Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Rewind

Another great weekend is in the books! It was basically a date-weekend with Hubby & I having tons of quality time together & doing lots of fun things! We had unseasonably warm weather on Friday & Saturday...more on that in a bit. On Friday we took advantage of the 65+ degree weather & had grilled steaks for dinner. Oh how I miss the grill during the winter months! We also went and did some running at our community center before coming home & watching a movie. The American...ughh...not that great, good plot line but EXTREMELY SLOW!!!
Saturday morning was work for both of us and then some relaxing time. The weather was gorgeous again & we probably should have taken more advantage, but it was also nice to just lounge around. Early in the afternoon we headed out for a date night. We ran a few errands & then went to a local restaurant Ocean Zen, where we had a gift certificate that needed to be used up. We finished up the evening with The Dilemma, definitely a funny, light-hearted movie. I love Vince Vaughn & Kevin James and they certainly didn't disappoint.
Yesterday was a typical Sunday with church, chores around the house, & our small group gathering. I was in charge of dinner and I took potato soup & Rice Krispy treats...I've never seen a pan of Rice Krispy treats disappear so quickly!
After a shortened gathering, Hubby & I headed to the Missouri State vs. UNI basketball game. It was being shown on ESPNU and they had declared the game a "White Out" game with everyone dressing in white.

I was definitely surprised at how many got the memo on what color to wear to the game! The game was a tough one, we lead most of the game but ended up losing by 1. Bummer! However, still a great time!
Now, on to the I mentioned earlier, we had temps close to 70 degrees on Friday & Saturday. As we were driving around on Saturday in the gorgeous weather, I looked down at my phone and had a new Weather Update...Winter Weather Watch. Seriously, the temps are close to 70 and we're now in a Winter Weather Watch? Only in Missouri does the weather change so quickly! Since Saturday, that Winter Weather Watch has become a Winter Weather Warning and we're all prepared for a MAJOR winter storm.

See all that pink...yup, that's everyone who has a Winter Weather Warning...apparently this storm is forecasted to impact something like 30 of the 50 states! Seriously winter, I'm done with you! I can handle the snow, but I'd love to avoid any major ice accumlations...we dealt with that in 2007 and it was definitely less than fun! Thankfully I've already done my grocery shopping and I've got plenty of things to keep me busy if I end up with a snow day tomorrow!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Well, my grocery trip were just too good to wait until next week so I'm getting a little radical and having Thrifty Tuesday on...a Thursday! Yes, totally crazy...I know! ;o)

With Nick working a bit late each night due to tax season, I decided to make a quick trip to Dillon's & Price Cutter to take advantage of some really good sales!

Dillon's was first on my list & I picked up...1 loaf of Sara Lee Honey Wheat Bread, 1 box Kellog's Corn Pops, 1 box Kellog's Rice Krispies, 2 potatoes, 1 bag egg noodles, 1 can Kroger chicken, 2 pkg Kraft 2% singles, 1 tub strawberry Philly cream cheese, 1 tub regular Philly cream cheese, 4 tubes Crest toothpaste with travel size tubes included as bonus, 2 bags Kettle chips, 1 pkg Ore Ida hashbrowns, 1 foil lasagna pan, 3 boxes Kleenex, & 3 cans Rotel. I saved over 50% on this trip!

My Price Cutter stop was much smaller but I picked up 1 pkg Country Gravy Mix, 2 4 lb bags of sugar, 2 16 oz jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, 1 carton cottage cheese, 1 loaf french bread, 1 bag frozen broccoli, and 1 bag frozen sweet corn. My savings here was 49%!

So....I got all this for...!!33.13!!

I saved $38.57, so I got all of this for less than half price! These sales are continuing through next Tuesday so I suggest grabbing your coupons and heading out!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hump Day Ramblings & a Recipe!

Nothing too crazy going on this week, which is completely fine by me!

~I picked up our local grocery ads for the coming week yesterday & I'm already excited about my shopping trips! Lots of free, or practically free groceries & household items...I think I might have to make a special trip tomorrow night just to take advantage of all the cheap finds!

