Sunday, December 28, 2008

fun @ CVS

I haven't played the CVS game a whole bunch, but have been trying to get better at it. One of the most important parts to getting started, as I've learned, is getting your coupons organized. I have always struggled with coupons...I love the idea, but have never been organized enough to handle them. I'm now keeping my coupons, unclipped, in page protectors, by week, in a 3-ring binder. It's working pretty darn well.

Tonight, I went and did 2 separate transactions...I was pretty happy with the result! I would take a pic for you, but I'm spending some quality time on the couch and being lazy...maybe tomorrow...anyway, I got:

3 bottles of Tide
2 bottles of Pantene
1 quattro razor
1 colgate
2 blistex ointments
2 bottles dawn dishwashing liquid
3 caramels - for Brad :)

total for all these: 61.33
savings: 50.35 ($14 ECBs & $7 CVS coupons & $10.25 manuf coupons & 19.10 savings)
total spent: 10.97
OOP: zero - used gift card balance to pay 10.97

I've still got a long way to go and more to learn (of course I found another Colgate coupon after I got home!), but had a lot of fun this afternoon/tonight playing the game! Some great websites to check out if you're interested in joining the fun:
Most importantly, save a little $$ and have some fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Walker's Blessing - Thank You God

Walker's Blessing from Jodi on Vimeo.

Isn't that what it's all about?
"Thank you, God!"
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just for Fun

Santa Cruz Sunset
Photo by Josiah Mackenzie

Play along on your blog if you like. Just copy it….then bold the text of things you’ve done so far in your life. Enjoy!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (sang)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland ( & Disney World)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (well, stood on the surf side and watched one come in)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (through World Vision yes, in terms of real adoption, no)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language - learned while living in Switzerland
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (in China, where it is treated super seriously!!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (scuba no, snorkel yes)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (for many, many years - lifetime GS member)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (not pretty, almost passed out)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (wish I’d saved more!)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Minute Gift Ideas

If you are still struggling (or are behind) with your Christmas are a few great last minute ideas:

Pick something out of the World Vision Christmas Gift Catalog - you can immediately print out a card that you can give to your gift recipient, so not much time is required! We love that 86% of monies donated to WV go to help those in need - few charities are that efficient.
Goats have been a favorite gift over the years - but the chicks are so cute too! There are 7 gifts priced under $20 - so don't feel like you have to spend a ton to help someone in need. You also have the option to purchase a "share" of a larger item if that's of greater appeal to you.

Another great option this Christmas is Soles 4 Souls. You can spend 5 minutes, $5 dollars and make a huge difference in the lives of 2 people - your $5 buys 2 pairs of shoes!

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

soles4souls' mission is to get shoes to people who need shoes - can you imagine not having a pair of shoes and being forced to go barefoot? Over 300 million people around the world don’t have shoes and are forced to walk around unsafe and in potentially life-threatening conditions. Wow! Blows my mind!

We all also have tons of local charities & angel tree projects going on around us if you'd prefer to keep your dollars closer to if you still have shopping to do, take a minute and do some shopping that will make a difference...Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Truth about Santa Claus

Cinnamon bun
Photo by Stoichiometry
The Truth About Santa Claus

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.

I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus?" She snorted... "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor Has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad! Now, put On your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a Few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my Friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we
kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked Kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a Good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa
Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's Helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous.

Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have The Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

from MountainWings

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A different kind of giveaway

Yesterday my husband, sister & I along with countless other NewSpring volunteers (about 70 at our school) had the opportunity to give away shoes, socks, backpacks & school supplies to children at local elementary schools - it's one of the most incredible experiences I've had in awhile! All told, we gave away 1665 pairs of shoes to 4 different elementary schools - the school we went to here in Greenville had about 700 of those kids. The principal told us that 90% of the school's kids live at or below the poverty level.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

The shoes were preordered from NewBalance and had been sorted according to grade & class - then each box also had a new pair of socks and a bag for them to carry the box home in. There was also a backpack for each child stuffed with some new school supplies. To see more of the behind-the-scenes work, check out this post. When we arrived at the school, we split into teams and then started with the fifth grade and worked our way down to kindergarten. It was such a moving experience! A few highlights:

