Sunday, July 31, 2011

School Supply Shopping Plan
Week of 7/31/11

There are a lot of school supply sales this week, so I've decided just to highlight the best deals.  Here's the scoop on this week's best deals:

  • Wexford 2-pocket folder with prongs $0.11 each (Limit 6)
  • High Trails or Anchorage Backpacks 2 for $9.98 
  • Papermate Highlighters 6-pack $0.39
  • Penway or Wexford filler paper 130-sheets $0.59
  • Work Essentials mini-stapler $0.69 (Limit 3, with coupon)
  • Sharpie markers 2-pack $0.69 (Limit 3, with coupon)
  • Penway cap erasers 15-pack or big eraser 2-pack $0.29 (Limit 6, with coupon)
  • Crayola washable markers $2 (get $2 off coupon to use on your next purchase)
  • Crayola colored pencils 12-pack $0.59
Fred Meyers
  • Crayola 24-pack crayons $0.25 each
  • Office Works 5-inch scissors 2 for $1
  • Sharpie Accent highlighters 2-pack $0.01 each (Limit 2, sale ends Wednesday)
  • #2 pencils 8-pack $0.01 each (Limit 2, sale ends Wednesday)
  • Staples 3x5 index cards $0.01 each (Limit 2, sale ends Wednesday)
  • Pentel RSVP pens, fine tip, black 5-pack FREE after easy rebate (Limit 1)
  • 12-inch wood ruler $0.01 each (Limit 2)
  • Dixon #2 pencils 10-pack $0.10 each (Limit 2)
  • OfficeMax Glue stick 4-packs $0.50 each (Limit 3)
  • Crayola crayons 4 for $1 (Must buy 4)
  • Crayola Supertips Washable Markers 20-count $2

Office Depot
  • Office Depot brand 2-pocket folders $0.05 each (Limit 10)
  • SchoolWorks kids scissors 2-pack $0.99
  • Elmers washable glue sticks 6-pack $1
  • Crayola crayons $0.24 each (Limit 4)
  • Crayola markers 10-pack $0.99 each (Limit 4)
  • Bic Round Stic pens 10-pack $0.50 each

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Use What You've Got...

Tonight I made dinner using only what I had on hand and it turned out great.  I love it when that happens.  I originally planned to make Chicken Tacos, but it was an 80+ degree day here, so I didn't want to have something bubbling on the stove for hours.  I decided to see what I could devise with only what we had on hand.  We were having friends over for dinner, so I knew it had to be something a little special.  Here's the menu I came up with:
  • Citrus-Basil Chicken
  • Cracked Wheat Salad with Grilled Veggies
  • Green Salad
  • Lemon Blueberry Trifle (for dessert)
The best part was that I concocted the whole thing myself, with nary a recipe in sight.  It was not too long ago that I didn't know how to cook anything, so I am always pleased when my little culinary experiments turn out great.  Here's the rough recipes for each dish.  I didn't think to take pictures, so you'll just have to use your imagination, or try it out yourself!

Citrus-Basil Chicken
1/2 c. olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
4 chicken breasts
1 T. Citrus-Basil rub (I used the fab rub from The Pampered Chef.  Any rub with citrus and basil (or other herb) would work well, too.)

Into a plastic bag, pour the olive oil and lime juice.  Put the chicken breasts in and sprinkle the rub on top.  Close the bag and massage the chicken to be sure the rub, oil, and lime juice combine and cover all the meat.  Let sit in fridge for 1-2 hours.
After the meat has marinaded, let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes, so that it has time to come to room temperature.  This will ensure more even cooking.  Grill until internal temp reaches about 165-170 degrees, then let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 4 servings

Cracked Wheat Salad with Grilled Veggies
One of my really good friends gave me zucchini fresh from her garden, so that's what I used here.  Any mix of grilled veggies would work, though.
1 c. water
1 c. cracked wheat
1/4 c. olive oil, plus about 2 tablespoons for grilling the veggies
1 lemon
1 onion
2 zucchini
kosher salt
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese

Put the cracked wheat in a heat-resistant bowl.  Boil the water and then pour it over the wheat.  Add 1/4 c. olive oil and stir.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
Juice the lemon into the bowl of wheat and stir.  Set aside.
Cut the onion and zucchini into 1/4 in. slices.  Brush each veggie slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Put on the grill for approx. 3-4 minutes on each side.  Veggies should be tender, but not mushy when done.  Dice the grilled veggies and add them to the cracked wheat.  Add the feta cheese and stir.  Chill for an hour or so before serving. Makes approx. 6 servings.

