Nov 272015
 

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With all the activities going on the next few days, I did not want you to forget about the rare sale going on at Plan to Eat.  50% off yearly subscription.  For only $19.50 for the whole year, which works out to $1.60 per month, you can have a quick, easy to use meal planning system right at your finger tips.

This sale runs from November 27 – 30.  Plan To Eat does not run sales often, and this is a good one, so do not let it pass you by.  Happy meal planning!

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Nov 212015
 

Schoola.com
Sign up for the email newsletter at Schoola and receive a $5 coupon.

I love Schoola.com.  It has made clothes shopping for Jack and George so much easier.  Without even starting up the car, loading in two full-of-life boys, driving 30 minutes to a store, getting them out and then submitting them to the torture that is shopping, I am able to save money and receive high quality clothing.  We have ordered from them several times and have been pleased with the clothes received.

When I saw this $5 coupon code, I almost let out a squeal, which would not have been a good thing as everyone else in the household is currently asleep.

I also jumped for joy, literally, when I saw that they are still offering Free Shipping for a limited time.  So hurry, go get some clothes for a great price while curled up under a warm blanket.

I also knew that it was too good to keep to myself.  Please note that it expires 11/22, which is tomorrow.  So, yes, you will have to spend time looking at cute kids clothes tonight.  My apologies.

Nov 212015
 

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I woke up this morning at 4-something a.m.  However, this time it was my fault.  I told myself last night that I wanted to get up at 4:30 to finish the first coat of paint on the garage ceiling.  Half of it was done last night but I was so tired my bed sounded so much better.  By 8 p.m. I was asleep.  So … 4-something I woke up. Realized I was still tired and went back to sleep for an hour.

Now, I can do math and I know that if I fell asleep at 8 p.m., 5 a.m. means I was able to sleep for almost 9 hours.  That is doing great.  For the past several years 6 hours was all I was going on; not bad, but not great either.  So, when 5 a.m came around I got up.

Intending to tease a friend on Facebook last night about their incoming snow, I had gone to check the weather.  With the news off most days, I take things as they come and not worry about every little drop in temperatures.  Well, unless it is the first or last frost, then it is important.  🙂  That is when I saw snow in the forecast for us today.  Not what I was hoping to have happen.  My plans to paint were for the garage.  With new garage doors and actual insulation in most of the walls, the garage is finally warmer than it has been previous winters.  Does that mean it will stay above 50 degrees if it falls below 30 degrees outside?  I am not sure.  So let’s not test it out with wet paint on the ceiling, okay?

As I laid there thinking about what I could do, I realized I had not shared the great upcoming Black Friday Weekend Sale that Plan To Eat is going to have in a few days.  I really want to share this with you as they do not have sales that often.

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November 27th – November 30th, all yearly subscriptions for Plan To Eat will be half off.  This means that for $19.50 (or $1.60 a month) you will have access to an easy meal planning site where you can even share your recipes with others, or find new one yourself. They will even create a shopping list for your from the recipes you plan to eat during certain time periods.  How easy is that?!

I have found that I save at least 30 minutes each week in writing up our meal plans, which include all 3 meals.  If I sit down to write out the months meal plans it is even more time saved.  I no longer have to work with an Excel spreadsheet that, while helpful and sufficient, really was clunky and left much to be desired.

Not only have the yearly subscriptions on sale, you can also buy an unlimited gift subscriptions at only $15.50 each.  They would make a great gift for a busy household, someone who lives by themselves and may want help ‘diversifying’ their meals, a young couple starting out setting up home, or those who are going through some hard times and are looking for ways to save money or time. Gift subscriptions to Plan To Eat can be given at any time (like Christmas!) and will not begin until the recipient redeems the gift.

