The Aldi’s Adventure

Aldi store (free clip art)

Aldi store (free clip art)

Yesterday my sister took me into Culpeper to run a few errands. The last stop before heading home was to go to the Aldi’s store. I had only been in the store once before, several years ago, when it first opened. I remembered that the general design of the store was like a small warehouse club, and most of the brands were store brand items, which I had never heard of before. I’m always up to trying new brands, but my family is often very reluctant to try new things, so I decided at that time to not shop there.

Recently I have been hearing a lot of good things from a variety of people who are in my circle of Ruritan acquaintances and Facebook friends that they shop at Aldi’s and they love it. So, I decided to take another look when the only thing I really needed to buy in the way of groceries was a gallon of 1% milk. After all, I reasoned, it should be difficult to ruin a gallon of 1% milk!

So, off to Aldi’s as the last stop before heading home, to check it out in general, and to buy a gallon of 1% milk, to be specific.

I remembered that it cost a quarter to get a shopping cart, and I had a quarter with me, ready to go. What I had not remembered, however, was the procedure as to how to use the quarter to get the cart! There was no signage outside that we could see that gave instructions on how to use the quarter to obtain the cart, just a sign telling you spending a quarter to get the cart saves you dollars in the store.

how a quarter saves you dollars

How a quarter saves you dollars

So I approached the carts with trepidation and looked them over. On the handle of the cart, there is a little coin box to insert the quarter, and a chain that is attached to the back of that box. That chain attached that cart to the other carts stored in front of it. Seems simple enough, right? I surmised that if I inserted the quarter into the box, the chain will fall out, and I can pull out the cart and do my shopping. I expected the quarter to go all the way into the box, but it did not. The quarter only went half-way in and stopped. The chain did not fall out! What the heck?!

stuck quarter

stuck quarter

Now, I reasoned, that I have somehow got a faulty cart, and the smart thing to do was to remove that quarter from the box and insert it into the box of a different cart. Sounds simple enough, but that quarter was stuck. It would not go in any further, and would not come out! And that darn chain was still attached to the back of the cart!

So I tried to wiggle that quarter, to coax it to come out of that coin box, but it was firmly stuck. I looked at my sister, and told her “the quarter is stuck, and won’t come out!” Just then a gentleman approached, and he saw that I was struggling to remove the quarter. He asked me “are you trying to get it out?” I told him “yes.” He said “No worries, here’s a quarter.” He placed a quarter in my hand, then he simply gave the cable in the back of the coin box a tug. The cable pulled out, the cart was freed, and the man whisked that cart into the store!

My sister and I started to laugh! What had just happened? “Our” chosen cart was getting away! Granted, the man had given me a quarter, but I had struggled to get that cart, and it was heading into the store without me! Too funny!

Now that I had seen someone actually perform the required steps to obtain a cart, I took the quarter that the polite man had given me, inserted it into the coin box of a different cart, tugged the chain out of the back, and we headed into the store, still laughing. The man who had given me the quarter and taken my originally intended cart heard us laughing and turned around to see what was going on. His eyes got really big when he realized what had happened, and he exclaimed that he was so sorry – he thought that I was trying to get my quarter back because we were finished shopping! He hadn’t realized that I was trying to get the cart to start our shopping!

We laughed again, and I told him it was no big deal – I told him that it was my first time shopping there and had no idea how to get the carts. He explained he had been shopping there for years, but that it obviously didn’t make him any smarter! We all had a good laugh over that!

After all was said and done, we went about shopping, and comparison pricing. I could see that their prices seemed a bit lower than the other stores, but when it comes to comparing store brand prices to store brand prices, they were about on par with the other stores. Maybe a bit lower. Maybe.

gallon of milk (free clip art)

gallon of milk (free clip art)

I was hoping to buy 1% milk, but was surprised and disappointed to find that they don’t sell 1% milk! (Now remember, the only item I knew I wanted to get was a gallon of 1% milk!) So I purchased 2% milk instead. I also decided to buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, a couple of boxes of chicken broth, and some ground beef. I felt that the prices on those items were pretty good. Their prices on Greek yogurt was good, too, but they only had strawberry flavor in stock, which gives me heartburn, so I didn’t buy it. Their signage claimed they also had blueberry, which I would have purchased, but they were out of stock.

I was hoping to find some refrigerated, prepared, mashed potatoes (like Bob Evans) but the store manager told me that they don’t sell anything like that. That was a disappointment.

