our family

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CHEAP personalized Valentine's Cards!

I absolutely LOVE the Valentine's Cards from Tiny Prints.  Many can be personalized with photos and (with the promo code) are MUCH CHEAPER than a greeting card you will buy elsewhere. 

I ordered a few of these for family this morning and was able to get 75% off with promo code: LUV99.  That brought the price of each card to $0.99.  This is the most expensive that it will be; each had 3 photos.  

What I LOVE (in addition to the price and personalization) is that you can choose to have Tiny Prints SEND your Valentine's cards; they simply add the cost of postage!

If you order by today, your card will be delivered by Saturday the 12th!

If you do not have a Tiny Prints account; register via this link and we will both get $20 off our next purchase!  woot woot!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Barnes and Noble Groupon!

For those of you unfamiliar with Groupon, it is an awesome website where some great deals can be found!  I have purchased exactly one Groupon prior to today but am about to purchase another!  Groupon has a great deal going right now for Barnes and Noble!  You can purchase a $20 gift voucher for $10.

You can create a free account at Groupon here.

Next, search for the daily deal in Chicago.  On the right side there is a list noting "More Great Deals Nearby". Sixth from the top is the link for "$10 for $20 worth of toys, games, books, and more from Barnes and Noble".  Select this deal; click "Buy", and enjoy!

This Groupon does expire April 10, 2011.  You CAN use your voucher in store or online and it is valid on sale items!  It would also make a great gift.

Woo hoo for a good deal!

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Monday, January 31, 2011

30 before 30

So...  I have stumbled across this idea a few places and I thought I would jump on the "30 before 30" train.

I have a little over 7 months before I turn the big 3-0.  I decided to make a list of 30 things that I would like to accomplish (notice how I use "like to" in this sentence) before September 2nd rolls around. 

I tried not to set goals that are too lofty, but they ended up being pretty ambitious.  I will keep you updated as I cross these off.  We shall see... I may end up making this the "30 before 31" ;)

1) Find an exercise routine that I can enjoy and can STICK TO

2) Learn how to make homemade pizza dough

3) Maintain the blog (I will define this at at least 2 posts/week)

4) Finish Carsyn’s ruffle pants that I started in last fall’s sewing class…

5) …and learn how to make the matching apron knot dress

6) Learn how to sew fabric flowers

7) Pay off the Yukon

8) Go on a spontaneous weekend trip to a place that we have never been

9) Read Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley

10)  Finish reading Forgotten God , by Francis Chan

11) Cook dinner at least twice a week…

12) …and try at least 2 new recipes per month

13) Catch up writing in Carsyn’s baby book

14) Start the "bible in a year" again and stick to it... even if I miss a day here and there... I'm allowing myself some grace on this one!

15) Return to the DR

16) Go to at least 2 block parties at the More Hope House in the RZ

17) Organize a group to prepare and deliver meals to the inpatient Hospice home once monthly

18) Stick to our budget each month (or at least make up for overages the next month)

19) BEAT our budget a few months in a row so I can save up to purchase the Pottern Barn “daily system”

20) Correspond (yes, WRITE a letter/send a card) to someone at least twice monthly - hope to do this once weekly eventually...

21) Take Carsyn on a mommy-daughter trip somewhere cool

:items that involve cleaning/organizing/simplifying:

22) Edit/Organize/Back-up my digital photos and Flip videos that are eating up space on my laptop

23)  Clean out our file cabinet

24) Reorganize and complete my craft/sewing corner in the bonus room

25) Make the guest bedroom a guest bedroom once again

26) Clean and reorganize the guest bedroom closet

27) Go through everything that is in the attic and reorganize- donate, sell, give away (again, this may become the "30 before 31")

28) Weed out clothes that I no longer wear/cannot wear and donate them

29) Learn the art of “ebaying” and sell a few things…

30) Find a system for my coupons that actually WORKS

Items 23-30 are less interesting, but I truly feel that if I can just get rid of the things that we don't need or use, become more organized, and SIMPLIFY life in general... in the end, I will have more time to live life to the fullest!

Ok, so this is QUITE an ambitious list, and I'm pretty sure there is NO way that I can accomplish all this but I am pretty determined to accomplish these things.  I mean, I have seven months, right?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The original Black-eyed Peas...

This is what un-decorating for Christmas + a missing bag of crushed seashells + a bag of black-eyed peas will get you.

While I was un-decorating our mantle a few weeks ago, I couldn't seem to figure out where I put the crushed seashells that I usually use as a jar-filler for my candles (except at Christmas time).  Then, an idea was born.  I'm not sure how it was that I stumbled upon the bags of black-eyed peas in my pantry at about the same time that I was scavenging for that zip-loc bag of crushed shells, but I am a big fan of the end result!

