Thursday, August 31, 2017

School Supplies This Year....Wow!

And I mean WOW!

In a GOOD way for a change!

G2 started school this week. And, as her lists of supplies needed started coming home from each class, I was absolutely stunned!

Maybe it's a change in policy across the board...or maybe we just got lucky with the teachers G2 was assigned but...

The lists are finally super flexible!

No more of the "you MUST have a 1 1/2 inch binder plus notebook plus these specific color highlighters...etc"!

Every teacher asked that students have either a binder OR a notebook with built in pocket OR a notebook and a folder.....whatever works best for the student.


While this does translate into some awesome savings (which I will get to in a minute), it more importantly is awesome for G2!  She prefers not to use a locker at school because she gets too stressed with having such a short period of time to get from class to class.  So you can imagine how difficult is was last year to be juggling 5 or 6 cumbersome binders all day long!  Plus it's just easier for her to stay organized with her notebooks.  So its such a relief and win all around!

Now, for what I had to purchase thus far....

Thanks to my squirreling extra supplies away, there wasn't any need to buy highlighters and pens.  I have quite a few brand new ones waiting in my desk drawer for when needed!  I do have some dollar store pencils in a pinch as well.  (Not crazy about the quality of these)

Dollar Tree:  $5.32
My first stop was Dollar Tree but, sadly, they were mostly picked over.  G2 prefers spiral notebooks (especially if she has to hand anything in) and all that were left were bound composition notebooks.
I did, however, get 5 packages of different colored folders.  Each package contains two folders so I am stashing the extras away for when her extracurricular classes change in the second half of the year.

Target:  $15.50
Target was decently picked over as well but I still was successful!
8 single subject notebooks (@27cents each!) I am guessing I will have three extra which will be pulled out when needed.  I may go back for a few more this week because that price is awesome!
1 graph paper notebook (needed for Geometry)
1 three subject notebook (requested for French 3 - fine still better than the binder business!)
1 (3 pack) of medium tipped Sharpies (for school and household use actually)
1 box (12 count) Ticonderoga pencils (preferred brand)

So, for under $25 I am almost finished purchasing school supplies!  I don't think that has happened in like twelve years!

Granted, having only one Guppy in school currently helps the bottom line!  LOL

We have yet to get a list from her Biology teacher but I am hoping that she too will go the "whatever works for you" route.  If memory serves me correctly, G1 had to have colored pencils for her Bio class so I will most likely need to grab some from DT (forgot about this when I was there).  I took a peek in our desk and the ones we have are worse for wear!

Also, G2 LOST her expensive (over $100) calculator last year!  I thought I would have to replace it but, her Geometry teacher told the class that, since they will only use it a few times during the entire year, they should see if they could borrow one when the time came up.  (I like this teacher already!  LOL)  So, the teacher will give G2's class a heads up and G2 will borrow her boyfriend's calculator.  I can't tell you how happy I am to not have to spend another $100 on a fancy calculator that will barely be used (and possibly lost again!).

If you had to buy school supplies this year, did you find any good deals?
Are your schools uber specific on supplies or flexible?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday Is Back!

Time to really get back on track here!

While I have been keeping up with my walking schedule (with a low stepping day here and there), I have been majorly slacking on the healthy eating!

I need to start posting again to stay accountable!  Fall and winter are around the corner with all their yummy offerings!  LOL

July 12th was my last check in and I weighed


As of this morning, I am....


So I gained a half of a pound.

I'm not particularly upset by this considering all the fast/junk food I have been eating this summer.

But, it is time to attempt some healthy eating here!

If you are trying to lose weight, how are you doing?

Have you had a problem sticking to it this summer?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Day Book for August 28th, 2017

An old picture from the abandoned mansion here in town.

Outside my window....
It's a gorgeous sunny day with no humidity. 

What I am hearing....
Chirping birds, insects buzzing, airplanes, and cars.  G2 is in her room reading quietly so no noise upstairs. 

