Friday, March 31, 2017

Weis Deal Last Week

Sale ads at Weis(PMITA)Markets start on Thursday so this is the only notable deal I picked up on Wednesday(last sales ad)after getting an old filing fixed at the dentist and heading to the grocery store.......

8 x Wishbone dressings on sale $1.47 each=$11.76
I had 4 x $1/2 Wishbone items TearPad Qs that were expiring 4/1/17 to use.
$11.76-$4=$7.76 OOP
That makes each bottle .97¢ which is a good price here for the 16 oz. size ones.

I already have a supply of dressing here but not these varieties.  We use 1000 island on taco salads as well as Reuben sammiches and College Boy likes to dip his pizza in the Ranch variety.
I like to make my own vinaigrette and Italian fresh but having a bottle of such on hand when I don't have time or inclination to make them is a plan.

We are coming up on Salad Season here shortly.  In the Winter I am the only one basically who eats salad greens but once the weather warms up we all eat it more often.

Today is the Fantastic Friday Sale at Weis.  I may go up and pick up some strip steaks that are $5.66 lb. today only.  Hubs birthday is Wednesday so I may splurging and we may have an early birthday meal.

They also have whole fryers for .86¢ lb. and  Fiora TP 1/2 price today and I have a $1/2 ManuQ so I'll pick those up too on April's food budget.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 Food & Toiletries Spending....March Update

* Posting my grocery totals a bit early as I am done food spending for March.  If for some reason I shop again this week, this amount will go onto April's spending.*

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for MARCH 2017.

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


OOP  $22.00
Value  $83.02
Savings  73.50%

OOP  $12.00
Value  $35.76
Savings   53.42%

OOP  $129.32
Value  $249.91
Savings   48.25%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $67.52
Value  $67.52
Savings  100%

OOP  $82.52
Qs/Ads/Gift Cards  $271.98
Value  $354.50
Savings  76.72%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, Weis Markets at 76.72% and the Bread Outlet at 73.50%.  My WORST savings rate was Maine Source at 48.25%.
Ok, having a "worst" savings rate of almost 50% is not too shabby..... ;-)

I shopped at 5 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$245.84
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$617.39
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$863.23
TOTAL Savings of ..................................71.52%
TOTAL Savings w/o Rite-Aid of ..............69.10%

This closes out the March food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into March wanting to stay under $300 spent OOP on food and toiletries.
Thanks to using some gift cards I stayed $54.16 under budget.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went UP by .33% in March to 69.10% compared to February's 68.77% savings average.

With 3 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $1,091.06 on food/toiletries in 2017 which averages out to $363.69 per month spent in 2017. 8-)

LOOKING AHEAD To April........
Though College Boy won't be home for Easter we will most probably host the Brother in-law and Nephew for that meal.  I already have a ham in the freezer I picked up for free at Weis at Christmas, I'll make my own rolls and deviled eggs(with eggs I already have here), so the only expense will most likely be fresh or frozen veggies I'll pick up in April.  Easter this year shouldn't break the bank.
Plus we'll  have a good bit of ham leftover for other meals in April(though I really don't eat ham anymore the Hubs and Daughter can eat it).

As for the rest of April,  I want to try for a $200 grocery spending month.  We've got lots in the pantry/freezer/stockpile heading into April.  If April turns into a good stock-uppurtunity month I have $477.89 in gift cards for places that sell food/toiletries(though I rarely pay money for toiletries) Ican put some of the food purchases on($205.01 in Weis cards, $60 on a Visa Debit Card from Kohl's purchases, $125.44 in Target gift cards, a $25 Giant Markets gift card, and $62.44 left on my Rite-Aid gift card).
I don't plan to stock-up on things in April but I have the means to pay for it if it happens.

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

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


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gift Card Organizing

Someone asked in the comments last week after I talked about buying discounted gift cards at Dollar General.........
"Cold you do a post about your gift card system?  We're starting to get a lot and I need a good way to organize them!"

So here you go.
I don't know how much of a "system" I have but over on the bookshelf by my desk lives this box.....

It's an old baby wipes box. I keep all my gift cards inside.

First thing is, if it's one of those variable amount cards(which you can pick the value you want put onto it)I write the value I got onto the cardboard display backing card it's attached to.  If that backing is not there(usually means I partially used it but there is $ still left on the card)I write the value of the card on a slip of paper and wrap that around the card with a rubber band(or paper clip).  You can see the "Chili's" card on the right in the photo also has a second card rubber banded to it with a slip of paper around it....that's a partially used card.

