Wednesday, March 30, 2011

200 Mile Hiking Challenge: North Country Trail


Tammi and I logged another 6.52 miles of our 200 Mile Challenge for 2011.


This was the scene on the North Country Trail north of Moniteau High School.  There was some industrial type clearing for a large part of the trail.  We dodged “Prickery” and mud and crawled over brush and through thicket.  We were determined hikers. 


The destination was Vulture-Bear Rock.  We were certain that something lives IN the rock, or maybe it’s under the rock.  There was a bench on it where we stopped to rest before heading back.  There was a HUGE cliff off the rock.  Maybe some day we’ll hike beyond it?  We left figuring that the Sasquatch lives in the rock.  Ha Ha Ha…  or maybe the Grass Man?  Too funny!


So there you have it…  another few miles on our log.  It felt good despite my cold.  I can’t wait to go again.  Thanks Tammi!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Five Finds Today


It was a brisk 40 degree day with chilly winds, although not too bad under the cover of the woods.  Keith and I set out for a little hike at Hartwood Acres, a lovely park near our home.  I must confess that I have long taken for granted the parks and trails that are so close to home.  Once we discovered our love of hiking and geocaching, that appreciation has grown so so much. 


We found four caches, but the last one was a multi-cache, so it was actually FIVE finds.  It was a little bit muddy, but that’s what hiking boots are made for… right!?  There were lots of other people out and about hiking, running, and riding mountain bikes.  Many had dogs.  We even saw hoof-prints.  Despite the hustle and bustle, at times when we’d find ourselves deep in the woods, we’d discover some wildlife in our midst.  Five deer startled us at the top of one hill.  A red-tailed hawk, so majestic, flew close by us stopping to perch upon several lower trees.  It seemed odd that it was so low and so close instead of way up high, but I’ll take it.  It was eye candy.  Wish we would have had a better camera with us. 


I’m always grateful for Keith wanting to hike with me.  Geocaching gives us a good destination.  I’m just happy being out in the wilderness pounding out the miles on the trails.  It’s fantastic exercise.  It also gives me a much greater appreciation for what my pony endures when I ride her.  I can’t wait to do it again!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frolicking Ponies

I took these couple pictures on a brisk morning last week.


LOOK at my girlie GO!!!! (Click on the photo to make it bigger)



I love the sunshine in this one and the fact that Sir is dead last in the race.  (He’s always first when we race on a ride.) 


I can’t wait for the green grass and spring flowers!  I saw some crocus poking out last week.  It’s coming… slowly…  Although I do not relish the mud that comes with April showers nor the idea of getting Penny’s Hannibal Lector mask out. 

Saturday Savings & Meal Planning

I got a little off my routine last week as I was not at home all week.  I ended up shopping at the grocery mid-week catching last weeks sales, but haven’t been back around to get this weeks match-ups at Giant Eagle or Rite Aid.  I worked the Farmer’s Market this morning and scored myself some meat and veggies.  Yay! 


Planning it out…

1)  Pizza

2)  Chicken w/ rice

3)  Beef Stew in the crockpot

4)  Grilled Cheese w/ tomato soup

5)  Eggs, Bacon, & Toast 


What do I still need to get?  Nothing!  I have everything I need to make all of those meals!!!  So when I go it will be for the best deals they’ve got, which hopefully includes snacks for Keith’s lunches.  YAY!!!  I LOVE having a stocked pantry!

More Jewelry


Just made these today.  Time for a nap.  Zzzzz…

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hiking With My Honey


Last weekend we hiked several miles together.  These pictures are from the Sunken Garden Trail at Moraine State Park.  It was an easy walk and we found a geocache!  Score!  Enjoyed the scenery and the sunshine. 




Last week I picked up NINE tubes of Crest for a whopping $3.00.  That’s really cheap!  I gave them all to my coworker to share with her family.  In return… she will bring me some coupons.  SmileYay!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yay For Warmer Weather

Saturday was a whirlwind of a day.  I left early for Butler and met up with my gal pals for Girls Group Bible Study.  Yummy Panera Bread breakfast and chit-chat… Wonderful.  Then I motored into work figuring that I’d do a few things there.  Well… six hours later I had printed some fifty application packets that need to be mailed this coming week and completed a small pile of data entry.  Ugh!



