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Monday, August 31, 2015

It's the Changing of Seasons!

Targets are in full swing swapping seasons. Summer is over for the retail world. So now is the time to buy your gardening tools, plant foods, weed killer and grills for next year.
It's all going half off or more depending on your store.
In its place, Halloween aisles are being built.
The Back to School aisles are going to be disappearing as the grand release of Star Wars merchandise is set up for September 4th.
Check with you store as some will have a grand event at midnight. Fat tire bikes, costumes, toys and I even came across an R2-D2 serving bowl....
Even the soups have a Cartwheel offer! 
They will have their own showcase going on. The photo op section has caught my attention as well. 
And watch your high value Cartwheel  offers. I had to get sausage for dinner tonight and came across this beauty. 
These are normally $3.49 each. 
Lastly, check your emails. Lots of people are receiving their new Target redcards. They have a security chip to help you defend from card theft.
My bank is also switching to this method. If you haven't gotten yours yet, you should be soon. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hammermill laser printer paper review

I received some Hammermill laser print office paper via Shoplet.com.
Hammermill laser paper is definitely different than the normal Target brand printer paper we get. It's softer like silk and shows brighter when held in comparison.
The print jobs I tested it with were brighter. It also seemed quicker and smoother. 

As a bonus, they sent a stuffed zebra toy that my daughter has taken prisoner and refuses to return. I also have this lovely coffee mug that changes scenery when it heats up. Sharks anyone? I love it! I had to hide it away as I refuse to share it with my roommate. 

So don't hesitate to check out the amazing variety of office supplies that Shoplet has to offer. They also have cleaning supplies, medical supplies, and office furniture

Breakfast is the most important meal?

I hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My children see this repeated on their tv shows quite often. So why is this considered a "breakfast" by government standards?

Schools included in the program get to provide free breakfasts to children. According to the school my boys are in, you get 3-4 free items on your plate. In order for them to get this free plate, they have to have a fruit or juice with it. Anything past that, you pay for. So if I wanted to add cereal and milk, its at least .50 extra. Not a lot, but for a 5 year old, how do you think they handle the money? Or have to memorize a pin to access their account. Fortunately for my kids, they are light eaters in the morning after waking up. But by 9-ish, they are ready to start eating. At school, they won't eat lunch until 11:15. 
For each child that participates, the government reimburses the school so much money. 
My kids are in Kindergarten. I can see this being okay for their age group. Especially as so many kids seem to be obese even at that age. But what about the older kids? So far as I could tell, this amount was for everyone. Do they hold all ages to the same amounts of food? If that's the case, what is lunch like? Thankfully, I make my children's lunches. But still. And then, what if they are super active? They will burn through this meal like a comet entering the atmosphere. So who sets the limits? Who decides how much is enough? I didn't see anything that explained what I wanted to know on the fact sheet posted to the government website that I linked above. I will make sure that I continue packing hefty snacks and lunches for my boys. They have a very high metabolism like me. 
The lunch program looks to be the same only they provide just a slight bit more than breakfast. But there is the problem of whether a school is submitting fraudulent applications to boost their funding. Or if the school your child is in is following the guidelines set out by Michelle Obama, chances are good your child will opt out of eating anything at all.
Why? Well, look at the things approved for the menu. Are they things you make at home or eat on a regular basis? Is your child a picky eater? If a kid doesn't like something, they won't eat. Not until they are starving and they have absolutely no choice. I approve of someone taking action in making things healthier and trying to help in the fight against child obesity. What I don't approve of is going to such lengths that the above lunches are considered "enough" to satisfy a child old enough to tweet it. 