What I am wearing....
Gray T-shirt, jean shorts, gray socks, and my trail/running sneakers.

What I am feeling....
Complete and utter agitation!  While I know there are a LOT of reasons to be agitated at the moment, this feeling is overwhelming and about everything and nothing at the same time.  I'm being super careful about my interactions with my family of course because whatever is going on is with ME and definitely not them!
Oh and I'm pretty damn weepy too!  LOL  I almost completely lost it because I couldn't find Papa's white dress shirt.  Of course, I am figuring that the source of the weepiness is easier to determine.

What I am reading....
I finished The Moth book last week and give it 5 stars!  I haven't started any new books yet - although I have a stack waiting for me.  Maybe later this week I can grab one.

From the kitchen....
Nothing at the moment besides it being sparkling clean!  (on the outside at least!  Don't look in my fridge, cupboards, or pantry!  LOL)
However, I have to figure out what I am making for dinner tonight. 
And I need to prep afterschool snacks and possible dinner for G2 tomorrow.

W's services....
The wake is tomorrow afternoon/evening and the service/burial is on Tuesday.  Neither Guppy has attended any wakes/services/funerals before this one as they were too young to do so.  G1 has decided she will attend the wake with Papa and me tomorrow.  G2 is undecided as I write this.  While many people disagree with us, Papa is fully behind whatever both Guppies decide.  His motto is that wakes and funerals are really for those left behind.  Both Guppies have depression and in the past have had episodes where they had extreme anxiety about dying and death itself.  G1 has mostly worked out her issues with dying while G2 just had an episode about three or four months ago.  To be completely blunt, we don't really care "what people think" if G2 doesn't come with us.  Yes, it's "only a few hours" for the wake but those few hours could send G2 back into a spiral.  That, coupled with the beginning of school, is a recipe for disaster.  (See? Told you I feel agitated! LOL)
I'm probably only going to touch on this once but, considering it is going to have an impact on us financially for awhile, there wasn't any money to bury W.  Thankfully, there is room in a family plot for him to be interred.  But, there was no life insurance and just simply no benefits.  Papa's sister and niece created a "GoFundMe" page on Friday which received an amazing response and, as of right now, has generated over 4K worth of funds to help.  But, honestly, we are going to end up having to cover the rest.  I can't and won't argue about this with Papa.  He earned the money and it's his brother.  We will do what we need to do to make this happen.  My point in mentioning this is that September is going to be a tight month.

Oops! I just glanced at the clock and I gotta run to get G1 from Ramsey's house.
I am hoping to post tomorrow but definitely won't be around on Tuesday.
Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, August 25, 2017

August Grocery Budget: Check in #3

So, if you remember, I am trying to really slash my grocery bill for August!  I'm challenging myself to stay at $250 or under - $300 LESS than my usual monthly budget!
What does that include?  All food, paper products, and healthy/beauty items for a family of four - Papa, me, and the Guppies!  Guppy 1 is 18 and Guppy 2 is 15.
As of last check in, I had $178.31 left in the budget.
Let's see how I did this week!*
* I decided against adding in our little drinks/snacks during vacation into this part of the budget and just left in the overall vacation budget. 

Farmer's Market:  $25*
included $4 worth of bottle deposits
1 loaf Pain Au Levain bread
1 bunch beets
1 small container of shitake mushrooms (my absolute weakness!)
1 quart milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 pint raspberry yogurt

Big Y:  $6.84
1/3 lb American cheese
1 loaf store brand bread
1 bottle store brand "Mio" style water flavor enhancer

