Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Handsome Man's DeLuxe Cafe Book Review

I went to the library for an event for my son and I saw a book in the new release section that made me very happy.   The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (15) by Alexander McCall Smith was the 15th book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.  I hadn't read any of those books in a long time so I was happy to scoop it up and put it in the pile to take home with me.

In this book, a kindhearted brother and sister have taken in a woman known only as “Mrs.”—a woman with no memory of her name or of how she came to Botswana. And so it’s up to Precious Ramotswe, owner of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and her new co-director, Grace Makutsi, to discover the woman’s identity.  Meanwhile, motherhood proves to be no obstacle to Mma Makutsi’s professional success. As she settles into her role as partner at the agency, she also launches a new enterprise of her own: the Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café, a restaurant for Gaborone’s most fashionable diners. But even Miss 97 Per Cent isn’t fully prepared for the temperamental chefs, drunken waiters, and other challenges that come with running one’s own business. Help may come from an unexpected source, if only Mma Makutsi can swallow her pride and ask.  Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is all too familiar with the difficult decisions of business owners as the owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.  Mr. Matekoni is finally forced to make a tough choice, one that will bring major changes to both organizations.  With sympathy and indefatigable good humor, Mma Ramotswe and her friends see one another through these major changes and discover along the way what true friendship really means.

I enjoyed this book so much!  I love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (and most of the other books by Alexander McCall Smith).  This was no exception!!  I was happy to see it in the new release section because I haven't read anything in the series in a long time.  I was a little sad when I got home and realized that I did miss the previous release.  I will have to add it to my list and I can't wait to read that one too!!  I hope that you check out this book if you have read the series and if not, I hope that you check out the series.  I loved every book and the writing is so amazing.  It is in the mystery category in the library but I wouldn't consider this book a mystery in the normal sense so hope that people try it even if you aren't a mystery person!  Enjoy the great characters and great writing in this book and all other Alexander McCall Smith novels.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Darned If You Do Book Review

Okay so the real title is actually not in the subject of the post but I was just a little leery about putting the first word of the title of the book in my post.  I know that I have turned a little silly but as a mom, I don't want my son using that language and so I have edited my title.  Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Michael Brandman was the next in the series

Jesse Stone, Paradise Police Chief, is called out to a seedy beach front motel because there is a murdered girl who looks like she is barely out of her teens.  She looks a little familiar, not exactly beautiful, but she’d tried to make the most of her looks.  The state police try to help and Jesse has to go to Gino Fish, local mobster, in order to learn who the murdered girl was.  In the process, he gets himself in between Thomas Walker and Fat Boy Nelly who are rivals for the prostitution business.  This book is a lot of action that you won't want to miss.  Make sure you pick it up and find out for yourself what happens.

I really enjoy the characters and the books in this series.  Whether written by Robert Parker or Michael Brandman, I feel like the town and characters are the same.  This book was particularly great because there was so much action going on and it was all around one case.  Normally, they are balancing more than one case because there isn't enough action in one case but this one is different.  There are warring pimps and mobsters involved which makes you really see this book being acted out on the big screen!!  I hope that you check out this adventure for yourself and enjoy all the action.  I know that I loved it and I hope that you like it as much as I do!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays!!!

I hope that all of your families have a happy holiday and enjoy some time with your families.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fool Me Twice Book Review

Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Michael Brandman was next on the list in the series of Jesse Stone books.  I grabbed it while I was at the library looking for all the new books written with the characters after Robert Parker's death.  The great part is that the new author carries the same character and writing style forward so it doesn't miss a beat.

In this book,  there are multiple cases going on at the same time in the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts.  The first is caused by the Hollywood movie company coming to town with the huge cast and crew moving into this quiet little town and causing great changes.  The troubled Marisol Hinton is afraid of her husband who she is separated from so police chief Jesse Stone introduces Crow as a body guard.  There is a high school girl that is headed down a bad road who ends up in a horrible collision caused by distracted driving while texting.  Her parents are very well connected and get her out of the arrest and charges.  Jesse makes it his mission to make sure that the girl doesn't fall through the cracks and cites her two other times for talking on the phone while driving.  At the same time, there is some complaints about the water prices going up and Jesse is working on balancing all of the things going on in this usually quiet town and making sure that everyone gets justice.  You have to get the book to find out how all of it turns out but you might be surprised!!

