Friday, July 29, 2011

75% off Toys at Target

Target has huge toy sales 2 times a year. At the end of January and at the end of July. I have been scoping out the Lego sets for a while now and suspected the 75% mark down would occur soon. For all you needing some toys, most of the Targets around here had their mark down yesterday! The only thing I was scoping out this year were the Lego sets because every single one of my boys are into Legos.

For the first time ever, I was able to buy Lego sets for 75% off. There are times where I was fortunate enough to find an interesting set at 50% off, but the majority of the time, I am lucky enough to buy them when they are marked 30% off. There were so many sets that were marked down 75% that I didn't even bother buying any of the 50% off price.

I bought E. the castle for Christmas last year and was waiting to add to his Harry Potter collection. I finally got this $60 set for only $15! Whoo hoo.

I managed to score more Harry Potter sets for E, some Cars2 sets for A, some Atlantis sets for J, and for R, I lucked out in finding him this Pirates of a Caribbean set. Yes, this is a stock photo. I didn't want to risk him seeing his birthday present.

This $50 set was a mere $12.48. R. had mentioned he wanted this set, so I was ecstatic to find it at 75% off. My birthday shopping list just got a whole lot smaller. I will note that not all Targets had the same sets on sale. Some of the sets I bought at one Target were still regular priced at another and vice versa.

If you aren't looking for Legos, they are selling everything from barbies to kitchen play items as well as baby toys as well. Since we still have a month of summer left, their summer toys are great buys at 75% off. Needing some toys? Make a pit stop to your local Target and see what they have left!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Refinancing for Free

Here's my house. When we purchased our home, our interest rates were pretty high so when the economy went south a couple of years ago, we refinanced and cut our interest rates as well as our mortgage length significantly.

Would you refinance your home for a lower interest rate if there were no hidden fees or costs? I received a letter in the mail last month from our mortgage lender indicating they were doing such a thing to keep us from refinancing with another lender. They would reduce our interest rate by 1% and for no other reason other than because I was a good customer who always paid on time. I am always skeptical of getting something for nothing (unless I have a coupon for it). What does the bank get for reducing our mortgage interest rate I asked. Their answer was to keep us as a customer so although I had already refinanced a few years ago, they were convincing me to refinance again.

Does it sound too good to be true? It is and it isn't. In a way the bank still makes money. For example, if you have 10 years on your mortgage currently, after the refinance of a 15 year loan, you will have an additional 5 years of payments which is 5 years of interest the bank makes on you that it normally wouldn't. Although, your interest rate is lowered, the bank gets it for longer, and therefore, makes more money off of you UNLESS, you pay off your loan early which is exactly what I plan on doing.

Have I lost you yet? Basically, its a great deal to refinance if you pay off your mortgage in the same amount of time you would originally. It's worth it since it doesn't cost you a dime upfront. You just have to remember to make extra payments so that in the end, you do save money. With mortgage rates as low as 3.2% (well, that is what is was last week for a 15 year fixed loan), it might be worth it to call up the bank and find out if they are willing to refinance you home for free in order to keep you as a customer if you haven't already received an offer like this. We'll be saving $700 a month with this offer so it is definitely worth it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Extra 60% off Off Fifth

There are really great deals out there lately so I've done a lot of shopping for my kiddos. Children's Place seems to be getting rid of all their summer apparel at rock bottom prices. Cargo shorts are a mere $4.99. Bring in a fall savings pass to get an extra 15% off and top that off with your members discount to maximize the sale. That gives you over 75% off.

For me I decided to check out the Off Saks 60% off sale. I found a fabulous little black dress for 90% off!!! My $228 dress was only $22.80! I was also able to walk away with a $75 tie for only $10! You can't beat that, now can you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kids Wooden Projects

E. loves building so we have continued to go to Home Depot's Kid's Workshop and Lowe's Build and Grow events. Here's a coaster set he built.

I was thrilled when R. asked if he could paint some of his projects.