Dollar Tree:  $1.06
1 (6 pack) sponges

Stop & Shop:  $82.16
1 container of purple cake frosting
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 box pancake mix
1 (6 pack) diet Snapple
1 (10 pack) YooHoo
1 box Kraft deluxe mac n cheese
1 box taco shells
1 package taco seasoning
1 box Wheat Thins
1 pack gum
2 packages of ramen noodles
4 (6 packs) diet Coke
1 (10oz) bottle of soy sauce
2 bags Doritos
1 bag Jasmine rice
1 bag Utz potato chips
2 packages Perdue chicken nuggets
4 packages of Perdue boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb sweet potatoes
1 fresh pineapple
1 (5 lb) bag of onions
1 (5 lb) bag of potatoes
2.5 lbs green seedless grapes
5 pack of garlic

Big Y:  $28.36
3 packages of shredded Mexican cheese
1 (half gallon) cookie dough ice cream
1 jar of chocolate sprinkles
2 packages of Goldfish
1 large container of salad mix
1 pouch of croutons
1.5 lbs of green beans
1 jar of Marie's blue cheese dressing
2.15 lbs bananas

CVS:  $2.12*
*total after $7 in ECB and coupons were used
2 canisters of Aussie Instant Freeze hairspray (our preferred brand)
1 bottle (40oz) Tide laundry detergent (on sale for $1.99!)

Total Spent This Week:  $145.54
Left in August Budget:  $32.77

Wow!  Am I ever going to be cutting this one close!   I'm not sure if we will be going to the Farmers Market on Saturday.  If we do, I will add that to the final week's grocery shopping total - if there is any!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Consignment Store Conundrum

Before getting to today's post, I realize I said I would be gone from my blog for a bit because of W's passing.  Truthfully, I'm here because I NEED something to do!  Papa is at work and I am feeling extremely antsy yet exhausted at the same time.  So, here I am back at my usual routine, trying to keep my mind occupied....

We have one fairly successful consignment store here in town.  While I haven't really bought much from them in the past, I have consigned a lot of items.

The store has outgrown their space twice in the past five or six years and moved for a third time last month.  Feeling antsy (as said above) I decided to run to the library to return books and then pop into the new space to check it out and consign a few things since both buildings are very close in proximity.

And left super confused and disappointed....

Disappointed because they no longer donate items to the needy.  Before, I would bring in clothing/household goods and anything they didn't want to sell, I would sign to be donated.  (Yes, I know this is a lazy way to do it but it still felt good that the items would be passed to someone who could use them.)  When I gave my information to the clerk and said I wanted to donate, I was told that "they didn't do that anymore because there isn't enough space."  And I needed to stick around while they sorted through what I brought and take away what they didn't want....otherwise it would be thrown out!  What the what?!?!
So, I walked around looking at clothing....and was disappointed/shocked again!  They were seriously selling stuff at (IMO) crazy high prices!  $8.50 for a used long sleeved t-shirt from Old Navy?  $35 for a pilled sweater from Talbots?  $18.50 for sleeveless dressy shirts from Loft?
Sorry but those prices seemed inflated to me....
Maybe they raised prices to help pay the rent on the larger building?

I'm confused because of the lack of rhyme/reason in what they accepted for consignment...
And, remember I have been consigning here for years and usually have a handle on what they will accept.

They didn't take my pristine glass tea cups with removable silver filigree handles from Finland (selling on Ebay for $60 plus for a set of four) but they WERE selling Correlle/Corningware?

They didn't accept my Old Navy sweater (with tags still on!) but they were selling used Old Navy?

They accepted a pair of men's Nautica black "pleather" style hightop sneakers but didn't take the authentic men's Coach dress shoes?  (Both were given to Papa and were too big)

Not to mention, as I was perusing the racks, I saw a LOT of Massimo brand clothing which is sold at Target!

The new store is dressed up like an upscale boutique (and still has quite a bit of upscale designer clothing in it like Talbots, Korrs, etc) but it also seems to have a good amount of overpriced crap mixed in too!

As I start looking to build my wardrobe (slightly) this fall in preparation for a possible part time job, I think I will be sticking to the clearance sections of stores at the mall or I need to find a different consignment shop. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Quick Check In...

W passed this morning when Papa (with the backing of the rest of the family and hospital staff) decided to pull the life support and let him go.

I'm not going to lie....

Even though we all knew this was coming, it has still hit me pretty hard....

Seeing the old and real "him" again over the past six plus months is something I wouldn't trade in the world.  It brought Papa and W close together again. 

But, damn it made saying goodbye to him even harder.

Papa is holding up okay so far.  He's really sad (of course) but knows that there wasn't any more that could be done for W.  And, even if W could have stayed on the liver list, his newer bleeding issues would have taken him off said list anyway.

I'm going to take some time to take care of Papa.  I'll be back to blogging when I can - hopefully later  this week or early next.

Love to you all....

Monday, August 21, 2017

Waiting Game....

Even semi long time readers know about the saga with Papa's brother, W, and his struggle with alcoholism/addiction.

W has been in the hospital since before we went on vacation - as a matter of fact we weren't even sure we would be able to go at one point since his condition has been so iffy.

Since Saturday, he appeared to be doing okay...not great but at least stable...

Until 2:30 this morning when Papa got a phone call that W had coded.

While the hospital was able to revive him, he is on life support.  The doctor told Papa that he is 95% sure that this is the end.  W's organs are failing from the high level of ammonia in his system and his blood pressure being so low.

Papa has been at the hospital (not the one he works at but a sister hospital 45 minutes from home) since he got the original call.  He is planning on coming home to get some sleep soon. (I think.  He did say he was coming home soon so that's what I am assuming.)

Papa & W had the "end of life" discussion and Papa has Power of Attorney...which essentially means he decides when to pull the plug if W doesn't flatline before then.

Please keep us in your thoughts as we face this difficult (but inevitable) situation....

Sunday, August 20, 2017

What's Cooking This Week....

Time to get back to menu planning this week!  Especially since I would love to stay within my August grocery budget!

Cold Cereal
Egg McMuffin style sandwiches
Toast/English muffins with jelly or peanut butter

Grilled Cheese & Chips
Mac n cheese
Tuna Salad (Papa)
Loaded Nachos
PB&J with chips


First official day back from vacation so I made something easy, quick, and used ingredients left in my pantry....adding the bread from the farmer's market trip.
Baked Ziti
Garlic bread

My birthday!  Papa cooks!  Yay!
Balsamic Glazed Chicken Breasts
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Green Beans with Grape Tomatoes

Flank Steak with Shitake Mushrooms
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Corn on the Cob

Mini Meatloaves
Jasmine Rice
Honeyed Carrots

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin (never got around to it yet)
Baked Potatoes
Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Mexican Corn

Breakfast for dinner

I'm leaving next weekend open for now since it's the last weekend before school starts and I don't know what G2's plans are.

What does your menu look like for the upcoming week?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August Grocery Shopping: Week 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day Book for August 12th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll catch up soon!

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Decent Score On A Neccessity

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

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

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


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


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

That's a bit better.


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


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

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

I'm pretty satisfied with this purchase!

Monday, August 7, 2017

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

Happy Monday everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you are all having an awesome Monday!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Meal Plan for This Week

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

French Fries

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches & Chips

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

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day Book for August 5th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August Grocery Budget

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

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

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

Yeah, you read that right!  LOL

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

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

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

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

Total left in August grocery budget:  $205.93

No doubt this will be interesting!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July Grocery Totals

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

The final numbers for July are in...

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

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

Anyway, moving on to the totals....

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

And, had:
to spend.

I *should* have been able to accomplish this!

*Spoiler alert:  I didn't!*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Getting Back on Track: Meal Planning

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Pan-seared Flank Steak
Roasted potatoes
Roasted green beans

Fried Dough

Chinese Chicken Stir fry
Jasmine rice

Mini Meatloaves
Roasted sweet potatoes
Brussel sprouts

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Green beans with garlic


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

Anything good on your menu?

Do you struggle with meal planning in the summer too?