Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dylan & Eric

Last night I went to a play produced by my fellow Columbia students! So much talent at this school. There was not a dry eye to be found. The play was so shocking and enlightening. It took my breath away. The play was about the events leading up to the Columbine massacre. Not something that is fun or light hearted, but life ain't always that way! This play was written using first hand accounts eye witness accounts, home videos from the boys, and interviews with family and friends.

I didn't sleep much last night. My mind raced with a million questions, and my heart ached for those that were forever changed.The first thought I had was how thankful I am that something like that never happened to me when I was in school. Selfish, I know, but I can't wrap my head around it. I was also thinking about all my nieces/nephews/nanny kids/other honorary nieces and nephews I have that attend school. My heart dropped even lower. These boys were so young and so full of evil. How could two young boys be enraged with that much hate at such a young age?

Another thought that has been twirling around in my little head, is how am I treating people? I am at a school that I really don't have much in common with outside of my ASL crew. (This school is so open minded to drugs, sexual experimentation, and anything that helps with the "creative process." Ugh.) So this is a charge to myself. I need to pray for my fellow students. I need to make sure to smile and be a source of light. Some of the kids I have met here have had a r.o.u.g.h. road. Life hasn't always been kind. I am the first to say we are responsible for our own choices, and I will stand by that. However, sometimes just hearing stories about some of their lives breaks my heart. So as a Christian I need to show love not pass judgement. We had a kid on the 8th floor a few weeks ago kill himself. he put his car on the train tracks. Come on!!!!!!!!!!

The other little thought nugget I have been chewing on his how do is God in any of this mess? Seeing the actors in their black trench coats made my stomach turn. The hair on the back on my neck stood at attention when I saw the photo from the actual event.  How do you move on from that? How do you find the courage to walk down a hallway again? How do the parents of the shooters ever heal? The answer is it must be a very long road. A road that is lonely and seemingly desolate. But I believe that the Light will always cancel out any darkness. I do believe that God has worked this evil situation out for his good.

Cassie Bernall was a victim of the shooting. She was asked if she believed in God and said yes. That was it. She was shot and killed instantly. Some people dispute this fact. Some say it wasn't her, but someone she was next to. WOW. This girl was 17 years old! (which ever one it was.) She was in the middle of the one of the worst situations a person could ever be in and she still said yes. I don't even know if I could do anything other than pee my pants in a situation like that. Let alone be brave enough to say yes, yes I believe. So my spirit isn't as restless as it was last night. There is evil among us everyday, yes! The battle is not of flesh and blood but of the spirit. It's on TV everyday. A person can't watch the news without seeing some sort of bad story about someone killing someone, or some other senseless act of violence that ends in bloodshed. However, I refuse to let that be the last word. The battle as already been won. This was just on my heart. Amazing how a two hour play could resonate so deeply into my soul and help to shake me. It's easy to feel world weary and jaded living in place like this. So I ask all of you to pray for me that I am a light up here. Also, pray for the people at your work place, your children's schools, people you encounter everyday.

Keep praying for Ben, Brenday & Family! It's a been a long road for all of them. He is doing so well despite this crazy road he has been on. It's not all for not! God is good all of the time, and all of the time God is good! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I have lived alone for the past few years. I have loved every stinkin' mintue of it. BUTTTT. ( as Mr. Kracium would say,  "The bigger the butt the bigger the problem." Alas! I have no problems. haha! Don't judge! )  This semester I have a roommate. It wasn't in my original plan to have one, but when is it ever?! Here are a few things I have learned over these past few months. 

1). I have been told ..that I snore ...(doubtful, very doubtful!) ha.
2).  Grace is always cold & I sweat like a Hebrew slave.
3).  We use a roll of TP every 3 days.
4). If you looked at the shower drain and saw all the hair, you would think we were both bald as a baseball bat!
5). It really ain't that bad ;) Well, as long as you don't ask Grace! ha!

That's what has been interesting about Columbia. I am learning so much everyday! I am learning about ASL, Deaf culture, Deaf people, Chi-town, CTA, and everything! There have been some wonderful friends/teachers and people in general that I have met up here. They have all been so wonderful to me. Grace and I are good friends. It's been a HUGE challenge for me to learn to live with someone, but it's learning experience everyday for me. This school has been such a blessing to me, and an answer to so many prayers. It's a very intense program, but it's so worth it! This whole 'roommate' situation is a new experience for me. So continue to pray for me please :) Around my desk I have pictures of all of my nieces/nephews and some other little kids I consider nieces/nephews ( and their wonderful artwork!!! ) It's a blessing every day to see all of their little (growing up too fast, boo) faces!

I am amazed everyday at how much my life has changed. It really has been wonderful. I feel like I have my feet on the ground for a change. I feel settled and content. God is so good! :) Having a roommate has even helped me be a better person. I am now more aware of how my actions impact others. I think for awhile I turned into myself a little bit (maybe too much?). I wasn't used to dealing with others on a daily basis. This is good for me. I am constantly being challenged and changed.

