About Me

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Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I'm addicted to coupons and every penny counts. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your success stories with me as well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy 6th Anniversary!

Can you believe it's been six years baby since our wedding? I love you so much and am so thankful for the amazing husband you are to me! You truly are the best!
I think Mike enjoyed these kisses too much....he kept asking the photographer for more time with the girls. LOL



I don't think my smile can get any bigger!


I was so nice and decided not to smash the cake in his gorgeous curls!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Six Years Ago Today


Six years ago today, it was the day before my wedding. I remember waking up and realizing that tomorrow I'm getting married! It was so hard to believe because I had told myself that I was going to be an old maid and would never get married. Not that I didn't like boys, it was just that I loved my independence a lot more. I'm so glad Mike made me change my mind!

Six years ago I was getting ready to take all my bridesmaids, my mom, and my mother-in-law to have manicures and pedicures. It was so much fun to have a morning out with all the girls! Then it was headed back to our new apartment to have a birthday party for my brother, Brandon and to feed everyone lunch. Mike and I had a quick couple hours of alone time before it was off to rehearsal at the church. Below are some pictures from our rehearsal.








Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Ties at a Great Price


Mike recently needed some more ties from work and I emailed a friend to see where she got ties for her husband from. She referred me to this seller on Ebay. Mike went and picked out five ties and we ordered them. We were very pleased with what we bought at such a great price. You can't beat buying five ties for $20.98. The shipping took about 3 weeks so if you are wanting to buy these for Christmas presents, I would order yours now.

Rachael's Run


Our friends, Bob and Angie Gleason, lost their beautiful girl to cancer two years ago when she was only 3 years old. You can read more about her life here.

I never had the opportunity to meet Rachael. I've seen so many beautiful pictures and heard precious stories of her. In the past two years, we've become good friends with Bob & Angie and their daughter Katie. They are a great family that have a passion to raise awareness for families fighting childhood cancer.

The 2nd annual run will be on November 13th at Furman University. They have a 5k race along with a Family Fun walk that will benefit pediatric oncology research at Greenville Hospital System as well as other organizations.

Mike and I volunteered last year and we are so excited to be volunteers again this year. Come show your support to Bob & Angie and help fight cancer!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can I go back to bed yet?


You ever have one of those days where you just want 8 pm to come so you can go to bed? Today is that day for me. I didn't get much sleep last night and Ty is a very cranky boy this morning. I think the storm last night actually came inside and tore up the house because my house has never been this messy. Dishwasher is full and need to be emptied, dishes need to go into the dishwasher and be cleaned. Laundry is out of control. I only have about 20 boxes for New Beginnings laying around the house along with bags and bags of clothes that need to be sorted. I told myself last night that today would be the day that I get everything accomplished and our house will look normal again. Ty refuses to cooperate with my plan and my body is screaming at me telling me to go back to bed. This is when I just need to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head, and shut out the world. At least for a few moments until I can refocus......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Trip to Walgreens


I made a trip to Walgreens this morning and here is what I purchased:

One jumbo package of Huggies Little Movers Diapers Size 3
Two packages of Halls cough drops
Five packages of raspberry and strawberry Royal jello
Three packages of Jello vanilla pudding
Two bottles of Mentos gum
Two cans of Butterball Low Sodium Chicken Broth

I paid $6.57 and received $1.00 back in Register Rewards. Total savings was $20.80. It's hard to believe that someone would actually pay $27.37 for these items if they didn't use coupons.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Banana Bread Recipe

 
There is nothing like eating a slice of hot banana bread with butter melting on it. It can totally make my morning! This recipe makes two loaves of deliciousness!

