Earn cash back when grocery shopping with SavingStar! New coupons available!



-This post has been synced to auto post on my Facebook and Twitter accounts-

SavingStar is an awesome extra way to link up to your frequently used grocery cards. It is not available to use in all stores, but I use mine for Harris Teeter shopping trips. I've been using it for well over a year! Sometimes there are even coupons for produce!

There are currently new coupons available to link up to your grocery cards. There are new coupons almost weekly that are available to link up.

How it works:
You can use this in conjunction with any store and manufacturers coupons. All you do is create an account, link up and click the coupons you'd like to use. Coupon offers change from time to time, and you receive e-mails notifying you of new offers.

The value of each offer does NOT come off of your receipt or show at the cash register. Instead you are credited whatever the value listed is into your SavingStar account. It can take a week or more to reflect within your account. You can only use each offer once. 

Once you reach $5 or more of earnings within your account you can cash it out to receive money in the form of a bank account deposit, Amazon gift card or PayPal. I love using the Amazon gift cards because we shop from Amazon almost every week. One of the perks of having Amazon Prime.

So click, shop, and save!  

For more information you can check out the SavingStar "How it works" section on their website.


*This was written on my own accord. I am not currently working with SavingStar.

Saturday 9 Meme: An Easter Meme. Here Comes Peter Cottontail

It's a rainy Saturday here in South Carolina so here goes. Memes are a great way to get to know bloggers a little better.  Autosynced to post on Facebook and Twitter.

1) Which do you prefer: colored hard-boiled eggs, chocolate marshmallow eggs, or plastic eggs with coins inside? Plastic eggs with coins inside sounds good. I need some quarters to keep in my car for Aldi since I cleaned out all of my change of my old minivan when I bought this suv a few weeks ago. Hard boiled eggs are great to use for deviled eggs later though.

2) What's your favorite color of Peeps (yellow, purple, or pink)? Yellow because they just seem like a classic.

3) All this talk of sweets is making Sam hungry. What's for lunch? I have no clue at the moment. Whatever I decide sounds good at the moment will be happening.

4) This song was introduced by country singer Gene Autry and it's still a favorite. Please share some of the lyrics. (And you're on your own; Sam didn't include a link to the song this week.) I have no favorite lyrics to Here Comes Peter Cottontail. I know. Such an Easter grinch.

5) Gene Autry was so popular that a town in Oklahoma named itself for him. Have you ever been to Oklahoma? No I haven't, and I have no plans to. I am terrified by the thought of tornados. In addition to singing, Mr. Autry made 93 cowboy movies.

6) What's the last movie you saw? Watched GI Joe again last night. I really like that movie. I am a chick that watches movies that are more geared towards the guys. I really love the Transporter movies. Come on...Jason Statham is HOT.

7) He and his horse Champion also had a TV show. Can you name another famous horse? Drawing a blank here. I need more coffee.

8) Gene Autry also recorded "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer," and it was, of course, wildly popular, too. Who is your favorite recording artist? I have way too many to mention. I am really into music from other countries. People generally have no clue who the hell I am talking about when I answer questions like this. I love Empire of the Sun, Phoenix, and Reik at the moment. Here are a few that some of my fellow Americans should know though. Some are not mainstream though- Dave Matthews Band, Foster the People, Minus the Bear, Fitz and the Tantrums, Foals, Mutemath, Neon Trees, Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls, Coldplay and an array of older bands.

9) Back to the holiday celebration at hand -- Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated? Being happy. I am bipolar so I really cherish the days that I am happy, and not a complete asshole to people such as my husband for no true reason. It sucks, but there are moments that I realize this is just how life is. One day at a time. The past few weeks have been the best that I have had in years. I dropped a lot of crap from my life that didn't need to be there. It was holding me back from living to my fullest. Ever since I have hit age 30 in January I have viewed life differently. It has been my favorite age so far. Unusual I know, but I think I have finally grown up in many ways. I have readjusted my attitude to where I am trying to control my emotions better too. I gave up for awhile and didn't try to control things.