I think that the black-eyed pea jar-filler is a very festive way to welcome the New Year AND they are cheap! (esp. compare to the ol' coffee bean jar-filler idea)

January is a little too early to be breaking out the seashells, anyway.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2 years in review: the highlights

God blessed us with Carsyn Leigh, truly our miracle baby, on November 25th, 2009.  She has very quickly changed from an infant to a toddler!  It is so much fun discovering more of her sweet personality with each day that passes.

In anticipation of sweet Carsyn's arrival, I started working 32 hrs a week... still considered full-time. I am so thankful for that extra day off to spend with my sweetie each week!

This past June, I went on a life-changing medical missions trip to La Romana, Dominican Republic and hope to return this summer. God used those precious people to impact my life far more than I could ever impact theirs!

Patrick turned the big 3-0!  I planned a big surprise party for him at Winslows and he truly did not have a clue!  It was one fun night... wish I could do it all over again.  Several good friends came in to celebrate from out of town which made it extra special.

Patrick and I also hit a milestone... our 5 year wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going back to Negril, Jamaica where we spent our honeymoon. Our good friends and neighbors, Brad and Kelly, were able to join us which made for one memorable, awesome vacation... "irie, mon!"

Looking forward to making more amazing memories in the years to come...

I'm baaaaaaack!

Wow. So.. approximately 2 years and 2 months ago, I created this blog. Shall I say, I created the blog AND made my first and last post. That would make "the Briley blog experiment" a bit of a failure, right?

I think that the failure of the blog had a lot to do with the title of the blog... "Here goes my free time...". To that, I now say... "WHAT free time? There is no free time!"

My free time is typically spent loading or unloading the dishwasher, loading or unloading the washing machine or dryer, folding clothes only to leave them on the couch in our bonus room until they are worn again, wiping up bits of crushed goldfish and splattered milk off the floor, and picking up things that are only going to be strewn about all over again within the next couple of hours... etc.

I'm sure many of you can relate ;) Most of these things occur after 7:30pm (bedtime) or during naptime. Ahhh, naptime.

Don't get me wrong, I love the cycle of craziness that is my life. I absolutely love cleaning up Carsyn's play kitchen... hanging all of the utensils in their place and putting all of her "spices" back on the spice rack knowing full well that they will be all over the floor again before the day is over. Wouldn't trade anything for it. However, I have learned that my free time is what I make of it.

One of my resolutions is to spend more time on what really matters and the things I enjoy, and less time on the little things that ultimately will not make a bit of difference in the end. I am trying to become a little less obsessive-compulsive (I'm sure Patrick will appreciate this effort). This will likely mean more goldfish crumbs scattered about and higher piles of laundry... but it will all be worth it.

So here I am again... blogging.  I assure you, this will be a very random stream of thoughts, things that I love, happenings in the Briley household... and who knows, my crafty side may even make a few appearances.

Hopefully, it won't be 2 years before you hear from me again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Experiment

For some reason, I always try to resist the latest fad but almost always jump on the bandwagon at some point in time.

When Vera Bradley became popular my junior year of college, I said that I would never pay $40+ dollars for a piece of quilt. Since then I have owned about 5 Vera Bradley purses, 2 pieces of luggage, and countless accessories (although I will say that my love of Vera Bradley has officially ended).

When Facebook and MySpace were born, I again went through my "that is SO stupid" phase.... until all of my friends had their own pages and I wanted one too.

And then blogging was born.

I really enjoy reading other people's blogs. Some people think that it is a lazy way of keeping in touch... I think that it is a great way to see what is going on in other people's lives when you otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to find out. My husband thinks blogging is stupid... another way to waste otherwise productive time (which I'm sure is partly true). I have to think that he is a bit hypocritical... (ahem... Fantasy Sports).

I haven't created a blog because
a) I don't feel like I will find the time to keep up with it, seeing as how I frequently forget to update my Facebook status which is usually about 5 days old before I realize it
b) I'm not quite sure that I have enough interesting things in my life to "blog" about, and
c) we have no babies to show off :) I feel as though most "bloggers" have children and have usually use blogging as a way to update friends and family on their new "married with children" lives... although I have a few friends who have proven this theory wrong!

BUT... curiosity killed the cat. The little kid inside me saying "I wanna try that too" has won :)

As far as finding time to update this page....I'm certain I will simply neglect our dirty clothes, dirty dishes, and stacks of books I have been meaning to read. This isn't a new thing though... I usually just read a magazine or watch a show I have DVR'ed to avoid the other things that need to get done.

I am trading in CaringBridge (which I no longer have a need for anymore... Praise Jesus!) and MySpace. Here comes the blog...