Sunday, October 22, 2017

Getting Out and Feeling Better!

Yesterday Papa, G2 and her boyfriend D, and I took a road trip to our happy place in Vermont! 

We wanted to get one last VT hike in before the end of hiking season there.

While the town was more crowded than anticipated (fall foliage is all but done there so we thought the town would have less visitors), we had gotten to our trail head early enough so the hike was really pleasant.  If we had waited even an hour later to get there, the summit would have been mobbed!!  We couldn't believe the sheer number of hikers heading up as we were on our way back down!

After the hike, we kept things kind of short....

We grabbed some lunch at our second choice of restaurants because restaurant #1 had so many customers they were telling people they were shutting the kitchen down to finish serving the customers already there and to come back in ninety minutes!  In all the years we have gone here I haven't EVER seen this happen!
We stopped by our favorite shop to grab some pantry items I can only get there.
We stopped at another favorite bakery for some raspberry and lemon bars to take home for G1. (She was with Ramsey for the weekend again.)
and then
G2 and D did the corn maze (which seemed to be half price this time around - possibly because it's so late in the season?) while Papa and I took a walk on the rec path to my favorite spot - a gazebo made of tree trunks/limbs.

This was our first time taking D along and he fit in to the mix perfectly!  It was nice to see him getting along so well with Papa too since he spends a LOT of time at our house before Papa gets home from work.  I'm happy that D seems way more comfortable with Papa now!  LOL

Sometimes it's the little things - like visiting a happy place, wherever your happy place is - that can help realign things.  For me, being in this specific town in the woods really helps and centers me.

So, even though that black cloud over my part of the world is still there...

I am beginning to see some light trying to break through.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Insurance Changes.....For the Better?

As I write this, I am still trying to wrap my head around the actual good news Papa received from work regarding benefits.  Since our family has medical issues, this is a pretty amazing way to start our 2018.....which hopefully means next year will be much kinder to us that its two predecessors.

Anyway, I think everyone knows already, but, Papa works for a very well known hospital here in Connecticut.  It happens to be where my MS doctor is, G2 had her appendix removed in their children's hospital, G1 had her anorexia addressed, I had my ovarian polyp removed, etc.  My point is that even before Papa worked here, it was our first choice with health issues and this is VERY IMPORTANT moving into next year.


Well, the hospital has reconfigured their insurance.  As in the past, we will stay at the most expensive tier/option of the plan.  My disease is too unpredictable not to do this.  However, the benefits we will receive will be better too.

While I don't have ALL the information yet because I was in a state of shock, Papa did tell me some of the highlights that were most important to us.....
Basically, the hospital wants employees and their families to receive care from doctors/hospitals in their direct network - meaning doctors using their billing system and any sister hospital that the main campus owns.  We are already ahead of the game since we (mostly) do this anyway.
By doing this, we will receive some perks...

1. All preventative care (ie yearly checkups) are 100% free - same as last year but worth noting anyway.
2. Any other doctor visits (ie illness related) are a flat copay only as long as you use one of "their" doctors. This is enormous for us since before, when someone got sick, we had our copay and a decent portion of the bill until we reached a certain deductible. 
As an example, G1 went to the doctor this year as a "sick" visit.  After paying the $40 copay, I was another $250 plus dollars out of pocket for lab work! 
Like I said, this will be a big deal moving forward.
3.  One of Papa's prescriptions will be completely free - saving us $120/year!
4.  We were concerned about what was going to happen with G1 since she isn't registered in college (yet!  another story for another day).  Papa got clarification that, with the new plan, she can stay on our insurance regardless of college enrollment until age 26.  This includes vision and dental!
5.  Speaking of vision, for about $25/year more than we pay now, we can have an increased allowance for glasses/contacts.  Currently, we get $95/per year/per person.  That extra $25 will bump us up to a  $250/per year/per person allowance.  That's music to my ears as I am blind as a bat! LOL
6.  Papa has been putting off getting gall bladder surgery - partially because he has been so busy at work and partially because of the cost in copays.  Well, he researched what it will cost us out of pocket on the new  plan.....$400 total!  That's it! 
7.  My yearly MRIs will now have a flat copay of $100!  Last year, my portion was over $500!  Now, I have been spoiled and used a facility close to home (like a five minute walk from my house!) for the past two MRI's.  However, I have zero problems with driving into New Haven to do this moving forward....especially since I used to get my MRIs done there anyway.

So, as of right now, these are the main highlights.  I neglected to ask Papa how much (if at all) insurance was increasing.  However, knowing Papa, if it was a large change from what we are paying currently, he would have mentioned it!

Sorry for the boring post, but I cannot even begin to explain the relief I am feeling right now about insurance!

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Meals This Week...

Before all hell broke loose around here (LOL), I had blogged about how having a menu plan in place was helping me....and it really was!  I loved having a schedule of when I was making what for dinner, etc.

Right now, I think it's probably more beneficial for me to have an idea of what I can/will make but skip the assignment of days.  Life is too unpredictable at the moment for rigidity.

So, here are my plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this week (Monday through Friday).

Breakfast Choices
Yogurt with granola
French Toast
Chocolate Chip muffins (from mix in pantry)
Egg McMuffin style sandwiches (homemade)
Pumpkin Bread (have to buy pumpkin first!)
Granola bars (Grab and go for G2)
Belgian waffles (homemade using mix in pantry)

Lunch Choices
Pasta salad
Farro salad
Pumpkin soup (need to make)
Grilled cheese and tomato soup


Meal 1
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Macaroni and cheese
Corn on the cob

Meal 2
Chicken Tiki Masala

Meal 3
Balsamic Chicken
Jasmine Rice
Roasted Honeyed carrots

Meal 4
Garlic bread

Meal 5
Mongolian Beef
Jasmine Rice

Let's see if this planning suits me for the moment.

Hope you all had a wonderful Monday! 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October Groceries So Far.....

