Giving Thanks And A Little Shopping

I decided to combine a few posts into one about our trip home to NJ for Thanksgiving. I know I always say, “this is my favorite holiday” for every single one but I love them for different reasons. For Thanksgiving, you get to spend time with family, eat some delicious food, shop and at the end, start decorating for the next holiday. No waiting in between!

Wednesday
I was really excited when Rob got the “wink” that he wouldn’t have to work on Thanksgiving. I was prepared to stay home and make a nice dinner for the three of us, but welcomed the good news.

Rob got home Wednesday morning, we packed the car and headed to NJ. I drove since he had been working all night and welcomed the peace and quite when both the boys were sleeping (all 30 minutes of it!). We made it home in pretty good time and actually beat my Mom and Sister who were out shopping.

Thursday

Thanksgiving was so much fun, as usual. If you know me IRL (in real life) you know that I come from a decent size family, on each side. This Thanksgiving we had 35 for dinner. P did great and my cousins, Aunts and Uncles were super sweet to him. He sat in his high chair and had oatmeal and peas while we all at dinner.

Since we had dinner at my Uncles office, we decided to do a little photo shoot. 🙂

“Let’s see, if I can just grab this and make a few folds…”
Ah, Daddy would be please!”
“I simply don’t understand what all the commotion is about. These cubicles are HUGE!”
“Listen, if you want me to sleep through the night I am gonna need something in return. “
We decided to leave Big Chief a note for when he came back into work. 
For the past five years (ish) I have been able to go Black Friday shopping. Some years it was with my Mom and Sister, then with Rob and this year I got to go with all three while P stayed home with his Big Chief. After Thanksgiving dinner, we hung out in our room and came up with a game plan.

We were well prepared and I even downloaded and awesome Black Friday app where I could scan the sales and even make a wishlist by store.

Friday
We got up at 3:30 and were out the door by 4:00 am. Every year I seem to run into someone and wish that I looked a little more presentable. This year I actually got dressed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on some pearls and even some mascara. Go figure, I did not see ONE person I knew. Oh well, at least I felt like a million bucks 😉

First stop was of course Kohls!

We made out really well and since the store opened the night before, we walked in to no lines. Pretty good deal seeing as though we didn’t want any of the crazy items, just the sales and Kohls cash. Mom even found a box of candy bigger than her head!

Our next stop was the mall. Let’s just say, it wasn’t very crowded…

After a quick and successful trip to Bonton (we finally found an item where you could use that stupid $10 off a single item $10 or more excluding doorbusters) and Sears, we headed home to unload our first hull of goods.

I checked in on Big Chief and P, who were still sleeping and we set out again! This time we headed to Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Michales and Hobby Lobby. No surprise here, Michaels and Hobby Lobby were among my favorites and I scored a bunch of cute decorations for the house! Our last stop was Toys R Us to pick up a baby gate that was on sale. I also managed to score some Baby Gantics products that were buy 1 get 1 free!

“Do I need to stop for spreading.” In reference to our stop at the Panera drive-through for breakfast.

“On to the screw section.” In reference to trying to find organizer containers for screws and nails in Home Depot. I also caught some pretty funny shots on camera…

I was so excited when they agreed to let me take their picture for my blog! This is the Black Friday spirit I LOVE! 
Apparently we all wanted/needed cutting boards and decided we would give them to each other for Christmas but would actually take ours home this weekend to start using.
This will be perfect for P when he visits Bam and Chief! 

But here is my favorite… About 9:00 am we started talking about lunch because we had already been up for 5ish hours. There was a Texas Roadhouse that I suggested but my Sister promptly said, this isn’t a sit down lunch kind of day. Then my Mom proceeded to say, while making this motion, “this is a hamburger in your face kind of day”. I spent the next 10 minutes or so laughing!

At the end of the day, we packed the car as tight as we could and headed home to look through our stash to see how we made out!

Of course, Daddy snuck in some cuddles with his little P!

Saturday ~ Sissy’s moving day! 
On Saturday we packed up a trailer and moved Sarah to her new apartment. 

Completing her move-in apartment check. 
Since the door was open, Bam insisted that P was cold and put socks on his hands. He wasn’t a fan but what Bam wants, Bam gets 😉
She definitely had less stuff than we did! 

