- Worked for one hour preparing consignments for an upcoming spring sale
- Paid bills
- Watered my plants
- Ordered a plant warmer and purple sweet potato slips
- Made cookies for Violette's class
- Took kids to school in the afternoon to spend time with their teachers
- Played Pokemon Go
- Came home, made a latte, did a few dishes, read a book for an hour
- Went to the library which just re-opened this week to check out more books, dad and the kids met me there on their way home from school and we enjoyed browsing together
- Wrote this blog post
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Tuesday, February 09, 2021
Happy Random Tuesday! The following is the most random thing I can think of at the moment.
My mom is in her mid-seventies and she gets hit with an unbelievable amount of junk mail. We call anything that is not a bill junk mail. She tries to get through it but after getting Covid last November she slowed down and it piled up. It might have even piled up before then because she had over seven bags of mail in her spare room. One day I asked if there was anything we could do to help and she asked if we'd go through her junk mail and shred the parts that could be recycled. I told her it's an assigned kid chore and we'd be happy to help.
The kids feel like they've hit a gold mine, every letter seems to have a gift. Apparently retirement is the age to get tons of charity requests, which is weird since retires are on a fixed income.
In this picture we have found: money in the form of $1.00 bill and some change, playing cards, a stocking, tiny dream catchers, keychains, a CD, hundreds of address labels (grayed out for privacy), tons of notepads and shopping lists (LOVE THESE), travel toothpaste and toothbrush. Not included in this photo is a pair of socks! My oldest was happy to acquire these. We now have 25+ calendars to choose from, sometimes the same company will send them twice! It's been fun to go through the mail bags but I can see why it was getting overwhelming for mom. Glad we can help her out!
Monday, February 08, 2021
We've been Costco members since 2006. We became members because I had a college class that took us on a field trip to the local Costco where the store manager gave a tour and told us she made over 100K in salary. I believe this was to show us the variety of ways we could use our MBA upon graduation, prior to this tour I might have assumed a store manager would make 50-60K max. As a side note, I dropped out of the MBA program after four classes when I realized it wouldn't benefit me at my job but that's a story for another day. Anyway, she really sold me on the awesomeness of Costco, so much so that we've been members for 15 years and have only recently begun to question our membership.
I recently began a Sam's membership to compare prices. They offered $45 reimbursement in product, basically making the first year free because annual membership is $45.
We've decided we cannot keep both memberships so the following is an exercise in determining which is the better option for our family.
Which warehouse is more beneficial in terms of distance?
We live 3.6 miles from Sam's Club and 27 miles from Costco.
Conclusion - Sam's wins this easily.
Can we get the same products at Sam's and are prices comparable to Costco?
I don't know if Sam's offers the following yet, I consider them "extras" that were great deals but they are not part of the core reason we use a warehouse membership.
- Classic Lego set 1500pcs for $39.99 - this makes the price per brick $0.026 per piece. On average, Lego's cost $0.104 per piece, so this is a pretty incredible deal for a Lego collector.
- 32 degrees tops and bottoms - bought in November with $3.00 off coupon for $12.99, I live in these during winter.
- Kids clothing - over the years I've found great coats and mittens and usually from great name brands.
- 3 storage containers for 11.99, making it basically $4 per container and these are 21 x 13 x 10", this is definitely something I've never found cheaper anywhere, except sometimes being given away free from a neighbor, just found 6 in January!
- Boom boom shrimp - an appetizer which I used to get at my favorite sea food restaurant Bonefish Grill. It felt like we were saving by buying these and not eating out but they cost $13.99 per box for two servings. I'm at the point now where if I want it badly enough I'll figure out how to make it myself.
- Tikka Masala - this recipe takes two days to make from scratch so I prefer to buy pre-made, but not at the price of keeping a membership for one item. I'll find an alternative.
- Chicken Taquitos - I can get the same brand at Walmart but haven't found at Sam's yet.
- Madras Lentils - I'm going to try to recreate these myself.
Costco Membership is $60
Sam's Membership is $45
Hence they are basically at a break even point for me when only considering comparable cost of similar items.
Gas prices - currently Costco in Frederick is $2.22 per gallon and Sam's Club is $2.33, our typical gas tank fill up is 27 gallons so we'd save $3.06 at Costco, but the 54 mile round trip would not make the savings worth the drive.
Conclusion: if we can live without the "extras" and gourmet items, we can probably make it work at Sam's.
Is it really worth the money to still buy in bulk?
I've been under the illusion for 15 years that buying anything in bulk at warehouses equals savings. When we first became members in 2006 this may have been true. We lived in Fort Lauderdale and shopped at Publix or Winn Dixie until Aldi arrived in 2012. In the early days I remember Aldi not having good produce, having a very small selection to the point of needing to shop at both Aldi and a main grocery store. In the last two years, I've noticed Aldi has expanded their store footprint and has significantly increased their offerings so that I'm down to a handful of items needed elsewhere.
Recently I've started breaking down every item to see if it's worth buying in bulk and I've realized many items are not worth it. For example:
- 12 pack Tomato Paste $5.99 = $0.50 each at Costco
- 1 Tomato Paste at Aldi - $0.29
Tuesday, February 02, 2021
I first made this soup 10 years ago when I had a 2 year old and baby! A few things have changed, okay many things have changed, like twice as many kids and we now live in Maryland for starters! We've been gardening since we moved here and some of my ingredients are now based on what we grow and how we freeze/can it.
The original recipe is HERE.
- 3-4 gloves finely sliced
- 1 cup of celery (can be frozen or fresh)
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- Small drizzle of oil
- Beef Broth - 1 quart
- Tomatoes - 1 quart bag frozen (which is simply tomatoes with skin removed in hot bath then frozen), this would equal a 28oz can if bought in store (use fire roasted for extra kick)
- Zucchini sliced - 1 quart bag frozen (alternative would be one fresh zucchini, at least 1lb)
- 1 teaspoon basil
Monday, February 01, 2021
There are many Chai recipes online but my contribution is the addition of turmeric. This lovely yellowish orange spice boasts of many medicine properties and has been used in Indian food for thousands of years. I personally suffer with very sensitive skin in the winter, so I was pretty happy to discover this has anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant, both of which are very much needed during the winter! I'm so excited about turmeric that I want to grow it this summer and make my own spice powder. I can just imagine it in lovely small jelly jars.
Recipe for Chai Tea brew:
- Fresh Ginger Root - 1 inch with skin removed
- Whole Cloves - 1 Tablespoon
- Cinnamon Sticks - 2
- Whole Cardamom Seeds - 1 Tablespoon
- Whole Allspice - 1 Tablespoon
- Turmeric - 1 teaspoon (later when I have the root, I plan to use 1 inch like the ginger)
- Water 1 quart and 1 pint
- 1/2 cup of chia tea brew
- 1/2 cup steamed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla powder (we use Nesquik)
- Add sweetener to personal taste