January 30, 2009

Yard sale!!!


Its safe to say I’m a little excited. I’m hoping for around $100 or so (I’ve got no big ticket items to sale), but the hubs is wanting closer to $200. I think maybe we’ll make that much if I sell absolutely everything I’m taking for what we’re asking for it.

Let me back away from the excitement for a moment and explain how I’m having a yard sale in January – in 30 degree weather. Twice a year our Civic Center holds a “Second Time Around” sale – an indoor yard sale. Booths are 8 X 8 and cost $15 to rent.

Last fall, I wasn’t able to participate because it was just a couple weeks before the wedding. The particular Saturday of the sale, I was picking up my wedding dress, along with attending a shower in my honor later in the day.

Since I moved into the house, I’ve had a pile of stuff in our library (aka the 3rd bedroom aka the junk room). Quite frankly I’ll just be glad to get the stuff out of the house. A lot of the stuff would have been donated to a thrift store any way.

Also, its not like my time is all that valuable. I gathered the stuff as we both moved (and would have done so any way if donating), it only took me an hour or so to price – which I did on MLK Jr. day. (I spent the rest of that day reading a book). The only think I’m missing out on is a day of cleaning the house, and the dirt will still be there when I get home tomorrow afternoon.

As Americans, most of us have “stuffitis” and keep way too much stuff. What’s the point really? Sell it!

In my area, the consignment stores are starting to make appointments for spring merchinice, so if you’re going to prune your closet the time is now!

For more great Fruday tips, check out Frugal Fridays!

January 29, 2009

Cabinet Hardward

Last week, I blogged about how much I love my walk-in closet. This week, we're moving on to the kitchen.

When Mr. Right and I first moved into our new home, there was no hardware on any of the cabinets in the house.

Since it wasn't a necessity (like say...replacing the refrigerator that the former occupants took with them when they left) we decided to put it on our long range project list.

Last Monday, Mr. Right discovered a web site that sold discount hardware http://knobsandpulls.com/ They had them at a great price, but we were at odds on what color to purchase.

I wanted nickel to match the stainless appliances, but he insisted that an oil-rubbed bronze would look better with the color of the cabinets. After playing around a little on their site (and no, they're not paying me anything for this - I wish they were!) we found some nice pulls in black.

In case the picture isn't clear - neither of us got our wish. Ah the joy of compromise - thinking outside the box to find something you can both agree on. I think the black looks great (still matches the appliances) and he loves the way it looks with the cabinet color.

The best part? We did the entire kitchen for around $40 including shipping.

Installation was a breeze. We received them in the mail late last week, and by the time I got home he already had them installed.

While we're in the kitchen, let me tell you about something else I love. Check out this great recipe I tried last night. I don't follow instructions well, so I only had 8 oz cream cheese, and penne pasta instead of bow-tie. But it was great! :) Thanks Shannon!

For more great lovable things, check out Things I love Thursday over at the Diaper Diaries

January 28, 2009

Fool's Goal

As a newlywed, I expected the 1 Corinthians 7:5 challenge to be easy on me. Only this week – she really hit me where it hurts, myself image.

I’m not an overweight woman, but I do constantly struggle with loving my body the way that it is. Even as a kid, I remember having a “Get in Shape Girl” work out set. I was very skinny – only I didn’t realize it.

I’m still a size two. Well sort of. :P In dresses that flare out at the waist I’m a two. On the bottom I’m a size 8. Its okay – I’ll wait while everyone laughs at the circus freak. My waist is just a tiny bit bigger than the top of my thigh. Yeah, I know that partly means I have a tiny waist. But that also partly means I have huge saddle bags!

I try not to bug Mr. Right with my insanity. He’s repeated over and over that he thinks I’m perfect just the way that I am. Now that could be fear that I’ll go on a diet and make him eat healthy food, but I’m guessing its because he really thinks that.

I’ve tried excercising (dieting never really works for me) but I can’t lose weight that way. I asked my doctor about it, and she said it was just my body. She said that I may never be as thin as my size 4 friends, but that I am healthy and that’s what’s important.

My work offers an employee wellness program. For those choosing to participate, the requirements include 30 workouts in a quarter, and an assessment at the end of the quarter. I was discussing my weight with one of the fitness instructors (who was performing the assessment) and she said that she thought my body could only lose around 5-7 pounds.

That really disappointed me. Rather than take what she said as a compliment (my family insists that she means I don’t have all that much weight to lose) I let it get me down. She, along with my doctor, confirmed that I will never look like I want to look. The best I could hope for would be a bottom that’s two sizes bigger than my top, rather than three.

In the New Testament, Paul talks about being content in Christ. My body is a temple to the Lord and I need to accept it as such. How dare I criticize the master builder’s chosen design?

On Monday, Mr. Right and I watched the movie Fool’s Gold, starring Kate Hudson. While most of Hollywood is slim, she is one of the more noticeably thin actresses out there. I was surprised, as the movie progressed, that there was an actress in the film even smaller than Hudson. And yet somehow, while I watched these two ladies on the TV wearing little more than a bikini, I went into the kitchen and made myself cookies.

While I may never love my body, maybe I can get to the point where I can at least accept myself the way that I am. If I’m good enough for God and Mr. Right, why shouldn’t I be good enough for me?

January 27, 2009

A few recipes

I found the recipes that I didn't post yesterday for this week.

Pizza Bread

I modified it a bit, using a can of pilsbury pizza dough instead of homemade. This is definitely a keeper recipe, but in the future we'll have to make fries or something else to go with it. It just wasn't enough to fill us up.

Sloppy Joe Hot Dish
1 pkg crescent roll creations
1 lb ground meat
15 oz tomato sauce
1 pkg sloppy joe mix
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Grease glass baking dish (9X13)and lay 1/2 the crescent dough in dish. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes.

Brown beef, drain. Stir in tomato sauce and sloppy joe mix. Spoon over crust. Sprinkle with cheese and top with other 1/2 crescent dough. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Game Day Treat

Every Super Bowl Sunday we head over to my uncle's house and watch the game on the big screen. My aunt orders pizza, my mom brings drinks and I bring my world famous chili cheese dip.

Okay, so its world famous because I got it off the side of the can, but still.

