Friday, April 29, 2016

Gardening

The I am so happy it has warmed up.    I had already budgeted money to purchase New black mulch that was on sale five bags for $10. This was at Home Depot. I also bought two bags of garden soil. Total spent on 10 bags of mulch into soil was $20 plus tax.

I will have to find a way to budget some more money to replace the metal fence pieces that I had around the porch border.  I bought them on sale with the coupon eight years ago. Their puzzle pieces that fit together but two of them of broken and some of them are starting to rust out. So this is probably the last season I can use it. I feel we've gotten our moneys worth.


This is the little fence that I mentioned. But I put out each spring. Very heavy duty but has seen its last season. Notice the nice orange glass bottle? That was a birthday gift from my mother.  Matches our new PA Dutch chairs!


Brass musical mushrooms that when the wind blows just right tinkle like bells.




Copper birdbath that I bought 10 years ago from a bird shop that was closing definitely got my moneys worth with this item.


Tulips are blooming!




My Hobby Lobby Gnomes. 


Got this adorable gnome village from Runnings in NH for just $24.00 the last time we were there.

All of the above pictures were taken last week.  Look at what things are shaping up to be this week!




Columbine.  Need to get that maple sapling out of there. 


Tulip, my favorite flower. 


More Columbine


Come one, gnomes AND a fiddle.  How could I not?  $12 at Runnings.  Love that store.  It's also solar, lights up the Welcome sign. 


Rhubarb pie this summer!


With strawberries!


Beautiful chives. 


Asparagus already!


Garlic is almost ready too, starting to brown.  I realized I planted the wrong kind to get scapes.  Oops, sorry Margaret. 


Peas please!


And look at that front bed now with the orange bottle!




Lilys of the valley coming up near bell mushrooms


Baby bunnies!


















Cooking

Using what I am finding in the freezer/pantry.

Mexican Casserole.    From the freezer cubed breaded chicken that I had saved from previous meal. Low-carb whole wheat tortillas, a jar of hot jalapeƱos , an aspic container of Campbell's tomato soup, chives, onion. Monterey Jack shredded cheese. They are together like a lasagna and baked. Delicious.






Grocery Totals in April


April 6 BJ's wholesale, the biggest trip of the month. Two bags tortilla chips, 3 lbs tomatoes, Large Hellmann's mayo squeeze bottles, 8 count cukes, small tup organic herbs, large bag mixed peppers, 3 lbs carrots, 18 pack Thomas' english muffins, Bag of DH's favorite chocolate chip cookies, Egglands best Liquid Eggs, Large tub fresh salsa, 24 ounce mushrooms, 3 lbs bananas, 2 lb sour cream, iceburg lettuce, gallon of milk, gallon Trop oj, large bag of Crumbled bacon, box of mini guacamole tubs, beef jerkey, rye bread, jimmy dean turkey links, 2 forty pack spring water, 2 tubs of land o lakes light butter, Plus two things I cannot decipher or remember what they are, LOL.  $155.43

April 8 Produce Market, 46.02 included a large slice of blue cheese, small jar of maries blue cheese dressing,  scallions, leek, brocolli rabe, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, deli salad, pepperoni and sourdough bread.  46.02

April 10 unexpected visit to my Mom.  We brought 6 'just enough' desserts from Big Y.  $15.16


April 10 Target 4 sixteen count boxes of Starbucks Cafe Verona KCups, a box of Kashi granola bars, A box of Special K cereal and a box of Kashi GoLean Cereal.  $47.22.  Also will be getting a $5 gift card from Starbucks.

April 13 BJ's large Maries blue cheese dressing (for the same price I paid on the 8th at the produce market, lesson learned) 5 lbs sweet onions, large box of organic baby lettuce mix, sirloin tips. 35.51



April 14 Shoprite 3 cases of water, 3 eight ounce bags of Shoprite shredded cheese, Calise Round Italian bread, Colonna Shredded Parmigiana, 4 lbs of navel oranges and a large bottle of Tropicana OJ.  32.01


April 15 Walmart 2 boxes of 8 bakery croissants marked down to 1.94 each (50% off) I froze these in ziploc two per sandwich baggie, 24 ounce Wrights bacon,  Large bag of Jones turkey breakfast sausage links (enough for a month)Three boxes of cake mix, Strawberry fruit topping, Two frostings.  $34.50    A little side note, I made Angel Food Cake for my DD's birthday.  Not realizing I needed a special pan, I put half of it in a regular Bundt pan and the other half in a 9 inch loaf pan.  Since this cake rises so much, it was perfect.  Two cakes for the price of one!

