Friday, January 3, 2014


Depending on the type of person you are, changes are either loved or hated.  The older I get, I realize how much of a control freak I really am, so while I typically enjoy changes, they have to be on my terms or else I get all panicky.  I just like to be aware of what's going to happen and not be caught off guard.  Ok, ok...I'm rambling.......

So yeah, changes.....with the start of a new year, many people make resolutions and swear they are going to stick with them.  I am not usually one that makes resolutions because I'm infamous of starting something and then not finishing it (hellooooo ADD.  For real.).

I am vowing to be a better blogger.  I want to write more.  I enjoy writing.  It's always been way I can release my thoughts.  I know that I could be a better writer and make things flow better and whatnot but I want my blog to be more of a journal type.  Something for me.  I don't want to write for other people, just for me.  If people read and they can relate or offer insight, wonderful.  If no one reads, then I'll just have my collection of thoughts.  I want to change the type of blogger I am.  I think that it's "easy" to write only about the good things in life instead of all the bumps and bruises along the way.  I don't want to sound like a debbie downer but my life is FAR from perfect.  I want to be able to feel comfortable enough to post sad, mad, etc. blogs and not feel like I'm a failure.  Growing up, my Dad instilled a lot of pride in me and is probably one of the reasons I tend to always put on that happy face because if not, you're admitting something is wrong and if you're wrong, then you're a failure at something.  Screwed up way of thinking, I know but that's just me.  So, I HOPE to write a lot more often and more openly than I have this past year.  Starting now.

Last year, 2013, to be completely honest, was tough.  I don't know if I'm going thru a mid-life crisis or what but my stress and anxiety levels are just too high.  I've always been the type of person to put on that great big smiley face and pretend everything is hunky dory and that's because I have a huge tendency to put myself dead last on the priority scale.  I know I have my list of priorities out of whack because the "correct" order should be: 1. God 2. Spouse 3. Kids and they're just not in that order.  I used to be the type of girl that wouldn't think twice about taking time for myself and doing things to feel special and/or pampered.  Keith has never been the type of man to spoil me, be romantic, etc. so I've always had the mindset that if I want something, I buy it or do it myself.  Then kids happened.  I so desperately wanted to become a Mom that I swore once I was, I'd never be the type of parent that went out on the weekends or did things without their kids.  I always thought that your time should be focused on your kids and family, which is true to an extent.  Now, people who are like that, I'm not bashing at all.  What works for some people may not work for others.  So, for almost 6 years, doing just that, putting my kid(s) at the top of the priority list, has allowed time for myself to fall dead last.  Sure, there were a few weekends a YEAR that I would have a girls weekend or a "me" weekend but at the most, 3 or 4 times a YEAR.  I have almost reached my breaking point.  I never do selfish things for myself anymore.  I used to be the girl who had their hair done religiously every 4-6 weeks....yeah, my hair hasn't been cut or colored since August.  I start feeling guilty about spending money on myself when I could be spending it on my kids or on things for the house that we "need".  I always seem to justify how I don't need to spend the money.  I don't think I fully realized it until Keith came home a month or so ago with a new rifle.  The first thing he said was, "Don't get mad but I bought a new rifle."  Let me preface this by saying we live on a very tight budget.  We are somewhat paycheck to paycheck people, with a little wiggle room.  So, you can imagine my thoughts when he hadn't even discussed a big purchase like that with me.  So the light bulb went off.  If he feels that it's okay to splurge on things like that without so much as to even talk to me about it, why should I feel guilty about having my hair or nails done, or taking a weekend and going to Atlanta, my "second home", to visit Brian or just have that uninterrupted "me" time?  Why do I feel guilty?!?! So, this year, I'm VOWING to learn to make myself a priority and to focus on doing things that make me happy.  Sure, my children make me happy but with Preslei's new sassy mouth and eye rolling and Annalise going 90 to nothing from sun up to sun down takes a HUGE toll on me.  I need to learn to find "Amanda" again.  I have to.  I need to.

