Archive for February, 2008

Out to Eat with NO Coupons

February 29, 2008

I just thought this was hilarious.  Addison played at a friend’s house today and Ava Jane and I had some special one on one time.  She wanted to go to Chic-fil-A.  We have really limited our eating out over the past couple of months trying to tighten up on the budget.  Anyway. . . Rick just asked Addison about her friend’s and she told him what all they did and that she got to eat lunch there.  Ava Jane exclaimed, “I got to eat at Chic-fil-A WITHOUT any coupons.”  That is pitiful.  She obviously noticed that we never go anywhere to eat without coupons. . . in fact, she must have just picked up on the fact that whenever we do go out somewhere I always say, “Let me see if we have any coupons.”

So, if you come across any great “dinner out” coupons let me know.  We’d love them!

Seven Things About Me

February 24, 2008

I was tagged by Angela to write seven things about myself that you may not know.  Here goes:

1.  Three of my dear friends in life are actually girls that I knew as a young child. . . and we have been “reunited” as friends in our adult mommy world!  Christy Puckett and I were in Mother’s Day Out Together from the age of 2.  We then went to school together from 4th-9th grade and were the BEST of friends.  And look at where we are now!  Amy Smithson and I share the same first name b/c our mothers were close friends and pregnant at the same time and both liked the name Amy.  Since my mom was living in Nashville and Amy S’s mom was living in another town, they decided it would be okay b/c we would never be around each other!  And look at where we are today!  And Tracy Brothers and I grew up as little girls going to FCA Camp every summer in Black Mountain, NC, where we stayed at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly.  And we didn’t see each other for years and were reunited about 7 years ago!  What a small world!

2.  I have had dinner at the home of Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley.  In college I spent a semester at the newly formed Focus on the Family Insitute.  I was part of the second class (and we were pretty small).  We had a special dinner at their house and then went into the rec room for some “chat” time with the Dobsons.  It was a night I will NEVER forget.  If only I had access to Dr. Dobson now that I am a mom!!!!

3.  I sang on an album with Sandi Patty when I was 10.  Background vocals for “Purest Praise.” 

4.  As a teenager, I babysat for a family with four children(ages 4, 3 and twins 6 months – when I started with them).  I babysat every Saturday ALL day long.  Sometimes I had just two (the twins) and sometimes all of them.  I fantasized about being the mom of four children one day.  Until I had two of my own.  Then I decided that babysitting is WAAAAYY different than being a real mom.  And I am perfectly thrilled with my two precious angels!

5.  I am kind of a pack rat.  Before we moved I cleaned out tubs that contained boxes, each labeled with a different semester of college, containing EVERY piece of mail I got during that semester.  Unbelievable!  I found credit card bills and was astounded at the money I spent on those things during college.  And found some sweet letters and notes sent by family and friends.  I threw away a lot, but not everything.  After all, I will want to show my girls one day, won’t I? 

6.  Way before cell phones, I had a black patton purse in the shape of a phone.  There was an actual handset as the handle and the numbers on the front of the purse.  When you opened the purse, there was a place for you to run a phone cord to a jack in the wall and instantly have a working telephone.  It was the coolest thing ever!

7.  I absolutely LOVE the color hot pink, eating ice cream and my high school boyfriend, and now hubbie, Rick!  And yes, I love my kids. . . but we always say that and I wanted you to know how much I LOVE my husband!!! 

Okay. . . I tag Anna and Antonia!

Random Thoughts on Budgeting

February 20, 2008
  • Did you know that if you have electric power from NES and you have lived at your current address for at least 12 months, that you can get set up on budget billing?  They take an average of your bills over the past twelve months and you pay the same amount each month ALL year.  You settle up once a year (in March, I think) – meaning that you either have a credit if you have paid more than your “actual” bills or you may owe them a little if your bills were higher than the past year.  It makes keeping a monthly budget soooo much easier.
  • Nashville Gas does the same thing.
  • Something to think about. . . for those of you hooked on the CVS, Walgreens thing or those who just “stock up” on basic essentials. . . is there ever a month where you use up your stock piled stuff and decide NOT to spend your budgeted amounts for those items?  Does that make sense?  For me, I have a  category for “Walmart” that is for all my toiletry items (shampoo, toilet paper, ziploc bags, etc).  I have been spending the full amount the past few months even though I have been doing lots of bargain shopping.  So my thought is, I am only really “saving” money if I choose one month to use all the items I have on hand and NOT go out bargain shopping for more.  Then I can take that “Walmart” money and save it for something else.  Is anyone tracking with me or I am just sounding confused?? 
  • If you are like me and you like to entertain. . . consider putting an “entertaining” category in your budget.  I use this money for buying food when we have company over, when I have to make a meal for someone (sick or new baby) or when I sign up to bring food to MOPS, kids school, etc.  That way I am not taking money away from our grocery budget for those things.  It can get expensive over the course of a month to make a couple of meals and bring a breakfast dish to church, etc.
  • I am a budget queen. . . so if anyone out there ever needs any help, I’d love to help you make a budget and learn how to live on it!  It is sooo freeing! 

