Polka Dots and Pineapple: Life of Family P

Blessed to be a blessing...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

And 2009 Comes to an End!

Happy New Year!  It's so hard to believe that 2009 is just hours away from being over!  In a very short time we will enter into the second decade of this century and that makes me feel old!  Remember 10 years ago this day when everyone was hyped about Y2K and what was to come of it?!  Crazy times!  I can remember my parents bought a digital camera that day and I was playing with it that night.  I remember it stored the pictures on a 3.5 A disk and each disk only held about 10-12 pictures!  And the camera was only a 2.0 or 3.0 megapixel (if they even called it that then) and it cost an outrageous price!  And to think now how far technology has come just in this past decade!  I can't even imagine the many changes I will see throughout my life!

Our flights were on time and we have safely arrived in Florida and are chilling out for a short time before we meet up with family later.  It is a beautiful day here and in the 80's right now!  P-E-R-F-E-C-T end to 2009!   We are so excited to be on vacation and are looking forward to our time here - no big plans, we just like to take each moment as it comes and do what we feel like at the time.  So who knows what will come of this week!  Rest and relaxation for sure!  And....oh yeah......seafood!

I have to say that I'm quite relieved we've made it!  We've been up since a little after 3 this morning so this little rest time is just what we need.  Another thing that we're thrilled about is that we put away all Christmas decor before we came.  We love it and enjoyed it very much, but the thought of having to return from vacation and do all of that work just wasn't appealing.  Getting everything ready to leave for a vacation is such a process, but so worth it now that we've arrived!

I need to work on my resolutions for the new year.  Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy new year!  Until "next year!" 


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Couponing!

Call me one of those "crazy coupon ladies" but I don't care because I know that saving money is awesome!

I have had some requests from local friends that I share my "couponing strategies" and ways to save money.  The past couple of  years have been full of discussion about the recession and weak economy..... caused by Americans having lived in ways that are above our means.  As newlyweds (well, maybe not-so-newlyweds since Saturday will make 2 years since the big day), we have been very cautious of our family finances in many ways (yes we've made mistakes along the way, but the point is that we've learned from them!).  We took that to another level (or ten levels....it was that good!) of being in charge of our finances when we completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University over the Summer.  I am not even close to knowing it all (about this or any other topic for that matter), but I am pleased that we have cared enough to get ourselves together now so that we can control our financial situation instead of it controlling us.  Such a broad topic......but one of the most simple ways to begin gaining (or maintaining) control of your personal family finances is to control your spending!  That's where couponing (and sales) can make a big difference!

I wanted to give you the list of a few coupon sites I use.  There's no right or wrong way about it and these are just a small fraction of all that is out there.  I encourage you to look at these and click around....by doing so you will discover many others that people have put together.  That is the way that I discovered them.....just playing around!  Many will share the same things and then you can be surprised by finding something cool and different on another one.  It's up and down.....at first I was spending tons of time on it but then I decided I didn't want to be hard-core.  But if you give it some attention each week, then you will see the savings and other promotional deals, etc. 

Remember that some stores do coupon stacking.....Target & Walgreens to name a couple.  That means you can use one manufacturers coupon and one store coupon (for that particular store) on the same item to maximize savings!  Different stores have different policies.....you can find the links within some of the coupon sites to learn more....I don't really spend much time on that. I just use common sense when making purchases.  I could do much better if I researched it more, but I don't want it to become something that takes up too much time.  You can put as much or as little into it as you want.  There are some ideas for organizing that  you can find.  You might also develop your own "system" that works with you -- you will learn that best over time!

I wanted to tell you as encouragement that last night I was running some errands and between Kroger, Target & Walgreens I saved a little over $40 using coupons (lots of manufacturer coupons and I did some stacking with store coupons).  My total out-of-pocket for all of the places I spent just a little over $50 after the coupon savings were applied....that's almost half!!!  For example, I did score 3 boxes of cereal totally free (2 Kashi & 1 Special K), 4 rolls of dental floss free, 3 packages of household cleaning gloves free, and some other good deals too....that's just what I can recall from memory.