~Tonight's menu features one of my favorite dishes...Homemade Chicken Alfredo. Ok, so totally not for the calorie conscious, but OH SO GOOD! I've got to admit, it's probably my favorite alfredo sauce...even most restaurants can't touch it! It's so good, I must share it!

Cook up your favorite pasta & some chicken, however you like it. The sauce, oh the sauce!

3 tblsp butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup pasta water (from your pasta you just cooked)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in heavy cream & parmesan cheese. Allow to melt & fully combine. Add pasta water as needed to keep sauce from becoming too thick ( I almost always add the entire 1/4 cup). Add salt & pepper to taste. Pour over noodles & chicken. Serve with crunchy, buttery French bread!

Is it time for dinner yet?

~The temperature is supposed to reach the mid-50s on Friday! Wow, it's gonna feel like Spring! Too bad the temps take are forecast to take a nose-dive the middle of next week...

~My birthday is in T-minus 10 days! 10 days people! Yes, I'm one of those people who's crazy about my birthday!

~My new NookColor has been practically attached to my hip, I seriously think I've read 6 books since Christmas and I've started on my 7th! Love it!

~Valentine's Day is coming up so fast...I MUST decide what I'm buying Hubby! We always keep our gifts to a conservative budget, and I'm seriously struggling with Valentine's Day ideas! Any super fabulous, unique suggestions?

~Randomness is all I've got this week...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Rewind

Another January weekend is in the books...only one more and we're done with January 2011! I can't believe how time is flying by. It was a pretty fabulous weekend, if I do say so myself!

Friday night was girls' night with my bestie, Andrea. We had originally planned on visiting Sephora for some fun makeovers, but instead decided on just a relaxing dinner out! She has limited time away since she's got 12 wk old Cohen at home but we still had a fabulous time! Sushi for dinner followed by Orange Leaf (froyo) for dessert! Seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better night. Before deciding to stay at home with the kids, Andrea was a high school guidance counselor--I knew there was a reason we were friends! I'm all the time asking for her advice & guidance, what a blessing to have such a fabulous friend in my life!

Saturday was a morning to myself so I made a trip to the grocery store, whipped up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and just did some general cleaning around the house. With my parents out of town, Hubby & I took advantage of their season tickets to the Missouri State Bears games. I am SO glad we did! The game was broadcast on ESPN2, and the crowd was the 2nd largest in the history of the new arena. MSU didn't lead until after 1:30 left in the game and ended up winning 67-66...GO BEARS!!!! We finished up the evening with dinner at a local pizza joint, and Orange Leaf again for me! Fabulous date night!

image courtesy of Springfield News-Leader

Today we had church, with an awesome sermon comparing baptism & a wedding...a great sermon with a new spin on baptism that I'd never considered before. We had a relaxing Sunday and took advantage of the slightly warmer temperatures by treating Bogey to his first walk in quite awhile. It was so nice to be outside for a bit and get some fresh air. We also started back up with small group glad to be back in that routine! We are doing a book study on Proverbs and while it's something totally different for us, I think I'm really going to enjoy the change of pace. Plus, I can definitely use a book study on the Book of Wisdom!

It's another standard week, but thankfully no snow in the forecast! yay!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Angels & a Snow Day for Bogey

So we may not have received as much snow as parts of the country, but we had about 3" of the fluffy white stuff fall fast enough to cover our roads & yards. And let's be honest, any time the snow starts to fall with a forecast of more than a dusting, you would think the world is going to end. Gas prices rise, people run to the grocery store to stock up on essentials, & those who now how to drive in the snow try to stay home in order to avoid all the crazies!

I went to my parents house over my lunch hour & just loved looking at the completely untouched snowfall! They are on vacation so the only thing that had disturbed the snow was their 3 outdoor dogs. It was beautiful!

I just loved how this pine tree collected the snow...such a beautiful sight!

