Thursday, August 31, 2017

Starting Over on Blackbery Lane Book Review

I was at the library looking for something to fit in with the summer reading program and I was excited to find a book that I didn't think that I read in a series that I loved!!  Starting Over on Blackberry Lane: A Romance Novel (Life in Icicle Falls) by Sheila Roberts was in the new release section and I was happy to grab it and bring it home to find out if I had read it and if I missed any others in the series!!  I was so happy to have another installment into this great series.

Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.
Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.
She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it's time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.

 This was super close to home with the construction that never ended up I still loved the book.  Grant moved into town to start his own handyman business to help the people of Icicle Falls where his son lives.  Stefanie was dealing with her husband starting construction projects and never finishing them.  Griffin broke up with her boyfriend and had to fix up her house to sell it in order to move.  Cass has been living for years in town raising her child ren and now she is starting the next lonely chapter of her life.  Sadly, he roof isn't standing up to the test of time so she needs a handyman to fix it.  She decides that she needs the handyman for more then that but he isn't interested because of their difference in age.  I hope that you check out this book and others in this great series.  I really enjoyed this quick jump back into the town and characters that I liked so much before.  It is like picking up a piece of their lives and being able to see right back into the picture after reading the whole series before.  I love when new books come out!!  I can't wait for the next in this great series and I better keep better track of new books!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Just Plain Sadie Book Review

I was excited to get to the next book and see that I got to know more about Lorie's sister, Sadie.  Just Plain Sadie (A Wells Landing Romance) by Amy Lillard was all about Sadie who considered herself very plain and boring. 

The Amish of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, treasure their close-knit community, and the promise of their growing families. But one young woman is struggling to choose a future that is true to both her heart and her faith…

Everyone in Wells Landing has long expected Sadie Kauffman and Chris Flaud to marry--despite Sadie's telling them differently. While she loves Chris, it is more as a friend than a husband. Yet at twenty-two, the plainest girl in her group, Sadie is also the only one who is still single. Perhaps it's time to be practical and marry Chris--though he still has not asked. But when Sadie meets a kind, handsome Mennonite, it seems her prayers have been answered…

With Ezra Hein, Sadie at last feels the joy she nearly gave up on. Unfortunately, others only feel shock that she would consider marrying an outsider. To complicate matters, Chris has finally begun talking to Sadie about their future. Distressed, Sadie will have to search her heart to recognize God's marvelous gifts to her--and find the courage to accept them, challenges and all…

Sadie was in the last books but this book gets to know Sadie a lot more.  She was matched up with a friend early on and it was assumed that she and Chris would be married.  Chris decided that he wants to explore the world and go to Europe so she knows that her life is going to be changed forever because there are no other husbands on her horizon.  She meets and is immediately attracted to Ezra who is a Mennonite who raises exotic meats.  Sadie and her family restaurant buy meat from him and get to tour his farm.  In the process, Ezra and Sadie start secretly dating because she is afraid her mother might kick her out like she did her sister Lorie before her.  It is a great story and really shows a lot of sides to Sadie.  I hope that you pick it up and follow the journey yourself.  I hope that you check out this book and the others in the Wells Landing series and enjoy them as much as I have.  I got a few books out that were quick turn arounds so I actually didn't get to read the next book in the series but I am sure excited to get back to this series soon!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lorie's Heart Book Review

I was excited to get to the third book in this series.  Lorie's Heart (A Wells Landing Romance) by Amy Lillard was the next book in my pile to read from the library.  I have so many library books that I have had on my list this summer and I got a bunch out early on so that I could read through the piles quickly and now I have been spending the summer renewing the books.  I can't believe that I have barely gotten through my whole pile yet and the summer is almost over.

Welcome back to Wells Landing, Oklahoma, the tranquil Amish community where still waters run deep and a brave young woman sets out to discover her faith, her family, and herself…

Lorie Kauffman is grief-stricken when her father passes away unexpectedly. But her heartache quickly turns to bewilderment when she discovers he’d been leading two lives—one of simplicity and hard work in Wells Landing, and one fraught with painful ordeals in Tulsa. As she starts digging into her family’s past, Lorie finds herself torn between the Amish world and the Englisch world—and she’s no longer certain where she belongs…

Lorie knows that if she leaves Wells Landing, she may never be able to return. But what if her destiny lies in the outside world—the world her father knew so well? Change is never easy, but with a bit of courage and the help of a handsome and kind-hearted Englischer, she just may find the peace, acceptance, and love she’s been longing for…

I enjoyed getting to know Lorie Kauffman and was sad with all of the things that she was going through after her father's death.  She learned that he not who he said he was after seeing a tattoo on his chest when they identified the body at the morgue.  She followed the mystery and revealed truths about herself and her past including finding her long lost grandmothers.  It was a heartwarming and heart breaking story of family and being an individual.  She gave up her hopes and dreams to come back to her family but she was miserable.  I thought it was a great story and an amazing journey but you have to pick up the book to see for yourself.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the Wells Landing series.  I know that I have enjoyed the stories and the characters a lot.  I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 8/28

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Meatball Sliders
Thursday- Grilled Chicken with white rice
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Paninis with leftovers
Sunday- Leftovers??

