Thursday, October 18, 2018

Holding Out.....

I think the summer weather has officially left Connecticut....Today it is going to be a "balmy"47 degrees during the day with a windchill making it feel like it's 30 degrees!  And, tonight's low is projected to be 33!  This is more late November/early December weather!

Anyway, I am trying my best to keep the heat off a little longer.  Once the heat is turned on, it tends to stay on....I liken it to opening up a huge bag of candy - once it's open, all bets are off!  LOL

Since we knew the super cold weather front was coming, Papa and I took the initiative to pull out all four window unit air conditioners.  I *think* it helped since this morning the temperature in the house was where it has been most of the week - 59 degrees.  (The only difference with today is that temperatures aren't going to moderate enough to help warm the house very much.)

How am I  combating the chill in the house?

Well, everyone will be wearing multiple layers!  The Guppies really like wearing sleep shorts and t-shirts to bed but, unless they want to freeze tonight, that's not going to be happening!  Haha!

I have all shades currently open to let as much of the sunlight in as possible!

I will be doing some baking and roasting a chicken in the Dutch oven - which will help warm up the downstairs at least.

Lastly, I have brought up the space heater for our family room (which is on slab and tends to be the coldest room in the house) in case we are cold while watching TV this evening.  Although I do have numerous blankets strewn about the house for use too!

IF the house gets too cold and there's any worry about any freezing/bursting pipes, I will turn on the heat of course.

But, for now, I am trying to wait out this cold front!

Happy Thursday! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

What's Cooking This Week?

It seems like my family is going in a thousand different directions lately - Papa is still commuting to the edges of Connecticut and into Rhode Island, G1 has her college schedule, I help my neighbor get her kids from school or to after school activities, and now G2 works part time at one of our local Dunkin Donuts!  It has made meal planning extra challenging at the moment....although I am sure things will get better when Papa's back to working at his usual office and I get used to G2 working after school too.

Anyway, I finally was able to come up with a meal plan for this week!  And, to be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed at how long it took me to do it - considering two of the nights we won't even been eating at home!  Oh I said I am struggling with the ups and downs of my family's schedule.


Cold Cereal
English Muffins with butter, peanut butter, or jelly
Egg McMuffin style sandwiches
Hash browns (a G2 favorite)
Yogurt (for Papa) 
Granola bars (for on the go mornings)

Plus, I have a few muffin and coffee cake mixes in my pantry moving forward into next week.


Sandwiches (G1 has decided this works best for her on the days she has classes since she can eat anytime she can fit it in)
Grilled cheese
Tomato Soup
A few lingering miscellaneous frozen dinners
Pasta salad (I will make this if it's needed, otherwise I will roll it over into next week)


Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Korean Beef over Rice

Braised Short Ribs (done in my newly re-seasoned Dutch oven!)
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (for G2)
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garlic
Crescent Rolls

Breakfast for Dinner:
Diner style home fries

Roast Chicken
Roasted Brussel Sprouts

G1 and I will be heading to Foxwoods Casino for a comedy show and will grab something to eat there.
G2 and Papa will either grab a pizza OR, if G2 doesn't have any plans, have a "daddy/daughter date" somewhere like the chain "Fridays".

We will be going to see Papa's summer intern play college football in Rhode Island since it's the closest his college comes to playing a game in our area.
Since it's an afternoon game (and we may try to hit a haunted house attraction on the way home from it!), we will probably eat out this day too!
But, both Friday and Saturday have already been allocated for in our entertainment budget so no worries there.

Beef Chili
Cornbread (Possibly - I have to double check I have either a mix or all the ingredients needed in the pantry)
Quesadillas for those who don't want chili

That's the plan!  I am fairly confident I can stick to it - especially considering Friday and Saturday LOL!
I am going to try to stay out of the grocery stores this week as I promised in last week's grocery post....even though I am really low on milk and bread. 

How is your meal plan shaping up this week?

Have a nice Tuesday!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day Book for October 15th, 2018

Out my window....
It's a gloomy and rainy afternoon so not much is happening outside.

What I am wearing...
A gray V-neck sweater, jeans, and sneakers.

What I am hearing...
The dishwasher and self clean option on my stove both are cycling through, the rain hitting the a/c unit in the dining room.

What I am feeling...
A little calmer than I have been over the past week or so....I can't really point a finger to anything specifically triggering the anxiety I was feeling besides being busy and going to the wake of the high school teacher.  Sometimes my moods and anxiety just ebb and flow and I'm stuck riding the wave.  LOL

What I am reading...
Honestly nothing at the moment.  I had picked up a book from my nightstand at the end of last month called The Nest but I haven't gotten very far into it.