If I have multiple of the same brands of cards I also rubber band those together to keep them together.

All the food gift cards are then stacked and rubber banded together.  I also have retail store gift cards(department stores, home improvement stores, grocery stores, etc.)  Each category of stores is banded together and all are tucked into the wipes box.

I also keep a paper inventory of the gift cards--the list on the right in the above photo.  Each brand of card with a tally mark for how many cards I have and then the amount of value on all of each brand of card.

I try to update that list every time I used up a card, well, I update the amount of value for each brand.
Sometimes I forget and will redo the inventory list quarterly or at least semi-annually.
When a new gift card is bought though it is added to the inventory as soon as possible for that the list is somewhat accurate.

I also keep all receipts for each cards purchase.  If for some reason when I go to use a card at a future date and it doesn't work at the business I have proof of purchase when I go back to where it was bought to complain and get it replaced.
Knock on wood, I have never had a problem with a valid gift card not working(well, except for that McDonald's gift card my brother in-law gave College Boy for Xmas when he was little and it wouldn't scan and I had to PAY to have it mailed to corporate and replaced.....we NEVER buy McDonald's cards EVER since then, not that anyone here wants those anymore anyway).

The inventory list and the wad of receipts are also tucked into the gift card box.
I also keep all those store loyalty cards I don't regularly use in that box.
So if I need a gift card I just take out the card I want and tuck it into my purse before leaving the house.

Nothing earth shattering but it works for me.  ;-)


Monday, March 27, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Feeling Rich" Edition--

This is one of the rings I inherited from my mother.  She had a thing for bling, didn't she?
What do you think?.....Should I wear this out to Rite-Aid and Weis(PMITA)Markets the next time I am running errands?
What about my tiara?  Or would both be too much? ;-)

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Leftovers/Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Breakfast for Dinner
3. Tuesday--Leftovers
4. Wednesday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Chicken and Mushrooms in Wine, Asparagus, Rice*
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Leftovers/Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Breakfast for Dinner
3. Tuesday--Coq au Vin(sort of), Asparagus, Leftover Taters*
4. Wednesday--Leftovers
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Pizza
7. Saturday--Leftovers

6 meals cooked at home, 4 of them a night of leftovers or Fend For Yourself, and 1 night of eating-out/take-out.
The spaghetti and meatballs didn't happen as we had so much in leftovers.

As for the grocery spending.....1 small trip to Weis, a trip to the Bread Outlet and a stop for just milk brought the food spending last week to $12.70. I used $22 in gift cards so it would have been $34.70 without the gift cards. This brought my March food spending total to $245.84.(Food spending would be $370.84 for the month so far, w/out that gift card).  There are 4 days left in the month.

My savings percentages last week was 84.83%. (Would have been 59.75% without using free gift cards.)

Leftovers going into this week.......1 slice Meatloaf, Corned Beef, Cabbage and Carrots, Irish Stew, 1 helping of Cole Slaw, Brussels Sprouts, Shrimp and Chili.
And a serving bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
We don't seem to have made much of a dent in the leftovers last week though I swear we ate leftovers! lolz

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals

1. Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad *
2. Monday--Reuben Sandwiches(should finish up the corned beef)
3. Tuesday--Haddock, Cole Slaw, Asparagus
4. Wednesday--Leftovers
5. Thursday--Chicken Parm, leftover cooked Carrots and Cabbage
6. Friday--Leftovers or Pizza in Freezer
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 3 new meals cooked(4 if you count the sandwiches using leftover corned beef), 0 nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 3 nights of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu?  More Rye bread unless I can talk the family into having their Reubens on pumpernickel which I bought last week.  I got chicken cutlets last week, meatballs are in the freezer, I have spaghetti and sauce ingredients here already, as well as salad fixings, asparagus, haddock(also bought last week)and part of a head of cabbage and a raw carrot to make cole slaw.
After this week's menu we should be out of fresh produce and will restock on April's dime.

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, March 26, 2017

The Weekend...Good, Bad & Ugly

I went out on Thursday looking for those Wendy's gift cards other Dollar Generals in my area.  Found them at one, took a handful up to the register and the cashier couldn't get them to activate. ???
I hit the Bread Outlet while I was out and then grabbed a burger at BK on a gift card and headed home.

