Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Busy Saturday to Tuesday-Cooking!

Hubs and I went to Maine Source on Saturday and I picked up some meat and veg-a pork shoulder, 5 lbs. ground beef, 10 lb. bag of onions, 4 lbs. of green beans(@ .79¢ lb.), 6 ears of sweet corn and 3 packages of mushrooms.  I also went to Weis(PMITA)Markets for their Fantastic Friday sale and got two whole chickens(@ .75¢ lb.).

Add in that the cuke plants have been in overdrive while we were gone AND the kids didn't eat a single one(though they picked 5).  I picked another 5 on Friday plus there are SEVENTEEN more out in the garden still.  8-O

So on Sunday(and Monday)I was in food prep/cooking mode.

I tried really hard not to run the oven as it's been typical August weather here(hot and muggy).  I did have to acquiesce on Monday evening though to make the mac and cheese.  College Boy had requested it before going back to college.

Sunday, the pork shoulder got put in the smoker outside.......

That was put in the crock pot last night to perk away overnight and will be pulled pork sandwiches this evening for dinner.

I also prepped, blanched and divvied up the green beans into dinner sized portions and froze all put one bag for later.

One of the whole chickens I bought on Friday got dumped into the freezer and on Saturday the other had a can of beer shoved up it's ass and grilled to within an inch of it's life and served with boxed stuffing and fresh corn on the cob.

I defrosted chicken breasts on Saturday in the fridge and with the addition of Marsala wine and all those mushrooms I bought, I turned this into Chicken Marsala over Noodles and served it with Tossed Salad on Sunday.

I also took a London Broil out of the freezer on Saturday as well and set to marinating it in the fridge for two days.  It was grilled and served along with spinach souffle and homemade mac and cheese(at the kids' request)on Monday.

As for the 5 lbs. of ground beef--1 lb. was reserved for hamburgers for lunch on Tuesday and the other 4 lbs. was turned into WV hot dog chili on Sunday........

I've portioned this big pot of chili up into 4 containers-2 in the freezer for later.  1 container will be heading to school with College Boy on Wednesday.
This hot dog chili is a family favorite now and I especially like it as I can just add beans, green chiles, cumin and more onions to a portion to turn it into Mexican chili, so two different flavor profiles quite easily.

On Monday while making the mac and cheese for dinner I portioned off 1/4 of the bechamel sauce I made and also did a small pot of Cheese and Cauliflower Soup(CB's fav)for him to take to school with him, as it starts with the same recipe.

And all those cukes?
Besides being an addition to the salad served on Sunday I turned 7 of them into pickles.........

Three jars of bread and butter pickles(2 pictured)and a large Tupperware container of my mother's "Almost New Pickles"(a vinegary type pickle)which is not pictured.

After making peanut butter cookies for College Boy to haul back to school with him later today and finishing the sauce for the pulled pork for dinner I am taking a break from cooking for a few days.

Wednesday the Daughter and I are getting a pizza from the local place that does the "sweet sauce" pie that is a fav in this region as Hubs and CB will be gone.  We'll have salad with that.

The rest of the week I hope to get by on leftovers, BLT's using farm market "real" tomatoes and whatever else folks can dig out of the fridge/pantry.

I am done cooking for a bit.

What's been cooking at your house lately?


Monday, August 21, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Do I Really Have to Cook Again?!?" Edition--

I am easing back into cooking again at Chez Sluggy. I tried to come up with meals not involving turning on the oven last week and will keep that trend going this coming week too.

Just one of the many foods I cooked on Sunday.......it's still the weather to smoke meats!