'Cause when I cross over Jordan, I'm gonna sing, gonna shout
Gonna look into your eyes and see you never let me down
So take me on the pathway that leads me home to you
And I will walk through the valley if you want me to

P.S. Keep praying for Ben!!!! He is getting better everyday! So Strong! Please continue to pray for the whole family! Thank you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Judy Garland

Judy Garland was famous for playing Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz. Duh. Well she sang a little song that pretty much all of creation knows. "Somewhere over the Rainbow" there is a line that says Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Well I have found my blue skies. I am in Chicago. Not only am I living here but I love every minute. The sound of the "L" screeching past my room, or the skyscrapers I see out my windows. This town is what I love. Some people don't understand, some don't even like it. I don't care! I can't even begin to tell you the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and prayers that went into this being possible. Thank you to everyone who helped me get here. I love you all. More than I say. Also a big a thank you to my mom && dad. It ain't always been easy but we have stuck it out. I love you both && I don't know where I would be without you. Just a little bit longer and all of this college mess will be done! I miss but family, but being here lets me be apart of something bigger than myself. You all have taught me so much. Grace, Josh, Addison, Ivy, Maddox, Israel & Abel, I love you all. I'm sorry I can't always be there to see you all grow up. I have all of your pictures around my computer desk :) Taye, Shaye, Shannon, Haley, Beans, Joyce Anne, it's been a pleasure. You all have been with me through the good and the dumb. Fatty, I love you, I would be delighted to get kicked out of Wal-Mart with you any time! You all are priceless to me. Come see me everyone! I would love to show you around my city :)

Home this is home
Now I'm finally where I belong
I have been searching for a place of my own
Now I have found it.
Baby this is home.

P.S. Ben is doing so much better. God has been so good to him. Please continue to pray for him && check out his prayer page && share it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bee Waggle

I have learned that bees do this "dance" called the Bee Waggle. I am not making this up, this is not me being a hillbilly and using a funny name. Scientists with fancy degrees and white coats call this the Bee Waggle. What is it? Sounds like a dance that people do after ingesting too many yellow jackets. WRONG! This dance is what bees do to show other bees where the food is. Big deal, so what, who cares, next.... WRONG MY FRIEND,WRONG! This is a huge deal because bees that haven't left the hive for 3 hours are still exactly right on telling the other bees where the food source is. ( TOLD YOU :) BUT it doesn't stop there ( I was totally floored by this, seriously mouth open going say wha?) Ever 15 minutes the sun goes down so the direction the bees must fly changes every 15 minutes. Is this amazing to anyone else?!!?!?! 
I took this to mean that if God cares about the bees he cares about ME! 

Yes God cares about me,duh. He dies for me and all of that. I have heard that COUNTLESS times in my life. However, I have lost my way bit over the past year. Been a little bit of a rough one. A lot of hard lessons,a lot of big changes. HOWEVER, this bee waggle information hit me like a mac truck. It is so easy to feel like because things haven't worked out the way I wanted them to I sometimes equate that with God's love. Well if he loved me then I would have X,Y,Z....WRONG!

This means that the God who spoke the world into existence with is breath still knows how many hairs are on my head. All 9 of em! My prof said that this amazing because they are born with this knowledge...well DUH but who made the bees?! MY JESUS! He loves me and he loves you. It is a very simple concept, not hard to understand, but it is deeply profound. If God makes sure the bees have food what makes me forget he will move Heaven and Earth to come rescue me when I call his name? It doesn't have to be in the front pew of church or Sunday school. He hears me when I am praying for protection,or walking down the streets of Chicago. He is a God that hears my prayers when they are silent but coming from the sterile walls of a hospital. He is faithful to complete the work he started in me. I believe that. So when this ol' world seems too much I will remember the Bee Waggle. I will remind myself open my eyes and look up. This reminds me on rough days to not get discouraged but to know that when I pass through the water I won't be overcome. The water might be at my lower lip, but I won't drown. 

So let this knowledge about the bees bring you comfort as we all go about our lives. Life turns on a dime as many of us have learned this the hard way. So everyday, even on the ones that suck remember that God still loves you. He loved us when we didn't love him. He loves us still on days when we totally blow it. 

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


What does a birthday mean? It means that after a bit there will be so many candles on my cake it will look like the burnin' of Atlanta! No numbers ya'll. After 25 years on this earth I have learned a few things. One of them is that I am blessed with many many people that love me. However, my favorite present this year was being able to attend my nephew's bday party. It wasn't some big shiny car, or a fancy pair or shoes, or Nars cosmetics.Shaye also asked if I wanted 30 Sunday News papers for my birthday. Smarty Pants! Happy Birthday to Shaye Shaye. She was born the 3rd I was born the 4th. So..that means smarty pants will be old before me. HAHAHHAHAHA. 22 hrs and 30 minutes but still! :) Anyway...Maddox's birthday party was SO.MUCH.FUN.
There is something so wonderful about celebrating life! Especially when that life is Little Mr. Handsome! Have you all seen this kid?! I used to think my birthday was all about me. It is really ;) Just kiddin! For the first time on my birthday I was working for something bigger than myself. I was exhausted. I had driven all day, stopped at Shayes, and chased around some very sneaky milshake straws! (Also, made a moron out of myself at midnight in the Mcd's Drive thru) Only to discover what I had been chasing around was in the third drawer. Who knew?! Not Ash or Brandon! Ha. More to the point. We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning (it's a tradition) getting the house ready for the party. I also killed the BIGGEST spider I have ever seen. I mean HUGE.This sucker had his own area code. Brandon sprayed Spider-Die (Ok Ok it has a real name but that's what I call it) I stepped on it with is shoe! CRUNCH! :) long story( never is with me)  short the party was great, baby was cute and the cake was to die for :) What hit me driving home really late and I was TIRED was that I was a part of something bigger than myself for once. I can't remember the last time I did something for somenoe else. It seems like everything lately has been about my move, or school. or me. me me. me. Stephanie Stephanie S.T.E.P.H.A.N.I.E.
The conclusion it is a wonderful feeling to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I was. I had forgetten how good it felt to help somenoe out. It was one of those times you leave exhausted and your eyes are tired, however your sould feels refreshed. There is an old country song (ain't there always! hehe. "The longer I live the more I believe you do have to give if you want to recieve.." I have been blessed with  more than I can ever give. So I take that as a challange to give as much as I can! Even if it is somethin I bought with a coupon @ CVS.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rice && Razors

