Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Closing Out February and Onto March!

Moving forward, I think I am going to start trying to do updates at the end of each month on my progress in certain areas and come up with a set of goals for the following month....

Since I didn't have a specific set of goals for February, I'm going to highlight the positives that did occur...

1.  Groceries came in under $400 for the month
2.  I was under for the gas budget for my car by almost $19.
3.  I shaved $50/month off my cable bill.
4.  I was able to read three books after being in a reading slump:
No Easy Way Out by Dayna Lorentz
No Dawn Without Darkness by Dayna Lorentz
What the Dead Want by Norah Olson
5.  While I am not going to come close to hitting my 52 dates with Papa, we did have a nice night out together at a local Irish Pub thanks to a Groupon I scored before Christmas.

Now onto....

March Goals

I am aiming for $450.  I also need to restock quite a few things in the pantry so this is going to be interesting.  But, I am determined!

I am budgeting $130 - this is for just my car.  If I am able to stay under this, any money left will be rolled into a "Summer fund" for the extra driving I do in the summer.

I would like to read at least four books in March.

I have been far too lazy so far - okay some of it was due to illness but still I'm way off the mark for where I need to be.
1.  Aiming for 5 miles per day minimum.  I don't have a fitbit but my phone keeps track of my steps taken/miles walked.  I have been using that for about a week now.  While not perfect (I sometimes leave it on the table and forget to have it on me), it's a decent indicator of my level of activity.
2.  Strength/Weight training twice per week.
3.  Yoga once per week - try to find a beginner program on Netflix or YouTube
4.  Limit diet coke to 2x per day - It really is my weakness.
5.  Up water intake to at least 16 oz per day - baby steps here.
6.  Weight loss - I'm hoping if I do the above I will see the scale move a decent amount.  I'm aiming for a 5 lb loss in March.

1.  Try to make tortillas or pita bread.
2.  Try at least four new recipes in March.

1.  Save/Earn at least $100 in March.  Some of my ideas so far as to how to achieve this include selling things on Ebay and/or through consignment, bottle returns, money saved in grocery budget - if any, Swagbucks, Ibotta, and any of other shaving of bills I can find!  I am also contemplating finding some part time work outside the house.

Start using a journal/calendar system again!  It fell by the wayside in February and I can see how much I truly need it to stay on track with everything!  I am a complete mess without it!

Those are where my goals stand for March!  I'll post at the end of the month with an update on how I did!

Enjoy the last day of February everyone!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Positively Monday!

Let's see if I can start this week off right by posting some positive things that have happened recently...

1.  Last night both Guppies made sure to be home to watch The Academy Awards with us - including all the pre red carpet hoopla!  Neither of them made it until the end (which they regretted this morning after all the controversy about Best Picture) but we watched 90% together as a family. 

2.  I was able to make our "Picky Party" dinner using things from the pantry and freezer items I never made for Super Bowl.

3.  I was able to get some decent walks in this weekend with Papa and the dog because the weather was pretty darn nice for the most part.

4.  I am almost completely caught up on laundry - for now!  LOL

5.  I sent Papa to work today with more than enough food to last him until the wee hours of the morning.  We also came up with a contingency plan should he be too tired to drive home.  I'm hopeful I will be able to sleep better this week knowing we have a plan.

6.  I stayed under my re-adjusted grocery budget of $400.....still a far cry from what a lot of people are able to accomplish but a nice win for me!

7.  I stayed under budget for gas too by $18.85 this month!  I should be able to hold off filling the tank until at least March 1st.

8.  I was able to turn off the heat completely this week for two consecutive days due to the crazy warm weather.

9.  This cold/crud thing I have been dealing with seems to finally be breaking and I am on the mend.

10.  After a quick look around my kitchen/pantry, I am pretty sure that I won't have to do ANY grocery shopping this week which is a nice way to begin March!

I think that's it for me.

Your turn!

Any positives you care to share?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Kitchen Prep & Figuring Out the Next Few Weeks...

It seems I have gotten myself into a bit of a pattern where I spend part of Sundays baking and prepping for the following week!  This, in my opinion, is a good habit to get into!  =)

Today I need to bake some type of "grab and go" breakfast style item that the Guppies can take to school in the morning.  I'm thinking of making a coffee cake today since it can serve a dual purpose in that Papa can pack a piece or two for snacking on during the work day. 

I'll precook some bacon and pull out the freezer bag with the rest of my English muffins today too so the additional options of Egg McMuffin style sandwiches and "Breakfast Delight" sandwiches can be added to breakfast.

As I have been saying all last week, the next few weeks are going to be super challenging in a LOT of different ways.  It's practically a given now that Papa will be working until very late into the night (1 or 2am) Monday through Thursday until this project is completed.  He is helping with the manual moving of products and, while not in his job description, he is staying to do it/help to make sure it gets done correctly and as quickly as possible (the more hands the better).  It sucks that there is no overtime involved BUT, boy, there are benefits!  His boss's boss stopped him in the hall on Friday to discuss all the time/effort he is putting into this project - which made Papa pretty happy.  His plan is to give this job everything he has for the next year or so and see where things go.  Papa has been told many times already there is room for advancement.  Time will tell.


I have given up the idea of saving dinner for him when he gets home that late.  It's not good for his stomach/gall bladder issues.  But, I can't let him starve either (LOL). 

So, my trial plan for this week is to send him with extra "snacky style" things, lunch, and an easier portable dinner that he can eat whenever they take a break.

As an example, my plan for him on Monday:
Lemon Yogurt with Granola
Kiwi & Strawberries
Coffee Cake
Chicken Noodle Soup
Cheese & Crackers
Cavatelli with Broccoli

He also has other shelf stable snacks in his office which he can eat if needed.

I have to give a little more thought as to how I am going to juggle other lunches/dinners since he normally would take the previous night's leftovers for lunch.  I'm hoping that egg salad and tuna salad will help fill in any gaps I find this week.

If this week's trial run works, I'll continue it until the project is finished (mid March) and Papa returns to a more "normal" work day.

If it doesn't work, I'll tweak it or brainstorm again.

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday!

What's Cooking....

Let's check out how we ate this week!  And, nope!  NO fast food is included - well unless you count a take and bake pizza!  =)
To be completely honest however, I didn't start this post on Sunday like I normally do (and update through the week) so the first few days only have dinners included because that's all I can completely remember!

