Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Midway thru Week 1

its hump day!

Midway through the first week of school - we have survived so was the toughest to get out of the house on time - we were all super tired.  Just 2 more days though. 

Both kids have had homework - Oldest has the lions share - but that's what happens when you sign up for honors and AP classes.  Youngest is settling in to freshman life.

One change I'm not sure for the better that the school made this year is the elimination of planners. 
They have always given the kids planners for assignments - talk in the office was they were expensive and not enough kids were using them correctly.  As a parent who now is in her 6th year there and a Franklin Covey/Filofax geek, I can say its because the kids were never taught how to properly use a planner.

sooooo, I've been trying out all kinds of homework apps on my phone.  Mostly because my youngest struggles with remembering to write down the assignment and then do the assignment.  Hopefully the phone app will help.....When the school changed from the old "online grade checking site" to the new the teachers stopped posting what was due when and the rubrics to projects - opting to hand out a sheet of paper...because they didn't care for the new site as much.  Needless to say Last year youngest struggled with assignments and deadlines  and since that was a super handy feature of the old grade system.   The struggle is real!

If my quest for a good homework app fails I will buy a planner for them both....just have to use them.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"School is coming"...(Insert Ned Stark voice-over here)

Woohoo!  The return to normalcy - ie: routine is in sight - less than 24 hours away!!

Uniforms are ready for this week & new bottoms ordered (Old Navy had 40% off everything and free shipping over $50! - dear GodI hope they all fit!)
Shoes & Supplies are ready
Summer assignments are nearly done being typed up

Today I am working away at the usual laundry, grocery list making (lunches this week) and thinking of menu planning - eventhough this week will be what I like to call "Seat of our pants" cooking - because for some reason - we have a ton of month/summer end stuff and meetings coinciding with with start of school this year.

I also have started looking into getting a graduate certificate - which should help me secure a position at my kids school.  I honestly hope its possible - it would be online classes but if I decided to further persue a masters in education then those classes would transfer into it at the same location.  Hubby seems behind it - we just have to figure out the $$$ side of it and if the payout in the end would make financial sense. 

Hope you all have a great last August Sunday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shoe Shopping Win!

This morning had me doing some paperwork while the kids had their last late sleep in day. 
Once I got them up - it was off for haircuts and shoe shopping with the oldest. 
This time I hit the other Famous Footwear near me since I know this kiddos tastes and size range.  Totally struck gold!  picked up a pair of sneakers and loafers for under $75!  Combined!!  Last night's trip with youngest earned me enough points in their rewards program that I got a $15 off reward.  And the shoes were Buy 1 get one 50% off and I had a 15% off coupon on top of all that!  Oh yeah and its tax free week!  I feel like popping open a beer to celebrate!
Last year this kiddo couldn't find 1 pair of shoes under $75 that would work for picky tastes - maybe tastes change or maybe kiddo is getting more mature and seeing that comfort can be had at a modest price tag.  The red sale sticker isn't a kiss of death afterall.

Next up - Uniforms slacks.....I always wait until the last minute on this one - mostly because my kiddos only grow in the legs and feet

Aldi & back to school prep

We've been hard at it today.  Kiddos are finishing up the summer reading assignments for classes to start next week.  Youngest and I went shoe shopping.  Loved using the Buy 1 get one 50% off at a Famous Footwear. And they let me use the extra 15% off coupon at the outlets!  Top it off eith not having to pay sales tax - I'm a happy camper!

Quick run to ShopRite and picked up the notebooks kiddos needed....(no matter how I try I cannot convince them 5 70 page notebooks from Staples at $.17/ea is a better deal than 1 5 subject notebook.  Oh well. The 1 subjects are the go to supplement plan when the 5 subjects run out.

Stopped at Aldi again this week - since I was nearby one (next Monday will be my last trip for a while). I had in my head to only spend $20.  Actually spent $36!
Stocked up on a tub of honey wheat pretzel sticks, 2 bags of chocolate chips, romaine hearts, mini cucumbers, peanut butter filled pretzels, protien granola bars for school lunches 5# jasmine rice, and 2 bags of ciabatta rolls for the freezer.  The pretzel things are stashed away for school lunches/snacks with the granola bars.

Tomorrow us shoe shopping with the other kiddo, haircuts for both, and a quick stop to Walmart for a couple of items not at Aldi or on sale cheaper at ShopRite.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tax Free Week Begins!

This is one of my favorite weeks to shop - not because of the crowds....but because I get to not pay sales tax on clothing purchases!  Sounds cheap but really it's a tiny bit vengeful on my part.  Our state is not good at managing the tax dollars they get from, gas tax, sales tax and income tax.  Our govenor & his buddies are just a mess in Hartford.
So not paying sales tax on stuff my family needs to wear makes me smile. Underclothes, socks, shoes & school uniforms for the kiddos.  A few new items and sneakers for hubby and I are in the list too.

