Monday, May 23, 2011

Rite Aid Round UP #1

Today was my first 'real' trip with coupons! Something tells me I'm going to look back at this and laugh someday. It is certainly something I want to get into!! We shall see...I'm actually going to a 'couponing class' tomorrow night that is being put on by Frugal Living NW.

Rite Aid Round Up #1 ~ 5/23/11
Transaction #1
Subtotal {tax excluded}: $36.33
Coupons: -$2.00
+$5.00 UP+ Reward Earned (Scunci)
+$10.00 UP+ Reward Earned (Wet Wipes/Banana Boat)
$ tendered {tax included}: $37.31

Transaction #2
Subtotal {tax excluded}: $28.46
Coupons: -$1.55
B1G1: -$3.99
-$5.00 UP+ Rewards Earned (scunci)
UP+ Rewards: -$15.00 {from Tran #1}
$ tendered {tax included}: $9.15

Transaction #3
Subtotal {tax excluded}: $22.66
Coupons: -$2.00
UP+ Rewards: -$6.00 {from Tran #2 and last week $1}
$ tendered {tax included}: 16.44

Total Shelf Price: $87.45
Total Savings {coupons, UP+ Rewards): $24.55
Total OOP (Out of Pocket): 62.90
Savings in %s: 28%
So, I did not do as good once I got home and added everything up as I thought. Dang it!!
To do next time
*Watch videos on - extra savings
*Figure out how much at RA you have to spend to get the $3/15 purchase code
*Watch the prices/register
     One of the suntan lotions I bought I was obviously not paying attention because I got a really expensive suntan lotion instead of a cheaper one. Though it will be okay in the end because it is the baby kind and I like to use that on my face because they don't have oil.
*Learn coupon lingo a bit more. Like what is the difference between "1 per transaction" "1 per person/customer" "1 per purchase". Because in the reading I've done since I got home, there is a big difference.
*Be prepared.
*Figure out if RA is like Safeway. If something says 2/$5 do you have to buy two or can you buy one for $2.50?? I'm thinking so according to my receipts.
Interesting Tidbits
*I have enough binders (hair ties to some) for a year-ish
*I have 4 bottles of suntan lotion and that will definiely get the two of us through the summer!!
*The paperplates and salt pepper are to bring to my high school reunion this next weekend.
*I can't wait to do this again ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

can you read {inbetween} on the lines??

So I am a special education teacher. I love my job. It is what I was meant to do with my life. I teach Kindergartners - 3rd graders the fine arts of reading, writing, and math.

Before I get into my project I did today I want to share a few student successes. I cannot share their names or faces but I want to share so that one day {because there will be a day} I can look back this moment and smile.

*I have a 2nd grade boy. We'll call him Popsicle. In September 2009 when I {I meaning me and my wonderful instructional assistants!!!} started teaching Popsicle he could not write his name, count to 30, subtract or add without extreme verbal/gestural prompting, or even handle being in any classroom for longer than 30 minutes without having extreme {kicking, throwing things, crying hysterically} meltdowns. He was known in our school. Fast forward to this week... Popsicle missed ONE question on an end of year GRADE LEVEL math test. One, and only one kid in the whole class had a higher score than that. I want to cry just thinking about it. I had tears in my eyes today when this happened, no joke. Popsicle now knows all his letters {upper and lower case}, can sound out words, write sentences with details, subtract with regrouping to the hundreds, read at a first grade level, and PAY ATTENTION TO HIS TEACHERS!!! He can do so many more things than this, but these are the things I will remember from this week. Oh, one more thing. During math today {in his gen ed classroom} he CHOSE to finish a writing assignment instead of play math games!!! Tear.

*I have another second grade boy. We'll call him Tiger. Tiger is an extreme kid. He means well and is fully capable but does not always work up to his potential. Last week during writing {a particularly tricky subject for many of my kiddos, Tiger included} her ASKED for more paper to write MORE sentences. Amazing.

I am a very proud teacher and try to be an advocate for my student. I also try to make things easier for them. Though buying things is SO stinking expensive. So, I've made a few various things for them like Touch Math Cards, whisper phones, and t-stools. Which, until today, I have no idea why I didn't blog about. Between my home blog and this blog {meant for cooking/baking/homemaking} you'd think I'd have...

Anyways, finally on to what I made today!!

I think I'm going to call them Reader Guides. Not totally sure, we'll see if it picks up with the kids. The purpose is that some kids {well, a lot of my kids} have problems tracking which leads to problems in reading. The thought behind these are that if there is a color highlighting one specific line then your eyes will naturally be drawn, and stay drawn, to that specific line of text, thus improving your accuracy in reading. Accuracy increases fluency. Fuency increases comprehension. And that my friends, leads to good readers!!!

All I used to make these was old overhead transparency papers (which my school has a TON of in a cabinet) and see through divider tabs that I cut to make the right size. So my out-of-pocket cost was $0. How's that for efficient!!!

shhh...i'm reading...

