Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lincoln's Maternal Mystery Solved

I mentioned that on our Spring road trip last year we stopped by a museum in Bardstown, Kentucky on our way to Louisiana.

This little museum, being in Kentucky, had lots of Lincoln memorabilia(the wooden door off the cabin in which he was born or lived in, etc.), as well as some genealogical info.....

Once you get beyond Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks, it's all conjecture and theory as to his maternal grandparents.
There are/were 3 different theories on whom Lincoln's mother's parents were........

1. Abraham and Sarah Hanks of Campbell County VA
2. James Hanks and Lucy Shipley
3. Lucy Hanks and Unknown(born Illegitimate)

That museum in KY went with the James Hanks and Lucy Shipley theory.

I could expound upon each of these theories and bore and mystify you with the tangled genealogies of each but I won't.  It's too early in the morning to make your brains ache. ;-)

I tended to go with theory #3 as it made the most sense, knowing the familial associations of the Hanks family.

It is well known that Lucy Hanks' sister, also named Nancy(like Lucy's daughter), had an illegitimate son, Dennis Friend Hanks.  So there is precedent that the Hanks clan was "comfortable" with out of wedlock births.
Not so the society, as Lucy Hanks was brought up on fornication charges in 1789(5 years after she gave birth to Nancy)in Mercer County, KY.  Having sex outside of marriage at that time was a criminal offense.  This shows a pattern that Lucy Hanks was sexually active outside of marriage.

There is also anecdotal evidence that Lincoln himself thought himself illegitimate and he made veiled comments to his law partner, William Henry Herndon, on this subject.

* Incidentally, I am also related to William Henry Herndon, as he is my 3rd cousin 5 x removed.  William's mother was Rebecca Day Herndon.  Rebecca's parents were Edward Day, Sr. and Ursula Sublett Day.  Ursula Sublett was the sister of my 5 x Great Grandmother, Martha Sublett.  But that's a story for another time.

There is another far flung "theory" that Nancy Hanks was born into the Tanner family and raised by Abraham Enlow of Rutherford, NC.

Seems everybody and their brother over the past 100 years has wanted to be related to Abraham Lincoln.
With the exception of me it seems. ;-)

Anyway, you can throw all these theories out the window now.

A mitochondrial DNA study has been performed in the past year to determine Lincoln's maternal line.

Since Nancy Hanks Lincoln has no living direct descendants(let alone any descendants on her direct maternal line, as that Hanks/Lincoln branch died out when the last living descendant of Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln, their 2 x Great Grandson, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985), matrilineal descendant tests had to be conducted.  This requires testing of other branches of the Hanks family who share the same female line and thus the same mtDNA.

Known and proved descendants of other female relatives descended from the Hanks family were tested, including Lucy Hank's other illegitimate daughter, Sarah Hanks(Nancy's sister)and Lucy's three daughters with Henry Sparrow.  Also tested were the two daughters of Ann Lee Hanks, Nancy Hanks and Mary Hanks.  If Lucy was also a daughter of Ann Lee Hanks, then these two supposed sisters would carry the same haplogroup, and they did.
All the descendants of these women belong to a fairly rare haplogroup called X1c.

These results were compared to matrilineal testing done on the mitochondrial results of the Shipley family(the theory that Nancy Hank's mother was born Lucy Shipley).  This line belongs to the H haplogroup, putting to bed forever the theory that Nancy Hanks was the daughter of James Hanks.
Lucy Hanks was born a Hanks and Nancy was born out of wedlock and her father will never be known.

You can read a synopsis of the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Study HERE.  It also shows a descent chart to help you keep everybody straight as the Hanks family tended to name many of their female children Nancy.
DNA has proved to be a powerful, unequivocal tool in solving, yet unsolvable genetic mysteries.


Monday, May 30, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Clearing out and Reorganizing the house/my life" Edition......

We are still in full on cleaning/clearing Mode here.  I am into my second Salvation Army donation gathering and most of the furniture has been moved and/or repurposed and/or gotten rid of.  There is still a large amount of moving to do of things like clothing and a few tubs of toiletries.  I think another giveaway will help clear up space in that regard. lolz
I've started tackling the garage as well.  Not so much clearing it out and throwing things away but just organizing it better.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Mixed Veg.
2. Monday--Fish, Garlic Mashed Taters, Cauliflower
3. Tuesday--Pecan Chicken, Corn Casserole, Collards
4. Wednesday--Shrimp Alfredo, Salad
5. Thursday--Tacos, Corn on cob
6. Friday--Salmon, Leftover Veg Dishes
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Mixed Veg.
2. Monday--Fish, Cole Slaw, Brussels Sprouts
3. Tuesday--Pecan Chicken, Corn Casserole, Carrots
4. Wednesday--Leftovers(I had Meatloaf slice and Veggies, Hubs had ?)
5. Thursday--Leftovers(Hubs had Spaghetti I had a Hamburger)
6. Friday--Stuffed Shells
7. Saturday--Tacos

7 meals cooked at home(really, we are so over eating out right now after this trip), 5 new dishes cooked and 2 nights of leftovers.  Most of what I planned got made but sometimes on different nights.
A ground beef purchase meant more beef meals and the seafood/fish will happen next week.

