Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Ma and Pa at Breakfast

Pa with his real-life Pa

Laura, our D

Our precious second graders have been studying the Pioneers. They recently read "Little House in the Big Woods". Today their book study ended with a Pioneer Day. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Sweet little cherubs dressed as Pioneers. Our precious class has six second graders. They worked it out amongst themselves to each be a character from Little House on the Prairie. Ma, Pa, and Laura live at my house. Aren't they the cutest things you've ever seen?!

Common Cents

As our household manager, it is my job to manage our spending carefully. At our house, DH is the one who has a salary, but it is my job (and joy) to spend it wisely. While I take my job seriously, I don't always do it well. However, I have found some real ways to save money on the little things so that we can enjoy more big things such as private school, lessons, and trips. First of all, I use coupons. I SHAMELESSLY have used coupons since before coupons were cool. I started cutting them for my mother when I was a young teenager, and I have never stopped. I love the thrill of seeing money come OFF of my bill. My coupon cutting has grown into a part-time job! I have a big coupon binder that holds all of my savings. I read Money Saving Mom, Fiddledeedee, and Southern Savers for inspiration. I go to and print coupons like crazy. I have never been afraid to have too much food in the house.
If you are using coupons well, then you must take advantage of BOGOS (buy one, get one free) or triple and double coupon days if you have such things. Unfortunately, Publix in Florida do have BOGOS but they do not ever double or triple coupons. Each week, I carefully shop the BOGOS, just as I did yesterday. Our D loves Wheat Thins. Yesterday they were BOGO. I was able to use a manufacturer's coupon on top of the BOGO. THAT is is the way to shop well. Granted, we have a small kitchen and these extra boxes have to go somewhere. DH & I added some great shelves in our garage with the help of my father. The shelves are filled with extra cereal, oatmeal, crackers, and canned goods that I have bought on sale. When pastas was just cents a box, I stocked up. The great thing is that I can always make a meal because we have a stocked pantry. I can have a spontaneous hot dog party by the pool because my BOGO chips and hot dogs are waiting. Being frugal is smart.
I learned many tricks by true professional frugalists: my parents. If anyone can stretch a dollar, they can. Some laugh at their frugality. At times, I, too, have laughed. But I'm not laughing anymore. They are smart. Keeping money out of the pockets of others so that you can buy things you enjoy is smart. Often those with the most don't look like it.
I will write another post showing you my coupon binder and how it works for me. Everyone has a different system. I just encourage you to start using coupons if you don't already. Yes, you DO have time. We all have 24 hours in a day and we each decide how we want to use them. If you love to watch tv, then clip your coupons while you watch. I've been known to carry scissors in the car and to clip while I wait. If you make time to create a coupon system, you'll be amazed at how quickly have saved enough for a new pair of Revas, or that Lilly shift, or even a night away!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Almost 9 years ago....

This was me almost 9 years ago. Can you believe it? I was just 29 weeks pregnant but I measured 52 weeks (I know that's physically impossible, but it was true, folks). I can't believe it either. Let's just say I know what you mean when you say you are very pregnant and uncomfortable. True, Octomom has 5-upped me, but I do know uncomfortable. And I would do it all again... the relentless sickness, the shots, the bedrest, the medicine, the surgeries, the hospitalizations, and even the NICU. We were so blessed to welcome not one, not two, but 3 beautiful babies. They were born on Maundy Thursday almost 9 years ago (Easter was a little later that year).

This picture was taken on the day I had my haircut. I did not get out of bed often, so my hairdresser, John, came to our house & cut my hair for me! Thank goodness! Those sweet babies were born just a little over a week later.

Now you know why I have stretch marks! :)

Tuesday's Tip

I know many of you have finished birthin' those babies, but some out there in the blog world will still welcome another little one into their lives. One of my favorite new mama tidbits is this: Many hospitals no longer do footprints of your newborn for you. You may know that it is smart to bring a page from your baby book to the hospital in hopes that your nurse will make those little prints for you. I take it one step further and buy a nice piece (or two or three) of acid free cardstock and an ink pad. I always buy black, but you could buy a fun pink or blue. Ask the nurse to place prints on the card. You know have a special set of footprints to frame! I framed mine with pink matting to highlight that baby was a girl. I'll post a picture later today!

