Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday [09.28]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yard Sale Saturday

For those of you who know us, know pretty well my sweet husband's frugal nature. And by frugal I mean ridiculously cheap. His ridiculously cheap personality aids in his intense love of ueard sales. Any time we see a sign on the side of the road, he swerves the car to hit it up. This is a case of opposites attracting because I, on the other hand, am not as passionate about digging through people's junk in hopes of finding a treasure.

Well, this weekend David's wildest dreams came true and our neighborhood coordinated a community yard sale. The cherry on the top of the sundae was the local middle school was also having a major yard sale. To say he was excited would be an extreme understatement. He was stoked. In preparation he got a crazy amount of cash out of the ATM "just in case". My cynicism came out and I was convinced he would be redepositing it all on Monday. Continue reading to find out who won this round.

We awoke about 6:30 on Saturday morning to get ready to hit the streets by 7am. The neighborhood sale was scheduled for 7am-11am, and the school's sale was 8am-12pm. Perfect. Get a head start on the neighborhood, pick up a few maps then head over to the school to scope things out over there. Unfortunately the promised maps did not exist at the entrances of the neighbirhood sections so we just winged it and started at the Clubhouse where we scored our first treasure, a solid oak sidetable for $5. The lady practically gave it away!

David's new chess table

Then, we headed over to the fancier part of the neighborhood to see what crap they were trying to unload on us gullible souls. David was convinced this was where he was going to find the ultimate treasure. It wasn't the ultimate treasure but it was over here that we found an almost brand-new set of Faberware knives, a few books (for a quarter each!) and a handful of movies ($1 each!). About this time my coffee was kicking in and I was in desperate need of a restroom. We scooted back on over to our house to refuel before hitting up the school.

 Books for the classroom

Our stellar friend Allison was also scoping out the sales and texted us that it wasn't looking to promising at the school, but nevertheless we figured have the fun is seeing other people's junk. Boy were we surprised when we found a solid oak dining room table with six chairs. One of the things on our list was dining room chairs, not necessarily with a table either (we already had two). David jokingly told the guy he'd give him $5 for the whole thing. The guy laughed and said he'd take $50. Excuse moi? $50 for all that?!? Sold! If you're keeping track that is now three dining room tables (and another smaller two-seater table).

Fabulous new table (minus one leaf)

A sweep of the school gave us two more movies and a never-used hair dryer for $5. Perfect considering mine flops around and gives off that lovely fire smell every morning. We made plans to mosey on back to the house to get my Subaru to come back and pick up the table and chairs. Then came the rain. Drops here and there, but nothing too bad. We stopped by another sale and scored a space heater for $20. I'm stoked to report that I won't freeze to death this winter with my very own space heater on wheels. I've even been given permission to bedazzle it and make it mine. Sweet! Throw in a wreath for a buck and I'd say we scored pretty big. A few streets over we got a grill for $13. Heck, even if this thing doesn't work it was worth the $13 to take the risk and find out!

Some were even still in the orginial wrapping!

This will be my best friend come winter.

Pretty new fall wreath

Then came the rain. And by rain I mean complete and total downpour of flooding proportions. It was one of those moments where we looked at each other and both ran to the car. We had a table to save! We flew to our house, switched out cars and zipped over to the school. Of course the coordinators would close one of the entrances so everyone was coming in and out on the same one-lane road. Did I mention it was pouring down and everyone wanted out? Awesome. We managed to get in and started throwing things in Suzy (my little Subaru) and in their mini-van. The guy ended up coming back to the house and helping David set the table up. If you're keeping track that is one solid oak table that would comfortably seat ten, six chairs, delivery, and set up for fifty bucks!

The jury is still out, but I may be joining David on the darkside of yard sales. Maybe.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday-Tattoos On This Town

 It sure left it's mark on us, we sure left our mark on it
We let the world know we were here, with everything we did
We laid a lotta memories down, like tattoo's on this town.
-Jason Aldean

Happy Thursday! This gloomy, almost Fall day would typically put me down and out, but I find it nice and refreshing. It means the season of pumpkin spice lattes and cute cardigans is almost here! Hooray! Here are a few things I am thankful for this week:

*the view from our patio*
(this has become my new go-to place when I just need to chill or relax. I cannot put into words how much peace I feel here.)

*our family and friends*
(they have done more than I could ever put into words for us these past few months and we are SO gratfeul for them!)

