August 02, 2011

Maui Day 3

Hey yall!  Just wanted to let you know I blogged about our Maui vacation today on my new blog.  Check out Maui Day 3!

Also if you've included me on your blogroll, you might want to double-check that you've got the new domain.

Thanks guys hope you're having a terrific Tuesday!!

June 27, 2011

Today's post

apparently the google reader in my side bar is just for looks and isn't publishing in your google reader yet.  hopefully Jay will get that working soon.

June 23, 2011

We have a winner! & Random profound thoughts

What to do: make you sit through my random thoughts or go ahead and get the give away stuff over with???  hmmm...

hurrah the pictures are working!!  now look at the pictures and read along with yesterday's post to humor me.  mkay?

yall are too good to me!

i was so proud to have pictures to go with my random blog and incredibly bummed when they didn't work!

Okay so now that I've gotten that out of the way - time to give away a book about s-e-x!!  Into the candy jar every one's names go...okay not that one, its still dirty.  Eww!!

I'm stirring them up good I promise!!

And the winner is...Amy!!!  Expect an email from me shortly.  Congrats.

Okay, now on to my ramblings.  Hmm...what was I going to say?  I remember it being quite deep and thought provoking.

Speaking of, Marla (the author of said book about s-e-x), is having an interesting discussion on her blog today.  Actually I think I'll just copy/paste my comment.  (Subject being saving for the future vs giving it all to benefit the kingdom now.)

i have mixed thoughts on this subject. In some ways saving is important, even spiritually. This is a lame example but its the best I have so it’ll have to do. I’ve gained and lost 15 pounds and fluctuated 3 sizes. I held on to the different sizes not knowing where I was supposed to be.

then one day God spoke (he borrows the voices that are already in my head – he’s the one that suggests things that i don’t wanna do ) to me and said “give them up.”

me: what if i need them again?
God: you were able to get those, you can get more.
me: but I don’t wanna!

in the end i boxed them up and took them to a yard sale. there was a girl there (who i knew previously) who needed them, but she also needed to talk to someone who understood. she was less monetarily poor and more poor emotionally.

had i never purchased those pants, or gave them away too quickly I would have missed this appointment God had set for me.

God didn’t want me to just drop my pants off at the local thrift store. He wanted *that* moment.

I don’t think having stuff is necessarily wrong, but we must understand that they (or it if we’re talking money) isn’t ours. And if someone asks us for all of our size 8 pants we ask if they needs skirts too.

I just hope that in asking me to give away my 8s He allows me to fit into my 6s

Unfortunately I don't think my heart is always that open, my mind in communication to God.  I want to get there again.  Stay there this time. 

I know I've said this before, but God has incredible things in store for my life if only I'm willing to unclench my fist long enough for Him to give it to me!

June 22, 2011

This is how I roll

Sure today is check in day at the Sisterhood

Yes this is a quasi-post about just that.

Burst Into Summer Challenge

See - I even used the button.  ^^

I'm up a half pound today and am thrilled about it.  I ate 3,000+ calories yesterday and am still suffering a bit from beer bloat.  Only a half a pound is incredible!

Wanna know why I'm struggling with this weight loss thing?  Slip on these size 9 narrows of mine and take a little walk.

Yesterday I got up early to run before work so that I could help Jay with an errand for the cabin at lunch.  Breakfast was fine, as was morning snack.  As I tried to eat my lunch before I left to pick him up, I just couldn't force myself to eat it.  Chipotle lime chicken with rice. 

Might as well have been a stale saltine cracker.

You see for over a year now I've dazzled my taste buds with exciting cuisine: chips and salsa followed by a chicken chimichanga with refried beans at the Mexican restaurant, pizza and bread sticks galore at the Pizza Hut buffet, and whatever my mom and I decide we're craving on Fast Food Friday.

So instead of eating the chicken and rice, I rebelled.  I did finish my salad, but I threw the rice away and put the chicken back in the fridge.  Then after Jay and I were finished with the errand we stopped in Rotten Ronnie's for a burger, fries, and a hot fudge sundae (I'm a $1 menu shopper).

After a dental appointment, Jay and I met his cousin and wife at our favorite local restaurant for dinner.

