Monday, November 28, 2011

sorry its been so long and extreme couponing

Life has been hectic. We have just celebrated Thanksgiving and prepping for Christmas. Sohel has been sick and you know how much energy it takes to take care of 3 kids??!? ;0). Hopefully he is on the mend.

Anyway onto what I wanted to say today...

Have any of you watched Extreme Couponing?!? I can't help but be sucked in. I think its amazing how they can get their bill down sooooo low!

Some dumpster dive for coupons!!!

After watching this show, I wanted in! I wanted to save 99% on my grocery bill. I mean who wouldn't!! So I researched, I googled, I joined and I printed. I even nerd out and have a zip up coupon binder. I make spread sheets, I compare my needs to the sale flyer at the Commissary. I hit up Target, Walmart and CVS for all our needs. I bought every single Christmas present with a coupon! I have yet to save 99% but I haven't done to bad with savings. I even scored 5 FREE first aid kits!!

I'm going to share my go-to websites if you are interested in couponing.

1. A FullCup - I love this site and the forum, plus they have a app for the iphone. People are on there everyday posting updates to good deals at every store you can imagine.

2. STL Mommy - She has updates through out the day with new deals, online and in store. She also has an iphone app!

3. Super Coupon Lady - She offers a great basic tutorial on couponing and setting up your new coupon system.

4. Krazy Koupon Lady {image above} - Her site is nicely laid out and lots of great "lessons".

5. The Coupon Clippers - This is where you can buy more coupons, say you find a good local sale on toothbrushes and you want to stock up. You can buy more off Coupon Clippers. I've also heard Ebay is a great place to buy. You should only have to pay shipping and maybe even a minimal fee for clipping but not for the coupon it self! Its illegal to SELL coupons.

6. If you can or have friends who are into couponing, try to get together and exchange coupons. I have a few friends who are new to it like me and we get together to clip together while our kids play.

7. Before you throw out those expired coupons email me! I am gathering coupons to mail overseas to a friend stationed in Okinawa Japan. They can use coupons 6 months past the expiration date!

I hope this helps anyone who is into couponing and isn't sure where to start. If you have any questions please e-mail me and I will try to help!

I'll be back this week to tell you about a organization I am working with to help slum kids in India. You will want to bring your tissues!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

{welcome home} glow-in-the dark banner DIY

Happy Tuesday y'all! I wrote yesterday that the man of our house came home after 4 months away at a school in FL. It was a tough 4 months. I've done a deployment back in 2004 but we were newly dating with no kids and it was a breeze compared to this separtion. I also lived alone with Ethan for 6 months but Sohel came home almost every Saturday. That was also hard but honestly nothing compares to home alone with 2 kids...except maybe 3 or more kids...

I wanted to make a Welcome Home banner to make him feel that we missed him :) I had this idea that I wanted my banner to glow and I saw Rachel on Smile and Wave made the cutest Welcome Home banner for her husband and I almost squealed when I saw it, it was exactly what I wanted!!

Here is my DIY so you can make your own glow-in-the dark Welcome Home banner for someone special in your life!


Supplies:
Large white flat sheet {I used a twin}
Glow sticks
Packing tape
Scissors {ended up not needing theses}
Friend

How to:
Step {1} Lay out flat white sheet. You could use another color if you wanted, I chose white because it was cheapest. I also picked a twin because it was cheap.

Step {2} Decide what you want to write, we wrote "Welcome Home Dad!" Lay out the glow stick to spell what you want your banner to say. Be careful to not lean on the glow stick since if they snap they will start to glow and may loose there glowing ability before you want them to :0/.

Step {3} Now start taping! I used regular tape at first but then realized it may not hold when taped to the wall. {plus I ran out after 2 letters ;)}. I switched to packing tape and it held great. The tricky part is making the curved letters, just accept that they aren't going to look like a "normal" shaped "a" or "c". I bought glow bracelets so I used the connectors to make my "o".

Step {4} Ask a nice friend to come over and help you hang the banner. I used tape to tape it to the front of my house. We have vinyl siding so it stayed up easy by just using packing tape.