It is the first week back to school already.  I am super sad to see my little guy going back to school but I know that I will have a lot of extra time to get things together so I am looking forward to having some time to myself.  I asked him if he would rather stay home with me and he told me that he would rather be learning!  I didn't point out that we have done plenty of learning but excited that he was ready to go back to school.

Although my first day of freedom is going to be going to physical therapy for my feet and doing more house work and hoping to make it to super doubles because I didn't make it on Sunday.  YUCK!!  I thought I was going to be able to sit around and eat bon-bons!  I am most likely going to make a list on Monday that will last me through the whole week because I can never get all the things done that I want in one day.

Great news is that I am 90% positive after driving around in circles in a parking lot we have identified the squeaking noise in my car that was leaving me baffled and irritated for the last week.  It was the garage door opener moving back and worth so glad that I didn't give up and take it to the shop because they would have most certainly made fun of me and looked at me like I was an idiot.

Glad to have a meal plan and started on the plan for next month.  Feeling exhausted but accomplished.  Time for a nap!  I hope that you have a tasty week!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Courting Emily Book Review

I was excited to get back to this series after a long break although I couldn't remember anything from the first book.  Courting Emily (A Wells Landing Romance) by Amy Lillard is the second book in the Wells Landing series.  I was looking forward to getting back into some Amish fiction.

Return to Wells Landing, the close-knit Amish community in Oklahoma, where a hopeful young woman struggles to find true love while staying true to her faith. . .

Emily Ebersol is the bishop's daughter, and everyone--including Emily--assumes she'll marry a faithful Amish man and live out her days within the community. But her childhood sweetheart, Luke Lambright, fell in love with racing cars during his rumspringa and decided to leave Wells Landing. Emily prays for his return, but as the months go by, she begins spending time with another young man--a man who may not be as exciting as Luke, but perhaps he's exactly what she needs. . .

Elam Rhiel knows that Emily has always been in love with Luke--but he is certain he could be the loyal, steady husband Emily deserves. Then, just as Emily begins to fall for him, Luke returns and complicates her feelings. Now, they all must learn that the greatest love requires the greatest sacrifice. . .

Emily was dealing with the high expectations of being the Bishop's daughter while the man that she loved left the faith.  She is waiting for him to return to Wells Landing and to her but he has started his career as a race car driver.  She has put her life on hold waiting for the future with Luke but he has said that he won't return.  Elam is worried about his dad and supporting his family after his dad's accident.  He has the weight of everything on him and he is breaking under the pressure.  Emily sees what the family needs and starts to help bring them together again.  The family is healing and many things are changing but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and others in this interesting series.  The author and series are still a little new to me and I am enjoying getting to know these new characters and locations.  I hope that you check them out too!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Christmas in Eternity Springs Book Review

I was sad and excited to get to the last book in the Eternity Springs series.  Christmas in Eternity Springs: An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March was the 12th book in the series.  It was also all about Christmas so it worked to check off a box in my summer reading bingo from one of the local libraries.  I was pretty excited to get a lot read because I really liked the series.  When I went to look up this book, I found a new book on Amazon so I was really excited!!!  I went straight to the reserve at the library to see if I could get it!!

Can Miss Christmas find her spirit again?  After a devastating betrayal, Claire Branham packs up the pieces of her life, along with a twenty-million-dollar secret, and moves to Eternity Springs. She opens a specialty shop―Forever Christmas―and, with the help of a surprise romance with the town’s sexy new handyman, Claire’s heart begins to heal. Until her past comes knocking…
Jax Lancaster never questioned the need to abandon his career as a Navy submariner in order to care for his young son in the wake of his ex-wife’s death. Desperate to help with this loss, Jax straps on a tool belt to give Nicholas the one thing he wants: A life in Eternity Springs. What Jax never expected to find a second chance at love with a fascinating woman for whom Christmas has become a business. But when the truth about Claire threatens their newfound happiness, can Jax prove to her that in Eternity Springs, the spirit of Christmas is real. . .and will last a lifetime?

