Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Really Do Love Sushi!

This past Saturday, we celebrated my Grandaunt Doris's 85th birthday. My dad already had plans for that night, so Howard drive the rest of us and my aunt to Queens to have dinner at The Buffet.

Any type of buffet usually makes me really nervous because I'm afraid I won't be worth the cost. That's why the only ones we have tried in Disney World are 'Ohana and Boma because we really wanted to experience the food. Sometimes I read trip reports on DISboards and think about how the person didn't eat his or her money's worth, but I also understand that most people go to some of them for character interaction too.

However, The Buffet is not one I worry about too much because they offer sushi! Sure, it's not the greatest sushi in the world, but it's actually pretty tasty, in my opinion. They don't overload the rolls with a ton of rice and they also offer sashimi too if you don't want to fill your stomach with carbs. It's no surprise that my plates always have at least two or three (haha, though usually more) pieces on it.

My first plate always seems like the most enticing because there's a variety of colors and tastes. However, the reality is that there's a lot of tasting going on and mental notes of which ones I want to have again. Though the family and friends at my table get an assortment of items, Howard and I always get a sushi-only first plate.

When we went up for the second plate, I knew I would focus on more sashimi so as not to get full on too much rice. The rolls I got were the ones with spicy salmon or spicy tuna because I like having the strong flavors and a little bit of heat in between sashimi since I don't use wasabi. I also for some seaweed salad too because it's probably one of my favorite appetizers at a Japanese restaurant despite how basic it seems.

I did choose to be a little daring with my food adventures though. Howard had gotten pig ears, and I was curious about it because Guy Fieri has had it on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Of course, he had a big 'ol floppy ear whole placed between two pieces of bread, so this was a lot easier to stomach. It didn't really taste like much. When I chewed it, I felt that I was just chomping on some cartilage, which is something I don't really like anyway. Well, at least I can mark it off as something I tried!

For my last plate, I told myself I'd get some hot items, but as you can see, some sushi ended up on it anyway. The shrimp was still slightly crispy despite being in the mayo sauce and on a buffet line. The veggies were listed as kale, but it clearly was Chinese broccoli. This was actually quite refreshing too with its very strong vegetable flavor. If I had known, I would have gotten some ok each plate. Howard and I also stood on the line for some Peking duck. Last time, we got two each because that's the maximum listed on the sign. This time we knew one was plenty! I had the piece of meat from the drumstick, so it was very meaty instead of fatty, which made me happy. There's a piece of "duck" in front of the rolls, but it was actually part of fried taro (similar to the fried taro ball you can get from dim sum). I wish I had gotten another piece! Lastly, You can see a spring roll on the plate because I have a weakness for those as well. It might be the remnants of my childhood when I used to enjoy fried food. I actually left a bite of that on my plate because it wasn't spectacular. It was the only thing on all my plates that I did not finish.

I was really satisfied at that point. One more bite probably would have made me feel really full. I would have liked to grab one more piece of sashimi as my "dessert" since I don't like the sweets they have to offer and wasn't really feeling a sweet tooth at that time anyway. I was good though and said no to anymore food because I knew we still had a drive ahead of us with potential stops and waits from traffic.

On the way out, I took two quick pictures of the assortment of rolls and sushi.

When we celebrate birthdays and holidays with my mom's family, I know our stomachs will be happy, but I also know it'll be a great time spent with family and friends. I was especially excited to see my aunt and cousin who we haven't seen in a really long time. We all said our goodbyes and headed home after the meal because most of us would be up early the next morning to see each other at church!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Return of the Crafty Side

It's been quite a while, but I finally got back into crafting today! I have some orders that I need to fill, but today I really needed to get some gnomes cut out from the Gnomes and Mushrooms cartridge that was free this week on Cricut Craftroom. It expires tomorrow, so I still have a few hours to finish some cuts. I knew gluing everything together would take too much time, so I pulled out one of my embellishment boxes with all the dividers. I was so excited when I opened it because there lying in the largest section was my hand tool with the blade in it for my Martha Stewart circle cutter! I've been looking for that since we MOVED HERE! I was pretty sure that I had brought it to the apartment, but then I couldn't find it where I thought I had it. I thought it might have been back at my parents' house, but it wasn't there either. I just knew for sure that I put it somewhere for safe keeping, but then I just lost track of it! I'm so thrilled now!

The other crafty thing I did today was test out my Copics. I don't have cardstock that is close enough to skin colors, so I just cut in white and use the E00 Copic to color it in. However, it was definitely losing ink, which I knew for a bit. I figured it was finally time to order refill tubes. Amazon was expensive, and I didn't know the supplier. Joann didn't have the colors I needed. So I went to Dick Blick instead because I know that many crafters grew their Copic collection through them. I wanted to take advantage of the free shipping offer with orders over $89, so I needed to figure out which markers were in need of refills. I ended up using the rest of the money that I had from my last 50 card order and about $20 more. 

I have work days scheduled this week and the next two weeks as well, so I'm part of me hates that suddenly I felt so crafty right before I have to go to school. But the good part of it is that I'll get some money for it so that I don't have to feel guilty about the expensive Copic refill order I just placed!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Feel Better, Hubs!

My husband was sick at work this morning, so he had to come home early. I was praying the entire time during his commute because he was worried he'd be sick again. I'm glad he made it home okay. He had some water and some dry toast before he konked out for a few hours on the couch. I'm so used to being the one who he is sick, so when someone else is sick, I feel so useless. I wish there were more that I could do other than the little things like get him more water. I guess that's what he feels when I'm sick! Thank God he is feeling better now although he is completely zapped of energy and needs to recover. 

I just wanted to post a picture of some happier times. We don't know when our next Disney trip will be as we intend on doing a more local vacation this summer, but we do always look back on the memories of being in the happiest place on earth together! Here we are on Toy Story Midway Mania.

Feel better soon, hubs!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Who Wants to Play?

A little over two weeks ago, I posted how I finally purchased Scattergories, which was and is one of my favorite games. Well, I added to my game collection this past week when I bought Taboo! This too was and is one of my favorite games! I remember when the wife of one of our former pastors at church introduced the game to us in youth group, and thereafter, so many of us were so eager to play any time we had a chance at a fellowship/barbecue/party at someone's house or at summer retreat.

One of the couples at church has the first edition of Taboo with the card holder and the buzzer. We had so much fun playing guys vs. girls when we had a couples potluck at their house last November. The girls won, of course, haha.

The newer version is a little different in that there is no holder (and I read that they don't fit in the old one) and there's a squeaker instead of a buzzer so there's no need for a battery. It does cost a lot less than the original, but the reason I chose this one was there are new words!

