How to Save Money Using


What is “dealspotr”?

I first heard of a few months ago, and I didn’t know what to think of it at first. It’s a place to find good deals to save money, and you can share deals that you find too.

You can find coupon codes as well as sales on there.

My Experience with dealspotr

I thought, “Okay, you can post deals when you find them…eh…”

I found an exciting deal at Papa John’s, and if you know anything about my family, you realize this MATTERS to us, so I posted it on dealspotr to share the happiness. It wasn’t hard.  Past that, I kind of forgot about

Then came spring break. Saving money has been not just nice but necessary.

dealspotr coupons

Y’all! You can save some serious buck-a-rinos with this website.

The whole point of this website is to compile tons of good deals for all different types of things in one place. It’s the kind of thing thrifty people dream of.

Some merchants even offer exclusive deals through dealspotr.

When I use it, I head straight to the search bar.

Type in the place you are going or the thing you are trying to buy, and see what pops up. You never know. You could save hundreds on a vacation or just save $1 on your meal, but you won’t know until you search.

When I hear about a site that gives you deals, I like to see proof. Just how good are these deals? Are they worth taking the time to dig up?

Here’s what I found, to give you a few examples.

These are coupon codes that I found on dealspotr. I had spring break on the brain.

Legoland Discovery Center ——Get free child ticket with purchase of adult ticket coupon code (to be used to purchase tickets online)

Legoland Theme Park— Free child ticket with purchase of adult ticket. Copy code and purchase online.

Papa John’s Pizza—- 25% off code


Most deals that I found on there do NOT require a coupon code. These are sales. You can just click on the link and purchase at the discounted price.

How to save money using


This swing set is $342 at Walmart right now (March 20th, 2017), as opposed to the regular price of $586!!!!!

And this deal was my personal favorite with Easter coming up:

Before I went to Starbucks, I typed in Starbucks. There was a 10% discount on there for Starbucks. Awesome.

I need to buy tennis shoes for one of my sons, so I typed in “Nikes”, and I found about 5 different pairs of Nike tennis shoes, on sale, that would fit Caleb.

40% off your purchase at the GAP was another exciting deal I found on my personalized feed. They offer suggestions for you on your homepage, but to me, using the search bar was the most helpful way to use this site.

Now, you may need to create your own account to be able to see all of these links that I’m including.

But the good news is that it’s free to join, and you can adjust your settings so that you don’t get unwanted email.

Do you think I can talk Alan into buying the boys that discounted swingset I found? 

You can also actually earn points and money from this company.

Fill out your profile, and upload deals that you find to start collecting points.

The points you earn by posting deals for them adds up to gift cards to places like Amazon!

Pssst! If you are a blogger or you have a ton of social media followers, you can earn even more! So be sure to check that out here. And be sure to use one of these codes:

lIAVKePx   or ESoM2F54

Have you tried Dealspotr or another program like it? Tell us about it in the comments! 

Happy saving!



****This post is sponsored by, a community to find coupons, coupon codes, and sales and even share deals that you’ve found as well. All opinions are my own, for better or for worse.****






Making Do and Yard Sale-ing: How we send our kids to private school

making-do-and-yard-sale-ing: how we pay for 3 kid in private school

Our family is living on a budget for the first time…..since 8 years ago when we read that Dave Ramsey book.

This year was a huge change. We went from paying about $3,000/year in school tuitions to Classical Conversations and preschool to paying about $15,000/year total in private school tuitions. That’s two full school tuitions plus a partial one for my kindergartener, who has a partial scholarship. It was a big jump. We realized we were going to have to make major changes in how we live to pay for all of this.

I want to share what we are doing to make this work:


#1. We down-sized our house.

We went from a 5-bedroom home in luxurious Monterey, California to a 3-bedroom home in Georgia. The difference is so vast, but I’ve actually enjoyed this change! No more stairs to go up and down. Hmmm Maybe that’s why I’ve gained weight….Plus, our new house still comfortably fits us. It has everything we need, and it came with a way better backyard, so this was not a hardship. This was a win. We only lost about 500 square feet. We ditched a room or two worth of furniture, and all is well.

