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 hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your stories with me as well.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Be Still

Lately my life kind of feels like the picture above.  Bradley decided it would be fun to dump out all his toys and just have piles of chaos on his floor.  I couldn't help but think how that picture of chaos is exactly how I feel inside.  I've been searching for so many answers, finding my purpose, and just hanging on to the hope that God has something wonderfully planned out for me.  I'm new at this SAHM thing and as much as I adore playing cars with Bradley and fixing gourmet meals for Mike, I still find the need to search for more purpose.  I'm used to the role of WOHM, fostering multiple children, and tending to Mike and Bradley's need.  I know how to play the role of Super Mom.  Life is easier for me when the calendar is full of appointments, schedules, and chaos.  This peace and quiet....I'm not sure how to get used to. ( I know a lot of you would probably pay to be in my position right now.)  We are all created differently and God gives each one of us a purpose that only we can do for His glory.  Finding that purpose is what is more difficult.  It's not like God sends our written plan for life by email.  We have to dig into His word, spend time talking to Him, and just be still.  He will eventually unfold the answers.  I love the song below as it reminds me to be STILL.  God is King over my life and He's got this!

Burt's Bees Summer Grab Bag

My Burt's Bees Summer Grab bag came in the mail today!  God knew I needed a pick me up today and sent the most perfect item to put a smile on my face.  This a great deal from Burt's Bees.  All these items for $25....normally a $70 value.  Some of the items I'm keeping for myself and others I'm going to put back for gifts.
Here's what was in my grab bag:

 super shiny shampoo with mango
gud vanilla flame body butter
gud orange petalooza body butter
milk & shea butter hand soap
green tea and lemongrass hand soap
cranberry & pomegranate body bar
gud pearanormal activity hand cream
gud floral cherrynova body mist
two soothing apaisant lip balms
radiance eye cream
radiance lip shimmer
lip balm holder
Don't forget to check out through Ebates to get 3.5% cash back!


Grandpa's Lasagna Recipe

I am blessed to still have one of my grandparents alive.  Grandpa Goodman is one of the sweetest men you will ever meet.  He has a heart of gold and a quiet sweet spirit about him.  Bradley got to meet his great grandpa back in June for the first time.  It was so special to see the instant bond between them.  My favorite dish that Grandpa always made us each summer was lasagna.  No one could make lasagna like Grandpa did!  I'm so happy he shared his recipe with me and I can't believe I'm sharing it with the world today.  But delicious food shouldn't be left as secrets.  Everyone deserves a bite of this delicious lasagna!

Ingredients for Sauce:
1 pound of ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound can of tomatoes (I normally used diced)
1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
Ingredients for Cheese Mixture:
2 12 ounce containers of cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon oregano

Cook beef, onion, and garlic until meat is browned.  Drain.  Add tomatoes, sauce, parsley, sugar, salt, and basil.  Heat until boiling.  Simmer uncovered one hour.

In a separate bowl, mix cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and oregano.

Cook one package of lasagna noodles.

In a 13x9x2 pan, layer noodles, sauce, and cheese mixture.  Repeat.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until bubbly.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Make Someone Smile Today

My friend, Dana Rongione, is currently raising money to publish a new book, The Delaware Detectives: Through Many Dangers.  It's a mystery novel for kids.  Help make her day brighter by contributing to this campaign.  You can donate as little as $5 and you'll get a copy of the book for your Kindle or Nook!  I promise....it will make her smile and you will feel better by doing so! 

Ingles Grocery Store Sales Week of July 28 - August 3

Ingles had a couple of great sales this week.  There were several things I had to buy that I didn't have coupons for so my total was back up to $100 but I still managed to save almost half my grocery bill.  My final total for 47 items with coupons was $107.00 and I saved $50.63.  A couple items that were great deals were the Angel Soft toilet paper for 10 cents, Dawn dish detergent for 50 cents, Mr. Clean for $1.68 and Bounty napkins for $1.88.  They had Harvest Farm steaks on sale for $4.20/lb so I picked up several packages of steak.  I also picked up the items to make egg rolls that were on sale for $3 and the cream cheese was on sale for $1.50 to make the cheese wontons.  So our supper will cost a total of $4.50 for the yummiest egg rolls and cheese wontons ever.

