Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Our Staycation and Vacation

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. We have been on a stay cation for the past 9 days. It was our way of taking some time for us and just doing whatever we felt like each day. So we did some things here at home and we did some traveling around our area. I figured after living here for 7 years we might as well get to know our own area. We live in a very small town about 30 minutes from Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

We have done many things in Niagara Falls but not so much anywhere else. We have gone to the see the Falls many, many times. We go there for the Aquarium, to do the Maid of the Mist, and to outlet shop. So we didn't visit there this week but we will be in about a month.

So we took a trip for a couple of days to explore the Amish Trail which is south of us in the mountains of Cattaraugus County. It fascinates us how these people still live the way our ancestors did. They live simply, do all their own work which is anything from barn raising, producing products to sell, to gardening and tending their livestock which provides all of their own food and to share with the community.

So many homes had signs in front telling you if they were open or closed for business. They sell their wares from their little shops at their homes. Exploring for these places was like a treasure hunt. These shops are never open on Sunday and a lot of them seem to close on Wednesdays too.

They sell everything from quilts, rugs, furniture, sheds(our shed in our backyard was custom made by the Amish), playhouses, chairs, cabinets and so much more, all handmade. 

And of course, we had to buy some of their homemade baked goods, jams and candy to bring home. 

We ate at a few restaurants that are well known in the area. One of them was Racers in South Dayton. We had delicious hamburgers and their own hand cut French Fries were outstanding. We also ate at:
The Mustard Seed. We had the best reuben sandwiches and homemade French onion soup which is our favorite. The place was quaint and it seems the locals love it which tells me the food is always so good.

We stayed at Cherry Creek Inn which I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a bed and breakfast in that area. It is an old house well kept up and our room and en suite were lovely. We ate many of our meals in the house but their breakfasts were to die for. We also enjoyed one of the teas and a walk around the grounds. Most lunches, tours and the teas have to be reserved in advance.

We are definitely going back there because we couldn't see everything that we wanted to in just a few days. 

Before we went the end of last week, we did some major overhauling in my basement pantry. Since we have been eating out of it, the shelves are low. That is a good thing because we noticed that some of the plastic shelves are starting to crack. The weight of the cans is taking their toll on them. So I reorganized things so that the weight is spread out across the shelves. The cracked shelf is now holding lightweight Splenda and teas. We also added a metal origami shelving unit. Hubby took measurements and is on the hunt to design a room with gorilla or metal shelves that can withstand the weight. This is the time of the year that I am on the hunt for rock bottom prices to stock for next winter so the sooner he gets the new shelving the less we will have to move over. Hubby is really into making my pantry exactly what I want it to be instead of something that we just threw quickly together when we moved here.

I have been reorganizing all of the stuff in the other parts of the basement also. Many trips were made to the hardware store to get on sale storage tubs. Hopefully it will all be finished in the next week or two. 

So are any of you planning on exploring your own area of the world this summer? 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Menu Plan Changes

Have you ever wondered what you are going to have for dinner and just can't make up your mind? Does making dinner every night become a drag for you? Are you tired of sitting down to make a menu plan for a week or a month?

Believe me when I say that I am tired of it. I don't even want to think about how many meals and meals plans I have made over the years. Let's see. Three meals a day for almost 50 years minus about 24 meals eaten out a year would be almost 53,550 meals. That makes my head hurt!

It's not only the number but the time to shop, plan and make them. I came across a woman named Tiffany who sells meal plans. I am always leery of paying for something that I can do myself. So I watched her videos for a while and then tried a couple of meals that she shows. Hubby loved them.

Hubby who is a real fuss budget(and has gotten worse over the years) sat down and watched some her videos with me. We noticed that her meals were easy, full of flavor and variety, and healthy. I especially like her Whole Foods plan.

I also read in comments on her videos how so many people were saving money every week on their grocery bills following her plans. Well you know that I am all about saving money!

So Hubby( Mr. Fuss Budget) says to me : "Why don't you buy her plans?" It would save you time every week. I don't have to be told twice. So I purchased her 3 month plan. It's a little more expensive than buying a year's worth but a little cheaper than buying a month's worth. I figure a month is too short to make sure that we really like her recipes. But I didn't want to commit to a year before I am sure.   

