Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Thrifty Finds (Shocker, Right?!)

I’ve never made it a secret that I don’t have a big clothing/fun money budget ever since I stopped working last year when my son was born. Thankfully my DH has a better paying job now, but we had to use almost all of our savings when he stopped working this summer to take time to fix up our house (and then move). So, right now we’re in the process of building our emergency fund back up again, which means all extra funds currently go to that.

In the meantime, I really need some fall clothing updates – stuff like leggings and a pair of skinny jeans. I made out a list, and then figured out the cost of those items. It only came to $370. HA! Thankfully, my birthday is in December, and then there’s Christmas, so I should be able to get a lot of the items on my list. My biggest wish-list item is a pair of tall gray boots. :) (Santa are you listening?!!! :)

Anyway, my husband feels bad for me, so he gave me the last $9 of his birthday money that he had left over! (This is either really sad to you or really funny, depending on your perspective on money! :) To me it’s a little of both! lol

Well, I stepped into Salvation Army yesterday for their 50% off sale, and found 3 clothing items. My total? $9 and change. I was a happy girl and when I told Chris he was amused. :)

(These pictures are plain horrific. It’s cloudy/raining here today, there was horrible light in the bedroom, and I’m no photographer to begin with, so I’m just giving you fair warning that they’re pretty bad.)

Item number one – gray and black striped dress from Target:


I can tell by the tag that it’s a little old, but I like the “mod” look of it. I’m imagining this with black leggings or tights and some tall black or gray boots (thankfully, I already have black ones). When it gets colder, I might layer a black long-sleeve t-shirt underneath it, Kelly-style.

Item number two – black ruffle t-shirt from Ann Taylor Loft.


I promise it’s really not brown or faded – that’s just my killer photography skills at work. I think this will be adorable under a cardigan this fall.

Item number three – 3/4-length cowl-neck top from Target


Simple but classic. I can wear this with jeans or to church.

The last three items cost a total of $1.25 last week at Goodwill (and you’d better believe I paid with coins from my change purse! haha)

Tiny canister, good for crafting, spices, you name it:


Porcelain plate (it came with an ugly blue ribbon threaded through it, but I can imagine switching the ribbon out for the holidays and using it to put a couple of cookies or treats on):


Handmade chippy beach bowl (I think I’ll use this in my beachy bathroom to put my rings and jewelry in – whenever God decides to give me my own house again!):


Thrifting is SO much fun and oddly relaxing and adrenaline-inducing at the same time for me. Have you found anything good at thrift stores lately?

Linked to:
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Three new and fun things are happening here at This Blessed Life!   

{1} I am now an affiliate of  You will see their button ----> on my site from now on.  PurpleTrail is an awesome online printing company that has hundreds of choices for basically any invitation or card need you could think of (bridal showers, thank-yous, birthday invites, Christmas cards, etc.)  They are a really neat company and I am excited to be working with them. 

In case you’re unfamiliar with how affiliate links work, anytime my link is clicked and it leads to a purchase, I will get a small commission.  I would never, ever promote a company that I didn’t believe in.  I’ve done my homework on their site and really feel confident in promoting them to you.  I will do a more detailed write-up soon about how their site works, but for now I just wanted to explain why that ad was over there. 

{2} I’m also excited to introduce NEPA Mom, my new advertiser for the month of October!  Here’s her bio:

I am a stay at home mother to four beautiful children.  My husband and I were both born and raised in NEPA but left when we got married .  After 8 years living in the Central PA area we are back in NEPA and I am on the hunt for family friendly activities and companies that make my busy life easier!  I will keep you posted on what I find!

I know a few of you reading are from Northeastern PA, so you should definitely pay her a visit – she scopes out the best family-friendly opportunities in the area for you!  Even if you’re not from NEPA, you should still stop by to check out her occasional giveaways!  She is a very sweet person and she is also on a whole foods kick too, which gives her extra brownie points in my book.  :)

{3} I’m in the process of getting a blog design done, by Sarah Ann of Bon Blog Designs.  She has been extremely accommodating of my severe lack-of-computer-skills, and I’m soooo excited to finally get my new design up!  Hopefully it should be finished soon. 