For the most part, they seemed to have most of the items I would need from a normal grocery store shopping trip, if I were happy with the taste of the store brand. We did try their All Natural meat flavored spaghetti sauce last night, and I will admit that it tasted better than the other store brands of similar type. I would buy and eat that again.

reduce reuse recycle poster (free clip art)

reduce reuse recycle poster (free clip art)

I knew that I had to provide my own bags, and that I would have to bag my own items, so I was prepared for that. Not a problem, I always try to keep an insulated shopping bag, and reusable canvas shopping bags in the trunk of the car. I try to reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags coming into the household – they are a nuisance and a pain in the neck to try to recycle properly since many local stores have stopped taking them back for recycling. I’m an advocate for reduce, re-use, and recycle. (Yes, I’m a tree-hugger!)

In a nutshell, I think I’d go there again if my family would agree to try their store brands. But it would not be a “one-stop shopping trip” which makes it less convenient, so we will have to just wait and see. Having to drive the extra distance, and stand in a cashier’s line at a second store on shopping day may not actually save me any money in the long run.


Posted in Family and Friends, Food, Life, Opinion, Rants, Ruritan, Shopping and tagged , , by with no comments yet.

Red Hatter Club Crafting with Wine Corks

Today I attended my Red Hatter Club’s monthly meeting at our “Queen’s” house. We were crafting with wine bottle corks, and I was the “leader” of the craft. Essentially that meant that I was the “main” person responsible for helping everyone understand the directions for the craft. Luckily through a group effort we had accumulated most of the supplies over the past several months, and little money was spent.

Since I’m not supposed to drive, out “Queen” came over to my house and picked me up to take me to her house. We got there several minutes before the rest of the ladies arrived, and I had time to figure out the directions for the craft before most of the people arrived. There were a couple of early birds, and they helped me to figure out the directions, and helped to pre-cut and pre-tie some of the ribbons and bows, which made things go a lot smoother.

One of the ladies brought a dessert to share called “Lemon Lush” that she got from a cookbook called “East Dessert First.” The dessert was essentially a lemon pudding with a topping that was made with cream cheese and Cool-Whip. Another lady brought in a pistachio flavored cake that was sprinkled with confectioners sugar in place of frosting. Both were delicious! We all had the chance to make several ornaments, we helped each other out from time to time, and we had a good time catching up with each other’s lives. I always have fun when we get together! After it was all over, we helped clean up, and the “Queen” drove me back home again. Next month we hope to go to the movies together, but we don’t know yet what movies will be playing. Hope we go to a comedy! I can always use a good laugh to lift my spirits!

Here are some photos of the ornaments that were made during the club meeting! Aren’t they just adorable!?


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Travel Tips for a Summer Getaway in Hawaii

Travel Tips for a Summer Getaway in Hawaii

Image Source: www.legacyfamilytree.com

 

Known as one of the most beautiful states in the country, Hawaii is a tropical paradise. Start planning your summer itinerary, beginning with these six travel tips:

1. Vacation Home

When it comes to visiting Hawaii, there are a myriad of places you can stay. Hawaii has some of the most luxurious resorts available that offer amenities like ocean front views, waterfall pools, and shuttles to any local area of interest. If spending a great deal of time in Hawaii, look into renting out vacation homes or timeshares. In the long run, it will probably be less expensive, for instead of spending money on every meal, you can cook within the property’s kitchen. Plus, you can spend evenings relaxing inside of a space that feels like home.

And, if you enjoy your time in Hawaii, look into investing in a timeshare instead of just renting one. The space is available to you whenever you want to getaway and can be rented out for a nice profit. Plus, sites like direct2tv.com/direct-tv/Hawaii/Honolulu offer great deals on exclusive amenities you can add to your timeshare.

2. Pearl Harbor

If you want to see Pearl Harbor, reserve your tickets in advance. As a major attraction, tours often sell out quickly, especially in the peak months of tourist season.

3. Waikiki and Honolulu

Some of the island’s best attractions are located in the tourist zone of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu. Though crowded, the sites are well worth it. Spend a day snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, a protected nature preserve on Oahu’s coast, or go for a drive up the windward coast on Kalanianaole Highway, where you’ll be able to see a dormant volcano and sharp cliffs overlooking a turquoise ocean.

Spend a day at Lanikai Beach, which has been consistently voted Hawaii’s number one beach. It’s a little off the beaten path, making it usually free from tourists. Or, visit Oahu’s North Shore to check out the Polynesian Cultural Center. It is a lot like Disney’s EPCOT, for it represents every culture from Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Hawaii, to several others islands in order to showcase their culture, food, music, and other traditions.

