Saturday, August 30, 2014

Storm Front Book Review

I saw this book in the new book section of the library and quickly grabbed it.  Storm Front: A Derrick Storm Thriller by Richard Castle was not a book that was even on my list to read but I knew that I needed to read it.  I really enjoyed all of the books with Nicki Heat and love the show Castle on ABC (it is great in case you haven't seen it before, then you need to watch it).  I was excited to have another Richard Castle book in my pile of books to read.





In the book, high-level bankers are being tortured and murdered all over the world and found with all of their fingernails removed. The killer was caught on a surveillance camera and is a man with scars and an eye patch. Derrick Storm was brought in by the CIA to assist because the man is Gregor Volkov, Storm's old nemesis. Storm is working to chase down Volkov and make sure that no other bankers are tortured while trying to figure out why the bankers are being targeted.  With the help of a beautiful and mysterious foreign agent, Storm discovers a plot that could destroy the global economy bringing with it untold chaos and the time he has to stop it is running short.  With the help of his dad, former FBI agent, and friends that Storm calls on, he is able to chase down Volkov and try to overthrow his plan.  Check out this book and see if Storm is successful in his mission.

It took me awhile to get into this book and I am not sure why.  I read it a little every day but I can't say that it was a page turns as others with Nicki Heat were for me.  I think that the writing was good and the characters were good so I am not sure if it was just my mood or the heavy subject matter.  I read a little bit and went to bed but was never trying to stay awake a little longer to read a few more pages like I am with other books.  It was a good book and I am glad that I read it but I felt like it was the second book in a series that I missed the beginning.  I am not sure why because after I looked up the book, I found that it was the first in the Derrick Storm series but looking more into it I see that the first few books were only e-books soon to be published three short books in one book which I will be getting as soon as it is available in the library.  It was a good book and I would recommend reading it but it wasn't my favorite.  I am going to wait for my mom's review to see if I am being too tough on it but hope that you read it and enjoy it.  Please let me know what you think!!!  I have reserved the second book in the series to see how I like it so obviously it wasn't that horrible.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Ultimate Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Crisco Baking Sticks

I have tried so many chocolate chip cookies over the years and my husband just doesn't like the good cookies!  He prefers a cake like cookie and not the crispy or chewy texture of the normal chocolate chip cookies.  I have been trying lots and lots to find one that we all like.  I think that I should give up but it is very fun to eat all of the experiments.

I checked that we had all  of the ingredients for my experiment...Umm, I mean recipe.  I did have lots of everything so this seemed like a good recipe that I would make over and over.  The test of any good recipe is if they are ingredients that I keep on hand all the time.  If it takes a special trip to the store, I am probably not making it.


I got my recipe card that was from the inside of the Crisco package from before which I saved.  I was excited that it took a little different ingredients then the normal cookies and there was plenty of all of it in the house.


I started by adding the butter flavored Crisco and the brown sugar to the bowl.  Doesn't the Crisco look like butter in the bowl?  The great thing about the stick is that you can measure just like you do butter so it is really easy to use with a quick cut and it stays in the cupboard.


When the Crisco mixed with the brown sugar, it was a little thicker and less fluffy then the normal creaming of the butter.  It almost looked like peanut butter.


I added the milk, egg and vanilla.  This called for a lot more vanilla then my normal recipe but I followed the directions and was surprised that it wasn't overpowering.


When these few liquid ingredients were added, the batter became a little fluffier looking instead of just like peanut butter.  It wasn't exactly like my normal cookie dough but it was still looking like cookies.


Adding in the dry ingredients and it looked just like cookie dough that I normally would make so I was starting to feel a little more confident that they would turn out.


I measured my heaping cup of chocolate chips.  My son saw the bag and wanted to try some but I hid them far enough back on the counter that he couldn't get them so that I would have enough for the recipe.


I mixed in the chips with the dough and then took off the blade.  I made the dough in the morning and didn't have time to bake the cookies but I knew that I didn't have time to make both in the afternoon so I started by making the dough and then covering the bowl and putting it in the fridge to sit while we went to do other activities during the day. 


