Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another Giveaway......Sluggy's Boring Blog Box

Ok Folks, here is the third Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway for 2016.

The last box went to a winner in Canada so she didn't get everything.
I have taken what she didn't want the most and have added some more things to make up a new awesome box of goodied for you all to win!

Here is what you can win if your entry is picked.......

1 x Dove Shampoo
1 x Listerine Mouth Wash(Agent Blue Kid's)
1 x Olay In-Shower Lotion
1 x Jergen's Sun Glow Lotion
1 x Tresemme Dry Shampoo(trial size)
1 x Bayer 325mg Aspirin
1 x Arm & Hammer Toothpaste
2 x Russel Stover's mini Chocolate boxes
1 x Reach Toothbrush
1 x Simply Venus disposable Razors
1 x Scunci Kids Barrettes
1 x Maybelline Mascara(black)
4 x Sinful Nail Polish(Blue Persuasion, Dawn, Love Bite, Dumpling, )
2 x Wet n' Wild Lip Sticks(Will You Be With Me? and Dark Wine)
1 x Cover Girl Eye Shadow(Tapestry Taupe)

Over $60 in regular retail of toiletries(and chocolate).

Here are close-up photos of the potential winnings.............

I'll leave this giveaway open until Sunday, May 15th, at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time, so that gives everyone a full 15+ days to enter this one.  On the 16th I'll put all the valid entries into a container and draw out a name and that person wins.

You may get ONE ENTRY EVERY DAY by leaving a comment on this blog post until the Giveaway ends.
Tell me what here is the thing you most want to win in your comment or tell me whatever you feel like telling me in your comment.  8-)

You can also get 3 BONUS ENTRIES by posting this Giveaway on your own Blog OR if you are a Follower of this blog.  Please leave 3 separate entries for these bonus entries with either a link to your blog post where you talk about the giveaway OR the name you follow under so I can verify your entries.

  Disclaimer--This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses within the US only.
I sent the last box to Canada and I found that the rates have gone way up since the last time I mailed anything to Canada!
Ouch.  As I can't afford to spent $25 to ship a prize anymore I have to keep these giveaways to US readers only now.  Sorry but that's how it has to be. 8-(

Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you in your comment.  If you're not a registered Blogger User with your contact information on your User page, please put your email addy in your comment or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get ahold of you if you win. If your Blogger associated user profile is a GOOGLE one with those Google Circles nonsense I CAN NOT CONTACT YOU as Google Circles doesn't show your contact info.  I again had to disqualify some entrants in the last giveaway because their profile is linked through Google and not Blogger.  Please check your profile!  And if you ARE entering through a Blogger profile PLEASE have contact info(email addy)in that profile.  If I can't access your email addy I can't contact you so email me your email addy or add your email address to your User Profile.  If you have sent me your email addy privately for a previous giveaway I still have it on file so no need to resend it for this giveaway.

If I can't contact you then you can't win.  I have had to disqualify more readers than I care to due to this issue and I sure don't want it to happen again.  Thanks!

So let's get this started!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Food & Toiletries Spending.....April Update

* I've closed out the April books a couple of days early as I am done shopping.  Anything bought in the next 3 days will come out of May's funds. *

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for APRIL 2016.

I have posted April's totals on the Total Grocery Savings for 2016 Page located HERE and have updated the Yearly Totals there.  I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in April.  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(2 at home this month). No kids under 20.


OOP  $4.75
Value  $20.45
Savings 76.77%

OOP  $20.00
Value  $54.64
Savings  63.40%

OOP  $62.56
Value  $84.00
Savings  25.52%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/gift card  $144.98
Value  $144.98
Savings 100%

OOP  $29.66
Qs/Ads $53.59
Value  $23.93
Savings  44.65%

OOP  $.98
Qs/Ads  $3.00
Value  $3.98
Savings  75.38%

OOP  $131.07
Qs/Ads  $137.64
Value  $268.71
Savings  51.22%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, the Bakery Outlet at 76.77% and Target at 75.78%.  My WORST savings rate was Maine Source at 25.52%.  Other than Maine Source, all other stores were at least 44.65% savings.
I'll take it. ;-)

I shopped at 7 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$249.02
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$381.33
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$630.35
TOTAL Savings of...................................60.50%
TOTAL Savings without Rite-Aid...........48.70%

Value of items excluding Rite-Aid bought ones was $485.37
Rite-Aid goods brought home totaled $144.98.

This closes out the April food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into April wanting to do a $250 food budget for the month.  I ended up staying under my goal just barely.
Yay me! ;-)

If you look at our Eating-Out Totals for April they are down from March's so we weren't buying food less and eating out more this month, which means we really were paying less to eat.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went down by 15.98% in April to 60.50% compared to March's 76.48% savings average.  Yes, this level of savings, though down from March's savings level is still a good problem to have! lolz

If you delete the items bought at Rite-Aid in April our savings percentage goes down to 48.70% which is still well above the 40% savings rate threshold I like to stay over.  We "brought home" less things from Rite-Aid this month so the difference between all savings % for April and not including Rite-Aid savings % in the April total is less of a range than in March when we "brought home" a lot more from Rite-Aid.

We did empty some freezer space even though the salmon and chicken sausage deals meant adding a bit more to the freezer, more food got used up than got added.  Some pantry goods also got used up and not replaced and the only new pantry goods that were added were items we had used up.

With 4 months accounted for, I have spent a total of $1190.22 on food/toiletries so far in 2016 which averages out to $297.56 per month spent.  The average in March stood at $313.73 per month spent to that point in 2016 so we are down $16.17 spent per month from last month's year-to-date tally. Compared to this point in the year to 2015's totals we have spent $43.64 less on food and toiletries in 2016.

It would be so nice to continue this less spending trend back down below $4K for the year.  Now that my daughter is moving back home for a couple of years I know this low amount of spending on food will not continue and we most probably won't get under $4K spent on it all for 2016.
And I am ok with that.

LOOKING AHEAD To May 2016.........
College Boy returns home from college on Summer break 1 week into the month.  This means our food spending will increase in May.  But some of us will be out of town this month and not be eating at home, so that might counterbalance somewhat the increase in food spending that CB being home  will require.

I will continue with my usual shopping ways in loss leaders or great deals which we can use.  I will try to empty some more freezer space and eat down from the pantry as well this month.
I am going to try for a $300 food/toiletries spending month in May.  A slight $50 increase hopefully will be enough to cover 1 more mouth to feed and still be able to stay under budget.

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 April?
*  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?


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Interesting Stories in Genealogy

Yah, I know some of you out there are thinking, "Gee, Genealogy is so could you think anything about it is interesting?".

I hear you.
But.......sometimes you come upon tragic, disturbing and ironic circumstances in your family tree.
And sometimes you get all three occurring in the same person's life story.

Recently I was filling in details of the outer branches of my family tree and came upon a man named WILLIE PLEASANT LIGGON.