From the kitchen....
There is a slight haze of smoke - haha!  I guess that's what happens when you don't use the cleaning feature too often on your oven!  In all seriousness though, the smoke is partly due to the fact that I am stripping and re-seasoning my cast iron dutch oven in preparation for the colder weather.  I figured today was a great day to do it because the residual heat will help warm up the house since it was a balmy 57 degrees in here when I woke up this morning!  And, of course I am refusing to turn on the heat yet.
Oh, and about the dutch oven.....Do you guys know how LONG this process is going to take?!?!?  Holy Moly!  I'm following a YouTube video and I'm hoping to be completely finished with this project by bedtime!  Fingers crossed it will be worth it!

What I am looking forward to....
This coming weekend!  Friday night G1 and I are going to Foxwoods to see the Impractical Jokers tour.  Then on Saturday we are heading to Rhode Island to watch Papa's old intern play for Cornell football, followed possibly by a stop at The Dark Manor - a haunted house attraction in (I think) Norwich.  Finally, we are going to pick pumpkins with my parents.  We have been doing this since G1 was under a year old and the Guppies aren't ready to give up tradition yet!  LOL

I guess that's it for today....I'm hoping to finish my meal plan for the week and post it tomorrow.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October Groceries: Week 2

This is the second week of October is in the books on my self imposed October $150 grocery challenge!  In case you missed my first week, I spent $42.44 for that week, leaving me with $107.56.

Let's see how I did!

Big Y:  $58.04
2 packages shredded mozzarella cheese
2 half gallons Friendly's ice cream
4 (8 packs) diet Pepsi (buy 2/get 2)
1 (12 pack) diet Snapple
2 packages store brand semi sweet chocolate chips
1 container of dried cranberries
1 small loaf store brand bread
3 packages of fun sized candy (buy 2/get 1 - put away for Halloween)
2 lbs red seedless grapes
2 lbs yellow onions
1 pint raspberries

The raspberries and chocolate chips were a special request from Papa.  He's really been in the mood for chocolate covered raspberries and really doesn't ask for much ever in the way of special groceries (besides his farmer's market yogurt).

Farmer's Market:  $6
2 bunches of Swiss Chard

Total spent this week:  $64.04
Left in October budget:  $43.52

Ummmm...there's a LOT of month left and not a LOT of money in my budget!

For week 3, I plan on utilizing JUST what's in the house!  NO shopping whatsoever!  Hence the creativity part. 

We will see how this goes.....

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Spending Journal - October 7th - October 13th

October 7th
I'm going to attempt to only go to the grocery store once this week!  Today was that day...Grabbed some needed items (plus some special requests) at Big Y.  Total out of pocket was a whopping $58.04.  Usually I would be celebrating that amount but not this month with my $150 grocery challenge.  It's going to be a VERY interesting month of meals if I want to make this goal now.

October 8th
No Spending at all today! Yay!

October 9th
The girls and I went to the high school teacher's wake this was absolutely heartbreaking to watch all the high schoolers, parents, friends, and family come say goodbye.  We got there right at the beginning and the line already had snaked through the funeral home and out into the parking lot.  I didn't feel like cooking dinner that night so we just grabbed some McDonald's and called it a day.  Out of pocket was under $29.  (I unfortunately lost the receipt.)

October 10th
I had to visit my primary doctor's office today as a recheck from a previous appointment.  Everything is fine and I don't have to go back for another six months.  Out of pocket copay was $20 BUT I also paid my portion of an EKG bill from my last appointment which was an additional $30.  Before I left the office, I decided to go ahead and get my flu shot too.  One less thing to do this fall.
October 11th
I had my weekly therapy session today with the copay of $30.
I had to drive to the Apple store in New Haven because my phone completely crashed.  Luckily, they were able to restore it and there was no out of pocket expenses!

October 12th
G1 had her contact lens recheck and, after insurance, our out of pocket for a three month supply of daily contacts was only $35.
I had to fill up Papa's car as well - out of pocket was $47.
Papa was instructed to purchase lunch for the people he is working with at the Rhode Island.  They went with pizza and salad.  Our out of pocket was $31.07 BUT it we will be reimbursed once Papa turns in his expense report.

October 13th
Today Ramsey, G1, Papa, and I went to  New Haven  to see the "crypt" in the basement of the church on the green.  Basically the church was built over a graveyard and the stones are very well preserved.  The tour was free but we gave a donation of $4 to help with upkeep (plus the little old man tour guide was adorable!).  Poor G2 couldn't come because she had to work from 12 to 6pm.
After the tour, we went over to T-Swirl Crepes for lunch.  Papa has wanted G1 to try it since it's close to her college (and she loves crepes!). She LOVED it!  And, total out of pocket for the four of us was $52.58.

Sorry for the lack of posting this week.  I have felt kind of out of sorts and it doesn't seem like I have had enough hours in the day to accomplish much.
I guess some weeks are like that.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Here's to a better and more productive next week!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Spending Journal - October 1st through October 6th

No Spend October!

As a reminder, although I post this after the fact, I do update it each and every day in real time!

And I plan on keeping track of "approved" expenses here as well as any missteps. 

October 1st
Guppy 2 is going to be starting work part time afterschool at one of our local Dunkin Donuts.  They are required to wear a plain white short sleeved collared polo type shirt.  We spent some time yesterday looking for one at the mall but couldn't find any that didn't have some sort of logo on it!  So, I turned to Amazon and found an Izod shirt that fits the bill.  Being a Prime member, I was able to get free shipping too!  This falls under "approved" spending in the clothing section of the budget.  Total cost:  $20.18

October 2nd
I thought I had another pound of butter left in the fridge but apparently I didn't!  It was a necessity for tonight's dinner and no substitutions would work.  While at the store, I also purchased some more deli cheese and eggs.  Total cost:  $11.05
We are having trouble with our upstairs sink and were completely out of Draino.  (The baking soda and vinegar trick didn't work on this clog.)  I was able to head over to CVS and combined coupons with ECB's to walk out the door with an 80 oz bottle of Draino for under one dollar!  Total cost:  $0.89!

October 3rd
G1 had an appointment at the eye doctor.  Our out of pocket expense was $18.75 for the exam and contact lens fitting.  We will purchase contacts for her next Friday once we are sure she likes the trials the doctor gave her.

October 4th
I had my weekly therapy session with a copay of $30.
I also had to fill up Papa's car to the tune of $46.
And I paid some monthly bills - phone, utility, etc.

October 5th
It's seems like this is the week that I have been out and about doing errands....Today wasn't any different.  G1 could really use a wide mouthed travel mug for school since the one we have isn't working very well (very skinny opening).  Since I have $15 in Kohl's cash that is about to expire, I figured I would check there today.  (If they didn't have one, G1 would have to continue to make do for now.)  Well, I lucked out!  They had one that was perfect and was $14.99!  So, I got it for FREE after using the Kohl's cash! 
What wasn't free however was my trip to Petco.  It was an allocated expense but still...  Anyway, I had to grab food, vitamins, and a couple bags of treats for the ferret.  I also grabbed a second hammock for his crate so I could switch them out when I wash one.  Total out of pocket was a whopping $63.63!  (That total did include a charitable donation of $2 as well.  Something I do each time I go to grab supplies.)
Lastly, I went online and paid the final installment of G1's college tuition for this semester.

October 6th
Papa and I hadn't been to the Farmer's Market in what felt like forever!  We went this morning and spent a total of $30.50.
We also gassed up the Honda for $27.00

The first six days of October are "in the books" and there was no UNNECESSARY spending done!

So, do I consider it a success in the "No Spend" sense?

Actually, yes I do!  Especially considering what my September shaped up to be like!

This coming week I would like to have at least one full day of absolutely NO MONEY going out at all - approved spending or otherwise. 

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October Groceries: Week 1

For my "October Freeze" I have given myself a strict budget of $150 of the entire month.  This includes all groceries, bath & body, and household items.  (Pet supplies are included in a different budget category.)

I wish I could say I didn't have to do any grocery shopping at all this week besides the farmer's market, but, sadly I did.  Thankfully it wasn't *too* bad.

Let's check it out......

Big Y:  $11.05
This was poor planning on my part since I thought I had another pound of butter stashed in the fridge.  While there, I also picked up a couple of things we were very low on.  Since I had Papa's car (which we are trying to drive as little as possible), I needed to stay in town for my shopping.

Store brand butter - $4.69 (ouch!)
18 count carton of store brand eggs (G1 has been craving eggs so they are quickly disappearing from my fridge!) - $3.29
3/4 lb American cheese - $3.07

CVS:  $0.89
This morning the upstairs bathroom sink was almost completely clogged and, of course, we are out of Draino.  However, combining coupons and extra care bucks I was able to purchase an 80oz bottle of name brand Draino for only EIGHTY NINE CENTS!  I was pretty happy with that!

Farmer's Market:  $30.50
1 gallon whole milk
1 pint blueberry yogurt
1 pint raspberry yogurt
1 pint curried sweet potato soup
1 pint butternut squash bourbon soup
2 large bunches of swiss chard

Total spent this week:  $42.44
Left in October budget:  $107.56

With almost 1/3 of the month's budget gone, I need to be extremely careful with purchases.  It became pretty obvious to me that the Saturday farmer's market will be my Achilles heel in October as everything looks so tempting!  (Fall is my absolute favorite time to cook!)  And, I definitely need to wear blinders when passing  The Soup Girl's tent for the rest of the month since 2 pints of soup costs $10!  (This week's selections were too delicious to pass up LOL)
My kitchen is still really stocked up with pantry items and meat (although there seems to be more chicken than anything else in the freezer!).  But, I do need to purchase drinks this week - another major money drain I know.  I'll be scouring the circulars today to see what kind of sales are going on  next week!

Have a great Saturday everyone!