Saturday, September 30, 2017

End of September Monthly Budget Update

I have a budget for our family of three of $160 per month.  This includes all of our household expenses including groceries, cleaning and all household goods.  I use sales, coupons and any method necessary to stretch my budget as far as I can.  I use meal planning to make sure that we have food for meals during the month and we don't buy anything that we don't need (unless I can get it for free).  Using my pantry and freezer to store things I get at the lowest price allows me to make meals less expensively and stretch our budget through the month.

I cook most of our meals from scratch at home and have a meal plan based on what I already have in the house so that we have have healthy home cooked meals every day.  I also make our bread, rolls, breakfast foods and desserts.  This month I made rolls, bread, banana bread, peanut butter cookies, berry muffins, strawberry bread, blueberry bread, nutella oat breakfast cookies, and chocolate chip cookies.  Every bit helps to stretch the groceries as far as I can through the month.

Don't think that it is all bad because we have a budget of $40 for take out and restaurants!!  At the bottom, you will see what we used that for this month.  I used to not keep these numbers together but it makes a big difference on the amount of grocery money if you spend more on pre-made food instead of groceries so I have now connected them.  Hoping that if one is high that the other is low and we stay under $200 for all those expenses for the month.

Below are the stores that I shopped at, what I spent and what I got.  For the beginning of the month, those items are described in detail here so that you can see the breakdown if you missed it.  The rest of the month is broken down so you know how much I paid for each item.  I hope this shows everyone that they can stretch their money just as far I do to provide for their family.

Harris Teeter $6.22

Harris Teeter $0.46

Harris Teeter $7.28

Harris Teeter $0.20

Harris Teeter $21.44

Harris Teeter $18.06

Harris Teeter $8.60

I got a bunch of things on the sale that was on going that I went to last week but I had forgotten to print out another tomato sauce coupon so I was excited to get the crushed tomatoes to make some spaghetti sauce to make the lasagnas to have this week and for the freezer.  They were buy 2, get 3 free so they were shelf priced at $2.29 each and I got 10 so they ended up being $9.16 after sale and I used three $1/3 coupons so it was $6.16 or $0.62 per can.  I grabbed a few other weekend freebies like the Chobani yogurt and the Hormel Completes.  I went home and went through my overflowing coupon basket to get rid of all of my expired coupons and label my new file folders for my coupons and found that I had a coupon for the Chobani that I didn't even know about so I was a little sad to not get the extra money off.  I got the two Sweet tart candies for $0.09 after coupon.  The three boxes of Hamburger Helper was free after coupons (which customer service had to reimburse me because the electronic coupon didn't work).  The Gushers were $0.49 per box after sale and coupon (customer service gave me back the money for the electronic coupon not working).  I got the Yoplait flip for free after sale and coupon (customer service reimbursed me for electronic coupon not working).  The Welch's fruit rolls was $1.00 after sale and coupon and I turned it in for $1.00 rebate from Checkout 51.  I also did a rebate for $0.25 at Ibotta for any item.

Harris Teeter $8.63

I went back one more time to get the Organic Valley milk deal since the last store didn't even carry it and I didn't find it in stock but I did see that they had milk on sale for $1.59 so it saved me a stop at Aldi.  I did find a clearance on lunch meat which ended up being $0.89 per package so that was a bonus.  I also remembered to check my new coupons and I got three Atkins bars free (one eaten and not pictured).  For some reason, the one flavor was on sale and the other wasn't which I didn't realize but the cashier put through a store coupon code to give me the difference so that they were all on sale.  I turned that in for $1 rebate from Checkout 51 so they were moneymakers!!  While in the bar section, I saw my new favorite Goodness Knows which had $0.75 coupons and they were lower priced at $1.59 so I used the peelie coupon and got it for $0.09 (not something I would normally splurge on but why not).  I grabbed the chicken noodle soup as an impulse purchase at the checkout.  My husband loves them and I normally stock up when they are super cheap but we are down to three cans left after his last sickness so I figured $0.60 a can was a pretty good price and it might be needed for the next sickness and I certainly don't want to pay the $1.19 shelf price so I got 8 and pulled out two more coupons.

Harris Teeter $5.49

I went to get the sugar deal limit 4 for $0.97 because we were totally out of sugar and I was supposed to make cookies yesterday.  I got two cans of Luck's Fruit which was hard to find but they were on sale for $1.50 and I had $0.60 coupon that doubled so it cost $0.30 and I put in a rebate for $0.40 each so those are money makers and there was a rebate for $0.25 on any item.  I grabbed three more Atkins bars which were free after coupon and $1.00 back from Checkout 51 which reset.  I decided to add the egg sale for $0.77 when I saw the rebate for $0.10 on Checkout 51.  I am getting $1.10 back from Checkout 51 and $1.05 back from Ibotta.

Aldi $0

I went to Aldi with my mom and she kindly paid for all these groceries which was a total of $52.75.  Obviously this would have put a much bigger hit to the budget so probably the main reason that I am so far under this month.  Of course, I wouldn't have gotten all these things either but we still needed a lot of it.

Giant $0

My mom decided that my husband needed his Cranberry Juice so she went to the store to buy him some.  I had to make her put one back because I couldn't take the price which she spent which was $3.06 after taxes.  She bought one!!  Both my husband and son have finished half of it already!

Total Retail $337.59
Total Savings $261.21
Total OOP $76.38

My parents also both separately bought treats for the soccer team.  My father bought bags of Kettle Corn and my mom bought fruit snacks and juice boxes so we are all set for bringing snacks to the game when it is our turn with no money or thought from us.  We have soda on our list but haven't seen it on a good sale yet so I will keep looking.  Hoping you had a good month and got lots of great things for you and your family to enjoy too!!  I already have enough in the house for next months meals so here is hoping to get lots of great deals to stock up in October.


