Thursday, May 29, 2008


Our timeshare
Shannon and I are finally home and back in the groove of things after our long weekend away in Williamsburg. We had a wonderful time. Shannon's mom and stepdad had a timeshare week that the weren't going to be able to use, so we helped them out a bit and used it for them! My sister and brother-in-law came up for Saturday and Sunday, so we all went to Jamestowne and Yorktown together. It was kind of neat to be where some of America's first settlers were.

An interesting thing that I didn't know about archeology in America: contrary to the European way of doing things, in the States, apparently when they dig up stuff, they figure the best way to preserve it is to cover it back up with dirt. So, we saw a lot of bricks that had been placed in formations similar to what they found underneath. Not exactly Pompeii, but it was still cool to be there. Thanks, Sharon and Milton, for making it possible!

Shannon and I in Jamestowne, on the James River

Wythe Candy and Gourmet Shop

The Chocolate Decadence Truffle that Shannon got

Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Friday, May 23, 2008

Long Weekend

Tomorrow after I get off work, Shannon and I are leaving town for a long weekend. We're going to drive up to Williamsburg, Virgina, and have a glorious 4-day weekend. We are both ecstatic. The semester was a long one, and we haven't had a real vacation since our honeymoon almost 10 months ago. So we're excited to get away. My sister and her husband are going to come up for a couple of days, but my gut tells me that they will spend a good bit of time watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. I'm excited for the beach, being able to wander around a quaint town looking in odd shops and maybe eating fun food, and just being away from "life" and not feeling guilty if all I do is lay around and read and watch movies and play games. There aren't many times when you can do absolutely nothing without feeling guilty about it. So, I think that this is one of those times, and because it is, I'm bound and determined to do nothing productive for 4 whole days.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Coupon Queen

Ok, so maybe I'm not a coupon queen. But I do have to say that thanks to my friend Kate, I am much more able to make our $50/week grocery budget work. I have learned valuable lessons and am still learning, but I think that I've come to a point where I definitely feel like this is a skill that is very useful for helping make the most of what we have.

Yesterday through tomorrow at our local Harris Teeter they are tripling coupons. Usually they double them up to $.99 (as do Kroger, up to $.50 and Lowe's Foods, up to $.99) but about once every 2 months they triple. So, that means that a coupon that's usually worth, say, $.75 is actually worth $2.25 on triple days, where it's worth $1.50 at aforementioned stores any other day. Example: this coupon says save $.55. But yesterday it was worth $1.65 off my grocery bill. Since Teriyaki sauce was on sale for $1.50, I got it for free, plus an additional $.15 off my bill. A lot of people will buy as many as they can to get the extra money off their bill...I personally think that that is going a bit too far. But we didn't have Teriyaki sauce, and now we do! So, how does it all work?

Shannon and I get the Sunday paper for $1 an issue, delivered to our door. Shannon's dad has also been kind enough to start mailing us the coupons from their Sunday paper. Every week when I make our grocery list I check the sale papers with the coupons I have, checking for anything that's a great deal that we might need later (eg: hand soap that I bought today for $.30, using a coupon), or that we need now that I can get for a better price than I can by going to, say, WalMart. Anyways, when triples happen you really have to plan what you're going to buy, because you're only allowed to go to the store once per day and you can only use 20 coupons. So, on Thursday I made my list and then yesterday I went to Harris Teeter at 9 am. Here's my loot:

A breakdown:
Honey Nut Chex
3 boxes Barilla pasta
2 boxes Special K granola bars
2 packages Ortega taco seasoning
1 loaf Arnold's bread
4 packages Uncle Ben's brown rice
Snyder's pretzel pieces
Kikkoman teriyaki sauce
French's spicy mustard
Tea bags
KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce
Joy dishsoap
2 cans of Gillette shaving cream
Dove deodorant
3 toothbrushes
Colgate sensitive toothpaste

Total time spent in stores: 1hour, 10 minutes
Number of stores visited: 2
Coupons used: 22
The grand total: $7.84
Coupons tendered: $52.64
Money saved between coupons and sales: $63.95

I think I paid for our newspaper subscription for a year. At least.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beautiful Butterfly

Today while I was at work Ella hollered at me to come outside to look at the butterfly. I tried to get her to let up because I was making her a snack, but she persisted. So, I put on my shoes and went outside to find this butterfly, a huge, gorgeous one that actually seemed to like me; I got to hold it for a minute. Shannon stopped by at that time and he got to hold it too. It was pretty neat...I mean, how often do you get to hold a butterfly half the size of your hand?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

B+ please

Today the Red Cross was having a blood drive, and since Shannon has (apparently) a rare blood type, we went. I also have rare blood, but was hesitant to go because I'm recovering from a cold. I decided that I should do my civic duty and went. However, they wouldn't let me give blood today, because my iron was too low. I guess it needs to be 12.5 (12.5 what, I don't know) and mine was just 12.3. I'm not anemic or anything, I just guess the Red Cross likes their blood to be umm, more iron-rich than the doctor's office does. So, I got pricked on each middle finger and told to try again next time. Shannon got the full ordeal though, complete with a purple bandage, a Coke, and Oreo-esque cookies.

What else did we do today? I made pancakes and eggs this morning for breakfast; Shannon made coffee. We played some Sequence over breakfast; Shannon won 3-2. I took a quiz, my last one of the semester, and got 100% (yay!). We played some more Sequence; I won, 3-2. Shannon made sweet tea and hot dogs on the George Foreman while I made sauteed zucchini and warmed up leftover homemade macaroni-and-cheese.

The rest of the evening will consist of Shannon working, my meeting a friend for coffee, making soft tacos for dinner, and maybe making brownies, if I feel up to it. Oh, and working on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love having time to read for fun.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Loving Sundays

I love Sundays. It's funny because when I worked at Outback I pretty much hated them. They consisted of starting the day with not enough sleep, rushing home for lunch, maybe a not-long-enough nap, and then leaving by 2:20 to be at work on time and then to stay until almost midnight. Now I love them. I always get enough sleep on Saturday night. When we get home from church I cook lunch, and then we have a leisurely afternoon. When Shannon goes to work I study and cook dinner. In three weeks I won't even have to study...I'll be able to read or play or whatever. Exciting. Anyways, tonight I made Chicken and Dumplings, which I had never made before. So, here is the journey from chicken thighs and raw veggies to yummy dinner.

Step One: trim the fat off the chicken and chop the veggies.

Step Two: put the chicken, onion, water, and spices in a stock pot and let cook for 25 minutes.

Step Three: add veggies and cook for 10 more minutes.

Step Four: mix dumpling dough, plop on top of chicken, and let cook for 12 minutes.

Step Five: remove veggies and chicken. Make gravy with remaining liquid.

Step Six: serve and eat!

Shannon was very excited for this dinner. He asked me to make Chicken and Dumplings about two weeks ago but I've been procrastinating since I wasn't sure what I was doing. Anyways, we had a nice dinner and afterward we played a Sequence match. I won, 3 to 2. Here is the championship game (I was green...I always am).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Blogging Beginnings

I (Michelle) have finally decided to re-enter the world of blogging, after a two-or-so-year hiatus. With school nearing its end, I may not be very good at keeping up at first, but I hope to get into the swing of things and figure Blogger completely out over the summer. I decided to start this blog because there are quite a few people out there who we don't keep up with as well as we should. So, this is a way that all of you can know what is going on with us. The blog I had while in Poland was great, so I think that our lives have finally calmed down enough to where I can manage this. Hopefully, all will enjoy, myself included.'s to happy memories, preserved for all of you to see and take part in, if only in cyber-space. :-)