Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Santa Presents

Growing up, it took me a long time to discover that different families have different takes on holidays. Well, at the Cutbirth house (and if you know us very well, this is something you already know), we go all out. While I don't think there is one right way to do holidays and it has to adapt and change as your family grows, I happen to like the way we do it. Let's see what you think. The presents under the tree and the stockings on Christmas morning are from my parents. Santa brings each person one, "big" unwrapped present. Big doesn't necessarily depict the size of the actual gift. So, why am I telling you this? Well, Santa brought me a wonderful gift last year (Christmas 2009) that I hadn't gotten a chance to use until last night. A Le Cruset Dutch Oven! Because of different diets I have done over the last year and me being so busy and not being home much, I haven't done as much cooking as I like to or that I usually do. At the aforementioned crawfish boil there were a lot of leftovers, and Blane and I shucked the extra crawfish and brought home the meat for me to cook with. Last night I made Crawfish Etoufee, one of Blane's very favorite things. So, I wanted to take a minute to thank Santa for my wonderful gift that made cooking this dish (and future dishes) so much fun!

It was spectacular.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm Gonna Run Outside

Both something that excites me a great deal and the subject of this story. Blane and I have are going to a crawfish boil with some friends after all the the guys go golfing. So, I decided to get my run in this morning while he was gone. This led to our own little version of "Who's on First?"
Me: I think I'm going to run out side today instead of on the treadmill (at the gym).
B: Yeah, I think you should. It's a really nice morning.
Me: It's a little cool, but I should warm up once I start going. Yea, ok I'm going to run outside. Don't lock the door, ok?
B: Ok, are you going to take the fob (the key fob to get into the gym)?
Me: No, I'm going to run outisde. So, don't lock the door. K?
B: Yeah. When will you be back?
M: About an hour, but leave the door open please.
B: Oh, well I will be gone when you get back.
M: Yeah, that's why I keep telling you to leave the door open.
B: Oh ok, I'm with you now.

Probably not as funny to you as it was to me...but it started off my morning well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How Do I Love Thee?

It is so interesting how different people express their love and appreciation for someone else. I have always been a person who expresses her love in obvious ways: presents, surprises, cards, etc...
Blane is completely the opposite. Although he is really not a planner (which drives my OCD planning self crazy), he some how anticipates little things that I need/make me happy. I'm so glad this is the person God led me to.
The other night I was about to get in bed (I usually go to bed earlier than him because I am a morning person and if I'm up too late, I get cranky). I had a headache and was dreading the long day I was going to have the following day. I walked into the bathroom and noticed that there were about 6 sheets of toilet paper left on the roll. I knew I needed to get another roll out in case I had to pee in the middle of the night, but I hate getting out a new roll. Because we live in a small, one bedroom apartment, we have to get creative with storage. We keep the toilet paper in the hot water heater closet, under the paper towels, next to the toolbox with the vaccuum on top. I was already getting an attitude about it, and I looked on the counter and Blane had anticipated this scenario and put a new roll on the counter.
Blane went to Wal-Mart for the first time to do all of the grocery shopping for us, by himself (which he has decided he likes doing. SCORE!). He brought be back some indiviudal frozen meals for me to take to class, so I won't get hungry. Big deal you say? Well, I hate wasting $10 to eat out everytime I'm at class but also run out of time to make a lunch.

I love me husband! He's pretty neat.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We also got this

We also go this blender a few weeks ago from the online % off from BBB, because it is only online. We already are using it because our blender broke about a month ago. I love it and it brightens up the kitchen


