Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Testimonials.....

Thrifty - To use money and other resources carefully and not wastefully:

In the current economy or lack there of, I'd like to promote a little thing called Thrift shopping.
Rummage sales, garage sales, yard sales, Goodwill stores, Salvation army......any of these places can give you a treasure trove of items for sometimes pennies. As the saying goes....One man's trash is another man's treasure.

           My new friend Amy over at A is for Ampersand writes a weekly blog post called $5 Thrifty Thursdays where she posts pictures of her weekly thrift store finds as well as of those sent to her by other Thrifties like her. Inspired by her promotion of thriftiness I decided to show off my own thrifty purchases from over the years.....

Example #1 - Our church has a yearly lawn fete and one of the biggest draws is something called Attic Treasures (or as Hubby says Trash and Treasures.) People drop off unwanted items (bedding, books, jewelery, bags, dishes, toys, decorations, sports equipment, electronics, etc) and these wonderful volunteers organize and price every single item. My favorite section is the books. The cost starts out at $.50 for softcover and $1.00 for hardcover. One thing you need is patience and strong arms. Patience to sort through boxes and boxes looking for something that catches your eye and strong arms to carry all the items. One of the best parts of the sale, is that on the final day they sell you a paper bag for $2, and however many books you can fit in it are yours. This is a small stack of the 32 books I picked up over the course of the 3 days...
Example #2 - How cute are these glass canisters that I also picked up at last year's sale? $.25/piece. The one with the coffee design I actually found at this year's sale for $.50. They look so cute on my counter and now I don't have extra boxes crammed in the cabinets.



Example #3 - Also from Trash and Treasures this year........this shelf that Hubby hung by our backdoor. Now he has a place to hang his hats, the garage door opener and to dump all of the stuff from his pockets at the end of the day (instead of on the kitchen island....thank you Hubby....luv you)

Example #4 - Clothing is another item that you can luck out on.
This shirt came from a church rummage sale a few years back. 
In this case I believe I paid $5 for a grocery bag and again whatever I could fit in it was mine.

These 3 skirts came from a consignment shop (another great place to find amazing deals.)
The gray one is a fully lined wool skirt - great for winter. I believe I paid about
$5 for it at a Goodwill.
The middle one - well how do you not love some plaid?
The blue flowered one I paid $7 for. It was from Express, still had the price tag on it (!) and trust me when I say the original price was NOT $7.

Example #5 - This next item is one of my favorite finds and it also came from the Trash and Treasures sale this year.
A Nine West Bag that was in perfect condition for
It's the perfect size to fit my mini laptop, a notebook, a book (have to have one with you always), a makeup bag, wallet, cell phone, umbrella and keys.

Are there any other Thrifties out there like us who are willing to come forward and share? Instead of bragging about how much we paid for something, let's be proud of how much we got for so little!

Check out Amy's page too - she has some great ideas and she even has her own shop through Etsy called MonocledLop

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time....where does it go?????

    For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.  ~Doug Larson                                            

           So, the time seems to just fly by in the summer doesn't it? A friend commented to me this afternoon that she was still waiting for a Testimonial.....Ooops! My only excuse is that life got in the way. We had commitments both days this weekend, a work party for hubby last night and basically no free time. So I apologize for the mix up. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Between a job, cleaning the house, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, exercise, yard work, and paying bills, there never seems to be enough time for the real things. To my friends/family with children, I bow to you as I can't even begin to imagine where your hours go to.
I can't even truly complain as hubby does his own laundry, does the dishes when I cook and vacuumed tonight while I made dinner. But, sometimes, in order to have a life, we let the grass grow a little too long, eat a lot of salads, and slack on the vacuuming. But then the hairballs from our two fuzzy tenants start to form a colony and there's no choice but to do all these other things that get in the way of a life.

                  So, if I had unlimited hours in a day (heck even one extra would be nice), here are some of the things I would do:

  • Finish one of the 5 books I'm currently reading........I'm serious.       
  • Email all of  the people I need to catch up with.
  • Clean out my linen closet so I can finally find what I'm looking for on the first try (I didn't say all of my choices would be fun.)
  • Download some new music on my iPod - anyone up for some recommendations?
  • Chain myself to my computer until I had at least 3 new chapters complete on the book.

  • Finish the scarf and blanket I started knitting this winter....before I forget how.
  • Finish the family reunion scrap book that I started last fall.....anyone else seeing a pattern here?
  • Sleep, pure, uninterrupted, blissful sleep......
  • Go jet skiing with hubby one more time before fall gets here.
  • Paint my nails.....after I find where the polish is hiding in the linen closet.
  • Print some of my gazillion photos and actually frame one or two.
  • Snuggle with one of my four footed friends.

  • Sit in a coffee shop, drinking a cup (or two!) and doing absolutely nothing.....
What would you do with an extra hour, or two....or twenty four???

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Testimonials.....Part IV

Wegman's How I love Thee.......

To follow up on last week's testimonial, I'll now address my other grocery love, Wegmans.

While ALDI is where I go when I need items fast and cheap, Wegmans is where I go when I have time to linger and feel like being pampered.

