Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rite-Aid.....Tuesday Edition

More Rite-Aid fun today!

First we did the J&J Deal--Spend $30, Get $10 in +Up Rewards.
Note that there is a double dip that runs through today only....the Johnson's Baby products qualify for the J&J Deal AND a monthly for July Spend $15,Get $5 +Up Rewards.(There is a limit of 2 on the monthly deal.)
I incorporated the double dip deal in my Spend $30 Deal and I started today with $14 in +Ups....

2 x Johnson's Naturals Wash/Shampoo on sale BOGO50%=$9.43
2 x Johnson's Baby Powder on sale BOGO50%=$7.18
(These 4 totaled over $15, count toward the $5 monthly AND the $30 weekly deal.)
1 x Reach toothbrush on sale=$2.00
1 x Neosporin on sale=$4.00
1 x Visine reg. w/20% wellness discount=$4.39
2 x Reach floss on sale=$4.00

Coupons Used
2 x $1.50/1 Johnson's Naturals IPQ(facebook)=$3.00
2 x $1/1 Johnson's Powder IPQ(facebook)=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Reach Toothbrush Tearpad Q(from the dentist office)=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Neosporin ManuQ(expires 7/31)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Visine ManuQ(expires 7/31)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Visine In-Ad Q=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Reach floss Tearpad Q(dentist office)=$4.00
Coupon Total....$16.00

I used my $14 in +Up Rewards=$1.00 + .25¢ tax=$1.25 OOP, which I put on my gift card.

I received back $15 in +Ups($10 for the Spend $30 Deal and $5 for the Johnson's baby monthly Deal).

Then I finished my 3rd Unilever Deal and bought this stuff here.....

2 x Dove Shampoo on sale=$7.00
2 x Axe Deodorant on sale but Wellness disc. was lower=$8.78
2 x Oral-B indicator Toothbrushes on sale=$2.00
1 x Aim Toothpaste w/20% wellness discount=$.80
1 x Aquafresh Toothpaste on sale=$1.99
1 x Hawaiian Punch drink on sale but Wellness disc. was lower=$.80
1 x Listerine Zero on sale=$4.00

Coupons Used
1 x $3/2 Dove Shampoo ManuQ=$3.00
1 x $2/2 Dove Shampoo AdPerkQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Axe products ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $2/2 Axe products AdPerkQ=$2.00
1 x $1/2 Oral-B indicator Toothbrushes ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Aquafresh Toothpaste IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Aquafresh Toothpaste AdPerkQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Listerine Q on the bottle=$1.00   **YMMV
1 x $1/1 Listerine TearpadQ(from the dentist)=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Listerine AdPerkQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$15.00

I used $10 in +Ups, leaving $.37 + .04¢ tax=$.41 OOP which I put on my gift card.

I received $7 in +Ups($5 for spending $15 in Unilever products, $2 WYB 3 aim/pepsodent pastes and/or oral-b toothbrushes on sale for $1.) 
I add these $7 to the $5 I got from the last transaction that I didn't spend and I now have $12 in +Up Rewards.

If you have the Gold Reward/Discount level you can buy a combination of 3 Aim and/or Pepsodent toothpastes this week for .80 each.  They are "on sale" for $1 but that is the regular price on these 2 items!  Only the Oral-B toothbrushes are actually higher priced than $1 normally.
So buy 3 toothpastes and pay $2.40, and get a $2 +Ups back.  Your "cost is only .40¢ for all 3 tubes.
Great deal if you need toothpaste and don't even need coupons for it.  8-)

The stacking 3 Listerine Qs is a YMMV scenario.  This store lets you use any Q attached to the product, even if you are already using 2 stacked Qs and/or if the attached Q is expired.  Sweet bonus for me.... ;-)
and I bought the Listerine, all things being equal, to get my total after Qs high enough to use my $10 +Ups(I was at $8.77 before I added it).  It got my total up enough to use the +Up Reward AND if I decide to do the "Spend $30 Johnson's/Get $10 Deal" again before the week is over,(there is a limit of 2 on this one), I have $5 already toward the $30 mark.

So I've got $12 in +Ups after this transaction so I then got this stuff.....

2 x Trolli Sour Crawlers on sale $5 bag=$10.00

I used $10 of my +Ups to pay and spent ZERO money.....woohoo.
I received $9 in +Ups back.  This item is part of the "Spend $10 on assorted food items, Get a $3 +Ups back".....on the +Ups it's identified as the "Aquafina" Deal.

But there is some monthly +Up deal on them and EACH BAG also generates a Farley's brand $3 +Ups as well.
So I spent $10 in +Ups and got $9 back.
2 huge sacks of sour gummies for .50¢ each.
I now know what #2 Son will be taking to the Band Camp Pool Party.....lol

Add that $9 to the $2 leftover I didn't spend from 2 transactions back and I have $11 in +Ups.
So I bought this thing next.....

1 x Lanacane cream on sale=$5.00
I used $5 in +Ups($2+$3 ones)and paid ZERO OOP.
This generated a $5 +Ups.
Add that to the $6 in +Ups I didn't spend and I still have $11 +Up Rewards going forward.

If you are keeping score, that's a total of $112.10 worth of stuff I brought home.  I spent $1.66 on my gift card.

In my continuing efforts to NOT buy crap we don't/can't use, I have to account for everything I buy.
Shampoo and deodorant are pretty standard for anyone, as are toothpaste and toothbrushes.  Excess makes it into my Boring Blog Box Giveaways.
First Aid items also needed.  Hubs insists on Mouth Wash.  #2 Son will take that Hawaiian Punch thing to band camp one day.  The only questionable items I bought?.....the baby wash/'poo and powder.
One of the gals at Rite-Aid I have befriended has a baby due in late August.   The wash/'poo and 1 powder will go into a gift bag I intend to make up for her.  If I go back and buy more, she'll get more of that stuff.
I am keeping one of the baby powders for myself.  It's chamomile and lavender scented.... ;-)

Here's the MONTHLY TOTALS so far.....

Out Of Pocket....$16.36 cash
Value of items bought....$65.52+$49.25+$49.19 + $36.01 + $81.35 +$112.10=$393.42
Single Check Rebate due....$6.00

+Ups at beginning of month...$33+
+Ups used....$114+
+Ups received...$92+
+Ups currently...$11+ 

Rite-Aid is giving me warm and fuzzy feelings this week!
How about you?? 8-)


Monday, July 30, 2012

Food Spending July Week 4 & Meal Planning August Week 1

And here is the "meal plan" that actually happened last week.....

Sunday--Dinner out at Ruby Tuesdays
Monday--Grilled  Squash, Hot Dogs
Tuesday--Green Beans, Chinese take-out
Wednesday--Leftover Chinese
Thursday--Corned Beef and Cabbage
Friday--Fend for Yourself(Hubs had Beanie Weenies, I had a Grilled Cheese sandwich & a salad)
Saturday--Leftovers(I was the only one home for dinner.)

I only really "cooked" 2 full meals(green beans don't count on Tues.lol).  We stretched out the take-out to 2 dinners and we just scrounged in the pantry/fridge since it was too hot to cook.  I bought some salad greens and melons had a few salads and ate fruit. 

The weekly food spending was $94.05 done in a trip each to Weis, Walmsrt and the local Shursave Market.  I had a $5 off $50 Q for Weis so I spent enough to use that.  I stocked up on cream cheese andMtn. Dew(#2 Son is home!lol).  I also got dog food, single serve fruit cups for Hubs lunch, bagels, juice, produce, yogurt and lunchmeat.  I picked up a box of those BelVita Breakfast biscuits for $1.50 after Q/sale to try them.  Maybe I can convince #2 Son to eat them before Band Camp if I say they are cookies.lol  I used $11 in Qs(including the $5 off $50 one)at Weis and got 10 gas points.  I also received a $5 OYNO Catalina Q which I'll use on one of the Catalina Deals this week.
The regular retail value for all food bought was $144.01 so I had a 34.70% savings rate. 
As I reset my July Food Budget to $300, I now have $64.92 left to spend on food/toiletries this month.  1 shopping day left in July.  If I stay out of the stores tomorrow,(except Rite-Aid) I'll make this no problem.

Going into the new week I have the following leftovers to use up......small chunk of corned beef, 1 helping of cabbage, a 1/4 of a head of raw cabbage and 1 yellow squash.


This week's menu.....back to the grind.....lol

Sunday--BBQ Chicken, Collard Greens
Monday--Hamburger Helper type casserole, Pickles
Tuesday--Fried Fish, Yellow Squash, Coleslaw
Wednesday--Chicken Parmesan, Mixed Veggies
Thursday--BLT Sandwiches
Friday--Chinese take-out, Teriyaki Green Beans
Saturday--Tacos or Taco Salad

I have collards, squash and green beans to use from the garden this week.   The leftover raw cabbage will be made into coleslaw.  The leftover corned beef will make a sandwich or two for lunches.

I am trying very hard to NOT turn on the oven this week.  Everything will be cooked on the stovetop or in the microwave.  When it's this hot out I really don't want to eat hot food much, and really not wanting meat much either.  I'd live on cold sammies(ok, maybe a grilled cheese thrown into the mix now and again), fruit and salads if I had my druthers.....and once Hubs retires and the kids are gone, I'll get a chance to do just that. ;-)

What I need to buy this week to serve this menu?.....breaded chicken(it's on sale and I have Qs), a tomato, bread, lettuce.  Also more lunchmeat, fruit and milk. 
I'll wait until Wed. to shop since that's the first of August and my food budget resets to $300.  With #2 Son home again, I am considering adding back another $50 to the food kitty.   $50 should be enough to shop for this meal plan, unless Daughter runs out of something.
Stock-up opportunities are not known yet for this week.  Weis is running a bunch of Catalina Deals this week, including one for dog food(which we need).

So what's on deck for your menu this week?


A Rite-Aid Quickie!

Everybody likes a quickie, right? ;-)

After dropping #2 Son at Marching Band Camp I ran over to Rite-Aid to do some deals.

6 x Dove Shampoo on sale 2/$7=$21.00
2 x Axe Deodorant on sale but 20% wellness disc. less($4.39)=$8.78
1 x Suave Shampoo on sale-price for 1=$1.99

Coupons Used
3 x $3/2 Dove items ManuQ(Sunday paper)=$9.00
3 x $2/2 Dove items AdPerkQ=$6.00 *YMMV
2 x $1/1 Axe Deodorant ManuQ(Sunday paper)=$2.00
1 x $2/2 Axe items AdPerkQ=$2.00
Coupon Total.....$19.00

I used $9 in +Up Rewards, leaving me an OOP of $3.77, which I put on my gift card.

I received back $10 in +Up Rewards(2 x $5 WYB $15 in Unilever items).

Then I bought this stuff here.....

2 x Crest Mouth Rinse on sale $5=$10.00
2 x Head & Shoulders Shampoo on sale $4.99=$9.98
2 x Crest Toothpaste on sale $3.00=$6.00

Coupons Used
1 x BOGO Crest Mouth Rinse ManuQ=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Mouth Rinse ManuQ=$1.00
1 x BOGO Head/Shoulders ManuQ=$4.99
1 x $1/1 Head/Shoulders ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Crest Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
Coupon Total.....$12.99

I used the $10 in +Up Rewards I got in the last transaction and put the $2.99 left OOP on my gift card.

I received $14 in +Up Rewards back(2 x $3 Crest Rinse, 2 x $1 Head/Shoulders, 2 x $3 Crest Toothpaste)

I'm OOP $6.76 on my gift card, I have $81.35 worth of stuff and $14 in +Ups to roll.

If I hadn't forgotten some Qs on this trip, I would have done the Dove deal a bit differently and bought $45 worth instead of $30 worth.  There is a limit of 3 deals on the Spend $15/Get $5 for the Unilever items.  I have $1.77 spent so far toward the 3rd Deal of $15, so I'll go back WITH my Qs this time(doh!)and get more Axe and Dove.

If you want to do the Head & shoulders and/or the Crest Rinse Deals you need to do them before the end of July.  The H&S deal uses a BOGO Q from the July P&G insert(so it expires 7/31), and the Crest Rinse uses a $1/1 Q from that same insert.

About the Crest Rinse BOGO Q.....it's for 2 different sized of Rinse(Buy a large bottle, get a smaller bottle).  The ONLY smaller bottles that you can buy with this Q AND get you the 2nd $3 +Up Reward is the White specialty Rinse bottle....it's the only bottle of that size tagged on sale for $5.00.  If you buy a regular priced small bottle it will qualify to be used with the Q but it won't generate the 2nd $3 +Up.

The Pantene is also a good deal this week.
There is a $3/2 ManuQ in the Sunday inserts for Pantene.
Buy 2 bottles at Rite-Aid this week on sale for $7.
After Q, you pay $4 and then get back a $2 +Up Rewards wyb 2 bottles.
In the end, each bottle costs you $1 after +Up.

I'll be heading back after they get the truck unloaded to see if any Oral-B toothbrushes came in so I can do the Get $2 +Up WYB 3 Oral-B Toothbrushes Deal.  I also want to do the J&J Deal too and they are out of Reach floss.....that on sale for $2 and I have $2/1 Tearpad Qs so free and counts toward the $30 you have to spend to get the $10 +Up.

Out Of Pocket....$16.36 cash
Value of items bought....$65.52+$49.25+$49.19 + $36.01 + $81.35=$281.32
Single Check Rebate due....$6.00

+Ups at beginning of month...$33+
+Ups used....$75+
+Ups received...$56+
+Ups currently...$14+ 

Anybody else having fun with Rite-Aid this week?


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

Go see Carla if you want to play along. Copy and paste your answers and direct a link back to Carla's blog.
Here we go....

I've been scanning family photos this evening.  This is my brother holding me after my Christening in 1959.  Don't let that angelic, cherubic face on him fool you.  He had him some right nice devil horns the whole time growing up.lol

What are you...

Reading?  "I Wrote You Word"-the Poignant Letters of John Lee Holt.  *He's an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.  His great granddaughter had his letters home to his wife compiled into a book back in the 1990's.
Watching?  Listening to the Olympics, Hubs is watching them.  Well sort of, he has ADHD with the remote and keeps changing the channel.  It drives me NUTS!  Hopefully he goes to bed soon and I can actually watch an entire race from start to finish.lol

Listening to?  The Olympics.

Cooking/Baking? We thinned out the Collard Greens in the garden today, so I cooked up the thinnings with a tad bit of salt pork.  "Tad bit" is a technical cooking term you know.....
I baked a double batch of brownies yesterday as #2 Son came home from summer camp.  Those won't last long with him home.lol

Happy you accomplished this week?
 Got the bills paid.
Got some cleaning done.
Got some swimming time in between the downpours of rain.....yah, rain!!!
    Looking forward to this week?  
    Getting a good amount of photo scanning done.  Getting some more cleaning done in the living room/dining room.  Hubs goes back to work so I'll have some quiet time again. 
    Working on some more genealogy.  I'm adding my sis-IL(brother's wife)family to our tree.  Will be interesting to see where that takes me.

    Thankful for today?
      My kids.  They drive me nuts but they are good kids.  They are a blessings and I'll try to keep that in mind when they are on my last nerve next time!lol

    *Bonus Question*
    What are 3 RAK's (Random Acts of Kindness) you witnessed this week?

    Well, I didn't really go anywhere this week so other than Hubs and I doing for each other, no RAOKs last week.  I let someone go ahead of me in line at Rite-Aid.....that will have to count. ;-) 
    Ok, I offered to do some genealogy legwork for a guy in the UK......ok, the weather has to cool off first but it's penciled in for Sept. or Oct.


    Goal Check-Up....1/2 of the Way Thru 2012

    Readers might remember that I set up a List of personal Hopes/Goals for 2012 back in January.
    This post will be about revisiting my list and where I stand in regard to them at the 6 month checkpoint of the year.

    Did I just say we are halfway through 2012 already???!!!  Ok, this post is almost a MONTH LATE and we are almost at 7/12th of the way through the year.
    I think I really need to go breathe into a paper bag now, because I am about to hyperventilate at that thought!

    At any rate, here is the list with updates....

    Sluggy's Personal List of Goals for 2012

    1.  Get all the tax and college Paperwork completed and filed by the end of February.
    DONE....one of the few things I can totally cross off the list until next year.  Go me!lol

    2.  Convert all my vinyl LPs to CDs and purge the LPs from my life.
    I've decided to change this Goal to Digitizing all my photographs, since I have the handheld scanner and I've already begun to scan my photos into the computer.  If/When I get the photos completed I'll start on the vinyl LP conversions.  So for now, I'll give myself.....

    3.  Continue to Declutter everywhere.  Finish the garage and move what's in the living room into the garage so that the house is 100% done by April.  Be out of the storage unit by December.
    FAIL--well, the house is NOT 100% done yet so that's a fail.   
    But I have continued to declutter.
    I have gotten down in the decluttering to the nitty gritty of things.  I have so little used stuff to still get rid of and we just don't buy stuff anymore so there is nothing coming into the house to replace what I've gotten rid of.  That's a good thing!
    But what is left is stuff I am finding difficult to pitch and donate.  All the things I bought to sell many years ago.  It kills me to donate some of this, knowing that what we get in donated value is less that what it cost me.  And yes, I'd sell it IF I could find someone locally to buy it and I've tried, believe me, I. Have. Tried.  And eBay is no longer an option because of the weight/high shipping costs these days.   There are buyers there but between the price of the item AND the shipping it's just too expensive.....and if I lower the price, well, it's more cost effective to take the tax write-off for the donation.
    I guess I've had this stuff so long I am emotionally attached to it......and I need to let go of the thought of the money I have invested in this stuff.  Let go of the crap, let go of the money and let go of the memories.

    We are almost ready to start work inside the house on the home reno projects. I know we have the cash for this but it kills me to hand it over to do this work that I use to do when I was younger.  I was always the handy one in the marriage.  I painted,  hung wallpaper, laid flooring and made a tiled platform for our wood stove in our old house.
    My NEXT husband will be handy......lol 

    4.  Complete 4 house projects in 2012.  2 inside/2 outside
    FAIL so far.  Projects identified and the cash is there, but we haven't pulled the trigger yet on any of them.

    5.  Read 20 books this year.
    IN PROGRESS-I've read 3.  Need to up the reading time but I don't think I'm going to make it to 20 before Dec. 31st.

    6.  Rework the stockpile.  Make it healthier and more compact.
    IN PROGRESS but MOSTLY DONE.  I'm going to make one more sweep through to get rid of things we don't eat and things that have been in there too long now and get rid of it.  This will happen in September so it is still not finished.

    7.  Finish up the eBay sales by May.
    I shut down eBay before Christmas and didn't do any eBay sales this year.   I still have some things to sell there and will restart that in Sept. and shut down for good in Dec.

    8.  Get the sewing going again.  Go through projects in-progress and alterations pile and get rid of stuff.  Sew clothes for myself for a change!
    So far I've done nothing except hems some pants for Hubs and daughter, and finish some pj pants for daughter. 

    9.  Get the Etsy Store up and running. 
    So far this has not happened.  

    10.  Spend more time with family, especially Hubs.
    PASS  Hubs and I have been spending more quality time together.  The kids?....not so much.  Seems they don't want to spend time with us old folks unless we are spending money on them.

    11.  Lose 40 lbs...there, I said it!  Now I have to do it!!
    IN PROGRESS but way behind.  I've lost 5 lbs. for the year.  As long as I am heading in the right direction, I'm not going to freak out about this.

    12.  Continue the Savings Challenge with a goal of $20K for 2012.
    IN PROGRESS and ahead at this point for the year.  We've got $13971.40 through June.

    13.  Continue to be Frugal whenever possible and live well below our means!
    IN PROGRESS/DONE  We spend way below our means each month generally.  In a bad/expensive month, we still spend less than we make, though sometimes with not a lot of room to spare.

    14.  Take at least 1 REAL vacation and ENJOY IT!
    DONE....sort of  I don't know if I'd call 3 days in Ohio during a heatwarve a vacation really.lol  
     We celebrate our 30th Anniversary in August this year.  We'll take a vacation after the tourists all go home in October and go to the beach.  Which beach I have no clue....

    15.  Just in case I think of something else later, I'm leaving #15 empty.

    Looking at this list, I am frustrated that I haven't ticked off my things on my list at this point.  It looks like I am good about finishing if I have a firm "unmovable" deadline date for a goal, but goals that have no real deadline for me?......I just let them slide.
    Bad Bad Sluggy!

    Or maybe it's just a case of biting off way more than I could chew in a year?  I just don't feel as ambitious
    as this list needs me to be anymore.

    So with half the year gone, how are you doing on your Goals for the Year?


    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Musical Friday

    Hubs and I are off to change banks in a little bit.  Well not so much changing as "adding" a financial institution.  More later on that.

    Then I am off reading and trying to stay cool.  While I Occupy the Backyard, how about something to ease us into the Weekend. How about a little Swing Band music?

    Bet you couldn't have guessed this group is from Greece?!  There is absolutely no breaking plates, Gyro eating or Windex usage..... ;-)
    Joking people......2 Points if you get the reference there. lol

    Here's another video they did with a Nawlins voodoo/zombie feel.....

    Have a great weekend!


    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    It's Here, It's Here!

    I so feel like Navin Johnson from the old movie THE JERK.
    If you are a person of a certain age, you know what I am talking about.
    The scene from the movie when the new telephone books come in and he finds his name in print and goes bananas.

    The mail came yesterday and you probably heard me doing a dance of joy from where you are.
    If not, you felt the earth move at least cause when I dance, everything shakes.lol

    Anyway, WHAT you ask got me so excited?
    Getting this.....

    This is a book called "I Wrote You Word".  It was published back in the 1990's as part of a historical series having to do with Virginia history.
    This is a collection of the letters that Private John Lee Holt wrote home to his wife while he was serving as a soldier in the Confederate forces during the War of Northern Aggression.
    Or what yankees like to call it, The Civil War. 8-(

    John Lee Holt was born in Campbell County Virginia in 1829, the eldest son of James Holt and Sarah Mason Holt.
    He was a school teacher as well as a tobacco farmer in the Summer months.
    He enlisted in July of 1861, at the age of 32, 2 days before the Battle of Bull Run.
    He left a wife of only 2+ years and a 16 month old son to go off to war.
    John Lee Holt, being a literate man, in a time when so few were, was quite the prolific letter writer.

    These letters were bound into print in a small edition of 1000 books.  Each one is numbered and signed by the great granddaughter of John and Sarah.

    I have been waiting and watching to find this book at a price I was willing to pay.....and knowing me, you KNOW it was quite frugal.
    I finally found a used and rare bookseller in Indianapolis who made this available for purchase online.
    And after sending a check away, what seems like eons ago, my book finally arrived and I did my best Navin Johnson impersonation yesterday.

    So why did I want this book so badly?
    Well, ya see......he is kin.
    John Lee Holt was my 2 x Great Grandfather's Nephew.

    If you want the twisted branches of the tree play-by-play......

    My 2 x Great Grandfather is James Harper.
    His brother is John Harper.
    John Harper married Elizabeth Frances Holt.
    Elizabeth is the sister of Nancy Holt.
    Nancy Holt is the second wife of James Holt-who is the father of John Lee Holt.
    James' first wife, Sarah Mason Holt, John Lee's mother died in 1862.  James Holt decided to marry him a "trophy wife"-Nancy was 31 years younger than her husband and 7 years younger than her stepson John Lee Holt.  She only lived another 1-2 years so there were no additional children added to the family from this union.

    I haven't looked into it yet, but I may be related through John Lee's mother, Sarah Mason, as well, since I have other branches of my tree that intermarried into the Mason clan in Campbell County too.

    Anyway, let's just call him kin and move on, shall we?

    I have just begun to read the book so I will leave you with a photo of John.....

    This is a photo of a brooch John Lee Holt had made for his wife......or in his words....
    "I have had my likeness taken in a breastpin for you & will send it to you the first opportunity as I do not wish to send it by mail"

    Off to dive into the world of John Lee Holt now.....


    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    I Can't Help Myself!....The Decluttering P*rn Returns!

    More Decluttering......

    This first lot got taken in May with a bunch of other crap, but I forgot to write these things down on the paper and post this photo here, so I'm noting them now.....

    6 x Star Wars Action Pack of Vehicles
    4 x Star Wars assorted Model Kits
    1 x Micro Machines Star Wars Playset
    1 x Barbie 40th Anniversary Doll
    1 x Dilbert Dogbert Ceramic Mug
    1 x Easter bunny candy mold

    5 x Framed Power Rangers Posters

    1 x Cabbage Patch FURSKINS Teddy Bear

    4 x Miniature Radio Flyer Wagons

    3 x Star Wars Trading Card/Role Playing Card Game Sets

    6 x Cheaters Reading Glasses
    2 x Kid's Sunglasses

     2 x Kid's Bed Sheet Sets(used)

    10 x Ty Beanie Babies-retired

    47 more Most Excellent Items outta here!!!


    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    Could You Do This?

    Has anyone seen that show on A&ETV called BARTER KINGS?
    These 2 guys take a small item and by bartering only(no money changes hands), they trade up to a big ticket item that they either want/need or they can sell and cash out.

    You can check them out HERE

    A recent example--one guy took a $100 welding helmet and traded it for a set of used Chrome rims($300), traded those for a "Mexican Food" Neon sign(for a business, worth $800), to a commercial freezer/fridge($1500), to a utility golf cart($3000), and he sold that for $2900.

    They utilize Craigslist to find folks to barter with.

    Great idea, right?
    I thought to myself, hey!....I could do that.
    It would be a great way to get rid of stuff here to trade for something I can sell.

    Well, after spending some time on our local Craigslist and thinking about this, I've come to the conclusion that you need 2 things to make this work.

    First you need to live where the Craigslist is vibrant.
    That ain't here.lol
    Second, this bartering thing only works with "guy" stuff.
    You know......power tools, commerical/business items, things with wheels, electronics, music stuff and "boy toys".   The only collectibles I've seen them trade successfully are rock music related.

    It doesn't work so well with the kind of stuff I have to barter.
    So much for my great idea......

    It's still a fun show to watch.


    Garden Update

    One of the 2 types of green beans we planted have finally yielded a small crop.
    These are GoldRush variety beans....

    No, they are not ailing, they are suppose to be yellow-green in color. lol  I'll be cooking these tonight.

    And in the bed out front we picked these over the weekend....

    4 good sized squash. 
    I grilled 1 last night for dinner(cut into slabs for Hubs and I)but have 3 left.   Tomorrow we'll have a fish fry and I'll fry up some slices of squash too.  It's like fried zucchini but yellow.

    And speaking of zucchini(how can you avoid speaking of zucchini in the Summer?!)......here is what I made last week for dinner one night.....

    We call it Lemon Chicken but the proper name is "Lena's Chicken".  This recipe comes to me by way of an old friend of my mother's.  The origins past there are unknown.

    It's Chicken thighs dredged in flour and lemon pepper mixture(either the no salt variety or a mix of salt/no salt ones), then pan fried until the skin is browned, but not cooked all the way through.
    The veggie is a mix of onions and zuke slices with a can of tomatoes(use crushed or whole) in the pan you browned the chicken in(after you pour the leftover oil out).  Put the chicken back in on top of the veggies and put a lid on the pan.  This simmers covered for 45 min. while you fix your rice separately.

    Then eat it.  It is a mighty tasty way to get rid of all that zucchini if you are tired of fried zuke and zuke bread.

    I need to thin out my Collard Greens soon.  I'll probably do that this weekend and use the thinnings to make a small batch of greens.  The young leaves will be more tender but they won't be as sweet as letting the first frost get to your collards before you pick them.

    The tomatoes are quietly doing their growing thing.  The peppers and salad are not.  We are still waiting on the other variety of green beans, the Romano ones, to bloom.
    It's been a very weird Summer in the garden.


    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Food Spending July Week 3 & Meal Planning Week 4

    Well my mouse seems to be the culprit(ie-my keyboard possession of last week), so I'll be going out to get a new mouse later today.  I know that was worrying all of you.....

    I actually went to the store last week!  Well I didn't go to the grocery store but I bought food at Rite-Aid and Big Lots.

    And here is the "meal plan" that actually happened last week.....

    SUNDAY--Leftover Chinese(from our Dinner Out)
    MONDAY--Marin Joe's Special
    TUESDAY--Lemon Pepper Chicken w/Zucchini
    WEDNESDAY--Hamburger Helper type casserole, leftover Squash casserole
    THURSDAY--Kielbasa on Rolls, homemade Pickles, Green Beans
    FRIDAY--Take-out Italian
    Everything was cooked/served as planned except for the Quiche on Friday.  I didn't get out for a pie crust so we got Italian from the local joint.  I had Lasagna and Hubs had an Italian Sub.  That was all the eating out/take-out we did all week. 

    The weekly food spending was $42.36 done in 2 trips to Rite-Aid and 1 trip to Big Lots.  A large chunk of that($33+) was stocking up on Gatorade for #2 Son and Juice.   I didn't darken the door of a grocery store at all last week.  ;-)
    The regular retail value for all was $132.59 so I had a 68.05% savings rate. 
    As I reset my July Food Budget to $300, I now have $158.97 left to spend on food/toiletries this month.  8 shopping days left in July.  I think I can make it! 8-)

    Going into the new week I have the following leftovers to use up......1 piece of cornbread.
    The garden has decided to finally produce something other than radishes, so I have a big pile of green beans and 4 yellow squash going into this week.


    This week's menu.....Hubs has vacation this week, so I am not going to designate which meals for which days.  He might want to be spontaneous(imagine that!lol)and go or do something with little notice so I am keeping my plan loose & flexible this week.

    MEAL 1--Dinner out at Ruby Tuesdays(did this already on Sunday)
    MEAL 2--Corned Beef and Cabbage
    MEAL 3--Grilled  Squash, Hamburgers
    MEAL 4--KFC chicken, Green Beans
    MEAL 5--Tacos or Taco Salads
    MEAL 6--Fried Fish and Squash, Pickles
    MEAL 7--?? Leaving open/probably take-out or eating out

    What I need to buy this week to serve this menu?.....
    Cabbage, Salad Greens and other fresh produce to put into salads.  We also need milk, fruit, lunch meat for Daughter.

    So what's on deck for your menu this week?


    Sunday Shopping....Big Lots & Rite-Aid

    Hubs and I went to Big Lots on Sunday while we were out.

    10 x Old Orchard 100% Juice on sale $2=$20.00
    2 x Ground Cumin $1=$2.00
    1 x Nido dry milk=$3.00
    1 x Tuna Helper=$1.00

    The juice was $2.50 and marked down to $2.00 so we stocked up.  I only buy the 100% stuff, never the juice "sugared up cocktail" varieties.lol
    I was out of cumin.
    I wanted to try the Nido dry milk as I've heard of it for years but have never found it on the shelf around here before.  It was $3 and makes 2 gallons.....I have no idea if that is a good price but since fresh milk is regulated by the PA Dairy Board(ie-the price is artificially inflated and regulated and does not fluctuate due to supply and demand like it does in the rest of the country), we pay almost $4 a gallon for milk.  So 2 gallons for $3 is a deal to us.

    The Tuna Helper......well, it was an impulse buy.  We haven't had it in ages and if I don't get a bare minimum of processed crap my brain might seize up. ;-)

    Then I went off to Rite-Aid by myself.
    I went because I had a $4 Hydro Razor Q that was expiring on Sunday to pair with a Rite-Aid emailed $2 Q.  I planned to get the Hydro 3 razor and after 20% Wellness discount and Qs it would have cost me .67¢.
    Well, the plan was great.....except that the store was out of 3's and only had the more expensive 5's.
    Ugh.  The $1.63 THAT razor would have cost was a good deal but I didn't get it, because I didn't need a razor.  Hubs like cheap single blade disposable razors....go figure!
    But I just couldn't leave Rite-Aid without SOMETHING, now could I?LOL

    2 x Powerade on sale .88¢=$1.76
    2 x Extra Gum on sale 2/$2=$2.00** RANG UP w/ 20% Wellness discount instead $1.03=$2.06
    1 x St. Joseph Aspirin 200 ct. on sale=$5.99
    4 x Oreos on sale 2/$6=$12.00

    Coupons Used
    1 x $1.50/2 Powerade AdPerk Q=$1.50
    2 x .50¢/1 Extra Gum AdPerk Q=$1.00
    1 x .50¢/2 Extra Gum IPQ(walmart site)=$.50
    2 x $1/2 Oreos AdPerks Q=$2.00
    2 x $1/2 Oreos IPQ(Smartsource dotcom)=$2.00
    Coupon Total....$7.00

    I used $11 in +Up Rewards....$14.81-$11.00=$3.81 + .04¢tax=$3.85 OOP

    $3.85 OOP sort of....

    I was suppose to get $11 in +Ups back($5 St. Joseph, 2 x $2 Oreos wyb2, $1 wyb 2Extra Gums).
    But the Gum was NOT coded to produce +Ups OR come up as $1 purchase price.
    So I put $1.10 on my free gift card(a moment of silence for the end of the gift card please....), paid $3.75 in cash.
    When I told them the Gum $1 +Ups didn't print, they gave me a dollar back.....so I "paid" $2.75 cash.
    I didn't notice that the gum rang up 6 cents too much.  If I go by there this week, I'll get my pennies back for that.

    So I paid $2.75 and got $10 +Up Rewards back.
    But that's not all....

    I bought $12 of Oreos and there is a $2 SCRebate this month for that, so I'll get $2 cash back next month for that.
    There is also a St. Joseph's SCRebate.  It's advertised in the Weekly ad as on sale for $5.99 AND a $2 SCR available for this same size product.
    But if you look in the SCR catalog, the rebate is for the 300 ct. bottle of aspirin, so I'll submit it and see if it comes through.  If it doesn't come through AND I want to be a hard ass I could call Corp. CS and argue about false/misleading advertising and such until they make good on it.

    I paid $.99 in the end for the aspirin and that's a great price on this 81 mg. stuff!  And it's something I use as I am on a baby aspirin regime. ;-)

    So I paid $2.75 OOP, got $10 +Ups back and I'll get either $2 or $4 in cash back.
    Either way, it's a good deal!

    Cookies and Powerade going into the Marching Band supplies, Gum goes in the Xmas stocking box and the Aspirin goes into me. 8-)

    As of now, my Monthly Rite-Aid Stats for JULY are....

    Out Of Pocket....$16.36 cash
    Value of items bought....$65.52+$49.25+$49.19 + $36.01=$199.97
    Single Check Rebate due....$6.00(or $8.00)

    +Ups at beginning of month...$33+
    +Ups used....$55+
    +Ups received...$32+
    +Ups currently...$10+ 

    Food Budget spent today.....$28.75

    Did you find any good deals anywhere this past week?


    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    What I Bought at Rite-Aid This Week

    I had $7 in +Up Rewards to spend/roll.
    Here is what I got this week.....
    And so you aren't shocked later on in this post, let me tell you I actually SPENT MONEY this week at Rite-Aid! 8-(

    15 x Gatorades on sale $1 each=$15.00
    2 x Milky Way bars on sale .50¢=$1.00
    2 x Extra Gum on sale .99¢ each=$1.98
    1 x Gillette Custom 3 Plus disposable razors w/20% disc.=$6.39
    1 x Gillette Shaving Cream w/20% disc.=$3.03

    Coupons Used
    1 x $1/2 Milky War bars IPQ(no longer available)=$1.00
    1 x $.50/2 Extra Gum ManuQ(AllYou Magazine)=.50¢
    2 x .50¢/1 Extra Gum AdPerks IPQ=$1.00
    1 x $2/1 Gillette Custom 3 Plus razors ManuQ(P&G)=$2.00
    1 x Buy G. Razors Get Shave Cream Free ManuQ(6/10 insert)=$3.03
    Coupon Total.....$7.53

    $27.40-$7.53=$19.87 + $.74tax=$20.61

    Used my $7 +Ups...$20.61-$7.00=$13.61 OOP

    I received back $11 in +Up Rewards.....(2 x $1 WYB5 Gatorades-limit 2, $5 WYB15 Gatorades-montly deal, $4 WYB select Gillette Razors)

    Now I know I could have broken this into 2 transactions and paid about $4 less OOP in the end and wound up with $7 +Ups instead of $11 +Ups.
    But I was in a hurry to get somewhere else so I bit the bullet and spent $13 instead of $9 OOP when all was said and done.

    *With Marching Band camp about a week away, cheap Gatorades(.53¢ each)tempted me.lol

    *The candy bars were free so a no brainer.

    *The gum was .24¢ a pack so almost free(these will be stocking stuffers).  If you can find the Key Lime Pie flavor of Extra Gum it's ringing up on clearance so would be much cheaper, maybe even free with overage if you have the right coupons.

    *The Gillette razors are part of a deal where the $12 and such non-disposable razors are on sale for $9.99 this week AND give a $4 +Ups back on purchase.  This particular disposable package IS pictured with the non-disposable ones on sale AND also gives the $4 +Ups.  At my store this disposable pack is $7.99 reg. retail, so with 20% Wellness discount comes out to be $6.39.  With the $2 Q and $4+Ups, it ends up costing me .39¢ for the package.

    *I saw on A Super Savvy Saver that there is a coupon in the 6/10 inserts(Red Plum) you can pair with these razors that will give you a free can of shave cream too.  Thanks Sheila! 8-)
    So the razors and shave cream cost me .39¢ OOP.

    As of now, my Monthly Rite-Aid Stats for JULY are....

    Out Of Pocket....$13.61 cash
    Value of items bought....$65.52+$49.25+$49.19=$163.97
    Single Check Rebate due....$4.00

    +Ups at beginning of month...$33+
    +Ups used....$44+
    +Ups received...$22+
    +Ups currently...$11+ 

    What did you find good to buy at Rite-Aid this week?


    Friday, July 20, 2012

    I Hope That I Die Herrrrrrrrrre!

    After yesterday's post full of numbers and money and Sunday's post full of historical grimness and violence, how about we finish out the week with....oh, I don't know......sarcasm and laughter?!

    Works for me!

    To get you all up into Downton Abbey mode before the 3rd Season begins on PBS......whenever THAT may be!........go have a lookie at these episodes.

    You need to recap what has happened or get up to speed.
    Now repeat after me......the rich people live upstairs, the servants live downstairs......

    Episode 1

    Episode 2

    Have a great weekend!


    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Personal Finance Q&A Time

    I saw some financial Q & As that have been making the rounds in the Personal Finance Blog world, over at Slay The Monster, and I thought I'd play along.

    Given our age and how long we've been keeping the finances, Hubs and I are near the end of our journey both through life and through the money maze.  So not many will be able to take any ideas away from this.  Maybe folks can see how it looks on the "other side".....once you get the cars, mortgages and debts paid off though.

    Question #1 What is your income?  Hubs is not comfortable putting that info out there.  I will say that we are now upper middle class as far as his salary goes.   We started out in student loan debt when we got married.  I was a waitress and he worked whatever job he could get.......including dishwasher, inventory taker, clerk in a law library and night security guard.  A few years later we had to pack our lives up and move 400 miles away to finally find a good job for Hubs.  He got hired by a large insurance company and worked his way around the firm to find his niche in the pension and retirement business end of things.
     Me?  I am a SAHM so I generate no income outside of small side jobs on an irregular basis.  I am "support staff" so that Hubs can spend his days working for "the man". lol

    #2 What are my fixed expenses?
    Food(though this varies)
    Cell phones(pay-as-you-go)
    School taxes
    Local taxes
    Property taxes
    College tuition x 2
    House Insurance
    Car Insurance x 3
    Health/Medical Insurance(includes Dental & Eye care)x 5
    Long Term Care Insurance x2
    Life Insurance x1
    Retirement Savings

     #3 What would happen if I died tomorrow?
    Hubs would have to take over the day-to-day finances and all the household stuff which I handle now.  Since I don't work outside the home, there is no life insurance on me now.  Use to have some, when the kids were little and they would have had to be taken care of while Hubs worked.  The expenses would go down(no more paying for my medical or long tern care insurance)....and I wouldn't be eating either.lol
    Things would go on as usual after awhile if I died tomorrow.  They would however have to give away or sell my fabric hoard....lol

    #4 Where would you get $500 for an emergency.
    From the checking or the emergency fund savings accounts where the spare money is liquid.  At our ages and after having been saving for as long as we have been(almost from the beginning of our marriage 30 years ago), we have much more than this to yank out for an emergency at this point.

    #5  What would you do if you got fired from your job?
    I'll answer this from Hubs persepective, as he is the one making the money.  He is so close to retirement age that we would get a lawyer first thing.  Firing him(without a cause such as theft, etc.)would be grounds for an age discrimination lawsuit.  He is in the retirement business(one area that is growing by leaps and bounds), so being let go would be suspect.  IF for some reason the business shrank and they had no choice but to fire him, we would look into his being offered an early retirement package(where they bridge his income to retirement age)or some such concession.  He could mostly likely also be hired in his field as a consultant.  That would give him a short term income near the level he makes now....and might be enough to get him to retirement.
    Now for me, if Hubs lost his job?......I'd shut down any spending that was NOT basic.  The cable would go, the landline but we'd keep internet for now.  No credit card spending on anything!  Food budget would drop like a rock!lol  Would be more vigilant on utility usage.  Medical costs would go up as we'd be forced onto COBRA.  We'd probably take oldest son off of medical/dental since he'll be out of school in the Spring(if it happens after that).
    We would shrink the "nut" we needed to live for a year as small as possible to make the money last until Hubs pension money and/or social security kicked in.  We'd get jobs of some kind, as would any of the kids living at home and the kids would contribute a portion of their income to the household.
    After #3 kid finishes high school in 2 years, we would sell the house and move.  We'd downsize and go to an area near family and/or somewhere cheaper to live.

    The last thing we'd do if we had no other choice..... the college funds would be kept for living expenses.
    The kids would have to finish up school on their own dimes.

    #6  How will you live in your retirement?
    Not sure yet exactly where.  We are looking at retirement in 4-6 years.....probably more toward 6.  We have run the numbers and unless things change drastically, we will have enough income in retirement to be comfortable.  We want to travel a bit at first before settling down somewhere.

    #7  What could you sell for extra cash if needed?
    The extra car.
    Part of the collection of jewelry my mother left to me.
    We really don't have much else that is valuable to anyone else.

    #8 Does your spending align with your values?  We try to do this.  We don't buy stuff just to buy it.  We buy very few wants.  We try to buy local and made in this country.  We try to buy quality.  That being said, sometimes price overrides these.lol  We believe in people being responsible for their choices in live and living the consequences of those choices so we don't hand money over to everyone who has their hand out.  We give thoughtfully and to those we truly feel are the most in need.  Though we will help family in true need, we don't believe in enabling family members who misbehave with money or giving money to family who can work but choose not to.  We'd rather pay a bill to keep their lights on than hand them cash so they can go to the mall and buy another designer shirt with it.

    #9  What are you teaching your kids about money?
    It's a tool and how you use that tool will decide what kind of person you will be as an adult.
    It's like "the force" and you need to understand it and while you are at it?....use it for good. 
    And if you want to have a life filled with nice things, you need to make a lot of it and spend it wisely.   ;-)

    My older 2 kids "got it" once they had to start spending their own cash.  I still need to work on the youngest kid.  16 year olds with their hormonal brains aren't the best students when it comes to teaching this stuff.lol

    #10  What steps can you take today to improve your financial situation?
    We waste so little now it's hard to come up with ways to make our situation better, other than me finding a job that pays me a large salary......and that is not going to happen.lol


    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Despicable College Hijinks

    Ah Summer!
    Let us recount all the joys that Summer brings......
    warm days
    picnics and outdoor gatherings
    life just seems to slow down
    grilling out fun foods
    vacations and traveling
    College bills are due

    Yes, if you have kids in college(or are about to), Summer brings those dreaded College Tuition Bills too.

    Daughter's bill arrived the end of last week which seemed a bit early, even to me!
    And even better, even though she doesn't start classes until after Labor Day, the bill is due in full by July 27th.

    So I sat down last weekend to go over the bill....you know, to make sure the charges were correct and all.....because I have a thing about giving away our money when we don't have to. lol

    She had a charge for something I didn't recognize so I hopped onto the school's website and found it and what it was for.
    Everything looked good except.......except there was no credit for the $50 Deposit we had paid back in March when she applied, which was suppose to be refunded if/when she enrolled/paid for her 1st semester.

    So I told the Daughter to call the school and take care of it since it is HER life, HER education and SHE is now an adult. ;-)
    She called the school and told me that the person she spoke to said that the deposit had already been applied to her bill.

    I showed her the bill and asked her to show me where on it, the credit had been applied.....which she couldn't do.
    I then asked her whom had she talked to at the college......she said, "some one in Admissions".

    I then explained to her that "some one in Admissions" was NOT who you talk to about a BILLING problem and that they are probably told to just say "your deposit is already taken off your bill" to anyone who calls them, thinking it will satisfy them and they will just go away.lol

    So Daughter rolls her eyes(meaning "why are you making such a big deal out of $50?!"...though if it was HER $50 it would suddenly become a VERY BIG DEAL!lol)and walks away and gives up dealing with the problem.  It is too much trouble for her to get to the bottom of this issue.

    I then call the College and speak to the Billing Dept. clerk.  She as well tries to tell me that the credit is already applied as her initial response......this is even before she knows which student's bill I am referring to.
    *face palm*

    So I insist she bring up the specific bill(I can wait)on her screen and we can compare the one I am holding with her copy and she can show me exactly where my $50 deposit shows up(or doesn't).
    I am given a big old exasperated *sigh* and then she asks for the student ID# and puts the receiver down and clicks some keys.
    After more key clicking suddenly Daughter's bill drops....$50?!
    How can that be, when her bill was correct and that $50 had been applied already?
    Oh, I know how it can be......

    I tell the Clerk that I am writing the new total on the bill with a note why I am not paying the full amount.
    She says that is fine, that the new lower amount is showing in their records now, so send the original invoice in with the lower payment.

    Having gone through this little charade, it makes me think that NOBODY who puts a Deposit down and ends up attending this college has their Deposit applied against their Tuition charges.....nobody unless they NOTICE and ASK FOR IT BACK!

    By operating in this manner, the school assures themselves that a percentage of students(and I am thinking it's a substantial percentage of students)will forget about that $50 Deposit and never get it back.

    Most students are 18-20 years old and NOT very concerned with taking care of paperwork anyway, so between having to actually proactively DO something to get the money back, and many of them are utilizing financial aids(loans/grants) and/or having parents pay the bills....so letting others "take care" of the money parts and not worrying about the finances, this College is filling their coffers unethically by keeping all these Deposit checks.

    Figuring they admit 3,000 new students a year, if 50% of them don't get their Deposit checks back, that's a bonus of $75,000 a year for the College!

    Crazy like a fox this school is.....

    Since Daughter couldn't be bothered to take care of this?  I am taking that $50 out of her College Fund and putting it into my "Mom's Mad Money" Fund.   I get a bonus and she pays stupid tax.....

    Moral of the Story--Watch the accuracy of those College invoices and talk to the correct department if there is a problem.


    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    WTF Tuesday

    I went to the doctor yesterday and it seems I won't be keeling over dead anytime soon.
    Yah me!
    I'll be around to vex everyone for a good long time.  Though I am still short of breath.
    I knew you were all worried...... ;-)

    I am feeling all out of sorts this summer.
    Not just in a physical way but in a cosmic, not-right-with-the-universe way.

    Last summer I had lots to keep me busy......the July Stockpile Sale.......the August Stockpile Sale......a nice garden to tend......having Kid #2 graduate from high school and then packing off Kid #2 to college for the 1st time.....getting ready to hold a big Toy Sale(that didn't happen in the end, but I spent time working on it anyway).

    This Summer?
    No Stockpile Sales.
    Kid #2 is back home and won't be living at school in the Fall.
    The garden is dinky this year and due to the drought, not much action there.

    I don't know.
    I am just not feeling much of anything to blog about this Summer.
    Ok, so I do blog but obviously calling my online friends "assholes" and posting long reads about the Civil War Draft Riots of 1863 aren't very popular.

    Perhaps I should go back to talking about hoarding...or better yet cat hoarding!
    Yes, since I started checking on my blog "keyword" searches, cat hoarding has been a phrase that has led many MANY people to my blog's front door.
    I don't even like cats.....

    So to keep things light and frothy today, I am going to show you some photos.

    First off, I finally got around to making PICKLES!!!

    Of course, everyone wanted me to make them but when I finally did, no one is eating them now but me!
    But that's ok since I "heart" these pickles....nom nom nom.....

    And here is the comedy duo I spend most days with....

    Cherry the beagle and Penny the chihuahua.....the Abbott and Costello of the dog world!

    Cherry loves to spend her days laying on her back.
    Besides just hanging around upside down, the 2 dogs have a "Who's on First!?" routine worked out that they perform every day, usually beginning at 2:30pm....sometimes they start earlier than that, because they don't synchronize their watches evidently.

    The "show" goes like this.....
    Cherry will roll onto her back, usually this happens in the middle of the den or kitchen floor.  If Penny is not present, Cherry will whine and make quiet "ruffing" noises to get her attention.  Penny is mostly deaf though, but Penny has ADHD and walks around all. day. long., so she will "find" Cherry in "position" within minutes.

    Once Penny is on "stage" with Cherry the show begins.
    Cherry begins her "dance".  She slowly twist and turns on her back and moans.  Not an "I'm in pain moan".....Imagine a human porn film but with a dog playing the part.  Yah, it's kinda like that.
    I know, that sounds weird but it's the only thing that is close to what it sounds like.

    Penny stands over Cherry, constantly moving though, like a slow motion dance, and starts barking.
    It's that high pitched "nail through your skull" bark that Chihuahuas do.
    And they dance, moan and bark.....and bark.....and bark......
    They would do this for hours I think, if I didn't take a yardstick to them, and make them stop after 20 minutes or until my head and nerves explode.

    They stop but as soon as I leave the room or go back to trying to ignore them, they go right back to performing.....writhing on the floor, moaning, the tip tip of chihuahua toenails prancing in place and then the yipping that makes the paint want to peel right off the walls.

    And this goes on right up until 4pm, which is their dinner time, or I break down sooner and feed them.
    It's a wonder I have a sane thought left in my head some days!

    And here is a photo an old friend sent me recently.  He actually sent this photo to me a few years ago but my computer crashed and I hadn't saved this photo elsewhere.  He recently sent it again.
    This friend and I met the Summer of 1975.
    I'll not share anything else about him, except to say that he once dressed up as Marilyn Monroe for a Halloween party and you'd have been hard pressed to tell him apart from the real Marilyn.....of course if she wasn't dead and all.
    But I digress....

    We were both interns in a Summer Theater Workshop at a local Dinner Theater.
    I had joined this program because a friend of mine, whom I had attended 8th grade with had.
    We remained friends even though I attending the Parochial high school and she went to her local public one. 

    Anyway, I kept in touch with this other friend I met at the theater(though he also went to a different high school from me).  We've reconnected off an on over the years since then. 
    I went to his house for a visit the following Fall.
    This was Oct. of 1976.
    I was a Senior in high school.
    Please forgive the Catholic school uniform plaid pleated skirt.
    This is Sluggy in all her glory at 17.
    Fashion victim of the '70's.

    So how is YOUR summer going?
    Is it me or are the planets spinning out of orbit this year?

    Sluggy-who if given the chance for a teenage redo, would have done so many things differently!

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Food Spending July Week 2 & Meal Planning July Week 3

    My keyboard seems possessed today.  Things are inadvertently getting "highlighted" and erased by some unseen force.  I have gotten up with disgust from the computer a time or two today and gone off to take care of other things here just to keep my sanity.

    If I get this finished while it's still Monday AND I still have my wits about me, it will be a feat extraordinaire!

    And here is the "meal plan" that actually happened last week.....

    SUNDAY--Smoked Chicken, Cornbread, mixed Veggies in Chinese Sauce
    MONDAY--using up the leftover steak....steak sandwiches, steak salad-not sure yet
    TUESDAY--Ribs, Beans, Macaroni Salad(yet again!lol)
    WEDNESDAY--Squash Casserole, Grilled Salmon
    THURSDAY--Subway Sandwiches
    FRIDAY--Dinner Out (Chinese)
    SATURDAY--Fajitas with smoked Chicken

    We used up all the leftovers again.....yay us!   Hubs and I have been eating alone again this week due to Daughter's work schedule.  She either goes out for pizza or wings after work or she eats something at the mall if she is working at dinner time.  "Dinner" being a $1 soft pretzel and a $1 lemonade.  We'll see how long she goes like that until she gets tired of spending her own money and/or she needs real food again.

    The weekly food spending was $91.05.  After only spending $7.62 last week, we needed more than usual this past week.  Plus ground beef was $1.99lb(rock bottom price!)at Weis, so I bought 7ish lbs.  We also made our monthly trip to the bread outlet last week and since it's summer we added some snacks(chips)to the shopping list.
    The regular retail value for all was $172.32 so I had a 47.16% savings rate.  And this isn't counting what I hauled home from Rite-Aid for free last week...figure in another $49.25 worth of stuff at reg. retail and my savings rate shoot up to 58.90%!  ;-)

    As I reset my July Food Budget to $300, I now have $201.33 left to spend on food/toiletries this month.  16 shopping days left in July.  I think I can make it! 8-)

    Going into the new week I have the following leftovers to use up......fajita fixings, 1 piece of cornbread and about half of the squash casserole.


    This week's menu.....

    SUNDAY--Leftover Chinese(from our Dinner Out)
    MONDAY--Marin Joe's Special
    TUESDAY--Lemon Pepper Chicken w/Zucchini
    WEDNESDAY--Hamburger Helper type casserole, leftover Squash casserole
    THURSDAY--Kielbasa on Rolls, homemade Pickles, Green Beans
    FRIDAY--homemade Quiche, Tossed Salad
    What I need to buy this week to serve this menu?.....
    I bought most everything to make these dishes when I went to the store last week.  I will need to buy a pie crust for the quiche and salad greens.  Green beans might be purchased if our bean plants don't "give up the goods" by Thursday. lol  I see some milk and fruit being purchased as well.  As for stock-up opportunities this week?....I haven't even looked at the store ads yet.   I should be able to keep the food spending under $40 this week.

    A note......it's been amazing to me to see how little we need to spend on food when it's just Hubs and I eating and we aren't feeding the ravenous offspring.  Unfortunately, while the amount of food prepared and bought goes down, the amount of time I have to spend on menu planning, shopping and preparing said food hasn't decreased.  If you are cooking 2 pork chops or 8 pork chops, you still spending the same amount of time doing all that stuff.  8-(

    So what's on deck for your menu this week?


    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    The 150th Anniversary of The Perfect Powder Keg

    Having come down with the "Genealogy Bug", I am enjoying not only discovering my own personal ancestry roots, but I'm also getting into delving deeper into the history of the US.

    This week....July 13th-18th.....marks the 150th Anniversary of an important event in American history.
    A shameful event that has been mostly ignored since it happened all those many years ago.

    Many Americans look down on the racism evident in the pre-war Southern states of this country.  The economy that took root in those states, that required the implementing of the plantation system in the early dates of our country's founding, which ended up driving the slave trade to our shores.

    Though Northerners have always been portrayed as morally superior to their Southern counterparts,  racism, as well as hate toward immigrants, existed and thrived in the North up through the end of the Civil War.

    1863 marked the date when the 1st National Draft was instituted in the US.  All men were required to register for the draft at this point during the Civil War.  If you were between the ages of 20 and 35, no matter your marital status and if you were single between the ages of 36 and 45, you were part of the Class I list of draftees.
    If you were outside of those parameters, you were put onto the Class II list or Reserves.
    This Draft was only for whites, as even free Northern dwelling blacks were not considered full citizens of this country.

    I have found 1 ancestor so far, on my paternal lines, that was called to register for the Draft in 1863.
    His name was Robert Spencer Bowman.  He was born in 1826 in Ireland and self-reported coming to the US in 1852, as a married man, in the 1900 Census.

    Here is a shot of a piece of the Class II Book from 1863, for the 11th Congressional District of NY, with his name in it.  His is the last name in the shot.  It lists his "color"(white), his age(36), where he was born(Ireland) and in the remarks section it says "Alien".

    Thought the year he actually arrived is split between 1848 and 1855, we do know that he arrived aboard a ship from Liverpool that came into the Port of New York City.
    So he came to American right around the time of the opening of the 1st of the 2 great immigration processing centers of the 19th century.

    Everyone knows of Ellis Island but the first center was called Castle Garden.
    It was located where Fort Clinton stood, a fort constructed for defense purposes during the Revolutionary times to protect the southern part of Manhattan island.  It is where a resort and park had been built in the 1820's.  By mid 1850's the resort was in disuse so it was selected to be the disembarkation/processing point for all immigrants into NY harbor.
    Castle Garden saw the first large waves of immigrants, mostly from Ireland and from Germany.
    My ancestor was part of this migration from Ireland due to the Great Potato Famine that plagued that isle from 1845-1852.

    But I digress......
    My ancestor arrived in New York City between 1848 and 1855.  After the arrival of his wife and children who had been born in Ireland in 1856, the family migrated from the city and by 1860 they are found in Montgomery, NY, 60 miles northwest of NY city, with 5 surviving children. 

    Lucky for Robert Bowman & family that they weren't still in New York City at the time of the implementation of the War Draft in 1863.

    Massive numbers of Irish immigrants flooded New York City, to the tune of 200,000 by 1855.  The problem was that a great many of these new Americans were the poorest of the poor from Ireland and had barely the resources to pay to get on a boat, let alone any monies to support themselves once on this shore.  They likewise, had no monies to transport themselves out of NY City and into the great expanses of the country outside of the harbor town to find a farmer to work for and in time, find their own piece of land to call their home.  The  majority of immigrants were trapped in NY City.  Imagine what it was like.....people everywhere, not enough shelter for everyone, no employment available so no way to earn a wage to feed yourself.  Overcrowding, poverty and an unchecked birth rate, which led to filthy and unsanitary conditions in the city streets that bred disease and death.

    Gangs of desperate people sprung up and banded together to take care of their "own kind" and operate outside of the law since they couldn't feed themselves within it's parameters.  The Boss Tweed era of NY politics began during this time as well which added another layer of corruption onto the society.  New ships of immigrants were about as welcomed during this time and in this place as a case of dysentery.
    Murder and mayhem were simmering just below the surface in the New York City of 1863.  The film, "The Gangs of New York" did a fairly good job of showing the violence that permeated Manhattan during the mid 1800's.

     The native-born Whites were not happy with these immigrants elbowing into their country.  The rich ran the government in a way to pit the native-born lower class against the newly immigrated, thus keeping the power and riches in their hands and keeping all the citizenry under their thumbs. 
    The native-born Whites and the Immigrants took to forming gangs for protection. It was a lawless time and while the government couldn't be counted on, your gang was your last resort for protection.

    Though free men, the Blacks in NY City were relegated to holding the jobs on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.  With the influx of this wave of foreign immigration, they saw massive competition for the few jobs available to them, as the Irish were kept out of all desirable employment.  The Irish competed with the native-born Blacks for life sustaining jobs and the labor force already here was none too pleased.  The newly arrived Irish were often not viewed as "white", but as a different race, along with the "blacks".  Both groups were looked down upon.

    The immigrants as well weren't very happy once they stepped onto this shore.  Yes, they were glad to be out of Ireland and starvation there, but this new place was full of men ready to swindle you out of your last penny, to perpetrate violence and intimidation onto you at every turn to keep you from finding employment or shelter.  It was tough being a new immigrant in 1850-1860's NY.
    Not only did you have to fight for your very life at the hands of your fellow citizen but you had the government making you sign up to fight and probably die in a civil war you had no hand in making!
    What must they have thought in the face of all this hostility they stepped into?

    For those new immigrants from Ireland it was a choice......a choice between an inevitable death by starvation in Ireland and a scratching to survive hand-to-mouth existence in America.  While not a great alternative, it was better than certain death back home.
    My ancestor stepped off a ship from Ireland, after spending weeks in steerage, to be greeted by the sort of conditions I've described above.
    Robert Spenser Bowman must have had a strong spirit to make it through all that to get past the New York City of circa 1852.

    By the time 1863 rolled around the Civil War was in it's 3rd year of conflict.  Add in to the usual hostilities of one group toward another, the deprivations of goods available for sale to the public at large. Wartime means less food, cloth, lumber for the people.  Inadequate resources become even more limited and the scarcity drives prices out of the reach of all but the richest people.

    1863 was also the year of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation.   The government had been warning the citizenry in the North for 2 years beforehand, that once the legislation for freeing all Southern slaves was law, that they should prepare for an influx of newly-freed blacks.  This meant more people streaming into the North, to compete for the few jobs, housing, food and goods of all kind in a city already busting at the seams with humanity.

    And just when conditions couldn't possibly get any worse in NY, they did.
    When Abraham Lincoln instituted the Compulsory Northern Draft in 1863, it included a clause that caused the violence to boil over.
    The $300 Clause held that any man who was required to register for the Draft could, for the price of $300, pay his way out of having to serve.  Adjusting for inflation, $300 in 1863 is over $5,000 in today's money.

    The common man saw this as the last straw, that anyone of the elite class could buy his way out of harm's way and and avoid fulfilling his patriotic duty.  So much for the creed of all men being equal!
    Three now famous cowards who bought their way out of service to the North were a young John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carneige and Junius Spencer Morgan(of JP Morgan fame).

    This clause smacked of classism and even spawned many an outraged letter to the New York Times in the day before being stuck down in 1864, when it was replaced with a Bounty for Service Clause.

    The Draft was physically begun on July 11th and by the morning of July 13th, the violence had begun.  The mobs of angry whites limited their attacks to military and government targets....police, government buildings, soldiers.  As the mobs grew they attacked anyone who was in their way.  Soon the anger turned toward Blacks unlucky enough to be in the streets and "black" businesses.  In the end an orphanage and school for black children was set afire and destroyed along with numerous other homes and businesses.
    It is said that some of the fire departments in the city(many of which were formed by gangs of native-born whites), fueled the riots by setting fires themselves rather than putting them out.

    When order was finally restored 5 days later, 11 Blacks had been  lynched and those others dead included a child from the destroyed Orphanage/School and areas of the city lay smoldering and destroyed.  Many Blacks were forced to flee or left the city by choice, never to return to Manhattan.

    I am thankful my ancestor was clear of NY City and safely living his life in a small town Upstate by 1860 that didn't see this sort of violence take hold.
    Looking around at the climate today, it is sad to see that in many ways, things in this country have not changed much 150 years later.