Thursday, December 30, 2010

One thing I can't handle is overpaying for things. I was taught from a young age to be an educated consumer and to shop around. My dad uses 2 phrases the most: OPM: Other People's Money and Never Pay Full Price. I've really paid more attention to these lessons as I got older. In my early 20s when I didn't have much responsibility, it seemed like money flowed like water(or beer). But now, we have to be careful about what we spend. When we were first married, I found out that Billy was paying Bank of America for a checking account. That is a cardinal sin as far as I'm concerned. So many banks will give you free checking. He was also using a credit card with no rewards - and he may have been paying a fee for it too. On his behalf, he had never been taught these simple lessons. With my coaching, our credit cards is giving us back $300 this January. That's more like it!

So when he was doing some last minute Christmas shopping, my dad tagged along. And that goodness he did! Dad reported that B would have just handed over his wallet. I received a Citizen watch on Christmas morning and SJP Lovely perfume. After some internet research, he didn't get the best deal on the perfume, but he couldn't beat the price on the watch! Well done. Honestly, I was expecting and would have been fine with an Ann Klein/Fossil type watch, but am so happy to have a nice piece now! Hopefully I'll get this super awesome better job in January so it can match my more professional persona!

Speaking of deals...I was watching a show on TLC last night about people who use coupons on everything - and even collect coupons from neighbors miles away and dumpster dive for Sunday circulars. I thought they were crazy - until I saw their grocery bill go down from nearly a thousand dollars to around $20. Then they show you the inside of these people's homes and they have what is basically a bomb shelter filled with food and supplies that they have stocked up on. I wonder how they use everything before it's expiration date. I mean, one lady bought 40 cans of pasta sauce. I think she got them all for free. I'm all for a good bargain, but I think this is over the top and boderline obsessive. I would like to think that if I was well trained enough to shop like this, then I would donate a large portion to the soup kitchen. Better yet, why isn't someone at the soup kitchen paying this lady to stock their shelves?!?!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So we had a wonderful Christmas. Our families were so generous and we feel so thankful for everything. We headed down to Miami on the 23rd to spend some time with Billy's family. We had brunch and then exchanged gifts. Later that evening, my parents arrived and we went out for some BBQ. I would have cooked, but I assumed my mom had something because she told me to not worry about buying groceries for the week. Minor communication error.

The next day was Christmas Eve and we played Wii, hung out outside and went for a walk in the park. Hello – who knew that Wii would make my arm sore for the next 2 days!?!? We also went to the Christmas Eve service at our church and it was beautiful. I was happy to show my parents our church and I know that they are happy that we are connected to such a great place. Below is a picture of us before we left. My sweater is a gift from my MIL from WH/BM – one of my favs!

The next morning, we had our "Christmas Morning Breakfast" which is an egg & sausage casserole. Delish! We open gifts – which was so much fun! We felt like kids because it seemed that the presents never ended. After presents, we skyped with my brother, who is in Kuwait. It was so neat to be able to talk to him in real time!

My parents left today, and my MIL & B's grandmother came up. We poked around a few stores and had dinner.

And now the house is finally quiet!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Advent reading on Sunday was a success. Church was more full than usual and I read while Billy lit the candles. We were happy that we were picked to participate! Later, when we got home Billy had to run up to the Marriott to fix their pool heater while I made some delicious Muddy Buddy Chex Mix. It's basically like crack. I made one batch and quickly got it out of the house to our neighbors. I have never made it before but it is so. easy. And the recipe is on eth back of the Chex box! All you need is cereal, butter, peanut butter, chocolate and powdered sugar. I prefer it to cookies any day!

I also got a bit crafty on Saturday and made this. Not sure was I'm going to do with it yet, but I think I'd like to find a way to hang it somewhere in the house.

So happy for a 3 day week! On Thursday we'll go down to Miami for the day and then my parents will arrive in Boynton Beach in the early evening. Mom said to not worry about grocery shopping, which means it will be food from home all week. Woot!! Very excited for the break until January 3rd and CHRISTMAS!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So my Christmas cards have not arrived yet, but I am anxiously tracking them on Currently, they are in Jacksonville, FL. So I'm hoping for a Tuesday arrival at the latest. I don't think I'm running late yet though because I have only received one Christmas card so far! I even bought a cute card holder to hang on the wall too! It's just hanging there...nearly empty. Sad.

