...years today married to this sweet man

I couldn't be more blessed to have found a man that cooks, cleans and takes care of me like no one else could.

and he's pretty easy on the eyes ;)

And one who puts up with my craziness...and tells me I'm not crazy.

It's been amazing so far...and I know the best is yet to come.

April 26, 2008

I'll love you for forever and three days...you know the rest. <3


easter weekend

This weekend, my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and brother all came to visit, bringing Grace and Tanner's dog-cousins with them.

We posed for pictures...

even when the fourth member of the puppy brigade wouldn't cooperate
...pretended to get along for the camera....

...dyed a few eggs...

...and celebrated a couple of very important birthdays...

yes, we put a candle in a pupcake for our dog.
  Hope everyone had a very Happy Easter!


book mark: water for elephants

It took me a chapter or two to get into this one, but by the end I couldn't put it down. I read it on my Nook and I was actually disappointed when it ended - that's the problem with the Nook, sometimes I don't know when it's about to end b/c I don't pay attention to the page numbers or they are deceiving.

I read so many books where the lead character is a female, so it was different to be so focused on a male character and his wants, needs and thoughts. Jacob was both intriguing and lovable, yet human. He made mistakes of a gargantuan proportion, but his remorse was genuine and heart-felt. I found myself wanting to warn him when he was about to mess up.

And you kind of just wanted to pluck Marlena up and hug her, give Rosie the elephant a pat on the back and laugh alongside Bobo the monkey's antics.

The only downside to this book is the obvious: the cruel treatment of the animals. It was hard to read those parts, but it really shows a story of compassion in the end. I'll warn you that there are some graphic parts.

Great story. Great book. Hopefully great movie, but that's too be determined. I am not enamored by the casting of Jacob, but for all you Twilight lovers, I'll give him a chance to prove me wrong!


double bacon egg & cheese biscuits

I'm not really a breakfast person. I mean, it's okay cooked by my husband on a Saturday morning. But not really my thing most mornings. It's not uncommon to catch me eating a string cheese or bag of popcorn mid-morning at work. I just don't like taking the time between waking up/showering and getting dressed/caring for puppies/hurrying out the door (late as always) to fix breakfast.

I'm always looking for "breakfast-type" recipes that we can grab and go.


Mmmm, you're salivating. Admit it.

These little pieces of deliciousness were both fun to make and quite tasty. Just ask Grace. 

She thought the nine that she devoured while we were out were a-maz-ing. Too bad her Dad didn't agree - he didn't even get to try one.

Find the recipe here.


photo fieldtrip

A while back, I bought a Groupon for a Chimpsy Photo Fieldtrip in anticipation of getting my DSLR camera. If you're not on Groupon, sign up now - GREAT deals on local restaurants, services, etc.

The Chimpsy Photo Fieldtrip is a how-to for your Point and Shoot or DSLR cameras. Chimpsy describes their DSLR class this way - "We'll take the “AUTO” training wheels off and you’ll leave this class shooting in your camera’s Aperture and Shutter priority modes." Sounds like a plan to me.

So anyways, I signed up to take my class this Saturday in downtown Nashville. Luckily for me, on the Thursday prior, I received a "Bring a Friend" promo and my friend Katie was free and willing to take the class with me. Thanks, Katie!

The class was great! We talked about white balance, aperature and shutter speed, among others - which is probably basic to you seasoned photographers, but very, very new to me. It's always great to have someone break down the basics. We spent an hour examining our cameras' many functions and an hour outside in the freezing cold (What happened, Nashville?!) shooting. (In the interest of being honest, I wouldn't have paid full price for this class. But for the price I paid with the Groupon, it was worth it. If they offer another Groupon, I'll probably take the second class.)

So that I could try out all I learned, my sweet little family took a fieldtrip of our own today...to Edwin Warner Park. Here are a few highlights from the class and today's park trip.

From top left, clockwise: 1. SATCO, 2. Batman Building 3. Pretty flowers 4. SATCO again 5. Katie and our instructor
Edwin Warner Park
Checking things out.


Love these two.

And he says he doesn't even like Tanner...yeah right.
My babies


tips for the first-time couponer

As I made my list for the grocery store this weekend, I thought of a few tips I have learned over the years.

- If you're a new couponer, don't expect to come away with big savings at first. It takes a while to get into the rhythm. After a while, you'll know what a good price is and what coupons are actually available and you'll be shopping like a pro.

- Start small. Don't go to every store you ever heard of just to save money. It's overwhelming. Focus on one or two stores to get going. I'm a Publix/Kroger shopper b/c they are close together and close to my house. CVS is a great one, but not close to me.

