Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bed for Bogey

I'm a softy. Yes, it's true---and most of all I'm a huge pushover when it comes to my precious, loveable Bogey. For some reason when it comes to my furry son, I manage to push all the previous destruction to the back of my mind...for the good of Bogey.

It's starting to get a little chilly during the nights now, which also means it's time for Bogey to have a new bed. Bogey is an outdoor dog, only coming in for short visits during the winter months. He really seems to be happiest outside and there's no way he could ever be a house-dog...can we say fur?

Anyways, during the summer months we just lay some old towels down for him as that seems to be his preference for sleeping so he can stay cool. He also loves to just lay on the cold concrete which is crazy to me...but Bogey, whatever you want.

So last night we went to our local farm supply store to buy him the 1st bed of the season. This will be the 3rd fall season for us to have Bogey and he hasn't let us down yet. Every year from around November to March or April, waking up each morning and hoping not to find....

Yup, that's Bogey in the early spring of 2009...those are pieces of his bed all over the yard!
Every year I hope that he's outgrown the shredding of the bed, but he seems to be holding onto his puppy stage in that regard. We've tried almost EVERYTHING...except for spending $100s on a bed that is supposedly chew proof! Seriously, have they met my dog? It's not even worth it to experiment with something so expensive!
Last night we gave him his bed, and this morning it appeared he had left it alone for at least 12 hours; but when I went out to feed him before heading to work I noticed a bit of orange stuffing near one of the corners. Yup, he's done it again...a hole about the size of an orange on the underside of the bed. Guess we'll be fighting this fight again this year...any suggestions would be vrey welcome!
Another photo from Spring 2009~I took these through the window before he realize I was home from work. And I mean come on, how am I supposed to be mad at that face?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday

Ok, first of all...yes, I realize it's Wednesday and Thrifty Tuesday is a little delayed this week. However, I did actually complete my shopping trip yesterday so that has to count for something right?

This week was another successful trip to Walgreen's---6 rolls of Charmin toilet paper, 2 tubes Colgate Total Toothpaste, 2 tubes Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste, 1 12 oz. bottle Axe Shampoo, 2 rolls Scotch Tape, 1 box Old El Paso taco shells, & a bag of peanut M & M's for filler....

With my total of $9.74, I saved over $21.00!! There were several other great deals at Walgreens this week; however, I've already stocked up on most of the other stuff so I decided to leave it there for now & wait for the next sale. My weekly grocery bill was under $40 again this week which is my main goal for this entire couponing experiment. I'm really pleased with my success so far.
After this week, I will have been playing the coupon game for a little over a month and I've already learned some very valuable lessons.
1. If you decide to never play the coupon game, or pay attention to sales flyers, in my area the cheapest place to buy most anything is still Walmart. As much as I prefer to shop at local grocery stores & drug stores, Walmart still has the best prices when it comes to buying something without a coupon or a store sale. There have been a few times when I'll buy things simply because I don't want to visit Walmart for 2 or 3 easy items, convincing myself I'm not spending that much more. However, this is normally not the off to Walmart I will go.
2. Once you've stocked up your essentials, it's really not necessary to keep stockpiling unless it's just an unbelievably, great deal. For Hubby's hygiene products (shaving cream, razors, body wash, deodorant, contact solution, etc.) he has at least 2 extra already stored away in his drawer. I'll probably be avoiding these items unless I can get them for free or close to it. Now, this idea might change if you were counting on donating these items to a local food pantry. I'm sure we'll also do that soon; because you only need so many tubes of toothpaste & bottles of body wash for yourself!
3. Don't use coupons just because their about to expire. I've already had a few coupons expire since I began cutting them out & I tend to have the desire to go out and buy an item simply because I have a coupon. However, I have refrained because I've become so conscious about my weekly grocery totals. If you use the coupon as justification for a purchase this will not save you money over all; you'll simply be buying things you don't need at a price that you don't need to pay if you'll simply wait for a coupon or better yet a coupon and a store sale.
4. Finally, contrary to #3 above, there will be some weeks when you simply have to buy things that are on sale and that's ok. Once you start coupining the likelihood of this happening with household goods is less likely than it might be with essential grocery items; but it will still happen. You might need frozen chicken tenders, or lunchmeat, or cereal, or ingredients for a meal that you hadn't planned on. I've realized that making these purchases is OK--even if you don't have a coupon.
I don't have the exact numbers, but I think that with my coupon shopping & ad searching, I've managed to save at least somewhere between $30-40 this month. I've been stockpiling some items which skews this number but I also won't have to buy those items for a long time. $30-40 may not seem like a huge amount of savings, but it's probably close to 10% of our monthly grocery bill. And you know what, $30 over the course of a year is $360...that's a pretty substantial addition to my fun money!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Rewind