This book was all about Claire Branham who moved to town and opened up the Christmas shop, Forever Christmas.  She was living in Forever Christmas to try to get over her past heart breaks around the holiday.  It was interesting to learn so many secrets so quickly because both of the characters were new to the story. Jax was dealing with getting out of the Navy and having to raise his child who had gone through trauma when he was with his mother for days after she was killed.  It was hard for Jax to build that life in Seattle because he was getting so much interference from his in-laws.  Nicholas was his main focus so he decided to move back to where he was happy after his camp in Eternity Springs.  These three are quickly joined in a way that makes them hard to separate but you will be amazed at what does split them up and all the ups and downs in this story.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the Eternity Springs series and enjoy it as much as I have!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

84, Charing Cross Road Book Review

I wasn't sure about this summer reading bingo at one of the libraries but I knew that I was going to do my best to try to complete it.  I needed to get a lot of it done before heading back to the library the next week so that I could turn it in and not miss the deadline.  I asked the librarian for some help on some of the squares that I hadn't filled in with some of my other summer reading.  The one that I didn't know what to read was a book of letters and she recommended 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff and James Roose-Evans.  I was finishing up my previous book and then got a chance to read this fast read.

This charming classic love story, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, at the time, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that has touched the hearts of thousands of readers around the world.

I hope that you check out this interesting collections of letters that makes up a wonderful heartwarming and sad story.  Helene Hanff was writing to a used bookstore in England because she loved books and wanted to get good prices.  It was during a hard time in England and the people there were on rations.  Over the time of the story,  Helene got to know the people and they frequently talked like they were best friends.  It was a great story and it really put you into the time.  I know that I was surprised how much I liked it!!  I want to check out other books by the author now!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing Book Review

I was excited to finally get the next book in the series that was a long time coming.  Amish Cooking Class - The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter was on reserve for a long time and finally came on the reserve shelf.  I had a few other books that I needed to finish but I was excited to check this one out.  I knew that I needed to make sure to read it quickly before it was due because I couldn't renew it since there was such a long wait list.

Six new cooking class students.  New friendships form, a romance blossoms, and hearts receive healing nourishment. Will Heidi’s own hurting heart also be healed?  Despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Lyle and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi’s table.  During each class, Heidi teaches culinary skills, but it is her words of wisdom that have a profound effect on her students—though, this time Heidi’s own hurting heart will need some healing nourishment.

There are some great stories and wonderful recipes for all of the things that they make in the book at the end.  The recipes in this book that are taught in Heidi's cooking class are Baked Oatmeal, Amish Friendship Bread, Chicken in a Crumb Basket, Apple Corn Bread, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and Christmas Crunch Salad.  I loved getting to know all of the new people taking Heidi's cooking class because it is always the meat of the story because they have many things going on in their lives.  Heidi and Lyle are dealing with the fall out that Kendra has decided that she doesn't want to give the baby up because her parents said that she can move back into the house.  In order to fill the void, Heidi decided to start another cooking class.  She has 6 people sign up:  Nicole a teenager with too much stress at home after her mom left, Allie who is dealing with her police officer husband and hoping that he isn't cheating, Bill who is a little lonely with no more family around, Lisa who is focused on building her catering business, Todd who is a food critic for the newspaper, and Lance the local mailman.  This unlikely bunch is pulled together with the cooking and baking but ended up bringing their problems to the group by the end of the book.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and enjoy them as much as I have!  I think that you will be surprised by these problems and how they are resolved.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 8/21

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Tacos
Thursday- Pizza at the Pool
Friday- Grilled Worcestershire Chicken with white rice
Saturday-Homemade Pizza
Sunday- Chopped Salad and Leftovers

I would like to say that I did well last week but I actually I forgot to take food out of the freezer so I had to do leftovers on Wednesday night.  I did Spedies Chicken instead of the whole chicken because of the defrost time.  We did Philly Cheesesteak pasta on Friday because it was easy and I used the small 6 oz bag of hamburger meat which defrosted quickly and was more then enough.  We went with Calzone and Pizza homemade on Saturday night with Baked Breaded Zucchini with dipping sauce.  It was quick and tasty and I made the best of my bad planned.  I am trying to do better this week and pull out the food when I need to so we don't have a frozen rock at dinner time.  I used up all the lettuce so I had to head to the store to have tacos on Wednesday but we had everything else ready for the week.  I hope that you have a tasty week!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reunion Pass Book Review

I was excited to read the next book in the series of Eternity Springs.  Reunion Pass: An Eternity Springs novel by Emily March is the eleventh and the last book of this series so it is a little bitter sweet.  I can't believe that I made it to the end of the series and the end of the summer.  I enjoyed this series that I chose to read this summer.  I hope that you check it out and enjoy it for yourself.  This was a great one because it followed two characters that we have seen throughout the series so it was exciting to get to know them a little better.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART.  Six years ago, Chase Timberlake bought an engagement ring for his high school sweetheart Lori Reese. happened. Chase’s adventure photography career took off, Lori’s dream of getting into veterinary school came true, and their happily ever after never came to pass.  When Chase’s jet-setting life takes a tragic turn, he returns to Eternity Springs a damaged man. Who better to help mend his spirit than the woman who has dedicated her life to healing broken wings? Long summer days spent together rekindles the love that never died and Chase dares to dream of a future he’d thought lost.But Lori can’t help but wonder whether this high-flying man really wants a small-town girl with roots sunk deep into the Colorado Rockies. Can she and Chase turn back the hands of time and pick up where they left off―and give forever a chance?

