Thursday, March 31, 2011

Matthew at 22 months

I recently bought a book called "One Line a Day" where you write down one thing you want to remember for each day. I love it, because I felt like Matthew was learning and doing all sorts of new things, and didn't want to forget them. Plus, writing one thing for every day is totally doable as far as time goes. I was looking back over some of the things from the past month, and thought I'd blog about them!

At 22 months, Matthew...

...loves: Thomas the Train! He wakes up asking about him, mentions him countless times throughout the day, and  carries around these two Thomas bath toys I bought him at a consignment sale. They come with us to bath time, bed time, meals, errands, outside, child care, basically everywhere. They are actually in the picture above! He also loves cars, trucks, fire trucks, basically anything with wheels. Recently he has decided it's fun to try to carry as many things as possible at one time. This morning he was carrying around two trains, a cell phone, his stuffed doggie, and a blankie. He also tried to fit all 10 jumbo crayons and 4 regular sized crayons into his hand while coloring today.

...says: everything we do! He is quite the little parrot and copies two or three words from every sentence that we say. One of my recent favorites came when we were outside with Cajun and Brian told Cajun to go poop in the ivy. Then Matthew kept repeating "poop, ivy". Gotta love the bathroom humor already! He likes pointing out things and telling you what they are over and over again until you repeat the word back to him. I guess he wants us to acknowledge that he's saying the right word! When we can't figure out what he's saying, he gets very frustrated and upset (I wonder where he gets that from...). He has also created two of his own words. "Shada" means any kind of truck, and "Fwee" means sip. We have no idea how he got these two words from the actual word, but we think it's hilarious! In fact, the poor kid will probably think fire trucks are actually called shadas, because that's how we refer to them now!

...sleeps: like a champ! He goes to bed at 8:00 and wakes up around 7:30 every day. He also still takes a great afternoon nap. I've started putting him down at 1:30 instead of 1:00 because he doesn't seem tired yet, and most days he sleeps until 4:30. He also goes to bed without his paci now! I think he's substituted it for toys that he likes to take to bed with him, but that's fine with me. He has recently started crying when we put him down, because I think he'd rather keep playing than sleep, but it only lasts a minute or two. He also asks for stories before nap and bed time now, and has already tried coaxing one more out of us when we tell him that it's time for bed!

...eats: pretty much everything we give him. He loves fruit, but is not such a fan of vegetables. I have found the best way to get him to eat his veggies is in vegetable soup or chili, or by sprinkling cinnamon on them if they're just plain. He knows the words for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when I tell him it's time to eat he runs to his chair and repeats whatever meal it is. He also likes to ask for a snack and milk or juice in his cup throughout the day.

...has learned: his numbers 1-10, several letters, and most shapes. Most of these things he learned on his own, and surprised us when he randomly started identifying them! The teacher in me feels like I should start working with him to learn the rest! He also can distinguish between all types of vehicles (car, truck, bus, fire truck, bike, motorcycle, airplane, helicopter) and points them out whenever he sees them. He knows his colors, animals and their sounds, and the characters on his favorite shows! (Thomas, Percy, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird are his favorites.)

...has grown a lot! He currently wears size 2T in clothing, is around 35 pounds and about 3 feet tall.

...has his own personality! He already knows how to cut his eyes when he's about to do something he shouldn't, and has a mischievous face that he uses a little too frequently if you ask me! He definitely has his share of temper tantrums when things don't go his way, but they have gotten a lot less frequent recently. I think he realized that we ignore him and screaming isn't getting him anywhere. He loves wrestling with Daddy and being tickled, and laughs and squeals with delight while they play. He is also very loving, giving kisses and hugs, and on occasion asking for them. Another of his favorite things is "uppies" and being carried and held. I think he may know that things are about to change and as a result is becoming a little clingy. I can't say I mind the snuggling though!

