Friday, April 30, 2010

Running seemed like a good idea last night...

... but I'll give you a big guess how that turned out:

a.  Profuse sweating
b.  Dry heaving
c.  Awkward stops to lean over and put my hands on my knees
d.  Red, splotchy face
e.  All of the Above

If you guess "e", then you're the winner.  I'm not quite sure what I was thinking... wait a minute, yes I do.  Mr. Smith wanted to take The Pooper on a little jaunt to the dog park (free!), so we hopped in the truck and headed on over there.  My ambition took over, and I remarked that I could get some great running (free!) in while Mr. Smith played with Pup in the fenced in area. 

Now, look.  I have lots of friends who run.  They run marathons, run for enjoyment, run for fitness.  They look fabulous.  Here I am thinking why am I not partaking in this wonderfulness?  There's no joining a gym (hello, not in the budget!), and I will look just as fabulous for all the upcoming par-tays for wedding season.  Plus, they all seem to enjoy this hobby of theirs. 

All you runners out there are crazy.  I'm not going to lie, I thought I was going to pass out cold.  I can barely move today.  Too bad I was doing physical labor ALL DAY delivering academic calendars to area schools for work.  (If you haven't said a little prayer for a teacher today, please do it now.  I don't know how those guys do it every day.  Hi Mom!) 

My thighs hurt.  My shins hurt.  My abs hurt.  Those of you that know me know my feet (read: recovering bunion problems) hurt.  I'm pretty sure even my arms hurt.  Running, in all its free-ness, is not fun.  Does it get better?  Someone enlighten me please.  Make me feel better.

Update on the "No New Clothes for this Year's Wedding Season" Spending Freeze:  Party Weekend #4 of Spring Wedding Season is this weekend for Sister (as mentioned yesterday)... I've bought nothing.  Nada.  I swear.  I can do this. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pioneer Woman... Why hello there!

Excuse me... how have I just discovered The Pioneer Woman and all her fabulous glory?!?!?  Where has she been?  Better yet... where have I been?  This is ridiculous.  I'm hooked.  I just can't get enough of her and her glorious website. 

Check it out:

We're gearing up for another wedding festivity this weekend!  Sister's first party kicks off in Tuscaloosa.  This is no small soiree... Lord no.  Don't be ridiculous.  There are 60 couples hosting this thing.  The Camera, Mr. Smith and I are charged and ready.  I'm attempting to fit into a dress I wore last summer on our honeymoon, so pray for me.  The Spanx are washed and ready. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wedding Bells are Ringing...

... or rather, rang this weekend for Pelham and Suz!  We were in Huntsville, AL all weekend for their nuptials and had a blast.  Here are some pics to recap the weekend:

Bridesmaid's Luncheon at Emma's Tea Room. 
I think the teapot on the sign is so stinkin' cute.

Me and The Bride

The Falcons at Rehearsal

The Bride and Groom....

Rehearsal Dinner

Gorgeous centerpieces at the Rehearsal Dinner

Suz the Bride and Mr. Smith

Me and the lovely Mrs. Wise

All in all, it was a super fun weekend.  Great times with great friends celebrating the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Carroll!  My only regret is not taking any pictures of the weather, because Mother Nature decided to show up and crash the celebration.

The first of many weddings to come this year! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We're Alive...

... but bogged down with the daily grind.  Mr. Smith left this past weekend for a little jaunt to the Beach for Mr. Pelham Carroll's Bachelor Weekend (who is getting married this weekend!), and I got the honor of being an absolute sloth all weekend with The Pooper and The Princess.  We laid out, ate on pizza, and got all caught up on TV.  It was glorious! 

