Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008....

Welcome 2009!

I re-read my post from January 1, 2008 and almost all of our resolutions came true! 2008 was a very eventful year in our family and we achieved even more than we thought we could or would.
Here's a recap of what happened in 2008:
* I graduated with my Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology
* I accepted a job with BA public schools & love it!
* We bought a house!
* We learned (very quickly) about home improvement and repair :)
* I improved my weekly meal planning and we slowly improved our budget by eating-in more often (although we still need to work on that)
* We purchased season football tickets and had a wonderful time
* I continued to coupon & keep our grocery bills low
* I did pretty well with the project 365 challenge. I would say I took about 325 pictures total. Still, not too bad!
* I continued to scrapbook 1x a month

So much changed in 2008, I'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying everyday life in 2009. Some of our resolutions are as follows:
- to remain healthy and active
- continue meal planning & eating out less
- to pay off the new furnace/air conditioner
- hopefully purchase Brandon a newer vehicle
- finally paint the last 2 bedrooms and the bathroom upstairs
- find a better mail/important papers organization system
- continue to scrapbook monthly
- plant a garden in the backyard in the spring
- continue to coupon/save $ in that area
- become a more efficient SLP- keep a better handle on paperwork and become more creative in my therapy techniques

What are some of your New Year's resolutions?
May you be blessed in 2009! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Catch-Up

What a Christmas! We spent this past week running all over Tulsa, but it was wonderful. This year, Brandon and I did something a little different. We combined our usual gift exchange and bought a new coffee table. (I took a picture of it for my photo of the day, but it didn't turn out well!)
We spent Christmas day at my parents and my Nannie & Papa's house. Mom and Dad gave me a new Coach purse:
While at Nannie's, we ate a TON of food & Brandon got a new fireplace set!

To wrap it all up, our friend Travis is home (temporarily) from the Peace Corps, so we've been spending time with Trav and other friends.
How blessed we are to have such amazing friends & family, a roof over our heads and all of our needs met. I can't wait to see what 2009 holds!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rachel's Graduation & Texas Christmas

This past Friday, my sister graduated with her bachelors degree in nursing from UT Tyler. All she has left is her RN exam and she's good to go! We are so proud of her- here's some pictures from the event:Rachel @ her pinning.....The family @ lunch

The entire drive from Dallas to Tyler was covered with fog. As we got closer to Tyler though, we kept getting breaks in the fog- the sunset was just beautiful!

We took Leia with us to Dallas- she sure got tired of all the time spent in the car. Here's Leia resting on the way home...she just looks so pitiful!

After Rachel's graduation, we spent the rest of the weekend with Brandon's family, celebrating an early Christmas. We shopped quite a bit, ate ALOT and opened plenty of gifts. We had a wonderful time.....

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Some good deals in Texas

While in Texas for the weekend, I found some great bargains at CVS and Target:

Target: $2.49 for a 3 foot Christmas tree for my kiddos at school next year (75% off since it was the floor model)

Halls cough drops
cookie straws
Loreal eye shadow, foundation and powder
Charmin 12 rolls of toliet paper
2 Arm & Hammer cleaning kits
Total OOP:$13.60
Total before coupons/ECB: $55.72

Friday, December 19, 2008

Growin' Pup

Leia is getting so big! We caught her trying to sleep like this the other night on the couch- it was just too funny :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sausage Balls for Breakfast/Brunch

I've been posting alot of recipes lately, but I just love these for breakfast! They are great to take to church on Sunday mornings, but I made a double batch last night for my work Christmas party and to save in the freezer for an event in January.

These are so easy to make, and you can freeze them! You can pull them straight out of the freezer and put them straight into the oven.
Here's the recipe:
Sausage Balls
3 cups Bisquick
3-4 cups of cheese (up to you-I use 3 cups)
16 oz. of sausage
1/2 cup of milk
garlic powder to taste
Combine all ingredents until moist. Form into balls and place lightly on a greased (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet. Cook @ 350 degrees for 14-20 minutes. (Keep an eye on 'em- time depends upon if they were frozen or not)
Makes approx. 60 sausage balls.
(reposted from March '08- these are just that good!)

