Monday, November 5, 2012

I heart Aldi's...

YEARS ago (before the 'joys' of shopping with kids) when Jake and I bought our first house in OKC we lived very close to this grocery store called Aldi's...I had heard it was super cheap so I thought I would give it a try one shopping didn't go so one had explained to me how it all worked.  I walked up to the store and tried to pull a cart out, but I couldn't because they were chained together! WHAT!? how the heck was i going to get a cart!  Finally someone walked up with a cart, let me have theirs and explained to me about how you needed a quarter to get a cart but as soon as your done, if you hook the cart back up then you get the quarter back....ooooooooo K...whatever. So I continued on with the shopping trip.  I was very confused, I wondered why the there was NO one there, why the aisles were so wide, and why the store was so simple that there was only 3 aisles to the whole store!? (did i mention this was before having kids...since then I have learned how AMAZING those facts are about Aldi's is).  I had a huge list of all sort of items, food, toiletries, cleaning products, etc ..and sure I found most of them there(all 'off' brands I had never heard of)...but I was frustrated by the fact that I still had to run to walmart across the street afterward for the items that were not available at Aldi's...and kinda had decided that the trip was a waste and that I would not be coming back...and that was even before I got to check out and realized that they ONLY took cash (that was before our 'cash only' days...and they actually now DO take debit cards) AND that I had to BUY my own bags! (that was also pre environmental days when the only people bringing their own shopping bags were the crazy hippies;) Lets just say I didn't go back to do my shopping there...and in turn became a Target-obsessed grocery shopper, and have been buying my 'archer farms' brand food (and an occasional cute tank top or shoes) for years.  Well, a few months ago Jake and I decided that it was time to re-work our budget and the two places we agreed needed cut back was grocery and eating out.  I had never been a couponer (although I am getting into it now!!) so my only thought was to try out Aldis again...I remembered all the 'rules' so I was prepared and ready!!  The first thing I noticed was the double seats in the shopping carts!!!  You can not find those anywhere! I also noticed that my fairly large shopping trip was done in a matter of minutes and hardly any stress (which is a normal thing shopping in a LARGE super market with a 1 and 3 year old).  I was super impressed that the milk was hormone free and they had a number of select certified organic products!  The produce selection was AMAZING (although no organic) and although everything is 'off brand' we have found everything (but their yogurt...we were NOT fans)  is very comparable!  Even after such a great experience ..I still had to run to target for a few things (I just cant bring myself to step away from our Target organic meats, yo-baby yogurt, etc) i really wanted to know if I actually was saving any money and if it was worth going to 2 places.....SOOOOO for everyone's convenience (and of course for my reference) I made up a pretend grocery list (with normal things we buy) and went up and down the aisles of both stores and wrote down all the prices! I was so pleased to see that I WAS saving money at Aldis!  So, with no further adeu...

Item                               Aldi's/Target(all target 'off brand' items)
wheat thins                    1.29/2.54
veggie straws                 1.69/2.99
graham crackers            1.49/2.99
4-pack orange cups       1.59/1.84
cinnamon crunch          1.99/2.99
gallon of milk               2.39/2.69
dozen eggs                    1.39/1.69
24-pack water bottles   2.29/2.99
carton of strawberries    1.79/2.59
bananas                        .44 a lb/.52 a lb
bag of red potatoes        2.99/4.49
carton of red grapes     2.79(0.99per lb)/4.99
box of eggos                1.29/2.99
popcorn(6 bags)          1.49/2.99
sugar                           2.29/2.69
brown sugar                1.39/1.49
baking soda                .49/.69
baking powder           .99/1.59
cream cheese(8oz block) .99/1.99
butter                           1.99(on sale)/2.49
bag of baby carrots      1.19/1.79
iceburg lettuce              .99/1.24
loaf of wheat bread     1.39/1.99
laughing cow babybell 2.99/3.49
'    ' spreadable cheese  2.49/3.59
frozen peas (16oz)      .99/1.14
ice cream                    2.69/3.29
apple juice                 1.49/2.44

Total bill difference    47.27/69.20
(without taxes)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

trying to think outside the box...

Piper has been working hard at learning how to cut lately...shes getting there:)  So the other morning instead of our usual practice paper i had her cut up some bread into little pieces to take to our pond to feed the ducks!  She loved it and was so proud to feed the ducks the breakfast that SHE made for them!  all the while learning how to cut!  Just a little idea for any other homeschool-preschool mommies out there:)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

it was worth it...