Willie was the brother of Ivy Liggon who married first Willie Townley Minter, then Raymond Lafayette Foster second.  I am related to Raymond directly, through my Foster line and then again by marriage, as he married Rosabel Vassar my Great Aunt(sister of my Grandmother).
My 2 x Great Grandmother, Luretta Foster was the half-sister of Wesley Baxter Foster, Jr.(they had different mothers), and Raymond was the son of Wesley Jr. so Raymond is both the husband of my Great Aunt Rosabel and my 1st cousin 3x removed.
Ivy and Raymond never had children as they married in 1949 and Ivy was 51 years old.  By the way, Raymond was only 37 when they wed making Ivy a cougar well before it became fashionable. 8-)
So the Liggon line is only related through marriage.

Got it?  I am glad because sometimes even I can't make sense of this Family Macrame of mine! lolz

So getting back to Willie Liggon, Ivy's brother.  He was born 31 Jan 1902 in Richmond VA, the fourth child in a family of 6 children to Alonzo Columbus Liggon and Willie Ann Wright Liggon.

Willie Liggon married Zillah Isabella Sandridge on 10th August 1920 in Weldon, NC.  Isabella's older brother, Herman H. Sandridge applied for the marriage license and was surety for the bond.

In the 1920 Federal Census Willie Liggon is enumerated on the 10th of January so is still single at this point and living with his parents and siblings. He works as a plumber.
Willie is 18 years old later that year when he marries barely 16 year old Zillah.

Willie can't be found in the 1930 Census however.
We find his wife, Zillah in the 1930 Census living with a son, Willie Liggon Jr, 6 years old, and she has remarried to Merrill Lyle Craig.
A little more digging and we found Willie Liggon's death certificate.

Willie Liggon died the 12th of August 1928.  He was only 26.5 years old.  Such a tragedy to die so young and leave a widow 24 years old with a small child of about 4 years old.

Within the death record comes the disturbing he died.  No medical health issues, no work accident.
Willie Liggon drowned in the James River off of Mayos Island.

Mayos Island is named for the Mayo Family of Richmond who received permission to construct a toll bridge across the James River in 1785.

The Mayo Bridge intersected the island as it crossed the James connecting the towns of Manchester and Richmond.  It is now known as the 14th St. Bridge and carries present day Route 360 across the James River.  It was the first bridge over the James at Richmond.  The bridge was rebuilt over the years as floods and then the Confederate forces burning it in 1865 in a last resort to keeping the Yankees out of Richmond, kept destroying the bridge.
In 1910 rebuilding the bridge became a priority and the latest incarnation of Mayo's Bridge was completed in 1913.  It still stands today.

Mayo Island began life as 2 adjoining islands actually; Tollhouse Island and Confluence Island. These islands were merged and expanded with fill becoming the Mayo Island you find today.  The Tollhouse section of the island held the Toll Booth for those crossing Mayos Bridge. This Tollhouse section also contained a wooded grove used for picnics, barbecues, fishing and quoits matches.  It was a family park that local Richmonders enjoyed on their weekends and days off during the first part of the Twentieth Century.

Willie Liggon's cause of death is listed as "accidental drowning at Mayo Island".  We can suspect that Willie had taken his wife and child for a holiday that hot August day to Mayo Island and had found himself in the James River either on purpose for a swim(since Mayo Island is downstream of the falls and rapids near Richmond on the James) or accidentally falling in and drowning, probably in full view of his family.
What a heartbreaking end to a young life!

And then in what I find to be a highly ironic twist Willie Liggon was buried in Riverview Cemetery on the shores of the James River.

Riverview Cemetery in Richmond, on the banks of the James River, is not 2 miles upstream from Mayo Island where Willie met his tragic end.

No one has made a memorial for Willie Liggon in the Cemetery on "Find A Grave" yet so I'll be doing that and linking family members to his memorial in the coming days.
Maybe this post and his memorial will help family "find" him again and keep his memory alive.


Monday, April 25, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "We ARE Using Stuff Up" Edition......

Two weekends ago before I made my spaghetti sauce I took a photo of my home canned tomatoes above.
This is the last jar of canned tomatoes I have.  I haven't grown enough tomatoes the last 2 Summers to can anything for later....heck last Summer the deer ate every. single. tomato. sigh
I shed a small tear but then realized I don't NEED canned tomatoes since I have about 20 cans of tomatoes in the stockpile still that I got cheaply with sales and Qs from the grocery store.   I don't need no stinkin'

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Eating Out
2. Monday--Tempura Shrimp, Cole Slaw
3. Tuesday--Rigatoni in Meat/Mushroom Sauce
4. Wednesday--BBQ Chicken, Leftover Cabbage
5. Thursday--French Onion Soup Gratineé
6. Friday--Leftover Sloppy Joes or Taco Salad
7. Saturday--?

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Eating Out
2. Monday--Tempura Shrimp, Cole Slaw, Sugar Snap Peas
3. Tuesday--Rigatoni in Meat/Mushroom Sauce
4. Wednesday--Fend for Yourself(Hubs had Kielbasa and Cabbage, I had a Chicken Tender Sandwich)
5. Thursday--Potato Crusted Cod, Brussels Sprouts, Leftover Cole Slaw
6. Friday--Corn on the Cob, Rigatoni in Sauce, Watermelon
7. Saturday--Taco Salad made from Leftover Sloppy Joe meat

6 meals cooked at home.
4 new meals, 2 nights of leftovers, and 1 night of Eating Out.
Mostly kept to the plan but no bbq chicken or Onion Soup.  Those move to this week.

As for my grocery spending..... I spent a total of $74 last week.
I have spent $249.02 in all for April so far and have $.98 left of my food budget with 5 days to go.

Leftovers going into this week.......Rigatoni in Mushroom/Meat Sauce, Sloppy Joe/Taco Meat, some Brussels Sprouts and some Cabbage from the World's Largest Head of Cabbage. lol

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

1. Sunday--Smoked BBQ Ribs, Cole Slaw, leftover COC
2. Monday--French Onion Soup
3. Tuesday--Something Leftover and Easy.....Tacos?
4. Wednesday--Leftover Ribs, etc.
5. Thursday--BBQ Baked Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes
6. Friday--Salmon, Noodles for Hubs, Veggie pulled from the freezer
7. Saturday--No clue yet

This week will see 4 new meals cooked and 2 meals of leftovers(re-purposed into new dishes or not) and 0 meals Out and 1 meal of  "I haven't a clue yet". lolz

What I need to buy for this menu.....nothing(for the 6 meals I know what I am preparing).

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, April 24, 2016

Life Is Always Changing

So I alluded to some changes coming down the pike in 2016 for us at Chez Sluggy in earlier posts.

And here is the big daughter is going back to school and moving back in with us in PA.
And she is bringing her boyfriend.
As Sonya Ann would say, "yaaaaay" with a frowning face. 8-(

As of now we don't have a hard timeline for when this move will occur as Daughter is dealing with medical issues and wants them address in Louisiana before they move to Pennsylvania(at least right now that is her plan).  So when she starts school(and moves here)will depend on when the medical is addressed.  She basically needs Laparoscopic back surgery.  I won't get into details on this here.
We are at the whims of her spine doc and our insurance provider(and probably appeals by said insurer)as to when she will be able to get the surgery.  If she gets it soon, she can start college in the Fall and will be moving here in August.  If they keep delaying then she starts in the Spring and moves here in December.  If her spine doc refuses to do the surgery on her then she can quit her job and move back sooner rather than later and get a new spine doc up here.

