My New Workout Routine - Update

I bet you probably think I stopped working out! Don't you? No, I didn't! I cut back on the 30 Day Shred for a few days, because Amy ordered it, and I was waiting for hers to arrive to start back with her. So we can hold each other accountable! ;-) I gave in today and went ahead and did it though.

Either way, I have still been working out. I've added a few more workouts to my collection, and I've been doing a wide variety exercise. Today, I started the morning with a quick 10 minute workout (crunches, squats, push ups, etc). I also started using a video by Leslie Sansone called Walk Away the Pounds. I've read amazing reviews on her walk-at-home program, so I figured this would be great for me to do every day, even if I can't fit in another workout. I found two of her videos on YouTube. Apparently, both combined equal a 2 mile walk. I'm not too sure about that, but I know it's a straight 28 minutes of walking, which is fine by me. I eventually would like to purchase her whole collection, but until I have a few more Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, I'll stick to the YouTube videos. I've been doing Part 1: Start Quick & Easy and Part 2: Burn Fat & Back it Down. Each video is a little over 14 minutes long, so it's a nice workout just under a half an hour. If you feel like you want to ease your way into working out, this is perfect for just that!

I've also been doing at least 10 minutes of Tae-Bo every day. It just makes me feel better, and even 10 minutes of Tae-Bo is a decent workout. I read on a website that just 10 minutes of Tae-Bo burns over 100 calories. That's amazing to me! Billy Blanks has a way of keeping you moving.

I also picked up a Denise Austin Pilates video from the Goodwill that I started doing. It's based on the work of J.H. Pilates, and although I think I like yoga over Pilates, it is a great workout. She does incorporate more yoga more in the second half of the video.

Anyway, that's an update on what I've been up to. Today I managed to do my 10 minute morning workout, a 2 mile walk, and 30 Day Shred, so I'm definitely feeling the burn. And I'm loving every minute of it!


7 things that you should never pay more than $1.00 for

Do you pay more than $1.00 for common household items like toothbrushes, body wash or bandages? If you are like most people, you probably do! I have noticed several items that regularly have coupons and also go on sale at the drug stores regularly. Some of these items even have very low every day prices at stores like Wal-Mart or Target. I was showing my sister some of the stuff that I had recently bought with coupons and she noted that they was all name-brand items. Using coupons combined with sales (and sometimes without sales!) nearly always get a better price than a store brand or cheaper version of the product. I have found that a lot of the times store brand items work just fine (things like plastic cutlery, etc.) but most of the time bath and body products just don't measure up. Here are a few items that you should NEVER pay full price for, in fact, you should be able to regularly find these items for under $1.00!

Oral Care
Never, ever, EVER pay for toothbrushes! You can get these for free* at the drugstores almost every week. There are almost always coupons for toothbrushes that can be combined with sales for a free item. For instance last week I purchased a Colgate 360 toothbrush. Retail price was $4.99 (which is ridiculous if you ask me) but it came with a $4.00 Register Reward. I also had a coupon from All You magazine for a $1.00 off. So I paid $3.99 plus tax for the toothbrush (I used Register Rewards from my last trip) and got $4.00 back! Toothpaste and floss have similar deals. You can regularly find deals for toothpaste and floss for no more than $.25 or $.50.
*"free" after Register Rewards, Extra Bucks, Gift cards, etc. You may have to pay a little bit out of pocket initially but you will get the money back to spend later.

Hair Care
You could pay $1.00 for cheap shampoo or you could pay $1.00 (or less!) for the "good" brands like Pantene, Herbal Essences, Garnier, etc. These can be a little trickier, I am currently stocked up on Garnier coupons (my husbands favorite brand) waiting for a good sale. You may have to wait for a few weeks to find a sale on your favorite brand but if you aren't picky there are great sales on these items every week. There are always new newspaper and printable coupons for hair care. Target clearance is also a GREAT place to find very low prices on your favorites brands that can be combined with coupons. A couple of months ago there was a deal on Finesse sulfate free shampoo, after a coupon and a mail in rebate it was absolutely FREE!

