Sunday, December 3, 2017

Frugal Christmas

Always the plan here to have a frugal Christmas. 
Hubby and I went out on Black Friday and did really well at kohls.  I have my kohls cash to use to pick up more gifts this week.  
Gift cards were purchased through a school fundraiser (hubs needs them for work). 
We are keeping it simple with the kids since adding them to our car insurance is outrageous!  And we told them this much.  Plus they're teens and have simpler tastes now.
Tree is up, just no decorations on it yet.  Thinking of going simple on that too.  It's just such a crazy year for us.

Teaching observations

I'm heading into my 3rd week of my gig.  Here is what I've observed so can only hope the kids outgrow some of these bad habits or I can learn to be more patient

1 the same children who carry everything they need for the day in a backpack never have a pen or pencil for class
2  there are kids who will admit they will just watch the movie instead of read the assigned short novel -  and won't understand the instructions on the graphic organizer worksheet 
3  some kids will not stop talking, from the minute class starts until it ends.
4  at least one per class will need to have their seat moved for misbehavior and get angry at the teacher when it is moved, because it's the teachers' fault the can't behave nicely do their work
5 there are going to be several kids who truly give a damn and want to succeed
6 some will never have the homework when due and again, that's the teachers' fault.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy aThanksgiving!

Yes, I've been missing for a bit....started working the big sub gig this week.....loads to update on too.
In the meantime - tear yourselves away from the screens and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Big or small be thankful for what you have!  
Have a peaceful and blessed day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Still kickin it!

Still kickin it today....whew, but I'm really beat now.  Today was concert attire day for me at school.  Pick up, clean, return, repeat.....just madness!  I'm going in tomorrow to address a few minorish repairs so my sewing machine goes on a field trip too, wish I had a mini machine since it's such minor stuff, but I don't and I'm not buying one! 

Also on today's agenda were several emails that needed attention, an awards dinner tonight in town, the usual kitchen tidying and teenager riding about homework that needed to be completed.  

Now I'm packed up to go into battle tomorrow.  Really hopeful I can get all this done and back in time for a meeting at 7.  

And Friday I'm working, so I hope to get some quality sleep tonight.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Accomplishment Day

Whoa!  What a day!  It was a busy one for sure.  I wasn't called in this morning but that's ok.  I hit the ground running.  After dropping the kids at school I headed to Walmart for some items I needed for a school project and home (some stuff you can't substitute), then it was off to emissions for my car, long wait but I was able to answer some emails from my phone so it wasn't a total loss of time. I then headed home to get dear pet to the vet appointment I had almost forgotten about, back home to have lunch and pick up the music/drama boosters checkbook.  Quick run to goodwill to drop off 2 bags of outgrown clothes and off to the screenprinter for shirts that were ordered then back to school to sort them and pick up the kids.  Home to make dinner (thank goodness I planned it) and now I'm packing it in for the day (did more paperwork after dinner).

Tomorrow has more on deck in the way of errands, just trying to wrap up some loose ends before I'm working & the holidays are here (along with midterm exams and the Christmas concert). I also have a quick project I need to sew and see if it works the way I want it to.  

All this and I took a page from TraceeBee at Just Keep Swimming MamaFish and started a spending notebook to be accountable.  Yes, today was eye opening and it's day 1. Keep your eyes out for my wrapup on Saturday. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Deep cleaning - necessary evil

Our dishwasher is the 2nd one in the house in the last 19 years we've lived here.  This one is about 6 years old.  The other was a kitchen aid by Hobart model. Maybe late 80s early 90s.   It was totally not energy efficient, sounded like a freight train and would blast the pattern off your plates it was such a workhorse I loved it!  When the door seal finally gave up and the appliance store couldn't get a replacement or any parts for it we bid adieu and went with an energy star basic model. 

I'm very careful about wiping the plates or rinsing and only use finish tablets as reccomeded by manufacture and appliance store (buying the ones in the silver wrapper rather than the pods style) 

Today as I scoured the kitchen sink and cleaned the cooktop (someone let rice boil over) I ran the dishwasher....when it was done and ready to unload the dishes were only 1/2 clean.  It hasn't been working great the last couple weeks.  So I found the manual and started to dismantle it for a deep clean.  This was a hellish task.  Required 2 types of screwdrivers, a flashlight and much patience.  
After about 90 minutes I had it all cleaned out and reassembled and ready to go.  Rather than run it with detergent I filled the detergent cup with white vinegar and gave a generous splash to the bottom of the tub.  Ran it on pots & pan cycle with heat assist.  Seemed to be much it's full of dinner dishes and I'll run it in the morning once the breakfast dishes go in.  If I don't see improvement I'll get some of the dishwasher cleaner at Walmart (similar to washing machine cleaner I use for the HE washer). If that doesn't help I guess it a call to the appliance store for a service.  

I joke with hubby if it goes, it will be replaced in 24 hours.  But I'm serious - and after the last one croaked he knows I mean it.  

All ready

Sunday night and in bed before 10, super unusual for me. It's been a busy day and we had Chinese takeout for dinner which bought me some time to get extra things done.
Here's how things look:
Coffee pot ready to go & on timer
All laundry washed & put away  & 1 load on drying racks (including all beds)
Wardrobe ready in case I'm called in early
List of To-do ready for tomorrow in case I'm not called in early
      2 Car emissions, grocery store run, goodwill drop off, paperwork to get done ready
Meals planned for the week. This is a big one for me.  

Bring it on week - I'm as ready as I'll ever be!

New item review

After reading on CT on A Budget about the powdered laundry detergent from Dollar Tree - I decided what the heck, I'll try it.  Here is my review, keep in mind that we have well water and a water treatment  thing in the basement and with front loader HE washer I usually only use liquid detergent and wash mostly in cold water.  

This week I've washed 4 loads in it.  2 hot, 1 with bleach and 1 without bleach it dissolved well and the towels and whites were clean and not heavily fragranced. 1 cold, required an extra rinse since the powder didn't dissolve quite completely but with the extra rinse stuff was clean.  1 was washed in warm water, disolved fine.  So my verdict is its pretty good, for warm and hot. I will probably use it for loads of whites.  Rinsing twice is a pain and waste of water though.   

The powder is pretty fine and it's not heavily fragranced too (I like that)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Goodwill score!

Had a quick errand that had me near a different goodwill than I normally go to - although I generally have done well at this one when I am there....

I got there about 15 minutes after they opened - best time. Very few other shoppers....and they price by rack for example: blouses are one price. Skirts are one price and so forth.  Much better than the one near hubby office that is competing with Walmart, kohls and a savers all within a 2 mile stretch

I was looking for navy pants.  Found a new with tags pair of ladies dockers khakis and a cute navy, Kelly green print dress instead!  Go and a funky necklace and a garnet looking ring that made me smile.  I never look at jewelry but it was there at the register while I waited to check out....

Success even if I did t get what I went in for, proving you have to keep an open mind when bargain hunting.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Getting into a groove

Getting into a bit of a groove now.  Sunday I hit Shoprite and stocked up on some stuff.  Nothing major but things I had forgotten on Thursday.   The only meat I bought was some ground beef... 85%. Basically we've eaten it this week.  Sunday and Monday night as easy stroganoff, last night as meat sauce and pasta and today because I was out and about all day it was crockpot chili.  There was about a quart I can freeze it or we can eat it tomorrow on baked potatoes or nachos.  Haven't decided yet. 

Thankfully I have a 3 day weekend. I'm going to spend it cleaning and prepping for the next subbing gig.  Getting crockpot meals into the freezer, double checking some wardrobe issues, studying up and making some rough lesson plans for the next few weeks.  Good thing I have teacher editions to review with.  Biggest hurdle will ve tidying the's a hot mess!  Really could spend a few days in there.

Oh and it's getting cold enough to start the furnace. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ready for the week

Back at school tomorrow.  Not sure how many days this week, but tomorrow is a go.  I could use a weekday to get a bunch of errands things done so hopefully there is one this week in store. 
Doing ok with clothes for working so far....
Last week had me at kohls returning an item for one of the kids, and while there picked up a couple light cardigans.  Then a quick trip to famous footwear had me buying a pair of loafers.  
I looked at kohls, but the one I went to was a small store and the shoe selection was feeble and some of the shoes were cheapy looking.  One of my next purchases will be new Santita clogs. Dansko ones don't fit my high instep.  I love my clogs.....can't help it

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Many changes!

I've been subbing this week....probably will Monday too.  Then I'm on a long term assignment at school thru the holidays.  Hoping I have a couple days before that starts so I can get things at home ready for 5 days a week out of the house.

Here's my list  before it all gets super busy:
Clean the house big time! 
Inventory freezer & pantry
Meal plan !  Or we'll be eating a lot of pizza & Chinese....defeats the purpose of working
Wardrobe - get it "capsulized". Like capsule wardrobes....basics that mix and match easily.  
Volunteer paperwork - sort that shit's fairly organized but needs to be much better
Christmas shopping

I have a few professional kinds of things to review, I may be absentee for a bit until I can get my feet under me, so to speak.  Lots of prepping 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Subbing picks up

Well, called in for the week.  Which is great.  And getting into a groove of survival mode.

Come home, unload dishwasher, throw in load of laundry, set up coffee pot for auto brew at 5am, make dinner, hang laundry or dry/fold.   Nice and boring.  I have to do some serious meal planning though - this is the season where kids really share germs. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Survived the storm

So CT was walloped with super soaker rains (totally needed). And we were whipped silly with winds.  80% of my town had no power from last night until around dinner time today.  We only had ours blink a few times.  Enough to need to reset all clocks several times.  
Today there was no school - which didn't bother me much since I was awake most of the night wondering if we would all get flattened by the big tree next to the house (didn't happen thank goodness)

That's not to say we didn't have any damage...we lost 2 trees.  We need to get those addressed, today hubby had to go to the office so since they weren't blocking the driveway or going to hurt/damage anything except the grass underneath they can wait a bit.  

On the frugality side of life, we've been running at status quo.  Eating leftovers, combining trips/errands  and just the usual trying to watch outgoing $.  Oh and I subbed once last week.  Hoping more comes in soon though.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Chicken week

Strange title I know!  
Last night was Italian leftovers from our dinner out with the kids on Sunday day night.  
As the week promises to be crazy, I ran errands nearby oldests community college class Vince I had a meeting tonight.  So off to Shoprite I went.  Mostly because I needed to pick up dinner (didn't take anything from freezer).   Picked up 2 rotisserie chickens since I know the rest of the week is meetings every night for me.  Now there's a Tupperware full of chicken for dinner tomorrow and Thursday night.  Kinda kicking myself since I'm going to have go make a run to Aldi tomorrow  since I didn't buy veggies - but I just have to figure it into the schedule.  My failure to plan bit me in the butt once again. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Getting ready for a busy week

I spent the whole morning washing and folding and putting away loads of laundry.  I'm totally wiped out now. But in the process of putting away my stiff in the closet I've pulled every pair of pants out and will try them all on after a quick nap. 

I need to do a quick freezer inventory & meal plan for the week too.  The goal is no NOT grocery shop.  
I know there is plenty of side dish type options - it's the protien things I need to nail down. Even if they're super simple.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Holy busy Batman!

Nope, didn't fall off the edge of the earth, just a wildly busy week.  Having Monday off last week threw us for a loop.  The whole schedule was out of whack.  
Unfortunately for me that's lined up this week to be extremely busy p, go and it's spirit week at school, and looks like I'll be picking up more sub work fast and furiously soon.  Which means I better get my wardrobe sorted fast!  

I hit my favorite consignment shops last week and left more than disappointed and totally empty handed.  I also hit a different goodwill than the 3 I usually hit.  Needing some larger jeans - they had each pair priced differently.  Why would I pay 15.99 for Lee jeans at goodwill when they are 19.99 new at Walmart?  Needless to say I didn't buy anything.  Plus the store had a peed on smell to it.  Went to the one closest to out house yesterday and stuck out.  Plus it was crowded...I don't like large crowds if people. 

I plan on hitting the goodwill near the kids school tomorrow, was there 2 weeks ago and if was cram packed with stuff.  And things were batch/group priced.....all ladies skirts 1 price, ladies pants a different price etc...I could use a couple new skirts....

One idea I had was to bite the bullet and buy a capsule wardrobe from kohls. Business casual for subbing days. But it's not all that inexpensive and I just can't justify spending the $ on me right now. Oh well, it really is a first world problem. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Day off school

Kiddos had the day off from school....which means I had some extra time to sleep this morning.  Soooo that also meant that I pushed youngest to finally clean out the bedroom closet, resulting in a large pile of outgrown items for donation.  Thank goodness. The goal is to get some major purging done and donated so I'm ready for tax season next year.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Back at OSJL for more -40%

This is a case of where knowing your prices is critical!  If you know your prices and sales cycles then you can pay the least possible if you can afford to restock as needed rather than just when you run out of something.  

Today I took a mother run to my local Ocean State Job Lot to take advantage of the 40% off all items under $10 sale.  
Super happy with my progress - here is what came home with me....
2 boxes twinnings chai tea
2 pounds my Italian roast coffee
2 4bar packs of lever bath soap (a good deal ut not as cheap as BJs with a coupon...enough to hold us over though)
3 boxes of scotties tissues (last 3 - I even asked) 60 cents each!
1 jar ginger preserves
1 jar ruby red marmalade (YUM!)
1 jar peach preserves
3 jugs Purex laundry detergent
4 boxes 32 ct finish dishwasher tabs
1 bag BRM golden flax meal (that section was really wiped out)
2 tubs dried pineapple rings (non-sugared)
2 twin pack airfresheners
1 twin pack febreeze air fresheners 
12 pack of kitchen washcloths for dishes

I'm glad I didn't take hubby with me - the cart would have been super full if he went.

I will admit it was tempting to buy batteries. But we are still working off some of the stash we bought last year at Black Friday and they are always a better deal then. I also refrained from buying yarn (very limited crafty time) and more ziplock Tupperware.  

I'm really happy I stuck to my list though. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Darn good deals

So much for LowSpend October..... Thursday mornings email alerted me to Ocean State Job Lot having an anniversary sale.  40% everything $10 and under for the next 4 days until Sunday. 

As luck would have it youngest used the last of the hemp powder last week.  Since Bob's Redmill brand is the favored one here I went to grab a couple bags of it. Regular price is only $9.99.
While there I also picked up several items each under $10 so 40% off each. Here is how I did with the regular and sale price.....

Jar of capers 1.69. Sale 1.01
Zipper binder for school 2.99. Sale 1.79
2 binder pockets for pens 1.00 each. Sale .60 ea
2 jugs Purex laundry detergent 2.99 each. Sale 1.79 ea
2 bags of hemp powder 9.99 each  sale 5.99 ea
1 bag unsweetened shredded dried coconut (granola time) 2.99. Sale 1.79
4 dog toys for Xmas time 4.99 each sale 2.99 ea (Xmas gifts)
Peanut butter filled pretzels $5. Sale $3
Gym shorts (stocking stuffer) $8 sale 4.80

Not too shabby!

I'm thinking I may run back and stock up on more Bob's red mill stuff. 40% off is great. 

Also on the list are: items marked hopefully are things they sometimes have/sometimes not.
Kitchen wash cloths for dishes
More laundry detergent
Laundry Pre treater spray (hopefully)
Finish dishwasher tabs (hopefully)
Air fresheners for truck and hubby's work car
BRM Ground flax meal
BRM Paleo pancake mix (want to try but only on this sale)
Orange marmalade and/or peach preserves (for roast pork)
Dried pineapple slices (hopefully)
Italian roast coffee from RI
Honey, depending on origin country & price
Pecan halves (hopefully)
Dove bar soap

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Low Spend October

I'd love to be as organized as the FrugalQueen in the UK, but I'm not.....there are lots of reasons why.  The want to be isn't one of them.  So while she has embarked on a No Spend October....I'm going Low Spend October. My goal is only buy what is needed - gas, clothes and food items
Now, it's only the 4th but....I'm doing pretty good.  Well I mean I spent but it was for needs and anticipated needs.  Here is the run down....

Monday - nothing bought...not even a drink

Tuesday - goodwill: navy blue sports coat for youngest.  $12.99 my kids wear uniforms and need a sports coat for dress uniform days.  Buying for long arms is a challenge, so when I see one in that size I tend to grab it.  They are nor,ally $75 from the uniform store.  This was a nice savings for something that won't fit past June probably.  And it's in like new shape. Quick trip to the cleaners we'll be all set for the next dress uniform day.

Wednesday - today....jcpenny salon had the Paul Mitchell color treated shampoo conditioner sets for back to school on 50% off.  I almost never buy the fancy shampoo,  but.....these were the 32 oz bottles and marked down to $8.50!  That's an awesome deal!  I'm set for the year now my hair is shorter and I don't condition daily.  This is important since it looks like I'm going to start coloring again (so many new grays - bummer!)

So that's where I am mid way thru week 1. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hitting the ground running

That's gonna be me tomorrow morning.  It's a full week of volunteer meeting stuff to prep, meeting at church for a thing I agreed to ages ago, emails about a fundraiser I've been helping with, driving to and from school, calling for car insurance quotes,  laundry because that just never ends, helping the oldest revise the college search calendar / timeline and I wanted to forward on my resume to a friend who's company is looking for seasonal help.  I wold love to sit up all night and read but my eyelids are telling me to pack it in!

State Budget thoughts

I try really hard to leave political stuff off here....but I'm so pissed off over our states elected officials inability to pass a budget that doesn't completely screw people over - mostly the middle class.

Seriously?  The school thing really has me perturbed. The state didn't keep up on the contracted teacher retirement payments they were supposed to....
ECS funding is a scam - as evidenced by Mr Genius Malloy to strip it from almost every town who responsibly does a budget,lives with in it, and has school budgets with no increases.  So Malloy says those towns should give up the pittance they get per student so that the $$$$can go to schools in Hartford, Waterbury, New Haven and Bridgeport because those kids are in greater need.  What I think he forgot is whatever a small town spent in the last year, the state mandates they Must spend again.  Even if they have 10% fewer students attending.  Oh and that ECS money also helps pick up the SPED services including out of district placements (our town has several families who have children in residential schools for severe issues, paid for by the town's taxes because FAPE). 

That there will be cuts to DSS?  Those are another very vulnerable section of the population.  

And then to have uconns president say $300 million will destroy higher education in CT...
UCONN has to be kidding.  

The politicians in Hartford should have been working daily all year on this. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Um, ugh, um VETO

Such a disaster!  Our Govenor vetoes the budget!  Sorry, but it's not like the one his office put together  was all that much better.  So 10/1 is Sunday and Monday the "fun" starts I'm sure the news is going to be full of bad....

We got the call today - youngest is definitely NOT getting into tech based on last year's grades and the 1st month of this year's grades - so I have a super unhappy teen here at the moment while I try to sort out a game plan for the rest of the year - mostly one so that there is some way to motivate and maintain at least an 80 in all classes - the ability is there.  

Spending loads of time trying to find a way......really trying to stay away from paying for grades....never seen it work well.  If you have an idea drop a comment please

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Got a call

Wheee. I got the first sub call of the year this morning at 6:20. Just as I was drying my hair.....I was gonna wait until after drop off to shower too - glad I didn't wait.  

Overall it was a good day - nice go see the kiddos from last year again, glad they seemed happy to see me, or at least are really good at sucking up to the sub.  Either way everyone was well behaved for me - their regular teacher would be happy.  

I'm keeping a list on my phone of each sub day so in June I can see how many I work - I could look at the W2 but I like to track it by academic year, plus I'm looking at trending data....

Also hitting the hay early-ish so I can be ready if they call again tomorrow.  Already taking my multi vitamins and added extra vitamin c and B complex....just in case - don't want to get rundown and catch anything this fall and the next few months will be busy with more college visits.   It can't hurt I guess.  

The way I see it - today covered the SAT oldest is taking next month and part of the ACT.  Or 1/2 of Youngest's running shoes, or my next cut & color.  Small goals but goals are good.....all part of my tracking!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

HE front loader rant

As of today I really hate our front loader.  I don't care how good it is for the environment or the clothes or the budget.  I miss the old top loader that we used to have.  I'm not the only one I know who misses the low efficiency models. 

The clothes were cleaner with lots of water to swish around in.   I'm tired of stuff not getting clean, under arm smells and stains are still there....not when we had the old washer.  

I was doing wash earlier today. Load 1 fine, load 2 well I can't get it out since the frigging door is locked still!  But I can see things didn't rinse and spin out enough.  I even use HE detergent and am super particular to measure correctly.  When I use the stupid pods I empty them into the detergent section rather than letting the gel covering into the washer.

I swear I'm ready to go buy a basic top loader at the Sears outlet or Home Depot....the basic $350 one.  Then when it craps out get another.  We've had this one for 6 years and it's been serviced 2 times at a total labor cost of more than $500 never mind the computer control board.  


Grocery runs begin again

Now that school is in full swing, I am making regular stock up trips for groceries.  We spent a good chunk of August eating down the pantry.  
This week I had 2 trips to Aldi and 1 to ShopRite.  
Aldi had me restocking honey wheat pretzels, their brand of triscuits, chocolate chips, veg oil, sliced cheese, romaine, peppers,carrots, sweet potatoes, celery mandarins, almonds, frozen fruit for smoothies, jarred peppers & corn muffin mix& yogurt and Eggs at $.53/doz!  I bought 2 doz
ShopRite had me getting eggs, loaf bread, bananas, apples for snacking, Cabot cheese blocks, many many yogurt cups, OJ was on sale so I bought the limit - thank god for the spare fridge.

Notice - no meat was bought.  We are working on eating down the stuff in the freezer. So I can fill it with pre-assembled crockpot freezer meals.  Mr Crockpot has been used a lot the last 2 weeks & I like it.  Hell, I'm loving it!

Now, why did she buy eggs? And why 3 dozen at 2 stores?  Well - my inlaws have chickens and for the last couple years I haven had to buy eggs very often, but the girls are getting up in age and not laying like they used to.  So I had to buy eggs early in the week to get thru the mornings.  Yesterday I was making breakfast and at the end there were 2 left for the weekend!  So while at Aldi I saw their price of 53 cent/dozen and grabbed more.   Store eggs aren't as big as farm eggs so I'm a little bummed out, youngest eats 2 farm eggs in the morning basically 3 store eggs and oldest has eggs mixed into the waffle batter so that number stays at 1.  I have high hopes the Aldi eggs don't suck because their price is great, yet I struggle with egg farm eggs on a moral level.  

The frozen fruit is also Youngest's request - known affectionately as the family fruit bat. Some mornings breakfast is a granola bar and smoothie on the way to school.  Smoothies here are milk, Greek yogurt and fruit (frozen makes it thicker) or juice, hemp protein powder, banana and frozen fruit.  With youngest protein and fruit are the keys to making it to lunchtime, and many mornings he will eat my planned over lunch from the night before for breakfast - which is fine.  Oldest has a more relaxed teacher load and keeps granola bars in his pack if he needs a quick snack.

Monday, September 18, 2017

College search continues & more school crap

Oldest and I went off to visit 3 more schools over the weekend.  8 hours away!  It was long drive but I think worth it.  All 3 schools are still on the list to apply to.  
I've been compliling our notes and helping to devise a calendar to post with deadlines and dates.  

One school starts passing out merit aid with acceptances after 12/1 (early action deadline) one is 11/15 and the other lets you know in the spring.  

After touring and reading, discussing and driving 8 hours home, hubby tells me that if kiddo goes to the local CSU (backup plan) he thinks we should have kiddo live home rather than on campus!  I saw red, and am still fuming about it.  Not because he is Von earned about the $ side of it....but because it's the mixed message of 'go after the degree you want - even if it isn't offered locally' and now it's ' I don't know if you're ready to move on campus' crap.  Kiddo has shown an interest in 2 specialized fields of engineering, and knowing we cannot afford MIT/RPI/WPI has found very good state schools (out of ct) in the fields with much easier tuition costs.  This us the crap my own parents did to me and while it turned out ok in the end - going to a state university and graduating debt free, I didn't find out until the month before move in day my parents couldn't help as much as the said and had to scramble to get in where I went.  The stress and disappointment was horrible - I'm trying to be upfront with kiddo.  

Add to it the school guidance department is still dealing with scheduling problems, they have been to busy to help much and basically their advice was "ask a lot of questions". We can't even get logged into the naviance account and they don't know why, "just keep trying".  And now there are 2 errors on the transcript!  Course name changes - luckily one college admissions department said "get that fixed, it's important"

Youngest is having some of the same struggles that we ended the year with.  3 weeks into school!  If we make it to the end of the month I will be amazed - I may be requesting a 504 review/change meeting if this continues...requested to admin that the teachers re-read the plan as it is still in place from last year.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Applesauce - EASY PEASY

So, I've been asked to share how I do it so easy by Ms Sandy.  I actually have 2 methods both as simple as can be.  I make and freeze in 2-3 cup batches using 'tupperware' boxes.  My goal if id thus year is 25 boxes - we eat a lot of it thru the winter and I don't can, don't have the supplies or tools and it's too late in the season to learn with success for me.

1.  Pick or buy your favorite apples.  I adore courtland and Macintosh and Ida reds. 
2. Wash, quarter and core the apples.  
3. Fill the crockpot, with apples and 1/4 cup of water and 1 tbsp lemon juice.  You can add a cinnamon stick if you want, I do if I'm using macs. Just lemon with courtland or a Mac courtland blend.  Cover and cook on low until just softening stage.  Take out cinnamon stick at the end of cooking
4. Once they are just soft turn off leave covered for 20 minutes and give them a quick stir.  If they are soft you're good.

For smooth light color sauce I Use a foodmill and process to remove the skins (save for a friend's chickens or compost them). 
For a smooth smooth pinkish sauce if the skins are really soft I use an emersion blender (stick blender) and blitz the hell out of it all right in the crockpot.  This is my favorite way

For a lumpy light sauce, peel, quarter and core then cook till just soft then let sit covered 20-30 min, rough mash & stir with potato masher. 

You can also cook on simmer on the stove top but you run the risk of scorching the bottom or needing to add more water as the apples soften and that can dilute the taste of fall.  And you have to stir more often.  

Add sugar AFTER you mash/mill/purée while it's warm and just to taste.  We never add it - we like it better this way.  

While the sauce is warm ladle into freezer containers and cover let cool then put in fridge to get cold before putting in the freezer.   When recycling containers I lay a little Saran Wrap on the top of the sauce then put the lid on it - minimized freezer burn I've heard.   I prefer square containers and really like the hillshire farms ones that deli meat comes in (washed of course). They are flatter so it thaws fast in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Not much

Not much new here....trying to keep expenditures to a minimum.  Never easy with growing teens.  
Heard from friends in Florida, all survived and most of the damage to their homes were tree limb related and power outages.  Did see on the news very bad news for citrus though.  A bummer for juice drinkers since prices will rise and continue if the trees drown in the standing water - all those people who farm must be worried sick.  Orchard work is hard and trees need lots of love & luck over years.

Was hoping to pick apples this week but gave run out of week - I will have to make a plan for next week one morning.  I really want to make applesauce for the freezer. I don't like the stuff from the store now.  I've gotten so spoiled.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Stock up list this week

This week I'm spending my stock up cash on some veggies and a few other things.  To orrow will be spent with coffee and the flyers to figure out my plan of attack for bargains. 
Frozen veggies 
Frozen fruit for smoothies
Frozen OJ concentrate (to try and offset the anticipated hurricane related increases)
Vinegar, balsamic, red wine & white
Dishwasher tabs
Baking soda
White sugar (baking season)

Harvey & Irma costs

Aside from the costs of homes, cars and stuff....
Here's one that hasn't come up but a pal in Florida told me that citrus and veggies are gonna get hit hard and costs will rise for all.  Drat!  Keep it in mind as you stock up. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Great Fair!

Another fantastic fall fair in CT is in the books for us.  We had wonderful weather, even the rain yesterday lightened the crowds but when it stopped the crowds came back.  It was chilly, but we've had years when summer would not release her grasp and we've roasted for all 3 days.  Wearing a hoodie and eating some chili to warm up or hot baked potatoes or clam fritters is the way to go in my book.

I will say when my kids were younger there were more flowers, veggies, jams and baked items on the judging shelves than the last 2 years and even my homegrown fair was sparse. I'm not sure if it's because people don't garden and can like before or they get mad canned & baked goods are opened, judged and displayed all weekend (and should be tossed out after for your safety). It's a waste but it s a lost art and if I could can successfully I would enter stuff.  

I definately think I am going to try my hand at entering something next year for the fair.  Maybe a sewing project or yarn project or apple butter or Apple sauce.  I was gifted a box of small quilted jam jars (short squat ones),  we'll see what this fall brings.  

It was great to see folks we know there too.  All really sweet people - and I had the yummiest slice of lemon bundt cake with lemon icing I've eaten in ages!  Thankfully the baker brought it sliced or I would have made a pig of myself it was amazingly light and moist and just tart enough. She would have won a blue ribbon for it. 

But it's time for bed - even though it's a short week it will be crazy busy. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Fair weekend

It's fair weekend for us!  Meaning hubby and I will be working/volunteering most of the weekend....posts will be light if at all.  

If you are looking for something to do one of these fall weekends - check your local (or make it a day & drive out) agricultural fair. See some animals, look at the crafts and displays, see the veggies and flowers.  It's a neat way to see the simpler side of life....I never ride the rides. 

Surviving week 1

So far we are 4 days into the new school year...and we are surviving, just barely.
Here is the routine we need to stick to in order to get out on time daily

5am. Mom up, tell #1 it's time to get up (can't hear alarm)
5:15 while cooking breakfast and gathering lunch - second wakes for #1
5:45 #1 in shower & #2 gets woken up
6am #2 eats & showers in my bathroom. Or showers and eats in the car
6:30 we are on the road 

Not sure how that's gonna go once I'm subbing and also have to shower before school and hubby has decided to go into the office before we leave.  If I get up at 4 it should work ok.  

Crockpot has been brought back into the kitchen and I am going to do a planned dinners freezer plan hopefully over the weekend so I can assemble 12-15 meals and freeze.  

Hope everyone survived their fist week

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Digging out of the mess

Still cleaning - I worked my butt off after my coffee kicked in yesterday morning....then when oldest bailed on helping and hubby dozed off after running errands with youngest - I stopped.  Counterproductive I know but I'm getting tired of doing the work and wearing myself out so when other are rested they don't understand when I'm tired out.  So I watched the last episode of Hinterland on Netflix. I'm definitely adding Wales to my bucket list if places to see.  I'd love to just wander the coastline with my day pack, jet-boil and coffee and cup-o-soup packs and see it in person with the sea air blowing in my's raw and rough looking country but peaceful looking too.  
I know part of it is the magic of camera lenses and recoloring effects - but still, the scenery looks quiet and broody - neat!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New To-Do List

As I sip my coffee I'm looking at my summer to do list, it was long!  I'm not adding the incomplete items to my Fall ToDo List. It will become a never ending look of crap to accomplish and source of stress for me.

I'm working on a new format for me.  Dividing the stuff I need to accomplish into categories.  Then prioritizing the items - and I'm delegating the hell out of stuff, pushing crap onto others plates rather than trying to do it all for everyone/group.  If stuff don't get done - Not my problem!  Sounds selfish?  I don't care.  I'm not going to be guilted into feeling bad, not accepting 'I can't help out I work' as an excuse only to see people who can't ever help at school or extra curriculars or church posting on Facebook about dinners out and taking me time etc.  it does take a village but that means everyone helps out.  

Whoa, tangent.....sorry

Priority 1 is getting back into the gainfully employed sector.  This means a trip to see a resume consultant I'm sure.  Starting with a temp service the week after school starts.

Priority 1A. Getting in shape, healthier for me.  Daily workouts/healthier eating

Priority 2 Make time for my family & hobbies, this will happen as I reduce my volunteerism and saying 'sure, I can help with that' every time I'm asked.  My new mantra is "I need to check my calendar and call you tomorrow"

Priority 3. Decluttering - I think I can fill a small dumpster lol!  But seriously. This is never a fun task with my family. Hubs parents were very generous with the kids and toys, but do we really need to keep all of them for eternity?  Hope not because a bunch have to leave - no more space. Same in the office  

Priority 4. Reduce expectations of others.  I will accept that others don't always have the same work ethic as I do for volunteer projects.  I have to learn to accept they work their way and it will have yo be good enough if I don't want to do the work myself (thus only gets relaxed if it's a safety issue with kids)

Priority 5. Get family on board with some home improvement activities, rather than waiting until I'm home for a week in the summer alone go try and tackle them all alone.  

Prepping for school

Holy cow!  It's really here!  The last weekend before school starts...

I think the kids are all set - both are in such deep denial that summer is over they can't focus on getting organized & ready for Tuesday's first day.  

I'm pretty tired of asking them to get organized I'm just enjoying my cup of coffee and planning my day of house cleaning.  My goal is to be sitting in a much tidier house by 9pm tomorrow night so I can watch the season finale of Game of Thrones in peace!  My guilty pleasure - I will be rereading the books until the last season due next year and anticipating G.R.R. Martin to get the latest book finished.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Thursday is a busy day

Busy should help keep my mind on what's important.....

Getting my haircut, fixing Youngest's class schedule at school - it's messed up, like didn't give enough classes for the day - grrrr and PT/Ortho appt for youngest to find out why there is so much pain when running. Spent the summer not running and resting the affected joints as much as possible this summer, in hopes that indoor and spring track seasons are salvageable. Luckily Lyme and arthritis have been ruled out.  

Other than that I have to go to Walmart and staples....yucky but it has to happen.  

Trying to snap out of it!

Wow, the fact school starts in less than a week is really messing with my head.  

I have lists of chores for the kids and I to accomplish and errands to run.  

Biggest chore is they must finish their summer reading work!  Each had 3 books to read and write about.  Youngest got an email yesterday from one of teachers that the first chapter in the text needs to be read, notes and section questions answered.  Can you say flipping out?!  Didn't help that hubby commented about it in front of kiddo and now kiddo is fuming that there is more work to be done and graded on during the summer.  Not a good indication of this year starting out smooth.  

Add to it I looked on the PowerSchool site and they have added another program for us to buy online for English classes (x2 here) so by things to buy are now....

Definite purchases 
Underwear & socks
Uniform pants
School shoes/sneakers
Folders for class materials (at least 12-16 for the year). They're cheapest now...
TI- 84 calculator
2 English online program access codes ($25 each)
1 math online code in lieu of textbook ($50)

Possible purchases
1 chemistry class online code ($32) - checking to see if it's truly necessary 
2 frigging chrome books or laptops in case these online textbooks don't load onto their tablets in the first week.....grrrrrr

I budgeted for textbooks - and did well at the end of year book buy school holds but still spent $200 on new texts needed so these online codes are terribly inconvenient  this week.  

I can't wait to see what kind on nonsense happens the first week of classes....

Im thinking that even though the hours. & pay might be less than ideal I may go to kohls and apply to work there.  It's gotta be better than nothing and having been stay at home as long as I have doesn't help my marketability - even though I have loads of volunteer experiences.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Loads on my mind....

So much has been on my mind lately.  It's been a freaking roller coaster summer.  I took a longer than planned break from writing because I've been so busy and trying to solidify stuff at home - many highs and lows the last couple months....feel free to bail out ---

A big low, Youngest has been officially hold no to school if choice. Welcome to reapply after school starts but it's a long shot.  So much for meeting a student where they are and trying to keep kids interested in the learning process do they don't totally check out and quit when old enough.  The states latest blow to municipal aid doesn't help at all.

Before the college search began I had a job interview that seemed to go well which was a high....then found out in social media I didn't get the offer, the interviewers said I would hear by the end of the week I interviewed early in the week.  I found out the day after an offer was extended to another candidate - that happens - but it was a deeper low since I never got a call or anything until a week afterward and only when I saw one of the interviewers in another setting.  Really bummed me out.
Hubby was pretty annoying about the whole thing too, supportive prior to the interview and that was a high....but when the days wore on as I waited for the end of interview week and after I officially found out he was surly and grumpy I didn't get the job.  I mean I feel bad about it too since I thought I had a really good shot at it.  So his mood didn't help.

Kiddos are getting ready for school - sad go see summer go - but getting back to a normal routine will help all of us I'm sure.  

First week back at school is also first week of college class for the oldest - who got into a high school partnership program at the local community college - meaning we only have to buy or rent the textbook for the class and not only will high school credit be earned but an official transcript at the state community college so there will  be 3 college credits earned too!  Also eligible for spring semester too so taking another class then too - hopefully if there is something of interest and transferable.   This is a summer high!  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wow...loads of info

My brain is about to explode.  Started the earnest college search last Friday.  This means visits and tours.  We (oldest and I) have hit 5. 1 per day.  Bang for buck, state univ are great.  Housing wise - the 2 private univs we checked are the best!  
We went go one out of state State U where freshmen are almost all in triples - basically a 14X14 room with 3 desks, 2 dressers, set of bunk beds and a high loft (so a desk and dresser can fit under it and 2 armoire type closets....for 3 teens to share. And the room and board there was what a private univ was yesterday...but it's a double and washer/dryers in the dorm are free.  
Once tuition & fees add in that out of state public university is only about $3,000 less than the privates we looked at.

Makes my head spin....taking tomorrow off from it will travel out of state again next week....

Monday, August 7, 2017

One down 3 to go.....

We e survived the first visit of the week to a college.  Univ of New Haven.  Very nice campus, not a huge school but I've heard many good things about it.  Great thing about going to these open house hours is by registering and attending them kiddo can apply for free!  And they are a common app school!  Saves me $50 in application even if it makes the top 10 the application will go in because it's free.  
UCONN, URI and WNE later this week....skipped umass until fall since it didn't make the top 10 list by kiddo.  That's fine - still looking at the SUNY system too....just have to decide which campus has the right program.  I really wish our high school had a more consistent guidance program - staff changes have been frequent over the last 2 years  thru no fault of the school or people - just life gets in the way....makes it tough though when trying to plan or get advice about the college admission & search process.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Super busy week planned

This upcoming week will be college visit week.  

Crazy busy days I to see 2 instate and 1 out of state schools.  Trying to talk oldest into Marshall Univ. in WV - as an out of state option....but it's 10+hrs away getting some resistance about the long drive to see it...Maine is still high on the list of strong contenders (on paper that is). As is Three Rivers Community College - for their 2 yr nuclear program....great bargain for 2 years, then transfer to a larger state univ.  

UCONN is on the list this week, UMASS and Univ New Haven too.

Looks like Maine is the top choice so far.  Thankfully there hast been any interest in Ivy Leagues!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Home and hit the ground running

My grand adventure is behind me now.  It was good and I enjoyed myself, learned a lot about my tolerances and what I can do to be a better person.  
1.  Not sweat the small stuff. 
2.  Be thankful my kids are being raised to be self sufficient and resilient young adults
3.  Do my best to help others in need, if they complain it's not enough or good enough - that's their problem. 

Now it's crunch time of summer, last minute dr appointments before school starts & trying sort out where youngest will attend the rest of high school. Feeling very discouraged for this child - options are bleak.  So many in power could give a second chance for success and can't get a break no matter how hard it is asked for.   

Education in our state is in a pickle & And with the state not having a budget - suburban school districts may lose more money for this year so money can get shifted to city schools - it is a big mess!  The state gov't needs to solve this stuff.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Five Frugal Things Friday

This week, I've tried to be frugal where I can....haven't been as successful as I would like though.  I'm going to own it though and admit it so hopefully I am accountable and do better when o get back from my adventure.

1. Used a coupon at Joanns for a very important sewing notion I needed.  
2.  Resisted the temptation to buy any new clothes for this adventure - and believe me, the temptation has been there on my many trips to buy stuff I had run out of.
3.  Made most meals (except one dinner out w hubby) at home from stuff in the freezer.
4.  Got my awesome Walgreens deals (already posted about). The oxi detergent is ok...I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it, I think I like the arm & hammer the best with our well water and washer.  
5.  Used my Walmart gift card earned by using Ibotta for some last minute things we needed at home before I go. 

Getting ready to go

I've spent the last few days getting ready for my adventure.....I leave tomorrow and hubby and kids come next week.  

I've been busy with packing, trying to clean so the house isn't a total disaster upon return, running out for last minute items, keeping up on laundry, etc.  it's been a busy week.

Today has me heading off to staples, marshalls and sadly Walmart again (was just there last night picking up my allergy meds and forgot to look for something I needed). 

I will try to get a frugal things post done at the end of the day - but so far, it's going to be wicked light on reporting - these trips do this to me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

HBO documentary

Did anyone see the HBO documentary "Paycheck to Paycheck"?  If you have Comcast cable it's free priview  week and you can catch it with the On demand option.  

It's about a single mom of 3 kids.  She has a basic job working as an aid in a nursing home down south.  I'm floored that when the showed her filing her income taxes (yes it was a few years ago - less than 5) she still wound up losing her food stamps. Which didn't make sense since the kids dad wasn't paying child support since he was out if work and she was earning less than $20k/year.  Just didn't make sense....
They also showed her spending $80something to get her hair cut & colored as a treat with some if the tax return, I understand wanting to look & feel good, especially when everything else isn't going well...but holy crap!  That's a lot of money - Even today.  

Makes me thankful that hubs has a decent job and I'm not a single mom, because in CT I don't think I could swing it even if the kids went to public school - not with the kinds of jobs I had before I stopped working to raise them.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Walgreens deals

I just started checking the Walgreens app.  I can load coupons to my Walgreens card from it.  After dropping oldest off to help on a friends eagle project I stopped at the Walgreens on the way home.  
I found on the app a $5 off 2 head and shoulders shampoo and a $3 off oxiclean detergent.  Well, as luck would have it the detergent was on sale for 3.99 & head and shoulders was onsale 2/$12!  
Using both coupons I was out the door for $8!  I'm so happy!  
$.99 for a bottle of laundry detergent and $3.50 each for the shampoo that helps Youngest's scalp issues. 

Definately check the app out!  It's fantastic

Busy busy week ahead

Happy Monday!  
Warning - super busy week this week getting ready for the next adventure.  So, posts may be short, rambley, or non existent.   Next Saturday I leave for my big adventure - that's all I can say now, since I'm trying to keep privacy of my family in check.  Not trying to be cagey....honest.  
While on my adventure I might be able to post but cell service will be spotty at best I have a feeling and I'll actually be 'working' (volunteering) so I may be too wiped out at the end if the day too.

This week is being spent getting myself packed, helping hubby and the kids get stuff done and trying to keep the mess in the house under control somewhat.  Oh, and all of this while remembering to eat super healthy for the week (instead of coffee and fistfulls of fruit loops - my go to stress snack)

Today's fun, as always starts with laundry and taking oldest to help on an Eagle Scout project.  
Follow that up with some calls to our insurance company regarding some Rx co-pays that seemed really high to me and gathering my paperwork for the Adventure. (Well, really more like organizing it all)

I have some sewing yo work on as well but may need to set up a table to do do, since there is all kinds of stuff on the dining room table that Cant be disturbed.

When I get home I HAVE to get the old playroom to craft/project room conversion complete!  Someone please kick me in the ass on this!!  Seriously!!  

So this morning I'm starting to ramble - uh oh....not a good sign - but I'm determined to keep my sense of humor and just plug doo de doot!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Five Frugal Things Friday

Kind if a slow week here on the frugality frontline....but here are five frugal things I did this week....

1.  All laundry washed at home was done in cold water and hung on racks to dry.
2.  Pet laundry was washed and dried at laundromat (yes it costs $$ but saves wear and tear on my machine - we have a shedding Guinea pig and her fur makes a mess of my links filters)
3.  Did some quick hand mending.  Makes things last longer.
4.  Combined all errands - no zigzagging trips around town
5.  Bought pizza for tomorrow at Aldi, rather than ordering out.  Large 5 cheese $4.99 & large chicken fajita pizza $5.99. Cheaper than 1 larger cheese at the pizza place.

I went to a new Aldi that just opened in June.  I'm calling it a super-Aldi.  It's bigger than the others I go to, and...better layout. I will go back, but today I was able to stay under $30 picking up fresh fruit & veggies, milk, ready popped olive oil & salt popcorn (hubs eats it at work), almond snack packs for my trip and the pizzas.   I will definitely be shopping at this one again.  Hubs stopped at the one near his office this week and bought some of their sloppy joe sauce for us to try - hope it's good.  


I'm thrilled to say, I got my re-made glasses and huge success!  Much better.  I'm so glad I went back. These frames fit better too - no sore spot on my ear.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wait!? It's Wednesday?

What a blur the past 5 days have been...
Hubby and kids came home.  Youngest headed back to camp to work for the week. Turns out all good - can count the hours toward volunteer time at school.  So. Saturday was rewashing and repacking.

I've been super busy - Saturday had me at LensCrafters getting my new glasses....only my reading Rx changed not the distance portion.  I wear progressives & have for years!  Well the ones they made Saturday - not cutting it, I tried for 5 days to get them to work, they were rubbing one ear horribly, and the focal points were all screwy.  So back today to pick new frames with longer temples and getting the lenses remade from scratch.  Everyone please say a prayer these work better tomorrow.  I really don't think I have the internal fortitude to wear lined bifocals or deal with them not getting it right again.  

Sunday we cooked & served for the soup kitchen at our church - after getting youngest kid back to camp.  

4th of July we stayed home - slept late, puttered around and then took oldest to dinner.  Didn't even fight crowds for fireworks this year.  

Today I also managed a trip to agway for pet food & hay, Walmart for some items the were out of at the one near LensCrafters on Saturday, the dentist with eldest child and price rite for yogurt and romaine hearts.  I'm whupped. 

Now the week is nearly done. Really strange it's flown by!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Five Frugal Things Friday

Still trying to be good about not spending unless necessary ..... Did pretty good this week 

1-Cleaned house big time - found a new cleaner recipie for the shower - love it more than the others...
2 oz dawn, 4 oz bottled lemon juice, 8 oz white vinegar, 10 oz hot water. Spray on & wipe off!  Almost no effort (extra rubbing) required and I had everything here!

2-Bought new shorts for me at Savers $6.49 vs $15-$20 at Walmart/Target and $32 at Eddie Bauer

3-Only bought essentials (veg, fruit & milk) at grocery 

4-Are all meals home - no takeout. 

5-Fixed microwave door and shower door repair man fees for this chicky

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Shorts success!

Well, I had quite the interesting trip to goodwill yesterday....didn't find any shorts there, but I have to say - I was a little grossed out I headed to the door empty handed I noticed in with the athletic bottoms - there was a set of boxer shorts hanging on the rack, same kind hubby wears, I know since I buy them and do the laundry. That creeped me out a bit, if they were in the package sealed like from the store - might not have creeped me out.  

Today I hit Savers and found a pair of shorts. Much happier with the $6.49 price too. 

Then I went into target to check the sales/clearance items - mostly laundry detergent on my mind....
Struck out there but found a great pair of sandles for a wedding we have in August.  It's an outside picnic wedding, but flip flops or my keens might not be dressy enough. And they only cost $18.74 since they were on clearance. Yay!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

50% Off....still too costly

I finally unpacked my shorts from last year and tried them all on.  They are divided into 5 piles....
Lose 10 pounds, lose 5 pounds, only wear for housework/yard work, safe to wear in public, and donate

The housework/yard work pile is the biggest and the safe to wear in public is the smallest (2 pair)

I was thrilled to see in my email that Eddie Bauer was having a 50% off sale in shorts.  Thought I could pick up 2 pairs and further cull to increase the donate pile.  

When did $32.50 for a pair of khaki shorts become an acceptable sale price?  Seriously!!  

I will be hitting goodwill with a bag of donations this morning and a good attitude - hoping to find something decent and WAY less expensive.  And since I have to go to East Hartford tomorrow - I will hit the Savers in Manchester and Newington too.   No way am I spending $32.50 or even $20 on a pair of shorts.  Especially since I'm trying to fit into the lose 5 & 10 pound piles.

Grrr - all those tasty winter snacks got me where it hurts this pocketbook.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I fixed it

Our microwave door handle had gotten wobbly and Monday one of the screws came undone. Meaning 1 half of it needed repair.  So, I looked online and found out how....
I fixed it!  Yay!  Girl power and all that jazz....

Getting stuff done!

I've been a busy girl the last couple days....
Sorted thru papers, gathered up mountains of laundry from kids rooms, deep cleaned bathrooms & swept all the caterpillar mess from the patio and it's only Tuesday. 
I've done a bit of cooking/meal prep too
Yesterday I made deviled eggs 2 ways....not being a mayo fan I experimented with mashed avocado.  
To Doctor up the flavor I took half the avocado/yolk mix and added garlic & onion powder curry, lemon juice, salt then piped them into half the whites and sprinkled garam masala on them.  The other half I added onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper and cumin then sprinkled a little fajita seasoning on top.  I'm not sure which I like better....both are very tasty and the green color makes them interesting. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

7 days - cooking for 1 plans

Hubs and kiddos are going away next week....meaning I'm cooking for 1.  A couple years ago I lived on ice cream and bowls of cereal or pasta salad during this annual week.  It was oddly blissful.

This year I'm trying to be healthier....
I will make roasted/grilled veggies.
As I inventoried the freezer I found bag of frozen cocktail size shrimp.  Those will be turned into scampi over zoodles and shrimp taco salad.  
Also found 2 lunches worth of vegetarian chili I made in January - served over brown rice they become dinner for 2 nights.
I already have planned a take out meal treat of my favorite bruschetta salad from an Italian joint we like.  It's an appetizer but huge!  It has garlic bread in it and mozzarella but it's my blow the diet meal. 
I'm going to also try making a few avocado deviled eggs (2) to have with lunch (leaf based salads). I don't know if I can get them down though...
I'm going to try eating eggs for breakfasts - we have a lot of them & I need to try to increase protien and decrease carbs as much as possible this week.  And trying the banana egg pancakes Sunday for lunch. And there is also fruit and yogurt as an option (or dessert). 
And I have plenty of hummus too.
I'm still going to have my berry, kale & hemp shakes - I skipped this morning and felt off all day...

As I looked through the freezer and pantry - I only need to hit Shoprite for some veggies and fruit.  Since I don't drink milk, I'm not buying it this week - then I'm not temped to eat cereal either.   

Five Frugal Things Friday

Pretty good job this week on the frugality frontline....
I really tried to behave & did a good job

1. Got oil change in hubby's truck (bit out of the way - but it came with 'free' oil changes)
2.  Topped off groceries at Aldi - cheaper than stop and shop for all I bought
3.  Found fabric in my craft supplies to complete one of my projects this week - cost 0!
4.  Inventoried and ate proteins from the freezer
5.  Went to ocean stare job lot - didn't spend 1 cent when they didn't have the item I was looking for!  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weekend is coming!

I hate to say it - but I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  We have loads to do - but, I know come Sunday afternoon there will be peace.  
Kids head to camp and I won't have to cook - although I will have my meals all ready to go by Sunday night in the fridge for the week.  I have my list of house projects to work on all set.  Every day I'm going to work on 2-3 things. Nothing huge this summer just stuff that needs taking care of and bothering me. 
Hence my desire to NOT cook much.  

Here are some of the things I hope to get done:
Scrub patio with vinegar (safer for the grass nearby) (couple hours)
Make a wood rack - (1 day) simple one found on Pinterest and I think I have the supplies or can get at Restore
Make wine bottle tiki torches (couple hours)
Pre-pack for my adventure (1 day)
Tidy up the office - currently a disaster (1-2 days)
Deep clean bathrooms (1 day)
3 sewing projects - not big just things to do (2 hours)
Hang cork board in Youngest's bedroom  & touch up wall paint (1-2 hours)
Paint trim on oldests cork board (1/2 day)

I also have 2 desks I want to sell - if the don't sell they are going to restore for the tax write off.  Will be listing on Facebook/craigslist since the Letgo app was a disaster (I get pissy when trying to sell something and people try to super lowball or get it for free - duh, if it was free it would say FREE) 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Aldi top off

Since errands with the youngest took me past Aldi on the way home - we made a stop.  And we needed lettuce for the Guinea pig and milk & bread for us.

$68 later and we were back on the road home.  Some highlights of today's adventure....
2 boxes of foxy strawberries $1.29 /ea (wishing I bought more they're awesome)
2 bags fresh baby spinach $1.49/ea super nice looking (thinking of using 1 in a salad with the above berries and some candied walnuts)
1 bag of romaine hearts 2.99
2 cantaloupes 1.49/ea
2 big broccoli crowns 1.99/ bagged
2 bags of frozen cherries & blackberries 2.39/ea. (For my smoothies should see me through end of July or mid August)
3 cartons of 'the good' OJ (their version of premium with no pulp)
1gal of milk
Rice cakes
Pork rinds (yuck - youngest was dying for these)
Jar of green olives
Can of coconut milk
Lea&Perrins worchester sauce 
Lemon juice
2 containers of hummus
2 bags of fine shredded sharp cheddar
4 blocks of cheddar
1 loaf of bread (PB & J and grilled cheeses = fast lunch)
Tub of honey wheat pretzels 

Thus should get us through the week fine. They leave for summer camp on Sunday so then it's easy cook meals (read salads or zoodles with garlic shrimp) for me!!!  Yay!

Super busy Monday!

Today was one of those hit the ground running days....
I had my annual physical scheduled as the 1st patient of the day.  Home to do a bit of paperwork and get youngest up and ready for some required errands.  
Headed out for those and a stop at Aldi and it was home to process the produce I bought.  
Lettuce & other veggies to wash and chop, fruit to cut up for the week, 'shake n bake' to make dinner to get into the oven before the rain came.  
Holy cow the rain came - when they said thunderstorms they weren't kidding around.  It made the house shake. Not cool!

Tomorrow is more paperwork/phone calls day and some cleaning. Even paperwork for the kids, one has research for colleges to do and one has thank you notes to write.  Also laundry - a daily task, skipped today so now there will be 2 loads and they are full ones.  

Keep your fingers crossed I'm productive.  Mine will be 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Accident

Laundry....always a dilemma here....
Youngest had some white undershirt/t shirts worn for outside work (no clue as to why). After they were washed and didn't come as clean as I like, I soaked them overnight in some pinesol and hot water.  Then tossed them into the next load of whites with Dynamo & a little bleach as usual.  Well, that whole load of whites was way way cleaner!  The towels seemed fluffier and more absorbent than they usually are.

I don't know if that had anything to do with the additional pine sol (it's good at degreasing soap scum in the shower). 

I'm calling it my happy accident.  Of and the shirts?  Those are for wearing for yard work and in the shop grrrr.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Five frugal things Friday

Ok - it's Saturday....but you get it

1.  Eye dr appointment - insurance covers exam 100%. Vision changes means new glasses - so hunting down a deal now...

2.  Fathers Day cards bought at discount store saved 50%

3.  Found organizing baskets to fit a tough spot at dollar tree.  Will post pictures when it's all done

4.  Took oldest to a community college to tour and look at one of the transferable programs to state 4year universities. Huge cost savings and always smart to have a back up plan that's local.

5. Bought stuff to make my tiki torches with a gift card

Determined Healthyness

So, last month I wrote about hemp protien.  I bought some Bob's Red Mill unflavored/unsweetened hemp protien powder at the reccomendation of a former schoolmate who is a health coach.

I've been dealing with low iron for about a year.  Hoping to avoid more prescriptions and trips to the pharmacy - as well as regular blood draws to check that level (dr wanted monthly draws) I talked them into letting me try it with dietary adjustments.  

One of them has been smoothies (in addition to eating more iron rich foods). 
First I loved them!  Fruit and dark green leafy veggies into a frosty drink!  Yum!  Totally calorie rich & sugar rich...hence the health coach call.  She suggested adding protien powder - a vegan option since I get tummy trouble with whey protien and don't want to try soy (too much isn't good for you).  Enter the world of pea protien powder and hemp.  Hemp was my first choice, lots of fiber and clean flavor although it's GREEN!  

Luckily we have a ninja blender thing which makes fast work of pulverising things like kale and spinach.  
I drink one green shake daily. And am going to up it to two this week.

Today is a winner day on the smoothie train.  
1/4 c hemp powder 
5 medium strawberries
1 1/4 c frozen chopped kale (blends easier and eliminates need for ice)
1/2 lemon (peeled like an orange)
6 oz OJ 
6 oz water
1 tsp coconut oil

I've also done this with cold green tea chai (no milk) instead of juice & water.  

I'm definately getting my vitamin c and the protien boost (14grams) helps with my hunger pangs.  

This week I'm trying a spicy V8, hemp, kale & cucumber adventure for the afternoon shake - sort of gazpacho themed. Celery may make an appearance. 

Other things I've added when remember are a tablespoon of chia seeds slacked in a 1/2 cup of water - not sure if I really enjoyed that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What's up?

So, things have been busy for us....
The weekend was spent outside cleaning up the yard sort of...I had to use the leaf blower to get all the caterpillar poops off the's a daily chore now.  also gave the lawn chairs a hose down. 

We have an above ground pool - last year my lack of chemical knowledge about ph levels etc...we just couldn't get really as clear as we like. Fast forward to pool prep weekend (this weekend) we had to drain it and are refilling it. Thank goodness we have the house's original dug well set up for this (and car washing & plant watering). It takes forever though - forever to me anyhow.  Once it's full and chlorinated I will take a sample to the pool guy store for a test and pick up the appropriate chemicals.  

The heat Monday and Tuesday was so bad that I didn't cook Tuesday....hubby stopped at Big Y and picked up fried clam dinners (B1G1) on the way home from work - just fine!  Monday was leftovers.....

This week's project includes me making tiki torches from old wine bottles (if I can find all the parts I need) looks like Home Depot for me!  

Tomorrow I have to run errands with the kids - agway, community college visit(hopefully), drop off an engine for hubby that needs fixing.

Friday is eye exam/contact refitting for me.  Hoping to find contacts that I can wear more than a few hours without pain. Thinking of switching to dailies - since the 2 week wear ones were bothering me last time I wore them.  

Hopefully everyone is having a frugal week!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Five frugal things Friday

It's Friday afternoon!  
This week has only been frugalish. Thanks to the septic pumpout. 

1.  Ate all meals home.  Either leftovers or make home heals.  Tonight is freezer cuisine and pasta
2.  Moderate trip to Aldi for necessities only
3.  Didn't buy anything!  (Except food at Aldi). 
4.  Downloaded Letgo app into my phone - have a few things go part with & will try to make a little $$
5.  Used ibotta for Aldi redemption....only 25 cents but it's on my account today :-)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Aldi Trip

Errands near hubby's office had me stop in at Aldi since I was close and were out of lettuce for the GP.
Usually romaine hearts are 1.99.... Today they were 2.99!  Had to get them since the other lettuce looked iffy and GP can't eat iceberg.  
Also found a few other items needed/desired....
Blueberries .99/pint (bought 3 since I'm thinking of making pancakes tomorrow)
Cantaloupe .99/each. Only got 1 since I suck at picking them out usually 
Ice cream - love their butter pecan. 2.39/tub. bought 2 tubs
Green & yellow squash 2.99/6. Planning to grill them
Red & yellow peppers 3/1.69 (GP eats them too)
Raw unsalted Almonds are back at my go to price $4.99/bag. Bought 2. 
Garbage bags and a gallon of vinegar rounded out the list since that's all we needed....

Not bad - I purposefully stayed away from the cheese and cereal sections...was feeling snackish and didn't want to risk an impulse buy.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Is it really June? Brrrr

So weird that it was so chilly and damp today - feels like early April. 

Today was the big pump out!  Nothing terribly exciting - which when it comes to septic stuff is exactly what I want - nothing exciting!  

Other than that expenditure nothing else was spent.  Thank goodness. 

Just a boring day home - washing and folding laundry.  But school uniforms are the only load left to wash - but that will wait until morning.  

Sometimes boring is just fine!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Part of the basement water mystery

Saturday I went to the local rent-all place and rented the power snake that hubby asked me to get. 
When he got home yesterday he snaked the gray water line to the septic clean out point (before the tank). It's kind of a Y part comes from the bathrooms and Y from the laundry, kitchen sink/dishwasher converging to a common pipe to the tank.  

He snaked it and lots of gunk vowed through the line to the tank.  All seems to be working fine now.  

Powesnake returned and septic pump out is tomorrow.  Should be interesting.  We called 2 rooter guys (one from the plumber and one from the septic company and both were looking at 2 weeks from now). Hence I had to let hubby do it - although it did save a lot of $$.  

Hopefully this will fix the issue. 

I'm ready to put it behind us.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What I will NOT do this week

Ahhh, Sunday afternoon and I'm thinking of the stuff I will NOT do this week.....
1.  Get up at 5 am so I can wake surly teens to go to school
2.  Beg people to get a move on so we aren't late!
3.  Cook dinners from scratch.  In other words we are heading into the week with some leftovers and there are 2 nights where I'm serving dinners from the freezer.  
4. Walk into the grocery store.  I might even try to do this for the next 2 weeks.  No true need here. Ned to get creative and use what's on hand
5.  Freak out about homework and projects song left the night before they are due. 

It's Summah baby!!!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Five Frugal Things Returns

I like that Tracybee at Just Keep Swimming Mama Fish is getting back to an older format of hers that seemed to work for her.  I like it so much I'm gonna give it a try too.

Here are the five frugal things I did this week.

1 bought a new muffin pan at a tag sale last Saturday for $1. Doesn't look like it's ever ever been used.  Will try it out since my only 12 opening one (had since finishing college) can only be used with paper liners.

2 stopped for a quick essentials trip at Aldi - stuck to just essentials too AND got to redeem an ibotta rebate - only a quarter but that cool - they add up. 

3 brought my own coffee and water on the road with me - no Dunkin stops until today for a small hot coffee and my free donut. 

4 cooked dinner each night this week - from foods in the freezer.  

5 bought wiper blades for my Prius at BJs so hubby can replace them - $10 each vs $19 each at the dealership.  

Baby steps are all I can muster this week....things are very hectic here this week

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Plumber report

The plumber came today.  Good news it's not the up-pump in the laundry room....that's a savings since those pumps aren't cheap.  

Plumber thinks the drain & pipe out to the septic tank needs to be snaked or rotor rooted....hub wants to do it himself - I want him to call someone.  

Looks like since the septic tank needs pumping that happens Tuesday - I'm going to see who the reccomend for this service

My head is spinning from it all.  Never ends!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Down the frugal drain

Quite literally....
We might be opening pandoras  box tomorrow - I had to call the plumber! (Insert crying emoji face here)

After coming home from school today I noticed that there was a lot of water in the laundry room floor.  Not good at all.  Thankfully all our clothes are washed for the week - not sure if it's the drain, the up flow pump or the water treatment (hard water) berm tank.  This has been a problem for a couple months, but we have a high water table, a 1960s era foundation and the gutters needed cleaning a couple weekends back - add that to the rain lately.  The fact our sump pump well was dry didn't make me feel better at all.  3 shop vac canisters of water later.....those were dumped into sump pump pit/well and it did its job of removing it.... 

Considering the floor drains In the laundry and furnace area seemed to be draining to it fine.  I'm testing that tomorrow with 5 gallons of water in each drain before the plumber comes tomorrow afternoon.  

So much for a low spend week.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Remember it's a day to remember the fallen!  They marched, fought and died on rainy damp days - today's youth can march in a parade to honor them.  We had our small parade in town this morning.  School band didn't March since they didn't want the instruments getting wet. The Boy Scouts & Some Cub Scouts marched...didn't see 1 Girl Scout or Brownie though - no youth sports teams either.  Makes for a fast parade. 

Hubby is relaxing with his WWII movies, one kid is napping, one is studying & mom is doing laundry & am going to spend some time later on the computer doing a bit of catch paperwork

No picnics planned for us this year - fine by me!  It's damp and chilly out there today.

The week ahead looks to be a little on the busy side - nothing like last week so I'm thrilled!  

Should be easy to stay frugal with it not being crazy busy

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Frugal activities....

We've been frugal here - mostly becasue I've been super busy and haven't had much time to do un frugal activities.  Didn't even go to the grocery store once this week.  Hubby stopped at Aldi and the bread store but didn't go crazy with shopping. 

This will be exam week for my kiddos - all short days at school.  That means no rushing around to plan dinners and no sports practices!  

I do have some appointments to plan out and some necessary paperwork to attend to. Oldest is going to make a list of colleges to visit and hopefully we can start that process along with securing a summer job.  

I have a feeling that this summer is going to fly by faster than the others before it.

I've also been updating my resume - very hard after being out of the work world for as long as I have.  The idea of applying for a retail job is more attractive every day.  But I know it won't pay what I need, I'm thinking the semi-flexibility might be nice.

Today is laundry and nap day for me.  Tomorrow brings parades and studying for the kids.  We are usually super low key on Memorial Day weekend on purpose.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The busy home stretch!

We are in the super busy home stretch of the school year.  Spring concert complete!  Class field trips are done.
Last full week of classes, final projects due &  exam prep begins.  Only two more sports events to go.  
It's going to be busy for us - but I think we can do it.  I'm committing myself to eating home all week and during exam week too.  Which will mean a trip to Aldi & maybe Shoprite.  

I'm really looking forward to the end of the school year.  

Summer will be a whirlwind of college visits and prepping for that process with the oldest child.  So far I don't think we will be leaving New Enland for visits.  

Youngest has application to tech high school ready to turn into guidance office. Always tricky since they are doing schedules and if acceptance to tech doesn't happen we still need to be sure there are good classes for next year.  It's always a balancing act with this kiddo - but they know about the struggles in classes & unhappiness that is because of it - so school shouldn't be surprised.  
Sports & band are the only draws to stay now.  

Routine maintenance

Today was AC service day!  We don't use a company anymore. We know an HVAC guy who does side work - he's been servicing our unit a few years, lives in town & way more reasonable than the company we used in the past.  The old company used to charge a fee to drive out to us and a minimum 2 man + 1 hour minimum to come out.  Used to run $350 for them to drive into my driveway.  
Our local guy is 1/2 that and he even goes into the attic to see if everything is ok with the ducts and checks all the filters!  The company was charging extra to check inside filters.  

So we are all set for the next heatwave!  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shoprite trip

Had to make a fast run in this morning.....
Picked up sale blueberries, apples, huge green pepper, romaine hearts and 85% ground beef
Not on sale frozen mango chunks, butter (ran totally out) and broccoli crown

Came home and did a fridge clean - all tidy and sparkly. Made quinoa and roasted broccoli salad (didn't dress it though). Steamed some yellow squash that was getting soft - will purée for Mac & cheese sauce.  

Paperwork and getting ready to head over pickup and haircut for oldest we youngest goes to track.

Tonight it's sloppy joes so I'll have to get some tater tots I guess....stopping at Walmart for those since I have to hit the pharmacy.  

It's all good in the hood so to speak!

Sunday, May 14, 2017


I love smoothies!  I've tried some of the healthy protien ones, as breakfast replacements, since I'm not a big eater in the morning.  I haven't been impressed at all by them, they're either to sweet, not satisfying or too high in calories.  And I refuse to spend the $$ on shakeology - no matter how yummy it may be.    I thought I found THE ONE by kashi a couple months ago - a vegan one - macha madness.  It was good when blended with water and frozen fruit or almond milk and fruit.  Now I can't locate it except Amazon.  

A high school friend ENO is a nutrition coach advised I try hemp protien (since I didn't care for whey taste/texture and try to avoid soy)

Ring the bells! I think I have found a winner!  Plain hemp protien powder.  I bought Bob's Red Mill since I know their products and like them.  

This morning I added 1/4 cup to 1 cup frozen chopped kale, 1/3 cup frozen raspberries & 1 cup pineapple juice & 1/2 cup water.  Blended in the ninja and YUM!  No weird aftertaste, chalkyness or texture. 
And that was almost 2 hours ago - not starving.    

Others I want to try (I don't add sugar/sweetener)
frozen banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter and almond milk 
Mango &  black chai tea
Kale, spicy V8 and cucumber
Instant coffee, almonds, cocoa powder& coconut milk

I'll let you know how they turn out

Is it Monday yet?

I've never thought I would wish for a weekend to end - but here goes...I'm wishing it!

Over all things have been frugal here....this week, no out of the ordinary expenses - just the normal stuff - working on eating from the pantry and freezer as much as possible - mostly to curb my trips to the grocery store but also really trying to keep an eye on waste.   I did run to get burger buns to the IGA - I could never do all my shopping there for a week - way too costly.  Burgers were in the freezer here already.  No clothing items bought by me this week, just 1 trip to dollar tree for Mother's Day cards and a soda for me.  Purposefully didn't walk the store to see what else was needed. I had a mission to not go over the $5 bill I had in my purse.

I've spent time this week doing laundry, errands, meals - school and sports runs.  More of the daily stuff.  

Add in there in anticipation of today's nor'easter rains I had to clean the gutters yesterday after school since hubs went away for the weekend.  He went away last weekend too and with the rain last Thursday & Friday and the finally high water table I spent last Saturday morning cleaning up water in the basement laundry room etc.  the gutters on the house needed a complete clean - since he just unplugs the gutters where the problem plug of pine needles gathers - I try to get up on the ladder atleast in the fall and earlier spring to do the length of them not just the spot where the backup occurs.  
I knew I would be at sports with youngest all daylong  today so didn't want to come home to water again.  Thankfully oldest was willing to help by holding the ladder and dumping the buckets of pine needles & leaves so I wasn't hanving to go up and down while holding those.  Afterwards we attacked a shrub bed mercilessly to pull out and cut back as much bittersweet vine as possible - we kidded the window for digging it out I think.

After all day in the damp & chill I came home for more laundry etc.  and a quick nap while i tried to warm up.  Bonus I didn't cook - heated up premade lasagna for me and kids.  I had all kinds of ideas for puttering projects - but nothing happened since I wanted to watch a Netflix movie and I fold clothes in the bedroom....the only tv we can watch Netflix on is the living room.  

Tonight was also prom for oldest, who decided NOT to attend saying it was way too much $$ and the only date interest was asked by another friend in the group.  "Just losers go stag mom". Kiddo doesn't seem to bugged about it - but will be feeling left out come Monday because of the jokes & not knowing what happened.  husband said we shouldn't have forced the issue to attend with another as just friends - I disagree.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I won't be seeing mine since she has a church thing - husband wants to take his parents out for dinner - so celebrating will be then.

Then. It's Monday!!  Only 24 more hrs!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

PBS Victorian Slum House Series

Have you seen it?  
Can you imagine?  I'm amazed  as many survived.  Just the worry alone would send you to an early grave.  If you get a chance take a look!

Monday, May 8, 2017

A few new abbreviations (colorful)

It's the end of the school year and with that brings me to using certain colorful language that might be offensive, I'm feelin salty dear readers....feel free to use these liberally. If they make you laugh or resonate with you I'm glad. 

Language warning!!!!  

AH - Asshat - a noun.  Mostly used when someone has their head so far up their rear end.
AHY - Asshattery - decriptive. Shenanigans that are performed by an AH or group of them. Similar to a cluster&@€#
DT - Douchetard  a noun - an individual similar to the DBag but not nearly as smart....yet equally as frustrating if not more (heard at school from a senior - asked what?)
FFS - For Frigs Sake (use your own expletive). This is usually reserved for the truly exasperating moments when you just don't have time for anyone's crappola. Borrowed from Gordon Ramseys Hells Kitchen show.