We had such a great weekend and I am so happy we were able to make it home to NJ! Our trip back to VA included several stops for diaper changes but we were glad to be home and to start decorating for the holidays!

15 Prizes, 23 Blogs, Let’s Band Together to Turn Black Friday Red, White, & Blue! {Giveaway}

Now that I am home from a yummy Thanksgiving dinner with my amazing family, it is time to start celebrating the Christmas holiday! My Mom, Sister and the hubs are planning to leave the house tomorrow morning around 4 am to start our shopping. Grandpa gets to spend the day with Parker! 
With Black Friday only a few hours away, it is also time to share an amazing giveaway I think you will love! I have the privilege to co-hosting this giveaway with 23 other bloggers for 15 chances for you to win 1 of 15 fantastic American made prizes!

Welcome to our “Turn Black Friday Red, White, & Blue” GIVEAWAY!  This is THE YEAR to support our American businesses, show our USA Love, and keep our jobs at home by seeking out gifts made in the USA.  We’ve heard from parents that American made products and gifts for kids are among the most challenging to find so we have pulled together some of our favorite brands and sources for a massive holiday giveaway event.

This giveaway will launch on Black Friday and will run through December 7, with winners selected each day during the first week of December.  Like the fun gift exchanges we all enjoy with friends, the first winner will have their first choice of prize, and so on, continuing until this huge pile of American-made treasures is in the hands of our readers, just in time for Christmas giving.
Our Prize Sponsors:
Many thanks to these fabulous sponsors who offered their American-made products to our readers.  This list alone is a fantastic source for finding made in USA gifts. Before or after you enter, take a moment to click around and get to know our favorite resources for kids’ stuff made in the USA.  Be sure to follow them on social media to show your support and to hear about new products and promotions.
K’Nex are the world’s most creative construction and building toys.
Prize: K’Nex Classics 50 Model Building Set with over 700 pieces
Natural, Non-toxic Nail Polish, “Natural As Mud”
Prize: MistleToes Gift Set
Made in USA Store for one-stop All-American-made shopping online.
Prize: All American Toy Collection in a handmade stocking
Battery-free, Creative Toys with a Focus on Toys Made in USA.
Prize: Wooden Fire Truck Toy
An Online Source for Things Made in the USA, including toys.
Prize: A $100 gift certificate 
Gifts & teddy bears stuffed with love in Vermont.
Prize: 15″ Hoodie Footie Bear
Smart Textiles for Smart Parents! Antimicrobial Baby Products.
Prize: Fold & Go Antimicrobial Changing Pad
Plush toys, handmade just for you!
Prize: Medium Plush Toy of your choice
Authentic American Toys, Games, & Puzzles
Prize: $10 toy, game, or puzzle of your choice
An addicting car racing table game for parties or family game night.
Prize: A Tailgate 500 Game Set
Play with your Thinking Putty at home, school, work, the car, anywhere! 
Prize: A Trio of Tins of Thinking Putty

Hank Player USA | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Cool graphic tees for infants, toddlers and boys and girls of all ages.

Two Prizes: 2 long sleeved t-shirts, winners choose
Fun, safe, and environmentally friendly all natural wooden toys.
Prize: Maple & Walnut Start Stacker Toy

Butterscotch Blankees | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Personalized gifts with love. Blankets, pillows, accessories & dresses.
Prize: A full-sized, personalized acrylic blanket
Our Promotional Sponsors:
The following sites are showing their USA Love by co-hosting this event on their blogs.  Take a moment to get to know these fabulous bloggers who write about a wide range of topics. This season, they are helping to turn Black Friday Red, White, & Blue!
EVENT HOST: 

How to Enter: 

We like to keep our giveaways flexible and allow our readers to enter in whatever ways they are most comfortable. There are a LOT of entry options below, but don’t be overwhelmed. They are not required… however, the more entry options you complete, the more chances you’ll have to win. The more entries the better because you could even win more than one prize! Some entry options are available for daily entry so bookmark us and come back!