I use the silpats and cookie sheets that I use for all my recipes.  If you don't have them or haven't used them, they are great.  It is like reusable parchment paper.  I hate wasting parchment paper for making cookies but they are non-stick and keep the cookie sheets nice and clean while being easy to clean off.


The cookies were nice and firm and easy to scoop. The cookie scoop that I normally use is the medium cookie scoop which makes the perfect sized cookie for the final cookie.


The cookies came out of the oven nice and brown.  They were a little gooey when they first came out buy quickly set up to be crispy around the edge.  I thought that they were really nice.  My husband thought that they were a little greasy when they were hot out of the oven but after they rested they were really good.


I made these again and doubled the recipe because we ate them way too fast the first time.  I added a little extra flour in to the mix about 1/3 of a cup probably for good measure.  I baked them for 11-13 minutes and they were perfect.  My husband and I agreed that they tasted a lot like the cookies from Giant that he loves (and maybe missed a little).  I enjoyed the nice crunch but chewy texture.  This might be our new cookie and I only have a little butter Crisco left!!!  Oh no!

I wonder if these would be good to freeze the batter or not!!  Well, I don't think that the next batch is going to last long enough to matter but I hope that you check out these new and tasty cookies to see what your family thinks.

The Ultimate Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 3/4 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 oz. or 1 cup package semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

  2. Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

  3. Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.

  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: How To Watch TV for Free

I can't tell you how many people think that I am fibbing when I tell them that we don't pay for television.  Now don't get me wrong, we like our television shows but we don't have cable or Dish or any other paid televisions.  We don't pay for Hulu Plus or Netflix.  We don't rent movies at Red Box.



We have an antennae on roof that came with the house and we get all of our major channels with it.  We watch some other shows on the iPad with free apps.  There are more free apps every time we turn around so I thought that it would be good to mention.  There is an app to see the ABC, NBC and CBS online but they are often changing the policy on the newest shows and when they are available.  If you want to pick up some old shows and start a new series, there are lots of choices based on what is on that channel. 

Our newest find is the HGTV app!!!  You can find the app in iTunes here.  We have been watching lots of different shows and enjoying this new to us app.  My son's favorite is the Flipping the Block where there are four couples that are remodeling a town home in a row.  It is super fun to pick your favorites and see if they win the challenges.  My husband has been enjoying the Property Brothers.  I have just been enjoying watching the shows that we haven't seen in years.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!


There are a few other apps out there but we haven't tried all of them.  Do you have any ideas on what free apps are out there that are fun to watch??  Give us some more ideas and share your favorites.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kid Wednesday: Three Dimensional Shapes Learning through Making a Poster

My son got really bored one day and requested activities when I had none planned so I had to make up a plan very quickly.  Luckily I had planned to do this one but I really wasn't ready.  I love Teachers Pay Teachers and found lots of fun activities to do on the website.  This was one that I was still holding on to and hadn't done.  I loved it so much that I started following her store and checked out all of her other fun activities so make sure you do too!!

We went to find a big piece of paper to start with.  I got some painters tape to hang it on the wall so that we didn't damage the paint.  I started by cutting all of the papers and mixing them up.  My son looked at the papers on the table and I delayed him by telling him to pick a color marker and outline the shape on the page.  That gave me just enough time to attach the categories to the top of the paper.


He picked the one that he wanted to start with and put all of the names on the paper first.  We went through a lot of glue sticks in this in case you can't see how much glue he had on the first few shapes.


After putting on the names of the shapes, he was excited to put on the sides and jumped around to put up the one that he read next on the sign.  Then came his favorite column which was the real things to make the kids understand how the shapes relates to real things that they see every day.


The one that he liked was the marshmallow, paper towel roll and glue stick...for some reason this made him laugh.


He was pretty excited about the final poster and was super excited to show it to his father when he came home.  We have the poster rolled up so that we can pull it out whenever he wants to check out his handy work.