Eating Out 

I think that we did pretty well this month with eating out.  We got Paisano's Pizza during their customer special which was a nice treat at $5.29.  We grabbed Little Caesar's Pizza one night after spending so much time at the pool with our friends that dinner would have been rushed and my son was starving after swimming for 3 hours straight.  It was $5.30 and we all ate it for dinner.  My husband went out for lunch with a work friend and got pizza (do you see a pattern this month) and he paid cash.  He said it was $6.60 but I have to take his word on it because I don't have a receipt or credit card charge (insert eye roll that I have to interrogate to get the information).  

Total spent for the month is $17.19 

I got money back through lots of rebate sites.  I got back $7.55 from Ibotta and $5.35 from Checkout 51 and $6.00 from Saving Star.  That is a total of $18.90.  It wasn't as high as last month but it is still a lot of money back for my normal shopping.  I just used my money transferred to my Pay Pal to pay for my son's school pictures so ever bit helps to take off other parts of my spending.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It Ends With Us Book Review

I reserved this book because of a recommendation from my mom's group. I put it off in my pile of books to read and then finally picked it up because it was due back to the library the next day so I knew that I had to get reading and quickly.  I picked it up and read it very quickly because I couldn't put it down because It Ends with Us: A Novel by Colleen Hoover was an amazing book!! 

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.  Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.  As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This was an amazing start to this wonderful author that I haven't read before.  I can tell you that after reading the book, the description on Amazon doesn't even touch the dept of emotion or subject matter in this book.  I enjoyed every word and every emotion that she put on the page because I couldn't put the book down.  I was reading at physical therapy and someone told me that they read the book too and seemed excited but I told them not to ruin it because I just started the night before so I didn't really know what was going on.  Well, after a long day of reading, I know what was going on and I finished the whole book with the help of a lot of tissues.  It was amazing to watch Lily go through everything in her life including her abusive father and her door mat mother to her adult life and dreams of opening a flower shop.  All of Lily's life and feelings are laid out in this book and I know that you will instantly connect with her and want her to make all the right choices in her life.  Although you have to pick up the book to find out what decisions she makes and how her past affects her future.  I hope that you check out this book and prepare for the emotional ride that it will take you on.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Inventory in Cold Storage in Fridge and Freezer

I was trying to clean out the fridge and the freezer and take an inventory.  It was the last thing in the kitchen to get inventoried and the first thing in order to get a plan for next month's menu plan.

I started with the fridge because it really needed to be cleaned out.  I combined some Ranch salad dressing, Parmesan cheese and some other things to clean it up a little more before wiping down on the shelves.  I use silcone trivets on the top shelf under the milk, marinate, Kool Aid and Iced Tea to make sure that the shelf doesn't get really dirty.  It makes it way easier to clean.  It really isn't super full or empty but I just went to Aldi so there is still a few things in there which you can see the list below.

Top Shelf
Spiedie Chicken Marinate
Gallon Milk 1/2 full
Kool Aid (almost gone) My husband finished it after work
Apple Cider (almost gone)
Raspberry Lemonade (almost gone)
Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice
Sausage Spaghetti Sauce
Salsa (almost gone)
Gatorade individual size
Chocolate Milk individual size

2nd Shelf
16 Eggs
Margarine Tub

3rd Shelf
Chicken (going to be cut and frozen)
Grapes 2 lbs
Sprite (open can) 

Left Drawer
7 String Cheese
2 Turkey Lunch Meat (almost gone)
1 Turkey Lunch Meat
1 Roast Beef
16 strips of Fleischmanns Yeast 
Cubed Turkey
Bag of Pepperoni

Right Drawer
4 blocks of Cheddar
2 blocks of Mozzerella
1 block of Monteray Jack
Blue Cheese Tub
Cubed Pepper Jack Cheese
Pepperoni Sliced for chopped salads
Container with 2 slices of cheese

5 Salad Dressings
Duck Sauce Packets
Popcorn Container
Parmesan Cheese
Yeast Jar
Spicy Mustard
Soy Sauce
Steak Sauce
Horseradish Mustard (almost gone)
2 Pickles (relish and sliced)
Minced Garlic
2 Flavored Icee Syrup
Pancake Syrup
Miracle Whip
Worcestershire Sauce
Ponzu Sauce
2 Jelly

 The freezer on the upstairs fridge is always jammed full and a little dirty because I throw the things from the store when we get home and they never make it downstairs.  We also had a weird water thing when the power came back on after an outage with the ice maker so there were some frozen water areas still around that needed to be cleaned up.  I love the top shelf with the ice and I also store all my ice packs there (didn't count in inventory but bought on clearance at CVS years ago).  I also have one bottle of frozen water for rolling under my feet at night (we call it foot water which sounds super appetizing but not including in the inventory because we are never going to eat it).  The other side is the smaller stuff like little ham and sausage containers to make pizza or fried rice.  I also keep the outside of the butter to use to grease my pans because I don't have nonstick sprays anymore.  After I cleaned it out, there were just a few things left and you can look below for my inventory.

Ice Cream Sandwiches
Chloe Fruit Pops
Ice Cream Bars
Whole Fruit Push Up Pops
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (very little left)
Peanut Butter Smores Ice Cream (very little left and only my dad eats it)
Chocolate Chips (big Sam's Club Bag from my parents)
Whipped Cream (like Cool Whip near bottom)
Tater Tots (almost gone)
Chicken Fries (opened)
Popcorn Chicken (opened)
Corn Meal (coarse and fine)
Fruit Zest in containers
Meatballs (one meal)
Cheese Ravioli (one meal)
2 small diced ham
2 small cooked sausage
Enchilada Sauce
1 Hamburger

The downstairs freezer is a mess and really needs to be defrosted but I still haven't done it.  I said that I would get it done by March but that has already passed up by.  I need to clear some things out and I just keep putting more things in.  LOL!!! Below is what I have jammed in there currently.

