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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Earth Fare and Ingles Sales Week of February 23 - March 1

So my weekly food and household budget is $150 a week.  Guess what I spent this week??!!  A total of $98.06!  I'm so excited to have bought everything I needed for meal plans this week and some for next week and to keep it significantly under my budget!  I have a $5 off $40 coupon for Publix that I may try using on Saturday.  I'm running low on laundry detergent so if I can find the coupons and sales, it might be a good time to stock up since I have extra room in the budget this week.
 
I forgot to take a picture of my first trip to Earth Fare this week.  Receiving the $7 off $30 coupon was as exciting as someone handing me a $100 bill.  I love coupons!!
 
My first trip to Earth Fare I bought Happy Cow milk and butter, local farm fresh eggs, 3 bags of organic pasta, Applegate deli ham, 1 yellow onion, 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper.  My total was $26.08 and I saved $8.83.
 
My trip to Ingles totally made my day.  I was so excited with their awesome BOGO deals and I saved more than I spent!  My total was $44.82 and I saved $47.24.  My favorite deal was the dishwasher detergent.  It was one of the BOGO deals and they had 50 cents peelie coupons on the box which doubled making the detergent only $1.37 a box! 
How awesome is that? 
 
My second trip to Earth Fare I spent a total of $27.16 and saved $8.50.  It was mostly last minute ingredients for a yummy bean dip tomorrow for supper and then condiments for a cookout next week!
 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Warm Weather = Park and Friends Time

I'm all about this gorgeous warm weather we've been having the last week!  Bradley and I have been able to have lots of play dates with our friends.  Our favorite park is the David Jackson Park off Hwy 101.  The playground is just the right size for Bradley and they have bathrooms very close by for all those in the potty training stage.  The park has a great walking track and well maintained baseball fields.  It is really a beautiful park!
 
He LOVES the slide!

 

First time on the monkey bars and he did awesome!

He was so proud of himself for hanging on without me holding him!
 
The park has a perfect size climbing wall for toddlers.
 
He had to do this all by himself.

Almost there! 

 He did it!!
 
This will probably be the last picture of him in a baby swing.  He has discovered the big kid swing and now only wants to swing like a big kid!  My baby is growing up....:(


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Remembering my beautiful Mother

 
This is one of those days words just don't come.  Only memories and pictures in my head of my beautiful Mother.  This video captures every ounce of the beauty my Mother had, both inside and outward.  I miss you beyond words Mom!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Our Weekend Project

We don't have a lot of cabinets in our kitchen so I was very excited to find this hanging pot rack on sale on Amazon.  My husband and his Dad installed it on Friday night.  It looks gorgeous!  I'm so happy with the way it looks and I'm happier than I can finally stop storing pots and pans in my oven!  It won't be quite a chore to pull out pots and pans every time I want to use the oven. 
 
I love how Bradley went to get his own tools so he could help!
 
Figuring out which way it hangs.
 
Bradley made a great supervisor! 

When Mike was in the attic getting the support ready, Bradley asked what all that noise was.  I made the mistake of telling him "those are the monsters in the attic".

The look of concern over the monsters was hilarious!

Looking up at the ceiling waiting for the "monsters".

 
Three generations and their hard work!

I love LOVE love it!!!


Menu for the Week of February 24 - February 28

We have a lot going on this week and our schedules are going to be hectic.  If things get stressful, I know I have these ingredients on hand and my menu in place to whip these meals up quickly. 
 
Breakfast
Biscuits & Gravy
Cheesy Eggs
Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal (recipe coming soon)
Cereal
 
Lunch
Leftovers
Cheese Quesadillas
Grilled Chicken Wraps
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Lunch with a friend
 
Dinner
Chicken Pot Pie
Grilled Chicken Strips & Sautéed Veggies
Homemade Pizza
Chicken Enchiladas


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Baked Cinnamon Donuts

 
I love fresh hot cake donuts!  And I love donuts that are "healthier" because they are baked and not fried.  This is a great recipe and super easy to make.  I bought my donut pan from Amazon and you can check it out here.
 
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
 
Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Ziploc bag
 
Directions
In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  In a small bowl whisk together egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla,  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
 
Spoon the batter into prepared, greased donut pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

While donuts are still warm, drop into Ziploc bag with topping ingredients and shake.  Set on a wire rack and allow to cool.
 
(I also put powdered sugar into another ziploc bag and made 1/2 the batch of donuts in powdered sugar instead of the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)
 


Friday, February 21, 2014

Publix, Ingles, Earth Fare, and CVS Deals Week of February 16 - 22

I added a Publix stop this week since I received a $10 off $50 purchase coupon in the mail.  I couldn't pass up $10 savings on groceries!  I went over my grocery budget this week.  I spent a total of $170.43.  Can I blame it on the diapers I had to buy for Bradley?  I'm ready for him to be potty trained!
 
Publix - $40.70 and saved $31.58.  I took advantage of several of their BOGO specials.  The bacon, orange juice, and strawberries are for Growth Group supper.  We are having breakfast for supper at our next meeting!  I got up to the register to checkout and my total only came to $47 so I had to add in 3 packs of gum as filler items so I could use my coupon.
 

