Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Over!

Yay! I made it through another year of NaBloPoMo! It was kind of hard fitting in a blog every day but I'm really glad I did it. My life isn't quite interesting enough to continue blogging every day but it made me realize it's crazy to go two or more weeks with no blogging. I want to blog so that I can remember things. I've tried keeping a journal just for Brianna but I haven't updated it in almost a month. The blog helps me keep up with things that I forget to write in there or my devotions journal.

Brianna is still not 100%. Her cough makes me feel so sorry for her, but it doesn't really seem to affect her except to make her really tired. Seriously, she is sleeping so much! But as long as she's not tired or hungry she is still playing like usual and even smiling through her coughs. What a trouper! Right now she is pulling everything out of one of my desk drawers so I think I will stop her before she really wreaks havoc.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Pictures

These are pictures only from our family gatherings for Thanksgiving. I will have to upload the ones from our out-of-town visitors at another date! Just to do these has taken me all day. But they turned out great!

First stop: My maternal grandmother's side of the family! Best food ever!

Second stop: Stephen's dad's side of the family. This is Brianna's cousin Riley and our cousin Rachel (Riley's mom):

Just a few Talberts:

Next stop: Eden, to see Stephen's mom's side of the family:

Can you tell what Nenah's earrings are? I love it!!

And last round of family members, my maternal grandfather's side of the family!

A beautiful plate that someone made - I never did find out who did it:

If you look closely you can see me and Brianna on this side of the tree. Jessie, if you're reading this, you're over here with us!!

And on this side you will find Jenn and Claire. Emma, if you're reading this, you're on this side!

Sunday turned out to be a major "day of rest" for us because Brianna kept us up all night last night. We've been having problems with our heating and air. We're not sure if that contributed to her waking up, or if she woke herself up somehow. She has a little baby cough and that could have startled her and woken her up. In any case, Stephen and I were up a lot last night. He went to church this morning and I stayed home with her. About ten minutes after he left for church she fell asleep (about 10:30 or so) and she woke up at 12:45 refreshed. Only a couple of hours after that she was ready for another nap! She's been asleep now for about an hour and a half. I think she's mainly just exhausted. Stephen will stay at home with her tonight while I go to church. Bri will most likely sleep well tonight!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday and ??? Saturday

This is going to be a fast post because Brianna has just laid down for a nap, Lauren's coming over, Stephen and Josh will be home from hunting soon, and I'm making venison cube steak for dinner tonight from our fresh kill!! But I want to get this post out of the way. Yesterday I was only able to make it to two stores for Black Friday - Rite Aid and Walgreens. Yes I have started steering clear of Walgreens but they had such great sales I got sucked back in.

Rite Aid:

Wet Ones
RP $3.29. SP $1.88. Minus $1.50 coupon. FP - $0.38

Zest bar soap 3-pack
RP $3.49. SP $1.99. Minus $1.00 rebate. FP - $0.99

Old Spice deodorant
RP $3.29. SP $2.49. Minus $1.50 rebate. Minus $1.00 coupon. FP - Free

Herbal Essences shampoo and Herbal Essence spray gel
RP $4.49 each. SP $2.99 each. Minus $2.00 rebate on one. Minus Free coupon on one. FP - $0.99 for two.

Oral B toothbrush
RP $4.99. SP $2.99. Minus $0.75 coupon. Minus $2.00 rebate. FP - $0.24.

Scope mouthwash
RP $4.69. SP $3.99. Minus $1.00 coupon. Minus $3.00 rebate. FP - Free

Tampax tampons
RP $5.29. SP $3.99. Minus $3.00 rebate. FP - $0.99

Satin Care shaving cream
RP $3.49. SP $1.99. Minus $1.00 rebate. FP - $0.99.

Minus $10 Rite Aid coupon I had. Final total - Spent $8.06, saved $19.24, will receive $13.50 in rebate. Made about $5 - woot woot!

Walgreens trip #1 11/27

Vaseline lotion
SP $1.99. Minus $1.00 coupon. FP - $0.99

Tuf paper towels
RP $0.79. Minus Walgreens coupon. FP - $0.49

Red Baron pizza
SP $1.99. Minus $1.00 coupon. FP - $0.99

Final total - Spent $5.40, saved $13.80

Walgreens trip #2 11/27

Infusium conditioner
SP $4.99. Minus $2.00 coupon. Register Rewards = $5

Nivea shaving cream
SP $2.49. RR = $2.50

Dove deodorant
SP $3.99. Minus $1.50 coupon. RR = $4

Aquafresh toothpaste
SP $1.99. RR = $2

Johnson & Johnson body wash
RP $5.99. Minus $1.00 coupon. RR = $6

Right Guard deodorant
SP $2.49. RR = $2.50

Final total - Spent $19.14. Saved $9.50. Received $22 in Register Rewards.

