Crisp Living: Grocery Shopping

I hate shopping. I literally get exhausted after 5 minutes in the mall. But grocery shopping is a whole other story. I love it! Weird, I know. But I love going to the store clutching my precious list and pen while trying to navigate my cart and pretend I know what I’m doing. Since we’ve gotten married and I’ve been in charge of meal making and grocery shopping, I’ve learned some ways to help us save in the that department.
LISTS. I love whipping out my pen and writing down everything I need for the week, normally in order of the store aisles. I make this list my best shopping friend and stick to it like nobody else! I have my staples I pick up every week, but my list slightly varies every week, depending on if we need toilet paper or sugar or flour or sandwich bags. Occasionally, I find room to leave a couple dollars for a special treat.
ALDI. My little slice of Germany. Did you know they originated from there? They even sell German goodies sometimes. I love this place! It’s much smaller that Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, etc. (I hate big stores) and has almost everything I need at way cheaper prices.
CASH. ALDI only takes cash or debit cards, which brings me to my next point.
Grocery shop with cash. And take only the cash you know you will need. You can’t spend money you don’t have!
COUPON & SALES. Do you know how many people don’t pay attention to sales? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m one of those people who meticulously goes over the sales papers every week to aid my decision making. We have a fresh food market super close to us, and they normally have the cheapest & freshest fruit, but sometimes ALDI still beats their prices. If ALDI doesn’t have something I need (deodorant, body wash, dish soap), I check Kroger’s online coupons. Kroger always has coupons for something, and I especially like using theirs because I can just download the coupon onto my Kroger card and when I scan my card at the store, the coupon is instantly available. No paper hassle!
What are some ways you save money on grocery shopping? I would love to hear some of your tips and tricks!

Responsible Adults

This weekend we became better acquainted with the small town we live in just outside of Indy. Saturday morning we got up earlier than we normally would on the weekend and did some grownup stuff. Like buying stamps and mailing items and registering our car (aka standing in line forever at the BMV).
After our super important errands,  we finally went to this coffee shop we’ve been wanting to try out for several weeks. Coffeehouse Five is a “for-benefit” coffee shop, meaning they support the community with several programs and operations with their profits. And they serve  the most delicious coffee.
During our little coffee date, Loren let me interview him about grad school and life in general. So be looking for that in the next couple days!
The rest of the afternoon was spent helping Loren with a grad school project. It was fun learning a little more about his field! He is going to be the best speech pathologist. 🙂 Saturday night we headed over to one of our pastor’s houses for some much needed food & fellowship and met some new people around bowls of chili and jokes about how young we are…
Sunday afternoon after church and an amazing chicken dinner (found a new way to pan fry chicken without breading–soooo gooood!!!!), Loren was sucked back into prepping for Monday and I can’t really remember what I did, but I do remember Monday morning came rather quickly. And that was our exciting weekend!

Friday Faves: Jan 23

1. Sugar-topped blueberry muffins from Friday morning work breakfast.
2. Discovering other bloggers.
3. Finding an outfit on Pinterest that I actually have in my closet. Perfect cozy outfit for this dreary Friday!
4. Task manager Swipes app: simple, but exactly what I needed!
5. Winter coat–finally got one a few weeks ago just in time for that horrible cold weather. I actually have this one in navy blue.

Happy  weekend, friends!

One Pan Cheesy Sausage Pasta

It’s no secret that I love to cook. Even after a long day at work. There’s just something about pulling out the pots & pans and throwing something together that is therapeutic for me.
Usually, I start out following a recipe, then end up putting my own spin on things, depending on what ingredients I have on hand. As long as it turns out and Loren likes it, we’re all good. I normally stay within my familiar comfort zone when it comes to cooking, but this year I want to branch out and try at least one new recipe a week. Think of it as a Pinterest success/fail series.

Today’s post is dedicated to this oh-so-easy-and-cheesy deliciousness that I made tonight.