What is these? Why do you have rice in a ramekin, in a bathroom, with a cheap-o Bic razor shoved in there? Razors belong in the bathtub with all the moisture so they stay nice and sharp. WRONG! :)

I have been using the same cheap-o razor a week! ( Ewwwwww!) However, my frugal ways have paid off. (Remember the pooping buffalo!?) It is still has sharp as when I first used it. (Here is another freebie tip for you : MEN'S RAZORS WORK BETTER!) DON'T ASK I CAN'T TELL YOU. I also use men's shave gel. WHY?! I'm glad you asked :) THEY WORK BETTER! Women's shave gel is always this fruity tutty parfait crap. If I want a parfait I will layer yogurt, fruit, granola myself. My legs don't need to be sunflowers and rainbows. I want them to be SMOOTH.

A few things I have learned along that way that also help me to save money...Glean from this what you will or not. In the words of Mr. Baker, "....the choice is yours"

1). Try new things.This razor and rice thing is new to me. So I tried it. Does it look hillbilly?! Heck yes! Do I care if you come to my apartment and say "HILLJACK!" not at all doll face. So experiment with new ideas you hear or give something new whirl and let me know how it works. Sometimes this work and sometime's it's big ol' FAIL.

2). Check the comments on the websites by the pro's. Colin @ posts all of the deals and match-ups for the week on Saturday night. By match up's I mean CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aide , Staples, and a few more I believe. I normally only check CVS and Walgreens because that is what I have access to. Many times the comments have other ideas or ways to get better deals.It only takes a few minutes to scan them to see if anyone has any good ideas on what you need. Sometimes a coupon gets over looked making for an even better deal.

3). Learn when to say no.A few weeks ago there was a St. Ives Body scrub coupon that was a pretty good deal. However, I would have to drive to the Library (more on that on down the road) print it off and drive to Target. No freaking thanks! All to save .97 cents. So if it is a good deal and you will be said store that has a certain great deal then go for it. Other wise, make sure it is worth the hassle!

4). Get a dump account. I have one at Gmail. They have a huge storage limit. I use this when I sing up for free samples on or other places like it. So let's say I am going to Austin for my birthday. I can sign up for Austin's groupon and have it sent to my dump account, so it doesn't clog up my everyday email. Then when I need to look at Groupon deals for Austin. I just type "Groupon Austin" into my search inbox thingy and PRESTO!

5). Don't send everything to your dumb account! Hello, you just said get a dumb account. Make up your mind! I did..yes you can read. Congratulations! I use my CVS rewards and coupons weekly. So my CVS email is my normal email. It has saved me a lot and I mean a lot of money to have to have the CVS sent to my good email. (This year alone I have saved over $1600 ...out of pocket I have spent about $200 in cash there! )

6). Don't you ever apologize for using a coupon. Don't Ever. I will punch you in the throat! People need to learn to be patient.(Yes that includes me too)  A tip to make your purchases go smoother is have everything all ready to go at check out! Some people circle or star everything they want in the ad and check it off one by one. I write down the store name, the coupon I am using how many of the item I need. It seems like it would take forever...but it doesn't! Once you get a system that works for YOU things will go smoother. I will agree it is annoying to wait behind Frazzled Fran looking for a .10 cent coupon.

7). Buy the Sunday paper the first week of the month. So that means this Sunday by the paper. Ik it isn't the first of the month yet but will be in the coupon world. Why?! Government checks and all of that come out the first of the month. So...that Sunday paper has the best and most coupons!

8). Organize your coupons. I only cut what I need for that trip. So then I'm not carrying around a wad of coupons. I do save my inserts and stash them in a folder until I need them again. I also use a sticky note to write the date on the insert. So if I need an insert from 5/58/12 I can find it quickly. Things I am always on the lookout for are shampoo, body wash and such. So I always clip those coupons and keep them tucked away in my little pink caddy. Yes, many of you have seen it and tease me! HAHA!

9). Check out the stores coupon policy. It sounds dumb Ik like reading your can manual. Um...pass. I mean it! Check them out. THey change all the freaking time! has all of them listed for the drugstores  and walmart I believe. So WHEN you come across a problem you can say hello bubba! No, no, no. Don't call anyone Bubba...but you get my drift. Always smile and be polite.

10). DON'T WATCH EXTREME COUPONING WHATEVER YOU DO! Why? here is my list. (Soapbox!)
1). These people are freaks
2). Hoarders
4) Liars

Many of these people are frauds because the stores they go to bend the rules for the taping of this stupid show. So then when the average Jane goes in to do the same it doesn't work. Also many of these morons have been busted for stealing. STEALING! One lady was caught walking up and down her street in her bathrobe (Sexy let me tell ya! ;) HA. ) taking her neighbors Sunday papers. Umm....HELLO...that's my paper. Even if I let it hold down the grass for a week. I am going to harp on this because it makes me mad and ruins A TON of good deals for you and me. Another big issue is these stores not think every coupon that is printed is a fake. So many stores won't take them because this show has given all of us a bad name. Also , NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER EVER EVER LET ME CATCH YOU 'BUYING' COUPONS ON THE INTERNET. EVER FOREVER AND EVER AMEN. A few weeks ago there was a big coupon ring (like the ones that sell Oxy or Methadone) but they sell coupons.The first time I read the story I laughed out loud. A coupon ring being busted and sent to prison?! HAHAHAHHAHA. However, to the fools that got it busted it was not laughing matter The website  can tell you all about coupon fraud. People do go to prison for theft and cheating the system. A lot of these coupons they sell are FAKE. So if you buy a fake coupon use it and get busted it is your FAULT. These coupons state they can't be sold. SO DON'T! Buy more than one Sunday paper or ask friends for theirs, or sign up for free samples on Facebook to get free products and coupons. 

