Sunday, August 30, 2015

Meals planned

Yesterday's freezer clean & sort resulted in me taking a package of beef out to thaw with the chicken.
I thought the beef was a 3.25# roast.  As it thawed I realized it was ground beef that hubby had frozen (he dated it and put the weight on it which made me think roast). That's ok.  I browned halfish with onion and made a meatloaf with the rest.  Tonight was meatloaf, frozen beans and tater tots.  Tomorrow us pasts and meat sauce, the chicken is still thawing in the fridge so it's moved to Tuesday, still to be cooked in the crockpot.  Wednesday will probably be some sort of casserole with chicken, Thursday will be leftover buffet - Friday is fair food.

Tomorrow has me doing some school related errands and a meeting in the evening.  Feels good to head in with a plan

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back to boring....meal planning day

Freezer is defrosting & I will be resorting as I refill it with everything stuffed into the spare fridge and coolers.
This is part 1 of my meal planning for the week.  I had these grand ideas to create freezer crockpot meals - you know thaw and dump in the CP meals...all prep done on 1 day.  Well, best laid plans and all - I figured I better come to my senses and be sure there is adequate space to store these meals after they are lovingly prepped etc.

Here is a sampling of what was culled to the trash
from the deep freeze:
3 breakfast burritos (disliked by kids and hubby 1 year past date)
1 steak - terribly freezer burned and purchased last summer
From the spare fridge
4 tubes of canned biscuits expired may 2015...not worth the risk
1 pack of roll & use pie crusts may 2015 (off color in the wrappers) not worth the risk

Taken out to thaw and use this week -
1 oven stuffer roaster - for the crockpot with rotisserie style seasonings

Friday, August 28, 2015

Day 2 of school

Ahhh the hum of the dishwasher is the only noise today....

Both days the kiddos have gotten up and ready and we've gotten out of the house before 7.  This gives them time to do the locker thing and socialize a little before homeroom without rushing, which is never a good way to start the day.

So far only one schedule snafu but I'm assured it will be resolved by Monday.

The weekend has me buzzing around to be ready for next week completely.  So Saturday/tomorrow has high potential to suck, since it will be my running & gathering day.

If I can keep the kitchen counter and table clear from gathering too much crap on them (both seem to be crap landing pads) I might win the battle.

I'm off to fold laundry in the quiet of the morning!  A very frugal activity - since it's free ;-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Detergent review

As I promised here is my super unscientific results of Persil pearls.
Keep in mind I use Shout as a pre treater as necessary.

Load 1
Whites - mostly bath towels
Washed in hot water regular  cycle. No bleach
Results: dissolved completely (we have hard water) clean, fragrance was ok - almost non discernible after drying in the dryer, those dried on the rack were crunchier and had a little more fragrance but it wasn't strong or unpleasant

Load 2
Mixed colors - shirts, shorts & t shirts
Washed in warm water, regular cycle
Results: dissolved well, but some little dregs were in the gasket drain area, not on the clothes.
Scent was not strong.  Load was ravk dried - scent was pleasant, clothes were very clean

Load 3
Bed linens
Washed on santitzer hot temp, regular cycle length
Results : dissolved completely
Came out of the dryer (no dryer sheet) fine, staticky but looked and smelled clean.

Load 4
Mixed colors - mostly cottons - shorts & shirts
Washed in cold water, regular cycle
Results :  didn't dissolve as well, not stuck on clothes but more dregs in the gasket area
Scent was not overpowering and clothes were clean, although some shirts were still stinky in the pits

Over all I will buy this product again.  I will try the liquid version as soon as I find a good coupon for it.  I like the powder version when I'm going to use the timer wash option.

Right now I have many many bottles of bargain liquid detergent - so I will continue to use those with baking soda added when certain items are stinky.

Schools back in :-)

I'm feeling like the staples commercial - tomorrow is the big day.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Losing my $£%!

I'm so steamed at my teens!

I'm going to totally lose my shit.

Today was the we need to get the house in shape day.  They've had ample goof off time this summer.
More than ample!  Everytime I went to check on the progress they were making in the basement family room as I tackled other areas - read bathrooms- they were goofing off playing xbox!  I'm so ready to throw it in the trash!!

They are in for a rude awakening.....tomorrow I'm buying a luggage lock (the key kind) and locking the power cord to the TV with it until I see some improvements in attitude.  And I'm  Leaving the lock on all week during the school year too - so there will be no sneaking to play it.

The whole having to be the screamer mom is something I'm so over ....such a major pain in my rear end.

If they think I'm a witch now, just wait...I will get a retail job and they can keep the house clean & handle the rest of it while I work evenings.

