Sunday, October 30, 2011

I ♥ Publix

It's been a little while since I've managed to get a really good deal at the grocery store.  This is partially due to not putting a whole lot of effort into my couponing adventures now that I'm only shopping for myself at the moment, and partially because coupons have not been the greatest as of late, while also matched with disappointing sales at my stores.

While at the store this morning, I grabbed all of these items pictured above, as well as the Sunday paper.  They retail for $27.75, and I paid only $5.60 for it all, making for a total savings of just under 80%!  This is actually largely due to the Crest Whitestrips.  This travel size version retails for $5.99, but I had a store coupon for $10 off any Whitestrips product and a manufacturer's coupon for $7 off any Whitestrips product, both of which did not restrict size.  So the strips came out for free and gave me an $11 overage that was used towards the rest of my groceries (along with another $3.20 off with coupons, plus $1.95 in-store savings from sales).

I really enjoy when I can save money on goodies as otherwise I cannot justify the expense of spending money on snacks and I am happy about the extras I was able to pick up... the cookies were only 99¢ after $2 off in coupons, I had store coupons for the Swedish Fish (for me) and Sour Patch Kids (to send to the hubby), and my overage made the cake mix, sour cream, and pumpkin all free!  Now it's off to the kitchen to whip up those last three items into some (hopefully) yummy pumpkin cupcakes!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Latest Project

One of my latest Pinterest finds has inspired me to create some wall art for our bedroom.  Our bedroom walls have been completely bare for the 3+ years we've been living here until the end of July when I finally hung up a nice frame the hubby's grandma bought me after our wedding earlier this year, so I decided to create this project using a color scheme that will coordinate with our room.  This project is very simple and is an easy way to add some personalized wall art to a room without the use of photographs.  The idea behind it is to list out important dates for you and your significant other or family.  The dates I used are my birthday, his birthday, the day we first met (roughly), the day of our first date, and the day we were married.

I used Photoshop to create an 8x10 document, with the background shaded to a shade of teal that will work with our green curtains and blue bedding.  After playing with various fonts, I settled with Goudy Stout for the dates and shaded them a light but muted blue-gray color.  Lastly, I found a design online that I used to add some depth to the background and inserted it in black behind the text.  I decided to just print it out on regular weight glossy paper on a color laser jet printer, rather than onto photo paper and really like the added "texture" that was added by printing it like this.  I love the way it looks hanging on the wall in our room in my favorite frame.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Is It Called Nesting When You're Not Pregnant?

Lately I've been in a re-organization/re-decorating mood and am attempting to slowly overhaul our apartment.  I'm sure much of this has been due to inspiration I've received on Pinterest.  I love crafty and DIY projects, and many of the links/resources found via this site are allowing me to spiff up our place without spending a lot of money.

This past week I finally accomplished one of my goals of cleaning off all of the junk that has accumulated on top of our table.  Rather than using it to sit down at to eat our meals, it has served more as storage space for the last couple years.  I have decided that I no longer want it to look so bad and have since cleared off all of the old mail, papers, and coupons that have been strewn across it for so long.

I thought creating a centerpiece for the table inspired by some of my Pinterest finds might be a good way for me to help keep the table cleared and decided to go for it this weekend using finds from the Dollar Tree.  There are a lot of "pins" posted regarding the use of candles, vases, jars, and hurricanes to create displays and centerpieces and I used them for my inspiration and came up with this...

If you couldn't tell based on the coasters I created previously, we've got a bit of a red & black color theme to our living room space.  Each glass holder, candle, and a bag of the red vase fillers were $1 a piece at my Dollar Tree, making for a very inexpensive addition to our table ($9.63 in total after tax).  The black base that I have two of the vases on is from a zen garden I received from someone I used to work with as a Christmas present last year that I then flipped over to elevate the center vases (this zen garden can also be found at Dollar Tree).  Since taking this picture I have decided that I prefer the vases with the red candles positioned at the sides with all of them lined up in a row rather than grouped up such as in the picture, but overall I like the appearance and the element they add to the table.  I only wish that I liked the table they rest on and that it were at least espresso or black in color (it's a 20+ year old table that was a hand-me-down from my parents when I moved into my first apartment).

