Monday, December 27, 2010

BOGO Little Ceasars!

Tired of those Christmas leftovers? Get a Buy One Get One Free Coupon from Little Ceasars.
This is one of our all time frugal favorites. Tonight we get 2 pizzas for $5! Wow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Early Merry Christmas

I've been MIA in the blog world a bit. We've had a lot going on.
I wanted to share our Christmas Card family photo. My good friend Adrien at APM Design Photography took our photos. I've known her since we were in 9th grade!

Here's my oldest daughter Kate, she's the baker of the family.

The holidays are busy times for our family of 6. So I'm slacking a bit in the blogging area. I've enjoyed reading so many holiday posts and home tours. Where's mine? Well this year we are doing things a bit different. We waited until last night 2 weeks before Christmas to put the tree and decorations up.

Why? We decided to truly experience the advent season, the preparation for Jesus birthday. We started some new family traditions. Last night we had a blast putting up the tree, jamming to music, and making Christmas cookies.

If I don't get back to my blog until after Christmas.

I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Princess Love

A few weeks ago Madeline went to a friends birthday party.
I've got to tell you the biggest hit.... Tinkerbell.

This little tea shop had a teenager dress up like Tinkerbell. The girls went wild! My Madeline couldn't stop talking about meeting Tinkerbell. It was the best thing ever for her. Look at her little face she was in princess heaven!
I can't wait until we head to Disney World this summer.
Brings me to my point....
Have a friend or teenager you know come to your little princesses party dressed up.
Halloween costumes or even old prom dressed make an instant princess.
Take photos of each girl and the princess and viola, party favors.
Thanks Jenny for a great party!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Time Is Your Thanksgiving Meal?

Thanksgiving is less than week away! Yippee!
I love, love, love to eat all the yummy comfort foods.
I need your input. We've had much debate around our home about what time the Thanksgiving meal should occur.

Growing up we had it mid-afternoon around 3ish. We pig out. The men would then watch the Dallas Cowboys game then hit some leftovers for later. Us women would head to Garden Ridge for their big 72 sale (back in the 90's).

So tell me what is your family tradition for the Thanksgiving meal. What time do you eat?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kids Art Wall

When I visit garage sales I always pick up chunky frames. I've had these frames in my closet for umm..... 8 months. Just waiting for a project.
Finally got inspired to get outside and spray paint.

I painted them all ORB (oil rubbed bronze)

Then I hung them up along the stairs to display the kids art work. I'm still looking for a few more chunky empty frames to fill in the gaps.

Madeline and Will just love to check out their art work. This is a great way rotate all those wonderful art projects the kids do at school.

As you can see when I took the photo we were still missing a few pieces of art work.

I'm going to get out some of my glazes I think it looks to black.

Built-In Update:
We've hired Cheap Thrills Decor to do the job. We should be on the schedule in about 3 weeks! Just in time for Christmas!!! So glad were finally moving forward.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Card Time

Can you believe it's that time of year? I like to get my Christmas cards mailed by the 1st week in December. That means I've got to order the cards... this week!

My favorite place to order cards for any occasion is Shutterfly.

I've picked my 3 favorite cards from their site. They have over 600 designs to choose from. Everyone can find something they like. Check out the cards
We had our family pictures taken today. I can't wait to see them. I'll be writing about those this week.

Option #1 I love the monogram and a spot for a family photo plus an individual shot of the kids.
Option #2 I just love the saying and the black and white photo.
Option #3 It's just beautiful I think it's my favorite!

Which one do you like best? Check them out they are offering 20% off cards right now.

Personalized Gift Tags
Something else I found on the shutterfly site was Christmas gift tags. Who knew you could personalize them.

I'm going to order a set. I'm thinking this will cut down time and really make a cute accessory on the homemade gift we make for family.

Photo Calendars

A very personal and frugal gift, and always a hit with grandparents..... Photo Calendars! We give one every year to our parents. It's affordable and grandparents love it. I like that you can pick out special photos for each month and make each one different. Right now they are offering buy one calender get one 50% off.

If your planning to order photo Christmas cards hurry on over, Shutterfly has my vote for the best Christmas cards! We've ordered them for the last couple years for Christmas cards and birth announcements. Love them!

So help me out which card do you like best?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Monday

We had a great weekend jammed packed full of activities. I don't know about you but I look forward to Mondays. During the weekend the schedule is out the door. Mondays bring me peace and a quiet home while the big kids are at school.

Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Tuesday: Grilled Burritos... I love, love love these! It's been way too long. Remember we just get big ole tortillas and fill with rice, black beans, meat, cheese. Then we throw them on the George Foreman grill. Top with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday: Make Your Own Pizza

Thursday: Out for a work dinner. Yeah, for dinner with no little one's!

Friday: I have no idea... I think we're going to purge the freezer for some old meals.

What is your favorite homemade meal?

My favorite homemade meal is Enchiladas.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My New Blog

My new blog is up, Mothers United in Christian Homes. I've had some friends ask if I will keep my frugal blog. I sure will!

I wanted to have a separate place for creative things and my personal life. I'm excited to have a place where I can write honestly with issues I struggle with.

