Saturday, July 31, 2010

go. see. do. activities from A-Z

Michael and I have decided to take on a new "project" or "game". Since I dumped project 365 after 7 long months, I wanted something more motivating and something Michael and I could do together. With summer coming to an end and his and my work schedules often being quite the opposite, we sometimes have a hard time finding fun and new things to do. We are stealing this project from an awesome blog that I am totally into. The blogger is Elizabeth and her blog is Simplefancies. She is awesome. I am so into being nosy and reading blogs. I only wish my blogs were interesting and there were more than the [possible] 6 of you reading mine. :) Anyway- the newest game we are beginning to endure is Go.See.Do activities from A-Z!

Elizabeth's husband, Dave came up with the game and I have happily taken the idea from them.

1. Each week/weekend (aiming for Saturday/Sunday) we will do two activities. One has to be free and one can cost money.
2. The activities will start on A and continue for 26 weeks until we reach Z.
3. Along with the alphabetized activity, we will plan one of the weeks meals around that letter- maybe even venture out and try something new!
4. I will post the activities on my blog and hope to keep it up!

Here's to being creative and having fun together just like back in the day when we had no real responsibilities in life and could just GO. SEE and DO whenever and whatever we wanted to!

We will begin our project this weekend with the letter "A." Look for our "A" blog tomorrow!!! :o)


I decided not to go get coffee this morning, but to make it in my Keurig and sit on the back porch listening to the radio and relax. I am not a huge coffee drinker. I am more of a latte fan. But, to save some $$$ I'll take it. I do have an espresso machine, but it is much more work and a lot harder to clean. Hence the green moldy stuff I am STILL trying to clean out of the pipes... When I do drink coffee I usually only use a certain creamer. I am very particular when it comes to creamer and one of the few that I will actually drink is the peppermint creamer. It gets old... believe me. lol. I am also very picky when it comes to coffee and I do not like it super strong. I do in fact LOVE my Keurig. My next big Keurig purchase will be this one, for my classroom!!! The Keurig is so easy- It takes two minutes to heat up and another 20 seconds to brew your awesome cup of coffee... I can even take the bottom off of mine and place my travel mug under it for a quick on the go cup of joe! The brand of choice for me is Green Mountain for the Keurig. Recently, I have come to find out that I enjoy the Hazelnut coffee from green mountain and I can even enjoy it with just a splash of half -n- half! I can't believe it. I finally found a COFFEE that I can drink without buying expensive creamers to go along with it. Now the trick- finding the coffee at a good price. We used to buy it in bulk at Sams club and thought we were getting a good deal- The problem: it was newmans own and I am not a fan. If you like bitter coffee, definitely buy Newmans Own. So now the search was on for the best price when purchasing my hazelnut, Green Mountain coffee. Let's see what I have come up with so far:

(*Remember, my goal is to find the box of all Hazelnut in order to avoid costly creamers per my taste buds.)

Harris Teeter- 1 box of 12 K-cups, Green Mountain, Hazelnut: $7.99
Food Lion- 1 box of 12 K-cups, Green Mountain, Hazelnut: $7.99
Costco- 1 box of 108 K-cups, Green Mountain, regular blend: $ 47.99
Macys- 1 box of 18 K-cups, Green Mountain, Hazelnut: $ 14.99 - SALE $9.99
Green Mtn. Website- 1 box of 24 K-cups, Green Mountain: $ 17.40 (*includes shipping)
Target online- 1 box of 108 K-cups, Green Mountain, Hazelnut- DECAF only: $59.99

SOOOOOO- What it comes down to in my investigation is that I can only find the coffee I want at Harris Teeter or Food Lion. But, if you are not as picky as me, it makes more since to get it at Costco or Target in bulk and you can save about $12.00. Unfortunately, I am not sure if Green Mountain makes a box of 108 in the hazelnut that is not decaf, but I will most definitely be looking for it and continuing my search on this rainy day. :o)

