Friday, June 23, 2017

Is "Me Time" Really Important?


Often I hear people say they need "me time" or they are away having "me time".  I mean really.... is "me time" really that important?  When you get married and have kids, there is no more "me", there is "we".  There are humans depending on you and their needs need to be met and you're responsible for their well being.  So really....how important is this "me time" you speak of?

Before I get the hate mail or the angry comments, that is how some people view "me time".  Especially those without a partner and kids to take care of.  And even myself a mommy of three didn't grasp the importance of "me time" until I became angry and walked around snapping 20 times a day.  Or having to eat food in the room alone just to have a moment or yelling from the bathroom door "can I please pee in peace".  Really.... is it too much to ask for to walk in the bathroom and have a couple minutes to pee without little humans banging on the door asking me for something.  I mean can it not just wait until I get out.  After a while it all gets frustrating and overwhelming.  The countless hours of taking care of people who depend on you for everything.  The long days that start and end with so much to do the days never seem long enough.  The days where hours has passed by and you remembered you haven't had time to eat.

So yes "me time" is important.

It's important to your overall mental, physical, and emotional well-being.  That time allows you a moment to stop, regroup, and reflect so you can continue your responsibility as a partner and parent.  So don't feel guilty when it all just feels so frustrating and you feel like you need some time away.  It's necessary for you to take that time so you can be the best wife (or husband) and parent you can be.  Its a part of self-care and you must first take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

So this weekend take some time away for "me time", so you can recharge and come back ready to give your all to your family!

Mrs. J

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Just Call Me Mrs. Mommy!



School is out....

But summer school has begun!

Yep that's right, there are no breaks here.  Sure we have fun and we put to use those water park passes we get every year along with many other summer activities.  But we keep learning even over the summer.

Summer break is a good time to review what was learned in school and to get a head start on what will be learned in the upcoming school year.  No it doesn't have to be structured in the way school is, but an hour a day of review and learning can be a great way to stimulate the mind.  And yes learning can be fun.  You can incorporate projects and field trips to make learning a fun adventure.
Also remember that reading is fundamental!  Pick up a book and expand your knowledge or let those pages take you to a far off land full of adventure.  A visit to the library can be a great educational experience.  And if your library is like mines you can get rewards for reading, so join your local summer reading program.

So this summer and every summer, you can just call me Mrs. Mommy because class in is session!

Update:
Today makes 1 month since the kids got out of school and I wrote this post soon after.....And while we have been learning this summer, there is no structure.  Some days we may sit and do work and on other days we might just go over things in the car while on the go. I can easily make a lesson out of things we often encounter. A trip to the grocery store is an easy math lesson especially with all the couponing I've been doing (if you haven't read my couponing post, check it out HERE). For us structure is no good because this summer I'm just going with the flow, but still not forgetting to stimulate the mind.

Happy Learning!

Mrs. J

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Not So Extreme Coupon















If you have ever watched the show "Extreme Couponing", you've probably sat in awe wondering "How did they do that?"  I mean wouldn't we all want to purchase hundreds of dollars in products at a 90% discount.  Can this really be done?  Yes it can but it takes a lot of time and dedication and it just doesn't happen overnight.  But no worries because you too can save money by couponing, and I'm here to give you the beginners guide to get you started to saving!

Collect Coupons














-The first step is to collect coupons.  This can easily be done through coupon inserts in the newspaper.  These are commonly found in the Sunday Paper (however other papers may carry them as well).  These coupon inserts vary from week to week so purchasing a paper each week will give you a variety of coupons.  The prices of these papers vary from place to place.  I purchase my Sunday paper from the grocery store for $2.  Some places charge more and I've also heard that the paper can be purchased from Dollar Tree for $1.  Just be on the look out for these papers.  I typically buy 2 so that I can have double the amount of coupons.  That's $4 for the papers but the coupon savings are so much more so they are worth it.  Some people suggest that you purchase 4 to 6 papers starting out and that's fine as well, if that's what you're willing to do.  Some people also get these inserts for FREE (I wish) and can get multiples at a time.  If you can get them for free, get as many as you can and start clipping.  While getting coupons from the newpaper is the most common way, it isn't the only way.  There are people called "Coupon Fairies" that you can just purchase the inserts from and you can purchase multiples so you can easily get 10 coupon inserts at one time, giving you 10 of each coupon.  Just be careful that you find a supplier that is loyal and trustworthy so that you get all the coupons you pay for.  But if you can find a coupon fairy, use them.