Since I printed out a $5 Hasbro game coupon that expired today, I knew I had to pick it up this past week. I kept checking the product page on Amazon so that I could price match it the same way I did with Scattergories, but the cost kept fluctuating between $9.99 and $16! I reread Target's price match policy and saw that they also will honor the prices at Best Buy, Walmart, Babies R Us, and Toys R Us. I checked Walmart and saw that the game was $11.80 but that there was also a rollback option on select Hasbro games including Taboo for $9.97! Score! A quick trip to customer service and a few minutes later, I was the owner of Taboo for just $5.85 including tax. The wonderful thing is that I used a Swagbucks gift card, so I didn't pay a cent out of pocket. How exciting!

I think that my obsession with word games is due to my mom. When I was young, she introduced Boggle to me, and we'd sit on the bed and the two of us would play rounds of Boggle! I remember how she'd write words that I didn't know, and when I asked her what they meant, sometimes we would look them up in the dictionary. I remember on one occasion, she found the word "gin" and we only knew it from "Gin Rummy," so we looked it up and I learned it was alcohol, haha. I guess those rounds of Boggle and the few times our family played Scrabble (which is, strangely, one of the word games I actually don't like anymore) stuck with me. Even when I was on the social committee for the church's summer retreat, I was the one who always made up games that had to do with words or letters whether they had to be drawn/acted and then guessed. 

Now that I have this game, who's ready to play? 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Recent Target Deals

Followers of my blog will clearly see that Target has started to become my one stop shop even though I still do hit the grocery stores for items that I can't find. At first, I preferred the supermarkets because of their policy on doubling coupons, but when the deal is better at Target. Plus, the added benefit is that lately I have no paid ONE CENT when it comes to my hauls. Though I still use coupons, of course, the reason why I haven't had to take out my wallet is because I've had Shopkick gift cards and been claiming $25 gift cards from Swagbucks. So far I've claimed $240 (a mix of Target and iTunes cards), and I'm waiting on another $50 right now (Target again and Amazon). If you're not using Swagbucks yet, you're missing out! If you decide to sign up, use my link here, please! I do benefit if you go through my referral link.

This was an old deal that I purchased on April 16. The Suave shampoo was the same as this post here. I actually did this deal 3 times, so I got a total of 9 bottles for free as I just kept rolling gift cards. The Frosted Mini Wheats was a great deal. I actually had to search for the 18 oz boxes because those were the only ones included in the promotion. I finally found them behind the cereal next to the other boxes! I wonder if someone tried to hide them, haha. I actually found 6, so my mom was able to get in on this deal too. They were on sale for $2.50 each, but there was a 50% Cartwheel offer and a manufacturer's coupon for $3 off 3 boxes of cereal! You can bet I printed a bunch of those when I had the chance! I could have printed more, but I forgot about it. Thankfully, it was actually a coupon offered on Kellogg's Family Rewards, so I still have at least 2 to use. That meant each box was just $0.25! Score! Lastly, the eggs were on sale that week for just $0.99, but I had Target mobile coupons for $0.50 off a dozen. Recently, the Incredible Edible Egg Facebook page had a rare coupon for $0.55 off any 2 dozen eggs, so I was able to use that as well making each box just $0.22. My mom did a transaction with the eggs as well, but she only needed one carton so that's why I have 3 in the picture. 

One of the deals from this past week was one I found in the Target ad. I didn't really see it on Instagram at all, but since we were in need of Band-Aids, it was a great price for me. The deal was buy 2 get 1 free, but I saw that there was a $2 off 3 coupon on HealthyEssentials. Each box was $6.49, so after the promotion and coupon, each box came out to $3.66 (about $0.06 per bandage). My mom mentioned that it might be cheaper at Costco, but we don't necessarily need all the different sizes. Plus, these were the fabric ones that don't come off when you wash your hands, so I was happy. I should probably put some in my bag, right? That way if I get injured at Stop & Shop again, I'll be prepared!

I actually went back to buy more Band-Aids The plastic strips were, of course, much less. Each box cost $2.29, so after the buy 2 get 1 free and the $2 coupon, it came out to just $0.86 each. On one of the clearance endcaps, they had the Up & Up brand of adhesive bandages for over $2! This was definitely a steal. Now we are completely stocked on Band-Aids, and I don't have to think about it for a while!

This last picture is clearly a luxury and not a necessity. I happened to see that there was a Target printable coupon for $1.50 off 2 bags and a manufacturer's coupon for $1.00 off 2 bags. I decided I was going to take a look at the price and see if it was worth purchasing, and let me tell ya, it was! They were on sale for $3! With the 10% Cartwheel offer, each bag cost only $1.52. That's much better than any clearance Easter candy because Dove chocolate is so decadent! After having one of the almond ones, I picked up the hazelnut ones on another Target trip. Normally I share my chocolate and candy with my former colleagues when I make little cards or treat bags once in a while when I sub, but these might be the ones I decide to hoard for myself, hehe.

There are other less exciting items purchased like sandwich fixings, but these were my favorite deals. And like I said earlier, out of pocket cost was absolutely NOTHING!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Clearance at Target

I admit that I don't really get into the "hype" that precedes holidays. Obviously Easter and Christmas have more meaning because I'm a Christian, but even when Valentine's Day and Halloween roll around, there isn't any increase in excitement. Now that I do the shopping for the house though, I actually look excited to the clearance items after the holidays! I used to just check out CVS, but now that there's the Target closer to me, it's definitely a place for me to at least stop and look. I didn't anticipate finding much because I was at the store a few days earlier with my mom. It's usually the best time to buy candy, but I don't like jellybeans or Peeps. The chocolate available was also shaped as eggs and not all were individually wrapped, so I passed on all that.

The one thing I did absolutely fall for were the pails! In the pictures, they look like they're very easy to spot, but in reality, they were kind of behind other products or up high on shelves or down below. Thankfully, I actually made it out of the house earlier than normal because I got out of bed once Howard left for work, so I had the opportunity to peruse and choose what I wanted in relative peace. The only people that were there was a mom and her three kids, but they were primarily looking at candy. Just a half hour later or so, there were a ton of people in the area! There was one mom who left her kid in the stroller at the endcap because she didn't want to bother pushing her through the crowds! It really made me happy that I got "first" pick even though it's highly likely that others got there before I did, haha.

The robot pails were a good size, and I thought they'd be cute to stuff with baby gifts. Actually I debated whether or not I was going to post these pictures on my blog because I didn't want it to spoil the surprise, but I know it'll be okay because it's not the gift itself. It's kind of like, getting a cute pail instead of spending on a gift bag or wrapping paper since I don't have either. Anyway, I thought the robots were cute because they definitely don't look like they're Easter-themed. Originally sold at $5, they were on clearance for $0.50. Though I initially had those top four in my cart, I did put them back when I saw the larger pails.