Yesterday (Saturday) morning we woke the girls up at 5:30am to go the the Plano Balloon festival they have this time each year.  Jake went last year as a volunteer for the boys and girls club...but this was the girls and I's first time.  It was pitch dark when we got there yet the parking lot was PACKED full this is such a big deal that hundreds of people will show up at 6am on a Saturday morning!  The 'Glow' started at 6:30 where all the hot air balloons light up their fire in the was just beautiful! Although Jake and I were pretty disappointed that there were only 2 balloons out for the 'glow'...Jake said last year for the night time 'glow' there were over 20 balloons out...that would have looked just amazing, oh well.  As soon as the sun came up dozens of trucks started pulling up onto the field and setting up their balloons for the 8:00am take off.  It was just increadable to watch dozens of balloons getting set up and taking off into the air.  We also got to hang out with the Elders (who provided yummy Shiplys donuts!).  After the big take off a few balloons stayed on the ground and they opened the field up for everyone to go check the balloons up close! it was so wild!! they are HUGE and just beautiful!  Then they had tons of bounce houses for the kiddos to play on and even Violet was brave enough to go on them!  It was such a fun morning!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Playdate Pro's....

we seem to be having a full playdate schedule lately and we LOVE IT!  our dear friends the Elders just had a little baby boy about a week ago (at home by they way! woohoo for beautiful homebirths!) So for his little visit to the *cough* 'Jewish Doctor' *cough* they brought big sister Jocelyn over to play! She is 5 years old and talks like a grown up! she is such a great friend to Piper and Violet!  In honor of little Elliot, we decided to bust out the easy bake oven and make some 'cup cakes'...

We have also found such an amazing community in these apartments we live in and since the complex playground is right outside our door we have made lots of friends!  Some of our closes friends we have made are 6 year old Cydni, 8 year old Kenadi and their mom Carla.  At the beginning of this school year Carla needed to go back to work and was worried about the after school care of her sweet girls.  I didn't even think twice, and offered to watch them!  These are seriously the most polite and well-mannered girls you have ever met!  They are Amazing role models to Piper!  So 2 to 3 times a week we get to walk to the front of our complex to pick them up at the bus stop, feed them a snack, then play with them till Carla comes to pick them up at 5!  and she PAYS me to do it!  This has just been the BEST situation for both our family and for Carla and i hope we get to do it all year!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

daddy lovings....

i blinked...

                                                                           to this...

in one year...

picture purge...

moments i don't want to forget...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

officially 'that family'...

So this summer we were taking 2 VERY long road trips in May one was 7 hours and one was 16 hours!  It got us thinking about the fact that because we want 3 kiddos we knew soooome day will will have to jump on the 'mini van' wagon so why not go ahead and get one before our road trips (other wise we would have to rent a van because Heather would be travailing with us and Heather affectionately called our car the 'clown car'....yeah it was REALLY small).  So in March we put our car on craigs list, months went by and we had NO interest!  So jakes dad rented a car for all of us and we moved on with our trips.  We got home and jake kept it on craigs list on and off, but since no one ever called on it, i completely forgot we were even 'trying' to sell it!  Then the night before labor day a lady emailed jake wanting to see it!!  Jake spent 3 hours the next morning cleaning it up for her while i scowered the internet for vans...but she NEVER showed!!  Then just a few days later another man called and came to see it...he loved it...but didn't offer us a very good price so we turned him down (we weren't even REALLY trying to sell the car anyway;)  then that night another family came to see it!!  SO weird right!! 6 months on and off craigs list with no interest then 3 people in one week!!  Anyway, they loved it and made us a great offer so jake met him at his bank the next day (yesterday) and BOOM my car was sold!! Well thankfully I have always kept a 'cars' savings account through ING and had been saving for this 'someday' van for quite a while (that's obviously savings that is on top off the money we would get from our payed off car)... so of course my late afternoon was searching all over auto trader and Craigs list...i found 3 i seemed to like, 2 at one place in south Dallas and one RIGHT down the road at David McDavid Honda (a HUGE dealership here in the area). So around 4:30 yesterday afternoon we head down, though Dallas traffic to see these 2 vans that were in our price range that were AWFUL!! grr i was pretty discouraged and by this point it was getting late.  But we go see the one at the dealership and it was AMAZING!!!  we probably played the 'game' all wrong...even piper during the test drive was saying "Mommy my like it! can we take it home!?".  So after the test drive and the back and forth game to get the 'right price', and the explaining to about 8 people 'no, we do not want to finance, thank you' (ugggg i HATE it!) and one LARGE personal check later...we are officially a mini van family!!!

i told all we have to do is fill it up;)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Frisco Apartment Homes Tour...a year later...

a year has past and a few things have changed from when i took these photos and these and these and these...