So I have either until August or until December to make room in the house for her and the boyfriend.
Oh and did I mention they are bringing their dog too? ;-)
So we are going from a household of 2 and 1 kid here part time(when not in school)to a household of 4 and 1 kid here part time and a rather large crazy dog.

We have very little clutter left in our house(just lots of dirt lolz)but I am again searching the house with a keen eye toward getting rid of more "stuff".  Hubs has lots of "stuff", from his book addiction, to his chess accoutrements to his beer brewing supplies.  My "stuff" is a fabric stash and lots and lots of toiletries.  The food stockpile is not "stuff" and will be needed even more once they all move in here.

I do still have some things I never listed on eBay(about 5 tubs worth)which I will be going through soon and doing something with it all.  The immediate problem is that Daughter's old room is now the Toiletry Room so most of the toiletries here need to be moved elsewhere.  If I had my druthers I wouldn't be selling or giving a lot of this away(as we will use it eventually and with 2 more people in the house we will be going through the toiletries at a faster clip).  But I took a serious look at it all and some of it needs to go for lack of room.  I guess I could keep it all and have Rubbermaid tubs stacked around in all the rooms of the house but I don't want the house to resemble a storage unit. lolz

So, even though some of you readers feel I don't need the cash and I should just give it all away, I will be putting some of the toiletry stash up for sale locally.  I really don't want to have to organize a yard sale/toiletry sale or go to a flea market and sell my excess, as I have done in the past, as it's time consuming and just something I don't want to deal with at this time.  So I am using a FB yard sale page for my town presently to sell items and will expand out and list items on the local Craigslist board if the sales just don't happen as quickly as I need them to.  And if neither of those ideas pan out then I can get use to the "Early American Storage Unit" Look.  ;-)

If I had my druthers I wouldn't sell any of this but life changes and you roll with the punches.

I listed a few items on Friday and a few more on Saturday morning and here is what I've earned for my efforts...........

$70 bucks and someone is picking up shampoo this afternoon which will make a grand total of $90 so far.  8-)))

Once Daughter and BF move in we will have added expenses all around.  At least until the BF gets a job here and starts paying for some expenses. With Daughter in school full time and depending on how her back is she might not be able to get a part time job for awhile.
So yeah, I do need the money to add to what it will cost us in additional expenses(food, electric which includes a/c and heat)to live here.  I'd rather not stop putting money away for retirement expenses like I do now but if I have to stop my Savings Challenge for awhile I can.
 And until Daughter sells her house(the proceeds of which will go toward paying for college-the portion her scholarships don't pay)we will be fronting her money for college expenses too.  In the end we will get back what we spend on the college expenses but not on the living expenses.

All I can say is that Daughter is darn lucky her parents are careful with their money and in a position to help her and willing to give her a help with a fresh start in life.

How do I feel about all this?
Well, I've been in a funk most of the Winter over this.  I'd go so far as to say I've been depressed. Going from a nice quiet and peaceful household of 2+ to a household of 4+ and a dog is not something that was on my radar as we moved toward retirement.  And we really don't know her BF well so having a stranger living here produced some anxiety in me.  There are elements of my personality that are gregarious and outgoing but when I am home I am pretty introverted.  I need a quiet place to call home to recharge myself.
And my Daughter is somewhat high maintenance and brings the drama at time(plus her relationship with BF adds to the drama). We seemed to have a great relations once she moved to Louisiana. lolz

Add in that having them here until she is finished with school is also going to push back our moving out of PA timeline.  We had hoped to leave in the Spring of 2018 and relocate once we paid for the last semester of College Boy's tuition, but Daughter may not be done with her degree by then.  So we are stuck here until she gets that diploma.  Well we CAN move away but we can't sell this house until she's finished with school.

I have doubts about how this will all work in the end but I am willing to make changes in my life to accommodate them and their needs.  I hope we can avoid conflict and I am trying to stay positive about what will come.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weis Friday Deals

I did indeed go back to Weis(PMITA)Markets on Friday to do the One Day Deals only available on Friday.  I put it all away before thinking to take a picture. 8-(

I got.....
1 Watermelon for $4(despite the time of year it WAS good!)
1 head of Lettuce for .99¢
1 head of Cauliflower for $2
10 ears of FL Corn for $3(again, early but sweet!)  Dinner last night was roasted corn on the cob and watermelon for me.  Hubs added leftover Rigatoni in Sauce.

I also picked up an in-store bakery blueberry pie for Hubs for $3.99.

My two best deals though were meats--
I tried that chicken breakkfast sausage for $2 I bought on Thursday and it was excellent so I bought 5 more packages and "fed" our freezer. lol
And I bought a slab of ribs which cost $7.19 for 5.21 lbs.  How could I not for the price of $1.38 a lb!
This slab will be going on the smoker Sunday morning and will be enough for 2 meals for Hubs & I.

Another $31.18 spent OOP, $32.49 saved or 51% savings rate on these groceries.
Still under my $250 food spending Budget for April but by less than $1.

I've now got to resist spending anymore on food until a Week from this coming Sunday.
Not sure if I can do that but I'll try.  ;-)

Ok, time to get some laundry done, sell a few toiletries and get those ribs rubbed down for tomorrow.

What's on your agenda this weekend?


Friday, April 22, 2016

Weis Markets Run on Thursday

I went up to Weis(PMITA)Markets yesterday to check out the instant sticker discounts.  Found some surprising good deals while I was there that didn't even necessitate that I bring any coupons with me.

I usually check out the Weis ad online which they release on Tuesday, and gather my Qs and see what Deals I want to get when they go live on Thursday.  But Weis' online site was down Tuesday and Wednesday so I went in without knowing what I was going to do....other than check for instant sticker discounts.

It wasn't the frugal-est of shops since I bought a snack type thing and sodas but things went aok.

Here is what I came out with.......

As usual everything was on sale(except the milk which is never on discount here in PA).

First I picked up a cuke and BOGO free grape tomatoes.  I also had a Weis Q they mailed me for .75¢ off the tomatoes.  I like to make a cuke and tom salad with a splash of Italian Dressing on it.

Then I found in the refrigerated case of healthy drinks a 50% sticker on a small POM bottle, as well as 50% off stickers on the 3 Bolthouse juices you also see in the photo.  Each Bolthouse juice bottle also had a hangtag with a $1/1 Bolthouse juice Q on it.  I don't usually buy these pre-made juice concoctions but for $.64, $1.49 and $1.99 each I'll be drinking some healthy juice/smoothie drinks this coming week.  The "Healthy Greens" doesn't look very appetizing but it's full of veggies so I'll just close my eyes when I swig that one down. lolz

Next it was over to the fresh meat counter but they didn't have any sticker deals today that tempted me, so I was off to the frozen foods case where I found Halal(kosher) chicken maple breakfast sausages with $1 off instant stickers.  These usually go for $5.99 a 14 ounce pack but were on sale for $3 a pack, after the $1 off sticker, they were $2 each.  I would have bought more but I don't know if Hubs will eat these(chicken for breakfast?loz)so I only bought 3.  I intend to open one up this morning and try them.  If they pass the taste test, and if the rest that had stickers on them are still there, I'll go back on today and scoop them up as well.

