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Sunday, October 30, 2011

$HAMELESS $AVINGS - And another reason why the manager's special shelf rocks it hard

I scored again. This time it was on Halloween candy.... except for I bought it like 2 months ago. As I've explained before, I'm shoppertunistic. This means that I shop for deals and buy based on sales and available coupons, not necessarily purchasing things that I need at that moment. And because I'm pretty good at planning ahead, I'll find deals on things sometimes months in advance. This not only saves money in the log run, but also saves time because I'm avoiding the frantic search for the perfect dress that I need next weekend or gift that I need for a birthday that week, etc. In addition, by stocking up and buying things based on sales and being prepared, it prevents me from having to make special trips to pick up things, saving time and gas money.
Also I need to save money because I want this.
Over the summer, as I was doing my usual perusing of the manager's special shelf at my local Kroger, I came across some packages of mini snickers. They were mixed bags of both regular snickers and those of the almond variety. They were $1.39 a bag! Perfect for Halloween, don't you think?! So I purchased 4 bags, starting my Halloween candy total out at $5.56.
For those of you who can't see, it says the original price was $2.87, meaning I got them for more than 50% off!
4 bags makes for a nice full basket, and the gold mixed with the silvery Snickers bars is very Halloween-y
Around the same time of year, I was digging through the shelves at my HEB and found organic Amy's fruit snacks for $2 each box. Just a side tip: I'm always on the lookout for good deals on food that I can donate to my local school's food pantry. My friend is a social worker there, and I feel good about donating to an organization that I feel connected to. So look out for retired items or dented boxes/cans etc of foods that are food pantry worthy. I tend to buy a lot of cereals, granola bars and hearty soups like chili that will really make a difference in the tummy of a hungry kid. And I try to stay away from the veggies because it seems like veggie cans are commonly donated items.
So back to the organic fruit snacks. I bought 2 boxes to put toward my Halloween candy supply, bringing my total to $9.56.

Side Note - I think I'm going to do a little social experiment this year to figure out who's got the hippie kids who pass up the chocolate and pick out the organic fruit snacks.... looking forward to it.

Feeling pretty good about my stash, I decided to spring for a few more bags of candy this year. See last year, I ran out of candy toward the very end of the night and didn't get to share with any of the older kids who came out after sunset. So off to Walmart I went with a $1.50 off 3 bags coupon clipped from my Sunday paper. I scored 3 bags for $2.50 each, and minus the $1.50 coupon, my final total for this year is $15.56.

By doing some Internet research, I found the average amount of money spent on Halloween candy last year was just a little over $20. Totalling my candy expenditures, I've come in 25% under the national average. And overall I'm pretty proud of my display for this year!

Does anyone else out there have any tips or tricks for saving on Halloween candy?

Chocolate, Chewies, and Safe Trick-or Treating everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Doors of Chatham County

A few weeks ago, I got an opportunity to go to Savannah. Malibu Ken was there working, so I decided to meet up with him for a couple days over one of the weekends. Savannah is the most adorable town. It's so quaint and old feeling. There are many historic homes which are labeled by special bronze plaques on the outside of the house, like this one:
Savannah has a very unique town layout with town squares and sidewalks of slate and brick and all kinds of different stones.  
This one with hexagon stones was my favorite.

Sidewalk with a herringbone brick pattern. How chic. And I love the stately double entrance.
In between the homes were the cutest courtyards. The houses were very close together and built up and back. They didn't look huge from the front, but they were several stories high and rather deep. We liked to peak in on the sweet little courtyards.

I wonder who's courtyard is this? I like to imagine the parties that can be thrown here.

The details are my favorite. Look at these cute hinges attached to the brick...
But the most unique pieces of architecture were the doors on the homes and churches.
Love the iron detail on the door and the ivy growing all around
I loved this entrance to a courtyard... Can you see the hidden balcony?

I just had to strike a pose...

This archway with the half moon window was so pretty. Love the bright white trim and the little molding pieces inside the window along with the color combo (navy and creamy yellow)
 Savannah is also known for their historic churches, which were just beautiful. This one was my favorite, and what a great shot!
Who knew my boyfriend was such a talented photog? Just a perfect shot with the horse and carriage in front!

Aren't the windows cool? Look at that swirly glass in the clover shaped windows.
This church had a pretty door too... Do you see the flower shapes carved into them?
This place was just beautiful! I highly recommend Savannah. And lastly, I must cover my favorite subject, food. Here is a picture of us in front of the Old Pink House, the absolute BEST food we had while we were there. Plus no blog is complete without a picture of Malibu Ken and me :)

Cheers and Apple Pie dreams, Engineeringirl

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Creeptasitc Halloween Mantle

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I think it's because Halloween is the start of the fall, and fall is the start of the real holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here in Houston, we don't get a real fall. Our fall is more of a "it's not crazy hot" type of weather. It's still warm and enjoyable. It's just not miserable hot. That's why October is one of my favorite times of the year. Another reason I like Halloween is because of the traditions. I guess I like the idea of always doing the same types of things every year. Lola and I always like dressing up for Halloween and handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters. BTW, Lola mommy is very excited about Lola's costume this year and cannot wait to show it off. I like to bake a special Halloween treat for my co-workers every year. And lastly, one of my favorite traditions is to decorate my mantle for Halloween. I start thinking of what my theme will be months in advance (I know), and I build on that based on the deals that I find once the stores start carrying Halloween decorations.

Last year, I used some fake spiderweb and sparkle spiders, so I thought I'd bring those back this year along with my "Queen of Halloween" sign from 2 years ago, and my every day candle sticks. Three new additions this year are my sparkle skulls, some moss, and an owl vase that I got while I was in Savannah.

This big vase is my owl friend that I got on sale in Savannah. I need help naming him...

While I was in New Orleans this summer, celebrating my friend Pam's bachelorette party, I tried to snag some swamp moss, which I wrote about here. I won't rehash the story, but it basically ends with me having to throw all the moss away because there was a spider living in the bundle I snagged from the swamp. After hearing this story at work, my co-worker brought me some bug-free moss from his back yard. When I got home with it several months ago, I emptied out the bag on my garage floor to ensure there were no bugs, and then I stored it in my garage until I needed it this weekend. Although I will add that I did pick it apart again this morning to make double sure there were no bugs living in there. After I ensured the tree moss was insect free, I brought it inside to use. I laid it out across the candle pillar tops and let it just hang down in a creepy flowy way. Then I took some of the left over spider web, stretched it around the candle sticks, and used a couple pieces of clear tape to affix it to the candle stick where it needed help sticking.

Tree moss, spider web combo
Then I added the sparkle spiders by sticking their legs in the moss and the spider webs. And lastly, I placed the sparkle skulls that I picked up at Walmart for $2 each (total of $6) on top of each candle pillar.
Sparkles make things that are normally scary not-so-scary... Except for roaches, divas do NOT do roaches.

So that's about it... it took a total of probably 30 minutes to do. And now one last look:

I love my creepy decorati0ns this year! And thanks to Roger for bringing me the tree moss... see I told you I would use it!!
So, tell me, what kind of plans do you have this year? Does anyone have traditions for Halloween every year?

Have a Happy Halloween!