 1st Shelf
27 Chicken Broth
1 Turkey Broth

2nd Shelf
5 Ground Beef
3 Chicken with 6 tenders
1 Chicken with 5 tenders
2 Chicken with 8 tenders
1 Spiedie Chicken
1 Cranberry Blue Cheese Chicken
1 Chicken taco
2 small Lasagna
11 Ham Steaks
1 Italian Herb Sausage
2 Brown Rice
3 Diced Onions
1 Diced Onions and Celery
3 Cream Cheese
5 Vanilla Cupcakes

3rd Shelf
3 Applesauce
4 Chicken Broth
1 Lasagna 8 x 8
2 packages Breakfast Sausage
3 packages Brats
1 bag Popcorn Chicken
1 bag Chicken Fries
3 Whole Fruit Bars
2 boxes Chloe Fruit Bars
1 Halo Top Ice Cream
2 boxes Chicken Eggs Rolls
2 containers cooked sausage
2 containers Chicken bones for broth
1 container turkey meat
1 breakfast quesedilla
Bag of Green Beans
Bag of Tater Tots
4 Corn Dogs

Bottom Bin 
2 bags bread crumbs
3 bags bread cubes
2 bags Sister Shuberts Rolls
veggie ends for broth
2 bags rolls
2 bags bread to be cut up
1 bag Bones for Broth

12 Chicken Broth
3 bags of Meatballs
Yogurt Tubes
Coffee for Guests
Amish Friendship Starter
Mixed Berry Drinks
Shredded Coconut
Applesauce container

This is our extra freezer which is just the bottom of the drink fridge in the basement.  We store a few extra things in here that aren't in the big freezer.  Normally because there isn't enough room in the other one.  I have to take the oats and blend them a little to make quick oats.  The inventory is below:

Basement Extra Freezer
14 lbs popcorn
Bag of Masa
4 Chicken Broth
1 Chicken and Rice Soup
Container of Chiptle Peppers in Adobo
8 bags of Cheese Ravioli
Small Amounts of Mint Chips and Butterscotch Chips

I only threw out a few things that had been in there awhile that I hadn't used which I knew were going to not get used.  I have lots of things everywhere around the house.  I think that I have a lot to get us through the next month and I can't wait to clean out the freezer (okay I can totally wait).  I am going to sit down with the menu and see if I can come up with some yummy meals for October and hoping for cooler weather because I am just not in the mood to cook with the temperatures that we have been having recently.  Stay tuned for menu plans and I hope that you are able to use all the things in your house to make lots of great meals too!! 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Proving Book Review

I was excited to read another book by Beverly Lewis because I love all of her books.  I wasn't sure whether this was part of a series or stand alone book but I was ready to enjoy it either way!  The Proving by Beverly Lewis appeared at my door soon after placing my order and it was all I could do to read a few other books that I needed to first.  It did get pushed up a little in the order that I was supposed to read it but I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen.

Amanda Dienner hasn't seen her Old Order family in five years when she receives word that her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County's most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. Now an Englisher, Mandy is shocked: Her twin sister should have been the obvious choice! What's more, the inheritance comes with a catch: The farmhouse inn will only truly be hers if she is able to successfully run it for twelve consecutive months.  Mandy accepts the challenge even though it means returning to Gordonville and the painful memories she left behind at eighteen. Still, she's determined to prove she is more than capable of running the bed-and-breakfast, no matter that its loyal clientele are expecting an Amish hostess!  The inn isn't Mandy's sole test, however. Rubbing shoulders with her married twin sister reopens wounds that Mandy isn't ready to forgive. And an Englisher guest with a difficult past of her own just complicates matters.  Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this year in Amish country prove a dreadful mistake?

 It really reminded me of another series with an Amish Inn so I immediately felt at home in this Amish Bed and Breakfast.  Mandy is trying to make her own way while not relying on her family or church.  She realizes that something is missing from her life and when she returns, she starts to remember all the good times that she and her family had growing up.  She finally makes some decisions and changes her ways to connect herself back to her family.  She is coming up to the 12 month time frame and can sell the bed and breakfast and start the life that she really wanted away from all the memories of the past but can she make the break with the life that fit so well.  You know that I won't tell you and you have to pick up the book and see for yourself!  This wonderful writing and characters pulls you in immediately and has you feeling sorry for all the things that Mandy isn't doing right.  She can't mend things with the community so the people working at the bed and breakfast all quit.  She can't mend things with her family so she sees them very infrequently and under great strain. I hope that you check out this character building adventure because I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did!

**I received a copy of the book for my review but all opinions here are my own.  A positive review was not required and opinions stated here are my honest opinion.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/25

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Thursday- Grilled Chicken with rice
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday-Lime Chicken Tacos and rice
Sunday-Grilled Roast Beef and Cheese Sandwiches

Last week seemed like a blur to me but I got Monday and Tuesday meals on the table without a problem.  Then Wednesday night I forgot to take out the meat because I was too busy focused on making the lasagna for Thursday night that it slipped my mind.  We went with Philly Cheese Steak Pasta because I already had the meat cooked and ready so it was an easy meal.  We had lasagna and garlic bread with salad on Thursday as planned.  I made some flatbread grilled sandwiches, salad with leftover lettuce, and other leftovers.  We did a good job clearing out the fridge between that and Saturday lunch.  Saturday night my parents treated us to dinner out after soccer at my son's favorite restaurant.  I am tired and didn't get a lot of things done to make it better for next week but we had a pretty tasty week and horrible fallbacks even if I wasn't ready to make the dinner on the meal plan.  I hope that you have a great week and enjoy some yummy meals.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kickback Book Review

I can't believe how quickly I can go through these books because I can't put them down.  There is so much going on that it is so hard to get other things done but I also knew that I had a deadline on this one because it was due back to the library with no more renewals.  Luckily, I got it done in plenty of time...okay, enough time.  Robert B. Parker's Kickback (Spenser) by Ace Atkins was the 43rd book in the series that always has me glued to the edge of my seat and this was no different.

PI Spenser, knight-errant of the Back Bay, returns in this stellar New York Times–bestselling addition to the iconic series from author Ace Atkins.  What started out as a joke landed seventeen-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Mass., where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life.

