savings sunday {5.31}

ok, don't expect *savings sunday* every week, but i couldn't resist the alliteration when i decided to post this...

recently i've been trying to shop smarter. i have always been a coupon clipper (mainly from the sunday paper), but that's about the extent of it. i have now started clipping coupons online at places such as coupons.com, or from manufacturer's sites. i've also started reading the grocery ads to try and match up coupons and sales (not sure why i never did this before). and i've started frequenting blogs that provide saving information. my favorite is southern savers because it talks about chains found in the south. the whole thing is kind of addictive :)

today i broke the cardinal rule of "holly shopping" (a.k.a "lazy shopping"). i went to multiple locations...not just two, but THREE! my normal grocery store is bi-lo (preferably the lake wylie store). but when i saw that harris teeter was offering tripled coupons, i couldn't resist going there too. then i decided to try my hand at the 'art of CVSing"...fun stuff. i'm so excited about my savings, i have to break it down. i doubt anyone will read this boring junk, but whatever :)

stop #1 - harris teeter (triple coupons)
i consulted the ad, and the website mentioned above, to help create a shopping list to take advantage of the tripled coupons. they only triple coupons that are 99 cents or less, so i only paid attention to those. i also added a few items that were on "super sale" (which is my personal term for something that's a great deal, causing me to buy it earlier than i normally would).

i am trying very hard to remember that it's not *saving* money if you buy crap you don't need. so i'm only buying things that we need right now, or things that won't expire and we use enough that i know we will use it.

so, this was definitely my biggest bargain stop, for obvious reasons.
subtotal $103.49
vic savings $9.20
coupon savings $40.74
total saved $49.94
total paid $53.55
how awesome is that??? i saved almost as much as i spent???

stop #2 - cvs (first time working the ECBs)
thanks to the website mentioned earlier, i've learned the "art of CVSing". i had no idea there was such a thing. as we all know, drug stores tend to be over priced. however, there is a way to make this not the case at all. some people are able to spend a little money up front and then get tons of free stuff, barely paying for anything. i'm not sure if i'm that good, but i had to give it a try.

i spent $107.35 out of pocket. this seems like a LOT for a drug store, i know, but let me elaborate. when CVSing, the first time you shop, you pay cold hard cash. so, this was the beginning. the catch is to purchase items that will give you 'extra care bucks' (ECB) when you check out (these are the coupons that print out with your receipt). here's a play-by-play...

i asked the cashier to do two transactions.
first transaction:
these items were on sale and had ecb
- zantac @ 19.99 (saved $2.30; got $5 ECB) - matt uses this enough to justify purchasing it before we were out.
- zyrtec @ 18.99 (saved $4.00; got $3 ECB) - spencer takes this daily, again justifying the purchase
-deoderant @ 2.49 (saved $1.00; got $1 ECB) - this was my normal brand, again justified
items below were not on sale, only had ecb
- two body washes (irish spring/softsoap) ($4.99 and $5.29; $4 ECB) - we are not body wash snobs, so we will use these
- 5 aveeno products: $10 in ecb for every $20 in products (I spent almost $50, receiving $20 in ECB) - though i've never used this brand of products (other than body wash), they had several things i needed, so though i spent a lot of $$, it was justified because these products will be used in the very near future). i had a $1 coupon for one of the aveeno products.
total spent after savings: $107.35
second transaction:
anything that did NOT have an ECB, I saved for the second transaction.
- cheerios @ $2.50 (super sale - saved $1.99)
- axe pomade @4.99 (super sale and needed item - saved $3)
- huggies diapers @8.99 (super sale and of course needed - saved $3 + $1.50 coupon)
- maxwell house coffee x 2 @ $4.89 (BOGO, much needed - saved $4.89 + $1.50 coupon/2)
total before any savings = $34.25
total after savings/coupons, before tax = $18.37
I used my $20 ECB from the first transaction and paid nothing.

I have $13 in ECB remaining, as well as two coupons for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. Apparently the "secret" to CVSing, is to use ECB coupons to purchase items the following week(s) that will give you more ECB coupons. But you also have to be careful not to let them expire, and therefore waste. The ECB coupons are good for a month and the $5 off $25 are good for two weeks. I also feel the *key* thing here is to NOT buy things you don't need just to get the ECBs. I had to ask the cashier if many people do this, and he said YES (even had a few pointers...pretty funny).

Stop #3 - Bi-Lo (88 sale)
since this is my normal shopping store, i got anything that was leftover on my list here. i still tried to take advantage of "super sales" or BOGO offers, and any coupons that were $1 or more (if they were less, I used them at the teeter, remember?). i purchased 11 items that were not on sale, nor did i have a coupon. The longer i do this, the less i expect such things!
*as a disclaimer, i'd like to add that the numbers below include almost $60 in gift certificates that were purchased as gifts, so they shouldn't really count :)

one of the things i've been keeping close tabs on is our baby formula and getting a good deal on it. i was recently able to get a *great deal* on 3 cans at cvs.com but right now a 24 ounce can only lasts about 6 days so i'm eager to stock up if i find a good deal. bi-lo had enfamil on sale for $23.39 and I had one of the $5 manufacturer coupons. The lowest non-sale price for our formula is $24.99 for that size can, so I knew it was a deal. I try to combine the coupon with a sale when I can. Thenormal low price (available at bi-lo and babies r us) comes to $1.04/ounce and I paid less than $0.77/ounce.

