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 time...it'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 faith...it 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 pot...ie 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!