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!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The big event: Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving was a HUGE success. We had 14 people in all- including Brandon and myself. We started the party about 6:15pm and everyone was gone by 11:30pm. The turkey turned out SO juicy and tender- I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow night for supper! I will definately use that recipe again next year.

There was more than enough food, dessert and wine to go around and I think everyone had a good time. Here's the dessert & drink tables and Rusty & Andy with the 'OSU cake':

Here's some more photos:

Kayla came to the rescue with the gravy!
Brandon & Liz with the wishbone, while Kristen is studying the 'How to carve a turkey' instructions I printed off :)
Crystal, Kayla and I

Since the OU vs Tech game was pretty boring (well, for OSU fans it was) we broke out Pictionary. It was a pretty close game, but team OSU beat team Awesome in the end! :)

Preparations & decorations

Friday after work, Nannie and Papa came over to help me clean up the turkey. I had the brine already prepared, so I supervised :) Here's our turkey in it's brining bag, ready to sit overnight, and Nannie with her handy work!

Friday night/Saturday morning I got the house ready. Here's how the table decorations turned out: and the placecards/wine charms:
and this was my centerpiece on the beverage table- I think it turned out lovely!

More friendsgiving photos to come!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Step 1: Brine

Friendsgiving is about 48 hours away! Here's what I've gotten done thus far:

* scrubbed down the kitchen back splash, counter tops, front of oven & dishwasher
* moved my KitchenAid mixer and toaster out of kitchen, into the laundry room
* washed the kitchen floor rugs
* washed, dried and ironed the tablecloths
* picked up card table & a folding chair from mom & dad
* moved my turkey to the fridge to thaw

* FINALLY cleaned out the 'blue' bedroom upstairs (the last room w/ boxes from the move)
* Made the brine mixture.

Like I said last week, I'm using Alton Brown's brine recipe from the food network. Here are my ingredients:

I cheated and made my own "candied ginger" by mixing equal parts of ground ginger and sugar. Instead of using 1/2 tbsp of allspice berries, I just used 1 tsp ground allspice.

Following Alton's directions, I combined everything but the ice water and brought it to a boil:

The house sure does smell wonderful! Tomorrow, Nannie is coming over to help me w/ the turkey (ok, I don't like touching the bird/removing the insides. Nannie loves me, so she does it! I'm spoiled!!!!) and we'll start brining the turkey tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WFMW: Speech & Language websites for kiddos

As you'all know, I'm a speech pathologist at a local elementary school. There are several websites that I love to use in my classroom and have my kiddos practice at home. I thought I'd share these sites so more kiddos could use 'em! for early readers and to highlight certain sounds. for vocabulary games and for specific sound/articulation games

Make sure and check out more WFMW tips over at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friendsgiving Budget

Here's the breakdown of my Friendsgiving spending. I probably should have set a budget before I bought anything......I'll do that next year :)

17 lb turkey- $7.80
2 boxes of stuffing crumb- $1.68
Produce- about $5
Spices- $2.79
2 boxes croutons- $1.08
1 gallon of vegetable broth- $5.48
1 lb of cheese- $3
Rock Salt- $1.48
Jellied Cranberry- $1.18
Cream Cheese $0.88
Walnuts- $2.49
Cornstarch- $0.05
= $32.91

Candles, etc- $13
8 glass plates- $8
Napkins & table runner- $10-ish
= $31

Total Spent: $63.91 to decorate the house and feed at least 14 people.
(I'm preparing the turkey, dressing, gravy, a cheeseball and crackers & a Cesar salad.)

Next year Friendsgiving should be cheaper as I will not need to spend any additional money on decorations. I also picked up the glass plates because they will pay for themselves within a year & are more environmentally friendly than using plastic disposable plates.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big shopping trip...

I haven't spent this much money on groceries in a LONG time, and I don't really like Wal-Mart, but it ended up being the cheapest & easiest way to get what I needed. I will definitely be over budget this month, but some months are just like that. Anywho- here's the breakdown:

Total spent: $85.90
Total saved: $40.22
($ with coupons: 20.21 , $ saved with price-comp's: $20.01)

Highlights of my trip:
$0.50/box Chex cereal (10 boxes)
$14.00 for a 17lb bag of Iams food for Leia
$1.66/bag shredded cheese (3)
$0.88/package cream cheese (2)
With coupon, stuffing and croutons were B1G1 free.