total before savings/coupons = $205.22
bonuscard savings = $29.10
coupon savings = $7.60
total savings = 36.70
total paid = $166.30

total before coupon/savings = $459.61
total savings = $130.19
total paid = $329.42 (28% savings)

Looking at the totals, it seems a little crazy high. But since it's early in my "savings" process, I think this will gradually lower. For instance, today I bought two of some BOGO things since it was a good deal. Now I won't need mustard or dill pickles for awhile (as an example). Since this was my first time CVSing, it was the most out-of-pocket, also. And, again, this includes $50-60 in gift cards that certainly aren't part of my normal "grocery shopping". And some of the things purchased at CVS will replace much more expensive Arbonne products.

OK, I'm done. If anyone actually read this mess - bless you!

free-for-all friday {5.29}

yeah, i'm late...again...

{1} I really enjoyed this long post by ali edwards. it is a list of 20 scrapbooking tips. I think it's a great read for a beginner or experienced scrapbooker. enjoy.

{2} I recently discovered Cards for Hereos. There are two aspects of it - making handmade blank cards for our troops to use to send home; and making handmade thank you notes to send to troops showing our appreciation. Awesome. When I crop with my family folk next weekend, we're going to do some, and I hope to remember to contribute occasionally in the future. This week (the last week of school), Spencer's class is also going to make some thank you notes for the troops, which I will send. I'm so glad his teacher was willing to do this.

{3} We watched Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler. Love him. Love this movie. Super cute.

{4} Last week, as our 'date night', Matt and I went to see Star Trek (thanks to Aunt Sherry for watching Coleman). I'm not much of a trekkie (actually I can't stand it), but I'd heard from several people that it was good, even for those that didn't like Star Trek, so I agreed to see it. It was pretty good! What's funny is that the lead actor (Chris Pine) was a nobody actor that was in a movie I watched (from Netflix) not too long ago, called Blind Dating. It was really cute and I was tickled to see him reappear in this huge hit. He's pretty cute himself :)

{5} Yesterday I went to Old Navy with Tara. They had 50% off their clearance prices. Pretty exciting stuff! I got 10 pieces of clothing for Coleman for only $20. I purchased everything in 12-18 months or 18-24 months (because it was all fall/winter stuff). I got some bargains for myself as well (and sadly paid full price for a few items). It's ridiculous how much of our clothing comes from this store (except for Matt, who is a clothes snob).


thankful thursday {5.28}

today i am thankful for...
my charm bracelet
which i just picked up from the jeweler where i had 3 new charms added on. yay.

google reader
i can't believe i went so long without knowing this existed. i used to enjoy browsing blogs but never knew how to keep up with them. now, i can easily stay updated on the handful of favorites. i can even easily access them from my phone for on-the-go entertainment :)

new tennis shoes
probably shouldn't be exciting, but i like my new brown tennies :)

american crafts 3-ring fabric albums at michael's
these are the albums i chose to use as my "library albums" for the LOM system. i did so because they were available at hobby lobby and i could therefore get them easily and with a coupon. i was tickled to discover that michael's recently started carrying them as well (even in the right color - dark brown). so, now i have another destination that is easy to access and has coupons!
when i was on maternity leave and when i work from home, gac is almost always on. it serves as great background music/noise when i'm alone. they play more music than cmt and have a better selection than cmt pure (in my opinion). coleman and i enjoy dancing around the den to the music (kelly pickler's newest song, best days of your life, is a favorite of ours).


wordy wednesday {5.27}

Memorial day makes me think of patriotism. and nothing sume up patriotism like a good 'ole country song. so...song lyrics from patriotic country music is my focus today!


"You'll be sorry that you messed with the u. s. of a. cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way" -- Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith
I know there are more profound parts of the song, but I have to admit that this politically incorrect lyric gives me chills every time I hear it.


"And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand UP, next to you and defend her still today. Cuz there ain't no doubt I love this land...God Bless the USA" -- God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood
This is a classic of course. And I'm proud to say that I was able to type these lyrics from memory.


"Only in America. Dreamin' in red, white and blue. Only in America. Where we dream as big as we want to. We all get a chance. Everybody gets to dance. Only in America." --Only in America by Brooks and Dunn
I must confess that I'm not a very big B&D fan, but the song has good lyrics, so I needed to include it on my list.


"I'm just a singer of simple songs. I'm not a real political man. I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran. But I know Jesus and I talk to God and I remember this from when I was young. Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us and the greatest is love" --Where were you by Alan Jackson
I love the chorus of the song because I can really relate to it. I've never been strong into politics or world affairs, but when 9-11 happened, we were all affected. There is so much I didn't, and still don't understand, about our relations with the Middle East, but I know what it feels like to have our country attacked. I think AJ did a truly amazing job of capturing the feelings of the average person and how we may have felt that day.


