29 September 2011

my first giveaway!

So I've been kinda lucky lately and have been winning stuff from blog giveaways. It's mostly baby stuff, which is awesome for me. I have been wanting to pay it forward to my small following here, and now is the time. No, I'm not giving away baby stuff! I don't think even half my readers have kids.

 No, no, this is much more practical.

You could use that, right??

Awesome.  And lucky for you, I don't have that many followers.

I get these a lot thanks to a little thing called Swagbucks.  If you've been living under a rock and don't know what Swagbucks is, it's basically a free site where you can accumulate points by doing searches, surveys, playing games, and other stuff.  Then you can exchange your points for stuff--all of mine go to getting these awesome Amazon.com gift cards.

The winner of the giveaway will be emailed the gift card code, and then they can just put it in their Amazon account.  Amazon keeps a tab for you, so you can just apply it to your next purchase.

How to enter (leave a comment for each, and make sure I have some way of contacting you):
  • One entry:  Follow my blog in some way.  Leave a comment telling me how (GFC, Google reader, RSS, my Twitter feed, etc.).  I would love to know how people are reading me (or if they are at all!).
  • FOUR entries:  Sign up for Swagbucks under my referral link (also found in my sidebar).  Leave a comment with your Swagbucks username.  Since this is worth 4 entries, just leave extra comments if you do this.  ALSO, I just found out that you can use the code BIGTIMEBUCKS when you sign up right now and get an extra 70 Swagbucks!  You already get 30 for signing up, so that's 100 total.  That will put you well on your way to many awesome prizes!  The code is good until 10/3, which is coincidentally when I chose to end this giveaway.
  • One entry:  For those of you already on Swagbucks, I'll give you an entry just for being cool.  Just tell me in a comment.  Leave your Swagbucks username and I might just find you and add you as a friend on there because I have absolutely no idea what that feature does.

Winner will be selected via random.org or maybe pulling numbers out of a hat.  Giveaway will close at noon CDT on Monday, Oct. 3 (also our anniversary!), and winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

AND if you're still reading, here's a bonus that hopefully still works (it did yesterday!).  Go to Amazon's site here and log in, then use the promo code FALLMP3S and you'll get a $2 credit to buy MP3s in Amazon's store.  You can probably get two songs with it!  See, a giveaway you didn't even have to win.  Totally sharing the love today.


Disclaimer: Swagbucks and Amazon.com in no way sponsored this giveaway, and they have no idea I'm doing it.  The opinions here are my own.  Yes, I do get a fair amount of points from Swagbucks referrals, so it is in my interest to advertise.

26 September 2011

pregnancy vs. my 101 list

I've been working on my 101 in 1001 list for over a year now. While my pregnancy is actually helping to cross off a big one (#11), it's also hindering me in a lot of the more "extreme" tasks.

Case in point: I was not able to try waterskiing.  Or parasailing.  Couldn't take a surfing lesson this summer or do new tricks on the boogie board.  And I can't donate blood.

However, I'm going to commit myself to cross three easy ones for a preggo off in the near future (as in, before Baby W makes her arrival).  I figure if I write it here, I'll hold myself more accountable, so here goes.

These 3 goals:

  • 46. Color an entire coloring book - I'm about halfway through the Arthur coloring book I got a year ago, specifically for this task.  I need to just sit down one day and go for it.
  • 41. Crochet or knit a scarf - I sorta learned how to crochet 5 years ago, but never really got the hang of it.  I think YouTube is going to be a big help with this one.  If anyone out there has a recommended YouTuber that teaches this, please tell!
  • 52. Read a graphic novel - there is a section of these at the library.  I just need to pick one!  (Recommendations also welcome.)
Of course, there are some other ones I will hopefully be crossing off in the meantime as well, but I just needed to pinpoint three right now to really get my bum in motion.  Now I'm off to find my crayons . . .


21 September 2011

frugal finds for baby

Last week, my mom came into town for a few days to help me set up my registries and start getting this baby-train a-rollin'!

Honestly, I didn't know where to start when it came to babies.  Yes, I teach Budget for Baby class at Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, so I know you don't NEED a lot for baby (at least that's what I tell our participants!), but my mom reminded me that other people WANT to buy you stuff for your baby.  And hopefully all of those gifts will make your life easier.  Mom has been heavily involved in the lives of both my niece and nephew since my sister still lives close by, so she's in the know on this stuff for the most part.

The first thing we did was hit up a big twice-yearly consignment sale here in Pensacola to see what we could score.

Some of our awesome finds?  A bassinet for $15!  I hadn't decided yet if I want a bassinet, but for that cheap, if I only use it a week, I'll be happy.  It's Peter Rabbit-themed:
It has a canopy-thingy too, but we took it off to wash everything and it was kind of a pain.
Baby monitors for $10!  Of course not the fancy video ones, but a Fisher Price one with 2 receivers.  The consignment sale even let us test them before we bought.  We live in a 3-bedroom flat, so I'm not sure how much use these will get either.

