Make Back to School Shopping Simple

This article contains affiliate links to Target. If you use a link in this article, it pays me to keep up my shopping habits! 

It’s that time of year! hurry up and finish your Summer plans and get ready to ship your school age kids, back to school! While this is a celebration all in it’s own, it can also be extremely frustrating and expensive.

I have a few tips I use each year to keep our budget on track, while fulfilling all of my student’s needs.

1.) Get a list, make a list or borrow a list from the school. Knowing what your student needs is going to be key to not spending more than you need.

2.) Take your list and do a scavenger hunt in your own house. I sometimes will go back to a store, once they clearance items and purchase popular items and store them away for next year. I often forget all about my purchases the year before once the new school year starts. So I make it a point to look for a stash of supplies I may have stored, or even go through our office and pull out things on her list. I’ve even gone through my student’s room and pulled things from her “craft” pile, which is mostly the school supplies from the previous year, left over on the last day of school.

  • “3 color highlighters of different color” √-GOT IT already
  • “Binder paper” √ – She has two packs leftover from last year!
  • “Ruler” √ – She has a few of these laying around

3.) After doing our own scavenger hunt in the house, I have narrowed down my list of what she really needs. I take this list and I start looking for coupons, extra savings events or my favorite “Cartwheel” offers at Target. In fact, Target is offering $5 off $50 of school supplies if you order online and pick up at your local Target store. (offer valid 07/30 – 8/05)

4.) Make a budget and stick to it! If that means you only have $5 for supplies, ask the teachers what they must have now and what you may put off for another time or ask for some help! Schools often have resources for those in need, don’t be ashamed to ask! Up & Up Notebooks

Once we have all the items on my student’s supply list, I double check to make sure we got what we needed and I stayed in budget. IF I happen to have money left over in our budget, I will then proceed to purchase item’s on the schools “wish list”. If I don’t have enough money left over in my budget, I just won’t get that box of tissue paper. I used to feel bad about this, but honestly, they won’t need 32 boxes of tissue on the first day of school, therefor if I find it in my budget later on in the school year, I will try my best to donate a box of two.

Back to school shopping shouldn’t be so stressful! If you are looking for more savings on clothing for your students check out this Target link for $10 Target gift card when you spend $40 on kid’s clothing! (offer valid 07/30 to 08/05) You can purchase their awesome kids brand Cat & Jack, which has the cutest designs and prints or pick up their affordable uniforms!

Target Affiliate Link

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American Home Services Review

A few weeks I complained about a well known carpet cleaning company, who stood us up! We needed someone to come clean our carpets, quickly, before we were to move in. My husband contacted American Home Services in Tucson, AZ the same day we were stood up by the well known carpet cleaner and scheduled an appointment.

Phil is who came out to clean our carpets, he offered to do the tile work and gave me an estimate. I thought about it, knowing the little one will be crawling soon, sure why not. He got to work right away, started upstairs and worked his way downstairs.

I’ve had carpets cleaned before, where they steam clean them. I always thought that was it. Well, as I watched Phil clean the living room, I was in the kitchen with my daughter trying to entertain her, he actually SCRUBBED the floors. I had NEVER seen another company do this. It totally makes a difference.

He pre-treated the carpet, scrubbed it, then used the steamer to clean the carpets. It was no easy task for sure. The carpets looked rough when we took ownership of the house the week prior. I have included some before and after photos, so you can see the difference.

 

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He was so polite and a pleasure to work with, we will most definitely be using his services again. If you are in the Tucson, AZ area please call them for services. American Home Services also clean Air Ducts, Dryer Vents, Upholstery, Tile and Carpet. You can contact them at (520) 907-0889 also check out their website.

 

 I paid for the services provided by American Home Services of Tucson, AZ. All opinions are my own. 

Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Cookies

I love a good combination of peanut butter and dark chocolate. It is delicious, savory and sweet. If peanut butter and dark chocolate is your thing, you will LOVE these!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips Or Dark Chocolate Chunks (Dairy Free)

Utensils:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Prepare your baking sheets with either cooking spray or parchment paper (Whichever you prefer)
  3. Beat sugars and shortening together. Mix in egg, vanilla extract and peanut butter.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add to wet mixture.
  5. Turn mixer off, fold in dark chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon cookie mixture into about 1 tablespoon balls and place on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.
  8. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Makes about 24 cookies

 

 

Not so Ready Move in Home

When I hear “New home” I automatically think of a move in ready home. My husband and I were blinded by the pretty granite and large stone tiles on the kitchen floor. The year the house was built was alluring as well. The size of the home seemed perfect, a bit bigger than our rental and bigger than the last house we owned. The house was 4 years old, one owner. An owner who was very creative with their furniture placement…..to hide stains.

