Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Attic Conversion Continues

Our attic has already come so far! It’s no longer scary, dirty and smelly! We recently had spray foam insulation installed and the old stuff sucked out. While this is a bit more expensive then traditional insulation it’s way more efficient. It will lower our electricity bills by 40% and we’ll get about $1200 back for making this energy saving improvement.

After getting tons of estimates we are making final decisions about hiring contractors to do the framing, drywall, and plumbing work. We can definitely see it coming together!


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A Special Delivery Headed to New York City

I shipped off this very important package to New York City today. Inside are two of my most cherished belongings. Although I can’t divulge more details than that I promise to explain in the future. Letting this box go was scary, yet thrilling because what’s inside is so personal and treasured. So if you have a spare second, pray for my box’s safe arrival in the Big Apple.

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Married for Two Years, Two Months and Two Days

Why do we only celebrate anniversaries to the day? Why not celebrate being married two years, two months and two days? So that’s what I’m doing. In honor of our two-year-two-month-two-day-iversary here are 22 things I love about my husband (in no particular order):

1. His Irish accent, which by the way was voted the sexiest accent in the world.

2. How excited he gets about the silly things that make me excited like finding a good deal on toothpaste.

3. His love of travel and trying new things.

4. His six-pack. Hello!

5. His inspiring endurance that allows him to run a half marathon without training.

6. His neat-freak tendencies that mean our house is pretty much always clean.

7. The afternoon “I love u” texts.

8. That he gets annoyed by the same things and entertained by the same things as me.

9. His work ethic.

10. That he passed on his love of Nutella and Indian food to me.

11. His dislike of watching football on TV.

12.His daily commitment to reading God’s word and prayer.

13.His nightly foot rubs. (Please don’t hate me ladies!)

14.His sense of style both in fashion and home design.

15. That he hates 95% of chain restaurants just like I do.

16. His never-failing support of my dreams.

17.The fact that he has the same satisfied reaction to a meal I whipped up in the crock pot and a dinner at a five-star restaurant.

18. His sideburns.

19. His super thick eyeglasses.

20. How he always wakes up in a fabulous mood.

21. How appreciative he is of even the smallest gifts.

22. His overflowing love.


Filed under Family, life, Marriage, Observations

Sharing the Knowledge: My First Coupon Class

Last night I held my first coupon class at my church, LifePoint. About 20 people turned out to learn how to save more and give more than they’ve ever done before. My main goal was to encourage and inspire people to turn something as seemingly routine as grocery shopping into a task that can bless others and serve God. I’ve been thinking about teaching a class for a while now. But it wasn’t until my church recently brought in two big bins for us to fill up with food to give Miracle Hill Ministries that I realized that now would be a great time to teach others about couponing. Our local food banks are dangerously low so my desire would be that even in this tough economic time people would use couponing as a way to continue to give– and give big!

To explain the concept of finding “moneymakers” I showed them how last week I made more than $80 by “buying” four diabetes monitors from Walgreens. That got a big round of applause which just thrilled me. 🙂 That must be how Taylor Swift feels after performing in front of a packed auditorium.

I heard from three women who told me they had been praying for God to put someone in their path that could teach them about couponing and they said that person was me! It gave me goosebumps to hear how God’s plan was working out. One lady told me that she wanted to learn how to use coupons so she could give food to a friend that was struggling to make ends meet. I had brought in a bunch of food I bought this week to illustrate what $1 can buy so I ended up just giving her all of that food to get her started. I was going to donate it anyway so this worked out perfectly! I feel really good knowing that maybe I inspired some others to think about how they can use couponing to give more.

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Filed under Charity, Christianity, Food, life, Money, Shopping

Attic Treasures: 70-year-old Newspaper Mat Molds

PB123331I met with Steve Brandt, president and publisher of The Greenville News. He wanted to see what I found in my attic and unravel the mystery a little bit more for me. I showed him what I discovered among the rafters and dusty insulation. He told me they are newspaper mat molds. Back in the early to mid 1900’s newspapers were printed using hot metal typesetting, also known as hot lead typesetting. Brass negative molds were laid out on a big tray to create the stories. A piece of moist cardboard-type material was laid on top of that to create a mold. Then hot melted lead was poured over this cardboard material to make the reverse image that was then rolled over the paper to print the news!

