Charles Knox


Cecily Blanche


Wednesday, July 29, 2009


As Knox and I hang out at the house today with yet ANOTHER case of the sickies, I thought I'd write a little note to self:

When feeding sweet baby boy a jelly biscuit...

put a top on the biscuit. :)

I haven't felt up-to-par to recap our great day visit to Chattaboogie for Sweet Jill's 30th birthday party, but she has lots of pictures I took posted on her site. Our only down side of the visit was getting hit head on (at only about 15mph, THANKFULLY) and just ONE HOUSE from Jill's. We're so very thankful we were in the SUV, but sad since we've only had that vehicle since late March. Oh well, at least it was only cosmetic damage to the vehicle and NO ONE WAS HURT--praise God!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A for Effort in Health & Fitness

At the beginning of this year, I was "gazelle intense" with a workout regime, though Knox made it a wee bit difficult most days with crying a decent amount in Kidz Klub. So as I always do, health and fitness got pushed to a back burner--sadly. Now that we are wanting to expand our family someday in the near future, I think it's important I get back in gear.

I'd like to report that I have started to get it in gear again as of Monday. The pups and I have walked each morning for about 35 minutes. Lately, Knox has become infatuated with the Wii which is a blessing and a curse. Blessing because it entertains him and we are up getting some exercise, and curse because he throws a horrid fit when we turn it off no matter how long we've been playing. Yesterday I unlocked a new item on the Wii Fit called Free Run. I'm basically running in place and my little Wii character is just running on the screen with other little Wii people, but I know I'm trying to beat my previous score. That competitiveness in me gets me going. I throw on my iPod for some musical encouragement for a few extra 10 minute segments, and before I know it have had an hour of cardio for the day broken into two sessions. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I got a side stitch yesterday while doing my Free Run! Ha! Guess that's how out of shape I am!

Food's a little more difficult when eating on a budget, but definitely do-able. I'm also logging my food intake by using this great website tool. Perfect for me since I'm at my computer a lot during the day. My current favorite breakfast has been a Kashi Go-Lean 7 Grain Waffle (on sale with coupons) with reduced-fat PB (on sale) and half a banana (Aldi for 49¢/lb.) smeared on top of the waffle. Like a PB and 'nana sandwich, just with waffle instead of bread. YUMMMMM-O! AND I guess the added protein of the PB and whole grains of the waffle have me filling much more full through out the AM. Plus I've been downing some H2O, so I know that helps.

Last night's dinner was a complete success in terms of yumminess, healthfulness and family satisfaction. I was in the mood for some southern cooking, but obviously wanted it healthy. Yeah, right? Well, this is what I did. I had dried pinto beans (SO CHEAP!) and did the quick soak method on the package (I had Publix brand, but any brand works). To finish cooking the beans (according to the directions) I used the chicken stock I made last week--and nothing else besides salt! And they were DELISH! I only made a half bag thinking we'd have leftovers, but they were completely gone by the end of the night! Knox devoured a cup or more, I had a cup (I actually measured for once!) and Keith had the rest in two sittings! The only fat was from the chicken stock, and beans are so great for you--tons of protein and fiber!

In my world, if you have beans you have to have cornbread. It's a must. An unwritten law. I had some self-rising cornmeal and randomly looked up recipes. I found one on and altered it a bit. This is all it read, but my alterations are in parenthesis:

Corn Bread
1 c. self rising cornmeal (cheap to begin with!)
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup No Sugar Added Applesauce)
2 eggs (I did use real eggs--79¢ at Aldi, but it could easily be subbed with Eggbeaters)
1 c. cream style corn (I didn't have creamed corn, but did have TONS of cans of regular corn--on sale with coupons.)
1/2 c. sour cream (I used reduced fat--on sale with coupons)
(I added 1 T. Splenda--on sale with coupons--and one large pinch of salt)

Mix and bake at 350 degrees until browned. (I tried that for 25 minutes but wasn't set up in the middle. Package read 375 degrees, so I upped the temp and backed for probably 10-15 more minutes. I would probably start temp at 375 next time.)

It was one of the most yummy and moist piece(s) of cornbread I've ever had! Don't be scared of the applesauce, you don't taste it AT ALL! A great way to cut down oil in most any baked good, but be sure to use some oil. For the corn, I used my hand emersion (sp?) blender right in the can after I drained almost all of the liquid out. Plus you get the added benefit of the regular corn, so you get a few more veggies in without knowing it!

I added a salad to all this yumminess for a complete healthy, vegetarian meal! Plus Hubs and Wild Man were full and satisfied! YAY!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Not-So-Secret World of Couponing

My fun sorority sis, Kristy, made a comment about coupon savings on a recent post. I thought I'd share my small amount of couponing knowledge to those who frequent my page, and aren't already couponing goddesses. Again, with the goobiness, I know, but that's just me! haha!

