Monday, April 21, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Here is our dinner plans for the week:

Monday: Channa Masala
Tuesday: Meatballs
Wednesday: Chili Dog Casserole
Thursday: Stuffed Peppers
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Leftovers/Out
Sunday: Leftovers/Out

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rite Aid Week of 4/13 - 4/19 ($0.83)

My trip to Rite Aid this week:

2 Physicians Formula CC Cream $11.96 - used $3 on item coupon
4 Chili Powder $0.25/e on clearance
Used: $10 in +up rewards, refund from a return $8.78

Paid $2.05

Got back $10 ecb from Physicians Formula
Also will submit for the $10 rebate for Physicians Formula

Total: $0.83

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rite Aid week of 4/6-4/12 ($1.75)

My trip to Rite Aid for the week:

12 Dentyne Ice Gum $1/e - used 6 $1/2 mfc's and a $0.25 Rite Aid Coupon
Used $5 in +up rewards
Paid $0.75

Got back 4 $1 +up rewards

Total: $1.75

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Cocoa Classic Half Marathon Race Review

Last Sunday I ran the inaugural Cocoa Classic Half Marathon, the race also offered a 5k. 
When I arrived at the race in Downtown Detroit at 5:30 am I was able to park just a block away from the start. Street parking is free downtown on Sunday's! The Half Marathon was set to start at 7 am and the race had told runners to arrive by 6 but when I arrived they were still setting up the start area and other things like packet pick up weren't quite up and running yet. It looked like some of the volunteers had just arrived. I had been given a complimentary entry to the race and was instructed to go directly to the media/volunteer area where I would pick up my race packet and check in. When I got there I was directed to the registration line, after standing in the race day registration line the person I spoke with had no idea what she was supposed to give me, I did not have a pre-arranged race number, I was sent to the race number pick up and then back again to stand in line. Thankfully I had printed the email between myself and my race contact so I did finally get squared away but not without a lot of confusion and hassle. While standing in the registration line I found out that the race was only accepting $115 in cash on race day. Not accepting a credit card on site is unheard of and should have been mentioned on the races website, several people were directed to use the ATM machines that the race had provided but they weren't plugged in or set up. Race day registration was taking 10 minutes per person and there was only one person with one computer for the long line of people. They were trying to get more computers set up to move things along but by this time it was 6 am. People were not happy in that line. The waiver was the same one that you sign for the Warrior Dash, it probably wasn't necessary to have such a big legal document but as another runner noted it meant they didn't have to pay the lawyers to draw up another waiver. 
 I did not attend the packet pick up in Birmingham that was offered Friday and Saturday, I heard that the half marathon pick up was very quick but that the 5k was almost an hour wait outside and that the area the packet pick up was at had horrible parking. With over 6,000 runners between the Half Marathon and the 5k that is not acceptable. There was also a lot of confusion about where packet pick up was going to be available, first it was to be on race day, then only in the Birmingham location. When people complained they were told to call the race office, it turned out that packet pick up was available on race day but it was never mentioned to the runners. There were people that were pre-registered and the staff couldn't find their packets, this ended up being a mess for results since the race numbers ended up mixed up and people ended up with someone else's information under their bib number. The race did offer gear check for the runners which is always a nice touch, I have only used gear check one time and didn't need it for this race but I did run into a friend after the race that had used it and said it was very simple.
 The start area was set up for corral's for the half marathon, with only just over 1,000 runners this really wasn't necessary. For the 5k with over 5,000 runners it was a wonderful idea. 
 I saw the red bull truck with pallets of drinks behind the truck, those pallets were still there when I left after the race, I did see two ladies with the red bull coolers walking around but didn't even see them handing out the drinks. Not sure why. 
 The start line. There was a DJ getting everyone pumped up for the race that was doing a great job. The race had provided a huge amount of porta johns for the runners - it was wonderful and meant no lines. 
 Everyone was ready and in their spots on time but the first corral went off 5 minutes late and there was no national anthem. The start was very strange it seemed that they let the first corral go waited a minute and then let the second go then waited a minute and then just let everyone else go rather than continue the corral's. It didn't make any sense to me. I was standing by a nice lady running her first half marathon and found out she was a reader! I didn't get her name but I know she did great in the race, congratulations! 
 Running through the downtown area was wonderful, the streets were mostly closed off and there were no questions about which way to turn on the way to Belle Isle. Downtown Detroit and Belle Isle are my two favorite places to run and race this course combined the two and I thought it was wonderful. There was a set of stairs in the beginning of the course that the runners had to go down to get to the river walk, it was very awkward and the course ended up being short by about 0.20 of a mile, I think rerouting around the stairs to make up for that distance would have been a good idea. 
 Around mile 3 I started latching on to a couple of groups to try and distract myself from my foot pain, I finally caught up with a lady on the bridge to Belle Isle and we stayed together for the remainder of the race motivating each other and talking our way through the miles. Belle Isle was quiet and peaceful and we saw an eagle. The number of portable bathrooms and water stops on the course were perfect in my opinion BUT they really needed more help at the water stations, many of them were serve yourself where you had to take your own water off the table rather than someone handing it to you and one was on the opposite side of the road than the runners were. 
 The mile markers were clear and easily seen. Here is the mile 9 marker as we came from Belle Isle and back into the downtown area. This race was a great idea since I will be running the Free Press Marathon in October and The Cocoa Classic Half Marathon route is almost exactly what the back half of the Marathon course is for the Free Press. 
 Stopped for a photo op at Mile 10 heading toward the Dequindre Cut and the last 5k of the race.
Just before the finish there was a group of about 10 of us that missed a turn, the course had not a single course marshal out (the people that tell you where to turn or keep straight) and we had missed the arrow sign telling us to turn (see the metal barriers in the next picture? the arrows were attached to those but they were everywhere at that point in the race because the 5k had gone through there was well)  the police officers on the course were supposed to direct runners (the thought of this is ridiculous the police are there to keep us safe not direct us on the race course) and we went two blocks before an officer told us we had missed our turn, we had to go back the two blocks and get back on the right road. There were several times on the course that I was unsure of what direction to go in. 
 Below is directly after the finish line - complete chaos. As you can see there is no water, the race did not provide the runners with a bottle of water after the race. I've been to big races and I've been to tiny there are only 10 people participating races and every single one of them hands you a bottle of water when you are done. That was a big deal to me, I took a cup of water in each hand and then had to search for the lady handing out medals. I kept having to ask people what the line was for and where to go. You can see the beginning of the line here in the back of the photo below. Once I found the line, it went on...
and on...
 and on....
 and on and it wasn't moving at all. I found a different line on the other side that was shorter. I finally got to the front and reached in front of someone that thought I was cutting the line and gave me a very dirty look. 
 Post race food was a banana, three marshmallows, a rice crispy treat, pretzel rod and a cup of "fondue" that really tasted like cold chocolate syrup. A reusable mug and hot cocoa that was serve yourself. 
Beautiful medal although I think the race company should have gone to the expense of having a custom ribbon on it. 
Runners also were given the brown sweatshirt, the back is completely blank which I thought was a lost opportunity for the race company to advertise their event and not make me look like I love to wear plain poop brown hoodies. and the knit hat which my daughter promptly claimed (it looks a lot better on her anyway).

