Saturday, November 29, 2008

Super Savings Saturday!

Did you all hit any of the Black Friday sales yesterday? I took my first chance out in the freezing cold and stood in line waiting for a laptop for my business. And I GOT ONE!!! I must admit I am more than excited. I've never had a laptop before and I think they are the prettiest things on the planet. Okay okay, I'm not really that materialistic, but a laptop is something we've been wanting to get for a long time and now that we have one, it's like celebrating Christmas in November. :)

I have been diligently scoping out the Sunday ads for months now, researching what laptops cost, how and when the sales operate, etc. When I saw this laptop was on sale and had a savings of about 40%, I jumped on it.

Considering this is Thanksgiving weekend, I feel the need to offer some thanks:

My parents were in town visiting this week and I'd like to publicly thank my mom for coming out into the cold and standing in line with me for an hour before Office Depot opened. I'd like to thank my dad for hanging out at our house in his nice, warm bed and "watching the kids". :) I'd like to thank my husband for working hard and allowing me this luxury of a laptop. And I'd like to thank my photography clients for giving me a great reason to buy one!

The deals at CVS are still going on today and it's been a few weeks since I've had time to grab up any of their deals, so I plan to do that this morning....IF, that is, I can get my coupons organized.

*Insert UGH here.*

So how about you? Did you get any great deals yesterday??

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Workout Wednesday!

No, I don't think I've ever done a Workout Wednesday before, but it fit very well with what I wanted to blog about today, so I went with it!

About two weeks ago, I rejoined a local fitness center. Due to germs in our family, I was not able to go more than twice in those first two weeks. But this week I was determined! Everyone is our home was well and I was going to make a run for it - literally.

Up until yesterday (so, the first three workouts) I had gone about 2 miles either on the elliptical or on the treadmill, occasionally jogging but mainly walking. But LAST NIGHT - drum roll please - I ran one mile straight on the treadmill.

Ok, I realize that for you experienced runners, one mile is ridiculously piddly and to you, I sound like a total wimp. But for me, someone who has not run since I quit playing high school sports 7 years ago, this is a HUGE accomplishment! I was so very proud of myself.

When I got home, I weighed myself and noticed that I am exactly 8 lbs heavier than I was when I started working out two weeks ago. Hmm. I'm going to say that's muscle weight! Well okay, or it could be the huge dinners I've been eating lately due to the holidays. It could also be due to the fact that our cooking club exchanged desserts this month instead of dinners. Nevertheless, I will not give up. I know weight-loss can be accomplished and I am bound and determined to figure out how!

What do you do to keep in shape? Do you have a fitness/gym membership? Do you workout at home with exercise videos? Do you do nothing?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Manic Monday!!!!!

Wanna see what I woke up to this morning?

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Reason #74 why children should not be allowed to enter Mommy and Daddy's room.

Menu Plan Monday . . . Thanksgiving week

It has been a while since I participated in this, but I thought I would this week. I am actually only listing my Thanksgiving menu because I am not cooking a lot the rest of the week. Also, my in-laws are coming in town so I am having a few snacks ready as well.

Here it is:
Turkey - just basted in butter and cooked in a cooking bag
Mashed potatoes - I just cook them until tender and I never measure the ingredients. I add butter and milk and salt and pepper until they taste delicious.
Green beans - cooked in bacon grease if I have it and if not cooked in butter or oil and salted liberally.
Aunt June's Sweet Potato Bake
Buttery Bread Machine Rolls
Mix N Match Party Cheeseball
Chex Party Mix
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

I am sure we will have a salad and there will also probably be corn. I may make some macaroni and cheese as well.

For more menu plans, visit Org Junkie.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday AND Foto Friday!

Yep, I'm rollin' in all into one this week! As those of you who know me personally have probably observed, my 14-month old daughter has yet to show ANY interest whatsoever in the great human task known as...

Learning to Walk.

But alas! This morning when she woke up, my dear sweet Reagan immediately took to the floor on her hands and FEET! (not knees!) I consider this a giant step in the grand scheme of things and am proud to share with you a few images of her learning process:

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She's QUITE proud.

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I would also like to announce that my little Reagan is now the proud owner of not three, but FOUR pearly whites! (But sorry, there is no picture to accompany that.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WFMW! Little Buckets and Closet Sleepers

Dear Internet, I would like to preface this post by telling you that I am NOT an abusive mother; I simply like to utilize space as best I can. :)

Now, having said that, let me show you my youngest child's bedroom:

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Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen. My daughter's room is actually a closet. But a closet with a window, which I'm pretty sure technically makes it a room....right?! (Yes, that is a blanket being used as a curtain.)