"It's a high school prom. It's a Springsteen song. It's a ride in a Chevrolet. It's a man on the moon. And fireflies in June. And kids sellin' lemonade. It's cities and farms. It's open arms. One nation under God.It's America" --It's America by Rodney Atkins
This song doesn't actually have anything to do with our military or war...but it has to do with America and those little everyday things that remind us of this fantastic country in which we live. The things listed may not be *America* to you, but hopefully you have your own list, at least subconciously.


two peas tuesday {5.26}

keeping with the memorial day theme...

memorial day 2005 by erica hernandez
super cute photo - love the hat and shirt on that little boy!! cool circles with some bling.

honoring the real american idols by sroller
love the cultural reference and how it kind of reminds us that our priorities are out of whack at times. digital layout.

reminisce military cards by tami sanders
some very nice cards to honor our country's heroes

mini urban/park shoot by alice clark
just a photo, but look at the first one...so cute! love that old truck in the background

memorial day parade 2006 by mom2dylanndrew
just love the clean, simple look to this. lots of photos included w/out it being overwhelming. super cute.

mosaic monday {5.25}

this week's theme is... memorial day (creative, aren't i???)...sorry it's late
i highly encourage you to use the links below the photo to go see the full images. they are all pretty amazing.

1. WWII Memorial Fountain, 2. Remember them..., 3. US Marine Corps Memorial, 4. Each war is different, each war is the same

free-for-all friday {5.22}

i greatly apologize for being so late with the first installment of "free-for-all friday". i spent friday at spencer's school volunteering with field day. it was tons of fun but we were both exhausted afterwards.

remember, fridays are basically just five *whatever* things...

1: From Where I Scrap post on the Without Filters blog. This is one of the handful of blogs that I follow and I really enjoyed this post. Warning: if you are not a scrapbooker, you'll probably be bored.
2: Random Thought - why did gas prices have to go up again after I went back to work? They were so incredibly low during my entire maternity leave!

3: Ali Edwards' blog is one that I've been following for a while now and I really enjoy. Last weekend she offered a free download in this post (pictured below).

4: One of the author's that I follow is Patricia Cornwell. And one of her most popular series of books is based on the character, Scarpetta. I was excited to recently learn that there will finally be a Scarpetta movie. It will not be based on a particular book, but more on the concept (it was compared to how the Bourne movies were adopted from the books). My only issue is that supposedly Angelina Jolie is going to be playing Scarpetta. And this just doesn't work in my head. You know how when you read a book, you create an image of that person in your head? Well, SHE is not the image :) Should be interesting.

5: This weekend I finally posted a few updates on my garden blog:
carolina garden in progress. This was the first time in almost a year. I have been super slack, not just with the blog, but with planting things in general. Shame on me!


{thankful thursday}

today is the first installment of *thankful thursday*
{1} expanded dollar section at michael's

{2} probably goes without saying, but... american idol, kris allen, and the best finale ever!
{3} a super nice dental hygenist named michelle (yes, i took a picture of my dentist's office on my phone...gotta keep up with that 365 thing)

{4} the cultural phenomenon of blogs

{5} getting picture messages from daycare. this is from yesterday:


live blogging {idol finale}

OK, I told myself I wasn't going to do the whole "live blog" thing again tonight. But at 9:45 as I sat down to just start watching it (thanks to Spencer's baseball game - yes, they won), I realized ~ what the heck else do I have to do while I watch it??? Besides, this kind of quality TV only comes around once a year. So, here goes another night (two hour edition) of Holly's random idol thoughts...

As much as I love Seacrest's "catch phrase", I can't stand when they add something to it. Like...This is the finale and THIS is American Idol. It just screws with the mojo of it.

Because I read the "behind the scenes" article on ew.com from last night, I know that the two second shot of the boys in black leather took quite a long time to film after the broadcast last night...and they had to beg the audience to stay for it. Pretty Funny.

Coleman is making a lot of noise through the monitor - can someone please go tell him the Idol Finale is on. Thanks.

Oh, the boys look good in all white.

Oh My Gah! Those Randy clips were HILARIOUS. But not as funny as that bow tie. Is that velvet??? In May??? Gimme a break.

I had no idea she used the words "sweetie" and "honey" so much. But she looks beautiful tonight.

The funniest thing about the clips of Paula's "vocabulary" attempts is that she sounded like a drunk stumbling through a "word of the day" calendar.

I've always thought Simon never pays attention - now we have video proof.

Oh, the boys still look cute in white. Kris looks better. They should consider turning on their mikes. Seriously, Idol hasn't figured out something that simple yet???

Did Mikeleah just get felt up by that little girl? Oh well, I see her career has skyrocketed since Idol.

Oh no, I can't say mean things about Carly. We love her. She actually has talent. She should be PERFORMING on this show, not doing stupid "on location" crap...ugh.

I almost forgot there were 13 this year. I love this song. I love all white. I'm also a goob that looks forward to the group numbers each week.