She has 3 different plans: Whole Foods, Slow Cooker, and Traditional. You also get some Freezer Meals. She gives you a month's worth at a time when you buy her plans. The plans are fantastic because they not only give you a menu plan to print out and put where everyone can view it but she gives you each menu and a grocery list for the week. The recipes and grocery list are color coded so that if you don't make every meal every week, you can easily skip or cross out the ingredients that you aren't going to use. I am finding that many of the ingredients for her meals I already have in my pantry and freezer stockpiles.

You can just follow the entire meal plan for the week or pick and choose which ones you are going to make. Hubby is so fussy that I was sure he will not want  me to make some of them. So with that in mind, here is my Menu Plan for the week:

Sunday: Red Beans and Rice with Ground Turkey(my recipe) and Salad- already had the food thawed.

Monday: Terriyaki Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli

Tuesday: Leftovers from Monday

Wednesday: Italian Pork Chops with Tomatoes in the Crockpot( served on rice or noodles), Salad

Thursday:  Leftovers from Wednesday

Friday: Grilled White Fish, Salad Greens with Berries and Dressing, Baked Potatoes

Saturday: Leftovers from Friday. I may make Fish Tacos

We always eat our leftovers but you could make a  new meal everyday. Her recipes are for small families (3-4) and large families (6-8). Her quantities are plentiful. So her meals make more than enough for each serving. So we will use the one for small families and have two meals using leftovers. Or many of her meals are freezable for the crock pot, so I can just split them and freeze them and that will give us more variety.  

So this is a new journey for me that I am looking forward to. I am never too old to learn a different way.

If you would like to look at her site and get a free meal plan, here is her link: 

Eat At Home Cooks 

I am just starting on this journey and will let you know how this works for my family as we get more into it. 

Disclaimer: This not a paid referral link. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Little of This and a Little of That

It's been a great week in our FIMC household. I hope yours has been terrific too. We got a few things accomplished like cleaning the garage in 80 degree temps. It gave me a good sweaty workout. 

While I was doing that Hubby was trimming a few lower branches off trees to raise the canopies. There are a few trees that he won't let the landscape company touch!  He got the outside water turned on (we shut the spigots off in the winter so they don't freeze) and hooked up the hose reel on the side of the house. We have a sprinkler system for watering; however we need the hose for things like washing the car, watering hanging baskets, etc. Since I plan on washing the car today, I am glad that it is all hooked up. I like having a clean car so I  always wash it in the nice weather. I detailed it a couple of weeks ago.

My hip is almost fully recovered from whatever I did to it and it feels good to be getting my exercise doing things. So today, before I start washing the car, etc., I am going to take a walk and just enjoy the beauty around me. 

I don't think I told you that the robins this spring decided they owned my outdoor grill. In all the years we have been married, we never had this problem. Hubby opened the grill a few weeks ago and there was an empty nest in it. We watched and the robin would come and go adding material to the nest. So Hubby went out and got rid of it before the robin layed eggs in it. In NYS, it is illegal to disturb nests with eggs. I did not want the robin taking over my grill for most of grilling season. So we watched and the robin came back and started building another one. Hubby looked and saw that where the robin was getting in. He was getting in through a vent hole in the back of the cover. So Hubby got rid of the nest again and then cleaned and sanitized the grill inside and out. We even put the grills in my dishwasher on the hottest cycle we could after soaking them in antibacterial cleanser in the sink. 

But we still had to find a way to prevent the robin from getting back in. So Hubby took an old thick towel that was in the rag bag and stuffed it in the hole. But when we used the grill we had to remove  it and then remember to put it back when the grill cooled off. What a pain! We knew we had to find a permanent fix.

My older son mentioned screening and Hubby mulled that over in his mind. He wasn't sure that that would be strong enough. Finally, on Monday, he said to me, I know how to fix it. Up to Home Depot he went and purchased a piece of gutter guard big enough to cover the entire vent all the way across the back of the grill. He felt he could cut that to fit and hopefully it wouldn't interfere with the cover opening and shutting nor would it interfere with the venting.

When he got home, he cut the piece to fit and I helped hold it in place while he made sure that the cover opening and shutting wasn't affected. It was perfect. So Hubby using his drill and metal bit drilled 4 holes and then screwed the gutter guard on. The entire repair including the gutter guard, washers, etc. only cost us $ 12.29. It's perfect and we have seen the robin trying to get in and he can't! Yeah! I love robins and we actually have a nest with eggs in the gutter over my front porch. But I was not giving them my grill! 

We have already grilled our first T-bone steaks of the season which Hubby did for me on Mother's Day. But we will be using this grill a lot. I hate to cook in the summer so grilled meat and salad or a grilled veggie is on the menu a lot. 

