Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Pennyless Christmas Gift!

Just thought for those of you non-Type A-ers out there (I guess that would make us Type B-ers) that aren't finished Christmas shopping you may want a "pennyless" idea for a gift this year. Sometimes it's hard to come up with something relatively creative and budget-friendly for those precious people that pour so much time into our children. So here's what we are doing this year for those people; Simms' teachers.
I got poinsettias for $0.98 a piece at Lowe's on Black Friday weekend, but I think they only cost around $2.00 there now. I took off the "fancy", shiny, gold paper around the pot and covered them with material I had on hand, burlap. Also, tied red ribbon around them I also had, and changed the look of them pretty drastically.
Then, with the help of my much-more artistic husband, he drew some gift tags for me in the shape of watering cans.

I cut wooden skewers in half and then simply taped the tag to the stick. 

 Then I wrote:




Stuck the gift tag in the pot and voila!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is Christmas here yet?

I just have to share this with you.

I walked in to check on our son while he was sleeping last night and couldn't help but laugh.

Simms is APPARENTLY ready for Christmas to get here!

When I tucked him in and we said our prayers he definitely did not have that Santa hat on, but the little stinker must have crawled out to the living room without my knowledge and snatched it! Hilarious! I just love him and I love Christmas!

Love u all too!

Long Overdue and You Must Do!

Yes, this is long overdue! I've miss talking to you guys. I have so much to share with you; so much in fact that you'll have to keep checking back with me. I truly have missed you. I've been getting ready for the baby by working on the house, busy with holidays (like everyone and their mother), busy taking care of kiddos, and then sick a couple of different times with that dang stomach bug, and then a stinkin' cold.
Anyways, enough of my excuses. Now I want to share with you something that has changed my life, and could in fact change yours if you need it to.
While working on the house I've been trying to figure out a more efficient use of our space and get organized before this baby girl comes. I guess I'm in "nesting" mode. One of the areas that was driving me insane was my spice shelf in my pantry. I wish I had a before photo, but I got too excited about the possibility of the end result that I lost all my senses and forgot to take one. But to give you a visual, my pantry has wire shelves, and then I happened to have this movable-mini-wire shelf that I used to stack my spices on. It was a nightmare, they were always falling down and I could never find what I needed.
Then one day when I was searching online for a different way to organize my precious spices I suddenly heard the Hallelujah chorus and a bright light shot out of my computer screen (well not really, but you know what I mean) and there they were.
"I have been waiting for you my whole life, " I breathed.
They were beautiful. I had to have them now! I didn't know how I could wait the standard shipping time, but I was going to have too.
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," I said.
And, "All good things come to those who wait," over and over I thought these phrases.
Then they finally arrived! I felt like a kid on Christmas. I ripped open that package and their they were in all their gloriousness! I could not wait to get to work organizing, and here is the end result.

Aren't they awesome? They are magnetized so they stick right to the refrigerator!

They also have little holes so you can sprinkle your spice while you're cooking.

And also a larger opening for measuring out the amount of spice you may need.

Or you can just take the lid right off.

I simply labeled each one with a fine point sharpie.

I absolutely LOVE them! They're all right there on the side of my refrigerator right beside my stove. It's just perfect! I get a tear in my eye just telling you about it.

I found these little beauties on Do yourself a favor and go get these. Or get them for someone else in need. Christmas is right around the corner, and it could make a nice gift for the chef in your life. Like a basket filled with some cooking supplies, some nice spices, and these great containers would make a really thoughtful present.

I'm so glad we had this little chat. I guess it was a little one-sided, but I had to tell you about this life-changing product! Thanks for always being such a good listener.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's a....