-Coupons can also be printed from online.  Coupon services such as coupons.com is a great way to clip the coupons you need.  Simply go through the list of coupons and choose which ones you want.  Once that is done you can just print them.  Receiving multiples of these are difficult because you can only print from one device.  DO NOT MAKE COPIES OF COUPONS!  Making copies of coupons are illegal.  Online printable coupons are also available from the manufactor.  If you know of a product that you use or like, then visit the website and see if they offer coupons.  Tide and Gain coupons are often retreived through their websites.  There are also sites that allow you to purchase coupons that will be mailed out to you.  For instance, there is a HUGE sale going on now or OXI CLEAN at RITE AID.  The sale is for $3.99, but there are coupons for $3.00 off making those $0.99 each.  Thats right....Laundry detergent for less that $1.  These sites are great to purchase these coupons from because you can buy a large number.  Some people get 30 at a time!  The prices of these coupons vary but there is a small charge for each.  Some additional sites that you can get coupons from are Klip2Save.com, PGEveryday.com, and SmartSource.com.

Find The Sales














-Now that you have the coupons clipped and ready, it's time to find the sales.  Sales allow you to maximize your savings.  Sale papers are a great way to find the best deals.  If you purchase the Sunday Paper then there typically are some sale papers in there.  You can also browse a store's sale online.  Finding the sale is very important.  I shop Bi-Lo often because that is the store near me, and they like to have BOGO deals (that's buy one get one free deals).  I love those because even before coupons I'm getting a item for 1/2 the price and a coupon is just a bonus.  Recently I received a coupon for $1 off 2 Nabisco Cookie Snack Packs.  I know that Bi-Lo usually have those on the BOGO sale, so I held on to those coupons and waited for the sale.  The next week the sale was on so I was able to purchase 2 for $5.49 a savings of $7.49.  They were originally $12.98 for 2 but because of the sale I was able to get them for $6.49 for two and then the $1 off 2 coupon made them $5.49.  I was also able to do this with Kemp Frozen Yogurt but for a better bargain.  Regular price was 5.99 each or 2 for $11.98.  They were on sale for BOGO so 2 were $5.99 however I had 2 coupons for $1 off each so that was an extra savings of $2 making my final total $3.99 for 2 (a savings of $7.99).  The cheaper that you can get the item for the better deal you will have when you use a coupon.  So when you see those extreme couponers saving so much money, many of the items are already on sale before the coupon is used.  Stores such as Safeway, Shopright, Wegmans, Weis, Giant, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and Kroger have amazing sales, but too bad I don't have them near me (bummer).  However if you do, follow their sales!  And search the clearance aisle.  You may have a coupon for an item that is already on clearance; an even bigger savings!










Know the stores coupon policy

For all the stores that you plan to coupon in, KNOW THE STORES COUPON POLICY.  This is important to know how to maximize the value of your coupons.  The policy lets you know how many coupons can be used in one transaction and if coupons can be double.  That's right some grocery stores will double your coupon making your $0.50 coupon worth $1.00.  I was also able to do that with Suddenly Pasta Salad.  Regular price is $2.69 but they were on sale for 4 for $5.  I had 2 $0.50 off 2 coupons that doubled to $1 for each coupon, allowing me to save an extra $2 making my total for 4 for $3 a savings of $7.76. 















Also, for the above OXI CLEAN deal I spoke of at RITE AID, the store only allows you to do 4 like coupons in one transaction, so if you have more than 4 coupons you will have to do multiple transactions.  This is only if it's the same coupon.  You can use other coupons in that transation as well as long as it's not more than 4 of the same.  So please know the store coupon policy so you can be able to use all your coupons and save the most money.

