Sunday, November 6, 2011

Extreme Couponing Week 2! All Stocked Up!

I purchased:

4 boxes of Kleenex Cool Touch tissues

11 small bottles of suave shampoo and conditioner

6 large bottles of suave shampoo and conditioner

1 large suave lotion

5 bottles of suave body wash

1 suave deodorant

18 Ricola Cough Drops

2 vicks vapo drops

1 box of zantac

1 box of cold/flu spray

14 bottles of Axe Body Wash

6 tubes of crest toothpaste

6 rolls of Charmin toilet paper

8 rolls of Viva Paper Towels

1 4 pack of Venus disposable razor

4 pounds of Dunkin Donuts seasonal coffee

4 Glade Scented Oil Refills

2 Glad Scented Oil Candles

1 box of Huggies Snug and Dry Diapers

216 count Huggies Natural Care Wipes

4 bottles of Tide Laundry Detergent

25 - 4x6 photo prints

Retail Cost: $384.64

I paid: $76.53!

Savings of: $308.11!

Love the couponing

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gratitude Journal #31

The last post for the month and I am taking the cop out! I am so grateful that I have so much to be grateful for. At times its easy to take your eyes off the prize and let depression take you over. It's so important to know that there is SOOOO much out there that is wonderful and worthy of praise and gratitude to my God for providing my life with so much blessing and love! AMEN!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gratitude Journal #30

Trick or Treat! I am grateful today that my kids have a great neighborhood to trick or treat! I have the cutest little Power Ranger and Smurf EVER!

Gratitude Journal #29

I thought I was going to have a hard time looking for 31 things to be grateful for but now its the end of the month and I'm thinking of all of these things that I haven't even covered yet! What a great feeling. Today I am grateful for brothers. Not just each child but how they interact as a unit. Altogether there are SIX boys all related somehow - steps - halfs - and wholes but all brothers. Watching Joey and Jackson play, James and Joey snuggling, Jackson's other half brothers, and James and Joshua talking or playing video games is so fulfilling. I remember how special it was to spend time with my brother too!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gratitude Journal #28

Today, on the day of my brother's birth I would be remiss if I didn't show how thankful I am that I grew up with a loving sibling (who smells like snuggles and tastes like Dr. Pepper) . I don't remember ever really "fighting" with Troy - maybe a war of wills on occasion but I think with our age gap we each had our own thing going on and we got along quite well. I see a lot of Troy and my relationship mirrored in my own children and it warms my hear that legacy is continuing. Troy is a great man and a good husband and someday soon will be a great father as well. I'm so proud of the man he has become! Love you will always be my baby brother to me. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Gratitude Journal #27

This is going to sound strange but I am grateful for a new hobby - Couponing. Its weird to think that this could become a hobby but there is a strange rush from walking out of a store with $50 worth of product for only $9.36. It's almost like we are stealing or something but its completely legit. Thanks to Kassandra for opening this door to putting my logical brain to use to save money and retrieve things that we need for our house. I think this might really help me fight through the winter malaise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gratitude Journal #26

I am SO grateful to have good friends in my life - whether they be in real life or online, friendship is one of the things that really drives my life. Whenever I think that I should really pare down the amount of friends I have on Facebook, I go through the list and think about the times that I have shared with each person, posts we have traded through message boards, watching people's children be born and grow up, sharing a cup of coffee (or a more choice beverage), or just chatting on the phone or online. I didn't realize how much I missed having real girlie time doing a project until I started scrapping more with my friend Keri and couponing with Kasandra. It really does fuel your soul! I wish more of my online friends were closer so we could hang out more but nothing makes my heart happier than those times where we meet in the middle and truly soak in each other's company. Thanks friends.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gratitude Journal #25

Today I am grateful for the soft plush bedding that we got for our wedding. (Hey that rhymes) That moment that you finally lay down and stretch out in bed is made all the more luscious when you are surrounded by pillows and mattress pads and comforters that feel like clouds surrounding you. Yay for softness and comfort!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gratitude Journal #24