For those of you who are just interested in frugal stuff I will be posting later in the week with my new kids art wall. We've finally got a place to put all those projects the kids bring home from school.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mothers United in Christian Homes

I'm working on a new blog called Mothers United in Christian Homes. The more I've been reading Gods word and praying the more I know I'm being called to share. Anyone want to design the header and blog design?

Our family is tested on a daily basis in normal every day situations to stand up for the morality of our children. My husband and I often laugh because it's ridiculous. Now I see some of the reason is for experience to share with others. We could have our own crazy reality show.

I feel very called to share my inspirations in raising Christan children for Christian mothers. We are living in a world where our children are loosing morality rapidly. The worldly things are taking over our homes and children.

I'm not a radical type of mom just a traditional one that raises my children to love Jesus and follow the 10 commandants. My kids go to public schools, I try to be fashionable, I enjoy decorating. I'd say I'm the typical suburban mom. The main difference is we try to live our lives the way Jesus calls us to. I fall short but I try really hard. This is something people have been doing for ages. It's quite simple but's it's been lost and moms act more like "Cougars" or "Real Housewives" than good Christian mothers.

Today in 2010 we have so many different Christian based religions. I'm Roman Catholic but I was raised Southern Baptist. They share one very big common theme Jesus. Satan wants us to believe we are all so different that way we get distracted and don't join forces for the good. We're trying to "save" each other. When really we need to focus on saving our children and teach them good strong morals.

I see so many people are focused on saving others and getting others to change religions or religious labels. We've lost focus on living our lives like Jesus and raising good, moral and Christian children. We're caught up in things, money, and the newest and latest gadgets.

My vision is a place where moms that are Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, LDS, Presbyterian, Non-Denomination, and all the other Christian religions can join forces to save the morality of our children. Let's put aside the differences and have a common goal of getting our families to heaven.

I plan to share our daily struggles and challenges. God is putting so many things in our path I know others are encountering them to.

So what do you think? Have I lost my mind? I hope you follow along on this crazy journey.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sweet Caroline's Room

I can't believe this little girl is 3 months old!

Really it was yesterday when I was blogging about being on bed rest and asking for your prayers.

Thank you Lord for my healthy smiley little girl! What a blessing she is! Finally a view of her girly room. Remember we thought she was going to be a boy. Here's a link to the boy version of the nursery.
I repainted the mural over the bed. I found this beautiful script and saying. I bought a new red crib skirt and added some rick rac.
Remember I scored this Pottery Barn bedding at a garage sale for $20.

Ribbon and ruffles can make a blue curtain girly. I love the way they turned out!

I'm using red as an accent color to bring out the whimsy. This changing table has been wood color, white, pink, black and red. It's held up for 4 children.
We've got a growing bow collection.

Madeline has the mother load so these sisters will share bows.

Caroline is sleeping in her crib now. The best news.... she's officially sleeping through the night. It's been a week now of going to be at 8 pm and waking up at 5:30 am.

However mommy still wakes up 3 times and sneaks in quietly to make sure she's ok.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free Decorating

Having 4 kids has shown me I have little control over my life. What I do have control over is my house. That's why I enjoy decorating so much.

You get immediate results and gratification. Plus it just makes you feel all warm and cozy.

My favorite decorating projects.... the free kind. Rearranging and moving stuff around. I just love when my husband comes home and sees that I've accomplished something in the day. (You can't visually see the kids being taken care of)

Here's the way my eating area in the kitchen looks right now. I want to refinish and paint my kitchen table so bad... I'm thinking a dark top with cream colored based distressed a bit.

I'm getting out of my paint everything black phase. This is the way it looked at one time.
Update on our built in's: These darn things are so expensive! Who knew built in's would double the cost of 2 bookshelves at a furniture shop?

We're going to review all the bids this weekend and decide what we're going to. I'm ready to just get it done. My living room has 2 huge empty wall spaces that are driving me crazy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Repurposed Cabinet Door

One of my many finds in Canton was this unfinished cabinet door. (I've got 2 more for other projects)

I've wanted a chalk board at the end of my cabinet for a while. I just needed to find the right shape.

I found one that had the same arch as our kitchen cabinets. I scored this for $5!I sprayed the whole thing with chalk board paint. Then I did some distressing and applied a natural color stain to the edge and trim. I left the middle un-coated so I could use it as a chalk board.
With some little wooden accent pieces I was done! I plan to use this as our menu board. The kids are always asking what's for dinner.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Master Bedroom Update

This beautiful piece of furniture has caused a lot of drama in our home.
We bought the furniture set because of this 5 foot by 5 foot piece. After 4 failed attempts to get it upstairs we sadly sad good bye. We even considered tearing out the banister and having it replaced it get it up.
But then if we move we couldn't get it back down. Here's the way our bedroom looks right now.
We got a new ceiling fan, window arch, furniture and bedding.
I'm still on the hunt for drapes, chunky lamps, accent pillows and wall decor.

