Friday, March 29, 2019

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse Book Review

I love Alexander McCall Smith and all of his books and got a chance to see him at the local college when he came to visit.  Thanks Ann for sending them from oversees when the first two books came out.  This book isn't part of either of those series but I was excited to see what it was about.  The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse: A Novel by Alexander McCall Smith is a great stand alone novel.

From the beloved and best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series comes a heartwarming tale of hope and friendship set amid the turmoil of World War II.

Val Eliot, a young woman working on an English farm during the war, meets Mike, a U.S. Air Force pilot stationed nearby. When Val rescues a Border Collie named Peter Woodhouse, who is being mistreated by his owner, she realizes the dog would actually be safer with Mike. And so Peter Woodhouse finds a new home on the air force base, and Val finds herself falling in love. Peter Woodhouse becomes Dog First Class, a canine mascot on the base who boldly accompanies the officers on their missions, and Val becomes Mike’s fiancĂ©e. But then a disaster jeopardizes the future of them all, and Peter Woodhouse brings Ubi, a German corporal, into their orbit, sparking a friendship that comes with great risk but carries with it the richest of rewards.

Infused with Alexander McCall Smith’s renowned charm and warmth, The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse is an uplifting story of love and the power of friendship to bring sworn enemies together.

I thought it was a great book and it was a hard book to put down.  There were so many things going on with the war and different characters.  The book went back and forth between the different characters.  I was particularly taken with Val Eliot who was a local woman who started working at a farm.   She is living with her aunt over the post office and another distant relative, Willy.  Willy saves Peter Woodhouse the dog from the man that he is working for because he beat the dog.  The dog is moved all over the place to make sure that he doesn't end up with the farmer.  There are tons of crazy things going on because of the war.  I hope that you check out this book and all the other books by this great author.  They are all a little different and

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Noel Stranger Book Review

I didn't know anything about the book except that I liked the author when I saw this on the new release shelf.  The amazing thing is that it was the second book in the series and I have missed the first in the series (I think).  The Noel Stranger (The Noel Collection) by Richard Paul Evans was still a stand alone book and I had no trouble reading it without reading the first book in the series.

Maggie Walther feels like her world is imploding. Publicly humiliated after her husband, a local councilman, is arrested for bigamy, and her subsequent divorce, she has isolated herself from the world. When her only friend insists that Maggie climb out of her hole, and embrace the season to get her out of her funk, Maggie decides to put up a Christmas tree and heads off to buy one—albeit reluctantly. She is immediately taken by Andrew, the kind, handsome man who owns the Christmas tree lot and delivers her tree. She soon learns that Andrew is single and new to her city and, like her, is also starting his life anew.

As their friendship develops, Maggie slowly begins to trust again—something she never thought possible. Then, just when she thinks she has finally found happiness, she discovers a dark secret from Andrew’s past. Is there more to this stranger’s truth than meets the eye? This powerful new holiday novel from Richard Paul Evans, the “King of Christmas fiction” (The New York Times), explores the true power of the season, redemption, and the freedom that comes from forgiveness.

Maggie is falling apart after her marriage fell apart.  She is upset about all of the people in the town knowing what happened as well as the violation that her husband had another family in another town.  She stops going to work and leaving the house because she is embarrassed and upset.  Her friend takes over all her work and tries to pull her out of her funk by making her come out and get coffee and decorate her house for Christmas.  She goes to the Christmas tree lot and meets Andrew.  Maggie immediately feels a pull for the world and learning more about Andrew after he volunteers to deliver her tree when he sees it won't fit on the small car she is driving.  It was great to watch her finally get back out there and start her life with the help of Andrew but the crazy part of this comes when she learns more about her mysterious man.  Make sure you pick up the book and find out what happens.  I think that you might need some tissues while reading because there is a lot that comes up in the second half of the book when you think that this is just a happy Christmas book.  I should know better then that because this author always pulls on the heart strings and I thought it was the beginning and bringing Maggie back to life but I was wrong.  Pick it up and find out what happens for yourself and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

As the Tide Comes In Book Review

I got this book on my reserve shelf and I was excited to see what it was about.  As the Tide Comes In: A Novel by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall was a great book at the top of the pile and I was excited to see that it wasn't a part of another series.  I love finding more books to read and this one was a great one.