{insert picture of 33 oz Black Bear Ale here} *

Beer, wings, and pizza was the order of the evening.  Followed by a little mini-golf.

{insert putt-putt picture here}

Around hole 16 it started thundering.  By my turn on hole 18 it was pouring the rain and me (and my Ann Taylor work clothes) were drenched.  We retreated inside to the arcade.

{insert picture of Big Chad playing a hunting game here}

Jay & I hated to waste money on tokens, but I did bust out a few mad skeeball skilz.

{insert skeeball picture here}

So you see, with all that fun and excitement - how do I expect to lose weight?  I'm certainly not going to be the girl who sips water and eats a salad while everyone else dives in to the fattening yummy food.

*I'm highly annoyed with blogger right now.  Its not loading the super cool awesome pictures I wanted to show you.  So that's it for blogger.  I'll announce my ebook winner here tomorrow, then Friday I'm moving over to my new wordpress site.  Hope you'll join me there!!

June 20, 2011

Guess what I saw this weekend...

This weekend Kirsten & Co dropped by for a visit on their way north.  While they were here we went on a short little hike.  She's been driving practically daily since they left Nevada over 2 weeks ago (with 3 children) so a good hike was just what they needed.

As we headed toward the park, traffic was stopped. 

We hadn't even gotten into the National Park and already a bear jam.

This was a big ole bruiser.  Remembering of course that I always use a zoom and never get that close, but still he was closer than I felt comfortable.  I snapped a few pictures then hopped in the driver's seat so Kirsten could take some pictures with her super duper camera.

I stole this picture off Jay's facebook, but will share the rest of the pictures from our trip when I get unlazy a chance.

What excitement did you have over the weekend?

June 19, 2011

They're Playin Our Song!

Let me just start out by saying, we can be an unorthodox family.

No clue why my father felt the need to try on the Little Man's 'boggin, but we're all a little crazy like that. 

When we hired the photographer and DJ for our wedding back in 2008, I let them both in on surprise for my dad for which I needed their help. All along I told him we weren’t having a father/daughter dance.  Those are always to corny songs, none of which seemed to fit our relationship.

But as soon as Jay and I finished our first dance as a married couple the DJ moved right along in the music.

When Daddy heard Butterfly Kisses start playing you could see the surprise and delight in his eyes. He started crying immediately. I grabbed him and hugged him tight because I knew what was coming and couldn’t control the laughter.

He looked confused at the record scratch then the familiar stoic opening. “He had plastic bags wrapped ‘round his shoes, he was covered in the evening news...”

Everyone told me that I couldn’t play a song about a homeless guy at my wedding. The only problem was that Almost Home by Craig Morgan is our song. My father is a sap who cries at everything. So when the song came out in 2003, he cried every time he heard it.

And being a good daughter, I mocked him every time. Whenever I hear it on the radio, I quickly call him, turn up the radio, and put the phone up to the speaker.
I knew it was the perfect choice for our father-daughter dance.
It was everything I wanted it to be.  Touching, memorable.  But most of all real.  I love my Daddy, but not in a way a sappy "Daddy hung the moon" song can convey.

To honor him this Father's Day, I'm playing the world's most depressing song on my blog.  After all, its so much more than a song about a homeless man. 

It's our song.

June 16, 2011

A Husband's Guide (& a Giveaway!)

I feel like Sally Jesse Raphael this morning because we're going to talk about S-E-X today! 

Okay so not really, but I'm enough of a prude to feel weird writing this blog.  My bloggy friend (I can call her a friend cause she responds to my comments right?  Thought so) Marla Taviano just wrote an ebook about the subject and ask for a little help getting the world out.

Her book (and web site) The Husband's Guide to Getting Lucky was just released last night.  Ordinarily this isn't a topic I would discuss in polite company, but I respect Marla and, while I haven't yet read the book, trust that she handled the subject in a tasteful and Godly manner.

Her previous book From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife has helped me tremendously in the area of loving my husband well.  (Jay might not think so - but imagine how it'd have been without the book!)

