May 272016

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support this blog.

Planning a date night? Have yard work you still need items for? Are you looking for ways to save on vacation? Whatever the occasion, why not look first to purchase a gift and earn SB in the process.

Over the past decade … okay, my whole money spending life… I have tried to find ways to pay less for what I am wanting, thereby stretching what my money will allow me to do.  Some ways I have tried took a lot of time and effort. Others were so easy it was silly not to do it.

Here is one of the “it is so easy it is silly not to do it” opportunities:

Purchase select Gift Cards through Memorial Day Weekend and earn Cash Back with MyGiftCardsPlus! Plus, earn up to a 200 SB Bonus when you purchase Gift Cards to featured retailers through Memorial Day Day!*

Buy 1 Gift Card and get a 50 SB Bonus

Buy 2 Gift Cards from two different retailers and get a 100 SB Bonus

Buy 3 or more Gift Cards from three or more retailers and get a 200 SB Bonus

The more you spend, the more you earn!

Featured retailers include eBay, The Home Depot, Groupon, AMC Theaters, Southwest Airlines, Sephora, and many many more!

Here is my plan to save: We are currently planning a vacation.  Looking for Groupon deals is a part of that planning.  In the past we have tried new restaurants we otherwise may have passed by, have been able to treat our kids to special meals our otherwise frugal ways would have otherwise passed by in lieu of sharing an entree, and learned about attractions that we would have otherwise missed.

How about you, what is your plan to save?  Which gift card would you purchase and earn bonus SB for purchasing?  Would you use it for something you already plan to purchase or for a special treat?

*This offer expires at 11:59pm PST on May 30th, 2016. Your SB will credit when your electronic gift card is delivered. Cash back will be paid in the form of SB. Each individual Gift Card purchased must have a value of $50 or more to qualify for a SB bonus. Each qualifying Gift Card purchase must be purchased from a unique retailer in order to receive the 100 SB Bonus and 200 SB Bonus (ex. If you buy two $50+ Gift Cards to one featured retailer you will ONLY receive a 50 SB Bonus; if you buy two $50+ Gift Cards, each from a different feature retailer, you will receive the corresponding SB Bonus). You will not be eligible to receive a SB bonus if you stack smaller denomination Gift Cards (ex. 2 Gift Cards of $25). Gift Cards must be purchased in one transaction to qualify for a SB Bonus.

Jul 252015

painting car art childSo what have I been up to all week?  (cue music and fade out)

Visiting our nation’s capital with my family and visiting some old friends.   Old as in how long I have known them, not their ages.  How we are blessed to have people we can call friends, who after 4+ years of not seeing them still open their home to us or invite us to come visit.  These are the types of friends I want, the ones who do not view the passage of time as diminishing our friendship.

We left last Friday, drove through the night (time passes quicker for the kids that way) and arrived on the East Coast in time for breakfast.  Hey, once in college … maybe a bad way to start the sentence 🙂 … when I was younger a group of guys drove all night from school to Florida.  It was a surprise destination for them over a weekend, down and back with about 30 minutes spent in the water.  If they can do it, so can we.

In preparation for the trip, I picked up a few new to us DVDs two weeks ago from garage sales and a consignment store  They cost about $2 each and should give us 4 or 5 hours of ‘quiet’ video watching time on the way home.  I also stopped by the dollar store and let them pick out stickers, activity books, and a toy.  I grabbed a few surprise items as well.  To round it off, I gathered up all the small, car friendly crafts from our Art box and put them into a bag for the car.  These are for the trip down and back, as well as during the week if we need a few calmer evening activities.

George was just slightly vibrating with anticipation when he learned that he will get to see where the ‘real’ President lives.  I remember the first time I got to see the White House.  My age had a few extra digits than George’s, but it was still exciting.  A tour will have to wait, as I am not sure I could handle taking Jack through there.  Maybe in another five 10 years.

In addition to visiting friends and seeing the sites I have been trying to catch up on some reading.  As of late I feel a bit unmotivated to sit down with a book and read.  It may have something to do with being kept busy with other areas of life – can we say home remodel, homeschooling, feeding and clothing my family?  So I took this opportunity to down load a few more books.  I will let you know how they turn out.

Garden Party: A Guide to Throwing an Awesome Party in Your Garden is one of the books I am hoping to read.  I have always envisioned having a garden party, though I’m not sure this is the year for it.  Hoping to get the motivation and inspiration to host one next Spring/early Summer.

Staining the deck, reseeding the grass, painting the shed, and finding some patio furniture and lights are at the top of my list of things to do in preparation for next year.  Beyond that, I’m not sure exactly what to plan.  Hence I am reading this book.  I will let you know if it turns out as beneficial as I hope.

Carrots Celery Potatoes in Basket

For now, we are finishing up our trip.  The immediate plans, once we get home, will be laundry and perhaps some grocery shopping.  I tried to use up most of the food in the fridge.  We have a great selection of condiments, but I am not sure what you can make with cordial cherries, soy sauce, carrots and blackberry jam.  Any ideas?