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Meal at Chris' house
2. Monday--Eating-Out
3. Tuesday--Easy Meal at Home
4. Wednesday--No Clue Yet
5. Thursday--No Clue Yet
6. Friday--No Clue Yet
7. Saturday--No Clue Yet

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--BBQ Turkey Breast,Corn on the Cob, Tomatoes, Fruit Salad, Ice Cream(Mmmm)
2. Monday--Bowl of Soup and Zuke Fries
3. Tuesday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Garlic Bread
4. Wednesday--TV Dinners(I had pork chop, taters and apples)
5. Thursday--Kielbasa on Rolls
6. Friday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Green Beans
7. Saturday--Beer Can Chicken, Stuffing, Corn on Cob

Last week saw 6 nights of home cooked dinners(1 night was tv dinners tho), 0 nights of leftovers and 1 nights of Eating-Out.
The Daughter had made dinner for us when we got home on Tuesday and had bought TV dinners so I didn't have to jump back into cooking for another day too. 8-)))
I managed to do Kielbasa on Thursday as it was an easy meal(didn't make anything to accompany it though), we had pork chops and green beans in the freezer still for Friday's dinner and I had bought two chickens on Friday so roasted chicken on the grill for Saturday.

I made 1 trip each to the Bakery Outlet, Weis Markets, Maine Source and the Shursave Market.  $106.07 was spent last week, bringing food spending in August to $214.44.
There are 10 days left in the month so I think I'll make my under $420 goal for August. 
Go me.  ;-)

My savings percentages last week and for the month so-far? Last week was 57.15% and the monthly is 49.21%(without Rite-Aid trips added in).

Leftovers going into this week........roast chicken, stuffing, pork tenderloin,

Here is this week's "food plan".....

1. Sunday--Chicken Marsala, Noodles, Salad
2. Monday--Marinated Steak, Mac and Cheese, Veggie of some kind
3. Tuesday--Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cole Slaw
4. Wednesday--Take-Out Pizza
5. Thursday--Chicken Salad Sandwiches
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--BLT Sandwiches

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 1 nights of leftovers and 1 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.

What I need to buy for this menu?  Rolls, Cabbage and Carrots(or a bagged Cole Slaw mix).  College Boy leaves on Wednesday so it's just Daughter and I for dinner that night so we'll get a pizza.  The end of the week will be using up leftovers mostly or I'll dig something out of the chest freezer that I can prepare without turning on the oven.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, August 20, 2017

College Boy's Summer Savings

I feared for the worst when Hubs and I took off a month ago for our Road Trip.
Feared for College Boy's progress toward financial/saving success.
If you remember, CB has only recently taken baby steps toward handling money well, and we had a sit-down heart to heart talk with him over money and how things would work this Summer.
That post is HERE.

I figured that once we left on our vacation all his good intentions would fly out the window and he'd stop putting his paychecks away to save.

But my fears were for naught it turns out!
College Boy didn't regress back into his spendthrift ways when I wasn't there to oversee his saving progress.

In fact, he withdrew his pay from that stupid "pay debit card" his employer loads up with his paycheck each week while we were away and had tucked the cash into an envelope in my computer desk awaiting my return and me putting this all in the bank..........

He was almost up to $1,100 saved by the time we returned!

This past week's check was spent on a new cell phone(and service)and a new keyboard for the computer he bought earlier this Summer(he hadn't bought a keyboard with it and was using an old one we had which shit the bed recently).
He'll get two more paychecks(one before leaving and the other once he is back at school)before ending his Summer employment which should get him close to his $1,500 goal.($2,100 total with $600 being spent on a planned purchase of a new computer, so $1,500 in cash.)

And that's even with his hours being cut at his job for a couple of weeks.

It's noticeable this Summer that he's being more thoughtful with his spending, even when I wasn't home to ride him about it. lolz

Now to see if he can hold it together when he gets back to school and doesn't fall off the spending rails when confronted with all the bad, bad temptations living away from home in his first apartment situation will present.

It's nice to see your kids "grow" up. 8-)


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Income & Spending Report.....July Update

* As Hubs retired effective July 1, I am no longer doing my 2017 Savings Challenge.
We ended that on June 30th.  The goal was $17.5K saved for the half of 2017 that Hubs was working.
We actually saved $21,100.42 all totaled, so $3600.42 over goal!

Now that we are living on savings and an annuity(no annuity until October)I am still going to keep track of our monthly spending and income, and hopefully we'll still be able to live BELOW our means and I'll have some leftover monies each month to tuck aside.
But this money leftover at the end of each month, at least for now(as we find our new financial "normal")won't be saved toward a yearly Savings Challenge.

