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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

my flowers

I am just in love with my flowers that are in full bloom!  My mom planted (and still plants) zinnias in her flower bed by the light post growing up.  I always think of her as I plant and watch them grow.  Per my grandma's instructions I plant my seeds after Mother's Day in May.  They start blooming when they're quite short, but by July/August. . .they're tall and gorgeous.  I love that I can cut a ton of these for inside and you can't tell there are any missing.  And they keep blooming until the first frost.  Love them!
These low zinnas started out as straggly little single flowers.  And now, they're huge and full.  A very low maintenance flower that is so pretty.
My mom also gave me a pack of wildflower seeds.  We had no idea what to expect after we scattered them, but they're coming up very pretty.  There are about 6 colors peeking through a variety of pretty flowers.  I would love to do these all along my back fence line!
Lovin all the color in my yard.  Maybe next year I'll actually get my raised planter boxes for a garden?!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hootin' and Hollerin' Hootenanny

Today was a super fun family day! The gorgeous 70 degree weather felt like fall instead of the end of July.  We love us a trip to Prairie Farms and so we've had this event on our calendar for awhile.  Today was their Hootin' and Hollerin' Hootenanny event.  It was packed full of people, story tellers, music, tractor rides, bounce houses, food, and of course, the animals. 
checking out the goats in the petting area
he was pretty brave, despite not showing it here
notice her left cheek.  this is the before picture.
checking out the rabbit

time for a tractor ride!
notice Ellie's cheek now - she had a nice fall and now has a bruise :(
we waited a LONG time for this.  He was scared to go in, but then did awesome jumping!
Ellie wishes she could be jumping
He even went through the big kid "race".  I had to help him with the wall, but he did everything else!
checking out the tractor
All in all, a fabulous event and wonderful time just hanging out as a family!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Latest couponing

I have fallen into a good swing with what I’m realistically able to do when it comes to couponing.  There is a new CVS a few blocks from us, so besides taking coupons with me to get groceries, this is my only other stop most weeks.  I plan my run on Saturday nights since most coupon blogs have the sales up on Friday or Saturday for the next week.  I grab my paper (i.e. coupons) at church and then usually go on Sunday afternoons during naptime.  If you’re wanting to take some baby steps in the “drug store game”, check out a few of these links to different stores and how to start. 

Here’s just 2 of my latest CVS runs.  I focus my couponing on toiletry and baby items to help free up more money in my grocery budget for more fresh fruits and veggies that get pricey.  I really try and only buy things that we really use or things that I know we can give away like school supplies for our upcoming church back-to-school outreach.Picture 953 Total: $76.06

-sales and coupons $58.83

-extra care bucks to use in the future $10

=$7.23 for a savings of 95% (one of my best runs yet!)


Total: $77.73

-sales and coupons $33.20

-extra care bucks to use in the future $20

=$24.53 for a savings of 68.5%


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

It's hard to believe that 6 years ago, we were taking these pictures on one of the happiest days of my life: Yes, my flowers weren’t quite what I had envisioned.  And my cake was a disaster (thank you P, C, A, and A for not letting me know about that until I saw it fixed).  And there are pictures I regret not taking, etc.  But at the end of the day, I was married to William.  And that’s been one of the best decisions I ever made.

Tonight, we headed out to where we had our rehearsal dinner, Radio Maria.  This was still in our minds one of the best dinners we ever ate.  It was such a fun night filled with (lots of) wine, good food, and fabulous friends.  Here was the little menu I made for that evening:IMG_5742 And a few shots of us:14IMG_5746 And William’s plate.  Which I’m glad I took a picture of because after tonight’s dinner, I can for surely say the prices have gone up and the portions have gotten smaller. :)IMG_7073But it was still delicious!  IMG_0576 After dinner, we walked over to Cream and Flutter for amazing coffee and cupcakes.  And then we stayed outside a bit enjoying the C/U Music Festival.IMG_0570And then we (hangs head in shame) went to Lowe’s and Target.  And yes, we bought stuff for the kids.IMG_0573But it was so nice to have real conversation and not get up five million times in the middle of my meal.  And just fun hanging out with my main squeeze.