Would you believe that it is almost a year since Hubby was so sick in the hospital? Well I am happy to tell you that he is still back to normal with all of his blood work. He had his 6 month check up with his kidney doctor this week and he says he is doing remarkably well and does not want to see him for 6 months. We count our blessings remembering that he almost died. 

My son is still very sore from the accident last week. He went to the doctor and he has sore muscles in his rib cage and stomach area that the Dr. says will take a while to heal. But each day he seems to get better. The driver of the car that hit him was driving on a suspended license using someone elses car. That someone had insurance. There were no skid marks made by the car that hit him. So why didn't the driver see two cars stopped in the roadway in from of she or he? My son's car which is only 3 years old is being totaled. He is looking at his options for buying a new one but you can bet that it will be something more substantial than a Prius. Every time, I look at the pictures of what happened to the back seat and the car seat where my grandson sits, I thank the Lord that he wasn't with him. Ninety five percent of the time he is. But he was home getting ready for bed because it was a school night. 

All of my family will think twice about putting their grandchildren in any small car again. My Dil has a Honda Fit and she is trying to avoid putting him in her car. It's been really scary for them and all of us.

I have a busy day of a walk( JoAnne, I wish you were here to walk with me every day), car washing, and a bathroom to clean. Remember, all of those gift cards that I purchased at discount on the Top's deal last year? I plan on treating us tonight with dinner from either Panera Bread or Applebee's. I will let Hubby choose and then I will get the food To Go. 

My son and grandson will come on Sunday for their usual breakfast here and for some fun. But other than that we will stay home all weekend. I avoid stores and crowds like the plague on the weekends. I hope you all have a wonderful one. Till next week......

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Our Grocery Shopping Plan

In case you haven't noticed over the last 12- 16 years the world has become a very unsafe place. While our past Presidents have been doing not much of anything about foreign countries who are making nuclear weapons, those countries would like to end the U.S. and have been building nuclear weapons. I have always said that North Korea and Iran were the countries to be careful of and that the U.S. should be doing something about their proliferation but alas nothing was done except to make a deal with Iran and give them back all of their money that had been blocked. Money that they are now using to build missiles and other weapons to kill us. I don't want to talk politics but I am getting to the point of why we will be having a new grocery shopping plan. 

Also I want you to know that I have always had somewhat of a stockpile but I am not a prepper or a survivalist. However when I see so much evil in the world, even in this country, I see an urgency to prepare enough food to feed my family in case of a SHTF situation. Just look at the hacking the last few days and the companies being held ransom because of it. It wouldn't take much for someone to take down our energy grid in this country or any other country. Can you live without food, water, medicine, etc.? Without electricity this country will come to a standstill. The store shelves in the markets will be empty within a couple of days. Drugstores will not be open.
If we are attacked by North Korea or Iran or some other country, are you ready? Or will you die within 3 weeks because you have no food, water, or life saving medicine? Any attack from a foreign entity could affect you.

Well, then I think it is time for my family to prepare. Water is easy to stockpile and so is medicine(do your research online folks)  but food to last for a long time for a large family takes time to accumulate at the best prices. Besides buying at the rock bottom prices will cost you less and you will have the stockpile that you need quicker.

Am I panicking? Nope. Just looking to get prepared since so many people are worried that something is going to happen soon. I have had that feeling in my gut for quite a few years now and it is getting stronger daily so it is time to take action.

So we have overhauled our shopping plan. We are going to stockpile as many dry goods and canned goods as we can. 

Dry goods like rice, all of kinds of dry beans, oats, barley, sugar, and soft and hard wheat can be kept for 30 years if you store them correctly. You need a dry, cool place without moisture. You also need food grade BPA buckets to store these items. Don't use those orange buckets from Home Depot. They are not food grade or BPA free. I mention soft and hard wheat because you can grind your own flour. But get a machine that will grind it without electricity. Something like what is pictured in this article:


Already ground flour only lasts about 6 months before it goes rancid. By buying whole wheat you can grind only what you need when you need it for baking bread and other items.

You can buy 25 lb. bags of sugar, oatmeal, barley, dry beans, rice, dry milk (or 10 lb. bags if you can't find 25 lb.) and soft and hard wheat for very little money at warehouse clubs, health food stores, and other places like Gordon's Food Service or WinCo if you are so lucky to have them. Even Walmart is carrying some of these items in bulk. I have purchased most of these items this way for years. The soft and hard wheat are new items that we will be buying. Macaroni and spaghetti keep for years. We are still eating boxes that I purchased when we lived in AZ.   

