Sunday, January 31, 2016

To do list/Goals

These are all personal goals.     

    Make one craft a week.    I want to make more gifts and items that make me happy.  

    I collect buttons.   I regret to this day forgetting my grandmothers hat box full of buttons when I moved after my first marriage dissolved.    By time I realized it, it was long gone.   She used to let me play with her 'jewels' when I was little.    I was thrilled to have them when she died, and looked forward to doing the same with my own daughter.    But life happened, and when she was 2 years old my sixteen year marriage was over.   Other things took over.......

     Flash forward 21 years later.   DH encourages me to do silly things for myself.   He brings me to antique shops and points out jars of buttons and says go to town.   I try to spend small amounts and get pleasure spending hours sorting and finding true gems (Bakelite, porcelain) to me. 

   I have been searching craft ideas on Pinterest with buttons.    Here is my first completed project

Throw out/donate/upcycle 10 things a week.     This week I went through my jewelry box and pulled out all the costume pieces I have not worn in years.   I added them to a craft box for another project that is in the planning stages.   15 pieces potentially up cycled.   

  I also gifted my friend a six quart crockpot from my collection.    Gpa P was excited that he won me a new one at a pasta dinner (boyscout fundraiser) and I have been planning on asking her if she had wanted it for a while.   This pushed me to do it.   

Post four things for sale a month on eBay or craigslist.

Continue to go past 10k steps a day.   I will now post my Fitbit tally here nightly.   

Continue to be in the moment.   Enjoy the animals in my yard.   Plan my garden.   Try to be more patient with Gpa P.   Have improved Grace with my Mother.   Be a supportive partner to my husband and a supportive Mom to my DD (do we ever stop worrying?)

Plan a fun birthday adventure for DH.   

Do more things alone or with friends.  This month I did coffee with a new blogger friend (shout out to Trayceebee) and today I went to a tea/history lecture with my dear friend Margaret.    Here is a pic of my plate.  I admit I had coffee not tea.  LOL. 


Business wise, I want to always be an enthusiastic and creative role model.    I have some master class ideas rolling around in my brain.    I have new toddler classes starting this week.   Ensemble performance at the historical society biannual meeting in March.    I have a new mini rock workshop to plan for August.   We cannot forget June recitals!  

Planning for the week

Turning to the freezer.     I will need to shop for some milk, bread for DH, produce and perhaps some fish.    Otherwise everything else is in the house.  

I took the following out of the freezer.    One pound of chicken sausage.    Package of Oscar Meyer Bacon.  Package of Ground Beef.   One of my packages of BS chicken breasts.     That should be all the proteins for the week.    

The soup I ended up creating on Sunday became Moroccan soup.   Turkey, Celery, onion,cabbage, green olives, spices, garbanzo beans.   


Saturday, January 30, 2016

What has been on the table

Very little cooking.   Breakfasts were Thomas' English muffins, turkey sausage, cereal and yogurt with pomegranate.    

Dinners and lunches:    Leftover pasta/meatballs that were made on Sunday lasted for lunches/dinners til Wednesday.    PANKO oven fried boneless skinless chicken breasts made on Thursday and also eaten on Friday.   Small turkey (13 lbs) was roasted by DH in our pressure oven (gift from Uncle several years ago) Friday night. Stock cooked from neck and vegetable scraps from freezer in crockpot over night.   Last two chicken breasts were cut up and frozen for chicken enchiladas another day.   Turkey was eaten Saturday by Gpa P.   Sides were frozen vegetables, lots of salad (just greens) and various preparations of rice.    Soup for Sunday.    No pics this week, sorry.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More January purchases that will be consumed in February

I'm excited that I was able to squirrel away one of the Challah breads and half of the Croissants purchased before the 'big snow' last weekend.  All are in the freezer for the next snowstorm day, when I will take one of the options out of the freezer the night before.   Or perhaps Sunday french toast with the Challah one weekend.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Final purchase numbers for January

After getting feedback from CTMOM at  ,   CTBargainMom at , Sluggy at and TracyeeBee at I readjusted my thinking on cash spent.  I also did some readjustment to the total removing all the cleaning/paper products from my spend.

So, after taking out the non edible products I have spent $473.34, most of which has restocked the pantry with canned tomatoes, soups, bread crumbs, olive oil and other odds and ends.

Further edible purchases in the month have been

Big Y Ground Beef at 2.99 a pound $10.74 PLUS got 10% off on that as I went on January 19th where everyone could get 10% off with a coupon so true price paid was 9.67.