Side note: I have closed all windows on my computer except for this one. I'm avoiding email, facebook, everything. It's 10:03 and my neighbor just called. I answered the phone "I just started watching it, don't say anything". DVR is a blessing and a curse all rolled into one.

oh oh oh oh oh. I loooooooooooooooooove David Cook. Yay David!!! Whoohooo David!!! If I was there, I'd have a big poster sign for you!!!! Sing it boy! Doesn't he look cute in his very Davidesque outfit? Seriously, that guy can sing. I'm so glad he won. I think this is foreshadowing. He was the "dark horse" last year and now Kris is the "dark horse"...I'm even willing to give up the $25 decrease in my pool payoff to see Kris win...but I digress. Back to David. I have his album and I will say that performance (which was obviously NOT lipsynced) sounded JUST like the album. Awesome.

Oh, there's Carrie in the audience. Beautiful as always. Oh, I'd forgotten about his brother. So sad :(
Hmmm, might have to download that song from iTunes...I already have it, but it's a good cause.

OMG - that was Justin Guarini - wasn't it??? FUNNY stuff.

Ugh, I hate these stupid awards thing. Will Kunick outsung Adam on Mad World (just kidding). OK, this is where DVRs are great. I'm so passing through this crap.

OK, it's pathetic that the guy that gets the "joke" award was actually *really* in the top 36. I was just thinking "I can't believe he's not up there as Norman"...but there he is! I never much enjoyed this guy. And it ticked me off they wasted a real spot on this duffus (is that how you spell that word? dufus? doophus? whatever).

Now THAT is funny (Ryan in the glasses and headband).

Oh goody, it's Lil Rounds (enter sarcasm). The most overrated constestant of the year. (Other than the aforementioned Norman, but I don't count him since he wasn't in the Top 12). Should Queen Latifah really be wearing that black spandex??? But who am I to judge? Ugh, this is horrible. I'm fastforwarding...

Noop Dawg!!! LOVE THIS SONG :) Is Jason Mraz going to be here? Oh, look - there he is! This goofy looking fellow is *hope* for Anoop that he can have a career... have I mentioned that I love this song? I wish they would've let Anoop sing more of it alone. He sounded really good at the beginning. Anoop was Spencer's favorite. Yay Idol for that. That was happiness in a bottle :)

Ha, I love it when a stage guy accidentally gets on camera.

Sideways smile's journey...chill bumps! His wife looks pretty - not sure about that dress on his mama.

OH MY GAH... Kris and country music. I'm in H-E-A-V-E-N! Wooooow...this WORKS! How cute are those two up there? Whose hotter - Kris or Keith??? I think Kris. Oh, I am so lovin' this. Sometimes I forget how awesome the finale is each year. Ahhhhh. I seriously think Kris outsang Keith on his own gosh-darned song. I'm running out of ways to say that I thoroughly loved this performance. I wonder if I'll be able to download it from iTunes??? Gosh, I hope so. Do you think Kris could record a country album? I mean, he IS from Arkansas. WOW. WOW. WOW.

Oh Meghan Joy...I did not miss you. This performance is going to stink because this was definitely a GUY year. Hey, they got Fergie. And she has dark hair. Do you know what I would give for those legs? Good Gahd. I like this song much better than Glamorous. Black Eyed Peas? They still exist? So, is Fergie going to sing with them? If not, isn't that a little awkward that they are back to back? Weird. Nope, she's there with them. I guess they are still "together". What was with that glitch? I don't like this song. Fergie should stay solo. They are number one?? Really. Who knew.

Do you think Ryan Seacrest was that dorky kid in high school that tried to be cool and the real cool kids just humored him?

Fast-forwarding through award crap. Oh. Look. It's bikini girl. My night is complete (please enter all the sarcasm you can muster). Ugh. Love the what's "new" comment. OH wow. She sounds awful. That's poetic justice. OH THIS IS FREAKING FUNNY. GO KARA! Serious props to her for having a sense of humor about this. She actually has a pretty decent voice (way better than bikini girl). It would've been funnier if Kara had come out in a bikini!

WHAT IS UP WITH HER DRESS FALLING OFF? Was that seriously a wardrobe malfunction????? I mean, I was kind of kidding... Did her dress really FALL OFF?

Was that Ryan's Dad? cute.

Cyndi Lauper??? Interesting. Good match up with Alison. I was never a big Alison fan - same reason as Adam. I *get* the talent, but it's just not my thing. What is that instrument she's playing? She's sitting so ladylike. Ricky Minor got a lot of camera time during this song. Any man that's on Idol and Don't Forget the Lyrics is a hero in my eyes :)

Aw, Kris's parents are SO FREAKIN' cute :) I love his dad!

Adam's parents look so normal.

Is Danny going to get to sing with Lionel Richie????????????????? It still makes me sad that he got voted off last week (not that I would've been willing to see Kris go instead, but Adam going home would've been fine). OK, this is good - I swear. But after David Cook's performance last year, who would EVEN TRY?!?!?! Did Danny not watch the show last year? Does he not realize that was the best Idol performance ever????

AW HECK YEAH - he IS THERE. Mr. Richie in the flesh :) I love Lionel Richie. Have I mentioned recently how much I adore the Idol finale show??? I just clapped in my den. I'm a dork :) Oh, we get another song? Yay! Shake that booty... Danny is one very lucky guy. How awesome. Yes, I'm dancing in the recliner...all night, yeah yeah, all night long, all night, oh yeah...

RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBEN's in the house! (I don't really like him, but like finding people in the audience).

Wow, all this good stuff and we're only halfway through...