The four of us plus Ramsey
Alton Brown's City Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Mac n Cheese (boxed)
Green Beans with Garlic Butter

Just little old me for dinner!  G2 was at a friend's house.  G1 was at Ramsey's.  And Papa worked late.
I had:  Campbell's Tomato Soup with a buttered roll
Papa:  When he got home from work he made himself a tuna melt.  And made extra tuna to take to work on Tuesday.

G1: At Ramsey's
G2 & BF:  Take and Bake pizza from Big Y
Me:  Blackened chicken salad
Papa:  was supposed to have the salad but went straight to bed when he got home from work at 1am

G1:  Bagel with cream cheese
G2:  Croissant
Papa:  Made himself a big breakfast since he hadn't eaten the night before.  Scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast
Me:  Toast with butter

G1:  Leftover Pizza
G2:  Snacked on Goldfish on her way to her therapy appointment right after school
Papa:  Blackened chicken salad at work
Me:  Blackened chicken salad that Papa didn't eat Tuesday night

G1 & Me: Cheddar Ham & Rice Casserole*
G2:  not feeling adventurous so had leftover pizza
*new recipe and was kind of meh.  Very heavy as well.  Probably won't make again.
Papa:  Got home at 2am and didn't want to eat dinner late late/too tired

G1: Nothing - slept in because of  Dr appointment
G2:  Croissant
Papa: Cereal at home before heading to work later in the morning
Me:  Package of two Nature Valley granola bars

G1 & Me:  G1 requested Spicy Udon
G2:  Went walking with friends after school and grabbed Wayback Burgers
Papa:  Leftover Cheddar, Ham, & Rice casserole

The exhaustion from the lack of sleep the past two nights (coupled with stress of handling situations) is real.  G2 had her BF over so the five of us just had:
Lemon Roasted Chicken
Mashed Yukon Golds
I was just couldn't be bothered with cooking a veg too.

Papa brought home some misc pastries/muffins from a late morning work meeting yesterday...
G1:  Raspberry turnover
G2:  Croissant
Papa:  Opted for his yogurt at work with granola
Me:  Chocolate Chip muffin

G1 & G2:  Pasta salad
Papa:  Chicken salad at work
Me:  Leftover pizza

Both Guppies out so just Papa and me for dinner.  Original plan was mushroom/spinach frittata but Papa was worried about his gall bladder acting up so instead we had:
Roasted Veggies and Cheddar sandwiches
Papa had pretzel rods with his.

G1:  At Ramsey's but texted me a picture of her breakfast from a well known diner in Ramsey's area of Connecticut - how thoughtful right?  LOL
G2:  Croissant
Papa & Me:  Raspberry turnovers (freebies from Papa's meeting)

G1 and G2 both out
Papa & Me:  Leftover Roasted Veggie and Cheese sandwiches

Just Papa and me again!
Garlic & Broccoli Cavatelli with Parmesan
Garlic bread - store brand I had lurking in the freezer...it was so bland!  Edible but no taste really.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February's Groceries This Week...

Just a quick reminder of where my grocery budget stands for February...

To help offset an expensive grocery bill in January, I am trying to stay at or below $300 for February.  What is included in my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)

At the end of last week, we saw that I was over my self imposed $300 goal for the month by  $51.34.
And I re-adjusted my monthly goal to stay at $400 or less.  (Still $100 to $150 less than what I normally budget for groceries each month.)
So, I had $48.66 or less to spend this week to make it!

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

Big Y:  $39.92
Take & Bake cheese pizza
1 package (5 pack) croissants
1 quart of buttermilk
1 quart of store brand milk (to be used for baking)
1 lb butter
1 package Cabot shredded cheddar
1 lb American cheese (deli)
1/4 lb olives
2 individual Friendly's sundae cups
1 can store brand cheese soup (for recipe I am trying this week)
1 Ortega taco kit
1 box store brand penne rigate
1 bottle Marie's dressing
1lb red onion
2 bagged salad mixes

Dollar Tree:  $5.19
Onion powder
Garlic powder
1 40 sq ft roll of tin foil
1 bag (5 count) better quality trash bags
1 (2 pack) sponges

Total Spent:  $45.11
Total Spent on February Groceries:  $396.45

While I am still over my aggressive original $300 budget, I DID make my second (adjusted) goal by the skin of my teeth!  I'm overall pretty happy with this...although I know there is always room for improvement.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Day Book....Friday February 24th

Lilacs from last Spring!

Outside my window....
is the beginnings of a beautiful day!  Imagine my surprise when I watched the news the morning to find out that we are in for an almost 70 degree day!  In Connecticut!  In February!  I'll take it for sure!  =)
My road seems more active than usual with cars and people alike.

What I am hearing....
Cars going by, the dog snoring on the couch, the dryer going, and my phone going off with a text from G1 at school that she gave me the wrong pick up time today (senior privilege = shorter days).

What I am feeling....
I'm still exhausted (mentally and physically) from this week. 

What I am wearing....
Winnie the Pooh grey sweatshirt and grey flannel PJ bottoms.  I turned the heat off in preparation for such a nice day but my house is currently 62 degrees so I am comfy in these warmer clothes for now.

What I am wishing....
That the little girl who was taken this morning by her father is found safe and sound!  Papa saw on the news that there was "police activity" on the street where is mom lives!  He watched to see that a man killed at least one person and then grabbed his six year old daughter and fled the scene.  So sad and scary!

What I am reading....
I finally finished the second book in the No Safety in Numbers trilogy.  It was a loooong book and after reading some reviews on GoodReads, it seems like I wasn't the only one that struggled to finish it.  It was a really good book but was just too long.  I started the final book last night and I am already 2/3 through - which really tells me that either the author or editor made a bad decision in how to split the story up.

What I am thankful for....
That Papa was home by six pm last night and plans the same for tonight!  That it's the weekend.  That G1 is semi recovered from her trip that that nasty dermatologist yesterday.  That my cold seems to be finally going away.  That my sweet G2 is getting a LOT of positive reinforcement from us, school guidance, and her therapist regarding how to handle a very stressful and manipulative friendship.

What I am creating....
Nothing today...I'm simply too tired.  I may try to get some baking done this weekend though.