One last word, and then I’m finished – I know that people have a love-hate relationship with ads on personal blogs.  I am a stay-at-home mom who loves blogging as a hobby, so when the opportunity comes up to make a little bit of extra money for my family, I take it.  I figure that since I’m going to be blogging anyway, why not try to make a few dollars at the same time?  I hope you can understand why I’ve made this choice, even if putting ads on your blog isn’t something you’d personally do.  I can’t please everyone, (Edit: I just lost a follower and this has only been posted for 30 seconds! lol! Sheesh!) but my husband is on board with this and that’s good enough for me! 

Thank you so much for reading!  :)


{Comments on this entry are closed.}

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Fall Traditions Do You Have?

As Luke gets older, it’s getting more important to me to start certain traditions with him.  I have great memories from growing up of certain traditions with did every year, and I think it’s wonderful to give your kids solid family times of bonding and fun that they can look forward to year after year. 

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So I’m curious – what fall traditions do you have?  I always make my pumpkin-chocolate chip bread sometime in September, and I decided that this year was a good year to start making it on the first day of fall.  We’re living with my parents right now until our house sells (please pray!), so last night we also had chili (my mom’s recipe is out of this world) with great crusty bread. 

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So….chili and pumpkin bread the first night of fall.  I like that. :)

I’m going to be taking Luke to the pumpkin patch within the next few weeks to get some fun autumn pictures.  He was only 3 months old last year, and not super strong with his head, so we didn’t get any, even though I really wanted to go.  I think I like the idea of going to the pumpkin patch the first Saturday in October.   

Last year Lindsay and I made autumn jam over Columbus Day weekend, and since she is going to be here this year for C-Day, I think we’re going to do it again! (sweeeeet).  It’s a delicious blend of sugar, pumpkin, and spices that tastes fab-u-lous on biscuits.  Mmmmmm.  Oh and last year I also had a Fall Party at my house where everyone had to bring something fall-flavored or fall-colored.  I ate so much I almost felt sick.  But it was awesome.  I was looking forward to doing it again but clearly that’s not gonna happen since we moved 2 states away!

Anyway, I’m curious: what else do YOU do as a family?  We don’t celebrate Halloween, so I’m looking for ideas other than that.  Would you mind sharing?  I’d love to hear!  Kids or no kids, I’d love to hear what you do so I can steal all your ideas learn from your creativity. :)

Happy weekend!!!  :)

New Friend Fridays

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our September Weekend

I don’t usually write about my personal life too much on here – mostly because I don’t feel like taking the time and also because I’m not sure how many people would want to read about my daily life.  But this weekend was pretty wonderful and I decided it was blog-worthy. :)

Before I begin, let it be said that my child is in desperate need of a haircut.  My parents love his hair long and curly, so I have let it go a little while, but it is getting cut this week because I can’t take it anymore!

Anyway, Friday was Chris’s birthday, and unfortunately he was dealing with allergies so he didn’t feel so hot.  We will be going to Cheesecake Factory in 2 weeks to celebrate his birthday and our belated anniversary, but since he didn’t feel well we stayed in.  I made him one of his favorite dinners (homemade mac’n’cheese) and then birthday cake. 

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Luke was so confused as to why the lights were off, there was a fire in front of his face, and everyone was singing. :)

chris b-day and big e 013 On Saturday we went to the Big E in Springfield, Mass.  The Big E is kind-of a New England Institution….you know, like clam chowder and cold winters. :)  It is a GIANT 2-week long fair and it is SO much fun.  It has all of your typical fair “factors” like rides, a circus, food vendors, etc. 

Luke absolutely loved being up close and personal with animals he’s only ever seen on dvd!  lol

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What sets the Big E apart (to me) are the “State Houses.”  Every state in New England has its own mini state house at the fair (and by mini I mean still huge but not as huge as the real state house it’s a replica of).

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Inside each state’s house are crafts, products, and food for sale that are representative of each respective state.  The food is soooooo stinkin’ good.   