One Pan Cheesy Sausage Pasta 
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Smoked  Sausage, sliced
1 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
8 oz dry pasta (any small pasta works)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese

Instructions:
Add olive oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and sausage and cook until lightly browned.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover for about five minutes to allow cheese to melt.
Enjoy!
Makes 4 servings.

Wedding: Reception

Today is (sadly) the last Wedding Wednesday!

Our reception was a bit different than most weddings I’ve been to. We wanted to make sure that we personally greeted every friend and family member that took the time to come celebrate with us. I don’t especially like receiving lines, so we figured out a different way of greeting everyone. After the ceremony, we came back in and “dismissed” each row, greeting every guest. This was actually one of my favorite parts of the day because it meant so much to have these people there! I love looking back and seeing who came. 🙂

Since I’m not a huge fan of wedding cake, we went with a cookie, ice cream and popcorn bar with Aunt Cheryl’s to-die-for coffee punch. Once again, it was such a blessing to have family and friends bake cookies, make & set up decorations and just pitch in wherever needed. All this would not have happened without them!
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The wedding cake went on that wood chip.
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The setup before the ceremony & before the ice cream.
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Our talented violinist who was also my roommate freshman year.
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We were nice to each other. 😉
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Summer camp counselor friends! They predicted this wedding a while ago. 😉
And there you have our wedding in pictures. I hope you enjoyed them as much as we often do and reminisce about that day.
Missed previous Wedding posts? Check them out here:
Part I: First Look
Part II: Bridal Party
Part III: Ceremony

All photos courtesy of Cleland Studios 

Crisp Living: No TV

There are so many suggestions out there in the big world on how to save money.  During this grad school season of life, living on our budget pretty much means we only buy the essentials (food, rent, electricity, grad school bills…you get the picture), so it makes spending unnecessary money a bit easier–because there’s nothing left to spend on unnecessary purchases. We could pile up all kinds of bills onto our credit card, but have decided to stay away from that because debt isn’t healthy. Anyway, I’m going to start a series on how we survive quite well on our limited budget.

Today’s topic: TV/cable.

Whenever I get asked about having seen something on TV, the conversation generally goes like this:

“Well, we actually don’t have a TV or cable.”

I get two one of two answers in return.

“What??!! You don’t have cable? How do you survive?”
or
“That’s probably a good thing. Don’t get hooked. There’s nothing really worth watching and it’s way too expensive.”

We survive quite well, thank you very much. I agree with the second statement. We do currently have Netflix. With tons of shows at our fingertips and at $8 a month, we decided this was something we could handle as our entertainment source. And as far as keeping up with the news and weather reports, that what weather and news apps are for, right?

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was just what we needed after all the weekend traveling we’ve done over the past couple of months.
Some highlights: Dawn & her boys finally came to visit us Saturday afternoon! They live here in Indy, but it’s still hard to get together as often as we would like. But we made it happen this weekend! Between pulling Cayden (toddler) out of everything (our apartment is hardly child proof) and cuddling Jackson (newborn), we wedged in some white chicken chili eating, Quelf playing, snickerdoodle bar indulging and coffee drinking and it was all just grand.
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Those baby blues! <3
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Mr. Potato Head was clearly more entertaining than picture taking.
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And this one because Cayden’s face…love it!
Saturday night we took it easy and ordered (instead of making) pizza for the first time since we’ve gotten married! It was so good. So good, in fact, that we didn’t stop to take pictures and commemorate the occasion.

Sunday after church, one of the sweet couples at church took us out for Chinese. The fellowship was encouraging and invigorating and we ate the best Chinese food I’ve had yet, I would say. That night instead of watching the football game, we ate our nachos while watching Netflix shows and enjoying each other’s company .

I hope you had somewhat of a relaxing weekend as well and are recharged for another week!

Travel Dreams (Part 2)

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 
Mark Twain

One of the items on my bucket list is it to visit every single state in the Unites States. So far I’ve been to 35. 15 more can’t be too hard, right? Especially Alaska and Hawaii. 😉 Loren traveled out west on a team during his undergrad and has most of the states I’ve never been to under his belt.
We have visions of us going hand-in-hand to see these sights below (and so many more!!) together.

