Thursday, August 28, 2008

First week of school.....

I'm busy at work, busy at home, busy in this will be brief!

#1 Kids started school last week - on the third day my oldest son broke his arm on the playground - 'nuff said!

#2 I have found myself yelling "Brush your face and wash your teeth and let's go" on more than one morning in this past week.

#3 I just balanced my checkbook and there is a little breathing room in there.....just in time for gas prices to go up! woo hoo!

#4 I have yet to make time to compare coupons/sale ads to post for all of you....I'm working on it! Maybe this extended weekend will give me an opportunity to organize my life! HA! HA!

Have a great rest of the day....sorry this is all I had time for!



Friday, August 22, 2008

Fabulously Frugal Friday (and Saturday and Sunday!)

Here is a short list of fabulous things to do through the weekend that won't dig into your pocketbooks too deep. Enjoy!

#1 Urbana High School Gridiron & Fish Fry - Friday, August 22 - 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Urbana High School Football Stadium - Michigan & Race streets, Urbana, IL 61801
Price: Free Admission; Food & game prices vary

GRIDIRON '08 - Urbana High School Football season kick-off event!Freshman vs. Sophomore scrimmage at 6:30Varsity scrimmage at 7:45Menu: Fish sandwich, pork chop sandwich, cheeseburgers, walking tacos, lemon shake-ups, frozen treats, popcorn, fruit kabobs, puppy chow
Events: Football Toss, 3-Point Basketball shoot, Bag Toss, Face Painting

*All proceeds benefit Urbana High School Organizations*

#2 Sangamon River Music Festival, Mahomet - August 22 - August 23, Friday 5:30-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm

Location: Downtown Mainstreet, Mahomet, IL
Contact Info: 217-586-4456

FREE 2 day Music Concert (food, beverages, merchandise, & games have nominal cost)

Event Details:
Bring the kids, your lawn chairs, and join us and your neighbors for 2 days of great FREE music, a parade (incuding a pet parade), bicycle rodeo, kids games, arts and crafts, food (including the traditional American Legion Fish Fry Friday night), and our second annual beer tent. Friday August 22nd at 5:30pm the Sangamon River Music Festival kicks off with Blues Deacons jamming on the Mahomet Village bandstand. Pop Rocks takes over playing from 8pm until 10pm.Saturday August 23rd at 10am, the festival continues with a downtown parade. The parade finale shows off owners and their dogs guaranteed to be a hoot.

Immediately following the parade, the Village of Mahomet Police department will host a bicycle rodeo for Safe Routes to School at Sangamon Elementary School blacktop.Meanwhile at the village bandstand, the Brat Pack will rock out the Music festival starting at 11am. Fuedin' Hillbillies will follow. Next, the band, Live Karaoke will let you come up on stage to be a rock star yourself. The evening concludes with one of Champaign County's most beloved bands... Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets! This is one of the last remaining free music concerts in the state. Bring a lawnchair and enjoy some truly talented musical artists. There is something for the entire family!!!

#3 Urbana Sweetcorn Festival - August 22 - August 23 - 5:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M. Friday & 11:00 A.M. - 11:00 P.M. Saturday

Location: Downtown UrbanaMain & Race Street, Urbana

Contact Info: 217-344-3872

Price: Free

Event Details:

The 33rd Urbana Sweetcorn Festival is taking place on August 22nd and 23rd in the heart of downtown and it promises to be even more exciting than last year’s! This annual event has become the largest festival in Champaign County, marking the official cap-off to summer. The main course: hot, steaming ears of sweetcorn! The festivities kick off on that Friday at 5:00 pm and will last until 11:00 pm that night as well as all day Saturday from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm.

Bring your family and friends, enjoy food, music, and more fun than you can handle. Activities range from a petting zoo and pony rides, to a rock climbing wall and paintball, as well as arts and crafts. The ever-popular Motor Muster will take place on Saturday from 10:30 am until 4:00 pm. This premier antique auto show is featuring a decade-by-decade of Buicks back to 1908. This year’s festival boasts a new addition! The Henry Ford Museum’s Ford Rouge Factory Tour will be offering a mini-tour of the actual factory and plenty of interactive features all bottled into one mobile 46-foot trailer that resembles the F-150 pick-up truck.