Cheesy Italian Tortellini Crockpot

February 20, 2008

This is one of Rick’s favorite Italian meals!

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound Italian Sausage

1 container refrigerated marinara – 15 oz (I use Buitoni)

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 can diced tomatoes with italian seasoning – undrained

1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini – 9 oz (I use Buitoni)

1 cup shredd mozzarella or other italian cheese blend

Break beef and sausage into large pieces and brown in a skillet until it is no longer pink.  Drain.  Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Mix beef mixture, marinara sauce, mushrooms and tomatoes in the crockpot.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours (I cook mine on high for 3-4 hours).  Stir in tortellini; sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes longer or until tortellini is heated through and tender.  Serves 4-6.  This is yummy with a side salad (aka – lettuce in a bag with some dressing) and some garlic bread.  Enjoy!

 You may also want to go ahead and brown an entire pound of both beef and sausage (since it usually comes in at least 1 pound packages) and freeze half of it for the next time you want to make this recipe. 

Are You a Shlumpadinka?

February 20, 2008

Are you a shulmpadinka?  I just watched the first ten minutes of Oprah (which I rarely watch these days) and her topic for the day is “shlumpadinka makeovers.”  Well, there I sat on the couch in my black velour elastic waist MOM jogging suit.  Feeling like a total shlumpadinka.  I would post a pic of myself, but I am sure you can imagine what I look like b/c I have three of these great jogging suits that I wear all the time during the winter months.  LOL!  And I really look like a shlumpadinka in my clothes because I am a little, well, “fluffy” around the edges!  I really gotta work on that. 

I did so good last year. . . Weight Watchers, working out. . . losing weight.  Although I have continued the working out part (see previous post about me and the skinny instructor having to be partners), I have just have no self-control when it comes to what I eat.  And after Tracy’s post about gluttony (thanks for that one, Tracy). . . I guess I really need to get on the ball and start counting those WW points once again.  UUGGHHH!!!  Who wants to do that?  But it really is a necessary evil, I suppose.  So, if you have any GREAT Weight Watchers recipes to share, I’d love them.  And I am going to start posting some recipes of my own. . . although it will be food that I can only probably eat about 3 tablespooons of if I am going to count my WW points.  But they will be yummy and hopefully you and your family will enjoy them.  As for the Lafayette’s, it’s back to steamed broccoli and grilled chicken – OH WAIT!  We don’t have a grill – we live in an apartment!  aaagggghhhh!   I guess I can hike it over by the apt. pool and light up some charcoal and grill me some chicken.  What a dork!  Anyway. . . Spring is coming, followed by summer, which means all my cute skinny friends (which is ALL of you) will be looking adorable in your swimsuits while I actually “look” like a MOM in my shlumpadinka swimsuit.  🙂  The good news is that I am confident enough in who I am in Christ to know that how I look on the outside is not as important as how I look on the inside (thanks to my dad for instilling that important value in me)!   

Persevering

February 15, 2008

What are you doing with God’s word?   Luke 8:11, 13-15 says,      “. . . the seed is the word of God. . . Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.  They believe for a while but in the time of testing they fall away.  The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” 

Is God producing a “crop” in you?  I sure want him to produce a bountiful crop in my life.  Have you received God’s word with joy and then fallen away during a difficult time?  Or have you choked out God’s word by being so caught up in the things of the world, riches and pleasures?  Or are you persevering?  You have heard God’s word and you retain it and you are persevering. . . . knowing that God will produce a crop.  

per·se·vere  (pûrs-vîrintr.v. per·se·vered, per·se·ver·ing, per·se·veres

To persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement.
Persevering is not easy.  I often want to give up when things get too hard.  Sometimes it is easier to worry about something rather than just give it to God.  And sometimes I hold on to the things that are important to ME, thus choking out God’s word.  I have been in a hard place with some things lately.  And I have been on my knees praying and persisting in the face of obstacles and discouragement.  I know that God is working to produce something in and thru me.  Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 

Great Food Lion Deals

February 15, 2008

Great Deals at Food Lion

Look at all the great deals I got at Food Lion today.  I paid $12.67 for all this food – lucky charms, two boxes cheese nips, kraft singles, two lunchables, italian sausage, kleenex, two cans baked beans, eggo waffles, breyers ice cream, and a five box value pack of kraft macaroni and cheese!  I used a couple of coupons I already had, but the rest came from this link here.  Be sure to use your MVP card at Food Lion.  Enjoy.