On Saturday it was a cold but sunny day so Hubs and I decided to head South of here to use a gift card I won at the Church auction last Fall for a local diner.
Diners in PA are most usually owned/run by Greek descent folks.  The menus are vast, the prices are good and the food in plentiful.
This is one we like Walnut Bottom Diner in Carlisle PA and this one, The American Star Diner in North Wales PA.  Both Greek American run.
Diners offer great deals and food except if you go to a diner it seems in the town we refer here to "Little Havana".  This isn't a negative reference,  It's just that after 9/11 Hispanic NYC dwellers moved here in record numbers to this little PA town.  It's now populated 50% at least by those folks.  You are more likely to see store signs in Spanish than English there or bilingual signage.

Anyway, this diner, both clientele and staff are Hispanic from what I could tell.  The menu was vast, the food plentiful but the prices were a bit higher(probably because being NYC refugees they are use to paying/charging higher prices anyway).
But the food.....sigh.....the food was not what we were expecting.  Not as good and some menu Greek staples which we tried were NOT authentically Greek.  Instead of real Greek olives on Hubs Greek Salad they were canned black olives, like you'd get on a pizza.

So at least we didn't pay full price for the meal as the gift card cost me at the auction less than face value and we paid an additional $9 and change for the check.
Oh live and learn and remember not to go back there again.

On the way down to this diner we stopped at a Dollar General along the way to check for Wendy's gift cards and they had them.
Another attempt to purchase a stack and this cashier also could not get them to validate. ???  This store I had also tried to buy different discounted gift cards at back last Fall before Christmas and at that time the cashier also couldn't get those gift cards to scan.

So we stopped at another Dollar General right near our diner destination and I tired again to purchase the Wendy's gift cards.

Why on earth do they scan correctly at one Dollar General out of the three I tired to buy these gift cards at?
I think it has something to do with the cashiers not knowing how to ring them up or not.
I now know where to avoid getting gift cards from.
This would have been so much easier if my town's DG carried the Wendy's one.

We've gotten a couple of warm days this past week.  Yesterday it hit the mid 60'sF here.
Here is what is left of our snow pack........

 Mostly the backyard is clear but the deck is still covered.

The front yard gets full sun most of the day so we just have some mid-sized piles left.

I cleared my bookshelf area, filed papers away, reorganized my gift card box and list yesterday.
Hubs finished and filed the taxes electronically yesterday.
We had to do FOUR tax filings for 2016....Federal, PA state, LA state and the local PA taxes.

We got a moderate refund on the Federal(which was our money we were FORCED to loan to the government for 12 months interest free!), we owed $2 on the local PA taxes and then we got pounded in the ass on the PA and the LA state taxes!!

Since the house we own and rented out is in Louisiana we have to declare this income in LA.
We also had to declare this income on our PA taxes for some reason with the caveat that we would get a "credit" to offset the LA income on our PA form.

Well that "credit" only amounted to half of what we paid to LA so basically we got DOUBLE TAXED on half the LA income in PA too!
Taxation is theft and doubly so if you pay it twice!!!

It's no wonder people LIE all the time about their income to the government and I don't blame them.
I am so tired of being made to pay for shit I shouldn't have to and supporting irresponsible people's financial irresponsibility.  And then you get made to feel guilty if you don't want to let the government pick your pocket constantly.

*Putting Libertarian Soapbox away now*

So I am off to make "Sunday gravy" and cook meatballs for Hubs' dinner and mellow myself out.

What are you up to today?

"Taxation is theft"

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Giveaway Winner

After waiting an inordinately long time for the Giveaway winner to contact me(after posting the info on the blog and TWO emails directly to her supplied email addy) I am selecting a new winner for the February Giveaway.

And the winner is........

Amber Ravis!

77 in Kentucky today..

Please email me privately Amber with your full name and mailing address so I can finally get this box of goodies out to someone. lolz


Friday, March 24, 2017

Frugal Friday

Here are things I did this week that were frugal.  By spending more intentionally we can choose were to spend our money and where to save it.

* Purchased food gift cards at 15% off.

* Didn't buy many groceries this week and everything I bought was on sale and some I even had a coupon to use.  I also used a discounted gift card for that grocery store to pay for the shop.

