Saturday, December 9, 2017

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Attention educators!

Don’t forget to check the listings for your local Scholastic Warehouse Sale!  For the first time ever, they are offering Buy 1 Get 1 Free on thousands of books, including the Build-a-Box!  Just put in your zip code at the link above to find the closest book sale to you, and be sure to note whether or not it indicates your sale will be offering a Build-a-Box section. 

The coupons are a bit lower than usual.  When you register, you’ll be given a $10 off $100 coupon (usually, you’d get a $10 off $50 and a $20 off $100).  But the BOGO offer, especially on Build-a-Box, will be such a great deal all by itself that you probably won’t even miss the coupon!

I’m extra lucky this year.  Ever since they closed the Scholastic Warehouse that used to be in Chesapeake, the book sales in Hampton Roads were hit or miss, and they seemed to get smaller and smaller due to the cost of rental space in the convention centers.  But now that I’ve moved to TX, I get to once again enjoy an actual warehouse sale out in Arlington.  I can’t wait to check it out!  The selections just can’t be beat at an actual warehouse, because you have a full array of choices instead of the limited selection they haul to the smaller book sales.

Even if you don’t think you need any books, remember that the December sale, especially, usually has a lot of gift items like Klutz craft kits, science kits, Nintendo DS games, and cookbooks.  So if you have kids or grandkids, be sure to check it out!  Remember, too, that this sale is not open to the general public…it’s for educators.  Thankfully, that includes homeschoolers!  And remember to register online and print out your shopping pass to save time at the check-in registration table at the event.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Preparations

I actually got my Christmas tree put up two weeks ago.  I did something 20171128_103354completely different…I’ve had the same Victorian-themed tree for 25 years, so I figured new home, new tree.  I went and got a trio of bright, glittery colors and totally re-made my tree!  The kids love it.  Hubby likes the old one better, but he can live with it.  Personally, I think it has a modern touch, and it’s certainly festive and bright!

My oldest son planned to put Christmas lights on his day off, but my husband beat him to it.  He actually put them up last weekend!  Now that we live in a one-story house, it’s a much easier task to complete.  Last weekend, I put out my wreaths on the front and side windows since I have a corner lot, and I bought new bows to decorate them.  I also put one on my front storm door.  They look so pretty!  My husband even neatly trimmed the bushes all around so you could really see the wreaths.  I got my Christmas garden flag put out there, and I put a new holiday sign on my inner front door.  I might even get some poinsettias to place on the front porch or a couFB_IMG_1510964522734ple of small lighted trees.  I’m feeling very festive this year! 

My neighbor came over to say that she was excited to have a neighbor who also decorates their house.  She was out putting her wreaths up, as well!  I even sprang for an outdoor timer for the lights that turns on and off automatically and also has several light show effects to choose from…they can twinkle, fade, or cascade...but since we already have outdoor lighting wired on the house, my husband just tapped into that since it has a photo cell on it already.  Now there aren’t any wires or power cords hanging down.  Very cool! 

I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year, and I had a great time doing my annual Black Friday shopping spree, even though I did most of it online this year!  It was far less stressful that way.  My husband doesn’t normally shop for me until Christmas Eve, but even he shopped online for the first time this year, so he’ll be done in record time!

We took a lovely stroll through the neighborhood this evening.  We went down to French Lake, which is located in Candleridge Park within our community.  It was an absolutely beautiful night to sit on a bench by the lake and enjoy the lighted fountain in the middle of it!  We were surprised by the massive number of ducks and geese still in the lake, but then we realized that “flying south” for the winter means staying put when you’re already in Texas!  LOL

The previous homeowners really let the bushes grow up around the pool in our backyard.  My husband pretty much cut them down almost to the ground over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  We spent some time working outside today, sweeping and vacuuming up leaves from around the pool decking and in the yard and curb around the house.  It looks so lovely out there!  He even put multi-colored icicle lights around the back of the house that nicely light up the patio around the pool.  It’s very festive!  We’re really enjoying our new home and enjoy taking care of it.  We feel very blessed indeed!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I got to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family…our first one here in Texas!  It was a little strange for me to not be having guests.  We’ve always had friends from church, friends with missing spouses, and stray relatives who happened to be in town without other family come and join us in years past.  We never like to see anyone spend the holiday alone.  But we really don’t know anyone here yet, so it was just my husband and children sitting down with me this year. 

