What I’ve Been Up To…

_DSC2099As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting a lot lately, either here or on Social Media. I’ve been busy. Distance learning is coming to a close for the year, so we’ve been doing a lot of meetings and paperwork (I’ll be glad when the mountains of homework packets stop).

In addition to supervising all of the learning (for both kiddos), I’ve also been taking a more active role in helping my big kiddo find behavioral therapies that will work well on his journey through life. My big kid is on the Autism spectrum (ASD) and that means that we do behavioral therapy a few times a week in addition talk therapy. So lots of time helping process feelings and emotions, and that leaves this mama bear feeling tired.

I (try to) get up early about 6:30 each morning, make coffee, do emails, and work on getting stuff set up for the day before the kiddos wake up. Sometimes I’m super successful and get it done. Sometimes I’m lucky if I get a shower.

Successes for the days are measured so much differently now. Did we make it through a day without tears? Missing friends, regular routines, going to the gym, extracurricular activities- all of these weigh heavy on the kids, and grown-ups.

We’ve also been trying to get our home more organized, and we’ve been getting some help from a family friend who is a Konmari guru. We’re about halfway through the process, and it’s been super liberating to get rid of stuff that no longer serves us. We sold all of the DVD’s/video games that we no longer wanted, and raised over $200, that we’ll put towards family fun (maybe sock it away for a 2021 vacation?). Thankfully our local thrift shops are accepting donations at this time. We’ve been loading up the back of my car weekly to donate goods.

In an attempt to wear the kids out physically, I’ve been taking them out for a walk a few times a week with my parents at a local park. Social distancing and masking occur- Also a liberal application of mosquito repellant is applied- The kids and I are very tasty according to the local ‘squito population. We also picked up a small pool for the patio- We are on our second. The first was not heavy-duty enough. This is the one I recommend. We also put tarps under it to protect it from the textured decking. I also use this solar fountain to keep the water moving all day, and we cover it with a tarp at night. I usually dump the water and refill it 2-3 times per week.

downloadSaving money has been a challenge as of late- There aren’t as many deals as supplies aren’t being delivered to stores regularly, less staff to stock shelves, etc. And really, who has been shopping lately for fun? Not many of us. I’ve been using coupons when I can find them, but what I have really found useful is Honey. Honey is a browser extension that helps you find coupon codes and sale prices on items that you are shopping for online. I used it to save over $145 when we bought the big kids new bed a few weeks back.

And I’ve been making masks for family and friends- I made some especially for the kids this week too.

kalecutI’m here y’all! I’m up to my eyeballs, but I’m here. And of course, I’m doing the Always Eat After 7pm program, so I’ll be posting about that. There are so many good recipes I am excited to try (dark chocolate dipped PB cookies, uh, yeah). and I’ll be posting some recipes this weekend- I’ve got a killer Kale Salad recipe that is so tasty and easy (and it keeps in the fridge for a few days too).

I’ll be hosting an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway soon! I want to spread the love with you!

 

Talk Back: What have you been doing lately? 

Why I love….

purple crocusThis year, I wanted to add  a few new weekly posts in. I already have Meal Plan Monday, and I try and post freebies on Fridays.  This year, I’ll be adding in Why I Love… on Tuesdays. Each post will have a Talk Back question. I’d love to hear from you to help make my blog more about what you want to learn about and be a part of.

I’ll be sharing products, services, books, whatever I am into at the time. Starting off, I’ll be sharing my love of… The YMCA.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.41.46 AM.pngWe joined our local YMCA two years ago when Bitty Bird was about 6 months old. What drew me to our local Y was all of the incredible options it held:

  • Child care for 2 hours a day while I exercised, took classes, swam, or just went and took a shower.  There is child watch for kids 5 and under, and kids club for bigger kids. Each area has toys, games, and books, as well as a staff that interacts and plays games with the kids. When the weather is nice, the bigger kids go outside to play field games. When it’s cold or wet outside (or crazy hot- come on, this is a desert), the kids get to go into the gymnasium and play games, do obstacle courses. Both kids love to go. I try to go at least 5 times a week.
  • Great fitness classes included in our membership fee.
  • A great pool with an area just for kids.
  • Our membership includes access to all of the YMCA locations in San Diego, and access to YMCA locations across the country if we go on vacation.
  • Guest passes to bring friends.
  • Free classes and events for kids and the family (Our local Y does a free movie night once a month or so).
  • Free local community days- Usually on holidays, our local Y offers the community free access. It’s a great way to bring friends and neighbors to see what the Y is all about.
  • Free guest passes- I can bring friends whenever I want!
  • Low cost personal training and speciality classes. They offer personal training, TRX, and other specialty classes for a low rate. It’s a great way to get a “boost” to my fitness goals and stay on budget. There are also classes for kids: Gymnastics, karate, tumbling, art-pretty much anything they could want!
  • Scholarships and discounts. If you have an EBT card, receive WIC, SSI, or other social services, or you are active duty or retired military, you can qualify for a scholarship (a discount on your monthly dues), or a military discount.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.42.45 AM.pngRight now, most YMCA locations are offering deals for the new year.

Join the Y anytime in January and get up to $50 towards any program of your choice! From personal training & swim lessons to summer camps, at the YMCA, there is something for everyone!

For more information and details, contact your local YMCA.

And if you join a San Diego area YMCA, please give my name as a referral: Abby Hewes. I can earn discounts or a free month for referring new members (and once you are a member, you can too!).

I can’t wait to share more about what’s going on in our lives and what we are into.

Talk Back: If you are a member of the YMCA, what is your favorite part?

 

Illness and My Birthday…

file0001442071545 The worst part of being sick as a mom to small kids is that there is seldom time to rest, which means the illness lingers. Additionally, the likelihood that you got the illness from one of those small people is pretty great.

I’ve been battling a plague for over a week. That means, yes, I spent my birthday coughing and blowing my nose…sexy, no?

Overall, it was a great day. Lil’ Man drew me a book. He was going to make me a card, but he wanted to make me something I’d keep forever, so he made a book with pictures of reptiles. He drew most of them himself, and only used stickers from his reptile sticker book a few times. It’s very sweet.  Hubs got me a new FitBit!

The kids and I spent each day after school last week collecting birthday freebies, you can see my list of the goods here and here. We sprinkled it in with trips to the park (where I sat on a bench and coughed) or other errands. Lil’ Man’s overall favorite is the mini bundt from Nothing Bundt Cake. My fav is free lunch at Rubio’s.

Other than than, I’ve been going to bed early and napping during the day while Bitty sleeps, which is the reason there haven’t been any posts in a week. Now that I’m about 75% better, there should be more posts coming, including some fun DIY posts coming up about making infused oils (it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts!).

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I posted a photo of some floral print fabric the other day. I am the costume designer for a local theatre’s production of the stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird. That’s right, before I blogged about frugal living and clipping coupons, I designed and made costumes for theatres, movies, renaissance faires, LARP’s, and historical recreationists.

So now you know what I’ve been up to.. What’s going on with you?

Update: where have I been?

I'm looking stylish in my mask and hospital gown, right?
I’m looking stylish in my mask and hospital gown, right?

You may have been wondering where I’ve been. I haven’t been updating the blog a lot and I definitely haven’t been doing a lot of Facebook posts lately.

I’ve been sick. It all started back in the middle of December when I started not feeling well I had a cough and a slight fever and I was just feeling very run down. I just chalked it  up to being the holidays and getting the same ick and everybody else had.

When I called the doctors office to talk to the nurse practitioner she said that it was probably either just the virus that was going around or had a cold and not to bother wasting my $40 co-pay to come in to be told I have a cold. I appreciated that and took the list of OTC meds she suggested I take to Target and shopped.

Fast forward to the end of February and I can’t go five or ten minutes without coughing or hacking. I continued the take the OTC meds the NP suggested and just resigned myself to the fact that it was going to take 12+ weeks to recover like she said. After getting little over 3 hours of sleep Saturday night, I called the 24 hour nurses line on Sunday. I had reached my breaking point. I needed help. I went over my symptoms and confessed to the nurse on duty that I thought I might have a slight case of pertussis since I do have children and we go to the park a lot where there are all kinds of germy kiddos!

I have had the pertussis vaccination as a child and all the boosters that are supposed to be administered while you’re pregnant also. She said that she didn’t think I had pertussis because I wasn’t having the “whoop” in my cough (hence the name whooping cough), but she would have someone from my PCPs office call me on Monday. I asked her if she thought I should go to urgent care and she said no because urgent care is only for people who are sick. This made me a little upset as you probably can guess. Because I haven’t had more than three hours (tops) of sleep since Christmas and my voice is so hoarse from coughing but I can’t talk above a whisper most of the time.

