Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pantry Inventory Take 2

In case you missed part 1, you can catch up here on my mission to clean through my stuff and make sure that I am using things.  I have already started my mental list of things that I need to make like jello and pudding from my first cabinet inventory.

I am super glad that I got to design this kitchen to fit a pantry at both ends because my old house didn't have as much storage even though the kitchen was bigger.  When designing the kitchen I decided where to put the different items, I was glad to have this room to store all of my more prepared things like snacks and cereal.

Again, there are four shelves on the top and four pulls outs on the bottom and this one is a little wider so there are two doors.  Although I know that I use it worse then the other one.  It looks like this:

This is what the top looks like after I cleaned it up which is pretty impressive because it was a mess.  I know that I have a ton of extra room up there so here is hoping that I can keep it clean.

Top Shelf
2 Aluminum Foil
1 Wax Paper
1 box gallon ziploc bag
1 large water jug

2nd Shelf
26 boxes Hefty One Zip Quart bags 
6 Slow Cooker Liners
6 Tetley Family Sized Tea Bags
 5 boxes Lipton 20 count tea bags
1 Irish Breakfast Tea
6 boxes Splenda Naturals
2 box Zing Sweetners
1 box Stevia in the Raw
Peppermint Candy Tub
1 box Sweet N Low (for my mom)
2 bags Eight O'Clock Coffee (gift for my mother in law)

3rd Shelf
2 boxes of hot chocolate
1 box Crystal Light 
Box of Tea for Two
2 Candy Cane Lane Tea
1 Tasters Choice Instant Coffee (for my mother in law)
1 box of individual drink mixes (use for traveling)
1 box of individual Raspberry Lemonade
Tub of Pink Lemonade (almost gone)
1 Bottle Raspberry Dessert Wine
1 box Lady Earl Tea Bags
Napkin basket with Teavana Tea and Hot Chocolate Package (forgot to put back in)

Bottom Shelf
2 Baskets of Candy
1 tin of Gum
Box of Tetley tea (currently in use) 

This is what the bottom looks like after I cleaned it up.

Top Pullout
4 Peanut Butter Jars
3 Nutella
4 boxes fruit snacks
4 protein bars
1 box Dinosaur Oatmeal (running low on my son's favorite)
1 box Maple Brown sugar
1 yogurt pouch
small box of raisins
2 pop tart packs
M&M in Tupperware
1 container of Dunkers (almost empty)

2nd Pullout
18 boxes Big Chewy Bars
1 Mint Chewy Bar
Container of Chewy Bars
6 5 plastic containers for lunches (my husband came home and ate one)
2 pringles for lunches
open box of fruit snacks
Container of cat cookies

3rd Pullout
2 boxes of sugar cones
Rosemary Triscuit Type Crackers
Butter Crackers (like Ritz)
2 bags Tortilla Chips
1 Oyster Crackers (almost empty)
Box of animal crackers
Basket of Chips and Crackers

Bottom Pullout
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Tupperware
Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal Tuppperware
Raisin Bran Cereal Tupperware
Kix Cereal Tupperware (thinking of trashing because no one eats)
Trix Cereal Tupperware (thinking of trashing because no one eats)
Crispy Rice Cereal (already opened)
Bag of Mini Marshmallows (to make rice squares)
Box Total Raisin Bran
Box Trix Cereal
Box Lemon Blueberry Special K
Box Honey Bunches of Oats
Box Wheaties
Box Cocoa Pebbles

I went through all my shelves and threw out an empty bag of oatmeal, bags of chocolate candies, container of cashews, container of ginger snaps and two bags of dried cranberries.  They were all really expired so I know that I should have used them a long time ago but they are now not taking up any room in the cupboard.  I also took out a few things of leftover chocolate that I am going to cut up and use for cookies to make tomorrow.

While I was doing my cleaning, I also was making blueberry pancakes from a pancake mix from the first pantry clean out.  I know why I didn't finish that mix because it was so dry that the pancakes were hard to eat.  Some things deserve to be thrown in the trash!!  I hope that this helps show you how you can certainly fit a lot of things into a small pantry with just a little bit of organization!