Now just remember not to become a "hoarder".....there is a difference between stock-piling your cabinets to use and over-buying things.  I pay attention to shelf life so that items are not wasted.  I put spare items in a hall closet and I will get them out as needed, so I also have to watch the amount of space I am using. I am careful not to let stuff spoil, even if I do get it free or for little money.  This is also a way to be a good giver.  If you get lots of items free or for low cost, you can donate them to the church pantry and families in need.  This is something I'm wanting to do better at. (New Year's Resolution, perhaps?)  Because my time is so limited and I don't want to use it up running around to the different stores, I will dedicate some times where I do really well and get us stocked up.....then other times I only make quick trips to the grocery for perishables such as dairy, meat, bread, etc.  I believe that is smart as well and allows me to maintain a good balance.  I can always tell when I've been busy couponing because I will use up all of our grocery budget one month and we will have full cabinets.  Then the next month I might only use a third or half of the budget just buying the necessities.  But we've yet to be hungry, so I guess the mission is accomplished and it works for us!!  :) 

I could go on and on about this for quite a while, but I don't have time for that right now so I at least wanted to get you started.  These are a few to get you going.  Sorry for the short list, but it's all I can recall from memory:


Let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to help - I am far from an expert though!  Please know that the best way to maximize savings is NOT through coupons alone.....the best way is to find a sale and then combine coupons to score a great deal!  In addition to paper coupons (from the newspaper, printed from the internet), you can further increase savings by using your store's loyalty card and use sites like www.shortcuts.com and www.cellfire.com -- I've only done a little of this, so I am planning to look more into this method soon. 


Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Home for the Holidays!


Not much decoration outside, but our front porch has a little Christmas spirit! I love these pre-lit trees in urns -- after-Christmas bargain last year!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.....Our mantle and fireplace (not lit in this pic)....I fixed the poinsettias so that they are now in coordinating pots.  Take note to our tree topper (the star) on the right -- it worked with our tree last year but it's too heavy for our new tree...maybe I'll catch another after-Christmas sale!

Our tree -- also a bargain last year!  I love that we had done so much Christmas shopping so early this year!  What a relief!  The packages stacked to the right were for our Angel -- does anyone else do this?  If so, isn't it the best part of Christmas shopping?!!  We have more fun doing this than anything else!

This tree is fiber-optic and I got it after Christmas a few years ago at 90% off!  It's fun to see the colors change and I use it to display these large word ornaments. (Please excuse the box under the table -- I'm keeping all wrapping paper, tissue, boxes, etc in here so it's easily accessible for gift wrapping)

I love this pewter nativity set -- so simple, but a great reminder of the reason for Christmas!  It is displayed at an area of focus, just in front of our logs at the fireplace.



I fell in love with this tree skirt last year, so I waited until the day after Christmas and scored a deal!  You can't see the details, but it is red, green, white & silver.  However, this little portion peeking out from the gifts is all that's visible now.  It's bitter-sweet because I'm sad I can't see the skirt, but so thrilled that we did gift buying to early!

Josh added some humor to some of the gift tags -- I enjoyed the surprise...the one is for his little brother!

Christmas cards are one of my favorite things during the season!

That's all I have pictures of.  We enjoy simply decorating our home for Christmas, but we're not into making it extravagant.  Hopefully you enjoyed the quick tour -- now come on and visit!  :)

Our 2009 Christmas Card:

We wish you a Merry Christmas.....and a Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy 101

Kelly sent me this "sweet" award!  Awww, thanks Kelly!

The Rules:
1. 10 things that make me happy!
2. 10 bloggers that Brighten my day!

These are the things make me so happy, happy, happy!  (It is difficult to list only 10!)
1.  Yesterday I completed my Masters from UK....enough said!
2.  My husband is the most super-sweet amazing man!  Besides being all those great things, I also returned home from said trip to finish Masters, to a house that he had cleaned!
3.  Being at home -- I love home!

4.  Having only two more gifts to purchase for Christmas and being able to enjoy the fact that all gifts are wrapped and I can enjoy this:

5.  The fact that our two-year anniversary will be here in a few short weeks (January 2)!
6.  We will be celebrating our two-year anniversary (and New Years Eve) in warm and sunny Ft. Lauderdale!
7.  A four-day weekend to look forward to since Christmas Eve & Christmas are on a Thursday & Friday!
8.  Dave Ramsey and his recommendations for the wonderful personal family finance system we now have going!
9.  An upcoming pedicure that I am looking forward to!
10.  The flannel sheets that I'm still shocked I purchase....but I love them so much for Winter!
*And did I mention how happy I am that I finally finished my Masters?

Blogs that make me happy:
http://werenotolderwerejustbetter.blogspot.com/  (sorry it's private, but I love it)
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/   (not a blog, but such a great website)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Burned Out

Yep, that is me......BURNED OUT!  I am in Lexington right now, scheduled to defend my thesis in a few hours.  My mind is racing and I am so anxious (but in a good way, for the most part).  The time has almost come that I am done! (fingers crossed and I'm saying prayers!)

I have been quite MIA from Blogworld lately -- my heart was there but I knew I couldn't spend time blogging (although it perhaps would have been therapeutic) when I had other things to focus on.  Hopefully I am back for good!  And something I am even more hopeful about...I hope that my next post is about how I'm done with my Masters forever! 