In addition to the attractions, there will be plenty of great food and merchandise from more than a hundred venders. This event will be offering live music such as blues, salsa, rock, and much more on three stages, with all three stages going live Friday and Saturday nights. So come August 22nd, make your way to downtown Urbana, grab some hot, delicious, buttery sweetcorn, and enjoy the festivities. It will have you saying, “How sweet it is!”

#4 The Great Giveaway - August 23 - 7:30am - 11:30am

Location: Philo Road Church of Christ, 2601 South Philo Road, Urbana

Phone: 217-344-1659

Event Details:
The Philo Road Church of Christ is hosting it's 23rd Annual Great Giveaway on Saturday, Aug. 23rd from 7:30am to 11:30am. Garage sale items will be given to the community FREE of charge. The church asks that you take only what you need and do not resell what you take. This will allow the church to serve as many people as possible. The community may donate to this effort from Thursday, Aug. 21st through Friday, Aug. 22nd from 8:30am to 6:00pm. We ask that all donated items be clean and/or in good working condition. For additional details contact the church at 217-344-1659.

#5 Champaign County YMCA Gymnastics & Tumbling Demo - August 23 - August 28

Days of Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

Location: Champaign County YMCA, Fitness and Family Center Gymnastics, 707 N Country Fair Drive, Champaign, IL

Phone: 217.239.2808

Event Details:

Who: Youth ages 12 months and upWhat: Come experience a “sample” class in gymnastics or tumbling FREE.When: August 23rd and August 25th – 28th (see below for times)

Where: Fitness and Family Center gymnastics area, contact Gymnastics Director, Julie Cross, at 217.239.2808

Why: Take part in demo classes that are FREE for kids and get a chance to register for Fall * Pre-registration is required however this is a FREE program. Register in person or online at
Saturday – August 23rd
9:00 – 9:20am Parent/Child Gymnastics ages 12 months – 3 years
9:20 – 9:40am Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
9:40 – 10:00am Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
10:00 – 10:30am Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)
10:30 – 11:00am Tumbling (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8 years and up)
11:00 – 11:30am Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
11:30 – 12:00pm Ladybugs (Girls Gymnastics 8 years and up)

Monday – August 25th
4:00 – 4:30pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
4:30 – 5:00pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
5:00 – 5:30pm Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)
5:30 – 6:00pm Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)
6:00 – 6:30pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
6:30 – 7:00pm Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)

Tuesday – August 26th
4:00 – 4:30pm Tumbling (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8 years and up)
4:30 – 5:00pm Cheer Tumble (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8-11 years)
5:00 – 5:30pm Ladybugs (Girls Gymnastics 8 years and up)
5:30 – 6:00pm Ladybugs (Girls Gymnastics 8 years and up)
6:00 – 6:30pm Cheer Tumble (Boys and Girls Tumbling 12+ years)
6:30 – 7:00pm Tumbling (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8 years and up)

Wednesday – August 27th
4:00 – 4:20pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
4:20 – 4:40pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
4:40 – 5:00pm Inchworms (Parent/Child Gymnastic 12-24 months)
5:00 – 5:20pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
5:20 – 5:40pm Caterpillars (Parent/Child Gymnastics 2 years)
5:40 – 6:00pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
6:00 – 6:20pm Grasshoppers (Parent/Child Gymnastics 3 years)

Thursday – August 28th
5:00 – 5:30pm Dragonflies (Boys Gymnastics 5-7 years)
5:30 – 6:00pm Yellow Jackets (Boys Gymnastics 8 years and up)
6:00 – 6:30pm Dragonflies (Boys Gymnastics 5-7 years)
6:30 – 7:00pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)

#6 Cops For Kids - Caleb Roch Softball Fundraiser - August 24 - 1:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Location: Emmerson Dexter Field, Kenwood Road, Champaign
Contact Info: 217-637-6054