Buy dry spices when they are sale so that you can put some flavor into your food. They keep for many years past the expiration dates. Any dry gravy mix or bouillon cubes are another option. They keep forever.

Canned goods will make up the rest of my stockpile. Best buy dates are put on cans to get me to buy more.  Think about how long your home canned foods last. If a product is bad, you most likely will know it when you open it.  If the can is bulging, rusted, or smells bad or has mold in it chuck it. Use your own judgment. Don't be stupid and eat it if it is bad. Do your own research and make up your own mind. I am not an expert and this is not advice. This is just what I do. 

So when I find a great price on a canned good, I am not going to buy one or two. I am going to buy a case. This goes for all canned goods. Yes, I did go back and get a case of tuna.  I want a great stockpile of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc. I will also buy dried fruits because I don't have a dehydrator at the moment.

I will buy any item that will sustain us. However, I will go heavy on the fruits, vegetables, and meat. I want to lean toward foods that are healthy because in an extended crisis staying healthy will serve us well. Yes we will have some carbs. But the emphasis will be on the former items.

We are also stockpiling wood and sterno because without electricity those will be our two sources of cooking until I buy a solar oven which should be soon. I am researching one to buy and there are plenty of homemade ones with directions online like the one above.

So we will continue to eat from our frozen stockpile of food to get it down to a month or two month supply. If we end up with no electricity for any extended period of time, the freezer food will go bad. We will continue to buy fresh veggies and fruits but only ones that will last a month or two.

Most of our money will be spent stockpiling food that will sustain us without having to use electricity. 

We will also stockpile other necessities like toilet paper, peroxide, bleach, bandages, matches, water purifying filters, etc.

Don't expect that our government will step in or that relatives, neighbors, or someone else will feed you. They won't. They will be feeding their families for as long as they can. 

So if you have no pantry, this is the time to start building it. Protect yourself and your family. Watch for those great deals and stockpile them.

One caveat: Buy only what your family likes and will eat. Too many people go crazy buying things that are a good deal but they have never eaten. This stockpile will be our short and long term storage. Also we will buy some dried foods from the prepper type companies but only to use for long term storage. We will keep eating from our cans when we get the stockpile built and replenish as we need to. I never put all of our money into one investment, I diversify so I will do the same building our stockpile.  It is an investment because food prices keep going up. So we will take some of our cash that is only earning .55% in the bank to start building our stockpile. We will earn more by stockpiling at lower prices and protect our family at the same time.

If any of you own a solar oven, I would love to hear what one and how you like it. Thanks in advance. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Small Grocery Shopping Haul and Turning Off The Heat Finally

There was not much that we needed this week except some fresh peppers and tomatoes at Aldi's. But I picked up four Zatarains and another item at Top's.  The rice were all Free after coupons. The tomatoes were $ 1.29 and the peppers were $ 1.49.
After running some errands, I was happy to make a caprese salad with a tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinagrette dressing for lunch. Yummy!

I also picked up 8 cans of white albacore tuna for $1.25 each. Hubby and I do not like chunk dark tuna. So when I saw this price, I stocked. I had not seen this low of a price in years. I was very tempted to buy a case and I am definitely still thinking about it since it is on sale through Saturday. We use this quite a bit in the summer for tuna salad platters and to make macaroni and tuna salad. Cold meals so that we don't use our oven and heat up the house. 

Talking about heating things up, it was time for me to read our meters yesterday and submit them to my company. First I have to tell you that I was not able to get Hubby to turn off the heat permanently yet. I would turn it off if we had a warm day but he would turn it back on about 5PM. He is always cold and even with the heat on he has been wearing a coat in the house. It only ran when it was needed but in the mornings it would come on until the house was 72. I have been patient about it but yesterday was the final straw for me.  

I have been doing a lot of work around the house and sweating through it. So after reading the meter and informing Hubby that we had used 53 CCF's more of natural gas than last year, same period, I asked him if he was planning on keeping the heat on until July. He immediately went to look at his computer to check out last year's bill. I don't think he believed me since I am always complaining about how hot it is in here. After looking it up, he went and turned the heat off. So hopefully it is off for good. I am going to have to seriously look for some long underwear for him to wear. He is going to have to learn to layer. I spent all winter cleaning my house in shorts and a short sleeved top because of how hot it was. It was ridiculous.

