Monday, May 3, 2021

Menu Plan Monday 5/3



Pasta with Sausage Sauce and Fried Zucchini and Garlic Knots and garlic bread

Grilled Spiedies Chicken with Rice and Corn on the Cob (Crispy Pepperoni)

Ground Beef Salsa Sloppy Joes with tater tots (Chicken fries)

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken and mac and cheese

Homemade Pizza

Fried Rice with egg rolls, pot stickers, and edamame (Hash browns and Bacon)

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries


Last week we enjoyed a yummy week with most of the meals going according to plan.  Saturday we decided on Skillet Lemon Chicken because I had lemon in the fridge and chicken went on sale so that I could buy it to use.  I got to use up the rest of the orzo in the cupboard to make the rice which was super tasty.  I also used up half of a spice jar of Italian seasoning that I hadn't used previously.

I have done a great job of planning and using up the things that are already in the house in the meal plan for the month. I still have lots of things in the cupboard to use but it still costs a lot to fill in the holes to make sure that we have everything we need to make it through the month.  I was previously using a $160 budget for groceries and $40 for eating out.  When we first went through the lock down, we used all of the $200 towards groceries and did no eating out.  We have started to get pizza once a month which was a little over $10 per month so I was using the $190 for groceries.  The price of groceries continues to go up and the price of pizza has started to go up too so we tried to figure out what would work as a better budget and we have decided to try $200 for groceries and $20 for eating out.  I am hoping that this will give us a little more flexibility in the monthly shopping. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Blackberry Beach Book Review

I have never read this author before but the description and cover made it sound like a book that I would like.  Blackberry Beach (Hope Harbor) by Irene Hannon is the 7th book in the Hope Harbor series. I was so excited after reading the book to look it up and see that I had 6 other books that I would get to read. I decided to take a chance and I wasn't disappointed. The rest of the books are at the local library so I will check out those and others by the author.


Blackberry Beach: A Hope Harbor Novel

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He's had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible? Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Katherine Parker was going through a lot in her life and decided to go where she was happy and relaxed.  It took her back to a rental in Hope Harbor.  She felt that she could finally relax from the spot light that she was feeling in LA where she was normally living.  Next door to Katherine's rental is Zach Garrett who moved to get away from the grind of the job that was not fulfilling.  He worked hard and opened the local coffee shop where customers are treated kindly and everyone feels at home. Katherine and Zach feel a connect because they have both gone through similar changes in their lives and they try to help each other. At the same time, Frank, who works at the coffee shop, is fighting the feelings that he has for Zach's aunt because he feels that she is out of his league.  I love a book that has more then one story line going but still isn't so caught up in the cast of characters that I get confused.  I hadn't read any of the other books in the series and I was able to pick up this book and read it like a stand alone book. I don't want to give away the path that the story takes but follow this group of great characters and find out how all of their lives turn out.  I am sure you will enjoy the ups and downs and how they work through the hard parts of life.  Books where the characters overcome their burdens always leaves me feeling hopeful and I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the amazing series.  I can't wait to read some of the other books now that I have found this fun new small town of Hope Harbor. I know that they will all be just as wonderful as this one was!

**I was provided a copy of the book for my review but all opinions here are my own and I was not required to have a post review.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Huckleberry Lake Book Review

 I hope that you check out this next installment of Mystic Creek series, Huckleberry Lake (Mystic Creek) by Catherine Anderson. It is the 6th and final book in the series. I was looking forward to seeing who we got to learn more about when I picked up this book.  I was so excited to see Erin De Laney and Wyatt Fitzgerald who I enjoyed getting to know in the last book.

 Huckleberry Lake (Mystic Creek)

Erin De Laney came to Mystic Creek hoping that the slower pace might rekindle her enthusiasm for law enforcement. Instead she feels as frustrated as she did in the city and when her disillusionment with the job increases, she takes a position on her uncle's ranch. Her life has enough complications without her attraction to handsome, deaf cowboy, Wyatt Fitzgerald, the foreman on the ranch. Wyatt has sworn off dating, and Erin fears that nothing she does will ever change his mind. Yet while working with an abused horse under Wyatt's guidance, Erin comes to better understand herself. She also learns that love can heal almost anything. Wyatt yearns to take Erin into his arms, but he's hesitant to pursue a romantic relationship. When their work sends them out alone together into a wilderness area, Wyatt is even more determined to hold Erin at arm's length. But out of their time alone together on the mountain blossoms a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime love if only he's willing to give her his heart and make her his.

I enjoyed getting to know Erin and Wyatt in the last book and was excited to see them in this book.  I was a little disappointed at the beginning of the book because I thought it was a change from where the last book left off.  Erin and Wyatt were sort fighting a relationship but it was still a friendship so it was a little switch in my mind to where this book started.  I know most people aren't reading the books back to back so they might not feel the same way or they might have seen something differently in the last book that I missed. I enjoyed watching their friendship grow again in this book and see all the challenges that both go through in this book. I love that this series normally covers two different couples and this book was no exception because we got to know Wyatt's brother who was fun to get to know and his love interest.  I think that the book quickly got back on track and I was much happier as the book went on but I don't want to ruin anything so I think that you should pick up this book and read for yourself. I hope that you check out this book and the rest of this series.  I enjoyed it a lot and was so happy to get to have one more time to visit this small town.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Menu Plan Monday 4/26



Pasta with Sausage Sauce and Garlic Knots and garlic bread

Grilled Caesar Chicken with Rice (Crispy Pepperoni)

Grilled BBQ Chicken with mac and cheese or tater tots (Chicken fries)

Tacos and corn bread (Hashbrowns and Bacon for my son)

Homemade Pizza


Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries


I can't believe another Monday is here!! It always seems like a surprise when these happen because the weekend feels so short. I am excited that I had the whole month planned but working on finishing the plan for May and I keep changing my mind! I need to get that finished soon and start my monthly shopping list. I have a few options for Saturday but the plan keeps changing when I rearrange the meal plan so I will see if I can get that finished today.

Last week went according to plan and I was very grateful to have it in place.  We actually ran out of lettuce because the head that I got was gross in some spots so I switched the tacos that were originally on the menu for the chili from this week.  I was super happy with making the switch at the beginning of the week and it made the week go so smoothly.  Now I am way more excited about tacos this week and my husband will be very excited for Taco Pizza.  It is super tasty!!

Hope you have a great week planned and if you have any great recipes that I need to add, please let me know!!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Menu Plan Monday 4/19



Spaghetti with Sausage Sauce and Garlic Bread Pizza (Penne with garlic bread for my son)

Grilled Spiedies Chicken with Rice (Hashbrowns and Bacon for my son)

Chicken Paninis with tater tots and shoestring fries (Chicken fries)

Chili and corn bread (Pasta)

Homemade Pizza

House Autry Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes or Fried Rice, Egg Rolls, Pot Stickers and Edamame

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries


Last week we ate everything according to plan except our take out which we were expecting to be just one cheaper pizza was more expensive because the promotions in our area changed so we had pay regular menu pricing or pick a new promotion.  We enjoyed pizza, bread sticks, and  buffalo chicken bites with the new promotion and spent $18 after using the rest of our gift card. Then Saturday we decided to have leftovers and clear out the fridge instead of the meal planned.  We are going to have that this weekend instead of the meal planned.

Super excited to have all of the meals planned for the month and everything in the house to make them work...mostly.  However we had a few extra salads and our lettuce was a little gross when I cut into so a bunch went into the trash which was a bummer.  We need to get a little more lettuce and probably some milk at the end of the month. So this week we switched out Tacos that we were supposed to have with Chili so that we could put off the purchase of the lettuce later. Hopefully we won't have another bad head but it has been happening a lot no matter where I buy it. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Strawberry Hill Book Review

 I was straight on to book 5 in the series, Strawberry Hill (Mystic Creek) by Catherine Anderson after finishing the last book.  This was a hard one to put down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. Not a mystery but totally suspenseful!!

 Strawberry Hill (Mystic Creek Book 5)

As a camp cook, Vickie Brown loves feeding any size crowd in the great outdoors--with one notable exception. She never would have predicted she'd join the crew led by gruff cowboy Slade Wilder, the man who broke her heart just days before their wedding.

Life has gone on since Vickie left him, but Slade can admit his attraction to the one woman he's ever loved remains stronger than ever. If he wasn't in such desperate need of an experienced cook for his paying guests, he would send Vickie packing. He knows better than to seek out the company of the woman who broke off their engagement so many years ago.

Except there's no escaping each other in the confines of the wilderness area, especially once their anger begins to soften in the shared close quarters. But after Vickie finds the courage to confront Slade, it will take a leap of faith for them to put their past behind him, even if it's the only way to recapture their once-in-a-lifetime love.

Super fun book that starts off with Vickie who we haven't met before who is dealing with having to take a job far away from where she was living because of the economic downturn.  She finds a camp cook job which happens to be in her hometown that she swore she would never return to. Although we have to learn why she doesn't want to return when she breaks down and tells her daughter all of the secret information from her past. She had her heart broken by Slade Wilder who was supposed to marry her in a few days but she found out that he was cheating and left.  Although she wrote him 4 letters after she left to tell him that she was carrying his baby but she heard nothing in return. Vickie finds out that the camp cook is working for Slade but she decided that she is going to take the job to deal with her past issues.  She pulls into camp and waits for Slade to show up and see how the years have affected him. Slade decides to let her go but the other guys in his crew disagree because without a cook, they won't keep the customers happy.  Vickie and Slade have to confront their issues in the past and figure out how to work together in the middle of the wilderness but it is a crazy ride while they figure out how to do it.  I hope that you check out this book and the others in the Mystic Creek Series. I know that you will enjoy them.  Stay tuned for the review of the next book in the series soon!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Spring Forward Book Review

 I was excited to get back to this series since it was due back to the library soon and I had three books to read through. Spring Forward (Mystic Creek) by Catherine Anderson was the 4th book in the series. I had other books that were due back to the library that I needed to read first so this second half of the series was put on hold for a little bit.  I was excited to see who we were going to be meet in the small town of Mystic Creek now.

 Spring Forward (Mystic Creek Book 4)

When a favorite customer on his delivery route needs a favor, Tanner Richards agrees to help without a second thought. The last thing he expects is to face off against the man’s spitfire granddaughter.
Crystal Malloy is near her breaking point. Her beloved grandfather constantly skirts the rules at the retirement center where he’s recovering from surgery. She’s caring for his escape artist dog, even if it means abandoning her salon customers, and she has no time for a romantic attraction to the handsome new stranger. 
After Tanner’s reassigned to Mystic Creek, Crystal can no longer ignore how much she misjudged the man’s good intentions. She has known too much sorrow to easily open her heart, but she can’t deny that Tanner and his children could gift her with a happiness beyond compare—if only she can forgive herself for the past and accept that she’s deserving of such a love.

Tanner Richards is living a life all about his family.  His wife is gone and he is raising his two children alone.  His mother is there to help but he feels like he puts too much on her and she isn't getting a chance to have her own life. Tanner left his accounting practice to move to a smaller town to have a better life for his kids.  He now works a delivery person and becomes friends with a lot of people along his route.  Although one of those friendships gets him into trouble.  He is asked to deliver a package to a friend who has left his home on Tanner's route to delivery to the Retirement Home that he is living in while recovering from surgery which is in a different town.  Tanner decided that he is going to do it and then ends up loosing his route and having to work longer hours. Tanner meets the granddaughter of his friend, Crystal Malloy, and is immediately drawn to her.  She is dealing with a lot trying to keep her business afloat and make sure that her grandfather is well taken care.  At the same time she is caring for her grandfather's difficult dog who keeps escaping.  The characters and the story are really good and make me want to keep reading to find out what happens.  I think that you will be surprised by all the ups and down in this book.  There were surprises around every turn of the page. I hope that you check out this book and the others in the Mystic Creek Series.