Saturday, August 19, 2017

Back From An (Almost) Perfect Vacation....

Emily's of the gorgeous old covered bridges in Vermont
I will post more pictures from our hikes once I get them up on my computer!

The weather was unbelievably perfect...
The hikes were breathtaking...
The family (aka the Guppies) were getting along really well...
So what was the problem?

Well, you know the mantra "Cash is King"?
Yeah, well I guess I learned it is.

Now, I was actually using "cash" out of our checking account via our debit card....
Anyone know where I am going with this yet?

Wednesday evening we did a quick run to the local Shaws to grab some more drinks for the room and...
Since the fellow before me also had his card declined, the cashier thought something was wrong with her register.  Not thinking much of it, I paid with cash and went on my way....

Until later that night when we did a quick run to the mini mart next door to the hotel and....

My credit union doesn't have 24 hour customer service so I had to wait to call until Thursday morning at 9am.  I thought that the card may have been marked for possible fraud since purchases were made in Vermont.

Here's the gist of the conversation with the rep Thursday morning...

ME:  "Hi, I'm on vacation and my card was declined twice last evening. Can you tell me why?"
REP: (After a brief hold)  "Ma'am are you in Miami Beach?"
REP:  "Or Arizona?"
ME:  "NO!  I'm in Vermont!"

Two very large transactions were attempted Wednesday night for Miami Beach and Arizona...which is why my card (thankfully) got flagged.  I verified MY purchases so no money was lost from the account at all.


My debit card was immediately null and void.  I couldn't use it at all.  Not to withdraw cash even.  It's a great precaution but I was 250 miles from the closest branch of my credit union with another two days to go in vacation!

Luckily, Papa did have his credit card (our only active one) in his wallet.  So, the rest of the trip was done on his card (with me making an additional payment online once we got home to cover the extra expenses).

Also as luck would have it, a little voice told me the day before we left to pull out the money for our dog's boarder (who only takes cash) and I actually listened!  LOL  So the money was safely tucked away at home and I could pick her up bright and early this morning.

My new debit card and pin are on their way and will be here within....


The closest branch to my house is in my parents' town (20 to 25 minutes away).  So, when we went to pick up the ferret, I made a quick stop in there to withdraw what I should need until I get my new card.

Now I have to go through all my automatic withdrawls and suspend them/change them to our checking account number rather than the debit card number. 

But, like I said, at least no cash is missing from my account right?

This is the very first time I have had any trouble like this at all!  And I'm super disappointed it happened in our favorite place in the world!  The card never left me besides when I gave it to servers to pay for food!  The bank representative told me it happened between Tuesday's and Wednesday's dinners.  I never thought twice handing it over to pay for our meals.  You bet I will now!  Especially if/when we go back to those two restaurants!

Anyone else ever had something like this happen to them while on vacation?

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August Grocery Shopping: Week 2

So, if you recall, I have made a very ambitious goal to be at or under $250 for groceries for the month of August!  That's $300 less than my usual goal!

Last week I spent $44.07 which left me with $205.93 to spend for August.

Let's see how I did this week....

Big Y:  $7.87
1 (8oz) container of Daisy sour cream
1 container of Kosher salt
2 (32 oz each) store brand distilled vinegar*
2 (32 oz each) boxes of baking soda*

*including these items with groceries but bought at least one of each to help force out the possible dishwasher clog

A quick check in both the kitchen and bath pantries showed I was down foil (needed for ribs) and a quick trip to Dollar Tree was in order.
Dollar Tree:  $6.38
2 rolls of aluminum foil
2 tubes of toothpaste
1 bottle of White Rain shampoo
1 roll paper towels

Neighborhood Farm:  $3.50
6 ears of corn on the cob

Big Y:  $9.87
1 container chocolate frosting
1 package vegetable sushi & sauce

Total for the week:  $27.62
Total spent so far in August:  $71.69
Left in August budget:  $178.31

So, I think I have been doing pretty darn well this month but, quite honestly, I have some extra motivation due to vacation.  But, that DOES prove that I CAN do much better most months than I have been doesn't it? 

I am thinking about keeping track of *some* of the things we buy during vacation (like snacks & water for hiking) but next week there won't be any big grocery trips, obviously.

My list for when we do get back from vacation IS growing since supplies here are dwindling down considerably.  Hopefully I will be refreshed and ready to tackle this and stay under budget!

Anyway, I'm not sure I will be able to do any posting next week so, in case I don't, have a great week everyone!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day Book for August 12th, 2017

One of my favorite places in the world - Sterling Pond in Stowe, Vermont...

Out my window....
It looks like the rain has (hopefully) completely moved through our area and it's partly sunny!  Lots of people out and about this morning in cars and walking/jogging.

What I am hearing...
G2 getting ready for the day, Papa out in the garage working on something or other, the dog eating her "breakfast" even though it's already 11am.

What I am wearing...
Pastel PJ bottoms and pink oversized T shirt since I literally just rolled out of bed like 15 minutes ago!

What I am feeling...
First off, I'm physically feeling yucky - which I can hopefully shake off before we go on vacation!
Other feelings....
Excited to get away and hike/bike/relax with Papa and the Guppies
Worried about my brother in law W, who is back in the hospital again and once again almost died
Tired just thinking about all the things we have to do before we go away

What I am reading....
Still reading that Moth Radio Hour book - it's really good!  And, I love the fact that each story is less than twenty pages long so I can pick it up and read it whenever I have a few minutes.

From the kitchen....
Not too much going on in there since it's clean and I would to keep it that way mostly!  LOL  We will be eating odds and end today and tomorrow.  However, G2 and her adorable boyfriend made a cake the other day to bring back to his house for dessert after dinner with his grandparents.  How cute is that?!?!