Jenn

Wordless Wednesday: Biggest Mistake


So true! 
Once you let go of anything holding you back in life you'll see that the weight lifted off of your shoulders is amazing.

Post written in advance to auto sync and publish on 4/16/14.

Random Thoughts Tuesday: I'm back, and life is good.


I took a blogging hiatus if you didn't notice. I just have to from time to time. I am actually on a Facebook break at the moment. This website and my Facebook fan page are synced so I don't even have to login to facebook to share this link on my page. It will share automatically. The same for The Savvy Savin' Mama on Twitter. It's all synced to auto post.

My personal Facebook account was burning up too much of my time. My eyes have recently been opened by a few things that have occurred that I am missing out on precious time with my family! Life is short. I see this more and more with each passing day. I need to be more focused on my own life. Although I have never not been involved in my life I really do feel that I am missing out on things by being glued to my phone. I do have a bit of time during the day to myself these days when I'm not volunteering or watching another kid, but I shouldn't be constantly on Facebook. It is not healthy. More people need to realize this, but I know how easy it is to get sucked into it all. 

I have made some big changes to myself over the past week or so. Mentally. I have changed my outlook completely. It's a relief to rid myself of some things that were weighing me down mentally for the past few years. I have had one of the best weeks that I have had in a few years, and everyone around me notices it. I am actually feeling HAPPY and productive. My attention has shifted back where it needs to be. Maybe a break from Facebook has helped with that as well although I was beginning to change my outlook prior to the break. I want to spend spring break with MY kids. Not with everyone on my Facebook list. They can see our staycation spring break later after it's over, and my kids are back at school. Why does everyone have to see everything as it happens? I'm so guilty of that. My husband has never liked Facebook. He only gets on there to write me during the day or look at pictures that I post. Society is suffering from Facebook though. We all need to learn how to disconnect, and limit ourselves. Look around...everywhere you go people are glued to their phones. I feel kids are suffering because of it.

Anyhow, you should see my house. It's looking amazing. I always keep a clean house, but I have been doing some major spring cleaning. I have tons of things piled up on the side of my garage for a yard sale next weekend. I even cleaned my garage out before making my neat piles of mess to get rid of, and I think that it looks the best that it has since we moved in. All of the laundry is done at the moment. Seriously. That's what happens when I disconnect from the internet because I am the type of person that needs to keep my mind busy. I have scrubbed tile in my kitchen, dining area, laundry room and half bath by hand. It's a LOT of tile. The grout is looking awesome. 


Before

After
We recently thought about putting our house on the market. We do every spring now for several different reasons. There have been things here that have bothered me since a few months after we moved in. We bought the house in Fall 2011. We have done a lot of little improvements lately with that mindset. We love projects as you can see from the pictures I shared of one of our projects in one of our bathrooms. I love seeing before and after results. 

We thought we would find land elsewhere to build a home on, but after riding around doing a lot of research the areas that we thought we would like are not so likable after all. Everything happens in it's own time. We are ready, but we need to make sure that wherever we go that it is somewhere we will stay for many years to come. Plus after you put in work like we have been doing on our house it makes you want to stay. Especially with our current house payment. We don't HAVE to sell this house. We don't have to get anything bigger. That's the beauty of it. I'm still working with my Realtor to get some ideas for the heck of it though. 


Adios Minivan

My new ride!










Another random thing- I got a new car a few weeks ago. I'm not a minivan Mom anymore. I did it for 4 years, but we are not able to have anymore kids so I really don't need it anymore. I love my new ride! It has taken some time to get use to having a smaller vehicle. It's the nicest ride I've ever had though. Plus the backup camera has ensured that I back up out of my weird driveway straight without plowing trash cans. It's amazing. Friends think it's amazing too if that tells you anything about my back up skills. When your van door almost crushes your kid and doesn't allow you to control the power to stop it then it's time for it to go. The morning that happened we were immediately on the search for a new vehicle. My husband left work early to make it happen, and had the new ride in our driveway that afternoon! Life has been really good lately, and not just because of a new car.

