Thursday, May 27, 2010
I hate driving at night, I would much rather drive through the day, but Kale loves driving at night because there is less traffic! Its great to be on leave, its nice knowing that we don't HAVE to do anything...but of course, we've barely seen each other today!
Kale woke up early to go to the DMV to get the "needs contacts" removed from the back of his license since he got LASIK. So the Naval Hospital gave him some letter saying that it was okay...of course, the DMV required their own form. I thought he was just out of luck, but not the case! He went to the VA Medical Center and they completed the form for him, and now he is the owner of a brand new license...
As I type this, he is out to lunch with his best friend Katie, then is going to go to Lowes to try to figure out how to make a little fence to keep the dogs in...you see, my parents have a huge fenced in yard...but my tiny little pups fit right through the fence...so now we need to come up with plan b, because we have chased them around the neighborhood one to many times!!
One of Kales favorite things of coming to Erie has to be getting to drive my Mom's birthday present...
Tomorrow I am hoping to have a more "relaxing" day...I feel like when we go to visit anywhere, its always so hectic...that is why I am so excited for the Bahamas, we will have no one to visit, no running around...just plain relaxing!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Well, Kale is officially on leave for the next 13 days!!! So we are loading up and heading for the first chunk of our trip...
Off to Erie PA we go...12 hour drive, with both the puppies! Coop is a rock star when it comes to traveling, he is awesome!
Cujo on the other hand, my poor little Cujo...he gets car sick after about a half hour so its always a long trip with him...
We will be in Erie until Tuesday morning when we will head back here only to jump on a plane to Louisiana on Wednesday!
I hope to update yall on our travels!
*The picture of Coop was his first car ride ever, so sweet...and the one of Cujo is how he travels, he likes to be in his own area!*
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
THANK GOD I DID!!! I am now the proud owner of 3 crock pots and am actually hoping to get one more in my arsenal! Normally when people see how many crock pots I have, they give me a weird look and go "WHY?", um...why not!! I can use my smaller one for a side dish and one of my normal ones for the main dish, and if I'm feeling really ambitious, one for dessert!
Why do I love my slow cooker so much? Oh let me list the reasons...
1. I just dump the ingredients in the pot and that's it...i spend about 15 minutes TOPS putting it together then, the crock pot does the rest of the work!
2. We eat early in my house, by the time the boys get home from work around 5, they are starving...so when I was getting home from my internship at 4 so I would come in from an exhausting day then immediately have to start dinner...I was so crabby! So, after dinner the night before, I would get the next days dinner ready in the crock pot stoneware, throw it in the fridge then head to bed...that next morning I would wake up, take the stoneware out so it can come to room-ish temperature then get ready for my day! Then right before I walked out the door, I would turn it on...NO MORE RUNNING AROUND TO GET DINNER READY IN TIME!
3. Using the slow cooker forces you to meal plan! I mean, its not like you can run out after work to get the ingredients for your slow cooker recipe, you need to already have it, thus you would have needed to PLAN for it, which we all know is a very simple way to save money! (If you don't know, I got a little blog writing happy and wrote a big thing on it... )
4. You can use cheap cuts of meat...even the toughest cut of meat will be absolutely delicious after cooking all day long...Kale HATES pork chops, but stick them in the slow cooker and he can eat a whole pound himself! I'm always on the lookout for cheap cuts of meat at the grocery store because I know that it'll just melt and become so tender in the slow cooker!
5. There are just so many recipes! Stephanie O'Dea is my hero- she created Crockpot 365 (http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/), where she used her slow cooker for an entire year- all 366 days (it was leap year!)...She even reviews how it turned out and I have yet to disagree with her on what the verdict was. So many great ideas!!
6. Last but certainly not least- you can make brownie cups, yep- Ive made brownies in coffee mugs in the slow cooker, then when they were done I scooped ice cream on them, OMG...to die for...hence why they get their own number on my list of why I love it so much...
Overall, the slow cooker continues to be both a time saver and a money saver! If you don't have one, I suggest buying one...if you own one, USE IT! I try to use mine at least once a week, and depending on our schedule, Ive used it up to 3 times in a week (also where more then one comes in handy!)