It's been a lazy, cloudy weekend for me. I honestly haven't done a whole lot of anything & what's even better is that I don't even feel all that guilty about it.

Friday night was girls' night & while I had good intentions of taking a bunch of pictures, it turned into a casual night with pizza for dinner, Orange Leaf for dessert, and lots and lots of laughter. It was a great evening, I honestly couldn't ask for a better group of girlfriends. Maybe I'll get some pictures next time...

Saturday I had to work, and then I spent Saturday afternoon relaxing around the house. Hubby had his CPA exam (he felt fairly good about most of it) so I laid around for the both of us; complete with a nice nap. It was a cloudy, kinda rainy afternoon so it was perfect. After Hubby's exam we went to dinner & treated ourselves to Andy's Frozen Custard for dessert. Yum!!!

We finished up the night watching the big Mizzou vs. OU game. We're really not Mizzou fans, but we were certainly routing for them! They ended up with a huge win...arguably the biggest win in the history of the program!

Today has been another lazy, relaxing Sunday. Church, followed by lunch, some coupon-cutting, a little bit of yardwork, chili-making, and another weekend nap. It was wonderful. Hubby also finished up another flower-bed which we had started a few weeks ago. We seriously love working in our yard & really take pride in making it look really good!

We finished up tonight with a great small group that really convicted Hubby & I in a few areas; we'll be praying in the near future for God to use us and speak to us in incredible ways.

It's gonna be a great week...Hubby's taking this week off from studying so we'll have some great quality time & next weekend promises to be incredibly busy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Evening Tidbits

So normally I try not to include days of the week in the title of my posts, especially not 2 posts in a row...but it's almost the end of the week and my creativity is lacking. It's been a fairly quiet week for me which has been nice, but I've also felt very productive!

~Even thought I hate it, last night was filled with cleaning my bathroom and master bedroom. I sincerely HATE cleaning the bathroom, but I do love how a clean house smells once it's all done!

~Today was a full day of continuing education, an E & O seminar to be exact.'s nice to be out of the office, but I'd much rather be doing something fun than sitting in a room full of professionals listening to all the ways I might be sued because of my errors or, fun, fun.

~On the bright side I made Pioneer Woman's Tequila Lime Chicken for dinner. This was the second time I've made this and it is sooo yummy! I served it with homemade Spanish rice tonight; but last time I just served it with a simple baked potato. It's a chicken dish with a great dash of flair!

~Last night I had dinner with one of my great friends from college. We hadn't gotten together in quite awhile and it was so nice to reconnect about life & everything that happens in our daily lives. I just love catching up with great friends, there's just something so refreshing about it!

~And, for even more girl time...tomorrow night is girls' night! I have no idea what our plans are, but we're meeting up for dinner and it's guaranteed to be a great time full of lots of laughter!

The weekend will mostly include some relaxation for me as Hubby takes another section of the CPA exam on Saturday afternoon. God-willing he'll be able to knock this section out! Prayers would definitely be appreciated! Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday

My couponing adventure continues on this week with the search for the best coupons paired with the best advertised deals. I've decided that part of the value in couponing comes from stocking up on certain, often used items in an effort to never pay full price. I'm still in the "hoarding" stage so I allow myself a little room if my purchases aren't quite as impressive as others out there in couponing world.