What do I mean? Well for one thing my MIL refers to Wegmans as Europe. I called her up one Saturday and when I asked where she was her response was "Oh your FIL and I are in Europe." 
Me - "I'm sorry you're where???" 
MIL - "We're in Wegmans but I call it Europe because it reminds me of an old world village with the way they have it set up; with all the fancy food and the decorations. We get a coffee and just walk around looking at things, pretending we're in Europe." She cracks me up.

But, she's right - the store is so amazingly clean and decorated/set up a little bit like an old fashioned market. They have a great seating area if you want to have lunch/dinner and some days they even have a band/musician playing so you have music to shop by.

There's a cheese section, bakery, flower stand and of course all the fresh produce.They also have a really great health food section called Nature's Marketplace, that carries just about anything you can think of. Veggie Burgers, soy milk, yogurt, organic juices, etc. A couple of friends who suffer from gluten issues, tell me they have a great selection of gluten free items as well as offering recipes and a support group through their website. Gluten Free

I also love their prepared foods department. This is the place to go when you want a variety of things to choose from. Pizza? They'll make it while you wait. Sushi? Watch them make it fresh right in front of you. Saturday morning and you feel like an omelet? Coming right up and made to order. Charlie the Butcher for a beef on weck sandwich, Chinese bar, salad bar, a wing(!) bar, soups and chili.  In addition to all this, they now also offer $6 meals. You choose an entree and 2 sides for $6.  Below is just one meal combination you could put together. $6 Meals - check out the link to see what meal you could come up with. :)

They also feature an in store catering department - you can order online or sit down with someone in store. We used this for a baby shower and the great thing is that when we went to pick up the food, cake and drinks, we didn't have to go to separate areas for it. The staff went to each department and collected everything for us while we waited.

Which brings me to my favorite thing about Wegmans.
Their customer service is OUTSTANDING.
Let me count the ways for you:
  • When it's windy out they put up signs reminding people that IT'S WINDY OUT - PLEASE RETURN CARTS so that they won't run into people's cars.
  • Their bathrooms are always clean and decorated unlike most public restrooms. Oh, and for the mom's shopping with a little one who may be caught without an extra diaper? They even have that covered.
  • When it's raining, there are employees waiting at the entrances with an umbrella and will escort you to your car if you'd like. If you don't want the escort they will let you take the umbrella with you and you just leave it in the cart and they pick it up. 
  • They also have umbrella holders on the sides of the cart, so if you bring your own umbrella with you, it goes in the holder and you're not dripping water all over the floor, creating a safety hazard.
  • They have cup holders that attach to the shopping carts so you can have a cup of coffee (yes they have their own coffee bar too) while you shop. 
  • They offer curbside service for your groceries, which I think is wonderful for elderly people or for a woman shopping by herself later in the evening. When you check out you tell them you would like this service and they give you a ticket with a number that coordinates to your order. You leave your cart with them and simply pull your cart up to the designated spot and they load the bags for you.
  • They offer a children's play area called WKids Fun Center, where parents can drop their kids off while they do their shopping. The kids are entertained in a safe environment and the parents can get in and out faster.
  • Oh and the part about the windy cart sign? My sister was shopping at her local store once, and when she got to her car she saw that a runaway cart had hit the side leaving a smudge in the paint job. A manager took her information and gave her his card asking that she let them know the cost once she had gotten an estimate. Her garage ended up being able to buff the spot out at no cost, which she emailed the manager to let them know and to thank them for the good customer service. She received a gift card from Wegmans a few days later as a thank you for being a customer.

Now that is what I call service!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hey, It's OK

             There's a women's magazine that features a page each month called Hey, It's Ok!, which gives a list of random items that are "OK".
While a majority of the items are mainly humorous,(a recent example,ironically was "Hey, It's ok if you still don't have a blog, don't ever plan on having a blog, don't really care about blogs, period.)

             So, while I don't love that example, I do love the idea behind it.
Here's my list of things that I think are OK. :)

Hey, It's OK to.....

1.) Have more books than you have bookshelves for. They make great doorstops, nightstands, centerpieces, etc.....

2.) Still wonder if there really is a man in the moon.......and if it's really made of cream cheese.

3.) To express your beliefs in a way that won't alienate your friends and family. There's never a need for put downs or angry words......

..........We can all get along if we just try to see things from another point of view.

4.) To still need to sleep with a stuffed animal now and then....we all have bad days.

5.) To believe that you can make just as good a meal as those fancy restaurants. (Dinner tonight!)

What would make your list of OK's?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don't adjust your computer folks....

             Don't worry, you've come to the right place. This is still my blog; just making some slight changes. When I first learned how to use the site, it was all I could do to figure out how to set up my first post, let alone try to change the font or color on something.

      Now that I have a few posts behind me, I'm feeling a little more confident in rearranging things....(she says with fingers crossed). 

I also decided the new background better represented my love of books (I added about 30 more to the collection at our church rummage sale this weekend - Hubby needs to work on that bookshelf

Anyway, I had a little free time this week so thought I would clean things up and make some changes. (Hopefully for the better!)

Hubby and I are headed out for a few days so I'll talk to you all this weekend.
Enjoy the rest of your week!