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott's life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia's St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past - her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what's left of her identity into pieces?

Tara Abbott lived in foster homes and grew up to make friends that were like her family.  She has made a life with her jobs and rock climbing community.  She travels to see her half brothers grandmother who tells her that she is dying.  The grandmother wants Tara to take over raising "her boys" at the age of 18 because there is no one else to raise them.  She was hesitant to step into the roll but quickly changes her mind when she realizes how kind they are and how tough foster care living was for her childhood.  It was an amazing story of love of a family that had you quickly start pulling for Tara.  She gets into an accident and then looses everything in her life as well as her grip on reality.  She takes a trip to Georgia and meets local women and becomes part of the small town.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens when she confuses a house there with her house at home and looses time so things get a little crazy.  I hope that you check out this book because it was an amazing story and I know that you will like it as much as I did.  It makes you appreciate your family and life after reading this story.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Why Not Tonight Book Review

I picked up this book of the new release section.  I was excited to read the next book in the series that I enjoyed the first two a lot.  Why Not Tonight (Happily Inc) by Susan Mallery is the third book in the Happily Inc series.  Because it was a hard backed book, it got put down in the pile because I didn't want to carry it but then I got started and stayed up all night reading it.  It was hard to put down.

Natalie Kaleta will do anything for the artists at her gallery, including risk life, limb and the effect of humidity on her naturally curly hair. Braving a downpour to check on reclusive Ronan Mitchell, Natalie gets stranded by a mudslide at his mountain home, where the brooding glass artist reveals his playful side, sending her inconvenient crush from under-the-radar to over-the-top.

After a secret tore apart his family and made him question his sense of self, Ronan fled his hometown for Happily Inc, but the sunny small town can’t fix his damaged heart. He won’t give in to his attraction for beautiful, perpetually cheerful Natalie. She’s untouched by darkness—or so he thinks.

Natalie knows that when a heart goes through the flame, it comes out stronger. Life may not be a fairy tale, but sometimes dreams do come true. Why not this one? Why not tonight?

Another amazing book in this series that has everyone wanting to move to the cute small town of Happily Inc.  Natalie is working in the art gallery as an office assistant to make ends meet while she is working on her art work.  As part of her job, she is worried about the artists in the office.  Ronan hadn't checked in during the last five days.  She was worried and went to his house while there was a big storm starting.  It was a crazy storm where the roads ended up being closed for days and she was trapped up the mountain at Ronan's house.  The close proximity and the amazing art room brought about a friendship that they didn't have previously.  It was great to see the friendship grow and Natalie bring out the best in Ronan.  She works hard to bring Ronan back to his brothers and he started working more because of the changes.  There are lots of changes in the book but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  It is a great book and you can enjoy this series as much as I have.  I was super excited when I picked up this book that I saw that there was another one that I was able to reserve at the library so stay tuned for another book soon.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 3/25

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps with homemade fries
Tuesday- Grilled Chicken with white rice
Wednesday- Spaghetti
Thursday- Simple Fried Rice with peas and egg rolls
Friday-Chicken Tacos with white rice
Saturday- Take Out Pizza

This week is going to be a busy one because I have surgery on Tuesday and physical therapy twice this week to get my shoulder moving after the surgery.  I think that it is going to be an easy week for me because there isn't much more that I can do but I know that I have to have everything planned for everyone else to fill in the slack.

Last week we had mostly the plan make it on the table with a little shift.  Monday we had Chicken Wraps and my son had Chicken fries with homemade fries.  Tuesday was Simple Fried Rice with peas using more of my fresh chicken broth (I still had one cup left) with egg rolls.  Wednesday was Spaghetti with meatballs.  Thursday I made Chicken and Rice Casserole from scratch with the last cup of chicken broth instead of water so that I didn't have to add chicken bouillon to the homemade cream soup.  I made lasagna with the ricotta that I bought on sale and put two in the freezer.  I made a small one and took the last small one out of the freezer so that we would have the fresh ones in the freezer.  We made a whole chicken with a pan of sausage stuffing from the freezer and my husband made mashed potatoes on Saturday so we were stuffed.  Friday was supposed to be leftovers so we moved that to Sunday which was great after a long week and busy weekend. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Season of Wonder Book Review

I had this new release on reserve and it came in.  Season of Wonder (Haven Point) by RaeAnne Thayne was another book that came up on my reserve shelf that I knew nothing about.  It was a great book that finally made it to the top of my stack so I was excited to read it.