Walgreens trip #3 11/28

Scotch mailer
RP $1.19.

Vaseline lotion (x3)
SP $1.99. Minus $1.00 coupon. FP - $0.99

Rimmel nail polish

SP $2.19. Minus $1.00 coupon. FP - $1.19

Right Guard deodorant
SP $2.49. RR = $2.50

Dove deodorant
SP $3.99. Minus $1.50 coupon. Minus $1.00 coupon. RR = $4

Johnson & Johnson body wash
RP $5.99. Minus $1.00 coupon. RR = $6

Minus a $2.50 RR. Minus a $2.50 RR. Minus a $5.00 RR. At this point, the register would not accept any more register rewards even though there was still a large amount for me to pay! This is why I hate the register rewards program at Walgreens. And once again, after I spend the rest of my RR that I have, I will not go back. I stayed away for almost a month and I really don't regret that at all. My shopping life was much simpler.

Final total - Spent $10.48. Saved $20.59. Received $13.00 in RR.

So all in all, even though not every trip went exactly as planned, I still made a profit. And that's really all that matters in the end.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Still Thanksgiving

Today was VERY hectic. I'll have to blog about it all tomorrow because I want to spend the next little bit with our out of town guests. We got to see even more family though, which was great. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow or the day after.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

This was our church devotional on the website this morning - thought I would share it in light of what today is.

Bible Meditation:
Ephesians 5:20 - "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Devotional Thought:
There are four types of people. There are those who are constantly complaining and grumbling. Have you met any of these folks? I mean, they can brighten up a room just by leaving it. That's the lowest level. Then there are others who live lives of ingratitude. They don't complain, but they never thank God for His obvious blessings. That's a little better, but not much better. Then there are people who thank God for obvious blessings. When something good happens, they're grateful. That's a better level. But the highest level is to be grateful for all things at all times. That is the secret of a happy and productive life.

Action Point:
Bow before the Lord and begin to think about difficult circumstances you're facing. Now, thank Him for each one.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gearing Up!

Yes, we are GEARING UP for Thanksgiving tomorrow! I tried to do parts of my recipes today so I'd have less to do tomorrow. I finished one recipe - dessert, which is most important anyway. I made a TON of squash today for Brianna since I was making a squash casserole for tomorrow. I even tried to figure out how much money I saved by making her food instead of buying it. I paid $1.99 for the amount of squash I bought, and it made 11 of the 2.5-oz boxes that you buy in the store. Two of those boxes cost $1.05 (approximately) so I definitely saved a bunch of money!

We spent the day hanging out with our family from out of town, I made a quick trip to the store, started the squash casserole/made Bri's squash, started a sweet potato casserole, and made raspberry cheesecake bars. We ate out at Moe's for dinner. We'd never eaten there before. It was good but probably not somewhere we'll go on our own. Stephen and I went to the hospital after eating at Moe's - not food poisoning, don't worry! A friend from church is in the hospital after a serious stroke and we wanted to see her. Unfortunately she will be in the hospital during Thanksgiving. She was in good spirits tonight though, for her condition. I do ask for prayers for her family - the Burks - because I can't imagine having a relative in the hospital right now. Sometimes I take my family's health for granted and after mom being in the hospital years ago you would think I would have learned from that. I'm so thankful that my whole family and Stephen's family are here for Thanksgiving, and we'll be able to spend a late Thanksgiving with some other members of his family on Friday. What a blessing! We turn Thanksgiving into such a stressful day sometimes, don't we? I, for one, don't care if we have a turkey, ham or KFC, I just like getting together. Although with the turkey I get to fight mom for the wishbone. She always gets the big end, somehow. Cheater.

After the hospital we stopped by mom and dad's to pick up the bags from Tracey. Ooooh boy, it was like Christmas! She has never even met Brianna but oh man did she set aside some goodies for that baby! There were a couple of toys that Bri is going to LOVE!! Unfortunately when we got home tonight Brianna was ready for bed but I am breakin' those toys out tomorrow! She got Brianna a Christmas ornament and she got me a great one as well. I usually blog about our Christmas ornaments every year, so I can't wait to post pictures of them. She also got a really cute outfit for Brianna, and I am particularly thankful that it is long-sleeved. Would you believe I went through that child's clothes today and she has only a handful of long-sleeved outfits? I will have to pay special attention to that at yard sales from now on. I also received a huge packet of coupons! Yay!! Brianna also got some books which she will enjoy - we try to read a couple of books with her every day and two Wee Sing tapes and songbooks!! We have several Wee Sing books and tapes here but we didn't have either of these - Christmas and Bible. I can't wait to also break those open! I make her do the hand motions already. So thank you, thank you, thank you for everything Tracey!

