Monday, October 31, 2011

Restaurant Coupons

Have you ever used a coupon at a restaurant? The most commonly seen coupons are the Ruby Tuesday coupons that they mail to you.. But have you ever looked through your Sunday paper.

On any given Sunday I get the following coupons: O'Charley's, Logan's and Olive Garden... among others.

Last Sunday I got a special BOGO Entree coupon for Logan's. I decided that Hunter and I would try it out one day and see how we could make the coupon work for us.

Hunter loves to make fun of my couponing.. but yet, he loves the money we save too! He even calls his mom to brag when I make a good buy. ;) Silly boy. So lately, we decide were we want to go eat, based on what coupons I have.

Sunday we both got a steak with two sides, and drank water. With our BOGO entree coupon our meal came up to a total of $14.00 after tax and tip was added. How great is that??! We smiled to ourselves and were very happy. Our food was good, and $7.00 for a steak and two sides is a deal that can only be rivaled to home cooking!

Yay coupons! Most restaurants have loyalty clubs that will mail you coupons. Sign up, yes.. it may be a little like spam, but saving on your meal is worth it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I just want to GRADUATE, (again)!

Wow... this week has been a whirlwind.

My advisor here makes me sick, like... when I have to meet with him I have a nervous break down and feel the need to throw up.... sick. He is rude, and never really helpful.

When I went for my final semester of advising I was a NERVOUS WRECK, to say the least. But, I got the classes I wanted, and he actually filled out my graduation paperwork with me. This visit was not without another very uncomfortable conversation about my money and marriage, or lack there of. But, I was happy with my classes, so I left with a smile. It may have been I was just glad to get out of there... Only time would tell.

This was about a month ago. Here I am this week, trying to register for classes and lo and behold... one of the classes I had been advised to take, was no longer being offered. No notice, no warning. Just when I searched for the class to register, it did not exist.

After a whirlwind of emails, to which my advisor never responded, another teacher told me I would have to wait until the summer to take the course and graduate then. I thought, this can't be happening... I have worked so hard... done so much... I emailed a few other people, asking what my options were. I was desparate for answers.

Finally on Wednesday I was emailed with an alternate course to take, after emailing my advisor again, and copying the chair to the email. I thought I was safe! However, when I tried to register for the course, it said I didn't have the prerequisites.

I was frantic. I emailed the professor and after discussing the prerequisites with her, I had more than enough. The prerequisite was statistics... Um, hello? Math major calling!

Again, I thought I was safe. She told me to expect an email from her Office Associate when it was clear for me to register. Upon receipt of the email, she had opened a spot in the wrong class for me. Again, my heart sank.

After a long discussion and a friendly bond created from one office associate to another, the mistake was corrected and yesterday, I finally finished registering for what will be my last semester as a math major! Thankfully, I emailed the graduate school and none of my already processed paperwork has to be redone.. another burden off of my shoulders.

Praise the Lord for His infinite blessings! His hand was definitely all over this situation! Even though it was a bumpy ride, I am going to make it out with my Masters degree!

I honestly can't wait to get out of this math department. It is the source of all my woes during the past two years, mainly due to my poor advisor. I have put in an application for my PhD in Higher Education Administration, and I am still waiting on the results from that and whether I am accepted or not. We shall soon see.. I should get my letter sometime around February 2012. And I look forward to seeing what God has in store. Regardless, beginning in January, I will be putting applications in to schools all over the state. The journey may take a big jump, again. And I can't wait to see what happens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I am in love with all things spicy. I love hot wings, but I am not necessarily a fan of the mess. I first had a buffalo chicken pizza while in DC with Mary-Anne at California Pizza Kitchen.

So, earlier this week I had grilled chicken and didn't want to just have plain left over chicken. As I was sitting at my desk I pondered what would be easy and tasty. Taking inspiration from my friend Jackie I decided to just try something, so I settled on what I would hope to turn out well... The end result? Buffalo chicken pizza.