Cheap Shot Book Review

I have really been enjoying the series and told my mom that she really needed to get back and read the rest of these new books.  The new author is doing a great job at keeping the series going.  This book keeps with the fast tempo and lots of action of all of the other books and really had me on the edge of my seat.  Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot (Spenser) by Ace Atkins is the 42nd book in the series but one of the newer ones by Ace Atkins.  I hope that you check out this book for yourself and enjoy as much as I did.

Kinjo Heywood is one of the New England Patriots’ marquee players—a hard-nosed linebacker who’s earned his standing as one of the toughest guys in the league. He may be worth millions but his connection to a nightclub shooting two years before is still putting a dangerous spin on his life, and his career.  When Heywood’s nine-year-old son, Akira, is kidnapped, and a winding trail through Boston’s underworld begins, Spenser puts together his own all-star team of toughs. It will take both Hawk and Spenser’s protégé, Zebulon Sixkill, to watch Spenser’s back. Because Heywood’s next unpredictable move puts everyone in jeopardy as the clock winds down on Akira’s future.

This was a tough book because it was about the abduction of a child.  It was hard to go through and wonder the whole book if the child was dead or alive.  Even knowing that Spenser was going to work his hardest to bring closure for the family, didn't make me feel better about the uncertainty.  Kinjo, a famous football player, got his son taken and was trying to get him back.  They went a week without even getting a call and then there were a few false leads on the kidnapping.  Spenser was using both Hawk and Z in order to work all the leads.  They were fired so many times that I lost track but they continued to work because they weren't going to let anything happen to the child.  You have to pick up the book for yourself to see what happens... hope I haven't left you in too much suspense.  I probably need to go to a much lighter book for the next one that I read to take a break from this heavy one.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pantry Inventory Part 1

I was inspired to get things inventoried and cleaned up in the pantry which was in need because TraceyBee did it here.  There were also some questions at my couponing class about where and what I kept on hand.  It is always changing based on the sales and I had been keeping a list of the things on the higher shelves but haven't cleaned through the pantry in quite awhile but most of my items go right into this pantry.

This is my pantry for all the foods to cook with all the way to the right.  There is a cabinet on the top with four shelves and the bottom has four pull out shelves.

Below is the top part of the pantry after I cleaned it all up.  I think that I might have just moved things around but I can easily see where everything is now much better then before.  I made a list on a piece of paper while I was going through what I had on each shelf.

Top Shelf
11 Fine Sea Salt
2 Coarse Sea Salt
5 Mrs. Buttersworth Syrup
5 Siracha Hot Sauce
3 Texas Pete Hot Sauce
1 Smuckers Grape Jelly
3 Red Wine Vinegar
3 Worchestershire Sauce
2 Ponzu Sauce
1 Teriyaki Glaze
1 Sweet Relish
1 Oval Dill Pickles

2nd Shelf
4 BBQ Sauce
6 Brown Mustard
9 Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Pumpkin
5 Evaporated Milk
4 Soy Sauce
6 Ken's Caesar Salad Dressing
3 Ken's Greek Salad Dressing
1 Ken's Olive Oil Salad Dressing
1 Ken's Blue Cheese Dressing
1 Olive Garden Italian Dressing
2 Cream of Chicken Alfredo Soup
2 Butternut Squash Apple Soup
1 Sweet Potato and Corn Soup
1 Chicken Noodle with bean soup
1 Tomato Carrot Soup

3rd Shelf
10 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
9 Mixations Apple Sauce
2 boxes Scalloped Potatoes
1 bag Chicken Rice
5 bags Herb and Butter Rice
Soccer Snack- Fruit Snacks

Bottom Shelf
14 Oriental Ramen Noodles
9 Chicken Ramen Noodles
3 Salsa
1 Minced Garlic Jar
1 Strawberry Jelly homemade
1 Fig Jelly homemade
1 Blueberry Jelly
1 Raspberry Jelly
1 Seedless Blackberry Jelly
Container with white rice

The bottom part of the pantry has pull outs and looks like this after being cleaned up.

