Apr 092012

Easter 2012Happy Easter from the H Family!

We had a wonderful 3 day weekend… B + C had the three day weekend, I had to work, but I am not complaining because they slept almost all day anyways.

On Friday we celebrated with the [non]resurrection of the Houston Astros home opener. Our fam was there, take a look at these pretty girls!

Astros Opener 2012

On Saturday, C and I helped Grandma pick out a new couch. Exciting, right? I think my mom is still in shock from the quote at Gallery Furniture… $3500 for a couch and love seat don’t fly with this frugal family! We went to Ashley and found a VERY comparable set for less than half… and FOR REAL the throw pillows were the EXACT match. GF is just plain crazy on some of their prices.

C and I volunteered at our church’s Saturday Easter 4pm service, watching the babies and we had so much fun. It was so beautiful watching C hold Parker and Ryan, Ryan especially, and enjoy bouncing them around and engaging them in infant activities… she is just the most amazing [step]daughter ever. After our shift was over we took a walk around the church building, looking at the students ministry building and sand volleyball court, and discussed future volunteering opportunities with the infants. She has a heart for caring, my sweet baby girl. When your [almost] teen child shows interest in something… anything, do you fully engage like I do?

On Sunday we slept in then enjoyed lunch at my parent’s house, it was a delightful, easy weekend indeed.

Praise the Lord, He is risen!

 Posted by at 9:17 pm
Mar 102012

Conversations With C

Yesterday it took us 2 hours and 24 minutes to get home from we were driving home from C’s place of scholastic business [we live 50 miles apart]. It was the looongest drive home EVER in the sense of our booties being in one place for a lot longer than we had prepared them for. Stinkin’ rain. 

Experts say long trips are when you have captive audience, so without further ado: 

[Just coming in to traffic, about 14 miles from school, 36 miles from home]
C: I’m going to take a nap.

A: Me too. [ I shut my right eye and keep the left eye open and coast with traffic]

C: HEY! You can’t sleep and drive.

[I turn my face so she sees I have one eye open]

C: Oh, hah.

C: Chinese fire drill?


C: Ok!

A: No, what if one of us slips and falls on the wet concrete and we cant drive to the house? Then all these people around us would have to wait on us.

C: I’ll drive.

A: You can’t drive, it’s raining.

C: I can’t drive because its raining? Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:26 am
Feb 172012

Every year I try to think of a fun cake to make for my sweet C for her birthday. Although her birthday is months away, she is turning 13 and I want this one to be uber-special.

I have started jotting down ideas and listening to things that she likes and doesn’t like [I got this idea from an amazing book I’m reading]. She doesn’t live with us, y’all, so this is pretty difficult to get out of many weekends and Tuesday night dinners – I have to be, like, super stepmom on a recon mission.

Here are a few homemade cakes from years past:

#7 Cake

Butterfly Cake

Penguins Cake

So far on my jot list of likes are: Harry Potter, Zebra stripes, hair accessories, clothing. On my list of dislikes: everything else. Hah!

Looks like I have my work cut out for myself, lots of listening will be happening in the months ahead!

What about you, do you spoil your special someone or friend on their birthday with a fun cake or treat? Email me your best creation, there just might be something sweet in it for you ;)

alyssa [at] frugalstepmom [dot] com

 Posted by at 11:13 am
Jan 312012

You know how life just happens and you don’t make it to the grocery store to pick up bread, your office is tore up from the floor up for over a week because painting is REALLY stupid, and the dog smells like she rolled over two dead snakes? That’s my life right now.

I know the days are starting to get longer, but geez, where does the time go when you’re just so busy?

Last week we moved everything out of our home office to put down new flooring and paint. That was last Wednesday… It doesn’t look too promising to be finished by tomorrow. The ceiling still needs painted and I think I have talked B into making our new desks to match the new feeling [Dale is moving in!] I guess we need to get a move on, C can’t really sleep on top of shelving and blinds, which are neatly placed on her never made bed. Which brings me to an observation – is it just my kid or what is up with not putting the flat sheet back on the bed after it’s been washed? I’ve made my own bed a few times before and know it isn’t too difficult, what gives?

