Monday, May 28, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 5/28

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps or Salad and homemade fries and tater tots
Tuesday- Pasta with meatballs
Wednesday-Grilled Chicken Wraps and mac and cheese
Thursday- French Dip Sloppy Joes with white rice
Friday- Homemade Pizza
Saturday- Leftover Family Fun Night
Sunday-Simple Fried Rice, Egg Rolls and Edamame

We had Monday and Tuesday meals as planned. On Wednesday, my friend Amy said that she was going to teach me how to make pasta.  I don't think that I did a great job but I made some pasta with her roller and cutter with the dough she already made.  I didn't do bad but it did clump up again when I cooked it but it was tasty!!  We had it with our grilled buffalo chicken and I added garlic, olive oil, oregano, parmesan and lemon juice to make it super tasty.

We had tacos on Thursday.  We switched Friday and Saturday and had our leftover meal on Friday and made pizza Saturday night.  Sunday we ended up having Fried Rice with the rest of our peas for lunch so I was at a loss for dinner but I decided to have the Sandra's Chicken and white rice because it was easy and it could go in the oven so that we could spent some time as a family and play more games.

I can't believe how fast this month has gone but I am looking forward to starting summer and lots of grilling!!!  We were pretty excited to get a deal on chicken so that the freezer would be fully stocked to have lots of grilled food!! YUM!!!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Buried Secrets Book Review

I was excited to hear that the second book in the Harvest of Hope series was out!  I liked the first book and I was excited to read the second book in the series.  I started reading Buried Secrets (Harvest of Hope) by Barbara Cameron and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the first book was about!!  This book was basically a stand alone book and although some of the small town and characters are the same, it really wasn't built off the previous book.  The great news for first time readers is that you will enjoy this book just as much as those who have been waiting for the second book in the series!!

Family secrets could get in the way of a second chance at love.  After her husband dies, Rose longs to be near her family—especially her twin sister, Lillian—so she packs up her young son and leaves their life in Ohio to move back to Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Luke Miller is ready to settle down in Paradise. He soon forms a partnership with Rose to help farm her land. He finds that he's enjoying the company of the quiet, modest widow and she may be just the woman he's been waiting for. But is Rose hiding a secret beneath her reserved exterior—one that  could keep her from having a future with Luke? And Rose isn't the only one concealing something. Luke has a secret of his own, and it could threaten their partnership—and their chance at love.

I loved the characters and writing in this book as much as I did the first book.  The thing that was different about this book was it was a little more like other Amish fiction titles because it was talking about some of the same topics like farming and raising families.  However, Rose and Lillian are twins and tend to know how the other is thinking and feeling which added an interesting twist.  Rose is starting her life over in her childhood home after loosing her husband.  Rose is trying to bring her family farm back to life with the help with Luke Miller, new to Paradise and making his future in this small town.  I loved watching the family settle in and the slow progress that Rose makes to rebuild her life and how important Luke is in this new life.  It was a great story but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens when Luke leaves Paradise.  It is a great story that has a lot of ups and downs but ends quickly...I probably feel this way of most books because I want another 100 pages to resolve slowly but was a great book that left you waiting for the third book in this series!!  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I have.

**I received a copy of this book for my review but all of my opinions here are honest and my own.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Phoebe's Light Book Review

I put a bunch of books on reserve at the library including this one because I have liked the books by Suzanne Woods Fisher in the past. I knew nothing about Phoebe's Light (Nantucket Legacy) by Suzanne Woods Fisher including the series but it is the first book in the series so I got lucky since I like to start at the beginning.  I am not great with historic books all the time because I often get stuck on the historical language so that it doesn't move as quickly as books set in the current time but that was not the case with this book.  I was into the book and finding out what was going to happen with the story and the journal that were both being revealed.