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough snow to merit me staying home from work but it was quickly apparent that no one was thinking about insurance yesterday. Our office was DEAD and I headed home mid-afternoon after one of the other ladies said she could handle it for the rest of the day.

I had plans to at least shovel part of my driveway, but imagine my surprise when I pull up to find our driveway completely clear & dry. Our snow angel showed up yesterday. Not the kind that you make by laying down in the snow, but a real live angel. A retired couple who lives across the street always takes good care of us & apparently he decided he was bored yesterday. He got out his snow-blower and cleaned off our driveway, along with our neighbor's who live on either side of us. Seriously, how awesome is it to have great neighbors! I'm thinking a batch of cookies may need to be in their future very soon!

Instead of shoveling, I took advantage of the sunshine and fairly warm temps to play a bit with Bogey in the snow. He LOVES the snow! We played fetch with one of his toys & I tried to snap some good pictures.

Let me just tell you..It's a little hard to hold a camera, throw a toy, and avoid getting knocked over by an 85 lb dog! But what fun we had!

We was cracking me up...the snow was so fluffy, the toy would just bury in the snow...apparently he didn't mind to stick his face all the way down to retrieve his toy!

Check out those ears! He's ready for takeoff!

And then he got tired, and decided he'd cool off by laying down in the snow and having a little snow snack!

Love this guy...seriously, how could I not?!?

After playtime, I went over to say thanks to our neighbors & noticed the beautiful light where the sun was hitting the snow! Another one of God's stunning creations!

Our pine tree in front

An end to another wintry day!
We've got more snow in the forecast for Sunday! Ughhh... Springtime you could come anytime!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who's the Boss?

Based on recommendations from several blogs (thanks Ria & Nicole) and the need for a new daily devotional, I made a trip to Mardel last weekend and picked up Jesus Calling.

Wow, I've only been using this for the past 4 days, and I've already been reminded of so many promises that our Savior wants us to cling to each day. The entire devotional is written as if Jesus is truly speaking right to the reader & I really love this because it gives a sort of intimacy to my daily readings that I think I've been missing.

I have a feeling I'll want to share so many of the devotions, but I thought today's was particularly important.

Approach this day with awareness of who is Boss. As you make plans for the day, remember it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My Sovreign Presence. On the days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me! I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours. Don't try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:9

How many days do I try so hard to have control of every single little detail? How long will it be before I realize that I am not in control AT ALL? When will I give everything over to the true Boss of my life & the one who directs my every step?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thrifty Tuesday

And it's back! I finally had time to combine my good coupons with a good sales ad at Walgreens and had a pretty successful week!

I was able to pick up 2 cans of Skintimate shave gel, 1 10oz bottles of Dawn, 1 Gillette ProGlide Razor, 1 package Carefree pantiliners, 1 full size box of FruitLoops, & 1 full size box of Frosted Flakes all for $8.14...with savings of $21.65!! I was pretty proud of my trip. Recently, I've been focusing on cutting down my grocery costs since I'm pretty much good to go on household & toiletry items! Those items are only on my shopping list if I can get them free or close to it.

I'm finally getting back into my coupon routine after the holidays and I'm hoping to really make a difference in the coming months. By planning our meals based around the sales ads & the items in our pantry, I've really been able to cut back on our weekly bill.

During the month of December I did really well...and I'm so glad I was able to do this as December is such an expensive month for everything else!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lazy Winter Weekend

And so it continues...with the combination of cold temps, tax season, & being budget conscious Hubby & I had another fairly laid back, lazy weekend on our hands. I have to be a bit honest, as of today I was going slightly stir crazy and I'm thankful that next weekend we have some extra plans! Don't get me wrong, I'm always thankful for the uneventful weekends...but I also love to have fun things going on!

Friday night was a quick dinner out at Chic-fil-A...why is it that Chic-fil-A is fast food but you don't really consider it fast food? We also made a visit to every craft store in town...Hobby Lobby, JoAnnn's, & Micheal' I was on the hunt for some materials for a fun Valentine's Day craft. No such luck...guess I'm just gonna have to decide on something else! We came home and settled in for movie night with The Social Network. Definitely a great flick! It was definitely a little strange to watch a movie about Facebook when I can still remember the excitement at my university when Facebook was first released to our campus. Seriously, I never would have thought it would become what it is today.