So, I'm trying to find my mojo and get back to blogging.  Just hang in there with me ok?  I'll probably dedicate another post to what has been going on in my little world.   And, thank you all for your kind words and well wishes.  It truly means more than you know.

But for now let's talk groceries, shall we?  I know without a shadow of a doubt I aimed way too low for October...even with the Costco trip gifted to me by my parents. At last check in, I was already down to $123 of the ridiculously nonexistent  $150 I had allocated.  I'm nowhere near savvy enough to accomplish this - especially with all the extra stressors in my life right now.

However, I'm going to remain accountable and do my best to keep as much money in my pocket as possible.  I'm readjusting my October budget to more than double my original goal....Now I would like to be at $350 or under.

Let's check out the damage since last check in.....

CVS:  $14.22*
*total between two separate transactions to maximize ECBs!

3 packages (9 double roll each) of store brand toilet paper
2 (12 oz each) Suave body wash

On Monday, I realized we were woefully low on both of the above things so an (almost) emergency trip was needed!  Half way decent toilet paper is SO expensive!  Anyone have any good tips/hacks about spending less on the stuff since we are literally throwing it away?  LOL

Dollar Tree:  $5.19
Hydrogen Peroxide
1 (40 ft) aluminum foil
1 bag potato chips
1 small bottle of Dawn dish detergent
1 bottle of pepper

Farmer's Market:  $18
1 quart milk
1 pint vanilla yogurt
1/2 loaf olive bread
1 pint pumpkin/bacon/apple soup
1 pint sweet potato curry soup

Big Y:  $43.23
2 packages of shredded mozzarella
1 (16 oz) container of sour cream
1/2 lb deli American cheese
2 jars of pizza sauce (buy one/get one free)
2 cans Bush red kidney beans
1 roll parchment paper
2 bottles maple syrup (buy one/get one free)
1 bag of jasmine rice
1 (2 lb) bag of brown sugar
1 (2 lb) bag of powdered sugar
2 racks of baby back pork ribs (buy one/get one free)
1 small container of seafood salad

Big Y:  $7.98
G1 has been having sore throat issues due to allergies.  Tea has been helping tremendously so...
2 containers of Pure Leaf tea bags

Big Y:  $32.05
1/4 lb of black olives
1/2 lb deli American cheese (we go through a LOT)
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
1 container chocolate sprinkles
1 container of Ken's salad dressing
1 loaf of store brand white bread
1 very large (over 7lbs!) roast chicken on a great sale
1lb London Broil steak
1/2 lb of broccoli crowns
2 plum tomatoes
1 package of veggie sushi

Big Y:  $38.47
3 bags UTZ chips
1 jar Newman's salsa
2 bags of white cheddar popcorn
4 cases of diet Coke (which now looking at my receipt from a week ago, I see I got mischarged and did NOT get the advertised price....insert eye roll here please)
2 boxes of penne rigati

Farmer's Market:  $9
1 quart whole milk
1 pint cherry yogurt
1 pint raspberry yogurt

Total Spent this Week:  $168.14
Total Spent in October thus Far:  $195.14
Left in (revised) budget:  $154.86

Honestly with how I have been feeling recently and my current lack of motivation, this isn't going to be an easy feat...even with the revised amount.

But, all I can do is get through the month and keep trying right?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Still Here...

Sorry for the radio silence on the blog lately.

Things just keep getting piled higher and higher and I simply haven't had much time to sit at the computer.

There have been some good things that I plan on writing about - hopefully this coming week.


Mostly it's been an absolute crap-fest...

Papa's mom ended up back in the hospital again with a raging infection.  Good news is that, as of this morning, her white blood cell count is heading back towards an appropriate level and the drains they placed in her stomach have done their job.  But, before this morning, this week was NOT a good one for her.

We also found out that Papa's favorite uncle just passed away.  We saw him at W's funeral and he was fine.  The day he went home he had a stroke and ended up in the hospital - where the doctors discovered he had both brain and lung cancer.  Poor Uncle P went downhill really fast.  We will be heading to Pennsylvania for the wake but we will literally drive there, pay our respects, and have to drive back home all the same day. 

And, lastly, because bad things usually happen in threes, my father's health seems to be failing a bit.  We aren't sure if it is from the Parkinson's or something else.  Thankfully, my mom is a nurse and is keeping a close eye on him.  She will contact his doctor tomorrow and see what he thinks.


I want to apologize again for how much of a downer this blog has been lately.

I'm going to do my best to keep it positive moving forward.

But, I wanted to let you all know what was going on should I disappear for a little time again.

Hope you all are well!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Update and Moving to October Grocery Budget....

The end of September left me more beaten up than a Mike Tyson opponent in the '90s!  Every single day last week something happened!  The end result of which has left me with some unexpected extra bills for October - I'm looking at you broken down cell phone!, and some expected but nevertheless extra bills- wood for the fireplace and filling up the oil tank.


Today starts a brand new month!  And, I am going to FORCE myself to be positive! LOL

Speaking of positivity...

Let's talk about the September grocery budget, shall we?

I ended up sticking to my goal of $200 or under with a whopping total of


So, that at least makes me pretty darn happy!

As a matter of fact, let's keep the grocery theme on this post going....

This month, I am really going to try to S-T-R-E-T-C-H myself even further and try to stay at $150 but definitely no more than $200!  How could I even think about going that low considering what I have spent in months past?

Well, in the interest of full disclosure...

My parents gifted me with more Costco goodies!

Here's a list of what got added to my kitchen for free thanks to Mom & Dad's surprise....