Weekend Plans....
Besides that HUGE to do list?  Hopefully fitting in some sleep!  Hahaha!

This is the first time I have turned my computer on in about four days!  I'm so sorry that I haven't been up to date/commenting on everyone's blogs....

I'll catch up soon!

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Decent Score On A Neccessity

While doing laundry recently, I noticed that Papa's underwear was getting a little a good 60% of it was nearing the end of their usefulness.

Not wanting to spend a tremendous amount, I headed down to my local Bobs Store (which hasn't closed yet) to scour a deal.

After looking around a bit, I found one of Papa's two preferred brands in his preferred style....
A 6 pair package for $39.99...


That's a lot more than I wanted (or could) spend!


My (free) store card entitled me to 30% off all clothing items which brought the price down to $27.30....

That's a bit better.


I had squirreled away TWO $10 coupons - one sent to all card members (I'm assuming) and one for my birthday month.


With tax, I spend out of pocket, $9.03 for six pairs - about $1.50/pair!

And, it's a decent name brand with a track record of holding up for a very long time so these should last Papa at least a good year plus!

I'm pretty satisfied with this purchase!

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Dishwasher, Braces, & Almost an Insurance Heart Attack!

Happy Monday everyone!

And, it actually is happy here in my little world!

While not *quite* a Positively Monday post, I do have a few positives to share...

1 The dishwasher is finally fixed!  If you have ever had a broken dishwasher (or no dishwasher) over the summer with a bunch of teenagers constantly in and out, you can understand just how thrilled this truly makes me!  LOL  Even better, the cost was only approximately $29 (for a new pump) and some elbow grease on Papa's part!  Poor Papa though!  He spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon working on it because not only did the pump go but...the two hoses were clogged up too!  However we are back in business and I have a very sparkling completely working dishwasher again.  (You can't see me but I may be doing a little happy dance right now!)

2.  Today is the day Guppy 2 gets her braces off!  She couldn't be more excited about it, trust me!  She's equally excited about her corn on the cob with dinner tonight!  It's really awesome to have that farm right up the street from me - especially since corn is their specialty!

3.  And... for the almost heart attack...
Saturday's mail brought a very thick unpleasant envelope from our insurance company.  It was pages and pages of EOBs - which would be normal/fine except for the fact that ALL of G2's therapy sessions were DENIED going all the way back to JUNE!  At $150/week, well you can see where the heart attack comes in!  I was going to call them this morning to figure out why "prior authorization" was required when she has been seeing the same therapist since December of last year....However, when I brought G2 to therapy this morning I mentioned what happened to her therapist.  The therapist was actually aware and said it was something she needed to do on her end and it should be cleared up soon.  Lo and behold today's mail brought a new letter from the insurance company with approval for the back dates and the rest of the year.  PHEW!

Hope you are all having an awesome Monday!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Meal Plan for This Week

Last week's meal plan was super successful!  Truthfully I am shocked!  Haha!
We only had two (slight) deviations from the plan...
Thursday I did tacos instead of mini meatloaves and then Saturday (since it was just Papa & me) I did pierogis instead of hamburgers & fries.
I think that's pretty darn good for trying to get back on track!  =)
This week I will be in "Use it Up/Make Do" extreme mode since we leave for vacation the following Monday!

Cold cereal with milk
Homemade "Egg McMuffins"
Yogurt with fruit/granola
English muffins with peanut butter/jelly
"Breakfast Delights" (English muffins with bacon & American cheese) G2's favorite

Pasta Salad
Tuna Salad (Papa)
Grilled Cheese
Macaroni & Cheese
Misc frozen items still left in freezer (ie half bag of popcorn chicken, assorted individual pizzas, potstickers, etc)


Individual Calzones (to use up leftover ball of pizza dough)

G2's Braces Off Celebration!
Slow oven cooked BBQ Baby Back Ribs (YUM!)
Roasted Baby Potatoes
Corn on the Cob (G2's favorite which she hasn't had since she got her braces!)
Roasted Green Beans
Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes (I have everything we need in the house already so why not?)


Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin (new recipe I saw on Food Network)
Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Breakfast for dinner:
Belgian Waffles with Raspberry Sauce
Diner style homefries

Spaghetti & Meatballs
Garlic Bread (using leftover hotdog rolls from freezer)

French Fries

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches & Chips

Maybe a little chip heavy (LOL) but not too bad for a menu, right?
I *think* the only thing I need to buy this week will be the corn on the cob - which I will be able to get fresh from the farm up the street from me!

Have you done your meal planning for the upcoming week yet?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day Book for August 5th, 2017

Outside my window...
We were woken up by some wicked pouring rain around 7am but now the sky is just overcast.  Not quite sure we are done with the rain yet.

What I am hearing...
The dog panting very heavily since we just returned from a brief walk with her - too humid outside to go far plus we wanted to be close to home if it started to rain,  Papa playing video games, and the sound of G2 upstairs getting ready to go out.

What I am wearing...
Navy blue v neck t-shirt, gray shorts, sneakers, and my fitbit  LOL

What I am reading...
I just started The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown.  If you listen to NPR, you may know about their show The Moth Radio Hour - where ordinary people tell stories: some thought provoking, heartbreaking, scary, but always real.  This book is a collection of those stories in written form.  So far I really like it.
The book Papa recommended, I Remember You: A Ghost Story, was phenomenal!  I highly recommend it!  Very creepy with a good mystery involved.

What I am feeling...
Tired...but what else is new, right?  I think it's the combination of the gloomy weather and the fact that G2 woke me up last night to take a picture of her and her BFF.  Her BFF slept over last night and they decided to use each other's backs as paint canvases.  G2 drew a beach/palm tree scene on the BFF's back.  The BFF drew a night city scape on G2's back.  They came out quite good actually.  And, the girls cleaned everything up so I had no mess to deal with in the morning.  Phew!