It was actually kind of nice, but I made the same amount of food as usual, if not more, minus an extra dessert.  Needless to say, we have tons of leftovers, but I”m creatively putting them to good use! 

I made more mashed potatoes than I’ve ever made before…more than would fit at once in my 8-qt. pressure cooker…just so I could make lots of my mom’s famous fry-up for breakfast/brunch through the weekend.  Yum!  It’s such comfort food.  You basically warm up the leftover mashed potatoes with some butter in an electric skillet and throw in whatever you have left over…in this case, turkey, ham, corn, green beans, stuffing…and lots of cheese with some spices like salt, pepper, and Nature’s Seasonings and/or garlic powder.  You brown the potatoes on the bottom a bit and keep turning it over until it’s ooey gooey with melted cheese.  Then you serve it in bowls with some ketchup for dipping.  YUM, YUM, YUMMY FOR MY TUMMY!!!  We always looked forward to it on the weekends growing up, because my mom made mashed potatoes most nights of the week, so there were always leftovers.  It was her favorite way of using up the odds and ends in the fridge.  I’ve gotten my own family totally hooked on it so that they, too, look forward to it’s yummy goodness!

Tonight, I cut up about a pound of the turkey breast meat to put in some Turkey Fettuccini Skillet.  That’s always really good, too.  And tomorrow, I’ll likely add a thick layer of cut-up turkey to some Banquet Homestyle Chicken and Biscuit kits.  My kids really like that when I add a bunch of meat to it.  It’s another great way to use up all that leftover turkey!  Also, in the morning, I plan to bake up a batch of Ham Potato Puffs for breakfast.  That will use up a little of the mashed potatoes and some ham, and it makes a lot that are great to keep in the fridge for the fellas in my house to grab before work on weekday mornings.

I hope that gives you some ideas of what to do with your leftovers!  And I hope you and your family had a wonderful, joyful Thanksgiving together!  We truly have so much for which to be thankful.  Remember to count your blessings!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Halloween 2017

We started the day by going out to IHOP for breakfast so the kids could enjoy their free Scary Face Pancakes!  Hayden wasn’t going in to work until the afternoon, so he got to go with us, just like the old days. 

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Haylee turned 13 at the end of the summer, but with our recent move to TX from VA, I figured Holden would have more fun trick-or-treating alongside his sister, so I let her go again this year.  Of course, she was quite happy about that!  I had to run out the day before to find her a costume at the thrift store.  I lucked out and found the cutest Mad Hatter costume for $4.  I made a couple of quick alterations, and it was so adorable on her!  Holden decided to go as a King again, and his costume kept him nice and warm.

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I have been sick for the last 3 weeks, and I was feverish when Halloween rolled around, so I decided to drive the van and follow alongside them so I wouldn’t get a chill in the cold.  That was a good call.  I had my mug of hot tea, a pile of cough drops, and the heater running.  It allowed me to run home when somebody had to go to the bathroom, too.  It actually worked out well, because there were some big gaps between houses at times, and it kept the kids from having to walk too much extra.  For once, Holden didn’t complain about wanting to go home because he was tired of walking, and the kids stayed toasty between stretches.  They were also able to dump the buckets of candy into larger bags in the van so it didn’t get too heavy for them.

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They decided they had the best Halloween ever!  They laughed together and were so excited, and they had a such a great time!  They didn’t fight at all, and they really enjoyed themselves.  Holden kept telling me how much fun he was having, so mission accomplished.  They got great candy, too!  Our neighbors were so nice.  Steve stayed home and passed out goodie bags of candy on the porch since Hayden had to work that night.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

B1G1F Starbucks Holiday Drinks Starting Today!