* I had $30 in Kohl's Cash saved up from buying Hubs and College Boy some clothing(also got large pillar candles for $5.99 to put away for next Xmas in these shops too)so instead of using it on splurging out on Fiesta Ware dish sets(a great deal at $32.01 for two 4 piece place settings!)I bought my daughter a pair of sneakers.

I don't "need" new dishes and even though these would be rather inexpensive for that brand they would still have cost a LOT of money for dishes.  The sneakers on the other hand will be a need eventually when her current shoes wear out and after the Kohl's Cash only cost me $15 OOP and if she doesn't "need" them until late this year I can put these away until her birthday or Christmas so killing two birds with one stone so to speak.
I had the shoes shipped to the store for pick-up so I saved on the shipping as well.
And I shopped online through a cash back site and got an extra .42¢ in that account.  Hey, it may not be much but it adds up over the course of a year. 8-)

* I paid our sewage bill this week.  If you pay it annually instead of quarterly you save money.  It may be only $30 a year in savings but why not if we have the money, right?   Small savings measures add up over the years.

* Actually, this one was last week--I bought dish soap at the Dollar Tree for $1 a bottle.  I am very low on my dish soap stockpile so I have been looking for a "deal" on this item but have found none lately.  I figure a huge bottle of $1 dish soap is better than purchasing a much smaller name brand dish soap at 2 to 3 times that price.

* When I sent College Boy back to school I sent along a bag of goodies for him to open at Easter(since he won't be coming home next month).  That saved me the postage if I had to mail him a box of goodies.

* Not frugal but a result from a previous frugal action.....I received two cash rebates in the mail this week.

$9.62 total back which I will put aside with my saved coins for the year and my assorted online cash back rebate site monies and then dump it all into the food budget for 2017.

* I didn't do much cooking this week as we had tons of Leftovers to use up. This saved me time and money.

* Went on Youtube to watch a couple of cable shows I like that were posted there as well as two movies.  We got rid of cable 3 or 4 years ago.

So what did you do this week to keep money in your pocket or add to your savings?


Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Wednesday out Shopping

I did a small grocery shop yesterday at Weis.

2 x Balance bars on sale=$2.
I used my last $1.50/2 Qs gotten from Rite-Aid so .25¢ each.

2 x Sea Best Haddock BOGO sale=$8.99 for 2 lbs. so 4.50 per lb after sale.

I also picked up 6 packages of fresh breaded chicken cutlets.
They were on sale for BOGO(reg. price $4 per package, so $2 per package)=$12.00
I paired these with 2 x $1.50/3 IPQ Perdue fresh breaded chicken items so $12.00-$3=$9.00 for all or $1.50 per package.

These keep for a long time in the fridge or throw them in the freezer to keep them for a year or so.
I like to have these on hand for various meals......chicken parm, chicken piccata, chicken w/fettucine alfredo, chicken marsala or even chicken sandwiches.  They are an easy shortcut to those meals when I don't feel like making a meal from scratch or someone else here has to do the cooking or someone wants a quick snack.

A 1/2 lb. of lunchmeat for Daughter's lunch rounded out this small shop and brought my total to $20.99.

I saved 55% over regular retail on the items and put the total on my Weis gift card bought last Fall so no OOP this year.
I have $45.01 left on that gift card.

I also made a stop at Dollar General.  4 specific food gift cards are 15% off purchase price this week there.

They only had the Domino's Subway and Taco Bell ones at this location, but no Wendy's.
I picked up $105 worth of gift cards for $89.25.  A savings of $15.75 on food we will be purchasing anyway so why not?
I might go out to a different Dollar General before Saturday evening when this sale ad ends to find the Wendy's gift card too as that brand rarely goes on sale around here.

Have you found any good deals this week?


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2016 Road Trip....Day Two TN to GA to AL

Day Two, we hit the hotel breakfast then the gas station and a coffee place(for Hubs' "fuel")and were on I-75 before 10 am heading South.

We made good time and were driving through Chattanooga fairly soon.

Some houses were visible up on Lookout Mountain.

Next thing you know we were in Georgia...

The interstate South and West runs through a little corner of Georgia between Tennessee and Alabama. This wouldn't be the only time we drove into Georgia on this trip however.
Then with a blink of an eye we were in Alabama......