Only one incident with Coop... and it's probably scarred our neighbors for life.  Coop and I were enjoying a leisurely time of laying out on the deck, when his little head perked up at the sound of pedestrians.  He proceeded to sprint out the fence door (which is broken and awaiting to be fixed by Husband), down our driveway, and across the street to meet these little boys (around 7-10 years old in age).  I was so shocked by his flight, that I was a little dumbfounded to be honest.  I hesitated, while shouting his name, but no way, he's not stopping.  I flung the beach towel around me, threw up on flip flops, and proceeded to sprint after him... looking quite possibly like the weird naked neighbor girl to these kiddo's.  Not to mention a Grease Monkey from all the lack of showering sunscreen.  There were witnesses, from the horrified boys to the cars driving by.  Completely and Utterly Mortifiying.  In my haste of thinking any second Coop could be run over or quite frankly injure these kiddo's with his sheer energy (read: jumping and licking), I had no lease.  I had to crouch down and grab his collar to haul him back across the street, up the driveway, and into the house, which he fought every step of the way.  So... to complete the picture I sort of resembled this guy:

And by that I mean Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame in a strapless 2-piece wrapped in a towel.  Out of breath and heaving.  Awesome.  Quite the impression to give your neighbors, right?

Coop got quite the spanking and then was put up in his kennel to think about what he had done.  I'm sure that made all the difference.  Sigh.  Parenthood is rough, guys. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cooper makes a friend!

Last night we had over a Miss Wolfe, a Mr. Searson, and a Namath Clark Griswald Wolfe.  The latter being one beast of a bulldog, who weighs approximately 105 pounds.  I kid, I kid.  But he really weighs around 50-60 pounds.  Kind of like a stocky, portable, bowling ball.  All muscle, I'm sure. 

Cooper wasn't real sure how to act with this visitor.  He was a little skittish, but they bonded and were friends for life.  Actually, they bonded a little too much, but I won't get into that show of "dominance" as Mr. Searson put it. 

Here's a pic Mr. Smith snapped with his phone to display the sheer beast of Namath.  Amazing.

We enjoyed pork chops on the grill, potatoes au gratin, Spring Salad, and broke some bread.  Also finishing off the dinner were some pretty delectable Cake Balls, supplied by Miss Wolfe.  It was Murano-Bration 2010, to celebrate Miss Wolfe's diligence in paying off her Murano.  Kudos to her!  I was so inspired that I declared to Mr. Smith we would be paying off my car by the end of 2010.  He looked skeptical.  Maybe it was the 2 glasses of wine I had finished off by then that fueled my fire?  

Anywho...  this is a mission I'm ready to accomplish.  Clearly Mr. Smith needs to see a Feasibility Study with my Excel spreadsheet prowess.  Don't you worry... I will have it for him by 5pm tomorrow.  :)  And now that the mission is posted on the Blog, I feel like we've got to accomplish it. 

What's that Spring Salad recipe, you say?  It's from Sis-in-Law, so I'm giving the rightful citation to her.  I changed it just a smidgeon, but either way is delicious-in-your-belly.

Delicious Spring Salad Recipe!

  • Spring Mix of Lettuce (organic)

  • Dried Cranberries

  • Feta crumbles (Sister uses goat cheese; either one are to die for)

  • Walnuts (Sisters uses pecans, but walnuts were cheaper.)

  • Green grapes (A last minute addition from yours truly)

  • Toss it all in some Balsamic Vinaigrette

Heaven!  Thank you Sister!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just in case...

... you thought I was joking or exaggerating about mine and Mr. Smith's professional wedding crasher hobbies, I snapped a quick photo last night of our refrigerator, which also serves as my main scheduler for our upcoming Spring and Summer activities.  And yes, it's organized. 

Does anyone else have a fridge that looks like this? 

And it's only mid-April.  The best is yet to come. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I promise this is not a financial blog for newlyweds, but...

... I was talking to someone the other day and she looked at me like I was crazy when I said Mr. Smith and I did "zero-based budgeting" for our newlywed "DINK" home.  (DINK means "Dual Income No Kids; I just found this out the other day on one of my daily blog readings and loved it.  Although, I might start calling us DINKY... Dual Income No Kids Yet). 

Anyway, after I explained to her my devotion to all things Dave Ramsey and his zero-based budgeting system, she inquired how I even keep up with everything.  Hence, a blog post on how the Smith's do their monthly budget...

First, zero-based budgeting is the practice of knowing where every single dollar goes in your budget.  There's absolutely no.. "Let's hope we've got some moola left in the bank at the end of the month." OR "Fingers crossed that check doesn't bounce!"  The thought of that literally gives me a panic attack.  Do not say that kind of stuff around me, because I will have heart palpitations. 

