Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Last Chance Hero Book Review

I started this book immediately after finishing the last book in this series and I was so excited to get to Last Chance Hero by Hope Ramsay.  I was excited to see who this book was going to introduce us to but I was a little sad because it was the last book in the series that has been published.  Excited to read and sad when it was over!!

Ross Gardiner has had his fill of difficult relationships. Returning to Last Chance after a rough divorce, the town's handsome new fire chief just wants safety and stability-a tall order given his dangerous job and the way he has the attention of all the single women in town. All except Sabina Grey, the girl who stole his heart when they were teenagers.  Sabina knows a lot about playing it safe. Always the good girl, she's now responsible for her antiques store and caring for her sister. But having Ross in town brings back the memory of one carefree summer night when she threw caution to the wind-and almost destroyed her family. Now that they are both older and wiser, will the spark still be there, even though they've both been burned?

I loved meeting Ross who returned to this small town after a divorce to be the fire chief and the only employee of the fire station in the small town.  He manages a big group of volunteers to take care of this small town.  Sabina and Lucy are sisters who have lived in this small town their whole lives.  Sabina spent her childhood and teenage years being very rebellious and the rest of her adult life making up for her childhood.  Sabina pushed Ross and Lucy together and they were in a relationship moving towards marriage.  There is lots of drama in this small town and with this couple who keeps breaking up and getting back together.  You have to pick up the book to find out how this book turns out because you will be amazed with all the ups and downs with the fires and the relationships.  I hope that you enjoy this book and the series as much as I have!  I hope that you start at the beginning and work your way through so that you will appreciate this interesting little town.  I know that I hope that there are many more books set in this small town of interesting characters.  I can't wait to read more and hope that there are more coming!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Last Chance Family Book Review

I was excited to get back to the Last Chance series with the last few books in the series when I was reading through my reading pile.  Last Chance Family by Hope Ramsay was the next book in my pile.  I love learning and meeting new people in this small little town so I was ready to find out who we were going to meet in this book.

Mike Taggart has always been willing to take a gamble. But these stakes are just way too high - there's no way he's prepared to become a legal guardian to his five-year-old niece. His only option is to head from Las Vegas to Last Chance to sort things out as quickly as possible. Problem is, he arrives to find an inconsolable little girl, her sick cat, and a gorgeous veterinarian he can't get out of his mind.  Charlene Polk has two talents: healing sick critters and falling in love with the wrong men. Mike has trouble written all over him, but she can't leave him in the lurch. And the more time she spends with the sexy high roller, the more she sees that this ready-made family is the best stroke of luck they've ever had . . .

Mike Taggart was a new person coming to town with his five year old niece, Rainbow, who is looking for a good family to raise her so that she has a better life then her mother did.  He is looking for a great place for her to be raised and ends up falling in love with her in the process.  Charlene Polk is living next door to Mike and ends up finding a special place in her heart this little motherless mixed race girl and her cat, Tigger. Charlene is the town vet and she has three kittens left on her front porch which Rainbow helps her raise these little kittens.  Mike is trying to match Charlene with his brother, Tim so that Rainbow can be raised in a loving household with two parents but starts to have feelings for Charlene himself but thinks that she deserves better.  It has a lot of ups and downs but you have to make sure that you pick up this book and see for yourself.  I hope that you check out this book and the others in the series.  I have really enjoyed this new series and I can't believe that we are getting so close to the end of the series.  I am going to have to look to see what other books the author has written to see if I can start on some of her other books.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 2/26

Monday- Chicken Fries, Popcorn Chicken and homemade fries
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Tacos
Thursday-House Autry Chicken
Friday- Family Fun Night with leftovers
Saturday- Meatball Sliders
Sunday- Philly Cheese Steak Pasta

Last week we changed things up a little but Monday night was my son's favorite dinner.  I had a meeting that I had to go to so I decided instead of doing tacos, I would make individual pizzas with biscuit dough which was a hit even though they were a little overcooked.  We all enjoyed that because we got to get our own individual ones.  I also made the frozen fried rice that I got for free during the last super doubles so it was super quick and easy.  Wednesday was Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with mac and cheese which we all enjoyed.  My son helped coat all the chicken which was super helpful even though a lot more breadcrumbs end up the floor, it helps save time at dinner with a helper in the kitchen.  We even ate the pot of mac and cheese which hasn't happened in a long time so there was some serious eating going on.  Thursday was pasta night with basketball practice so I made spaghetti which is currently my son's favorite pasta.  On Friday, there were very few leftovers in the fridge so I created a new meal of leftover things from the freezer to make it a quick and easy clean up. Saturday was supposed to be chicken and I didn't take it out the freezer so I quickly decided on biscuit pizzas (recipe coming soon).  Sunday was a little crazy because we went tubing at a place that was 2 hours away so we didn't get back until 4 pm and I had to go to work.  I ate a little salad at work and my son and husband had dinner leftovers while I was gone. 