Leading the movement is tough-as-nails judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about coming down hard on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. From the Harbor Islands to a gated Florida community, Spenser and trusted ally Hawk follow a trail through the Boston underworld with links to a shadowy corporation that runs New England’s private prisons. They eventually uncover a culture of corruption and cover-ups in the old mill town, where hundreds of kids are sent off to for-profit juvie jails.

This book dealt with the lives of children which is something that Spenser can't see being ruined.  Dillon Yates went to a juvenile facility because he started a twitter account and said bad things about his principal.  The judge in this small town bullies all the parents to sign away their rights to have a lawyer for their child and then sends even the smallest offenses to this prison island where they are given very little and have to work to earn their pillow and blanket.  There are so many things going on in this book but Spenser is focused on bringing Dillon home to his mother as well as closing the whole facility so that no one should have to live that life again.  It is amazing to watch Spenser and Hawk in action to take down the unknown bad guys and protect the lives of many children and families.  I hope that you check out this book for yourself because I don't think that you will be able to put it down either.  I hope that you read the rest of the books in the Spenser series if you like this too!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Marrying Jonah Book Review

I was excited and sad to get to the end of the series, Marrying Jonah (A Wells Landing Romance) by Amy Lillard.  I had picked this out at the beginning of the summer and not gotten to read them as quickly as I wanted with other things due back to the library and me having to return a book in the middle of the series and check it out again.  Luckily, I got to read it all from beginning to end not long after the summer was over!

Life isn’t always as simple as it seems for the Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma. Neither is love. . .Everyone in town knows that Sarah Yoder is enamored with Jonah Miller, even though he’s been with his girlfriend, Lorie, for years. But all that changes when Lorie runs off with another man. Inconsolable, his faith in love shattered, Jonah resists everyone’s attempts to ease his pain—until the unexpected happens one night.  Jonah is filled with confusion. Sarah is not the woman he yearns for, yet he asks for her hand in marriage, if only out of honor. Still, he worries, can they live in harmony if their vows are built on a lie? As Sarah seeks spiritual advice, Jonah tries to look toward the future—and finally begins to see her for who she really is: A beautiful, strong-willed woman whose heart is pure and belief is true. But will it be too late for him to prove that he wants to be her husband?

I thought that this was an interesting book with a lot of emotion just like the other books in this series.  Sarah was in many of the books previously in the series and I was glad to finally get to learn more about her.  She was dealing with her whole group of friends being married off and the only person that she was interested in was in love with Lorie, someone one he couldn't have because she left the Amish to join the English world.  Jonah is living part of a life with most of his focus on his family and his farm with very little fun time with friends.  He is not ready to look for another relationship but Sarah confuses him with support on how badly he was treated by Lorie when she left.  Sarah and Jonah make a huge mistake and find their whole worlds falling down around them but you have to read it to find out what happens.  I think that you will be amazed at the drama in this small Amish women and how hard she fights.  I hope that you check out this book and all the others in the Wells Landing series.  I am sure you will love this small town and the wonderful writing.  I look forward to reading more by this author soon!!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gathering Threads Book Review

I was excited that Gathering the Threads: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove) by Cindy Woodsmall was coming out.  I have read the first two books in the series and was excited to see where this series was going to go next.  I was a little sad to learn that it was the last book in the series but looking forward to a great ending.  I will be on the look out for the next series by this wonderful author.

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—or completely rip them apart?  After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? 

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.  Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

I loved the first two books in the series and couldn't wait for the third one although a little sad that this is the last one.  I loved finding out how Arianna was dealing with more changes in her life when she returns to her Amish family after living with her English family for three months.  She loved being home and living with her family but things take a terrible turn when the religious leaders decide that she is a bad influence on the rest of the small community and preach at Sunday service about her bad choices.  Arianna is changed from her time with her family and realizes that it is going to be impossible to submit to all of the things that they want her to do.  It is great to watch the path that she takes and see this book straight through until the end.  Quill is still helping people get out of bad situations and trying to save people who have no other means of escape.  The truth about Freida was finally explained after being hinted at in the first two books.  At the same time, Skylar is going through her own identity crisis because she was raised in the English world with lots of different advantages but she still feels like she belongs in her Amish home.  Skylar finally makes some decisions about what direction her life is going to take.  It was a great conclusion to a wonderful series which I hope that you check out for yourself.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did with this great conclusion to all of these characters stories!!

**I was provided a copy of the book to read for my review but all opinions here are my own and no positive opinion was required.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Titus Returns Book Review

I had to put a break on the series to read a few other books in my pile so I was glad to return to the series with this book.  Titus Returns (A Wells Landing Romance) by Amy Lillard is the fifth book in the Wells Landing series.  I am glad that I can get back to the series now that I have caught up with some of my other reading.  I needed a lighter read after my last very serious book but this one wasn't that!!!  It was a great read but super serious.

In Wells Landing, Oklahoma’s warm and welcoming Amish community, there’s always hope for a new beginning—and a second chance… Five tumultuous years have changed Titus Lambert in every way. Back then, Titus was preparing to marry his longtime sweetheart, Mandy Yoder. Then came the unthinkable—a tragic car wreck that left Titus serving time for vehicular manslaughter.  Titus isn’t sure he belongs in this peaceful place anymore, but he must make amends. When he goes to visit the Kings, whose son, Alvin, died that terrible night, he’s shocked to see that their farm has fallen into disrepair. Alvin’s sister, Abbie, resents Titus’s reappearance, but there’s no denying she needs his help. Honest toil—and their evolving friendship—slowly help his soul to heal. But with his feelings for Mandy still strong, Titus must choose between two very different futures, and find the strength and faith to claim the surprising gift of a fresh start.

This book was written about Titus who just returned to Wells Landing after getting out of prison for a car accident where two of his friends died.  It was hard to deal with prison after growing up in the small Amish community and he ended up changing a lot through his time inside.  Titus carried a lot of guilt with him with the loss of two friends and his other friend being bound to a wheelchair.  It was the guilt that brought him home but also made him know that he wasn't going to be able to rejoin the church.  He wanted to make up for his hurt so he started fixing the farm of his friend Alvin.  While doing that, he noticed that there were a lot of problems going on with his family including a lack of milking cows, his father drinking and his mother's depression.  Titus tries to help and in the process really grows a deep friendship with Alvin's sister Abbie.  Abbie is going through a lot because she lost her twin brother and was left to care for her whole family.  You have to pick up the book yourself to find out what happens but I promise you won't be disappointed.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the Wells Landing series.  I know that I have really enjoyed this short series!  I can't wait to get to the last book next!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pantry Inventory Take 2

In case you missed part 1, you can catch up here on my mission to clean through my stuff and make sure that I am using things.  I have already started my mental list of things that I need to make like jello and pudding from my first cabinet inventory.

I am super glad that I got to design this kitchen to fit a pantry at both ends because my old house didn't have as much storage even though the kitchen was bigger.  When designing the kitchen I decided where to put the different items, I was glad to have this room to store all of my more prepared things like snacks and cereal.

Again, there are four shelves on the top and four pulls outs on the bottom and this one is a little wider so there are two doors.  Although I know that I use it worse then the other one.  It looks like this:

This is what the top looks like after I cleaned it up which is pretty impressive because it was a mess.  I know that I have a ton of extra room up there so here is hoping that I can keep it clean.

Top Shelf
2 Aluminum Foil
1 Wax Paper
1 box gallon ziploc bag
1 large water jug

2nd Shelf
26 boxes Hefty One Zip Quart bags 
6 Slow Cooker Liners
6 Tetley Family Sized Tea Bags
 5 boxes Lipton 20 count tea bags
1 Irish Breakfast Tea
6 boxes Splenda Naturals
2 box Zing Sweetners
1 box Stevia in the Raw
Peppermint Candy Tub
1 box Sweet N Low (for my mom)
2 bags Eight O'Clock Coffee (gift for my mother in law)

3rd Shelf
2 boxes of hot chocolate
1 box Crystal Light 
Box of Tea for Two
2 Candy Cane Lane Tea
1 Tasters Choice Instant Coffee (for my mother in law)
1 box of individual drink mixes (use for traveling)
1 box of individual Raspberry Lemonade
Tub of Pink Lemonade (almost gone)
1 Bottle Raspberry Dessert Wine
1 box Lady Earl Tea Bags
Napkin basket with Teavana Tea and Hot Chocolate Package (forgot to put back in)

Bottom Shelf
2 Baskets of Candy
1 tin of Gum
Box of Tetley tea (currently in use) 

This is what the bottom looks like after I cleaned it up.

Top Pullout
4 Peanut Butter Jars
3 Nutella
4 boxes fruit snacks
4 protein bars
1 box Dinosaur Oatmeal (running low on my son's favorite)
1 box Maple Brown sugar
1 yogurt pouch
small box of raisins
2 pop tart packs
M&M in Tupperware
1 container of Dunkers (almost empty)

2nd Pullout
18 boxes Big Chewy Bars
1 Mint Chewy Bar
Container of Chewy Bars
6 5 plastic containers for lunches (my husband came home and ate one)
2 pringles for lunches
open box of fruit snacks
Container of cat cookies

3rd Pullout
2 boxes of sugar cones
Rosemary Triscuit Type Crackers
Butter Crackers (like Ritz)
2 bags Tortilla Chips
1 Oyster Crackers (almost empty)
Box of animal crackers
Basket of Chips and Crackers

Bottom Pullout
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Tupperware
Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal Tuppperware
Raisin Bran Cereal Tupperware
Kix Cereal Tupperware (thinking of trashing because no one eats)
Trix Cereal Tupperware (thinking of trashing because no one eats)
Crispy Rice Cereal (already opened)
Bag of Mini Marshmallows (to make rice squares)
Box Total Raisin Bran
Box Trix Cereal
Box Lemon Blueberry Special K
Box Honey Bunches of Oats
Box Wheaties
Box Cocoa Pebbles

I went through all my shelves and threw out an empty bag of oatmeal, bags of chocolate candies, container of cashews, container of ginger snaps and two bags of dried cranberries.  They were all really expired so I know that I should have used them a long time ago but they are now not taking up any room in the cupboard.  I also took out a few things of leftover chocolate that I am going to cut up and use for cookies to make tomorrow.

While I was doing my cleaning, I also was making blueberry pancakes from a pancake mix from the first pantry clean out.  I know why I didn't finish that mix because it was so dry that the pancakes were hard to eat.  Some things deserve to be thrown in the trash!!  I hope that this helps show you how you can certainly fit a lot of things into a small pantry with just a little bit of organization!

Cheap Shot Book Review

I have really been enjoying the series and told my mom that she really needed to get back and read the rest of these new books.  The new author is doing a great job at keeping the series going.  This book keeps with the fast tempo and lots of action of all of the other books and really had me on the edge of my seat.  Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot (Spenser) by Ace Atkins is the 42nd book in the series but one of the newer ones by Ace Atkins.  I hope that you check out this book for yourself and enjoy as much as I did.

Kinjo Heywood is one of the New England Patriots’ marquee players—a hard-nosed linebacker who’s earned his standing as one of the toughest guys in the league. He may be worth millions but his connection to a nightclub shooting two years before is still putting a dangerous spin on his life, and his career.  When Heywood’s nine-year-old son, Akira, is kidnapped, and a winding trail through Boston’s underworld begins, Spenser puts together his own all-star team of toughs. It will take both Hawk and Spenser’s protégé, Zebulon Sixkill, to watch Spenser’s back. Because Heywood’s next unpredictable move puts everyone in jeopardy as the clock winds down on Akira’s future.