Disclaimer: I am a total measurements girl - it goes with the OCD, but for some reason I just threw this together... next time I will try to better the recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Pizza crust (store bought, home made, you choose)
Buffalo Wing Sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
2 Chicken breasts (grilled or boiled)

I first prepared my crust and then did a thin layer of ranch dressing, in place of pizza sauce. I chopped my chicken and then tossed the chicken in a bowl with the buffalo sauce. I then spread my sauce covered chicken over the crust and ranch and topped with some shredded cheese. I forgot to take pictures throughout, but here is the finished product:

Note: This recipe was a total miss with Hunter! HAHA! However, you can't blame him, he doesn't like wings, ranch or cheese.... So there was no hope. But, he at least tried it! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

200 days

As a math person, it is in my nature to use numbers all the time. A while back I started a countdown (I am very fond of countdowns).

Today marks 200 days until I graduate with my Masters degree in Mathematics!!!

I am so excited to be close to accomplishing this goal in my life!

This road hasn't been easy. And I am beginning to experience what most call senioritis. I am tired, worn out, and weary. The Lord knows our every thought and need and he has blessed me in many ways already this week.

It is a beautiful thing to be able to discuss the Lord, reading the bible, or just reading devotionals with the one you love. To share a true bond like this has blessed me beyond imagination.

And, just as God knows exactly what we need, I leave you with a segment of today's Girlfriends in God devotional.


Girlfriend, exhaustion is epidemic among us gals. I tell you what… let’s talk more about this tomorrow. For today, just rest in knowing that God has a plan for your life and that He loves you dearly!

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, I’ll admit, I’m tired today. I need the refreshment that only You can give. Send the Holy Spirit to reinforce my spirit today! I am expecting His energizing force! Help me to reflect on You and Your goodness all day long.
In Jesus’ name,

I pray today that the Lord would fill your cup, and mine, to overflowing. To bless us beyond our imagination. To use His strength to carry us through the trials and snares of the life. Lead us and guide us oh God. Show us your way, and teach us to walk in it! Make our paths straight oh Lord!! Help us to not stray from You. ~Amen

Thursday, October 13, 2011

800+ miles

So many friendships are broken after high school and college. There are few lasting friendships that truly bless us.

I am fortunate enough to have one of those friendships. Yeah, I had my worries, and I am sure my bestie did too. Never in my life did I know that I could grow closer to my best friend when she moved 800+ miles away.

But, it's the little things. Things like chatting on Gchat every day at work. Texting up a storm and calling when we can. Skyping to work out together, or just watch a TV show together, like GLEE. :) Those are the things that have held us together and have made our bond stronger. Never could I have imagined a better friend, a truer bestie.

Just this past week, in light of my love for snail mail, I received an adorable card from Mary-Anne!

Isn't that cute? And, check out the back!

Mary-Anne and I complete each other. She an English person, we have completely opposite thought processes and ideas. Math and English make best friends! I help her with problem solving, she edits all my research papers. To us, it is a win, win.

So, to my Brain, my best friend. Thanks for your thoughts and kindness! Here's to many more wonderful and fun filled years!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pizza Rolls

Last week when I got home I was craving pizza. I had had a long day at work and with classes and did not feel like venturing out for food. I wanted to use what I had at home, and here is what I ended up with.

Pizza Rolls:
1 tube, crescent rolls
pizza sauce
assorted cheeses

I layed the crescent rolls out in the individual triangles, and at the base of the triangle, put a small spoonful of pizza sauce. I then layered three pepperoni's, and a pinch of two types of cheese onto the sauce. I used cheddar and parmesan.

I then rolled them into crescents, being careful to keep my ingredients inside, and baked using the directions on the crescent packet.

YUM! No hassle, no driving, SUPER CHEAP! A college kids dream, and fun if you have kids! Enjoy!

CVS Trip - Oct 3

If you go to a couponing class or ask a couponer, they will tell you that you can get the most for your money on personal care items at CVS. The trick to grabbing the best buys at CVS are:

1. Enrolling in their ExtraCare card program. It is free, and they don't spam your email. With an ExtraCare card you can get what is called ExtraCare Bucks, or ECB's for short, on qualifying items.