We also got some books and DVDs from the consignment sale, and Mom found this awesome toy for my niece:
Except the one Mom got was in purple and only $8!  (Toys R US has this one for $41.99)

I'm sure my own little princess will be enjoying that mega-hand-me-down in a year's time.

I got a few pieces of maternity clothes at the sale, but we actually did much better at the local thrift stores.  Our NMCRS thrift store: jeans for $1!  Between that and the other 2 thrift stores we hit, I ended up with two pairs of jeans and about 6 tops for a total of $20.  Mom also treated me to some clearance rack Liz Lange jeans at Target for $15, some Old Navy maternity tops, and then some nice slacks from Motherhood (hmm, guess I should resume outfit posts?).

One thing I've learned about maternity clothes: they rarely go on sale.  And why should they, really?  When you're ready to buy maternity clothes, you usually need them right then (at least I did--I missed wearing pants!).  The clearance rack jeans at Target were truly an awesome find, but I doubt I'll find a good deal on new clothes like that again.

As for our final frugal find, it was something I really didn't think I wanted at all: a crib bedding set.  Sure, I had looked at some as we registered to try to figure out a nursery "theme".  But I thought the bedding sets were a total scam (and still do).  They usually cost over $100 and include 4 pieces--only 2 of which you don't really use when the kid is a baby.  You don't use the comforter unless you hang it on the wall, and most safety guides now are saying not to use the crib bumper while your baby is asleep because of possible SIDS risk (this hasn't been heavily researched yet, but "bare is best").  So then you're left with just a fitted sheet and a dust ruffle.  Right.  Well, I'd pretty much decided I wanted a zoo animal theme after seeing a cute set at Toys R Us and was just gonna get a fitted sheet on its own, but then we stumbled upon this while in ROSS:
Okay, it's kinda boyish, but whatever.  I'll add some pink somewhere.
It was $35 for the set (currently $70 on Amazon).  I knew it was cheaper because it had been discontinued.  Loved it, bought it.  Still have the receipt if I change my mind.  I'm sure I'll find a good use for the bumper eventually.

My sister is also helping me be super-frugal for baby, since I'm getting to use tons of her hand-me-downs.  I'm actually really glad we're having a girl--her wardrobe is set!  But don't worry, I still left enough stuff on the registry for my friends and family to spoil Little Miss W!


13 September 2011

CREDO retreat recap

I "dragged" B on a Marriage Enrichment Retreat this weekend, and I'm so glad I did!

I first heard about these retreats back when I took COMPASS in Norfolk, and I'd been wanting to go on one so badly! Now that B is on shore tour, it was much more feasible, but the CREDO website never had any listings of ones near us (most were in the Jacksonville FL area, which is too far of a hike). Apparently they don't list everything on their website, because I found out about this one from a friend and it was never listed until it was way past full. I also found out there was one in Mobile this coming weekend, which was never listed as well.  My suggestion: call your chaplain and ask! I wish I had done that when we moved here. Anyway, I'm just glad we're getting to do this before Baby W arrives.  It was very easy for us to get the call on Thursday and agree to go!

There were about 15 couples total, and most had kids of varying ages.  Some of them had not had a weekend together away from their kids since they were born!  There was maybe one other couple around our age, but the couples varied in length of marriage from under a year to 24 years.  And as I said before, they put us up--FREE OF CHARGE--at a resort on the beach on Alabama's Gulf Coast.  It did not disappoint!  I saw the room bill when we checked in, and the going rate for this place right now is $150/night.  We also got five meals for free.  Thank you, military!

Here are a few pictures of the place:

Yes, I dragged my body pillow there.  Pregnant girl has to sleep somehow!
View from our room's balcony: inlet from the Gulf
Also a view from our balcony: the parking lot
Hotel as seen from beach
Best pic I could get of the pool.  More pool on the opposite side of the bridge

As for the retreat itself, it was done pretty well.  Some of the stuff we had hashed out before and was a bit of a repeat from our pre-marital one-day class that the Catholic church made us take.  Also, since I studied Child and Family Development in college, including a few classes on relationships and family life, I knew a lot of it.  But I did learn a lot too!  If anything, it was nice to just re-connect with my husband.  We didn't turn on the TV all weekend (except to check football scores, but we did that together), we didn't have internet, and I didn't even bring a book with me.  We were given some free time on Saturday afternoon to just have fun together, so we hit the beach and the pool.  And took a nap :-)

Since the retreat is done by the chaplains, it was obviously religious in nature.  CREDO actually stands for Chaplain's Religious Enrichment Development Operation.  However, it was mostly just based on a belief in God.  The name of Jesus was never spoken, but the chaplain did read the "Love is patient" passage from Corinthians at one point.  That was about as religious as it got.  Most of it just focused on communication and personality types, with a few other topics thrown in.

Overall, I would definitely recommend any of my military friends to take advantage of this opportunity!  I know for some it may be hard because you never know when a schedule is going to change, but go ahead and sign up if you can.  Then, if you need to cancel, there will be a very happy couple ready to take your spot.  It doesn't cost anything, so it's not like you lose a deposit!  There are also other types of retreats that they do, listed on their website.  On their Facebook page, I even saw that they have done Family Retreats, where the kids come and you do it as a family.  How cool is that?!

