Friday, August 30, 2013
Today's Feature of the Day is an amazing tip, and I can honestly say I don't think I have not seen anything like it before. Do you have a lot of photos or postcards that are stored away, so you never see them? Or are they all over the wall, and you want would like to make things look more organized. This post by Wesens-Art shows you a great way that you can neatly display them, and have them on hand to show your family and friends. You can see how she did it, on her blog Wesens-Art here. Thanks so much for linking up on Dare to Share!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
I am sorry to be away from the blog the last couple of days. The last 2 days have been very hectic. If our school year is as busy as the two weeks leading up to it, we are going to be in trouble. There has been something going on pretty much every single day since mid August. Our big news from yesterday is Kara is wearing a new accessory. She is not very happy about it, especially because she also had to get an expander as well as the braces. She has been in a lot of pain, and having a lot of trouble eating and talking. She is already counting the days until the expander can come out. The before and after pictures were taken on the same day, just in different lighting. She did not change her hair color.
This week I have had to do a lot of waiting for the kids at their different places they had to be. While doing so, I have been thinking of some fun new things that I would like to do on the blog in the upcoming months. What I need from my readers are some ideas..
Since I don't have any parties planned for my kids in the next several months, I have been thinking of ways that I can share more of my party ideas. I am excited about what I have planned starting in September. Each week I will share a new party theme. Then each day of the week, I will share an idea that could be easily reproduced for the week's theme. For example Monday might be a craft, Tuesday a treat, Wednesday a game and so on. I have a few theme ideas, but I would really love to know are there any themes that you would really love to see???
Another thing that I have been thinking about for awhile is writing an Ebook. I have a few ideas there too, but not sure which direction to go. I am wondering what kind of book people would love to see. I know a lot about saving money by looking for deals, and using coupons. I also know a lot about planning a party on a budget. What types of Ebooks do you like to read? What types of Ebooks do you find the most useful? What do you think makes a great Ebook?
I can't wait to hear from you..
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Having a 12 yr old girl who LOVES nail polish, I was intrigued by the link that said Mystical Saran Wrap Nail Art by Spud Nails. I mean really, aren't you a bit curious how you use saran wrap on your nails? I know I am, and so is my daughter. We actually really like the effect that Del got on her nails with the saran wrap trick. To see how she did it, and to get more nail tips and idea, check out Spud Nails here. Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to Share Del!
Monday, August 26, 2013
Have you ever wanted to bake some biscuits, but did not have any Bisquick on hand. Joy from Yesterfood shared on this week's Dare to Share, a way you can make your own homemade baking mix with ingredients already in your pantry. Now that you see how easy it is to make your own, you might not buy the pre-made version anymore. You can see Joy's recipe on Yesterfood here. Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to Share Joy!
Sunday, August 25, 2013
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I am pairing up with my friends Life With Lovebugs, and A Spectacled Owl to bring you the Sharing is Caring Halloween Edition Blog Hop.
If you would like to join in on the fun, here is how..
- Write a post that is Halloween themed. I could be a craft, a recipe, decor ideas, a personal story as long as it is about Halloween.
- Share the post on Sept. 20, 2013 at 6 a.m. PST when the Halloween Hop goes live.
- Join our Sharing is Caring Facebook Group to get all the information, codes and communication about the hop.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
I am not one of those mom's who is excited for school to start in the fall. I love summer, and love having my kids home. Life is less stressful, we can sleep in, and my kids are relaxed. Transitions can be hard, especially for my kids. The way our school district is set up. it made the fall of 2011 especially hard, All three of my kids had to transition to a new school. At. The. Same. Time. It was a difficult adjustment for all three of them, and for me. I was the one talking to the schools, helping with homework, and drying their tears. (one of Kara's best friends moved away the 2nd week of school) . Eventually though, things got easier, routines were figured out, and they felt settled in their schools.
This past week we had our school registration days. I went with each one on their designated day to get their schedules, try out their locker combinations, and find their classrooms. This year it went smoothly with my oldest. She is a junior this year, and staying in her Seat Time Waiver program. (She does a combination of online and in school classses) She has teachers she already knows and likes at school. While it was easy with her, that was not really the case with the other two.