2. Rolling your transactions.
ECB's vary in amount by the products that you buy. It is like gaining free cash. Last week, I bought a bottle of Dawn dish liquid for $0.97, and received $1 in ECB's. Those ECB's can be used at any CVS, just like real money or a coupon! So, you can say I either received my dish soap for free, or got another item for $1 off.

Here comes the essential part. You must 'roll' your ECB's. Say I am going to CVS, I need shampoo, body wash, dish soap and contact solution - the items I needed last week. I split my transactions. I bought shampoo and body wash and gained $6 ECB's, then I bought the dish liquid and contact solution. I was able to use my $6 ECB's along with my coupons for $7.25 off my total purchase.

How my trip measured up:

Price at Walmart $3.48 each
(2) Pantene shampoos @ 2 for 6.97, I had a $3 off two coupon so I paid  $3.97 for the pair, I also received $1 in ECB's for this purchase, so all told, I spent $2.97 for two full size bottles of shampoo - That is $1.48 cents EACH!

 (2) Softsoap body washes @ 2 for $6, I had a $1.00 off coupon and received $4 in ECB's for the pair. So, I paid $1.00 for the pair, that is $0.50 EACH! These sell for $2.98 at Walmart.

The total cost of my first transaction was $10.14, with $5 in ECB's received. :) I used a total $4 in coupons.

Then I bought (1) Dawn dish liquid for $0.97 and used a $1.00 off coupon, dish liquid=FREE! I always use my ECB's to make emergency purchases, and since I left my contact solution at home this past weekend I bought a twin pack of contact solution that was on sale. I used my $5 in ECB's and received $3 more ECB's with the purchase. The twin pack was $13.79

Sells for $13.98 at Walmart
$13.79-$8 in ECB's, That means I paid $5.79 for pair, practically getting one whole bottle of solution for free. :)

The total cost of trip number two was $11.13 (I had to purchase pencil lead for my emergency item with no coupons, the woes of graduate school) and received $3.00 in ECB's. I also used a total of $7.25 in coupons and ECB's.

This was my first time rolling transactions and using my ECB's to pay for the next transaction. It didn't take much more time that planning my regular list. I looked to see what was on sale, marked what ECB's I would get, and then split my transaction to maximize my savings. Overall, I would say it was a very successful trip!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Computer Science, Anyone? (Tutorial)

Recently I have been admiring all the beautiful organization schemes of other bloggers. And with my blog being a hodge podge of many random subjects I wanted a way to organize and categorize everything.

Problem is, I am short on the programming brain cells. Yep, you got that right. I am a math person, and math and computer science while going hand in hand work well together, but you rarely find someone proficient in both. So... Computer Science skills 1, Keri - 0.

I wanted to find an easy way to do this without programming and html, so I explored some of the gadgets already provided by blogger. There is a labels gadget and a pages gadget which can be very useful! I added both to my page, so I could see how they worked... played around with each, and below is what I came up with. I wanted my posts categorized by the labels I already placed on them, in addition to a home page and an About me page.

So here goes, a mini tutorial for others who would like to do the same!

Step 1: One the layout page, add the pages gadget to the top, (or side) of your page by clicking add gadget, selecting pages and placing it on your page.

NOTE: As you can see, I am using the new blogger UI (user interface) so yours may look a little different if you aren't using the new UI.

Step 2: Once you have added the gadget, go and edit your pages. In the new interface, click the drop down box and select pages:

Step 3: Create a new page. First, I created an about me page. Choose new blank page from the drop down menu and type what you would like to be on the page, almost like a regular post. Save that.. and make anything your heart desires!

Step 4: Now I want my posts categorized by label into pages... so I picked some categories by browsing through my labels. This is when exploring the label gadget came in handy. I noticed for it to link posts by label it used the following URL:*****

Here, ***** is the label that I chose.

So this URL for you would be: http://"yourblogname""labelthatyouwant"

Once you have chosen what labels you want to use... now you can make your pages!

Step 5: Click the New page drop down and then click the web address option. The following window will pop up:

Here I typed what I wanted the name of my Page to be and inserted the search URL that I created from my labels. Again, add as many as your like on whatever you like. You can order your pages however you want, and then ta-da! You are done! Save your work and go look at your awesome new blog pages! ;)

Ahh! The finished product as underlined in red!

