Friday, December 24, 2010

MIA holiday

So I'm sure you've noticed I've been MIA for a couple weeks! Sorry for the lack of posting, but I've been out and about enjoying holiday celebrations, vacationing in the mountains, and soaking up break time from school with friends and family. I truly love this time of year! The next few days are going to be just as packed with holiday celebrations with family and I can't wait! I'll be back next week sharing some of the after Christmas specials I've found! Until then, may you have a blessed Christmas with family and all those you love!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

On the 12th day of Christmas


Well today is the last day of the Christmas link up with Cait @theblessedlife. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have! Today's topic: Christmas musings! I missed several days of the link up so I've decided to share some of my favorites that I just wasn't quite able to participate in!

Day 8-Letter to Santa
Dear Santa,
I know I've been blessed with so many amazing things in my life. I don't really want many material things for Christmas so here is my perfect Christmas list.
1. To find joy in the little things in life. I know most people say they want to be happy, but for me happiness is a mood...not a destination.
2. To find more comfort in my faith. This has been such a battle for me over the past year and I'm not sure why. I continually pray for God to move my heart back to him and provide me with His comfort, yet I still struggle with this on a daily basis. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I pray for my relationship with the Lord to become stronger over the next year.
3. To not be RIFed this year. It added so much stress to my life last year, but it taught me how to be more responsible with my money and to be much more frugal. I was thankful that it happened once...I'm not sure I could take it again.
4. I would love a multitude of 2 hour delays this winter. We don't have to make it up and it allows me to snuggle with my pup for just a bit longer in the morning. Just enough of both worlds.
5. World peace

And now for my material list (all dreams of course).
1. Colts season tickets
2. A return trip to Europe
3. New TV for my living room (saving is in the works)
4. A new dishwasher that ACTUALLY cleans gunk off of my dishes
5. An organized garage


Day 10-Christmas decorations

I'm obviously not going to share them all, but here are a few of my inside ones. Its snowing out right now and I don't feel like going outside to take pictures of the outdoor ones.

Hutch in the kitchen with all my houses on it

Train on top of the TV


Sophie and I in front of the tree! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the 11th day of Christmas


Today in the link up is thrifty Christmas ideas! This is the first year I've really reined it in on my Christmas spending. I've learned some major things this year so here are a few from my newly acquired thrifty side.

-Use your stockpile for gifts!
Hate to say this, but I am going to admit that I use some of my toiletry items from playing the drugstore game for gifts. My family does stocking stuffers of toiletry items so I stock up all year long. Bodywash, razors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and contact solution are great fillers!

-Shop online and use coupon codes
This year I bought a number of things on the internet during Cyber Monday and found online coupon codes to make things even cheaper. I didn't have to make a trip to the store and had everything sent to me in great packaging for free.

-Don't just buy at Christmas time
Why not be on the lookout for closeouts or clearance items that will make great gifts all year long? My favorite places for clearance and closeouts are Target, Walmart, Marshalls, and Big Lots.

-Collect MyPoints giftcards for shopping
I mentioned in a prior post about Mypoints! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE them! You get points for reading emails and making online purchases. You can then redeem points for giftcards. Why not rack up the points all year long, order some giftcards, and purchase Christmas gifts with those? Interested in Mypoints? Send me a message with your email address and I will send you a referral link to help out my classroom fund!

-When in doubt, don't buy it!
Cait said it first, but I'll be reitterating it over and over. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Your friends and family members will NOT care if it costs hundreds of $ or if you get it from the dollar store. It is the thought that counts.

Head over to theblessedlife to link up!

Monday, December 6, 2010

On the 6th day of Christmas....


Today is DIY holiday decoration day at theblessedlife! Head on over to link up! I don't have much time to write today because I've been busy getting the Christmas tree this afternoon and I desperately need a good nights sleep before an all day conference for the next two days. I'm feeling slightly uneasy about being out of school for 2 days while my kiddos are working on their final projects, but I know it must be done. I haven't missed yet this year and that always throws me. I know they will be alright despite the fact that they hate change.

Below are two pictures of DIY projects I did this year thus far. I've made quite a few things over the past few years, but all are still put up since I'm a tad bit behind on my decorating. The first is a glass vase filled with holiday ornaments. I love how simple, but elegant this looks.

This is my "wreath" on my front door. I took a silver wreath that I got the day after Christmas last year at the Dollar store for $.50 and wrapped it with some blue and silver ribbon I also got for $.50 at Dollar Tree. I used my lovely hot glue gun to tack it down and secure it. Then I attached various blue, silver, and white ornaments I got at Dollar Tree in packages of 5 last year. I think it looks pretty good and I've gotten a number of compliments on what I've started referring to as my "Colts Wreath." Since I have been given so many of my grandmother's ornaments, I really had no need for them to be on the tree anymore.

I'm not too crafty, but I think this works. I also bought 2 premade stockings last year on clearance and had the family and consumer sciences teacher at school embroider them with Sophie and Kelly. I'll show pictures when I get them back from her at the end of the week. Cheap, custom made certainly sounds good to me!

Don't forget to head over to theblessedlife to link up with your favorite holiday DIY projects!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday recipes


Today Cait @theblessed life asked us to share our favorite holiday recipes! Here is mine!

Tree-Shaped Crescent Veggie Appetizers
2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups finely chopped assorted vegetables (I use bell peppers, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, cucumber and green onions)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove dough from cans in rolled sections (2 sections from each can); do not unroll. Cut each section into 8 slices (16 slices from each can).
Place slices, cut side down, on ungreased cookie sheets to form trees. To form each tree, start by placing 1 slice for top; arrange 2 slices just below, with sides touching. Continue arranging row of 3 slices, then row of 4 slices, ending with row of 5 slices. Use remaining slice for trunk. Refrigerate one tree.
Bake one tree at 375 degrees F. for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully loosen with pancake turner and slide onto wire rack to cool. Bake and cool second tree.
Place each tree on serving platter. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder; blend until smooth. Spread mixture over both trees. Decorate trees with assorted vegetable pieces. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate until serving time. To serve, pull apart slices of tree.

Head over to theblessedlife to link up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Birthdays and memories

Ok so to catch you all up here are a few updates!

