$1.50 Cheesecake Factory Sweets

Jul 30, 2008

Sorry about posting multiple times today - this deal was just too great to pass up! The Cheesecake Factory is celebrating 30 years of service by offering $1.50 cheesecake slices - but this offer is available TODAY ONLY - July 30th! So if you have time, stop by. I promise, you won't be disappointed.


Batman: An Article worth reading

Although we've yet to see this Blockbuster Phenomenon, there was a recent article written by Andrew Klavan, of the Wall Street Journal that I found quite interesting. Read it at your leisure.


Alan's Two Cents - Free Entertainment

Jul 29, 2008

How much does it cost for dinner and a movie these days? $50? $60? And the babysitter? (I wouldn’t know)…but it all adds up, and really quickly too. Need some entertainment ideas and that cost nothing? I recently came across an article (http://www.phoenixmag.com/lifestyle/things-to-do/200808/get-your-kicks-for-free/) in Phoenix the magazine that listed 15 free things to do in the valley.
One that I’d like to highlight is First Fridays (artlinkphoenix.com). This is basically an art walk in downtown Phoenix. There are many galleries, displays, and tents set up to show off their goods. There is also free transportation to get you to the different “districts.”
Even if you’re not from the Phoenix area, there are plenty of ideas in your own community. Take advantage of the free entertainment that is out there - you'll probably be surprised how much money you might save.

Comment below with any of your own free entertainment ideas. I know we'd appreciate any other suggestions.


Steph's Pick - a must read blog

Jul 25, 2008

Alright - I have to start off with a bit of a warning - this is a much more serious "pick" than my previous posts have been (and you may need numerous tissues)

With that being said, I introduce all of you to a recent blog I came across that I invite you to read - Bring the Rain. It's written by an everyday woman, wife and mom, Angie Smith (wife of Todd Smith - Christian musician from Selah). It's a story of their precious daughter Audrey Caroline Smith - about Angie's pregnancy and God's sovereign plan for little Audrey.

If you have time, please do read at least part of Angie's blog. She writes with incredible talent, passion and heart. It was through her words that I have been invited to worship our great Savior with even more fervor than before.

Todd & Angie - our prayers and tears go out to your family. No words can express our gratitude for your deep devotion to the glory of our God.

On the left column follow the "click here" link for the beginning of the story.


We're Home

Jul 21, 2008

Wow! What a whirlwind of a trip we just had - but a great one! We spent the past week traveling from one town to the next visiting family and friends in the Midwest. We figured out that we saw pretty much saw every aunt, uncle, cousin, grandma and grandpa (minus 3 cousins and our AZ relatives) on both sides. Not only did we see family but we were able to spend some time with some of our closest friends whom we miss dearly.
Some of the highlights include playing cards with the Flies family, eating at Hickory Park with Gma Lebo, sipping coffee with Liz, Michelle & Jess, playing Settlers with the Wulfekuhle's, riding Nick & Abby's new bike, catching up with Sara and Kyle, road-tripping with Mom Flies, water skiing on Lake Okoboji with Mom & Dad Triggs, having lunch with Jeff & Teresa, taking family photos with the "Folkerts Bunch," and last but not least, having some great sushi with Erik & Amy.
We are already trying to plan when we'll be back! We miss you all.


about us

Jul 18, 2008

Together we're about spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, for the Joy of ALL peoples. We seek His glory to be made known.

Our story is as so...We met while attending a student ministry, The Salt Company, at Iowa State University and began dating the spring of 2002. We continued dating throughout school (3+ years) and were married in Mt. Vernon, Iowa on June 3, 2005. We quickly departed for our honeymoon and returned to the Midwest a week later to pack our lives up and move out west to Phoenix, AZ where we currently reside both pursuing our professional careers and ultimately making His name great. We welcomed our first baby girl, Nora, into our family in July of 2009 and our second daughter, Elsie, in May of 2011.

Some might ask why we blog. As another blogger put it, “our blog is a unique blend of the practical and theoretical, earthly and spiritual, meaningful and inconsequential."

With that said, we invite you to be a part of our lives through our blog. Our greatest joy would be to know that in some small way our happiness in God has spilled over to you through it.


we're off...

Jul 11, 2008

We're off to our home states this weekend for the next 8 days! We couldn't be more excited to be with our family and friends that we love so dearly. That being said - there will be no posts next week from either Alan or myself. Everyone needs a break, right? :) We're off to where the green grass grows...


Steph's Two Cents - 1/2 Price Restaurant Deals

Alan and I love going out to eat. We don't go out all that often but when we do it's always such a nice break from cooking. Upon moving to the Phoenix area a friend told me about local radio stations who sell 1/2 price restaurant gift certificates every Thursday - I had to check it out! I'm always a sucker for a bargain.

Sure enough - every Thursday at 10 am, app. 150 gift certificates go up for sale on 5+ radio station websites, each featuring a different restaurant every week. I was hooked from the first week! Now some of the featured eateries are not really anything we'd be interested in - but every once in awhile, a great place comes up and I snag a couple of the $50 gift certificates for $25! It's a great deal.
For those of you who live in the Phoenix area - Beth and Bill's Website is
http://grapevinecertificates.kez999.com/cc-common/ddindex2.php. (Be sure to check out the other stations highlighted in the right corner)

And good news for those of you who don't live in this area - I have heard that there are stations nationwide doing this very same thing. Just check on some of your favorite stations websites and look for similar deals.