I have been taking it as easy as I can this week. I did something in my hip area and have been in pain. I don't think I dislocated my hip but I think I pulled something. So I have been trying to stand as much as possible and to not sit too long. Sitting and laying down kill me. But standing is okay. I am typing this standing up right now. It seems to be getting better every day so I am hoping I won't have to go get an X-ray. Time will tell. 

Tomorrow, I will be back with another post that I have planned. I am going to be changing my shopping strategy yet again and I want to share it with you and the reasons why. Till then............       

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day To All of You!

I hope of you Mothers and Grandmothers are having a terrific Mother's Day. Hopefully you are being waited on hand and foot.

Having my children and grandchildren either here today or calling me today has made mine just wonderful.

Now Hubby is cooking a couple of T Bone steaks on the grill and I made baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and broccoli for sides. Can't wait to eat!

Talk to you all again soon.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Frugal Things We Have Done Over the Past Few Weeks

We have been tightening up the purse strings the last few weeks. Since we have been and are spending so much money to have our outside property maintained by our landscape company, we have been very careful about spending money in other areas.

This is what we have been doing to keep the purse strings tight:

- We have been doing very little grocery shopping. We continue to eat from our stockpile and freezers.

- We have been staying home as much as possible so we haven't had to fill up our gas tank in weeks. So today I will be using a discount of $.60 off per gallon to fill up our SUV.

- Hubby has been doing a lot of the cooking since I am getting tired of doing it. He loves looking up recipes online and then making them. He has been great about using up what we already have. I am wondering how long I can milk this because I am loving it.

- I deposited $ 213. in checks into our savings account this week.

- I am still using our dryer to dry the clothes and loving it. It takes me an average of 35-40 minutes to dry a good size load using the dryer balls. These dyer balls make the use of dryer sheets or fabric softener unnecessary. 

- We went to Niagara Produce and purchased two beautiful hanging baskets of annuals for our front porch area. It is the only annuals we get since all of our other flowers are perennials. It still gets cold here at night and there can be a chance of frost. However the baskets are easy to remove and put in the garage overnight when we have frost warnings. NP has the best prices on these plants and they are very healthy.

- I am back to baking all of our bread as we need it. We are using up some that we have in the freezer and baking what we need that we don't.

- I made homemade brownies twice and coffee cake once. I am making more and more of our snacks and not buying junk food.

- Hubby made more horseradish pickles. Yummy!

- We have not had to water our lawn since we had so much rain. That is a bonus.

- I washed and detailed our car here at home. I did a better job than the car wash does. It's always nice to get the winter grime out of the car.

- Hubby informed me that the sole is splitting off one of his sneakers. I pulled out a new pair of sneakers from our closet stockpile and told him to throw the old ones out. It pays to buy sneakers when they are at rock bottom prices and stockpile them. 

- We still have our heat on because Hubby gets cold easily. It doesn't run much during the daytime. But we still need it at night. However it looks like we may be able to turn it off next week since we will be in the 70's. I would love a month without a huge bill. We have to start conserving more energy since our utility company has asked for a huge rate hike for gas and electricity. History shows the regulators will give most of it to them. 

- I like to have a treat in the freezer for when my grandchildren visit. So rather than purchase ice cream or fruit bars, I made a blender of strawberry fruit smoothies and filled my popsicle molds and then froze them. My grandson loved them.  

- We have been using our reusable K-cup more often which is saving us money. Ground coffee is cheap.

- We are enjoying playing Monopoly more frequently. It is cheap entertainment.

- We are making more and more meatless meals. They are much cheaper to include when making our weekly meal plan. I love eating Hubby's salads.

- I have been walking every day for exercise. It doesn't cost a penny.

- I continue to hard boil a dozen eggs on Sundays which we use for snacks, breakfasts, or egg salad during the week. It gives us our protein without having meat for breakfast or lunch. 

- We brought our library books back and got some more to read. 

- We continue to use a water bottle that is refilled from our filtered water at home. Whenever we leave the house, it goes with us. 

That is about all that I can think of right now. My mind is a little foggy at the moment because my youngest son was in a bad car accident last night. I think the Lord was watching over him because he walked away with just a scrape from hitting his head. His Toyota Prius was not so lucky. He was sitting stopped behind a vehicle that was waiting for traffic to clear to make a left hand turn. He glanced in his rear review mirror to see a car come over the hill and not slowing down behind him. Too late to do anything about it, the car plowed right into the rear end of his car. The force pushed him into the car in front of him. His car is totaled. Looking at the pictures, I am amazed that he only had a scrape from hitting his head. But I also can't help but notice that the back seat was badly damaged. Thank you Lord that my grandson wasn't with my son last night. 