Following around the perimeter of the store I found those large burrito-sized tortillas on clearance for $1.50(only 1 pack left)and I got the milk over there as well.

I fancied some popcorn so picked a 3 pack box up that was on sale.  While in the drink/snack aisle I saw Powerade Zero drinks were on sale for .88¢ each so I bought a rare flavor I never see in sugar-free, Strawberry.  Then I had a craving for that good dark ginger-ale, it was on sale so into my cart it jumped.  Also a bottle of Polar Soda half & half was on sale so it accompanied the ginger ale.

I found a pack of in-store bakery made bagels for 50% off in the bread area and then nearby they had a display of that 1893 Pepsi I've seen ads for on tv.  It was on sale and they had a tear pad of coupons on the display(which doubled to $1 off 2 drinks)so I had to get one of each flavor to try.  I wouldn't buy this for the reg. price of $1.99 a can but with sale/Q I'll spend .75¢ a can to check it out.  Even if it's tasty I won't be buying it as a regular part of my shopping, but sometimes you have to break out of your comfort zone and try new things.

The last thing that caught my eye was 6-pack bottles of Pepsi branded sodas were on sale for $2.50 each when you bought 4.  The diet Dr. Pepper ones all had $1 off this 6-pack coupons stuck to them, so I got $15.96 worth of DDP for $6($1.50 a 6-pack of bottles)after sales and Qs.
Summer drink supply?
Heck ya!

My little shop cost me $33.53 OOP after discounts.
Regular price of my groceries was $77.53 making this a savings of 57%.
And I am still under $250 food spending for the month.
Yeah Baby!! 8-)

I'll be going back today for the Friday specials as they have some fresh produce on discount today only, including watermelon, strawberries and corn on the cob.  Dinner tonight might just be watermelon and roasted COC and nothing else.
Yah, I could go for that.......


Thursday, April 21, 2016

John Redfern.....My Wandering Ancestor Part 3

Here is where we left off on the last installment--

It's 1860 and John Redfern is farming in Richland Township, Jackson County Iowa.  Also living with him are his second wife, Mary Hagen Redfern and some of their children; Alice(14), Francis(12), Peter(9)and Anna(9).

Also in 1860 we find Sarah Redfern, daughter of John Redfern and his first wife, Sarah Elizabeth O'Neal, married to Robert Spencer Bowman and living in Orange County, New York.  They have five children together and all the children are living with their parents.

Since John Redfern does not appear on any 1870 Federal Census we have to go to other types of documentation available to us to track his movements.
If you thought he'd still be living in Jackson County Iowa in 1870 you would be very much mistaken!
Yes, John Redfern was on the move again.

In December 1868 John Redfern appears on a tax assessment list for 1000 acres of land he owns in Stinking Water Valley Montana.
Also appearing on that same assessment page is James, his son, as the owner of property in nearby California Gulch Montana.  Jame was assessed taxes on his 412 acres in July of 1868.

So we know by this tax record that by the end of 1868, both John Redfern and son James were in Montana.

Then we can look at the Montana Pioneers Society applications for John Redfern and three of his sons; William John, James and Francis Redfern.  Part of this Society application asks when and where the applicants arrived in Montana and where they traveled from to get to Montana.

William John Redfern, John Redfern's oldest son, was the first to make the move to Montana, arriving in late August of 1863 at Bagdadtown, Biven's Gulch.  He said he traveled from Denver, Colorado through Salt Lake City, but we don't know how long he was in Colorado before leaving for Montana.  When he arrived in Montana he was 32 years old.

Here is the most probably route William John took to Montana....

The leg from Jackson Iowa to Denver Colorado is 864.9 miles.

The leg from Denver CO to the Ruby Valley area of Montana is 925.7 miles.

Before we tell of the journeys of the other Redferns here's a bit about western overland travel during the 1860's.

First off there were no highways, trains, ferries or even much of any roads once you got west of the Mississippi River in the 1860's.
There were well established trails which the native peoples in America had forged and used for well over 300+ years.

In the 1840's after the discovery of gold in California and as the US government began land grabs from the British and Spanish and Mexico to annex those resource rich lands to America, and the Native peoples were driven off by the US military, people began moving beyond the Mississippi in larger numbers.

There were 3 important migration Trails at this time; The California Trail, the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail.

This was basically one trail west, the starting point of which was Independence Missouri(except for the Mormons who started from Nauvoo IL).  Many groups took boats up the Missouri River from Saint Louis, but others made the trek from somewhere East to Independence MO to begin their Westward journey.

Once you made it into Wyoming at South Pass which was on the Continental Divide where two passes were located through the Rocky Mountains that is where these three trails diverged.

The Mormons headed southwest into the Salt Lake Valley of modern day Utah.
The CA and OR bound travelers zigged northwesterly to Fort Hall Idaho Territory where the CA immigrants headed south westerly across Nevada and then decided on which of three routes into California, while those with an Oregan destination verged off from Fort Hall ID northwesterly across Idaho and into Oregon.

Here's the route of the Oregon Trail in full.

And here is the Mormon Trail.

You can see that the bulk of the trail of all three traveled along the same route, following along the banks of the Great Platte River from Omaha NE into Wyoming.
There were no bridges along the route so rivers had to be followed and then forded where water levels were low using makeshift rafts to cross the water.

Traveling into the west was a slow arduous process, fret with bad weather conditions, having to stop for months at a time and "winter over" at forts or outposts of civilization.  Add in the danger of wild animals all around you and that there were still native peoples that hadn't been driven onto reservations or into other parts of the country by the US Calvary plus bands of marauders(of all races) who lived off of raiding settlers wagon trains(not to mention killing many of them).
And don't forget about injuries and diseases that were likely to visit upon these immigrants.  If you didn't break your leg fixing a wagon wheel or run out of fresh water then you might get dysentery instead.  Many who traveled in these wagon trains died and where buried along the trail.
This was no pleasant journey.

We don't know how long William John Redfern took to make his crossing from Denver to Ruby Valley Montana.  We know that from Kanesville Iowa on the Missouri River until they reached the Salt Lake Valley, the first party of Mormons took 10 weeks in relatively good weather to cover that much ground.  We also don't know if William John went to SLC and then North or zagged North into Wyoming via the Soda Springs Cut-Off route and then due North into Montana.  We just know that it was a difficult journey and he didn't travel alone but with a wagon train of other settlers of some sort.