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she's doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a "minder" on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Macy, a man whom she loathes.  Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary's journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe's shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way--just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.  This book took a little bit to get into the time period but once I was in with the great chracters, I was pulling for Phoebe to get everything that she deserved.  Although this was a mystery to know what we should root for at some parts in the book, Phoebe was trying to make the most of her life in this small town and decided that marrying Captain Foulger would be the best plan to save her father.  She trusted her new husband to pay her fathers debt before they left together on the boat to go whaling.  Phoebe was married and quickly taken to the boat that was leaving that night where she had constant sea sickness that didn't resolve.  Her saving grace was Silo, the cabin boy, who helped her get anything she needed.  She was also being watched over by Matthew because he loved her and he promised her father that he would.  Between the two of them, she was still near death on the boat from many factors but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I think that you will be amazed with the twists and turns in this book because I certainly was.  It was a great story with great characters that made this book impossible to stop reading.  I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I have.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Road Home Book Review

I was excited that there was another book out by Beverly Lewis and I didn't even read what it was about or what series it was part of when I decided that I had to read it.  The Road Home by Beverly Lewis was set in the past but still a fairly present book in both Michigan and Pennsylvania.  It was a great story with great characters that I was immediately drawn into so that I couldn't put down the book.

Sent from Michigan to Pennsylvania following the tragic death of her Amish parents, Lena Rose Schwartz grieves her loss and the separation from her nine siblings. Beside the fact that Lena has never been so far from home, she hasn't met the family she will now be living with. But worse than that is having to live apart from her close-knit brothers and sisters. How will they manage without her to care for them--especially six-year-old Chris? And will her new beau, Hans Bontrager, continue to court her despite the many miles between them?  Yet even as Lena Rose holds on to hope for a reunion with those she loves most, she discovers that Lancaster holds charms of its own. Is she willing to open her heart to new possibilities?

Although this books had many things in common with other Beverly Lewis because of the great writing and wonderful characters, I thought it was really unique because Lena Rose had to move all the way to Pennsylvania to live with a family member because there was no where for her to fit in the small town in Michigan where she grew up after her parents died.  I was thinking that life wouldn't change for this family of 10 children because the community would come together to have someone live with them to make the only change the loss of their parents but that didn't happen.  It took awhile to believe that this was happening for me but all of the children were shipped off to different houses so that they would have to grow up by themselves.  Lean Rose makes the most of her new situation living in a new town away from her whole family and she makes a new life with many new friends.  She prays every day to move home with her family but still makes the most of each day in Pennsylvania.  When she gets word of a job and a place to live, she has to make a hard decision to leave behind her new life and go back to her old life.  You have to pick up the book and find out what she does because it has me amazed!!  I hope that you check out this book for yourself and enjoy it as much as I did!!

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

April Reading Review

I try to read lots of books every month and I never know where they are going to come from.  When I started this journey, I kept a running list of the books that I was going to read for the year which was a mix of books from the library and books from home.  After awhile, I realized that I follow the author through the series so it is hard to say what I am going to be reading because it is totally dependent on new releases and what the library carries.  I have made an effort this month to stop getting books from the library and read through those on my shelf because the books not read and the books read are getting confused and I want to make sure that I don't miss any because I have put them off for so long.  I also realized that in the busy weeks that I had at the beginning of the month, I forgot to post this so sorry this is late!!

Here are all the books that I have read for the month of April and if you click on the title it will bring you back to my original post with the summary and my review of the book.  I have enjoyed a variety throughout the year and set a goal to read at least 100 but trying for over 150.  Here is hoping that I stay on track!!

by Brenda Child

by Lois Richer

by Lois Richer

by Dakota Cassidy
by Kathie DeNosky
by Robyn Carr

The First Kiss of Spring
by Emily March

The Marriage Bargain
by Jennifer Probst

Total Books 2018

January   8
February  10
 March    10
April     11

Total Read   39

Currently Reading:


Monday, May 21, 2018

Menu Plan Monday 5/21

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps or Salad and homemade fries and tater tots
Tuesday- Pasta with meatballs
Wednesday-Grilled Buffalo Chicken and mac and cheese
Thursday- Tacos or French Dip Sloppy Joes with white rice
Friday- Homemade Pizza
Saturday- Leftover Family Fun Night
Sunday-Simple Fried Rice, Egg Rolls and Edamame