Maybe the stains on the carpet where visible, hell I don’t remember. We viewed so many houses, this was the best lay out, newest house and we don’t have neighbors behind us, which was a nice drawl. The house is in a newer subdivision and we have a park and pool about 7 houses down. Really, it all seemed perfect and being within our budget, we felt this was perfect.

The inspection period came, they were still living here with their strategically placed furniture. In fact they were still here during the inspection (awkward). Nothing came back alarming, few things needed to be fixed or at least addressed. No problem.

Our final walk through came, my husband was ill and I came alone with the baby. Guess what, they were still here, but had moved some of their bulkier furniture. Well, that opened up ground space and wall space….oh my. Sure, we could have backed out at that point, if I wanted to be picky, but see above. Perfect location.

Let me just say, this house was NOT move in ready. They didn’t clean it prior to us getting our keys a month ago. The walls were so dirty. So, so dirty. My husband and I used at LEAST 3 dozen magic erasers on the walls. We have patched and sealed at least 200 nail holes. (Seriously not exaggerating here) We paid someone to clean the carpets professionally and the tile as well. We cleaned as much as we could, in a matter of a week before we started moving our stuff in.

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We attempted to clean the appliances, mainly the stove and oven. OMG! I can’t even explain what was on it. It was like covered in GUNK. We ended up ordering a new stove, matching microwave and a fridge.  The dishwasher has been cleaned and functions well, we will replace that to match the rest of the appliances eventually.

The house needs some paint thrown on the walls and we want to replace the carpet and probably tile work within the next year. The carpet is so worn out on our stairs, it looks bad even after being cleaned professionally.

We’ve been in our new to us house for almost a month. I love this house and the community we live in. I’m glad we chose to move here and purchase a home, even though it needs some love.

Do you Prime?

Yesterday was July 11th, 2017. For some, it was just a Tuesday. For others, it was PRIME DAY!

What is Prime day?

Prime day is for Amazon Prime members who LOVE great deals. The deals started at midnight and were quickly swooped up. (Like way too quick for me to take part on!)

I personally didn’t score any great deals, I did however get put on a waiting list for a few things I had on my “shopping list”.

Other websites took notice and created competition!

I shop with Ebates and they were offering major deals for cashback for several of my favorite stores.

If you don’t shop with Ebates , you need to. They give you cashback while you shop at several stores! I scored 7.5% back on my Carter’s order last night!

I love my Amazon Prime, I use it for Free two day shipping on several items we use/need monthly. I also love our Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player which we can watch movies, play music and shop from our home TV. It is also super portable, which makes it easy to travel with!

Did you score any amazing deals on Amazon Prime Day? Let me know in the comments!

What a Doozy!

Last night was a complete doozy!

Four nights ago, we put our 6 month old to bed in her crib, in her room. She had been co-sleeping with us since we brought her home.

Well, living in the Southern Arizona sure has surprises once in awhile, scorpions, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and the weather. Yes, it’s hot in the Summer months, but we get a cool down with the monsoons. That also brings a wicked amount of humidity and thunderstorms.

We had our first experience in our new home of a thunderstorm last night. The monsoon rolled in about 5pm, lasted until 4 am this morning roughly. The rain was pouring and the thunder was loud. We also saw the sky light up with lightening strikes that were WAY too close for comfort.

I thought to myself, do I carry on as usual and put the kids to bed in their own rooms or make a bed on the floor for my oldest and let the baby sleep with us?

I carried on, as usual. We need to stick to a routine. It’s only been a few days. The baby will learn about bed time if only we stick to routine.

Our routine consists of nursing, dinner time, bath time and PJS followed by a night time nursing all by 7pm. My husband threw us off a little, over the PJ thing. “I don’t want her too hot” he said. “I don’t want her cold” I replied. So we compromised with PJ pants over a onesie.

I put the little one down, she squirmed and cried for a bit. My husband went in to console her and put her back down. We watched a bit of TV, enjoyed a glass of wine and then went to bed. Man o man was it storming good. I checked on both girls, the little one was asleep and the oldest was playing video games.

A little before 1 am came, the little one woke up and I nursed her and put her back down. I checked on the oldest, since it was still storming and she said she couldn’t fall asleep. Her little dog was keeping her company during the storm and it was a-okay with me.

By 3 am, getting up with the little one again, I took her back to bed with me and we snuggled. She nursed, I listened to the wind whip around some more and finally dozed off myself.

My husband left for work this morning around 6, our little one woke up soon after and we have been going ever since. She isn’t a napper, we haven’t gotten our nap time routine down just now. We will get there, right?!

As I finish typing this, she is in bed for this beautiful Tuesday night. I have been working on this all day, but I haven’t had more than a few minutes here and there.

(Raising my wine glass) Here is to a better night……..