See my iron work it will go above the bed. I got it in Canton for $30. We're not sure how to hang it up. It's really.... really heavy. Not exactly something you want to fall on your head in the middle of the night.

This is the way our room looked before with our old furniture. We sold it on Craig's list in 1 day!

My husband got this furniture when he was in high school about 15 years ago.
It was still in great shape but we desperately needed a king size bed.
Plus we were just plain tired of it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Getting Professional Help

Now that Caroline is getting into a routine I'm able to get some home projects done. I've had some serious nesting since I spent the last 3 months of my pregnancy on bed rest. I'm going to clean up the house and share some photos tomorrow.

But today.... I have a real life interior designer coming to the house. She was even on HGTV's Design Star!!! Her name is Jamie and her company is Cheap Thrills Decor. Why you ask? Well our living room built in's aren't going as planned.

We've had 3 carpenters out and none of them will paint or do the electrical work. When I have contractors do all three separate jobs surprisingly it's more expensive then just going with a designer to handle it all. I had a painter quote me $1,500 just to paint the built ins. CRAZY! No thank you! I can't wait to see what they come up with. Plus I will get the whole living room finally put together.

Check out their blog!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Free Clothes at Khols

Sign up for Kohl's emails and get $10 gift codes by email. The more you use the coupons the more they send them to you.

Plus they will start mailing you additional coupons and $10 cards. If you have a Khol's credit card you save even more.

This is what I got for my $10 last week. I only paid $4.86 for these 2 cute outfits! Here's the proof:

Gotta love it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Menu Monday, Twins

Here's Madeline at 2 months old Now Here's Caroline at 2 months old

The only difference is Madeline's cheeks were a bit chubbier. I think Caroline will catch up since we've gotten her eating situation under control.

Although I dropped off the P90X program we are still eating healthy. My husband is a trooper he is still going strong on week 9. He's lost a ton of weight. I go back to the gym in 2 weeks! We have to wait until Caroline is 12 weeks old to attend.

Let's talk food.

Monday: Homemade Burgers. I mix in a packet of lipton onion soup with with the 96% lean ground beef. Side of sweet potato fries.

Tuesday: Chicken and Rice. Packet of cooked chicken tenders shredded add in 2 cups of cooked rice, 1/4 stick of butter, 1 can cream of chicken and 1/2 can of chicken broth. Mix together and cover with foil and bake. This is a family favorite.

Wednesday: Leftover Chicken and Rice or Sandwiches.

Thursday: Spaghetti with Meatballs. It's been a long time since we had this favorite. I use whole grain pasta to make it a bit healthier. This time I bought store meatballs. I wanted an easy prep.

Friday: Make Your Own Pizza.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Functional Storage

OK, I have NO idea why my photos are on the other side. This is about how my living room looks right now. I've never liked the way it looks. I'm always changing this up. We've always wanted some built ins for storage.

I found this 2nd photo somewhere online a couple years ago. I've always envisioned built ins like this.

Remember my last frugal post, since we know we will be at our current home for a while we decided to get some built ins done! I'm so excited.

We are putting the flat screen in cabinets just like this photo too. That will really open up our room.

Our home isn't very large so storage is a necessity. It's all about functional storage for us.

We have a home to do list. We also have a project budget and priority list. So glad this project is next up.

Here is what the living room looked like when we just bought it. That is some bright yellow!

Hopefully the carpenter will get started next week. We want to do it right so we aren't even going to mess with this one on our own. We're even going to hire a painter to paint it right. I don't have the time or the want to.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not So Frugal Jen

If you've been reading for a while you know this past year has been a crazy one. The one thing to fly right out the door was frugality. Yes, I am here to admit I'm not so frugal. Sigh.....

I've been grocery shopping without coupons and giving into every whim to buy a product. Hey, did you know eating healthy and with fresh ingredients is more expensive? Well I hope to find a way to save eating fresh and healthy.

The reason I started this blog was to chronicle my journey of spending less and still living fabulously. We have the means to live a more expensive lifestyle but we choose to live BELOW our means. Why, well we enjoy splurging on things like vacations and frankly not carrying a ton of debt. My husband is a investment consultant so we practice what he preaches. Let me tell you we've come along way. I'm a reformed shopaholic. I even struggle today.

Yes, we've been battling the urge to buy our "dream home". It's a struggle when you see your friends in these big house and fancy cars and you know you could afford it too but you choose not to. That is hard, very hard. We are trying to teach our children that life is not about material possessions so what would that teach them if we suddenly switched gears. It wouldn't be true to who I am inside either. I've found money doesn't bring happiness, remember we don't take any of the "stuff" with us. God has never called anyone to stock up on possessions and live life on earth like a king. It's quite the opposite. I try to keep that perspective when I feel bad and want to shop. I think God is calling me to be true to myself and I know what the right thing to do is. Those who know us in real life know we seem to go the opposite way of society norms. My 13 year old is one of the few who doesn't have a cell phone, cannot text and doesn't have a facebook. Call me old fashioned...

So what is my point? Well I'm ready to refocus.