Marla took a few moments to answer question about the book (and herself) for this post:

1. What led you to write this book?

Well, I do like to write about sex. It's kind of become "my thing" over the last few years (along with zoos and Cambodia and Scrabble letters--I know, what a random collection, right?). Everybody likes to read about sex, but not a whole lot of Christian authors are brave enough to tackle the topic. So, it was kind of easy to find my niche.

I never thought I'd ever write a book for guys though. In my experience, guys don't read books. We'll see if they prove me wrong.

2. Who is the target audience? Can women benefit from reading it? How about a non-Christian man?

Husbands are my primary target, but women can absolutely benefit from reading it (and I imagine a lot of them are going to want to take a peek). They can also benefit from their husbands reading it.

You definitely don't have to be a Christian to enjoy this book. It's not preachy, and I try to steer clear of Christianese. However, my faith colors what I think/feel/believe about sex, so that's going to come through loud and clear. But if a guy is worried that the book will be stuffy or boring, he need not fear.

3. What's the single most important piece of advice you'd give married couples?

Figure out your spouse's love language (the way he/she interprets and receives love) and love him/her that way. In other words, if your wife's love language is "words of affirmation," shower her with genuine verbal praise whenever you get the chance. If your husband's love language is "acts of service," find out what he'd most like you to do for him and do it.

A lot of the miscommunication in marriage stems from the fact that we don't understand how our spouse wants to be loved. That and we're too selfish to follow through on it. (I know I'm guilty!)

4. What's your favorite kind of ice cream? (obviously not related to the book, but everyone loves ice cream!)
Are you sure everyone loves ice cream? Because, sadly, I don't. If you were going to force me to eat some, I'd pick some kind of coffee flavor or black raspberry chip. But ice cream isn't something I'd pick out of a line-up of delicious food. I'll take some nachos though!
Thanks Marla for answering my questions, although I do have to question that respect I was talking about earlier.  I mean who doesn't like ice cream?!? She does redeem herself offering a copy of her book to one lucky reader of Smart + Strong = Sexy

I've got some changes in store for my Smart + Strong = Sexy readers in the next week or so.  For one entry (mandatory) comment on what you'd like to see in the new blog.  Something you'd like to see change or perhaps a regular feature you don't want to see go away.

+1 Tweet about this giveaway
+1 Post about this giveaway on Facebook
+1 Follow me - wherever I shall go ;)

UPDATED - Giveaway ends next Wednesday at midnight.  Winner will be announced on Thursday.

Disclaimer: Amazon Associates affiliate links were include in this post.  Clicking thru and purchasing benefits this site.  Who am I kidding - I am this site.  Click thru and I get more books.  Thanks!

June 15, 2011

Burst into Summer - Week 1

Today is the kick off of the Shrinking Jeans burst into summer challenge.  Once again its a team challenge, so I'm hopeful to have the support and accountability of not letting my team down.  (We're team 8 and so far I've only "met" one of my teammates).

Burst Into Summer Challenge

Honestly I'm really not sure what else to say on this post. I'm at the same weight as last week.  I tried taking my measurements last night, but I think I did it wrong.  (I was under the influence of Benadryl.)

To say much more would be to regurgitate posts from the past.  I'm sick of being here but I can't get myself to do anything to change. 

How's that for the shortest check-in post ever?

June 14, 2011

Book Review - Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World

Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World is Dr. David Jeremiah’s follow up to What in the World is Going on? While his first book is (obviously) a “what” book, Confidence is more of a how book. Dr. Jeremiah lays out a plan of action regarding how Christians should react to the trouble times we are living in.

I struggled with this title. I’ve had the book for several months, yet I just finished it this week – reading it off and on over the course of the months I’ve had the book. For me it was difficult to really engage and get into the book. That’s probably more my fault than the author’s. This title was chosen because the author is well respected, but its not a subject I’m terribly interested in. I’m more of head-in-the-sand kinda girl.

His points were clearly laid out, and someone interested in world affairs might find the selection impossible to put down.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure #2: Amazon Associate links were included in this post.  If you should click through and purchase this book thanks to my glowing review, this site may be compensated.

June 13, 2011

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 4Kay - Race Report

This past weekend I had the pleasure of walking the WBHOF 4K for Kay with my mother.  The race is held every year in honor of Kay Yow, former NC state women's basketball coach, who died of cancer in 2009.

