Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Stuff Lately

As August winds down(hey! it's the 31st today)here are the things going on lately at Chez Sluggy.....

* We got College Boy back to school this past weekend........

I was more hands-off this year on this one, as CB wanted to handle things himself.
This meant that I only spent $ on a couple of kitchen sponges and printer ink cartridges on the back-to-school shopping. $100 or less for back to school shopping?  I'll take it! 8-)
 The rest of his needs were acquired from my various stockpiles(food/toiletries/office supplies/etc.).

The down side was that he forgot to take a goodly amount of articles that he'll be his concert shoes, mattress memory foam pad and his printer cables.

And he lost his wallet but didn't notice until the morning he was to leave which meant an extra hour delay in leaving and he was trying to find it.(He did and he left it in his bandmates car the night before.)  I have threatened him with a wallet/belt chain for the wallet for Xmas.

The good news is he got to school in time for his Wind Ensemble audition and he aced that so got a chair in the Ensemble for this year.

* The garden--
All this was harvested in the last week..........

7.43 lbs. of tomatoes and another of the acorn squash(22.8 oz.)brings my Garden Harvest to 19.93 lbs. of goodies.

The bulk of those tomatoes are now in the freezer wanting for cooler weather so I can can them then.

I spent a morning here.........

Daughter had a treatment and I had to drive her there and back.

Lunch at a Chinese Buffet may or may not have been involved in this "treatment" afterwards.....

A medical appointment was how I spent my morning on Monday, well most of it was spent waiting.
It took 3 months to get this appointment and now my treatment is in the hands of a specialist and all my meds are being turned on their ears.
It's a whole new ballgame as I begin a new journey down the healthcare system.
Perhaps this anointed one will have some answers.

* Anxious to see the end of the month August financials tomorrow on the 1st of September.  It won't be pretty I know but it's better to face it than hide from it, right?  September won't be tons better in the saving category since property taxes(half of them)are due next month.  The grocery budget is still kicking my ass but with College Boy away at school the numbers should look a bit better.

Speaking of CB, I can't wait to go  dig out his bedroom. *insert eye roll here*

So I am off to the grocery store for cheap facial tissues and coffee and then to Rite-Aid for my monthly med pick-up plus all these new ones that were ordered.  I might even pick-up something for free while I am at R-A.
Hey, how could I not?  8-)

So what's going on in your world?


Monday, August 29, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Back To School" Edition......

We sent College Boy packing back to school on Sunday.
Well, after an hour delay in the morning as he tried to track down his wallet.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Eggplant Parmesan, Ceasar Salad
2. Monday--Chicken Marsala, Noodles, CA medley Veggies
3. Tuesday--Leftovers(Ribs, Ranch Chicken Bake and a Veggie side)
4. Wednesday--Meatloaf, Zucchini Casserole
5. Thursday--Kielbasa on Rolls
6. Friday--Pork BBQ sandwiches, Cole Slaw
7. Saturday--Whatever College Boy wants for dinner-probably Crab Cakes and Mac & Cheese(it's his last night home)

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Eggplant Parmesan, Ceasar Salad
2. Monday--Chicken Marsala, Noodles, CA medley Veggies
3. Tuesday--Tacos and/or Taco Salads
4. Wednesday--Tacos and/or Taco Salads
5. Thursday--Pork BBQ sandwishes, Cole Slaw
6. Friday--Homemade Mac & Cheese(CB's request)and whatever else was here that they wanted to fix
7. Saturday--Leftovers

7 meals cooked at home, 1-2 of them nights of leftovers and 0 nights of Take-Out.

As for the grocery spending.....1 trip to the Shursave Market for $30.88 which brought my weekly spending to $132.21 and my August food spending total to $457.27, well under my $500 goal.

Leftovers going into this week........chicken marsala, pork bbq, eggplant parm, ranch chicken bake, mac and cheese, and cauliflower cheese soup(also a College Boy request).

Here is this week's "food plan".

1. Sunday--Leftovers for kids, Anniversary Dinner out for Hubs and I
2. Monday--Meatloaf, Zucchini Casserole
3. Tuesday--Leftovers
4. Wednesday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Sauted Cabbage
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--maybe Leftovers again?
7. Saturday--not sure yet, maybe Take-Out

This week might see 2 new meals cooked and 1 nights of Take-Out and 4 night of Leftovers and 1 meal out.
The meal out happened but not sure if the take-out will happen, or I might make a pizza instead.

What we need to buy for this menu......not a thing.  I have every thing needed to make those 2(or 3 if I do pizza)new meals.  We have so many leftovers so in order to eat it all it's a light cooking week for me.
Go me. lolz

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

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

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Something Added to the Giveaway Box

I found another pair of white No Nonsense Socks in my goody bags so I have added them to the current Giveaway Box up for grabs.

Now two pairs of these socks are in the box of goodies you can win!

I have also been persuaded to add some chocolate too as there was an outcry for Chocolate and there was teeny bit more room in the mailing box.

Yay for chocolate!