Monday, March 29, 2010

15 years...

This summer Dear Hubby and I will celebrate 15 years of wedded bliss! It's hard to believe that this picture

was taken almost 15 years ago. We've been trying to decide how to celebrate. What would YOU do? What is a great gift for the man of my dreams? Thanks, y'all!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Splitting Hairs over Split Checks!

One of my pet peeves is split checks. Mind you, I don't mind splitting checks if it's understood before everyone orders. However, I cannot STAND for someone to order way more than everyone else and then to ask for the bill to be split equally so that everyone else pays for his indulgences. It's fine if it's understood in advance so that everyone orders accordingly, but it is not right to stick your friends with your part of the bill. If I want to pay for a bottle of wine that costs xyz, I'll order it. However, I don't want to pay for a bottle that is that expensive if YOU order it and then decide to share. In my mind, you ordered the bottle and are being generous to share. It is always shocking to see someone take over the ordering at the table only to find that they are not being generous but are sticking everyone else with part of their share. That is just wrong! What are your opinions?
On the other hand, I have no problem being invited to dinner with the understanding that everyone is going to pay their part. We do that a lot. There is a difference in saying, "We're going to dinner Sat night and would love it if you all can join us" versus "I'm taking some friends to dinner for my wife's birthday". When you say the latter, and assume the role of host, it is assumed that you are footing the bill for those you invited. You should not order bottles of wines and dessert and hors d'oeuvres, assuming the role of host, and then expect your guests to ante up the big ones. That is just wrong. What are your feelings on the matter? I hope I have communicated this well!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thurday's Tip... Another hint from Henley

Okay, friends, I hope you enjoy my tips as much as I enjoy remembering to pass them along! I couldn't wait until Tuesday because you need to go ahead & order this item if you decide you want it for your child's Easter baskets! Our children love to read, but they are also required to read for 20 minutes every evening. It's easy to lose track of time on a clock or to forget to write down what time you started reading. However, with the Mark-my-Time digital bookmark, your child is timed effortlessly. Children who are old enough to read independently can easily time themselves and write down how many minutes they've read in a particular sitting. These bookmarks have made our children want to read MORE! It's fun to see just how high you can make the number climb. These bookmarks sell for $8.95 in different colors such as pink, green, blue, purple, and yellow. offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more. You can also order them from,, and Learning Express. You will love them!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth?

Only I would have a child who takes her silver spoon to school! Hilarious! As I was cleaning Bug's lunch box after school, I discovered that she had taken her engraved silver child's spoon to school IN HER LUNCH! So much for letting the little ones pack their own lunches! I'm just thankful she didn't throw it away!

It suits!

Is this not the most darling little bathing suit? I loved it the minute I saw it at, where else, Target. The Tar-jay and I go back many years. We've been seeing each other for as long as Tar-jay has been around. In fact, I love the Target so much that I made sure I was the one to spend the VERY FIRST DOLLAR at their store at North Hills in Raleigh. I mean, I had a babysitter and EVERYTHING. After all, it was my birthday too. So, what did I do? I spent the first part of my birthday evening at Target spending the first dollar in the store. Sadly, they did not frame my dollar, take my picture, or announce it to the crowds. My fame was short-lived, or rather, non-existent. Oh well, I lived to blog about it.