Last week was so so so cold. Low sixties as a high and for FL, that is no joke. This weekend was beautiful, as I saw from my spot on the couch. But we're back in the low sixties tomorrow. On the plus side, I was able to wear my courerory(sp?) pants that have not seen the light of day since we lived in VA. ANOTHER bonus is that it makes it feel more like Christmas. Aside from the Christmas music that has been playing almost non stop in our home. We also got a tree - an artificial one! This pleases me, as life is much better without me having to sweep the needles everyday. Patton has enjoyed taking the ornamnets off the bottom, so we now have it decorated 2/3 up.

Christmas shopping...not finished. Almost though. The goal is to have things that need to be mailed at the post office by Wed. So far the best deals I have had are a purse that I bought on and then the next day it was posted as $30 more! I also had a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase at the Family Christian store where I bought my aunt a willow angel and Billy's nana a book. Oh, and The Blind Side for 3.99 on amazon! Take that, Christmas budget!

Stay Sunday Billy and I are the Advent readers at church. Right now the plan is for me to read and for him to light the candles. I'll see if I can coax him into reading just a bit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Coming to a mailbox near you

So I did it - for free! I was able to get 50 free cards from Shutterfly and just had to pay for shipping. A GREAT deal! Here is the result:

I got all the Christmas stuff out today - now we just need a tree! I know an artificial tree just isn't the same - but I'm looking to make things easy this year. So now I'm on the hunt for an inexpensive fake tree. On the plus side, from now on we can get it out right after Thanksgiving and now have it wilt for 4 weeks all over the floor. Worth it???

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back from the Thanksgiving holiday! Back to work, anyway. We didn't go anywhere and it was a quiet few days. For the first time, it felt like a true 4 days and I was rested when I came back this morning. We didn't travel, so maybe that is why it felt like that. We just had 2 friends over - Lauren and her boyfriend, Mark. Lauren wrote me an email about how she was going to buy Mark some Boston Market and eat a Lean Cuisine - so of course I put a stop to that! Below is Billy slicing up the turkey breast and a picture of our meal. I'm slightly embarrassed that we only have one green dish on the table, but I really can't think of anything else to include! And of course, the green beans are the only leftovers still in the fridge. No one's favorite.

This morning, I got en email passed along to me from one of our good family friends who is a helicopter pilot in the Middle East right. After reading the email, it was very evident to me that he is in a very dangerous place. I sent out a facebook message to the people who know him and my brother and asked them to send a Christmas card. I hope that some people take the initiative to send a note to let them know we're thinking about them over the upcoming holidays. If you're reading this and want the address for either of them, please let me know.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

It is Wednesday and I have counting down the hours(minutes) until I can LEAVE to start enjoying my Thanksgiving vacation! We had plans to travel to Pensacola to spend the holiday with my bff Candace and her husband, but then Billy got a part-time job and was schedule to work on Friday. Yay for job - boo for not being able to see Candace! So instead, I went to Public last night to buy a small turkey breast and some of the necessities to have our friends, Mark & Lauren over. They are sort of orphans too, so I'm glad we'll be able to celebrate together. I got basically everything I needed for dinner for under $30! Publix had BOGO wine and the turkey was about $9.50. I was very pleased - and Lauren is in charge of dessert. Next, I will need to figure out how to cook this bad boy turkey. We will also be having green beans, NOT GBC - gross, corn bread, potatoes and some veggies for appetizers. Low key, but just fine for this novice.

This past weekend, we were gifted tickets from the Ticketmaster(B's dad) for the Virginia Tech vs. Miami game. We had a lot of fun! Tailgating at UM games is so different than the southern school tailgating I have been exposed to (ECU, UVA, Tennessee, Clemson). There is no southern rock to be heard...just pop and dance music. I guess that is Miami for you! Billy and I enjoyed ourselves sitting on the bed of his truck and drinking our 6 pack of Coors Light. Ohhhh how times have changed! The night before, we were debating if we were still "cool" or not...through the eyes of his college aged sister. I voted no...especially because when we were discussing what to drink before the game, Billy suggested that we only need a 6 pack. Oh, if his fraternity brother could hear that!

On to more important things....DANCING WITH THE STARS! I usually casually follow the votes, but this season I really paid attention and watched the episodes. I was so interested in what was happening with Bristol Palin. I was amazed that she stayed in the contest until the finale! Good for her! I am reading Going Rogue right now, so maybe that was why I was interested....but anyway. Jennifer and Derek won, but I think the Disney star, Kyle should have won. Jennifer was dramatic and Derek is so touchy and annoying, at least in my opinion. But America has voted! Next up: Skating With The Stars. How can that NOT be a disaster? I do love Bethenny, so perhaps I will tune in!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A little sappy...beware

Pray constantly. I remember a few weeks ago in church that is what our pastor said. Ever since then, I have tried to make an effort to pray about things in my life and to really give up the things that I can not change. There are so many things in life that I worry about - for really no reason. Worry will get you nowhere. I even heard that on Delilah last night on my way home :)

I remember last week - or the week before - in church looking over at Billy and he was obviously praying too, which was touching, but also made me panic for a minute - like oh no - if he is praying about this, then maybe this is serious! So today during lunch I prayed again...hard....and then a few hours later, I got the call that my prayer had been answered! And I rememberd to THANK God in the moment too...which is something I rarely remember to do.