Times like this show you what is most important in your life. We are so thankful that our son is okay. The car is just an object that can be replaced.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Little of This and a Little of That

Yesterday was a very stressful jammed packed day. It was the kind of day where I felt like nothing got accomplished but when I look back on it, everything got accomplished.

I have to start with eating dinner on Monday night. As most of you know who read this blog, I have an upper bridge in my mouth that I have spent over $20,000. cash out of my pocket on in the past three years. Well, while eating dinner on Monday, I heard a "crunch", a bit of pain and my gum was bleeding. I couldn't see what had happened but I could feel what felt to me like a crack. There was nothing I could do about it until my dentist opened yesterday. I called and got an appointment for 5PM. 

Trying to keep my mind off of it, I went about my day. I started by making a list of errands that I needed to run in another town. One of those errands was to use my $ 5.00 Kohl's Reward toward another pair of shorts for me. But first, I looked online at the sale shorts. If I could order a pair online and go through Ebates, I could get 15% back(yesterday only), and pick them up at the store. However the only pair I liked were not available at my store for pick up. We have another store but it is 40 minutes away from me. I decided the extra gasoline was not worth it. So I ended up going to the store that is only 15-20 minutes from me on my route to do other errands. I found a pair of jeans shorts just like the ones I already bought. I used my $ 5.00 reward and a merchandise credit so I only paid a little over $7.00 cash. Those 2 pair of shorts that I have now purchased will work well with a few pair that I have had for a while. I am set for the summer. 

While I was out, I stopped at our bank and deposited 3 checks into our savings account. One was the balance of my jury duty pay that finally came and the other two were rebates. It always feels good to deposit money. 

On my way home I decided to stop at B.J.'s. I picked up a large jar of Hellman's mayonnaise, some spices, a large bag of peanuts with the shells for Hubby and a few other items. I was pleasantly surprised that my total was only $44.00. I think that is one of the cheapest shops that I have ever done there. 

Then I came home and waited until it was time for my appointment. I had myself all worked up by the time I went. I had visions of a huge repair bill or everything having to be ripped out and redone. The dentist took a look and said there was no crack. But he did say the bridge had shifted a little bit. That was what was causing what I felt was a crack. It had shifted to the left a "smidgen" and was resting on the recent crown so I could feel a little space. He said nothing seemed to be loose and he did not know what had happened to cause the minor movement. But he said since nothing was loose, he could polish the edge and make it all smooth so that I wasn't constantly trying to feel it with my tongue. That was done and now things feel back to normal. Will it move again? Who knows? Even the dentist doesn't know what caused it. I am just hoping for the best and that this bridge lasts a long, long time.

However, my dentist did something he never does. He didn't charge me a dime not even for the emergency appointment which is usually $ 90. I was very grateful for that.

As you can imagine, I was not looking forward to going home at 6PM and starting dinner. I thought about picking up fast food. But I decided against it since I had chicken thawed to make chicken marsala. I had made rice to go with it before I went to the dentist. I figured it would be fast to reheat in the microwave. I was glad I didn't stop for food because when I got home, Hubby was making the chicken marsala in the pressure cooker. And let me tell you that it was moist and delicious and he made enough for dinner tonight. Yummy! 

My day ended so much better than I imagined. We even invited new friends to our home for dinner the first weekend in June. I am hoping that my Hubby likes her Hubby as much as we like each other. So now I am planning a dinner party. One of my favorite things to do is entertain. And we will be doing a lot of that in June. Besides our friends coming, my granddaughter is coming to stay with us for two weeks after she gets out of school. I am so excited. And of course there will be  huge celebration just before she goes home that my sons have planned. So June and July are jam packed and will be tons of fun.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I have lots to do here so I had better get moving.      

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Late Celebration

We love celebrating Cinco de Mayo ever since we lived in Arizona. But this year we didn't get around to it until yesterday.

Hubby made these delicious taco bowls. Our grandson was here for the afternoon and ate dinner with us. He loved them.

You don't have to go out for what some deem to be Mexican at Taco Bell. You can make your own which is so much better at home. 

A few years ago I bought the tortilla bakers to make the bowls in the oven. We made taco meat using 93% lean ground beef. Then Hubby layers the  romaine lettuce, taco meat, diced onions, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, salsa or taco sauce, grated cheddar or Mexican cheese and a dab of light sour cream. Super easy!