It’s a long way from New York to Idaho…but could they have found a home at last?

Dani Capelli has never truly belonged anywhere. And from her earliest days as a foster child in Queens, she would have been lost if it weren’t for her love of animals. Until high school, when she fell hard for the wrong boy, and found herself pregnant—and married—by graduation. Two daughters later, Dani realized her mistake and filed for divorce, and with the help of scholarships and loans—and a lot of macaroni and cheese dinners—she enrolled in vet school. Things were finally looking up…until her ex-husband became her late husband, in the most notorious way possible.

Now Dani and her daughters need an out-of-town pass more than ever. So when the retiring Haven Point veterinarian offers her a chance to settle in the small Idaho town and take over his practice, she jumps at it. But adjusting to the charming mountain community isn’t easy; thirteen-year-old Silver begins acting out while six-year-old Mia is growing too attached to Haven Point and everything in it, especially their next-door-neighbor, Deputy Sheriff Ruben Morales. And Dani can’t blame her. Ruben is everything she’s secretly wanted—and everything she can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

As the holidays draw near, their shared concern for Dani’s daughters brings them closer together, giving Ruben the chance to show this big-city woman just how magical Christmas in Haven Point can be...and that the promise of a home at last is very real in the most wondrous season of the year…

Dani Capelli is making a new life in a new town as a vet with her two children.  She often spends time by herself at home and not fitting into the new town because she is hiding her past.  She meets her new neighbor when Deputy Ruben Morales brings her daughter, Silver, home after she vandalizes a few houses and his boat.  She had spent all this time trying to stay under the radar and then her daughter messes it all up.  It was great to see the family pull together and clean up the two houses and the boat.  Dani's young daughter, Mia, grows quickly on Ruben during the cleaning.  Ruben asks the family to help with his Christmas surprise where he is sneaking gifts to a family that is down on their luck.  There are more holiday events that are bringing these families together and you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I know that this family quickly finds a place in my heart because of the great heart of the  Capelli children and I know they will warm your heart too.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the series.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Cold Creek Christmas Story and Christmas in Cold Creek Book Review

I got another book with two books in one.  This was another great find from the library reserve.  A Cold Creek Christmas Story & Christmas in Cold Creek by RaeAnne Thayne was another book on the list that I didn't read before.  I was excited when it came in and enjoyed reading it.

A Cold Creek Christmas Story
Celeste Nichols has always preferred to keep to herself in her hometown of Pine Gulch, Idaho…until she becomes an instant celebrity! When one of her children's stories becomes a major success, she's suddenly the talk of the town. Celeste should be gloriously happy…but something, someone, special is still missing from her life. Could the return of her childhood crush be the answer?

Flynn Delaney has moved back home for his daughter's sake. Yet all the millionaire's resources can't help the little girl heal from the tragic loss of her mother. Shy librarian Celeste and her stories do hold some indefinable magic, though. Flynn came home looking for support—can he find that, and true love, in the one who got away?

Christmas in Cold Creek
She claimed to be a waitress and a single mother, but Rebecca Parsons doesn't look like any hash-slinger Pine Gulch Police Chief Trace Bowman has ever seen. And she doesn't seem particularly maternal toward her little girl, either. Still, one look in her vulnerable green eyes and his protective instincts go into overdrive.

Attention from local law enforcement is the last thing Becca needs. She'll do anything to protect her little sister Gabi from their con-artist mother, even lie about their identities. When Trace shows up at their house carrying a Christmas tree and stirring desires she can't afford to indulge, she longs to surrender to the magic of the season with him. But Becca's past is catching up—fast. Can her sexy police chief perform a Christmas miracle?

The first story was Cold Creek Christmas Story.  Celeste was writing children's books and enjoyed her small town life.  Flynn moved back to his grandmothers house to clean it out to sell it after her death.  Celeste quickly takes to his daughter, Olivia, and they bond over her characters in the books.  It was a great story about the Christmas spirit and the resilience of children.  The second book was Christmas in Cold Creek.  It was about Rebecca Parsons who comes to town and starts waitressing in the small town where she moved with her sister.  She tells everyone that it is her daughter so that she doesn't have any problems with custody.  Rebecca is raising her sister after her mother left them with lots of debt so they started over in the house that was left to her by a family member who they never knew.  Becca and Gabi are starting their lives over until things go badly but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out the book and the others from the author.  I think that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Rancher's Christmas Song and The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle Book Review

I found The Rancher's Christmas Song & The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle: An Anthology (Harlequin Special Edition) by RaeAnne Thayne on the new release section.  I like the other books by the author so I grabbed this one.  I wasn't disappointed!!

The Rancher's Christmas Song
Music teacher Ella Baker’s plate is already full. But when single dad Beckett McKinley’s wild twin boys need help preparing a Christmas song for their father, Ella agrees on one condition: they teach her to ride a horse. She’s hoping that’ll help mend her strained relationship with her rancher father; it certainly has nothing to do with the crush that’s lingered since her one and only date with Beck. It isn’t disinterest spurring Beck to keep his distance—if anything, the spark is too strong, with Ella reminding him of his ex-wife. Soon what started as an innocent arrangement is beginning to feel a lot like family. But with the holidays approaching, Beck and Ella will have to overcome past hurts if they want to keep each other warm this Christmas…

The Cowboys Christmas Miracle
Christmas is tough for widow Jenna Wheeler and her four children. But even though she’d sold part of her family’s land to make ends meet, she’s determined to spin the holiday into the stuff of magic—no matter what it takes. Now if she could only find a job….

Maybe her new landlord could oblige—gorgeous, child-averse Carson McRaven. He needs a chef, and he knows the lovely Jenna could do a bang-up job—if only she could keep her brood out of his hair. But as he finds himself catapulted into the cheerful chaos of her family…not to mention Jenna’s arms…he’s learning more about the spirit of Christmas than he’d ever dreamed possible.

It was a great book and I got to read two books at the same time which was a nice bonus.   The first story was The Rancher's Christmas Song which was all about the Christmas program that Ella was working on with the children of the town.  She was working extra hard with her neighbors kids who made her a trade that she would help them with their song while they would help her learn to ride a horse.  It was a great story and there are lots of surprises that keep things interesting.  The second book was Cowboys Christmas Miracle which is was a story about Janna Wheeler who is raising her children after her husband died in a tragic accident.  She sold part of the family property to pay off debts and make a future for her children.  It was the hardest thing that she could do but her new neighbor turned out to be a tough one to figure out.  This book brings a lot of unexpected events including all the odd jobs that she does in order to make ends meet.  Pick up the book and find out what happens in both stories.  I promise that you will enjoy the stories as much as I have.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 3/18

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps with homemade fries
Tuesday- Simple Fried Rice with peas (and homemade broth) and Egg Rolls
Wednesday- Spaghetti with meatballs
Thursday- Chicken and Rice Casserole
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday-  Lasagna
Sunday- Whole Chicken with stuffing

Last week was a little crazy but not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I got Monday's standard dinner on the table.  Tuesday we had leftovers so I heated up chicken and made a chicken wrap and my husband had fried rice and chicken tacos.  Wednesday we had Spaghetti and I threw the leftover cheese ravioli in the sauce to reheat and I had those.  Thursday we had defrosted Omaha Chicken with white rice.  I used some seasoning that we had in the back of the cupboard and both of us decided that we didn't like it....I guess that is what I get for trying to mix it up.  Friday we made a decision ahead that we were going to order pizza after a long week and we were supposed to go to movie night at the school but it turned out that my son decided he was too tired so he was asleep before the movie would have even started so I thank the pizza and the very full stomach for that wonderful night home.  Saturday I made Steak and Cheese Sandwiches with some clearance steak that I found at Harris Teeter it was $2.13 for the whole pack of Angus Sirloin so I decided to throw it in a quick marinate and then grill it before cutting it into strips and heating it up in the pan with cheese to melt.  We grilled the last of the homemade rolls and it was super tasty with two sandwiches each.  I made leftover spaghetti into a spicy lo mein dish with teriyaki, sriracha, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  It was a nice side dish to have with our meal and almost the only leftover in the fridge.  My son ate the leftover white rice.  Sunday was a batch of fresh rolls for more sandwiches and a batch of chicken broth from leftover bones in the fridge.  I made my husband turkey and rice soup from some of the broth and stuck the rest in the fridge.  I made roast beef and cheese grilled sandwiches on fresh rolls for dinner with stone ground mustard and horseradish sauce.  I can't believe that I made it through the week and changed so much.  I was excited to get all the meals I did on the table and enjoy our first takeout towards the monthly budget.

