Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last-Minute Getaway!

On Thursday, I got an email from Travelzoo offering a one-night stay at Greenville's Inn, including a three-course dinner for two and breakfast the following morning. For how much?! $89!! Sign me UP!

Since Matt went to Furman, we spent a lot of time in Greenville when we were in college, but hadn't really been back just the two of us in a long time. So I forwarded him the email, and that night at dinner, we decided to purchase the deal.

The next obvious decision was, when should we go? We had until February 2012. So when Matt asked me when I would like to use it, he laughed when I said, "How about tomorrow?!"

Him: "Tomorrow?! Okay! haha, would you really like to?!"

Me: "If you do! Why not?!"

And THAT is where our last-minute adventure began.

We called and booked their last available room with a king-size bed and packed for the next day. Matt picked me up from school on Friday and we took off! SO FUN!

We made one stop for Arby's mozzarella sticks (LOVE!) and a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich (funny how driving even 2.5 hours makes a 4-meal day feel completely necessary), and made it to the Inn by 5:15. JUST in time to hit up the 50-and-over halloween costume party at the pub. ha! It was awesome.

I tried to sneak a picture of this random couple because they totally reminded me of my parents- venturing out to the dance floor despite the fact that no one else was out there. . . totally a Mom and Charles thing to do! Very cute.

The tables were all decorated with little candies- which brought up the question: 
"What's your favorite hard candy?" 
Matt's answer (without hesitation): "Watermelon Jolly Rancher." 
Me: "HA! Seriously?! Who knew?!"
Matt: "What's yours?"
Me: "Strawberry candy with the juice inside."
Matt: "Interesting. Good to know."

haha. . . guess we're not done getting to know each other after high school, college, and four years of marriage. :)


On the path to the Bell Tower, we found Tanner's name on one of the bricks! Tanner was in our wedding- too funny. Way to leave your mark, Tanner. :)

What fun. Glad we decided to be spontaneous!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family Dinner Guests and Lasagna Recipe!

Tuesday night, we had Matt's grandparents (who are better known as Muggy and Papa), his mom, and his sister, Karen, over for dinner. Muggy and Papa hadn't seen the house since the middle of the renovation process, so we were excited to show them the finished product! We were bummed that Matt's dad and Karen's husband, Jay, couldn't make it, but the six of us still had a great time hanging out for the evening!

Lasagna Recipe
 (This recipe serves 14 easily, so you may want to 1/2 it!)

1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage (remove casings)
1.5 Boxes pre-cooked Barilla Lasagna noodles
30oz Ricotta Cheese
4 Cups Shredded Mozzerella Cheese
1 egg
1T Fresh Parsley
1tsp. Salt
4oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin (or 1cup of  shredded)
2/3 Cup Fresh Parmesan (Locatelli is the BEST!)

Fancy up a couple jars or make this recipe from scratch.
2- 24oz Jars of your favorite sauce
2 cans of petitie diced tomatoes
2 sweet onions
 4 garlic cloves
3T minced fresh basil
3T minced fresh oregano
Baking soda

To make the sauce:
Sauté onions and garlic in EVOO.
Add undrained diced tomatoes.
Simmer until liquid reduces.
Add 2 jars of favorite sauce (I like Bertolli's Portobello Mushroom with Merlot, and Ragu's Sauteed Onions and Garlic).
Add a dash of salt and baking soda (baking soda neutralizes the acidity from the tomatoes), fresh basil and oregano.

To make the lasagna:
Brown the sausage and drain- once cooled, crumble into small pieces.
Combine ricotta, shredded mozzarella, 1/3 cup of parmesan, egg, parsley, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Mix until well blended.
Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

Layer Order:
Lasagna sheets (slightly overlapping each other)
Cheese mixture
(only scoop small "splotches" of sauce, do not cover the whole thing... it will make the lasagna soupy and noodles mush-ad :) )

Repeat two more times. 
(I usually skip the sausage in the middle layer- so half of the sausage on the first layer, and the other half on the third layer)

Cover the top with one more layer of lasagna sheets.
Now cover with remaining sauce. **
Lay fresh mozzarella (or regular shredded) on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Uncover, and bake for another 15 minutes, allowing cheese to lightly brown.