There is a lot of education in such a simple task.  The shapes are not the regular one dimensional shapes that kids learn first but neat three dimensional shapes.  Make sure you check out the great free file on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

My son has been really interested in three dimensional shapes since watching an episode of Peg + Cat.  If you want to check out more of the Peg + Cat activities and games, check out the website here.  There are lots of things to do to follow up with shapes and math ideas.  Hope you enjoy this fun activity and try it for yourself.  Make sure you download it now to have when you are ready!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wicked Business Book Review

I finished the previous series and I thought I would read a single book instead of starting the next series I had in my pile.  I picked out Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel (Lizzy & Diese​l) by Janet Evanovich which I found at the library when I was looking for something fun to read in the new section while my son was reading to my mom.  It was a great opportunity to read some great new books!!


In the book, Lizzie is working with Diesel again to find next stone and solving lots of mysteries along the way.  A Harvard University English professor, Gilbert Reedy, is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, while in search of the perfect love.  Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust which the professor was trying to also change to work to find true love. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets from the magic shop that the professor had, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences, leaving a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and more trouble.  It was funny to follow the path of the clues that lead to the next clue while they were trying to outrun and out think the bad guys!!  See who wins in the end when you pick up this book

I loved it!  As all my other books by Janet Evanovich, I enjoyed the characters and the story.  I have to say that this is a book that you could never take seriously so as long as you are not looking for the next great American novel, this will entertain and keep amused all the way through.  Janet Evanovich is a great writer with great characters who you learn love.  I can't wait to read another book in this series (or any of her series for that matter). While the characters get themselves into big messes, they always work to get themselves out of the mess that they are in through the book.  This was no different because there was so much going on with all of the searching for the stone (again).  I hope you check out this great series by Janet Evanovich the next time you go to the library or bookstore!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 8/25



Monday- Chicken Paninis and Edamame
Tuesday- Chicken Nuggets and fries
Wednesday- Leftovers??
Thursday- Open House at son's school with Cookout
Friday- Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Cheese Pizza (or Pepperoni)
Saturday- Tacos with spicy saffron rice and corn bread
Sunday- Olive Oil Spaghetti with peasant bread

We have company coming over the weekend so we are trying to have some yummy treats that we haven't had in awhile including some pizza with the cheese that I just bought at the last sale at Harris Teeter.  I also want to make my new peasant bread recipe for my cousin which is really yummy.  Here is hoping that we have a yummy week and take this week to start on next month's menu because I haven't even printed it yet.  It is going to be a busy month with the start of school and everything else going on to get ready for school.  There are plenty of things that we are trying to fit into the end of summer so we will see how much I can do and still make it home to have a yummy dinner.  How is your end of summer going?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Treat Yourself Book Review

I was looking through some new books that looked interesting through Blogging for Books but I decided to peek over and look at the cook books.  I think that I have a horrible weakness for cookbooks because I was super excited to see all of them.  I couldn't pass up Treat Yourself: 70 Classic Snacks You Loved as a Kid (and Still Love Today) by Jennifer Steinhauer!! Who can turn down that cover....only note is that it doesn't come with all of the baked goods it shows in the pictures so you do need to make them yourself!


The book starts with a great introduction that I think that everyone can relate to because we all have memories that relate to food even if they are not the same as the author.  I know that I remember many childhood memories attached to my mom making banana bread and my brother and "trying" not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting.  My dad remembers his father eating tasty cakes and other treats and when he came home the little wrappers were all over his car.  There are always memories or holiday dinners or favorite foods that come to mind when I think about different events in the past.  Each recipe gives a little story at the

The book is separated into a few different chapters including the following:

Classic Cookies
Sandwich Cookies
Snack Cakes
Fruit Treats and Filled Things
Savory Snacks
Candy
Frozen Treats

There are a bunch of recipes that I know that I will try like the lemon coolers because my husband would like them.  There are others that look great that I know that I won't take the time to make like the thin mints but I can dream.  I am interested in trying the Chips Ahoy because I am always on a search for the cookies recipe that the whole family is going to like.  I also think that I might try some Nilla Wafers because I have a new piping bag that I have never used so I am excited to try a bunch of the cookie recipes.