Lemon Blueberry Trifle
Yesterday, I made Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from here.  I had plenty of frosting left over, so I saved it and decided to use it here. 
24 Nilla wafers
2 c. Blueberries
Approx. 1 c. Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 T. milk
Whipped Cream (I used a can of Redi-whip, because that's what I had in the fridge!)

Mix the milk into the frosting to thin in out a bit. Then, in a glass or parfait dish, crumble one Nilla wafer.  Layer with 1/4 c. of blueberries, then add about 2 T. of the thinned frosting.  Add a layer of whipped cream.  Then crumble 2 nilla wafers on top, add another layer of blueberries, then frosting.  Crumble another Nilla wafer into the glass, then top with with whipped cream.  Garnish with a Nilla wafer and a few more blueberries.  Chill until you are ready to serve.  Makes 4 servings.

Shopping Results
Week of 7/24/11

This was a crazy week, so it's taken me awhile to get this up.  It was a decent week for school supply shopping, and I managed to make it to a couple places twice while waiting for my niece to finish camp.  Here's what I got:



  • 6 Sharpie markers at $0.39 each 
  • 3 pencil sharpeners at $0.39 each
  • 6 Sharpie highighter 2-packs at $0.69 each

  • 1 pencil box at $0.50
  • 2 reams of multipurpose paper at $0.50 each (after easy rebate)
  • 2 Avery insertable divider 5-packs at $0.50 each
  • 2 pencil sharpeners at $0.50 each
  • 1 ruler at $0.50 
  • 1 BIC Highlighter 5-pack FREE (after easy rebate)

  • Papermate pen 10-pack FREE (after $1.00 off Target coupon)
  • Sharpie marker 2-pack at $0.54 (after $1.00 off Target coupon)

 Office Depot


  •  20 2-pocket poly folders at $0.25 each
  • 10 Scholastic glue stick 4 packs at $0.50 each
  • 1 Fiskers 7-inch scissors at $2.00 each
  • 5 Tug pencil sharpeners at $0.01 each

Fred Meyer

  • 4 Elmers School glue at $0.25 each
  • 3 Crayola crayons 24-packs at $0.25 each
  • 3 Crayola colored pencil 12-packs at $0.89 each
  • 4 eraser 7-packs at $0.29 each 
  • 1 eraser caps 15-pack @ $0.15

So, this week I ended up with 57 items for $29.97.  That means to date I've purchased for 130 items for $47.57.  I have until August 11th to finish shopping, so I'll see what I can do in 12 days with $52.43.  How is your shopping going?  There seem to be some good sales coming next week, and I'll post those tomorrow.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Positive Peer Pressure

Alright, I am knee-deep in crafting baby shower decorations, and loving EVERY minute of it!  I'm learning how to do all sorts of new things with paper, and as soon as I come up for air, I will post my projects, I promise.  First, though, I'm taking a break for a slightly different crafty focus.

I am a happy daily reader of Young House Love.  If you've never checked them out, I recommend it.  They are witty, creative, and fun.  They've become DIY gurus, and I find them to be quite inspiring.  Plus, they're new parents, too, (can I say that after 14 months???) so it's good to see other people experiencing the same challenges, delights, and hilarities that we do.

Anywho, yesterday YHL (and 3 other fab blogs) issued a challenge-- a Pinterest challenge.  I am a sucker for a challenge, especially a creative one, so I am in.  I recently started a pinterest account, and I have pinned a few things I want to do for Claire's room, so this was good timing.  Rather than explain the details myself, check out the description on YHL here.  Basically, by next Tuesday, I need to create something that was inspired by one of my pinned items on Pinterest.  I immediately thought to do something for the baby shower, but that seemed kind of like cheating, seeing as the original 4 seem to be doing things for their own homes, so I'm gonna do something for Claire's room instead.  Next Tuesday, I'll post the results.  Wish me luck!

