Archive | May, 2013

Holla For The Dolla!

28 May

I haven’t don’t any running since the John Thompson 5K due to pain in one of my shins.  Total bummer.  But, it doesn’t feel like the shin splints I’m prone to.  I decided to err on the side of caution because I don’t have health insurance.  I’m praying that rest will help and that it’s not a stress fracture.

What I have been up to, though, is saving money!  I’ve been clipping coupons and scoping out weekly sales.  Have no fear, I am still an advocate for eating as locally as possible.  But, sometimes you just have to restock your pantry.

Today, for example I snagged these awesome savings before the sales end tomorrow.

3 fajita size flour tortillas + 2 soft taco size flour tortillas

Tortillas

Regular Price: $2.19   Sale Price:  2/$5.00 ($2.00/ea.)

Coupon: $0.50 (doubled to $1.00)

My Price: $1.00/ea.   Savings:  $5.95

2 Sargento sliced cheeses  + 2 Helluva Good cheese blocks

Cheeses

Regular Price: Sargento $3.49 + Helluva Good $2.19

  Sale Price:  Sargento 2/$5 + Helluva Good 2/$4.00

Coupons: $1.00 off each purchase of 2 (for each brand)

My Price: Sargento $2/ea. + Helluva Good $1.50/ea.

Savings:  $4.36

2 jars Vlasic pickles

Pickles

Regular Price: $3.79   Sale Price:  2/6 ($3.00/ea.)

2 Coupons: $0.75 (doubled to $1.50/ea.)

My Price: $1.50/ea.   Savings:  $4.28

3 bags of Twizzlers

Twizzlers

Sale Price:  3/$6.00 ($2.00/ea.)

Coupon: $1.00 off of 3

My Price: $1.60/ea.   Savings:  $1.20

On Memorial Day, my mom gave me this jar of hot peppers – FREE & locally grown in a friend’s Italian garden!!

HotPeppers

I spent a total of $19.80 on my items.  If I would’ve walked into the store tomorrow (when the sales are over) with no coupons in hand, I would have spent $35.89!

I froze a few packages of tortillas because I don’t think that we’ll be able to go through them before they go bad.  The rest of the items have an incredibly long shelf life, both before and after they are opened.  Looks like we’re in for some Mexican food over the next weeks!!

Memorial Day

27 May

God Bless America!!

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!  While we are spending time with our families at picnics and barbeques, let’s not forget the real reason why we celebrate:  to remember and show gratitude to all of the amazing members of Armed Forces.

How does your family celebrate Memorial Day?

Mine is pretty typical: FOOD!  Lots of yummy food!

Because I had to work today, we traveled north to my parent’s house on Sunday and had a cook-out.

My mom made broccoli salad:

broccolisalad

lamb kebobs (my favorite thing in the world!) & hot dogs for Miss. Picky Pants:

lambdogs

you can’t eat lamb at my house with hot pepper sauce, garlic aioli, & Syrian bread:

fixings

SyrianBread

and corn on the cob:

corn

I made Christina’s grandma’s macaroni salad, which was a big hit:

macaronisalad

and her step-mom’s strawberry salsa with cinnamon sugar chips (recipe below):

SSCC1

*************************************************************************************************

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon-Sugar Chips:

Strawberry Salsa:

SS1

  • 1 lb. strawberries, diced
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled & diced
  • 8 oz. raspberries
  • 2 T. white sugar, 1 T. brown sugar, 3 T. strawberry preserves

Mix everything together in a container with lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cinnamon-Sugar Chips:

CC1

  • Flour tortillas (at least 8)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 stick butter, depending on how many tortillas you use
  • Cinnamon & Sugar to taste

Pile the tortillas on top of each other and cut into wedges.  Dissolve 4 T.sugar into melted butter, then baste onto chips.  Sprinkle more sugar on top and then dust with cinnamon.  The sugary butter makes them brown and crisp up perfectly!  We put the oven on broil and watched them until they turned golden brown and crispy.  I walked away from the first batch and they ended up burned to a crisp, so be careful!  Everyone’s oven heats differently, so I recommend doing a  small batch first and use that to determine how long yours need to stay in.

A Day In The Life

24 May

Do your days follow a routine?  Mine do in the sense that I work the same shifts at the laundromat each week, but the before and the after are usually unpredictable.

Friday

7:45 a.m. – Wake up, let the dogs outside and feed them some breakfast.  Peek into the whelping box to make sure everyone is A-OK and then head back upstairs to get myself presentable.

8:15 a.m. – Out the door and on my way to snag some deals before morning deliveries!  I noticed that Walgreens had a few of our favorite cereals on sale this week 2/$5 with a $1 in store coupon.  I had a coupon for $0.60 off a box of Trix and $0.60 off a box of Honey Nut Cheerios.  That means I got both boxes for$2.80….holla!