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And seriously....who needs a closet that big?? I know it sounds funny when I say my daughter sleeps in a closet, but now at least all of you know how spacious her closet really is. :)

In case you're wondering why she sleeps in a closet, let me explain. Our children are 3, 2, and 1. When one of them wakes up, they ALL wake up. And considering there is at least one child awake every morning around 6....well....three children being up at that time is just not conducive to my life or their sleep schedule. Apparently the door being cracked is closed enough that she does not hear the commotion of them getting out of bed. So hence, the closet.

In fact, all three of our children have, at one time in their life, slept in a closet. All of our closets are ridiculously big and we just don't need all that closet space. Our oldest slept in our master closet when he was an infant. Our middle child slept in what is now the toy room closet. And now this one, our youngest, sleeps here. :) We have exhausted all three of our closets now, so if we have another child, they won't be able to experience their own closet. Although now that I think about it, maybe they'll be happy about that.....

Anyway, on to the baskets. We only have two dressers for the kids. The girls had been sharing one, but it was getting pretty stuffed. So I decided to "basket" Reagan's clothes in her room and it's working out just fine! (After all, baby clothes don't take up all that much space). I got these baskets at the Dollar Tree for - you guessed it - $1 each. A pretty cheap "dresser", if you ask me!

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I also store a few things (diapers, wipes, etc.) under her changing table.

Now will someone else PLEASE tell me they have slept their child(ren) in an abnormal place?? :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tasty Tuesday . . . Irish Mint Brownies

People, I cannot even describe the awesomeness of these brownies. I am a lover of chocolate and brownies and mint and with the three rolled into one - I am in heaven. So my friend Michelle made these wonderful brownies for me when I had my second child and I got the recipe from her and made them myself. They are a LOT of work - but they are worth every second of it. And you can freeze them.

Irish Mint Brownies

TIME: Prep: 45 min. Bake: 30 min. + chilling

Serves: 30


  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 squares (1 ounce each) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) double dark chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 squares (1 ounce each) white baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup refrigerated Irish creme nondairy creamer
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 15 mint Andes candies, chopped
  • ICING:
  • 12 squares (1 ounce each) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • mint Andes candies, halved, optional


In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and bittersweet chocolate; cool slightly. In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture. Gradually add flour until blended. Stir in chips and walnuts. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, combine white chocolate and creamer. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth; remove from the heat. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes or until chilled. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into white chocolate mixture. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Fold in chopped candies. Spread over brownies. Cover and refrigerate.
In a small saucepan, combine bittersweet chocolate and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth; remove from the heat. Stir in butter until melted. Cool to room temperature. Carefully spread over filling. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until icing is set. Cut into bars. Garnish with additional candies if desired. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

You can find the original recipe here at Taste of Home which is where the picture is from also.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Freebie Friday!!

Yep, it's a double feature Friday! You get both a "foto" and a freebie!

Snapfish is offering one free 20-page 8x11 photobook! The credit must be requested TODAY and the book must be ordered by Sunday. If you've got a few minutes to put together a book this weekend, I'd jump on this! (These books are usually $30 each.) Click here to get yours!

Foto Friday!

I photographed a sweet little newborn last week. Click here to see more pictures from his session.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

So this post is really wacky because no one really cares about it, but I just have to say that I am a closet fan of the show Biggest Loser. Yes, I am admitting for the public. I wouldn't say that I am obsessed, but I do like it a lot for some unknown reason.

Anyway, if you don't watch the show there has been a particularly mean spirited group this time that think they have total control. They have been nasty and they have acted like they were in junior high. I was so excited last night when one of the group got kicked off in a surprise twist (oh those surprise twists). If you are really so interested you can see the recap here.

I warned you - this was wacky!

So here is the evil one - Vicki:
See the smirk on her face! And here is her husband that got voted off:
Ah well, good bye Brady!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tasty Tuesday . . . Hoe Cakes

Have you ever heard of hoe cakes? If not, you are really missing out. You can find out an exact recipe and more information here. You can find Paula Dean's recipe here. We had always heard that they called them hoe cakes because people used to cook them on their hoes over an open fire. The recipe I am going to tell you about comes from my grandma and is never exact because she does not measure.

