Single Mom Chronicles: Shopping at Target with Cartwheel, Who Knew?

I guess you’re never too old to learn something NEW!!!!  I added the Cartwheel app to my Android phone in May 2013.

For two years I have used the app incorrectly and wasted so much shopping time.  During my trips to Target I would load my cart with items and then check whether each item was on Cartwheel!

I just learned on Sunday from a Target associate the app allows you to scan the barcode of each product.  After scanning, Cartwheel will automatically add to your Cartwheel if there is a discount.

 

Here’s my tutorial on how to properly use Cartwheel:

TargetCartwheelAppJuly

When you open your Cartwheel, go to the upper left hand corner. Below is the drop down menu, scroll down to Scan Product.

ScanProductCartwheel

Simply hold your camera back about 6 inches from the bar code and once in focus it will scan automatically.

ScanCookiesCartwheel

If the product is part of Cartwheel it will add the product to your Cartwheel cart.  This is a fabulous time saver!!!

AddCartwheelScreen

Also learned Target will give you .05 cents for every reuseable bag and of course we all know about the 5% savings with REDCARD!!!!!

Single Mom Chronicles: DIY Blog Series: How I Fixed Teen’s Bed?

My new go to place for my DIY/Ms. Fix-It for odd jobs in the apartment, The Home Depot.  The teen’s bed fell down a few months ago and I tried to fix it countless times with no luck.    For some reason the wood support attached to the bed frame snapped in half.     This caused the box spring to collapse to the floor.   My first attempt to reinforce the wood screws and use the same supports, FAILED!

On my second trip to the lumber section of the store I decided to go with pine and not plywood.    After figuring out I could use a 1″  wide x 4ft long piece of pine.   The associate cut the slab into 3 sections.    I discarded the existing supports and attached 2 of the 3 pine sections to the bed frame.   My first attempt, FAILED!   I used wood screws that were too short.  Now back to The Home Depot to get longer wood screws, 1 1/4″ and 1 1/2″.

One thing I learned is don’t over think what tools are required.   The screws only required a screwdriver not my power drill.

DIYBedFixIt   

It pays to invest in  a tool kit.    I found this one at IKEA for $10 and these are the best wood screws.   The size I used only requires a screwdriver.

DIYToolsBedFixti

Single Mom Chronicles: DIY Blog Series- Sewing 101 Scarf Swag

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I started following MimiGStyle two years ago on Facebook and frequently visit her blog.  She is the reason I finally decided to buy a sewing machine and enter the world of sewing.   I quickly learned it is a process as you progress to each level.  For now I am fine with working on home decor projects versus rushing to start making clothing.

This is my next sewing project, my bathroom window scarf swag.   I purchased my fabric from JoAnn Fabric.  I used this site to determine my fabric measurements, Scarf Swag
DIYValanceBathroom

I decided to skip installing standard valance hardware and decided to use the hooks found in Loews for hanging items in the garage.   DIY made SIMPLE!!!
DIYValanceHooks
Finally…… finished
DIYWindowValance

My Kid’s Chronicles: Back to School Teacher Gift

DIY Back to School Teacher Gift

 

Thanks to Danyelle at TheCubicleChick for this cool DIY Back to School Teacher Gift idea.   On Saturday we had a weekend trip to Target and stopped by the $1-$3 spot.  How can you walk in Target and miss this section of the store? It’s right at the entrance just whispering come over!   First you get us with the bright lights and dazzling color scheme and now this aisle, Target.  Thanks for yet another reason to spend more coins in your store!

My kids start school on September 8th, and we are still without the name of my  3rd grader’s teacher.  We’re getting the gift ready to go.

As you can see we found chalkboard labels, the bucket, a notepad, 2015-2016 planner, pens and pencils all for $1.   Cool, right!

DIYBacktoSchoolTeacher

 

I always a few arts and craft items on the shelf so I decided to add a little to it……

DIYBacktoSchoolTeacher-1

Finished…….

DIYBacktoSchoolTeacher-2

Single Mom Chronicles: Diary of a Divorced CocoaMommy-CoParenting

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Every time I hear the word coparenting,  I feel like it is a psychology buzz word.    In the five years of being separated and now DIVORCED it has been challenging to parent while living separately.    However I have learned that in order to maintain my sanity, I have to function with what works for me, POINT BLANK!   I also realized my kids can morph into master MANIPULATORS! for their personal gain.    They try to play both sides until someone says NO! All I can say is PUMP THE BRAKES! on this behavior and set some ground rules.