William John is listed in the 1870 Federal Census, living in Madison County, Montana Territory with a wife, Margaret.  (This is Margaret Cain, born about 1840 in Ireland.  Looking through the immigration records I haven't been able to pinpoint which Margaret Cain she is and who her parents were but it's most likely that she immigrated to America from Ireland as a teen or adult and came alone.  There are only a couple of official documents attached to her, one being her marriage record and the other being her mention in this 1870 census.  She died before the 1880 Federal Census was taken.)

Now as for James his brother.....
James Redfern, the second son of John Redfern, was the second to make his way to Montana.  In 1860, a family narrative says, he was living in Nebraska, though he doesn't appear in the Census for that year.  You'll recall he arrived in America in 1850 and made his way to his father's family in Iowa.  At some point he made his way to Nebraska by 1860.
Jackson Iowa to Nebraska is a journey of 548.9 miles

He arrived in Virginia City, Madison County, Montana Territory from somewhere in Nebraska in 1864.

Again we don't know if James traveled via Salt Lake Valley and due North into Montana or if he traveled via the Soda Springs Wyoming Cut-Off.  The second route would have taken off a measurable amount of miles from his journey as the NE to MT via SLC route is 864.9 miles.

At any rate, James married in 1866 in Montana, to Julia Edwards, and appears in the tax assessment book for Montana in July 1868. James was about 31 years old when he got to Montana.

Then in 1864, John Redfern, along with his son, Francis Redfern, left their home in Jackson County, Iowa and made the journey to Montana too, arriving 16 August 1864 to Stinking Water Valley. Stinking Water is one of the names people used for the Ruby River, a tributary of the Beaverhead River.  It is said that this area on the River had sulphur deposits which made it "stink".  The deposits also kept the area warmer than surrounding areas in Montana so it had been a hunting ground for Native Americans as the warmth and running water even in Winter brought wildlife to this spot.
Francis Redfern was a boy of 15 years old and John Redfern was an elderly man of 59 years old when they arrived in the Ruby Valley of Montana.

We do know from the Pioneers Society application that John and Francis took a route from Jackson Iowa across the Great Plains(Iowa and Nebraska)to Salt Lake Valley and then North into the Ruby Valley of Montana.  This route constituted a 1650.3 mile journey.

Another family narrative fills in some of the details on the migration of Francis and John Redfern.
John and family(besides my ancestor Sarah)were living in Eastern Iowa up to late 1863 when John decided to head to Oregon to homestead there.  Oregon had just been made a state in 1859 so there was plenty of wide open spaces still and land to lay claim to there.
At some point before 1860 James left the Redfern homestead in Iowa for Nebraska and William John left Iowa also for Denver Colorado-date unknown but probably before 1863 when his father John Redfern decided to move to Oregon.
I find it interesting that John the father was going to Oregon but his oldest two sons most probably were headed to Montana as their destination as neither mentions in their applications about a change of plans from Oregon to Montana.

Teh family narrative continues that John and Francis along with some of the Edwards family(a multi generational clan of one of an Edwards line)who were neighbors in Jackson Iowa left in a wagon train headed toward Oregon.  The wagon master was a man named Charles Wesley Gideon.  This is most probably the husband of Phoebe Edwards.  (Phoebe Edwards was the sister of Manville Eli Edwards, who was the father of Julia Edwards, whom married James Redfern in 1866 in Montana.  More on the Edwards Family later.)

There was tragedy surrounding this trip.  Just before departing two Edwards children drowned in a river.  This was probably a smaller tributary of the North Fork of the Maquoketa River called Farmer's Creek.  Farmer's Creek is where the Redferns and Edwards homestead were located.

The wagon train made is as far as Salt Lake City before having to Winter over in place. Another of the group's 2 year old child died that winter in SLC.
At some point along the way news got to them of silver being found in Montana which made the group vote to head North to Laurin, Montana instead of continuing onward to Oregon.
So it's only by chance(and the prospects of making it rich in a silver strike)that John Redfern ended up in Montana near his oldest sons.

What was my direct ancestor, Sarah Redfern Bowman, during these years?   In the 1860 Federal Census she and husband Robert Spencer Bowman are living with their five surviving children in Montgomery, Orange County, New York, as we saw in the last installment of this saga.
In 1863 the US Congress passed a conscription which was the first wartime draft of US citizens in american history.  This act required the registration of all males between the age of 20 and 45, including aliens who had the intention of becoming citizens in the future.  You could buy an exemption from this draft for $300(this would be over $5000 in today's money)or by finding someone who would go in your stead.
I don't need to mention that this exemption which only the wealthiest families could afford led to the NYC Draft Riots of 1863.(If you saw the film, "Gangs of New York", these riots were briefly touched on in this movie.)
Robert Spencer Bowman/s name appears in the records for the 11th NY Congressional District which included Orange County NY.  He was 36 years old and still not a citizen of the USA.  Thankfully my ancestors were tucked away "upstate" in June of 1863 and weren't in the midst of the 3 days of murder and violence of the Draft Riots.

We get a bonus as New York state did their own state census a few times in the 1800's so we have a record of the family in 1865 as well which is only one year after her father John and half-brother Francis Redern made it to Montana.  My Redren/Bowmans are still living in Montgomery, NY and Robert the father is still working as a laborer. Two more children have been born since 1860; James M. in 1861, and Sarah J. in 1864. James Bowman is my 2 x Great Grandfather.

So why didn't the rest of John Redfern's family(his wife Mary Jane, and children Barnabas, Margaret, Alice, May, Anna Susan, her twin brother Peter Joseph, Patrick and Mary J)go to Montana as well?
And what happened to them all?  And what happened to the 4 Redfern men who went to Montana?
And what happened to John Redfern's daughter by his first wife, Sarah Redfern Bowman and her family in NY?

All will be revealed next time in Part 4 of our saga.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Little Musical Interlude

College Boy plays bass in two different bands....these are outside of the college bands he is in.

The Docile Sponge is the first band he was/is part of.  They formed it while he was still in high school and their music is alternative/heavy metal-ish.

The other band he is in is called The New Nowhere.  They formed up at college and have been playing a few gigs here and there.  Nothing involving making money yet. ;-)
Their music could be classified as indie/punk/pop.

 College Boy is on the left on bass, Blaine on drums, Steven on guitar/vocals.

Hubs and I went to hear them play on Sunday as it wasn't too far from here.
The venue is someone's old barn building in the middle of nowhere(fitting for The New Nowhere to play there, right? lol).

There were 5 or 6 bands slated to play that evening, starting at 6 pm.  Things were a bit disorganized so the bands didn't start actually playing until 7 pm.  We had hoped to stay and hear more of the bands but with the late start we left right after CB's band played because we wanted to leave before dark as we weren't confident of finding our what back out of there in the dark.
So we hung out with all the college aged indie music peeps, mostly from their college, for an hour before the show started.  I think one of the college kids who came to watch the show brought their mom but otherwise we were by far the oldest "kids" in the room.

I find this band's music a little more relatable than the other band he is in.
The tunes are more mainstream. however the lyrics are still filled with teenage/college angst.
Here are two of the songs from their set.

