Saturday, May 31, 2008

Something fun...

Here's a fun way to kill a little time and discover some unique photos all at the same time...hope you enjoy it too!

1. The Photographer, 2. Fettucine Alfredo w/fresh ground nutmeg, 3. Dawn of an End, 4. ROBIN'S EGG BLUE, 5. *orange crush*, 6. Mountain Dew, 7. Tropical Sunset, 8. rose cupcakes, 9. Healthy Eating, 10. the cross, 11. domestic princess, 12. Lilac centerpiece

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

May is a big month in my family - Mother's Day, my parent's anniversary, and today, my dad's birthday! Happy Birthday to you Dad - I'm so glad I got to celebrate with you! Wishing you a wonderful and happy year ahead!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lazy Afternoon...

I'm spending a few days at my parents' house this week. It's been really nice to be away from all the responsibilities at our house. Can't do much housework and grocery shopping when you're not at home!

This afternoon found me with a couple of hours alone at their house. Mom had closed the curtains to help keep the heat out, so the house was lit only with the minimal light that could seep in through the cloth or cracks in the blinds. The whole house was still and their two dogs and my Jasmine were all fast asleep for their afternoon siestas. I surfed blogs and checked email laying on the bed with my laptop perched on my stomach and my kitty asleep at my feet. This is the slow pace of hot summer days that I love.

"Start Slow and Taper Off" is a quote from a Susan Branch print that I just adore. It's also pretty much my summertime motto.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Frugal Graduation Gift

I'm going to try participating in Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in my Dryer. I get tons of good tips and tricks from this weekly feature and I'm excited to get in on the action!

A's cousin is graduating from high school next week in Minnesota. We wanted to give him a nice gift, but didn't want to spend a fortune doing so. He's going to be attending a University that's not far from his home, so he's not "going away" to college. Therefore a laundry gift basket, dorm room kitchen, and a fleece blanket for his dorm room weren't exactly practical. I received a popcorn bowl when I went away to college and thought I could adapt this idea so that it's appropriate for any graduate attending college - whether they're leaving home in the process or not.

Presenting...the Late-Night Study Session Survival Kit! Any college student can count on having more than a few late-night study sessions, so this should come in very handy.

I found all of this stuff at the Dollar Store and only spent $7.00. I bought the clear bag at Michaels and it was only $1 so this basket came together for $8.00 out of pocket (a couple of the items are things we already had in our pantry). I was so excited to find the plastic popcorn bowl at the Dollar store - it's perfect! However, if you can't find an official "popcorn bowl", you can certainly just use a large plastic bowl instead. Here's what makes up the rest of the gift:

- Big cup o' noodles (is below the popcorn so you can't see it)
- Twizzlers
- Sunflower seeds
- 5 bags of popcorn (we already had these)
- Ceramic mug with 5 individual servings of cocoa (already had the cocoa too)
- Box of Everlasting Gobstoppers candy - I made a tag for this that says "For those everlasting study sessions"
- Two candles (you can't see these in the photo) with a wick at both ends (buy a taper candle and remove about an inch of the wax from the bottom, being careful not to cut through the wick) - I made a tag for these that says "To use when you're burning the candle at both ends - literally"
- Toothpicks (in front of the cocoa) - tag reads "To prop your eyelids open when it's so late you can't stay awake"

You could vary the items based on what your store has in stock, the recipient's personal tastes, etc. I put the whole thing in the large basket bag from Michaels, tied it up with ribbon in his collegiate colors, and attached a tag that says "Late-Night Study Session Survival Kit." Voila - an attractive, practical, and frugal graduation gift - it definitely works for me!

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head over to Rocks in my Dryer!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks to my husband, my dad, and both of my grandfathers for serving our great country! Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day today!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25, 1974

Today is my parent's wedding anniversary. 34 years ago in Quincy, Illinois their happily ever after began. They are spending this long weekend with my brother and sister-in-law in Gunnison, CO so they are celebrating with them today. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

SOOOO good!

Perfect reading for a long weekend, a lazy afternoon, or a day at the beach!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Handmade Baby Gift Set

Hey everyone - Happy Friday! And better yet, Happy Friday of a 3-day weekend! We've got lots of grilling and chilling planned for this weekend. I'm also planning on doing some stamping, which is pretty much one of my favorite ways to "chill."

A friend of mine and her husband are expecting a baby boy next month. He's due to be born in about three weeks and I am so excited for them!! She's done the whole nursery in green, so I made this little gift set for her. It's two burp cloths and a little blankie for the baby to play with. It's two pieces of flannel (you can also make it with one side flannel and the other side fleece) sewed together with loops of ribbon all around the edge. Easy peasy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Words cannot express how heartbroken we are for the Chapman family. Our hearts and prayers go out to them...may they feel the Lord's comforting arms around them especially tightly right now.