As for my grocery spending..... I spent a total of $93.84 on two trips to the store last week.  This put me a bit over for May with my food spending.  I am happy to be close if I can't be under.  ;-)

I have spent $304.32 for May as I noted to my end of month food spending post yesterday.  Onward to June I say!

Leftovers going into this week......

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

1. Sunday--Beef Pie(using up leftover ground beef)
2. Monday--Hot dogs, Burgers, Corn, Beans
3. Tuesday--Tempura Zuchinni and Shrimp
4. Wednesday--Beef Stroganoff, Rice, Veg
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Salmon, Squash Casserole
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 5 new meals cooked and 2 meal of leftovers or "Whatever You Can Find" and 0 meals of Eating Out.
I am sure I'll burn out of cooking so much soon and will succumb to Eating Out again.  Maybe next week when Daughter is slated to arrive.

What I need to buy for this menu.....mushrooms, zuchinni, burger rolls, squash and maybe hamburger(I've used up what I bought last week, but I may have some in the freezer.).
And we are in need of more milk and bread.  Shouldn't be too much food spending this week unless I hit on a special or two.  ;-)

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, May 29, 2016

2016 Food & Toiletries Spending......May Update

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

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for MAY 2016.

I have posted May'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 May.  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(3 at home this month). No kids under 20.


OOP  $7.00
Value  $24.94
Savings 71.93%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/gift card  $27.97
Value  $27.97
Savings 100%

OOP  $42.78
Qs/Ads $24.22
Value  $67.00
Savings  36.15%

VACATION BUYS-Multiple stores but I am grouping all these purchases together.
OOP  $93.29
Value  $127.68
Savings  27%

OOP  $161.25
Qs/Ads  $149.89
Value  $311.14
Savings  48.17%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, the Bakery Outlet at 71.93% and Weis at 48.17%.  My WORST savings rate was what I bought on our trip at 27%.  While I didn't use coupons or get deals necessarily on items bought on the trip I did buy things that were a good deal and/or I can't get here in PA.  Although the savings rate wasn't very high for these items I am ok with that.

I shopped at 8 different stores this past month(counting my trip buys at Target, HEB, Walmart and World Market).

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$304.32
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$254.41
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$558.73
TOTAL Savings of...................................45.53%
TOTAL Savings without Rite-Aid...........42.66%

Value of items excluding Rite-Aid bought ones was $530.76
Rite-Aid goods brought home totaled $27.97.

This closes out the May food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into May wanting to do a $300 food budget for the month.  I ended up going over by $4.32.
That's not bad.

I gave College Boy grocery money for while we were away but he ended up spending it on gas for his car to get to work and take-out food so I will tuck that spending under the trip expenses rather than the food budget.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went down by 14.97% in May to 45.53% compared to April's 60.50% savings average.   Still an acceptable savings rate to me as we still over 40%.

We did end the month by emptying out more freezer space and a few pantry goods as well even though we were gone for half of May.

With 5 months accounted for, I have spent a total of $1494.54 on food/toiletries so far in 2016 which averages out to $298.91 per month spent.  The average in April stood at $297.56 per month spent to that point in 2016 so we are up $1.35 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 $255.09 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 June 2016.........
College Boy s home and eating and drinking up what I bring home faster than I can buy it.

I will continue with my usual shopping ways in June....buy 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.
As Daughter and BF arrive in early June, I can't even hazard a guess on what I'll end up spending on food this month.  I'll just stick a number here of $400 in food spending for June and see where we end up.  It will probably be North of that amount but I haven't a clue at this point just how far off the mark this number will be.
So be sure to come back at the end of June and see just how much of a disaster my Food Budget turns out to be.

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 May?
*  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?


Saturday, May 28, 2016

May's Eating Out Total

I have posted out Eating Out/Take-Out Totals for May HERE.

Most of our spending on Eating Out was while we were on our 2 week trip to Louisiana, obviously.
I bought 2 Subway subs while Hubs was on a work conference at the beginning of May so I didn't have to cook while he was gone.
Go me.
That $12.72 for the subs was all the non-trip eating out or take-out we bought in May.

Of the 12 nights spend at hotels/motels we only paid for 1 breakfast(Waffle House).  All other hotels supplied Breakfast with the cost of the room.
We only ate Lunch 7 of the 12 days(plus I had a chicken biscuit on a day we didn't have Lunch to tied me over until Dinner that night).
12 Dinners were eaten, 3 of which were treated for us. 8-)  There was also a turkey sandwich consumed one evening when Hubs and shared a pizza and didn't realize until it was too late that the pizza was a single serve type. Oops! lol
We also treated the Daughter to 5 Dinners/Lunches so that boosted the out of pocket paying for an extra person.
There was also 2 trips to breweries where drinks were consumed which gets added to this budget.
And add in the cost of about 40 cups of coffee for Hubs(from various places)while on the road.
40 cups.

