Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The wicked-freaking-townhouse-in-Dunwoody-we-could-never-effing-sell-witch!!! We did it, we did it, we did it! As of 1:50pm yesterday afternoon, our townhouse is SOLD!!!!!!!
Oh man... I just feel so blessed to be rid of that thing. It has been a really, REALLY long summer for us with that thing on the market. Especially this crap-ass market. Yeah, one of the girls in our small group asked a couple of weeks ago (when we were under contract) if we'd be making a good profit and I just started laughing. I was like, "oh honey, no... the buyer's not the only one who'll be writing a fat check." And yes, that all sucks and it's sad or whatever - but it's done and I'm just SO relieved! We had two buyers flake out on us, so after that I just stopped talking about it. I didn't want to jinx it... I didn't want people to tell us "congratulations" when we mentioned a contract... the market's just so crappy right now that buyers are bailing left and right. So until the papers were signed yesterday, I really wasn't able to celebrate. But girls, the fat lady has hit her high note!
Woo hoooooooo!!!! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!
Hope y'all have a great weekend... I'm off to be a domestic diva today (as you can see by today's outfit - ha). I will probably run to Kroger to get the Sunday paper, but that's it. I signed up for The Grocery Game this week and I can't wait to try it out this weekend. Do any of y'all do this? The teachers in our FPU class RAVE about it. Alright, a big ass pile of laundry is calling my name...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I've been a fan of Dave Ramsey for a while. He's spoken at our church several times and I'm sure some of y'all know he does a radio show. We even started to follow his money makeover program a while back - remember I mentioned his cash envelope system? We did great for a while, but just weren't disciplined enough and eventually fell off the wagon. Ohhh, but girls, we are BACK on it! The Live event was so over-the-top motivating and we are going hard core to get debt free. That's his whole thing - to live debt free and build wealth.
We joined one of his Financial Peace University classes that meets once a week. Our first class was Sunday - yeah, we didn't waste any time. All I can say is we are pumped! He is still on tour and if he's coming to a city near you, I highly, highly recommend checking it out! Yes, it's a long afternoon - but it FLIES by. He's hilarious and so entertaining. Even if you have little or no debt, you can learn so much from him. All he teaches is common sense, but it's just very different from what we hear everyday in this society of consumerism.
His money makeover is a series of baby steps. We're making some quick decisions and working fast through Baby Step #1 - which is to put $1,000 in an emergency fund. He wants you to get #1 done fast - in a month or less - so you can quickly move on to Baby Step #2, the debt snowball. That's the biggie - where you attack your consumer debt. It is really cool how it works, so I'll let y'all know once we hit step #2 and give updates on our progress!
The first big step of our own we took this weekend... we did a little "plastic surgery," as Dave calls it...
Bye bye, credit cards! Weeeeeeeee!!!
We learned so much, but one of the best principles we learned this weekend was ordering our money...
Wow - and all this time it's been... 1. Pay bills, and if there's anything left we'll give and save. And the amazing thing was that the sermon at church on Sunday totally reinforced this. Coincidence? It was really the sermon that drove home the idea of giving first. Our pastor literally echoed Dave and said: Give, Save, Live on the rest. OK I get it! God doesn't need our money, but throughout the Bible it says that wherever your money is, that too is where your heart is. By unclenching our fist around our money and giving it to God, we're trusting in him. And dude, God knows his stuffs - so this sounds like a plan. So anyway, yesterday I called the church and increased our giving to 10%. Anyone looking at our budget would think we're insane for doing that... but we did it! It was scary at first... but I'm excited about it. And it comes out automatically from our account - that's probably a good thing! Otherwise it could mysteriously turn into a pair of new shoes! A really good pair of shoes too.... damn. ;-)
OK girlz, enough money talk. Just wanted y'all to know where we were at the moment. More fun topics to follow, pinky swear. Hope y'all are having a great week!