I'm going to try to be a more productive blogger again. I have written a few posts in advance that are scheduled to post on various days. This way I am not going against my goal of not being glued to a computer every day! Heading off of the computer to spending time with my kids! Love to all.

Jenn

Wordless Wednesday: My new mindset at age 30.

This has become my new mindset at age 30.

This is a day late but things have been crazy as I'm sure many have noticed from my lack of posts. I'll write about all of the craziness soon, and be doing some massive deal updates! Keep an eye out! 

Wordless Wednesday: If you've got it then you've got it. If you don't then you don't....



Enough said.

The incredible journey of my pregnancies. Real photos. The scars that show the most beautiful moments I'll never get back.


I'm not hiding behind the shades with this one.
It's about to get real...
I've always been one who shares my thoughts and feelings through writing. I'm not going to change it. My poor Facebook friends have their news feeds full of words sometimes. Some people don't appreciate my realness. Others respect me even more for it. I've gotten to the point in my life that I am real with everyone from the start. Accept me the way I am or walk away. Sure there are things that I don't share. There are things that I can honestly say that I skew a little out of fear of judgement, but for the most part I am 90% real at this point. I'm well on my way to 95%


Here lies the story of the reality of the changes my body endured, and the scars show an amazing journey when I became a mother...

First of all, I would really love to muster up the courage to have pictures like this taken as shown via Jade Beall Photography to show a realistic view on how (many) bodies look after childbirth. Add her. This inspired me to write what you are about to read. I wish I could be a part of her project. It would be empowering to stand there having photographs taken while my heart would more than likely be pounding out of my chest. I have two beautiful daughters. I view these pictures and say WOW this is amazing. Look at that mother! Her stomach looks like mine, and she isn't afraid to share that. These women are so brave. THIS is reality unfiltered, and not photo shopped. I view the photographs and wonder if those woman have ever felt the way that I have about my body. Bashing myself. Even crying over it sometimes. Suck it up buttercup.


For those that know me- It's a big shocker that I'm telling you that my body is comparable to many of these without clothing on right? I'm just pretty good at hiding it, but why should I worry so much about that? From the side it's not as noticeable. From the front with no clothes on I do have the VERY deep stretch marks all over my stomach, sides, thighs, and loose skin that will not go away. Ta-Ta's too. They were pretty big only during pregnancy. That was pretty awesome. I lost weight pretty quickly after having my kids. Looking back, that probably didn't help with how my body changed. I was anorexic at one point as a teenager. These changes with my body were a little more devastating at first in my mind. That probably derived from that ridiculous mindset I had many years ago. A life goal is for my daughters to NEVER experience the hell of that. It is something that does stay with you forever.

Anyhow...

No matter how much I work out or that the fact is that my weight is 125-130 on average now. (Anything less isn't good for me. Weight is just a number. Each body is different. Find what makes you comfortable in your own skin. That's all that matters) No matter the weight- I will not be able to get rid of all of the scars, and skin. I use to question myself and think "What the....? Why did I get this way when others don't?" How ridiculous of me. I'm human though. How would I really feel now without it? A tummy tuck would change what I have known for 10 years now. I wouldn't see myself in the mirror anymore. I'd be looking at someone else. What a catch 22.


2003-The year I became pregnant with my first child.

I gained 65lbs with my first pregnancy which produced a 9.2lb 21 inch baby. The big changes on my skin in the end were probably because I had a smaller frame to begin with as pictured above. I was 19 when I became pregnant. 20 when giving birth. Yes, I was and still am married. I'm 30 now in case you were wondering.



First Pregnancy-2004 (65lbs gained)
This was a month before I had my first daughter-Serenity.This is the last pic that I have. 