After talking it over with my husband I went to urgent care where after having a doctor poke and prod at my glands, look down my throat, listen to me breathe, cough, and have a set of  chest x-rays he said I’m going to give you a pertussis swab (If you’ve never had one it’s where they take a swab flexible wire and stick it up your nose really far. It does not feel good).

So here I am two days later waiting for the results of my pertussis test. I should get a phone call one where the other tomorrow or perhaps Thursday. In the meantime I’ve been given a prescription for an inhaler, oral steroids, and lovely little tussin pearls. I feel 1000% better than I did before. It could be that I’ve actually slept and I can take a deep breath without coughing incessantly for five minutes.

And I did a lot of research myself before coming to the conclusion that I should probably be tested for pertussis or even say those words to the nurse at the after hours line or the doctor at the urgent care. I looked at the CDC website and some medical journals online, I talked to adults actually had pertussis.  They too had received the initial vaccination and appropriate boosters as indicated by medical professionals.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because you are your only medical advocate. If you don’t feel good and the doctors, nurses, and medical practitioners that you were speaking to you don’t take your concerns seriously or they brush you off as a hypochondriac or just someone who has a school-age child and you’re going through the back to school yucky that everybody gets, keep talking to to medical professionals until you find someone that will listen to you.

If I have pressed forward and demanded for an appointment when I called the nurse the first time I told her of the symptoms I was having, I probably would’ve been seen.  They would’ve tested me for everything I requested it, and I would’ve taken medication and been much better right now.

You are your child’s primary advocate also! If your kiddo ins’t feeling well and their ped gives you a brush off, get a second opinion!  I feel fortunate that my children have a wonderful pediatrician who listens to my concerns and answers all of my seemingly odd questions. She spent more time with me yesterday than any doctor have the entire time I have been seeing a doctor.  She answered all of my questions about my children’s health and my health too.  She even checked my medical record to see if the test results back for my pertussis test, which they had not. She seemed genuinely concerned that the petitioner and my PCPs office did not want to see me when I voiced a concern but I might have bronchitis or whooping cough because I have an infant in the house.

So now that I’m feeling better, you’ll be seeing your posts for me. I have a lot of awesome stuff to share with you guys about programs coming up that I’m being a part of, hopefully I’ll have some to give away supposed to say, I’m back at it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 5.02.02 PMIn fact the rough draft of this post was dictated to my iPhone warded six loads of laundry this afternoon. All the while wearing Margaret in the Tula. I have a lot of awesome stuff to share with you guys about programs coming up that I’m being a part of, hopefully I’ll have a giveaway coming uptoo!

I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to be on the mend and help more awesome content for you guys coming up for fun crafts you can do with the kids! Thank you for all the emails Private messages on Facebook. It means a lot to me that you guys reach out to me to find out how I’m doing. I really appreciate it.

What I do with all the free samples I receive….

bright boxesOn Saturday, my mailman asked me, “What’s up with all of the free samples?” She’s not the only one who asks. It’s one of the questions I get a lot when people find out I coupon and we live frugally (the other question I get a lot  is: “Do you have TP under your bed?”

Well, here’s the deal: I donate them. And no, there is no TP under my bed. Just out of season shoes and dust bunnies.

I donate about 90% of the free samples I receive in the mail. The local American Legion post collects small sized toiletries to make into care packages which are distributed to local homeless vets.

Additionally, the other local charity that my coupon club supports (Naomi’s Closet) also collects and distributes small sized toiletries to women’s in need.

If that sounds like something that appeals to you, you can collect travel/sample sized products and donate them to your local charity of choice.

I like MySavings to find top quality freebies. I also sign up for the P&G Brandsaver (it’s a collection of free samples from P&G available once a quarter).  Once the samples arrive, I take them out of their shipping container and I have a small box under my bathroom sink where I store samples and donation goodies.  I donate the contents of the box each month.

I also regularly donate full size products too.  For example, my donation budget is $5.00/month.  That doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but when I match sales with coupons, I am able to save big, and that $5.00 goes pretty far!

So the next time you that I’m posting free sample offers here or on Facebook, know that there will be one headed my way, to help someone in need!