saturday morning [TEACHER] yard sale

A neighbor of mine and previous rce teacher is moving out of town and held a fabulous "teacher" yard sale today! HOW excited was I to wake up at 8:00 on a saturday morning?!?! ummm... VERY! I just got 18 books on tape that are now MINE and no one can take them and I don't have to search the world for the center anymore. I also got 14 of the Sterilite® Ultra Storage Baskets that Autumn used last year as book buckets. Now my search remains, but only for 12 more! :o) I got a individual tape player and plan to get about 4 more. This year I hope to keep my listening center as independent as possible and can eliminate the "it's too loud!" "she started before I was ready!" "I can't make it work!" from each morning of my life. I plan to spend about 3 days teaching each child how to use the hand held tape players from the 80's and hopefully it will be helpful. I can put 5 books in the center each month and they can go from there and listen to a new one each week! :o)
I must say it has been nice being home for a change. Every summer of my life that I can remember it has been a mad dash to get home and get right back to work. Although I do plan to return and spend the remainder of my summer on island time, I do love my house and all of my friends here at home! I went out to eat with Liz, Martin and Tiffany (aka, Sasha) last night. We tried the newer Mexican restaurant, Los Portales, in the same parking lot as best buy over near southpoint. I will probably give it an A for decoration and appearance, but the food was a bit overpriced for the Mexican restaurant I am used to. It was good, but I think a lot of people go for Mexican sometimes because of the price and that one thing stood out to me. I also guess I am biased because of my weekly Mexican venture to El Dorado. We love the waiters there, who know us by name and we go there so much that any other Mexican restaurant just isn't the same.

I am going to need Mr. Sunshine to make his debut. It has been way too long since he has shined on me! I am losing my tan and not happy about it. I was hoping for a week by the pool and that has just not happened. Anywho- It's off to the Saturday morning dose of Bean Traders this morning!

let go laughing~

Thursday, July 29, 2010

nordstrom anniversary sale

Thats what got me in the dang store! But I am very happy I decided to walk in. I finally found the boots I have been looking for since last year. :) Thank you, nordstrom!
I also got my pair of free panties from victoria's secret. I totally recommend them and may have to go back and buy a pair. Now I am just waiting for the big trip to Lowe's tomorrow to begin my laundry room renovation project! Yay :)

HOMEgoods and design ideas

new picture frames behind the couch
new lamp to the right

The only problem with the time I spend in Durham during my summer break versus being on the island--- shopping! At the beach I lay on the dock or float in the sound or sit on the beach. For some reason, laying by the pool is boring to me and it lasted all of about 30 minutes yesterday. I then went shopping. Does anyone else have this problem? You're bored so you shop... Well I am being better with my window shopping and I think I have done a great job this summer. But yesterday I went to Homegoods and spent about an hour and a half in there. They had some awesome pillows that I thought would really add the "pop" to our living room. Were trying to add just a touch of some color in there with the beige and brown we have going on. They arent really going to work and I am taking them back today.

I think I am going to pause on the living room because it is at a semi stage that I am happy with. I did get a new lamp and some picture frames that added a hint of color to the room yesterday. I have been reading several blogs on easy/ inexpensive design ideas and projects for the home. Here are just two of the ones I am interested in: and I really like the picture of this living room and am working hard on some of the design tips. Seriously- every room in the younghouselove blog is what I want my house to look like! In fact I am going to lowes today to possibly begin my laundry room transformation! Off to get coffee with mom now and show her all of my new design ideas! I cannot wait to get started. I want a new coat of paint on almost every room in my house. lol- sorry, Michael! haha.

my new laundry room inspiration

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

lazy days...

We spent a wonderful weekend at the beach with my dads cousins from Illinois. Desirae, Josh, Garrett and Kaylee. The kids had never seen the ocean before and they had so much fun. Minus one mishap when Garrett busted a decorated Easter egg that Tyler had left in his room for about 4 years... It didn't smell too good! :) It makes for a great story that will follow Garrett for the rest of his life though! Kaylee ate shrimp for the first time and actually loved it. She is so picky, but she surprised us by eating it. They are back safely in Illinois now and we hope to see them again soon.