Today, the landscape company comes to do our spring clean up and put all new mulch in our gardens. Finally we have a sunny day where they can do it. So Hubby will be supervising that while I go get some on sale chicken breasts ($1.88 lb.), dozens of eggs( $.49 ea.), and free pasta at the market. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Yes, I Played Hookie!

Yes, I played hookie last Thursday and Friday and it felt good! Sometimes, you just have to step back and take a look at your life and rearrange things. So when I had writer's block those days, I did other things instead.

I started on Wednesday getting rid of a few things in my wardrobe. So on Thursday, I tried on every piece of clothing in my wardrobe and decided whether it was too tight, too loose, too old, I just didn't like it, or I hadn't worn it in a year. I had two baskets that I put the clothes that I didn't want to keep into. One was for donations and the other for trash. A lot of the clothes were in like new condition but I just didn't like them or they didn't fit so I decided I would bless someone else with them and took them to the Salvation Army.

It was not an easy task but one that needed to be done. It was very hard to donate the dress that I only wore once to my youngest son's wedding. But I knew I would never wear it again so it needed to go. It was also difficult to part with a suit that I would wear mainly to funerals. But more casual clothes will do for those occasions.

Do you know how freeing it is to have everything in your closet wearable? I can lay my fingers on any piece of clothing in my wardrobe now and know that it will fit and that it looks good on me. When I look at something in my closet my mind isn't thinking about those things that weren't wearable. I got rid of the clutter and stress. It feels really good. 

Then on Friday, I actually got up and went for a long walk in the rain. I came home soaked and ready for a hot shower but I loved it. It has rained here for over a week and there seems to be no end in sight so I took advantage of it. Instead of letting it get me down, I enjoyed it.

After my protein breakfast of ham and eggs, I decided I would get rid of every piece of paper in my home that didn't serve a purpose or that could be scanned into the computer. I do this on a somewhat semi-annual basis but it had gotten out of control. I actually had one large deep drawer full of nothing but papers that I thought I should keep. You know what, it was just clutter. I ended up recycling or shredding
every piece. I guess they weren't that important after all.  

So I am getting rid of all of the clutter in my life. And that includes schedules. We retired early in our lives so that we would have freedom. Lately that freedom feels more like work. Sure we have appointments to go to and we have to schedule them. We entertain and have friends over and we schedule those things. But the rest of the time, we want to be free to do what we want to do any moment of the day. 

We want to work and we want to play but when the whim hits us not when it is scheduled. We had another death in our family on May 1st and nothing made it clearer about what we want to do than losing another family member. Time is short so we want to enjoy every minute of it. 

So I will no longer be blogging every weekday. But I will be blogging when I feel that I have something that is important to talk about or to tell you. That can't be put into a schedule. With that said, today is Sunday and I am blogging to you. When will I blog the next time, I don't know. It could be tomorrow or it could be Wednesday. When the whim hits me and I don't have writer's block, I promise I will blog. Until then. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Grocery Shopping Haul

I did a meat stock up trip yesterday. I have very little left in my freezer that isn't turkey, beef, or too large to be used in the warm weather. So I went to Top's and purchased 14 of the Smithfield Ham slices that you see pictured. Some are going in the fridge because they don't expire until June 15th and the rest have been put in my chest freezer. 

I use these ham slices for our Sunday breakfasts and Hubby likes to make ham salad from them. Plus they are just perfect for us to split with a side of beans for dinner. They were on sale this week for $1.84 which is a fantastic price for my area. Plus being it was senior citizen discount day yesterday, I paid $1.73 each for them.

The I went to Save-A-Lot. My store used to be a dump. However, we have a new manager and he is doing a wonderful job cleaning the place up. I made sure to meet him today and tell him that I am impressed with the way things are looking.

They had both T-bone and Porterhouse steaks on sale for $4.99 a lb. So I got two of each. If we like them, then we will try other meat there. The only other meat I have tried is chicken and it is good. They also had corn on the cob on sale at 3 for $1.00. So I got 3 for Hubby and I to share tomorrow for dinner. I may go back to get their 3 day sale items tomorrow since I have an appointment close to them.
Other than those things my grocery shopping is done for the week.

