November 23, 2015

Christmas Gift Idea for Kids

Last year I was super lazy buying gifts for my nieces and nephews. Partially because they have enough toys but mostly because I was lazy and wasn't feeling it. As a result, everyone got gift cards to the movies.

You know what's funny about giving a gift card?  You often spend more on the gift card then you would buying a reasonable gift, thanks to discounts and coupon codes. Now, that's not to say I'm cheap but when you're buying gifts for a lot of people you have to be economical about it. We live in the suburbs of New Jersey not Hollywood.

I know people have a love/hate relationship with Amazon but it really is one stop shopping.  They are The Walmart of The Internet. All of these gifts were purchased for $20 or less (except #4.) 

1)  For the 4-8 year old girl in your life:

I bought two of these for my 5 and 6 year old nieces. Click here to find the Glambrella

2)  For the 4-8 year old boy in your life, consider these:

I think my 5 year old nephew will love this! Lights and sirens on his bike/scooter? What's not to love about that!  Click here to find the Hornit 

The Hungry Bear Shooting game can be found a various retailers and online - be sure to price check for the best deal. I purchased two of these from a store for $17 each not seeing the online reviews ... ugh ... well, let's hope we have a better experience and if not, it can always be returned.

3)  For the (kid) WWE fan in your life, consider these two things:

Personally, I don't get the WWE but my 10 year old nephew is obsessed with it. These two things should keep him busy!

4)  For the tween girl in your life, you can't go wrong with fashion. Monogrammed items are all the rage these days and I think my 11 year old niece will like these boot cuffs, thanks to an Etsy seller.

I have one nephew left to buy for and he's a huge hockey fan (plays and watches) so I'm looking into some Flyers fan gear for him.

See? Christmas owned in a about 2 hours of online shopping. Go me!

November 20, 2015

Meal Plan ~ Week 20

Can you even believe I've kept this up?!

With Thanksgiving in the mix this week, the meal plan may or may not happen. But hey, it means there are options in the house!

Meal 1:  Lasagna Rolls (Husband loved this last time)

Meal 2:  Creamy Parmesan Chicken (skillet sauce - Boo loved this last time)

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Leftovers/sandwiches

So you may have noticed ... I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Hallelujah!

November 19, 2015

Owning Christmas

I'm not sure what has come over me but I'd say I'm 80% done with Christmas shopping, most of which was done online. I have zero desire to shop in stores this holiday season so thank you Lord for the internet.

I've prepared The Husband for the onslaught of boxes being delivered to our doorstep which may or may not disguise a Vera Bradley gift for myself ... it's no fun shopping for everyone else if you can't get yourself something too! 

I fell head over heels for this new "classic" print from Vera Bradley:
Isn't it gorgeous?!

I have a couple of Vera Totes. The last of which that I really loved was the Canterberry print from two years ago. I'm very print-selective but this one is really pretty and not old-lady-ish!

I completed the purchase with a matching coin purse and lanyard which I have been using to hold my train ticket and work ID (and doubles as a mini wallet when I go out for lunch or to shop!)  Because I spent over $100, a travel jewelry bag ($48 retail) was added to my shopping bag for free.  I'm not sure I'll use it but hey, it was free and I can always list it on eBay. Shipping was also free.

I'm working on compiling a list of the "fun" gifts I purchased for my nieces and nephews this year - 9 of them in all, ranging from ages 5-11.  Maybe it will help you with your shopping this year.

November 13, 2015

Meal Plan ~ Week 18 & 19

Oops. I just realized I never posted the meal for this (now past) week last week. It's nothing earth shattering but I'll share it anyway.

Meal 1: Full Turkey Dinner, in honor of my Dad being in town

Meal 2: Meat Sauce/Pasta

Meal 3: Hamburgers

Meal 4: Leftovers/sandwiches

And for next week:

Meal 1: Baked BBQ Chicken

Meal 2: Macaroni & Beef

Meal 3: Salmon

Meal 4: Leftovers/sandwiches

November 12, 2015

It's Coming Fast

Can you believe it's the middle of November already and 2015 is almost over?  It's crazy. I'm not ready to start thinking about Christmas!

However, that being said, I already have most of Christmas covered for my boys. They are getting one big gift to be shared. A gift that (I'm reminded fairly often) has been on their list for 3 long years -- and they have no idea it was purchased, shipped to the house, and is sitting in a room (disguised, of course) only feet from where they sleep each night.

There will be a few little side gifts added as well. Maybe a book, a new hoodie or two and/or a pair of boots (stuff they need) but otherwise that's it. 

I still need to buy for my nieces and nephews (8 of them) but I should be able to knock that out fairly quickly. Last year I went simple with movie gift cards so I was hoping to actually buy a tangible gift this year.  It all depends upon the cooperation of my sister-in-laws ...

Thanks to a gift card purchase promotion at my grocery store last week, I was able to knock out gifts for my Mom and Mother-in-law too.

Guess it's time to re-print my Excel shopping list I use every year to keep me organized and to remember what I've bought and how much I've spent. I keep it tucked in my purse. It really is a lifesaver! 

(You can't tell I have an accounting degree and work as an auditor, can you?)

November 4, 2015

The ONLY Cheddar Broccoli Soup Recipe You'll Ever Need

I'm that confident. And I got if off of Facebook through one of those quick step-by-step videos that you see posted every now and again. Maybe it was from BuzzFeed? I really don't know but all I know is this:  it's the perfect Broccoli and Cheese Soup recipe!!

Cheddar Broccoli Soup Perfection

~1 tbsp butter
~1 c chopped onions
~1/2 c shredded carrots
~2 cloves minced garlic

Saute all that for a few minutes, until the onions and carrots soften. Then remove them from the pan.

~4 tbsp butter
~1/4 c flour

(stir well)

~2 c half and half added slowly, stir well  (I used Fat Free - you cannot tell at all thanks to the cheese)
~2 c chicken broth

Simmer all that for 10-15 minutes

~Add 8oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese
~Add back the onions/carrots
~Add 12oz bag of chopped broccoli (I used a Birds Eye Steam-fresh Broccoli Florets, slightly undercooked and chopped well in my Ninja Blender

Let that all simmer for another 5-10 minutes and you'll have Cheddar Broccoli soup perfection.

It's sooooooo good. Don't dare tell me how bad it is for me. I used fat free half and half!


November 3, 2015

Kohl's Issue Resolved

It took entirely too many phone calls and too much of my time to resolved the issue but I finally received credit for the merchandise I never received.

I still have never received any communication from Kohl's that the two orders were damaged and that I would not receive them.  I asked why I was never notified every time I called and never received an answer. I don't care how many orders they ship on a daily basis. When a person places an online order, they expect to receive that order - especially when they pay for it!

With the holidays approaching, buyer beware when shopping online with Kohl's.  This girl right here will not be shopping at Kohl's this holiday season.