Thursday, December 24, 2009

Trip to Iowa

Last night we returned from our trip to Iowa to visit Ronnie's grandparents. This was my first trip there and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved having snow, getting to know the grandparents better, playing games, and seeing all kinds of new things. We visited several Amish stores, a cheese factory, a delicious bakery, and some adorable antique stores. Ronnie's grandparents were wonderful hosts and fed us lots of Christmas treats, good food, and kept us well entertained! Here are some pictures from the trip (click on the collage to see it larger).

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Come on in and see our Christmas decorations! Wish you could really stop by, but sadly most of you don't live near by.

I love seeing the Christmas tree through the window!

Our skinny tree with some holes, but a good tree none the less

We got creative with the window. We were looking for somewhere interesting to put the Reindeer and voila!

The stockings are hung with care, as well as my angel from my Grandmother's angel collection.

The kitchen has to be a part of the holiday fun too...

I think the berry wallpaper adds a nice festive touch, haha!


In the china cabinet

You've seen this before recently!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Project: Dining Room Chairs!

Remember these dining room chairs that so desperately needed recovering?

Mission Accomplished!!

Thanks to the help of my crafty mother-in-law and sister-in-law (and Ronnie too, of course), we were able to get all 8 recovered on Saturday.

It's a vast improvement and was pretty easy.

And, for mama, here is the little table you gave me at Thanksgiving.

Its in the hall outside the dining room. Thanks! I love it!

Next project on the agenda is a valance for the dining room. I decided against the shiny curtains.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We spent a fun Thanksgiving with my family at my sister's spacious and sunny house! We had a wonderful time, enjoyed delicious food, and simply enjoyed being together.

View of campus from the front yard.

The table was set with all the finery :)

A pretty fall floral arrangement in the center!

All the boys chowing down at the kids table, complete with butcher paper, crayons, and stickers.

Yummy Food! (I haven't mastered the art of photographing food, hope it looks semi appetizing, because it sure tasted good!)

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."
Psalm 118:1

We have much to be thankful for! Surely the Lord has been good to us!

(Hopefully a group picture to come; its on someone else's camera)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tablescape Thursday!

Every Thursday, Between Naps on the Porch hosts an event called Tablescape Thursday. I have never participated before, but I have enjoyed browsing through the posts. I do love dishes and tableware! In honor of my new table, I thought I would contribute a simple autumn setting incorporating some of my favorite things! The color scheme is cream, yellow and my favorite, aqua!

The centerpiece and salt and pepper shakers both incorporate some cute little birds.

The dishes are the pattern Jasper Conran that we registered for when we married. The napkins and glasses are both antique store finds!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our New Table

Now I just need to order some fabric to recover all the seats!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and some leaf sprinkles of course!
(Wish I could claim they were made from scratch, but I don't think our growth group will mind a little Duncan Hines :)

For some really inspiring recipes and photos that will make your mouth water head on over to Pinch My Salt. I tried her Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese this week and it was yummy. Can't wait to try some more of these!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Going Green

Have you gone green with shopping bags? I recently have and i am loving it! No more tons and tons of plastic bags to be stashed away. Did you know some grocery stores will even deduct a certain amount from your total per bag that you bring? My Kroger gives 3 cents back per bag. Sounds small but every little bit helps!

Looking for some really nice and sturdy shopping bags? Head on over to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law's etsy shop and check out these. They are really cute and well made!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kroger Trip- 72% Saved!

I have been couponing for about 2 months now and today was my best shopping trip yet! I was so excited when I returned home and sent Ronnie a text message telling him about it. He asked me to send him a pic at work so I did. He posted this pic on facebook and it has lead to lots of questions about how this all worked. This is my attempt to break it down.

Kroger is having a great mega savings event this week featuring over 120 items. This means that if you buy any 10 participating items you will get $5 deducted off your total (or 50 cents off per item). You can do multiple mega deals in one transaction, for example today I did 3. Its important to note that the Kroger circular that you get in the mail or view online does NOT list all the participating items. I found out about most of the additional ones at

I planned out my list carefully before going. It helped me to list them out in groups of 10 so I could keep things straight. Then when I shopped I also grouped them in my cart this way. This isn't necessary by any means, but I am visual and it helped me. This was my plan:

(note- the price in parathesis is the sale price when you buy 10 participating items, but without any coupons deducted yet)

Mega Deal1
2 bags of Chex Mix (1.49)- both were free as I combined printable coupons from with ecoupons loaded to my Kroger card from cellfire and shortcuts
5 cans Del Monte Tomatos (.49)- I had a coupon for $1 off of 5 making them .29 each
2 cans Dole Mandarin Oranges (.50)- this was actually a money maker since the 2 coupons that I had doubled for more than the price of the cans
1 box Betty Crocker mashed potatos (.99)- free by combining printable and ecoupon

Mega Deal 2
2 Sunny D Smoothies (.89)- this was also a money maker. I found the coupons on the Sunny D site and again they doubled to more than the sale price. I have never tried these, but hey I am willing when I am making some money off my total to do it!
4 cans Carnation Evaporated Milk (.69)- these ended up being .19 each as I used printable coupons from
3 Birdseye Steamfresh Veggies (1.49)- these were .49 each as I used coupons that doubled
1 Colgate Toothpaste ($1)- didn't have a coupon but we just need it :)

Mega Deal 3
3 Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks (1.99)- combined printables with ecoupons again and got 3 for 3.27 BUT it printed out a save 1.50 catalina!
4 Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (1.29)- these were .79 each with printable coupons
1 bag Fritos (1.49)- i didn't have a coupon but Ronnie will like these in his lunch.
2 more Evaporated milks- needed 2 more items to round out this deal and since they were so cheap I opted for these. I have some good recipes that call for this so it should come in handy.