So don't forget to enter daily and also get your bonus entries by going HERE and entering before Sunday, September 4th at 11:59pm.


Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 Food & Toiletries Spending......August Update

* I've closed out the August books a couple of days early as I am done shopping.  Anything bought in the next 5 days will come out of September's funds. *

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for AUGUST 2016.

I have posted August,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 August.  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 5(5 at home this month). No kids under 20.


OOP  $18.00
Value  $79.22
Savings   77.28%

OOP  $6.00
Value  $20.44
Savings  70.65%

OOP  $151.90
Qs/Ads  $113.27
Value  $265.17
Savings  42.71%

OOP  $28.50
Qs/Ads  $15.06
Value  $43.56
Savings  34.57%

OOP  $75.83
Qs/Ads $37.65
Value  $113.48
Savings  33.18%

OOP  $177.04
Qs/Ads  $141.29
Value  $358.43
Savings  44.38%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Bakery Outlet at 77.28%, the Farm Stand at 70.65% and Weis Markets at 44.38%.  My WORST savings rate was the Shursave Market at 33.18%
I shopped at 6 different stores this past month.
I did NO Rite-Aid shopping in August!  Don't faint.... ;-)

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$457.27
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$423.03
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$880.30
TOTAL Savings of...................................48.05%

This closes out the August food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into August wanting to do a $500 food budget for the month.  I ended up spending $42.73 less than that so stayed under budget, finally!

Again I am still trying to find the spending sweet spot.  I thought I was there but now CB is leaving so there is one less adult and I am back to struggling to find that balance.

At least my savings rate is up to 48.05% which is better than July's rate.
The monthly food spending savings percentage went up by 1.11% in August to 48.05% compared to July's 46.94% savings average.
I'll take that savings rate all day long!

With 8 months accounted for, I have spent a total of $2836.49 on food/toiletries so far in 2016 which averages out to $354.56 per month spent.  This is $14.67 higher per month than the average in July was.
But then again, I am feeding 2 extra people this year so that increase is not so bad.

LOOKING AHEAD To September 2016.........

I will continue with my usual shopping ways in loss leaders or great deals which we can use, use a few coupons, cash in points for gift cards or buy discounted gift cards to food stores when possible.
I am going to give myself $400 for September.  College Boy is back at school so we are down to feeding 4 adults so $100 per person should be a good amount.

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 August?
*  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?


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Here's the Master Packing List

Since it's that Back to College time too, here is a reprint of my Packing Master List.

It's pretty basic and you can add or delete from this for your teens needs.
We've done this packing for college thing 7 times so far(4 x #1Son, 1 x Daughter and 2 x #2Son)and just grabbing this list and checking things off works for us.

Buddy Sonya Ann also has a list but I don't know if she'll repost it again this year.

College Back-To-School List

Pens and Pencils
Black Marker
Paper Clips
Stationary Paper or Note Paper
Pencil Sharpener  
Backpack/Computer Bag
Sheet Sets
Alarm Clock
French Press
Water Kettle
Trash Can
Hand Soap
Toilet Brush
Toilet Paper
Cleaning Supplies
Dishes and Utensils
Assorted Toiletries
Assorted OTC Meds
Desk Lamp
Trash Can
Ethernet Cable
Cell Phone
Cell Phone charger
Light bulbs 
Flash Drive
TV Cable Trunk
Shoes and Boots
Facial Tissue
Laundry Soap
Laundry Basket
Stain Remover
Hair Brush/Comb
Hair Dryer
Sewing Kit
Tool Kit
Lanyard(for room key, student ID)
Medical Card
Driver's License
Debit Card

Have fun sending your college student off!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

They're Going Baaaaack!

Time again to remember this classically funny TV commercial.
It's just genius and it makes me smile every time I see it.

For email subscribers go to YouTube HERE to view it.

For everyone else, check it out below......

The Alice Cooper Staples commercial is pretty cute too.

Only 1 more year for me and I am done forever with Back-To-School stuff!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In the Garden & Other Stuff Around Chez Sluggy

* Hubs checked the garden on Saturday before he mowed the lawn and found this lurking beneath the massive Zucchini plant leaves.......

This weighed in at 2.5+ pounds and makes the 4th zuke we've harvested from the garden.  The poor zuke plants must be exhausted since we've forced them to produce these behemoths.
Bad garden keepers......

We also started to see this occurring in the garden late last week.........

First one and then a second tomato started turning red, finally!!!

We are up to 13 tomatoes turning as of yesterday morning.

As I haven't picked any tomatoes yet I haven't counted them in our Harvest Totals, but that monster zuke's weight brings us up to almost 10.5 lbs. of produce from the garden for the season.
Not bad for a haphazard effort on our part. 8-)

* Remember that medical refund check from Louisiana that no one bothered to sign so we couldn't cash it?

If you will recall they said to send it back(and it was endorsed already)so they could sign it.
It arrived back to us, signed this time, on Friday.