I decided to have very small portions of everything so that I wouldn’t feel sick at the end of the day.  Not that I would know that from past personal experience or anything. 

I sampled……..blueberry pie with ice cream, an apple cider slushie, creamy clam chowder, draft root beer, pork bbq (okay was technically marketed as “Texas-style” but it was so good we’ll let it slide), flat-crust pizza, and a Maine baked potato.  The chowder was the only thing I finished myself. There’s also much more New England food available, like maple candy and syrup, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, lobster rolls, etc. 

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Outside of the state houses, I also had some kettle corn, candy, and hot apple cider.  I was too busy enjoying the food to remember to take a picture – except for the kettle corn.  YUM. 

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While we ate we listened to a little band perform on the green of an old-fashioned New England village that is also inside the fairgrounds.  Awkward funny picture of me ---------> :)

It was a tiring but awesome day.  P.S. If you live in New England (or even Western New York) the Big E runs til October 3rd, so you still have time!).

On Sunday we planned on going to church, but Luke had a really bad night and then went back to sleep at 7, and since Chris and I didn’t think he’d sleep really long we didn’t set alarms and thus didn’t make it to church.  We relaxed all morning and afternoon, and then around 4:00 we went to a beautiful local state park on the water.  It was perfect.  Anyone else think that September is pretty much the best month, weather-wise?  I just realized that today. 

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We took Luke in his stroller and just took our time and Luke laughed at all the dogs running by with their owners and we showed him the ocean for the first time and it was just so, so, so ridiculously beautiful. 

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When I am near the ocean I feel at peace and so close to God.  I am so thankful to be back near the sea! 

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So that was our weekend.  I figured it was worth documenting. :)

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Miscellany Monday {5}

1. Rumbles
The road my parents live on got pretty messed up in some flooding last year and there is currently a roadwork crew digging it up to try to repair it. Everything in our house is vibrating – including my butt. :) People who live in California, you have a new level of sympathy from me. I do not like feeling the house shake beneath me!

2. Sugar ‘n’ Spice

The first “official” day of fall is this Thursday, which also means I’ll be baking my pumpkin chocolate chip mini breads. All I do is take a Pillsbury pumpkin-bread mix, make it as directed, and then add chocolate chips to it and put it in mini bread loaves. They are ridiculously fabulous and easy and I will be looking forward to them all week. This is what happens when you are a stay-at-home-mom who is watching her calories. lol

3. Anticipation
Thursday also happens to be the resumption (?) of one of my most-looked-forward to shows. The show shall remain nameless, since as a good Christian girl I’m a little ashamed, but I just can’t stop myself from watching! Plus, I figure that it you know what I’m talking about, you probably watch it too and therefore aren’t judging. haha!

4. Lots of love
I taught Luke to blow kisses this past week. Although his version involves making the kissy sound and holding his hand to his mouth. (In other words, he kisses himself and doesn’t give any away. haha) I think it is the cutest thing ever! I love watching his little mind put things together!

5. Random poll
Do you have trouble sleeping if there are lights or noise in the room? If so, are you a firstborn? As the firstborn in my family, I can’t sleep if there are lights or noise, which is why I always have an eye mask and earplugs handy by my bed. Luke is also very sensitive to noise when he sleeps (although he’s getting better), which has started my family on this discussion that parents are super quiet when their first babies are sleeping, which leads them to be sensitive sleepers as adults, as well. I never need sleeping pills or anything – and once I’m asleep, I sleep really, really well. So I’m curious – do you think your sleep is related to your birth order??

That’s all for today – have a great Monday and be sure to visit Carissa’s blog for more random thoughts! :)

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Image credit:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clean Eating: Delicious Spinach and Feta Brown Rice

MmmmmmMMMMMM do I have a good one for you guys today! This recipe is originally from The Biggest Loser cookbook, and it is FANTASTIC. Lindsay posted it a while ago on her blog after we made it together one day, but since we still eat so much of this I figured I would post it on here, too. The best part is that if you make it with Minute rice, like I do, you can make it in less than 15 minutes (and probably in less than 10 once you get good!).

Here’s the recipe, but seriously, you don’t really need the measurements after the first time. I promise it will be okay. ;)


Spinach and Feta Brown Rice

rice 004

1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup brown rice {I use Minute brown rice
b/c it makes for a fast lunch}
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
3 TB feta cheese
salt/pepper to taste {I always add red pepper flakes, too}

Begin cooking rice. While it is steaming, lightly mist skillet with olive oil {I pour a little in rather than spray}. Add onion and garlic to pan {I add garlic about 3 minutes in so it doesn’t get burned}. Stir occasionally for 4 to 6 min over medium heat, until tender. Do not let the onions turn brown. Add rice and spinach. Cook until the spinach is completely wilted. Stir in the cheese and season with salt/pepper. Serve immediately.

--------------------- The combo of salty cheese, chewy brown rice, spicy red pepper and crunchy onions is seriously AWESOME. Even Luke (who is suddenly a very picky eater for me) downs this meal like there’s no tomorrow. Lindsay has also made it with couscous, and I’ve made it with bulgur, and it comes out great all 3 ways.

Oh, and if your family isn’t into brown rice yet, make this with white rice and then ease into the brown. Remember what I taught ya? ;)

Enjoy! :)

Linked to these foodie parties:
Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table @ All the Small Stuff
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed With Grace
Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thrifty Shopping - Just for Me :)

Normally, when I have money to burn (ha! yeah right!), I spend it on stuff for my house. I know what I like, it’s easy, it’s cheap, and I don’t have to try it on. (I swear, there is NO brand of clothing out there made for my body type. Ugh! Moving on….)

Anyway, I have been able to purchase a few fun items lately just for me, not for my house, and I thought I’d share them with you!

Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, from my friend Kathy’s yard sale - $1. I am so glad she didn’t like the scent, because I think it smells awesome!

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I actually purchased this a year or two ago but it was before I had a blog. An Ann Taylor leather bag in beautiful condition for $2! late august early sept 017

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I used to use this as my school bag when I was a teacher, but I decided that I’m going to use it as my diaper bag this fall. My current diaper bag is verrrry large (you’re probably laughing right now if you know me in person!), and while it was great for carting around bottles and cans of formula, that’s not necessary anymore. The thin “belt” dates it a little, but I’m going to use it again this fall and probably one more season after that.

Also an old purchase, but one of my favorites from last year: simple gold Lia Sophia hoops from the flea market – only $1. I love the subtle detailing and the fact that they’re a tarnished/softened gold – not bright yellow.

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Cute woven top from Old Navy - $5.99 at the consignment shop

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GORGEOUS Bandolino leather and suede flats - $6.40 on sale (also from that shop). I am totally, completely in love with these shoes. I can’t even tell you how many times a day I look at them. I may have a problem.

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A Hato Hasi quilted purple purse, on clearance for $2 at a different shop. Anyone else ever heard of this brand? I never have. I just love the plum color (it looks deeper in person than in the picture) and the fact that it’s a change from my two standard black and brown winter purses.

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So there you have it! A peek into some of my thrifted fall wardrobe and accessory items: about $20 for two bags, earrings, perfume, shoes, and a shirt. Has anyone else found some great fall clothing items lately?

Linked to:

Today’s Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just For Fun!

Stephanie at A Day in the Life of a Grad Student’s Wife tagged me in this fun 8-question meme. Here are my answers to her questions!