1 box velveeta cheese
1 can chili no beans
1 bag of tortilla chips

i typically cut the velveeta up into squares then layer the cheese and chili in the crock pot - a little cheese, then chili, then cheese, then chili.

then i turn it on high and stir every now and then. its that easy.

Head over to Forever...wherever for more Tasty Tuesday ideas! and to Blessed with Grace for Tempt my tummy Tuesdays.

You say you want a revolution...

Each day, my church sends out a devotional message to anyone in the congregation who has signed up for it. These were the words to follow the scripture from Proverbs:

The decisions you make today may not seem as weighty as those of a president, but remember that every choice you make has eternal consequences.

I, as the wife of a non-believer, need to realize that more than anyone. When our pastor council us before the marriage, he spoke with my husband and gave him some reading material (More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell) that might answer any questions he might have about Jesus.

When he came to the end of the book, Mr. Right commented on how perfect that book was in addressing any questions that he had. (Please pray for him as he continues to seek God).

One thing stuck out in his mind though, the author noted that upon his conversion he no longer struggled with sadness and anger. His new life in Jesus meant a new attitude in Christ. And that made my husband worry about me.

He has seen firsthand my ungodly temper, and experiences on too regular a basis that random sadness that I can’t pin down, but just can’t shake.

I tried explaining that God doesn’t magically fix you – but He will help you work through things like that. Instead of seeking His help on those matters, I’ve attempted to go it alone. I explained that the author of the book, once convinced that Jesus truly is the only way, was probably on fire for Christ.

I, on the other hand, am a lukewarm believer that we’re warned about in the New Testament.

There are a few things I need to do (and am working toward):
• Listen to Christian radio.

The local station did Christmas music for the entire month of December, then at the end of the month issued a 30 day challenge. Listen for the entire month of January to witness the positive impact on your life. I took them up on this challenge. In the car driving to and from work the only stations I listen to are the Christian station and the talk radio station (only when Dave Ramsey’s on).

• Pray more.

This was actually one of his suggestions. We sat down to dinner the other night and he asked why we didn’t bless the food. I’m more lax on this when we eat while watching TV. This is the perfect opportunity to ask God to bless my marriage.

• Be more observant about what we watch on TV.

Eat at the dinner table, not on the couch while watching Family Guy. I’ve admitted before – I love that show. Quite frankly I sometimes worry if God’s gonna strike me down as I’m watching it. Is it funny enough to risk my husband’s salvation? Certainly not.

• No more potty mouth.

I actually remember in 7th grade saying my first cuss word. I thought it was clever and funny. If I told you know how hard I worked to get it in casual conversation you would be dumbfounded. The pastor’s message this past week was from James, and talked about how salt water and fresh water couldn’t come from the same source – I can’t bless my God with the same mouth I utter curses with. And it certainly won’t translate into a blessing for my husband.

• Bible study

This is something I seriously slack on. Honestly, its exhausting. I’m not talking about pulling my Bible open to the passage as directed by my quarterly devotional literature. What I’m referring to is going into our bedroom together, pulling out the word of God and reading it as a couple. We typically read several chapters and spend at least an hour discussing questions he might have. I have a time where my non-believing husband wants to learn from the Bible, asks and gets answers to real, honest questions about Jesus and his life/ministry here on Earth. Instead of embracing that time, I don’t do it nearly enough.

If I did all those things, I firmly believe that the change would be revolutionary. So what’s holding me back?

January 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This week I'm going to try a couple of different recipes I've snagged from my bloggity buddies.

Monday: Pizza roll up thingy

I forgot the recipe (with the link to the person I got this from) at home.

Basically just take pizza crust, coat in pizza sauce, add cheese and toppings then roll up and bake. when done, slice.

gonna try it to keep pizza, popcorn, & a movie night from getting boring.

Tuesday: Bacon Bow tie Pasta

Although I'm not sure if I'm going to use real bacon or not. I asked my hubby to fry me a few pieces last night for use later in the week - and he loves bacon too much to "waste" it crumbling it up. "That's what bacon bits are for."

Wednesday: Fet. Alfredo

Had it on the menu for last week, and something else came up instead. Only I can't remember what. I'm sure it was delish though! :P

Thursday: Sloppy Joe Hot Dish

I got it from the Kraft food magazine, but apparently they don't have it posted on their web site. Basically its everything sloppy joe, only you bake it like a casserole with crescent rolls (or crescent creations). This works well in my house, since we rarely have light bread or hamburger buns.

Friday: Fast Food/Canned soup

I'm participating in a yard sale this weekend, and am going to try to set up Friday night. Depending on how long it takes me we'll either come home and have some canned soup or else grab Taco Bell on the way home.

For more great menu ideas head on over to Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday

January 23, 2009

Gotta love those sales!

This weekend is the weekend my family has been waiting for…well at least the women in my family. Twice a year the consignment store in K-ville has their clearance sales. The first week they slash everything to 40% off, then 50%, and the final week of the season everything is 70% off!

That’s right – 70% off consignment store prices!! I typically end up getting tops and pants (brand names) for $2 and $3 each. Sometimes, if I find something I’m really in love with, I’ll splurge and spend $5 on an item.

This isn’t just a sale for us – it’s an event. We carpool and make a day of it. My grandfather went the first year and considered it a “twofer” (a two for one – the first and last time he’ll ever go). Early in our relationship Mr. Right went along with us. He was quite handy to have. He looked for stuff that he would like on me, and he held the stuff that I wanted to try on.

It’s hard to explain, but the entire store is a mad house. Women everywhere, grabbing up clothes, shoes, and handbags that they think they might want. If you’re not quick on the draw (and we’re all standing outside the door 10 minutes before they open) then all the good stuff will be snatch up. You snatch first, sort later.

Then it’s on to the community dressing room. The sale is so big their meager 4 dressing rooms aren’t enough, so they open up their stock room for anyone to go in, and sometimes even it gets full and you have to wait. Nothing like seeing 20 other women in their undies for a boost of confidence.

The community dressing room is also full of honesty. I’ve had complete strangers tell me that a pair of pants is too tight, or that a top just isn’t flattering.

My family usually spends from 10 o’clock to around 2 or 3 that afternoon shopping for deals. Lately, I’ve been the high spender, walking out with around $100 worth of clothing. This is my one area where its difficult to budget. I see all these great things for only a couple dollars and I want to buy them all.