It is so important for me and it actually feels good to say NO to my kids.     I have witnessed on multiple occasions how my kids have a false sense of entitlement.     I know I am guilty of not setting limitations for them on so many levels.      As a single parent I find myself having very honest conversations with my kids on the reality of our new life.  I feel it is important for them to understand my perspective on planning for our future even if they may not agree with my decisions.   Now with that said I will say my teen has been the biggest opponent of most of my decisions in the past five years.   Honestly I feel no guilt because I realize he has a lot more maturing to do before he can fully understand this journey.   On this journey you will find that there will be a lot of agree to disagree moments and this is OK.    Again this journey is about our physical and mental well-being as well for our children.    I have found that while parents may share the same expectations for their children, it can be difficult to instill the same boundaries and limitations.   My single parenting is a daily journey as I see the good, the bad and the ugly of having to diffuse every feeling and emotion that is warranted and unwarranted with my children.   I wish it was as simple as sending my children to a time out chair but this is not reality.

There are days when I feel cheated because I get to experience the defiant side of my children on a daily basis.   While the other parent gets to reap the benefits of bringing the fun.    This can be a hard pill to swallow and I  often wonder what is the true payoff.   Coparenting looks different for everyone so I would encourage those who have it nailed- to stick with your game plan.   I know for me it comes down to making the best decisions that impact our well-being and puts my children on the right track for the future.

We are five years in and the biggest win is for me to resolve to focus on what provides a win-win in our new home.  After we close the door I need to open my parenting 101 book and hope for the best.

Top 5 things I need to make part of my daily parenting journey:

  1. Be consistent
  2. Setting boundaries and enforcing consequences for their actions
  3. Frequently communicate my expectations
  4. Have open and honest conversations even if it is uncomfortable
  5. Plan activities for family time

Cooking and Baking by Me: DIY-Quick Meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Meal Planning 101 

As I prepare to go back to work after 3 months of being unemployed and the kids are starting school.  I really want to get organized with our schedules.   I am hoping to get organized on  Sunday  by organizing all clothes for the week, making all lunches the night before, dinner preparation in the freezer, homework, bedtime and then hit REPEAT!!!

Shopping for Groceries

mealplanningpost

I have organized in my mind that freezing meals will save money and prevent weekly trips to the grocery store.  Also I am going to try grocery delivery to save time and preserve my weekend.   The Giant supermarket offers PEAPOD,  which allows you to order online and schedule delivery time and day.  I tried them about 3 years ago and the I was very pleased with the service.  The delivery was on time, driver was professional and I was very impressed with the quality of the food.

  1. Grocery delivery through PEAPOD, easy you shop online, schedule delivery and driver shows and unloads.  If you have a shopper card you can automatically link to your account.   The site is set up where you can save and can come back to finish your order.
  2. Freezing meals to cover Sunday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday is potluck

I am all about budgeting and buying their lunch is allowed one day a week.   After having my 8 year old  buy lunch for 2 weeks what started out as $15.00 per week actually cost me $40.00 for two weeks.

The kids were tasked with writing down their lunch preferences so I know what to include on the grocery list and they are more likely to be happy or at least I hope.  I also told them they are to pick and prepare if possible dinner for Friday and Saturday night.

Breakfast Menu

A few breakfast ideas

  1. Breakfast burritos (eggs, bacon(or turkey sausage), potatoes, whole wheat tortillas)-freezable
  2. Petite Quiches(eggs, bacon(or turkey sausage), cheese, freezable
  3. Frittata (spinach, tomatoes, cheese) -slice and freeze
  4. Plain oatmeal with fruit, cinnamon, brown sugar
  5. Drinkable yogurts
  6. Frozen waffles/french toast sticks

Lunch Menu

I have a few challenges with lunch as I no longer buy cold cuts and the kids have no access to heat up their lunch.  A thermos was never successful for me when my daughter took food in it.  How many days can anyone eat a PB&J?   I found the more buy-in the kids have with any meal planning the less likely they are to be unhappy.  I’m finally going to buy a Pack-It lunch tote for my 8 year old and the teen will brown bag it for high school.  I asked the kids to come up with a lunch menu to make planning a little easier.  The teen came up with fruits, vegetables, snacks and a sandwich. Just typical of the teen to not give details.    The biggest challenge is my 3rd grader, she wants a variety however her palette is limited.  She is not willing to try new things.