This week I'll highlight my trip to Walgreens once again. Overall, I honestly felt like their ad was a bit disappointing this week; however, they had a few really good deals that made up for it. Now, before I go through it...let me just say that my total is no where near what it was last week. But--some of the items I purchased were great deals to me and right now, that's what's important!

So..without further adieu...

One full-sized canister of Morton salt, 2 boxes Kellog's Fiber Plus granola bars, 2 boxes Kraft Mac & Cheese, 2 12 oz. boxes Kellog's Special K with Red Berries, 3 cans Campbell soup (2 Cream of Mushroom & 1 Cream of Chicken), 1 Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment, 2 bottles Clear Care Contact Solution, and 2 16.9 oz bottles of Nivea body wash (1 for me, 1 for Hubby); all for...
!!! $17.55 !!!

Now, as I said...this was certainly not the cheapest trip to Walgreens so far, but with my total of $17.55 I experience savings of $37.54. Still a pretty good trip if you ask me. In addition, when you add my Walgreens visit to my trip to the grocery store I kept my weekly grocery/household spending to under $45. This is another big step for me!

Oh and anyone out there wear contacts?!? I am incredibly blessed with quite perfect vision, but Hubby makes up for both of us with his poor eyesight. When I saw Clear Care on sale & I had a coupon I was ecstatic! Normally $8 a bottle, with coupons and advertised sales I was able to basically get BOGO...definitely too good of a deal to pass up.

It's become quite the game for me....scouring the Internet for great coupons and waiting anxiously for the local grocery ads to be released for a fun little game of matching! Love it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall...where are you?

We had a fabulous weekend, but man, where are the fall temps? It's still upper 70s, low 80s and we're entering into late October. I'm definitely ready for the cool nights which are perfect for curling up in sweats and a blanket; as we took Bogey for a walk tonight, we almost broke a sweat!

Friday night we had dinner with one of our pastor's & his wife. They are basically in the same stage of life as Hubby & I and we just have such a good time with them. We normally try to visit a new restaurant when we get together. This time we headed to a new local place, Nicola's, which is actually owned & operated by the same chef who has a very successful restaurant in another part of town. The service was lacking a little, but the food was excellent and I was very pleased with the atmosphere. I would say we'll definitely go back, but we may wait a bit as the menu is quite limited and Hubby & I are both prone to being picky!

Saturday was incredibly laid back with the only commitment being a baby shower for my best friend Andrea. She's expecting her 3rd little one practically any day and it was so fun to get together with her friends & family to celebrate!

There was quite the crowd...and she got some adorable stuff for her baby boy!
She's seriously so gorgeous and such a glowing mom-to-be!

I bought her some adorable little outfits including this one...Love the gingham pocket on the bottom!

This blanket was so of the other girls' in our small group had her mom make this rag quilt!

Love this girl...she is simply amazing!

The rest of Saturday was kind of a blah day...we just hung around the house doing little things and then we headed down to my parents' house for a bit. Bogey got to go along and even enjoyed some time at my grandparent's pond. I swear, that dog would LIVE in the water if we'd let him!

The two most important men in my life...Hubby & Dad.

The weather was just beautiful...I always love riding the four-wheelers up to the pond and taking a few minutes to enjoy the peace and quiet of the country.

Bogey & Dallas had plenty of time to play tug-of-war with the stick...Josie wanted to join in but was trying to avoid getting trampled by the big dogs!

Can we go home now? I need a bath!

We grabbed a quick dinner at Qdoba and then settled in on the couch with a Redbox movie. We chose It's Complicated with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and others. We both really enjoyed it! I highly recommend it for a mindless, entertaining romantic comedy!
Today was church--another wonderful sermon about listening for the whispers of God and how I am normally the biggest obstacle when trying to hear His voice. The rest of the day included a whole lot of relaxation; we did work out in the yard for a bit...Hubby weed-eating & edging while I started on the mowing. Who knows when we'll stop mowing if the weather keeps this up!?!? Small group finished up the weekend with some great conversations that went along with this morning's sermon.

