Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quick Check In...

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

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

A few notable things have happened recently....

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July Groceries : 2nd Check In

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


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

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

Money left in July budget...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total Spent:  $222.85
Left for July:  108.32


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

How are the July groceries fairing on your end?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Happy Birthday G2!

Today my littlest, G2, turns 15!

As cliché a saying as it is....

Time really does fly!

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

Now, onto setting up for the festivities!

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

Dinner will be:

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

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

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

I really hope she enjoys her day!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

First Aid Kit....

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

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

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

Like a decent first aid kit!

The inspiration hit when I got a CVS freebie -

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

Too bad nothing was included inside!  Haha!

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

What do I want to put inside?

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

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

Have a great Thursday all!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Quick Weigh In Wednesday Post...

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

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

Last time I posted, I was


This morning, the scale surprised me with...


So, a loss of

2 lbs!

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

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

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

11.1 lbs!

I am not going to lie....

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

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

July Groceries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July Medical Costs...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CVS Score!

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

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

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

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

Boy I think I lucked out!

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

$1.47 each!

I was a very happy girl!

Here's what I ultimately bought....

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

All for the whopping total of $2.05!

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

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

Starting with the little things here, guys!  =)

Have an awesome Saturday!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Day Book for July 7th, 2017

I'm BAAACCKKK!  (Sort of)

Life is still much crazier than I anticipated this summer!

I swear I blink and the day is gone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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