Monday, July 29, 2013

CVS Trip Sales Week of July 28-August 3rd

I had a much more successful CVS trip this week than last.  I didn't even post my picture and totals from last week because I was so discouraged.  The cashier forgot to take off 2 coupons which totaled $5 and I was too intimidated to go back into the store to tell her.  Yes, I have those days where I feel insecure and my confidence level is at zero.  Anyway, this week's trip was much better planned and I had my 2 year old as backup to boost my confidence.  LOL
I actually didn't pay anything out of pocket because I had received a $25 CVS card from my credit card company.  That was an added perk to this trip!  My total after coupons and ECB's was $16.32 and I saved $49.23 and received $8.50 back in ECB's!  Yay for a successful trip!

Our Weekend Recap

We had another great weekend together as a family without any written agendas or things we had to do.  The rain held off for most of the weekend which we all appreciated very much!
On Friday night we went to Furman University for our nightly walk. Furman has such a gorgeous campus and we always have a great time there.  We walked about 5 miles around their lake and part of the University campus. 

One of my favorite streets to walk on!
Bradley wasn't in the mood to smile for the camera.
He loved "quacking" with the ducks!
On Saturday morning, Mike and Bradley hung out in the garage fixing our bikes while it was pouring rain and I stayed busy in the kitchen baking.  I made 6 jars of strawberry jelly,
4 loaves of Georgia Peach Bread, Rice Pudding, and Chocolate Chip Cookie dough.  It was a perfect morning!  The rain stopped so we were able to take Bradley to the Greenville Zoo.  I love our local zoo even though most people would say that it's not worth your time.  We don't have a lot of animals there and it's a small zoo but it's perfect for a 2 year old!
Visiting the red pandas
Bradley made friends right away with Mr. Elephant.
These monkey were a hoot to watch!
Being entertained by the monkeys
 He was more interested in looking at the lions in the next exhibit over.

These lions definitely looked like they woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  They were very ferocious looking!
Another great adventure at the Greenville Zoo!
On Saturday night Mike and I were able to go on date night to Tablefields, a local restaurant, and then to the movies!  It's always nice to have a few hours alone with my husband to talk about our future, dreams, and just have fun!
On Sunday we had a nice lunch at Panera Bread after church and then the best Sunday afternoon nap ever.  I packaged a few items I sold on Ebay while Mike went swimming with Bradley.  We made homemade pizza for supper and took a 2 mile walk and enjoyed the last of our weekend.  Thank you God for my family and the wonderful weekend memories!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Georgia Peach Bread Recipe

I had bought several pounds of peaches last week and needed to use them up before they turned bad.  I found this amazing recipe online for Georgia Peach Bread and it was fantastic!  It's definitely a keeper and we'll be using this recipe often.
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups pureed peaches
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter until light. 
Add eggs, vanilla, and peach puree and blend well. 
 Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended. 
Pour into two greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes, or until a
wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Let bread cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. 
Cool completely on wire racks. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Splishing and Splashing = Summer Fun

Bradley is a little fish when it comes to water.  He loves to be splashing and jumping in pools, bathtubs, rain puddles, any type of water that he can find.  Swimming lessons for him will be on the to do list very soon!
Being patient as the pool fills up with water. 
Splashing is so much fun! 

It's a little colder than he thought it would be.

Finally stopping to pose for 2 seconds.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Safe" - My song for the day

My family is going through so many changes right now that some days it can be very overwhelming.  My heart hurts a lot lately trying to figure out life and the purpose God has for me.  I love this song and how it reminds us that God is holding me in His arms and I can rest in the peace that He will be with me in whatever situation I'm in.

Carver's Orchard & Apple House Restaurant

We recently made a trip to TN and made a lunch stop at a place recommended by a friend.  Carver's Orchard & Apple House Restaurant in Cosby, TN is almost like a Cracker Barrel but oh so much better!  It's like you're going to Grandma's house to fill your belly with yummy goodness made with extra love.  It's like walking with Grandpa in his garden watching him pick vegetables and hearing him tell you all sorts of fun stories. This place puts Cosby, TN on the map for sure!

There is nothing like homemade chicken n dumplings with
mashed potatoes and green beans!  