A great end to the series of books with Chase and Lori finding ways to heal each other from the early college relationship to the grown up friendship that they build.  Chase has been working as a photographer and engaged to another women, Lana, when he takes a trip out of the country that changes his life.  Things go terribly wrong when Lana requires that three men go on a helicopter ride to take more pictures of the remote area that there is reported terrorist activity.  Their helicopter malfunctions and no one at camp responds to their beacons.  There are many horrors that happen in that wilderness but he is found and brought home.  Living by himself, Lori is the only person to break through his grief to help him heal.  He holds a special place for her and after months of living as a hermit, he comes into town because he has decided that he needs to return the dog that Lori left at his yurt in the woods.  The magic healing of Eternity Springs and the dog that Chase names Captain helps Chase to recover and heal.  You need to pick up the book to find out all that happens in this book but I think that you will be surprised.  I hope that you read this book and the rest of the Eternity Springs series and enjoy it as much as I have.  I can't believe that I have reached the end but I am looking forward to reading the Christmas special soon to end on a happy holiday note.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Heartsong Cottage Book Review

I had to double check a few times but I had this labeled as the 10th book in the series.  WHAT?!  Where did the whole series go to?  I feel like I just started it but I also feel like the summer just started and we only have three weeks left until school starts here.  I can't believe how quickly I have gone through this series this summer.  Heartsong Cottage (Eternity Springs) by Emily March is indeed the 10th book in this series which includes only 11 (and a Christmas special).

Two weary strangers are about to rest their burdens in Eternity Springs, where there's hope for every broken heart. Haunted by the loss of his wife and son, Daniel Garrett left the police force to devote his life to finding missing children. But he still hasn't found a way to mend the wounds of his past-until he attends a wedding in the small mountain town of Eternity Springs...and meets a beautiful, intriguing woman who offers a glimpse of something Daniel thought he'd never have again.  Shannon O'Toole isn't looking for romance. Ever since her fiancĂ©'s death, she created a quiet life for herself restoring Victorian cottages. Still, she can't deny her attraction to the handsome, broad-shouldered stranger. Daniel makes her feel things she's hasn't felt in years-including the desire to share her secrets. But can Shannon trust a detective when doing so could bring danger to her cottage door? In Eternity Springs, anything-and everything-is possible...

This was a great book.  We have met both Daniel and Shannon in previous books.  Daniel was the person who found Hope's daughter Holly and brought her back to her mother.  Shannon was running from something in her past and opened a bar in Eternity Springs.  They are both dealing with rough lives and trying to make the most of the present without overlooking the mistakes of the past.  Are the mistakes of the past causing them more problems in the present then they know?  Both Shannon and Daniel are brought together by their problems and both heal as a result.  Make sure you pick up this book to find out how because I don't think that you will believe it.  I was totally surprised!!  I hope that you check out this book and series for yourself and enjoy it as much as I have. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Teardrop Lane Book Review

I started Teardrop Lane: An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March and was super excited because this was the book that I actually owns that assured that I would eventually get to read this series.  I don't know exactly where I picked it up but I can tell you that it was most likely free through one of the local libraries where I get to do lots of summer reading programs so that I can get free stuff. 

Town physician Rose Anderson hides a well of sadness behind her cheerful and capable professionalism. Heartbreak has only reinforced her belief that marriage and children aren’t in her future. Yet she’s a woman with a pulse—and when sexy, brooding artist Hunt Cicero shows up at her office with his young nephew, the sheer physical attraction he ignites in her is both exciting and unsettling.

Hunt has an artist’s passionate temperament and a bachelor’s lifestyle. So when he becomes guardian to his sister’s children, he’s riddled with conflict—and in way over his head. Without Rose and her warm maternal instincts, he’d be lost. Still, she’s a woman who guards her own heart, and he’s a novice when it comes to commitment. Can the healing magic of Eternity Springs shine on this patchwork family and allow Hunt and Rose to trust that  love is the fabric holding them together?

I was so excited to get to know both Rose and Hunt through this book after meeting them both in previous books.  Rose, sister to Sage, was brought to the town after dealing with cancer to reconnect with her sister.  She was a mystery before this only meeting her through contact as her position as town doctor.  In this book, you get to know so much about Rose's past and future through her relationship with Hunter Cicero, the glass blower friend of Gabi's.  Hunter is a womanizer and moved back to the US in order to be closer to his sister because she is going through cancer treatments.  In this book we meet the bachelor who has recently taken on caring for his sisters children after her death.  He has a tough past being in foster care and growing up without a family and then he is in the middle of raising children that were not expected.  I loved the story with the kids and all of the joys and troubles of raising children.  I was immediately glad that I got to know more about these two characters.  I thought this was a great book even though it was super sad.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and enjoy them as much as I have.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Middle of the Month Budget Update for Grocery and Eating Out

I think that last month seemed to go quickly and slowly at the same time.  I am starting to feeling that this month is the same.  I thought we were almost to the halfway point of the month but there was only week gone from the month!!!  I think that means that I have been in the grocery store too much!  The great thing is that I have gotten some great deals.  I also turned in a bunch of rebates so I am working hard to get the most for the budget this month for sure!

Aldi $40.78

I went to the store at the beginning of the month like the first day because we had a long list of things that we were already out of or getting close so I decided that I would make an effort to get everything so that I wouldn't have to turn around and go right back.  Here is hoping that these last me through the whole month but my boys finished two bags of chips in a week so it isn't looking good.

Harris Teeter $17.06

There was a deal where you got toilet paper for $9.99 each less $1 coupon which doubled during super doubles.  If you bought $15 of Cottonelle then you got a $3 catalina.  It wasn't the worst price but it wasn't the best price but I thought it was a good deal.  I put in for an Ibotta rebate for $0.50 off Cottonelle and $0.25 any item.

Harris Teeter $0.70

I ended up getting something messed up something in the transaction and it ended up negative which I hate because I am much better planning before for getting things for added money.   I added the Trident gum and held on to four coupons which should have been added in.  I hate wasting overage on things that aren't really food but there was a line and not my regular store or cashier so I didn't want to cause them to change their mind on the transaction.  I really should have bought a candy bar for myself instead of more gum for my husband.

I got lots for free including the rice, Plum fruit pouches, Imagine broth, crescent rolls,  ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, Oui French yogurt, and Crest toothpaste.  The potatoes were $0.99 each five lbs bag.  The pizza dough was $0.19 each. The Mr. Sketch markers were $0.99.  The Rev wrap was $0.50.  The trident gum was my last addition at $1.00 to make it positive because they rang up the meat wrong again so I made a profit!!

I put in a rebate for Checkout 51 for $0.75 for the Hormel REV Wrap so I ended up making money on everything.  I am going to get $1 back from Saving Star for the crescent rolls.

Harris Teeter $0.06

There was a deal on the new Healthy Soap for free after coupon and electronic coupon so I thought that it would make a good teacher gift with the other things that I got.  I also grabbed the Mr. Sketch skinny markers which were free after coupons.  I only had to pay tax and nothing else which is my favorite.

Harris Teeter $6.34

I got a bunch of things in this transaction and I don't really know how the price got so high because lots of things were free including the broth, ricotta, Crest, Greek Yogurt, Plum pouches, and the Ortega Taco Seasoning.  The pizza crust was $0.19 each which I didn't actually pay attention too because they were $2.99 last time and the price just went up.  My expensive purchases were the Kernel Popcorn seasoning for $1.24 each and the Centrum vitamins $2.49.  I used my $3 catalina to pay for part of the transaction.

I paid $0.50 each for the kids toothpaste and toothbrush and got back the $2.00 from Ibotta.  I paid $0.67 for the Puffs and put in $0.75 back from Checkout 51.  I will get $2 back from Saving Star for the Centrum Vitamins if the card is recognized because there is some other card number at the top of the receipt :(  I am getting really bummed because last time there was another card number on the screen and I made her cancel the transaction but I didn't see it this time which might cost me $2!

Harris Teeter $1.73

This was the weirdest transaction that I have done in a long time and I had to shop with my son so I couldn't really concentrate so I gave up and left before I had everything.  I got the free Tetley tea, Crest toothpaste, Splenda Naturals, Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream, Northland juice, So Delicous yogurt, and cresent rolls.  I paid $0.19 for the pizza dough and $0.99 for the lettuce.  The coffee was something that I got because it was a money maker and it turns out that I couldn't even find it on the receipt!!!

The cereal was supposed to be $1.97 limit 4 but I couldn't figure out which ones were on sale.  I brought four up to customer service to check to see which ones were on sale.  Two of the ones that I picked weren't on sale and so I went back to try again.  I got two Raisin Bran and two Special K but they didn't ring up correctly and the cashier rang up the wrong number.  I went to customer service they gave me $5.54 back for the extra cereal charged and the corrected pricing.

I turned in a Ibotta rebate for the Splenda Naturals for $1.25 each limit 2 but they said that they couldn't find it on the receipt!!  There is a Saving Star promo for Splenda so if I buy three more then I will get $5 back through Saving Star for buying $20.00 worth so I am on the hunt!!