We arrived 30 minutes early to get registered and settle in. 

I made a point to have my camera there for pictures.  I rarely get good race photos and knew that walking this one meant I had a better opportunity.  We posed for pictures before hand, but my dad said we were smiling too big in the pictures.  This pose was especially for him.

We made our way toward the back to get in position.  I hate getting stuck behind walkers when I'm trying to run a race, and I think we did a great job picking a spot this time.  We were out of the way of the runners, but positioned in the front of the most of the other walkers.  As we crossed the start line, I noticed our cheering section going wild.

That's my dad in the brown t-shirt and Jay in the WV hat.  That's as wild as they get.  My dad has made us travel all across the country visiting other sports hall of fame's, but had never visited this one - despite it being right next door.  The HOF was open (and free) so Jay and Daddy took advantage of that while we raced.

One of the few walkers we didn't get in front of at the start was the 92 year old man who set a state 5K record the last race I did.   His 5K time was better than my parents' 5K PR.   "We have to beat him!"

That's right, our main goal was beating a 92 year old.  Our secondary goal was beating the pace my parents walked the Covenant 5K last year.  She's sworn since the race that she could have done it faster but that Daddy was dragging her down.  This was her chance to prove it.

We  talked with a couple of other walkers as we went. Its a family thing - we can't not talk.  Even to strangers.  Its the south though, everyone down here is use to it.  :P

My mom wanted to jog a time or two, in an attempt to catch up with the walker-walker and by the turn around spot we caught him.  I'll admit that there were a couple times on the way back in that we might have said "I hear the wheels of the walker - let's jog!"

I was really proud of how hard she pushed herself (or I pushed her and she let me) this race.  Its her first since her surgery earlier in the year and she did a great job.  We stayed together until the end.  It was a non-chipped/shoot finish so she had me go slightly ahead of her.

We finished in 36:30 by my watch - that's a sub 15 m/m pace! We definitely achieved both of our goals for the race.  Then it was time to head inside for the award ceremony.  No shock that we didn't win, but I was surprised to find out our rabbit didn't win the 80-99 age group.  Apparently there was another 80+ man in the race! 

You know I can't pass up an opportunity to cheese for the camera!

After the awards we hung out so that we could meet/get autographs of the Hall of Fame class of 2011.  In the bottom level of the HOF, they have a "past, present, and future" interactive section.  "Past" has an old school hoop (complete with net that doesn't release the ball), "Present" a standard basket, and "future" is a lowered basket for kids.

Since the other two were taken, Jay and I shot on the "past" hoop.  Given the nature of the net, Jay got a to use his vertical skills - hitting the ball out of the hoop backwards with each made shot.

Then it was time for autographs.

To be honest, I don't follow sports much so I didn't know any of these ladies.  It was still fun meeting them all and getting my bib signed.

All in all it was a great race/morning!

Did you race this weekend?

June 10, 2011

Frugal Friday Fun!

Okay so I threw the "fun" part in just to sucker you in.  Did it work?  Mhahahahahahaha!

I think we're doing pretty good on the budget this month, although we did splurge on a dot com that I hope to introduce you to in the next few weeks.  I'll be saying goodbye to blogger for greener pastures, but I promise to leave enough bread crumbs so that you can still find me!

Brooke's personal spending:

$125 budgeted/$25.26 actual

Doing well on this!  I can continue spending at this rate (about $18 a week) and still have $45 left!  I'm mulling over a clothing revolution for I'm thinking of early registration for a couple of races I have my eye on.  The month is still young, so something could come up.

Jay's personal spending:

$95 budgeted/$0.54 actual

We got 3 more BP gift cards for $10, so I gave them to Jay and reduced his spending by that amount.  He must have at least used 2, because 4 cans = $10.27.  That means he's purchased 8 cans for the month?  That can't be right.  Hmmm...maybe a couple of charges just haven't shown up yet.  (He typically uses a can a day.) 