Yesterday was Sophie's 1st birthday! She got some yummy canned food that she loved! I also gave her some presents including a new soft toy, a package of Busy Bones, some new tennis balls, and Beggin Strips! She got a little taste of the treats, but I didn't want to go overboard. Happy Birthday Sophie!

Today we're getting somewhere between 2-4 inches of snow in Indy! Loving this weather. It's been a nice morning with some relaxing time on the couch watching Property Ladder and drinking some coffee. I love days like this! Check out these pictures of Sophie enjoying her first snowfall.

Cait @theblessedlife has posted Day 4 of the 12 days of Christmas! Today's subject: Christmas memories.

We've had some very funny Christmas memories over the years. Like the year we were all sick on Christmas and we couldn't eat anything. The Christmas when my mom stayed up all night trying to keep the goldfish alive, yet one didn't make it. We named our remaining fish Holiday and he (or she?) lived for like 7 or 8 years! The Christmas with the infamous picture (one of the FEW in this department) of Kristin and I actually hugging each other. Plus we have to love the year my dad bought her a Purdue sweatshirt with his IU credit card since she was looking to attend Purdue (Thank you Kristin for picking a better Big Ten school-Ohio State). The hysterical memories of dad buying me sweaters with shoulder pads since he thought they would be great for teaching....seriously? Memories of reading Kristin Twas the Night Before Christmas and planning out our notes to leave with the cookies for Santa. Even the year I insisted Santa must be diabetic since he was so fat so we left him sugar free treats.

This year will be my 2nd Christmas on my own and my first with a puppy so I'm sure there will be many interesting tid bits since with a 1 year old dog and a tree in the house. I can only imagine how this is going to end up! My favorite memory from last year was getting my first Christmas tree. My parents helped me pick it up from Lowe's and bring it home. I spent the whole night listening to Christmas music, drinking hot coco (that was spiked with some Bailey's) and finished up the night watching Elf. So wonderful! This year I haven't gotten the tree up yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll be Monday night when it happens! I can't wait! Here is a picture of my tree from last year. I'm hoping this year it will be just as beautiful.

Head over to theblessedlife to link up!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas card

So today we're talking about Christmas traditions on the link up. We have so many I cannot even begin to name them all! My favorite tradition is drinking eggnog and watching Christmas movies on Christmas Eve. We also drive past the Reynold's Farm Equipment store in Fishers after church to see all the beautiful lights on Christmas Eve. For those who aren't from this area, the John Deere store decks out several acres of their property with Christmas lights and moving animations for the season. We compare the new additions every year. It is the coolest!

Floral Elegance Christmas Card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Here is my first shot at my Christmas card tradition I mentioned yesterday. I finally got Sophie to pose (sit still with lots of bribery) for this pretty shot in front of our fireplace. I had originally wanted a colorful and spunky card, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how classy this looks. It made me feel like a real grown up. What do you all think? I couldn't be happier with it. I've made a few projects like this, but this is BY FAR my favorite! Visit Cait @theblessedlife for more of the 12 days of Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.

What a great quote by Mary Ellen Chase to sum up this entire holiday season? I mentioned earlier today that this time of year reminds me of tradition. Last year, I went to the mailbox on a chilly December afternoon to find a couple of bills, some junk mail, and an envelope from my parents. Inside was the typical Christmas card they buy from the American Humane Society with a picture of a golden retriever on the outside. I opened the card to find the pre-printed inscription.

Merry Christmas!
Love, Dave, Sue, Kristin, and Madison

Ummmm...was I no longer in the family? I felt like perhaps I had died. I'm not going to lie...I cried. What would everyone think? Why did I feel so hurt by something so small? The answer: tradition. I had expected those cards over the years, be it my college dorm room or apartment, but I was always ON the card. Even the dog made the card, but not their own daughter?

And so begins my new tradition this year. Photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly! Sophie, my perfect pooch, and I have been attempted to pose for some pictures in front of the fireplace a la classic American family because I'm so in love with these designs. I've only managed to get one decent picture since she is a wiggle worm, but here are a few of my favorite designs (you can click on the card for direct links if you like the design).

Simple and elegant, I believe this would be perfect for the a busy family.

This colorful option would be great for those black and white photos of the kids. I think it would be awesome paired with a picture of kiddos in the snow. I love the classic and colorful blend.

Noel is my favorite word of the season. My mantle has a large decoration with this word, my stocking holders contain the word, and my favorite Christmas song is The First Noel. Simply beautiful...

But the winner is....

This card perfectly matches my personality. A little tradition, a little modern, a little funky, and yet it contains a certain simplicity.

Not only do they have photo cards for the holidays, but they have cards for just about everything you could need! Consider Shutterfly for other big life event announcements. I've included links to my favorites in these categories as well!

-We've moved announcements (my favorite one)

-Baby Announcements (my favorite one)

-Save the date cards (my favorite one)

Although I don't need any of the above quite yet, its nice to know that its really a one stop shop for all major event announcements! Enjoy hunting for your favorite Christmas cards! Maybe it'll start a new tradition for you as well. Happy holidays and merry Christmas!

Christmas link up


I am linking up today with Cait @ theblessedlife to talk about my favorite holiday ever...Christmas! The question today is: What does Christmas mean to you?
Growing up, Christmas was about presents. I'm not going to pretend that my family was deeply religious or overly materialistic, but indeed the joy of the season came from getting exactly what I wanted. Once I got to college, it became more about family because it was one of the few times I would get to go to Indianapolis to visit my family. Last year was my first Christmas living on my own and it certainly got me thinking more about the meaning of Christmas. Christmas for me has become about tradition. We do the same things at my parent's house every year and now that I have my own home, I've started to follow my own traditions. I am so thankful for all God has blessed me with so many of these traditions, I feel closer to Him and to my family. I have posted in the past about receiving my grandmother's hand me downs upon moving into my house. Many of these include Christmas decorations that are now placed all over my home. It makes me feel much closer to her knowing that even when she is gone, her memory is still there everyday. I find comfort in the fact that she is in heaven looking down at her decorations adorning the walls and tables of my beautiful home.