Harris Teeter $3.15

I found one more box of Splenda but the store that I went to didn't have any more but said that the a truck was coming in later in the day.  I turned in this for the Ibotta $1.25 rebate so that I didn't loose it altogether.  It started to make me feel like I was planning a bank heist but I knew that I couldn't make it back with all the things that I had planned.  I got the rice and Crest free.  I grabbed the Annie's cereal for $0.50 and there will be a $1 Saving Star rebate so it a money maker and tasty treat.  I got the Annie's crackers and after sale, coupon and $0.50 Saving Star rebate it was a moneymaker.  The Eight O'Clock Coffee was a money maker after sale, coupon and $1.50 Checkout 51 rebate so I got it for a present for my in-laws because we don't drink.  The Old El Paso seasoning was $3.45 for the 3 of them less $2 for the doubled coupon so $1.45 OOP and there was a $1 Saving Star rebate.  I thought they were a little cheaper so I might have messed that one up and should have passed on the seasoning because that is way above what I normally pay for taco seasoning.

Harris Teeter $2.97

I finally found the Dole Mixations that I had been carrying the coupons around for at the 4th different Harris Teeter I went to.  I got my three and picked up the Pringles for $1.49 after sale and coupon and electronic coupon.  My son was excited but wanted to get more but I told him there was only one.  The Advil was a money maker after all was done but with a shelf price of $5.29, I hesitated on buying it.  I used a $2 coupon which doubled so I paid $1.29 OOP.  There was a Saving Star rebate for $2 and $1.50 Ibotta rebate.

Harris Teeter $0.27

I went to another store and got two more toothpaste and the last Dole Mixation that I had a coupon for and only paid tax.

Harris Teeter $4.22

I got free Crest and So Delicious Yogurt.  The Annie's had a new electronic coupon that I didn't catch at the last store so I grabbed it and it was a money maker.  I found the popcorn on sale for half off so I grabbed 8 lbs of popcorn.  It doesn't go to waste here because we go through a lot.

Harris Teeter $3.58

I was hitting rock bottom and already on my third store of this day and to a Harris Teeter that I have literally never even seen.  I went in search of the Splenda which I didn't find.  I got another set of markers for $0.99, two Crest for free, Kid's Crest for $0.50 (turned in rebate for $0.50), and Fairlife Milk for $1.50 (turned in $0.75 rebate).

Harris Teeter $0.24

Decided that I would go to yet another Harris Teeter even though it was getting close to the end of super doubles.  There was no Splenda here either but I got two Crest and headed home exhausted and totally full on toothpaste for a long time.

Harris Teeter -$5.22

How is it even fair that they post a great week with coupons the week after super doubles but they did.  I got the Hamburger Helper, Freezer to Plate, Old El Paso Taco Shells and Colgate free after sale and coupons.  The Scalloped Potatoes were $0.50 each but I need one more item to get the $1 Saving Star rebate with the Hamburger helper so it will be paid back with that rebate.  The Annie's Cereal was $0.50 but I thought the other box was tasty so I decided to go for it.  The Cinnamon Toast Crunch was $2.50 less $0.50 coupon that doubled for each and the $1/2 electronic coupon so they were $1 each and I will get $1/2 back from Saving Star.  It also happens to be my son's favorite cereal so it was a little more then I would pay but he hasn't had it in awhile.

Aldi $0.81

I got a container for the store brand cool whip for my son because he likes it on pancakes instead of syrup and we were totally out.  I don't know if it is any healthier but he likes it.

Harris Teeter $0.05

I stopped back at the store on our way from other errands and I got two boxes of scalloped potatoes and two bags of candy.  I forgot to look for the noodles that were on sale.  Oops!!  It was a busy day for sure so grocery shopping was the last thing on my mind.

I went to lots of super doubles events and there is usually a few things that they have to get for free but I really feel like I got so many more things this time even though I was a little unorganized.  I was really happy that I worked really hard to get the deals and made the time to go to lots of stores and check for stock. I might have over done the shopping because I was wiped out after it and there was no cupboard space left for some of my stuff.  The bad thing is that I hit the beginning of the month pretty hard to get the deals.  I spent $67 in the first week which is way more then a 1/4 of my $160 monthly budget.  I am hoping that it all works out well and I just spend the rest of the month in the kitchen instead of the grocery store.

Total Retail $520.27
Total Savings $443.53
Total OOP $76.74

Hope you are having a good month too!


Eating Out

This month has been pretty good with eating out.  We had friends over and we bought pizza for $16.29.  That was the only expense for eating out.  My mother came into town and took us out for a lunch which was at my son's favorite restaurant and we all ate a ton even though we only ordered a salad, chicken and pizza which we the four of us split.  We all left over stuffed!! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 8/14

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- French Dip Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Thursday- Spiedie Grilled Chicken with white rice
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- ??
Sunday- Leftovers??

