Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Saving Moola

Daddy C and I try to save money whenever we can. One of the ways I save money is shopping with coupons and taking advantage of store loyalty programs. I heart CVS. It's where all my fabulous deals happen. I go there weekly and rarely spend more than 2 or 3 bucks. Today, I managed to come out like a bandit once again and spent 24 cents. I bought a big bottle of men's body wash- it was on sale for $4 and I got $4 back in a store coupon to use next week. I paid with my coupons earned last week, so I only had to pay tax. Happy me!

I also save money shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill. Growing up, I didn't have much money, so I used to do most of my back-to-school shopping there. People thought I was crazy, but where else could you get a new-to-you wardrobe for under $50?! Today, I hit up our local Goodwill (which isn't nearly as nice as our old Goodwill) and managed to snag a few items- a nice work shirt for Daddy C and an elastic waistband, knee-length summer skirt for myself. All for under 5 bucks! You would be amazed at the things you can find at Goodwill. Once, Daddy C and I found 3 brand-new Banana Republic dress shirts with the tags still on them. They were regularly priced at over $100 each but we bought them for a dollar!

My final adventure of the day included making a price book. I've never seriously price-booked at my grocery stores before, so it's really interesting to see the differences. I made a list of all the common items we buy (rice, beans, canned and frozen veggies, pastas, flour, yeast etc...) and wrote down their prices at each grocery store (Kroger, Wal-mart, Whole Foods). I was shocked to discover how much bread flour was at Kroger compared to Wal-mart and how drastically the same brand of baking soda differed at each one. I've seen Arm & Hammer baking soda priced as low as 47 cents and as high as a dollar. You might not think those little price differences matter much, but little things add up!

Why the focus on saving money everywhere we can? Well, Daddy C and I took out some student loans like most average Joes, and now we have to pay them back. We're trying to do it quickly so we can save for a down-payment on a house. Dave Ramsey is our financial guru of choice, and if you've ever heard of him, you probably know how much he hates debt. So we hate debt too. And getting rid of it is priority. That's why every penny counts! Plus. I consider it good stewardship to make the most of what you have.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mallards and Ducklings

We're fortunate to live right next to a beautiful nature park. I like to ramble the walking trails, soaking up as much nature as possible. I can't wait to take baby C on walks there and point out all the little discoveries to him or her. Please enjoy a short photographic tour of our 'backyard'!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Apartment Vegetable Gardening

I'm a plant lover. I spend part of my days writing about gardening, yet I've never had the opportunity to plant my own. This is due to the lack of outdoor space in the Campbell household. But now that we have a fabulous little balcony that receives a fair amount of sun, I am determined to create one!

To start off with, I planted a tomato plant, zucchini plant, cilantro and some inpatients. I think they look lovely, and I can't wait until they start to bear fruit.

I choose to plant more vegetables than flowers, because Mommy C is frugal and thrifty at heart. I'm hoping these veggies will provide fresh produce for Daddy C and Baby C. We like to buy organic, and that can get expensive. By growing our own, I'll save us some cash (that is, unless something dreadful happens to them)!

The cost of the veggies were just slightly more than what I would pay at the store for them: $5 for the tomato plant, $3 for cilantro and $2 for zucchini. I also had to buy the pots, but hopefully that's a one-time purchase (provided the Campbell cats do not break them :-/)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Countdown to Motherhood

In just a few weeks, I'll officially be a mother. Baby Campbell is due June 23rd, 2010. I would appreciate him or her not to be late. Even though we may call ourselves 'The Late Campbells', I really don't think it becomes our child to take upon that trait. We would like for him or her to be 'The Slightly Early Campbell' or 'The On Time Campbell'. But really, whenever he or she makes their entrance, we'll be thrilled nonetheless. Or petrified. Whichever you prefer.

This blog is about mothering- specifically, mothering that is done via a blindfold. Why a blindfold? Because I am going about this blindly, having no experience whatsoever, unable to see ahead a few days at a time. I'm taking things as they come, and I have no idea what I'm doing. Rest assured, I will be trying my best. But don't count on perfection, folks!

A little background about our family, the Campbells: Daddy Campbell met Mommy Campbell (who at the time was not a Campbell, but very soon would realize the importance of becoming one) at college. It was love at first sight. No, really. The stuff from storybooks. There was never any doubt how much Mommy C and Daddy C loved each other. After 9 months of dating, Daddy C proposed while on a picnic by a pond under a huge oak tree. 5 months later, Mommy C officially became a Campbell.

Daddy C and Mommy C still had to finish school, so they were your typical poor college students until that was over. They lived in a 3rd floor walk-up apartment in a quaint little town they adopted as their own. The kitchen did not have any counter space and the boiler heater occasional would break in the cold, winter months. After 5 months of fresh marriage, they decided it was time to begin expanding the family. They looked on craigslist and adopted a kitten, whom they named Mrs. Weasley. Shortly after, they moved into a larger apartment with better heating and a few feet of counter space.

Mommy C graduated one semester ahead of Daddy C, so she started writing part-time and took upon the responsibility of full-time homemaker. Daddy C was a little unmotivated when he begun college, so it was taking him longer to get his degree. During this time, they expanded their family once more. Mommy C's aunt convinced her to take in an abandoned kitten. They drove to the country and picked her up, rightfully naming her Luna Lovegood.

As Daddy C completed his final semester of schooling, Mommy C discovered their family was not done growing just yet. She went in the bathroom with a little stick and came out with interesting results. Mommy C was pregnant! It was quite an emotional time discovering this piece of news, and immediately the word spread that there would soon be a Baby Campbell.

During her pregnancy, Mommy C battled intense morning sickness but was aided by the use of sea-bands and crackers. She and Daddy C also decided to move out of their quaint little town after Daddy C had graduated. They did not have many friends in the small town, and Daddy C had more opprotunities for his job in a different city. So, they stuffed the cats into their carriers (which, mind you, took the better part of 2 hours as they scampered away, running in circles inside an empty apartment), and traveled an hour and a half away back to Daddy C's hometown. They moved into another apartment with even more counter-space and better heating. They even had a tiny balcony they could call their own (well, as long as they continued paying rent!).

Now, two months later, Mommy C is getting tired of being pregnant. Daddy C has a new job downtown, which he commutes to everyday. And Luna Lovegood and Mrs. Weasley have declared the not-yet-completed nursery as their own.

More fun facts about the Campbells:
  • We're thrifty and are trying to pay off our student loans in two to three years
  • We love the outdoors and are usually spotted camping across the nation (or just our state)
  • We like to backpack in the wilderness and plan to introduce Baby Campbell to it as soon as possible
  • We love books, the library and literature
  • We try to cook all our meals at home and don't like preservatives
  • We like to go out for ice-cream
  • Daddy C is an aspiring tri-athlete and Mommy C enjoys running (when not pregnant, of course!)
  • We try to keep our 'stuff' to a minimum (although this is partly out of necessity from living in a small space)
  • We're Christians who love discovering God's goodness in life