Please also be sure to comment below if you have found other ways to eat out on a budget! I know I'd love to hear any other suggestions.

Happy eating!


Alan's Pick - Maui Jim Sunglasses

Jul 10, 2008

I have owned one pair of sunglasses in my life, called Maui Jim’s. I bought them on our honeymoon in Florida and since we were moving to the Valley of the Sun, I thought I would need a pair. At the time, I thought the price tag was little (perhaps very) steep for a pair of sunglasses. I mean really, how can sunglasses make that much of a difference whether it’s a pair of gas station aviators or a designer brand?!? However, once I put them on…I was sold! I never thought spending $175 on a pair of sunglasses would be justifiable, but it was! Viewing the world through Maui Jim’s will make the world a much more beautiful place! Check them out!


Trading Places

For this week we thought we'd trade places! Do a little "In her/his shoes" swap! Steph will enlighten you with her financial suggestions and Alan with his pick of the week. Stay tuned....


Our Blog Highlighted!

Jul 9, 2008

Last week I found out that a favorite entertaining blog of mine, Tastefully Entertaining, would be highlighting the baby shower I threw for my friend Denise on her blog! What a great honor to have her highlight some of my party planning. If you have time check out Tastefully Entertaining - it has been inspiration for numerous events I've helped plan. Thanks again Rebecca!


Life Updates - Visitors & the 4th of July

Jul 6, 2008

It's been busy around our home. A couple weeks back we hosted Sara and her friend, Angela for a long weekend of fun in the sun. We took them to some of our favorite places to eat and also spent a day driving to the Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Below are just a few photos of our weekend. Sara & Angela at Delux Burger, the three of us at The Breakfast Club and Sara and Angela geo-caching.

We also were able to celebrate our countries independence with some of our friends. Below is a photo of our pool party.


Steph's Pick - Top 5 Grocery items

Jul 4, 2008

I often catch myself talking about the new food item I purchased at our local grocery store with my good friends. I have to laugh at least a bit about it b/c it really does indicate some level of "adulthood" in my mind. I never would have imagined myself being eager to head to the supermarket for one item because a friend had just raved about it the night before. :) But that's where I have found myself for at least the past three years. In light of this, I thought I'd post my Top 5 items for the following stores: Trader Joe's, Costco & Fresh & Easy.

1) Strawberry Lemonade - a great beverage for the hot summer months
2) Frozen Green Beans - I always have a package of these in our freezer. They taste so similar to fresh green beans.
3) Red Licorice - I have to admit, I'm not much of a licorice person. But once I tried these I knew I had to always have a pack of them in our pantry at all times. They are super scrumptious!!! YUM.
4) Cinnamon & Sugar Pita Chips
5) Trail Mix (any kind) - TJ has great options for trail mix. We love to keep a bag of this in our pantry for yummy snacking.

1) Frozen Tilapia Fillets - we always keep some of these in our freezer. They taste so fresh and are a great way to incorporate fish into our meal plans.
2) Fruit Leathers - you can always get these at your local grocery store, but Costco sells them in bulk for about half the price/piece
3) Spinach & Artichoke dip - great to have for unexpected visitors & for guys to munch on while watching the "big game"
4) Fresh Flowers - they have a great selection at an awesome price. I like to have fresh flowers in our home at all times to freshen it up a bit
5) Kirkland Laundry Detergent - rated #1 in Consumer Reports
1) Fig Spread - thanks for some of our friends in NY who introduced us to this, we always have some in our fridge
2) Roasted Tomatoes - can be found near the cheeses - great for appetizers, pasta dishes or to just eat on their own
3) Goat Cheese with Herbs
4) Lemon Sorbet
5) Pretzel Chips - not exactly sure of the name, but essentially they are pretzels baked into more of a chip shape - so good!

These are just a few things these great stores have to offer. What are some of your favorite items?


iDesign Launch

Jul 2, 2008

After much thought and consideration I've decided to finally take the plunge in starting my own invitation design business. I know a lot of you are saying to yourself "finally." And for those of you who are doing just that - thank you! Thanks for being so supportive and encouraging as I take this leap of faith. I would never be at this point without your confidence.

For those who are hearing this for the first time - welcome to just a small part of my life - DESIGN! Over the past year or so I've uncovered what I would call a hidden passion of mine and am excited to see where it might take me.

All that being said, I invite you to at least check out my new business blog, iDesign. There you'll find just a few samples of my past work. I'll be updating the site periodically with more projects. And for those of you who may be planning a party yourself, thinking about planning an event or know someone who may be interested in my services, please contact me via iDesign. As everyone in business knows, a referral is one of the best compliments you can receive.


Alan's Two Cents - Redbox

Do you have an online movie subscription from Netflix or Blockbuster? We did and we took advantage of it too. However, after watching nearly all the movies we cared to and getting caught up on our TV shows (24, Prison Break, and Lost)…there was nothing left for us to watch, so we cancelled the subscription. (The cost is anywhere from $3.99 limited to 2 DVD’s/month to $19.99 3 DVD’s at-a-time and 5 in-store exchanges).

We were recently introduced to Redbox . Redbox is basically a DVD vending machine placed at a variety of locations like McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and CVS Pharmacy. The DVD rentals are $1 for the night (due the next night at 9:00 pm) and you can return the DVD to any Redbox location too. This is a great way to see new release DVD’s at an affordable cost. $1 - you can't hardly get anything for that anymore.

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