We do have four kids in a 3-bedroom house, but only one of them complained, and I think it’s good for them.

#2. I took on a part-time writing gig with in September, and I resumed product reviews and sponsored posts here on Stories of Our Boys.

Every little bit helps, and I’m still spoiled because I’m working from home. I still get to be with my three-year-old all day long. I can still cook dinner by 12 pm, and I’m able to pick up the boys from school every day. The only hitch is that I literally get paid by how much I work, so if I spend my day jumping on the trampoline with JD, baking, and sweeping, I don’t actually make any money at all. Ha….yeah, that happens a lot..

#3. We cut the bi-weekly cleaning lady, the gym, the pest control service, and the lawn care service.

Yes, we would like to have ALL of those services, but they are a luxury, not a necessity.

#4. We are “making do” with things that we’d like to replace, and saving up money to replace them later, rather than spending all we have or taking on a car payment.


My minivan? It’s a 2007. One of the doors has taken on a mind of its own, so you now have to do these special maneuvers to get it to close, and if you do it wrong it will go “Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding!” Only it won’t start all that dinging until AFTER the car is driving, so then you have to find a place to pull over and shut that door to save your sanity. Also, the defroster is having issues. I guess that’s what paper towels are for.

The minivan is paid for, and the engine runs perfectly. Just don’t stand in the trunk putting away groceries too long because it will randomly start to close the trunk door on your head. Nice little adrenaline rush as you quickly remove all body parts and small children out of the way!!!

However, we are thankful that we have two cars that run. That van has never broken down, and it has 4 good tires. We’ll make do another year.

My mattress? 

It’s 14 years old, and my hips were starting to hate, hate, hate my flattened out old mattress. It wasn’t giving much anymore. Soooo…we bought a $25 quilted mattress cover. That didn’t help much. Then we bought a $15 egg crate and put that on top of the quilted mattress cover, and we’re good again! That’ll buy us another year, I’m hoping.

Our sofa?

Well….we’ve only had it for 3 years, but it got ripped in a few places with the move. I don’t even know how because it was all wrapped and padded. I have no idea why we didn’t put in a claim on it while we had the chance, but we didn’t, so now we are stuck with a sofa that’s all hurt looking and sad.

It’s on my list to get replaced first, but not until Christmas is taken care of. Here’s hoping for a new sofa in January or February!

#5. My favorite part: Yard Sale-ing!!!

You might recall that my parents had a house fire this year, so when we moved down here I started going to yard sales with my folks. It is so addictive!!!

Here’s a list of some of my amazing finds:


I brought this bench home seriously muddy, but I spent an hour scrubbing it down, and it’s lookin’ good!


My fall porch–Time to re-decorate again! Oh, and that ‘Welcome’ pumpkin door sign? It was only $15 at Big Lots.

-2 benches for $10 each


$1 wall art. I love this, and I sometimes remember to pray before I hit the sales that I will find things we need at good prices.






Look how pretty!!! Excuse the background. If I cleaned up all these photos, I’d never finish a blog post!

-Large Coach bag in PERFECT condition–for only $25!!!

-5 pairs of boys size 14 blue jeans for $2 a pair! Wow!

ladies shirts $1/shirt

-yoga pants $1


-Mom got a computer chair for $5!


-Sunglasses $1

-Baseball themed ceiling fan for half of what you’d pay in the store–I can’t remember how much! But it’s in one of the bedrooms at my parents’ new house now!

-Countless costumes, toys, books, and games

This is my new hobby. I’m all about it. Now I do realize that many people are into the Facebook yard sales now, the perpetual bargain fares. But have you noticed how over-priced they are? I can rarely save much over what I’d pay retail on those sites. Yard sales are still my favorite.

Thrift stores can be good too. I recently bought a nice set of shelves for only $15, plus a bag of AR books, all at Goodwill.

I love Aldi.

I love Aldi.

#6. Buying groceries at Aldi

I’m not a coupon-er, so I have to find the absolute most affordable place to go grocery shopping. Aldi is the cheapest store near me. The commissary is usually a great deal too, if you are military. But the best way to find out what place has the most affordable food is to shop a different store each week and make a comparison chart. When we lived in Texas, I was surprised to realize that Walmart actually was the cheapest, even better than the commissary!

