Day 1: C25K


Ok, I did it.  I completed Day 1 of the C25K (Couch to 5K) program.  In all honesty, it wasn't too bad (minus the 100% humidity and the jiggling stomach...ugh).  And really, it shouldn't have been too bad, it was only 20 minutes.  However, I realized that I definately need to go buy a couple of pairs of shorts to run in.  The ones I had on today kept falling off (not good while running) and the ones I tried on before I left were way.too.tight.  Either way, I need new pants.  I got these shoes a couple weeks ago, but have yet to use them.  It's been raining here like crazy lately so I didn't feel like ruining them my first day out.  
Nike Women's Reax Run 5 Shoe

My summer goal: lose these last 17 lbs. by Thad's first birthday (Aug. 6).  

That means I'm looking at losing 2 pounds a week.  Lord, I hope I can do it.  Hopefully by putting this out here in bloggerland it'll make me more accountable.  I'm planning on tackling this C25K program and/or getting out and walking/running/something at least 3 days a week.  Now, I need to focus on my diet.  I need ideas -- how do you track what you're eating?  Do you track your daily calories?  What's a typical day of eating look like for you (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?  I want this to be a lifestyle change, not some crash diet just to say I've lost the weight.  So....any thoughts?

Oh and don't forget to enter the giveaway!!!

Purex Complete with Zout GIVEAWAY!


As many of you already know, I’m a Purex Insider.  Before becoming an insider, I was fairly unfamiliar with Purex.  However, after reviewing their crystals (and seriously falling in the love them), I'm sold.  Needless to say, I was excited to work with Purex again. This time around, I got to try the new Purex Complete with Zout. This product combines the amazing power of Purex detergent with Zout pre-treater.
Purex with Zout makes it easier to get clothes clean -- and with a 9 month old in the house, this is a must!  Since it already has the pre-treater in it, you can save time by not having to use one separately.  Purex with Zout works in all types of machines.  I was lucky enough to try the fragrence free version of Purex with Zout.  I get pretty paranoid with fragrences these days (for my sake and for Thad's). 
It was amazing!  It easily removed baby food stains (and stains on my husband's chefs coat).  Purex Complete with Zout is a fantastic pre-treater and detergent all in one. You can even get a free sample of Purex Complete to try for yourself or you can WIN a coupon for one FREE bottle of Purex with Zout!
All you have to do is tell me you want to win!

  • Follow me publicly on GFC.
  • Follow me on twitter.
  • Tweet about this giveaway. (Leave me the URL. 
    • #Win a FREE BOTTLE of the NEW @Purex Complete with Zout from @elffamilyblog 2 Winners! ENDS 6/1
  • Subscribe to my blog via email. (form on the left)
  • Like me on facebook.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Winner will be chosen using on 6/1/11.  Winner will be notified via email and announced via blog post.  Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: I am a Purex Insider.  A sample product was sent to me to use and review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

I'm in love...with my pants...


So I'm in love.  Seriously.  It has been months (ok, maybe even 19 months or so) since I really loved how I looked in a pair of pants.  As all you new mamas know, pregnancy can leave you looking, well....a bit soft in some areas.  

After an extreme weight gain and now some major weight loss (65 lbs. baby!) I am seriously lacking in the wardrobe department. I have clothes in a wide variety of sizes.  A couple years ago I was seriously skinny, I'm talking size 4 and size 6 pants (hello, awesome).   

:: Allow me to illustrate.::
Size 4/6 Skinny Me -- Lol, ignore the outfit, it was Homecoming week at the high school I work at.

Then I got married.  Still pretty skinny.  138 lbs. on my wedding day. Size 8.

Then....I got pregnant.  And blew up like a beach whale.

Do you see these feet?  Horrible.

Ignore the dirty mirror.  Lol!

The Tuesday before Thad was born (he was born c-section on Friday) I weighed in at 222 lbs.


Now, I'm down to 157.  I still have 17 more to go, but more than that, I really need to firm up some jiggly parts.  However, I still can't fit into more than 2 pairs of my pre-pregnancy work pants and hardly any shirts.  After struggling the last few weeks with some major saggy pants (I'm talking I had to hold them if I walked more than 10, I finally gave it and hit the stores.  First, I went to Target.  Sadly, I wasn't thrilled with what I found in their "work" department.  Some of it was cute, but a lot of it just didn't fit right.  Now some of the casual tops, totally loved.