**I actually make a separate serving of sauce (same recipe as above) to serve over top. I like a little extra for dipping!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A few more deals for the week!

Sign up for American Baby Magazine for FREE!

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10 Holiday Cards: $3.29
10 Invitations: $3.29
Ceramic Mug: $5.49
Biz Cards: $3.49
Placemat: $3.29
Notepad: $3.49

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Week's Steal: FREE Photo Gifts!

Who doesn't love FREE?! This deal only goes through Friday, so I figured I better share it before it's gone! You do have to pay shipping for the items, but still, it is a huge savings! I personally feel like the photo book gives you the most bang for your buck, but there are lots of other great options too. Click on the image below to go to the website for more details; you can also read the fine print below the banner. Hopefully you'll be able to get something before it ends!

6 Free Products for Fall! The products are FREE, just pay Shipping and Processing.
Merchandising Copy:
1 Free Photo Wall Calendar Impress family, friends or customers with customized wall calendars. Choose icons, add captions and highlight individual dates. Upload your own photos from your computer, Facebook, Picasa, or Flicker or select from hundreds of designs. (Shipping starts at $5.67).
1 Free Photo Flip Book Create a special keepsake with our handy 4" x 6" flip books. Upload your photos and customize with captions. Includes 10 pages with 1 photo per page. (Shipping starts at $6.01)
1 Free Tote Bag Perfect for everyday use, our 100% canvas tote bags can be customized with your name and message. Choose from 24 designs. (Shipping starts at $5.67)
250 Free Business Cards 250 FREE Business cards. Perfect for networking, interviews, mommy cards and more! Choose from 45 professional designs and customize with your text. (Shipping starts at $5.67)
10 Free Invitations Have an upcoming event? Take it up a notch by sending your guests premium invitations. With over 1,000 designs to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect cards to suite your event. You can even send them in matching envelopes. (Shipping starts at $4.52)
1 Free T-Shirt Choose from a variety of designs and personalize with your own text or photos! Great for cheering for sports teams, team events, family photos and more! (Shipping starts at $4.41)
Long Copy:
6 Free Fall Products from Vistaprint! The products are FREE, just pay Shipping and Processing. Choose from flip books, t-shirts, totes, calendars and more! Get creative and have some fun! Great for gifts or for your own use. Trying to find a way to preserve memories? Upload them to a calendar or flipbook! Planning an event? Send invitations and create rsvp cards out of business cards! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Apple Muffins (click to see the full recipe at

My only piece of advice would be to not let your streusel sit out while your fixing the rest of the recipe- my butter got a little too softened and didn't quite give the "streusel" effect after baking. But other than that, this recipe is deLISH!!!


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped peeled apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons cold butter or margarine


  1. In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Super Sweet Spotlight

Thanks so much to Xenia from Thanks, Mail Carrier, who wrote a spotlight on our blog last week! It really is fun to know that other people read this blog and enjoy it! Xenia has a super huge and awesome blog with lots of great reviews and giveaways. You guys should definitely check it out! She is just shy of 5,000 followers, so clearly she's doing something right! Stop by and say hello to her and enter some of her giveaways while you're there! Thanks again, Xenia!

You know those absolutely adorable couples where you just want to dislike them because they're so cute? As it turns out, Heather at Notes from the Nelsens has a sweet and funny personality to go along with her pictures, so it just isn't possible. Instead, you'll be sucked right in and wanting to find out more about her wonderful family, great friends, delicious recipes, favorite sports teams and events, home projects and much more. This elementary school teacher loves life and her enthusiasm is contagious!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Dining Room Decor!

Last week, Matt's family took us out for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite spots, Maggiano's.  Before going to the restaurant, Matt's mom came by with an extra surprise- new dining room curtains! Or, as the fancy people like to say, window treatments

These were our old curtains, and they were great! We had them in the living room of our apartment, where we had more red accents. But in the house, they just kind of bugged me. The grayish blue walls from our bedroom with the beige brown from the kitchen didn't really complement the red. 

