December 31, 2010

{Save Money} With Coupons

As we close out 2010 I wanted to share with you all one of the biggest ways that we've saved in 2010, and the way that I've used to save a lot of dough in our everyday lives since getting married. 

Coupons people. Coupons. 

Now, I'm not an expert by any means. I know there are crazy coupon ladies out there that SAVE BIG, they have systems and crazy other stuff they do. 

I am not one of those. But this is what works for us, and I usually save $50-75 every single time I go to the grocery store. 

I shop for the entire month for our family. This is easier for us to do since it's just the two of us and Ava isn't a big eater yet. In order to do this I plan out my meals week by week for the entire month. 

Then I find coupons for the things that are on that list. I buy the Sunday newspaper every week and clip the coupons in them. Sometimes I buy two if there's really good coupons in them. I also use these sites and print out coupons out:

(my grocery list & coupons)

Next, I scour the weekly ads for what might be on sale that week and buy the items I need. Sometimes if there's a good sale/deal on meat or whatever I'll buy more and freeze it. 

The trick is to pair the sales items with the coupons to maximize your savings. 

Also, check out your local grocery stores and see what coupons deals they have. For example, we have a grocery store that accepts other competitors coupons, and also prices matches with other stores. They also make ever manufacturer's coupons worth $1. Whatever deal you can find pair it with the coupons you already have and get even more savings! 

Another website I use a lot is Retail Me Not, there you can type in the name of a store print free coupons, or use online shopping codes for free shipping or percentages off. Anytime I'm going to purchase something online I always go there first to find a free shipping code or 10%, 15% or whatever off. 

I must say I truly love when my receipt tells me my total savings at the bottom. It's so great to see how much we've saved to put towards other things. 

So here's to saving more in 2011 and becoming coupon savvy yourself! 

Be Creative Challenge
Week #52

December 29, 2010

Top 20 NEW Blogs of 2010

In keeping with my theme of 2010 reviews and wrap up, I thought I'd do a little post about the new blogs I have found and grown to love in 2010. Each of these blogs I've discovered this year and fallen in love with their writers, and their lovely blogs. I tried to do a top 10, but then I realized that there are way to many awesome blogs I've found this year and decided to make it a TOP 20.

Maybe you already read some of these blogs, and this will just confirm again why you love'em.

Maybe this will spark your interest, maybe it will bring a new blog to your reading list, and maybe you'll fall in love with them just like I have.

Okay, so in no particular order here we go:

What do you think? Did some of your favorites make the list? Have I tempted you to check out some all of these blogs on the list?

December 28, 2010

Magical Families

I'm excited to share with you a special event and organization that my friend Melissa and her family are apart of:
From the Magical Families website:

Magical Families are people passionate about adoption. We have adopted, been adopted, or are planning to adopt – internationally or domestically – or we simply have a passion about orphans finding forever families.
We’re people who love getting together with other adoption advocates to support, encourage and celebrate the unique opportunities and challenges adoption brings.
If you consider yourself a Magical Family then this is YOUR community. Share ideas, post comments, ask questions and make plans to attend the Magical Families Gathering on October 7-9, 2011! Imagine the thrill of experiencing Disney with families who share the incredibly special common bond of adoption. We’re anticipating friendships that will last a lifetime!
I've been reading a lot of blog from individuals and families that are trying to adopt, my heart goes out to them, I pray for them, and sometimes wish that I had all the money in the world to give to them to help support & fund their adoptions. Because no amount of money should separate a family from a child. 
During our fertility struggle there were many times Orion and I talked about adoption if we couldn't have our own children. I think families who adopt are so special and amazing, it's so precious to choose a child and give him or her a better life, and so much love. 
If you get a chance jump on over to their website and check out what they are doing! Give them some love and find out how you can be apart if you are one of these "Magical Families."
image credit: Magical Families website

Design Inspiration & Ideas: Craft Spaces

Someday I want a beautifully designed and designated space for crafting and office work. A place where I can escape to and tinker, create, craft, blog and work on photography stuff. Oh, how I dream of having my own space again where ribbon can overflow, a glue gun and sewing machine can sit out with out looking unsightly or annoying my Husband! :)

I've seen some amazing and drool worthy spaces from some of my favorite bloggers, here's just a few I wanted to show you, THEY. ARE. AWESOME.

Doesn't that just make you want to be creative?!!! It does me!

Top Posts of 2010

Since it's the last week in 2010, I thought we'd take a little time to do a little review of the Top 10 Posts of 2010 here at Worley House. Initially, I thought the posts with the most comments would be the Top 10 but after further look at my Google Analytics I discovered this was not the case. I was surprised at some of the posts that got the most views and some not surprised.