Freedom Sticker

The TV in our bedroom is disconnected from the cable to make room for our household computer [from the home office], so I have had time to play around in various websites that I don’t usually have the time to before crashing for the night. I went to Zazzle and made this bumper sticker and button, I leveraged it from one of the radio shows that B listens to so often. I have been saying a lot of prayers lately for our Nation, it is so conflicted and so far from what it was created to be by our founding fathers. It’s nerve racking and makes me anxious just thinking about what could be if certain things do and do not happen in the future. Ugh, I don’t like politics.

Don’t even get me started about my grocery list, it is so long and I think bread and diet coke may be on there about three or four times each; PB & J don’t make themselves. We have been eating out more than normal during lunch, our poor bank account is hating life right now… and fast food. OH, B and I went with our cousins to Benihana for my cousin and my birthday dinner last week. It was so much fun and SO yummy. The best thing from the night? Our tab was $13 and we had a spider roll, teriyaki chicken, chicken fried rice and two beers. WHAT A DEAL – you have to go here and sign up for their birthday club, they send you a $30 voucher to be used during your birthday month!

This past Sunday, B, rode in his first organized bicycle ride - I was so excited the whole week long I could hardly contain myself! One, because it wasn’t on account of one of my races we were getting up before the rooster and two, I finally got to see my muffin, although she was REALLY tired and quiet, it was nice to hang out and share fruit snacks with her when we weren’t driving the 32 mile race course.

Oh, and yes, D did roll on a dead snake or two. It rained today so I told her to go out and take a shower… She listens as well at a flat sheet makes it onto a twin bed. Just sayin’.

Have a wonderful day and please let me know how I can pray for you!

 Posted by at 2:38 pm
Jan 192012

Woohoo – On this day I am one year away from the BIG 3-0. How exciting is that?!

I don’t even really feel like an adult, until I have to make adult decisions like delegating chores, enforcing a quasi-bed time and deciding on water or an adult beverage, because I’m old enough.

Today I will spend the day working at my big girl job, prepping to paint our office, and probably caulking our counter top-to-wall tiles in the kitchen [which has needed to be done for about two years now]. We are finally getting the house in order after Christmas, so I am taking this day as people leave me alone and to my own devices to accomplish these things. Call me a winner, working on my birthday.

Tomorrow we will have a nice [non-frugal] dinner at a delicious restaurant in Houston, one that puts a sparkler candle on your choice of birthday dessert. That’s my kind of place; I love sparkles!

A big ups to the G-man for choosing my parents to host me, I would have been really uncool had I come from any other folks. Happy Birthday to me! And to you! And Many More!

 Posted by at 9:18 am
Sep 302011

Welcome to the twelfth edition of Frugal On Friday! I am so excited you are here to see and share you recent deals!

This week has been packed full of trips to see my girl, working late every day and a minor melt down that was quickly resolved with a quick phone call. I am SO ready for the weekend, to hang out with my chick and husband, take a long-ol-jog with my running buddy and praise the Lord for another wonderful week on Sunday.

Speaking of praise, I would like to ask a simple request of you, if you don’t mind. My sister has been having really bad headaches lately and praying by myself is just not cutting it because the headaches seem to be getting worse as time wares on. Will you join me in a prayer for Sarah? Lord, we come to you right now to lift up Sarah in your name. Please have mercy on her, release the strong pains that she is feeling in her head and heal her as your strength is mighty. In your precious and powerful name I pray, Amen.

Thanks So Much! Now on to the shopping!

Walgreen’sWalgreen's 9/30

Brita Water Filration System $10.00 – $5.00/1 = $5.00 + MIR $10 = $5.00 MoneyMaker

Schick Quattro Razor $8.99 – $5.00/1 = $3.99 [Earn $5.00 RR] = $1.01 MoneyMaker

3 Kettle/Indiana Chip’ins @ $1.99 = $5.97 – [3] $1.00/1 = $2.97 or $0.99 each

John Frieda Straight Fixation $6.49 – $1.00/1 = $5.49

John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum $9.99 = Buy John Frieda product get Serum FREE [Walgreen's Facebook]

Balance Bar $1.59 [Earn $1.60 RR]

Total Spent $20.14

Total Saved $30.59 or 60% [Earned $6.60 RR + $10 MIR]


2 DayQuil Liquid Caps @ $6.00 = $12.00 – $3.00/2 = $9.00 or $4.50 each [Earn $3 ECB]

2 Olay Wet Cloths $3.99 = $7.98 - [2] $2.00/1 = $3.98 or  $1.99 each

2 Snickers King Size @ $1.87 = $3.74 – $0.25/1 CVS = $3.49 or $1.75 each

Hershey Air Delight $1.19 – B2G1 = FREE

Diet Coke 12 Pk $3.34

Total $20.65

Total Spent $15.65 [used $5.00 Beauty Club]

Total Saved $25.57 or 62% [Earned $4 ECB {$1 was for Green Bag Tag}]September 20 Shopping Trip

To wrap it up, my totals for this week’s trips were:

Total Spent: $35.79

Total Saved: $56.16 or 61%

Now, it is time for you to share all of your amazing trips from this past week!

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Sep 292011

Dakota and I finally went to pick up her free bag of Bil-Jac Super Premium Dry Dog Food last week and the results are incredible.

Remember when you had to use the food ball when your pup was little – to keep them from eating too fast? I had to break it out again because this food is like dog food heaven apparently, and it cannot be eaten quick enough! I caught Dakota in action one morning, you will see here how she is taking out the pieces of her old food and putting them on the floor… to be picked up by Mom later because they are just sub-par. I guess this means she loves the Bil-Jac dog food and that I better not come home with the old lack-luster food. ever. again.

The food is about the size of rabbit food and smells like… chicken. Which is a good thing because Bil-Jac uses 10lbs of fresh farm-raised chicken to make one 15lb bag of their premium dog food.  Who else is going to tell you how much REAL product is actually in the mix? They slow cook their high quality protein [chicken + chicken organs] and high quality carbohydrates [fine ground corn meal] in small batches to maintain optimum temperatures which in turn protects the core nutrition and chicken taste of the Bil-Jac product.

Bil-Jac Premium Dry Dog Food comes in many different varieties to suit the needs of your dog:

  • Puppy
  • Select Adult
  • Reduced Fat
  • Senior
  • Large Breed
  • Small Breed
  • Sensitive Solutions

We purchased the Select Adult variety because Dakota is very active and it had the right proportion of carbohydrates for her active lifestyle. She has been chowing on this for a little over a week now and she has a much better attitude, for real, she is more happy and energetic – most likely because she is not being weighted down by stiff stool or cheap fillers. Also, I have noticed a great change in her coat’s appearance – it is already shiny black, but she had pretty bad dandruff because of the Texas summer, now it has become more smooth and minimal dandruff is left after bathing and brushing. Yay!

Log on to Bil-Jac for more information, testimonials and success stories from dog parents everywhere who have experienced the difference of Bil-Jac Super Premium dog food.

Now, on to the giveaway! Bzz-Agent suppied me with 4 - $10 OFF coupons in my sweet little BzzKit and I have saved two exclusively for the first two people to leave a qualified comment [with name and email address for contacting, of course!] answering this question:

What is your pups name and what breed/mix is he/she? 

I will announce the two winners here within the week! Good Luck!

Disclaimer: BzzAgent compensated me with FREE Bil-Jac dry dog food and coupons. The proposed opinions are my own.
 Posted by at 5:30 pm
Sep 282011

Band of Bosoms - Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston

This year, I have committed to participating in my very first Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I am very excited to walk with my cousin and friends from long ago – we are wives, mothers and daughters on a mission to end breast cancer.

It is a big commitment, one that will require me to spend the next several months training and fundraising, as if training for my upcoming marathons isn’t enough. Breast cancer is a big disease, one that affects far too many women and men, and I am determined to do everything I can to help put an end to it.

The money I raise will be managed and disbursed by the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade, a 501(c)(3) public charity, to help provide access to care for those that most need it, fund educational programs, and accelerate research into new treatments and potential cures. I will be just one of thousands of people that will walk up to a marathon and a half over a weekend, raising awareness of the cause and educating even more people.

I cannot do it without your help. Though I am required to raise at least $1,800 in donations, I plan to raise at least $2,500! I hope that I can count on your support.

You can make a donation to my fundraising campaign right here on the website by clicking “Donate Now“. If you prefer to write a check, simply contact me and I will send you the information and form. All of our sponsors will be mentioned on our Facebook page as well as their Logos on our Sponsor signs we bring to all out events. Any company whose donation exceeds $250 value will also be listed on our team t-shirts that we wear and sell.

As I prepare for this exciting event, I plan to update my Avon Walk page frequently so that all my supporters can follow my progress, so please visit often. While you are there, you might want to spend some time on the site to find out more information on why this event is so important, and the organizations and people that will be helped by the money we all raise.

Thank you in advance.

Follow my team’s success, get notice of our fundraising events throughout the year, or write words of encouragement on our Facebook page: Band of Bosoms.

From September 27 through October 31, all orders placed from SweetgumWay will be allocated 100% to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer – Team Band of Bosoms! Did you know you can also score 15% off any purchase with SWEETGUM15! Keep checking back, new items will hit the market soon.

Also, for the Month of October, we will be holding weekly raffles for some awesome prizes. Every person who makes a $20 donation to any of our team members accounts, will receive one raffle ticket. For a $50 donation, you get 3! Raffles will be announced on Sunday of each week at the Band of Bosoms Facebook page. Most of these will be for local (Houston) venues.

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Aug 312011

It has been a minute since we went to Chicago and I thought it would [finally] be fun to post some of our pictures and some stories about the trip!

FridayWe arrived in Chicago around lunch time and Brent’s buddy, Johnny, took us to eat at Revolution Brewing Company in Oak Park. They had the BEST sandwiches and the BESSSST pretzel bread known to man, seriously. I learned something new, anytime a menu says “crunchy” or “crispy”, they mean it has uncooked cabbage slaw on top, Yum. C ordered a caesar side salad with her “crunchy” pulled pork sandwich and it came with a full out anchovy on top… needless to say, she did not eat the salad. I even tried it… Umm yea, not a fan of that either! I ordered the Hombre Burger, I’m from Texas, what can I say? It consisted of smoked poblano pepper,  avocado, Chihuahua cheese, red pepper crema & tortilla strips – aka. Heaven on a Heavenly Pretzel Roll bun. Once we arrived at our final destination – Congress Plaza Hotel [who has still not sent me a like to review their room/service{which is probably better for them because the "suite" was pretty much unacceptable (email me for details)}] we… I decided we should take a little walk to Navy Pier. I wonder why nobody stopped me, it was like 10,000 miles away from our hotel and we were pretty grumpy by the time we all got there. HAha!

B and Mike went out with the Chicago friends while C and I hit the streets to find dinner. C and I went down Michigan Avenue to hear the free concerts and look at Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountains. C has a radar for super fun, cool things, and this night was no different. We made our way to the Magnificent Mile Macy’s and Chicago Theater where there just happened to be a CLo concert and Glamorama fashion show taking place. C and I got to walk on the fashionistas red carpet and take in all of the glittlery and amazing fashion choices of the actual attendees. It was amazing! We caught some people making glances at us, like, “I can’t believe they wore that”, we were sporting the all fashionable shorts, t-shirt and Tom’s. We finally headed to dinner at about 11 pm; C chose, what we thought was, a quaint little place in downtown Chicago called Mercat a la planxa. Wow! Once again, we were totally under dressed and a little out of the diners target market, but we have money to pay for a delicious meal, so who cares about the target market. The meal was a total debacle and out waiter was really pretty poo-pooey on us, but we enjoyed ourselves and our meal. C decided to try the pintxos muranos Colorado Lamb Brochettes wrapped in Bacon and Lamb Jus and I had the Conill Amb castanyes Braised Rabbit Agnolotti, Roasted Chestnut Purée, Brandied Cherries and Rosemary Brown Butter. Our meals were divine and the experience will last a lifetime!

Chicago Theater

Saturday Was our chill day, we pretty much spent the day walking, relaxing and eating. I got to meet on of my co-workers, at my big girl job, who lives just a couple minutes from the hotel. My company is big on the virtual/global environment – nobody on my team lives within 6oo miles of Houston, it is pretty amazing when you think about how connected we are, but are so far apart. We took a cab ride to the Expo to pick up our race packets [there was no way the guys were going to go for another walk with me]. We ate lunch around our hotel and on our way to pick up bananas and water for the mornings race, the rain came down, BIG time. We were still about 3 blocks from the hotel. After we watched all of the Segway tours rush into their homes, which we were huddled close to, we decided to book it to the next available awning and make a game plan. We were like frogs who didn’t like the wet – hopping from one awning to the next between pours of rain. We just kind of chilled the rest of the day, watching bad hotel tv and C’s outstanding fashion show [she was still feeling the vibe from last night] with the hotel’s bedding; have I told you, lately, how amazing she is? Well… she is! By the way, this is how we dry wet Tom’s:

C's Shoe Dryer

Sunday There was a little race, you can read about it here. Our friends took us to another amazing eatery, Big Star, before we headed out to the airport.  They had delicious pork and fish tacos and their salsa was pretty much spectacular because it was not chilled. C happened upon the lovely bacon wrapped hot dog below – the Sonoran Hot Dog crispy, bacon wrapped, all beef hot dog, pinto beans, lime mayo, mustard, onions, hot sauce, on a bolillo roll = Amazing! We had to wipe off the sauces because the hot sauce was just WAY hot for her, but she went to town, she said it was pretty delicious and recommend it, most definitely.

C's giant Bacon-wrapped hot Dog

We hit up the train to take us to our destination before our final destination – it was pretty fun, except for when the guy sitting in front of us decided to get up and pry open the doors with this bare hands and jump out on the landing dock while the train was still moving… Not Smart dude, not smart. My face was stuck in the “OMG! Did that REALLY just happen” fashion for a minute or three. We made it to the airport in the nick of time… to see that our flight would be delayed for 5 hours. [Shameless Plug ~~>]It’s really too bad that we don’t have a smarty phone that received emails to tell us we were delayed; we could have totally stayed at the taco place for another 4 hours, which would have been fine by me!

Leaving Chicago on a Train

 Goodbye Chicago… until Next time!

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Aug 192011

So, yesterday I got C’s leg cut off.

Or at least that’s what you would think was happening.

My sweet girl had a “mollescum contagiosum” on her left thigh that had to be removed to ensure it would not spread on the rest of her body. It looks like a mole without color, it gets a red rash around it if you leave it untreated for a long time [3-6 months]. Apparetly a lot of kids get it from swimming pools, sharing towels, and rubbing against people in that spot with the virus [this better not be the case!]. 

She was so scared to get it cut off. She said it hurt, but she was kind of laughing after she started crying. I felt terrible. It was the first time I had put her through something she wasn’t really convinced was the right decision. I coddled her. I was upset that she was upset, I am sure that isn’t what I am supposed to do, as the Mom [decision maker].
At one point when she was crying I said to her, “Don’t cry Ugly Girl, you are going to make me cry!”

In our world, “Ugly” is actually a term of endearment. I asked last night [after she was over the trauma] if she remembered me calling her Ugly Girl, she said No… She was too busy fighting the thought of getting her leg cut off. Sheesh!

So, she is fine now and off to spend a nice weekend at the beach with her Mom and family before school starts on Monday. Lucky girl! Pray for her as she enters the 7th grade… with 2 full legs minus 1 mollescum!

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 Posted by at 6:03 pm