2 large tubs of Tollhouse cookie dough (Mom was really excited to find this in stock again because my girls love this stuff - even though I can easily make homemade)
1 large package of ground beef - which I divided into four packages for the freezer plus enough for two burgers for Papa & me last evening)
1 huge pack of BSCB (14 breasts total)
4 lbs of bacon
1 sack of onions
3 ribeye steaks
1 bag baby potatoes
4 lbs butter
1 jar of pesto
1 large double pack of pizza dough
1 bag of fun sized chocolate candy bars
1 double pack of potato rolls
1 large bag of tortilla chips
1 large bag of mini ciabatta rolls
1 package of naan
1 container of chicken noodle soup
1 huge container of strawberries
1 bag green beans
1 case diet Coke
1 case water
1 case Gatorade
1 case diet Snapple

So, yeah very helpful!

Saturday, we ended up at the Farmer's Market, as usual but it's being counted against October's budget....

Farmer's Market:  $27
1 pint of heavy cream
1 vanilla yogurt
2 small acorn squash
 1 pint of butternut squash soup
1 pint of corn chowder
1 (2 quart) container of Winesap apples

So, I am already down to...

$123.00 for October!

YIKES!  If I can do this, it will be so super helpful with navigating October's bills and, when next month's baking supplies go on sale, I will be in great shape!

How did your September go?

Are you challenging yourself to stay low for October?

Thursday, September 28, 2017


I would like to think that I at least try to keep this blog mostly positive....

Right now, I am just too exhausted to do it so I am going to keep this post short.

My mother in law had emergency surgery last night.  Something had gone haywire with the reconnection of her intestines and the doctors suspected a leak.  When they opened her up, they were flabbergasted.  Basically, her bowels had twisted on themselves and blood supply was cut off.  Part of the tissue had already turned green!  The surgeons said another 12 hours and she would have gone into septic shock!  One of the surgeons said that in his 16 years of doing this procedure he has never seen this happen before!  Papa and I have our theories and reasons to suspect a third doctor who went in last to fix a hernia during the original procedure.  We wonder if he jostled something because 1.his part of the surgery went double the time it was scheduled and 2.he never bothered to come out and talk with us when the surgery was over (and as the closing doctor, it was his responsibility to do so).  Obviously, whatever happened, happened and all we can do is move forward and hope my mother in law stabilizes soon.

I'll be lurking around my favorite blogs for a bit....not sure I will comment but I'll be reading when I can.

And, I will be back posting again soon, hopefully.

This week has just been shit and I need to regroup.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Bit Heartbroken...

I don't know what has been going on but Sunday was a crazy day and yesterday was even worse!  It is like the whole world has gone mad, I swear to God!

I debated writing/posting this since it is completely unrelated to anything but, since it's my blog (LOL), I decided to go ahead and get this out there.

In the past I am fairly sure I have mentioned "C", the young woman I met through a friend of a friend on social media who is very troubled.  She doesn't have a lot of friends, has a mental illness, and almost zero family support.  My heart just went out to this girl.

I have always tried my best to help as much as I could.  There have been countless late night texts and 3am phone calls.  There have been late dinners for my own family because I was trying to help her through tough moments.  A "can I call you quick?" was never less than 60 minutes.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I truly embraced her like another daughter - which may have been my downfall.

Over the past month plus, a LOT has been happening in my own little family....some stuff I have shared...the death of my brother in law, the rearranging/scrambling of G1's gap year due to Ramsey's accident, my mother in law going back into surgery...and some stuff I haven't.  Through all of it, I have still tried to be there for C when she really needed it.  (And C was fully aware of everything that was going on at home since I always gave an explanation when I was short on time and couldn't always randomly chat.)

So Sunday night I pretty much collapsed into bed and, like probably a lot of you, sat on social media on my phone to take a few minutes to unwind/catch up.  I will be the first to admit that I posted a LOT Sunday night on the whole NFL controversy (which I won't be getting into here) on my Facebook.

Yesterday morning, I woke to a general post (both on Instagram and Facebook) from C (and I'm paraphrasing) about how someone should create a social media outlet for obnoxious individuals who are always posting political stuff.  And how people need to stop complaining and get over it.  On Instagram she added "stop acting like it's your goddamned full time job".  I don't know....maybe because I posted so much Sunday night but I just knew it was about me.  

Anyway, it was bugging me.  So, I made a lighthearted joke about how you can unfollow a person on Facebook yet stay their friend.  (Unfollowing will just keep their posts off your newsfeed)  I kept it very non-confrontational and tried to be a bit self deprecating to lessen the tension.

Less than a minute later, I got a nastygram via Facebook messenger...
(I have a copy of that because I screenshot it on my phone to show Papa)

"It's you and about four other people, and I already did unfollow you.  Just a shame that you say you'll be there for someone, then say you are too busy to do so yet post about all this bullshit on Facebook all day"

I took a deep breath, reminded myself I was dealing with a 20 year old and composed a fairly nice response that couldn't be sent because she blocked me.

Basically I wrote that I was sorry she felt that way.  When I am on social media, it's when I have five or ten minutes to waiting for G2 at dismissal,  in a line, or waiting for test results at the doctor's office  or right before bed, etc.  That I was sorry she felt like I let her down.  That I tried to be there for her as much as I could be but I truly did have situations at home I needed to take care of as well.  I was going to tell her that I wished her well and success in the future too.

Papa and the Guppies were shocked when I told them what happened.  They keep telling me that I went way above what could have ever been expected of me.  While I (partially) believe they are right, I still feel very badly.

But, maybe that's because of what I ended up doing....

C's particular mental illness is characterized by extreme mood swings.  While I have never seen one of these get nasty, I am thinking that she is in the middle of one.  She blocked me on all social media but...

I decided to block her phone number so that I cannot be reached anymore by her.  Papa told me it was good that I did that so I can't be sucked back in again.  He knows me very well because I probably would have been.

I'm not a mental health professional.  I'm just a mom who saw some struggling and wanted to help.

I told Papa yesterday that I was done helping people....that I was going to just pay attention to my family and long time friends.


Deep down, I know that's not true.  That eventually I would try again to help someone if they needed it.