This year, I’m accountable to more than myself (and God) for my spending. Mr. Right and I talked about it last night and I’ve set my budget at $70. I’ve been calculating my “dip money” since we got married. Basically, he wastes $60 a month on smokeless tobacco, and at one point (before we got married) I wasted about the same on fast food.

When he questioned my spending, I told him that was money that I blew, just like he blew too much money on dip. I started tracking my spending (and for weight loss reasons I stopped eating out as much). A friend suggested that I save up the money to buy something really nice. To sort of illustrate a point.

So Repeat Boutique here I come!!!

In other frugal news, I’m very proud of my Kroger deal from last night. I spent $2.05 (including our 8% tax on food in Tennessee and 9.5% on everything else) on the following:

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the link to the Cottonelle coupons, which doubled for free TP!

I was proud of myself coming up with the Quaker Quakes (mini rice cakes) deal – I noticed when I was at the store earlier in the week they were on sale for $10/10 (or for $1 each) and got very excited when I clipped the $1 off coupon yesterday (I was a little behind in my couponing.

The soup was also on sale and I had a coupon, but it wasn’t a spectacular deal - $0.85 each. Mr. Right really likes the soup though, and I wanted something so that the cashier wouldn’t think I was trying to cheat the system by not paying anything. I know what he’ll be having for dinner tomorrow while I’m out shopping!

For more great frugal fun, check out Frugal Friday over at Biblical Womanhood.

January 22, 2009

My closet

I thought about blogging about my home today, and how much I love it. Then I had a better idea - take the house one room at a time, because it really is that great!

Lest you think I'm bragging, we're just renters. Actually I like to look at it as a deposit in Mr. Right's inheritance.

You see we're renting from the Right parents. They are trying to move their investment properties down here so that when they get retirement age they can pack up and join us in the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

Isn't it amazing how God works things out - Mr. Right and I were looking for a home (to purchase) but everything in our price range needed too much work, or was PUD housing that didn't come with any land.

At the same time, one of the Right's properties up north sold and needed to be reinvested down here.

Enter the perfect foreclosure home.

With the perfect closet.

And my perfectionist tendencies...

Leading my wonderful - I dare not call him perfect! ;) - husband to let me have it all to myself.

There are days I get frustrated that my closet causes me more chores - after all its a small room that needs dusted and vacuumed just like any other room. Then the voice in my head says "go sob about that on the internet and see how much sympathy you get."

I love my closet.

And I love my husband for taking the closet in the guest room so I can have this one all to myself.

For more loveable things, head on over to TILT - hosted by Jill at the Diaper Diaries.

January 21, 2009

So...what'd ya think?

not as drastic as i was considering, but all in all i lost 5 inches of hair!

The Hair Cut

Hair cuts are a big deal in my house.

Okay that's a lie.

Mr. Right shaves his head on a regular basis with no drama.

Hair cuts are a big deal to me.

Having always had self esteem issues, I always had my hair to fall back on. I can objectively say I have pretty hair. It is not of my doing, just a blessing of God. I inherited it from my father. Well his side of the family at least. At this point his hair is pretty non-existent.

My sister got my mother's hair. Dry, course, and difficult to manage.

Mine is thick, wavy (but can be easily straightened), and greasy. I should thank God every day for that grease. I don't, but I should.

And I freak out when that hair doesn't suit me. Many a time I have tried fixing my hair the day after a cut only to throw a temper tantrum and beat my hair brush against the cabinet. Seriously. My hair is a big deal.

About a year ago, I had the worst. cut. ever. Seriously. I wanted to dye my hair my natural color, instead it was jet black. Then she went to town "texturizing" my hair. I swear the top layer was about an inch long. Okay maybe not but that's how it felt like.

I walked out looking like Elvira. Without the big boobs.

I cried for at least a week on that one.

Even today I cringe when I have to look at old pictures of it. This was in April, after it had 4 months to grow out.

The top way too short, and the bottom still way too long. Never mind the frizz, please.

I looked for a recent picture of me to show you the "before" of today's cut. Only apparently I haven't taken any pictures in a long time.

I'm not a long hair girl. I've always admired the chicks who can do long hair well. I just don't have the patience for it. For the wedding, though, I wanted to wear my hair back. Mr. Right loves my hair in a ponytail (go figure). So I grew it out. Otherwise, I would have cut that mess off back last winter after the bad cut.

So this "before" is from September. The basic cut is the same, but I'd say the overall length is a couple inches longer.

T-minus 1 hour, 18 minutes and counting.

If you don't hear back from me this week...you know it was bad.

January 20, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - White Chicken Chili

Is it cheating if I double up carnivals?

This weekend I finally tried my sister's white chicken chili recipe and it is delish! :)

My parents, Mr. Right and I went to K-ville after church on Sunday and my parents came back to the house to watch football. I had fixed the recipe on Saturday, then put it in the fridge overnight. Sunday morning I just plopped it in the crockpot and turned it on.

It makes 2 meals for my family of 2, and is about $3 per meal. (That cost goes down if you use homemade broth or boullion cubes instead of canned broth.)

4 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken (heaping)
3 cans great northern beans
2 cans of green chiles
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic (i use tbsp of minced)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

Throw it in crockpot on low for 7-8 hours.

Even my father (who only likes to eat chicken when its fried) said it was good - and proved it when he went back for his second bowl.

For more yummy food ideas, head on over to Forever...wherever! for Tasty Tuesday and Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Snow Day!!

Okay not really.

I had yesterday off because of the MLK holiday.

But I treated it like a snow day. :)

I'm particpating in an indoor yard sale on the 31st of this month, so I spent yesterday morning pricing rummage. I had already gathered it and put it in the "junk room" (note to self: do NOT let that name stick - I want it to be my library), so all that was left was trying to figure out how much it would see for.

Mr. Right said I priced most everything too low. If that's the case - great! It means I won't have a problem getting rid of it.

While he was still in bed I did my Kathy Smith "Latin Rythm workout" tape. I knew he'd make fun of it if he saw it. And sure enough he did.

I spent the rest of the day curled up on the couch reading - I started and finished two books yesterday. It was heaven. I had my window open so I could see the snow fall, had on my flannel pants and a sweatshirt, and was wrapped up in my blanket.

