Dining in Carson City

The kids are asleep and the house is a mess. I should be cleaning but instead I got this great idea and decided to share it! According to tripadvisor, Carson City has 145 restaurants. To me this is screaming – CHALLENGE!

Here’s my idea:  I want to eat at ALL of them! Or at least the locally owned ones. Little sidenote…I think it’s vital to support the local community and why not do it while over a great meal! Because yeah food may be the way to a man’s heart but I mean, a girl has got to eat too! & trust me, I eat a lot…which I have an excuse because I’m nursing..that’s a perfectly valid excuse!

This will be interesting because as it stands, I haven’t been able to find an actual list of which restaurants in town are ACTUALLY locally owned. Challenge accepted! My plan is to make a list of all the restaurants according to tripadvisor and just start marking them off as I go! Hopefully I will be able to compile a list too and help anyone else who is searching for information.

If anyone has a specific restaurant they just adore and it’s locally owned, please let me know in the comments below so I can make it top priority! Otherwise, stay tuned for my nom-nom-noming adventures!

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What Does the Sun Do?!

Today’s lesson was last minute and totally unplanned and I feel like such a bad mama but that’s life I guess. Anyways, every morning as I get myself and the babes ready I have an “educational tv show” on for Kalani to watch (to all the kids watching tv haters out there – shush!). This morning he chose “Sid the Science Kid” and watched the episode “Special Sunny Dad Day.”

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& thus today’s lesson was born – have you guessed yet what we talked about pretty much all day? The sun! That’s right. Just like the show, Kalani HAD to, & I mean HAD to as in begged, pleaded, and maybe even threw a bit of a temper tantrum to do the activity like Sid did. I asked Kalani at first what he thinks the sun does and his response was:  “Hurt my eyes.” That so was not what I was going for so I immediately started our project.

It was a preschool science lesson in why we have to put sunblock on and about what does the sun do. It was really easy and required only two major items:  sunblock and a piece of construction paper. sunscreen projectHave your little smother a “design” with the sunblock onto a sheet of construction paper, leave it out all day in the sun and observe what happens to the paper.

You’ll find that the area where sunblock was is the same starting color, and where there is no sunblock the paper has dramatically faded. Not sure if his two year old mind grasped the concept still but he was pretty excited to show daddy his “science project” when daddy got home. He even attempted to show daddy how to properly put on sunscreen (note to self:  don’t leave lotion bottles out unless I want a huge cleanup project-again).

Since this was last minute and lil sissy Malia was extra fussy today, we had to keep our learning activities quick and simple. We played outside of course so he could practice putting on sunblock (can that be considered our sensory activity for the day?), we played “sunshine says” like the show (just like simon says) and would run from the shade to the sun, played with yellow playdough to make our own suns, and of course sang some songs! There’s the good ol “Oh Mr. Sun” song and the like but I also came up with one (I can be creative at times):

(think:  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

Sunshine sunshine what do you do

You give us light and warm us too

You melt the snow from Lake Tahoe

& shine on down to help plants grow

Sunshine sunshine what do you do

You help the world & I thank you

It’s cheesy but it got the job done today! Ask your littles what they think the sun does and leave their responses below!

Where Did the Day Go?!

No seriously?! It’s already 9:30PM! I have an hour and a half left until I NEED to be asleep (seriously, I could stay up later but then I wouldn’t function properly tomorrow) and I still have about a million more things to get done! Ughhh…

Does this ever happen to you? You wake up, think of everything you’re going to accomplish, and then before you know it the bedtime routines have begun and you’re debating:  should I sweep the floors real quick or start that last load of laundry or work on this or that etc… That’s very much me today, yesterday, and pretty much the last few months.

I have my planners but I can’t seem to stay on track and get everything done! I need more hours in my day. I have officially decided that. I feel so frazzled and to put it plainly – BLAH! tired momI can’t tell you what I ate for dinner – did I even eat dinner? Nor can I give you a great understanding of what happened today. This is NOT a good thing..silly brain please reboot and start working again!

How do I fix this problem? Here’s an idea that I came across, the Rise & Shine 10-Day Free Challenge provided by @ShawnLFink, the mastermind behind the Abundant Mama site. Basically, she’s going to help us with awesome emails on how to “get more sleep, rise early and take care of [ourselves] before

photo credit

the world wakes.” Love it! Sign me up! ~ Oh wait, I already did!

I’m very excited about this and wish it started like tomorrow but patience is a virtue so I will wait until the 18th for it to officially begin. I’m really hoping to get encouraged by this challenge because lately I feel like I’ve just forgotten about myself and that’s no fun. I need to be able to encourage those around me and have my biz together for my family. That can’t happen if I’m all frumpy Franny and sleep Sally!

If you’re feeling like me and need a refresher, head on over and sign up for the challenge too! We can do this – yes we can!!!

Know Really! The No Spend Challenge

Just saying the title alone gives me the shivers. Can you believe there are people out there who take these month-long or even year-long challenges where they only spend on…NECESSITIES!? I know right? I presented this idea to my BF tonight and I got an awkward glare and a “no way!” But, I think it’s genius! We have a baby coming in 7 weeks, so while most people are doing the challenge for 30 days, I’m going to attempt to be brave and declare that WE shall take the challenge until baby #2 comesstop spending (so little one, if you want to come early feel free, just not too early). I’m sure he’ll get on the bandwagon with me – eventually!

Our no spend month – ish (also known by others as a fiscal fast) will hopefully help us to gain some extra savings for when this new one comes. When our first baby came, we had two very good incomes coming in and “saving” wasn’t really a big deal. I was just ready with “everything a new parent needs.” Now I feel totally NOT prepared. How does that happen? Then again, is anyone ever totally prepared when a new baby is coming? Nope! So I don’t feel THAT horrible.

For our no spend challenge, I think it’s essential to have a plan. So, just like a diet, this challenge will start on Monday the (oh my dear, what is the date on Monday?!) ..the…11th! I promise, I have one day to convince the Man that this is a good idea – wish me luck! Here’s my quick, off the top of my head breakdown for the no spend challenge:

  1. The biggie:  only essential purchases! Meaning, nothing frivolous. Meaning, I should probably avoid window shopping and going online for a while. Sighs.
  2. No eating out (perhaps we’ll do one last meal tomorrow? Is that horrible? Kind of defeats the purpose huh?)
  3. Grocery shop for basics – nothing fancy.
  4. Careful with gas – this means no random unnecessary trips, no running the car’s a/c just because we can when we’re parked, and more carpooling.
  5. Create a reward for the end! I know, that seems a bit odd but I found this idea from Jessi at the “budget mama” and really liked it. Most of the posts I’ve seen involving “no spend challenges” were only about saving saving saving! But this idea of having something to look forward too will definitely make this challenge much more easier and fun I think.

Stay tuned for updates on our no spend challenge for the next 7 weeks! If anyone has any tips please leave them below!

no spend idea + uneager BF = challenge accepted

keep calm photo source

This Is Our Fate – Breakfast – I’m Yours

Forty minutes until midnight on a Friday and I’m snuggled in bed thinking about what to eat for breakfast tomorrow. Goodness how times have changed. Three years ago around 11:30PM I was probably ready to head out with my girls. Nowadays, I’m thinking about food. Great! I’ll blame these late night thoughts on baby #2 right now.

Weekends in my house have taken a complete 180 degree turn. We used to wake up on Saturdays and head over to Ihop and order one of their signature favorites, do some unnecessary shopping, grab some Starbucks and head home! Not so much anymore. For just the 3 of us we’d always spend around $30, uhm no thanks! For us, eating out is really a guilty pleasure these days. What about for you?

Because of that, fate has decided that I needed to learn that cooking at home is much more friendly to our health and our wallet – although, I do miss you my buttermilk shortstack and cappuccino! Sighs…recently I came across a recipe for Blueberry-Oatmeal-Pancakes-blueberry oatmeal pancackes at 5dollardinners.com and I am about 99.9% positive that’s what we’re eating in the morning. Or at least what I’m eating when I get off this computer…It incorporates the blueberries I got on sale at Savemart yesterday, plus it only takes a few pantry staples that I already have on hand. Plus, apparently they freeze really well so large batch making – don’t mind if I do!

[Side note:  if you haven’t checked out 5dollardinners.com you should totally do it! I am officially addicted to that site. Erin Chase @fivedollardinners has totally helped me on my journey of spending more time and less money in regards to eating! Check her out!]

Usually for us, breakfast during the week is pretty much the same:  eggs, spinach, and toast or oatmeal and fruit. Because that can get BORING super fast, I think it’s good to cook on the weekends a “fancy” breakfast that we can all enjoy as a family. Don’t you think it’s important to at least have that? I can’t wait for the day when Kalani can start helping in the kitchen. Like really helping! Now he gets the milk out and carries the eggs to the counter (of course with the occasional crash, splatter, uh-oh but that’s okay, I’ve become a master at cleaning up cracked eggs).

One day I want to try and make homemade cinnamon rolls..drools! Seems to complicated to me though but like I said, one day! Please share what some of your favorite breakfast recipes/tradtiions are that your family values!