Ingredients:
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
3 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.
Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
Put bananas in one at a time and continue to mix well. Add the buttermilk and vanilla.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake approx. 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

My Rue La La Purchase


I spent my $20 credit to Rue La La this morning. Most of their items are very expensive but I was hoping for a Christmas gift under $10 and I found one! Go to the Fauchon Boutique and they have a Fruit Preserves 2 piece gift set regularly $31.50 on sale for $19.00. Use your $20.00 credit and I paid $8.95 for shipping and I have a Christmas present for my Dad for under $10.00. Let me know if you find any other great deals! I would love to know what you spent your $20 credit on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

$20 Credit when you join Rue La La

Join Rue La La, an online boutique, and you will receive a $20 credit. The credit may take up to 48 hours to appear. They will have specials which you will be able to use this $20 credit to get someone a nice Christmas present at a great price. I'll let you know when I use my $20 credit and the great deal I get.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Surprise Phone Call for New Beginnings

I'm still in shock as I type this post. I had applied for $2,000 from Jenny's Heroes about 2 months ago. This $2,000 would go to buy clothes, diapers, duffel bags, and other items for New Beginnings. After I first applied and got the email saying they wanted more information, I was getting excited that maybe they would choose me. But after not hearing anything for over a month, I completely forgot about Jenny's Heroes. Which was a good thing or today would not of been a surprise like it was for me.

Lisa Conner, president of Greenville County Foster Parent Association called me last week and said she wanted to take me and Angela, treasurer of GCFPA, out to lunch to talk about New Beginnings. We met for lunch at Zaxby's right across from the DSS buildings. Lisa told me that after lunch we were going to go check out a conference room that DSS might let us use for storage for New Beginnings for GCFPA. At first, I thought that was kind of weird to use a conference room at DSS, but who's to complain about free storage? Especially when my guest room is overfilling with donations. So we walk in and there were several social workers, foster parents, and other important people from DSS. They tell me I have a phone call which confused me. I was like me? Ashley Genovese? I took the phone call and it was Jenny Jones telling me that they were giving me the $2,000 I had requested!!!! Then my husband pokes out of this closet and I just started crying. I was so overwhelmed by the emotions I was feeling. Excitement that this was happening for New Beginnings, total shock that Jenny's Heroes had chosen me, and humbled by all the people that were in the room that were so excited about this new organization and were there to support me. God has been so good to me and New Beginnings to provide these donations and to bless this organization. Foster children deserve to be treated like "normal" children and I'm so happy that God turned my dream into a reality! I can't wait to see what He will do next!! Be sure to check out Jenny's Heroes and learn more about what her generosity is doing in this country.

The Point of No Return

The Phantom of the Opera - all time favorite movie

I'm a huge lover of The Phantom of the Opera. There were only two cassette tapes I would listen to growing up while washing dishes or baking. One of them was Phantom and I would blast the music all throughout the house. I can still hear Mom telling me to turn it down. LOL The latest movie with Gerard Butler as the Phantom is awesome! It's definitely a must see if you haven't seen it already. I'm posting a couple of my favorite songs from that movie. The one is All I Ask of You, my sister and brother-in-law sang that song at our wedding for us. The other favorite is The Point of No Return, a very powerful song right before the Phantom takes Christine away. Hope you enjoy them!

"All I Ask of You"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars



These pumpkin cheesecake bars are fabulous! The key is to make sure it is thoroughly cooked or your filling will be too runny. You can also decorate them with cute little ghosts! Recipe courtesy of All You Magazine.




Crust:
20 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
Two 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil so that the foil overhands sides. Mist with cooking spray.
2. Make crust: Process cookies in food processor or blender until ground. Add butter. Press evenly into pan. Bake until firm, 10-12 minutes. Cool slightly.
3. Make filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, then eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla, flour, spice, and salt until just combined.
4. Pour mixture into pan on top of slightly cooled crust.
5. Put pan on a large rimmed baking sheet, pour hot water into baking sheet until it's nearly filled. Bake until cheesecake is set around edges but jiggles slightly in center around 40-45 minutes. (This is where it can go wrong if you don't bake it long enough. You only want a little jiggle, LOL) Remove pan from sheet, cool completely on rack. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.

