Friday, July 30, 2010

Linky parties

Most people in the blog world probably already know what they are. For those of you who don't I will try to explain. You can put a blog entry of one of your post on another site. I like to view linky parties because there are some very creative people out there. It is where I come up with a lot of my crafty ideas.

Tonight I linked up to my first Linky Party EVER on Craft Envy.

It was super easy to do, so I might try another one again later. In this linky party I shared the post from my coasters.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Football Camp

So, this year will be my son's first year of playing football. He has camp this week and tonight was the first evening of it. He seemed to enjoy it, now he just needs to practice some with Daddy.

The kids and coaches.

Tyler is the one with the bright green shirt. It was easy for me to spot him, sitting pretty far away.

The first two days are held at the high school. So, there were a lot of high school boys helping out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bargain shopping

Tonight as I was waiting on my children to get out of VBS I did a little shopping. I had to go by a home improvement store to pick up some tiles so I can make more coasters. I then went by Goodwill. I have always donated items there in the past, but not until the last year did I start doing some shopping there. I decided what the heck, I've donated some nice things and I'm sure others have too. I haven't shopped there often because it takes me forever to go through the stuff and I usually have the kids with me. It's one of those places I like to go if I have some free time though. I ended up with 2 shirts, 2 skirts and a pair of shoes all for around $24! Now where else can you go and buy that many items at that price. On top of that, one of the tops was J. Crew and it still had the original tags on it for $48.50 or $49.50. One of the skirts was from Gap and the shoes were BCBG shoes. The other shirt and skirt I wasn't familiar with the brands but thought they were cute. I took a picture of it just so you can see my deals. These items aren't meant to wear with each other, I just put them all together so they would fit in one picture.

Now, don't you want to go and do some bargain shopping. :)

Dinner tonight..... Loaded baked potato soup

Dinner tonight was Baked Potato Soup. I know, soup in the middle of Summer. Crazy, right? Well, one of my Uncles gave me lots of red potatoes that he got from his garden. So, this is one of the best ways I like to use them.

Here is the recipe that I use:

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes, cooked in the microwave or oven and cubed
2/3 Cup butter or margarine (I always use butter)
2/3 Cup all purpose flour
6 Cups milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Green onions chopped
12 sliced bacon cooked and crumbled
1 1/4 Cups grated cheddar cheese
8 oz carton Sour Cream

Melt butter over low heat in large pot, add flour and stir till smooth. Gradually add milk, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbily. Add potatoes (I always add the potato skin also, if you don't like it you could remove it before adding to the soup), salt and pepper, green onion, bacon bits and cheese. Stir in sour cream. I also usually reserve a little of the cheese and green onion to top the soup with.

I never use the recipe exactly as the recipe is stated. I generally used precooked bacon bits in lieu of having to cook bacon and crumble it. I also like to add Tastefully Simple Onion Onion in place of the fresh onion. I just add it to the butter and flour as it is becoming thick. Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon could also be used instead of real bacon. It is soy. I have used it before also in the soup. With the cheese I just usually put how much in that looks right. With the sour cream, some times I have 8 oz of sour cream, other times not. The only thing I stay pretty consistent on is the butter, flour and milk.

I'm having a hard time getting pictures of the food. I was running out of the house to take my kids to VBS for their 3rd week. They haven't been in a few weeks so they were ready to go again. All that I have done is asked if they want to go and they say YES with excitement every time. My hubby had to finish the soup for me tonight and he forgot to add the bacon bits. I just added some to the top for our leftovers. This is the best potato soup recipe that I have ever cooked and/or had. Hope you enjoy!

One of God's beautiful creations

We have a tree in our yard that has been dropping berries. I have never seen so many butterflies in the outdoors outside of a preserve. It was just the coolest thing ever! I also got to see some butterflies mating. That was the first time I had experienced that. I'll share some of my favorite butterflies that I saw.

Here is a video discussing how butterflies mate if you're interested. . The guy in the video is a bit odd, but I did find it interesting. I was just doing a search for when butterflies mate and came upon this video.