  • Several asked if they actually got to keep the shoes and take them home, or if they had to leave them at school - wow!
  • My sis asked one girl what she wanted for Christmas (4th or 5th grade) and the girl said 'tennis shoes' then when Autumn slid the new shoe on her foot, the girl quietly said 'that feels so much better' - when Autumn asked her if her old shoes were too tight, she nodded yes.
  • One little boy who was wearing a size 4 and signed up for a new size 4 but then had to be moved up to a size 6 to find a pair that really fit him.
  • Seeing a little girl with a house key on a purple ribbon around her neck - didn't know that really still happened.
  • A sweet little girl who was so excited to tell me her name who then wouldn't stop grinning from ear to ear when she looked at her new pink & gray shoes.
  • A teacher who told us this was the only Christmas many of these kids would have.
  • The kids who told us they were going to take their backpacks home and put them under the tree.
  • The kindergarten boy that my sweet husband put new shoes on who looked to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Brad tried and tried to get a smile out of the boy, but it was almost like he had no emotion. Just before it was time for his class to go back, Brad got the little guy engaged in a game of 'high five' where he kept telling him...I know you can hit my hand harder than that...the little guy got into it and finally started to smile and enjoy himself while smacking Brad's hand. Very emotional for both of us!
It was definitely an incredible day that won't be soon forgotten by any of us who got to go and help. I'm already counting the days til we do it again next year! It is so exciting to be part of a local body that wants to reach out and minister to the community at large around us. Thanks so much to all the volunteers who gave up their time to go yesterday and to the countless others who gave $$ to make it possible - this definitely qualified as a "PRICELESS" experience! Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A little Merry Christmas Love!

The lobby at NewSpring is decorated beautifully, even to the point of being decked out with a working 3-sided fireplace! For the past two weeks, they've had a photographer set up in the lobby taking family pics (free of course!), which has been so nice! Not only have they printed out a 4x6 that you could take home with you, they've also been emailing out the photos...we got one of ours today so I thought I'd share! Merry Christmas from our family to you!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Planning - 1 Week & Counting

Christmas Colours
Photo by krisdecurtis

Man are the days flying by! It blew me away yesterday morning at church to realize that next Sunday, the 21st is our big Christmas service! Wow is December moving right along!!!

Christmas Goals 12/15 -12/21
  • relax & not sweat anything...haven't been super happy with any potential Christmas card pics, and that may mean that we forgo cards this year... I haven't completely made my mind up yet, but I'm just not going to let it stress me out! That, I do know!
  • a little stitching left to do
Christmas Accomplishments
  • gift list made - several gifts purchased
  • holiday budget tweaked
  • purchased replacement Christmas tree lights (that we unfortunately did need) LOL
  • purchased gift cards & World Vision gifts on Christmas list
  • moved Trigger downstairs
  • work on Christmas card list - finally (though it will probably still have some tweaks!)
  • tree up - burnt out lights replaced (and replaced & replaced)
  • gather Christmas craft supplies - partial
  • transfer Christmas Club $$ into Savings Account so that it doesn't get mixed into regular spending
  • get recipe for Fruit Cake cookies from MaMa
  • check wrapping supplies
  • design Christmas tee for W & A - stitched and done!
  • one possible Christmas pic - may try again this week...not sure yet
  • tree decorated, stockings hung
  • found present I was looking for on Craig's List @ Sam's on mega clearance - woo hoo!
  • outside decorations up
  • wrapping in progress - I only have 1 thing that we have purchased not wrapped - yea!
  • amazon order
From here on out, my goal is really to just enjoy the season...we'll probably do a little impromptu baking around the house, hope to see some nice Christmas lights on an evening or two, watch a few Christmas movies, keep the house straightened up...mostly just enjoy Christmas and all the great family time around it!

We are privileged to serve at an amazing church and we'll hold 3 services at our Greenville campus on Sun the 21st - both Brad and I are pumped to get to be a part of it and to help make it easier for people to meet Jesus that day. It just doesn't get better than that!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Join the Club

I've been feeling it for awhile now...the desire, the need to be more diligent with reading. Growing up, I was always a book fiend - you couldn't tear me away from a great book. The introduction to mommydom has greatly diminished my time for reading and thus, it has unfortunately fallen by the wayside! I've heard Dave Ramsey say more than once that most millionaires read at least one non-fiction book a month - seems like a great practice to me!

I've been greatly inspired by Ginger, who has 2 kiddos and an amazing list of books read in 2008. I told Brad a month or so ago that I was thinking of challenging myself to read 18 books (predominantly non-fiction) in 2009 - 12 didn't quite sound like enough, and 24 sounded like it might just be too much...and then SimpleMom announced she was starting a book club for 2009! I was super excited, as I know this will be a great form of accountability for me as well as provide a great start to my own reading challenge! You can find the reading list here - I've already been wanting to read a couple of these, and the others look right up my alley as well.