If you have made it this far, I have to admit I'm not sure of the point of this post.

I think I simply needed to get it out of my brain and heart.

I guess I am hoping that writing this down will help alleviate the pain and disappointment (in myself for not having the energy to give even more) that I feel in my heart right now.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Day Book: September 25th, 2017

September 25th is a special day to me!  My grandmother was born this day as well as two very good friends!

Outside my window....
Squirrels are scurrying all over the deck to grab the stale tortilla chips I threw out to them.  Other than that, it's quiet since I am facing the back yard.

What I am hearing....
The humming of the air conditioner because it's going to be another hot day here!  Where is the freaking fall?  I wasn't ready before but now I am SO ready!

What I am wearing....
Jeans, black tank top, black sweater, and black low heeled shoes.  Yeah, I know I said it was going to be hot today but I am taking one of my birthday friends out to lunch today so I had to dress like a normal person and not a hobo!  LOL

What I am feeling....
Honestly a whole lotta anger at the moment.  G2 had an issue with the principal this morning over her shorts - which aren't inappropriate by the way.  She asked G2 what makes "those shorts attractive". G2 and I have had many conversations regarding the "I'm Not A Distraction" movement and from the little I could gather via text, G2 said a lot of the right things in a polite enough manner.  The principal instructed G2 to have us bring in another pair of shorts and she would "be checking up on her" later. We will get the complete story after school but this is ridiculous.  G2 is an intelligent kid who has never been in or given anyone trouble.  She's not the kind of kid who seeks attention either - as a matter of fact, she shies away from it completely.  She is now begging to come home telling me she feels stomach sick.  Gee, wonder why.  And for what it's worth, this is only the beginning of the principal's second year at the high school and she is trying to change everything and eliminate privileges....obviously she is trying to make some sort of name for herself....other than the ones I can come up with I mean.  LOL

From the kitchen....
Nothing much....I am thinking about whipping up some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as a special treat afterschool for G2.  (I think I talked her into staying through the day)  Then for dinner tonight, I was planning on making a baked ziti to use up some fresh mozzarella.  Added bonus is that this is one of G2's favorite meals.  Oh, and I was planning on making a Depression Era chocolate cake in honor of my grandmother's birthday.  (I guess she used to make this recipe all the time from what my mom tells me.)

Guess I better get moving!

Have a good Monday all!    

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September Groceries: Week 4

I had wanted to post this yesterday but, you know, that pesky thing called life got in the way.  Haha!

Actually yesterday was spent mostly at the hospital visiting my mother in law.  As you may recall, she was very ill in April of 2016 and spent many months in the hospital/rehab facility.  On Friday, she went back to the hospital to have some surgeries done - which were all extremely successful.  So finally Papa's family has some good news for a change!

Anyway, onto groceries....

To stay at or under $200, I had a mere $53.34 left.  Did I make it?  Let's see....

Big Y:  $26.94
1 package Angel Soft toilet paper (4 count)
1 box Lucky Charms
3 packages of English muffins (buy one/get two free)
1 5lb bag of store brand flour
1 5lb bag store brand sugar
1 jar of Tikka Masala sauce
1 jar of Korma sauce
1 store brand loaf of bread
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1 5lb bag potatoes
1 (10 oz) container of mushrooms

Big Y:  $18.32
1 container of feta
1 (2lb) bag of popcorn kernels
1 king sized Kit Kat (G2)
1.15lb red onion
1 package of heirloom baby tomatoes
1 package of 6 cucumbers

Farmer's Market:  $7
2 quarts whole milk (had one deposit credit)

Total spent this week:  $52.26
Left in budget (to stay at or under $200):  $1.08

Okay, I had to laugh a little when I saw what I had left to spend!  But, with only this coming week to go, I should be able to do this!  At the very worst, be under $250 BUT my ultimate goal is to stay out of the grocery stores this week!

Hope you all have a nice relaxing Sunday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Kitchen Inventory - Part 2

Well it certainly has taken me long enough to do this, don't you think?  LOL

I think doing my cabinets/pantry got me so overwhelmed that I didn't want to even THINK about inventorying another single item!  But, better late than never right?

Because honestly I think knowing what you have in your kitchen is half the battle.

So, here is what I have to work with currently....

14 individual bottles of diet Coke
16 single serving sized bottles of Poland Spring water
1/3 bottle pure maple syrup
various salad dressings, dipping sauces, & mustards
1/2 bottle teriyaki sauce
1/3 bottle of ketchup
1 almost full bottle of ballpark mustard
1/2 regular sized bottle of mayo
1 Costco sized bag of chocolate chips
1/2 Costco sized bag of brown sugar
3 Polish beers (a gift to Papa last Spring)
1/2 pint of heavy cream
1/2 quart of milk
2 1/2 dozen eggs
1 1/2 lbs of bacon
1 bag of mini peppers
1 bag of lemons
1 large bunch of beets
2 very large scallions
approximately 1 lb of carrots
1/3 bag of Brussel sprouts
1/3 lb green beans
1 plum
10 Red Delicious apples
1/2 peck Gala apples
1/4 lb American cheese
approximately 2 lbs of shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/2 packs of pepperoni slices
6 tortillas
1 large jar of berry jelly
1/2 Costco sized Worcestershire sauce
1 lb Mozzarella cheese
2 open containers of caramel - one regular and one peanut butter caramel
1/3 small container of Crisco
1/3 package of mushrooms
1 container of leftover white rice
1 container of leftover ribs (approximately one to two servings)

Freezer1 bag of meatballs (enough for one dinner)
14 large chicken breasts
2 whole chickens
1 bag chicken nuggets
2 lbs bacon
1/3 cooked pork tenderloin (for fried rice)
1 bag shredded chicken (for enchiladas)
1/2 bag frozen corn
1/3 bag cavatelli
2 bags homemade pumpkin puree
2 packages of Thomas English muffins
3 half gallons ice cream
1/2 package hot dog rolls
1 package of hamburger rolls
2 (1/2 bag each) fries - one regular and one curly
1/3 Costco sized bag of potstickers
2 small Celeste pizzas
1 package of tortillas
2 individual pot pies (one beef and one turkey)
1 bag cheese tortellini
4 pretzel rolls
3 (1/2 bags) mixed berries
1 frozen container of peanut butter (G1 likes to eat it that way - not sure why!)