Anyone who has ever gotten married and put a lot of energy into planning your registries can sympathize with this post. Disclaimer: if you are a guy (besides my husband), you aren't going to care.
I don't know if it is a trend or it just happened with us because we got married around Christmas and people wanted to simplify their lives from picking out another gift, but we got a lot of gift cards. Which, I actually really, really liked for a few reasons. 1) Stuff I wanted (i.e. didn't think I could live without) in July/August, when we registered isn't necessarily what we really need so there is a lot of stuff we can now prioritize. For example, the cute fondue set from Dillard's may not actually be as important as our dishes. 2) You can combine several gift cards to buy a few key "big" items. So, it sounds great in theory. However, there are a couple of gaping holes in this plan, that no one warned me about. If you are getting married in the future, beware. I promise you will thank me later. First of all, either wait until the last possible moment to do your registries before you wedding/showers or be prepared to completely update/redo them a couple of weeks-a month before the wedding. This is because home items: kitchen bedroom, and bath stuff have different lines (just like clothing) and it changes through the seasons (again like clothing). So, items you register for 4-6 months before your wedding will no longer be available by the time your wedding gets here and after your wedding. Which leads me to the second stressor, most places you register offer a percentage off for the registry items that you did not received. This is great news for the gift cards to get the most bang for your buck. You aren't seeing the pitfall with this, yet? Well, I will let you in. It takes a complicated spreadsheet and a planner and a lot of patience to get it all worked out. This is because all the stores have different stipulations, % off, dates and requirements. Dillard's gives you 20% off of registry items starting 60 days after your wedding and lasting for 60 days. This is only good for certain categories. For example, you cannot use it for small kitchen electrics. It is also only good in-store and on items that were on your registry at the date of the wedding. Bed, Bath, and Beyond gives you 10% off 3 items online and 3 items in-store but you can only use the % once for each, meaning 2 transactions. Which, is actually a really bad deal because they are always sending the 20% off coupons for in-store in the mail. Also, anyone who is about to get married and planning on registering at BBB, please put us down as referring you, I will get store credit for it. Thanks, in advance! Pottery Barn (the easiest actually) you get 10% off of anything on your registry for 6 months after your wedding AND you can add stuff at any time. You can do it online or in-store, very easy and straight-forward. So, I have been planning and strategizing and deciding what we want/need and the most economical way to spend the gift cards to get it all. Then, I get an email from Bed, Bath, and Beyond saying they were doing a registry wrap-up event in a store in Dallas and everything on my registry can be purchased at 20% on March 13th from 6-8 pm. And that just changed everything. So, I started re-planning and strategizing and decided to save PB til later and do Dillard's and BBB on the 13th, all one day. The only problem with that was that we would then have to store all of the stuff in our little one bedroom apartment. Where are the rest of our wedding gifts, you ask? My parents have graciously agreed to store all of our presents until I graduate and we move into something bigger this summer. But, we decided we would just find a corner to put it in, until we could get it to my parents' with the rest of the stuff.
So, I calculated the total amount of money we had on gift cards for both stores and then started picking stuff off of the registries that we wanted most and worked out different assortments, while subtracting the 20% off and adding in the sales tax, so I would know exactly how much it would be out-of-pocket. I finally decided on items for both. We had significantly less to spend at Dillard's so we were going to go about $20 over there but get all the wonderful stuff we want.
So, I went with my registry and my list there and it was an awful experience. First, I had to go to 2 Dillard's, because the first one only had 2 of the items we wanted. At the second store, I discovered that 4 items we really wanted were discontinued because they were last season. They ended up locating 2 of them at another store and shipping them to my parents, which worked out better, anyway. One item I decided I could live without for now, and I could purchase at TJMaxx later, because I had seen a similar item there before. The last item though, I am still upset about. However, we are still left with about $70 to spend there!!! These are our Dillard's goodies.
ImageImageImagetimes 2 ImageImageImagetimes 2ImageImageImage
Imageand this is the item I'm not over yet that was out of stock

Then, I ran home and Blane unloaded the car and raced to Dallas, because Dillard's had taken much longer than I had anticipated. The BBB experience was much better, because they have a function on their website where you can see if the store has an item, in stock (but only in certain states, sorry), and all of the items were in-stock. We got the following items and it only cost $1.19 out of pocket. Also, my wonderful in-laws had actually already gotten our cookware for us, but I accidentally registered for the wrong set, and Blane and I went to exchange it and the BBB in Branson didn't have the right set. So, they just gave us store credit, which worked out better anyway because we got 20% the right set on Sunday. We got the following at BBB during the registry wrap-up:

Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 13-Piece Cookware Set

And because the knives and cookware were Calphalon, we spent enough to receive free gifts!!! We got $150 Calphalon Dutch Oven and a $50 BBB gift card!!! 
So, all things said, we were really excited and feel like we got the most out of our gift cards!!!! I felt like those ladies on the Khol's commercials. 

Anyway, this is a really long post and I didn't intend it to be. I am obviously a little passionate about getting a good deal.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring has Sprung...but not really

Well, I am officially 7/8 done with my MBA, which is mostly (almost completely) wonderful. The things that are not wonderful about it:
1) it is spring break and it is gloomy and 45 degrees and we aren't going on any sort of trip, but I do get to rest up and loll around
2) I only have 10 weeks to find a job, if I am going to be employed by the time I graduate.

But, besides that, I am so glad to almost be done. I feel like it is has been a very long and hard journey and am very excited to celebrate the accomplishment. My parents, grandparents, sister, bro in law, niece, and nephew are all coming. My sister and her family have never been to visit me in Texas and to that point, have never been to Texas at all. I'm so glad that I am going to get to show them around.
Besides school and work, the Gibsons haven't been up to much since my last report. We did go to New Orleans for Blane's birthday, and my husband turned 24. NOLA was fantastic. Blane had never been and I surprised him with the trip. He enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. We went on a swamp tour, Rum distillery tour, WWII museum, and much more. By the way, if you have always wanted to go on a swamp tour, don't choose the winter. The gators go into a sort of hibernation in the winter months in Louisiana. So, we didn't see any, but we still had a lot of fun. Blane really enjoyed his present (the trip). Because of cheap flights and scheduling purposes, we ended up going 2 weeks before his birthday. So, we actually celebrated for a whole month. I took him to a movie and out to eat on his bday weekend, we went to eat with his family, and the next weekend, we went to celebrate with my family. We did a joint bday celebration with Meghan, as their birthdays are only 11 days apart. We got to see Cade and Darbs and they were d-e-lightful. We also go to see some fantastic friends on the way to my parents, Sean and Nicole Huddleston. For Valentine's Day we went to a movie and dinner. We had to celebrate the day after, because on Mondays I go to work (in Fort Worth) at 8 and then go to class at 6 (in Dallas) and go home (in McKinney) at 10. So, I'm gone for 14 hrs+. We were supposed to save presents until Tuesday, but I got home after my long day and my husband had gotten me a dozen red roses, chocolate covered strawberries, and my first "wife" card! I was so surprised, and it was incredibly thoughtful. He wanted our first Valentine's as a married couple to be special. I got him new UA sunglasses, that he loves.
Other news, we watched the Lost series on Netflix and loved it for the most part. We weren't huge fans of the ending, but we enjoyed watching it together.
I'm sure there are some things I missed, but I will (really try hard to) update once a week henceforth.

Love you all!