Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Budget Update

I didn't shop a lot this month because we had so much stuff already at home and I was set on trying to use up what we had before going to get some of the things that are our favorites.  It finally paid off because my husband finished some of the other juice that he didn't want to drink because it wasn't his favorite kind.  We ate some of the snacks that were moved to the back of the cupboard and worked on some of the cereals in the pantry.

Giant $0.00

I went to Giant to get my groceries and use my monthly Giant credit and it didn't come off.  I had some Giant gift cards so I used those and enjoyed that I still didn't have to pay for it even though I was a little upset that I drove out of my way to go to the store where the credit worked last time but it didn't work this time!  UGH!!  I thought that I took a picture but can't find it anywhere on the computer.  I got a single serve Coke for my husband who likes Coke when he is sick.  I got a 2 liter of ginger ale and three Ocean Spray Cranberry juices.  We picked up some Gerber bananas for my son which is his only fruit that he will eat.  We still needed a little more money to get to the total so I grabbed a block of cheese that was on sale.  I also bought some milk in a separate transaction to make sure that I didn't screw up the credit and used the gift card for that too

Walgreens $1.32

They just opened a new Walgreens across the street from our CVS and my son has wanted to go in and walk around since it opened but I didn't have a reason until they put that they had eggs for $1.29 and we were out of eggs.  I decided that it wasn't worth the trip to the store to use a rain check and coupon to get them so we went on a little field trip for our first trip through Walgreens while we were waiting for parents to come into town and got some good priced eggs!  We used them when we got home to make bread so I am not sure if I took a picture of just the eggs but I didn't get the oil at Walgreens :)

Wegman's (and Aldi's) $3.20

My mom paid for Aldi's so I don't even have a receipt.  I paid for Wegman's and then my mom pushed money in my bag to cover most of Wegman's so my total out of pocket was so small and we were so busy that I didn't even take a picture of it.  Sorry but it was easier then trying to clean off a counter and stop my mom from helping put away the groceries or really upset her by taking them all back out after I cleaned the counters :)  At Wegman's we got had to get some things so that I could make tacos for dinner because I didn't plan as well ahead as I thought so we got cheese, head of lettuce, and ground beef.  We also got yogurt for my son, yogurt for my mom, Ocean Spray for my husband, Garlic Salt for my son, box of brownie mix for my husband, loose lettuce for mom, strawberries for mom, blueberries for mom, case of mac and cheese for my son,  two rolls of paper towels for my dad and salt potatoes (cause we love them).   

Giant $3.54

I went to Giant for my second attempt to use my $10 credit and grabbed a ton of lunch meat because they were on sale so I saved over $0.30 per package and used the coupon for $1/5 to save a little more.  I got the whipped topping on sale for $1.09 and the Ritz for $2.50 to make it up to the $10 total and my credit didn't come off again!!!  UGH!  I used a gift card to pay for part of it and the rest of the money was out of pocket.

Aldi's $11.43

We drove all the way to Aldi's because I needed oranges to cut up for my son's soccer game this weekend.  Funny that I got signed up for it because my son doesn't even eat them but I said yes that I would fill in the last spot on the sheet even though I already signed up to bring after the game snack earlier in the season.  We went to the grocery store and they were $6 for a 4 lb bag and I saw them last week at Aldi's for $3.50 so I just couldn't do it.  Since we needed milk and had enough time, we decided to drive all the way to Aldi's.  My son got on a Ritz kick the other day so I decided to try a box of Aldi's brand crackers because he ate the other box in less than a week.  These are very close if not identical to Ritz if you haven't tried them.  Super worth it. Plus picked up another bag of Spicy Salsa chips which my husband loves and was almost finished with the other bag.  I decided to get one more butter since we had already used one from the previous trip.

Total Retail $132.00 
Total Savings $112.51
Total OOP $19.49
(plus whatever my mom spent at Aldi's)

I always have such a hard time adding up things when my parents are in town because they like to buy a lot more then I would normally buy and whatever they buy for them, they take with them.  I am not sure if that should add into my total or my savings because we don't get to eat it but some of the stuff they share while they are here and others are only for them like my mom's yogurt and fruit but that means that I didn't have to buy it for her before she came like I try to.  Bottom line, it was a low out of pocket month because of my $25 in Giant gift cards and my parents buying some of the groceries but I would have only bought the ground beef at Wegman's so my total would have only been about $15 instead of what it ended up at!!  Just think if I got the $10 credit at Giant it would be just pennies out of the pocket!  I don't know if I am going to attempt to make another trip to Giant before the end of the month to try to get the credit or just send in my receipts and hope that they give it back.  Overall a great month!!

How did you do???

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Season of Change Book Review

I signed up for way too many books to read at the same time and I knew that I better cut back because I couldn't keep them straight.  It was delivered but I forgot what it was about and I was in the middle of some library books that I wanted to finish before starting these.  I was super glad that I picked this book as one that I wanted to read this book because I couldn't put it down. A Season of Change: Seasons in Pinecraft | Book 1 by Lynette Sowell was the first in the series which was a second piece of good news because I will be checking these all out as they are written!!  I can't wait to hear what else is going to happen with these great characters.

The book starts with an Amish family in Florida enjoying a family vacation and getting ice cream at Christmas time which seems like something of a fantasy for them.  This is something that the Miller family never did in Ohio where they live for most of the year but were doing because they were visiting their family in Pinecraft, Florida.  Jacob Miller, the widowed father, and his two kids, Rebecca and Zeke are visiting their grandparents in Florida for a change of pace after his wife, their mother, passed away.  They have been living a very sad life and it seemed like a good idea for a change.  Jacob is very uncomfortable with the worldly ways the people in Florida act and is having a hard time relaxing.  After getting ice cream, Rebecca forgets her spoon and goes back to the ice cream shop.  She is hit by a car and seriously injured by a young driver who didn't see her.  In the hospital, they meet Bubbles the clown who turns out to be Natalie, who becomes a friend from the very beginning when she shows Rebecca how to juggle.  Natalie is drawn to the family and comes back to visit without the clown uniform to bring Rebecca juggling balls.  At the same time, Natalie learns that her mother used to be Amish but left her family when she joined the circus.  When Natalie comes to visit again, the family has left the hospital and she finds Rebecca's doll.  It is violation for the nurse to tell her where they live but the nurse suggests that she goes to the local Amish restaurant and they might be able to help.  Her journey to find out about her family begins with return the doll to the Amish family and becoming their friend.  Picking up the book will give you all of the adventures that they went through and enjoy the book as I did!! 

I loved it!  I read it in two or three days and had a hard time putting it down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next.  The author did a great job with the characters and you really felt all of the emotions that the characters were going through.  I think that I even cried at one point in the book and it wasn't horribly emotional but it just pulled at your heart strings.  My summary only includes the first three chapters of the book so there are still 26 more chapters to find out all of the interesting things that go on in this great book.  Meet all the other fun characters including Betsy, Rachel, Henry, and Imogene.  I don't want to give too much away but I hope that you pick it up at your local library or bookstore soon so that you can meet all these great characters in this wonderful Amish fiction book!!

*I was provided this book for my honest opinion through the Litfuse publishing group.  If you are interested in finding out about their program, check it out here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: General Frugal Books for Tips

I started this series of posts awhile ago and it was taken off course by going out of town to see my grandmother before she passed away so I didn't get the last and possibly post important post up.  I read a lot of frugal books before I started my blog so I got a lot of information before I was writing reviews. So I have put a quick summary below with the title of book in case I didn't review it.  The first group is those without reviews so the title link will take you to Amazon in case you want to add it to your wish list.  The later titles are those with review on my blog and the title will take you to the detailed review of those books.

America's Cheapest Family by Steve Economides and Annette Economides is a good book about raising a family on a budget.  They might have some crazy ideas like take cold showers or putting a timer on to take a shower but some of the ideas are great to use.  They share their plans and how they raise their family of 7 on $350 per month.  They have a debt free lifestyle and share how you can do it too!

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies You Won't... by Steve Economides and Annette Economides goes more into detail with how they do once a month grocery shopping and save lots of money.  There are many reports that say the more you go into a store, the more you spend.  I don't agree with all of their methods since I save lots more money going during key money saving sales.

The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means by Jeff Yeager was an interesting book.  Whether you read it to hear others stories or to find out how you stack up again other cheapskates, I promise you won't be the cheapest one out there but take head that your family won't want to hear how others live less expensively and how you are living in luxury on your small budget but it might help you set yourself at ease.  The great thing is that it is super funny while being being very interesting about others lives.

The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less by Jeff Yeager was the second book by the author that I read and it was like more of the first.  It talks about spending less so that you save more which is a great idea for all those starting out on their saving journey,.

I wrote about all four of these books very early when I was blogging (here) and it was the most boring blog post written with no pictures and very little details.  The good news is that I have gotten a little better and I hope that you enjoy the newer reviews of these great books.  Here are a few that I have written since I started blogging but keep in mind that the first ones are really old and therefore a little harder to read.

Here is a must read for everyone The Complete Tightwad Gazette by  Amy Dacycyn.  It was a lot to read at nearly 1000 pages so be prepared because this isn't a book you can lug on vacation or read it pool side.  It is a encylopedia of information on how to live cheaply and what you can do to save money from shopping for used clothes and toys to making breadcrumb cookies (not my favorite recipe).  There are tons of tips and things you can try included in this long book but I suggest reading it all and checking out her tips!

Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in Half by Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee is a great resource for first time couponers.  If you want to coupon and don't know where to start, this is a good one to help provide you a realistic view of how you can shop and save.  I wish that I had read it to begin with but I was glad that I picked it up.

Money Saving Mom's Budget Book by Crystal Paine was another added to my list which goes over how to balance a budget and save money on your family finances.  I thought it provided a lot of good ideas but most of the ideas were ones that I was already using so it wasn't super helpful for me by that point but a great beginning read.

Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking Are you just starting out in a new home or new marriage and trying to figure out how to start?  This is the best book for you!  It has great information about setting up a house and trying to make something homey with very little money.  I thought it was really informative but was meant for people starting out and making their first apartment a home.

My latest reading challenge was the Modern Pioneering which I think also fits into this category of money saving reads with lots of do-it-yourself money saving ideas so make sure you check out the review and see if it is something you might like too!!

This is only part of the many books that I have read but I think that they all provide a different piece to the puzzle.  Make sure you pick up the ones that will be most helpful to what you want to learn and how you plan on saving money.  If you don't know where to start, just pick one and I am sure that you will learn at least one thing from the book and be entertained while reading it.  I hope that you check them out or add them to your list to read this summer! I hope that some of them will inspire you on your path to trying to save more money.  I know that they have inspired me.  If you have any books that you read that you particularly liked, please let me know because I would like to add them to my summer reading list!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kid Wednesday: Y for Yo-Yo, Yellow, and Yarn

Who knew that so many words started with Y but we have a ton of them.  Yellow, yarn, yes, yogurt, yucky, yummy, Yo-Yo and Yak to start the list.  I can't remember all of the books that we read with Y week but here were some of our favorites:

Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Yes by Jez Alborough (No, David! by David Shannon for opposites)

I thought the book was a little strange but my son loved it!!!  
Make sure you read it first because there aren't that 
many words so it had to be narrated.

I Dare You Not to Yawn, by Helene Boudreau

Yoko, by Rosemary Wells (or any of them in the series)

Here were some others that we didn't get to read but were on the list.  I hope that you get to check out a few more then we got it.

Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett

 Yawn, by Nick Sharratt & Sally Symes

The Big Yawn, by Keith Faulkner

Yo! Yes?, by Chris Raschka

At home, we made a yellow yarn ball which was easy and my son carried it around for at least a week so I guess we might have to use some of the other yarn to make a few others for him to play with.  I tried it out first so that I could see how it worked.  My son liked it so much that he carried it in his pocket for the week and I have no idea where it ended up.

We also made a Y's out of yellow yarn scraps on yellow construction paper. If you don't have yellow yarn, any color will do but I actually had three different kinds of yellow yarn so there was lots of scraps to choose from.  At school, they wrote the kids names on the paper and they outlined them in the yarn of their choice.  It is a task to learn the shape of the letters but it also uses a lot of fine motor skills.

My son made a yak out of the letter Y at school which is something that I hadn't seen so it was neat to see it come home.  Hard to come up with crafts for yak so I was glad that I didn't have to do it.

They also made the letter Y with a thicker paper and put hole punches in for the kids to weave the string through.  It just so happened to be yellow string which was another Y word.  It helps younger kids with the fine motor skills and it is good for the older kids to practice patience because they often like to rush through activities.

They did a Y page where they traced the letter Y on the page and circled the Y's in the other section.  It is Y for you which didn't even make my list.  There are tons of these pages out there through lots of different sources on the web.

He did a coloring page at school where the upper and lower case letters are colored different colors so that they reveal the shape of the letter Y.  These are always popular.

My favorite thing was they put pictures of things around the room and the kids needed to use the yard stick to measure them.  I was working in the class on this day so I got to work with all of the kids to make their measurements.  They worked in pairs and one held the yard stick and one read the numbers.  It was fun to see them learn to use the yard stick and even more interesting to see some of them write the numbers.  It seems that numbers are something that aren't worked into the lesson plans very often so it took a little more thought to write them correctly.

There are so many ways to learn your letters and numbers but making them fun through different art work is always fun!  I hope that you find lots of Y fun!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Modern Pioneering Book Review

I was super excited to see the change in Blogging for Books and all of the new offerings that they had.  The hardest part was where to start with so many options to choose from.  I am much better at the limited choices so that I don't over think it.  I was looking and looking and one book kept calling to me and it was Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficien​t Life by Georgia Pellegrini.  The cover was just calling to me and the description of how to lead a better life by living of what you have.  It is what I always try to do so I was really eager to read it.  The book got dropped off late at night by the UPS driver.  I opened it right away and cheered.  My husband thought I was a little strange but I passed it to him and told him how excited I was to get it.  I started reading right away.

The table of contents was even pretty including the following categories:

The Garden
The Home
The Wild
The Rest

It is a perfect book to keep on the shelf and reference and great to read cover to cover.  There is information on how to plant potatoes and jalapenos (both which I would love to grow) as well as indoor and outdoor plant care.  There is information on how to forage off the land which might be a little beyond what I am going to do now but still fascinating.  Every page brought new and interesting information about how to live more off the land.  Even the information that might have been old or common sense was a great reminder and a different take on how to make that item like chicken broth.  It isn't how I do it but sounds like a great recipe.

My only complaint is that she seems to use a lot of wine.  There is wine in the chicken and beef broth recipes.  There is a recipe for wine Popsicles and champagne in the fruit rolls ups.  While all that sounds fine, I am working on providing the most for my family for the least and we don't have extra wine around (or any wine for that matter).  It is strange that she has so many recipes with wine in them but I guess that is the difference in how people live their lives and what they consider standard pantry items.

I hope that you check out this great reference book for the great stories of her childhood and the recipes!  I can't wait to try out a few different ways to do things.  The one that seems interesting that I have never even thought of trying is the smoked sea salt on the stove.  There is a recipe for wheat bread which sounds like it might be interesting so I might be trying that soon.  I hope that you pick up the book and see what interesting things you can make with the help of some Modern Pioneering!!  Let me know if you check it out and what you made with all the great ideas.

* I was provided this book free of charge for my honest opinion on the book through the Blogging for Books program.

Menu Plan Monday 5/26

Monday- Chicken tenders with homemade fries
Tuesday- Grilled Chicken with rice and asparagus
Wednesday- Salsa Sloppy Joes with homemade rolls
Thursday- Breakfast for dinner
Friday- Olive Oil Pasta with asparagus and garlic bread
Saturday- Leftovers/Chicken Paninis
Sunday-Leftovers/Crunchy Taco Rice

I had to move the week around a little but this is almost exactly what I wrote at the beginning of the month....except I didn't know what veggie we would be having.  I normally leave that blank because I throw in whatever is cheapest and looks best when I am at the store.  I added Salsa Sloppy Joes because I was planning on having extra meat on hand from what I cooked last week and we didn't because the meat came in one pound blocks so there wasn't a lot of flexiblity in what I was cooking because it was already broken into packages.  UGH!  I guess it makes it faster to get into the freezer but I like dividing my own meat so that I can use it exactly how I want to :)  I am going to save some meat from the Sloppy Joes to use in the Crunchy Taco Rice so it will be an easy dinner night! 

How does your week look??

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Smoking' Seventeen Book Review

Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich was the other book that I got at the library and I started it right after finishing the last.  I didn't even get a chance to get a review up for the last one before I read all the way through this one.  I was excited to have another great story ahead of me.

In this book, the bonds office is working in Mooner's RV in front of the property where the office used to be (burned down in the last book) when the construction crew finds a dead body.  During the search of the property, they find a second body.  The bonds office is trying to work out of the RV but business was going very slowly so they started to advertise.  They put up flyers and painted the side of the RV with a picture of the ladies of the office including a picture of Stephanie which was photo enhanced.  With the additional advertising, business was booming and more bodies were showing up addressed to Stephanie.  Pick up the book to find out all the adventures that happen in this book!

I loved it!  I just checked to see how the other books fit into the series and I realized that I skipped the others books in the series that weren't with the numbers so I guess I have to go back and read those now.  I found out some bad news.  The series only goes up to 20 right now so I only have a few more books to read before I am out of books.  The good news is that there is a new book coming out in the series this summer.  I guess I will be able to finish all the other books before reading the new book in the series.  Have you started reading this series yet?  Now is a great time to start because there are so many books that are already written.  I am a little sad that I am that close to the end but I guess that means that I will get to read a few other books by Janet Evanovich and a few others.  I hope that you pick this book up at your local library or bookstore soon.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sizzling Sixteen Book Review

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich was the next in the pile.  I was excited to get to the next book in the series.  It started off fast and was a page turner!

In this book, Vincent Plum has run up a large gambling debt of $786,000 and Bobby Sunflower, local mobster, has taken him hostage waiting for payment with interest.  Stephanie, Connie and Lula decide to raise the money to save him but they don't have it so they try to rescue him.  They get into so many tight situations but with this one life or death, they pill together and do it.  Now that Vinnie is safe, the next step is to raise the money for paying off the debt so that they won't loose everything but Vinnie goes missing again in the process.  They learn how much trouble the business is in from Vinnie's problems and they all might be out of a job soon.  It is a very fast paced story with lots of twists and turns which you are going to have to pick up to find out what happens.

Another great book in the series.  My parents keep telling me that the series got old for them and they didn't read it after a certain point because they found them boring.  I certainly can say that I haven't found that to be the case.  I find the books entertaining and you get to know more and more about each character as you go through all of the great stories.  This book was no exception because there were tons of explosions and drama.  I hope that you pick this up at your local library or bookstore soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Teacher Appreciation and End of the Year Gifts

We did a week long event for teacher appreciation including dressing in the teachers favorite colors, then the assistant teachers favorite colors.  We wrote teacher poems, colored pictures and gave gifts.  The last day was flowers for all of the teachers and staff.  We split the flowers into different vases so that each kid brought in some and then all of the teachers got a big bouquet.  There were some other great ideas that I saw other classes doing including the kids bringing in a book for teacher to add to the classroom collection. 

Here is what I did to go along with the poem that my son traced and colored from pinterest (can be found here).

I filled the bigger sized baby jar with M&Ms.  I have a box in the basement with lots of glass jars which I save for just this occasion.  Super glad that we had the jars so that I could make these and there was a bunch of M&Ms in the cupboard.  I am excited to use these jars but I want to spray paint the tops with chalk board paint but since I didn't get to that part of the project, I came up with another plan.

I printed out this label which fit perfectly on the jar.  I thought that the picture was really great when it was against the M&Ms.

Used my handy Scotch tape tool and attached the label to the jar.  It puts out a strip of double sided tape which is easy to stick things together but glue would also work if you don't have the very handy tool.

I put some fabric over the top and used a rubber band to hold it all together.  I had to rearrange the fabric a few times with the thicker rubber band but I used two smaller ones on the other two jars.

I made three jars for the teachers.  Then I used some card stock to glue the color code on the card and my son signed off on the bottom and wrote the teacher's name on the other side and I didn't have to use any envelopes.

My son was happy to share his favorite treats with his teachers and I was happy to create this all from things around the house.  There are tons of ways to make thoughtful gifts for the teachers with the end of the year quickly approaching.  We are having our end of the year picnic and have to come up with another gift.  Luckily, the class is chipping in and we are getting gift cards for the teachers and attaching them to a candle.  I hope that they enjoy them too!!!  What do plan on doing for your kids teachers for the end of the year?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kids Wednesday: Frogs

My son and I went to a story time at one of the local libraries that was about frogs.  They read four books which my son was really interested in in they did a few different songs which were also fun.  My son's favorite was:


Five green and speckled frogs (use 5 fingers to pretend they are sitting on a log- hand or arm)
Sat on a speckled log,
Eating some most delicious bugs.
Yum, Yum! (rub stomach)
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool,
Then there were four green speckled frogs.
Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit!

(Repeat until there are no frog left on the log)

They also have a picture on the back of the paper for the kids to color.  I went online and found it in case you want to print it for yourself (click here).

At the end of the storytime, they made a tadpole.  It was already cut out and in an envelope ready for us.  We just had to push the fasteners through the Xs that were on the paper.

Then, attach the arms and legs which fold back into the body to become a tadpole again or come out so that it can be a frog.  We also attached the eyes with some glue.  Great craft to follow story time learning about frogs.

We got a few books that they had left out at story time.  My son has read Jump, Frog, Jump at least five times since then.  If someone knew comes into the house, he pulls out the book and reads it to them too.  There are also the great Froggy book series.  We got Froggy Goes to Bed and Froggy Eats Out.  Then, he decided to get Frog and Toad All Year and Frog and Toad Together.  He was so excited to read more about frogs that we headed into the library to find more books.

We went to section with the books with more details about frogs.  We found three books in the section that were good for kids to learn about frogs.  The Growing Frogs was the best book because it was like a story book but it was good because it included all of the facts.  The other two books were very factual but had lots of good information.

We took a basic story time and turned it into a much more educational learning experience.  I hope that we will have more opportunities to do this through the summer.  I know that there are tons of different topics to learn about so I am looking forward to having those doors opened through some different library programs.  Have you ever turned something small into a big learning experience?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 5/19

Monday- Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes with green beans
Tuesday- Tacos with saffron rice
Wednesday- Homemade Pizza with salad
Thursday- Grilled Chicken with rice and asparagus
Friday- Breakfast for Dinner or Sausage Tortelloni
Saturday- Leftovers/ ??
Sunday- Leftovers/ ??

I wasn't really sure what was going on for dinner this week because I didn't know what my parents were doing and when they were going to be there but I had a plan.  Sadly, I didn't make it to the store to get the things that I needed so there was a little scramble to get ground beef and cheese. 

We had a quick trip to Aldi's which my mom kindly purchased which was about $38.  There was also another stop at Wegman's to get ground beef and cheese.  I added way too much to the shopping cart because we were tired and hungry.  The total there ended up around $63 UGH!  My mom chipped in $40 for some of her stuff and to be helpful so it was only $23 out of my pocket but there was a ton of things that we didn't need because they weren't on sale.  Not the best couponing trip to the store but hoping to come up with something other then leftovers for the weekend. 

My parents are here through most of the week and will be gone by Friday so we are planning for relaxation and easy meals after that.  How is your week looking??