Like hair care, there are always coupons floating around out there for deodorant. There is currently a $1.00 off Degree coupon for premium deodorant that has no size restriction. These can be redeemed at Target where the trial size premium deodorant is only $.97! There was also recently a deal where Mitchum deodorant was free and last week at Walgreens full-size Degree deodorant was only $.75.

Body Wash
Just like with hair care, there are usually coupons for body wash, soap, and lotion and plenty of good sales to be combined with. The most important thing is to try to leave your brand loyalty behind because your coupons may expire while you are waiting for a good sale on your favorite products. If you see a good sale on a brand that you like where the final price is under $1.00, stock up!

Never pay full price for any feminine hygiene product! There are coupons for these products almost every week in the newspaper and they also run regularly online. Carefree pantyliners can often be bought for less than $.25 for a small package and currently U by Kotex has a $1 off any product coupon that can be used on the smallest package of liners for a final price of only $.24 at Wal-Mart.

Nexcare, Curad, and Bandaid brands have all recently had coupons for their products. I was able to score a bunch of plain Nexcare bandages for FREE at Wal-Mart and also some Shrek bandages for only $.74.

Trial size items
Sometimes coupons do not have a size restriction (meaning it will NOT say "excludes trial sizes") and that means you are free to use it on a trial size. Regardless of what a rude cashier might tell you. I've had lots and lots of issues with this at Wal-Mart, one cashier acted like I was stealing the money straight out of her pocket. I can assure you that the manufactures know what they are doing and if they didn't want you to use it on a trial size they would put it on the coupon! I'm not an expert but I think that the manufactures want you to try the product even if they lose money, because they know that coupons will not be available forever and if you like the product you will buy it again even if it isn't free. This is also why there are often high value coupons for products (especially new products) which make the products free. Some of the trial size items that I have gotten for free or very cheap: Dove hairspray, Degree deodorant, Tide singles detergent, Cascade dishwasher tabs. I recommend using these coupons at Target over Wal-Mart, I have also never had a problem at Walgreens trying to use a coupon that didn't have a size restriction.

So as you can see there is no need to spend a lot of money on every day necessities. If you can't wait for a good sale, use a coupon and buy one of what you need and then save the rest of your coupons for a sale. Like I mentioned before, there are sometimes very high value coupons that do make other products free. Some of the most recent coupons like this were for Bengay, Zyrtec and Tylenol Precise. If you see these coupons, print the maximum that you can (usually 2 per computer) and stock up, but please try not to clear any shelves! Even if it is for a product that you will not use, you can always give it away to someone who will.


Couponing This Week

I know that I have been absent lately but I've had a lot of personal stuff going on. I wanted to do a little "couponing update." A lot of people seem to think that couponing is too difficult for working moms because we have enough to do between work and everything we have to do once we get home. For me this hasn't been the case at all. I drive people who are on medicaid for work I usually have to wait for a while while they are in their doctors appointments. Since I live in a small town with no Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc. (there is a Wal-Mart about 10 miles away) this works out really well. I don't have to waste my own gas driving up to a larger town to shop at these stores which is great because the gas would almost make the savings not worth my time! I have been buying a few things every week trying to build up a small stockpile. Most of what I have is household products, but I am working on food as well. I am not an extreme couponer my any means, I try to keep the cashiers happy and usually only buy a handful of products at once. I don't get hundreds of dollars of items for free but I've gotten a lot of things that my family will actually use cheap or free. My largest "coupon haul" has been this week for sure and I wanted to share it. I went to 4 Walgreens stores (some more than once,) Target, Wal-Mart and CVS. My OOP (out of pocket) price for all of this was about $40, and I still have Register Rewards ($9, I think) from Walgreens left for next week. Most of this was purchased at Walgreens, I also have 1 more Dial body wash, 3 more packs of Papermate pens and 4 more mini degree deodorants not pictured that were purchased yesterday. Here is a very rough breakdown of my purchases.