As parents, its our responsibility to make sure that our children are taken care of. We might drop them into the hands of others for 7+ hours while we make a living or otherwise handle life, but at the end of the day its our job to care for them. We are to provide them the best in life. So make sure your child is eating the appropriate amount. The government may set standards, but those standards don't fit the needs of every individual. We know our kids. We know their needs. Let's keep them on the healthy living track that we know they need. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Getting into the school swing

Its definitely not easy. I'm on day two and the best thing I have going is getting their lunches packed neatly and fully.
I check their backpack and ask questions about how their day went. They are liking it, but it seems we need to work on our routines. They begged to have school breakfast this morning, but after dropping them off they didn't eat. Either the adults didn't understand or my boys were too shy to ask for what they needed help with. So tomorrow I will walk them into school and show them how to get food in the morning. Then there is the problem of them coming home and wanting to go straight to bed. Not that I can blame them, but when they do that they don't want to sleep on time at night. 

I'm glad they enjoy going to class. We even ran into one of my sons classmates at HEB today. She recognized him and tried to call out to him but he was grouchy because I wouldn't let him sit or sleep. Its going to take dedication. I'm going to have to be creative too. We have to get a schedule and activities figured out to make this work. 
But over all I'm making the transition from days like this... 
To days of this... 
And learning how to save money on lunch box foods. I found out that a box like this... 
Is about even in price with 7 boxes of this... 
And I can pack them in reusable sacks like SnackTaxi bags. 
While that's going on, I'm also going job searching and will soon be back at work. It's a trial, but we will make this school year awesome! 

After school snacking made easy

I spent the day getting stuff done. But the kids are done with school and in the midst of being overwhelmed, I have to get a snack ready so I'm not hearing "Mom, I'm hungry" every 5 minutes before I make dinner. 
Today's choice is cupcake pizzas. It's quick and tasty. 
You will need: 
1 can of pillsbury biscuit dough
1 pack of pepperoni 
Shredded cheese
Pizza or even spaghetti sauce

Remember, you're making pizza. You can add whatever you like. 

Pop open your dough. Knead it out in your hands until you have a flat round piece. Lay it out in your muffin pan.
Once each on is flattened and laid out, it's time to put sauce in each one. Spread just enough to cover the muffin circle like you were making a mini pizza.
Add your toppings and put them in the oven to bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until the dough is a golden brown. Even if you don't want them in cupcake shape, you can flatten the dough and make mini pizzas. My kids preferred the pizza shape but still weren't that into them. 
Which brings me to another alternative in the snacking realm. Mediterranean Snacks! They sent me another case of their latest product, the Beanstalks.
My kids and I love these! Three flavors of crunchy that are packed with fiber.
These are straw-like chips made from beans! Extra crunchy with that salty flavor that is still better than your leading brand chips. Plus the beans give these snacks added fiber value which is better for your digestion. You won't have colorful fingertips for your kids to decorate the furniture or their clothing with either. They use cannellini, green and pinto beans to make these. There are three flavors; BBQ, cheddar, and sea salt.
My kids definitely devoured the BBQ and cheddar ones first. I love the crunchy and flavorful addition they bring to our snacking habits. They have 50% less fat than regular chips. This is how its put when you pose the question, Why beans? 

"Beans have been a staple in the Mediterranean region for centuries, packed with protein and nutrients our bodies crave.
This modern day super food, allows us to create better-for-you snacks with simple, ancient ingredients."
So check them out and look for them in a local store as there are many that carry the Mediterranean Snacks. 

Swingline Electric Stapler review

I'm a little surprised by this product. I don't recall being asked to do a review for it. But it arrived in the mail and a review it shall receive.
This is the Swingline Speed Pro 25 electric stapler. Its supposed to be jam free guaranteed and three times faster than your standard stapler (I'm guessing). It takes standard staples though. I like the fact it has suction cups on the bottom to hold it steady on your desk as you use it.
There is a button on the back that ejects the staple tray so you can reload. 
The first time it stapled something, it scared me.
Its loud and delivers high powered action much like a staple gun. There are pros and cons to having something like this. 

Yay! Its safer than a manual one as kids (or absentminded adults) can't get their fingers caught and stapled. 
Grr... Its bigger than a manual stapler though and takes up a little more room on your desk. Not much, but enough to be noticed. Its also heavier which can make it cumbersome.
Yay! Its able to stick to your desk so there is no struggle to hold it in place while getting those papers stapled. 
Grr... If you have to move it, you have to un-stick it first. 