I can honestly pull up my spreadsheet (or by memory, sometimes I'm just that good nerdy) and tell you where every single dollar as gone in our budget.  Really, in my budget since November 2007.  Sometimes it's not pretty, I'll admit it, but it keeps us goal-oriented and on track to meet our financial goals.  To sum it up, every dollar as a purpose and a plan. 

Our budget is kind of like my homework assignment at the end of every month.  And yes, I actually look forward to doing it.  Sometimes I can hear "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky as the background music while I'm crunching those numbers... but maybe that's just me.  Anyway, here's a snapshot of the kind of budget we use.  It's basically what Dave Ramsey says to do, but I've adapted it to fit us the best way I can.  Plus, I do it in Excel, where it updates for me (as if by magic) when I put in our the weekly spending updates.  But, you can easily do it on paper. 

Basically what I do is have 3 columns:
1.  Expenses - where I list everything I think we'll be spending money on; this column really doesn't change ever.  It stays the same every month, because it's based on our priorities. 

Yes, Giving is first because we try to be obedient and tithe our 10 percent every month to our Church.  I'm going to give kudos here to Mr. Smith, because sometimes my financial ambition takes over, and I tend to make excuses about this area.  However, Mr. Smith in all his wonderful goodness reminds me that we are blessed by God, that everything we own is really His anyway (not just that 10 percent), and that the Smith's will be obedient in this act.  This is why we are a good balance, right?    My Mother once told me that if you do this at the very beginning of your Budget, then the rest of it will take care of itself.  To just trust God, and He will provide.  And... they're both right!  That check is the first thing to leave at the beginning of the month. Now I don't even think twice about it. Usually.

2.  Budgeted Amounts - my original Battle Plan (sometimes quite lofty)

3.  Actually Spent Amounts - Reality hits

The main challenges are staying within your original Battle Plan goals, sneak attacks like emergencies, or I'll admit it...  having too much fun like going out to eat more than I had thought we would, a pair of shoes, or even Mr. Smith's Mark's Outdoors visit that pops up on the bank statement.  (Hey, I'm being honest here.)

Put your Total Household Income (green boxes) in both columns at the very beginning of the month. 

After you make your Battle Plan Budget (first column), add up everything and put it in the Grand Total Spending (yellow box).  Subtract that number from your Total Household Income, and the Difference (red box) should be Zero.  If you have money leftover, you have to put it somewhere, preferably Savings or Debt (if you have any).  Hence the goal of literally knowing where every single dollars goes. 

The Goal?  To make your Actually Spending column match your Budgeted Column.  I'll admit it... sometimes it's really hard.  When I first started doing this (way back in Nov. 2007), I bombed my first few months.  Badly.  Like a grade of "C" if I were lucky.  And I'm not a "C" student.  So, I had gotten pretty good at this.  And then we got married and combined our incomes, which was another lesson to learn.  Now we've been married over 9 months (where does the time go?) and I would say I'm back to my "A" student status. 

Our excel spreadsheet is a bit more elaborate than this, since sometimes we just charge everything on our credit cards, and then pay it off for the reward points (which yes, I actively use!).  I know Dave and others say not to do this, but if you can keep up with what you're putting on your credit card on your budget like it is "real dollars spent" than it might work for you. 

Sorry for the boring Tuesday post, but I hope it helps if anyone is looking for a Spring Cleaning of their finances! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Monday, y'all...

Does anyone else feel like you get more rest during the week, because you're literally running around like a chicken with your head cut off on the weekends?  Anyone?  Bueller? 

Combine traveling across the state of Bama with an awesome sinus infection (that's mine) plus early morning turkey hunting (um, not me folks) and you've got one slightly groggy newlywed couple.  Friday after work, Mr. and Mrs. Smith plus Cooper headed to Tuscaloosa, where we grilled out with the in-laws.  Delicious.  There's nothing better than sitting outside, before the summer humidity hits and enjoying grilling out.  A couple of frosty beverages never hurts either.  We also got to so this Thursday night with Sister and her fiance, where we grilled out on our deck and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with some steak, veggies, stuffed potatoes, salad and exquisite red wine that Sister had brought over. 