Walgreens (4 different stores)
 6 Dial Bodywashes ($3.99-3RR) = $.99 you can often find body wash completely free but I really liked this and my sister uses it so I got some extras for her
6 (I think) packs of blue papermate pens = $.29 each with in-ad coupon. We use these for work and always need more, great "filler" item!
6 (I think) mailers = $.39 with in ad coupon. I mail diapers/dryer balls/etc very often and this was a good price. I love using "filler" items that I actually need!
Cottonelle TP ($5-$.50 coupon-$1 coupon) $3.50
16 Degree mini deodorants (.$97-$.75 coupon) $.22 each. The first 4 of these that I bought printed out a register reward and I kept trying for another but no suck long.
2 Degree deodorant (2/$4-(2)$.75 coupons-$1RR) $.75 each
4 Mini notebooks $.15 with in ad coupon, for my sister who is a waitress
KY Yours+Mine ($15-$5 coupon-$5RR)-$5 No explanation needed here, lol.
4 M&Ms (2/$4-$1 coupon-$1RR) $1 each, potty bribing candy :)
Cheezits & Keebler Cookies (4/$10-$5RR) $5 for 4.
Dawn dishsoap ($.99-$.50 coupon and $.25 coupon) .$25 and .$50 each
Gatorade, buy Perform ($1.79) get catalina for Prime and Recover for free, I did this twice but only got the catalina for the free products the first time.
Proglide Razor ($9.99-$4 coupon-$4RR) = $1.99
360 Toothbrush ($4.99-$1 coupon-$4RR) = Free
Airwick thing, ($7.99-$4 coupon-3RR) $.99 I plan to give this away because I don't use stuff like this
There are probably more Walgreens purchases hiding in there but those are the only ones I can remember. I am doing this off the top of my head without receipts (which is really, really sad now that I think about it.) :)
5 Degree premium mini deodorants ($.97-$1 coupon) = FREE, because I don't have enough mini deodorants right? :) I actually plan to use them instead of regular deodorant until I run out, in 10 years.
Method All Purpose Cleaner (not pictured) ($2.99-$1 coupon) = $1.99, I LOVE Method and I'd much rather use it than the chemical stuff, even if it was free.
Dove Bodywash 2 pack, plus bracelet. $3.50 clearance - 1.25 coupon = $1.75 for both, this was a great price because one of the body washes is regular size and one is really big.
2 Cottonelle Flushable Wipes, I can't remember the exact price but I had a $1.75 coupon and a $1 off coupon (Target and Manufactures) and another printed at the register for next time. I think they were about $.80 each, these are for Kainan.

3 U by Kotex liners ($1.24-$1 coupon) = $.24 each
4 Tampax Compak Tampons ($3.99-2BOGO coupons-2$1 off coupons) = About $1.50 per box.
Pull-ups Flushable Wipes ($1.74-$1 coupon) $.74, also for Kainan
Keri Lotion (PM to Walgreens at $1.99-2 coupon) FREE some stores/cashiers will price match after register rewards and some won't, it just depends on who you get
2 Advil Pocketpacks ($1.79-$2 coupon) FREE
5 packs of scotch tape (PM to Staples at $.50-$1 coupon) FREE plus .50 overage which was applied to the other purchaes
Bubbles, $.50 on sale, for Kainan
Beechnut baby food ($.39 each-$1/3 coupon) about $.10 each. I plan to make most of my own babyfood when Mikaela is ready for it (about a month or two) but I thought these would be nice for the diaper bag, etc.
10 Pack of Minutemaid juice ($2 something - $1 coupon) = $1something (my memory is failing me now)

Cheap wine, $2.99 :)

If you did the math and can't see how I only spent $40 (or so) it's because I "rolled" my Register Reward purchases at Walgreens. There are lots of sites and blogs with tutorials on couponing at various stores but I will probably write up my own sometime for Walgreens since it is my new favorite place to shop.


Tracking Food and Excercise

I have a good friend that is a Beachbody Coach. I told her about my new workout routine and she pointed me in the right direction to hit my goal weight. She told me about a website where you can track your food, excercise, weight, measurements, and more! It's called My Fitness Pal. This site is amazing! They also have a great message board where you can join monthly or weekly "challenges", for motivational purposes. I've already joined at least three. I love the food tracker too. When I go to add something that I've eaten, it's there! Word for word. Lucerne Soft Cream Cheese. It isn't an estimate, it is exactly what I ate and the correct calories! It's great. If you're trying to lose weight and are sick and tired of counting carbs, check out this website! You won't regret it.


Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream Review

Both of my boys have had eczema spots on their backs and bellies since they were very young. I've used everything from Aquafor, Eucerin, Cetephil, even prescription creams, but nothing seemed to work for all of their symptoms. When I was on vacation, my mom had bought Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream for them. She knew I hadn't been able to find anything worth the price and she'd heard great things about this cream, so she got it for me.

This cream is amazing! A little bit goes a long way. I bathe the boys and use about a pea sized amount on their bellies and a pea sized amount on their backs. I've been using it for almost a month at least 5 times a week and they no longer have irritation where their eczema is. They are both big squirmers and using such a small amount doesn't take much holding down on my part, which is a big plus! It makes their skin so smooth and their really isn't much of a scent to it. My sons aren't really keen on smelly stuff, so this is good for us. I even use a small amount on a patch I've had on my arm for years, and it doesn't itch anymore! I can't thank Aveeno enough for this amazing cream!

So, overall I would give Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream a 10/10! If your children are suffering from eczema, give this a try! You will not be disappointed.

**Note: I have not been compensated in any way by Aveeno for my review of the Moisturizing Cream. This is something that I was given as a gift from my mom and this is my personal opinion on this amazing product!**

My New Workout Routine - Week One Update

I've been doing Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred for over a week now. I only took a break on Thursday, because we were gone ALL day, and on Saturday because we got home so late and I was tired. I didn't end up doing the workout yesterday either, because I was so shook up from the earthquake. I've never experienced an earthquake, and I just couldn't get in the right mind frame to workout. So, in the last ten days, I've done 30 Day Shred for seven of those days. Not too bad for my first week. I have moved on to Level 2, which is much more challenging for me. So far, I really like the workout. It is challenging but I'm still encouraged to get up and do it every day. Jillian is very energetic and she keeps you moving and helps you "push through the pain". I really like her style of training.

I never really took the time in my first post to explain how Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred is designed. It is designed in three different levels. Level 1 is for beginners and is approximately 23 minutes long. It starts with a warm-up, and has three circuits which each consist of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. After the three circuits, there is a cool down. This is where you start your workout. Once you feel you're ready to move on to a harder routine, you step up to Level 2, and eventually to Level 3. All three levels are around 20-23 minutes each, and consist of the same warm-up, three circuits, and cool down. Jillian suggests you move at your own pace and move up when you feel ready. There are also modified versions of almost every exercise in each level. If you can't do the full version, you can do the modified version. This is great for beginners! I've read on many forums and in some reviews that Jillian Michaels suggests you do Level 1 for ten days, Level 2 for ten days, and Level 3 for ten days. This would mean you are doing the 30 Day Shred for 30 days straight (which does make sense), but I've also read that you shouldn't be doing the same routine for so many days straight without a rest day. Therefore, I've been doing various other workouts on my rest days, to keep my body moving.

I know I planned on doing Great Buns Guaranteed every day, but right now my strength just isn't there to do it every day along with 30 Day Shred. It is a killer on the legs!! So, I've done it on my off days, and I plan on doing it every day for a month after I'm done with 30 Day Shred. Hopefully, by then I'll have enough energy and strength to do a regular workout and the 11 minute Great Buns routine.

My Progress So Far...
Starting Weight (8/15/11): 149.5 lbs
Current Weight (8/24/11): 147.3 lbs
Weight Lost So Far (in 10 days): 2.2 lbs
Goal Weight: 125-130 lbs

I am very interested in yoga. I practiced it for a while right before I found out I was pregnant with Jake. I continued it for about the first 3-4 months until it became too difficult. I have Denise Austin Power Yoga Plus and Gaiam Yoga for Beginners with Patricia Walden. I really like the Power Yoga Plus, but it's not the best for beginners, since she moves so quickly from one pose to the other. Yoga for Beginners is definitely for beginners. She explains every single pose and takes the time to get into the pose and hold it. The only thing I don't like about Yoga for Beginners is that it's such a long DVD.
I've never been able to get through the entire program. I just don't have the time with two little kids.

Denis Austin Power Yoga Plus is broken up into two segments. The first segment is 20 minutes long. "...Power Yoga, is a series of traditional Yoga poses performed in a flowing style designed to generate power
and stamina."