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday we will leave and drive up to Erie PA...Kale's friend Joe is getting married in July and they are having his bachelor party on Saturday, we will stay until Tuesday morning then drive back to home to NC...
Next Wednesday will be laundry and re-packing day...because Thursday morning we will fly out to go to Louisiana for Kale's brothers memorial service. Then on Monday we will fly back to NC...
Seems like a lot huh? Not even close...last night we decided that we should fly, we were originally planning on DRIVING ALL OF IT!!! The moment of insanity passed and we decided its worth the money to fly...we even thought of adding on a day or 2 and flying into New Orleans to be a tourist before renting a car and driving the 4 hours to the service...we still haven't 100% decided yet...I have to figure it out by tonight though...that is my goal...
The timing of this just really sucks...were using our "vacation" fund to finance this big trip which means we will have less money to spend on stuff for our Sandals trip at the end of August..I realized just how rude that sounded as I typed it out...its not like this is a happy trip, its for a funeral, but it still sucks...
I hope my sanity stays intact during this trip, I know that not driving all of it will really help me but Kale HATES flying so its gonna be pretty rough on him. I was blown away when I saw him looking up flights...he would rather drive 12 hours then take the 3 hour plane ride home...and he even said he doesnt mind driving the 17 hours to Louisiana instead of the 5 hour flight but I know he is doing it for me...I get stressed out after about 3 hours of driving and I think he could tell that driving 50 hours in the car over a 10 day time frame would put me on the verge of insanity...which wouldnt be good for me, or for him!!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Well they get home and Kale is all excited because the local bar that we usually go to set up a volleyball court outside and they played all night, so the next night- Saturday, I joined them...It was so fun! We played for like 3 hours!! Then today we went for dinner at the bar (it is a restaurant/bar) and we played 2 games then some dude shows up and is like yelling when someone would miss a play...
I didn't wanta play once he joined in so I went and sat down, this dude was way to intense, like whoa buddy its freaking volleyball at a bar, not the Olympics!
I hate when everyone is having fun and one person comes in and takes it to a whole new level and ruins it!
Friday, May 21, 2010
On a random note, I have to share the most boring 2 hours of my life that happened today...I sat in a room and had to watch a 5th grade student take a 2 hour test, i couldn't do anything but watch her from across the room, in silence...Heck, I'm a PE graduate, I NEED to be moving around...it was PURE TORTURE!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
All this sounds great, but it was a month after they got married! That is crazy to me!! I dont know why they thought that such an important topic should wait until after "I Do"!
Before Kale and I even moved in, a year before our wedding, I knew the financial situation, had made budgets, and talked about our financial goals...
Granted, our budget has changed drastically, it took a while to get it down but who knows what our financial situation would be if we decided to just deal with it after we got married...we would be no where near where we are now!
I just couldnt believe that part of the show...it was so odd to me!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My favorite that the AT&T lady suggested to me is called AOL Radio, you can listen to live broadcast of tons of different stations all over the US, you chould check it out!
Now I'm going cross-eyed from the little screen and the typing...
Monday, May 17, 2010
I meal plan, and frankly, I do it pretty darn well…but trust me; it took me a while to get to the point that I am at! When Kale and I moved into our first apartment it was the first time that we really to make our own food. I lived in the dorm for the 2 years before moving and had lots of dorm food, never would I make my own food, mainly no kitchen! Then of course Kale was at the barracks and just ate chow hall and would never make his own food, mainly because he is a guy, but he also didn’t have a kitchen! So when we moved in together it was a whole new experience. Never mind that our pantry wasn’t that big, or that our freezer was super tiny, but the biggest thing- I NEVER COOKED! I mean, I helped my Mom fix dinner at times but I never really made a full meal by myself, and now I am expected to do this EVERY DAY!?
