Saturday, July 25, 2015

Super Savings Saturday: Meijer, Target, Kroger, Aldi, Schoola, Office Max, Kohl's, Amazon, Rummage Sale

Meijer: I got King's Hawaiian rolls, foccacia, cheese, romaine, salad mix, frozen vegetables, bananas, strawberries, carrots, applesauce, a pair of boys pajamas, 2 folders, 2 pairs of girls shorts, 2 pairs of women's shorts, 3 sports bras and one cat toy.

Target: I got 4 packs of Kraft cheese, 2 boxes of crackers, 4 boxes of Dove ice cream bars (only 3 bars in a box!), 2 notebooks, 4 bags of chips and 25 cans of cat food. I used a gift card and paid $6.90 out of pocket.

Kroger: I got 1 gallon of milk, 1 pound of cheese, 1 pack of sausage, 1 pack of romaine lettuce and some pears. I had a gift card from my last visit because a Catalina offer didn't print. I paid $1.48 out of pocket. 

Aldi: I got milk, zucchini, tomatoes, romaine, mushrooms, feta cheese, cheese puffs, tortillas, tortilla chips, a watermelon, flax seed and ketchup.

Office Max: I got 3 bottles of school glue, 3 packs of index cards, 3 packs of ink pens, 1 pack of Sharpie metallic markers and 1 pack of Sharpie highlighters.

Amazon: I ordered Gatorade powder and carob powder. I had been doing some research about rehydration and hydration therapy when kids (and grownups) are sick. With three kids, this isn't uncommon around here. Gatorade powder is good not only after athletic exertion but also for vomiting and diarrhea conditions. I ordered the powder as it will be easy enough to reconstitute as needed. My kids have had it and like it, whereas they hate Pedialyte. We get a pukes thing about twice a year. I had a $5 amazon gift card that I used toward my order. No tax and shipping was free.

Kohl's: I got a $15/15+ purchase coupon and I found some clearance clothes for my son. I paid $.79 out of pocket.

Schoola: I got a $10 credit and used a 50% off code to get 3 pairs of pants and 1 pair of shorts for my son.

Rummage sale: I stopped at a nearby rummage sale that sells clothes for $.25 per bag. I found things for Katya. I found one tiny pack of Legos for my 8 year old, a couple of craft items for me and 2 twin sheet sets. I spent $1.85.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review: The Blender Girl Smoothies

The Blender Girl Smoothies: 100 gluten free, vegen & paleo friendly recipes by Tess Masters offers a variety of flavorful smoothies that are also healthy.

While perusing the book, many of the recipes looked pretty good, like tangerine tango and radishing raspberry. I also liked that each recipe had a photo of the finished product.

However, I did have some issues... where on earth does one find hemp oil? What is camu powder? Why would I put cauliflower in a smoothie? Wheatgrass powder? These aren't things that are sold at my local supermarkets, not even at the huge Kroger with the big organics and naturals section.

I wish the book had some ingredient substitutions for these things, or at least, an online source as to where to find those ingredients.

Finally, since this is a recipe book, in my opinion, it needs spiral binding. This is a paperback. The book won't stay open while you're trying to follow a recipe.

The ideas here look and sound good but this book needs a few changes.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Super Savings Saturday: Meijer, Kroger, Target, Tag Sales, Staples, Aldi, Giant Eagle

Kroger: Milk $1.99/gallon, 2 buns at $1 per pack, free skinny cow coffee (free Friday offer from last week), bratwurst, frozen boneless skinless chicken breast, popcorn shrimp marked down to $.99/6oz box, Kroger sausage, large tub of vanilla Kroger yogurt. I had 2 $5 off your next shopping purchase coupons plus a $3 off a $15 meat purchase coupon and a $.60/1 Kroger sausage coupon and a .40/2 Kroger buns coupon. I paid $10.69. My son was so excited about his huge tub of yogurt he's been asking for. He ate a big bowl of it as soon as I could get in the house!

At the end of the week, we returned to Kroger and got popsicles, diapers, coconut milk, coffee, coffee creamer and peaches.

Meijer: I got frozen vegetables, plums, applesauce, Oreos, chicken nuggets, cheese, English muffins, salad mix, pretzels, cheese puffs, tortilla chips, Greek yogurt, graham crackers, wheat crackers, marshmallows, zyrtec, bread, strawberries, men's t-shirts and underwear and pop chips.

Giant Eagle: I got a free loaf of bread and a free store brand yogurt. I also got yoplait yogurt, 2 boxes of cereal, 1 pack of store brand oreos, 1 bag of reduced bananas, 4 packs of apples,  band-aids, toothpaste and a free Lipton sparkling tea.

Target:  I got 2 boxes of Horizon crackers, 2 bags of frozen vegetables, 1 box of Fiber one bars, one pack of sheet protectors, 2 pairs of scissors, 1 bag of flour, 2 bags of brown sugar, 3 my little pony toys (stocking stuffers) and 6 boxes of maxi pads. After cartwheels, coupons, red card, $11.19 on a gift card from last visit and my bring your own bags discount, I paid $8.81 out of pocket. I had some nice offers that included additional 20% off clearance toys.

Tag Sale 1: I stopped by the second day of a tag sale on my way to Kroger. I found a large bag of yarn, a large box of crafts / sewing notions, some vintage pattern books and a box of crochet hooks and knitting needles. I spent $10. The notions were a mess and I sorted through and found some things to keep and somethings to let my kids go nuts with (ribbon) and some things to swap.