Just click the Do It! button for further instructions on each entry.  Prizes will begin to be distributed on 12/1 and this giveaway will close at midnight on 12/6. The winners will be randomly selected, verified for correct entry participation, and notified by email.
If you’ve already entered one contest on USA Love List, entering another will be even easier. Visit USA Love List’s Giveaways Page to find out about other active offers to join.

31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 3 (Meal Planning)

In our home, meal planning is essential to an organized week. If we don’t do the prep work, we often find ourselves eating quick fast food meals that deplete our wallets and increases our belt loops.

I will admit that I am kind of cheating here because I hosted a month challenge in September called, Meal Planning On A Budget. I never got around to doing a month wrap up so I am gonna sneak that into today’s post. Not to mention it is WW Wednesday so you are getting 3 posts in the viewing pleasure of one!

It is amazing to me how counter intuitive organizing can be sometimes. Specifically with meal planning, if you have a busy week in store, just eat out was always my thought! My main reason for starting to plan our meals was financial. I realized after the first week however, the benefits were so much more than that!

In the month of September, we spent each Sunday morning planning our meals for the week, looking through the coupons in our paper and going out to shop. We spent maybe 30 minutes preparing and about two hours out. We stayed within budget of $50 each week, tried a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ate 100% better than we had been.

In order to make it easy each week I created a few documents to help. They were extremely helpful over the last 4 weeks and I am going to continue to use them each week. It was amazing how much food we had in our two freezers and pantry. Some of it was going to expire soon so we used that which felt great because it didn’t go to waste. I loved mapping out everything on the month calendar so we could see ahead days we would be eating out, when we would be home for a few days to make a large meal for leftovers, etc… The meal plan and grocery list were essential to keeping to our budget. It kept us away from buying extra ingredients or more snacks than we would need that week.

I also went through our cookbook shelves and dwindled it down to 1 shelf of our favorite books and a binder divided up by category. I took pictures of recipes from my favorite cookbooks and tore out pages from the magazines we had to add to the binder. Unfortunately  I forgot it at home and am visiting my parents for the week. I will make sure to share a picture when I get home.

Planning ahead also allowed me to maximize my WW point allowance each week. This has been really important to keep my supply up for P. Eating a few quick junk food items a day was horrible on my supply, energy and self esteem  I was able to eat more than twice the amount of food and stay within my points. Rob and I also had more “family” meals together that were quite tasty. This month is a little crazy with me visiting my parents for a week, vacationing in OBX for a week and now possibly moving the end of October but we will push through and plan ahead 🙂

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That wraps up day #3 for me! Check back tomorrow where I will be talking 
about making it a little easier to keep the house clean!  

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Our favorite trio!

I was so excited for Jen, Jeff and Charlie to come visit this past weekend! We always have so much fun with them.

Jen and I set off Saturday morning for the bi-annual Northern Virgina Moms Of Multiples consignment sale. Their sale last fall was the first one I had ever been to and it was so good I just couldn’t pass it up again. Needless to say, it was once again successful!

I scored some cute outfits including yet another fire outfit, a few striped outfits (of course) and another hooded onesie (from the Gap). I found a perfect onesie for OBX that says, “don’t wake me, I drank too much last night”. I also got a ton of pants which is what I was mainly looking for.

 

I also found a travel Boppy, a ton of Trumpette socks (thank you Jen!), a few hats (so he doesn’t need to borrow a pink one again!), shopping cart cover, Snugli Carrier, 3 bags of Snappies, and…

… a Go-Pod. A Mommie had brought this to one of my Mommy Bootcamp classes and their little played in it for an hour. I hadn’t gone to this sale looking for one since P is still a little young but it was such a great deal I just couldn’t pass it up!

The six of us also trekked out in the Momma mobile for a fun IKEA and Ci Ci’s trip. It was a perfect weekend full of shopping, laughing, great food and friendly company.

Rob and P got to experience their first consignment sale today! One of my fellow Mommies told us about the Classy Kids Consignment Sale and we just had to go! They have a really great website where, as a new Mommy, I was able to purchase tickets to get into the sale first!

We got to try out our Becco Butterfly which P seemed to love (slept the whole time). 
Our stash included a ball pit ($12), formula ($5) a Kelty Kids backpack/carrier ($25), some cute outfits, toys and fire boots! The Adirondack chair ($12) is for OBX in October 🙂