Friday, January 31, 2020

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses Book Review

I saw this book on the new release section so I grabbed it because I love Christmas stories.  I figured with a name like this, it would be perfect.  Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses: A feel-good Christmas romance by Jenny Hale said on the front that it was now a movie on Hallmark so double good for me.  I can't wait to see if the author has some other fun books to read!!

An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?  Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.  When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

I think that the movie of this book is going to be super great but make sure you check out the book first.  I always think that they are better then the movie.  This book was about Abbey who was working hard at her nursing job and taking care of people while trying to raise her son.  They don't have a lot of extras but they have a lot of family and love.  Her mother watches her son sometimes and also her grandfather while she is working.  It is the Christmas season and Abbey is sad that she can't get her son as many presents and he is asking for but still wants to make the season happy.  Then the best luck happens because she is hired to do a interior design job for Nick Sinclair who is looking to make his house more lived in before family visits for the holidays.  Abbey is going to be paid a lot of money if she gets this job and works hard to turn this large house into a cozy home.  What Abbey makes is a happy family and she quickly becomes involved in things going on at the house because she is caring for Nick's mother but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I know that you will enjoy this book as much as I have!!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane Book Review

I got this book free from the library so I decided that it was a good book to read and check out to see if I was interested in the rest of the series.  Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor) by JoAnn Ross was the second book in the series.  I was excited to try this story because the cover was interesting and I love lighthouses.  I guess not the best reason to read a book but turned out to be a great reason because the book was great.

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Wells is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.  Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

I thought that this was a great story with Jolene living a dream life in California after leaving the small town that always thought of her as the girl that grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  She was running away from her past to try to make her future and she was doing a great job.  Jolene got a job doing hair and makeup in Hollywood for many movies.  She doesn't want to look backwards so she supports her mother and helps her open her own salon back home but never goes back to visit.  She ends up going home after getting a life changing call that her mother might have cancer and her apartment burned down so she had no where to live anyway.  When Jolene gets back, she is pulled over by the new police chief who happens to be her first love.  Aiden was a bad boy who got into trouble and was forced to join the Marines to get out of it.  Jolene was shocked to find him as the new Chief and that the feelings she once has came right back as soon as she saw him.  Aiden was getting over the trama of loosing his partner and trying to put his life back together but still seeing and talking to his dead partner's ghost.  You would think that would make the book odd but it really brought a lot of Aiden's personality to the surface and allowed you to learn things about what was going on.  It was a great story but you have to pick it up for yourself to find out what happens between Aiden and Jolene and how they move forward now that they are both back in Honeymoon Harbor.  I know that both of these books involved people coming home and creating their new life and I hope that you pick them both up and check them out for yourself.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Heron's Landing Book Review

I got this book after the second book but I decided to review it first so that they would be in order for the series.  Herons Landing: A Small-Town Romance (Honeymoon Harbor) by JoAnn Ross is the second book in the Honeymoon Harbor series.  I got the first book free at the library so I decided to try it and see if I liked the series and I did so I got this one out of the library to check the rest of the series out.

Welcome to Honeymoon Harbor, the brand-new, long-awaited series by beloved New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross, where unforgettable characters come face-to-face with the kind of love that grabs your heart and never lets go.

Working as a Las Vegas concierge, Brianna Mannion is an expert at making other people’s wishes come true. It’s satisfying work, but a visit home to scenic Honeymoon Harbor turns into a permanent stay when she’s reminded of everything she’s missing: the idyllic small-town charm; the old Victorian house she’d always coveted; and Seth Harper, her best friend’s widower and the neighborhood boy she once crushed on—hard. After years spent serving others, maybe Brianna’s finally ready to chase dreams of her own.

Since losing his wife, Seth has kept busy running the Harper family’s renovation business and flying way under the social radar. But when Brianna hires him to convert her aging dream home into a romantic B and B, working together presents a heart-stopping temptation Seth never saw coming. With guilt and grief his only companions for so long, he’ll have to step out of the past long enough to recognize the beautiful life Brianna and he could build together.

