I’ve been away…

I’m sorry I’ve been away. A lot has happened in the past few months. Life has been scary, exciting, and blissfully happy lately.

You may recall me saying that I wasn’t sure what to do with this little piece of me. One morning I woke up and didn’t feel like writing anymore. I didn’t see the point.

After I converted the blog back to a WordPress-hosted blog, I didn’t really see the point. Why was I putting myself out there? Why was I letting this stress me out? Why do I care? I didn’t want to do it anymore, so I stopped.

I feel like I’ve gotten away from what I wanted this to be. I want readers, but I don’t want to write about things just to gain them. I really don’t care about being “Pinterest perfect” because honestly, it’s too much work. My time is more valuable than that.

So I decided to take a break. I was unsure if I’d come back or if the blog would just one day disappear.

Then life happened.

I was unhappy in Texas. As much as I thought I would love it, I didn’t. Tony could tell I was unhappy. We discussed moving back to Florida. We decided that he would start looking for a job there and to put it in God’s hands.

Two weeks later, Tony was laid off. It was sudden and unexpected. He was anticipating a promotion, not to be let go. This horrible blow to our family was actually a blessing. We decided to sell everything (again) and drive back to Florida. We prayed, a lot.

We moved back to Florida just before Thanksgiving. It was so wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with my family. We all crammed into my sister’ college apartment where I cooked an amazing meal from scratch. It was amazing.

So here we are. I feel happy where we’re at and excited for our future. We are home. That is something you can never replace. We are home with our family, our church, and our friends.

I think I’m ready to pick this back up again, but maybe in a slightly different way. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

How I’m Saving on School Supplies: Part 2

The Scacchi House: How I'm Saving Money on School Supplies

I had originally intended on updating this every Monday until school started.  Such is life, things changed.  Things changed drastically.  While attempting to enroll our nephew in school, my sister-in-law decided to fly him home.

So here I am, stuck with a bunch of school supplies that I don’t really need.  What’s a girl to do?  I’m very glad that I hadn’t even spent $10.00 on everything yet, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal.  I sorted through everything and made three piles.

The first pile was for things I would keep.  I kept things like the scissors, black pens, pencils, colored pencils, one of the pencil sharpeners, glue, ruler, and the dry erase markers.

The second pile was for everything that I would return.  I returned the markers, one of the pencil sharpeners (we don’t need two), mechanical pencils, and the erasers.  I didn’t see us using any of these things, so back to Target they went.  I got $3.28 back.

The third pile was for the things we just won’t use, but were too good of a deal to return.  I think I will take all of these items to our local elementary school.  There are always children that don’t have any/enough school supplies. This pile consists of the folders with brads, highlighters, pencils, and a pack of red pens.  As a former teacher, I know the importance of the red pen.

So we are back down to just one child.  I did learn a few things about buying school supplies:

  1. I despise Office Max and Staples for their $5 minimum to buy their penny items.
  2. Office Depot doesn’t have a minimum purchase on any of their items.  And if you are super friendly, they will probably let you buy more than the limit too!
  3. No matter how good Wal-Mart’s deals are, I’m still not venturing in.  Saving an extra $.05 is not worth my sanity.
  4. Watch your sale flyers!
  5. Don’t be afraid to return items when you find them cheaper.  Save your receipts!

How did your school supply shopping go this year?

nopin

How I’m Saving on School Supplies

The Scacchi House: How I'm Saving Money on School Supplies

Happy Monday!

I mentioned here that our nephew Rylan has come to live with us for the school year.  This is my first experience enrolling a child in public school.  Along with public school comes a long list of school supplies.  Many of the school districts in our area offer a “one-stop-shop” option.  For $50-$80, the school will provide your child all the supplies your child will need for the year.  I personally think this is a rip off.

So, in the attempt to save a few bucks on school supplies, I’ve been watching the sale ads like crazy.  I also made this handy spreadsheet to show you what I’ve found so far.  Oh, and Rylan is going to be in the 4th grade, if you were wondering.

The Scacchi House: Saving on School Supplies

*Mechanical pencils were not on the official school list.  Rylan asked for mechanical pencils, so we compromised and bought one pack along with regular no. 2 pencils.

You see that I still have a few things to buy.  I’m about half way finished and I’ve only spent $8.61.  My goal is to come in under $30.00 for everything.  If you are wondering about a backpack, Tony’s dad offered to pick that up for us, so I didn’t include that in the list.

We don’t do “new school clothes”.  When Rylan needs something, we just pick it up as we go.  I’m not buying into all the hype that kids need an entire new wardrobe to start the school year.