So here is my attempt at a photo of the sign after it had been up for a few days. Like my spider webs?!? I was unable to get a picture of it glowing. I don't have a fancy DSLR camera with a nifty lens so all of mine turned out like a ball of light. But check out Rachel's blog she has a great shot of hers glowing!

I would suggest making this RIGHT before you expect them to come home. I snapped a lot of the glow sticks before I even got it hung outside. So when I went to snap the banner before S arrived it was already out of glow juice so it was spotty looking. Plus snapping them BEFORE taping them is ideal. Its hard to snap the whole stick after its taped down.

Overall it was cute and Sohel was surprised and loved it! We just took it down this weekend ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

{Sohel is home!!}

I know I am very late in posting this. I've been busy welcoming Sohel home and then spent last week being lazy.

He snuck in right after this kids woke up from their naps and Ethan screamed and ran and hugged him. Lily was more reserved, she didn't know what to make of him being here and not on the computer. She warmed up after about 10 mins and hasn't stopped hanging out with him or looking for him ever since.





We had a great weekend! The kids still LOVE having him here and ask every morning where he is.
I'll be back tomorrow to show you my welcome home sign.

Friday, October 21, 2011

LAST FRIDAY!!

Just wanted to stop by super fast and scream that it is my LAST NIGHT ALONE!!! I'll be back next week with all the mushy pictures that I know you are on the edge of your seat waiting for.

Today I spent the day doing a little new shirt shopping, I had a quick appointment for an dress I'm altering and then I worked on my welcome home banner. My buddy Kerestin came over to help me hang the banner up on my house and let me tell you its AWESOME!! My idea came together great and I can't wait to show you!!
This is the face of an impatient women


Well I've got to get the kids in their jammies and off to bed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

{a little bit} of Monday business

Happy Monday y'all!! I'm usually not overly thrilled with Mondays but this Monday is special. It is my LAST Monday before my hunny comes home!!! I have a huge list of stuff to do and I am procrastinating by blogging and doing a little etsy business ;0)

this was from last week but you get the idea.

to do list

Speaking of my shop, I've added a few new vintage dress. If you are looking for a costume or just a fun dress to wear check out these newest editions!!






Friday, October 14, 2011

update on my to do list

Some of you may remember me posting back in June about a list I wanted to get done while Sohel was gone. Well its time for an update.

1). lose 10 lbs - I feel pretty good about myself. I am not a skinny minnie, never really was and I am ok with that. But I need to get some muscle. I don't want to be flabby.
1). I did not lose 10lbs, I lost 5. I didn't really try which is just me being lazy. Its frustrating how easily I can talk myself out of doing things.

2). find a church - Never thought I would say this but I want to find a church. Must be fun and excepting of me and S. Boring, stuffy church need not apply. No Bible beaters wanted.
2). I started to go to a church, decided it wasn't for me. Plus Lily will not let me out of her sight.

3). upload all my goodies to Etsy.com
3). DONE! Check it out if you haven't yet ;) {bit of something sweet}

4). Potty train Ethan (we are starting today, mainly because we ran out of diapers, woops)
4). FAIL. He won't do it, just pees on himself and doesn't care. I'm hoping he will be more cooperative when Sohel comes home, maybe showing him how to pee standing up will help?

5). Sell 5 items from my store and advertise on 3 different blogs.
5). DONE!! We have had 20 sales and I've advertised on My Girl Thursday, No Model Lady and GrrFiesty.

6). Take Ethan and Lily to ride the train in Burlington.
6). DONE! We did this at the end of August, we had a blast!


7). Go to yardsale and find bedroom side table for master bedroom
7). I tried, just never found anything I liked.

8). Turn in lease to housing
8). um, I can't remember if we did this before Sohel left? I know I didn't haha.

9). Purge craft space and sell lots of stuff (downsizing to move on base and sadly paper crafts need to go)
9). FAIL. I have been using some of my paper but I haven't had a chance to take photos of everything just yet to sell.

10). Finish crafts in progress (including but not limited to Owls and snowmen)
10). Owls were done, but I haven't started my snowmen. I have however added alterations to my long list of sewing projects. I've been altering about 7 dresses for local girls to make some extra $

11). Start grad school - finish Fafsa, finish application
11). Waiting on my acceptance letter, putting off grad school for awhile but starting a teaching licensure program instead. But have done the app and the Fafsa.