*my co-workers*
(I love how totally supportive they are whenever I need them. It'd be hard to make it through the day without their great senses of humor)

*our health*
(tis the season for flu and colds-joy. I'm just glad we've been able to fend off the germs up to this point)

(I absolutely adore anything fall themed, but especially pumpkins! I love seeing them in stores and on people's porches)

*cooler weather*
(well, for many reasons, but mostly because I am so sick of mosquitos!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lazy Days

This has been a lazy weekend for the Mobleys. Well at least a lazy weekend for this part of the Mob Squad. David, on the other hand, has been working his booty off for the past three days beautifying our garage. I know some of you may be wondering what exactly the point of beautifying a garage is (yes, this is the same garage we park our cars in), but I was corrected pretty quickly by both my beloved and my father that this was an important project. Have at it fellas, I'll just enjoy my few hours of solitude.

And did I ever enjoy it. Friday evening we had some friends of ours over to touch up the paint in the garage (again, don't ask me) before we had an awesome evening of games, drinks, and laughter. For those of you that are not aware, we're big board gamers. If you ever need another couple for a game, we're your peeps. Anywho, a few hours of painting combined with all the fun of having them over knocked us out and we slept til 9am the next morning. Bliss.

Saturday morning kicked off with a run and an almost two hour trip to the Teeter. It was well worth it though! I spent $67, but saved $73! Nothing like the couponers on TV, but still pretty impressive. I owe it all to the Teeter and their triple coups. The rest of the day was spent tidying up the house and puttering around. After a quick trip to AC Moore to stock up on supplies (see previous post) I decided to take a bubble bath in our giantic garden tub. Best decision ever. Two hours, and 124 pages of my book, later and I am VERY relaxed. The evening was spent relaxing with my love and watching college football. Wonderful.

Sunday kicked off with a great morning at Hope Church with all of our amazing volunteers giving it their all. Then, we were fortunate enough to join another couple (and their sweet baby boy!) for lunch. Gotta love spending time with your community. After lunch we were too full to do much more than loll about on the couch and watch more football. Oh, and take a nap. A very glorious nap I might add.

I'm pretty sure no other weekend is ever going to equal this one in awesomeness.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Semi-Domestic Diva

Having a house has prompted me to want projects. House projects to be specific. I have enough school and church projects to keep me busy for months, but this house is like a blank canvas in need of some love. Enter Pinterest and Etsy. Both of these sites have become like crack to me. Add in the empty house, and I am constantly trying to penny pinch the grocery budget to save money for house stuff!

Here are a few projects I'm loving right now:

Cute, easy, and inexpensive way to dress up a wall!

Precious way to celebrate the season

Stellar way to organize keys, or necklaces!

I have a wall up the staircase I need to fill, and I love this idea!

Different way of doing a wreath

LOVE this idea! Now if only I knew where to get an old window. . . 

Great way to keep me in check, and to keep me from stressing each evening at suppertime! 

How adorable is this?? And we have TWO thermostats. Double the fun!

As you can probably see, I'm kind of obsessed with decorating. A post about my wishes for Fall is coming soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Coupon Crazy

Who doesn't love a good coupon? I for one positively adore coupons! My obsession started way back in the day with $25 off a $50 purchase from delia*s and quickly progressed to grocery coupons, and even now, "activity" coupons. I'm certainly not a professional, but I have learned a thing or two from some pretty coupon savvy ladies.

For instance, don't ever go to the grocery without a list. That is the number one way to overspend. The number two way? Bring someone else with you. In fact, one time when I was a wee one I overheard my mom telling a friend that she can't afford to take us (the Wardlets) to the grocery store with her because we're so expensive. In my little brain I thought that meant they were charging for kids to enter the store! Only later when I began doing my own grocery shopping did I realize truly how much moola an add-on can tack on to your total.

Anywho. Another way to save mad money is to attack with a plan. take a look at the specials before you get to the store. By doing this you can figure out how much you're saving with each item and if it's even worth buying it. On the topic of specials, look around! You can find the specials listed for an invidual grocery store online, and you can even have most sent to your inbox. While it does get terdious pretty quickly, you are at least able to compare items at different stores and see where your best deal exists.

That leads to the suggestion of shopping at different stores. I must admit I am not so good about this. Honestly, I just don't have the time. I try to scope out the sales at each store and find the best deal, but if it's just a few cents saved it's not worth it to me. Heck, I'll probably spend just as much on gas as I would save!

Another idea is to sign up for tbe special alerts online. For example, each week I get special deals emailed to me from Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods. These deals are often unadvertised, and ridiculously wonderful. One time I got an 18-pack of K-cups for $1.50 thanks to coupons and "evic" deals. Regular price of 18-pack? $12 at Walmart.