Pretty soon after driving into Alabama I saw a dead armadillo on the side of the road....and then another one.....and another within the span of 20 minutes!
Now I was under the impression that armadillos lived in the South West in places like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
They also live in the South East in places like Alabama and such.
In total while driving through Alabama I saw EIGHT armadillos along the interstate that day and one was even alive still!

We stopped in Alabama at a rest stop to go potty. As this was the first rest stop once you get into Alabama on interstate I-59(near Valley Head, AL)it was also a welcome center.

They had big rocking chairs out front so you could sit and relax but it was too buggy and hot already.  So we wandered around inside and collected brochures for things to see/do in Alabama.

This was a photo I snapped of a truck on the interstate between Georgia and Alabama.  I can't remember why I took it just that there was some kind of livestock on that truck and not the usual chickens, cows or pigs.  Boy I sure miss my mind sometimes.......

4.5 hours after leaving the hotel we stopped to eat a late lunch South of Birmingham off the interstate in Calera, Alabama at Zaxby's.

We like this chain which we don't have where we live so we eat there when we find one.  They do a great salad(or as they call then ZALADS)and they specialize in chicken if that wasn't obvious from the logo on the drink cup. lolz

Back on the road for another 3 hours until we got to Spanish Fort, Alabama.  This was just a stones throw from our motel for the night and I had to make a stop at World Market.  I love that store and we don't have any around here so I stop in when we get near one and maybe find something food or drink to buy.
Then we drove not even 5 minutes further to the motel......

Oh! Lookie what is right across the parking lot from our room!

So we threw our stuff into the room and looked around.
This place was by far the cheapest lodging choice we found in this area right off Mobile Bay.
It was an old chain motel location that had been dropped from said chain and was now a private non-chain motel called the Eastern Shore Motel.

Now where I come from the "Eastern Shore" is a peninsula off the East Mid-Atlantic coast comprised of Delaware/Maryland/Virginia.....aka the Delmarva Peninsular.

Here Eastern Shore refers to the Eastern side of Mobile Bay.

Though it was only early May it was hot as crap already in Daphne Alabama.  And our room faced West so the late afternoon sun was beating down on our room window.  You can see it peaking around our room curtains behind me.

Me taking a photo of the broken mirror and inadvertently a selfie.

I was almost scared to touch the light switches.  Not because they were so dirty but they sure looked jerry-rigged.

We also had a state of the art *snort* microwave oven(circa 1982)which I wasn't about to try out.  Notice we got the deluxe room with a connecting door to the room next door.
Well what do you expect for $62 a night?  We were only there to sleep and get on down the road the next day.  All I cared about was if the mattress was aceptable and if the a/c worked(and it did, though noisily).

So after "settling in" ha! we freshened up and called my blogger buddy Lorraine who lives down this way.  The plan was to go over to the Clamco Ranch and visit and have dinner with her crew.

And here they are all bright eyed and bushy-tailed.

Well as bright eyed and bushy-tailed as one can be after working all day.  ;-)
Lorraine is a school cafeteria lady and had a trying day at work that day.  We got to hear all about the work drama and boy! was there!!
She has since changed schools/positions and things are better this year.....I think. ;-)

Anyway we got the Grand Tour around Clamco Ranch(we had visited before but that was when they lived in the Clamco Cottage in Fairhope, Alabama)and Chris's new workshop.
Then we sat a spell with a drink and petting time with Zoey.

Such a baby and wants to be the center of whatever is going on.  She's a love....

So dinner got ordered(local take-out BBQ), fetched and eaten.
Thanks again for the great vittles Chris and Lorraine!

We sat for hours it seems like and just talked and talked.

About 9 pm we left since Lorraine gets up waaaay to early in the am for work and it was past her bedtime.
We headed back to the luxury motel *snort* and hit the hay ourselves since we wanted to get back on the road early.

It was a great visit but way too short and it was so nice to see the Clamco Family again.  I am hoping Lorraine gets up North again this Summer or we get down her way(if I don't melt first).  8-))

Day Two was in the books and we were heading West again on Day Three.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

February To-Do List Update

Well I just got around to taking down my February To-Do List off the blog side bar.
Geez!  March is 2/3rd over already. lolz
Let's see how I did last month.

* Pay the Bills  DONE  Boring but good. lolz

* Bike Something FAIL  Nope, didn't do it.

* Read 1, 2 Books  DONE

A book of short stories about dogs.