Not much is better than waking up at 8:30- brushing your teeth, making coffee in the keurig and climbing back in bed to watch Regis and Kelly. I'm spending some time at home and it is really nice. I do not want to go back to work... After taking the boys to the spa for their day of pampering, I will return to lay by the pool as long as the sun will shine on me. :) Did I mention how beautiful Kelly Ripa is?! Gosh, she makes me jealous. Yesterday, it rained all day- which we needed. I got a pedicure with mom and then I went to the grocery store and got fresh veggies and chicken to make a yummy dinner. I made a salad with apples, candied walnuts and feta cheese. I made pasta with red, green and yellow peppers, mushrooms and garlic. I attempted to make chicken tenders on the grill. I marinated half of them in barbecue and the other half in spicy mango. Unfortunately, the entire dinner was ready when Michael got home from his day long meeting and the grill wasnt hot enough when he put the chicken on for me- we completed them in the oven. They were still good, but I really just want an electric grill so I can grill on my own. lol. I'm seeing Michael's Christmas present in my near future. haha. Anyway- after dinner, we played some skip-bo with Seth and Ashley. It was nice catching up since we have been missing each other with our trips over the summer. Thats what happens with teachers and a summer-long vacation. They are here when we are gone, we are gone when they are here. lol. We went to TCBY to get a treat between games. Then we played UNO Attack and Spoons. I love game nights!
And, I love having neighbors so close that enjoy games like we do! Were going to watch Jersey Shore for the very first time tomorrow night. Seth and Ashley are having a Jersey Shore party and we are supposed to dress up. Michael and I have never seen the show and Ashley tells us it is just fun to watch because it is so ridiculous that there are really people like that in the world. haha. It should be fun. Were having lasagna! I hope everyone is enjoying this summer and the warm weather. I for one, LOVE it. :) Time to continue being lazy!

let go laughing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

viva las vegas!

What a wonderful and quick trip we had to Las Vegas. We got to see so many wonderful and inspiring Domino's people. What an amazing company to be a part of. We got up at 4am on Tuesday morning to get to the airport for our 6am flight. When we arrived, we were told our flight was delayed 3 hours. UGH! They re-routed us through Atlanta, but we still didn't leave until 8:20. Needless to say we spent several boring and freezing cold hours in the RDU airport because it would have been pointless to turn around and go home... We made our flight and our connection and arrived in Vegas at about 12:00pm local time. What a long day already! A driver met us at the bottom of the stairs on the way to baggage claim. We waited so long for my bag, he had to go take his car and circle the airport one time and come back in! We finally made it to the Palazzo- (I will NEVER stay anywhere else in Vegas!) What a fabulous hotel! Each room is a suite and the rate online right now is only $139 a night! It was a 720 square foot suite with 3 flat screen tv's one of which was in our bathroom! It was incredible. Check out the link!! We dropped our bags and went straight to the pool. Mom and dad, the Stokes, Tingens and Allen Lyle were all waiting for us in the Cabana! It was awesome. I was quite exhausted and downed a couple of red bulls that got me right back on my feet! We left the cabana around 5:00 to go get showered and dressed for dinner and a show! I know- long day! It was already 8pm at home! We ate at an awesome restaurant called sushi samba . It was a lot of food and we had to rush to make the 10pm showing of Jersey Boys! Awesome show! At this point, we were exhausted, being up for over 24 hours! We hit the sack and called it a night. The next morning, Michael, Dad and I went to the opening session at 9am. It was awesome. Tom Monagham was there and we got to speak to him later than night. He is aging, but still remembered Michael when we spoke to him. After the opening session, Mom and I shopped for a little while and then went to the cabana by the pool. The boys were in classes until about 4pm when they finally joined us.Someone please explain to me why the HOT 113 degree sun out there did not tan OR burn any of us?! We just can't figure it out. I loved the heat. There was absolutely no humidity. That evening we went to the Expo and the fastest pizza making competition. Then we downtown to the "original" las vegas for a little while. Thursday morning, Michael went to another meeting with dad while mom and I shopped for a little while in the Venitian and Palazzo. Then the boys were done and Michael and I took off to explore. We went to Caesars Palace to the Forum shops and had a blast. He got to go to his favorite: Tommy Bahama. On our way back down the strip after stopping at McDonalds for a drink, we stumbled upon a wax museum! SO COOL. We even got a military discount. lol. Then we went back through the Venitian to get to the Palazzo and stopped in the store that was shown in 2003 during the 20/20 episode with Michael Jackson when he was visiting. Unfortunately, they wouldn't allow photographs. :( bummer. We went to the casino for a little while and both threw in a $20 on the wheel of fortune game. I got up to $88 and cashed out. Michael blew the $20 in .07 seconds. Lol. I went to buy a pair of earrings from Swarvoski Crystal while he played Let 'em ride for a bit with dad. Then we got dressed and popped open the fabulous bottle of champagne accompanied by awesome strawberries that were delivered to our room by my mother and father in-law! SO SWEET! Thank you again Mike and Mary Beth. We really wish they had been able to join us. That night we went to a private concert by Kool & The Gang on the front row and I danced the night away with mom and dad, michael and Mrs. Doyle who just happened to be right beside me and told me not to let anyone come between us! It was so cool. She and Mr. Doyle and incredibly nice and what a wonderful CEO to have! We left the concert to quickly change clothes and head to the airport to catch the red-eye. What a bad idea that was! 48 hours of NO sleep = not fun! It was a very quick trip, but super fun and we are so thankful we were able to be a part of it. Thank you mom and dad for everything! Its's nice to be home and relax for a couple more weeks before the kiddos return to 1st grade land. I have leadership next Tuesday and will be between Topsail and Durham for the next little while. What a fabulous summer this has been. I hate so much that it is coming so close to the end. :( Off to enjoy it while it lasts!