I hope that you have a tasty week planned!!  Can you believe that it is already March!!  I started writing things into the calendar but still haven't finished March's whole meal plan but hoping to work on it this week.  Mission for the week!!!  I am writing my weekly to do list and adding that on right now!  I am hoping to pull off the week because I have a lot of things that I need to do!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Amish Cooking Class:The Celebration Book Review

I went through a big reserving binge which brought a lot of books to my shelf at the same time.  Fun thing is that I reserved a book that I read in December that came in at the same time as a bunch of other books.  I am not sure if I was so far down on the reserve list that I grabbed it off the shelf and read it and didn't take it off the list or if I reserved it again because I love the author so I literally took a piece of paper and wrote the due dates of everything which was the deadline for finishing them and I got them done weeks before they were done because I was so worried because you can't renew new releases.  I was excited to see another installment of this series out in on the new releases at the library so I reserved it quickly and got to read Amish Cooking Class - The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Lyle and Heidi Troyer have taken in a brother and sister, who were orphaned when their parents were killed in a car accident. Hoping to help the children adapt and make friends, Heidi decides to hold a series of cooking classes for kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult—and that is where the trouble arises.

Miranda Cooper is living the life of a single mom to her two kids while separated from her husband, but Trent is trying to worm his way back into her heart.  Denise McGuire’s life as a wife, mom, and real estate broker is full and spilling over.  Darren Keller, single dad and firefighter, and Ellen Blackburn, single mom and nurse, find a few things in common.  Will hearts be healed over plates of Amish food?

This is the third book in The Amish Cooking Class series.
Book #1:  The Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers
Book #2:  The Amish Cooking Class - The Blessing

I enjoyed the first two books in the series so I was excited to get to the next book in the series to see what was going on with Lyle and Heidi Troyer.  They had taken in two foster children when they found out that they couldn't have any kids of their own and they were working towards adopting them.  The children were trying to fit into the new household and make friends so Heidi decided to hold another cooking class but make it for children.  She loves teaching people how to cook and there is always something interesting that comes out of the cooking classes and this was no exception.  There are single moms, single dads, separated parents and parents going through tough times all enrolling their kids who are going through problems and trying to heal.  Heidi offers the place to learn how to cook and often solves problems that she doesn't even know about. You have to pick up the book to get to know this group of adults and kids and see what problems they all overcome with a little cooking and a lot of listening.  I think that everyone's lives are better after the class then they are before.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hardcore Twenty-Four Book Review

I went to the library to get some books on reserves and the newspapers and I saw a book on the new release section while I was getting my other things.  Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich was calling to me from across the room with it's bright orange cover.  I wanted to run over and grab it because I have been waiting for the book for awhile and I knew that I still had a few more in front of me to wait.  Although when I checked, I am now only 20th down in the list so it wasn't too much longer to wait!!  Great news is that I already read it so I can take myself off the list so someone else will get it sooner.  I think that when I signed up, I was like 650 people back so it does move quickly enough and save me the money of buying the book for myself that takes me one day to read.

Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.

If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?  

I love this series.  It makes me laugh out loud every time that I have gotten one of these books because Stephanie Plum can't have anything go right for her.  Her car is stolen and she goes through a few more cars in the book but you have to pick up the book to find out how because it is a given that she makes horrible decisions that lead to some of her crisis and others are out of her control.  She is in a relationship with her cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli, while Diesel is living in her apartment and she runs to Ranger to get help when needed to avoid all of her problems.  Stephanie's job is a bond enforcement agent so she is chasing down bad guys the whole time.  She is actually seeming to get a little better at her job because she catches quite a few during the course of this book although there are ups and downs to what she does because she is often soft hearted and lets people wait through different things like the one that she caught and he shot himself in the foot so she didn't take him right to jail.  I couldn't stop laughing throughout this one and I highly recommend this great series.  I am a little sad that there are no more books out and I was much happier at the beginning of the series when I got to go from one book to the next but I am patiently waiting for the next book to be published.  I hope that you check out this book and all the others in the series!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Inn at Last Chance Book Review

I started this book after finishing the last one in the series and I was excited to find out who the next book was going to follow.  Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay was the seventh book in the series so I only have two books left after this one.  I was excited to learn more about Jenny because her pie baking expertise is featured in every book and there hasn't been a chance to get to know her yet.  This was a great chance as well as who doesn't like a good bed and breakfast story!! 

Jenny Carpenter is the unrivaled pie-baking champion of Last Chance, South Carolina's annual Watermelon Festival and the town's unofficial spinster. With her dream of marriage and children on hold, she focuses on another dream, turning the local haunted house into a charming bed-and-breakfast. But her plans go off course when the home's former owner shows up on her doorstep on a dark and stormy night . . .

Mega-bestselling horror writer Gabriel Raintree is as mysterious and tortured as his heroes. His family's long-deserted mansion is just the inspiration he needs to finish his latest twisted tale, or so he thinks until he learns it's been sold. The new innkeeper proves to be as determined as she is kind, and soon Gabriel finds himself a paying guest in his own home. As Jenny and Gabe bring new passion to the old house, can she convince him to leave the ghosts of his past behind-and make Last Chance their first choice for a future together?