Phew!  Glad that's done!  I still would like to inventory my cleaning supplies too but that's for another day!

One glaringly obvious problem with my freezer stash is the lack of protein variety!  If I try to serve my family just chicken for the next month, I will have a mutiny on my hands!  I guess I need to look for some deals on beef!

And, I think I need to draw up a meal plan again!  I was doing great with planning ahead of time and sticking to it....then life got in the way!  We have been eating meals at home still BUT I have been planning them out the morning of rather than knowing what I am making way ahead of time....which I now find gives me anxiety...


Maybe I am turning into a meal planning convert after all?  LOL

No Weigh In Wednesday

No Weigh In Wednesday today because I got on my scale and...

The batteries are DEAD!

Since no stores were open that early - and I wasn't going to wait to eat breakfast until they were!, I guess I will be skipping this week.  LOL

Check back later today when I FINALLY post my second installment of the Kitchen Inventory where I catalog my fridge and freezer!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September Groceries: Week 3

September has been chugging along fairly well....even with my lowering of the grocery budget to between $200 to a maximum of $250!  (My grocery budget earlier this year was $550 for those who don't remember.)
As of last check, I had $124 left to spend to stick with my $200 goal!
Let's see how I did this week, shall we?

Farmer's Market:  $39*
*ouch!  NOT happy with this honestly....especially since we figured out we were OVERCHARGED at the dairy vendor!  The "dairy lady" wasn't manning the tent - we believe it was her husband doing it and he didn't credit us our bottle refunds.  While it may seem like I am being slightly petty, it DOES make a big difference to be double charged bottle deposits in the end.  Oh well.  Papa and I decided that if the lady isn't there in the future, we will only buy yogurt and save any returns/milk purchases until the following week.

1 quart whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 pint lemon yogurt
1 pint maple yogurt
1 loaf Pain au Levain bread
1 bunch beets
1 large bunch rainbow chard
1 small container of shitake mushrooms (it was the mushroom lady's last week which makes me super sad as I love these little guys!)

Big Y:  $32.38
1 package store brand pie crust
1 (16oz) container sour cream
1 (10 count) package of tortillas
3 half gallons Friendly's ice cream
2 bags UTZ potato chips
1 jar salsa
3 packages of Wise onion dip (special treat for Papa)
1 container rainbow sprinkles
5 (32 oz) Gatorades

Total spent this week:  $71.38
Left in September budget: $53.34*
*to stay at $200 or less

With the month only half way over, this is going to be a challenge. 

I have yet to inventory the fridge/freezer, however, I know there is a good amount of food in there to help stretch through the month.  I am foreseeing only needing more fresh fruit/veggies/bread/milk but we will see how it goes.

How are things going in your world for September groceries?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kitchen Inventory - Installment One

I finally got started inventorying our kitchen!  But, whoa!  Did I ever underestimate the job!  Here is the first installment of my Kitchen Inventory....Today I went through all the cupboards and cabinets (minus the spice shelves).  Sadly, I did have quite a bit more food waste than I anticipated as some items got woefully buried in the back of shelves and were WAAAY past their expiration dates!

Cabinet One (large double sided)
Top Shelf
2 1/2 boxes bow tie pasta
1/3 box ziti
1/2 box each linguine and thin linguine
1 large bag whole wheat spirals
1 box lasagna noodles
1/3 container of Arborio rice
1 2lb bag jasmine rice
1 Ziploc bag of miscellaneous remnants of egg noodles
2 boxes macaroni and cheese
1 1/3 boxes farro
1 small can of southwest diced tomatoes
1 small can of diced tomato with garlic and onion
Middle Shelf
1 yellow cake mix
1 chocolate cake mix
1 tub chocolate frosting
1 tub cream cheese frosting
1 small box unopened brown sugar
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 jar cornstarch
approximately 1.5 lbs white sugar (NEED more immediately!)
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 bag regular sized marshmallows
1 5lb bag bread flour
1/4 bag AP flour (NEED more immediately!)
1/2 box Splenda packets
misc cupcake liners
1 jar corn syrup
2lbs baking soda
1 & 1/4 containers of baking powder
1 chocolate muffin mix
1 blueberry muffin mix
1/3 box buttermilk pancake mix
1 vanilla instant pudding
1 chocolate instant pudding
1 homemade toll house cookie flour mix
Bottom Shelf
1 3lb container of peanut butter
1/3 container of opened peanut butter
1 Jiff to go peanut butter packs (3)
3 cans black beans
1 small jar artichokes
1 can chicken broth
1 quart box chicken broth
4 cans tomato soup
1 box shake and bake
1 small can mandarin oranges
1 container of Mio style drink enhancer
2 mini cans of tuna
1 bottle raspberry honey sauce
1 jar raspberry honey mustard
1 jar salsa
1 small container of mayo
1 jar apple cider honey mustard
1 bottle Vidalia onion BBQ sauce
1 bottle honey BBQ sauce
1 bottle raspberry pineapple grill sauce
1 bottle Teryaki sauce
1 bottle habanero pineapple sauce
4 MCD sweet and sour dipping sauces
1 MCD honey mustard dipping sauce
1 McCormick fajita packet
2 chicken ramen noodle cups