Top Pullout
3 bags of instant potatoes (used to thicken soup)
2 Nesquik
1 Hot Fudge Sauce
2 Jello
1 Chocolate Pudding
4 instant mac and cheese
16 Applesauce pouches
1 tuna pouch
1 Hormel Chili
Simple Lemon packets

2nd Pullout
Panko breadcrumbs (almost empty)
1 Aldi Caesar dressing
1 Aldi Blue Cheese dressing
1 Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
1 Balsamic Vinegar
10 Balls Jars with homemade mixes
1 Honey (1/2 full)

3rd Pullout
Spaghetti Tupperware
Whole Wheat Penne Tupperware
Brown Rice Tupperware (2 containers)
Leftover Breadcrumbs Tupperware
Carnation Instant Breakfast
1 box Casarecce Pasta (open)
2 box Suddenly Salad
2 Freezer to Plate Marsala meals
3 cartons Ramen broth
1 bag chicken breading
3 Hard Taco Shells
2 Soft Boat Taco Meal Kit

Bottom Pullout
9 boxes Elbow Mac
1 box Twisted Elbows
2 boxes Penne
3 boxes Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti
1 box Linguini
1 box Bucatini
7 boxes Philly Cheese Steak Pasta
2 Ready Pastas (no one seems to like these)
2 Mac and Cheese
1 box Quinoa
2 boxes Cous Cous

I fit a ton into a small space for sure but that is usually where most of my shopping hauls end up.  I have to rearrange quite a few times to fit in the different things that I get but I think that I have a handle on the items that are hidden in there.  I have to make sure that we use all those things before filling it up with more so those are the things that get used in my meal plans.

I hope that this give you an idea of what I have stocked up on so that you don't think things are piled around in corners of my house like the Extreme Couponers Show.  I fit everything into the space in my kitchen and use all the things that I fit in (except one box of banana pudding that I am not sure how I got but I threw it away today when cleaning up).  Hope this gives you an idea of how you can fit lots of stuff in a small pantry and use the space in your own home to fit your grocery store finds.

Christmas on Candy Cane Lane Book Review

I was looking through the books on Good Reads that I hadn't read this book in the series but I finished all the other ones.  I guess it is good that I checked on Good Reads and went to the library system to reserve it.  Christmas on Candy Cane Lane (Life in Icicle Falls) by Sheila Roberts
came in and I picked it up but was in the middle of a few different books that needed to be read and returned before the library due date. I was excited to get to this Christmas story after finishing my Christmas mystery.

Icicle Falls is the place to be at Christmas… Everyone's getting ready for Christmas in Icicle Falls, especially on Candy Cane Lane, where holiday decorating is taken very seriously. Tilda Morrison, town cop, is looking forward to celebrating Christmas in her first house…until she discovers that she's expected to "keep up" with the neighbors, including Maddy Donaldson, the inspiration behind the whole extravaganza. But this year, someone's destroying Maddie's precious candy canes! Thank goodness for the cop in their neighborhood.  Tilda already has her hands full trying to sort out her love life and fix up her fixer-upper. Oh, and won't it be fun to have the family over for Christmas dinner? Not really… Then there's her neighbor, Ivy Bohn. As a newly single mom, Ivy can sum up the holiday in two words: Bah, humbug. But she's determined to give her kids a perfect Christmas.  Despite family disasters, irritating ex-husbands and kitchen catastrophes, these three women are going to find out that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year!

I finally got to start on this book and got to see Tilda who I have read about in other books but never got to meet the way that I did in this book.  It was also great to meet all of the people that lived in her new small neighborhood of Candy Cane Lane.  There were so many interesting characters and different things going on that I had trouble putting the book down.  I loved meeting Ivy and her two kids (and her ex-husband) and learning about their lives.  In addition, there was a lot of family drama with all of the families going through the stressful Christmas season.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the series.  I went through and updated all my Good Reads so it references all my newly read books so that all of my 110 books were listed for the year.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/18

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Thursday- Lasagna with garlic bread
Friday-Chicken with white rice and green beans
Saturday- ?
Sunday- ?

I can tell you that I tried to get the week to go according to plan last week but by Thursday I forgot to take chicken out of the freezer for dinner so I moved leftover night to Thursday night.  We had a thing at school on Friday so I made a quick dinner of a chicken panini and tater tots for my husband and made some chicken fries for my son and I so that we could get out of the house before 6 pm to get back to school.  I had nothing planned for the weekend so I ended up struggling a little but I used the leftover taco meat and decided to cook up some enchilada sauce and I made enchilada pizza which was pretty tasty and easy.  On Sunday, we went to my friends pool for a few hours and my son declared that he was starving as we were leaving and so I caved and stopped for a pizza because he was upset but he ended up not eating any of it and falling asleep instead so maybe not the best move but my husband and I ate it for dinner anyway.  I am hoping for some plan for this weekend but I don't know what is going on because my parents are coming into town so we will see what the weekend brings.  I hope that you have a great week and enjoy some yummy meals.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

All Saints Book Review

All Saints: The Surprising True Story of How Refugees from Burma Brought Life to a Dying Church by Jeanette Windle was not a book that I went looking for but I am happy that I found it.  I got an opportunity to read this book and I couldn't pass it up because I love books that are turned into movies and I love the main actor so I knew that I would want to see this movie!!  I knew that I would enjoy this book and was super happy to get a chance to see it and hopefully see the movie soon too!!