Jenny is a wallflower that we have not seen in the previous books even though she has been in every story.  The baker of the pies who has remained very quiet and we have been waiting to get to know more about her.  She quit her job teaching math in high school to open a bed and breakfast.  She is hoping that serving all of her treats and being with people all the time is going to make her life more fulfilled.  She is looking towards the future with all of her decisions.  Gabe Raintree comes back into town and he hurts himself after slipping on the ice at the new bed and breakfast.  He is going to need to heal and the ladies in town talk Jenny into having him stay at the inn so that he will be well cared for and do a fundraiser to help keep their library open.  I enjoyed the interesting interactions with Gabe and Jenny who are both trying to spend time avoiding each other while being the only two people living in the house.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the Last Chance series.  I have really enjoyed reading it.  I am a little bummed that I have gotten a lot of books on my reserve shelf recently so I have to take a break on the series to read a few other books.  I am excited that I will get to return to them

Monday, February 19, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 2/19

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday- Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with mac and cheese
Thursday- Pasta
Friday- Family Fun Day Leftovers
Saturday- House Autry Fried Chicken Tenders with Hash Browns
Sunday- Meatball Sliders

Last week was yummy and according to plan.  I made our normal Monday meal which is my son's favorite dinner and made them into wraps for my husband and I which is our new habit.  I couldn't figure out what to make the chicken into when it was still time for dinner.  I decided last minute to Taco Chicken Rice.  I cut up the chicken tenders and browned in a pan while shredding cheese.  I added a little taco powder and water to cook up while cooking the rice.  Wednesday, I grilled a steak that I bought at Aldi's awhile ago with Weber Steak Seasoning free from Harris Teeter and sliced Hasselback baked potatoes.  Thursday brought Pasta before basketball with butter and garlic salt for my son and meatballs and red sauce for my husband but I didn't make enough for me so I ate leftovers and a few other things.  We decided to make Friday a fun dinner night where I made whatever food and we eat off TV trays and watch a family movie.  We had a bunch of fun foods including toasted ravioli, homemade fried cheese, mini tacos, chicken fries, Nathan's fries, tater tots, chips and salsa and edamame and whatever else was in the fridge and freezer.  We watched Mary Poppins because we were going to play on Sunday.  My son fell asleep after half the movie but we had lots of fun.  On Saturday, I made my husband fried rice for a late lunch so dinner happened a little late but we enjoyed our lasagna while my son had pasta.  We had a little leftover steak but not much that I cooked up to make steak sliders for a yummy dinner with a few side dishes.

I am hoping for a good week this week but I just came down with a sickness on Friday so I am a little exhausted but I hope that I have made the week easy enough to make it through without too much work on my part.  We are almost in March so I started taking an inventory of what we have left to make the menu plan for the month but haven't gotten very far yet in the planning since I don't know when practice will be for soccer and when that will start.  How is your planning going??

Friday, February 16, 2018

Last Chance Knit and Stitch Book Review

I picked up the next book in the series right after finishing the last.  Last Chance Knit & Stitch by Hope Ramsay was the next in my pile and the next in my series.  I was excited to find out who I was going to be getting to know in this book and excited that it was Molly because she seemed like an interesting character on the fringe in the last few books that you only got to know a little but this book changed all of that!!

Molly Canaday wishes she could repair her life as easily as she fixes cars. She was all set to open her own body shop in Last Chance when her mother ran off and left her to manage the family yarn shop instead. Now guided by the unsolicited-though well-intended-advice of the weekly knitting club, Molly works to untangle this mess. But her plan unravels when the new landlord turns out to be difficult-as well as tall, dark, and handsome.

Simon Wolfe returns to quickly settle his father's estate and then leave Last Chance for good. Still wounded by a broken heart, Simon is surprised when the town's charming streets and gentle spirit bring back good memories. Soon the beautiful, strong-willed Molly sparks a powerful attraction that tempts him to break his iron-clad no-commitment rule. Can Simon and Molly find a way to share work space-and build a future together in Last Chance?

Molly is a character that has been in just about every book because she works at the Grease Pit which is the auto repair place in town and she also is in the Knit and Stitch a lot because her mom runs it.  Her mom leaves Last Chance in the beginning of the book because she is upset when her husband goes fishing instead of on the vacation that she wanted to do together.  Molly is left to pick up the pieces with taking care of her family, doing laundry, grocery shopping, running the Knit and Stitch yarn shop while still trying to maintain her life and job.  She is pulled in so many different directions and she is upset.  Simon comes back into town to go to his father's funeral after leaving 18 years before but is dealing with a lot of emotions.  His mother doesn't remember who he is because she is loosing her memory and he is trying to finish some art work for a commission that he is having trouble with.  At the same time, he seems to be drawn to Molly even though everyone in town tells him that she is taken by Les.  There is a lot of drama in this book and you need to pick it up to find out for yourself what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and are as captivated as I am.  I was ready to pick up the next book right after finishing this book.  I feel like I am in a race to find out who I get to learn about next.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Last Chance Book Club Book Review

I was excited to finally get all the rest of the books in the Last Chance series from the library after reserving them at the library.  Last Chance Book Club (Last Chance, Book 5) by Hope Ramsay was the next book in my pile.  I was a little confused because I picked up the book I wrote #5 on the side because it was the fifth book in the series which was supposed to help me know that it was next but I had to pull them out to see if it was the first one that was next.  I probably could have thought really hard but super glad that I wrote it so I didn't have to look it up again!!  LOL!!