I am so excited to have my blog categorized now! Yes, I definitely love organization WAY TOO MUCH! But hey, that is just part of being me!

If you didn't already know how to do this, I hope this tutorial was helpful! If you did already know, thanks for reading! ;)

When I first saw my finished product I told my friend Mary-Anne, "maybe being in a group with the CS guys is making me smarter?!" HAHA! Too funny!

Hope you all enjoy and have a great weekend filled with blessings from the Lord!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snail Mail

Snail mail makes my day!

Checking my mail has been different since Hunter returned from basic and AIT. I have been working on the urge to run to the mailbox every time I get home... I keep reminding myself, "Hunter is here.. you can actually talk to him now"!

Yesterday, I checked my mail with no real expectations except maybe some junk mail. To my surprise I had received two unexpected pieces of mail!

One from Lauren in Afghanistan and one from my friend Stacey. Stacey goes to school in Mobile now, but I met her in Troy. She has sent me random things throughout my time in Tuscaloosa just to keep in touch, like this precious gem!

Made by Stacey :)

What sweet friends!

Lauren's mail takes a while to get here, as does mine to her... but it is so fun being able to communicate with her in this way. 6 months until my girl comes home! Here is a picture of the letter she sent, it brought me to tears... she means the world to me. Letters sure do take a beating when they travel so far.

I am so thankful for these girls and many others in my life who truly care and make it known. God bless them! Praise the Lord for them!

Oh, Happy day!

Lately, I have been in a slump. I am sick, tired, worn out and exhausted. These feelings have become a part of my every day life, and I am slowly learning to cope with them.

The past few weeks however, I have let the rude comments and remarks of others get the best of me. My main love language is 'Words of Affirmation' and I take what people say and do to heart. I know I shouldn't, and that I don't need to worry about things like that... and that is something I work on daily.

Last week, I just couldn't take it any longer, I took off work after lunch and made the journey home.  People had been rude, my student worker hadn't done his job, and I was stressed with school, starting to get sick and OH so tired.

Side note: My student worker never does his job, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Unfortunately on top of his usual laziness, last week, he neglected to do a weekly report that he has been doing for the past two years. Nothing out of the ordinary people, no special demands. No extras. So, at 11am as I was working to get everything I needed to do for the rest of the day finished, my boss asked about the report. I frantically finished a seven page report in one hour. It wasn't the fact that I had to work frantically to get it finished, it was the fact that this kid has all week to accomplish this.. and come Friday he hadn't even started. Anyways....

So, after a very stressful morning, Hunter and I began the journey to my hometown. Friday night we celebrated my high school homecoming. ZC beat NB for the first time in 5 years... and we won homecoming! It was definitely different being back there... but it was good to see some old faces.

Saturday we had a lazy morning with my family and traveled to the Troy game and watched my sister work with the band. My dad was loading hay for a man in Texas and I took the opportunity to show Hunter around the property. We watched my dad load hay, and I took him through some of the fields. That city boy was amazed! He had a great time watching the cows and being in the great outdoors. The Troy game was an interesting one. Things are different and it is weird just sitting and trying to watch a game, as opposed to being in the band. We left during the third quarter to watch the Alabama/Florida game and were very happy to celebrate wins for both of my schools! Go TROY and ROLL TIDE ROLL!

Sunday, was an adventure in itself. Hunter came to church with me... mind you, Hunter is a big city, mega-church kind of guy. So it was interesting bringing him to my down home country church! But, I think he enjoyed it. :) We had lunch with the family and then traveled back to Tuscaloosa.

I cleaned up, unpacked and worked on homework until late into the night. Hunter and I got into our first fight of our relationship.. and it was all over a miscommunication! HAHA! He was so sweet... as I was angrily unpacking he walked up behind me turned me around and just hugged me. (JUST like in the movies!) I cried I was so angry, and because I was so happy to have him there, and to know that one little fight wasn't going to ruin us. He is truly a blessing.

So here we are... back to the daily grind. I hope you each have a wonderful week, filled with many blessings!