Head over to theblessedlife to join in the fun Christmas link up! Cait will have this going on for 12 wonderful days!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cyber Monday Deals

I cannot even begin to explain how wonderful I feel now that ALL my shopping is done for Christmas. Here are a few of the Cyber Monday deals I went after. I'm not going to post all of them, as they are Christmas presents and I don't want to ruin the surprise for my family who reads this blog :)
Take an extra 25% off clearance items (most are 60-75% off already) with the code NIKEAIR. Then enter code JUSTDOIT for free shipping on all the items. I bought some soccer shorts for myself and a couple of items for my dad since he is a big soccer referee. All total I saved 18.72 with my coupon codes.
They have college sweatshirts on sale 2 for $30! Use coupon code BFSHIP50 and WELCOMEBACK if you buy two sets of these for free shipping and $10 off your $60 purchase. This made each sweatshirt about $12.50 each.
I got two $25 gift certificates for the Sushi House (Fox Road, 46236) for $2 each. They are regularly priced for $10, but add coupon code DEAL to take $8 off each. You have to spend $35 to use it, but I'd gladly get $35 of sushi for $17. Makes eating out so much more affordable.

In addition to buying all of these things, I shopped through my Mypoints account to receive points for my purchases. Both Finish Line and Nike are 3 points per dollar spent. I also receive points for my local purchases (the gift certificates). All in all I should receive 246 points for my purchases which is a good step toward getting a gift card from Mypoints.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm thankful for a break...

Ok ok so I've been horrible about blogging lately. It's not that I have been insanely busy or that I couldn't find some's just that I have lacked inspiration and my space bar is stuck on my computer so it annoys me to write for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time. So instead of forcing it (yes sometimes I have to force myself to write), I decided that I would take a two week break. I promise I will be back tomorrow full force with some of the great deals I've gotten and some awesome ideas for decorating for the holidays. Of course I still have to finish my first mini series (sorry it wasn't done in time for Thanksgiving), but I can assure you that it will be finished by Christmas. Check out tomorrow when I get back at it, but for the rest of the day I am thankful for a break!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
I am linking up today for my first Miscellany Monday. Life has been pretty busy this past week. Sorry for the lack of posting. Well here goes...
1. Thanksgiving shopping has begun. My dad was semi confused last night as I was explaining to the things I still need to get to my mom. He didn't know why I needed to get the stuff now instead of just waiting until a day or two before. Silly dad....all the good turkeys will be gone :)
2. My incentive system is TOTALLY working! Although it is costing me some money (OK more than I anticipated to be honest) it's worth it to not want to die every single day because the behavior is atrocious. I love teaching my alternative kiddos, but sometimes (especially this time of year) they get out of control.
3. I'm trying a new recipe that I saw on TV this weekend for my dinner tonight. I cannot wait! It is Garlic and tomato shrimp over couscous. I'll let you know how it turns out.
4. I admitted to a friend yesterday my struggles with Christ lately. I know He is there and He is guiding me, but I am struggling to find Him in my everyday life. I struggle to find Christ in my job. I feel like I am trying my hardest to be the selfless person He wants me to be. I get cussed at, yelled at, directions I ask students to follow aren't done as I've requested, and they are mostly completely ungrateful for every single thing I do. I often wonder why God would want me to do this job that makes me doubt goodness in the world. There are many other things that have contributed to this. I have not found a church to call home since the church from my teenage years closed. I feel most alone when I am at church by myself. For me, church is not just about is about love. I feel love for Christ, but it is also the time when I feel most alone. I'm not sure why this is and although I love being single, I cannot motivate myself to be there alone without some support system and I am scared of building one. I'm not really sure what to do...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

7 Tips for a Harmonious Holiday: Guest bathroom

Today's edition is getting the guest bathroom ready for guests for the holidays! Bathrooms (I find) are the rooms that should be easy, but always seem to take forever! Here are some tips to have your bathroom company ready in about 30 minutes.

-Give it a scrub

Put on those rubber gloves and get to cleaning. Make sure you get the sinks, mirror, shower/tub, and toilet really well. Use the toilet wand to clean the underside of the seat and the whole bowl area. Make sure you also wipe down baseboards, cabinets, counter tops, and behind the toilet. Empty the trash and double line it (put 1 trash bag inside of another one) so you can take it out quickly.

-Stock up

Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper, soap, and paper towels (if you use them) for guests to use. New rolls/bottles of each will probably save you time and effort later. Use the half full stuff just for you later on.

-Add a touch of flare

Dress things up with some decorative, but useful hand towels. Dollar stores are a great place to find these. Put your best towels out if you have a towel rack in your bathroom for decoration only. Crisp white towels are always classic and clean looking although I prefer patterned ones. Now is also the time to add holiday accents. Consider adding some holiday scents (candles or potpourri), a garland on the vanity behind the sink, and holiday soaps in a clear dish.

-Individually packaged

If you know you're having 4 guests, why not make individual packages for them to save you time and effort to find things later on. Consider putting one full set of towels (bath, hand, washcloth) for each person, along with some of the gender specific samples (mentioned in the first post). Package them all up by tying the towels up with festive ribbon. Then fold the washcloth into a triangle then fold into a smaller triangle. You can then use it as a pouch to slide the samples into and slip under the ribbon. Label with some name tags to personalize. Check out one of mine below :)

How do you get the bathroom ready for the holidays?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday isn't my favorite :(

It's been a pretty rough Monday so I decided to share a quick list of 5 things that made me happy today to put myself back in the happy go lucky spirit so I can face the rest of the week.

1. Waking up under my electric blanket and being SOOOOOOO warm and comfy
2. I got 2 sets of red plum coupons in the mail today and one of them had my favorite thing inside of it....Einstein bagel $2 Tuesday for a bagel, smear, and coffee! Good through the end of the year too!
3. My back cracked (those really deep cracks that make posture seem important and all) and it felt AMAZING!
4. I made homemade marinara sauce using tomatoes from my garden. It smells delicious!
5. Spending time with Sophie :) She is so cute!

What made you happy today?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Proverbs 15:22: Budgets!

I am so excited to be linking up with Leigh Anne at The Newlywed Swarbricks for her new Proverbs 15:22 link up! The subject is budgets. I have this nifty little sheet that I use and I absolutely love it because it automatically figured everything for me. Here is the link for you to download it yourself.

I have to admit that I was never a budget girl before, but seeing as I am a teacher on a limited budget, I've become one as a result of necessity. Many a time, I've forgotten to pay a bill here or there. This even resulted in a rather embarrassing moment where my water was turned off while a friend was over for Final 4 basketball games! My way around this...automatic bill pay.

Every fixed monthly expense I have comes directly out of my account every month on a specific date. The only variables then become food, gas, entertainment, and other miscellaneous costs. I have a set cost of $200 a month that covers these 4 areas. If there is an emergency, I have a specific fund for that to be pulled out of so those situations, like my garage door breaking last week, are already accounted for. This helps me stick to my budget so much better because I know how much I can spend for my variable costs since I've already accounted for all of my fixed costs.

I know for some people this might not work because there may not be enough money at different points throughout the month to cover costs, but for me, this is the only way.

Here is your turn to chime in on all things budget related! Comment away and be sure to link up with The Newlywed Swarbricks for Proverbs 15:22: Seeking the counsel of the wise!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

Yet another week of simple works for me Wednesdays! Today's work...crock pot cooking!

This is my crock my life saver! I love making soups, stews, slow cooked meats in this buddy. I figured I would share my favorite crock pot recipe with you today since it's worked for me many times. Share your favorite crock pot recipes in the comments!

Easy Crock Pot Lasagna

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
32 oz jar pasta sauce of choice
8 oz bag egg noodles, cooked and drained
16 oz cottage cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Mix beef and pasta sauce. Mix noodles, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese. Layer 1/3 of the beef mixture, follow with 1/2 the noodle mixture in crock pot. Repeat layers, ending with beef mixture. Sprinkle as much parmesan as you want. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. This tastes great with a green salad and garlic bread!

I also want to wish a very happy birthday to my mom! I'm lucky to have such a wonderful woman in my life! Happy birthday Mom!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

7 Tips for a Harmonious Holiday: Guest bedroom

I've decided to try a little mini series to help you out with the holidays just around the corner. Drumroll please...7 Tips for a Harmonious Holiday!
In the series 7 Tips for a Harmonious Holiday, I'm going to share some tips for getting each room of the house in place just in time for the holiday season! I have 7 rooms that need to be ready before the holidays can really take place at my house. Guest bedroom, guest bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry, and entryway. I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house in just 3 1/2 weeks so I will be doing all of these lovely things along with my bloggers!

The series begins with: Guest bedroom
To start the guest bedroom organization declutter all horizontal surfaces in the room: floors, bed, dressers, and nightstands.
Once you've completed that, use these tips to help get you get going:
1. Make the bed: Take a few minutes and change out the sheets on your guest bed (even if they haven't been slept in). I place dryer sheets in between every layer of bedding until just a couple days before people arrive. This helps to keep them smell fresh and adds a nice fragrance when the sheets are pulled back.
2. Bedside basics: Clear any unnecessary items off the bedside table so your guests don’t feel surrounded by clutter when they go to sleep and wake up. I limit it to a lamp and picture frame.
3. Check in time: I use many of the samples I get for free in the mail to provide my guests with a hotel like feel. Fold a clean towel and place it in a basket with shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, or any other samples you have on hand. It's a nice way to make sure your guests feel relaxed and at home.
4. Space planning: Make sure you have a dresser with at least 2 empty drawers for guests to place belongings or clothing when they get into town. I put sachets from the dollar store inside of them for guests to use when they are here and to prevent them from smelling musty when they aren't in use. Place 5-10 empty hangers in the closet for gues use as well.
5. Bed skirt savior: If your bed skirt is dragging the floor, getting dusty or looking askew, employ the help of bed skirt pins. These simple spiral pins are available at home goods stores and without any sewing or cutting, can keep your bed skirt from shifting or drooping.
6. Don't go overboard: For a clean, classic look that’s also easy to maintain, limit your throw pillows to one large pillow for the center of the bed or two smaller pillows to set in front of each of your regular pillows. This will make the bed look cozy, yet uncluttered.

Link up to share these holiday tips with your blog readers by pasting the image below!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mark down Madness!

I stopped at Kroger today on my way home to pick up some chicken tenders so I could make boneless wings for the Colts game tonight. I ended up coming out with about $12 in extremely good mark downs!

2 half gallons of egg nog-$.40 each

2 organic Caesar salad kits-$1.49 each

2 packages of huge portabella mushroom caps-$1.49 each

Mozzarella cheese-$1.99

4 pack of chibatta bread $1.19

Lays Garden Tomato and Basil chips $1.99 on sale through Wednesday (THESE ARE THE MOST DELICIOUS CHIPS I'VE EVER HAD!!!!)

All in all my extra purchases cost me $11.93, but probably saved me quite a bit in the long run. Here is my plan to incorporate these into meals.

Freeze the egg nog and use during winter break.

Take the salad for lunch tomorrow and Wednesday and add some of the leftover chicken from my baked whole chicken last week for some protein.

I will marinate the mushrooms since their sell by date isn't until the 4th in some balsamic vinegar and grill them with some chicken later this week.

Add some sliced tomatoes and basil from the garden to the cheese to make some caprese salad as an after school snack a couple days this week.

Bread for sandwiches tomorrow night for dinner (with soup) and on Thursday and Friday at school.

My plan is for the chips to make it throughout the week as a salty addition to my lunch, but the Colts game is on tonight so I'm not going to hold my breath. I'll probably go get another bag to be perfectly honest.

Be on the lookout for markdowns on your next shopping trip!

Friday, October 29, 2010


I've been tagged!
Leigh Anne @The Newlywed Swarbricks asked me these 8 fun questions! I'll write my questions and pass the game on to 4 more people with 8 new questions for them!

1. What is your most favorite thing about fall?
Wearing sweatshirts and watching the leaves change colors.

2. How would you spend your perfect Saturday?
Sleep in until about 9 am. Drink coffee and enjoy a asiago cheese bagel with veggie cream cheese on the back patio while watching my dog play and reading a good magazine. Head down to the lakehouse. Enjoy some time talking with family and floating on a raft in the cove. Get out and throw the ball with Sophie while talking with family. A huge lunch/dinner (we do both together) with the family. Take a long boat ride and anchor by the dam for awhile. Enjoy a beer while floating around with the family. Head back to Indianapolis and hang out with some friends for the night.

3. What is something you've learned recently?
I've learned that sometimes life just isn't fair. I have to trust that there is a reason for everything, but that is a very difficult thing for me to do at times.