I was hesitant when I initially tried out this service maid of mine.  At the time, it was not at a point in the year to take advantage of this deal.  It was the end of Spring and I needed a way to keep the meal plan under control without taking up so much of my time.  Plan To Eat’s free 30 day trial showed me how easy this was to use, how clunky my previous attempts were, and how much time I could save.  I hemmed and hawed, then asked my husband, “It would cost just over $3 a month.  What do you think?”  He asked if it made my life easier, if $3 was worth my time each month.  The answer was a resounding “Yes!”  I have not looked back.

Over the past few years, I could tell the months where I did not take as much time to meal plan.  How?  Our grocery bill jumped significantly.  I was amazed.  Did meal planning really make that much of a difference to our finances?  Obviously it did.  It meant I knew what was in the house, specifically what I needed to get at the store, and how to use what I did end up buying.

“What about the free 30-day trial? I have one/planning to get one/just heard about it?”  Great question.  You can still sign-up for the free 30 day trial AND get the yearly subscription deal.  They will not overlap, but instead flow seamlessly from one to the other, with your yearly subscription beginning at the end of the trial date.

“I already have a subscription, but it is not set to end till ___.”  That is okay, too.  You can still take advantage of this deal, which will then extend your subscription expiration date by a year.

If you are on the fence, like I was at one point, about taking on this maid, I would suggest signing up for the free 30-day trial.  With a week to go before the Black Friday Weekend Sale, you will be able to test out the site, plan this week’s meals, and see if it is something that will help you out in the upcoming year.

Happy meal planning!

 

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Aug 292015
 

filling kitchen soap dispenser collage

Our kitchen counter has a soap dispenser built into it.  While this is handy to use, it is a pain to fill.  It is so annoying that I often find myself just sitting the bottle of soap either next to it or under the counter to use.

After a visit from some friends earlier this week, where they tried to use the obvious source of soap (the dispenser) and found it empty, I renewed my search for a way to fill this container.  Because of how this is installed, there are two ways to add soap: 1. from above, 2. from below.

If you chose to do it from below, you had to clear out the cabinet, lay on  your back, reach up into a space you could not really see into and unscrew the bottle.  Once it was filled, you then had to hold a heavy bottle full of soap, hoping not to spill it, while you tried to align it with the threads of top section.  This would all have to be done going by touch alone as you could not see what you were doing.

If you chose to go from the top, it was a slow process of getting the soap in without having the escaping air push it back out.  When you take off the pump handle and attached parts, you can see down into the neck of the top portion.  Inside I found a narrow section that the soap had to go through while the air escaped.  If any soap covered this opening or got across it while filling, then the escaping air would push it upward making a bubbles or pushing the soap you just added back out, all over the counter.

Either route I chose, it was a process that was not easy.

While thinking on this yesterday the idea of using a funnel came to mind.  We have 3 different sizes of small funnels that I use in the kitchen.  Picking up the largest, I placed it on the top portion.  It was too large, the bottom of the funnel would not allow air to escape the neck of the bottle/top portion.  The middle size looked just right for what I was trying to do.

Now came the problem of it not actually reaching down to the junction neck.  Needing something to make it longer, I tried a drinking straw.  It was a tight fit, but was almost the exact size of the funnel’s tip.  I cut off about a third of the straw, pulling the cut portion through the funnel.  Now the soap could be drained straight into the bottle, allowing the air to escape up without touching the soap.  No bubbles.  No spilling over.

When I first did this, a portion of the straw stuck up into the funnel.  I tried to get it down as low as needed, but I did not want it to fall out.  It turns out that this was not much of an issue, as there was just enough space between the straw and funnel to allow any small amount of soap left in the funnel to drain down the outside of the straw, given enough time.

While washing dishes and doing other activities around the kitchen, I would fill the funnel and walk away.  When I noticed the soap had drain down into the bottle I added more.  The draining was not a quick action, but it was clean and did not require me to stand there to watch it; I could walk away and come back as my time allowed.  What was once a dreaded, time consuming chore had now become a very simple, effortless chore. It is amazing how a normal straw made my day so much easier.