Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 7/16

Meal Choices

Chicken fries, Chicken Nuggets and homemade fries
Chicken and Rice
Olive Oil Pasta with garlic bread
Homemade Pizza
Fried Rice

Last week actually went pretty well and now everyone is back to work and camp so I am just planning dinners again.  Lunches are fairly basic and packed in the morning for everyone.  I don't know what we are having every night yet but I am sure that I will figure it out as the week goes along!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Forgotten Road Book Review

I got another book off my hold shelf and when reading the description, I was sure that I had already read it.  I looked up The Forgotten Road (The Broken Road Series) by Richard Paul Evans on my blog and it said that I hadn't read it.  I looked up the author and saw that I read the book before it in the series.  What a second book?!  Yeah!  I was excited to read it but I knew that it was serious so I did put it behind the other book in my reading pile.

Chicago celebrity and successful pitchman Charles James is supposed to be dead. Everyone believes he was killed in a fiery plane crash. But thanks to a remarkable twist of fate, he’s very much alive and ready for a second chance at life—and love. Narrowly escaping death has brought Charles some clarity: the money, the fame, the fast cars—none of it was making him happy. The last time he was happy—truly happy—was when he was married to his ex-wife Monica, before their connection was destroyed by his ambition and greed.

Charles decides to embark on an epic quest: He will walk the entire length of Route 66, from Chicago to California, where he hopes to convince Monica to give him another shot. Along the way, Charles is immersed in the deep and rich history of one of America’s most iconic highways. But the greater journey he finds is the one he takes in his heart as he meets people along the road who will change his perspective on the world. But will his transformation be enough to earn redemption?

I read the first book in the series and when I read the description of the book then I thought this was the same book again...however it was so much more.  This book went over the personal ideas and journey of Charles while he was walking Route 66 after closely avoiding death by plane crash.  I couldn't believe the situations that Charles was in but he grew as a person and learned what was of value to him that made him happy.  It is amazing to see what he finds that brings him joy by the end of the book and makes you realize what is most important in your life.  It was an amazing journey and one that will make you grateful for the life you have and brings perspective to any problems.  I hope that you check out the first book and my review here.  Both books are amazing and I excitedly waiting for the third book in the series expected Spring 2019.  I will most likely not know that it is a new book by reading the description again but I am very excited to check out the whole series to read for myself.  I hope that you do to and enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 7/9

Meal Options for the Week for Lunch and Dinner:

Olive Oil Spaghetti with peasant bread
Turkey Sandwiches and Chicken Wraps
Chicken fries, Buffalo and Plain Chicken Nuggets with homemade fries
Tacos with corn bread and Mexican Rice
Chicken with white rice and corn on the cob
Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with mac and cheese
Chicken Marsala with garlic bread
Fried Rice, Salad, Microwave Rice, Microwave Noodles and PBJ Sandwiches

Pizza Hut at the Pool
Grotto's Pizza
Pete's Steak Shop
Crooked Hammock
Casa Di Leo

Last week went pretty much like the plan except I forgot to take out the chicken to grill on Wednesday so I went with some frozen chicken and mac and cheese.  I also made some baby cakes and smiles.  It was super easy and tasty and I used up a little more freezer space and moved things around.  I am hoping to make a little more progress on this so that I can move more things into the big freezer to be safer from freezer burn.  I got to Friday and decided that I was going to do take out instead of cooking because my parents were coming to town.

I just looked to post this week and saw that I never posted last weeks plan!!  Goodness, maybe makin the list is good except for posting!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Queen of the Cookbooks Book Review

I went through and put a ton of books on reserve and this must have been one of them.  Queen of the Cookbooks (A Cherry Cola Book Club Novel) by Ashton Lee was before the book that I read before in the same series, Book Club Babies.  It was interesting to read it but still took awhile to get into the book.  I am not sure what holds me back from getting into them at the beginning but it is a slow start every time!!