Performing "I Hate Last Summer"

Performing "You Can't Win Em All".
Their friend Brandon plays the trumpet on this one.
And excuse the large pole obstruction in this video which CB is hiding behind for most of the song. It's a very informal venue. lolz


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Earning Christmas Update.....First Quarter of 2016

I am trying to earn as many freebies for Christmas giving as I can this year.
Yep, it's one of my goals to keep/save my cash as much as possible and find freebies to give at Christmas.
That being said, I am under no illusion that I'll pull off a free Christmas in terms of gift-giving but at least I should be able to find enough to stuff the stockings this year, right?

So far here is what I've gotten for free during the 1st quarter of the year......

1 x full size bottle of Axe deodorant
1 x small bar of goat's milk soap
12 x packs of Juicy Fruit gum
1 x $10 Best Buy Gift card(for buying 20 packs of applesauce)

The gift card wasn't exactly free since I did have to use a stamp to mail away for it but for all intents and purposes, it's free.  ;-)

As I said, the gift card was for buying applesauce earlier in the year.
The soap was being handed out one weekend in February when Hubs and I went to Price Chopper to get beer.
The Axe was a freebie sample from the Walmart website in January.  The "sample" turned out to be a full sized deodorant.  There was an optional short survey they also sent about a month later to do online, which I did, as CB has used this before and I knew his views on the product.
All that gum was also gotten in January when Weis(PMITA)Markets had what seemed like a month long sale on Juicy Fruit gum for $1 a pack.  I paired that sale with as many JFG coupons I could glean from Coupons dotcom that month(which reset that coupon a couple of times during Jan.)and doubled at Weis to $1.

Granted it's a good start but I have between 2 and 4 stockings(4 if I do the grown kids' stockings too)to fill so this isn't going to cut it. lolz

I'll keep searching for freebies throughout the rest of the year and will report back 3 more times before the year ends.

I am fortunate that I do have all those toiletries I don't pay for from Rite-Aid which I can raid if I need to as well, if the freebies dry up. 8-)

So how is your Christmas gift gathering going this year?


Monday, April 18, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Musical Sunday" Edition......

Hubs and I got to see College Boy perform Sunday evening with his punk band from school.  There was an impromptu concert held at an informal venue(aka someone's old barn)about 45 minutes northwest of here.  The weather was stellar so we drove over for it and got to chat with CB too and bring him some essential supplies to get him through the last 20 days of school.

I'll upload the 2 videos I made later for your listening pleasure.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Ravioli(freezer)in Mushroom/Meat Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread
2. Monday--Leftover Meatloaf, leftover asparagus, leftover beets
3. Tuesday--Sloppy Joes made with beef/turkey, using homemade low-salt sauce, Rolls, Sugar Snap Peas(freezer)
4. Wednesday--Leftover Beef Bourguignon, Cuke and Tomato Salad
5. Thursday--Kielbasa(freezer) on Rolls, Collard Greens(freezer)
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers or FFY(Fend For Yourself)

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Ravioli(freezer)in Mushroom/Meat Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread
2. Monday--Leftover Meatloaf, leftover asparagus, leftover beets
3. Tuesday--Sloppy Joes made with beef/turkey, using homemade low-salt sauce, Rolls, Sugar Snap Peas(freezer)
4. Wednesday--Leftover Beef Bourguignon, Cuke and Tomato Salad
5. Thursday--Leftover Ravioli w/Mushroom/Meat Sauce
6. Friday--Pork Tenderloin sandwiches, CA medley veggie mix
7. Saturday--Kielbasa on Rolls with Onions and Peppers, Sauted Cabbage

7 meals cooked at home.
4 new meals, 3 nights of leftovers, and 0 nights of Eating Out.
Mostly kept to the plan but not necessarily in the order planned.

As for my grocery spending..... I spent a total of $44.78 last week.
I have spent $175.02 in all for April so far and have $74.98 left of my food budget with 12 days to go.

Leftovers going into this week.......Mushroom/Meat Sauce, Sloppy Joe Meat, Sauted Cabbage and 1/2 helping of CA Veggie Mix.

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

1. Sunday--Eating Out
2. Monday--Tempura Shrimp, Cole Slaw
3. Tuesday--Rigatoni in Meat/Mushroom Sauce
4. Wednesday--BBQ Chicken, Leftover Cabbage
5. Thursday--French Onion Soup Gratineé
6. Friday--Leftover Sloppy Joes or Taco Salad
7. Saturday--?

This week will see 4 new meals cooked and 1 meal of leftovers(re-purposed into new dishes or not) and 1 meals Out and 1 meal of  "I haven't a clue yet". lolz

What I need to buy for this menu.....Got the World's Largest Head of Cabbage last week so don't need that, BBQ chicken half and shrimp is in the freezer.  I have a large bag of onions so will do our favorite French Onion Soup(low sodium, not that dark brown sodium soup crap you get in restaurants), use up the Leftover Sloppy Jo meat and Meat Sauce I had last week.  Haven't a clue about Saturday's dinner yet.....depends on what if anything is left and/or what I pick up in the store this week or what I pluck out of the freezer.  Other than looking for meat markdowns I don't have any plans at the grocery store this week so far.  Maybe will buy milk, maybe not.

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, April 17, 2016

Rite-Aid Trip Today

I got some goodies this morning at Rite-Aid.

First off I activated a partner offer on Plenti dotcom for $1 in PPs wyb2 General Mills cereals and 2 other household offers as well-one for $3.99 in PPs wyb2 Tresemme Beauty-full items and one for $1 in PPs wyb1 Tresemme(any product).  Both of the Tresemme offers expire today so this will only work if you buy them today.

I also activated rebate offers in my Saving Star account for $3 off Olia Hair color(no longer available to activate so if you didn't awhile back you can't do this one) and 2 x .75¢ on 2 GM cereals-Golden Grahams and Cocoa Puffs(Yes, College Boy will be coming home in about 2 weeks and I am getting ready.).

Everything I bought qualifies for the Spring Points Promotion for this week.....Spend $50 and get an automatic $20 back in Plenti Points.

Here is what I bought.......

4 x Garnier Whole Blends shampoo(20% wellness discount=$3.67 ea.)=$14.68
2 x GM cereals on sale=$5.00
2 x Vitamints(20% wellness discount=$7.19 ea.)=$14.38
1 x Olia hair color on sale=$7.99
2 x Tresemme beauty-full shampoo on sale=$10.00

Coupons Used
2 x BOGO Garnier Whole Blends items ManuQ=$7.34
1 x $2.1 Garnier Whole Blends item ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Garnier Whole Blends item ReceiptQ=$1.00
2 x .75¢/1 GM cereals IPQ=$1.50
2 x $4/1 Vitamints(1 IPQ/1 ReceiptQ)=$8.00
1 x $3/1 Olia Hair Color ManuQ=$3.00
Coupon Total..........$22.84

$52.05-$22.84=$29.21(w/.87¢ tax)

I used PPs to pay so Zero cash OOP.

I earned $20 in new PPs so $9.21 using "down" the Plenti Points.