The second segment is also 20 minutes long. "...Power Pilates, is an invigorating series of Pilates moves which challenge the abdominal muscles and tones the buttocks, hips and thighs PLUS combines 3lb weights to sculpt the arms, chest and shoulders."

Diet and Nutrition:
I think I'll be purchasing a book some time soon to start eating a little healthier. I have never been on a diet and I don't plan to start. I would however, like to pay more attention to the foods I am cooking and feeding my family. I've read great things about Naturally Thin by Bethanny Frankel. I saw a great review of the book YouTube. She helps you change the way you think about food, so you don't end up starving yourself or neglecting the foods you love because you want to lose weight. She also has The Skinnygirl Dish, which is 320 pages of just recipes. I still need to read a few reviews before I decide which one is more worth it right now, and I'll update later.

Honest Reviews:
If you are looking for honest reviews on books, workout DVDs or types of workout routines, I highly recommend checking out TaylieTotGetsFit on YouTube. She has over 60 video reviews on health, nutrition, and fitness. She also has a great 11 minute video on her Top 5 Favorite Workout Videos of 2010Naturally Thin by Bethanny Frankel, if you want to hear what she thought of the book. There are hundreds of reviews on YouTube for anything you could think of. Just type in "(product name) review" in the search bar and results will pop up.

Anyway, I've made this post ten times longer than I intended to, so I'll end it now. I will keep you posted on my workout progress and my weight loss.


ANOTHER free diaper sample!

Just today I received my free Huggies sample from Target that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Now Wal-Mart has a similar deal for Huggies. Check it out here and act fast because this won't last for long!


Meagan's Starting Measurements

I told you I would update with my starting measurements, so here they are. I'm going to be taking my measurements every Monday, but I'll only be posting my updated measurements every 30 days.

Taken on August 16, 2011:

What to Measure










Right Arm


Left Arm


Right Thigh


Left Thigh


If you are unsure how to go about taking your measurements, check out this video. It is a great tutorial on how, where, and when to take measurements. Good luck with your workout routine.

My New Workout Routine

So, Jake's 1st birthday is in a little over two weeks. I definitely don't look as good as I did on Luke's 1st birthday, so I have been working out to lose some weight. While I was in NC, I got up early every few days and went for a run while everyone else was still asleep. Being by the beach, this was something I could do every day. Well, now that I'm back home (and not by the beach), I can't find the motivation to wake up before everyone and go for a run. So, I spent a few weeks reading hundreds of reviews on Amazon to find the perfect workout DVD for me. I decided on Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred. It received 4.5/5 stars, with over 2,000 customer reviews, so that was pretty good proof for me. I know that Amy had success with The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout for xBox 360, and I've heard great things about Jillian Michaels. I watch The Drs every day on TV and Jillian Michaels is on the show at least once a week talking about health, nutrition, and fitness. She is great! So, after weeks of debate, I finally decided to order 30 Day Shred. I had a few Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, so I just used those to purchase it.

I started the 30 Day Shred, Level 1 workout on On Demand yesterday, since my DVD hadn't arrived yet. Let me tell you, I was shaking for about 45 minutes afterwards. It felt so great to workout again! My DVD arrived this morning and I can't wait for my boys to take a nap so I can do Day 2. I've read many reviews about the 30 Day Shred, and many people have suggested you alternate between this workout and other Jillian Michaels workouts. I think I'm too much of a beginner to try her other workouts so soon, so I'm going to be alternating between Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred and Great Buns Guaranteed by Beachbody. Besides yoga, these are the only two workout DVD's I currently have. Besides, who doesn't want a great butt?

This is what my workout schedule is going to look like:

30 Day Shred
Great Buns








This will result in about 36 minutes of excercise 5 days a week, and 11 minutes of excercise the other two days. I planned on doing 30 Day Shred 7 days a week, but I read many comments saying that your body needs to rest from this workout at least 1-2 days a week. So, hopefully I'll be seeing some results in the next 30 days. The great news is, Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred claims that you can lose up to 20 pounds in 30 days! Great Buns Guaranteed by Beachbody claims that you can get tight, toned buns in under 30 days. Hopefully I will see these results. I'll be taking my measurements later today, and posting them tonight. Wish me luck!


