Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A milk flash sale

If you have a Big Y near you make a plan to stop tomorrow.  

Flash sale on milk tomorrow, Wednesday June 1st.  

Got this email from Big Y this morning

Monday, May 30, 2016


Argggghhhhh.    Enough already.     Our 25 year old 'beater' car, microwave, studio printer, now the refrigerator is leaking water..........not to mention the 18k and counting medical bills.     Calgon take me away!!!!!!   But I won't actually do a soak as I cannot handle a UTI on top of all of this.    

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Meals this past week


Monday (Memorial Day) Hotdogs, Hamburgers, rolls, potato salad, pasta salad, baked beans.      I will have a bit of the salads, (as in a few forkfuls)  and then soy shake

Tuesday shrimp and rice ( I had soy shakes but I did taste a shrimp) 

Wednesday no idea what the men did 

Thursday no idea what the men did

Friday vegetable frittata 

Saturday Italian Sweet Sausage roasted red peppers (I had frittata) 

Sunday roasted turkey, stuffing, roasted leeks and homemade cranberry sauce

Backyard and Frontyard

Bunny laying in the garlic

This chipmunk was just not afraid of me at all.  

Cute little bunny

Beautiful lilacs.   A housewarming gift from a friend when we bought out house in 2008.  I have been enjoying bringing the flowers inside.  Once it's done blooming I will shape it.  This is the first year we had so many blooms!

I looked up this bird by description on Google.  Credit to allaboutbirds.org

Here is the same bird in my yard.   

Below is a blue canary?  Escaped pet perhaps?

We caught a raccoon climbing up this old clothesline via our video recorder. We put it out because something kept breaking the line and emptying the feeders.   So, we got rid of it.  We now have this

Still have to cut the pole down from the clothesline, it's cemented into the ground. 

This is what I love about our home.    All the creatures 

Frugal Activities

I have taken an idea from Carol over at Ctonabudget and started making herbal iced tea.  Found all sorts of assorted flavors (this is blueberry) from when our daughter lived at home.  Using it up, staying hydrated without the caffeine.  (New restrictions made me cut way back on my coffee consumption) 

Enjoying my beautiful lilacs in our bedroom.  Thankfully not allergic to these, and DH enjoys their aroma. 

I used leftover cherry pie filling and left over strawberry sauce (that I made for Uncles birthday cheesecake) to make cherry breakfast bread and strawberry muffins.  

What were your frugal activities this week?

Friday, May 27, 2016

It pays to be vigilant

Had to get some necessities at Walgreens today after teaching.    Knowing that one of my items was close to $30.00 I was not phased when the cashier said my total was $44.05.   I only had 20's, so I gave him $60.00.   When he handed me my change of $5.95 I questioned him.   I am sure I gave you sixty dollars.    No, you gave me forty.   But you said my balance was $44.05, that is why I gave you sixty.    No, it is $34.05.   Okay, then I heard you wrong, but I know I gave you sixty, I watched you count my three twenties.   No, you gave me forty, that is what I entered.    I then said, okay.    I may be wrong, but I would like to know if there is a way to check the drawer.    

He called a manager over who said she would cash out the register.    She counted everything out.   Then said I will be right back.    Cashier came back and said we were all set.    I said that I didn't think so, as she said she would be right back.    I told people who were lining up behind me there was a discrepancy with the drawer.   

The manager came back.   Asked me how much I felt I was owed.   I said twenty dollars.    She replied, you are correct.   The drawer is over by twenty.  

I don't think (or I hope) it wasn't an intentional error.    I am glad I was right, and that I remained pleasant and positive.   With DH not working, losing twenty dollars is not something I want to do right now.  

The manager handled the situation swiftly and politely.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Food Budget May (went over)

I think I need to 'rethink' even more how I am shopping.  When I find a great deal on something, that will definitely last into the next several months I find it hard to calculate.  So though my 'budget' for the month is $500, I am going to work harder to determine how much is definitely used within the month of said budget.  We tend to do our big trips the first week of the month.