Cabinet Two (small one sided)
1 box vegetable thins crackers
1 box wheat thins crackers
1 bag chocolate covered pretzel crisps
1/2 bag each cheddar and pizza Goldfish
1 bag salted shelled peanuts
1 bag salted unshelled peanuts
1/8 jar popcorn kernels (NEED!)
8 individual packages of Hello Panda cookies
Miscellaneous remnants for homemade granola making:
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
honey roasted peanuts
13 individual sized trail mix
4 Nature Valley granola bars

Pantry (closet)
Top Shelf
1 3 liter bottle of olive oil
1/2 3 quart bottle of vegetable oil
1 full 3 quart bottle of vegetable oil
Second shelf
2 boxes of Ziploc freezer bags
tin foil
plastic wrap
parchment paper
wax paper
misc. plastic utensils
1 1ltr bottle of balsamic vinegar
1 small bottle of malt vinegar
1 small bottle of rice wine vinegar
1/4 bottle of apple cider vinegar
2 lbs bottle of honey
Third shelf
1 large bag lime tortilla chips
1/2 bag regular tortilla chips
1 full bag tortilla chips
1 bag sweet chili doritos
1 bag nacho cheese doritos
1 bag honey braided pretzel rods
1 bag honey mustard pretzel pieces
Fourth Shelf
1 full box of Rice Krispies cereal
1 canister of quick oats
1 box (96 servings) Nature Valley granola bars
1 pouch maple granola
1 box (about 45 individual servings left) Pringles
Floor of pantry
large box of Kirkland garbage bags
Miscellaneous paper bags

Next up will be my fridge and freezer!

Have a nice Saturday!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Five Things Friday!

Happy Friday!  Hope everyone is having a great day!  I am still having some computer issues but will hopefully sort it out over the weekend!

I had a mish mosh of  miscellany to blog about so I decided a "Five Things Friday" was in order!

1.  Last weekend, we received a FREE couch and loveseat from my brother!  He and his wife are moving to a smaller apartment and decided to purchase new furniture so he passed his old set on to us!  We were in pretty desperate need of it since every time you sat on the couch in the family room you got a spring up your backside!  Haha!  This set will get us through the rest of G2's teen years (this room gets LOTS of use from G2 & friends).  So, thanks little brother!  =)

2.  This week we got great news from G2's therapist!  G2 has been doing so well lately - even with the start of a new school year.  The therapist and G2 agreed that G2 doesn't need scheduled therapy appointments right now!  Obviously we should call her should anything change but this is AWESOME news!  Papa and I have noticed that G2 has been pretty much back to her "old" happy self but we now have confirmation of it!

3.  Papa decided to attempt to get accreditation for something having to do with the hospital and material management - I still can't remember the name of it to save my life!  Anyway, on Tuesday he took the exam for it and PASSED!  It was a super hard exam that the hospital would only pay for once....if he didn't pass it was up to him to pay the $275 exam fee!  And, it should be noted that his hospital had the highest percentage of passing people in the country and that was only at 40%!  So, this was a pretty big deal!  And, to sweeten the deal, Papa will receive a small bonus from work for passing!  (I think he said around $400)

4.  I haven't watched the local news lately but I guess the weathermen are hyping up the possibility that Connecticut may be in the path of Hurricane Jose.  My parents are worried about a tree in front of their house so they asked if Papa could help my brother and father take it down tomorrow.  Sadly, both Guppies were going to be out all day and it was supposed to be our "free" day. But, it's okay.  In exchange for helping take the tree down, we can have the wood.  (Granted it has to season before we can use it in the fireplace but we will be happy to have it later)  And, Papa can borrow my dad's chainsaw to take down a couple of small trees in our yard.   While Papa is off helping take the tree down, I will have the house to myself to FINALLY do that kitchen inventory I have been putting off.

5.  I "cashed" in some of the points Papa accumulated on his credit card for a $25 Amazon gift card.  We need a part for our garage door opener and Amazon carries it so it's like we are getting our garage door fixed for free!

Any good things going on in your part of the world?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday

The very late edition....I don't know what it is but my blogger isn't working well when I try to access my posts!  Anyone else have this problem?  I'm thinking that it's most likely because I have too much "junk" gunking up my computer's memory!


I got on the scale this morning, once again not expecting much....

I weighed in at

which I believe is about a one pound loss from last week - I'm afraid to try to access last week's post and have another blogger crash!

I really do want to get into the 160's soon!  But, as I keep saying, I need to up my nutrition game to get there!

If you are trying to lose weight, how is it going?  Any good tips/tricks on how to kick the junk/chocolate/soda habit?

It seems like all I do is post about weight and food now!  Tomorrow (blogger and computer willing) I'll be back with a non food related post!

Happy Wednesday all!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What's Cooking? Meal Plan September 9th - 15th

Another week.....a new meal plan!

I'm happy to say that I actually followed through with last week's dinner plans for almost the entire week!  Friday night was supposed to be "leftovers" but, there weren't many to be had and G2 had a friend over.  I pushed the "easy" button and ordered us a pizza.  (Which is wasteful and ironic since I have pizza dough languishing in the fridge!)  Other than that, I kicked butt last week!

Let's check out how this week has gone and what is planned for the rest of it!

Breakfast Choices
Monkey Bread
Cinnamon Rolls (made with the aforementioned pizza dough)
Granola Bars
Eggs & Bacon
Maple yogurt with fruit/granola (Papa at work)

Lunch Choices
Tuna Salad on Ciabatta rolls (Papa)
Macaroni & Cheese
Grilled cheese
Loaded Nachos
Pasta Salad
Farro Salad


Papa & I went down to New Haven for dinner!  We ate at my favorite Indian place (with leftovers for lunch on Sunday!)  We treated G2 and her boyfriend to Friday's takeout before we left.