How about you - do you often get the chance to spend time with a good book? Any great recommendations you'd like to throw out for me?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our day with Walker

Just wanted to share a few pics from our day this little bug!

Crawling Back Out

This week at our house has been a little rough...W came down with a stomach bug over the weekend and was finally back to normal on Tuesday...then Weds morning, Brad & I both got hit with the same thing...not pretty! One of the worst parts, for me, was seeing so much of the progress I've made around the house erode while we were both feeling so rough. I was definitely disappointed! But, we were starting to feel better yesterday, so I did a little picking up, though nothing seemed to really make a BIG difference...

This morning I got up a little discouraged, but then found the most wonderful nugget of encouragement over at SimpleMom...if you haven't already visited her today - STOP - go now and read this post - it was such a blessing to me today! What a great reminder that I'm right where I want to be, and that I'm the one who can turn our home into our haven. So I jumped in...

The kitchen isn't perfect, but it's a far cry better than where it started! I've done several loads of laundry and put a bunch of "stuff" away (where it needed to be already)...& some of it was out because of the yucks of the past week, and some...just out for no good reason.

As I've made some progress this morning, it's occurred to me, that if we hadn't already been making good progress, our house would have looked *much worse* after a few days of sick, so realizing that it wasn't too, too bad was a great encouragement to me! I realized too, that payroll happened on time, our weekly tax deposit got made & my Etsy order went out - all in all, it could have been a much, much worse week!

And I still have a long way to desk is an absolute wreck! But, I'm taking joy in the little bits of progress along the way and am determined to persevere!

So wherever you are today...whatever your circumstances...remember, your attitude (and your surroundings) flow from you! If you don't like them...hop on in and work on changing them! I am a procrastinating, clutter-bug with perfectionist tendencies by nature. That leads to a house that doesn't get the attention it needs because..."I'll do it tomorrow" or "it's my stuff...I can't get rid of it" or "I don't have time to do it perfectly, so why get started?" These attitudes have paralyzed me for far too long and it's just plain time for it to change! I'm not expecting overnight success, and I'm sure the birth of baby girl will bring additional challenges into the mix, but I do believe that change can and will happen around here, and that is a very wonderful thought!

How about you - what's holding you back from making your home the haven you want it to be?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Toffee Popcorn - A Great Christmas Gift

Several years ago at Christmas, when the budget was *really* tight, we decided to make toffee popcorn to give as gifts...and what a hit it turned out to be! We made the popcorn and then packaged it in ziploc bags decorated with's actually been requested by several family members in years since! It's a fairly simple recipe, and I wanted to pass it along - hope you'll enjoy as much as we have!

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/3 c water
  • popped popcorn (about the equivalent of 2 bags of microwave popcorn)
My husband typically pops the popcorn while I work on the toffee part of the recipe - I recommend dumping the popcorn into one bowl after popping and then transferring by hand to another to ensure that you can eliminate as many unpopped/partially popped kernels as possible. We've used both microwave & air pop popcorn, and both work fine, though my husband was a bigger fan of microwave in this application.

Bring butter and water to a boil over medium heat. Add sugar and stir constantly. I've tried using a candy thermometer with this recipe, but find that keeping a close eye on the mixture is the best method (at least for me!) The candy will boil & thicken and then begin to darken in color and reduce in volume. You're looking for a nice caramel color - if you let it go too long, it will burn. Once your toffee has reached a pretty caramel color, remove it from the heat and pour over the popcorn. Use 2 spoons to toss & mix the popcorn to achieve good coverage. Before the popcorn begins to set, spread it on wax paper to cool.

Be careful at this point - I have burned many a tastebud in my impatience to taste the finished product! And be careful who you invite into the kitchen while you're working...on more than one occasion, we've had...ahem..."spectators" who've eaten at a rate almost equal to our ability to cook the toffee!

For an even more delectable treat, melt chocolate chips in a ziploc bag in the microwave, snip off a corner and drizzle over the toffee popcorn - super delish!

For other great holiday food gift ideas, head on over to Vintage Mommy and check out the other links to delectable holiday goodies - I know there are several I already have on my list to try!

