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???