Saturday, June 24, 2017

Watching the Races

If NASCAR is on my dad will have the TV on watching.  Bear will likely be close by watching along.  He wants to do everything Grandpa does.  It is sweet to see these two together.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I hate ticks!

The ticks in the northeast are pretty bad this year.  We have picked ticks off everyone at one point or another over the last few weeks. I have even seen them crawling up the front door.  

This product was picked up on a whim to complete an Amazon order for free shipping.  I didn't think it would work at all, but I was wrong.  Coco had a tick on her a few days ago and it came off super easy, mouth parts intact without any issues using it. Can't ask for anything better than that! I just want to add that this is NOT a sponsored post.  Just a great product that works.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This Didn't Go As Planned...

While we are staying at my fathers place I am trying to make myself useful.  Cooking and cleaning obviously are easy things for me to do when I have spare time.  We are trying to every few days tackle something that needs to get done that my dad doesn't really have time to do.  For example when we first got here he had cleaned the whole kitchen and wiped down the outside of the fridge but never cleaned the inside.  I took the time to pull everything out and cleaned it.

The next item on my list was the Keurig.  It had seen better days.  The super hard water we have here does a number on it even when the water is filtered though a Brita prior to going into the tank.  My dad doesn't recall the last time he did it.  He thought maybe when it was new.  So clearly with it running slow and being heavily used it was a great task to complete.  A few hours of just running vinegar, then lime away, then water until clean while watching the kids would be an easy task.  I was wrong.  So very very wrong.

I cleaned the removable parts and the outside before running the vinegar though.  This is exactly what I do for my own Keurig on a month or bi-monthly basis.  We had the lime away so it was just going to be an extra step.  Anyway, the first couple of cups that poured out were gross!  I'll spare you the pictures, but trust me nothing you would want to see in your coffee mug first thing in the morning.

 Then trouble hit.  It stopped spitting out water.  The line was clogged somewhere.  I blew into the tank water line and nothing.  I check where the needle pierces the cup and nothing.  I just need to let it sit and let the vinegar do the work.  Several minutes later I try again.  It spits out a cup.  Awesome!  More gross outcome.  Then another cup.  I'm on a roll now.  Nope, it stops working again.  Ok let it sit.  10 minutes later nothing.  Let it sit some more. Still Nothing.  I blow in the lines to try to clear it and nothing.

Oh Boy.  I'm in trouble now.

Hubs steps in to help.  He tries what I had done with the same result.  It worked a bit, then it stopped.  He took things apart to clear the lines in an attempt to fix it.  The stuff he got out of it was gross.  I can't believe we drank coffee out of it daily.  With it back together and cleaned out we tried it again.  It works until about cup 3 like before then it stops.  Hubby tries a few things then it works a bit then stops.

So in cleaning it, I broke it.  Hubs ran out to pick up another on while I watch the kids and explain to my dad that in my attempt to clean it, I broke it.  He took it better than I expected, but I did get an "I told you it was fine" mini speech.  Nothing I hadn't already told myself repeatedly while trying to fix it.  However when I told him I replaced it with a new one there was not really much left to say.

On my way out the door he did say one thing...  "So and So always says... No good deed gets left unpunished." Well pretty much that's exactly how it felt.  I set out to do something nice like descale his Keurig.  Should have been easy.  Something I've done 100 times to my own.  Only to have it blow up in my face.  At the end of the day all I can do is just move on from it.

Dad's final words on the subject...
"You cleaned that Keurig so well it looks brand new."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

With Bear July 2013

with Eve August 2016

Nothing is better than seeing your husband holding his kids.
Happy Father's Day, Hubs!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mother of All Yard Sales

In a town about an hour away they have a massive yard sale with hundreds of sellers along an old air strip.  People bring uhaul trucks to carry all the stuff they want to sell.  It is $60 for a spot so I was expecting prices to be a bit higher than I would have liked.  However, the night before the event it was expected to rain all morning.  We assumed it would be a washout, but when we woke up in the morning it was just cloudy with a chance of rain.   This kept some seller and buys from showing up.  That said I was still pleasantly surprised by the deals I did find.

The clouds looked like it was going to open up on us.  I am thankful they didn't!

Eve spent her morning in the ergo carrier on my chest while Bear was in the backpack carrier on Hubs.  He also pulled the folding cart of the stuff we picked up.  

 It was pretty crowded there even with the threat of rain.  It did motivate the sellers to off load their stuff with a very few drops came down.  

We picked up the Paw Patrol Paw, Patroller for $8.  It was in pretty good condition.  A few of the stickers that were messed up or peeling.  Frankly, that doesn't bother me when the price was so low for the condition.  I had seen several that were asking $15-20 for equal or worse condition item.    

This is was a cheap impulse buy. It was a whole $2 with batteries.  I don't love that it is a pink color but Bear seems to care less about and more that it is a "laptop" he can play with.  There are more functions on this than I had originally thought which is a nice bonus. 