The issue now is to cover all the bills with just the annuity payment each month plus some liquid savings(checking account cash)until October.
October is when Hubs turns 59.5 and then we can access the 401K retirement savings.  Until then things will be tight here at Chez Sluggy, so all the leftover monthly cash will get tucked aside to pay irregular bills that will be popping up in August and September.

Got it?
OK, let's move on.

Though nothing will be put toward it the rest of 2017, the 2017 $17.5K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals are still available
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers HERE.

On to the July report--
I have 2 goals for July.....
The 1st is to actually finish the month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to try to have a little cash leftover at the end of July to apply toward irregular bills that are coming due the next two months.

I have to report that we finished up July in the black.....barely.
The extra amount we ended the month of July with?.......$154.88


The income in July was the monthly annuity payment and Hubs' last paycheck(which was only for 1 week of work, his last).
We had -$17.60 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in July totaled $172.48.  This was interest made on non-retirement accounts.
I am thankful for the small crumbs of interest in July.  If not for that little bit we'd have been negative at the end of July.

This brought us to our gain of $154.88
Since we have no debt, this will get put aside to apply to the irregular bill coming due in August--the homeowners insurance.

As for the expenses this July, here are the good and the bad side of things....


*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month(Within $1 or so).
*  The water bill was $7.62 less than in June.
*  The gas card bill was $40.88 lower than last month.
*  The cash withdrawals were $220 lower than in June.


*  The electric bill was $17.46 more than last month's mostly due to the washer/dryer running more and the kids having the a/c units in their rooms turned on all month.
*  The credit card bill was $43.94 higher in July compared to June.
*  The medical bills were $5.72 higher this month over last month's bills.
*  We had to pay deposits to have the electric and water put in our name at the LA house which came to $600.
*  I have a c/c charge for $153.41 for replacement clothing for me(mostly underthings and a Winter coat).
*  We had to pay the July health insurance premium of $1577.66(this use to come out of Hubs' paycheck automatically).  We haven't set up using the health insurance account through his employer yet to pay this bill so it came out of our monthly income.
*  I sent a birthday check to our eldest son for his July birthday.
*  We had a small bill for electric at the LA house.

The Food Budget costs for July are in another post, which is located HERE.

So we end July in the black with $154.88 to apply to the house insurance bill due in August.  That bill amounts to $668, so I just have to eek out another $513.12 from our August income to cover that along with all the regular monthly bills.

FINAL THOUGHTS on July---July kicked our asses mostly.
Between a high credit card bill, the utility deposits in LA and having to pay the health insurance premium OOP there were lots of irregular/variable bills last month.  These combined cost us $2100 or so over our usual "nut".  Making some interest on our accounts made the difference between making enough this month to cover all the bills.

THOUGHTS going forward into August of 2017----
August will be tight this year, I won't lie.
Between still paying the health insurance premium out of regular income and the yearly house insurance premium being due this month AND having a reduced income(just the annuity payment), August will be a "squeaker".  I am SO glad I have that $154.88 leftover after paying July's expenses to put toward the August bills!  That just might mean the difference between staying in the black for August.

The one good thing about August and September bills will be that all the Road Trip expenses put on the credit card(some due on August's bill and some due on September's bill)will be paid out of our savings and NOT our August income.  We planned and saved for this trip so it won't impact our regular bills/income.

So how was your July financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in July?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
What did you do with any money leftover at the end of the month?
Did you pay off any debts or put extra toward your mortgage principle or into savings, in an emergency fund or a retirement account?
Or did you blow it on a want?

If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check out your progress too and celebrate or commiserate with you!

I hope this year was the one were you cleaned up your finances and paid off your debts.
That you planned to set something aside if you didn't already or increased what you banked now for your future self.
Or paid extra on the principle of your mortgage if your house isn't already paid off.

Live below your means and keep some change for a rainy day....because no matter how sunny it is in your life now, dark clouds come along and you'll be glad you have that umbrella to keep you dry.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Frugal Friday......the August 18th Edition

Vacations on the whole are NOT frugal in the least and we have been away from July 18th through August 15th.

Spending money is NOT frugal on it's own but by making spending choices you can be more frugal on vacation.....or not.

Here are some things we did the last 2 weeks or so that were frugal in one way or another.