5 out of 11 isn't to bad...right??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rambling

I've been quite around here last week, I've been busy with playdates and preparing my house for the hubby returning. He comes home in 2 weeks and we CANNOT wait. I am so over this, I know this was only a glimpse into a deployment and I know that some ladies have it much worse. But my time will come when I'm doing a year alone (hello 2013).

During my time alone I learned a lot about myself and what I can do alone and what I can't do. I learned who will really be there for me. I tease Sohel all the time saying that I want him to get a medical discharge or not reenlist in 2015 but I don't really wish that, I just say that when both kids have yelled most of the day or I'm tired. I wear my emotions on my sleeve so I sort of blurt things out without really meaning them.

Somedays I don't feel like I'm cut out for this mom thing. Which I guess thats a little to late to really decide this since, well I've got two now. But I definitely don't think I'm meant to be a 24/7 stay at home mom. We have so many plans for our future and well contrary to popular belief the military doesn't pay tons of $$. So me working is really the best idea. I'm hoping to start in January for my teaching licensure in elementary education. I should only have about 1 year of schooling to do since I already have a bachelors degree. I'm leaning between UNCW and ECU either would be great, I love ECU (Go Pirates!!) but UNCW has a program that you can do through the community college here in Jacksonville.

Anyways, this is really rambling on and on. Sorry! I'll be back tomorrow with an update about my goals I wanted to accomplish while Sohel was gone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

a look inside: MCB Camp Lejeune, NC

Welcome to Camp Lejeune, NC! I had asked a few ladies to write about Camp Lejeune but none were able to get back to me so I figured I'd write it. I mean I do live here :)

As I already mentioned we are stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. We moved here February 2011. We were told that we were going to go to Camp Pendleton, CA, but the USMC had different plans. We came from the Pentagon by way of Kansas City. However this isn't our first time on Eastern North Carolina, in fact Sohel and I met while I was attending college at ECU and he was stationed at Cherry Point, NC. It seems we can't escape NC. I am orginally from Burlington, NC {Born in Ohio and lived there until I was 15}. Sohel is from Richmond, VA {we lived there for a yearish after S left the USMC in 2004, thats a story for another time}.


We decided to live out in town as we were told the wait for housing was long. My advice for people moving to Camp Lejeune is if you decide to rent out in town, go through a rental company. There are so many properties that it would be almost impossible to call each rental agency to see them. We rent through Sue Cruddas but used Anette Chrisley to help us locate our house. Her husband actually works with my momma so it was nice to have someone we "know" to help us find a house.

Our rental

We have decided to move onto base when our lease is up in January. We live about 20min from town and at the time my husband didn't want to live on base and we thought we would get more bang for our buck out in town. Which you can if you are ok with certain types of homes. We are rather picky and my hubby likes what he likes so we chose to rent in town. It can take Sohel almost an hour to get to base because the traffic is pretty heavy. It takes almost an 1 1/2 hour to get home. Thats the first reason we decided to move on base. Reason #2 is that I take the kids to lots of on base activities, mainly storytime, plus we want Ethan to start preschool on base and you have to live on base to go to base schools. Reason #3 is we will save $500 a month by living on base. The utilities, water, trash and gas (car) add up when you live in the country :). I strongly suggest thinking about all of that before vetoing base housing. The wait list here at Lejeune is long for NCO housing (6-9 months I've been hearing). SNCO housing has no wait list, in fact they have lots of empty homes waiting to be filled.



I mentioned above about base storytime, they have 3 different storytimes a week. We go to the actual library for storytime because my kids enjoy picking out new books but they do offer storytimes at 2 of the housing areas in their community centers.

Camp Lejeune has lots of base activites going on most of the time. I haven't gone to tons since Sohel has been gone, its hard to take both kids to a festival and have a good time without a helper :) But you can check out the MCCS website for activities.