So here's what I learned by taking a little look, more people read than I thought but don't comment on the posts they love, or that strike their fancy. So here's my encouragement for 2011: come out of the blog shadows...I know you're out there. Leave me a comment, tell me where you're from, let's get to know each other!

I'm gonna do a little link up party first of the year, that will help  me us to know everyone out there reading Worley House a little bit better! Watch for that soon.

Okay, so here's a little run down of the Top 10 Posts of 2010 as determined by YOU the reader (in order of most popular)
1. Ava's Oh La La Nursery Reveal
2. Friday Frills; Cute Couple
3. {DIY} Christmas Card Holder
4. Custom Crib Skirt
5. Friday Frills; Celebrity Christmas Card
6. Best Game Ever
7. Happy Halloween!
8. A Day in August
9. Breast Feeding Challenges
10. Ava: 4 Months

What do you think? Did your favorite make it on the list? If not, which posts is your favorite of 2010? C'mon, let me know.....leave me your thoughts!

December 26, 2010

Ava's 1st Christmas

Here's a little re cap of Ava's first Christmas! Truly memorable! So glad we invested in this last year to capture are these wonderful moments! 

Christmas {2010}

It's crazy to think how fast a year has come and gone by, I can't believe that December is almost coming to a close. Are you still stuffed on dinner you had last night? Are the kids still in their induced sugar coma? Is the hot chocolate still overflowing with whipped cream on top?

It is here. 

We've been in the Christmas spirit all week long. Hubby had 4 amazing days off and I was able to join him for part of that in addition to Christmas day. 

Ava turned 9 months old on Christmas Eve. We spent the day together with a trip to Ikea and a lunch date. We came home and got goodies ready for Christmas Eve with our friends. 

Then we headed to Christmas Ever service at church. It was magical and beautiful to spend this time together. 
 {Christmas Eve 2010}

Ava has been getting up on normal days at 6 am, but Christmas day she slept in and let us sleep till 8 am! We had our traditional homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and relaxed. 

Ava was more interested in ripping ornaments off the tree than she was at opening gifts. With a little help from Mom & Dad she finally got to her gifts. 
She played in the tissue paper and packages, and got great use out of her new Exercaucer. Boy, does she love that thing! 

Christmas this year was about creating new traditions and celebrating our first Christmas as a little family. One of which tradition was reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' to Ava and cuddling with each other by the fire. I feel so blessed. 
Our hearts are happy, and our lives are full of joy. Check out my little snow baby, I saw this at the store and I just had to get it for her. Doesn't she look so cute! It'll keep her warm during these Arizona winters! ;)

This week my family is coming to visit! Orion and I are so excited to share New Years with them and have them in our neck of the woods dessert! Orion will also be attending the Fiesta Bowl, he's gonna watch his Sooners win! He's pretty much excited, and I quote:

"This is like my Miss America Andrea!"- my husband on the bowl game

I believe it! We hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas! 

What's for Dinner: Santa Fe Soup

I found this recipe last week on Julie's blog, we like soup here, we like spicy things too so this was perfect for us. 

I made it. 

We tried it. 

We loved it.

It's now on the dinner rotation, nuff said! 

Wanna make some too?

Here you go; this is from Julie's blog (I'll make my notes of what I did)

Santa Fe Soup

1 lb. ground beef/ turkey/ whatevs/ browned and drained
1 can kidney beans
2 cans Ro-tel 
(I did 1 hot, and 1 mild it was spicy use mild if you don't like spicy)
1 can stewed Mexican style tomatoes
1 can corn (drained)
2 Tbs. taco seasoning
16 0z. Velveeta cubed 
(yeah it's gross but Julie said it wouldn't work with out it, I tried it..she was right!)

Put it in your crock pot. (on high setting)
Stir together, cook for 3 hours.
Stir half way through.

 I added a can of black beans to mine
1 yellow onion

Crock pots are good, and so easy for dinner.

Topped it with sour cream. 
Devoured it, it was good.

edited to add: drain both the corn & kidney beans. everything else will be good.
Ro-tel is a mixture of tomatoes, green chilis, and other good stuff you can find it in
the canned tomatoes aisle in the grocery store. 

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!! Here's just a little preview of our Christmas. Ava was adorable all day, I think she loved ripping the ornaments off the tree more than her actual gifts! :)

I hope you an your loved ones had an amazing day! Today we rejoice that a Savior was born, he came for me and for YOU! We are so blessed. 

May you and yours have PEACE, LOVE & JOY today! 

(now, I'm off to go enjoy more pie)


Watch Me Grow: 9 Months

Ava turned 9 Months old yesterday on Christmas Eve! We sure love this girl, she's the best gift ever! I can't believe she's already 9 months old, it's crazy how fast this time has flown by. It's getting harder and harder to take these monthly photos on a chair, a glider that is.....what was I thinking?! Luckily I had Daddy there to spot her and keep her attention. 