May 2nd Costco (I was still home recuperating but was going stir crazy, my first full day back to work was the 4th) Case of San Pellegrino water, sour cream, gallon milk, sirloin tips (this lasted for several meals plus a soup), Salmon (this lasted me over a week, and the men had some too), St Louis Ribs (huge 4 rack package for just 1.99 a pound) Full pork loin (DH cut it up into chops, and most of it is in meal sized packages in the freezer) which was also 1.99 a pound AND had 2.50 coupon.  Pure Protein shakes, yogurt smoothies, case of my favorite coffee k kups (starbucks of course!) and a tub of Chocolate chunk cookies.  These lasted til May 13th.  $189.15

May 4th BJ's warehouse  Argghh, I should learn NOT to take DH with me.  Especially since he isn't working.   Warehouse size of Drakes Devil Dogs, 6 pack of progresso broth (gastroenterology Dr wants me to have more sodium) 2 bags of Tortilla Chips, 3 lbs of Kosher salt, twin pack of very large Sriracha bottles, 4 pack of BM baked beans, Large Almond milk, 4 pack of Panera Broc/Ched soup (splurge for me!) twin pack of Pam, 4 cartons of Egglands Best Egg Whites (for me) and Bananas.  90.94

May 5th Shoprite.  4 pack of dannon light and fit protein shakes (trying to find ones that I love) an Oikos Crunch single (free with shoprite card) 80% ground beef for 1.99 a pound (only one pkg allowed), 4 dozen shoprite eggs .99 each.  I wanted to go to Aldi for the .69 a dozen but DH said no.  I think in the future I WILL get them and put them in a shoprite container.  More broccoli, 4 family size boxes of Goya rice mixes and Goya dried giant white corn (this is planned for the broth and leftover rib meat I had frozen to make a pork and hominy stew).  After coupons I paid $32.08 and I will get $5 back from Goya through savingstar

May 5th Stop and Shop (seems to be my store of choice lately for deals)  Reduced bakery $1.74, Two 35 bottle packs of spring water, 10 lbs of potatoes, one avocado, 2 packages of Preemio Sweet/Hot Sausage (one package was frozen) and 2 bags of extra large shrimp.  After coupons $33.85.  Got .50 back from Ibotta and Savings star for the produce.

May 11th Stop and Shop.    Two reduced bakery baguettes, A large container of reduced bakery donut holes and a round marble/rye also reduced bakery.  All were marked down 50%.  A 4 pack of Dannon light and fit coconut that was on sale 1.89 and I had a .75 cent coupon doubled (oop .39), two frozen Yasso yogurts (splurge for me), 2 containers of Breyers ice cream (splurge for DH) Hersheys chocolate sauce, squeeze natural grape jam, two boxes of cheerios, 12 cans of Starkist solid white tuna for $10  (didn't understand this deal, they WERE 10 for 10 (or I guess $1 each) but if you purchased 12 together it was still $10.  Ok, thanks for the two free cans.  4 twelve packs of Sunkist Diet soda (.25 back from Ibotta) A large watermelon for $3.88 (flyer coupon) Total spent after coupons was $67.27

May 11th Stop and Shop (I split the order to make uploading receipts easier)  6 bottles of Kens salad dressings.  We mainly use these for marinating, but DH does like Creamy Italian for dipping lots of things in.  After coupons and Savingstar I should be only $5.94 oop.  I also bought bananas, broccoli, a potato, an onion and one apple.  After all Kens coupons and a SS $2.00 off produce I was oop $16.70.  I uploaded receipt to Ibotta and received a dollar back for produce.  Will get $4 back from Savings Star.

May 15 farmers market $25.09   My Sono english muffins are back in my life!  I froze 4, ate one ( you do not even need to butter these, so good) and have one for tomorrow.  Also more than a pound of the chicken kale sausage I love.

