Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leapday Confessions

  • I really dislike the beginning of a new month because of all of the bills that are due! The first two weeks are always tight money wise, trying to make sure that everything gets paid. I much prefer the end of the month when we have a little breathing room.
  • One of my absolute favorite things in the world is watching Josh with our niece Emma. Or just hearing him talk about her. I love how much he loves her, and it makes me so excited for the day we have our own! He is going to be such a good dad. 
  • Our dogs have fleas and it seems like nothing we do is working to get rid of them. BOO. I am ordering Advantix II today and saying a prayer that it works.
  • We lost our TV remote over two weeks ago. I've looked in all the normal places, and some not normal ones. No luck. So what this means is I haven't watched TV in over two weeks, because I am too lazy to change the channel. This may be a good thing, if I didn't make up for it by spending extra hours on Pinterest!
  • Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week because we go to church and have dinner there. No cooking? Hallelujah! A delicious meal that always includes vegetables and salad? Even better. 

Now I am off to clean and figure out what I am going to send my dad for his upcoming birthday. Happy Wednesday to you all!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weekend Fun

I had a wonderful time this weekend in Lakeland hanging out with the girls.

First I got to ride down there with this adorable boy:

I don't particuarly like long car trips but having a cute companion makes it so much better! And his mom Lindsey provided good company, too.

We spent a lot of our weekend just hanging out and playing with adorable babies. These two are so stinking cute!

Saturday morning, my friend Sam and I took the boys for a walk around one of the many local lakes while Lindsey ran her butt off. It was a beautiful morning and really nice to get out and get some fresh air! I think Emmett & Myles really enjoyed themselves, too.

That afternoon, we headed to a local favorite: Mister Fish. It's one of those places that I would be a little scared to eat at unless I knew someone who had tried it first--and I'm so glad I did! The fried shrimp and sweet potato tots were to die for. We took our food down to another local lake for a picnic.

It was so refreshing to spend time with these ladies. They are some of my favorite people in the world and I love getting to spend time with them!

One of my favorite parts about "growing up" is watching my dear friends become mothers and love their children. It's so much fun for me to watch these moms and their boys.

 They are both such good moms and I am storing up so much knowledge from them for when I have my own little one! In the meantime, though, I just know that I am Myles' and Emmett's favorite aunt.

While I was hanging out the girls (and their little boys!) this is what my dear husband was doing:

Babysitting our sweet niece Emma!
Please excuse the poor image quality--I think he was a tad bit overwhelmed! This was Josh's first one-on-one time with Emma, and he loved every minute of it. That isn't the best picture of her--she is actually gorgeous!

That, my friends, was my much needed weekend of relaxation and fun! Now we're already almost halfway through another week, and I am ready for another vacation!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Outta Here

I am so excited to be packing my things and getting ready to head out for a weekend of fun! I need this break. And what could be better than spending time with my two sweet nephews?

Emmett, who's baptism we are going to on Sunday.

Myles, my road trip buddy!

I'll also get to spend time with some of my favorite ladies.

I am so looking forward to this! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Confessions Confessions Confessions

I really missed writing midweek confessions last week and am glad E, Myself & I is back to it this week! I guess I could've done them myself without linking up but what fun is that?

Here are my confessions this week:

  • I keep trying to justify the money and space necessary to purchase invest in a Kitchen Aid mixer. I know I would use it, it's just not really in our budget right now plus we don't have space for it. Sigh. A girl can dream.
  • Ever since saying it here, I have been craving a liverwurst sandwich. I bought bread and butter pickles at the store the other day and forgot the liverwurst! I need it soon. 
  • Normally I don't work on Wednesdays, but I am working today so that I can go to Lakeland this weekend for my little buddy's baptism! My alarm is set for M-T-Th-F, so it didn't go off this morning, I woke up at 6:59 (I am supposed to be at work at 7) and it is throwing my whole day off. I have no motivation and just want to go back to sleep.
  • I am SO excited to be going to see Emmett this weekend, plus I get to carpool with my friend Lindsey and her sweet little boy Myles. This is the highlight of my month!
  • My Valentine's day chocolate--my absolute favorite chocolate in all the world--is gone. I ate it all. It was delicious and wonderful and I want more!
Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Things I am Loving

I thought I'd share a few of my recent favorites...

Paula Dorf Eye Primer:

I was one of those people who didn't realize I needed eye primer until I stared using it. I'm not a huge makeup person (I stick to pretty basic colors & products) but this makes applying shadow so much easier and it lasts so much longer. It's not cheap, but this stuff lasts forever. I have had this little pot for almost 6 months and it's just about halfway gone.