San Antonio, TX

The San Antonio River Walk. I hear it’s perfect for a romantic stroll. And we were so close on our trip back from TX a few weeks ago! Alas, we didn’t have time to stop by. Someday.
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp

Grand Canyon, AZ

We’ve both been here at different times, but why not experience this awesomeness together?
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp

Garden of the Gods, CO

I just love this wild ruggedness and want to climb all of these rocks!

San Francisco, CA

Crazy hilly streets, historic streetcars, and of course the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp

Seattle, WA

Skylines. Also, the first Starbucks. ‘Nuff said.
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp
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Photo Credit: Loren Crisp

Chicago, IL

Chicago is relatively close to us. Maybe this will be the first place we cross off the list.

New York City, NY

Because shouldn’t every American visit NYC at some point in their lives?
I have no idea how and when we are going to go on all these adventures, but they will all happen someday. Just wait and see! Contributions to our travel funds accepted and appreciated.

Happy Friday!

Travel Dreams (Part 1)

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” 
Jawaharial Nehru

Loren and I both love to travel and explore new places. Our many road trips can attest to this!
Since I grew up in Germany, I plan on someday taking him over to Europe to explore the familiar as well as new countries and places. Enjoy our list and be inspired to travel yourself!

Germany

Obviously, since I grew up here. As a matter of fact, just a short distance from the beautiful Heidelberg Castle.
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Photo Credit: William Davis
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Photo Credit: William Davis

Switzerland

Another country near and dear to my heart. We went skiing in Switzerland almost every year growing up. My family over in Germany still goes!
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Photo Credit: Crystal McAllister

Italy

I’ve heard they have the best coffee here. And pizza. And old buildings.
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Photo Credit: Crystal McAllister
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Photo Credit: Crystal McAllister

France

Can’t go to Europe and be real tourists without a stop in Paris!
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Photo Credit: Crystal McAllister
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Photo Credit: Crystal McAllister

Iceland

Aspiring Kennedy has been to Iceland several times and has some great tips. In fact, she’s been pretty much everywhere and has great tips for every country she’s visited!

Ireland

I love breathtaking scenery. Can never get enough of God’s beautiful and perfect creation!
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Giant’s Causeway

Greece

For the strikingly blue water, pristine white building and water caves.
So there you have it. Excuse me while I go dream of all of these destinations and check in tomorrow for the stateside travel dream aspirations!

Wedding: Ceremony

It’s Wedding Wednesday! We had the most lovely outdoor wedding ceremony & reception. I will let the pictures do most of the talking, but we were SO thankful that the Lord provided us with the most perfect weather we could ever have asked for. Because trust me, we did ask. Thanks to Aunt Cheryl & Uncle Scott for graciously letting us use their back pasture for our wedding, and for all the hours of planning, building, decorating, deal finding and everything else. This would not have happened without their help as well as the treasured help of all of our friends & family that so willingly pitched in. We could not have felt more loved!

Location: Uncle Scott & Aunt Cheryl’s Pasture, Greer, SC
Date: May 12, 2014, 7 p.m.

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My sister Crystal did ALL the flowers for the wedding. She’s quite amazing!
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These ushers did an outstanding job.
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Loren and his beautiful mom.
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William and my beautiful mama.
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And my favorite little people. They stole the show. 🙂
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He took his job of carrying the rings down the aisle VERY seriously.
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This face though. 🙂
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It was so special to have my dad do the vows & exchange of rings.
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Signing the marriage license.
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Praying together for the first time as a married couple.
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And finally the KISS.
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MR. and MRS. LOREN CRISP! 🙂
And that was our lovely ceremony! I hope you didn’t get too overwhelmed by the amount of pictures and that you stop by next week for the next series!

Missed previous Wedding posts? Check them out here:
Part I: First Look
Part II: Bridal Party
Part IV: Reception

All photos courtesy of Cleland Studios