Last week went pretty well although we were pretty busy.  We had my son's favorite dinner on Monday followed by Spaghetti on Tuesday.  Super excited that I took out meat ahead for tacos instead of forgetting this week to thaw things.  My Thursday plans were to grill some chicken from the freezer by I bought bone in chicken breasts so I decided to use those instead.  I boiled the other two chicken breasts on Tuesday night and made broth with the rest of the bones and a little bit from the freezer so I didn't waste the broth from the pot.  My mother decided to pop into town on Friday so we had a guest for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night dinner so I quickly had to figure out some meal choices.  I decided to use the pizza crusts that I bought at the store to make some pepperoni and sausage bread to have for an easy dinner with salad and leftovers for Friday night.  The rest of the weekend took a little more thought and searching through the pantry.  I hope that you have a tasty week!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dreamweaver Trail Book Review

I was excited to get to this book and it was hard to put it down with all of the different things going on.  Dreamweaver Trail: An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March  is book 8 of the series.  I can't believe how quickly I am going through this series and I am sad to say that there are only 11 books so I am quickly approaching the end.  It is bitter sweet because I certainly love to meet all of the new characters and become so close to them that I feel like I live in the small Colorado town but I am sad to see it come to an end.

After another lonely Valentine’s Day, Gabi Romano trades mountain snowfall for sunshine and sand at a luxurious Caribbean getaway. There she finds not one but two thrilling new passions: creating art glass, and Flynn Brogan, the sexy caretaker next door who brings her fantasies to life. But when violence interrupts their romantic interlude, she learns that Flynn is living a lie. Heartsick, she decides to concentrate on her craft. Playing with fire is safer than loving a man like Flynn.

Flynn is determined to make things right with Gabi—until his enemies interfere. Now damaged and driven by a need he cannot define, he seeks out Gabi’s Colorado community as a mystery man searching for peace, though not expecting redemption. But he never imagined a place like Eternity Springs, where lives are changed, second chances are given, and the possibility exists for two wounded souls to find their way home . . . to each other. 

This book was a tough one which made it hard to put down.  I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next for Gabi and Flynn.  I read the start of the book at the end of the last book and strangely the author changed the main characters name so when I picked up the book and started, I was super confused because the book sounded familiar but different.  I decided when I finally figured out what happened that I would never read that teaser chapter again because it took me longer to figure out what was going on then if I had just read it.  I still really liked the story once I started with Gabi searching for her new job and a meaning in her life and Flynn doing basically the same thing.  They quickly find each other on the small island in the Caribbean where Gabi is dog sitting and Flynn is hiding out.  They find so much in common so quickly that they can't help but fall quickly in love.  They are both fighting against their past and refusing to believe it.  There is a ton of action in this book and you will have to pick it up to believe it but it is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of this great series.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Miracle Road Book Review

I was super happy to start Miracle Road: An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March which was the next in my very big stack to read.  At the same time, I decided to go through the whole series and write up the drafts of the blog posts to include the beginning, the picture and the summary from Amazon.  I got a bunch up and scheduled them to get posted one day after the next with the hope that I would get them all read before the dates and post the different things on my blog.  I find it helpful to have the draft there so that I can just click and quickly do my beginning and end of the post so that I am not so far behind when I am posting these reviews.  I hope that it helps but I am currently two reviews behind so it isn't working great.

After tragedy strikes his team, college basketball coach Lucca Romano arrives in the haven of Eternity Springs to reassess his life. Even a winning record and big offers can’t dent the wall of guilt that Lucca has built around himself. Nothing can—except maybe a vibrant new neighbor who won’t give up on him.

Schoolteacher Hope Montgomery believes in miracles. She has to believe—because giving up would mean crumbling under the greatest loss a parent can endure. Hope understands Lucca’s suffering; she lives it herself every day. However, the high school team needs his coaching expertise, so she sets out to draw him from his cold, solitary shell and into the warmth of life in their small Rocky Mountain town. But when a weak moment leads to consequences that shake Hope’s faith, it’s up to Lucca to put aside his heartache and show the teacher that here in Eternity Springs broken hearts can heal—just in time for Christmas.

I was excited to get to this book and get to know more of the Romano family.  This has been so interesting to get to meet some new and some old characters in the book series.  This book has Lucca and Hope as the main characters.  Hope is a very positive person who has tons of negative things happen to her through her life.  Her marriage fell apart and she lost her child and she moved to Eternity Springs to rebuild.  Lucca is going through his own loss with a horrible bus crash with his basketball team and loosing three players.  They are both trying to rebuild their lives in this quiet small town but both are having a tough time getting over the past.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the series to enjoy the wonderful town of Eternity Springs and see how the characters overcome their own obstacles to grown and change.  I have enjoyed each book more then the last and I hope that you do too.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

July Reading Review

I had three books piled up at the very beginning of the month and I swore that I was going to be better but the summer got the best of me.  We started a busy schedule very quickly and I didn't keep up with the computer reviews because I didn't have enough time in front of the computer.  I was going to write the reviews at night and the night quickly went by without any typing.  I went to a library program where my son went in and I stayed out and I realized that I had an hour to myself!!!  I got on the computer to start writing reviews but I wasn't even sure which books I had read.  I quickly tried to remember and I came up with a list even though it wasn't in the right order.  I was excited that my memory worked well enough to get them posted with the free time I had.  Although I could say that I would do better, I knew that the summer schedule is too busy and I will be behind again soon enough.  The great news is that I got better because I started sitting down at the computer while my son was in library programs and getting three reviews completed in that time.  It was great to keep up with it all.

