Oh my stars, folks ~ my 11 year old and I just had the best day trip to Cincinnati to decorate her room! Because my youngest’s room was pretty sparse in our old home, Caroline handed down her furniture to Reagan so we needed a new bed and were hoping to find a desk too.


Goodness, gracious ~ we hit the jackpot. 


I couldn’t believe the prices (I’ve shopped there before but more just window shopping ~ not actual purchasing), but today we grabbed everything we needed because we didn’t want to make another trip. I’ll share pictures of her bedroom once we get it all set up, but thought you all might enjoy a peek of a few of the things we noticed while we were there . .  .


Cute stacking tables just $9.99


A little more traditional table for $79


These stool/tables for just $5.99 ($5.99 ~ did you hear that???)


A decent desk for $79 (we actually bought this one for me to use until we can set up an office in our new home – then we’ll pass it on to my 14-year old ~ they had very basic desks for as little as $29)


This cute bed which is what we bought Caroline (it wasn’t my favorite ~ at all ~ but she was in love. The loft bed was just $129 and the desk was $99 underneath ~ she’s so excited about it! While I know at this price that this furniture won’t last forever, it’s pretty sturdy with it and we were pleased with it for the price.)


They also had long curtain panels priced $29 – $49, for the set.


Lots of items under $5 . . .

 Great prices on toddler/preschool furniture for little ones ~ $15-$40,


And $.99 picture frames.


Here we are with our two full carts (yikes!)


But the thing I thought was a hoot was the line of backed up cars just waiting to load up. ;)


Before heading home we stopped by the Frontgate, Ballard Design and Grandin Road Outlets (which were my favorites ~ I’ll show pictures of what I found there over the next few weeks but I could have stayed there all day . . . )


And finally ended up back home in time for dinner.


Hope you did something fun today, and enjoy a blessed Sunday!


Moving Update: (Mostly) Moved In


Folks, it has been quite a crazy first week of summer around our house. It’s hard to believe that just one week ago we were hauling in boxes, but we’re slowly making some headway and I have hopes that one of these days this place might feel like home. ;)


We’ve got to find a few more rugs and bigger rug for the breakfast nook (I’m hoping Overstock.com?) but am so thankful that at least that little corner of our home is tidied up from all of the crazy boxes.


And we finally (thank heavens!) had internet and cable installed yesterday. (I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was to keep up PPP using just a mobile hotspot ~ real internet is just the nicest gift!)


In the meantime, my kiddos have looked through every one of our old scrapbooks and built some awesome forts out of boxes ;)  


I even managed to make up a batch of our all-time favorite cookies this week, and chicken and dumplings are cooking up in Mr. Potts even as I type. (Have I mentioned lately I love her? Goodness, I sure do!)


This morning following the advice of some folks on Facebook we tried out Graeter’s Ice Cream after trying to find a local pool – the kids loved it of course!


We’ve been so blessed to have neighborhood kids that my kids are loving playing with, and a sweet family from the church we visited Sunday invited us over for dinner this week. (Even in Ohio they’ve got Southern hospitality, it just looks a little different way up here!) To be honest my heart is still just aching for home (goodness, moving is hard), so I’m just praying that in a few more weeks we’ll find a little more at peace here.


Thanks so much for your patience as things have been nuts here (to say the least), and be watching for some fun new home projects as we get settled in. (I had one all set for this week but my camera won’t upload to my laptop – so be watching next week once my regular computer is set up!)



Unpacking Day


We’ve survived two nights in our new home, and goodness it’s just so much more than I expected. We found this house after looking at several existing homes (this one was about four months from completing construction when we bought it), and when we compared what we were getting we felt like this was just the perfect place for us.


Now that we’re here though, I almost feel guilty. The house is beautiful, and so much more than I could ever imagine. My husband and I have been working towards this for eighteen years and through four houses, but now that we’re here I’m just kind of standing back in shock. I never (ever ~ ever) dreamed we’d have a home like this, and am so thankful for it. (But also keep wondering if it’s too much?)


The thing that we loved about this home is there is plenty of room for our kids to come back to visit when they’re grown. As our kids have gotten older we’ve seen how our home quickly seemed to get taken up, so we’re thrilled to have a little more space. What’s funny though is that because I feel so empty after leaving Alabama, I think I’d give up this house in a heartbeat to be in our community.