Finally- I purchased non mega sale items that we just needed like milk, bread, baking powder, produce, paper towels and napkins. I was able to save money on these buy using some coupons and using some catalinas that I had from previous purchases. (Catalinas are little rewards that print when you buy a certain amount of a particular product. Last week I bought 4 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats and it printed out a $3 one.) Today I had 6.50 worth of these. They scan just like a coupon and deduct the amount from your total.

You might look at this and think this is a random assortment of food- no meat for example. This is because I have stocked up on meat and other various things other weeks when there have been good sales. Essentially, I am not shopping for just a week's worth of food but for stocking the pantry and freezer. I am spending way less now but we have a great stock already. My freezer is almost bursting with frozen veggies!

Now for the numbers:
Total Spent- 24.73
Total Saved- 62.35
Total items- 41
Average price per item- .60

Hope that was helpful to those that were wondering!

PS- check out the site for a much more detailed listing of coupon amounts and where exactly they can be found.

Fall is here...outside AND inside!

The little dome cover was a recent Goodwill purchase for 1.25...I saw one exactly the same at an antique store for $, they are making a nice profit at these stores!!

My inspiration for these little candles was from my recent Pottery Barn catalog.

This is kinda silly but I think its fun :)

Look at the cute Portuguese cake plate my mom got me!

I am currently debating about returning this curtain or buying the other panel to match? Thoughts?? Is the faux silk too shiny and formal? I like the color in certain lights...but it is hard to photograph, in reality it is a little more aqua. Its very close to the color in the back of the china cabinet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heard during one of my first grade classes...

"Can I lay head my head down on my desk, my mouth is full of oysters." (Ulsers?!)

"How do you say capital letters in Spanish?" (hmmm, learning about capital letters in the classroom I assume)

And my favorite said very incredulously, "Mrs. Senora Long! Rohan says that he is half boy and half indian!" (Rohan is of Indian heritage- as in India)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baking Day!

Pita Bread

Cranberry Muffins and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

Apple Tart

Today was my fall break from school! I had thought about getting out and shopping and running errands, but it has been pouring rain most of the day. I decided to bake some things instead. I made a big batch of pita bread and a batch of tuna salad for packing in our lunches this week. I made 2 types of muffins and delivered some to a neighbor who recently had a baby. I love muffins!! The last pic is something I made a few days ago but it turned out so pretty I wanted to share. The pita bread and the apple tart recipes both came from Tammy's Recipes, a site that I have enjoyed lately. You should check it out!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cute Student Story!

This week I am teaching a unit on clothing words in Spanish. I packed a suitcase and brought it to school to use as an aide. When the first graders came in my room this morning and saw it parked by my desk they were all eager to know what was in it. I told them that we had to get through some flashcards and work and then they would see what was in it. One little boy walked over and looked down at the suitcase and then whispered to me "I hope it has pies in it...I love pie!"

Eat Your Veggies

I purchased an eggplant at Kroger the other day and have since deliberated over how to use it. The last time I cooked with one wasn't stellar and I didn't really want to use that recipe again. After reading multiple recipes, I decided to throw my own version together to make a meatless meal. Turned out pretty well I think!

Saute together in EVOO:
1 diced eggplant
minced garlic clove
Diced onion (I used some red and white onion) and bellpepper (I used red and green)
a sprinkling of salt and pepper
generous amounts of basil and oregano!

Once the veggies are tender, add 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes.

Serve over angel hair pasta with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese to top.

How is that for easy! I thought it was yummy and Ronnie cleaned his plate, although he isn't huge on meat least it wasn't as bad as my huge Vegetable Risotto Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (on a bed of wilted spinach) when we first got married :) Way too much mushroom- and veggies for that matter!!

Laugh...not so appetizing huh?!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Packing Up and Moving Out

A week from today we are moving! This makes me feel excited and stressed all at once. More excited than anything though because I am ready to have some semblance of normal more boxes (well at least once we get them unpacked! I am thinking unpacking will be WAY more exciting than packing.)

The packing is coming along slowly, but surely. The dining room is rapidly filling with packed boxes and the other rooms are becoming emptier and emptier. I will be sad to leave our cute little house. What a great home it has been! But we are eager to be closer to civilization, church, friends, work, family, etc. I need to keep this mind so I can stay motivated to pack!

So without further ado...where is my packing tape and labels?