Tag Sale 2: The kids and I stopped by on the way to Kroger. I got a box of yarn and my daughter found three packs of glow sticks. They gave my 2 year old (yet another) stuffed panda bear. I could not pry it out of her hands and they said she could just have it.

Staples: The store was a mess and no sales tags were up. I ended up with 5 bottles of school glue $.10 each, 2 backs of erasers .25 each and 2 packs of glue sticks (all they had left) $.25 each.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Super Savings Saturday: Target, Meijer, Kroger, Giant Eagle, Rummage sale

Target: 4 packs bacon, 1 pack chicken, 2 boxes crackers, 2 packs pantyliners, 2 fiber one bars, 6 frozen vegetables. I used gift cards, cartwheel, coupons and paid $3.87 out of pocket. I also took my oldest daughter with me and got Starbucks drinks as a treat with a gift card I had. I paid $.47 out of pocket after my gift card balance was applied.

Kroger: milk, peaches, bread, blueberries (manager's special 2/$1!), pineapple (also 2/$1!), pull-ups and diapers. The pullups and diapers were on sale plus I had manufacturer's coupons and then there was a double dip catalina deal where for every 2 you bought, you got a $5 off your next order coupon, and for every $40 you got a $10 coupon. I got 10 packages for an average of 1.89 per pack.

Meijer: apples, cucumbers, marshmallows, graham crackers, yoplait yogurt, 2 suave body wash, 1 crest sensi strips with bonus toothbrush, and we bought potato wedges and chicken strips for lunch because we were going between multiple errands.

Giant Eagle: band aids, 4 refried beans (free after coupons), tomatoes (Free evantage offer), strawberries, reduced bananas, bread.

Rummage Sale:
My oldest daughter and I stopped at a rummage sale at the nearby Jewish temple. I've gone to their sale for about 3 years. The ladies running it are ornery but the items for sale are usually pretty nice, if not priced a little higher than most rummage sales. I got an angry birds sheet set for my son (which my 2 year old daughter promptly proclaimed as hers), 2 pairs of pajamas for my 2 year old, 2 shirts for her, 1 skirt for my oldest and a bin full of cool yarn for me. I controlled myself and did not by all the yarn. They had a TON of really awesome yarn!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Stockpiling Isn't Working for Me Anymore, Part 4

The reasons why I used the stockpiling method of shopping were many:

*The I might run out mentality if I only had one or two
*Not having all that I needed as a child
*The love of getting a deal

However, stockpiling stuff was interfering with too many other things. First and foremost, my husband was upset with the situation. Secondly, I began to realize that the situation wasn't great for my kids... I don't want them to think clutter is normal or that it's okay to have bags and bags of canned food stacked up in the basement.

Managing the stockpile was too much for me. I thought I was organized, but it was just too much to rotate and keep track of so many items. Putting it all away was also a hassle. Even trying to get something off a shelf got to be a problem, as an avalanche of packages would happen just about every time. I even had a bottle of syrup that was on a top shelf somehow spring a leak and drip onto all kinds of stuff underneath it. I had a jar of grape jelly fall onto the concrete floor, shatter and send jelly and shards of glass all over the floor and my feet. I actually had to scoot around the floor, find my sewing kit and extract a shard of glass out of my foot before I could go back upstairs one day! OUCH!

There's also the pressure part of the deal. I get that stores run on sales cycles, so if I have enough... vegetable oil, or brown sugar, or whatever to last six to eight weeks, it will go on sale again. Now if it's my favorite brand and it's free, maybe I'll get a few more, but if it's just generic... pickles, then no need to do so.

I also began to be concerned about some of the ethics around it... was it really a socially responsible thing to have 100 shampoos in my house, if I could donate 90 of them and still have 10 for us, which would easily last 3 months? Do I need enough tampons to last until menopause?

Finally, I began thinking about a few "what-if" situations. What if there was some sort of disaster and I had to then deal with the lot of it all being ruined? What if there was a freak accident, would I want someone to have to deal with that huge stockpile of stuff? And, what if I could help someone by donating some of the stockpiled items?

That is why I donated a good deal of what I had stockpiled. I realized, better that someone could eat the box of noodles today than have it be in my basement for a year, helping nobody.

I believe that a smaller stockpile - a month or two supply of what we use the most (for foods) will give me that level of security while not creating a huge mess or being a bother to the members of my household. After three months or so, when more things are depleted, I'll re-evaluate how I feel about it again.

Book Review: Brave Queen Esther

Brave Queen Esther is part of the Adventure Bible I Can Read! series of books for kids. This book tells the story of Queen Esther and includes colorful pictures drawn by David Miles.

The book includes a short story and then a get to know the people of the bible and a few facts as well.

What I liked the most was that this book is easy for first graders or so to read with maybe a little bit of help. Of course, the story about Esther facing her fears is also very good.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Book Review: The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly

The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt CcCarthy is a book about a physician's first year of practice.

While the author struggles with finding the wisdom and fortitude that comes with years of practicing medicine, he also enjoys great levels of mentorship and learns the art of compassion.

What I liked the most about this book was that it makes the reader realize that doctors are people too. They're not superstars, they're not gods, they're regular people who get anxious, nervous, sad, overwhelmed, fatigued and they make mistakes.

As I've reached my middle 30s, I'm now at the point where several of my doctors, including my ob/gyn and my endocrinologist, are the same age as me. Previously, all my doctors were much older than me- my parents' age or even older. To realize that people who are just like me in their heads- unable to figure out how they got to this point in life and still sometimes feel like kids pretending to be grownups- are practicing medicine and making lifechanging decisions for people, sort of blows the mind.

This book is an easy read and I recommended it to anyone who sees any sort of a doctor.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.