Nov 212014

IMG_20140823_105331547 Getting away for a weekend does not have to be expensive or busy.  Recently my husband and I were blessed with a weekend of babysitting by the Grandparents.  (Thank You!!)  While the beginning of the weekend did involve adrenaline pumping activities, our favorite part was the second day – a tour of local coffee shops. Not being from this town, we relied on online maps to show us locations, after which we plotted our own course, going roughly from West to East.  One shop was closed and the last two on the list were not visited due to a sudden down pour and parking becoming more of an issues.  (We were going to walk the the last two, before the heavens opened up and dumped buckets and buckets of water upon the earth.) Alliance Bakery food collage The goal was to take a book/newspaper and enjoy the uniqueness of several different shops.  My husband wanted to try a cappuccino at each … that lasted for two, after which he had to take a break or else float away.  I was interested in trying a baked good at each, or perhaps a latte or chia tea. For clarification, we split the desserts.  There is not way I could have eaten that many sweets by myself.  This also helps make the cost more manageable. The first stop greeted us with ornate wood work and decor.  The feeling was warm and cozy.  While there was no seating in the main area, there was street side seating and a lounge in the space next door.  As it was a nice day, and we didn’t see the lounge, we sat street side soaking up the feel of the neighborhood.  We shared our dessert, took some time to just sit, then decided to leave as seating was getting to be a premium and we felt a bit selfish sitting there just because we could. floriole bakery collage Floriole bakery soup cake tea edible flower collage The cold asparagus soup above was delicious.  It was something completely new for me and I was not sure how I would like it.  I have made a cold gazpacho soup before that I was not overly fond of.  This soup would be great on a summer day. The dessert was a surprise.  Seeing it in the case I thought the orange flower was frosting and the “black spots” were just sprinkles.  Turns out I was wrong both time.  They were flowers.  The black spots were actually small purple flowers, like those you normally see making up a compound flower.  My husband was not brave enough to try them.  I am pretty sure he has never had edible flowers on his dishes.  They actually are not bad and lend a light flavor. In the picture above, the small structure surrounded by flowers and plants was on their rooftop.  What a great use of space in a place where it is limited. In all, this was our favorite coffee shop and would have stayed a lot longer if we did not have the goal of visiting a few more coffee shops before days end. When ordering we mentioned to the servers what we were doing, and asked what was something most people usually ordered from here.  They thought the day sounded fun, but most had never visited any of the other coffee shops, even though they were not that far away.  It was a reminder of how we sometimes create our worlds and not venture out of them.  This led to quite the discussion between my husband and I over our coffee. Vanille Bakery collage The next, and turns out final, coffee shop had a very different feel than the others.  It was more like a french bakery than a cafe.  The desserts were petite and light, and there was no menu of lunches.  The atmosphere also was one that lended itself more to quick visits with friends rather than long afternoons in deep discussions. When we mentioned to the server what we were doing, she took the time to explain a bit more about their shop and mentioned that new customers get to try a macaroon free of charge.  That was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, as there were A LOT of macaroon choices. rain storm bike rental collage It was after this shop that we decided to leave our car where it was, as parking was getting harder to find due to being closer to downtown.  We made it about two blocks before seeing a bike rental kiosk.  My husband stopped to take a look at the details while I enjoyed the little park like area in front of the business office.  It was at this point that rain drops started to fall.  At first I thought I was feeling things.  By the time my husband felt them and looked at me, it started to rain really hard.  We made a dash for the awning in front of the office building, making it there just in time to avoid the downpour.  If we had been 30 seconds quicker, we would have had rented bikes that would have been impossible to ride anywhere. We stood there for a while, going back through the day and the previous one.  When things started to lighten up, my husband ran back to get the car, as we decided to call it a day.  While it did not seem like it had been a long day we both were exhausted and ready to go back to the hotel. That night, supper consisted of leftovers from breakfast and supper the night before, where we had stopped by one of the groceries stores and picked up fruit and other ‘treats’.  Hey, there were no kids so we did not have to share. 🙂  We both agreed that this had been a fun day, even if it was a bit unusual.   Linked up at:

The Deliberate Mom


Apr 262012

I feel as if I have been MIA for a while … that is probably because I have been.

So what has been going on here?  Well, not gardening, that is for sure.

Last week we were on a family vacation.  It took us to a dessert zone out West.  Much different than my Zone 5 and I have some pictures to prove it.

And this week?  Potty training.  I think I prefer last week’s vacation.

It has been a bit rough.  Actually a long 3 days.  So much for “less than a day” for us.  But there are positive signs that it is catching on.  There are some reasons I believe it is taking longer.  Reasons that other probably don’t deal with, which make it harder for us.  Progress is being made, though … I think. The first day we had accidents every half hour or so.  Day two we only had four or five.  Today, only two so far.  The first in the morning when I woke the child up, still tired, and a refusal to use the potty (ready, screaming tantrum due to still being tired) resulted in an accident.  The second one was only because the child didn’t pull down their underwear fast enough while standing in front of the potty.  (That one was more understandable, because sometimes just the site of the potty also makes me have to go even more urgently.)

The fact that I have 1 diaper in the house (plus two or so in the diaper bag) really helps the resolve of not going back.  I had to make that clear on the second morning, “I will not be putting you in diapers or pull-ups.  I have no pull-ups.”  This after the tantrum begging for them.  I think until that moment there was a glimmer of hope in the young mind that I would give in.  By the end of yesterday I was ready to.  I’ve tried to stay positive, but come 7 PM or so I am pretty spent.

Part of my resolve was that I was told TWICE on the plane rides (once out, once coming back) for vacation that this particular child had to go potty.  At first I thought it was an excuse to get up.  It was.  But, it also resulted on said child going potty on the potty.  So, if a kid can do it on the plane, they can do it at home.  Right?

On a greener note, my seedlings are doing well.  I have had a better survival rate than in the past.  They are still a bit puny, but hope to beef them up a bit.  Mainly the tomato plants.  The lamb’s ear look great.  If tomorrow goes as well as today, minus the trip away from home twice and a meeting at the house, I hope to have some lettuce seeds in the garden only a few weeks later than I wanted.  That’s okay.  We went on vacation and I now have a partially potty trained child.