- Decide what you have room to stockpile and what you're willing to stockpile. I stockpile small non-perishables and toiletries. I find I get the best deals on things I use most often and it's worth having on hand. I never know quite when my husband is going to run out of deodorant, so it's good to have a back-up. Plus when they are buy-one, get-one free at Publix and I have a coupon, it's a great deal!

- Shop the sale ads. Be prepared to go into a store with a list. Make your list and pull out the coupons you have. I put a star by my items on the list so that I know I have a coupon. It's great if you can only shop from a list, but I usually can't resist the temptation to put an extra item or two into the cart. Try to plan your meals from the sale ads. I'm not willing to give up everything I crave, so I usually try to plan two meals based on the ads and the rest what we want.

- I don't devote more than 30 min - 1 hour a week to making my list, organizing my coupons and preparing to shop. Any more than that, and I'd just get frustrated and quit. I also work a full-time job. Some folks may have more time on their hands and that's great - I just like to keep it simple. :)

- Use what others have prepared for you. There are lots of great online sites out there devoted to couponing. Don't be shy about using their lists to make your own - that's what they're there for. In a future blog, I'll tell you about some of my favorites.

I'm going to stop here. I am really cheap passionate about saving money where I can, so I could write for days. Clearly. I know there are a million couponing blogs out there, but I'm going to try to keep this going and see if I can help you save a dollar or two.

Please share any tips with me that you have! I can always improve! By the way, I think it would be fun to track the amount that I'm saving with coupons/sales in a little tracker on my blog. Does anyone know how to add that feature?

Learn more about how I coupon here.




birthday happy

Last week my sweet friend Molly celebrated a birthday, and I wanted to send her something to let her know I was thinking of her. She and her fantastically funny husband, J, are currently touring the country for his gig as a traveling nurse. They've been in New York since the New Year, but since I know they have to pack up and move often, I didn't want to send her anything too cumbersome.

I also know how much Molly treasures the homemade and well-thought out gifts, so I wanted to sew something simple to send her. She has great taste and arrived at my house to do my (and my mom's) make-up the day of my wedding with a suitcase full of beauty supplies, so I thought this cute little make-up brush holder would be right up her alley.

It was really a simple project - I found directions here. But it sure tested my ability to sew in a straight line!

And, it ties up real pretty to be thrown in a suitcase!

Hope you enjoy it, Molly! I sure do love our friendship and the fact that we can spend so much time apart but pick right up where we left off when we do see each other. Any chance that J could get sent to Vanderbilt? We would get into a world of fun and our husbands into a world of trouble!

In other news, my amazing husband bought me an early anniversary present this weekend.

I've been not-so-secretly coveting my friends' DSLR cameras for quite a while now, and Bob fulfilled that wish this weekend. I love it! Hopefully, that means you'll be seeing some better quality photos on the blog from now on! Once I figure it out...


bbq chicken ranch pizza

I'm taking a break from the couponing to bring you this very important picture...

Hello, friend.
Mmmm. I'm not much of a pizza maker, but I've been trying to branch out a little. I don't really like the pizza dough that comes in the Pillsbury tubes or the like, but my sweet friend, Katie, introduced me to Publix pizza dough. A.maz.ing. I had no idea they sold it right there near the deli/bakery. 

This particular creation is BBQ Chicken Ranch. My fave.


-Chicken, we used two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, slathered with BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays, of course) and baked in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes, then cubed. You could also use a Rotisserie if you were lazy. :)
-Pizza dough - Just a note, the Publix pizza dough is supposed to rest out of the fridge for an hour before you use it.
-Various cheeses - I used parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar
-Red onion
-BBQ sauce

Dab a little olive oil on your pizza pan and rub it around with a paper towel. Then begin smoothing out your pizza dough, or if you're fancy, throw it in the air. Me? Not so coordinated. Push it towards the edges to your desired size, shape and thickness. Then use said paper towel to rub some more olive oil around the top of the dough.

Add desired amount of BBQ sauce - don't go overboard, it's pretty strong - and spread it on the crust to act as your sauce.

Top with cheeses, chicken and sliced red onion. Drizzle with a little Ranch if you like. I do.

Bake at 375 until the dough rises and turns golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Dinner is served!


the coupon folder

This post is the second in my couponing series. To read more about couponing my way, start here.

Have I mentioned I love organizing?  Well, I do. This includes my coupons. :)

Setting Up Your Coupon Holder

Materials needed:
- Coupons (obviously)
- Folder - some folks use three-ring binders, some use flexi-files, some use envelopes. I wanted something sturdy, but not bulky, and small enough to throw in my purse, so I use a flexi-file.


