Friday, December 10, 2010

White Christmas

I really am dreaming of a White Christmas. It could happen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Funny

This is on Fraidy Cat's Christmas wish list. Automated dog smacking device!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Day Prep

Twas 3 days before Thanksgiving and all through the house-PANIC!!!
Nah, not really...but close.
We went from just a small dinner, possibly somewhere else to a big gathering then back to just a few family members and back again to possibly 20+ people at our house.  It's a good thing that I adhere to that ancient proverb: Semper Gumby-Always Flexible!
I'm not complaining mind you, I LOVE Thanksgiving!!!!
Thanksgiving is a dream holiday for cooks and eaters alike and I fit in BOTH categories.
We've been faithfully watching the Food Network and scanning the internet for new tips on our old favorites.  Holly has the Alton Brown pie making episodes recorded and is ready to put those skills to good use.  Gracie is on standby with her Yoshi Blade just waiting for me to hand her something that needs to be sliced or diced.  Caitlin has shopped for her cookie ingredients and is ready to put that Kitchen Aid mixer to work.   It remains to be seen though whether or not Lee will build the Turkey Derrick over the fryer this year.  Abbie and Lee are our ever reliable taste testers. Now, who's doing the dishes? (Insert cricket sounds here)
Truthfully, I plan to cook for an army and whoever shows up to eat will not be disappointed.  If we end up with leftovers, all the better.  Leftovers make good lunches.
So here is our menu for Thursday:
2 Turkeys-
 Not sure if we will bake, roast, fry or smoke them but I'm
leaning towards roasting one and frying one.
1 Ham
 Again, don't know if I will go buy a Honeybaked ham or one from the grocer and bake or smoke it. I guess I need to make these decisions huh?
Cornbread Dressing
Giblet Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Mashed/Creamed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Corn Pudding
Fruit Salad
Cranberry Sauce
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Caramel Cake 
Apple Dumpings

Did I forget anything? Do you think we need more?
 I'd love to hear what you are having!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Funny

Thanks Stan and Kayti for introducing us to this guy. Find his MANY funny clips on YouTube by searching Happy Wife Happy Life. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homeschool Moment

Today Holly took a break from studying History to help Gracie with her math. 
 Sweet, helpful sister right?
Having older girls is very helpful for many reasons.

 It was a proud moment until I later heard Gracie read the note Holly wrote to her.
See Below:

November Tenth in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Ten
My Dearest Sister Miriam,
      It bringeth me much pain to inform you of this fact but I feel that I must.
Thou stinketh at long division.
Sincerly, Your loving sister Holly.

Never a dull moment at The Brown Academy For Girls. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Funny

I REALLY would like to teach Hobbes to do all of these things!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eat Your Veggies

I prefer to eat my veggies seasonally the way nature intended.  This is why candy CORN is eaten in the Fall and jelly BEANS are eaten in the Spring.
Here are a few facts about Autumn's favorite Veggie:

  • October 30th is National Candy Corn Day (You only have today and tomorrow to get prepared for this celebration!  Hurry!)
  • One serving of candy corn contains only about 140 calories (See HEALTHY!)
  • Candy corn has 3.57 calories per kernel (But who could eat just one?)
  • More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billion pieces -- enough to circle the moon nearly four times if laid end-to-end. (Don't be shy, there's plenty for everyone)
  • Halloween accounts for 75% of the annual candy corn production (As it should be)
  • A cup of candy corn has fewer calories than a cup of raisins. (See again, HEALTHY! Why eat raisins when you can have CORN?)
  • Candy Corn has 0 Fat. (Hurray!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Couponing Part 2

This week's grocery totals: 73 items bought with a retail value of $226.57 
Paid: $74.95 Saved: $151.62 that is a 67% savings. I am most proud of my Walgreens purchases. $46 worth of stuff needed for $4.50.  My receipt is on the left.  The cashier was quite surprised and began to wonder if he would get in trouble for my savings.  I promise it was all on the up and up!  

Since reporting my savings over on Facebook I've had a lot of questions. How'd you do that?!?!?  I covered some of the basics in a blog post down below. Click HERE to see it. 
 I just have a couple more tips to add.  

The #1 tip I can give is this:  This takes patience and commitment!  The payoff is BIG though.  Slowly learn all you can about savings.  I research different blogs all the time.  There are SO many blogs out there who have taken most of the work out of this.  I listed some of my favorites on the earlier post. You don't have to scan the papers for the best sales.  I guarantee there is a blogger out there who has already done it for you.  A new one that I just discovered is  If there is a great deal or freebie from Target, this blogger will know about it.  I have found that friending or liking these blogs on facebook keeps me in the up to the minute loop.  