The ice cream and cupcake pail was SUPER cute! If we had room to store things, I definitely would have bought it along with the few others I saw on a shelf in another spot. I think they would be perfect for a girl's birthday gift. Maybe I would've wanted to keep one for myself too, haha. But with the lack of storage space in our studio apartment, I chose to just get what I knew I would use. The funny thing is that when I went back to the clearance section, I saw someone put it in her cart. As she was texting, I interrupted her to tell her that there were more in a different location because at that time, I think ALL the pails were gone! It ended up being Jenny, someone I know from a local church who married a guy I knew from junior high! I also got to see her son for the first time who was unbelievably cute even though I could tell he was unsure of me. Haha, that's okay; I am technically a stranger!

I told Jenny that there were some fairy pails on the bottom shelf at the endcap. I think these would've been a great buy too for a girl's party, but I just had no use for it. These larger pails were originally $8 and were on clearance for $0.80. I just have to say ... who in the world would pay $8 for this?! I don't intend on doing Easter baskets for our kids because it just doesn't seem like that's something to be thinking about when we're supposed to be focusing on Christ's resurrection. Howard and I didn't get Easter baskets as kids either and didn't miss out on it. In fact, it was only when I started teaching that I realized that some families really took it seriously with the egg hunts and everything! The only tradition I had was that my grandparents would give us money to buy new shoes or a new outfit to wear on Easter Sunday. I just try to wear something new or at least somewhat new when we go to combined service. Am I digressing? Yes, I think I am.

Anyway, though the plan is not to do Easter baskets, I do have to say that I like how some people did them when I saw pictures on Instagram. I've been interested in Thirty-One lately, and I saw that some moms had separate small Thirty-One bags or totes or boxes of some sort that had their kids names on them that they used as the "basket." I think that would be a clever way to give gifts to the kiddies because they'd be easier to store than these ol' buckets!

Though I didn't buy any of the pails above, I did grab the stack of animal pails that I saw on a higher shelf. I really was happy to see that they were super cheap when I scanned them. Because it's an animal design, I know I can use it for a boy or girl baby or kid. 

I know gift bags can cost a lot for just being a bag, so this was a great buy. Of course, I am horrible and putting together gift baskets so that they look all nice with all the items properly placed, but I guess I'll worry about that when the time comes!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Hashbrown Cake

I spent the day at my parents' house today because I had to go get a minor issue on our car fixed. Someone in our apartment building accidentally scratched the side when backing out, so my dad and I drove to the garage at 9 in the morning. Long story short, the car wasn't fixed today, but it wasn't a waste of a day because I also had plans to clean up the stuff that I didn't take with me when I got married and moved out. It was a lot of hard work because the bulk of the day was spent moving furniture and organizing things that weren't even mine! It's a good thing I actually LOVE organizing! And, of course, I got to spend the day with my parents but mainly my mom who was in the rooms with me organizing as well. 

My arms and legs are beyond achy at this point from moving a bookcase a few times along with a dresser and desk. They have that "I carried too much weight" feeling inside them, but I know after a night of rest, I should be okay. Considering the exhaustion, I'm going to write a quite "Throwback Thursday" post for tonight.

Back in 2004, a bunch of us at church were talking about how cake is not always really exciting, but if the cake were made out of something like hashbrowns, there'd be smiles on our faces! My friend Teresa (I call her "Tough" because she, my cousin Danielle, and I used to be "Rough, Tough, and Dough") decided to actually surprise us one day with hashbrown cakes! They were for our birthdays (belated and early), and Danielle and I were extremely excited about it! Teresa even popped candles in those delicious McD's patties of goodness.

Since then, I have grown to really like cake as long as it has some sort of chocolate in it (ex. vanilla cake with chocolate frosting or chocolate cake or chocolate mousse), but there's something extra special about the one that my friend made for me. I will always remember the deliciousness fondly!

And no, we didn't eat all of those hashbrowns in one sitting!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Childhood Wish Kinda Fulfilled

Last Thursday, my parents, Howard, and I went out at night to get a few important things done. My car decided it was time to turn on its "Check Engine" light. It has done it in the past when it rained or snowed, but it never stayed on completely. I was actually asked to sub that day, but I'm glad I said no because I didn't feel comfortable driving the car. It felt as if I were pushing it a little when I stepped on the gas. After taking it to Sears with my dad, we decided to take it to a mechanic in Queens who has taken care of our cars in the past. It worked out because my parents needed to stop by my brother's place to take care of his fish while he and my sister-in-law were on vacation in Japan and Hong Kong.

When we entered their condo, I saw that they had two of the things I made for them on their fridge! The two fish in the fish bowl was made for their wedding a little over a year ago (click here for that post). I knew just how much my brother loved fish, so I knew exactly what card to make when they got married. 

I made the 3-D car for them this past Christmas and just stuck a printed out Amazon gift card rolled up in the middle. I saw the idea on A Paper Journey and pinned it to Pinterest because I loved the idea of just doing the mirror image of the cut and making something 3-D. The car that looks exactly like the Little Tikes car that we both admired as kids but never had was cut from the B is for Boy cartridge. Just like the author of the blog that was my inspiration, I too loved the Lite cartridge because of that cut! 

A few months before Christmas, my brother had sent out an email that had a list that was on BuzzFeed or some other site like that showcasing toys that came out when we were kids, and that was on the list. He commented to my mom that we never got it even though he wanted it so much, so I immediately knew I would eventually use this cut for him! It's things like this that make crafting extra fun!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day the Disney Way

Since my mom is enjoying her Easter break this week, we were able to run some errands together today. One of the stops that was a requirement in my eyes was the Disney Store because of their Earth Day promotion. Since there were a lot of people at the counter, we browsed a little. Well, let's be honest. I would've browsed even if the store was bare! And why wouldn't I when they have such adorable merchandise like this Buzz Lightyear iPhone case! The wings pop out and pop back in. I love how it doesn't exactly SCREAM Disney the same way a case with Mickey and Minnie would (not that I'm against those!), but it's only recognizable if you know the colors of Buzz. I'm sure most people would be able to tell what it is, but I still appreciate how it's still a bit abstract.

The cartoon Mickey and Minnie tumblers were on sale for $4.99, and I did consider getting one since I'm still holding on to some credit on a Disney gift card. But I decided not to mainly because the new Winnie the Pooh line of tumblers is also extremely adorable and maybe it would make more sense to add one of those to my collection when that drops in price. I wouldn't feel entirely guilty about it considering the two that I do have at home are just one color and I got them from students. I find that I drink a LOT more water when I use a tumbler because of the fact that the straw helps me sip and I don't worry about it getting knocked over.

The Winnie the Pooh mugs were also on clearance for $5.99. The little added piece to the handle makes them really cute though I feel that you'd have to be extra careful with it. 