What I am watching...
I love all things from the colonial period!  Papa found a YouTube channel this morning called Townsends which I can't wait to start watching!  There is a lot of cooking demonstrations - which I find intriguing.  There are hundreds of episodes so this could take me all fall & winter to get caught up!

From the kitchen...
Papa will be working on our dishwasher very soon so not too much will be going on in there otherwise!  LOL  We replaced the pump but it's still not clearing the water out!  Grrrrrr!

Today's freebie....
We went to the Farmer's Market earlier because Papa really wanted yogurt for this week.  Since we are trying to eat down what we have in the house in preparation for our Vermont trip, I didn't want to buy/look at anything else.  We returned two milk bottles and their deposit refund covered the cost of the yogurt!  I must admit it felt a bit weird to get something "free"  at the farmer's market.  But, we are faithful customers and I'm sure we will more than make up this freebie before August is over!  Haha!

Weekend Agenda...
This weekend is much different than those we have been having for the past month or two!  We usually go for at least one day hike per weekend but that's not happening this weekend.  Boo!
We did the farmer's market.
Papa is going to be working on the dishwasher problem.
I have to make granola later this evening.
I have to make next week's meal plan.
Papa is helping my brother move some furniture from my sister in law's grandmother's home to theirs.  It's smack dab in the middle of the day so I doubt we have time to do a whole lot before or after.  So I think there will be a lot of puttering around the house/cleaning/laundry etc.

And I do plan on sneaking in some time on that YouTube show I wrote about above!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August Grocery Budget

I have given August's budget some thought....

I am going to really challenge myself for this month's budget!

I would like to keep my total grocery bill under $250!

Yeah, you read that right!  LOL

However, we are going to be on vacation for one week so it's not *quite* as challenging as it sounds.

Here's my shopping from this week.  I see us possibly heading to the farmer's market on Saturday since Papa is out of yogurt.  Other than that, I am done shopping for the week. 

Truthfully, I wasn't planning on going shopping at all this week but I was out of a few necessities (like dish detergent) so I also cherry picked the loss leaders while I was there.

Big Y:  $44.07
1 can of whipped cream
1 lb deli American cheese
3 gallons Friendly's ice cream (on sale @1.99 each)
3 boxes Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies (Papa's favorite and Buy1/Get 2 Free $4.29 for all)
1 family sized box of Wheat Thins
1 box Ortega taco shells
1 packet taco seasoning
1 bottle Hershey's syrup
1 bottle chocolate sprinkles
1 bottle Ajax dish detergent
3 bags UTZ chips (Buy 1/Get 2 Free $4.29 for all)
1 loaf store brand bread
2 store brand Mio type water enchancers
1 lb carrots

Total left in August grocery budget:  $205.93

No doubt this will be interesting!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July Grocery Totals

First off, if anyone is wondering, I DO plan on bringing Weigh in Wednesday back next week!  I am NOT going to give up this time!

The final numbers for July are in...

And, well, they could be quite a bit better!

I really think that I need a slush fund for Summer 2018 to help ease what seems to happen every single year!

Anyway, moving on to the totals....

As of last check in, I had spent
of my allocated grocery funds.

And, had:
to spend.

I *should* have been able to accomplish this!

*Spoiler alert:  I didn't!*

Let's check out how bad the damage was.....

Big Y:  $80.96
1 loaf of Italian bread
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 (18 count) package of eggs
1 small ball of mozzarella
1 lb American cheese
1 (12 pack) toilet paper
1 (12 pack) diet Snapple
3 boxes store brand mac n cheese
1 (6 pack) water
3 store brand sparkling water type drinks
1 bag spicy Doritos
1 jar pineapple salsa
1 bag Green Mountain tortilla chips
2 (32 oz) bottles of PowerAde
4 (32 oz) bottles of GatorAde
3 (2ltr) bottles of Coke products
1 package thin chicken cutlets
1 lb store brand bacon
3 pork tenderloins
"JoJos" from the hot bar (I was super hungry when I went to the store and devoured those suckers on the car ride home! LOL)
1 head of garlic
1 lb of yellow squash
1 lb of zucchini

Big Y:  $29.36
1 (24 oz) bottle of vegetable oil
1 bottle of store brand Mio style water flavoring
3 (2ltr) bottles of Coke products
4 (32 oz) bottles of PowerAde
6 bottles of store brand sparkling water drinks
1 store brand chicken (don't recall the weight but it was fairly large!)

Stop & Shop:  $15.37
1 gallon whole milk (we were out and nowhere near Farm Market day!)
1 bag French fries
1 box Oreos
1 (12oz) box of frozen breaded chicken strips

Big Y:  $28.86
2 boxes of PF Changes frozen rice
1 box ravioli
3 half gallons ice cream
1 bag of hot dog rolls
3 (6 packs) store brand English muffins
1 package of Hummel hot dogs

Total spent:  $154.55
Total spent on July groceries:  $496.23
Over budget by:  $46.23

Okay, so it wasn't as bad as I feared before totaling it all up.  But, I really *need* an under budget month for my psyche!  LOL

Plus, it kills me because the above last two trips to the store were completely unnecessary and kid driven! 

But, it is what it is!  And it's time to tackle August!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Getting Back on Track: Meal Planning

Well, hello! Fancy meeting you here.....on this blog I have pretty much neglected over the past month!  LOL

Truthfully, I have missed blogging and reading blogs!  I really have to schedule some "down time" to do both!


