Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blessings of Fertility

I wanted to share our story. My husband I were civilly married young and people started saying things to me like "You need to be on something" speaking of a form of birth control, so I went and got on the depo shot. It made me super depressed and it just felt weird to not have a period for 2 years straight. Well, after about 2 years into our marriage I was invited to a Catholic Church and decided to give my life to Jesus and started going to RCIA(Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). I learned that for my husband and I to have our marriage blessed in the church that we had to take these NFP courses. I started learning about the Creighton method and the Church's teaching on contraception ( that we are not supposed to use birth control). We started taking the classes and a whole new world opened up for me. I never knew all the amazing things that were going on inside my body every month and I never knew that by using contraception my husband and I were sharing our lives together but we were guarding and keeping the gift of our fertility from one another. After charting my cycles for a few months my NFP counselor saw that I had low progesterone, a common sign of a women having been on the depo shot. A little while after that we saw that we did not have agrave reason to space and we were excited about our new life and being open to life! We found out we were pregnant soon after. But we had a miscarriage and I was completely devastated. My progesterone dropped very low and I fell into a DEEP depression and no one really understood except my NFP counselor. I continued to chart and saw that my cycles were very short and that my progesterone was very low. I saw first hand what the depo shot had done to my body. But because of the Creighton method and the information it offers through Pope Paul the VI institute we were able to use bio identical progesterone to help sustain my next pregnancy and 9 months later we had our first-born son! We went on to be blessed with our daughter, another little dear boy and now expecting our next little one, all through the grace of God and the gift of having the knowledge of the Creighton method and knowing that we needed progesterone. This is a topic that many people dont realize about the different NFP methods, that not only can it be used for spacing pregnancies for serious reasons but also it can be a beautiful gift for knowing when there is something that is not quite right. It has had huge success with helping couples who have been unable to conceive as well. God blessed our marriage in many ways but He crowned our marriage with the knowledge of the gift of our fertility. Now we can recommit our wedding vows every time we come together intimately by sharing every part of ourselves including our fertility...what a gift! A gift that was hidden from me and many others for so long.

May God bless you all with love of Christ

Couponing Binder

Here is a little addition to my last post. I wanted to include pictures from my home binder!

Obviously heres the cover:) It is just an old photo album

Then I started off with a plastic sheet cover that I can insert a paper into. I wrote some encouraging words about being a stay at home wife and mother to, well, encourage me! The writing is kind of hard to make out but it basically says how important my job is as a stay at home wife and mother! I also added some fun vines and flowers around the edge to brighten it up a bit!

The next page is on Morning Prayers. It has a bible verse and an exert from the Catechism. They really spoke to me especially in my vocation as a wife and mother so I included them.

Now at this point no laughing aloud :) This is my 10 week chore list. If it doesnt feel right I can always change something on it and honestly I dont follow it all the time but it is nice to have on hand on those days where I know I need to get things done but I just dont have the drive to figure something out. The imagery in the background is from one of my favorite visions in Revelations of the New Heaven and New Earth where God will be our Light and the river of life flowing through the city with the trees that bear healing fruits on either side. I just love this vision that John has and I thought it could be my background for my chore chart to encourage me and remind me of how my work can also be a prayer!

Now at this point I use dividers to  mark different sections. I like the colored ones because they are easier to find especially if some of your papers tend to be larger than the dividers. The color really stands out and I can find them faster.

This is an example of one of the sections that I use the dividers for. This one is marked BILLS. Here is a chart I rarely use but should use ALL THE TIME!! It is for bills. I can list the bills that come in, how much they are and when I paid them.

Now we can talk about my couponing section!!! I start off with some loose leaf paper and I go on Couponmom.com and check out what stores have sales that correspond with the coupons I have. I write down the deals that are either free or where Ill be saving atleast 80%. Then I pick and choose what stores to go to. For instance yesterday we went to Harris Teeter and Target and saved roughly 60% overall! I bought some planned items and then at Tearget I got some great deals with their clearance items! So below I have listed the different stores plus the price of the item before coupon- the price of the coupon and the end price. I write down how many coupons I have for this item and then I make sure to check that I have the coupons in my binder.

And here are just some pics of my coupons sitting so nicely in the baseball card protective sheets!I just pull out the ones I need and when I get new coupons I just insert them in the spots that   they belong, for example by category and expiration date. I love this method!