ShopRite final visit was two more cases of Tuttorosa crushed tomatoes six packages of Jones all natural turkey sausage patties pepperoni a gallon of milk and three vegetarian frozen soufflés that I could make myself but there quick for me to throw in the bag to bring to the studio. After coupons I paid 44.29.

BJ's for 'storm prep'   Uncle was here, so a request took me off of plan, but the meal will last for days.  Meatloaf mix, Croissants, crusty bread, challah bread (2 pack), salsa, croutons.  45.93.   The meat was used for the chili AND meatballs.

Produce market, DH's favorite crusty bread , two 8 ounce packages mushrooms, celery, cheese sticks (I hadn't eaten yet for the day and was crashing badly), baby carrots, Marie's blue cheese dressing.  35.69

Total spent in January  609.19       Alot I know.  But then I take into consideration the pantry is FULL.  We have storage in our basement besides.  4 full cases of Tomatoes still shrink wrapped.  That's $32.00 for the future.  4 canisters of breadcrumbs.  That's $3.08 for the future.  6 cans of EVOO  $53.28 for the future.  24 cans Tomato Soup $18.48 for the future.  10 jars of Pasta sauce.  $7.70 for the future. 8 boxes of K Cups $71.94   I'm sure I'm missing more than a few 'future uses' as I am going by memory.

Total spent this month minus those future uses 422.71.   Under budget.   "Cheshire Cat Grin"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Meals this week

This week we've had salmon with rice and steamed vegetables

Sirloin tips with mashed potatoes and zucchini. I mainly ate salmon most of the week the men ate sirloin tips.

On Wednesday the men had hot dogs and french fries and I had a salad.

On Thursday I made beef stew using 1 pound of locally raised grass fed beef, carrots, three sweet potatoes, one white potato very large, dried porcini mushrooms, a lurking jar of beef savory gravy. I have no idea where that came from. Onions.  Dehydrated garlic and a good splash of A1 sauce.

This is what everything looks like when it first went into the crockpot

And this it after

On Friday we had smothered boneless pork chops with mushrooms and onions with rice and vegetables.

I tend to eat the same thing all week so I've mainly been eating salads and the salmon. I may have some of the stew because I know exactly what went into it.

Snowstorm Saturday was chili with beans

And without

Sunday while the men went back to the Uncles to dig out the farm I made sauce, meatballs and chicken sausage.  

Monday and Tuesday should be leftovers!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

$10.00 Visa card rebate on Proctor and Gamble items

Hey everyone!  These aren't always available in our area, but this one is!  Spend 30 dollars on Proctor and Gamble items such as Bounty, Charmin, Cheer, Clairol, Scope, Secret, Pampers and more.  Get $10.00 back on a Visa card.  When I do deals like this I always then buy myself an Amazon giftcard with the amount and let them add up. 

Here is a link, Shoprite and BigY are listed in our area zipcodes. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Trying to stay accountable in my grocery spending

I wanted some salmon, so off to BJ's wholesale we went.  $92.14 was spent.  I was hoping to just get the Salmon, but with DH along for the trip all bets are off.   Besides my Salmon (which will account for at least 6 servings) we got Sirloin Tips, Herb Spring Lettuce Mix, Frozen Birdeye steamfresh (think there are 4 bags in the package), two cups of Pom seeds (my new addiction, and one of the few fruits I will eat), a very large container of Greek vanilla yogurt and two cases of DH's junk food choice ritz crackers and cheese (we bought two as when Gpa P finds them there is no stopping him) and a box of Drakes coffee cakes.  

I am already at a spend of $523.25 for January.   Though alot of this is for future months.  I'm hoping Sluggy or CTMOM will tell us how to figure out how we should budget in these CanCan future purchases in our spending.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Can Can week 3

There really wasn't much on my list this week and I injured my wrist so I kept putting off going. Imagine my angst, violinists with an injured rest.

After wearing a brace for several days I started to feel better and at the end of a very long week I was at ShopRite in Wallingford at 8 PM on Friday.  

The reason I went was that it was the last week of the olive oil sale and I wanted to get more tomatoes just in case they weren't on week 4 sale. So I spent $80.82 cash.

I purchased three cases of Poland Springs water. One more can of extra-virgin olive oil. One more case of crushed tomatoes. Eight more jars of Colonna pasta sauce at $.77 a jar. Two more containers of Colonna Italian breadcrumbs at $.77.

Scott toilet paper and paper towels. All on sale with the flier coupons and I had some manufacture coupons. In return I received three dollars off your next order. 

Four cans of Progresso French onion soup. I received a dollar back from IBOTTA.  I use this as a base for some recipes.