Another type of email alerts are the "activity" coupons. These are your things like Groupon, Living Social, Half Off Depot, etc. These are incredible! I cannot tell you how many date nights have been made possible thanks to these little gems. A few personal favorites? $50 to Gap for $20. $20 to for $10. Two Fandango movie tickets for $9. We even have a voucher for two nights at a resort in the mountains (including breakfast both mornings, $50 credit to the spa, and a champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries dessert) for $150. Score!

I saw one woman on TV saying that she spent 60 hours a week couponing. I'm hear to tell ya, it doesn't have to be that intense! Pace yourself and do what you can, when you can. Above all, get out there and look! It's amazing the deals that are there when you open your eyes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unwanted Advice

I absolutely love love. Anything and everything to do with love and happiness gets me all gooey inside, especially weddings. Whether it has to do with my own wonderful hubby, or a friend's new beau, I love reliving every moment of an engagement/wedding. Lucky for me we've been in the thick of wedding season so my vice has been fulfilled. I've been able to peruse wedding website after wedding website, and registry list after registry list reliving my own stellar experience.

Now don't get me wrong, I loved every bit of our wedding celebration and I wouldn't change it for the world, but it's still fun to see the different ways people do things. For example, we went to a wedding recently full of beautiful, bright colors. They were gorgeous together, but it would have looked super silly coming from me and David.

A few realizations that have come to me at recent weddings:
  • Wedding cake is wedding cake no matter where it comes from and what color the frosting is. I remember pricing out wedding cakes for our wedding and being absolutely stunned at how much they cost. It's a cake, people. In other news, the anticipation of whether or not they will smash the cake in their newly beloved's face never gets old.
  • Wedding favors are neat, but not necessary. In all the weddings we've been to, we've never left saying, "I can't believe they did/didn't give out a favor". Honestly, save your money for something else, such as food/drink.
  • Don't skimp on the food/drink. That is one thing people pick up on. The good thing is you don't have to give a full five course meal for people to leave satisfied. Have a buffet or heavy hor d'oeuvres and offer more drink options. Signature drinks are always a cute idea without going overboard. A favorite? "Marry Me Margarita"! How precious is that?!
  • Don't invite people just to invite them. Invite people you want to have as part of your special day. What's more awkward than writing a thank-you to someone you've never met before?
  • Take mental "pictures". This day, arguably the most important day of your life, has the potential to fly past at lightening speed-don't let it! Pause every so often to check-in and take a mental picture of those you love around you celebrating you!
  • The bridal party does not have to be a homage to your family, friends, sorority, etc. Pick who you want to be a part of your special day. This was tough for me because of all my close friends and family, but I chose my two sisters and my two best friends since childhood. Had I started including my college friends I would have ended up with half the guests at the altar with me! 
  • Choose a good photog. Ours was ah-mazing! She knew us throughout our relationship so she was able to catch our personalities in the pictures, not just the shot. You don't want to show your great-grandchildren a pitiful picture from your most special day. Save your money elsewhere and spring for someone who is going to be worth it. 
  • Plan for the unexpected. You can be the most organized person on the planet, and something can still go wrong. Be prepared for things to change at the last minute, and just go with the flow.
  • Above all else, do what you want. Don't listen to me, your mom, his grandma, your friend, etc. Listen to your heart, and maybe your fiancee's heart too;-) and choose what y'all want!
I realize this was totally unsolicited, but I wish someone had told me some of these things before we started planning.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A God of Hope

Have you ever felt that you were without hope? I think many of us can agree that we have. At some time or another we have felt beaten down to the point to no return. For some of us it has been a wayward relationship, while for others it has been a dead-end job. It could be a lost family member or it could be a dire financial situation. It varies for each and every person. Despite what the cause is, it is always a worldly connection.

Today's message at Hope Church Charlotte was all about hope and why it is so essential to our lives. The sermon began with a very moving prayer as a tribute to those lost ten years ago. The powerful words pulled at my heart as I recalled seeing the bodies falling from the buildings and the caskets draped with American flags. I'm sure the victims' families felt hopeless. Many may still feel hopeless. After the tribute Pastor Mike preached on the power of hope and why it is so essential to our lives as Christians.

Without hope we would have nothing. Hope is the reason we can so faithfully believe He will rescue us. Hope is the reason we can love and encourage our neighbors. Hope is the reason we love one another with good deeds. Without hope we would be lost. Yet in this world it seems people are more depressed and feel more hopeless than we ever have. It is pretty ridiculous for us to feel hopeless because regardless of how beaten and trudged upon you feel, God is there. He is always there.