Cereal

8:20 a.m. – I am on the road for morning deliveries.  But not without my precious….

Oops, I mean…

Coffee

Our Friday deliveries are sort of scattered, so I was on a self-guided Tour de Pittsburgh:  North Huntingdon, Forest Hills, Wilkinsburg, Shadyside, Bloomfield, the Strip, and then finally Downtown!  Phew!

GPS

10:15 a.m. – I finally get back to Changin’ Time and drop off all the things.  Amanda tells me that since DR stayed home from school today, she is able to stay until noon. Music to my ears!  Normally I report for duty at 11:00 a.m., so I am pleased to have an extra hour to myself.  I visit my darling at the rental to check on progress.  The windows are almost completely installed now!  We still need to paint the awnings/gutters grey and cover up the wretched black and gold paint job….

Windows

11:00 a.m. – I head to the house to pack my lunch and let my fur babies run around in the back alley for a few minutes.  The weather has been a little rotten the last few days, so they needed to get out some pent-up energy!  I also use the time to scavenge around the “Paper Retriever” at the borough building to see if there are any coupons dying to be clipped. It’s a little low so I’m nervous to jump in because what if I get stuck!?  How would I explain to the officers, who would no doubt walk out of the police station at that exact moment, that yes I am stuck in a paper dumpster and my dogs are wandering around outside wondering what the heck I am doing.

11:30 a.m. – I feel guilty for squandering one of Amanda’s hours dumpster diving, so I head to Changin’ Time to relieve her.  Lil’ RED desperately needs a nap and DR is going a bit stir crazy, so I’m glad I headed in earlier than noon.  Once they head home, I finish washing diapers and notice that the detergent dispenser is getting low.

SoapDispenser

Then I hang out with some traveling carnies who are in town for the weekend and stopped in to do their laundry.  Oh, life.  How random you are.

12:30 p.m. – I dial into a conference call for a trade association we belong to.  Since I am vice-chair, this is one of four conference calls I attend each month.  We discuss all kind of important diaper industry happenings, none of which I can tell you about!  😉

1:30 p.m. – I finally have time to enjoy a banana, a bottle of water, and some Feedly.  After the carnies clear out, I sort and dry and then re-sort diapers.  Then, move onto some of our wash ‘n fold customers and other diaper business.

CleanDiapers

3:45 p.m. – I quickly speed up the road into Munhall, the neighboring borough, to grab my on-call phone from the senior care place I work every other weekend.  I am basically the weekend answering service/caregiver coordinator.  Since its a holiday weekend, I will be pulling an extra long shift (Friday evening – Tuesday morning).  I chit chat with the office staff and owner about the doodles and random happenings with clients.

Once I got back to Changin’ Time, she told me that our plans to babysit were cancelled!  I am happy in the sense that we have Friday night free, but a little disappointed because we have so much fun when we hang out with her brothers (CO & CJ).  I spent the rest of my shift preparing for an early morning diaper service orientation and wrapped up some administrative stuff.

6:00 p.m. – My favorite time of the day.  Not what I would call quitting time, but certainly time to head back to the house(s).  Most days I walk to and from work, since we live just around the corner.  This becomes less convenient when its snowing, slushy, super hot, or raining, but the weather was perfect.

QuittingTime

After work I stopped at home really quickly to grab a power snack that would actually be my dinner…

powersnack

and then went over and “helped” Christina clean up the rental so that we could show it to a prospective tenant at 7:30 p.m.  The woman was very nice and showed up with a little group of friends to help her decide what she wanted to do.  She seemed to love the place and after about a half an hour decided to mention that she wouldn’t be able to move in until August.  Womp womp.

8:00 p.m. – We swung back around to close the laundromat.  Changin’ Time wash ‘n fold closes at 6:00 p.m., but the laundromat stays open for self-service until 8:00 p.m.  Then, since there was still some daylight I convinced Christina to help me dumpster dive for coupons.

dumpsterdiving2

dumpsterdiving1

Yes, I know I am insane.  But the savings!  Think of the savings!  I returned home happy with my efforts and clipped coupons while Christina had puppy time.

10:00 p.m. – I finally had time to sit down and write this recap!  Now I am going to relax for an hour or so and then head to bed because tomorrow promises to be even more busy and random than today!!!

Garden Shmarden.

22 May

Around the same time every year, I get the urge to garden.  An all-consuming desire to grow my own food.  There are several problems that seem to arise:

1.  I have three dogs, one of whom loves to urinate on every single thing he can in the yard and sometimes even hoist is back end up to poop ON things.  Like a tree.  Or a bush.  Or the fence.  A few years ago, his favorite yard activity was to sneak behind my compost fence and eat the compost.  The point is that even raised beds aren’t going to cut it. Neither is a screen.