After taking Daughter to her medical procedure I "tried" to deposit it into our credit union account after she signed it over to me.
The clerk at the CU refused to take it!
She said they would only let me deposit it if Daughter's name was on our account....which it is not.
Really?  Are you kidding me???

I may be crazy but when the kids were little and their relatives, on the few occasions they did this, would sent them birthday or Xmas checks I'd have to cash/deposit those checks at my bank/cu because they didn't have bank accounts.
Who didn't do that, right?

So I went literally across the street to a bank where I have a small account and asked to deposit the check and they took it.
Yeah this may be this particular cu's policy but WTF?!?

Guess who is closing out a credit union account soon and moving all that money to the bank across the street? ;-)))

* When Daughter and I went to Virginia for a visit I signed up online to the Rewards Club for a bbq place we like.  My brother said I was suppose to get a $15 off YNO Q for doing so.  Well, after signing up we went into the restaurant, as it said online we could pick up our rewards card and $ off Q then.
Nope.  The card and Q come in the mail later.

Fast forward a month to mid August and my Q arrives in the mail last week......

And it expires Sept. 15th.
That was a waste of time, huh?
So I mailed it to my brother so at least he can take advantage of the offer.

* I've been grocery shopping hot and heavy lately and am about out of food money for August.
I've spent $101+ so far this week but I've gotten some good deals.  Maine Source had a $5 off a $50 order so we took advantage of that and picked up sale items like fresh local produce(eggplant, cauliflower, cuke, tomato and watermelon), bulk ground chuck, 5 lb. bag of mozzarella shreds, and a case of paper plates(now I don't have to buy those for about 1.5-2 years)plus milk which is never on sale in PA.  I hit the bread store for more bread too.

Plus we ran into Price Chopper for BF's Powerade and cold cuts and I found these marinated flank steaks marked down with $2 off Instant stickers.

The markdown stickers got these down to just under a $3 lb. price point and I'll pay that all day long for steak.  8-)

* Then the house property tax reassessment arrived from Louisiana.

Since Daughter no longer owns or lives in the property and she got a homestead exemption for living there, the parish(local taxing entity)has taken off the exemption since Hubs and I don't live in it as our primary residence.  We knew that was coming.

You can get an exemption on the first $75K worth of value on your property if it's your primary residence,  which meant Daughter was paying only $150 or so on property taxes each year.

Surprisingly the parish reassessed the value of the property about $20K lower than what it had been when Daughter owned it so our property taxes will only go up to about $400 a year on the house/land.

This was good news even though I knew LA has some of the lowest state property taxes in the country.
By comparison we pay over $4 THOUSAND a year on this house in PA.  And we still don't get much in the way of goods and services for that(including no municipal garbage or sewage).
We do have higher than average government corruption up in NEPA compared to SWLA so that's part of why we pay so much more. ;-)  I really don't mind paying the school tax component of our property taxes in PA since our school district is rated this year as the highest/best in our area of PA.....but the rest of it, well it's a crime and a ripoff.

* We have decided to ditch the third/College Boy's car.  It started acting up again last week and Hubs and I really can't justify dumping more cash into it, plus the car insurance bill payment is due by the end of August.
If we ditch the car, we ditch that bill and all those repairs.
And CB will be away at school mostly until next May and if/when he works here during school breaks in 2016/2017 and the rest of his Summer break now(he's got 1 day left of Summer work)he doesn't need a car and can borrow mine.

He is required to do an internship Spring of his senior year(he's an incoming junior this Fall)so he WILL need a vehicle in about 1.5 years for that but this current shit car is not something I feel comfortable sending him off to parts unknown in for this internship as we have no clue how far from home this will require him to be.
So this current car's expenses are unnecessary at this point and we can make do with him borrowing my car when needed for the next 1 to 1.5 years.
This extra $400+ in a 6 month car insurance payment will really help out my August spending totals too.  August spending has kicked my ass and HARD! 8-(
But this means we'll need to purchase another beater car in the future, so I'll start putting money aside earmarked for that purchase.  When CB finishes college this will give him a car to get to work in and not have to worry about buying a car for a few years and let him save up for a down payment.
But it's always something with kids, huh?

Ok I am off to rub a butt(Hey! minds out of the gutter!)and get it into the smoker and then go pay the last bills for August so I can begin closing out the books on the month.


Monday, August 22, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Getting CB Ready for Back-To-School" Edition.............

The kids says he's "got this" but I am making an inventory list just in case because I know him. lolz
I don't want them to get there and find out he forgot important stuff as that means I get to drive back to college with it later.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Beef Stroganoff, Rice, Spinach Salad
2. Monday--Tempura Shrimp and Zucchini
3. Tuesday--BBQ Ribs, Sliced Tomato, Leftover Mashed Potatoes
4. Wednesday--Chicken Ranch Bacon Pasta Bake, Sliced Tomato and Cukes
5. Thursday--Steak, Grilled Veggies, Noodles
6. Friday--Fish, Cole Slaw, Leftover sides or Caesar Salad
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Beef Stroganoff, Rice
2. Monday--Tempura Shrimp and Zucchini, French Fries(for the BF)
3. Tuesday--BBQ Ribs, Spinach Salad, Leftover Mashed Potatoes(for BF)
4. Wednesday--Steak, Squash Casserole, Roasted Potatoes
5. Thursday--Chicken Ranch Bacon Pasta Bake, Tomato Salad(using local maters I bought last week)
6. Friday--Salmon or Breaded Fish, Cole Slaw, boxed Mac and Cheese(for BF)
7. Saturday--Leftovers(I had a hamburger.)