I hope I’ve given you some ideas here for ways to stretch your budget. We are constantly looking for more ideas! Please share in the comments or email if you have more ideas for how you save money! How do you “make do” and find discounts?

Speaking of discounts….don’t forget to enter my gratitude giveaway….


Just log in via FB or email, and choose 1 or 2 options! Good luck!!!

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You know they aren’t all going to be this good, right?

JD’s new room setup

It all started with Caleb’s scooter accident on Sunday…apparently that was an omen of sorts. The next big challenge was that we promoted J.D. to a toddler bed. This has never been a big deal for us. I remember Joshua was so good at sleeping on a toddler mat, that at 14 months I could put Joshua on his mat in the hallway of a friend’s house, and he would go right to sleep.

Joshua and Caleb were both crib jumpers that had to be promoted at 15 months, to keep them from injuring themselves!



Joshua, at about 18 months of age, on Easter Sunday


I remember Aunt Fran telling us, “You know they aren’t ALL going to be this good, right?” hehehe  I’m sure we just thought we were the bomb, and of course they’d all be compliant nappers.

Caleb took us down a peg.  He liked to wait for me to leave the room and then pass out in his floor, playing with toys, but he was quiet, and he left us alone, so we were satisfied.


Daniel, around 18 months, sleeping soundly in his crib


Then came Daniel. By the time you have your 3rd kid, you are too busy to recall such details. Three is a stressful number because you’re still trying to live like the average American family, despite the fact that you have three children, six and under. I don’t recall Daniel’s transition at all.

But we have this one kid who has been sure to keep us humble in all of our endeavors: enter John David: both mover and shaker, a spunky man indeed! The boy has pluck.

This is John David helping me unload the dishwasher. One year olds make wonderful dishwasher unloaders!! He takes his job seriously.

A few months ago, Alan made his weekly run to the dump. Yes, we recycle, but our local California town gives us a trashcan that is barely bigger than the trash can in your kitchen to put each week’s garbage in. There are SIX of us. Seriously, you should see our teeny tiny garbage can.

So Alan was at the dump, dropping off our extra trash, when lo and behold he spots a beautiful toddler bed sitting off to the side. People around here move a lot, and sometimes the easiest way to get rid of things is to just set it by the dumpsters and figure someone will pick it up…….someone like us.

Did we NEED a toddler bed? No. We have 2 extra twin beds that we aren’t even using, but I can’t explain it. We thought the free dumpster toddler bed was cute. We proudly added it to our garage collection of “stuff we never use but couldn’t possibly give away.”

Eventually, we got tired of it taking up space, so we decided to go ahead and promote our little fella. Ready or not, here we go!!

Some people just can’t handle freedom of any sort. That boy could no more control his little self to stay in that bed than I can turn down a Krispy Kreme chocolate covered donut!! It was ridiculous! Any time he would wake up, he’d roll, or sometimes fall, right out of bed and head straight for his door. He figured out how to work a doorknob, and he was on his way to adulthood, he really seemed to think!


I already mentioned the first night, when he headed down the stairs at 1am. We have remedied that situation.

It’s been a week now, and I’m happy to report that things are much better now. It isn’t perfect, but it’s better. J.D. is a gregarious little individual. He has very set ideas for how he likes things, and change takes him a while to adapt to.

We love this outspoken, opinionated, animal loving, raisin bran crunch eating, cuddly, cuddly, cuddly little rascal so much.


Let me tell ya what is new in John David’s world:

-He has earned the nickname Angry Bird, because he reminds me of a bird sometimes, and he can be quite grumpy.

-He is usually the first person awake every single morning. I took a page from Aunt Amy’s book and hung black-out curtains. We’ve never felt the need to do this until J.D. Yes, the others all woke up early. No little boy here ever slept past 7am, but 5am is a WHOLE other kettle of fish! That is unacceptable, for sure.

