Thursday, February 22, 2018

Amish Cooking Class:The Celebration Book Review

I went through a big reserving binge which brought a lot of books to my shelf at the same time.  Fun thing is that I reserved a book that I read in December that came in at the same time as a bunch of other books.  I am not sure if I was so far down on the reserve list that I grabbed it off the shelf and read it and didn't take it off the list or if I reserved it again because I love the author so I literally took a piece of paper and wrote the due dates of everything which was the deadline for finishing them and I got them done weeks before they were done because I was so worried because you can't renew new releases.  I was excited to see another installment of this series out in on the new releases at the library so I reserved it quickly and got to read Amish Cooking Class - The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Lyle and Heidi Troyer have taken in a brother and sister, who were orphaned when their parents were killed in a car accident. Hoping to help the children adapt and make friends, Heidi decides to hold a series of cooking classes for kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult—and that is where the trouble arises.

Miranda Cooper is living the life of a single mom to her two kids while separated from her husband, but Trent is trying to worm his way back into her heart.  Denise McGuire’s life as a wife, mom, and real estate broker is full and spilling over.  Darren Keller, single dad and firefighter, and Ellen Blackburn, single mom and nurse, find a few things in common.  Will hearts be healed over plates of Amish food?

This is the third book in The Amish Cooking Class series.
Book #1:  The Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers
Book #2:  The Amish Cooking Class - The Blessing

I enjoyed the first two books in the series so I was excited to get to the next book in the series to see what was going on with Lyle and Heidi Troyer.  They had taken in two foster children when they found out that they couldn't have any kids of their own and they were working towards adopting them.  The children were trying to fit into the new household and make friends so Heidi decided to hold another cooking class but make it for children.  She loves teaching people how to cook and there is always something interesting that comes out of the cooking classes and this was no exception.  There are single moms, single dads, separated parents and parents going through tough times all enrolling their kids who are going through problems and trying to heal.  Heidi offers the place to learn how to cook and often solves problems that she doesn't even know about. You have to pick up the book to get to know this group of adults and kids and see what problems they all overcome with a little cooking and a lot of listening.  I think that everyone's lives are better after the class then they are before.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hardcore Twenty-Four Book Review

I went to the library to get some books on reserves and the newspapers and I saw a book on the new release section while I was getting my other things.  Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich was calling to me from across the room with it's bright orange cover.  I wanted to run over and grab it because I have been waiting for the book for awhile and I knew that I still had a few more in front of me to wait.  Although when I checked, I am now only 20th down in the list so it wasn't too much longer to wait!!  Great news is that I already read it so I can take myself off the list so someone else will get it sooner.  I think that when I signed up, I was like 650 people back so it does move quickly enough and save me the money of buying the book for myself that takes me one day to read.

Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.

If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?  

I love this series.  It makes me laugh out loud every time that I have gotten one of these books because Stephanie Plum can't have anything go right for her.  Her car is stolen and she goes through a few more cars in the book but you have to pick up the book to find out how because it is a given that she makes horrible decisions that lead to some of her crisis and others are out of her control.  She is in a relationship with her cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli, while Diesel is living in her apartment and she runs to Ranger to get help when needed to avoid all of her problems.  Stephanie's job is a bond enforcement agent so she is chasing down bad guys the whole time.  She is actually seeming to get a little better at her job because she catches quite a few during the course of this book although there are ups and downs to what she does because she is often soft hearted and lets people wait through different things like the one that she caught and he shot himself in the foot so she didn't take him right to jail.  I couldn't stop laughing throughout this one and I highly recommend this great series.  I am a little sad that there are no more books out and I was much happier at the beginning of the series when I got to go from one book to the next but I am patiently waiting for the next book to be published.  I hope that you check out this book and all the others in the series!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Inn at Last Chance Book Review

I started this book after finishing the last one in the series and I was excited to find out who the next book was going to follow.  Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay was the seventh book in the series so I only have two books left after this one.  I was excited to learn more about Jenny because her pie baking expertise is featured in every book and there hasn't been a chance to get to know her yet.  This was a great chance as well as who doesn't like a good bed and breakfast story!! 