If you have a little girl who can wear a 5T or smaller, please buy her this bathing suit! She will dance and twirl with the best of them! Our Hurricane loves hers!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Do you like to have clean clothes when you return from a trip? I sure do! With a family of 7, any chance I have to wash clothes is taken! Whenever we travel, I try to return home with our bags packed full of clean clothes. Inevitably, there is still plenty to wash upon our return, so it helps to have as many things clean as possible. We recently spent a week in Hilton Head. Let me just say that they had me at "washer and dryer included". I LOVE a place to stay where I can wash away dirt and grime! At Camp Greystone in the summer, my friends laugh because they can always find me doing laundry in the Counselor Hut. What can I say, clean undies and towels are my friends! Anyhoo, one of my greatest discoveries is the Purex 3 in 1 sheets. They are perfect for travel and offer softening and anti-static! They are thin so they fit easily in your luggage. In fact, you could just put the amount you need in a ziploc bag and not have to take the small box with you! The Purex detergent also works well. In fact, in trying to find a picture for my blog, I found out that they are giving away 2 sheets of Purex 3-in-1 sheets! You have to fill out a simple survey by going here. I just completed it myself! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It is definitely MONDAY

Whew. It has been one of those days where I wonder why I seem to be doing everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, wrong. For some crazy reason, our school did not have school today after a week of Spring Break last week. I know this makes the teachers happy, but these little peeps are ready for a schedule! After traveling, I was exhausted and tried my best to sleep a little late this morning. I did lay there past 6am, but I wasn't sleeping. I knew that the kitchen would be a bit of a mess with 3 9-year old chefs, and I was okay with that. However, I was not okay with what I found later this morning. EVERY SINGLE ROOM was out of order. Sofa cushions were in various places, cups were left in our family room where drinks are not allowed, and bedrooms looked like Haiti after the earthquake. I wanted to sit down and cry, but I buckled up and started cleaning up while assigning various jobs to our children. I have a friend whose children are perfectly neat and will even scrub baseboards. This mess was beyond some dusty baseboards, my friends. IT was a disaster zone in EVERY. SINGLE. PART. of our house. Discouraged, I called my hubby and a friend and vented. Then, after calling in the trips to pick up yet another newly found disaster, girl #2 fell and hurt her wrist and knee. Lacking compassion, I mustered up what little I had and put her on the sofa. Then she began complaing about her wrist. We need another broken bone like Imelda needed more shoes. Thankfully, I think she's okay, but I thought I was headed to the doctor. We'll know more tomorrow.

I continued cleaning and put the Hurricane in my bed so she could nap. Hurricane did not nap and instead ate a banana and spilled milk in my bed. LOvely. Don't worry, another mess wont' hurt me. RIGHT. I have since sent girl #2 & the Hurricane to the bath because they are going to bed EARLY, as in while the sun is still out!

As I lovingly cleaned the room of our 2 youngest, I quickly filled one giveaway bag and started on another. I have trashed treasures and trash. I was working on their closets when the next thing happened. K's ENTIRE CLOTHING ROD fell with her entire wardrobe of hand-me-downs on it. K has 2 older sisters, so she has lots of clothes. They are now all piled on her bed where they will stay until someone can help me re-install the rod. I tried, but it needs anchors to keep that baby in the wall. A painter or workman had done a shoddy job of hanging it originally. So, hear I sit needing to blog just to get it off of my chest.

Girl #1 is complaining of her daily headache. Girl #3 is probably collecting nature outside only to hide the bag in her newly (partially) cleaned room. Girl # 4 is making yet another mess. Only Boy is off playing golf with his buddies and hubby has probably just made up a work problem simply to stay away from home.

I am off to wash load of laundry number 5 for today and to make blts for dinner. While I wouldn't trade these years for anything, sometimes I just wish my house was clean and orderly. It would just make me feel better.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Handle with Care- Book Review

After a reading hiatus that lasted longer than I care to admit, I have been reading up a storm! I just read Jodi Piccoult's "Handle with Care". This was a GREAT novel! Click here to buy it on I found it at our local library on the new releases shelf. This is a heart-wrenching story about a young girl who was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which some call brittle bone disease. It is a great look at the challenges families face when a child is born with health issues. I cried reading this book, but I loved what I learned from it. I hope you will too! Please let me know of other great books you have read lately.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Japanese Steakhouse

Tonight we took our children to a Japanese Steakhouse. We had not been to one in YEARS. Our youngest two were especially mesmerized! Our children tried shrimp and learned that they like it! They also enjoyed the vegetables. The chicken, steak, and shrimp were all delicious. The entertainment was fabulous!