I don't buy plushies because they take up space and my penguin Huey and my Build-a-Bear teddy bear Howie Wary Bear (both from hubs when we were dating/engaged) would get jealous, haha. On a typical trip to the Disney Store, I usually bypass this section and don't even give it a second look, but my mom took a peek and I noticed the bears! I think it'll be fun for our kiddies to have plushies that actually look more realistic. Not to say that there won't be an Oswald or Steamboat Mickey in their collection too ...

Well, the reason why we were at the store can be seen in that plastic bin on the floor behind the counter. For Earth Day, the Disney Store was offering an excellent trade: 5 plastic bags for a new reusable bag! Last year, there was a choice and that's how I got my Brave bag and my mom got the Cars one. This year, they just had the Bears one, but I was fine with that. Howard and I are looking forward to adding that movie to our collection.

When we finally got the counter and finished trading Vinylmation, I asked the manager a question knowing that it was a long shot. I explained to her her that I had told my friend in Wisconsin about the promotion but she didn't have a store near her, so I was wondering if I could get another. The manager who Howard and I have long conversations with about Vinylmation and Disney World said that it was fine as long as I had another set of 5 plastic bags, which I did! Yay!

I'm really excited that I was able to get an extra for my DIS friend Sarah. We got to know each other via Disboards and connected not only over our love for Disney but because we were both in education. Then we ended up being able to meet in WDW because we were there at the same time during our April break in 2010. We were in Disney World again the same time in 2012, and we randomly met up once more as she and her dad saw Howard and me on Toy Story Midway Mania while they were waiting to board! Sarah is also the one who really got me to see Animal Kingdom in a whole new light and was the one who got me interested in Disneynature in the first place, so I'm super happy to have been able to get one for her. I had messaged her a few days ago to let her know about it since I knew she was bummed having to return from her recent trip. I thought it was going to cheer her up, but she said she didn't have a store close by. 

She has definitely sent some pixie dust my way by getting the "Just Engaged" buttons I wanted so much from the parks, so I'm ecstatic that I too can send some her way!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Up Next? Butternut Squash!

Zucchini, asparagus, baby carrots, and green beans ... what was next on the list to be roasted? Butternut squash! 

I cheated with this in that I bought a bag of already cubed butternut squash from Target using a veggie coupon. I like that the Target mobile coupons make it so that I can try new items because I don't know that I would've wanted to pay full price for this veggie when I was trying it for the first time. All I did was toss it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and then stuck it in the oven for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees. I think it could have actually used a little bit more salt since it does have a sweet taste to it, but there wasn't a need for it. I'm not like the Top Chef judges who are totally against underseasoned food. If the food tastes like the food it is, I think, "Well, that is how God made it!" Haha. Though I didn't like it as much as I like zucchini and Brussels sprouts, it was definitely a tasty alternative to the other vegetables we've had in the past.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen ... YES!

Today was a great day. How great? SO great that after I got home from church, ate dinner, and took a shower, I went to bed and promptly fell asleep after Howard and I talked about what happened throughout the day. I'm awake now because when Howard climbed in bed and made sure I had enough blanket on me, I figured I should get up to dry my hair so that I could sleep better. With that being said, there's obviously no way I'm going to write a recap of Easter so that'll just have to wait until tomorrow!

The one thing I did want to share though was something that really made an impact on me. Our senior pastor said that one of the Easter traditions was how he would say, "He is risen" and the congregation would reply, "He is risen indeed!" He wanted to update it a little so when he said, "He is risen," he had all of us make a hand motion and say, "YES!!!" As we did it a few times as a big group with a mixture of those from the Chinese and English congregation, I just thought that it was a great reminder that we are to be THRILLED and JOYOUS that Jesus Christ was victorious over the grave and is alive! I know it's not like we forget what Easter means, but I admit that sometimes I forget how AMAZING it is and that we should be jumping up and down in excitement. Pretty awesome!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Non-Instagram Photos of the Week (Part III)

When I subbed this past Tuesday, one of the things on my schedule was lunch duty for the first lunch period. I didn't realize I was there on the day that the school was getting Wendy's as a special treat! The school had distributed notices with items that the kids could order, so I know many of them were looking forward to something different. Of course, smelling all the french fries and seeing all the chicken nuggets made me wish I had some too! I very rarely eat fast food now because of the cost and the fact that it's not really nutritious, but I also think that part of it is because I run errands by myself and I could very easily have fast food every single time if I wanted to. I guess that kind of takes away some of the desire for it since it's readily available if I so chose! I mean, let's be real too. It's not like I have access to a Chik-fil-A or a Bojangles! Anyway, after school, my mom and I had to stop by CVS to pick up our prescriptions. The CVS is right next to a Wendy's, so as we walked back to the car, I made a spur of the moment decision to get some! I bought 4 of the chicken sandwiches from the value menu. My mom and dad shared one, Matt had another, and then I brought the remaining two home for Howard and me. It was just enough to satisfy a Wendy's craving without going all out and being completely unhealthy.

I went to help proctor tests this past week, so I spent a lot of time on my phone during that time. I brought a book the first time I went to proctor, but I just couldn't get into it because I do like to watch the kids too without staring them down to make them nervous. When I read, I need to be fully focused on the book, so instead I was on Instagram, texting the hubs, and playing games. I don't take selfies because it's just not my thing, but I have taken a lot of pictures like this. I guess I just really like my flats because they were already featured in the first "Non-Instagram" post and in quite a few pictures before! 

I took this background shot to show Howard because I didn't quite know how to explain the OT room that has a tiny trampoline and a mini ball pit! I think it'd be fun to read a book while sitting in a ball pit, but then again, that might just be me!

On Wednesday, I went with my dad to Sears auto because the "check engine" light came on in my car. When I'm in these areas, I feel so lost so I'm so grateful that my dad helped me take care of the car situation. We ended up taking the car elsewhere because the quoted price was really high. The mechanic that has fixed my family's cars before was able to do the work for a little less and repaired more than what Sears was going to do. Maybe it'd be a different situation if my retired high school AP American history teacher still worked there.

In the past week, the water in the apartment was turned off a few times. Some of the days are planned while others aren't. Usually there's a typed note posted in the elevator and in the lobby days before the scheduled maintenance, but there was one day that it was very sudden. This was the note in the elevator. I had no words.

That's it for this update! I'm excited to sing in the choir during tomorrow's combined Easter service, and then there's the baptism in the afternoon. I'll see if I can grab some pics for a recap of the day's events.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Remembering Good Friday

Last night I was thinking about what I could possibly post today for Good Friday, but nothing really came to mind. When I was scrolling my Instagram feed this morning, I came across this beautiful calligraphy with Jesus' words that really sums up what the day represents. I met Jenna through my job at Gateway. She's the granddaughter of the pastor who founded the church and the school, the older sister of one of my former students, and now the wife of my former colleague. Of course, I really only knew of her, but now I see her every once in a while when I go sub. I didn't know that she had such an artistic side, and I absolutely love the lettering she does. I guess I never thought about how Bible verses or phrases could take on a whole new meaning when done in calligraphy.