This was a tough book because it was about the abduction of a child.  It was hard to go through and wonder the whole book if the child was dead or alive.  Even knowing that Spenser was going to work his hardest to bring closure for the family, didn't make me feel better about the uncertainty.  Kinjo, a famous football player, got his son taken and was trying to get him back.  They went a week without even getting a call and then there were a few false leads on the kidnapping.  Spenser was using both Hawk and Z in order to work all the leads.  They were fired so many times that I lost track but they continued to work because they weren't going to let anything happen to the child.  You have to pick up the book for yourself to see what happens... hope I haven't left you in too much suspense.  I probably need to go to a much lighter book for the next one that I read to take a break from this heavy one.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pantry Inventory Part 1

I was inspired to get things inventoried and cleaned up in the pantry which was in need because TraceyBee did it here.  There were also some questions at my couponing class about where and what I kept on hand.  It is always changing based on the sales and I had been keeping a list of the things on the higher shelves but haven't cleaned through the pantry in quite awhile but most of my items go right into this pantry.

This is my pantry for all the foods to cook with all the way to the right.  There is a cabinet on the top with four shelves and the bottom has four pull out shelves.

Below is the top part of the pantry after I cleaned it all up.  I think that I might have just moved things around but I can easily see where everything is now much better then before.  I made a list on a piece of paper while I was going through what I had on each shelf.

Top Shelf
11 Fine Sea Salt
2 Coarse Sea Salt
5 Mrs. Buttersworth Syrup
5 Siracha Hot Sauce
3 Texas Pete Hot Sauce
1 Smuckers Grape Jelly
3 Red Wine Vinegar
3 Worchestershire Sauce
2 Ponzu Sauce
1 Teriyaki Glaze
1 Sweet Relish
1 Oval Dill Pickles

2nd Shelf
4 BBQ Sauce
6 Brown Mustard
9 Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Pumpkin
5 Evaporated Milk
4 Soy Sauce
6 Ken's Caesar Salad Dressing
3 Ken's Greek Salad Dressing
1 Ken's Olive Oil Salad Dressing
1 Ken's Blue Cheese Dressing
1 Olive Garden Italian Dressing
2 Cream of Chicken Alfredo Soup
2 Butternut Squash Apple Soup
1 Sweet Potato and Corn Soup
1 Chicken Noodle with bean soup
1 Tomato Carrot Soup

3rd Shelf
10 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
9 Mixations Apple Sauce
2 boxes Scalloped Potatoes
1 bag Chicken Rice
5 bags Herb and Butter Rice
Soccer Snack- Fruit Snacks

Bottom Shelf
14 Oriental Ramen Noodles
9 Chicken Ramen Noodles
3 Salsa
1 Minced Garlic Jar
1 Strawberry Jelly homemade
1 Fig Jelly homemade
1 Blueberry Jelly
1 Raspberry Jelly
1 Seedless Blackberry Jelly
Container with white rice

The bottom part of the pantry has pull outs and looks like this after being cleaned up.

Top Pullout
3 bags of instant potatoes (used to thicken soup)
2 Nesquik
1 Hot Fudge Sauce
2 Jello
1 Chocolate Pudding
4 instant mac and cheese
16 Applesauce pouches
1 tuna pouch
1 Hormel Chili
Simple Lemon packets

2nd Pullout
Panko breadcrumbs (almost empty)
1 Aldi Caesar dressing
1 Aldi Blue Cheese dressing
1 Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
1 Balsamic Vinegar
10 Balls Jars with homemade mixes
1 Honey (1/2 full)

3rd Pullout
Spaghetti Tupperware
Whole Wheat Penne Tupperware
Brown Rice Tupperware (2 containers)
Leftover Breadcrumbs Tupperware
Carnation Instant Breakfast
1 box Casarecce Pasta (open)
2 box Suddenly Salad
2 Freezer to Plate Marsala meals
3 cartons Ramen broth
1 bag chicken breading
3 Hard Taco Shells
2 Soft Boat Taco Meal Kit

Bottom Pullout
9 boxes Elbow Mac
1 box Twisted Elbows
2 boxes Penne
3 boxes Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti
1 box Linguini
1 box Bucatini
7 boxes Philly Cheese Steak Pasta
2 Ready Pastas (no one seems to like these)
2 Mac and Cheese
1 box Quinoa
2 boxes Cous Cous

I fit a ton into a small space for sure but that is usually where most of my shopping hauls end up.  I have to rearrange quite a few times to fit in the different things that I get but I think that I have a handle on the items that are hidden in there.  I have to make sure that we use all those things before filling it up with more so those are the things that get used in my meal plans.

I hope that this give you an idea of what I have stocked up on so that you don't think things are piled around in corners of my house like the Extreme Couponers Show.  I fit everything into the space in my kitchen and use all the things that I fit in (except one box of banana pudding that I am not sure how I got but I threw it away today when cleaning up).  Hope this gives you an idea of how you can fit lots of stuff in a small pantry and use the space in your own home to fit your grocery store finds.

Christmas on Candy Cane Lane Book Review

I was looking through the books on Good Reads that I hadn't read this book in the series but I finished all the other ones.  I guess it is good that I checked on Good Reads and went to the library system to reserve it.  Christmas on Candy Cane Lane (Life in Icicle Falls) by Sheila Roberts
came in and I picked it up but was in the middle of a few different books that needed to be read and returned before the library due date. I was excited to get to this Christmas story after finishing my Christmas mystery.

Icicle Falls is the place to be at Christmas… Everyone's getting ready for Christmas in Icicle Falls, especially on Candy Cane Lane, where holiday decorating is taken very seriously. Tilda Morrison, town cop, is looking forward to celebrating Christmas in her first house…until she discovers that she's expected to "keep up" with the neighbors, including Maddy Donaldson, the inspiration behind the whole extravaganza. But this year, someone's destroying Maddie's precious candy canes! Thank goodness for the cop in their neighborhood.  Tilda already has her hands full trying to sort out her love life and fix up her fixer-upper. Oh, and won't it be fun to have the family over for Christmas dinner? Not really… Then there's her neighbor, Ivy Bohn. As a newly single mom, Ivy can sum up the holiday in two words: Bah, humbug. But she's determined to give her kids a perfect Christmas.  Despite family disasters, irritating ex-husbands and kitchen catastrophes, these three women are going to find out that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year!

