Sunday, February 14, 2010

Half as hard, and twice as good

As it is Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a song that epitomizes friendship and especially marriage in my opinion. It is by Sara Groves, on her latest album fireflies and songs, and the song is entitled "Twice as good." I will let the lyrics speak for themselves, but you have to listen to the song as well. As we celebrate the ones we love today, I can't say enough how life with my beautiful wife has truly been half as hard and twice as good!

Twice as Good, by Sara Groves

When I am down and need to cry till morning
I know just where I am going
when I'm in need of sweet commiseration
to speak out loud

Raise a glass to friendship and to knowing
you don't have to go alone
we'll raise our hearts to share each others burdens
on this road

With every burden I have carried
with every joy it's understood
life with you is half as hard
and twice as good

With my good news your dancing on the table
babies born to celebration
the joy of life oh what a sweet communion
shared with you

I know we're growing older
can you imagine what that will bring
it's all a mystery to me now
but this one thing

will be half as hard, and twice as good.

To hear the song, or see the video:

- MB

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the blink of an eye

Friday night around 9:45 pm, Lynn and I heard a thud on our second story kitchen window, and then moments later a ring at the doorbell. It took me off guard because we weren't expecting anyone, and we were on our third episode of Lost season 4 in as many hours, so were definitely a little out of it. When I opened the door, I was greeted by our neighbor Ray, who was decked out in pajama pants and a snow covered ski jacket. Ray asked if Lynn and I wanted to come out and play in the snow with his family, so we got our jackets on and went outside only to find many of our neighbors throwing snowballs, building snowmen, and enjoying the rare Charleston snowfall. I found out just how rare it was when a friend of ours about Lynn's age told us he had never seen this much snow in his entire life... and we had only received about an inch! Anyways, Lynn and I definitely got our fair share of winter weather last season in Boston, so we weren't quite as in awe as our neighbors about the dusting, but it was fun to share in their excitement last night. Here are some pics...

Ray enjoying the snowfall in front of our townhouse, and using our snow for his snowman. It was his son Owen's first time every seeing snow!
The morning after... unfortunately it seemed to be gone in the blink of an eye!Ray's snowman. (actual size)

And just for fun, a comparison of snowfall between our two homes between this year and last! What a difference a year can make!
Beverly, MA apartment 2009

Charleston, SC townhouse 2010
- MB

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Coupon World

First, we're sorry for the lack of blogging. There's no excuse, really, except not a whole lot to write about! The Haiti blog was important we thought, and with some recent developments since then, Michael and I might be going to Haiti on a missions trip in June...but more to come on that later.

I titled this blog "My Coupon World" because that is what I feel like I have been in. In the beginning of January I attended a coupon workshop (yes, there are such things!) put on by Cathedral of Praise Church here in North Charleston. I went with the encouragement of my friend, Rhea, who exclaimed she had saved $60 on her first visit after a workshop in November. Those words were like music to my ears and I just couldn't pass up this opportunity to save money. For how thrifty I am, I am actually pretty surprised that I haven't gotten into couponing before now. And what I was shocked to learn from the workshop is that couponing is way more than clipping from Sunday's paper and storing them in a coupon container...

The whole goal behind extreme couponing is stockpiling coupons to therefore stockpile groceries. I am not too keen on having a pantry stacked with groceries, but it's nice to have a few extras lying around. It takes a while to stock up on the coupons, but after just four weeks I am feeling pretty good about what I've collected. It was suggested to buy 2 Sunday papers to get 2 copies of each coupon, but I've been fine with getting one Sunday paper and 2 on "full" weeks (weeks with more than 2 coupon inserts). The way to save the most money is to buy mainly (or even only) what is on sale and use coupons to make that discount steeper. I would say about 60% of my coupons come online, too, from the following websites:, and The first website, Southern Savers, will pair the weekly ads each week with non-expired coupons that have come out in the last few virtually does the matching for you! If you are interested in couponing, you'll probably want to start here.

Heres an example: if a box of Cheerios is on sale for Buy One Get One Free, you can use two coupons with the purchase of both items (essentially using 2 coupons for the item you are buying). Also, for many grocery stores they double coupons up to a certain amount. Publix doubles coupons $.50 and below, and Harris Teeter doubles coupons $.99 and below (but only allow 20 coupons per visit). So if you have 2 coupons for Cheerios that are $.50 each, you are actually getting $1 off per coupon ($2 off) and with B1G1 free for a box of Cheerios that is normally $3.40, you are getting 2 boxes and only paying $1.40. Pretty good!

I organize the coupons in a trapper keeper-like binder with baseball card sleeves where each coupon goes. The pages are filed by category which makes them easy to find. I then make my grocery list based on what's on sale, NOT on what I feel like cooking that week. This was a hard transition (for Michael too!), but it's been fun coming home with what I bought and THEN figuring out how to get creative with cooking. Lastly, I put the coupons I am going to use in an envelope and take them to the store with me. I am a little tainted though; I can hardly buy anything now unless I have a coupon!

After 4 weeks worth of grocery shopping, we've saved $221.33 and not sacrificed health or can be done! I think we could do even better than this, but for just starting to stockpile the coupons and groceries, I am pretty pleased with this amount.

Here are some snapshots of the craziness:

Day 1 of couponing:Michael's been in on the clipping and using of the coupons too: This past Saturday's trip...we saved $72 on all of this!The receipts of savings from this week:
If you are seriously interested in couponing, please call me and I can walk you through it some more!