One of the next projects I would like to take on is to "refinish" (aka paint) our coffee table to give it an updated and cleaner look.  Like with the vast majority of our furniture we own at the moment, it had a previous owner before making its way to our home and was a $13 Goodwill find several years ago.  I have found a couple online tutorials on how to paint over wooden furniture without leaving lines from a roller or brush and to give it a finished look.  Hopefully one of these methods will allow me to get the refreshed looked I desire.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Good Morning

So far I have to say I am a huge fan of the hubby being in AIT now.  He is lucky enough to get to keep and use his cell phone and laptop right from the beginning!  He can use them during off-duty time during evenings and on the weekends, so we can now stay in much better communication with each other and no longer have to rely on writing letters every day with supplemental phone calls once a week.  Four phone calls yesterday was terrific, especially at the end of the night and being able to say goodnight to each other.  This morning's "good morning" text message from him was great too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Love My Soldier

I just returned home from spending the last four days in Missouri to see my husband for the first time in over two months as he graduated from BCT at Fort Leonard Wood.  Family Day was on Wednesday, and that moment when we first saw each other was wonderful.  They were all lined up in formation by platoon outside of the theater where we had our brief, and I spotted him in the middle of the front row of his platoon, and I could feel my face light up instantly.

The hubby is front and center
Once the DS released them, my hubby's straight soldier face changed into this huge grin, and he and I immediately ran towards each other and found ourselves in the best embrace.  Not being able to hold hands as we walked was so difficult for me, as we're one of those couples who holds hands most of the time when walking out and about (silly no PDA while in uniform in public rule).  The time he and I had together was amazing though!

Thursday was graduation day, and my hubby was nominated to be the soldier from the company to narrate the ceremony, so I got to hear his voice and see him on stage the entire time.  He told me about this on Tuesday night when they finally got their phones back for good, and he was so incredibly nervous about this duty, but he did a terrific job!  I was so proud of him.

After the ceremony, they exited the theater and we were able to meet up with them again after they were released from formation by their DS.  During this time we got a picture of him with his DS, and I also was able to meet some of the women who I had become friends with on Facebook who had sons in my husband's platoon.

Although our time together over those two days was not nearly enough, we enjoyed finally getting to see each other so much!  And we're very thankful he now has his phone back as he journeys to his new base for AIT -- he and I spent all of yesterday and all of today texting each other (with phone calls sprinkled in) as he sits on the long bus ride out to his new post.  We're very excited about the upcoming holidays and Thanksgiving being just over a month away, as I'm planning on flying out to see him if he's getting the long weekend pass his new base usually gives to soldiers still in training.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's Get This Show on the Road

I'm just about all packed up and ready to go see my husband!  I have all of my essentials ready, my gifts for the hubby, and a few personal items he's requested me to bring him to have for AIT (mainly his laptop).  I've been a smiling, giddy girl all day at work anxiously awaiting the end of the day to arrive so I can finish my last bits of packing and get ready to go see my man!  The only other item remaining on my to-do list is to print out the (currently) 11 page letter I've been typing up since the last time I was able to send him mail last Wednesday morning.  I cannot wait!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Wonder that is Pinterest

During my time reading various blogs and seeing posts made by friends of mine on Facebook, I started seeing a lot of mentions about this website called Pinterest.  I visited the site once or twice to see what the big fuss was about, and at first I wasn't too terribly impressed.

This week I decided to give it a real chance after I saw an image of a DIY home decorating project that I really liked.  I requested an invite to the site, registered, and am now hooked!  The idea behind the site is it is an online pin board where you can "pin" ideas/inspiration/projects that you like, giving you a single, centralized location to link to such items all over the web for future use, and gain inspiration from others as you see what they post.

One of the first projects I found was for creating your own coasters.  The hubby and I have said for some time that we need to invest in some coasters, but have never really put forth the effort to look for some.  Perhaps it was because before we had two solid incomes, that was an expense we couldn't really justify.  Nevertheless, I have decided this is the first project/idea that I would like to tackle, and have since bought the essentials to complete it.