Guess it's time for another week...I've managed to fill it up pretty fast but it should be fun!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dinner Rescue: Chick-fil-A

Last night Hubby & I were in desperate need of a dinner rescue! No, it's not because I tried a new recipe and it was awful and it wasn't because Hubby over-cooked something on the grill...we actually had a very nice dinner planned complete with filet mignon, twice-baked potatoes, green beans, and grilled bread. Seriously...yum!

However, life had different plans for us as today is the extension deadline for individuals and partnerships in regards to their 2009 tax return. So...Hubby ended up working much later than expected at the office. He called to discuss dinner options and nothing was really all that appealing. So...with Chick-Fil-A only about a 15 minute drive for me and with it being on Hubby's way home from work I decided to surprise him by just meeting him there.

Well, the surprise didn't work as well as I'd hoped because I didn't get there in time---so I ended up just telling Hubby to meet me there...he was absolutely thrilled with the idea. So...we ended up having a gourmet meal of chicken nuggets & waffle fries. Chick-Fil-A thanks for being so yummy that you made up for a missed steak & potatoes meal at home!

The night couldn't have been much better, dinner at Chick-Fil-A, a walk with Bogey, and then last week's Biggest Loser on DVR (yes, we're behind)...complete with a bowl of ice cream.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thrifty Tuesdays

With my adventures into the world of coupons, Register Rewards, & weekly sales, I've decided to chronicle my best deals each week. I'm certainly still learning the ways of a true couponer, but this week I had some major successes!

For the best deal of the week it was a toss-up between my trip to Dillons or my trip to Walgreens. Walgreens won out simply due to overall out of pocket expenses. However, Dillons still deserves a mention. They had Philadelphia Cream Cheese on sale for $0.88 when you bought 10. With the Dillon's plus card you automatically got $5 any 10 item purchase...I also had a $5 coupon off any 5 Kraft food items. Well...that comes out to 10 free packages of cream cheese with a little bit of money left over. I had to buy a few other things including a dog bone for Bogey that conveniently didn't get put in my sack. Ughhh...I hate it when that happens. If the gas wouldn't cost me just as much as the bone I would drive back to get it...oh well!

So, now on to the big, big savings of the week! At Walgreens I was able to purchase 4 cans of Swanson chicken broth, 2 cans of Edge Shaving Cream, 2 tubes of Crest Pro Health toothpaste, 2 sticks of Right Guard Deodorant and a package of Halls Refresh cough drops for....
With a combination of coupons, Register Rewards, & the weekly Walgreens ad I was able to save over $24.00 and I still have $1.50 left in Register Rewards for next week!
Wow! I think I'll definitely keep up with my coupon's bound to get even better as I get more practice!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Buzz Lightyear, Mizzou Tigers, & a Twisty Baby

This weekend, like most others, was full of fun celebrations and time with friends & family. Friday started off wonderful as Hubby & I both took off work a few hours early to go and pick up the most recent addition to our backyard, another new tree...but more on that in a bit.

We got home just in time to clean up and head to a combined birthday party for Hubby's nephews, Hunter & Jackson. They both celebrate birthdays in October and with Hubby's parents living out of state it works best to just have a combined party. We had a great evening full of lots of quality time with Buzz Lightyear, Legos, & Brobi from Yo Gabba Gabba. (I tried out the collage feature in Picasa and I'm in love! It's perfect & I don't have to upload all the photos individually---you like?)

Some photos from the evening...we got Hunter some new Legos (Buzz Lightyear of course) and Jackson his first Radio Flyer scooter.

