Monday, June 29, 2009

My Friend's Wedding

I went to a wonderful wedding this past weekend. We had a blast. But I want to give a little bit of information before I go on about the wedding.

Chris was a student at the Seminary when I worked there. He came up a few years ago to check out the school and then he decided, after much prayer and consideration, that he would be attending.

Over my time there, he and I became good friends. We talked all the time, about everything from church to cooking. I know that I had lots of friends there, but he was one that was more like a brother to me. He put me in my place a few times too. He is also one that remained my friend after I was terminated.

Last year at a grad party that we both went to, I noticed something a little different about him. He told me that he met someone and was looking for a ring. I wasn't surprised, I knew that someone was going to come into his life and turn him on his heels. And that is exactly what happened.

Come to present day. June 27th, he and Miriam got married. What a wonderful ceremony! I haven't seen 2 people so much in love like that in a long time. Two wonderful people, they deserve each other.

I really wonder who he was talking to......

Now, I try not to cry at weddings. Only if they were my own or someone close to me. I cried. Chris cried, and I think that set me off.

Very sweet ceremony, very touching ceremony too. They wanted all to join in and light a candle with them. I have been to 2 weddings this year, and the communion and ministers praying over the one couple and this really made the moment right.

This was located in the mountains of North Georgia. Very nice drive, got a little lost, made it there on time, took curves a little too fast for a much needed potty break. Got there before the bride walked down the aisle.

The scenery was gorgeous,
the chapel was amazing, the humidity was oppressive! The company was fantastic, the reception was a BLAST!

Now on our way back up to the sitting area before going inside, they happy couple came outside for some pictures. I caught some very nice shots, but this tickled me, check out the flip flops!

They provided a very nice spread outside before we got to go inside. Fruit, veggies, tea and water. Then we finally got to go inside.

The DJ introduced them and they had their first dance.

After she danced with her daddy
and he danced with his mother, the DJ annouced that before it got too hot, all happy couples come out and dance, all couples come out and dance. This is what I got, "Mommy, may I have this dance?" What was I supposed to do? Very touching moment for me.

This caught my eye and before the evening was out, I had shed my hose, tossed them and put on a pair of dancing shoes!

Why not have a good time! And we did just that. And with Chuck not going, I had to dance with PJ. Not a bad thing either!

I love weddings, I love how they have changed so much since I got married. The cakes aren't all white

The groom's cake is just as fun as can be, don't care for the Gator, but that wasn't my choice

That you don't have to be so conventional anymore. Things change and it is a nice change. You remember all the bridesmaids had to wear the same dress, not anymore. The cake was white, the food was served to you, it is so different now, and it is fun too.

The tables in the reception area had pictures of the two on them, they didn't have a power point slide show, they had a lovely guest book with pictures of them in it. The tables had flower seed packets in each spot. Little things like that to have you remember their special day as well.

PJ and I went to sign the book and he spotted bubbles. Leave it to him to spot the bubbles. So, we took them back to the table and the photographer caught me blowing bubbles while sitting at the table. I am sure that made a lovely picture.

The blessing from her father

And of course there was cutting of the cake with her Grandmother's wedding set.

Feeding each other, that was cute.

Throwing the flowers

Retrieving the garter

Throwing the garter

And oh yeah, catching the garter, yes that is my son

More dancing with friends

And the bride

A gift from her father-in-law

And finally, the escape to be alone

They are going into the missions. They have plans to go to Korea and other countries. He had this planted in his heart a long time ago and now he has someone to go with him.

We found our way home easily, the short cut that led us there, led us home too.

After a wonderful day, we made it home. A little tired, but so worth it, touched by a tender moment from PJ, and witnessing an amazing love between two very AMAZING people.

The easy part is over for them, but they are on the right track.

Congratulations Chris and Miriam!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


This year we opted in not taking a vacation. It wasn't going to work out for the week we always take because of my working, I wasn't going to get paid for vacation either. So, Daytona Beach was out of the question this year. It isn't too bad though, we have had 5 years of family vacations and realized that we will be able to go again next year.