Written by Jenna Flynn
I feel that this particular piece really just expresses what I can't put into words right now. It's part of Jesus' last words spoken as He was being crucified on the cross, and seeing it written like this just brings it that much nearer and dearer to my heart. Though we are joyous when we think about Easter Sunday as we celebrate Christ's resurrection, today is the day we think about the sacrifice, the pain, and the suffering. I admit that each year, Good Friday makes me the slightest bit uncomfortable because I think about what Jesus gave up for me and then I think about my own life and try to tell myself that I should be feeling these things on more than just one day of the year. What a beautiful reminder of the love and the obedience that we should strive to have. Thanks, Jenna, for posting this and letting me use it on my blog.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "Driving" to Florida in Florida

I don't think I've ever officially done a "Throwback Thursday" post on any social media outlet, but considering today is my cousin Christina's birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to post this picture! Happy birthday, Gina!

My older brother Jonathan, me, my cousin Brian, and my cousin Gina
This was obviously taken MANY years ago in the early 90's when my family and my Uncle Danny and his family went to Florida together. When in Orlando, there are definitely going to be trips to the Disney World parks, but when you're with cousins, there's even a lot of fun to be had at our home away from home for the week! I actually have very vivid memories of this moment at my parents' timeshare and not just because it was captured on camera. We were pretending to be in a vehicle, so that's why you see my brother with his hands up because he was driving. I had my arms up because I was supposedly relaxing during the ride. You can also see that behind Gina, we packed the trunk of our vehicle because those are our little pillows and Jon's blanket and my blue and yellow duffel bag. Looking at this photo really makes me long for the less complicated days of our childhood.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime for Hitler and Germany

The title of this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with the content, but as I was trying to think of something catchy that had to do with spring, I started singing "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers in my head (oh, memories of seeing Matthew Broderick on stage)! Now it's stuck in there. The bad thing about it is that I only know that one line ... haha.

Even if I did know the entire song, it wouldn't change the fact that today was clearly NOT a day for spring weather! When I woke up this morning, I saw on Facebook that people were talking about snow. Snow? What? It's April 16! I looked out the window and saw that the branches had a layer of white. I nudged Howard who was still in bed because he wasn't feeling well and took a sick day, and I think I really confused him. He must have thought I was delirious when I said there was snow outside.

I walked out of the apartment to go to work knowing I'd have to clean off the car, but I didn't at all anticipate how long it would take me. I think it took me longer today than it did the many times I've had to do it in the winter! What was left wasn't snow; it was just an icy layer. As you can see in the photo below, our parking spot is not in the sun at all, so there were actually other cars that weren't as bad.

While scraping the ice off, I had to stop a few times to take a break because it was tiring! It didn't help that I was wearing flats and getting a shower of freezing precipitation with every scrape. I knew I might have to drive a different car once I got to my parents' house, so I didn't want to wear boots. However, when I was starting to get extra cold, I was regretting that choice. Thankfully, I had put on my big winter jacket and my gloves were in the pockets.

I was happy to see the brightness of the sun throughout the rest of the day because I knew it would get rid of the residue I didn't completely remove from the car. But the sun we saw wasn't nearly as amazing as what could be seen in Florida! At one point during the day, there was apparently a halo around the sun! I've never seen a rainbow like that even in pictures until today. Though I'm sure the real life experience must have been jaw-dropping, I'm glad that a few of my friends posted their views on social media so I could share in the wonder.

Photography courtesy of Susie Katz (one of my DIS friends who now lives in Florida!)
I do remember that it has snowed in April before so it wasn't entirely uncommon, but let's hope that this really was the last of the snow until winter returns at the end of the year!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Post?!

What a sad day that I have finally gotten to a day where I don't have a blog post. A long day of being at work and then coming home to still not have water until after 7pm (they were working on the apartment building's plumbing from 8am-4pm, and it went over!) just made me feel ill. When the water finally returned, we had to let it run for a long time before it turned clear. Then I ate a bowl of oatmeal and promptly fell asleep. That was my Tuesday night. Thus, no blog post. Boo to that!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Organization Makes My Heart Sing!

I know my blog title is super corny, but I really have no other ideas considering it's currently 11:35pm and I'm writing this post much later than normal. I subbed for 5th grade today, and while I don't have the time or energy to write about the events of the day the way I did the last time I subbed for 2nd grade, I just had to post the following picture because it just really made me a happy camper this morning!

In the past, I've subbed for teachers who called out last minute because they were ill or their kid was suddenly sick or they had a family emergency. Sometimes that meant that there were minimal or no lesson plans at all, but as long as I have some time before the day starts or a prep in the morning, it's manageable. To some degree, I enjoy the freedom of teaching whichever subjects I prefer as long as someone points out what the class is up to in the textbook or workbook. That means I'd typically choose math and reading/language because those are the subjects I taught in middle school and just really love them the most. Depending on the grade, I also really enjoy science. 

However, that's not to say I don't absolutely LOVE it when a teacher is prepared for an absence ahead of time and leaves detailed plans! The 5th grade teacher left her regular lesson plan book that included the Aim, Do Now, and Lesson Steps; but she also included a Substitute Teacher binder that explained what to do for the lessons. In the binder, I also found classroom rules and procedures and which students could help if I needed it (ex. who could help set up the SmartBoard although I avoided that because I didn't want to deal with spending a lot of time figuring it out!). All the needed teacher's editions of the textbooks and worksheets were stacked in order of the day's schedule. The pages even had post-it notes on them so I didn't need to look for the correct page! While the kids were taking a test in the morning, I read through all the material, which was a lot faster than normal because of how organized everything was.

The sheet below was also part of the binder.

I think that that's such a great idea because I too absolutely hate not knowing what goes on in my classroom when I'm out (er, I mean what WENT on in my classroom as I no longer have my own classroom). I do my best to leave detailed notes even when it's not requested because I want the teacher to know as much about the day as possible because it was always reassuring for me. I actually had to get some sheets of looseleaf though because as I wrote to my former colleague, I'm rather neurotic and need a lot of space and lines to write about every period of the day. Since the kids had Spanish during 8th period, I was able to finish jotting down what happened with probably more detail than necessary, haha.

Other than a little bit of rowdiness immediately after returning from recess, the day went smoothly. I am, however, glad that after this week of subbing/proctoring/making up preps, I know I won't be called in next week during Easter break! It'll be nice being able to sleep in without setting an alarm.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

When We Said "I Do": Part III

The insane cost of weddings in general really made Howard and I dislike all the planning because we knew we weren't the kind of people who would care about the extras for the day. Did I have a dress? Yes. Did we have a church and a location for the reception? Yes. Did we have the pastor who was going to marry us and our close friends and family? Yes. What more did we need? Everything else was just unimportant details.