I’m also not going to shy away from returning anything I find less expensive elsewhere.  We still have two weeks until school starts, so I will keep you updated.

nopin

 

Living in a Small Space

I’m in love with small (and tiny) houses.

My obsession began while living in Alaska.  Housing is very expensive in Alaska.  We definitely had sticker shock coming from Florida when we arrived in Anchorage.  It was definitely worth it though.

I haven’t shared much about our apartment in Alaska, but I will now.  The space was small for a family of three.  We lived in about 750 square feet.  This may not seem that tiny but it was a studio (sort of).  Let me diagram it for you.

The Scacchi House: Our Alaska Apartment

Our living, dining, and bedroom space were all shared.  We did have a separate kitchen and bathroom.  It was comfortable.  I didn’t have many complaints about our small living space.  Ava is still young, so she doesn’t take up much space.  I think my biggest complaint was that it was difficult to watch TV after Ava was asleep.

We talked about building or buying a house, which made the cost of living a little more reasonable.  After a lot of research, I found out that very small (under 600 sq ft) houses are fairly common in Alaska, especially once you get out of Anchorage.  Add a composting toilet and a wood stove and you’re a regular homesteader.  Okay, maybe not.

I researched all sorts of “alternative housing”.  You can check out a few of my Pinterest boards to see more inspiration.  We considered many forms of small housing.  Traditional stick built, conex (shipping containers), cob (earth), and even modular homes were discussed.  There are more options out there than you could ever believe.

Here’s a plan I sketched up (using floorplanner.com) for a house using two 40-foot shipping containers.  It has just enough space for our small family at 670 square feet.

The Scacchi House: Shipping Container House

But then we were transferred.  Here we are about to move into an 1,800 square foot townhouse.  I’m overwhelmed to say the least.  I’ve been so used to living in small spaces, this new house seems like too much.  Maybe everything really is bigger in Texas.  I’m sure we’ll get used to it too.

My dream would be to one day have a tiny cabin (under 500 sq ft) somewhere.  A place where our kids could play in the woods and catch fireflies.  Someday!  Who knows, may we will have a little vacation cabin in Alaska.

How do you feel about small houses?  Could you ever live small?

nopin

Finally… Some Space

I’m sitting here on our new sofa, that I got free, by the way. I’m patiently waiting for the 15th to roll around. Why the 15th you ask? We’re moving!

Don’t worry, we’re not moving 4,300 miles like last time. We’re moving to a townhouse not far from here.

For the past 4 months, we’ve been staying with Tony’s mom and her family. It’s been wonderful and all, but it’s time to go!

We’ve gone back and forth on whether we should buy or rent. Ultimately, we decided to rent for the next year and see where life takes us. Who knows, maybe Cabo? You never know. It’s easier to pack up and go when you don’t own a house.

Part of me is bummed about not buying, ya know, being all DIY. I want to paint, change light fixtures, and maybe wallpaper. (Yes, wallpaper!) I’ve decided to make the best of it and do what I can with what I have. There are still plenty of DIY projects I can tackle in a rental house.

So about our rental! It’s 1,800+ square feet, which is gigantic to us. After living in super small spaces for the last 10 months, an entire house is a little overwhelming. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. Our oldest nephew Rylan has come to stay with us for the school year (he’s 9, BTW), so it’s just the right size. I am very much looking forward to having our own bathroom, with a tub that’s not filled with squeaky toys. Yay!

Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting pictures as soon as we move in. Well, as soon as they hook up the Internet.

We are super excited to share our new home and adventures with you!

nopin

How do you read your blogs? Part 2

I talked about my blog reading issue a while back in part 1.  I will be completely honest, I’ve been a complete slacker when it comes to reading my favorite blogs.  This makes me sad.  When I worked, it was the one thing that got me through the day.  I still keep up with a few blogs that I either a) follow on Facebook or b) subscribe via email.  This still leaves about 75% of my favorite blogs unread.  =(

I’ve been very busy today and I decided to put “find a new blog reader” on my to-do list.  After a bit of research (a whopping 10 minutes), I decided on Bloglovin.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, you can follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Butterflies and Best Friends

This trip is flying by. A month might seem like a long time for a vacation, but it really isn’t. With only 10 days left, I feel like I have so many more people I want to see and so much more to do.

We met up with my friend Brittany in Gainesville. We took Ava to the Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida (which is also where Tony went to college). I had been before, but it had been so long. I think I was in high school last time.

Butterfly Rainforest Museum of Natural History

The main attraction for us was the Butterfly Rainforest that they have there. I knew Ava would be all about it!

Butterfly Rainforest

Ava had a blast! She ran around, pointing at all the butterflies. Brittany and I spent some time identifying some of the plants. We decided on a few we needed to have in our gardens.

Tropical Plant

The Butterfly Rainforest at the Museum of Natural History is a giant screened in room filled with lush tropical vegetation, trees, flowers, waterfalls and ponds, a few very interesting birds, and HUNDREDS of butterflies. The butterflies are all around you. One may even land on you. It really offers you the opportunity to get an up close look at them.

Butterfly on Flower

We took a break from the butterflies and checked out the rest of the museum. Although I had been there before, I had never taken the time to see the other exhibits.

Baby on Slide

Ava found the children’s discovery room right away. It had a slide. Guess what we did for about 20 minutes? We also found this contraption. It’s a sort of wind tunnel. The kids can put different objects in the tube and they fly up. I think we might need one for our playroom. Maybe a possible DIY?

Wind Tube

There were a few other exhibits about the history of Florida and the environment. Nothing I haven’t seen before. There was one exhibit that really intrigued me.

They had a set up with photos from all of the natural springs around North Central Florida. Each spring had a collage of photos, some old, some new. The purpose of this display is to show how much the springs have changed and how some are closed down. The springs are being polluted. The worst part is that some of the worst changes occurred in the pictures taken in the early 1990s to the present. The springs have changed significantly in my lifetime. I’m not old! It breaks my heart that Ava may never get to swim in and enjoy these natural wonders. If you are near Gainesville, Florida, check out this exhibit. It’s free. If you can’t make it there, do a little research. Sulphur Springs in Tampa, Florida is not just a slummy neighborhood, there’s actually a spring there. Stop and think before you pour things into our water supply.

Toddler at Butterfly Rainforest

Have you been to the Butterfly Rainforest? Which is your favorite spring in Florida to enjoy during the summer?

Let’s Go Sledding!

The Scacchi Family

We went sledding on Monday afternoon at one of the wonderful parks in Anchorage.  This park has one of the best sledding hills in the city.  You can sort of see the hill behind the trees in the background.  This hill does not mess around.  It was super fun!  Don’t you love my $5 Columbia jacket from The Salvation Army?

Family in Alaska

It was a little chilly out, about 25 degrees.  After I ran back up the hill a few times, I was definitely not cold.  Ava always has a blast when we go outside.  (Trust me, she’s not miserable and cold like she looks in all the pictures.)

View from Anchorage, Alaska

This park has gorgeous views of the inlet and Sleeping Lady (the mountain, not an actual woman).

Alaska Mountains

Sledding in Alaska

We had a blast spending time as a family.  What outdoor activities have you done this winter?

Made in the USA: Reasons to Love The Pampered Chef

Made in the USAI have always loved The Pampered Chef and recently I found one more reason to love them.  After arriving in Alaska, my loaf pan broke.  This is the pan I bake all of my bread in.  The entire end broke off.  I was a little more than bummed.  Then, my sister (she’s in high school!) informed me that it has a 3 year warranty. What?!

Yes!  Your Pampered Chef stoneware has a 3 year warranty.  They will replace your stoneware if it breaks within 3 years.  This information made my day!

So how do you get a replacement if your stoneware breaks?

To get a replacement, all you need to do is find your sales receipt (if you still have it) and give The Pampered Chef a call.  I did not have my receipt, but they were able to help me look it up.

This part is important!  Next, you need to mail The Pampered Chef a chunk of your broken stoneware.  If you don’t mail it in, you will be patiently waiting for a package that will never arrive.  I may or may not know from experience. =)  The woman who took my replacement order forgot to tell me that I needed to mail a chunk in.

After The Pampered Chef receives your chunk (at least the size of your palm), they will ship you your replacement pan!  Here is my new pan (and my broken one)!

Get A Replacement Pampered Chef Pan

Oh, and I forgot to mention, these pans are made in the USA!  That’s just icing on the cake.  (hehe) So spoil yourself and spend the few extra dollars on the real thing.  You get what you pay for.  And you get delicious results like this!

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread

The Pampered Chef has not offered me any compensation for this post.  I am just a loyal customer.

How do you read your blogs?

When I worked, I regularly read 50+ blogs a day.  It was really easy to do since I could have them feed into Outlook at my office.  When a new post would come in, I could just click on over to read it.

Now that I’m home, I find it difficult to keep up with all of my blogs (a first world problem, I know).  I do have Outlook set up on my computer, but I usually read my email on my phone and rarely even open Outlook.

So my question is, how do you read your blogs?  Do you subscribe via email?  Do you use some sort of feed service?  Fill me in!