  • I've got to get the grocery bill down and keep the meals healthy.
  • I desperately need a new wardrobe. I'm hoping to have some guest posts on mixing and matching outfits.
  • Christmas is coming and I want to make some great crafty items for family and friends.
  • Then there is the house. Decorating on a budget is fun. We've got some carpentry projects we are using a contractor for. Sometimes it's better to pay to get it done right the first time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

OUTRAGED!! Similac Recall

UPDATE 9/29 Abbott Labs the makers of Similac has handled the recall with our issue very well. Within 48 hours of Caroline being removed from the bad formula she's been doing much better. The customer service has handled it professionally and promptly, although I am still mad about the issue in the first place.

As I am up at Caroline's 3am feeding a early news program reports the massive recall of Similac Infant formula. Seems that beetle parts and beetle larvae has been found. WHAT? They show a photo of the similac sensitive formula I use.

I go to the website and sure enough the 3 large bins I purchased at Costco are in the recall. At least $90 worth of formula to throw out.

It's not a money issue it's my daughters safety. Remember we've been battling a stomach issue that won't go away for over a week. Even a trip to the ER. All I can think is the formula. A week ago I even called Similac a week ago regarding our sudden feeding issue when we had to switch to Allimentum then back to the Sensitive.

So now it's 4am I have NO formula to feed my daughter. They say the ready made liquid is not effected. So I will get some of that. I'm a little scared to get in the car and go to Wal-Mart this early. I will head out at 6 am. I've got to beat the rush. I have a feeling the stores will soon be out of the only substitutes available.

If I ever have another child I will push through and breastfeed. This just proves to me infant formula cannot be 100% safe. I'm just very, very, very angry and mad.

I'm currently on hold at 4am with Abbot Labs

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ER Trip & Hand Sanitizer

Last night we made a trip to the children's emergency room at the downtown hospital. Little Caroline has had a stomach bug and it decided to come back. We went at the Dr's request, she was concerned it was not just a stomach virus but a serious stomach condition, plus her breathing was off and thought it might be the dreaded RSV.

We got there and it's amazing how fast they move along a baby. We didn't get anywhere near other sick kids we were in isolation. They did IV fluids and a sonogram to check her intestines and stomach and her breathing was monitored. All clear, except we saw a ton of gas bubbles. Turns out she doesn't have reflux just a gassy tummy. One issue solved. I've got to switch bottles

So the verdict, a stomach virus just as we initially thought. Which brings me to:
I've got to do a better job keeping little hands and people away from Caroline. I posted a while back we weren't going to get out much well, that's impossible with 3 other children highly involved in activities. Who was I kidding? I can't live in a bubble so I'm going to take extra precautions.

I was asked to review this 6 hour hand sanitizer last week from mom select. I couldn't think of a better time for us. Let me tell you this is all I will buy now. 6 hours! Check it out . I was given 10 bottles so I will be passing them out to our close friends and family who come in frequent contact with her. I also put a bottle in each of the kids school bag.
Little Caroline with the bottle and her "Don't touch me sign". My church friend Melanie picked up this hang tag, she's a NICU nurse. Thank you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Monday

I had all intentions of posting Caroline's room last week but got sidetracked. That's an easy task for me. Hopefully I will do that this week.

P90X update: Husband has lost 20 pounds! I've lost 0 now. Went for my 6 week postpartum and went up. Dr. says it's because I'm not sleeping and stressed. That combo = weight gain. I will continue to do the workout but I'm not going to stress about missing a day.

Monday: Mini Meatloaf (Thanks Christi T.), Sweet Potato Fries
1 1/2 pound of ground turkey, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs, 1/3 cup parm cheese, 1 bottle of BBQ Sauce (1/2 for topping)

Mix all and grease muffin pan bake 375 for 30 minutes and top with remaining BBQ.

Tuesday: Make Your Own Deli Sandwich

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Tostato's

Thursday: Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken over Rice

Friday: Make Your Own Flatbread Pizza

My new thought... life is too short to not enjoy your meal. We're eating our regular favorites but we're reducing the fat.

I think I'd rather have some extra weight on my hips than be skinny and hungry!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Monday and Weight Loss

After months of bedrest and meal help from wonderful friends. We are completely back to my own cooking. The only difference is the new and improved healthy menu. I've cut out high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and most processed foods. Let me share this weeks menu.

Monday: Sandwiches Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins, Deli Turkey, Deli American Cheese (it tastes so much better from the deli than the little packages... no preservatives a plus), lettuce, tomato's, sliced avocado's and a dash of Italian dressing. You can put this on the george foreman grill for pannini style. A side of chips, we love Kettle brand or baked Cheetos.

Tuesday: Crock Pot Garlic Chicken with a side of mixed veggies (Green Giant Steamed Veggies)

Wednesday: Baked Tostatos with Grilled Chicken. I spray corn tortillas with cooking spray and cook on 400 for 5ish minutes until golden brown. I top with fat free refried beans, black beans, leftover chicken, lettuce and 2% shredded cheese. A little salsa to top it off.

Thursday: Soup Night. We each have our favorite canned soup. This is the only heavy processed meal we have. Still it's better than our old frozen pizza night. I love spaghetti O's!