All in all he is a happy, healthy boy and we love him to bits! We can't wait to see him with his new baby sister in a few weeks!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Return of the Coupon Queen

When I started working part time a year and a half ago I learned how to coupon in order to save money on our tight budget. It's amazing the kind of high you can get when you save as much as you spend on groceries! In Winston-Salem I looked forward to double and triple coupon weeks at Harris Teeter, where I could get tons of stuff for free or under a dollar. When we moved to Atlanta it was a little harder to save that much, because Publix only doubles coupons 50 cents or less and never triples. I still only spend an average of $60 per trip to the grocery store and go about every other week, which I feel is pretty darn good! It also helped that I started getting our produce at Costco every other week or so. One part of couponing that I've not enjoyed, but that you can save a lot of money doing, is drug store couponing. It seemed that every time I would get organized to go they would be out of one or more of the things I was planning to buy, which resulted in me not being able to get the deals I planned on (to coupon at drugstores you have to check out with multiple transactions and use their store dollars in each one to save the most money, so if one is gone you're SOL!) and leaving empty-handed or spending more than I intended. Talk about frustrating! So as a result of this I had been a lot less motivated to coupon lately. But...

This past week I got some really awesome deals with coupons and renewed my motivation! Here's what I got:

CVS Trip: 2 bottles of shampoo, 2 large tubes of toothpaste, laundry detergent
Total value: $27.65
I paid: $4.16
Savings: 85%

Publix groceries: 2 large boxes of diapers, strawberries, 4 lunchables, 1 lb deli meat, 3 pkgs shredded cheese, 5 boxes cereal, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, 3 tomatoes, 1 green pepper, cilantro, 2 loaves of bread, 2 boxes graham crackers, 2 boxes corn bread mix, 3 packages Steamfresh frozen vegetables, 2 Yoplait smoothies, 2 boxes frozen pancakes, box of dishwasher detergent, roll of paper towels, mandarin oranges, canned pineapple, bottle cranberry juice, 2 bottles V8 Splash juice, 2 4packs of YoPlus yogurt, butter, peanut butter, jar of pickles, tortillas, ketchup, and A $50 GAS CARD!
Total value: $223.69 (without gas card $173.69)
I paid: $137.18 (without gas card $97.18)
Savings: 39% (without gas card 44%)

Target: Swiffer Wet Jet starter kit, Swiffer Wet Jet refills, 2 bottles of Pledge furniture cleaner, toddler toothpaste
Total value: $40.02
I paid: $15.87
Savings: 60%

Overall for the week
Total value: $291.36
I paid: $157.21
Savings: 46%

This is actually a little more than I normally spend in a week, but I did get $50 in gas, 2 boxes of diapers, several cleaning supplies, and toiletries in addition to all of my groceries. People often ask me if I end up buying things I wouldn't normally buy using coupons, or if the only food I get is processed. The answer to both questions is no! As you can see by my groceries most items are things that everyone buys at some point in time, and I plan my dinners around what I'm going to be able to get cheaply at the store that week. Hardly anything is processed, and couponing has actually made me try a lot of different things that I normally wouldn't! Frosted Mini Wheats are now my favorite cereal, which I never would have tried were it not for coupons. People also assume that store brands are cheaper, but when you line up coupons and sales correctly the national brands are much better deals. I still buy a store brand if I need something that isn't on sale or I don't have a coupon for, but those items are few and far between. As far as toiletries and things go, when we are running low on something I just keep my eye out for good deals and buy a few at a low price. A lot of times I have one or two extras of something on hand because I could get them so cheap, and this also eliminates having to buy something for full price because we ran out of it.

Anyway, just thought I'd share my thoughts on couponing for the week! When you're living on a budget it's a great way to save money. And it's kind of fun to give yourself a spending goal for the month and try to beat it with coupons. Happy couponing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Matthew Loves Numbers!

It's amazing what Matthew picks up without me realizing it. A few weeks ago we were playing with his shape sorter, and all of sudden he started picking up the shapes and saying numbers. Sure enough, each shape had a different number on it and he knew them all! I decided to see if he could identify numbers that I wrote on the Magnadoodle and sure enough he did. He knows 2-10, but for some reason has a hard time with the number 1! He can show you one with his finger, but he doesn't like to say it. Now he points out numbers wherever we go - from price stickers in the store, to the channel number on the tv, to our apartment numbers - everywhere! Here is a video of him saying some of his numbers.