They turned out great! The one on the left is the coaster set and the one on the right is a little tool box. Cute huh? We went over to my sister's house to paint. She had oodles of sample paints that she didn't have any use for. Total price of these projects was FREE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A brand new looking system

If you have a kid into video games, this picture is a familiar one.

It's a ds lite. We have 3 of these. For Christmas, my kiddos asked for an upgrade so Santa was extremely kind enough to deliver their wishes. My intention was to re-sell the old systems to pay for the new systems.

However, somehow, in the last 6 months each ds lite has ended up like this.

That's what happens when a 2 year old gets a hold of them (this picture doesn't depict the worst, there was one that had the top half completely broken off).

Now that my 2 year old is a 3 year old, he is a little wiser (yeah 6 months does wonders during that age). He has mastered the art of handling this ds lite and wants one of his own, but playing on this hand me down is a little difficult, since the hinge has broken off so what does that mean?

We bought him a brand new one.

yeah right. He's 3.

We're not buying him a system (he's only getting this one because we already have it on hand). My hubby found instructions online to replace the exterior housing of the system since the system still works perfectly. The entire ds lite would have to be taken apart, but he figured it was worth a shot since the cover cost was only $10.

What's the verdict? A brand new looking ds lite with no broken hinge!

Isn't it pretty? This was a test run and it worked. So now, one surgery down, 2 more to go. A.'s favorite color is green so we ordered him a green case to replace another broken ds lite.

If I remember, I'll take pictures of the process which may seem very intimidating, but wasn't so bad. If all goes well, I'll finally be able to sell the other systems that I have and no longer need. Since we always have a screen protector, the system will look completely new without a single scratch..perfect for selling!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Free Chocolate

It was no surprise that I landed at Target last week (a weekly task) with all my kiddos. I had read a rumor that buying the Wonka Exceptions chocolate bar would stimulate a catalina coupon for another free bar. I went ahead and bought a bar to split with my kids (great shopping bribery). When I reached the registers, a catalina coupon did print out!!! What was even better was the cashier immediately took my coupon and scanned it to be used instantly! I was surprised by that and what was even better, the machine printed out another coupon so you know what that means? I get another one for free.

This is a rolling offer, meaning, every time you buy a bar of chocolate (even with a coupon), you should get another coupon for a free bar. I've redeemed 5 coupons already and still have two more. I know what you are thinking, crazy right? I shop at Target all the time so it is no trouble for me to throw in a candy bar or two into my cart while I am there. My kids are definitely loving the free chocolate. Who knows how may coupons will print out so if you want some free chocolate stop by and pick one up today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Junk drawer no more

Everyone has a junk drawer right? I have a tiny drawer that is so filled that you can only open the drawer half way. After trying to find a working pen for the upteenth time yesterday, I decided to clean it out.

Here is a picture of one of the drawers emptied (hence the filled counters) and the other one looking rather junky.

As I was cleaning, I looked over and A. had fallen asleep at the dining table with snack still in his mouth.

A few hours later, yes it took me that long. I had to test every pen so that the only ones that returned to the drawer were working ones. I decided to swap my drawers, making my junk drawer the larger one. I found the white tray in my garage needing a new home.

Ahhh...much better. Now I can see exactly what I have.

When I have the motivation, I'll tackle A.'s closet which has been my junk closet since I've moved in. I'm sure, he'll eventually want his closet back. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

This is one of my all time favorite cookies. Instead of exploring something new out of the cook book this week, the kids and I decided to stick with our family favorite. I was surprised that I hadn't already posted this recipe. I found it years ago on My hubby who normally never makes requests actually requested this cookie. What's your favorite cookie?


    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats ( not instant)
    • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
    • 6 ounces white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter; mix well to cream together.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. Add the cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well.
  5. Fold in the oatmeal, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips- making sure that all ingredients are uniformly distributed.
  6. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are lightly golden.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Monday, July 11, 2011


On average, we probably go to the library twice a week. My kiddos aren't very enthusiastic when it comes to reading, but they have done well this summer. After E. reached his goal of 25 books before the the end of June, we (I guess more like me) decided to increase his book challenge to 75 books this summer.