Here comes the hard part.  My marriage.  It's been pure hell the last several months.  We fight and argue constantly.  It is rare that he helps with the girls.  I am jealous of the fact that he can just up and leave the house to do the things he wants to do without any regard as to what or where the kids will be because it's a given that they're with me.  I'm tired of feeling like all the stress and burdens are on me and he hasn't a care in the world.  I'm tired of him never being at home.  I'm tired of him not wanting to do things together as a family.  I'm tired of feeling like nothing I ever do is good enough.  I'm just tired.  Some people may say "well that's just a man".  Bullshit.  I'm tired of that excuse.  I'm a FIRM believer that if the Mom/Wife doesn't work then her job and responsibility is taking care of the family.  Well, I work.  I work my ASS off and it's not fair that I take on most all the responsibilities.  My biggest issue is I don't want my girls growing up thinking that arguing and fighting is normal.  Like I told Keith, I will 100% accept and realize my faults but I don't instigate things.  I don't keep on and on and on even after being repeatedly asked to hush.  Point blank.....I'm not happy.  Something HAS to change or I truly think we'll end up another statistic. Of course I don't want that but I'm not one of those people that refuses to let go.  Keith and I had a long talk a week or so ago that involved lots of tears shed but it was a good talk.  It was much needed.  All we can do is take it day by day.  I told him the three reasons I stay are 1.  I do love him 2. the girls and 3. financial reasons.  Sometimes I think of how young he and I were when we started dating.  We were babies.  We aren't the same people anymore.  I feel like he could care less about the things I enjoy and would rather just go do his own thing.  We've always been the type of husband/wife that we each do our own thing and meet in the middle.  That's just not normal.  I want more than that.  He should want more than that.  He asked me the other night if I was in love with him.....and I'm not.  But like I told him, I wonder if anyone that has been together for as long as we have, still have that "in love" feeling.  I honestly don't know if that still exists.  I absolutely do love him but I don't have those little "oh I just ADORE this man!!" feelings.  Even though there are those negatives about him, he does have a good heart.  He will help anyone that needs it (which sometimes drives me nuts b/c he lets things I need done around the house get pushed to the back burner), he adores me and his kids, he cooks almost every night and is a hard worker.  I just want more.  I want "normal" and "perfect".  How do you get that? and trust me, I have busted my ass over the year changing from the person I was to who I am now.  There are always things people do that you're not proud of but I guess that's part of life and growing up.  When Keith asked me if I was happy, I said no but that I don't know what would make me happy or why I'm not happy.  I told him that for starters, I HAVE to learn to make myself a priority and not become SO "lost" in being "Preslei & Annalise's Mom" and he agreed but I also have to learn to make "us" a priority.  So, we're a work in progress.  We are going on a date Saturday to try and enjoy and focus on each other.  I hope it will do us some good.  I really hope we don't end up arguing over stupid stuff because it's rare we are ever around each other and we aren't arguing.  One can only hope and try! Do I know what's going to happen down the road? Nope.....and that's okay; my anxiety is okay that I don't know what the outcome will be.

I'm a little in shock at the fact I just completely put my business out there for everyone to read.  My intent is not to "air my dirty laundry" but to show that not everything is sunshine and rainbows.  Life is hard.  Marriage is hard.  Kids are hard.  You just have to be strong enough to weather the storm however rough and challenging it may be.  Because after every storm is a rainbow.

So, there it is.  Changes.  Will these be easy or difficult for me? Who knows but as Sam Cooke sings, "A change is gonna come".

So bring it on 2014.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How I scored $89 of toys for $15!!!

I thought this would be the easiest way to let everyone know how I scored $89 worth of toys for $15.  Basically, here goes.....

