Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Grocery Budget

Let's see how I did in the end!

At last posting, I still had $82.67 of my $400 grocery budget left to spend.

Yesterday I ran to Big Y and purchased the following:

1 bag (16 count) tortillas
3 packages of Udon noodles
9 (32 oz) bottles of PowerAde*

*buy1/get2 free  We kept 5 and brought 4 up to my brother in law when we went to the hospital to visit my mother in law.  It's much cheaper than having to purchase single serve drinks from the cafeteria or vending machines.*

Total Spent on this trip:  $20.33

Total Spent for April Groceries:  $337.66
Under budget by $62.34!!!

Now, this is definitely anomaly AND only happened because of our gifted Costco trip!  I knew this!  It's still nice to be "in the black" for a change with this.

Papa and I are stopping by the Farmer's Market this morning.  But, I am going to be "charging" that to the May budget because the food we purchase won't be consumed until Sunday anyway.

How did everyone else do with their grocery budgets this month?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Found Money Challenge: The Mother's Day Edition

Phew!  How is it that a month could go by so quickly yet feel like it dragged on and on at the same time?  One thing I have learned for certain....hospitals are a time suck!  However, I am grateful to be spending time at the hospital with my mother in law rather than at a funeral home so no more complaining about that!

Needless to say, I didn't tap into even half of the potential "found money" around my house this month.  In particular, there are two big things missing this month:

1.  Bottle Returns:  There have to be at least five bags waiting for me to process at the grocery store bottle redemption center.  Problem is you never know how long this will take.  Sometimes you have the machines to yourself and can fly through the ordeal - I swear I can be a well oiled machine when this happens!  Or, there could be a line of eight people in front of you jockeying for different machines.  There just didn't seem to be a large enough gap of time to try to accomplish this in April.

2. Consignment:  I have a rather large bin of things ready to haul off to the consignment store.  It's (shamefully) been there for so long that I now have to go through it again because I'm pretty sure they won't accept the lighter spring sweaters any longer!  It never got accomplished for the same reason as the bottle returns.  I put it off until the second half of April and then couldn't find enough time to get there since you never know what kind of line you are going to face.  Admittedly it is easier for me because I don't wait for any "returns".  If the shop doesn't want something, I have them donate it since I don't want to bring it back into the house.  But I am telling you guys the line to get to the consignment counter can be fierce sometimes!  So, it got put off.

However, if I can finally get my act together and take care of these things in the next week or so, May will be a bit more lucrative in the Found Money department!

So, what was I able to "find'/accomplish? And how does this correspond the Mother's Day?

Let me start by saying that I am not a big fan of Mother's Day.  I don't need a "day away" like some  moms enjoy nor do I need any expensive gifts.  Truthfully, the thing I enjoy most about the day is that I don't have to cook or do the dishes!  LOL  But, the Guppies (especially G2) insist I get something....

So, I dragged my butt over to the Coinstar kiosk in the grocery store.  It's never crowded and I knew it was something I could do quickly....

Coinstar: $34.16 Amazon Gift Card
A pretty nice chunk of change in my opinion!

Then, I decided to give up with trying to earn the $25 dollar gift card from SwagBucks.   I am having horrible luck with searches and surveys.  And, honestly, with such limited time this month, I just didn't put any effort at all into it.  That being said I did cash out some of my points...

Swagbucks:  $10.00 Amazon Gift Card


April Found Money Total:  $44.16


I made a "wish list" on Amazon with the planner I wanted to purchase and a few other planner style items.  I had picked up this planner last month at Michaels Crafts but put it back down because I didn't want to spend the money.  So glad I put it back and looked it up on Amazon!  Now everyone wins!  I get a planner I wanted along with a few "surprises" (I told Papa to pick whatever extras on the wish list he wanted), the Guppies are happy because a gift has been given, and we have little to no out of pocket expenses for my Mother's Day gift.

I love when things work out like this!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Busy Paying The Bills...

I brought the Guppies to school this morning, came back home, and.....CRASHED right back to sleep!  All this running around has completely caught up with me!

Anyway, no long post today because I'm going to be busy paying the bills - which is going to take time, trust me!  Happily, now that Papa has the job starting up, I will be taking some of the $$$ that we took out to pay off the rest of my medical bills. (Two less bills off our heads!  Yay! Small or not, I'm going to celebrate!  Haha!)

So, I'll go back to drowning in the paperwork now and see you guys tomorrow!

Have a great Thursday!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Reading Challenge for April

Eight books this month?!?!  That's a whole lot of reading for me!  Especially since I tend to read very slowly!  Haha!  However, I did get quite a bit of reading in while waiting at the hospital this month! I don't think I will be finishing anymore books before May so here's what I read in April:

2016 Reading Challenge

1.  A book published this year
2.  A book you should have read in school, but didn't
3.  A  book you have been meaning to read
4.  A book with an interesting cover
5.  A book you own but haven't read
6.  A book that received bad reviews
7.  A book with water on the cover
8.  A book in a genre you have never read
9.  A favorite book from your childhood
10.  A book by an author you have never read before
11.  A book that deals with an issue close to your heart
12.  A book "everyone" has read but you
13.  A book about the decade you were born in
14.  A book based on a true story
15.  A book set in the summer
16.  A book set in a country you wish to visit
17.  A Young Adult best seller
18.  A book that's longer than 500 pages
19.  A book that makes you smarter
20.  A book you can finish in a day
21.  A NY Times best seller
22.  A book about a culture with which you are unfamiliar
23.  A book with an apocalyptic theme
24. A book set during Christmas time
25.  A funny book
26.  A book with a one word title
27.  A popular author's first book
28.  A cookbook
29.  A book by someone with the same first name as you
30.   A book of your choosing