After talking to my parents, they said to call my niece who's 4 1/2. She had called them asking "is there snow in your city?"

I called and when my sister picked up I asked to speak to the Princess.

"do you have snow in your city"

and she starts telling me about how they had a snow day and she made a pig snowman...

(my sister) "ask her if she had a snow day."

"did you have a snow day today aunt buoy?"

"no I had an MLK day."

"no, she had a mlgay day. mama what's an mlgay day?"

As I was fixing hamburger helper for dinner (Mr. Right's request), I told him that he needed to make about $300K a year so we could afford private health insurance for him (think about how expensive yours is, then add a major blood disorder). When he did, I'd quit my job and be a stay at home wife.

I'd have to make monthly trips to K-ville, to the used bookstore though. I can just imagine my day:

Wake up. Do my "you're never going to be that skinny" workout video. Curl up on the couch with a book.

Heat him soup for lunch.

Read another book that afternoon.

Then cook dinner and do dishes.

Read another book that evening.

That'd be the life!

January 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Okay this'll be a quick one since its a holiday...and i'm in sweats watching it snow outside!!!! (no accumulation yet).


Chili Mac (hamburger helper)

Sure I could be more adventurous on my day off, but why? I told Mr. Right what we were having for the week and he picked this for today.

Chicken Fettichini Alfredo

I love tuna helper. I can't remember why I add chicken to tuna helper, rather than buying the chicken helper. But there is a reason, I promise.


Christmas leftover ham

Out of the freezer of course. I'm gonna put it on buns, and toast them with cheese. Will probably do green beans and a boxed potato with it.



A friend gave me this recipe to try and this'll be our first time around with it

1 large can of tamales
1 can of corn
1 can of chili

top tamales with corn and chili, then cover with cornbread and bake.


our veggisaurus meal for the week

Rice & green peppers

A variation of Italian Pork Chop Dinner. Last time we had it, Mr. Right said that he would like it just as well without the meat, so we'll try it out.

My guess is that he'll be hungry just a few hours later, but we'll see.

For more menu plans, check out Org Junkie's site.

January 16, 2009

Mr. Right joins the frugal fun!

Mr. Right picked up the bargain of the century yesterday!

Okay well maybe the bargain of the year, but still...

A co-worker and I had discussed the $1 a pound ground turkey that Kroger has on sale this week. I was excited because ground meat is difficult to find that cheap. When I am able to get it at that price, its typically the 70/30 ground beef in a tube (Kroger calls it “flavor-seal” a nice sounding name for something that means “whatever’s leftover”.)

My co-worker assured me that ground turkey wasn’t all that different from ground beef, especially when you use it for things like chili and spaghetti. She said that she actually liked it better than ground beef. Lower price, better quality – that’s a deal tough to beat.

Since neither Mr. Right or myself have ever had ground turkey, we took a calculated risk and purchased 15 lbs. We use at least 1 pound of ground meat every week, so we didn’t even bother to vacuum seal it before it went into the deep freezer.

Side note: A big thank you to the Right parents for getting us the freezer for Christmas, your generosity has made this all possible.

The day after I purchased all that turkey, the same co-worker came to me telling me about ground beef on sale for around $1 a pound – but not the kind that comes in the tube. Honest to goodness ground beef, packaged on Styrofoam and wrapped in cling wrap. So I made plans to go after work and pick some up. Thankfully I didn’t.

I had purchased a couple of TV antennas for our house, and one was missing some parts. I bagged it up and ask him to return it one day while he was out and about on business related errands. Thankfully he had procrastinated on it, and didn’t get around to taking it back till yesterday.

He called, wanting to know if he needed to buy a new antenna, or if we just wanted the money back on a gift card (the antenna had been purchased with a wedding gift card). I had purchased it for the TV in the man room/office, but we haven’t been up there in over a month to watch TV. “Your room, your call.”

He ended up just going for the refund. And then heading to the meat section to find the sale of the century…okay of the year. He circled around for a few moments and couldn’t find it. When all of a sudden but who should appear…but the Wal-mart meat guy. Turns out, what my co-worker had seen was meat that was going to expire the next day and what she had seen had been long gone with another deal seeking patron long before Mr. Right ever stepped foot into the store.

The ground beef was in 5.5 lb packages and the angel…erm…Wal-Mart employee was marking them down to $4.20 a package. That’s right – Mr. Right purchased ground beef yesterday for $0.76 a pound!! He got all they had, which was two of the 5.5 packages. Then the sweet thing called to ask if he needed to vacuum seal them right away, or if they would save if he put them in the fridge for us to seal together that night.

The temperature that we keep our house, they’d have probably kept on the kitchen counter. But moving right along.

When I got home, I got out our vacuum sealer and bags (thanks also to the Right parents) and wrote the date/product on there, so in a month or so, we wouldn’t have to rely on our memories to know how long they had been in there.

I pulled the beef out of the fridge. “Um…baby, this isn’t ground beef.”


“Its ground chuck.”

“That’s good right?”

“That’s very good.”

Ground chuck for $0.76 a pound. Maybe I should let him do the shopping from now on!

For more frugalness – check out Frugal Friday.

January 15, 2009

Domestic Diva

This past weekend, Mr. Right had to work, but I went out with some friends to celebrate a couple's birthday (his was the 8th, hers was the 13th). Plans for the evening included dinner at a Japanese steakhouse followed by an 80s cover band concert.

Since he and I are on a tight budget, I felt guilty for spending $30 on dinner for myself. I could have saved $6 by getting chicken instead, but then I would have been wasting $24 on a meal I didn't enjoy.

I decided to go ahead and splurge and get the steak. The meal came with a chicken broth soup as well as a salad before the main course was served. I ate all of my veggies (with the help of some dipping sauce) before my steak and rice were done. By the time he served me my steak, I could only eat a few bites.

I was surprised at how much I had left to take home with me, and decided that I could make an entire meal for me and Mr. Right out of it. I got teased a little - because how can you make 3 meals out of 1?

I told them that I would get a bag of stir-fry veggies, boil them, and add them to the leftovers to make a complete meal. If that weren't enough, I would also serve salad with the meal. Thankfully, the birthday girl suggested I saute the veggies instead, and a meal plan was created.