Along with the t-stools & reader guides I've also made whisper phones for my classroom. They are certainly not as fancy pants as these but they certainly do the job. I bet my kiddos {especially a few little girls} would l o v e it if I made them a duet whisper phone...I'm not sure I'm ready for that!

There are made out of PVC and PVC elbows. Cheap and effective and my kiddos love using them!! Positive all around!

Over here you can read about why Whisper Phones are good!!

t-stool are not for fools...

I can't believe I've never written about this!!! The t-stool. It is a one legged stool used to help students stay seats. Well, essentially that is it. It allows from your core down to me moving but your body to remain in a sitting position. It works great on students who have too much energy. I bet I would have greatly benefited from one of these as a kid! Problem is, like many other items in the teaching realm, it is really really really expensive! Like $100 for one. See examples here and here and here.

So what did I do, I enlisted the help of a few good men at Home Depot to help me find the correct parts and my handy husband to help me build.

This is the finished product.

Cutting out the circle with his new saw.

Circles are tricky {so says the husband}

the nuts & bolts

Leg and top. This leg height is for a 5th grader.

We used this kind of drill bit so the bolts would 'sink' down into the wood and not hurt the children's bums.
Finished product


12/11 - Update. My students love them. The fight over who gets to use them...and they work!! My husband's to-do list includes making a few more over Christmas break!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Company French Toast...

We've made this recipe when, well, we have company!! It is so easy, quick, tasty, and delicious. We even carted all {7} of the ingredients to the beach with us one weekend to make there!!

Company French Toast
Printer Friendly Version

½ C Margarine or butter
1 C light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 eggs
1 ½ C milk
Dash of salt
12 slices white bread {may cut off crusts}

Melt butter in a 9x13-inch pan. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Cover with 2 layers of bread slices. Beat eggs with milk. Add salt. Pour over bread slices. Cover and let stand in refrigerator overnight. Uncover and bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Cut into pieces. Invert onto plate to serve.

Monday, May 16, 2011

cutting coupons...part 2

Last weekend I took advantage of my free weekend to dabble into some more coupon sites and even bought myself a Sunday paper! I generally don't shop at Safeway but I have not been in the mood to go to Winco since Jason stopped going grocery shopping with I TOTALLY see why my Mom used to not go to Winco unless I was with her. I was a bit of a cart organizer and bagger fanatic when I was younger. For some reason, it is less motivating to do it for my own house...weird, yes.

Even though I spent a lot {95.25} I saved too!!

Not a bad start. 30%. The shows like Extreme Couponing are just that, extreme. I'm totally not extreme but I'm proud to say that all the coupons I used were for items we buy monthly. My goal is to do this a few more times this school year and then this summer get used to/in to watching the flyer for when certain flyers go on sale and then matching them with coupons.

I'm also going to a 'couponing class' that is being offered by a pro...Frugal Living NW on the 24th...we'll see what kind of damage that does ;-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

craving a club...

I am an avid reader of The Pioneer Woman and the other day her blog was just calling out to me!! See, I L.O.V.E. sandwiches. Like, can barely go a week without them. I purposefully make stops in certain cities to eat certain sandwiches. Okay, you get the picture.

Well last week she posted a Killer Club Sandwich how-to. While I did not follow this directly, I used what was on hand in my house and made homemade club and fries for dinner on Sunday. It was delicious and will be on the menu again (soon!).

I used white bread, thin sliced turkey, mozzarella, onion, lettuce, bacon {it was my very first time frying bacon, by the way}, ranch {annie} and mayo {jason}, avocado. It was delicious. It hit my sandwich craving right on the spot.

For the fries I used 2 small potatoes. I took the skin off, sprayed them and the foil with Pam, sprinkled them with some seasoning {thank you Red Robin}, baked at 450 for about 20 minutes then broiled for 5, stirring/flipping occasionally.

Dinner is served!!

new beater & PB cupcakes...

For Easter the Easter Bunny got me these items...

These gifts just about sum me up.

I'd been waiting and wanting to use my new KitchenAid beater. It's one of the ones that is supposed to clean the side of the bowl as it goes. Supposed to is the KEY phrase. As I found on works significantly better on wet ingredients than dry...

look at the floor...

Turns out the rubber paddle FLINGS the dry ingredients around! This was about 5 - 8 seconds worth of flinging. For second 1 - 4 I wasn't quite looking at the bowl {I was reading the next step} and from second 5 - 8 I was just starting at the bowl thinking {insert bleep here}. This is the aftermath. At least it wasn't in liquid stage. This beater worked MUCH better on the frosting of these delicious cupcakes!!

I'd been craving peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes for a while now. I couldn't decide on which I wanted to be frosting and which I wanted to be cake. I decided on this combo and it was yummy! Now, I think it could be yummier yet and I will be tweaking it in the future!!

I used the MS One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes recipe {minus the safflower oil - whatever that is} and then the MS Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting. I used my micro plane to put chocolate shavings on top, the results would have been much more dramatic if I'd had dark chocolate. Also, the safflower oil isn't called for in the MS Cupcakes Book...I'll have to investigate!!