4. Food Specialties

While in Hawaii, experience the local cuisine like dinner at Duke’s Waikiki or Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. For a little legendary shaved ice, give Matsumoto Shave Ice in the historic Haleiwa a try. Matsumoto is known for its unique flavors like tangerine, green tea, and creamsicle.

5. Maui

Maui is full of picturesque beach options that range from large and crowded to small and peacefully unknown. Whalers Village is a typical shopping destination while Mt. Haleakala is an impressive volcano site most tourists hitch a ride to see. Lahaina Harbor is known for its whale-watching tours, especially during December-April. Maui hosts plenty of luaus that tourists can attend to experience a traditional Hawaiian night full of hula dancing, Hawaiian food, and music.

6. Before You Leave…

Make sure to toss a flower lei into the ocean before you leave. It’s a traditional symbol that you’ll be back to paradise someday.

 

 


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Easter Crafting

Decoupage Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs

I don’t know what it is about spring that excites me about crafting with an Easter theme. I’ve never, ever, liked the smell of vinegar, so I have always hated the traditional Easter egg decorating.

Memories of my loving grandparents trying to get my siblings and me excited about dipping hard-boiled eggs into those little bowls of dye that smelled like vinegar make me cringe. They were kind, and patient, but I was not. After all, I did not like the smell of vinegar, and I did not like eating hard-boiled eggs.

Just the thought of eating something that I didn’t like in the first place, after ruining the pieces of art I was creating after suffering the offensive vinegar smell was just horrific to me! I’m sorry to admit that I was probably a pain in the neck during those times of decorating those Easter eggs!

But I guess that with the eruption of spring flowers, the urge to create spring-related, and Easter-related things gets to me. I try hard to resist, but now and then I succumb to the urge.

A few years ago I was watching a crafting television show on HGTV, and one of the topics was decoupaging Easter eggs. The show inspired me to try my hand at decoupage, and I had all of the supplies that I needed – some old plastic Easter Eggs, some glue, and some pretty, floral wrapping paper. The photo at the top of this page is a sample of some of the results, and I have to admit that I was pleased enough that these are displayed in a glass case all year-long in the foyer of my home.

I just found a YouTube video that demonstrates a similar technique to do what I did, although it is not exactly the same. I’ll admit that I really like the idea of decoupaging the half-eggs, and then filling the eggs with something special, but that is not what I had done. I simply decoupaged the entire egg so that it will never open. I am feeling inspired, though, to do what this video is demonstrating! And adding ribbons around the outside of the egg certainly makes it egg-stra special (pun intended.) I’m just not sure when I’ll have the time to actually DO this.

I will consider taking advantage of the after-Easter clearance sales to pick up some plastic eggs and put them in my craft-room storage closet for when I WILL have time, on a day when my hands don’t hurt too much to take on a crafting project.


Posted in Computers and Internet, Crafts, DIY projects, Family and Friends, Food, Fun, Life, Memories, Videos and tagged , , , , by with comments disabled.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

A few evenings ago one of my sons asked to me find some photos of a family pet we used to have and email them to him. Well, my photo collection is NOT well organized, and I spent a few hours last night looking through dozens of envelopes of photos from the past. Yes, I found some photos of the pet that I will send to him, but that is not the focus of THIS post. This post is about another photo that I found that brought back some memories from a place that I used to work.

This cake was a specialty cake from a bakery in Lewiston Maine. I don’t know the name of the bakery (sorry) and I no longer have contact with the people who originally ordered it, so I don’t know HOW anyone can order this for themselves. But apparently the bakery had a lot of orders for this cake, and to be perfectly honest I think I would be inclined to order this cake on numerous occasions if I could. But I can’t, so it will just have to be a fond memory of a group of co-workers that got a birthday cake for a person who suffered from severe “potty mouth.” The people who ordered it called it a “poop cake.” Well, actually they used a different word that means poop, but I’m trying to “clean it up” for the purposes of being a “G” rated post.

It really is a chocolate cake, with chocolate fudge frosting with peanuts, plastic flies, and bathroom tissue tucked in and around the top of the cake. And yes, we DID eat it. And yes, it WAS delicious. Some of the co-workers joked about it being “Good ****”

The words around the bottom of the cake plate “Potty patrol” because we were always teasing the “potty mouth” co-worker that we needed to assign someone to help him control his mouth!


Posted in Family and Friends, Food, Life, Memories, Work and tagged , , by with comments disabled.
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