Calm before the storm....

Took a couple days off from blog world - my calm before the storm...
Today is the storm - a fury of cleaning and organizing happening here today.  School atarts Thursday and youngest wants to have a couple pals over  tomorrow - since the house is a complete disaster - the storm of cleaning....

While the friends are over all I will need to worry about is folding laundry that will be dumped in my room tonight and making lunch for them.

Thus morning found me at ocean state on an errand for hubby...grabbed a pack of jumbo puppy pads for the pet cage.  Jumbos are hard to find and these were a great price 11.99/50.

Enuf break time - I'll be back tomorrow with a great post!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nail care

Just in case anyone was wondering why I take my own tools to the nail place and then sterilize them at home....
I'm terrified of nail fungus - I had one bout 22 yrs ago I was a young professional and doing the mani-pedi thing every other week.  I thought the place was clean but the dermatologist said most likely not.  It was months of pills and blood tests since the anti fungal pills can do weird things to your liver.  Ever since I'm very early where I go, learned how to do it myself in between and have learned that feet don't have to look glamorous, clean and healthy is glamor shot worthy too.

Today I found a perfect nude shade of polish at Walmart.  It was from the wet & wild brand.  I tried to find this shade for several weeks - although it took 3 coats to get the coverage I wanted, I know that I didn't spend a fortune on it.  I know myself and I try not to have more than 4 colors on hand.  They will separate or get gummy if not used regularly.
Currently I have this nude shade, hot pink, sky blue, coral (my love color this summer) and a RED, hubby jokes around and referred to it as hooker red.  It looks great if my feet are tan though. And then there is my pinkish clear for my hands and plain clear topcoat.  I think the blue was the most expensive one, it's OPI brand, but was the perfect shade last summer.

Personal Care Expenses

Well, CT has hit the news with nail salons not paying an actual minimum wage etc...

Time to do my post on personal care costs and what works for me.  Where I will cut costs and what I won't cut costs on.

Hair Care
I don't cut costs on covering my grays or haircuts.  Experience has taught me that I am not capable of cutting my bangs or coloring my hair successfully.  This is something I leave to the pros.
I cut about every 6-8 weeks and color 3 times/year (although that could increase if these grays don't cut the crap and continue to bring their pals to the party).
I use a sulfate free cleansing conditioner every other day and color safe shampoo on the other days- keeps the color good and hair healthy.  I tried the no-poo thing once - not for me...I never got past the 'adjustment' phase.

Brows are another item I pay for a couple times a year - I try to keep them up on my own but when I fall behind - I'm not afraid to have them done

Manicures & Pedicures.
I have my own tools.  I am not embarrassed to take them when I get my annual end of winter pedicure at the nail place.  The rest of the year I do it myself at home.  If I keep up on it - it isn't such a chore.  My hands are working hands so I stick to blue emu oil in the winter or coconut oil and on sale lotions.  For toes - I wear on sale polish and finger nails I'm a clear with a tint of pink polish girl. Simple and if it chips doesn't look horrible.  I've been blessed/cursed with a natural french manicure all my life - my nail tips are extremely white and this makes solid polish a 3+ coat adventure to cover.

Body skin care
Usually onsale body washes always moisturizing versions or dove bar soap.  I have the scrubby cloths ( long and single thickness). They are from body shop and Walmart/target...I love them - scrubby and easier to rinse and dry than the pouf things.  I think they are $2-3 each. Well worth it.
Lotions are always bought on sale - I try for unscented or light scent.

Sunscreen is always 30 SPF. Always lotion - I'm switching brands currently based on scent and sticky factor.  I tend to go with the sport formulas since they feel better on the skin for me

Facial Skin Care
Wash at minimum 2x daily usually with dove in the shower and cetaphil cleanser in the evening - oil free moisturizer (neutrogena at the moment -unscented) and eye serum (helps w eye crinkles)
I seldom wear more than mascara but when I do it's a tinted BB moisturizer, a little concealer, mineral powder and maybe a smidge of bronzer. Just a little eyeliner and nude eyeshadow and my Maybaline Great Lash (pink and green forever!). When I was fresh out of college and making sick $$ I spent tons at the Lancôme counter at GFox and Macys.  I do love their eyeliner pencils so I splurged last year on 2 and sharpener.  I'm good for a while.
I gave up on lipstick ages ago.  I use lip stain from the BodyShop and a tinted gloss/balm from Burt's Bees to get the color I like.
With age I've found what works for me and doesn't make me feel made up and cake faced.