Today (really yesterday, since it's after midnight) has been a day full of emotions on a roller-coaster.  But all in all, I'm just so excited to finally be at this chance.  There have been many ups and downs along the way.  Today has been a day that I realize that I recall song lyrics for certain situations.

Today, the playlist in my mind and heart has included:
- Livin' on a Prayer (thanks, Bon Jovi)
- Three Little Birds  (by Bob Marley, although this is better known to me as "Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright")
- Baby, It's Cold Outside
- Emmanuel, God with us (not sure of the exact title or artist, but this one has given me great peace and calmness today, and that is a good thing!)

In addition to songs, there are sometimes quotes and scriptures that I will recall in certain situations.  Am I the only one or do you do this too?  If so, which ones do you recall most often?

PS: I look forward to updating you on my progress!  Hopefully I will have good news to report! 

Saturday, November 14, 2009


It's kind of strange considering that today has been in the high 60's, but we are officially winterized!  (Our house, that is, not me personally!)

My dear husband (bless his heart!) spent hours upon end this morning working in the yard while I was at a work event.  And when I got back we worked for over 2 more hours!  He raked, sucked up the leaves (yes, we have tons), made the final mow for the year, and we have covered up outdoor pieces to prepare for Winter.

I am so very thankful for the beautiful day today and for my hard-working husband who always takes care of our home!  I can count on moments like this every day to sweetly remind me that I am so very blessed!

Eight bags of chopped leaves from our yard!  And our lot is not even that big! 

The outdoor dining furniture is covered and protected.  No more grilling and outdoor dinners for a while. Sigh.

The outdoor faucets are covered so they are thermalized for the upcoming cold weather.

Home Sweet Home!  

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." -- Joshua 24:15

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On the other side of the world....

On the other side of the world, there is a teenage boy who has a special place in our hearts!  We've never met nor have we spoken.  Yet, he has already become a special part of our family -- we know this is true.  For weeks now, I have had many a conviction about helping someone across the globe.  God has spoken to us and signs have been put in place where we had no doubts that this is the right move right now!  My mind has thought of it so many times -- I get excited, I get scared.....then no actions were taken. 

But the convictions have been stronger this week and I have spent time doing more research about programs to "sponsor a child."  We delightfully chose Compassion International -- their powerful mission statement follows:

Releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name
In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.
YES!  Sign us up!  Thanks to our Mighty God, this is a call we are ready to step up to! 

In "selecting" our child to sponsor, we weren't very specific.  We just knew we were led to choose a teenage boy (teen boys are the ones we have heard are least likely to be picked.....I know, heart-breaking!).  After checking out our options, we knew Arvin was the one for us!

He is 17 years old and lives in the Phillippines with his mother and father, and is one of three children. 

We still have so much to learn about our new  friend!  Soon we will receive more information and we are excited for that!  We will even be able to correspond with him.....and could even have the chance to meet him one day if we wanted to travel over to Asia!

Based on the research and testimonials we've done, we are certain this is only the beginning of a wonderful experience of seeing God at work.  If you are interested in learning more, I highly suggest you check out the Compassion Website as well as Kelly's Korner (she is in El Salvador right now traveling with Compassion and even had the opportunity to meet one of her sponsored children today -- read her amazing posts)!

Meet Arvin!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Bless America!

Happy Veteran's Day!  

I am so very thankful for the freedom we enjoy in our country and I pray that I never take it for granted or forget the price that has been paid!

I want to especially recognize my grandfather, Thomas M. Hayes "Papa," for the time he served our country in Korea in the early 1950's!  Yesterday it was my pleasure to honor him for a nice lunch and hear some of his stories and look at his pictures from when he was an active member of the Army.

Please remember to thank a veteran (and active duty members as well) -- not just one day a year, but every day!  Remember them in your prayers, encourage them, THANK THEM!

Here's some pictures from our lovely lunch yesterday:

When I was in high school, I made a scrapbook for Papa using photos from his days in service.  His vision is now extremely limited, but he was looking through pages, never complaining about anything!

Excuse the poor quality -- it's a picture of a picture!  This is Papa while he was an active serviceman -- he is so handsome!

Josh and I with Nanny & Papa after enjoying lunch!

Mom enjoying the day honoring her parents!  Papa fought for our freedom, while Nanny was a young wife who took care of  everything back home.  They went nearly 2 years without seeing each other -- I can't imagine! I miss Josh dearly after only 2 days apart!  Thank a service person.....and their family!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Mary Ann!