Here's What I Read:

15.  A book set in the summer

Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr
This is by far one of the most God awful books I have ever read!  Seriously it was just THAT bad!  If I could give it a negative rating I would in a heartbeat!  As it is, I am giving it zero out of five.  The premise of the book was promising enough...Three people from different walks of life decide to take a four day hiking trip with their common demoniator - a fitness instructor at the gym where they all belong. The story is told by each of the three characters, alternating chapters and points of view.  Due to a rapidly spreading forest fire the group is unable to take the trails they originally planned for but, wink wink, the forest ranger gives them a thirty year old hand drawn map of an area that is NOT affected by the fire and is rarely ever used anymore.  But, the ranger declares, it is one of the best off the beaten path hiking trails out there.  Of course the group gets into trouble....Spoiler alert - they stumble into a large pot farm run by the Mexican cartel.  Oh and then a white supremacist has been tracking them because hey, he had his own pot farm and the Mexicans were cutting into business.  This book is so cliché it boggles the mind.  All the characters are so one dimensional - the white businessman who is disgruntled with the lavish lifestyle he has (mostly due to his wife's family's money), the black social worker woman who is unsure of herself and can't get over the death of a child she had tried to help, and a Mexican real estate agent who has a chip on his shoulder and is struggling financially due to the housing bubble burst.  The "glue" to this group is Tracy, a half Japanese very deranged and neurotic fitness instructor whose behavior is completely bizarre throughout the entire book.  I'm sure you noticed that I did include ethnicity in the description of the characters...I did this because it was brought up again and again - ad nauseam.  I realize I have spent a lot of time recapping this story here but, honestly, I am so pissed to have wasted the time on this garbage.  Towards the end of the book I just began skimming the pages because I wanted to see if the dog they picked up along the way was okay or not in the end.  
I hope I can find another book to fit #15's criteria so I don't have to use only this piece of junk for my challenge.

  28.  A cookbook (Revisited)
Eat Clean Stay Lean by Prevention Magazine
If you recall, last month I read a part cookbook/part memoir (Life from Scratch by Sasha Martin).  This book however is an actual complete cookbook with beginning chapters about the clean food movement and its basics.  Since I have been reading up on this for quite some time, I didn't find any new information but it is definitely a useful few chapters to anyone "new" to the clean eating movement.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it is seriously filled with 300 delicious recipes!  I have tagged so many that I will probably run out of printer ink just copying them all down!  Haha   I have one more "renew" on this library book and plan on using it!  Check this out if you feel in a cooking rut!

8.  A book in a genre you have never read
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
As weird as it is, up until this book, I have never read a book from the "Mystery" section of the bookstore or library.  I don't know why.  I think I just never had much desire to try a mystery.  However, I am pretty happy that I had this on my challenge for the year because I got to read this book!  Nora receives a invitation to Clare's "hen party weekend" (Hen party translates to Bachelorette party for us Americans! LOL).  Curiously enough, Clare and Nora haven't spoken in over ten years and Nora has no idea why she received the invitation.  The party takes place at a secluded "Glass House" where all the guests feel completely exposed and a bit unhinged.  When Nora wakes up in the hospital afterwards, she has to piece together what happened and what her brain seems to be unwilling to confront.  A solidly enjoyable book, although I did figure it out before the end....then again, it was a mystery and I was actively trying to figure it out!  I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

19.  A book that makes you smarter
The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine
My original plan was that this book would satisfy my #19 challenge requirement.  I am going to keep it here for now but, honestly, I feel like I am cheating since I don't think I learned much from this book.  If I had been new to reading about frugality, this book would have been more helpful.  Since I am fairly sure that anyone who reads this blog is MORE knowledgeable about this topic than me, this book probably wouldn't teach you anything new.  However, if you need a jumpstart to realigning your money saving efforts, a quick skim through this book could be helpful.  I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars.

17.  A Young Adult best seller
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Here is a quick synopsis:  High school student Dan Crawford decided to spend his summer at a New Hampshire college at an enrichment summer school.  Once there he learns that his dorm was once an asylum that housed the criminally insane.  With the help of the two friends he makes at the program, Jordan and Abby, Dan tries to get to the bottom of the strange occurrences in his dorm.  They explore hidden and locked areas of the asylum in an attempt to uncover the truth about its patients and the "warden" who attempted to "save" them.  My thoughts:  This book is a lot like the Miss Peregrine's series with creepy/strange photos dispersed throughout.  While I have only read the first book of each series so far, I have to say I think that Peregrine's is  far better at achieving its goal than Asylum.  Asylum leaves too many annoying cliff hangers where Peregrine's just left you wanting to learn more about the characters and their fate.  Anyway, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

5.  A book you own but haven't read
Headful of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
   This book had a little of everything that I loved...part drama, part horror, part psychological thriller.  The book is about eight year old Merry, her fourteen year old sister Marjorie, and their parents.  Marjorie begins to act strangely and, not only is it decided that she was possessed by a demon, but also the family would star in a reality tv series about the supposed possession.  The book is primarily told from eight year old Merry's point of view.  Seriously, throughout the entire book you are left to wonder if Marjorie is faking, mentally ill, possessed, or a little bit of each!  Highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a scare or thrill!  I rate this book 5+ out of 5 stars.

