Monday, March 24, 2014

Six

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Can you believe that teeny tiny baby is six years old today?  Where has time gone?  It seems like yesterday I was meeting you for the first time.  Your little hands and feet were so perfect, daddy and I fell in love with you at first sight.

Now you're this big, energetic ball of fun. You're sweet, kind, and smart.  I am so so proud of you.  You amaze me more and more every day.  You're the person who made a mama, we've grown up together.  I love you with all my heart.

To celebrate the big SIX, here are six things about Miss Priss.

  1. Her favorite colors are pink and purple.
  2. She just performed in her first play (Winnie The Pooh Kids).
  3. Her favorite food is spaghetti.
  4. She still sleeps with her Dirty Green Blanket.
  5. She wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up.
  6. She's the one who makes her brother smile the best.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Little Behind...

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I'm not going to lie, this whole random acts of kindness thing is kind of hard.  Mainly because I find myself actually having to think about the acts I am going to do.  Is it sad that kindness acts are so foreign to my brain that I have to keep them at the forefront just to make sure I get them in?  I am hoping that throughout this journey they become more and more second nature to me, but alas they are not yet.

That sounded kind of bad didn't?  I mean admitting that it's not easy to be nice to people?  But it's not really just being nice to people, it's going beyond that to do something nice for them that's challenging.  Sometimes it comes easy, like I offered to let a friend at church borrow my copy of the Total Money Makeover book so that she could look it over before her and her husband decided whether or not to take FPU.  And yes, I am counting that as a kindness act, if you know me I am very attached to my books-and well, I did say many of my acts would be small!

But with that said I still find myself behind.  Right now I am a total of 14 kindness acts behind schedule.  Eek! I didn't mean to get this far behind (well, I didn't mean to get behind at all).  But I am, and now I have to work double hard to fix it.  But I can do this, I can.  I told myself going in this would be hard, and it has proved to be so-but I am determined to finish, to help and make a positive impact on the lives of others.  I can do it, and I will.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Couponing in Hawaii Giveaway Winner


According to the random number generator our winner is #6- Michelle Achong! Congratulations!  Please shoot me an email (you can find my email under the contact tab) to make arrangements to get your book.

Don't be disheartened if you didn't win, another great couponing resource giveaway is on it's way.  And this one will be open to mainlanders too!
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

365-Giveaway


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Aloha!  Are tired and frustrated about the high grocery prices here in Hawaii?  Have you thought of couponing but just ended up overwhelmed?  Are you a military wife who couponed on the mainland but gave up once you saw the Hawaii prices?

That was me.  I couponed on a very small scale before the Hubs joined the Army, and tried to get into it when we first got to Hawaii, but sticker shock got to me and it made me sad that it felt like I could never get the same prices here that I did in Texas.

It wasn't until this past September that I found the wonder Ashley Dougherty and her website www.hawaiishopaholics.com, I set up a coupon class with her a few weeks before Atlas was born and it changed my way of thinking.  Yes, I might not get as amazing of deals as I got in Texas (only one store here doubles and groceries are more expensive because of the cost to ship them), but I can still have huge savings and cut my grocery bill drastically.  This month alone I am set up to cut my grocery bill by at least 75.00, and that's with adding 42.00 worth of whole chickens and 20 cans of Wolf Brand Chili to my stockpile (we use it to make Cowboy Enchiladas).  That's in my first month of really couponing.


 
What made me start now?  Why did I not start when I was pregnant?  Well, I did, but on again it was on a very small scale, and after he was born I just couldn't imagine trying to plan my couponing trips and take care of two kids.  Then Ashley came to the rescue again.

If you know me at all, you know I am a big book worm.  I almost always have at least one book (maybe two or three) that I am reading at one time.  I just can't help it.  On Ashley's website I noticed she had written a book specifically on couponing in Hawaii, although I had taken her class a few months before I went ahead and checked it out at the local library.  Within a day I was done with the book and was emailing Ashley about buying a copy of my own.