I do beleive that there is a plan and that we will not be handed things that we can not handle. While at times that may not SEEM like it is true, we have to have faith.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Cards

So last Christmas, our picture card was a bit of a lash-up. We asked a friend to come take our picture on the beach, but she backed out. So we headed out on our own and balanced the camera on a trashcan and did the self timer. We took a few at various spots on the beach, but didn't get any great pics. Here is an example from the photo shoot:

With little to choose from, we moved forward trying to find a Christmas card with palm trees. No such luck. But THIS YEAR! Shutterfly has several tropical Christmas card to choose from. Below are a couple favorites:

Hopefully we'll have a few pictures to choose from. The other bonus is that now we have PATTON! Last year we got him a week after I ordered the pictures, so he could not make his debut on the card. You can order your Shutterfly cards here:

I have also used Shutterfly to order stationery: and your family calendars here:

The plan is to get a good picture at the VT vs. Miami game next weekend and hopefully a couple over Thanksgiving weekend in Pensacola! Billy will try – for the 3rd year to get us in match Christmas sweaters, but hopefully I will still keep him at bay.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and I DO NOT have to work! But then I have to come back on Friday and back again on Saturday morning for Open House. Booo. But it will be so nice to not wake up to an alarm tomorrow. A real alarm, anyway. Surely when I open my eyes I will have crazy dog sitting there staring at me. Palm Beach County School don't get off tomorrow, to my dismay because I was trying to hang out with my only actual friend, Lauren in Boynton Beach. She's a guidance counselor at the school in my neighborhood. No such luck. People are writing article and editorials about not closing the schools, but I think it is just as well that they don't. They should probably be IN school learnig about why we should honor our veterans. I have several in my family...pretty much every male: my husband, brother, father, grandfather & uncle. Jim, my brother is the only active duty and is currently serving in Kuwait. We just found out that we can text him and he skypes with his fiance. He also has a ROOM to himself and rumor has it that he complained to my mom about some lobster he ate. Not so rough with the Air Force, I guess. Still, we are very proud that he has chosen to serve his country.

Speaking of serving our country, I was watching the "W" on the Today Show this morning. A lot of controversy, obviously, but he gave a good interview and can talk a lot more off the cuff now that he is not president. I would like to read his book and I think he was at a book fair in Miami just yesterday! For my first Grad English course next semester, I think I'm going to take a course on biographies, so I should probably read one first! This is an autobiography, so maybe it doesn't count? Sarah Palin's auotbiogrpahy is also on my list. I'm sure I'll be really popular in this class with those choices!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ever since I was duped my DirecTV, I really don't watch much anymore. By duped, I mean I was so happy to have all these great channels for the first year, and didn't realize that the price would basically DOUBLE the 2nd year. So I had to cut our package down to the bare minimal and now we watch the news, football, HGTV and TLC. Well, I watch TLC anyway. My 2 favorite shows are Say Yes To That Dress and What Not To Wear. Billy refers to them as "Say No To That Show" and "What Not To Watch". Very funny. He doesn't understand why I want to watch a show about weddings...after all, I am already married. But we watch Property Virgins pretty much every day and we already bought our first home! Same concept, no? Well until June, 2011 - those are our options. With a little Teen Mom on the side. Because, you know, I can't get enough. Of that, OR Friday Night Lights, which is probably the best show no one is watching. This is the last season and I am enjoying every minute!

Happy Saturday! The highlight of my day was coming home from the grocery store and finding Billy mopping the floor. And THEN he vacuumed the pool. Was this to help me or to avoid studying...hmmm? Either way, it was MUCH appreciated! I needed a highlight because ECU let Navy run up 79 points. You read that right - S E V E N T Y - N I N E. Glad Mom & Dad got to be there to witness it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Congrats to my brother and his new fiance! They got engaged this weekend and are planning a wedding for next November in Charleston, SC! The worst thing I can say about them is that they are 'Bama fans! Boooo! He deployed to Kuwait for 4 months today, so Courtney will be busy planning while he is away! I will be a bridesmaid, and other than that, I don't have too many details. I'm very excited for them!