Kyle has the biggest, and most difficult transition this year. He is moving from the middle school to the high school. He has Aspergers, and transitions have always been very difficult for him. He is extremely smart, but has always had a parapro to help keep him on track, and assist him when needed. He has a difficult time with writing. It looks nice, but it takes him a long time to do it. Because of that, he has a hard time taking notes, and hates doing homework. At the high school level in our district, they do not have parapros assist students in Gen. Ed. Instead they have something called a Link. A Link is an upper classmen, who pairs up with a student in the class where they need the most assistance. Kyle was supposed be in the Link program, but we found out on Thursday, he had been overlooked. It would have been especially difficult for him to be without one, since had never been without some parapro support, and has such a hard time with change. Luckily, we were able to get him in the program right away, and yesterday he met his Link. She is a senior girl who seems really nice. I took this picture after he met his Link at a special lunch.
During his registration day, I could tell he was very anxious about going to high school. When we walked through the school trying to find his classes, he held it together, but was on the verge of a meltdown. He refused to let me look at his schedule or the map. He was very stressed, and kept snapping at me. When I went the wrong way (I was going by memory) he would get mad that I did not know my way around. (well, let me look at the map, buddy!) He had been relaxed all summer, but once he got to the school, it all become real to him. He will have a class hour each day where he will meet with a resource teacher. They will help keep him organized, and give him homework assistance if needed, but he will still have homework to bring home most nights. He is in advanced math, and in Algebra 2 as a Freshman. I took it as a Senior many years ago, and do not remember much about it so I won't be much help. He is happy, though, that he got Game Programming class the very first semester. He wants be a video game developer some day, so we will have to see what happens.
Kara is also changing schools. She is now at the older middle school. While her transition should not be as hard as Kyle's, there still might be a few bumps along the way. We found out in 5th grade she had A.D.D. (luckily not the H part) She is very unorganized, losses things, and forgets to turn in homework etc.. She is also not fond of change, and at registration found the new school to be overwhelming. She is worried about going from 2 teachers to 6, and changing class all by herself. We walked through her schedule, but she got confused, and is now afraid of getting lost. She is pictured with one of her best friends. They have been in the same class for the last two years. This year, though, they only have math class together. At least they will have the same lunch, 3 of the 4 quarters. She ran into her other best friend, and found out she will be with her a couple of classes too. She does have nice teachers, who I think she will really like. She also has the advantage of having her brother and sister going to the school before her. I already know a lot of people at the school, and introduced her to them at registration. She has a few people she can turn to if needed. She is also thrilled with her elective schedule. She loves every single one of them. (except phys. ed) She has Art for three quarters, and Home Ec for one. Great classes for a creative girl.
We still have about 10 days before school starts, so we are going to try and make the most of it.
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It's Friday night, which means it is time to Dare to Share!
It's Friday night, which means it is time to Dare to Share!
I am not sure if I will keep this party button or not. I was just trying a few things on PicMonkey recently. I might try a few more looks before I decide. This week was a very busy one for us. All three kids had their school registrations, we had a girl scout meeting, an eye doctor appointment, a dance studio open house, and a special luncheon.
On Sunday, I was a cost host on the Let's Get Socia Sunday Party. It is a great party to join if you want to meet new people and grow you blog. It goes live every Sunday at 6 a.m. EST.
Kara and I started a new project early in the week, that is not yet finished. Hopefully we will be able share it on the blog soon. In addition to all the other activities, we have also been squeezing in some back to school shopping. This week I came across some great deals, and decided to share them in case anyone else still needed last minutes supplies or clothes. You can read about the deals I found here.
I had planned on sharing two other posts that I was not able to get posted. We did not have time to finish the projects, because of some back to school issues we had to take care of. I will be explaining more in a post I have planned for this weekend. This time of year is always hectic, and this years seems more so than most.