Deal of the Day


Another Christmas present bought! This one is for my adorable nephew, Rocco! Check out this Didj Star Wars Gift Pack originally $134.97 on clearance for $39.99! Use coupon code OCTBDAY for an additional 20% off and free shipping! Also be sure to check out through Ebates and you will receive 3% cash back! Hurry before they are all sold out!

New Beginnings for GCFPA


Today I'm packing duffel bags for New Beginnings.

New Beginnings for GCFPA is a non-profit 501-c3 organization that helps provide for the children of the Greenville, SC community placed into foster care. Did you know that there are approximately 30 children that come into foster care each month? That's just in Greenville county! Majority of the time, these children come into care without bringing any of their personal belongings. Imagine getting ready to sit down and eat supper and there is a knock on your door. DSS has just brought you a child and that child didn't come with any clothes or personal belongings. You swallow your dinner and run out to Walmart to find clothes for this beautiful child. The child is so overwhelmed. It's been a long day for him/her and they've been dropped off at a home only to be whisked away to go clothes shopping. It's not an easy transition for them. New Beginnings puts together duffel bags full of one week's worth of clothes and other personal care items for these children. When a child is placed into a home, the social worker will give the foster parent this duffel bag to make the transition easier. The foster parent isn't going to have to run out and go shopping or stress about buying bottles, formula, diapers all at the last minute (which is a huge expense). They can immediately begin the bonding process with the child the moment they step in the door.

New Beginnings can't function without your help. We need clothing donations. We need money to go out and buy duffel bags. We need personal hygiene donations. We need diapers, underwear, and socks. All donations are tax-deductible.

New Beginnings was started in July 2010. To date, we have packed and given 68 bags to children coming into the foster care program.

Any questions please feel free to call 864-918-4213 or email newbeginnings4gcfpa@hotmail.com

Together, we can change heartbreak to hope...touching lives forever.

For more information about the Greenville County Foster Parent Assocation, check out their website here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Deal of the Day


I just bought a box of 144 Count of Huggies Little Snuggler Diapers for $14.18! How did I do it? Amazon.com has the box on sale for $31.97. If you sign up with Subscribe & Save, you get an additional 30% off which drops the price down to $22.38. I had a 10% discount code which gave me an additional $3.20 credit. I applied one of my free Swagbucks $5.00 gift card to make the final total $14.18! You can't beat that for a 144 diapers that will be delivered to my door on Thursday!

Don't forget when you use Subscribe & Save, if you aren't wanting that monthly service, make sure to cancel the subscription once your item has been shipped.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe


Mike has Community Corner at his work the 3rd Tuesday of every month and Coffee Club the 2nd Wednesday of each month. I get to make all the food for these events! I love cooking and baking so it's a lot of fun for me along with trying out new recipes. On the menu for today is Pumpkin Roll and Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. MMMmmmmmm! I love pumpkin anything! I told him to only expect half of the pumpkin roll because the other half I'm saving for myself. LOL

PUMPKIN ROLL RECIPE

Cake Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
powdered sugar (needed for a towel, to keep the cake from sticking)

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for topping

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice.
2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well blended.
4. Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray. (I've noticed that the cake falls out better if you spread butter on the sheet instead of the spray) Pour the batter onto the cookie sheet and spread evenly.
5. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Prepare a kitchen towel be sprinkling heavily with powdered sugar.
7. After baking, turn the cookie sheet onto the towel, the cake should slide out onto the towel. Starting at one end, roll up the cake into the towel. Cool 30-40 minutes.
8. For the filling, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter until well mixed.
9. After the roll has cooled, unroll it and spread the filling evenly. Roll back up without the towel. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until filling is firm.
10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deal of the Day

Check out these adorable children's hats, scarves, and other items. These will make a great Christmas gift and for a limited time, save an extra $10 with code ENJOY10OFF. Be sure to sign up first and then checkout using the code. I just bought my niece a hat and matching scarf for Christmas. One less present to buy! :)

Mandisa - He Is With You (Slideshow With Lyrics)

This is one of my favorite songs from Mandisa! I hope it encourages you today!!