Friday: Make Your Own Pizza. We use Flax-Seed Flat Bread and top with tomato sauce, 2% cheese and veggies. The kids still get peperoni's. With a side of salad.

Weight Loss Journey

I've got to tell you about our weight loss workout plan. P90X! I was up late with the baby and got sucked into an infomercial. They got me motivated. I even woke up Josh. We ordered it and all the expensive accessories. We put our gym memberships on hold.

In 3 weeks my husband has lost 13 pounds and gone down 2 holes in his belt loop. I've gotten back into my old jeans and clothes. I've lost 5 pounds and several inches around my waist. We've got 9 more weeks of the program. I can put on my old jeans they are tight and I have just a bit of a muffin top.

I'll show the before and after at the end of the program when I'm swimsuit ready.

I won't lie it's a pain to do. It takes almost 1 1/2 hours a day. We get up early and do it while the kids are sleeping. I also added a couple run days into the workout. I run 2 miles 2 times a week. I used to run a lot. It's a great stress reliever.

I'm crazy a newborn, P90X, no sleep and 4 kids!

Has anyone out their in blog land done P90X?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Colic Fixes

I want to thank all you wonderful moms for the great info on your experience with colic. We spoke to the Dr and she thinks Caroline has a milk protein allergy. She's also had diarrhea like poop since she started formula. Sorry TMI. It has gotten worse the last week. So we switched her formula to Similac Allimentium. Nothing frugal about that pricey stuff.

We kept her on the Similac Sensitive formula for so long hoping her body would adjust since she kept growing and showed no signs of dehydration. Allimentium is one of those last resort formulas.

My Caroline is sleeping soundly in the swing right now. I'm getting some much needed chores done, and of course some blogging.

Let me share what worked for me:

  • Switching Formula
  • Water - Little Tummies Brand.
  • Swaddling tightly in the swing and bouncy seat.

  • Put her in the car seat to snuggle her up, and head out for a short drive. When we get home she will sleep and be content in the car seat.

  • Laying her on my legs and rubbing her back. Little baby massage, my girl is already spoiled.

  • Background noise. She immediately quiets when I vacuum. I also put music on in the house when she's fussy and she stops and listens. Her favorite is my New Kids on the Block - The Block CD. My guilty childish pleasure. I played and sang this in the car when I was pregnant.

The Result.....Ahhh peace and quiet Most of all a happy baby and mommy.

I am hoping to get back to frugal posting this week at least twice a week. Monday I will be back to Menu Monday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Colic... Please Help Me!

As a mother of 4 I've been extremely lucky to have limited experience with colic.... baby tummy pain and excessive crying.

Kate who is now 12 had this. That was so long ago I forgot what to do. I've looked online. Everyone seems to push a supplement or product. I don't trust ad's I want to hear from real moms.

So tell me... what works.

She's already on sensitive formula. Yes, now I am really regretting not breastfeeding. I can hear some big fat I told you so's. Oh well, moving on....
The good news, she slept for 6 hours the other night. Mommy got a good nights sleep.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Here we are!

It's been a while since I posted. Whew, my life sure has changed! My friends can second that because I've been missing in action for a while. My days of chatting on the phone are long gone.

4 kids makes things exciting around our house. There is never a dull moment. We are all settling into a new routine and getting adjusted to the new baby. If only I could get some sleep....

Here I am with little Caroline. She's a month old now. Last week Kate started 8th grade ( I can't believe how grown up she is... isn't she beautiful! ) and Will (he's a handsome big kid now )started 1st grade. Here they are the first day of school with little Miss Madeline and her Barbie entourage her new faves.

I treated Kate to a special treat before school started. I bought her a new Juicy Couture purse. I splurged because she was such an incrediable help while I was on bedrest and once the baby arrived. What a wonderful daughter! I still was a little frugal I got it at Nordstroms Rack for 50% off.

I wonder if it's possible to have twins 3 years apart because Caroline and Madeline look EXACTLY alike as newborns.

Will loves to hold his baby sister. He says he's her favorite sibling. Right when he gets home from school the first thing he asks is how is Caroline and can I hold her.

This is only time Madeline and Will can sit next to each other without hitting or arguing. Caroline has both of their hearts. They just adore her.

You can see here how itty bitty Caroline still is. I guesstimate she is about 7 pounds now.
Still working on her room. I don't make it out much. Hobby Lobby is calling my name...
Oh one more thing, my husband said I need to give up my frugal Jen name because I haven't been so frugal. I've been hitting the grocery store with no coupons and spending way too much money! I told him I'll be back soon....

Friday, August 13, 2010


Wow, has my life changed with 4 kids. I completely enjoy them all. However it's very demanding of my time to make sure each child is given enough attention. We have one week left of summer. I plan on spending time with them.

Which leads me to... I'm taking a break from the computer, phones, play dates and extra outtings. I'm exhausted and once the kids are back in school I plan to hang out at home except for Madeline's dance and gymnastics class.