I finally got to start on this book and got to see Tilda who I have read about in other books but never got to meet the way that I did in this book.  It was also great to meet all of the people that lived in her new small neighborhood of Candy Cane Lane.  There were so many interesting characters and different things going on that I had trouble putting the book down.  I loved meeting Ivy and her two kids (and her ex-husband) and learning about their lives.  In addition, there was a lot of family drama with all of the families going through the stressful Christmas season.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the series.  I went through and updated all my Good Reads so it references all my newly read books so that all of my 110 books were listed for the year.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 9/18

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Thursday- Lasagna with garlic bread
Friday-Chicken with white rice and green beans
Saturday- ?
Sunday- ?

I can tell you that I tried to get the week to go according to plan last week but by Thursday I forgot to take chicken out of the freezer for dinner so I moved leftover night to Thursday night.  We had a thing at school on Friday so I made a quick dinner of a chicken panini and tater tots for my husband and made some chicken fries for my son and I so that we could get out of the house before 6 pm to get back to school.  I had nothing planned for the weekend so I ended up struggling a little but I used the leftover taco meat and decided to cook up some enchilada sauce and I made enchilada pizza which was pretty tasty and easy.  On Sunday, we went to my friends pool for a few hours and my son declared that he was starving as we were leaving and so I caved and stopped for a pizza because he was upset but he ended up not eating any of it and falling asleep instead so maybe not the best move but my husband and I ate it for dinner anyway.  I am hoping for some plan for this weekend but I don't know what is going on because my parents are coming into town so we will see what the weekend brings.  I hope that you have a great week and enjoy some yummy meals.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

All Saints Book Review

All Saints: The Surprising True Story of How Refugees from Burma Brought Life to a Dying Church by Jeanette Windle was not a book that I went looking for but I am happy that I found it.  I got an opportunity to read this book and I couldn't pass it up because I love books that are turned into movies and I love the main actor so I knew that I would want to see this movie!!  I knew that I would enjoy this book and was super happy to get a chance to see it and hopefully see the movie soon too!!

Newly ordained, Michael Spurlock's first assignment is to pastor All Saints, a struggling church with twenty-five devoted members and a mortgage well beyond its means. The best option may be to close the church rather than watch it wither any further. But when All Saints hesitantly risks welcoming a community of Karen refugees from Burma--former farmers scrambling for a fresh start in America--Michael feels they may be called to an improbable new mission.  Michael must choose between closing the church and selling the property--or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. Together, they risk everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.  Discover the true story that inspired the film while also diving deeper into the background of the Karen people, the church, and how a community of believers rally to reach out to those in need, yet receive far more than they dared imagine.

The Reverend Michael Spurlock served All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, for three years. He is currently on the clergy staff at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City. Michael, his wife, Aimee, and their two children live in New York City.  Award-winning author and investigative journalist Jeanette Windle has lived in six countries, authored nineteen books, and mentors writers on five continents. To learn more, visit her at

I was totally lost at the beginning of the book because I am horrible with following along when the story goes back and forth into the past and the great number of characters.  There are many main people in the story with Reverent Michael Spurlock being the main person that brings everyone together in this small town church.  Rev. Spurlock welcomes the strange group of Karen (yes that is a nationality that I had never heard of) refugees from their war torn country and makes sure that they feel welcome by integrating their customs into the service and translating things so that they can understand them.  It was a great message saying that people could teach you something through their life experience even if it was bad.  This is a wonderful book especially when you start to connect to the characters and start pulling for them.  Funny enough, the missing piece on my summer reading bingo was just filled with this book because it is from two different times.  I knew that I would overcome it and get into the story so I couldn't put it down.  I was expecting something a little bit more like Mitch Albom but this book was talking about the history of a lot of people and involved a lot of going back to people's pasts.  I was happy that I got to read the book and excited to see the brand new movie too.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it!!

**I was given a copy of the book for my review but all opinions here are honest and my own.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Silent Night Book Review

I can't believe that I read so many books in one day.  I started the day with one book and finished it and started and finished this book too.  It is my summer end blow out to see how much I can get read.  Silent Night (Spenser) by Robert B. Parker was the next book in my pile and it was also due back at the library the next day.  It was hard to put down but I am glad that I finished it and put it in the big bag of library books to be returned before the due date.

It’s a white Christmas in Boston and Spenser and Susan are looking toward all the joys of the holiday. But the mood turns dark when a young boy named Slide contacts Spenser. Street-tough and world-weary, the eleven-year-old convinces Spenser to meet with Jackie Alvarez, who runs a shelter for homeless youth—one under inexplicable threats by  persons unknown. Jackie and Slide need Spenser’s help to stop the intimidation before it escalates into something much worse.
But when the source of the threats is revealed to be even more sinister than first imagined, Spenser must find a way to protect Slide and the other lost boys for whom the shelter is the last chance for a better life.

This book was written by Robert Parker before his death and he was in the middle of it.  After his death, his wife gave the book to his literary agent and she finished it.  It was interesting to get to read another one of his books even after reading two of the other books by the new author.  The characters and flow is exactly the same.  This book was focused on Christmas and of course another case that he takes to protect a house that was trying to help young people stay off the street and give them a better life.  Slide is the boy that comes to Spenser and asks for his help and Spenser is immediately taken with the boy but told him that he wouldn't help unless Jackie, the man who was in charge of the house, came to see him.  Jackie talked to Spenser and they worked out a deal.  Another person came to Spenser also looking for help and he was torn as to who to help because he thought that they might be at cross purposes but he promises to help everyone as long as he can.  This is a great Christmas mystery that ends in a wonderful Christmas for Spenser and his family.  I hope that you check out this book and the others in the series and enjoy them as much as I did.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September Middle of the Month Budget Update

I have a monthly budget of $160 to feed my family of 3 each month.  I work my hardest to use coupons and shop sales to make the money stretch as far as it can.  I don't break it down by week or for certain items but I include all of my household goods.  In order to be healthy and make my budget stretch as far as possible, I make many things from scratch and buy more ingredients then food.  Often getting creative with the items that I do get like free salad dressing turns into chicken marinate and free sandwiches are disassembled to make grilled cheese and crispy pepperoni for a chopped salad.  This month I have made rolls, bread and banana bread!! 