Judgement House


Judgement House will be at Riverside Baptist Church this weekend. Friday, October 22nd - Sunday, October 24th. This will be my first time in a scene and I'm so excited about being a part of this awesome drama! I've heard lots of stories of how exhausting the weekend can be but it's also so rewarding to see so many people come to Christ. If you haven't heard of Judgement House, you can find out more here. Below is the drama we are doing this year.

Web Of Lies.

Well over 200 million people use social networking sites like MySpace, and Facebook and Erica is one of them, unfortunately for her, so is AJ, a father with a checkered past and a double life. Erica finds friendship and a good listener in Reynaldo a Brazilian exchange student and high school soccer player in just such a social networking site. Her new friend would love to meet her in person if she is willing. Most of her friends don't think it is such a good idea, and her parents don't even know she's chatting online with anyone.

With a naive curiosity and sense of safety, Erica makes plans to sneak away from a slumber party once her friends and parents fall asleep and meet up with Reynaldo. She manages to sneak out with her friend Trish, but doesn't anticipate her father, Bill, checking in on the girls late that evening after she has left. Her father quickly finds out about her late night meeting and rushes out to find his daughter before something terrible happens.

Erica finds herself in a familiar pizza restaurant, and in the company of an oddly dressed Reynaldo who is more than happy to offer her the drink into which he has quietly added a common date rape drug. Moments after Erica is finished with the drink, Reynaldo is leading her out of the restaurant, and into the final stages of his dark fantasy, when Bill literally runs into his daughter and her abductor. In the ensuing struggle Erica loses her life, Bill loses his daughter, and Trish loses her double-life leading father to the justice system.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ebates - an easy way to earn cash back when you shop online


One of my favorite things is finding a great deal online. It makes it even better when I check out through Ebates and receive cash back from that purchase. Just this week, I bought a magazine subscription for my friend's birthday. By going through Ebates first, I was able to get $5 cash back! Ebates will tell you what each store gives back to you whether it be 2% or 20% of your purchase. They will also let you know if there are coupons for free shipping, percentage off of your purchase, etc. It's such a great site and so easy to shop through! Check it out today!

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=boL2JADDzU4Orok4yfYIBg%3D%3D

Working Mom vs SAHM

I've been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for almost 4 months now. To say, that it was something I always dreamed about would be a complete lie.

I've always dreamed about having that successful career and making lots of money. I loved getting a paycheck every Friday knowing that I worked my rear off to earn that paycheck. Getting bonuses and earning commissions was like a high for me. I always wanted more money and more responsibility given to me at my job. I loved working overtime hours because it made me feel like I was important at my job and without me, they would be in trouble. I loved being able to take my paycheck and go shopping and buy anything I felt like buying. Getting manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages had become a monthly routine. I loved not relying on Mike's paycheck and just knowing that I had my own "play money" to spend. Looking back, it was a huge pride issue for me. Money and success aren't what is important in life.

Being a SAHM has made me realize that life is short, precious, a gift from God. You learn to appreciate the smaller blessings in life. You realize that all those items you were saving up to buy with the extra money in the bank, is just stuff. Stuff that we don't need to live life with. Sure, it would be great to have the latest and best gadget out there, but really, is it necessary? I've learned to appreciate what I have and to sort my needs from my wants. I've been able to do so much with the "extra time" on my hands. New Beginnings wouldn't of happened without me staying at home. I'm a more positive person without the stress of work. I'm able to get more deals and freebies that help our one paycheck budget. Mike gets healthier meals since I have more time to prepare and cook the meals at home. And the list goes on....

I can't say that I still don't think about the paycheck I don't get anymore. It's a daily struggle that I have deal with. I have to refocus every day on what's important in life. I'm only human, I'm going to worry about meeting our budget with one paycheck, there are things that I'm going to want and have to realize that it's not a need, etc. God says in Phillipians 4:19 - And my God will meet all your needs...God is and will take care of all our needs. I just need to trust in Him and know that He has me being a SAHM for this season in life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What the Heck Are Swagbucks?