We got our dinner on the table and the power went out on Monday night and we went with chicken salads instead of wraps because we were having tacos this week.  Super glad that we got our meal made but I still hadn't finished re-packing the freezer so there was a fast shoving that happened where I got to fit a lot of the food into the freezer even though there wasn't piles of ice on it like last power outage.  We got power back that night right as we crawled into bed so we got up and turned off lights and other things that were on.  I was very excited for our pork chops after I found them in the store for $0.99 for the package.  I made our last pouch of herb rice and our last corn on the cob which we really enjoyed.  Then, the power went out!!!  AGAIN!  Glad to have dinner done even though I was still cleaning up and putting things away but another night without power.  We were supposed to have tacos on Wednesday but I shoved the frozen ground beef back into the freezer so we decided to mix up the week a little and have the homemade pizzas that my son made.  On Thursday we did spaghetti with garlic salt for my son, sauce and meatballs for my husband and garlic bread for all.  Friday was leftover family fun night where we watched Because of Winn Dixie which was good but not as good as the book.  We enjoyed dinner off a TV trays by watching the movie.  Saturday brought a busy morning and we bought a pizza hut pizza for lunch after my son's race and a STEM event which ran really long.  We were all so full that we had leftovers for dinner and I made my son some waffles too.  Sunday was leftover pizza for lunch and quick dinner before work so I made Fried Rice with peas and steak egg rolls.  Super tasty and super easy to throw together while my son worked on homework.

I am hoping for an easy week this week but I guess we will see how it turns out.  I am not sure what this weekend brings since the pool is going to be opening up on Saturday.  I know that we will be there this weekend but I am not sure how long we will stay there.  I think that I have most of the groceries in the house that we need for the week so I am hoping that we won't need too much for the rest of the month.  I think that we will use up the rest of the ground beef with the meals planned for the month so I will have to look into getting some if there is money left in the budget for the month.  How is your month going??

Friday, May 18, 2018

Bound By Duty Book Review

My last Love Inspired books was Bound by Duty (Military K-9 Unit) by Valerie Hansen.  I put this one off until last because I don’t usually pick the books that are about the military.  I don’t think that there was anything wrong with it because there is a cute cover and a great name but it was my last choice for books.  I was totally wrong because this book was amazing!!

The Military K-9 Unit series continues: Her serial killer brother’s escaped—and it’s single mom Zoe Sullivan who’s under suspicion! Sgt. Linc Colson trusts two things: his instincts and his Rottweiler K-9 partner, Star—and certainly not the pretty face he’s assigned to monitor. He’s done everything to keep her from getting under his skin—now he must stop those who want to put her six feet under.

Zoe Sullivan is living a tough life as a single parent to a little boy while working on an Air Force base as a flight instructor.  She is being followed by Sgt Linc Colson because they suspect her of helping her brother who recently escaped after being convicted of being a serial killer.  Zoe is not even in contact with her brother other then visits to jail to see him.  Bad things start happening and Zoe is removed from duty.  She is being watched and strange things are noticed and Linc starts to believe her.  He turns from her tail to her guard.  They become very close through all of the crazy ups and downs but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens because I think that you will be amazed at the lengths people go to in order to make Zoe look like she is losing her mind.   I really enjoyed this nail bitter of a book and waiting to find out what was going to happen next made it so hard to put down the book!!!  I know that you will enjoy it if you read it too!!

**I received a copy of this book for my review but all opinions here are honest and my own.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Primary Suspect Book Review

I got a chance to review a series of four books in the Love Inspired series.  I read two of them and reviewed them in April so I had two more that were being released in May so I patiently waited to read them so that I could review them when they were being released.  The second two were both Suspense books which was noted on the cover… which made me a little nervous because I am not great at mysteries.   My first was Primary Suspect (Callahan Confidential) by Laura Scott.  I was so glad to get to read this that I was instantly hoping for another book by this author to read.