Go to  (use this link because she is who I took my first coupon class from and she earns money from each print....gotta give credit where credit is due!) and look on the right hand side of the screen and you’ll see where it says “Save $10”.  Click that and it will direct you to a new screen.  At the bottom, it gives you three options: “Laugh and Learn, Little People, and Imaginext”  Do not click the $5 off coupon because it won’t let you print.  Instead, click the “refer a friend” for the $10 off coupon.  It will ask you to enter your email address and then you can either share it on Facebook or enter friends’ email addresses.  I have several email addresses that I set up back when I was couponing a few years ago so I just entered my regular email address at the beginning and then a random one of mine for the refer a friend.  Once you do, it tells you to print the coupon.  If you haven’t installed the coupon printer, it will prompt you to do so.  Here’s a trick for all you newbies.  After you’ve printed the first coupon, you think you’re done but if you click the back button twice, it will reprint it again.  Do this for each option.  Once you print it, it tells you “only on select items” but it doesn’t list each item on the coupon itself.  (You’ll need to cut along that line for the actual coupon).  On the Laugh and Learn coupon, it just says “select fisher price toys” so I was like SCORE!!! The other two say “little people or imaginext” so because I’m a rule follower, I only used those on that line of toys.  Here’s the catch to printing those can only print each one twice per computer and once per email address.  So, if you have access to multiple printers, go set up several different email addresses to maximize your capabilities.  So, luckily for me, I have access to several computers and was able to print 4-Little People coupons, 4-Laugh and Learn coupons and I just decided to print 2 of the Imaginext ones.  I know it may sound silly but if I don’t need it, I don’t buy it, even if it’s free.  I know, I know but I just can’t.  But, I will be going back because I had a lightbulb moment about those Imaginext toys.  I have a nephew that would probably like those type of toys so I’m going to get that for him for Christmas.  

Here’s the run down on what I bought:

4 Little People Zoo Animals which are $3.44 each.  I used 4 Laugh and Learn coupons (this was a test run to see if it’d get flagged since it wasn’t a Laugh and Learn line) and it gave me $40 off creating an overage of $26.24, which I applied towards the purchase of a $34 Little People Klick-Klack Disney Princess castle resulting in an out of pocket total of $11-something with tax.  

3 Little People Klick Klack Disney princesses and a 2-pack of Disney princesses for Annalise’s Little People Cinderella castle for $6.97 each.  I used 4 Little People coupons  which gave me an overage of $12.12.  I applied that to two more of the 2-pack of Disney princesses for the castle we already own and my out of pocket for that was $4.75.  

I think I did an AMAZING job.  I have seen where some people are finding those Imaginext toys for dirt cheap but the cheapest ones at our Walmart were $6.97 and like I said, I just couldn’t justify doing it tonight since my main objective was to buy Annalise’s stuff.  

Quick tips:

*  Walmart will prompt a manager override if you use $50 or more in coupons so split your transactions to where you’re only using 4 coupons at a time.  Managers can sometimes be very skeptical about coupons and will give you a hard time.  

*  Another piece of advice and SCOPE OUT YOUR CASHIERS!!! This may sound strange but don’t use older cashiers because most of them don’t understand and think you’re doing something fishy.  I always look for the youngest cashier.  Tonight, I paced back and forth looking at them until I saw the one I used.  She was like “WOW you did great!” and then proceeded to ask me how I did it so I gave her and the customer behind me a quick lesson.  :)

*  Always print out the store’s coupon policy in case they want to argue.  It’s right there in black and white from their CORPORATE office so you have the upper hand.  

I have to be honest.  Couponing like this is SUCH a rush.  I was nervous walking in and doing all my calculations back in the toy aisle because I just didn’t know if I’d have to “defend” my coupons to the cashier/manager and I hate showing my butt in public and creating a scene but dang, I totally would have for that kind of savings!!! But then you get to the register and you see that total and when she scans the first coupon, you’re so nervous you’ll get the “BEEP” which indicates it’s not valid but as soon as you see that $10 coming off your total and again and just get this high!!! It’s just awesome.  I’m first one to admit that I’m a very frugal shopper and hate spending a lot of money so when I can save money like that, it’s just awesome.

If you have any questions, just message me on Facebook or leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.  


Monday, June 10, 2013

Update on my Dad

Praise the Lord that the cancer hasn't spread!!!

Surgery is scheduled for next Monday, June 17th to place the plate with the radiation pellets behind his eye and then it will be removed after one week.  There is a possibility my Dad may lose his eyesight but like he said, "that is secondary".

It's times like this when you are thankful for such an amazing community.  I know I rant and rave about living in a small town but the support and love you receive is absolutely astonishing.  People truly care about you here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Prayers needed

I know I haven't blogged in ages but I have a big prayer request.