Brianna has woken up and is crying, and I've got to work on those casseroles tonight if I want less to do tomorrow so I should probably get off of here. Hopefully I will have some great pictures to post in my blog tomorrow!

A friend of mine earlier in the week had a health scare occur with her husband. Fortunately all of his tests came back normal, but I urge everyone to hug your spouse tonight. I have no clue what I would do without Stephen and I don't even want to imagine it. I could go on but life just wouldn't be as sweet. Plus, I can't change the brakes on my car.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A couple of people were curious as to why I put my status on Facebook today to say, "Just in case you didn't know this, Tracey Garner is an amazing woman." Well, allow me to explain!!

I was at work today when mom called and said, "I know you're working but I just HAD to call and tell you this!" She walked in to her house and look what was sitting in her kitchen:

Bags of items for Fed By Faith! Toys for Brianna! Loads and loads of items and they were all from Tracey. I mean this is just amazing! Mom just couldn't wait for me to hear the kinds of items Tracey was donating to FBF and I immediately said, "Get pictures!!!" Tracey, you are SO kind and generous and I honestly can't thank you enough.

Tracey, I bet you are the type of person that just loves shopping for other people. I know I will buy something for someone else in a heartbeat that I would never pay for myself and you definitely strike me as that type. I don't expect anyone to donate items to FBF unless they feel led to do it, but I am so grateful for people that will donate. I am incredibly touched by this and blessed!!

I'll never be able to do a blog for Thanksgiving for the things I'm thankful for. There are no words created for how I feel every single day.

Monday, November 23, 2009


How many adults does it take to bathe a baby?


This was a very grumpy, sleepy baby tonight but she did pull out some grins, giggles and playtime for her family from Georgia. She will be in a much better mood tomorrow, promise!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Ramblings

Oops - I almost forgot to post today! What a crazy busy day.
  • Brianna woke up refreshed at 6:00 this morning (in her defense she had been asleep for her normal 10 or so hours, so not really her fault) and would not go back to sleep even though MOMMY was TIRED. (Don't worry, Stephen ended up getting up after I fed her and stayed up with her while I went back to bed!)
  • Spoke at church about Fed By Faith - told about Brooke's offer of boxes and the awesome blessing from First Baptist yesterday. Also told how my devotions included a special scripture - Psalm 68:10 "Thy congregation hath dwelt therein; thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor." - just two days after Fed By Faith was put into motion. I just felt like God was really urging me - this is right, this is going to be good and blessed, so DO IT!
  • Ended up in the nursery because there were 13 kids and just one adult and two not very helpful teens in there. Spent the next hour+ rocking Brianna and Robert's son Emory, singing every song I could come up with because it was the only way Emory stopped crying. And once he started, Brianna would start. I ended up singing the alphabet song because I couldn't think of any other songs on the spot! Also, Preacher Tony ended up preaching until 12:30 so my voice was about GONE!
  • Couldn't get Brianna to take a nap to save my life when we got home. Tried wearing her out by feeding her and playing with her while Stephen mopped all the hardwood. Finally about an hour before we had to leave for cantata practice she passed out. So did I.
  • Had cantata practice from 5:00 till church started at 7:00. Went through it twice and by the second time I was barely squeaking out my solo. Brianna was pretty good during the first run. I stopped to feed her pears around 6:00 but she was so distracted she didn't eat at all. She made up for her stubbornness by being TOTALLY cute!! She does the cutest thing where she crinkles her nose, bites her lower lip and gnaws on it. I just go to puddles when she does that. So adorable.
  • Ended up in nursery during the night service as well to feed her. As soon as I was done I got out of there. Needed to hear some preaching today!! I sat in the back with another guy and his baby, so neither of us cared that our babies were loudly cooing, sighing, spitting, and tooting. I think we were both adept at blocking those noises out.
  • Fielded tons of questions about Fed By Faith - so glad word is getting out!
  • Ran by mom and dad's to get a huge thing of mom's meatloaf (the only meatloaf I will eat) which I ate for dinner as soon as we got home. Mmmmm mmmmm!
  • Stephen checked his voicemail and got a phone call from LeAnne asking me to please call her about coupons. I did, and we chatted the whole way home from church. That's one thing I can talk about forever and it's hard for me because I feel like I talk so fast I make no sense!
  • Brianna got a fast bath when we got home, mainly her rear end and top end.
  • She nursed and then when I put her in the crib she cried just about 20 seconds before plopping her head down and passing out. Pretty normal.
  • Then I remembered I didn't blog today. So that's what I'm doing now!
And NOW, I'm headed off to bed! Got a LOT to do tomorrow, mainly I am trying to put out the first Fed By Faith newsletter tomorrow. If anyone is interested in being added onto it just leave a comment with your email address or email me privately at If you know I already have your email address just give me your name and I'll add you. It's mainly going to be a twice-weekly email telling the best sales and rebates of the week. It's main purpose is for our church congregation - for the cheapest items they can pick up on a regular grocery trip to donate to Fed By Faith. But if you are slashing your food budget you may be interested too.

