Through September 8th you’ll get double cash back (in the form of SB points) or more when you shop for Back to School essentials at your favorite retailers through Swagbucks. They also have offers where you can earn SB points towards free gift cards for trying school-related products and services. Then you can take all the SB points you earn and use them to get gift cards and PayPal cash!
Click here to see all of the deals they’re running, and if you sign up through me during this sale you’ll get $10 for making your first purchase! That’s in addition to the normal SB you get for your purchases.
Did you think the wedding posts would end after the wedding? Yeah about that….sorry, not sorry. Our photos from our photographers (the best!) will not be back until the end of the month or so. For now, we rely on photos from family & friends!
Top – My nephew Kyler & my daughter Natalee…and then Jake & I during the ceremony Middle – my sister in law Lynsay (left) with me and then Erin, one of my students & I. Bottom – the kiss!!!!
It is almost that time for back to school, which means – normal meal times, set schedules and meal planning! On our normal meal rotation we have:
OMG Chicken with couscous & veggies
Chicken & Rice Bake
Grilled chicken with veggies
Sloppy Joe’s with chips & fruit
hot dogs with veggies
pizza (we try to do this on Friday nights when the kids are with us)
hamburgers (this is rare though)
simple chicken with couscous & veggies
BBQ beef & bowtie pasta (aka: from scratch hamburger helper)
9, I can think of 9 things – what the heck? I think our summer of crazy schedules and unplanned meals out has really affected my brain! The nights that the kids go to Matt’s, we do things like ribs in the crockpot, salads and simple stuff.
So, here is where I need help – what are some of your go-to meals for the back to school time?
Now that all the wedding chaos has died down, we are gearing up for a few other things. The kids dad gets married on Saturday, so that adds a little bit more fun to the kids lives. Then Katie goes to a comic-con type thing in Indianapolis the week after that, then the week after that – is the solar eclipse and school starts! For Jake and I things will wind down a bit once we get into the school routine. Jonathan won’t be playing fall ball, as they don’t offer it for his age group (boo – I hate that!). So, football games and school activities will be on tap and before you know it it will be Halloween. But for now….I present, life lately.
Eating – grilled chicken and grilled veggies. This has been my go to lunch since we bought our grill. I got some little divided bento box containers that are perfect for our lunches, so we use those a lot!
Reading – I just ordered “The Presidents House” from the library on campus, so I have that to start. I have a few things on my kindle to read too. I may hit the library this weekend to grab a few more books to read on my lunch breaks. Hit me with your suggestions if you have any!
Watching – LivePD on Friday & Saturday nights, House of Cards on nights we don’t have the kids (we are nearing the end of Season 2). We watch Jeopardy nearly every night. We also have America in Color (we have made it from the 1920-1930’s) and Aerial America on the DVR, as well as 2 documentaries on the First Ladies of the United States, and another on Princess Diana.
Shopping for – we have a few gift cards from the wedding to use, and a few gifts that were duplicates to exchange. Our biggest purchase so far was a new laser level from Lowes, because – well, we like things to hang level in our house. Now that the wedding is over, the amazon.com wedding decor ordering has stopped – and soon Christmas shopping will begin.
Planning – our honeymoon! Jake booked our rental car the other night, and we have a list going of places we want to see. We don’t want to get there and have a rigid plan in place, but at least a loose plan of what we want to do each day. Of course, Saturday of our honeymoon is dedicated to the Florida-Michigan football game.
If you still haven’t done your Back to School shopping, here’s a way you can get paid for finding deals for all those kids in your life.
Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago! What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly.
Here’s what you need to know to get your 200 SB Bonus(and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
Shop Swago will begin on Monday, August 7th at 9am PT/12pm ET, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
I have been waiting a long time to show off these photos! My friend Allison takes the majority of our family photos, and I asked her to take my bridal portraits as well. She did not disappoint! Among her many talents are photography, cooking, hair & makeup. There was no cooking involved this night, but she did my hair, makeup, and took photos. Oh and she helped me into my dress because lord knows I cannot get into that corset and zip it up myself.
So after makeup & hair, and accompanied by my maid of honor Laura, my daughters Katie & Madison (one I birthed, one I did not..LOL) – we set off for the horseshoe on campus. First let me explain that Allison and I go back a few years, a few breakups, makeups, mistakes, Criminal Minds episodes & stranger than fiction letters from prison (there are stories with all of these…ask us). There was this one time she yelled at me for going on a date without telling her, in her words “because if you ended up in a dumpster with no eyelids, its your own fault for not telling someone where you were going” (and this is where Criminal Minds comes in). She and I have a hard time being serious around each other, unless it is about work. So these photos were genuinely hard to take, because I could not stop laughing or making silly faces.
