Where to start….

I feel like I have so many things to do in the next two weeks – and I really do – but I get overwhelmed every time I think about starting.  Things are in progress and I am very, very blessed. Sometimes I just need to blow off some steam.

I have my cleaning list made.  I have my grocery list made.  I have my Thanksgiving menu made.  My Christmas shopping is 90% done. I have my family.

On the homefront, I have a wedding to go to this evening – at the Baltimore Zoo – it should be super cool.  In the meantime though, we’re all battling an annoying cold.  I have two kids under 9 to keep occupied today. The cleaning list needs to get started.

On the workfront, I have my CISSP exam in 11 days.  A good friend is putting in her two week notice on Monday. I have been faced with numerous unethical issues over the last two weeks which I still need to sort out. I’m still really angry and disappointed at how my last project ended.

I am feeling every one of my 41 years today.

Then I look at what happened in Paris yesterday and I know my issues are small in comparison to the grief and fear the world is faced with today.

I know that I will soon get up and get started because that’s what I do but I needed to take a minute just to vent, even if it was only to my computer :)

Community Cats of Maryland

I want to send out a special thank you to my friend Holly who checked over our newest family member Franklin last night. She helps run a wonderful program for feral cats in Baltimore County (although they will also help cats in other counties too!!) and I think it is a wonderful program. It is called Community Cats of Maryland and as a cat lover and current mommy of three abandoned cats I think we are so blessed to have volunteers to help these precious babies. Please take a look at her website and donate if you can. Thank you!!

Top 10 Things I Buy From the Dollar Tree!

What Will You Find

I love the Dollar Tree and I am lucky to have several of them within a 5 mile radius of me and they each carry different inventory which is a huge benefit for a bargain shopper like me. When talking to people I find that they either love or hate the Dollar Tree and if they hate it the reason tends to be that it overwhelms them. They do not want to have to walk up and down every aisle to find something new or useful. It’s okay, I’m here to tell you ten of my favorite items that the Dollar Tree carries regularly and give you several fun and helpful ideas to use them.

1. Tortillas – They have the best flour tortillas! I use them when we have make-your-own pizza night along with a jar of their pizza sauce and a package of their name brand pepperoni. For breakfast and sometimes dinner I make egg, cheese and bacon tortillas. For a snack at night we have peanut butter and jelly tortillas. They are fresh and delicious and about $3 less than the grocery store.

2. School Supplies – We are often “snobs” when it comes to using off-brand school supplies and buy the name brand for our son to take to school. However, with his extensive homework projects and the need for glue, crayons, markers, pencils and paper at home, I use the supplies from the dollar store to have on hand. They have a wonderful selection of supplies for teachers too! Buy a bunch and make a gift basket for your child’s teacher to help out in the middle of the year :)

3. Wyler’s Drink Mixes – I encourage our family to drink water and it is much easier for them to do it when they can flavor their water. My son loves the Iced Tea/ Lemonade mix and Orange Crush the best. For only $1 I can get a weeks worth of flavored water instead of buying the already flavored bottles at the grocery store.

4. Band-aids – The week after Jurassic World came out they had branded band-aids at my local Dollar Tree. I saw them last week at CVS for almost $3 a box! The exact same band-aids! They also have other characters and when you have kids, you know you need to stock up on these babies!!

5. Cleaning Helpers – Need sponges, micro-fiber cloths, moth balls, baking soda, empty bottles, buckets and more? Go get them for $1! They often have smaller versions of name brand cleaning supplies too. Give them a try and save big bucks over the prices of department or grocery stores.

6. Balloons – My Dollar Tree has balloons of all shapes and sizes with a variety of characters and greetings. Whenever I have a birthday or event where I want to bring a balloon, off to the Dollar Tree I go! My local grocery store carries the SAME balloons for $4-$10!

7. Snacks – Name brand bags of chips, pretzels, cookies, pudding, crackers and more can all be found at the Dollar Store. They are often smaller bags which is perfect for us as it limits the amount we eat at one time and because of the price, we always have a variety. If I bought a bag at the grocery store for $5 it would $3-5 for one bag and one flavor.

8. Puzzles – My family loves puzzles and they often have a variety based on the season and the popular characters which are out. If I ordered or bought a new puzzle elsewhere it would cost $4-$15 and I would be really ticked off when our dog ate a piece that the boy dropped. A $1 puzzle saves my sanity and my wallet!

9. Teeth Care – Need a new name brand toothbrush or toothpaste? They have them as well as mouthwash! Stock up for stocking stuffers and pick up floss, kids or adults hand flossers and off brand anbesol while your at it. The drugstore can’t come close to this price!

10. Kitchen Supplies – When I need a new spatula or glass brush or timer I know I can get it for $1 at the Dollar Tree. They have placemats, utensils, storage containers, glass dishes and so much more. While they are not name brand, they are quite usable and durable. Take a look on Pinterest for the amazing things people have made using supplies from the Dollar Tree!

Keeping my list to ten items was tough. I love making gift baskets and find the best stuff to fill them with at the Dollar Tree!
– Movie Basket: Fill a $1 Popcorn Bucket with candy, snacks, popcorn and drinks then add in a Gift Certificate to the movies.
– Office Basket: Fill a $1 gift bag with coffee creamer, pens, tissues, office supplies, hand sanitizer, lotion, aspirin and more! Add an iTunes gift card and you’re good to go!

Have a large event and need to make centerpieces? The Dollar Tree online offers bulk buys which you can have delivered right to your local store for free!

What do you buy at your Dollar Tree?

Halloween Books for your Little Goblins Less than $4 each!

Every evening Gavin and I spend at least 10 minutes reading together as part of his school assignment.  This means we go through a lot of books and while I did often find great deals at thrift stores and yard sales, sometimes I like to surprise him with a brand new book.  Here are some great books for kids of all ages with a Halloween/Fall theme, all under $4!

Kindle Book

Kindle Book

Kindle Book

Kindle Book

Happy Fall Y’All!!