Stretch marks shown on my growing belly. 1st pregnancy

I didn't really over eat. I did "throw down" on a lot of broccoli and cheese though. The weight gain just happened. I remember sitting in the doctor's office when pregnant with my second. The doctor bashed me for my weight gain. I will never forget sitting in my car for at least 30 minutes sobbing my heart out. He made me feel awful. Don't base me off of a chart. My body carries it's own chart. My mother gained around the same with me, and I was a smaller baby. Maybe it's genetics. Who knows? I don't care now though. I use to. It is what it is.


Second and final pregnancy-2008
Gained 51lbs. This picture was 1 week before giving birth. She was born almost 3 weeks early too.

I gained 51lbs with my last daughter. A 7.9lb 19 inch baby who dropped down to 5 lbs after birth because I had high fluid. She is a petite peanut. I never had a cute little basketball belly with either as you can see. I wasn't really "radiant and glowing" either. I was even asked if I were having twins in a grocery store the week before she was born by a stranger. That guy was a jerk about it. Faith did have a twin, but it was a vanishing twin. That's irrelevant at the moment though.




This one show my weird personality. December 2013
Look at me now - Can you tell that I gained that much? No. It's ok though, and who cares if I were still carrying the weight or not? It was a personal preference to work out and lose it for mental reasons. I have a huge secret to share soon that I have drafted in regards to that, but haven't published it. I'm still mustering up the courage, but it will shed some light on why I have some of the issues I have. I have two beautiful girls to show for my body going through the "battle" 



My husband loves my body and thinks I'm sexy. He tells me everyday that I'm beautiful on his own accord. That's all that matters. I shouldn't care what any other man thinks. This man has seen it ALL, and never once contemplated running from it. 

I have struggled to love my nude self, but have gotten slightly better about it. Some days are better than others. I'm hard on myself. I always have been. However, I must show my girls that I love myself. I cannot show the low self esteem. It will rub off on them. I don't want them to struggle like I have. Also, who gives a crap if you are small, medium or large framed. I'd personally love to have big ta-ta's and hips. A vintage pin up model body would be pretty flipping cool. Overall, I like my body. It's mine. I'm not you. You are not me. I'm JENN.



The reality of how motherhood changed my life...


My first child being placed in my arms. No. I wasn't crying in pain even after pushing for TWO hours. The tears you see show the moment that my heart burst with love. I cried and cried. Ok...a better word is sobbed. Tears of joy that I had never shed before. The person I was one minute before was gone. I didn't see that coming...



My second and final baby. Born on my 24th birthday
Sometimes the girls pat my belly and say "jelly belly!" but they still love to lay their head there sometimes. They are 9 and 6 now. I tell them it's a perfect pillow. A "pillow" they pretty much created so I guess in a way it was molded for them. I use to lay my hands on my belly and feel them move when pregnant. It was their very first home, and it was a place that I carried them for 9 months. My body did that. I protected them, and loved them with every ounce of my being from the beginning as I still do now. Every movement they made including karate chopping me in the ribs reminded me that my body was so incredibly amazing to be able to let a little new life grow in it. I would dream at night of how my girls would look when born. How I would draw them close to me and breathe them in. My ever quickly growing belly a reminder that I was one day closer to holding them in my arms. I couldn't wait for their little fingers to be wrapped around mine, and to look into their eyes to feel a bond that words alone cannot describe. The longing to feel their precious hearts beat along with mine as I gently held them on my chest. It was all worth it. Absolutely worth it. I look in the mirror and am reminded of those moments when I see the marks, and the skin. I still close my eyes, and lay my head on their chests sometimes simply listen to their hearts beating. They don't realize it, but I breathe that in now. They will understand someday.


