Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So it's almost Thanksgiving...

I couldn't decide whether to do a post about things I am thankful for or things I am not thankful for today. I know it's almost Thanksgiving, and everyone is in a thankful mood. But I have to be honest, today was one of the worst days I've had in a long time. Then again, looking back, I realize it could have been a lot worse. So I guess I'll do sort of a hybrid...

Thankful for: Being able to wake up and have nothing to do until 11am this morning since my therapy client cancelled. Therefore, I was able to go the rec and work out before class.

Not Thankful For: When I got to the rec, I realized I'd left my ID in my jacket pocket, and although I begged and pleaded, they wouldn't let me in. I had to walk home and back, cutting about twenty minutes off of my workout time.

Thankful for: Getting my test back in Developmental Class and getting a B+.

Not Thankful for: the fact that there were three questions on the test, each worth equal amounts, and I got two A-'s and one B+....yet somehow these average out to an overall B+. Shady math going on? I think so..

Not Thankful for: Getting in a car accident on my way home because I was still trying to calculate how that grade worked out in my head. I was honestly just zoned out trying to multiply and divide in my head that I just ran right in to the car in front of me. That's right, folks... I just slammed right into a Mustang.

Thankful for: We pulled over, he looked at the new green paint on his car (from me) and the lack of silver paint that should have been there (that was now on my car), and said "Well, I don't really care about how it looks, but why don't you give me your phone number and I'll call you if anything comes up." My car has some new paint on it as well and I think I may have cracked one of the side lights, but I'm not positive - it might have been like that before. And let's be honest, I drive a minivan, I'm not winning any style points anyway.

Extremely thankful for: So far, no call - knock on wood!

Thankful for: Hosting my mom, stepdad, sister, and grandma for Thanksgiving

Not Thankful for: While I was peeling veggies, I broke the disposal and it backed up

Extremely Thankful for: The plumber coming within two hours of our call and fixing it!

Thankful for: Sammie!!

Not Thankful for: The poor girl getting sick all over the floor and guess who cleaned it up...

So I can't lie, today could have been a lot worse. And I'm really excited about people coming for Thanksgiving...and let me just point out that we will be in Ohio a month from now! (Actually, it will be Christmas Eve a month from now which is even cooler...) Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My New Favorite Thing

I just had to share this with y'all before you bought Christmas presents for any kids you know. 

We have these in our playrooms and they are absolutely awesome. (We have the full-body one). It's so cute and the kids love to put the different faces on it! We have some kids make it girls, some make it boys, and I had one little girl call it "that mean old man." It's also great for them to express sadness, happiness, and other moods that they might not be able to describe in words but can express through facial expressions on a toy.

Oh yeah, and it's super soft. Seriously, I'm pretty obsessed. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mutton Bustin'

We have been pretty busy lately with school and getting ready for family coming to visit (!). However, lately I've been really noticing the Texas accent. This may be due to the children I work with who pronounce 9 as "naahhhhhn" and say "fixin' to" all the time. Oh, and the fact they talk about showing their animals at the fair, ranching, and other things that are totally out of my league.

Fact: I have asked questions like "What are your lamb's names?" and "Do you like to brush their wool?" because I have no idea what you ask about ranching and stuff like that! Any suggestions are welcome!

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you an event that definitely does not exist outside of this type of environment. This is called Mutton Busting. What's that, you say? Well, at fairs around the state, people dress up their unsuspecting children (ages 4-7 or so) and then make them ride sheep until they fall off! And if they can last for 10 seconds, they get a prize. If not, they get trampled - not kidding! We watched this at the fair last year and I really haven't found anything better to symbolize the difference between Texas and Ohio...okay, that's a lie, but it's still fun to watch!

I found a video that shows it, but keep in mind that at the fair in Waco, all the little kids dress up like cowboys and cowgirls.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Weekend in the Life...

Some weekends, Dan and I are the epitome of the "boring married couple" stereotype, because we sit around, do nothing, and go to bed at 10:00pm on Friday and Saturday night. But this weekend was different, and it was so much fun!

Friday, I went shopping for Thanksgiving. My mom, stepdad, sister, and grandma are all coming down and we get to host Thanksgiving for them and a few friends! I planned out a shopping list and went grocery shopping for most of it. Dan and I then went to Target and filled a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. It's a great Christmas charity that sends shoeboxes full of gifts to children around the world who otherwise wouldn't get presents. We filled our shoebox for a four year old boy, so we picked out some awesome stuff: Hotwheels, crayons, a stuffed hippo, and then of course a Spiderman toothbrush! We stuffed the box full, and all we have to do is turn it in to church and they take care of the rest. If you click on the link, you can see where you can participate if you're interested.

We also watched another episode in the John Adams HBO miniseries while enjoying a bottle of Blackstone Merlot, one of our favorite inexpensive wines. (We picked that up at Target too at the same time as our shoebox items, and laughed about what the cashier was thinking about us).

On Saturday, Dan and Sammie settled in on the couch for a day of relaxing with college football. Unfortunately, I had homework and studying to do. I worked on that for a little bit until I got a call from my friend Melanie, asking if I wanted to bake cookies with her and a couple other friends. Um, of course! I shut my books and ended up filling my afternoon with Christmas music and cookie baking. We made cocoa fudge cookies, pfefferneuse, french lace cookies, and of course, sugar cookies.*

After several hours of baking, I went back home, cleaned up, and we went out to a local Mexican restaurant with some other friends for dinner before seeing the play Eurydice, a Baylor theater production. I have to say, I loved the play. We all did. It was maybe my favorite non-musical I've ever seen. So if you ever get the chance to check this one out, I'd highly recommend it.