Friday, September 12, 2008
"Yeah, the effing shower. That Amy just backed out of….and she was bringing the ribbon with diaper pins. Effin eff. Where do I get diaper pins? Effin’ eff. I effin hate this effin shower."
Thursday, September 11, 2008
To all of you who lost loved ones, friends, co-workers, teachers, students... I'm thinking of you today and the people you lost. You know, it's sad how in our world, whenever someone's got something good going on, there's always that one person that wants to take it away. I see that everywhere in life. And though 9.11.2001 will always be remembered as a day of tragedy, it also reminds me of how truly amazing our country is. So amazing, so wonderful, such a free and fabulous place, that someone else tried to take it away from us. I believe the late Tim Russert and his dad, "Big Russ" always said it best... "What a country."
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Update (9/11/08): Prices changed some on these sale shoes. Instead of all being $29.95, they now range from $25.51 to $39.95 as of today. Still some great deals... happy shopping!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
* Raw veggies (celery, carrots, and grape tomatoes) with a variety of dips: hummus (store bought), parmesan pepper dip (made the night before), ranch dressing (store bought)
* Corn dip (Bestest's recipe! Made the night before) with Fritos (yes, even Fritos can be chic)
* Spinach artichoke dip (made the night before and baked before guests arrived) with tortilla chips, plus sour cream and salsa (store bought)
* Roll-up turkey and swiss sandwiches (store bought)
* Chocolate cream cheese cupcakes (baked early on the day of)
* Chocolate covered strawberries (made the day of)
Not bad for $119, huh?
OK so two more recipes from here that you must have are the spin-arti dip and the chocolate-covered strawberries. OK the strawberries aren't really so much of a recipe, but I have some little tips that make them a no-brainer. I tried to dig back through my recipe posts but didn't see my spinach dip. So either I didn't tag it well, or I've robbed you of this yummalicious, stupid easy recipe! I doubled this one for the party and I could've made more. It was a major hit - especially to the bride's mom who was apparently having a bad case of the munchies. She seriously asked me mid-party if I could "whip up another batch." Um, no.
Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayo
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¾ cup)
-Preheat oven to 375 F. Drain and coarsely chop artichoke hearts. Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, sour cream, may, and Parmesan.
-Spoon dip into a pie baker. Bake 20-25 minutes or until hearted through.
Yield: 10-15 appetizer
I also add shredded parmesan cheese to the top before I throw it in the oven. The dip is great on a shoe, but I usually serve it with Stacy's pita chips or tortilla chips.
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that anything made with a base of sour cream and mayo is freaking awesome. And the good thing is, you can do low-cal versions of dips with that base.
Now for the chocolate-covered strawberries, it's pretty simple. It involves strawberries and... chocolate. Like I said, there's no real recipe here, but perhaps these little pointers will be helpful to some...
-First, get good chocolate. Anyone can make these, but many times they aren't as good as they could be because they were made with crap-ass chocolate. Don't get that tub of fruit chocolate dip in the produce aisle. No, just don't. You want to get some good, dark chocolate. Strawberries are sweet enough on their own, so you don't need sickly sweet milk chocolate on top of that. The perfect compliment to a beautifully sweet strawberry is a coating of luscious dark, semi-sweet chocolate. Great, now I'm drooling. Plus the darker color is much richer looking against that strawberry red. I personally prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. So that's what I always get. Get whatever brand you prefer, but even if you're not generally a dark chocolate fan - trust me here and go dark.
- To heat the chocolate, use a double boiler. Chocolate burns very easily and it smells like total ass - so you want to avoid that. I actually don't have a true double boiler, so I do the make-shift version with a saucepan and a metal bowl (see this ghetto double boiler below). Once the chocolate gets good and melty, cut back the heat.
- It's time to go dippin'! There's probably some fancy pants tool out there for dipping strawberries, but I just use my fingers. The most important thing to do first is to make sure your strawberry is good and dry before dipping it. I basically keep a heavy paper towel in hand the whole time to dry off my berries as I'm dipping them. The chocolate won't stick if the berries are wet. It'll just slide right off. So yeah, dry them off and then hang on to the green leafy part and dip away.