My grandma made hoe cakes for nearly ever meal we had growing up. They were kind of a quick bread to make to have with dinner. We would put butter on them and oh they were so good. They are kind of like a pancake but not sweet. Again, guessing at the measurements:

1-2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup of milk

You simply mix these two together until they are the consistency of pancake mix - not too think and not too runny. You heat oil, lard or bacon grease (ha) in a cast iron skillet until it crackles when you put in a drop of water. You cook the hoe cake just like a pancake - when the top starts bubbling you flip it. You may want to drain the grease off on a paper towel. Now, serve it hot with lots of good butter on it. You can also eat them cold the next day - which we did a lot.

I realize you wouldn't want to eat this every night of the week, but you must try it at least a few times a month especially if you are having a good southern meal consisting of some type of meat, mashed potatoes, black eyed peas - oh so yummy!

You can also visit Tammy's Recipes for more kitchen tips.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Free Movies!!

I happened to drive past Family Video Store this weekend and noticed a sign that said "Rent Free Videos Today - 30th Anniversary!"

OF COURSE I stopped. :) What I found inside was pretty fun! Now through November 17th (next Monday) you can rent two of the 2/$1 movies absolutely free. Two rentals per family per visit. Apparently this has been going on for almost a month but I just found out about it. If you have some extra time this week, stop by your local Family Video Store and grab some free movies. Sure, they're not the new releases, but they're still free!

(The information inside the store indicated that this was going on nationwide, but if you want to be on the safe side call your local Family Video Store to be sure!)

UPDATE: It turns out "Family Video Store" is not so family-oriented after all. I emailed this to someone who politely informed me that Family Video Store sells porn. I Googled this to see if ALL Family Videos sell porn or just select branches. What I found was that, unless it conflicts with state law (usually prohibiting it in select areas such as within 500 feet of a church or school), it is a rarity to find a store that does not sell it.

What?! I have never seen a "back room" at OUR store, but then again...I guess I've never looked either. I am so discouraged. I guess that's why their movies are so cheap. I do not plan to buy movies from them again. Does anyone know if the other major movie rental stores sell porn?

....and to think we've been buying from them for years....

"The problems associated with rampant pornography in today's society are well documented. Among other things, porn usage can ruin a marriage, distort a man's view of women into mere objects of lust, or porn can lead to inappropriate and destructive actions....Porn use is so common among sex crimes perpetrators that some state's law enforcement agencies are now considering tracking its connection in the lives of suspects and convicted felons." (Indiana Family Voice, November 2004)

If this information bothers you as much as it does me, I encourage you to check out your Family Video Store. If they are selling porn, write to your store's manager and inform him/her that you will be taking your business elsewhere for this very reason. Some people think boycotts are pointless and that they never get anything accomplished. This is NOT TRUE, as was learned by the community in Frankfort, IN, who successfully shut down the selling of porn at both Family Video and Movie Gallery (a well-known porn seller) a few years ago.

"We know that such successes will not shut off the supply of smut in these towns, but if one divorce is prevented, one rape is stopped, or one child is protected, all our efforts will have been worthwhile."
(Indiana Family Voice, November 2004)

Money Monday . . . Christmas with Cash

Maybe you would like to try to pay for your Christmas presents with cash this year. January and February are cold and dreary as it is so who needs credit card bills for unpaid Christmas presents haunting them well into the New Year. I just thought I would list some ideas on how to get started shopping for Christmas with cash if you are just now thinking about it.

First of all - K-mart is now the only store that offers lay-a-way. It is a great cash option for those who haven't put money away already this year.

Start making your list now of the people you have to buy for and set a budget for each person. Use the internet to compare prices before going to the store. Or buy online - Amazon, Ebates and many other websites usually have shipping specials.

Buy a few presents a week. You still have 5 1/2 weeks until Christmas - you have time.

Another idea is to try to make as many gifts as possible. Order gifts through Shutterfly or other photo websites and personalize coffee mugs or other things with pictures of the grandchildren - most grandparents will love it!

Also, don't forget to teach your children the TRUE meaning of the season. It is not about gifts as we well know.

As a child I remember baking and decorating Christmas cookies and making gingerbread houses far more than any gift that I ever got.

What about you - do you have ideas for having an all cash Christmas?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

An Announcement!

Gretchen is a self-proclaimed bad announcer, so I'm doing this for her. Head on over to her blog and check out her latest news!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Foto Friday!