Just wanted you to know that pinks and purples, probably a little drama, saving for a wedding, and melting Momma and Daddy's heart is in our future. We are having a baby girl! Now that Simms knows he was right about having a baby sister he is pretty stoked; as much as a 4-year-old can be anyway! He was confused about the ultrasound pictures, and was kind of worried about the way she looked, but I reassured him that she is growing healthy in Momma's belly.
This morning as we watched her through the tears and laughter we saw her flipping and showing off, sucking her little fingers, and one time looking right up at us. All I could say under my breath was praise the Lord, praise the Lord, PRAISE THE LORD! 
After Matt wiped his tears he said that she already pretty much owns him; heart and all! I have a feeling she is going to be a "Daddy's girl"; wrapped right around his little finger.
Yep, she already owns us!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect Summer Ending

Since we planted our garden a little later than usual we just now have our tomatoes coming in. So what better way to end summer then with a tomato salad straight from the garden with herbs. This salad is so easy you could make it with your eyes shut. You could make it with your eyes shut while chewing gum and riding a bike; seriously. Plus it's ultra "pennyless" especially if you have a garden with tomatoes and herbs. Here it is; the perfect summer ending.

Tomato Marinated Salad*

8 oz grape tomatoes, sliced length0wise
1 bunch basil, chopped
5 sprigs chive, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste.

Slice tomatoes directly in a bowl. Add basil and chives. In a small jar add rest of the ingredients and shake till you can't shake anymore. Add half of the dressing to the salad. Let it sit in the refrigerator covered for a couple of hours before serving.

*see another version of this salad at

The tomatoes are finally growing!

Chop up the fresh tomatoes and then use kitchen shears for the fresh chives (those are from the garden too!)

Fresh basil, from the garden of course! You can use the kitchen shears here as well.

Throw in the herbs with the tomatoes.

This is the magical ingredient.
Pour into a small jar.

Add the oil.

Next, the brown sugar.

Salt and pepper, then prepare to shake what your Momma gave you!

Shake your money maker!

Gently toss together with the vinaigrette.

The perfect accompaniment to pretty much any dish.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Am I The Biggest Loser?

Does this make me a loser? I don't know if I really want you to answer that. But I have been asking myself that question since the new Fall line-up of the television series has begun. I think I may watch too much TV. I was in kind of a funk ever since Friday Night Lights ended so TV shows haven't been on the forefront of my mind, but last night I dreamed a version of Glee and Parenthood; don't really know how it turned out, but I do know that I might be a little obsessed.

Here's all the shows I've started watching or am planning on watching or I'm dreaming in. Don't judge....












It's sad, but I have really been looking forward to this!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Soupy Kind of Day

This recent weather has inspired me to take out my soup pot and start simmering. Fall finally seems like it's arriving. My air-conditioning has been turned off and windows have been pushed open. Cool, fresh air has blown in and leaves are beginning to fall causing branches to be exposed in all of their nakedness (hehehe I know I'm immature). 
Another season is making an entrance.
I love soup and for some reason with this pregnancy it has heightened my taste buds to want soup that much more, but with the hot weather I just haven't been able to stomach it too often. Today because I have been in my WKU sweats and snuggled up in my Slanket (yes, I have a purple one and I am not ashamed of it); soup is what would be the perfect finish to this day. 
I can't wait for you to try this on a day when you're all comfy in your sweats or maybe even when you come home exhausted wearing your power suit. 
My dear friend April introduced me to a version of this soup and I hope you share this version with your friends.

Taco Soup

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey, browned
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 small bag frozen lima beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
2 cans Rotel, original
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp oregano
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1-2 cups water

tortilla chips
sour cream
shredded cheese

Add oil to a large, soup pot on medium heat. Add onions, cumin, oregano, and hot pepper flakes. Cook until onions are caramelized. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Then turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Mmmmm I can smell it cooking now. Serve in a soup bowl and top with broken tortilla chips, cheese of your choice, and a dollop of sour cream.

Caramelize the onions and add all the spices.
Sorry for the eery darkness; my stove light is burnt out.

Brown the meat.

Add all the beans.

Add water and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer till it is spoon worthy.