So we decided on something else.

No, we aren't camping in the backyard either. We have decided to not to work around our schedule, but for the schedule to work around us. And we thought camping would be great this year. Four days in one place, four in another, four somewhere else. It may not be "vacation" but it is time away from everything. No tv, no computer, but also, no electricity and not running water either.

This tent is a pretty good size. It sleeps 8, but that would be snug.

There is a divider curtain for each 'room'. We can get a queen size air mattress on both side. Along with pockets for things like books, MP3 players, and phones.

The canopy comes off, for those who haven't been camping in the last 100 years.

It opens to the screen on the top. Which is very nice! All the windows zip down, door window zips open. It is rather roomy inside, lots of light and lots of air moving around.

Along with the tent, we purchased 2 queen air mattresses, 2 battery operated lanterns, 4 chairs, cooking set. A few years ago I found a fold and go grill for Chuck, so we have that and a table that folds up too. I want the shower and changing room, but that may have to be later. We also need a canopy to eat under or to sit under.

Ok, so it may not be the most luxurious of vacations, but A) it will be time away, B) it will be time away from the things in life that we all don't need, and C) we can go whenever we want to, where ever we want to, as many times as we want to. This year our vacation will not be limited to 1 week in 1 certain month. Camping will allow us to go once a month for a few days at a time. It is not just limited to summer, but we can go up until October if we want to.

We have already priced out places to go, we can have waterfront or woods. We can be primitive or go with the water and electric for a little more. We can go where we want and not have to worry about reservations or someone messing up our room.

I am excited. I am excited about getting away from everything in life that we rely so much on. Nothing wrong with a book, chair, water and campfire. That actually sounds like something I may enjoy!

The boys already spent 2 nights in the backyard. Each had their own side, they talked and laughed and listened to the night. They got scared, but stayed outside. PJ came in once to go to the bathroom, never heard him.

I went out the next morning and they were in the same bed. Sound asleep. Ate breakfast and lunch outside. Sat under the tree and relaxed. They are ready for us to put it up again. I have a feeling that they will be spedning most of their summer out there. Fine with me, let them enjoy this time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Playing "hookey"

I have to admit that at my age, I had never been fishing in my life. I have been on deep sea fishing boats, never held a rod though.

Yes, I went fishing when my dad took the boys last year, but we didn't know what we were doing and never caught anything but a Christmas tree. So, that wasn't much of a fishing adventure.

One Saturday, Chuck decided that he wanted to take the boys fishing. I stayed back to get some projects done. But I did get updates throughout the morning. 7 fish, 11 fish, 13 fish. All catch and release. Well done! Too bad I wasn't there to see the boys catch their first fish.

That night we went to Wal-Mart and picked up rods for all of us, hooks, weights and worms. And decided to take off the next morning to go fishing.

Now we were up really early. Chuck didn't sleep well and I was up because my legs bother me very early in the morning. So, we head out to Wal-Mart for a few more things, pick up breakfast, head home, wake the boys, eat and off we go! To the same spot they were on Saturday.

The morning was perfect

It wasn't too hot that early in the morning either. The river was empty, the parking lot was full though of SUVs and trucks with boat trailers. So, some where out there, there were a bunch of boats with a bunch of people.

Eric sitting at the dock of the bay

PJ patiently waiting, hogging one of the two chairs.

Chuck with the first of many catches of the day. PJ caught this one

Along with a small mouth bass, a small large mouth bass, a striped bass
and a crappy. The rest of us caught blue gill.

Five hours and 28 fish later we gave up. The boats were coming in from a competition, people were coming in for lunch, and they scared all the fish away. So, after all that, we left for the day.

This is how the poor fish, off the dock. Y'all can have your boats, we had fun with what we had. And we caught more than most everyone that was out on the water all day.

It was so worth playing hookey !