I think this thing - this choosing just one photo thing - is getting harder and harder every week. This last week I had a session with two adorable cousins (both toddlers) as well as a newborn session. In addition to that, I had some extra time (well okay, I made some extra time) to play with my (somewhat) new lens. So....lots of great pictures and tons of fun! I'm just going to pick one and urge you to go check out the rest of my photography blog. :)

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Old Navy Sale - Saturday

Old Navy is having a sale Saturday and you can get hats and scarves for $1. Check out more details here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This is from Chuck Colson’s Daily Breakpoint column.

The Day After
Pray for Our President and Our Nation
November 5, 2008
Whether you voted for Barack Obama or John McCain, whether you’re recovering from your all-night celebration or drying the tears from your pillow, today’s a good day to remember the words of the apostle Paul: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
And the new President will surely need our prayers because he and his administration face huge, serious challenges to the health of our nation and to peace in the world—challenges that, in my opinion, neither he nor any government on earth will have the power to overcome without divine aid.
How has America come to this point? Why is our economy on the brink of disaster? Why is our culture so utterly depraved?
I can only think of what Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said about the catastrophic consequences of the Russian revolution. “I recall,” he said, “hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia : Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.”
Solzhenitsyn was right. Indeed, I can’t find any better explanation for why we Americans find ourselves in the state we are in. We have forgotten God.
We have also forgotten that American democracy—indeed Western Civilization itself—is the product of the Judeo-Christian understanding of God and humanity. Without that revelation that man is created in the image of God, our founders never would have recognized the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Indeed, as I and others like Rodney Stark have argued, modern science and education, liberal democracy, capitalism flourished in Western civilization precisely because of the Judeo-Christian worldview.
The attacks on Christianity these days are only going to intensify in the months ahead. But we must press on all the more to make a winsome witness. Those who would banish Christianity from American life are risking the very survival of American society.
Friends have asked me whether this economic crisis is God’s judgment upon us. I don’t know.
As I’ve re-read the Old Testament prophets recently, I couldn’t help but notice the recurring theme: The people of God turned away from Him and worshipped false idols. The result was always disaster.
Is God responsible for credit markets collapsing around the world? No. We’re responsible. Because instead of worshiping God, we’ve worshipped false idols of the marketplace, credit card companies and cheap mortgages. We’ve put our own appetites over our duties to God and neighbor.
So this is no time for Christians to go into the bunkers. No time to wail or moan over our retirement plans. This is a time to repent, to pray more, to give more. It’s a time for Christians to lead, encourage, and minister to a faltering country in a faltering economy.
This is a time for the Church to get serious about Christian discipleship. Enough cheap grace.
So pray for the new President and his administration. But most of all, my brothers and sisters, this is a time to love our neighbors and to hunger for God and His righteousness.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wacky Wednesday . . . Obama Won

Need I say more? No really though I think this election was less about an African-American man winning and more about the un-energized Republicans. We didn't have a good candidate that was truly Conservative. We were demoralized and therefore it set up a perfect storm for Obama to come in and sweet talk the country about hope and change. Honestly, while I was hopeful and optimistic, I am shocked McCain scored as many votes as he did. I saw this quote on my friend's Facebook - I am just glad that God is still in control no matter who is in the White House. Lets not forget that!

For more entertainment you can check out my post, "Shining City on a Hill".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Apology

I feel I must apologize for my previous entry entitled "Why I'm Voting Democrat". While the entry did portray my exact feelings on many political issues, the tone and sarcasm was offensive to some. As a few of you (my readers) mentioned, and as I'm sure I've mentioned on several occasion, it's true that I am a Christian. I do desire to live fully for the Lord and I think I did you a disservice by posting that entry. I do not, in any way, want to distort your view of how a Christian should act and if I did, I'm very sorry. One (or two) of you suggested that if I want to post something political, I do so without all the sarcasm involved. So here is my revised version.

Why I'm Voting Republican

I'm voting Republican because I don't care what the crowd does.

I'm voting Republican because I know I can raise my children better than the government.

I'm voting Republican because Americans should have the right to choose whether their children are home-schooled, private-schooled, or public-schooled.

I'm voting Republican because Americans should have the right to choose whether or not their children are vaccinated.

I'm voting Republican because people who come to our country need to learn how to live in our country without government aid. If they want to live here so badly, they need to learn English and get a job. We have all done it and it's only fair that they should too.

I'm voting Republican because people who work hard SHOULD get to keep their money. And people who refuse to work don't deserve it.

I'm voting Republican because all this "change" can absolutely IN NO WAY coincide with tax cuts.