With Ashley's book you can "Learn where to get coupons, how to read them, how to organize them, how to swap and trade them, how to understand store and manufacturer policies, how to use social media, smart phones, and apps for couponing, when to schedule shopping trips, and how to put together the best budget for your family....This book will have you saving money on your monthly shopping trips and will teach you how to turn couponing into a money-making adventure for you and your family." - Ashley Dougherty

Thanks to this book I am saving tons of money without having to use coupons as a full time job.  I take one afternoon a week, that's right one afternoon, to clip and organize my coupons, and plan my trips.  Then a few minutes each day to search deals and write them down.  That's it.  I don't have to worry about couponing taking over my time with my family, and yet again, I am still saving TONS of money.

Does this sound appealing to you?  I thought it might, and that's why I bought two copies of the book from Ashley and got her permission to do a giveaway as one of my 365 Acts of Kindness.  I am enjoying the savings so much, I want to share it with you.

***Please note this giveaway is only for Hawaii residents, or military families living in Hawaii.  Don't worry mainlanders, I am trying to work something out for you too.***

To enter the giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment below, that's it.  You don't have to follow me with google+, facebook, or pinterest (although I recommend you doing so, but hey I'm a little biased).  The winner will be drawn next Wednesday February 26th.  Good luck!

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On another note, look who I woke up to this morning.  Yep, 4:30 a.m. and we were wide awake.  Today is going to be an interesting day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thank you, #9

The other day I was up at the Army hospital getting check-ups for Little Man and myself.  If you have ever been to Tripler you know that parking can be more than chore, it can be a down right competition to get a decent spot-or a spot at all.  I somehow lucked in to a really good spot within minutes of getting there though, a spot right in front of the family clinic.  Woohoo! 

During our appointments I was thinking of what my good deed for the day could be (yes, I do have to consciously think of these most days, apparently doing good deeds does not come natural to me) and I still hadn't thought of anything by the time we were heading back to the car.  Honestly I was a little discouraged.  Miss Priss was acting up,  Little Man was crying after his shots, and I had just been prescribed three different allergy medicines to try before I go back to the ENT later this month.  Anyway, doing a good deed for someone was slipping further and further into the back of my mind at this point.

Then Addi dropped her piece of paper.  She dropped it in the middle of the road and before I could blink she had let go of my hand and ran back to the piece of paper that was now floating towards the cars that were heading our way.

I screamed at her to stop, and her little life passed before my eyes and my heart skipped a beat.  The cars are going slow since it is parking lot traffic, but she is a little girl and it was a big truck that was coming our way.  I honestly don't know how the guy saw her, but he did and he stopped.  He motioned for her (she was now standing wide eyed at the reality of how close she came to being ran over) and waved at me that it was okay as I belted out my apologies. 

My 'kind act' suddenly popped back into my head at that moment and I almost pushed it back.  I didn't really think that something as small as the idea that was emerging to constitute a kind act, that it would really make a difference in someone's life or day.  I decided I would go forth with my idea, but I wouldn't count it as my kind act.  This all literally happened in a 10 second period.

As #9 started to speed up I kind of waved frantically to flag him down again, you could see the confusion on his face, but I pointed to my car that was only half an isle a way and motioned that I was leaving and he should wait to get my spot.  Then I rushed to the car and went into my little routine to get the kids up and out of there.

Addi in the car buckling herself up, diaper bag and any extra's in the front seat, Atlas out of the stroller and in his carseat, Atlas' toys out of the stroller and tucked into the carseat with him.  A kiss for Atlas, blow a kiss to Addi.  Pack up the stroller, close the trunk, and go.  As a mother it's these little, almost robotic routines that help me keep my sanity throughout the day.  I wasn't thinking any more of the kind act,  I was just thinking about getting in and gone quickly so this man could have my spot and the cars that were starting to line up behind him wouldn't be annoyed.

But as I was folding up the stroller the #9 rolls down his window and pulls up behind my car.  I honestly thought he was annoyed I was taking so long and was going to tell me to thanks but no thanks, he would find another spot.  I started to say "Sorry it will only be another minute, I'm leaving as soon as I get this in..." when he interrupted me and said "Ma'am, I just wanted to let you know you are awesome.  It seems like you are in a routine and it is efficient, I don't think I could do this so quickly with a child and a baby, and I just felt like I needed to tell you that you are doing a good job.  Thank you for helping me out with this spot."