Monday, June 22, 2009


I have found a lot of coupon sites and thought I would share my savings with y'all

Sunday's paper usually has some, but not enough for the savings I have been getting lately. I have a printer, and so glad I do, so I print most of the coupons that I use. It has saved me more than I really expected.

These first few are free online printing. (this will bring up the circulars from your area)

Most of these you have to give an email and password. I just created a junk account for this and use that. They will let you know when the coupons for the month have been restocked.

Also you can try;

Try your favorite manufacture. Malt 0 Meal, Kelloggs, things like that. They will have copuons occasionally. But if you catch them, you can find something. Eight O'clock coffee has an incentive program. You buy their coffee and you can get coupons for free coffee, Visa gift cards or free magazines.

Now there are some out there that you can pay for your coupons. I know, I know, paying for coupons, but if you think about it, that is what you do with your Sunday paper. You buy the paper just for the sale ads, free from Walgreen's, CVS and Rite Aid, for the comics, and for the coupons. I also know it is a $1.50, but if you hit the Dollar Tree, it is just $1. I am so cheap!

The following sites are for a fee:

For local coupons, try

Now for those of you that have a Publix in the area, every Sunday they have their mystery item. It is a penny if you purchase $10 worth of stuff. Sometimes it is a good item, cookies, water, Gatorade, cheese and sometimes it is things like Hamburger Helper. So, for a penny, I will get what they have if I know I will use it.

A lot of the coupons online are buy 2, save $1. Ok, that isn't too bad, but wait and watch when shopping. For example, I had a .60 coupon on Knorr rices. Every week I would go and watch and see if it was buy one, get one (BOGO). Last week it was. COOL! I picked up 2 for $1.35 minus the .60 coupon, I paid .75 for 2 packages of rice. Today I had a coupon for $1.50 off a 2 boxes of Mini Wheats. PJ is a mini wheat freak. BOGO at $4.19, minus my $1.50 coupon, $2.69 for 2 boxes of Mini Wheats, comes out to $1.35 a box.

Most stores in this area will double coupons up to .50, some go up to .60 doubled. Watch your stores, I have seen them triple coupons up to .99. Boy is that a savings!

That is my advice for the week in grocery shopping. Over the past 2 weeks, with coupons and instore savings, I have a little over $60 in savings.

I am learning as I am going along, and teaching the boys while I am at it. Eric went shopping without me 2 weeks ago, he saved $10. Today was $6.79 with coupons and instore savings.

The economy is hitting all of us. Why not try to save with a little more money? It may take a little time, it may take a little of paper and ink. But in the end, it is so worth it!

If you find any sites that I don't know about it, please let me know. I am always looking for bargains!

My Weekly Shopping Experience

Generally I don't blog about my shopping experience, but this week I have to vent some.

I love Publix. I have learned how to save the money that I need to save by using coupons, watching sales and looking at everything. I don't shop anywhere else because I can save A LOT over at Publix. People say how expensive it is, I don't see that.

So today we get there and, as usual, I hit the deli. The one woman was waiting on someone and told me that she would be right with me. Ok, not a problem, I can wait. But then the deli manager comes out and heads right to the woman that just walked up to the counter. I looked at her, said "Oh nevermind" and started to walk away. She said that she didn't see me, I told her again "Nevermind" and kept on shopping. I wasn't irritated all that much, BUT when Eric overheard them talking about me, well, that was enough. I didn't go over there, I didn't talk to the ladies, I went straight to the manager and told them what happened. I wouldn't have gone to him for the over sight. But talking about a customer, that was wrong and I didn't appreciate it too much.

I told the manager what happened, told them that I can shop in Cleveland just as easy as I do in Ooltewah. I didn't have to shop there, but I liked shopping there. He apologized and took care of it right away.

While I was shopping, the Deli manager found me, apologized and gave me a gift card. Now, I don't like getting things like that, I just am happy talking to the manager about it, and let him handle the situation. But she gave me a $25 gift card for the trouble. I told her that was fine, but as a professional, you do not talk about your customers. I told her that my son heard what you were saying and that was what made me go to the manager. She was very apologetic about all of it, but it was just the way that she handleded it.

