Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Month End Budget Review and Shopping List

I have a monthly budget of $160 for our family of 3.  I use sales, coupons and as much cooking from scratch as I can do to save money and stick to the budget.  This budget helps our family to stay on track with spending and still get lots of yummy food to enjoy through the month with planning ahead and shopping the deals.

Here is what I got this month for my budget and if you want more details, they are two other posts for the month with information about each transaction.  Below is the picture of everything that I got for the month and the price for the amount.

Aldi $15.18

Trader Joes $3.06

Aldi $0.81


Trader Joes $3.58


Harris Teeter $0.03

Harris Teeter $40.16- $4.58= $35.58

Aldi $14.75- $0.77= $13.98

 Aldi $12.43

Weis $0

I saw the sale ad when I was looking at the black friday ads and couldn't pass up the deal on Cheez Its.  They were on sale for but one, get one free so I had to check the price but it turned out that they were a good deal so my son piled 8 in the cart and two cranberry juices.  After sale and coupons, the Cheese Its were priced at $1.75 which is a great price and the cranberry juice was $2.  Then my Dad put his credit card in the machine before I could pay!! 

Wegman's $1.78 + $1.78= $3.56

My Mom, Dad and husband went to Wegman's to get some flour which was on sale for $0.89 each (limit 2).  They each did a transaction....I guess my husband was quick because he did two.  We only paid for two...I guess my parents bought the other ones!!

Aldi $36.87

Back from vacation and stocking the fridge full.  Got lots to have food to last through the hopefully a long time.  We were out of oil, butter, salsa, and turkey.  The main thing that we needed was eggs!!  We were out and that meant that when my husband asked for peanut butter cookies, I couldn't make them!!  Ahhh!!  Near tragic in our house but luckily I got some eggs to fix the problem as soon as I had the time to make the cookies.

Harris Teeter $5.38

There was a sale at Harris Teeter for $1.97 milk, $0.77 eggs and $0.87 margarine so I ran over after work and grabbed some.  The milk is going to last into December and it usually last long then Aldi milk.  The great part is that I turned $0.25 rebate for the milk too.

Total OOP $130.46

The great news is that I was under budget but the even better news is that I am set up pretty well for the coming month.  I set my menu plan and I don't think that I am going to need that much for the month so I get to get the best deals and a few essentials.  We still have some potatoes, chicken, oyster crackers, meatballs, blue cheese, cider, Cheez Its, flour, cheese, corn tortillas and eggs!!  We have some snack food around and hoping that baking will get us through part of the month without too much shopping.  Getting ready for the Christmas holidays but don't know what other unexpected things we will need so only time will tell!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Family Tree Book Review

I put a new book on reserve at the library and was excited when it came in.  Family Tree: A Novel by Susan Wiggs was a great read over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I didn't even know if it was part of a series but I was still looking forward to checking it out.

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.  Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.  Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned judge. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.  Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.

Love this book!!  Annie was dealing with her life and it was one of those things that if it was a movie, you would be screaming at the screen.  She was in a marriage with a horrible person.  Luckily, she got out of the relationship but it didn't leave her unharmed.  Her years investing in her marriage left her thinking that she wasn't worth as much as her husband.  It was amazing to watch Annie rebuild her life and figure out of the best path for her new life.  I know that I was on the side cheering her on and you will too!!  Join Annie on the road to recovery in this book because you will enjoy the stories and the writing as well as the great characters.  I hope that you add this book to your reading list and enjoy it as much as I did!!  It was a great read and I can't wait to get more but this wonderful author!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 11/28

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken and homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta and leftover pizza
Wednesday- Chicken and Rice Casserole
Thursday- Salsa Sloppy Joes
Friday- Chicken Paninis with leftovers
Saturday- Roasted Chicken with stuffing, potatoes and rolls
Sunday- Breakfast for Dinner

Last week actually went pretty much according to plan so hoping things will go well for this week too.  We are starting basketball this week so planning on pasta on basketball night to eat before practice.  Luckily, it seems that it is really close to home so we should have enough time.  Here is hoping that I got everything I needed when I ran to the store today to get the last minute things to last into December!!

I sat down with the calendar and planned out the month of December with only a few blank spots that are going to be either homemade pizza or breakfast for dinner.  I did pretty well with the information that I have but I am sure that we will have visitors and the plans will change a little but who knows when that is going to be. Here is hoping for some great deals for the month to have nice extras!!