-This was our first pantry...pretty rough, until Kale put more shelves in...he loves me-
We started off not meal planning and spending about $500 a month, which was insane to me! So I began slow and have slowly (with the help from a deep freezer- I love my deep freezer, truly!) worked up my meal plans to only having to do 1 big shopping trip for the entire month. That’s right, I plan and shop for 30 meals in one single shopping trip. I usually spend between $150-175 during that big trip, then throughout the month I will do smaller (much smaller) trips for things such as milk, too good of sale items that I can’t pass up, or items that Kale ate in the middle of the night that I needed for a meal! Those usually don’t cost more than $15 bucks total so the most my bill will be is $200 a month….a whole lot better than previously mentioned $500!!!
How do I do it? How do you not end up eating the same thing each week? Isn’t it so overwhelming?! Well, read on and find out! I divide it into phases- I didn’t realize that I did it this way until after it happened but it worked!
Start out by assigning a “theme” to each day of the week- for example:
Then, from there you pick a recipe that corresponds to that night’s theme. Pretty simple huh? That way, you won’t be eating chicken or ground beef dishes every day of the week! Once you get that menu, list out all the ingredients and go shopping! You won’t save too much money during this but there are plenty of opportunities- say 2 of the dishes call for a certain product- you can buy the bigger can or box as opposed to two smaller ones, thus saving money!
Once I got a lot of different food ideas and got used to not eating the same thing over and over, that is when I stepped it up for more savings. I drifted away from theme nights and I started looking at different sale prices and then planning my menu from there. At this point I was still only doing 2 or so weeks at a time so if I noticed that ground beef was on sale, I would add meals that included ground beef into more meals than normal. I helped it not seem repetitive by using that ground beef in very different recipes! For example- one day in the week I would make beef enchiladas while in the same week I would do spaghetti and meatballs. Those recipes are so different; you didn’t feel like you were eating the same type of food over and over! Using the sales ads to make your meal lists is a great way to skim down that grocery bill. Then if you add in coupons in addition to the listed savings, man, you are full force on your way to being a super meal planner!
Phase 3: Last one, I promise!
This is when my handy dandy deep freezer became my best friend! You know that ground beef that was on sale during phase 2? Instead of picking up enough for the week, I buy around 5 of them and freeze what I don’t plan on using that week. Same goes with all proteins- I love buying the big bags of frozen chicken breasts; it is so much of a better deal than going with fresh and since I freeze them anyway, why not go for just straight frozen! So then, after a while, I realized that I had a freezer with lots of meats- enough to last me a couple weeks! Thus, monthly meal planning was born! I knew the meat that I had so all I needed was things to go with it! Then during my monthly trip I pick up the meats that are on sale, or buy in bulk so that I restock my freezer! The same concept goes for my pantry as well- if something is on sale, I buy a lot of it so then when I go to shop that month, I don’t need as much!
-Normally EXPENSIVE steak that was on sale for a great price that I bought and froze until it was perfect time for a BBQ!-
Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought but I had a lot of people ask how I do it/ got to this point…take it slow and enjoy your money saving methods!
I ran a 5K today, and I dont think that I will ever be the same. The pain in my quads and hamstrings will go away, the runners high of feeling over the moon will fade, but what I witnessed and saw happen during those 3.1 miles changed me forever...
I am a Girls on the Run Coach, Girls on the Run is a organization that is nationwide. It is designed to help elementary school-age girls to become comfortable with who they are. There are lessons ranging from drugs and alcohol, to peer pressure, to family, friends, etc. Each lesson is then linked with a run whether it is just a few laps in the gym, a scavenger hunt, or a 3 mile run.
I got involved because of my student teaching. My partnership teacher said that they were going to do a group at the school and if I wanted to train to become a coach. I said yes, mostly because it would look good on a resume and secondly because I knew it would help out my partnership teacher. I dont like to run, i really dislike it so I definitaly did not sign up because I love running! During training, the first thing they asked us was "how did you hear about Girls on the Run, why do you want to be invovled". I listened to ladies speak about how their daughters' were part of it and the change in them was awesome that they want to help others and just super inspiring stories while my response was "I heard about it last week, Im an intern and my teacher wants me to do it". All the training was so inspring but at the back of my mind I still didnt see how running a 5K was going to make a different in the girls lives...