From the kitchen....
I have a sink full (and then some!) of dirty dishes to deal with from last night's roast chicken dinner.
Lunches are going to be leftovers and, since it will be just Papa and me for dinner tonight, I will be making a mushroom, spinach, and cheddar frittata.  I would also like to get the crockpot going and make some chicken stock since I don't have any homemade in the freezer.

What's going on this weekend....
I honestly don't have much of a clue yet besides trying to catch up on sleep and spending some extra time with Papa!  G1 is spending most of the weekend up at her boyfriend's house.  G2 is going to a hockey game tonight with her BFF but that's as much as I know for her plans at the moment.  Papa and I decided we are sleeping in tomorrow rather than heading to the Winter's Farmer's Market.  We have milk and yogurt left (our main reason for going in the winter months) and I don't have any extra money to spend anyway.  Sunday night is the Oscars so Papa and I (hopefully the Guppies will be around too) will watch with our annual Oscar "pickies" style dinner.

Today's To Do list....
Clean kitchen
Straighten family room and vacuum
Laundry - at least three to four loads!
Take dog for walk (twice)
Pick up Papa's suit from the cleaners
Pick up the Guppies from school
Drive G1 to Ramsey's
Finish the book I am reading

I'm sure I am missing stuff I need to do today but that's my list off the top of my head!

Hope everyone has a nice Friday! 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gas & Garbage & Horrid Bedside Manner

Happy Thursday everyone!  I cannot wait for the weekend to arrive!  Remember that Positively Tuesday post?  I swear the second after I hit the "publish" button, all hell broke loose!  Everyone here is okay so not to worry there.  Just a trying few days for sure!

Anyway, let's check out how I did with Gas & Garbage this week....

Last week I said I would be putting $30 in my tank (which I did) leaving me with $38.85 to stay on budget for gas for my car. Due to some unexpected "extra" driving I had to do this week, I had to put an additional $20 into my tank.   I have half a tank and $18.85 left to last me through next Tuesday.  Barring any extraordinary circumstances, I *should* be able to stay within budget - which makes me extremely happy!

I had three kitchen (13 gallon supposedly) bags of garbage this week....But, as with last week, two of them needed to be double bagged due to flimsy construction.  The good news is that the horrible bags are now completely used up!  LOL  But, seriously, such a waste.  I'm not sure why our garbage literally doubled this week as I have been fastidiously recycling where I am able.  Could just be the ebb and flow of our house?  No matter what, I am going to continue to keep track and strive to do better.

So, before I get to our horrid bedside manner account, there are a few things I need to admit...

1.  I haven't gotten much sleep recently since I can't sleep well when Papa isn't home - he came home at 2am yesterday from work (remember he works at the hospital so no normal business hours).  I worry about him falling asleep while driving home and that keeps me from getting solid sleep until I know he is home safe and sound.

2.  I realize I am pretty protective over the Guppies.  This story is about G1 -who currently has anxiety and depression.  She also had anorexia between seventh grade and freshman year of high school and almost needed to be hospitalized for it.   While she has overcome the anorexia (thank God), she still is very insecure about how she looks.

Okay, onto her doctor appointment....

She has some acne scarring that she is very self conscious about which is on her forehead predominantly.  This morning she had an appointment at a local dermatologist to see what they suggested be done.  G1 had a TON of paperwork to fill out (and included all the information above) since this was her first visit to this doctor.

The doctor came in the room, took a quick glance at G1's face (and I mean less than thirty seconds and in natural lighting), and proceeded to tell my teenage daughter that she has the "worst type of acne scarring possible" and "nothing was going to help it".  For the record, the scarring that G1 is uncomfortable about isn't that noticeable that much in my opinion.  She went on to say that for $2100, the doctor could do three laser treatments three months apart but it would only make it "25 % better" at most.  The doctor spent less than five minutes with us!

Now, G1 is holed up in her room feeling like the Phantom of Phantom of the Opera....


First world problems?  Absolutely.

But, what kind of doctor is so freaking blunt to a teenager girl who is on anti-depressive meds with that kind of medical history?!?!

I told G1 we would get a second opinion.  Her pediatrician is back from vacation on Monday and I'm going to see if she will refer us to the adolescent dermatologist at Yale....and hoping Papa will be able to find a connection within the hospital to get us in sooner than later.  I am counting on the fact that an adolescent derm will have a better bedside manner with teenage girls.

But for now I need to try to find a way to do damage control.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Changes In Cooking for the Next Month...

As I believe I mentioned previously, Papa is in the final push on a project at work.  He leaves for work by 7am and doesn't plan on getting home any evening for the next few weeks before 8 or 9pm....or later like last night when he got home at almost ONE AM!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel....but it's towards the end of March when the project should be more or less fully implemented.  Until then I need to get creative feeding all of us decent food at different times.  Plus, remember we have never replaced our dead microwave - nor do I plan to in the near future because I'm loving my extra counter space.

Papa doesn't like to get lunch at work often because it's very expensive....although I will join him for lunch once or twice in the upcoming weeks just so I can see my guy!  LOL  Besides that, it's brown bagging all the way baby!

Any favorite recipes or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Also, I need to probably fortify his lunchbox with more snacks as well to carry him through until he comes home for dinner.   With some days maybe even sending him with dinner!

Time to put on my thinking cap!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Positively Monday....Errrr...Tuesday!

Whoops!  I completely forgot to do my "Positively Monday" post yesterday!  Even though I posted yesterday and even acknowledged it was indeed Monday, my brain was still in weekend mode since the Guppies don't go back to school until tomorrow.

So, better late than never.....

Here are my list of positives this week!

1.  My house is still filled with yummy meal possibilities so I hopefully won't be going out for much in the way of groceries this week!  I DO need to grab more butter (will probably go to Aldi for it).  I also need a three things from the dollar store:  garbage bags, tin foil, and new dish sponges.

2.  Papa and I had a nice dinner on Saturday night that didn't break the bank!  We both got delicious dinners rather than burgers and (thanks to Groupon!) still spent a little under thirty bucks.  And well worth the money since Papa is going to be working C-R-A-Z-Y hours to finish his current work project!  Just yesterday, he left at seven am and didn't get home until after ten pm!  He is salary so there's no overtime benefits BUT his dedication has been noticed and should help in the long run with raises and promotions.