CL does have a base beach. It is broken up by rank, which was so weird to me at first but I guess it is what it is when your on a military base. They have rentals on the beach, people rent them for a quick getaway or homecomings. The beach is very nice and sometimes they have lifegaurds. You can rent cabanas for parties, which can make an all day trip to the beach nice.


The commissary and exchange are nice and big. The exchange is actually going through a renovation right now and looks pretty spiffy. Inside the exchange building is a food court which has a Subway, Wendy's, Ben and Jerry's and a few other places. On base there are a few Burger Kings, Domino's Pizza, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, a Mexican restaurant and quite a few other places. This base is pretty big!

Off base there isn't tons to do in Jacksonville, you can drive an hour to Wilmington (we do this a lot). Its the "big" town around here. You can also head towards Morehead City or New Bern for more city life. The beaches around here are amazing. I mentioned last post about getting married about 20mins from here in N. Topsail Beach. Emerald Isle is beautiful and so is Wrightsville Beach. With all the water around here there are some great aquariums which we have been to a few times.


As for shopping, you don't have lots of options here. The "mall" doesn't even have a food court. But you have Target, 2 Walmart's and the main department stores here. We have a Michaels. 2 Lowe's and a Home Depot. Its not bad but not great for ball gown shopping.

My opinion on Camp Lejeune is good, I don't hate it here like some people. Would I have rather been in CA? Well yes but I'm glad to be nearby my family and my in-laws. The base is what you make it. I have been able to make a few great friends and taken the kids on some playdates so Camp Lejeune is feeling more like home. At least for a few more years :)

Thanks for reading my long winded post!

I'm not sure if I'll have a post next week as I've asked everyone I know haha. So please spread the word if you would like to hear more about other bases!! Maybe next week I'll write about the Pentagon or about Kansas City...

Friday, September 30, 2011

5 years

5 years ago on this day at 4:00pm Sohel and I said I do.
It was a great day, full of family, friends and lots of fun. We had a small wedding, about 36 people on N. Topsail Beach, NC {fact: we now live about 20 mins from where we got married, weird}. We planned our wedding in about 6 weeks. There was a bit of drama surrounding us getting married so we got tired of waiting and just decided to jump in head first.


We had a small budget, but I felt we did a lot with it. I didn't get an amazing dress or the perfect hair and makeup. The day was pretty stressful, since we {maid of honor, me, Sohel and our minister} did everything. But it was our day and in the end it was special and pretty darn fun!!
We had Mexican food, perfect for the beach right?!?, plus Sohel's mom made Indian food. Plus we had the best thing ever, a chocolate fountain!

Things went wrong, I lost my veil walking down the walk way {it got hung up twice and finally I just took it off}. We booked the house without seeing it in person and we didn't know there was a HUGE dune at the end of the walkway. I swear this dune was HUGE, my momma fell down the dune! She always makes an entrance, maybe not the one she wanted!! The worst thing that could have happened to me, happened, I got sunburnt! It was bad, my nose, chest and my arms. It was embarrassing but what can you do? Just laugh about it and hope it doesn't show up to much in the pictures.

Our "minister" was our friend Justin. He got ordained online to marry us. Sohel and I our 2 different religions. Not just 2 different types but very different. He is Muslim and I am Christian {hence the drama mentioned earlier}, so we asked out Jewish friend to marry us. We thought it would be funny and well cheap! He was so nervous that he read out vows for us and we didn't even get to say them!
Everyone who made the trip for our wedding was who we wanted there. Our wedding was a destination wedding for everyone including us. We had people from Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia all make the trip.
Some of you may recognize the girl above, Karen, she has been my friend for 5 years! Ever since we met and exchanged a dog in a 7-11 parking lot late one night in between Richmond and Virginia Beach. We met on theknot.com and still keep in touch to this day! Her and Tim are some of the best people I know!