Did you have the chance to see the Features of the Day this week? Here is another chance if you missed them the first time around.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread by Memories By The Mile
Zipper Case Tutorial by Windsor and Main
Roasted Corn in the Husk by For What It Is Worth
Now onto this week's party. I do not have a lot of rule. You can pretty much link up anything that you would like to share. I don't require that you become a follower, but I would sure love it if you would. Also if you would like to share with others about this party, you can find my party button code on my button page at the top of this blog. If you are chosen as a Dare to Share Feature of the Day, your post will be promoted on the blog, BlogLovin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and G+.
Link Up and Have Fun!
Friday, August 23, 2013
I always love it when I see a recipe that puts a fun twist on a basic recipe. In the summer, one of my favorite vegetables is corn on the cob. I used pull off the husk, and boil them, until I saw the microwave trick on Pinterest. Jeannie from For What It is Worth, shared a way to roast your corn right in the oven. I really like how she finished up the husk to form a handle. To see Jeannie's full recipe and how to make a husk handle, check out For What It Is Worth here. Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to Share Jeannie!
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I can so relate with Kim from Windsor and Main. She wrote in her Zippy Glass Case Tutorial a funny, but true fact of life. Once you hit your 40's you can no longer see, or read labels. In fact, I am heading to the eye Dr later TODAY! My prescription for my contacts changes YEARLY because my age 40+ eyes can't make up their mind. I am on my last pair of contacts, and I found one of them on the counter dried up today. ACK! My glasses are from three prescriptions ago, so I knew I had to get in right away. In addition to a funny story, Kim shares a wonderful step by step tutorial on how to make a glasses case with a side zipper to hold important things. She has great way of explaining things, so even an inexperienced sewer can make this case. You can find her Zippy Glass Case Tutorial HERE. Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to Share Kim!
You may be wondering why I have been on the quiet side the last few days. I have been busy getting my three kids ready for school. This week we are having back to school registration days, girl scout planning meetings, appointments, and last minute shopping to do. I believe my kids are pretty much ready now. I have been buying on sale, and stocking up on basic supplies all summer. The best way to shop for school supplies is to watch the sales flyers, and buy the items at their best price. I have come across some can't miss back to school deals this week, so I thought I would share them in a blog post.
Sorry about the glare in this picture. It was from the light over our kitchen table. Staples has been one of my go to stores for supplies this summer. Each week they have offered 3-5 loss leaders at rock bottom prices. We are always in need of scissors. We have at least 5 or 6 pairs, but I swear they have legs because they are constantly wandering off. This week's deal of 7" all purpose scissors at only .50 each was a can't miss. They are normally $5.00 each. There is a limit of 2 per day. I also picked up a couple packs of Paper Mate magic rub erasers. They are also only .50 this week. with a limit of two. They are normally $3.00 each. Composition books are normally $1 each. This week you can get 3 at only.10 each. The only catch with the .10 books is you need to spend $5. We spent it on a couple of items we needed, a pencil sharpener, and rubber bands. It is well worth though, because of the coupon you get at checkout.
At every transaction that I have made the last couple of weeks, I have received a $10 off $30 coupon for Kohls. What makes this coupon even better is it can be used
TOGETHER with other Kohls special deals and coupons. I will share more about that in a minute.
When we were out tonight, we also stopped at Rite Aid. They have a coupon in the ad that can be used on select back to school items that are on sale for .50. Items such as 8 Ct Crayola Crayons, 12 oz boxes of chalk, Avery Big Tabs, Mead Comp Books, Paper Portfolios, highlighters and more. The in ad coupon is $1 off of 2, making them free with a Rite Aid Wellness Card. We chose two more composition books as our free items. With your Wellness Card, you can also pick up small bottles of Wet and Wild nail polish for only .69. There were a couple more deals I was hoping to get, but they were sold out.
On Monday night we made a stop at JCPennys. There has been several $10 off of $25 coupons in the ads the last couple of weeks. We had one in this past weekend's ad that was expiring on Monday. (keep an eye out in case there are more coupons in the upcoming weekend) In the junior section, I found camis, and tanks on clearance for only $2.99 each. (regular price $8) Kara found a couple more shirts she liked on clearance. The butterfly T-shirt was only $4, (regular price $10) and the striped double shirt was $8.99. (regular price $18) Since we had the coupon, we got all 7 shirts for only $19.02. The price per cami/tank was only $1.92 each after coupon, which is a great stock up price.