I am SO grateful for books :) Specifically I'm glad that I have a Nook eReader. I have always been an avid reader from the time I was little on and I'm happy that my kids have taken that to heart and love to read as well. At this point this year I have already read or listened to 44 books (14,814 pages of text) already and I'm in the middle of two more (one on the Nook and one on Audio). I'm glad I have a way to keep my mind sharp and my imagination rolling. I have a dream of someday writing a book but who knows if anyone actually would want to read it ;)

Gratitude Journal #23

Today I'm grateful for my amazing online community who is more like a family to me than my family is sometimes. It was five and a half years ago that I discovered Have Your Way With Paper and instantly fell in love with the ladies, the support and the creativity that flowed from the people there. Now I'm a co-owner of the site, I've met most of the people there in person and it feels so much better to be able to squeeze on them in person than it ever did to get to know them online. Thank you HYWWP family for being such a rock for me over the last five years!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gratitude Journal #22

What a great month of thankfulness this has been! Today I am grateful for my 4th and final son Joshua! Even though he doesn't live with us right now - I look forward to every phone conversation and Skype that we get to have. He is a smart and handsome little guy and I couldn't be more proud to have him as my stepson. Love you Josh!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gratitude Journal #21

ALL CAUGHT UP! For my last entry of the day I am grateful for my van! Last year I bought a 2005 Saturn Relay van from my parents. It's big enough to cart around all six of us at the same time and at the same time I can carry all of my sample cases with me as well - form and function - its all tricked out with the DVD player built in, power everything and my favorite. Remote Start! I can't wait to take advantage of that this winter!

Gratitude Journal #20

I am grateful to have a DVR in my life. With my work schedule I am never home during "prime time" for TV watching so I love the fact that I can relax with my family and enjoy the programs that we like to see together whenever we can fit it into our busy schedules. It's a small invention that has made a big difference in my life, not missing out on these little things that we enjoy.

Gratitude Journal #19

I just realized that I have gotten 3/4 of the way through my gratitude journal and I've only been grateful for 2 of my 4 kids by name! Today I am grateful for my little guy Jackson! He is going to be seven next month and I can't believe the time has passed so quickly! Jackson was one of the most tremendous surprises of my entire life and my life has been blessed tenfold since his birth. He is an amazing kid! He is an awesome reader and an awesome big and little brother. Our lives have changed so much over the last three years but he has rolled with the punches and matured through everything. I love you Jackson you are my first love!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gratitude Journal #18

FINALLY I have a day off so I can catch up on my gratitude journal. This past week would not have been possible without the help of my beautiful and amazing Keurig machine! My mom got me this tremendous contraption with some kind of deal on her favorite channel, QVC for my birthday last year. I started out as a skeptic having fallen prey to several different coffee machines in the past but I gotta say - I am TOTALLY hooked on my Keurig machine. It makes amazing coffee in minutes perfect and rich every time and with tons of different choices of coffees and teas and cocoas. I am proud to say that I am grateful for my Keurig machine!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gratitude Journal #17

This is going to sound a little petty compared to some of the things that I have talked about here but I am grateful today for my iPod. I love the ability to take my audio books, podcasts and music with me to pass the long hours on the road. It makes me happy to be able to feed my brain while I'm passing the miles.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grateful Journal #16

Today I am grateful for my stepson James. He made the tough decision over the summer to spend his senior year living here in Iowa with his dad and me so that he can get in state tuition to Iowa State University next year. I know it was hard on him to start his 3rd high school, but he got a job, joined a club, went to driver's ed over the summer and has been doing great despite a heavy class load laden with A.P. Chem and A.P. Physics. This morning he got up and made sausage and eggs for me and the kids. Although sometimes it visibly annoys him that there is a 2 year old and a 7 year old that take up a lot of the time and energy in the house, you can tell that he loves his little brothers. I'm so proud of the man that he is becoming.

