Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Month End Shopping List

I have a monthly budget of $160 for our family of 3.  I use sales, coupons and as much cooking from scratch as I can do to save money and stick to the budget.  This budget helps our family to stay on track with spending and still get lots of yummy food to enjoy through the month with planning ahead and shopping the deals.

Here is what I got this month for my budget and if you want more details, they are two other posts for the month with information about each transaction.  Below is the picture of everything that I got for the month and the price for the amount.

Aldi $15.18

Trader Joes $3.06

Aldi $0.81


Trader Joes $3.58


Harris Teeter $0.03

Harris Teeter $40.16- $4.58= $35.58

Aldi $14.75- $0.77= $13.98

 Aldi $12.43

Weis $0

I saw the sale ad when I was looking at the black friday ads and couldn't pass up the deal on Cheez Its.  They were on sale for but one, get one free so I had to check the price but it turned out that they were a good deal so my son piled 8 in the cart and two cranberry juices.  After sale and coupons, the Cheese Its were priced at $1.75 which is a great price and the cranberry juice was $2.  Then my Dad put his credit card in the machine before I could pay!! 

Wegman's $1.78 + $1.78= $3.56

My Mom, Dad and husband went to Wegman's to get some flour which was on sale for $0.89 each (limit 2).  They each did a transaction....I guess my husband was quick because he did two.  We only paid for two...I guess my parents bought the other ones!!

Aldi $36.87

Back from vacation and stocking the fridge full.  Got lots to have food to last through the hopefully a long time.  We were out of oil, butter, salsa, and turkey.  The main thing that we needed was eggs!!  We were out and that meant that when my husband asked for peanut butter cookies, I couldn't make them!!  Ahhh!!  Near tragic in our house but luckily I got some eggs to fix the problem as soon as I had the time to make the cookies.

Harris Teeter $5.38

There was a sale at Harris Teeter for $1.97 milk, $0.77 eggs and $0.87 margarine so I ran over after work and grabbed some.  The milk is going to last into December and it usually last long then Aldi milk.  The great part is that I turned $0.25 rebate for the milk too.

Total OOP $130.46

The great news is that I was under budget but the even better news is that I am set up pretty well for the coming month.  I set my menu plan and I don't think that I am going to need that much for the month so I get to get the best deals and a few essentials.  We still have some potatoes, chicken, oyster crackers, meatballs, blue cheese, cider, Cheez Its, flour, cheese, corn tortillas and eggs!!  We have some snack food around and hoping that baking will get us through part of the month without too much shopping.  Getting ready for the Christmas holidays but don't know what other unexpected things we will need so only time will tell!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Family Tree Book Review

I put a new book on reserve at the library and was excited when it came in.  Family Tree: A Novel by Susan Wiggs was a great read over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I didn't even know if it was part of a series but I was still looking forward to checking it out.

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.  Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.  Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned judge. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.  Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.

Love this book!!  Annie was dealing with her life and it was one of those things that if it was a movie, you would be screaming at the screen.  She was in a marriage with a horrible person.  Luckily, she got out of the relationship but it didn't leave her unharmed.  Her years investing in her marriage left her thinking that she wasn't worth as much as her husband.  It was amazing to watch Annie rebuild her life and figure out of the best path for her new life.  I know that I was on the side cheering her on and you will too!!  Join Annie on the road to recovery in this book because you will enjoy the stories and the writing as well as the great characters.  I hope that you add this book to your reading list and enjoy it as much as I did!!  It was a great read and I can't wait to get more but this wonderful author!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 11/28

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken and homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta and leftover pizza
Wednesday- Chicken and Rice Casserole
Thursday- Salsa Sloppy Joes
Friday- Chicken Paninis with leftovers
Saturday- Roasted Chicken with stuffing, potatoes and rolls
Sunday- Breakfast for Dinner

Last week actually went pretty much according to plan so hoping things will go well for this week too.  We are starting basketball this week so planning on pasta on basketball night to eat before practice.  Luckily, it seems that it is really close to home so we should have enough time.  Here is hoping that I got everything I needed when I ran to the store today to get the last minute things to last into December!!

I sat down with the calendar and planned out the month of December with only a few blank spots that are going to be either homemade pizza or breakfast for dinner.  I did pretty well with the information that I have but I am sure that we will have visitors and the plans will change a little but who knows when that is going to be. Here is hoping for some great deals for the month to have nice extras!!