We then went over to Kohls. Kara is at that in between age where it can be hard to find clothes. She is too small for juniors, but too old for some of the styles in the girls section. She does enjoy Kohls, because they usually have a good selection of styles that are appropriate for older tweens. We did spend a bit more at Kohls, but overall still had excellent savings. Kara picked out a sweater, a T- shirt with vest attached, a ruffled shirt that will be pretty for picture day, 2 Tee shirts on clearance, a sweatshirt, something she won't let me mention or take a picture of, and a dress. We got a great deal on the dress. It was originally $58. It was on clearance for 80% off for only $11.60. After coupons, we got it for only $9! It even worked out that it was a size bigger than she normally wears so she should be able to wear it for quite awhile. Kyle got 2 Helix T-Shirts, a Tony Hawk T-Shirt, and a Tek Gear Shirt. I picked up for myself the orange T-shirt and the $5 Kids Treats book. All together the subtotal was $163.93 before coupons. Not too bad for 14 clothing items. We saved $10 with one of the Staples coupons, and then another $22.34 with a 15% Kohls coupon. The final price was $139.49, with a savings of $193.41.
My Savings by the Number
Rite Aid $2.60
Not to bad for just a couple of hours of shopping!
Monday, August 19, 2013
Sorry to be a bit late posting today's Dare to Share Feature of the Day. After a Girl Scout meeting, I took my preteen shopping for school clothes. What started out looking like an unsuccessful trip, (was I ever that picky?) turned out to be a great night, with lots of great deals. Now time for today's feature.. Do you have a lot of zucchini in your garden, but not sure what to do with it all? This Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe by Wanda of Memories By the Mile would be a great way to use it. I have two kids who are not really fond of zucchini, but I am sure they would eat it right up if it was in homemade chocolate bread. To see Wanda's recipe, be sure to check out her blog Memories by the Mile here. Thanks so much for linking up this delicious recipe on Dare to Share Wanda!
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Welcome to Let's Get Social Sunday!
This party is for bloggers who wish to make new friends and gain new followers. It is also an opportunity to link up all your social media sites to gain more followers for blogging opportunities and it increases traffic to all your sites. Please:)Hosts: JOY @ YESTERFOOD LINDA @ WITH A BLAST LISA @ COOKING WITH CURLS WANDA ANN @ MEMORIES BY THE MILE DIANE @ MAMAL DIANE EVELYN @ MY TURN FOR US JAMIE @ LOVE BAKES GOOD CAKES
(1) Follow your hosts and co-hosts in as many ways as possible. We are the first 9 link-ups in each category.
and meet our co-hosts this week:
PAM @ PAM'S PARTY & PRACTICAL TIPS(2) Grab our button and share it on your blog
(3) Let us know if you followed in the comments, so we can return the follows!
(4) Find some new blogs to follow and let 'em know you found them from the Let's Get Social Sunday party.
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.pamspartyandpracticaltips.com/" title="Let's Get Social Sunday" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1048.photobucket.com/albums/s368/lovebakesgoodcakes/LBGC%20-%20reoccuring/LBCG%20Buttons%20and%20Banners/letsgetsocial2button.jpg" alt="Let's Get Social Sunday" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Not a requirement, but we appreciate the love - If you enjoy this party, would you mind hitting the tweet button to help spread the word? Or share on your favorite social media! Thanks y'all :)
*Just a note - If you would like to co-host, we are accepting spots in the future for co-hosts. Please, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the information on scheduling. :)
BLOG:FACEBOOK: TWITTER: PINTEREST: GOOGLE+: BLOGLOVIN: INSTAGRAM:
Friday, August 16, 2013
It's Friday night, which means it is time to Dare to Share!
We have had an eventful week here as we get closer to back to back school time. This week we went shopping for a few more supplies and clothes. Kara had dance camp, and is one stop closer to getting her braces. We still have two more weeks, so hopefully we can make the most of the summer we have left.