Saturday was work for me in the morning as I volunteered to work so my dad could go play golf with Hubby, his dad, & my grandpa. I think they had a great time & the weather was gorgeous! I made a trip to the grocery store with coupons in hand...I had some things that I HAD to buy and didn't have coupons but it was still a good outing!
After some time for relaxing I headed out to a baby shower for my friend Tacy. We went to high school together and she's actually 1 of 4 of my girlfriends who's expecting! She's due on Halloween and is seriously adorable! She's having a little boy & graduated from Mizzou so the shower was a tailgate party! Such a cute theme & the hostesses did a great job with everything!

She got some adorable stuff for precious Reed who will be here very soon! The picture on the top left is a group shot of the hometown friends. I'm on the far left, Jacinda is next and is due in March, Cheryl is next and due in April, Tacy--the guest of honor--, and Charity who already has 2 precious boys! Seriously, no pressure for us!

After the shower I headed back for a quick dinner with Hubby's family, followed up by more Lego construction at our house. This time Buzz's starship was on the assembly line...I even got to help to speed up the process a bit!

Today after church we planted our new tree...a Twisty Baby Locust tree. It's a decorative tree that grows in an irregular way, with twists & turns coming from all directions. It was unseasonably warm today so it was quite the job but Hubby & I worked quickly and had it in the ground and all set in no time! Bogey certainly loved the attention in the backyard & even learned to retrieve his ball from the big hole!

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing before heading to another great night at small group. After small group I had my first solo trip to Walgreens with my coupons. It was an incredibly successful week! I'll be back with some details later this was a good enough trip to deserve it's own post!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

34 years & counting...

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Thanks for sharing your love with us throughout the years. You give us such confidence in what true love should look like & how even after 34 years it's still romantic to take dance lessons!

Love you both!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Racking up the Savings...

Practically since Hubby & I started dating, we've discussed the fact that I don't really have a hobby. Sure, I love to read and I love to shop and I love to do all sort of other things, most of which end up costing money that I don't really feel like I should be spending. Well, as of a week ago I think I found a hobby that won't cost more than about $3 a week but will actually make us a whole lot more money than that!

Yep, I'm venturing into the world of couponing. Now, I'm fairly sure that I won't become one of those crazy (but incredibly smart) ladies who are able to get $150 in groceries for like $0.25--but since I really do enjoy shopping I figured this would be a good way to make a game of it. With some help from a high school friend & Money Saving Mom I started researching what was possible and I think I'm totally going to get the hang of this. To start, my friend recommended buying our local paper and one other paper that is available for purchase locally which is from a larger metro area. Those 2 papers cost me about $3 total.

Armed with my coupons from the Sunday papers along with those from some on-line sites I started formulating my plan. I met up with my friend Megan and she gave me some pointers on what to buy and on how to check out. She was amazing & only spent $14 but saved $83.91. On my first coupon-toting trip to Walgreens (or WAGS as those in the coupon game call it) I spent about $38 but saved $46!!! Wow!

I'm new to this so I forgot to take a picture of my loot, but here's what I walked away with for $38...2 Shick men's razors with an extra refill in each (so 4 razors total), 1 5 lb bag of Gold Medal Flour, 2 boxes Fiber One cereal bars, 1 package Ponds makeup remover wipes, 2 EOS lipgloss, 2 Dove Bath Wash for Women, 2 Dove Bath Wash for Men, 1 Old Spice Deodorant, & 1 Bausch & Lomb Contact Solution.

Seriously, if I had paid full price for that my total out of pocket expense would have been at least double! Everything I purchased are items we currently use; maybe not the exact brand but I didn't buy anything that won't be put to use almost immediately. In addition, everything I bought except for the deodorant and contact solution was either free or extremely discounted after all my coupons and Register Rewards.

I'm by no means an expert, but I'm learning and I can't wait to see the results. Of course I have a bit of an incentive. Hubby says that I get to keep the difference between our new grocery/household expense and our previous monthly average for those same items! Hopefully I'll be able to fund my other favorite for clothes & shoes!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Rewind

Fall has finally arrived. The weather was absolutely gorgeous...and honestly, a little bit chilly at times! It was definitely a welcome break from the craziness of last weekend.