April 18 Produce market, green and red peppers, loaf of italian crusty bread, swiss chard.  $12.18

April 20 Stop and Shop Bakery bagel (free) Bakery muffin (free) 4 cases store brand spring water, 3 large cans goya beans, goya olive oil, goya sazon, (all goya towards savings star deal) balsamic vinegar, 8.18 lb roasting chicken (pd 6.46) 80% ground beef 2.51 lbs I paid 7.50, ground turkey I paid 2.99 for 18 ounces.  Red grapes .99 a pound, 24 ounces of mushrooms 3/$5, bananas, cauliflower, lettuce, and one thing I cannot remember and cannot decipher on receipt.  After all coupons I paid 65.41

April 21 Shoprite Another head of iceburg (just .49 with SR coupon), SR sugar (.99 with coupon), 4 lbs oranges, 4 Dannon yogurt, LOL butter, .98 lbs tomatoes, 3# onions, celery, three earthbound herb salads (my best deal but sadly I can no longer eat, more on that in a different post)  Priced at 2.69 each, buy 3 get $3 off after mfg coupons I had I paid $1.07 for all three!, Large package of Chicken leg quarters .59 a pound (should have bought more) and one package .80% lean ground beef at 1.99 a pound (3.29 pounds for $6.55)  Total spent after coupons was 22.16

Total for the month was $465.60.   $34.40 to the HSA.  Which is now needed.  Again, another post.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Frugal activities and cooking

No food waste.    I had some Strawberries which had seen better days became Strawberry muffins.   

I made two batches of cold press iced coffee.   

Monday's grilled sausage/peppers/onions leftovers were added to Wednesday's Swiss chard.     

Tuesday's meatloaf was dinner and then lunches.   

Thursday's turkey breast/Brussels sprouts/rice leftovers became soup on Saturday.  

Friday was burgers, mushrooms and fries.   

Lunches were spring mix with tuna or salmon pouches, leftover squash soup, hard boiled eggs.   

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The job search is on

I have to say, that I'm very glad that we got our taxes done. Found out that I had overpaid thanks to putting a lot of money in our 401K and HSA accounts for 2015.

Not having to pay quarterly taxes or a tax shortage in the month of April was a blessing. We were able to put new brakes on my husbands car, new tires on our beater car, and take a little weekend trip to our favorite spot in Pennsylvania.   While there we finally got the Adirondack chairs at an excellent price that we have been shopping for for two years.



We knew there were problems with my husband's company. They lost their contract in the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts. My husband was given two weeks notice so we have one more pay check. Plus a weeks worth of vacation. No other severance pay.   He can file for unemployment.

This adds to my personal stress, as I know my studio is losing one teacher Midsummer. The way that my mind works… I've added a full load of group classes for the summer months.   This doesn't mean that they will fill, but it's my way of knowing that I've done everything that I can.

I already work quite a bit as most of you know. I'm sure we will be OK as long as he can find something before his unemployment runs out.

It doesn't help that grandpa P keeps bringing it up. So be patient with me blogger friends, I will try to stay positive and not let it stress me too much. It's in Gods hands.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Free (actually money maker deal)Purex!

 I received all of this for free.

As you can see from my receipt I did have to spend $2.82 out of pocket. Besides all of the laundry detergent I also bought a 10 pack of birthday cards. I used $20 in balance rewards.  I then submitted my receipt to saving star for purchasing $15 worth of purex.   

Within an hour I had four dollars put into my savings star account. That means that I made a $1.28 after receiving the Purex and the 10 pack of birthday cards for free.   






Leeks second time around



 Leeks are not cheap.   A way to make certain vegetables last longer is to place them in water and have them grow again.  After I used it to make soup i placed it in water after a week it was the first photo.  

Here is it today



Cooking


This photo shows the beginning of the best butternut squash soup I have ever made.    I roasted two large butternut squash overnight in the crockpot scooping out the flesh,  adding onions, celery and just a third of a box of chicken stock. Quarter of a stick of butter and a capful of cinnamon. Delicious. I think using less liquid helped intensify the flavor.

Below is another meal, turkey chili. I used 12 ounces of ground turkey breast, as well as a 12 ounce frozen rolll of Shadybrook Farms Turkey sausage that I got over the holidays for a very good price from Walmart. The spicing was very mild so it really didn't affect the taste of the chili. 


I added some peppers that I got on the clearance rack at the local Produce Market over 2 pounds for just $.99.  B The last of a jar of chili, onion, one can of diced tomatoes. Homemade taco seasoning. Delicious.  