I hope that you have a great week planned!!!  I am trying to finish up the plans for the rest of the month with all of the things that I have gotten in the recent sales.  The bad news is that I used up all my grocery budget for the month so things are going to be mostly from the freezer and trying to use up the older things in the pantry first.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Middle of March Budget Update

I had a busy beginning of the month with lots of deals at super doubles and lots of shopping.  The great thing was that I got lots of deals but the bad thing was that there weren't a lot of free things so the totals of my shopping trips were higher then normal.  I am scheduled for a shoulder surgery for the end of the month so I knew that I was going to stock up on easy to make foods because I don't know how long the recovery time is going to be.  There were some great deals to be had and the freezer is stocked with lots of choices.

I try to maintain a budget of $160 per month for all household goods.  Below are the items that I got this month with my budget. I also budget $40 for take out.  I am saving some of that for the end of the month in case we need to get some meals while I am recovering and unable to cook.

Harris Teeter $15.70

I got free Johnson's body wash, Noodle Bowls, yogurt and Hormel Bacon Bits.  I got the Kahiki egg rolls for $0.50.  The Excedrin was $0.99 per bottle which is a good price (instead of $5.49 shelf price) and my headache medicine of choice.  There was an amazing deal on Tide good for Sunday only so I was excited to get it for $0.97 after sale and coupon even though we have tons.  We needed the Gerber food which was still expensive at $1.16 each after sale and coupon.  We also needed turkey lunch meat so I grabbed the deal on those for $1.33 each.  I should have grabbed more but I thought I would get them later in the sale but they were out of stock or I forgot after this because we weren't out.

Harris Teeter $3.04
My friend gave me a coupon so I could get the Oreos with my last coupon on my card.

Aldi $45.74

I had a doctors appointment in Manassas so I decided that I was going to Aldi to get a few things we needed.  I stocked up on cheese because it is cheaper out there.  The potatoes were also a little cheaper so I grabbed 20 lbs.  I was excited to get a few things at really low prices but also a little freaked out when they told me my total because I don't normally do that much damage at Aldi.

Harris Teeter $6.64

I got free yogurt and bacon bits.  The tomato sauce was on sale for $1.88 which was cheaper then the other stores in the area so I grabbed two and used the coupon so they were $0.38 each.  The Excedrin was $0.99 each.  The soup was $0.50 each.  The Pop Secret was $0.49 per box which is a nice treat for my son and they are $0.16 per bag so I got lots of them.  

Harris Teeter $1.13

I got free noodles and yogurt and got the Pop Secret for $0.49 each.

Harris Teeter $7.40

I got free Johnson's and Johnson's.  I paid $0.24 each for the Crunchmaster Crackers and turned them in for a $1 rebate from  Checkout 51.  I got the Perdue Perfect Portions chickens that are pre-marinated chicken that are normally $10.49 per bag.  I got them for $3.24 per bag which is $2.16 per pound.  I wanted to get more but I had an appointment so I got some and put it in my cooler.  I wish I bought all of them because they were out at the other store.  They were super tasty on the grill.

Harris Teeter $8.21

I got free noodles and Johnson's and Johnson's powder.  I got the ground chicken for $1.99 and the whole chicken (which was 7 lbs) for $5.73 after clearance and coupon which is less then $0.82 per pound.

Harris Teeter $10.93

The noodles were still free so I grabbed those.  The Roast Beef was $1.99 per pack so I will make hot sandwiches with them for dinner or lunch one day.  The nuggets were a last minute addition because they are normally $4.19 each and they were on sale and there was a coupon that made them $1.42 each which made them cheaper then Aldi.

Harris Teeter $6.45

We were totally out of Windex so I grabbed the deal for $2 per bottle and then it was supposed to print a $2 catalina but it didn't print.  Customer service had to give me back the money which I took off the next transaction.

Harris Teeter $20.22

 I got the cheez its with the three coupons that I had in my stash.  I got the ground chicken for $1 each with some old coupons in my stash.  I also had one coupon to get the Pringles for $.50 each.  I printed some new coupons to get the shredded cheese for $0.89 each.  These are great to freeze to use at anytime in the future.  The Perdue chicken was shelf price at $9.99 but I got them for $2.99 each which is an amazing deal cheaper then Aldi and super tasty!

 Harris Teeter $6.45

I got another Windex deal and the catalina didn't print out again so I got the money back from customer service.  I would have done this deal again if it wasn't so hard but I got my money from customer service for the second time and that was my limit.

Harris Teeter $12.52

I got some free noodles and bacon bits.  The tomato sauce was on clearance so I got them for free.  Super sad that I bought them for $0.38 before but glad that I got to use all my coupons.  I got the Sargento $0.89 bagged cheese to freeze.  I got the Churros for $0.27 because I didn't know that the cereal was going to be on sale but I would have bought more if I knew.  I got two bags of Dinosaur chicken nuggets and two bags of Chicken Strips.

Harris Teeter $3.21

I knew that I overspent for the month but I couldn't pass up the deal on cereal for $0.77 per box.  They were out of stock on the two freebie deals so I got rain checks.

Total Retail $544.98
Total Saving $397.34
Total OOP $147.64

I have been busy this month but spent most of the money for the whole month in the first two weeks.  I have $12.36 left for the whole month.  I have to get milk and turkey lunch meat which will eat into half of the budget but I have a little left to make the month work.  I haven't used any of the eating out budget but we have plans to buy pizza for movie night and probably once more during the month.

How is your month going?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 3/11

Monday- Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries
Tuesday- Leftovers
Wednesday- Spaghetti with meat sauce
Thursday- Chicken with rice
Friday- Family Movie Night with Pizza
Saturday- Leftovers
Sunday- Simple Fried Rice and Egg Rolls

I feel like every week can't get crazier then the last and then it does.  We had my son's favorite meal on Monday with Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries.  Tuesday was a surprise again because I didn't have food thawed so we went with leftovers to make Quesidillas with leftover side dishes.  Wednesday was marinated perfect portion chickens with white rice.  It was tasty because it was grilled which was a tasty treat in the middle of winter.  Thursday we did something that I totally forgot but at least I got dinner on the table so I had to think back and it was Simple Fried Rice and Peas and Beef Eggs Rolls.  Friday was Spaghetti or Cheese Ravioli with meatballs and pizza bites because my parents were in town.  Saturday I made Fried Rice and Egg Rolls for lunch.  We went out to dinner Saturday night and my parents payed.  We ate the leftovers for lunch on Sunday.  I made ground chicken tacos with white rice for dinner.

This week I totally didn't get the menu plan up on Monday but that is hoe the week is going.  My son broke his arm and we were working with getting to school and urgent care and the doctors appointments so the week was a little busy but I am getting back to being normal or as normal as can be expected.  Hoping to get all these meals on the table.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Night of Miracles Book Review

I reserved another book from the new release section and it came in with other books.  This one was put to the bottom of the pile because I wasn't sure if I was going to be as into this book but once I started then I couldn't put it down.  Night of Miracles: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg was the second book in the series. 

The feel-good book of the year: a delightful novel of friendship, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change your life, by the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv  
Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community—just when they need it the most.

This was another great installment in the Arthur Truluv series.  I was interested to see the new stories of the people linked to Lucille Howard through her cooking classes and others in the small town.  There was a neighbor who was going through cancer treatments and the child was babysat by Lucille.  Lucille hired Iris to help her with her business when she got a little too overworked.  Iris' neighbor is interested in the women who is the waitress at the restaurant that Lucille makes cakes for.  There are neighbors and friends that are intertwined in an amazing way which is totally laid out so that you have to pick up the book to find out.  It is a great story of amazing love and warmth.  I hope that you check out this book and the other in the series to see these heartwarming story of how friends come together.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

End of the February Grocery and Eating Out Budget

I was working this month to end up a little better then last month to stay under my $160 budget for grocery purchases and $40 for eating out.  I wasn't sure what I was going to get but February is a nice short month so it is usually an easier month for maintaining a budget.  It is also a month where we don't eat out as much because we over do it for January. With that said, it was also Girl Scout cookie season so that made things tough because my family decided we needed cookies which even though it was a treat, I took it out of the grocery budget because I couldn't decide.