The hair cuts and colors are the biggest expense I have annually and I'm ok with it - when I see what other people I know's nuts.  Yesterday I spent $75 for a cut and 2 process color (a few highlights). My good friend in town spends about double that (different salon) and she colors every 6 weeks - my hubby would flip out if he saw that bill.  But her hair grows faster ,
longer than mine and she has darker hair with more visible  grays - I don't blame her.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Allergies already & Fair Season

Man o man, I fear they are back - and early this year!  Very bad news for me since it's agricultural fair season.  I help out at a old one Labor Day weekend too.  I better get myself sorted with meds.

I love the fair!  I only attend the one in my town for 1 day, but help my Inlaws at their fair - those are long dry days but during that time I don't really cook - at all.  I do some baking so we have easy breakfasts and snacks, I prep up some easy to take salads things for hubby and I - since we just shouldn't eat fair food for 4 days straight.

I will stop by my favorite fritter vendor and get my clam fritters one night, I will get my pad Thai from the Thai vendor out of the new haven area, I will consume several beers (at least 1 daily) and I never leave without my strawberry sundae.

Mi love wandering around the goat and sheep barn, catching up with old timers wives and checking out the garden and cooked goods contests.  When my kids were little they would enter veggies they grew and items they baked, and enter collections they amassed during the year between fairs - several ribbons adorn their bulletin boards.  I've even won some runner up ribbons for my lemon blueberry pound cake - maybe I should look over the book and try this year.

Canned products are something I've never entered - maybe that's the "New Thing" I learn this year and enter next fall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Boring computer day

Sorry for the lack of anything exciting...
Today was spent doing budgeting work for a volunteer group I'm helping with.  Loads of phone calls and number crunching, all equals to the same end result.  The group will need to do some serious fundraising or increase dues substantially to provide the beneficiaries with the same level of programming as last year.    Never fun to present that information.

My brain is mush

Hoping tomorrow is more productive (at least more relaxing since it's hair cut day for me - yay!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

BJs find & Tuesday's tasks

Ground beef!  We were totally out - have been for a while (since June). Yesterday I stopped at BJs with youngest to see if there were school shoes and/or sneakers in the size we needed - struck out there but got the required milk and bananas and a 6.56 pound of 88% lean ground beef for $3.69/#!  Since we've been out and I need to get some easy to serve up dinners ready for the start of school (next week!) I grabbed it.  It's more than I wanted to pay per pound, but...cheaper than the grocery stores.

Plan today includes browning it all, chilling it and freezing it in 1pound packs.  This will make quick meals faster for me.  I can plop it in the crockpot frozen with sauce for Italian meals or I can thaw in the fridge for casseroles or Mexican nights.  Tonight will be jarred sauce and meat on pasta.

I have on my list for today to come up with a game plan for freezer/crockpot meals ala Pinterest.  The ones in the ziplock baggies...I'm mentally ready to tackle that kind of adventure.

I will figure out what meals, quantity of ingredients and when to do the shop (after consulting the calendar to find out when the others will be away) then I can clean sweep the kitchen surfaces, shop, chop and assemble.   It's a task I find easier without assistance, even from hubby since he is a 'toss it all together' cook and I'm a 'follow the directions' cook.

In the meantime (until there is a weekend they all leave for an overnight/day adventure) it's eat from the freezer to make space for easier suppers.  So a little painful period of having to cook nightly but it will be worth it....hell it better be!  Ha ha ha.

All this is so we have an easier time of the school year starting.  With the school year starting - I have signed up as a sub at the kids school.  Pay isn't as high as the public school systems - but I'm already there everyday dropping off and picking up.  So hopefully I can get a few days a month to help with the commuting costs.  Plus, I'm hoping one of the secretaries there will be retiring before the youngest (middle schooler) graduates from the high school program - and I could be considered for the job.  Which would be good, I can't justify being a stay at home mom forever - especially since these 2 will be going to college.  Having meals ready to plop in the CP will make any subbing days easier once we get home - just make a fast startch or veg and serve!

If nothing thing else, I need to get a better dinner routine so if I re-enter the workplace this year we aren't eating tons of takeout.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

On the table tonight

Sounds crazy, but I did use the oven.  We have the ac on since it's humid enough to make us sick -

Shake & bake chicken thighs (boneless/skinless were cheap last week)
Steamed broccoli
Mashed sweet potatoes

It was all super yummy - I think everyone was happy with a home cooked comfort style meal.  We can only eat so much grilled things in a summer.

Feedback - it's a gift!

I learned that little phrase in a training class ages ago.  It is true.  All feedback should be looked at as a gift.  It's something that should spur us to be better or do better or affirm we are plugging along just fine.