First, I have to say this. If you live in an area where there isn't major chain grocery stores, it will be difficult to save tons of money, simply because you don't have the options (ie. Flo-town, my hometown). It is also somewhat difficult if you don't have access to major newspapers like the Atlanta Journal Constitution or Birmingham News (?), but there are ways around it. You just need a computer and a printer. Newspapers are my main source of coupons, and I always buy at least four at a time. You need multiple coupons to save more money since you buy whatever is on sale, using your coupons matched to lower your price even more. The goal is to buy groceries only when on sale, so you kinda need room to stockpile. Another key to "successful" couponing is organization so you can actually find the coupons when you need them--see my pics below.

To some of you I may sound crazy at this point, but it's a whole other culture to this couponing. Check out this blog for some amazing samples in how in depth people get--and how much FLIPPIN' money the SAVE!!!

I just added a blog roll to the right hand side of my blog with the blogs I check on a daily basis for the most part. Dave Ramsey is just our starting point of reducing debt, which in turn got me into couponing. SmartSource is just one of many sources to printable coupons, though most times, you can only print two per computer. Quantity needed for stockpiling. The Coupon Clippers are a source when you need tons of just a few coupons. There is a very small minimum order, but you more than make it up buying on sale with coupons.

The other sites listed are where I make my grocery list from, though you have to wiggle it to fit your area. I typically use Southern Savers to create my shopping list each week. What's great is that they list where you can find the coupons--either the SmartSource or Red Plum inserts from the paper, or printable, or some other random site. (I set up an email specifically to use when signing up for the random coupons, so they don't junk up my normal email.) I know it helps to create meal plans each week to use the groceries that you have, but I "wing" it and throw stuff together. This is one area I want to work on. I also want to have a cooking day, where I get several meals made and frozen for an anytime meal--plus I LOVE using my vacuum sealer. Sad, I know. Oh and one more thing about coupon/sale matches, Southern Savers lists several Target coupons you can supposedly use on top of manufacturer coupons and Publix coupons, but the Publix I shop at won't accept them--this is where there has to be wiggle room.

For personal items like razors, toilet paper, shampoo, etc, I tend to get these items at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Money Saving Mom has a great section teaching you how to "work" the CVS and Walgreens--it may be intimidating so just try baby steps, but she explains really well. Look on her page, scroll down a bit and the links are on the right hand side under Start Here.

So in a nutshell, for successful couponing (and by that I mean cutting your grocery bill in half--or more!), I think these are key items:
• Coupon resources/multiples
• List of sales marked with coupon matches
• Place to store stockpiled items
• Knowledge of how to stack coupons at grocery stores, and "work" CVS, Walgreens & Rite-Aid.

My first means of keeping coupons, before being well "versed."

My next attempt at keeping organization. Don't freak--half is sales papers, receipts, etc.

My latest method, that I love oh-so-much! A little more work up front, but totally worth the time it saves in the end.

I know that's a ton to absorb, but please feel free to contact me with any questions! If I can't answer your question, I'm sure I have a resource that can! Happy Couponing! :P

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hold on to your hats!

Well, not really. But it got you here! Haha! Just thought I'd share my Tuesday night "excitement." In conjunction with my efforts to save money with groceries, I spent part of tonight making chicken stock. Yay. Right? Yay is right, if you use the stuff in rice, pastas like orzo and soups. It adds tons of flavor with not as much fat as butter.

After being cooked--should have taken a before pic of everything I put in.

I've been buying chicken on the bone, since it's so much cheaper than boneless, skinless breast (and much more flavorful), I've been keeping the bones in a zip lock in the freezer. Tonight I had enough to make stock, after cooking three more breast for yummy chicken hash (idaho & sweet potatoes with onions, bell peppers, poblano peppers and garlic)--and about one breast leftover for another meal this week.

It's SOO easy! The only hard part is straining it. I strain mine through coffee filters too, to get as much fat out as possible. I threw all the bones in a large pot of water, with a cut onion WITH skins still on (gives stock great color!), a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, two cracked garlic cloves and 45 minutes later on simmer you have a beautiful liquid gold! ;) It probably only cost me $1 to make 16 or more cups of chicken stock. How's that for excitement?!

For those of you who weren't as entertained by that wild action, and have made it this far into the post, here's Knox and one of his other new favorite things to do:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good Things in Small Packages

Just a few things I wanted to share. One is understandably fab, and the other two are somewhat menial but fab in my little world.

First, and most importantly, I am now an AUNTIE to a beautiful...cocker spaniel!!! My brother and his girlfriend, Lindsey, got a puppy over the weekend. Griffin is absolutely adorable, and I hope we get to meet him SOON! Lula and Chloe now have a dog cousin to play with when we're all at Big Daddy & Ma Jack's house! I know Knox will love him just as much as he does his sisters. :)

Secondly, and not quite as important, are my savings from yesterday and today! I haven't mentioned my couponing in awhile, because I have been quite slack in that department. I'm slowly but surely getting them all organized in a manner that I think will be the most accessible, therefore allowing maximum savings. Gosh, I sound goober-ish, but saving money is a serious matter in this household. We're doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace, and loving it, as I have mentioned previously. We have paid off 2 lines of credit card debit and my student loan in 6 months.

