Smarty Pants

Little Hauss is a smarty pants - sometimes I love it and sometimes notsomuch! He remembers everything and won't let you forget it.

Yesterday, I got off work early, so I headed home first before picking him up at preschool. Hubby was up, so we hung out a few then both went to get him. From the time LH got in the car, he grilled Hubby on the caramel dip. The dip we signed up to bring for the class party that is today. Hubby said he didn't get it. "Well, you were supposed to go to the gym, then to the store to get the caramel dip, then go home to sleep Daddy" says LH with a tilt of the head and some tude in his voice. Really? He's just too stinkin' smart for his own good sometimes. What happened next? You guessed it....off to the store!

I just need to start telling him what's on my to-do list instead of writing it all down. At least I'd save a lot of paper!


I WON!!!!

First of all, I never win anything.....

BUT, I won this great coupon book with over $30 in savings from Coupon Clippin Mommy! This will just add to my current obsession of finding steals and deals!

It is from P&G so it will help save on lots of health and beauty items that I despise paying retail for!

Bloggers For Boxes: Operation Christmas Child

How in the world have I never heard much about Operation Christmas Child, or have I and haven't paid attention until now, I'll never know.
So, A Southern Accent posted about this wonderful event and I wanted to share! Operation Christmas Child is an event done near the holidays that helps send less fortunate children presents in a shoebox! She came up with the idea of using the blog as a way to promote more awareness and get fellow bloggers involved!
I'm asking your help to take part in this event. Go to Operation Christmas Child for more information on how to pack a shoebox, locations to drop off and about the great kids you can help! Collection will take place the week of Nov. 16-23!
It just so happens that LH's preschool is a drop off location in our community, so I feel there is no excuse for us not to participate!
I know things are tight for everyone, but just remember that there are kids in need that we can help brighten their day with just a few items from the dollar store!

Handsome at its Best!

I have had this jacket for months - waiting for LH to finally wear it! He did and loved it and looked so handsome! So grown up! *sigh*

Escorting Mommy to her seat at the wedding!

Ready for the 3D IMAX movie - and snacking on some popcorn too!

Always has to touch it! Can't just enjoy looking at it! It's a boy thing!

Brrrrr! But you couldn't tell he was cold! Loving every minute of it!


Dixieland Delight

We were in Tennessee this past weekend for a short visit with the family and to go to my cousin's wedding. Friday was great as we got to visit with an old friend and her sweet baby boy in Knoxville for lunch as we headed on to Chattanooga or Chagganooga as LH says. I got some cute pics of the boys bonding and will post soon I promise!

The weekend was fast but we did manage to relax and visit with both grandmothers. We got to see an IMAX show Under the Sea at the Aquarium and LH loved it (all except that part of one of the fish snacking on a Dory-like fish)
- kind of scarred him for life. It was 3-D and he had his hand stretched out the entire time trying to touch everything on the screen! It was adorable. We all really enjoyed it! And it was FREE - my aunt can get tickets for most anything downtown, so we were in luck!

The wedding was great! LH looked so grown up and handsome! He had on a madras sports coat that was just too cute for words (and yes I have pics of that too)! He did really well and danced the whole time!

We got back fairly early on Sunday (around 12:30) so we still had the whole afternoon to enjoy. We let LH ride his bike and play outside until he was too exhausted to move. He and daddy took a LONG nap and I enjoyed a few Lifetime/Hallmark movies.
All in all, it was a great weekend! Love my family!


Falling Back

And loving every minute of it.

This is my favorite time of year and it will be a little cooler soon, which I love even more! NOW, this is not to be confused with loving Winter, but just cooler temperatures! I do not love or even like snow! Never have. I opted out of snowball fights, most snowmen building and yes, even sleighriding! It's just not my thing....

I do however, love walks through paths of changing leaves, a hike through the mountains, drives on the parkway, and having homemade soups and grilled cheese sandwiches with a fire cuddled up under a blanket!

With Fall Back right ahead of us (this Sunday by the way), I've finally gotten back into my routine and normal -ish lifestyle of menu planning, coupon shopping and feeling on top of things! I have planned out a menu for the next 2 weeks and have a shopping list ready to go with coupons and sales in mind! I set out LH's outfits for this entire week and mine too! This is something that has taken a back burner, but has me running frantic every morning! Laundry is done (thanks Hubby), and the kitchen counter has stayed clutter free for about 4 weeks now!!!! The budget is holding up pretty strong and I'm finding great deals for Christmas presents and such (so its keeping me in check to our budget and even a little leftover if I'm lucky)!