Ingles - $53.41 and saved $21.94.  Stonyfield yogurt was on sale 10/$5 but they were out of stock on most of the flavors.  I'm hoping Bradley will eat peach and black cherry.  I was very happy the Bailey's coffee creamer was on sale 2/$6 because I was completely out. 
 
Earth Fare - $43.33 and saved $8.87.  The organic oranges were free with a $10 purchase.  Earth Fare brand organic pasta was on sale 3/$5 and grass fed beef for $5.99 lb.  Skippy All Natural Peanut butter was on sale for $2.67 and organic toaster pastries for $3.  I picked up some King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour to make my own Grape Nuts next week.  Recipe will be posted next week if it turns out!

Bradley LOVES his own grocery cart at Earth Fare and is such a big helper!

CVS - Spent $22.99 and saved $34.16 and received $5 in a CVS gift card and 75 cents in ECB's.  I picked up a pack of Pull-ups and we are going to attempt potty training again next week!  Any comments on how to succeed would  be greatly appreciated!
 
I had Mimi pick up a gallon of milk and cottage cheese at Happy Cow Creamery when she went earlier this week.  $10 total for those items.  I didn't get a chance to take a picture.
 
I'm not going to stress over going over my budget this week especially there are items for Growth Group meals on Sunday nights.  $43.89 this week was spent on items just for the meal on Sunday night.  I think feeding 20 people on Sunday night for under $50 is great!
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Latest and Greatest in Bradley's World

I never knew how much I could love a kid.  Bradley has me completely wrapped around his finger and I would do anything for him.  He is becoming very independent and saying things like "I do it myself".  He said "Oh crap" the other day which I actually thought was pretty cute.  (Moms, please don't hate me for letting my child say crap.)  He loves to sing but the minute you turn on the video camera, he'll stop unless you do some major bribing.  He is really into airplanes right now and talks about having an airplane birthday party in June.  This kid has such a tender heart that he actually cried (heart wrenching) the other day when he told me he didn't love me.   He was upset with me for not getting his way so I really think he was trying to hurt me with his words but it ended up hurting him more.  I love this kid so much!  I can't believe 10 years ago I never wanted my own kid!
 
He's all about guns and this Nerf gun is almost as big as him!

Tree Climbing with PopPop is the best!

Who needs pants on when it's this warm outside?

A stick and a bird bath...that's all a kid needs to have fun!

And let's try putting cars up the gutter...

These PopPop moments are priceless!   

He's starting to like his stuffed animals and will play "zoo" with them.

He was tucking all the animals into bed.

This kid can't get enough of the outdoors. 
He's always asking to go play outside.
 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our Trip to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC

After being snowed in for 3 days we needed to get out of town on Saturday!  We chose to go to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia which is about 90 minutes away.  We've only been once to that zoo and only had an hour visit there so we weren't able to see much.  I was very impressed with all the great exhibits they have and the variety of animals.  I love my Greenville Zoo but the Riverbanks Zoo definitely has a lot more to do!
 
First stop was checking out the adorable koala bears! 
 
I really wanted to take one of these snuggly bears home!
 
This outdoor room was really cool where we got to walk inside with
 the birds flying all around us. 

Bradley was very hesitant about touching a bird.


Bradley was disgusted with the gorilla eating food and then spitting it back up. 
He would say "that's nasty".

The gorilla is my favorite animal to watch.

This big guy was in a bad mood. 

Bradley thought this little elephant was so cool.

Elephants are one of Bradley's favorite animals.

Giraffe Time!!

 
This was the perfect spot to take a picture in front of the giraffes! 

Lizards...ugh!

The boys loved the reptiles.
 
They were very fascinated with the aquarium.
 
Lunch time at Indoki Pizza!
 
This little guy loves his pizza!
 
And soda is a real treat!  I love how Bradley calls "Coke" soda. 
a Northern term which is so odd for a SC boy.
 
He was showing off his loud lion roar!

This guy was about the ugliest creature I saw.

It literally walked up to the fence and squirted "fluid" on the people
standing beside me.  It was so gross!

 I love family outings!
 

Zebras are always cool to watch.
 
 

I loved this Jersey cow. 
It reminded me of Dolly from the movie Anne of Green Gables.

 Ostriches!
 
This one kept eating bugs out of the dirt in front of us. 

Bradley was terrified of the goats! 
Mike snapped this picture at the perfect time!

Extremely smelly flamingos.

Back to the reptiles...we visited this building twice!

He was so cute stopping at each exhibit and carefully looking for the creatures.
 
Kangaroo time!

It was very cool how we could walk into their cage too!
 
Bradley loved these and ended up choosing a stuffed "Joey" to take home with him.

The Grizzly Bears were busy snoozing.

Bradley thought touching the turtle was very cool!

This little hideout was pretty neat.


Back at the gorillas to say goodbye.

Giving the baby lion a hug!

I'm pretty sure he would have taken this home with him.

My two favorite people in this world!