Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 8/26

Pasta with garlic bread
Chicken and Rice
Fried Rice with peas and egg rolls
Breakfast for Dinner
Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries

Last week went pretty well and I didn't get this weeks menu up and totally forgot to take out chicken so moved leftovers in the Tuesday spot this week.  Hoping that I dig through the freezer and cupboard and find something tasty.  I am looking ideas as the month goes on.  I am ready to switch to winter meals soon.  Hoping that the weather gets a little cooler soon!!

Friday, August 23, 2019

A Distant View of Everything Book Review

I was getting caught up with a series that I stopped reading and this was the next book in the series.  A Distant View of Everything: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (11) (Isabel Dalhousie Series) by Alexander McCall Smith was the 11th book in the series.  I was interested to see what trouble Isabel got herself involved in this time.

In this installment of the beloved Isabel Dalhousie series, Isabel is called upon to navigate complex social situations both at home and in her community.  A new baby brings an abundance of joy to Isabel and her husband, Jamie—but almost-four-year-old Charlie refuses to acknowledge Magnus, and Isabel struggles to impress upon her older son the patience and understanding that have guided her throughout her own life.

These are the very qualities that bring Bea Shandon, an old acquaintance, to seek Isabel’s help. Something of a matchmaker, Bea has introduced a wealthy female friend to a cosmetic surgeon, but soon uncovers information leading her to doubt his motives. Isabel agrees to find out more, but as her enquiries take an unexpected turn, she starts to wonder whom exactly she should be investigating. As ever, Isabel’s intelligence, wit, and empathy come to her aid as she grapples with issues like friendship and its duties, the obligation of truthfulness, and the importance of perspective.

I am still not sure that these later books in the series but I really liked the beginning so I am committed to trying to finish the series and see what is going on.  This one had the new addition to the family with the new baby Magnus.  They were dealing with all the changes to the family including the fact that Charlie doesn't like Magnus.  Then she is quickly drawn into helping Bea Shandon who feels that she might have done a bad match at her latest dinner party.  The rest of the story is her attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery.  Isabel works hard to complete all of the things that aren't her job that it makes you wonder how she is actually going to get her real job done but luckily it takes her less time to do her own job so that she always has time to help others.  It is a strange thing that most people don't have extra time to go off to investigate other people's problems but Isabel has time every book.  I hope that you check out the series and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ours for a Season Book Review

I found a new release book on the shelf when I was at the library so I checked it out.  Ours for a Season: A Novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a stand alone novel and not part of a series.  I was excited to get started on another great but by this author that I have enjoyed.

An Old Order Mennonite couple's vows and beliefs are challenged in this stirring contemporary novel for fans of Cindy Woodsmall or Shelley Shepherd Gray.

Anthony and Marty Hirschler are part of an Old Order Mennonite community in Pine Hill, Indiana. The couple has grown apart since a doctor confirmed they would never have children. Marty longs to escape the tight-knit area where large families are valued, and the opportunity to do so arises when her childhood friend, Brooke Spalding, resurfaces with the wild idea of rebuilding a ghost town into a resort community. Brooke hires Anthony to help with the construction, drawing the Hirschlers away from Indiana and into her plan, and then finds herself diagnosed with cancer. Moral complications with Brooke's vision for a casino as part of the resort and the discovery of a runaway teenager hiding on the property open up a world neither the Hirschlers nor Brooke had considered before. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and differences to help the ones among them hurting the most?

This book is about the Old Order Mennonite neighborhood in Indiana that has a small construction company made up Mennonite workers.  Anthony runs the crew and has 5 men working for him.  He gets contacted by a friend of his wife that wants to help rebuild an old ghost town.  Marty, his wife, can't have children and wants to escape the small town and sees this as the perfect chance.  Anthony and Marty go with a few other people from the crew and leave a few people left to continue the business in Indiana.  After they get there, Marty finds out that her friend Brooke is dealing with horrible illness and is going to need her help to get through it.  All of the people in the ghost town are going to figure out how to become their own family in order to get through all the challenges.  Check out how they pull together and the changes that happen in their little community in this book.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I have!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Road Home Book Review

I reserved this book when I saw it on the new shelf and wasn't sure if it was the book that I already read but it turned out that it was the third and final book in the series that I had already read so I was excited to read this page turner.  The Road Home (The Broken Road Series) by Richard Paul Evans was a great end to a wonderful series of heart felt books about someone trying to change their live.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans, the dramatic conclusion in the riveting Broken Road trilogy—a powerful redemption story about finding happiness on a pilgrimage across iconic Route 66.

Chicago celebrity and pitchman Charles James is supposed to be dead. Everyone believes he was killed in a fiery plane crash, a flight he narrowly missed. But thanks to that remarkable twist of fate, he’s very much alive and ready for a second chance at life and love. Escaping death has brought Charles some clarity: the money, the fame, the expensive cars; none of it brought him true joy or peace. The last time he was truly happy was when he was married to his ex-wife Monica, before their relationship was destroyed by his ambition and greed.

In the exciting and provocative series that began with The Broken Road and The Forgotten Road, Charles is still on his pilgrimage across the iconic Route 66 in The Road Home. He intends to finish his trek from Amarillo to Santa Monica, despite learning that his ex-wife is now planning to marry another man. With the initial reason for his trip in jeopardy, he still has lessons to learn along the way before he discovers—and arrives at—his true destination.

I thought this was a great series.  This is the third book in the series and it brings a great conclusion to the series where Charles James is walking across Route 66 from Chicago to California.  In the process, he is trying to change his life and this book is where he shows what he learned.  In the first two books, it talks about the supposed death and reaction to In this book, he finishes his trip and decides what he wants to do with his life after visiting his wife, meeting his son, and going to a friends funeral.  There are interesting things that he looks back at his whole journey and decides what he wants to do to change his life before he is declared dead.  I think that it was a great story to bring an end to the great series with a lot of emotion.  I hope that you pick up this book and others in the series to see what he learns through his travels and how Charles changes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot Book Review

I put The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery on reserved because I really like the author.  I hoped that if it was part of a series that I already read or a standalone book but I was excited when it came on my reserve shelf.  It was my first book finished in August.  I had to take a few breaks to sleep but it was a very quick read even though I was so exhausted that I didn't get it read quickly.

The Baxter sisters come from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. But this summer, Sunshine and Margot will turn disasters into destiny…As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!

I thought that it was a great story with both sisters getting all the attention.  Sunshine and Margot are twins and goin through a lot with their life and missing having love in their life.  Margot is working with a client to help her fit in to her fiancĂ©'s diplomatic life.  She has moved in with the client, Bianca, who lives in a renovated monastery with her son, Alec.  Margot and Alec immediately find that they have a lot in common and become friends.  The relationship blooms quickly into something else.  Alec feels like he is loosing his grip on himself and so things go terribly wrong.  Sunshine is working as a nanny for Connor who she immediately loves.  Connor is getting over the loss of his mother and moving on in his life with his father, Declan.  Sunshine quickly falls into a pattern of makin the family dinner and having fun filled days with Connor and talking to Declan at night.  They become really good friends and she is trying to fight against her past behaviors and not make bad decisions because of a guy.  Both sisters are trying to live their best life and be happy.  You have to pick up the book to find out what decisions they make and how it turns out.  I think that you will enjoy this fast read as much as I did.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 8/19

Pasta with garlic bread
Ground Chicken Tacos
Grilled Cheese with sides
Chicken and Rice
Breakfast for Dinner
Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries

Last week went mostly according to plan except we didn't go out to dinner on Saturday night so we made some pasta for my son and it was leftovers for my husband.  Sunday was a group decision to change the schedule and move Monday night to Sunday night dinner and totally mess up the next week!!  We are now on soccer schedule so only certain things before heading out the door for practice so everything is moving around.  I guess we will see how it changes with school and everything going on.   Fingers crossed that I make it to the store and get the freezer stocked back up after summer.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Middle of the Month Budget Update for August

I can't believe that the summer is at the end.  I felt like it was so short in July but now I am exhausted and ready for a little break.  We are only half way through the month of August but it really feels like we are a little closer to the end.  Also a little closer to the end of the budget then I wanted to be for the month but I got a ton of deals and enjoyed the summer even if there weren't any great stock up deals.

I budget $160 a month for all household goods including groceries, paper goods, cleaning supplies and anything that is used around the house.  I use sales, coupons and everything that I can do to stretch that budget to get as much as possible for my family for the month.  Below is the breakdown of everything that I got for the month and the picture of those items.

Harris Teeter $0.01

There was a sale and coupons so my son picked up these and paid only a penny.

Harris Teeter $23.64

I got free Cheesecake Factory pudding, Trolli candy, Boomerang Pot Pie, Philly Cream Cheese Dippers and Fruitlove Smoothies for free.  The Old El Paso tortillas were $0.25 each.  The Gushers were $0.49 per box.  The Turkey Hill ice cream was on sale for B2G3 free and I had an electronic coupon for $0.75 so they ended up being $1.85 each.  I got the Tyson's Chicken Fries for $3.99.

Harris Teeter $16.71

I got free Softsoap, Sargento Cheese, Trolli, Sweettarts, Fruit Love Smoothies, and Philly Dips.  The Fruit Gushers were $0.49 per box.  The Old El Paso Tortilla Shells were $0.25.  The Ocean Spray was $1.58. The Betty Crocker Chilled Treats were $0.50 after coupon and there was a $1 rebate on each box.  The Godiva was my big expense because I messed up the math but they were $2.99 each after coupon and there was a $1 rebate so they ended up being $1.99 but in my head I doubled the rebate...oops! Now I just have to make them.

Harris Teeter $4.89

I got free Softsoap, Trolli candy, Butterfinger bars, Sweet tarts, Blueberry Cheerios, and Sargento Cheese. The Ocean Spray juice was $1.58 and the Ground Chicken was $1 each.  Must have gotten a little overage on something because it was a little less then expected.

Harris Teeter $8.81

There was free Hormel bacon, Fruit Love Smooties, Philly Cheese Dips, Trolli Candy and Cheesecake Pudding.  I got three loaves of bread that were $0.50 and I got back $1 rebate which was a nice addition because this bread is tasty and saved me for having to make it for a few weeks so it was like a little vacation for me. The Cheerios were $0.84 each and the Perdue Chicken was $1.09 each package.

Harris Teeter $3.16

I got the Fruit Gushers to load up for school at $0.49 each and the Philly Cheese Dips were free after sale and coupon.

Harris Teeter $1.85

I got free Hi Chew, Philly Cheese Dips, Fruit Love Smoothie and Cheesecake Factory Pudding all free.  I got the Hamburger Helper for $0.50 each but there was some overage because I was under $2 so that was another great trip.

Walmart $0

Used Gift cards to pay for Goldfish and vitamins for my son and paid for almost all of the purchase except $2.06 for my husbands sunglasses.

Aldi $3.64

We were out of turkey for my husband's lunch and it hasn't been on sale at Harris Teeter so I grabbed the Aldi's turkey and some bananas for my husbands breakfast.

Harris Teeter $15.71

The Cheez Its were on sale B2G3 so I got 5 boxes and I had two $1/2 coupons so they were $7.98 for 5 boxes or $1.60 per box.  The Frosted Flakes were $1.24 per box which is more then I am used to spending but the best deal currently going on.  Windex for $1.50 after sale and coupon which I got just in case because it was  a good deal.

Aldi $5.71

We were out of milk and corn tortillas so I went to grab those and my son wanted the special ice cream sandwiches for his sleepover with his best friend so he got to pick them out.  We got a shopping cart and we put it back and then my son saw another one to put back and got an extra quarter which had him very excited!!

Harris Teeter $2.98

We were almost out of potatoes so I went to get a new bag and got the free Sweet Tarts.  I was hoping to get more but we ran out of time to go to another store.

Giant $0.19

We went to Dominos to order our free bread twists with a coupon from our summer reading program coupon book so we stopped at Giant to get the free Oat Milk coupon that I saved previously and saw another coupon for Sprout baby food which gave me overage so I got everything for $0.19 and I found a quarter on the self checkout station so I got all these groceries and actually made a profit.

Aldi $3.27

I ran in to grab turkey for my husband's lunch.   I was looking for a few other things but they didn't have it so this is all that I got.

Total Retail $471.16
Total Savings $380.59
Total OOP $90.57

It wasn't the best month but I got a ton of things that were a great deal.  I am hoping that there is another super doubles at the end of the month and a few other deals so that I can stock up on some other things and stay under budget.

Eating Out

We got a gift card for a local restaurant so we got pizzas from there for dinner one night.  It was super yummy and gave us lots of leftovers and we spent $0.  We went to Domino's and got free bread twists and spent $0 after coupon from the library summer reading program.  We have plans to go to dinner after an event when we are going to be out of the house but nothing else on the plan for the month so it is going to end under budget even if we add a pizza at the pool.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Right Where We Belong Book Review

I was enjoying the series and happy to get to the next book in the series.  Right Where We Belong (Silver Springs) by Brenda Novak is book 4 out of 6 in the series.  I wanted to see who was followed in this book.

Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of a farmhouse her late father had planned to renovate. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something.

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse.

Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it’s hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.

I have enjoyed the rest of the series and was happy to get a chance to read this book.  Savanna was living her life the best she knew how and raising her two children.  She found out that her husband was arrested for attacking three women.  It was something that she didn't believe but they she was convinced of it and she quickly decided that she needed to move on with her life.  Savannah packed up everything and moved to a house that her father had left her.  It was not in great repair and needed a lot of work which she didn't know when she went there.  She was helped the first night by her neighbor, Gavin, who ran out to tell her that the bridge was broken so she couldn't drive through with the moving van.  Gavin was working as a maintenance man at the school where he went to school.  His life was changed from going to the school and finding a place for himself so he works so that other kids can have the same change.  Gavin was trying to make his move into the music scene but it was lots of work so he was thinking about moving to Nashville.  I hope that you check out this book to find out what happened and the others in the series and enjoy them as much as have.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Until You Loved Me Book Review

I had this book on my shelf to read so I got the other books in the series from the library so that I could read them while on vacation.  I was excited to start a new series.  Until You Loved Me: A Novel (Silver Springs) by Brenda Novak was the third book in the series but the second one that I read because I couldn't find the first one in the library.  It was a great story after the last one and a perfect beach read!!

Sometimes starting over means finding everything you’ve been missing…After catching her fiancĂ© cheating—with another man—usually straitlaced, workaholic scientist Ellie Fisher liberates her wild side just long enough to indulge in a passionate one-night stand with a tall, dark stranger she meets at a trendy Miami bar. Embarrassed by her recklessness, she ducks out the following morning without learning the guy’s full name, something that shouldn’t have been a problem…until a pregnancy test turns positive.

Being a professional football player, Hudson King has always been cautious around women. But this one had been different—so disinterested in his celebrity, so convincingly into him. When Ellie tracks him down, claiming she’s carrying his baby, he’s stunned. And more than a little betrayed.

But after growing up as an orphan, he’ll do anything to stay involved in his child’s life, so he urges Ellie to move to Silver Springs, where they can co-parent. Hudson has a lot of love to give, certainly enough for his child, and when their initial spark reignites, perhaps for Ellie, too…

This book was another vacation read which turned into a fast read because it was hard to put down.  Ellie was with her finance and very close to their wedding when she found him cheating on her.  Ellie decided to move on with a one night stand after friends dragged her out to a bar in Miami.  She doesn't know the person that she met and it isn't important until the pregnancy test comes back positive.  She quickly finds the father of the baby one night when watching TV because he was a famous football player.  She knows that she has to find him to let him know but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens when she finds him.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and like it as much as I have.  This has been my favorite one to date but I always seem to think that after finishing the newest one!!  Wait until the next one.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

No One But You Book Review

This was book two in the series but for some reason, I couldn't find book one at the library.  I went with what I could get to read the series in order.  No One but You: A Novel (Silver Springs) by Brenda Novak was the first book in the series that I read but it was a great place to start.

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again…

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options.

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs.

As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for.

This was the book I read while on vacation which was a story that was hard to put down.  I went to bed a little early and stayed in bed a little late so that I could find out what was going to happen next.  Sadie was trying to do her best for her son, Jayden, but her husband did everything to fight that because he felt that she would come back to him if she couldn't make it on her own.  As a police office, he made most of the businesses in town turn Sadie down for jobs because they were afraid of him.She finally finds someone how is willing to take a chance on her but she needs to decide if she is willing to take a chance on him.  Dawson was in jail for killing his adoptive parents.  Sadie was worried for herself if she took the job and even more if she didn't because she couldn't make a life for her child.  Dawson came back to his family farm to make a home for his sister after he got out of jail even though he knew it was going to be tough for him.  It was a great book and it certainly had me hoping for the best.  I hope that you check it out and the rest of the series.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 8/12

Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries
Chicken and Rice
Pasta with Domino Garlic Bread Twists (free with coupon)
Grilled Cheese with Mac and Cheese
Pizza Hut or Red Robin
?? Breakfast for Dinner

Although I am doing a horrible job at posting my meal plan, I am not forgetting to do them.  Last week we went according to plan but changed to add a yummy gift certificate that my husband got from work.  We had my son's favorite meal Monday, Tuesday was Pasta, Wednesday was Stir Ground Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Thursday was Milano's Pizza, and Friday was Leftovers.  We went to a BBQ on Saturday with my husband's work people.  Sunday we ate a late lunch of Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese and Chicken Bacon Grilled Cheese so we didn't have dinner but made my son spaghetti.  It was a yummy week and used lots of things that we already had around the house.  I am hoping to do that again this week.  I got a lot of fun things at super doubles which have allowed me to have yummy meals with things in the house without a lot of extra things.  Hoping to save up because they say that there might be a second super doubles at the end of the month so hoping to have some budget left to spend when it comes around.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Maid Book Review

I got a recommendation from my mom's group for this one so I put Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land on my reserve list at the library.  There were lots of people on the list but it finally came on to my shelf.  I knew nothing about the book but I was excited to get started.  My one problem was that I put it farther down in the pile and I actually started to read it on the day that it was due so I was under a serious time crunch.  I started first thing in the morning and finished in time to take it back to the library before they closed.  It was a little tight but a great read that had me not wanting to put the book down.

Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.

She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

I thought it was an amazing book and really opened my eyes to the struggles that many people go through.  I was immediately drawn into the speaker and I was hoping for everything to work out for her.  Stephanie was graduating from high school and ready to start her college education when she ended up pregnant.  She had to figure out how to support herself and her child so she started to clean houses.  She learned that as a maid that she was mostly invisible to the home owners and she worked very hard to do the best that she could do for very little money.  She was on food stamps and getting assistance from a bunch of different agencies just to keep her head above water.  She was fighting for her and her child and frequently was tired, sore and hungry just to make sure that her child had enough.  It was a heart breaking story and I had trouble putting it down.  I think that everyone can find an interesting part of this story to relate to and should check it out.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Novel Habits of Happiness Book Review

I decided to grab the books in this series that I hadn't read because I stopped reading it.  The Novel Habits of Happiness (Isabel Dalhousie Series) by Alexander McCall Smith was the next in the series that I needed to read.  After starting this book, I realized why I stopped read it.  It is a very verbose style of storytelling that includes a lot of flowery language which often detracts from the story.  Although I realized that early on, I hung on through the story and I was happy that I finished it.

Isabel Dalhousie, the insatiably curious Edinburgh sleuth and philosopher, takes on a case unlike any she’s had before: a six-year-old boy has been experiencing vivid recollections of a past life. His visions include a perfect description of a Scottish island and a house where he claims to have lived. The boy’s mother asks Isabel to investigate, but her findings continue to perplex as her efforts to seek rational explanations are thwarted by the unusual mystery unfolding before her.

Isabel is presented with further challenges as she begins to prepare an important issue of the Review of Applied Ethics. Two visiting academics, Lettuce and Dove, arrive in Edinburgh with plans that may upset the harmonious balance of her life. These trials will require all of Isabel’s wit and understanding—but happily, in her blissful home life with her husband and young son by her side, Isabel is always reminded of her blessings. 

I enjoy the characters in the book and Isabel used to be my favorite.  Isabel is married to Jamie with their son Charlie.  They are living their live in the city while Isabel is editing the philosophy journal and Jamie is playing music.  They have a very free lifestyle because I think that Isabel has enough family money to support them.  Isabel is well known in the area for tracking things down and basically being a little detective.  This book has her chasing down the story of a small child who is sayin that he was reincarnated and wants to go back to his other family.  It is a start idea but they are working to find out if there is really a place that he describes and any of the details might be true.  The whole family is in on this sleuthing and they travel to visit the area they think might be the most likely.  The series has gotten far away from the beginning of the series but I still think that it was worth reading.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and see for yourself if you like it.  I am trying to decide whether I am going to return the next book in the series or start reading it.  Once I start, I know that I won't stop so it is the commitment for the book.  I guess you will just have to stay tuned and find out.  What would you do??

Friday, August 2, 2019

July Grocery Shopping and Eating Out

I work to maintain a monthly budget of $160 for all of our household goods including groceries, cleaning supplies and paper goods. This month was vacation month so I did a lot of shopping in the previous months and try to take off time and only get the essentials so that I can spend the summer with my son doing fun activities (so that I don't have to worry about dragging him through the grocery store with me).  Summer is hard for me to look for sales but I try to keep up the best that I can while shopping when I find the time.

Below are the things that I got this month and what I paid for them.  There is the total paid and the breakdown below with the picture of everything that I got.

Harris Teeter $41.92

I grabbed the Ocean Spray because it was on sale for half off so it was $2.14 each.  The granola bars were on sale and I had a coupon so I got them for $1.07 each.  It was a lot to get at once but 20 of each was a great stock up and a great price.

Aldi $8.15

I went to the store to get a few last minute things for our trip for vacation.

Weiss $5.00

Vacation ice cream purchase after others purchased other grocery items at the beach.  I don't know why the store there is one of the only ones that has my son's favorite extra cookies and cream but it always does so it is a summer treat!

Aldi $13.59 

Back from vacation and we had no food.  I had to make bread and a few other things so I needed the quick supplies to get us started.

Harris Teeter $18.67

I got the deal for Coke for $2.47 each.  The Plant Oat is the freebie through Taste and Tell.  There was $0.99 lettuce and $2.79 for 8 lbs of potatoes which is cheaper then Aldi.  The cereal was $1.12 each and we were out of them so super excited to have more in the cupboard.

Giant $3.08

We were out of ketchup for two days and it turned into a big issue because I kept forgetting to stop at the store.  Lucky for my son, my husband stopped at Giant on the way home and got him a bottle.

Harris Teeter $12.82

We went to Harris Teeter to get the free cottage cheese.  I called home to find out if we needed turkey so we got that too.  Last minute decided to check on the ketchup and it was on sale for $2.50 each.  There was a deal where you spent $10 and got a free Capri Sun so it was a better deal then Giant.  They were still out of toothbrushes and softsoap which were free after bonus discount and this was the forth time checking different places with no luck.

Aldi $4.59

I went to the store because we were totally out of tub butter, chicken fries, bananas and stick pretzels.  It feels like we are out of everything but basically I am having a hard time finding the time to get everything made that I normally do so we are feeling it in the snacks around the house.  We stopped at a different store and the pricing on the pretzels and chicken fries was higher so I decided not to get them.

Trader Joes $3.58

 I have been out of blue cheese since vacation and I finally got to stop at the store and grab our new crumbled blue cheese.

Aldi $8.54

Next trip to get the pretzels and chicken fries at a different store and the pricing is the same there.  I also grabbed some ice cream sandwiches which we tested out on the way home to make sure they were good.  YUM!!

Harris Teeter $10.25

I went back on the last day of the sale to get the $2.50 ketchup and the free Capri Sun.

Harris Teeter $0.15

I went to the store to get a few things on the way to physical therapy because we had only a few minutes and I was worried that things would be cleaned out with super doubles.  My husband loves the new Cheerios so I was happy there were some on an end cap.

Harris Teeter $3.25

My son decided that after all of our fun for the day, he wanted to go back and get a few things for himself.  This was all his transaction and I just made sure he followed the coupon rules because he thought many more would be better.  I told him that this was my expensive trip to the store.

Harris Teeter $0.36

I got some things for me with free everything and I just paid tax.  I was very excited that it was still in stock that I had some coupons for everything.

Harris Teeter $8.43

I went to get these with no coupons but an amazing deal with the added Ibotta.  Fingers crossed that it resets and I get a few more Ibotta rebates.

Harris Teeter $12.17

Last trip to the store to get so many deals that I couldn't pass up!  I got free Cheerios, Cheesecake Pudding, Nivea Shave Cream, and Sweet Tarts.  I got the ground chicken for $1 each package.  I got the Perdue Chicken nuggets and cutlets for $1.09 each.  The Hamburger Helper is $0.50 each box.  The Nature's Own Crafted Bread is $0.50 each and I got $1 back on Ibotta for each so I made $0.50 profit.  The Natures Own Butterbread was $0.69 and I got back $0.55 on Ibotta. 

Total Retail $485.66
Total Savings $331.11
Total OOP $154.55

I was pretty happy with the haul for the month.  I got a lot of things that we needed and stocked up on things like Cran Grape, Quaker Granola Bars, Cheerios, and Ketchup.  I put in a few rebates on Ibotta so I got $4 back from that.  I am hoping for $5 from Saving Star for the General Mills cereal but we will see because those are a little hit or miss and take forever to be credited.

Eating Out

This is vacation month which usually means that we go over the amount of spending in the eating out category because we sort of roll it into vacation expenses.  This year other than gas for the car, eating out was our main vacation expense so I think that this was really low.  We went to Royal Farms and got fried chicken on the drive down which has actually turned into a little ritual because my husband enjoys their fried chicken but it was only $5 and we both ate it for lunch.  We went to Pete's Steak Shop and someone else in the family picked up the tab there because it was ordered before we got there.  We went to Crooked Hammock and my husband had a sandwich and my son had french fries and we paid $29.35.  We went to Grottos and got pizza with our family and my cousin picked up the tab.  We had friends over for dinner that were moving and we bought Pizza Hut for $37.10.  We got enough that both families had enough for lunch the next day.  Total spending for eating out was $71.45.  We normally try to stay under $40 for the month but I thought it was pretty good for vacation month for us.