Friday, November 16, 2018

Middle of the Month November Shopping Update

I maintain a monthly budget for our family of three for groceries and eating out of $200.  I use $160 for groceries and $40 for eating out.  I work hard to shop sales and use coupons to stretch the budget as far as possible. Shopping at the lowest possible prices mean that the items in my pantry, fridge and freezer afford me many months that I am not running to the store to get lots through the month.  This was one of those months where I didn't need to go to the store.

I normally set aside November budget to buy whatever I have to get two turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sometimes it requires a $40 or $50 purchase at a store that I don't normally shop at which has me getting more then I think is necessary because I don't know if it is going to be pre-sale or post-sale price or with or without coupons.  This time there were sales for turkeys at two stores for $0.39 per pound with only a $25 purchase.  I already had one turkey in the freezer for Thanksgiving so I was trying to decide on whether to get another turkey or eat something different for Christmas like steaks.  My mom said get a turkey so I did!!

Below are the items that I got and what I spent at each store with a break down of what the different items cost.

Aldi $3.32

I went to the store to return a bag of Honey Crisp Apples that I got.  I got another bag and half of those were bad too.  It is tough to go out of your way to get apples when none of them look decent and it is hard to see into the bag.  I thought about returning the second bag but it seemed pointless.  I threw the second bag in the fridge so that I could cut out the good parts and make them into bread.  I grabbed turkey lunch meat, tub margarine and stick margarine because we were running low on both of them.

Aldi $18.16

We were totally out of cheese, milk and lettuce.  I got the chicken fries and turkey lunch meat just in case because I wasn't sure what we had at home.  I wasn't planning on getting this much but they changed the packaging on the chicken fries so I was a little worried that the product changed too which will be a tough fight with my son since these are the only chicken product that he likes.

Shoppers $0.10

I went to get the freebie that was tasty broth for free especially since I haven't made it for the last few weeks.

Giant $32.40

I was looking at all the deals to get the best price on a turkey.  I know that it is only turkey season to get them cheap so I made a plan to get it on sale.  Giant had Heinz ketchup on sale for $1.88 which we just ran out of.  Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice was $1.88 (limit 4) which I had one printed coupon and one electronic coupon come off.  I also picked up cranberry sauce for my husband (leftovers to be used in some yummy salad dressing).  They had a deal for free pasta which they were continually out of so the manager substituted another one.  I had enough in my cart to get my turkey for $8.27 instead of $31.60 which is almost what I paid for all the groceries instead.

Total Retail $107.85
Total Savings $53.87
Total OOP $53.98

I hope that you are having a good month and have lots more deals to get this month.

Eating Out

We took a family trip at the beginning of the month and we bought pizza at Pizza Hut for $22.40.  We were running errands and stopped at Panera to get some treats for all of ours.  I had a gift card which paid for all of it.  That leaves us $17.60 for the rest of the month.  I also have gift cards so we are hoping to use those for some more special treats this month.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Looking For a Hero Book Review

I went through the new release shelf while I was visiting the library and picked up a bunch of soft cover books since all the books that I had were these super heavy hard back ones.  Looking for a Hero: An Anthology by Debbie Macomber was one that jumped out at me because I had not read it before and love the author.  I was excited to get to read it.


As far as Nash Davenport’s concerned, marriage isn’t shelter from the storm—it is the storm. He’s a divorce attorney, himself divorced, who believes no married couple can live up to their wedding vows. Savannah Charles, however, believes in the value—and the values—of marriage. She’s a wedding planner who finds herself saying yes when Nash unexpectedly proposes. Even though it’s strictly a business proposal…


Would-be romance writer Bailey York has already failed twice at love. She thinks men are wonderful to read and write about, but that’s it. Which is probably why she has such difficulty creating a hero for her novel. What she needs is a real-life example. She finds one in Parker Davidson—he’s everything a hero should be. Compellingly attractive. Forceful and determined, yet capable of tenderness. A man of substance. Parker is perfect as Bailey’s inspiration—but he wants to be the hero in her life, not just in her book!