3.  I had sticker shock when opening my cable bill!  It was considerably more than it has been in the past!  I gave a call yesterday and some of my "promotion prices" have expired.  We are a family that still cannot completely cut the cable cord.  BUT, I did cut out our ShowTime subscription (promo ran out and our favorite show ended anyway) and another Movie package (nothing premium just channels like Sundance).  Doing this is saving me $30/month.  Then the woman "looked" for other promotions for me and "found" one for an additional $20 through August.  When August comes, I will call again to see if there are any new promos AND there is another "add on" kids package I will re-evaluate removing since the Guppies are getting older.  Until then I shaved $50 off the monthly bill so I'm happy about that!

4.  My workspace (aka the dining room table) is cleaned off again!  G1 and Ramsey cleaned it off of their Gap Year stuff completely before heading off to Ramsey's house yesterday.  I'm not a neat freak by any stretch but I was getting a little antsy having "MY" space being invaded....Plus we couldn't eat there either! 

5.  The weather this week is supposed to be on the warmer side which means most of the snow will be completely gone.  And, I'm planning on getting out in the sunshine as much as possible!  The weather is supposed to get into the 60's on Thursday so I may even air out the house a bit!  It may help get some of the crud germs out of here right?  =)

So there are my Monday positives on this Tuesday afternoon!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Still Here

Jus stopping in quick to say that I'm okay and still here!

Things have been way busier than expected yesterday and today with the Guppies!  And G1 & Ramsey have taken over my usual workspace (aka the dining room table!) with a bunch of their "projects" and Gap Year notebooks and stuff.  So, it's been hard to find a comfortable spot to blog, write, or even read other blogs!

All should go back to "normal" by Tuesday night, I hope!

And, that is most likely when I will be able to post my next "legit" post.

Until then, have a great couple of days!

P.S.  Is anyone else having trouble with Blogger?  I went to respond to a couple of comments made on my older posts and the entire post keeps disappearing on me after about three seconds!  Just goes to a blank screen.  This has also happened when I try to access other blogs from my Reading feed - I can read about two seconds and then it disappears!  Not happening with anything else on my laptop....Just Blogger!  Help!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What's Cooking?

Let's see how I did this week getting food on the table for my family!

It's like the crud isn't ever going to go away!  I woke up stuffy and with a sore throat to boot!  G1 comes home from Ramsey's today (most likely after dinner when the nasty weather is supposed to switch over to rain in our area).
We all slept in late again today!
G2:  Hashbrowns with syrup
Papa:  French toast with syrup (leftover from yesterday)
Me:  The last piece of pizza from Friday night 

G2:  Pasta salad
Papa & Me:  PB&Js

Such disappointment!  The yummy ham Papa was going to make couldn't get done because I mistakenly thought I had gingersnaps in my pantry when they were actually cinnamon graham crackers!  I had one very small bag of crushed snaps in the cabinet from the last time we made the ham but it wasn't nearly enough to cover our entire 11 lb ham!  I was so in the mood for it too!  It's being put off until next weekend because the roads around here were too iffy to chance driving when we would have needed the snaps!
I searched the freezer/fridge/pantry and improvised...
Baked BBQ Chicken
Boxed Mac N Cheese
Garlicky Green Beans

G1:  Egg McMuffin style sandwich
G2:  Hash browns
Papa:  Yogurt with granola at work
Me:  English muffin with butter

G1:  French onion soup
G2:  Had friends over after school (when she typically has her "real" lunch since she chooses not to eat a full lunch at school)  They raided the cabinets for snacky things including popcorn, the chocolate chip cookies I made today, and Doritos.
Papa:  Leftover BBQ chicken dinner from Sunday
Me: Leftover creamy mushroom soup from Saturday

Up late last night with the dog - she's out of sorts thanks to the lack of exercise due to the snow.  I was feeling really tired and couldn't take the nap I needed.  I really really REALLY wanted to give in and order a pizza...especially since G2's BFF was going to stay for dinner.  But, I pushed on and upcycled the ham G1 brought home from Ramsey's....
Cheater's Version of Bourbon Gingersnap crusted Ham (Papa, G1, & Me)*
Au Gratin Potatoes (leftovers G1 brought home)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Carrots  
(a LOT of orange on the plates between the carrots and sweet potatoes but sometimes what can you do?)
* I rooted through the freezer for another alternative for G2 & BFF and came up with Tempura Chicken bites I bought from Aldi a few months back.  They had these along with the sweet potatoes and carrots.

G1 woke up with the stomach bug....Marvelous
G2:  Hashbrowns
Papa:  Yogurt with granola at work
Me:  Homemade English muffin with butter

G1:  A couple of saltines since her stomach couldn't hold anything else
Papa:  Spaghetti with meatsauce (leftover from Saturday night)
Me:  PB&J, two small mandarin oranges, and 4 chocolate chips cookies (((OOOPS)))

G2 went out to dinner with the ex-boyfriend as "just friends" but I think this is going to turn into an on again/off again thing between them.
Papa & Me:  Roasted Mushroom Risotto
G1: Had a tiny bit of our dinner too but decided that her stomach couldn't handle it
Chocolate cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting for dessert....I made the cupcakes for "Valentine's Day-ish" by sprinkling leftover Christmas red sugar on them.

G1: Nothing as her stomach bug persists
G2:  Hash browns
Papa:  Yogurt with granola at work
Me: The last chocolate cupcake from last night...Sorry not sorry!  LOL

G1:  Wanted scrambled eggs with cheese  She held them down okay.
G2:  Grilled cheese
Papa:  PB&J, two mandarin oranges, chocolate chip cookes  Sadly, the mushroom risotto is too heavy for Papa's gallbladder at the moment.  He enjoyed it but then was up all night last night with gallbladder pain.  We think it may need to be removed at some point this year as it has bothered him off and on for three years now.
Me:  Leftover mushroom risotto because apparently you can NOT freeze cooked risotto and I won't let it go to waste.

Here's something that hasn't made an appearance in quite a little while....
G1, G2, and Me:  McDonalds -  So, I caved.  This cold has been kicking my butt, I'm mentally and physically exhausted.  And, my right leg gave out while I was walking down the cellar steps.  I'm okay and only fell down three or four steps but I'm pretty sore.  G1 said she was craving MCD so that also cinched the deal.   Not going nearly as often made it a real treat again for the Guppies.  
Papa:  Tuna melt when he got home from work as it was another late night for him.