Makin' a list and checkin' it twice....

For most of you, the Holiday season comes with a lot of anxiety. For me, it's fun, exciting and mostly enjoyable. Usually the shopping alone will do you in, even for the most laid back person.

Not to scare you, but there are 63 days until Christmas. But in all actuality, there are 9 shopping weekends. This is not to scare you, but to just make you aware that the time is looming over us. I know that you are feeling the pressure. How could you not with retailers already decorating and stocking the shelves with tinsle and greenery. I want you to take a deep breath and approach this calmly.

I'm not sure how most of you plan for gifts? I am a budgeter, through and through for all things, including gifts. ALL gifts. We have a set amount in mind for every occassion. We had to! When we first got married, I was barely working part time and we had to get creative. We weren't the only ones getting married, having babies, celebrating graduations, birthdays, etc. We had to come up with a strategy. At first it was hard. We thought we should give a "matching" gift of one received. You know that kind. Same in value or importance. We realized very quickly that we couldn't keep up with that and would have to come up with another plan. We would have thrown ourselves in major debt trying to keep up with the Jones'. We came up with our own plan, budget and system for gift giving. It helps that I am kind of crafty and can make a very personal gift with spending very little money. Remember, it really is the thought that counts.

Even though I rarely leave the gift buying up to the Hubby (with the exception of a few gift cards), he is well aware of our limits/budget for each occassion. Gradually, over the years, the budget has increased and we feel more comfortable in our spending, but it was quite comical in the early years trying to get the most bang for our buck.

With all this said, I think the first step should be making a list - would you expect any less from me? A very detailed list. List everyone you can possibly think of that you would like to give something to or do something for. Don't forget your mail carier, sanitation workers (trash), newspaper person, hairdressers, teachers, busdrivers, etc. These will add to your budget quickly and cause some discomfort if not prepared. Another idea that we have adopted is only buying for the kids with our friends and drawing names with my husband's family ("kids" only with a set limit). We decided that this was easier and saves money. So, now, you need to set a limit for each person on your list. Ours is pretty basic. Once you have a limit in mind, you can start filling in ideas for each person.

Remember that once you have an idea in mind for a gift and price range, you're shopping will be easier. This also helps with just regular everyday shopping. I see things all the time that are on sale, have a coupon, or websites that offer free shipping, etc for items on my list that I utilize throughout the year so I save more money. Also, realize that if you planned on spending $50 on someone but find the item(s) you were looking for at a cheaper price, don't feel obligated to get more stuff just to spend the entire amount you budgeted. This is why it is called a limit. You try not to go over it, but if you come in under, great! You aren't getting any less than you had wanted to, so be excited with your savings!

I take advantage of deals throughout the year with places I use the most like Snapfish, Amazon, Shutterfly, and Vista Print. Most of the photo storage/sharing websites offer great deals on free shipping, free prints, stationary, and discounted photo books, etc. that you can take advantage of and make wonderful gifts for parents and grandparents. Also consider magazine subscriptions, books and games when they are on sale or offered with a buy one/get one deal. I love those because I can get one for me (or if I'm in the giving mood, I give away the other).

I'm also a fond believer in simple! Whether this be a handmade craft, store bought item with an extra personal touch or embellishment, a group of framed photos (these are very great gifts for the family), or food items. I don't bake but still love to make foodie items just as a simple and small token! Remember last year?

Check out Money Saving Mom to get great websites that offer coupon codes, free shipping and more.

Don't be scared! Get out there and start planning! Good luck!


Pickin' Pumpkins

I would love to say that I was there to enjoy this wonderful trip to the Pumpkin Patch, but I was working! It was a field trip done with LH's preschool and a friend of mine that tagged along as a chaperone with the class was kind enough to snap a few pics. We were so excited when the permission slip came home because we've been struggling to figure out when we had time to get him up there. It wasn't looking so good this year and I really didn't want to settle for a farmer's market pumpkin, but we would've if needed.

LH is not cooperating these days with photos - closing his eyes, grinning cheesily, and covering his face or turning his back to the camera! It could be a sign that I take too many pictures. Hope he acts much better next weekend when we get our pictures taken as a family! We'll see!

