Saturday, June 25, 2011

clothing budget pt 1

Not only do I have to FEED my kids, I have to CLOTHE them too? Oiy!

We have an awesome playground in front of house, where an awesome group of ladies meet every afternoon. While the kids run around like wild, we talk. And talk. And talk. Sometimes we are out there so long chatting that our kids have gone inside! But the other day one of the other Moms asked me...

OK so from L-R Connor, Ivan, Harmony, Mason and Ethan
"Your clothing budget must be huge for all those kids. How do you save money on clothes?"

So, let's talk about it shall we?

First things first...let's meet the cast:

My daughter Harmony is the only girl in the house. She is as tall as her Mom, but unlike her Mom, she is skinny with no bum. It is hard to find pants that really fit her well. Tiny in the waist but long enough... She is not the biggest fashonista in the world but definatley has her favorites! She is big on comfort though (:

Ethan is the oldest of my boys. He is a "bigger" kid. He wants nothing to do with buttons or zippers. So he is happy with warm up pants or basketball shorts. The end. You hardly ever see him in anything else. He prefers t-shirts but will wear a long sleeve t-shirt if he feels that it is too cold.

Guess what? Out of all the things boys are wearing, I only bought their shirts! Everything else was handed down!!

Connor the next oldest and bones. Seriously, the kid has hardly anything to him. He is more into clothes than his older brother but still is mostly happy to wear a t-shirt and jeans. He doesn't wear shorts. He thinks his legs are too skinny and so he doesn't want to show them to people.

Ivan my next boy is on the thicker side. He is the same weight as Connor but their bodies are built so differently. He could care less what he wears everyday. So once again...t-shirts and shorts/jeans.

Mason the last boy/child (whew!) is almost 2. He hangs out with Mom all day. He learned how to take his diaper and shorts off and so...yeah he doesn't care what he wears!

(Mason's favorite outfit!!)

Since my husband joined the military we have lived in Virginia, Guam and now So. Cal.
Virginia was the only place that it got rrreally cold and required coats, hats etc. We were there for 4 years. Guam was hot and humid The "coldest" it ever got was 80* but the humidity was still at 90* or some crazy number like that. We were there for 3 years. So not a lot of climate changes for this family.

Here is another little tidbit...of all the schools my kids have been too, this is the first year with no uniforms!! They were delighted to be able to wear whatever they wanted!

OK so back to the topic at hand....

(I bought this shirt for $2 after Christmas in the seasonal section!!)

1. I buy on clearance. No brainer but some people don't do it. In fact, my oldest sister totally made fun of me, because while out shopping, I headed straight to the clearance racks. Her : 1 child me: 5  I love to buy "holiday" items. I will go in after a holiday and buy 4th of July t-shirts for $1-$2. They can wear them year round. Same for Valentines, Christmas etc

2. Hand me downs. Whenever a friend, family member or whomever, asks if I want hand me downs I always say yes. Always. After going through them, if there are things I don't like/don't fit...I donate them to a thrift store. But by always accepting, I have a lot of people who keep me in mind. For example just this year, a friend dropped a bag of 5 or 6 pairs of basketball shorts. Another friend just brought over like 10 pairs of pants. Yay!

(This name brand shirt was a whopping $1 at my local thrift store!)

3. Thrift stores: My kids and I have NO problems buying at thrift stores. My hubby won't but...he wears a uniform all week so... he is easy. I stock up on whatever I see that I like. If something doesn't fit like I had hoped...then I only paid a couple bucks for it. My local thrift store won't give $$ back but they will give you a store discount. Works for me.

So in an effort to not make this post any longer, I am going to go through other helps in another post!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

still here...kind of

I know it has been awhile since you heard from me. The fact is, I am busy!!

Summer is here and I am :

*trying to keep my kids entertained enough that I am not pulling my hair out

*trying to keep my kids from pulling each others hair out

*trying to get my house ready for my hubby's return from his deployment (:

*trying to keep my sanity until my hubby's return

the moon looked so big from our front porch the other day!!
So that my friends is what I am doing. Oh and...some of my neighborhood girls, have me exercising with them. Heaven knows I need it do you spell sore? M-a-r-i-e!! When it hurts to carry your squirming 2 year old up the stairs for his nap...then you know you worked parts of your body that haven't been worked in a long time!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day!!

I don't think I have any male readers but, I still want to wish all of those fathers out there a very happy Day!

 I am so blessed to have an amazing father who has taught me so much. I admire him so much!

My husband is not here today, otherwise he would be smothered in hugs & kisses, hand made cards and the chance to sleep in. I am so grateful for a hard working husband who loves & supports me. He may not agree with all my crazy ideas, but he will still support me. He is the love of my life and I am so happy to be a part of his!

I heart Vons

Seriously, I am a total Vons girl.

Yesterday while at Wal Mart, I had to fight convince my cashier to let me use all my coupons. I "won" in the end and went on my merry way.

Today, I went into Vons to get some extra papers. While I was there, I decided to go get some lunchmeat. Vons has a section of discounted lunch meat & lunchables. I grabbed some that were 50% off and some that were 25% off.