After a painful divorce, Savannah White wants nothing more than to find her happy place. So when she gets the chance to pack up her life -and her son - and move to the idyllic town where she spent childhood summers, she jumps at the opportunity. Last Chance is just as charming as she remembered. She's even invited to join the local book club, where talk soon turns to Savannah's plan to bring the ramshackle downtown movie theater back to life. A new challenge is just what Savannah needs to move forward.. . .
Dash Randall wants to put his fortune to good use, but he remembers Savannah as the bratty "princess" who descended upon him each June, causing no end of trouble. But the teenager he remembered has grown into a gorgeous and generous woman, and it isn't long before Dash finds himself wanting to make brand new memories with Savannah. But first, Dash and Savannah will need to make peace with their pasts to find a new chance for love.

I loved this book and the rest of the series so I was glad to have found it through the Christmas book in the series.  This book was about Savannah White who moved to the town to get away from an unhealthy relationship with her ex-husband and to start a new life for her son.  She decided that she was going to go to her uncle's funeral and stay to watch over her aunt.  Everything is changing in this small town and she is trying to find her place in the town.  Dash lives with Aunt Miriam and remembers the princess from his childhood and has to learn how to treat Savannah now that she is grown up.  There are lots of things going on in her life and Dash finds himself quickly jumping in to make a difference in her son's life the same way his uncle did when he was younger.  There are amazing changes that happen through the book and you have to pick it up to find out what happens that makes Savannah decide that she needs to leave town quickly.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series!  I know that they will get to you just as they have me!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Middle of the Month February Shopping Update

I spent a lot of time in the store at the beginning of the month because of super doubles at Harris Teeter.  I went there the first day of the sale which was in January but I got a bunch in February before the sale was over.

I figured out something early because of my first transaction.  I actually got a deal that I didn't know about which barely ever happens.  I bought 3 Splenda to get half way towards my goal to get the Saving Star bonus and I got a $3 Catalina which I didn't know what it was from.  I did my second transaction to get the other part to get to my Saving Star total of Splenda and got another $3 catalina.  I dug through my bags until I figured out that it was from the Splenda so I knew that I was going to be getting lots of free groceries with my $3 catalinas as long as there was stock of Splenda because it was free after coupon and a super big money maker for me.  I made $24 in Splenda Catalinas this month to pay for all the groceries and probably could have bought even more given enough time and inventory but there were so many other deals to use my coupons on them.  Check out some of my hauls!!

I tried moving things around in the cupboard to try to fit all of my new things in the pantries and laundry room.  I counted the Finish dishwasher tablets that we now have and I have 277.  My husband and I did a quick calculations and we think that it might last us about 2 years.  I paid under $4 for all of them so I am super excited by this new stockpile. 

Harris Teeter $9.09

 I went to the store on the first day of the month ready to start strong with a bunch of printed coupons that I didn't have on the first day because I worked hard to cut my coupons and get organized but as always I was a little lacking because I really didn't know what the deals were.  I went through and got the free hot sauce, barbecue sauce, frozen fried rice, Old El Paso Shells and tortillas, Jones sausage and Splenda.  The boxes of crackers were $0.99 each.  The pasta was $0.14 each.  My expense was the turkey lunch meat which was on sale for $4.99 and I had a coupon that took off $1.50 making it $3.49 so it is my husbands preferred brand over Aldis so it was a must buy.  I will get back $1 for the Old El Paso from Saving Star.

Harris Teeter $6.72 - $4.59- $2.05= $0.08

I bought free Splenda to get the catalina deal discussed above.  I got the pasta for $0.14 per box which I really need to stop buying because I got so many when they were free but I was having trouble keeping away from any deal.  I got the 6 Gerber which I was planning on using my catalina to buy because it was $8.94 and I used $1.50 coupon so they were $5.94 after it doubled.  The catalina didn't print out so I went to customer service and they gave me back the $2.05.  It would have been better to have the catalina during super doubles because it would have doubled but at least I got the cash back.  I used one of my catalinas from Splenda so this ended being a great deal.

I got the Texas Wing Sauce which I thought was free because of the sign but when I got home and looked even closer to my receipt, I saw that the original price was $2.79 instead of $1.99 that the sign said.  I brought back the receipt the next time and talked to customer service and they gave me $4.59 back but I don't have a clue what math he used because that is all it says on the receipt but made me not want to return them so I was happy.

Harris Teeter $3.02

One of my son's favorites so I got these for $0.75 each and used the $3 catalina to pay for it which made it an even better deal.

Harris Teeter $2.57
These are one of my husband's favorite treat so I grabbed a whole bunch of weird flavors for him and then a few that he would share with me and my son on the top.  I used a $3 catalina to pay for the transaction.

Harris Teeter $2.38

I got the free Splenda and I had a catalina for a free Liberte yogurt which is great because I will get $0.30 back from Saving Star.  The pretzels were $0.74 per bag which was a great deal.  My favorite deal of was the finish dishwasher tablets for $0.19 per bag.  I had a coupon to get the Cheez-its for $1.49 each.  I thought it would be a great way to use my Splenda catalina to get some free groceries.

