Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Product rave for the kids - Sippy Cup

I have been in the process of weening the kids off of bottles. They have no problem drinking juice out of sippy cups but for some reason they like their milk in a bottle. I figured I needed to just find the right sippy cup to make that transition easier.

Yesterday during my weekly trip to Target I decided to take a look at all the different cups. I finally decided on the Nuby No-Spill Easy Grip Cup. The main reason I choose this cup was because it had a soft silicone spout similar to the nipple on a bottle. It is also BPA free, has a built in vent with no extra parts, and has the no-spill design.

The twins used the cups for the first time this morning with their milk and so far so good! I would love to pack up the bottles by the end of this week!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great website for great deals

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Product Rave - Nail polish

If you are like me, you like your nails to look nice and polished - fingers and toes. But because I am always on the go and I have kids that don't like to nap (long story) I don't have time to wait for the nail polish to dry.

I just found a product that actually works: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Polish.

I bought a bottle last week and used it a couple times and yep, it dries within 60 seconds. I was able to apply 30 minutes before we left for a wedding this past weekend and was able to get dressed and no smudges!

I started with the Mochachino and went back and got a bottle of Wined-Up.

It's about $4-5/bottle at Target.

Go get it now!

That's all.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I'm hosting Thanksgiving, just call me Martha, or Clark


I've always wanted to host a big holiday, you know, like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny (bleep) Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of (bleep) this side of the nuthouse."

Hopefully it won't end like that.

This year we decided to invite everyone over for Thanksgiving. Not everyone will make it but we will have a full house! The Packer/Lion game will start at 11:30 and our traditional family football game will be played at half-time.

I am looking at different recipes for side dishes and appetizers. I want to keep some things "traditional" and yet incorporate some of my own traditions.

We grew up with such wonderful traditions in our individual families and now we are so excited to start our own traditions with our family new little family and share them with others.

What are some of your favorite family holiday traditions?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Busy Summer!

I can't believe the summer is coming to an end! Kids are getting ready to go back to school, summer clothes are on clearance, school supplies are out and I wouldn't be surprised if I saw some Christmas decorations soon. I have a lot to catch up on:

Kids celebrated their first birthday!

We took the kids camping

I have been picking great vegetables out of the garden

I got a part time job

My husband and I are celebrating our 5 year wedding Anniversary this week

He took me to Phantom of the Opera

Anna and Luke are walking

I need to keep up on my blog! I have a feeling it will be easier come winter.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Creative Day

If you know me, you will know that I am not creative. I do not scrapbook, stamp, quilt, sew, knit, paint and I think the only colors are the primary colors.

But sometimes I try to be creative when it comes to decorating. If it were up to me, I would just buy page 34 of the Pottery Barn catalog. Unfortunately money really doesn't grow on trees.

What I do is look at different catalogs - Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel etc. - and get ideas. I then take my ideas to Michael's and try to find better bargains. This means I have to be creative and do it myself.

A couple weeks ago I did this with various flower arrangements. Michael's had a big sale on their flowers. I had some miscellaneous vases around the house. I combined the two and you will see the results below!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to my babies

A year ago I was getting ready to be wheeled into surgery. Now I am sitting in our beautiful home watching the twins play with their farm and puzzles. What a year. I did it! I took care of two babies without any disasters. Well, I did have a lot of help. A special shout out to my mom. There is no way I could have done it without her. (I = me and Jaime)

Happy Birthday Anna and Luke. We love you!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

I know I'm late. But Happy Father's Day to the two best dads in the world. My husband and my dad. Love you both.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Grilled Pizza!

I have always wanted to try grilling pizza but was afraid of the outcome. Plus I never had a nice grill. 

I finally got a nice grill and the guts to try grilling pizza and it was a success!

First I started by grilling a piece of chicken. While the chicken was on the grill, I prepared the toppings:
  • Fresh basil from my basil plant
  • Fresh spinach from Trader Joe's
  • Chopped onion
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Black olives
  • Cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe's
  • Tomato sauce (my recipe)
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
I cheated by using pizza dough already made from Trader Joe's (yes, I love this place). I rolled it out and made two mini pizzas. I gathered everything and took it outside (including a bottle of wine and some jazz music). Once the chicken was done, I took it off the grill and let it cool on a cutting board. I sprayed the grill down with olive oil cooking spray. Then I took a little cornmeal and sprinkled it on both sides of the pizza dough. I carefully placed the dough on the grill making sure the dough was not sliding down the grate. 