Back from the Beach

Gran-Mommy helping Luke walk across the lily pads.
Sorry I haven't been around much lately. We actually just got back from a 10 day vacation in Kure Beach, NC. It was SO relaxing and much needed. My mom and sister live in that area, so it was a lot of fun to see them. Anyway, I didn't have Internet access as anticipated, so that's why I haven't posted in a while. We visited the aquarium, Luke got to ride the carousal for the very first time, we saw the fireworks on the boardwalk, watched Gnomeo & Juliet on the big screen by the lake, and of course we went to the beach! Here are a few pictures of the boys having fun at the playground. I have a bunch of other pictures from the beach and aquarium, but they're still on my camera and I haven't uploaded them yet. So here are the best of the few that I have access to. So, the boys had a great time and Delvin and I are well rested. Thank goodness, since school is right around the corner. But, back to work and back to blogging. I'll be posting much more often in the next few weeks. I've been busy unpacking, cleaning, doing laundry and unwinding since I came home yesterday, so I'll get back to blogging in the next few days. I hope every one's summer is going good and hopefully enjoying the sun!
Jake smiling for a picture while Gran-Mommy swings him.

Saving Money on Disposable Diapers

While I LOVE my cloth diapers, I realize they aren't for everyone. I have said before that I believe more people would use cloth diapers if they just gave them a chance. That being said I realize that there are lots and lots of people who will never touch a cloth diaper, and that's okay! Some moms cloth diaper smaller babies and switch to disposables when the poop gets really stinky (and who can blame them?) Fortunately for those who use disposables there are plenty of ways to save. Since I started "couponing" and realized the deals that are out there I have wanted to kick myself lots of times for paying full price for certain items. Diapers are one of these items. There are a few easy ways to save on disposables, here are some of them:

Amazon.com usually has pretty decent deals on diapers. The prices can vary so try to keep track of what you pay to know whether or not you are getting a good deal. If you subscribe to Amazon Mom (free!) you will save 15%. Sign up for subsribe and save (also free!) and you will save another 15%. That 30% is almost always cheaper than the prices you would find at stores like Wal-Mart or Target. I normally use Amazon.com to buy pull-ups for my son since he is almost potty trained but grew out of his cloth. You can cancel subscribe and save as soon as you order, or set the ordering times really far apart so that you can change sizes or brands if you need to. You can't use coupons on Amazon but they do sometimes have sales. If you need diapers fast and can't find other good deals Amazon is a good choice because of free two day shipping with Amazon mom.

Pampers and Huggies both have newspaper coupons fairly frequently. Other brands will occasionally have coupons as well. Huggies and Pampers both have mailing lists that send out coupons every now and then. These coupons typically range from $1.50 to $3.00 off one pack of diapers. $1.50 off a pack of $10 diapers may not seem like much, but every little bit helps. Combine coupons with sales for maximum savings.

Drugstore deals:
Stores like Walgreens or CVS often have sales on diapers that include Register Rewards or Extra Bucks. If you shop at these stores anyway and roll you RRs or EBs following these sales can save a lot of money! An example of this at Walgreens would be a sale price of $8.99 plus receive a $2 Register Reward. If you combine this with a $2 off coupon it would be like paying $4.99, which is about half of the regular price. If you don't typically shop at drugstores this may not be the best deal because you may forget or no know how to use the register reward or extra buck.

Clearance deals:
Lots of stores will put their diapers on clearance from time to time for various reasons such as the diapers being repackaged or discontinued. These prices are often half of the regular price or even less! Combined with coupons this can make diapers very, very cheap!

Stockpiling: Find a GREAT deal on diapers? Stock up!! If you can get diapers for $3 or $4 or less for a jumbo pack (and it does happen more often than you'd think!) buy some for a few months! Find a great deal on diapers that are a size or two up? Buy them anyway, kids grow fast! The same applies for wipes, since there are great deals on wipes all the time.

As you can see there are plenty of ways to buy diapers without paying retail prices. All of these deals can apply to disposable wipes as well. Diapers are one of the most expensive baby items but by following these simple tips it is very easy to save!
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