Jenny Carpenter is the unrivaled pie-baking champion of Last Chance, South Carolina's annual Watermelon Festival and the town's unofficial spinster. With her dream of marriage and children on hold, she focuses on another dream, turning the local haunted house into a charming bed-and-breakfast. But her plans go off course when the home's former owner shows up on her doorstep on a dark and stormy night . . .

Mega-bestselling horror writer Gabriel Raintree is as mysterious and tortured as his heroes. His family's long-deserted mansion is just the inspiration he needs to finish his latest twisted tale, or so he thinks until he learns it's been sold. The new innkeeper proves to be as determined as she is kind, and soon Gabriel finds himself a paying guest in his own home. As Jenny and Gabe bring new passion to the old house, can she convince him to leave the ghosts of his past behind-and make Last Chance their first choice for a future together?

Jenny is a wallflower that we have not seen in the previous books even though she has been in every story.  The baker of the pies who has remained very quiet and we have been waiting to get to know more about her.  She quit her job teaching math in high school to open a bed and breakfast.  She is hoping that serving all of her treats and being with people all the time is going to make her life more fulfilled.  She is looking towards the future with all of her decisions.  Gabe Raintree comes back into town and he hurts himself after slipping on the ice at the new bed and breakfast.  He is going to need to heal and the ladies in town talk Jenny into having him stay at the inn so that he will be well cared for and do a fundraiser to help keep their library open.  I enjoyed the interesting interactions with Gabe and Jenny who are both trying to spend time avoiding each other while being the only two people living in the house.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the Last Chance series.  I have really enjoyed reading it.  I am a little bummed that I have gotten a lot of books on my reserve shelf recently so I have to take a break on the series to read a few other books.  I am excited that I will get to return to them

Monday, February 19, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 2/19

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday- Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with mac and cheese
Thursday- Pasta
Friday- Family Fun Day Leftovers
Saturday- House Autry Fried Chicken Tenders with Hash Browns
Sunday- Meatball Sliders

Last week was yummy and according to plan.  I made our normal Monday meal which is my son's favorite dinner and made them into wraps for my husband and I which is our new habit.  I couldn't figure out what to make the chicken into when it was still time for dinner.  I decided last minute to Taco Chicken Rice.  I cut up the chicken tenders and browned in a pan while shredding cheese.  I added a little taco powder and water to cook up while cooking the rice.  Wednesday, I grilled a steak that I bought at Aldi's awhile ago with Weber Steak Seasoning free from Harris Teeter and sliced Hasselback baked potatoes.  Thursday brought Pasta before basketball with butter and garlic salt for my son and meatballs and red sauce for my husband but I didn't make enough for me so I ate leftovers and a few other things.  We decided to make Friday a fun dinner night where I made whatever food and we eat off TV trays and watch a family movie.  We had a bunch of fun foods including toasted ravioli, homemade fried cheese, mini tacos, chicken fries, Nathan's fries, tater tots, chips and salsa and edamame and whatever else was in the fridge and freezer.  We watched Mary Poppins because we were going to play on Sunday.  My son fell asleep after half the movie but we had lots of fun.  On Saturday, I made my husband fried rice for a late lunch so dinner happened a little late but we enjoyed our lasagna while my son had pasta.  We had a little leftover steak but not much that I cooked up to make steak sliders for a yummy dinner with a few side dishes.

I am hoping for a good week this week but I just came down with a sickness on Friday so I am a little exhausted but I hope that I have made the week easy enough to make it through without too much work on my part.  We are almost in March so I started taking an inventory of what we have left to make the menu plan for the month but haven't gotten very far yet in the planning since I don't know when practice will be for soccer and when that will start.  How is your planning going??

Friday, February 16, 2018

Last Chance Knit and Stitch Book Review

I picked up the next book in the series right after finishing the last.  Last Chance Knit & Stitch by Hope Ramsay was the next in my pile and the next in my series.  I was excited to find out who I was going to be getting to know in this book and excited that it was Molly because she seemed like an interesting character on the fringe in the last few books that you only got to know a little but this book changed all of that!!

Molly Canaday wishes she could repair her life as easily as she fixes cars. She was all set to open her own body shop in Last Chance when her mother ran off and left her to manage the family yarn shop instead. Now guided by the unsolicited-though well-intended-advice of the weekly knitting club, Molly works to untangle this mess. But her plan unravels when the new landlord turns out to be difficult-as well as tall, dark, and handsome.

