This is Anna's pumpkin, the picture of it is here mostly just for ambiance. It's also a before-shot. Tonight we ran over to Wal-Mart to get crafty supplies to turn this nice pumpkin which only cost $2.49 into her much beloved fav book character "Oliva" Glen Oaks school is having a pumpkin decorating contest for their students. The rules only require that you can't carve the pumpkin and it has to represent a character from a book. Today I googled "Olivia Book Character Pumpkin" and found a school that had a similar contest. You can check out all their great work when you click this link.
Tomorrow I have a Ladies Afternoon Shopping Event over at Trio Bar & Grill . Trio has some nice appetizers and I like my fellow vendors so it's a nice afternoon once a month AND they have free Wi-Fi so I bring my trusty lappy. In my opinion this is plenty to have going on for a Friday night, but this is the crazy busy weekend--so we also have Cub Scout Pack Night. Bryce loves to go. Me personally, I get overwhelmed with just my 3 kids, so pack night is a lot of boys. Honestly, the Den Leaders are awesome, they do a great job just because they care.
Saturday I've got a home taste-testing with a great host and then I am hoping to be able to swing by and see my newest team member. On the home front, The Man is looking to golf, natch. But I think I've talked him into going on Sunday.
Sunday I'm looking forward to St. Patricia's Oktoberfest Vendor Craft Fair I'll be there at my table and my sister-in-law is coming for backup so I can work and the kids can enjoy the fair. Psst, free games for the kids! Anytime the kids can go to an event and have fun without me having to spend a bunch is great. I have found that over the last few years we've skipped many fun activities due to cost. It doesn't seem like a bad deal to spend $18 for a day at a water park, but then when you times it by 3 or 5 for all of us to go there goes the budget. A family activity can easily cost $100 or more so we don't do much.
Cost is typically why our 'date nights' are few and far between. When you add the cost of a sitter and the cost for dinner some place nice, ouch! It's great that deal sites like Living Social, Groupon and Plum District have arrived. Another way I've found to make getting out more affordable is mystery shopping. What's that you say? Secret Shop?
Yes. I go on assignment to various locations and I pose as an average shopper. After the shop I submit and online reports. In return, I get a bit of money for my time and if it is a restaurant shop, I get reimbursed for the meal. Bonus part is that 9 times out of 10, the company wants you to go with a guest. Guest= Date Night or a much needed night out to catch up with a friend. Being located in Chicagoland is a huge bonus as there are so many secret or mystery shopping opportunities to be had. I've got a nice lunch planned with The Man coming up I have to leave it at that, I have to keep my anonymity.
Are you interested in secret/mystery shopping? Comment if you have any questions! I'm happy to share what I've found and the best place to start is Mystery Shop Providers of North America you can look here for shops in your area. You sign up with the companies doing the shops individually and there isn't a fee to become a shopper.