We have a couple of these toddler dolls that were given to us from a friend for Eve.  She can't use them right now as they are for 3 year old.  They also aren't expensive new, about $20 or so per doll. A bit more for some of the more popular dolls.  That said I paid $10 for the two dolls.  They are in pretty good condition in my opinion.  Elsa's hair needs to be braided, but its something that I can easily fix.  I am thinking that she may be able to play with these ones and I won't care if they get messed up. 

Books are always something I am willing invest in.  I pick up a few kids chapter books that looked interesting to us and some of the Disney storybooks.  I don't like paying full price for them and here they are particularly cheap.  I have to limit how many I pick up as we are still limited on space. 

DVD's are also plentiful here, as they seemed to be in Maryland as well.  Here they tend to be $2-3, but I will only pay $1 for used DVD.  It never hurts to ask if they will take less so I did and I lucked out.  I will toss the cases and put them in a CD/DVD case.  Who needs them to take up so much space?

Overall not a bad haul for some time spent walking around looking a lot of random stuff.  I never mind and afternoon outdoors walking around with my family.  Throwing in some cheap stuff we were looking for and it makes it just a bit better.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's Friday so I'm sharing my current favorites.  

Mornings Outside - Since all four of us are up before the rest of the house we try to keep it as quiet as possible.  Being out on the screened in porch every morning means the kids can play without disturbing everyone else.  It also gives us an easy screen free morning.  The hot cup of coffee with the cool breeze isn't half bad either.

Last Man Standing - We started watching this show because it was on Netflix and instantly liked it.  When we caught up on what was available we moved on to what episodes we could get online from the ABC network.  Sadly, I read that the show has been cancelled despite it being one of their higher rated shows.  I hope someone else picks them up.  

Having a pool all to ourselves - My dad has a pool at his house that we are taking full advantage of it.  The solar cover means its a more tolerable temperature too. 

Spiked Seltzer - The Cranberry and the Lime were our favorites.  I swear I don't even taste the alcohol in it.  I see plenty of these while sitting poolside this summer.

Mexican Train Dominoes - We started playing this with my In-Laws and really enjoyed it.  We picked up a double twelve set so that we could play at our house.  I did not realize how hard it was to find a colorful set of double twelve dominoes with dots.  The majority were only written numbers which I don't really like.  We found this super cheap set and it is just that.  A super cheap set.  It works which is really all that matters.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Find Fail

I talk a lot on here about the great deals I find, "The deal of the Day," but I wanted to show one that didn't turn out the way I planned.  Recently, I saw this puzzle at a local yard sale.  It was a Thomas the Train one that Bear would love.  Its a bit more than he can handle right now, but he will grow into it.  The pieces were in great condition.  For $3, SOLD!

Well I'm sure you all see where this is going.  I asked the seller if all the pieces were there and she told me yes they are.  When I got home I built the puzzle to double check.  

In case you don't see it let me help you out...

Yup, 2 pieces missing.  One from the center.  ugh.  Now I'm ticked off.  A little bit at the seller and a lot at myself.  First off, the seller should know the items they are selling and check that all parts are included.  If they are missing they should share that info, especially when specifically asked.  I'm mad at myself for not counting the pieced before paying for it since it was open after all.  I should have known better.  The extra few minutes really would have saved me money.  Even if it was just $3.

I put the puzzle back into the box while trying to keep it as together as possible.  I'm going to just let him play with it as is right now.  Though I am debating possibly doing a few things to make it worth the money I spent on it.  My number one option right now is to cut the puzzle up into smaller ones that would make new edges.  That way he can handle building the smaller puzzles right now.  I've also tossed the idea around about cutting up the cover to make cheap art for the playroom at the next location.   At the very least I could just let him play with it as is until he craps it out then toss it.  Either way I think I can salvage something out of it to make it worth the small amount of money that I paid.                            

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Day of Cooking

We completely did not intend on spending the bulk of the day cooking, however some days are just like that. It needed to be done so the items didn't go bad.  It also meant that we had a few day where we didn't have to cook.  

The plan was Sauce, Stuffed Shells, Chili, and Meatloaf (dinner for the evening).

The item that would take the longest is getting the liquid out of the shredded zucchini.  Clearly had to be done as it needed time to drain.  This is key as we found out the hard the way the first time I made them.  Silly me thought I could skip that step.  NEVER skip that step!

We were limited in the pots and pans that we have so we really had to plan this whole thing out.  I started the cooking with the sauce since that normally takes the longest.

I added sausage to my sauce.  Brown on all sides, slice, add to sauce.  You can brown the slices, however if you are cooking the sauce long enough you don't really have to.  I never took a picture of it, but I also cooking (and drained) the ground sausage for the stuffed shells.  They needed to cool completely before adding them to the ricotta mixture.  

The sauce finished sooner than I thought which allowed Hubby make his chili that much sooner.

I moved on to more meal prep.  To go with the meatloaf there were having mashed potatoes and green beans. 
Puffs to keep the youngest happy.

I used the pioneer woman's meatloaf recipe without the "sauce" she uses.  It was my dads birthday meal request and he wanted brown gravy.

