside. Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. firmly press perforations to seal. Place 3 tablespoons beef along one long side of each triangle. Fold dough over filling, pressing edges to seal. Cut each triangle into 3 squares. Spread remaining beef in bottom of a 9x13in baking dish. Place squares over beef filling. Do not crowd in pan or centers will be doughy. Bake at 375* F for 15 minutes. Place a quarter of a cheese slice on each square. Pour remaining sauce over. Bake for 10-15 minutes more until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly.

Okay, now. All of the crescent folding and cutting confused me. So I simply took the crescents out of the tube, laid them out in four rectangles pressing the perforations together, put in the meat/sauce/flour/parsley mixture, and folded over lengthwise. Then I pressed my finger down right in the center of each of those long, stuffed rectangles making it sealed in the middle (making two squares). Then I continued following the directions and baked.

I also sprinkled on some parmesan and romano mixture. So delish! I hope you love it too!