Valentine’s Day Fiesta

I’m actually not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I feel it’s very commercialized. We weren’t really planning on doing anything but when my mom offered to babysit, we took advantage of it.

Tony took me out for sushi and he did buy me a gift. He bought me a very simple pair of diamond stud earrings. I really wanted a pair when we first got together, but then Ava came along and my priorities changed. It was very sweet that he remembered what I wanted. They are not flashy, which is perfect. Flashy is not me.

He then surprised me with a trip to Goodwill. Any time I get to go there without a toddler is awesome. Ava is my little BFF, but she’s a horrible Goodwill companion. Hopefully that will change one day.

I found some random things and then I spotted this!

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Gorgeous turquoise Fiestaware! I’m obsessed if you can’t tell. I have a few pieces and it’s always awesome to find pieces at thrift stores.

It wasn’t this beautiful when I found it. It had a really horrible 1980s mauve floral arrangement coming out the top. I took it out as soon as I got home and forgot to take a picture. It was bad.

I now have this beautiful teapot to add to my collection. It is missing its lid. Hopefully I’ll find one on eBay.

Best Valentine’s Day EVER!

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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.

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Ice Ice Baby: A Free Collage!

Free Walgreens Picture

Walgreen’s has a coupon code right now for a FREE collage.  It really is completely free.

I wanted to do something nice for Tony since he’s my awesome hardworking husband and all.  I took advantage of the free collage and put this together.  I thought it would be a fun way to remember when he did the Polar Plunge.  I totally took a chance with the “Ice Ice Baby”.  I knew he would either love it or hate it.  He loved it!  Win!  Eventually, we will hang this with the rest of our photos on our frame wall.

Hurry!  The coupon code (COLLAGE4FREE) ends on March 20, 2013.

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.

The Most Amazing Salad Dressing EVER!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that I am constantly pinning new food ideas.  Since my major diet change over a month ago, I have been searching high and low for great vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Over the past month, I have made a few batches of soup, most of which were horrible.  All things on Pinterest are not amazing.  That being said, I did find something amazing.  I think I have found the most amazing salad dressing ever.

Feast your eyes on this!  Zesty Avocado Cilantro Buttermilk Dressing.

Photo courtesy of SkinnyTaste.com

Photo courtesy of skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, leave them in if you want it spicy
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium hass avocado
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallion
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

I made a few changes based on what I had on hand.  I only had pickled jalapeno, so I tossed in 4 slices.  I didn’t have a scallion so I just left it out and I substituted lemon for the lime.  I also used my homemade taco seasoning instead of cumin, for something extra.  You toss it all in the blender and let it go.  It took less than two minutes to make.  It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  And the best part is that it doesn’t contain a bunch of preservatives, sugar, or mayo!

I made a taco salad for dinner and it was awesome.  This recipe is definitely going to become a staple around our house.

Have you found any amazing recipes on Pinterest?

Groceries on Clearance… And Not Just Boxed Stuff

As much as I miss Publix, I am growing to love Carrs. Carrs is very similar to Publix, minus my brother working in the bakery. Carrs does have one up on Publix, two actually. The Carrs near our house is also open 24 hours. Carrs puts perishable items on clearance when it nears its expiration or sell by date. We are talking 30% off fresh meat and seafood and 50% off dairy, packaged meats, and pretty much everything else in the store. Some stuff goes out of date that same day, but other stuff is still good for 3-4 days.

Let’s just say, I have no shame digging in the clearance section to see what I can find. On my last shopping trip, I found this giant 32 oz container of Nancy’s yogurt for $1.50. That’s the same price I would have paid for two 6 oz Yoplait containers.  We still have two days to finish it.  We have about 2/3 of it left.  I need to find a recipe that uses vanilla yogurt.

Does your local grocery store mark down fresh food?

How I Saved Over $100 On New Snow Boots

I knew that I would have to buy snow boots once I got to Alaska.  The only pair of boots I brought with me are a pair of tall Uggs.  The Uggs are great at keeping my feet warm, but not so great in the snow.   After a while, they would get all nasty from the snow.  I wanted to prevent that.

We went to REI (it’s an outdoor store) with the expectation of spending over $100 for a new pair of boots.  A good pair of snow boots are going to cost you.  The first place I looked was the women’s clearance rack.  They had about 20 pairs of boots on clearance, but unfortunately, they were all way too big or way too small.  So I looked at the full priced boots.  I picked out three pairs to try on, all ranging in price from $139.00-$159.00.  I liked them, but I was not in love with any of them.

Then I spotted them, on the girl’s clearance rack.  There were two pairs of boots on the girl’s clearance rack that looks big.  It wouldn’t hurt to try them on.  I had Tony grab me a pair and I tried them on.  SCORE!  They fit!  They are a girl’s size 6.  I normally wear a women’s size 8.  The girl’s boots actually fit me better than the other three pairs I tried on.