G1:  Grabbed something from the counter but I can't figure out what it was.  Maybe an oatmeal breakfast cookie?
G2:  Hash browns
Papa:  Oatmeal at work
Me:  Homemade English muffin with butter, 2 really small mandarin oranges

G1: Scrambled eggs and toast
G2:  Grilled cheese
Papa:  lunch was provided at work today
Me:  LAST of the mushroom risotto  (I'm all risotto'd out for awhile!  LOL)

G1 invited Ramsey over for dinner tonight so I kept things simple since Papa offered to deal with cooking dinner since I'm still sore from my Wednesday afternoon tumble:
with or without caramelized onions
French fries/Chips

G1: Bought herself something from Dunkin Donuts
G2:  Croissant
Papa:  Oatmeal at work
Me: 2 slices of buttered toast

G1:  Went to Ramsey's afterschool and ate there
G2:  picked at snacky foods
Papa:  Seafood salad on a pita
Me:  PB&J

G1:  At Ramsey's
G2 & BFF:  Pizza
Papa & Me:  Split a mushroom, spinach, and garlic calzone (with leftovers to spare!)

G1: At Ramsey's
G2 & BFF:  G2 treated herself and BFF to Dunkin Donuts
Papa & Me:  Split an everything bagel with cream cheese from home

G1: At Ramsey's
G2 & BFF:  Leftover Pizza

G1:  At Ramsey's
G2:  At her friend's birthday party
Papa & Me:  We finally used that Groupon I had purchased for the Irish pub the next town over.  The food was really good and I would definitely go back again - especially if I found another Groupon for the place!
Papa had a mustard glazed salmon
I had a gorgonzola topped steak
Not sure how "Irish' the dishes we chose were....But still delicious just the same!

Now it's time to get back into home cooking again!  Our little takeout/restaurant treats are over for awhile!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February's Groceries This Week

Just a quick reminder of where my grocery budget stands for February...

To help offset an expensive grocery bill in January, I am trying to stay at or below $300 for February.  What is included in my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)

Last week I spent $21.77.  That left me with a mere $125.86 left to spend to stay within the lower ($300) amount for which I was aiming.

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

With the impending Sunday (2/12) storm, Papa and I did venture out to do some shopping on Saturday.  These trips (Wine Merchants & Whitneyville Food Center) are being counted for the coming week since that is when the groceries will be consumed.
Wine Merchants:  $14.86
bottle of Bourbon
This was definitely a "splurge" but needed for Papa to be able to make our ham next Sunday.  This bottle will probably last us until I make bourbon balls next Christmas!

Whitneyville Food Center:  $27.24*
*includes $4 in glass bottle deposits
1 quart of whole milk
1 pint of heavy cream
1 bottle of soy sauce
1 pint of blueberry yogurt
1 lb of carrots
1 dozen jumbo eggs

Stop & Shop:  $10.35*
* so low due to bottle returns but NOT included is the $1 I will be getting back from Ibotta app
1 bag shredded parmesan
1/2 lb deli American cheese
1 quart beef stock
1 bag (2lbs) Jasmine rice
1 bag (2lbs) store brand popcorn
1 box store brand gingersnap cookies

Big Y:  $11.75
1 pint store brand heavy cream (wasn't sure I would have enough of "the good stuff" purchased above for a recipe I was making)
1 container (16 oz) store brand sour cream
1 large bottle of Xtra laundry detergent
1 lb Arborio rice

Big Y:  $92.70*
1 (5 pack) croissants
1 Tropicana OJ
2 blocks of Philly cream cheese
2 dozen large eggs
2 bags of Cabot shredded cheeses
1/2 lb deli American cheese
1 bundle firewood
1 bag Ore-Ida French fries
2 Friendly's individual sundaes
2 boxes Banquet sausage links
1 box store brand penne rigate
2 cans store brand chicken broth (out of homemade)
1 jar Newman's salsa
1 container chocolate sprinkles
1 bottle of Ken's dressing
2 cans of StarKist tuna
1 bag of Pepperidge Farms hamburger rolls
2 bags of Goldfish
2 loaves of Wonder Bread
2 bags of UTZ potato chips
3 bags of store brand bagels (different varieties)
4 Sparkling Ice drinks
1 lb of bacon
2 small sized packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 store brand roasting chicken
4 lbs of ground beef
1 2lb bag of yellow onions
1 lb broccoli crowns
3 containers of fresh mushrooms
1 2lb box of Kiwi fruit
1 very large European cucumber
*yes I realize (even before adding up the numbers) this puts me over my $300 monthly mark.  I decided to take advantage of some buy 1/get one and buy 1/get 2 sales.  And, I had a 10% coupon for my overall purchase.  

Stop and Shop:  $23.80*
*11.50 on the ibotta app not included in this price:  $1.50 for Coke and $10 as new member bonus
3 12 packs of Coke products
2 Sparkling Ice drinks
1 roll store brand paper towels
1 bag of Dole baby spinach
1lb of strawberries
1 large pineapple
2 pints of blueberries

Farmer's Market:  $9
1 quart of milk
1 pint lemon yogurt
1 pint blueberry yogurt

Money spent this week on groceries:  $189.70 minus $12.50 in Ibotta rebates = $177.20

Total spent on February groceries so far:  $351.34

Over budget by:  $51.34

I have mixed feelings on the above numbers.

On the positive side...
This is a great number for me for the month!  If I spend no more than approximately $48, it's one of the lowest numbers I have had in a LONG time.  Also, there were some "deals" at the store that I really didn't want to pass up.  And, there hasn't been any true take out food this month until this week - as will be seen in my post tomorrow.  There is still a good amount of meal options left to finish out the month which I'm hoping will help stretch things further.

On the negative side...
The obvious one is that I am over my self imposed budget.  Another thing - which isn't completely negative socially but is for the budget - is that the Guppies have Monday and Tuesday off from school for their abbreviated February vacation.  This means I'm sure to have extra kids floating through the house....Truthfully though I can't complain too much about it since I like having kids in the house.

Where does this all leave me then?

I'll be digging deep to stay at the number I am at currently.

If anything does have to be purchased, I need to stay at/under $48 to at least stay at the $400 mark for this month.

In the past, I have been criticized for not being able to meet my goals/budget. 

I completely understand this.

But, I will continue on because "failing" is still better than not trying at all!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gas & Garbage

Happy Thursday everyone!

I am still feeling under the weather and cranky....and very tired of saying that! 