On my rather short walk with the dog this morning (way too hot outside for her!), I came to the conclusion that, as much as I hate doing it, I have to start meal planning again.  Even a loose plan is better than no plan, right?  There have been way too many nights of fast food in this house lately!  Trust me my waist line, bank account, and refrigerator with past prime food show it.

So, I figure now is a decent time to start again since:

1.  I would love to keep August's grocery budget way in check! (I'll post about July final grocery tally next time.)
2.  I would like to use a good portion of what is in the house before we head off for vacation!

So, without further adieu, here's my plan for the week!

Cold cereal with milk
Homemade "Egg McMuffins"
Yogurt with fruit/granola
English muffins with peanut butter/jelly
"Breakfast Delights" (English muffins with bacon & American cheese) G2's favorite

Pasta Salad
Tuna Salad (Papa)
Grilled Cheese
Misc frozen items (ie half bag of popcorn chicken, assorted individual pizzas, potstickers, etc)


Pan-seared Flank Steak
Roasted potatoes
Roasted green beans

Fried Dough

Chinese Chicken Stir fry
Jasmine rice

Mini Meatloaves
Roasted sweet potatoes
Brussel sprouts

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Green beans with garlic


Not terribly exciting but it keeps us fed and me out of the grocery store! 

Anything good on your menu?

Do you struggle with meal planning in the summer too?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quick Check In...

Everything is good here except this summer is kicking my butt!  As you can obviously guess, I have lost all sense of a schedule!  (But I am just going to go with it until school rolls back around!)

So, please bear with my sporadic posting and commenting on blogs!

A few notable things have happened recently....

Guppy 2 has been cleared to get her braces off!  The official date is August 7th, but if they weren't so booked up, she could have gotten them removed sooner.  She is one excited girl - she was thrilled to not have to start sophomore year with them!  We were all in shock (including her orthodontist) as to how well/quickly her teeth responded to the braces.  We were all a wee bit concerned she may still have them by junior year!  LOL  Now, if only my payments could be done!  Currently I have $1225 to go - my only silver lining is that financing was done through the orthodontist's office with zero interest.

I had a notable trip to the mall at the beginning of this week.  I brought G2 & friends and decided to stay to get some steps/walking in and look for some good clearance sales.  While it doesn't look like I am going to need any new shorts this summer (and couldn't guess where I will be by next spring), I did need some new t-shirts.  I wear them pretty much year round (layered under things in the cold weather) and my current collection is getting pretty ratty.  Sadly, Old Navy (my go to for cheaper T's) have changed their cut/style this year and I am NOT a fan.  A little more searching and I ended up in the store New York & Company....
I did AWESOME there!  They had "doorbuster" prices on their T's and all clearance sweaters (from last season) were only $4.99!  These sweaters were originally $45 and up!  I could have gone really crazy at those prices but practiced restraint.  LOL
For $26.55 including tax, I got the following:
1 black v neck T (originally $16.99)
1 navy blue v neck T (originally $16.99)
1 baby blue T (originally $16.99)
1 navy blue/light grey hoodie style sweater (originally 44.99)
1 heather gray sweater (originally $49.99)
I bought everything "to size" - meaning I didn't buy my usually one size up- haha!
Though I am sure this pales in comparison to a thrift/consignment store, I am pretty happy with my purchases!

I'm sure that many readers will not agree with this but we are going on a small vacation in August to our favorite town in Vermont.  This will be our "last" family vacation just the four of us.  The Guppies are getting older and we know that in the future they will either want to bring friends/boyfriends with them.  So, yeah we are going on vacation while still in debt.  However we are keeping our expenses as low as possible...
2 of the 3 pets are being taken care of for free.  (G2's bestie will take care of her rabbit and my parents have graciously said they will take care of the ferret since she is still stable and doing well)
The dog will go to our boarder....Yes I have to pay her but I will have peace of mind.
The hotel we stay at includes a very delicious and large restaurant style breakfast every morning so we will only have to buy one meal out per day.  (We usually have what we call "linner"- combo lunch and dinner -and then have snacks available to us in the room.)
95% of what we do out there is free since we spend a LOT of time hiking/walking/being outdoors.  So that will also keep the cost of the trip WAAAY down.

Tomorrow is G1's last driver's ed class.  She has to get four "behind the wheel" sessions (two hours each) with a driving school instructor and then she will be able to take her test.  Part of me feels badly that she is 18 and getting her license now and part of me is actually happy.  While I know she wanted her license long ago, waiting until now is going to make it easier in the long run.  I went with her to the first parent/student class and WOW!  There are some crazy restrictions and fines for 16 and 17 year old new drivers.  G1, at 18, can just get her license and drive whenever and whoever she likes.

I guess those are the highlights of what has been happening currently.  I am still loving my Fitbit and walking a lot - when I am not running kiddos around that is.  =)

Hope everyone is having a great summer!  I'll be catching up on blogs soon!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July Groceries : 2nd Check In

I can't believe it's been almost a full week since I posted last!  It doesn't seem like there is ever enough time in the day - especially during summer break!


So, as I try to curb this month's groceries to $450, let's see how it's been going....

Last time  I updated the tally I had spent...

Money left in July budget...