Hope you guys have a great end of the month and enjoy the beginning of December!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Witness Book Review

I was both excited and sad to get to the last book in the series, The Witnesses (Lancaster Burning) by Linda Byler.  I was able to finish the book before the due date at the library since it is a new book with no renewals which was wonderful!!  I had even gone back and read the first two books in the series first.  This was a great find off the new release section of the library and I am going to look for some new books by Linda Byler to read again soon.

Who is responsible for setting the barn fires that continue to keep the Amish of eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on edge? Who is responsible for seeing that they are stopped?  In this third and final novel in the Lancaster Burning series, author Linda Byler takes us inside the home of Davey Beiler, the leader of this Amish district. He clearly feels the heat in more ways than one. Some of the younger members of his church are ready to testify against the man who has allegedly started at
least several of the fires. Davey counsels patience and forgiveness.

But when Sarah, Davey’s daughter, spots flames late one night in the widow Lydia’s barn, Sarah refuses to let the fire win. She gets the horses out just in time, but not before a beam explodes overhead, knocking her to the ground as the barn rages in flames all around her. In that moment, Sarah’s life “turned darker than black.” Gone were her lovely good looks, her life as a teacher, and perhaps the attention of the two young men who had been so drawn to her.

No one suffers more torment than Davey, who wonders if he was really responsible for Sarah's accident. If he had agreed to have police guard the Amish farms, as some wanted, Sarah would not have been hurt.  The Amish may be peace-loving, but they are not without their tensions. Author Byler, who is herself a member of the Amish, writes a tautly told story, full of dark fears, difficult dilemmas, and deep love.

This book was a tough read because Sarah is caught in the fire in Lydia's barn trying to save the horses.  Sarah goes through a lot of treatments because of the fire and reading this book takes you along every painful step.  The anger raises in the neighborhood because of the fires and her injuries but her father preaches and supports patience and forgiveness as their Amish culture teaches. With the neighborhood divided, there are many problems that need to be overcome.  Make sure you pick up this book and find out what happens.   I hope that you check out this book and all the other books in this series.  I really enjoyed reading the Lancaster Burning series from start to finish.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have!!  Let me know if you have read them or have any of them added to your reading list.  I know you will enjoy solving this mystery along with the love story between Sarah unfolding.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

More Shopping!!! Lots of Shopping!!

I was hoping that I was done for a little bit but it never works out that way.  I think that it is at the end of month I might have a little break with the holidays but only the sales will tell us.  I

Aldi $14.75- $0.77= $13.98

I went to the store to exchange some saltine crackers that we bought that had a bad seal on them.  Who wants stale crackers?!  If we had made them stale then I would have turned them into breadcrumbs but because I paid for crackers, I stubbornly wanted my crackers.  My husband made fun of me for returning $0.77 of crackers but I did and got a new box for free and got $0.77 back.

Sadly I went mainly to get turkey lunch meat and tortilla chips for my husband.  They were out of both.  There are goods and bads of shopping at Aldi.  I love that we get the low priced items but there are many times that they have no inventory.  They were out of extra sharp cheddar so I but regular cheddar and it wasn't great for cheese and crackers but I will use it up with tacos and grilled cheese (I used it and my husband didn't notice).  I usually stock up early to avoid this problem but I was really hoping that everything would last through Thanksgiving so I wouldn't have to shop until we got home....I was wrong!!

 I got a few of our other favorites including their animal crackers, pretzels, oyster crackers and corn tortillas.  We needed milk and I got a cautionary margarine because I knew that we were running low but I wasn't sure how close to out we were and we were scraping the bottom so yeah for me!!

 Aldi $12.43

Second trip for chips and turkey where I couldn't pass up the cheese because it wasn't at the first store either and we were totally out and the price dropped $0.40 again so time to fill the fridge before it goes up.  Now we should have enough cheese for a month....lets hope anyway because we seem to eat a lot of cheese.  It is our main source of dairy because I am lactose intolerant so milk and other dairy upset me but cheese never has. 

