Hubs is Unemployed Now, but We Had Fun Anyway!

For those of you that don’t know already, my husband is officially unemployed. He didn’t want me to blog about it in fear that I’d say something that would come back to haunt us, but I wouldn’t say anything bad about his actual employer. Schnucks was very good to us. His last day was actually the 16th of September (we've known about this "layoff" for quite some time now, just not WHEN), and to Gene it was just the right amount of time. You see, he hated his job; so much so that at one point he was going to quit without even having anything lined up. Like I said, he liked the employer, as did I, but the hours and some of the people he worked with just kind of ruined it for him. So, this was kind of his “blessing in disguise” so to speak.

He doesn’t have a new job yet, but he’s sure that he will find one soon. A couple of interviews have come and gone, but for whatever reason, he didn’t get any of them. I guess they weren’t in God’s plan for us. In the meantime, he’s spending each and every day with our youngest daughter. They have quite the bond now; it’s super cute.

While he did get a severance package, I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that him being out of a job is scary as heck. Severance runs out quick if you’re not careful, and now we have to pay a lot more for health insurance to boot! So right now, I’m pinching every penny I can in hopes that we can use as little of that money as possible.

While I’m pinching my pennies though, we still have Emma in daycare (we didn’t want to disrupt her normal routine if we could avoid it), and Holli’s wedding is just one week away so there will be loads of money being spent very soon on all things bridesmaid. I’m freaking out inside. We make plans and take on obligations so far in advance, that when something like this happens, it’s inevitable that you would have some big things planned out already. But, after this coming weekend, we are pretty much going to be out for the count. We have got to get our spending in check because who knows if he will find a job tomorrow, or six months from now.

Fortunately, we were able to do some pretty cool stuff this past weekend, before I put the kibosh on all spending.   

Friday Night:  My cousin Jamie got married to a beautiful woman named Julie. Their wedding was gorgeous and we had a great time. I keep thinking about the dinner they had too – wish I would have gotten seconds. Jamie is part of the Lococo Family that I always talk about. You know, that super fun Italian bunch that everyone wants to be a part of.
Beautiful ceremony!

Saturday Day:  I went with a local author friend, Lyssa Layne, to Pennedcon. Never heard of it before, but it’s authors who rent booths/tables and come together to talk about their books and sell a few as they go. It was neat to hear about all the different books, and where some of the authors come from.

Saturday Night:  The hubs and I had a date night. Our venue was something we try to go to every year, so even though we are watching what we spend, we went ahead and did it anyway. So what was it? Why, St. Charles Oktoberfest, of course! I love listening to the German music – especially the yodeling. It was a good time. It was mostly just me and Gene all night, and he may have drank too much Oktoberfest beer, but it was still fun. And we had Waffle House and got home at a decent time too.

Sunday Day:  The hubs had a rough morning, so when I went to get the kiddos, I decided to take them to the kids area at Oktoberfest to give him more time to sleep. It was SO hot. I think I was super close to a heat stroke. Haha. Maybe not, but you get how hot it was. I pulled them around in the wagon, with them all nice and shaded and me in the blazing sun. What happened to fall?!?!? They had a good time though, so that’s all that mattered. And needless to say, we didn’t stay very long.

Sunday Night:  This was the best thing of the entire weekend… Disney on Ice!!! I bought the tickets months ago, on presale, with a big discount. I think I got us all three seats, third row from the ice, for like $90 after all the fees (Chaifitz in St. Louis is nice and small compared to huge venues like Scottrade, so really anywhere in the arena is a good view). We weren’t sure at the time when Gene would be out of a job, so I had no idea we’d be watching our money so closely now. But, it was a fun time. We had hot dogs and nachos for dinner, and we gave in and got Emma a snocone (a FIFTEEN dollar snocone!) to share with Alice. The girls had a blast. Alice would squeal any time she’d see the Mickey Mouse gang, and Emma was all about Buzz Lightyear and Elsa. It was such a great show. I wish we could do things like this more often, but we’ll have to hold off for now. Maybe Sesame Street Live in February. ;-)

So, that was my busy, expensive weekend. I snuck in some grocery shopping at our new “grocery place” on Sunday – i.e. Wal-Mart – and I may have bought a lot of Ramen noodles. Haha!

If you have a prayer to spare, maybe say one that the hubs finds the job of his dreams here soon. ;-)

And thanks for reading! The blog wouldn’t be where it is today without all of my readers out there.

If you haven’t yet, go ahead and follow The Average Momma onFacebook so that you don’t miss out on any of our happenings.

Now, how was YOUR weekend?


The Sacrifices We Parents Make

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few months about the sacrifices parents make. We put our kids first about 99% of the time, and you know what, we totally should! Most of the time, I couldn’t care less about putting them first. I WANT to put them first. I want them to have an even better childhood than the one I had. But, sometimes, there are people that don’t understand and it can really start to get to them, and to you.