What better way to close out the day and the week but with a short hike with my Sweetie.  I got home with just about an hour of daylight to spare.  We tried to find a geocache that we failed to find in the snow a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, we did not find it last evening either.  Grrrr!  However…  there is another one not far off.  It’s one we have found before.  So we trail-blazed for a short distance, walked the ridge overlooking the stream, scaled a portion of it and found ourselves back on the beaten path.  The spring thaw is flowing heavily in the stream.  It’s not just beautiful to look at, it sounds lovely too.  I wish I could capture that sound and take it with me.  The cache was tucked into a log just where we thought it was.  There were no exciting contents we wished to have, so we just left a travel bug and a geocoin. 


I’m looking forward to many hikes to come… 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Every Season Has Its Beauty



This was the scene as I climbed into my warm, garage kept, car.  The snow was heavy with moisture.  Each tree limb was perfectly defined.  I enjoyed my commute this morning, drinking in the beauty of this season. It will soon be over. Spring is already on its way.  I’m thankful to live in a place where I can witness the change of seasons and the unique beauty of each. 


Thursday, March 10, 2011

It Is Done!

Today we paid off the remaining balance of my student loans!  ELEVEN MONTHS EARLY!!!!  I’m SO EXCITED!!!!  We also paid off one additional bill that has been lingering for a while.  It feels SO GOOD!!!  I’m thankful for the Lord’s provision and Keith’s decision making.  We have a plan to keep chipping away at our debt, follow a strict budget, and to save for our someday home and other aspirations.  We still owe some on the truck, his student loans, and a little bit more to Asbury.  We have ZERO credit card debt!  It makes us feel so FREE!  YAY!!! 


In celebration thereof, we purchased tickets to the Pirates Opening Day at PNC Park…and I’m thinking maybe I might make us a nice steak dinner one night this week. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Better Than Expected…

Today started about the same as any other, except Keith was home and he was awake before I left for work.  I counted myself blessed to have a hug and a kiss from him before we departed ways.  Once I got to work the day seemed to fall apart fast.  One of the first tasks I started today was also one of the last.  There were many interruptions.  I feel as though tomorrow I will have to lock myself behind closed doors just to accomplish some things that are time sensitive.  (As if pretty much everything isn’t time sensitive in my office.) 


After work I got to the barn, just a little later than planned.  I missed the vet-call.  He was there for the ponies’ annual inoculations.  I skipped the blood-test again this year as I’m not planning on taking her to any shows or official organized rides.  I’ll just be riding around the farm and maybe a few local spots that we trailer out to on a whim.  Nothing where anyone checks for the test, so we should be good.  So Penny just got a few shots.  I presume she was well behaved as usual.  I’m glad that she should be safe from those particular ailments that target horses, especially since Janet does travel with her horse so there may be some exposure. 


After the chores were done, Janet and I took the dogs for a walk in the woods.  I SOOOOOO needed that!!!  I need MORE walks in the woods!  It was just about dark when we returned, so we timed it perfectly.  I kind of wish I would have had the GPS with me so I could see how far the loop is.  Maybe next time.  I’m just so delighted to have been out for a hike, even a little one.  The ground is soft on top but still hard underneath in most places.  Some area still had snow cover, where obviously the sun doesn’t shine as direct.  The ridge we walked along is beautiful in every season. 


So as I motored home I remembered that tonight is Bible Study night at church.  We are deep into Isaiah.  So even though I was a half-hour late, I stopped anyway and got a good hour of biblical intellectual discussion and direction.  SAWEET!!!!  I’m always grateful for the reflections of those in attendance and also for the prayerful hearts whom I know I can count on for prayer in need.  On my way out, I stopped and signed up for the Monday night women’s group again.  Am I stretching myself too far?  That’s THREE Bible Studies I’m in.  Hmmm… I figure I’ll get the material and attend when I’m able.  Sometimes Mondays are bad for me, but I’d rather be prepared to participate than to try to fit in after the fact.  Besides… this is another group of lovely ladies whom I can count on to surround me with prayer. 


I got home a short while ago.  Since then I’ve put some pork chops on the stove to slow-cook and a pot of scalloped potatoes in the oven.  I got the mail just to find that we are closer than ever to paying off my student loan and possibly one (or maybe two) additional bills that have been lingering.  YAY!!!!  I’m so excited!!!!  We very much want to buy our own home in the near future and we have some other aspirations as well…  so this feels really good to be a nice leap forward on such plans.  Of course… it’s not like we will buy a house tomorrow, but at least we have some forward motion.  YAY!!! 