All you need are 4x4-inch tiles (you can pick these up for super cheap at a hardware store -- I nabbed them at Lowes for 10 cents each), mod podge (I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $4.18 after using a 40% off coupon), clear gloss spray paint, small felt pads (for the feet of the coasters), and of course the paper/images you want displayed on your coasters.

I have decided to create two different sets of 4.  The hubby and I are Georgia Bulldog fans and love our alma mater, so I found an image of our school logo (the Georgia G) and printed it out using different red & black color schemes.  My second design is going to be made using a piece of scrapbook paper I found that has black & white flourishes on it, which I just love the look of.  Whatever image(s) you choose for your coasters, just be sure to cut the paper down to 4x4-inch squares to fit onto the tiles.

The assembly process really is quite simple -- you adhere your paper to the tiles using thin coats of mod podge.  Once the paper has dried, you spray the tiles with clear gloss spray paint in order to seal the tiles.  Then once the paint has dried you simply attach the felt pads to the bottom of the coasters, and you're done!

My latest "pins" as of today have been cute ideas I've seen for when the day eventually comes that I am pregnant and we have a baby.  Those won't be used for a while still, but one of them did give me some inspiration for another little present I now want to make to give my husband when I see him this coming week for his graduation.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chocolatey Goodness

My husband is one of those people who can just take a look into the pantry and fridge and come up with an idea for some wonderful dish that he just whips up out of nowhere.  As for me, I've never been much of a good cook.  I'm just not as familiar with different flavors to be able to easily combine various items without having a recipe to follow.

I do have my place in the kitchen though.  I love playing with my wonderful stand mixer and whipping up sweets!  The hubby loves that I enjoy baking and am somewhat decent at it.  For this last Christmas, we actually decided to give edible gifts to all of our families, which had me in the kitchen every night for an entire week, as well as all day on Christmas Eve, making up goodies like cookie dough truffles, mocha truffles, oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows (shaped like stars and trees to accompany mugs of hot chocolate), peanut butter fudge, meringue candy canes, and chocolate covered Oreos.

About two weeks after the hubby left for basic, he started bringing up in his letters a triple chocolate cheesecake that I made once a few months earlier that he fell in love with.  I could tell he was craving it and had decided that I might make it as a surprise gift for him when I go to visit him for his graduation from BCT.  He then finally came right out and said that I needed to bring it with me, making sure to bring enough for him as well as some of his friends there to whom he's been bragging about me and my baking abilities.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World Travel Map

While browsing through blogs of other MilSpouses, I became inspired to create a world travel map to mark all of the places around the world the hubby and I have visited.  After reading about the idea on another blog, I thought this would be great for the hubby and I as we love to explore and want to travel together and see as much of the world as we can, especially given our new nomadic lifestyle.  The idea for the map is simple and I thought it would be a great addition to our spare bedroom/office space.

The supplies you need for this project are a map, foam core board to mount the map on, spray adhesive, map pins, and then a frame (with glass removed).  A ruler and knife or box cutter would also be handy tools for cutting down the foam core board.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blissful Relaxation

I'm usually a pretty frugal person and am not one to spend money freely on wants.  I'll go and look at whatever it is I may want, but usually end up talking myself out of the purchase in the end.  So when my husband told me that he had earmarked several hundred dollars (that we didn't have at the time) to spend on surprises for me while he's gone in basic, my heart about stopped for a few seconds.  He of course wouldn't tell me what any of the surprises were going to be, as he very much enjoys keeping me in suspense as he knows I cannot stand knowing that something is coming but have no idea what it is.

He told me to keep today open as I would be going somewhere to do something for several hours, and they would call me a couple days ahead of time to let me know where to go and when.  He wouldn't give me any real hint as to what the surprise would be, but just said that it is something I've hinted at before and would really enjoy, but would never spend the money on myself.

Today I got to spend several hours at the spa getting pampered from head to toe.  I got a facial, manicure & pedicure, and my absolute favorite, a massage.  I so could have fallen asleep during the massage!  The only disappointing part of the day was not having my husband to go home to afterwards.  Now I'm even more excited to see him in a week and a half so I can really thank him for arranging this day for me!