I wish that school supplies like notebooks were too.

Change is Good!

Changing stuff up -
In anticipation of fall I've changed up the look of the blog.....going for a more autumnal theme & color....
Something a little more peaceful, calm and honestly easier to load on my mobile devices which is where most of the posting is done from....
Hope its not going to freak out or put to sleep anyone. 
Have a wonderful Sunday and happy bargain hunting!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Product formulas

this is about deoderant/antiperspirant in other words stink-no-more-stick

Who gets annoyed when this product doesn't work?  ME!
Who gets annoyed but residue on clothes (stains/white line)?  ME!

Well I'm not sure about this...and it maybe TMI so read at your own risk....

A few months ago, unhappy with the performance of my current 'pit stick' I ventured back to the world of roll-on.  I seriously went back in time.  I started out easily enough,  I had gotten a can of degree spray (thanks Sluggy) free in the mail for answering a survey. I liked the cool feeling but the vapor cloud was tough for my to breathe though.  Undeterred and motivated I picked up a bottle of suave roll on in powder fresh.  Used it once or twice and was reminded of the wetness...but it didn't sting freshly shaved skin, YAY!  So because I hate to waste things I stuck it in my travel bag and forgot about it, until one late spring morning, when I turned the dial on my trusty name brand solid stick and the solid collapsed.  The container must have been dropped or knocked off the counter by the hair dryer cord to many times.  Because I was on the hunt for a more effective formula (no stinkies) I didn't have a backup in stock. Other than the can of degree spray, but I did have the roll on - which had become my travel deoderant.  I used it and was surprised - I liked it.

Fast forward to now, I have tried other brands of roll on.  Dry Idea has a no marks version and it keeps me stank free and confident for tank tops!

Maybe going old school is the key here!  I'm actually going to switch over the eldest child this week to see if it's more effective for him - his undershirts last year were stained yellow and a couple uniforms too!  And this kiddo showers at least 2X daily.

Here is what I've learned:

  • My shirts don't have white waxy build up in the pits area (from my hearty application of stick)
  • For me, these roll on types seem to keep the stankiness at bay.  Today I was outside working from 8-4 came in super sweaty and gave my shirt the whiff test - it wasn't roses, but it wasn't a total sour stankfest either.  
  • My underarm skin isn't irritated & sore/itchy (even though the active ingredient is the same in solid and roll-on)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Price book update

It's that time again....
I need to update my price book - trying to think if an easier way, I was using a small notebook - but it was getting easy to fall behind in updating.   I wish there was an app out there....
Anyone have any ideas?

Busy busy busy

So I'm kinda a sloth about posting in the last week.  My apologies!  I've been busy with stuff.  Some personal, some friends, some family and lots of shopping. 

Personal:  Olympics watching and I injured my pinky toenail - lets just say it's something I do every year and I wonder why I don't just have the nail removed because for the next couple months it will catch on everything and me bring such a wuss and squeamish it will make me nutty on a daily basis.

Friends:  some friends from high school were in town and I hadn't seen them in more than 20 years - so I spent dome catchup time face to face.  

Family:  medical appointment, driving to activities, usual mom stuff.  But it's amazing how much time it takes!

Shopping:  well there was my stop at IKEA where I only bought cinnamon rolls last week.  Monday night I hit Aldi and dropped $56, shop rite and dropped $28, yesterday was BJs and I only spent $43 because I had a $40 rewards evoucher and 2 coupons.  Hubby stopped Monday at the market near his office and picked up some stuff.  I think until I hit Aldi next Monday - we are done!  I cud pick up 4 cartons of the Aldi premium OJ. Hubby didn't know it was on my list and bought 2 minute aid bottles since they were on sale.  Don't worry - I told the kids they are not getting any more for 3 weeks so make it last!  

I do have to do the dreaded school shopping - maybe I will try to do a little tomorrow afternoon....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aldi successes

So, some of the new to us products we have tried the last 2 weeks from Aldi....and some not so new but they needed to make the list...
The very good, the good and the meh...

Very good :
their version of premium OJ in a carton....yum!
Quick cook brown rice - worth the price....tasty and ready in 15 minutes - winner
Millville Corn "Chex". Yum.
Fit & Active red berry vitality cereal (think special k). Family loved it
Semi sweet chocolate chips - as good as nestle and 1/2 the price
Clancy low salt wavy chips - 1/2 the price of lays version - just as tasty - these could be the substitute chip
Ciabatta rolls - love the price!

