Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hot Number Book Review

I ran out of library books and I had this on my shelf of books that I got for free that I decided I would read before making it back to the library.  Hot Number (Hot Zone) by Carly Phillips is actually the second book in the series so I went to the library to try to find the first after finishing this book but it was not there.  I got the third book in the series and put the first book on hold.  I guess I will start the series from the beginning starting now.

Micki Jordan is a tomboy as much at home on the playing field as in a locker room full of naked guys.  But the star publicist is looking to prove she’s also an irresistible woman in order to get a second shot at professional baseball player and major league playboy, Damian Fuller.  Micki transforms herself into one hot number Damian can’t help but notice and together they burn up the sheets and find themselves falling hard. Until Damian’s past returns, threatening their future.

Micki is living her life with her uncle and sisters running a sports PR and marketing firm.  She is very happy with her life until she realizes that she doesn't have a life outside of work.  She gives herself a makeover to make herself appear more feminine and it attracts the wrong attention from one of the baseball players.  She ended up getting Long Island Ice Tea instead of regular.  She was drunk and Damian stood up to help her and make sure that she was taken care of.  You will have to pick up the book to find out what happens but I promise you won't be disappointed.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the books in the series.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Hot Winter Nights Book Review

I saw this in the new release section when I went to the library to find some new reading material.  Hot Winter Nights: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel by Jill Shalvis was a new release and I didn't know where it was in the series.  I looked it up after reading it which is not like me but I figured that if it was good, I would look into the rest of the series.  This was the 6th book in the series.

Who needs mistletoe?  Most people wouldn’t think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn’t most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she’s been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that—but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once . . .Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don’t mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he’s shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly’s brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can’t believe he’s drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who’s the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he’s ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he’s been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

Molly was running the investigation office but wanted to do more.  All of the men at the firm wanted to protect her and didn't want her to do dangerous work.  Molly went to the bar on a night that Lucas, her co-worker, mixed pain meds with whiskey and she helped him home.  Because he was not doing really well, she decided to stay there but Lucas couldn't remember the night.  Molly used that against him to black mail him into helping her with an off the books case.  Lucas knows that if something happened between them that his best friend who is Molly's brother would kill him.  Molly and Lucas work together to help the older women who are working at the Santa's Village that stop paying them all that they expected.  They decided that something that Molly could help them get their money but they found so much more.  I hope that you pick it up and find out what is going on at Santa's Village.  I thought it was a super fun and quick read that was great to read. I am going to check out others in the series to see if there are some more fun reads.  I hope that you enjoy the series as well.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Monday Menu Plan 11/25

Pasta with garlic bread and sausage sauce
Tacos with white rice
Lasagna with garlic bread
Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Rolls and more
Leftovers or Chinese
Chili with Corn Chips or Fried Rice with Egg Rolls
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade Fries

Monday we had pasta with leftover spicy sausage sauce.  Tuesday I decided that I wasn't interested in Chicken tacos so I used the same chicken and made Sweet and Sour Chicken over white rice.  It is super easy coated in corn starch and pan fried and coated in some leftover sweet and sour packages from our egg rolls and then Franks Sweet Chili Sauce.  Super tasty and used the same meat that I already defrosted.  Wednesday was Salsa Sloppy Joes but I decided that we would go with hash browns and move mac and cheese to pork chops.  I cut up the hash browns and made the sloppy joe sauce in the morning so that it was easier to make dinner quickly when I needed to. Thursday was Pancakes for dinner and leftovers.  Friday was Ranch Pork Chops with mac and cheese.  Saturday we decided on Pizza Hut Pizza take out.  We had my son's favorite meal on Sunday so Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries.

I hope that you had a great week last week and planned for a great week this week.  I am mostly hoping that I feel better so that I don't have to be exhausted and coughing all the time.

A Cousin's Promise Book Review

I picked this up at the library when I was looking for some new books to read.  A Cousin's Promise (Indiana Cousins) by Wanda E. Brunstetter was on the shelf with others by the author and it said that it was the first in the series so I thought it would be good to start a new series.  The bad part is that I looked up the other books in the series and I couldn't find them in the library so I am going to have to search again.  They changed the catalog and it all looks different so I am hoping that I just missed it.

Willkumm to the lush and lavish Amish country where Wanda Brunstetter’s romantic series, Indiana Cousins, begins.  When a group of eight cousins and friends leaves their Indiana Amish community for a weekend getaway, a horrific accident brings them home forever changed.
Permanently disabled by the accident, Wayne Lambright struggles to take care of himself. He can’t imagine being able to be the kind of husband his fiancĂ©e, Loraine Miller, needs. Determined to sacrifice his happiness to give her a better life, he breaks their engagement.  Loraine refuses to believe Wayne doesn’t love her anymore. But when old boyfriend Jake Beechy returns from exploring the English world, Wayne does everything in his power to help Jake regain Loraine’s love.
For better or worse, Loraine wants to be Wayne’s wife, but if he won’t agree, should she promise her love to Jake? Torn between the love of two good men—which man will she pledge her love and loyalty—for better or worse, until death they do part?  Love is a promisefor better or worse.

The Indiana Cousins Series
Book 1: A Cousin's Promisse
Book 2: A Cousin's Prayer
Book 3: A Cousin's Challenge

This book starts off right into the action with a trip to Hershey Park gone wrong with a car crash that kills three people and injuries many more.  The worst thing is that it has changed everyone's lives with the changes to everyone's lives.  Loraine thought that she was going to be married in a month and starting her new life with Wayne but after the accident everything changes.  Wayne decides that loosing his leg made him less of a man and meant that he couldn't make a life for his future wife.  Wayne pushed Loraine away and broke her heart.  Loraine wants to keep her promise to Wayne and tries to make things easier for him even though her mother and his mother are against their continued relationship.  It is heartbreaking that Loraine had to go through so much and felt the weight of the decision to go to the park which changed everyone's lives.  The book has lots of things going on but you have to pick it up to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I did.  I hope that you get to check out the rest of the series and fingers crossed that I will be able to!

Friday, November 22, 2019

More Than Words Can Say Book Review

I picked up this second book in the series and thought it looked good.  I quickly reserved the first one so I could start the series.  More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer was the second book I go to read right after the other one.

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free. No family entanglements. No disappointing those around him. Just the quiet bachelor existence he's always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away when the baker of his favorite breakfast bun is railroaded by the city council. Despite not wanting to get involved, he can't turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man's name on her bakery's deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. That person definitely isn't the stoic lumberman who oozes silent confidence whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can't even control her pulse when she's around him.
When vows are spoken, Abigail's troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. Can she put ever more trust in Zach without losing her dreams of independence?

Zach has moved to a new town and started his life over without his two siblings.  He is living a quiet life working and going home every day.  Things change quickly when he is approached by the baker, Abigail, at his favorite bakery that he stops at every .  She is being thrown out of her family business because there is a law that says no woman can own their own business.  It was an old law that was left on the books and she just inherited it from her father after his death.  Abigail is looking for ways to keep her business that she loves and she decided that the best option was to get married.  Once married, her husband's name would be on the business and solve her problems.  The one thing is that she wanted to make sure that she was going to keep the business and that her husband wouldn't sell it.  Abigail wanted to make sure she didn't loose the business but she didn't know what she was going to gain with the marriage.  Abigail and Zach have a lot of things go on during the beginning of their marriage.  You have to pick up the book to make sure that you find out what they encounter!!  I hope that you check out this book and the great series.  It was super fun to read and hard to put down.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

More Then Meets the Eye Book Review

I got this on my reserve shelf and I was able to start this new series after finding the second book in the series first.  More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer was the first book in the new series.  I can't wait to find out what it is all about.

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes--one bright blue, the other dark brown--Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world's judgments, and Eva has two--Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father's death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach's sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

This was an amazing book that drew me in straight from the beginning.  Evangeline is a cute young girl who was traveling across the country with her brother Hamilton.  They were on the orphan train after they lost their parents.  Evie has two different color eyes and in 1879, that was considered a sign of the devil by many.  Hamilton did not want to be adopted without his sister so he was trying to figure out what to do and he asked another orphan on the train for some help.  Zach was the angry boy on the train that scared away everyone who was trying to adopting them so Hamilton went to him for help.  He had amazing advice that worked and Evie, Hamilton, Zach and Seth weren't adopted so they were headed back on the train when tragity strikes.  The train derails and Hamilton is hurt saving Zach's life.  In the process, Zach promises to watch out for Evie and Seth which he takes to heart and the whole book is how Zach starts supporting tow kids when he was 13 years old.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens when Zach takes on this challenge but I promise you won't be disappointed.  I hope that you check out this book and stay turned for the next book review!  I hope that you enjoy this wonderful series for yourself.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Christmas Secret Book Review

I got this book off the shelf at the library. I was out of books to read at home so I was looking around for some authors that I knew I figured that I would bring home a few and see if I read any of them before.  The Christmas Secret: Will an 1880 Christmas Eve Wedding Be Cancelled by Revelations in an Old Diary? by Wanda E. Brunstetter was a great title to get me to stick it in my library bag.  I love Christmas stories and this short read was a perfect book to pick up after the last longer book that I read before. 

A Family Secret May Destroy a Couple’s Hope for Marriage

Beloved, bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter tells a heartrending story from 1880 Pennsylvania.  Elizabeth Canning discovers an awful secret in her deceased mother’s diary. Believing her chances for a happy marriage are spoiled, she leaves her fiancĂ© a letter and flees town thinking all hope of a marriage to David is lost. Praying that distance will heal her broken heart, she takes refuge in her grandparents’ Pennsylvania home.

Anticipating a Christmas Eve wedding with Elizabeth, David Stinner is confused by her letter and desperate to find her. Can David root out the truth about the past and bring back his bride? Or is the truth destined to bring an ultimate end to their romance?

I thought that this was a great story with the pictures of the evergreen at the bottom of the pages, you were immediately brought into the season.  Very quickly you were pulled into the life of Elizabeth Canning who is excited in planning her wedding and the rest of her life with the man she loves, David.  Everything is ruined when she is cleaning the old cabin her family used to live in when she finds her aunts diary.  In the diary, it tells how Elizabeth's mother had a baby by another man.  The father that was mentioned was the same father of the man that Elizabeth was going to marry.  She realizes that she has to call off the wedding and run away.  She almost married her half brother!!  She trusts her best friend with the truth and goes to stay with family. After a little while there, she decides to go stay in a empty cabin of another family member just to get herself farther away.  David is busy trying to find out what is wrong and then prove that it isn't true.  You need to get the book to find out all of the things that happen along the way but it is a hard book to put down because you want to find out what is going to happen next.  I hope that you check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Capital Gaines Book Review

I heard about this book somewhere and I decided I needed to check it out.  Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Mark Dagostino was in the library and came to my reserve shelf quickly.  I loved the Magnolia Story and thought it would be fun to read this book too.

The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of five in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.  Now a #1 New York Times bestselling book, Capital Gaines offers readers a ringside seat as Chip relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.  Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.

I thought it was a great quick story that had you relating to Chip and learning lots about his past.  This book gave you all of the adventures that Chip was apart of and how he messed it up and learned from it.  He was in college and then moved to start his lawn mowing business after staring out the window and seeing the person mowing the college grounds.  I laughed out loud when he left his business to Joanna and things went wrong.  It was a great story and I thought I could totally see him doing it when most others would not have even thought about it as an option.  It was interesting how easy it was for them to make decisions and move from one company to the next to do what they needed to do to make money to support themselves.  The book provided a great view into what it took to try to do a show and why they stopped.  We were sad when the show ended because we loved Fixer Upper but they talked about how they had to stop doing the work to fix the house to do the recording and how that was hard to keep the construction going.  Chip also said how it took time away from their family which is the most important thing to them.  I learned lots from reading this and it made me a little less sad about missing the show.  I hope that you check it out for yourself and enjoy it too.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 11/18

Chicken Tacos with white rice
Salsa Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Pancakes and Breakfast for Dinner
Pork Chops with white rice
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade Fries

Last week was a little crazy because I ended up working everyday and then getting sick.  We had Pasta Monday and then Chili with corn bread on Tuesday.  Wednesday, I switched meals and had Philly Cheese Steak Pasta and then Chicken and Rice Casserole on Thursday.  Friday was leftovers where we had chili and cheese on baked potato, chili and cheese spaghetti, whatever else we had in the fridge.  Saturday we had Pizza Hut Pizza and Bread Sticks.  Sunday was my son's favorite dinner Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade fries.

I made rolls, bread and pumpkin bread over the weekend.  I also made cinnamon and sugar for toast.  We made tons of different kinds of popcorn including regular, caramel and cinnamon.  I made rice krispie treats and a few other things last week but most of them are gone already.  I am going to try to make some cookies this week with the free time that I have.  Hoping that the meals go as easily!!

Friday, November 15, 2019

November Middle of the Month Budget Update

I work really hard every month to maintain a budget of $160 but it is getting harder every month.  With the newspaper not carrying anything but Smart Source coupons, the deals are harder to find.  The printable coupons seem to have a lot of deals so I print those but there is a limit of two per computer or ip address depending on the site so there isn't a lot of options to get more of the coupon.  I use sales, coupons and any means that I have to get the best deals and stock up.

When a deal presents itself, I have been getting all that I have coupons for which sometimes sends me over budget but I know that it will lower my budget in the long run.  It has also had me jumping at deals that aren't as good when I have the coupons like $0.25 pasta which before would have been way too expensive for me since we got a new coupon and deal to make them $0.09 per box.  It is hard to tell if the lower deals are coming back.

I have broken down all my trips to the store for the first half of the month with the amount spent and the items purchased below. There are pictures of each trip so you can see everything that I have gotten so far for the month.

Wegman's $2.03

I went to the store to get the $0.99 flour to stock up my cupboard because I used all of the flour in my stockpile.  I only had two 5 pounds of flour which is an all time low for me.

Wegman's $2.03

My husband got two as well when we were at the soccer party at Wegman's.

Wegman's $23.82

We were down to our last ground beef bag so I grabbed some and made a bunch of 1 lb bags for the freezer.  I got two more flour for my new stockpile for winter baking and a bag of marshmallows to make rice krispie treats.  My husband wanted to get popcorn salt for the big popcorn machine that we have been using because it works better then the regular salt.

Harris Teeter $13.09

There was a clearance on the ground beef which made it $1.99 per pound so I decided that I would make chili .  I also got some cube steak which we enjoyed for dinner that night.  The ramen soup was $1 per package of 6 and it one of the foods my husband wants when he is sick so I got two flavors.  I also got the pasta which were now $0.09 per box with the sale and new $0.75/2 coupon.

Harris Teeter $0.61

I got six boxes of pasta so excited to get them for $0.09 each.

Aldi $15.04 

Back to Aldi to get some things that we were running low or out of.  I went to one closer to the house while I was on the way home from Harris Teeter.  They had the same prices as the one that I normally go to for these items.

Harris Teeter $11.38

I got the sugar evic deal for $0.97 each with a limit of 4.  I got the $0.09 pasta to add to the stockpile.  I got some clearance pork chops for $4.64 and it will make three meals for us.  We enjoyed one right away and froze the others.  My favorite deal was the pancake mix made it $0.99 after sale and coupon and then there was a rebate for $0.75 on Krusteaz Pancake Mix and $0.25 any pancake mix and $0.25 any item so I got them both for free after rebates.

Aldi $4.48 

I went to the store to get the milk and decided to get two bags of marshmallows to make rice krispie treats.  On the way to the register, I found the pumpkins were clearanced for $0.50 so I decided to grab it to roast it and make pumpkin.

Harris Teeter $5.65

I went to get the Oven Bags because we need them for Thanksgiving and they were on sale for $2 and there was a $0.75 coupon so I paid $0.50 each package.  I also found hot sauce for $1.50 per pound so I got two because my husband wanted to try hot.  He decided it was a little too hot but I am going to mix it with the mild I already have and make a good medium heat. I got 6 boxes of pasta for $0.09.

Wegman's $3.04

I got two more flours to add to the stockpile at $0.99 each.  I also got three mac and cheese which were $0.33 each.  We enjoyed them and they changed the flavor again and my son is way happier with this new kind.  I am super excited because we have another food to add into the weekly diet for my son.

Harris Teeter $0.61

My husband got 6 of the pasta and couldn't figure out why I didn't him 6 coupons.  He read them and figured it out but I explained it at least three times.  Didn't know it was going to be so confusing to send him after 6 boxes of pasta but always good to fully understand the directions.

Harris Teeter $0.61

I went to the store to get more of the $0.09 pasta.

Harris Teeter $0.61

My son got six boxes of pasta and gave the cashier his change and bag and everything.  It is always cute to watch him check out even when he gets older.

Harris Teeter $0.41

I only had two coupons left in my stockpile and  I got the last four boxes of spaghetti.

Harris Teeter $0.61

I got my new papers and they had last week's coupons in them so I went back to the store to get more pasta!!  I love my stockpile super full with pasta so that I don't have to worry about it later.

Harris Teeter $0.61

I got some different kinds of pasta which were also $0.09.

Harris Teeter $0.61

 I have so much pasta that I had to rearrange the cupboards but love some $0.09 pasta. 

Harris Teeter $0.61

Last day to get the pasta deal so I went and got some more $0.09 pasta.

Total Retail $253.41
Total Savings  $167.56
Total OOP $85.85

I think that I got a lot this month including 70 boxes of pasta and 40 pounds of flour.  I also got a lot of meat which has been enjoyed and frozen to enjoy later.  Although I am over my middle of the budget goal, I think that these foods were all purchased at the very lowest price possible.  I made a bunch of pumpkin and chili to freeze to make more yummy meals later in the coming months.

Eating Out

We got Pizza Hut for $8.47 at the beginning of the month and enjoyed some yummy pizza.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Smart But Scattered Book Review

I got this recommendation for a book to help me figure out how to help my son become more organized.  It took me awhile to read it because there was so much information but I was happy that I did!  Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Peg Dawson is an amazing reference book with tests and charts to help make things better based on individual challenges.

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your bright, talented son or daughter struggle with everyday tasks like finishing homework, putting away toys, or following instructions at school. Your “smart but scattered” child might also have trouble coping with disappointment or managing anger. Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there’s a lot you can do to help.

The latest research in child development shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills”--the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions. Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific skills, and problem-solve daily routines. Small changes can add up to big improvements--this empowering book shows how.

Thought this was an amazing book that had lots of great tests and hints to get you working to help your child's weaknesses.  It also helps determine parents and children's weaknesses because sometimes we can't help if we have the same weaknesses if we haven't dealt with our own issues.  Although we are best to help if we have already overcome challenges that we can help with so the book helps parents as well.  I thought it was great to see different ways to help my son and myself communicate and not get to the place where we are both upset.  I really think that this is a great resource for all people dealing with kids even if they aren't there own because it helps to understand how other people may see things different from yourself and how to work together for the best outcome.  I enjoyed the book even though it took a long time to read.  I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with issues with their kids in school and staying organized.  It has helped us a lot so that we don't end up doing all of the work and my son never learns the coping mechanisms.  I hope that this will prepare him for later in life to live to his best.  I hope that many others check it out and see for yourself but this might be a good one to buy because it will take a lot of renewals from the library to get through it all unless you are more dedicated to reading it every day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Bitterest Pill Book Review

I saw this on the new release section and knew that I hadn't read it so I grabbed the newest in the Jesse Stone series.  Robert B. Parker's The Bitterest Pill (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Reed Farrel Coleman is the 18th book in the series.  I have enjoyed reading all the books in the series and even enjoyed the movie series so I was excited to get to read another installment.

The opioid epidemic has reached Paradise, and Police Chief Jesse Stone must rush to stop the devastation in the latest thriller in Robert B. Parker's New York Times-bestselling series.

When a popular high school cheerleader dies of a suspected heroin overdose, it becomes clear that the opioid epidemic has spread even to the idyllic town of Paradise. It will be up to police chief Jesse Stone to unravel the supply chain and unmask the criminals behind it, and the investigation has a clear epicenter: Paradise High School. Home of the town's best and brightest future leaders and its most vulnerable down-and-out teens, it's a rich and bottomless market for dealers out of Boston looking to expand into the suburbs.

But when it comes to drugs, the very people Jesse is trying to protect are often those with the most to lose. As he digs deeper into the case, he finds himself battling self-interested administrators, reluctant teachers, distrustful schoolkids, and overprotective parents . . . and at the end of the line are the true bad guys, the ones with a lucrative business they'd kill to protect.

I thought it was very different from the other books and actually I thought that made it a little better.  You could tell that this book was set in modern times where the older books were dealing with problems that could have happened in the 80's so I thought it was moving with the times.  Jesse is dealing with being sober and his new role as father.  In addition, there is a growning drug and resulting crime problem in the small town of Paradise.  Many people don't have to worry about it until it hits the high school and there are children showing up dead.  Jesse is deeply invested in getting to the bottom of the crime spree and finding all of the people responsible.  This leads to tons of other things going wrong as always happens but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I think that you will be impressed whether you have read the other books or not.  Although I highly recommend starting at the beginning and getting to know Jesse Stone first.  I hope that you like this book as much as I did!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Timepiece Book Review

I was reading Timepiece by Beverly Lewis when the due date came and I wasn't finished.  I went to the library to get it renewed by one more day.  I was so excited to get the chance to finish it before returning it without having late fees.  I stayed up late and finished it all to return when before the new due date.  I love the library but when I get too many books, I am the only one who suffers!!

As the only daughter, Sylvia Miller of The Tinderbox has always held a special place in her Old Order family, one Adeline Pelham jeopardizes when she shows up at the Millers' Hickory Hollow farm. It isn't that Adeline means to be a threat, but her very existence is a reminder of the painful secret that has so recently upended the Miller household. And with Sylvia and her mother still struggling to come to terms with that news, this is a challenging time to welcome an Englisher--especially this Englisher--into their midst.

Despite the Millers' unexpected hospitality, Adeline is well aware that she's treading on Sylvia's turf, and she feels guilty about doing so when Sylvia is grappling with issues of her own. Not only is Sylvia trying to rebuild her trust in her father, but she's uncertain what to make of her once-promising engagement to Titus Kauffman, who hasn't pursued her since she confronted him. Adeline wishes she could help Sylvia, but she's not sure that either she or Sylvia is ready for that level of closeness in their relationship.  Can God make something good come out of the mistakes of the past? Or does Adeline's arrival mark one too many surprises for the Millers and their Amish community?

I had enjoyed the other books in the series and was excited when the newest book came up in my reserve shelf.  I didn't know that it was part of the series but I know that I like all of Beverly Lewis books!  I thought that the Amazon description was the worst book description and I disagree with most of it but I luckily didn't read it before the book.  The daughter that the Earnest Miller didn't know he had showed up after his Bann was over confessing about the marriage that he had before becoming Amish.  Adeline is English and grew up with her mother and didn't know anything about her father until her mother passed away.  She came to met them and learned that they were very welcoming.  She stayed much longer and learned much more then she expected.  Her sister, Sylvia, is going through a lot with the new sister showing up.  Her engagement ends over this and other reasons which Adeline starts to blame her self so she leaves.  To find out what she learned through this process, you will have to pick up the book and read for yourself.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I did but make sure you check out the earlier books in the series too!!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 11/11

 Chili with corn bread
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Philly Cheese Steak Pasta
Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with mac and cheese
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade Fries

Last week we had Chili with corn bread on Monday and Pasta with sausage sauce on Tuesday.  We had a special treat with Cube Steak and Rice on Wednesday after I went to the store and found a package marked down.  Thursday we have the Chicken and Potato Casserole and my son had hash browns (less spicy).  Friday we had Pork Chops with mac and cheese which we got as another deal I couldn't pass up at the grocery store.  Saturday we had Fried Rice and Egg Rolls and my son had pancakes.  Sunday was my son's favorite meal of chicken fries, chicken tenders and homemade fries.  The meals were a little moved around with the deals found in the store (we took away leftovers because I keep eating them for lunch) and Breakfast for Dinner this week except for my son's pancakes.  I hope that you have a great week and enjoy some yummy meals!!  Lots more yummy meals but a really busy week this week so we will see how the plan goes after things get crazy.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Healing Jar Book Review

I was excited to get to the last book in the series,  The Healing Jar (The Prayer Jars) by Wanda E. Brunstetter.  I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.  The first two books were hard enough to put down but this book was even harder for me.  I couldn't wait to see how it was going to end.

What if you have waited to find love only to be rejected when it finally comes? Lenore Lapp is an Amish schoolteacher in her late twenties still living at home with her parents and grandparents. She thought love had passed her by until she meets Jesse Smucker, a widower with a baby daughter. She quickly falls in love with them both and accepts Jesse’s proposal of marriage, but Jesse breaks off their engagement when he realizes he can’t marry only for convenience.  Resigned to living single, Lenore throws herself into caring for her elders. While working in her grandmother’s garden, she digs up an old jar. Will Lenore find healing for her broken heart and solve long-buried family secrets by reading the note contained inside?

Lenore Lapp is living with her grandparents to help take care of them while working as a school teacher in the small Amish school.  She is enjoying her life with her job and family being very fulfilling until she starts wanting more.  Lenore was making plans to be an old maid living with her grandparents when she meets Jesse and his baby daughter. Lenore grows close when she watches the baby during the summer when she off school.  They grow closer and Jesse proposed marriage.  While Lenore was planning the wedding, Jesse decides that it was only a marriage of convenience and breaks off the engagement.  Lenore goes back to the life she had before but she is heart broken by all of the losses in her life.  She is dealing with so many thing but you have to pick up the book to find out what she is dealing with.  I hope that you check out this book and all the books in the series.  I enjoyed them so much and they made me grateful for the family in my life.  I think that you should check out these books and enjoy them for yourself.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Forgiving Jar Book Review

I was excited to get to the second book in the series.  The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars) by Wanda E. Brunstetter was the next book in my pile and I got to read it right after reading the last book.  I love reserving books ahead of time at the library so that I have them all to read.

What would happen if you found out someone has been impersonating you?

Sara Murray had never met her mother’s parents and was surprised to learn after her death that they were Amish living in Pennsylvania. When she is finally able to make the trip to meet them, she is shocked to learn someone else has been living with them and pretending to be Sara. Sara can’t understand how quickly her grandparents are willing to forgive the impostor.

Secrets and deceit seem to follow Sara, and she is so tired of it. Though soon she meets Brad Fuller who is visiting her grandparents for during Christmas. She likes him a lot, but even he seems to pull away from her, not being totally honest.

Struggling, Sara finds an old canning jar hidden in the barn that is full of encouraging prayers. Can Sara find a way to forgive the past and move on to building new relationships?

This is Book 2 in the brand-new series, The Prayer Jars, from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
Book 1 -- The Hope Jar (August 2018)
Book 3 -- The Healing Jar (August 2019)

I thought that this followed through from the last book seamlessly.  It was a great continuation of  the series.  Sara finally makes the trip to Amish country to meet her grandparents.  When she gets there, she finds an empty house except a girl about her age who leaves as soon as she gets there.  It is a shock to her grandparents when they find that the person that has been living with them for months was lying about who she was.  It was a shock to everyone including the friends that Michelle made while she was living there and most of all to Sara.  Sara is struggling with her anger and resentment of missing out on the time with her grandparents and she comes across the prayer jars.  She isn't very religious but she enjoys the prayers and encouragements that she finds in their.  Sara has to leave to get back to her life but realizes that she is changed forever by meeting her grandparents and learning about their life.  You will only find out what happens if you pick up the book but I think that you will be surprised to see all the changes that happen over the short period of time.  I hope that you check it out for yourself!!  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did.  Stay tuned for the third and final book in the series.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Hope Jar Book Review

I was excited to find a new series of books that I could read by an author that I enjoy.  The Hope Jar (The Prayer Jars) by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the first book in the series about Prayer Jars. This was the first book in the new series.  Although I knew I liked other books by this author, I wasn't sure what this series was going to bring.

A Brand-New 3-Book Series from New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
What happens when making an elderly Amish couple very happy means going along with a lie that gets bigger by the day?  Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.

Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith— but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?

Michelle Taylor is escaping a bad life when she goes to the bus station.  The Lapps go to the bus station looking for their long lost grand daughter and find Michelle.  Michelle tells a lie and says that she is their grand daughter so that she can get away from her abusive boyfriend.  Once she goes with this nice couple, she realizes that they are Amish.  She is living a very different life then her old one but she actually starts to enjoy it.  She is greatly changed by the two prayer jars that she finds with the papers inside with prayers and inspirational ideas.  Michelle takes on the identity of Sara Murray.  Michelle even goes so far to steal the letters that come in the mail from the real Sara.  Michelle fits in with the neighbors and becomes part of the family.  The longer she is there the worse she feels about the lie that she told.  She know that she is going to have to come clean and leave but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I have.  Stay tuned for other books in the series.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

October Month End Grocery and Eating Out Budgets

I work to maintain $160 monthly budget with using sales, coupons and deals to get as much as I can as low priced as I can.  I make as much of our food as I can from scratch and use the items from the pantry and freezer to stretch the budget as far as possible.  Making our own bread, rolls and baked goods means that I am not running out of things and going to the store to get one thing that means that I get more then we need.

We also work to maintain a budget of $40 for eating out.  The total for both is $200 for the month.  It has been getting harder and harder to find the deals that make this budget possible but I work my hardest to get the most deals. 

The trips to the store are detailed below with the amounts and break downs with a picture of everything that I got.  The first half of the deals were broken down here so they are not detailed in this post but still pictured so you can see what I bought for the month.  The bottom has the total retail and the total savings with the total out of pocket spent so far this month.  Check out how I did against my monthly budget and what I got for that amount.

Harris Teeter $8.10

Harris Teeter $10.97

Harris Teeter $1.04

Harris Teeter $9.63

Target $1.52 
after gift card

Aldi $9.19

Harris Teeter $15.42

Aldi $32.01

Aldi $6.12

I went to the store to get a pumpkin with my son so that he could pick it out.  We never actually got to carve it but I hope he will let me cut it up and roast it.  My husband picked out the blackberries to make muffins and the cookies because they are one of his favorites.

Harris Teeter $0

I had a freebie to get this free for Taste and Tell and we really enjoyed it.

Harris Teeter $22.22

This shopping trip might be the one that I point to and say that I bought more then I was expecting but I got the soda on sale for $2.47 per case, the eggs for $0.77 each, the Chewy Granola Bars for $0.67 per box, the Kellogg's cereal for $0.97 per box, and the Muir Glen tomatoes for $0.33 per can which is less then I spent on the Harris Teeter brand a little while ago.  I thought my best best was the free Philly dip which actually ended up being a money maker with the Ibotta rebate for $0.50 back.  I was most happy with the Nivea deal where you bought any two and got $4 off instantly so I got the Shave cream with electronic coupon and the Aquaphor (normally almost $14 shelf value) for $0.10 after sale, coupon and instant savings. Overall it was tons of amazing deals that I couldn't pass up.

Harris Teeter $22.05

The store was out of the things that I went looking for so I looked around and got the popcorn that we were running low on sale for $1.69 per bag since it is hard to find at Aldi anymore.  The potatoes were $2.79 for 8 lbs which is less then the price at Aldi.  I got two Ocean Spray with my coupons so they were $1.18 at this store after coupon.  I got the Quaker Oatmeal for my husband and son for $0.77 each after sale and coupon.  I got the Beyond Burger for my husband to try for $0.99 after sale and coupon.  I got four bags of Halls for my husband because he was sick and they were on sale for $0.97 and there was an electronic $1 coupon.  I also got $1 back from Saving Star and $2 from Checkout 51.  I got the tea for my mom and asked her if she wanted to try the other new flavor but she didn't answer so I bought it and later returned it when she said no and subtracted the amount out of the total spent even though it is still in the picture.

Harris Teeter $3.58

I went to the store to get Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice because the sale started and the coupons were expiring.

Harris Teeter $3.58

Very excited to get a few more!!

Harris Teeter $3.58

Super excited to get these for $1.14 each so I used a few more coupons on the remaining Ocean Spray.

Harris Teeter $3.58

My husband went to the store and got three since they are his favorite.

Harris Teeter $10.79

I got some Cheez Its and Ocean Spray to use up more of my Ocean Spray coupons and my peelies on the Cheez Its to make them $1.75 per box.

Aldi $6.67

I went to the store to get a few things that I was out of including the saltine crackers because my husband was sick and he always ends up with soup and crackers.

Harris Teeter $16.78 

I went to another store to get some Cheez Its and Ocean Spray on the last day of the coupon and to use up my last peelies on the Cheese Its.

 Total Retail $563.13
 Total Savings $378.30
Total OOP $184.83

I was almost $25 over budget for the month but I can't look at what I bought and really point any fingers and something I did wrong.  It is getting harder and harder to find the deals that I used to get with more limited coupons.  I probably need to do better at chasing down the deals.

I work to do the best that I can and I couldn't pass up the Ocean Spray deal to get them for $1.14 each because we were almost out.  The Cheez Its worked out to a great deal and we haven't had them in awhile either so I decided to get them at $1.75 per box and my family has already eaten three boxes.

Did we need soda?  I probably could have passed on it but it was $10 of the whole picture and we all enjoy soda as a treat and drink in moderation so it doesn't seem like a ad choice in my book.  I bought 18 boxes of spaghetti which are going to be on sale in next weeks ad with a new coupon for $0.09 and I paid about $0.20 more per box.  I don't normally stock up when it is over a quarter but we were running low on pasta and it wasn't a horrible deal.

I have looked at the whole year and I have had 5 months where I have been over budget so far this year with the monthly average still coming close so I am waiting to see how the year ends up before I start rethinking the budget or how I am doing things.

Eating Out

We got Pizza Hut take out and went out at Cracker Barrel while on vacation but my parents paid for it because I made all the dinners in the room and packed lunch and snacks.  When we got home, we bought Chinese food for all of us to have for dinner for $40.12.  We got take out pizza after a soccer game but I used points to get it for free.  My son went with friends to SkyZone and he got an ICEE for $3.50 so we were a little over budget for the month by $3.62.  Many months we are under budget but I was over in both categories so overall not a great month.