Christmas Planning - 2 Weeks & Counting

Another Christmas Present!
Photo by Mannequin-

Even though I've been preparing for Christmas for weeks now, I continue to be amazed at how quickly the time has flown! We've really been enjoying our Christmas decorations this past week and I feel like the benefits of planning are really beginning to show! Brad and I spent a little time looking around this weekend for a few Christmas odds and ends and neither of us could believe how relaxed we felt...must continue to stay on track with planning next year!

Christmas Goals 12/8 -12/14
  • still struggling with my dish towels...have moved on to plan B, hope to get some work done there this week, though I'm not holding my breath ;)
  • buy Christmas stamps - I evidently have a mental block with the PO right now
  • print Christmas card labels
  • print Christmas cards & mail
  • one last order
Thinking Forward
  • think about decorations I'd like to change up/add next year, make list so I can watch before/after Christmas sales - I had wanted to add some garland this year, but have decided that project would add more stress than I would I've got it in mind for next year...we also would like to add some berries or berry garland to our tree, and while we found some we like, at $15 for a 4 ft strand, we're just not willing to pay we'll keep our eyes open, and maybe find some for next year after the holidays!
Christmas Accomplishments
  • gift list made - several gifts purchased
  • holiday budget tweaked
  • purchased replacement Christmas tree lights (that we unfortunately did need) LOL
  • purchased gift cards & World Vision gifts on Christmas list
  • moved Trigger downstairs
  • work on Christmas card list - finally (though it will probably still have some tweaks!)
  • tree up - burnt out lights replaced (and replaced & replaced)
  • gather Christmas craft supplies - partial
  • transfer Christmas Club $$ into Savings Account so that it doesn't get mixed into regular spending
  • get recipe for Fruit Cake cookies from MaMa
  • check wrapping supplies
  • design Christmas tee for W & A - stitched and done!
  • one possible Christmas pic - may try again this week...not sure yet
  • tree decorated, stockings hung
  • found present I was looking for on Craig's List @ Sam's on mega clearance - woo hoo!
  • outside decorations up
  • wrapping in progress - I only have 1 thing that we have purchased not wrapped - yea!
Hope your Christmas plan is coming together nicely - remember, it's never too late to get started!! And if you're not as far along as you'd like...check out a few posts on Small Notebook - there's one on simpler gift-giving and Christmas without the Frenzy. It's way too easy to get caught up in somebody else's idea of the perfect holiday - while Dec 25th will be here before we all know it, don't let it stress you out. Relax, destress & enjoy - don't let the hustle & bustle destroy your Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Cutie

Oh - the exuberance of a 2 year old!

Can there be any doubt that this boy loves being outside & loves a swing? What a blessing of a child!

Planning for next year while you're decorating this year...

So just a quick thought - but as you're unpacking your Christmas decorations this year and beginning to enjoy them...think through anything you might be missing...and then put it on your list to keep an eye out for, especially during close-to-Christmas sales & after-Christmas sales. Until last year, we've never had a "real" Christmas tree skirt...we either couldn't find one that we liked, or they were more expensive than we were okay we'd always used a piece of inexpensive Christmas fabric draped around the base of the tree. It was okay...but just okay. Then last year, close to Christmas, we went to Home Depot and ended up looking through their Christmas goodies (which were very picked over)...and wouldn't you know, there was a great tree skirt at a great price. We used it such a short amount of time last year that I couldn't even remember what it looked like, and had almost forgotten we bought it - when I pulled it out over the weekend, I was delightfully surprised and loved it just as much as I did when we bought it last year. Woo hoo!

I'm loving the idea of doing a Jesse Tree with Walker next year, which utilizes ornaments that have OT significance...I'm hoping to be able to find some of those after Christmas this year so that I'll have a jump on next year! So keep in mind where you might have a few holes in your decorations and use the after-Christmas sales to fill in those gaps - much better than paying full retail price!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Tees

These aren't the best pics, but wanted to show off W & A's Christmas tees for this year...Aut and I finally found enough time to collaborate on A's this past weekend, and then I was able to get W's stitched out too...he's a big airplane fan right now, so I just couldn't resist this one! Hope to get some cute pics of both of them in them soon...

Alexa's has vinyl on it holding the little shimmery snowflakes in...also gives it a little more ornament shine!

This one is a bit behind the times, but was so cute, I couldn't resist sharing...I did a turkey tee for the daughter of one of the girls Aut works with - just loved it! W & A may both need one next year!