Now this doesn't begin to count all the liquid refreshment that was brought home to be consumed later.

All in all we did pretty well keeping this expense down.
Yes, we did splurge and have a few $50+ dinners but most meals came in at around $24.
And compared to our trip in 2015, we spent $168.52 less in 2016 on eating on vacation.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Still in the Weeds in PA

Tonight will mark a full week that we've been home.
And I am still "in the weeds" as they say in the restaurant biz.

While I was gone PA went from late Winter temps to Summer temps.
What the heck happened to Spring temps?!?!  I done missed Spring here.
It's hot and muggy here already.  It just makes me want to leave and head North or hide in my bedroom in the a/c. ugh.

The yard is sad and neglected.  The gardens are overgrown with actual weeds and the beds have not been worked nor anything planted.  Bags of mulch still sit on the side of the house waiting to be used in the flower bed out front......the flower bed without flowers to this point.

I have so much to contend with inside the house that I can't even THINK about the yard.  As long as the lawn gets mowed we are all good out there as far as I am concerned.
So much for having to decide whether to have a garden this season.......

Add in that the deck needs de-molding, cleaning and sealing again this season and it's all too much to think about.

I have finally caught up on the laundry.
Go me.

I came home to a stack of this.......

Bills and more bills!
Another 4 bills arrived and were paid this week in addition to these seven bills.

I've also been tallying up the expenses for May and I can tell it won't be pretty. 8-(  Our c/c bill will be very high for June(but I'll still pay it off in full).

The labs came back from my dr. visit on Monday and I also have a bacterial infection so an antibiotic prescription to clear that up.....which will probably cause the other infection to return so I'll be doing more drugs for that one too.

Plus my blood work is all kinds of out of whack which has me stressing out, which in turn has my HS acting up.
Oh, the fun just never ends, does it? ha!

Have I mentioned that Daughter will be arriving in 12 days?
The house is nowhere near ready for that either.
And this makes me stress out even more and makes my body turn on me even more.

We've begun the furniture moving in the house.  College Boy's bed, a day bed affair has been moved down into the den.

That was the first item moved and it got done last weekend.
It can be used as a sofa-like item down there and probably a place for Daughter's large dog to recline.

This week we've moved the stockpile of TP out from under the bed in the Daughter's room.......

The TP along with tubs of toiletries and tubs of fabric are temporarily living in Hub's man cave room.

Saturday will see the bed in Daughter's room move to College Boy's room.  Then CB's room can be put back together.  As this bed is higher off the ground, we can store all his college supplies(things he doesn't need to use while home)neatly under that bed and out of the way.

On Tuesday as we started the "Big Reorg", I made CB take everything out of his room, since he said he was incapable of putting it all away.  It became clear as we dug the room out why he had no room to put stuff away.  Since high school this child has thrown nothing away.  As long as his room contents didn't spill out into the hall I didn't worry about it.  He was gone most of the year at college so I could just shut the door and ignore the growing menace contained without his room's walls.

The child couldn't put any of this currently wearing clothes away because his closet and dresser were crammed full of old clothes and shoes that either no longer fit him or were worn out. sigh.

So I sat there and personally supervised as he pulled everything out and decided which pile to toss it all into-the keep or the get rid of pile.

An hour later and this is what came out of his room......

There was also a garbage bag full of trash as well.

Now all his clothes/shoes fit neatly into his room.

And here is a neat-ish pile of cast-offs to take to Salvation Army.

As I went through this discard pile of clothing I put aside a few things that CB threw out.....like brand new pairs of Levis and shorts he has never taken the tags off of and that still are the correct size.  I've tucked these things away for once what he is wearing wears out.....

That bag is a brand new pair of black dress slacks he's never worn as well.  He'll need all this later and I really don't want to have to re-buy all this when he does. sigh.  It can all get stored under his bed once we move it.
The backpack was also uncovered.  It is brand new with tags.  He's also got another one identical to this one that has plenty of life left in it, as well as the backpack he is currently using that I bought last Fall.  I have told him I am done buying backpacks so he'd better make these last for the next 2 years.
If this one is still not needed before he graduates college it will head to eBay as Vans backpacks bring a pretty penny.  ;-)

And another 3 bags of stained, ripped or just worn out clothes headed for the garbage.....

I whittled down the fabric stash and am sending 2 garbage bags of fabric to charity(McVal, look away!!!).........

Now I can fit the fabric I want to use soon onto one shelving unit, which was moved into the corner of my bedroom............sort of fit it all....lolz......

The empty identical shelving unit will go into College Boy's room after we get the bed moved into there.

CB needs places to set stuff other than the floor, which has been his "go to" place for stuff the last 2 years.

I also took a bit of time out to go to Weis(PMITA)Markets on Wednesday.  I picked up 6 different Instant Discount Stickered Meats.......