12.  A book "everyone" has read but you
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Seriously it seems like everyone has read this book and since it's going to be made into a movie, I figured I better read it now!  LOL  Truthfully, I can't say I really "got" the big deal about this book.  But, I think that is mostly because I just didn't believe in Rachel (aka "the girl on the train").  Her character just wasn't fleshed out enough in my opinion to carry me (the reader) into the whole "suspension of reality" to which books are supposed to transport us.  (Sorry for all the quotation marks! Haha!)  Because I felt that Rachel was a flat character, I couldn't figure out a lot of her motives as to why she got so involved with the mystery.  She ended up being more of a means to an end rather than a person, if that makes sense?  The other two women who narrated the story were Megan and Anna.  Megan was the most filled out and believable of all three.  Anna was along the same lines as Rachel in character development.  I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.  Next question is....Would I see the movie?  Actually, this is one case where I do think that the movie will be better than the book.  I think there is a lot of visual potential surrounding the whole train theme and movie goers don't expect the same level of character development as readers.

Bonus Books:

The Zero Waste Home by Kate Anderson
Not at all impressed with this book.  It was an extremely quick read - which was good considering.  I think my biggest problem was that I knew about 95% of the material covered in this book.  Maybe someone who is completely new to the idea of "zero waste" would get more from it.  Or, maybe someone who needed a little refresher or extra motivation.  I rate this book a 1 out of 5.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Date Is Set!

Papa spoke with Job #1 again this morning and they came to a salary agreement right in the middle - a win for both sides!

His "official" starting date is May 16th!

I am so happy to have the date already established and be out of this holding pattern!

Since we now know when a "regular" paycheck will be starting again, it will make the next few weeks much easier!  Papa can start/complete a few minor things around the house that we can allocate a bit of money towards now.  Nothing big....just nickel and dime style things that could add up before this.

I cannot wait for this "fresh" start to begin!

And, I am so grateful we survived intact and relationship even stronger than it was (and it was pretty damn strong to begin with! LOL).

Good News All Around!!!

Full of great news this morning!!! 

First off, my mother in law is doing awesome!  She is exceeding all the doctors' expectations so far and will be moved out of the ICU to a regular floor very soon!  She is definitely back to being "Mom" again now that the breathing tube has been removed and she can talk!  I had a very nice conversation with her on Sunday afternoon.  Papa went to the hospital yesterday afternoon alone (I had to stay home to wait for a possible FedEx package - which didn't come and means I will be stuck here all day today now too!).  Papa said that she is continuing in the right direction so yay to that!

The other reason that I am unbelievably happy today is that.....

Papa got a job offer from Job #1!!!!!

It's the one at the hospital that he truly wanted!  It's closer to home, has better benefits, better hours, and a job in which he would be making a difference!

We got the call yesterday afternoon and right now they are still in salary negotiations.  They came in a lot lower than Papa expected so he reiterated how much he wants this job but was hoping for a bit more.  Human Resources agreed (after looking at his salary history) and went back to the Compensation Department to see what they would/could do. 

If they say that is the highest they will go, we decided that Papa would still take the job and we would make it work.  I am so okay with it putting us back to where we were (monetarily) with his last job. This one has tons of room for potential growth and, like I said, he would be happy at the hospital!

Once the salary stuff is ironed out we will find out the starting date and then after a month of employment he will be eligible for insurance....

Is it weird that I am actually kind of excited to be able to see my neurologist again? 

And, maybe even more weird, that I can't wait to get back to monthly fixed budgeting!

Hope you are all having as FANTASTIC a day as I am!

And thank you so very much for all the support over the past six(ish) months!

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Week's Menu

Let's see what's cooking this week!

Apple Strudel
English Muffins with peanut butter, butter, or jam
"Breakfast Delights" (English muffins with bacon and American cheese)
Chocolate Chip Muffins (already made and stashed in freezer)
Yogurt with granola and fresh fruit
Cold cereal

Assorted soups
Uncrustables, chips, & fresh fruit (G2)
Scrambled eggs & bacon (G1)
Grilled cheese


Zesty Curly Fries

French Toast Casserole
Diner style home fries

Mashed Yukon Golds
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans with Garlic

Spicy Udon (haven't decided which recipe I am going to try yet!)
Macaroni and Cheese (for G2)

Baked Chicken with Brussel Sprouts, Apples, & Bacon (new Sara Moulton recipe)
Jasmine Rice

Beef Fajitas
Jasmine Rice (leftover from Wednesday)

Takeout Pizza (local pizza joint having a 30 year celebration with $3 large pizzas!
G2 is having some school art displayed this night so this is perfect timing!!!)