God’s Goodness

February 14, 2008

This summer I did a Bible Study that taught me a lot about how God speaks to me.  I began to pray that God would speak to me about some very specific things going on in my life.  One Saturday I had a very specific request that I needed an answer for pretty quickly.  And I prayed that God would give me scripture to pray and meditate on.  The scripture he gave me that day was Psalm 27:13-14, “I am still confident of this. . . I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  And isn’t it just so God that the very scripture he gave me to pray, contained the answer to the request I had.  The answer was to WAIT.  Oh, is that ever hard for me to do.  On that Saturday I wrote down that scripture on an index card and put in on the dashboard of my car.  It is still there and I still look at the scripture and pray it back to God. 

 Today in my Bible Study, that scripture came up again and I was reminded of the importance of waiting for God and his timing for things in my life.  For me over the past five months, waiting for God has meant spending lots of time on my knees and on my face before God.  Pouring out my heart and soul to him with a number of things.  I don’t know what you are facing today, but I do know that God tells us in his word to “be CONFIDENT of this. . . we WILL see the GOODNESS of the Lord. . . ”  God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good.  Are you confident that you will see God’s goodness in your life?  I’d love to hear what good and great things God is doing in your life.  

Hot Tamales

February 13, 2008

Not that anyone will care about this. . . but I just made my first homemade hot tamales.  Have you ever had a tamale?  They are a meat mixture covered in cornmeal and wrapped in a corn husk.  Sounds weird, but my grandmother used to make them.  I remember eating them as a kid at her house with chili.  I called her the other day and asked her for the recipe.  The recipe sounded disgusting.  I asked her if she was sure that was how she made them when I was little (she’s 81 now).  She laughed and said, “Of course.”  I have had the ingredients for a week, but no time to make them.  And let me tell you. . . they take some time!  It was pretty disgusting to make and Robin would die if I told her how I made them.  But I just took them off of the stove and tasted one.  Surprisingly, they tasted just like my grandmother’s!  And I made chili last night so it could sit for a day and the flavors could “meld” together before we ate it tonight.  So, dinner for us will be chili with hot tamales!!  Yum!  I forgot to send a “love note” to work with Rick today so maybe I will put a note by his bowl of chili tonight and say “You are my HOT TAMALE!”  Am I cheesy or what?? 

Early Morning Exercise

February 13, 2008

Today is a snow day.  And the great thing is that we really got a dash of snow!  I am bummed because we didn’t get to have MOPS today and it was going to be a really great meeting.  I set my alarm for 4:38 am to get up and go to the gym to workout.  I looked outside and there was nothing – just as I suspected.  But I flipped on the news and saw that schools were closed.  Go figure!  I went on to the gym for a torture session and because there were so few people in the class I had to be paired up with our instructor for some exercises involving a partner.  Agghh!  If you only knew. . . imagine me and Ms. Skinny instructor.  She makes a sit up look like a piece of cake.  Everything she does seems so effortless.  And then there is me – roly poly, whining and whincing with each and every difficult move (which is all of them)!  And worst of all is that you can’t cheat at all when you are paired up with the instructor.  I know. . . I know. . . I know. . . when you cheat at exercising, you are only cheating yourself. . . blah. . .blah. . . blah!!!  I am doing good to be there and workout for the entire hour.  Anyway. . . I made it through the workout and worked up a good sweat.  Only to be leaving and hear two of my girlfriends say they were headed upstairs for a little more exercise – maybe some running on the track or the eliptical machine.  Okay – give me a break!  I felt good about the fact that I was one of five that showed up despite schools being closed.  And that was good enough for me.  🙂  

It was really nice to come home and lay on the couch and watch it start to snow outside.  My girls were thrilled and so I bundled everyone up (20 minute ordeal) and we lasted all of 10 minutes outside before everyone was soooo cold and noses were running and we had to go potty. . . not to mention that they kept trying to eat traces of snow off the bushes and the ground!  EEWWW – YUK!  But I am grateful that they got to at least play in the snow for a few short mintues.  As we were coming in one of them mentioned that some hot chocolate would be really yummy.  I agreed.  As we were shedding the outdoor clothes and waiting on our water to heat up for the hot chocolate, Ava Jane said, “Mommy this was the most fun snow day.”  That made my heart smile.  So, now, how are you supose to end a blog entry?  It kinda seems like I need some great statement or something.  But wait, I guess I am not writing a book.  These are just my random thoughts, right??  Someone let me know if I am doing this correctly or not.  I plan to spif things up a bit on my page as soon as I have time to sit down with some blogging pros and figure it all out!  And now I have another entry on another topic. . . can I do that??