Balsamic glazed chicken breast
Mashed sweet potatoes
Roasted green beans

Flank Steak
Roasted Brussel sprouts

Papa is taking a very difficult accreditation test today (his hospital has the highest percentage of people who pass it and that is only 40%!).  A few of his coworkers are also attempting the test and they decided to go out afterwards for appetizers and drinks.  I have been invited to tag along so that will be our "dinner".
G1:  Fried rice
G2: Chicken nuggets and curly fries

Bacon wrapped roast pork tenderloin
Mashed potatoes
Corn on the cob

Spaghetti & meatballs
Roasted garlic & ciabatta rolls

Breakfast for dinner:
Diner style home fries

This weekend is very up in the air.  G2 is supposed to go to New York City with her boyfriend and his family to celebrate the boyfriend's birthday.  G1 will be heading back to Ramsey's house to help out since he is still restricted due to his hurt ankle.

I will be making a vegetarian chili in the crockpot at some point this weekend for me & Papa (since we are the only ones who enjoy it).  Other than that, I'm waiting until closer to the weekend to decide what to cook/pull out of the freezer.

Hope you are all having a good week so far!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September Groceries: Week 2

So, let's check out how I did for the first full week of September!

If you remember, I spent a mere $13 last week (first 2 days of the month).  That leaves me with $187 to spend!

Dollar Tree:  $4.19
2 rolls (40 ft each) tin foil
1 container of Dawn dishwashing liquid
1 canister of quick oats

Stop & Shop:  $4.49
1 loaf store brand white bread
1 pint Ben & Jerry ice cream (treat delivered to G2's boyfriend who was sick)

Big Y:  $14.15
1 bag McCain French fries
1 package store brand hamburger rolls
1 store brand "Mio style" drink flavor enhancers
1 veggies sushi platter with additional yum yum sauce (Grabbed for G1 who came home from Ramsey's for the afternoon for a scheduled driving lesson)

Stop & Shop:  $15.75
2 (1 ltr bottles) Diet Coke
1 (9 mega roll) pack of Quilted Northern toilet paper
1 king sized Kit Kat (for G2)

Olivers:  $23.70
2 large cans of Tuttorosso diced tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs deli American cheese (awesome buy @ $2.99/lb!)
1 box vegetable crackers
1  box Wheat Thins
1 dozen eggs
1 (4 pack) corn muffins - impulse buy ((oops!))
1 bag potato chips
1 loaf French bread
1 half gallon ice cream

Farmer's Market:  $0*
* We had to skip today partially because there was a HUGE cancer bike race going on in downtown New Haven so many of the roads were closed off. 

Total spent this week:  $62.28
Left in September budget:  $124.72*
to stay at $200 for the month

With three full weeks to go, this is going to be tight!  But, we do have quite a bit of food to choose from at least!  I plan on doing that HUGE inventory on Monday - I actually scheduled it into my calendar to make sure it happens! Haha!  I will make sure to write about it next Tuesday.

How's your September going so far?  Are you on target?  Ahead of the game?

Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday on a Thursday and Other Miscellany

Labor Day has me all out of whack since there was no school/work for G2 and Papa!  So, I completely forgot yesterday was Wednesday until I got ready for bed!  So, I definitely wasn't going on the scale then!  LOL

This morning I DID remember to hop on before my breakfast and wasn't shocked to see that I gained .2 lbs and now was up to 174.6.  I had a pretty bad PMS week and downed a bunch of chocolate.  How could I expect to NOT pay the price for that?

It's all good though....This a marathon not a sprint after all.

I feel so much better since I started really keeping up with the walking this past April!  And, my legs look and feel a bit more toned.

Focus on the positive, right?

In other news....

You may (or maybe not) have noticed I haven't spoken much of G1 lately.  Well, that's because she has been camped out at Ramsey's house playing nursemaid.  Last weekend Ramsey was goofing around at his neighbor's house and jumped off a deck.....
And sprained his ankle to such an extent everyone was sure it was broken until the xrays told otherwise. 
Ramsey is now in a boot and hobbles around (mostly unsuccessfully) on crutches.  G1 has been staying at his house to help out since, long story short, Ramsey lives with his grandfather because his parents died when he was very young.  G1 staying to attend to Ramsey has been a big help to his grandfather.
Verdict from the doctor today is he is going to be out of work for the rest of September....which would have been the rest of his time at his job at the country club. 
G1 and he have a lot of thinking to do...
It looks like the "gap year" may have to be put off a little longer while the two of them regroup, find jobs, and save more money.
She is coming home Sunday night.  You can bet Papa and I will be talking to her about all of this. 
Ramsey didn't get hurt on purpose but now they have to deal with what to do next.
Good life lesson I guess.

Tonight Papa and I are heading over to the high school for "Open House" to meet all of G2's teachers.  Thankfully, it will be a nice enough night to walk over since parking for this event is usually a nightmare!  I really do look forward to this night.  It's good to put a face to a teacher's name when we talk at dinner time.  Plus I find it amusing to watch some of the parents at Open House...the ones who were the "cool kids" in high school back in the day and still strut around pretending to be popular.  And, yes I am being completely serious...there are those parents in my town.  (There are enough decent normal people too though don't get me wrong.)

Other than that, things have been fairly quiet for the most part.

How are things going in your part of the world?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Five Frugal Things

I hope everyone in the USA had a nice Labor Day!  It was quiet around my parts - which is how I like it!  LOL

One of my favorite bloggers, Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate, does this type of post quite frequently.  I am going to *try* to do this type of post once a week for (at least) the month of September.

Let's see if I can come up with five on the fly here.....

1.  I called our cable company this morning and, for 30 minutes of my time, I was able to get my bill reduced by $50 per month for the next year - without losing any of my existing channels or internet speed.  We are getting closer and closer to being able to cut the cable cord but we just aren't there yet.  I'll re-evaluate this next year and take the savings for now.