Neti Pot:
If you don't know what a neti pot, trust me when I say that the best way to explain it is for you to watch a video of one being used (Here, I did the searching for you). I know there are all kinds of horror stories surrounding the use of these, but I'll be honest--nothing has ever cleared my sinuses like this bad boy did. I got mine for free by "liking" their Facebook page. I was hesitant, because I hate the feeling of using nasal spray. This was a little uncomfortable, but the results are amazing.

Pro Styl:
This probably seems a little weird, but I am telling you, this is hands down the best hair product I have ever bought. My hair is in between wavy and straight, and it does neither well. I like to wear it curly but I've always hard a hard time finding a scrunching product that isn't too heavy, fights humidity, and lasts all day. A friend recommended this and I have been hooked ever since. Best part? A large tub of it costs about $2 at drugstores.

Ink Joy Pens:

You know how when you find a pen that you really like, it makes your handwriting prettier and writing is more fun? Hmmm? Am I the only crazy one who labels their favorite pens so no one steals them from my desk? These are my new favorites, and they are not that expensive. I got mine at Target and keep finding excuses just to write with them!

This Song:

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Totally switching gears, but I honestly can't get enough of this song lately! I love Robbie Seay Band.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite things lately? I would love to hear!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Couponing 101: What I Learned

As promised, I am here to share some of the tips and tricks I learned at the Southern Savers Couponing 101 workshop. Before attending the workshop, I had tested the waters of couponing already, so I was already familiar with many of the basics and how to use the Southern Savers site.

If you're new to couponing (I so hate that every time I use that word, it shows up with a red wavy line. It's a real word! I swear!)  I highly recommend you check out some tutorials on Southern Savers first. Jenny explains the basics way better than I every could!

Keep in mind that Southern Savers focuses on stores in the Southeast, and store policies/prices/etc differ through the states. Much of what Jenny talked about applies specifically to Florida, where we mostly shop at Publix or Winn Dixie, because we are different than many other states in the SE (no doubling, true BOGO sales, etc) If you live outside of this region, there are multiple other websites out there that can help you maximize your savings!

Here's what I learned:

  • "Lowest Price" for an item is usually 40%-50% off of normal retail. I should not be buying a product if it has not hit it's lowest price. For most products, this happens every 6 weeks or so.
  • Stock Up and only buy what is on sale. This requires committing to shopping weekly-- something I need to work on! If something is on sale and I don't buy it because I don't go grocery shopping that week, it means I won't see the lowest price for another six ways, and I'll probably be forced to buy it at a higher price.
  • Get 2 Sunday Papers: The main reason for this is so that when items are Buy One Get One Free you can use two coupons, even though you're really only paying for one of the items. We get one paper delivered daily, and I think what I will do is when it is a "good" week for coupons, I will purchase another Sunday paper.
  • Ask for Coupons: Jenny shared how her husband recently became gluten free, and she was having a hard time finding coupons that worked for this. She started calling gluten free companies and asking for coupons--and lo and behold, every single one of them sent her coupons! All you have to do is call customer service for a specific company, ask that coupons be mailed to you, and most companies will oblige.
  • Ask for Coupons at Customer Service: This applies mostly to Publix, which is where I shop mostly. You know how there are a million little machines and tear pads spread throughout the store with coupons? If you ask at customer service, most stores have a stack of all of these coupons ready for you and you can skip the treasure hunt. Amazing! 
  • Saving Star and UPromise: These sites offer e-coupons that can be loaded onto your store loyalty card (Winn Dixie) or UPromise card (Publix) and the savings goes into an online savings account. With SavingStar, you can cash out your account once it hits $5; with UPromise, the savings are placed into a long term savings account for your child (or future child). 
  • Don't Clip the Coupons: This is where I was having the most trouble. I would go through the Sunday inserts, clip out only coupons for products that we normally buy, and then toss the rest. Later on, I would see a great deal to match a coupon I didn't clip, and regret it. Jenny's suggestion is to save the entire Sunday inserts, and not clip anything. Just save them whole. Then, each week, when it's time to shop, you can use Southern Savers to match up the weekly ad to coupons, clip out the coupons you need, and go to the store. This is my plan from now on. While I have to admit that I kind of missed flipping through the inserts this morning and getting excited about what I found, I know this will save me more money in the long run.
  • Save on Produce & Meat: This is the hardest part for me, and likely for everyone. They don't make many coupons for fresh produce and meat, and the sales aren't always amazing deals. Jenny offered suggestions for both.
    • Buy Local (for both): For produce, join a CSA or shop at a Farmer's Market. I use the Neighborhood Garden for organic produce and have been impressed so far. For meat, try a local butcher shop--their prices are actually around the same as grocery store sale prices and you may be able to negotiate.
    • Know your prices: For bargaining power at the Farmer's Market, use to research Federal prices for produce.
    • Buy in Bulk: Whether you purchase a whole cow from your butcher (not an option with an apartment sized freezer!) or shop meat sales such as Zaycon.
Whew. That's a lot.  And that's just from the few notes I jotted down. Jenny gave a ton of good information and I am so glad I went to the workshop!