How do they ruin it for you and me?! I'm glad you asked. Now the coupon company's are saying by 2 and save $2 instead of just $2 off. So the more these freaks abuse the system the more in comes down to people like us who buy the limit. NOT 80 BODY WASHES THEY ARE ALLERGIC TO! If under you kids bed there isn't Candyland and a missing sock, but 1000 rolls of Angel Soft, step away from the coupons...put the scissors down..freak face! 

There are many other ways to save money and ideas. Many more to come! But these have helped me on my  Buffalo pooping walk. 

P.S. I apologize for the wonky colors. Idk what the deal is. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


I am the youngest of four children. I am forever the baby. Sometimes I like that title.Sometimes it drives me up a tall wall. However, something I have learned these past few years is that I have another brother. I already had two, now I have three. (Someone check my math ;) If you said you have two coupons and I give you another coupon, how many coupons do you have?! *Counts on fingers and sticks out tongue*. Answer : 3 coupons! I will also give you a hug for giving me a coupon! Hint Hint Birthday present! HAHA
Brandon is blonde hair, blue eyed, and German.So pretty much the total opposite of anyone in this house. HAHAHA. Laugh it's funny! Cuz it's true! :) He doesn't look like family but I consider him another brother.(If he was family though ewww! Addison would have 11 toes. The seven-four combo)  When  he  first walked into this family I wasn't too sure about him because I wanted my sister treated right. Don't get me wrong there are days we can't agree on the color of grass but no one picks on my sister but me! Right!? However, there was something different about Brandon. Over time I would come to learn how much he loved my sister and she loved him. You know first comes love them comes marriage then .... little Ashley and baby blues eyes to boot!
Brandon has personally bailed me out on more than 6 occaisons. Yes more than that but remember I was tutored in high school and college in math so don't judge! Mama said if everyone swept in front of their own porches this world would be clean. Well not my mom but Queen Latifa. Anyways.....
Brandon not only laughed til he couldn't see straight when I got my finger caught in the blender at 2 am, but he still reminds me of "mixer finger" every chance he gets. Fair is fair :)
I could tell you story after story about how Brandon has done soooooooooooo much for this family. However, I won't. That's not what makes him such a good brother in law. What does make him the wonderful bro-in-law is that he does all of this out of love for my family. Truth be told we be crazy! *Sometimes* Cough Cough* He never asks for anything for himself or says I did x,y,and z and now you do for me. Never. Means more than I can say. I might not always want to hear the words of wisdom I get for free, but I know he is right. Kind of annoying ;) Here is for all the times I never said thank you. Also, here is for a time or two down the road I might forget to say it as well. It has truely been a blessing to have you in the family. Thank you for taking excellent care of my sister and my family. It doens't get said as often as it should but I'm saying it now. So remember this when I have done something stupid. You will lecture I might roll my eyes ( I know I can hear the shock in your voices) but deep down I am happy to know I have another brother. I know it's Brandon's birthday tomorrow so HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Size Too Small

Leslie showed the apartment that I would be living in for the next year. She was friendly and assured me I would be happy at Barton Farms. However, the apartment I was given and the apartment I was promised turned out to be two different sizes. I ended up in the smaller aparrment BOO! (don't ask I really don't understand it myself!) I wanted the bigger apartment with more space so  I could put more decorations (stuff) up and satisfy my desire for my own 'home.' True to form what I got wasn't what I signed up for. (come one folks, when is it ever!) I have learned over these past 12 months that I haven't been getting what I want. It has been a big(massive, huge, behemoth, ginormous,larger-than-life) heaping serving of what I need. These are two very different entities. 
When I take a step back I now can see what I want and what I needed are worlds apart. What I wanted was a place to call home, but I found is home. I met friends who I now consider family. People that had my back at 2 am when the chips were down. These are the people that I have laughed with, cried with, and shared my life with. People I love. Now I am looking at my 'home' as it takes on a new form. It is slowly coming apart piece by piece.(Geeze-a-Lou how does 1 person acquire so much "stuff?"!)  What I'm doing is  packing up all of the good experiences and learning from my mistakes. I thank the Lord everyday for all he has given me. I believe it is his will for me to move to Chicago and start a new life. Packing up is never easy to do. I would be lying if I said i'm not trying to type through blurry tear filled eyes. I could write for days (lifetimes) about all of my memories and experiences over the past year. Memories that make me mad, make me cry, make me laugh, and smile. These are all memories and people that I will never forget. From all of my experiences and lifelong friends at Indiana School For the Deaf to dinners with my (old) neighbors. Every single person that I have met this past year has changed my life in someway. In these past twelve months I have made new friends, reconnected with old  ones, and walked away from a few. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. I heard that growing up all of the time in that little Pentecostal church. (We will get to Heaven if we don't roll right past it! Can I get an AMEN?
So my little apartment that couldn't fit my couch and love seat.*eye roll* turned about to be the size just right to fit a lifetime of love and laughter inside. There is a Broadway music called Wicked. Many of you know it, many of you don't.It is the rest of the story from the Wizard of Oz. Side note: Did the flying monkies give anyone else the heebie-jeebies?! Yes? No? Yes but you would never admit it?! Any takers?!  There are few
  lines (it's not word for word. I am paraphrasing. Vocab word! ) that sum up how I feel about my little apartment, and everyone this past year. 