Signup for Store Rewards

Most stores now have store rewards programs and they provide added savings and bonuses so make sure you're signed up for every store that you shop at that has it.  For instance, at Bi-lo you can receive Plenti Points for your purchases that equates to dollars that you can use towards purchases for stores such as At&t, Exxon, Macys, Mobil, and Rite Aid.  Recently I received plenti points that equaled more than $5 off a purchase that can go towards gas at Exxon or Mobil or I can use that additional $5 savings with a coupon purchase at Rite Aid.  So just for shopping, you get rewarded!  CVS is a store that can give you a huge savings through their rewards program.  If you use your CVS rewards card you can get the savings that they offer but as a bonus some of their items allow you to receive Extra Care Bucks (ECB).  That's free money!

Check out this sale....














Colgate tooth paste is on sale for $3.49.   There is a $1.00 off coupon for this item as well making the final purchase price for the tooth paste $2.49.  But this one purchase also gives you $2 in ECB that you can use on your next purchase.  That's right, you get $2 that you can spend back in the store (it's comes out on your receipt in the form of a coupon).  CVS always have those deals.  For example the current sale allows you to get $5 in ECB if you spend $10 worth of Wet and Wild products.  So you get half of your money back just by buying products you already use.  Or even better Physicians Formula will give you $7 back in ECB if you spend $10.  No not all the ECB deals are on makeup, but on a variety of the products found in the store.  Check your sale paper or find the deals marked on the products in store.  Some of these deals are too good to pass up especially if you have coupons too.  So if you buy the Colgate from the previous mentioned sale with a coupon you will get back $2 in ECB.  Then all you have to do is do a second transation and used the ECB coupon for addtional money off.  For example, Persil is on sale for $4.99 and if you use the ECB that will make your final cost $2.99 (or you can use a manufactor coupon for the Persil with the ECB, maximizing your savings).  You can either collect your ECB and save them for another purchse or used them with multiple transactions the same day.  Just remember to use them before the coupon expires or you will lose those extra bucks.

Some stores will have an app associated with their rewards card and this will be great to get even more savings.  For example, the CVS app will offer you additional coupons and rewards that you can just add to your card.

Shop Dollar Stores

Dollar stores such as Family Dollar, Dollar General, and even Dollar Tree prices are sometimes cheaper so you can spend less money out of the pocket.  For example......














I got these Arm and Hammer Deorderants for FREE because Family Dollar had them for $1 and the coupon is for $1 off so all I had to pay is the taxes (coupons don't cover taxes).
So some items can be found at dollar stores for cheaper like these Gain Dishwashing liquid that were orginally $2 each.  But with my coupons for $3 off 3 I was able to buy 3 for $3 instead of $6, a 50% savings.  The Gain Coupon was for $3 off any 3 Gain products so I got the Dish Detergents because they were the cheapest and I got a better value for the coupon.














Also stores like Dollar General have digital coupons that you can use for extra savings just at their store.

Stack Your Coupons

-Did you know you can use more than one coupon on one item?  You can not use more than one manufacter coupons but you can stack manufactor coupons with store coupons for extra savings.  I described this earlier when I explained about the CVS ECB.  You can use a manufactor coupon and a store coupon on one item for extra savings.  So if you have a manufacter coupon for $10 off an item plus you have a store coupon for $10 off of purchase, you can save $20 on one item.

That brings me to overages....
If you stack your coupons and have so much savings that the stores owe you, you can use that overages for other purchases on the transation or you can get that money back if the store owes you.  For example, if your coupon has an overage of $0.50 that $0.50 can go towards money off the rest of your purchases or if you don't have any additional purchases the store can give you the cash back..  Not all stores will give you money back but it's a win if they do, either way you just got your purchases for FREE.  Now that's success!

I know some of this may sound confusing but don't give up.  Start one coupon at a time and even if you're saving $0.25, you're saving something and that's what matters.  It may take some time but you will get use to it and be able to maximize your savings and may even become one of the extreme couponers.  This is a lot to take in, but don't worry I will be back to keep you updated with additional information to help you coupon and any good savings and bargains you just can't pass up.

Happy Couponing!!!