Top with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream.
Mmmmm I love this simple, yet satisfying soup!
And not to mention it's "pennyless"!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So after a longer hiatus then anticipated; I'm back. No I haven't dropped off the face of the planet. No I haven't come down with some mysterious disease. No I haven't decided to stop blogging about "the pennyless" life and all that it entails. I know you all have been biting your nails with anticipation. Actually, that's the reason I have been M.I.A. because "the pennyless" life has had some recent action (no, not that kind, well sort of, just give me the chance to tell you). We are (wait for it) EXPECTING!
Now for some reason the last 14 weeks have been WAY different then when I was pregnant with Simms, in my opinion. My husband disagrees; so maybe I suppressed all those weeks from my memory, but I feel like I have been run over by a truck, morning sickness like I've never experienced, and sometimes barely able to make it through daily chores and activities, but it's getting better. I'm saying this not to complain, but just to say that is one of the reasons for my absence. Thankfully energy is increasing. So here I am to share this with you!
Some friends have said that maybe this increase in sickness is because it may be a girl, which I will gladly endure any pain to have the Lord bring a sweet little girl into the world. Something about the same type of hormones battling each other so I've been told.
Now, I know everyone says, "Oh it doesn't matter as long as it's healthy." And there is gobs of truth in that, and with experiencing a miscarriage in the past like we have, anyone who has been through that can tell you that your perspective and perception of life changes afterwards. Priorities change. God giving us or anyone a child, in anyway, is grace that cannot be explained.
Now, by His unfathomable grace He has given us a priceless gift in Simms who just recently celebrated his 4th birthday. So on one-hand I could see God's practical plan in giving us another boy, which would be amazing and fun, but especially after caring for a baby girl out of my home the past several months, I do desire to have a girl, and I am not ashamed to say that. I have a small amount of hope that maybe this will be a girl.
But, we'll see.....either way.....

This is God's grace in my life. Our sweet and active growing boy!
I can't believe Simms is 4 years old *tear* *tear*
He's picking peaches here.
I can't wait to share some recipes I come up with from all that we picked.

One precious reason I want a baby girl more than ever!
I just love little Tessa Claire *tear* *tear* *sniff*.
Excuse my appearance.

The growing addition to our family!
*tear* *tear* *sniff* *sniff*
You'll have to forgive me for all the crying, but give me a break I am pregnant.
Hormones, you know. I do love having that as an excuse at times.
Well, I've missed you all!
Thanks for listening!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dip, baby, Dip!

Sometimes I crave chips and dip. So sue me! I know it's not healthy, but that salty chip dipped in a cool, zesty ranch dip just hits the spot. Instead of buying that ranch mix pack from the store you can use staples that you probably have on hand to make a fresh and way more delicious ranch dip then you could ever make with that prepackaged kind.
This dip is so easy and so delicious with the help of a surprising ingredient, and of course the help of your favorite store-bought potato chips!

Orange You Glad You Made This Dip

1/2 cup milk/buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp dill, finely chopped or dried
1/4 tsp parsley, finely chopped or dried
1 tbsp chives finely chopped
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
pinch of salt
cracked black pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Whisk well. Pour in a container and seal tightly for at least 6 hours or overnight. This will help it to thicken and enhance the flavor. Serve with your favorite potato chip and (to make you feel not as guilty) baby carrots. So good!

Measure out your milk. I used skim because that's all I had on hand, and that's ok!
Use what you have.

Don't buy buttermilk just to make this dip. I repeat save your money and time.

Unless you want to use buttermilk, then nobody's stopping you!

Pour milk in your mixing bowl.

Next, add sour cream and mayonnaise.

Then the chives.

Next add your parsley, dill, salt and pepper.

Add your garlic salt. Then the surprise ingredient....

Orange zest!

Yep, you heard right!

This gives the dip a nice, fresh hint of citrusiness (I know, I don't think that's an actual word), but just go with it.

It makes it taste good, ok!

Whisk well.

Until combined.

Pour in a container that can be sealed tightly.

Stick in the fridge at least 6 hours or overnight. Try to resist dipping a chip in it!
It's tough, but you can do it. It will be worth the wait. I promise

Really, I promise! Have I ever steered you wrong?

Well, don't answer that.

In all of the delicious excitement I forgot to take a photo of this dip being served.

Just trust me, serve this up with chips and carrots and it will be gone faster then it took you to make it! It did with us!