Gratitude Journal #15

Yesterday I was definitely grateful for peace. I had a nice peaceful appointment and then copped a little nap and snuggle with my husband before he went to work and I went to pick up the kids from my parent's house. It was so refreshing to have a peaceful day that wasn't jammed full of appointments and obligation. It definitely made me appreciate the simple things in life.

Gratitude Journal #14

I'm such a slacker - three days late on my journal - but hey this is the most I have blogged for over two years so that's kind of awesome.

Friday's topic was Scrappy Thankfulness.
I am thankful that we live in a house that allows me to have a little corner of our basement as my designated cropping spot. I have a big bookshelf and two desks that make up my space that houses my papers and books and tools and embellishments and it makes me so happy that I can wander down there any time - the kids have their play space and my husband has his computer area all set up in the same room so we can all be together doing what we love at the same time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gratitude Journal #13

Today - the day of parent teacher conferences I am grateful for my children's education. Yesterday the principal of the school actually called me to tell me that my son was a joy to have at school and that he got a special certificate to reward him for his good behavior. Now that's the kind of call from the office a mom can't wait to answer! I'm grateful that Kindercare is giving Joseph such a head start in learning and in life and I'm SO grateful that James was able to finish out his education in a brand new high school with supportive teachers!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gratitude Journal #12 - Modern Marvels

Today I am grateful for the miracle of modern medicine. I woke up yesterday with no voice and not being able to breathe through my nose - but thanks to Theraflu Benadryl and Flonase I can breathe and function and make it to work. Some days its the little things.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gratitude Journal #11 - Momma Taught Me

One of the most influential people in my life has always been my mother. I was adopted when I was three months old but you never would have known it - I have been told all my life that I look like my parents - and I do. God knew what He was doing when he placed me in their arms.

Throughout everything that I have been through my mom has given me a lot of advice and a lot of help but the one thing she taught me that I am still grateful for to this day is that nobody can define me. No matter what the circumstances the only one who can tell me who I am is myself. Sometimes I forget but I always come back. Thanks Mommy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gratitude Journal #10 - Jobs

Today's topic is about work. On a Monday morning it is easy to sink into the first day of the work week grudgingly. However this economy has left a lot of people without any work at all and in really bad shape.

I am grateful that I found my calling in sales and to have found a company that allows me to shine without having to do the things that I'm not good at. I get to represent a product line I can believe in and I still have plenty of time to be a mom and a wife. I never feel like I miss anything in my kids life due to a job! Sometimes its hard being on commissioned sales its either feast or famine some months but I make enough to support the family.

I'm grateful today too that my husband has a great job that he loves and gives us what we need financially. I love hearing about how well he does fixing people's problems and supporting his store. We are truly blessed!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gratitude Journal #9

Today I am grateful for grace. Even though we don't deserve second chances and mess up and fall short every day - Grace covers us and allows us to go on living every day with blessings that overwhelm. It's only by the Grace of God that I am here today in this place with this family. And for that I am truly grateful.

Gratitude Journal #8

I am SOOOO grateful for my parents! Ever since I was little they have been my biggest fans and my best support system. Now, seeing how much my children adore them and how much they still support and take care of me and my family, I am more grateful than ever that God saw fit to make them my parents. No matter what they are on my side and by my side.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gratitude Journal #7

Today I am grateful for my loving and adoring husband. We have been through so many ups and downs over the years but now I could not imagine my life without him. He is an outstanding father, an amazing husband and a wonderful man all around. He provides for us, keeps us all clean and organized and makes sure we (I) stay on track with our budget. Most and best of all though, even on my darkest days or when I am being unfair and cranky - he still holds me in his arms and tells me "that doesn't change the way I feel about you. I love you." And I love you too baby - more than I can ever tell you in words. **end mushy gushy post**