One red pepper which I got money back on with the same app, 10 pounds of potatoes purchased at $.99 per 5 pound bag.

Because there was a deal for Wrights bacon again on the same app I purchased another 24 ounce package. Not the cheapest bacon but definitely the best that we have had in a long time that isn't from a local farm.  I also will get some money back on one jar of the pasta sauce.

A loaf of the bimbo bread for the DH and a four pack of coconut Greek yogurt for myself as well as a 2 1/2 dozen eggs package ShopRite brand for 4.49. I thought that was a great price.  Grandpa P has going on an egg eating binge again and I've had to replenish eggs twice this month.

So more of a pantry stock up trip than anything else but I'm still happy with the price.   According to my receipt I said $64.78 based on the sale, manufacturer and store coupons plus I'll be getting another two dollars back from the app. And I received three dollars on your next order coupon so I'm pleased.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Meals this week

So far we have had shrimp (still had 2 lbs of frozen shrimp not used over the holidays.  Large U 6-8 size.  Shrimp, rice and 'zucchini noodles'.    8 servings.  

Meatballs, pasta, sauce.   That is at least a 14 serving meal (well, what should be proper servings, but who really eats 2 ounces of pasta besides me?)

Roasted chicken (from a previous Shoprite deal, large roaster cost me just over $3.00), brusselsprouts and potatoes.

Ground turkey meatloaf using my friend Margaret tomato jam.  Yummo.

Saturday soup made with the chicken leftovers.  Soup seems to becoming a habit on Saturdays as I can get the prep work done over the week and Gpa P has something to eat on Saturdays when we tend to be gone for longer than usual.  (DH and I both work and then we usually have plans for projects, errands or adventures)  Uncle is here when we aren't.

There is still some ziti left which I think will need to go to the coyotes. Half of the roasted chicken breast. All foods were used for lunches and dinners.

Meat/Seafood deal at Stop and Shop

Thanks to Carol over at CTONABUDGET I looked at my Stop & Shop flyer to see that they had two deals that we could utilize.

With a $25 purchase I could get 2 pounds of shrimp for 5.88 a pound. I could also get 80% ground beef for 2.99 a pound. Since we have no ground beef in the house I thought this would be something that I should look into.

While looking through  the ad I also realized they had the Perdue chicken cutlets that I had purchased at ShopRite last month for the same price of 5.99. I still had one more two dollar coupon. I also knew that we needed swiffer wet jet pads for the studio, so I figured that would help bring me to the $25 mark.   It did!

For the meat and seafood pictured I paid $25.59. There is almost 7 pounds of protein. I can make at least two meals out of the shrimp and three of the ground beef.  The chicken another meal.  All would have leftovers! (or so I hope) Six different entrées for the price of approximately $1.42 per protein serving (if no leftovers). I am very happy with those numbers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My new craigslist desk!

DH drove all the way to Canton to pick up this beauty for just $50!     The top lifts up for additional storage.  Please note my adorable donkey collection.  

This weeks CVS deal

Three boxes of 10 count Starbucks French roast K-cups. On sale for 6.99 each. I used to $.75 coupon and two $10 ECB register coupons.  

I paid .22 cents !!

And I received five dollars back for my next CVS deal day!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Last of our carrots.   Replaced them with a new bag.  

Quiche made with last of frozen zucchini

Sigh, isn't this gorgeous?    Last of farmers market swiss chard.    It was so freshand hardy  it snapped!

Swiss chard cooking with local chicken sausage and garlic.   

2.99 a lb.  pot roast searing before going into the crockpot.   

We also had chicken cutlets with the last of the farmers market broccoli.    Can you tell I miss the market?    

Thursday, January 7, 2016


76.74 spent on at least 6 months worth of K cups and Uncles soda of choice.  $12.79 per month.   Deposits on all bottles go to my niece for field trip money.      Some of this receipt is work related so I did the math.  All beverages were on sale and I used 6.00 worth of coupons.    


Much more than I would've paid at the farmers market. But still a good local choice to keep a small business going and pick up what I need.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Can Can week 2

3 cases of Poland Spring Water.   2 cases Tuttorosa tomatoes.  A five lb bottom round potroast at 2.99 a pound.   Four packages of Thomas' English Muffins.   18 count eggs.   One 8 ounce package shredded   cheese.   Two four packs of yogurt.   Half gallon of milk.   Two more cans of Botticelli EVOO.  2 large Heinz ketchup.   4 cans solid white tuna.  2 clearanced holiday rubbermaid takealongs (and found a savingstar deal making them FREE) 2 packages of feminine products. 3 Colonna breadcrumbs and 7 Colonna pasta sauce (for quick meals). 1 Skippy peanut butter.  A new to me product, Banza chickpea pasta that will be FREE after sale price and IBOTTA.   