Making a stop at Rite-Aid for an rx, the freebies and discounted beer.  I got 4 packs of light bulbs for free although no photos were taken before I gifted them along the way home.  Then I discovered that in Idaho you can sell beer/wine in most stores(including drugstores)so I bought a 6 packs and then discovered that yes, my 20% Wellness discount at Rite-Aid also worked on beer!

Taking full advantage of "good" motel breakfasts when we got one(so hit or miss).  We'd fill up and not have to eat lunch that day(or just have some car snacks instead of a full meal), thus saving some cash for other things.

Taking advantage of free food along the way(popcorn and coffee), when sometimes we didn't feel like eating the snacks we brought along on the trip.

And nearly running over a turkey along the highway and getting a free dinner out of it. lolz

Shopping at discount liquor stores for souvenirs/gifts because what's better than showing up somewhere with booze?

Finding offbeat activities and sights.  Hey!, free is FREE!!!

Before housekeeping threw out the Sunday papers in the public areas at the motel in Fargo, searching those newspapers for the coupon inserts.
Not buying newspapers and getting the coupons for Free?  Yes please!

Thrift store shopping with your cousin and finding a bank in the likeness of another one of your cousins......always a trip!

More historical free activities.

And an end of road trip splurge at the outlet shop.
60% off so I bought two!

Next week will be back to regular frugality stuff....blah, blah, blah.  Not as much fun but nobody can stay on vacation forever.

What did you do lately that was frugal?


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Food & Toiletries Spending....July Update

*I'm a bit late getting July's food spending wrapped up due to our trip.  But here it is now.*

Onward to July's food spending report.......

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for JULY 2017.

I have posted July's totals on the Total Grocery Savings Page located HERE and have updated the Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in July.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Sum.  My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 3-4(4 at home this month). No kids under 21.


OOP  $4.75
Value  $15.36
Savings  69.08%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $390.51
Value  $390.51
Savings  100%

OOP  $85.18
Qs/Ads  $29.42
Value  $114.60
Savings  25.67%

OOP  $49.25
Qs/Ads  $23.48
Value  $72.73
Savings  32.28%

OOP  $186.29
Qs/Ads  $152.52
Value  $338.81
Savings  45.02%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, the Bread Outlet at 69.08% and Weis Markets at 45.02%.  My WORST savings rate was at that Shursave Market at 25.67%.

I shopped at 5 different stores this past month.  Or rather my Daughter and I shopped at 5 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$325.47
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$216.03
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$541.50
TOTAL Savings of ..................................39.89%
Total Value of Items Purchased w/Rite-Aid....$932.01
TOTAL Savings with Rite-Aid items..........65.08%

This closes out the July food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into July wanting to spend $250 the first half of the month and left the Daughter $120 for the rest of July, making my goal $370 for food spending for July.  I spent $224.42 in July before leaving for our trip and Daughter came in at $101.05 for the rest of the month.
We came in under $370 spent by $44.53.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went DOWN by 1.08% in July to 65.08% compared to June's 66.16% savings average.

With 7 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $2,426.40 on food/toiletries in 2017 which is a 70.64% savings rate for the year to-date and averages out to $346.63 per month spent in 2017. 8-)

LOOKING AHEAD To August........
Hubs and I weren't home half of the month.  I assumed the Daughter would spend the other $120 I left her for groceries in August before we got home.  I will probably have to restock some items in August.  I am going to say $300 for the second half of August so $420 total for the entirety of the month to spend on food.
It would be good if I spend less than $300 this month but we'll see how things go.  There are only 15 days left in August so how many trips to the grocery store can I really make? lolz

If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share yours with us all.

*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in June?
*  Do you track your yearly food spending?
*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons vs. buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?
*  What are your methods for keeping your food spending in check?

Is anyone out there up for tracking expenditures and trying to spend less but still eat well?