Hopefully there aren't any wrenches thrown my way this week and I can stick to the menu plan!
Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Health & Beauty Freebies

When I met my parents at Costco yesterday, they also brought me a nice bag full of health & beauty style goodies.  I have an uncle who works at Schick and is always bringing home free supplies and passing them on to my parents.  They were given so much this past time that they decided to pass some onto us!

Here is what was inside the bag:

13 Schick Intuition Women's cartridge refills
1 package (6 razors) Schick Xtreme 3 for Women
1 Quattro Women's razor with 4 extra blades in a travel case
1 (4 pack) Quattro Women's blades
3 packs (10 blades each) Silk Effects Women's blades
1 package (10 razors) Schick Slim Twin for Men
1 Quattro for Men razor with 4 extra blades
11 packs (4 blades each pack) Xtreme 3 for Men
2 Men's Right Guard deodorants

With Summer right around the corner and all of us now shaving, this was a very nice and appreciated haul!  My guess is that I won't be buying any razors/blades for at least a year!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

My MIL, Costco, & Farmer's Market Finds....

First off, my mother in law's surgery yesterday was (finally!) successful!  This morning they decided to remove the breathing tube since she is doing so well!  I am 100% sure that made her very happy as I think that has been the absolute worst part of all this in her opinion believe it or not!  Anyway, I am super hopeful that next week things can get pretty much  back to business as usual with only an evening trip to visit her instead of the all day marathons we've had this past week!

My parents offered to bring me to Costco this morning to do some restocking off supplies - and with only around $100 left in the April grocery budget, it was super helpful!  Here's a list of what I got thanks to very generous parents:

1 package of 2 flank steaks
1 package of 4 NY strip steaks
6 lbs of ground beef
4 lbs of bacon
1 box (152 bags) of Ziploc freezer bags
8 boxes of thin spaghetti
3 jars pasta sauce
1 package of (1040 total) napkins
1 large box of microwave popcorn (44 bags)
1 flat (35 cans) of diet Coke
1 case (24 bottles) of diet Snapple
1 large bag of confectioners sugar
1 large bag of brown sugar
1 bag of toasted coconut cookie thins
1 large bag of Ruffles
1 box (32 count) of Skinny Cow chocolates
1 bag of French green beans
1 Caesar salad kit
1 Asian salad kit
4 lbs of butter
1 box (3 pouches) of oatmeal raisin cookies
1 tub of refrigerated cookie dough
30 rolls of Charmin toilet paper
1 box (8) apple strudel
1 box (12) croissants
1 bag (16) hamburger rolls
1 (2 pack) Lucky Charms
1 (2 pack) granola
1 (2 pack) Special K cereal
1 bag (6.5 lbs) of sweet potatoes
1 canister (30 oz) honey roasted mixed nuts

Finally, this morning after Costco, Papa and I took a quick run down to the farmer's market.  We spent $34.00 on the following:

1 bottle of whole milk
1 bottle of heavy cream
1 pint of blueberry yogurt
1 pint of lemon yogurt
1 pint of roasted beet bisque
1 pint of West African peanut soup
2 bunches of ramps

Total left in the grocery budget for April is now at: $82.67.  But, after today's Costco haul, I should be able to stay under this amount easily.

Hope you are all having a great Saturday!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spending Another Day at the Hospital....

The frustration for my mother in law is now at epic levels...

Today she goes into her FOURTH surgery...


Yesterday's surgery turned into an emergency situation because she began to bleed when they were "in there" "moving around organs".  From what we can gather, the surgeon either nicked something or otherwise somehow caused the veins into her intestines to bleed.


Before they realized that this was where the bleeding was indeed coming from...

They opted to remove her spleen - thinking that this was the issue.

I am trying very hard to stay logical.  I know that the surgeons are doing the best they can.  I know that they are dealing with a 73 year old body.

But, it doesn't stop me from being angry and frustrated.

Late last night, Papa got a phone call that her levels have gotten all wonky again. 

She was scheduled this morning to have her fourth surgery to finally put in the colostomy bag.  Right now, I am not sure that is even part of the surgical plan for this morning anymore.

There isn't a single person in the world who has met my mother in law who hasn't liked her.  She's "that" person, you know?

I hate that she is going through this more than anything....

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Updated April Grocery Totals

Last night I had about an hour all to myself while Papa & G1 were out at vocal lessons and G2 was walking around town with friends.  I could have used the time to sleep (and probably should have!) but instead decided to input/update grocery totals for the month.  I really don't want a repeat of March after all!

Since I have quite a few receipts, here's a total of what I spent and what it got me!

Total Spent:  $195.96
Total Left in April Grocery Budget of $400:  $116.67


2 packages (3 count) Apple Strudel
1 bag of popcorn kernels
1 box Cap N Crunch cereal
2 (12 pack) Diet Snapple
6 (6 packs) Coke products
1 16 oz bottle salad dressing
2 organic trail mix granola bars
1.32 lbs of red onions
.66 lbs of broccoli
6 (2 ltr) bottles of Coke
1 can of spray starch
1 bag of popcorn chicken
1 tray of vegetable dumplings
1 (48 oz) bag of peanuts
1 loaf of French bread
2(6 count) of croissants
2 (4 count) packages of fruit turnovers
1 loaf bread
.24 lbs of olives
1 (64 oz) bottle of milk
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
18 large eggs
1 lb of American deli cheese
.5 lb of Boars Head deli turkey
2 boxes of Uncrustables (I know I know but this is all G2 will now eat for lunch! And I can't be the one to cut off the crusts of regular homemade sandwiches!  LOL)
2 packages of Udon noodles
1 bag of Jasmine rice
1 bag of egg noodles
2 (4 pack) of toilet paper
1 (128 oz) bottle of laundry detergent
1 (6 pack) flavored water
1 (8 pack) juice boxes
1 half gallon ice cream
1 jar of hot fudge topping
1 box of frosted shredded wheat cereal
1 bottle maple syrup

Admittedly, way too many small trips have been made lately and way too many convenience foods over the past two weeks.  I need to get back into the habit of planning out/executing one long shopping trip per week and finding time to make things from scratch again as much as possible.   I have to find a better way to plan and not be running around like a chicken with my head cut off!  And, obviously this week has been more difficult than most with a good 75 percent of my time driving to/from or being at the hospital to visit my mother in law and help out Papa's family.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday and please think positive thoughts as my MIL heads into surgery for the last time hopefully for a while!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Better Day & Updates

We spent the morning at the hospital where we got some good news....But first let me back up...

Papa's mother's surgery yesterday ended up being a minor set back in that there was a complication with the original surgery.  The sutures didn't hold and essentially the surgeons were back at square one repairing the area again (this time TRIPLE stapling it!)

Today we found her in a much better place.  She is stable with no further leakage.  And, the doctors decided to take out her breathing tube so she could breathe on her own again and communicate with us!  Her voice is very hoarse and weak but she is in good spirits.

She is scheduled for another (and hopefully the last for awhile!) surgery tomorrow where they will put in the colostomy bag and let the intestines heal.


While at the hospital, Papa got a phone call from Job #1 - they want him to meet with one final phone interview with someone he would be working with in about one year from now (should he get the job).  However, instead of doing a phone interview, Papa will just meet the person in the lobby of the hospital.  Why?  Because that's where Job #1 is!  I hadn't mention before (I don't think) but Job #1 is a position in a very large hospital handling the surgical supplies inventory (purchasing/forecasting/etc). 

While I am happy and relieved to have heard from them, I did want to have a full blown temper tantrum and scream "Show us the money already!"  LOL  Seriously, I think they are being super cautious because Papa doesn't come from a medical inventory background so the higher ups want to make sure everyone is happy with their choice for the position.  So far, Papa has been passing through with flying colors!  Let's hope that continues tomorrow!

I am beyond exhausted right now and can't seem to get enough sleep - although I am sleeping trust me!  I am proud of the fact that I haven't caved and bought take out even though I am running to and from the hospital and running the guppies to their things!  Dinners have been simple enough...

Spaghetti with tomatoes, basil, & garlic with Italian bread
Baked ham slices, mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, roasted asparagus
Pasta salad with veggies

And tonight will most likely be:
Puffed pancake, bacon, & diner style home fries

Nothing too interesting....Or too challenging.  But the food "fills the hole" so to speak and everyone is okay with it.  I have been making extra as well so the Guppies can grab stuff for lunches/snacks.

Really hoping things stabilize soon and next week can be back to business!  =)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Quick Update on My MIL

First off....

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers

My MIL made it through the first surgery early yesterday morning (around 1 am).  There were some complications however - the perforation was even worse than originally thought which caused her to become septic and the surgeon was unable to finish the surgery because everything was so inflamed.  However, she made it through!   And she appears to be hitting the milestones they wanted (being able to follow simple directions - squeeze my hand, wiggle your toes, etc) earlier than anticipated!

She is scheduled for a second surgery today to go back in and do some more "cleaning out" and also give her a colostomy bag.  If all goes well, she will need this for about six months and then go back for the final surgery to, for lack of a better way to put it, sew her intestines back together.

While nowhere near out of the woods yet, she is doing remarkably well so far!

Since she is heavily sedated, intubated, and hooked up to a zillion monitors, we decided that, unless absolutely necessary, the Guppies won't be visiting her at the moment.  It was hard for me to see her like that and I am 100 percent positive that G2 couldn't handle it either.

After dropping the Guppies off to school today, we will take care of the dog and get over to the hospital to see my MIL before today's surgery.  I'll be staying as long as possible but will need to leave to pick up G1 from school and bring her back and forth to work.  Truthfully, this works out better anyway because Papa hasn't been sleeping much at all and I would rather he not be driving the car a lot.

I do have one piece of good news to share...

Nope it isn't about Papa's job situation yet.


After a month plus stay, my brother in law was discharged from the hospital yesterday.  The TIPS procedure they did about two weeks ago is working which is taking pressure of the kidneys and liver for now.  This means he bought himself some extra time while waiting for a new liver and having to "go get drained" less - his stomach fills with fluid due to his liver failure and the fluids need to be removed at regular intervals.

Okay, I'm off.  Hopefully this post makes some sense - I'm pretty tired too and don't have the patience to re-read what I wrote.  LOL

Thanks for sticking around.  I promise it will be back to more regular blog posts once all is well health wise again.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Not My Planned Post For Today....

It's 2 am on Monday morning as I write this.
My original post was going to be about what a great week we had as a family, how Papa is in the "reference check" phase of Job #1, how relaxed/refreshed I feel, and how ready I am to get back to business now.