There is a light on the back button that will alert you when it needs more staples added. Or when the loader is open. 
While it is supposed to be jam free, there is the possibility of a staple getting bent and thus blocking the exit for the following staples. To me, this sounds like a jam... but I'm just reading the manual. 
I'd love to tell you where to get these, but like I said... Don't remember being asked to review it to begin with. So until I find some more info, I can only say that its a toss up as to whether I like this or a manual one better. They both have perks and uses unique to themselves. 

Discount offer from the Container Store!

I received some information about discounts from the Container Store. Whether you are getting organized in time for fall or just want to get that last minute school shopping done, The Container Store has so many options to assist you with! Use the following code by August 29th to get 15% off your order. TCSLOVE is the code. It works in store or online. 
Also check the website as I saw 25% off everything Elfa. Also, you can get free shipping on orders over $75. 
And if you are a teacher, here's some news you might want to check out! 
"Teachers are getting extra credit with a 20% offer to get their classrooms in tip top shape for the school year.  All they have to do is present their valid teacher ID in-store now through September 7th."
Check them out! And don't forget to share your organization tips and tricks. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

First day of school has arrived!

Time to cry tears of joy! Freedom from the munchkins for 8 hours!!! Okay not really. Tears of bittersweet. I'm proud of my boys getting an education. I'm sad that I have been unable to provide it all myself. But this will work for the better for our family. 
I stayed up after they went to bed to make sure all the school uniforms were clean and paired together. 
Yes, I even had fresh underwear set out. I made their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with plenty of snack-like foods to keep them full today. I froze their fruit flavored waters so that they would slowly defrost and provide something cold to drink. 
To save time, I also laid out their socks in their shoes. Moms and dads know how hard multiple shoes and socks can be to keep together. This is why larger families don't fly. 
My oldest wanted to be a butt about getting his picture taken, but at the last minute made this face. My younger son was super excited. That is until we got to the school. 
His dad had to push him along to class. It's going to be quite interesting when we finally pick them up later today. I have a feeling it will look something like this when we get home... 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Not the best month, but getting better?

Being a Mother is never easy.
Some say its the hardest job in the world. This month has been one crazy, difficult, and even painful time for this Momma. My stress levels have been through the roof. I've battled a pinched nerve in my lower back, daily migraines in the head, and even a delayed menstrual cycle. So what's been going on to make so much trouble? 

Back to school for my two boys has had me pulling out my hair. I'm running around buying supplies, trying to get the deals so I'm not going broke in the process, and getting them vaccinated for their entry. I had to buy them new clothes that fit their schools dress code. But I'm happy to say that they are now ready for Monday morning. Now to make sure we wake up on time.... Oh but then I hear there is a new way of teaching called the Common Core. So off to the internet I go to research this strange new concept. 

"What do the Common Core State Standards mean for students?

Today's students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are prepared for success after graduation, the Common Core establishes a set of clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level in math and English language arts." 
I beg to differ with that first part. I work in retail and let me tell you... they weren't looking for the cream of the crop when they hired some of these people. They were only looking for people who fit into a physical ability guideline or who had a military background. Most of the people I work with can't think for themselves. Their best quality is how well they can complain and confuse others. Or maybe they were the cream of the crop as far as who applied for the job and those in charge of hiring got desperate. Most jobs these days are looking for bodies and not the brains. Sure, the "requirements" state that a position needs someone able to rise above all others. But once you charm your way through the interview, who cares right? Thankfully, Texas didn't adopt this type of teaching. I urge parents to check into the Common Core and what this means for your children's learning. 