The best part of all was the price.  These boots were from last season, so they were marked down to $26.99!  I had to have them.  I wouldn’t have initially picked the pastel pink and purple; I probably would have chosen all black.  The color has definitely grown on me.  I love my new Sorel boots.  I love the price even better!

If you have a smaller size foot, don’t be afraid to check out the girl’s section.  You never know what you may find.

Have you found any amazing deals lately?

If I Only Had A Place To Put It

I suckered Tony into going to The Salvation Army thrift store this week.  The key to that was making him think the trip was for him.  He does need more work pants, so I told him we should look there.  I just like to see what kind of treasures I can find.

The first treasure I found, but I didn’t get a picture of, is one of those Fisher Price stacking ring baby toys.  Ava doesn’t have one and for 50 cents, she had to have it.  Happy Birthday Ava!  The next thing I found was this awesome rocking horse.  I was all about buying it, as was Ava, until I realized one of its rockers was broken.  So now it was a project… and it didn’t have a price.  So I found someone who worked there and found out it was $7.50.  After thinking about it, I decided that my threshold was $5.00, and they weren’t moving.  Boo.

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After perusing the store, I also found a wallet for 50 cents.  The wallet is for a project for Ava.  I also found a really cute winter hat for Ava for $1.  Tony was trying to coax me out of the store when I saw this:

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That is a 1934 Wurlitzer studio piano.  Now, I’m no Elton John, but I have high hopes for Ava.  I can’t lie, I can only play one song on the piano… and it’s from a beginner piano book.  Fail.  Tony on the other hand can play.  He carries all the musical talent in the family.  So hopefully Ava will pick up piano, drums, saxophone, or some other random assortment of instruments that Daddy plays.

I was in love.  It did need some restorations, but it was in good condition and had tons of character.  It could be all ours for the price of $200.  Don’t worry, we didn’t come home with a piano.  We don’t have room for it right now, but as soon as we buy a house, the piano hunt begins again.  So we parted ways, leaving The Salvation Army spending only $2.00, all on Ava (big shock).

Have you found any good finds lately?

DIY Toy Wallet

Ava’s new favorite thing to do is empty everything out of my wallet.  Since moving to Alaska, I have stopped carrying a purse, I just put my wallet in her diaper bag.  This puts my wallet right at her fingertips most of the time.  It’s not good when we are out somewhere and I look down, only to find the contents of my wallet littered across the floor.  That’s the fastest way to a stolen debit card.

You noticed here that I picked up a wallet at The Salvation Army thrift store for 50 cents.  Why can’t Ava have her own wallet, with her own stuff to lose?

The wallet I found is made from soft brown leather and has places for cards, a driver’s license, coins, and a checkbook.  I brought it home and cleaned it up a bit.  Tony and I then cleaned out our wallets.  I had some old insurance cards and random business cards.  Tony had a room key from a hotel and two Canadian $2 bills that his grandfather gave him when he was a kid.  He donated these to Ava’s wallet.  (Please note that Ava has never put paper money in her mouth.  I’m not sure why, but she doesn’t.  Watch your child to see if they put money in their mouth, or use fake money.)  I wanted her to have some coins for the zippered coin purse compartment, but putting actual coins in it would be a choking hazard.  We’re not trying to entice trips to the emergency room.  I found two plastic coins that go with Ava’s toy piggy bank.  They fit perfectly.

The last compartment that was empty was the space for her driver’s license.  I thought for a minute and then remembered that I had a few extra copies of her passport photo that the guy at the post office gave me.  I dug them out and cut one the exact size of my driver’s license.  Perfect fit!  Don’t you just love her passport photo?

She’s all set to go.  The only thing missing is a check book.  I’m still thinking about that one.  She loves playing with her new wallet.  She can pull everything out of it without Mommy worrying about things getting lost.

Do you have any ideas for the checkbook?

Knowing When To Bite The Bullet

I did it, I bit the bullet. I finally okayed Tony to order a new computer screen. We bought our computer back in February and not too long after, our wonderful cat, Moose, knocked it off the sofa. A cracked screen on a new computer is like a needle in my heart. A few weeks later, it was kicked off the sofa AGAIN, this time by Tony. Our poor computer.

Me not wanting to spend the money, I decided for the family that we would just live with the cracked screen. Until last week, I hardly noticed the cracks. I’m not really sure what caused it to get worse, but the cracks now have a blue/purple blob glow coming from them. Not good, I’m sure. It was to the point that I couldn’t even read what was on the screen if it was behind blob.20121112-223956.jpg

So there I was, not able to read the screen. I gave Tony the go ahead to find a new screen. He found one on eBay for $58.00 with free shipping. Not too bad.

It finally came in and he was able to install it in 10 minutes.  It’s a little weird seeing the entire screen without having to scroll to read.  The simple things in life.

Have you ever put something off that you shouldn’t have?

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