I have gotten lots for the month and you can look at my pictures here.  The purchases in the first half of the month were broken down here in case you missed them.  The transactions in the second half of the month are more details.  All items are pictured here with what I spent on the total transaction.  The bottom will tell you how much the retail, savings and total spending was for the month.

Harris Teeter $54.73

Harris Teeter $1.75

Harris Teeter $9.04

Harris Teeter $2.43

Aldi $16.20

Giant $2.05

Giant $5.40

Aldi $11.32

Harris Teeter $5.98

Girl Scout Cookies $20.00

Harris Teeter $16.80

The granola bars were on sale half price so I bought everything on the shelf.

Aldi $1.01

I was totally out of tortillas for me so I got these because these were the cheapest and they are bigger then I would normally choose but I get to have one huge taco instead of two smaller ones.

Harris Teeter $13.96

I knew that I had like $14 left in my budget and I wanted to get the free sauce and my husband needed lunch meat.  I found some cheap chicken and clearance ground beef.  My husband asked for chili so I decided I had to get the ground beef for $2.27.  We were almost out chicken in the freezer so I grabbed this for  $7.80 and I cut it into one meal for the fridge and four in the freezer.

Harris Teeter $3.42

I went through the checkout with my other stuff and then realized I forgot the goldfish that I promised my son.  I had to go through back through the store and grab these to check out a second time. They were on sale cheaper here then Aldi so I promised I would get them for him.

Harris Teeter $1.38

I decided since I was already over that I might as well go for two more free sauces.  I also had a coupon for a free Uncle Ben's Ready Rice up to $2 so I wasn't sure how it would scan so I got to.  They were on sale and then there was an evic deal so the coupon rang up with the sale price so I paid  $1.27 for the second pouch which my son really enjoyed as a fast dinner.

Total Retail $418.22
Total Savings $252.75
Total OOP $165.47

I was pretty happy with the month even though it was over budget because my eating out was a lot better so it sort of covered those extra Girl Scout cookies that my family really "needed." Check out the Eating Out total below to see why I think we ended up okay at $179.66 total spent so under my total budget by over $20.

Eating Out

My son had a day off school at the beginning of the month and he was great at physical therapy so we used the rest of our Dunkin Donuts gift card and got hot chocolate and two doughnuts.  We paid out of our change purse and paid $0.38 after coupon and gift card.  We went to Family Bingo at my son's school and my husband promised my son that he would buy him popcorn when we were there which was $1.  We went to Starbucks one morning for breakfast but I used a gift card so we didn't spend any money.  We were out running errands and decided to get Burger King so I bought a gift card from MyPoints and we paid $0.81 after gift card.  We bought family $12 of Girl Scout cookies and they paid for my husband and son's dinner that night so we are going to count those under eating out since they were used in trade.  We went to Dairy Queen for a Basketball Awards Ceremony after the season and we had a gift card so we didn't have to pay anything there either.  I love that we could get through the whole month with lots of gift cards to enjoy some time out as a family.  Normally February is much lower because January is so much higher so only spending $14.19 for the month wasn't totally unexpected but a great low spending and use of lots of gift cards.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 3/4

Monday- Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and french fries
Tuesday-Leftovers (Quesadillas and sides)
Wednesday- Chicken with rice
Thursday- ??
Friday- Spaghetti and Cheese Ravioli with meatballs and garlic knots or pizza bites
Saturday- Pizza or Eating Out
Sunday-Chicken Tacos with rice

Last week, I got Monday's dinner done without too much trouble and then it went down hill.  I cut chicken on Tuesday morning and actually got the meat out to eat but I was exhausted and really didn't want to  make or eat tacos so I made Spaghetti with sausage sauce and pizza bites.  Wednesday was then tacos.  Thursday we had Spicy Honey Mustard chicken with buffalo mac and cheese with leftover spaghetti for my son instead of the buffalo.  Friday was Chicken and Rice Casserole which I made from scratch for the first time.  Saturday was Steak and Potatoes which was super tasty.  Sunday was Simple Fried Rice with egg rolls.  I know it wasn't exactly the plan but I got dinner on the table every night which is what matters. 

This week I had a plan and then my parents said that they were coming and then I had to move the plan around so that I had enough to feed everyone.  I thought I posted my menu plan Monday but I messed that up too!! Better late then never!