Searching for the perfect Pumpkin. He was a little disapointed that he had to stay in the "kid" patch and couldn't get a big pumpkin.


On a Roll....

With the posts.
Its been a lonely couple of weeks I know, but I'm back on now, so you won't be left to sulk and wait for me to find something completely random to share with you.

Just a few tidbits of what's been happening lately to catch you up:

All the carpet is gone in the basement as of yesterday. I played that one nicely and didn't have to help at all. Hubby did a fantastic job! The trash collection came this morning and hauled it all away! Now comes the fun part of getting the glue off - YUCK! But we are ready for this challenge and I just know it will be well worth all the work Hubby's doing!
I got my test results for the last time I took the test and NO PASS!!! Golly ned, I'm getting sick of this routine! I have now ordered the book to go with the Middle School Math and will be retaking the test in mid November. I've heard of people taking the math tests 5 and 6 times. Not what this girl wants to hear. BUT, this time was much better and I'm not far from the passing grade....much better than the other test I was attempting. We'll see!
Since we've been back, Hubby and I have been competing for time with our beloved DVR. It is quite comical because we were together so much on the ship and honestly do love spending time together, but it was like as soon as we set foot in the house, we went to our separate corners. He was in the man cave (doing all the laundry no less) and I was settled in upstairs putting the house back in order and sorting through mail. Now that it's been about a week, we've gotten a little fiesty over the DVR. I didn't complain the first 2 days back because he was doing ALL the laundry, but then I felt like I had to beg for about 2 hours of tv time to try and catch up on some shows. Now that he's back to work in the evenings, its been easier for me to get caught up, but with that, I've neglected the other aspects of my evening routine. I have a few baskets of folded clothes that need to be put up, bills to pay, books to return to the library, meals to plan, coupons to clip, and not to mention give the house a good scrub, but I can't seem to pull myself away from the TV at night! That's sad! Today is the day...I'm off work early and plan to get all kinds of stuff accomplished! And if not then, there's always tomorrow!


Days until Christmas!

Are you ready? I don't know why you wouldn't have started thinking about it...the stores have had decorations out and clothing for the kiddos in the display windows since September!

Have I? That's a stupid question. I've already got half my shopping done! OCD, seriously! I have issues.

What did you expect? My birthday has passed, the cruise has come and gone....I had to have something to countdown to!


The Little Giant

WOW - we took LH for his 4 year old well visit! I think there were twice as many sick people in the waiting room than well, so Hubby iniated a plan of action. I signed in LH and waited in the "well" area while he and LH trashed my car for an HOUR! It took forever and Hubby is so germaphobic that he kept text messaging me reminding me to wash my hands, cover my mouth, and not touch anything!!! Too cute, but I was in total agreeance from the looks of the office! We don't want to get sick, much less the Hiney Flu (our name for the H1N1).

We were very pleased with LH's check-up and he's doing great. I would say he's right on target, but he's actually well beyond his years! He is the size of a typical 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 year old! He's in the 110th percentile of his height and I think atleast the 100th or 105th percentile of his weight! Thankfully, he is proportionate in both, so he's not too heavy and the Dr. wasn't concerned! He did grow FOUR inches in one year and gained 6 lbs! I knew it had to be close to that because nothing fits anymore! He informed us that at this rate, he will be considerably taller than his Daddy who is 6'1"! He predicts around 6'3" or more - which I already guessed on my own gut feeling and the fact that I'm his mommy and we know all! He was a little shy in taking off his clothes but that's probably our fault since we are talking to him about privacy and such these days! Other than that, he answered all the questions and chit chatted with the nurse about everything that she was going to be doing to him! Very aware and likes to be informed!

His 4 year stats:

44.5 inches tall
52 pounds

Now, this is why everyone asks me what grade he's in! =)

The joys of trying to feed and clothe him will be immense in the future! I've already had to increase the grocery budget and clothing allowance! I can't wait!