7 meals cooked at home, 1 of them nights of leftovers and 0 nights of Take-Out.

Most everything happened as planned except a few sides got switched or changed.  I am happy we used up all those local fresh tomatoes. 8-)
Daughter made dinner one night.

As for the grocery spending.....2 small trips to Weis, 1 trip to the Bread Outlet and 1 huge trip to Maine Source totaling $144.65. Added to what was spent earlier this month and I am at $325.06 spent of my $500 budget for August, leaving me $174.94 in the food kitty.  With only 9 days left in the month I hope we'll stay under budget on food for's just a matter now of how much under budget that turns out to be.

Leftovers going into this week........ribs, stroganoff, ranch chicken bake.

Here is this week's "food plan".

1. Sunday--Eggplant Parmesan, Ceasar Salad
2. Monday--Chicken Marsala, Noodles, CA medley Veggies
3. Tuesday--Leftovers(Ribs, Ranch Chicken Bake and a Veggie side)
4. Wednesday--Meatloaf, Zucchini Casserole
5. Thursday--Kielbasa on Rolls
6. Friday--Pork BBQ sandwiches, Cole Slaw
7. Saturday--Whatever College Boy wants for dinner-probably Crab Cakes and Mac & Cheese(it's his last night home)

This week will see 5 or 6 new meals cooked and 0 nights of Take-Out and 1 or 2 night of Leftovers.
Unless of course Daughter's doc appointment/injection runs long as I have to drive her for that. Plus I have to chauffeur CB to work and back.  If I don't get home in time to cook dinner tonight then either meal days get changed up or we get Take-out tonight and one of the meals planned drops to next week.

What we need to buy for this menu.....milk, eggplant and rolls.

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?


Friday, August 19, 2016

Another Giveaway? Yes Please!

Back-To-School Time is here so let's have another Giveaway!

This is the sixth  Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway for 2016.
Hey, it's one way to empty my toiletry and accessories stashes. lolz

Here is what you can win if your entry is chocolate this time as it's August and that doesn't travel well.......

2 x acrylic picture frames(one has a magnet on that back/one stands up)
1 x St. Ives Facial Scrub
1 x Pantene Shampoo(with bonus sample sized Conditioner bottle)
1 x box of Hot Tamales candy
1 x small bottle of Listerine
1 x box of Excedrin Pain Reliever
1 x box of Colgate toothpaste
1 x Rite-Aid toothbrush
2 x Nivea hand creme tins
1 x pair of No Nonsense Socks
2 x packages of Bic pens(1 blue/1 black)
1 x pack of pencils
1 x pack of glue sticks

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

I'll leave this giveaway open until Sunday, September 4th, at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time, so that gives everyone a full 2 weeks to enter this one.  On the 4th 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 every day until the Giveaway ends.
Tell me in your comment, what here is the thing you most want to win or what your Fall plans are, 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 you follow the blog for your entries.

Disclaimer--This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses within the US only.
I am not the government with unlimited funds to pay postage, sorry.

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 privately 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!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Shopping Trip....Free Stuff!

I made a vlog about my trip to Weis Markets yesterday for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

I do use a few bad words(including what writer Jean Shepherd termed "the Mother of All Curse Words")so don't click on the video if you can't handle it.

Also included in this transaction but not pictured(because they were quickly melting in the heat)were 2 containers of ice cream, reg. $5.99 each on sale for $1.99 each(when you bought two).


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Food Budget Spending Lately

This is the only "putting up" of produce I've done so far this Summer........

I spent a good 2 hours this past weekend prepping, blanching and freezing 5+ lbs. of green beans.

All this work yielded 5 quart sized bags of beans for the freezer.

I also bought almost 6 lbs. of Summer squash but I'll use all that up for meals this week and not put any of that up.  If I get another load of it in the next two weeks I'll blanch and freeze that batch for later.