Happy Anniversary William!  I love you so much more than I did then.  Here’s to many years more!blog-signature-1

Friday, July 19, 2013

the latest

Noticed a lack of posts lately?  Sorry faithful readers. :)  Expect a bunch coming up this weekend, and I may backdate to make them look like I posted closer to the actual event days.  But let’s see, why no posts.  Oh, you know the crap’s just been hitting the fan around here.  I mean seriously, this needs to get written down for posterity sake.  I thought I may be losing my mind.  Or may be pregnant. (let’s be clear on that one, I am NOT!)
  • Our WIC was up for renewal and I realized I had lost my WIC folder.  Not the biggest of deal, but I did have good coupons that I wanted to use and all my July farmer’s market coupons were in there.  Stinky to basically lose that money.
  • Then, I could not for the life of me find my kids social security cards.  They were gone.  Not something smart to lose.
  • Then I lost my zip drive that holds all my information for my side job of data entry.  It was gone.
  • We got a (huge) bill for Owen’s 3 year old appointment.  What?  Called his insurance to find they had dropped him.  With no letter to us of course.  Started the process of scrambling to try and re-enroll him.  Needed those lost social security cards.
  • William did not get a job that he applied for (although props to him for making in to the top 2 out of 40+)
  • Our van DVD player went out.  Then our portable DVD players broke.  (have I mentioned we’re driving 9 hours in a few weeks)
  • The locks stopped working in the van.
  • Our garbage disposal broke.
Whew.  It’s been an exhausting, not fun month.  And Owen has decided that he current reaction to everything is screaming at the top of his lungs.  Not a post to get pity, just want to document the craziness.
And I’ll be happy to note that:
  • a new DVD player is on the way and the dealer fixed the locks on the van
  • William is so handy that he had no problem installing a new garbage disposal
  • thanks to my mom, William, and words of knowledge all my lost items have been found
  • I’m working closely with Gary from All Kids to get everything right with insurance
  • I’m not pregnant – I took a cheapy test and two lines came up.  I panicked and then took a “real” test.  It was negative.  I was puzzled.  Until I looked closer at the little plastic wrapper on the cheap test and realized it was an ovulation test.  Oops.
  • William may have another job offer out of the blue (more details to come next week!)
Here’s to a much less eventful rest of the summer!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

what a difference a year makes

These are 2 pictures from last 4th of July when I was performing my first wedding and 2 pictures from this year!  It is hard to believe how much the kiddos have changed in one year.  And I’m pretty proud of my hard work.  I love that being about 35 pounds less has just helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin.Neukomm wedding

our 4th of July!

Happy (belated) Independence Day!  This was probably our best 4th of July to date!  We had such a blast as a family and getting daddy home all day on a Thursday was fun too.  Owen requested pancakes so I decided to have a little fun with our breakfast.
We got dressed bright and early and finished decorating our wagon for the neighborhood parade.  Well, technically, it was the neighborhood across the street, but we always head that way for fun events.
We walked a few blocks to the park where everyone was invited to decorate their "rides" and wear red, white, and blue.

There was a fire truck and ambulance waiting for us to check out!
We saw some friends so we were able to get a family picture!
Then, all the kids and parents walked around the neighborhood in a little parade.
We went right home so Ellie could take a little rest before heading out for our next adventure.
We were very excited that Champaign moved the parade time up this year as it's usually been right during our afternoon nap time.  But 11:05 worked great for us. We packed our lunches and parked at the Vet Med building and walked down to the parade route.

We found a great seat and the kids did amazingly well for the parade.  While not the most exciting parade for adults, Owen LOVED the constant flow of trucks.  Ellie actually sat and watched most of it which is an amazing feat.                            
While the kids were taking their (very short) naps we made last minute plans with the family we do childcare for.  Owen was ecstatic that Sam and Rob and Carrie were coming over.  They brought Sam's little Lightning Car over so they could drive together.  Sam's is probably much more appropriately sized for these guys and Owen wanted to drive his more than the big car.
Then we enjoyed a yummy dinner of all the typical 4th favorites: burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, watermelon, and corn on the cob.  After some play time in the backyard, we had a very patriotic cake for dessert before they went home.

Owen actually stayed up until firework time, having a blast playing outside past normal bedtime hours.  He really wanted to climb on this and decided to go to the bathroom, get his stool, and do it himself.  He was quite proud of getting up by himself.
We thought we'd see if we could watch the fireworks from our house and while we could see them a bit from his fort or his bedroom, the show wasn't great.  So William hopped in the car and they went down the road a bit and watched for about 15 minutes.  They got back before the show was over.  Next year, when Ellie's bedtime isn't so early we'll actually get them closer to the real event.

But what a fun day!  Hope you're Independence Day was a *blast* as well!

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