I go check out, use my card, get my groceries loaded, give all my coupons to the cashier, and pay the rest. Not bad, $40.64 in groceries this week. But on the way home, I spotted that I was charged $3.99 for heavy cream, the sign said $3.79. Ok,.20 is .20, but that was not the point. I called them, explained to them what happened, she called me back, I was overcharged for something and next week when I go back, I get the product for free. Fine with me, computers mess up all the time.

As for my coupons, I had one for Kool Aid. Save .50 on 10 packets of Kool Aid. Publix doubles the coupons, so that would be $1. Meaning I would get 5 packs free. But the cashier rang up 9, meaning I did not get my savings. I didn't notice this until it was too late. We got home and Eric counted 10, she didn't charge me for the extra, I will pay for it, as long as I get my $1 savings on it.

I guess i need to watch all that goes through the line at the store. I write all the prices down when I am shopping so that way I know what I have spent and what I have left to spend. I head to the store with my clipboard and coupons and list, go from there. I watch all that I spend. We are on a budget and I need to make sure that I don't overspend on junk.

I do save money at Publix, but this week was not a good week for me over there. Cleveland stores are so expensive, sales tax is nearly 10%, and they don't have the service or quality that Publix offers. I do drive a ways to get there, but days like today, I wonder if it is really worth the trouble.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No it is not me



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Windows, windows and a lot more windows

We started this business aiming at getting local business windows. That dream quickly faded when we realized that one guy has this town wrapped up. He does so many, that the job that he provides is crap. But he is cheap and he gets it done.

Chuck and I do things a little differently. We don't rush through jobs. We take our time to make sure that the customer is satisfied.

Now we do things differently. We do it right, it may take us longer, but I can promise you, your job is done the way it should be.

We do have 3 businesses in town. But we are aiming more at homes, that is where the money is at.

A few weeks ago we had a job for about 22 windows in a friend's home. She worked with Chuck at the Chevy dealership in town, her dad owns it. She was our first big home window job. It wasn't too bad, we did it in the time that we told her and she was very happy with it. So happy that she referred us to her friend.

We get a phone call from Mr. G., his wife told him to call us right away and have us come out and look at the windows for an estimate. And we were on our way to another window job, so we stopped off on the way home.

This house is in a very nice subdivision in town and I told Chuck that I was hoping it was not the 3 story house off the side of a hill. It wasn't! It was across the street.

We get there and we see 8 windows in the front, 3 on the side and then we get to the back. There is a sunroom with 7 windows. Ok, I think we can handle it. We went inside. In the sunroom was a roof of glass, 14 more windows. Oh wow! But not only that, they added on to the house, there are windows on the inside around the sunroom. All total, 51 windows.

Now, Mr. G. did say that if we can't do the top, don't worry about it. Because if you put too much pressure on the glass, the gaskets break. Chuck thought that he could get to it, but wasn't sure. And he did try, but it streaked badly. So, off I go to get the Windex for outside. And that is what he did, only to find out another window was leaking.

Chuck did all the windows in the sunroom, in 90 degree weather with the sun beating down on him. I did all the outside and then started on the inside. I started in the garage and worked my way inside. When we were there to give the estimate, Mr. G. told us that the panes pop out. Ok, so, I had to deal with that. Trust me, I would rather have that than what Chuck was doing.

I figured out how to get the panes out and then back in. That wasn't easy. I broke the ends off of 2 of them. Nothing really, but when you have to do 30 windows, all with panes in them, your fingers hurt by the end of the day. I popped them out, scrubbed and cleaned the windows, and put the panes back in. One problem, when you have the panes going back in, your fingerprints are everywhere. Dry cloth, wipe down windows again. For everyone one of them!

We told him upfront that this was going to be an all day job. And it was. Like I said, it is one of those that you want to do your best on. But when it started to thunder and lightening, that is when he was trying to get us to hurry. We had one huge window in the front and the half circle that topped it. I couldn't get to it earlier because Chuck was in the back and I wasn't getting on the extension ladder without him.

