Friday, February 23, 2018


Isn't he a cute little thing?

Until he and a multitude of his friends and family find their way onto your back!  LOL

I didn't realize how much all these bills and debt were really draining me.  I have (admittedly) been super crabby as of late but couldn't pinpoint exactly why.  After yesterday I think I *may* have figured it out (at least partially)....

We received our tax refund yesterday.  Most of it has been earmarked for our portion of the upcoming Disney vacation but I wanted some of it to go to some outstanding bills.  Yesterday I was able to pay off three:
1. 2018 Sewer fee
2.  Guppy 2's braces
3.  State of CT bill

I cannot tell you how much freer I feel!  By doing #'s 2 & 3, I now have an extra $475 in my overall budget every month!  That's extra money that can now be snowballed into our two credit cards (Papa's active account and my closed one) and into our medical bills too.

I slept so much better last night from just doing those three things!


I'm really excited to make a plan and really get this ball moving!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Miscellany & Menus

You have probably noticed that I have been "off my game" for awhile now.  I don't know if it's the winter blues or what but phew it's been hard lately!  There has been a lot of extra stress lately but, since there isn't a whole lot that I can fix/manage/change, I need to try to roll with it a bit more I guess.

Anyway, before I get to the menu plan, I thought I would do a quick update on other stuff....

Papa's Job
There was one applicant (thanks to HR posting the job even though that wasn't supposed to happen) who was nowhere near close to the qualifications that were necessary to do the position.  So, as of Friday when the post closed, the job was "officially" Papa's....kinda.  It seems he needs to sign paperwork - which is fine.  BUT, HR is mailing the paperwork to our house. ((insert eyeroll))  While Papa is supposed to get retroactive pay to the beginning of February, HR is still trying to hold on to that money as long as they can.  Beyond frustrating.  But, the job and raise are now his AND at least we will (hopefully) have an even bigger boost in our budget in March which I can use to pay some debt and purchase some clothes for our trip to Disney in April.

My Mother in Law
As of writing this, she is stable.  They still don't know where the infection is coming from however.  And infectious disease is still trying to figure out the best antibiotics to put her on since she seems to be resistant to some.  Her mood is understandably all over the place while she struggles to deal with this.  My sister in law (her daughter) hasn't been helping matters as she comes to the hospital and picks fights with everyone in the room, including my mother in law.  And, unfortunately, Papa and I seem to be her favorite targets.  On Sunday, when Papa went alone to visit her, his mom thanked him for not engaging his sister when she started picking on him for literally everything that he said.  It just makes the situation so much MORE stressful for my poor mother in law.  I feel so badly for her.

The Guppies
Guppy 1 has gotten herself a side second job!  When she is at Ramsey's house on the weekend, if there is a snowstorm, she is going out with the crew to help sand/plow/shovel/salt.  She went out during last weekend's storm and actually liked doing it!  (I should note she hasn't ever lifted a shovel to help here!  LOL)  She worked 13 hours and will be picking up a check next week for a good chunk of change - which she is depositing straight into her travel fund.

Guppy 2 has a heart of gold I swear.  I think I already mentioned how, on Valentine's Day, she went around to all of her friends (either in person or via text) and told them how much she loved and appreciated them - giving specific reasons/examples for each friend.  Well last night, on her way to a sleepover, she asked me to stop at Dunkin Donuts so she could buy (with her own gift card) an iced coffee and munchkins for another friend who was having a really rough day.  She wanted to deliver them and a hug on her way to the sleepover.  You could see how much the sad friend appreciated the act of kindness and the hug! 

Okay so onto the menu....

It was just Papa and me so we had:
Lemon & Thyme Chicken Cutlets with mushrooms
Mashed Potatoes
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

Mini Meatloaves
Baked Potatoes
Roasted Broccoli with garlic

Balsamic Chicken Cutlets
Roasted Baby Brussel Sprouts

Mustard and Brown Sugar Glazed Mini Ham Steaks
Macaroni & Cheese
Corn Bread

Pork Fried Rice

Homemade Pizzas

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 19, 2018

February Groceries - Week 3

As of last week, I had $269.91 left in my grocery budget for February.  I did a fair amount of unorganized shopping this week though....

Let's see my damage....

Big Y:  $14.68
1 (64oz) bottle of whole milk
1 (12 pack) diet Snapple

Stop & Shop:  $30.36
3 (12 packs) Diet Coke
5 (32 oz) Powerades
2 boxes penne rigati
1 box Crush water flavor packets
1 lb strawberries
5 assorted Valentine's Day candy boxes

Dollar Tree:  $11.38
1 bag long grain rice
2 Lady Speedstick deodorants
1 (2 pack) dish sponges
1 bag yellow rice
1 (4 pack) AAA batteries
3 bags Epsom salts

Farmer's Market:  $12.50
1 (1/2 gallon) whole milk
1 pint cherry yogurt
1 pint blueberry yogurt

Big Y:  $38.69
1 dozen large eggs
1 large package shredded cheddar
1 large package shredded mozzarella
1 lb deli American cheese
1 bag pizza rolls
1 (6 pack) double roll toilet paper
1 family sized box of Lucky Charms
1 large jar store bran strawberry preserves
1 loaf store brand white bread
1 lb store brand bacon
1 (10 oz) package white mushrooms
3 (5 lbs each) Russett potatoes (buy 1/get 2 free so 15 lbs of potatoes for $3.99!)

Total spent this week:  $107.61
Left in budget:  $162.30

So, even though my shopping habits were less than ideal this week, I am still going into the last week and a half of February with a decent amount left for groceries!  Barring any (extra) craziness, I *should* have this!

How are you doing with groceries this month?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Spending Journal - February 11th - 17th

February 11th:  $51.74
The Farmer's Market was moved to today from yesterday.  We dragged ourselves out of bed to get there and.....The Dairy Lady wasn't there....super disappointing!  We left without buying anything since we will be back this coming Saturday.
On the way home, I had Papa drive over to Petco because I needed more supplies - so much for the supplies I bought last month lasting awhile!  We needed more bedding, more ferret food for chubby Ronnie, and I wanted to buy him some Ferrevite - a treat we can use to distract him while cutting his nails.
I had Papa stop at Big Y on the way home as well since we were completely out of milk.  While there I picked up more Snapple too.

Petco:  $37.06
Big Y:  $14.68

February 12th:  $63.98
Even though I am feeling pretty cruddy, I ran over to Marshall's because two of my three pairs of jeans have developed holes in ummm....unseemly areas.  LOL  I was able to find one pair of black jeans, thankfully  While there, I picked up a few little items for the Guppies small Valentine bags. 
Since I was already in that plaza, I went to Stop and Shop as I needed a few things for the week.  I'm *hoping* to not have to go the grocery store again this week but I guess we will see.
And, finally, I popped into Dollar Tree when dropping G1 off to work.

Marshalls:  $22.24
Stop & Shop:  $30.36
Dollar Tree:  $11.38

Marshalls:  $22.24 (after my remaining gift card balance was applied)

February 13th: $0
No Spend Day!

February 14th:  $50.13
I had to go to CVS to pick up the last prescription for Papa since it wasn't ready a few days ago.  While there, I replenished our hair spray since we were down to 1/8 of the last bottle we have.
I needed to get gas for more car.  At least I feel like that is slowing least a little bit!

CVS:  Script copay: $20  Hairspray:  $9.63
Gas:  $40.50 - the tank was looooow!

February 15th: $1.06
I have a dry erase board in my kitchen and my very last marker finally bit the dust.  When I went to pick G1 up from work, I stopped in to pick up a package of three new ones.

Dollar Tree:  $1.06

February 16th: $0
No Spend Day!

February 17th:  $52.89
Papa's mom was admitted into the hospital last night for an infection so we didn't get home from the hospital until very late - like 3am!
But, we dragged ourselves out of bed to run our Saturday errands.
Since we were heading into the city this morning, we would stop by and check in on my mother in law.  To thwart any major hunger, we splurged on Dunkin Donuts on the way and was I ever disappointed!  My corn muffin was crumbly and blah!  Thankfully I had a gift card in my stash so it was zero cost to us!
Then we headed to the farmer's market for milk and yogurt.  We took a quick peek inside and I *really* wanted to buy some uber pricey mushrooms....But I decided to "be good" this week and wait until next time.
Next stop was the hospital....Mom is doing okay and much happier this morning since the doctors let her have something to eat!  While visiting, she asked if we would mind grabbing her a soda from the cafeteria as the floor didn't have any soda/ginger ale and she really didn't want to wait to get one with her next meal.
On the way home from the hospital, we stopped at Big Y.  There were a few things I wanted to get before the snowstorm hits tonight.  We are expecting 4 to 8 inches by 8am tomorrow.  (However, because our temperatures have been literally all over the place, the weathermen are predicting the snow won't be sticking around for long next week.)
G2 is going to a friend's house for a sleepover so it'll just be Papa and me.  We have an exciting night of Amazon Prime watching planned - I know don't be jealous!  haha!  So, I don't see us spending any more money today.

Dunkin Donuts:  $0
Farmer's Market: $12.50
Soda for Mom:  $1.70
Big Y:  $38.69

What I spent this week:  $219.80

Okay, so confession time...

As you may have noticed at the end of last week's spending journal, I didn't set any goals for this week.  And, when I started this week, I didn't come up with any then either!  I have had a difficult week and was really lacking motivation for doing much of anything.

But, overall, I ended up having a pretty good week!

At least much better than I have had in a while!

So, even though I am still not "feeling it", I am going to come up with a few goals for next week....

1.  Have one No Spend Day ( I would like to have more but G2 is off from school on Monday and Tuesday.)
2.  Fill up my gas tank only once this coming week.
3.  Spend $250 or under for all discretionary spending.

I think that is all I am going to ask of myself next week....

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!


I was curious about how many of you actually celebrate this Hallmark holiday?

Papa and I don't really celebrate it all that much.  Actually, come to think about it, we have been together for almost 27 years total and we "celebrated" for the first two years...maybe.  It's not because we don't love each other or want to express our affection....We just choose to do it in other ways at other times - when things aren't as expensive or crowded!  LOL

However, I have been giving small tokens to our Guppies since they were little ones.....this year included!  But, I certainly didn't break the bank! 

Here's what I did....

I bought a set of two Valentine's Day themed gift bags from the dollar store and "filled" them with goodies I hunted down at a discount.  While I didn't total up each bag specifically, I'm confident I spent under $20 on each.  And, I know it brightened their morning - G1 can't see Ramsey until tomorrow so she is bummed.  And, while G2 certainly has enough "admirers", she is boyfriend-less at the moment.

G1's bag
1 Russell Stover's caramel heart
1 small box of Whitman's chocolates
1 box of high end face masks (found at Marshalls)
1 Kat Von D eye shadow primer (Marshall's score too.  I paid WAAAY less than I had purchased it at Sephora!!)
2 Victoria Secret bath bombs (bought on sale)

G2's bag
1 Russell Stover's caramel heart
1 small box of Whitman's chocolates
1 box of high end face masks (Marshalls)
1 stainless steel water bottle for the gym (Marshall's score and something G2 has wanted for awhile now)
2 Victoria Secret bath bombs (bought on sale)

I asked them what they would like for dinner tonight and, ironically, they both really want McDonald's.  Well okay then.  LOL

As for Papa,  he got breakfast in bed (blueberry waffles) and I tucked a small box of on sale heart shaped chocolates in his lunch bag.   And, in case anyone is wondering, I totally do NOT expect anything at all in return.  Doing these little things for my family makes me happy enough.

So, do you celebrate?  And, if so, what's your best way/secret to finding the deals to keep costs down?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day Book for February 13th, 2018

Outside my window...
the sun is shining and it doesn't feel too bad temperature wise either!  Later this week, we may flirt with SIXTY - a rarity for February in Connecticut!

What I am wearing...
gray V-neck sweater, blue jeans (with holes in the crotch but I'm not really going anywhere today so it doesn't matter! LOL), and my sneakers.  I'm having some plantar fasciitis issues again and these sneakers minimize the pain for some reason.

What I am feeling....
Crabby... The human resources department at Papa's job is, quite frankly, dicking him over at the moment.  They decided to post his new position internally (even though the job was created for and by him) AND they "closed out" his old position at the same time....which basically means he doesn't officially have an actual job at the moment.  Seriously I couldn't make this up if I tried!  He's still getting paid and has started the new position - even though it's not "officially" his in HR's eyes but the new salary isn't coming this month.  Papa and his boss are both pissed off since this internal posting wasn't supposed to happen and no one was told of it until after it happened....on his birthday last week no less!  They are going to fight HR into giving Papa his raise retroactively so we will see what happens with that.
Another thing making me crabby is a situation with my brother's wife and my parents.  I had another post ready to go this morning about it but decided not to post it yet.  My brother's wife is nothing short of a bitch - really.  It's a long story but over the weekend, she sat across MY parents' kitchen table, looked them in the face, and told them that she wasn't planning on taking care of them should something happen to my brother.  AND went on to tell them that they should realize that I wouldn't either!  When my mom told me that I was beyond livid and told my mom that my brother's wife was no longer welcome anywhere near me or my family.  It's crazy, especially when you take into account that, when her mother was on her deathbed, she made MY mom promise to take care of her daughter!  And who is SHE to tell my parents that I wouldn't take care of them?!?!  Okay...taking a deep breath now.... Hopefully this all won't matter anyway since they are talking about getting divorced anyway.

Moving on...

What I am reading....
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen.  I'm 3/4 of the way through this book and I love it!  A newly divorced woman buys a dilapidated house outside of Boston and makes a gruesome discovery while planting a garden...a set of old bones.  The book intertwines the present with the past - a format I happen to love.  The book may be too graphic for some as the author is also a doctor and there are a LOT of gory details about how medicine was practiced back in the early 1800's.  But, as a daughter of a nurse, I am used to that sort of thing!  LOL

From the kitchen....
The grumbling has begun about there not being "anything" in the house to eat!  Haha! There is PLENTY to eat but, the grab and go "let me just pull it out and eat it" stuff  is a bit more scarce right now.  So, I will be trying to fix that today!
I'm going to make:
Pasta salad
Blueberry waffles (or maybe muffins)
Rice Krispy treats
a pan of brownies
OOPS!  I changed my mind since it's Fat Tuesday!  I think I am going to try to make a traditional yeasted King Cake for Mardi Gras!  Wish me luck!

Plus, our scheduled dinner of
Yellow Rice
Seasoned Black Beans

Today's To Do:
1. The above kitchen work (plus keep the kitchen clean)
2. At least three loads of laundry
3.  Iron Papa's shirts
4.  Pick up G2 from school and drive her to her friend's house so she can pick up the old ukulele he is given her. (This friend is also giving her lessons.)
5. Get G1 to work at 4pm
6. Straighten an sweep living room.
7. Straighten and vac family room.

And I think that's it for today!

Have a great Tuesday!

I'm getting back to work around here and trying to shake off my crabby mood!

Monday, February 12, 2018

What's For Dinner?

As I did last week, I am only posting dinner plans now.  Our breakfast and lunch options remain fairly constant. IF I ever come across a good recipe that I use for either breakfast or lunch, I will share.  =)
Another week I feel (fairly) uninspired.  There's been so much illness going around and I think I'm bearing some of the brunt of it yet again....
I usually love the winter but I can't wait for Spring this year!

Lemon, Garlic, & Thyme Roasted Chicken
Ryzi me Fithe (A recipe I found for what is basically a Greek rice pilaf)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Crescent Rolls

Baked Ziti
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic
French Bread

Seasoned Black Beans

Still to be decided!
Since it's Valentine's Day and both Guppies will be home, I'll need to ask them if they want some sort of "special" family dinner....

Macaroni & Cheese

*using frozen dough I found in the freezer

Breakfast for Dinner
Cherry Crepes
Diner style home fries