While all of the above things are true, there is a new situation that may end up causing my blogging to be sporadic for the next few days....

I'm up at 2 am because I had to drop Papa off at the hospital to see his mom before emergency surgery.

She was visiting my brother in law at the hospital in the middle of last week and started having extreme abdominal pain.  Luckily, a family friend was at the hospital at the time and brought her down to the emergency room.  What started as a diagnosis of diverticulitis has now morphed into her kidneys shutting down, lungs filled with fluid, and a full blown colostomy.  Papa talked to the surgeon before I drove him down to the hospital and the surgeon said she has a "better than fifty percent chance" of surviving the surgery.  I like those odds for winning the lottery but not for someone I love to continue to be here with us.

I will be heading back down to the hospital in a few (very) short hours after I get the kids ready and dropped off to school so I will be away from my computer.

Please send my second mom good thoughts and keep her in your prayers. 


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spring Technology Break

Definitely NOT the weather here in Connecticut!!!

Today starts my technology break for the next ten plus days!

Due to the recent turn of events, which I will tell you all about if/when everything is finalized, I will be making the absolute most of this time with my family as I think our days of leisure are drawing to a close.  (Not a thing to be upset about though!!!

By the way, this tech break is for the entire family!  Papa of course is excluded when it comes to anything job search related however.  I told the Guppies they can have some time in the evenings to be on their phones, text, facetime, etc so I *may* take that time to keep up with everyone's posts!  LOL

Okay, I am off to unplug!

Have a great week or so!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Last Hurdle....

...for at least the next week, that is!

This past Tuesday and Wednesday were big days here in my little world.

Papa had his second interview at Potential Job #1 on Tuesday.  They had him meet with the different department heads that he would be working with should he be offered this position.  Papa said it went very well - to the point where the "big" boss was extremely impressed.  However, over the course of the last few months, we have been reminded time and time again not to get ahead of ourselves.  Nothing is definite.  I really do hope that this job is the one though.  I know Papa would like the challenge.  It's only about thirty minutes away in a city with which we are familiar.  As far as we could tell from our limited knowledge, the health benefits are good - which is an important component obviously due to my MS.
Today he has a third quick telephone call this morning with yet another person from Job #1.  This is just with what we think is a vendor he would have to work with should he get this job.

Papa had his second interview at Potential Job #2 on Wednesday.  This job would pay more that #1 but he is relatively sure there is a way higher healthcare deductible and possible international travel to China.  This interview went smoothly as well.  On the way out of the building, they did tell  Papa they would be in touch soon but have another candidate coming in for second interviews too. It is always nerve wracking to hear there are two of you in the running.  Yes, you are aware there are more people than you interviewing for a job but it's a different story when it's actually vocalized....if that makes any sense.

We have been discussing the "what ifs" now so we can be prepared if/when offer(s) are brought to the table.  Papa would jump at either position. If BOTH businesses make offers to Papa, he would like the first job (even with slightly less money).  I am in complete agreement.  And, when I say "less money", he would still be slightly above what he was making at the job that laid him off.

The other hurdle was on Wednesday.  Papa's brother (the one I talked about earlier in my blog with the diseased liver) has been in the hospital for at least the past three weeks.  The doctors have called what has happened to him as "miraculous" in that his kidneys have almost completely shut down twice and bounced back enough to not need dialysis or a transplant...yet.  The kidneys are struggling due to the liver not functioning (he is on the organ waiting list currently).  On Wednesday, they did a procedure that would have some of the blood bypass his liver (which isn't working anyway) and hopefully give his kidneys a break and buy some time while waiting on the list for the new liver.  Papa and I went to this hospital Thursday morning to visit.  He was in a lot of pain but the doctors say that is to be expected and they think the procedure was successful and should help in the long run.

Why am I calling these "hurdles"?  These were the last few things that had to be tackled before (hopefully) smooth sailing next week.  Like I previously mentioned, Spring Break is next week for the Guppies so Papa and I want as stress free a week as possible.

I will be going "off grid" (also like I mentioned before) this Saturday and returning to my regular blogging on Monday the 18th.  But, truthfully?  I hope that I get interrupted to blog that Papa was offered a job!

Otherwise, I hope you all have a great week and will rejoin me in my blogging adventures once Spring Break is over!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

All This Trouble Over a Ball?

Thirty minutes after I dropped Guppy 1 at her job, she texted me.  She had been playing dodgeball with the kids (she is an aftercare counselor at a local elementary school) and got smacked in the nose by the ball....AGAIN!  This is the second time this has happened in the last four months or so.  First time, a kid threw is directly at her face (when she wasn't looking) on purpose!  This time it was another counselor who got her...but at least it was an accident.

Anyway, she wanted to have it checked out because this time it was gushing blood...Great, right?  At first I was hoping it was just because of her nose ring but nope she said it was bleeding out both nostrils.  Just wonderful.

So I picked her up and off to the MediQuick Clinic we went (on her job's dime).  After assessing that everything was in the "right place" and nothing was broken, G1 admitted to having a slight headache.  The doctor checked her pupil dilation (which was fine) and said it was "common" to have a headache after a ball to the face.


He wouldn't sign off that she could go back to work on Thursday!  WTH?!?!

He told us she should be "evaluated" by her physician once the headache went away.  WHAT?!?!

I explained that this was the second time this happened - we even joked about it in the examination room - and that the other time it happened, the doctor just signed off she could go back to work.  It was the same clinic but different doctor.

I couldn't get him to budge!

While I have a healthy amount of respect for everyone in the medical field, I am not afraid to stand up to a doctor when needed.  (Thank you Mom for being a nurse and making sure I remembered that I had a voice when dealing with doctors!)  But, this guy?  I don't know what his problem was.  As a matter of fact, his original paperwork stated that she should see her primary ONLY if symptoms persisted.

To quote my mom, "Yep, sounds like you got a real PR!%K of a doctor this time!".

Now G1 misses both days of work this week because I had to wait to have her seen on Thursday afternoon - when she was supposed to be at her job!

And, I am assuming that the job will get billed for this doctor visit too!

All so the doctor can take a look at her and check a tiny box on a piece of paper that says she can go back to work after school break.

Insanity, if you ask me! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

No More Postponing....

Guppy 1 turned 17 in January - And, as I am reminded almost daily, a full year overdue on getting her learner's permit!  LOL

We almost scheduled a test for her last fall but then Papa lost his job.  Quite frankly, I have been putting it off - mostly due to expenses.

But, I really can't put it off any longer.

So, I scheduled a test for her learner's permit - but had to wait until the middle of May to get on the schedule!  The test and permit costs total $59 - which I had to pay to secure her date/time.  I told her that she has this ONE chance from us to pass since if she fails, the test fee has to be paid for again.  If she doesn't pass, she pays for the subsequent testing herself.  Trust me - she WILL study her butt off to keep her money in her account!  =)

I cannot believe how much things have changed since I got my driver's license!  There wasn't any test/fees to get a permit - I remember that!  There are so many more hoops to jump through now even  for us parents - at least it seems like it!

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be looking into driving schools for G1 because, apparently, IF you complete a course through a school, you can test for the actual driver's license in four months instead of six.  Again, I don't think this was a requisite for a license back in the day.

What I DO know WILL happen is our insurance is going to probably triple once she has that little laminated card in her hand!  Once I have the actual dollar figure, I will decide if/how much she will have to help pay - taking into account that her current job is only during school months.

Has anyone out there gone through this recently? Any advice?


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Case of Crabbolas Blogpherius*

* aka The Crabby Blogger

While in the shower a few minutes ago, I was thinking about my blog post this morning.  AND about how I was feeling about a few other minor issues this morning and realized that....

I am completely crabby today!

I was being very unfair to my BFF in that last post.  I KNOW what she does is out of kindness and, yes some of it is really strange and sort of gross, she doesn't do it to offend!  In the end, she does what she does because she loves my family and wants to help us!

Moving forward for now....

I won't be mentioning anything to her just YET.

I'll weed through the stuff and toss what is unusable...

And try to keep a good sense of humor about it.

Once Papa is back at work however...

If the weird food freebies continue...

And, I will make sure to add phrases such as

"Wow, it's so nice to be able to buy such and such again"


"It's such a relief to have a steady income to work with every month"

Things along that line to reassure her that we are fine again.

If that doesn't work,

I will try to redirect her offerings elsewhere

In a gentle manor!  LOL

What I need to be doing this morning is counting my blessings and being grateful to even have someone in my life that is as caring and wonderful as her!  And to continue to remember how LUCKY I am to have all the amazing people that I do have in my little world!

Time to banish Crabbolas Blogpherius!  I hope you didn't catch it too!


Writing this post has me a bit anxious, but, I gotta ask the questions....

  It's about freebies, actually...

And, I am having a LOT of trouble finding a way to word this without sounding like a completely entitled brat, so try to bear with me here....

First off, I love my best friend (aka the Freebie Fairy) to death!  She is like my sister, truly.  But, unlike a blood sister, I can't have the conversation that I need to with her regarding her, ummm, generosity?

She has given me some absolutely amazing denying it!  Just this past week she gave me a brand new pair of nice winter boots that are now in storage for next year.  And I haven't forgotten the:
Coach purse
1/2 dozen plus warm throw blankets
1/2 dozen plus pairs of slippers
 Many other nice and useful things she has passed on to us!  Of course I am more the grateful!

However, lately I feel like I am just a dumping ground for the things she doesn't want to throw out. 

Here is a list of the things I have gotten in the past two weeks that prove my point....
Opened jar of salsa with less than 1/3 left
Approximately 1/2 cup of almond flour
Literally the bottom of a chip bag with nothing but broken pieces/crumbs left
Peanut butter with less than 2 tablespoons left in it
Wilted partially slimy basil
The scrapings of another Nutella jar
An IPhone speaker without the needed wires to use*
An IPhone charger without the needed plug to recharge it*
* I asked about missing wires/plugs very nonchalantly and was told she didn't have/lost them

I say "thank you" and I have been trying to laugh it off...


It's still getting to me...

Like does she think we are that destitute?   Wait, okay that's not fair I know.


Maybe I am just acting too proud?

Here's the thing though...

We have given to food banks very often when Papa was working.  And I have always taught the Guppies to give stuff that you would want to eat and most definitely unopened/non expired food.

I know she isn't trying to make us feel badly. She's not that kind of person!


I also don't want to have to keep disposing of things that don't have any true IPhone items since consignment won't accept that sort of thing without all the needed plugs/wires.


Call me a princess but...

Eating something someone else already opened (and used most of) skeeves me out.

My hope is that once Papa is working again (fingers and toes crossed this will be soon!) these odd donations will stop.  And, to be honest, I wouldn't mind if all freebies stopped because I am beginning to feel uncomfortable now with all that she has passed on!  She's a shopper and, as I have already mentioned, gifted us with a lot of nice things too!

So, questions...

Would you eat opened food from someone that you knew?

Am I just being too damn proud or picky?


My biggest question...

Do I find a way to tell her that we are okay and she could/should pass ALL her freebies on to someone else?  (That's the nicest way I could think of to word that.  I'm sure many of you would have more tact than me, so if you have anything better, please let me know!!!)


Do I go ahead and thicken my skin, laugh it off, and dispose of the stuff myself?

(After re-reading this I am starting to wonder if I am making a bigger deal of this than it is...)

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Meal Plan....

This week I'm trying a "use it up" theme since my cupboards and pantry are still overflowing!  I plan on limiting my shopping tremendously this week! As of right now, the only thing I know we need to grab is some more eggs!

Blueberry Muffins
English Muffins
Raspberry Squares
Yogurt, fruit, & granola

New England Seafood Chowder (Papa's leftovers from Soup Girl)
Egg Salad Sandwiches (for Papa)
Grilled Cheese & Pretzels
Eggs & Bacon (G1)
Granola Bars, string cheese, & fruit


Veggie Casserole
Macaroni & Cheese (G2)

Chicken Cutlets in White Wine Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Balsamic Carrots
Crescent Rolls

Baked Ham Slices
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts in olive oil & garlic

Beans & Rice
Ziti with Marinara sauce
Italian Bread with roasted garlic

French Fries

Take Out

***FYI:  Since the Guppies have Spring Break next week, I have decided to go "off grid" on a technology break to fully enjoy the week with my family.  I will be still trying to keep to my frugal ways and will resume blogging again on Monday April 18th.***

Sunday, April 3, 2016

More Shopping Totals.....

Here's the last of my shopping totals from yesterday...

TJ MAXX:  $21.99
Calvin Klein dress shirt for Papa to wear with his suit

1 pair of black Converse sneakers for G1
12 pairs of women's white no peak socks (to split among me, G1, & G2)

KOHL'S :  $85.08
1 bra (for me)
12 pairs of underwear (for me)
Yeah, along with my makeup splurge, I splurged on new undergarments.  But, take my word for it, it was completely necessary and bras to hold up my "girls" are pricey!!!  LOL  Also, I was down to two or three "good" pairs of panties!

The only thing left that I can think of that is still needed for the Spring/Summer months now are those %$^#@! flip flops for the girls!  I have put $40 away towards these.  Anything left will be rolled into the found money account.

I am totally done with the mall now...Unless the Guppies need rides there and spend their own money!  =)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Playing Around with Extra Care Bucks..

I went to CVS two separate times and did three transactions to try to optimize my Extra Care Bucks.  All in all, I think I did fairly well!  =)

First Transaction
I needed to replenish some Bath & Health items and G1 wanted to grab some supplements...

2 Dove deodorants (buy 1/get one half off)
1 Aussie Moist Shampoo (large container with pump)
1 Aussie Moist conditioner (large container with pump)
1 Aussie Instant Freeze Hairspray
1 bottle of Vitamin A
1 bottle of L-Lysine
1 bottle of B Complex
1bottle of Green Tea

Also, I am completely out of all my makeup - like ALL!  I don't wear makeup all that often (maybe five times or so per month) and had put it off until now.  I decided to bite the bullet and start replenishing....

1 Maybelline eyeshadow (set of four colors)
1 Maybelline foundation
1 Maybelline blush

Total Spent for this transaction: $85.83 minus $40.00 (G1's reimbursement for supplements) = 45.83!*
*I used a $4 ECB for my winter spending, a kiosk coupon of $3 off $15 or more on shampoo/styling products, and $3 off $15 or more on Maybelline cosmetics.
PLUS I got an additional $10 in ECB's!

Second Transaction
I went back to purchase a few more cosmetics for myself (with my $10 ECBS and another $5 ECB I forgot at home for my first transaction.)    I bought:

1 light brown eyeliner
1 large pallete of light colored eyeshadows
1 black mascara

Total Spent for this transaction: $13.05* (after the $15 worth of ECBs)
*I received another $5 ECBs for buying these makeup products

Third Transaction
1 CVS brand hair gel (smallish tube)
1 Elf brand makeup brush
1 double pack of Coppertone sunscreen (Completely out and we are very fair skinned here!)

Total Spent for this transaction:  $14.00 (after $5 ECB)

I know this probably seems like quite a bit of money out of pocket still.  However, I was virtually starting from scratch with the makeup again.  Only spending $36.52 on all those things makes me pretty happy. I was careful and only bought what I used/needed.  If I hadn't, I could have been triple this amount - easy peasy!

And, since I bought Bath/Hair supplies, I need to count that towards my overall grocery expenditures...

Total Spent on Bath/Body:  $39.96
Total left for April Groceries:  $312.63