Target also has some good deals this week- 10lb bags of green giant potatoes are on sale for $1.99. There is a $1/1 Target printable for the 5lb bag. I asked the manager and she said it was ok to use it on my 10 lb bag- so I got 10 lbs of potatoes for $0.99!

Also, I've been stocking up on the free coffee deal to pair with Christmas mugs for some of our coworkers. There's a $1/1 any Archer Farms Coffee printable, pair that with the small, $0.84 bag of coffee and it's free!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Friend!

Even though Karen's b-day isn't until tomorrow, we celebrated on Friday night. Here's a few pictures from our evening at McNellie's. I just love that place!

Karen & Will

Karen & I

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WFMW: Friendsgiving & Links

The Story of Friendsgiving
It all started last year when we wanted to have a Christmas party with our college friends. We started calling our friends trying to set a date in stone, and we discovered it was impossible to find an open weekend in all of December. We were pretty disappointed, but it wasn't worth having a Christmas party if only a few friends could attend.
I've always loved fall, and I was interning with Shannon at that time. Shannon and I exchanged recipes/life stories on a daily basis and I mentioned to her how much I love the Kindergarten's Thanksgiving feast & how we couldn't get a holiday party scheduled, etc. After talking it over with Shannon, we realized that almost everyone is home the weekend before Thanksgiving, no one really has plans for that weekend and OSU rarely has a home football game that weekend due to the Bedlam tradition (more on that later). Thus, Friendsgiving was born :)

We provide the tradition turkey and dressing, while all the sides are potluck. Everyone brings their favorite wine/beer/adult beverage to share and a good time is had by all!

Last year we had 8 people in attendance, including ourselves. We were still renting our townhouse so it was a tight fit and it was done on a tight budget- but here's a few photos from last years event:
This year we have about 14 people who have RSVP'ed! I've already purchased a 17 lb. turkey from Target, and have my table decorations piled up in the formal dinning room ready to go. This has quickly become a great tradition that our friends look forward to every year.

Check back here for photos of my table decorations, recipes, etc. from the 2008 Friendsgiving in about a week and a half.

Until then, here's a few links/ideas to check out if you are interested in hosting your own Friendsgiving or just hosting Thanksgiving in your home:

** :Countdown to Turkey Day 2008

** http://http// for centerpiece/table decorating ideas

** Check out Old Time Pottery or a discount craft store in your area for simple glass dinner plates, I picked up 8 extra plates at a $1 each, and I'm going to alternate these glass plates w/ my china place settings.

** for general recipe ideas

** I'm going to use this brinning recipe for my turkey this year:

Make sure and check out more WFMW tips at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Placecards & Wine Charms

Instead of scrapbooking on Friday night, I made placecards for Friendsgiving. Each couple has the same design and paper color, yet all the placecards coordinate.
My friend Erica used the Cricut and cut these adoreable wine charms out as well:Now all I have to do is get some pretty, thin ribbon to tie the wine charms on with and set my Friendsgiving table :)

Menu Monday

Dinners for this week:
Homemade pizza
Spagetti & salad
Wednesday- out to eat @ Compadre's- $5.99 enchilada dinner night :)
breakfast burritos (eggs, sausage, salsa and cheese w/ a tortilla)
Steaks or hamburgers on the grill, french fries
TGI Friday's bagged fajitas meal
leftover pizza
cheesy tortillas
Check out more menus at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good Friends

Our friend Lloyd came home this weekend from Yellowstone, so we spent most of the weekend hanging out with him.
Lloyd stayed the over last night so that they could stay up late playing video games like they did back in college when they were roommates. This morning we skipped church and Liz and Rusty came over to hang out as well. Here's a few pictures from the day.....

Some things never change!

Leia was terrified of Lloyd, but obviously loved Liz...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One good thing....

Well, I have to agree w/ Obama on this one:

"I think it is about time we had playoffs" in college football, Obama said. "I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other. Get eight teams -- the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff."