G1 tried to go to school yesterday and only made it an hour before she had to go to the school's health center!  When I went to pick her up there were four other kids waiting to be picked up from school as well for the same stomach thing!  During my quick chat with the nurse, she stated that she has been seeing more kids sick with colds, flu, and the stomach bug than last year.  She also said she thinks it's because  the weather hasn't gotten cold enough for long enough this winter.  Not sure that can be scientifically proven but it sort of makes sense!


On to today's topic!

As of last week I still had $68.85 in my "gas budget" for my car only.  Thanks to the bad weather we got in the middle of last week, my driving has been a minimum.  As a matter of fact, my car sat in the driveway from last Wednesday evening until Saturday morning!  I guess there is an upside of getting a LOT of snow at once - and my fear of driving in bad weather! 
This week I have been driving however.  Currently my gas gauge is sitting right under the 1/4 mark.  I have a few errands to do today in town and G2 asked me to bring her and her BFF to the mall tomorrow afternoon.  I *could* make it there and back on 1/4 tank.  But, I'll probably put gas in tomorrow morning anyway.  (I have a "thing" about letting the gas get too low.)  My plan is to put $30 in which would leave me with $38.85 to finish out February.

This week's garbage was SO much better!  Knowing that I am writing these posts again is keeping me more motivated and accountable.  This week we had only one and one half bags of garbage!  I hated putting on that "half" bag but it was refuse from the animal crates and would have gotten super stinky if I didn't get it out this week!
On a side note, these garbage bags are truly the bane of my existence! 
Here is a picture of the offending Dollar Store brand!
Because, while I only got rid of one and one half bags of garbage, I actually had to use THREE garbage bags!  The fuller bag had to be doubled after a flimsy envelope cut a FIVE INCH gash in the side of the bag!  Very frustrating to waste like that!

I'm off to take a shower and run over to Big Y to take advantage of the new week's flyer and my 10% off total purchase coupon.

Have a nice day everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday Weigh In and Project Me 365

My weigh ins/nutrition/exercise has been a bumpy ride at best this year so far.  The last time I posted, I was UP FOUR POUNDS!  Yeah, so not good! 
Well, despite not eating well at all really, I am happy to say that I am DOWN ONE POUND!  Not much I know but it is a step in the right direction.
I think that keeping my veggie/fruit intake higher (even while eating my sweets) has helped a bit.  Plus, all that "free exercise" via shoveling snow probably combated my eating habits a little.
My original goal on January 1st was 30 lbs.  After gaining January weight, the new goal was 34 lbs.  After this morning's weight in I have 33 pounds to go to reach goal.

Project Me 365
Not a ton has been happening with this.  Thanks to the ongoing illnesses going around my house and the yucky weather, a LOT of things are at a standstill.

To stay accountable though, here are my totals to date.

2473 miles....
Not doing well here this month....yet.  Since last updating this post, I have only logged in 5 measley miles...bringing my year total to 72.  Everyone is getting a bit of cabin fever here - especially the dog!  But, the sidewalks just aren't very safe at the moment because of the melting/refreezing cycle we have found ourselves in.  I have no excuse for NOT using my treadmill though...other than being off and on feeling yucky and truthfully unmotivated this month. 

Be good to yourself....
Not a whole lot going on in the department either.  Yesterday G2 told me that I was the "most stressed out person she has ever met"!  OUCH!  It's past time to fire up that relaxation app I downloaded on Feb 1st!
I have been trying to make the time to read.  I bring a book with me everywhere in the car so I can use the time I spend waiting for the Guppies to sneak in some reading.  I also take my book with me while G2 is in her hour long therapy session and just sit in the quiet waiting room and read.  The office is centrally located so I potentially could do a few errands if needed but I purposely set this as "down time" for myself.  G2's therapist has noticed it as well since she commented yesterday when she came in the waiting room to get my daughter  that  I am "always reading".  (Said nicely as more of a compliment than a negative statement)

365 Acts of Random Kindness....
1.  I let a woman go in front of me at the grocery store.  She didn't have a cart and was juggling six items and speaking to (what I assumed from what I heard) her sick teenager on a cellphone cradled against her ear.  I have been there before and would have appreciated if someone had let me cut ahead so this was a no brainer!

Is it "random" if it's done for someone you know? 

2.  I helped Papa out a LOT with shoveling out of last week's snowstorm....much more than I usually can/do. 

3.  Then yesterday, I took advantage of the slightly warmer temps and scraped/shoveled the melting ice where I could so Papa wouldn't have to do as much and to help stop the cycle of melt/refreeze.

4.  I drove G2's ex ("but now we are just friends Mom") home from school on Monday....only to find that the power was out on his side of town and he couldn't get into the house.  (no house key and obviously garage keypad wasn't working)  He said he would be fine waiting outside but I wouldn't do that of course.  He came over to our house and hung out with G2 and her BFF until his father picked him up after work.

52 New Recipes....
Here's one place I AM excelling!
For my 10th new recipe this year, I made Frugal Girl's English muffins.  They were delicious!  And I was super proud of myself for having succeeded!  Five out of five stars.

For my eleventh new recipe, I made Walt Disney World's Le Cellier Mushroom Risotto.  It was quite a long process.  When Papa came home and saw the stove filled with various simmering pots, he was surprised!  But, this recipe wasn't all THAT complicated and just more time consuming as risotto's usually are.  Well worth the effort!  Five out of five stars!

For my twelfth new recipe,  I made this Vanilla Buttercream Frosting to go on top of our Valentine's Day cupcakes.  Very easy and yummy!  Another five out of five stars!

52 Dates....
Not too much happening on this front.  When Papa and I have found ourselves with a little bit of time, we have been watching movies/shows on Netflix.
However, last week I saw a great idea on The Picky Pinchers blog!  Basically, her idea was to get some popsicle sticks, color code them (free, inexpensive, etc) and put date ideas on them.  I love this idea!  And, it is something I would like to brainstorm and make with Papa this coming weekend.
By the way, if don't already, go check out the Picky Pincher's blog!  It's filled with great ideas all around!

And, I guess that's where everything stands this week.  Some good, some meh, some bad.  Such is life right?

Onto the "new" week in these areas!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day....

So, Papa and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day....We did once - the first year we were dating.  After that first (overpriced) year, we spent VD at home - usually cooking a nice meal home together.  After having the Guppies, even those nice quiet meals have been sporadic over the years. 