After discounts I paid.....1 package of Italian Sausage patties($2.62), 1 package of Salmon($3.74), 1 packages of Chicken Thighs($1.90), 1 package of 2 small steaks($2.31), and 2 packages of Cubed Steaks($2.13 and $2.68).

Back to the house and by Wednesday I've got both dressers in Daughter's room emptied(save for the tops of both dressers which still have toiletries on them).  Still to come out of that room are a small rolltop desk, the recumbent exercise bike and a small rickety shelving unit which will be put on the trash pile when it is removed.

So this weekend while everyone else is cooking out and partying, here at Chez Sluggy, we'll be moving furniture, organizing crap and storing it away.  And making multiple trips to Salvation Army with discarded stuff.
And hauling out the 2 room window a/c units for the s bedrooms upstairs.  It's already in the 90 degree range here now and muggy as heck!

Once we get the house put back together I'll be tackling the garage to make some space in there too.
The fun just never ends here.......... 8-)


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How Could I Not?

Had to go to Rite-Aid for a prescription earlier this week so how could I not take this stuff home.....

1 x Dove soap 6 pack on sale=$6.00
1 x Dove body wash on sale=$6.00

Coupons used--
1 x $1/1 Dove soap 4 pack or larger ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $3/1 Dove body wash(22 oz.) MailedQ=$3.00
Coupon Total.....$4.00

I used $8 in Plenti Points and earned $4 in new Plenti points.
I also got this......

$2 on your next purchase Catalina.
I also earned $2 in cash rebates in my Saving Star account($1 for each item).

So $4 spent in points and $4 back in cash and catalinas.
The deal would have been sweeter if the Checkout51 $2 in rebates was still available but when I went to claim them there were none left. 8-(

Sometimes things just don't work out the way you want but it's all good.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I'm Back.....yaaaay!

We got back late Friday night.

It's Tuesday and I am still digging out!

I've spent more time in my laundry room than in any other room so far this week.
Not only do I have Hubs and my laundry from the trip but even though College Boy has been home 2+ weeks now, all his laundry is clogging up the works.  Plus all his bedding from school.
The boy couldn't find time to do his laundry but he found plenty of time to practice(which is good), have his buddies over to eat/drink a ton of my goodies/mess up my house/break shit, and sleep late.  He did also go to work so there's that to balance all the negatives.

I also think he let friends sleep over here the last 2 weeks and they dirtied every sheet and blanket in the house.  I couldn't even get INTO the laundry room on Saturday there was so much crap piled up in there! lolz

So basically I've been washing every cloth item in the house the last few days.
And unpacking.
And putting shit away.
And starting to rearrange the whole house in preparation for Daughter to move back in.
Can I just leave again and come stay with one of y'all?

And to top my exciting life off, I have to cook and meal plan and buy groceries again.
I tell ya, life is just so not fair.......

There are various musical instruments filling the spare room and the living room still from various jams sessions/band rehearsals......from guitars, to drum sets to a doumbek.(That's a Middle Eastern drum is you really need to know.)

The money I gave College Boy for groceries while we were gone is no more.  However, none of it was spent on groceries but on gas for the car and take-out pizza.
It's a good thing we won't be making these long trips to Louisiana in spring anymore and leaving him home alone, huh? ;-)

And to top it all off I brought home a lovely lady parts infection from Louisiana with me.
Oh joy.........pass the anti-itch cream please!!

So dealing with the house, that is a wreck and needs to be organized asap, dealing with medical stuff(more on that later) and dealing with massive amounts of money leaving the accounts(May has about done me in financially)is where my world is right now.
The yard is also a disaster but I can't even.......

I am confident that Life will all sort itself out in due time but for now, it is kicking my large pasty white ass.

I hope things are better in your world.  If not, tell us all about it and make me feel a bit better that I am not alone in the "Land of WTF?!".


Monday, May 23, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "I'm Home and Back to Cooking....Rats!" Edition......

I seem to always have this gloom and doom about cooking when we get back from a vacation(though this vacation wasn't much of one and more of a "taking care of business" trip).
Do you feel the same way when you return from a trip where you haven't had to do much if any cooking while away?

I hope this isn't "just me"....lol

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Steak and Catfish in Texas
2. Monday--Chinese Buffet
3. Tuesday--No Clue
4. Wednesday--No Clue
5. Thursday--No Clue
6. Friday--No Clue
7. Saturday--No Clue

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Steak and Catfish in Texas
2. Monday--Chinese Buffet
3. Tuesday--BBQ, Fried Green Tomatoes, Greens, Pimento Cheese Sammich
4. Wednesday--1/2 of a small Pizza, Salad, Turkey Sammich
5. Thursday--Cheese Burger, Salad
6. Friday--Liver w/Onions, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Cup of Chowder
7. Saturday--Meatloaf, CA blend Veggies

1 Meal cooked at home and 6 nights of eating out while on the road. I am happy to report that we ate very few burgers and/or french fries while away.  I think I ate my weight in fried green tomatoes though......that IS a vegetable, right?  ;-)

As for my grocery spending..... I spent a total of $20.21 the week before last week. (I went to the store a day before we left and forgot to tally it until we got home.  So $20.21 spent last week.)
I spent a total of $93.29 on groceries(mostly stuff to bring home but a few things we ate/drank while on the trip)during the last 2 weeks.  Even though it was purchased on vacation I put in under Groceries spending and not under Trip spending.

I have spent $210.48 in all for May so far and have $89.52 left of my food budget with 8 days to go.

Leftovers going into this week......nothing really.  Anything College Boy didn't eat in the past 2 weeks was thrown out. 8-(  We didn't leave many leftovers so it wasn't much but he did let an entire loaf of bread go bad by leaving it sitting out and not putting it into the fridge.

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

1. Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Mixed Veg.
2. Monday--Fish, Garlic Mashed Taters, Cauliflower
3. Tuesday--Pecan Chicken, Corn Casserole, Collards
4. Wednesday--Shrimp Alfredo, Salad
5. Thursday--Tacos, Corn on cob
6. Friday--Salmon, Leftover Veg Dishes
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 6 new meals cooked and 1 meal of leftovers or "Whatever You Can Find" and 0 meals of Eating Out.

What I need to buy for this menu.....Salad Greens so far and maybe some milk, a watermelon or other fruit and bread(if I go up to the Bread Outlet this week).  I have to check if College Boy ate all the cheese or not here while we were gone for the Tacos.  Most everything on this menu is from the freezer and/or pantry, as I am trying to clean both out.  I believe CB lived on chicken strips from the freezer and take-out pizza while we were gone.  So predictable that one!  lolz

I am only going to buy necessities this week and any loss leaders we can use.  I really don't want to jump into lots of grocery buying so soon after getting back home.

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, May 21, 2016

And the Winner Is.......

The Boring Blog Box Giveaway winner is Wendy aka MamaHen  ......

Please enter me! I would love the shampoo (love DOVE products) and my 14 year old daughter would love the nail polish.

Congratulations Wendy!
And a big ol' thank you to everyone who entered.

Look for another giveaway soon here on the blog.
We just got back from our road trip so I may not be online much for a couple of days while we dig out here at the house.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Giveaway Winner Announced Later This Week

I am hot and bothered here outside of steamy Hotlanta currently.
Picking the giveaway winner will have to wait until later this week.

Sorry if you entrants are impatient but I haven't been in the same place for more than 18 hours lately so no time to pick a winner yet.
It will happen, I guarantee, soon.

Tonight it's all about having a good time with friends and beer, just like last night was all about meeting new friends and good times(hold the beer for me.....no, really, hold my beer a sec!)  8-)

Then it's up early in the am and Hubs is going to force me onto a boat without shade! down here in hot damn Georgia.
If I live through it I'll see y'all on Friday.

Off to go hunt down some hot boiled peanuts......


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I am so over this trip

Currently flying down a highway somewhere in Mississippi in the rain.  Are we there yet?
Now the traffic is crawling.....ugh.
I hate typing on this phone.  I have sausage fingers.
Mmmm, sausage....


Monday, May 16, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Exotic Foods Found on the Road" Edition......

Twice on this current journey we have seen convenienc stores with large vats of hot boiled peanuts for sale.  I know someone who dearly loves this delicacy.  Me?, I don't think I've ever tried one.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Hubs bought Chinese
2. Monday--No Clue
3. Tuesday--BBQ or Seafood
4. Wednesday--No Clue
5. Thursday--No Clue
6. Friday--No Clue
7. Saturday--No Clue

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Hubs bought Chinese-4 Seasons dish w/Rice
2. Monday--Restaurants Buffet, Sides, Soup and Salad only
3. Tuesday--BBQ for me, Hubs had Catfish
4. Wednesday--Chicken Fingers, Cole Slaw
5. Thursday--Fried Green Tomato Nuggets, Salad
6. Friday--Griff's Cheese Burgers
7. Saturday--Muffaletta Sandwich

0 Meals cooked at home because we weren't home. lol

As for my grocery spending..... I spent a total of $0 last week.
I have spent $103.98 in all for May so far and have $196.02 left of my food budget with 15 days to go.

Leftovers going into this week......I hope nothing and that College Boy and his friends have eaten all the leftovers.

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

1. Sunday--Steak and Catfish in Texas
2. Monday--Chinese Buffet
3. Tuesday--No Clue
4. Wednesday--No Clue
5. Thursday--No Clue
6. Friday--No Clue
7. Saturday--No Clue

This week will see 0 new meals cooked and 0 meals of leftovers or "Whatever You Can Find" and 7 meals of Eating Out.

What I need to buy for this menu.....nothing.  No grocery shopping this week....ok, maybe on Saturday if we get home soon enough that day.

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, May 15, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Just Say No

I am away from the keyboard today.
Here's a funny but true reminder on how to keep your kids on the straight and narrow..........

I've got a big day today.
What's up with y'all?


Friday, May 13, 2016

Sightings on the Road

Number 50th in the country(out of 50)in so many categories, but even so, some folks love Mississippi......