Week 1 rolled around at 17 3rd-5th grade girls entered the gym, they were so shy and we spent that day getting to know one another. We would meet 2 times a week, 10 weeks total. The 2nd time we met we had the girls take a survey, basically about self-esteem and how they viewed themselves. They had a bunch of pictures of body types ranging from very obsese to very unhealthy skinny...it asked the girls to circle what they thought they looked like, on the next page was the same pictures and it asked the girls to circle what they WANT to look like. After they left, we looked over the surveys, I was shocked! These girls who most of them were perfectly healthy all viewed themselves overweight and all wanted to be bone skinny! What really shook me was that the girls are only 10-12 years old and they already have a negative body image!
As the weeks progressed I noticed a change, it was more of an annoyance for me but now that it is over, it makes me so happy! Each time we met, it would take longer and longer to get the girls under control and ready to start...while it drove me crazy then, during the 5K I realized...they look longer to get under control because they were talking and playing around with the other girls. They were bonding. It reminded me of that first week where they just sat there silent, unsure of each other and now they were becoming good friends. Seeing just that change in them was really exciting, they were breaking out of their shell and embracing who they are!
Then on Saturday, the 17 girls, each with a running buddy lined up at the starting line with about 1000 other participants. We all had pink shirts on, it was quite a scene! My runner was a 4th grade girl, I'll refer to her as "A", her goal was to "run more then I walk". We start out, get our pace and are just slowly moving through the sea of pink...all around us we hear girls complaining "its hot", "there are too many people here", "I dont want to jog right now", "its to early", etc. "A" looks at me and goes "man, they are being so negative, dont they understand how cool this is"...All I could do was smile and say "I know, right?" but really I just wanted to hug her, she really understood that this program is more about just running a 5K, but it is working up to do something that you didnt think that you could.
The run was long, "A"s pace of jogging was my power walking pace but I didnt want to be walking while she was jogging so I would jog while barely taking any steps forward, her face BEAMED when she saw the 1 mile- she was so excited because we hadnt stopped to walk yet. A little after the 1 mile sign is when she asked "Can we walk a little"? I said "of course, lets set a goal, where do you want to walk to (We were in a neighborhood so we would pick a house or sign) before we start jogging again?" Setting those goals really helped and they were never for more then 4-5 houses! When we passed the 2 mile, I was getting tired- my legs were hurting from the lack of moving I was doing while running, but I wasnt going to power walk her pace, I really wanted to motivate her, even if they meant stressing out my calves!
She had turned to me and said "when we get to that turn, we are going to walk", so we are about to get to the turn and the guy standing at the turn says "only .2 miles left, you can see the group of people at the finish line from here"...I looked at her and she smiled and I knew, we were not going to stop and walk! We finished that last leg of the race strong, right before the finish line she looked at me and said "I CANT BELIEVE I JUST RAN A 5K!!!!!"
Our time was 37 minutes, we came in at the middle of the pack, she was so proud of herself! At about 50 minutes into the race, all but one girl in our group of 17 was left to finish...we saw her turn the corner and she started walking...our school had an area that we met at after we finished that was right before the finish line, we all looked at each other and we ran down to her, hand in hand our group finished the race (again!) with her!
The transformation that I saw in 10 weeks from the girls was life changing, their behavior at the 5K was inspiring! Who knew that such a shy,quiet group of girls could turn into such self confident, positive and happy young ladies in such a short amount of time. Seeing them change, changed me, I have such a more positive outlook on everything now because of them!
I was a skeptic of this program, I thought it was exaggerating a lot but I have never been so wrong. I can not wait until the Fall to do the program again with another group of girls...
although I still hate running, I dont mind suffering to see girls succeed like that!
I did pretty well for my first time back in the couponing mindset, I could have done a lot better but oh well!
So, I bought this for 19.84....
Now you are probably thinking..."um, thats not a deal at all Colleen..." but wait! With that purchase, I got 21 ECBs back so then I went back in later that day (Kale was with me, he didn't understand at all...he was so confused when I explained it to him, I think its a guy thing...He said next time that he will always come with me if I want him too so that he can be the cart pusher because he doesnt understand the logisitics of it, I appreciate that he pretends to be interested in it though! )I bought $21 dollars worth of products and paid NOTHING! So... because of that first purchase of 19.84, I got all of this....