Hope you guys have a great end of the month and enjoy the beginning of December!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Witness Book Review

I was both excited and sad to get to the last book in the series, The Witnesses (Lancaster Burning) by Linda Byler.  I was able to finish the book before the due date at the library since it is a new book with no renewals which was wonderful!!  I had even gone back and read the first two books in the series first.  This was a great find off the new release section of the library and I am going to look for some new books by Linda Byler to read again soon.

Who is responsible for setting the barn fires that continue to keep the Amish of eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on edge? Who is responsible for seeing that they are stopped?  In this third and final novel in the Lancaster Burning series, author Linda Byler takes us inside the home of Davey Beiler, the leader of this Amish district. He clearly feels the heat in more ways than one. Some of the younger members of his church are ready to testify against the man who has allegedly started at
least several of the fires. Davey counsels patience and forgiveness.

But when Sarah, Davey’s daughter, spots flames late one night in the widow Lydia’s barn, Sarah refuses to let the fire win. She gets the horses out just in time, but not before a beam explodes overhead, knocking her to the ground as the barn rages in flames all around her. In that moment, Sarah’s life “turned darker than black.” Gone were her lovely good looks, her life as a teacher, and perhaps the attention of the two young men who had been so drawn to her.

No one suffers more torment than Davey, who wonders if he was really responsible for Sarah's accident. If he had agreed to have police guard the Amish farms, as some wanted, Sarah would not have been hurt.  The Amish may be peace-loving, but they are not without their tensions. Author Byler, who is herself a member of the Amish, writes a tautly told story, full of dark fears, difficult dilemmas, and deep love.

This book was a tough read because Sarah is caught in the fire in Lydia's barn trying to save the horses.  Sarah goes through a lot of treatments because of the fire and reading this book takes you along every painful step.  The anger raises in the neighborhood because of the fires and her injuries but her father preaches and supports patience and forgiveness as their Amish culture teaches. With the neighborhood divided, there are many problems that need to be overcome.  Make sure you pick up this book and find out what happens.   I hope that you check out this book and all the other books in this series.  I really enjoyed reading the Lancaster Burning series from start to finish.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have!!  Let me know if you have read them or have any of them added to your reading list.  I know you will enjoy solving this mystery along with the love story between Sarah unfolding.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

More Shopping!!! Lots of Shopping!!

I was hoping that I was done for a little bit but it never works out that way.  I think that it is at the end of month I might have a little break with the holidays but only the sales will tell us.  I

Aldi $14.75- $0.77= $13.98

I went to the store to exchange some saltine crackers that we bought that had a bad seal on them.  Who wants stale crackers?!  If we had made them stale then I would have turned them into breadcrumbs but because I paid for crackers, I stubbornly wanted my crackers.  My husband made fun of me for returning $0.77 of crackers but I did and got a new box for free and got $0.77 back.

Sadly I went mainly to get turkey lunch meat and tortilla chips for my husband.  They were out of both.  There are goods and bads of shopping at Aldi.  I love that we get the low priced items but there are many times that they have no inventory.  They were out of extra sharp cheddar so I but regular cheddar and it wasn't great for cheese and crackers but I will use it up with tacos and grilled cheese (I used it and my husband didn't notice).  I usually stock up early to avoid this problem but I was really hoping that everything would last through Thanksgiving so I wouldn't have to shop until we got home....I was wrong!!

 I got a few of our other favorites including their animal crackers, pretzels, oyster crackers and corn tortillas.  We needed milk and I got a cautionary margarine because I knew that we were running low but I wasn't sure how close to out we were and we were scraping the bottom so yeah for me!!

 Aldi $12.43

Second trip for chips and turkey where I couldn't pass up the cheese because it wasn't at the first store either and we were totally out and the price dropped $0.40 again so time to fill the fridge before it goes up.  Now we should have enough cheese for a month....lets hope anyway because we seem to eat a lot of cheese.  It is our main source of dairy because I am lactose intolerant so milk and other dairy upset me but cheese never has. 

Total OOP $26.41

Total Monthly OOP $84.65

The great news is that I am over half way through the month and still have over $75 in the budget for groceries.  I will be able to pick up some more things that we need through the month but right now I am feeling pretty well stocked.  I made cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip muffins and peanut butter cookies this morning so it always feels like there is more food when I have just baked and there are goodies to eat!!!  Hope that you are having a good month and enjoying some relaxation with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Davey's Daughter Book Review

I was excited to start this new series by Linda Byler after reserving the third book in the series and not realizing that I hadn't read the rest of the series. Davey's Daughter (Lancaster Burning) by Linda Byler was the second book that I read quickly after the first.

Barns are burning in the Lancaster County's Amish community, and no one knows who's doing it or why. Sarah Beiler's barn was the first to burn and it was quickly followed by two other barn fires. The entire Amish community is on edge and wrestling with how they should respond to these seemingly random crimes. Sarah thinks Ashley, whom she's learned to know at the local farmers market, knows more about the fires than she will admit. But Sarah can't convince her to share her secrets. Should the Amish consider police protection as Sarah's cousin, Melvin, insists, or should the community continue to follow their traditional peaceful approach to violence as Sarah's father, Davey, the local minister, counsels? Then another barn burns, this one more devastating than any other, and the community again rallies around the distressed family.

Even in the midst of this chaos, life must go on for Sarah and her family. But now it feels as if nothing is normal. The local Amish school board asks Sarah to take over teaching a school where the students are out of control. How will she handle obstinate Amish kids and their defensive parents? Matthew is asking if the Amish church is the right fit for him. Will Sarah follow him if he decides to leave the community? Sarah's mother can't stay out of it and keeps urging Sarah to pay more attention to Lee, the well behaved Amish man, who helps anyone in the community in need. How will Sarah respond to all of the forces that are pulling her in different directions? She is Davey's daughter, after all, raised to love and respect the long-held traditions of her people. But will the outside forces become so great that she gives up her parents' ways and decides to leave her community? Will her father agree to police protection for the vulnerable Amish farmers especially for those who are widowed—or continue to insist that God will provide?

This book picked up right where the last one stopped.  It was a great continuation of the story of the small town fires in the barns in the Amish community.  Sarah takes the next steps in her life after Matthew leaves the Amish community and goes to Haiti.  She becomes a school teacher for a troubled school which gives her life more meaning than it has had in a long time.  Sarah is making a difference in the troubled children's lives.  All of these changes start to open her life again so that she can move on.  This book and all of the great characters made it even better then the last book!!  I hope that you check out this book as well as the others in the series.  I think that you will enjoy this "mystery" series as much as I have.  I put down the first book and picked up the second book and quickly finished it over the weekend and started on the third in the series.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fire in the Night Book Review

I reserved a book at the library which I thought was part of a series that I had already read but when it came in, I realized it was the third book in a series that I hadn't read.  I quickly reserved the first two books.  Fire in the Night (Lancaster Burning) by Linda Byler was the first in the series so it is where I started!

One barn fire might be an accident, the Lancaster County Amish community believes. But two barns burning just weeks apart is suspicious. Sarah Beiler wants to protect her family, even though they don't like Matthew, her new boyfriend. Book 1 in Amish author, Lydia Byler's, series"Lancaster Burning."

The Amish community of Lancaster is being terrorized by barn fires. David and Malinda Beiler's barn was the first to go. The clues are sparse, but Levi, the Beilers' oldest son, happened to be awake in the middle of the night and spotted a white vehicle driving past the house with its lights off. Sarah, David and Malinda's daughter, observes her parents' agony. Not only is she afraid, and wishing she could protect her parents, she's entranced by the flirtatious Matthew Stoltzfus. He's dating her friend, Rose, but when he tenderly bandages Sarah's hand after she burned it at the barn raising, she wonders who he's really interested in.

When a second Amish barn burns for suspicious reasons, the Amish grow more restless. "We're too quiet too much of the time," a group of Amish men tell David Beiler, their minister. Seriously considering police protection, the increasingly tense community questions their traditional nonresistant approach to violence. Sarah now finds herself at odds with her mother over her choice of boyfriends and uncertain about how to respond to the attention of Lee, a newcomer to Lancaster. Not only that, she wonders if her dad is a wise enough leader as her community reels from within and without. Everyone is on edge as the losses mount and suspicions undo the usual steadiness of these people.

There is a great mystery in the Amish community outside of Lancaster when multiple barn fires are started.  There is a lot of speculation on how and why these horrible fires were started which cause lots of separation in the community opinion.  At the same time, families are pulling together to help rebuild barns and rebuild their lives.  There is a fear by the neighborhood every time they hear the sirens.  Sarah is going through a lot with the loss of her family barn and her safety in her life.  She is also dealing with the love of her life dating her best friend while still flirting with her.  Lots of things are happening in this action packed book so I hope that you pick it up and check it out for yourself. I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did.  It was a great book to start off this series.  I was ready to find out what would happen next in this interesting series so I actually immediately picked up the next book in the series.  It is a really great time to have all of the series on my shelf so that I can pick them up one after then next!!