Total OOP $26.41

Total Monthly OOP $84.65

The great news is that I am over half way through the month and still have over $75 in the budget for groceries.  I will be able to pick up some more things that we need through the month but right now I am feeling pretty well stocked.  I made cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip muffins and peanut butter cookies this morning so it always feels like there is more food when I have just baked and there are goodies to eat!!!  Hope that you are having a good month and enjoying some relaxation with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Davey's Daughter Book Review

I was excited to start this new series by Linda Byler after reserving the third book in the series and not realizing that I hadn't read the rest of the series. Davey's Daughter (Lancaster Burning) by Linda Byler was the second book that I read quickly after the first.

Barns are burning in the Lancaster County's Amish community, and no one knows who's doing it or why. Sarah Beiler's barn was the first to burn and it was quickly followed by two other barn fires. The entire Amish community is on edge and wrestling with how they should respond to these seemingly random crimes. Sarah thinks Ashley, whom she's learned to know at the local farmers market, knows more about the fires than she will admit. But Sarah can't convince her to share her secrets. Should the Amish consider police protection as Sarah's cousin, Melvin, insists, or should the community continue to follow their traditional peaceful approach to violence as Sarah's father, Davey, the local minister, counsels? Then another barn burns, this one more devastating than any other, and the community again rallies around the distressed family.

Even in the midst of this chaos, life must go on for Sarah and her family. But now it feels as if nothing is normal. The local Amish school board asks Sarah to take over teaching a school where the students are out of control. How will she handle obstinate Amish kids and their defensive parents? Matthew is asking if the Amish church is the right fit for him. Will Sarah follow him if he decides to leave the community? Sarah's mother can't stay out of it and keeps urging Sarah to pay more attention to Lee, the well behaved Amish man, who helps anyone in the community in need. How will Sarah respond to all of the forces that are pulling her in different directions? She is Davey's daughter, after all, raised to love and respect the long-held traditions of her people. But will the outside forces become so great that she gives up her parents' ways and decides to leave her community? Will her father agree to police protection for the vulnerable Amish farmers especially for those who are widowed—or continue to insist that God will provide?

This book picked up right where the last one stopped.  It was a great continuation of the story of the small town fires in the barns in the Amish community.  Sarah takes the next steps in her life after Matthew leaves the Amish community and goes to Haiti.  She becomes a school teacher for a troubled school which gives her life more meaning than it has had in a long time.  Sarah is making a difference in the troubled children's lives.  All of these changes start to open her life again so that she can move on.  This book and all of the great characters made it even better then the last book!!  I hope that you check out this book as well as the others in the series.  I think that you will enjoy this "mystery" series as much as I have.  I put down the first book and picked up the second book and quickly finished it over the weekend and started on the third in the series.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fire in the Night Book Review

I reserved a book at the library which I thought was part of a series that I had already read but when it came in, I realized it was the third book in a series that I hadn't read.  I quickly reserved the first two books.  Fire in the Night (Lancaster Burning) by Linda Byler was the first in the series so it is where I started!

One barn fire might be an accident, the Lancaster County Amish community believes. But two barns burning just weeks apart is suspicious. Sarah Beiler wants to protect her family, even though they don't like Matthew, her new boyfriend. Book 1 in Amish author, Lydia Byler's, series"Lancaster Burning."

The Amish community of Lancaster is being terrorized by barn fires. David and Malinda Beiler's barn was the first to go. The clues are sparse, but Levi, the Beilers' oldest son, happened to be awake in the middle of the night and spotted a white vehicle driving past the house with its lights off. Sarah, David and Malinda's daughter, observes her parents' agony. Not only is she afraid, and wishing she could protect her parents, she's entranced by the flirtatious Matthew Stoltzfus. He's dating her friend, Rose, but when he tenderly bandages Sarah's hand after she burned it at the barn raising, she wonders who he's really interested in.

When a second Amish barn burns for suspicious reasons, the Amish grow more restless. "We're too quiet too much of the time," a group of Amish men tell David Beiler, their minister. Seriously considering police protection, the increasingly tense community questions their traditional nonresistant approach to violence. Sarah now finds herself at odds with her mother over her choice of boyfriends and uncertain about how to respond to the attention of Lee, a newcomer to Lancaster. Not only that, she wonders if her dad is a wise enough leader as her community reels from within and without. Everyone is on edge as the losses mount and suspicions undo the usual steadiness of these people.