Event Details:

Come out Sunday afternoon August 24th from 1 - 5 pm to Emmerson Dexter Field in Champaign to help raise money for the Champaign Cops for Kids - Caleb Roch Fund. Caleb was a part of the Champaign Police department family and was killed in a motorcycle accident June 18th, 2008. There will be a softball game starting at 1:30 as well as food, drinks, raffle, 50/50, and lots of prizes. A new Kenmore gas grill, as well as a pair of tickets to a 2008 Cubs/Cardinals game at Wrigley will be auctioned during the event. Come out and help support a good cause. For more information call Sheila at 637-6054.

#7 Golden Apples In The Orchard - August 24 - 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Location: Curtis Orchard, 3902 S. Duncan, Champaign

Contact Info: 217-244-9110

Event Details:
Enjoy an afternoon of free music, refreshments and family activities at Golden Apple Central Illinois' "Golden Apples in the Orchard" event being held on Sunday, August 24 from 2-5 PM in Curtis Orchards at 3902 S. Duncan Road in Champaign. Meet the 2008 winners and nominate your favorite teacher for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching

#8 U of I YMCA Dump and Run Sale - August 23, August 24, August 25

Where: UI Stock Pavilion, 1402 W. Pennsylvania Ave., U
Saturday Aug 23, 2008 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday Aug 24, 2008 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Monday Aug 25, 2008 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Description:8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 23 ($2 admission); noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 24 (free admission); 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25 ($3 bag sale). Everything free from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Aug. 25. Furniture, dishes, glassware, books, rugs, small appliances, computers, mirrors, clothing, office supplies, toiletries, bikes and more. Want to shop early. Volunteer. E-mail or call Becca Guyette at or 337-1500.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My prayers have been answered!

School officially started today - AMEN! I love my children and I miss them when I'm at work, and the lack of structure this summer made our evenings HELL! I tried my very best to structure their day with the babysitter, making up a chore list, giving them homework to work on, creating a calendar of things to do within our town......but it was summer and towards the end I gave up on all of that!

Some things I figured out this summer are.....

#1 It's wonderful when your children are all of age to participate in activities. This was the first summer that both of our boys were able to do t-ball/baseball, VBS, summer camps, etc. and it was awesome!

#2 My little community offered a ton of things this summer and I was happy to have my children participate. Many of the programs at the library were free, the VBS's offered at the various churches were free and awesome, and the summer camps were inexpensive - and really brought family together. My husband and I happily participated in the basketball camp with both of our sons and I must say.....I've still got game! ha!

#3 The jury is still out on having our children stay at home with a sitter during the summer. I thought it would be great to let them sleep in, play in the neighborhood with their friends, enjoy our home.....but it was really tough. Our sitter was great and took them to many, many things - but the kids got sick of each other, they didn't help keep the house picked up, they ate us out of house and home, they really didn't get outside and play, and there was a lot of TV watching and video game playing ALL DAY.

Okay....summer is over and school has started.....have I mentioned that already?

Both of our boys have been fighting a lot lately and I know that they are just tired of seeing each other every day - they're 23 months apart, so pretty close in age, and they have very different personalities. So last night you can imagine my surprise when my parents kept our youngest son because kindergarten doesn't start until Friday and both of the boys missed one another. THEY MISSED ONE ANOTHER!!!! I know that the moment they're in the house together again it will be back to the fighting and yelling that we've grown accustomed to, but for a mere moment - I felt their love for one another. A mom takes what she can get right?!

Well, tomorrow begins the full day of school for our oldest son - so I have to remember to pack his lunch tonight. For some reason he announced that he wants to take his lunch every day - I like to think that it's because I pack the best lunches.....but I have a feeling it's because he can eat a lot faster and get outside to the playground before the kids waiting in the hot lunch line. Grrr....I don't mind packing lunches, however, it's nice to have a little break from it now and then!