On Sunday I made a trip to Maine Source.  I like to go on Sunday was you can double dip the Weekend only Deals with the Weekly Deals that begin that day.  I spent $96.57 on that trip but got lots of goodies.
I picked up 23 lbs. of ribs and 9+ lbs. of pork butt.  The ribs were fixed yesterday for dinner and there are a fair amount leftover.  This leftover will NOT go to waste. lolz
The pork butt is in the freezer for now and will be turned into a big batch of bbq pulled pork for sammiches in the coming weeks.
Other meats purchased at Maine Source were 3lbs. of steaks(on tonight's menu)and 2 lbs. of shrimp(was Tuesday's dinner). Eggs were .69¢ dozen so I got 3 containers of those, mushrooms were $5 for 3-12 oz. containers and those went into Sunday's Beef Stroganoff dinner.  Also bought was cabbage, a red onion, 2.31 lbs. of grapes, a beautiful large head of Romaine lettuce for .99¢, a gallon of milk. lunch meat and sliced cheese.  Comparable regular retail on all this would have been $164.56 so I don't feel so bad having spent only $96.57. often do you use the qualifier "only" with that dollar amount? lolz

I also made a trip to the Bread Outlet and they were practically wiped out of good bread products.  1 loaf of bread for Hubs and 2 packages of hot dog rolls cost me $3.00.  3 boxes of chocolate chip cookies and 2 boxes of mini-donuts jumped into my cart as well. (The "kids" here love these Entenmann's little cookies and can inhale a box a piece in a sitting....same for the mini-donuts.  I don't usually buy this stuff but spent the $5 and got them as a treat. And I have been good and not had my fingers in those boxes.)  $8 OOP at the Bread Outlet.

I spent $19.27 at Weis(PMITA)Markets earlier this week.  They were out of the breakfast Hot Pockets so I got a rain check but I did do the Spray N' Wash Deal..........

Spend $20/Get $5 off Instantly.  The regular retail price costs toward the $20 total but the items are on sale, meaning I spent $18.45 only and got $5 off so this lot cost me $13.45 + tax.  These refill jugs were the same price as the much smaller spray bottles of Spray n' Wash so it just makes sense to buy the refill and use the spray bottle I already have to dispense the product, right?  Spray N' Wash is part of my laundering trinity........any brand of laundry detergent, then 15 squirts of Spray N' Wash and a few glugs of Hydrogen Peroxide per load(whites also get some chlorine bleach).
They stopped making Spray N' Wash for awhile a few years back and that made me sad until they brought it back.  I swear by this stuff and have used it ever since 1981.

All in I spent $19.27 OOP at Weis.
A quickie to the local Shursave Market for Veggie Oil and 2 loaves of "good" bread(both on BOGO Deals) and there goes another $10.37 out the wallet.

$126.21 spent this week on food so far.

Next week will be austerity food spending I think.  I'll dig out proteins from the freezer and we'll have some cheaper meats like kielbasa(I've already got the hot dog rolls for it)and chicken I think, so I don't run out of grocery money before the month ends.  Maybe a pasta and shrimp dish too as there is shrimp in the freezer.
College Boy doesn't leave for school until 4 days before the month ends so I won't save any money not feeding him in August.

I do feel happy that I've avoided take-out and eating out since we've gotten back from Maine.  I don't mind spending some more on groceries since we aren't spending on prepared meals.

What have you been buying this week at the grocery stores/farm stands/food outlets?


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Garden Mystery Solved

Well this............

Turned out to be this, once we got into the garden on Sunday and started weeding..........

It was an acorn squash.  Over 2 lbs. of acorn squash!
We went ahead and picked it because it looked like a chipmunk had taken a small bite out of it.
This means I'll have to cook this soon rather than putting it into my root cellar for eating later on in the Fall.
But there are two more baby acorn squash on that plant so there will be more coming(if the critters don't get to them first).

We also found that monstrously large zucchini on one of the two zuke plants.  It was totally hidden by the foliage and weeds.  That makes the third zuke we've harvested this year.
I've placed a pint mason jar in the photo for scale. That is not part of our harvest. ;-)

Between the 3 zucchini and the acorn squash we've picked we have grown 8.14 lbs. of food this Summer.  I decided to weigh stuff and see how much produce we grow this season.  Even with a haphazard last minute garden this year we will be getting a fair amount of produce it seems.
Hubs netting system, though a pain to get into, is also proving to be a pain for the critters to get into, which was goal.  We haven't lost any veggies since he put it up(knock on wood!).
There are tons of tomatoes on those plants as well and I look forward to a nice crop of maters in the coming weeks.  And I'll have enough green tomatoes to make my pepper relish as well this Fall(along with a few for green tomatoes for frying).

When we weeded we also found another volunteer plant.......

A Roma tomato plant!
I planted 2 Roma varieties last Summer which were quite prolific but the deer ate every single tomato on those plants, darn it!
I didn't plant Roma this year so this is a volunteer plant from seed that fell and wintered in the garden bed.
Not sure if any of the maters will get big enough or ripe enough to use but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Now I am off to attempt to weed the front flower bed.  It's just been left all season and has overgrown with weeds terribly.  With everything going on here this Spring/Summer and being gone a good deal of the time that bed has gotten no love or attention.
I'll probably be sore for days after trying to tackle it. bleh.


Monday, August 15, 2016

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Garden is in Full Bloom" Edition.............

