Friday, March 29, 2013

An apple a day...

It's the last day of Spring Break and I am enjoying my last cocktail of our vacation.

The Apple Martini
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce Apple Schnapps
1/2 ounce Sweet & Sour Mix

Stepping OFF the scale

Dear devoted readers,

It is time to step OFF the scale.  I am challenging myself (and you!) to stay off the scale for the month of April.

In preparing for my upcoming 5K race on April 19th, I am choosing to train without the scale.  My last race (on Thanksgiving Day) I trained for months because I was also working towards my goal weight (140) and I have now surpassed that goal (currently at 133).

All school year I have been talking to my students about improving their own personal fitness.  That it doesn't matter what the person next to you can do, but what you can do.  I need to start practicing what I preach and enjoy my active lifestyle. 

I have spent so much time focusing on whether I weigh 133 or 134 or 132 instead of focusing on the fact that I now fit into size 6 pants!

We need to focus on the good and leave behind the negative.  Please join me in the effort to put a positive foot forward. 

Say goodbye to your scales for one month and make an effort to be active at least three times a week.

Goodbye scale!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thirsty Thursday

Continuing with my Spring Break cocktail week, we are on to Thirsty Thursday.
This week features The Long Island Iced Tea.

To make The Long Island Iced Tea you will need to:
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce tequila
1 ounce rum
1 ounce gin
1 ounce triple sec
5 ounces sweet and sour mix
2 ounces diet coke

Becoming a couponer

Friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members have all asked me about couponing.  I am by no means an expert, but I have come up with a few tips/ideas to get you started if you too wish to become a couponer. 

First, you should identify if you are already a couponer, or are interested in becoming a couponer.
You are a couponer if you...

A) like to save money
B) cut coupons
C) buy things on sale (you take advantage of 40% off sales or buy one, get one free)

You might even be a couponer if you use something like this...

(to store your coupons)

If any of the things above apply to you, then you are a couponer.  If you are cutting 10-20 coupons a week and can find them anytime you need them, then this plastic container is perfect for you.  It's small and will easily fit into your purse or car.

Second, you may need to/be ready to take your couponing to the next level if you find that the plastic bag/container you use to hold your coupons is not big enough or you cannot find coupons when looking for them.

Below is what I use to keep my coupons organized:

I started using a 1" binder a little over two years ago.  I bought baseball card holders and placed them in the binder to store my coupons.  About one year ago, I switched to a 2" binder and added dividers to better help find my coupons.

This is my current binder.

I still use baseball card holders to hold the coupons.
The dividers are labeled in a manner that I find useful.
They kinda go with the layout of my grocery store isles, but again, it's the way I find most useful.
I have categories for groceries, paper products, refrigerated, frozen, pharmacy, cleaning, misc. and other stores.  The groceries, refrigerated, and frozen are also broken up into specific categories such as soup, baking, pasta, or yogurt, cheese, or frozen vegetables, meat, desserts, etc.
I also have a section called "other stores" for coupons I get for:
car washes, DSW, Babies R Us, Bath & Body Works, etc.

*I always keep this binder in my car, inside a tote bag. 
That way I always have it when I am out and about*
Once you have decided how you want to organize your coupons, it is time to organize your shopping. 
My next couponing post will be about where to find coupons and how to organize your shopping.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Rita Wednesday

Tonight we went to dinner at TGI Fridays.
With dinner, I enjoyed a cocktail that I have not had before.

I enjoyed the Patron Cosmo 'Rita Shaker

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Twisted Tuesday

Today has been so strange. 

I slept in because I didn't sleep well last night and I had the craziest dreams all night.

When I got up this morning, I felt like I was walking through a fog.   A heavy, heavy fog that didn't lift for hours.  Even after breakfast and a shower, I was still foggy.