Newly ordained, Michael Spurlock's first assignment is to pastor All Saints, a struggling church with twenty-five devoted members and a mortgage well beyond its means. The best option may be to close the church rather than watch it wither any further. But when All Saints hesitantly risks welcoming a community of Karen refugees from Burma--former farmers scrambling for a fresh start in America--Michael feels they may be called to an improbable new mission.  Michael must choose between closing the church and selling the property--or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. Together, they risk everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.  Discover the true story that inspired the film while also diving deeper into the background of the Karen people, the church, and how a community of believers rally to reach out to those in need, yet receive far more than they dared imagine.

The Reverend Michael Spurlock served All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, for three years. He is currently on the clergy staff at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City. Michael, his wife, Aimee, and their two children live in New York City.  Award-winning author and investigative journalist Jeanette Windle has lived in six countries, authored nineteen books, and mentors writers on five continents. To learn more, visit her at

I was totally lost at the beginning of the book because I am horrible with following along when the story goes back and forth into the past and the great number of characters.  There are many main people in the story with Reverent Michael Spurlock being the main person that brings everyone together in this small town church.  Rev. Spurlock welcomes the strange group of Karen (yes that is a nationality that I had never heard of) refugees from their war torn country and makes sure that they feel welcome by integrating their customs into the service and translating things so that they can understand them.  It was a great message saying that people could teach you something through their life experience even if it was bad.  This is a wonderful book especially when you start to connect to the characters and start pulling for them.  Funny enough, the missing piece on my summer reading bingo was just filled with this book because it is from two different times.  I knew that I would overcome it and get into the story so I couldn't put it down.  I was expecting something a little bit more like Mitch Albom but this book was talking about the history of a lot of people and involved a lot of going back to people's pasts.  I was happy that I got to read the book and excited to see the brand new movie too.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it!!

**I was given a copy of the book for my review but all opinions here are honest and my own.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Silent Night Book Review

I can't believe that I read so many books in one day.  I started the day with one book and finished it and started and finished this book too.  It is my summer end blow out to see how much I can get read.  Silent Night (Spenser) by Robert B. Parker was the next book in my pile and it was also due back at the library the next day.  It was hard to put down but I am glad that I finished it and put it in the big bag of library books to be returned before the due date.

It’s a white Christmas in Boston and Spenser and Susan are looking toward all the joys of the holiday. But the mood turns dark when a young boy named Slide contacts Spenser. Street-tough and world-weary, the eleven-year-old convinces Spenser to meet with Jackie Alvarez, who runs a shelter for homeless youth—one under inexplicable threats by  persons unknown. Jackie and Slide need Spenser’s help to stop the intimidation before it escalates into something much worse.
But when the source of the threats is revealed to be even more sinister than first imagined, Spenser must find a way to protect Slide and the other lost boys for whom the shelter is the last chance for a better life.

This book was written by Robert Parker before his death and he was in the middle of it.  After his death, his wife gave the book to his literary agent and she finished it.  It was interesting to get to read another one of his books even after reading two of the other books by the new author.  The characters and flow is exactly the same.  This book was focused on Christmas and of course another case that he takes to protect a house that was trying to help young people stay off the street and give them a better life.  Slide is the boy that comes to Spenser and asks for his help and Spenser is immediately taken with the boy but told him that he wouldn't help unless Jackie, the man who was in charge of the house, came to see him.  Jackie talked to Spenser and they worked out a deal.  Another person came to Spenser also looking for help and he was torn as to who to help because he thought that they might be at cross purposes but he promises to help everyone as long as he can.  This is a great Christmas mystery that ends in a wonderful Christmas for Spenser and his family.  I hope that you check out this book and the others in the series and enjoy them as much as I did.