Isn't it crazy that I'm such a fan and have never been to an Idol concert??? I came close last year, but didn't.

Creepy eyes' journey... he didn't have eyeliner on at his first audition. Even though I'm not a fan, I couldn't help but smile through his "journey"...

What the HELL IS HE WEARING??? A steel cage? I'm baffled.... Ew, does he have sparkly things under his eyes?
OK, I'm so NOT a KISS fan (shocked, aren't you?), but I do think that Idol outdid themselves by getting someone of that caliber...This has to be a serious dream come true for Adam. Pretty cool.

Hey - did anyone watch Glee last night? I saw the last half and I'm SO IN LOVE. I mean, if they said "hmmm, let's sit around and write a show for Holly"...THAT would be the result. I'm ticked that I have to wait until fall for it to start!

Santana is awesome. Serious talent. I love the song that he does with Rob Thomas so I'm 100% OK with the guys doing this song. Was it just me or did Kris sound better than all the others??? Why did they have to include the girls? Do the guys get to do their own song??? Hey, Rob Thomas hasn't had a single in a while. It's time! Love him.

Look - Heather Locklear. When I get old, I want to look like her (yeah right).

Ford video... funny to see just how different the guy's expressions are when they sing. They are SO different.

Aw, matching baby blue sedans...couldn't they have given them something more manly????

Steve Martin? Randomness. Aw, Michael Sarver. Sweetness. Damn. Meghan Joy just ruined it. Ouch. How the hell did she get in the top 12 (pardon my french). I wonder if Michael's talented enough to have a country record? I mean, Bucky's made something of himself! Oh, Stevie wrote that song. Pretty cool. MJ's dress is pretty (but that's all she has going for her).

I wonder how much a commercial slot costs for this show? This G-Force movie is looking pretty funny. Why am I watching commercials???? Silly me. Oh my gosh...how funny "Poop in his hand - Poop in his hand" Ha!

Is THIS the guy's group performance??? They are getting ripped off. No offense to Rod Stewart. But really. Props to the blind guy for doing the group dance. I mean, I know that sounds rude, but seriously that's awesome that he pulled that off! OH goody, Rod's here (sarcasm). Wow he's getting old (happens to the best of us, I suppose).

Twenty more minutes... well, depending on how much they go over. So, will the winner have to sing that horrible Kara song again???

Is it rude if I fast forward through Rod? No? good...here I go.

Fast forwarding through awards. Again, not funny that the winner was actually in the Top 36...another wasted space.

I was wondering when the boys were going to do a duet... NO WAY. Very cool. THIS IS COLEMAN'S SONG. Oh my gosh, I'm crying. I'm a dork. He was born to this song!!!
Ok, I have to say this to be fair. We all know how much I love Kris. But this is so a song for Adam. Should've been all his. Wow, those boys look like they are having a ton of fun. I think they may actually like each other. Of course, they're living a dream at this moment...wow for them...singing with Queen. I love idol. I bet no one figured that out yet, huh? Wow wow wow.

oh my goodness. it's time... my tummy is in knots (crazy, I know).

adjunicator - do you think I spelled that right??? I bet Paula likes that word.
One hundred million votes. That's insane. I only did about 50.

Oh gosh!!!!

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES YES YES. HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I'm crying. It's ridiculous!!!!! I don't care. This is awesome. Wow. A trophy? Really? Like he cares about a trophy. Bless his cute little heart. I honestly think he had NO idea he was going to win. Where's the confetti????
Why is Simon sitting? GET UP OFF YOUR ARSE!

Damn, he does have to sing that song again.
Oh, he is so darned cute. I am soooooooooooooooooo happy :) :) :)

Random thought - I think it's cool that Carrie was there tonight, despite her not having any part of the actual show. Good for her.

Ok, I guess I'm done gushing. Wow. JUSTICE in the VOTING system. Final score: America - 1; Idol Producers - zero.

{idol pool update...}

I'm going to win at least one part of the idol pool. if adam wins tonight, i get $40 for first place in the "real" pool. if kris wins, i get $15 for first place in the "bonus" pool. yay me :-)

{wordy wednesday}

OK, I've changed the "theme" of Wednesday (again). I felt like "What I like" and "Thankful" were too similar. I love words and quotes, so now it's Wordy Wednesday. I will include quotes, lyrics, whatever :)

While listening to GAC today, I couldn't help but fall in love with this lyric from Billy Currington's newest song "People are Crazy": "God is great, Beer is good, and People are Crazy". If you go to his website, the song will start playing.

I had to include that one, but here are a few that stick with this week's theme of WRITING...

"Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own." --Carol Burnett

"An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations." --Charles de Montesqieu This made me chuckle, thinking of my comment about how I'm rambling on my blog so Matt doesn't have to hear as much of it :)

"This is pretty much what journals are all about, at least to me. I knew as I wrote them that even though they provided an excellent place for brain (and heart, and psyche) dump, they were mainly a map of me." --Colleen Wainwright I think this really captures my thoughts on writing (particularly the term "brain dump").

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for public and have no self". --Cyril Connolly Again, I think this reflects how I feel about writing. I have no idea if anyone will ever read anything I write...but who cares!