A novel about an Irish girl who immigrates to Brooklyn NY in the 1950's.  Maybe now I'll watch the movie of it.
* Shred Papers   DONE  
I got all the backlog of document shredding done in February.
Go me.

* Reorganize and File ALL the Paperwork  DONE

I got the last basket of paperwork filed.

* Hold Giveaway  DONE

* Mail Giveaway  Done  Though the winner has yet to let me know it arrived or answer my email inquiring about whether she got the book.

* Hold 2nd Giveaway  DONE

* Mail 2nd Giveaway  Not Yet    Two emails to her plus posting it on the blog and I am STILL waiting for her to contact me with her info. sigh.
This is such a pain and is holding me up on doing the March Giveaway.
Maybe I'll just stop doing Giveaways.....

* Clean up Garage  

* Clean my Desk area  FAIL  Not yet.  Just didn't get to it.  It's on the list for March and I'll probably do it this week.

* Unbox and Use Christmas Gifts  DONE

I finally got around to opening my BIG Xmas present from "Santa" in February.  Not like I wasn't distracted by other things in December and January(Hubs' accident and convalescence)

I am in LOVE with this robotic floor cleaner!   It's specifically made for pet hair and that's what the problem is here with Daughter's half Husky/half Shepherd doggy.  She sheds constantly.  It wasn't as much as a Roomba brand one so if we kill it prematurely due to all the hair I am ok with that.
I have named him "Hymie".

* Gather Tax Info  DONE  I got all the info gathered for Hubs.

* Do Taxes  PASS  We decided to get tax software and Hubs is handling the taxes this year.  With the rental income I didn't feel I could adequately handle taxes this year.  I am still waiting for Hubs to actually FILE the taxes...he's finished filling and printing everything out, he just has to file them.

* Work on Genealogy  DONE  I've done a bit in February and actually had a 4th cousin contact me through the blog in Feb.  He had read my post about Ab Redmond my ancestor who was lynched in 1893.  Actually this cousin and I are double related, both directly through my 3x Great Grandfather Foster and through the common ancestors 2nd wife(his 3x Great Grandmother)who is also my 3rd Great Aunt(my 2x Great Grandfather Baker's sister).
Got that? ;-)

Work on F.A.G. Stuff  FAIL  Other than a few ancillary items dealt with I really didn't do much Find A Grave work in Feb. I inherited a TON of memorials on F.A.G. from a woman who didn't want to care for/maintain them anymore.  I really need to set some time aside to go into the site and put through edits others have sent me and clean up and link up some of these memorials.  It's work since many are NOT my family members so I need to do research on them to get the details correct.

So how did you do getting things crossed off your To-Do List in Feb?


Monday, March 20, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Enough Already!" Edition--

Stole this off of Facebook earlier this week.  It's just too good and accurate. lolz

Moving on......
Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Chili(using a small frozen container mixed with newly cooked)
2. Monday--Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes
3. Tuesday--Irish Stew
4. Wednesday--Shrimp, Cole Slaw, Asparagus
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Country Fried Steak, Gravy, Taters, Brussells Sprouts(I'll have Taters and Sprouts)*
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Chili(using a small frozen container mixed with newly cooked)
2. Monday--Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes
3. Tuesday--Leftovers
4. Wednesday--Irish Stew, Bread
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Shrimp, Cole Slaw, Brussels Sprouts
7. Saturday--Reuben Sandwiches(using leftovers)

5 meals cooked at home, 2 of them a night of leftovers or Fend For Yourself, and 0 nights of eating-out/take-out.
The country fried steak meal didn't happen.  That will stay in freezer until College Boy comes home for Summer break now.

As for the grocery spending.....2 trips to Weis, a few things from the Dollar Tree and a big shop at Maine Source brought the food spending last week to $160.35.  This brought my March food spending total to $233.14(Food spending would be $336.14 for the month so far, w/out that gift card).  There are 11 days left in the month.

My savings percentages last week was 48.12%.

Leftovers going into this week.......1 big helping of Stroganoff/Rice, 1 slice Meatloaf, lots of Corned Beef, Potatoes, Cabbage and Carrots, Irish Stew, 1 helping of Cole Slaw, Brussels Sprouts, Shrimp and Chili.
And a serving bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals

1. Sunday--Leftovers/Fend for Yourself
2. Monday--Breakfast for Dinner
3. Tuesday--Leftovers
4. Wednesday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Chicken and Mushrooms in Wine, Asparagus, Rice*
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 3 new meals cooked, 0 nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 4 nights of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu?  Not a thing. It's a week heavy with leftovers and I have everything for the 3 new meals already here. I have made meatballs in the freezer so I just have to make sauce that night and boiled pasta and Breakfast for Dinner is easy. The chicken dish is the only thing this week which will take more than nominal effort to prepare.

I may not go to the grocery store this week.  There is nothing on sale this week that is calling my name.  Even the double dipping Kraft cheese Deal isn't tempting me. 8-0

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, March 19, 2017

What's Been Going on Here

Some Frugal Things at Chez Sluggy This Past Week--

* We got a refund check from our car insurance company.  Sorry I forgot to take a photo of it before putting it into the bank.  This was unexpected but because our son is now 21, we get a bit of a discount on our insurance now.  Every little bit helps, right?

* I got some deals at Weis(PMITA)Markets on Friday....

College Boy wanted some breakfast sandwiches to put in his mini-fridge back at school.  These are usually $4 a box, on sale for $3.50 this week at Weis and I had a $1/2 IPQ to pair with it so $3 a box of 4.

Arm & Hammer and Arrid Deodorants are .99¢ with week at Weis.  Pair the $1/1 ManuQs in last weekends inserts and you get FREE deodorants.  Just make sure you have something else in your order for the 2 cents overage for using the coupons.

I snagged some 50% produce mushrooms....1 lb. for $1.99 and 8 oz. pack of sliced bellas for $1.34.
And I had a Weis mailed to me Q for .50¢ an 8 oz. pack of sliced mushrooms so the bellas were .84¢ in the end.

A few brands of GM cereals were $1.44 a box for the Fabulous Friday sale.  Generally Mutli-Grain Cheerios are NEVER part of any cereal deal at our Weis, but Friday they were.
I had a $1/2 GM cereals IPQ left that was expiring soon to pair with these two boxes so they were .96¢ each instead of $1.44.

Earlier this month, on Rite-Aid Senior Citizen Wellness Wednesday they were giving out Balance Bar coupons.  The Wellness Ambassador gave me a stack and it's funny but my Rite-Aid doesn't even carry this brand of bar(I looked!).
But I hauled the coupons home and wouldn't you know it I found a deal at Weis to use them with.
Balance Bars are $1 each this week there and the coupons are $1.50/2 single bars(or 1 multi-pack), making these bars .25¢ each so $1.50 spent OOP on all.
I have 1 more Q left to take back later this week to get 2 more bars.
Daughter doesn't have time to eat when she works on weekends so she can take one of these in her pocket to munch on.

* We didn't go out all week while College Boy was here this past week(well, really not much opportunity to do so with the Blizzard of '17 here)nor did we get take-out(except for the Saturday when I brought him home when we ordered pizzas).
I suppose we'll take him our for his Birthday when he gets home for Summer break......only 3+ months late. 8-)))

* I want to mention that there is a DOUBLE DIP Opportunity at Weis this week too.  Two of the items on their "Buy 6, Get $3 Off" are the Kraft sliced and Kraft shredded cheese bags.  These two items are also part of the "Kraft Buy 5, Get $5 Off Instantly Deal" too.
So buy 6 Kraft cheese bags and get $8 Total off.
Good deal on cheese.
Would be better if there were cheese coupons to pair with it though.

* I hemmed College Boy's performance tuxedo pants this week.  Boy did I have a time with those!  Not so much the pants but my overlock machine.  I haven't really used it or had to rethread it since having cataract surgery.  I have a hell of a time seeing close-up now.  I do better with very bright light on what I am trying to see up-close.  I guess I need to start looking to buy a lamp for my sewing area to help.  Then I pinned one leg incorrectly(backwards actually).  I tried them on him and thought, "Hmm, are this boy's legs lopsided?". lolz  Nope, it was my pinning job and then I sewed it. Argh.  Then when I figured out what I did,  I couldn't get the stitching out because I couldn't see the black thread on black pants.
Double Argh!  After hours I got it out(and with help from Daughter)and got that pants leg hemmed correctly.  It didn't help that it was nighttime when I was doing this(lack of light)and I thought Hubs was taking him back the next morning so I was stressing out to get it done before they left.  The weather was crap yesterday so Hubs took him back today instead so I got an extra day to finish.