I loved this book as much as all the others in the series.  I started reading the Robert Parker books with the Jesse Stone series so I love the series and it was so much shorter then the Spenser series which really left you wanting more.  The stories are full of mystery and intrigue with a lot of special attitude from Jesse which is the needed icing on the cake of great writing.  The even better thing about the Jesse Stone books is that many of them have been put into movies so I totally see the main character as Tom Selleck and can't get that out of my head.  It was the perfect casting and I loved adding to the series with these new books.  I am super excited to find that there is more reading that I can enjoy with these great characters in this wonderful town.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 12/22

Monday- Lunch: Leftovers brought to the new house
               Dinner: Take out or eating out
Tuesday- Lunch:  ??
               Dinner: ??
Wednesday- Lunch: Leftovers
                    Dinner: Olive Oil Spaghetti with zucchini and garlic bread or bread and butter
Thursday- Brunch: Cinnamon Rolls, Pancakes, Eggs and Hash Browns
                 Dinner:  Turkey, Corn, Stuffing, Mashed Pot and Rolls
Friday-  Lunch: Baked Potato Soup or Turkey and Rice Soup
             Dinner: Teriyaki Chicken with noddles and/or brown rice
Saturday- Lunch: Leftovers
                Dinner: Friend's Anniversary Dinner
Sunday- Lunch: Leftovers
              Dinner: Rosemary Chicken and Potato

This week I have five of us and I have to plan lunch and dinner without knowing where we are going to be and what we are going to be doing so things are a little loose.  We are moving some things into the new house and starting construction so things are going to be busy with Christmas and all of the things that are going on with the house.  We  are busy and I don't even know where we are going to be.  I hope that it works out well but I think that dinner is going to be a last minute thing like breakfast for dinner, pasta or take out.  We have already eaten out plenty over the weekend so I am hoping that I have time to whip up something before it is time to eat.  We have luckily had tons of leftovers so we have been doing those to clear out the fridge to make room for all of the Christmas food.  Here is hoping that we make it through the week with meals eaten and not too many of them out.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Killing the Blues Book Review

Killing the Blues (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Michael Brandman was the first Jesse Stone book in the series not written by Robert Parker.  I was sad to hear about his death and super happy to hear that someone was carrying on his writing with there own take on his characters.  I was a little worried that it was going to be horrible with a new author but I was willing to give it a try.  I grabbed it at the library and then realized when I got home that my mom had left it for me to read last time...opps!  I returned the library book the next day.

It’s tourist season in Paradise, Massachusetts. With it comes a baffling and violent crime wave that has residents on edge. It’s also brought a mysterious figure who’s stirring up troubling memories for Chief of Police Jesse Stone—especially when it appears the stranger is out for revenge.  Jesse is dealing with Hondas that are being stolen in Paradise and working with unconventional means to catch the people behind the thefts.  Then there is a string of dead dogs which were happening every night as well as some other strange occurrences.  The more problems that pop up, the harder Jesse is working to keep the town safe.  Make sure you pick up the book to find out how he gets the bad guys and protects the town.

I was very happy to see that the book was just like Robert Parker was writing it and surprised to see that he was the producer of the made for TV movies (which is why he is so in contact with the characters too).  I couldn't even tell the difference between his writing and this author.  Jesse Stone and the town of Paradise was the same as I remembered it.  I could see that they made a great decision to carry this series forward and  couldn't wait to get to the next in the series so I picked it up immediately afterwards.  I couldn't be happier to be able to read more about Jesse Stone and his adventures.  I hope that you take this opportunity to start the series if you have never read them or even see the made for TV movies.  They are all great and I can see this new book as a movie too if they decide to go back and make a few more.  Hope you check out this book and the previous books in the Jesse Stone series and enjoy them as much as I have!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Masterpiece Marriage Book Review

I was given the chance for another Quilts of Love book!!  I really have enjoyed all of the books that I have read but I hesitated because this one was set in the past.  I am much better with current books then historical fiction but the story sounded so good that I couldn't turn it down.  I requested Masterpiece Marriage: Quilts of Love Series by Gina Welborn through the publisher.  I was excited when it came in the mail and had trouble putting the book down when reading it so it turned out to be a great choice.