My mother-in-law Mary Ann celebrated her birthday on Halloween Day!  I was THRILLED that we were able to have a birthday celebration for her and pull off the surprise until moments before the revealing!  My mom did a great job getting many things together and it was great to have my grandparents join us too!  We held the birthday lunch at a local Bed & Breakfast where we had our own private dining room to celebrate.  I only hope that this is one of many more wonderful birthday celebrations we can have for her!  Here are the awesome secret-keepers with the birthday girl!

Halloween was that same day, so of course we had to be festive with this fun holiday filled with sweets! 

I was a salsa dancer (this is a throwback costume from Greek Sing 2003!) and I am here between Mary Ann & Daddy, both of which are looking awfully attractive!  EEK!

And then we went out for dinner and music at Wha Bah.  Definitely a great place to see a variety of costumes! Mom arranged with the waitress and the band to sing "Happy Birthday" to Mary Ann and bring her yummy cake -- what a great surprise!  Here are our mothers -- they have become good friends!

And of course, my love and me!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love my girls!

If you know much about me, you probably know how much I adore my Tuesday night women's Bible study! I have been a part of this group for about 2.5 years and since my first time I have been loved and welcomed by all of the girls. Some have come and gone, but one thing that remains is how our group is made up of women after God's own heart. Women who have pure hearts yet admit life's struggles and who are there to love and encourage.....I am blessed to have been welcomed to this group. When I moved from Lexington back to the Bowling Green area, I couldn't wait to be close to Josh. But I also worried about losing my girlfriends. While I still treasure and adore my friendships from my college sisters, my Bible study group is my local group of gals who know my heart (and I know theirs). We represent a large age group, yet everyone is young at heart! We celebrate each other's milestones and God's blessings.

I thank God for the blessing that all of my girlfriends are in my life....every single girlfriend, no matter where she lives!  I love you!

Our current study is "Wild Goose Chase" by Mark Batterson. We've just recently started it but we are being encouraged to have a heart for God and people, to be led by the Holy Spirit. So far I definitely recommend this book and look forward to sharing a review once I've completed it. Sounds like we better buckle down for the "Wild Goose Chase" that so often we lose as Christians -- our faith is fun and exciting, so it's time to dig that back up!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where's my train of thought? Oh yeah, I ate it!

This is a completely random post, but it is funny and I had to share from a conversation between me and my co-workers yesterday. Apparently, I am not the only one who has gained weight at this job. I'm the newest, but they say it's happened to everyone (GEEZ....NOT GOOD! But that's another story for another day!). Yesterday in conversation we were discussing that not only when you start working for my organization that you put on pounds, but you also start losing focus because so much is going on at once. So when I said in agreement with them that I was trying to find my train of thought, my boss so hilariously replied, "You ate it!"

Maybe you had to be there, but it was quite a funny conversation! Now, I don't think the weight gain and loss of focus are funny, but I'm working on those! In the meantime, enjoy the humor of what is my life!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chase is NUTS for Halloween!

This is sweet Chase.....a 7 year-old (or 49 years in doggy aging) overweight big-boned Jack Russell Terrier.  Years ago, my parents and little brother dropped me off at college to begin my freshman year and bought him before they even made it back home!  Needless to say, I wasn't too fond of him at first.....after all, I WAS TRADED FOR A DOG!  But it didn't take long for this little sweetheart to grow on me.  I remember when he was a tiny little puppy -- his head was so huge for his little body!  So cute!  And he used to take naps on my chest -- purely precious!

Fast-forward 7 years and you have Chase, who will be dressed as a squirrel for Halloween (I know all of my Alpha Gam girls will love this!).  You have to understand that Chase is not the biggest fan of squirrels -- in fact he will run his little legs off trying to catch them until they scurry up the tree.  This picture captures it great -- Mom believes Chase is so embarrassed that he is dressed as a squirrel that he is in prayer about trying to get out of the situation!  FUNNY!

Enjoy this shot of our cuddly Chase -- his personality rocks!

His says to send any treats his way for Halloween! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thrilled Beyond Words!

I am THRILLED right now!!!! Why? Because I just turned in my final draft of my thesis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes -- again -- but that's not the point)

This project has been extended over a very long time and I am so excited to finally (hopefully) be near the point of receiving my Masters degree! After all, Josh hung both of our Bachelors diploma frames on the wall and when he did, he measured for the spot for my M.S. frame too.....well, our wall has been lop-sided to say the least!