So, Mr. G. goes and holds the ladder for Chuck while I am cleaning the inside. That was a trick. I am on the ladder inside cleaning one part, while Chuck is cleaning the other side. Don't ever do that!

Ok, so I cleaned 3 doors, inside and out, with the panes that are not removeable. All 30 windows with those stupid panes, and now the front door was last. More little windows with one big one on top. I have to admit, from being there at 7, taking a short lunch and then getting done by about 3, I was exhausted. I know Chuck was too. But this man retired from Olin, he has a lot of friends at the Country Club and of course the people he worked with at Olin. His wife still works, so there can be more contacts there. We know when to do a good job for someone. We do a good job for all of our customers. We do a job like we would want a job done for us.

The sunroom looked wonderful and the rest of the windows did too. Another job well done.... now back in the Fall for pressure washing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Saving Money

We are on a budget, just like so many out there. It is a time to watch what comes in and goes right back out.

So, when Bi-Lo had their Crazy 8 sale, I was all over it. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $1.88 a pound. Yes, you read that right. Boneless half pork loins, $1.88 a pound. Why not stock up on the stuff and make the most out of what we have.

Chuck and I head to the store and pick up 4 packs of chicken breast, I should have bought more. And then I turn around to see him putting the pork loin in the buggy, not one, but two. Ok, I am sure I can figure something out with them.

I got to thinking about when my dad bought some at Publix. He got the butcher to cut them into chops. Not a bad idea. Here Chuck was thinking 2 meals out of the pork loins, I knew I could get more out of it. So, today, after cleaning windows all day, I came home to cut up the pork loins into chops.

Seven pounds of pork for a little over $13 came out to 5 meals. I cut them into 1" chops, 4 per package. I ended up with 2 smaller ones, that is fine for the boys one day for lunch. $2.60 a meal, .65 per person. I can live with that!

Finding things to make is a challenge. But it isn't like we don't cook. We cook nearly every meal at home. We rarely ever go out to dinner, it just isn't worth it, especially since Chuck and I know we can cook better than some of the things that we eat out.

We have come up with a quesadilla that is really wonderful. Two types of cheese, loaded down with green salsa (2.29 at Mexican store) and my homemade salsa. Topped with sour cream. Served with a side of Spanish rice. It is good, easy to make, filling and cheap.

There is so much more to easy dinners then boxed foods, hotdogs or something of the sort.

Generally on nights that I am not that tired, unlike tonight, I will go ahead and make up dinner for the next night. That way all I have to do is make a phone call and dinner is ready when we get home.

We are very busy, but that doesn't mean the kids have to eat junk and crap for dinners. It just means that we have to be more creative with dinners, figure out exactly how long things take to make too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Honor's ceremony

I can't say how tickled I was with Eric and his award that he was going to win.

We got to school a little early and got front row seats. Chuck's parents did get to come, and I know that made Eric happy.

There were so many children getting awards, but I didn't care about all of them, I was only there to see Eric get his award.

Each related arts teacher gave awards to students in their class that A) did well in that class, meaning A's and B) did extra things to help out or C) stood out in the class someway.

Mrs. Dunn was a teacher that Eric did not get along with last year. He would come home everyday of the 9 weeks of her class and complain about her.

This year was different. Eric grew up a little bit and matured some too. He went into Teen Living wanting to learn. They designed their own houses on the computers, learned how to sell them, learned how to read credit reports, learn how to work with the bank. He loved it. He helped other students get started when he was done, he also help the students that were struggling with some things too.

After the 9 weeks was up, he decided that since he was getting to school early, he would continue to help her out. Taking down chairs, turning on the computers, organizing her class. He still got an A in the class, he worked hard when he didn't have to be there, he did the things that the teacher had to find the time for.