First, decide how you'd like to organize your coupons. Maybe by grocery store aisle? Type of product? Anything you want. I organize in kind of a hybrid way: by type of product and location in the store. If you have a great idea for organizing your coupons, let me know! There is always room for improvement.

Make a label for each of your categories. I organized mine like this:

Breakfast Items
Canned Food/Drinks
Paper Goods
Cleaning Products

Next, make your labels. You can handwrite them or use your printer or go to town with a label maker, like I did. :)

Sort your coupons and you're ready to go. See, wasn't that easy? Not that overwhelming, right?

Stay tuned for couponing tips for getting started...


some might say I'm thrifty

Or some might say I'm cost-conscious...or...cheap. I am. And I'm okay with that.

One of the best things my Momma taught me growing up was how to save using coupons. My Momma always used coupons...even when she didn't need to. It was just like throwing away money to her if she didn't.

When I was in college, I wasn't really a coupon-cutter. I mean, I used them for clothing at stores I frequented, but I didn't go to Bruno's (anyone ever shopped at a Bruno's? Not my fave) and then later Super Target and Publix (thank you, Tuscaloosa!) to buy my Ramen with a coupon. Ramen with a coupon?! Could it get any cheaper?

But when I graduated and realized how much little I was actually making, coupon-cutting came back to me. I started out slow...just using some coupons that my Mom gave me when I was home. Then I'd occasionally buy a Sunday paper. Then I got crafty and created a coupon folder to house my new-found treasures.

Now I'm a full-fledged couponer. So a couple of weeks ago when I lost my trusty coupon folder somewhere, I was devastated. After searching the house and the car, I decided it was time for a new friend.

Enter the flexi-file.

Enter one of my favorite tools ever - the Label Maker - which I sadly don't own.

Enter one evening of cutting, sorting and organizing...sigh.

Recently, a lot of my friends have been discussing couponing and I've noticed that there is some trepidation for first-timers. I started writing a post to help them get started, but it got very, very long. So I’m breaking it down into parts so that it will hopefully not be so overwhelming.

Consider this in intro to my couponing style. My next post will discuss how to organize your coupon folder.

And, because every post is better with a cute puppy, here he is. Tanner likes to help me cut coupons. :)

Disclaimer: I am, by no means, an expert couponer. There are some crazy fantastic couponers out there, but I don't have the time and energy for that. This just works for me and makes me feel good about what I save.


9:31 p.m. sunday

The end of another fantastic weekend is here. I'm so sorry it has to end.

Bob and I had a date night on Friday night and saw Lincoln Lawyer. We really liked it! It had some funny parts and a big twist, and I didn't mind watching Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe for two hours. And my sweet husband agreed to a delicious dinner - movie theater popcorn followed by Sweet Cece's after the movie. :) he loves me.

Both Saturday and Sunday were spent in our yard. The weather was just perfect after days of cooler temps and rain. Bob worked hard getting our flower beds mulched and dead bushes replaced. I planted some pretty spring flowers so hopefully in a few weeks we will have a blooming backyard.

We welcomed some friends and their 7-month old baby over for dinner last night and just enjoyed playing with the baby and chit-chatting. I decided to try out Shannon's Whoopie Pies (recipe at the link) for dessert and they were a hit! I tried Funfetti cake with chocolate icing b/c it's what I had. I think I'd try something else next time but they went fast so they must have been yummy. :)

And...I finally wrapped up an outstanding project. You probably don't remember wayyyyy back when I mentioned I was working on something to spruce up my sunroom chairs. But after getting overwhelmed and quitting - no surprise there- my awesome mother-in-law finally showed me how to make the pillows I'd been wanting.

Let me tell you...I was way over thinking this project. This was definitely one of the easier projects I've done. I can say that now that it's done. Seriously, easy-peasy.

Here are my beautiful sunroom chairs modeling the finished product:

Seriously, easy.

1. Measure the length and width of your pillows. Mine were 13 x 28.  Multiply the width by two and add 1 inch to each measurement for a 1/2 inch seam allowance. 27 x 29
2. Cut your fabric and then fold in half length-wise. Press the seam.
3. Then, simply sew around the edges, leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance, and don't forget to leave an opening to stuff your pillow.
4 Trim your corners, turn the case inside out and stuff your pillow inside. Then hand-sew the opening using a slip stitch and you're done!

Easy, huh?

On another note, y'all, I love Miranda Lambert. She's just precious to me - even though her reputation is far from precious! We just watched her win Female Vocalist of the Year on the ACM's. So cute and so humble. I think we'd be friends.

And who doesn't love Reba? She's hosting with Blake Shelton, soon to be Mr. Miranda Lambert.

Here's hoping Miranda takes home Entertainer of the Year!

Linked up at Little Brick Ranch's Foodie Friday