A large pack of paper towels.  

TOTAL PAID IS 105.84.    Total saved 103.56

Monday, January 4, 2016

New CVS Deals

Armed with both manufacturers coupons and ECB's PLUS getting $1 added to my savings star account, the above photo cost me (after saving star) $7.97.    I also received 4 dollars in ECB's back!

I then went back in with a $10 on $50 cvs coupon, more manufacturers coupons and the $4 in ECB's and got all this:

I paid $42.65    Those are 100 count Excedrins!   

And earned $20 in ECB's!  

Not bad!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It is a Can Can time of year!

When D H calls your attention to the television and says have you looked at their flyer? You know that it's time to start restocking the pantry.   Time for the Shoprite can can sale!

This trip was made in December (30th) but counted towards January grocery shopping.  Look at the length of this receipt!    

We use a lot of Olive Oil, and Bertolli EVOO cans were $8.88.     I purchased 2.   Will probably get more on week 2.    Also a treat, 5 twelve packs of Coke products.     We have only been drinking water and coffee with occasional OJ for the men.    

The meat purchased was a Perdue Ready to roast roaster (on sale 6.59-2.00 coupon!!!) Perdue perfect portions chicken cutlets (package had 5 portions on sale for 5.99-2.00 coupon!!!!) a whole porkloin at 1.69 a pound.   I plan on at least 6 meals/recipes from this.   Plus leftovers.   Also, 24 ounce Wright Bacon.    This is the third time I have now purchased this.    Best commercially made bacon we have ever had.    Shop rite had a digital coupon PLUS I got 1.50 back from IBOTTA/saving star.  

10 cans Campbell's Tomato soup, tomato paste, bath tissue, paper towels, huge bottle of Tide, 2 cases of water, 1/2 gallon Apple and Eve cranberry juice (free with shop rite coupon) grain free eggs, one pkg of disposable razors, 3 bottles of scope and 5 lbs of russet potatoes.    

Here is the total:  108.70.     Cash.    Between sale, digital and paper coupons I saved 135.13!!!!

Now, need to plan this weeks trip.    Do not think I will do as well, this trip I had a $10 off store coupon that helped.    But we will see!!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pea Soup

From start.........    We were gifted most of the spiral ham from Christmas day dinner. I cut off as much as I could and froze the bone with more meat left on it for another day.

In my largest crockpot I put one full bag of dried yellow split peas, diced onion carrots and celery, fresh tarragon and parsley, one GOYA green peas can, and one carton of vegetable broth.    I added probably two more cups of water.      I let this go for 16(yes!) hours on low. finish!


It has been an interesting couple of weeks meal wise. We ended up having an unplanned dinner on Christmas Eve and hosting an unplanned dinner on the 26th. We also had unintended guests on New Year's Day. Needless to say I managed to do it without having to spend too much money.

Christmas Eve was thrown together fish dinner. I used crab already in the house that I'm in purchased months ago. I did have to pick up shrimp, will use 2 pounds. I guess brought stuffed lobster tails. And we made crab sauce. Pasta and bread were already in the house. Total cost for this unplanned to dinner was $40. Not too bad I thought.

We did plan on having a locally raised turkey for the day after Christmas so I just extended that meal with extra sides. Potatoes already in the house, baked squash already in the house, brussels sprouts already in the house, stuffing made with sausage. I did have to purchase the sausage. Sausage was 999, and the plan and the planned for turkey purchase was $55. We got this from Gozzi's in Guilford. 

   DH tossed the neck without thinking I would need it, so I saved the roasted wings and froze them for soup later in the month. I also saved enough meat from that carcass to freeze to add to the soup.

I had purchased a grass fed Australian beef tenderloin months ago from ShopRite. This is been waiting in the freezer for New Year's day. I also purchased from a local IGA store ate lobster tail is frozen. These came to $60, and we're part of my holiday budget.  

Since we had so much protein, it was easy to share with the unintended dinner guests on New Year's Day. DH made his usual risotto, I had brussels sprouts and mushrooms already in the house. So we did not spend any additional cash to share this dinner with friends.  There was enough lobster and beef left to supply lunches the next day.

In between the holidays we had ham that was gifted to us from Christmas day dinner at a relatives house. Ham and pea soup which I made.   Broccoli Rabe and Sausage. Mushroom lasagna.  Pizza take out.