Today, I thought I would try to bring back having a nice meal.  While it won't be a completely quiet evening home (G1 is home sick with the stomach bug), I hope it will still be a nice gesture to my hard working husband!

After looking in my pantry and fridge, I decided upon Le Cellier's Mushroom Risotto.  (In case you don't know, Le Cellier is the fancy restaurant in the Canada portion of Epcot in Walt Disney World.)  At first I thought I was being super frugal but quickly realized there was a chance I wouldn't have quite enough of some of the ingredients to make it! A quick trip to the store remedied that.  I spent under $20 for ingredients (and will probably have leftovers for the pantry).  In the end, that's not bad for a Valentine's Day dinner - certainly a LOT less that going out tonight.

For a sweet treat finish, I pulled out six unfrosted chocolate cupcakes from my freezer.  I have the ingredients on hand for a simple homemade buttercream frosting.

Anyway, I am joining with Rachel over at Living Better One Day at a Time with the Valentine's Day questionnaire she found on Facebook.  Hope you will join in the fun! 

Who's the oldest?: Papa by two years
Who was interested first?: Him, considering I was engaged to my high school sweetheart when I met him!
Same high school?: Nope

Most sensitive?: Definitely me
Worst temper?: Me
Most social?: Him
Hardest Working?: Him
Most stubborn?: Me

Most sarcastic?: Him
Causes the most mess?: Definitely ME!
Wakes up first?: During the week, I do.  Papa is usually up before me on the weekends.
Biggest family?: Him I guess but I have a LOT more second and third cousins
Who cooks the most?: Me
Who cries more?: Me
Best singer?: Neither
Hogs the remote?: Equal I think
Best driver? He is by far!  Especially in bad weather!
Better cook?: He probably is to be honest
Spends the most money?: I guess me since I am usually the one making most of the purchases?
Smartest?: Him
Most common sense?: Him
How long have you been together?: We met in college in 1991.

If you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!  Otherwise, happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Positively Monday!

The above picture captures my usual attitude regarding Mondays!

I am naturally a pessimist.  It's encoded in my DNA, I swear!
I try very hard to NOT let it get the best of me most of the time.
But, I can feel the pessimist and chronic critic sneaking back in...

In an effort to change this and start the week off right, I post about the good things that have happened recently.  Special thanks to Anne from over at New Happenings at the Table for coining the phrase "Positively Monday"!

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

Here we go with my list of recent positive things....

1.  Sleep!  Papa & I were without Guppies all day on Saturday.  We, being the crazy and wild couple that we are, decided to take a three hour nap!  LOL  We really both needed it.  It helped some but neither of us seem to be able to shake whatever this cold/crud thing is.

2.  A Working Snowblower!  Because who wants to have to shovel fifteen plus inches of snow from the driveway and two sidewalks surrounding the house?  I was able to keep up with the end of driveway so Papa could get into it after work on Thursday and I dug most of my own car out.  But, if that snowblower didn't start up - which was a possibility because we hadn't needed it yet this winter, we would not have been happy campers.

3.  Freezer Assets!  I noticed the date for my big bag of Costco green beans was Sunday.  (We hadn't used them for Papa's birthday meal as originally planned.)  Rather than using some of the beans with Sunday night's dinner and *hoping* to use the rest before they slimed up, I decided to be proactive and blanch/freeze the excess....NOT a new concept I know.  But, it is one that I finally put into practice.  And, honestly it took maybe five extra minutes of my time?  Easy Peasy!

4.  Homemade English Muffins!  I am a novice bread and roll baker.  So, when I decided to try out The Frugal Girl's English Muffins I was skeptical at best.  But, wow!  I did it!   It's a great recipe and you should check it out!  Seriously if I can do it, anyone can!   Plus, I had one for breakfast this morning and they are delicious!  =)

5.  The Walking Dead Returned!  Yes, I am on of "those" people.  TWD is a guilty pleasure of mine and a nice hour long break from the reality of our country at the moment.  It's also one of the things that I share with G1....ummm....gory quality time?  Haha

6.  Freebies!  My mom called and said she has a 12 pack of Snapple waiting for me at her house since it was on sale at her local grocery store. Yay!  Also, when G1 came home from Ramsey's last night, they sent her home with a "doggie" bag  of.... French onion soup, leftover cooked ham and glaze, plus leftover au gratin potatoes.  The men in that house can COOK too!  Extra points here because I really have been in the mood for ham and we weren't able to make ours yesterday because I was missing a key ingredient.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What's Cooking?

I have yet to find my groove for this weekly post!  But, bear with me as I continue to try to chronicle what we actually eat every week!

All was quiet in the house as neither Guppy was home for a good chunk of the day!

Papa and I split a very large (6 egg!) mushroom, onion, and American cheese omelet!  So yummy!  We also each had a slice of buttered toast.

Again, just Papa and me.  "Super Bowl" snacks:
Baked Potato Skins with sour cream and blue cheese
HomeDimade onion dip with potato chips
Loaded nachos with vegetarian chili
Vanilla ice cream sundaes

G2 had slept at her BFF's so breakfast and lunch for school were graciously taken care of by them!

G1:  Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rolls
Papa:  Yogurt with homemade granola, mandarin orange
Me:  Peanut butter toast

G1:  Eggs with toast
Papa:  Blackened chicken salad
Me:  Onion dip with chips (((blush)))

I got back from the mall with G1 right around dinner time.  I was tired and frustrated since we were unable to get the undergarment she needs for the dress she is wearing on Thursday.  I really wanted to throw in the towel and grab a pizza....but didn't!
All four of us had...
Puffed Pancake
Homemade diner style homefries

Yucky weather day!  Guppies had a two hour delay due to freezing rain and chose to sleep in rather than having a nice breakfast like I offered to make them!

G1:  Egg McMuffin style sandwich
G2:  Hashbrowns
Papa:  Yogurt with homemade granola at work
Me:  Peanut Butter toast

G1:  Went out prom dress shopping with a friend after school. Ran in the house, grabbed a bag full of Cheez-Its and left.  Lovely....But, honestly I'm glad she went out with a friend shopping!
Papa:  Vegetable chili with tortilla chips
Me:  I really wanted to make myself some spaghetti with sundried tomatoes.  BUT, I had a salad instead to use up some of the salad greens....I added some sundried tomatoes to it since I decided I really wanted that more than the spaghetti part!  It did the trick too!