We went to the mall and had Chick-Fil-A for lunch (Elizabeth inhaled her grilled nuggets and apple sauce).  We walked by the Easter Bunny to check out the line for tomorrow and the Easter Bunny was this dingy costume and the Easter Bunny was sitting in a cage, like a large bird cage.  We will be going to a different mall tomorrow to get a picture with a more happy looking Easter Bunny.

After lunch (and the scary Easter Bunny) we went to Macy's to return a few things and ended up picking up a few things.  I needed a few things from Clinique and Elizabeth needs some new pajamas.  We also ended up getting new bedding.

I LOVE this blush from Clinique!
It is the Fresh Bloom Allover Colour
This is our new bedding.
It's the Martha Stewart Briercrest 9 Bedding Collection
After our Macy's trip we ran to BJs and got new cell phones and some groceries.  After BJs, we went to Harris Teeter to get a couple more groceries for the week. 
This is my new phone. 
The Droid Razr M.
Tonight we had Pari and Quin over for dinner and drinks.  In keeping with our Spring Break staycation, we are enjoying a different cocktail every night.
Tonight is Twisted Wine Tuesday.  Pari and Quin brought over a Rose to enjoy with dinner.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's the beginning

It's the beginning of Spring Break and this is what we woke up to:

We are also trying a cocktail every night this week for spring break. 

Tonight's featured cocktail is the Margarita
(I have renamed today Margarita Monday)
Hope you have a great Spring Break!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Favorite Things

There are a few things I find myself using over and over again lately.  As much as I always drink my diet coke with breakfast and use my Clinique moisturizer every morning and night, there are some new things that have come up over and over again recently.

I got these jean leggings from New York & Company.
I love, love, love them!
They are so comfortable to wear around the house or I dress them up when I got out for the evening.
The Clinique chubby stick came with a free gift with purchase and it is my new favorite thing!
My lips get really dry in the winter and this chubby stick keeps them nice and moisturized.
They come in a ton of colors, but I like the neutral colored ones to add a little color to my lips.
I completely blame my friend Ann for this next one...
After Easter last year, Ann bought some large bags of pretzel m&m's and brought them to school.
She offered some of them to a group of us... ever since then, I have been addicted.
They are perfect for people that need/like salty and sweet.
These Unicorn PJs I got for Elizabeth at Gap.
I think they are adorable and I love putting her in them.
She looks super cute!
So... those are some of my favorite things right now.
What are yours?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Day in the Life Of...

Today I took lots of cell phone pictures of our adventures.  It was a regular day today and so I thought it would be good day to do an example of a day in the life of the Novak's. 

Our day started off normal enough, up at 6:10am, showered and dressed.

Elizabeth and I were out the door by 7:05am (a little early, so that was good!)

Elizabeth did not want her picture taken this morning.

This is her no! no! to the paparazzi
After I dropped Elizabeth off at Laura's house, I headed to work.  On my way to work, Laura sent me a picture text of Elizabeth.  We have been continuing to work on getting Elizabeth to drink out of different cups.  Laura tried a new cup with Elizabeth today and she loved it!
Elizabeth and her new cup.
After a great day of work, I went to pick up Elizabeth from Laura's house.  She had a great day and so we took a cup of milk with us to go and headed to the gym.
This is the picture I snagged, carrying Elizabeth, a diaper bag, my gym bag, and my water bottle.
After my run and lift session, I grabbed Elizaeth from the gym daycare and we headed to the grocery store.  I needed to pick up some cupcakes and champagne because we are having the neighbors over tonight to celebrate. 

Elizabeth in the grocery store.

After the grocery store, Elizabeth and I headed home to clean up and get ready for dinner.  While I was in the shower, Ben got home early (it was a great surprise!).  We fed Elizabeth and put her to bed and then Ben finished making dinner while I cleaned up and loaded the dishwasher.  We have fabulous pasta and meatballs with garlic bread.