I've heard it said that people come Into our lives For a reason Bringing something We must learn.And we are led To those who help us Most to grow, If we let them, And we help them in return.... It well may be That we will never meet again In this lifetime, So let me say before we part So much of me Is made of what I learned from you You'll be with me Like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have re-written mine By being my friend....Who can say if I've been Changed for the better? I do believe I have been Changed for the better. Because I knew you I have been changed for good...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hey Good Lookin' What's You Got Cookin' ?

I love to cook and bake! I always have and always will. I am trying  not to consume processed junk. Now that I'm on summer break I have more time to cook at home. Yum-o! So here is just a snippet of what's been on the stove lately! So my  {LOVE THEM SO MUCH <3 } neighbors, Shannon & Chris, are always willing to be taste testers and give me feedback! (Sniff Sniff  they are moving a few miles up the road. Sad Day Very Sad Sad Day. )  

1). French Bread Pizza with Peppers and Onions
2). Homemade Coconut Organic Whole Wheat Almond Brownies
3). Lasagna Roll-ups! 

Cooking is relaxing because I turn on my music and go to town! (If the walls could talk right?! HAHA! ) I have no desire to be a chef or cook. However, one upping Martha Stuart Camp Cupcake Queen is fun. Have you ever watched her show? I DVRed it. She is mean! ( Miss Thang could make the devil cry) I found myself annoyed. Everything has to be look perfect. Well keep it movin' sister! This is the college-early 20's something edition! So consider this your fair warning. Hold on and hope that I don't light my eyebrows on fire! :) (Seriously though, with all the make-up I wear it's a wonder I haven't light up like a Christmas Tree. that would be FUNNY though. )

The French Bread pizza I had once at a party with-old-what's-her-head-I-haven't-the-slightest. So here is the break down. 

Cut a baguette or the Hill Jack Indiana word French Bread! ( Are you happy now Taye Taye?! baguette- It's French and worldly. hehe. Love you ! Can't wait for you to come down) 3 Medium Bell Peppers. 1 medium onion. I bulb of Garlic. Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt. 2 C. Moz or Parm Cheese. Oilve Oil. 2 Cans Diced tomatoes.  

1). Cut baguette in half. Coat with olive oil. 2). Put on cheese any cheese that you like will do. 3). Chop up and saute peppers,onions, tomatoes, and garlic all together in a pan with a little olive oil. Cook long enough until you can smell all of the veggies! 4). Add garlic salt if you love garlic (like me) to the veggie mix! 5). Transfer veggies to bread. 6). Add the rest of the cheese & bake at @ 375 for 15 min. Baking times will vary. My oven is weird. Remember everything is cooked already so you are just browning the cheese and the crust! *Some people say this is wonderful with Italian sausage* Go for it baby! :) I just chose to use what I had on hand. This doesn't reheat well.

The Brownies are the best. (Duh) This recipe is from my mama. Thanks Tarmy :O 
1 C. Organic Sugar in the Raw
1/2 C. Coco (Love me some Trader Joe's Unsweetened Coco!) 
1/2 C. Organic Coconut Oil 
1 Tsp. Vanilla 
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 Pinch of salt 
3 Farm Fresh Eggs 
1/4 C. Raw Almonds

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add batter to a greased pan. Bake. Eat. Wash down with a glass of milk. Repeat. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Again oven times are iffy at best. This worked for me though. I also use 3 eggs because it makes them a bit fluffier. If you have a nut allergy and you don't want your face to swell like a balloon simply don't add the nuts :) Remember I know CPR ;) I am obligated by law to save you ,if you do something stupid. I ain't afraid to throw down ! :)  

These are my new favorite! Well Garfield and I. ( Fun Fact. I loathe cats. However,one that likes lasagna is the only one that I like. ) 

1 Jar Pasta Sauce
6 Lasagna noodles
2 C grated Cheese -I used Chedder and some Italian blend
1 Container cottage cheese
1 Egg
1/4 C.  Diced Onion

This recipe is amazing because it is super easy! You can use hamburger or not. Again, I used what I had on hand. I am trying to do at least 3 meatless meals a week. So this is one of them. If you don't put it in you won't miss it I promise! I need a red bumper sticker that says I'm a carnivore. Hehe. Nuts to you PETA! 
This looks and is messy. I promise you though it is scrumptious.*Cough Cough Toot Toot My Own Horn Beep Beep* There are are 1,258,599.6 different recipes for Lasagna. So I encourage you to use whatever works for your budget,waste line, and family. 

First, boil noodles. While the noodles are boiling cook pasta sauce. I add the onion in while it is cooking. I also add Garlic powder. (Tip # 2 See all the garlic I use. I meant what I said about being careful with food allergies. You don't want my garlic breath coming at you. :) While all of this is cooking mix together 1 egg. 1 Container of cottage cheese and 1 C of your grated cheese into the mix. Drain noodles. In my efforts to save time and not dirty up every pan in my apartment, I have a handy little work station. Refer to above picture.  Carol Engle, (Love you so much!) Gave me big glass cutting board. This is the secret to my perfect little work station. I placed the pan of pasta sauce on a hot pad thing? (Yes I know Martha would know the proper name for it. She probably also sells one at the K-Mart! Blue Light Special ) Ha. Anyway, I also used the sauce pan lid to hold my noodles. I spread about a 1/4 C of pasta sauce on the bottom of my pan. Then lay out all of you noodles and begin. Spread your cheese mix on first. Next, add your sauce and do the tootsie roll. THIS WILL BE MESSY, BUT WHO CARES? Do you own hand soap and a clean towel? Then it's no worries :) After  you roll these up and place them in your pan, wash your hands. After that get a spatula and put all of that sauce and cheese mix in your pan. Didn't your mother teach you not to waste good?! Any left over sauce can be added as well. Then add remaining cheese & bake! Bake at 425 for 30 min. until the cheese bubbles. This dish can be made up the night before. I made two pans of this last night. The first batch was for dinner guests, the other was for work lunches. I let it cool and place one roll in foil. I am not sure how long these last in the freezer. (Why? I eat them within a few days. Ha.) So how long you keep them in the freezer is in your hands! 