I  didn't even sneak a peak at this book when I checked it out so I didn't have a clue about it.  I was interested to see that it was actually two books put together into one book.  The first story was about Savannah who runs the local bridal shop and plans weddings for a living.  I have read other books in this series so I remember this character so it was great to see her more.  It was interesting to see how she won over Nash who was against weddings after his first failed marriage and broken heart.  Savannah is working with Nash's sister to plan her wedding on a budget when Nash decides to chip in to help make her dreams come true.  You won't believe what happens in this book and what deal they come to after the wedding.

The second book was Bailey York who is trying to become a romance writer but her male lead character falling short on her expectations.  She made him too tough and then too soft so no one is believing the story.  She makes a discovery on the train of her perfect leading man after he hits her on the head with his umbrella.  She makes her friend follow him off the train and into his building to find out what his name is.  Parker works as an architect and Bailey decides that he is going to be the perfect lead character in her book but not before she gets into trouble following him around and getting caught.  In order to not have the police called, she tells him the whole story of writing the book and needing more information so they quickly have plans to meet and discuss things after Parker finally believes that she is telling the truth. It was a funny and light hearted book that had great characters. 

I hope that you check out this book with the two books inside to read these uplifting stories.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Every Time You Go Away Book Review

I got this book on my reserve shelf and I had no clue what it was about and I didn't think that I had read the author before.  Every Time You Go Away: A Novel by Beth Harbison was a new release that was on my shelf so I knew that I must have picked it out from the new releases.  I couldn't wait to find out why.


In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison's most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.  Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.  Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market. When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.  To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son.  Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

I am not sure what had me reserve this book to begin with but it was a great story with great writing. The book was really sad but also happy.  I was reaching for the tissues more then once and it was a rough book to finish at the car dealership waiting for them to look at my car.  Willa was dealing with the death of her husband and after three years finally goes to their beach house where he died alone.  She is ready to fix up the house and sell it so that she doesn't have to deal with the memories but encounters her husband, Ben's ghost at the house.  She spends time yelling and talking to get more insight into why she misses him and why he can't just come back to be with her.  She is dealing with a lot and he helps her embrace the good memories of the past and let go of the pain.  He helps her love the beach again with all the memories of how they met and times that they shared there fixing up the house together.  Her son joins her in the house and then her neighbor and her daughter.  After fixing everything and getting it ready to sell, she decides that she can't part with the memories.  It was heart wrenching but amazing read.  I highly recommend that you check it out and see for yourself.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Endless Chain Book Review

I was excited to read the first book in this series and was ready for the rest.  I reserved them all at the library.  I continued when the second book came in.  Endless Chain (A Shenandoah Album Novel) by Emilie Richards was the second book in the series.  I couldn't wait to find out what happened after the first book.

With the warmth and comfort of a handmade quilt, Endless Chain explores the intricate patterns of family and community, and the threads that bind them together

Sam Kinkade is finally feeling at home as a minister in rural Toms Brook, Virginia, content with his life and Shenandoah Valley congregation. But his plans to welcome the area's growing Hispanic community are being met with resistance. Fortunately, when the church-run community center is threatened, a stranger named Elisa Martinez walks through his door and Sam realizes he has found a woman capable of building bridges.

Elisa isn't looking to make connections. She has come to Toms Brook to hide. But despite her fears of discovery she is enchanted by the beautiful work and the friendship offered by the women who invite her to join their quilting circle. And even though she fears the consequences for both of them, she finds herself powerfully drawn to Sam, and to a generations-old love story rooted in the town's past.  Will she and Sam repeat the past, or can they find the love and the freedom they seek at last?