2.  Papa & I wanted to do a hike yesterday since he had the day off from work.  However, rather than fighting the crowds and having to pay admission to a state park, we drove about ten minutes into the next town and used the less frequented part of a recreation path.  While not as strenuous as a hike would have been, it was free (well, almost...we did use gas) and not crowded.  We really enjoyed our six miles together.  =)

3.  Right now I feel like I am questioning EVERY single thing before I purchase it!  Case in point...We are almost out of our "favorite" body wash.  Instead of buying more - or buying anything for that matter - I raided our linen closet and pulled out more sample soaps to use up first.

4.  I have been sticking to our meal plan!  Even yesterday, as Papa and I were finishing our walk and getting hungry.....Instead of stopping to grab a quick bite to eat, we drove home and ate our leftover chicken soup.  It was delicious and kept much needed money where it belonged - in the bank!

5.  I didn't do much to "earn" this one but, I'm including it anyway...LOL   G2 went peach picking with her boyfriend and his family yesterday.  They gifted us with a half dozen perfectly ripe peaches!  Yummy!  

Funny conversation with G2 last evening....

G2:  Mom, D's parents really wanted me to get something from the farm shop yesterday after picking peaches.  But, everything was so expensive!
Me:  Really?
G2:  Yeah.  D got a caramel apple but it cost TWELVE DOLLARS!  Isn't that crazy?  So, now way was I going to spend their money like that.

LOL   I guess she's learning! 
By the way, I promised her that we would make our own caramel apples this fall and said we could probably make about a dozen for that price!

Anyway, I'm off!

Anyone want to share their own five frugal things?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

What's Cooking?

I am taking a particular interest in making (and sticking!) to a meal plan this month!  We all know what a game changer this could be - not just in saving money but also saving our sanity!  LOL

Here's what's been on or going to be on our table!

Mixed berry smoothies (I have frozen fruit I need to use up!)
Yogurt with fruit/granola (Papa at work)
Bagels with butter or cream cheese
Cold cereal
Granola bars (Grab and go for G2)
Peanut Butter Toast
Eggs with toast

Chicken noodle soup
Pasta salad
Tuna sandwiches (Papa)
Grilled cheese
Loaded nachos
Chicken & Farro (recipe to yet be found/determined)


Friday, September 1st
G2 had her best friend and boyfriend over so they had a "make your own pizza" party here.
Papa and I had mushroom ravioli in a mushroom/garlic/butter sauce.

Saturday, September 2nd
It felt extremely "Fall" like outside so I was inspired:
Roasted lemon chicken (using one half lemon past its prime)
Dumplings with butter and onions
Roasted beets
Sauteed Swiss chard & garlic

Sunday, September 3rd
I dumped the carcass of the roast chicken into the crockpot with some water & seasonings to make a broth for:
Chicken Noodle Soup (using leftover meat from Saturday night)
Ciabatta rolls
Homemade Apple Crisp for anyone who wants it

Monday, September 4th
BBQ Ribs (already cooked and frozen from G2's bday in July)
Macaroni and Cheese
Green beans with garlic

Tuesday, September 5th
(with sautéed mushrooms for those who would like)
Roasted Brussel sprouts
Roasted sweet potatoes

Wednesday, September 6th
Hamburgers (need to buy rolls)
Roasted Potatoes

Thursday, September 7th
Open house at the high school
Baked Ziti
Green beans
Garlic bread

Friday, September 8th
Grilled Cheese sandwiches & Chips

The above should be very "doable" as long as I stay focused!

What's on your menu for the upcoming week?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What's The Budget? September Groceries & Check In One

I think I'm still riding high from actually succeeding in August, but, I am going low this month for groceries too!  (Plus, it should be a bit easier since my parents treated me to that Costco run yesterday!)
I've decided to attempt $200 or under but I am allowing myself to spend up to $250 for September.

I haven't inventoried by pantry yet.  In a perfect world it would have been done already but, it's a four day weekend for the Guppies and Papa gets Monday off.  So, yeah, tearing up the kitchen isn't going to happen right now....maybe Tuesday?

In the interest of being completely transparent, I am listing everything that was bought at Costco in today's check in.  I want to stay completely accountable.

Costco:  $0
2 whole chickens
1 package of 12 (very large) boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 lbs of bacon
2 packages (6 each) bagels
1 package mini peppers
1 (4 lb) container of plums
1 container of store made chocolate chip cookies
3 jars of tomato sauce
1 large bottle of store brand balsamic vinegar
1 box of chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches (12 count)
1 container of store brand dishwasher packs
1 box of Ziploc freezer bags
2 dozen extra large eggs
1 flat (40 bottles) Poland Spring
1 flat (35 cans) diet coke
1 flat (28 bottles) Gatorade
3 lbs of store brand shredded Mexican cheese
1 (2lb) block of Mozzarella cheese
1 (3lb) bag of fresh broccoli
1 (2lb) bag of fresh garlic
4 lbs of butter
1 (3lb) tub of Philadelphia cream cheese
2 lbs of fresh harcovert beans
2 lbs of Brussel sprouts
1 container of fresh white mushrooms
1 (double pack) fresh pizza dough
1 (72 oz) bag of Nestle chocolate chips
1 large bag of mixed fun sized candy bars
1 bag of beef jerky
1 large bag of lime tortilla chips
1 box (98) granola bars
1 double pack of Lucky Charms cereal
1 bag of dark chocolate covered pretzels
1 bag (16) mini ciabatta rolls
1 (28 piece) box of Glad Matchware plastic containers
1 (158 load) jug of All laundry detergent

A definite mish mosh of junk food and some healthy stuff!  My parents wanted to make sure the Guppies had enough "fun" stuff (aka chocolate).  LOL 
 I'm super grateful for the trip!

Farmer's Market:  $13*
*offset by extra bottle return to the dairy
1 bottle whole milk
1 pint raspberry yogurt
1 pint maple yogurt
1 bunch swiss chard

Total Spent this "week":  $13
Total left in September budget:  $187

What does your September grocery budget look like?
Are you trying to cut it down too?

Have a great Saturday!