Also, for some time now....well, basically since I got this job, I have been having issues with a coworker...unbeknown to him. This morning he was telling us one of his weekend stories, which I found to be extremely inappropriate and I finally got the courage to tell him how I felt. After I started talking, it was easier than I thought, so hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out!

This weekend Billy and I did some little projects around the house and started to research the west coast of FL for places to move in a few years. He found a place on a spring fed canal and was trying to reel me in with the thought of swimming with manatees! Le sigh...a girl can dream! But we're trying to make it a reality! This January, I'm going to start talking graduate level English classes to certify me to teach at the college level. I think that will open a lot more doors for me, but hopefully I can make it though 6 courses!

On a sad note, ECU and the Steelers lost this weekend.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday ramblings

So I see between 5 and 10 students every day who come into my office for advising. The other day, I was on my lunch break, but I saw a student in our waiting room who looked troubled, so I asked if I could help her. She asked to speak to me in my office, so even though I was on lunch, I made an exception. Before she even sat down, she was crying. She wanted to drop her classes because her fiance had broken up with her. I could see she was devastated and I wanted to start crying right with her. I can't imagine planning a wedding and then having it all canceled. While for me, the wedding planning wasn't all fun, I thought being engaged was and I was really looking forward to being married. Well, I went through the paperwork with her and it is going to be a petition process, which may not be approved. Later on, I went to talk to our asst. director about it and he clearly did not have the compassion for this girl like I did. Maybe it is because he is a man and doesn't understand how that can affect someone? I don't know...but my heart hurt for her and I'm going to do everything I can to help her!

Hooray for Friday! I'm even getting out of here 30 minutes early because my exit road out of here is being blocked off for our new president's inauguration/homecoming parade. I'm armed with my coupons and I'm hitting the grocery store on my way home! Thank you !

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hotel California

So we got a huge surprise yesterday - Billy's parents offered us their Eagles concert tickets! B's dad ended up with other obligations and so we got 2nd section, 5th row floor seats!!! I left work early, got home & changed and then we headed down to their house in Miami to pick up the tickets. We ate some quick dinner and then headed back up to Sunrise for the concert. Can you BELIEVE parking was $25!?!?! It that was our cost for the concert, it was MORE than well worth it. We were easily the youngest people there, but we knew all the songs, all the words and had a blast!

We're going to start calling B's dad TicketMaster because he also have us tickets to the Miami vs. Virginia Tech game in November!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Worrier or Planner?

A few times a month, I get really down and start to worry about what might be. Because I don't know what Billy's job will be in the next couple months, I start to worry/plan about bills, how things will get paid and essentially our life for the next few years. I always need Billy to talk me down from this ledge. I like to say that I like to plan things, but he just says I am a worrier. I guess there is a difference, but where is the line?

Some things that I've been "planning" about lately....what if we have kids? Who will watch them during the day? How much will be make on our house when we try to sell? Will we even be bale to sell it? Obviously these things are not anywhere in the immediate future, but they are on my brain!

So I was reminded of this prayer, which I probably need to read more often!
The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Many things

We have a great, relaxing and sort of productive weekend. The best part was that the Steelers and ECU Pirates won! I also mopped the floor...which I hate more than probably any other chore. But after I'm finished, I'm so proud of myself and just stare at the floor from all different angles. I also scrubbed the bathroom, washed Patton and finished up laundry. This is while Billy was busy digging up the backyard and found a broken drain pipe. We couldn't figure out why our deck drains were backing is because 3 foot roots had made their way into the drain! Luckily, I married Mr. Fix-It. He can seriously fix anything. Even if it's not broken!

We also found a diving duck in the pool as we were getting ready for church on Sunday! Luckily, Patton did not notice! Last year, we had baby turtles! For a while, Billy had an account where the family purposefully kept a turtle in their pool. I think he finally convinced them that keeping the turtle in the pool would keep their chemicals unbalanced.

Today's is Mom's birthday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I <3 my Labrador

So the time has come. The time for Billy to get a real world job. We've put it off for as long as we can so he could focus solely on getting his business going. He has made some strides and some great contacts, but I don't think we can keep paying the bills this way. So we were discussing this as I was making dinner(pancakes & sausage – yay Friday!) and we were thinking…poor Patton! He's been so used to someone being home most of the time. What is he going to do during the day if no one is here to pay attention to him? When we leave for short trips like church, he give him free reign on the house. I've only lost 2 shoes to this, which I think is pretty good for a pup that just turned 1! So I said we should have a kid so they could stay home and take care of Patton. Billy thinks we should adopt a 17 year old! But I guess our sweet Patton is going to have the join the ranks with other dogs that have working moms and dads. I just hope he understands. <3

Is It Worth It?