A few pictures of the butterflies in the process of mating.

Tyler watching a butterfly

June bugs also loved the berries

and bees


and giant flies (horse flies?) too!

and finally... a beautiful Sunflower that has bloomed in our garden.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tile coasters ** Updated with a few more pictures**

I made some tile coasters today and really liked the way they turned out.

This is a picture of took of them as they were drying. I still have to add some cork to the bottom.

This shows the cork backing

I'm going to keep these for our house. But, if I was going to gift them I would tie them up something like this.

This is a side view picture. As you can see I used a blue tile.

I think I'm going to have to make some more of these. They were a lot of fun!

I'm posting this over at...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Coupon clipping Mama

Yes, I am a coupon clipper. I like to do most of my grocery shopping at Lowe's Foods because they double coupons. I shopped there tonight and was wondering if they allowed a set amount of coupons. I think I had about 16 or 17. I also believe that is the most I've ever used in one grocery trip. I'm really getting the hang of it now. I believe it was probably about the most I had saved percentage wise as well. My purchase price was around $42 and with the in store promotions and my coupons I saved around $38. That is almost half off! Not too bad! Most of the items I purchased were on sale and I used a coupon for them. I did purchase a few items that weren't on sale and I didn't have a coupon for. I guess that might have messed up my percentage a bit. I came home and did a search on their website to see if it told how many coupons they allow. I found this under FAQ:

"To allow all of our customers to enjoy these additional savings, our prevailing guideline is that Lowes Foods reserves the right to limit quantities in coupon usage and product purchases.

The only time I see that it gives a number is under double coupons:

"We will double up to 20 manufacturer coupons with a face value of $0.99 or less every day."

A few others that I found informative were:

"To ensure product availability for all customers, we limit redemption to 4 coupons for 4 of the same item. For example, if you have five coupons for a specific cereal and have purchased five of the item, we will honor the coupon for up to four of the boxes of cereal."

"Coupon value cannot exceed our retail price of the item; no cash back will be awarded."

"A doubled coupon will not be honored if the doubled amount exceeds the retail or sale price of the coupon item. No cash back will be awarded." I posted about this on another post . I made $0.02 on the item when my coupon doubled.

"From time to time, our manufacturer coupon promotions will be enhanced. For example, we may offer our customers the opportunity to triple their coupons. Special promotional opportunities will be featured in our circular or on-line." Never heard of Lowe's doing triple coupons. Has anyone else?

The following are regarding internet coupons:

"We will only accept printable internet coupons if they scan at checkout."

"We will not honor FREE Product coupons printed from the Internet."

"With the purchase of two like manufacturer’s products, we accept two internet coupons per day."

It is also much easier to do my grocery shopping with coupons without my kiddos. They just don't have that much patience for me to shop around and look to see if I have a coupon. They both do enjoy helping me clip coupons though. I let them cut out the print out ones since I can usually print out another one if they clip it in half. :) Couponing does take some organizational skills also. You don't want to be in the store in one aisle searching and searching to see if you have a coupon for a specific item. I posted here about how I organize my coupons. One day I will get a picture of it too! Hope this post helps for those who may be looking to start couponing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What a great giveaway!

Check out this great giveaway by Azul Sensatori by Karisma on Mom Start for a 2 night stay giveaway! I entered and if I'm not the lucky one, maybe you can be. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fresh tomato spaghetti sauce

I should have taken a picture, but didn't think about it at the time and was kind of rushed also. I've made this numerous times in the past. It is so good! I don't measure ingredients, I just add until it looks right.