Then I enjoyed some wine. ($3.99 bottle of red zin that was good from Trader Joe's.)

Once the dough started to bubble, I carefully flipped it to the other side. You'll want to take your time or you could loose your pizza. Once the dough was done, I took it off the grill. My husband and I prepared our own pizzas. He used sauce, cheese, olives, spinach, basil and chicken. I used olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spinach, basil, tomatoes, cheese and chicken. We threw them on the grill for about 5 more minutes, until the cheese melted. It was so good!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's been too long!

I have missed blogging. The last two months have been crazy, but a great crazy. We moved into our first house and we are in love. My free time has been spent planting a garden. I hope to freeze and jar many of the veggies. I just hope that it warms up around here soon. 

My garden consists of:
Green Beans
I also have Oregano, Basil, Parsley and Chives

I am so excited to see life in the garden! I'll post picture as everything grows. 
I also promise to blog more again. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More posts to come

We have been packing and getting ready for our house. But I ideas to share with you! For example, how I got two brand new car seats for $!!

But the twins are crawling up the stairs and we have our final walk through at the house today. I will be back soon!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I've been MIA. I'm sorry. It's been a crazy month, a good crazy. We bought a house and move at the end of April. This means I will be able to extend my blog to "Married with twins and a new house......on a budget!!!" I can't wait to decorate and share some great money saving ideas. The first? Plant a veggie garden. I am in the process of planning out a garden with a friend.

Twins are great......9 months as of last week.

Zoe turned 1! The miracle girl. Zoe truly means life.

My husband had a birthday last week too. The picture below is one from a photo shoot I did for his birthday.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twin update

Hi! The twins are now 8 months. 8 MONTHS! Where has time gone? Wow. They are little people now. Full of personalities and they are the cutest babies around. Yes they are!

They are eating puffs and are in the Gerber Stage 3 food products. They are also learning how to use their sippy cups.

Every morning they talk to each other in their cribs. Anna will sit up in her crib and shake it until someone comes in the room. She then starts laughing and Luke laughs with her. It really is a great way to wake up.

It's interesting to see them interact with each other. They have already figured out the "I want they toy he/she has" syndrome. They "talk" to each other and laugh at each other. Two laughing babies is one of the best sounds. When one is sitting on my lap the other has to be on my lap too.

Lets see, what else are they up to?

  • Has 6 teeth. 4 on the bottom and 2 on top. He has ordered a steak for his first birthday.
  • Crawls army style EVERYWHERE. He is not interested in his toys but is interested in wires, tables, the blinds and the cat food.
  • He is trying to climb the stairs.
  • Gives open mouth kisses.
  • Crawls all over on all fours.
  • Is trying to stand and can get up on her feet with her hands on the ground.
  • Has 2 teeth - the bottom two.
  • Gives Eskimo kisses.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Please don't judge those of us who use IVF or other fertility treatments

I do not agree with the decisions that Nadya Suleman has made in regards having children. I am very pro IVF or the use of other fertility treatments but NOT what and how Nadya and the Dr did. First of all I can't believe that she decided to have more kids after already having 6, with no income and no husband or support. Second of all, what Dr thought it was OK to transfer that many embryos?

Please understand that the majority of fertility doctors have rules and do not transfer more than two embryos unless in extreme circumstances they may transfer three.

This makes me so sad. I feel like those of us who have used fertility treatments have fought for awareness of infertility and respect for our decisions. We have been called "crazy women" during our journeys to have children. And now I feel like this crazy woman and awful doctor have blown away any respect for fertility treatments.

Please understand that this is an extreme case and I don't agree with what she did at all.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lets talk generic

Sorry I have been MIA lately. Luke has decided to crawl and I can't keep up with him. But it's wonderful.