I guess if you can afford to own a BMW it makes living there so much more attractive! lolz


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Best Onion Soup Recipe

Ok, here is the Onion Soup Recipe post I shared 3+ years ago.....gee was it really that long ago? 8-0

As for the recipe......

* If you have homemade stock instead of boxed stock, use that.
* If you have French Bread, toast/dry that one in slices and use that instead of the croutons from the recipe post.  It will be less sodium and other processed things they put into croutons OR make your own croutons.  I prefer the slice of dried bread to float the cheese on myself but don't always have that so croutons will do in a pinch.

Here it is again.
It's really rather easy to make and hard to screw up so even if you aren't much of a cook, give it a go!
Id like to hear if anyone tries it and how you like it.



What Do Vincent Price & Onion Soup Have In Common?

If you are like me you try to avoid eating Onion Soup at most restaurants out there.
Most restaurant pantries are stocked by food service mega-corporations like Sysco, US Foods and PFG in the US.  These corporations are the processed food suppliers to the majority of eating establishments.
Restaurants begin their French Onion Soup dishes with Onion Soup Base......a dark brown liquid or granular powder like the one pictured here.

Onion Soup based on this gives you an artificially onion flavored SALT LICK.
Yes, these soup bases have a very high sodium content.
They are nasty!

One of the more surprising cookbooks I have was given to me by my mother.
She passed it down to me from HER mother.
I find this quite hilarious since my grandmother was a country cook and cared not at all for grand living and fancy restaurants.  Why and where she would have picked up this cookbook is a mystery to me!

This cookbook is a collection of recipes from famous restaurants that Vincent and Mary Price visited in their travels around the world during their marriage, which spanned from 1949-1973.  (She was his second wife.)

Yes, this Vincent Price.....

In addition to being a famous Hollywood leading man and later, a B Movie Villain and all around "ham".....

He was a Gourmand Extraordinaire!

Or as they like to call them nowadays, he was a Foodiebefore there were Foodies!

This huge compendium of classic cooking recipes from the top dining spots around the world was my 1st Cookbook as a newly married woman.

While other 1980's newly marrieds were working on their meatloaves, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casseroles and pancakes, I was trying my hand at Coq au Vin, Steak au Poivre, Yorkshire Pudding, Haricot Verts a la Lyonnaise, Crepe Suzette and Gateaux Grand Marnier. ;-)

This book holds the best recipe for French Onion Soup bar none!
But over the years, I have made this recipe my own with changes and substitutions to make this heartier and more of a main course.
*My ingredient substitutions/changes are marked by asterisks.

From "A Treasury of Great Recipes", page 46, here is MY VARIATION....

serves 6 as a starter/4 as a meal 

3 tablespoons bacon drippings   *can use olive oil if no drippings are available
4 large onions, chopped fine    *Sliced thinly, not chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt     *"good" salt, like Himalayan or Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed   *or minced or powdered
1 sprig parsley
1 pinch thyme
1 quart chicken stock  * you can sub chicken bouillon cubes or granules(cut the amount of salt you add by half), but not onion soup ones
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cognac   * I omit because I don't have any
6 slices toasted French bread   * I use croutons
1 cup grated parmesan cheese  * I use shredded mozzarella cheese


1  You will need oven safe bowls for presentation/serving.

2 Over medium temperature in a large skillet, heat a deep skillet with the olive oil.

3  Add thinly sliced onions and cook until translucent.

4 Add the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic and cook until it is golden brown (careful not to burn).

5  Add the parsley sprig, thyme, chicken stock, wine, and simmer for 45 minutes, then remove from heat.

 6 While soup simmers, try to look busy.

7  To make it Soupe à L'Oignon Gratinée: preheat your oven's broiler setting;  laden soup into each bowl being careful not to overfill.  Float croutons on top of soup.

 Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over croutons.

Place bowls on baking sheet under broiler in oven until the cheese bubbles and browns.  Keep a close watch so you don't burn your cheese!

Remove the soup from the oven and eat.

Nom Nom Nom.


Monday, May 9, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Using Up a Load of Onions" Edition......

I bought a 20 lb. bag of onions recently at the restaurant supply store.  I made French Onion Soup Gratinee last Tuesday finally! and used up quite a few onions from that bag.
This onion soup is da bomb! and not anything at all like that brown crap you get in most restaurants that is just a salt lick!  This recipe uses very little salt and chicken stock and not those sodium filled bouillon cubes those restaurant soup concoctions churn out.  If you love Onion Soup you need to try your hand at this recipe.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Chicken Parm, Cuke & Tomato Salad
2. Monday--BBQ Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes
3. Tuesday--French Onion Soup
4. Wednesday--FFY aka Fend for Yourself
5. Thursday--FFY
6. Friday--FFY
7. Saturday--Probably pizza and salad

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Chicken Parm, Cuke & Tomato Salad
2. Monday--BBQ Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes
3. Tuesday--French Onion Soup
4. Wednesday--Leftover French Onion Soup, Salad
5. Thursday--Subway Chicken Sweet Onion Teriyaki Sub
6. Friday--Cheese Hamburgers, Cantaloupe
7. Saturday--Stuffed Pork Chops, Sugar Snap Peas, Leftover Roasted Cauliflower, Spinach Noodles

5 meals cooked at home.
4 new meals, 1 night of leftovers, and 2 nights of Take-Out(or their leftovers).