I started with a little bit of olive oil in a large pan. Probably a couple of tablespoons. I then added 1/2 of a large Vidalia onion, diced. I let the onions cook until they started to become soft. I then added about a tablespoon of Garlic Garlic, and as many tomatoes as you wish. I used Roma tomatoes because that is what I had the most of. This would be good with almost any type of fresh tomatoes and I've even used canned tomatoes in the past. I also added a tablespoon or two of TS Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning. It was a spice jar that was seasonal this past Fall/Winter. I also added a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a little bit of salt and some pepper. I like to serve this over angel hair spaghetti then top with some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Movie time

It's been a while since I've posted, it seems. Summer is always a busy time with going here and there. I've been watching a lot of movies at home with my hubby and kiddos though. We started back up our Netflix subscription. If you're not familiar with Netflix, where have you been? :) Nah, all kidding aside, it is great! They have a one month free trial, so if you've never used it before go try it out. If you decide to subscribe, it's super inexpensive. This is from their website..

How much does it cost?

Netflix costs $8.99 a month. You get 1 DVD out at-a-time which you can exchange as often as you want. Plus, you can instantly watch online on your PC or Mac or right on your TV via an Internet connected Netflix ready device. Instantly watch as often as you want, anytime you want.

Speaking of the Internet connected device, we have a Xbox which is connected to the Internet for my hubby's video games. It is great, there are hundreds of movies ready at an instant. What I like about it is there are lots of kids shows and movies on there. I don't let the kids watch tv all the time, but it's nice to have something new to watch on occasion. They are super quick to ship out the DVD's though. After watching it we mail it out the next day. It seems like we have another DVD withing just a few days.

So, there you have it. That's where I've been. Tonight we watched Blind Side. I would highly recommend it! It is such a feel good movie. I was inspired by the person that Sandra Bullock played. As a Christian we should be more like the character that she played.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Etsy store... Update!

I'm seriously thinking I will open my Etsy store again, pretty soon. I need to work on some things to add to the store. I just finished a pattern for a tooth fairy pillow that I'm going to work on and see how it turns out.

Here is a post showing some things I had in my Etsy store in the past.


Ok, so I did decide to go ahead and open up my store tonight. So far I only have 2 items listed but it just takes a while to take pictures then write out a description on each item. Hopefully I can get a few done tomorrow also. You can check out the items that I've added here.

I hope to offer some different items once I get my store up and going again. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More great deals, restaurant and coupons!!

Today I came across Southern Savers and found some great deals!

One was a Ziploc gift pack

First 10,000* to respond will receive a Ziploc® Back-to-School Gift Pack that includes Ziploc® Brand Sandwich Bags, Ziploc® Brand Containers with the Smart Snap™ Seal and Ziploc® Brand Storage Bags with the Smart Zip™ Seal.

Another one was from Check the deal out here
Starting today, using code FUN you can get 80% off $25 Gift Certificates, Dinner of the Month Club, and $25 Gift Cards at I got a $25 gift certificate for only $2. What a deal!

A great coupon for Goldfish $.50/1 which I was able to print two of using one email address.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A great breakfast and some fireworks

Some of my family got together Saturday morning for a great breakfast. We went to this place called Shatley Springs. They offer family style which means they bring out the food in dishes and you pass it around the table. I love this place for breakfast because I'm a big breakfast eater. On a typical morning I don't eat that much, but when I come to Shatley Springs, I splurge. They brought out sausage, bacon, and country ham, eggs, biscuits, preserves, gravy, fried potatoes (look like big french fries), cooked apples, grits and pancakes is what I can remember right now. Needless to say, I ate WAY too much! They usually have a musical group (bluegrass or gospel) playing out front and they have a mountain stream (where they get their water from).

Some of my family hanging out in the rocking chairs waiting on breakfast.

More of my family

Tatiana playing in the creek/stream

and Tyler

We went to Christmas in July in West Jefferson afterward and this was taken there.

Sunday evening we went to see some fireworks.

The kids took the pictures of the fireworks

Dinner tonight

This morning I took my kids to a Children's day camp at a church where they attended Vacation Bible School. I'm hoping maybe we could do something like this at our church in the future. It is only one day a week for the month of July from 9:00-11:30. We didn't get there this morning until after 9:30. For some reason I was thinking it started at 11:00. The kids seemed to have a good time though.