When the play was over, Dan and I invited everyone back to our apartment to hang out. We all sat around eating, drinking, and talking until late. It was great quality time with friends, even though they did tell us that Sammie appears to be getting a little chubby!**

Sunday, the final day of the weekend, started out normal with going to church. Afterwards, though, we went out to lunch with our pastor and got to really talk with him for about two hours. It was great. We talked about jobs, marriage, and life in general. He had a lot of helpful advice and I also really enjoyed listening to him talk to Dan. Our pastor has thought so highly of Dan ever since they worked together in Mexico, and I loved hearing him say over and over how great of a communicator Dan is, how much integrity he has, how intelligent he is...his only complaint was that Dan sells himself short at times! We both left feeling so blessed to have gotten involved at a church with such a great pastor.

The rest of the afternoon, I actually did have to do the homework that I'd put off the day before. :( Yuck! Dan watched football - and won this round of fantasy football! All in all, a great weekend.

*The cocoa fudge cookies are the ones I was in charge of, so that's the actual recipe for them. The others were family recipes that I don't have copies of, so I tried to find recipes online that looked similar. But I can highly recommend that recipe for cocoa fudge cookies - they were delicious!

**Sammie was so sad that she didn't even eat breakfast the next morning! Her self-esteem is shot!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Tips to Help You Be In Fashion (By Being Frugal)

I've been reading a lot lately about how saving money is now "in fashion." Beyond the fact that you can't think about that sentence too much or your head might fall off, I think it's true! People are way more into finding ways to be frugal in their lives lately.

My frugality first took hold when we were planning our wedding. I didn't want to be cheap, but I wanted to be frugal and get the best possible [fill in the blank] for the best price. I really enjoyed the challenge and ended up being very pleased with the results.

So we've been continuing on that frugal path throughout the first year of our marriage. When we buy things, we do a lot of research to get the best product for the best price. I thought it might be fun to share some tips with all of you about ways we save money:

1. Buy online. Dan found our TV online at amazon.com for much cheaper than any retailer was selling it (the exact same model) in town - and it came with free shipping and no sales tax. We also both just got new running shoes online for 20-30 dollars cheaper than they are sold in stores. Seriously, you will be amazed at how much money you can save on so many things by purchasing them online.

2. Sign up for free samples. When I get bored, I will do a Google blog search on "free samples" or "freebies," and then sign up for the ones that we will use. I have gotten samples of dog food and treats, coffee, granola bars, you name it.... Walmart always has at least a few different ones on their website. The best part is that they frequently come with coupons, so if you like the product, you can then get it for a discount!

3. That brings me to my third point - we use coupons! I've talked in previous posts about the CVS and Walgreens games people play. Those are awesome and I still want to begin doing that someday in the future. But for now, I take an easier approach. I still read a lot of those blogs that detail CVS couponing, and I still print out the coupons that I might use. After all, most of the printable coupons are good anywhere, not just at CVS! There are also specific blogs for almost every grocery store that detail out their sales and match coupons with them each week. I use the ones for Walmart but to find ones for your local grocery store, just look here.

You can be as serious or casual about this as you want. For example, last week I just brought three coupons for 1.00 off Starkist tuna (which was priced at 86 cents), 75 cents off Idahoan mashed potatoes (which were priced at 75 cents), and 2.00 off hair ties, which were 2.12. So I was able to get all those items for free, basically! It's really a great idea just to scroll through the websites as you're planning out your shopping trip and print off coupons for items you will use.

4. Use Dry Cleaner's Secret. You can buy it at the grocery store in the laundry aisle, and it dry cleans your clothes in the dryer. I was nervous that it might not actually get my clothes clean, but so far it has and we've saved a ton on dry cleaning bills!

5. Go meatless. Both of us were a little wary about this at first, but we now regularly go meatless at least twice a week. Here are some ideas that we regularly use: omelets or some type of eggs, rice and beans, pizza, soup and cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, or pancakes. Most of these still have plenty of protein - but they are all delicious and save you quite a bit of money!

I hope I can now be considered cool and "in fashion" for sharing these with you all! I'd love to hear your ideas because I'm still constantly searching for ways to get the most out of what we have!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Mouse in the House!

Okay y'all, I need your help.

I know I'm supposed to be the one who analyzes and interprets, but as we all know, it's really hard to do these things for yourself!

So here's my predicament. I don't usually talk or make any sounds while I'm sleeping. But a couple weeks ago, I had a dream in which I was chasing a mouse. Actually, to be specific, I was on a pogo stick trying to squash the mouse. As I was hopping around and shouting in my dream, I was awakened by Dan. Apparently, I was shouting in real life too and had woken him up. We laughed about this for a long time - he thought I was being chased by a murderer or something, and found it ridiculous that it was a mouse. We joked about it for a while and then forgot about it.

Well, last night, I had a similar dream! This was set in our apartment, and the mouse was running around everywhere and I was really freaked out. Dan put his hand on my back to wake me up, because again I was screaming out loud. I thought his hand was the mouse, and screamed even louder as I woke up. I just remember turning over and seeing both my husband and my dog staring at me, wondering what kind of dream would cause me to react like this.

So why am I having these mouse dreams? I don't have a mouse phobia, we don't have one in our apartment, I can't really think of any reason they would have been on my mind lately... Somebody tell me what's going on!