What does this have to do with TILT? I officially love Kroger brand stir-fry veggies now.


I sauteed them in butter, then added the leftovers to get the rice and steak warmed up. Supper was delicious!! I asked Mr. Right what he thought of having it in the future, maybe with teriyaki chicken next time instead of steak. He actually suggested that we just have the veggies and rice.

For a couple anti-veggie eaters, to create a meal solely around veggies (and teriyaki sauce of course) that's a great product! Not to mention a good price - they frequently go on sale $1 each. If I made 2 cups of rice and used two bags of frozen veggies we'd have $2.54 in the meal and plenty left to take for lunch the next day.

Now to price teriyaki sauce at the store...

For more Things I Love Thursday, check out the Diaper Diaries.

January 14, 2009

Veggisaurus Nights

I try to make at least one meatless meal per week - this is more for financial reason, but it also helps us consume far less calories and fat!

This past Monday, I tried a recipe I borrowed from a blogger (sorry whoever you are - I forgot where I found it to link back to you). She called it Cuban Black Beans.

1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 cup cooked rice

then totatoes, shredded cheese, green onions, or sour cream can be used to dress it up a little.

I cooked the rice till it was almost done, then added the black beans (to heat them up) and a can of chili ready diced tomatoes (I don't do fresh tomatoes). I heated my corn separately, because Mr. Right doesn't like corn mixed in with his food [eye roll]. After stirring thoroughly for a few minutes, dinner was ready!

I topped mine with corn and shredded cheese. He just had his beans, rice, and tomatoes with jalapenos.

The meal totaled $2.22, and there was some leftover for my lunch today! To make it even more frugal, forget about the cheese and you have dinner for two for only $1.67!

For more great tips and tricks head on over to Rocks in my Dryer.

"Enjoy it while it lasts..."

I heard that phrase a lot when Mr. Right and I first started dating. Every "monthiversary" he would send flowers to work - each time a different type flower.

Sure, he doesn't do flowers once a month anymore, but since its coming out of our budget I wouldn't want him to! Two weeks ago he actually surprised me with a bouquet after church. "What'd he do?" was the common question when I took them to work.

The thing is, I genuinely have a nice guy. He loves me, and loves doing things that make me happy. As I mentioned earlier in the week, he wouldn't let me do dishes Monday night at all.

Last night, he called while I was in the grocery store and offered to meet me and help me out. I of course messed that up by not giving him my full attention. I was focused on the $0.50 diced tomatoes and ended up telling him I was at Food City instead of Kroger. So by the time he finally go to Kroger I was checking out.

He carried the groceries in and started to pull them away, but because he loves me, he left that job for me. No, I'm not being sarcastic. I'm very OCD when it comes to the arrangement of my canned goods and he knew that if he tried to put them away he would upset me.

So while I arranged the beans and tomatoes (each on sale for $0.20 less than their original price, so I stocked up), he cleaned up the rest of the house. He knows that clutter here and there drives me crazy (because of said OCD tendencies) and so instead of leaving the mail on the bar, he sorted it and put it in the basket.

All of these things may seem very small to you, but I've been careful to let him know how much I appreaciate it. He's not a neatfreak like me. He wouldn't care if paperwork piled up around him. And its not that he's too lazy to do it - he honestly doesn't care if I pickup either. Its just very low priority for him.

But I'm high priority. And doing things that make me smile are on the top of his list.

Isn't he great??

January 13, 2009

First Book of 2009

I finished my first one last night!! :) With the help of Mr. Right.

No, he didn't read to me - not sure how romantic that would be, given the book's subject matter (labor strikes during the great depression).

Last night (as always thanks to Redbox) was movie night. I took the free code and rented Run, Fatboy, Run.

Mr. Right wanted to get straight into the movie, so by the time I got home from the gym, cooked dinner, and we sat down to eat, it was already 6:45. I fixed Cuban Black Beans (will report back tomorrow on the recipe and details - I want to wait to get an accurate cost breakdown), so we were both too stuffed for our tradional Monday night popcorn.

After the movie was over I got up to do dishes. I had ran the dishwasher over the weekend, but hadn't had a chance to unload it. Mr. Right told me to stay on the couch and he would do dishes all by himself.

Now if I would have read this blog 2 years ago I would have thought "big deal, you cooked, he should have cleaned up". But the realities of having a self employed spouse don't work that way. Since he works far more than 40 hours a week, he is often returning clients emails after dinner and can't help with dishes.

I should also say, that he wanted to open his 6 lb can of jalepenos to give his beans and rice an extra kick. I told him that he couldn't use my good plastic storage containers for the leftovers, since I was quite certain the jalepeno twang would never wash out.

After dinner it felt sort of sinful really - me sitting on the couch, reading my book, while he found a home for 5.90 lbs of jalepenos, unloaded the dishwasher, and finished up dinner dishes.

But it was worth it. I finally finished Sea Glass by Anita Shrieve. I started it on our honeymoon over two months ago, and I just haven't taken the time to read like I should.

I've decided to post my reading list (as I complete them) on this blog, that way you guys can hold me accountable. I can be ashamed if I reach March without finishing another.

January 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I'm still on the lookout for something I can fix before I go to work on Friday (or in the breakroom @ work) that Mr. Right and I can eat on the way to his parents house Friday after work. We'll be going as soon as I get off work, so no time to prepare anything (we've got a 6 hour drive ahead of us). Any ideas would be appreciated!

Monday: Taco Dip w/tortilla chips
I can of refried beans on the bottom of a pan
1 lb. of taco seasoned meat is the next layer
1 jar of salsa is the next layer
1 package of cheddar or Mexican cheese is the top layer

Bake at 350 for half an hour or until cheese is completely melted.

Tuesday: Stir Fry
I went to a Japanese steakhouse on Friday and have plenty of rice and steak leftover. I'll add a bag of stirfry veggies, and a salad and we'll make dinner of it. (Makes me feel much less guilty for the pricy splurge that evening.)

Wednesday: Black Beans & Rice
I borrowed a recipe from another blogger on how to make this a little more interesting (including rotel, sour cream & some other yumminess), but I can't remember who's it came from to link back. If you posted about it last week - raise your hand!