So I get up to check out and the discount stickers weren't scanning. The cashier was annoyed and said " ugh why do they use these stickers if they don't even work?" She was annoyed at the situation not at me.

After a few attempts and getting them to scan she said, " forget this. I am not doing math this early in the morning...and she put them all in my bag for FREE. I was stunned. Anything that didn't scan, she gave me for free. I think I stood there with my mouth open!!

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I grabbed my bags and left! Woo hoo for free meat! Woo Hoo for cashiers who are AmAzInG!!

Friday, June 17, 2011


With my kiddos home all day, drinks just seem to disappear! And can I tell you something? They have only been out for a WEEK!

If you would like to get some coupons (and possibly samples) from Vocal Point & Motts for Tots, you can follow this link!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Product Review~ Velveeta Skillets

Being a blogger has it's benefits!! I recieved a box from House Party (you can read all about House Party in my previous post) which included boxes of  the new Velveeta Skillets to try out.

Basically these are the same as Hamburger/Chicken/Tuna Helpers. Where you ae provided with everything but the meat.

Looking for a quickie dinner for my kids tonight, I decided to make the Nacho beef kind. It came together really fast. After browning the hamburger, adding the seasoning and added in a nice yummy packet of Velveeta cheese (: oh and salsa. I make a beef a roni casserole that is very similar.
The kids really enjoyed it and ate it up! It made for a quick & yummy dinner.

Now...if I was making this just for me, I would add more tomatoes and top with sour cream and maybe some green onions. The kids were having nothing to do with that!! You can also put it on top of tortilla chips. I served it with corn, applesauce and a biscuit.

How would you like to try it out for yourself? I have a few items left over from my House party so would love for you to have some!!

I have a goody box for you to win! This is what we are going to do:

1st entry: post a comment (make sure to leave your name!!)
2nd entry: follow this blog (if you already do, leave a SEPERATE comment letting me know you do)
3rd entry: follow my page on Facebook (California Clippin') Leave a comment when you do, or if you already do...leave another comment leeting me know.

Got all that?
Ready, set...let the giveaway begin!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

House Party

(image taken from House Party site)

For those of you who are interested....

House Party is a really fun opportunity to try out new products.

You go to their site and sign up. You fill out a LONG survey. It really is long but they are trying to get info so just grin and bear it (:

After that, you will get notifications about parties that you can apply too. For example, I applied and was accepted as a host for the Velveeta Cheesy Skillets house party. However, I have applied for other ones, and wasn't accepted. There is a lot of talk, but no one really knows how they choose who gets what.

If you are chosen, you get a box of supplies to host your party. You invite friends and family to come over and talk/use the product. They get freebies as well. Then you fill out a post survey. It really is fun and easy.

If you are interested in applying, I would love it if you use me as a referral. My problem is that I have most people's email on facebook, but not their actual account. So email me your main email and I will send you an invite. You can email me at hecimommy at g mail dot com

Monday, June 13, 2011

mailbox love

Yes, I love my mailbox. It is a teeny tiny little thing. Being in housing, all of our mailboxes are teeny BUT whatever doesn't fit...the mailman drops off at my front door. (:

The point is, everyday I find something good. Coupons, ads, free samples...

But this weekend TOPPED them all!!

1. I signed up for a military freebie through Scion. It came in about 2 days. Seriously, the fastest freebie I have ever recieved! Full of fun things like a t-shirt, chapstick, flash drive, free ringtones, pens...Awesome. I will be singing the praises of this company! Hurrah Scion!

2. I won a giveaway! One of my favorite blogs, had a reader debate and I won the giveaway! So exciting and fun to pull out all the little surprises that were in the box! Of course my kids all fought over the Lego Mini figure, the Sonic hedgehog...but I was excited for a cookbook, cards...

3. My houseparty box!! I was chosen to do a Velveeta House party. So a box full of items came in the mail. I love getting these boxes and seeing what is in them.

What an AwEsOmE mail day!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm hoppin'

Today I am participating in...
If you are a new follower, please let me know, so that I can come and follow you!!

Friday, June 10, 2011


My kids are used to hearing, cutting and talking about coupons. So I thought I would  interview my cute little 6 yr old to see what he thinks about coupons.

Mom:  What does Mommy always cut?
Ivan: I know it's coupons!
M: That's right. Why do I use coupons?
I: Because they are money.
M: That's right. Does everybody use coupons?
I: I think so.
M:Do you think everyone should use coupons?
I: Hmmm, yeah.
M: So, what is your favorite thing that Mom buys using coupons?
I: M&M's!!
M: OK, so if I could get a coupon for anything, what would it be for?
I: mmmm, goldfish! Mom, can I be done now? I am kind of busy.
M: Sure Ivan, thanks for letting me bug you during your video game time.

From the mouth of a 6 yr old!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Oops!! Looks like I have been neglecting my poor blog!!