As for my grocery spending..... I spent a total of $64.93 last week.
I have spent $103.98 in all for May so far and have $196.02 left of my food budget with 22 days to go.

Leftovers going into this week......a portion of spare ribs.

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

1. Sunday--Hubs bought Chinese
2. Monday--No Clue
3. Tuesday--BBQ or Seafood
4. Wednesday--No Clue
5. Thursday--No Clue
6. Friday--No Clue
7. Saturday--No Clue

This week will see 0 new meals cooked and 0 meals of leftovers or "Whatever You Can Find" and 1 meal of Take-Out and who knows what else.

What I need to buy for this menu.....nothing.  No grocery shopping 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?


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Weis Buys & What I've Been Up To

I managed to get up to Weis(PMITA)Markets this week and get a few deals.
They had their .88¢ wyb8 items Deal so I picked up some cheap Gatorade2s, canned tuna and dehydrated potatoes.
I spied 1 last package of those reduced chicken sausage links with a $1 off instant discount sticker so that leapt into my shopping cart along with a instant discount package of sausage meat.

I also found lovely London Broils marked down to $2.68 lb.  With more carnivore mouths to feed this Summer I picked up 3 x 2 lb. hunks.  Heck, I can't get Ground Beef for that low a price! lolz

I went into the store to get bags of coffee as 8 O'Clock brand was BOGO.  I had 2 x $1.50/1 and 1 x $1/1 coupons which made by 6 bags bought $2 per for 4 of them and $2.24 for the last 2 of them.

I got some other things(50% off salad greens and 50% off croissants among them)and left the store $57.93 poorer.
But I did do well as I saved 57% on my shop over regular retail price...woohoo!

Hubs went out of town mid-week for a conference so I've been holding down the fort and getting shit done here.

I got my car serviced.
I went to the bread outlet.
I handled the repairman coming to replace our HVAC compressor.
I dyed my hair.
I ordered/picked up some prescriptions(w/out buying anything else at Rite-Aid!).
I moved fabric and toiletries out of the "Toiletry Room".
I went through my clothes and changed out items for the season.
I called about surgery costs(that was a pointless fiasco).
I ordered Bi-Pap supplies.
I got money for the trip.
I cleaned bathrooms.
I moved dirt around the house.
I did laundry and dishes.
And I blogged a little too boot.

So that's been my week.
Got vital things done and kept from stressing out of the coming month....mostly.

Hubs is off today picking up my Mother's Day gift aka College Boy is coming home tonight. lolz

It's been raining here for a solid week and it's about time that stopped NOW! ;-)

What's going on in your life?


Friday, May 6, 2016

April To-Do List.....Update

So how did I do with my April To-Do List?


*  Pay Bills  PASS  Got it all paid. go me.

*  Bike 50 Miles  FAIL  With everything else going on here(plus a foot injury thrown in to the mix), I didn't get much bike time in. sigh.  I may have done 20 miles this month but not sure as the batteries in the bike crapped out so I don't even have photographic proof. sigh again.

*  Sew and Complete 1 Item  FAIL  I did some sewing but didn't get anything completed.  Does moving piles of fabric around count with this one? lol

*  Purge Coupon Inserts  PASS  Got all the old inserts gone through for stray Qs that are still in date and the inserts pitched.

*  Read 1 Book  IN PROGRESS  I am still reading it.  Will be done with this one in the next few days.  I just don't spend a lot of time reading these days.

*  Vinyl under sink and put stuff away  PASS  

Vinyl down and stuff all put away.

*  Seal Grout in new Bathroom  PASS  Does it count if I had Hubs do this? lolz

*  Go to CB's concert  PASS

*  Sell Toiletries & Stuff  PASS  This is slow going but I've made $94 so far on selling excess stuff.  I don't think I'll try to sell much more.  I've earmarked some of the excess for future giveaways and I'm finding room for the rest in the house.

*  Hang Curtain  PASS  I changed out the curtain in the laundry room from a too-long sheer purple with white polka dots one to a white lace with butterflies curtain.  Whoopee, right?

*  Begin moving stuff out of Purple Room  PASS  I've got the closet in there emptied and all but 2 drawers in the dressers.  Now I just have to go through a pile of fabric left to move and another pile of my clothes to go through and decide what to do with.  Most of this is stuff that needs altering/repairing or is old or doesn't fit.  About half of it can go to Sallie's once I get around to it.  I am on a deadline for clearing out this room by the end of May so it will get done.