Thursday: Ramen noodles
Not all that healthy, but Mr. Right loves them. I put them on the menu because I suspect we'll have plenty of taco dip left and will have leftovers instead. But just incase I do have a backup plan!

Friday: ???

Head on over to Organizing Junkie for more weekly menus/recipes!


This weekend I was convicted by the Holy Spirit 4 different times. In two days. I think I might need to listen up...

My sister sent this link on Friday, but since I can't watch youtube from work I had to wait till Saturday. When I did finally get to see it, I was thankful that I hadn't watched it at work. I cried like a baby. Not sure what I would have done if a customer had walked in right as I started bawling.

The most powerful testimony for me was the woman with MS. To be so selfless and in love with Christ that you would choose suffering in order to lead one more to Christ...

And of course the husband/wife team, who had been praying for 30 years for his salvation. I don't think I'll have to be waiting that long, given some other developments this weekend.

Then Sunday morning in church, the sermon was on prayer. He sited a study where the average Christian surveyed spent only 3 minutes in prayer. Sadly, I'm below that average. How do I expect to be the wife that is the example of Christ, without a daily communication with Him?

Then Sunday evening, we watched a video of the testimony of Don Piper, Author of the book 90 Minutes in Heaven. His testimony, about how his church didn't know he was dead, so they prayed for his healing. And started a prayer chain through out the Houston area.

He also talks of a preacher at the crash site who was told by God that he needed to pray for the victim. He had to argue with the police officer because there was no one injured, the only one hurt was now dead. But God told him to pray for the dead man, so he crawled into the car and started praying...then singing. How startling it must have been with the dead man started singing along!

I don't know about you, but I don't have faith like that. Even though I've seen the power of prayer with my own eyes. I have 5 beautiful friends, each going through their own special stage in life. Yet I don't pray for God's hand in their lives. I have a wonderful husband, on the brink of believing - only I don't fall on my knees and beg God to reveal Himself on a daily basis.

Then last night, Mr. Right was reading a book recommended by the minister who married us, More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. My husband leaned over to me and said that he was worried about me. In the author's testimony he said that his problems with anger and with sadness were both taken away at his salvation. And Mr. Right was worried because I still deal with both of those issues on a regular basis. I had nothing to say other than God doesn't take away our problems, just helps us along if we're willing to work on them. And apparently I'm not.

So I ask for your prayers, for both myself and my husband.

January 09, 2009

Our Honeymoon

Rather than go on the exotic honeymoon that we had talked about (really $6K for a week?), a friend of ours offered us her timeshare for the week and we were more than glad to take her up on it. We ended up staying in Villa Rica, Georgia, a tiny town just outside of Atlanta.

We left Sunday about noon, and checked in just as the sun was setting over the lake – yep, that’s right our free accommodations faced the water. Then we head back out for some dinner and shopping.

Rather than rehashing everything, I’ll spare you (and keep this G-rated) by giving you bullet points.

• At O’Charley’s, I splurged on a Cotton Candy cosmo. They bring the alcohol out and pour it right over an actual piece of cotton candy! It was to die for!!

• Wally World for some grocery shopping. We picked up a couple of frozen pizzas, some cans of soup, poptarts, and popcorn

• We purchased 4 $5 movies to watch during the week.

• We also picked up a bundle of the fire starter logs – you know the ones that are way over priced. As a local you walk by them and laugh, wondering who would be so stupid/desperate to pay that much? Next time remember that some poor guy probably is buying it because the one thing that his wife requested for their honeymoon was a fire to snuggle in front of.

• Walking around the lake till we reached the hiking trail that led into the woods.

• An afternoon sitting on a rock by the lake. He took his laptop (since he’s self employed he had a few business things to see about) and I took the book I was reading.

• Dinner @ local pub. I’d been craving fish and chips for a week or so and I couldn’t have asked for any better. Since I’d had such good luck with choosing the comso earlier in the week, I decided to be adventurous try a St. Patrick’s (Jameson’s, OJ, Blue Curaco). It was yummy too!

• Consignment store shopping. I ended up getting a new pair of dress pants & a new pair of cords and Mr. Right got a dress shirt and a pair of jeans.

• Antique store shopping. I found a gray pearl necklace/earring set that I immediately fell in love with. My husband has two things he wastes money on – his nicotine addiction and me. So even though I would have very few places to wear the necklace in the course in my lifetime, he forked out the $100 because he knew it would make me happy.

• Panning for gold, and walking through the gold mining museum.

• Relaxing in the room and watching cable TV that we never see.

So why am I posting my honeymoon, where I made an impulse purchase on a probably overpriced piece of costume jewelry? Because my husband and I only spent $500 for an entire week on our honeymoon. That includes everything, room, food, gas, entertainment, new to us work clothes, and one pricy souvenir.

My point? Accept gifts from those who offer, and use them to their full advantage. When planning a vacation, its not really about the location. Its about the people who are going with you. Going to a less expensive place will allow you those little splurges that make you feel rich. Going to a more expensive place will have you watching every penny, feeling poor.

For more money-saving tips, check out Frugal Friday over at Biblical Womanhood.

January 08, 2009

Suze Orman Ebook

For a free download of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan, say a big "thank you" to Oprah. I'm not Oprah's biggest fan, but I do enjoy Suze Orman (is it sad that her Saturday night call in show is one of the things I miss about cable) and look forward to reading this book.

My first diet

Since this is my first "Fro" carnival, I thought I'd begin - at the beginning. I was only 7 lbs 6 oz when I was born, but I quickly learned that I liked to eat.

This is a picture of me at 6 weeks old. Yeah, that's right 6 WEEKS!


My family went to Florida for vacation and left me with my aunt (who lives near Tampa) the day they took my sister to disney. I cried the entire time and my aunt (who has 3 children all at least a decade older than me) had no clue what to do with me.

Her neighbor called to see what the commotion was about (yep, I've got that big of a mouth) and suggested they feed me a bananna. At 6 weeks old. I ate it and then slept the rest of the day. My aunt has later said she was terrified she'd killed me.

But thus began my love of food. Shortly there after I was put on a diet. My mom had to give me a bottle of sugar water as a test - if I drank it, I was hungry and needed a real bottle. If I wouldn't take it, I was just being fussy.

I thought it was fitting to share this with you now, given that I have just started diet #815 (high fives all the LOST fans out there).