let go laughing!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

lovely afternoon thunderstorms

I just love the sound of an afternoon thunderstorm. For some reason, they only scare me at night when I'm alone. I drove the miata on the highway for the first time today. I was a bit nervous since I am not a complete and total pro at the stick shift yet- well, at least I thought I wasn't. I managed to conquer a complete stop on I40 and no stalling out! The traffic got pretty rough and there was a HORRIBLE storm. I was so nervous that I just pulled off the highway and sat in a bojangles parking lot for 20 minutes (along with about a million others!) until the storm blew over. It was CRAZY. The lightning and thunder were happening all around me and with that tiny car and soft top, I was pretty nervous sitting in that parking lot. But then I remembered that the rubber tires had me grounded so I felt a little better. When I got home, Michael drove it and he likes it OK. I told him I wanted the license plate to say something along the lines of beach cruise and he was like "oh yes.. to make it even more 'cute' ..." haha. He's so sweet. I've always wanted a convertible and he likes it better than the Honda and it's an even trade! I will most definitely be saving some gas money now! Any who- here I sit, on the couch watching Disney channel and listening to the rumbling thunder. Guess I will start the laundry soon! I'm making sesame chicken and rice for dinner. Gotta love the frozen Sam's Club specialties. lol.

I had an amazing week at the beach- yet again. Kendra, Tracy and I got a LOT of planning done for the upcoming year. Then when Mom and Dad got into town, we spent a lot of time with my in-laws and really had a great time! It was nice. The only thing missing was my sweet husband. I can't wait to head back to the south-end after our vacation. We have a wonderful house-sitter and the puppies can't be luckier! :o)

Oh yes, and on another note- I think I have decided to quit my project 365. I just lost interest and would rather just post my better pictures and pictures I enjoy rather than having to find something to take a picture of everyday... Maybe when I have kids one day, it will be more interesting to have a subject! :o)

I hope everyone is having a safe, relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

let go laughing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

update on life.

I spent a couple of days at home in good ol ' with my husband this week. It has been nice.
Sunday night, I was invited to sit in the balcony to see Ringo and the All Star band. It was SO cool.

My cousin has moved in with us for a week or so until we get back from our trip! It's kinda nice having another girl in the house! :o) And, it is for a good reason, so I am not complaining, I am SO happy for her!!! I hope she figures everything out soon and gets back on her feet and stronger than ever!!! I know you can do it girl! i <3>

I am heading back to the south end in a few minutes with some of my first grade ladies. We are going to take our work stuff and start planning a little bit for the upcoming year. It will be nice.

We went to dinner and a movie on Monday with mom and dad and some great friends who I am so excited to say are PREGNANT!!!! Yay! Can't say who yet, because they haven't told everyone. Waiting for the first trimester to be over first! Very soon though!!! Yesterday, Michael and I just hung out and didn't do much. Last night I went to dinner at Nantucket with mom. It was yummy! Michael made me chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast this morning. I can't remember who gave us that awesome waffle maker, but THANK YOU! We love it. Lol. It is just like the ones they had in the dining hall at UNC.

