Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Beloved Hope Chest Book Review

The next book in the series was The Beloved Hope Chest (An Amish Heirloom Novel) by Amy Clipston which I was glad to start after the last story ended in a bit of a mystery.  This book started right into the story that was left off in the last book.  It was hard to put down but sad to near the end of this great series.

When Mattie packed her hope chest, she put away the heartache of her past. But as her daughters begin to unpack it, she discovers a healing more powerful than she ever hoped for.
Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.
But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades? Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.

Mattie is the mother of all of the daughters from the previous books.  This book follows the beginning of her life before she had her girls to give them a glimpse into her past.  Her daughter came upon her secrets in her locked hope chest and wanted to know the truth.  Spoiler alert if you haven't read the other books, you might want to skip this part of the review.  All three girls are called to their childhood home to learn about their mothers past and they are shocked at what they learn.  They find out about her life before their father and they were in her life.  Mattie was in love and married to a man before and lost him in a tragic accident but she was carrying her baby.  In order to not be a burden on her family, she decided to marry her childhood friend who was willing to support her through this and raise the baby as his own.  She is going through a lot of grief over the loss of her husband and a lot of hormones being pregnant so there are a lot of ups and downs in this book.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I promise you will be amazed!!  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and enjoy it as much as I have!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Cherished Quilt Book Review

I started this book right after finishing the last book in the series and the story continued without interruption.  I love the way the story follows a different sister but all of the previous stories are tied in with mention to the past books.  The Cherished Quilt (An Amish Heirloom Novel) by Amy Clipston is a great continuation of a wonderful series.

Tragedy tore Christopher’s world apart. But Emily believes there are enough pieces left behind to stitch together a beautiful new beginning. Emily Fisher is eager to meet the new employee at her father’s shop in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. But when Christopher Hostettler arrives, his cold demeanor freezes her attempts at building a friendship.  Longing for a fresh start, Christopher travels from Ohio to Bird-in-Hand. Christopher’s heart is still wounded from memories of home, and making new friends is the last thing on his mind—he knows the pain that comes with losing those you love. When Emily is kind to him, he tries to remain distant, but he soon finds himself stealing glances at her throughout the day.  When Christopher shares his tragic reasons for leaving home, Emily decides to make a quilt for him as a gesture of their friendship. The two are quickly falling in love when a family emergency calls Christopher back to Ohio without warning.  Emily finishes the quilt, in spite of her pain. But when Christopher receives it, will he have the courage to follow his heart?

Another amazing story with Emily being the sister in the story this time after her older two sisters were the lead characters in the previous books.  It was a nice change to get to know this sister and all the things that she did for her other sisters.  They both said that she was instrumental in getting them together with there husbands and that she never put herself first.  She was now helping Chris to settle into the small town and make sure that he knew that he was valued there.  They immediately had a connection to each other that was easy to see each time they got together.  Emily is trying to help Chris get over his tragic past and help him to feel better and more valued.  You have to pick up the book to find out all the little ways that she does this but I know that you will be as touched as Chris was by her generous heart.  I hope that you pick up this book and read it to enjoy it as much as I have.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Late Bloomers Club Book Review

I don't remember reserving this book but the description or something must have caught my eye because it ended up on my reserve shelf for me to read.  The Late Bloomers' Club: A Novel by Louise Miller was an interesting cover and the next in my pile to read.

A delightful novel about two headstrong sisters, a small town's efforts to do right by the community, and the power of a lost dog to summon true love

Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie Diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what's "the usual." But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her free-spirited, younger sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town's beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.

Kit, an aspiring--and broke--filmmaker thinks her problems are solved when she and Nora find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided--some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change--and they aren't afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.

Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn't quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and the clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer's rep, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on--finding Peggy's missing dog, Freckles.

When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn't always mean giving up your dreams.

I read this book at the beginning of the month and had to return it when heading out to the library which had me promptly forget to write the book review.  I do much better when the book is next to the computer taunting me for not writing the review.  This book was unexpected and I was instantly drawn into Nora who owns the local diner and has been supporting and helping her whole family for her entire life.  She likes to help everyone in the small town the best she can but her sister comes back and makes her feel like her life isn't worth anything compared to the full life that Kit has lead.  They inherit Peggy the cake lady's estate and realize that there is more then they ever knew about her.  It is amazing all of the things that happen in this store.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I did with the full characters and great story.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 9/17

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries
Cube Steak and rice
French Dip Sloppy Joes
Homemade Pizza
Philly Cheese Steak Pasta (Spaghetti for my son)
Barber Chicken and rice

Last week, I actually took out all the meat at the beginning of the week to make sure that things would be defrosted and then found a great deal on meat at the grocery store which I didn't get to use right away so I ended up freezing the pork chops and the steak.  Monday we had dinner that my mother in law brought over of Fried Chicken which left us with leftovers to have the next day.  I ate mine for lunch and my husband ate his for dinner while I made my son Pasta as we had on the plan.  Wednesday brought yummy tacos!!  Thursday was my son's favorite meal of chicken fries and french fries and I made us chicken wraps.  We made homemade pizza Friday after soccer practice and enjoyed it lots.  We grilled chicken on Saturday and my husband and I had a chopped salad with corn, crispy pepperoni and chicken on top and my son had white rice.  We were supposed to have leftovers on Sunday after a day visiting a historic site and getting a tour and watching the canon fire but my husband declared it to be take out pizza day.  We had a pretty good week of easy meals at home and we are planning for the same this week!!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Middle of the Month September Shopping Update

I can't believe that we are already through the middle of the month.  I quickly put together my list of places I had been this month and updated my spreadsheet to see where I was at against my $160 monthly budget for our family of three.  Below are all the things that I have gotten for the month and the breakdown of the items.

Aldi $17.58

We were near an Aldi that was cheaper then ours and I grabbed a few things while the rest of the family waited in the car. The butter tubs were $0.85 and the sticks were $0.84.  The cheese was $1.45.  The milk was $1.68.  All of these prices were lower then the stores closest to our house.  The chicken fries were $4.59 which I think is the same price as near us but were running low so I grabbed two.

Giant $0.44

I got the yogurt and Ortega seasoning free after sale and coupon with a little overage that paid for most of the Heinz Ketchup which was on sale for $1.88.  Amazing bonus is that I turned it in for Fetch rebate and got 593 points!!! I got $0.30 back from Saving Star for the yogurt.

Safeway $12.30 

The soda was on sale for buy two get three free (shelf price was $6.49 so it is the best price around with the worst selection stocked) and there was a $1 electronic coupon off buying 5.  There was an electronic coupon for a free frozen pizza so I grabbed that too.  I earned $0.50 back from Ibotta for the Frozen Pizza and any item rebates.

Harris Teeter $6.19

There was an evic to get a free yogurt and I used a coupon to save more on the granola bars.  They had a sale on granola bars for $2 but there was an evic limit 4 at $1.77.  I was super excited that we got a coupon for $0.75/2 so four boxes were $1.02 and two were $1.25.  I got 187 points through Fetch for the granola bars as a nice bonus.

Harris Teeter $5.16

I grabbed a few more of the granola bars my son loved at $1.25 each and I got 111 points through Fetch.   I am finally getting close to a $25 gift card through Fetch!!

Shoppers $0.08

Grabbed the two freebies and paid only tax.

Target $0

I went to Target to get bananas mixed berries for my son while he was sick so I preordered to pick them up in the store so I payed for them with pay pal so it was no money out of pocket.

Aldi $19.89

I wrote a whole long list of things that we were out of and hoping the storm didn't take out our power after stocking up on everything that was perishable.  I got almost everything on the list but they didn't have any eggs.

Aldi $1.42

Second Aldi in the day to get eggs.  I just gave up and grabbed them even though they were over the price I normally pay but we were totally out.

Harris Teeter $13.56

I went a little overboard at Harris Teeter but I thought my spending was pretty low for the beginning of the month so I splurged on clearance pork chops, cube steak and sirloin.  I got the cereal for $0.97 each after sale and coupon and should get $1 back from Saving Star.  I got the Muir Glen tomato paste for $0.19 and should get back $0.50 on Saving Star.  The Crescent rolls were free because I had to return ones that were gross so they gave me money back and another one free.  The LaLa Yogurt were free with the taste and tell through their facebook giveaway.