$150 budgeted/$130.42 actual

There are a couple of things factoring into this one, so I'm not going to spaz.  We've got plenty of food on hand, so I might be able to stick to the budget.  Jay cooked me a super awesome birthday dinner including steak and chicken, so it wasn't exactly frugal or best price.  But it was yummy. 

Eating out

$100 budgeted/$0 actual

We went out to eat this weekend with my parents but they bought my dinner for my birthday and they wanted to buy Jay's too since he's been helping out so much with the garden (my dad's shoulder still isn't back up to snuff since his surgery).

This weekend we're staying in (as best I know) so we shouldn't spend anything.  I hope to go under budget on this one, but we'll have to see.  As I've said the month is still young.

How are things going with your budget?

June 09, 2011







These are all things that should describe my life.  That do describe my life to one extent or another, but not the way they should. 

I've been ingesting a lot of non-fiction lately.  Most in the form of audio books so I'm not sure it could be considered "reading".  Not really self help, but not exactly Bible study commentaries either.  Books about spiritual topics, no doubt, but more of a "How to live well" theme based heavily in Biblical principle. 

My currently title of choice is Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  Its along similar lines of Radical by David Platt.  The bottom line is that the church in America has gone off course.  We - the church - don't understand what it means to be followers of Christ.

When asked for a bare bones gospel - Jesus was able to reduce it all to 2 sentences:

1) Love God.
2) Love your neighbor.

Where in that does it say "love yourself?"  Why are we, as a culture, so caught up in ourselves?  I'm not saying we should insult or hate ourselves.  No where in scripture does Jesus put Himself down or encourage others to do likewise. 

I'm just starting to realize that maybe starting with trying to love ourselves isn't the best tactic.  I know that's not a popular idea in the age of everyone borrowing the airlines "put on your own masked before helping others" line.  Somehow we made the analogy that that pricey nail polish = oxygen for our souls.

For those who don't believe, loving God isn't exactly applicable.  (Although one of the points Chan makes is that God appreciates those who don't pretend to believe far more than those of us who give Him lip service but don't follow through with our actions.) 

Loving our neighbor, however, is universal. 

Do you think Mother Teresa had "fat" days?  Do you think she looked in the mirror and did daily affirmations so that the size of her thighs didn't bother her?

What about Florence Nightingale?  How often do you think she worried about getting a mani/pedi?  Or struggled to fit into her skinny jeans?

Or if Lottie Moon ever broke down macronutrients

Sure those are ridiculous examples.  Because we, as a nation/generation are ridiculous.  Sure Ms. Moon weighed 50 pounds as an adult woman, but not because of any diet plan.  Unable to bear the suffering of others, she gave away her money/rations so that others might be have the nutrition they needed.

How great would I feel about myself if at the end of the day I know I've given all I've had to help others?  Wouldn't my pant size start to matter less and less, as I poured myself into the lives of others, making sure to meet their needs? 

In light of a world full of starving people my "McDonalds vs Brown Bag" debate seems trivial.   Sinful even. 

People are dying every day.  The battles of eating disorders and suicide plague our nation while starvation and poverty over take others.    All are tragic.  All are unacceptable.

I don't have the power to change the world, but I can change someone's world.

But first, I have to stop this obession that causes me to focus on myself.

Lord forgive me!  Turn my focus from myself and toward you.  Help me to love you with the depths of my heart and to share that love with those around me hurting.  Amen.

June 08, 2011

The Birthday Report

Side Note: I just wanna ask if those of you with blogger comments (not the kind like mine, the other kind) that comments aren't working for some of us.  I haven't been able to comment on your blogs in a couple weeks.  Not sure why they aren't working, but its not just for me - others are having issues too.  Obviously others are not, as I see comments on your blogs I just can't leave them.  I am still reading - and I wanted you to know that.  Hopefully the issue will be fixed by Blogger soon.

Birthday Post: 

I believe most of you are aware because I shouted it to the world that yesterday was my birthday.  I'm a big kid when it comes to my birthday.  I'm selfish enough to love all that attention.  And pressies.  I love pressies.  It doesn't even have to be something big - when we've decided not to spend money on gifts, I still make Jay buy me something at the dollar tree.