Then there are birthdays. Sadly, I didn't get a card to my dad on time this year. This was followed by daughter turning 3 years old. Where did those three years go? It seems like yesterday I was racing to the hospital, praying that we didn't get pulled over or that I didn't deliver her in my father-in-law's van. Now she tells me she's a big girl who doesn't need bumper pads around her bed, picks out her clothing, and can tell you all about the various princesses. Her mind blows me away at times. I've found out recently that this little miss has learned to count by herself. From listening to her brothers and I recite the numbers, she has put them to memory. There goes my baby... Then there is another birthday at the end of this month that I have been planning a get together for. Who knew it was so difficult to get a group of adults to converge at a centralized location, have dessert, and otherwise be entertained? 
These have been the main events of the month that have kept my mind on a constant reel. Then I have a full time job that was cut to part time, dealing with an ex-husband, researching a move, daily activities of cleaning, feeding and caring for three highly active children, and trying frantically to get a minimum of 3 hours of sleep everyday.  I have some reviews to write for you all as well. Food, office supplies, labels, and maybe even a movie one coming your way. Just not today... Oh yes, lets not forget that I'm on the job search as well. Applying for and praying I get a new job that pays equal to what I have now but hours conducive with my kids being in school. Which reminds me.. I have to go shopping for more "professional" styles. I don't think my Nerd shirts and Zelda dress qualify for interview outfits. 

So how am I dealing with all this and keeping my sanity? I'm taking a little time for myself. I might sacrifice an hour of sleep, but I'll stay awake watching an anime series one episode at a time. I have 3 books from one series that I will also start taking the time to read 30 minutes per sitting. And today? My ex will take the kids to a birthday party while I will slip away to spend time with intelligent adults before having to come home to sleep for work at 4 AM. It doesn't get easier unless we step up our game and make it so. That's my goal. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Just don't fit in with today's crowd

Let's face it. I'm an introvert and quite proud of that fact. I don't like people. I avoid them. I love to stay at home, write, surf YouTube or Netflix and I steer clear of anything on the popular list. This doesn't mean I don't like some of the things that modern 20-something's enjoy. But I'm usually at a loss when someone mentions a pop culture reference. I don't care what the Kardashians are up to. I find them repulsive. I don't want to know what teen moms are like, I've met some and I see them as idiots. I don't like "reality" TV as most of it is staged anyhow. The news is something I check online when I want to know what's going on, but I generally could care less. I prefer to research things as the interest strikes me. 
I love to dance and shake down when I hear a song I like. I also encourage my kids to do so. Granted, I'm as white as they come and maybe sometimes it shows when I move... but hey, I've seen worse and I make it look better. I like the Cupid Shuffle. Its easy to follow. I've gotten lost to Soulja Boy though. And now I find there is a new one... Silento came up with Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae). First of all, where do they get their names? Silento is a better one than Soulja Boy or Puff Daddy/P. Diddy whoever he is now... but still. And the name of this song?? What the heck is a Nae Nae supposed to be? I get the whip it part. Sorta. Then comes the Stanky Leg. Say what?! What is up with that? Why would you dance to something like that? Call me old school, but I think Electric Slide is way better. Or Tootsie Roll which is what we did in the 3rd grade during dance day in class. Macarena let dancers of all races have fun without making anyone seem out of place. Yes, simpler dances, but fun for all. I'm ready to get back to Gangnam Style even, before trying something like Nae Nae. 

And TV? Forget it. I rather watch things on Netflix. Okay, maybe the History Channel. But nothing else really interests me. Series have lost their flare for me. Once Upon a Time is okay as its something I share with my younger sister and gives me something to talk to her about (though I'm behind by... 2 seasons?). There are so many shows that I've seen commercials for that I scratch my head at. Where have we gotten these ideas? Why are these things "entertaining"? Who watches this junk?! Teen Moms... Do we want to encourage teen pregnancy? And where do they find these girls to follow? 
Vampire shows are abundant and over-dramatized. True Blood, The Originals, Vampire Diaries... Now there is one coming about a zombie coroner. iZombie?
Seriously? Eat the brains of the victim to determine the cause of death. Shaking my head here. 
NCIS and Law & Order seems to have one show for every major city, right? And when I meet people who believe that the technology used in these shows is "real" I want to slap them. HELLO! Its TV! If these things were real, crime rates would be so much lower than they are. Plus the prisons would be crammed as more cases would get solved. 