G2:  Pasta with garlic, olive oil, and parmesan
G1, Papa, and Me: Vegetable fried rice

I didn't get a chance to update this post throughout the day on Wednesday.  And, honestly, most of the day was a complete blur due to running around and prepping for Papa's bday.
Here's what we did have for...
Beef Wellington
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Yams
Roasted Balsamic Baby Beets
Yellow FunFetti birthday cake with Chocolate Frosting (Guppies chose for Papa LOL)

Snow day here!  Papa did head off to work and will be staying there late most likely.  Guppy 1 is at Ramsey's house.
G2:  Hashbrowns with syrup
Me:  Nothing.  My stomach was feeling off.
Papa:  Yogurt with granola at work

G2: Chicken nuggets and popcorn
Me:  PB&J, a handful of potato chips, slice of leftover birthday cake
Papa:  ????  Since we didn't have leftovers, I put some money in his wallet so he could get lunch (and possibly dinner) at either the hospital cafeteria or nearby restaurant - if they are open.

Feeling very tired and uninspired so an easy dinner of:
Chicken noodle soup (from Costco and stashed in freezer)
Grilled cheese sandwiches

G2 was less than impressed but I was tired from shoveling.  It filled and warmed our tummies so I call it a win!

Papa:  Oatmeal and an orange at work
G2 & I opted to wait until lunch to eat.  G2 slept in late since school was cancelled and I went back to sleep after writing a blog post and didn't get up again until around 9:45 am!

Papa:  Pasta salad
G2: Pasta salad & S'more bar for "dessert"
Me:  I wanted "something" that I just couldn't define.  I opted for "warm" and "junky".  Mozzarella sticks dipped in blue cheese.  Yeah, yeah I know.  Not good!  Well, delicious but you know...

Cheese pizza for all of us!

Papa & Me:  French toast (and Papa had bacon with his)
G2:  Grilled Cheese and bacon sandwich - she had this as "brunch" since she got up so late AGAIN - the life of a teenager! LOL

G2 went to a friend's house.
While out running errands, we stopped at our favorite soup spot, The Soup Girl, to bring some deliciousness home!
Papa:  Jambalaya inspired soup
Me:  Creamy Mushroom soup

G2 was still at her friend's house.
Papa & Me:  Spaghetti and Meat Sauce - using up 1/2 box of spaghetti, the leftover sauce from Friday's pizza, and the last (very small) package of ground beef from the freezer.

So there was our week in food!

I'm super excited about tonight's dinner because Papa is making Alton Brown's Bourbon and Gingersnap Crusted Ham with the ham I bought on sale before New Years.  YUUUM!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Second Week of February Groceries!

Just a quick reminder of where my grocery budget stands for February...

To help offset an expensive grocery bill in January, I am trying to stay at or below $300 for February.  What is included in my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)

Last week, I spent a WHOPPING  $152.37!  That leaves only $147.63 or less for the rest of the month!

It's going to be interesting to say the least! 

But, at least I have a good amount of stuff to build upon in my kitchen already!

Here's the shopping I did this week:

CVS:  $4.03
Aussie Instant Freeze hairspray (G1's preferred brand)

Big Y:  $13.49
I forgot to grab sweet potatoes for G2 to have with Wednesday night's dinner!  Plus I grabbed a bundle of firewood since we are almost completely out of what we have from our late 2015  delivery of one cord.
1 bundle of firewood
1 25 sq ft roll of tin foil
1 100 sq ft roll of saran wrap
1 loaf of bread
2 lbs of sweet potatoes

Dollar Tree:  $4.25
2 rolls of parchment paper
 1 bag of Bit O Honey
1 canister of Hazelnut Wafers

***Side note:  This week's Winter Farmer's Market is being held Sunday instead of it's usual Saturday.  This automatically helps stretch the grocery budget further since we have to wait an extra day for our dairy!***

Total Spent This Week:  $21.77*

Total Left for February Groceries:  $125.86 or less!

We may be heading out to the grocery store later this morning, weather depending.  The weathermen are calling for more snow Sunday into Monday and I had originally planned on running out on Sunday (Farmer's Market and possibly Aldi's for a couple of items).  IF I do head out today, it will count towards next week's expenditures.  Otherwise, who knows?  Maybe I will try to push shopping out until sometime next week!  =)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Day Book for February 11th, 2017

Good Morning!

Outside my window....
It's finally a winter wonderland in Connecticut!  My area of the state got between 12 to 18 inches yesterday!  After taking a quick peek on my back deck, I'm guessing we got closer to the higher range - probably 17 to 18 inches!  I would go out and measure it but, yeah, not gonna happen!  LOL  Not much else is happening out there...I have seen maybe three cars go by this morning.

I'm hearing...
The furnace kicking on, the dog whining for me to take her outside (not going to happen yet since she was out a few hours ago!), and just the general silence that comes after a large snowstorm. 

I'm feeling....
Tired and achy from all the shoveling I did yesterday!  Papa had trouble getting the snowblower going at first last evening so I took it upon myself to dig my car out....after I spent all that time shoveling throughout the day. 

I'm wearing....
The sweater I wore all day yesterday because I was too lazy to take it off last night and my flannel PJ bottoms.

I'm grateful for....
The ability to still get out there and shovel! 
The snowblower working!
The change in status from "2 hour delay" to "No School" today!
The fact that G1 is safe and cozy up at Ramsey's house!
That, thanks to the no school today, G2 gets an opportunity to study more this weekend for a test she was stressed out over!

From my kitchen...
Ummm, not much is going to be happening in there....I don't think!
G2 was less than thrilled with dinner last night of Costco chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese.  While she likes both, she proclaimed that it was more a lunch menu than a dinner one!  Haha!  This morning I rummaged through my fridge/freezer and stumbled upon an idea....We are doing homemade pizza tonight with the frozen dough I pulled out.  G2 loves making pizza and it still is an easier dinner so score!

I'm reading....
Still the second book in the "No Safety In Numbers" series!  Maybe I'll make some progress in it today.

Weekend plans....
Mostly up in the air.  I don't know what G2 is scheming to do besides her studying and completing an art project that is due on Monday.  G1 will have to be picked up from Ramsey's house at some point - my guess is Sunday.  Papa and I will head over to Winter Farmers Market on Sunday.  

Happy Friday all!