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Finger Lickin' Fifteen Book Review

The book was the next in the series of books which I quickly picked up after finishing the last book that I had to review and it was still waiting in my library pile. Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich is the 15th in the series.  I was excited to see what adventures Stephanie Plum got herself into this time.

In the book, Lula gets into the mess and Stephanie is dragged in for a change.  Lula is pulled over fixing her makeup and looks up to see a man getting beheaded in front of her and then they are after her.  Stephanie gets pulled into the mess because Lula decides to move into Stephanie's house.  They decided that in order to catch the people after Lula, they need to enter a barbecue contest even though none of them know how to cook.  Lula decides that it is best to do the cooking at Stephanie's parents house which brings in the newest cook, Stephanie's grandmother.  It is a great story of how they all work as a team to get the bad guys but you have to pick up the book to find out how they do it.

The book was another great read in the wonderful Janet Evanovich number series.  I can't believe how many I have read already and I am almost done.  I would highly recommend the series to anyone and it is a great time to start because there are so many books ahead of you.  It is always great to start with a series that already has lots of books on the shelves because you don't have to wait for the next one.  I am happy to pick up the next one or two in the series while I am at the library.  My son is doing a great job of picking out the numbers in order off the shelf too!  We are both excited to read through the series (although he just asks me which one I am on).  I hope that you pick up some at your local library or bookstore soon.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Seasons of Tomorrow Book Review

Seasons of Tomorrow: Book Four in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series by Cindy Woodsmall was a book that I was waiting for on Blogging for Books.  It was going to be available soon so I didn't take any others while I was waiting just to make sure that I got it as soon as it was available.  I read the rest of the series and I loved it so I couldn't wait for the next one.

The book starts with a review of all the other books in case you haven't read them or need a refresher on what you might have read awhile ago.  Rhoda Byler is working on rebuilding her life in Orchard Bend after breaking Jacob's heart by choosing his bother, Samuel.  Rhoda is working on the orchard and the canning business.  She is continuing to help Camilla find her long lost grand child through visions and feelings.  The one thing that no one saw coming was the people from their Old Order sending someone to break up the happiness of the new family that they have made in Maine.  The result is a reaction that no one saw coming but you have read the book to find out what happens. 

I loved this book as much as I loved the others in the series.  This is book 4 in the series so if you like to start with the beginning, make sure you do.  They are all great stories which lead to this so I am not sure how this would stand on it's own but the introduction would certainly bring everyone up to speed on what they have missed if they missed the first few in the series.  The stories and the characters are the best.  I like seeing what is going to happen next because it is always a surprise.  I love the series and can't wait for another book to come out but I guess I have a little waiting to do now!!!

** This book was provided by Blogging for Books for my honest review and all of the opinion expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Growing Celery Update and Growing Basil

When I went away unexpectedly for two weeks, I filled my bowls with water but came home to find all of the celery very wilted.  I added water back to all of them and only one came back.  It was the last one that I had done so there was a little bit of celery still around the bottom.  It perked right up.

The best part is that it also started growing roots.  Do you see those thin white pieces coming out?

 Might be harder to see them from this way but there are a few long ones that come off and I am waiting for them to get a little more long roots before planting.  It is great timing because I want to plant it to grow outside through the summer.

Do you think that this long root looks neat?  On the other side, there are a bunch of branched roots too.  I can't wait to get a few more and see if I can make this successful.

Have you tried to grow celery?  I hope that this is going to be successful and start a celery plant.

At the same time I am going to be growing some basil (crossing my fingers) compliments of my friends at school.  The teachers were planting them for mothers day for their kids in class and they planted me an extra one.  I do really well with getting basil to root and planting but horribly bad at growing from seeds so here is try number two to get some yummy basil this summer.  Check out my plant!

Do you having anything growing inside waiting for the good weather to put outside?  I am trying to figure out if I should only put them out during the day and bring them in at night for a little bit but I also forget to that so crossing my fingers that both my plants do great growing until the weather gets a little warmer.