Brianna Mannion gets fed up with the life that she was leading taking care of rich gamblers at all the great casinos.  She quits her job and moves home to Honeymoon Harbor.  When she is planning on leaving and packing everything up, she looks online and sees that the house that she always wanted as a child is available for sale.  She decides to follow her dream and open and Bed and Breakfast at the house.  She makes plans while driving across the country and comes up with tons of plans and her mind firmly set on getting this house and staying in her home town.  She is quickly greeted by friends as soon as she gets to town and she gets to see the house.  She finds out that it is owned by a friend of her's from school who she used to have a crush on growing up.  Seth ended up marrying her best friend and she wanted all the best for them but Seth's wife died during her military service.  Seth is still upset over the loss and having a hard time getting on with his life.  Brianna coming back to town brings up a lot of feelings that he didn't think that he could have again.  He was devoted to his wife and he is conflicted about these new feelings because he thinks that it is a betrayal to his wife.  Brianna and Seth go through a lot but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens with them and the Bed and Breakfast.  I know that you will love the small town and the great characters.  I was sad when I looked it up and there were only two books in the series but I am still hopeful that they will add more sometime.  Fingers crossed and hope you check out this two book series for yourself and enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Soliders Return and The Daddy Makeover Book Reviews

This was the first book that I finished in the new year but it was actually two books in one.  I brought this book with me on a trip from my shelf of books that I got free that I hadn't read yet.  I was super glad after I started it that I hadn't read either book but I love the series so I got two books in my bag to enjoy together.  A Soldier's Return & The Daddy Makeover: A 2-in-1 Collection (The Women of Brambleberry House) by RaeAnne Thayne was a great story from a series that I have read other books but not this one.

The women of Brambleberry House are back!

Returning home to Cannon Beach and living in Brambleberry House, a place where good things seemed destined to happen, had brought Melissa Fielding and her young daughter such joy. Perhaps it was no accident when the single mom “bumped” into Eli Sanderson and discovered the handsome doctor was also back in town. The ex-soldier was still so captivating, but also more guarded. Was now the time to put old ghosts to rest?

Plus, one of the original Women of Brambleberry House stories—The Daddy Makeover!

Eben Spencer learned long ago to keep his emotions under wraps. Now it’s just him and his little girl…until he meets Sage Benedetto. She’s warm, emotional, open—everything Eben is not. Sage’s bewitching nature soon has this tycoon rethinking his future…

The first story was A Soldier's Return which was about Melissa coming back to Brambleberry House with her daughter Skye.  Melissa was dealing with her ex-husband and trying to make roots for her daughter now that they have stopped following her husband around the world when he moved from place to place.  Melissa tripped while running and was saved by Eli who was now the doctor in town but she knew him from high school.  Eli was a soldier and came back to his home town to work with his father as a local doctor.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens between these high school friends now that they are adults and both settling down.

The second story was The Daddy Makeover which was about Eben Spencer who comes into town to buy a local motel.  He brings his daughter with him because she is without a nanny that he had been using because she has run them all off.  He has his hands full trying to do his job and take care of his daughter, Chloe, until he finds Sage.   She is warm and loving towards his daughter and she instantly changes.  Sage fits in Chloe into her summer camp program and into her life.  She takes care of her and finds time to get to know her and her father more.  The relationship begins to change between Eben and Sage but you have to pick up the book to see how Brambleberry House gets another relationship changed forever.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Menu Plan Monday 1/27

Pasta with Sausage Sauce and garlic bread and sauce
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Fried Rice with Egg Rolls
Pork Chops and Mac and Cheese
Wewalka Pepperoni and Buffalo Chicken Pizzzas
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade french fries

Last week was the same meal plan but the days were moved around.  Monday was Chicken and Bacon Paninis with french fries and sweet potato fries.  Tuesday was Rosemary Chicken with egg noodles and sweet potato veggie mixture.  Wednesday was Leftover Night where I made fried rice with leftovers for myself and my husband and chicken fries for my son.  Thursday was Pasta with sausage sauce and garlic bread because I got a great deal on sausage at the store that day that was actually a money maker.  So Friday night dinner was spicy honey mustard chicken with mac and cheese.  Saturday was Breakfast for Dinner with pancakes, hash browns, eggs and bacon (another great deal with $0.49 bacon).  Sunday was Chicken Fries and Chicken Wraps with French Fries.  

Super excited that I finished the meal plan for the end of the month and most of February.  Here is hoping that it works but I know that I am using up all the things in the house which is the main goal.  I need to dig through the deep freeze a little more and see if I can start defrosting soon so that I can go stock up on more meat.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Minecraft Birthday Party Plan

I was exhausted but getting closer to actually having the birthday party ready to roll for 16active  kids!  My son had a long list and would you believe that this is what we narrowed the list down to!  He said that he wanted to do all things Minecraft.  I started a pinterest board here.