First Movie

We have been waiting.....a long time! We finally took Little Hauss to his first theater movie. I know, he's 4, but we weren't sure if he, I mean, WE, were ready for it!
There are so many factors to consider - the cost, the time, the sitting still, the cost, the loud speakers, the attention, the cost and did I mention the cost? Ok, I know, you gotta just suck it up, but really, it is ridiculous how much it costs to go to the movies. Thankfully, we had a gift card for $25. Now, for a matinee, 2 adults, & one child - that barely covered it! We had about $3 leftover for some concessions. We ended up getting the kid's meal thing which surprisingly enough is the best bargain in the place.
We went Sunday afternoon to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"! Very cute and short so it was a good first movie experience. However, next time, we will get there about 10-15 minutes after the "start" time to miss all the previews and commercials. Without those, LH would have been great. He sat quietly and watched intently and enjoyed it, but towards the very end, he was asking when it would be over and climbing onto my lap to cuddle.
Our theater here offers free movies for children in the summer months, but it doesn't always work with our schedules. This summer, I'll try to get him there a few times because they always play the movies that have been popular for kids from the previous few years. And its FREE!!!!

Dressing Up and Playing Big Brother

Cousin Ava is over 4 weeks old now!!!! I'm sorry its taken so long for me to post pics, but I just got a camera that I could use and as you can tell, I'm using it to my advantage right now! So, here she is, chubby cheeks and all! Sweet as ever and we love her so much! LH is obsessed, but when you ask him if he wants one, he replies "yes, but not this kind - I want a brother!" Sheesh - I thought once she got here, he'd get over that, but oh well, we'll see if we can deliver but it's a tall order!

Sweet Ava
All better now? We just changed her diaper!
LH took this picture...he's quite the camera man!

So in love!
Little Hauss is getting excited about Halloween and wanted to dress up. Actually, in all honesty, I wanted him to dress up too because he will be wearing a football uniform that his Gigi got him last Christmas. Any guesses as to what team its for? I don't really care because I'm cheap and this will be FREE! What better way to get some use out of it? And, he loves wearing it and tackling his Daddy!


We left from New Orleans, so we decided to stay an extra night when we got back to explore the city. Next time, we will go a day early and spend the night so we can get home quicker. If I had felt better, it might have been more enjoyable, but we couldn't walk straight for a few days after we got off the boat, so sight seeing was just a little burdonsome!
Bourbon Street
Oceana's Creole Restaurant - very yummy!
Something's missing??? No towel friend this time! And, we both were kind of hoping they would have come back in and straightened up after we went to dinner but no such luck! Cruise spoiled us with twice a day room cleaning services!

Looks so innocent doesn't it? Amazing what all that water can really do.
Cemetary. I think this one was the one that part of the movie "Double Jepardy" was filmed in.

This place was sweet!

Beautiful hotel
We had our coffee and beniets!

Horse? no, mules!

This is one of the houses in the 9th Ward that has been built by Brad Pitt's efforts and foundation. It is amazing to see the growth that is happening down there, but sad and humbling because this is right next door to a lot with no house. Even worse, the stairs to the old house are still standing....devastating.

Just Us

Can you tell I'm REALLY happy in this picture? I finally got a patch and was feeling much better! It's nice to have some pictures of just us....they come far and few between these days!
I'm smiling....but feeling like crapola! Nothing a pretty dress, bling, and a cute boy can't fix!

New Friends

We had the best table mates at dinner! They were 2 younger couples that were a blast! We have already talked about planning another cruise with them in the future! They live in Arkansas and the boys played lots of late night poker with Hubby! He was in heaven. I was happy he found some friends since I was kind of sickly and turned in early most nights!!!! Larry and Julie
Cathy and Mark

Elephant Towel Friend

Bunny Towel Friend

Jason the sound guy and Dave the social Host!
I think that was one of my favorite parts about the cruise - meeting all kinds of new people!


Our other port of call was Cozumel! Very nice place and the beaches are wonderful. I love that you can see down to the bottom of the ocean through clear blue water! Beautiful!

Drink at Fat Tuesdays
Our finished product! We took at cooking class and created a wonderful authentic mexican meal.
Mom and Dad
I let him do most of the cooking since I cook every night! Also, I was still sick so while they all sipped on margaritas, I stuck with sprite!

I mustered up a smile for the picture....but wasn't too pleasant to be around - just ask, he'll tell ya the truth!

Our First "Excursion"

Our first port of call was Progreso, Mexcio. It was really nothing to write home about, but again, we didn't really see much of it. We had heard rumors that there were some cool Myan ruins in the heart of the Yucatan, but it would be a long bus ride (at least 2 hours each way) and it would be hot, muggy and buggy! I don't love hot and muggy, but definitely not bugs!

