Saturday, October 18, 2008

Drennen's Pumpkin Kingdom

Today, we went to Drennen's Pumpkin Kingdom - a pumpkin patch just a few minutes away. Brad was sick today, so he didn't go with us, but Grandma and Grandpa did! Since this was for Daniel's birthday, I should refer to them as Ba-ma and Him. Sometimes "Him" is Papa, but lately he's "Him." (After I posted this blog and showed Daniel the pictures, he identified "Him" as "Bampa. That was the clearest he's ever been!) Daniel's 3rd birthday is Monday, but we did our activity today since it was Saturday.

We got to pet baby animals, go through a corn maze, and take a hay ride out to see the pumpkin patch. The kids all picked out their own pumpkins. I handed one to Sarah and discovered that it had a small hole in it, but she refused to let go of it. Daniel picked out a very small one - he didn't want a bigger one because he could pick this one up. Mom thinks he tried to pick up one of the huge ones and couldn't, so he was happy with a very small one. Unfortunately, the battery on my camera ran out before I could get pictures of them with all the pumpkins. :( The spare battery was at home!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tastefully Simple

I am doing a Tastefully Simple catalog party (minus the catalogs) this month - Amy is the consultant. Check out Tastefully Simple online to see the products that are available, and let me know or let Amy know if you have questions or if you'd like to order anything. I am having a fall Creative Memories event (Croptoberfest) on October 25 at Lakeview Wesleyan Church, and I will be using Tastefully Simple products for my snacks. Feel free to stop by to sample some! It's 9am-5pm in the new Family Life Center Conference Room.

Some of the Tastefully Simple products that are staples in my house are as follows: Oh My! Chai! , beer bread (made with club soda, of course), potato soup mix, Onion Onion, Bacon Bacon, Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix (absolutely wonderful!).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Review of Thomas & Friends Mountain Overpass Set

Originally submitted at Toys R Us

This Thomas & Friends™ Mountain Overpass Set brings rail and road together to bring the complete world of Thomas & Friends™ to life and features the exciting Mountain Overpass bridge/tunnel. As Percy climbs over the mountain bridge and Butch passes through the roadway tunnel, rail...

This is a GREAT toy!

By Mom of a Thomas Fanatic from Hartford City, Indiana on 10/12/2008


5out of 5

Pros: Quality Construction, Fun, Durable, Really Works, Easy to Assemble, Attractive Design

Best Uses: Imaginative Play, Entertainment

Describe Yourself: Parent Of Two Or More Children, Education Oriented, Stay At Home Parent

We started giving my son the wooden Thomas train sets when he was 1 1/2. My parents got him this set for his second birthday, and although he couldn't put the tracks together himself at that point, he loved the sounds the mountain overpass made. Now my 1-year-old daughter loves to press the buttons. My son would turn his battery operated train on(not included in this set) and let it go around and around and around the tracks. Each time the train car goes under the overpass, a different train sound plays. Also, when a car goes over the overpass, a truck sound plays.
This set includes both train track and road track, which is cool.
The tracks stay together when they are placed on a hard surface, like a table. They do not stay together well on carpet. When the tracks are together, the trains stay on the tracks. We were pleasantly surprised at how well the trains stayed on the tracks.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Budgets and budget busters

With all this talk about the economy being so terrible, grocery prices going up, gas prices going up, etc., etc., I thought we could discuss what we're doing to make our dollars stretch to meet the budget (or "spending plan," in case you don't like the word "budget.")

Here's a couple of things we're doing...

Potty-training Daniel and Sarah... never mind that Sarah is only 14 months old and isn't walking yet - I'm sure the girl can use the potty and save us all those $$ we spend on diapers! OK, I'm just kidding, but we are working on Daniel, and that will help!

Using E-mealz... Seriously, I should have thought of this before they did - I'm sure I could have made a fortune! Subscribe to E-mealz ($15 for 3 months - use the coupon code "Dave" for a discount) and get a week's worth of menus, complete with grocery lists, every week! Just log on and print them off. Take it to the store and you have a PLAN for your week's meals and you have all of the groceries on hand! The best part is, if you live near a Kroger or Publix (or a few others that I don't live near), they tailor the menus to whatever is on sale that week. Very cool. Unfortunately, I don't live near either of those, so I have tried the Wamart menus and the Aldi menus. Currently, I'm using the Aldi menus, and the meals have been great! I'm using Aldi because the grocery list for seven dinners runs between $50 and $65, which is pretty good. I can usually make the seven dinners last for two weeks, so that fits nicely into my budget.

Coupon shopping...
This takes on various forms. I buy the Indy Star every Sunday (when it has coupons, that is). I used to cut all of the coupons out and use them when the products were on sale at stores like Meijer and Kroger who would triple coupons. Some of the stores have changed their policies and I've found a way that I like a little better because it takes less time. Now I check out the Grocery Gathering at BeCentsAble for stores like CVS and Walgreens. Contributors from various blogs list the deals for the week, complete with links to printable coupons and a list of coupons that match the sale items from the weekly paper. When I'm completely organized with my coupons, I put them in file folders for each week so that I can find what the blogs mention. That doesn't always happen, but it's my goal!

Here's an example for this week, since Sarah is refusing to be potty trained (hee, hee), I still have to buy diapers. CVS has Playskool diapers on sale this week - Mega pack for $10.99. An online site has a printable coupon for $2 off per pack. I got a coupon from the coupon printer at CVS today for $4 off any $20 Playskool purchase. I can use two of the $2 coupons along with the $4 coupon (that's called "stacking" in coupon-ese). That means I can get two Mega packs for about $14. I currently have about $22 in Extra Bucks from CVS - those are coupons you can use like cash for anything in the store. You can earn them every week on various products - the Grocery Gathering will tell you all about it! Anyway, I can use $12 in Extra Bucks for my diapers so I can get them for about $2! They would regularly be $29.98. The best deals are the ones where I can earn Extra Bucks back when I spend them, but that's not always the case.

Walgreens doesn't require you to have a store card like CVS does. We don't have one in town, so I don't go there as much as CVS. They offer register rewards instead of Extra Bucks - still worthwhile. They also offer products every month that are completely free after rebate.

What are you doing to save money?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thanks for the Help!

You are all awesome for helping with the work of driving shuttles. As a reminder, you will need to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled shift. The transportation tent will be located around the Former Center School Building. You will recieve your shirt there. You will also earn a free lunch for your work so stop by before or after your shift to get your lunch ticket. Coffee will be on the house at McConn that day for you too. Simply let them know that you are working for the Alumni Office driving a shuttle. If you have any questions give me a call, drop me an email or hit me up on Facebook. Bye for Now!