Little Miss goes to the doctor on Wednesday, can't wait to see her progress! 

December 22, 2010

{Save Money} Swagbucks Rewards

I'm back with another money saving tip for you! As I mentioned before I love saving money, and one of those ways are through rewards programs. One of the rewards programs I've been taking advantage of this year is Swagbucks! What's that you ask? So glad you asked, because I'll tell you: is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called "Swag Bucks", which can be redeemed for exclusive merchandise. There's a number of ways that you can earn Swagbucks my faves are the search engine and the daily polls. I also find Sawgcodes and earn Swagbucks that way too.

You can earn Swagbucks and redeem them for a number of prizes, gift cards, and even music downloads. I've been saving my Swagbucks up and redeeming them for Amazon gift cards. Usable at anytime, and they don't expire. EVER!

And since I know people, like to see the fruits of your labor here's what I scooped up with my stock pile of Amazon gift cards:

Yup! All that, and all for free using my gift cards from Amazon that I earned for free using Swagbucks. Isn't that awesome?

Now, you're going to ask me how long did it take for you to earn or how much time a day does it take to earn? Well, I use the Swagbucks search engine now instead of Google and easily earn Sawgbucks. I've been Swagbuckin' (is that a word?) for about 9 months now and it's pretty much taken me that much time to earn over $100 in Amazon gift cards. Not to bad, and it's paid off. So I'm very happy!

I invite you all to try it out, you automatically get 30 Swagbucks when you sign up! And 50 on your birthday, how fun!

Search & Win

Click this link to sign up & start earning your Swag!

December 20, 2010

12 in 12 Challenge

With one more week left in the year, and one last Be Creative Challenge project to share with you (more later in the week) I thought I would introduce you all to my new challenge for myself in 2011. One of my resolutions for the year is to read more, take the time out for myself and read. I want to make a goal to read some of the books that have just been waiting for me to crack their binding since I put them on the shelf, and also read a couple titles that I've been dying to read for a while now but haven't had made the time for.

With that in mind I introduce the 12 in 12 Challenge. 12 books a year, 1 for each month and a review after reading each book.

Here's a sneak peak at the first 4 books on my list: (in no particular order)

I'm pretty excited about this next year's challenge, I love to read and I feel like these little blog/life challenges gives me the accountability to do and actually try new things and stick to them.

Plus, it's fun coming up with cute little names to call'em! ;)

What about you, what are you challenging yourself to this next year?

What are some of your resolutions?

December 19, 2010

A Green Christmas

Since we're about 5 days away from Christmas I thought it was time to show you our home this year that I've been decorating these past weeks, as I've showed you some {DIY} projects here on the blog. Remember this years color theme of silvers, whites and greens? Well, I'm pretty pleased with how it all turned out, I think I'll keep it like this for a few years. 

First up, a simple table center piece, I've had this faux flower arrangement for years. I just added some ribbon, and put it on a white platter I already had, then added some green and white ornaments. 

Small little ornaments in glass vases or jars can go along way. I love them because they are simple and classic. And I have a ton of these around my house so it's pretty easy and cost effective to do this. 

My {DIY} wreath, that hangs over our sink area in the kitchen. Complete with some wooden snowflakes my Mom gave me years ago. 
We picked up a few boxes of green ornaments, and just added them to the silver ornaments we already had. 
This little sign I found at a Christmas shop in Stillwater, MN the first year we were married. It's been in the center of my tree ever since! 

I really, really love having a working fireplace! It's a lot of fun to hang stockings and do the whole mantle up for Christmas!
And, the top of the mantle area, a little project I worked on today while Ava took a little afternoon snooze. 
Another little Christmas gem from Stillwater, MN.
To make the coffee table complete I took a bowl I already had and once again filled it with green ornaments.

I feel like a little ribbon and ornaments go along way when decorating for Christmas, it's classy and doesn't break the bank. 
And, here's our little Christmas card holder that I worked on a few weeks back. I love getting all these Christmas cards in the mail every year and seeing how families changes and reading their letters. It gives me a great excuse to check the mail! 

I love that there are three stockings this year, eventually I really want to get these monogrammed with our names on them.
This has been one of my favorite years to decorate probably because my Husband was so into it, and helped me shop and with some of the ideas. And Ava has helped by pulling off all the ornaments from the tree one by one. I can't blame the girl though, I have a weakness for shiny and glittery things too! ;)

Merry Christmas! I hope your home is as cozy and warm as mine!

Linking up our tree this year with Megan @ Honey We're Home

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!


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