This week I shared all about our recent visit to Six Flags. You can read about it here.We had a good time even though this is the closest we could get to the X Flight and some of the other big coasters. I thought it was kind of funny that the only one who was not too nervous to ride the X Flight was MOM. (I love roller coasters!)
I also shared a post about how we made the trip with a limited budget and still had money left over when we got back. I am pretty proud of that. :) You can read my money saving tips here.
On Monday I wrote a guest post for my friend Becky on her blog Your Modern Family. I shared some of my favorite party tips on how to plan a party on a budget. I have also updated my Party Theme page, so you can now find all of our parties in one place.
I also shared that I am excited that I will have the opportunity to try out a Make A Plate project. If you would like to make one too, there is more information and a coupon code on my post here.
Did you have a chance to see the fabulous features of the day this week? Here is a second chance if you missed them the first time.
Free Blog Planner from Pursuit of Functional Home
Edible Treat Cups from Something Sweet
Bow Tie Ring from AnneMarie's Haakblog
Now it is time for this week's party. I don't have a lot of rules. Basically you can link up anything that you want to share. I don't require that you become a follower to link up, but I would sure love it if you did. I would also love if you could tell your friends about the party, so more people can join in on the fun. (you can find a button, under the button tab at the top of the page) If you are chosen as a Feature of the Day, your post will be promoted on the blog, BlogLovin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and G+.
Now Link Up and HAVE FUN!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I have two girls who love accessories. Today's Dare to Share Feature of the Day is a cute accessory that would be fun to wear with new back to school outfits. AnneMarie from AnneMarie Haakblog shared how she made this adorable bow tie ring. It is quick and easy to make, and can easily be customized into any color. To see how AnneMarie made this ring, be sure to check out her blog here. Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to Share AnneMarie!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
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I just love these super cute edible treat cups shared on Dare to Share by Winnie of Something Sweet. I think they would be fun addition to serve at all kind of parties. They are not that difficult to put together , but make a big impact. To see how Winnie put them together, you can check out her blog Something Sweet here. Thanks so much for linking up to Dare to Share Winnie!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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As you may know from my post a few days ago, we just recently took a road trip to the amusement park Six Flags Great America near Chicago. If you missed that post, you can read about our visit here. What you might not know is we had a very limited budget for our trip. This month is full of extra expenses for our family. Kara is getting her braces this month, and the down payment was due last week. Our six month installment of our house insurance is due later in the month. All three kids have school registration and picture fees that have to be paid next week. Top everything off with all the extra back to school expenses buying the kids what the need such as, backpacks, binders and a used TI-84 calculator. (the expensive kind needed for upper level math)
We almost did not make the trip. After talking it over though, we decided it was a good opportunity, and I would use blogging money that I had saved for the trip. Since I was successful in coming home with some money leftover, I am going to share my tips on how to go to an amusement park on a limited budget.
There are ways to find big discounts on the cost of tickets. Don't wait until you get to the park to buy them, or you will be paying the highest price per ticket if you do. We used the 3 Day Advance online option for our tickets. We saved $22 per ticket by buying online, instead of paying the gate price. With these tickets the only require that you wait three days after buying them to come to the park. They are good for the rest of the regular season. Always check the website of the park you are planning to visit, to see what discounts they offer before you go. Many stores in the general area of amusement parks often sell discounted tickets at their customer service counter. If you plan on spending the night, check with the hotel. Many times they will offer ticket packages to their guests, sometimes with extras like early entry.
We live a little over 5 hours away from Six Flags, so we had a bit of a road trip. One of the first things that I did was head over to Aldi to stock up on snacks to bring along. If we had snacks in the car, and in the hotel room, it would cut down on snacks that the kids would want to eat on the road. Everything in the picture only cost about $12 total. We also packed a cooler to keep in the car with pop, and a case of water. I had bought a 24 pack of Cherry Coke the week before our trip for only $5.50, which made them only .23 a can. Aldi also carries cases of water for only $2.29, which makes them a little under .10 a bottle. (a far cry from the $3.50 price tag per bottle in the park.) My plan for the snacks worked. They did not ask me once to stop and buy food or drinks. (We even come home with extra chips and cookies)
Since we got a kind of late start, we needed to stop for dinner along the way. I decided to take the kids to Steak and Shake, when I saw a billboard advertising their new $4 menu. The kids loved it! There were several meals they liked on the $4 menu, and Kara got this awesome mint cookies and cream milkshake. The cost for dinner for all of us was only $24! (before tip) I wish we had a Steak and Shake close to our house. Kyle kept saying over and over that he loved it there, and that he couldn't wait to go back.