My birthday really started on Saturday.  I had some friends over for game night to celebrate a friend's birthday (hers was the 1st) and my upcoming.  Had hot dogs on the grill then played several rounds of croquet.  (Sorry I don't have the pictures to share.  Will post on facebook...eventually)

Once it got dark (and our headlight round was done) we moved inside and hooked up the Wii.  "Just Dance" is my personal favorite, and Melissa & Jimmy  have both editions.  She snuck our air down to 72* and we danced our booties off.

Then ate cookie cake.  The best cookie cake in the world.

Sunday my parents took me out to a really nice restaurant (I'm pretty sure its just a local chain, not nationwide) for dinner.  They came back to the house afterward and my mom planted some flower bulbs out in the big flower bed out front.

Monday...okay so Monday I didn't do anything for my birthday. 

Yesterday was the big day and I was a bit nervous.  After all I hadn't given Jay any parameters or lists or ideas.  How would he do at pulling things together? 

Before all this my friends and I went to Little Tokyo for birthday lunch.  The Hibachi chicken was good, but I had to wait a little longer than everyone else to get mine.  The chef accidentally gave my portion to another family sitting at the same table as us.

Just as we were finishing up the lights dimmed and the restaurant employees started singing "Happy Birthday" they cook a cake to a little boy two tables away.  My friends apologised, not realizing the restaurant did that for birthdays.  They made up for it with cake and ice cream later in the afternoon. 

On the way back from birthday lunch I got a text from Jay asking if a joke was okay for my birthday as long as I knew it was a joke.   Checking my email, I discovered (what I thought) he was talking about.

We live in the land of tacky t-shirts.  Jay's office is right around the corner from this one.  I've joked in the past that I was going to get Jay this shirt.  His email informed me that they didn't have any of the female version of the tee available yesterday. 

Right before I was going to leave work - I noticed Jay commented on my blog.  "I am screwed."  Its hard to know with him.  Sometimes he messes with me and makes me think he hasn't done anything when he really has.  Other times he really hasn't done anything.  Its hard to tell with him. 

On the drive home I was told to drive around a bit while he got everything ready.  I browsed in Family Dollar for about 10 minutes then he told me it was safe to come home, just call when I got in the driveway.

He came outside to greet me and made me close my eyes as I entered the back door.  He guided me through the hearth room and sat me down at the table.  "Open your eyes..."

If you can't read them the book title is "Your big fat boyfriend: How to Stay thin when dating a diet disaster."  The koozies say "Don't look at me - that's not my kid." and  "Don't make me unfriend you."  What can I say we're a classy couple.

Jay said he'd get the pizza rolls cooking, but then had trouble locating the cookie sheet.  "Come help me look," he said.  As I walked into the kitchen I told him they were in the dish  washer.  Only they weren't.  3 plates were missing as well.  None of the rest had been put away.  Also?  I noticed a wine glass on the cabinet and the door to the glasses (we always use cups) was partially opened.

"Where could they be?  Come help me look."  He led me into the dining room where we found the cookie sheets...and a spectacular dinner awaiting us.

He'd fixed steak, BBQ chicken, corn, and red skinned potatoes all on the grill.  Who knew he knew how to cook those things (but you'd better believe that knowledge is the best birthday gift of them all).  He'd opened a bottle of wine and already had a glassed poured for me.

To be honest, I expected some sort of middle ground between pizza rolls and this feast.  Burgers on the grill or something.  The meal was incredible!  Who knew there was more?

Along with the daisies I'd requested (in a round-about way via twitter) he'd found a really pretty purple flower to go in the bouquet. 

And of course, there were 3 wrapped books on the corner of the table, but I was fairly certain those came from the Dollar Tree where he had purchased my other goodies as well.  He wrapped them using newspaper and glue, since he couldn't find the tape.  Unwrapping them I noticed he'd done a pretty good job on titles.  I don't recall them, but they all seemed pretty interesting for $1 books.

In the final book I opened I found something else - I guessed (because I always guess my presents - that's half the fun) that it was a gift card.  Of course I was right, but I was blown out of the water when Jay told me what it was for - a manicure, pedicure, and a 50 minute massage (gratuity included). 

Let's not tell him that I would have been thrilled with one or the other, m'kay? 