Simon Wolfe returns to quickly settle his father's estate and then leave Last Chance for good. Still wounded by a broken heart, Simon is surprised when the town's charming streets and gentle spirit bring back good memories. Soon the beautiful, strong-willed Molly sparks a powerful attraction that tempts him to break his iron-clad no-commitment rule. Can Simon and Molly find a way to share work space-and build a future together in Last Chance?

Molly is a character that has been in just about every book because she works at the Grease Pit which is the auto repair place in town and she also is in the Knit and Stitch a lot because her mom runs it.  Her mom leaves Last Chance in the beginning of the book because she is upset when her husband goes fishing instead of on the vacation that she wanted to do together.  Molly is left to pick up the pieces with taking care of her family, doing laundry, grocery shopping, running the Knit and Stitch yarn shop while still trying to maintain her life and job.  She is pulled in so many different directions and she is upset.  Simon comes back into town to go to his father's funeral after leaving 18 years before but is dealing with a lot of emotions.  His mother doesn't remember who he is because she is loosing her memory and he is trying to finish some art work for a commission that he is having trouble with.  At the same time, he seems to be drawn to Molly even though everyone in town tells him that she is taken by Les.  There is a lot of drama in this book and you need to pick it up to find out for yourself what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and are as captivated as I am.  I was ready to pick up the next book right after finishing this book.  I feel like I am in a race to find out who I get to learn about next.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Last Chance Book Club Book Review

I was excited to finally get all the rest of the books in the Last Chance series from the library after reserving them at the library.  Last Chance Book Club (Last Chance, Book 5) by Hope Ramsay was the next book in my pile.  I was a little confused because I picked up the book I wrote #5 on the side because it was the fifth book in the series which was supposed to help me know that it was next but I had to pull them out to see if it was the first one that was next.  I probably could have thought really hard but super glad that I wrote it so I didn't have to look it up again!!  LOL!!

After a painful divorce, Savannah White wants nothing more than to find her happy place. So when she gets the chance to pack up her life -and her son - and move to the idyllic town where she spent childhood summers, she jumps at the opportunity. Last Chance is just as charming as she remembered. She's even invited to join the local book club, where talk soon turns to Savannah's plan to bring the ramshackle downtown movie theater back to life. A new challenge is just what Savannah needs to move forward.. . .
Dash Randall wants to put his fortune to good use, but he remembers Savannah as the bratty "princess" who descended upon him each June, causing no end of trouble. But the teenager he remembered has grown into a gorgeous and generous woman, and it isn't long before Dash finds himself wanting to make brand new memories with Savannah. But first, Dash and Savannah will need to make peace with their pasts to find a new chance for love.

I loved this book and the rest of the series so I was glad to have found it through the Christmas book in the series.  This book was about Savannah White who moved to the town to get away from an unhealthy relationship with her ex-husband and to start a new life for her son.  She decided that she was going to go to her uncle's funeral and stay to watch over her aunt.  Everything is changing in this small town and she is trying to find her place in the town.  Dash lives with Aunt Miriam and remembers the princess from his childhood and has to learn how to treat Savannah now that she is grown up.  There are lots of things going on in her life and Dash finds himself quickly jumping in to make a difference in her son's life the same way his uncle did when he was younger.  There are amazing changes that happen through the book and you have to pick it up to find out what happens that makes Savannah decide that she needs to leave town quickly.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series!  I know that they will get to you just as they have me!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Middle of the Month February Shopping Update

I spent a lot of time in the store at the beginning of the month because of super doubles at Harris Teeter.  I went there the first day of the sale which was in January but I got a bunch in February before the sale was over.

I figured out something early because of my first transaction.  I actually got a deal that I didn't know about which barely ever happens.  I bought 3 Splenda to get half way towards my goal to get the Saving Star bonus and I got a $3 Catalina which I didn't know what it was from.  I did my second transaction to get the other part to get to my Saving Star total of Splenda and got another $3 catalina.  I dug through my bags until I figured out that it was from the Splenda so I knew that I was going to be getting lots of free groceries with my $3 catalinas as long as there was stock of Splenda because it was free after coupon and a super big money maker for me.  I made $24 in Splenda Catalinas this month to pay for all the groceries and probably could have bought even more given enough time and inventory but there were so many other deals to use my coupons on them.  Check out some of my hauls!!