- After dipping, sit the strawberries on a cookie sheet or plate covered in wax paper. Don't forget that wax paper or your strawberries will lose their chocolate coats when you go to pick them up (I learned that one the hard way). When done, stick the sheet or plate in the fridge to cool and let the chocolate harden. They don't take long to harden at all, but once they do, they'll come right off that wax paper ready to devour. Mmmmm!!!
So there you go... and now I'm pooped. I'm off to grab a tres chic bowl of Cheerios and then I'm hittin' the sack. Have a good night, ladies!
I'm really excited about this event - check out their site for more info on what it's all about. This is a great opportunity to round up your girlfriends and get moving! There is still plenty of time to train for a 5k, so no excuses! And shoot... you can always walk it! Don't use the "well I'm just not a runner" excuse! Lame... And this is a huge event, so they're always looking for more volunteers - that's another great way to participate. I want to see all you Atlanta gals out there!
Monday, September 8, 2008
her future - This site is very new, but I think it has the potential to be really great! It's a networking site for women, launched by Gabrielle Bernstein earlier this year. The site promotes mentoring one another - sharing what you've learned and looking to other women for what you'd like to learn. I'm a total entrepreneur myself, so I think this site could be a really awesome tool. And I just love the idea of women supporting other women in the marketplace. Gabrielle's welcome letter on the site says it all...
I got my profile up and ready. Go get yours!
SparkTeens - I've mentioned my love for SparkPeople on here several times... it's a free online health and fitness site with lots of great tools. You can do all kinds of stuff on there, but I just use it for the basics. It is a great online community of people with a common goal - getting and staying healthy. I highly, highly recommend it - especially if you have any aspirations of changing up your diet or losing weight, etc. It's a wonderful resource. But on one of my recent "spark" emails, I noticed that they've launched a teen version of their site. I think this is really great and much needed as so many of today's kids are overweight. It looks like a great spot for a teen struggling with weight issues to find support and friends online dealing with the same thing. The site also is running a big challenge for high school students across the country - I think it involves tracking fitness minutes. And scholarship prize money is involved! Also worth mentioning, they also have a momma version... BabyFit - their tagline being "healthy babies start with healthy moms." Looks like something all you pregos should check out!
Live cinecast of Rent in theatres - OK now this one I'm super excited about! Y'all know I love Broadway and one of the shows I've NEVER managed to see is Rent. The show is still going to tour, but the Broadway show is shutting down after 12+ years running. But lucky us, movie theatres across the country will be broadcasting live performances of the show for 4 days later this month. Show dates are September 24, 25, 27, and 28. I looked up showtimes at my local theatre and each day had just one showing. Tickets were $20, but I'm sure those probably vary. But hey, a freaking movie costs $12 now, so I think $20 is totally reasonable to see a LIVE broadcast of a Broadway show. I've heard of theatres doing similar showings - I know a lot of theatres show live broadcasts from The Met. But this is the first I've heard of a Broadway show being aired. Very cool! Tickets are already on sale at my theatre, so I imagine they are at many others too. For theatre listings, go here. And remember there are only four showings, and that's it! Don't miss out!
Did y'all have fabu weekends? We didn't make it to the game of course since we were in shower mode all day Saturday. We just had Larry Munson on the radio while we got la casa in tip-top shape. Belly and Charlie got shipped off to grandma and grandpa's for the day and Gertie stayed for the festivities. She is a spaz around her brother, Charlie, but when she's alone she is totally chill. And she's the only one of our three that doesn't try to jump on people. So she was the lucky girl who got to stay and hang out for the party.
I was actually rather calm all day Saturday, despite my long-ass to-do list. I usually have to down glass of wine about two hours prior to any hosting duties to prevent freaking out, but I was pretty darn relaxed for whatever reason. No wine required. MIL and FIL came in town for the shower (the groom is a childhood friend of the hub's, so they were on the guest list). It was great to visit with them even though it was less than 24 hours. Here are a few pics of the setup...