~ Adrienne

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Testimonials.......Part III


       This weeks obsession focuses on shopping smarter. As the economy continues to play teeter totter, I'm always looking for ways to get more for less. About a year ago I decided to give ALDI's a try and I was beyond pleasantly surprised. 

      Now for those of you not familiar with ALDI they are a chain of stores that feature very low cost grocery items. In order to do this, they have to be a little different from typical grocery stores. For instance they have very little advertising, don't take coupons and offer a very limited amount of name brand items and most of those seem to be buy out items from bigger name stores. In addition they don't take credit cards - cash or debit only. They don't offer bags for your groceries (you can buy their reusable bags or you can make due with an empty cardboard box that you take from their piles of leftover packaging.) Oh,and you pay a quarter for a shopping cart. Don't panic, you get it back.... when you return your cart. This pretty much ensures that you'll return the cart to its home, so they also don't have to pay anyone to chase carts in the parking lot. Pretty smart huh?

Where else can you get can you get so much for such a low price?
Recent shopping trip netted me 34 items for $45.79 (not one item over $4.00).

Highlights of the list included:

Bag of baking potatoes
Coffee Creamer
Pita Chips
Baby Carrots
Pint of Blueberries
Bag of Spinach
Dill pickles (spears and sliced)
12 cans of tomato sauce (Donation for our church's food pantry.)
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Mozzarella
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Blue Cheese Crumbles (yes there is a cheese obsession in my house - please try not to judge)
1 lemon
Aluminum foil
Bottle of Fish Oil Capsules

I've found that buying a majority of my food purchases here cuts our monthly bill substantially, thereby meaning I only go to the major grocery store for the items I can't live without.

      I've also found that there are many items that I prefer from ALDI. I love McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning, but I'm the first to admit it can be a little pricey. ALDI has their own brand which is about half the cost of the name brand. I find the same with their crackers, olive oil, pita chips and ground turkey. For you chocolate lovers, they have a huge selection of really good quality European chocolates. In addition they carry whole wheat pasta, frozen fruit, salmon filets, steak, shrimp and spring salad mixes. They also have their own line of healthier options known as Fit and Active as well as their very own skin care/beauty line know as Lacura.

    Now they do have their limitations. For example if there is a specific name brand item that you are attached to, you're probably not going to find it there. If you do, it's most likely a buy out item (like my recent find of an organic granola cereal that was half the cost of the regular grocery store price. I stocked up on it knowing it won't be there the next time I go.) My wish list for items I'd like to see them carry would be Greek Yogurt, veggie burgers, broccoli slaw and all natural peanut butter. But for the everyday staples of milk, eggs, bread, vegetables and fruit, you can't find a better deal. 

Next week I'll tell you about my love affair with Wegman's (where I go for the things I can't find at ALDI and when I want a little pampering. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Silent Sunday......

 Happy Sunday! Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful weekend. Since Sunday is officially the day of rest, I'm going to be short on words today. Instead, just a few pictures, some flowers from my garden to (hopefully) make you smile. Have a great day and we'll talk next week :)

~ Adrienne

Monday, August 1, 2011

Testimonial Tuesdays.....

               Okay - round two of Testimonial Tuesdays. This one is for all of you looking to add something a little healthy to your diet (which would probably be good if you took my advice on the last Testimonial Tuesday and bought any of those chips!)

           Today's featured product is Yogurt - specifically Greek Yogurt. For those of you not familiar with this, Greek yogurt is lower in sugar and higher in protein that regular yogurt. Now I will admit that the taste may take a little getting used to for some people. The plain version has a very distinctive, tart flavor. However, adding a little fruit or honey definitely helps. Many of the companies who make Greek Yogurt are now coming out with flavored versions as well. Now that it's becoming a popular choice for people looking for healthier options, a lot of yogurt companies are jumping on the band wagon to produce their own versions. For me, I like the companies who were the original pioneers so I'm sticking with my two personal favorites: Chobani and Brown Cow.

Chobani was my first foray into the Greek yogurt world. I tend to stick with the original plain version and doctor it up myself with honey and all kinds of fresh fruit, especially this time of year. I'll let you in a little secret; for those of you who like sour cream on your baked potatoes or tacos....use Chobani. Can't tell the difference. Plus, you'll get more protein, half the fat and Probiotics.  Oh and if you decide to try to substitute this in your house....don't tell anyone. I made the mistake of telling Hubby about this beforehand and he won't try it as he's convinced he won't be able to get past the yogurt flavor. So yes, I am condoning lying...as long as it's good for some one's health. :)

Now if you want flavored yogurt, my preference is Brown Cow.
(No, not these kinds of cows)

I especially like the strawberry and honey versions. It has a very smooth, rich texture and you can add fruit if you want but it's great on it's own as well. 

Now keep in mind that Greek Yogurt does tend to be more expensive than regular. The 5.3 oz size of Brown Cow is $.99 vs about $.40 for the average store brand. But again, you'll make up for it in health benefits. (Brown Cow also offers coupons on their website)

And just remember...if you're going to introduce something healthy into your household.....lie :)

~ Adrienne