{idol live blogging}

Warning - if you don't watch American Idol, don't bother reading this. You'll be bored out of your mind.

OK, at the risk of appearing very pathetic, or obsessed, or both...I've decided to "live blog" through Idol tonight. (I use the term "live" loosely because the show is actually DVR'd and I am starting my viewing about an hour behind the actual broadcast). One of my favorite things about watching this show is bantering about it (usually with Matt or Tara). However, here it is...the biggest night of TV of the year and I'm watching it solo (since Coleman hasn't mastered the art of banter yet). So, this "live blog" is my way of dealing with that (but I must admit I stole the idea from Slezak at EW.com (as mentioned in my previous Idol blog). So...here goes...

Oh, I forgot Glee premieres after this - yippee!

Wow, seeing their original auditions reminds me of just how much camera time Kris did not get prior to the Top 12. He really beat those odds! Listening to clips of judges' comments just makes it all so clear - how obvious it was that they favored Adam. Tsk. Tsk.

For those that don't know, my favorite part of the show is when Ryan Seacrest says "and THIS is American Idol". I won't let Matt fast forward through it...ever.

Hey, there's the girl from the Practice in the audience.

"Acoustic rocker vs Glam rocker" - really??? Come up with something better than that.

Oh, Randy pulled out every pattern imaginable for tonight's outfit. Poor Paula forgot to brush her hair. And ew, Simon - too much chest hair. Yuck. Ryan wins the award for best dressed tonight.

I like that Kris came down the stairs one step ahead of Adam - foreshadowing???

Oh, there's Carly Smithson from last season - wonder where her sidekick Michael Johns is...

Why did Seacrest stick a mike in their faces when they have their own. Once is a mistake. Twice is stupid.

I wish Kris hadn't worn leather - leave that crap for the "glam rocker". Maybe they made him so they could use the previously mentioned rocker comparison.

I wish Simon and Paula would at least pretend to be interested in this show that gives them such hefty paychecks.

Big props to Fox for telling us to set our DVRs to go over -- would've been handy to have such warnings earlier in the season. Thank goodness Matt and I are avid Fringe watchers (but I had to watch the end of a few Fringe episodes online...).

I hate when they re-do a song from earlier in the season. But I'm not the one having to try and learn 3 new songs in a week :)

Adam Song #1: Adam loves the creepy blue light. Makes me think of Kmart (blue light special - get it??? ha.) For the record, since we all know I'm a Kris fan...I DO think Adam is talented. I just don't like him. He's not my *type* of music. A rocker girl, I am not. His long black trench coat just increases his extreme creep factor (I honestly didn't think that was possible). Adam's mom is all sequined up.
Randy: Please tell me you aren't going to grade all of the performances all night. Ugh.
Kara: Oh, she loves the word "artist" and "artistry"
Paula: You're always so proud. Gush. Gush.
Simon: Overtheatrical? Adam? Really? That's some serious insight. Didn't he get on Randy's case a few weeks ago for making a similar comment???

Kris Song #1 - Music coupons for mom? Seriously sweet :) His choice is one of the four I have downloaded, but not my absolute favorite. Maybe would've picked Falling Slowly (assuming he didn't want to do Heartless two weeks in a row). Oh good, the leather jacket is gone. I bet Idol did make him wear it. Oh, chill bumps! Did he use the piano the first time he did this song? I don't think he did. I think last week was the first week he used it. Oh, I seriously love this guy!!! Wow, this is even better than the first time he did it. The saddest thing about tonight's show is that there won't be anymore songs to download after this week. If the judges aren't fair to him, I'm going to be ticked. Let's see...
Randy: Lakers? are you serious? Yay Randy got it right (minus the stupid basketball analogy).
Kara: Did the judges finally turn their ears on?? Heck yeah!!!
Paula: Awaken the spirit? I thought creepy Adam did that. Oh, she stole Kara's word "artist"
Simon: This is a competition??? Really?? Wow, he's really smart tonight!!! Here it comes... YES, he said it. That's right Simon - you've been WRONG all season :)

Round 1 goes to Kris??? Seriously??? HELL YEAH (pardon my french)

Adam Song #2: Hmmm...didn't someone do this song on Idol last season or earlier this year? Maybe a more soulful version? Can't remember exactly. I hate black fingernail polish - on anyone, but particularly guys. Gross. He looks like he's in pain when he sings. I like that he wore a nice suit and not all crazy rocker stuff.
Randy: yo, yo, dawg. at least he said "sing your face off" and not "phonebook"
Kara: how many times has she said one of his performances was his best????
Paula: Wooo cowgirl, sit down.
Simon: Why does Randy always have to introduce Simon?

Four hours to vote? Wow.

Kris Song #2: Pulling out all of the instruments tonight. Do I know this song? I like the little group o' musicians congregating. Hmmm, I think I'm kind of enjoying this. OH, I do know this song! Bongos are fun. I liked his first performance better, but that was definitely good. The judges will say Adam won this round I bet.
Randy: that's right - boo.
Kara: "What I love about you..." Nuff said. Why is everyone talking about the social relevance of the song? So NOT the point.
Paula: tear it up girl
Simon: yet another intro by Randy. Too laid back? I'd like to point out that the judges have said he needed to do the whole acoustic thing for quite some time. Make up your darned minds.
*I will say this...I can see where the subdued performance maybe came out "milder" live there, than it would come across on TV*
OK, Simon...million percent??? Tell us how you really feel.