I will also earn $5.99 in activated PPs in the next couple of days when they get credited to my account($1 GM cereals, $3.99 Tresemme Beauty-full $1 any Tresemme), making this a $3.22 points spend down.

Then I will get $4.50 in Saving Star cash rebates($3 for the Olia, $1.50 for the 2 cereals) and I will end up with a $1.28 Moneymaker.

Yay me!


Friday, April 15, 2016

How I Use A Large Ground Beef Purchase

I had bought a 5 lb bag of Ground Beef last week at Maine Source and it was incorporated into last week's meals and my meal plan for this coming week grew organically from this purchase.

Of course this meant having a plethora of ground beef meals but while we are heavy on beef meals now, when I buy a large quantity of chicken or fish our menu will be heavy with those proteins instead.

This is how I used that bag o' beef....

Last Wednesday we each had a hamburger for dinner(Hubs had 2).
I had a hamburger for my lunch 3 times last week(Wed-Fri) and Hubs and I each had a burger last Saturday.  I guess I was just in a burger craving mode. 8-)
8 Burgers used up half the ground beef.

Then on Sunday I took most of what was left of the beef and made a big pot of sauce, also using up some fresh mushrooms I didn't use in the Bourguignon.  We had ravioli in this sauce for Sunday's Then we had the leftover ravioli on Thursday night, using more of the pasta sauce.
The rest of the sauce leftover will be the basis for a Rigatoni and Sauce dinner either this weekend or next week.

The rest of the ground beef was mixed with 1 lb. of ground turkey on Tuesday and made into Sloppy Joe meat using my homemade low-salt sauce recipe.  The rest of Sloppy Joe meat will be another 2 meals(either lunches or dinners).  I might keep this Sloppy Joe meat or have 1 more meal of SJ and then add more spices and turn this SJ into Taco filling for the last meal using this beef.

So that 5 lbs. of beef made all this.......

* 1 Burger Dinner for 2(3 burgers consumed)
* 4 Burger Lunches(5 burgers consumed)
* 2 Ravioli Dinners for 2(with beef sauce)
* 1 Pasta Dinner for 2(in the future with beef sauce)
* 3 Sloppy Joe Meals for 2(1 done, 2 in the future)

19 total meals consumed(or will be consumed when all is said and done).
I could have made meatballs or thrown beef into a casserole, make beef enchiladas, etc. depending on what we had a hankering for dinner.  This is how I chose to use up this purchase.

So what do you do with ground beef when/if you buy that food?
Anyone have any good recipes using ground beef to share?


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Please Start Saving for Retirement Now

I read a statistic from the US Government Accountability Office that says that about 50% of those age 65 or older, who are retired, rely mainly on Social Security benefits to survive.

Social Security is only designed to replace about 40% of our pre-retirement income(for average wage earners).  Go HERE to read this.  It is an actual quote from the Social Security Adminstration.  (You can also access a Retirement Estimator from that page to see what your Social Security Benefits would look like using current information.)

Social Security is only a part of the proverbial 3-legged stool of retirement.
Pensions(or Defined Benefits Plan or 401Ks)are another part, and savings and investments are the last part of that 3 sided retirement income instrument.

Even if you have yet to put anything away into a retirement account it is never too late to start, no matter your age.  The younger you are when you start saving the better, but even into your 60's there is time to put away something so that you aren't living in a cardboard box or raiding dumpster for dinner when you get old.

The average Social Security check last year was $1,340 a month or $16,080 a year.
But that amount is before Medicare benefit payments are deducted(which you are enrolled in at age 65). At the very least Medicare Part B premiums are $104.90 a month and Part C and/or D plans add to that cost(depending on the plan).  So the average check is now down to $1,235.10 and probably lower due to paying for supplemental Part C/D plans.
Could you live on $1,235.10 a month/$14,821.20 a year?

The answer is probably no for most of us without having to forego many everyday luxuries we are use to, like a car, a nice place to live, eating 3 healthy meals a day, having heat, etc.

Even living in the paid for house I do, once I deduct the taxes, sewage and garbage fees, if I only had this average Social Security check coming in I'd be down to having $10,002.72 to live off of per year.

The car costs, utilities, water and phone costs would take another $6,868.71 out and leave $3,134.00 of that check to cover all food and toiletry costs for the year.  Plus if we needed dental or vision care(which aren't included in Medicare)or a surprise car repair/replacement that would also have to come out of that $3K leftover for food/toiletries.   Seeing as I spent over $4K last year on food/toiletries, and I keep a very tight food budget compared to the average American consumer, we'd be over budget and in the red and having to put expenses on credit cards(which we wouldn't be able to pay off ever).
Forget about traveling, eating out, entertainment that wasn't free or giving our children gifts or donating to charity.  It just wouldn't fit into this budget.
Thankfully for us, we won't have to live on that average Social Security benefits check alone, as we have saved for many years for our retirement.

Please no matter your age start saving something for retirement now.  I beg you!
Even if you think you'll work until you die so you don't think you have to save.  Life never works out the way you want it to/think it will.  Working until you drop dead is a great plan unless of course you get sick and can't work.  And at some point in this journey called life we will all get sick and it might incapacitate you well before you plan on not working and force you to stop earning an income.  You could be disabled for many years before you leave this Earth and then what happens when you try to survive on a Social Security and/or Disability check that just isn't enough?

Anything you can put away for your tomorrow is a bonus.  Do you really "need" that coffee beverage before work or that third cocktail at Happy Hour?  Do you need to buy yet another sweater or go out to lunch instead of brown bagging it to work?
Take that $2, $4, $8 or $20 instead and start tucking it away into a savings account.
Score a savings at the grocery store?  Why not take that amount you "saved" and actually put it into the bank and once you have enough roll that account into an investment instrument?

Be good to yourself by looking out for your tomorrows.
Start saving for your "tomorrow you".
One day your "tomorrow you" will thank you.


Shopping This Week....A Swimming Good Deal!

I went up to Weis(PMITA)Markets yesterday and bought a few things.

Unlike most of my grocery shopping trips I didn't only buy items that were on sale....shocking, right? lolz

Sometimes the things you need(like the largest head of cabbage known to man and a 1/2 gallon of milk)just aren't on sale.
But I did find a killer Deal on Salmon so check it out........

I know I've been trying to eat down the freezers and haven't been looking for frozen food stock-up opportunities but I just had to bring that salmon home at that price......wouldn't you?

I spent $35.07 but I saved $46.17 on $81.24 worth of food or 56% over regular retail overall.

I'll take that any ol' day.  :-)


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Advice Needed on Pricing

Since this weekend will be nice(finally!)I am getting things ready to list on my local F/B tag sale site.

Among what I want to sell are all these diaper packs..........

I was going to keep these until one of my kids needed them but that doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon.
Plus we now need to make room around here due to events happening later this Summer so they have to go.

Mostly I have size 3(with some 2, 4 & 5 also).
I haven't had a kid in diapers since about 1999 so what should I charge for a pack of these?
I know I'll be charging less than they sell for in the store but I can't go by what Rite-Aid regularly charges for these, which is an insane $12.49 per package.
So I need to know from you moms out there who buy diapers now, what do you pay for a package this size?

I was thinking $5 a package.....or should I go $6?  Thoughts?

I will also be offering some toiletries on the tag sale page too but I have a good handle on what to charge for those other items as I have sold them before.

Thanks in advance to anyone who offers a suggestion. 8-)


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Reducing Sodium in Your Sloppy Joe Sauce

Manwich and other brands of Sloppy Joe Sauce contain the equivalent of 430 mg of sodium per 1/4 cup(which is about how much you'd consume eating 2 Sloppy Joe sauced sandwiches).  That's equivalent to 18% of the recommended sodium consumption per day for a healthy adult.

The American Heart Association recommends we all take in 1 teaspoon of sodium or less per day. That's about 1,500 mg for the entire day's sodium consumption.

If you make your own Sloppy Joe Sauce you can lower how much sodium is in your sauce.
There are many sites with lower sodium SJ Sauce recipes.  Most of the lower-salt recipes use ketchup or tomato sauce but those ingredients contain sodium.  I found this one using tomato paste instead and liked it.  I found this recipe 3 years ago and don't recall where, so as to give credit, sorry.

Lower Sodium Sloppy Joe Sauce

1 6oz. can tomato paste(100mg)
1 6oz of water(use empty paste can to measure)
1 tsp. garlic, minced
4 TB. brown sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce(167mg)(or use reduced sodium version-65mg)
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. cumin(you can substitute fresh cilantro but double the amount)

Brown your meat and onions and/or other veggies you put in your meat mixture. (I use red or yellow bell peppers and sometimes grated carrot.)
Add all ingredients above and mix well.
Wait 5 minutes until hot and serve.

This sauce can be made up double or triple batches and frozen for later use.

This recipe comes in at about 267mg per 1/4 cup(or 165 w/LS Worcestershire Sauce) so saves you about 50% off the sodium in the canned sauce.

To lower the sodium in this recipe even more you could make your own Worcestershire Sauce too.  I don't take that step as I find making Worcestershire Sauce too tedious.

If you aren't this concerned with lowering your sodium intake this much you could substitute ketchup for the tomato paste(but cut out the brown sugar from the recipe as ketchup has sugar in it already).

If you substitute no-salt ketchup(Heinz makes one)for regular ketchup instead of tomato paste this would save you about 160mg of sodium, as no-salt ketchup contains 5 mg while reg. ketchup contains 165 mg per serving.  But on the other hand, no-salt ketchup does contain a salt substitute(containing potassium chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride).

Now making your own version with so little sodium in it might not appeal to you and your family's tastebuds at first.  If this is the case with you, I'd recommend trying the reg. ketchup ingredient version of the recipe, then when they "get use" to that version, stepping it down to the no-salt ketchup version of the recipe and then when they "get use" to that version, stepping down to the tomato paste version.

Reducing sodium intake is always good for you but some people need to gradually lower the sodium in their food intake to make it stick as a lifestyle change.


Giveaway Winner

The giveaway winner was picked at random from all the valid entries.
I have already made contact with them.

The lucky winner is.............

Sara Rai!

Congratulations Sara and I'd like to thank everyone who came to the blog and played along.
I'll have another giveaway coming up soon so stay tuned.....


Monday, April 11, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Can't Do Anything" Edition......
Have you ever had so much to do that it paralyzed you so much that you couldn't even take the first step to finishing any task on your list?
That's been my life lately.  Though I do have some uncertainties going on that are keeping me from accomplishing items it shouldn't be stopping me from working on other items.
I just have no "mojo" maybe?  Feeling like "what is the point to trying to do anything?" lately.
At least I can do a meal plan though, right?  ;-)

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week.......
1. Sunday--Meatloaf, Leftover Easter Veggies, Baked Potato
2. Monday--Leftover Tacos/Taco Salad
3. Tuesday--Hubs Birthday meal Out
4. Wednesday--Tandoori style Chicken Thighs, Rice, Harvard Beets
5. Thursday---Beef Bourguinon, Bread
6. Friday--Leftover Ham on Rolls, ?
7. Saturday--Pork Chops w/Apricot Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Meatloaf, Leftover Easter Veggies, Baked Potato
2. Monday--Leftover Tacos/Taco Salad
3. Tuesday--Hubs Birthday meal Out
4. Wednesday--Hamburger on Roll, Leftover Potato Salad,Baked Beans
5. Thursday---Tandoori style Chicken Thighs, Coconut Rice, Harvard Beets
6. Friday--Chicken Parmesan, Grilled Asparagus
7. Saturday--Beef Bourguignon(Hubs had his over rice, me had a baked potato)

 6 meals cooked at home.
 5 new meals, 1 night of leftovers, and 1 night of Eating Out(Birthday meal).
Pork chops got bumped off the rotation again last week.  I am just not a fan so that's perhaps why they get bumped so often? lolz

I tried a new dish last week, Tandoori style chicken Thighs.  It's a recipe I saw on a PBS food show where the chef made Tandoori style chicken wings but I changed the chicken to thighs as they have more substance to them.
I figured with a curry spice blend and hot sauce they might be too spicy for me but I knew Hubs would like them and I could just substitute a chicken pot pie for myself from the freezer if the dish was too much for my gullet.
But sadly(or is that happily for me?lol)the "heat" of the dish was negligible and I ate of it heartily.
It was very disappointing however that there was little to no heat.  I am thinking my bottled yellow curry spice blend is not up to snuff on the Scoville scale?  Perhaps or the fact that I grilled the thighs and the fat flare-ups burnt the skin and all the spice out of the meat?  I don't know.

I do know it had good flavor even though so we'll make this again, perhaps pre-baking it and then finishing it off on the grill quickly.

As for my grocery spending...... Hubs made 2 quickie trips last week, we made a trip to Weis together and I went to Dollar Tree and Maine Source,, spending a total of $112.24 last week.
I have spent $130.24 in all for April so far and have $119.76 left of my food budget with 19 days to go.

Leftovers going into this week.......meatloaf(2 slices), coconut rice, harvard beets, asparagus, and a lot of Beef Bourguignon(4 helpings?).

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

1. Sunday--Ravioli(freezer)in Mushroom/Meat Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread
2. Monday--Leftover Meatloaf, leftover asparagus, leftover beets
3. Tuesday--Sloppy Joes made with beef/turkey, using homemade low-salt sauce, Rolls, Sugar Snap Peas(freezer)
4. Wednesday--Leftover Beef Bourguignon, Cuke and Tomato Salad
5. Thursday--Kielbasa(freezer) on Rolls, Collard Greens(freezer)
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers or FFY(Fend For Yourself)

This week will see 4 new meals cooked and 3 meals of leftovers(re-purposed into new dishes or not) and 0 meals Out/Take-out.

What I need to buy for this menu.....a head of Cabbage.  Not much I need to buy and I don't see much in the Deal Department at the stores 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?