For more fun stories and pictures, check out We are THAT Family's Fro me to You carnival!

January 07, 2009

Digital TV Switch

I have heard tales of people who live without cable, but I never dreamed I would be one of them. I was addicted to TLC (come on people, who doesn’t love What Not To Wear?), Style, HGTV and just the general convenience of having 100+ channels.

When Mr. Right moved from his apartment into our new home a couple of months before the wedding, I suggested not getting cable installed right away. He would be painting and I would be organizing the place for the first few months.

Once we got his stuff unpacked, we’d be moving my living type items on over, since I wouldn’t need them at my parents’ house. About 6 months before the wedding I moved out of my apartment and back in with my parents to save money.)

We didn’t go out and buy a TV antennae either because we didn’t think the cable fast would last beyond a few months. We got a decent NB C signal and a weak CBS. That’s it. I knew that something would have to give before LOST came back on the air in early 2009 (less than two weeks to go!).

Our revelation happened about a month ago. My father had purchased two converter boxes for the spare TVs in their house (they “only” have two satellite receivers) and said that the boxes were an “all or nothing” kind of thing. Either you got a great picture or a black screen.

Now don't get me started about how the government has bigger problems in this country to deal and shouldn't have wasted precious time on a digital TV mandate...cause seriously, it irritates me.

Rather than chancing that we would be the “nothing” house, I asked if we could borrow a box to make sure we could get a signal. And for that I will forever be in his debt. The converter box has opened up a whole new world of TV for us, and actually gives us a shot at saving $720 a year by not having cable.

Now instead of 1 ½ channels (CBS didn’t come in well enough to count it as a whole one), we get 8 different channels! We get the standard network stations – NBC, CBS, ABC (thankfully, otherwise I would have to spend Wednesday nights @ my parents’ house), CW, PBS, and Fox.

We also get the remnants of the old UPN station (before it merged with WB to create the CW), as well as an additional PBS station called “Create”. “Create” has a fun mix of cooking, and home & garden shows.

I LOVE my converter box, more than I’ve loved anything in a while (except my husband of course). For only $20 out of pocket (well more like “out of left over wedding gift cards”) I get a variety of TV programming ($10 each TV). It’s a Godsend! Well maybe not the CW channel. I think sometimes God has a hand in Family Guy not coming in well enough to watch.

For more great products, check out the Diaper Diaries Things I love Thursday.

Works for Me Wednesday

Just like most everyone, I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. I’ve found a great tool to help me track my daily food intake - www.sparkpeople.com . It will provide meal plans and exercise routines if you want, otherwise you can just use their site to track your progress.

I’m mostly using it for the calorie counter program in the “my nutrition” tab. After each meal, you enter what you’ve eaten into a chart. The chart provides you with the calorie, carb, fat, and protein amounts of your day, broken down by meals.
The site will also set goals for you, calculating how much you want to lose, and in what amount of time.

I want to lose about 10 lbs, so I can have about 1250-1650 calories a day. Yesterday, I was doing so well with the calories (because I was able to track it as the day went on) I had a powdered donut for my afternoon snack – and no it wasn’t cheating! I still came in around 1250 for my daily calories.

I can already tell that its working – I’ve lost a pound already! Of course that could just be normal weight fluctuation, but I choose to be optimistic. Check it out, it could work for you too!

For other great tips, check out Rocks in my Dryer’s Works for me Wednesday.

Edited because I want to lose 10 lbs total! didn't mean to say in a month!

January 06, 2009

Sherlock Holmes on the Case

This past Sunday Mr. Right and I were responsible for bringing snacks to Bible study. There are some ladies (or possibly gentleman) in that class that can really cook. Others are parents of small children, so they go to the store and buy a yummy, calorie filled snack for everyone to enjoy. I don’t have the cooking prowis to make some sort of casserole, nor do I have enough money to buy breakfast at the grocery store.

I decided to keep it simple – homemade biscuits (that I’ve been making since elementary school 4-H) and sausage (that I bought on sale/with coupon even though Mr. Right and I aren’t breakfast eaters). Saturday evening, after getting home from shopping, I started on the biscuits.

The dough was gorgeous – I had added the perfect amout of flour, lard, and buttermilk to make the perfect biscuits. I even considered taking a picture of them, to brag on my blog about how sometimes I could cook well.

I called my mom to ask about baking temp/time, and mocked my sister for not being able to do such an easy task. (Please keep in mind that my sister is a kick “a” cook. I am in awe of her cooking skills, so it amazes me that she can’t do something as basic as a biscuit).

After 15 minutes the top and bottom of each biscuit was brown, but the middle wasn’t done yet. No amount of leaving them in the oven would change that. I took a test bite and it wasn’t soft and fluffy like it should have been. It was edible, and I didn’t have the money in the budget for a plan “b” so I put the sausage between the biscuits and hoped no one would know I made them.

Sunday morning, I got there early. Unfortunately the teacher (also the pastor’s wife) and a few of my classmates were already there. Ginger, possible the sweetest woman on the planet, commented on the fact that the biscuits were homemade. My teacher was amazed “a newly-wed and you’re already making homemade biscuits – I still don’t after 30 years!”

I tried to let them know they didn’t turn out properly – lest they think I was stupid enough to mistake that for a good biscuit. A couple minutes later, a guy in the class scarfed down two sausage biscuits and commented on how good they were. Apparently he’s lived a deprived life.

Mr. Right loved them as well. After class he ate 3 sausage biscuits and 1 plain biscuit. I took them to my parents house (we always spend Sunday afternoon there) and asked my mom what could have gone wrong. She took one bite then spit it in the trash can.

“You didn’t use self-rising flour did you?”

“Um…I don’t know.”

“Well I do. You didn’t.”

“Crap. Could that have been what happened to the cookies too?”

Apparently it was. Because my mother said that with that cookie recipe she always has a problem with the cookies getting to thick to be done all the way through. So it was curious when my cookies flattened instead of rising.
Turns out, I’m not a horrible cook. I just can’t read a bag properly.

January 05, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I've got January taken care of already! :) It'll change somewhat, given different sales or activities that keep us from eating at home. Here's my weekly outline:

Monday: Pizza and popcorn
Since discovering free Monday night Redbox codes, this is starting to become a tradition.