Well, the one thing that we knew was equally as important as the things above was the photographers. That's why we were so delighted to have chosen Dreamlite because Jon and Howie really helped make our wedding memorable and even relaxing for us. We trusted that they would capture the moments of our day including the candid and the posed. 

At our reception, we spent a lot of time going from table to table for group pictures. In all honesty, I think that was probably a pretty big waste of time looking at it now since we didn't even know everyone in them! I don't look at them at all now because they're just a little dull. Plus, seeing the pictures reminds me of how frustrated I was when it was happening. I felt that the time for our celebration was just slipping out of our hands as we had to wait for people to return to their table from the bathroom or deal with 5 other cameras and phones being taken out to be used on top of the photographer's camera. I just wanted to shout to everyone that we already paid our photographers to take the pictures, so let them do their job!

Amazingly, Howie never flinched at all when there were others competing for the shot. He just let it happen and was clearly a lot more calm about it than we were. I guess they must deal with a lot at their other weddings and events. While all the commotion was happening though, the following picture was captured:

A quick photographer's eye to catch a picture of a picture!

Despite not enjoying all the chaos, I actually really loved this photo of someone taking a table picture with an iPhone. I guess it just reminded me that everyone wanting their phone or camera to be used was clearly because they too wanted a photographic reminder of the day. I just really like the perspective of this.

Of course, if we were to do it all over again, I'd probably still get frustrated, haha.

(Read Part I and Part II of the series)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Vitamins, Guac, and Vinegar?

These particular items seem so random, but they were exactly what I intended to pick up when I last went to Target with my mom. Since I've been to work these past few days, we've been stopping at stores every once in a while because it helps us clear our heads and gives us more time to talk about what happened during the previous 7 hours when we were off doing our jobs! So even though these aren't major shopping trips, they're still things that I wanted to get since we pass by on the way home. It helps me avoid the long drive from the apartment to the shopping area.

I had been watching the clearance endcaps for the Centrum vitamins ever since I saw it on Instagram. The store never had it until just recently! There were a good amount available, so I decided to wait to see if the price would drop a bit lower. When I saw them at the 50% off price, I was still holding out for 70%. However, when I was at Target on Friday, there was only one more left on the shelf! I grabbed it at $4.98. I was disappointed that there weren't more than that, so my mom suggested I check the aisle where the other vitamins were. I didn't think I'd have any luck, but my mom was right! I spotted another one! I used manufacturer's coupons on each to save $2 so each set was only $2.98. Pretty good deal for vitamins, I think. The expiration date said June 2014, so I opened one today so Howard and I could take these while we pause on our vitamin gummies. I saw that only the smaller bottle has the 6/14 date, so there's no rush for the bigger one!

And yes, I like my vitamins to taste like candy, haha. It's mainly because I have an issue with swallowing pills. If I have to take my regular medication in pill form, I'm going to choose to avoid taking anything else if I can get it in the form of a gummy. The Centrum ones are similar to Skittles though they do have a vitamin aftertaste. We had tried it a few months ago as a free sample, so I knew that they were decent.

The Market Pantry vinegar was $1.07, but with the 5% Cartwheel offer and the $0.50 Target printable, it cost just $0.54 for each bottle. I read that an easy way to clean the microwave is to put some white vinegar in a bowl or cup (I have to check up on the details) and then microwave it for a certain amount of time. Then it'll make the inside easier to clean. Plus, we needed some white vinegar to clean our new humidifier. Pathmark had the same amount of Heinz white vinegar for $0.98, so I'm happy to know I got twice as much for the same price.

Just as an added note - the great thing about Cartwheel is that they have a feature where you can just scan the barcode of the item to check if there is an offer. I completely forgot about the Market Pantry CW offer when I saw it on Instagram, so I'm glad I take the time to scan my basket to save the extra $0.06!

Lastly, the Wholly Guacamole minis were the regular price of $5.19. I'm not someone who typically enjoys pre-made guacamole anymore ever since my parents started buying fresh avocados. The pre-made stuff just doesn't compare. However, I had requested a freebie coupon a while back and got it recently, so I wasn't going to pass up on it! Plus, the coupon was for anything up to $6.50, and the coupon autodeducted so I got $1.31 in overage that applied to the rest of the items in my cart.

I liked how my total was over $17 when the items were scanned, but then after coupons and Cartwheel, I paid under $6 for it especially when the trip included bottles of vitamins. Yay couponing!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Non-Instagram Photos of the Week (Part II)

My going to work makes my mom happy because that means we can carpool to school from her house. I also really love that I get to see her once or twice during the day depending on where I am substituting. During one of her rare breaks, she texted me to tell me she was in the teachers' lounge, so I took a break from my grading and chatted with her. She was eating a quick snack and offered some to me. I said, "Pineapple?" and then my mom remembered I don't eat it anymore because of my potential allergy (no, I still haven't gone to an allergist to confirm). I just thought it was funny because I still very much love pineapple and would be happy to eat it! The moment just deserved some documentation so I snapped a picture of the fruit.

I never really got into gardening before despite the fact that my grandmother was very into it as well as my mom. I guess I didn't see spending time outdoors with bugs and sun as something entertaining. However, now that I'm in charge of buying groceries for the household and see the insanely high price of fresh fruits and vegetables nowadays, a part of me wishes that we had the land to grow our own produce. Even if we just grew tomatoes, I'd be a very happy camper. When my mom and I were in Target this past week, I saw that a few gardening items were being clearances out. Aren't those trowels absolutely adorable? I'm definitely someone who is intrigued by bright colors and patterns, so those would totally be up my alley. Alas, apartment life doesn't allow any type of gardening so I'll just enjoy the picture and hope that maybe one day I'll be able to buy a trowel like that. In the meantime, I'm thankful that Howard's parents garden and often give us bags of tomatoes in the warmer months!

That's about it for tonight. I happened to write those two captions above when I was proctoring a test today, and I already uploaded and got the pictures in the post yesterday. Good thing because the sinus pressure I have right now is KILLING me. I had to use Chinese medicine and take Tylenol to take the edge off because I was in so much pain. Hopefully, it won't mess with my weekend! I need to get some rest before going to sub on Monday and then proctoring and making up preps on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Target, the New CVS

With the many trips I've been taking to Target lately, it has basically become my new CVS. I didn't realize that it was possible to coupon so well at this store mainly because I wasn't used to going to Target except on "special occasions." But once we finally got the second store, I started seeing that it'd be silly to pass up on some great deals! 

A few days ago, I decided to go for the Suave shampoo gift card deal. We really don't need shampoo at all, but this was actually a moneymaker. The only reason I was willing to do it was because I just got enough kicks on Shopkick to get a $5 gift card that I could roll. This entire transaction cost just $1.83 out of pocket, which includes tax, of course.