* I bought College Boy a neti pot this week.  He has horrible sinus troubles that no meds seem to help with so I showed him how to use my neti pot.  I still had $10 on that Rite-Aid Visa Gift Card(the expires the end of March)so I got him a pot up at Rite-Aid.  With 20% Wellness discount it was $9.03 after tax so nothing OOP.
I still have $1.01 left on the gift card.
And I also picked up a small plunger at the Dollar Tree for College Boy to take back to his dorm room. ;-)

* Other than the grocery store, Rite-Aid for drugs, the bank for cash for Hubs(and to pay the plow guy)we stayed home and didn't spend money.
Well I DID pay bills this week(the monthlies--internet, phone, water, credit card, and annual property taxes and annual sewage).
Lots of bills.....
I also realized this week that March is a three paycheck month for us so all my holding back overage from February to cover a heavy irregular bill month in March was for naught!  Boy, I sure miss my mind sometimes...... ;-)

I am enjoying the peace and quiet today.  It's just me and the dog until Daughter gets off her workshift and Hubs gets back from driving CB back to school.

What are you up to today?


Friday, March 17, 2017

So Over This

Last Friday morning we got 8 inches of snow and daughter and spent hours clearing the driveway so I could get the car out to go get College Boy later that day......

We still had 5 inches of that on the ground when the Nor'Easter hit Monday night/all day Tuesday.

Wednesday morning after another 24 inches fell looking out over the back deck.....

Screenshot of the weatherman from Tuesday morning.
Obviously we are, TOTALS, "localized 18"-20"+".

Then it snowed off and on all day Wednesday.

Daughter sitting in the snow while playing with her dog.
After about 2 minutes the dog was so done with snow.
She is such a weenie....especially for being part Husky. lolz

We got another 3-4 inches of snow on do the math, I don't even want to know!

College Boy had to dig a tunnel to the side of the house it was so deep, to dig out the heat compressor so we didn't lose power.
Then he dug a tunnel down the front lawn so he and daughter could get to the lower part of the driveway to at least dig out daughter's car in case she had school on Thursday.

You will notice that the shot below is late Wednesday(about 5 pm and the snow has stopped). Can you see the road?
Me neither.
Almost a full day since the main part of the storm on Tuesday and our township has only made one pass through on our road, as well as the main road through our development at this point.

I took the shot above while the guy we hired to plow us out was working on the driveway.  There was someone stuck on the main road through our development at the entrance to it and nobody could get in or out of here.  Luckily, the guy we hired knew that the development up the secondary road hooks into the development behind ours so he came in that way and found us eventually.

The guy we hired to plow us had to plow our street as well, just to get to our driveway.

Where the freak were our township plows for the last day?  Because they certainly weren't here!
We certainly don't have that many roads in our township!
 Remind me again why I pay taxes to the township?!?
What if someone had a medical emergency and an ambulance couldn't get to them for over a day and a half?

This shot above was taken of the infamous back deck on Thursday morning as the sun rose.
The deck railings are almost totally buried!

And at some point between midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and sunrise on Thursday the township plow FINALLY made a second pass so you could actually DRIVE on our road
Daughter was able to get out to the hardware store and buy some ice melt(as we had used all of ours on Wednesday but couldn't get out of the development to get more then).

This is what Hubs' and my car looked like Thursday morning.

By noon Thursday you can actually see some pavement thanks to the sunshine.
Today is sunny as well so we'll see more melting.  No flooding though since the temps are still below freezing but at least anything the sun shines on will melt.  Just don't plan on driving anywhere at night when it will all freeze up again and make a skating rink of the roads.
I'll be going out to run some errands today later.
Hopefully we have mail delivery today as we haven't had it since Monday.

All the schools have been closed all week(and most businesses on Tuesday and Wednesday), even the universities(which is rare)so Daughter is happy that her one week break turned into two weeks.
College Boy is not so happy to be on break with this crap going on.  It's seriously cut down on him hanging out with his friends.  He had to come home at 10:30 pm Monday when it started snowing and hasn't seen any of them since.

Hubs is suppose to take College Boy back to school on Saturday(tomorrow).  But we are suppose to get another small storm, up to 5 inches.
Oh goody.....

So College Boy may be stuck here an extra day and go back Sunday.

I am so over this.
At least I can say I was here for and survived the Blizzard of '17 in NEPA.
Can I move away from here now?