Why? Well yesterday we had Caroline's 2 week check up. She's doing great, she's back to her birth weight. The bad news... she's high at risk for RSV. We are working on getting her the shot but we aren't sure insurance will cover it. So in the meantime we are hanging out at home. No one other than immediate family will be able to hold her and we have to limit her exposure to other children.

So my blog friends and in real life friends, please be patient with me I will be back to the old Jen shortly. But now I've got to focus on the kids and the family.

Anyone know more about RSV? This is all new to me.

One more thing. The best way to get a hold of me is by email. I will be checking my email a couple times a day.

See you soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life with 4 kids

I just had to show you all my sweet Caroline. My good friend Adrien, came over and shot her newborn photos. Check out her website, she's wonderful photographer in the DFW area.

I'm so in love with this tiny little girl...
Caroline is such a great baby. She must sleep at least 20 hours a day. We are getting acclimated to life with 4 children.

I even ventured out to Hobby Lobby with the circus (that's what I call my 4 kids). I was in desperate need of some craft supplies. Being cooped up on bed rest for almost 3 months I am ready to go!

However, it wore me out. We plan on resting and hanging out at home for another week. I've got some projects to work on so I am content at home.

Her room is coming along great. My next post show my projects.

I had a couple questions asking if we knew the sex of the baby. No, we didn't find out. I just went on my mommy instinct it was a boy and decorated and shopped for a boy. Boy, was I wrong!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet Caroline

Introducing Caroline Joy!
What a whirlwind of excitement and emotions for our family.

Thursday morning I woke up with the distinct thought of cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. I cleaned my house top to bottom. 3 hours later I sat down and started having contractions about the same I've had over the last 10 weeks. I didn't think much of it.

We had a play date at a neighbors house, the contractions came every 10 minutes.

One of my church moms group had an evening get together. I went my contractions were every 5 minutes not painful just lots of pressure. I left the group at 9:00 I told them I think I need to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at 10:00 I was 4 cm dilated and they admitted me. Yes, were having a baby! Got my epidural by Dr. Feel Good (Really that's what he called himself) at mid-night and they wanted to see how I progressed and didn't break my water.

8:30 am: The Dr came in and broke my water I was dilated to a 6. About 30 minutes later I was in extreme pain and felt off the chart pressure. Dr. Feel Good came back in to up my epidural. By the time he came in I could feel everything. I was moaning and in so much pain. The worst pain of my life. He took at look at my epidural and I was only numb in my legs.... not where it mattered. So he redid the epidural and I still am feeling off the chart pain.

9:30 am: The nurse checks me to see how far I am. She says with big eyes... "The baby is right here don't move. Don't push keep your legs together. Call the dr and tell her NOW".

Ummm yeah, we are having a baby and I can feel it. The dr came in and 4 pushes later Caroline is up on my tummy. Oh, it's a girl not a boy like we thought. Shock, excitement and some pain.

The NICU staff was present and ready to wheel her off except little girl showed us her stuff and screamed and kicked. She acted like a 40 week full term baby. What a joy! Yes her middle name is also Joy.

We had an uneventfuly hospital stay. I opted not to breastfeed and went for the bottle. I've been unsuccessful 3 times and decided I had too much on my plate at home to stress about breast feeding. So we ordered the formula and I haven't looked back.

We got home Sunday. Monday morning we had our first dr's appt. She was looking orange so they did a blood test. Monday afternoon I got a phone call from the Dr saying take her to the NICU immediately. I cried and cried and cried.

Caroline was admitted to the NICU. We were told 4 days. They had a room available so I could stay at the hopstial so I did. I was able to feed her change her and most of all be there for her. Miraculously the girl only needed 24 hours of light thearaphy and IV fluids. Her numbers dropped so fast plus she gained 6 oz. Thank you God!

So we are back home today. My husbands birthday. What a joyous day I've got my new little girl at home with me.

Thank you cannot express my appreciation for the prayers over the last 10 weeks. God is good. He showed me many times that he is the one in control. I feel very blessed to have 4 healthy children and a wonderful husband. Now remind me of this feeling when I am having a stressed day and the kids are making me crazy.

Next week I plan to turn a baby boys room into a baby girls room without changing the bedding. Defineately will be painting over my Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Not really wanting to grow a fishergirl, I'm thinking beachy and flip flops. Any ideas?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's a ........


Caroline Joy arrived Friday morning at 9:37 am. She weighed 5 lbs 10 oz an was 19 1/4 inches long. She immediately cried and showed us how great her lungs were. Our answered prayer of 36 weeks and no NICU was answered. Little Caroline is completely healthy and beautiful.

We got home from the hospital today. Once I have time tomorrow I will upload some photos and tell more of the details of my NATURAL delivery. Yes, I said natural but not on purpose.

Off to hold my new little sweetie.

Thank you all for your prayers. God is good, and he carried me through the last 10 weeks culminating with a healthy baby girl.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dr's Appt and a Shopping Trip

It's official no more bed rest!!! My drs' appt went great today. I am still 3cm like I was at the hospital a week ago. The medication has been successful in stopping my progression. However, we hope that comes to a stop on Saturday when I am drug free.

