I’m Not Usually A Gambler, But…

I’m one of those annoying people who generally plays things safe, especially when it comes to money. If I don’t know what exactly I’m getting, I don’t usually get it. But, as they say, there is always an exception to the rule… 

This morning Noah and I went to Michaels to get him a white t-shirt for tie-dying at camp, since they were on sale today. When we walked in, front and center, I saw these:

Michaels grab bag score

Now, in the past I’ve been able to resist the urge to try my luck at one of these grab bags. But today, something was calling me to them. I knew it would be summer stuff from the 4th of July. And maybe it’s because we were just recently at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for my friend’s son, but I realized that now would be a great time to take a chance on some patriotic-themed decor. After all, Jake is hopefully starting his Eagle project soon, and he is well on his way as far as advancements are concerned, so I’m not being premature thinking ahead. It’s pretty standard to use red, white, and blue in the decorations and table settings.

I tried to peek inside the best I could and in two boxes I noticed things I definitely was interested in. Noah convinced me to take a change and buy both of them. After I unpacked it all, I was absolutely thrilled with the contents! Here it all is, combined into one box.

Michaels Grab Bag Score

Now, let’s do a little show & tell, shall we? Remember, I paid $8 for everything! First up, this cute basic tee-shirt. It could probably benefit from a fun saying on it, so I can make that with my Silhouette. 
(Value: $9.99)

Michaels Grab Bag Score

Next, 9 bunches of silk flowers — 4 of the daisies with stars on the petals (price tag says $3.99), and 5 bunches of red/white/blue silks (price tag says $8.99). 
(Value: $60.91) 

Michaels grab bag score

Then, there are these vases. I think these, combined with the silk flowers, are going to make perfect centerpieces! The 7 small bottles (one got cut off from the picture because I was rushing) were priced at $6.99 and the large striped bottle (which I absolutely LOVE) is $9.99.
(Value: $58.92)

Michaels grab bag score

Then there are two of these metal signs, $24.99 each . Maybe I’ll give one to my mom! 
(Value: $49.98)

Michaels grab bag score

I absolutely adore this sign! I remember seeing in in the store and thinking hard about it. It is actually burlap and very rustic looking. It will be so cute next summer!
(Value: $24.99)

Michaels grab bag score

OK, I’ve saved the best for last. It was seeing these two trays that made my heart skip a beat. I almost bought them last week, but even with a coupon couldn’t quite justify it. I love the quilt patterns painted on (I may actually crochet a throw based on the design of the smaller tray — that wouldn’t be too hard if I did squares) and Drew loves wood signs. We actually were able to have lunch with him today and so I showed him and asked what he thought. He really liked them too, and thought of covering the design with epoxy or something to preserve it in case there is a spill. The smaller tray was $19.99 and the larger one was $25.99.
(Value: $45.98)
Michaels grab bag score

So, drumroll please? …. I got over $250 worth of stuff for $8! Now, I would never pay full-price of course, that’s just not how I am. But even if it was, say, 60% off, that’s still over $100. I think I really lucked out! 

Grocery Day

Grocery Haul

I was trying to think of a blog post for today and, really, all I’ve done is grocery shopping. So I guess that’s what I’ll write about! I have long enjoyed “grocery haul” posts (going way back to the days when Crystal at Money Saving Mom would post what she bought using her $35/week budget). I have done a post like this once or twice, but certainly not in the last couple of years. 

Maybe it’s because I love food and frugality, or maybe I’m just nosy but I really do enjoy seeing what people buy and how they are able to save! I don’t think this is something I’ll do all the time, but maybe on occasion. Of course, if anyone is really interested let me know and I can post grocery hauls a little more regularly.

So first… how I shop. I am not a one store kind of girl. There are some things I always get at one place, some things at another, and then I will hop from store to store for the sales. All these stores are located on the same strip of road, so over the years I have charted my course and if I’m not taking my time I can get it all done in a morning. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?