The Sandwich Cookies look interesting but I know that I probably won't put in the effort to make them but I love the idea of the Nutter Butters because I love the cookies and the cookies look amazing.  I am not a fan of marshmallow so I will not make the mallomars but I might try the oatmeal cream pie because I loved those as a kid.  I really can't put any stock into why I liked it but I am sure the homemade version would be way more tasty.

The snack cake chapter is really interesting because there are so many regional snacks that I didn't have growing up.  I would try to make the donut holes in the book but they are not make with yeast so I am interested to taste the more cake like donut but I would probably do cinnamon powdered sugar because that is what we prefer on our donuts so they would probably have to be fried to stick to it or rolled in butter.  I also enjoyed the Star Crunch when I was in high school as part of my not nearly nutritious lunch so I think that I would make those for my son because I think that he would really enjoy them.  I had a bunch of caramels that I got to make a special cookie but I ended up eating all of them so I would have to make them soon after buying the caramels!

I look forward to trying the soft pretzels with my homemade pizza dough sometime.  It is perfect because the dough makes double so I can make one pizza and use the second to make another treat.  Soft pretzels would be a great after dinner treat (especially in cinnamon and sugar version) or save for the next day for a snack. I am also interested in trying the Ritz crackers and her Cheez-Its to see how different they are from the ones that I made previously.  The Fritos are going to be a special treat for me to make because they would be prefect to make for the top of the crunchy taco rice that we like even if they aren't the prettiest when they turn out but I can't wait to try them.

I was least interested in the candy but then I got to the Twix and thought that they looked amazing.  Of course I love Twix bars so why wouldn't they!  I loved the look of the candy dots but that seems like a lot of work to make your own but fun that you can.  The other chapter that seemed that I wouldn't like and I was surprised was the frozen treats.  I think that there are a few that I would try like the ice cream sandwiches or the creamsicles and pudding pops. 

My biggest disappointment came in this book because the items weren't all made from scratch.  The honey buns uses a box of hot roll mix.  The filling starts with marshmallow fluff which I don't normally buy and probably would have to go out of my way to get it which means that I probably won't make these treats without a lot more effort.  Obviously if the recipe calls for a store bought pie crust, you could make your own version but I don't know how homemade marshmallow fluff would stack up for these recipes.  I also don't have a clue what the hot roll mix is in order to make my own.  If I figure out how to make some of these recipes more from scratch, then they have more a chance of being made.

This book has great stories, great recipes and great pictures.  My aunt would call it great food porn because you can see all the pictures and not gain any weight because there are no calories associated with it.  I totally agree and this is a cookbook that you could read over and over with the great stories and I know that I will be.  I added it to the cook book shelf in the kitchen but it might be nice to keep on my bedside table to read at night.  It is a hard cross over when it has so much good reading and you can literally read the book from cover to cover like a novel.  I hope that you check out this book and the tons of great recipes.  If there are any recipes that you would like to try (and share the goods with me), you are more then welcome to come over and borrow the book.  Of course, I share opinions on which ones you should make but I can't wait to try lots of them.  I hope that you check out this book and some of the great recipes!!!  Even if you are just getting it for the reading, it is well worth the purchase to take a trip down memory lane of all of these childhood treats.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Grand Design Book Review

I got a description of a book series that I had a chance to review from the publisher and I was immediately interested in the concept because they were all about quilts through the Quilts of Love: Every Quilt Has a Story series.  I signed up for two of the books that seemed really interested and drastically different in subject matter.  I got a chance to read A Grand Design: Quilts of Love Series by Amber Stockton.


About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend, Libby, a call because she dared her to enter the contest. Before coming, Alyssa’s grandmother gives her a mission to get the squares of a quilt from different members of the community that used to be part of her grandmothers quilting circle. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island and more information about her grandmothers life.  Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation, is also the person who provides carriage rides for the quilting mission since no cars are allowed on the island. Alyssa and Scott become closer but she continues to keep him at arms length because of issues in her past.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens in this great story about rebuilding the past with families and starting to live life in the present.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

I know this is horrible to say but I forgot what the book was about when I got it in the mail.  You would think seeing the cover with the quilt and the little symbol on the front would have brought it back out for me but I realized that I signed up to review this pretty quickly after I got it so I just knew that I needed to start reading.  The review was supposed to be posted the day before my sister in laws wedding so it was a busy week and I better get working.  Of course, then I started reading the book and I couldn't put it down,  I went to bed a little early so that I could finish reading the whole book the night before so that I could write my review on time.