PS This week I FINALLY finished Claire's nursery.  I know, for shame, for shame.  The room had blank walls the first 13.75 months of C's life, but this week we finally got everything hung, and it looks complete.  Hurrah!  At least we got it done before she noticed right??  Details to come...

Monday, July 25, 2011

School Supply Shopping Plan
Week of 7/24/11

Oops, so I  missed the Sunday posting boat.  Sorry about that.  C got up way to early yesterday, so by her bedtime, I had no juice left and went to bed soon after.  But, a day late, here goes...

Allright, I've figured it out.  Staples, Office Depot, and OfficeMax have different Back to School savings offers in different areas of the country.  Sadly, I seem to live in an area that does not offer the best deals, but I'm gonna do the best I can.  If you live outside of the Seattle metro area, I encourage you to check your local weekly ads, because you may be able to find even better deals than I list here. 

Here's what I'm planning to purchase this week:

  • Papermate pens 10-pack $1.00 (with my coupon they'll be free)
  • Sharpie 2-pack $1.54 (with my coupon they'll be $0.54)
  • Pencil Boxes $0.50
Office Depot
  • Office Depot 2-pocket Poly Portfolios $0.25 each (Limit 10)
  • Tug 2-hole Manual Pencil Sharpeners $0.01 each (Limit 3)
  • Scholastic Glue Sticks 4-pack $0.50 each 
  • Avery 5-tab dividers $0.50 each (Limit 2)
  • Staples dual pencil sharpener $0.50 each (Limit 2)
  • Staples 8.5x11" multipurpose paper reams $0.50 each (Limit 2)
  • Staples pencil box $0.50 each (Limit 2)
  • Wescott 12" finger-grip ruler $0.50 each (Limit 2)
  • BIC Brite Liner grip yellow highlighters 5-pack $4.00 (FREE after easy rebate, Limit 1)
  • Crayola colored pencils $0.99 each
  • Sharpie markers $0.39 each (Limit 3, with in ad coupon)
  • Sharpie highlighters 2-pack $0.69 each (Limit 3, with in ad coupon)
Fred Meyers
  • Crayola Crayons $0.25 each (Limit 4)
  • Mead Composition Books $0.25 each (Limit 4)
  • Elmers School Glue $0.25 each (Limit 4)
  • Crayola colored pencils $0.89 each (Limit 3)
  • Office Works erasers 7-pack $0.29 each (Limit 4)

So, there you go.  Happy Shopping!

P.S. If this is the first school supply post of mine that you've read, click here to read about my personal school supply donation challenge.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A confession

OK, I admit it, I am scared of Home Depot.   I've watched enough HGTV, and read enough DIY blogs, to know what goes on in there, but I have no idea how they do it.  Call me more of a DIY dreamer than doer. In fact, my lifetime accumulated time spent in a home improvement store would probably only add up to a single workday, and that includes the times I was forced to go there as a kid with my dad.

So the other day, when we needed a picture-hanging kit, I told Patrick I was headed out to Target to get one.   He suggested Home Depot, and I said, nah, I'll just go to Target.  Now, we live way closer to Home Depot than to Target.  It's right down the street.  As in, I could walk there in about the time it would take me to get to Target.  Almost.  But I did not want to go to Home Depot, because like I said, it scares me.  Patrick was insistent, and finally I had to admit that I was too intimidated to go there.  And then I didn't go, and the pictures remained on the floor to be hung another day.

Why am I writing this?  Well, for one, it helps to admit it.  Especially because I believe I'm not the only one who feels this way.  (Right???) And for two, I have decided to do something about it, and writing it here feels like more of a commitment.  Apparently Home Depot offers classes every Saturday where they teach you how to do something very handy and DIY-ish.  This month they are teaching you how to Interior Paint (one of the few DIY things I do know how to do), Hurricane Proctection (not an issue for me), and How to Install a Toilet-- BINGO! That is something Patrick and I have talked about doing, and now I can learn how from someone who knows what they're talking about.  Color me excited.  Or at least eager.  (Side note: Patrick says he already knows how to do this, and I am certain he does.  But I'm tired of handing off the DIY reins to him all the time, so I'm going to learn how to do it myself.  Go me.)