Coupons:  The Sunday paper is NOT the only source for great coupons. and has their own section on their websites and they are HUGE.  Don't forget that if you get a Target (or any store) coupon you can stack it with a manufacturers coupon for the same item.  Today I bought Lysol at Target and used a Target Q along with a Manufacturer's Q which allowed me to buy it for 25 cents.  Happy me!
     You can also find printable coupons at,,  Most stores like Publix have coupon booklets that they publish each month. Usually these booklets are at the front door.  Walgreens has a monthly book at the front door crammed with savings.  CVS has a little machine just inside the front door where you scan your CVS Care Card and it prints out coupons on the spot.  Keep your eyes open for tear off pads/Qs and peelies on products throughout the store.  Proctor and Gamble is constantly offering savings booklets that you can usually find in the store but you have to look for them.  I rely on my blogging friends to clue me in when they see one in a particular store. 

If you've never really considered shopping for daily needs at the pharmacy stores, think again.  Both Walgreens and CVS have rewards programs and run great sales.  Here's how they work: For CVS you have to join their Extra Care Club and get a member card which you can do for free right inside the store.  Weekly they publish sales that allow you to buy certain items that will get you money back to use on your next purchase.  Your first trip or two will cost you a little but after that your trips can easily resemble my receipt on the left.  The money back is called Extra Care Bucks or ECBs at CVS and Register Rewards or RRs at Walgreens.
An Example: This Week at Walgreens you can earn $5 RRs when you buy $20 worth of the following products (before coupons):
Oreos 2/$6
Pringles 2/$3
Dixie paper products 2/$5 
Fridge Pack Coca Cola  Products 3/$10
Solo Cups $5

So I could go in and buy:
2 Pkgs of Oreos- Use 2 $1 off Qs
3 Fridge Packs of Coke - Use a $1 off Q
2 Pkgs Dixie Plates - Use 2 $1 off Qs
Before Coupons= $21
After Coupons= $16
When I check out, the machine will print out 5 Register Rewards for my next purchase.  Now I have 5 Bucks to use on next weeks sales.You can easily see how this would add up to savings quickly.  If I had had 5 RRs to apply to the above purchase my total would have been $11 instead of $16 and I would still get my 5 for next week.  
It works the same way at CVS but you must have your card with you there.  Like I said, it takes a little time to build up to having RRs and ECBs.  I've been at it for about 2 months and I generally walk in every week now with an average of $12 worth of free money.  
One more thing to think about couponing.  What is on sale at any given moment may not be the items that you need right then.  BUT if they are items that you use often, buy them while you can get them at 50% or more savings.  Over time your stockpile will add up.  For me it's an awesome feeling when one of my girls says "Mom, we're out of toothpaste or shampoo" and I can reply "no we're not, look under your sink!"  
If you have any more specific questions for me, I'd be happy to TRY to answer them.  Send them this way!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Funny

Lee wishes he could practice this technique in his counseling sessions!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010


Before we get into that details of couponing I wanted to say a few things on the subject.
First, I am pretty new to all of this. I've only been at it for about 3 months. I think I have a good bit more to learn. So if you're reading this and have suggestions for me, I'm all ears! Even though I'm a newbie, I have been able to save us a large amount of money AND we have a surplus of supplies on hand which is something I've never been able to do before. That's enough incentive for me to continue.
It's a little bit of work and it involves some commitment but the payoff is GREAT.

Secondly, I've heard a lot of people saying that they do not use coupons because they are mostly for junk/processed food or items that they don't buy. In response to that idea I ask: Does your family use toilet paper, cleaning supplies, shampoo, laundry detergent etc...? If you could save 50%-75% off of these items alone couponing would be more than worth the effort. Most families buy these items with their groceries. The money saved can easily then be applied to items like fresh produce and meats. Truth be told though, if you look, coupons and deals on dairy, meat and produce CAN be found but you MUST look for them.

Lastly, You have to think about this in terms of investing. Buy in numbers when you can get it at a fraction of the cost. Learn to live on and plan your meals around what's on hand.

The first thing you must do to save money is find the coupons. We subscribe to the Sunday paper. If you can possibly get your hands on more than one copy each Sunday, DO IT. I'll tell you why later. Thankfully I have grandparents who bring me their 2 papers each Sunday. That gives me 3 copies of each coupon insert.
When I get my paper(s) I pull out the coupon inserts and mark them on the front with that days date. The next thing I do is file them away by month. That way I can easily put my hands on them again.