1. If you had an extra $200 bucks, what would you do with it?

Buy a decaf, non-fat pumpkin-spice latte from Starbucks, then spend it clothes/shoes shopping. I rarely buy myself brand-new clothes – it’s hard to do on the lunch-money budget! :) Or maybe blow it all on an amazing massage. It’s a crapshoot. :)

2. What color in the crayon box are you?
This question makes me laugh, but if I had to choose, I’d probably say a nice, deep brown. You know, traditional, comforting, goes with everything, the color of coffee and dark chocolate….. :)

3. What's your favorite thing to daydream about?
Decorating my next house (all.the.time.) and being 10 or 15 pounds skinnier! haha

4. If you had extra time and the desire to, where would you volunteer?
I heard once about people volunteering in a NICU to hold foster babies that can’t be placed with families yet due to health restrictions. They hold and cuddle the babies (the whole touch-therapy idea). I think that would be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling – plus you send them back to the nurses when they have a dirty diaper! :)

5. What's your favorite snack food?
Mmmmm…..the morning cookie, plain raw almonds, or sharp cheddar cheese and pepperoni. Oh wait no, just kidding – fresh veggies and dip. Yum.

6. What song(s) always puts you in a great mood?
“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band is the first one that came to mind. Probably because it’s one of the rare songs on the radio that me and DH agree on, and if it comes on we stop talking, turn it up, and start singing. :)

7. What's your favorite scary movie (totally stole that line from Scream ha ha!)
I hate scary movies! lol I never watch them.

8. What's your idea of the perfect day?
Hmmmm….Thanksgiving, to me, is pretty much the perfect day, but I guess it’s a holiday so it doesn’t count, right? A beautiful fall morning in early October; Luke lets us sleep in til about 8. I wake up to find Starbucks’ perfect oatmeal and a pumpkin-spice latte on my kitchen table. :) After hitting up a yard sale or two, I go to get my nails done. We spend the afternoon with Luke at a pumpkin farm or apple orchard, laughing with him and taking lots of pictures (he doesn’t cry or poop all day, obvi). We come home, leave him with my parents for the evening, and Chris and I get dressed up to go out on the town together, since time alone is a rarity these days. That’s pretty much my perfect day! :)

I’m tagging 8 new people: Lindsay, Kathy, Kim, Kelly, Abby, Jessica, Rachel, and Mary

Here are my questions for you!
1. What’s your favorite holiday, and why?
2. If you had a candy jar, what would be filling it regularly?
3. What month of the year is your favorite?
4. Which of the chefs on the Food Network would you want to cook you dinner, and what would you ask them to make you?
5. What store would you love get a $50 gift card to?
6. What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself?
7. What color are your toenails painted right now?
8. If you could live in one other state besides where you live now, what would you choose? (Or what would be your second choice?)

This was fun! No pressure, girls – just something fun if you have writer’s block one day! Can’t wait to see your answers! :)

Image credit:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Start of Fall and the Giveaway Winner

Yesterday was September 1st – definitely a mini-holiday in my book!  I don’t care what the calendar says or how the moon and stars are aligned or blah, blah, blah – September is the start of fall, people! 

Put the Pumpkins in Order

Normally I would have decorated the whole house yesterday – but we’re living with my parents.  I’m pretty bummed about not being able to decorate for the season, but hey, at least I get to experience a full New England fall for the first time in 9 years!  That and my Woodwick “Autumn Harvest” candle will have to get me through it. :) 

Did anyone decorate yesterday?  I’m totally jealous if so. :)

The real point of this post is to announce the blogiversary giveaway winner: RACHEL from A Steady Rain!!     Rachel is another PA transplant and she has an inspiring blog for Christian women.  Congratulations, Rachel! I let time get away from me and was supposed to announce this on Tuesday – sorry about that!  Send me an e-mail at blessedlifeblog {at} gmail {dot} com with your address!  ( picked her as #26 out of 41 – I don’t remember how to do a screen shot without my husband here.  I may be in my twenties but as far as computers go, I may as well be in the Stone Age.) 

We’re traveling to PA this weekend since my husband has Monday off.  It’s kinda bittersweet, since we had an accepted offer on our house and we thought we’d be going to sign papers this weekend.  However, the couple backed out on us and now we are back to square one.  I am so nervous this house will never sell and we’ll be in limbo for a long time.  I keep reminding myself (about 1,000 times a day) that God has always and WILL always take care of us).  We could definitely use prayers for our house to sell! 

Even though we’re not going to sign any papers, I’m looking forward to lots of quality time with my in-laws and this lovely lady.  Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! See ya! :)