Friday is kindergarten for my baby.....and he is so ready. I'm not sad about it, lots of moms I have talked to are really having a tough time with I feel a little bad for saying that. But he's ready, we have the same teacher that our oldest son had and I love her, I love their school, I know he's going to love I'm okay with it. I don't want them to grow up too quickly, but I'm enjoying each new stage and yes, I loved having them as babies, but I really love watching them develop into their own individual self.

Well, for now, summer is over and our lives can return to normal.....until Christmas break at least! Amen!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fashionably Frugal Fridays

This is going to be a regular post for me - free or low-cost things that you can do over the weekend. Whether it be with your family or going out with friends. I'm all about being frugal, but I'm all about being fabulous it won't be your run of the mill stuff here!!! ; )

Everything I post will be within Champaign County, unless there is something worth driving too outside of this area.

1. Free Art Exhibit at Pages For All Ages, 1201 Savoy Plaza Lane, Savoy

Various dates from Friday, Aug 1, 2008, to Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008 - An art Exhibit of Photography by Larry Pegram and Paintings and Drawings by Michael Owen Thomas, Aug. 1through Sept. 30. Open during store hours. Free. For more information call 351-7243, or visit

2. Used Book Sale at St. Joseph Township Library, St. Joseph

The St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library announces its Summer Used Book Sale. The book sale will begin Monday, Aug. 4, and run until Aug. 28. Paperbacks are 25 cents, hardbacks are 50 cents, Magazines 10 cents. Audio books, CDs and videos, $1 each. Adult fiction, non-fiction, romance, biography, large print, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, horror and western, children's fiction and non-fiction. The sale will run during normal library hours: 3 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 1 to 7 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For information call 469-2159.

3. Ice Cream Social, Tolono Methodist Church, Tolono, Friday 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Tolono United Methodist Church's Annual Ice Cream Social. Donations will be taken at the door. Menu items include BBQ Sandwiches, Egg Salad Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Cole Slaw, Chips, Desserts, Drinks and, of course, Ice Cream. The event is open to the public.

4. Homeless Animals Day, Saturday 7 a.m. - 12 p.m., Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana

Twelve animal welfare agencies from the Central Illinois Animal Welfare Coalition will host booths at Market at the Square, the weekly farmers' market held in Urbana. Agency representatives will be on hand to provide information detailing the services they provide and the type of animals that they help. If temperatures aren't too high, adoptable animals will also attend the event with the hope of making a connection with that special someone. Children can learn about pets through fun activities. The event is intended to raise awareness of the plight of homeless animals, and to spotlight the work that animal welfare agencies do to find those animals new homes.

5. Downtown Festival of Arts, Champaign, Saturday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Join us for the fifth year of this growing festival in the heart of Downtown Champaign. Explore the culinary and artistic flavors of the downtown community as you stroll the streets and view juried works by fine artists from both near and far. Take in the performing artists and musicians as you dine and help your children create their own fine creations in our Little Artist Tents. For more information call 398-2550, or visit

6. Music! Music!, Urbana Free Library, Saturday 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Performance and presentation by students from The University of Illinois as they showcase instruments such as the harp, cello, piano, flute and mbira (an instrument of Zimbabwe)! Children of all ages are invited to this free program. (Children 7 and yunger must be accompanied by an adult.) No registration. Call 367-4069 or visit

7. "In Field Fly", Frank Elliott Air Field, Rantoul, Saturday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

An airplane will fly over the baseball field dropping hundreds of baseballs towards designated "dug-outs." The ball that lands in, or closest to each of the "dug-outs" will win a generous cash prize. There will be "cheeseburgers in paradise" and beverages. The Boat Drunks will perform from 5 to 9 p.m. All proceeds will go towards the tuition assistance fund at St. Malachy school. Everyone is invited to attend. Baseballs will be sold for $50 each. Admission to The Boat Drunks is $5, children 12 and under are free.

8. Parking Lot Party, Bunny's Tavern, 119 W. Water, Urbana, Saturday 7 p.m.-11 p.m.

Live music by Candy Foster and the Shades of Blue in the parking lot next to Bunny's tavern from 7 to 11 p.m. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the music. No cover charge.