Back to the weekend....  Mr. Smith awoke at 3:45am Saturday morning for this last day of turkey hunting.  Let's pause while we all shed a tear for him, right?  Later that day when normal people awoke, Mr. Smith took Cooper to spend the day and night with Uncle Geoff and Aunt Susan, and the four of us (Me, Mr. Smith and the in-laws) loaded up and headed to Montgomery for an engagement party. 

The party was delightful.  The setting was outside, with beautiful weather and delicious food.  A very, vergy elegant cocktail attire evening.  And then someone put on their iPOD with their 1980's set list... and I was hooked.   I'm not ashamed.  I love the songs of the 80's like no other.  The cheesier the better, and usually the bigger the hair on the band members' heads, the more I probably like it.  I also did not pack my camera, because for one, I was battling an annoying sinus infection.  And two... I didn't feel like this crowd would enjoy the paparazzi at their shin-dig.  They actually had a professional there, so hopefully I can scrounge up some pictures later. 

After a yummy brunch on Sunday morning provided by our dear friends the Mooty's, we headed back to Tuscaloosa to pick up our pup, then back in the car to Birmingham.  So... here's a recap:  Birmingham to Tuscaloosa.  Tuscaloosa to Montgomery.  Montgomery to Tuscaloosa.  Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.  That's a lot of time in the car, but thankfully I had packed a book that I'm reading "The Power of a Praying Wife."  It's entirely devoted to praying for your husband, divided out into specific chapters on everything from his health, his work, his integrity, etc.  I'm going to be honest here... I've caught myself rolling my eyes a handful of times.  However, I trust that the author's words are grounded in salt-of-the-earth goodness, so I will soldier on to finish the book.  I'm more than halfway finished, so I'll give a better recap of the book in its entirety upon completion. 

P.S.  Does anyone watch that TV show about Hoarders?  I've only seen a couple of the episodes, but I'm fairly positive Coop is a Hoarder.  Is that possible?  Can dogs be Hoarders too?  For the past few weeks, I've caught him under the bed with an array of treasures that he's been collecting around the house.  I always scoop them out (amidst his protests) and put them in their right place, but he is very good about restocking (or re-hoarding?) his prizes ASAP.  Just this morning I fished out several items from the kitchen garbage can, a few tissues, a pair of my delicates, and an old baseball tennis shoe of Mr. Smith.  Seriously...  can dogs be Hoarders?  Is this too deep for a Monday?

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Suz's Last Fling before the Ring!

So... it's the Wednesday after Suz's Bachelorette Party is beautiful Chattanooga, TN, and I'm honestly still tired.  I'm just not as young as I once was....  the realities of my old lady status caught up with me with a bang on Sunday morning.  Oh well.  We had an amazing weekend celebrating Suz the Bride, and here are some pictures to recap our weekend o' fun.  (Please note some pics have been intentionally left out... what happens at a Bachelorette Party stays at a Bachelorette Party...)  However, there are some pretty stellar stories, particularly about Germans, so ask me the next time we chat.

We started the day with an Easter Egg Hunt, and Suz had to answer questions about each of her bridesmaids in order to obtain the clues to find her big basket of goodies. 
Questions included... what would Kathryn be if she were a shoe? 
Answer: a really expensive high heel

What would Megan be if she were a book? 
Answer: something really inspirational and deep

What would Riley be if she were a clothing designer? 
Answer: something classic, like Nicole Miller

What would Christina be if she were a movie? 
Answer:  Erin Brokovich. 
Um, what?  I'm hoping this was a compliment, not a hint toward my wardrobe.  Right, Suz?

Suz found her basket of goodies!  No pictures of the goodies... use your imagination.
P.S.  Mr. Smith... can I have that glorious baby grand piano?  Puh-lease?

Next, we were all treated with fabulous spa services.  Everyone received 30-min. massages and either a manicure or pedicure. 

Kathryn, our Hostess with the Mostess, had yummy food like this chicken salad croissant prepared for us. 

Our limo picked us up around 8 p.m., then we headed into downtown Chattanooga for the Night O' Fun.  Yes, my eyes are closed.  Jimmy, our fearless driver, was a bit initmidated by the camera.  Oh well.  Memory captured!