Big Y:  $26.03
4 blocks of Cabot cheese
1 roll of Jimmy Dean sausage
1 pint of blueberries
1 large green pepper
3 passion fruit

Big Y:  $19.72
1 (4 pack) raspberry turnovers
1 boneless strip steak
1 large package (store brand) frozen corn
1 bundle firewood (for birthday S'more making)

Stop & Shop:  56.83
1 container of oatmeal/raisin/pecan cookies (reduce bakery item)
1 loaf Vermont white bread
1 lb American Cheese
3/4 lb Boars Head Honey Maple Chicken (deli)
1 package (12 rolls) toilet paper
1 box Ritz crackers
2 bags UTZ chips
2 containers of frosting (1 chocolate, 1 funfetti)
1 pouch of peanut butter cookie dough
1 package of Perdue chicken nuggets
1 Halo ice cream
1 container of chicken noodle soup

Big Y:  $24.00
1 canister whipped topping
1 dozen large eggs
1 vegetable korma prepared entrée
1 pint lobster bisque
1 box store brand complete pancake mix
4 lbs onions
1 (5lb) bag of potatoes
1 lb of yams

Big Y:  $64.72
1 tub of chocolate chip cookie refrigerated dough
1 large can of store brand whipped cream
1 (4 pack) premade Jello pudding cups
1 quart of store brand milk (to tide us over until farm market time)
1 half gallon Hood cookie dough ice cream
1 bag store brand cheese tortellini
1 bag Ore Ida fries
1 (8 pack) Gatorade
1 package of store brand ice pops
1 (38 oz) Heinz ketchup
1 jar of chocolate sundae syrup
1 container of chocolate sprinkles
2 store brand water "enchancers"  (like Mio)
1 container of Marie's blue cheese dressing
1 (8 oz) container of mushrooms
2.25 lbs of cherries
1 lb red onions
1 lb green beans
.5 lb yellow squash
1 lb zucchini
2 lbs sweet potatoes
1 lb eggplant

Whole Paycheck Foods:  $31.55
We were out and ended up near my all time favorite Whole Foods - about 40 minutes away from home.  So, of course I had to stop in.  LOL  I don't think we did *too* badly, all things considered.

1 package of Pumpkin Sage ravioli
1 lb green beans
1 Odwala shake (for Papa - he NEVER asks for drinks in the store so you know he was dying of thirst!  Haha!)
1 small package of sage
2 lbs of cherries
1 bunch of mustard greens
1 HUGE red grapefruit
1 large French baguette
1 container of Artisan lettuces mix

Total Spent:  $222.85
Left for July:  108.32


Yup, it's going to be a close one to the finish this month!  I still have a pretty good amount of stuff left in the kitchen and pantry so, barrng any extra craziness, I should be able to do this.

How are the July groceries fairing on your end?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Happy Birthday G2!

Today my littlest, G2, turns 15!

As cliché a saying as it is....

Time really does fly!

I love the wonderful young woman she is turning into and I can't wait to see where the next year takes her!

Now, onto setting up for the festivities!

Another sleepover tonight - with a bunch of kiddos....I think we are up to seven friends at this point!

Dinner will be:

A bucket of Honey "dirt" Wings from G2's favorite wing place  (J Timothy's for anyone in CT who is curious where we go)
1 plain pizza
1 pepperoni pizza
1 bacon pizza
1 ice cream cake from G2's favorite local shop in her two favorite flavors (Oreo and Cookie Dough)
1 dozen cupcakes
Various soft drinks
Various snacky items (like potato chips, doritos, etc)

And, since the weather is supposed to be kind of yucky....

We are going to do a fire in our fireplace (as opposed to a fire pit outside) and do S'mores.

I really hope she enjoys her day!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

First Aid Kit....

Guppy 1 has set a soft date of leaving for her gap year - the first week of October!

Last weekend, Papa & I took her & Ramsey over to REI to start looking at some of the gear they will need - like decent backpacks.

But, I am also "being a mom" and thinking of other things she will need....

Like a decent first aid kit!

The inspiration hit when I got a CVS freebie -

A nice rather large (5 x 7 ish?) zippered first aid case!

Too bad nothing was included inside!  Haha!

My plan is to scour everywhere I can think of for deals to get as much as I can as cheaply as I can and fill this case!

What do I want to put inside?

Here's a rough list - and if you can think of anything to add please let me know!

Band-aids (in various shapes/sizes)
Medical Tape
A few feminine supplies (in case of emergency/she is out of her supplies)
Travel packs of Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Benadryl, Immodium
Travel sized sunscreen & aloe
Travel sized baby wipes/anti bacterial gels
a few "break to activate" ice packs
CVS gift card

Have a great Thursday all!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Quick Weigh In Wednesday Post...

I have been running around like crazy this week with doctor visits and getting ready for G2's birthday on Friday!

But, I wanted to do a quick post since it's weigh in day for me.

Last time I posted, I was


This morning, the scale surprised me with...


So, a loss of

2 lbs!

I wish I could tell you guys it was a result of hard work in the eating department but I can't.  Truthfully, I have NOT been eating as well as I should be!  This loss again comes from all the movement I have been doing recently - and probably the two hikes Papa and I took over this past weekend.

I am planning on getting my act together (and sticking to it this time!) after this weekend is over.  I'm not going to completely overindulge until Monday or anything....I just know I won't have the time to focus on strategy and prepping for success until then.

So, since April when I got my Fitbit and began tracking weight, I have lost a total of....

11.1 lbs!

I am not going to lie....

I wish it was more!  LOL  But, it's a good step in the right direction.  And, I feel SO MUCH BETTER than I did before I started seriously moving/exercising!  No more spasticity in my legs and calves either!  Woo Hoo!

If you are trying to lose weight, how's it going?

Monday, July 10, 2017

July Groceries

I know Mondays are usually for "Positive Monday" posts but, in an effort to start getting back on track, I have decided to post about groceries instead.  =)

Last month's grocery totals were, quite frankly, a blur.  I know I had decided to lower my budget but never "officially" decided what June's budget would be....That my friends was a recipe for disaster!  My inability to continue to post/track what I spent added to essentially a perfect storm.

So, I am determined to not have that happen this month!

I have decided to set my budget at $450 (including health, bath, & paper products) for July.  I wanted to go lower but G2's birthday is this month.  She wants to have her closest friends over for a sleepover on her actual birthday and then we are renting a cabin at Lake Compounce (most likely this month if I can get G2 to settle on a day!) before month's end which will add extra grocery costs in regards to drinks/snacks/etc.

Here's what I have spent up to this point:

CVS:  $2.05
I already posted about this but for the sake of keeping track...
5 bottle of laundry detergent
1 box Kleenex
1 bag mints

Farmer's Market:  $12*
*higher due to extra bottle deposit
2 quarts whole milk
1 pint of raspberry yogurt

CVS:  $6.69
1 Revlon hair dye (for Papa who is completely gray otherwise)
1 face mask packet (G2 to help with the issue on her face)
1 CVS brand package (10 count) of large bandaids (G1's big toe lost a fight with a bike pedal! LOL)
1 CVS brand Neosporin (G1)

CVS:  $5.49
CVS brand cortisone cream (G2's face)
1 king sized Kit Kat (trying to cheer up G2 with a treat!)

Big Y:  $65.97*
* total fail on my part!  Papa & I were out with Ramsey and G1 until way to close to dinner time without a dinner plan in place!  And, besides being hungry, I brought those two into the store with me - who decided "Pickies" were the way to go for dinner!

4 bags of Cabot shredded cheeses
1 can whipped topping
1 refrigerated pack of Jello chocolate pudding cups
1 (16 oz) container of ricotta
1 box potato skins
1 box bagel bites
1 P Farm garlic bread
1 bag tri-color cheese tortellini
1 box PF Chang's veggie egg rolls
1 box PF Chang's rice
2 Newman's salsas
1 large box of store brand tortilla chips
3 store brand Mio style water flavorings
1 deli sandwich

I cringed writing down this list!  ....BUT there is a LOT of stuff left over so at least it's not all gone, right?  haha

Big Y:  26.63
2 Cabot shredded cheeses - Wow!  We go through a LOT of cheese!
4 Friendly's ice cream sundae cups
5 Celeste frozen personal sized pizzas (sale)
1 bag store brand tortilla chips
1 6 pack of toilet paper
1 loaf of bread
1 jar of Newmans salsa (ditto on the salsa!)

Total Spent thus far:  $118.83
Money left in July budget:  $331.17

While what is left to spend isn't *bad*, I am unhappy with how I have spent grocery money so far!

Just reiterates that I need to keep track of my grocery expenditures and stay accountable!

And, with that, I'm off to at least two (possibly three) medical appointments!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July Medical Costs...

June was the month of animal medical costs....

Apparently July is going to be the month of people medical costs!

So, far here's what is happening or happened already.....

G1:  Dermatology consult, Neurologist follow up, GYN annual exam (this is free at least)

G2:  4 therapy sessions, 1 (probable, I will have to call the office tomorrow morning) pedi sick visit tomorrow for a red itchy warm patch on her cheek, 1 (possible) dermatology consult

Me:  Yearly eye exam and contact costs and 1 (possible) Neurologist appointment

Oh, and I forgot the three teeth cleaning session for the Guppies and me -which ended up being (I think) completely free since no additional work needed to be done on any of us.

Phew!  Fingers crossed nothing else crops up because, when I include all our pharmacy/prescription costs with the above appointments, I am looking at being out of pocket anywhere between $400 to $500 this month!

Even though I am complaining about the costs, I AM super grateful to have AWESOME health insurance through Papa's job.  I don't want to even know what to think about the out of pocket costs of all the above would be if we DIDN'T have great health insurance.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CVS Score!

So, as I try to use July to reign some of the chaos in, I have to tell you about the sweet deal I got at CVS!

On Sunday,  I noticed we were running woefully low on laundry detergent!  I had maybe a load or possibly two left in the bottle I was using and that was it!  I *thought* I had one more bottle stashed away but I was wrong.

Rather than panic and run out to buy the first bottle I could grab, I took a moment and gave it some thought.....

I received an email recently from CVS about some extra care bucks I had earned, 9 to be exact!  So, I thought I would head over and see if there were any detergent deals.

Boy I think I lucked out!

There was a display of detergent - 51 oz bottles for...

$1.47 each!

I was a very happy girl!

Here's what I ultimately bought....

5 bottle of laundry detergent
1 box of Kleenex
1 bag of CVS wintergreen mints

All for the whopping total of $2.05!

Essentially the only thing I really paid for was the mints ($1.99 plus tax) which were bought for G1 -she has a blocked salivary gland and the dentist recommended hard candies/mints to help clear it.

Anyway, I hopefully have enough laundry detergent to get through the rest of the summer FOR FREE!

Starting with the little things here, guys!  =)

Have an awesome Saturday!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Day Book for July 7th, 2017

I'm BAAACCKKK!  (Sort of)

Life is still much crazier than I anticipated this summer!

I swear I blink and the day is gone!

I have to find a way to slow that $h!t down!  Haha!

Anyway, let's get back into blogging with a day book post, shall we?

Outside my window....
Rain today!  (Hence the above clipart! LOL)  I'm hoping that the rain will help calm the frantic pace we have been living and we get some downtime at home....Well, not me because I have to try to put back together this disaster of a house but that will be a LOT easier if I'm not ferrying kiddos around!  =)

What I am hearing....
The rain hitting the house, the dog snoring on the couch, G1 upstairs in her room cleaning up, and G2 in the upstairs bathroom playing music while getting ready.

What I am wearing...
Black shorts, Papa's Lafitte's Blacksmith T-shirt we got from New Orleans over 19 years ago, and socks.

What I am feeling...
Exhausted!  I'm optimistic that it's "just a cold" or the illness Papa has been dealing with for the last week or  two.  But...truthfully, I wonder if it's not an MS flare up.  I haven't had one for awhile so maybe I'm overdue?