Disclaimer: This blog contains an Amazon Associates link.  Clicking + buying = kick backs for me. 

Consider it a belated birthday gift. 

June 07, 2011

A Confession of the Obvious Sort

I'm a control freak.

There I said it.  Now that its out there let's let it marinate for a moment.  I like control to the point that when not in control, I flip out a little.  Guess what?  Life's about 85% impossible to control, hard as I might try.

As a perfectionist, I have high standards.  Seldom do I live up to these standards, but they are there none the less.  They are not just for me - I hold my family to these standards as well.  Care to guess how often they live up to them?

Last year I turned 30.  I wanted a fun birthday party to chase away any "holy crap I'm officially old" vibes I might have been feeling.  Instead of leaving the party planning to my husband, I took care of it.

What kind of lame loser throws themselves a birthday party?  A control freak terrified that her husband is going to screw it up that's who.

I chose the guest list.  I planned the menu.  I even made sure the house was immaculate before the guests arrived.  Thankfully I had some friends step up to the plate, quite literally, and help out by bringing side dishes.  Jay was the grill master and took care of the hot dogs. 

And there was cookie cake.  I will always be friends with Melissa no matter what she does because she makes the best cookie cake ever.

If I do say so myself, I was an excellent party planner/hostess.  I had a great time, and it seemed like everyone else did too.

Which causes me to question my decision for this year even more.  I've given my husband no instructions other than he's responsible for dinner tonight.  He's received no birthday wish list.  No ideas from me on how he can make this special.

I've given up control.

I realize now that I'm not dictating his every move, he has the chance to blow me out of the water.  Make this birthday the best ever.

But in the back of my mind I still question my decision.  What if dinner is ramen and my gift is something from the dollar tree?  What if the bottle of wine I put in the fridge this weekend is the best part of my evening?

This once, that's a chance I'm willing to take.

After all - you only turn 29 once twice  3 times in your life.

No pressure Jay.

(I'll report back in tomorrow.)

June 06, 2011

Fun with Frugalness

That makes me sound so dullsville doesn't it?  Oh well - you know you love me!

Over the holiday weekend I went Sams Club shopping with my parents and grandparents.  Yes I'm that cool.  We always get the jumbo beverage for $0.87 and then troll for free samples.  Worst case scenario we hit up the $1 slice of jumbo pizza afterward.  Thankfully we were able to save a buck and fill up on samples.

There were a couple of noteworthy deals that I wanted to high light from this trip. 

First I have a story to tell you.  A story of an office thief. 

Picture it - SuperBooville - present day.  A young super hero keeps creamer in the office fridge.  She notices one week after purchasing a particularly tasty creamer that the fullness level seems to be going down at an alarming rate.  Is she drinking more delicious coffee than she realizes?

Then one morning she opens the fridge - and notices the creamer is gone.  A quick glance in the trash can shows the fate of the bottle.  Someone has emptied it.  Super Boo might not be the most sane in the world, but she certainly doesn't finish things and forget about them.

Someone else was using her creamer.

Someone else had the gall to finish her creamer.

Fast forward a few months.  Our super hero has switched to plain ole half and half.  One afternoon she goes into the break room to prepare her afternoon snack and notices a creamer, her creamer, on the counter.

Upon further inspection the creamer is warm.

Someone has used her creamer.  And not refrigerated it properly.

This time our super hero is hopping mad.  Who chronically steals someone else's creamer?  Sure there is some share-age when someone for gets theirs, but it certainly shouldn't happen on a daily basis without a prior discussion between both parties.

Who is so blase with their theft that they don't even bother to cover there tracks?

Why does any of that have to do with a trip to Sams Club? 

A fellow coworker had suffered a similar fate and suggested to our super hero that she look into the individual serving sizes.  They don't require refrigeration, and are therefore easier to hide from unnamed assailants.

(not sure why blogger isn't showing the picture rotated - i have it saved correctly before uploading).

At $0.04 a serving, I can definitely justify the expense.  I'm Our super hero is set for a while.

Moving right along to a less bitter subject - Barbecue pork.  Summer in Tennessee is hot.  Summer in the BJay household is hot.  (We keep our thermostat up to keep our electric bill down.)  I try to cook as little as possible.  One great way to do this is pork BBQ. 