Below are the list of the books that I read for the month.  If you click on the title, it will bring you to a summary and review of each book that I have read.  I hope that you add a few of these on your reading list!!!

by Reed Farrel Coleman
by Shelly Sheppard Gray

by Amy Lillard

by Kate Lloyd

by Emily March

by Emily March 

by Emily March

by Joni Meyer- Crothers

by Emily March 

by Bunmi Laditan

by Reed Farrel Coleman

by Lorilee Craker

by Emily March

by Janet Evanovich

by Emily March

Total Books Read for 2017

January    8
February  15
March     17
April      13
May        10
June         10
July          15

Total Books Read     88

Currently Reading:

Miracle Road
by Emily March

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Reflection Point Book Review

I was excited to get to the sixth book in the series, Reflection Point: An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March.  I had enjoyed all of the books in the series so far and I was excited to see which characters were featured in this book.  I was happy and surprised to see that the sheriff, Zach Turner, was the focus of this book. 

Savannah Moore arrives in Eternity Springs alone, determined to put her troubled past behind her. Her handcrafted-soap shop fits right in with the magic of this warm and welcoming community—but the sexy, suspicious local sheriff promises to upset her hard-won happiness.

Zach Turner knows this woman means trouble: Maybe to his town. Possibly to his friends. Definitely to his heart. Something about this simmering Southern beauty does crazy things to his committed bachelor status, taunting him with possibilities far beyond his dedication to his sometimes dangerous job. So when Savannah’s dark past follows her to town, wreaking havoc with both their lives, Zach will fight for all he’s worth—for a love he can’t afford to lose.

Zach has been a staple character in every book as the town sheriff but frequently dating people that he knows aren't right for him.  He finds the right person for him in a new resident, Savannah Moore, and she decides that she isn't right for him.  There is the drama between the two of them going on through the whole book.  At the same time, Savannah is welcoming her teenage nephew into her home to try to raise.  She is trying to build her life on her own after a tough life and she is set that her nephew isn't going to have to live the same hard life.  There are a lot of twists and turn but the end is the biggest surprise which had me quickly picking up the next book to find out what happens next.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series because I think that you will be surprised at all the action and intrigue.  I enjoyed this book and the rest of the series and I hope that you do too.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 8/7

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Tacos
Thursday- Worchestershire Chicken with white rice
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday-Homemade Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Sunday- Leftovers or something creative

 Last week went okay but on Tuesday when I was supposed to make pasta, my husband got a free pizza for work so we got to have pizza and I didn't have to cook.  It was a big win in my book because I didn't have to worry about cooking or any of the dishes.

I got it stuck in my head that we were having tacos on Wednesday but luckily after correcting what I took out, I made the salsa sloppy joes but I realized that I hadn't made the rolls before dinner (insert eye roll) so I started the rolls in the bread maker knowing that they wouldn't be done until after dinner.  I promptly fell asleep on the couch after dinner and forgot about the dough until I went to shut off the kitchen light.  I then formed the rolls and had to let them sit for 30 minutes before baking.  I was wide awake with all that so I started to watch some TV with my husband who fell asleep. 

Thursday was supposed to be grilled chicken and white rice but I forgot to take out the chicken to thaw so I decided that I would use the leftover night because we were going to do pizza at the pool on Friday instead of leftovers.  It was a quick rearrangement but I guess that means that we might have to actually read the menu plan ahead and remember to take things out of the freezer....hopefully better next week.

Friday was pizza and we had pizza Saturday for lunch at a birthday party so I am all pizza-ed out.  I didn't want dinner on Saturday night but my son had spaghetti and my husband had the brats from the fridge.  I decided to be better on Sunday so I made some chicken and white rice.

I tried my best to keep up with the dishes although it was a daily battle to get everything clean.  I think that I did okay with running the dishwasher and getting the other dishes washed.  I cleaned the kitchen and wiped down the counters on day to only make a huge mess 10 minutes later which my husband claims I love to do.  It is like I see a blank canvas and I am read to bake and cook.  I really don't think that way but I do like to start working in a clean kitchen for sure.  Anyone else out there clean the kitchen before they start baking and mess it all up again?? 

I hope that you have a tasty week!!