Most of you see me posting "You earned X amount of Swagbucks" on Facebook from time to time. Swagbucks is my new favorite search engine. Sign up for an account and use their search engine instead of Google and you will earn points for each search. You can also earn Swagbucks from their daily polls, surveys, and purchases. Once you accumulated x amount of points you can redeem them for great prizes. My personal favorite is the $5.00 Amazon gift card. I've earned three of these gift cards in the last 3 months! Some of you might say, what's $15 extra bucks in 3 months. It was a free $15.00 for just doing my normal daily searches. $5.00 a month can add up to $60 a year! And if you are a college student who is into a lot of online researching, you will earn them faster than I do. It's so simple! You have to check it out and sign up today! Use my link below to help me earn points by referring you.

http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Ashe864

Turtle Brownies

My sister Shannon gave me this recipe and I've tweeked it a little bit to my preference. They are delicious brownies that are perfect for fall!

Ingredients:

1 package of Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup of Melted Butter
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
2 Cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
Marzetti Caramel Dip

Directions:

1. Combine Cake Mix, Melted Butter, and Evaporated Milk
2. Spread half of that mixture in a 8 x 8 pan
3. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
4. Sprinkle Chocolate Chips on top of cake mix,
5. Pour caramel on top of Chocolate Chips
6. Sprinkle pecans on top of caramel. Then place remaining cake batter over the layers.
7. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Why October Is My Favorite Month


October is my favorite month for so many reasons. I love the cooler weather, leaves changing colors, and the smell of fresh air without humidity. Fall was also my Mom's favorite season. One of her favorite places to take us was to Cades Cove which is in the Smoky Mountains. It's an 11 mile loop that you can drive through. Throughout the cove, you will see different historic buildings, an old mill that still grinds fresh flour, gorgeous nature scenery, and so much more. You can see a lot of wildlife such as deer, wild turkey's, groundhogs, and if you are lucky, you'll see a bear! We made so many memories as a family at Cades Cove. Every time I go back, I become emotional remembering all the great times we had. Another favorite reason I love October is because it was the last month that Mom was at my house. Dad and Mom's last trip to South Carolina was October 2008. Mom was just starting to lose energy but it didn't stop her from taking at least a hundred different pictures of the leaves changing color. She couldn't get enough of the fresh air and the fall colors. We took them downtown Greenville for supper at Trio's and had such a great time that night walking around and of course making the special trip to The Mast General Store. The final reason for me loving October so much is this is the month Mike and I got married. I always wanted a fall wedding and we chose October 30th. It was such a gorgeous day, I couldn't of dreamed of it more perfect. This year will be our 6th wedding anniversary. God blessed me with an amazing husband. When Mike first saw me holding a foster baby, he told himself that I would never get married while fostering. Funny how God has different plans for our life, funnier that God had chosen Mike as the one to marry me after him having those thoughts. God has so many great plans for each one of us, we just have to surrender to His will and allow Him to work His plans in us.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homemade Hot Cocoa

My sister-in-law, Tina, gave me this delicious recipe for Homemade Hot Cocoa. I love it!

2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/8 t. salt (this can be omitted)
4 1/2 c. milk 
1 t. vanilla extract
mini marshmallows optional
Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. 
Whisk in milk until smooth. 
Heat thoroughly but do not boil. 
Stir in vanilla.  Pour into mugs, makes 5 cups.

Deal of the Day

My favorite deals of the day were:

Target on Wade Hampton Blvd. - 18 Gallon Totes are advertised at $5.00 each. They are ringing up at $3.12 each!

CVS - Free Colgate Toothpaste - Pay $2.99 out of pocket and receive $2.99 in Extra Care Bucks! If you have a coupon from the Sunday coupon inserts, it makes this deal even sweeter!


My First Blog

Ok, so this is my very first blog post. I'm so excited because it's been something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I can't promise to always have the most interesting topics or a post that everyone will benefit from. I just want to write about life and how you can take time to stop and smell the roses. I hope you become a follower of my blog and together we can reflect on the simple things in life.