2.  I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life.  I forget to water.  I don’t water at all.  I over water.  I drown.  I bake.  I fry.  I killed aloe.  The only thing plant I’ve kept alive is a cactus for 3 years.  I left it in my closet and never watered it.  Apparently I couldn’t break its spirit.

3.  This is the lazy girl in me talking, but I feel like I don’t have the energy to keep up with it.  With the weeding.  The watering.  The digging.  I don’t even like to get dirty.  Between my business, my rental, my own house, whelping puppies, race training, and my duties with my trade association….really?   Gardening?

Am I just being lazy?  Yes.  Do I need to learn more about keeping plants alive?  Yes. Do I need to plan some dog-proof solutions? Yes.  Am I going to garden this year?  No.  Its the same vicious cycle every year, I swear.  I know that if its something I really want to make happen, I just have to implement some kind of plan for next year.  So, like any Type A personality, I have slowly been crafting a master plan for 2014.

Phase 1:

Get back on the compost wagon.  The sooner we start our compost pile back up, the sooner we will have wonderful organic fertilizer.

Begin the hoarding process of containers.  I think that container gardening might be a partial solution for my dog problems, but right now we don’t have anything to plant in.

Think of awesome project name because….duh.

One day I check my yard every hour to determine when the sun hits at what time of day.  I feel like that will be important at some point.  Also, I need to educate myself on which veggies thrive in what conditions (Certain parts of my yard are in full shade while the other half is full sun.  What is partial shade?).

MeGardening

Sixteen Days

21 May

It has been sixteen days since 10 little labradoodles appeared in my living room.

I haven’t really talked too much about whelping here because…well just because.  But, it seems like you guys really love seeing pictures of the doodle-brains so I will try to a few updates.  I will try to write one every two weeks for the 8-10 weeks before they go to their forever homes.

May 5:

The day of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Cinco de Mayo, and the doodles birthday!  It was the day we hoped and thought the doodles would come.  (Dogs have a fairly typical gestation period – around 60 days.  Based on our calculations, she would have been 60 days on Monday.)  We knew that Hallie was in labor based on a few things:  she was digging around in the bedding of the whelping box, she was panting off and on, and she was having visible contractions (her skin was twitching).  The first doodle didn’t actually appear in the living room, but in the bedroom closet, around 4 a.m.  Long story.  We were elated to find out that he had white tipped paws and a white bow tie coloring.  In 45 minutes, she had 4 more all-black puppies.  Everybody was doing latching well and doing great, including mum!  Around 7 p.m. that night, she pushed out the afterbirth and we were please with our 8 puppies.  Then, about an hour later another puppy started crowning.  Not good.  We went into triage mode at that point because he had been in there for about an hour with no amniotic fluids.  He about gave us a heart attack because he was so lethargic at first, but he ended up being fine.  The following day, a giant puppy was still born.  We are pretty sure that she was so big she got stuck.

Despite losing a puppy, Hallie was a rockstar.  I kept joking that she was a Scientologist because she delivered those puppies so quietly, with such ease that she didn’t even make a peep.  She is a natural.  (This is significant because Liberty, our lab, is not a natural.  In fact, I think she would prefer waterboarding to whelping.)

May 12 – Week One:

Hallie is still rocking the motherhood role.  Everybody seems to be adjusting fine except for one.  He’s looking malnourished, not putting on weight.  Although he does latch on and seems to eat until he falls asleep, we are worried that he’s not getting enough.  His brothers and sisters have doubled their birth weight, yet he is half their size.  We are putting sugar syrup on his tongue hoping to give him more energy to nurse.  His temperature is low.  So, we keep him either under a heat lamp or on a heating pad set to low to try and raise his temp.  We begin dropper feeding him using powdered Esbilac Goat Milk Formula reconstituted with sugar water.  He seems to perk up for a few days, putting on just a few ounces of weight.

Tux1

May 19 – Week Two:

On Saturday, May 18th at 4:00 a.m. the very first labradoodle,with the little white tipped feet and the white bow tie, passes away in Christina’s hands.  He just didn’t have any fight left in him.  There was nothing more that we could provide him.  “Parti Boy,” as we affectionately referred to him, was the first puppy that we had ever had fade.  Fading puppy syndrome is the diagnosis given to a puppy that fails to thrive.  A full-term preemie who never develops the strength to live without intervention.  We are both devastated to lose him, Christina moreso because she is the one who got up with him through the night to patiently nurse him.  She is so nurturing and has such a big heart, she took his loss pretty hard.  Hallie hasn’t really been affected  by his absence and neither have the other doodles, which is a good thing.

 

And now, 8 healthy and growing labradoodles continue on their first and best adventure.

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