Saturday was work for both of us in the morning & then a relaxing afternoon. I didn't have much to do so I laid down for what I planned to be a quick nap...well quick turned into 2 1/2 hours! Wow...I haven't napped that long in a very, very long time. Saturday night involved our only plans for the weekend. We had dinner with another couple, which happens to be one of our pastor's & his wife! I just love hanging out with them! We tried a fairly new place in Branson called the Bleu Olive and it will definitely be on the list for another visit. I can't think of anything bad about our meal. The night was topped off with a visit to Andy's for frozen custard...what could be better than that?!?

Today we had church, a lunch of leftovers at home and then a football filled afternoon. I did make a quick trip to Walmart for a new humidifier...this dry, cold air is about to kill me! And I also made my trip to Walgreens--I'm back on the Thrifty Tuesday routine so stay tuned! I did manage to be a little productive as I cleaned out my bathroom cabinet underneath my sink! Yikes! Definitely threw away a ton of fingernail polish, old hair products, & other random bathroom stuff! Now I've got plenty of room for all my coupon finds!

A pretty standard week ahead of us...nothing too blog-worthy at this point, but who knows what God will have in store for us!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Windchilly Day! is FREEZING outside today! The air temperature is bad enough at around 13 degrees, but factor in winds of 25-30 mph and we've got some single digit to below-zero windchills out there! Oh sure, the 2-3 inches of snow that fell overnight is beautiful with the sun shining, but oh how deceptive the sunshine can be!

Last night was a perfect night to curl up with my Nook and a blanket while the snow fell outside. I also decided to break out my hot-chocolate maker and whip up something warm to drink!

Milk...check, Hershey's syrup...check, Vanilla Extract...check, and Hazelnut syrup for me! All I was missing were the mini-marshmallows, guess I better pick up some of those on my next visit to the store!

Thankfully my hot chocolate maker has a froth button, which sort of made up for the lack of marshmallows!
Yummm...definitely a nice warm addition to a very cold & windy night! Stay warm everyone!

P.S. Thrifty Tuesdays will be back soon, I'm still trying to get back into my couponing routine after all the holidays. I'm also stocked up on most of my essentials so I'm just hiding back & watching for some great sales!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend Rewind

Oh how I love laid back weekends. We've done quite a bit in the past few days, but nothing too crazy and we've had plenty of time to ourselves to just chill in front of the tv.

Friday was extremely relaxing with pizza and a movie night, followed by an early night to bed. We watched Dinner for Schmucks, and I expected to hate it. However, Steve Carrell proved me wrong and it was actually quite hilarious. The only thing I didn't enjoy were the few times when I was watching and I just felt uncomfortable & almost embarrassed for the actors--but overall an entertaining movie.

Saturday brought a free morning for me while Nick was at the office. I considered it a very productive morning with laundry, a bit of cleaning, and grocery shopping all checked off my list. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! Hubby watched football while I was curled up in the recliner reading and napping. Saturday evening was a nice date night in Branson. We had both been craving Cantina Laredo and I also had needed to make a return at Francesca's Collection; so we headed down to Branson Landing and had a nice meal....where we both left completely stuffed! We put in another movie from Redbox last night...Salt. This was actually the second time for us to see it, but it's really a great movie if you like action/conspiracy type movies.

Today was a busy day, with one thing after another. Nursery/Preschool duty at the early service, church, lunch with some friends at Houlihan's, and then an afternoon movie. We chose The Tourist for our flick this afternoon...another good Angelina Jolie film that was definitely entertaining. We came home and did some other things around the house before settling in to watch some college basketball.