I’ve always encouraged their early to rise routine (between 6:30 and 7) because I think it is a WONDERFUL habit to form as a young person, and I hope they will be able to keep it for the rest of their lives. Waking up in the morning, to this day, is my greatest struggle. I seriously need to be up and running at 6am, and that is the hardest thing in the world for me to do! Even when I go to bed at 10pm, which is my new habit for 2015, I still can’t wake up early! If you are tempted to say, “Then go to bed at 9pm,” you obviously do not have four young children. That is not actually possible in my position, I can assure you.

-JD eats breakfast with his daddy every morning. They eat eggs and Raisin Bran Crunch together. I was awake at 6 this morning to witness it, and JD mixing his eggs and cereal and eating them with his spoon, his fork, and his hands was both messy and adorable.

-JD is mostly only allowed to drink water, except for his nightcap of milk. This is because we are trying to get him as full of nutritional food as possible, in hopes that he will sleep better. Vanity, really….it’s all in vain….

-JD is starting to show interest in going to the potty. I don’t potty train 18 month olds. It’s hard enough at age 2. He will wait, and he will be just fine.

-favorite expression: “Ruff ruff! Ruff ruff!” He barks all day long.

-Favorite activity: puzzles, trains, Batman, and following his mother around. He also likes to color.

-Things his brothers say about him:

Caleb, while taking a bath with JD, “Look, Mom, I taught him this game.”

They promptly began hurling foam alphabet letters at each other and laughing hysterically. Right, well, I guess those foam letters are good for something after all…

Daniel: “Mommy!!!!  Baby took my Batman!”

“Moooooooom!!  No baby play my Batcave!”

“No, JD!”  “No, Baby!”  “NO!”  “Can JD sleep in my bed?” (Answer is no.)

“Me wake up baby now?”  (Also no.)

brothers and best friends

brothers and best friends

We were in the car the other day, and I said that JD looks so much like Joshua did. Joshua chimed in, “Except he’s way fatter than me.”

“Um, actually, JD is the skinniest baby we’ve ever had.”
“What!! I was chubbier than JD!!” Yes, Joshua, yes you were.

Caleb proudly proclaimed, “but I was the BIGGEST of all, but Daniel really was the fattest.”

Caleb the biggest baby

Caleb, pictured here at 2 months, was off the growth charts from day 1. Extremely tall.


Daniel: His rolls had rolls.

Daniel: His rolls had rolls.

All true, Caleb, all true. Come back tomorrow! Hopefully, I will find time to write about Caleb’s week of exciting new adventures: new sports, new friends, and one very happy Caleb.







Not Made to Stand Still

JD isn’t crawling yet, but he uses bottom scooting, pushing backwards, and the belly clock to get around.

Do you know what I’m talking about when I say “belly clock”?  It’s that thing babies do before they can crawl, where they just spin around in a circle and push backwards on their bellies.  He has very limited mobility, but he works awfully hard on it, every single day.

  Last night JD woke up 5 TIMES, so I’m seriously a walking zombie today.  I’m counting down the minutes until Daniel is tired enough to put down for a nap.  Until then, I figured I’d update my somewhat neglected blog.

  The boys had SUCH a great time last week with their cousin Matthew here last week.  Matthew is 17, and to say that Joshua and Caleb seriously look up to him would be an understatement.

  There was one night that Caleb had a cub scout meeting, but his best jeans, which he wears with his uniform, were nowhere to be found.  Alan’s solution was to make Caleb wear khakis instead.  Caleb was a bawling mess, and he absolutely refused to come down stairs and have Matthew see him in those pants!!!  HAAAA!!!  I love raising these boys.  They delight my heart.  I went upstairs and located Caleb a new pair of blue jeans, and all turned out well.

  Here are a few more photos from the visit:


Joshua and Matthew built this snowman together.


the builder, hard at work


Joshua, Matthew, and their creations


Ya’ll, I try so hard.  I really do, but let’s face it, I can only be in so many places at one time.  Daniel made this mess about 1 hour after Betty finished cleaning the entire kitchen.  I had her come an extra week while we’re having company.  This doesn’t even cover how vast the mess was.  See below….


The little bitty sprinkles were everywhere, and I wasn’t getting much sleep last week, which made my stress threshold lower.  I might have actually cried when I saw this.  I cry kind of often these days.