4. Do you like the seasonal drinks at Starbucks or stick to your year-round favorite?
Pumpkin spice lattes are my absolute favorite. I like most of the seasonal stuff they make so I tend to go with that.

5. What is your favorite meal to make?
I loved making my first Thanksgiving meal last year. It was wonderful to have everyone enjoy the awesome food and the holiday together. My favorite meal to make regularly is chicken tacos.

6. How do you spend your evenings?
I spend most weeknights at the house, cooking dinner and watching tv or reading. On the weekends, I'm normally hanging out with friends or family. On Sundays I'm playing soccer.

7. Are you passionate about anything? Why?
I don't know many things in my life I'm not passionate about. Teaching, coaching, special education students, alternative education, making a difference, football, my life. I figure if it's in my life, I better be passionate about it or it probably doesn't deserve my extra time and effort.

8. If you were given $20 to spend on anything, what would you spend it on?
I'd honestly probably save it. I'm not much of an impulse buyer so I think I'd save it for a rainy day or maybe go for dinner out with friends or family.

So here it goes! Here are my questions:
1. What big plans do you have for your life over the next year?
2. What movie is most like your life? Why?
3. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
4. If you had to choose between a wonderful romantic relationship that would end after only a year, or a so-so relationship that would last your entire life, which one would you choose?
5. What problem or concern in America would you work on first if you were President?
6. If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
7. What is your favorite season and why?
8. What is something on your life "bucket list"?

I'm tagging...
Cait @ theblessedlife
Nicole @ Art to the Extreme
Shanon @ Modern meets Traditional
Natalie @ Extraordinary Love

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

So it's been a long time since I shared a Works for Me Wednesday! I've had lots of ideas of posts in my darling little head (as my mother refers to it), but alas we've gone work free for far too long. Today will be short and sweet, but hopefully helpful none the less.

I like things to be clean and decluttered. For those of you who knew me prior to becoming a special education teacher, you might be choking on your drink after reading this. I think it started when I bought my house. For me, part of taking pride in my home is keeping it clean. I shared over the summer my daily cleaning routine. As much as I would love to admit it, I can't stick to it when school going on. I'm just dead on some days and have a ton of energy on others. Here is what I do to maintain my home's cleanliness.
Dance and Clean---I made a 5 song playlist on iTunes and loaded it onto my iPod. I plug it into my iHome and get out the cleaning supplies and go at it. I get as much done as I can during the playlist then I am done. Do this once every day during the week or a few times over the weekend depending on how much you need it. I do this once every other day most weeks and it keeps things in order for the most part. Here is my playlist...adjust as necessary!

All I Want to Do-Sugarland
Bombs Over Baghdad-Outkast
All at Once-The Fray
Breathe-Michelle Branch
Lookin' For A Good Time-Lady Antebellum

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Break Shopping

It's fall break which means we all get a much needed break now 9 (long) weeks into the school year. I spent the first day of fall break shopping at the outlet mall in Edinburg, IN with my best friend and godson. It was so much fun! Here are some of the awesome deals I managed to find while at the outlet mall.

3 cardigan sweaters (black, brown, gray) $11.99 each-10% discount from Edinburg coupon book=$10.79 each

1 white wrap cardigan $17.99-10% discount=$16.20

Long sleeve blue strip t-shirt $5.99-10% discount=$5.39

V neck blue sweater $34.99-50% discount-additional 10% discount=$15.74

Gray ballet flat shoes $15-10% discount=$13.50

VF outlet

2 pairs of Lee No gap waist band dress pants- $21 each

1 pair of dark wash Lee wide leg jeans- $21


One pair of platform sandals in brown-$14.88

Yesterday my mom and I hit up Super Target where the deals kept coming! I was fortunate to receive an awesome coupon booklet from Target in the mail. I have no idea why they sent it to me, but it was filled with fantastic produce and food coupons. My normal coupon collection along with some coupons printed from the Target website made for a great trip.

Head of lettuce $1.29-$1 off produce coupon from website=$.29

Bananas (2.18 lbs) $1.04-$1 off fruit coupon from booklet=$.04

French bread $1.49-$1 off bakery coupon from website=$.49

Whole chicken (3.8 lbs) $3.49-$1 off meat coupon from booklet=$2.49

Dannon Activia $1.42-$1 MF coupon=$.42

2 packages of Caesar dog treats $2.99 each- (2) $2 off MF coupon=$.99 each

Chef Michael's wet meal $.75-Get it free Target coupon=Free

Campbell's V8 soup $2.29-$1 off MF coupon=$1.29

Herbal Essence travel size shampoo $.97-$1 MF coupon=Free

2 Merona Sweaters $15 each -(2) $3 off Target web coupon=$12 each

6 Xhiliration panties marked down to $1.98 per pair

Not pictured:

Gallon of skim milk $2.00

Oscar Meier Deli Creations $2-$1 off MF coupon=$1

The best part of the whole fall break has to be that after working all day today refereeing, I have made enough money to pay for all my fall break purchases, my garage door repair last week, and a tall pumpkin spice latte. You sure can't beat it when it isn't even putting a dent on the monthly budget :)

What awesome deals have you found lately?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It never hurts to ask...

Maybe it was the fact that it was Columbus Day this week or maybe my brain is finally working again, but this week led to a huge discovery. No not a new world...unfortunately. I found a way to save over $2,200 a year for the next 8 years! I am a teacher in a low income (Title I) school and I teach special education at the secondary level. One insanely wonderful thing about doing this job that exhausts me and moves me to my core daily is that I get federal loan forgiveness after my 5th year of teaching. I attended Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. Although I was fortunate to get boatloads of scholarship money, I did have to take out some loans to pay for school. I knew I would be able to get the loan forgiveness in a few years so I definitely didn't rush to pay off the money. I did make a substantial discovery when doing a little research on the website of my loan provider this week. I am able to apply yearly for forbearance on these loans until my years of service are up. It was granted no problem because my loan amounts are fairly low and will all be forgiven in 2 1/2 more years. That means that instead of paying $185 a month for the next 8 years, I will be putting that money toward savings (and possibly a special education fund set aside for my masters/doctorate programs).