Total Retail $150.88
Total Saving $91.84
Total OOP $59.04

I think that the month has gone pretty well but I haven't gotten a lot of sales yet but we currently don't need a lot of things to stock up because we are pretty well stocked on things from previous sales.  I was trying to get the lowest priced items.  There is a rumored super double at the end of the month so hoping to score a lot of savings then.  

My happiest thing that we have done this month is amazing saving with using gift cards and free money this month.  My husband used Home Depot gift cards to buy stuff for the house and still has some left to use.  I went to Kohl's because I realized that my son didn't have a shirt for picture day and found shorts on clearance for $6 and shirts for $5.  I had a gift card that I already got from My Points and got another one while I was in the store and only spent $11 for 5 items.  I still had two Target gift cards which I used to get new dish brushes and clearance notebooks for $0.07 so paid nothing.  I used the rest of the gift card and Pay Pal to pay for our Target purchase.  Then used Pay Pal for my son's school pictures. Working on using my Swagbucks and My Points to pay for lots more going forward including my new bread machine because the old one broke.

Eating Out

We haven't spent any money on eating out yet this month.  I don't know if we have any planned for the rest of the month but stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Monday Menu Plan 9/10

Fried Chicken, Cheesy Ranch Bread and Mashed Potatoes (meal brought by my mother in law)
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries and tater tots
Homemade Pizza
Grilled Chicken and rice

 This week was a crazy one.  The boys went to the Nationals game on Monday and they got take out pizza on the way home that I ordered online.  We got lots because it was on sale for $4.99 at the local pizza place so it was basically like 4 for the price of one.  We had a little leftovers/pasta day on Tuesday and skipped soccer practice because of the heat.  I made fresh pot of pasta for my son and used the leftover pasta and a bunch of other ingredients to make  Buffalo Chicken Pasta for my husband.  I ate the leftover salad with chicken and other things in the fridge.  Wednesday I made Salsa Sloppy Joes from the leftover chili meat and we had mac and cheese.  Thursday, I made my son's favorite dinner of chicken fries and homemade french fries and we had chicken wraps.  We ate leftover pizza on Friday night because it was the biggest leftover in the fridge and we were all exhausted after a long week and a rained out soccer practice.

On Saturday, we enjoyed making Naan Pizza on the Naan bread that I picked up at the most recent sale at Harris Teeter so it was like $0.25 per pizza and we got to make our own which was great because we spent the beginning of the day at the doctor to find out what was going on with my son.  The doctor didn't really have any answers and we left with some paperwork but nothing that answered all the symptoms.  Sunday left us exhausted and our plans for dinner moved to the next day because of my son not feeling great so we decided to stay home and rest.  The rest of the week was pulled off so well with the exception of Sunday because I thought we were having company for dinner but then it changed to Monday and I was left without anything on tap for dinner that was thawed and ready to go and not a lot of energy to figure something out.  Finally ended up with a family movie night with Shrek 2 and some snacks in front of television.

Wondering how the week will go when starting off with a sick kid and running low on groceries that I need to get without a sick kid in tow.  I guess we will see how that goes but we have tons in the house to work with so here is hoping for the best recovery and back to school for little man so I can get back to all the appointments and other things that I have going on this week.

The Courtship Basket Book Review

I got the rest of the series in the library and I was excited to read the second book in the series.  The Courtship Basket (An Amish Heirloom Novel) by Amy Clipston was the next book that I was ready to read.  I was interested in seeing where the series would go.

Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.  Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.  Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.  With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.  The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

I loved this story about how a teacher can make a difference in a whole families lives and make a change in her life.  Rachel thought her life was over when her boyfriend of 4 years leaves her to be with her best friend.  She lost the person she thought she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with and the person that she always talked to about these things.  Rachel sees a child that is new to the school having problems and sends a note home which goes unanswered.  She decides to go visit and ends up getting in a fight with Mike, John's brother and guardian.  She let her anger get in the way of trying to find out how to help and works harder to help John in school.  She also decides to send home meals and do a few other things to help the whole family.  You need to pick up the book to find out what happens but I promise that you won't be disappointed.  It is a great story with a great ending that leads directly into the next book.  I couldn't wait to pick up the next one!!