How is it that the Simpsons are still going? Truth be told, I've never liked it. Don't think I've even seen a full episode. And I have absolutely no desire to. Family Guy goes right along with this one. I think I'd lose brain cells watching it. 

Music is another post all in its own... Give me the oldies of the 80's, 90's or the ones that fall into the "Indie" category. Delain, Halestorm, Steam Powered Giraffe, Basshunter, District 78, and those that are similar to Glitch Mob are in my playlist. Forget Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, or One Direction (which seems to have broken off into a couple directions). Mainstream music doesn't follow reason. The only "popular" artists I truly love are Fall Out Boy and Pink. Other than that, its hit or miss. 

I'm going to retreat into the safety of my closer friends. Where history, science, and intelligence take priority in our conversations. I'm going to pass on the pop culture and mainstream of today. I'm a Nerd. Proud and true. Deal with it. 

M&M's deal at Target

Missed this one when I posted my other Target deals, so I'm giving it its own post! 
Cartwheel has 30% off the Red, White, and Blue bags of M&M's.
Plus you can print out the $1/2 coupon to stack with it! 

HEB deals

After Target, I headed to HEB to do this weeks grocery shopping. I came across these deals.
In the latest coupons we get dropped in our driveways, there is a $1/2 Maruchan bowls or packs. These are currently on sale at HEB 2/$1.
So you use the coupon and get them for free!
A1 sauce is $2.98 each at HEB.
They currently have $1/1 coupons, so save that one from the paper for a later date!

Target deals

Managed to drag myself out of bed early this morning to run errands. Target and HEB had some good deals to get me through this week. 
Sara Lee snacks have $1/1 coupon and a 20% off Cartwheel deal.
They go for $2.54 each. But you will pay $1.23 a box. 
Then there are Sharpie singles on sale buy 3 get one free. 
Then you add the Cartwheel deal of 10% off. 
Get them for about $1 each. They even have the double-sided ones. 
BIC pen packs for .97 plus a $1/2 coupon made these .47 each. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bostitch review via Shoplet.com

Shoplet.com sent out another product for me to review! This time its the Bostitch Dynamo Stapler.
Made by Stanley, its a sturdy addition to my office collection. And so far, I'm quite tickled by it. Its red (awesome color anywhere!). There is a built-in pencil sharpener in the back of it.
Also in the back is a built-in staple remover.
So the minute you realize you made a mistake and left a page out, you can remove the staple and then redo it without swapping out the tools to do so.
The underside of the stapler has a removable cover that hides the extra staples storage compartment. The top has a smooth grip to allow you hold it steady as you staple up to 20 pages at a time. 

Don't forget to check out the many other office supplies that Shoplet has to offer. They also have medical supplies, cleaning supplies, as well as furniture. So many great things provided by one company!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Celebrating 3 years of joy

My daughter turned 3 years old this past week.
She has brought so much happiness to all of us. Even to her brothers who, I admit, used to "love" on her so much more when she was a baby. Now that she's big enough to walk, talk, and hit them when they don't listen, I do hear "I don't like babies or sisters. Can we give her away?" Yet, they look out for her and help her when she needs them. 

She likes to play "Ninja Fruit" (Fruit Ninja game). She doesn't mind the idea of beating someone up. And cleaning up her barbies is never something she wants to be doing. 
She is growing so fast! And Saturday we had friends over to enjoy those 3 years we have had thus far. 
I made favor bags using all these things that came purely from the clearance shelves, mostly if not all from Target.
I also made some for the boys as I don't think they want a bunch of Princess items. 
Despite being exhausted from a long work week, I stayed up late before going to work the graveyard shift to set up her decorations and set out her gifts. 
The look on her face was worth everything. 
Here's to many more years with my baby girl.