If you have any questions, please ask. I'll do my best to answer! Happy Couponing!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Couponing 101

Josh and I are on a pretty tight budget, especially since he started his home inspection business last year. So I do what I can to save money, and one of those things is cutting coupons from the Sunday paper. If you check out my 30 before 30 list, you'll see that one of my goals is to save more than I spend at the grocery store.

I came relatively close a few weeks ago--my best trip yet: (Yeah, I was pretty proud!)

My plan of attack is normally to flip through the Sunday inserts and cut out coupons for products that we normally buy. Then, when I decide we need groceries (weekly, biweekly, whenever I get around to it...) I look at the current Publix ad, try and match up some of my coupons, and shop. The downside to this is that I usually forget about some of the coupons I've cut out and they expire before I use them, or there's something really good on sale that I saw a coupon for but didn't cut.

I've checked out the Southern Savers website a few times but haven't really been committed to using it, so I haven't really been seeing the results I'd like.

So when I saw that Jenny from Southern Savers was offering a Couponing 101  class here in Jacksonville, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to sharpen my skills to achieve my goals!

The workshop was today and it was wonderful. Jenny was really informative, engaging, and funny. She took questions from the audience and I left feeling inspired and ready to save more money! I am especially excited to get started at CVS--the idea of free personal care items has intrigued me for awhile, so I am committed to following through so I can stock up on free toothpaste.

I'm working on a post for tomorrow on the details of what I learned and more information, but I just wanted to give you a head's up to get excited!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday High Five!

This week has been crazy but good. Looking back, aren't they all?


I love that participating in High Five for Friday helps me focus on the good all week! It inspires me to look for little things that make me happy so that I remember to share them.

1. Saturday night, Josh and I went to visit his great-grandmother and took her to dinner. She was so amazed with the capabilities of the iPhone. Her thoughts on texting: "What do you mean you're talking? I don't hear you. How do you know what she's saying if she's not talking?"

2. We got a little bit of a cold snap this week and it was lovely to have "winter" for another day or two. I caught this sky outside work Monday, and it made me smile.

3. My dear, sweet husband brought me flowers and chocolate at work on Tuesday. I love that he knows it means more to me if he delivers it than if it's just sitting on the counter when I come home.

4. We randomly got our $200 deposit back from our utility company (after being with them for two and a half years). I don't understand the timing, but I am thankful for it!

5. We had an inspection at work yesterday for an accreditation we're renewing. It was stressful but went very well! We have three more days of inspections next week, and then we can breath again.

I am off work today, but not Monday. At least I still get a three day weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day: Mutual Weirdness

When I was young and single, I always thought I'd want a big show for Valentine's Day--flowers and hearts and chocolate (oh my!) Now that I'm old and married, I appreciate simplicity. My gift from Josh consisted of potted Mums (beautiful--and his to take care of, since I do not have a green thumb!), a funny yet sweet card, and two bags of my favorite chocolate. I was completely satisfied.

I am such a fan of this quote, because I think it sums us up perfectly:

That's just so us. Some of our weirdness, both individual and mutual:
  • I eat Skittles and M&M's by color (all the reds, all the oranges, all the greens...)
  • Josh likes mustard instead of mayonnaise in his tuna salad.
  • We both stick out tongues out just a little bit when we are concentrating on something.
  • He is most ticklish on his lips (I think it's so much fun to touch them and drive him crazy!)
  • One of my favorite foods is a liverwurst sandwich on rye with bread & butter pickles.
  • I hate pedicures--mostly because it tickles so much!
  • Neither one of us are huge TV watchers, but we do both enjoy shows like "Antiques Roadshow" and documentaries. 
I don't think you can ask for much more in life than to find someone who loves you despite (or, really, because of) your idiosyncrasies. I love knowing that I can truly be myself--liverwurst breath and all--around Josh.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kabocha What?

In my organic vegetable order last week, I received a very odd looking vegetable.


I'm not all that familiar with squashes, so first I thought it was a misshapen acorn squash. I did some research and found out it was actually a Kabocha Squash, which I had never heard of, much less cooked or eaten. Thank God for Google.