Oh neato - there's the whole top 12. Kara helped write the song??? Hope that's a good thing. Should be interesting to see how differently these two do the same song...

Adam Song #3: Hmmm...I think the song is OK (kind of Miley Cyrus-ish), but I'm really not sure I'm enjoying Adam's performance - at all. I'm trying not to be too biased...I think I may have even heard a couple of pitch issues - something that's usually not an issue with him.
Randy: yo, yo man. dang it. I thought we might make it through the night w/out the phonebook comment, but no such luck. Looks like I was right about the pitchiness!
Kara: You know she's not going to say anything negative about HER song
Paula: Oh, "adjectives" - that's a big word Paula. She actually managed to totally avoid making a comment on the actual performances
Simon: Is this where he begs America to vote for Adam? He totally did not judge that performance either (because he knew it wasn't good but refused to say anything negative).

Why did Ryan have to point out that this was the last performance of the season :(

Kris Song #3: Hmmm, not sure he's off to a much better start than Adam... Not sure I like that jacket he's wearing. Did he just forget a lyric??? I hope not. Damn. There wasn't actually anything *wrong* with that performance. But I wasn't wowed by it. The judges are going to tear him apart, I bet :(

For the record - the "Idol" song every years sucks. 8 seasons. 8 bad songs. Why don't they freakin' give up on the concept.

Randy: Not sure how to even take what he just said.
Kara: What, is she actually asking for votes for Kris? Woohoo.
Paula: I don't agree that this was the most compelling finale. nope.
Simon: Agreed. First song was best. Yaaaaaay Simon. I'm so glad he used the word "deserves"...because he has NOT given Kris the credit he deserves, until now.

Will he ask who won this round??? Guess not.

Wonder if they will re-release the first songs on iTunes???

Must go vote now.

if anyone actually read all of this...bless you.

oh wait...carrie??? oh crap. THIS show went over. Crap.
Not only did I miss Carrie, but I also missed the first half of Glee because I forgot to set it to record. Ugh.

{two peas tuesday}

Below are links to 5 layouts at Two Peas (my "go to" online spot for scrapbooking inspiration). I decided to stick with the theme of writing...

Storyteller by staceymichu
Besides for the fact that this layout is simply gorgeous, I've also made a note to do a similar layout eventually - about my love of writing.

Random Thoughts by lynnstone
What a cute and creative way to capture some random thoughts. If I ever see this paper, I may have to grab a sheet of it now. This would also be a neat way to capture all the cute or funny things that a child says.

My Teacher by anp
Super cute mini book that allows a child's own words and thoughts to be captured.

Goal Journal by howdee
Such a creative journal cover - could be adapted for any type of journal or mini scrapbook!

Writer's Block by walesk
A simple but cute one...love the photo and the adorable apple accent


mosaic monday {5.18}

here is the first official "mosaic monday"...I used the word "pen" as inspiration. i'm excited about the blog schedule because it will give me an opportunity to write more (though, not with an actual writing pen).... i wanted to keep with the number 5 but there were no mosaics of 5 offered by big huge labs.

1. Morning's reach, 2. Gel Pens 1, 3. My Most Treasured Gift, 4. Love is the Color of Life

{new blog schedule}

last night i couldn't fall asleep and i came up with an idea to post on my blog every weekday. I have created a certain theme for each day so that it should be pretty easy. i think it will help keep me inspired (in a scrapbooking sense), give me a place to ramble endlessly about stuff no one cares about (matt will appreciate not having to listen to this!), and it will give my brain a few minutes of down time at work each day... we'll see how long i can keep it up :) i'm using the number 5 for each day as well - it's my favorite number and it's managable. here's the schedule:

mosaic monday - i will create a mosaic of 5 (or more) flickr images (i used to do something similar that ali edwards used to do on her blog)

two peas tuesday - i will give links to 5 inspiring layouts or projects at two peas

what i love wednesday - i thought of making this "wishful wednesday" but then decided that would end up having a negative tone and i wanted to take a more positive approach. so, i will list five things that i'm loving at that time.

thankful thursday - pretty obvious...five things i'm thankful for.

free-for-all friday - this will be five totally random thoughts, opinions, observations, whatever!

{kris allen}

Considering that I'm nothing short of obsessed with American Idol, I have really neglected to reflect that here on my blog. So, I'm making up for the season with this post. Since it's been narrowed to the Top 12, Kris Allen has been my favorite. I honestly didn't think he'd make it this far and I'm thrilled that he has! He is such the complete opposite of theatrical Adam that I was afraid he might slip through the cracks. It doesn't help that the judges decided a long time ago that they wanted an Adam-Danny finale and did everything in their power to make that happen. Simon's blatant pleading for Adam votes last week made my stomach turn. The producers allowing Katy Perry to come on stage with that stupid cape was just ridiculous. I've loyally watched this show for 8 years and I will continue to do so, but this year's bias has been much more obvious than in year's past.