Here is one of the links I found on Pinterest.  It is a great resource for ideas on building a lunch menu even for picky eaters.

90 Back to School Lunchbox Ideas

 

Freezable Dinners

Some ideas which will plan out for a few weeks worth of meals for dinner

  1. Tacos, Ground Turkey
  2. Salmon Croquettes
  3. Lasagna with ground turkey(I can sautéed spinach and hide in the filling)
  4. Turkey Meatballs in marinara sauce
  5. Turkey Sliders
  6. Sloppy Joes with ground turkey(The Neely’s recipes is my favorite, Spenser’s Sloppy Joes)

I plan to use frozen veggies and a quick starch side dish to balance out every meal.   My fingers are crossed that this will shave off a nice chunk of time from our evening and alleviate the stress of having a healthy dinner.  Friday and Saturday will be potluck and the kids get to plan those meals.

I will keep you posted on the progress as we get closer.

My Kid’s Chronicles: Summer Fun Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park

I noticed people on my Facebook timeline posting pictures  from Spruce Street Harbor Park.  This is another venue  in my backyard that was worth a drive into the city.  It is located off of Columbus Blvd (Delaware Avenue) at Spruce Street along Penns Landing.   The kids and I decided to go a few weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised with the overall design.   The weather was perfect enough to enjoy some outdoor sights.   I enjoy the city for activities however my pet peeve is PARKING.    The parking lot is $20 unless you are a Blue Cross & Blue Shield employee parking is $13.  (***eyeroll***). There is on street parking on Columbus Blvd if you are lucky enough to find parking in a designated area.   Ok, I digress.

Now for a look inside of this urban oasis of activities.   Spruce Street Harbor Park opened in 2014, it is open from July to August.  It is a unique space at Penns Landing because it offers a boardwalk,  an urban beach, a fountain area and misting stations.    The main attraction for the #SSHP are a number of  floating barges with lily pad gardens, a pop up restaurant and bar and nets over the water.   I would suggest checking the calendar of events because throughout the season there are festivals, concerts and movies on the Great Plaza.    There is also a Facebook page for activity updates, Spruce Street Harbor Park.     If you want to unwind and relax there are hammocks, Adirondack chairs or find a seat underneath an umbrella in the beach area.  Just a tidbit of information, Huffington Post voted the urban beach, one of the best urban beaches in the world, who knew?

What would Philadelphia be without a great selection of foods, the food vendors are set up in cargo containers along the harbor boardwalk.   For the foodie in you,  there are delicious  summer foods  from Federal Donuts with their famous  donuts by the bag and chicken sandwiches(note: the food here is not the same menu as the other Federal Donuts throughout the city), Graso Group(offering chicken fingers, fries, hot dogs and other fare), ice cream from Franklin Fountain(my fave-banana a cup is $5 and you get a hearty scoop), a water ice truck that sells funnel cake(yummy) and I spotted a food truck Distrito’s for my chicken tacos.   For adults seeking alcoholic beverages, there is a concession serving craft beer and cocktails which must be consumed inside the Oasis.

In the Columbus seating area, there is plenty of movable seating, an oversized chess game, oversized soft Legos, a large Jenga game.  Another attraction for the kids is the cargo container with plenty of arcade games to get the kids attention.    The arcade has a photo booth for those who like to take those quirky and memorable pictures.   The Independence Seaport Museum has admission to tour the ships that are docked on the waterfront.     Now if you walk pass the ship Gazela you will find the beach area with lounge chairs, beach umbrellas and a simulated pebble beach material.  If you need to cool off, don’t forget to visit the Mist Walk. There is also roller skating on the other side of harbor park, which is $3 admission per person, $10 per person for skate rentals.

SSHPPost-1

 

SSHPPost-2

My Inspiration: 5 Reasons Why I Started Blogging?

WhyBlogging

 

Why I Started Blogging? 