I was glad to be able to take the time to read this book because it was well written with great characters.  It was a quick read and super glad that I got a chance to check it out.  I am going to have to look up more by this author as well as more of the Quilts of Love series.  I enjoyed the story of the island and it really made me want to visit there to see all the beautiful and peaceful sites that they were describing.  I really enjoyed hearing them gathering the quilt squares and making the quilt because it showed all of the thoughtfulness that went into the quilt.  I loved the whole story and was sad to see if come to an end but I know that anyone who picks it up with enjoy it as much as I did!!!  I hope that you check it out soon.

** I was provided this book for an honest review from Litfuse Publishing Group.  All opinion here are my own.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Eating Great on a Low Budget

Check out this great article on how to eat on less than $4 a meal or a food stamp budget.  The great thing is that there is an article but there is also a link to her recipe book for free!  Click on the link and download the great book with recipes on how to make healthy and cheap food.  See if any of the ideas are something your family would like to try out.  There are always a few good ideas that can be incorporated into your meal plans.  I hope that you use some of her ideas and recipes!!  I already use a lot of them so I will share with you a few links to my recipes so that you can see them too.

One of her ideas and recipes was making a roast chicken.  I love making a roast chicken and there is a recipe in the book for their roast chicken but I like mine better.  After long search, I have found my favorite recipes for Herb Butter Roasted Chicken so I think that I will stick with mine but the recipe in the book is a pretty simple place to start.



Then, taking those chicken bones into a great chicken stock or broth along with leftover veggies that are in the freezer which are usually the ends of asparagus, inside or ends of celery, dried out carrots or ends of carrots, and onion ends or skins.  This is a great way to spend no extra money and get lots of flavorful broth.  It helps stretch the food you already had on the previous night to make soup or other things you need broth for like stuffing.


I like to freeze my broth so that I can use it whenever I need it in the future.  I used to freeze in plastic bags but I had too many leaks so I have upgraded to plastic containers so that I can defrost without leaking.  It takes up a little more room in the freezer but I still haven't upgraded to canning yet but I really need to make that next step.


The other great tip is using the extra bread for croutons and bread crumbs.  I always save my dried out ends and bits and pieces for the freezer.  When I need them, I pull them out for bread crumbs when I need them.  Free and easy to save lots of money!!  Plus they make better bread crumbs.


I love homemade stuffing with my bread cubes.  I can't believe how easy it is and I wonder why on earth I ever bought the box mix but I have to say it is because that is how my mom always did it.  I know that isn't a great reason but even on Thanksgiving my mom made stove top so I always did the same but I don't anymore.  I make a sausage stuffing because that is my husband's favorite family recipe and it turns out great with only a little bit of cost for a huge pan of stuffing.


The other tip that I love is the snack with popcorn.  I love stove top popcorn with a little buttery salt cooked on.  I used to make up a few pots at a time so that we had some to eat and some to put in a container to have for a snack the next day.  We went through a time that there was always a pot to make popcorn on the stove (recipe here).  It is tasty and healthy and really filling!!


Want to make it a little more fun, try my favorite treat of kettle corn.  I would have thought it was harder to make at home but it is easy and super tasty for a nighttime treat. Check out the recipe here and try some yourself.


I also loved making the Red Hot Cinnamon Popcorn with the leftover red hot cinnamon imperials.  It was a great treat that we enjoyed for a very short amount of time because it went so quickly!!  I can't wait to make it again soon.  If you are looking for a less sugary but tasty alternative, try the cinnamon and sugar popcorn.


I have lots of great recipes on making your own pizza dough, bread, rolls, tortillas and other bread products which also help to stretch the money and use what you have.  There are lots of options on what to make but check out the article and download the great free recipe book with great pictures and ideas and see what you like best!!