Did I mention that all of my guests are very neat and tidy people, and this just further served to show me that I will never live up to what I’d like to be?  I know.  That may sound ridiculous, but to me it just felt like failure.  I barely had the energy or the time to clean it up.

This is what happens when you compare yourself to other people:  discouragement. It never helps. I must stop doing that!  We all have different strengths and weaknesses and circumstances.

I need to make friends with some slackers so that I will feel better about myself……   ; )

I believe there’s a Bible verse about this (my comparing myself to other people):

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding

2 Corinthians 10:12


For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1: 10



Nonna and the three biggest boys



Now here’s something I SERIOUSLY enjoy:  bargain shopping!!  Nonna and I hit a consignment sale, and I got all of this for $38.  That included 9 shirts for Joshua and Caleb, plus the books, and the baby outfit, and several of these things still had the original tags on them.  Oh, the fun!!!!

chill time


This week I’m in full on stressed-out April mode.  I’m trying to keep ‘calm.’  There’s just something about a military move with four children hanging over your head that makes it a little hard to not become an annoying, hyper version of myself.  I spent two hours this morning trying to get a pediatric neurology appointment for Caleb, only to be met by brick walls.

Don’t you just love an aggravating problem to have to solve?  Ugh.  I have to get my little man seen before the move, and apparently I’m going to have to jump through a whole lot of hoops to do so.

John David is teething, NOT sleeping at night, and he’s still refusing the bottle.

Sleep changes everything, ya’ll.  I promise it does.  I’m a much, much nicer person when I’ve gotten sleep.

I have about a thousand little problems in my head right now, but I won’t bore you with them.  INSTEAD, I will share a few funny quotes I’ve heard lately because, you know, who doesn’t love funny?

*****    Kids are funny!!!!!      ******

The other day, we had to pick up my van from the shop after a terrible oil leak.  I think I hit some rocks or something in a construction zone that ripped up the belts under my hood.

We all six rode over to the Toyota place in Alan’s truck.  As soon as we parked, Caleb was all, “I want to go in!!  I want to go in!!”  That was followed immediately by Daniel’s, “Me!!  Me!  Daniel!  Daniel go!”

  Alan made one request:  “Anyone who goes in has to be still and not fight with any brothers.”

To which Joshua quickly re-buckled his seat belt, as he replied, “Oh, no, that’s not me.  I’m staying here.  I was not made to stand still.”

LOL!!!  Good thinking, Joshua!

…..Meanwhile, Caleb and Dan piled out with Daddy–since they’re so good at standing still—-BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAH!


While sitting in the truck with me, Joshua said, “You know what I think when I hear ‘Toyota’?  I think of a toy Yoda, like from Star Wars.”



The boys were pretend playing, and I heard Joshua ask the group, “Who is going to be good, and who is going to be bad?”

Daniel, jumping up and down, shouted, “Me be bad!!  Me bad!!!  RAAAAAAAAWR  GROOOOOAAAAAAAR!”


I think if I were a little boy, I’d be very happy here in this house, and that’s not a bad accomplishment:  providing a happy home for the boys.  As Rick Warren says in his book, it’s not really about me, is it?

My Vacation Disaster


the boys…..before they kicked Dan out for keeping them awake : ) He is a terrible bed buddy.

This past Friday, we gathered up all of our chick-ies and headed to Massanutten Ski Resort.  I had been so proud of myself for finally booking a nice vacation for us, well in advance.  We aren’t always the best vacation planners.  You can make us sound fun by calling us “spontaneous”, but really that just means we procrastinate until we actually leave and then end up “winging it,” missing out on all the things that book out really far in advance.

  We were all set this time.  I had an awesome condo booked for us, I had Joshua enrolled in a snowboarding class, and I did it all for FREE.  Yep.  All we had to do was listen to a time share spill while there.  No problem.  We’re way too thrifty to fall for that.  They’ll never get us.  Right???

massanutten condo condo2 condo3 sickmom

Not too shabby, right??  Did you see me?  I’m the red blob in the bed on the left.

All was well until about 6 pm on Friday night (our very first night there).  I ate too much pizza at the on-site pizza place, and by bedtime, it was becoming clear that this was NOT going to be a fun vacation for the mama.