So I guess my advice is to do research on things and never be afraid to ask. If the worst answer is no, it certainly won't hurt. After all it can turn into a large money saving possibility for you! As I reworked my monthly budget tonight, I couldn't believe how much more I was putting into my savings each month and what extra flexibility it would lead to in the long run. Over 10 years, that's a whooping $17,600! All you teachers out there....check with your loan providers to see if you qualify as well :) Sounds good to me!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Challenges worth overcoming

Here we are on the first lovely day of October. Life has been pretty busy here in my little home. I think amongst the hustle and bustle of everything, I've learned a few very valuable lessons. I just wanted to share a few of these with fantastic readers.

1. I'm learning to be very mindful of the impact of my words. I am a sarcastic person by nature so this can sometimes be taken in the wrong context. It is my goal everyday to think faster and speak slower. I've had far too many times where I am being too quick witted instead of reflecting before I talk. My words can be far more powerful than even I am aware.

2. Being positive is key to all things in life. I have been around far too many negative people this year. I am trying to stay positive despite this, but it can sometimes be a very steep uphill battle. When I find myself start to focus on the negatives, I think of how blessed I am to have loving people in my life, a home, and a job I am passionate about.

3. Today I rewarded my students with an incentive since they have recuperated 10 credits in 6 weeks in my alternative program. Only one student said thank you. I know this shouldn't bother me, but they were constantly complaining that they didn't have coke or that the paper plates were too thin or something else. I have to admit that it upset me a lot more than it normally would. I am trying so hard to get them on the right track, but there are days when my frustration gets the best of me. It is at these times that I read a wonderful letter written to me by a student last year. She constantly thanks me for helping her get on the right track and for caring enough to set up boundaries for her. I have to focus on these situations. I know I cannot change every single child that comes into my program. I have to focus on the fact that I am changing a few of them. These are the most challenging students in our school. Most teachers kick these students out on a daily basis. I get them to work. Maybe not the whole entire time they are with me, but they DO what I ASK them to DO. It might be behaviorally or academically, but they are improving. That in itself is a success. Find the baby steps to successes in your life.

What challenges are you currently facing that you have learned life lessons from?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall on in

Well fall is FINALLY here! Despite the fact that we broke a record for the hottest September 23rd in history here in Indianapolis, I'm still loving the fact that it is fall. I spent some time this past weekend changing out some decorations inside my house. I love the colors of fall so many of the things in my home are beautiful fall colors already, but I have a few money saving tips to stretch a buck when decorating!
1. Pillow covers
I was fortunate to snag some awesome deals at Target this summer on some throw pillow slip covers. I picked them up in navy blue, summery blue stripes, red, and striped red/orange/beige. The striped fall color slip covers and red slip covers have covered the cream microfiber pillows that came with my couch. I threw in some metallic brown and beige pillows I have from Old Time Pottery ($5.99 each) to create a great fall mood in my living room.

2. Using candles
Clustering neutral and fall colored candles on a simple brown patterned tray created a nice addition to my bar top. I love clustering candles of different sizes together to add some visual interest to an otherwise bland area. Here are some examples.

3. Dollar store accessories
Towels, candles, picture frames, and other various accessories don't have to be expensive. Check out your local dollar store to find some of these things on the cheap. I have a magnetic hook on my front door where I hang a sign for every season. Here is my fall one.

Some hand towels I got at Dollar Tree.

Kitchen dish towels I got at Dollar Tree.

4. Re-purposing
One thing I love to do is save the corks from my wine bottles. I keep them in a glass holder to add a wood feeling to the room. I love the aged look and people always compliment me on how creative it is. You could do the same thing with wood shavings, coffee beans, flower petals, fallen leaves (real or fake) or branches/twigs.

I hope you enjoy the feeling(although not quite the temperature) of fall by partaking in your favorite fall activities. Mine definitely includes drinking my favorite pumpkin spice latte and stepping on crunchy leaves. Last year I even had the inspiration to take up some photography of some trees at the park down the street.

Link up with my friend Cait's fall day at theblessedlife! What a great and inspiring blog :) She is truly an inspiration for the creative frugal outlet in all of us! Sounds good to me!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quick cooking

Hello lovely readers! I have to admit that amidst all of the hectic days lately, I've been wanting to share some struggles I'm having. Busy does not even begin to describe how life gets during soccer season. I'm eating horribly or not at all (well cereal counts right...) because I'm getting home so late from soccer. I have tried freezer meals (homemade and store bought), but even that seems to be a struggle at times. When my life is normal, I tend to take my leftovers as my lunch the next day. I have bought the fixings for some delicious sandwiches, which have unfortunately remained in my refrigerator since I NEVER wake up early enough to tackle this in the morning. I've resulted to taking soup for lunch or making the quick trip to the Subway right around the corner from school for a scrumptious $5 foot long. With saving so much more for retirement this year, I cannot afford to do the Jared diet too often. I've been getting some great deals at the store lately (when I actually have time to go) and I want to take advantage of my creativity to incorporate fall veggies into meals! I just can't seem to figure out healthy options that take limited amounts of cooking time for maximum flavor. So today I decided while watching football to tackle all the resources that I have for advice. Here are just a few of my solutions. Feel free to share some other ideas for healthy eating with limited time and money.
1. Crock pot meals-my quick fixes for the next 2 weeks will be 2 different chicken recipes and one for pot roast. One chicken breast, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup teriaki, and 1 cup mixed stir fry veggies. One chicken breast, 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous, 1/3 cup water, 3 cloves garlic (smashed), 2 sprigs of rosemary, 6 mushrooms, sliced. 1 pot roast, 1/2 cup water, 1 potato in chunks, 1 carrot, sliced, 1 onion, chunked. All can be cooked on low for 6 hours.
2. Macaroni Grill and Bird's Eye Voila frozen meals-I personally love the Chicken Florentine(MG) and shrimp scampi (Voila). Both are delicious! I used $1.50 off coupons to get the MG ones for about $4.00 each. I used $1 off coupons to get the Voila ones for about $2.50 each. I can definitely get dinner and a lunch out of 1 of these.
3. Weekend cooking-Over make weekend meals then package them up in individual portions for the whole week. Throw some yogurt, string cheese, or a fruit cup in the lunch bag for a well balanced meal.
4. Quick cook recipes from cookbooks and my Food TV magazines. I love Rachael Ray....that being said, I have a number of her 30 minute meal cookbooks. I've used post it flags to mark some of my favorite recipes that I can make in 30 minutes or less. I was also fortunate enough to receive a one year subscription to Food TV magazine using points from My Coke Rewards. I am about to extend this as a paid subscription because it is such a wonderful I got an offer to get the whole year for just $5 that I couldn't pass up. Food Network also has a database of all their recipes online. You can just enter the ingredients you have on hand and it will find a meal for you.