Well...our wonderful neighbors are coming over soon, so we need to finish getting ready to celebrate a great day with champagne and cupcakes. 
So festive!
Have a great night!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thirteen months

Dear Elizabeth,

You are 13 months old!

You are 13 months old today!  I cannot believe it has been one month since we celebrated you turning 1 year old.  This month has flown by and we have been busy, busy, busy.

This month we have been enjoying some snow and some 60 degree sunny days, St. Patrick's Day, and having lots of friends over for visits and playing with our neighbors.

You are wearing size 3 diapers, 18 month clothes, and size 4-5 shoes.  You are eating three meals a day and one snack a day.  You drink milk from a cup with a straw.  You really did not like giving up the bottle; but after a solid week of mom, dad, and Laura pushing the cup, you finally gave in and now happily drink from your cup.  You drink lots of milk (about 24-30 ounces a day) and we have started giving it to you after you eat your food.  Speaking of food- you LOVE food!  You eat just about anything but corn is your favorite.  You like pasta, corn, chicken, turkey, potatoes, corn, pears, avocado, honey dew, cantaloupe, meat balls, bananas, cheese, yogurt, cheerios, and pretty much anything.

We went to the doctor today and you weigh 19 pounds and 4 ounces.  You are 29 inches tall.  You are the same height as last month but I feel like your 12-month pants are too short and we have switched you to 18 months. 

You are cruising everywhere, standing up on your own, and crawling all over the place.  You are not walking on your own yet, but you are thinking about it.  You favorite things to play with are your activity table, your two ride-along, and any ball.  You have gotten into books a little more and enjoy sitting and turning the pages.  You don't like me to read to you, you like to do it by yourself.

Here are some pictures of your adventures this month:

You and Dad today!

Being silly.
I love that smile!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Good morning.  Milk out of her favorite cup.
I LOVE this outfit
(and you had to see it from the back!)
Enjoying a delicious dinner.

We love you and are so proud of you!


Mom & Dad

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We have enjoyed a very leisurely day around the house just relaxing and not getting into much of anything... ha!  As if.
Ben got up before 7am and put the Corned Beef, potatoes, onions, and carrots in the crock pot to cook for eight hours!
I got up at 7:15am and got showered and dressed then got Elizabeth up at 7:50.  We all were showered, dressed, and fed by 8:30 and headed out the door by 8:40. 
We got to church in plenty of time for the 9am Mass and enjoyed chasing Elizabeth around for 50 minutes until Ben took Communion.  We left church at 10am and headed home to give Elizabeth a nap.
While Elizabeth was napping, Ben cleaned up the kitchen and I ran to Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and World Market. 
I was back in time for lunch and play time with Elizabeth by 12:15pm.  Scot arrived around 12:45pm to hang out and watch the Pens game (Go Pens!).
Shelley and Adam arrived around 2:50pm with the most delicious cookies and cupcakes I have ever had. 
At 3pm we enjoye Ben's Corned Beef, veggies, salad, and cookies and cupcakes!  Everyone left a little before 5pm.
We played with Elizabeth until 6pm and then she enjoyed dinner and a bath.
Now...we are enjoying some West Wing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thirsty Thursday is back!

Thirsty Thursday is back today with a goodie but oldie.

We had sprite and vodka tonight.  We fill the glass with ice and then make it with one shot of vodka and then fill the rest of the glass with sprite.

(I got a little artsy with the photos)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Savings

Today I hit up CVS and Giant for some deals on diapers, Easter candy, and food. 