First stop… Dollar Tree
Grocery haul

I needed lightbulbs and detangler and also picked up some tortillas, spices, and Awesome cleanser. I also got a few other misc. items not pictured here.
Total: 9.48

Sam’s Club
Grocery haul

I went in just for peanut butter and bananas, but I was really excited to find this cilantro jalapeno hummus! I really enjoy the Panera sandwich that uses this flavor hummus and I’ve never seen it in a store anywhere. I hope the flavor is close. I also purchased this Italiano dip because it sounded really good and sometimes items at Sam’s come and go. Thinking I may save this for a party.
Total: 22.24

Walmart
Grocery haul

I was happy that they still have those 1.98 wire baskets. I wanted a few for our bathrooms to hold extra TP. The rose gold was very coppery so I just went with gold. These baskets are really sturdy and I think the price is a bargain! I also scored on beef. One package will be made into burgers for the freezer and I’ll make some beef jerky with the extra-lean stuff. The whisk was a random purchase because it was 50 cents and my wisk is on its last legs. Rugalach was on the day-old bakery counter, so I snatched that up. Then Go-Gurts for Laura’s school lunches, cottage cheese, onions, and red cabbage.
Total: 35.90

ShopRite
Grocery haulShopRite had our favorite American cheese on sale this week, so that was the main reason I stopped in. Also got some turkey for wraps for lunches, and ground turkey which I’ll divide up for the freezer. We prefer to use ground turkey for tacos, but we also like turkey burgers and in the next week or so I’ll use it for copycat P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps, which we haven’t had in forever.
Total: 19.26

Aldi
Grocery haul

Aldi is where I purchase most of our staples. You can’t beat their prices on most items and with only a few exceptions, they’re just as good if not better than the name brands. I bought a giant tub of spring mix (we go through this like crazy), tri-colored peppers, zucchini, carrots, avocado (such a deal this week at 69-cents! I’ll enjoy them while I can), gala apples (my favorite – I eat one a day!), Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, spinach wraps, bagels, fries, half-and-half, eggs, cream cheese, juice boxes, pretzels, unsalted peanuts (they were out last time so I bought two today).
Total: 36.91

And finally, Tops
Grocery haul

I had to pick up our prescriptions and because Wednesdays tend to be crazy, I decided to get fried chicken for dinner just to make things easy. That and a salad and leftover potato salad or chips will be a supper that no one can argue with! I also grabbed my yogurts because they are on sale (have you tried the Dannon whole milk yogurt? SO good!), and these deli soups were BOGO. 
Total: 17.63

So my grand total for groceries today was: $141.42. Considering we are a family of 5, with one teenage boy and one tween boy, I don’t think that’s horrible. Some of this will last us much longer than a week. And there are always incidentals during the week that get picked up (for example, Drew grabbed milk yesterday on his way home, and this doesn’t take into account the ham and bread I’d purchased earlier in the week for school lunches). But obviously, it’s the bulk of my weekly shopping. Living in New York, prices are definitely higher here than in other parts of the country, and we really don’t go out to eat often so everything is made at home. I don’t have a grocery budget per se, so during the month of February I’m really going to track my spending in this area to make sure I’m not going crazy!

spring sewing

spring sewing

Spring is in the air (finally!). That means it’s time to put away the le creuset braiser in favor of the grill, trade in my clogs for flip-flops, and switch out the wool for some delicious fabric. This week Joann’s has it’s “Daffodil Days” sale going on and the prices on fabric are so good! With 50% off their red-tag clearance fabric, I just could not resist going a little crazy. (And the week’s not over yet 😉 )

I do have projects in mind for most of this. With the blue and white fabric, I’m making a cover for Drew’s electric piano. With the blue and yellow polka-dot fabric, I’m making matching skirts for Lulu and her cousin. I’ll probably also make skirts from the other polka-dot fabric and maybe that patchwork fabric, too. (I should have bought more of that one — I love it.)

I’m not sure about the brown, yellow, and orange floral. Honestly, I don’t love it as much as in the store, but now I have two yards of it. Maybe it’ll make a cute pillowcase-type dress towards the fall? If nothing else, I can always make some kind of stuffed animal with it, I suppose. Might be cute for an owl.

What craft projects are you guys working on right now?