I'm voting Republican because the national government should stay out of our state rights. Many people don't realize the major difference between the two parties. Democrats are all for "big government", meaning the national government should control everything. Republicans understand that our country was founded with the purpose of states rights - the idea that states should decide their own rules and that, if you don't like the rules where you live, you can move to a different state.

I'm voting Republican because it's not the government's job to plan for MY retirement. I work, I save, and I spend that money - MY money - when I'm older.

I'm voting Republican because there's absolutely NO reason that we shouldn't be drilling for oil here in America.

I'm voting Republican because the sanctity of life is FAR more important that all the other issues. Roe v. Wade NEEDS to be overturned.

I'm voting Republican to preserve our Constitution. Our founders meant exactly what they said when they wrote the Constitution and we do not need to "interpret" what they must have meant.

I'm voting Republican because it's an individual's right to bear arms.

I'm voting Republican because saving PEOPLE is more important than saving NATURE.

I'm voting Republican because it is MY responsibility as a parent to teach my children about sex - not yours and DEFINITELY not the school's.

I'm voting Republican because government healthcare simply DOES NOT WORK. Besides that it shouldn't be the government's responsibility, it's a hefty tax hike to provide all that care to U.S. citizens, it will NOT lower premiums if insurance companies are required to accept you regardless of pre-existing conditions, and you will not see the doctors you want to see when you want to see them. Just take a look at the socialist countries of the world and you'll see what I mean.

I'm voting Republican because the sanctity of marriage MUST be upheld. God has clearly stated in His Word that marriage is to be between one man and one woman.

I'm voting Republican because the war in Iraq needs to be finished...the right way. Americans need to quit whining about it. There is no draft, which means that EVERYONE who is over there is over there BY THEIR OWN CHOICE. Iraq is gaining freedom and learning how to function independently. But just as you don't leave a child who is learning to crawl up the stairs alone by himself lest he fall, similarly we cannot simply pull our troops out and let the nation of Iraq fall.

I'm voting Republican because Barack Obama's agenda is scary.

I'm voting Republican because "spreading the wealth around" only means one thing: SOCIALISM.

I'm voting Republican because my conscience tells me to.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Today's the Day - VOTE (and lots of freebies!)

I found this on Biblical Womanhood's site and it really was very good. Please watch it. Your vote does matter!

After you vote, check out all the free things to get:

•Coffee. Starbucks expects to hand out "hundreds of thousands" of free 12-ounce drip coffees (valued at about $1.75 each), says spokeswoman Jenny McCabe. "If everyone who votes comes in for a free cup of coffee, we'll have some lines," she says.

•Doughnuts. Some 85 of Krispy Kreme's 231 locations in the U.S. will hand out star-shaped, red-white-and-blue sprinkled doughnuts "while supplies last," says spokesperson Dana Hughens. The chain will give out about 200,000 doughnuts valued at 99 cents each. "People are definitely talking about the brand as a result of this," she says. Call your local Krispy Kreme to find out if they are participating.

•Ice cream. Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. in each time zone, Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops will hand out single-scoop ice cream cones (a $3.40 value). "What better way to encourage people to be politically active than to give away free ice cream?" asks spokeswoman Liz Brenna.

•Sandwiches. In a local market promotion, several hundred of the nation's 1,400 Chick-fil-A stores will hand out $2.70 chicken sandwiches to adults who show proof that they voted, says spokesman Jerry Johnston.

Information found here.

Take a Break

I am not sure if this will work, but take a break and enjoy this hilarious video!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Money Monday . . . CVS - I'm back

I have been staying away from coupons and deals for a little while now. I could not have made myself clip one coupon or check out one deal until today that is. I saw that CVS had a pretty good deal on Pampers. They have the Jumbo packs on sale 2/$20 and you also get a $5 ECB back. Well, I needed both pull ups and diapers so I did this deal. I did not have any ECB's to start with. I did have a $4/$20 coupon and one $2.00 off pull ups and $1.50 off diapers. I used all of that and then got my $5.00 ECBs back which I promptly spent on a gallon of milk and a box of cereal (I have been craving cold cereal lately). I know I need to save them for the next deal, but who knows when I will be back in again.

If you would like to check out CVS deals check them out here. Do you have any plans to do any deals this week?


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Worship

Sometimes the Lord gives. Sometimes He takes away. (Job 1.20) And sometimes He does both at the same time! Head over here to Cari's blog to read some REALLY exciting news!

(For any of you who have not been following my blog very long, Cari and Andy just lost their 8-month old baby girl about 6 weeks ago.)