Last Thursday night, Keith called and wondered where my parents were because he was picking up the trailer from their house to borrow over the weekend and both their vehicles weren't home.  He said that they weren't at my grandma's house so we were both a little concerned.  About 15 minutes after I spoke with Keith, my Mom sent me a text message wanting to know if we were home and that her and my Dad were coming over in about 20 minutes.  So I tried to call her and she didn't answer the phone and I was freaking out, texting her telling her to call me, etc. and she just said "we'll see you in a bit".  So, I speed cleaned my house (my Mom is a total clean freak) and when they pulled up, I said "what's going on" and we just came inside.  My Dad proceeded to tell me that he had gone to the eye doctor and they found a tumor behind his eye and was then referred that day to a doctor in Tallahassee.  (Same office Keith used when he had all his eye surgeries for his detached retina)

My Dad has what is called "ocular melanoma" and has a small tumor behind his eye.  The doctor felt like because the tumor is small, they caught it in time but he has to make sure the cancer hasn't spread.  They can't surgically remove the tumor because of the close proximity to the optic nerve so the game plan is this.  If the lab work and CT scan show that the cancer hasn't spread, then they will insert a plate behind his eye that contains radiation pellets to shrink the tumor.  It will be there for a week and then will be removed.  I'm praying the cancer hasn't spread and it can be treated with the radiation pellets.  He had the lab work done on Friday and should be having the CT scan any minute.

It completely took us off guard.  He went in for a regular appointment and then finds this out.  I'm SO thankful my Dad is the type of man that doesn't put appointments or doctors off.  My Dad is the strongest man I know so it's hard knowing something is wrong and there's nothing physically I can do to help.  I 100% believe in the power of prayer and am asking you all to say a prayer for my family.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New pics! (in the words of Toy Story)

I swear I keep telling myself to get better at blogging but let's face it, I probably won't be until Annalise gets older.  We've officially entered the "in to everything stage".  Yay. (NOT!)  I try not to compare the girls but Preslei was never the type of baby to put stuff in her mouth or mess with stuff....psh, Annalise on the other hand, well, if she can get her hands on it, it goes in her mouth or on the floor.  I will say as tiring as it is, it quickly reminds me how big she's getting.  She turned one on April 5th and we celebrated her first year of life with a "bee-day bash" for our "honey".  I'll post pics at some point.  (probably 6 months from now HA!)  Anyways, we had family pics taken and here are some of them. Haven't they gotten so big?!?! :(  

If you live in Cairo, GA or the surrounding area, Elizabeth Gainous Photography does a great job and is very reasonable!

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review (and a photo dump!)

Wow, where has this year gone?!?!?! (oh, and HI again!!!) I mean seriously....I feel like my life has been in warp speed since Miss Annalise joined our family. It's hard to believe that she is almost NINE months old and Preslei will be FIVE in March. Ay yi yi.  I thought that since I haven't blogged in ages that I'd just make this blog a big ol' photo dump as well.

Important dates in 2012 are:

February 11th (weekend)- Went to the beach as a last "family of 3" vacation
February 18th- Preslei's first "Father/Daughter" dance
February 25th- My sweet nephew Caden turned 3
March 17th- Preslei turned 4
April 5th- Annalise was born
April 8th- Held Annalise for the first time (on Easter)
April 14th- Annalise comes home from the hospital
June 16th- My best friend, Ashley became a "Mrs."
July 24th- Annalise had her first real "road trip". I took the girls to Zoo Atlanta with a good friend of mine and her stepdaughter. Needless to say, Annalise was NOT a happy camper.
August 10th- Preslei started Pre-K at CFUMC (her last year at CFUMC :( )
August 15th- Preslei started gymnastics!!!
September 23rd- Annalise got her ears pierced
October 5th- Annalise is SIX months old
October 25th- Annalise FINALLY ate out of a spoon for me (I didn't think that day would ever come!)
October 27th- My good friend Caly became a "Mrs."
October 28th- We (as a family) got baptized and became members of Cairo First United Methodist Church
November 17th- My best friend, Brian turned 30!!!! Went to Atlanta to celebrate with him.
December 6th- Annual Cairo Christmas parade (Annalise's first time)
December 25th- Christmas!

Can't wait to see what's in store for 2013!!!!

Much love to you all!