Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tea & Tissues

Yup, it's a cold

Long day of tea (decaf) and Tissues (so glad for lotion tissues).

Had to turn on the central air to dry out the air in the house.

Here us the extent of my creativity....a haiku

Damned stupid cold
You messed with my very busy day
Much love for puffs plus

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Allergies?

Finger crossed it's ragweed season.  If not then I'm getting a cold - boo hoo!  I'm super careful to watch what I touch when I'm out too :-(. 

I'm turning in when homework is complete and doublechecked it's truly done. 

See you in blog land tomorrow!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kohls Haul

Ran out to kohls with a friend this afternoon.  Last weekish I had gotten a 30% coupon.  So glad I did.
Picked up 2 pairs of jeans for myself. 1 pair on clearance for 15.99  and one on sale for 19.99.
Then I picked up shorts for the kids because they are on clearance and the youngest claims none fit (not surprised, huge growth year)

My total was $127 before my 30% coupon.  $95 with tax. And I got kohls cash!

So excited!  The shorts were on clearance for 8.40, 10 and 12 each. There was 30% off that!  Yah!!

Simple things....considering I haven't bought jeans in ages so I'm happy they weren't super expensive to start with even happier they turnout out cheaper.

Beautiful fall day

Today is gorgeous!  I'm finishing my coffee and seeing what everyone is up to...  Convinced I have ADD when it comes to cleaning - I dislike it so much I just can't focus and get it done.

  I'm stuck inside cleaning.  Hubby and kids are off camping (boys).  I would have loved to get together with girlfriends and gone to the Durham fair - but, sine they all work Saturday is  their GSD day (Get Shit Done).  Besides the fair is never a cheap day out.  We may make a kohls run later in the afternoon though - I have a 30% off coupon!

I've tackled the bathrooms, threw a load of laundry in to wash, need to clean kitchen, organize some papers of mine and do some general tidying.

I would love to try and get some sewing in today/tonight. Nothing major, a little mending and I want to make  a couple cuddle cups for the pets (they love sleeping in them)  and I have some fleece from a project ages ago that's lurking so it will be a freebie project.

Enough of a break - time to get back to work....

Friday, September 25, 2015

Deal of the day!

Woohoo!  Went to a surplus store it's a close outs place - you really never know what you'll find. Kinda like Ocean State Job Lot was in the 80s & 90s. It's near-ish to the kids school. (In the parking lot now). Picked up some large envelopes for a school project - way cheaper than BJs or staples. Of course they are natural color (brown) but they were 1/3 the price at the other 2 places. 

Then as I was looking around to see what else was there today I found they had Method foaming hand soap dispensers in spiced cider scent. 1.49 each!  I bought 3!  We have run out of the foaming refill and I was going to get some method brand (it's non-antibacterial). But I'm holding out for a sale and coupon - really want both at the same time. 

Since the pumper at the kitchen sink is pretty worn out or gunked up I will use one there and pour it's contents into my bathroom dispenser. I'll stash the other 2. For now. 

I've been trying to get the liquid soap:water ratio just right so I can use up the way less expensive liquid hand soap we have. I've also tried inexpensive non creamy shower gel.  It doesn't foam up and it's a dribbley mess. I've found that we do use less water when we use the foaming kind of hand soap. And we never use antibacterial at our house. 

Since it's fall and one kid is stuffy this week, hand washing is a priority. 

So glad to have not paid full price too - you just have to know where to look for the bargains and not be afraid of stores you might not usually shop at. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tough Choices Ahead

Asking you all to keep a good thought for me - I have some things I can't discuss here yet. Mostly it involves big changes and won't be overnight stuff. 

Restarting a career / going back to work after 16 years is the first big change. I have to do this and juggle family, caring for the home, getting kids to school and back, and all the volunteer stuff husband expects me to do on my own and help him with. Biggest bummer is I don't get to be selfish and put me working on a new degree first. It's so far down the list it didn't make the paper.   Sometimes when we are young we don't make the best of choices even if it's for the right reasons. 

Apples. PYO vs Local Grown at store

Wow - I have a goal for myself to put up around 20 quarts of applesauce. Well I actually freeze it since I have no canning experience. Our preferred variety is cortland - alright mine you got me there. But if I'm the mother hen doing the work...you get my drift?  

Well just saw the flyer for a market next town over (don't shop there regularly - it's $$, small and loads of geriatrics & poorly laid out parking lot). 

They have locally grown cortlands on sale (starting Saturday) for $.69/#!  

I was planning on going to PYO orchard and paying $1.89 (today's price). 

Now my plan has changed. I will pick enough to eat my full and full the dehydrator a good 3-4 times and buy the sauce apples, once I check with the store  as to what the constitute as locally grown (must at least be on this side of the state)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fed up day

Pretty pathetic when the only good thing in your day involves finding  a new kabuki brush at ocean state job lot.

The day started with the kids needing several wake up calls, then they were bickering until it was time to get in the car.  Just stupid nit picky crap - can't just mind their own business crap.

Once I got them off to school - it was paperwork day - got a bunch done, tedious and boring.

Next on the list was going to ocean state to use my coupon for pool ice pillows - they had them thank goodness.

Off to school for pick up, luckily for me I saw the traffic tie up going in the opposite direction - I checked my phone before leaving the school to see if the traffic was still there, it was & alternate route was used.  Added time :-(

Kids continued bickering once we got home.  I made bisquick cheeseburger pie for dinner.  One liked it, one griped un controllably  which made hubby pepper me with the " why do you make stuff like this, you know they both don't like it....blah blah blah".  hubby couldn't eat it but there was plenty of  dairy free chicken potpie for him.  I totally lost it!  Yelled at them all that if they don't like it then don't eat it, have soup, cereal or what ever...I'm sick of only cooking what 1 wants, what 2 likes, or what 3 can eat special food wise - tonite was what I wanted and that's it!  From now on if they all want something different from what I cooked - let me know and I will try to make it later in the week but for that night they can deal with it and eat what is cooked.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie

I am a Freaking Rockstar!  Hubby can't have dairy anymore so I have had to tweak things like crazy, if I don't feel like making 2 dinners.

I made a dairy free chicken pot pie & it not only was edible, it was really good!!
(I decided to bake bread tomorrow since I got distracted today by laundry)

Here is how I did it.

3/4 rotisserie chicken (from Friday) chopped up to bite size
1 bag frozen mixed veg (I used a steam fresh bag on sale)
3.5 cups boiling water - dissolve 1 knorr stock cube (tubs) and 2 chicken bouillon cubes (I only had low salt knorr tub) add to the roux
Roux: 3 tablespoons of flour browned in 4 tablespoons of nondairy 'butter'. I used earth balance vegan spread (he likes it on buttered items - I'm still eating butter...real butter)
Cook to thicken
Mix veg, meat & gravy pour into 9x13

Topping is bisquick topping....
2 cups heart smart bisquick
1 cup almond milk (we use almond breeze low sugar original flavor)
2 eggs

Not even kidding even if I make it for the kids and I, we all eat dairy with no issues I will not go back to cream of chicken soup.  This was so easy!

Dry milk. Trying Something New

Stopped at Walmart on the way home this morning. Youngest used the last of the milk this morning. 
Bought a gallon of 1% for them to drink. 
Want to make bread for dinner in the bread maker today and my recipie calls for dry milk. I know I'm nearly out on it so I stop in the baking aisle to buy a box - they were out of carnation brand!  Not wanting to risk it buy a big box of another brand at $8  (I use Sanalac usually - my mom buys it at the commissary and I repay her).  There weren't even any carnation envelopes!  What to do?  

I was prepared to walk out without the dry milk and skip bread making. 

Then I walked by the aisle with the Hispanic foods ( yes, the store labled the aisle Hispanic foods) remembered I have been meaning to check the canned Goya bean price (that Brand are yummy canned beans) there was Powdered milk!    Now it is whole milk and Sanalac is powdered skim but it's a name brand company I know. They sell a BIG canister for 15.98 and this small one for $4.98. I'm going to give it a whirl!  I tend to use dry milk where I can in baking this will definitely up the fat & calories in my baking but if it works the price is great.

I also try using dry milk in making my white sauce magic mix ( see www.everydayfoodstorage.net for instructions)

Since this is dry whole milk I will be storing it in the freezer once it is opened. Just to keep it as fresh as possible. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

To market, to market - jiggity jig

Back out for some items kids can't live without!  More fruit!  Only cost me $14.98 (outrageous). The growth spurt fueled smoothie run has to slow down....this leave me with $77.01 to finish out the month with.   My dollar tree was out of frozen berries last time I was there (earlier this week getting stuff for church).

Bonus was I got 2 lively tomatos at church this morning.  Another member picked their garden yesterday and brought a basket of them in.  I only took 2 since I have some from last week we need to eat up this week.

Dinner tonite & tomorrow is C.O.R.N.  Too much else going on to do anything elaborate.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Grocery Spending Update

Yesterday I had to stop at Shop Rite and do a quick shop.  We were out of plain greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt and frozen berries (smoothies). Also out of ritz crackers and romaine hearts....and nutmeg  (see yesterday's post).

By the time I left the store I was out $106.37!

Granted it was all stuff we will use and I kept it quick.  The restocking if items we use/eat regularly is what kills me on a monthly basis.
Not on my list but I had coupons loaded on my card for them: quinoa, bisquick mix.  Unexpected deals - 3.49/# pork tenderloins (grabbed 2 for the freezer), nice broccoli crowns .99/#, green bell peppers 1.49/#. 20 wash bottle of Persil liquid laundry detergent 5.79 with a $2 off coupon attached - yay!  I know I said no more laundry soap, but I really like the powdered version and this is a great way to try the liquid w/o committing to 50 loads.  So much for Persil being a Walmart exclusive!  This jug was cheaper than the same size at Walmart too.  I'm just glad to have added it to my stash so cheaply.  I just bought the 1 jug,

Today was the BJs run.
Dishwasher tabs, 32 bars of bath soap, jug of Dawn (my annual jug) , bananas, rotisserie chicken, cucumbers and brick of TP set me back: $60

The grand total to get me to the end of the month is:  $91.99
there is still milk to buy weekly  @ 3.29 - 3.89/gallon, and we will need veggies again and I want my apples.   I may just squeak it in

And I still want to go pick a wagon full of apples.  I'm thinking I'm dipping into Octobers monies.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Buy what you need

I've tried this spice company stuff before and like them.   Nutmeg isn't a spice I use a lot of. But there are a couple times a year I use it. I used the last of an ancient jar last week. It wa lurking long enough it wasn't very flavorful. 
At Shop Rite this morning I found just the right amount for a year of baking.  And it was 79 cents!  I could have bought whole but then I have to get a little grater- too much work for me. 

And their cumin is the best I've  bought. And doesn't break the bank. 

Sadly the nearest Penzys is an hour away

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I just called the orchard I pick at. 
1.59/# pick your own. Cortlands are ready!  These are my favorites for sauce. And to eat until I explode. Have to find some time Thursday to get there. I have my freezer boxes all ready to be refilled with sauce for the year. 

I'm so excited!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Do I renew the card?

Trying to decide if renewing my big y savings card is worth it.  
It's $20/ year for the silver level. This gets me silver coin prices on items without having to have the physical silver coins in my purse to turn over. This has been a huge convenience over the last year. 

I got the card last year when a new Big Y opened near my home and I was shopping during the grand opening period. Over the 6 months I've saved $78.56 by using the card (yes I tracked it using their app). Since I tend to shop their loss leaders and buy their brand of coffee pods I would continue to see those savings. 

What would you do?  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September grocery spending

Seeing as it's nearly mid month I had hoped to be doing better than this.  My budget is $500 for 2 adults, 2 teens, 2 guinea pigs (they eat veggies - their grain & hay is a pet expense) as well as our toiletries.

So far I've spent
165.75. @ shop rite
10.78 @ IGA
58.43 @ Big Y
3.39 @ walgreens (milk)
3.29 @ Cumberland Farms (milk)
Grand total is 241.64
This means I have 258.36 left for the month.  I'm pretty sure I can do it.  We are in good shape in most areas.

Things still left to replenish this month are:
BJs - bar soap, finish dish tabs, TP, bananas. I have coupons for everything but the bananas.
Cumbys - milk as needed
Fresh veg, frozen veg & fruit & romaine hearts - most likely from shoprite.
Apples - this could be a budget buster for September, but it's kind of a shell game since we eat the apple stuff all year.  I am getting ready to pick apples - planning on lots of freezer applesauce and dehydrating a bunch for winter baking.  I really wish I knew something about canning because I would can the apple sauce if I did.  I would even try making crockpot apple butter.  There just doesn't look like there is time this fall.

a Winner a Winner a Chicken Dinner

So, Friday I plopped this prepped crockpot freezer meal into my small crockpot, set it on low and went about the day.  The day was busy - with a capital B.  After an after school commitment the kids were so hungry and tired out we wound up eating on the way home at a pizza place.  Crockpot dinner landed in the fridge.  Came out tonight and it went over well.  I only have a minor tweek to the recipe and that's to add some tomato paste to thicken the sauce a little.  Everyone was happy with the flavor, even though one kiddo doesn't like diced tomatoes, but it was fine.  I served it over spaghetti but angle hair might be better next time.

Here is the link where I found it.  It is a meal in rotation now.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Freezer crockpot dinner #1

Tonight is Italian Chicken from my freezer crockpot meal prep day. 
I only made 1 batch of it since it's a new recipie to me. Hoping it's well received by hubby & kids. Will be served with spaghetti, Italian bread and salad. 
Takes 4-6 hours on low so I will be turning on the CP at 10 am so dinner is ready for 5. 

I wish this was a scratch & sniff photo because it smells oniony garlicky and yummy - even tho the picture is kinda blah. 

If it's a winner winner chicken dinner I will post a link to the site I got the recipie from. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Simply exhausted!

After a weekend helping at the fair I'm bushed!
One child so tired they stayed home today and slept until noon!  This one was a trooper though. Went Saturday  & Sunday morning at 6:30 worked butt if and stayed until midnight each night while we worked on closing stuff up.  We love agri fairs but glad we've set the family limit at 1 per year.  Last year the youngest and I hit the Big E one day - but have decided to skip it this year, it's way too big for our tastes - although those Maine potatoes and the other state foods are worth it...not the fried Oreos -nasty!

Today's activities have been in slo-mo all day.  Hoping that getting back into my routine and vitamins will help the rest of the week....

Dinner was Tacos - it's Tuesday after all

Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekend at the fair

Sometimes I wish I could think it and it would post.  Rather than having to type my thoughts. 
Volunteering at the fair this weekend - it's been long days but the weather has been lovely!  Lots of neat crafts and entries in the fruit & veg classes.   
I'm gonna sleep good tonight!  I'll be glad for school to start back tomorrow - routine is such a good thing. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Food Waste Friday

Nothing to report here folks.  Last night was leftover buffet, my favorite night to cook <insert evil grin>

We went into the week with a pretty clean fridge what with my freezer Cleanout.  And not grocery shopping until nearly midweek meant stuff was eaten.

I did pour out the pickle juice after eating the last bread & butter spear with my lunch today - it's jar is in the recycle bin now. (Not a good size)

Friday Productivity Report

After zipping around and doing the school trip I returned home to begin my prep session of crockpot that & dump meals.  I was determined to get things underway. I had 4 pounds of both breasts and thighs and 2.4 pounds of ground beef to work with. The pork chops I bought landed in the freezer already. I split the ground beef into 2 ziplock bags and labled. That will get used in sauce it's fast to brown it up. 
The chicken parts became 2 bags of Chicken chili, 1 bag if Italian chicken and 1 bag of cranberry chicken. 

As I was getting the chicken chili stuff pulled together I realized I have run out of ground cumin completely and there is no substituting that. Also I was totally out of canned black beans. Not a biggie. I had dried black beans and did a quick soak on them. As I have run my errands today I stopped back at shop rite to get ground cumin, oregano and 2 more 12 packs of the nabisco deal (&8.63). That will come off my grocery total for the month. 

I'm trying to only buy spices/herbs as I run low since they don't last forever. Black beans are now on the things to restock in the sales cycle list. I don't think I will make it until the Can can sale in January. But will use the dried ones up and replace those when I stock up on canned ones. 

I had tons of errands to run today also. But all proved cost effective for me. 
Rather than running into TJMaxx for a pair of denim Capri pants ( on my replace list since spring). I got a pair at goodwill for $7!  And when I went to agway for feed & hay my loyalty card got me a $10 discount!  It was like getting the hay free!!  Double yay!

I even remembered to pack my lunchbox with healthy lunchy foods so I would to hit the drive thru - although I forgot a drink so I had to get a diet coke when I got gas.  I think it was a pretty productive day.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

'Mom, why did you buy raisin bran with no raisins?'

That was the question I was asked when the kids came home and the box of bran flakes (store brand on sale $.99/box) was on the counter.  
I've made a these type muffins before. And I like them. These were even at hit with The Picky Oldest Teen.  

Usually when it comes to muffins I use the little packs that you just add milk, stir and bake.  They make 6. The packs are $.98/ea at Walmart. Trouble is a chocolate chip muffin (or 3) is like eating a cupcake (or 3) for breakfast.  
And those little packs are just the right size for the teens to eat them for breakfast because they just aren't that yummy the next day if there are any leftover.  

So - now the muffin box Tupperware has 7 left in it and one kid plus hubby has yet to eat this morning. 

I'm going to be tweeking the recipie some in the next couple weeks.  As it is they are great!  Although I did add the last scant 1/2 cup of pecan bits from the freezer.  

My changes will be to swap the banana for pumpkin and applesauce (not at the same time) and swap the milk for almond milk and to swap the veg oil for coconut oil. 

These were so cheap in comparison to the packets but I will still keep packets on hand - sometimes you need a little cake to jump start a dreary day :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sept. Groceries - trip 1

Seems today was grocery shopping day in blogland.

After I dropped my kids at school I headed to shoprite.  Nice thing about going in the early morning is it's not too crowded yet. Plus I get home and get it put away before my day gets away from me.

It was a really big shop for me - I've been not going as often and doing quick top off trips.  Those aren't good for my bottom line.   We have been eating down the cupboards as much as possible.

On sale items
6 boxes of Barilla pasta 7.40
2 boxes of honey bunches of oats cereal 1.99/ea
1 box SR Bran Flakes .99 (muffins)
2 boxes SR freezer zip bags .89/ea
5# jasmine rice 6.49
8 cans diced tomatos .75 ea
2 Nabisco snack packs 2.74/ea (lunch treats)
6 SR greek yogurt singles .80/ea
3 SR shredded cheddar bags 1.99
4 SR cheddar blocks 1.99
2 frienship cottage cheese tubs 1.99/ea
2 half gallon OJ 1.99/ea
2 bags SR frozen blackberries 2/$5
Eggs 3.19/doz (OUCH)
BLSL chicken thighs 1.99/#. 8.12
BLSL chicken thighs 2.49/# 8.81
Bone in pork loin chops  6.01
85% lean ground beef 9.25

Not on sale but still needed
Gallon milk
Half gallon nut milk
Romaine hearts
1 red pepper
Frozen mixed veggies
Chicken gravy mix packs (used my backups)
Mousse for my hair
Shake n bake (I cut it with breadcrumbs)
2 jars of pasta sauce
1 jar minced garlic
Big box of raisins
Frosted mini wheats (special request)
5 nectarines
6 Plums
Loaf bread

Total was $165.75!  This is what happens when I don't go for a while.  All the meat is for freezer crockpot ready meals - another post...

Since my goal this month is $500 I'm nervous it can be accomplished  to say the least.

App I love

If you haven't loaded the free Aldi app you are going to love it!  

I don't get the paper - so I never see a paper ad flyer from Aldi. Now I don't need to. I simply can use the app and make a little list on it - then if I'm nearby I don't forget what I needed from the store. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crock Pot Chicken

It's what's for dinner!  It went over well.  It always does.  I'm happy since I have enough chicken leftover to make a casserole either tomorrow or Thursday night.
Most likely tomorrow night and then Thursday will be LOB - one of my favorite nights (quick cooking)

The crock pot is ready to assume it's position back on the counter for the fall, unless I need to pull the smaller 1 night dinner out and into service.