I have dinner in the slow cooker ready to be served tonight. I also made some for a friend who just had surgery. I love slow cooker recipes because you just put it in there and walk away. Easy peasey. I also made some bread which is already ready. Both of these are Tastefully Simple recipes.

Creamy Artichoke Chicken
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef

1 packet Artichoke & Spinach Warm Dip Mix
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
Prepared baked potatoes, pasta or rice

Combine first 4 ingredients in a greased slow cooker. Cover, cook on low for 3-4 hours. During last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in Swiss cheese. Serve over hot baked potatoes, pasta or rice. Makes about 6 servings.

Simply Herb Bread with Herb Butter Spread
Submitted by Kimberly Wright (CO) Ingredients
Bountiful Beer Bread Mix®
1 Tbsp. Garlic Garlic™
1 Tbsp. Onion Onion™
1 Tbsp. Spinach & Herb Dip Mix
12 oz. beer
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
5 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. Garlic Garlic™
1 Tbsp. Spinach & Herb Dip Mix

Combine the first 4 ingredients together. Add the mixture to the beer in a large bowl. Mix as directed on package. Pour dough into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Pour the 4 tablespoons of melted butter on top. Bake at 375° for 50-55 minutes until loaf is golden brown and pulls away from sides. Remove from pan and cool on rack for 30 minutes before slicing. Makes about 14 servings.

Herb Butter Spread:

In a small bowl, combine the last 3 ingredients; chill. Serve on warm bread.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What a deal!

Let me just preface by saying I love a good bargain. When I do my grocery shopping I try to use coupons the majority of the time when I go. I like to go to Lowes Foods because they will double coupons up to $0.99. I know some places offer triple coupons on occasion but I don't have a store close by that does. I am kind of out in the country. Well, I had to run out tonight because we were out of pull ups and as sure as I didn't get any there would be an accident. So, hubby is in bed, I put the kids to bed and off I go. Of course I got more then just the pull ups. Who can go to a grocery store and buy just one thing? There are always other things that we need. We were also in need of some wipes, so while getting some pull ups I checked the prices on the wipes. Well, Pampers Clean and Go were marked down to $1.98. I had a coupon for $2.00 for any pampers wipes. She scanned it and it beeped (probably because the coupon value was more then what I was paying). She then just did an override for $2.00. So, I made $0.02 on them. :) I know, I get excited over silly things. It's not very often that I get paid to take products though. I never been one of those who are able to walk out of the grocery store with a cart full and only pay a few dollars. How in the world do they do that? I need to learn!

Using coupons is pretty time consuming though. It can be well worth it though as you just saw. I've tried several different methods. The one I'm using now is working out pretty good for me. I clip the coupons that I think I may use then file them with other items that are located in the same area. I bought some baseball card holders that I singly file them in, then I put them in a 3 ring binder. This just makes it a lot easier when going through the aisles. I can flip to the page of that category and see if I have a coupon. This way I'm not shuffling through each individual coupon trying to find one. It takes long enough to get them organized, I don't want to take even more time while in the grocery store. I also try to do my grocery shopping without my kids. Sometimes I'm able to, others not. I have more time to look through my coupons without my kids being there and I'm not as likely to buy extras that I normally wouldn't buy.

4th of July Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Isn't she a beauty? :)

A few days ago I posted about some cute chocolate dipped strawberries. I just had to try these out for myself.

I have everything ready. The strawberries patted dry, the white chocolate melted and the blue sprinkles. Don't you love the container the sprinkles are in. Ha!

I melted almost a cup of white chocolate, but didn't use all of it. I used between a pound and a pound and a half of strawberries.

These are some of the others before they went in the refrigerator.

Now to go enjoy them my daughter and I cannot wait. Hubby isn't home. Hopefully we will save some for him. :)

Ok, I'm back and we had several. Then I decided it would be nice to give a few to others. So, I printed a few tags from here on Executive Homemaker . I just used those little craft scissors to give it the border then I used a star punch.

Clear plastic bags would have been cuter but I didn't have any so I used what I had.