I have made the switch to whole wheat pasta and grains. You might call Bull Crap! The noodles above are white, yes you are right! However, I wasn't going to chuck those noodles because they are white. My new box is whole wheat. Make the switch, it is weird at first but worth it. I feel better eating healthy. It is also relaxing and fun to cook my own food.(Dancin' around my kitchen singing loudly and off key to country music or Gaither songs! )  There is also a sense of accomplishment in knowing my hands nourish other people. Use whole wheat flour in the brownies, no one will know the difference. If they do, well then more for you! :)  

Recently, I have also made Whole wheat organic chicken and broccoli Pita pockets, Organic Ranch and Cheddar burgers, Organic parmesan zucchini bites, Homemade Chicken Parm. It feels good to eat real home made food. This makes week number 3 of no fast food! 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Wait?

Happy Father's Day. I thought of many ways to say that. I thought back to funerals I have attended. This song has been a staple at many of of them. This song has given me pause for more than one reason. The most important reason is how many of those men would they have been touched or even shocked to hear their children choose this song for them? So why wait? Many of you have heard the song Holly Dunn's "Daddy's Hands."  I couldn't think of a better way to say Happy Father's Day than to post this song. It's not too often (if ever)  that I feel like someone can say something I want to say better than me. However, I will concede. This song is perfect. I don't want this to be a funeral song. I don't want to wait for all of the things I should have said. So I am saying them now. Here it is Dad! 

I remember daddy's hands folded silently in prayer
and reaching out to hold me when I had a nightmare
you could read quite a story in the caluses and lines
years of work and worry had left their mark behind

I remember daddy's hands how they held my momma tight
and patted my back for something done right
there are things that i've forgotten that I loved about the man
but I'll always remember the love in daddy's hands

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin
Daddy's hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
there was always love in daddy's hands

I remember daddy's hands working til they bled
sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I'd live my life again
and never take for granted the love in daddy's hands

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin
Daddy's hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
there was always love in daddy's hands

Read more: 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Amish In 4 Inch Heels

My goal is to live downtown Chicago (10 weeks && counting baby!) and be as Amish as possible! I have decided to be self-reliant. Here is a list of my top 4 homemade products. I debated on adding in tortillas. Those need their own post! Coming soon. 

1). Homemade Deodorant. This deodorant is awesome! I sweat like Hebrew slave. So it is imperative that my deodorant work well. Some people will turn up their noses to this. (Get over it! It's deodorant) The recipe is from Pinterest. 

2).Homemade Face wash.  Lucky Duck! I have always been blessed with wonderful skin. I can't complain. I will get the period pimples once in blue moon. That is the extent of my "acne." So I have ditched fancy expensive face washes && creams. (unless my tight-fisted self can find them for free! Love my CVS!) 

3).Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner. I use a combination of Dawn (blue it needs to be classic BLUE), vinegar, and baking soda to clean my entire apartment. I LOVE them because they are inexpensive, healthy, and simple. 

4).Homemade Beans. Beans Beans the magical fruit the more you eat the more you.... fart (for my mother's sake the more you toot) These beans are perfect source of protein. They are also very filling. I eat them for lunch at work with my homemade tortillas all of the time. I use these beans in homemade tacos, homemade refried beans, and homemade breakfast burritos.  

How do you make all of this stuff by yourself? It doesn't make sense that someone who wears more make-up than Tammy Faye && walks around in 4 in. heels is so *gulp* Amish?!

2 Reasons 
  • My mama, Carmen! This is where I learned to cook, clean, and sew . Growing up my mother always made everything from scratch..  She didn't believe in junk. She fed our family with hard work, elbow grease, and love.  These ingredients are not found in cheap  processed garbage. (I think this is why my food never tastes like mom's) Boo ;( Despite my best efforts it's never like her's. Anyone else notice this?! You follow their recipe to the letter but no dice! I think it's a comfort of home. Something I have learned to appreciate now that I'm on my own. Growin' up ain't for sissies! No mam! 
  • Pinterest. Some many people are smart,creative, and bored. It is amazing what people come up with. Sometimes I am floored by people's creativity ! Seriously, have you seen this stuff?! Red velvet cheesecake brownies, serving trays from spearmints, homemade baby wipes! Moses! Anyways, this forum allows people to be creative and fun. Another reason I believe it is another hit is because Pinterest is a creative outlet. So many times if a person suggests the  idea of making homemade deodorant, or cleaning products from vinegar, there is always a nay sayer. The cool thing is about Pinterest when you post an idea, saying, or recipe, it generally gets repined. (I believe a pin is a virtual high five. For all of you men this is the good-game good-play slap on the butt).  
 Enough chit chat woman! Tell me what to do!

1). I have adapted this recipe. However here is the original. Another critical topic is to always give credit where credit is due. However, in my recipe I use 3 T. organic coconut oil. 1 T. baking soda. 1 Tsp. baby powder. 1 T. corn starch. I mix them all up with a fork in a ramekin. ( the dish you put Ranch dressing in when you order the dressing on the side.Thank You River Terrace) Next, I put it into an old deodorant container. I put it into the fridge to solidify. Eureka! It can be stored in the medicine cabinet. However, I don't suggest leaving it in your car. The coconut oil can get melt-y. 