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quick Update-Mostly About July's To-Do List

We made it home yesterday afternoon.
So glad to be home in many ways, but then again..........lolz

There is so much work to be done and all I want to do is go to bed. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And I LOVE my bed!  Especially after 28 nights of sleeping in other beds, some not so bad but others not so good.
I need to figure out a way to bring my bed along on my next trip.....or start paying for expensive hotels that have Tempur-pedic mattresses. Ha!, like that will happen.  ;-)

So I remembered that third book I read in July.
It was this one..........
It's a hardcover album of rarely or never before seen Kennedy Family Photos.  Not much text but enough to make it interesting.  The photos range from Rose Kennedy's youth to just before JFK won the Senate seat for MA in 1952.
A couple of interesting families them Fitzgeralds and Kennedys.

And that's all I got now.
Still slogging through receipts and such.
Might have the July Food/Toiletries Spending Update ready for tomorrow.
Stay tuned.....


Monday, August 14, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Rating Breakfasts" Edition--

We've spent this trip rating our daily breakfasts.  Most have been provided at the various motels we've stayed at but we've had a few at friends' homes.  This was Monday morning's meal at a reader's home.  By far rated as a 5 Star Offering and better than any motel breakfast we've had on the trip.  There was another 5 Star rated breakfast at Kim's house as well.

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Huhot 
2. Monday--Home cooked meal at SAM's house?
3. Tuesday--Something at Sonya Ann's house?
4. Wednesday--Ditto or Eating Out
5. Thursday--Ditto or Eating Out
6. Friday--Taking Hubs' sister out to eat
7. Saturday--Something in OH where we are staying

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Huhot(Mongolian BBQ)
2. Monday--Chicken Sandwiches, Bean/Pasta Salad, Sweet Potatoes
3. Tuesday--Roast Chicken, Brown Rice, Corn on Cob
4. Wednesday--Pork Tenderloin, Salad, Mashed Taters, Mixed Veg
5. Thursday--Greek Salad, Bread
6. Friday--Steak, Salad, Baked Potato
7. Saturday--Chinese Buffet 

Last week saw 2 nights of home cooked dinners(Monday and Tuesday), 0 nights of leftovers and 5 nights of Eating-Out.

I made 0 trips to the Weis Markets or any other store at home and I didn't buy anything at grocery stores while out on the road last week.

My savings percentages last week and for the month so-far?    No clue. 

Leftovers going into this week........again, no clue.  We don't have leftovers while traveling, we just have to dump or leave what we don't finish.

Here is this week's "food plan"....not that I am cooking any of it anyway. lol......

1. Sunday--Meal at Chris' house
2. Monday--Eating-Out
3. Tuesday--Easy Meal at Home
4. Wednesday--No Clue Yet
5. Thursday--No Clue Yet
6. Friday--No Clue Yet
7. Saturday--No Clue Yet

This week will see ? new meal cooked, 0 nights of leftovers and ? nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out.

What I need to buy for this menu?  No clue.  I'll probably get to the grocery store on Thursday after accessing what we need.

A full update on grocery spending, etc. probably next Monday once I've had some time to catch my breath and get updated.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Almost Home......3 More Sleeps!

We are closing in on the tail end of this Awesome Summer 2017 Road Trip.  Only 3 more sleeps and we will be home in our own bed!
The photo above sums up how I've felt many days lately, being trapped in a car hurdling down the interstate. ;-)

After leaving Hubs' sister last night, we spent the night at a motel nearby, then drove 5 hours today and then did a Hubs activity.

An OUTDOOR activity, but luckily the temperatures haven't climbed into the triple digits the last 10 days or so.

Another Hubs activity tomorrow morning and then it's onward to meet and spend some time with a blog reader of mine and her DH and then on Monday meeting another blogger and her family.
Then just one more sleep and we set off for home on Tuesday.

We haven't chanced Chinese food for meals(except for the night in Fargo ND when we ate Mongolian BBQ)but we threw caution to the wind tonight and ate at one of those buffet deals near the tiny town we are staying this evening.
I say "chanced it" because Chinese type foods seem to have an affect on my digestive tract that necessitates being near a restroom an hour or so afterwards and beyond. lolz

I also have a long history of being very susceptible to food poisoning while traveling.(Oh, the stories Hubs could tell!)  So I am often wary of eating establishments, even chain restaurants.
Knock on wood we have avoided any "incidents" thus far.