She called his name, and I have to admit, mom got a little tearied eyed. He has come so far, he has so much ahead of him. But he has gotten to a point that we never thought we would see. We never thought we would hear his name and Honor's Ceremony in the same sentence.

They called the names for honor roll, students that got A's and B's throughout the entire year. Eric didn't make it this time, he missed it by 2 tenths of a point. One C the entire year. The rest he made all A's, 2 B's and 1 C. I can't complain, considering he barely made it through elementary school.

He told me that he will get honor roll next year. He sets his goals, not too high, but enough for him to reach. He will get there.

Once again, I am so proud of my son. I see where he has been and I see where he is going.

My first cake

I am trying something new. I don't know if I will be able to do much, but I am trying to learn how to make cakes.

So I thought for my first cake, I would make something for Adrienne's graduation party. I went round and round on what I wanted to make. I thought of half white, half yellow. Well, then I thought that with one pan, one kind of cake would be best.

I went with a sour cream white cake and now what to fill it with. I wasn't sure what I could do, what I could handle, I thought that a buttercream filling would be ok, but I wanted something different.

I went with Strawberry cream filling. I found a recipe online and decided that was what I wanted to do

And a view from the side

Before frosting

So far, so good! Now for the part that really scared me. Frosting the cake. I bought an offset spatula for this occasion. I always wanted one, but never bought one. This time I did. Along with the pan that I got at 40% off.

Let's try and see what happens. I loved it, I love the spatula, it does a great job, too bad I didn't do such a nice job as the spatula did.

And another from the side

Not too bad for my first cake. I was rather pleased with it. Now my mother-in-law did say about 40-45 people. I got to thinking if this would be enough. I had enough frosting left and I had everything for a round cake. So, off I go to the kitchen and make a peanut butter cake. I figured that the 2 cakes together would be more than enough for everyone.

Ok, cakes done ready to box up. But I have one small problem. I didn't cut the board that the cake was on to fit in the box. I cut one way, but forgot to cut the other way. What to do, what to do???

I take off to the bakery, they lied, told me they didn't have anything, when I looked right at one. He told me to go to UPS store, did that, $5.38 plus tax for a box, yeah, I don't think so. Back to Hobby Lobby and pray they have a box. They did, with a window, but it was too big. That is ok, tape always holds things in place. It looked wonderful in the box.

The cake was delicious, not as many people there as originally thought, so we had enough cake for all. I didn't want to go home with the white cake, but I thought that we would go home with some of the peanut butter cake. At first, no one had cut into it, but then some got a taste of it, and it was better than the other cake.

Came home with 4 slices of the peanut butter cake, 8 chicken breasts, salad, rolls, green beans and rice.

Not too bad, we got 3 free meals out of what we ended up bringing home with us and some dessert too.

Adrienne's Graduation

Chuck's niece graduated from HS on the 14th of May. I have a hard time believing that time has gone by so quickly, before I know it, Eric will be graduating too. Time goes by so fast and if you don't pay attention, you miss out on a whole lot.

The school she went too was the same school that Chuck, Cheryl and Robin graduated from. It is a very small school. The ceremony wasn't anything like the ones in Cleveland, and the ones in Cleveland aren't anything like the ones in places like Miami or NYC. This ceremony lasted about an hour.

This is the entire class. It is nice this way, you know everyone in your class. Not just by passing them in the hallway, you have lunch with them, you see them around your small town, you know like it was when we were growing up. It's time like this that I miss.

Silly picture time! And leave it to Adrienne to make a silly face! I had to catch this one for her.

Now, they went over this many times during the rehearsal. They told the graduates that they will be receiving their diplomas AFTER the ceremony. You don't want to give the wrong one to the wrong person. Understandable, it happens. Trust me, it happened at Chuck's commissioning ceremony at Lee. But, Adrienne looked in her folder, and there wasn't any diploma. She looked at her grandmother in shock!

After it was all said and done, a few more shots of the family

A chance for cousins to compare cell phones

For the grandchildren to get together for one photo

And a time for the grandparents to shine