I fix the meat in a crockpot, then get to freeze the leftovers.  Imagine my joy when I noticed this in the Sams Club refrigeration section.

(the coffee cup is for size reference)

I ended up dividing 14+ pounds into 6 servings.  This past week's round of BBQ had more than enough for freezer leftovers.  Which means one day later this month I'll be pulling the pork out of the freezer, heating up a can of green beans, and warming up some corn on the cob for an easy meal.

Do you have an easy ideas for summer food that won't heat up the kitchen?

or if you want to go deeper...

What petty/seemingly inconsequential type thing really makes your blood boil?

June 03, 2011

Financial Friday - May close out, Hello June!

Hopefully tonight (after we go to the pool) Jay and I will have our month end/month begin budget meeting.  I know - Dave Ramsey would yell at me - June's should be done before the month begins.  If that's the worst I'm doing wrong I'm in good shape.

Eating out -  ??? budgeted/$156.89 actual

We were bad.  Not sure why May's meeting never happened.  Cannot let that happen for June.

Groceries - $200 budgeted/$263.03 actual

Jay and I discussed this one because he wanted me to stockpile and thought that a $200 budget for the entire month would be sufficient.  Not so much. Honestly though now we don't have much room for me to buy more, although that's party because of a Sams Club trip.  I got outta there for under $150.  That's  doing well right??

Brooke personal spending - $125 budgeted/$124.51 actual

I'm good. 

Okay not really.  Jay said I only had to count 1/2 of my thrift store purchases out of my personal spending, and my parents ending up springing for my usual Friday lunch this past week.  The goal for June is to keep it down to $100 to prove to myself that if I get a smart phone the extra money out of this category won't hurt.

Jay personal spending - $85 budgeted/$101.66 actual

Tsk, tsk, tsk!!  We'll discuss tonight if the extra comes off the top of next month's budget. 

We got to pay extra on our mortgage this month, so I'm really hoping that will help me get more focused in my efforts.   Although I hope Jay doesn't let that stop his generous heart when he goes birthday shopping for me! 

Have you completed your budget this month?  What's your biggest struggle?

June 02, 2011

Wanna see a bear!

I will never forget the day of my wedding heading in to Cades Cove (in the National Park where the ceremony took place) my dad shouting at the window to cars stopped in the street "If you wanna see a bear go to the d*mn zoo." 

That's one of those family moments that gets funnier with age.

What can I say - we're a family of crankies.

(That's my dad's brother.  We go to his house every Super Bowl.   One year he went on and on about how he hated Cades Cove and would never go back again.  Jay and I just started laughing - while we weren't yet engaged we knew we were headed that direction and had already discussed getting married in the Cove.  Uncle David not only went back to Cades Cove for the wedding, but went a week in advance to get some good video footage of the leaves during peak season.  He was our videographer.)

Moving right along...

Memorial Day weekend had perfect weather for putting the top down in the Jeep and riding around.  Jay was armed in the front seat with his camera, and I in the back with mine.

As always we stopped at "our" church for pictures.

Don't ask me why Jay didn't change out of his church clothes.  We both packed shorts and a t-shirt because we weren't going home after Worship Service.  He told me not to nag him about it, that he was comfortable.  But its weird right?

My mom would probably kill me for posting this picture.  Good thing she doesn't read my blog!!

Our first wildlife spotting of the day.  Jay was afraid that we wouldn't see anything because we were driving the loop in the heat of the day.  Thankfully that wasn't the case.

I love this picture of me.  I look skinny or something.  :P

Could it be??? Is it??  It is - a bear jam!!

As always please note that I used the zoom on my camera.  Getting too close to bears (especially like this mama who's cubs weren't very far away) kills people!

Then it was time to dip our toes in the creek and read the Sunday sale paper.

Yes - he has a shirt that says "I'm bringing Grumpy back."

The family photographer loves playing with the settings on the camera.  Good thing one of us is good at that kinda thing!

Some one's not happy that he's missing his Sunday afternoon nap!

How'd you spend your Memorial Day weekend?