Then I hit Maurices.  I have been a faithful Maurices shopper for years.  Why?  If you know what size you wear you can grab almost anything.  That and their clothes aren't horribly expensive and you can usually hit a sale.  So, after my depressing trip to Target, I finally scored at Maurices. 

I found the.greatest.pants.  These are their new "higher waisted" pants and they're marketing them as "the pants you don't have to worry about showing your butt at work wearing."  Well, I agree.  I also agree that the higher waisted pants are more flattering than any low-rise pants I have worn in a long time.  

Trust me. These pants are hiding a multitude of sins.  You should see me naked.

I'm in love.

The only problem.  They only come in black.

*Insane for me and my body type.  In no way is this post meant to be-little anyone or make anyone uncomfortable.  

Warm weather, summer nights...relax in Branson.


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hilton Branson Missouri Hotel - Promenade at Branson Landing Hotel - Branson, MO Hotels     Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, MO - Hotel Exterior

Branson, Missouri has become one of the hottest midwest attractions.  With shopping, tours (check out the underground caves -- I saw a crazy one when I visited during spring break in college), and live action shows, you're sure to enjoy every minute of your stay.  The Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and the Hilton Covention Center Hotel are two of the best places to rest your head at night; with pools, a pet friendly environment, and cribs, you can bring the whole family!

When scheduling your trip to Branson, be sure to ask for the Best Value Package available at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and the Hilton Covention Center Hotel.  

Your rate includes deluxe accommodations, two adult and two children's tickets to the Legends of Kung Fu show at the White House Theater in Branson, MO, two adult and two children's two-day passes to Silver Dollar City®, a $25 gift card for shopping, and a $25 food credit for Level 2 Steakhouse. On top of all that your third night is free!

Branson is also a great place to host your next family reunion, girls getaway, and holiday celebration.  Along with the Kung Fu show, be sure to check out all the other great entertainment; such as, The Second Annual Branson Mustang Rally, National Kid's Fest at Silver Dollar City, Family Fishing Fair, Branson Z Fest, and much more!  And if you book with Hilton, both hotels are within driving distance of gold courses, lakes, museums, theme parks, and 49 live entertainment venues.  Talk about convenience!  

What are you waiting for?  Start planning!   

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I'm pretty sure we've been banned.


So tonight, the hubs and I decided to try Smash Burger.  I'm pretty sure we'll never be allowed back. 7 minutes into the meal I look down at Thaddeus, only to see that he has shit all over the high chair, up his back, through his shorts, out his diaper, down his legs, into his socks and shoes, and all of it ending up in a massive, runny, liquid pile on the floor.

Couponing, my way.


Ok, so I promised a follow up on my couponing haul.  Here's a down and dirty version of what I do.