I tried moving things around in the cupboard to try to fit all of my new things in the pantries and laundry room.  I counted the Finish dishwasher tablets that we now have and I have 277.  My husband and I did a quick calculations and we think that it might last us about 2 years.  I paid under $4 for all of them so I am super excited by this new stockpile. 

Harris Teeter $9.09

 I went to the store on the first day of the month ready to start strong with a bunch of printed coupons that I didn't have on the first day because I worked hard to cut my coupons and get organized but as always I was a little lacking because I really didn't know what the deals were.  I went through and got the free hot sauce, barbecue sauce, frozen fried rice, Old El Paso Shells and tortillas, Jones sausage and Splenda.  The boxes of crackers were $0.99 each.  The pasta was $0.14 each.  My expense was the turkey lunch meat which was on sale for $4.99 and I had a coupon that took off $1.50 making it $3.49 so it is my husbands preferred brand over Aldis so it was a must buy.  I will get back $1 for the Old El Paso from Saving Star.

Harris Teeter $6.72 - $4.59- $2.05= $0.08

I bought free Splenda to get the catalina deal discussed above.  I got the pasta for $0.14 per box which I really need to stop buying because I got so many when they were free but I was having trouble keeping away from any deal.  I got the 6 Gerber which I was planning on using my catalina to buy because it was $8.94 and I used $1.50 coupon so they were $5.94 after it doubled.  The catalina didn't print out so I went to customer service and they gave me back the $2.05.  It would have been better to have the catalina during super doubles because it would have doubled but at least I got the cash back.  I used one of my catalinas from Splenda so this ended being a great deal.

I got the Texas Wing Sauce which I thought was free because of the sign but when I got home and looked even closer to my receipt, I saw that the original price was $2.79 instead of $1.99 that the sign said.  I brought back the receipt the next time and talked to customer service and they gave me $4.59 back but I don't have a clue what math he used because that is all it says on the receipt but made me not want to return them so I was happy.

Harris Teeter $3.02

One of my son's favorites so I got these for $0.75 each and used the $3 catalina to pay for it which made it an even better deal.

Harris Teeter $2.57
These are one of my husband's favorite treat so I grabbed a whole bunch of weird flavors for him and then a few that he would share with me and my son on the top.  I used a $3 catalina to pay for the transaction.

Harris Teeter $2.38

I got the free Splenda and I had a catalina for a free Liberte yogurt which is great because I will get $0.30 back from Saving Star.  The pretzels were $0.74 per bag which was a great deal.  My favorite deal of was the finish dishwasher tablets for $0.19 per bag.  I had a coupon to get the Cheez-its for $1.49 each.  I thought it would be a great way to use my Splenda catalina to get some free groceries.

Harris Teeter $2.24
I got the free hot sauce, Splenda, Yakisoba noodles, barbecue sauce and Rice Work chips.  The pasta was $0.14 per box. The Finish was $0.19 per bag.  The PF Changs sauce was the best deal because I paid $0.29 each and turned it in for Ibotta rebate to get $1.50 back on each and I got $0.25 any item rebate.
Harris Teeter $2.35
I got free Splenda, Yakisoba Noodles, Jones sausage, Old El Paso tortillas, Tasty Bite Jasmine rice, hot sauce, rice work chips and PF Chang's soy sauce.  There was a deal on buy 4 So Delicious yogurt at $1.25 and get a free Silk half gallon so I used three $1 coupons which doubled so that made it a $1 money maker.  I miscalculated in the store thinking it was going to be $2 but the first $1 paid for the yogurt.  I used the Mahatma Organic rice to cover the overage which were $1.49 per bag.

Harris Teeter $14.46

I got buy 2, get 3 free soda deal and the free Splenda to get another catalina but didn't use any catalinas to pay for this transaction.  I will get back around $0.14 from Saving Star for the Coke purchase.