I love Morning Glories. I haven't needed to actually plant them for years now though.  I let the vines die off and the seed pods open into the garden bed every Fall before clearing them out.  I am rewarded every Spring with new vines of lovely purple flowers.
I took this shot this morning after a friendly bumblebee had a sip or two from this flower.  You can see the than-you pollen grains he left behind if you look closely.  8-)

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Leftover Pizza(We weren't home yet.)
2. Monday--Glazed Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Caesar Salad(Daughter cooked.)
3. Tuesday--TV Dinners(I'm sick, I need easy.)
4. Wednesday--Beef Pie
5. Thursday--BBQ Ribs, Sliced Tomatoes, Baked Beans
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Tempura Shrimp and Zucchini

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Leftover Pizza(We weren't home yet.)
2. Monday--Glazed Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Caesar Salad(Daughter cooked.)
3. Tuesday--TV Dinners(I'm sick, I need easy.)
4. Wednesday--Beef Pie
5. Thursday--Leftovers(I had a Greek Salad.)
6. Friday--Homemade Pizza, Salad
7. Saturday--Leftovers or FFY(I had a Greek Salad with REAL maters! lolz)

7 meals cooked at home(well TV dinners aren't really home cooked), 2 of them nights of leftovers and 0 nights of Take-Out.

The rib and tempura shrimp dinners didn't happen and they move to this week.  I made a pizza instead and we had an extra night of Leftovers or Fend For Yourself.

As for the grocery spending..... 2 trips to Weis and 1 trip to the Farm Stand totaling $91.91. Added to what was spent earlier this month and I am at $180.41 spent of my $500 budget for August, leaving me $319.59 in the food kitty.

Leftovers going into this week........Burrito fixings, Beef Pie, Chicken Parm, Mashed Potatoes. I used the leftover Spanish rice and Chicken mix for Burritos that Daughter made for dinner the week we were gone to Maine and made up 3 Burritos to put into the freezer for quick meals if someone needs one.  The Beef Pie and Chicken Parm will be lunches meaning all I need to use up in a dinner is the leftover taters.

Here is this week's "food plan".

1. Sunday--Beef Stroganoff, Rice, Spinach Salad
2. Monday--Tempura Shrimp and Zucchini
3. Tuesday--BBQ Ribs, Sliced Tomato, Leftover Mashed Potatoes
4. Wednesday--Chicken Ranch Bacon Pasta Bake, Sliced Tomato and Cukes
5. Thursday--Steak, Grilled Veggies, Noodles
6. Friday--Fish, Cole Slaw, Leftover sides or Caesar Salad
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 6 new meals cooked and 0 nights of Take-Out and 1 night of Leftovers.

What we need to buy for this menu.....ribs, powdered Ranch dressing, cukes and veggie oil.  I went to Maine Source on Sunday so we have the ribs but the rest needs to be bought today.

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?
I'll be getting some Breakfast Hot Pockets for CB and the BF this week at Weis, along with doing the Spend $20 on cleaners and get $5 off instantly.  I could use a new stockpile of Spray N' Wash and it's included in this Cleaner Deal.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Looking Forward to the Rest of 2016

I am sitting here on a hot and hazy Saturday morning looking at what is ahead here at Chez Sluggy for the rest of the year.

We are almost halfway through August already(can't say as I am NOT happy that the hot weather is leaving soon!lol).

College Boy will be leaving to go back to school in 2 weeks.
I have barely seen him all Summer!  It's been all I could do to corral him to A-get his school bill paid(you have to do this online through his account)and B-get me the info so I could reserve and pay for his textbooks.
He's been working full time this Summer and filling his off hours with rehearsing with various bands, playing gigs with various bands, hanging out with friends, and yes, sleeping as little as humanly possible.  Ah to be young and full of energy..... ;-)

Before you know it, September will be here.

There is the family reunion in Virginia the end of that month.  At this point I am on the fence about going this year.  One of the few relatives who talks to me at this thing(and I actually "know" somewhat)died back in January and no one bothered to tell me until I took the Daughter to visit my brother in July.  Another thing for me to have hurt feelings over besides the sadness I feel at losing this family member.
Between my frame of mind at the moment and just feeling old and not up to anymore traveling right now I might just stay home this year.

Then Hubs will get a hankering to go somewhere in October as he is want to do.
I would love to return to Ocean City Maryland this year as we were last there 2 Octobers ago.  Last year we went to visit my crazy cousin Sonya Ann in October. 8-)

 I do love it down in OC in October when the tourists have left but the weather is still nice and we can get an oceanfront room for $100 a night.  It always seems like our last hurrah before Winter sets in.....
But I don't know if I want to travel again in October this year.  Plus the expense of vacationing?  I just don't want more vacation expenses right now.

Speaking of expenses, we've had a lot of them up to this point this year.
I am still trying to slog through Daughter's medical stuff from Louisiana to match up payments to bills to EOBs.

I figured out that one doctor was overpaid by us to the tune of $126.  So back in early June I had Daughter call their billing office and find out when they were going to return our money.  Well they weren't actually going to send our over payment back until we found it and requested it! Unreal.....