So there you have it.  I'm going to conquer my secret DIY fear.  Anyone else find home improvement stores intimidating?  How bout any projects you plan to tackle but don't yet know how? Or are you a DIY genius?  Wanna share your knowledge with a novice like me? :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

School Supply Shopping Update

Well, this week wasn't super fruitful, but I did manage to find some good deals.  FYI, apparently, in other parts of the country Staples and Office Depot have some pretty good sales right now, but at least here in the Seattle Metro area, no dice.

By the way, for anyone collecting supplies for HopeLink, this year they are specifically looking for the following items:
  • 2-inch binders
  • filler paper
  • spiral notebooks
  • folders
  • colored pencils
  • markers
  • glue
  • glue sticks
  • scissors
  • rulers
  • backpacks

I got two packs of BIC pens for $1, but since I had a coupon for $1 off of 2, they were free to me!
(Target was out of the magic tape, and I forgot my coupons for the Sharpies and Papermate pens, so I did not purchase those items.)

I got the following items at Walgreens:
  • 5 Papermate mechanical pencil 5-packs, $0.19 each
  • 5 Penway pencil 10-packs, $0.19 each
  • 6 Penway 2-pocket folders, $0.09 each

Fred Meyers
I bought quite a bit here:
  • 10 Spiral Notebooks 70-sheets, for $0.10 each
  • 4 Crayola crayons 24-packs for $0.25 each
  • 4 Elmers School Glues for $0.25 each
  • 1 Crayola colored pencils 12-pack for $0.99 each
  • 4 student-sized scissors for $0.50 each
So, for a total of $8.53 I was able to get 41 items this week.  That brings my grand total so far to $17.60 for 73 items.  Remember, I challenged myself to see how many needed school supply items I can purchase for $100.  That means I have $82.40 and about 4 weeks to go.  How is your supply shopping going?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

School Supply Shopping Plan
Week of 7/17/11

Hello everybody!  If you are joining me on my quest to donate as many school supplies as possible, or perhaps are school-supply shopping for your own kiddos, here's my list of the best school supply deals this week.  This is the plan I'll be using to shop.  I'll post later what I was able to get.


This week Staples doesn't have any doorbusting deals.  However, they do have one deal I will pick up when I am in the area:
  • 1 ream of Hammermill Copy Plus Paper (20 lb., 92 US) for $1 are rebate.  Limit 2

Office Max

Office Max has a couple of good deals this week.  I'll be looking for:
  • Office Max Filler Paper 100-sheets $0.01. Limit 2
  • Just Basics Ballpoint Pens 10-pack $0.50. Limit 3


Target has some great deals, especially if you are willing to print a couple of coupons.  For details on the coupons, see here.  I printed Target coupons for Papermate, Sharpie, Magic Tape, and Bic products.
  • Bic Crystal Pens 10-pack $0.50 (free after coupons when you buy 2)
  • Magic Tape $0.50 (free after coupon)
  • Papermate pens 10-pack.  These were $1.00 last week (not on sale), so with the $1 off coupon I printed, these should be free
  • Sharpie pens.  I don't know the price of these, but with a $1 off coupon, they should be very affordable.


Walgreens has some decent deals this week.  Here's what I'll be buying:
  • Penway 2-pocket folders $0.09. Limit 4
  • Splash mini-highlighters $0.09.  Limit 4
  • Penway pencils 10-pack $0.19
  • Papermate mechanical pencils 5-pack $0.19
  • Penway or Wexford 1-in. Poly binders $0.49

Fred Meyers

Fred Meyers had one deal I am interested in this week:
  • Spiral notebooks (70 sheets) 10 for $1. Limit 10.

There are other school supply sales at these locations, and probably sales elsewhere that I don't know about.  I'll be checking for updates through out the week.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Little Craftiness

We interrupt this dining room makeover for a breaking craft deadline...

No, we haven't finished redoing the dining room yet, but it's coming along.  I had a crafting deadline approaching though, so I had to stop the redoing and get creative.  I said "had to" as if that was a problem for me.  Ha!  No, I was super pumped to get my craft on.  It has been way too long since I have had easy access to my craft stuff which means I have hardly crafted in months.

A couple girlfriends and I are throwing a baby shower for one of our friends, and I volunteered to make the invitations.  During our planning we discussed the color and decor scheme for the nursery so I would have an idea of where to start.  The glowing mom-to-be is using this adorable bedding set from Lambs & Ivy: