Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Strawberry Picking Yesterday....

One of the many strawberry fields at Jones Family Farms...



The Guppies really really wanted to go strawberry picking even though it is so close to our leaving for my brother's wedding.  It's one of our summer traditions and this is most likely the last full week of picking so I couldn't say no!




Even though we could have walked to the picking field, the girls indulged me and let us ride the "berry ferry" like we have always done.





Guppy 2 carrying our haul....They were a little disappointed that we stopped earlier than we normally do.  Usually this box is overflowing!








Some of the berries were macerated to go with pound cake for last night's dessert but I also decided to try to freeze some this year!






Though it's hard to see, trust me, this bowl is on the larger size!  This is what I have left to process or eat before Thursday night!



I found a refrigerator jam I think I am going to try since actual canning scares the you-know-what outta me!  I don't want to kill my family!  LOL  So, I will be runniing out to the grocery store  for oj and a lemon so I can make a small batch.  The recipe says it will last two weeks in the fridge which definitely works with our plans!

Wish me luck with that!  Have a great Tuesday!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Back from the Doctor's...


And.... the polyp is benign!  So, for the moment, I have a clean bill of health (besides having MS of course)!  I promised Papa that I will do my best to keep it that way for at least a few months if possible.  LOL  The surgeon also told us the polyp was larger than they originally estimated so that was most likely the source of the pain I was experiencing - which is hasn't been a problem since the surgery.  No follow up is needed unless I have symptoms again.  And, she said that the rate of it returning is extremely low - like 5 to 10%.  All good news in my book and a definite relief!

The sun is peeking out after such a rainy, gloomy weekend! Off to have some fun with the Guppies!

Monday Ramblings...

Yesterday was a very very lazy day here in my little world.  Guppy 2's friends went home very early (10am) after the sleepover because they all had prior family activities and the weather never cleared up the way it was predicted.  It stayed extremely gloomy - which equaled a day of loafing around, sleeping, and generally just being unproductive (besides a little house cleaning). Notice I didn't say reading - yep, that book is still waiting to be finished.

Anyway, today Papa and I go back to the surgeon's office to get the results of my polyp biopsy and the general "all clear".  I have to be honest, I am not all that nervous.  (I was most definitely more worried about the surgery!)  I feel like that odds are in my favor, so let's hope I am NOT jinxing that by writing it here. LOL

After my appointment, I am not sure what will be on the agenda.  It's *supposed* to be a partly sunny day - let's see if the weathermen got it right today!  I would like to work on my summer "smashbook" and maybe take a walk/hike with the Guppies but I will have to see what is on their "agenda" as well.

Since 90% of the post seems to be about the weather, I will continue the theme.... HAHA.... and talk about the wedding this weekend..  It still is a long way out but the forecast has improved a bit since I last checked.  Friday is supposed to be sunny, Saturday is partly cloudy with some rain in the evening, and Sunday starts with rain and gets mostly cloudy by the afternoon - all according to the weather underground site.  So, it looks like I should start planning some activities for my family (meaning finding some good hiking trails for Friday and something to do on Sunday). Honestly, it would have sucked to drive all that way to just spend most of the weekend inside a hotel room.

Oh, before I close this post out, I wanted to tell you about one thing I DID read yesterday....It's a blog called The Simple Year at www.thesimpleyear.com.  This blog started back in April 2012 and has changed "hands" every year to a new blogger who has a new "simple" resolution.  I am still in the first year but I have to tell you this blogger, Kerry, is hysterically funny!  Go check it out when you have the time.

Okay, enough rambling this morning. Time to get my butt into gear and get ready for the doctor's office!  Be back later to post the findings!

Happy Monday all!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Menu Plan for the Week



I haven't done this in a couple of weeks and this week is the perfect time to restart.  Since we are going away next weekend for the wedding, I have "use what we have up" in my mind and menu plan!

SUNDAY:  Steak, mashed potatoes, what's left of a bag of brussels, corn on the cob, & *possibly* grilled romaine salad (if the weather cooperates with us)

MONDAY:  Papa has a retirement dinner to go to so it'll be just me and the Guppies!  Beans & Rice for Guppy 1 and me.  Mac - n - Cheese for Guppy 2

TUESDAY:  Asian Salmon with rice for Papa and G1, Baked Ziti for me and G2,  Roasted Broccoli to round out meal for all

WEDNESDAY:  Apple Crepes, Hashbrowns, & Bacon

THURSDAY:  Hot Dogs with Chips or (for the more adventurous) Baba Ghanoush Wraps with Marinated Tomatoes

Breakfasts & Lunches will be made of leftovers and anything you can find in the fridge and pantry.

All in all not the most rounded of meal plans, but, it will serve its purpose.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Simple" Saturday and Regrouping













Wouldn't this be lovely?  I could use a robot (or three!) like that!  Today is going to be (hopefully) a simple type of Saturday....

Guppy 2 is having a few friends sleepover tonight - Guppy 1 is NOT happy about this since she "loses" the family room for the night.  Haha  G1 has pretty much stationed herself in there since school let out; so, unless she is out with friends or doing something, she is in that room watching tv, texting, playing on the xbox, drawing, sleeping at night, etc.  I have no idea why -- I'm chalking it up to being a teenager!  LOL

Anyway, it looks like there will be three friends sleeping over with two coming over around three pm and one a eight pm.  I will have to get back out to the store to grab something for dinner that is cheap and easy to make them - maybe hot dogs?  Guppy 2 will be going upstairs to tidy up her room after she eats breakfast (we all got up very late!) and I will start tidying up the rest of the downstairs after I finish up this post.

The kids should be basically on "auto pilot" tonight and not need much from me - the silver lining with teenagers? LOL - so I am *hoping* to finish reading Never Let Me Go.  It's been a pretty quick and interesting read so far and NOT at all the "schmaltzy romance" that it may sound like.  There is barely anything romantic about it! Haha  My goal is to read 5 books this summer so this will be number 1 down if I can get through it tonight!

We have decided to skip the farmers market today since we are going to be going away early early next Friday morning.  I did a quick stock up at Big Y yesterday and I just want to "eat down" what we already have in the house.  Hopefully, next time we go back to the market (on July 18th!!!) it will be in full swing and I can do most of my grocery shopping there.

I will be completely honest and tell you guys that I screwed up and didn't keep track of anything (besides gas usage) this month!  I was being really hard on myself at first but now I am ready to just pick myself up and "just keep swimming".  LOL  July is a brand new month and it's way better to keep trying than just say "@#$% it" and not try again, right?

And with that, I am outta here!  Gotta start getting that stuff done so my simple Saturday can begin!  Have a great Saturday everyone!  And for my Connecticut friends, stay dry this weekend! I hear it's supposed to be a soaker tonight into tomorrow!






Friday, June 26, 2015

Food Waste Friday...To Continue Right Now or Not?



I'll be completely honest...I'm in a bit of a funk - especially when it comes to the waste that is happening in my house right now.  I am upset and kind of disgusted by it.  I know I am unorganized and this has to change.  I know my planning lately leaves a LOT to be desired.  I'm just completely off my game and not sure if these Friday posts are motivating or making me want to throw my hands up in the air and cry "Uncle!"

Some "good" things did occur in the waste department this week....Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the kitchen trying to use up some close to expiring baking mixes, oats (turned into a blueberry crumble), and eggs - turned into easy grab and go breakfast sandwiches for Papa.  I also used up some cheesey smelling though not expired by date milk (I have a thing about smelling the milk and can notice immediately when it seems to start turning!  LOL) in last night's chicken and rice casserole for dinner. (I also used up the rest of a roast chicken in it.) And, instead of just chucking an almost full container of Stop and Shop organic salad greens, I did weed through them and kept the fresh looking ones for our salad last night and save some of the not so fresh but no mushy/wet ones for Guppy 2's bunny.

But...that doesn't cancel out the food wasted now does it?  And, I seem to be focusing on the negative more than the positive right now.  So, this week I am not going through an itemized list of what was wasted here.  Simply because I think I will want to completely throw in the towel.  Rest assured however, it was not a good week yet again.

So, those of you who do Food Waste Friday or keep track of the waste in some other way....how do you keep your morale up?  Even when EVERY week seems to be a bad one in food waste?

This upcoming week  will continue to be about using what I can in the house and not buying many groceries since we will be leaving for the wedding early on next Friday morning.  Hopefully buying less will equal less waste as well.

Sorry to be a downer!  LOL

Have a great Friday and don't let this post rain on your sunny day!  =)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quick Gardening Question....



My thumb may not be completely black but it's definitely a deep shade of brown.  LOL

Gardeners, please help me solve this little puzzle....

Last year we attempted a smallish garden but our yield was pretty "meh". We tried brussel sprouts for the first time ever and I *think* we started them a bit too late as the sprouts themselves never completely matured.  I never closed the garden last fall by yanking out the dead plants - call it lazy and disheartened.  Haha

Fast forward to today....

I walked by the "old" garden while outside with the dog and noticed new green plants shooting off the old brussel stalks!  Is this even possible? Does anyone know if they regenerate?  Also, I swear there is a head of lettuce growing too!  (I did yank those out after they went to seed so I'm wondering if it could have reseeded?)

Help!  What do you guys think?

Yesterday's Adventuring..







This is how I spent my day....AFTER we hiked all around another section of town through brambles and creeks.  But, once we found this little gem (finally!) it was well worth it!

Exploring an abandoned house (in this case a mansion!) was on my summer "bucket" list so I can check it off - Yay!  Guppy 1 has decided she wants to buy this and rebuild it!  Oh the dreams of the young! Though I would love to buy it too!  LOL  I love the first picture with the waterfall - what a view!

Guppy 2 spent all day at the amusement park and came home exhausted! I really hope that today we can just "chill" out at home.  I have to catch up on ironing and would love to hang out at home.  We will see if I get my way though!

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gas, Garbage, & What A Difference A Good Night's Sleep Makes!


While the stressors of life right now have stayed the same, getting a good night's sleep has made a huge difference in my mood today!  Phew!  From what I have seen of the weather forecasts, today is the *last* nice sunny day for about ummmm... A WEEK!  (At least that's what my phone weather app is telling me!) So, we plan on making the most of it!   First I am taking Guppy 2 & friends over to Lake Compounce (amusement park) so they can hang out, ride the rides, and just be the teens they are now!  I'll be purchasing her season pass today -  I am doing the lowest pass you can get since it still has everything included that we would use - so that puts me back $50.00.  However, I have a feeling it's going to be money well spent since I'll have recouped my money after two admissions - and I think these kids will be living there this summer!  Then, I am taking Guppy 1 and her BFF "exploring". (I will post more on this once it's been accomplished! LOL)

Now onto my usual Wednesday post......

GAS:  I am amazed at how LITTLE gas I have used after this last fill up! I am still above 1/2 tank!  Granted, that will change today from being the "Mom Bus" back and forth to the amusement park.  I'm pretty confident I will be able to stay at or under the 75.00 limit with a slight chance I may make it to the end of the month without topping off at all.

GARBAGE:  Not so great here. FIVE 13 gallon kitchen bags this week.  I have got to get on top of this!  One bag was filled with the debris from the Guppies school year - amazing the CRAP-ola they stuffed into their backpacks from their lockers!  But that still leaves FOUR bags on me which is NOT okay by any means!


Oh, and for those following the family sagas here:

My BIL is back again in the hospital.  Some of his levels are rising and they are worried his kidneys may be starting to fail in addition to his liver.  I feel horrible for him - he came out of his last hospital stay scared and determined to turn around what he could with his health and life.  I am hoping he isn't getting too discouraged now.

Area weather forecasts are predicting a complete rain out for the entire fourth of July weekend!  And, reminder - the wedding and reception are taking place OUTDOORS!  ((((sigh))))  I guess on the plus side - we most likely would have been rained out of our original trip to Stowe to hike to see fireworks since this rainmaker seems to stretch across a LOT of upper New England!  And, there most likely will be even less reason to take out/have any guns around.  I hope that the hotel is nice because I think we will be seeing a LOT of it!!  The bride doesn't really seem to care about the rain - at this point everyone is just hoping the terminal relative makes it to see the wedding at all since she is going downhill pretty fast.  It's a pretty heartbreaking situation and I do feel for my bro and his fiance.  I wish this whole thing had a better outcome for them and the relative -- I really really do!

With that, I'm off!  Time to start the Mom Bus!

Have a great Wednesday all!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Overcast Stormy Day...

To match the mood I am in I guess.

It's after ten in the morning and the house is still quiet.  Both Guppies are still asleep --- even the dog is still snoozing. But, lucky me, I didn't sleep well last night.

You know those nights when you wake up and your mind just will NOT turn off?  Yeah that was me last night.  You name it and I worried about it in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.  Nothing new that is "bad" is happening...Just that feeling you get when you are overwhelmed with everything and the negativity creeps in.

Guppy 1 is having her BFF sleep over tonight which should help keep my mind off stuff since I will be busy with my tidying up list.

It's just one of those days I guess.

Hope everyone has a happy Tuesday!  And I hope I shake this off today!

Monday, June 22, 2015

First Full Week of Summer Vacation and Ramblings


Today starts the first full week of the Guppies summer vacation and I'm beginning to definitely feel like my "old" self again.  So both good things!

I have "gently" nudged the Guppies that their rooms have to be cleaned today as well as their backpacks cleaned out.  The house slipped into just a little bit of a disaster while I was recuperating - LOL.  I want to be able to do a LOT this summer with them and not be tied down to a messy house because they aren't helping me keep it up.  Plus I really want to be able to have their friends over when they want without having to nag them to straighten up again.  IF I can get them into a routine, all will be easier!  Wish me luck with that though - I am dealing with teenagers!  HAHA

Like many of you I'm quite sure, I had a nice little routine going while the kids were in school.  Now, I need to re-figure everything out - when to blog, run errands, etc.  I'm hoping I'll be adjusted by the end of next week and have my new routine running smoothly.

On another note, I have my follow up appointment with the surgeon finally booked!  I go back on June 29th so it's not too too long a wait.  Honestly, I haven't thought that much about the test results...I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because of the way I handled the MS and stayed away from the internet?  I can't say but at least I have been too busy to spend much time dwelling.

We went to visit my dad yesterday for Father's Day and my mom gave me a HUGE bag of brochures for things to do during the weekend of my brother's wedding.  Gotta say, she really is trying to be "nice" about the whole thing now.  The most frustrating part of the weekend is just how FAR things are from where we are going to be!  We found a state park with some hiking trails that looks interesting - it's about 90 minutes away!  Beaches are 90 minutes away. Other state parks are 90 to 120 minutes away!  It's like we are going to be dead center in the middle of nowhere!  I'm sure we will manage though - plus as Guppy 2 said - they have a pool!  =)

Since the wedding attire is to be "business casual" (whatever that is for a wedding), the guppies and I went shopping to try to find some suitable summer dresses.  I found Guppy 2's at American Eagle in the clearance department - originally $45.00 but I got it for $19.99.  Guppy 1's came from a store called Charlotte Russe but was not on sale - $40.00 there but it's something she would wear elsewhere so I guess it's not too bad a failure.  I found mine at New York & Company on sale for 40% off - it's a cute sleeveless black dress with little pink flowers on it.  I got it for $41.97.  I plan on wearing it again when Papa and I go out to dinner during our vacation in Stowe later this summer - there's a place we have wanted to go forever and this year we are going to do it alone while the Guppies grab a pizza close to our hotel.  At 16 and 13, they are old enough to walk a block and grab themselves a pizza IMO.

I am still in that cooking rut I talked about a couple of weeks ago...I just can't shake it!  So later today and probably tomorrow (since the weatherman are calling for thunderstorms) I'm pulling out my cookbooks again for inspiration.  And, hopefully I will find my way back to menu planning - I don't like doing it but it makes everything so much easier!

With that, I'm off to start the day!  Sorry about the ramlings!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!



It's going to be a mostly rainy day today here in CT - possibly clearing up late afternoon.. So a low key Father's Day it will be - which is fine with Papa.

It will be a movie watching, board game playing, hanging out kind of day. Perfect in Papa's book!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Farmers Market Finds


The farmers market is starting to pick up with the amount of fresh produce available - more greens, spring beets, swiss chard, etc.  My hope is that now by July I will be able to buy 80% of our groceries there - and purchasing staples like rice, sugar, flour elsewhere.

But, honestly, today I was just plain old tired and not feeling super hot.  What we brought home is very indicative of this.  On the plus side, my wallet is fatter than normal after our Saturday market trip.  Here's what  I bought:

1/2 dozen cider donuts - $5.00 (she threw in a few extra claiming they were on the small side, I wasn't going to argue!  LOL)
2 bunches swiss chard - $6.00
2 bunches of beets - 8.00 (love that the beets themselves were on the smaller size and there were a lot to each bunch)
3 - 4 lbs of short ribs - $24.00  (Papa's Father's Day dinner request)

So total spent today:  $43.00.

And, as I mentioned above, we will be cooking Papa his Father's Day dinner at home using the ribs, swiss chard, beets, and some basmati rice I just purchased for $4.99.  For under let's say $45.00 (after adding in misc pantry ingredients - olive oil, teryaki, etc), Papa gets a nice dinner at home and I get to feed us for less than half of what a dinner out would cost on Father's Day. Plus have left overs.  I'm calling that a win in my book.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Food Waste Friday


(I cleaned out my fridge on Tuesday this week but will post today keeping with the Friday theme)

Oh boy!  It has been too long since I cleaned out my fridge!  This was made clearly obvious by the waste again this week. (Actually more like TWO weeks since that's the last time I went through the fridge!)

Here's the UGLY truth of it:

COMPOSTED:

1 lb of grapes (approx)
1/2 quart of strawberries
1/2 pint of blueberries
1 snowflake style roll
5 moldy tortillas


THROWN AWAY:

Rest of a very very old pot roast meal (girls not a fan of pot roast anymore)
2 individual vanilla yogurts
1/2 dozen very very old eggs (which is sinful with the price of eggs on the rise)




Yup, another bad week (or TWO).  Trying to at least stay accountable because I still say that's half the battle,  Now, if I can only win the other half....  =)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On the Mend after a very Long Day

I am actually writing this from my own nice comfy bed with my favorite pup snuggling my feet.  So, I am a pretty happy camper right now!

Yesterday was a LOOOOONG day for Papa and me.  We were told to be at the hospital for 11:20 with a surgery time of about 1pm.  That didn't happen.  We were there at the right time but my doctor's first surgery took five hours instead of three!  And then there was another woman scheduled for surgery before me as well so I was slotted third of the day.

The staff was amazing and very apologetic - as was my doctor.  They gave Papa a voucher to get something to eat at the cafeteria since we were going to be there for so long. He opted to stay with me and just grabbed a couple of cookies from the waiting room instead.

I finally got in around 3:30 and was done and walking out around 5:30.  I had only light sedation so my recovery time from the anesthetic was quicker.  The doctor did remove what looks to be a polyp and we will get test results on it in about two weeks.

Last night Guppy2 slept over her BFF's since today is the last day of school and they are only going to Quassy Amusement Park as a class trip.  It was good timing because I was able to sleep in and not drive her to school. Guppy 1 is due home from her last final soon and will help me as needed.

I'm actually fairly comfortable as long as I am laying down.  Standing up causes cramping so I won't be doing that too much today!  LOL

Thanks so much for your well wishes everyone!  It's nice to have this done so I can get back to focusing more on what matters.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Fiasco

As you read this, I will most likely either be in or coming out of my minor surgery. I wrote this little tidbit ahead of time.

In case anyone is new to my blog (thanks for stopping by!), let me catch you up before I go into the latest news...

My younger brother and I are NOT close - I love him but we just aren't a close knit kind of family.  He is marrying a woman (who is nice enough and seems to love him) and the original plan was they would marry in September down here in CT. (They live further up in New England but almost all family and friends are down here.)  Fast forward a few months and there is a life threatening illness on her side of the family and the wedding is pushed up to July 4th where they live. Papa, the Guppies and I  are NOT in the wedding party so no obligation there.  And, I DO understand why they wanted to push up the wedding.  However, we were pretty much told we had to drop our plans and come to the wedding - after we had been told the date was going back to September and then they changed their minds again back to July 4th.

Still with me?  The wedding is taking place on her parents property.  From what I hear, it's actually a beautiful place - 5 acres of land with a stream and against a lake.  So what is the new issue?

GUNS

Full disclosure - My family is pretty anti-gun.  I have friends who aren't.  I can respect that and their choices.  I have friends who are hunters - again I can understand because they eat the meat of what they kill.  So, I like to think that I can be rational and respectful when it comes to the issue of guns and gun control.  As long as the pro gun people are responsible gun owners I have no issue with it!

HOWEVER....

My brother's future father in law is big time into guns.  Like I'm pretty sure he has an arsenal of them on the property - which would not be an issue if they stayed locked in a gun cabinet during the wedding.....
But, they aren't.  At least we are 99.9% sure they aren't.
My mom told my brother that she doesn't want any guns out at the wedding.  My brother's reply was that he would "make her preferences known".  Knowing what I do about my brother, that is not a reassuring answer.
There is going to be alcohol at this wedding.  And, people are going to take out their guns? For what? (Best guess, although my bro won't say, is they will probably have skeet shooting since it has been done on the property before.)

I don't give a damn where you are on the gun issue - anti or pro.  I think we can all agree that:

1.  Guns don't belong at a wedding
2.  Guns and alcohol do not mix!

I have talked to my mom extensively on this.  She knows that the millisecond we spot a gun we will be leaving.  This is non negotiable.  This is NOT a preference like let's say playing country music instead of alternative.  Or choices of food and cake flavors. Or whether they do the bouquet toss. Or if they have a reception outside or inside.  Those things we should have no control over - it's the bride and groom's choices.  And, those types of choices don't hurt anyone.  This one can KILL someone.

No one was allowed to smoke around me while I was pregnant or around my children.  And we enforced this rule even with my now deceased father in law in his own house.  There is no way I could be considered a responsible parent and allow my children around drunk people shooting off guns.

I am so aggravated at this point.  We were going to go on a epic hike and watch a 360 degree fourth of July fireworks display at the top of Mount Mansfield.  July 4th is on a Saturday so you can't get much better timing than this specific year.  Instead, I have to board my dog (to the tune of 120 bucks), drive at least five hours in holiday weekend traffic, stay in a hotel (can't complain about the money part there since my mom offered to pay for it) in pretty much the middle of nowhere, and will have to leave the wedding when some drunk a-hole starts waving his gun around.  All because we can't say anything against it since the reception is on private property.

My mom says she will be leaving the minute anyone takes one out as well.  And it's her *hope* that it won't happen until later into the reception. (which has its good and bad points since the later into the reception the easier it is to leave but the more drunk people will be)

So, I'm throwing this out to anyone who wants to chime in - whether you are pro or anti gun....Is it a good or responsible idea to have guns at a wedding where alcohol will be served?  What would you do if you saw guns being taken out?  Would you leave or stay and hope for the best?

I honestly look forward to hearing everyone's take on this issue.....  I will be checking in as soon as I can and the pain meds wear off.  =)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gas and Garbage Early...Plus a Busy Day Ahead

Since my surgery is tomorrow, I'm doing my weekly gas and garbage post early.



On the drive to bring Guppy 2 to school this morning, I stopped at the gas station.  While I probably could have made it until Thursday on the 1/4 ish tank I had, I just figured I may as well get it now. In case you are keeping track, the last time I got gas was on June 1st - so this is still a huge win in my book!  Gas prices are rising here in Connecticut - it cost me $29.51 to fill my tank @$2.97 per gallon.
Total spent on gas this month:  $60.76 out of the $75.00 I budgeted.

Onto the garbage....I am actually guesstimating here because I haven't tackled the fridge yet this morning!  I'm going to be safe and say we had four bags this week.  Partially this is due to Guppy 1 cleaning her room (FINALLY!) and getting rid of school papers, old makeup bottles, etc. And, then there is the fridge (((((shudder))))).  One of these weeks I'll be on top of this.  This is NOT the week however.

Busy busy day here.  I have to finish straightening up the house - especially the front room since Guppy 2 has her drum lessons today.  Guppy 1 texted me to ask if her friend can come over directly from school - they have half days this week due to finals.  So, I will bake some cookies for them to munch on and I need to figure out something for them for lunch.

And, last time Papa and I went to my neurologist, we committed to going to an MS dinner (free to us) where my doc is doing a presentation on the meds that I am on.  (Of course I committed to going before I knew about the surgery.)  Honestly, I would rather spend the night home with my family and watch movies or something.  But, it would be rude to not show up or cancel this late in the game. The restaurant where the dinner is happening is about 35 ish minutes away from our house and hopefully it won't be a very long presentation.

Wednesday will be keeping me away from my computer.  I have a post I'm thinking of writing and scheduling for tomorrow but I most likely won't be actually checking my blog or reading anyone else's until later on tomorrow night.

So I guess I'll say have a great Tuesday AND Wednesday!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wonky Schedule Already!

I feel like we are already on "summer schedule" time here!  Everything seems haphazard and out of order!

As an example...I woke up this morning and realized I never did "Food Waste Friday" because I never cleaned the fridge on Friday!  I can't wait to see what science experiments await me now!  LOL

The next few weeks are going to be a transition period -- as I'm sure a lot of you with kids will be going through with me!  Now that the girls are older, I'm hoping the transitioning to summer will be shorter and easier. Still, I think it will be helpful if I come up with some sort of plan myself - when to blog, do housework, pay bills, etc.

In the past, my motto has been "Just wing it" and I have always found myself digging out once school started again!  Not this year! Does anyone out there have any tips or tricks on how to transition to the kids being home for summer without losing your mind or your house looking like an episode of Hoarders come September?

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Plans...

Today I got a very very late start -- as in I was woken up by Guppy 1 at 10am!  There is a good reason however....Yesterday, Papa took me and the Guppies back to Vermont (again I know) to hike to my all time favorite place - Sterling Pond.  I've been kind of a bundle of nervous energy these past few days trying to get everything and anything together before my minor surgery on Wednesday. (I think I said this before, I am a major worrier and have never been under anesthesia before.)  Anyway, while I had an amazing time and the weather was perfect, my body is dying today!  I am definitely not ready for hiking season yet and will need to work on this as soon as possible!

So, on to today's plans...Guppy 2 is in a "shopping" mood - which is a rarity.  My pocketbook is most definitely NOT though!  The compromise is that we will go looking for a casual style dress (she only has a couple of  formal ones) to wear to my brother's July 4th wedding.  It's something I need to do anyway and I would rather catch her while she is in the "mood".  Hopefully we find something and it doesn't take all day.

Other than that, I will be trying to recouperate from yesterday's hike and get a few more household chores done here.  Maybe I'll sneak some time on the deck as well since it is a gorgeous day here in Connecticut.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

June Low Spending Challenge Ending and What I'm Learning Through Writing This Blog

School is out as of next Thursday so I'm ending my low spending challenge now - although I WILL be keeping a close eye on what I spend for the rest of the month!

What have I learned?  I absolutely suck at record keeping!  LOL  Seriously, this is something I need to fix....like yesterday!  It's strange too because I love my lists but can't keep good monetary records?  I honestly don't have a legitimate excuse for this.  I am ending this challenge with 20 of the 200 that was in my wallet.  I can't say for sure where every dollar went - although I know I did keep sticking dollar bills into my sealed pot during the past two weeks!  =)

In the short few months I have been writing this blog, I have already learned a LOT.  Like how much I NEED to write this blog just for accountability and to vent!  And, how much I have grown from the spoiled brat of a teenager who got to take Mommy's credit card to the mall every single weekend to buy new clothes.  And, how much further I have to go to actually reach the ADULT goals Papa and I have for ourselves and our family.

I can't being to say how much I love reading other people's blogs too.  Every blog I read seems to have more or less the same goals but are on different journeys to get there.  I learn so much from everyone and it's nice to hear different ideas and opinions.  Also, it's nice to see that life gets in the way of goals for other people too - so it's not just me?  LOL   People who keep it real keep my interest....That's probably why I have been reading Carla's blog at halfdozendaily.typepad.com  ,Mysti at diggingoutfromourmess.blogspot.com and Carol at ctonabudget.blogspot.com.  And, why I have added frugalfrontline.blogspot.com, Nathalie at imperfectlyfrugally.blogspot.com, and Sandie at savingmoneyinnewhavencounty.blogspot.com to my list of favorites.  Check these blogs out and you will see what I mean.

Little by little, I am getting better at this whole thing and we will get out of debt!  Thanks to everyone who takes a peek at my meager little blog to see where I'm at in this journey.  I may not be "gazelle intense"....sometimes I may not even be "turtle intense".... but I will continue to do the best I can while enjoying life with Papa and the Guppies too!

Well now, that ended up being a sappy post didn't it?  Haha

Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Impromptu Pizza Party and More Big Y Stockup


Guppy 2's school had a talent show on Wednesday after school (she was in the audience not performing) and decided she wanted to have a few friends over afterwards.  Ummmm.... a few friends turned into SEVEN!  LOL   Seriously, though...I am NOT complaining!  I love having kids here and G2's friends are actually pretty great kids.

It's just more a matter of how I'm going to keep the cost down since I am quite sure this is going to be an ongoing theme this summer....

So...I started off by heading back to Big Y to stock up on more B1/G2 free soda and chips.  I lost my receipt - think I threw it out by accident while cleaning up!, however, I spent just under $52.00.  I have a LOT of soda and unopened chips leftover so they will be now "hidden" and taken back out for the next time.

Since the talent show was over at five, I was going to have to feed the masses.  It was hot and I took the easy way out and bought pizza from the cheapest pizza place in town.  I spent right around $35 (again no receipt!  Grrrr!) for two large cheese pizza and one small pineapple pizza. I decided to take this money from my discretionary money since, in all honesty, I probably could have found something to cook for them but didn't.

I really want to buy most of my groceries from the farmers market and will continue to do so for my family. However, over the next few weeks, I think I'm going to keep an eye open for good sales on things like hamburgers and hot dogs so, when this happens again (and it will), I won't have to resort to buying pizza all the time.  Even cheap pizza is going to add up over the course of time!

Happy Friday everyone!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How Much to Give for a Destination Wedding Gift?


Later on this week or this weekend, I will be going out to purchase gifts for the wedding we are attending on July 4th.  I have absolutely no idea how much to actually spend on gifts for this!  Due to circumstances, the bride and groom (my brother) have upped their wedding date to July 4th in a town about five to six hours away (once I've included the probable holiday weekend traffic we will be fighting) instead of the September wedding in Connecticut as originally planned.  The wedding will take place at a residence with a picnic style reception afterwards.

It's been awhile since I've been to a wedding and I don't know what the "going rate" of an acceptable gift is.  I have looked at the registry and I am thinking about putting together a "kitchen basket" with some of the gadgets requested and maybe some other kitchen items - also on the list.  

Usually I would just "give money" but, honestly, this trip is going to cost more than I would have given to begin with.  So, I'm guessing a gift would be more appreciated than the amount of money I could give.

Anyone been to a wedding recently?  Or a wedding like this where it is not at an actual banquet hall or venue?  What do you think an acceptable amount of money spent of a gift would be?

I'm at a loss.  I don't want to seem "cheap" but can't spend a lot either.  Even though we are not close, it is my  brother's wedding.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gas, Garbage, & Surgery


Know why Oscar is smiling? Because he loves trash and I made LOTS of it this week!  Well, four bags full!  Why was there a jump in garbage this week?  It *may* have to do with the fact that the Guppies finally started cleaning their rooms a little! Not that I want four bags or more every week, but I'll deal with it this week to have the peace of mind of cleaner rooms going into the summer.  (Guppy 1 has more to go in her room though...She really reminds me of what I was like as a teenager with my own room!  Karmic justice?  LOL)

The gas in my car is holding steady at half a tank which makes me very happy!  Looking ahead, I'm thinking I should be able to get pretty close to the last day of school (the 18th) on this tank of gas!  Then, I am going to have to see what the summer holds as I think my gas consumption will probably go way up!  Unless I decide to host a lot of kids over a lot of the summer!  =)

For two hours yesterday I tried to get through to the doctor's office.  Finally fed up, I called the central scheduling office to only find out the office I go to is closed on Tuesdays.  Grrrr!  But, before I hung up, the very nice woman said she would patch me through to a different office that may be able to help out - thank goodness for computer records now I guess!  Anyway, lo and behold, I end up speaking to the same woman as Monday who promised to call me back by the end of that day!  She told me she was planning on calling me later yesterday (yeah right) and they were able to "squeeze" me in on the 17th!  When I told Papa, he wasn't too thrilled about the "squeezing me in" part and I know there is an much larger surgery scheduled that day - as in THREE hours long - where mine is an hour max.  Maybe the doctor will take me first?  I won't know for sure until the afternoon of the 16th.  I'm nervous but at least I will be getting it done!

Hmmmmm.....talking about all this stuff is reminding me that I still need to call about Guppy 2's orthodontist reimbursement information.  Better go write that down on my to do list!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

EOB from Insurance for my MRI


Today's mail brought a delightful little copy of my Explanation of Benefits from my health insurance company for my most recent MRI.  Actually, I am NOT being sarcastic at all either.  I was pleasantly surprised...

The total on this bill (for the MRI and the overseeing doctor I believe from what I can make of it) was an astounding $1709.15!!!

Here's what the "What I Owe" column said....  $100!!!!  That is it!  One hundred bucks!

I have NO idea how this happened but I'll take it!

If I can only get as lucky with the internal ultrasound and surgical bills!  Somehow, I don't think I will get THAT lucky!

Love to get unexpected good new like this!  Lately it has been way too far in between!



Counting Down the Days Until School Is Out, Book Review, And Surgery? What Surgery?


Okay technically not yet!  But it will be for the Guppies on June 18th!


So, I am in the home stretch of any projects/bigger jobs I can "get done" before the kids are officially home all day with me or I'm running them around places during the day!  While I'm doing some housework this morning, I'll be compiling that list and will hopefully post it here later today or tomorrow.  Do you have anything you do "special" before the kids are home for the summer?



Speaking of writing up a list, I read a book last night that I purchased for FREE on my Kindle called...
I thought I would share it here for anyone who likes making lists and/or wants to make more lists but doesn't know how to get started.  I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars since some of it seemed repetitive.  I was also hoping to hear insight on how to keep all the lists together - almost in a master list style book - but that's not quite how she works.  I'm not sure if it's still "free" on Amazon for the Kindle.  But, if it is....It's a quick read and you may be able to glean some useful information out of it.  Otherwise, if you are interested in taking a peek at this book, I'd say borrow it from the library.


Yesterday, I called my GYN's office because no one had gotten back to me yet regarding when to go for pre-op testing and all of that fun stuff.  Well, it looks like I fell through the cracks!  Reading between the lines, I was able to infer that the secretary I spoke with has quit her job and really couldn't care less about what happened.  She rushed me off the phone and said she would get back to me by the end of the day yesterday....Guess who is still waiting for the call back?  The woman said her last day of doing the schedule was tomorrow (really today) now.  So, do I wait until Wednesday and hopefully talk with someone competent?  Or call back today? Decisions, decisions....  Either way, I never got put on the surgeon's roster like I was supposed to for the 17th.  The next possible day (unless she's booked for that day too!) is July 1st.  We leave for my brother's wedding on July 3rd.  Did I mention it's probably going to take five or six hours by car to get to the wedding destination since we are travelling on July 4th weekend?  Not a great scenario but I don't want to wait much longer to get this taken care of either.  When  I pushed the issue with the secretary and explained this, she wanted to push my surgery out further - my guess is she was trying to make her last days easier and not "get caught" for this screw up. (And, in case anyone is wondering, I saw the notes the surgeon wrote for me when I saw her and she wrote June 17th for the surgery.  AND, she said she had a slot open.  We went into detail about which hospital she would be at that day as well, listing the pros and cons of that one over the other hospital the practice uses.)  Papa and I both want this taken care of ASAP (since there is a remote chance it is cancerous) and the sooner the better!  There is a slight risk of complications and it may take a little while before I can do any swimming....hiking....basically anything I like to do in the summer.  Sorry to be so negative!  It's just frustrating!

Well, I'm not going to leave this post on such an awful rant so, I'll add an extra little tidbit of good news!  See this cutie pie?


That is my 8 year old "puppy"!  We were starting to get a little nervous about her health...You know it's something when Papa starts to worry about the dog!  She was being very lazy around the house and sleeping a lot, doing some excessive whining, and I was worried about her joints.  She was eating fine and would still have energy enough to pull Papa around during out nightly walks though!  Anyway, all testing came back negative (including heartworm and Lymes - the two I was most worried about!) and she seems to be perking up again!  So, that makes me a happy camper!  =)  Fingers crossed all stays well with her at least!  LOL

Monday, June 8, 2015

POOF! The CVS Gift Card Disappeared!



Remember that CVS card I just go from the purchase of the toilet paper and laundry detergent?  Well, it's gone!  POOF!  Yep, that was quick!

Guppy 2 starts her Red Cross Babysitting classes tonight and wanted a notebook and folder specifically for it.  She's very motivated to get this certification done and start doing some "jobs" this summer.  She'll be 13 so hopefully someone in town will be looking for a "mother's helper" kind of thing.  Anyway, I decided to splurge and get her a new coordinating notebook and folder, using my CVS gift card.  Also, I have been reading a lot about productivity and lists.  And, I've seen a lot of posts on Pinterest (DAMN YOU TO HELL PINTEREST!!!!) on using Moleskin notebooks for list keeping.  No, I didn't *need* it so I pulled out the balance out of my discretionary money.  LOL

Total spent after $10 gift card:   $11.20

Worth it though!  I am a happy girl with a new journal and Guppy 2 can go off to her class feeling prepared and happy!

Yesterday's Adventure...



Gay City State Park in Hebron





After a ton of debate as to "what to do" yesterday, we finally agreed on going to Gay City State Park in Hebron.  It's a pretty cool place with old cellar holes and an old cemetery from when it used to be a town of its own.  The above pictures are from the internet -- I was too busy enjoying the day and family to remember to take any pics myself!  Guppy 2 had adjusted her attitude by the time we got to the park which was nice!

Going there however, meant coughing up the $67 for the state park yesterday.  After seeing it was NINE DOLLARS for a day pass to this little quaint-ish park, I am very happy to have paid for the park pass!  Papa looked at me after we paid the ranger and said, "If THIS is nine bucks to get into, what do you think the beach is going to be?!"  And, for as much as we end up going to Hammonasset Beach, this pass will pay for itself by no longer than the middle of July!

Papa and Guppy 1 had the scallops from the farmers market last night for dinner.  While Guppy 2 decided she wanted to attempt to make dinner for her and me!  She made angel hair pasta with a quick homemade tomato sauce - which actually came out really good.

Overall it was a really nice day here in my part of the world.  And, a much needed one!  You know those days when you look around the house (which happens to be a disaster at that moment!) and think "I gotta get outta here for awhile?"  Yup, that's how I felt yesterday!   LOL  

And, getting out did me wonders!  I'm ready to tackle the housework chores today!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dinner Last Night....



Yep, Guppy 1 and I ended up having some of this for our dinner last night (with homemade whipped cream)!  I couldn't find my springform pan and can't track down my pie pans (they have been "lost" since Thanksgiving - I'm thinking they are down somewhere with Papa's family) so I made due with what I have.  I needed to adjust the baking time but I think it came out pretty good!  And so did G1!

Why this for dinner?  Neither Guppy 1 nor I were feeling that great. Papa took the 45 minute drive down to see his brother in the hospital and ended up staying later than originally planned. (When he got back he threw together nachos for himself since he was tired too.)  And Guppy 2 spent the entire day with her BFF and BFF's aunt as I suspected would happen.

Papa seemed drained when he came home from the hospital.  He and his brother were close when they were kids so I can't imagine what it feels like to see your younger brother in the hospital.  We didn't realize how close my BIL truly was to death until last night.  I guess ICU doctors kept being called up to see how BIL was doing and couldn't believe their eyes.  They all thought he wasn't getting out of the hospital alive this time!  Hopefully this sinks in and he makes the most of the time he has left.  

The sun is shining and the weather is supposed to be gorgeous here so I really want to either:

1. Take a family hike

2. Get Guppy2 the new bike she desperately needs (money put aside already)  and possibly do a family bike ride.  Although not sure if this is a great idea since I still have off and on balance issues.  Guess if we do this, I better wear a helmet!

 ***Option 3 just came into play when Guppy 2 came in and announced that she doesn't want to do anything today because she is still too tired from yesterday.  I have been getting attitude from her all morning this morning as well.  Ah, the wonderful teenage years!***

3.  Papa and I take the dog for a hike by ourselves!



Happy happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sealed Pot Challenge Update!


I took a walk with Papa and the dog so I have "recovered" from my farmers market crabbiness...sort of.  LOL

Anyway, I didn't want to end my Saturday blogging on a sour note, so I popped open the canister for my sealed pot challenge and counted the paper money only!  I'm up to $265!  I think last time I counted it I was at $203.  Not too shabby!  And, as I have said before, it gives me some peace of mind knowing that there is cash on hand in the house in case of a minor emergency

Heading into the kitchen to make the Summer Strawberry Cake that Nathalie over at imperfectlyfrugally.blogspot.com was kind enough to share!  Hopefully it comes out as yummy and good as hers looked!


Farmers Market BUST!


I guess I should start this by saying I believe I may have caught a case of the MAJOR CRABBIES today!  Papa was looking at me like I had three  heads or something!  LOL

Quite honestly, yes I was very annoyed today at the market.  Later today I will rationalize how wonderful it is that the market is so busy and laugh this off but right now I'm just a wee bit pissed off....

Market opens at 10am.   I was dragging a bit (think I may be getting a slight cold) so we didn't get there until 10:30.  And, almost everything was sold out already!  Plus the market was PACKED!  But, in my opinion, not a good packed.  I don't know if it's "just me" but, when there is a line, I try very very hard to be polite and efficient.  You need to ask the farmer a question?  Absolutely fine!  WHEN you wait your turn in line and don't clog up the entire front of their stand!  (Yup!  I'm crabby! LOL)  And, for the love of all things holy, please don't stand near a line and make yourself seem in line if you indeed are NOT! -- And don't look back at the line forming behind you and pretend you don't notice that people think you are in line either!

Okay think I better stop the rant!  Here's what I managed to get today.  I wish I remembered to separate the money out, but I didn't.  I'm pretty sure I spent $42 since I added up the items in my head.

1 lb scallops (the LAST pound they had!)
1 roasted beet bisque
1 chickpea rosemary soup
1 bunch asparagus
6 cider donuts (the lady threw in an extra for us...love her!)
1 small container of fresh strawberries - I'm not impressed by pricing. Will go pick them myself  next time

And I really really wanted mushrooms but the lady that cut me to ask the farmer all those questions got the last of them!  =(

((((((((((((sigh))))))))))))

Guppy 2 is out for the day, planting flowers at her BFF's aunt's house.  So, Papa and Guppy 1 can have the scallops for dinner.  I'm not sure yet what I will do but I'm leaning towards maybe throwing a small pasta dish together.

I will most likely hold off trying to work on a menu for next week until tomorrow.  Today doesn't seem like a good day for any more frustration since I *may* be a bit touchy!  HAHA


Have a nice Saturday!!!

26 Books to Read in 2015

Definitely can NOT take credit for this post!  I'm more sharing it than anything!  I saw it on MrsCraftyAdams blog but noticed that there, in the picture, was another hashtag.  So I googled it and it led me to another blog called the Burns Family Blog - where this originated.  I'm not sure if that blog is still up and running since the last update was three months ago, but I want to try to give credit where it is due.

Anyway, being a reader, I found this list intriguing!  At first I got ambitious and wanted to fit this all in during the summer.  But now I'm thinking I will count books I have already read this year since reading 26 books in one summer may be a little out of hand, even for me!  Here's the list!

26 BOOKS TO READ IN 2015

1. A book you own but have not read
2.  A book made into a movie
3.  A book picked solely by the cover
4.  A book your friend loves
5.  A book published this year
6.  A book by an author you love
7.  A book at the bottom of your "to read" pile
8.  A book with a color in the title
9.  A book set somewhere you have always wanted to visit
10.  A book you started but never finished
11.  A book with a lion, a witch. or a wardrobe
12.  A book with a female heroine
13.  A book set in the summer
14.  A book of poems
15.  A book you learned about due to this challenge
16.  A book that will make you smarter
17.  A book with a blue cover
18.  A book you were supposed to read in school but never did
19.  A book with a great first line
20.  A book with pictures
21.  A book from the library
22. A book you loved -- read it again!
23. A book that is more than ten years old
24.  A book based on a true story
25.  A book by an author you have never read before
26.  A book that "everyone" but you has read


Anyone want to join me with this?  I'll do an update on this soon with the numbers I have accomplished and which books I read to fulfill it!  =)

Happy Reading!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Big Y Got Me! (sorta)

A THIRD post in one day?  Either I am on one heck of a roll or (the truth) I'm unmotivated to work on cleaning up!  LOL

Anyway, I ended up going to Big Y today since they have the Buy 1/ Get 2 free sale going on and there was a LOT I could stock up on for the summer!  But, I finally got smart and "hid" some of what I bought so it wouldn't get scarfed down so quickly!  But I'm not saying where just in case anyone in my family takes a look at this blog!  haha  I am thinking about going back before the sale is over to grab a few more B1/G2 items and I really really want to make some room in my freezer so I can take advantage of the B1/G2 ice cream deal going on....Why don't I have that extra chest freezer?!?!?

So, total spent so far in June for groceries is: $72.89

I only grabbed the sale items on my list with the exception of one thing for Papa - a tiny container of seafood salad for $2.19.  He loves the stuff from our Big Y and I wanted to grab him a little treat.  =)  So at least I stayed strong and stuck to the list right?  Dinner is remaining the same as it was supposed to be - Grilled Veggie Sandwiches.

And, for anyone remotely curious....BIL is doing a bit better.  The doctors were able to take him off ventilation and move him out of ICU back to the Advanced Care ward.  Papa talked to him this morning and he said BIL is pretty shaken up by this last ordeal.  I worry that it's too little too late and there isn't really any good chance he'll be put on a liver donor list anytime soon.  However, ANY positive changes he can make will enhance his time left with his kids so we are trying to be encouraging with him. Papa (and possibly I) will be going down to the hospital to see him at some point this weekend.

Okay, that's going to be enough procrastin----ummmm.writing for today!

Have a great Friday night all!

Food Waste Friday!



 No pictures today since my kitchen is a disaster already!  The part for the dishwasher came in and Papa fixed it last night.  Today I need to run a cycle with vinegar to clean the thing and then do another test load with dishes to make sure all is well.  Unfortunately, I have crap everywhere!  The dishwasher was always in an awkward place - too close to my cabinet with the pots and pans.  But, NOW it's completely pulled out and BLOCKING said cabinet so Papa could fix it and we can make sure there isn't any additional leakage.  Thank God for paper plates!  LOL  (and those few pots and pans I was able to pull out before all this truly began!)

That being said, leftovers should have been premium stuff right?  Easy, already made, grab and go kind of gold.  Well, not as much as I would've liked!  One of these Fridays I'll be able to take a picture of a lonely moldy lemon wedge and say "Hey this is all I have!"  Ummmm...that won't be this week.  Haha   Here's what got wasted, composted, and donated.

COMPOSTED:

1 cup pasta
1/2 c rice
1 cup old grilled veggies wedged in back corner of fridge
4 slices cheese pizza (I have heard you shouldn't compost cheese but I do on pizza)
1/10 small cheese calzone (see above regarding composting cheese)


WASTED:

1/4 London Broil
Old ribeye steak bone with a little meat left on it
**** I HATE wasting meat most of all things so I am not happy I let this happen****

DONATED/SAVED:

Froze 5 hearty slices of Costco Chocolate Cake (all that could fit in my freezer)
6 pack of double choc muffins from Costco went to Papa's office and were gone in less than 30 minutes! (kids weren't fans of this kind of muffin for some reason)
About 1/5 of Chocolate cake sent to Papa's office too (was gobbled just as quickly as muffins!)





What I Spent This Week...

So, I figured I would do a recap of what I spent money on this week for variable stuff (not mortgage, utilities, etc.).

As of this morning:

Gas for my car:  $31.25
School expenses:  $125.99
Discretionary Food:  $92.06  (Anniversary Dinner and Lunch for me one day)
G1's Music Lessons for June:  $180.00
Health/Bath/Beauty:  $50.87
G2's drum lessons: 0 (instructor hurt his hand and can't teach for a few weeks)
Vet Check up for Dog: $168.50

And I think that's it.

Vet check up was a teensy bit less than last year because there was no rabies vaccination (that's every three years).

 I didn't deduct my CVS gift card from the Health line since I'm not sure if I will be the one to actually use it or if I will end up giving it to one of the Guppies.

The school expenses were outrageous for this late in the year!  Which reminds me....For those of you who commented on how expensive that tri fold poster board was and how ridiculous it was that the teacher specified it....After reading your comments the other day, I had a conversation when I was picking up G1 from school about it.  I mentioned how ridiculous the whole cost thing was.  G1 told me someone in the class DID speak up about the tri fold poster board being expensive.  The teacher's response was "Come On.  It's not that expensive!"  I'm telling you that is my town for you!  SMH

Not foreseeing any expenses today....I haven't gone grocery shopping at all - thanks to that huge Coscto trip!  I took a peek at the Big Y circular and they are having a Buy 1/Get 2 Free week.  Maybe I will go on Saturday or Sunday after I see what's at the farmers market.

There are a few expenses coming up for June...Although I'm hoping closer to the middle of the month, I do have to purchase our annual season passes for Lake Compounce.  The guppies get a lot out of it and G2 is already making plans to just about live there this summer with her friends.  In the end, it is much cheaper to do summer passes.  Also, we need to buy our state park pass for the car.  This is another money saver in the end since we love to hike so much AND we get to use it at state beaches as well.  The only thing that annoys me is that the pass is PER CAR not PER FAMILY!  There is no way I am buying two passes so I "cheat" by laminating the pass and then adhering it with tape to whichever car we are taking to the state park.  It is usually Papa's but there are times when I take the guppies to a state park close to us.  Part of me feels badly about doing this but each pass is (I think) around 70?  I can't remember exactly what we paid last year - which I should know!

Time to tackle the fridge soon for Food Waste Friday!  I didn't get to it on Wednesday night...Not sure if it's going to be *that* bad this week but, you never know....

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sticking with the Plan...

Papa and I had a great time out last night at dinner.  The restaurant was packed - on a Wednesday night!  You would think that would have annoyed me, but it didn't.  I was happy to see that the new owners are gaining their footing  The owner before this one (who had bought it from the amazing owner that was there when we got married!) mismanaged the place into the ground.  Honestly, I think the other reason I wasn't aggravated was that they had "saved" the table I requested when I called the reservation in and explained it was our 20th anniversary and that we had married there.  Seriously the best view of the waterfall from the lower dining room.  Check out this view!
 That was taken from our table!  We definitely over did it on dinner and drinks!  Two Pom Martinis for me and I was definitely tipsy - I don't drink often at all. We each got an app, entree, and dessert as well.  We so rarely go out by ourselves to a nice dinner that I didn't worry - although Papa kept asking if I brought enough cash to cover the overage of the gift card!  LOL  It was $85 from the discretionary money well spent and I felt even better about not having bought a new dress!

Anyway, today I feel a bit...ummm...headachey and sluggish?   Haha!  And. unbelievably unmotivated!  I knew we *needed* toilet paper badly!  Upstairs bathroom was completely out.  The thought crossed my mind to just go to the grocery store, grab the tp (forgot to get it at Costco that day), and buy something else for dinner tonight than making the CrockPot Roast I had already switched from Tuesday to today. I was tempted something fierce, let me tell you!  Added to all of this was I forgot to defrost the pot roast!  But...

I'm sticking to the plan and that pot roast is defrosting in the microwave as I write this,  I have to make some minor changes in the veg department to use what I have in the house - roasted instead of mashed potatoes most likely.  But, I did NOT cave in!  Yay me!

I ran over to CVS for the toilet paper, figuring I couldn't get in much food trouble there.  =)   I spent $33.46 on 3 large Charmin Ultra Soft (16 double sized rolls each) and 1 51oz Xtra laundry detergent that was on sale.  I didn't need the detergent, but, I needed to get my total over 30 (before tax)  because...I got a ten dollar gift card for the purchase!  So I'm putting this in the win/win category!

Microwave beeped so I better get that pot roast going or it won't be ready for tonight!  I'll try to get another post in later this afternoon, after I take the poochie to the vet for her annual visit!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Extremely Late Start Today...



Yup this is me today!  Very late start with this post and everything else today!  I definitely didn't sleep well last night due:

*  Nightmares about everything and nothing
*  Our chocolate lab crying at the foot of the stairs at 2 am - I had to get up and turn on the hallway light so she could walk up the stairs to bed... REALLY?!?!  LOL
*  Late night phone call from my MIL.  Papa's younger brother has many health issues and took a not so great turn last night.  We are still waiting for some test results to come in to see how dire this latest  issue is. It's very hard on Papa, as he has so much  to contend with at the moment.  His brother is really a great guy - I'm closer to him than my own brother - but chose to take a path that has caused him and his family a lot of pain.  He has a had so many chances to take stock and turn it around and hasn't.  We remind my dear MIL of that often because, chances are, she will indeed outlive her youngest child.  =(




So, it Wednesday and I usually do my Gas and Garbage update:

Gas - filled up on June 1st so that is still a-okay!  I think I'm just a tick shy of completely full.

Garbage - I haven't pulled the bag out of the kitchen yet but it's close enough (and has stinky raw chicken packaging in it) that it will be going out tonight too.  That makes for three bags (13 gallon sized kitchen) this week.  One of these days I WILL get it down to one bag!




Hey, today is my 20th anniversary!  It doesn't feel that long at all but it's what the calendar is telling me!  =)  I have absolutely no idea how I got so lucky to have found Papa!  (And, when I met him in college I was engaged to my high school sweetheart!  And, I was kind of a bet with Papa's friends.  And, I lost all my friends when they gave me an 'intervention' and gave me a choice to choose them or him!  They just didn't like him - no abuse or anything like that!) The guppies used to love hearing the story - maybe I'll write a post about it someday.  Haha!  I'm guessing it's safe to finally say I made the right choice right?  Seriously though,  so many of our college friends have married to only divorce a year or two down the road.  Plus, Papa has stayed by my side through so much - health related and otherwise!  I can't imagine anyone else having stuck through it all.  His joke to me currently is..."Okay, I have proven through the "sickness" part of the vows, can I have you healthy please?"

Tonight's dinner is still in the plans, as far as I can tell at the moment.  I did tell him this morning that if he needed to go down to the hospital to be with his brother and mom that was okay.  He told me no - he may not be the most romantic-give-you-flowers-for-no-reason kind of guy - but he is a stickler about going to this restaurant EVERY SINGLE June 3rd!  We have only missed two (I think) and that was only because the restaurant was in transition with owners and closed.  And he made sure we still went out on June 3rd to another restaurant to celebrate.

One frugal success about tonight (besides paying for most of the meal with a gift card) is that I had *really* wanted to buy a new dress but chose not to do it.  First reason was the scale at the GYN's office spit a number out at me that made me very unhappy and I didn't want to go up a size dress wise.  Second was that was a purchase that would have come out of my $200 in my wallet so nope!  Third reason is that I will most likely have to get an outfit for my brother's July 4th wedding and what I bought for tonight is not what I would wear for that.  I did *splurge* on a pair of shaping tights to wear ($6.79 from CVS) with my old black dress because I have a huge gash that is scabbing over from the evening last week wehn I fell in my yard trying to keep control of the dog from darting after a wandering skunk.  (That I did decide to take out of my 200 since I was being vain.  LOL)


Papa had to work today (too much stuff had accumulated from all the time he's had to take recently because of my medical appointments) so I'm off to try to get something accomplished before the Guppies come home from school.  Sorry for the rambling!

Happy Wednesday all!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Categorizing Expenses...



Of course Day 1 of a No Spend/Low Spend Challenge couldn't go off without a hiccup right?

Guppy 1 told me yesterday afternoon that she had a project due....tomorrow (meaning now today).  And, she had a list of supplies that were required.  Luckily I had most of them except for the following

Tri fold cardboard poster
Glue Sticks
New Sharpie Markers
and....
Printer Ink!

Ugh!  She was able to use quite a bit from my scrapbooking stash but the poster board cost $10 for just one - which is all I bought and told her she better be careful! LOL  And then...there was the issue of the sharpies and the printer ink...I was trying to make it through the rest of the school year on what we had left.  The sharpies didn't leave too big a whole in the pocket in the grand scheme of things ($7)  but the printer ink? Well, I knew the quality of the documents that were printing weren't spectacular but we were mostly printing out black and white..  But, dear G1 had to print about ten COLOR photos so there was no way around this $67.99 expense.

All in all I spent (per my digital Staples receipt) $95.99!  Ouchie!

Yesterday I decided it would NOT come out of the 200 bucks I have in my wallet since it was stuff that was needed and not "discretionary".  (That specific poster board was required by the teacher and not requested by G1)  I chalked this up to the "School" category and called it a day.

Now I'm second guessing myself...What would you have done?