I caught the DADDY of all stomach flus.  I didn’t actually feel normal again until today……a solid 5 days later.  It felt like being in labor for the first 24 hours of it.

Saturday morning Alan took pity on me and decided to call it quits and abandon condo.

Alan:  I’ve got everything cleared from the room and ready to go. Should we get Joshua from snowboard school early?

April:  No!  Don’t do that!  He was so excited.  I can wait 2 more hours.

Alan:  Well, the time-share tour is at 12.  We might as well go, rather than just sitting in our car.

April:  or…..but…..I don’t know…..

…..I’ll spare you the agonizing details.  Five hours later, we drove out of Massanutten, the proud new owners of a Massanutten time share.

Right.  They won.

I do have a little bit of good news.  By Tuesday, the buyer’s remorse had hit us full on.  What were we thinking?  I wasn’t really thinking.  I would’ve signed any number of documents to get those people to stop talking and let me leave.

There’s a 7 day clause.  Alan drafted the letter last night and mailed it today.  We should be out of this by the end of the week and back to living debt-free.

Meanwhile, life at home is beating me over the head with a stick.  John David and Daniel have developed a cold.  The worst part is that JD doesn’t sleep when he’s sick.  I was up with him three times last night, and I doubt tonight will be much better.

He isn’t really napping either.  There were moments today when he was quiet, and I thought, “Oh, good,” but then I’d look at the monitor, and he’d be rolling around in his crib.  This is a new and unwelcome development.

I pretty much spent the last couple of days going from helping JD to helping Dan to feeding everyone.  There are still-packed suitcases everywhere.  If any prospective renters ask to come take a tour, I might just throw in the towel and flee the country.


pssst revised.jpg

1.  If you want a time share, you can buy one for exactly $1 on ebay.  Just know that all time shares come with maintenance fees of several hundred dollars a year, even if the time share itself is paid off.  People sometimes inherit them, don’t want to pay the maintenance fees, and so they practically give them away.

2.  Life is hard……but we already knew that.

3.  Never think you can take a time share tour and not get sucked in.  Those people are good at what they do.

4.  Joshua loves snow boarding.  At least there was that one good thing that happened.


  At least I am finally on the mend, and we should be free of the time share soon.

  I always prefer that my writing be upbeat and encouraging, sometimes even funny, but this has just been one of THOSE weeks.  It’s like life has given me some lemons, then given me some sores, then squeezed the lemon juice into the sores.

  I really have nothing at all nice to say about this week of crying babies, stomach flu, and bad decisions, so let’s look back at a few cute pictures from pre-vacation disaster.  Maybe that will put you and me both in a better mood!


my sweet littles, all bundled up to go out into the cold  (Dan was blowing a whistle.)


A couple of weeks ago, Alan bought an out-of-season watermelon, and you would have thought he’d brought home the world’s largest chocolate bar.  Everyone was SO excited.  Everyone had to take a turn cutting the thing, and it was the cheapest little party I’ve ever thrown!!

Side note:  It was seedless, as most watermelons that I find these day are.  What happened to the seeds?  Is this genetic engineering?  God made them with seeds, right?  That wasn’t good enough though, eh?  Who wants to pick through seeds?  No more seed spittin’ contests around here.

IMG_2475 IMG_2476

Joshua with a butcher knife:  yes, it made me a little nervous.

IMG_2477 IMG_2486 IMG_2487 IMG_2489 IMG_2490 IMG_2492 IMG_2496 IMG_2502 IMG_2504

Go for it, JD!  The slick tile in the kitchen is where he does his best bottom scootin’, and yes, Joshua still follows behind him with a pillow.  “Oh, no!  He got away from his pillow again!”  We couldn’t have asked for a sweeter first born!


Oh, and about our would-be vacation….bleh…..there was one quote that I can remember that brought a smile to my face.

Caleb:  (looking out the van window) Look!  Graveyard again!  Or dying holes.

Joshua:  *giggled* Yeah, you call ’em dying holes, but it is a graveyard.  Always go with your first instinct, Caleb.

After the week I’ve had, I suppose I should just be thankful to not need a dying hole just yet myself!!!

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