I was told a few months back that I use my kids as an excuse far too often. And it cut me to the core. Downright hurt. I’m not sure why it did really, but I can only assume that I got defensive for my kids’ sake. Even though nothing was said about them, their mere existence was mentioned and I crumbled. I cried like a baby.  I wanted to run away and take them with me.


But, they’re totally right, I DO use them as an excuse. Strike that. That’s not the right way to put it. They ARE my excuse. My reason. The purpose for my existence. Every decision I make is based around our family now, and every penny I earn is now earned for our family; and they always come first (second to God, of course). 

If I would need to make a drastic life-changing decision, the result would always be decided from looking at how it would affect our family. And if I make any decisions that would involve money, I would always decide first if spending it would interfere with their happiness in any way. If it would, then I don’t buy/do it. And nine times out of ten, it does.

Okay, so spending money might not affect their happiness TODAY, but here is what I mean: If I go out with friends tonight and spend $60 on food and drinks, then that’s $60 less I have that could have been used for Emma’s gymnastics classes, or for Alice to join The Little Gym, or even for a fun night out for dinner and ice cream as a family. $60 is hardly anything really - before kids I wouldn’t have even thought twice. But now, $60 could mean that we miss out on some family fun that would have created memories for a lifetime. In fact, we just spent $60 at Arnold Days in Arnold, MO at their carnival (that's where the pictures are taken). It was Alice's first time!

The other part of it too, is that since having kids my view on spending has changed completely. Now I don’t spend more than $20 on a dress. $10 on a shirt. $15 on a pair of jeans. I shop online for deals, and then I usually talk myself out of them before I click "buy." While I want desperately to dress in the newest fashions and fit in with everyone at work, I can’t bring myself to spend frivolously anymore.

My entire outlook has changed. We spend countless hours away from our kids to make money for THEM. Yes we deserve time to ourselves and yes we should be able to spend money on ourselves too, but would that make us happy in the long run? No. Not really. We allow ourselves one date night a month and we spend more money than I’d like to. It’s okay, but it takes me days to get over it. We spend time away from them, and then our family’s money on us and not them. I hate it. If I had it my way we’d do every date night at home on the couch catching up on our shows (but Gene always wants to go out).

I have no idea what the point of this post is. Maybe I’m just talking to be talking; to defend my choices, even though I don’t have to. I just feel like the only people that could possibly understand are Moms. And since the people reading my blog are probably Moms, maybe I just wanted to talk this out with you to feel better about my choices.

How do you explain to your friends/family/peers why you say no to the certain things you refuse?


Showering the Bride & Gettin' Crafty

My best friend Holli is getting married.
My best friend, of 22 years, is GETTING. MARRIED.
We are in the home stretch now and all of the festivities have come and gone. In fact, the Bridal Shower that I got to take part in was just this past Sunday. I feel like I've waited a long time to be able to do all of this for my best friend. I wanted everything to be perfect.


When it came time to plan the shower I was all kinds of excited. I wanted so much out of it! I wanted it to be classy, and pretty, and all the things that I think of when I think of Holli. The first step is always the venue, and I had been to a shower at the Little Hills Winery in St. Charles before, so it was my first thought. Low and behold the prices were reasonable, so that’s what we went with. *We did check a few other places as well and this one ended up being the least expensive for what we got.

Since the food was catered by the winery, we only had to worry about the cake. One of the bridesmaids offered to order and pick-up the cake from a small local shop called Midtowne Market). It was marble with white icing and dainty little flowers on it. And boy was it yummy!

I absolutely love playing games at showers, so we had a couple small ones to play that I thought might be fun (I am the least crafty person, but I "pinterested" some ideas and made these all by myself!). We played “He Said, She Said” and “What’s in Your Purse?” They went over pretty well and some people got some good laughs out of them. And another bridesmaid offered to purchase the prizes for the games, and she did so great! Wish I would have gotten pictures of them because you’d agree with me 100%. I wanted each and every prize for myself.

Another thing I had done, was I put “Advice for the Bride” cards and blank recipe cards in with the invitations for the guests to fill out ahead of time. I had been to a shower previously that did these two things and I thought it was so clever! It’s always great to get a recipe or advice from a friend that you know rather than a stranger. I hope Holli gets a lot out of those. We also picked one of each at random to win a prize.

Then, since everyone can’t go home with a prize, I made up some cute little favors for each person to take home. This was actually a Pinterest idea that I found, and I used an app on my phone called Rhonna Designs to create the tag. I tied each tag around a small bottle of wine, and voila! I thought it turned out so well!