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gratitude Journal #6 - Technology

I really believe the Internet is the piece of technology that has blessed my life the most. I have met some of my best and most amazing friends through online servers. I even met my husband due to an online dating site. Now we keep in touch with our stepson in San Antonio and get to see his face and hear his voice through Skype - its truly amazing technology that holds the world together. Not to mention it now extends to our smart phones and email and Facebook so we can share our world at the blink of an eye with anyone we want to see.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gratitude Journal #5

Today I am reminded how blessed we are to live where we live. Jackson got to participate in "International Walk To School Day" and I happened to have the morning off so I could go with him on his journey. It was such a joy to see him interact with his friends and watch literally HUNDREDS of elementary students pour out of their houses, down the streets and into the school. I am reminded of the fact that not all children have that luxury of being able to play on a safe cul-de-sac like my kids can. I am grateful that we live in a safe community where everyone looks after each other's children and we can live without fear.

Gratitude Journal #4

I didn't get this posted yesterday even though I did put it up on the official challenge board. I think maybe its because its a hard one for me. Yesterday's assignment was to talk about something about yourself for which you are grateful. Why is it so easy to look around yourself and see all of the blessings but it is SO hard to look inside yourself to be thankful for what you have in your heart.

So today I am grateful for me. I am grateful that my kids have a mom who loves them so completely and would literally do anything for them. I am grateful that I can be a loving, faithful and devoted wife to my husband. I am grateful that I was given skills that allow me to provide enough for my family that we can live comfortably if not richly. No matter what my flaws - I am still grateful to be who God made me to be.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gratitude Journal #3 - Fun!

Today's assignment was to talk about something that I am grateful for that is FUN!

This is going to sound really generic and obvious but the fun thing that I am grateful for is my scrapbooking - not just because its a creative release for me and gives me some "girlie time" but because it inspires me to take my kids out to events and gardens and fun things to do and take thousands of pictures. Even if they never really "appreciate" the hours of work and love that I have put into the books that I have done for them, they will have memory sticks upon memory sticks of photos and videos documenting all of the fun we had over the years and, for me, that is something to be grateful for!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gratitude Journal #2

Today I am grateful for a God a church and a faith who truly does provide for us when we are faithful to pray. The last few years have been one challenge after another for our family. Through all of the relationship issues and healing, moving houses, financial stress and gain, having a baby, and fluid living situations for our oldest two I had a source of comfort support and comfort in my church. Many challenges were full of pain but my God is a BIG GOD who turned all of that pain to his glory and blessed us beyond all imagining. As I sit in this warm cozy home and sip my coffee and watch my children play and laugh I know without a doubt that I could not have made it to to this point on my own.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gratitude Journal #1

Our good friends over at The Scrap Room are hosting their 7th birthday celebration this month - the theme for their anniversary is Gratitude. At the end of the month you should have all of the makings of a journal of things that make your heart sing. I loved the idea but I also wanted to have all of my responses in one single place. So I thought I would try to update my blog with my journal entries here so I can come back to them and share them with my friends and family at the same time. Without further ado...

Gratitude Journal #1
Today I am grateful for my youngest son Joseph. I love all

of my children equally, but today when I came home from work feeling beat down and defeated, I could hear his tiny voice even before I got up the stairs calling
"MOMMY!" with all of the enthusiasm and joy of a two year old - just the sound and smell of him made my heart soar and my spirit sing. I am so glad I have that little miracle in my life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Non Stop Excitement

It feels like I haven't been even able to slow down to breathe since the wedding. So many wonderful things have been happening in our lives!