There is another article from a mom who has lived on a small budget and shares her ways to do it (here).  Her best point is that no matter what you give someone, you have to make sure that they know how to cook it so that they can get the most of what is provided.

I hope that this inspires you to see what you can make with what you already have in your house instead of running to the store to get something different.  It makes me want to start making some kettle corn!!! YUM!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kid Wednesday: Brain Quest Worsheets

I am always in search of interesting things to entertain my son especially while I am trying to cook dinner.  It seems that no matter what we do all week, he is ready to attach to my leg when I need to cook dinner (and he is 5 now)!  I put some of these sheets on the table and I got to fix dinner while just coming out to switch papers ever once in awhile.  If you are looking for something fun to keep your kids entertained and give you a free hand to fold laundry or make dinner check out the Brain Quest website.

They have a puzzler, coloring page, and a packet for kindergarten through fourth grade.  I printed out the ones for kindergarten through second grade for my son to try.  He went through the kindergarten ones quickly while I was trying to make dinner.  He picked the brightest of all of his markers so it looks like he did it with a highlighter but he had a blast with them.




We did the first grade ones the next morning.  He enjoyed them a lot too but he declared that the one with all the numbers was a two part one and left it to finish later in the day because his hand was tired of writing the numbers.  These were all pretty easy ones for him too.




I printed the Second Grade activity sheets which looked a lot harder then the first grade ones but I figured that they would be good if we did them together.  He did the clock one called My Times and the Silent Letters by himself.  I worked with him on the synonyms because they were a little harder but didn't take a picture of them.  The great thing is that they lasted longer because my son didn't just race through them.




These were really fun and gave me a better idea on which Brain Quest cards I should buy my son.  I hope that you check them out and see if your kids enjoy them too.  Always good to have a few things on hand when the kids get restless!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Harris Teeter Super Doubles Trips (and first half of the month shopping)!!!

I had a great month so far and got a lot of groceries!!!  Love when there is a great super doubles and I get coupons to match up with the deals that are currently on or that I have rain checks for.  I used lots of rain checks and I am excited to say saved lots this month and got a bunch of the things that we really needed.  I love Harris Teeter all the time but super doubles makes it even better!

Costco Honey $13.00

My friend kindly bought me a huge 5 pound jar of honey since I was totally out of the honey I had before.  I have been using maple syrup in its place but can't wait to get back to the honey again!!!  I am surprised how much I use in my baking.

 

Aldi's $0.15

I didn't take a picture of this shopping trip but we went with my mom and we grabbed a lot of things but she only needed change so that is all that I had to throw into the mix.

Harris Teeter $2.74

I used a rain check on the Gerber baby food and saved $1.68 off the shelf price but only $0.40 off the current sale but between the coupons and the evic coupons, I got them for free.  I got some of the free stuff like the cornbread, Glade starter kit, So Delicious Yogurt, and Dole Smoothie Shakers.  I used another rain check on the Off Clip on refill from the last Super Doubles to save $0.50 to make it a money maker from coupon and evic zvr coupon.  I bought the last box of Tampax Radiant and it was another great money maker so I had another $1.51.  I grabbed three cheeses that were $0.50 each and the tortillas were on sale for $0.99.  Just in case there was any other special discounts that came off, I grabbed the deal on the Go-Gurt which will be perfect for my son's school lunch.


Harris Teeter $2.95

I grabbed a few more freebies including the corn bread, Weber seasonings, So Delicious Yogurt, GoGo Squeez Applesauce.  I got the Trix which were on sale for $2.50 and I had an $0.85 coupon which doubled to $1.70 and there was an evic zvr coupon for $0.75 so the box only cost $0.05.  I will get $0.75 back from saving star!!  I grabbed the Scrubbing Bubbles which were on sale for $3.59.  I used two coupons and got two evic zvrs come off so they ended up being $0.59 each.  There was a promotion on Check Out 51 so I got another $1 back there.  The Suave Kids Shampoo was a money maker after coupon and evic zvr so I got the cheese for $0.50 each.