So I started looking and found exactly what I wanted at my sweet sis-in-laws house! haha...  she also purchased a set of the same curtains that we have in our house, so we planned to now have two sets of matching curtains. :) Unfortunately, the store where she bought them from no longer sold them. :/ HOWEVER, my equally sweet M-in-law knew I loved them, found out the store DID sell the fabric, bought the fabric, and MADE them for me!!! Yes! Seriously! What a super sweet treat!

She took the rings off of the red curtains (they were add-ons) and sewed them onto the new ones. I just took pictures because I don't sew.  haha. . . I wish that didn't sound so bratty but what can you do- it happens to be true. While taking pictures, I provided the cheese, crackers, and wine. . . an appetizer-must to an Italian din. :)

Ta-dah!!  Thank you M!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thanks to Michelle from Musings of a Bored Housewife who has awarded us with the Kreativ Blogger Award! We really appreciate it! This award is somewhat similar to the Versatile Blogger Award, in that you are supposed to share 7 facts about yourself. So, since I recently shared 7 seven facts when we received that award, I decided to change it up a little bit and write down the first 7 facts that popped into my head in less than 2 minutes. HA! The details took a little longer, but the seven facts came surprisingly fast. Now, I created this list right after my 9/11 post, so some of the facts are inspired by memories related to NY. Hope you enjoy!

  1. When I was little, I wanted to be Annie on Broadway. . . or Belle from Beauty and the Beast, or a Rockette, or Kim from Miss Saigon (quite possibly my favorite play). I performed songs from these plays around the house constantly.
  2. Thanks to my Aunt Barb and Uncle Jay, I got to eat at Windows on the World for my 16th birthday. The restaurant was on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. My Aunt and Uncle flew me up to visit them for my birthday and had a limo take us to the restaurant. It was one of the most amazing experiences and unlike anything I had ever done before. Oddly enough, I remember so clearly how the menu didn't have prices, and I was worried about ordering something too expensive and not realizing it.  The Towers fell less than a year later, and my Aunt and Uncle both passed away almost 3 years ago now, so this memory is extra close to my heart.
  3. I want to go on a mission trip to Africa with Matt and work in the orphanages there.
  4. I hope to relearn Italian.
  5. My dream vacation is a Mediterranean Cruise.
  6. I couldn't say my r's until around age 7 and have been know to pronounce my own name as "HeathOR" when I'm really tired.
  7. I was a sports marketing major before deciding to become a teacher. I had a dream to work on the college team contracts and professional athlete contracts, traveling the world of course to do so. :)  . . . Now I'm in a classroom and get to make time to be a good wife and hopefully mother one day- so I'd say I'm definitely happy with my decision to not travel the world ;) . . . Although traveling the world for vacation is still a definite dream! (see fact #5).
And now, for the 7 blogs that I would like to pass this award along to:

Rules for receiving the award: Thank the person who gave it to you, share 7 facts about yourself, pass the award along to 7 other people.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

This Week's Steals and Deals!

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE a good deal. AND, if I find a good deal, I tend to tell anyone who will listen, whether they care to know about it or not. :) So, once a week, I'm going to share a "Steals and Deals"post for the upcoming week.

This week's steals and deals have been sent my way thanks to Chris from the Escalate Network.  I have picked some great sales/opportunities that interest me, and hope that they'll be worth your time to check them out as well. I've also added a coupons widget on the sidebar that will be updated each week thanks to and the Escalate Network. I like it because it shows the top 15 coupons for the week. If you want to see the rest, you can click on the "Powered by" links below the widget. Okay, hope you can find something worth saving on this week!!

Spend $50 for a $100 Travelocity Hotel Gift Card! 
Hurry, this offer ends Wednesday, October 12th.

Description: Are you someone that shops online and is always digging through your emails to find shopping receipts to make returns or shipment confirmations to see when packages will arrive? Do you ever make purchases and think maybe I should have waited until this item went on sale? If so, ShopSanity has come out with a great new tool that will make shopping easier - and the best part?! It’s FREE! In just 2 clicks, you can sign up to see all of your purchases in one location so you can: -See when a package will arrive -Lookup details about any purchase -Print a receipt for a return -Save money by receiving alerts such as price changes (notifies you when purchases you have made go on sale so you can contact the retailer about getting cash back), make shipment changes (including backorders and delays) -And much more! Click on the icon above to get started.