Friday night we did pizza & a movie with some friends of ours. It's actually one of Nick's colleagues and his wife and it was our first double date with them. We had a wonderful time & I was wishing we had chosen to do something other than watch a movie so we could just hang out and chat all night. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was the movie of choice & while it wasn't completely horrible, it got a little long in parts & was honestly a little hard to follow if you weren't completely up to speed on all the financial lingo. We still had a great time & hope to have many more double dates with the Yount's in the future.

Saturday meant work for me & class for Hubby. I was also in charge of picking my parents up from the airport as they were due back home from a week-long trip to Yosemite National Park. We were able to come home a chill for a bit before it was time for my grandpa's birthday party. About 18 of us met up at Zio's for dinner & cake and had a great time.
Most of us...not the greatest picture, but the best my aunt could do from the end of the table!

My fabulous grandparents...and the best cake flavor ever: Chocolate cake with homemade cream cheese icing--a family requirement!

Our family has the tendency to be a little loud & our poor waiter was the only one assigned to 18 of us! He did a fantastic job & was even gifted a piece of cake...he was SOOO happy!
After dinner, Hubby & I along with my cousin and his girlfriend headed back to our house for a relaxing night of college football. We considered going to a local sports bar to hang out, but eventually decided on our house. I'm so glad we made that decision--we were actually able to watch the game and enjoy some great conversation as well.
Today we had church, followed by a quick lunch, and then plenty of yardwork. The yard hadn't been mowed in 2 weeks and was in desperate need! I also said goodbye to many of the annuals I had in pots...they were just looking tired & I decided that petunias, snapdragons, & sweet potato vine just looked a little odd with a couple of mums. So now the mums are in and it's looking a lot like fall around here!
With the early service at church, we were able to do all that and still have a couple hours to just veg out before small group. We had another fabulous small group meeting & a great walk with Bogey. Now it's time to actually be productive and get some chores done....laundry and dishes to be exact!
It's time for another we go!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Double Trouble

Or maybe with Hubby it was Triple Trouble...either way, we had the chance to babysit Hubby's precious nephews last night. Hunter will be 5 in October while Jackson will be 2 in a few days as well. We only had them for a few hours, but had a good time. Thankfully the weather was gorgeous so we were able to spend quite a bit of time outside.

We started with the standard dinner of pepperoni pizza before heading outside for some playtime with Bogey. Jackson wasn't too sure of this monster dog that just wanted to lick him; yet, he wanted to be right in on the action.

Love this, Jackson's on the loveseat staying away from Bogey, and Hubby's trying to keep Bogey away from the softball so he can pass it on to Hunter to throw. I, of course, was behind the camera and being of absolutely no help!

Jackson preferred to be in Aunt L's arms rather than being down near Bogey.

After fetch we went for a walk in our neighborhood.

Jackson loved being pushed around the the stroller

Silly Hunter, monkey boy!
After the walk, Hubby built an awesome fire & we introduced the boys to roasting marshmallows. Isn't that what aunts & uncles are supposed to do? Introduce your nieces and nephews to dangerous things like fire & fill them full of sweets like "smarshmallows"?
Hunter absolutely loved the fire, & watching the paper burn. Supposedly the fire was so big that Mamaw could probably see the smoke signals in Michigan--well maybe not quite, but it was a nice fire & an adorable thought.

Hubby & Hunter are best buds...of course Hunter decided to strangel Hubby at one point...

But then he was back to his sweet, love, love this photo!

Hunter was very proud of his smarshmallows--even if they were only slightly warm!

Jackson even got in on the fun...I just love watching Hubby with these two--he's going to be a fabulous daddy one of these days!
After Hubby extinguished the fire, we spent the rest of the evening with Legos building houses, forts, & cars. It was a fabulous evening, but let me just say...Hubby & I were exhausted after just a couple of hours. We were definitely more than ready for bed when the clock hit 10:00pm!