I showed him this mat mold that was exactly 70-years-old yesterday. The date reads November 11, 1939.


This 70-year-old article talks about how there is not enough parking in downtown Greenville! I guess it’s true what they say– there really are no new stories!


There is an article about a Greenville man going to the Golden Gate Expedition, a write-up of a lady that is traveling to Honolulu and a story of a Greenville woman going to Clemson to teach high school home economics. There are neat ads for cars and groceries and electric cooking. There are articles about problems in Germany and communism and a big headline that says “Allied Propaganda to Involve US in War By 1941, Experts Predict.” I find this glimpse into life 70 years ago fascinating.


As far as I can tell these mat molds are fairly rare because they were typically just thrown away after they were used or they were destroyed in the printing process.  But somehow a bunch of them ended up in my attic because someone thought they might offer good insulation. I happened to talk to a 72-year-old Greenville native at my church about these and he said years ago he was working on another house not far from mine and the person had done the same thing– used these old mat molds for insulation!


We found lots of other treasures up there: old antique windows, an oil lamp shade, and a stack of envelopes postmarked from 1899 to 1939 sent to Greenville from places all over the world including Japan, Greece, and Peru. One of the letters is addressed to “Mr. L.A. Cothran, News Building, Greenville, SC” which makes me think may be the connection for the mat molds.


I did a little digging and found the obituary of one of the names the letter was addressed to– George Giles. He was an executive at Coca-Cola bottling, an avid golfer and a deacon at Second Presbyterian Church downtown. I called the church and they said they didn’t think any of George’s family was still around. But I showed the envelopes to another Greenville native and it just so happened that she went to school with a member of the Giles family. She told me that George’s grand-daughter is an anchor on Fox News and that he has relatives in the area. Since none of the envelopes have our address on them I’d like to find out how they got here. But the connections to publishing, writing and journalism are really astounding to me since I am a writer and my husband is a publisher. It’s like this house was made for people who tell stories and it has quite the story to tell as well.


If you have any information on 1930’s mat molds or any other interesting pieces of the story please share!!


Filed under Home, life

It’s Official: I’m a Bargain Hunting Expert

digital trendsEven though I may have thought of myself as a Bargain Hunting Expert it feels good to have someone else call me that. I was interviewed for an article with Digital Trends, a technology news site with 50 million unique views a month. Reporter Nick Mokey asked me questions about how to find great bargains in retail stores– especially when it comes to gadgets and tech items. Take a look at the article and let me know what you think!

And since I am now officially a bargain hunting expert, consider coming to my free coupon class on Monday, November 16 from 7-8pm at LifePoint Church in Greenville. LifePoint is located at 25 Woods Lake in the Green Gate Office Park in unit 8. It’s something that God laid on my heart a while ago as a way to help others give more, help more, and do more with their money! I’m really excited about this opportunity to encourage and teach others about something I’ve got a passion for. It’s hard to believe that you can serve God with coupons, but you really can! So come to the one hour class and you’ll leave feeling that grocery shopping is not a chore– it’s an opportunity to bless others.

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Curtains Completed After More Than a Year

It’s not completely my fault that it took more than a year to get curtains up in our living room and dining room. Do you know how hard it is to find curtain rods and curtains on a budget? With six windows to do up it was not an easy task but I’m happy to say I accomplished it for just over $200– that’s $33 for each window’s hardware and curtain. We ended up finding the last six of these Crate and Barrel curtain rods for just $13 each.  My inspiration for the curtains were these lovely two-toned pieces from West Elm. They’re $100 each for the size I would have needed:


West Elm Curtain

Beautiful West Elm Curtains

I bought the light gray fabric at a really cool sale in Iva, South Carolina that happens once a month. It’s at an old textile mill and they’ve got thousands of kinds of fabric to choose from. I think it was only $5/yard. They dark gray velvet portions of the curtain (at the top and bottom) were curtains I found on clearance at Target for $13 each. I was only able to find three of them (despite enlisting every family member around the country to search their local Targets) so I cut them up so that I could include a velvet section on each curtain.


LR Curtains 2

One of Six Curtains in the Living Room and Dining Room

I’m just so happy that this big sewing project is complete and that we finally have a little more privacy from the outside world.






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