Hopefully my graduate committee will approve this draft with no more changes and then we can schedule my defense!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A review from 'the sheet snob'

In college when I lived in a cute townhouse with four other girls, my adorable friend Meagan referred to me as a "sheet snob." (Amy, you were this way too, wouldn't you agree?) We all had our own things that we were particular about and bed sheets just so happened to be mine! For example, "water snobs" won't drink water out of the tap, but require it from a Brita filter (this is definitely not me).

I became the "sheet snob" because I always had to have a high thread-count set of bed sheets. (BTW, T.J. Maxx has been a place I've found affordable nice sheets in the past) Needless to say, things didn't change when I married. I wasn't particular about much that we were getting to start our home together, but you better believe that I made sure we had a nice set of sheets for our new bed! Now in doing so, I knew we would only have one set (meaning that you have to strip your bed and wash the sheets in the same day....no spare set in this case). You might be surprised that Mr. P and I made the decision this week that with the recent temperature drop, we were going to need to invest in some flannel sheets. You probably wouldn't believe that "the sheet snob" went to Walmart Friday night and no joke.....purchased a set of Queen size flannel sheets for $15!!! I washed and dried them first thing yesterday morning and made the bed up, so last night was our first night climbing in....and they were AH-MAZING!

Yes, I look forward to Spring when I can trade the flannel for my 1000-thread-count set, but in the meantime, I totally recommend flannel sheets for Winter! But be forewarned, the toasty bed is very hard to emerge from in the mornings! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Nicole!

Here's wishing Nicole a very happy birthday today!

It's her last birthday as a single lady!

Nicole, time is flying! I remember when we were roomies and you turned 21 -- can't believe it's already been 5 years! LOVE YOU!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Play it safe!

Hey All, I know this a boring post and I won't do much of this. Typically I ignore most forwards, but this one stuck out and I just wanted to make sure my friends and family are aware of it. Always better to be safe than sorry! This is the email I received:

Warning..!!!! Warning..!!!! Warning..!!!!
Just last weekend on Friday night we parked in a public
parking area. As we drove away I noticed a sticker on the
rear window of the car. When I took it off after I got home,
it was a receipt for gas. Luckily my friend told me not to
stop as it could be someone waiting for me to get out of the
car Then we received this email yesterday:

Heads up everyone! Please, keep this circulating... You walk
across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You
start the engine and shift into Reverse.
When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your
parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle
of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your
doors, and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or
whatever it is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach
the back of your car, that is when the carjackers appear out
of nowhere, jump into your car and take off. They practically
mow you down as they speed off in your car.
And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car.
So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your
money, and your keys.. Your home and your whole identity are
now compromised!

If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just
drive away. Remove the paper later. And be thankful that you
read this e-mail. I hope you will forward this to friends and
family, especially to women. A purse contains all kinds of
personal information and identification documents, and you
certainly do NOT want this to fall into the wrong hands.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet Mr. P!

This is Mr. P -- my love, my best friend, my husband, my everything!  Since I became Mrs. P, life has been so amazing in ways that I can't even describe!  I quote that country song to him all the time "if I could make a living out of loving you, I'd be a millionaire in a week or two" -- and I mean every word of that!  I know that God brought us together and had this wonderful marriage planned for us long before we ever met (which was just a little over three short years ago).  Mr. P is a sweetheart.....and he's mine!  I just adore this man who is the head of my house and the love of my life.  Mr. P does lots of sweet things for me, including planning our recent beach trip for my birthday (see photo above).  I absolutely love all of the sweet and simple ways he shows love to me daily!  Each day is filled with his random acts of love for me, but he has done a couple of special chores this week as well -- and it still makes my heart pitter-patter when I think about them because they truly show the definition of unconditional and sacrificial love.  My least favorite household chore is cleaning the floors and my Mr. P has swept and mopped our entire house!  Another thing is that he washed my vehicle (another chore I despise) because I believed it was in need of a "bath" -- and he took my Explorer and washed it up even though he knew it would rain the next day.  From the sweet text messages, constant concern over my well-being, making meals and special treats, keeping our lawn mowed, working his butt off to support us, to his good morning greetings, and night-time love, I am so thankful to be Mrs. P to this man!

The song in my head

The song in my head lately is a beautiful one and it's played on my desk radio multiple times today.  I think it's very uplifting!  It's called "The words I would say" by Sidewalk Prophets

Check it out!

(You can click the title of this post for the link)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcome to my Blog!

Hey! I have considered starting a blog for quite some time now and finally a few weeks ago I registered the name I wanted. The reason I plan to blog is because I enjoy writing and I wanted to have an account of the Life of Family P. For years I was a scrapbooker, but have lost out on that hobby it seems. Yet I still think recording memories to not only enjoy yourself but also share with others is so important! Thanks for coming by and hopefully you'll be back! ~Mrs. P