So even though I was annoyed because Keith’s phone wasn’t functioning well earlier today.  Even though my work was stressful and boring.  Even though Keith forgot his lunch and his wallet.  (and was saved by someone other than me.  Thank you very much.)  This day has turned out a whole lot better than I had anticipated all along!   

Monday, March 07, 2011

Blessings Monday


A couple weeks ago I was pretty much so stranded on the snow-covered highway with no way to get home.  I was blessed to have a friend nearby who could rescue me and give me a warm place to lay my head for the night.  Looking back makes me grateful for the blessing of being able to get home tonight. 


The entire month of February Keith was working nights.  Last night he was home and able to sleep through the night with me.  I’m grateful for the blessing of sharing a closeness with my Man, especially after so many lonely nights.  I’m also grateful for the blessing of gainful employment for both Keith and myself. 


We are nearing the point where my student loan will be satisfied.  We have 11 more months to pay an exorbitant amount in order to bring a close it.  It’s taken a couple of years longer than expected as we had to defer it when Keith was in Grad-school.  It warms my heart to know that my Honey has developed a plan to pay it off early.  He is a good man!  I am so blessed!


Sometimes difficult times help to remind us of how blessed we truly are.   I’m feeling very blessed right now.  Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saturday’s Savings & Meal Planning

I have a plan for this week.  Here it is:

  1. Chili, cornbread, and salad
  2. Chicken Stir fry
  3. Pork roast or chop w/ scalloped potatoes & green beans
  4. Spaghetti and salad
  5. Fish Sandwich (for Keith)  I’ll have leftovers

I’m pumped about my shopping trip today.  I didn’t need to get much for my meal plan, but I grabbed a bunch of good deals.  Check it out:


Kellogg’s cereal were 5 for $10.  I had three coupons worth 3.40.  So I spent a whopping 1.32/box.  I already had 6 boxes of cereal from last week’s sales so now I have 11 boxes of cereal in the pantry.  Well… Keith already ate about half a box.  What’s for dinner when I’m too tired to cook a meal?  CEREAL!!!!



How about this!  Colgate and Colgate tooth brushes were on sale for $1.  I had 14 coupons for 75 cents off (7 tooth paste & 7 tooth brushes), which double at the register.  Double is more than the sale price, so they were all just simply FREE!!!!  Actually, I was one tooth brush shy because I cleaned them out.  They only had 6.  Oh well, maybe I’ll be able to use that coupon another time.  I don’t even use Colgate tooth paste!  I got 6 free tubes last week.  I gave away 3 of those.  Now I have 10 tubes of toothpaste in the closet.  Seriously… if you live close and want some toothpaste, let me know.  I’ll donate most of it to the ministry at church for the food pantry and/or college and military care packages.  It’s worth it to pick it up just to give it to someone else.



What’s this?!  It’s motivation to do laundry.  That’s what!  This was what I got at Rite Aid.  I picked up 8 bottles of Arm & Hammer 2x Laundry detergent.  These usually run $6.99/bottle.  It was on sale for $3.99 w/ a $1 Register Reward.   $3.99x8=$31.92 minus $4 in coupons = $27.92.  I got $8 back in Register Rewards, which means I actually spent $19.92 for 8 bottles or $2.49 each.  I saved $4.50/bottle from the usual price.  Not bad!  Both bottles of Gain liquid fabric softener were FREE w/ coupons.  I spent $3.25 on the 5 Dawn Hand Renewal dish soaps (with coupons) or a whopping 65 cents each.  SAWEET!!!!  That’s the kind I like because it keeps my hands soft.  We don’t have a dishwasher. 


These are just the bigger deals I found.  I was actually several dollars UNDER my budget at the grocery this week.  Imagine that!  Many thanks to all who gave me coupons they didn’t want!  This was fun.        

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday’s C.O.W. (Coupon of Wisdom)

Besides last weeks answered prayers fresh in my memory, there has been a simple yet profound concept that continually orbits my mind day after day.  Have you ever prayed continually on one topic or for one person… wishing, hoping, begging for a change that you know would be so huge?  Keep praying, for answered prayers sometimes take time.  BUT… always TRUST that the Lord’s plan is perfect.  Let God write the testimony of the situation or person(s) you pine over.