Not only is this trip winding down but so are Hubs' and mine energy and enthusiasm.

A full month out of our comfort zone.....it's been fun, scary, tiring, thrilling and about 50 other adjectives all at once. lolz
Hubs and I are both in agreement that 4 weeks together in a car traveling probably won't happen again.  It got ugly a couple of times. ;-)
2 Weeks appears at this time to be our limit and staying civil and sane.  Thank goodness we had folks to spend time with(and act as a buffer at times)so we didn't kill each other. 8-)))

I am looking forward to regular blogging again as soon as I get caught up on financial things, laundry, cleaning, dog wrangling, Weis(PMITA)Markets and Rite-Aid frequenting.
I've got a backlog of FIVE, Count 'em Five, trips of various sizes to blog about now(from last July, last August, last September, this May and this Summer).
Between all that and my regular nonsense I've got plenty of ammunition for the blog.

Here's hoping everyone is having a good Weekend and I'll talk to y'all soon. 8-)


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

To-Do List....July Update

Let's peek at how July's To-Do List  went, shall we?

* Pay Bills  DONE  Everything got paid and on time.  I just don't want to even SEE August's credit card bill however. lolz

* Pack for Trip!  DONE  I am sure I overpacked but oh well.  Better too many clothes than not enough.

* Go on Trip  IN PROGRESS  Havign a wonderful time, wish y'all were here.  Seriously!  I need someone other than Hubs to talk to. lolz

* Plan CB's Fall Housing/Food  DONE  Housing is set(and much cheaper than the last 3 years)and we've got a plan for the foodstuffs.

* Mail Eldest's Birthday Present  DONE  I mailed it out so that he got it the day before his birthday.  I sent him some craft beer nuts and a Birthday check....plus a bag of Smarties as that was his favorite candy as a kid and I always send him those now.  8-)

* Read 1, 2, 3, 4 Books  PASS  I read 3 books.  Didn't get to the 4th book though as I didn't have enough reading time in the car as I thought I'd have.

This was a quick read.....a short novella of YA fiction.  Interesting.

This novel got finished on the road last week.  Funny and dark.

And I can't for the life of me remember the first book I finished in July way before we left on this road trip.  Being on the road for so long just does things to your brain.  I'll have to wait until we get home and then I can find the book and list it.

* Inventory Freezer  DONE  I pawed through and added to the list I made for Daughter when I went to VA in May(after crossing off what she/they cooked then).  The kids are well stocked plus I gave them cash for what they needed to buy.  It will be interesting to see once I get home what actually got used/spent.  I suspect there will have been many nights of Chinese take-out knowing my Daughter.  ;-)

* Repair LA House  IN PROGRESS  Like everything else in Louisiana, nobody down there does anything with ANY sense of urgency.  So dealing with Lowe's and their installer through our real estate agent is taking FOREVER!!!  Lots of phone tag and nobody but the realtor gets back to us.  Frustrating is an inadequate word for this process. ugh.  But we are working on it as we travel across the country and now back toward home.

* List LA House  DONE  The house is listed and on the market even though there is still work to be done on it.  Anybody seeing the house is told what we plan to fix/update and SOME DAY it might get finished.

* Transfer LA House Utilities  DONE  Again, it took FOREVER and a day to get the utilities in our name.  The water people cashed our check but still no word on whether they actually turns on the water.  Will have the realtor check next trip she makes to the house. ugh.

* Pick Up New Glasses  DONE

Here are my new "readers".  If you can't tell they are purple on the outer edges and clear toward the middle.
And here are my sunglasses.........

Again, purple frames, if you can't tell the color, as it was dark in the car.

Happy with what got done(or started)though it wasn't a very long list in July.
August's list will probably be just as brief.

What did you get accomplished in July?  Any big projects or just "regular life" stuff?
What didn't you get crossed off your list that you wished you had gotten finished?