I decided to jump on the bandwagon and read as well. I haven't read a non-technical book in over a year. I decided to check out Tina Fey's, Bossypants. I loved it.

If you are needing a laugh out loud book, this will do it for you. I read the book in one evening and I'm not a fast reader. I did have to take a short break to make dinner (which I was fortunate to have left over Papa John's pizza in the fridge). I got no complaints from the kids that evening. This book was worth the months of waiting..(I was the 96th person on the library's wait list). ..gotta love the library. The next book I want to read, A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard comes out tomorrow. Good thing I requested it last month so I am up first to get it..whoo hoo! Have you read any good books lately?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Petite Shoes

At five feet tall, I'm pretty short. It's hard finding clothes and now that my feet have shrunk, I'm now walking in 5 1/2 shoes. My mother has a more difficult time finding clothes at only 4 feet 8 inches. Her shoes size is a girls size 1 or 2 depending upon the style. No, you didn't read that wrong, her feet are tiny. Imagine trying to find stilettos in a size 2.

We went shopping yesterday to find her some wedges. Luckily, we did find some comfy shoes for her, but adult styled shoes at kids sizes is very difficult to come by so I made it my mission to find some shoes for her since all the high heels that she has are now reaching 35 years old. She repairs them constantly, but I thought it was high time to find something new for her.

Doing some research, I discovered that a kids size 2 shoe is equivalent to a woman's size 4. That makes my job a lot easier. I lucked out that Nordstrom and zappos have select shoes in size 4. A few things I put into my shopping cart were these:

I love the way these look. Of course, I couldn't walk in them, but I could totally see my mom dancing the tango in these. Yes, my parents ball room dance. I love that about them. Seeing that most of her fun shoes have seen better days, I thought these would be great.

For a more comfortable shoe my mom is always telling me that her leather shoes have withstood the 35 years of walking so I thought these looked comfy to stroll in.

Now for the glam shoe. I couldn't resist these shoes because they are so adorable. Hopefully they don't look like she is a street walker when she tries them on.

Here's my selection for the practical shoe. She wears a lot of suit type clothing so I figured these shoes would go well with every outfit.

So, she may not like everything that I selected, but I can't wait for them to arrive and have her try them on. She's done a lot for me the last few weeks so buying her some shoes is a small token of my appreciation. The last time she got a new pair of heels was when I was in high school. I took a trip to CA and found a shoe store that made custom shoes. I nabbed one of her favorite pairs before I left and brought them to the store so they could match the size. It took a month to make, but they were worth it. She loved them. Hopefully, she'll love these. I did find some more church going shoes should these be just too over the top. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they fit. If not, thank goodness for free returns.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nursery no more

When my sister bought her house, this room was a cute little nursery. With all walls, even the ceiling painted a dark khaki color, she decided to lighten the room up with a cheery teal color.

This is just a start. She's still searching for new linens and accessories.

Do you love the capiz shells lamp I bought her?

It sits on top of the night stand her hubby built her.

He distressed the wood quite a bit to get the reclaimed wood look.

Slowly, but surely her house is coming together. Stay tuned for more updates.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New dining table

When my sister moved into her new home, she got rid of all the furniture she didn't want anymore, including her dining set. After much searching, craigslisting, and thrift store shopping, she found this table online.

It's a beautiful antique white pedestal round table. It fits perfectly in the space.

Ignore the little red table. Since she didn't have a place to eat, I loaned her my kids' table and chairs so my kiddos could refrain from eating on the couch and stick to eating in the kitchen where it was easier to keep clean. Now all that are needed are some fun chairs and a funky rug to join the table. We'll need to do some more shopping!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Coffee Table Complete

My sister's coffee table is now done! This table was constructed by my dad and my brother in law. I love the intricate design and the bold color choice.

The yellow adds a pop of color to the living room whose walls are a light gray.

The room is slowing coming together. They expect their new couch to arrive this week. I can't wait to check it out when it comes.
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