The good:
Carlini "Pam" spray
The bananas - although they were green they moved to spotty in 4 days - but tasty
The baby cukes - little English cukes!  Love them!!  $.99/pound
Sharp cheddar block cheese - tasty and good texture

The meh :
Their version of shredded Parmesan cheese (like Kraft). It's ok....I'll stick with BJs brand for now....
Their white bread - it was on sale for $.45/loaf this week....didn't really care for it.  For the few loafs of white bread we buy a year I'll stick with freihoffer outlet.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Slap your mama good chicken"

Oh yum!  Yesterday I made a rotisserie chicken in the crockpot. It was the best one yet!  As the title says so good you'll slap your mama!
I did it a bit different this time so it's now a keeper
I used regular paprika rather than smoked paprika
Didn't rub it down with olive oil before...just rinsed & patted dry with paper towels then rubbed the spice mix (paprika, salt, fine round pepper, onion powder & garlic powder) with a little sprinkle inside (like 1/8 tsp)
Then I placed 2 ribs of celery and 1/2 large onion in the bottom of the crockpot and placed the chicken on added water.   Low for 6 hours.  It fell off the bones!
I took the rich brown stock after straining and made a quick gravy.
We ate the whole thing!  Usually I can get 2 meals from a 6ish pound bird. Last night we couldn't stop.

Also tried it with the Aldi quick cook brown rice....will buy that again!  Tasty & fast!!  Oh and we steamed broccoli and cucumber slices.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Aldi Run

Trip 1 for the week had me in new haven.  I planned ahead took the cooler and ice blocks and hit Aldi with a list.  Picked up 3 cartons on OJ the not from concentrate kind.  Hope the kids like it - it's so much less $ than Tropicana. Also 3 blocks of cheddar, 2 bags of ciabatta rolls, 2 bags of the mini cucumbers on special (16 oz for $.99), bananas, more chocolate chips, blue corn chips, organic type corn chips, sweet potato chips, low salt wavy chip, oyster crackers, tissues.  Not too bad $39.
I wanted blueberries but they were sold out.  Also wanted plain raw almonds and grape tomatoes but those were unavailable too. Skipped the muffin mix and bottled water today - pantry is ok for those items.

I was bummed out because I need vanilla low fat yogurt and all they had was Greek style, artificial sweetened or whole milk style.  Guess it's a trip to ShopRite for that.

Also hit Walmart for milk on my way back from a morning errand and dropped almost $17 on sliced ham, markdown Kaiser rolls ($1.39/6), milk, 8 small coconut yogurts, I know!  Could have done better at ShopRite. Not in my planned driving area this week.

We are trying the Aldi cihips - I don't like them eating them so much...both because they're not very nutritious but also they get expensive!!  Hopefully these will last until school starts.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Busy week ahead....plan needed

its beginning!  The lazyish summer is coming yo an end and the busy school year coming!  2 separate days of appointments in NHaven means I better get a plan together fast.
But, this is a good thing.
One takes me near Aldi!  My list is made
OJ, ciabatta rolls, block cheese, cukes, blueberries & grape tomatoes, yogurts, bottled water, muffin mix. You can bet I'm remembering to take my cooler and ice blocks with me.
The other day has me near IKEA  - told the kids we may make a stop I want to look at something in person and get some cinnamon rolls.

Other than that I'm anticipating a week of cracking the summer reading whip & bedroom cleaning with the kids - I like their rooms really clean and organized for the start of the school year.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Super cheap Supper

hubby came home on Thursday with boneless beef short ribs.  I cooked them in the crockpot today.  He goes to work Monday with instructions to get more if they're on sale still.
Huge success!  Super simple, yummy
This is the recipie I used....

Crock Pot Boneless Beef Short Ribs (4 servings)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch, to thicken the sauce after cooking

Dredge them in flour, salt & pepper, brown in oil - transfer to crockpot.  Deglaze pan with wine pour that in the crockpot.  Add everything else. Cook on low 6-8 hours.  All done!

I've started to buy wine for sipping and cooking in the little bottles.  It works out the same, but if it's just our family, I'm the only wine goes bad before I finish it.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Preparing for rough weather - part 4. Cleaning

This one will seem reall oddball to you all I'm sure.  Since you have food, water, light, heat & hatches are battened down.  You won't be running to the store right?
This is when you can tidy up for potential power loss. Or reduced power.