Now, its not the best picture, heck its not even a good picture of it but I had forgotten that I had a new lense on my camera (which I still dont exactly know how to work) and its like a super zoomed in lense and I took this from across my kitchen since I was too lazy to walk out to the car to get my normal one! But in addition to the purchases in my 1st picture I got 2 bags of egg noodles (we use them so often, I think them so much better then normal pasta), 2 boxes of cookie dough (which are in the oven right now!), 10 bottles of dish soap, and 10 air freshener things...
Not bad for under $20 bucks!
I checked the CVS ad for this week and due to my small supply of coupons (though I am growing each week!) I only have about 2-3 deals for this week, which I am sure I will post later this week!! Oh but one thing I am excited about is SUPER DOUBLES at HARRIS TEETER! I have never done a SUPER DOUBLES but I loved going to their TRIPLES that they have every so often, and thanks to AFULLCUP.COM (check it out, its the best resource for everything couponing!) I was able to realize that some of the coupons that I do have would get me free or under 1.00 products! I love that I dont have to do any of the hard work of price matching my coupons to deals...lovely ladies on that site do it all for you!!!
Friday, May 14, 2010
And back to my original post...
So, I am kicking my butt back into couponing shape! I am going to start my renewal at CVS, just a small trip though!
My CVS trip should look like this-
-Crest Prohealth Toothpaste: FREE with ECB (Extra Care Bucks) plus .75 Q
-Crest Prohealth Rinse: FREE with ECB plus $1.00 Q
-Schick Hyrdo 5 Razor: FREE with $4 ECB and $5.00 Q
-U by Kotex tampons: FREE with ECB plus $1.00 Q
-Dry Idea Deoterant: FREE with ECB and $1.00 Q
-2 Pantene Products: 2.97 with ECB and $1.00 Q
So I will pay
* 3.50-.75 = 2.75 with 3.50 ECB
* 3.50-1.00= 2.25 with 3.50 ECB
* 8.99-5.00= 3.99 with 4.00 ECB
* 4.99-1.00= 3.99 with 4.99 ECB
*2.49-1.00= 1.49 with 2.00 ECB
*6.97-1.00= 5.97 with 3.00 ECB
Total: 20.44 with 20.99 ECB
I have a $4 off $20 purchase so...
Total: 16.44 with 20.99 ECB
Grand Total: PROFIT of 4.55!
With the ECB's, we are going to use them to buy some toothbrushes, and use some coupons that expire soon for some random things that we need...Ill be sure to take a pic of my purchases!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I completely made up the recipe and Im quite proud of it, and of course I dont measure anything so I have no clue how much I put into it of all the ingredients...the boys devoured it so I say it was a success...
I wish I would have wrote it down to share!!! Next time....
Tomorrow, Kale is getting LASIK...ugh, I hope everything goes well!!!! But he is my most excited about not having to wear his glasses ever again...I think he is cute with his glasses, but he doesnt agree so he gives me this look....
Monday, May 10, 2010
So, as promised, I'm gonna go over what craziness occurred last week while my family was in town and I didn't get on the computer!
Tuesday, May 4th- Today was a major cleaning day! Kale and I spent most of the day cleaning the house because my family flew into Wilmington and arrived at 1045pm. I normally go to bed at like 10 so I was sooo tired when I picked them up! Oh I almost forgot...Cujo got a JACKED UP HAIR CUT!! The poor thing looks nothing like he used too...hopefully it grows back soon, real soon!
Wednesday, May 5th- CINCO DE MAYO! I didn't really celebrate although Kale and my Mom made some margaritas after dinner...I went grocery shopping with my Dad today, he is fascinated by the commissary! He kept looking at the prices and couldn't believe how cheap the items were...Dad just loves being on a military base...he was like a little kid in a candy store when humvees, trucks, or any other military vehicle would drive by! It was too funny!
Thursday, May 6th- Tomorrow is graduation! Woot Woot! We didn't really do much today, we went to Wilmington to go shopping for a graduation outfit and that was a major time suck of most of the day!