Have any of you gotten any great meat deals recently? Do any of you buy meat at Save-A-Lot?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Walmart Personal Care Trip

My very favorite place to pick up personal care items is Walmart. I hadn't planned on making a run there yesterday until Hubby asked me if we had more deodorant. He threw the container he was using in the recyclables. Being absolutely sure that we had more, I went to the stockpile in the basement to get one. I was shocked to find that we had none. Not wanting him to go without deodorant today, I got my list together and off I went.

My haul and receipt are pictured above. I picked up two deodorants so that he will have a spare. I also got unscented hairspray, foundation, mascara and conditioner for color treated hair for me. They had been on my errand list for a while. The only coupon I could find before I went was $1./2 Old Spice.

While I was there I stumbled upon the Louisiana Fish Fry breading mix on clearance. For $.25 each I got two. We use this for fish quite a bit.

I also picked up a Marie Callendar's prepared dinner for me. Hubby and my son are doing a father and son night out and are doing dinner out soon. So this will be quick and easy for me to prepare. Plus I picked up the creamer for Hubby.

I checked my prices before I made this trip. The deodorant was the same price on Amazon. The foundation was $.48 cheaper on Amazon. The conditioner was $.07 more expensive. The mascara was $ 1.49 cheaper. So if I had ordered them on Amazon I would have saved $2.04. Next time I will but I was out of foundation and mascara and dangerously close on the conditioner. I have to keep better inventory control of my personal care items. 

I know that so many of you use coupons and do the drugstore deals to get these things cheaper. However my stores sell out of the deals on Sundays.  I spend my Sundays with my son and grandson and that is more important to me. So that is why I usually shop Walmart or Amazon for these items.  

I know that the creamer is $.02 cheaper all of the time than buying it at Top's. The Marie Callendar's is also cheaper there. 

The rest of the day I spent with Hubby getting rid of the clothes that don't fit him or that he doesn't like. He won't do this on his own so I have to coax him into it. It was worth it to get the master bedroom closet pared down. I also bagged up a few of my things for the donation bag.

We had a horrendous wind, rain and thunder and lightning storm yesterday just before dinner. We also had tornado watches. We came out of it unscathed except that Hubby had to chase a chair from our patio that was blowing away and I spent about 30 minutes keeping an eye on the sump pump. I have never seen the water rise so high in it. It was raining so hard that the pump was having trouble keeping up with it. However it never quite reached the point of the back up kicking in. Finally when the rain became gentler it caught up. But it had me a little nervous for a while. This is one of the reasons that I like to keep things off the floor in the basement.

Finally, in the mail yesterday, I got the rest of my jury pay ($200.) from the state. That check will be part of the money that I invest at the end of this month. Yeah!

I may make a trip to Save - A- Lot today. They have some pretty good deals this week.

Monday, May 1, 2017

April 2017 Expense Report

This is every penny that we spent in the month of
April. We had a very good month and I believe that is because we stayed home almost every day. 

Gas & Electric                          $180.21

Alarm Monitoring                         30.90

Cable, Int. TV                            138.20

Netflix                                          9.99

Medical                                     371.34

Automotive                               107.40

Gasoline                                     22.10

Gifts                                          60.79

Clothing                                   186.38

Restaurant & Takeout                  82.83

Home Maintenance                      13.00

Groceries                                  295.87

Personal Care                            110.00

Total Expenses                        $1609.01 

I believe our gas and electric bill was high because I never submitted our reading for the month and the company estimated us. It should catch up this month.

Now that our cable company has been bought out by another, I am expecting that our bill will go up this coming month. We'll see.

Our medical this month was for our health insurance premium, 3 co-pays for Doctors visits, and 4 prescriptions.

Automotive was our annual inspection and to have the snow tires removed and the regular ones put back on. 

Gifts was for Easter gifts for the grandchildren.

Clothing was for 10 tops and 1 pair of shorts for me and 2 pair of jeans for Hubby.

Home maintenance was for 2 hooks to hang something in the shed and our dryer balls.

Groceries was for every bit of food we purchased including my large Easter candy haul. 

Due to extra income in March that didn't come until April and extra money that has been sitting in our  account (Hubby was considering a purchase for our home and changed his mind) since January, we were able to invest $10,000. in stock last week. That brings our total savings and investment to $20,000. for this year. We are $1,000. ahead of what our total was for April 2016. 

We are hoping to have another really good month in May. However we have dental appointments and that is never cheap. We will do our best.

I hope you all had a really great savings month for April or managed to pay off a chunk of debt. If not, try again in May. If any of you care to share how your savings plans are going for 2017, feel free to tell us in comments.