In the quirky Southern town of Cherico, Mississippi, a new library means an exciting new chapter for librarian Maura Beth McShay—and for the friends and book lovers known as the Cherry Cola Book Club…The construction of Cherico’s cutting-edge library has been an epic struggle worthy of War and Peace. But the Grand Opening Ceremony is scheduled at last—for the Fourth of July no less—featuring lakeside fireworks and a concert by country singer Waddell Mack. Maura Beth has even devised a cooking contest among area chefs and aspiring Julia Childs to crown the Queen of the Cookbooks. Yet even Maura Beth’s careful plotting can’t prevent some glitches…

Between a furniture fiasco that requires some creative problem-solving, and front-desk clerk Renette’s major crush on Waddell Mack, there’s equal parts drama and comic relief. Once the ribbon has been cut and the delicious recipes are judged, the Queen of the Cookbooks will take her crown, and the Cherry Cola Book Club, along with Maura Beth and her staff, will have the library of their dreams. But it’ll take luck, loyal friendships, and the shared love of a powerful story to make this a truly happy beginning…

Although it was off to slow start, this book was a nice addition to the book that I already read which was the book that comes after this book in the series.  I like the characters and the small town so I wanted to see what I missed from the previous book which I was a little confused on because it referred back to a lot of things from this book.  It all made so much more sense when I read this one.  It was about the building the library and the changes in the small town to accept the new library including the construction process, opening ceremonies, and protests outside the new library.  It was interesting to get to know the characters more in depth then I did in the last book.  I hope that you check out this book before the other book that I read last month!!  I hope that you enjoy them both!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

June Reading Review

I had a lot of things going on this month and not a lot of reading going on I guess because the book count was fairly low when the month came to an end.  I have finished the first half of the year with half of the yearly goal finished even though it was really low reading amount.  I try to read at least 100 books every year but would rather get 150 books if I can do it.  It doesn't look like I am on track for the higher number but there is still a chance.

If you missed the initial summary and review, you can click on the title and it will link you back to the original post.  I hope that you add a few to your summer reading list.

by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows

by Becky Wade

by Ashton Lee

by Wanda and Jean Brunstetter

by Kristan Higgins

Total Books 2018

January   8
February  10
 March    10
April     11
May      6 
June     5

Total Read  50

Currently Reading:

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

June is Over Already!! Budget Review of Grocery Shopping and Eating Out

My family of three budgets $160 per month for all of our household goods which includes food, cleaning supplies and more.  Pretty much anything you buy at the grocery store gets put into this and we buy lots at the grocery store.  In order to stretch my budget, I shop sales and use coupons to get the most things for the cheapest price.  I have been couponing for 9 years and have learned to only buy the things that my family will eat and stock up at the lowest price to use later.  This means that my shopping trips look a lot different then other people's trips because I am purchasing the items that are at the lowest price and very infrequently buying things we need for that week.

I did a quick inventory to see how the pantry was looking to see if I was running low on anything and I started with flour and sugar to see if there was enough in my baking cupboard.  I found extra in another cupboard that I had squirreled away because there wasn't enough room in the winter when I stocked up but I put the month of the expiration on the top so that I can use the "oldest" first.  I have 14 five pound bags of flour in the cupboard and 7 bags of sugar.  I did a quick count on the pasta and I have 30 Bucatini and 45 Spaghetti and a few other boxes of shapes... okay like 25 other boxes of pasta.  I have Mahatma Organic Rice in a container and I have 4 two pound bags as back up.  I have lots of salad dressing, hot sauce, soy sauce and more in my pantry so I am plenty read for a slow shopping summer.

I have been at the store a lot at the beginning of the month and then there was a drop off because I was working for two weeks and then it was summer so I had a helper that doesn't like to go grocery shopping but likes to have all the things from the trip.  Sadly summertime is hard because my son is home and we keep a busy schedule of other things and it is hot to leave groceries in the car so I am frequently traveling with ice packs for even granola bars. If we are going to run out of food and then he might let me back to the store!!

All of the pictures below show the items that I got for the month and what I spent on the transactions.  The transactions from the beginning of the month have a breakdown and more detailed description here.  The purchases in the second half of the month have more details on what I spent on each item.  The monthly total spent and retail value of the items is listed below.

Harris Teeter $7.88

Harris Teeter $4.91

Harris Teeter $0.08

Safeway $0

Harris Teeter $0.15

Harris Teeter $0.08

Harris Teeter $5.71

Harris Teeter $1.22

Aldi $25.40

Harris Teeter $0.15

Harris Teeter $0.08

Harris Teeter $3.96

Harris Teeter $10.52

Shoppers $0.13

Harris Teeter $1.99

Harris Teeter $8.56

Harris Teeter $6.82

Giant $1.40

Shoppers $0.06

Safeway $0.18 

Giant $0.02

Shoppers $0.32

I went and grabbed the free ice cream bars and got the overage on the second coupon so I grabbed a milky way and only paid a little bit.  The cashier freaked out a little when it went negative and I added the milky way but she let it go through so I walked out with ice cream that my son and I enjoyed on the way home and for most of the next week.  I turned this in for a rebate back for any item from Ibotta for $0.25.