Mrs. J

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Weightloss Journey


Getting older has not been good to my body.  My Metabolism just slowed down and it seems like drinking water makes me gain weight.  Ok that's a bit extreme, but I've been gaining and it's a lot harder getting this weight off.  Being a baker makes it a lot more harder to lose weight especially since I eat more than I sell...sweets are my weakness.

I'm contributing this weight gain and trouble to getting it off to old age because it's the only thing that's changing.  I use to eat whatever I want and still not gain weight.  After having kids though, I knew my eating habits had to change if I want to keep the body I had.  I use to gain 10lbs and could easily get it right back off.  Now 40 lbs heavier I'm struggling to lose 1 or 2 lbs.  The struggle is real.  The most I can lose is 5 lbs and it comes right back, dropping a few pounds in between and gaining it all back.

To be honest...I'm a big eater.  I eat a lot and I love good food.  Portion control is my biggest issue because my plate could easily be the serving size of 3 people.  So I try to cut back on my portions...hard at times but I try.  I will say that I eat much healthier now than I use to!  I try to make healthy eating a lifestyle.  Not always but most of my food is healthier.  I at times substitute ground beef for the healthier ground turkey option.  I actually love vegetarian meat substitutes and it has been a great replacement for meat.  I would chose egg white veggie scramble, tomatoes slices, and avocado slices over pancakes any day.  I actually found that I prefer healthier options most times because some things can be replaced without losing the flavor....however some things are just irreplaceable.

Now my biggest problem is exercise.  I HATE it! It seems like its the one thing I have to increase to help with my weight loss.  But sometimes I just wish for a magic pill that I take at night and wake up in the morning skinny again.  Until that happen, I guess I will continue to try to eat healthier, and try my best at working out.

And no I'm not discouraged.  I will achieve my goal.  I'm just admitting it's hard and it takes time and discipline.  One thing for sure is I WILL NOT GIVE UP!  As much as I want to be small like I once was, my main focus is getting healthy.  Truth is the older we get the more important our health becomes to us because our bodies and health needs change.  I just want to beat my daughter in basketball and keep up with my kids on the playground without losing my breath so quickly.  My goal is long life and good health!

Mrs. J

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Who is "A Haute Mommy"

Welcome to A Haute Mommy!  Yes I've been here before but this is a fresh new start to my "Haute" pronounced "hot" life.  You may ask yourself, "what makes her life so haute?"  Well my "Haute life isn't defined by status, money, or fame as you may assume.  Nope, this life of mines is filled with struggle, adversity, perseverance, and faith!  There is no perfection over here and my life is what I make it....I make the best of my life and that's what makes it "haute" because no matter what is thrown at me I survive!  Always remember you define what you make of your life.  I chose the "Haute" life so stay tuned to see what makes it so "haute".


So now on to the introductions.....

You can call me Mrs. J and my family, you can call us "J Crew".  There is papa bear, Mr. J, the ex marine who gave us the "J" name.  My oldest music loving basketball star we nicknamed Nia (also known as "It Girl Nia") is a quiet soul much like her mama who likes to be to herself.  My middle child, nicknamed Mimi, is outgoing and the life of this party.  Then there is the baby whose nickname is simply "J".  He's 4 so not so much a baby but don't tell him that; I would like to keep him my baby forever.  The five of us make up J Crew, and boy do these mixed up personalities cause a whole lot of chaos mixed up with a lot more love.


I questioned my return to the blog world.  I started blogging years ago when some of the more bigger bloggers weren't so big and monetizing wasn't the name of the game.  Boy has things changed.  I couldn't keep up with the Jones and my life had so many obstacles I didn't know which direction I was headed.  So I started and stopped this blog a few times, moved to a .com, and now made my way back to BlogSpot.  Why have I returned you may be wondering?  Well my return to the blog world is why I started.  Blogging is a way for me to express myself and my life, but the greatest benefit is that I could touch others.  We all have a story to tell.  So many people can relate to us, so many people can grow from us, but the greatest gift of all is when we can find healing by expressing our story to others.  See my life stories or as I call them "life lessons" has molded me into the woman I am today and I want to take you on my journey called life.  So come on...See where it leads me...

The Cake Lady

Just call me the cake lady.....That's right I am your neighborhood baker.  This totally happened by chance because I never wanted to ...