My prayer is that one day this home becomes community too, and I know it’s entirely early for me to even start worrying about that ~ but six months of exhaustion has me a little overwhelmed to say the least. ;)




Okay, enough of me struggling through this ;) , here’s a peek at a little more of our new home (completely in it’s disastrous state) and what the crazy move looked like yesterday in our house. (Y’all, it was rough ~ the movers destroyed my husband’s grandparent’s dining room table, a few other items, and even left half-eaten pieces of pizza on the truck on top of our furniture, which sat on the truck for a few days. Bleck.)



The jack-and-jill bath for my girls ~ I need to get better pictures so you can see that paint color, it’s Sherwin Williams Sea Salt and it is the PERFECT color!



They can’t put down sod in Ohio so we’re on a waiting list ~ I’m thinking I’ll be dealing with muddy feet all summer long . . . 


I’ve always dreamed of having a mudroom ~ but I think I’ll like it much more once it’s tidied up a bit!


And there’s the table ~ did I say ugh already?




The kitchen is still in sore need of unpacking . . .



And see that lovely empty space for all the items that I’ve found to donate? That’s where the new fridge (that was supposed to arrive yesterday) is going. Ummmm . . . except that my seven year old turned off the sound on my phone so when the truck called to deliver it they couldn’t find our home. Yup, no fridge ’til Tuesday. Ugh.


I’ve heard over and over that moving is one of the top five most stressful events in your life, and after this week I’m pretty sure that’s true. I know that compared to so many, we are ridiculously (crazy, crazy, crazy) blessed, so I have absolutely no business whining when we really are just spoiled. Off to take a shower, tidy up the rest of the kitchen, and happy-up my attitude.  I think I can, I think I can! ;)


Help! What Are Your Best Tips for Organizing Your Pantry?


We’ve been working, and working and working to make a dent in the huge amount of unpacking here, and I just got around to tackling my stockpile!


It’s been awhile since I’ve had a walk-in pantry, and while it’s not very big, I’m determined to make it work.



I still have a ways to go (clearly!) but would love your tips if you have them on how to organize shelves like these! I really hope by tomorrow to be somewhat back to a normal schedule of sharing a few deals ~ we’ve had quite a few little unexpected disasters today as we’ve moved so just keeping up with everything here as been all I can do.


Any tips for me? Please leave a comment to share!

My Crazy Good Deal + A Peek At Our Kitchen


I’m so excited about the deal I scored last night! As soon as we closed on the house I was determined to visit the Frontgate Outlet Store in Columbus, and goodness I’m glad I did. They have pretty decent on savings on items that are in the catalog (but are way too pricey for me to buy), and happened to be having a 50% off sale on bar stools which made these just $49.


(In the catalog they had been $149 a piece.) Success! 


So for the price of one (wow!) I got all three of them, and they fit just perfectly!  I would have preferred a dark brown leather for the cushions, but these were the only three they had in the same color (and I think the gold is growing on me?)   The store had just gotten them in yesterday morning on the truck, and they were all they had left.


Before buying them I ran to Pier One to price check, and when I saw theirs were $149 as well, I knew this was a fantastic price! I hauled my family back one more time, stuffed them in our car, and then we snuck out to our house where we camped out in sleeping bags last night.  I’ll share a few more pictures tonight after we survive the day ~ but was too excited about this deal to wait to share it with you! ;)


We Made It To Ohio!


My kids handprints from our old driveway ;)  

Goodness gracious ~ it’s been a long week already, and it’s only Wednesday morning! We arrived safely in Columbus after midnight last night, and (fingers crossed) close on our new home later today.


It’s been a hard, sad, oh-so-blessed-that-it-just-hurts-to-go few days, as we said goodbye to so many wonderful friends Monday and Tuesday.  When we finally got all tucked in last night my big-ole’ 14 year old just looked and me with tears in his eyes and asked “Is this really happening?” Bless him, it’s so stinkin’ difficult to just exist at all when you’re 14, so I absolutely hate that we’ve thrown this curve ball his way. :(


Here’s my make-shift desk in the closet of my husband’s apartment today (I didn’t want to wake anyone up with my typing!) It’ll be awhile before I have a real office again, but surely I can find something a little more appropriate than the top of a Rubbermaid cooler (surely?)



I can’t even begin to thank you for all your kind words, thoughts and emails as you all have encouraged me while we get through this. I never expected such an overflow of support, and have been thoroughly shocked at how many of you took time to email me, and even more surprised at how many Ohio readers there are here on PPP. (Really – so many folks have sent emails with so many tips on the area – I am so blessed!)  My heart’s still a little (a lot) achy this morning, but I know things will look brighter in a few days as we settle in.


Thank you so much for your continued prayers (especially for a cute 14 year old blonde boy who could really use it today)  ~ praying God’s grace on your day too!