Harris Teeter $1.52

We needed lettuce so I grabbed that and I saw the clearance bananas so I got them too.  I knew that my husband would eat one or two and the rest would go into bread and they were $0.44 so it would have been the same buying two in the regular section.  I went to get the free bread and the free Planters Peanuts from my taste and tell.  I turned them in for a rebate for $1.25 from Ibotta and then also got over 1,000 points on Fetch to use towards my first gift card.

Giant $0.03

I had a coupon for free yogurt so I grabbed that and paid only tax.  It seemed like a pretty good deal and I will use it to make some scones if I don't eat it.

Shopers $0.42

I went in to get the free salad dressing but I was having trouble getting the app to work to show me coupons so I didn't know if I was going to have overage and I left my husband and son in the car so I decided to check out....  ugh, of course I got overage of $0.40 so I bought a milky way from the checkout which is my most hated thing to do because I hate to buy junk instead of real food with free money.  I should always have extras at checkout but it takes so much more planning!

Harris Teeter $0.00

I went in to grab the free cookies and they were super tasty!!  Glad I got them! 

Aldi $2.24

I went in to buy milk because ours was already past the date again and we didn't finish it.  I guess I am doing a horrible job of finishing up things with cooking but maybe we have better hope with this one!!  I highly doubt it through but it seems silly to buy the smaller milk when it is only pennies less expensive.

Aldi $14.88

We went to Aldi's in Manasas after a doctors appointment and everything was cheaper so I ended up throwing more into the cart then I had on my list.  I needed a second box of cones for the beach.  We were running low on everything else so I was excited to get them all for less then even other Aldi's!!

Wegman's $15.92

We needed more ground beef for dinner that week and for our vacation so I went to stock up.  We also grabbed three mac and cheese because we ran low but my son was still upset when they changed the recipe so we are still on the fence on our loyalty to them.

Harris Teeter $7.37- $0.50= $6.87

First stop was customer service because I ended up getting the wrong pineapple and chex mix so I went to exchange them for the right ones.  Super easy even exchange for crushed pineapple to chunk pineapple and regular chex mix for bold and they gave me $0.50 back for a evic coupon that rang up so that was a bonus.  I went to get the Nature Valley Granola Bars which were on sale and there was a coupon and I got a $2 catalina back to spend on more products.   I also grabbed Gatorade for my husband which was on evic limit 10.  I used a $5 catalina from diapers that I bought for my cousin.

Shoppers $0.07

There was another Friday freebie so I added it on the account and my son picked out this rice which we are going to enjoy soon.

Safeway $13.30 

We wanted soda for vacation and there were sales everywhere but not great pricing so this was Buy two and get three free and they were $6.49 each for the two.

Harris Teeter $0.24

This works out to 4 different transactions that were taken together as one picture so that you didn't have to see all the transactions but it is about $0.03 per box just in tax.

Harris Teeter $3.92

I got the ketchup for $1.49 each after sale and electronic coupon.  The hot dog rolls were on sale for $0.79 so I got those so my husband could eat some more of his hot dogs.  He likes the squishy buns instead of homemade ones for hot dogs no matter what I try.  The tissues and the Swedish fish were free.

Total Retail $601.09
Total Saving $462.06
Total OOP $139.03

I did a bunch of rebates although not as many as other months with $26.55 through Ibotta and $1 through Checkout 51 and $1.40 through Saving Star.  I was happy that I had $28.95 in total rebates.  I transferred some money to my PayPal account too and deposited my Checkout 51 check.

Amazed at my monthly total and feel like I could have gotten more during the month but there really wasn't too much more we needed so I was happy with where I ended up.  Here is hoping that means next month is just as good because sometimes when I end one month really low then I go over board the next month.  I guess we will see what deals the month holds!!

Eating Out

We went to a basketball picnic at the beginning of the month that was a pot luck but then we ordered pizza too so we chipped in $10 for pizza.  My husband took my son to get ice cream and knows that he gave the lady $5 and got some change back but can't remember how much he spent (eyeroll!!!) so I am counting it as $5.  We decided to grab pizza one night when we were out running around and it was $6.59.  My husband went back with my son and got ice cream the next weekend and I asked him nicely to remember how much it was but our friends bought it for them.  The total was $21.59 for the month.