We started with Pin the Tail on the Enderdragon which I looked forever for and found this one after we already printed the other one.  I was a little sad because we printed a large poster and the tails from this one don't fit on ours unless we go back and print them on the poster paper.

We made a box like a Minecraft head to put over the kids heads like a blind fold but the kids preferred to use the paper grocery bag because it didn't tip as much.  They had a blast and each person's name was on the tail so they compared how everyone did.

Because we had so many kids we decided to do four stations which means that I split the kids into 4 groups which helps to cut down on the crazy.  I made activity books with lots of free printables that I found all over online including coloring sheets, mazes, crosswords and these neat color by number squares (here). 

The books were different colors for the different teams and had the Minecraft logo, the child's name, the team name, and the order of their stations (the schedule).  This was team Gold and their schedule.

The first station was Minecraft elements which are cubes made into elements.  There were paper cubes to cut out and put together with tape and glue sticks.  There were some here and some here.

There were wooden cubes that were painted gray that the kids could paint or glitter glue any color they liked.  We put them on small plates and sent them home next to their goodie bags if they were too much of a mess.  My son's wasn't painted that much and was mostly dry by the time we left.

The cubes were really easy to make.  My husband took a spindle from our old deck railing and cut it so that it was in cubes and I painted them so there was a base color to work from.

The second station was make your own Minecraft skin which for those of you mom's like me who don't know the Minecraft lingo, it is like a square mask but I decided not to cut eye holes.  Here is a blog that actually used sticks but my husband and I felt that would make it less mask like and more like a weapon they could use so we went without sticks (it also made it cheaper). I made ours a little smaller because it seemed a more reasonable size and I could make the cubes small and square and they fit down this block in an even number.

I got ready by making the squares from old cardboard boxes and the cut up cubes from colored construction paper that I had around the house.  To try to stay organized, I put it in egg cartons so that I would have 12 colors for each group.

I made way too much but I was worried that they would use everything and the last group would have nothing.  They made very different masks based on their interests.  There were little guides on the table if they wanted to make something specific or they could make their own.

The third station was the Minecraft games including Creeper toss which was square holes cut into a stand up cardboard that was painted green and the kids had to throw the soft balls through and try to get points.  Turns out we kept it in the basement for two years and I have no pictures of it.  We did a large piece of painted cardboard and folded the cardboard backwards instead of this sample found on the internet here.

We also had Minecraft bowling which was kids bowling pins that we already had that I labeled with the different Minecraft things and the kids loved it.

We had another game we didn't use where we took songs from You Tube and played a musical spots like musical chairs but with Minecraft spots on the ground.  You could easily use some of the many elements or food labels if you wanted to make these too.

The forth station was a Minecraft world with a long roll of white paper and little stickers that were in Minecraft designs and markers so that the kids could make up their own Minecraft world.  I put all of the stickers in egg cartons too so that we would have one per group.  I just printed the design that I found online on return address labels that we already had and cut them into cube shapes by making strips.

We also did Minecraft Bingo at the end of the party after cupcakes until the parents were there to pick up their kids so that we could keep them contained near the door and in chairs.  It has always been a party favorite each year so I decided to go with this one.  It was nice because there were 20 cards and we had a bunch of kids coming so I knew that it would be enough for everyone.

I was hoping for everything to go well and get lots of pictures but that is always hard to do while trying to keep tons of children under control.  It was great and all the kids had a blast but I didn't get nearly the amount of pictures that I would have likes to share.

Before the party, I use paper grocery bags for the goodie bags and decorate them with the kids name and pictures from the theme.  It is super cheap and easy to hold all of the things we are sending home.  At this party, they decorated square cookies like Minecraft blocks and they could eat one and bring one home (or both if they decided) after we had pizza at the beginning.  Some were very well thought out and others were crazy but everyone had fun.  I label the plates first and wrap in foil to keep in all the sprinkles.  I label the plates first and wrap in foil to keep in all the sprinkles. 

They also got their book with activities, bookmarks (here and here), a few of my son's favorite candies, and all the crafts that they made at each station.  I like sending them home with their own work instead of junk purchased at the store that they won't use again.  Most of the kids really enjoy it and leave with more things that they can do at home. My one crafty thing was a TNT labeled party popper that my son asked for because we had some leftover from a 4th of July box, I said yes.  I printed the papers here.