This recipe works for me! Check more WFMW posts over at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As requested....

Puppy Chow
1 box of crispix/chex cereal (I usually use the Rice chex)
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
Powdered Sugar

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave in a large bowl, stirring often. Once melted, add entire box of cereal.
Mix cereal into chocolate mixture with a large spoon, until cereal is well coated.
Transfer cereal to a clean brown grocery bag and add powdered sugar. (I usually start with a 1/2 cup and then add more as needed to fully coat the cereal.) Carefully fold down top of the bag, making sure it's sealed well. Then, shake well until all cereal pieces are covered with powdered sugar.
Store puppy chow in an air tight container and enjoy!
Merry Christmas!

Snow Days

You know you love your job when you get upset that school is cancelled! We had a sleet, ice, freezing rain storm come through Sunday night, and school (work) was cancelled Monday and for today.
Brandon stayed home from work yesterday as well because of this- an inch or so thick ice on our driveway.

It was nice to have a day together with nothing scheduled. We made a gingerbread house (not the best house we have ever made, but we had fun!) and watched daytime TV.

All of my goodies are prepared and bagged up, ready to go to school to pass out to some of my co-workers. Inside each bag is an assortment of puppy chow, tea cookies, chocolate and peanut butter fudge, coffee cups w/ the little coffee bags I got free @ Target and plantation bars.
Today I plan on wrapping the rest of my Christmas gifts & maybe running to the square to check out Ann Taylor Loft's b1g1 free sale :) Hopefully this is the last snow day this week....I need to be at work, writing IEPs, hosting my speech Christmas party, having IEP meetings and passing out my homemade goodies!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tour


Welcome to our home!

Here's our tree and some of our ornaments.....

the lights outside.....

and our stockings hung by the chimney with care (made by my mom):

Thanks for stopping by!

If you'd like to try some of my Christmas cookies- here's the link:

Today just happens to be a snow day here in Oklahoma, and my husband and I are off work. I fixed this for breakfast- it never disappoints!

Have a Merry Christmas and make sure to check out other Christmas decorations at the Tour of Homes over @

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A few nights ago...

A few nights ago, we were on our way to Cirque de Soleil, and we saw the most beautiful full moon. I've been messing with different settings on my camera, so I quickly ran back into the house to get my camera so I could snap a shot with some of the night settings I've been trying. I think the picture turned out OK....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Every year

As far back as I can remember, my mom & my Nannie would spend a whole day making Christmad candy for gifts. While in college, some friends and I started the same tradition. We didn't (and still don't) make fudge or divinity, but we assembled gingerbread houses and hand dipped pretzels. Neither tradition has faded, and I hope they never do!
Today was a very busy baking day. This morning I went over to mom's house and made a batch of peanut butter fudge and a batch of chocolate fudge. Then, this afternoon I met up with a friend to make the rest of my Christmas goodies. Here's what I started with: Alot of ingredients, huh? I'll post my final products later :)

What goodies do you make at Christmas? Do you have any fun cooking/Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hurry to Walgreens!

Walgreens is having a great 4-day sale right now! If you spend $25 BEFORE coupons, you'll earn a $5 Register Reward. (it expires 12/20)

This is my latest Walgreens transaction, but make sure and check out HCW and/or Money Saving Mom for more info/ideas:
3 Arm & Hammer laundry detergents- regularly $6.99, $1.99 after 4 day in-ad coupon
1 Crest weekly paste- $4.29, Free after coupon from VocalPoint
2 packages of Christmas stickers- on sale for $0.39
- 2 $1/1 Arm & Hammer printable coupons
- $4.29 vocalpoint coupon
Total after coupons: $5.69
Total OOP: $0 as I paid w/ my gift card and earned a $5 RR :)
Total savings: $21.51

Also, a gallon of milk is $2.79 if you need any!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WFMW: Christmas Cookies

I do alot of baking this time of the year. I bake quite a bit year round, (people at work have started calling me Betty Crocker!) but I love to give cookies and other goodies as gifts.
My Nannie found this recipe last year- and it ROCKS! Check it out- it's sure not to disappoint.

Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed (dark) brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 lg egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sweetened, grated coconut
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans (I've omitted these before and they are still good!)
1 1/2 cups Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips (save the rest- you'll need 'em)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cream butter & sugars until fluffy. (at least 3 minutes- this is why a KitchenAid rocks!)
Beat in egg, vanilla, baking soda, salt & then flour on a low speed.
Mix completely. Stir in oats, coconut, pecans & baking chips.

Measure out 1 tbsp and round into a ball. Play on a lightly greased cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart. Press lightly and sprinkle remaining peppermint chips on top of each cookie.

Bake 12-15 minutes- Do not overbake! They'll be crunchy on the outside but still pretty soft inside.

This should make 50-60 cookies.

*I found the Ande's Peppermint Baking Chips at Aldi's and at Super Target. They were $1.89/bag at the Tulsa Aldi's.
* Sprinkling the extra chips on top really does make a difference- don't skip this step!
* This recipe is on the back of the chips bag! :)

As always, check out more WFMW tips over at

Monday, December 8, 2008

Walgreens trip

Brandon & I stopped by Walgreens on our way to church Sunday morning. Here's the breakdown:

Total OOP: $0 (Paid $3.38 with WG gift card)
Rebates earned: $2.20
Total Saved: $15.66

Highlights of the trip:
3 free rolls of foil
Made $1 off 2 packages of tape (after rebate)
$0.39 plastic spoons, ribbon, poster board

Gotta love shopping at Walgreens! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just a picture.

Thursday was group picture day at school. Each teacher gets a photo of his/her class, and pictures are taken of each club, group, etc. All of these photos will be in the yearbook in May.
I have 43 kiddos on my caseload at the elementary school, yet I only see 2 to 4 kiddos at a time. Even though 43 sounds like alot, it doesn't seem that big because I see the kids throughout the week. So, even though I have a roster, I don't have a 'class'.

I was sitting in the lounge talking with a 1st grade teacher, and she suggested a 'speech class' I shot her down right can't put a picture of all the Speech IEP kids in the yearbook! That has to be illegal in some way, shape or form. But, then- we had a great idea: why not just a picture for me? Why not just take a photo for only me to keep?

So, after lunch, the lovely office ladies called for "all speech kids to report to the art room". As I walked down the hall, some of the kiddos ran past me, all excited & talking amongst themselves. (and totally against the rules- no running in school- duh!)

I walked into the art room and I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of children. All the kiddos were looking around at each other. I overheard some of the kids talking. A 3rd grader said to her friend, "Did you know Mrs. K helps this many kids?" And then, I realized again, how amazing my job is. Tears came to my eyes. It was absolutely wonderful to see all my kiddos in once place. Of course my kindergartners were terrified, and some of my lower kids had no clue what was going on & had trouble following the photographers instructions, but it was great. After the picture taking was over, at least 20 of my kiddos gave me a hug on their way back to class.

The photographer took 3 serious pictures and 1 silly picture. I hope at least 1 of the 4 turned out. Even if the pictures are terrible, I'm just so glad that I was able to see all my kiddos at once.

And, once the picture is printed, I'll always have a picture of my 1st year as a Speech Pathologist.

Friday, December 5, 2008

K-Mart & Homeland

This week, K-Mart is doubling coupons up to $2 in value here in Tulsa & around the country. Brandon took me out to dinner the other night, gave me flowers, and then went couponing with me. That's true love! :)

Anywho- here's what I got at K-Mart and Homeland:

Total OOP- K-Mart: $15.90
Homeland: $7.05
Total Saved w/ coupons & sales: $37.04

I really like the new Vaseline Prescription Strength lotion, and with the double coupons at K-Mart I only paid $2.50 for each bottle which is pretty decent. I got the J&J 1st aid kits for free, .50/box Kellogg's cereal, and .19 chinet napkins (at Homeland).

And for jollies, here's a photo of the flowers Brandon gave me:

Pumpkin Spiced & Iced Cookies

I tried this recipe last night- it turned out really well! Just thought I'd share:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle or spread with Vanilla Glaze.