In borrowing from Carol @ CT on a Budget (see my blogs I read daily list).  I'm looking for feedback.

Do you like what's here?  If not - What do you want to see?
What kind of things are most helpful?
What should I change?

 Feel free to use the comments section - I'm looking for constructive feedback.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tax Free Week Plans

Making my list and plans for tax free week!  

I have a couple things to pick up for school supplies for the kiddos - those I have to pay sales tax on.

But the kids need under garments, socks , gym shorts for school, sneakers and school shoes - tax free!
I also need to pick up a pair of dressy shoes for  myself - tax free!  
Hubby needs a new belt - tax free!

I'm very happy to NOT  pay sales tax and stock up on any sales I see for these items.  

Careful planning and sorting through their closets means I generally don't over shop on items - socks sometimes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Solution - finally

It's a problem that makes me nuts. I don't wear rubber gloves as much as I should. Partly because I don't like them languishing over the edge of the sink. Today I was in the office looking for a rubber band and there was my box of command hooks - voila!  A binder clip the dry gloves and 90 seconds later a solution!  Hung inside the door under the sink 😃

Rainy Tuesday

Wow - it's pouring out there!  Looks like today in CT it will be a soaker too. Good since we need the rain desperately. 

Days like this make me believe in reincarnation - I think I was a cat in a previous life. Don't like to go out in the rain and curled up on the sofa is a good spot for days like this. 
A good thing about the rain is it's keeping me home - and hubby took my car today leaving me his truck which I can drive but don't like to when the weather isn't perfect. 

Today I will tackle the under counter portion of the pantry in the kitchen - the last spot. It's lone 2 doors wide but deep with a shelf. So this is really more of an inventory & organize it job.  I know there are lots of canned tomato products in there so I may be making some sort of chili or sauce if I unearth any ground beef or turkey in the freezer - really to re freeze as a quick school night dinner down the line. 

On my quest to use stuff up in the house I noticed we are nearly out of white sugar - I'm down to 1 canister and 1 5# bag in the pantry. I hope this will last until the holiday baking sales cycle starts.  I wanted to make another loaf of banana bread in the abm so I rummaged around and found the canister of 1:1 granulated Spenda. I used it for half the sugar the recipe calls for - also subbed coconut oil for the butter since I'm running low on that and completely out of canola/vegetable oil. I've used coconut oils in a lot of my baking lately and it isn't noticeable. I may try it with a small load of white toasting bread when I get more bread flour (running low on that too)

Well if I don't post this I will just ramble on and get nothing done. If you're in CR stay dray and take it easy in the roads if you're driving!

Monday, August 10, 2015

I have to cook this week?

Oh geeze!  Hubby & kiddos got home last night....took the kiddos straight to camp so it's just hubby and I this week.  But I have to cook dinners!  Kinda bummed & concerned about getting back into that groove.  When they are away at camp & conference, I usually eat sandwiches, cereal, roasted veg & rice and some childhood comfort foods (chef boyardee ravioli or deviled ham on saltines w/baby gherkins - don't judge!) or lots of Caesar salads.  It's simple & fast & frees up my time for other stuff.

The plus side is it gives me a chance to really dig thru the freezer and maybe try some new
crockpot-able recipes.  I'm thinking today might just be kielbasa - it's easy and I didn't grocery shop last week except for replenishing my romaine & milk.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to school supplies Part 1-notebooks

ShopRite had them on sale!

Mead 5Star 5subject w/plastic front covers were 4.99/ea with a limit of 4 and 3subjects were 3.99 limit 4). This is the preferred brand & size for the kids and best price I've seen so fat.  So I bought 4 of each, then got a $4 coupon at checkout girls a future purchase.  Put those 8 notebooks in the trunk and went back for 4 more 5 subjects and some milk - used that $4 coupon and got another one at check out - Yay!  Kept the receipts just in case the are somewhere cheaper before school starts.

I've learned that certain brands are more durable and better quality of paper - which matters to my kids as they press hard when writing.  I have a thing about paper, since working in the printing industry for my early career - I'm a bit of a paper snob too.  But I will use bargain brand notebooks.  My kids don't have such luck.  

Now when it comes to back to school supplies - I've tried for years to explain to the kids that 5 1 subject notebooks (70 pages) is more paper than in one of the 5 subject notebooks they prefer.  Oldest explained it that it's annoying to take notes in class and run out of paper or to have a chapter of notes in 2 notebooks.  I get that but when you can get 50 and 70 page single subjects for $.25 I would save money.