2). This came from Pinterest again I didn't have the soap she uses. So I used Castor oil instead. (Yes, this is the same oil that is normally used for constipation. Someone hasn't been eating their beans ;) I used a rummage-sale jar to hold mine. My recipe is 1/2 C. Olive Oil & 1/4 C. Castor Oil. Combine ingredients in container & boom baby! The Castor oil draws out the dirt. The Olive oil makes your skin supple. I use my fingertips to apply the face wash. (Some Mary Kay lady told me to rub up so I don't get wrinkles. Probably a load of hog wash. However, I still rub upwards in a circular motion. So much for me and my principles of not buying into mainstream hype!) Next,take your washcloth and get it all nice and hot. I prefer mind scalding.(Remember, I have tough fingertips from flipping tortillas with my bare hands. Rawr.I am Woman.) Then ring it out and let it rest on your face for a minute. Wet it again && then wipe it off! There is your facial. Take that Clinique! *Shakes fist to over-priced products*

3). I use 2 parts of Classic Dawn to 3 parts of vinegar. Again, i just use the Wal-Mart brand of vinegar because with the overage on coupons I can get it super cheap. I bought a dollar store squirt bottle and mixed the ingredients together! I love this stuff! You can adjust the recipe if you feel the need. I clean the tub, kitchen counter, fridge, everything with this stuff! I also use the baking soda & vinegar to the clean the garbage disposal (that is some nasty stuff in there.) Vinegar also cleans the toilet. Just add a splash. Come back in 5 minutes && BAM! Clean Lou! Source: Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of. I couldn't find a direct link to any on Pinterest. So this book is where I pulled these recipes from. 

4). The magical fruit (protein). Buy a bag of pinto beans. I buy mine at Aldi. Meijer has Pork Salt in by the ham. It looks like short fat bacon. However,it is not! Bummer. Open the bag of beans and remove any bad looking beans and rocks. Don't ask. Rinse beans off in cold water . Drain them and then put them in the crock-pot on HIGH! THESE STEPS MUST BE FOLLOWED TO THE LETTER! 1). THE BEANS MUST BE ON HIGH FOR 8 HRS. 2). KEEP THEM COVERED WITH WATER. 1/2 INCH AT ALL TIMES. ADDING MORE WATER WHEN NEEDED.THEY MUST BE TOTALLY SUBMERGED IN WATER. 3). I PUT THE PORK SALT IN AT HR. 5. LET IT COOK FOR ANOTHER 3 HRS. If you don't keep your beans underwater they will not turn out right. This is my mother's recipe. (I'm sure the source is from  someone who managed to jump the fence && run bc boarder patrol was on their heels) After the eight hours is up remove beans from heat.Also don't break up the pork salt & remove once the 8 hrs are up.  I just put the pot itself on a few hot pads and let cool over night.Divide the beans up in some for the fridge && some for the freezer! Enjoy! 

Don't feel like you have to try everything tonight or even this week. If something strikes your fancy go for it sister! However, I encourage you to go slowly so you aren't overwhelmed. If you think a recipe could be improved by adding or omitting an ingredient or two by all means! Some one might even say this is crap and I buy my Clinique at Macy's that is perfectly fine as well :) I am just sharing the experiences I have had on my buffalo squeezing journey!

I will leave you with this! I have a friend that uses & swears by Latisse. (The stuff that makes your eyelashes grow in length and thickness). That little bottle runs a whopping $100. OUCH So, I found a cheaper version that fits into my budget. VASELINE! Yep! That Stuff! I have been applying it every night just a dab on my eye lashes before I go to bed . I have noticed longer and thicker eyelashes. Also, I have also had a few compliments ;). Try it! I dare you!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Poopin' Buffaloes

I do many things to squeeze the nickel until the buffalo poops! One of the things I do is coupon. I use two websites that help me to do this. My favorite is  the other is These two women work tirelessly to help others get the most bang for their hard earned dollars. They each have a host of tools to help you stay on track with your money.Their sites help the (savings illiterate) newbies to carefully navigate the confusing world of coupons and stock piling. I encourage anyone who wants to save money, to check out these sites. It is well worth your time. 

Anyone who wants to save money must learn this cardinal lesson. TIME IS MONEY! Another, rule that must be adhered to is SAVINGS DO NOT PUT THEMSELVES IN YOUR SHOPPING CART! If you want to save money you are going to have to work at it. It takes a while to get into the groove of shopping for a week at a time instead of night-by-night. However, like anything that is important if it is important you will find a way. If not you will find an excuse. 

Nothing makes me crazier than to hear people say "I don't have time to save money." or "I'm not smart with math." Well listen up honey, neither am I! I had a tutor in high school && in college! However, I have redeemed myself by saving my dad so much money now! Redemption is sweet!  Saying you don't have time to save money is fine, if you like lighting money on fire. I get my Sunday papers on Saturday. I get the Weekend Journal bc it is .50 cents cheaper than the Indy Star && has the Red Plum insert. It's only .50 cents what's the big deal? Well, If I buy at least two papers a week that saves me $1 a week. 52 weeks in a year. That is at least $52, sometimes I will buy more than two papers. That meager $52 will pay my water bill twice! 