What I am reading....
I just finished a YA novel titled "How To Hang A Witch".  The book was written by a direct descendant of Cotton Mather - which was interesting.  The book was definitely directed towards teens since the setting is mostly modern high school and tried to draw a parallel between present bullying and past witch trials - with some ghostly elements thrown in for good measure.  I would probably give it a three out of five stars.
Yesterday I went to the library and grabbed a few more things - three magazines, one fiction book, and four non fiction books.  Also on the reading radar is the book from the library Papa is currently reading that he claims I have to read right when he finishes it!  He loves it and I'll be sure to tell you guys what I think of it when I read it too. (I can't recall the title at the moment and am feeling too lazy to go upstairs and grab it.  LOL)

From the kitchen....
Nothing at the moment but the remnants of last night's dinner.  There is a flank steak defrosting which will transform into tonight's dinner.  (Ramsey's coming here for the weekend and I am really hoping I can blackmail encourage him to cook tonight for us.  Haha)  I *may* bake some cookies a little later if I can muster the ambition.

Guppy news....
G1 learned a valuable lesson the hard way....I had been trying to get her to apply for a summer job way back at the end of May.  But of course she didn't and was left scrambling to find something now when most summer jobs are already taken.  But, the positive thing is she also is learning how to problem solve right?  She decided to talk to one of her friends from high school (his dad runs a law firm here in town) and she was able to get a job there for the summer.  While not exactly the amount of hours she wanted, the pay is decent and the days are set - so she can still try to hustle and find another part time job too.
I think I had mentioned that G2 was going through some emotional/mental stuff.  Well things are clearing up for her!  She is getting back to her happy self - which translates into a lot of driving and entertaining kiddos here for this Mama but who cares?  As long as she is happy!  I'm very grateful we found a therapist who she connected with immediately and a lovely NP to help figure out the chemical part of the problem.

Today's To Do....
Posting this part just to organize my thoughts and stay accountable...
1.  Laundry
2.  Finish cleaning the kitchen
3.  Sweep downstairs
4.  Vac family room
5.  New grocery list after checking new flyers
6.  Clean the dining room table of my computer clutter!

If I can get the above done while feeling so crappy, I'll be a happy camper!

This Weekend's Agenda.....
Not sure yet as tomorrow's plans were scrapped.  We were going to take G2 and her BFF to Jones Beach to see Warped Tour but this year's lineup is pitiful.  And, the day would cost us upwards of $250 for tickets, parking, food and drinks.  (They GOUGE you on food and drinks and you aren't allowed to bring in much outside stuff - like one bottle of water and one snack per person!)  G2 was the one who finally pulled the plug and said she would rather not go and waste all that money!  Phew!  Smart kid!  Seriously the lineup is so bad, even G1 said she didn't want to go and she has been going for six years straight!
G2 may go to the BFF's house instead.  And Papa and I are trying to figure out something to do as well.
Sunday is still completely open too!
I guess we will see what happens right?
And, of course everything hinges on how I am feeling.  (((sigh)))

Have a great Friday everyone!  And I'm hoping to be back in the swing of blogging now!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Be Back Soon!

As regular readers know, June has been a rollercoaster kind of month in my tiny part of the world!

I'll be taking the rest of June "off" to regroup and try to relax a bit (whatever that means LOL).

 Be back on July 5th with a fresh month and hopefully a fresh start!

Until then,

take care everyone!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Day Book Friday June 23, 2017

I'm going to be a busy bee today I think!

Outside my window...
Sunny-ish start to the day.  I think there are supposed to be thunderstorms later this afternoon.

What I am hearing...
The dog chowing on her breakfast.  That's pretty much it.  G1 is at Ramsey's and G2 is in her room reading.

What I am wearing...
Blue V-neck Tshirt, gray shorts.  However, in case you think I have it together this morning, I actually don't.  I slept in yesterday's clothing because I was too tired to change when I collapsed into bed last night!  LOL

What I am reading....
I just finished The Graveyard Apartment.  It was originally written in Japanese and read like a Japanese horror movie - G2 loves watching these on Netflix so that's why I am making the comparison.  I'm not sure if anything got lost in translation, but, I think there were too many gaping holes at the end of the book.  It didn't make much sense to me to be honest.
Now I started a new book called (excuse my language) Unfuck Your Habitat.  I saw it at the library and the cover caught my eye - the word "unfuck" isn't completely spelled out because there is a banana peel in it  LOL!  It's supposed to be a housekeeping book for "the rest of us".  You know, the people who have a hard time keeping up with routines and schedules.  Haha!  If I like it, I will write another post about it.

What I am feeling...
Honestly, I'm emotionally and physically beat beyond belief!  This summer is kicking my great big behind already!  I think part of that could be all the extra care having to be given to Rum - but I am thrilled to still have her here with us.  She's doing pretty darn good so far but I know it's only a matter of time until that changes.  She appears to be pain free (thank you medication) and is still her curious self.  Of course she will only eat Gerber chicken baby food by hand (she eat it off my pinky) but that's okay.  She can be a prima donna for the rest of the time she is with us. 
Anyway I am juggling a LOT of balls right now and trying very hard to not drop any!

From the kitchen...
Nothing at the moment....unless you count G2's toast in the toaster!  Haha!
The kitchen is actually pretty clean this morning.  It won't be staying that way for long though! My parents invited me along for a Costco run.  I know this is a controversial topic as some people think I shouldn't be receiving help from my parents.  They offered this trip and, after the nearly $1500 I have spent since the beginning of this month on our animas (dog yearly check up is included here), I could use the help tremendously.