May 15 produce market  one large tub of mixed fresh fruit, 2 lbs of Ronzoni pasta, 5 lbs of carrots, 1/4 lb of fresh mozz, sliced tomato, basil salad, 2.29 lbs of Broccoli Rabe and 1.82 lbs of Swiss chard.  2 lbs of celery and one large local bakery french baquette.  $34.32

May 19 Shoprite 4 cases of water, 4 lbs. Oranges, Cocoapuffs, Bacon, 18 pk eggs, 2 Turkey Hill Icecream, Milk, Skippy PB bites, 1 can Starkist tuna and one Jif Peanut butter.  37.52

May 19 Stop and Shop, 70.79 4 Drakes Cakes ($5 back from Savingstar), Silk almond milk, Onion Dip, Dannon Light and Fit Protein shakes, Breakstone sour cream, 4 yocrunch yogurts, lays potato chips, ground beef, natures promise yogurt (free!), mccains frozen potatos, 4 green giant canned veggies, 4 Baked beans, Family Pack italian sausage, zucchini, tomatoes, cherries, 10 lbs of potatoes, tostitos tortilla chips.

May 21, this put a kink in the works. 40.95 DU (Uncle) requested sauce and meatballs for his birthday.  I did not have enough ground beef left over from DH making meatloaf earlier in the week to satisfy what I knew we needed.  To BJ's we went.  Ground veal/pork/beef combo, Fruit Tray, Organic Garlic chopped (love this stuff, in produce section refrigerated in a squeeze bottle) 48 ounces organic frozen strawberries and a cheesecake.

May 22 16.91  Produce Market Blueberries, Fresh Strawberries, 2 loaves of Bread and Chocolate Bread, Spaghetti squash.

May 24th Big Y.  $40.14 after coupons.  I got a Friendly's Ice Cream (1.98 for what we consider a half gallon of ice cream but in reality it isn't), dozen eggs (on sale .99 and .25 back from Ibotta), Two Kozy Shack puddings (for me) Pumpkin ravioli, 3 packages of pierogies (never go shopping when hungry, this is evidence).  Hamburger rolls (.25 back from Ibotta) Loaf of bread (.25 back from Ibotta) Marzetti Coleslaw dressing (.99 after the double coupon and dollar back from Ibotta) shredded coleslaw (.49 after coupon) Tetley Green Tea and DH requested pop chips.

Bought alot of what I consider junk, but it is all hidden away and I intend on making it last throughout the summer.

Total Spent for the Month before Ibotta/SavingStar 695.71  ARRGGHHH   After rebates $680.21  

Not good, not good at all.  At least I'm being honest with myself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Medical issues

I am still waiting to have some tests and procedures done.  My autoimmune system is going insane, and I have days of extreme pain.  Not just stomach pain, but joint and muscle pain.   Yesterday was one of the worst days, where literally everything hurt.  It is hard to do anything when you are in pain, let alone be a pleasant music teacher.  I caught myself holding back  tears several times during the day yesterday.

I'm sure that part of it is that I overdo on the days I feel good.  I also have worked everyday since the 16th, including two back to back children's birthday parties on Sunday.  I am looking forward to Labor day, when I have NOTHING to do.

I know that part of the pain is from trying to eat food.  I've had some pasta, some french baguette bread.  Easy on the digestive system but not on my joints.  So today, I am going back to my mostly liquid form of nourishment.  If I cannot eat the way I used to (lots of raw veggies, whole grains and nuts) I don't want to eat foods that will make me hurt in even more ways.

I have been to doctors many times about this pain.  I am frustrated, and am trying to just maintain a balance until we get to the route of the new intestinal issues.  We should hopefully have more answers by June 5th.

AAA membership review

DH and I agree to disagree on the merits of an AAA membership.   His argument, I haven't used it (until this weekend) since 2006.  I say, the $100 I spend a year to have a card in our daughters name and one in mine is well worth it.

He was raised with the don't fix it til it's broke, where I was raised in preventing breakage.

So, we used our AAA membership not once but twice in the last three days. We had lent our DD our beater car (25 year old Mercury Mystique we bought from original owner with only 35k miles on it for 2400 cash), so that we could take care of some body work for her. She had been distracted when pulling into a parking spot, and had crashed into the posts that were in front of the parking spot to prevent people from crashing through the front of the store LOL.  