  1. Buy 2 Sunday papers. -- If I want more of a particular coupon, I'll use My Coupon Hunter.  I've only ever bought $5 worth (I think 50 coupons).  I just wanted to see what it was like.  So far I've ordered coupons twice and didn't have any problems.
  2. Check out the following sites for the weekly match ups: My SLC Mommy, Totally Target (Have I ever mentioned my obsession with this store?), The Krazy Coupon Lady (she has some great getting started info), and a couple of other random ones.  If I'm just wanting coupon match ups for a particular store, I'll use swagbucks (like Google, remember to install the search bar, easy way to earn points) to search.  Example: "Walgreens weekly match up 5/8" -- You're sure to find the best deals at Walgreens and CVS.  There is almost always some type of FREE item that week using coupons.
  3. Some of the sites you'll find will let you print a list by click on particular match ups.  I did this for awhile, but I was wasting paper.  I now copy and paste all the deals/match ups that I want to get that week into a Word doc.  This way I can print it once and have it all ready to go.  
  4. I cut my coupons.  Now I've tried a couple different methods of organizing coupons, but this is the way I'm doing it (for now).  I currently file my inserts by date using page protectors and a binder.  I just stick a post-it note on the front with the date (ex. 5/8).  This way when I'm looking through the match ups, I can easily pull the correct insert and clip the coupon.  I then file these into separately labeled envelopes that I carry to the store.  I find this easier than using a big binder that I carry everywhere.  Although, I've kicked myself a couple times when I knew I had a coupon for something I found in the store, but the coupon was at home.  We'll see how long this method lasts.
  5. Finally, I take my list and head out.  I make sure to go at a time that's not super busy (less stress on you and the cashier).  I also make sure to always get rain checks for items that are out of stock.  This way you can still use your coupon and get the best deal. 
That's it.  Pretty simple.  Now here are a few thoughts.
  • Many coupon sites will advise you take a copy of the store's coupon policy with you.  I've never had a problem, thus I've never taken a copy.
  • Walgreens and CVS have rewards programs -- Register Rewards and Extra Care Bucks.  I find these annoying.  Each week you'll find items that are "FREE" when you get RR or ECB.  To me, if I have to spend the money, to get the money, it bugs me.  I know that logically this makes sense, but it drives me crazy.  I'll do it every once in awhile, but it's not my favorite thing to do.  (Example:  Buy X toothbrush at $2.99 and recieve $3 in RR.  Thus, making the item free.)
  • Printable coupon sites will allow you two prints/coupon.  Just hit the back button and refresh on your browser.  
  • Many retailers now have facebook pages -- you can usually find coupons for their products on their fan pages.
  • Remember to always stack a store coupon (Target, Walgreens, etc.) with a manufacturers coupon.  If you can pair it with a sale, even better.
  • If you have stores that double coupons, you can really score.  ::LUCKY YOU!!!::  We don't have ANY stores that double, so I'll never do what they do on Extreme Couponing (TLC).
  • Don't be greedy.  Don't buy more than you can use.  Don't buy things you don't need.  (Obvious, right?)  Donate extras when you can.
  • Check out the various ways of organizing your coupons.  I initially started by using a small accordion file that broke when it got too full.  Then I switched to a binder system where I clipped the coupons and just sorted them into page protectors (big mess).  Now I keep the inserts together and just label them.  I'm seriously considering the binder/baseball card holder method.  I'll let you know how that goes.
And remember...Don't coupon if you don't enjoy it.  I enjoy couponing, saving money, and the rush of getting the best deal.  It drives some people crazy.

If you still have questions, let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.  =)

Happy Mother's Day!!!


Just a quick note wishing all you mommies out there a happy, fabulous, wonderfully lovely (80 degrees here) day!  Per request, I'll be updating you with my how-to on couponing later this week, but for now, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my mother's day.  =)  Here are some pics of Thad's first time at the park and swinging.  He was little small (never thought I'd say for the swings, but he LOVED it!  

Oh and my outfit is 24M!!! I think it runs small. ;) Usually I wear 12M-18M

Extreme Couponing: My Haul


I've been a long time coupon user.  I really started using coupons shortly after the hubs got laid off and never really stopped.  Then I started shopping at Fareway (local store) -- this was awesome.  They actually go through all the competitor ads for the week and mark down all the items in the store so that they're all price matched for you.  (This keeps me from going to Walmart -- not my favorite place, but I go when I can get things FREE.)

Anyway, in the last few months I really started couponing hard and shortly after I began someone on facebook asked me if I had seen Extreme Couponing on TLC.  Hello!!! Have you seen this show?  Needless to say, it's now a regular recording on my DVR.  It's been a pretty interesting show (minus the lady committing coupon fraud, ok well, maybe including that).  Ever since that show aired though, I have the hardest time finding items in the stores. I'm pretty sure everyone and their dogs are now couponing, but hey, I don't blame 'em.  After all, I can get rain checks. =)

So here's my haul from today.  I got $117.49 worth of items for $13.98 before tax.  Not too shabby...

The NEW Swag Store!


If you are among the few that still haven't joined Swagbucks, here are some new reasons! These brand new additions to the Rewards Store are gift cards that range in value starting at $10 and going up to $100!

Here is a listing of a few of my new favorites including how much Swagbucks it will "cost" you :

$10 Fandango Gift Card for 1175 SB
$10 Chili's, Macaroni Grill, On The Border & Maggiano's Gift Card for 1195 SB
$10 Home Depot Gift Card for 1249 SB
$25 Lands End eGift Card for 2865 SB
$25 eGift Card for 2885 SB
$25 Cabela's eGift Card for 2975 SB
$25 eGift Card for 2995 SB

Of course, these are all FREE just from the points you will earn when you sign up and use Swagbucks.

Swagbucks is a search engine and you just simply use it for everything you do on the computer. During random searches you will be rewarded with Swagbucks that will continue to add to your account until you cash them out and turn them into great rewards like credit or any of the items I mentioned above.

It is FREE to use and so easy to earn! Sign up and start earning free stuff today!
Thanks MySLCMommy!