What resources do you use to try new meals with limited time and a limited budget?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall is in the air

Well hello again blogging world! I know it has been quite sometime since I've posted. Things are finally calming down with the first few weeks of school and I am finding some inspiration in all things fall. Some people really love summer, but I LOOOOOOOVE fall. There is nothing like beautifully colored leaves falling off the trees, enjoying a pumpkin spice latte, and curling up in front of the fireplace. It has been a hot summer here in Indiana and I cannot wait for a break. This weekend it has provided some relief from the dreadful it's gotten me in the mood for stepping on crunchy leaves and opening up all the windows. I spent much of the beginning of the weekend in Zionsville coaching my soccer team. While it wasn't the most successful weekend with standings, it was wonderful soccer weather. On my way to our demonically early soccer game on Saturday morning, I stopped at Starbucks to partake in my first venti pumpkin spice latte of the season. It could not have been more perfect! Slightly pumpkinny, with a little kick of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon in the delightful pumpkin spice, and perfectly frothed milk. Saturday night provided the opportunity to share some time with some wonderful friends by the first bonfire of the year. The popping of the fire, smell of campfire on my clothes, and roasted marshmallows made it almost nostalgic. Football season starts next week as well. In light of my favorite season, I thought I would share a homemade recipe that I tried this morning for homemade pumpkin spice lattes. It wasn't exactly like Starbuck's, but it was good none the less. Enjoy the latte with a good book in the living room with all the windows open for full fall effect.
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white sugar --I use Splenda :)
1 cup fat free milk
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger brewed espresso

Brew espresso. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and milk. Warm over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot and frothy. Do not bring to a boil. Pour the espresso into a mug and pour the pumpkin spiced milk over it. Top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
***If you have a milk frother, use that instead of a whisk. It works to froth the milk much better than the whisk.

What are your favorite fall recipes? Share away!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

Ok I'll admit it, I've been lacking inspiration lately. I haven't been shopping much because we've got 3 weeks in between paychecks so I need to skimp a bit. Today is my shopping day so I'll have some deals to post about this afternoon. As it is Wednesday, I need to share what works for me this week.
1. Recycling-I am all about being green so it was only fitting that I got into our city's recycling program wholeheartedly. I am lucky enough to live in a place that picks up my recycling at my curb every other week. There are many things that can be recycled (particularly in the bathroom) that many people don't think about! Here is just a quick list of things to consider.
-toilet paper rolls
-makeup containers
-lotion or product containers
-boxes from products (toothpaste, lotions, ect)
-any sort of plastics

I have extra space in my master bath to have 2 trash bins. I use one for recycling and one for trash. My trash container normally has hardly anything in it when trash day comes! Find ways to reduce your environmental impact and recycle things you previously threw away!

2. Recycling bins-Ok so this is my second ditty on recycling. As I'm sure you know, I use coupons to help with my weekly grocery budget. One of my tips is to look in newspaper recycling bins for newspapers with coupons! I have one that I regularly check that is very clean and normally very full. I tend to go after the brown paper bags of newspaper that I can pull out and go through fairly quickly in my search for unused coupons. Yesterday, when stopping by I hit GOLD!!! Sunday newspapers still in the PLASTIC!!!! Plus some Coke rewards points that put me over the top for a new magazine subscription :) I brought the newspapers home, went through and found TONS of coupons and put the papers in my own recycling bin.

What works for you this Wednesday?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday...a little late

Sorry I'm a bit late on this one...
My works for me Wednesday this week is more of a confession and a plea for other people to confess in a sense as well.
There are some people who would like to live their lives like that of the movies...I am not one of them. I much prefer to live my life through songs. I have songs associated with almost every important event in my life, every day to day thing, and most cities I've visited. For example, Walking in Memphis reminds me of my club soccer team from high school. I listen to Take Me or Leave Me from Rent after a bad breakup. Lessons Learned puts things into perspective for me when I have major decisions to make. I'm sure I could essentially make a sound track of my life. So that is my challenge to you all, my lovely blog readers....I know you're out there somewhere!!!! Comment what the soundtrack of your life would be with these 10 stages. Feel free to share what song goes with which or leave us guessing. See mine below!
1. Childhood
2. Teens
3. College/Young Adulthood
4. Adulthood
5. Most important life decision
6. Biggest regret
7. Greatest love story
8. Best day of your life
9. Worst day of your life
10. Future

1. Born to Fly-Sara Evans
2. Wide Open Spaces-Dixie Chicks
3. I Gotta Feeling-Black Eyed Peas
4. No Such Thing-John Mayer
5. You're Gonna Miss This-Trace Adkins
6. Settlin-Sugarland
7. Haven't Met You Yet-Michael Buble
8. Don't Worry Bout a Thing-SheDaisy
9. Stand-Rascal Flatts
10. Have a Little Faith in Me-Joe Cocker

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's new to me

Tomorrow I will pick up my new car! Ok so it isn't new, but it is new to me. I have driven a 01 Dodge Neon since I turned 16 and despite the fact that it is still under 100,000 miles, it is definitely time for a new one. Suzie Q, as she has been affectionately named, has had her share of bumps and bruises over the years. Some have scared the heck out of me, but I've learned something from each and every issue we've gone through over our 8 years together.
First in 2002, I was involved in a pretty bad car accident with her on my way to school. I learned to slow down because being late is certainly better than being dead. She took me to Bellarmine University in the fall of 2004 and I learned that home was never more than a car ride away. She was driven over a median by a young man who offered to be our DD in college and I learned that I will likely take better care of the things I work hard for than other people will. My car radio broke my freshman year of college, so I replaced it with a CD player, which then proceeded to stop working as well my senior year of college. It tends to work once the car is warmed up (sometimes after about an hour of driving) which confirmed to me that the Neon is indeed a woman with a bit of an attitude. It also taught me that sometimes silence and a little bit of fresh air is the best way to get your brain working. My driver side door lock was broken while trying to be opened during the 2008 Louisville ice storm causing me to unlock my passenger side door and reach across to the driver side for the past 2 years. It taught me that sometimes problem solving isn't as good as just fixing something that bothers you. This past winter I slid on the ice going about 15 MPH in my neighborhood and hit a truck destroying the back passenger side door. I was ridiculously sick and had taken a half day. I only went to work because I had a case conference that afternoon that had already been rescheduled about 3 times. I learned that in the end, I need to take care of myself first and foremost. I've cried or talked my way out of numerous speeding tickets in this car. She took me to high school, soccer practices, graduation, college, my first derby, college graduation, job interviews, house hunting, my first day of teaching, and to my first home. It will be difficult to give her up tomorrow, but I know its time for me to get a big girl car that is more reliable and safer.