Good night!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Incredible Saturday!

Whew, what a busy and wonderful Saturday this turned out to be! Brianna was up bright and early at 6:30am after a loooong night of sleeping. Stephen was already out hunting at that point, so once I figured out that Brianna didn't want to go back to bed, I started getting ready to go to yard sales, run errands, and then go to a wedding shower.

I checked my email before I left, and much to my surprise, Stephen had already shot a buck! He had only been in the woods for about 21 minutes (give or take a minute) and he said it was close enough for him to spit on it. He shot it instead, fortunately. This was his first buck so he is very proud! You wouldn't think it would take someone years to shoot a buck, what with all of them running in front of cars and such, but his dad didn't shoot a buck until he was late 30's and Stephen's been hunting 13 years with no luck. He's gotten plenty of does in the past but not a buck. (Although he has gotten buck from other species of deer on hunting trips, but that's a whole other story. Confused yet?) Anyway, this is a 10-point which is HUGE so we should get a ton of meat. Start looking for several venison recipes to come! He scored it (measured it) and looked it up online. It scored at 150 points which was only 10 points away from making it into the record books. Here are some pictures - I tried to pick some that weren't so bloody. You're welcome.

Anyway, Bri and I met Stephen on the road to admire the deer, and then we went on our merry way. The first two yard sales we went to weren't anything crazy special but Brianna did pretty good. She got a new toy, as you can see, which I think she will really enjoy. She has started banging things a lot. She also got a new pair of jeans, corduroys, and an outfit for $1 each. Yes, they are 3T and 4T but $1 each is too good a price to pass up! Plus these are so cute!

Next we headed off to Harris Teeter to get some Dole pineapple (free) and bananas for Brianna. They were just $0.69 a pound and I got just at a pound. I will halve them and freeze them for after we run out of baby food bananas. We have to use baby food in jars for certain things because a friend at church gave them to us - which we are so thankful for! - but I definitely love making her food myself.

The next yard sale was a bust - way overpriced. On my way to my last yard sale, I got stuck in the Turkey Trot! Those darn trotters were trotting everywhere!!! I desperately made U-turns, sudden turns, right turns, all trying to get to Hwy 211 with no luck. Streets were blocked off, cars were being detoured... all I wanted to do was get to that yard sale! I had to go because it was a church sale, see, so it would be worth it. I finally called mom and dad trying to find some back roads. After talking to dad and making several turns down small roads I was able to detour around the race and get to the yard sale. Whew!!

And guess what? It was worth it! See, I knew it would be! Remember last week when I found that mortar and pestle and I was so excited? Well I got a new one today. This one was more expensive - $5 - but keep in mind how expensive they normally are. The difference between this one and last week's is this one was hand carved in Bolivia and is truly beautiful. The man who purchased it in Bolivia actually happens to be a friend of ours, and he uses them all the time in cooking. It is not only gorgeous but I love using it with fresh herbs!

They were half-pricing stuff but I just didn't see anything that jumped out at me, so I headed off to Rite Aid to purchase some Kotex for Fed By Faith under mom's name (only one rebate per household so I had to "use" mom) and go to Lowe's to get some rice (free), sugar (free) and a gift card for the wedding shower today. I also got some sweet potatoes for $0.29 a pound. I froze some the other night for Brianna and will do this with these as well. Much cheaper than buying by the jar!!

When I got to mom and dad's, the more we talked the more I wanted to go back to the church sale to look through the kids clothes again. After dilly-dallying, mom, Brianna and I took off up there. We left dad at the house because he was having a free yard sale of his own. We drove up to the yard sale and were immediately disappointed. It looked like they were packing up stuff. I told mom I would just run up and ask them if they were done. It turned out they were selling stuff for $2 a box - fill up the box with as much as you can. I ran back to get mom and Bri. Mom babysat while I stuffed clothes, pots, candles, you name it into a box. I didn't see anything I really needed but figured a lot of that would go to Fed By Faith. As we walked away, mom mentioned to them how great it would be to have that stuff because of our ministry at church. At that, the people looked at each other, murmured to one another, and then... offered to let us have everything that was left. And that's why you can't walk through my kitchen right now.