The Suave shampoo was on sale for $2.89, but I used a $1.50 manufacturer's coupon on each. When you buy 3, you get a $5 gift card. So the bundle only cost $4.17 to get the $5 gift card.

The Palmolive was on price cut for $2.73, but I used a $1.25 Target coupon on each (one was mobile, one was a paper copy that my mom had mailed to her house) along with the $0.50 manufacturer's coupon. I don't need dish detergent either, but I got excited about the fact that they have different scents. When you do dishes so often by hand, it's nice to have variety! I know that sounds silly, but an option of fragrance really makes it a little easier to deal with this chore. I grabbed these particular bottles because they had the little sponges attached to them. It's basically like a freebie!

I have to say that this was one of the easier couponing trips because it was clearly not complex. However, the cashier seemed to be distrusting of me and tried handing back the Palmolive coupons back to me after he scanned one of the Target ones. Before I could say that they were manufacturer's coupons, he must have realized it himself and pulled his hand back to scan them. He also checked my bags to see that I did indeed have enough products for each coupon. I completely understand that it's necessary because there are those who have been committing coupon fraud. All cashiers should be doing that, but I think it should just be part of how they check customers out and not make it seem as if I'm trying to steal from the store. Oh well, I guess there are always going to be dishonest people making it difficult for the rest of us.

For me, it's worth spending the $1.83 out of pocket to get the $5 gift card because I've been hitting Target more often for groceries these days. Couponing really needs to be a personal thing though as you have to ask yourself if it's worth the out of pocket cost. If I didn't have the Shopkick gift card, I would not have done this deal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No More Junior!

Most of the time, I coupon to spend as little out of pocket as possible. But once in a while, a great deal pops up for something that's clearly NOT a necessity. Well, let me clarify that statement. It might not be a necessity for YOU, but in this case, it was definitely a must have for me! 

I had seen on Free Stuff Finder (one of the freebies/coupon/deals sites I check) that there was a deal for Scattergories. The great part of the deal was that there's currently a $5 off coupon! You can find it on I just didn't see a need for the two games listed in the scenario, but then I remembered Target's price matching policy. I checked Amazon and saw that the game was $9.99. With the manufacturer's coupon, I could get it for $4.99!

I was beyond excited because Scattergories is one of my FAVORITE games that I just don't have. My older brother had Scattergories Junior when we were growing up, and I just adored playing it. I really love any type of word game because they're challenging and they make my competitive side come out! When I've been on our church's retreat's social committee, I'm the one who always comes up with words games. I even got many of my past students into one particular definition word game called Blurt that I picked up at Christmas Tree Shops for just a few dollars. I just love how it's so fitting for all ages too. The Junior version only has a few letter options on that alphabet block that you roll. The categories are also rather general. So it was about time I finally got the regular version!

When I went to Target with my mom after work today, I checked the games aisle and saw that there was ONE MORE GAME LEFT! It was sitting there just waiting for me. Hooray!

I brought it to Guest Services so that it could be price matched. The policy online states that the customer needs to be able to show it on his/her phone or have a printout, so I had the Amazon page ready. The employee glanced at it and then looked it up on her tablet to verify and rung me up right there using the $5 coupon too. I was and still am so thrilled! Sure, I do only spend pocket change on shampoo and dish detergent, but this is definitely worth the cost. Even so, I'm so glad I was able to get it so much cheaper!

I'm looking forward to playing this game. I don't know who else is into it as much as I am though other than some of my former students. The funny thing is that YEARS ago on the last day of school of either the 2008 or 2009 year, one of my former students that I nicknamed Apple Andrew (he gave me an apple on my first day of teaching, and I assigned nicknames to my kids so that my mom would remember who was who when I told her stories) brought Scattergories because they were allowed to bring in board games. A bunch of us played round after round of it, and I was enjoying myself so much!

Then a few years later, I was moving books from another classroom into my own room since I had received a big green cabinet for storage. I found the game at the top of a cabinet and knew it had been there for at least the past two years. It didn't even occur to me that it could have been Apple's game. I figured another teacher had left it there. Since no one was using it, I brought it back to my classroom just in case there was ever an opportunity to play it before a long holiday break. 

When Apple's younger sister Christina was in the 8th grade, I pulled it out to play on the last day of school. She exclaimed, "Wait, I think that's Andrew's!" I hadn't opened it earlier, so we checked the box and saw the names of his classmates on the sheets of paper because that's when it was last played! Haha, we laughed about it so hard because it was so funny that years later, Christina would be able to bring it home after we enjoyed playing round after round. 

It's been almost a year since that happened, and I'm definitely ready to play some more because it's been too long. Who's with me?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Angry Birds? Candy Crush? What Are Those?

I've mentioned money-saving and money-earning apps a few times in my couponing posts, but I just wanted to write about them again since I've actually had great success with them since then! The apps take up memory on my phone, but I'd much rather have those than the games that everyone gets addicted to. Why would I want Angry Birds and Candy Crush when I have Cartwheel and Shopkick? And let's not forget Instagram since it's the easiest way for me to keep updated on deals and clearance items!

Saved/Earned: I've claimed and redeemed $140 in iTunes gift cards. They were used to buy 5 seasons of Top Chef and the Veronica Mars movie. I also got a $10 Target e-gift card that I added to the Target app to use in the store. I'm waiting for another $15 iTunes gift card to be delivered as well as a $25 card to Target so that's $190! I also have enough Swagbucks as I'm writing this to claim another $65.
Click here for my referral link

This is by far the GREATEST way to earn some extra cash. Most of it is done online on my computer, but I do have the SwagbucksTV app on my phone, so I figured I could count it as an app. I wrote a long post about it about two months ago, so I won't really go into it much here, but I had to mention it again because I've been claiming gift cards as you can see above.

Saved/Earned: I recently cashed out for a $10 iTunes gift card and already redeemed it in my account. My current balance is now $0.75.
Click here for my referral link

There are some couponers who have purchased items because of Ibotta offers, but I pretty much only use it if it happens to match up with something I'm already buying from the supermarkets with coupons anyway. Even if you don't submit receipts all the time, I think it's worth having it for the times that they release offers for gallons of milk, eggs, any loaf of bread, or any cereal. Since Howard and I drink lactose-free milk, I can never get in on the milk offers since we don't buy the gallons, but that would also be a great way since they give you extra when you claim the milk plus two others. My more recent submissions were for Yoplait yogurt, Halos Mandarin oranges, Seventh Generation dish detergent, and Special K cereal.

Saved/Earned: I've claimed and used $20 in Target gift cards so far. Each $5 gift card required 1250 kicks, and after getting and using one today, I now have 352 kicks left.
Let me know if you'd like me to send you an invite!