Ten years ago today people felt hopeless, yet they found hope. They found it through their families, friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers. If they found hope despite the terror around them, why can we not find it in our safe situations now? What is stopping us from leaning on God and gaining our strength in faith from Him?

It is my hope and prayer that the reminder of day does more than sadden us. I hope that it is a reminder that gives us the strength to hope again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

We Remember

As the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks near, Americans are recalling what happened that day. We all remember where we were, who we were with, and how we felt the first time we saw the planes fly into the towers. I am no exception. The History department at our school is doing a wonderful set of lessons to help the kids grasp what happened on that fateful day. It blows my mind that these kids barely remember even hearing about it from their parents. They weren't even in school yet! Today, I continued the History department's lessons and had the students post a journal about their thoughts on the attacks. It amazes me how detached many of them feel about the whole event. That is not the case for those of us that remember.

I was in my 8th grade NC History class when the attacks happened. It wasn't until in between classes that I actually learned that something happened. The teachers were scrambling about talking while we rushed to classrooms to see the TV. Our language arts teacher turned on the news and let us sit there in watch. We were stunned silent. How often is a class of 8th graders silent? Almost never. She then prompted us to get out our composition notebooks and write exactly how we felt about what we were seeing. I wish I still had that journal. I can only imagine the raw emotion each of us included in our writing.

The rest of the day was out of whack as we all began to speculate what would happen next. At that point we had no idea if there were more planned attacks or if we were safe. Countless students were called out of class as panicked parents fled to the school to pick them up. For those of you wondering, Jenny Ward did not feel the need to pick her five bundles of joy up from school. Can you really blame her? She got one day off a week from work and us. Screw the terrorist attacks, she was enjoying her day off! Needless to say, we were all safe as was good 'ol Huntersville, NC. No one ever attacked the nuclear power plant or downtown Charlotte as everyone feared.

Looking back now, I can honestly say I have never felt such uncertainty and fear as I did in that very moment. It was like we all realized that if the adults in our lives were this upset, something unique must really be happening. While I hope nothing like that ever happens again, I do wish for my students to learn the significance of that day and the events that transpired because of it.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?
-Alan Jackson

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday-God Gave Me You

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you
-Blake Shelton

Happy Thankful Thursday! It's been yet another cuckoo week here in Mobleyland, but it's good to be back. A few things I am thankful for this week:

*my sweet husband*
(I just adore him and he's wonderful. . . I'll stop before I get too sappy)

*lazy weekends*
(after all this rushing around during the week, I am stoked to lounge with my love some this weekend)

*our neighbors*
(we really lucked out with the awesomeness of our new 'hood. Every family we've met so far is stellar! Now, how many people can say that?)

*beautiful weather*
(wow, it is gorgeous out this week! I'm sure it's a sign we're in for a tough winter, but I'll take this beautiful day while I can get it)

*girls' weekends*
(this past weekend was spent shopping 'til I dropped (literally) and catching up on girl time with my momma, David's momma, and David's aunt. It was mahvelous!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Regular Routines

I am a routine kind of gal. I like when everything goes according to plan. I like when my calendar makes perfect, color-coordinated sense. I do not like when things are out of whack. I do not like when my to-do list is overflowing. I do not like when I don't know the plan. My name is Lauren and I am totally Type-A.

Honestly, neither of my parents are overly organized so who knows where this crazy came from. Maybe it's the eldest child in me who likes to be bossy and organized. Why I became a teacher is quite the question, because anyone who knows the profession knows that teaching is anything but routine! Plans change from day to day. Heck, plans change from minute to minute! I'm learning to adjust, but as a co-worker of mine kindly pointed out, "your to-do lists stress me out". Hmm maybe he's right. The odd thing is I love to organize and I love when things are in order. Part of the fun is finding the chaos and making it make sense!

In an already crazy profession, the first few weeks are even more so. From learning names and faces to figuring out academic abilities, you stay pretty busy. David and I thought we'd throw another kink in everything with that whole buying a house thing. Oof.

While it's been absolutely cuckoo for me for the past month I really have enjoyed it. I've loved the crazy and the opportunity to make it somewhat stable. But now it's time for some routine again. I am so ready for a lazy weekend of house chores and football with my sweet hubby. Who knows when that'll happen, but it better happen soon or this lady is heading straight to the loony bin, or the local spa. Whichever has a better masseuse.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baked Ziti

I've tried a few different ziti recipes over time, but the Italian blood in me won't accept just any. Here is a recipe I found that is quite tasty and easy to make! Is there a better combination? I think not!

1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta
24 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. 
Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse. 
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium bowl, mix ziti, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg and 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce. 
 Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in ziti mixture. 
Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, followed by Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes.