Thursday, April 26, 2018

Talking After Midnight Book Review

I had never read anything by this author but there was still a book from her in my reading pile that I picked up somewhere.  I am starting to think that some are from the free pile at another library instead of the summer book sales because for the life of me, I don't remember getting this but it was next in the pile and next to read.  Talking After Midnight (Plum Orchard) (English Edition) by Dakota Cassidy was an interesting read with different setting and characters.

Shields up, sugar—things in Plum Orchard are about to get real.  Marybell Lyman is notorious for two things: Her look. The wicked hairstyle, multiple piercings and practiced sneer that say: "Stay back—I bite."  Her voice. The syrupy lilt that's her bread and butter at Call Girls, the prim little town's flourishing phone-sex company.  Hunky handyman Taggart Hawthorn is mesmerized by the contradiction: such sweet tones inside such a spiky shell! He wants to know more about mysterious Marybell, to hear more of her sexy talk—all for himself.  But Tag's attentions, delicious as they are, have Marybell panicked. She's been hiding a long time. She's finally got a home, a job and friends she adores. She won't have it all snatched away by another stupid mistake—like falling in love. So when Marybell's past comes calling, she and the Call Girls will prove no one handles scandals like a Southern girl!

I wasn't expecting anything when I started reading this book but I was quickly surprised when I read that Marybell works for Call Girls, the small town phone sex company.  I thought that it was funny so I kept reading.  There was a great small town of Plum Orchard that this business worked out of and all of the employees stood out like sore thumbs in the strict southern town.  None more then Marybell because she had point colored hair and lots of piercings which scared the old women in the town.  Taggart is a handyman that quickly decides that he is interested in the very different Marybell because she is so very different then all of the other girls.  Find out all of the things that go on in this small town and with Marybell and Taggart when you pick up this book.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series at your local library or bookstore.  I think that you will enjoy this funny story that has lots of heartfelt moments.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Apple Blossom Bride Book Review

I was excited to read this right after the previous book in the series and I was super glad that my version had them in the same book so I knew which order to read them in.  I enjoyed Apple Blossom Bride (Serenity Bay, Book 2) (Love Inspired #389) by Lois Richer.  It was nice to follow along with the story and go from one character in this small town to the next.

After a car accident, Ashley Adams came home to Serenity Bay to heal her broken body - and her broken spirit. Her former teen crush, Michael Masters, was the last person she expected to see in town and he was even handsomer than she remembered. Planning the town's winter festival brought Ashley back in contact with the dedicated single dad, and Ash found herself falling for him all over again, as well as his darling daughter. Yet pain-filled memories of the past threaten their budding romance. Only Ashley's search for the truth can lead them to love beneath the blossoms.
Ashley is a childhood friend of Piper's who we met in the last book and Ashley is now coming back to Serenity Bay to heal just like Piper did.  Ashley is hesitantly revisiting her childhood home after being in car accident and breaking up with her boyfriend.  When she returns, she sees her childhood crush, Michael.  Michael is now a single father who is raising his daughter in the same small town where he grew up with the help of his mother.  He gave up his whole life and is trying to settle into teaching in a small town instead of chasing his dreams.  Both are trying to put the past to rest but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and other Love Inspired books and enjoy them as much as I have!!  I know that you will like this fast read set in this cute small town that pulls together in a crisis.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

His Winter Rose Book Review

I had another book on my pile that I got through my summer reading coupons which was huge because there were two books included.  The first was the His Winter Rose (Serenity Bay, Book 1) (Larger Print Love Inspired #385) by Lois Richer.  I was interested in getting started to see what it was about because I have picked it up a few times and not actually gotten to read it yet.  I am pretty sure it went to the beach with me last year and a few other vacations!!

After many happy summers in the peaceful town of Serenity Bay, Piper Langley had returned to help revitalize the sleepy village. Trouble was, Piper and her new boss didn't see eye-to-eye. Mayor Jason Franklin had the good looks and the take-charge attitude to earn him the town's respect, but not Piper's. To help the place they both adored, they had to find a way to work together. While his faith in God was strong, it would take an even stronger love to thaw the ice around Piper's jaded heart. Thankfully, Jason knew he was the perfect man for the job.

I don't like the description of this book on Amazon but I am not sure it is wrong but just not what I took away from the book.  Piper went back to Serenity Bay to start her life over and remember the good times from her childhood and to fight against her father's company.  She has many fights with the mayor Jason Franklin because he wanted to manage everything she was doing instead of trusting her judgement.  Then their relationship takes a turn when they work together to make the town better.  Pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you read this book and enjoy lots of the Love Inspired series.  They are really good books that are great light reads for enjoying the book and being able to finish it quickly because you can't put it down.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 4/23

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Chicken and Rice
Thursday- French Dip Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Friday- Homemade Pizza
Saturday- Leftover Family Fun Night
Sunday- ??

Last week we had Monday and Tuesday meals went as planned.  I switched Wednesday and Thursday and it went well.  We went with Homemade Taco Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza on Friday night which my son proudly made and we enjoyed them.  Saturday was exhausting and busy so we went with the Sandra's Stuffed Chicken with white rice which was easy and tasty.  I made enchiladas on Friday night while my son was making the pizzas and stuck it in the fridge which was super easy to stick in the oven for dinner on Sunday before work and used leftover taco meat and rice with enchilada sauce and cheese from the freezer.  We did great this week getting food on the table with the schedule that we had going on.  I think that we are going to try something similar this week too!!  We have been so busy starting back up with soccer and spring things happening.  Now I just have to think what to have for Sunday but I am sure that I will think of something as the week goes on!!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Wedding Quilt Bride Book Review

I was excited to get to my second Love Inspired novel in my four that were in my pile to read.  The Wedding Quilt Bride (Brides of Lost Creek) by Marta Perry was an Amish fiction which I love and it was also about a quilt so I was interested to find out what it was about. 

The single mom’s second chance… To become one of the Brides of Lost Creek!

Widow Rebecca Mast returns to her Amish community with her son and a dream—to own a quilt shop. Carpenter Daniel King is determined to help Rebecca and revive their childhood friendship. But as he bonds with her son, Rebecca’s afraid the secret she’s been keeping will be revealed. Can Daniel convince Rebecca he’s a man she can trust—and love?

Rebecca Mast moves back to the small town where she grew up after the death of her husband.  She decides that she wants to open a quilt shop to make a future for herself and her son.  In the process, she has to learn how to be part of a community and rely on other people.  Daniel is her childhood friend and a carpenter that helps her renovate the house that she bought into a quilt shop.  Daniel is great with Rebecca's son, Lige, which makes Rebecca question how families are supposed to be and remind her how she grew up.  Her marriage was so different and her husband had many medical problems that made her life tough.  There were so many stressful parts in this book that had me on the edge of my seat.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the Love Inspired series.  I have really enjoyed them and they are a perfect quick read that sucks you in and doesn't let you put them down.  I hope that you enjoy this one as much as I have because I think that you will have trouble putting it down.

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Racher's Secret Child Book Review

I was super excited that I got a chance to read more Love Inspired books.  I came across this series of books at a library book sale and thought they sounded interesting and there were a variety of subjects that it covers.  The Rancher's Secret Child (Bluebonnet Springs) by Brenda Minton was one of the books that I got.  I jumped at the chance to get to read more...I thought I was getting two and I got four of them!!!

After meeting the son he never knew he had, Marcus Palermo’s simple life turns upside down. Complicating things further is Lissa Hart, the boy’s lovely guardian. She’ll help him become a parent—but falling for a gruff cowboy is not in her plans. Will she realize her future lies in Bluebonnet Springs with the rugged rancher?

The description leaves a lot to wonder what this book is about but I enjoy it.  Marcus lived a little crazy life but all that was in his past when he moved home to make a life for himself on a farm.  He was starting to settle into the small town life when Lissa shows up with his son!!  She tells him that he has a son for the first time and that his past love was dead so he was the only parent left.  He thought that his son would be better off being raised by Lissa because he didn't have the stable life that he wanted to give to a child.  Although he wants to know his child so he still feels like he isn't the best thing for him but his son quickly melts his heart.  You need to pick up the book to find out all that happens to this small family and what they decide for the future.  I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I have and check it out for yourself.

**I got a copy of this book for my review but all opinions here are honest and my own.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April Middle of the Month Budget Update

My budget for my family of three is $160 per month.  I shop sales and use coupons to get the best deals for my family in order to stay under budget.  We do a month menu plan which I share weekly on this blog so that you can see what I scheduled eating and a review of what we ate the previous week if there were any changes. My shopping trips are very different then they were before couponing but we have more quantity and variety of food in the house with

I was starting off in a very cautious after going over groceries last month but I knew that we needed to still get a few things at the grocery store including Cran Grape juice and chicken.  I can't believe we have almost gone through all the chicken that I bought in November before Thanksgiving to get the turkey deal but we are getting close to the bottom.  I hope to defrost the freezer before filling it again but I still have a turkey left so we might have to eat that soon!! 

The month may have ramped up as it was going so I spent more then I thought for the first half.  Check out what I got so far this month below.  I combined the pictures of some transactions so that you didn't look at 10 pictures of tissues or other things and added the tax I paid together but this is everything that we got for the first half of the month.

Harris Teeter $1.90

My husband wanted to try a banana and pear because they were starting to look good and we needed some lettuce for tacos.  I also got the free Hormel Natural Choice after evic sale and coupon.  I enjoyed the cheese and snacks for lunch on the way home.

Harris Teeter $2.05

My husband really wanted these Starburst Jellybeans which I should have gotten earlier but found on clearance and I got two Reese Egg's for me....which may or may not have been eaten before this picture was taken.  They are my favorite Easter treat!!

Giant $0.90

I went to get the free yogurt, mints and kids yogurt.  I figured that I would get my husband another pear and banana for him to enjoy but he said that he liked the ones from Harris Teeter.

Harris Teeter $5.22

I got a free RXBar and three free Kind Protein bars.  My husband and son wanted Kool Aid and it was on sale for $0.17 each.  There was clearance asparagus for $1.25 which was super yummy for dinner that night with olive oil pasta.  I splurged and got the tater tots for $2.79 and will get $1 back for Saving Star and $1 from Checkout 51 so $0.79 after rebates for my husband and son's favorite.

Harris Teeter $0.06

My husband bought these three Kind Protein bars that were only tax.

Harris Teeter $4.55

When I was at the store previously, I promised my son and husband that I would buy the Screamin Sicilian Pizza when super doubles started so it was $3.99 after sale and coupon and everything else was free so it was only tax.  We enjoyed the pizza when I got home for lunch that day.

Harris Teeter $0.15

Free cheese and gravy mix and paid only tax.

Harris Teeter $0.21

I got free pizza dough, ranch spice dip, and Kind Protein bars and paid only tax.

Harris Teeter $0.15

Free pizza dough and spice mix and paid only tax.

Harris Teeter $1.06

My fun trip with two coupons thanks to Maria for sharing.  I got free juice and $0.49 packages of Oreos for my son.  He was so excited that he "needed" one for breakfast before heading off to school.

Harris Teeter $0.26

I went to a different store and found these Chilly Cows that didn't have a sale tag but ended up on sale and free after coupons.  I also got free olives, Kind Protein bars and Listerine floss.

Harris Teeter $0.08 

These were the only thing in stock in this store so I got them and paid only tax.

Harris Teeter $0.18

All free after sale and coupons and only paid tax.

Harris Teeter $0.82

I got some more free pizza dough and Kind bars.  I bought 4 packets of Kool Aid for $0.17 for our summer stash.

Harris Teeter $0.18

All these are free after sale and coupon and I only paid tax.

Harris Teeter $ 0.25

Everything was free and I paid only tax in two transactions for these things.

Harris Teeter $1.97 

There was a deal on the clearance salads that made them a $0.15 money maker per bag.  I got the free spice mix after sale and coupon.  There was a bag of apples for $1 and bananas for $0.71.  The Kool Aid packets were $0.17 each.

Aldi $16.24

We were totally out of milk and Parmesan Cheese so I got them.  I went for a stock up on salsa and chicken fries.  I forgot the darn corn tortillas!!

Harris Teeter $2.21  

Free eggs and Ranch dip mix but I forgot to get the corn tortillas at Aldi so I grabbed them at Harris Teeter because they were on sale for $1.99.

Harris Teeter $0.15 (multiple transactions)

I got these because they were the only things in stock at most of the stores.

Harris Teeter $0.24 (multiple transactions) 

I went to get some tissues a few times to use up some coupons and get some free tissues but instead of putting pictures of two tissue boxes at a time and taking up lots of room on the post, I put all the tissues in one picture.

Giant $0.37 (multiple transactions)

 Did many transactions at Giant to get the rest of the tissues before the sale was over so I used up all my coupons.  Also had overage from an electronic coupon and went to grab a banana once so it was even cheaper then the other transactions.  I also got free Tic Tac gum with my one printable coupon for free.

Wegman's $16.87

I stopped at the store to get ground beef because I was down to the last two bags and I was at the library program next to the Wegman's.  We are set for the next few months!!

Harris Teeter $0

My son went to the store with grandma and grandpa because grandpa needed wine and it was 20% off.  My son wanted Grape Fanta, Orange Fanta, Sprite and the Gingerale Lemonade (and a Coke for dad and Diet Coke for mom).  I used the coupon and got the Zevia for $0.74 (which had a rebate) and the taco seasoning for dinner that night.  I got my $0.97 sugar because we were down to three on the stockpile!! I loaded the $15 coupon on my card which paid for most of the groceries and my parents paid for the rest.  The taco seasoning rang up incorrectly and I went back and then gave me back money which I put against my next trip to the store.  I turned in rebates for $3.25 on this and a bottle of my dad's wine.

Shoppers $0.08

I went to get my free tater tots and paid only tax in the shelf checkout lane.  Went super easy except scanning the phone was a little hard but it worked like a charm!!  I got $1 back from Checkout 51 for buying them so this was a moneymaker!!

Harris Teeter $6.15- $1.01= $5.14

I went to get more toilet paper.  I realize that I have a problem but it was on sale and there was a coupon and a rebate so I couldn't pass up $0.24 per roll!!  Almost 180 rolls so I am going to try to hold off on buying anymore.

Giant $0.12

I went to the store to get the freebie and I grabbed a banana just in case this didn't ring up easily because I felt like I might need some extra in case there was a weird overage and it rang up perfectly with no problems.  Which was great because I brought no coupons or anything else into the store.  This little bottle was supposed to cost $6.99 normally which is crazy high in my opinion but I am going to enjoy it!

Safeway $0.00

I went to the store to get the free pasta...sadly it said that I was supposed to get Monopoly tickets but I didn't so don't tell my son!!

Total Retail $455.71
Total Savings $394.31
Total OOP $61.40

I think that I did pretty well for the first half of the month and left a lot to get the items that we need to stock up on this month.  Lots of free tissues, pizza dough, seasoning, eggs, cheese and Kind Bars to use for months to come.  I need to put a few more shopping trips in my plan for Cran Grape and Chicken but I still have almost $100 to do it with.

Eating Out

My parents took my son to his favorite restaurant and they paid so we didn't spend any money but he super enjoy it.  He went to Parent's Night Out at the local church so he got to play games, eat pizza and have a blast for free.  We haven't eaten out yet so I still have my $40 budget for eating out available but I don't know how much of it will be used because we have so much going on but we might have something at the Fun Fair at our school towards the end of the month although they don't often have food my son likes.