Wrongfully Accused A Callahan Confidential story:  When fire investigator Mitch Callahan is attacked at a crime scene, he’s shocked to uncover the body of a slain ex-girlfriend—and realize someone’s framing him for murder. Widowed ER nurse Dana Petrie believes Mitch is innocent, and not just because he makes her feel alive again after tragedy marred her past. But is she willing to risk everything only to love and lose again?

Mitch Callahan is a fire investigator and he was attacked at a scene of a fire after he saw his ex-girlfriend lying dead in the burned out building.  He went to the hospital to get stitches for his gash and he runs into a nurse who is a wife of a fallen fire fighter.  He is trying to leave the hospital quickly after getting stitched up because he realizes that he is being framed for murder and doesn’t want to end up in jail.  Lots of crazy things happen starting with someone coming into the hospital room to try to kill him.  Mitch escapes with Dana Petrie from the hospital and they go into hiding.  Mitch luckily has a lot of family to call on that help him search for the real killer while trying not to get caught.  This story although a little stressful was not scary so I was super glad to get to read this amazing story.  There were tons of ups and downs for Mitch and Dana while they were trying to stay safe and clear Mitch’s name.  In the process, the two of them start to feel a strong attraction and you have to pick up the book to find out what happens. Hope you enjoy this suspenseful but not scary book for yourself.

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Million Dollar Cowboy Book Review

I read this book awhile ago and then it sat on my side table not getting written up because there were so many things going on.  I am glad that I could remember what it was about to share it with you. 

I found Million Dollar Cowboy: A Cupid, Texas Novel by Lori Wilde in my pile of books and I was trying to read through them instead of getting more books from the library.  I have made a pretty big dent in the pile but this was next.  I have no idea where I got or why I picked it up except I like books set in the country and cowboys usually mean the country.  I was glad that I had it in my pile and look forward to some of the other strange finds in the large shelf of books still to read.

New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Wilde returns to Cupid, Texas with a heartwarming story of a cowboy who comes home to the family ranch for a wedding filled with surprises…The illegitimate son of a Texas ranching dynasty, Ridge Lockhart left home ten years ago with one goal: to become more successful than the father who never accepted him.  Mission accomplished, but now he’s back at the Silver Feather Ranch for a wedding—three days of best man duty until he can hightail it out. Then he spies Kaia Alzate, and suddenly leaving isn’t quite so appealing.  Kaia Alzate grew up the daughter of the ranch foreman, servants to the mighty Lockharts in the mansion. Back then, she followed Ridge around like a puppy. Now, she’s fighting the attraction she feels for this sexy CEO. She’s determined not to make a big mistake—but when Ridge takes her in his arms she’s stunned…could he be the man she’s waited for all along?

I enjoyed this story a lot because it started at the beginning of young Ridge Lockhart’s life when he lost his mother and followed him through to the current.  Ridge left the small town he grew up in to make a name for himself and to prove he was better than his father.  He came back for his best friend’s wedding.  He meets Kaia Alzate as soon as he gets off the plane but doesn’t realize that she is the younger sister of his best friend.  They both try to fight the attraction that happens immediately but it hard to go against the feelings that they had.  It was interesting to see all the things that went into the wedding and the families getting together.  The best part was the issues with father and son trying to get over the past and move forward.  I thought it was a great story with lots of great writing and characters.  I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did when you pick it up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May First Half Shopping and Eating Out Totals

We budget $160 per month for my family of 3 to purchase all of our household goods including groceries, paper goods and personal care items.  I shop sales, use coupons and do the best that I can to stretch that budget as far as I can through the month by paying the least for items that I can.  I bake items like our bread, rolls, breakfast treats and desserts which helps stretch foods between trips to the store.  We try to cook all of our meals at home to enjoy great food at low prices.  In addition, I have a $40 budget for eating out for the month.

Below are all the trips that I made to the store and a picture of what I got in each one.  The amounts are what I spent and there is a breakdown of how much I spent on each item.