I had a dr. appt on Monday. Which meant I had to go to the base. Honestly it isn't that far. Maybe 20-25 minutes depending on traffic. But it feels like a whole day because I try to get as much down there as I can. Plus I had to bring my kindergardener with me. That is like triple the work! (:

The next day was another running around day. This time it was Staples for free paper, Adidas outlet for free t-shirts, and Target for a whole bunch of cheap/ free items. Then appt's, and church activities.

Yesterday I had to go back down to pick up my perscription. So once again I made a whole day of it. Day old bread store, commissary, gas is cheaper on base so I did that. But can I tell you...I am tired!! I need to start planning a one day whirlwind trip and just get everything done. So that I have the rest of the week to just relax. Know what I mean?

Tomorrow is the last day of school. I am excited to be done but also know that feeling will only last for so long (:

(Taking a break from a busy week to go play at the park!)
So anyway, long story short...I will be back to regular posting soon (:

Saturday, June 4, 2011


This time it isn't me giving something away! My friend Jessica, is having a giveaway over on her book blog! I love to read and so I am hoping to win! Seriously she has won a couple of mine so it is only fair right?! So if you are interested in competing entering the giveaway head here!

cost of peer pressure


My oldest boy turned 10 in May.

I  have 4 boys.


Until today I have paid a grand total of $0 for hair cuts for them. I don't count the cost of the clippers because my husband also uses them.

All I know how to do is buzz their heads. We are not talking a fancy shmancy hair cut.

They complain for about 5 minutes and move on with their lives. Don't you just love boys?

Now that they are getting a bit older, they want a little more variety.A little more on top or a mohawk or... I don't know how to do it though so...a buzz they get. After a lot of pressure from them, I gave in today.

My daughter had an out door concert today, which was across the street from a certain no appt. needed place. When it came time to pay...I was SHOCKED at the cost. $47!!! Before tip! And to be honest, they really just needed it trimmed around the ears and neck. Never, never again am I paying for a hair cut for them!

The new rule for the boys, if you want to anything other than a buzz cut, you earn the money. I am not doing it. I don't care what their friend's hair looks like.

Having only one girl, I take her in every couple of months. She is growing hers out though so I can do quick trims in between times. If I mess up, she just wears a pony tail for awhile :)

So how about you, how do you save money on hair cuts? Or do you just bite the bullet and go pay?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Are you brand loyal?

(Finally remembered to use those green bags!)

So we all know not to be brand loyal right? It CAN cost you $$ right?  Well lets look at the flip side for a moment shall we?

For the most part, I buy Coke brand products. Nothing against Pepsi, it's just that...well I earn MyCokeRewards points. My husband has PT (physical training with the military) at least 3x's a week, on top of any other exercise he does. He also, when wanting something to drink but not carbonated, he usually goes for...a Powerade or Gatorade. Powerades, with the black cap, has rewards points. When coke products are on sale, I usually grab those. I don't ALWAYS do it. For me it is always PRICE before anything. But here is how I see it...
Buy coke products on sale & with coupon.
Get points.
Redeem points. While they have lots of offers, I usually just get free item coupons guessed it...coke products.
Use free coupon to score free coke.
Get the points.
Rinse and Repeat.

I laughed when my friend pulled out a huge stack of loyalty cards the other day, but seriously, if a place offers a loyalty card GET IT. Ecspecially if it is something you are going to buy anyway!

Does your movie theater offer a loyalty card? Ours does. You can redeem rewards for concessions.

My son's favorite place to get ice cream has a buy 10 cones get one free.

A local gift shop offers a punch every time you spend $5. Earn enough and you get $10 towards your purchase.

Loyalty rewards can go from shops to products. Kind of like the Coke.

Personally, I am signed up for:
*Tropicana Rewards
* My Coke Rewards
*Stouffers Dinner Club
*Disney Movie Rewards
* Huggies
*almost every hotel I have ever stayed at
*frequent flyer miles
*Warner Brothers Rewards
*Game Stop
*Famous Footwear
*Babies R Us
Honestly I could go on for a lllllong time!

It can't hurt to ask places. Also being placed on a mailing list can also give you the chance to get coupons and discounts. Remember, the goal is to never pay full price for anything!! Using your reward points is like icing on the cake!

24 hours!!

As an addition to this blog, I now have a Facebook page. With deals coming at us faster and faster, it seems one of the easier ways to post. So come visit me on facebook. My page has the same name as this blog... California Clippin' I am sure there is a way to link to it but for now I am not sure. (: I will see what I can do though!

Now to the good part. I am trying to get plenty of "likes" on my page. So I am giving away a subscription to the magazine All You. It is FULL of coupons every month. My favorite is the coupon for $1 off any White Cloud toilet paper that shows up every once in awhile! Being a Mom of 5 we go through a lot of tp in this house!!

So my 50th follower will get a 1 yr subscription and 1 for the person who sent them there. If you sign up because of me and not someone else, that other subscription will go into a random drawing!

Once I reach 100...I have a BIG giveaway coming so start liking! Spread the word!

Want to contact me?

Feel free to contact me at