Giant $0.89 

I used my monthly credit and my son used his coupon to get the ice cream sandwiches.  I forgot to use my remaining gift card balance and I was not pleased to realize it but I guess I will use it next time.



Harris Teeter $6.51

I got some free Liberte yogurt, three packages of Laughing Cow cheese, Jif Chocolate Spread, House Autry Corn Bread and Hillshire Farm Sausage. The Yoplait yogurt was a money maker after free evic zvr and coupon.  The Suave Professional Shampoo was a money maker after evic zvr and coupon.  I got the Multi Grain Cheerios for $0.25 and I will get money back from Saving Star when it is processed.  I bought two bags of the cheese for $0.77 each.  The milk was on sale for $2.97 so I grabbed that too because we were almost out.  I grabbed the Mini Wheats for $0.37 each after coupons and Saturday only sale.  I used my last two coupons to get the cheese for $0.50 each.



Harris Teeter $10.21

This was the highest bill that I have gotten so far at Harris Teeter but we really needed the Windex and this deal makes them $1.89 each after coupon and evic zvr coupon.  I got free corn bread, Hillshire Farm sausage, two Glade starter kits, three So Delicious yogurt, three Jif Chocolate Spread, and three Got2Be Dry Shampoo.  I grabbed the deal on the shredded cheese for $0.77 each on my mom's card.  I also got a money maker on the Yoplait and the Suave to put towards the rest of the groceries.  I grabbed the Bayer aspirin for $0.99 for my Dad since it was back in stock.  I also needed the Clorox wipes for my son's back to school bag of school supplies so they were $1.39 after sale and coupon which is the best that I could get.



Harris Teeter $1.72

I got free Dole Smoothies, Dominos Quick Dissolve Sugar, and Got2Be styling.  I got the Suave Kids Shampoo and the Pantene Styling money makers.  I got the Bold taco kit for $0.25 after sale, coupon and evic zvr.  I grabbed the Bayer aspirin for $0.99.  We needed batteries so I grabbed one package of Energizer and one Duracell to use all of the evic zvrs on my account to get one for $0.99 and the other for $2.49.  Not the best deal but we needed batteries so it worked out pretty well and there was overage from the other deals.

I got the deals that I needed and most of the shelves were empty so I decided to use a few more rain checks. I got the Off Clip On Refill and made $0.50 overage.  Then I used the new coupon for the Hefty Sliders and a rain check to get them for free!!!  I love free plastic bags because it is horrible to pay lots of money for something that just ends up in the trash.


 
 Dollar Tree $0.24

I went to the Dollar Tree to get some dryer sheets.  Thanks for the heads up on the deal Minniemizing!! I paid tax only and plan on selling them on Ebay since we don't use them.  If not, they are going to my sister in law because she will love them.  I will go back to get some more but there is a limit of four coupons from P&G so I just got four of them but the shelves were totally full so I have plenty of coupons to use.
 



Harris Teeter $2.69 

I had my little guy with me so I didn't have a lot of time to shop but I wanted to run through the store and get as much as of the free stuff as I could throw in the cart as quickly as I could with the bribe of some cookies.  I got the free Dominos Quick Dissolve sugar, Got2Be Styling Gel, Glade Starter pack, Laughing Cow cheese, So Delicious yogurt and the Tide. I used a rain check to get the Hefty free and the Barilla free after coupons.  I got one of the Bold Taco Kits for $0.25.  There was an overage with the evic zvrs for the Hefty for $1.00 so I grabbed a pack of batteries which were $1.99 after coupon and evic coupon.  I realized later that the batteries didn't make it in the house.  I thought that I didn't get them from the store but it turns out that the bags went flying when someone cut us off in traffic so they were under the seat in the car so not in the picture when I took it :)


Total Retail $478.22
Total Savings $437.12
Total OOP $41.10

Money Coming Back

Check Out 51  $1.00
Ibotta               $3.25
Saving Star      $2.85

Total                 $7.10

I am going to sell the Glade and Got2Be on Ebay to make a little more money back!!!  Here is hoping that I make lots of money back and do even better the second half of the month.  I can't believe that it is the last day of super doubles tomorrow and I only have one more chance to get some great deals because I have enough coupons to do it over and over for at least a few more weeks!!!  Hope you are having a good month so far too.