I hope that this helps you come up with a few things that are helpful to make your own Minecraft party.  I mostly come up with ideas that work with things that we have around the house so that I can make the most frugal but fun party that I can come up with.  I hope that you can find some fun things around your house to turn into Minecraft fun!!

Friday, January 24, 2020

How I Make Money Using Swagbucks!

I started using Swagbucks in 2015 but really didn't jump into working hard at it until later in 2016.  I started tracking my gift cards purchased with my free points to see how much money that was adding back into our budget.

In 2015, I only earned one gift card in the amount of $25.  By 2016, I realized that I could do this and used points to buy 16 gift cards equaling $381. My goal was to work harder and smarter in 2017 and I earned $505 and got 20 gift cards.  I realize that this might not seem like a lot but it costs me nothing and I get a lot of money to add back in to our budget that I don't have to spend.  I knew that I could do a little better.  2018 brought 26 gift cards with $795 so I knew that I made it and finally figured out how to use this for the best.

I bet you want to know how 2019 turned out!  I did so I decided to add up the gift cards.  I earned $750 and bought 28 gift cards.  I did great with team challenges and getting lots of bonuses.  I also tried to up my usage of My Points in 2019 which I haven't used much in the past or tracked but I earned $120 on 15 gift cards.  The great part about working both systems is that My Points often gave me the gift card to finish paying for things that I already got gift cards from Swagbucks so that last $3 or $5 I needed so I didn't spend as much out of pocket.

Want to know how you can earn $870 in one year to add into your families budget, join Swagbucks and My Points and join the adventure with me!!  If you are interested in joining, check it out Swagbucks here and My Points here. There are people that earn so much more then I do but I am grateful that the work I do gives me money to add into our budget every year and get things without spending anything.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Year End Reading 2019

I set a goal every year to read 100 books.  I used to do really well tracking and knowing where I am but this year went off the rails because I didn't track it monthly.  I had no idea where I was year to date and it was near the end of the year.  I may have missed posting reviews of some books but I counted up the book review posts of the year and I got my grand total.


To the best of my ability and hoping that I posted all the reviews on my blog of the books that I read, I read 104 adult books and quite a few more children's books that weren't counted.  Do you have a goal to read a certain number of books or certain variety of books??

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Christmas Keeper Book Review

I got The Christmas Keeper (Happily Ever After) by Jenn McKinlay on my reserve list and I think it was the last book I finished in 2019 and then it took forever to post a review.  I am a little behind..okay a lot behind on blogging.  I put it on reserve after reading the first book in the series and it took awhile to come in.  I was glad to see it come on the shelf.  This says it is the second and final book in the series so I can't wait to see how it ends (and hope that they add another book).

True love and holiday cheer combine for an unforgettable romance in this second Happily Ever After novel featuring a North Carolina bookstore from the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Ones.

All he wants for Christmas…
The second Joaquin Solis saw Savannah Wilson, he knew she was destined to be his wife. Unfortunately, Savannah’s sights are set on a happily-ever-after of another kind: skewering the boss who got her fired. Until then, she won’t act on the scorching sexual chemistry that is brewing between them, leaving Joaquin scrambling to find a way to capture her heart.

When the opportunity arises to use his ranch to boost Savannah's publicity career, Joaquin doesn’t hesitate to invite her into his world at Shadow Pines and woo her with all of his Christmas loving mojo. It’s a gamble since the holidays aren’t really Savannah's thing and helping her might also mean losing her as she plans to shake the dust off of their quaint town in North Carolina and head back to New York City the first chance she gets.

But Joaquin believes in the magic of Christmas and he knows with a little help from his friends at the Happily Ever After Bookstore, he can convince the woman of his dreams that he’s a keeper…

I thought that this was a great book and enjoyed getting back to the  series.  Joaquin was in love with Savannah at first sight but she wasn't convinced.  Savannah was working in her friends book store to help her make it a success.  She left her old job under what seems like mysterious circumstances that she doesn't share with anyone.  Savannah worked hard to make the place a success because she was looking to make her name back after her past scandal.  Her name in the publishing world isn't great and she is trying to make her move back to the big city.  Although she feels the pull towards Joaquin but is trying to ignore it.  Until she can't ignore him anymore!!  Pick up the book and find out what happens to the small book store and the relationship.  I hope that you enjoy the book and the series.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Word Gets Around Book Review

I was excited that I got the second book in the series at the same time so that I could read it as soon as I finished the other book.  The first book was a little slow to start but by the time that I finished, I was ready to find out what happened next.  Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate was the second book in the series of three books.