What does generic mean? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary generic means:

relating to or characteristic of a whole group or class : general b: being or having a non-proprietary name <generic drugs> c: having no particularly distinctive quality or application <generic restaurants> me it means savings!

Generic brands have saved our budget. I try to buy generic as much as I can from food, prescription drugs, cleaning supplies and baby products.

There are some name brand products that I am brand loyal to - Pampers diapers and Kraft American Cheese Singles 2% or example. You don't have to buy everything generic especially if you see a difference.

My favorite generic brands:

Every time I go grocery shopping I find another food product made by Roundy's. They even make organic products. If I have coupons for brand products I have noticed that the Roundy's product still seems less expensive. There are some products that I buy brand over Roundy's. One example is Kraft American Cheese. If I would suck it up and buy Roundy's American Cheese over Kraft I would save over $2 a package. Other Roundy items that I buy:
  • Olive Oil
  • Canned olives
  • Butter
  • Cereal
  • Tuna
  • Lunch Meat
  • Tortilla Shells
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • English Muffins
  • Sour Cream
  • Cottage Cheese
My understanding is that Roundy's is sold specifically at Pick 'N Save stores. But I know other grocery stores have their own generic brand. For example Piggly Wiggly's generic brand is Food Club.

I save $120 a month on baby formula. I buy the Target brand versus Enfamil. I asked my Doctor about the difference and the important ingredients that make the product are the same. $120 a month is a lot of money. Another major price difference - gas drops for infants. Some of the brand names are as high as $8, the Target brand is about $3.50. Other Target items that I buy and save a significant amount of money:
  • Mouthwash
  • Vitamins
  • Ibuprofen
  • Allergy medicine (Same ingredients as Claritin)
  • Allergy eye drops
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Kleenex
  • Paper Towels
  • Coffee Filters
  • Garbage bags, sandwich bags, tin foil and plastic wrap
  • Food
Take advantage of your store's discount cards
This seemed obvious to me but I was surprised to find out how many people do not sign up and get their grocery store's discount cards. It's free and it's easy! I save an average of $15 per grocery shopping trip when I use my card. This is not counting the money I save buying generic.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Non-budget related.

This is a non-budget post, although the clothes the kids are wearing are from second hand stores! Each outfit was a total of $6.

Both kids are sitting up as you can see in this Video and they both have two bottom teeth.

That is all, Anna and Luke just wanted to say hi!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Second hand stores

When you find out you are pregnant, the first thing many women want to do is go out and start buying all the cute clothes. And trust me, there are sooooo many adorable clothes out there. Not like the nasty orange and brown clothes we grew up with.


Especially if you are going to have a shower. I resisted the urge, even though it's hard. Your babies are going to grow fast the first couple months. You are going to get all these wonderful and cute clothes from your showers, your family members and friends. Most likely your baby won't even wear some of the clothes they receive. I bought two oneies before the twins were born. That's it. Believe me, it was so hard to walk by all the cute clothes at Babies R Us. But we were blessed with three showers and our family and friends were very generous. Some of the clothes we received were only worn once.

What is my point?

Your kids grow fast. Do you really need to spend $20-$30 on an outfit they may wear once? Sure, it's fun to buy the cute clothes but let me offer you an alternative. Second hand stores

I don't understand why some people are afraid or refuse to buy clothes from second hand stores. Is it because another child might have worn the clothes a couple times? I say might because I have bought many clothes from second hand stores with the original tags on them. Brand new Baby Gap and Ralph Lauren baby clothes for a 1/4 of the price.

Here are some examples of my deals that I got at one store in particular, New to you kids.

  • Brand new Polo Ralph Lauren khaki jacket for Luke with the store tags. Originally $25, I bought for $4.75
  • Brand new Baby Gap wool sweater for Luke with the store tags. Originally $19.99, I bought for $3.75
  • Brand new Tommy Hilfiger jeans for Luke. Originally $18.99, I bought for $4.75.
  • Snugli soft carrier - one slightly used, one never used. Both cost about $35-40, I bought for $12 each.
  • Baby Gap suede winter jacket for Anna originally priced around $40, my mom got it for $10.
  • Long sleeve onesies - usually run anywhere from $1.25 - $3
  • Short sleeve oneies - usually run anywhere from $1 - $3.