The wine station - a rather popular spot. You just never know who's gonna drink what. Especially at a shower because it's really the bride and groom's guest list, not yours. We just did beer and wine. Neither the hub nor I drink beer so I never know what kind or how much to get. I always consult my beer-drinking friends. But this crowd turned out to be wine people, so we have a bunch of Bud Light in our fridge now with nowhere to go. And it'll sit there till someone else takes it because it sure won't get consumed in my household.
My food table turned out nice... I'm so darn picky with the setup. I think I switched it up some more even after taking this pic... I'm extremely anal about how the heighth of everything balances out. I suppose it's the libra in me. That or the crazy.
And my cutie favors were a hit! Most of them were taken, but the good girl that I am saved my Wally World receipt and I'm totally returning the leftover ones. I gotta check their return policy... anyone know if they'll take back candy like that? They're those movie theatre size candy boxes.
I had several other cute little extras I wanted to do but as I mentioned earlier, time just didn't allow. The hub had altered some popular movie DVD covers with the bride and groom's faces. (It was a movie-themed shower, remember.) We were going to print those out and display them, but yeah... didn't happen. I also had planned on displaying some funny movie quotes around the house, giving the food funny names - spoofing titles or actors and whatnot... oh and I was going to do wine tags with movie couples' names (like... Sally Albright and another for Harry Burns). Oh well... mopping the floor was higher on my to-do list.
The funniest thing about the shower though was the mix of people. Don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but the bride's family is huge. She's one of 8 kids, so in a family that big, there are bound to be some freaks. I had met some of her fam back in July at their engagement party, but not all of them. So the eldest (I think) brother came to the shower along with the bride's parents and as SOON as he came in the door I could tell that he was high as a kite. The hub actually answered the door and I was back in the kitchen, but I could see the front door. Well bride's parents do the normal obligatory small talk with the hub at the door, but brother (who I think is 40ish?) immediately darts (and I do mean DARTS) for the kitchen. There are several of us hovering around the kitchen island (the wine station - I told you it was popular), but he just kind of maneuvers his way around us to grab some cheese and crackers and then jumps over to the wine and starts rummaging through it to see which one he wants. Hurriedly pours himself a very full glass and then takes off. Like seriously didn't say a word or make eye contact with any of us in the kitchen. No "pardon me" or "hey, I'm so-and-so" or "oh, this looks good..." Nothing. Never seen this guy in my life. It was beyond weird!
So five minutes into his stay we've already figured out he must be the black sheep. Oh dear... He didn't cause any trouble but it was pretty entertaining, to say the least. I believe he had two entire bottles of wine all to himself over the course of the evening (thank God for 2-buck chuck). And I think he hit on every unrelated female there that moved. I was busy playing hostess, so I really didn't catch any of that - thank goodness. He was apparently very interested in seeing my SIL (who was also there) "later." As in later that night? It was all very odd... and I totally didn't notice this during the shower, but afterwards we were all talking and apparently, black sheep brother, bride's parents, and one of the sisters mysteriously disappeared out the front door for 15 or 20 minutes mid-shower, and then came back in the house in a much more mellowed-out kinda mood! OMG! I find this just hilarious given that my sheltered self has never ever seen an illegal drug in life. And here we have party guests getting lit in my front yard. Too freaking funny... I suppose you've figured out by now that the bride's parents are total hippies. They are perfectly nice and loving people, but yeah - total hippies. And it's even funnier because the groom's parents are ultra-conservative. Oh this wedding is gonna be awesome!
Yeah so entertaining if nothing else... the shower was great. We were all pooped, including Gertie... It is hard work being a party girl, you know!
Alright... there's still work to be done, so I best get to it. I will pop back later with my party menu and my total budget. I stayed on budget and the food was so fab and easy to do, so I will share. Hope your weeks are off to a great start!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
What a cute little rookie! He'll get the hang of it soon enough...