If you missed this earlier, see more on our move over HERE.

Our Sweet Home In Alabama

(We’ve had so many people ask about our hammock ~ my husband just installed two large 6″x6″ posts deeply into the ground, and added a hammock that we found in Key West two years ago – that hammock has held up so well and was the best souvenir we’ve ever purchased!)

In lieu of this week’s Friday Fluff Up, I thought I’d share a little virtual tour of our backyard (mostly so that I’ll have a way to remember it myself after we move!) When we moved to Alabama 9 years ago there wasn’t a single tree out back (our neighborhood is in an old cotton field), so we’ve slowly added some landscaping, and I’m just amazed at what a little Miracle Gro, water, and 9 years of growth can do. Here’s a peek . . .

We updated the deck a few years ago and my husband added a simple swing set for the kids . . .

 but eventually added the pull up bar for my two gymnasts (they’re out there all the time!)

We put in a small pre-made pond and then my husband added stone around it (I love this spot!)

My husband added this hammock between the trees out back two summers ago – I didn’t think it would ever feel all that secluded, but it’s pretty peaceful back there now!


My husband was determined that we needed a deck (not a covered porch like I would have picked), but was sweet enough to add an arbor over part of it to help with the summer heat. At the time I didn’t think the trees would ever grow to shade the deck, but they’re just about there.

I’ve loved the crepe myrtles here in Alabama, and we’ve added a few roses beneath too. I’m not all that great at keeping roses happy, but this Old Fashioned Rose keeps making it each year.

And of course, there’s the front porch which I’m pretty sure will always be my favorite (our porch is majorly downsized in our new home ~ I’m so going to miss this spot!)


Here’s my husband’s crazy watering dripper system – when he adds one in our new house I promise to share lots of details on how to do set it up. It only cost about $100 initially to put together, and is just the most wonderful way to water all your baskets without too much work!

Here’s our Sweet Home Alabama. ;) (~sniff~) After two major fixer-uppers during the early years of our marriage (which helped us financially so much to get to this place), we fell in love the minute we laid eyes on that front porch. My hope is that the next family who gets this home loves it every bit as much as we have, and makes just the best memories here too.

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)   See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!


Packing Day

Today the movers have come to pack us for Ohio. UghAs you can imagine, this is a bittersweet time for our family as we’re excited about the plans ahead of us but oh-so-sad to leave a home here in Alabama that we’ve absolutely loved.


What I haven’t shared with you all yet (but you may have figured out?), is that my husband has been in Ohio since Thanksgiving working at his new job. Because I didn’t really want to share that I was here by myself with a bunch of (rowdy) kids ;) I kept that part a secret. I’ve felt a little bit like a liar (story-teller? my kid’s “nicer” term for it . . .), as I’ve shared menu plans we haven’t eaten, and recipe tips when we’ve really had little more than cereal for dinner most nights.  (I hope you understand?)

Last October, when I was driving home from our local apple orchard (I’d been checking to see how the apple prices compared to those at our local grocery store), I got a phone call from my husband which I was pretty unprepared for. His company decided to shut down their office in Alabama, and while they offered him a position in another location, there was nothing for him here.


We were devastated.  


We looked at our options.  He considered moving to another city with the company, and was offered a few jobs here locally with other firms as well as a position in Columbus, Ohio. (Folks, I didn’t even know where Columbus, Ohio was. Of course, when we moved to Alabama nine years ago I wasn’t quite sure where Alabama was either ~ clearly geography is not my strong suit!)  After a lot of praying, he decided to take the position in Columbus, and left to start work there the weekend after Thanksgiving.

It’s been a long six months.



A funny thing happened though. That very same day that I was at the apple orchard, I had a tiny unexpected boost to my traffic here on Passionate Penny Pincher. That unexpected boost grew a little, then a little more, and six months later I think I’d call it more than just a boost. (Translate: we went from 14,000 FB fans to over 108,000 FB fans in six months, and our traffic has more than quadrupled.  At least for me, it’s been a bit of a big boost that I never expected!)


Y’all, I’ve been typing away on this computer for over four years hoping that my little blog might be a wee bit more worth my hours each day, but it ever so slowly grew until the exact day that I needed some extra peace. I can’t believe that was merely a coincidence, and am more thankful for it than I can express. I can’t tell you that blogging will ever make you rich (however it is way more work than I ever imagined), but it’s almost like God waited to let this prosper until the season when we needed extra peace financially the most. (If you’re curious how to start a blog, I’d encourage you to read this and this ~ I’ve learned everything I know from Google and those two resources!) ;)


So in December my husband left for Ohio while I stayed here with three children, a home to sell, and a tiny business that decided just then to start growing.