Winter has definitely arrived! There's no snow on the ground, but this weekend definitely brought a change in temperatures that is more normal for this time of year. We've been having above average temps, and I think this next week is going to definitely bring us back down to normal! They've also got some snow in the forecast starting tomorrow and I'd honestly love a BIG snow, but I'm not holding my breath!

Friday, January 7, 2011

An After Christmas, Early Birthday Present

Not long after Christmas, I was reading this post over at Pioneer Woman and fell in love! I'd actually seen this jewelry hanger on Amazon a few hours earlier as I was searching for the perfect piece for all my dangles and bangles. When I saw that PW had purchased the exact same item, I knew it must be fabulous! Yes, I am no match for a little peer pressure!

So...I promptly called my mom and e-mailed my husband, requesting...or maybe it came across more like demanding, that I receive the BelleDangles Jewelry Organizer for my birthday which just happens to be at the beginning of February. I dropped some not so slight hints, bound & determined to receive this organizer.

I mean, this was what I had ALL of my jewelry crammed in. A very nice, but less than functional jewelry armoire. My necklaces got tangled, earrings (or normally just 1) were lost, and I managed to forget about several of my favorite pieces as they got buried below other items or pushed to the back of drawers. See...the top lid won't even shut because there's so much stuff crammed in there!
Yesterday the UPS man delivered a rather large Amazon box to our office, but I thought nothing of it as this is birthday time...and I love surprises--so I don't ask questions. When we went to get my mom for lunch, she comes out holding a box. I ask "What is that?" and with the smirk that only my mom can give as she prepares to give out a special, surprise...she says something to the effect of..."It's not a Christmas present, and not a birthday present...for you." I took the box and pulled out my very own BelleDangles.

So...last night before Nick got home from work I took my old jewelry armoire and completely emptied the contents onto my bed.

And this is what I ended up with...
Necklaces & jewelry galore! I separated the piles into jewelry which I wanted to keep for sentimental reasons, jewelry that I wear fairly frequently, jewelry that didn't have a match or was broken and needed to go to jewelry heaven, and jewelry that needed to be given away to my favorite 4 year old Lydia.
There was seriously, jewelry everywhere! Most of which I wear, even with only one or two outfits! My hands smelled of old cheap, metal...but I didn't care. Soon, I was going to have a beautiful organizer where I could actually see all of my bangles and baubles! After a little delay in the hanging process, Nick got my organizer installed in just the right place. And I began filling it to the brim...thinking several times--I may need to buy another one of these!
Isn't it fabulous?
I've still got plenty of room for other necklaces & earrings...even if you can't tell from the photos! And the shelf on top? Perfect for perfume bottles, bracelets, rings, and other fun accessories. I can finally see all the necklaces, earrings, & bracelets without rummaging through a gigantic mess of tangled jewelry!
Forgive the horrible pictures, I was too lazy to grab my good Blackberry phone pictures are the best you get!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Accounting Widow

And so it begins...Tax Season 2011. The time of year when I've honestly got more time on my hands than I know what to do with...or maybe it's actually the time of year when I truly realize how lazy I am! Every year I have big plans for things to accomplish while Hubby is working long hours...many of which have to do with keeping the house nice & organized. And most of the time those goals go right out the window and I end up spending my extra time catching up on worthless tv shows.

So...instead of New Year's resolutions, which I don't really believe in anyway, this year I'm going to make some Tax Season goals and hopefully by actually putting them here I'll be a little more likely to stick with them. And maybe, just maybe, they'll stick throughout the rest of the year.

1. Spend time with my Heavenly Father each day. This really should be no problem since I now have some extra time when Nick leaves for work so early. Weekends are more difficult, when my routine is thrown off---so my realistic goal for now is to have consistent time with him 5 days each week. I've also realized that this doesn't always have to be reading a devotional--just some good quality time with my Father. Pandora came loaded on my nookColor so at Hubby's suggestion, my mornings may consist of singing praise & worship to the one who is my Creator. I love to sing, and while everyone may not think I'm fabulous, God's opinion is really the only one that matters. This will definitely help with the monotony that I think sometimes comes with reading a devotion each day.