At this point the work begins. I go to my new favorite website
On this site you can subscribe to the stores that you shop in regularly. The site keeps track of the store's sales, even the unadvertised ones. It will list the item and what the sale price is, and where you can find the coupons for that item. The trick to BIG savings is combining a store sale with a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon.
Publix has Right Guard Antiperspirant on sale buy one get one free.
Regular price: $2.79 B1G1 means that each one is $1.40
With a coupon of $1.50 off of 2
(found in the August 15th Red Plum insert)
that brings the total to $.65 each.
A 77% savings!
At that price you can get 4 for less than the price of 1 at the original price with no sale or coupon.

Three hints here:
1. When an item is on sale Buy 1 Get 1, technically you are buying 2 items, so you can use a coupon for EACH item. This is why more than one paper on Sunday comes in handy.
2. When you see items for a certain number for a certain amount, 3/$6 for example. You do not have to buy all three items to get the sale price. You can buy 1 for $2. Combine that sale with your coupon and you've got yourself a deal.
3. If the store has a coupon for an item you can combine it with a manufacturers coupon for double saving. PLUS lots of stores accept competitors store coupons as their own. YAY! does charge for a subscription fee but it is fairly nominal. The first 4 weeks are a free trial so go try it out and see what you think.

There are other free sites that I use often:
All of these have great information about your favorite stores.
Couponing to Disney for example keeps a running list of items from Target and WalMart that can be bought for $1 or less.
SouthernSavers has a links for CVS and WalGreens which both have amazing awards programs.

Alrighty, I'm tired now.
I gotta go look at the coupons that came yesterday.
More later.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cupcake Queen

 My busy, high-tech baker in the kitchen making mocha cupcakes.
 She got the recipe online for the cake part.
 The frosting on the other hand was a made up, this sounds good, add a little of that and throw in some strong coffee concoction.  
It turned out to be a delicious mocha hazelnut coffee buttercream.
I can tell you that Nutella was involved.
 The finished product with a few coffee grounds sprinkled on top.  
Three days later she was at it again making Margarita Lime cupcakes for my birthday.
The Cupcake Queen can reign in my kitchen any day of the week.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sir The Barber

Charlie flew with Gaga and Papaw, Aunt Bob, Uncle Stan and Tyler to Texas today.
He got a great haircut just for the occasion.

Papaw has been taking him uptown to a Barber Shop for his haircuts ever since he was tiny.  Charlie calls his barber "Sir".  None of us actually know why but we go with it. That's what you do when cute 3 year olds enter your life and change your vocabulary altogether. 
Anyway, last night Charlie walked into my kitchen and this is the conversation we had.
Charlie: Hey Becky do you like my shoes?
Me: WOW!
Those are some great flip flops!  And I LOVE your new haircut!  You look so handsome.  Did Sir cut it for you today?
Charlie: No, he's tired.
Gaga: (whispers) he retired.  

Gotta love that little guy. 
Have BIG Texas sized fun Charlie!

Where's Wally?

Has anyone noticed that it has been 284 days since we've spent money at Wally World?  My family has pretty much stopped asking me why we aren't shopping there anymore.  I guess that might be because I shrug and say "because".  We don't really have a great reason and we don't hate Wal*Mart.  Last year it was not uncommon for us to go there two or more times a week. We've even had more date nights than I care to admit end with a stroll around Wal*Mart.  
It all started last Christmas when the girls received gifts that needed to be exchanged.  All 4 gifts had come from Wal*Mart but we had no receipts.  Two of the gifts had come from a Wal*Mart in another state.  Long story short, the manager accused us of trying to cheat them and refused to exchange the two from the other state.  THAT did not set well with my dearly beloved.  He suggested that we try to live without them for a year. At first I was worried.  No Wally World?  Where in the world will I waste my hours and money from now on? Then I realized that I lived quite fine without it for 3 years on Guam.  
Within a month my truck (Jet Puff) stopped pulling to the left when I'd ride south on Blanding Blvd.  Now, 9 months later I don't even miss it. 
Since I started couponing in earnest I have learned that Wal*Mart is NOT where you'll find those rock bottom deals that I am always on the hunt for.  All in all it has been an eye opening experience and I do believe that I will not have the urge to run to the nearest store when our year is up.  We'll just have to find a new place to end our date nights from now on.  Starbucks sounds like a winner to me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All My Girls

All the girls I'd love to spend an afternoon with over a cup of coffee.  Some of them I see all the time and some I haven't been able to see in quite awhile.  Some I will not have the privilege of seeing again this side of heaven.  If you see any boys in the video below ignore them; this one's for the girls.