There is a great mystery in the Amish community outside of Lancaster when multiple barn fires are started.  There is a lot of speculation on how and why these horrible fires were started which cause lots of separation in the community opinion.  At the same time, families are pulling together to help rebuild barns and rebuild their lives.  There is a fear by the neighborhood every time they hear the sirens.  Sarah is going through a lot with the loss of her family barn and her safety in her life.  She is also dealing with the love of her life dating her best friend while still flirting with her.  Lots of things are happening in this action packed book so I hope that you pick it up and check it out for yourself. I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did.  It was a great book to start off this series.  I was ready to find out what would happen next in this interesting series so I actually immediately picked up the next book in the series.  It is a really great time to have all of the series on my shelf so that I can pick them up one after then next!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 11/21

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday-Leftovers or Homemade Pizzas
Thanksgiving Thursday- Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and yummy food
Friday- Leftovers (like pumpkin pie for breakfast...YUM)
Saturday- Take Out Food (either Wendy's or Little Caesars)
Sunday- Breakfast for Dinner or Salsa Sloppy Joes from the freezer

Last week wasn't as bad as it seemed at the beginning of the week when I didn't have a plan.  We did our regular Monday son's favorite dinner.  Tuesday I had the boneless chicken in the fridge that needed to be cut up.  I cut up four bags for the freezer and we decided on Chinese Stir Fry with the remaining chicken so I coated in corn starch and pan fried and used sweet and sour sauce.  Wednesday was busy because we had a meeting at 5 pm (yuck) so my son had pasta, my husband had leftover Chinese fried rice and I had leftover waffles.  We cleared out the fridge and ran the dishwasher :)

I made french dip sloppy joes on Thursday with some shoestring french fries because I didn't know what side dishes to make and we have at least 35 lbs of potatoes :)  I was pretty excited that things were going well because I certainly didn't have a lot of prep time so the menu was the only thing saving me.  My son had a birthday party on Friday night so we were supposed make pizzas and they were having pizza at the party so I wasn't sure if we should make them but we did which was great because they had chicken at the party which my son doesn't eat.  Saturday was our soccer festival and coach bought pizza so we had that for dinner and my husband had soup when we got home because he needed to warm up (and it just happened to be on the menu as well)!!!  Sunday was the day with no plan except breakfast for dinner and we ended up having that for lunch.  Luckily, I took out some ground beef so we got to have tacos.

While I was prepping and cooking the hash browns for lunch, I also peeled and cut the french fries for Monday night dinner so that was another thing checked off my list.  I still had a few rolls to get me through my husbands lunch for the week so I decided on cinnamon rolls and muffins or breads.  I wanted to make cookies too but there wasn't enough time for everything.  Here is hoping that I get the rest of things made on Wednesday so we have some treats for our time off work and school.  Hope you have a great week and wonderful holiday with your family.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wild Montanta Skies Book Review

I have enjoyed other books by Susan May Warren and jumped at the chance to read this new series.  Wild Montana Skies (Montana Rescue) by Susan May Warren is the first book in the Montana Rescue series.  I was excited to get to read this book and start at the beginning of this new series.  This was a wonderful start with great characters and great writing.

Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town.  Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart.  With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

Kacey Fairing, although a decorated military helicopter pilot, is coming home to a whole new life.  She is starting as the PEAK Rescue pilot and mom to her daughter who she has been away from for a long time.  She is trying to start her life over after the military and she is faced with all of her past when she sees her old boyfriend, Ben King.  There are lots of fireworks that fly with these old friends and first loves.  I loved the relationship between Kacey and Ben as well as watching them both settle back into the life in the small town where they grew up.  After reading the book, I couldn't wait for the next book and was ready to take a vacation to Montana!!  This book showed a wonderful area in the outskirts of this Montana town (even though they were going through floods and lots of problems).  I thought this was another great book from Susan May Warren!!  I really enjoyed the great writing and the way that the characters grew through the book.  I hope that you check this out and add it to your reading list!!  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did!!

**I received a copy of this for reading but was not required to post a review.  All opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Where Two Hearts Meet Book Review

I was excited to get to read the second book in this great series after I enjoyed the first one so much.  The first one was a surprise because I hadn't heard of the author or read anything else by her but I enjoyed it a lot.  Where Two Hearts Meet: A Novel (Prince Edward Island Dreams) by Liz Johnson was a great a find and I enjoyed it as much as the first one!!

In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.  Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He's also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he's falling in love with the island's red shores and Caden's sweets.  When Caden discovers Adam isn't who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he's writing could do more than ruin the inn's chances for survival--it might also break her heart.  Readers will discover hope for the hurting, joy for the broken, and romance for the lonely at the enchanting Red Door Inn.

I fell in love with the Red Door Inn and the story on the first book and this only made me want to do there more.  The beauty of the island and bed and breakfast is clear through the descriptions in this book.  The characters are also wonderfully deep and complex.  I love watching how all of the characters interact and waiting to see what happens next.  The writing in this book is amazing just like the first which quickly transports you to a place that you might have never been.  I love Caden and always want her to get everything that she deserves.  Caden is a wonderful giving person who works at the Red Door Inn while still donating her time and energy to everyone who needs it in her small town including teaching young children to cook and make breakfast treats for the local church.  Everything has you pulling for her to get everything that she wants but of course you have to pick up the book and find out what happens.  I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did.  The first book in the series was great but this stands up on its own as another great book if you haven't read the first one, I would still check this out.  I hope that you add this book and series to your reading list!!

**I received a copy of this book for my review but was not required to publish a positive review.  All opinions here are my own.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 11/14

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade french fries
Tuesday-Chicken ??? Something boneless
Wednesday- Pasta
Thursday- French Dip Sloppy Joes
Friday- Homemade Individual Pizzas
Saturday- Soup, Sandwiches and Leftovers
Sunday-Breakfast for Dinner

Last week the plan went really well but I moved around a lot of things because I didn't have enough time to get things done on the days that we were trying for but the best part of having the plan is that it is easy to switch nights.  I didn't have anything written down for this week so I am winging it.  Here is hoping that I can pull it off.  I made chocolate chip muffins, banana bread and oyster crackers on Monday instead of doing the work at home that I was supposed to get done.  I have to make cinnamon rolls and rolls tomorrow after work so here is hoping that I get everything ready to make the week go smoothly....probably need to write down a list!!  I do better when I start with a list but a nap sounds better right now :)  How is your week looking??

Friday, November 11, 2016

Almost Middle of the Month Budget Update

I haven't been in the store a lot this month and haven't gotten a lot of things.  Although there was a lot of purchases at Aldi at the beginning...and Harris Teeter today.  The great thing is that spending was really low so there is always more room for the month.  I got a bunch of things on the list and saved lots of money so hoping to use my coupons and find the best deals for the rest of the month.  Here is what I got so far!!

Aldi $15.18

I had to get oranges for soccer and milk because we were out at home.  There was a great sale on potatoes for $1.49 for 10 lbs.  I grabbed three bags!!!  There was a sale on asparagus for $1.69 and baby carrots for for $0.49 per bag.  I also got another bag of pepperoni because we were towards the bottom of our bag but not yet out.

I turned in the Checkout 51 for $0.25 back on the potatoes which was credited to my account.

Trader Joes $3.06

This is my son's favorite apple cider so we grabbed one for him since we were already at the store and my son might have had at least 5 samples!!

Aldi $0.81

I was by the store and grabbed a bag of oyster crackers because the ones that I made the last batch with too much garlic.  I thought that if I made these that they might offset the other batch.

Trader Joes $3.58

We love their blue cheese!!  I went to one store and they were out so I drove to one farther away because we were totally out.  I only have to use a little bit of this tasty cheese to get the awesome flavor for our buffalo chicken. 


Harris Teeter $0.03

I printed out a ton of coupons and left them at home!!  We stopped at the store on the last day of the sale with an entire list written out.  I got the free naan bread which I had the coupon for with the idea that I would go back to the store closer to our house later but it didn't happen.  There were some great deals that I missed again.  Bummed but glad that I got the free bread.  We made some yummy personal pizzas so we all got to have our own flavors.  YUM!!!

Harris Teeter $40.16- $4.58= $35.58

I went to the store with a few things in mind... I knew that I was going to get some deals and I had to spend a lot more money then I normally do because I was going to need to spend $40 to get the price for the turkey down to $0.57 per pound.  I had a nice bonus that I could also use a competition coupon for another grocery store that I never go to for $10 off a $50 purchase!!  I picked out my turkey and a ton of other things on sale and that I had coupons for.  I used a rain check to get the Sister Shubert Rolls for free.  I used a rain check on the Cooked Perfect Meatballs for $1.50 after rain check and coupon.  They will make great addition to pasta and meatball sliders.

I got lots of deals like $0.49 Dawn Dish Detergent, $0.67 Puffs tissues, $0.50 Heinz BBQ, $0.25 Betty Crocker Brownies, $0.39 Tetley Tea Bags, $0.08 Light Brown Sugar, $0.75 Suave Body Wash, $1.44 Country Crock Sticks, $0.87 HT Margarine and $1.77 Quaker Chewy Bars.

I did the meal deal which was $7.99 for 5 items including the Seattle's Best Coffee, Dozen Eggland's Best Eggs, Aunt Jemima Waffles/Pancakes, Jimmy Dean Sausage Roll, and Mrs. Buttersworth Syrup.  They were out of the syrup so the customer service person let me substitute the extra dozen eggs instead of the syrup which I didn't really want anyway!!  I used an electronic coupon, printed coupon and the meal deal to get the coffee for $1.83 and I will use for a Christmas present.  I got the Jimmy Dean sausage for free after meal deal and coupon.  I got one dozen eggs for $1.12 and the other for $1.56.  I got the waffles for $0.94.  I think that those were all a great price even though I didn't have coupons for the eggs or the waffles.

Because I knew that my total wasn't going to be high enough, I went to the deli counter and got the boneless, skinless chicken for $1.99 per pound.  I got 4.45 lbs so it was $8.86 which made the difference in the total to keep it high enough to get the different deals.  It basically ended up being free with the coupon for $10 off!!  Who doesn't like a way to get free meat!!

The Liberte Yogurt rang up incorrectly at $1.69 and so did the Heinz mustard (at $2.69) so customer service refunded the total price to me instead of just the difference between the price that it was supposed to ring up so I got $4.58 back on my credit card.  I didn't realize until after I got to the car that the $2 promotion didn't come off for the Suave Body Wash but since customer service was already so nice I didn't bother going back to ask for $2 more refunded.

I did a bunch of rebates from the one shopping trip.  MobiSave had $0.10 for eggs and $1.00 for Seattle's Best Coffee.  Checkout 51 had $0.50 for Egglangs Best, $0.75 for Country Crock (limit 2), and Heinz BBQ $1.00.  Ibotta had $0.25 for eggs and $1.00 for the Cook Perfect Meatballs.  I turned in my receipts for all of those and I also get the Saving Star coupons automatically for $2 off Suave Body Wash, $0.50 off Country Crock, and $0.30 Liberte Yogurt.  All of the rebates combined were $8.15!!  Nice little bonus and I finally have gotten over the $20 total for all my accounts so I can cash out if I want to on most of the systems.

Total OOP $58.24

Super excited with my trips to the store and how much food I got.  I know that I have a lot of cooking and baking ahead of me with lots of supplies.  I also have a bunch of chicken, turkey and meatballs even though I said that I didn't need to get anymore protein just last month.  We will cook the turkey for Christmas but the sales are only found at Thanksgiving but we like to have one at Christmas too.  I know that I didn't buy all of my items at Harris Teeter at the lowest price but the bonus $10 off and the bargain turkey price helped make it be the best possible deal.  Also super excited by the $1.49 for 10 pounds of potatoes so that should last us at least two months (hopefully).

How is your month going so far??

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Angel of Forest Hill Book Review

I was so excited to get to read another Cindy Woodsmall book because I love her writing and characters but this was extra nice because it was a Christmas book!!  I love Christmas books!!  They are just what I need to get me in the season.  The Angel of Forest Hill: An Amish Christmas Romance by Cindy Woodsmall was a quick read and very enjoyable.

Because of Joel’s impossible situation, twenty-one-year-old Rose must sacrifice everything. As days pass into years in the midst of the beautiful hills, the laughter of children, and God’s providence—is it too much for Rose to hope for love in return?

An amazing journey toward love and belonging, filled with the wonder of the season of Christ’s birth.

When Old Order Amish Rose Kurtz is asked to leave her family, travel deep into West Vir­ginia, and help Joel Dienner with his children in the wake of tragedy, the quiet young woman recognizes a home where she might find kindness instead of criticism and hope replacing harsh words. She agrees to stay in Forest Hill and become Joel’s wife for the sake of his family needs, but their marriage is to be a partnership, one built from need, not love and affection.

As the years pass, Rose continues to beckon Joel to join life again, to take joy in his growing children, and to awaken his heart to the possibility of new love. Joel hopes that Rose can move beyond deep-rooted hurts to see the beautiful Christmas ahead, their season. But will the arrival of a beautiful widow and a series of misunderstandings reverse how far Rose and Joel have come?

Amish, Christmas and Romance!!!  WHAT?!  All in one book.  This book was a great mix of these things for Rose who was asked to move to this new home in a new area and care for someone else's children who just passed away after the birth of her new child.  This quiet young women makes the best of a tough situation and decides to stay in Forest Hill to be Joel's wife and take care of the children.  It is amazing to watch the relationship with these children unfold and create great love in her life.  There are many twists and turns through the book but you have to pick it up to find out what happens.  I hope that you enjoy this short book as much as I did. I know that it will get you in the Christmas spirit if you are looking for a book to do that, this is the perfect match.

**I received a copy of this book for my review and honest opinion.  All opinions here are my own and not required.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 11/7

Monday- Chicken fries, buffalo chicken with homemade french fries
Tuesday- Pumpkin Gnocchi with Rosemary Butter Sauce
Wednesday-Lasagna with garlic bread
Thursday-Leftover Lasagna
Friday- Roast Chicken with potatoes and asparagus
Saturday- Soup and sandwiches with leftovers
Sunday-Breakfast for dinner

I actually did pretty well last week with the menu plan and stuck to the plan even after getting sick.  I made things ahead of time which always works out well for the ability to follow a plan.  I cooked meat over the weekend and froze some of it. Some if it I used to make french dip sloppy joe meat while some I made salsa sloppy joe meat.  I made a big batch of taco meat which was supposed to also make enchiladas until one night after dinner I looked up to see my husband eating some of the taco meat that was set to make enchiladas.  Goodness!!  I guess the best laid plans are quickly changed.  I also didn't take the lasagna out in time which was fine because I had some leftovers on Friday night and crescent rolls to use up so I made some pizza wraps instead Saturday for lunch.  There is always flexibility in every plan.

This week I took out the lasagna with plans to have it on the weekend but then it was cold and rainy and we ended up eating it earlier in the week.  I have some chicken to make one night so I guess we will see what the extra not planned nights bring.  Hope you have a great week!!

The Pursuit Book Review

I put this book on reserve while reading the first few books in the series.  I was hooked from the start of the series and I couldn't wait to get to this book.  The Pursuit: A Fox and O'Hare Novel by Lee Goldberg was an exciting new chapter of this great saga!!  Here is hoping that there is another one soon!

Nicolas Fox, international con man, thief, and one of the top ten fugitives on the FBI’s most-wanted list, has been kidnapped from a beachfront retreat in Hawaii. What the kidnapper doesn’t know is that Nick Fox has been secretly working for the FBI. It isn’t long before Nick’s covert partner, Special Agent Kate O’Hare, is in hot pursuit of the crook who stole her con man.

The trail leads to Belgium, France, and Italy, and pits Nick and Kate against their deadliest adversary yet: Dragan Kovic, an ex–Serbian military officer. He’s plotting a crime that will net him billions . . . and cost thousands of American lives.  Nick and Kate have to mount the most daring, risky, and audacious con they’ve ever attempted to save a major U.S. city from a catastrophe of epic proportions. Luckily they have the help of an eccentric out-of-work actor, a bandit who does his best work in the sewers, and Kate’s dad, Jake. The pressure’s on for Nick and Kate to make this work—even if they have to lay their lives on the line.

Nicolas Fox and Kate O'Hare have a fun relationship that always lands them in trouble of some sort or another.  In this book, they end up in the middle of a ex-Serbian military group that is looking to weaponize a virus.  Nicolas and Kate can't let that happen so they come up with the only logically plan to convince the bad guys that they are breaking in and getting the disease.  Of course, it is never as simple as that because there are a lot of things that go wrong.  You will have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the books in the series.  I have really enjoyed them a lot.  Although I was a little sad when this on my library reserve shelf because I have been waiting for what seemed like forever for the new numbers series book which I thought I was getting.