A tragedy chased Lauren Eldridge from her hometown of Daily, Texas, two years ago, but she can't say no to helping her father after a risky film investment. She returns to train a skittish racehorse for the big screen and runs into the movie's handsome screenwriter, Nate. Both doubt the project can get off the ground, but does the attraction between them stand a chance? It would force Lauren to face the pain and guilt of her past, and learn not only how to accept forgiveness but also to forgive herself.

Although I was worried about the slow start to the first book and how the second book would play out, I was ready to jump in and read the second in the series and see how this wacky town would embrace the next set of problems.  Lauren is returning to the small town after avoiding it for two years but only because her father needs her.   She is working with the race horse that her father and friend are trying to get into a movie.  The horse is not ready to work with people let alone be in a movie but her father might loose everything if this doesn't go well.  She is staying in town and doing the best that she can to make the movie a success.  Nate is the screen writer who is trying to re-write the screen play which was previously a failure.  He has a lot of things to overcome in trying to make this play a success.  The amazing thing is that the town also comes together to make it work.  You have to pick up the book and find out what happens but I promise that this book is filled with crazy antics and more town craziness then the last book.  I hope that you enjoy this one more then the first if you checked them both out.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Menu Plan Monday 1/20/2020

Chicken Paninis with French Fries and Sweet Potato Fries
Rosemary Chicken with egg noodles and sweet potato veggies mixture
Pasta with garlic bread and sauce
Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets with mac and cheese
Breakfast for Dinner
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade french fries

Oops!!  I didn't post on the 13th but I wrote it on the calendar.  I did Pasta Monday before the boys ran to basketball. Tuesday was Pork Chops and mac and cheese.  I made on Wednesday Sweet and Sour Chicken with white rice.  Thursday was Philly Cheese Steak Pasta which was a nice fast dinner.  Friday was Leftover Night which was pretty much everything in the fridge.  Saturday was Fried Rice and Egg Rolls. Sunday was my son's birthday party so we got Pizza for lunch and had it for dinner too because we were all exhausted.

I am hoping for a good week this week too and trying to get a better handle on what is in the fridge and the freezer because my inventory was never completed when I started before.  I might make that my mission of the day but of course I didn't accomplish it!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Talk of the Town Book Review

I saw the first two books in the series at the library so I grabbed them.  I decided that I would want to check out this new series for myself.  Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate was the first in the series so I started there.  I had read something by the author but I really couldn't remember what but I decided it looked like a great story in a small town.

Daily, Texas, has never really been known for much until Amber Anderson becomes a finalist on a television singing show. The producers want to stage a surprise concert for one of the final episodes--only everyone in town seems to know the secret. And paparazzi are arriving. And word from Hollywood is that Amber has disappeared with a bad-boy actor. Can anything go right in this tumbleweed town?

Widow Imagene Doll loves her town, but without her beloved husband, life seems lonely--and a bit dull. At least until that fancy-dressed television producer pulls into town, looking terrified and glamorous all at once. Soon life's not the least bit boring as the town finds itself at the center of a media maelstrom . . . with a young girl's future on the line.

It was off to a slow start but it was interesting to get to know the small town and the characters Once I was started in the book, I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen with these characters and the quirky small town charm.  Amber has the small town charm but has starting showing the whole world because she is on a singing show (think American Idol) and it brings question to whether she is really as naive as she seems.  The reporters and many others are showing up in the small town and meeting all of the people who are like family to the members of the small town community.  The small town hotel opens and the town chips in to help paint and remodel when they know people are going.  They also open a store so that people can get Amber Anderson goods.  The town is pulling together around the members of their small community and supporting them with everything that have.  You have to pick up the book to find out all of the funny stories that happen because of this support.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series and enjoy the funny town of Daily, Texas where you feel like you have visited even without leaving your house.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

December Month End Budget Update for Groceries and Eating Out

I maintain a budget of $160 monthly grocery spending and $40 for eating out or take out.  I try to use coupons, sales and any other means to make my budget.  Below are the things that I got for the month and how much I spent.  At the bottom is my eating out totals as well.  Check out how I did for the last month of the year.  I will post the year review soon so stay tuned.

Harris Teeter $1.25

Super confused but I don't see a picture of this shopping trip but I have these two pictures from the store.  I got four oatmeal and two Aunt Jemima pancake for free.  I got one Buffalo and one Garlic Parmesan pretzel crisps.  I also got my free Taste and Tell Oat Milk.  

Aldi $19.16

I went for milk and they were out of the big milk so I got the smaller one which was $1.21.  I said that I would stop getting the big one because we aren't doing the best job at getting them finished before they go bad.  I got three more cheese because we were low.  I got bananas and turkey for my husband.  I got another bag of pepperoni because ours was really low.  I got three more bags of popcorn because we use them a lot and they are seasonal at Aldi. I got a bag of mini marshmallows because I asked my son about making a special green tree out of cheerios and he seemed on board but then he said he didn't want them after I got these so they weren't made.

Wegman's $2.03

We got a few of the new package last time and we were excited to find that they changed the recipe a little again and it was better!  I went back to grab a bunch more.

Harris Teeter $29.91

I went to get the Pillsbury Bread flour which was on sale for $1.97 limit 4.  I also got the Cran Grape because I wasn't sure if we were getting low and it was on sale for $2.14 and I probably should have bought some more.  The peas were on sale for $2.49 on the big bag which made it cheaper then the smaller bag per ounce so I got that to add to my fried rice.  I got the Mueller's Egg Noodles for $.075 per bag.  My husband said that he wanted some Rosemary Chicken and Egg Noodles so I grabbed these because they were on sale.  There was some clearance ground beef so I got them and started making chili and we ate some and froze some which we just got to eat in the new year.  I love having those emergency foods to have when we need something fast which is made even better when I get it for $1.99 per pound.

Giant $2.39

I got a freebie on the Country Crock from Giant so I went in and tried to see what other deal I could get and I got the Gerber on sale and used a coupon and electronic coupon and got an overage from the Country Crock so it was a great deal overall.

Aldi $13.07

I went to get the milk because my mom was coming.  I also was almost out of stick butter so I grab them for baking.  I also got two more bags of popcorn because they still had them.  I got another bag of chicken fries so that I could take some on our trip for my son.

Aldi $5.10

Look at the sale ad after checking out and ran back to get the potatoes that were on sale so that I could make some yummy potato dishes with these sale potatoes.

Total Retail $149.81
Total Saving $76.90
Total OOP $72.91

Eating Out

Spending was a little high this month but it is the time of year that we celebrate and get together with friends and family to have special meals.  The amazing thing is that we cut out the money from groceries because we still had lots of things in the house to make our meals for the rest of the year.  I also was working for the whole month so it was hard to make trips to the store with everything else going on so I didn't get in as many trips as I normally would.

I took my parents to First Watch at the beginning of the month because they bought Chinese at the end of November but I used a gift card so I didn't spend anything.  We got Pizza Hut in the middle of the month for $8.47.  My sister in law took us out of dinner at Delia's, my son's favorite restaurant, because we were going to see Christmas lights together.  We had my sister in law over for Chinese food on Christmas Eve which was $71.82 which we picked up since they got last time.  I voted for Lasagna but they voted for Chinese so I got a break from cooking and being in the kitchen.  We were out of town at my cousin's house and we got a pizza for my son because we were having yummy pizza from the local pizza place and he decided that he wanted his normal Pizza Hut which there was a free cheese stick promotion so I got them for $8.63 because there is higher tax in New York.  Total spent on eating out or take out for the month was $88.92. We passed on a few more more times eating out while traveling so it wasn't as bad as it could be.  We were $48.92 over budget for the month but I was under the grocery budget by $87.09 so I didn't feel extremely bad because I balanced the spending to put the priority on what we wanted to 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Menu Plan 1/6/2020

Leftovers and Soup
Pasta with garlic bread and sauce
Tacos with rice
Rosemary Chicken with potatoes or egg noodles
Breakfast for Dinner
Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and homemade french fries

So I fell off my blogging at the end of the year with all of the things going on.  We went out of town for a few days and I am just getting back to the groove of things to figure out what we have in the freezer and pantry.  I don't have the best idea of what we have but I am going to hopefully clean out the freezer and figure it out so that I can also work on thawing out my deep freeze.  My son came home sick from school so all the plans are a little up in the air so hoping for the best.  Hoping I can still organize things and get back on track.