This photo to the left is one of my favorites. She had just said something that made me laugh so hard and there was a squirrel sneaking up on me (we have photos of him too). Apparently all squirrels have the same name, ask Allison about it sometime.
The hydrangeas were a last minute Publix grocery store pick-up by Laura. The jewelry (earrings & necklace) were a gift from my dear friend Melissa. Due to her job, she won’t be able to make it back to the United States for the wedding – so this is a way for me to have her close!
You cannot tell, but I have my boots on and sand gnats kept landing on my eyelashes. Every 4th photo is me making a face trying to blow them off my eyes. The garden next to President & Mrs. Pastides home makes for a beautiful spot to take photos. So much so that another bride passed by as we were taking photos there, and waited for us to finish up. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!
So today at 4pm, I get to marry my best friend, my partner in crime and the love of my life. To say that I am excited is an understatement. Since I wrote this post in advance – at the time this is published, I will be sitting in a chair at Magnolia Salon getting my hair done by Candice.
The last 561 days since that first text have been some of the best and hardest days ever. We have been through some crap that most couples would cave at – car accidents (three), hospital stays and a breast cancer scare. We have managed to sell one house, combine our two houses into 1 that we finally after a 2 month delay closed on back on July 14th. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it. We get through everything with a fierce love and loyalty for each other. I have said it time and time again, that the way Jake has taken on this “crazy life” of mine has always amazed me. He is the best bonus dad to our kids – he loves them like they were his own. He has seen meltdowns, tears and puke at 2am. He has had heart to hearts with all 3, been the disciplinarian and the best friend. He has made 2am runs to CVS for pedialyte, and late night family dates to Pelican Snowballs. He has brought some structure & order to our lives – like dinners around the kitchen table, Friday pizza nights and family movie night.
Jake first texted me on January 15th, 2016 with a simple text that said “Hey, its Jacob from match…” That was the text that started it all, at 6:39pm on that cold Friday night – and we proceeded to text for basically 3 hours straight – ranging from what we were watching on TV that night to “the hit” (click the words to see what the hit actually is). There were a couple of nights in the next few weeks that I would “sneak out” to make a grocery store run kid-less for milk, or ice cream and Jake would meet me there. Like two teenagers, we would kiss in the parking lot and just stand there hugging between our cars. What drew me to him the most was how kind he was. He never said a harsh word to me (and to this day he never has). In looking back at those early text conversations (we actually have them saved in a PDF), I see that progression of our relationship grow from hey, lets go on a date to maybe you can stay the night this weekend.
Then came the word game – where he spelled out “I am in love with you” and made me guess all the letters. I was shocked at how fast it came, less than a month after that first date. It all came so naturally and it was simply amazing.
I will forever be in awe of you – your love for me, for our kids and how hard you work for our family every single day. I love you Jake, today, tomorrow and always.
It has been a busy month around here, ya know – with that whole wedding thing happening in 2 days! If you don’t know about that – welcome to the blog (more about the wedding this weekend).
Here are my recommendations for July!
Podcast – S-town My coworker Abby told me about this, and I was obsessed! It is 7 episodes, each about 1 hour long. I typically listened to it on the way home from work. I texted her one day and said “12 minutes into this podcast and I’m hooked”. If you choose to listen to it, my one piece of advice is DO NOT GOOGLE anything about it until you are done listening. I am so glad I listened to that advice as I was able to form my own image in my head AND I didn’t get any spoilers while searching.
Eggs Up Grill
This is mine & Jake’s favorite Saturday morning breakfast spot. We go every other Saturday, and have gotten to know the waitresses and managers. Our pro-tip when visiting one, go get the app that allows you to put yourself in line and get a table faster (do this before you drive there). It is a great place for breakfast and apparently they also serve lunch – but we’ve never gone for lunch! They are open in Lexington from 6am to 2pm. They have locations all over the southeastern part of the U.S.
We got to go back to Newnan earlier this month to celebrate a friend’s life (more about that here). We stopped at a favorite lunchtime place – the Redneck Gourmet, and I stopped to take this photo on the way back to the car. In the background is one of my most favorite spots in Newnan, the courthouse on the court square. Cars are flying by behind me and the sun beating down – but in this moment, everything was peaceful and perfect.