On the weekend agenda....
Today I have to spend some time cleaning the house!  G2 *may* have friends sleep over tonight so I want to make sure the family room is ready in case!
Tomorrow is our usual farmer's market run but, since we still have quite a bit of milk left, we may either skip it or just grab Papa's yogurt.  I guess we will decide when we wake up tomorrow since the weather is supposed to be iffy.
Sunday, G2 is off to Lake Compounce with friends so the house should be quiet during the day.  Sunday night we are picking G1 up from Ramsey's house.  They have been together consistently since June 10th!  First for over a week here and then to Ramsey's for the past five or so days!  They were really squeezing as much time in as possible since Ramsey starts his full time job on Monday and G1 starts ramping her job search up then too.

Have a great Friday all!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Held Out As Long As I Could.....

It's been about a year since Murphy came and broke our microwave....

It's hard to believe we have survived this long without it, don't you think?

I was determined to stay a "microwave free" household, even though we were offered a free one from Ramsey's family as they replaced kitchen appliances - couldn't have used it anyway as it was a very large built in style one.


It was a good run but I think it's getting to be time to replace it!

As the warmer weather has approached, it's becoming more of a pain to heat up the oven (and the house!) to reheat things that would take a minute zapped in the good ol' micro.  And, looking ahead to the fall I want G2 to be able to have the microwave for after school to make snacks in case I am not here.


That doesn't mean we are running out this second to buy one!

I'm going to squeeze the last bit of patience I have left and wait just a little bit longer.


"College" sales are just around the corner at places like Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond!  My kitchen counter space is precious so a dorm sized microwave will be perfect and will suit our needs just fine.  Finding a deal will only sweeten the deal in my opinion.

Happy Thursday all!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Weigh In - Late Edition

I had hoped to post this earlier this morning but, as usual, the day got away from me!  Such is summer life I guess!  LOL  I'm still trying to find my adjusted schedule but add taking care of Rum's new needs to the Guppies being home and well, who has time for much of anything anymore?  =)

Anyway, I DID remember to weigh myself first thing this morning so let's see how I did....

Last week I weighed in at

This morning I was

So a loss of
1.6 lbs
this week.

Truthfully, I'll take it!  My eating has to be reigned back in again - too much hibachi and pizza nights!  I keep thinking about how much LARGER these numbers could be week after week if I could just get a grip food wise!

There is always this week to try!

In the steps department, I feel like I am still coming up shorter than I would like to be.  I want to aim for 75 plus miles per week.  Sadly, I didn't hit that this week....

135932 steps = a little over 63 miles for the week

It's okay though.  I know I will get back to my goal mileage sooner than later.

How did you do this week if you are trying to get healthier/lose weight/exercise?

Hope your Wednesday was amazing!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hard Day

Our little cutie when we first brought her home....

Please feel free to skip today's post as it is all about our ferret.....

Long time readers have probably gathered that I am a bit....ummmm.....passionate? about my animals.  When I was young, 12 or 13 years old, my father made a comment along the lines of "You care more about animals than you do people".  While not accurate these days, I still have a huge weakness when it comes to my little critters.

As I have blogged about recently, Rum (our ferret) has been having some mysterious health issues.  Over the weekend it got a bit worse so off to the vet we went yesterday afternoon....

I spent over 5 hours at two different vet offices....

So, yeah you can imagine the news wasn't good.

Our usual vet (first stop) found a lump in Rum's stomach that hadn't been there a week prior.  They took an x-ray but couldn't determine if it was a foreign body or swollen lymph node.  And, they didn't feel that had decent enough ultrasound equipment to pinpoint what was going on.  So, they referred me to a different vet (just one town over from my home actually) to get the ultrasound done.  They told me to go straight over so I was already nervous.

I'm not going to lie....I lost it on the car ride there.  I was dealing with this alone - Papa was at work and G1 was at Ramsey's, and I didn't want to face decisions that may have had to be made.  I called Papa in the car (hysterical) because my biggest fear at that point was that Rum had somehow swallowed something she shouldn't have and we wouldn't be able to afford the two to three thousand dollar surgery to remove it.  I was also freaked out because the second vet was a 24 hour emergency care facility.  We have a 24 hour emergency place in my town that GOUGES people and it's simply disgusting.  I was worried that the place I was sent would do the same to me.

Thankfully, the second office was quite wonderful and very nonjudgmental.  The vet even hugged me (yes I was that much of a wreck!) and the tech lent me his phone charger when my phone was just about dead while texting Papa and G1 about the situation.


Ultrasound showed no foreign object....rather an enlarged liver and blown up lymph nodes.  Bloodwork revealed high white blood cell counts among other things.  Our one year old ferret most likely has cancer.   I say most likely because we didn't go ahead and get a needle biopsy of any of the sites.  Why didn't I get a definitive answer?  The vet said we should only do the biopsy if we were going to pursue chemo.  I wasn't going to do that to Rum.  That tough decision I was able to make on my own.  It didn't seem fair to do that to her.

So, the vet gave her some injections to make her more comfortable and gave me some oral meds to give her here at we have (hopefully) some time to pamper her (more than she already is!) and say goodbye.  While I was at the vet's, Papa was on the internet checking stuff out for me to help us make informed decisions.  He said that the course of treatment we are on with Rum is the one most people choose rather than chemo.  Typically ferrets with this diagnosis on this course of treatment get up to six more good months, if lucky.

At least Rum is currently not in any pain (thanks to the meds) and we have some time to digest what is happening.

Also, late last night, as I finally crashed into bed, Papa and I had a heart to heart discussion.  We have decided no more animals for awhile.  Besides Rum, we have G2's 10 1/2 year old dwarf rabbit and our crazy 10 year old lab.  Once they pass, I need a break from the heartache.  I take our pets' deaths way too hard, I know that. 

I guess it's just part of who I am.