We had dinner at Easy Bistro, where I decided to be girly and order a new frosty beverage, called "Cool as a Cucumber" cocktail instead of my usual.  After remarking that I felt like I was drinking the Bath & Body Works 'Cucumber Melon' body spray, it was quite nice.

The Bride enjoyed her fruity drink too, called the "West Coast Cosmopolitan." 

Kathryn, our Captain for the Weekend, had her Bachelorette Party Book of Dares, ready for action.  Ask me about those later, because this blog is G-rated.

The Bride with all her traditional garb.  Ready for the night!  We first hit The Big Chill, where we made fast friends with a group of 40-something year old men straight off the golf course.  Men: we are not impressed when you say you played golf all day and are enjoying a boys night out when your wife is at home with your new 5-month-old baby.  If looks could kill.... 

Sensing the need for more excitement, Captain Kathryn led us to a dance club.  Oh, how I wish I had taken in the camera.  I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time.  We broke it down, then rested, broke it down some more, then rested.  All while fending off the lurchers from the Bride.  And the Germans.  And the Fedora Guy who thought he was Jason Mraz.  And the Bachelor Party guys who just knew we would think they were awesome.  False.  

Four hours later.... let's jump to Krystal's, where we felt it necessary to pick up hamburgers to finish off the night.  Me and the Bride, sharing an affectionate moment. 

However, Krystal's would not let us in.  Obviously we looked dangerous, so we had to go through the Drive Thru in the Limo.  We went through a lot of burgers, as you can tell by looking at the bag. 

This photo pretty much sums up my favorite part of the night: eating. 
The girls were so impressed with my speed of downing Krystal's hamburgers,
they felt it necessary to capture the memory. 
(Please disregard my manly biceps in this picture.)

Even the Krystal's hamburgers were bride-appropriate.  :) 
Thanks Tracy Hale #79! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Heart

Have y'all ever heard of  It is AMAZING.  Since joining in November 2008, I've made approximately $170 from their website.  Through shopping.  Yep, that's right.  They pay you to shop online through their links and send you a cute little check every quarter from all your hard-earned shopping habits. 

Almost any store you can imagine is on there!  Plus, they have all the "insider" coupons for stuff like Free Shipping or Two-fers to your favorite stores.  It's the bomb dot com.  You can get $5 cash or a $10 giftcard just for joining!  As a frugalista, I love getting not only top secret coupons, but cash back for the items I shop for.  If you're really good, you can rack up on their "Double Cash Back" days.  A little slice of heaven for all those bargain hunters out there... 

And, if you go through this link right here:

I can get $5 for every friend that signs up. 
I've made about $30 through friend referrals so far... so muchos gracias pals!

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm no Julia Child, but this dish was awesome...

Adventures in the kitchen continue!  I successfully made Poppyseed Chicken, and Mr. Smith said It. Was. Awesome.  Music to my ears! 

Little did I know how easy it was to make! 

Poppyseed Chicken

You'll need the following:
About 2 cups of cooked chicken breast
1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
2 cans Cream of Chicken
1 stick butter, melted
1 sleeve Ritz crackers

Cook chicken thoroughly and then chop into bite size pieces.  Place in 9X13 casserole dish. 

Mix together sour cream, Cream of Chicken, and melted butter, then pour over chicken.

Crush Ritz crackers and sprinkle on top.
Sprinkle with Poppyseeds.
Pop into oven and cook on 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.

And dinners like this are the exact reason I weigh 500 pounds now that we're married. 
 I can't help it... I like cooking every night! 
P.S.  Those green beans are home-grown and canned by my parents from our farm. 

I'm leaving tomorrow for Miss Suzanne Kirk's Bachelorette Par-tay in Chattanooga, TN.  Never been there, so this should be fun!  Will post appropriate pictures upon my return.  Mr. Smith (and Cooper) are headed to T-Town for Easter weekend, and they will have to hunt Easter eggs without me!  Good luck guys! 

Before I forget, these monsters would like to say hi:

Miss Thang

Cooper with new toy, Duckie, which I bought Monday at approx. 5:30 p.m.
Duckie was mutilated at approx. 6:05 p.m. which is why Coop looks a little sheepish.