Kris has impressed me week after week with his amazing, yet understated, vocals. I totally *get* that Adam is talented, but I am so tired of his creepy-eyed screaching. However, I feel the finale is what it should be - the two most consistently good singers. I know that Adam will probably win, but I'll text my votes until my fingers are sore :)

I've downloaded 4 of Kris's performances from iTunes and would highly recommend them to anyone. I will probably go back for more (especially since I'll have to wait a while for his album to come out!). Since my Idol beginnings, it's always been my sign of a good performance if I get chill bumps. When I listen to these 4 Kris songs on my iPhone, I get chill bumps ... every time.

What I've downloaded:
Heartless (if I were Kayne, I'd be embarrassed to ever perform this song again)
Falling Slowly
Ain't No Sunshine
To Make You Feel My Love (I normally wouldn't advocate doing a Garth song, but he kicked BUTT on this)

I'm anxiously awaiting tomorrow night's performances. I hope they allow them to do 3 songs (in case you haven't been paying attention, the contestants performances have been reduced compared to previous years). This wish is mostly selfish - I just want to have more great Kris songs to download. Somehow I'll try to stomach sitting through 3 screachers from Adam.

If you love Idol to an unhealthy point, like I do, I highly recommend going to www.ew.com and reading the articles by Michael Slezack after every show (two a week)...they are insightful but also hilarious.

We also have an office pool going. Right now I'm in 3rd place for the main pool (where we try to pick who will get eliminated as each week passes). We have a "bonus pool" where we tried to guess the order of elimination at the beginning of the season. If Kris pulls off the Idol title, I will win that pool!

I guess that's enough rambling for now...


photos {coleman's 2 month dr visit}

i haven't done a very good job of giving official coleman updates... sorry.
ok, so at the end of april he had his 2-month visit. he weighed in at 12 pounds and 3 ounces (75th percentile for weight). his length was 24" (90th percentile)!!
we switched his formula (again) to enfamil gentlease. i've been pleased with the results. he doesn't seem to have as many tummy issues and based on how things are going now (after a few weeks), i'd guess that we'll probably stick with this formula.
little man had to brave his first big round of shots. he was great and didn't take long to calm down after the ordal was over. the first photo is in the doctor's office after he was all better (notice the super cute bandaids) and the 2nd shot was after he passed out at home later.

photos {come-see-me tailgating}

we did a low-key version of tailgating this year at the end of come-see-me. weather was nice (hot at first, but it cooled off quickly).

sky diving exhibition
tomi and spencer had a good time playing football together
me and baby coleman (check out his cute frog onesie)
matt playing football w/ spencer
spencer in action...

photos {baby shower}

melissa and i (and coleman) went to cassidy's baby shower. she got so much super cute girly stuff :) hopefully baby giada will be with us soon...very soon!
melissa and coleman (i think he's yawning)
the whole thing really stressed him out...
doesn't she look beautiful?

photos {more from april}

it is becoming apparent that i took too many dang pictures in april...

coleman doing tummy time. spencer giving brotherly advice on stamina. it was pretty funny.
rio giving spencer some love - gross!
cooper reclaiming his position on the sofa.

photos {more random from april}

here are some more random pictures from april....

spencer and his science project
coleman discovered the owls over his swing...
colton and coleman - how cute are they? notice how they are almost holding hands?
in case there was any doubt as to how adorable my child is...
matt taking a snooze with coleman. i wonder if he knows the boppy pillow is actually for the baby...

photos {gamecock ladies football clinic}

for the third time, i attended the gamecocks ladies football clinic. it's SO MUCH FUN. love it! this year it was in april, for some reason (normally it is in july). and they held the first part in "the zone" at the stadium, rather than the basketball coliseum. you can all of the photos here. melissa and brigitte went with me and we learned about football, got lots of autographs and ran onto the field to "2001", just to name a few of the highlights.
here is spurrier giving us a little football tutorial:

me in front of the lockers belonging to our south pointe high school boys (stephon & devonte) - unfortunately they weren't actually there.

this is the sheet of autographs (players and asst coaches). i also got a pennant signed for spencer.

brigitte and i with darian stewart

me and stephen garcia

photos {dhf golf tournament}

Back in April, the whole family went out to the Dalton Help Foundation golf tournament to help out. OK, so Coleman didn't do much, but the rest of tried to help :)
Spencer and the girls had a GREAT time on the golf cart - Matt somehow became the driving chaperone. It's a miracle he lived to tell the story.

how sweet is this? dalton giving coleman a kiss.

dalton with two of his therapists.

spencer hitting some balls...

lesslie helping dalton with his swing

photos {random from april}

Some random photos from April (I'm behind on uploading!)

Super precious photo that I took on my phone. I have the cutest child in the world!!! (It's my blog, I'm allowed to make totally biased comments like that!).

matt and i celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on april 14th

a long time ago, i started labelling wine & champagne corks from special occasions (got the idea from a magazine). when i went to put this year's in the kitchen drawer (where i dump them until i move them to their permanent spot), i saw that the last two anniversaries were still in the drawer (so much for "temporary" storage). i thought it was cool to have three in a row like that!

my kid is the cutest, but colton's pretty darn handsome too, don't ya think?

colton and coleman hanging out...