Harris Teeter $7.36
This was a great transaction but could have been better.  I got the $0.14 pasta, $0.74 pretzels, $0.97 Frosted Flakes, $0.29 PF Chang's sauce and $0.99 meatballs.  The turkey lunch meat was $3.49.  I turned in a Checkout 51 rebate for $1 for the meatball and $0.15 for the Frosted Flakes.  I used two catalinas to pay for the transaction.
I realized after I turned it in that if I bought 2 Corn Pops that I would have made another $1 in rebates but that was my mistake for not checking before buying.  Another mistake for not grabbing a 5 box because there was a Saving Star rebate for $3 that I would have gotten for buying 5 on one receipt!  I left $4 on the table because I was so busy trying to get organized in the store but still a decent transaction.
Harris Teeter $0.95 
My last trip for super doubles at a different store after a birthday party because I was looking for the frozen fried rice with the two coupons that I had left in my pile and the diapers.  I did two transactions but the customer service person said that she was making an exception.  I told her I was well under the coupon limit and I wasn't trying to do anything but use the catalina on the next transaction.  I got free noodles, free Splenda, one free Finish, two $0.20 Finish, six $0.14 pasta, and the yogurt deal with the Silk milk in the first transaction.  I accidently picked up the wrong milk and had to run to the back corner of the store to get the right milk but they put both milks in the bags that they were packing which I didn't know until I got to the car.  The one yogurt rang up wrong and the milk didn't come off as free but I couldn't figure out the receipt.  I went to customer service and they thought that I didn't pay for 4 so they charged me for an extra yogurt and took off the milk so I got a refund.  I finally figured out what went wrong and went back inside and got another refund which was exhausting. 

My second transaction was the three Splenda Naturals and the Huggies diapers which I used the catalina from the first and got another one for the Splenda Naturals which I wasn't sure would happen.  Glad that wasn't my store and that I won't be going back there anytime soon but glad that I got these last few deals.

Aldi $13.48

I had Salsa Sloppy Joes on the menu and someone finished all the salsa in the house....oops!!  I really thought that there was another jar in the cupboard but there wasn't.  I made it with taco sauce, siracha, tomato sauce and brown sugar and it just tasted a little different so totally worked out okay but we were out of more then that so I headed to grab all of the things we had little or none left.

I got a new cashier and she apologized twice that she was new and made any mistakes.  She charged me for two eggs so I had to wait for her to refund me and then she messed up the refund and didn't print me a receipt so she started scanning the next person and it was still on the void.  I told her that she was still in the void but she had to call someone from the back.  She said that she was new but I don't know how patient Aldi is with cashiers who can't check out quickly.  I probably should have just gotten a second egg that she charged me for.  Oh well!!!

Harris Teeter $1.05

I couldn't find the baking sale online or in my specials but I really wanted it so I headed to the store to see if it was really going to work here after seeing it online.  If you bought 5 items at $0.99, you got $1 off so that each item was $0.79 each.  I also had a $3 catalina to use so I got this really cheap!!

Harris Teeter $4.05

Did another transaction and got the same exact things but without the $3 catalina but still a great deal!  Saved over $10 and these will last a long time.

Shoppers $0.08

I just downloaded the app and added two items to get for free so I was pretty excited that I was going to try this new way to get freebies!!!  The app was way easy to use and the prices came off as expected without any trouble. 

Giant $0.71

I went to get the freebies and the best deals at Giant.  They had a freebie loaded to the app to get So Delicious Almond Milk, Kinder Egg and Fage Yogurt.  There was also a electronic coupon for the So Delicious for $1 off which didn't come off.  I used a coupon to get the Chobani for free plus there was an electronic coupon which didn't come off.  The Betty Crocker Delight cake mix was on sale for $1.25 each and if you bought 4 then there was an electronic coupon for $2 off.  I used my overage on the other items to pay for the rest of the cake mix.  It was lots of great deals that I paid a little over just tax.

Total Retail $682.72
Total Savings $619.64
Total OOP $63.08
The beginning of the month was a little too busy for my tastes but the deals were so hard to pass up on.  I worked for a few days cleaning up cupboards to pack things in differently to try to fit it all in the kitchen.  I moved things around and got most of the things in but a box of hot sauce and bottles of other sauces went to the basement.  I can't believe how full everything is.  This is going to be many months to use up all the things in the house.  I have ground beef, mac and cheese, and blocks of cheese on my list to still get.  I always have milk and eggs on my list too but we are currently good for awhile!!

How have you done this month?