You get the picture. Plus they buy back your clothes. And they don't take junk. They are particular about what they buy back so you know you are going to get nice clothes.

My point? The kids grow out of their clothes so fast it just makes sense to buy slightly used or never used at all clothes. We have saved so much money. A lot of these stores offer more that just clothes. You can get books, DVDs, toys, bedding, cribs, pack-n-plays, high chairs, and soft pack carriers, plus much more.

Just have an open mind when it comes to second hand stores. Trust me, it's worth it!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Start a budget

This may seem obvious but you would be surprised at how many people do not have a budget. Make sure your budget is on an excel spreadsheet, word document, piece of paper or other computer program, not just in your head.

**Before I go any further I must confess that I never had a budget until I met my husband. He is anal with the budget. We update it every night. Everything must be recorded, even the 75 cents we spend at a vending machine. There is even a dead weight category for parking tickets and ATM fees. If it wasn't for the budget, I would not be able to stay at home with the twins.

Our budget:
If you already have a budget, you can stop reading, scroll down and look at the cutest kids in the world. If you don't have a budget and would like to start, I will describe how our budget works.
Our budget is on excel and my husband has all the bells and whistles on it: Formulas, charts, graphs, colors etc. The first thing you need to do is determine how much money you bring in each month. Our monthly income is my husband's paycheck after taxes, health insurance and 401k. Then create categories where you spend money. Our categories include:
  • Auto (gas, insurance, payments, car washes)
  • Home (Mortgage, rent, electric, gas, home improvements)
  • Connectivity (Cell phones, Internet, phone)
  • Debt maintenance (School loans, credit cards if any)
  • Groceries
  • Liquor
  • Entertainment
  • Eating Out
  • Medical
  • Charity (Includes church for us)
  • Misc. (Big category for us. Includes our trips to Target where I buy diapers, formula, cleaning supplies etc. This category could be broken down into smaller ones)
  • Clothes
  • Investments (IRAs, savings)
After your categories are established, you need to put a dollar amount to each category on what you can spend. The easiest way is to determine the bills you have to pay - mortgage, car, gas, electrical and so on. Then figure out how much you can pay towards your debt and investments. Whatever money you have leftover each month can then be divided into the other categories. Obviously give yourself more money in areas that are more important. For example, we establish our entertainment and eating out budgets last.

Your next step is projections. My husband has the spreadsheet project out a month. We then fill in the mandatory amounts and when they are paid. He has a running total based off of income and as we fill in projected payments it shows us what our balance will be. This is helpful when we schedule hair appointments or want to make a big purchase, we know when we can afford to do it.

Whew. Make sense?

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm going to try to get a copy of the spreadsheet up on the site so you can see what it looks like.

Friday, January 02, 2009

What is the focus of the blog?

When I started this blog, I was newly married, working full time and living downtown in a big city. Well, I guess you can call it big. We were very fortunate to have full time careers, many friends, the ability to come and go, take vacations, participate in sports and other activities and take part in the many events being held in Milwaukee. But my life changed through the years and so has my blog. I wanted a family and it didn't come easy. I was very open about our infertility struggles and while it was hard to be open about our troubles, I can't believe the support we received from so many people out "there." It really made our journey a lot easier. And now we have been blessed with the most beautiful children. As of late, my blog has mainly been bragging about how cute the twins are. But I want the blog to be more.

Before our children were born, my husband and I were pretty much debt free (besides mortgage and car payments), we had two good jobs, we were stocking money away in savings and 401ks and we were able to have a nice dinner out, take a vacation, buy some nice clothes etc. But now we have two children and are living on one income. I have had to be creative with our food budget, kids budget and overall household budget. I've come across other people's good ideas, websites, coupons and just my general ideas to make this successful.

My thoughts are to share these budget saving ideas. Not just for the kids but for an overall household. I also plan to share some of my ideas on raising two children (twins). Things that I have experienced, made mistakes on and have had success on. I would also like you to share any ideas that you have with me and the rest of the readers.

I still plan to talk about the twins (of course!), my family, discuss news etc.

I hope this is a success. Thank you loyal readers!