  1. While I was laid off  I started scouring the internet for work from home opportunities, this is when I discovered an entire community of BLOGGERS at Mom Bloggers Club.  This is how I met Jen Lawrence-Snipes at JaelCustomDesigns   Our last meet up was at BlogHer15 in July.  We initially met( IRL) 5 years ago at a blogging event in PA.   Twitter was my first introduction to a social media platform and the rest as they say is HISTORY!
  2. It is a form of THERAPY! As a parent and single mom I quickly realized I was not alone with my challenges and experiences.
  3. I discovered it was a way to connect with MOMS around the globe.
  4. It is a PHENOMENAL platform to share my ideas, thoughts, experiences and challenges.
  5. I OWN MY CREATIVITY!

Cooking and Baking By Me: DIY Snack – Loaded Tortilla Chips

Loaded Tortilla Chips

On Saturday  I was in the mood for something YUMMY in honor of the #POWERFINALE with a glass of ELMO PIO PINK MOSCATO Yes, I had an excuse it was the season finale of POWER!!!!

What can you do with a bag of Chipotle Mexican Grill chips and their mild salsa? I prefer fresh made chips versus the ones in the bag. Chipotle has a right mix of kosher salt and lime juice on their chips.

Use a microwaveable plate, add chips, Oscar Mayer Southwestern Seasoned Grilled Chicken, Sprinkle on some Taco Cheese—microwave for 45 secs to 1 minute until cheese starts to melt.  Top with salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

Next time I may add some black beans and kick it up with some chipotle peppers!

I give this 5*s!!!!!!!

DIYSnackLoadedChips

My Kid’s Chronicles: 3rd Grade School Supply Haul

3rd Grade School Supplies

Why did this year of school supply shopping bring so much STRESS!!!! Initially I wanted to shop online to save time and what I thought was money.   The school makes it easy by providing the school supply list for each grade.  I took the list and went online to really do some comparison shopping.    I started with STAPLES and even without a few of the items such as 2 boxes of tissues and plastic folders my total was $66.00. Next up was AMAZON and some of the items were impossible to find individually there were a lot of items offered in bulk such as the marble composition books, spiral notebooks, plastic folders, tissues and disinfecting wipes for a total of $55(with items missing).    Lastly, I went to TARGET (with intention of picking up at the local store) and that was a quick peruse of the site because a lot of the items were SOLD OUT!

3rd grade School Supplies
• One 1-inch 3-Ring Binder
• 2 Marble Composition Books
• 1 Set of Crayons or Colored Pencils
• 1 Divider – Avery – 5 Tab – White – Big Tab Write On
• 2 Dry Erase Markers
• 3 Erasers
• 1 Set Multiplication Flash Cards
• 1 Folder – Plastic & Pocket – Blue
• 1 Folder – Plastic & Pocket – Green
• 1 Folder – Plastic & Pocket – Orange
• 1 Folder – Plastic & Pocket – Red
• 1 Folder – Plastic & Pocket – Yellow
• 1 Folder – Plastic Pocket & Prong – Red
• 4 Glue Sticks
• 1 Hole Reinforcements – Qty 200 – Avery
• 1 Set of Washable Markers
• 2 Spiral Notebooks
• 4 Dozen Ticonderoga #2 Pencils
• 1 Hand Held Pencil Sharpener
• 1 School Box – 5 x 8 x 2 – Plastic – Clear
• 1 Pair Kids Scissors
• 4 Packs Post It – 3 x 3
• 2 Boxes Tissues
• 1 Container Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
• 1 Ziploc Bags Quart Size (Boy)
• 1 Ziploc Bags Gallon Size (Girl)

I never bothered to even total because I am such a ONE STOP SHOPPER! On Tuesday me and my 3rd grader headed to FIVE BELOW and managed to find the majority of her items. Unfortunately I had to go next door to STAPLES to pick up some items missing at FIVE BELOW.
BacktoSchoolFiveBelow

 

BacktoSchoolStaples

 

Two stores later and would you believe I still need to go to TARGET for an orange plastic folder,  tissues and disinfecting wipes as I know they are priced better than STAPLES and there is a chance I can use my CARTWHEEL!

Last year I used these labels to personalize the supplies. BacktoSchoollabels