  1. Wash all laundry!  Why go into a power outage especially if the news says it's likely to happen with dirty laundry.  Did it before Hurricane Sandy and was thankful I did.  A week of limited power, meant no laundry got washed.
  2. Change all sheets (after a stressful day or 2 with no power it helps to sleep better)
  3. Know where your extra blankets are - it might get cold at night.
  4. Vacume & mop your floors - it will make it seem less awful/gross if you do lose power
  5. Scrub the bathrooms - especially toilets (reduced flushing will make cleaning tough enough)
  6. Fire up the crock-pot for easily reheat meals - go for comfort foods
  7. Be sure you have decent paper goods, saves washing up.
  8. Consider assigning each person a cup for the day, it will help with washing up.  Break out the solo cups and sharpies.  
  9. Wash and prep any fresh veggies you have.  Saving you time and you'll use them first that way
  10. Run the dishwasher before the storm hits.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Preparing for rough weather - batten down the hatches!

So you have a way to see in the dark, foods to eat and water to drink and hygiene  all stocked up and waiting for the storm to hit.  Time to protect your property.
Luckily thanks to the news and weather channel, you really must live under a rock to be caught off guard by an Atlantic based storm.  Use all available helpers living with you.  This can take a couple hours if not a whole day or two depending on how helpful the helpers are.

  1. Get the lawn furniture stowed away
  2. Bikes and outdoor toys - put them away!
  3. Clean up the yard as much as you can.  Remember it it can get blown over it can get blown into a window.  
  4. Make sure your gutters are cleared.  
  5. We store the rolling trash barrels in the garage if there is going to be a hurricane or blizzard.  I don't want it blowing over but dont want it piling up in the house either.  
  6. While you're at it, take a tarp and some rope and wrap your woodpile - late season hurricanes bring cold and rain - wet wood sucks
  7. If you have wood shutters for Windows use them.  Or install if you need to.  If not tape your window glass, we use painter tape.  Never had a window break but why take the chance.  
  8. If you have a generator, make sure you have new fuel and that the generator is functioning properly.  
  9. Have your basic tools close at hand, and the shovel, loppers, bow saw, & rake
  10. Stock up on leather work gloves, rubber gloves and heavy duty trash bags. 
  11. Tuck your bbq grill and gas or charcoal somewhere safe but easily accessible in case your cooking plans include it. 
  12. Get some cash at the bank - you can always put it back in.  
  13. Make sure you have a weather radio (I like the Eton crank ones from llbean)
  14. Charge up the cell phone!  Maybe invest in a rechargeable battery pack 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

3-ish weeks left

I can't believe school starts in 3ish weeks!  I have to get a few things accomplished before then....

  1. Order textbook/workbooks from Amazon
  2. Double check uniform needs & buy accordingly
  3. School shoe shopping - come on sale cycles: babies need new shoes!
  4. Notebook shopping (over bought last year and didn't return because there were some amazing deals, which was good second semester when new ones were needed) minimal needs this fall.
  5. Bedroom study areas need to be cleaned and re-established pronto!  Success is the only option
  6. Looking into a Disney circle to curb phone/web usage when homework should be done and sleeping should happen (a problem here with teens)

Hoped to cross a few items off my list today, the no travel one would be nice to cross off.

Aldi run :-)

Youngest had a thing today that took a few hours, so I popped up the Aldi app to see if there was one nearby while I waited. We needed a few things and I'm going to bite the bullet and try the 21Day Fix diet and exercise.  There are loads of stuff on Pinterest and complete shopping lists meal plans for Aldi shoppers too.  (Not doing the shakeology drinks, don't care for protein shakes and that kind is too expensive for me - I'm searching for a palatable alternative)

Anyhow....I found an Aldi and did a bit of shopping....$59 worth.  Mostly restock stuff.
3 bags of sugar (1.69/4#)
1 box stevia packets (21 day fix)
1 canister quick cook steel cut oats (fridge oatmeal jars)
3 bags mini chocolate chips (school muffin season is coming)
2 boxes baking soda
1 Baking powder
Bag of raw almonds (cheaper at BJs - now I know - but need them today)
Quick cook brown rice (hoping it will help us make the switch)
1 bag of ciabatta rolls (hoping they're good)
2 bottles teriyaki marinade
2 cans Goya coconut milk (for pumpkin soup). Good price too
Jif peanut butter packs (lunch boxes) 8/$2.19
Avocado, cucumber & lettuce
Box of cold cereal (peanut butter chocolate balls)

I didn't get anything perishable since I didn't gave a cooler for it.

For an urban Aldi it was remarkably well stocked and tidy (there are 2 I've been to that aren't too neat).  It was busy too 3 registers going!

We also had an article in the local paper that an Aldi is looking to buy the old bowling alley in a closer town and put in a store - I hope try do & succeed. The property is sort of across the road from a Stop & Shop and that company is known for buying properties to eliminate other groceries from going in.  I understand the business reasons behind it - but they then drive up the prices where they have a lock on the market.  I live between 2 shoreline ones and one where they're the only grocery store in town is always 10-20 cents more on most items than the one in the town with 1 store in competition.