So we asked for the money to be sent back and were told it would take another month's billing cycle before they could cut us a check.
So Augusts 3rd, while I was in Maine the check finally arrived......(identifying info has been blacked out)

Please not that no one there bothered to SIGN THE CHECK!
Ass hats.....
So this meant yet another call to Louisiana to figure out what to do with this.
They want it sent back so someone can sign it.....I wonder how long THAT will take after waiting almost 2 months for this one?!?

The problem reusing this check is that my Daughter only has an online bank and she has to take pictures of checks to deposit them and since the online bank rejected this particular check/number, she needs a whole new check or the bank won't accept it.
So now I get to try to deposit this into my account IF it ever gets returned AND signed.

It's always something isn't it?  8-P

At the rate the bills are piling up this year I am having serious doubts I can get to my savings goal for the year.
We really shouldn't do anymore vacationing in light of this.  Hubs can still take the time off but we can stay home and putter or take local trips if he wants to "do" something.
Maybe I can talk him into cleaning out the shed as a "FUN" activity on his vacation? 8-)

It's not that I don't have the money to cover the bills, for which I am thankful, but spending on non-necessities just doesn't seem prudent for the rest of this year.
Plus I need to reserve some of December's savings to help cover the high-deductible on our medical insurance when it rolls over in January.  I know our premiums will go up(meaning more deducted from the paychecks)plus our deductible may also rise(we'll get the details on that in October).

And then there is that holiday coming up in December......don't make me say it's name! lolz
I have very little put aside so far for the "Bacchanalia of spending" in December.  I have a bit tucked back and have a few things bought but nowhere near the amount I like to have set aside at this point in the year.

But I keep telling myself that as long is everyone is healthy and well it will all be fine.

So what does your remainder of 2016 look like?


Friday, August 12, 2016

A Couple of Deals Earlier This Week & A Mystery

Even though I was deliriously sick earlier this week I still got my butt up to Weis(PMITA)Markets for a few good deals.

Part of the Mix & Match/Buy 6, Get $3 off Deals were Huggies wipes and Country Time lemonade.
Both were $1.99 on sale and I bought 12=$23.88.
I paired various IPQs totaling $11.50 with the deal...$23.88-$11.50=$12.38
Subtract the $6 for 2 x the Deal and my OOP was $6.38 for 8 packages of wipes and 4 canisters of lemonade.

Snapple bottles of tea were on sale for $1 each and almost all of them had BOGOFree hangtag Qs on the bottles making the tea bottles .50¢ each after sale/Q.
But these hangtag Qs all rang up for the regular retail off of $1.49, making each bottle .25¢ after sale/Qs.
$3 for 12 bottles.  These are a treat for me.  I love Red Rooibos tea.

I also picked up a package of uncured natural hot dogs for 1/2 off at $2.  Also picked up a package of salmon filet for $4.39 and a package of beef strips for stir-fry at $4.91.  Each of those had $3 off instant meat discount stickers on them.

2 trips to Weis this week with a savings percentage of 54% on 1 trip and 45% on the other trip.

I also made a trip to the farm stand because I was seriously Jones-ing for a REAL tomato!

Those tomatoes were almost as big as the cantaloupe I got! lolz
The 'loupe was $1 and each tomato was $1.25.

I've already finished off 1 of those big maters..... ;-)

And there is a mystery veg lurking in the garden.
I spied this baby 2 days ago hidden under the lush undergrowth......

That dark green orb looks like an acorn squash.
Now I have NEVER planted acorn squash before but last Fall I bought some and probably threw the "guts" from them out into the garden bed.
A lone volunteer squash "of some sort" plant appeared in the garden in early July and has been flowering for the last 3 weeks.  There were no baby veeggies on that plant when we left for Maine but now there is.
I'll get Hubs to take the netting system down over the garden this weekend so we can check this out, check for zucchinis on those plants and weed the bed.
While this netting system he set up keeps us out of the garden it has also kept whatever was eating everything in there last Summer out too(I suspect it was deer and/or racoons.)

More on the mystery veggie later......

Have you found anything unusual in your garden this Summer?


Thursday, August 11, 2016

On Losing Friends

There are a couple of online friends who I no longer have contact with.

One has disappeared from the online community as far as I can tell and no longer responds to emails.
I think of her often and hope she is doing well and hope that someday there is some contact from her.

The other one hasn't responded to my attempts to contact her for 2 years now.  At first I thought she had decided to remove herself from an online presence.

But a few months ago I saw that she was still(or had returned to being)online.
I had been seeing someone commenting on a few blogs I also frequent. Her writing and phrasing seemed familiar and I finally figured out it was this second online friend who had stopped communicating with me.

These blogs she was commenting on were not the kind I would have seen her on previously so I deduced that she was going onto my blog roll at some point and found these particular blogs there.

Her comments on these other blogs linked back to a new blog she had begun and by reading a bit there I confirmed that yes, this was that online friend who evidently didn't "need" me in her life any longer.

