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Tomorrow, My ABC Soup, will be featured in The News-Review. This column I took the time to reflect, memoir style, with the happenings of the last year. I turned twenty-five and let's just say, I have finally grown up (mostly). 
One year ago I was enormous, exhausted, moody and clueless as to what was to come in the next year. May has always been a busy month for me with my birthday, Mother’s Day, a number of family celebrations and the Memorial Day kick-off-to-summer trip. Last year’s May was considerably busy awaiting Audrey’s arrival.

I spent those last May days anxious, covered in anti-stretch mark cream and doing pretty much anything I could to go into labor, including mowing the lawn. My mood swings swung as much as the spring weather and my husband was replaced with a body pillow named George.

It is hard to imagine that was all a year ago and George just moved out – and thankfully, the stretch marks and baby weight have left as well. And in we welcomed a beautiful baby girl.

Though most of the physical battle scars of last spring have gone away, I am emotionally changed forever. In one-year, I gained an entirely different view on life. 

(check here tomorrow for the full column!)


fashion friday

[for the love of hats]

Crazy8 beach hat

Dollar tree!

[sophisticated spring]

Salmon colored light fleece peacoat and sweatpants from Target

Nautical baby tshirt sweater and leggings from Macy's


baby cuddles

Recently,  Audrey started giving "loves." Mid-play, she will just lay her head down on you, look at your face, then lay it back down spreading her little arms around you and making an "mmmm" sound. Even though she can't speak, you know she is saying, "I love you." This makes me just melt.

Audrey has always been a very independent baby. She started sleeping in her crib at about 2-weeks-old and slept so much better in her own room and bed. She started getting a bottle right away and holding it herself around 5-weeks-old. She started eating solids, using a cup and a spoon starting at 6-months-old though now. 

With almost everything, she wants to do it herself and will smack your help away saying with her eyes, "me do!" 

I love her independence, but as a mom, sometimes I just wanted to snuggle her and she wasn't interested. She rarely will even fall asleep in someone's arms - let alone mine. 

So, when she started giving these intended hugs and occasional kisses, I am just eating it up. 

And of course, I also know, it is short lived. Pretty soon she will be going "eww mom" at my kisses, so I'm taking every little bit I can.


couponing for dummies

My rising grocery bill has brought me to a new adventure: couponing. I AM CLUELESS. Some women just have a knack for it. 

One friend of mine, Ashley Alliman, has that knack. Here she guest posts on some tips for the coupon-illiterate like myself.  

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In this weakened economy, persistent inflation and an ever-more draining pocketbook, couponing has become a necessity to survive.

Becoming a wife and realizing the shrinking value of the dollar, I began to get creative. My mother was the type who never went to the grocery store without her coupon book. I’m not going to sugar coat it; it is time consuming, but completely rewarding.

Here are some how-to-coupon for beginners tips that are easy and will save you a bundle:

·      My husband and I were able to get our hands on a wonderful piece of technology, Android cell phones, that allow us to download multiple applications including one handy app, Coupons, where I was able to scroll through thousands of products, by alphabetical order and offers available through a certain time period. I could download the coupon and either e-mail it to myself to print or the cashier could just take the promotion code straight from my phone.

·      Common grocery stores are now offering double your manufactures coupon in weekly ads. With these coupons, you can pair them with specific product coupons and receive, typically, up to $0.50 back per coupon. Manufacturer coupons are widely accepted at both national chain and local grocery stores and the best place to find them is in your paper or online. Do your research and combine these manufacturer coupons with grocery store coupons and to maximize your buying power.

·         I also discovered thekrazycouponlady.com. Here I am able to scroll through thousands of items anywhere from medicines to food and various cleaning products, etc… that are currently offering a coupon. You can select multiple coupons, store them in your “cart” and when complete, you then check out and this prompts the site to send all of the selected coupons to your email address for a print-ready option. If this is not your style, you can go to each individual manufacturer’s websites of the products you seek (where they generally always have some kind of coupon option) and print! Simple as that! If you are not the tech-savvy type, manufacturers coupons can usually be found on the label (or inside packaging) of many products.

·      For a quick organizing tip: clip your specific coupons and pair with double your manufacturer’s coupon. Also, group food items together and household items together which makes it easier for you to work your way down the aisles without having to back-track. Now be aware, some manufacturer’s coupons may say “cannot be doubled," in which you will only receive the discount of the specific coupon.

·      Back to basics: go through your Sunday newspaper or if you know someone that gets it, ask if you can have it when they are done. Also check out free coupon/advertisement papers and your local grocery store coupon books.

·      If you do not have your stores coupon book before going, when you go inside either look for it or ask someone. Being that my mother gets our Costco coupon book, I have to go in and ask for it, then spend time looking to see if anything on my list matches up or can be exchanged for the item in the coupon. 
Couponing can be a fun and rewarding experience. There is something so exciting about finding an item already on sale and STILL receiving, for example, $1.00 off, plus an additional $0.50 off with your double manufacturer’s coupon. If you’re an experienced extreme couponer, you may have to make multiple transactions at the checkout lane, but receive many products for nearly no cost to you!  

Couponing will save you money as long as you are still going off your shopping list. Just because you found a great deal does not mean you need to buy it! Make a grocery list and then look for coupons or if you see a good item on sale, think of what item off your list you can exchange it for or a new dinner recipe you can make. There is no point in having 20 cans of black beans that were .10 each if you don’t use them. -Brittany

Happy couponing!



motherhood, etc...

Happy belated Mother's Day moms! It was a joy to officially be the first one I celebrated for being a mom. It gave me time to reflect on the little things I love so much about it and the stuff I never imagined would be on the job description. 

1. Cleaning poop out of the bath is as much of my morning routine as coffee. 
2. I consider going to the bank, the dentist or grocery shopping my special alone time.  
3. I have more photos of Audrey in ten months than I do of myself in twenty five years.
4. I will dance, sing or read books in order to get Audrey to eat her food.
5. I can hardly remember a time showering without my ears and mind tuned totally to Audrey in the other room and stressing by thinking of everything disastrous that could happen. 
6. My husband and I compete over who has changed more diapers and who's turn it is. 
7. I will take full credit when others say "your baby..." except argue when it is my husband who says it.
8. I tried to be the perfect mom, but that is completely exhausting. 
9. I dress her like she is my doll. And I re-dress her after my husband has. 
10. I still get weirded out every time I say, "my daughter."
11. My Vogue, Us Weekly and People subscriptions have turned to Good Housekeeping, Parents & Real Simple.
12. I now listen to my all time favorite, Britney Spears, and frown upon the suggestive lyrics. 
13. I no longer head toward my section at the clothing store, I head for the baby section.
14. I no longer compete with other women and how they look, I compete with how their baby looks opposed to mine. 
15. The only television I watch is Disney or "My Baby Can Read." 
16. I can't imagine not having Audrey. Life would be so boring.

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