What a huge blessing!!

On the same note, Brooke emailed me last week after I wrote that I had scavenged boxes from the recycling center. She mass emailed her coworkers and now people throughout that law firm are saving up what will literally be hundreds or thousands of boxes for Fed By Faith!! Oh my gosh. That is AMAZING. Brooke definitely did not have to step up like that - it is incredibly generous of her. She even had someone volunteer assistance! We can use those boxes either for storage or to carry the items to people. I just shake my head in amazement every time I think of this. What a huge blessing.

Please continue to pray for Tracey and Mark and their family. Tracey is such a trooper, she is clipping coupons for me in the waiting room of the hospital. Now that's a good friend! Haha!

I just can't get over how incredibly blessed my life is. Days like today seem to happen to me more than I deserve them to. I don't even have the words to describe my joy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Great Days

The past two days have been so much fun! I'm not sure if I've gotten more sleep or what but I've really felt refreshed and particularly happy the past two days. As you saw from yesterday's post, Jenn and Claire came over to play and we had so much fun!

Today I was supposed to meet Tracey and Mark for lunch and mom and dad were going to come along as well. Unfortunately, Mark's mother fell and broke her hip last night. So please keep that family in your prayers. Our lunch had to be rescheduled but mom and dad and I decided to continue on and eat at 195 for lunch, which used to be our old hot spot. I hadn't been there since Brianna was born, so I was very excited to head back there. The food was delicious and mom and I racked up on tons of specific spices we needed for mere pennies. After lunch, mom and dad kept Brianna while I worked for a couple of hours out at the store. It's amazing how much you can get done without a seven-month old there!

Bri took her normal, great, long nap this morning which was awesome because I got a couple of things done to get ready for our company next week, and I got to work on some personal stuff too - coupons. Nice! I think she'll go to bed super early tonight too so that will be nice. She needs to be rested for yard sales tomorrow!! Hopefully I'll have a great blog of sales to write about tomorrow afternoon, like Tracey did today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Jenn and Claire came over today for a very necessary playdate! We cooked frozen pizzas which was much cheaper than eating out, plus we could let the girls play or scream as necessary. I had lots of mushrooms I was freezing from one of my recent recipes so we threw a few on top of our pizzas for a little more pizazz. Yum! I'm not good like dad at putting funny comments on pictures, so you'll just have to add your own. These girls are so cute! Claire is definitely developing a personality and she's getting so strong! She plays really well by herself too, no matter what Jenn might tell you.

Oh, and Jenn, just so you know, Brianna fell asleep almost the second you guys walked out the door and slept for almost an hour and a half. Playing, crying, and attempting to poop wore her out!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Oh yeah, and while I was at mom and dad's we realized today is Brianna's 7-month birthday. Happy birthday baby girl!!

Not Much Happening

I only got one newspaper worth of coupons from the recycling center today. Boo! Although I got three great, sturdy boxes from there for Fed By Faith. Yay!

Brianna and I ate lunch with mom and dad today. It was delicious and Brianna was pretty good until the bitter end when she was definitely in need of a nap. She fell asleep on the way home but as soon as I pulled onto our road she woke up and was NOT happy about it. She's in the process of screaming her head off trying to go back to sleep.

I'm so tired for some reason. Last night when Brianna went to bed at 7:30, Stephen and I followed right behind her after cleaning up dinner and stuff. We were asleep by about 8:45. But when she got up at 7:40 this morning I was still tired. So I was really happy that she was back to sleep by 8:30 which meant I could take a nap too. My nap lasted one hour, hers lasted two. And yet I'm still tired! Who knows.

Sorry for the lazy blog. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to post tomorrow or something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Mom and dad graciously watched Brianna today while I went to church and attempted to organize the new storage area for Fed By Faith. This room used to be our Preacher's office - it's the smallest room in the entire building - and now it's really just a catch-all. There are extra chairs, two vacuums, Halloween candy, Christmas play scenery, high chairs, microscopes... pretty much anything you can think of has been stuffed into this room. My job today was to move it OUT!!
What I started with:

What that looked like after about 45 minutes:

And then just a few minutes later:

Everything is just kind of piled and categorized for now. We have shelves to be hung and bookshelves to be put in there but we have to dig them out of our storage shed out back. So after that I will take more pictures! All of the stuff in the room right now is only from mom and myself. I can't wait to put in everyone else's stuff!