Thursday, April 18, 2019

Homemade ~ Vanilla Chia Avocado Smoothie

Husband and I used to work for Smoothie King in Florida, and a short stint with our friend in Pittsburgh when she owned "The Juice Shop" so we've got some mad smoothie making skills, lol. 

This is a green smoothie, without the horror of spirulina - if you like it then just disregard this entire recipe because this is for those who want a green smoothie without puke inducing spirulina. 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cubes of ice
  • 1/4 avocado ripe enough that you can press a finger gently into it and cut easily with a knife, if it's too hard then wait a few days, hard avocado is never a good thing
  • 1/2 banana - fresh or frozen (although frozen will help make your smoothie colder)
  • 1 Tablespoon Nesquik Vanilla powder - I only specify this brand because other vanilla powders are very expensive, this can be found at CVS (oddly enough not found on Amazon).
  • 1/3 cup Oregon Chai Tea sugar free, I've found this at my local Walmart 
  • 2/3 cup Milk (I use 2% but use whatever milk you prefer)
  • 1 handful of spinach 
Blend until smooth.

I don't taste the spinach and since I'm not big on salads, it gives me a dose of greens.  I have a cheap blender and it manages to blend the spinach so well there are no chunks.  This is a 16oz smoothie.




Friday, April 05, 2019

Frugal Living ~ Kid Consignments

I've been selling my kids clothing, baby equipment and used toys at local consignment pop up shops for the past two and a half years at three different sales. 

Kids Closet Hagerstown
Kid Cycle Myersville
It's Nearly New Williamsport

My favorite, It's Nearly New, ended in 2018.  I was very sad about this because I liked the owner very much and enjoyed working with her since I first started consigning in 2016.

My 2nd favorite just finished their 3rd event and I've enjoyed watching them grow.  It's a family affair, the dads set up, grandma helps out with the kids, and two moms share the event.  They are really nice and fun to work with, there are volunteers who help put my stuff out on the floor, and when I come to pick up, everything is consolidated.  This will be my go-to event going forward.

Kids Closet is okay for picking up things I can't find at a smaller sale, but the prices can be higher and quality is not always worth the price.  I've tried consigning with them several times and it's always been a hassle to find my items, no one helps and I don't see enough to make it worth the effort. 

I once read a successful bloggers take that consigning isn't worth her time.  I get it, time is a finite resource and it's not renewable, but I like the community aspect of bringing my kids stuff to an event, talking with other mom's and finding good deals on items.  We've gotten cheap skates for $3.00 that my kids can practice in, a small harp with music sheets, pajamas for $3.00, etc.  I could still get these deals by not consigning, but I enjoy getting some money back for our gently used items.  So even though I'm not making much per hour, sometimes $3.00 per hour, I don't care, I'll keep doing it until I run out of items to sell. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Art - Photoshop Kids About to Fly Away

It was extremely windy at Target on April 1st, so we thought it would be hilarious to take photos of the kids looking like they were about to blow away and post them on Facebook.  Lots of friends liked our post but didn't comment, it took a 6 year old looking over her mom's shoulder to inquire about how we did this, mom asked and 6yr old said we had fooled them good for April fools!  LOL.

Here's the basics on how to edit children about to fly away, without going into detailed steps.

First we take a photo without dad.

Next we take photo of dad holding child up.

Next we crop dad out of the photo and replace the background with the first photo, the straight line of the building makes this very easy to line up.

She looks so relaxed.




Friday, March 29, 2019

Frugal Living ~ Annual Memberships

As we continue to drill down into our expenses I've come across two unnecessary expenses:

1. Microsoft Office $99.99
2. Costco Executive Membership $60

We haven't used our Microsoft Office and don't really see the need for it so it seemed like a good candidate for cancel but it was bought through Best Buy so the annual renewal was going through their Geeksquad group and the email was going to one we didn't use anymore so it took some effort to get this canceled.  They tried to say we were over 30 days but I pressed hard to have the entire amount reimbursed as we had not used it and I called as soon as we got the credit card bill. 

I think the most frustrating thing is that we can no longer buy and own software, it's now on an annual membership fee so that makes it an ongoing expensive investment.  Whereas before we'd have paid potentially $400 and held it for 10 years, we would now have to pay $1000 for 10 years of usage.  Unless we are using it professionally I can't see continuing this kind of investment.

At Costco, someone at the register convinced me that I had to have Executive membership so we signed up for it 3 years ago, big mistake, I called to cancel and the guy frankly told me the first year we only made back $4, the next year a little more, and now this year $47.96.  The whole idea is that you make 2% back and if you use all the associated services it will pay itself back the entire $60 but we were not utilizing the services so we overpaid.  They were nice enough to credit the difference for the past year but I regret the prior 2 years of not paying attention to this renewal.

The take away is - pay attention to those renewal membership fees and evaluate each year if they are still necessary.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Last stop - Orlando!

I'm sure by now it's no secret that I develop toys for theme parks and part of that work involves visiting locations to scout out what the competition is up to.  In order to make this work for the kids and dog, I made sure we got a family resort that was dog friendly.  Holiday Inn Resort is 5 minutes from Disney Springs and has double bunk beds!  We were able to have one evening of fun at the hotel, and then on Saturday everyone (except the dog) was off to Disney Springs.  The family stayed busy at the Lego Store while I worked my way through World of Disney.  Everyone was happy with their custom Lego figs and no one complained when I ducked out to work. 






Thursday, March 14, 2019

Moving onto Fort Lauderdale

Mixing business with vacation, what a concept!  The gulf side was our vacation side, moving onto Fort Lauderdale to touch base with my work office and pick up a package for an upcoming meeting.  My oldest remembered the office from our time of living in Florida but the others did not.  They were wowed by all the toys and the COO gave them all Banbao toys to take home. 

Once I finished with work commitments, we moved onto our next Airbnb which had a life size chess set in the backyard!  The kids played while I finished work projects. 

For dinner we went out to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Tijuana Flats, followed by a visit to Pompano Beach during sunset. 

It was Pi day so we grabbed some key lime pie from Bone Fish on the way back to the Airbnb and then I continued to work after the kids went to bed.  Well, at least they enjoyed their day, and I got pie so I'm not complaining about working on a vacation.



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Blind Pass Park, Manasota, FL

For our last day on the gulf side, we picked Manasota for it's renown shark teeth, it was also pretty good shelling.  Once again super big high five for free parking, awesome bathroom area and short walk to the beach!  What a nice location for family beach day. 







We found several shark teeth and more in the local gift shop.  Really fun beach for kids because shark teeth are awesome.

As a side note, we started the day with car trouble and Mike left before the kids got up to drop our vehicle at a nearby mechanic.  We spent the morning getting caught up on laundry, dishes, and cleaning.  It gave us a break from all the outdoor action and when we left after lunch, the dog was only home alone for half a day.