1. James decided to become a permanent member of our household. While he was visiting, we visited Iowa State's campus and he decided to go to school there - in order to get in-state tuition however (a savings of over $11000.) he had to graduate from an Iowa school so he is living with us - going to SE Polk - got a job at Hy-Vee as a cashier/sacker - joined a club at school and has been slipping in to Iowa life so well - I'm so proud. We miss Josh like MAD but maybe someday he will be here too :)

2. Work has picked up a LOT - that has eliminated a MAJOR source of stress in our lives. We have been able to pay off/down some stuff and beef up our savings account to get us through if anything unexpected happens. I can't even tell you how much weight that takes off our shoulders!

3. Yesterday we had my Joseph's SECOND birthday - that's right my little baby boy is turning TWO. I can't believe how fast that happened!! It feels like just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms and now he is this little fire ball - so smart and charming and **whew** NOT going to start crying today...

I have actually started on the wedding album. **yeah that's right not even 4 pages in the Disney book I started 1.5 years ago but more than that in the wedding album already** so more to come with that.

Happy September everyone.
Hopefully it won't be another two months

Monday, July 11, 2011


July 9, 2011 at 1:00 PM I became Mrs. Chad Potratz! I can't believe the day has been and gone and now - we are married and happy and I have matching dinnerware. The love support and prayers of everyone that helped us get to this point have been AMAZING. I have been incredibly blessed. Check out this amazing video of some of the candid shots taken by my ultra talented brother in law!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Countdowns Galore

There are only 9 weeks left until my wedding day! I am so excited and getting nervous at the same time. All the plans are done - its just writing checks from here on out. We meet with the wedding coordinator at the church on Friday morning to discuss the setup of the church that day and then it is GAME ON. Dress fittings and hair appointments are scheduled and I have my shoes and tiara covered thanks to my sweet friend Pam.
But before any of that happens my stepsons are coming in from Texas on June 21! Only 7 weeks away! I cannot wait to see them again and neither can the little boys. Everything is set up for them to be here. The couches are here the bunk beds are up the loft is in place and the family room downstairs is ready for all kinds of kid action. We have the pool passes in hand and a great time planned for everyone. We can't wait.
In celebration for everything I am really busting my tailfeathers to get in shape. Its been two weeks (only one if you count not cheating at all and working out every day) and I'm 6 pounds down. Of course I walk like a grandmother because of all of the sore muscles but its worth it to see that scale move! I feel like I'm swimming for all the water I have been drinking but again SO worth it!
On top of that I had a scrapathon last Friday at my fiancees request (guess I was getting cranky with a lack of cookies and muffins in my system) so he sat me down at my table with a cup of coffee and my newest Scrap Room kits and off I went. I don't know if I have ever had a night where the ideas, the sketches, the pictures and the paper, just fell together so easily. I walked upstairs at 1 AM with five and a half pages DONE! The first 4 are pictured here! I'm pretty proud indeed.
Here is our easter family picture - using the Basic Grey Hopscotch line and a sketch from Trisha at Sketch Inspiration
This is JT in a monkey suit - it was school pictures at Kindercare. Again borrowing from a Trisha sketch using Bo Bunny's Ad Lib line of paper.
Another older photo with a new line. Again a TSR kit and a Sketch Inspiration sketch. This time using the My Little Yellow Bicycle "Twig" line. Look how little my chubbo was!
This last one was a struggle for me - not to put together but to find the right papers and sentiment for. Its of my sweet Mary Todd at her sister's wedding only 5 days before she passed away. The TSR kit featuring Stella Rose from My Minds Eye finally gave me the perfect blend of spunk and elegance to bring out what I loved most about her. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

12 weeks left!

12 weeks.
84 days
2,016 minutes

Until I become Mrs. Potratz!

No point just getting excited :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Welcome to the HYWWP "Over the Rainbow" Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Over the Rainbow blog hop! One of the things scrappers love most is COLOR! During this journey you'll encounter all seven colors of the rainbow and some of our favorite things about those colors. In order to play along all you need to do is leave a comment on each blog saying what you love about the color featured on each blog. You can even just tell us your favorite thing (scrappy or not) that is that color! Once you reach the pot of gold, post ROY G. BIV!! and you're done and ready to start cropping with us!