If your children have never been to a Japenese steakhouse, you should try it sometime! It was a great evening. Now everyone is sleeping peacefully. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dearest little one...

Dearest little one,

It seems like just yesterday you were a tiny newborn baby, who depended on me for everything. You have grown in a flash and are now an independent little three year old. Where did those 3 years go? You were beautiful at birth, and you are even more beautiful now. You love your siblings and are a delight to us all. Thank you for being a true joy. Your siblings had to be moved out of their cribs because of you and your sister needing a bed. For the first time, I didn't have to rush a baby out of her crib. It pained me to let you get out of your crib and into a big girl bed, but I knew it was time. You're a big girl now, as much as I want you to still be my baby:). So, I took pictures of you in your crib, where you've slept for 3 years.

Then, your dear Daddy carefully put together your new big girl bed. We bought you a little toddler bed with lambs on it since you share a room with your big sister. Your room didn't need two twin beds. After all, you need some room to play! Your new bed is the perfect size. You carefully crawled into your new bed and stayed awake giggling with your big sister.

At long last, you fell asleep, like a little angel. You are one precious baby girl. We are all so proud of you. As I dried my tears, I couldn't help but smile to see you sleeping so happily in your brand new big girl bed. You saw my tears streaming down my face when I put you to bed. You looked at me and in your very own words, you said, "Mommy, I'm your big girl but I'm your baby too." Yes, my little love, you sure are. All five of you will always be my babies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

FABULOUS New Gift Website!

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, you can go GREEN!!!! A new company just launched their website full of fabulous GREEN products! The name is Ecodilly and it offers items that are made from jute, bamboo or other materials that can be reusable, recyclable, etc. Not only are the products made from natural materials, but they are SUPER STYLISH and FABULOUS!!! You are just going to love ecodilly! Go to the ecodilly website to see the cute gift items. Use code AHP if you decide to buy something! New products are being added weekly, so keep checking back for new gift ideas! I am going to buy myself several of their cute items!

I love this insulated tote. When we head to the park or the beach, it's nice to bring beverages and treats for the whole family. I can't wait to carry this cute bag with me! The price is right too.

The darling insulated lunch bag below is only $10! What a deal and it's sure to catch everyone's eye at work or school or playgroup. You just can't beat these prices for such great items!

If you live in Raleigh, NC, you're fortunate! You can actually see the items if you come to the Ravenscroft Market at The Ravenscroft School. The dates and times are below:

Thursday, March 18th 10:00 – 6:00
Friday, March 19th 10:00 – 6:00
Saturday, March 20th 9:00 – 4:00

Again, if you buy something online or in person at the Ravenscroft Market, please mention code AHP! Happy Shopping!

Tuesday's Tip

Whenever our family goes out to eat, there are seven of us who descend upon a restaurant. There are times when we are all perfectly behaved, and there are times where some of us let out a squeal or have less than desirable behavior. No matter what, I always do my best to have the children help me leave the table in good condition. Having attended Camp Greystone for years, I know how to bus a table well. I try to scrape and stack plates and silverware and put dirty napkins in a pile. We try to pick up any large items that might have fallen on the floor as well. In general, we do our best to leave the table in a somewhat orderly fashion rather than as a huge mess. We also try to tip well if we've had good service. What do you do when you leave your table at a restaurant?

Tuesday's Tip

I fear running out of gas. I've heard that a gas tank can even freeze if it doesn't have enough gas in it. Years ago when the triplets were babies, we experienced a horrible ice storm. Our home was without power for days. It was SO COLD in our house and we had three 1 1/2 year olds, so we loaded up the car and headed towards the beach. We realized we did not have enough gas to get all of the way to the beach. When we stopped to buy gas, the gas stations were so full!!! Thankfully we were able to
"fill 'er up", but it made me begin a new rule. Whenever my gas tank reaches the half way mark, I try to treat it like an empty gas tank and I fill up the car with gas. On long trips we don't fill it up that often, but I try to keep at least a half tank of gas in my car at all times. I feel empowered when the tank is full. Don't ask me why! So, turn over a new leaf. Don't rely on your car to tell you when it is on empty. Beat the system and fill up when you have half a tank of gas left. You'll be glad you did should you need to scoot out of town!

Monday, March 15, 2010

On a hot August day 20 years ago...

It all began on a hot August day in the city of Athens, Georgia. Two young freshmen girls separately and excitedly tore open their bid cards only to discover that they had just pledged Chi Omega, their first choice!!! Squeals erupted around the Tate Center as girls learned if their dreams had come true. At 18, away from home for the first time, what could be better than joining a group of girls with whom you would identify in some fashion for the next 4 years and even for the rest of your lives? Upon heading back to good ole Brumby dorm, the two girls met in the lobby and learned that they both were going to be Chi Os! The girl with the beautiful brown curls offered the bobbed brunette a ride to their Bid Day celebration. Riding in a blue Ford, a friendship was born. Through that friendship, a couple would later be introduced and would end up married.

A & I discovered that we shared interests in Young Life and other things. As our friendship grew, my then boyfriend and now sweet husband and I decided that we should set up A with Dh's roommate. They began dating and now have 3 beautiful children! We visited in Orlando a week ago and shared dinner with 8 children between us! I'll have to find a "then" photo, but I thought you might enjoy these 2 now photos!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What would you do if you won?

The Florida Powerball lottery is 200 million and tonight they will draw the winning numbers. If you won $200 million, what would you do? Would you keep your current job? Would you tithe to your church? Would you make a difference in a ministry like Mercy Street in Dallas or towards fighting cancer? Would you donate a large lump sum to a museum, university, or performing arts center so that you could see your name printed there? Would you quit your job or continue working? It is fun to imagine what you might do with the money. Sadly, most people who win that kind of money enjoy some temporary fun and often tend to lose it all. What would you do?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shampoo and Set?

I promise I really do watch my children. I don't spend all of my time doing chores or reading blogs. I mean, really. I am a very observant mama. I know exactly what is going on at all times. I don't talk to friends on the phone in the presence of my children. What kind of mama does that?

So I have no idea how to explain what I saw when my attention was diverted for a few minutes by a phone call. I rounded the corner to find our Monkey giving Hurricane a shampoo at their little kitchen!! Both girls were as happy as two peas in a pod! Hilarious!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

How often do you wear a t-shirt under your sweater or blazer? I LOVE Target t-shirts. Give the girl a Merona t-shirt and I am happy. They are perfect to wear with casual pants or underneath a sweater. I tend to wear them a lot. The only problem is that I also tend to make a lot of mistakes. I might clean up the kitchen and somehow get something on my shirt or I'll put on a clean white shirt and a child will run and rub his hands or nose all over my clean shirt. I then must change shirts! One of my smart friends, A, keeps an extra t-shirt in her desk at school. It never fails that she ends up needing it. So, ladies, put an extra t-shirt in your desk at work or in your car. You never know when you might need it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Do you want butter with that, HONEY?

Obesity rates in the United States are at an all time high with at least 64% of us being overweight or obese, and 26% of those are obese. Listen honey, having babies and infertility hasn't helped my part of the equation:). Mama Henley is not one to throw a stone at glass houses, but what in the world are we doing FRYING OUR BUTTER?

How about chocolate "dipt" bacon? Can I slap you one of those? Can we say, "CLOGGED ARTERIES" three times each? I mean, really! What is this crazy world coming to these days?

Listen, butterbean, sugarcakes, sweetie pie, waddle on over here and I'll make you a Krispy Kreme doughnut burger so good you'll wanna slap your mama!