We also had shrimp, and sirloin tips which lasted for dinner and three lunches during the week.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Another PA adventure

This was our second time staying at KKV, and I LOVED IT.  This is a true honest review, I am not being compensated in any way.  I love it so much here that we have already booked our third stay.  We are trying one of the different rooms this time.  Our first two stays we were in room 905, a beautiful corner room with 5 huge windows. It is over the quilt shop.  There are only 17 rooms and they are all tucked away among the shops.  We paid $139.00 a night.  When we arrived both times there was jam and crackers, homemade fudge and coupons for area stores waiting in our room.  It was too cold and rainy to ramble through the village of stores, but I did get my goat fix several times at the petting zoo on the premises.  I love that the stores close at 5 p.m. (6 in the busy tourist months) and we have full run of the village.  

Free take home coffee travel mugs.  Our room fee includes all the coffee we want from three different restaurants in the village.  You can bet I took advantage of this!


Our room also includes a hot breakfast each morning.  The one glitch to this B&B is that the village stores/restaurants are all closed on Sunday.  So, if you stay on a Saturday night you get a coupon to go to the village bakery and get a dozen very large cookies (you pick!)  On all other mornings of the week you can choose from the Sweet Start (delicious french toast with vanilla whipped cream and your choice of two large sausage patties or 4 slices of bacon), Two eggs any style with toast and fried potatoes or baked cinnamon oatmeal with fresh fruit (a generous portion)  All of these entrees are on their menu ranging from 7.99 to 9.99.  It also includes homemade jams, syrup, coffee and tea.    If none of these choices float your boat you are given a credit towards anything on the menu.   Tip is not included.  DH did get juice both mornings.    For $8.00 OOP with juice and tip I thought it was well worth the money.  

We are trying a room in the Kurtz house above a different building in June.  Here is a photo from their website for this room.  

New Soup Recipe

I have been saving asparagus ends in the freezer until I had almost a half pound.  I just hated to waste this, even though in usual steaming the ends just never seem to become edible.   

I cleaned a full sized leek by slicing into strips, then in chunks, soaking in warm water.  (I kept changing water).  




I had some potatoes that were starting to head towards sprouting. 


All vegetables were thrown into the 6 Quart crock pot with some butter, half a box of low sodium organic chicken broth, 16 ounces of water, salt and pepper. 



after cooking on low for 8 hours DH used our immersion blender.   I am grateful that I got to taste it.  Gpa P ate all but two servings before I got home.  There is one serving left.  

This is what it looks like after blending.  


A better view of what was left after Gpa ate.  I wish I had his metabolism!







Bargains in PA


$15.00 crinkle Glass vase in my favorite color.   Found this at the antique shop where we got the studio clock that mesmerizes all the children on the hour every hour when it opens and the little musicians play.   


OK this clock may not of been a bargain, but it was handmade by a resident of the Lancaster area. We've tried the last three times to visit but his workshops in his home and we never timed it right. We're very pleased with the wood that it was made with. It's tiger maple and gorgeous. This photo does not do it justice. I'm not posting the price for this, but know that we feel it was a very fair price for a completely handmade contemporary clock. If you're interested in in the Lancaster area, look up Kauffman clocks.




OK, this was a deal. We've been looking for a good price on these Amish made orange Adirondack chairs for two years. We have found the same chairs by the same maker in various New England states as well as various shops in Lancaster. Found the best price this time. Got the two chairs and the table/stool for $514.00 including tax. We were very happy.




Food purchases in PA


All items shown and/or written about were allocated from our food budget. Two more packages of the pretzel mix that my husband loved to but I made it for him last month. $3.88 each



Roadside stand ketchup four dollars


Hot sauce from the same stand, four dollars


Larger bottle of catchup from a different roadside stand six dollars. I also got a large bottle of honey and honey comb for 995




The five jars from the intercourse canning company totaled $28. But I had a five dollar coupon off of a $25 purchase which they deducted, and they have a punchcard program which I have filled half of prior next trip in June. After you purchased 10 jars you can receive an additional jar free.

The applesauce was four dollars. Jar on the far right


We also purchased Zooks chicken pot pie, a pound of Italian sausage from the Stolfuzs meat shop. A pound of beef kielbasa and meat sticks also from the meat shop, a large jar of freshly made horseradish, 5 pounds of the Amish made butter in a huge roll which I have divided up and frozen most of it. Several breads.Total spent on fresh meats and bakery items was $78