Beginning today, November 9th, through Monday, November 13th, you caHero Front Cupn stop in at Starbucks and score B1G1F holiday drinks between 2-5 PM each day at participating locations.

Included drinks include the Chestnut Praline Latte, Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Holiday Spice Flat White, and the Teavana Joy Brewed Tea.  The promotion is meant for you to share a beverage with a friend or family member!

So check with your local Starbucks to see if they are participating.  Enjoy!

Holiday Drinks

Monday, November 6, 2017

REVIEW: Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.

My 13-year old daughter was super excited to get to review the Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.


WHAT IS IT?:

The new Thin Stix Creativity Pack includes 24 colors of the unique solid tempera paint sticks that my daughter loves.  Thin Stix are the more slender version of Kwik Stix that allow kids to paint in more detail.  This complete set includes all 12 classic colors, all 6 neon colors, and all 6 metalix paint sticks!

This pack is now available in your local BJ’s Wholesale Club and on their website at BJs.com, as I mentioned a couple of months ago, for just $19.99.

These can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as poster board, paper, wood, cardboard, and more!


OUR EXPERIENCE:

My daughter loves these paint sticks so much!  She is 13, and she just loves to sit and paint with these, one picture right after another.  They’re a great boredom buster, for sure!  She now owns every color of both the original Kwik Stix and these Thin Stix in every finish.  You might recall that she reviewed the 6-pack of neon colors and the 12-pack of classic colors earlier this year.  She just can’t get enough of them!

What she loves the most is how bright and vibrant the colors are and how smoothly they can be applied to just about any kind of surface.  They dry in just 90 seconds, DSCF4919so she doesn’t have to worry about her little brother coming along and messing them up.  She enjoys framing some of her creations or pinning them to her cork display board and displaying them on her bedroom wall.  I think my favorite part about them is that there’s no mess!  Not only do they dry quickly so there’s no smearing, but there’s also no need for messy brushes or water cups…no chance for spills, and no messy cleanup. Even the box they come in has a nice storage tray to make putting them away orderly, and it’s also easy to find the color you want.

With this particular pack, she mentioned to me that the metalix seems even more metallic than sets she’s had in the past.  I don’t know if there was a reformulation, but when she showed her drawings to me, I noticed the shimmery finish right away.  I really wish I could do the colors and finishes justice in my photographs! They are just so vivid!  She loves bright colors in all things (even her choice of clothing), so these suit her so well.DSCF4914

She has used the Thin Stix sets so many times before, but she usually just draws and colors with them on paper or cardstock.  This time around, she wanted to try out some new surfaces, so we went shopping and picked out her initial carved from wood so she could decorate it for her bedroom door.  It turned out so cute!  She used the gold metalix paint stick to draw the “ice cream cone” texture across the pink “ice cream” drawing.  It looks really neat in person the way it shimmers in the light!  She really enjoyed using them on the wood surface and wants to do the rest of the letters in her name (I see a Christmas present coming!).

She also tried them out on caDSCF4915rdboard this time.  She used the metalix to make a neat, shimmery “Fall” decorate plaque for the front door.  She said that no matter what kind of surface she used them on, they were just as smooth and easy to apply.  But I think she liked using the wood surface the best of all!  The outcome had a very finished look to it.

She was able to quickly create vibrant greeting cards for various occasions, a cute owl drawing, and she even demonstrated the vast variety of colors available in this pack by creating a rainbow display of all of the hues in succession.  You can see how many beautiful colors there are!

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I really think this Thin Stix Creativity Pack would make the ultimate holiday gift for the creative child in your life.  Haylee had this pack on her Christmas wish list until she got lucky by getting it for review!  Now she doesn’t have to wait for it.  Smile

Grab one of these wonderful complete color collections, and let the creativity begin!

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this awesome pack by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017