All in all, April was pretty mediocre for getting things done, even though my list was not aggressive.
Being in a funk and stressing out over other things tends to not lend much help to getting To-Do lists "To-Done".
The Biking Fail was partly on me and my May bking won't be much better due to circumstances but I will be getting other kinds of exercise this month.
The sewing will pick up in June though as I have a gigantic pile of stuff to sew now.

How about you?  Did you get everything accomplished in April that you set out to do?
Tell us about your month.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Not Everybody "Hearts" Rite-Aid

I found this video by comedian Henry Rollins and just had to share it.

Yep, just call me Mutant Sluggy....lolz

*Content warning-bad words.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2016 $38K Savings Challenge......April Update

Every year I keep a close eye on our monthly expenses and our monthly income.
Our income is mainly the salary my Hubs draws from his job.  We have money taken off each paycheck from the top to put into savings, before we even get our hands on it.  This money that's taken goes into various pots....life insurance, health insurance premiums, long term care insurance premiums, investments and retirement savings.  It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings or these other categories.

Once the automatic savings amounts, plus taxes and medical/dental/vision premiums are taken out, it leaves what we get to "live on".  From this amount we budget for bills, both monthly and irregular bills(semi-annual, annual etc.) and our variable bills(like food, eating out, clothing  etc.)  Anything left over once our monthly expenses are paid, I put aside into an interest bearing Savings Challenge account.

For 2016 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount to $40,000 this year, $10K more than my goal for last year.

I have reconsidered and changed my Goal from $40K to $38K for 2016.  With some things coming down the pike this year I thought it prudent to back up my Goal a couple of thousand.  8-)

On to the April report.....
I have posted my April End of Month $38K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers HERE.

I have 2 goals each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $3,166.66.

I have to report that we finished up April with a large amount leftover exceeding my target amount.
The extra amount we ended the month of April with?.......$6,190.53


We had $5787.47 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in April totaled $403.06.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts, blogging revenue and items sold.

This brought us to our gain of $6190.53
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

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


*  First off, April is a 3 paycheck month so the entire bonus paycheck goes into savings. 8-)))
*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The April electric bill was actually down $68.78 from March's bill.  Less heat means less electricity used.
*  The cash withdrawals/spending was down $330 from last month.
*  I received a check for blogging.  Not much but it was something.
*  I sold a book on Amazon.  This was a surprise because I had forgotten I still had a few listed on there. lol
*  I also sold some toiletries from the stockpile.


*  Water bill was up $12.95 from March as Hubs attempted to deal with a water heater issue.
*  The gas card bill was up $58.98 as Hubs put more gas purchases on this card.
*  The credit card bill was up $63.19 from last month.  I bought some clothes in April(undies and a swimsuit)so we spent a bit more than in March on the c/c.
*  The direct medical spending was up $30.92.  This was co-pays for Hubs eye issue.
*  Semi-annual car insurance premium was due for 2 of the cars.
*  I bought quite a few Summer weather clothing items as many of mine needed replacing.  I did however wait until there was a 50% off sale and I got good bargains on 8 articles of clothing including 3 dresses, another swimsuit and 4 shirts.
*  I prepaid on 6 of our hotel nights for our trip in May.  While not a "bad" thing per se, I'd rather put these charges on April's tally than on May's tally.  It helps to spread out the spending between the 2 months rather than have them all piled up on May's income, especially since April is a 3 paycheck month.

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

April was a pretty expensive month for us.  The regular bills were very low this month coming in at under $1800, but we had car insurance, clothing purchases and hotel charges prepaid to offset that. Still, we were able to save quite a bit even with those expenses.

With 4 month accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2016 is $15,605.35.

Final thoughts on April---
I am very happy with what we socked away in April given the irregular expenses this month.
But compared to April 2015 we put $153.30 less into savings this April.
We have $15,605.35 saved so far in 2016, and we have only $22,394.65 left to save at this point in the year to reach our goal of $38K.

THOUGHTS going forward into May----

We have no big irregular yearly bills due in May.  We will have a bit larger credit card bill however but nothing really huge.
Bills will go up in May with College Boy home for the Summer.  I am not worried about the bills for May, it's the June bills I am NOT looking forward to as 2 kids will be home full time that month plus most of the vacation charges will be on that month's c/c statement(which we pay in full each month).

Darn you "life" for making me spend so much money and not save it all! lolz

So how was your April financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in April?
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!

As we go forward into 2016 why not make this new year the one were you clean up your finances and pay off your debts.
Plan to set something aside if you don't already now or increase what you bank now for your future self.
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.


May 1 Net Worth Snapshot

We are up $10,021.73 from last month's net worth overall(only liquid cash/investments, as I don't count housing or car values).
Two thirds of that gain was from the retirement account funds.  One third from the monies I save and control.

We are up $126,899.31 from one year ago, the May 1st of 2015 net worth snapshot.  Large sums of money generate goodly amounts even with a stagnant interest rate.
Curses on the FED though as we could really be earning much more if  it didn't artificially keep the rates in the basement. sigh.

Once Hubs retires I will miss these little monthly look backs, when we move from acquisition mode with money to spend-down mode. ;-)