I think I stammered a thank you, then quickly got in the car as he backed up again and pulled out so he could claim the spot.  I drove the entire way home with my mouth wide open, in awe that he took the time to say that to me.  To do a kind act, for me.  And he didn't even know I was doing one for him!  His words made me decide to count that act as my kindness act for the day, because his words showed me that it really doesn't matter how little the acts are, they still make an impact on people.  I don't know if it was my kind act that made him think to say something kind to me, but it could have been, and that's part of what I am hoping for- a chain reaction of kindness- to come out of this journey.

After the time we had had at Tripler, the grouchy mood my kids were in, and the fact that my daughter could have very well died or been seriously injured at least under my watch just then, I was honestly feeling anything but like I was doing a good job at that point.  His words made me want to cry, they effected me that much.

So thank you #9, for being kind to me.  And thank you, #9, for showing me that the little things count too.  It doesn't have to be big, giant, acts of kindness all the time-but those little acts that almost don't seem like they count, they really do.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Good-bye Credit Card Debt

We did it!  Last week we sent off our VERY LAST credit card payment!  Good-bye Citi card, good-bye credit card debt! I will never, ever see you again!

It feels so good. That was our last debt to pay off before we started our 'rainy day fund' for our move in October.  We still have our car (about 11,000.00) and my student loans (7,000.00) to pay off but we are putting those on hold until we have 10,000.00 in savings for our move back home.

Did I mention it feels GOOD to be done with credit card debt?  Well it does!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Cookies and Coupons


Have you ever noticed how when you start doing something regularly in front of your children that it starts to wear off on them as well?  Sometimes when that happens it's a shock, like the first time my daughter said the not so good 'A' word and it inspired this mama that I had to clean up my language. 

But sometimes it brings a smile to your face, like this Saturday while I was out grocery shopping with the kids.  We were browsing sales since I am slowly trying to get into this couponing thing (more on that later, I am a total newbie and am reading an awesome book to help me get started) and I wanted to see if I could find anything.

Although I had not mentioned it to Addi, I was also on the hunt for someway to perform an act of kindness.  I ended up finding two.  First I helped an elderly man find the vitamins he was looking for.  He had been standing in the same spot for a few minutes looking frustrated so I asked if I could help, he couldn't find the iron supplements so I offered to help look.  We ended up finding the only bottle left of the iron mixed in with some other vitamins.




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I also had a couple coupons that I know I will never use.  Although my family is big Ramen noodle fans, we don't get the bowls just the packets.  Our commissary has the bowls for sale for .59 and I had a .50 off 1 coupon, so I decided to show the love and leave a coupon on top of one.  Someone will find that they can get them one for only .09 now.  The 'coupon fairies' have bestowed this kind of gift on me before so I thought it would be nice to pay it forward in this way as well.

 I don't have to say it, but giving back feels good.  Performing kind acts puts a smile on my face and on the face of those who receive them.  It really does warm the soul.  But what warms it even more is when you realize that those little eyes that watch every bad move you make, watch the good ones too.

Those little eyes were watching that day when I helped that man find the vitamins.  They were watching earlier last week as well when we made a big batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and took them to church, then bagged up more and handed them out to the moms who walk their kids to the school in front of our co-op ever Friday morning.

Those little eyes were watching, and they were learning.

We were in that same vitamin isle when a young soldier had a box of blueberries fall out of his cart.  The box busted and blueberries went everywhere.  This would have been the perfect opportunity for me to perform an act of kindness by helping him, but I had Little Man in his babyhawk carrier and bending down is kind of difficult with that.  I was just thinking this thought when I heard a little voice in the buggy say "Can I help him, mama?  It would be a kind thing for me to do."

My girl, she had been listening.  She had been watching.  She quickly climbed out of the buggy and spent the next 5 minutes chasing down renegade blueberries with this young soldier.  She laughed and giggled as she reached her tiny arms under the shelves to capture escapees.  When she climbed back into the buggy she said "Wasn't that kind of me mama, I helped him!"  Yes it was, my dear.  Yes, it was.

This journey is teaching me more and more each day, today it reminded me that I am not the only one on this journey. I am toting two children along with me as well.  Although one is two small to comprehend, the other is watching and learning and hopefully her little mind and soul will be engrained with acts like this and she will carry them on into her adult life, to her children, and beyond.