All in all the shower was a success. We did wind up with a lot of leftover food to take home since we had so many no-shows, but it was still a great turnout and Holli got lots of great gifts, recipes and advice from lots of women who love her.

Now, I can’t wait for the wedding!!!


Hip Hip Hooray it's .... Vacation!

Well, here it is. Friday. The last day of my vacation. Oh, you didn’t know? Yep. I was on vacation this WHOLE week. And get this… I had no plans!!!

Usually, my vacations are so jam-packed and hectic that it’s actually a welcoming relief to go back to work, but this time, it was nothing but relaxing and easy-going so it’s depressing to think about going back to the daily grind. Why-oh-why can’t I win the lottery and stay home each and every day doing nothing but watching Harry Potter and eating toast with cherry jam?

Even though I didn’t have plans and I managed to relax and be lazy, I still got done SO MUCH around the house. I hired a contractor to redo the bathroom in the basement for one. It’s nice and new and works perfectly. No mold either! Woohoo! It took four days because there was only one guy doing the job, but it got done and that’s all that matters. I also printed pictures, hung them up, cleaned the house (including Emma’s messy room), organized some toy storage, and so much more.
I picked the walls and the floor. I love it!
I'll put my vanity over in this corner (there's a shower roughed in here).
I wanted to take the time to take Alice somewhere special, or let Emma play hookie for half a day to do something fun, but that didn’t happen because of the bathroom construction. Luckily though, neither are any wiser and they still had a great week. In fact, Alice and I had a great time Tuesday and Wednesday hanging out at home playing and then making a Target run. I love her more than ever and I hate the thought of losing that one-on-one time next week.
See how I cleverly hide the toys behind the chair?  ;-)
The wagon was in the back of the van, but right now it's holding "lovies."
And here it is Friday. I am all alone in the house, drinking coffee, watching Harry Potter and writing to you - my readers - to let you know how this Average Momma spent her vacation. Yesterday I was without kids as well, but the construction finished around noon and then I had some Maid-of-Honor duties in the afternoon so I didn’t get much alone time after all. But today is different. I plan on eating up all the time I can to be alone. It’s nice when it’s quiet in the house; I can think and actually collect my thoughts. It’s SO nice. If only I could get a day like this each and every week; I don’t think I’d be so spastic come Friday.
New wall d├ęcor in the living room.
So, I guess I’m going to sign off now. The movie is getting good and I’m going to stretch out on the couch a bit before I get up to do some much needed laundry (the washer and dryer were unhooked for four days so our piles are growing). Thanks for taking the time to read, and I hope you find some rest and relaxation soon as well!


Groupon Local - Convenient, with Money-Saving Powers!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

As most of you I’m sure already know, I bit the bullet and bought a minivan at the start of the year. The conveniences of having a minivan are aplenty, but unfortunately, I think I may have bought an unlucky one. Figures, right? If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Let’s just say that by the 7th month of ownership, I already needed a new windshield, a replacement mirror, and I maaaaaaay have been a few THOUSAND miles over for an oil change. I know, I know, the oil change isn’t the van’s fault.

Anyway, the hubs hooked me up by going to the pick and pull to find the little piece needed for the mirror to be repaired, but I was on my own for the windshield and oil change. What’s a frugal Mom to do, but scour the internet for deals, right?

Low and behold, my go-to (Groupon) was able to help me out.

In Groupon Local, you can search for anything you’re in need of. I searched for “windshield replacement” and there were four options to choose from. I picked one, bought the Groupon, then called them up and booked the replacement for that same week. Same goes for my oil change too! Had two options, and I picked the one closest to me for a quick pit stop one morning. Love it!

The other awesome thing about Groupon Local, which I think most people overlook, is the “Things To Do” part of it. If you don’t have plans this Saturday, and you want to do something that maybe you’ve never done before, but you’re not sure what that might entail, just check out Groupon Local. Just this morning when I checked out the Groupon App, the very first page alone was filled with so many options – Haunted House (already?!?!?), Distillery Tour, Sand Volleyball League, Foot Golf Package, Regular Golf, Mini Golf… and so many more! It’s like a never ending list of things to do.

An added bonus – They have so many things for kids too! There’s even a filter on their site just for Kids Activities.  Jumping at Sky Zone, Go Karts, Dress Up Packages… any time you have nothing on your agenda, you’ll have to check out all the fun stuff going on locally. There’s no need to drive hours just to wear your kids out playing. 

So if you’re living under a rock, and you haven’t heard of Groupon, you’ll have to check it out. If me and my husband use it, then you know it’s packed full of great deals! And it’s only a click, or an app away.

You can also follow Groupon on Facebook and Twitter for even more money-saving deals!

The Average Momma was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% honest and completely her own. She wouldn't even bother posting anything that she didn't find to be useful and/or helpful to other Mommas out there. ;-)