My next post should be about the arrival of baby #4. This pregnancy has been a difficult one. I thank you all for the well wishes and prayers. They've sustained me the last 10 weeks.

A little frugal talk:
With my release we headed out to my favorite fatty restaurant... Snuffers for some cheese fries then to the town center for some back to school shopping. I've gained 21 pounds with the pregnancy so I thought I could indulge a bit. I also thought it would be easier to get some shopping done before baby arrives.

Gap: Has a ton of clearance items. They just started their additional 40% off clearance. This is also the best place for little boys jeans. All the other brands of jeans last 2 months then get holes in the knees with an active boy but Gap jeans last us around 6 months. Good enough for me!

Dehlia's: Is my teens favorite store at the moment. According to her they have the best jeans. They are very cute boot cut one's with stretchy material (Stella Cut) l. They are on sale, buy one get one 1/2. Plus if you try on a pair of jeans you get a $10 off coupon. They had a ton of shirts and clearance items in the $10 and under range.

Gymboree: They have most of their back to school items 40% off. Plus if you are a rewards member you get an additional 20% off. I bought Will a couple shirts for $10 each. I did online shopping the other day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Serious Nesting

You hear or might recall the distinct nesting instinct before you have a baby. Let me share my past activities right before my kids were born:

Katelyn: I was in college and pulled an all nighter writing the best paper in my college career. It was due in a week but I had this strange instinct I had to finish it.

William: I was working full time. I took the afternoon off and did some final shopping for baby and finished my monthly reports... early.

Madeline: I obsessively painted the dining room at the new house. We were remodeling before we moved in. I finished the crown molding and headed to the hospital. My husband thought I was crazy.

Baby #4: Not sure this is it but this morning I woke up full of energy and organization on the brain. I reorganized my son's toy bins (sitting down), hung up pictures that have been waiting for months. Helped Madeline pick up her room. Ordered the kids to do their laundry and separated mine out. Last night I had my husband hang up the blinds in the baby's room. It's only 9 o'clock but fore some reason I have so much energy and I'm on fire. I've only had a few normal contractions. Although last night I tossed and turned and moaned with contractions.

So this could be it.... I've had 2 out of 3 children on the 27th. Today is the
27th.... I'm 35 weeks and 4 days. I'm ready, really ready. The last 10 weeks on some sort of bed rest and in and out of the hospital has taken a toll on me. I'm ready to just be Jen again and have the baby in my arms. Do you ladies remember that "OK, I'm tired of being pregnant moment?"

I know I should be resting I am off to take a shower then spend the rest of the day on the couch. It was just weird I had to share. Still hoping I hold off until Friday since that is my 36 week mark.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Still Cookin & Baby Projects

All the drama and hospital stays started one week ago. Thank you God a week later baby is still baking in my tummy. As I type baby has the hiccups.

I haven't posted many pregnant photos. This was taken at my cousins on the 4th of July. Kind of a blurry pic but it's me... belly and all. I think I've gained a ton more belly since this was taken.
Me and the little ones at the hospital last week. Yes I was all smiles with morphine.
Now on to some fun crafty frugal projects. I'm Frugal Jen right?

Last week before this all started I did some sewing. Yes, I was seriously nesting. I made a small blanket with scrap fabric and ribbon. I pulled out 3 old burp rags gender neutral and sewed on ribbon and trim.

I didn't want to go too girly in case it's a boy. Not really wanting to have a frilly little boy.

This was my big project... big brother and sister shirts. I've been searching etsy and ebay for weeks debating buying shirts. At about $30 each I decided I could try it myself.

The result $15 later this is what I got. They are very cute! My friend Jenny at BellaBowz made the bows for us. See we have 2 little onezies one for girl and one for boy. If it's a girl she's even got her first little bow.... so cute!!

So as of today, Sunday we've got a countdown until Friday 36 weeks! I go off my contraction stopping meds Saturday morning.

We've got a poll going at our house. My husband's birthday is Wednesday, August 3rd. He thinks the baby will be born on his birthday. I think baby will come next Sunday the 1st.

So what do you think? When do you think baby will arrive? Just a clue
(I've NEVER gone past 36 weeks and 1 day)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Update

We want to thank you all for the emails, comments and phone calls. After a very eventful few days I am resting back at home. Let me tell you what's going on.

Sunday afternoon: when the nurse came for my 2nd steroid shot she thought I might be in labor. I had many signs. I got to the hospital and I was having contractions. They kept me for 24 hours then released me. I got home on Monday afternoon and during the night I developed a fever in addition to strong very painful contractions.

Tuesday Morning: I woke up with chills and a fever. I also did not feel the baby move after many trys to get the baby to wake up. Panic is an understatement. I was terrified something was very wrong. I called the dr and they immediately told me to head to L&D. I got there and my fever was 101.5 and my heart and the baby's was racing dangerously high. I was also contracting. They tested me for EVERYTHING I had an amino (which I don't ever want to relive) X-rays, tons of blood taken and fever reducers. Long story short they still do not know what caused the infection and fever. Thank you Lord it was NOT in my amniotic fluid and the baby is perfectly healthy and fine.