Menu Plan Monday 8/18



Monday- Chicken Nuggets and french fries
Tuesday- Grilled Chicken with chicken rice
Wednesday- ???
Thursday- Cheese Ravioli with pesto and garlic bread
Friday- Rehearsal Dinner
Saturday- Leftovers/Wedding Reception
Sunday- Leftovers/Leftovers

This week is going to be really busy with everything going on with the wedding and all the family coming into town.  I don't really know what to expect but I know that it will make all of the meal plans go up in the air.  My mother in law is coming into town so we are more then likely going to have more people around the dinner table depending on what is going on.  I am going to try to make meals that are flexible to a lot of people but that is always hard to judge.  Here is hoping that we can figure it out or else we are going to be eating a lot of pasta.  I hope that you guys have a more relaxing week then us!!  At least at the end of it, we get to welcome a new member of the family.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

When the Soul Mends Book Review

I was excited to get the third book in the Sisters of the Quilt, When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall.  The first two books were a great lead in to this book which picked up right where they left off.  I was excited to be in the last book and find out how all the issues that the characters have gotten involved in are resolved.  I was trying to take this book slowly so that I could savor the last book in the series but that wasn't going to happen!!!


Something that Hannah didn't want to happen was going to happen because Hannah got a call from her sister, Sarah, and she had to return to her home in Owl Perch.  She returns to the Old Order Amish community where she spent her childhood and all of the memories coming flooding back on why she left.  She had been gone two years but the pain of everything came rushing back.  She was settled in her new life living in a cottage behind the big house where he boyfriend and the two children they were working together to raise were living.  She was working at a medical facility helping Amish women give birth and working towards her nursing degree.  Hannah had moved really far away from her Pennsylvania Dutch roots and had to revisit all of her past.

I loved the book and this being the conclusion had it really had me on the edge of my seat.  I was going to read a little and go to sleep but I was towards the end and couldn't put it down!!!  I had to know what happened next.  Isn't that the sign of a great book?  The first book had me wondering at the beginning but by the end I was hooked and haven't been able to put down any in the series.  This was my favorite book but without the first two it wouldn't have given you such satisfaction to see all of the characters resolve their issues.   I hope that you try the series and enjoy the resolution with this great book.  Pick up this book and the others in the series at your local library or bookstore soon.

Friday, August 15, 2014

When the Morning Comes Book Review

The second book in the Sisters of the Quilt series is When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall which was next on my list to read.  After the tough start to the first book, I was ready to read this book and flew through it.  It was a great book after the first book which was so heavy.  Although this followed the same characters and same subject matter, I was ready to find out some resolution.





In this book, Hannah leaves her Amish community and all of her friends and family with no way for them to contact her.  She goes in search of her aunt Zabeth who is her fathers twin sister who was shunned many years ago and Hannah didn't even know.  She boards a train and leaves the only home that she has ever known without a plan.  She tries to learn the new world of the Englishers by fitting into her Aunt's sort of plain life and the fancy life of those around her.  The hole that Hannah left in her home town was felt by all of her loved ones.  Her father refuses to look for her and no one wants to disagree with him.  The longer that Hannah is gone, the odder Sarah's behavior gets.  Sarah has guilt over loosing her sister from the lies that she told and her behavior starts to get so strange that others notice.  While Hannah's family is falling apart, she is trying to rebuild her new life.

I loved it!  I was so ready for the third book and excited that I had already gotten it from the library so there was no waiting between books.  I love finding books after they have already released the whole series because it is way easier then waiting for the next publishing date.  I hope that you enjoy this series as much as I did but make sure to start at the beginning.  To make it easy, they have put the series and the book number on the front cover.  I love when they do it because the names are close together and I often have to have my list in hand so with this, I can pick them up at the library on the fly.  I hope you try out this series and see what you think!!!