My second daughter- Faith



I will never experience those precious baby moments again because I got dealt a bad hand with an IUD perforating my uterus which resulted in having a partial hysterectomy at 26. I had a nervous breakdown after having that surgery. A true breakdown. I suffered for 3 years before that surgery fixed everything though. It was hell. All of it. I still cry and mourn over the loss of my ability to have children at times. It slices like a knife through my heart. Sometimes when I see ultrasound pictures, and pregnant belly pictures online it hurts. It's not that I am unhappy for someone because truly I am happy for a woman experiencing the joy of it all. When you can't have it sometimes those things remind you of it all. I'm sure you understand what I mean. It's hard to put it into words. I still have not held a baby since my own were babies. I don't know when I will bring myself to. Sometimes it actually feels like someone is slowly twisting that knife I referred to in my heart. I allow myself to cry during those times now. I am the type of person who tries to act tough and not shed tears. I can't hold those kinds of tears in though. I can't always be tough. Reality is that I will never experience the incredible miracle that pregnancy is ever again in my life. Those days are inevitably over. I have only now within the past few months come to the realization that I am in a different stage of my life now. 

I still long for my girls to be babies sometimes. I kiss my second daughter goodnight every single night. I often whisper to myself "I wish you were a baby again" as I see a photo collage of her when she was a year old hanging over her bed. They will always be my babies no matter their age. Those baby days were some of my most cherished moments in my life. There are different moments to be cherished now. I just never saw these moments flying by so fast. Time stands still for no one though.


My first baby. Serenity


2013 also ended my journey of being a stay at home Mom having kids in the house with me every day. 9 years of my life were devoted to that. It's what I knew. Forever gone are the days of spending time at the park all day, or just simply playing on blankets on the floor listening to the babbles and toothless smiles. I'm still technically a stay at home Mom, and stay busy volunteering. The fact is that sometimes the silence is suffocating if I stop for too long. I long for the sounds of my kids in the house at times. Most of the time I handle it well. I'm 30 though. I still don't feel like this is real. Where did those years ago? I feel like I'm too young to be at this point, but I remind myself that I still have an incredible life ahead of me. I shouldn't stay sitting around longing for the past for too long. It's ok to, but one must snap out of it to enjoy the life ahead. 



One day I will hold my grandchildren if my daughters decide to have children. More than likely I would be a "younger" grandmother. I'm sure I will be reminded of my girls when holding my grandchildren. I will experience the unique smell of a baby which I made sure to breathe in constantly especially with my second daughter. I treated her pregnancy as my last for some odd reason. I am SO glad that I did. I really didn't know for sure that it would be my last. My husband and I made some absolutely gorgeous children though. I see the both of us wrapped into one amazing bundle with each of them.


Some people may think "eww the stretch marks and skin are so gross" Well if you do then you are not open minded and you are shallow. Get a life. It's reality for many, and it IS beautiful in many ways. I might not look like a photo shopped model, but it makes me real. My marks and skin show an incredible journey that goes by so quickly, and a stage of life can never be had again. There are women who cannot have children, and would give anything for their bodies to have the "tiger stripes" to have a child. I'd tack on a few more myself to be able to have another baby. Some women come out with bodies the way they were pre-pregnancy. That's fine too. We are all different, but my body just visually shows the tale. I hope to show a picture of my "10 year" stripes soon including the scars from the surgery to remove the IUD, and my partial hysterectomy. It all tells a story of my life thus far.


My girls are my world. Always.  December 2013.




In the end...
2/22/14- Hanging out with the beautiful girl that forever changed my heart, and my world.

Life is too short to be unhappy. I am now a woman. I feel better about myself at age 30 than I ever have in my life. The past 10 years of my life were an incredible journey. One that I will forever cherish. I'm beginning a different stage of my life now, and confidence is a beautiful thing.

Followers

Check out Momspective! My great friend Julie writes fabulous things about life. You won't be disappointed!

Goodreads

Jenn's books

The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Memoirs of a Geisha
Little Women
Twilight
The Da Vinci Code
Pride and Prejudice
The Kite Runner
The Diary of a Young Girl
Eclipse
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Notebook
Gordon Ramsay: The Biography
Microsoft Word 2010, Signature - With CD
Cane River
Barefoot
An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963


Jenn's favorite books »