Yesterday's Haul

I shopped the under $1 deals at Target yesterday.  These are items that were on sale plus I applied a store coupon with a manufacturers coupon to each item. That brought us to 31 items with a value of $67.  My total at the register was $26.  That's a $41 savings!  The only item I paid more than a dollar for was the mouthwash but I got a few items for free, so I let it slide.  I am SO loving this couponing, it's addicting. My pantry and bathroom shelves are beginning to look well supplied and that makes me a happy mom.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday NOT SO Funny

I have to thank my friend Valerie for pointing me in the direction of these photos over on Facebook.  Typically I am not very politically minded.  Don't read anything into these photos about my political opinions (which are few).  These were taken with the intention of poking fun at the newly formed TeaParty. I must admit that after viewing them all, I have much to think about. 
I post them because I simply cannot believe the horrible use of the English language! If you are going to make a public, political statement ESPECIALLY about the English language at LEAST word your sign properly!!!  Note my improper over usage of the exclamation point; I own that.  Even grammar tyrants are allowed a little wiggle room.  
I don't want to get all serious on you but I will for just a minute. Did these people graduate from high school?  Do they vote? Do they hold down professional jobs?  Yikes.  The educational system in America ROCKS! You can go ahead and note that my last sentence was dripping with sarcasm; I own that too.

Sure, respect it but don't bother learning it?  This is a common mistake that makes me a little nutsy.  If we own it, it is O-U-R-S.   Our country, not are country!!!

AMNESTY- Not only a controversial topic but evidently an EXTREMELY difficult word to spell.

A-Men-Sty  Is she protesting messy bachelor pads?

English 101: Put the apostrophe where the letters are missing.
Is that so hard?

Lesson continued: Didn't is short for Did Not.  Which letter is missing in Didn't?  The "O".  Oh, that must be where the apostrophe goes!  I won't even ask to whom he served 22 years. How would one go about serving a year anyway? You can't put a year on a plate and serve it up the way I served my family homemade raviolis for supper. I guess we are supposed to assume that he served OUR country for 22 years. That same guy would probably be quick to tell me what happens when you assume anything. 

By far this is my favorite sign.  I was so excited to learn that I could know a second language in 24 hours simply by keeping my trap shut for a day.  I've been meaning to learn Spanish but that Rosetta Stone program is so expensive. I'm not exactly sure though why I would need to find my legislator.  Is he lost? Is that part of the requirement for my ability to speak Spanish tomorrow?  Kind of a Hispanic version of Where's Waldo?  Sounds fun, sign me up!!

I had an excellent second grade teacher.  She taught me that I should: Write my sign in pencil first, proof read my sign by checking carefully for spelling mistakes and THEN make it official by breaking out the magic markers and glitter.

It's really too bad that someone didn't pay attention in English class on the day that contractions were taught. 

I completely understand that I may have made grammar mistakes in this post.  Feel free to point them out.  I can take it.

Friday Funny

Friday Funny-ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 Good Things About A Week That Wasn't

10 Things About Last Week That Didn't Stink.

Sometimes you just need to look on the bright side.

1. Rosie's steak tacos.  Yum! Sunday started off well.  Our church visit/hunt was not a complete disappointment.  After church we ate with the Furlongs at Rosie's which has NEVER let me down. I love their steak tacos!

2. Baby Cheyanne kept us entertained and smiling for 3 straight days.

3. I got this nifty new hair color.  I did it all by myself and am pleased to announce that I do NOT look like I will be looking for work with the circus.

4. Facebook.  My friends live there.

5. I saved us some major cash by playing the grocery game.  I love the competition between myself and that giant called the grocery store.  

6. My sweet neighbor Mrs. K (who is old enough to be my grandma) popped over for a visit just to chit chat.  What a delight.

7.College football season is here! 
There's a hint of Fall in the air. Ahhhhhh
The Dawgs and the Gators both won their games so all is still well in our divided house.
Go Gators! 

8. My dearly beloved ran 8 miles in one stretch. He's training for the Marine Corps 1/2 Marathon in Jax.
So proud of him!

9. Caitlin and Abbie have surprised and impressed me by faithfully working together on their relationship and their girly figures.  They are torturing themselves with P90X daily.  I love my beautiful girls!

10. His promises are sure and His faithfulness unwavering.