After a flood damages the looms and fabric at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble starts when his aunt has already agreed to help the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs to draw some pictures for her report which is due in 10 days. Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus agrees to attends the summer Quilting Bee to help his aunt by doing whatever she needs. Mary is also working for his aunt in order to pay off the debt of the drawings.  The aunt is trying to work her magic to get Zenus married to the one that he asked for who also happens to be person who greatly looks up to Mary, Arel Dewey.  Find out what happens in this great love story by reading it yourself.

I loved everything about this book.  The characters were great and made even more life like by the great writing of the author.  It was set in the past but other then traveling by horse, it could have totally happened in current day.  There was some of the old world magic happening since it is a lot less likely for people to get set up for marriages and marry so quickly.  The characters at the quilting bee were just as interesting as the main characters and added so much to the story and the outcome.  I hope that you get this book and check out the great story and characters.  I know that you will fall in love as much as I did!!!

** I was provided this book for my honest opinion and review from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Tuesday- Leftovers
Wednesday- Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday- Chicken nuggets and homemade fries
Friday- Pasta
Saturday- Leftovers/Chinese

I had the week planned out and then I found out that we had company coming earlier then expected so things moved around again.  We need to eat the leftovers in the fridge in order to make room for all the stuff that my mom brings with her for her to eat.  We are hoping that doing leftovers for one night will make that happen but if it doesn't, then we will replace one of our other nights with leftovers of things are going into the freezer.  I have a bunch of things that can be frozen if it comes to that.  I am hoping to have a good week because I know that next few weeks are going to be crazy because I have to feed 5 people breakfast, lunch and dinner and I have only four days planned.  It is going to be a busy way to spend the new year.  Here is hoping that you have a calm week too!!!

The Homecoming Book Review

I had this book on reserve for a long time because there was a long wait.  It was new and then I had to wait for the other people to read it in line before me at the library.  Although I love the library system, sometimes the wait makes me want to run out and buy the book but  The Homecoming (Thunder Point)  by Robyn Carr came in!!  I read a bunch of other books while I was waiting so no real loss.  I was super excited to get started after I got it from the library.

In a small town, reputation is everything and Seth is returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live.  At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point while in high school. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he's been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he's become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn't the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he's finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

I loved it!!!  I love the characters, town and writing of Robyn Carr!!  As always, she isn't one to disappoint but these characters were instantly in my heart.  I totally related to their situations and was pulling for the characters to have a happy ending.  The best part of her books is that they involve characters that you already know from previous books but add new characters you haven't met as the main characters to bring them into the fold of the small town that you already know and love.  I am going to try to get some of her older books since I have read all of her new books and all the books in the series.  I can't wait for the next one to come out but I am putting her old ones on my library reading list for next month.  I hope that you check out any of her books especially this one.  Not every book had a happy ending but I love the way that things are resolved regardless.  I hope that you add this to you reading list soon.  Let me know what you think of this one and any of her other books.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: What did I Do This Week?

I have had a hard time coming up with new ways for you to save money since I have been doing this for so long so I haven't been writing a Thrifty Thursday post.  I was going to go back and write some of my old ideas over again because some of my early posts are really bad but I decided after reading a new blog that I found that I should write a list of things that I did during the week to save money.  Normally this post would be on Thursday but since I was trying to figure out what I did for the week, I just used this week and didn't do it from Thursday to Thursday.  I will try to do better next week!!!