9. Lu & Denny's 48th Annual Bash, Route 45, Tolono, Saturday 4 p.m. - 1 a.m.

Food, music, and fun - Visions 'n Vibrations starting at 9 p.m. and keeping you dancing until 1 a.m. No cover charge.

10. Fighting Illini Fan Appreciation Day, Sunday 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The University of Illinois football team will host is annual Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 17 from 1-2:30 p.m. Along with Coach Zook and the more than 100 players that make up the football roster, the Fighting Illini volleyball team will be out to greet the Illini faithful. The event is free of charge and fans attending the event should enter the field through the Horseshoe on Kirby Ave.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Resources to help you make ends meet

My husband and I are both employed full-time, have manageable bills, limited debt, and are generally very careful with our expenses. However, we find ourself stretched each month financially and I can only imagine what it would be like to have a disability where you are unable to work, or working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. Our economy has been declining so much and with the costs rising - life is tough to say the least.

I am pretty good about bargain shopping, clipping coupons and getting our groceries for less than what I budget for, and finding resources for others that are in serious need. With that, I would like to share my knowledge with you and hope that it helps you where you need it.

1. In several articles I have read about families struggling to make ends meet and how they were able to put food on their tables I have seen mentioned Angel Food Ministries This organization will provide you with several staple items for $30.00. You can add items to their basic list for about $20.00. Visit their website to see where you can locate this service in your area. The items they provide will help feed a family of 4 for about a week.

2. Coupons......oh how I love finding the best deal on everyday items that I use. Last week I bought Dawn dish detergent for $0.33 and Tide for $3.97.....both of these items are considered luxury items to me because I tend to use more inexpensive brands, however with sales and coupons combined I "treated" myself. I will begin posting a blog this week with coupons you can get out of the Sunday newspaper or online and compare them with items that are on sale locally. It helps to be organized and if I can do a lot of the foot work for you - I'm happy to!

3. Freebies.....I love, love, love getting freebies! I have two freebie websites that I look at atleast once a week - and I get free samples of hair stuff, snack foods, etc. and these samples have helped between shopping trips for things like shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

And I've received full size products for last night - I had received a coupon for a free box of Uncle Ben's Rice which I "bought" this weekend. I made a meal out of the cajun rice, sausage, green pepper, onion, can of diced tomatoes, and I made cheesy garlic biscuits and the cost of the meal broke down like this....

Sausage $1
1/2 green pepper $0.25
1/2 onion $0.25
Diced Tomatoes $0.44
Bisquick Biscuits $0.50

For our family it cost me $2.44 for this meal and there was a little left over for Randy to take for lunch today and I must was really good!!!

4. Freecycle This is a great little site I have found where people post things that they're getting rid of or a wish list of things that they need and everything is free. We had a computer desk, an old lawn mower, some patio furniture, and other big items that we wanted to get rid of and I posted them out there and within seconds they were all taken and within days they were out of our hands and into someone else's that could use them.

These are just a few of the many tips I am going to share with you. I hope that my savvy in saving money will help you during these tough times with our economy.

Have a wonderful day!


And so it begins.....

I'm a blogger, I blog, this is my blog. Last night I went for a run and while running I was thinking about what I could possibly offer to those that look at my blog. I'm a small town girl, I am a wife, mother, work full-time, and day to day my life isn't that exciting. I think a lot of us can find ourselves in that simple story.

As a wife and mother I think that I can provide you with stories that will help you find humor in our day to day life. And maybe we can help each other get through some of the tough transitions. One of which we are getting ready for, our baby is going to kindergarten.....whaa!

Because I run a household today's bleak economy I find myself clipping coupons, shopping sales, finding resources that will help us have a little breathing room after all the bills are paid. And I think that through my blog I will offer up some suggestions, tips, etc., that might help you in your current situation.

So, here I am - an Illinois Girl taking the first step in offering up my life so that you can see that you are not alone in the tough times, so that you can find humor in the normal day to day madness, and so that I can feel like I'm Carrie Bradshaw.....ha!