I case you are wondering my dress is from JCrew and so were the ties that the groom and bestman wore.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A-Z Lindsey

**update: realized there wasn't a T so I added it and answered it**
I saw this recently on one of my favorite blogs, Sometimes Sweet so I thought I'd play along, too!
A. Age: 28
B. Bed size: Queen - I'd love a King but with moving all.the.time, its best to wait until we are in our forever home.
C. Chore that you hate: I hate moping. Steam mop here I come!!
D. Dogs: Zero. We had 2 cats but with 2 kids we have decided that pets will need to wait many years. And even then I think it will be a guinea pig or fish. Nothing to time consuming. Plus I hate fur.
E. Essential start to your day: Cup of juice. Plus a "good morning momma" is always nice way to wake up.
F. Favorite color: Green. I've loved green for many years. The shades have changed over the years but I tend to always gravitate towards green.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver, although lately I've liked the look of gold.
H. Height: 5'3 3/4".
I. Instruments you play: None.
J. Job title: Stay-at-home momma, work-at-home momma & soon to be student.
K. Kids: 2, 3 year old Ethan & 18 (almost) Lily.
L. Live: North Carolina but have midwestern dreams.
M. Mother’s name: Sallie
N. Nicknames: Lindsey :) No seriously, I don't like being called Linds. I prefer my whole name. Same with my kids, we named them so their names couldn't be shortened. I guess its a pet peeve of mine.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Birth of my kids.
P. Pet peeves: passive-aggressiveness (This was Dani's answer and I agree 100%). I also can't stand rude people.
Q. Quote from a movie: {From Back to the Future} Marty McFly: Wait a minute, Doc, are you trying to tell me that my mother has got the hots for me? Doc: Precisely. Marty McFly: Whoa, this is heavy. Doc: There's that word again; "heavy". Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull?
R. Right or left handed: Right handed.
S. Siblings: None.
T. Time you wake up: 6am sometimes earlier
U. Underwear: um...yes, pretty much all the time.
V. Vegetable you hate: Onion, mushrooms, squash, I could go on...
W. What makes you run late: I am usually on time or early. I hate being late. But if I'm running behind its usually because of my children or husband.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Dental, my leg after my cat bit me & stomach. I'm sure there are more.
Y. Yummy food that you make: I love to cook, but I have a hard time cooking for all the different diets in my house. But I love to make chili, soups, potato casserole & grilled cheese :). I love to bake more than anything.
Z. Zoo animal: I love the zoo. I love to see the elephants and monkeys.

So that's it! Simple. Happy Monday, y'all!

p.s. i linked up here, you should too!

a look inside: {insert your base}





Today we have no base or post to look inside of :( I had a Camp Lejeune post lined up but she wasn't able to get to it in time. If you are interested at all in writing a post for this feature PLEASE email me!!! I don't care if your "home" is boring or even if your not a milspouse anymore! I want to hear from all military spouses!!

If you or know someone else who would like to advertise their blog or shop or themselves for FREE please e-mail me!! lindseygilani{at}hotmail {dot} com



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ethan turns 3!

Yesterday Ethan turned 3. I can't believe how fast it has gone. I swear just yesterday I woke Sohel up and we went to the hospital to have him.

Then he turned into a little man

I truly can't wait to see who he becomes over the next 50+ years. He is so funny and smart. He amazes me every.single.day.

Stats:
Weight: I'd say around 34lbs
Height: I'd guess around 38"
Words: Talks a mile a minute, we can have entire conversations through out the day. He still drops the 'S' off most words that start with S.
Bragging: He knows all his shapes, knows all colors and can count to 25 (granted its not always in order but he can still do it!). He can name most every dino you can imagine and knows all sorts of animals.

Yesterday we had a small birthday playdate for him with some of his friends. I did a dino themed party (of course). I kept it simple, unlike last year, just made goodie bags and food. I didn't make any decorations except my chalkboard banner, which I'm working on a DIY for that. We had 8 kids come over to play and survived without any drama and no injuries!

helping make cupcakes

opening his special dino shirt in the morning
(5:45am people, he ALWAYS wakes up that early :( )

some of the goodies + ethan begging for a juice box

After naptime we got to skype with daddy while Ethan opened his presents from his friends. We had already given him his big present when Sohel was visiting over Labor Day so today I just gave him a shirt, Mater Tales and a remote control fire truck (which was "from" Lily). But he made out pretty good from his friends! He needs to get started on his thank you notes ;).

skyping with daddy

And just because I can't help it


Have a great weekend!! (4 more weeks and he will be HOME!!!)