Monday, August 7, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Still Eating on the Road 2.0" Edition--

We stopped in Missoula MT on the way back to Idaho last week and went to one of Kim(sorry she was blurry but she never sits still!lol) and her Hubs' favorite eating places in that town.  That's a chicken fried steak that they shared for dinner.  The thing was HUGE!!! lolz  This should have been a prelude to the burger joint we went to two nights later.  They grow entrees large out here in the West.  ;-)

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--an Elk Burger w/Fries
2. Monday--Home cooked meal by Kim's sister?
3. Tuesday--Effie Tavern burger(split 4 ways probably-I hear they are massive!)
4. Wednesday--Something on the road-Montana
5. Thursday--Ditto-Wyoming
6. Friday--Ditto-Wyoming
7. Saturday--Ditto-South Dakota

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--an Elk Burger w/Fries
2. Monday--Hamburgers, Corn, Jello w/Fruit Mold
3. Tuesday--1/2 an Effie Tavern burger(Hubs wouldn't share his WHOLE burger.....I still can't believe he ate that whole thing!lol)
4. Wednesday--Salad, Turkey and Dressing, Cranberry Relish(a late Lunch and we didn't have dinner)
5. Thursday--Salad, Pizza
6. Friday--Steak Fingers, French Fries(I ate about half of what I was served)
7. Saturday--Salad, Pizza again

Last week saw 1 nights of home cooked dinners, 0 nights of leftovers and 6 nights of Eating Out and all of it was done while on the road. 2 nights of salad and pizza, a day apart....no pizza for weeks on end at home and bam! Some places we've stayed at on the way back are in very small towns and there are not many choices for meals(Thursday and Friday).  4 days we didn't eat lunch(or ate a late lunch and no dinner)and one day I ate very little lunch(the night we had Effie burgers).

I made 0 trips to the Weis Markets or any other store at home but I did browse through Rite-Aid and Big Lots and Shopko in Idaho and bought drinks and some other foodstuffs to bring home which I will report on after we get home.

My savings percentages last week and for the month so-far?    No clue. 

Leftovers going into this week........again, no clue.  We don't have leftovers while traveling, we just have to dump or leave what we don't finish.  Two slices of pizza got left behind at one motel.

Here is this week's "food plan"....not that I am cooking any of it anyway. lol......

1. Sunday--Huhot 
2. Monday--Home cooked meal at SAM's house?
3. Tuesday--Something at Sonya Ann's house?
4. Wednesday--Ditto or Eating Out
5. Thursday--Ditto or Eating Out
6. Friday--Taking Hubs' sister out to eat
7. Saturday--Something in OH where we are staying

This week will see ? new meal cooked, 0 nights of leftovers and ? nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out.

What I need to buy for this menu?  Daughter will be grocery shopping for the next few weeks so it's not in my hands again this week.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 Road Trip......Day 20 Ahead

Day 19 of this Summer Road Trip is in the books.  As we begin Day 20 there are 10 days left until we get home.

Yesterday we crossed off another state on our dwindling list of "Never Been To"s......

It was a stressful day between the traffic....South Dakota-who'd a thought that?.....and being alone in a car with Hubs for almost 4 days.  As the pioneers who crossed this land use to say, "today  I saw the elephant".  I snapped and wanted to just get out and walk home at that point.
Well, I didn't though.

One more day of driving and being alone with Hubs and then I get a reprieve as we get to hook up with SAM in Minnesota.
Then it's on to Sonya Ann's house for a few days, plus another 4 meet-ups with Family, Friends and Bloggers mixed in with another four nights in motels too.
I hope I can hold it together for another 10 days.

I don't see how folks who work on the road do it for extended periods of time and stay sane.  This different motel room game every night is tiring.  Between schlepping all your stuff into a motel and out the next day and the never knowing how bad/good the motel will be(it's been quite the wide variety of establishments!)it is unnerving and not conducive to staying calm and getting a good rest each night.
Add in all the time zone changes we've been through too plus some days we don't know what time or DAY it is.
Both Hubs and I are a bit cranky at this point.

Day 20 ahead and we cross off the last "Not Been To" State we are slated to hit this trip from the list and then it's all familiar real estate we've seen before(pretty much).

My poor camera has gotten a work out as well.  I am approaching 4 Thousand photos taken.  I sure will have my work cut out for me once I get home with tons of editing of those.

Ok, I've got to get moving here.  A mystery breakfast awaits once I get dressed.  I wonder what it will consist of?  Such a crap shoot each morning with the vittles.  We've always got our dinner leftovers tucked in the room fridge we can reheat if the offerings are sparse and/or inedible. lolz

I'll try to post again tomorrow or Tuesday if I am still alive/can function/can get online.

Have a great Sunday and pray for me that I don't lose it today on the boring drive East. ;-)


Friday, August 4, 2017

Frugal Friday......the August 4th Edition

This one will be short as we are on vacation and my brain is sort of scattered with driving and moving around so much.....and being with the dynamo called KIM for the last 7 of 9 days of this road trip adventure. 8-)
There is no "we stayed home and didn't spend" type frugalness this week, sorry.

* We have been able, while traveling alone and staying in motels, to eat only two meals a day on some days.  We stay in motels that served "breakfast" so the cost of one of those two meals is rolled into the price you pay at the motel.  Although each motel has a different definition of "breakfast" so you never know how good or wretched that meal will be. lolz

* I asked Kim, the night before we left her house, to please print me out a coupon for Shopko(a smallish discount department store in her parts). We stopped before leaving Idaho so I could use it to get a few things.  I saved $10 on my $32 order that way and I now have 3 Christmas presents tucked away(well in the car trunk until we get home).

* Speaking of Kim, she took me up to her Rite-Aid to fill a prescription and we both got free or better-than-free light bulbs using the deal this week on GE products.

* Speaking of Rite-Aid, the ones in Idaho sell wine and beer.  I picked up a 6-pack of beer for my kids(both legal drinking age now)and since it was Rite-Aid I also got 20% off on the purchase.  I figured the 20% Wellness discount wouldn't work on liquor but I was wrong.  Go me!

* At one point traveling from Twin Falls to Ashton Idaho we made a stop for lunch with Kim and her Hubs Joel.  They chose Applebee's.  I brought along a gift card so we paid for all our meals and used that gift card which meant only $22+ OOP.  Woohoo!

* There have been so many souvenir temptations along the way.  Overall I have been pretty good about not overspending on them.  Places like Yellowstone Park and the place we were yesterday were fairly outrageous in their prices so I haven't bought much at the big sites/parks/museums.  My best souvenir scores have been at highway travel plaza stores. lolz  I have a soft spot this trip for t-shirts and books it seems.

* I haven't bought any groceries since I haven't been home and haven't been cooking at all!  I have bought some drinks for using while traveling however but that's a small cost compared to buying groceries at home.  At least I am picking up drinks by the 6 pack or at discount places(Big Lots/Walmart)instead of paying $1.89 or so at gas station convenience stores or even more at motel vending machines.

So what did you do that was frugal this week?


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Halfway Done!

Tomorrow we leave Kim's house and start the journey back East to PA.

We are at the halfway mark on this trip and I have to say, I am kinda tired.   And I am not the one doing all the driving(so far)!!

Being on the go-go-go every day(until today)for 2 weeks in this extreme(for me at least)heat has been sapping my energy.  I have tried not to let it make me less than charming company but it has been hard.

I sure wish the gods hadn't decided to make the latter part of July so warm wherever we've gone so far.  And it looks like the first part of August will be just as brutal as far as temperatures go.

It's 102F as I type this here in Idaho and we are "getting out of Dodge", as they say, just in time before it hits 106F later this week.

We've had some good times so far, even in the heat.....along with a near death experience. lolz

We'll mark another state off my "Never Been To" List tomorrow and then head back through Montana, before dropping back down into Wyoming for a couple of days and then off to another "first"-South Dakota.  The day after that North Dakota also gets crossed off that list as well.

In 6 days we'll be in MN to see SAM and the day after that, we'll be at Sonya Ann's place, then in OH 4 days later to see Chris and Rachel and home another 4 days after hitting OH.

I figure when I do finally get home, after doing a mountain of laundry and catching up on all my financial book work, I'll prolly sleep for a week!

Then the real fun beginnings.....editing photographs that will likely number about 2000+.  Gulp.

Then I have to blog about last August's trip before I can recount THIS Summer's crazy adventure.

And yes Anne, I have finally gotten to see the "infamous deck" and have photographic proof to share about it. lolz