The key to saving money isn't to  be these extreme couponers (HOARDERS!) No human needs to buy 90 bottles of Tide. Half of the time these people will say "Oh baby, I done got me 85 bottles of body wash for free!" "No I can't use that kind bc I'm allergic real bad. I will break out into hives if it makes contact with my skin, but they was free." (*crosses eyes* for more than one reason) Here is an example. CVS has the  Charmin toilet paper on sale. If you buy $30 of it you will get $10 in ECB back. This is actually a very good deal. No coupons needed for this, just scan your Extra care card. It is free to sign up. You give them the TP and money. Then something AMAZING happens! They give you back money for  their store. This isn't cash, it is strictly money for their store. However, you can use this to turn around and buy something else in CVS!

Another tip in this saving money game is to not compare yourself to other people. I have found this to be most helpful in my savings journey. If I compare myself to what you  have I won't be happy. If you compare yourself to me you won't be happy. Moral of the story be thankful for what is on your table. This is hard pill to swallow. Something I work on every single day. I do believe it is the Devil that whispers you aren't happy until you have that fancy car. Or those sexy high heels with the shiny red bottoms. (Christian Louboutins are thousands of dollars a pair) *Gasp* a few of those could pay for Columbia! Stop putting happiness into STUFF and THINGS. I promise you, STUFF && THINGS do not a happy life make. Shhhhh all of you that say "Stephanie, you are exactly right! However, I would rather cry in my Bentley than my Gremlin!" 

This is a topic I could spend a lifetime on. This is just the tip of the iceberg for all of this world of savings and making your own face wash! These websites should help you get going on your savings journey. I am always  a phone call, text, or email away. 

A few things that will also help  you get poopin' buffalos is (Remember the ADD?) always write down what you are going to buy. Also, write down whatever coupons you will be using. This tip is CRITICAL for everybody. Take stock of what you already have. If your pantry has 50 can of green beans stock up on corn this week. After you have looked at all you have, say two prayers. One being thankful for all you have. Another is for everyone that doesn't.  I started doing this along time ago. I pray two prayers when I  drive by Lutheran hospital. It is a long story, however, the key element is a thankful heart. Every time I pass that hospital, I thank the Lord for still having my dad around. I also say a prayer for everyone who is on the other side of that door praying for their loved ones.  

Rest assured there will be many more posts on saving money and all kinds of other wonderful topics. This should get you not the right path! Thank you all for reading the wonderful comments,texts, emails, and support you have all shown me! I love you all && I am BEYOND thrilled that we are all in this together. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who Done It?

I named this blog "Bodies In The Yard" because I have always said one one day, there will be Bodies In The Yard. :) Well the time has come. I done it! Many of you know I have always said I want to write a book about my many adventures && it will have to be in the fiction section!!!! So here is a blog. Baby steps. I am doing this for many reasons. One of the biggest right now is I am 24, no babies, no husband. So where in the world do I fit in?! I feel like it is very easy to get lost in the shuffle because I don't have these blessings in my life yet.Someday though! I'm praying for it. More on that later! Back to the task at hand (apologies now, we all know I have the attention span of a goldfish) Any who, I made the comment one day about being tired. Some woman said ,"You don't understand tired, you aren't a mother." It took everything in my power to not mouth off.  Truth be told it hurt my feelings as well. Well Duh. I am 24 && not married. IF I was an unwed mama you would whine, and say you had pay for the Pampers on my babies rump. So shut it! :) I kept it all to myself though. (see Mom && Dad you raised me right!) I really wanted to say if having kids brings you so much joy and happiness you ain't got none, mama! (Again, to I kept my trap shut!) However, it really got me thinking. It's not so much that I don't have my own mini me,  it just feels like my life isn't worth as much when people make comments like that.  That really gets in my crawl space. Every person does his or her own thing. Da vinci  never had kids. We still use his work in our everyday lives. Neener Neener.  So how do I say we remedy this? We (that means me too!) are very careful about what we say to our brother and sisters. Everyone is on a path that is specifically just for them. I feel very strongly that I am exactly doing God's will for my life. I'm not changing diapers, I have no ankle biters of my own. However, what I do have is 4 handsome nephews and 3 pretty nieces. Also, I have wonderful examples of what a mother should be. I'm blessed with more than I deserve. So one day when I am lower-lip deep in butt paste, I will remember not to be snide when I hear someone say "I'm tired!" I will be thankful for the blessings that butt paste brings to me! 

 I have also had a similar experience at church when a fellow church goer picked up my hand and asked why I'm not an ex McCormick yet. (Excuse me, you have bee divorced 3 times doll face) I was annoyed to say the least, the very least. Leave me alone!!!!!!!! It's not socially acceptable for me to say, "How much do 3 alimony checks run you each month , sugar?" So why not just ask how I am? Please and Thank You. 

I am sure someone else has been in the same boat right?! I dread the famous, "What are you up to these days?" Shoot me in the face now! When I say I'm finishing up college and living alone, they give me a sympathetic annoying-as-all-get-out pat on the head. I'm thinking you either are going to give me biscuit for being a good girl,or you heard that I am a leper living alone in a van by the river. 

So back the reason for this blog! You thought I forgot didn't you? I did as well! Ha! The point of this is to show how a 24 year old  can live alone, and love every minute of it. The hardest part is eating dinner by myself every night signing loudly and off key whenever the spirit moves me. HAHA. Back to a serious note though,eating dinner by myself is my hardest part about my day. I would like someone to talk to about my day. "Hey did you hear about the Secret Service being tight wads with working girls?" "Yes! Moral of the story, always pay the help." Just kidding. ;)  However, I am learning to embrace this season of my life. I am looking forward to the future, but also using this precious time. I'm learning not to waste on moment. So this blog will have everything on here from tips on how to coupon, be Amish in 4 inch heels, how not to shoot people that piss you off, and a plethora of other topics.

I encourage your thoughts, questions, comments, and words to live by. Thanks for indulging me. After all we are all in this together right?