While researching some recipes, I found out that Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash, and that's it's often called a "Japanese Pumpkin". It's rich in beta carotene, iron, vitamin C, and potassium.

Fortunately for me, Kabocha Squash are very simple to prepare and taste yummy with just basic roasting.

I sliced the squash into 1/2" pieces--not an easy chore, considering the skin is extremely thick (I left it on though, after reading that it would soften enough to eat during baking). I drizzled it with a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and baked for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Verdict: It was delicious! The skin did soften up and the squash was really good. For being such a simple recipe, Josh and I both really enjoyed this!

I haven't really experimented much with squash until recently, because I always assumed that if I didn't like the yellow variety I wouldn't like any of them. However, I've discovered that I love butternut squash and I apparently really like Kabocha squash too! Next on my list to try: acorn squash and spaghetti squash.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Love Story

I came across this link up today and decided it would be fun to share our love story for those of you who don't know it already.

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
About three and a half years. That seems like nothing, but it feels like forever.

2. How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}
We actually met online., to be exact. I had just moved to a new city and worked in a preschool, and didn't have a lot of opportunities to meet guys. So I decided to give a shot for one month. Josh was the first guy I met in person and from our first date, we've been inseparable.

3. If married, how long have you been married?
We got married on April 24, 2010; we are quickly approaching our two year anniversary!
4. If you are married, where did you get married at? Big or small wedding? 
We got married at the Riverfront Hyatt in downtown Jacksonville. I don't think it was a "big" wedding, but we both have large families, so there were lots of people there! It was a beautiful day.
5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? 
He calls me Babe, and Carebear. I call him Joshy or Bagel (because Muffin is too girly) and sometimes when we're being silly, we call each other Pookie-Snookums-Honeybunches.

6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
I love how he is always willing to help anybody with whatever they need. I love that he loves his family--especially his Mama and his sister and his Granny--more than anything. And I love that he knows how to make me laugh, and makes me laugh every day.

7. Tell us how he proposed? 
 It was my birthday. We went to dinner and then for a walk on the beach, which is something we really love to do. I had asked for sterling silver earrings for my birthday, so I thought that's what the little box was--until I opened it and saw a diamond ring!

8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals? 
Neither, really. He'll buy me flowers because he knows I like them. And maybe some wine or chocolate.

9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
Both! It depends on my mood. As I said, we love dinner and walks on the beach--but I am also quite content with Redbox and a night on the couch.
10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere? 
I'd really love to take him to Thailand. I spent a summer there a few years ago, and I really want to show Josh all the things I love about it.

11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day. 
We honestly haven't talked about it, but since it falls on a weekday and he works late, we'll probably just have a quiet dinner at home. We may go out to celebrate this weekend or next (I can always use an excuse to eat at Buca di Bepo!)
12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
Chocolate--I love Lindt chocolate truffles and there are only a few times a year I can get away with paying for them!
13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love
Always put the other person first, not just ahead of yourself, but ahead of everything else in your life. And don't talk bad about your husband to anyone else. If you need advice or support, that's one thing, but complaining about him to anyone is not going to do anything positive for your relationship.
14.  Show us a picture of what love means to you.
Our First Dance--Feels like Home by Linda Ronstadt

 Happy early Valentine's Day!

Midweek Confessions: Better Late Than Never!

 Happy Midweek!

  • I am really stressing out over a situation at work that may leave me without a job. I am trying to trust that God has a plan and has control...but it's oh so hard. I am so frustrated! I have been listening to this song (and reading the psalm it's based on) and it has been helping.

  • I made banana pudding for the Super Bowl. Confession: I don't like bananas. I just like the "pudding" part (which is why I make Paula Deen's Chessman Cookie version--no banana flavored pudding!)
  • Nothing annoys me more than when I am somewhere with nothing to do and can't catch up on my Words with Friends games because I don't have a good signal. Ugh! I feel like I'm wasting precious time not playing!
  • I have two shameless plugs!
    • One: One of my favorite blogs, Marriage Confessions, has been nominated for two Bloggie Awards. Go check out their blog and vote for them!
    • Two: If you live in the Northeast Florida area, please check out my husband's website and keep him in mind if you ever need a home inspector! He is fantastic (and I'm not all that biased.)
  • I am posting this Thursday because I started it last night and then Josh and I got into a fight passionate discussion about my job and how I'm handling the stress. We both handle stress so differently and sometimes have a hard time seeing the other person's point of view.

Enjoy the rest of your week! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's Great to be a Florida Gator!