At CVS today, I had two transactions...
Transaction 1:
I bought (3) jumbo packs of Pampers diapers.
They were on sale 2/$20.  If you spend $30, you get $10 ECB.
So...I bought $30 in diapers and used (3) $1.50 off coupons for a grand total of $27.
Total before savings: $35.97
Total spent: $27.00 + $10.00 Extra Care Bucks (ECB) I got back
Total saved: $8.97

Transaction 2:
I bought (2) bags of pretzel M&Ms, (1) bag of Hershey kisses, (2) bags of Starburst Jellybeans,
(1) bag of generic Jellybeans, (2) bags of Cadbury mini eggs, and (1) Ice breakers mints
I used the $10 ECB from my first transaction, plus another $7.49 in other coupons.
Total before savings: $22.47
Total spent: $4.98 + another $7.99 in ECB I got back
Total saved: $17.49
At Giant, I had two transactions...
Transaction 1:
I bought (2) boxes of Texas Toast Garlic Bread, (2) containers of Lactaid Chocolate Ice Cream, (1) bag of Ravioli, (1) bag of Cheese Sticks, (2) mini-containers of  Hagan Daz Ice Cream, (1) box of Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cones, (1) box of Bob Evans Sausage biscuits
The grocery store was running a special, spend $25 on select frozen items and saved $15 instantly!
I also had coupons for the bread, Bob Evans biscuits, and the Cheese sticks.
Total before savings: $37.66
Total spent: $11.07
Total saved: $26.59
Transaction 2:
I bought (1) ALL laundry detergent, (5) bananas, (1) 5lb. bag of potatoes, (1) 2lb. bag of onions, (1) gallon of milk, 4 pounds of Corned Beef, (1) 12oz container of Ricotta cheese, (6) yogurts, (1) package of shredded cheese, (1) package of hamburger buns, and (1) 29oz can of tomato sauce.
I had coupons for the yogurt, laundry detergent, bananas, cheese, and the potatoes were buy one and get one bag of onions free.
Total before savings: $42.92
Total spent: $28.73
Total saved: $14.21
For the day, total before savings: $139.02
Total spent: $71.78
Total saved: $67.24

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Savings

Today we hit up Bath & Body Works, Giant, and CVS. 

I had a coupon for a free travel size product from Bath & Body Works so we stopped by on our way to Giant and picked up some lotion. 
It's a $5 value that I got FREE!
After Bath & Body Works, we went to Giant to do some grocery shopping. 
We have a $50 weekly grocery budget and a $40 weekly "baby" budget (baby items include diapers, wipes, and baby food).

We are good on diapers and wipes this week, so we picked up a few baby food items at Giant along with our groceries.

Today we bought:
(4) boxes of Cheerios*
(3) boxes of Special K bars*
(2) package of Oscar Meyer bacon*
(1) bag of rice*
(1) large container of Stonyfield yogurt
(1) package of hotdog buns
(8) Yoplait yogurts*
(1) block of cheese
(4) bananas*
One pound of turkey lunch meat
(1) gallon of milk
(1) half gallon of milk
(1) orange juice

(2) squeeze fruits*
(1) pork loin
(1) bag of beer battered fish
(2) boxes of jumbo shrimp*

*denotes products I had coupons for

Total before savings: $117.66
Total after savings: $71.88
Total savings: $45.78
Total left of weekly budget: $18.12

After Giant we drove over to CVS so I could load us up on Easter candy while the prices are good. 

Today we bought:

(2) bags of Reese's eggs*
(1) bag of Hershey kisses*
(1) bag of Jelly Beans
(2) Snickers Eggs*

Total before savings: $10.23
Total after savings: $0.61  (That's right, I got our Easter candy for 61 cents!)
Total savings: $9.62

*I had $6 in ECB and two coupons for the candy for another $3 off.  I also received 99 cents back in ECB.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A year in pictures

Since Elizabeth's birthday last week I have wanted to post 'a year in pictures' blog of Elizabeth. are some photos of Elizabeth from the last year.

Welcome to the world sweet girl!
First week.
One month old
Two months old
Three months old
Four months old
Food for the first time!
Playing around.

Five months old
Six months old

Yum Yum!
Seven months old
Eight months old
Nine months old
Ten months old
Eleven months old

Twelve months old
She has grown so much and I can't wait to see what the next year brings.
Elizabeth- I love you!