2. Get organized! Ok, so for those who know me, most would say I'm already there. However, I seriously need to tackle my bathroom cabinets...I mean you only need so much old makeup and perfume and practically empty bottles of hairspray and lotion. I also need to work on my pantry, the holidays did a real number on my kitchen organization! And also, with all the new clothes from Christmas and a pretty extensive shopping spree back in the late fall, my closet needs to be ransacked...and fast! And purses...seriously, let's not even go there! Maybe I'll just start putting together a good stash for our next garage sale!

3. Stay on top of the cleaning! I should really be better about this, but I seriously despise cleaning! Nick & I are both really good about keeping the house picked up, but I need to be better about deep cleaning for often than I do. I guess my specific goal in this would be to clean at least one room of the house each week. Living room, kitchen, bedroom, & bathroom ( our guest areas don't really count since they are rarely used). That's one room for each week of the month---definitely attainable!

4. Exercise...or something! Ok, here's the deal. For the most part I'm able to maintain my weight with portion control & simply just watching what I eat. However, that also means that I seriously neglect the whole fitness aspect. We are not members of a fitness center (the money is seriously just wasted when the summer months come) and we don't own a treadmill. I've tried The Shred and seriously, Jillian--I don't like you! My best friend has semi-challenged me to a MayDay 5k and I haven't decided if I'm accepting the challenge or not--but I guess this might be the specific goal for me. 5k or not...I'd love to be more fit...any cheap, easy at-home ideas?

5. Channel my inner Pioneer Woman! Ok, well maybe not with all the oil & butter & heavy cream...but I'd love to try a new recipe every couple of weeks. Nick & I both tend to be fairly picky eaters so I need to find some yummy, healthy options that don't get too weird! Any websites the bloggy world might recommend?

6. Be an encouraging, supportive wife! This time of year always wears on Nick, and while the benefits are certainly's this time of year when he needs my support the most. Whether it's offering to iron his shirts, keeping the house picked up, or going the extra mile in encouragement, I really want to be as supportive as I can possibly be during these 105 days...or really every single day of our marriage.

And, well at least that's a start. It really does read like a laundry list of resolutions. However, with my specific goals in mind hopefully I can reach these & feel good about my accomplishments as I mark them off the list! So...Tax Season I come!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years' Rewind

After the craziness of our Christmas weekend, New Year's weekend was just what we needed. The perfect amount of time at home just relaxing combined with plenty of fun activities.

I was off work on Friday so I took the opportunity to do a little bit of shopping, Hubby & I had a nice lunch together and then after a good couponing trip to Dillons--we spent the afternoon doing a whole lot of nothing. I spent most of the afternoon with my nose stuck in my Nook reading The Confession by John Grisham. I highly recommend this if you're a fan of Grisham's novels or any other law-related author!

Our New Year's Eve plans were incredibly laid back. We just headed over to our friends' Derek & Andrea's house to spend the evening playing with their kids, munching on snacks, and ringing in the new year together. It honestly was an evening that lacked any photographic opportunity and honestly I was perfectly fine with that.

Saturday was another completely laid back day. After sleeping in, we spent the entire morning in our pj's laying around watching the Rose Bowl. The afternoon didn't look much different, except for a little bit of laundry and just overall picking up around the house. Bogey came in for a visit...& Nick channeled his inner-child with some LEGO construction!

I seriously LOVE this dog!

Enjoying his Christmas present from my parents' enormous rawhide bone!

The motorcycle on the left was a Christmas present this year & he got the car last year.

We headed out mid-afternoon for a quick Christmas return, dinner at Maria's (our favorite local Mexican place), and then an evening of basketball at my college alma mater...Missouri State.

Yesterday included church, lunch, & nice long nap and then Small Group Night Out with dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse followed up with bowling. I can't wait to dive into the next Bible Studay with this group! We start up again in a couple weeks!
It's seriously back to the real world today...8:30-5, Monday through Friday with over 6 weeks until the next holiday! Oh whatever will I do with myself?