Thursday: I was released from the hospital and put back on bed rest. I resumed my terbutaline meds until next Friday. The amino showed the baby's lungs are NOT developed enough to breathe on it's own so we are holding off delivery until at least next Friday when I will be 36 weeks.

The Dr decided it was safe for me to be at home and not stay in the hospital because the contractions have not caused me to dialte beyond 3cm in the last 4 days. I was scared to come home to a stressful house with 3 kids but my family is wonderful and doing everything to eliminate stress.

So the plan is resting at home. I've got my mom staying here with us and helping. The might also head over to my parents house if things get too crazy. I would like to be around the kids if possible. My husband is also able to work from home.

So in a nutshell baby is still healthy in my tummy and we hope to gain another week.

This has been a crazy ride and I look forward to meeting my healthy baby in the next couple weeks. My biggest prayer is no NICU for us this time around. Our chances are great if we make it to next Friday.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Jennifer and the expected new baby are in good hands and doing well. We look forward to being home soon with our new gift. Thanks to all for your continued thoughts and prayers.

-Jen's Frugal Family

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trip to The Hospital

Yesterday afternoon the nurse came to give me my 2nd steroid shot. When she arrived she immediately thought I was in labor. After she gave me the shot we headed to the hospital. When I got there I was 2-3 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Talk about scared... we were terrified since I'm only 34 weeks.

They admitted me gave me more terbutaline by injection. That didn't stop the contractions they were very strong. I forgot that intense pain. I even signed the paperwork to get an epidural.

Then the contractions let up for a few hours. They moved me another room out of L&D. What finally stopped the contractions was lots of fluids and my oral dose of the terb. I was also having a reaction to the steroid shot. My face has swollen a ton. My skin is actually touching the sides of my glasses. To top it off my whole body is bright red and flushed like I have a sunburn. Gotta love the side effects of steroids. Thankful they are helping my little one's lungs develop. Makes it all worth it.

So they released me today and I got to go home around lunch time. I have not dilated or effaced since they first checked me. We got there just in time.

I'm not on strict bed rest surprisingly but on restricted activity which is very similar. However, I am putting my self on home lock down this next week. Praying little baby will hold off at least another week but our goal is 36 weeks the date is July 31st.

Thank you for your kind words and prayers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Contractions Please Go Away...

Until at least next week. I'm now 34 weeks and 2 days. I'm 1/2 cm dilated... not much. The contractions have ramped up in intensity and frequency. Right when I'm ready to head to the hospital they stop. Yesterday I had the worst one I thought my water was going to break and the baby would be minutes away. Man it hurt bad. Funny how your body forgets about that pain after the baby arrives. Then you remember again when your pregnant.

Yesterday, I got my 1st of 2 shots of steroids for the baby's lung development. I get the 2nd one today. From what I've read for maximum effectiveness you need at least 48 hours prior to delivery. Any nurses out there know more?

This is all really wearing on me. It's been weeks since I've slept at night for more than a few hours. (My body will really be well adjusted for a new baby) That's the positive. The negative is my body is so worn down physically and emotionally. After I got the shot yesterday I started getting paranoid it was hurting the baby. You see I am the type that doesn't take very many meds when I'm pregnant. I feel the less you introduce into the body the better.

If you don't mind will you say a little prayer. Thank you my blog buddies! Thanks for listening (reading) to be vent a bit.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Almost Time.. Baby Room Is Ready

I am proud of say the baby's room is finally done! Let me share. Remember we don't know if it's a boy or girl. Can you tell what we think we are having?

My good friend Misti made this amazing and beautiful wreath. It will adorn the hospital door when we have baby.

Announcing our official baby names: We have an initial for "C" for Caroline
and an "A" for Alexander.
I was able to paint a special mural for baby. We're going with a nautical theme. The bedding I found at a garage sale for $20. It's pottery barn! This was the starting point for the room.

Yes, mom I still need someone to iron the bed skirt.

This bed was my crib as a child, all 3 of my children have slept peacefully on it. A few of my cousins and family friends have also used it. Don't worry it was never recalled and it's safe. I'm paranoid like that... I even remove the decorative end knobs once baby stands up.

I had a mismatched set of shelves so I painted them all red to match. This changing table has seen 3 coats of paint and 3 baby bottoms.

Love my glider... I've been known to sit in this spot and daydream about baby.

I painted a whimsical ocean scene to match the bedding.

The red stars are just waiting cute little outfits.

Baby's already got a ton of toys thanks to hand me downs.
I redid the mobile by adding satin trim, adding some nautical accessories and ribbon.

This is the way the mobile used to look.

A new car seat was in order. I did my research and chose the Graco that holds baby's up to 32 pounds in this wonderful paisley pattern.

Now for a pregnancy update:
I am 33 weeks and 5 days.
Still having contractions.. last night we almost made another trip to L&D but my meds finally did their job.

Still on modified bedrest. I go back to the Dr tomorrow.

I had Madeline at 35 weeks and the other two at 36 weeks. We think baby will arrive on or around July 27th.
That is only a couple weeks away!!!