Bradley was all about their apple cider!  It was so delicious!!
Of course, we had to hit their candy store after lunch.  They have the most delicious homemade chocolate covered cherries and peanut brittle. 
Completely out of this world, melt in your mouth chocolates!
So many different yummy flavored ciders!
Delicious homemade jellies, jams, and apple butter!
How awesome would a tomato sandwich taste with these gorgeous tomatoes?
There's nothing quite like a piping hot fried apple pie!
You have to make time to walk around the peaceful orchard!
Carver's Orchard & Apple House Restaurant is definitely going to be our new all time favorite must stop at this place on our future trips to TN!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crazy 8 Coupons 20% Entire Purchase

I have two coupon codes for Crazy 8.com.  They are both 20% off entire purchase.  The first code is 11F01ZSTCA90983 and it expires on September 2nd.  The second code is 12MBY8PVCU89875 and this code expires on September 30th. 
They have some nice sales going on right now so combine the 20% off the sale priced item will get you a great deal!
If you use one or both of these codes, please leave a comment so the next person won't waste their time trying to use it.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Recipes and New Ingredients

So I've been on a roll watching the Food Network Channel lately.  I've fallen back in love with Giada at Home and Barefoot Contessa.  Tonight I'm making a new dish called Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Basil Sauce.  I'll be honest and say it was my first time ever buying couscous, garbanzo beans, currants, and I had to ask for help on what crème fraiche was and where it was located.  This is a good experience for me to venture out and try new recipes.  I can be pretty picky with food but watching Giada make these gorgeous stuffed peppers made me want to be just like her! 
Thanks to my sister-in-law, I'm going to be better about stocking my fridge with fresh fruits and veggies.  One of our local produce stands offers THE BOX, which is $15 for an assorted box of fresh fruits and vegetables.  I pick up mine tomorrow!
I'm really excited about the new recipes and new foods our family will be trying in the next couple of weeks.  I might just change my mind that eating new foods can be fun!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pampers Rewards 15 Free Bonus Points

Use code PAMPERSREWARDS1 to receive 15 points to your Pampers.com account. 
This code expires on August 4, 2013.

Green Bean Tator Tot Casserole....It's What's for Dinner Tonight!

My friend, Bridgette from Blessings Multiplied, gave me this recipe several years ago.  It's a super easy recipe and more than likely you will have all the ingredients on hand. 
I made a small change to the recipe and made homemade hash browns to go on top
instead of the tator tots. 
Brown 2 pounds of hamburger in skillet and then drain.  Pour 26 ounce canned cream of mushroom soup on top.  Spoon into bottom of a casserole dish.

Take 3 cans of green beans (drained) and layer on top of meat mixture. 
 Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Layer homemade hash browns or tator tots on top.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

You can add another layer of cheese for all of you "can't eat a casserole without cheese" lovers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Our Weekend Recap

We had a great weekend despite rain and thunderstorms.  Rain has become normal weather for us lately and I've finally accepted my bad hair days.  Thankfully we still found things to do while dodging the raindrops.
We went to Legacy Park in Greenville on Friday night.  This park is so sweet and fairly quiet.  It has two great playgrounds, one for older children, and one that is perfect for Bradley's age.  They have great walking paths and my favorite swings to sit and relax!

On Saturday night we went to a Greenville Drive Game with PopPop and Mimi.  Thank you to Wood Creek Dental for the free tickets!  We had awesome seats and the rain stopped just in time for us to enjoy the baseball game.  

On Sunday afternoon we went to Campbell's Covered Bridge and Poinsett Bridge and we waded in both creeks.  Bradley actually went sliding down the rocks at Poinsett Bridge. He loves water and is a daredevil wanting to try anything and everything.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Great coupons for New Moms or Baby Shower Gifts!

Here are some great coupons to use for some baby products for the new Mom!  These codes will allow you to get free product but you will have to pay shipping and handling charges of around $12. 
Use code MFFAUGCC at CarseatCanopy.com to get a free car seat canopy of your choice!
Use code MFF407UC at UdderCovers.com to get one free nursing cover!
Use code MFF407SS at SevenSlings.com to get a free baby carrier!
Use code MFFAUGNP at NursingPillow.com to get a free nursing pillow in any print!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The latest and greatest in Bradley's World

It's hard to believe how fast Bradley is growing up!  It seems like every day he is learning a new word or showing off a new skill he has.  He has the sweetest voice and the most tender heart.  I love that little fella with my whole heart and can't imagine life without him!

 He loves water and getting wet however and whenever he can!
 Such a great helper!
He loves playing with cars and lining them all up!
 We took him to his first movie....Despicable Me 2.  He lasted about an hour.

This little guy could read books all day long!

Bradley's first train ride.  I think he
 liked the train whistle we bought him afterwards
 more than the actual train ride.

Wading in the creek at Cades Cove in Townsend, TN

His latest thing is taking all the pillows in the house and laying on top.