[a little change]

Oh bless this slight change in the weather, and bless this new semester in school. Bless the little changes that happen in our families, in our thinking, in our creativity, in our desires, in our fashion choices (yes,  those too), and the good changes that are happening around us all the time.

Change can be rough for many folks, but oh goodness, I appreciate and accept change; I wish big change happened more often. I just get bored. I can't help it. My mind is always wondering off to other things... if you know me personally, you know exactly what I'm talking about. My husband can certainly vouch for this.

Right now, I am feeling especially motivated in my life.  I feel motivated to pursue my passions as a family life educator and get out there and help people who are the inspiration for all of my work.

Although I am spending more time than ever at work and school, I am committing more time to my family that I didn't balance so well before.  We have a wonderful routine, and it is working rather well.   

How many of you have struggled with your children going to be at night? Well, for our family, it has been a battle for years with our 4 year old.  She fights going to bed, practically every night.  I am taking a graduate Family Relations course this semester, and my first assigned reading for the class dealt with the topic of  good parenting resulting in misbehavior in children; read this article if you have a few minutes, especially if you have little kids; it is definitely worth your time: "Good Parents, Bad Results" from US News and World Report. Well, after reading the article, I came to the conclusion that some of my parenting skills, weren't really cutting it. Despite spankings and time outs, my daughter was still acting out literally everyday!  So I made a change in our nighttime routine: 

After bath time, we lotion up, pick out jammies, brush hair, get a cup of water, and pick out two books, 1 for brother and 1 for sister. I tell them before we read the story, "We are going to read two books tonight, then you're going to lay down, and I will sing you one song tonight." We snuggle in bed and read our books. By this time, Harper wants to talk about the story or ask me questions about the coming day, or whatever pops into her little head. I engage her, listen, and answer. I don't shush or poo-poo the conversation. It's the little moments like these that we as parents are meant to treasure. They go by too fast. I sing my song; it's usually "Make You Feel My Love" or "Hushabye Mountain" while I lightly touch her arm or back. Then I give a kiss and a hug. Check on Sawyer in his bed, tell them goodnight and leave the door open a crack as I step into the hallway.

We've been practicing this for a few weeks now, and yes, we sometimes still have trouble, typically about one night per week; overall, our nights have greatly improved.  It is just taking the time to answer the often silly and mundane questions, be engaging with your children, even if they are fighting sleep; give them the attention they crave in a positive way.
I am simply putting off my 'important' mommy stuff, and spending quality time with my children during those few moments that we have together throughout the day. It is just so important.

Also, I am feeling motivated to scrapbook again after a short break that lasted a few months.  I took time off from blogging because I had nothing new to share that I wasn't sharing on Facebook, but I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is my Facebook friend.  So I have been scrapping lately, at least 1-2 times per month and a little more. I've been taking more pictures, that I now need to get developed, and I am instagramming like a crazy person.

Just to sum up the last few months:
- Sawyer began fully walking last week
- I'm in my third semester of grad school
- GG and I spent our 7th wedding anniversary in Vegas this summer
- I visited Memory Lane Inn with my friends and family in July
- Sawyer turned 1 in June 
- I attended the Great American Scrapbook Convention in June and assisted the awesome Donna Downey
- Harper turned 4 in April
- Harper is a preschool home-schooler as of August
- GG and I bought a new-used 2010 Scion XB back in May
- March you know, came and went, nothing memorable that I can speak to
- February, I turned 27.

That is all I have to share for now, but I will do my very best to keep you all informed of fun stuff, scrapbook pages I've completed, family fun that we are having, etc, etc.

Since I've been out of touch, what are you lovelies up to? I hope that you're still being creative and pushing yourselves to make time for fun in your lives.

Happy Anniversary to GG and me.

The kids in our playroom one morning.

Making funny faces.

Morning giggles and snuggles with my lovelies.

Someone is climbing onto everything.

A little bit of summer scrapping.

A night out in Vegas. It's nice getting dressed up.

This month's Slop Crop in Frisco, TX. I'm in the teal shirt.

With Love,
Gabi Watson

{feels good to be a...}

Well I am happy to report that the last couple of weeks I've been very good at sticking to my budget, cooking meals at home, couponing, spending more time with my kids, spending time with my hubby, and reading for pleasure. Last weekend I stocked up on diapers, spices, and fresh veggies and bread, and this week I made some delicious mostly homemade meals.

I've been simplifying my life with a few helpful tools that I found online last week.

This Free Printable from Artsy Fartsy Mama has been such a lifesaver for me. I can now easily plan my weekly menu and still see what is going on each night of the week. 

And I used a few new recipes and began using my Crockpot for the first time in SEVERAL years because of the Crockpot 365 Blog.

Just today (during my lunch) I went a-couponing/shopping where I spent $11.25, and I SAVED $16.59 on some items:

(3) Trident Gum - $1 on sale
Used $1/3 coupon
$.66 each

(2) Coffee Mate - 2/$3 on sale
Used (2) $1 off coupon
$.50 each

(1) Aquafresh toothpaste - $1.99 on sale
Used $1 off coupon

(2) Mitchum Deoderant - $1.99 on sale
Used (2) $1 off coupon
$.99 each

(2) Butterball Turkey Bacon - 2/$3 on sale
Use (2) $.55 off coupon
$.95 each

(1) Nice Combo Plastic Cutlery - $1.99 regular price
Use (1) $2 Register Rewards
Free with $.01 overage

(2) Orange Tic Tac big packs - $1.49 each regular price

Total with tax: $11.25
Balance Rewards Savings: $7.49
MFG Coupon Savings: $9.10
Total Savings: $16.59

It is funny to think, I spent the most money on the Tic Tacs by paying full retail, but I wanted to ensure that I had more items than coupons to comply with their coupon store policy, if you know what I mean.  I am still VERY happy with my deals. Even the clerk who checked me out said, "Wow, you did some good couponing today."

Yes, it feels good to be a (coupon) gangster.

Our weekend plans involve:
Gavin going out with his friends tonight, while I stay home with the kiddos.  Car shopping online since we need to replace Gavin's car. It's been very good to us over the years, but it's time to move on and find the Bu a new home. Price match-ups for my Walmart excursion tonight or tomorrow, and reading some more. I just finished the The Hunger Games last night, and I began Catching Fire today. I would like to have them all read by the time the next movie comes out. Also I will be stopping by the library to return some books and pick up a coupl parenting books. I need some serious advice on how to better discipline Harper, and I know that I need a lesson in communication with my child. That's life.

Well that's all from me today; peace, love, and happiness to everyone. Have a simply wonderful weekend!!

With Love,
Gabrielle Watson