There is a blog here where you can express your love and condolences to the family.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol - The Finale

Here it is, my final blog post on this season of American Idol. I was pretty nervous for the results tonight and was pretty sure David A. was going to win. And yet, in a delightful surprise, David Cook was the winner! By 12 million votes!

I am so happy for him!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Blog Signature

Check out my new signature from - fun, huh?!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A great movie, some fine sitcom reruns, and a thunderstorm

This weekend was a ton of fun! Saturday afternoon we rode our bikes to the movie theater to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie - Prince Caspian. OH MY WORD WAS IT GOOD!!! I love all the symbolism in these movies about how our heavenly Father looks out for us, protects us, teaches and stretches us. I think that I'm going to read through the series this summer so that I'm prepared for the next movie. And if there isn't a next movie, I'll still get to enjoy the stories! On our ride home, God blessed us with a beautiful sunset to light our way. It was a gorgeous evening!

And on an unrelated note, I've recently discovered the joy of sitcom reruns in the late afternoon. From 3-7pm on Lifetime every week day I can enjoy 2 full hours of each of the following:

Of course I don't actually sit and watch all 4 hours, but they are delightful to have on as I'm working on projects or around the house. There is some find comedic writing in these shows my friends!!

And finally, we had a wonderful little thunderstorm here this evening. I love thunderstorms because they remind me of summer. Plus they usually cool things off a little bit, although tonight it seemed to just make our world a little more humid. I snapped a photo out the back while it was raining...

Since you can't really see the rain in that photo, I took this picture of the raindrops hitting the pavement. Just so you wouldn't think that I'm lying to you about this thunderstorm thing...

Those are some fine photography skills indeed. I'm probably going to be nominated for an award for that photograph. Yeah.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I went on a walk this morning and found some gorgeous lilac bushes in bloom. After I got home I grabbed my clippers and hopped in the car to go back and cut some. When I was growing up , we had three big lilac bushes in the backyard and my mom always had lilacs in the house when they were in bloom. It just seems natural that I should do the same!

I put them in the bicycle centerpiece and I love how they look! I can't get over how absolutely gorgeous lilacs are - and the whole house is smelling so good!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Things to pass the time when you're so stuffed up you can't breathe...

I didn't mean to take over a week off from blogging, but I was dealing with a bit of writer's block. Or maybe it's more appropriately called blogger's block. I was hoping to post again around the end of the week and then I got hit with this nasty, nasty cold virus. UGH! Can I just tell you how sick I am of not being able to breathe through my nose? And getting an itchy, scratchy throat when I breathe through my mouth (which pretty much leaves me with no options for breathing)? Seriously, even though I was on cold medicine all day yesterday, it felt like the meds were barely helping. I'm doing a little better today, although I'm still living for every 4th hour when I can take my next dose of Sudafed.

Friday was the first day I felt sick. I laid on the couch and spent a good portion of the day catching up on past episodes of these...

All day yesterday I watched this...

Today I am catching up on this...

And in between episodes and DVDs, I'm doing a little reading in this month's book club selection. I read it last fall so this is my second time through the book and it's still just as delightful...

So that pretty much sums up what I've been up to lately. Oh, and there have been naps. Lots and lots of naps. I've been too stuffed up to sleep very well the past couple of nights, so I have to make up for that somehow.

Finally, since it's Mother's Day, I want to send a wish for a very special day to my mom. She is a treasured friend and I am so blessed to have such a great relationship with her. Happy Mother's Day Mom!!

Please be in prayer for those who for some reason or another, might be having a hard time with this Mother's Day weekend. I never thought about this side of the Mother's Day celebration until I had trouble becoming a mom myself, but I hope I am always sensitive to it, even after I (hopefully!) become a mom.

Blessings to you all this weekend!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fully Loaded

The refrigerator and freezer are fully loaded for our meals during May. I finished my meal plan early this week and bought groceries at Sam's Club and King Soopers on Thursday. This isn't everything I bought, just the big items. I didn't take this picture until Friday and I didn't feel like getting everything out of the cupboards again.

I'm not going to go through every item individually, but I did manage to get a few deals worth mentioning...

Old El Paso taco seasoning from King Soopers: 1.19 minus .55/1 MFC plus .45 bonus coupon (since King Soopers doubles up to $1) = .19

Fast Fixin' chicken patties and nuggets: At King Soopers these regularly retail for 1.99 each. The sale tag said they were 3/$5 this week. I had 3 $1/1 MFC, making them 3/$2 or .67 each. Not a bad deal! However, when I went through the checkout line, I didn't catch that they rang up at regular price. I always double check my receipt in the car so that I don't get all the way home and then find an error if there is one. I went back inside and talked to customer service. I'm not sure how the clerk figured this out (I just wanted him to adjust the price to the sale price), but for some reason he ended up giving me 4.68 back. So, with my $3 in coupons, I actually ended up making $1.71 on this chicken. Works for me!