Friday, November 4, 2016

October Reading Review

I post a review of every book that I read whether from the library or from the publisher sent for the review.  I enjoy my reading and aim to get 100 books read each year which I usually exceed because I love reading!!  I have so many books that I had in my reading pile this month and there wasn't enough time to get them read in time but I worked pretty hard to get them done and the reviews posted.

Check out these book below and if you missed the original review and summary, click on the title and it will take you back to the original post.  I hope that you enjoy a few of these and add them to your own reading list!!

by Sherryl Woods

by Beverly Lewis

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

by Wanda E. Brunstetter

by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Cook's Country Eats Local
by America's Test Kitchen

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood
by Sarah Humphrey

A Sister's Wish
by Shelley Shepard Gray

An Amish Family Christmas
by Shelley Shepard Gray

Christian's Hope
by Ervin R. Stutzman

I hope that you add a few of these books to your readings list and enjoy them as much as I did!!  I know that I was glad to read all of them this month!!

Reading for 2016

January           13
February          11
March              9
April                 8
May                 9
June                 9
July                   16
August               18
September           9
October            10

Total Books        112

Currently Reading:

The Pursuit
by Janet Evanovich

Thursday, November 3, 2016

F is for Feather, Flower, Flamingos, Firetrucks and more

 There are so many words that start with F so it is hard to know where to start!!  I usually make a list of the words that I think would be good projects or good words to look for in books.

F is for feather, flower, finger prints, flamingos, firetrucks, firemen, fish, fox, fly, frog, feet, fork, farm and fall.

This is a great chart that we are using in our classroom to talk about the letter and how it is formed.  The great thing is that it can be laminated and used for every letter or you can do a smaller version that you have for each letter if only doing one on one.  It is a great format to talk about the letter.

With school and with my son, picking some books with each letter is very important.  Some of our "F book" favorites are:

by Peter Sis

by  Jonathan Londen
and all of the other great Froggy series

by Arnold Lobel

by Jane Miller

by Rev. W. Awdry and Richard Courtney

For a list of more F books, please look here.

There are some activities suggested on the Measured Mom website here.   With my son we did lots of things including dressing up in a firemen's costume and playing a hiding game under the fire hats.

We also put together a firetruck floor puzzle from Melissa and Doug that I got at a consignment sale which we use quite often.  It make a really big puzzle across a large part of the floor.
At school we have frogs that the kids can line up and make patterns or just arrange on the log for fun.  These always seem to be popular.  There are small, medium and large which are often mommy, daddy and baby frogs with the kids.

In the media table we had a fishing game.  They are magnetic fishing poles and they can pick up fish out of the blue and green pellets.  This is a big set from Lakeshore Learning which can be found here.

At home, we did it on a smaller scale with this fishing puzzle we had from Melissa and Doug.  It was easier to use the puzzle but we also pulled the pieces out and put them on a blue sheet to represent the water.  My son used the couch pillow to sit on an "island" outside the water to fish for them.

At school we made paper plate foxes with tissue paper and orange ears, two eyes and a nose.

We also made fall trees where the children used a bundle of q-tips to paint with and they dipped them into red, orange and yellow paint to make the fall leaves on the tree that they colored.  You can see that they are all unique.  It is also a nice F word to use a crushed up piece of foil to make these neat leaves.

There are some great resourced out there to print for free including the F monster from website and many other F activities including tracing pages, puzzles and mazes found here.  There is a limit of how many things that you can download a month but it is free to set up an account to get these great resources.

There is another site that is free and doesn't need a log on but it is a little harder to navigate.  There is a letter in both color and black and white which has the letter uppercase and lower case to trace and then a word.  There are also some areas for the dot marker.  We bought the bingo daubers at the dollar store in every color that they came in and I can tell you that my son is almost 8 years old and I still find uses for them including his Book It Reading Calendar!!  They are still going strong and not running out so he was able to pick out a color or make a pattern to make.  Here is a link to all the letters.

The kids also did the fish book page that is going to be part of a book at the end of the year with a letter for each one that we studied so that they can have their own book.  It is a lot like the one on this website and they provide the template if you want to make your own!!

At school, they also decorate the letters that go up on the wall with the items that start with the letter.  We did feathers and finger prints and each kid put a few on both.

Hope that you and yours have fun finding all the F things that you can do because there are so many ways to add fun to learning about letters!!!