Hubby did a great job wrapping the meatloaf in bacon.  It made everything better.  We did not have broiler pan so we made one out of a pizza pan and sheet pan.  Whatever, it worked!

The shells made two trays with 26 shells each and a few extra.  

The meatloaf came out better than expected.  I am not really a meatloaf person but this happened to be pretty good.

Warming the canned gravy and blanching the green beans for dinner. 

After cooking for far too many house this is what we had for dinner.

Next time I need to plan out meals that don't require use of the same pot for the bulk of it.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

12m girl toy suggestions

I need your help...

Eve is turning one at the end of July and I'm trying to come up with gift ideas for her that we can give to family.  The only catch is that the gifts need to be relatively small in size.  We are currently staying with family and we are limited in space.  This has made finding gift ideas super hard since most 1 year old toys are bulky in size.  There are about a dozen people who get her gifts and so if they all get her a big toy that takes up a bunch of space we are in trouble.  Thankfully we can give gift suggestions to them.  This is where you all come in. I need smaller size gifts that are 12+ for my little Eve.

Here are the ideas I have so far....

There are also a short list of about 5 board books, but I'm hoping to get about 20-25 ideas to give them a bit of variety if I can.  Clearly I need help.

Help me out Please!!!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Finds for a Friend

A while ago a friend of mine asked me to look out for some of the Lalaloopsy minis.  Her daughter wouldn't stop talking about them after playing at a friends house.  She shared that she took her daughter to the store all ready to buy them only to be told "they weren't the right ones" by her daughter.  The new ones have the rubber clothes and the old ones don't.  She really only wanted the old ones like her friend had.  She was searching the sale sites for her area and asked that I keep an eye out for them. When toys change or get discontinued they can be pretty expensive and she didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on them.  I completely understand this so I decided to help her out.  She said she wanted to spend no more than $40 total included the cost of shipping it to her.  

After about a week of looking, though not very hard I might add, I found one for $20.  It looked like a decent amount of stuff in the picture.  I'm not very knowledgeable of these toys but, based off the info from my friend this was what she was looking for.  

The average sale posts I found were asking about $1 per mini doll and about $20 per play set.  Pretty steep if you ask me for even for the best quality used toys.  Those aren't prices I would pay for them even if it wasn't my money.  Maybe, Maybe, for a single doll or two that my kid specifically asked for, but never for a starter set like my friend wanted.  From the pic on the ad I could see 3-4 play sets (house, trees, bus), at least 2 dozen dolls, and a bunch of other stuff.   Obviously, compared to what I was finding this looked like a great deal.   The price is so low I figured I'd take the chance and jump on it.  I messaged the person and pick it up within 24 hours.  

There are only two reasons that I have found why people post stuff super low when every other post is more expensive.  The first is the items are just crap and not worth it all, but they are playing on the hype of the item.  The lot I was looking at appeared well cared for.  The lady clearly stored the items in the bin and storage case.  I also don't see lots of filth in or around the items.  She took the time to try to show what's there even if it was a quick picture.  I was pretty confident this wasn't crap.    

That leaves the only other option, she wanted it out of her house. Every now and then you find people that have toys they just want gone.  The kids don't play with it and it's taking up space.  They price it low to get it sold quickly!  These are the Lots I'm looking for like the lalaloopsy one I found. 

 I let my friend know I found something for her, but wasn't sure just what.  I took it home, cleaned and sorted it.

There was way more there than I thought there would be.  The carrier case felt like Mary Poppins Bag, more items just kept coming out of it.  These were also in very good condition.  Most of the dolls were like new.

Since there were obviously a few sets there I spent about 5 minutes on google to see if I could pair up the play sets with its extra stuff.  It didn't take long, but none of the play sets were complete.  Not that it really matters for the price I got it for.  I put together what I could and moved on.  

This left me with the mess of extra stuff and then there were the bazillion mini dolls to deal with.  While I was cleaning them I did notice that there were some doubles.  Plenty looked similar in one way or another, but the doubles could be removed.  

At this point I text my friend.  Basically, I explained what I found and what was there.  I asked her if she wanted it all or just part. A few pics and skype call later we figured it all out.  She told me she wanted the house, accessories, and about 1/2 the dolls.  I pulled what she wanted aside then moved on to the rest.  She paid me $15 for it though I only asked her for $10.  

When I went through I pulled out all doubles.  There is no point in giving my friend two of the same stuff. These were all the doubles as far as characters and such go.

Below is what I ended up selling to someone else.  I put it on the site for $20, but took $15 for it.  Someone picked it up quickly which was good since we were about move and I didn't want to be stuck with it. 

I ended up keeping a small bag of the dolls and extra stuff I didn't sell for Eve and/or my niece.  I don't know what I'm going to do with the stuff I pulled aside.  My nieces is about the right age for it so it likely will just go to her.  Eve is not close to the age at which she could play with them anytime soon.  

Sure, I could have sold the rest and made a bit more profit off of the items, but I'm happy with what I got.  Who knows that's not out of the question just yet.  To recap.... $20 item that I resold for $30, giving me a profit of $10.  

Casey:  I hope C & S enjoy these!