Jump ahead six months. 


I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m a fantastic light-bulb-changer, terrible freak in the middle of the night when I hear a noise, and am capable of unhooking the kitchen sink all by myself.  I can grease a garage door without any help (thanks to the help of my favorite cooking spray), figure out what’s wrong with a car and even talk somewhat sensibly to a mechanic, and I learned just yesterday how to navigate a lumberyard to replace a window on my to-do list.


I’ve learned that single-parenting is hard (HARD), Skype is awesome, and more than anything else there’s just nothing so precious as being truly valued by another human being.  (I really don’t consider my husband and myself very sappy folks in the least,  but goodness when he’s been home these last few months it’s been wonderful to just be cared for by someone!)


I’m tired. (Ummmm, exhausted.) Today and tomorrow the movers are here packing, Monday they load the trucks, Tuesday we close on the house, attend a bunch of end-of-school-year parties, and then drive eight hours to Columbus.  We’ll close up there on Wednesday, cross our fingers that our new home is ready for us, and hopefully all our stuff will join us near the end of next week.



 To say I’m anxious about all of this is an understatement. I have no idea what the future holds, if anyone will like me or my kids in Ohio (isn’t it silly that I’m already worrying about that?), or if I’ll be able to survive the winter way up there. I don’t know where we’ll go to church, which store I’ll pick to use coupons at, ;) or how my kids will ever forgive us as they’re pretty frustrated about the whole situation right now. (Goodness, that just hurts my heart the most!)


 I do know though that God has amazingly and consistently had His hand on our lives, and these last six months are just more crazy proof of that for me. (I kid you not folks, I completely felt God holding me so close this week when I needed Him most. Grace,  I tell you!)

(I sobbed as I took down this picture this morning that’s on our stairwell – my kids were just babies when it was taken!)


So, if things are slower here this next few weeks, know that my hope is to be right back at it once we’ve settled in. (Thanks to the help of Shannon and a few other friends hopefully things will move right along!)  If you could say a prayer especially for my kids this next week I’d sure appreciate it (this is so hard on them!), and pray that we manage the next week or two safely too.


And if you’re in a spot where you feel as if you’re working at something that just isn’t turning out the way you’d hoped, remember that you really never know what might be right around the corner.  Know that there’s a plan out there just for you, so just hang on and be blessed.



“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11



Upcoming Coupon Class In North Alabama (5/16/14)


I’m so excited about our upcoming coupon class that my friend Shannon and I will be teaching THIS Friday, May 16th at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, Alabama from 6:30 – 8:30 PM!   We’ll discuss how to save money at Aldi, Target, Publix & Kroger, as well as share basic information on drug store coupon policies. We’ll also talk about how to organize your coupons, what all those crazy abbreviations mean, and where to begin if you’re a new couponer!


A donation of $5 for the coupon class is requested, and can be paid at the door.  A portion of all money received will benefit the Northeast Alabama Fellowship of Christian Atheletes.  We’d also love if you would bring a canned food item to donate to Asbury’s Food Pantry!  There’s a link to the registration form that I’ll leave up on the right side of the page.  If you’re a new couponer (or even have been at this penny-pinching stuff for awhile . . . ) we’ll hopefully teach you a few new tricks, and promise to answer all your questions.  We can’t wait to meet you there!
Eventbrite - Penny Pinching Coupon Class
Not in the North Alabama area?  Check out the list of beginners tips and videos, and as always, feel free to ask questions in the comment section or on the PPP Facebook page.  We’re always happy to help!



Stamp Out Hunger Tomorrow: Can You Give An Item Or Two?

Have you gotten your items ready for tomorrow’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive? It’s such an easy way to give ~ just leave items by your mailbox and your mail carrier will deliver them to a local pantry for you.


Just donating an item or two really can have a tremendous impact. I was thinking this week that if each person who’s a fan of PPP on Facebook decided to donate just ONE item tomorrow over 100,000 items would be given to help those in need.


And, if we got really crazy and all donated a whopping ten items, over a MILLION ITEMS would bless those in need this week (wow.) Isn’t that just crazy?


After going through our pantry this week, here’s a peek at what’s been hanging out way too long in our pantry that I know someone else can benefit from.  If you’re able, consider giving just an item or two this week. And, if you’re really able, maybe donate ten. ;) I’d love for you to share how you’re able to give in the comments ~ that’s what makes saving and giving so much fun!

I'm so glad you're here!
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