Well... I'm off to the south end for a little while. I'll be back soon though to get packed and ready for our super awesome vacation/business trip!!! :o)

let go laughing!!! ~

Friday, July 9, 2010

my first infant photo-shoot

I did my first infant photo-shoot today. Lilliana Jessica is 5 weeks old, tomorrow. I had a great time and got some wonderful practice. I would love to take more pictures of families, babies, pregnant women, engagements, etc. I just need more practice so if anyone would like to be another guinea pig, let me know! I fully enjoyed the maternity shoot with my sister in law back in April/May. The difference with today's shoot was relying on a 5 week old! It was a lot of fun and I did end up with some adorable shoots. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

big brother 12

... whiny bi***es who cry for attention so everyone around them is supposed to care... oh yes, on that note: Let's get ready for BIG BROTHER 12 !!!
I cannot wait to see what twists and turns they have this year?! I wonder what kind of egotistic whackos they have on there! I read all of the bios this morning. There is most definitely going to be a lot of D-R-A-M-A this season. I notice on they have yet to give it a title. Big Brother...??? I wonder what they have up their sleeves? We've already seen secret twins, family that didn't know they were family... forced alliances.... dun dun dun. lol

Brittney thinks she is comparable to Martha Stewart and Kristin Chenoweth???...Ragan expresses his dislike for homophobes in several different interview questions... I agree... I don't like homophobes, but you could have said it ONCE. Yes, Kathy battled cancer, but she is 40... not that 40 is too old to be on the show, but the majority of the others are in their 20's so this should make for some interesting content.

I cannot wait to see these folks in action tonight and see who I want to pull for until the end! Let me know if you are joining me at 8pm to indulge in this big brother 12 saga! :o) I can't wait!!!

love life. let go laughing! ~

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

livin' on island time

What a lovely week it has been. My husband had a wonderful vacation from work and spent it skiing, floating in the ocean and sound and riding in waves on his surf board. I cannot wait for more beach time together this summer. He is back to work to support us and he is so amazing at what he does. It has been a wonderful decision for me to not switch to year round schools. I would NOT be able to do it. I just cannot give up my paradise summers! It is too perfect down here. This summer has most definitely been different. I've gone home for a day or two here and there and the Stokes girls are all grown up and not spending the entirety here either... but it is still so wonderful. Unfortunately, I am a week behind real life and summer is going by way too fast! I just realized that the 1st grade ladies are coming down here a week from tomorrow! I thought I was going home before they came down and I was wrong. Oops! It's OK though. Michael is going to bring my school things on his two days off! :o) Were going to Vegas pretty soon too! I just cant wait for Michael to get more information on how to better run the company and how to franchise and such. We babysat Lilly yesterday on her 1 month birthday. She was really good. I changed the poopy diaper too! Go me! This morning we woke up and my wonderful husband brought me a vanilla latte in bed! Then we had a wonderful afternoon on the beach. He took his jet ski home to work on it. I have a feeling he is going to be in the lake soon. :o) This afternoon I floated in the canal with Laurie, Mom, Julie and Kelly. I fried my backside since I never lay on my stomach! Oops! Anywho... ta ta for now bloggers. Time to rest before dinner with the old South end crew!

let go laughing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

let freedom ring...

Happy Independence Day Y'all! We spent the morning decorating the tent and holding our 11th (ish?) annual Topsail Island "Easter" Parade. Sadly, we were missing a few regulars this year. We miss you (Stokes, Tyler, Katie, and my best buddy Adam!) The parade went well. Kevin and I were deemed the new grand marshals and Michael drove the lead car since Page and Allen weren't here this year. It was so much fun. I think we have a bigger crowd every year! In just an hour or so the games will begin! Egg toss champions will come to see who takes the crown this year! It is always a big event. I won three years ago and hope to again one day! I might wear an apron tonight! After the games we will have the pig that has been cooking since bright and early this morning. We usually have a little over 200 folks join us for the fun. After dinner we will have karaoke and dancing until our feet hurt. All of this to celebrate our wonderful freedom and country. This year, all of the military men in our family are in the US to celebrate. We will surely say a prayer for all of those who are not and the many who have lost their lives for our freedom.

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the
brave. ~Elmer Davishome of the