Have I got a treat for you today! I started following Skye's blog at Neathering our Fest recently and was so impressed when she introduced these collegiate note cards in her Etsy shop, Thumbprint Designs. I commented that I couldn't wait to see some Florida Gator ones, and lo and behold, Skye asked for some help in designing them! All I did was email her a few phrases related to UF & the Gators, but I am so proud to be part of this.

Last night she sent me a copy of the subway art she designed, and I am in love. I cannot wait to print this and mat it and hang it on our wall!

The UF note cards should be up in her shop pretty soon, too, and I cannot wait to see those. I know I will be buying a pack (or six) to send to friends during football season!

If you're not a Gator fan, Skye has some plenty of other teams to choose from, with more coming soon! Make sure you check out her shop and her blog!

UPDATE: Skye sent me an email letting me know the note cards are up, and as expected, they are fantastic!
These will make perfect gifts for all the Gator fans in your life! Click here to order your set.

Four Sweet Months!

Four months ago, my dear friend Sam gave birth to a tiny baby boy.

Emmett came almost two months early and weighed under three pounds, and he might've been the cutest little peanut ever.

Thankfully, Emmett grew fast, never lost an ounce, and made it home from the NICU in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Since then, he's continued to grow, get even cuter (if possible!) and charm the pants off everyone who meets him.

At three months, he weighed 9 pounds and finally outgrew his newborn diaper!

Now, he's four months old, and still such a cutie.

I know God has big plans for this little guy! He has made it through so much already.

Happy 4 Months, Emmett Jared!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Catching Up

I swore I was going to blog yesterday, but as you can see that didn't happen. Monday wore my brain out. I have been dealing with some stuff at work that is stressing me out too, so all in all yesterday was a crash-on-the-couch-and-make-frozen-pizza-for-dinner kind of night.
  • My iPhone seems no worse for the wear after it's exposure to (clean) toilet water. Also, I think I have finally caught up on the 18 Words with Friends notifications I had when I turned it back on!
  • Sunday morning our church hosted a tailgate breakfast for Super Bowl Sunday. Two notes: first of all, tailgating for breakfast is awesome. There was so much good food! Secondly, what happened to this winter? Why is it 80 degrees in February?
  • I woke up yesterday with a full blow head cold. I have no idea where it came from, but after 4 doses of Emergen-C and 5 packets of Alka Seltzer Cold Relief, I think I can finally breathe again!
  • Sunday at our Life Group's Super Bowl party, 90% of the menu was Pinterest-inspired. I have never seen so much delicious food all in the same place. I am going to save details for a full post later this week because you deserve to be able to replicate this deliciousness!
  • Tuesdays might be my new favorite day of the week. This is because:
    • I have Wednesdays off work, so it feels like a Friday to me
    • We have marriage Bible study tonight and I love it!

That's all my random thoughts for now. Hope everyone is having a great week! 

Friday, February 3, 2012



This week was a good week! Here's my top five...

1. My iPhone, which took a toilet bowl swim on Monday, came back to life with no issues! Hallelujah! Now I can get back to playing Scramble with Friends and Temple Run!

2. I came home from the grocery store on Sunday to find this:
They totally love him more than me, and I think it's adorable. 

 3. Tuesday night we started a study called "Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage" with another couple from our church. I am really excited about this! 

4. This weekend I am making Jalapeno Popper Rolls and Banana Pudding (both from Pinterest) for our life group's super bowl party. YUM!

5. This quote, which I have posted near my work computer, has been such a good reminder to me this week!

Happy Weekend, Everyone!!

Show Us Your Life: Singles Edition!

Kelly's Korner is hosting Show us Your Singles today, and I am so excited to participate! Ever since the first time I heard of this event, I knew who I wanted to feature:

My dear friend Kiara.

I've known Kiara for a long, long time--I just counted backwards on my fingers and it's been almost 15 years!--and I'm not exaggerating when I say she is a catch.

Kiara loves life, loves to laugh, and loves Jesus. She is 26 years old, a graduate of the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!) and currently teaches kindergarten in Brandon, Florida. Kiara is passionate about her job, and it's amazing to see how much patience and love she has for her class!

Kiara is fun loving and adventurous and will try anything once! She is a certified scuba diver, recently started running, and enjoys a glass of wine after a long week of five year olds.

After being friends with Kiara, I can tell you these things: She is loyal. She cares deeply. She puts her family and friends before anything else. She will make you laugh without trying very hard. She knows what she wants out of life and she is willing to work hard to get it.

If you're interested or would like to get to know Kiara more, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll get you in touch!