Well, I hope this was fun and informative!! And I hope that couponing doesnt seem so scary and daunting now...well at least a little easier that is!
 Happy couponing!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014


Today's couponing!
Total price before coupons and deals: $76
Total price after deals + coupons: $29
Savings: $47, 61 % saved

This is a very different post than the ones I usually write about but someone asked me to maybe post about how I coupon so I thought Id put a little something out there! First I must say I am no expert and I do not claim to even come close to an extreme couponer. But I do really enjoy couponing and I tend to save a nice little bundle on some great products.

The first thing I do is go out after Mass on Sunday to walmart. My husband drops me off and I run in and get some yummy donuts for the kids and my hunny and myself then I go over and pick up 2 Sunday newspapers. Yes, I buy 2, not 1, not 30 (like the extreme couponers do). Maybe one day Ill go up to 4 newspapers but for now 2 is good.

Next thing I do is hold on to old photo albums or binders that people have given me or ones Ive come across at goodwill or on sale I use baseball card protective sheets that I found at Staples for $3.99 for 9 sheets which is already alot. I got 2 packs to start off with. Make sure youre getting the ones for baseball cards. I heard someone say to get business card sheets because they were on sale but that was such a hassle trying to fold the coupons in crazy origami shapes just to fit them in those small slots...this actually turned me off couponing and I thought I could never do it. I also tried the little accordion  folder pocket book and this was stressful because I had to search through them all to see what I had. I then tried  photo album sheets which were great at first but then I realized that the sticky part started to teart the coupons if I wasnt careful. But now I use a my baseball card protective sheets and  I LOVE COUPONING!!!! Everything is laid out nice and smooth bright and pretty. I am very visual, so seeing the whole coupon is for some reason very important to me. I also include some loose leaf paper and some encouraging pretty papers with Bible scriptures, notes from the Catechism and pictures Ive drawn (I know I know Im totally a 5th grader). :) So its not just a couponing binder but my home organizer/journal. I am not a type A personality so when say "organizer" I mean it loosely.

Ok...now...at this point I go to couponmom.com (which is free to sign up) to find out what deals are at what stores and which coupons correspond with those deals! This website was a coupon life saver for me. Now I dont just use it alone but it helped me get an idea of how  deals + coupons work together and the different stores coupon codes. I do not print out coupons, I only use coupons out of the newspaper and sometimes the coupons from the magazine subscription AllYou that my dear mom got for me for Christmas! But the magazine is not a necessity but it is fun!

It is also great to know the kinds of deals that your local stores have. For instance Harris Teeter has a great Buy 2 get 3 free deal when you have their VIC card which is free. The 2 that youre paying for are usually higher priced then other stores but theyre giving you 3 free items so when you average it out you are still saving and you can use coupons on those as well. Even if you only have 2 coupons it will average out less than if you didnt have any coupons at all. Thay also have lots of buy one get one free deals which are always great! They print Catalina coupons from their register after your purchase and they are usually related to what you usually buy so you can hold on to those and use them again!
Then there is Target!!! They have AWESOME clearance deals that you can couple with coupons and save BIG! For instance today I found a Maybeline nail polish on clearance for $1.48 which is usually around $2.99. I had a coupon for $1 off from the newspaper so I scored a roughly $3 nail polish for   $ .48 cents! Target also has store coupons that you can print off their website that you can souple with your manufacture (newspaper) coupon. And they have Catalina coupons!!

There are also lots of other things to know like coupling your newspaper coupns with the Catalina coupons from the store and printable coupns but honestly I like things to be as simple as possible untill I feel ready for the next step and I am not there yet and Im fine with that for now. But if you are then there are lots more ways to save.

Another thing couponing has helped me with is restlessness from the day to day, the sense of sometimes feeling overwhelmed as a stay at home mom and also it is an awesome hobby! I like to have a goal in mind like heading out to save on diapers and wipes and while Im at the store Ill give the kids (and myself) a donut and walk up and down the aisles and look for deals that maybe werent advertised that will couple with my coupons! That is fun for everyone. And then when your husband comes home its fun for him because your all fresh and excited and not grumpy and tired, well maybe a little ;) but theres an overall glow from saving money and finding some great deals!! And my kids have their own little couponing folders where they put pictures from the newspaper inserts that they cut out in. I also give them expired coupons and my daughter especially will sit for well over 1/2 an hour just organizing them the way she likes them. The kids enjoy cutting with safety scissors which is a great way for them to work on their fine motor skills, a hidden school lesson for the homeschooling moms out there :)

Well I hope this was somewhat enjoyable! Maybe next time Ill post pics of my home organizer and coupon binder!