To make vanilla glaze: Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Picture catch-up

Hopefully this is the last of my photo catch-up posts..........

This past Saturday we spent most of the day over in Stillwater tailgating and to watch the Bedlam football game. OSU didn't win (sadly) but we still had a great time. That's what I love about OSU fans- we're ALUMNI-not just football fans. We still love our school when the football team stinks. It's just a (nice) bonus when we have a great season. Here's some photos from Saturday- I played with the color setting on my camera, I think it made for some cool photos......
Brandon and I infront of the library- the fountain was orange since ESPN was there :)

The team @ the end of warm-up

Tailgating in the Alumni Center- it was too cold to be outside! We brought in our own cooler, watched Kansas beat Mizzou and had a wonderful time :)

You have to be from Oklahoma to appreciate this photo- but if you're interested, google OU/Big Red Sports & Imports- it's funny :)

And this is what we woke up to Monday morning- SNOW! Ok, it wasn't much more than what was on the roof tops and it most definately didn't stick- but what a way to start December.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Pictures

So, I'm a little late posting my pictures.....We spent Thanksgiving in Texas and had a great time. Here's Leia with Brandon's other pom, Sebastian. Sebass wanted NOTHING to do w/ Leia, but she just kept on trying to play with him :) Here's one of our family photos:

Brandon with his mom, right before supper:On Black Friday, Jim, Brandon and I went to Fry's at 5am because Jim wanted this monitor for $99! It took us a while to figure out where the monitors were in the store, and there was this sort-of line for the monitors, computers and printers. I worked my way up to the front & was shoved by this man into a metal rack! This nice lady (who just wanted a printer) helped me move up to the front with her, and I GOT THE LAST MONITOR! Brandon and Jim were very proud!


We had our 1st fire in the fireplace the other night! We had fireplaces as the rental houses, but we never used 'em. It was nice to have our 1st fire :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

November Budget

So.............I went a little over budget this month. Ok, more than a little.

Here's the breakdown:
Total spent: $369.93
Total saved combining coupons & sales:$406.95

My justification?
Well, there was Friendsgiving, and then my $80, every 4-6 month restock the basics Wal-Mart trip. And, the Halloween candy for my speech kiddos. And, well, it'd be like this every month if I didn't use coupons.

How'd you do?

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We spent Thanksgiving in Texas with Brandon's side of the family & had a great time.

There's a CVS down the street from my in-law's house and I've always wanted to be a CVS couponer, it's like- the holy grail of couponing. I always hear (read) about these amazing deals at CVS on Money Saving Mom and Hot Coupon Word. The problem is, we don't have a CVS here in Tulsa, just Walgreens on every corner. The closest CVS is over in Oklahoma City.

Thanksgiving morning, I was looking at the Dallas paper, and I noticed how many items were free after Extra Care Bucks & that CVS was open on Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law and I stirred out and I did pretty well for my 1st time CVS-ing.
Here's what I got:

Total OOP: $11.09
Total Saved: $80.96

Barefoot Wine
Light Bulbs
Colgate Toothpaste (made $1!)
Covergirl powder (made $1!)
Bic razor (made $3!)
Loreal lip gloss, Nail Polish, face cleansing cloths
Aussie hair spray (made $1)
12 pk toilet paper

I think that's a pretty good 1st CVS shopping experience!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving in Speech

Last week I used this turkey activity from The website requires a $20/yr subscription, but I have definitely used my $20 worth so far. I used this activity with my articulation only kiddos, and they took the turkey home, (with their target words written on the feathers) as homework.
Since this week was only 2-day school week, both my language and articulation kids made this craft:

It's a hands & feet turkey! The kiddos traced their feet (with their shoes on) and I pre-cut the hands with the ellison press. The kids assembled the turkeys and then wrote at least 6 things they were thankful for.

For my artic kiddos, they just read their 'I'm thankful for...' list aloud with their 'best speech sounds.' With my language kiddos I used this to address their 'following oral directions' goal. This was a very fun craft and took about 20 minutes to complete. All the kiddos loved it- I plan on using this for years to come!