-Returned library books on time with no late fees and got new books to enjoy

- Went to Lego Kids Club at the library so that my son could play Legos with other kids 
  • I got to write a few blog posts and return some library books while he was in there and he had a blast!

-Made American Sandwich Bread for sandwiches
  • I try to make a loaf every Sunday but this week we had a little bit of bread left because we used two loaves last week instead of two so I didn't have to make until Monday.  recipe found here
-Cut coupons
  • I was so behind on cutting coupons with three inserts that I needed to get cut and I still have this weeks in the pile but I got caught up.
-Got coupons for free
  •  I went to the library and got the free local paper so that I would have the coupon inserts this week at no cost. 
-Went to store for only one item that we needed
  • People say that the biggest way that they loose money is that they go to the store for one thing but get tons.  I don't get anything that isn't on my list unless it is an amazing deal.  We needed some ham lunch meat for my husband so I got the one that was on sale and used my coupon to only pay $2.50.
-Flavored oyster crackers to have a yummy snack
  • I get cheap oyster crackers at Aldi and then I use the Kernel Popcorn seasonings (got on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond) and Molly McButter (free after coupon) in order to flavor the crackers to make them a happy treat in my husband's lunch instead of sending his favorite Cheese-Its because they are expensive.  My husband ate them all because they were so good but sadly we are out of his favorite seasoning which was the Garlic Parmesan which was the Kernel's seasoning with the purple top.  recipe found here

-Made loaf of applesauce bread
  • I got a bunch of applesauce free with coupons at Harris Teeter during the last super doubles and I have been using them to make yummy applesauce bread.  There are some with the cinnamon that I used this time which adds a little extra flavor to the bread but either is wonderful.  Super great if you have some apples getting mealy too.  recipe found here
-Made Homemade Cookies
  • As a thank you gift, I made a batch of mint chocolate chip cookies and we got to eat the "extras."  I made that kind because I had a bag of the special chocolate chips in the freezer and I wanted to use them up.  I am going to make another batch because I have to delivery 2 dozen cookies to the teachers on Monday.
-Leftover Nights
  • We were going to get pizza before going to see Santa because there wasn't a lot of time but I got my son food (leftover Spaghetti) on the table and made food for my husband (Buffalo Chicken Rice) to take because he was holding us a space in line.  We also creatively used the leftovers the next night to have chicken Parmesan and waffles..for different people not on the same plate.  It is always great to use all the leftovers in the fridge so that you don't waste any money.
-Spent Kohl's money
  • Super excited about this great win because there was a new item added to the list for Santa and it was on sale and I used the money to get a $30 toy for $1.43.   

Frugal Flops

-Haircut for everyone in the family before pictures with Santa
  • We all really needed to get some haircuts because we were starting to look a mess and each of us get a haircut for under $20 but it is still a big expense so we try to stretch it out as far as we can between cuts but this is our only time that we get a family picture during the year so we are all set.
-Went through the Spice and Seasoning Cupboard to clean out
  • I had to throw out sliced almonds because I put them in the cupboard instead of in the basket where we put the salad toppings because I was using them for another recipe so they never got used.  I also made a bread crumb mixture with cashews and corn flakes that was for a chicken tender recipe that I used to use and I didn't use them before the nuts went bad.  Super sad to trash and not use things in the proper time but that happens.
How did your week go??  Overall, I think that ours went well.  I know that I am trying my hardest especially at this expensive time of year.  I have gotten almost all of the Christmas presents wrapped and I am going to try to finish tonight if I stay awake.  Here is hoping that I can get everything dropped off where they need to go before the holidays with only one week left before school break!!  Are you ready for the holidays??  What did you do that was frugal this week?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Love Without End Book Review

I am not sure what caught my eye on this book but I thought that it had a great cover when I got it.  Love Without End (A King's Meadow Romance) by Robin Lee Hatcher has a field with horses and a couple holding hands.  It looked like a great book and I wasn't disappointed.

For two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.
Kimberly Welch lost her husband to a heart attack in the blink of an eye. But she’s losing her daughter slowly, in the day-to-day tension. In three difficult years, Kimberly has gone from Seattle socialite to Kings Meadow charity case, and her daughter is not responding well to the changes. She’s becoming a sullen, cantankerous teen.
Chet Leonard lost his teenage son in a car accident. Then his wife abandoned him and their two remaining boys. He tries to keep his mind on the family ranch, but if the last two years have taught him anything, it’s that sometimes you just have to let the memories hurt. Let the memories hurt, and leave well enough alone.
But when Chet volunteers to help tame Kimberly’s daughter’s horse, everyone gets more than they bargained for . . . especially when eighty-four-year-old Anna McKenna shows up.
Nana Anna has reappeared in Kings Meadow after decades away, bringing with her the magnetism and transformative joy that come from a life well lived . . . just the kind of magic that a couple of unlucky-in-love single parents need to conjure up a little courage and raise a new family from the ashes of tragedy.

I loved the book and had trouble putting it down once I started.  I loved the characters and writing in this book.  This is the first time that I have read this author but I love the series and can't wait to read the next one!!!  I was routing for ranch and all of the family but mostly Chet finding love with Kimberly.  I loved Nana Anna who wasn't even part of the family but was adopted into the family and knew all of the history of the ranch and members of the family.  There are lots of ups and downs in the story with the baggage that each person brought into the relationship but it is great to see all of the changes in the people and situations.  I hope that you pick up this book and see what happens!!  I promise you won't be disappointed from beginning to end.  You will be with me waiting for the second one in the series to come out!

** I was provided this book for my honest opinion and review of this book from Litfuse Publishing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Puffy Sugar Cookies

I found a new recipe for Easy Sugar Cookies and I added it to my list to make immediately.  Check out the original recipe on Cleverly Simple because she has a lot of great recipes!!  I thought that it would be perfect to make for Thanksgiving dessert.  I was making pies but I know that my son doesn't do pies and some other kids might not either so I figured that cookies would be good.

Put in the sugar and the butter to cream together in the mixer.

After they mixed together, they were really creamy but not fluffy.

After the eggs were incorporated, the mixture was light and fluffy.

I added the vanilla and it just turned a little brown which made it look like all of my other cookie batter.

The different ingredient that I only use in snickerdoodles was the cream of tartar.  I bought it after my husband declared that they were his favorite cookies and haven't used it since so I decided this was a good idea to try.  I added the dry ingredients and mixed together.  I know you are supposed to mix dry ingredients together first but I don't like to do extra dishes so I always put them in the mixer directly and haven't had any problems.  If you want to save dishes too, try it!

The dough looks like the base of chocolate chip cookies or some sugar cookies but it was mighty tasty!  It was hard to stay out of.  I put it straight into the refrigerator to cool and make sure that it gets a little more solid.  I know that it is horrible to eat raw dough but I can't help it!!!

After the dough is cold and more solid, I used the cookie scoop to make even sized cookies.  I used orange sprinkles to roll them in but you could also use regular white sugar.  I wanted to make something festive since I was bringing these to Thanksgiving dinner for the kids after dinner.

I put them on my Silpats to make sure that they didn't stick and because I always cook on them.  My son helped me with this step so there was a lot of sprinkles that ended up on the Silpat too.

After they cooked, they were still puffy and stayed puffy even after cooling.  The addition of the cream of tartar really changes the texture of the cookie and how they react to baking.  I think that next time I will take them out a little earlier because I left them in a little longer because they were larger then called for in the recipe but they were still super tasty.

The cookie has the sprinkles all the way around and has a nice shine to them to make them look like they are coming from a fancy bakery.  They would be perfect in red and green for Christmas so I will probably be trying them again soon.

I got a whole big container full and enjoyed eating the few that wouldn't fit in the top.  I just wanted to make sure that I tested them hot out of the oven as well as after they cooled so that I could give you my best review.

Puffy Sugar Cookies

  • 1 c margarine
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2¼ c all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tarter
  1. Cream sugar and margarine.
  2. Add egg and mix well.
  3. Add the vanilla.
  4. Combine flour, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer. Mix well.
  5. Chill the dough for at least one hour or when you have enough time to make them.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop a small amount of dough into your hand and roll the dough.
  7. Roll the ball of dough around in sugar until fully covered.
  8. Place on cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat and  bake in a 375 degrees oven for 10 minutes.
-Use parchment paper or Silpat to avoid sticking to the pan.
-Chill dough in between batches if not making them quickly to maintain thick dough

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Swept Away Book Review

I was excited to see another Quilted book in the series so I signed up for it quickly when
Swept Away: Quilts of Love Series by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven came on the list.  I was excited to get it but it wasn't showing up.  It was a week before I was supposed to put up the review and I still didn't have the book.  I wrote the publisher and asked if I was on the tour and should be expecting the book.  She said that they were mailed but something happened with the post office.  I ended up getting it later through UPS so I guess there was something really wrong with the first delivery.  I was excited to see it arrive and I thought that wouldn't be able to read it in time but that wasn't a problem.  I picked it up and couldn't put it down!!

In the book, Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

I enjoyed the book and read it way too fast.  It was a great book with great characters.  I immediately loved Sara Jane and Andrew and was rooting for them to get together.  Who wouldn't love Grandma!!  She was everything that anyone would want in a grandmother and you could see how she would tell other people to call her grandma and they would.  With ups and downs in the book, there was a lot of happy moments and sad moments (a few that needed a tissue).  Feeling the characters means that it is a good book with great writing and this had both.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the Quilted series.  I know that you will enjoy it!!!

** I was provided a copy of the book for my honest opinion and review from Litfuse Publishing.

November Reading Review

I was hoping to improve the amount of reading this month over last month but I didn't see much hope at the beginning of the month with lots of little house projects looming in order to get the house on the market.  We have been busy doing things around the house and although all I want to do after a long day is sit and read a book and take a nap before I pick my son up from school, I always talk myself out of it because there are so many other things to do like clean the kitchen, one more load of laundry, something to whip up for dinner and the ever dreaded dishes.  Okay, I can say that I have sat down on more then one occasion when dishes really should have been cleaned but I really hate doing them!!  I was slowed to a halt when I got sick mid-month and got behind on all of my reading and got stuck on a slow moving book which I just couldn't get into.  I didn't read very much at all this month and I am a little sad!!  Here is hoping next month is better to end of the year on a good note!

If you click on the title of the book, it will take you back to the original review written on the book so that you can decide whether you want to add them to your reading list.  I hope that this helps and you find some good books that you are interested in and add it to your list.

by Richard Castle

by Jodie Bailey

by Neta and Dave Jackson

by Alex Irvine

by Jane Seabrook

by NLB Horton

Books Read for 2014

January     8
February    9
March       6
April          6
May          8
June          13
July          10
August       9
September  9
October     6
November   6

Total Books  90

Monday, December 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 12/8

Monday- Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes
Tuesday- Chicken Fries, Chicken Nuggets, tater tots and homemade fries
Wednesday- Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday- Tacos with saffron rice
Friday- Olive Oil Pasta and garlic bread or peasant bread
Saturday- Leftovers/Whole Chicken with stuffing and mashed potatoes
Sunday- ???

I am hoping for a really good week so that I can make this menu plan happen.  Now that I have to drive my son to his new school, I am loosing between 1-2 hours of "free" time to get stuff done.  I didn't know how much that would rush my day.  I realized last week when I didn't have enough time to make it to the two groceries stores because my appointment ran until 2:00 and not 1:30 like I had planned.  The next day I fit in too much and my cell phone alarm that told me to drop everything and pick up my son while I was standing in Target.  I quickly grabbed my items and checked out and ran to the car.  Luckily made it to pick up by the skin of teeth!!! 

I guess I need to try to fit less into a week but I don't see that happening.  Trying to get ready for the holidays and the new house is taking a lot out of me but I need to stay strong because everyone else in the house is getting sick!!  Our weather is going from cold to hot and back again and I think that our bodies are getting confused.  How is your house handling the change in weather?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition Book Review

I found this book on Blogging for Books and it reminded me of my aunt and cousin so I had to have it.  I decided that I had to order it right away and it showed up pretty quickly after I ordered it.  Just the cover itself makes you want to see what is inside.

The adorable and high-profile Furry Logic series celebrates its 10th anniversary with a menagerie of illustrated animals and hilarious sayings about life, love, and everything in between.
     No one understands the ups and downs of life's little challenges better than the frisky critters of Furry Logic. The inspirational and tongue-in-cheek advice from series creator Jane Seabrook and her plucky animal characters will tickle the fancy and the funnybone of readers everywhere. Each intricately illustrated spread features a member of the animal kingdom with a unique take on life, from the adorably grumpy owl who advises "Smile first thing in the morning. Get it over with" to the fluffy hawk who admonishes, "If at first you do succeed, try not to look too astonished." So join the original flock of penguins, bears, frogs, and more in celebrating a decade of wit and wisdom with ten new illustrated spreads for fans looking for fresh inspiration.

It was a fun and short book that is a perfect book to keep on your bedside table for before bed or morning inspiration.  I think that we are going to use it to pass around to different family members so that everyone can see all of the great pictures and laugh at the sayings.  I hope that you check it out and see all the great pictures and sayings.  It might give you a little pick me up or a little laugh or both.  If you love animals, this is the book series for you.  It is a great light read after lots of the heavy reading that I have done in the past few months.  I hope that you check it out too!!  If you have read any in the series, let me know if there is one that is your favorite.

** I was provided this book from Blogging for Books for my honest opinion and review but all opinions here are my own.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

November Budget Review

I was trying to take it slow this month since I knew that I was going to have to buy a turkey for Christmas but then I went shopping on the first day of the month.  There was a deal on Tide that I couldn't pass up and I got a catalina for $2 from the spaghetti sauce that I bought for free after coupon so I was super excited to spend it on something that I needed to get anyway.  Then by the end of the month, I think that things got a little more crazy.

Harris Teeter $14.51

I got two big Tides and some moneymakers to help pay for them.  I added in the flour which was on sale for $1.97 which is a great price for bread flour.  These are the sales that I use to stock up when they are included at the value price because I know that I can get regular flour for $0.99 at Wegman's starting soon (crossing my fingers).  I also grabbed a special treat for my husband- boxed brownies.  No matter how many homemade treats I make, these are one of his favorites and he barely ever gets them so I we enjoyed one over the weekend...trying to take it slowly but they are yummy!

 Aldi's $26.21

I went to Aldi's because we needed milk and butter.  I had a list of all of the regular items that I normally get.  I wasn't really sure what we needed but I grabbed a bunch of things on the list being cause I figured that if we weren't out, then we would be soon.  I normally only go there once a month so I stocked up and hoped that it would last the month without getting too much in the cupboard.

Giant $13.19 (used $0.15 gift card)

I got a few things that we needed like my husband's lunch meat and Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice which was on sale for $2.50 and I didn't have my gift card yet for the month which came in the mail after I came home but I knew that I would spend it later.

Aldi's $18.02

I went to the store for milk, cheese and oil and ended up with way too much stuff but they had the celery on sale for $0.69 and the potatoes were $1.69 for a 10 pound bag.  I would have gotten three if I thought we could eat them but we have been eating about 10 pounds a month between hash browns, french fries and other potato dishes.  I also got onions because they were $0.69.  I bought them last year at the low price and cut and froze them all but then I got home and looked in the freezer and I have three small bags so it was probably a little more then I can use before we move but a hard to pass up price!!!.  Also grabbed pumpkin at a low $0.89.   Not bad deals but higher then I was thinking when I went in but it was my second time there in the month!!  I guess that I didn't really need them to open a store closer because it means that I go there more often!!