We got to the hotel around 9 p.m. Chicago time. When I was I was looking over the Six Flags website, they had a list of hotels nearby. The one that caught my eye was the Motel 6. It was only about three miles from the park, and kids 17 and under stayed FREE! This is pretty big, because many hotels charge extra per person. I made reservations for the four of us. (dad was not able to make this trip, which made the room even cheaper with only one adult.) We reserved the room for two nights since it would be too late to drive home after we left the park. The total cost for two nights stay was $124 with tax included. That is a great deal considering it is hard to find a room for much less than $70 a night these days. We were also given a great room near the lobby. It was HUGE, more than enough room for all of us. We could have paid a bit more for a hotel that served breakfast, but decided not to. My kids prefer to go to McDonalds for breakfast (a rare treat) so it did not make sense for us to pay extra for that feature.
If we lived close enough to go more often, we definitely would have bought a dinner pass. For a flat fee that you pay when you buy the pass, you get to eat lunch and dinner at every visit. Considering the price of the meals, and that there are many choices, this is a fantastic deal. Unfortunately for us, this was a one time visit, so we had to pay for our meal out of pocket.
We ate at Aunt Martha's Boarding House for lunch. The meals were all in the $10-$12 range. I found this to be true of pretty much all of the restaurants in the park. What is good about this chicken meal at Aunt Martha's is that it had so much food, it would be good to share between two people with smaller appetites. This is the two piece chicken meal which had large helpings. The girls and I had a hard time finishing it all. A really big expense that I was not thrilled about was the cost of a cup of pop. It was over $4 for a regular size. That is more than I am willing to pay for an entire 12 pack of pop at home. They did have a water special where you could buy 2 bottles of water for $6, which saved about $1. Again if we lived closer, we would buy the refillable beverage cups early in the season, and bring it to each visit. The price for lunch was $65, and $15 of that was just for 4 drinks. Ouch! We found out about the family pizza deal after we already had lunch. For about $40, you can get a 16 inch pizza, a large serving of bread sticks, and 4 drinks. A friend of mine who goes to Six Flags a lot, says it fills up her family of 5, and costs less than individual meals. We had considered doing that for dinner, but we were still full from lunch, and Kara is not really fond of pizza. Another way to cut down on the price of food is to eat a meal right before going to the park, so you are not temped to buy food in the park. If you don't have to travel like we did, bring food in a cooler and leave it in the car. You are able to get your hand stamped, so you can go back to the car, and get your food during your visit.
We all agreed that we did not need another big meal for dinner, since we had such a big lunch around 1:30 p.m. No one was especially hungry. Instead we decided on sharing a couple of funnel cake sundaes, while waiting for the igNight Finale to begin. These things were huge, and filling. The total cost of two funnel cake sundaes was $23, versus a $40 or $65 meal.
We did not buy souvenirs in the park, so at the end of the day I was willing to pay the $15 for the group picture they took of us when we arrived. You could get a package of 3 pictures at a lower cost per picture, but I passed. Kyle was making goofy pictures in all but one picture, so that made the choice easy for me. When I got back to the hotel, I still had $55 left from our day at the park. Yea! I had only brought $180 cash on the trip for all the food and extras for the four of us, and to have them much leftover was awesome.
We were tired after our day in the park, and check out was not until 11 a.m. We slept in late, and got a late start back home. It was late enough that we skipped breakfast, and just did a fast food run for lunch. (we get a lot of dollar and value menu items) During our drive through downtown Chicago, we were caught in a torrential rainstorm. It was kind of scary, but the traffic was going slow enough that I did not have a panic attack. It rained three more times on the way home, but I was more familiar with the area. We arrived home about 48 hours after we left, tired, happy and under budget.