Hi! thanks for visiting my blog! I am featuring the color Violet. It's ironic that I picked Violet since eggplant purple is one of the colors for my wedding in July! Everything in my world is a shade of dark violet right now...on the other hand its a color that I have never used in scrapping at all besides as a small accent color like on this layout.


So I have a challenge ahead of me learning how to scrap in purple...Speaking of challenges...leave a comment on my blog with how you have overcome a scrappy challenge and be registered for an adorable kit from S.E.I.

If you started with Jenny's blog then you have officially completed your rainbow and its time to head over to Lisa's blog to continue the fun!

Be sure to join us at Have Your Way With Paper for our "Lucky You" Crop next weekend - fun and prizes for all! Thanks for playing and we'll see you there!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

E is for eeeeewww...

I'm going to spare you the picture but there has been a nasty illness raging through our family this week. It started with a pretty benign occurrence on Sunday with Jackson. The boy hardly ever throws up so I was a little concerned but he never spiked a fever and he seemed to be fine. By Thursday night JT couldn't keep ANYTHING down. A little after midnight when I woke up with him for his 5th time, it finally hit me and I was up every 45 minutes with my own special kind of hell. Yesterday we had a little bit of quarantine happening in our house. Jackson spent two days at my folks house while JT Chad and I all dealt with this GI unpleasantness. Everyone seems to be better today thank God! Not exactly the "E" I was looking for but hey reality isn't always pretty...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

D is for Disney

It seems like so many things in my life revolve around Disney From the constant din of Disney Junior and Disney Channel on TV, to the entire collection of Disney Classic Movies from when I was a kid that the boys play on repeat down on the VCR downstairs, to our vacations. Both boys have been to Disney World and Jackson has been TWICE and once to Downtown Disney in California when he was about 9 months old. Growing up I was all about Disney music and I still have many collectors edition prints and of course the new fangled VHS tapes lol. There is just something so magical about everything Disney that captivates both my imagination and that of the kids as well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

C is for Creativity

If there is one thing that I pride myself on its my ability to be creative - and not just in an artsy craftsy kind of way. Being a single mom for as long as I have meant that I had to get really creative with finances at times, finding creative things for the kids to do, and of course my obvious creative outlet being my scrapbooking. Its not often that I find something that occupies my mind and satisfies my need to create while at the same time being soothing and calming and makes something that my family will treasure forever. I am so blessed by that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

B is for BOYS!!!

Ah yes...I am Boy Crazy! But not in the way I was when I was in high school but still crazy for these boys of mine. Somehow I ended up with not only my own brood of Chad, Jackson and Joseph but also JT's big brothers James and Joshua and Jackson's little brothers Jacob and Cameron. Not a speck of pink in my world. Not a drop of Estrogen. Just a bunch of dirty stinky BOYS but I wouldn't rather have it any other way :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A is for Adventures

My sweet friend Jenny forwarded this idea of using the alphabet to keep the blog going. She is WAY more organized than I am but I wanted to try it out and put my own spin on things. More of a "theme" than specific things that start with that letter.

So starting at the beginning. A is for Adventures.

Travel has always been a big part of my life. When we were kids every year represented a new road trip. My dad's van went all over the country, California, Washington, Colorado, Missouri, Arizona, and every point in between - you name it - we went there. No matter how much money was tight, there was always a trip to go on.

I have pulled that forward into my kids' lives as well. Just in the past year we went to Disney World, Minneapolis, the Quad Cities, Kansas City, I got to go to Chicago and I just got back from Cancun, Mexico last week. That's not even including all of our little adventures to the park, the Iowa State Fair, the pool, the lake, pumpkin patches, even if its just in our own back yard its so important to have those experiences and Adventures to hold on to and pass on to my grandkids too. I wonder where 2011 will take us?