Here us my argument to them and hubby this week:
I spent $ 55.88 + tax    For 8 5subject 200 pg and 4 3subject 150 pg. (2200 pages total)

The same number of pages would be 44 50 page single subjects at $11 + tax from staples.  Paperboard covers

Granted the kids would have to carry folders since the 1 subjects don't have them built in (with mine those are a godsend) 

This is my least favorite time of the year

Saturday stuff

Today was stuff day....everyone comes home tomorrow night.
Here's the stuff I spent my Saturday doing:

  • Laundry (never ends)
  • Organized Christmas photo cards (putting them into a scrapbook). I have all the materials already.
  • Organized some other craft stuff
  • Cleaned out sewing box & reorganized threads & needles
  • Bought school notebooks at ShopRite see  next post.
  • Tidied the kitchen & sorted this weeks mail - chucked the junk mail

Friday, August 7, 2015

Motivation & Productivity Returneth

Believe if or not, I was up and out of the house by 9am and home by 5pm.

First stop OSJL - had to return an item, in the process I picked up some CVS brand eye serum $4.99(like aveeno), dried Unsugared mango strips, 3 packs of pants hangers (3/1.99) for me, just like the ones we paid $5/3 for hubby's pants a couple years ago at BB&B, box of cheese straw breadsticks
Next off to BJs to return a pair of sandals for one of the kids who didn't like them & fill tank on the car - only bought gas - yay!
Then off to the school uniform store in RI to exchange the incorrect size (they measured & kid grew a ton)  got that straightened out.  I could have had them ship to the CT store north of Hartford but that takes 2 weeks or I could have paid go have it shipped to me at home.  I drove - it was worth it & it's done.  Stopped at BJs  there to see if there was any good deals - nope.  Can't wait for Costco to open!
Stopped on the way home to buy romaine hearts at shoprite  

Have had a Caesar salad and will go move my pants to their new hangers.  Then it's time to tidy the living room/dining room (open plan).  And find a movie on netflix.

While I was out I did some comparison shopping on notebooks for the kids - tomorrow I will take an inventory of what we need for their classes and start searching the ads like crazy.

I know book sox are on the list - need to keep the books in good shape for good resale value next June.

Food Waste Friday

Whoo!  Good week for me.  No real food waste (not counting veggie stems & inedible seeds). That's what happens when you're home alone I guess.

Here is what was tossed into the trash
1 cup of almond milk & chia seed pudding from that disgusting experiment
1/2 grinder from last Friday night - wasn't that tasty then either
1/2 pint of shriveled blueberries that were looking fuzzy-ish

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Motivation level = 0

Feeling zero on the movivation meter today.  Did some veggie prep for tonight's dinner, unloaded the dishwasher, 2 loads of laundry and watched a Netflix movie - that's it.  I have a bunch of stuff I should attend to - I just don't have the desire to do them.  Pathetic isn't it?  I guess I will do little bits as I feel up to it - just not feelin like it now - hope there are more good movies on netflix until bed time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I finally got there!  Alone - and since it's just me this week, no having to be anywhere.  It was great, I gad a good poke thru the place.

I even got a skirt - in like new condition $4.99 (like new w/o tags) and a gently worn pair of old navy Capri pants for $2.99.  I had a good poke through the whole store.  Then I stopped at goodwill - higher prices, dirtier - very disappointing.

Sadly, now I want to find a new top for the skirt...maybe tomorrow I'll hit the outlets

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chia pudding results

Well I had high hopes.  Several great online reviews - a couple friends who said it's yummy.  Nope!  I knew it wouldn't be creamy but it was weird.  Chocolate one was just yucky.  The vanilla cinnamon one was not as yucky, but I still couldn't choke down more than a spoonful.

I think I'll stick with jello pudding or rice pudding or ice cream

Sunday, August 2, 2015

This weeks menu for 1

Menu planning for 1 is so easy!
Tonight I had leftover pizza from Friday night (not sure how that even occurred)
I also almond milk to make 2 containers of chia try, looking for a healthier than ice cream desert option.  One is cinnamon vanilla and one is chocolate.  Results tomorrow!

Aldi trip again

On the way home from dropping hubby and the kids off for their trip out to the midwest, I stopped to get a gallon of milk - I stopped a different aldi than I usually do.  Milk was $.80 cheaper than what I paid Wednesday!  Also picked up a bag of  baby carrots fir $.69.  Nectarines were $.39/#!  I grabbed 8 since I know that's what I can eat in a week so they won't go bad.   Also grabbed 2 16oz bags of frozen mangos at $2.09 each. Perfect for smoothies :-)

I really wish there was an aldi closer to us or at least on my route to school, I guess I have to keep a running list.