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast = I’m yours

photo source: 5dollardinners

 

 

Just Keep Rolling – Rolling – Rolling

Who has a smelly house? Smelly car? Dirty dishes? Not me!!! 20140806_163318That’s because I scored major at Savemart this past weekend. Not that I’m bragging – okay, maybe just a wee bit – but I got PAID $0.21 to take 11 Febreeze sprays, 5 Dawn dish detergents, and 9 Febreeze car cling-thingies (Hawaiian Aloha smells fab) from my local grocery store. That’s 25 items for about $0.00 each..go ahead, reread if you want, I’ll wait. *whistles*

Now, close your jaw. Good. I bet you’re all wondering how in the world did I do that?! Don’t worry, I’m still pretty amazed, but I’ll get to that in a second. First and foremost, I want to be able to help everyone understand the concept of saving money while grocery shopping. This for my family, has helped tremendously. I’d like to share my newbie adventures with you all to show everyone the “not-so-extreme” side to couponing. I’ll be honest, if you’ve watched TLC’s Extreme Couponing show and think that happens every time, you’re highly mistaken! Remember, it was all done for entertaining purposes. Are extreme savings possible? Yes – obviously from my breakdown up above. Does it happen each and every time? No, not really. At least not for me, but maybe it’s because I’m not fully devoted to hours of clipping coupons and dumpster diving (for the record, I’m actually not devoted to dumpster diving, like, at all).

So, let’s get down to business and let you all know how I saved so much money! Basically, stores sometimes run amazing deals that when coupled with coupons and time you can score great products at amazing prices. The deal I took advantage of last weekend was at Savemart. They had a promotion of buy 5 select P&G products, get a $10 catalina (coupon that prints at register) to use on your next transaction. Luckily I had numerous BOGO (buy one get one) coupons for ANY Febreeze product and for the Dawn dish detergent. So, to town I went!

My initial purchase was four Febreeze and one Dawn that totaled $9.79 including tax. From that, I got the20140804_160138 (1) - Copy $10 catalina which you can see at your left. Then, I literally just kept rolling – rolling – rolling that catalina and the rest of my coupons in separate transactions until I finished. At the end, I got another $10 catalina which I plan on using pretty soon as I need to go grocery shopping.

Here’s some insight to couponer lingo that took me a moment to understand. When couponers say they got their items for FREE, their usually talking before tax because you always have to pay tax. Very rarely are there instances where there’s “moneymakers” and the store gives you cash back. When I first started trying to coupon to save money on groceries I would get so frustrated because I was paying something when everyone else said they got things for free. That’s why! For this example, that is what is going on.

Breaking it down even more:  originally I paid $9.79 for my first transaction, with each following transaction I paid 20140804_235257 - Copypennies for the tax but I’m not counting tax toward my OOP (out of pocket), and in the end I got a $10 catalina to use on whatever I want. That catalina basically washes the original $9.79 that I paid and results in the $0.21 “moneymaker.” Hopefully this helps clarify some things for a lot of people who have always wondered. It took me a while to grasp how all the lingo worked and the situations came out.

If anyone has any questions about what I did or other couponing conundrums just leave in the comments below!

5 transactions + 30 minutes of clipping coupons = $0.21 moneymaker

Playdough Gonna’ Play

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and my toddler thinks I’m boring! We didn’t get to go out for our usual walk to the park today because of the rain coming down. While I’m happy he knows our schedule, I’m sad right now because he’s been sitting in front of the sliding glass door all pouty with his puppy just staring out. Time for some mom intervention!

To the pantry I marched! Luckily, I had all the right ingredients to make him some playdough! I know he’s not even 2 yet, but I’m trying to expose him to colors, letters, and numbers right now. homemade playdoughThis week we’re all about the color green and the letter A (so far, we’re just doing ABC & 123). I whipped up some green playdough for him and he slowly came out of his slumber and started playing.

Now, I know that Play-Doh from say Target, is about $0.50 a container which is definitely not breaking the bank, BUT if you’re like me (uncertified germophobe), then you usually toss the Play-Doh as soon as it has nasty yucky grimy remnants in it. That being said, the cost of Play-Doh alone can add up so I do think you should try to make your own. It’s super easy and the little ones can help make it too! I have yet to try the glow-in-the-dark versions or scented ones, so on the to-do list that will go.

A while ago I got a giant box of plastic cookie cutters for $0.25 at a yard sale. I usually match up the colors of the cookie cutters to the color of playdough we’re working with to encourage color matching. For instance, this week, most of the toys that are out and about in the house are all green because that is the color we are focusing on! More on that later… Kalani really likes the cookie cutters but he gets bored eventually.

This morning I found an Alphabet Playdough Mat FREE printable. Score! I printed out the one for the letter “a” and inserted it into a sheet protector I had – voila! Yet another fun activity for my lil’ Man that allowed us to spend some good quality time together. My fav! The mats are courtesy of Becky at This Reading Momma. She has inspired me to attempt to make some of my own – one day! Kalani is currently learning Spanish and Hawaiian from his grandmas so it’ll fun to make some mats in the second languages too – look forward to that in the future!

Let me know if anyone has made their own playdough (plain, scented, glitterized) and if there’s any creative ways you guys use to play with it!

cheap diy playdough + rainy day = good quality Mama & lil’ Man time!

 

Playdough photo source