Yesterday, I hit Staples and CVS. Staples had several school supplies on sale, as well as copy paper. I know no one in our household attends school yet, but my BFF, Jill, is graciously asking for school supplies to be donated to her church as gifts for her 30th birthday! How fantastic is that?! Anywho, I had an $18 Staples rebate check for recycling ink cartridges (you can recycle up to 10 per month and receive $3 for each--up to $30 per month!) I also had a $5 off any $20 purchase from the store circular. I purchased two reams of paper, two packs of #2 pencils, two packs of scissors (two in each pack), two pencil boxes AND an ink cartridge for my printer for $1.49!!! Plus the packs of paper have rebates on them for a total of $7 AND I recycled 7 used ink cartridges. So, in theory and not counting the recycled ink cartridges, I "made" $5.50--and at Staples of all places!

CVS was even better! They had tons of school supplies FREE after ECB (Extra Care Bucks), FREE razor, FREE glucose monitoring systems that produced overage (to be donated!), and almost free Tylenol. Including my coupons, and the 9 ECBs I received from Spring quarter (I slacked the past few months) I MADE $25 in ECBs and only paid $6 OOP (out of pocket)! I know some peeps do much better than that on a weekly basis, but that is the first time I've "made" overages pay like that!

Today wasn't as phenomenal with savings, but I still did well. Went to Kroger and bought tons of meat and snacky stuff--I spent $55 but saved $77!!! YAY! Probably good, since this current week of sales at Publix isn't the goldmine it normally is, or at least that's what I think.

All in all, it's been a fab few days. Hope your week is off to a great start too!

UPDATE: We just received Knox's very first brand-new Veggie Tales in the mail, for which was FREE and I only paid $2.99 for shipping! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Loves To Share

Knox was so cute during this afternoon's snack, I just had to share what I caught on video. I hope he always remembers to be this giving as he continues to grow.

This is my first video to post, so I hope it works! Make sure your volume is on, so you can hear my country-accented commentary. :)

What a FABULOUS Giveaway!

I stumbled upon this fabulous blog with an equally fabulous giveaway! It's a double stroller from Bumbleride--how fabulous is this thing? I know we currently don't have two bundles of joy, but hopefully some day in the very, very, very near future we will--and this would be my one dream item! Oh! The luxurious ease of a double stroller would be wonderous! Don't ya think?

It may put a damper on Puddin' Pops cargo rides--I don't think I'm quite strong enough to push a 30 lb. 19 month old, an 18 lb. shih tzu and another 8lb baby (when that day comes and God may bless us!) Guess it would be an amazing way to work off "baby fat." :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Birthday USA &!

I know, I know. It's been another long break in my personal blogging, but we have so much fun while I was away! We made yet another extended stay back home with both sets of grandparents to celebrate the hubs birthday and the birthday of our country.

While home we were treated with fabulous food and fabulous weather. A wonderful, almost humidity free summer night made eating fresh veggies from Grandmother's garden even more amazing on hubby's birthday, topped off with homemade peach ice cream. The rain, rain stayed away long enough for us to get some serious play time in water.

One time was Knox's first romp in a creek, complete with "skipping" rocks. He has a mean wind-up, you know! :) The water was clean and crisp, with the location being perfect. The creek rolls over a "floating bridge," I believe that is what Keith called it. Shallow enough for wild man to dig out rocks perfect for throwing, and just deep enough to keep cool. He got a little distracted once some others showed up on four-wheelers. This little country boy is already obsessed with all things country--four wheelers, tractors, horses, and cows. Definitely related to his Daddy, Grandaddy and Grammy! :)

The other water play was in a pool with my parents. Knox hasn't had the opportunity to get in a big pool this summer, so he was a little unsure of not being able to touch solid ground. The longer stayed, the more brave he got. He had enough floatation devices on to almost rocket him out of the water--life preserver swimsuit and arm swimmies at all times! All of that swimming worked up quite the appetite for BBQ, burgers and chicken that were scrumptious! Big Daddy and Ma Jack loaded up on "quite but pretty" fireworks, or at least that's what the guy at the fireworks stand thought. Knox would have begged to differ. His interest was piqued, but once something got louder than comfortable he bee-lined for the safety of Momma's arms. I think he would have just been happy with a bubble show!

We're now all somewhat adjusted to everyday life, though I think Knox is going to take a bit longer since he was away from home for a little over a week. I was up late last night completing my first round of listed items on my store front. Check it out, and let me know what you think. More info is over on the creative blog or go directly to my store front!

Have a fabulous Tuesday, y'all!

"Skipping" rocks

Digging for rocks to skip. I think this pick looks like he's floating on top of water!

He spies the four-wheeler and wonders why he's not on it.

Getting sleepy

Not so sure about all the loud noises fireworks make. Definitely related to his Momma.

His Tutu telling him it's okay.

My father the weekend's Pyromaniac! Haha!

Big Daddy & Knox playing with something more Wild Man's speed--bubbles!