In searching for a new car, I knew there were 3 things I could not live without and 3 things I could not live with.
1. Power locks/windows
2. Cruise control
3. Working radio

1. Leather seats
2. Dodge
3. Any model other than a 4 door sedan

I ended up with a 2006 VW Jetta 2.5 that has less than 40,000. The car is in great shape and I could not be more excited! Buying used is definitely the way to go for me. Paying cash and driving a car til it's dead is certainly better than making car payments in my book. I figure I can put that extra $200 a month into savings to buy another car free and clear down the road. If you figure that SuzieQ has been around for 8 years, I have saved $2,400 a year to not have a car payment. Over the lifetime of the car that adds up to a whopping $19,200!

So my plan is to save $100 a month for a car down the road. If I save $1,200 a year for 9 years I will have another $10,600 to spend for another car. I can always save more than that if needed, but I figure my plan works for the time being.

What is your or used cars? What are some features you can't live without? Do you have a financial plan to make big purchases like a car? Comment away.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

A few things that work for me...
1. A cleaning schedule. Since I am off of work for the summer, I find that messes accumulate much quicker than they did during the school year. I created a cleaning schedule so everything gets done. I use a dry erase board in my laundry room to manage and remind me what needs to be done. Here is just a little tid bit of how I have things scheduled.
Tuesday-Mow the grass/outside work
Wednesday-Shopping Day
Thursday-Laundry/living room
Friday-Vacuum and bedrooms

2. Getting freebies in the mail! Just this week, I've gotten about 8 samples in the mail. My favorites have been the dog food samples I got from They are perfect for traveling with my puppy. I cannot believe how much money I am saving by using freebies and the high value coupons that often come with them.

3. Menu planning. I have attempted to do this since moving into my house as a means to save money. I'm really seeing the money saving effects now that it is summer though! Check out this link for some awesome menu planning worksheets! Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

59 Buckets of Dirt on the Lawn...59 Buckets of Dirt

Sorry for the lack of posting over the past week. This house has been alive with home improvements. The fence is now in, the grill looks like new, the patio is finished, and the furniture is all in place. My outdoor oasis is complete and thank goodness relax time is finally here.

I'm sure by now you have gotten the drift that I am frugal, but this is not always a good thing. First piece of evidence, the fence instillation. I shared in an earlier post my determination to get the best price possible, but little did I know that $100 I didn't spend would end up costing me a great deal of pain and approximately 6 hours of time. If you've ever had a fence installed, you probably remember that they leave the dirt they dig up at the fence posts unless you pay them some money to take it away. My company was going to charge me $100 for dirt removal. I have some low points in my yard and I was thinking this would be a great way to fill the area in for just my labor. Uggggg I was correct, but my labor was certainly expended during my 6 hours spent moving said dirt to this area in 90+ degree heat. I felt like I was going to die. There were tears, 3 showers needed, sore muscles, and bumps and bruises. I even created the song that is the title of this blog post to the tune of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." It took 59 five gallon bucket trips to complete the job. The pressure was even higher to get all the dirt moved before the rain came on Sunday. Needless to say, it would have been $100 well spent. Although the low points of my yard are now filled and grass seeded, it probably wasn't exactly worth it. Chalk this one up to experience I suppose.

I did snag an AWESOME deal yesterday while shopping with my sister who is home from Ohio for a few days. We went to Big Lots in search of canning jars since everyone has told me they are ridiculously cheap there. The jars were a let down because it turns out I can get them cheaper at Walmart with the coupons that have been coming in the paper lately. The trip was not a total washout though. While looking at a dish chair my sister was considering buying for her apartment next year, I spotted something I've been searching for endlessly! A TAN PATIO UMBRELLA! I snagged a 9 foot wooden umbrella with tan fabric for under $50. I've been searching and most of the time there are insane colors or shotty craftsmanship umbrellas for around $65. I prefer a more neutral color since my patio furniture is black and has tan/gray/black cushions and I'd like everything to match. I couldn't believe it :) Check out the new look of the patio with this shady addition!
You can even spot the grill and fence in the background. Check out my next post for my grill rehab DIY project.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

I figured I would try a little something new for Wednesdays! Since my blog is titled Sounds Good....I'm going to share a few things that sound good to me each week in Works for Me Wednesday!

1. The USA beating Algeria with a goal in the 91st minute! This house has been hoping all morning in celebration for USA moving on to the round of 16 in the World Cup! Here is Landon Donovan celebrating the goal.

2. Brillo pads. This is my cleaning secret for all things stainless steel. I use them to clean my sink once a week, the tea pot, and those pesky spill savers on the stove that are always getting dirty. I cleaned these today and although they aren't immaculately shiny, they are certainly substantially shinier than they were.


After 3. Playing the Drugstore Game. I'm finally getting good at this. I'm doing both Walgreens and CVS right now and last night I had a semi unplanned trip that worked out perfectly while I was waiting for my sushi take out. I got all of these items between the two stores for $1.64 which was mostly tax. I had $6 RR at Walgreens from last week that I used and $4 of my $7 of ECB at CVS. I earned $6.50 in RR at Walgreens and $4 in ECB from CVS. This means that if I factor in my RR and ECB, I got all of this stuff for $1.14! I am not sure if I can beat it, but Walgreens has some other awesome deals I will be going back for later in the week once I have a chance to go through coupons and plan it out. I really want to get the conditioner to match up with this shampoo so I need to plan out the deal since I cannot use the $2 RR I got on the shampoo for the conditioner or it won't print out another one.

What works for you this Wednesday? Feel free to share any tips that you've discovered that make your life a little easier!