I love that I can just accumulate kicks when I walk into stores. When I hit the mall, I park at JCPenney and get 50 kicks and then make sure to walk by Macy's (50 kicks), American Eagle (35 kicks), and aerie (35 kicks). Too bad Old Navy is no longer in the mall itself because that'd be more! Target is really where I get the most because I get kicks from walking in the store and then scanning items throughout the store. Even though I don't take the time to look for all the items anymore, I'll get a few especially when it's like 3 different types of ZzzQuil, which are right next to each other. It's gotten to the point where I actually had to wait days before I can get kicks from certain stores because I was running errands so often because there's a monthly cap or something. I also make sure I open the app every day and get my one daily kick and then scroll through the Editor's Books to get the kicks from those each day too. I'm looking forward to another Blue Friday or some other special occasion where each store was worth 200 kicks! There are specials on the weekends though so that makes errands on the weekend worth it if you're willing to put up with potential crowds.

Saved/Earned: I've saved $13.96 so far!
I don't think there's a referral link for this.

Though the majority of the percent savings on Cartwheel seem small at just 5% of 10%, the savings really add up especially since there are grocery offers as well. I did a rough estimation when I first started getting milk at Target and figured that in just one year, I'd save over $4 using the Cartwheel milk offer. That's $4 in our pockets instead of giving it to the store. It pays to check the app every day if you can because there are new ones added all the time that can be super high! I bought the Special K with a 50% off Cartwheel and manufacturer coupon and then submitted the receipts to Ibotta for boxes of cereal for just a few coins. My favorite recent addition is that there's an option to just scan the barcode of any item, and it'll let you know if there are any offers that match up with it. That makes it so much easier instead of searching for the brand name or the product. If possible, I scan all the items before making it to the front to pay just in case there's something I've missed even though my shopping trips are typically planned very well ahead of time. If you've been following my blog for a while, you've seen how I spend pocket change in my CVS hauls, so I might as well save the pocket change in my Target trips.

Saved/Earned: I haven't gotten any rewards yet, but I currently have 942 coins. Once I get 58 more coins, I can get a $5 Amazon gift card.
Let me know if you'd like me to send you an invite!

This is probably one of the easiest phone apps to use because all you do is take pictures of your receipts without having to search for offers to match up as is required with Ibotta and Checkout 51. The payout isn't as fast, but I really don't mind because I'm in for the long haul! I've gotten to the point where I actually take a picture of my receipts within a day or two. I've forgotten some in the past! Basically, you get coins for the receipts and then you get potential to spin for more coins. Now they've added the option to scan the barcodes of products once the receipts have been added.

Saved/Earned: I have earned $2.50 so far, but I can't request a check to be mailed to me unless I have $20. I recently downloaded this one.
I don't think there's a referral link for this.

This is similar to Ibotta, but the biggest difference is that there are new offers added each week so there's less time to claim an offer. However, the options seem to be a bit more fitting to what I would purchase including fresh fruit and vegetable offers. For example, this week there's a $0.25 cash back on apples. I also like that they have non-brand specific options like orange juice, milk, and bacon. I haven't claimed any of them, but it'll just be another app I keep on my phone and check each week to see if anything happens to match up.

Saved/Earned: I've earned $1.56 so far.
I don't think there's a referral link for this.

This is actually something I use online on my computer so don't mind that it's on this list! It's basically a way to load coupons to your store loyalty cards so you don't need to clip coupons. I don't necessarily think that that's the greatest thing because the coupons do not double, so I'd rather print out my own unless it's a coupon that I can't actually access to print. The thing I do like about it is that they have a healthy offer each week where you can get a percent back. The $1.56 that I have in my account right now is because I added the 20% of fresh asparagus deal to all my cards (I just typed in my card numbers into the website for CVS, Pathmark, and Stop & Shop). I think that alone is reason enough to sign up because that means I can get some money back when buying fresh fruit and vegetables. You can also shop online through SavingStar to get percent back. I know a lot of people use ebates or some other site like that, so it's worth looking into to get some cash back through any of these options.

I hope you've found some tips on good apps to download and gotten some motivation to save some money or earn some fun money!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pretend Shopping for Our Baby

Last Saturday, Howard and I were searching for a few more items to buy for his cousin's new baby. It was kind of the first time that we were out doing baby shopping together since I had picked up the other items when I was by myself running errands. While we perused the racks, there were a few things that we definitely liked and would have purchased if we were having our own kiddos, but we're not at that point of our lives just yet. My good Disney friend Kristen has said that it's very easy to get caught up in buying clothes before the baby comes (she was referring to when she was actually pregnant), but then the realization sets in that the baby will only wear a few items throughout the first few months since he/she will grow so quickly! Knowing that, we just find things and point them out to each other as things we'd totally purchase if I were pregnant right now.

I personally think it'd be funny to have a onesie with a shark on it because I'm afraid of sharks! It just makes it better for it to say "Let's Eat" because I imagine that'll just be very fitting for our family.

When I saw this little waffle shirt/thermal, I immediately had to show Howard. He's been wearing waffles for as long as I can remember, and he always said he was warm. A few years ago, I finally purchased some waffles from Old Navy too. When it's cold out, that's pretty much all I wear when we go out! Seeing a small version of our favorite shirt got me excited to know that we could be a waffle family.

Howard found this with the cutest penguin on it! I love love love penguins!

The little baby girl sweaters were super cute as well. I love the blue and white nautical look of this top. It'd be so cute paired with some leggings.

I have two pink robes that I wore all the time when I still lived at my parents' house. One was a thick, fuzzy one and the other was lighter. This would be just right for a daughter!

All of the items were from Old Navy. When we went to JCPenney, this little giraffe caught both of our gazes. I'm sure it's difficult having to pass up adorable plushies when there are little ones on the way. I think we'll have to be rather restrictive about stuffed animals since we know we'll want to pick up one or two from Disney World!

But like I said, this is all just pretend shopping because I'd much rather buy myself a few Old Navy tank tops because they're the only thing I wear in the summer. There was the $2 tank top sale that Saturday, but it didn't include the ribbed tanks that I wanted, so I left empty-handed. I actually had 5 of them in my hand and brought them to the front to purchase when I was told they weren't included. I've gotten my favorites for $2 in the past, so I thought they would be. Oh well. Maybe they'll have that sale soon, and if not, maybe I'll just claim a gift card so I don't have to spend any money out of pocket.

While I looked at and left without tanks, Howard looked at and left without a Go Pro when we were in Target. He wasn't considering buying it or anything, but he said that maybe he'd start claiming the $5 Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks (they're cheaper at 450 SB instead of the typical 500 for other $5 gift cards) to save up for this as it'd definitely be fun with the kiddos we don't yet have. 

I guess the day was just filled with a lot of "pretend" shopping! That's okay; when we're together, even pretend shopping is really fun!