Tuesday: Fiesta Chili Mac

I've modified this somewhat. I just use a box of shells & cheese rather than velveeta and noodles. Also, I leave out the chicken. The recipe is so rich with flavor that the chicken gets lost and is an unnecessary expense.

Wednesday: Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff

I stock piled last time I had several $0.50 off purchase of 3 coupons and Kroger had them on sale for $1 each. Since I don't cook HH as much anymore, they are starting to get close to their expiration date. We'll be eating at least one HH meal a week for the month of January.

Thursday: Cheesy chicken & rice

Friday: Dinner out with friends.

Weekend Shopping Extravaganza

My parents, Mr. Right, and I went shopping on Saturday. First we hit Target and Mr. Right and I spent about $70 in gift cards (we got for the wedding) finishing out things that we need for the house. Oh and buying a really pretty silk dress that I need for the Valentine’s charity event we work every year.

We had about $70 left in gift cards, so we “sold” them to my parents who were purchasing about $80 in merchandise. I felt sort of guilty, since the people that purchased the gift cards wanted us to use them for ourselves. Sure, we could have used the gift card money in the electronics aisle (or on more clothes/shoes) but we’re too practical for that. The only reason we used it for the dress was because I needed something fancy and it was either buy it there (on sale for $20) or else pay cash out of our pocket for it at a department store.

I reasoned that the people who gave us those cards wanted to achieve two purposes – to show us they care by giving us a gift and to help us get our home started. Surely they would understand that we would prefer to use that money on something we actually need rather than just spending it on frivolous stuff to use it at the store they got the gift card at.

As we left the store, Mr. Right and I agreed that we would use that $70 to buy hardware for the cabinets in our kitchen. We looked at purchasing them at Target, but one knob was $4 and a drawer pull was $6. Mr. Right has his general contractors license and knows a store where they are priced for $0.40 each.

Next stop was the mall where my mom returned some Christmas stuff and we all got a pretzel (I was on my 6th so it was free – hurrah!) and did a little window shopping. I found a few things on sale in Express, but after seeing the credit card bill this month with all of Mr. Right’s business expenses, even the sale price wasn’t cheap enough to be able to afford (on something that I really didn’t need to begin with).

Then we headed to Sam’s Club – the reason that we got the trip together in the first place. My mom has a membership, so we always go together and I pay her back. Since Mr. Right and I spent about $85, we just used the money she owed us from Target to call it even. Which means no money in the bank specifically for cabinet hardware, but the Sam’s purchases were things that we needed. The hardware is something we can live without.

• 128 oz of daily shower cleaner spray - $3.50
My dad said this is usually around $2 for a 32 oz bottle at the store. By far the best deal we got.

• 4 boxes Velveeta @ $4 each - $16.00
Our 2nd best deal. I use Velveeta in lots of my cooking, as well as a party favorite (chili cheese dip). Velveeta usually runs $6-$6.50 at Kroger

• Frozen Ravioli - $8.50

Not a huge bargain, but not a bad price either. Its Mr. Right’s favorite dish so I like to have it on hand for special occasions (he’d rather have it then go out to dinner, so for $8.50 I get several “fancy” meals)

• Oxi-Clean powder - $16.50

Maybe we’re just a messy family, but I go through A LOT of stain remover. This way I can just add water to the powder (using one of the extra shower cleaner containers I have). The box of powder will last for ages!

• Orange Juice - $5

I had breakfast duty at church yesterday morning (another blog on the matter to follow), so I had to get juice. I bought it there because it was a decent price and I didn’t want to make another stop.

• 6 lbs Jalapenos - $6

Impulse buy made by Mr. Right. They are pickled, so they should last a while in the fridge. He said that he was glad that I did the shopping; otherwise our budget would be out of control from his impulse grocery items.

• Italian seasoning - $4.25

I make pasta salad a lot using Italian seasoning. This was a much better deal than the smaller containers that are sold at the grocery store.

• Irish Spring soap - $8.25

Another of Mr. Right’s purchases, one that I almost immediately regretted. Sure we have 20 bars of soap for that amount, but Walgreens has them cheaper this week AND I have a Walgreens gift card that I could have used.

• 5 cans chicken - $10

I’ve tried baking chicken and then chopping it up for recipes that called for pre-cooked chicken, but most of the time it just ends up chewy and flavorless. I won’t use it often (its not as healthy nor is it budget friendly) but its nice to have on hand.

January 02, 2009


Thanks to Candace over at Mama Mia, I found out about a resolution give away being hosted over at burbmom.net.

All you have to do is post about your resolutions (or else just comment on her blog) for your chance to win!

My 2009 Resolutions:

*Lose 11 lbs by June (my birthday

While I have 11 lbs to lose, its not going to be easy. I haven't been that small in about 10 years or so, and its been put on gradually. I'm not sure I really have the motivation either. I'm not overweight, just over what I'd like to be. And Mr. Right of course thinks I'm fine the way I am so no encouragement there!

I did find a site (from a fellow blogger on Wednesday - now I can't remember who, sorry!) where you can track your meals and your excercise. WWW.Sparkpeople.com. No quessing about calories consumed/burnt. Just enter what you've eaten and it does the math for you!

*Open a Roth IRA

This is something I have been working toward for a while. Mr. Right likes the VanGuard Roth the best, and you have to have $3K to invest. While that doesn't sound like a lot, I've paid for a wedding and merged budgets with a real estate agent. Right now a cushion emergency fund is more important, but I hope he does well enough that we can have both.

*Have weekly (indepth) Bible study with Mr. Right

How should I expect him to learn if he's never presented the material?

Happy New Year!

If what you’re doing New Year’s Day is any indication (as tradition says) of what the following year will bring, I can look forward to the following:

*fighting with Mr. Right
*snuggling with Mr. Right
*cleaning the house
*chilling on the couch watching TV
*trying to avoid making dinner, then making something super quick/easy
*being depressed
*being hateful to my mom
*feeling incredibly loved
*Chuck marathon!
*falling asleep in Mr. Right’s arms

I have absolutely no trouble believing that all of those things will continue as the New Year progresses.

P.S. – Yes, I am a very moody person. No, I have no clue how Mr. Right puts up with my mood swings.