Old El Paso refried beans from Target: .88 minus .55/1 MFC = .33

And here's the scoop on the Totino's pizza. Once a week (Saturdays), I get a break from cooking by making these pizzas. We cook one for each of us, add a salad or vegetable, and at .91 per pizza we have a yummy, quick, no-stress dinner for 1.82. Such a deal!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Walgreens & Wal-mart Deals

Have I mentioned that I'm hoping to be less busy and frazzled in the month of May? Part of my plan to simplify is to stay home a lot more. I enjoy shopping and running errands to a point, but it also stresses me out. Crystal over at Money Saving Mom just wrote a post that echoes my thoughts almost perfectly - check it out here.

So, now that I've declared my less-spending-and-running-around-goals to the world, let me recap my last two days of running around and making purchases like a crazy woman. However, in my defense, I planned for these shopping trips, used sales and coupons to my advantage, and made a lot of great deals.

On Wednesday, I made two trips to Wal-mart and three trips to Walgreens. Here is what I picked up...

And now for the breakdown...

Walmart Trip #1
Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner: sale price $12 minus $7/1 MFC = $5
Huggies Clean Team flushable wipes: 1.64 each minus $3/2 MFC = .28 or .14 each
10 oz. Gerber Nuk bottle: 4.87 minus $5 rebate = FREE (.13 over)
Muir Glen organic tomatoes: 1.24 minus $1/1 MFC = .24
Honey Bunches of Oats cereal (2): 1.98 each minus 2 $2/1 MFC = FREE
Trail Mix Crunch cereal: 2.98 minus 2.98 MFC = FREE
Kashi cereal: 2.00 each minus 2 $2/1 MFC = FREE
Old Spice Red Zone trial size bodywash: .97 each minus $2/2 MFC = FREE
Johnson's Buddies soap (8): .94 each minus 2 $1/1 MFC, 2 $2/2 MFC = FREE (.49 over)
Feline Pine cat litter: 3.42 minus 3.42 rebate = FREE
Paid 13.22 OOP
Rebates 8.42
Total = 4.80 for 53.19 worth of merchandise

Walgreens Trip #1
Lady Speed Stick: 2.39 minus $1/1 MFC minus $1.40/1 WAG = FREE
Zantac150 Cool Mint, 8 count: 5.49 minus $5/1 MFC = .49
Hallmark Gift Wrap (3): 1.50 minus .50/3 WAG = 1.00
Paid 1.48 OOP
Earned $3 RR
Total = 1.48 for 9.38 worth of merchandise plus $3 RR

Walgreens Trip #2
VanCamp's Pork & Beans (3): sale price 3/$2 minus .83 WAG = 1.17 or .39 each
Walgreens Ibuprofen: sale price 2.00 minus $2 rebate = FREE
Paid 3.17 OOP
Rebates 2.00
Total = 1.17 for 5.96 worth of merchandise
*I'm actually hoping to buy enough pork & beans to take advantage of a $5 rebate on those too, but that will be added in at the end...

Walmart Trip #2
Malt-O-Meal Honey Nut Scooters (4): 1.00 minus 2 $1.50/1 & 2 $1/1 MFC = (1.00 over)
Scotch Brite Toilet scrubbers refill: 3.87 minus 3.87 MFC = FREE
20 mule team borax: 2.56
Paid 1.56 OOP
Total = 1.56 for 10.43 worth of merchandise

Walgreens Trip #3
VanCamp's Pork & Beans (3): sale price 3/$2 minus .83 WAG = 1.17 or .39 each
Softsoap: sale price 2.99 minus $2 WAG = .99
Paid 2.16 OOP
Total = 2.16 for 6.96 worth of merchandise

When I spend $10 on beans (before Walgreens coupon making them 3/1.00), I will get a $5.00 rebate. I'll have spent 5.85 on beans, minus the 5.00 rebate for a total of .85 or .06 per can.

Grand Total Day 1: $11.17 ($9.19 after rebates on beans) for $85.92 worth of merchandise, plus $6 in RR at Walgreens!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's May 1st...

Happy May Day!! I made this card for a friend of mine who I celebrate May Day with - she leaves me a May basket and I leave her one. It really is a fun little tradition and a great pick-me-up. I mean really, what could be bad about finding a basket of candy, flowers, and little gifts on your front porch?!

The image is gardenbella from Stamping Bella, cardstock is SU's pretty in pink, and the ribbon is most likely from Michaels. The sentiment is from PaperTrey's Mixed Messages set. The sparkly flowers in the top right are from Archivers quite some time ago, I think.

I've spent the past 2 days running around town getting our May groceries and other household supplies. Hopefully I'll get it organized, photographed, and posted tomorrow. Can you say major money saving?! :)