Friday, May 7th- Today, so much went not according to plan...I wake up and Dad asks if everyone already took a shower, after a round of "No", he said "I cant get hot water..." so I think he is just crazy and go test it and sure enough...no hot water...We try to re-set the circuit breaker for it and nothing happens..so I put in a request through our home warranty for service....We all needed to shower so THANK GOODNESS for LeShea, so we load up in the car to go take showers at her house and MY CAR WONT START!!! Well, it will start, it just wont stay on...once I turn it on, if I don't immediately step on the gas, it will die...so it had to be towed...GREAT! But by 8pm that night, Toyota had fixed it...So we had to wait for Kale to get home to take our showers at LeShea's then we got ready and headed to graduation
It was great, kinda boring but still so exciting! One thing that tickled my bone was that I finished with a 3.55 cumulative GPA which meant I would get to wear one of the rope things over my gown...but turns out, if you are a transfer student, even with your other GPA factored in, it doesn't count...RIP OFF!!!! I was bummed...
But then we went and had the most tasty meal EVER! We went to the Port City Chop House after and OMG! BEST FOOD!!!! It was so good, I cant even describe it other then, it was like heaven on a plate!!!!
All in all Friday was a crazy day but I am an official college graduate so even though things were breaking down all around, I didnt even care...that much.
So, that was a quick recap of my week...a little running around, a great graduation, and fun times with my family...
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I have so many updates but right now I am too occupied with my NEW CAMERA (a Nikon D3000) to write the updates...TOMORROW, I PROMISE!
Monday, May 3, 2010
At 5:30 he said that the other group was still shooting and if I wanted, I could come up and hang out with him and the guys in his section while they waited, I jumped at the chance...heck, its been 4 years since we got to spend my birthday together and I didn't care that it would be spent sitting in a parking lot with 15 dirty, smelly Marines! One of Kale's SSgt overhead a bunch of them saying "Happy Birthday" to me and goes "Its your birthday, and you're here?" and all I could do was laugh and say "yep, I don't have many other options!"
So, 8:30 rolls around and the second group finally gets back...then an hour of running around and turning in weapons and all that jazz occurs...FINALLY! 9:30 they get off work so Kale rushes to the barracks to take a quick shower (they were covered in dirt, it was gross!) then by 10:00 we were headed out to dinner! I wanted to go to the Melting Pot but we knew that wasn't an option when he wasn't home by 6, so I called a bunch of places that might have a kitchen open after 10pm and our choices were LIMITED so we went with Applebee's...
All and all it was a good day...I survived turning 22, the next birthday I have to look forward to is 25 when my car insurance will go down...
BUT, TODAY IS MY SISTER'S BIRTHDAY!!!! YEAH, BORN 3 YEARS AND A DAY AFTER ME...SHE COULDNT LET ME HAVE MORE THEN 24 HOURS TO CELEBRATE! Most people can pull the "its my birthday week!" but when you share that "week" with someone else, you cant get away with as much haha!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!!!!!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Kale is expected to get back from the field in time to go out to dinner for my bday though! But, Im not holding my breath...I am telling myself he wont make it just in case so Id rather be excited then let down!!
The last few days have been a little crazy too! Like I said, yesterday-Saturday I did dinner with the girls but also went to the craft fair (got some great ideas for sewing projects!) and strawberry picking! Strawberry picking has become a tradition of LeShea and I...we went a few days after I first moved down in 2008 and this is the 3rd year we went! Braxton (her 2 month old) wasnt feeling the 85 degree weather and was not too happy about our decision to pick strawberries so it was a quick trip...were gonna go back again when the guys are back and they can be on babysitting duty!
On Friday we had a going away parties, soo much fun! I love getting to hang out with the CW girls...my neck was killing me when I got home from all the laughing! Oh and I ate my weight in chocolate chip cookies (Thanks Andrea!!!), and I wonder why I cant lose weight!!
I just realized that this time next week, I will be a college graduate...kinda freaky!!
Well, I have been asked a few times by friends "what is your plan for your birthday" and I never have anything exciting to say...I think I am going to sit out in the sun on the patio and read the new Cosmo, make some homemade waffles for Jesse and I once he wakes up, then hope that Kale gets home tonight and they dont move it back to tomorrow!