At first I was hurt that for the last 2 years she had just ignored my attempts to be her friend.
I did a somewhat large favor for her "back in the day" when her life turned upside down.  Knowing now how our relationship would turn out I would still have done this favor for her given the opportunity again.

It's funny that through this action I brought her into contact with the person who is her current BFF.
I am glad to have helped her in this way too.
But beside that, it would have just been plain old common decency to have written back to me and said I don't need your friendship any longer instead of ignoring my attempts for TWO years!
That's what really be treated so callously, like I don't matter as a person.

It is said that people come into our lives for a reason and leave when they are no longer useful to us.
I guess that's true.
This "no longer my friend" person talks on her blog about hoping the people she's hurt can forgive her.
Well they just might if she were to communicate with them directly and tell them she is sorry.

It's one thing to ask a higher being for forgiveness when we wrong others but there is also owning up to the person you have hurt to ask them for forgiveness.  You can't do one without the other to truly heal your soul.  Giving something up to God without also making amends with those you wronged is just empty and won't ultimately assuage any guilt you feel.

Maybe she is not emotionally strong enough to face someone she has hurt, I don't know.
Or maybe she doesn't view me as someone she has hurt and I am not even worth her consideration and she is totally unconscious to this hurt I feel.

I do know that I am tired of making an effort and getting radio silence.
I am moving on now with my life and she needn't worry about me bothering her again if she or any of her current friends are reading this.

I won't be sharing her blog information, putting her new blog on my roll or visiting her blog since she seems to not need/want me in her life any longer.
Continuing to seek her out just seems creepy to me and stalker-ish.
And that's not my style.

I wish her only the best.
And some day I will get over the sadness I feel.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What's Been Going on at Chez Sluggy Lately

I'm trying my best to get back into a blogging groove since I am back from our latest adventure/trip/vacation but it's been difficult.

Feeling like crap with what is now a head cold doesn't help matters any.
Hubs was so nice to share the virus he picked up in Maine with me....what a guy, right? ;-)
He is better but whatever he gave me I just can't seem to shake.

I still have hundreds of photos to edit from the trip.

Interesting story about my camera though, speaking of photos.

The camera died 9 days or so before we left for Maine.
Thinking it might just be the battery that died I ordered one online but I paid for the "expedited" 2-3 day shipping which was $5 more to ensure that the battery would arrive here before we left on the trip.

Well, by Friday morning, the day before we left, said battery had still not arrived......if should have arrived Tuesday at the latest if they had truly sent it an expedited rate.

Friday morning I said screw it and went to Best Buy to buy another of my same camera and an extra Canon brand battery.
My thinking was, open and try to battery first, and if that was the camera issue, I could return the new camera when we returned and I'd only be out $50 for a battery replacement.
But if the battery wasn't the issue I'd need to open/use the new camera and be out $275+ for both the camera and an extra battery.

So I got a new camera and extra battery on Friday and came home to find.....and you know what I am going to say here.....the online ordered battery had showed up in Friday's mail.

First off FIRST CLASS MAIL is NOT Expedited!
They sent the package the cheapest rate they could and charged me Priority mail rates.

They charged me $8.99 to mail this and actually spent $2.45 for postage.
So I shot off an email and reamed them a new one.

On Monday while checking emails in the motel room I saw that they had refunded the $5 extra I paid for expedited service.
Satisfaction but still a big old hassle to have to deal with.

I opened the online bought battery and indeed my camera sprung back to life so the battery replacement was the cheapest fix for the problem.  I did take the Canon $50 battery with us on the trip just in case this online bought generic battery crapped out, but thankfully I didn't have to open the package and use it.

So when we got back Hubs took the unused camera and extra battery back to Best Buy and that was $275+ less to pay on the August c/c statement.

I took a shot of the garden before we left........

These were the largest tomatoes we had as of 29 July.  They were slightly larger than the size of a golf ball on that date.
As of today we have some "tennis ball" sized tomatoes out in the garden.  Seems it didn't rain here while we were gone and nobody thought to water the plants.
I'd show you a shot of them today but it's currently pouring down rain thankfully.

I also baked a blueberry coffee cake with lemon buttercream frosting the day before we left for Maine.

Hubs dearly loves blueberries and Weis(PMITA)Markets had a BOGO deal on pints of berries that week so I make a cake.

Of course Hubs didn't eat any of it before we left(I snuck a small square that evening)but the kids sure enjoyed the heck out of it while we were gone.

I think the dog was more upset about us going on a trip than the kids were.......

Between hacking up a lung I am trying to get back into my blogging routine, editing photos from the trip, putting stuff away, doing laundry and keeping the dog hair in the house down to a low roar.

And I'm trying to come up with new ways to use Zucchini since we have 2 in the fridge right now that need using.
I'll tempura some and then make a zuke casserole.  That should take care of what's on hand at the moment.  I'm scared to even look under the zucchini plants in the garden and see more coming. lolz

Ok, that's about all I got for today.  Off to the grocery store to get some deals and the farm stand for some "real" tomatoes.  I have been craving a real tomato the whole time we were gone.

What have you been up to lately?