Our OSU Cowboys play #2 Texas Tech on ABC @ 7pm tonight- GO POKES!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekly grocery trip

Last night I went to Target, Homeland and Walgreens. I wasn't planning on purchasing our Friendsgiving turkey, but I found turkeys on sale for $0.87/lb at Target, and I just couldn't pass that up!

Total spent:
$35.70 at Target
$24.04 at Homeland
$0 at Walgreens

Total saved @ all 3 stores: $75.58
Highlights of my trip (other than 17 lbs of turkey for $13.50):
4 free cans of Hunts tomatoes
$1.78/bag Doritos
Free pillsbury frozen cinnamon rolls (I used my 'try me free' manf coupon)
4 free schick razors from Walgreens
$2/bag shredded cheese
$1/box Kellogg's
Free rice
$0.87 oatmeal

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope isn't found in a person.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Romans 13:1

Vote #305

I was the 305th person to vote at my precinct this morning. After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, Brandon and I voted at about 8:15am.
Last time we voted, we went to the polls around 6:30pm, and we were numbers 89 and 90, which is just sad. I was happy to see such a turn out this morning, but I just wish there was more of a turn out for the local elections as well. The local issues can have just as much of an effect on our lives as the presidental election. (stepping off my soapbox now)

At school today, the kiddos participated in a mock election. I'm happy to announce that John McCain won with 55% of the votes at Arrow Springs :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stocking-up @ Target

Saturday morning, I woke up early for the after-Halloween sale at Target. I was in line by 7:55am (yes, there was a line!) to get into the store @ 8am. I wanted to stock up on candy and pick up a few other odds/ends I've had my eyes on.
My goal was to get enough candy to last the rest of the school year. Every week my speech kiddos get a piece of candy when they complete their homework and return it with their parents signature. Most of my kiddos return their homework folders, so I pass out about 40 pieces of candy a week!

I think I got MORE than enough candy, don't you?
I spent $37.52 for:
8 normal sized bagged candy (used 6 $1/1 nestle printable coupons)
7 jumbo sized bagged candy (used 2 $4/1 manf. coupons)
2 jumbo life saver candy bags (used 2 $1/1 manf. coupon)
$1.49 for a big box of plastic silverware
$1.49 Solo cups
$0.99 pumpkin lawn bags
$2.99 orange picture frame
$1.67 4 pack of rubbermaid containers

Total saved: $68.70!

I put 1 jumbo sized bag and 3 smaller bags of candy in the deep freeze, just in case I don't use them up at school, I can save 'em for next Halloween!

(ps- disregard the dishes in the background!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Saturday in Stillwater

We only have one home football game left this season! I can't believe it! I'm really glad that we purchased season tickets and have taken the time out of our normal weekend schedule to go over to Stillwater early and hang out with some of our good ol' college friends.
Today we played Iowa State, and we beat them 59-17. Here's Dez Bryan running towards the endzone for a touchdown (He was able to get the touchdown on the next drive)
It was quite warm at the game today. During halftime I decided to go sit down beneath the stadium to cool off. I found this 'written' on the wall I was going to sit on. It was just too cute/random not to take a photo of!

Target Retote

Check this out:

Mail 5 clean Target plastic bags in by 11/30 in the People magazine cover OR in an 8x11 envelope, and in January Target will mail you a coupon for a free Target retote. (reusable bag)

Free is always for me :) I've really enjoyed my reusable bags from Whole Foods and Wal-Mart. They hold more groceries than plastic bags and I truely do feel like I'm helping the environment. I started keeping the bags in my trunk so I don't forget to use them.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


On Halloween, we attended Lauri & Jeremy's Boohaha party. Lauri is a great friend and an old college roomie. Her husband, Jeremy hooked up a smoke machine so as trick-or-treaters came by, the porch became pretty spooky :) Here's some fun photos from the evening.

Brandon and I, being 'scary'?

Brandon and Lauri, always goofing off!

October Budget

October was a great month for couponing! Walgreens and Homeland had some great deals and I was able to price-comp quite a few deals at Wal-Mart.

Total spent: $220.65
Total saved: $207.94
Total earned in rebates: $11 on a Walgreens gift card

I hope to stay under $200 for November, but I'll need to purchase a 14+ pound turkey for our Friendsgiving celebration and more chicken, so It'll be pretty close.

How'd you do this month?