So we opted for our own 'excursion' if you will - we took a nice mexican air conditioned (windows down) ride into the city by the sea and decided to stop in a quaint Mexcian Restauratnt for ONE margarita. Well, Fernando, our server, brought us our margarita and complimentary shots of Petrone! I LOVE Tequila. I really do and normally would jump all over the opportunity for free shots, but I just couldn't stomach it quite yet. I was still very nauseous from the day at sea. Don't worry, it didn't go to waste! Mom took her first shot ever! AND, followed it up with 2 more!!!! Go Gigi!

Well, we thought we were done...on our way to walk the beaches and just have a nice quiet day! We were wrong! 3 cruise employees ended up stopping in the restaurant and of course we had to have more shots and a few beers. We chatted and got all kinds of inside scoop on the boat and the life of cruisin'.

After a few more drinks and the thought of heading back to the boat, more cruisers came in and we shared some fellowship and food with them - oh and along with a couple more shots and beers! One couple actually said they didn't drink!!!!! Then she took her first shot of Tequila!!!! I guess they drink now!!!

Progreso, Mexico
Oh, we were so happy to explore the wonderful world of Tequila shots!

So enticing. Such beautiful presentation of the lime wedges and salt!

Our 'excursion group'

Dave the Social Host and Dad!

Mom's first shot!
We did have a great time getting to know fellow cruisers and some of the staff! And yes, I've already befriended everyone on FB. Don't you know I'll be contacting them next time we cruise!!!

Proof of Vacation

Finally, proof that I really took a vacation.

Riverwalk, New Orleans prior to boarding
Gigi and Pop at dinner

My first towel friend - they gipped me the first night! Ask anyone, they heard about it because I wouldn't shut up about it! I talked about those stinkin' towels the whole week before we left! I love that stuff - but why wouldn't I? A Hospitality & Tourism Degree does that to a person!

Ok, so yes, we really had to put these on and "muster" at our designated stations. I wasn't too sure though if I would know where to go in a real emergency. I think we'd already had 2 buckets of beer at this point!

Our Boat! The Carnival Fantasy



We are home. On LAND!!! I was never so excited to be off a ever so subtle moving vessel! Don't get me wrong, it was great and fun and relaxing and I would definitely do it again - but not without some strong drugs! I was sea sick the whole entire time!!!!

I don't have much time now, but will post pics and more details later!!! Promise!


Packed Up

I'm packed up ready to go...have been since Tuesday! Hubby, notsomuch. Now, I will give him credit that he did all the laundry. ALL of it! But some is still in baskets waiting to be placed in a suitcase or a drawer!
I know we don't officially cruise out until tomorrow, but we really leave today in about 2 hours! Yeah, TWO! He did work last night, so I know he needs to sleep, but he hasn't put one thing in a bag! And, since we're staying with friends tonight and I don't want to risk overage in my carryon, we must pack a separate overnight bag for tonight! So, he really has 2 bags to pack!
I asked him this morning as he was laying in bed getting ready to fall asleep when he was going to pack and his response was, "I dunno"! What? This is stressing me out and it's not even my stuff. If I were spiteful, I might just let him rush packing and see how he feels when he's on a boat far out in the middle of the ocean with no undies, but I'm not, so of course, I'll pack...right....now!

SO, BON VOYAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plenty of posts with pictures as soon as we return!


Dots for Breakfast

That's what Little Hauss had this morning. Well, he ate some cereal and had a juicebox too, but also got a small box of Dots, thanks to his Papa!

I try to limit his sugar and definitely chocolate, but the problem during the week is IF he does want something like that, when to give it to him? After school/dinner is too late, so then the most reasonable answer is in the morning! I know it sounds crazy, but he's going to run off all that energy anyway, so might as well give him an extra boost! Plus, I don't feel this is wrong considering they sugar 'em up after naptime and send them home if there is a birthday or they have a special snack!

Well, last night, he had already had a treat from the basket after dinner, and then we went to Mauggie and Papa's just for him to have a piece of poundcake and some tootsie rolls. He wanted more (and yes, I said no to all of it, but they are grandparents and they spoil him) so I told him we would take the Dots home and he could have this morning. You woulda thought I told the kid he was losing his best friend the way Papa looked at me for telling him no! I can just imagine what will happen while we are gone!!! He might not want to come back home with us after a week with them!

Speaking of, 2 days and we are cruisin!