WFMW - Delish Apple Tart

A few weeks ago we were flipping through an issue of Kraft Food & Family and stumbled on this recipe...we thought it looked super yummy, so a few days later we gave it a try, and man are we hooked! Super simple, ingredients I typically have on hand (except maybe the pie crust - until now!) - one of those desserts that's nice to have up your sleeve in case you unexpectedly have company or need to take a dessert somewhere. This has become a quick & easy go-to dessert for fact we took a few to Thanksgiving & it got rave reviews...wouldn't be surprised to see it make a guest appearance at Christmas either! Hope you'll enjoy!

  • 1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)
  • 4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 red and/or green apples (1-1/4 lb.), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon sugar
  • 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (optional)
I used 1/3 less fat philly and it worked super great too - I also used my Pampered Chef apple peeler-corer-slicer & it makes the bulk of the "work" to make this recipe just disappear - I know it's a kitchen gadget, but I highly recommend it! We left the skins on, and just used it to core & slice the apples and it worked wonderfully!


HEAT oven to 450ºF. Line 9-inch pie plate with crust. Carefully spread cream cheese in 6-inch circle in center.

TOSS apples with sugar and flour; spoon over cream cheese. Fold crust partially over apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. (we tossed the apple slices, sugar & flour & a tsp of cinnamon into a gallon ziploc and tossed them around that way - in subsequent bakings, I've also found that starting in one spot on the crust, and folding up about 3 or so inches, and then working my way around in one direction, until I get back to the starting point works better than just trying to fold the crust up with no plan!)

BAKE 25 min., covering loosely with foil for the last 5 min. Cool. Serve with COOL WHIP. Refrigerate leftovers.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think! For more great WFMW ideas, head on over to RocksinmyDryer!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back to the Bedroom

Shameful, I know - but I've let our bedroom fall apart - AGAIN - ugh - so while I've been meaning to get after it for *days* now, I finally jumped in and dealt with the mess this morning...on a positive note - my baker's rack has stayed nice & neat, so that has been a huge plus this week!

I don't know what it is about this chair that just begs clothes to drape all over it...
I will say that I was responsible for less than 1/2 of this pile, ahem...

and this one was a conglomeration of stuff headed to Goodwill (from our closet reorganization over the weekend), my purse and stuff from a Sam's run a few weeks ago.

Yea - there is hope in the world!

Forgot the before pic of this one, but there was a pile of empty shoe boxes there...why they hadn't already made it to the trash....

If you'd like to jump on board & share your Tackle for the day - head on over to 5minutesformoms & link up!

Christmas Planning - 3 Weeks & Counting

Happy December everyone! Can you believe that it's here and that 2008 is almost gone? Blowing my mind! We made some great Christmas progress here at our house this past week...things are feeling very relaxed and I'm not stressing at all! Hope your Christmas plans are coming along nicely - Enjoy!!

Christmas Goals 12/1 -12/7
  • gather Christmas craft/wrapping - still need to hit a few more places
  • make major progress on Christmas dish towels - didn't make it on this one; may have to punt!
  • buy Christmas stamps
  • put up outside Christmas decorations - had hoped to do it over the weekend, but it was too wet & rainy (& cold) to even try
  • start wrapping
  • print Christmas card labels
Thinking Forward
  • think through Christmas "schedule"

Christmas Accomplishments
  • gift list made - several gifts purchased
  • holiday budget tweaked
  • purchased replacement Christmas tree lights (that we unfortunately did need) LOL
  • purchased gift cards & World Vision gifts on Christmas list
  • moved Trigger downstairs
  • work on Christmas card list - finally (though it will probably still have some tweaks!)
  • tree up - burnt out lights replaced
  • gather Christmas craft supplies - partial
  • transfer Christmas Club $$ into Savings Account so that it doesn't get mixed into regular spending
  • get recipe for Fruit Cake cookies from MaMa
  • check wrapping supplies
  • design Christmas tee for W & A - stitched and done!
  • one possible Christmas pic - may try again this week...not sure yet
  • tree decorated, stockings hung
  • found present I was looking for on Craig's List @ Sam's on mega clearance - woo hoo!
Got so distracted with Thanksgiving thoughts last week when I was doing my post that I totally forgot to include decorating our tree...thankfully, though, we didn't forget in real time! We pulled out the decorations over the weekend...spent some *more* time locating some burnt out bulbs that were causing a few strand outages on our tree...and got decorated. I'm enjoying the tree with decorations so much - love it! Have a wonderful & productive week!