Last night I went to the Trollwood Production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and really enjoyed it. It is at the Imagine Amphitheater in Moorhead, MN.

The show continues July 23-26 and July 30-August 2. They are offering a Buy one Ticket get one Free for Friday and Saturday shows. The tickets need to be purchased thru the box office at 218-477-6502 or Trollwood Box Office. General Admission tickets are available thru the Box Office, Hornbachers stores or at the gate if there are any more available.

General admission tickets are $15 and Reserved tickets range from $20 to $30.

It may seem like school just got out but with stores starting to have sales on school supplies it may be the perfect time to start looking for items before they get picked over.

Another reason to start shopping now is that you can spread the expenses over the next couple of months instead of a large bill before school starts. By sitting down and making a list of items you need, you can look for sale prices and stock up on items when you find them on sale.

Here is a Pinterest board I compiled with back to school ideas.

For some items you may be able to save money by shopping at Thrift stores. Many times kids outgrow items so quick that they are almost brand new when they are donated. In most cases , no one will know they were purchased second hand

In the Fargo/Moorhead area United Way is having their annual School Supply Drive. Donations of supplies or money are being collected thru August 1. Distribution dates are August 9 and 12. There is more information on supplies needed, volunteer information and distribution information at the link above.

PocketYourDollars is a website with information on sales, deals and other ways to save money.

Each Friday morning they do a segment on a Minneapolis radio station about current Freebies and list them on their website. Since they are based in the Minneapolis area, some of the deals are for the local area but some are mail in rebates or freebies available nationwide.

One way to save money and keep your house a little cooler is to use a crockpot. You can put the ingredients in it before you leave for the day and have the meal or most of it ready when you return. I recently came upon a blog series of 100 days of summer slow cooker recipes. It started in May and she adds a new recipe to the list each day.

One of the recipes that caught my attention is a new take on Tater tot Hotdish. It uses chicken breasts instead of ground beef.

Some of my perennial flowers are starting to bloom. I cut some to put on my desk at work. Since they are smaller blooms, I was looking for a smaller vase to use. I used a mason jar I had and a piece of ribbon.

If you don’t have flowers of your own, many stores have bouquets for $5-$10. Shotwell Floral at 4000 40th St S, Fargo has 5 Buck Fridays, where you can purchase a bouquet for $5. The photo below is from their Facebook page from a recent 5 Buck Friday.

In addition to using vases, you can also use other items, such as pitchers and jars.

The following is from the Facebook page of a friend of mine.

North Dakota Veterans with PTSD can now receive a free service dog to help them to deal with their PTSD and let them enjoy life, their families, and sleep well without as many nightmares! Call Service Dogs For America Jud, ND 1-701-685-2242. ( Jacob Runzel) get a special application for PTSD. Legislature is going to pay for 50 more placements in the next biennium!!

The past few years I have been looking for recipes to make many items at home instead of buying packaged since I don’t care for the taste of many packaged items.

I recently made these Soft baked oatmeal squares. They were quick to put together and tasted great.

A couple changes I made were that I used chunky peanut butter since that’s what I had on hand and I used mini Reeses pieces since I grabbed the wrong bag at the store. I also did not put the glaze on top.

They can be wrapped individually and kept in the freezer if you are not planning on using them soon.

There are a variety of recipes in cookbooks and online so you can have some variation in your rotation of snacks. You could use the basic recipe and add different flavored chips, etc.

Smart Kids Launchpad is a website developed by Dave Ramsey and his team with activities to teach kids about money and finances. Each week there is a new activity and they can earn badges for each activity they complete. You can either print out the badges or order sticker badges from them. The sticker badges are free but you may need to pay shipping charges.

Instead of replacing the laminate countertops in my kitchen and wetbar in my family room, I transformed them with the Rustoleum Countertop Transformation kit. There is also a kit to transform your cabinets. The kit includes almost everything you will need, there are a few items listed on the box that you will need to purchase. The items needed are paint brushes and rollers, paint tray, drop cloths and painters tape.

The kit in the link above covers 25 feet, I purchased a kit that covers 50 feet for $200 at Menards. When I purchased it they were running the 11% rebate special so I will get about $20 back which is about what the extra supplies probably cost.

First you sand the surface with a sanding block that is included to rough up the surface. Then you apply the basecoat and decorative chips. This needs to sit at overnight or at least 12 hours. Within 24 hours it needs to be sanded to make the surface smooth. Once you have it sanded and wiped off you apply the top coat. This needs to sit at least 48 hours to cure. After the 48 hours it can be used for light use but they recommend waiting 7 days for regular use of your countertops.

With drying time it takes a couple of days to complete the process. The box says actually working time is about 4-6 hours which is about right.

In the instructions it recommended having two people working on some steps but I did it alone and it worked fine. I did a section at a time when applying the basecoat and chips.

With the sanding and decorative chips, you end up with a mess on the floor so either have a drop cloth or shop vac handy. I didn’t cover the floor, but it cleaned up easily with the shop vac.

It is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to update your kitchen or other countertops in your home.

Now that school is out in most areas or close to it, you may be looking for ways to keep your kids busy.

Here is a listing of some of the summer reading programs. Also check your local libraries for summer reading programs and other activities. The Red River Valley Fair is also sponsoring a reading contest.

Many craft stores and other stores have craft supplies and craft kits in a variety of themes and age groups. Below are some of the items I saw at one of our local WalMart stores. The foam glitter letters and patterned felt sheets are $0.97 each and the felt shapes are $1.97 each.