I thought that it was an amazing book.  Even though it was a really large book to carry around in its huge hard cover form, I was still bound and determined to finish it.  I dragged it with me to the doctor and every time I left the house.  I was amazed on how hard it was to put down.  Sam Kinkade is the minister for Toms Brook, Virginia church and he is working with the church to reach out to the growing Hispanic community with a church run community center.  Many in the church do not want it to happen and are vandalizing the church.  Elisa has come to the church to be the new sexton which makes her in charge of cleaning and fixing up the church.  She decides that she is also going to do the community center.  In addition, she is also working at the senior center as an aid at night.  In order to make ends meet she is working two jobs and living with a friend.  It is great to watching the relationship between Sam and Elisa grow and change.  You have to pick up the book to see for yourself.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 11/12

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries
Grilled Chicken with white rice
Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with mac and cheese

Last week was a little crazy but I got dinner on the table every night with just a few switches in the menu.  We went on a little vacation so Monday we were away but I made Spaghetti and Meatballs.  Tuesday we were home and I made my son's favorite dinner chicken fries, chicken nuggets and fries.  Wednesday we decided on Breakfast for Dinner with Pancakes.  Thursday we had taco chicken over white rice.  Friday was Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese before heading out to the basketball game.  Saturday was Philly Cheese Steak Pasta for us and Chicken Fries and French Fries for my son so that he would be super full and sleep a little longer (Fingers crossed).  Sunday was homemade pizza.  I got a headache on Friday and didn't make it to the store until Saturday so meals were all switched around to work with what we had left.

I took a quick stock of the freezer to see what we had left for the month to make sure that I actually finished the menu plan for the month.  We have tons of food to last us through the next few months but I am trying to make a dent in the amount of the food and attempt cleaning out the freezer.  I guess we will see if I can do that over the holidays.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 11/5

Spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread
Chicken Fries and Chicken Wraps with homemade french fries
Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Homemade Pizza
Chicken Tacos over white rice
Philly Cheese Steak Pasta

Well another week that I don't get the menu plan up on Monday but we had a four day weekend so we left on vacation and I wasn't thinking anything about what I had to do while we were on our trip.  Last week we had leftovers on Monday.  We had quick sesame chicken over white rice Tuesday which was super tasty and super cheap and easy.  Wednesday was my son's favorite meal with chicken fries, chicken wraps with homemade french fries.  Thursday was pasta leftovers. Friday was Homemade Pizza.  Saturday was left as a question mark and the last day before leaving for vacation.  I literally made everything that I could from the leftovers in the fridge to clean it out more including buffalo mac and cheese, chopped salad and anything else to mix with anything else in the freezer.  Sunday we changed the plan ahead to get pizza with friends so it was super tasty treat after a long day in the car and walking around to learn history.

Here is hoping that even though this is a strange week for us, we get food on the table every day as planned or close to it.  Hope you have a great week.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Good Luck with That Book Review

I had put this book on reserve awhile ago so I don't know if someone recommended it or if I thought it just sounded good.  Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins came on to my reserve shelf so I was interested to find out what it was going to be about.

New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins is beloved for her heartfelt novels filled with humor and wisdom. Now, she tackles an issue every woman deals with: body image and self-acceptance.

Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.

For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it's coming to terms with the survivor's guilt she's carried around since her twin sister's death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it's about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother's and brother's ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.

But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson's dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.

A novel of compassion and insight, Good Luck With That tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.

This was a very sad book but I was still interested to read it.  It was super motivating to see how Georgia and Marley change their lives after loosing Emerson.  It is hard to change your life and change your thought process but they work their hardest to make the change for the better.  It was moving to watch Georgia deal with her family issues because he brother and mother are always negative to her.  It is tough to deal with that and not take it to heart.  It breaks my heart what her reaction to her family and how much it hurts her.  Marley is making the most of her supportive family and bad relationships outside that.  It was strange to see her deal with the death of her twin from many years ago as well as her family moving.  These both live in adjoining apartments and support each other in their life while trying to check things off the list left from their childhood.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy the message as much as I have.  It is a great message of strength and growing stronger.