Harris Teeter $4.61

Not my best trip to the store but they were out of most of things that I went for but I got a few things that my son likes and my first stock up on flour of the year with the sale price of $0.77!!!  I can't pass that up and we are just going to have to move lots of flour because I can't hold back.  I also bought the little french bread loaf which was great for dipping in olive oil that night for dinner.

Giant $20.26 (used $10 gift card)

I went to Giant with the two plans- two get a turkey and get some deals including the free Altoids.  It always takes me forever on these deals where I need to spend a certain amount of money because I am not usually looking for highest totals.  I also had some coupons to use so I grabbed lunchmeat, olive oil, brownies, crackers, and peanut butter.  I got free bags of cereal, Altoids, scalloped potatoes, and paper towels (after Giant coupon).  I also used some coupons out of the newest Giant coupon book available at the check out areas to get lots of deals!!!  I put on the cranberry juice because we needed them and I wanted to make sure that I was at the total after coupons and I didn't loose the deal on the turkey when the coupons brought the total down.

I found out some things including that Giants new computer system only lets you use five coupons that are doubled and then stops doubling them automatically although it only seems to be if they are in a row.  I got 27 of them!!  I was about ready to return them all and the manager gave me the additional $10 of doubled coupons so that he didn't have to return everything and take too long for all the people after me in line. The receipt is about 5 feet long (not joking) and I saved over $115.  I also got to use my $10 gift card from being part of the Giant Community Online (invite only) so I only had to pay a little more then $20

Harris Teeter $8.05

I ended up doing this in three transactions to make sure that I didn't screw it up with the promos and coupons and Saving Star rebates.  I got $1.25 back for the pizza and $0.55 on the King Arthur flour on Saving Star so it was really $6.25 after all that but I have already had to use some of the flour!!  I can't believe so much of mine is already gone from my stockpile.

Harris Teeter $1.26

I went to get a few more deals and evaporated milk to make pumpkin pie. Many deals were still not on the shelves but I found that they had the bread that was a money maker and I found a great deal on cornstarch.  I got one jar of cranberry sauce which I thought that I needed for Christmas but when I got home I found one in the pantry so I went back and returned it so the total spent is after the return.

Giant $2.65

We were preparing for our after Thanksgiving shopping so we needed a paper with all of the ads.  There were tons of things on sale so it was worth the newspaper even though we didn't actually read the newspaper.  I had already looked at them online but I like having the paper copy with me in the store because I have to point if something goes wrong.  Do you do the Black Friday fun??

Walmart $16.40

My husband went and bought some top secret Christmas gifts early on Thanksgiving morning while I was gathering everything to pack up the car when he got home and he grabbed a bunch of cranberry juice which he immediately put downstairs since we were in the middle of leaving so I didn't take a picture but he got 8 of these :)

Total Retail $394.18
Total Savings $269.02
Total OOP $125.16

I realize that I am a little late in publishing this but it was the first time that I have had a chance to sit down with everything and even figure out how I ended up the month.  I had a good November which is a surprise when I really didn't know what we spent at the end of the month but super glad that I ended up under my $160 budget by a lot.  I used a lot things that I had on hand.  How was your month??

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 12/1

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Nuggets, Tater Tots and homemade fries
Tuesday- Chicken and Rice Casserole
Wednesday- Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday- Olive Oil Pasta and garlic bread or peasant bread
Friday- Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Saturday- Leftovers/??
Sunday- Leftovers/??

Okay, I know that this shouldn't happen but another month came as a surprise.  I was thinking that I would worry about December after Thanksgiving.  Well, after Thanksgiving was December.  A little late to start planning but I am working on meal plan and what we are having for the month.  I started with the first two days and then went to a few things around the holidays including Christmas dinner and a few days around with visitors and then a weekend meal with my sister and brother in law.  I stopped because it was time to go to bed and was going to work on the plan the next day.  The day has passed and I don't have any more plans on the menu.  We need to get some ground beef and cheese.  We are running out of a lot of stuff which is a great in terms of getting ready to move but horrible in terms of getting an easy dinner on the table.