Race day registration was $115 cash only. The current price of the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon that includes crossing the Ambassador Bridge and returning through the tunnel is $100. So I do think this race was very overpriced. They needed more employee's and more volunteers. I was told the volunteers were obligated to be there from 5 am to 3 pm and were rewarded with a t-shirt, snack and water. That's not enough for people to spend their entire day (8 hours!), they weren't even provided with lunch. I can not say that I would recommend this event, I loved the course but there were too many organizational issues from the late start to the water stops to the finish line chaos. I hope the race organizers take everyone's complaints and suggestions into consideration and bring the race back next year with improvements because I really did love the course (except for the stairs and getting lost!).

*I was given a complimentary race entry in exchange for my review, the review is obviously not all roses and entirely my own opinion. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Here is our meal plan for the week:

Monday: No Box Vegetarian Hamburger Helper
Tuesday: Taco's with Mexican Rice and Beans
Wednesday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Homemade Bread
Thursday: Eggs with Hash brown Patty's (with diced tomato's and avocado)
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Chili Dog Casserole with Green Beans
Sunday: Burgers with Zucchini Fries

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What I got: FREE March Samples

It's already April and I'm so happy the weather is finally starting to cooperate, I finally got my Christmas decorations down from the front of my house! I do hope that we don't swing from one end of the spectrum (with the below zero temps) to the other (getting hot and humid) I would love to see some spring. 

Here are the samples from my mail in March:
Peets Coffee 2 pack of K-cups and $2 coupon
Bigelow Tea Bag and $0.55 coupon
Prilosec 2 Tablets
Wholly Guacamole Free Item Coupon
Jamberry Nails Sample
Cloud 9 Cat Treats
2 Pairs of Victoria's Secret Panties
Suave Lotion Sample
Clear Shampoo Sample
2 Scholastic Books
Kotex U Pad Samples and $1 Coupon
2 Clif Mojo Bars (I think these were the prize from below)
Minties Dog Treat and $1 Coupon
2 Emergen-C Samples and $1 Coupon
CVS Accu-Chek Nano System $9.99 Coupon
Kroger Coupon Mailer with $1 Coffee-Mate Coupon
Kroger Store Coupon Booklet
Bath and Body Works Free Trial Size Item Coupon

And my sweepstakes wins for the month (I stopped entering mid-March when my daughter's dance schedule picked up):
Snapfish 5x7 photo book
Dry Remedy Moisturizing Oil Sample
Libman Medium Duty Sponge
Clif Mojo Bar
Eat This E-Book
Until your mine book
Van's Cheese Crackers

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rite Aid 3/30-4/5

My trip to Rite Aid this week:

12 Theater Box Candy 3/$3
2 Revlon False Eyelashes $4.39/e - used 2 $1 mfc's
Fresh Guard Wipes $5.59 - used $1 mfc (this was the last one in the store so I got a rain check for the other)
8 Assorted Easter Candy $1/e
Also used $14 in +up rewards
Paid $18.23

Got Back: $5 +up reward from Fresh Guard Wipes
4 $1 +up rewards from the Theater Candy
4 $1 +up rewards from the Easter Candy
Did not get the 2 $5 +up rewards from the false eyelashes as advertised, my receipt reads the offer should have been spend $10 get a $5 +up reward, I have already sent an email to customer support, frankly this is happening much too frequently than I think is acceptable, it's almost beginning to feel purposeful.

Without the Revlon +up rewards my total is: $19.23
With the Revlon rewards my total would be: $9.23
While we would use the eyelashes (my daughter needs them for dance) we have some and I think I will return these if they won't mail the rewards.