And if that's not good enough for you, my big ole pot of honey, I'll serve you some deep fried cookie dough with a deep fried Pepsi! Sugah, do you want fries with that?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Girl She Used to Be

Since reading "The Help" several months ago, I have not read a book. I have read blogs, magazines, and the newspaper, but for some reason, I haven't read a book. I love to read. As a child, my friend, V, and I would have contests to see who could read the most books in a night. One night we read until the wee hours of the morning. We each completed 17 chapter books. With our dual competitive nature, we couldn't let the other person win, so we both won. I can still look to V for good book recommendations, even though years go by without us actually seeing one another in person. Perhaps V would do a guest post of good book recommendations.
I happened to pick up a great book off of the New Book Shelf at the library. The book is "The Girl She Used to Be" and it is the first novel written by David Cristofano. He has proven to be an excellent writer. This book was about a young girl who witnessed a murder and was subsequently put in the Witness Protection Program. The story that unfolds is fabulous and intriguing. It's a must read!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Florida winter

This is one of the plusses to living in Florida...

Our pool is not heated, but the children didn't seem to mind!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Entertaining Mom Giveaway

Entertaining Mom is having a great giveaway!!! Click here for your chance to win a cheese basket from the Cheese Ambassador! If you haven't read her blog before, you will LOVE IT!

Little House on the Prairie

What a treat! Tonight the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center offered a special deal to encourage families to attend "Little House on the Prairie". For every full price ticket bought, you received one free ticket. Our triplets just read "Little House in the Big Woods" in their second grade class. Their test was LAST WEEK. It was just too good to be true!! Sweet hubby encouraged me to take the big 3 tonight to see the play. We rushed home between ballet and choir and they showered and changed clothes. We met DH for dinner and he took our 2 little girls home while I took the triplets to the play. They were mesmerized. The most exciting part was that Melissa Gilbert was in the play. This time she was playing Ma!! It was so exciting to see her. After the show they had a talk back. We had to stay even though it meant the children were up THREE HOURS past their bedtime! Tiny was able to ask Ms. Gilbert a question! She asked if parents travel with the children who are in the show. The answers were different for each child. One child had parents who alternate traveling with her, and another child had her grandfather as her chaperone. It was really neat! The show was fantastic. We loved the music and the fun humor sprinkled throughout the play. If it travels to your town, you must go!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Adding a new baby to a family is SUCH an exciting time for everyone. At the same time, change can be hard. It doesn't mean you're not thrilled with the change, but a little bit of sadness or even mourning over a season of life ending is normal. I think most parents experience a little of that with each new addition. I would imagine that the biggest sense of guilt or sadness happens when a family goes from having one child to having two. Parents may feel they are robbing the first child of special time when actually they are giving that child the greatest gift ever by giving him or her a sibling. Since we had triplets first, I have never known that feeling because we went from 0 to 3 in a matter of minutes!! It was exciting and fun to welcome the triplets two younger sisters. With the birth of number 5, I did feel like that our older children were old enough to really miss me while I was in the hospital following my third c-section. We were blessed at the time because the 4 oldest (3 5-year olds and a 3-year old) were able to spend alternating nights with their grandparents. We knew they would be so happy.

However, I wanted them to hear something special from me each day that I was away. The night before my c-section, I sat down and wrote the children a letter to be read to them each day I was away. I let them know how excited I was for them to meet their new baby sister and that she was going to love them so much. I told them about the fun they would enjoy with their grandparents and how much I loved them. They treasured these notes and I recently found one in number 4's drawer.

I also do this when DH and I go away for a little trip. It's nice for the children to know how much they are loved by you when you're not there physically to tell them. If something ever were to happen to us, they would treasure those notes forever.

The night before our wedding, I wrote letters to each of my parents and my brothers. I remember sitting in my room crying because my life as a little girl in my parents' house was over and my new life as a grown woman was beginning at age 23. I could hardly WAIT to be Mrs. Mama Henley, but it was also sad to walk out those doors for the last time as a girl with my maiden name. I hope my love for my parents and brothers was conveyed in those letters.

In today's world of twitters, texts, emails, facebook, and voice mails, the written word is almost lost in many respects. Gone are the days of long love letters and in their place are abbreviated messages. Take the time to tell those that you love why you love them, and write it down. They'll treasure it.