08 September 2011

best. week. ever.

I am seriously having an amazing week!

Sunday morning I got a text from MWR that I won 2 passes to cosmic bowling on base!  Our MWR has a text club, and they just randomly do giveaways where everyone is entered.  (I've been hoping to win a free pizza, but bowling is pretty neat, too!)

Sunday night, I got an email that I won another blog giveaway, this one from Take It From Me.  I won a Pretty Pushers labor gown--I've had this on my Amazon wish list since I found out I was pregnant.  So I'm really excited I got one!

I put in for the free Chick-Fil-A breakfast the other week, so I got to partake of that on Wednesday morning.  It's up by the mall, which I hadn't been to in a while.  I decided to try on some maternity clothes and see if I could score some deals.  I didn't do so well on the deals (or the maternity clothes, since they didn't have what I wanted in my size), but I did get a completely FREE necklace from Charlotte Russe.  By the end of Wednesday, my freebie haul looked like this:

I paid 6¢ tax on the candy bar; the Suave stuff was in my mailbox
And the number one reason I'm having the best week ever is that B and I get to go on a CREDO Marriage Enrichment Retreat sponsored (and paid for in full) by the Navy this weekend.  We had been on the waiting list, and I just got the call this morning that a spot opened.  This thing is at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama (about a 20 minute drive from us).  It is right on the beach, and the picture on the website looks beautiful!  I'll be sure to bring my camera and let y'all know how awesome it is in person. 

The only rain on my parade this week is that B has a cold, but he can suck it up and deal with it during the retreat.  I've been wanting to do one of these for over a year, and they don't come our way very often!  I'm such a nice wife, huh?

Well, I hope everyone else is having as fantastic a week as I am!

06 September 2011

a graph and a cake

So here was the final graph, including all my FB votes, some in-person ones, and the 3 from this blog that all said boy. (Was it because I mentioned my dreams?)
 At the ultrasound, we almost couldn't get it.  The tech actually made me get up and do some laps to get the baby to move.  He still needed to get a measurement of the spine, too (otherwise, he probably would've said screw it).  I honestly think baby fell asleep, since I was getting pretty tired myself during the appointment.  Anyway, after walking and then rolling on my side during the ultrasound, Baby W finally cooperated.

AND . . .

Okay, really it's a GIRL, but I can't resist a good Cake Wreck.

In the words of my own mother, "You deserve a girl.  After everything you put me through, you deserve a girl."  Thanks, Mom.

04 September 2011

boy or girl? time to weigh in!

This Tuesday is our big 20-week ultrasound.  They measure the baby and make sure everything is going okay (we haven't had an ultrasound since the heartbeat confirmation at 10 weeks), but we also get to find out if Baby W is a boy or a girl!

It's really not that big of a deal, since we'd be happy with either, but it will make our life easier to know.  Have you ever tried shopping for baby shower stuff for someone who refuses to know?  It's tough!  I've had two dreams that it's a boy, and I think we have the full name picked out if it goes that way.  If it's a girl, we have some major work to do in the name department, but wardrobe will be set, thanks to my sister's baby girl.

In regards to that, I had a Groupon to one of those 'drinking and painting' studios that expired the day before our ultrasound.  I went last week to an Open Art Night, where you got to pick any one of 100 paintings to do.  I definitely wanted to paint something for Baby W's room, but of course needed it to be gender neutral.  But there were tons of pretty flowers for a girl's room!  (I guess I should point out how I didn't do so hot the last time I tried to paint a flower though.)  In the end, I went with this:

The teacher was great, and definitely helped me draw those fish!
Studio B in Gulf Breeze, thank you!
I have two different status updates going on FB where my friends can weigh in on what they think (or hope) it will be.  The plan is to pop the numbers into Excel and make a nice little pie graph to see (I'm a sucker for charts).

I've looked around online at some of the old wives' tales in regards to sex prediction.  Most either were too dumb for me to even try, or they were inconclusive.  There is a slight chance our baby won't reveal his or her "parts" to us, so that's a possibility as well.

So what do you think?  Boy or girl?  Or too shy to let us know?  I'll add your numbers to the pie chart and let you all know once we find out!

02 September 2011

are you ready?

Are you ready for some FOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL???

I'm kinda weird.  I don't really care at all about the NFL, but I love me some college football!  I guess attending a college with a stadium that packs out all 92,746 seats for every game just might have something to do with that.

My very own Georgia Bulldogs have their first game tomorrow night, and I'm pumped!  They're playing Boise State in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome (in Atlanta).  I will definitely be watching.

We also get to watch B's alma mater, the ever-popular Notre Dame Fighting Irish, play tomorrow afternoon.  The only issue is that they're playing my mom's college, the University of South Florida.  Oh well, may the best team win! 

I'm ready to camp out on the couch all day Saturday and call the Dawgs!  Maybe one of these days I'll get to actually attend a game in person again.

Will you be watching any college football this weekend?