Here are the shopping trips that I have made so far this month and how I am doing with my budget.

Harris Teeter $6.22

I got a bunch of things at the store including the free Oikos yogurt and Hormel Natural Choice Snacks.  The Ken's salad dressing was on sale for Buy 2, Get 3 free so it was $2.99 shelf price.  I used coupons and got all of the salad dressing for free!!  The Sweetarts were $0.09 each.  The Barilla Pasta was $0.17 after sale and coupon and it was pretty tasty so I am glad that we got it.  The Natural Deli meat was $1.83 after sale and coupon so not the best price but seemed like an okay deal.  The only thing that I bought without a coupon was the lasagna noodles because I need to use up the sausage and ricotta that I already bought and I don't have any noodles so I bought them for $1.50.

Harris Teeter $0.46

I got the Hormel Natural Snacks, Okios yogurt and Oreo candy bar for free.  The Sweetart ropes were $0.09 each so they were my big spending item.  I got two Suddenly Salads for free after sale and coupon and I should get another $0.50 from Saving Star when it is processed.

Harris Teeter $7.28

I knew that there were going to be some deals this week so I decided to go get things before coupons expired and I got free Chloe's popsicles and ramen after sale and coupon.  I got the Sweetart candies for $0.09 after coupon.  The Bistro Pizza dough was $0.09 each after sale and coupon.  I grabbed the Crunchmaster crackers which were on sale buy one, get one and used $1 coupon to pay $1.24 per bag.I turned this in for $1.50 rebate off two bags of Crunchmaster crackers on Ibotta and $1.00 rebate for Crunchmaster crackers on Checkout 51 so they are free.  My huge spend was the Alexia tater tots which are my husband's favorite treat and they were on sale for $3 a bag with $1 coupon so they were $2 each.  I normally don't buy them until I get them for $1 or under but everything else was such a great deal that I couldn't pass them up.

Harris Teeter $0.20

I went to use up the last of my coupons.  I got two Chloe's Pops and the pizza crust in different transactions and got these yummy treats for change out of my change purse.

Harris Teeter $21.44

I got an Evic special for $1.77 for my son's favorite granola bars and I went to the store and they had exactly 10 so after coupons they were $1.47 per box.  I grabbed the clearance Vitamints and used a coupon for $0.99.  I got two more of the Spree candy for $0.09 each.  The Kool Aid was $0.10 per package and will hold my husband over until I find the next sale on Ocean Spray.  The Hormel Natural Choice was free after sale and coupon (and bonus that I ate them for lunch with my free crackers from earlier in the month).  I splurged and bought the roast beef to make hot roast beef sandwiches with melted cheese over the weekend which was $1.50 after sale and coupon each. 

Harris Teeter $18.06

I went to the store to get the free soup, milk and Old El Paso taco boats and I will get back $1 for the milk from Ibotta and $1 for the taco shells from Old El Paso so they will both be money makers.  I got the two boxes of Fruit Roll Ups mixed package for $0.74 each after sale, coupon and evic coupon and I will get another $0.50 back from Saving Star.  I found some clearance Freezer to Plate meals for $1.49 and I used a coupon for $1 so it was $0.49 and there was a $1 back from Saving Star so it will be a money maker.   There was a deal on the Hamburger Helper which was $1 each and then there was $0.75/3 coupon and $0.75/3 evic coupon so they were $0.25 each and I will get back $0.75 from Saving Star so they will be free.  The Yoplait Mix-in was $0.15 after sale, coupon and evic and I get $0.25 back from Saving Star so another money maker.  The Crunchmaster deals were back in my Checkout 51 and Ibotta so I bought them again for $1.24 each and turned in the $1.50 and $1.00 rebate so I made $0.06 on them.  I bought the Land O Frost Turkey which was $2.49 after sale and coupon.  The Centrum Men's Vitamins were $2.79 after sale and coupon and I will get $1 rebate from Saving Star.  The Advil was the biggest expense at $6.99 after sale and coupon and I turned it in for $2 rebate from Ibotta and $1 from Saving Star but we were totally out so it was a need.  I turned in for $11.25 in rebates so this worked out to a pretty good trip once the money comes back.


Total Retail $241.29
Total Savings $187.63
Total OOP $53.66

I am happy with how the month is going so far and I picked up a lot of deals through the beginning of the month and only missed a few things that I wanted to get.  We are almost totally out of soda (with a few root beers and sprites hanging on) and Ocean Spray Cran-Grape so there is a little sadness in our house.  My husband has started to get into the Kool Aid which is go to back up drink.  I am going to work on finding a deal on that soon!!  Other than that we seemed to be stocked up on a lot and I look forward to stocking up on some soup for the cold weather.  I am still hanging on with the rebates and have already gotten $6.25 from Ibotta, $2.00 from Checkout 51, and $6.00 from Saving Star so total of $14.25.


Eating Out

We try very hard to maintain a eating out/take out budget of $40 per month.  It adds in nicely to our grocery budget to make a total of $200 for both.  We ate out at the beginning of the month with a really neat Customer Appreciation that we heard about from Paisano's which is a local pizza chain where we normally get cheese steak subs.  They had a large one topping pizza for $4.99 plus tax so it was $5.29 for us to have this yummy dinner.  We went with half pepperoni and half cheese just in case the pepperoni was too spicy but it was great to have both!!  My parents came and took the boys out to lunch at one of my husband's favorite places to get fried chicken so again a special treat with no money out of pocket. Happy to be well under our halfway mark for the month and leaves us something for a special meal later in the month.