When I came into this job, I was able to show them a few tricks to make their life pressing the first letter of a last name when scrolling through a list of files can take you right to that letter! Simple things that I'm sure is because I grew up with computers. Our secretary is probably 60+ years old and it's hard to explain technical things sometimes. I am the queen of Ctrl + C and Ctrl + P = cut and paste, right? This eliminates a lot of mistakes when transferring data or text. I asked her to gather 51 email addresses for students that I met with over the past 2 weeks so I can send them a survey, which she happily did. But then I got 15 of them kicked back because they are not the correct university email addresses as we have in the system. A little cute & paste could alleviate this...but is it worth it? After having her help me was wonderful, and I don't want to make her feel bad. Plus, I'm still easing into giving intructions to someone older than me.
It's sort of a slow day today, so sometimes I just turn around and stare...we've hit paradise season in Florida and the major heat is officially gone!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Happy Monday! This weekend went by in a flash, as usual. On Saturday, I had Open House. With my vast Admission experience, I know what students and parents want to hear, so overall, I think it went well. We collected all the contact information for all the attendees, so hopefully the program directors will get on board and recruit these students!

On Saturday night, Billy thought it would be a good idea to build a fire...on the dock. It went well for a while, until the concrete block he built the fire on exploded. No one was hurt in this experiment. But it was nice sitting on the dock for a while sipping on some wine and watching Patton run around like a crazy dog.

Then on Sunday, I got up early, went for a long walk, washed Patton and made some home-made salsa - until I realized that I could not get it all done before church! So we skipped and finished getting ready for our trip to Miami to celebrate Billy & his dad's birthdays. They both share October 19th for their birthdays. We had 2 cakes - yum! A Carvel ice cream cake and red velvet. It was a nice afternoon and the Steelers won! Icing on the cake, if you will.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Still Trucking

So we're almost at the end of the week again! This week went by so fast, and I haven't even had to travel, which is usually the cause of a fast week. Tomorrow is Friday though and I'm working a 1/2 day. We have a meeting at 8am at a different campus, so I'll just go home after that. Open House is on Saturday, so I will technically be working 5 full days.
I love Thursdays because it is the day when the Publix BOGO sales are posted and I use to find how to save even more money. It really is like a game to me! I'm not as good as other people, and I don't get the newspaper, but I save some serious cash some weeks! I can't believe I wasn't doing this long before now!
Some days things are better than others. Praise doesn't just fly around here, so I sometimes get nervous that I'm not doing well. But then other times, I'll do something and it's like I moved a mountain for someone. Even just the simplest things can get me some attention sometimes. It's just a different atmosphere. In Admissions, I could get a new student almost every day, but in Advising, the accomplishments aren't as traceable or noticeable I guess.
This Sunday, we'll be going to Miami to celebrate my FIL's 50th birthday and Billy's 31st birthday. They share the same date - Oct 19th. Then Mom's is the 25th. And how could I forget - my sweet baby puppy's 1st birthday was on Monday! His poor leg is hurt, so he needs to stay off it and swim a little more. We like taking him for walks after dinner, but we haven't been able to since Sunday I believe. I think it's my fault - I was home by myself last weekend and I walked him 3x a day and I think I just wore him out!

Anyway, I believe that is all for now! I'll try again to post Monday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New School. New Problems.

So I switched jobs 2 months ago. The old job - I loved, but I knew I needed something bigger and the school was so small and had many limitations. The new job - I like, not love. My coworkers...not something I am used to. Not the easiest to be around and we clearly have different viewpoints on several levels. They're fine, they would just not be my first pick in my fantasy workplace draft. The students are in general respectful, but a far cry from the Christian university I was at. Today's example made my blood boil. The student challenged everything I said and wanted to speak with the other advisor. I told him I had been doing this for a long time(he doesn't know the truth) and that the other advisor would tell him the same thing. After a staring contest, I handed him his degree plan and sent him on his merry way, without talking to the other advisor. Surely I won't be seeing his smiling face again.

I think I have just been lucky to have really good bosses in my last few jobs. The gave me so much autonomy and here it's just not the same and it doesn't seem like my coworkers want any of that additional responsibility that comes with decision making. Hopefully, in time, I will get a little more. For now, I know that this is a stepping stone and my next job will be a well-deserved step up!

On a lighter note, college football starts tonight!