Harris Teeter $2.24
I got the free hot sauce, Splenda, Yakisoba noodles, barbecue sauce and Rice Work chips.  The pasta was $0.14 per box. The Finish was $0.19 per bag.  The PF Changs sauce was the best deal because I paid $0.29 each and turned it in for Ibotta rebate to get $1.50 back on each and I got $0.25 any item rebate.
Harris Teeter $2.35
I got free Splenda, Yakisoba Noodles, Jones sausage, Old El Paso tortillas, Tasty Bite Jasmine rice, hot sauce, rice work chips and PF Chang's soy sauce.  There was a deal on buy 4 So Delicious yogurt at $1.25 and get a free Silk half gallon so I used three $1 coupons which doubled so that made it a $1 money maker.  I miscalculated in the store thinking it was going to be $2 but the first $1 paid for the yogurt.  I used the Mahatma Organic rice to cover the overage which were $1.49 per bag.

Harris Teeter $14.46

I got buy 2, get 3 free soda deal and the free Splenda to get another catalina but didn't use any catalinas to pay for this transaction.  I will get back around $0.14 from Saving Star for the Coke purchase.

Harris Teeter $7.36
This was a great transaction but could have been better.  I got the $0.14 pasta, $0.74 pretzels, $0.97 Frosted Flakes, $0.29 PF Chang's sauce and $0.99 meatballs.  The turkey lunch meat was $3.49.  I turned in a Checkout 51 rebate for $1 for the meatball and $0.15 for the Frosted Flakes.  I used two catalinas to pay for the transaction.
I realized after I turned it in that if I bought 2 Corn Pops that I would have made another $1 in rebates but that was my mistake for not checking before buying.  Another mistake for not grabbing a 5 box because there was a Saving Star rebate for $3 that I would have gotten for buying 5 on one receipt!  I left $4 on the table because I was so busy trying to get organized in the store but still a decent transaction.
Harris Teeter $0.95 
My last trip for super doubles at a different store after a birthday party because I was looking for the frozen fried rice with the two coupons that I had left in my pile and the diapers.  I did two transactions but the customer service person said that she was making an exception.  I told her I was well under the coupon limit and I wasn't trying to do anything but use the catalina on the next transaction.  I got free noodles, free Splenda, one free Finish, two $0.20 Finish, six $0.14 pasta, and the yogurt deal with the Silk milk in the first transaction.  I accidently picked up the wrong milk and had to run to the back corner of the store to get the right milk but they put both milks in the bags that they were packing which I didn't know until I got to the car.  The one yogurt rang up wrong and the milk didn't come off as free but I couldn't figure out the receipt.  I went to customer service and they thought that I didn't pay for 4 so they charged me for an extra yogurt and took off the milk so I got a refund.  I finally figured out what went wrong and went back inside and got another refund which was exhausting. 

My second transaction was the three Splenda Naturals and the Huggies diapers which I used the catalina from the first and got another one for the Splenda Naturals which I wasn't sure would happen.  Glad that wasn't my store and that I won't be going back there anytime soon but glad that I got these last few deals.

Aldi $13.48

I had Salsa Sloppy Joes on the menu and someone finished all the salsa in the house....oops!!  I really thought that there was another jar in the cupboard but there wasn't.  I made it with taco sauce, siracha, tomato sauce and brown sugar and it just tasted a little different so totally worked out okay but we were out of more then that so I headed to grab all of the things we had little or none left.

I got a new cashier and she apologized twice that she was new and made any mistakes.  She charged me for two eggs so I had to wait for her to refund me and then she messed up the refund and didn't print me a receipt so she started scanning the next person and it was still on the void.  I told her that she was still in the void but she had to call someone from the back.  She said that she was new but I don't know how patient Aldi is with cashiers who can't check out quickly.  I probably should have just gotten a second egg that she charged me for.  Oh well!!!

Harris Teeter $1.05

I couldn't find the baking sale online or in my specials but I really wanted it so I headed to the store to see if it was really going to work here after seeing it online.  If you bought 5 items at $0.99, you got $1 off so that each item was $0.79 each.  I also had a $3 catalina to use so I got this really cheap!!

Harris Teeter $4.05

Did another transaction and got the same exact things but without the $3 catalina but still a great deal!  Saved over $10 and these will last a long time.

Shoppers $0.08

I just downloaded the app and added two items to get for free so I was pretty excited that I was going to try this new way to get freebies!!!  The app was way easy to use and the prices came off as expected without any trouble. 

Giant $0.71

I went to get the freebies and the best deals at Giant.  They had a freebie loaded to the app to get So Delicious Almond Milk, Kinder Egg and Fage Yogurt.  There was also a electronic coupon for the So Delicious for $1 off which didn't come off.  I used a coupon to get the Chobani for free plus there was an electronic coupon which didn't come off.  The Betty Crocker Delight cake mix was on sale for $1.25 each and if you bought 4 then there was an electronic coupon for $2 off.  I used my overage on the other items to pay for the rest of the cake mix.  It was lots of great deals that I paid a little over just tax.

Total Retail $682.72
Total Savings $619.64
Total OOP $63.08
The beginning of the month was a little too busy for my tastes but the deals were so hard to pass up on.  I worked for a few days cleaning up cupboards to pack things in differently to try to fit it all in the kitchen.  I moved things around and got most of the things in but a box of hot sauce and bottles of other sauces went to the basement.  I can't believe how full everything is.  This is going to be many months to use up all the things in the house.  I have ground beef, mac and cheese, and blocks of cheese on my list to still get.  I always have milk and eggs on my list too but we are currently good for awhile!!

How have you done this month?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Summer House Book Review

I was at the library with my son and he didn't want to leave because he found a graphic novel that he wanted to read.  I went to the free shelf of books and found Summer House: A Novel by Nancy Thayer because I didn't want to search the whole library for a book to read and I had just finished my other book so I didn't have another book in my bag.  I was glad that I looked because it was really good book by an author that I have never read before. 

Thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright seems to have at last found her niche, running an organic gardening business on the island of Nantucket, thanks in large part to her spry grandmother Nona, who donated a portion of land on the family’s seaside compound to get Charlotte started. Though Charlotte’s skill with plants is bringing her success, cultivating something deeper with people—particularly her handsome neighbor Coop—might be more of a challenge.

    Now the entire Wheelwright clan is making its annual summer pilgrimage to the homestead, including Charlotte’s mother, Helen, who brings a heavy heart as she confronts a betrayal that threatens her sense of place and her sense of self. Bringing together three generations of strong-willed women, each wrestling with life-changing decisions, Nancy Thayer’s luminous novel shows that no matter where life’s path may lead, love always finds a way back home.

This book was about a whole family who was traveling to the families summer house and staying all together in the family home.  It is a lot of drama in everyone's lives but I was following Helen who was dealing with discovering a cheating husband but staying with his family in their summer house.  Helen wanted to be there for her kids and each one of them going through their own issues including Charlotte who was running an organic farm and having issues in her personal life, Oliver who was getting married to his gay partner and Teddy who showed up with a pregnant wife.  There was a lot going on with each member of the family and I loved the changes that were made over the story.  There was another side of the family with Grace as the head but the book didn't go into as much detail about them and I didn't connect with them as much.  I hope that you check out this book for yourself and enjoy it as much as did with this crazy family.  If you pick up the book, you will find out lots of family secrets.  I can't wait to see if there are any other books in this series!!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 2/12

Monday- Chicken Fries, Buffalo Chicken Wraps and homemade fries
Tuesday- Chicken or Pancakes
Wednesday- Steak and baked potatoes
Thursday- Pasta
Friday- Leftovers Recreated
Saturday- Lasagna and garlic bread
Sunday- Steak Sandwiches

Last week we did really well with the plan and got every day on the table as written...when does that ever happen.  On Monday, my husband and I had chicken wraps with cheese and lettuce which were super tasty so we will probably do that again this week.  I have been leaving the chicken dish on the meal plan and then trying to figure out what we are in the mood for.  Last week, I got a ton of PF Chang's sauce for $0.29 (and $1.50 rebate made it a money maker).  I decided to make a stir fry so my son was my sous chef and coated the chicken with corn starch and I cooked in toasted sesame and canola oil mixed and tossed with the sauce and served over rice.  We also had edamame on the side which was tasty!!  It was amazing so hoping to have that again soon.

I am not sure what I am going to make for our chicken dish this week but time will tell.  My husband is talking about going out to dinner with work friends so my son and I might have pancakes or some other breakfast for dinner meal if he is going to be out.  I hope that you have a yummy week planned and get everything on the table as planned.  It is going to be a busy week for us so hoping that we make all our plans but I am prepared with backups just in case.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Beloved Christmas Quilt Book Review

I found this book on the new release section in the library so I brought it home to continue the Christmas stories although this didn't really have anything to do with Christmas except the quilt.  The Beloved Christmas Quilt: Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith by Wanda E. Brunstetter was a great story written by three different authors with three different books.

One Quilt Binds Three Generations of Amish Women
Enjoy the gift of a brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, along with stories by her daughter-in-law, Jean and granddaughter, Richelle.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
The scripture embroidered on the back of a beloved quilt brings hope to three generations of Pennsylvania Amish women at Christmastime.

Luella’s Promise
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.

Karen’s Gift
By Jean Brunstetter
Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?

Roseanna’s Groom
By Richelle Lynn Brunstetter
When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

I didn't know that this was going to be about three different generations of the same family with them handing down the family heirloom of the Christmas Quilt until the second story was part way through.  The first story was Luella was taking care of a dying friend and her child.  This story really felt real to me and I loved how the character developed and things changed through the story.  The second book was about Karen who was Luella's daughter and how hard it is for her to be away from her family.  There are some interesting parts of this that I really liked because of the connection with family.  The third book was about Roseanna dealing with being left on her wedding day and what she is going to do to move forward with her life when her almost husband shows back up at her door.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it for yourself.  My favorite was the first and second stories but they all made a great story together with the Christmas Quilt making an important appearance in each one.  Pick up this book and check them out for yourself.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

January Reading Review

I used to start the year off with the plan but basically I take it as it comes with some books from the library, some from my shelf and some from different review sites.  I normally just read whatever is next in my pile and don't pay much attention to a plan on what I am going to read or how much I am reading but my goal is to read at least 100 books for the year.

These are all the books that I have read in January. If you click on the title of the book, it will take you back to the original review and summary of the book.  I hope that you add a few of these books to your personal reading list and enjoy them as much as I have.  I love suggestions on things to add to my reading list too because I am always looking for a good book!!!

Last Chance Christmas
by Hope Ramsay

The Christmas Wish
by Richard Siddoway

White Christmas Pie
by Wanda Brunstetter

The Substitute Guest
by Grace Livingston Hill

by Hope Ramsay

by Hope Ramsay

by Hope Ramsay

Daughters of the Bride
by Susan Mallery

Total Books 2018

January   8

Currently Reading:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 2/5

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Tuesday- Chicken (don't know what yet)
Wednesday- Salsa Sloppy Joes
Thursday- Pasta
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Philly Cheese Steak Pasta
Sunday- Fried Rice, Edamame and Eggs Rolls

Last week  went pretty much as planned.  We did my son's favorite meal on Monday, Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes Tuesday, Tacos on Wednesday, Pasta on Thursday, and leftovers Friday, Saturday was pizza at a birthday party and Sunday was our Super Bowl Sampler in front of the TV.  I made toasted raviolis, homemade fried cheese, chicken fries, Nathan's french fries and more.  We all ate until we were full and the Super Bowl was underway. 

I have a fairly easy week planned and a fairly easy meal plan so I hope to get ahead with my to do list.  I need to clean the kitchen up and start the week out right.  I am going to try to make chocolate chip cookies, rolls and a few other things.  I have laundry to do again which is crazy because it seems to be less than a week since I did it before.  I know that I can get this house into shape again with a less busy week so I am crossing my fingers that it stays calm.  Hope you have a good week!!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Daughters of the Bride Book Review

I picked up Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery from the new release shelf at the library.  It went in my pile to read but there were a few other books on top of it so I had to renew it before I finally got to start reading.  When I got to it, I needed something to throw in my bag and take it with me and this is a big book in hard back with nearly 400 pages so something else got moved to the top of the list because I didn't want to carry it.  Then I finally got to start it and I couldn't believe that I had waited so long.

Courtney ~ The Misfit 
As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thing—keeping secrets, including the white-hot affair she's having with a sexy music producer.
Sienna ~ The Free Spirit 
When Sienna's boyfriend proposes, he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her belt. Should she say "I do" even if she's not sure she does?
Rachel ~ The Cynic 
Rachel thought love would last forever…right up until her divorce. With Mom's wedding day imminent and her ex begging for a second chance, she'll have to decide if she'll let pride stand in the way of her own happily-ever-after.

It took me a little bit to figure out that the mom was getting married but the book was also about the three daughters she had and their lives.  I know that it shouldn't have been hard if I read the title but I guess I didn't do a great job remembering after starting it.  I was learning about each sister and trying to remember which was which but it didn't take long because they are all different.  They also all came out of their childhood with different scars because of loosing their father at a young age and the rest of their lives were shaped by that loss.  I liked reading about Courtney because she was really the underdog and she was trying to make the most of her life to prove that she was better then people thought of her.  I understand having something to prove and I really related most to her.  I hope that you check out this book and others by the author because she has some great writing and characters that make you feel like you are part of the family.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January End of the Month Shopping and Eating Out Review

The first half of the month had me over half my $160 monthly budget for our family of three so I was luckily staying out of the stores for a long time and then I jumped back at the end of the month.  Although I was a little worried where I was after spending for the second part of the month not adding up any receipts, I quickly added on the 28th and was luckily still under budget!!  I still had $25.59 left in the month for the last three days!  I knew that super doubles was coming so I was saving to get some deals but I normally grab all the free stuff on the first few days so I figured that I would be doing really well!!  Check out how it ended up below.

Below are all the amounts and pictures of the items that I got.  If you are looking for the descriptions of the beginning of the month, they can be found here.  All of the prices and pictures are shown below.  The descriptions are included for all of the trips after the first half of the month.

Giant $0.16

Target $0

Harris Teeter $14.61

Harris Teeter $22.08

Aldi $6.71

Harris Teeter $21.07

Harris Teeter $0.42

Harris Teeter $0.37

Harris Teeter $1.96

Trader Joes and Aldi (I think those are the only places) $0

Purchased by my dad when he was visiting.

Harris Teeter $17.67-$5.00= $12.67

Harris Teeter $0.10

Harris Teeter $10.82- $1.03= $9.79

Harris Teeter $4.47

Harris Teeter $0.03

Harris Teeter $2.50- $3.00 cash back= -$0.50

Harris Teeter $4.13

Harris Teeter $0.67

Aldi $4.52 

I sent my husband to the store to get milk and eggs to fill what we were out of.  He decided that we needed pretzels and wheat crackers which we served at the birthday party.

Safeway $2.53

I went to get brown paper bags because my son's birthday party was the next day and we totally needed them for the goody bags to send home the cookies, minecraft blocks, minecraft scrolls, minecraft masks and other goodies.  I decided to bend to my son's wishes and grab white cake mix and frosting because we were down to the wire for finishing the birthday party as it was and he didn't want chocolate which was all I had at home.  After I made them, he said chocolate would have been fine!!  Cupcakes were amazing!  We really like box cake mix and I wish that I could get homemade stuff to be as light and fluffy!!

Safeway $1.51 

I ran back literally on the way to the party to get icing for the decorate your own cookies because I used yesterday's icing on the cupcakes.  I ended up in three different registers trying to check out so I was sweating by the time that I got back to the car but with icing in hand.

Aldi $9.28

We were running low on a few more things including rice, stick margarine and vegetable shortening.  Being totally out of turkey for my husband's lunch was a surprise because he didn't tell me he used up the last of the other turkey so I had to go since he had a homemade lunchable with crackers, pepperoni and cheese one day and soup the other day.

Target $6.80

I went to the store to use up the rest of my gift card to get a few things and for my son to get a video game with his birthday money and gift cards.  I was going to order the vitamins online so that I could pay with pay pal but I thought that I had more money on the gift card then I did and I really didn't want to keep the gift card any longer.  Rookie mistake not checking before I went :(  We ended up buying a birthday gift anyway so I would have used it up on that regardless.

Giant $1.21

I went to get the freebies that I had just added to my card including the Lara Bar, Sabara Snack Cup and Campbell's Maxx Soup before they expired.  I added the two boxes of Kellogg's Corn Pops because I had an electronic coupon and printed coupon to use so that they would be cheaper plus in case there was overage from the freebies, I would have it covered.  Lucky I did because the total order ended up making the cereal $0.50 a box plus tax.

Harris Teeter $9.84

I went to Harris Teeter to get the weekend freebies which included another Lara Bar and the Light and Fit Yogurt.  I got the Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch for $0.52 per box.  The Pringles were on sale but rang up funny so I went to customer service and they credited back some money and gave me one free for the price ringing up wrong.  I had a coupon for the Old El Paso and I thought that we needed one for the coming menu plan so $0.15 seemed like a good enough deal but when I looked at home, we had one that came in a kit in a white bag that I scribbled that it was Old El Paso taco seasoning at the top so I could have been more patient.  The Cran Grape was $1.99 per bottle so I grabbed four more since we were very close to out of them.

Harris Teeter $24.20

It was the first day of super doubles and I decided that I had to go and grab the deals.  I knew that I didn't have that much left for the month so I added it up on the paper before checking out to make sure that I knew what I was going to add up under budget.  I grabbed my free Texas Pete Hot Sauce and Finish (I thought it was going to be $1.29 so it was nice when I saw a sale that made them free).  The pasta was $0.14 per box which was higher then the last sale but still a good enough deal for me to grab a bunch.  The Edamame was $0.39 per bag.  The Nathan's fries were the only ones left in the store so I got them for $0.74 per bag.  The Tums were $1.99.  The Mahatma Organic Rice was $1.49.  The Newman's Salad Dressing which was $1.99 after coupon and I turned them in for $1 rebate from Ibotta so I paid $0.99 each after rebate.  The Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet bowl cleaner was on clearance so I used a coupon and got it for $3.49 instead of $9.99.  I thought that the Old El Paso Kit was going to be $0.74 but it was $0.99 but I didn't return it.  I got The Cheez Its were $1.49 per box and the Town House Crackers were $0.99 per box.  I turned it in for $0.25 Ibotta cracker rebate.  I also got another $0.25 any item rebate.

Total Retail $948.60
Total Savings $789.99
Total OOP $158.61

I got $9.80 so far in my Saving Star account with who knows how much more coming because they are so slow.  I got $13.00 in my Ibotta account and $10.60 in my Checkout 51 account.  I turned in a bunch of receipts for Fetch but I am not sure that it is a super great rebate app because it is slow going to get one reward but I will keep at it.

Eating Out or Take Out

Our normal budget for a month for eating out is $40 and we try to fit everything into that except one week vacation in the summer which we might go above and beyond.  We had saved all of our take out money for my son's birthday party because we knew that we were going to have pizza for the kids.  We decided on 3 pepperoni and 3 cheese pizzas ordered from my son's favorite place, Little Caesars.  Then more people RSVPed and we added another cheese pizza.  My husband called in the order which they didn't tell him the total but we thought it was going to be $35 plus tax so we would totally be under our total.  Well, Little Caesar's changed their menu and now they "normally" serve the higher priced pizza unless you ask for the Classic pizza.  My husband didn't want to fight with the women because he pre-ordered and we ended up spending $46.25 which was over budget and not even planned.  Sadly, we also had two extra pizzas when it was all said and done but better safe then sorry.  Not too over budget but we had many long conversations of our disappointment with the new "policy" at Little Caesar's that put us there.  

Happy to be under the grocery budget to make up for the a little of the difference in price so only $4.86 over both budgets together.  When I look back at the things that I bought, the only thing that I was sad about was the pizza so it will be awhile before we are buying that and I know that everything that I bought at the grocery store was an amazing savings although I know that I could have passed on some of the items like additional toilet paper or the frozen pizza.  

How did your month go?  Were you under budget or over budget?