Harris Teeter $9.23

I went to use the rain check for the Big Chewy bars for my son.  The Chilly Cow was a great deal because it was on sale for $2.89 and I had $2 coupons for each one.  The electronic coupon came off too and there was a rebate to make it an even better deal.  I got the Sweet Tart ropes for $0.09 after coupon. I got $5.25 in rebates.

Aldi $2.04

We were out of milk and I had gone at the end of last month but it was a higher price with a fast expiration date so I had to go back and get it at another store.

Safeway $0 

I got a freebie at Safeway that I saved to my card and went in and got these free.

Giant $0.29

I got some freebies on my card for dog food which ended up having overage.  I also for the free taco powder for a little more overage to pay for the bananas and the lemon so I paid mostly only tax and there was a rebate for $0.25 back on the bananas from Ibotta.

Harris Teeter $8.87

I went for the first day of super doubles and got free Special K cereal and Ortega seasoning.  I bought some Cheez It coupons online and they were on sale so I got 5 boxes for $1.98 or $0.40 per box.  I also bought some Pringles coupons so they were $0.25 each after coupon.  I got the Whole Fruit Bars and Tubes for $0.50 each and then turned them in for $1.00 rebates each.  I got the Van's waffles for $0.79 after sale and coupons and turned in a rebate for $1 for each box.  I got the Kahiki egg rolls for $1.50 per box with a coupon that was expiring that day.  Although it was an expense that I didn't need to spent, I thought that they would be easy to use for quick dinners this summer.  I got two packages of diapers for $1.99 for my cousin.

Harris Teeter $1.88

I got free Tasty Bite rice and $0.09 Sweet Tart Ropes.  I paid $0.50 for each bag of McCain's and turned in a $1 rebate to Checkout 51.

Harris Teeter $8.36

I got free water, olives, Barilla ready pasta, Frank's hot sauce, and three Franks Honey Garlic sauce.  I got the Cheez Its for $0.40 each after sale and coupon.  The Mahatma Organic rice was $1.49 after coupon.  The Furmano Tomatoes were supposed to be on sale for buy one, get one but they rang up $1.50 each so they ended up being $0.83 each after coupon and sale.   The McCain's potatoes are $0.50 each.  I got two boxes of Van's waffles for $0.79 each and turned in for $1 rebate each. I got $1 rebate from Ibotta for Ready Pasta and should get $1 back from Saving Star.

Harris Teeter -$0.90

I finally saw that the Franks deal was still active and all I had to do was buy $12 of Franks and get $3 off my whole order.  I got six bottles free and additional $3 off to pay for my hot dogs which were $1.14 per package.  I got the Furmano's tomatoes which ended up being $0.83 each but it didn't ring up right and the customer service desk gave me back $3.08 so the total was negative after the amount of the return.

Harris Teeter $7.19

I got free shaving cream.  The Pringles were $0.25 each.  The McCains were $0.50 each.  The Cottonelle was $3.99.  I got $0.50 rebate back for the Cottonelle and the $3 bonus.

Harris Teeter $8.40

I got the free Franks sauce which also gave me a $3 promotion off.  The rice was $1.49 per bag.  The string cheese was $0.34 each.  The block cheese was $1.36 each which is better then Aldi so I decided to grab it.  I turned this in for $0.25 cheese rebate.

Harris Teeter $0.69 

The Barilla ready pasta, Yakisoba noodles and Asian Noodle Bowls were all free.  I think that one coupon gave me a little overage because the McCain potatoes were $0.50 each.  I turned this in for lots of rebates including $0.25 any item, $1.50 ready pasta, and $1 McCain from Checkout 51.

Shoppers $0.08

I got a freebie for the chips that I got to load on my card.  I grabbed the tic tacs which were free after coupon.  I messed up a little because there was another electronic coupon so I could have had another $0.50 credit towards other food but I didn't know ahead and didn't plan well.  Best part was that I turned it in for $0.50 rebate which also prompted a $0.50 bonus for all my rebates.

Harris Teeter $28.18 

I got free bread, think thin bars and pineapple.  My husband finished his turkey so I grabbed two which were on sale and I used a coupon to get them for $3.49.  I got the Cran Grape on sale for buy one, get one free so they worked out to $1.99 each.  I got the Gatorade for my husband for $0.67 each and turned in for $0.25 rebate.  The Blue Bunny was the best deal at a shelf price of $5.29, they were on sale half off and there was a $2 coupon so they were $0.64 each.  I turned them in for $1 rebate on Ibotta so they were $0.14 per box.  We enjoyed them for dinner.  These rebates also got me a $2 bonus!!!

Harris Teeter $19.52

I went to the store to get more Cran Grape since the other store was out of stock so they were $1.99 each.  I also wanted to get the Big Chewy Bars because they were out of stock in the other store too so they were $1.49 each limit 2.  I also got another loaf of free bread, free pineapple and $0.09 Sweet Tart candy.

Giant $0.32

I went to the store to get the Friday Freebies which was the candy and the yogurt.  I decided to get the tomato and bananas for the overage if there was any.  I was walking through the aisles and I saw clearance Finlandia butter so I walked back to the car and got my coupons....yup I was planning on not couponing.  I grabbed four butters which were money makers after the coupons were entered so I paid $0.21 plus tax.  I turned in the Ibotta rebate for $0.25 for the tomato.

Safeway $0

I got a coupon for a free item from the Monopoly game so I went in to grab a gravy packet.

Target $0 (used pay pal)

I used pay pal from my rebates to buy my son's vitamin which I ordered at home and they were ready to pick up in less then 30 minutes.

Harris Teeter $6.38

I went to get more of the Blue Bunny ice cream.  My son really enjoyed the caramel cones so I was glad to see that they had more on the shelf although that was all that they had.  I got an amazing deal on pork for $0.99 so we will be eating that soon.  I also grabbed one more of the olive oil which was $1.89 after sale and coupon.  It was an amazing deal which I should have passed up because I didn't need it but it was a great price that was hard to pass up!! I turned in a rebate for $1 from Ibotta.

Harris Teeter $3.41

I got these on a separate transaction so that I could do a second rebate if it came back.

Harris Teeter $3.41

I went to a second store because the first was out of the Bunny snacks and the Just Crack An Egg for the Taste and Tell that I wanted.  The second store had everything that I wanted after I asked someone to go to the back to get the All American Just Crack an Egg.  Super excited to get everything and better that I packed ice packs so that I could do all my stops including Safeway, Gas Station, Target, Harris Teeter and Second Harris Teeter. I turned in the rebate for $1 on Ibotta.

Harris Teeter $3.41

I think that I went a little crazy with the Blue Bunny deal but they were $1.14 each after sale and coupon instead of $5.29 shelf price.  My son really enjoyed the special treat and there was a rebate so I was hopeful to get the great deal more then once with a rebate reset!!  Sadly, I forgot to use the electronic coupon because I didn't save it so I used all my printed coupons instead.

Total Retail $640.46
Total Savings $524.51
Total OOP $115.95

Not necessarily the best first half of the month because I spent way too much but I got a ton of deals that will carry me through the rest of the month.  We really needed the Cran Grape and we will enjoy the ice cream now that it has gotten hot out.  I have $44.05 left for the month to buy the items that we need.  I know that we will need some milk but I don't think that there will be a lot of other expensive items (at least I am hoping).  At the end of the month, I might try to figure out the price of the diapers and take them out of the budget since they are for a gift and not something for us but I don't know the total cost so I haven't take them out yet.

I went a little crazy this month with the rebates and so far have already gotten $28.00 in rebates and bonuses.  I will also get some for the Cheez It and Pringle purchases through Saving Star through my 1% bonus but it is so slow that only $0.31 has been added so far this month.

Eating Out

We haven't eaten out at the beginning of the month because we are saving our budget for the rest of the month with the holiday weekend and other things going on so we will be out and about and might need a treat out for all of us!!  My son is already talking about ice cream and mini golf so we might be doing that to pretend that summer is already here!!!