She had taken her car to a local dealer in Rhode Island to find out the cost of the repairs would be over $3000. We have friends in the car business here in Connecticut, so we bought the parts wholesale and brought them to another friend who owned garage. For the parts and the labor we spent $670 cash out-of-pocket. A true savings.  She has reimbursed us this money already.

She used our car for a week. We drove her car from our home to the garage and then back out to her. On the day we were meeting she texted us to say there was something wrong with our car that it kept overheating and the oil light was flashing. When we got to where she was parked, we found the coolant reservoir empty. We drove to an auto parts store, and purchased two containers of 50/50 coolant.

The car started fine but we knew quite soon,  within two minutes actually something was very wrong. It immediately shot up to hot.  Turning on the fan and heater did not produce any hot air. Definitely the thermostat if not something much worse.

After DH grumbled and shouted A bit with his head under the hood, I mentioned calling AAA. That said himoff again LOL.   I told you to get rid of that membership to waste of money. He finally relented and told me to call AAA. Granted it took them two hours to get to us. We were in the beach parking lot with no lights and there was some confusion as to what the crossroads were of the parking lot.

The driver was very cordial and actually quite entertaining the original plan was for us to have the car towed all the way to work garage in Wallingford Connecticut. But now because of the hour we knew we couldn't wake anyone up to meet us there so we asked him to just bring the car to our home.  It was a 72 mile drive. It would've cost almost $500 cash if I didn't have a AAA membership. It cost us nothing.

On Monday we talked to our mechanic, and again called AAA. Again the time frame of arrival was not correct. Both times we were told 40 to 50 minutes, yet the driver showed up two hours after we had called. This doesn't disturb me because both times I was with someone I felt safe with or in my own home. I do find it disconcerting that if my daughter was ever in trouble , she might be alone for such a long time in a disabled vehicle.  To make a long story short, the mechanic seems to feel it was the water pump and the thermostat. A $400 job. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the head gasket was not damaged. Upon first examination he feels it's OK but won't know for sure until the broken parts have been replaced.

With the DH out of work this expense truly is not at an opportune time. However, AAA saved us a lot of money.

Final cost, $487.00 cash.  Water pump, thermostat and serpentine belt all replaced.    

Monday, May 16, 2016


We had some leftover ribs, so I rinsed them off (barbecue sauce) added some onion skins/ends and put in crockpot overnight.

Here is the stock that I was waiting to cool so I can skip off the fat, and the meat has been taken off the bone. I added diced onion to the meat and froze both packages for a meal but I'm planning for next week.

 I also made chicken and vegetable soup with the carcass of the roaster chicken from last week.

We also grilled marinated chicken drumsticks and thighs. Along with that we had rice and frozen mixed vegetables.

On Friday we had pork chops baked potatoes and vegetables.  

On Saturday we met DD to trade vehicles and have dinner.  That turned out into an on going saga/adventure, more on the perils of old cars later. 

On Sunday DH was participating in a sporting event.   I made Gpa P a broccoli quiche.    I also made myself eggwhite mini quiche for the week.  

The best frugal accomplishment was this.  

That became this

This soup was delicious.  I had two small cups worth.  It was lots of frozen and fresh broccoli ends, last of some worn out celery, an onion sauted in butter and olive oil, a handful of fresh spinach I didn't want to not use, one large fresh carrot grated, two tablespoons of butter.  In crock-pot for 4 hours on high.  I used the immersion blender, added some sour cream and 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella.  I love creating new soups with things that usually get thrown away.

I'm continuing to eat very little, due to health issues. I'm very happy that we have been eating all of the leftovers.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Free Perrenials

Thanks to a neighbor who put these out on the curb with a sign that said FREE take me home!

I brought these 4 beauties home.   I left 3 for others.    

When I went to decide where to put the hostas, I saw our little bunny. So rather than disturb him I walked around the house from the other side to bring the hostas to plant where I'm hoping to make an herbal reading area outdoors in the backyard.

Final spot for the hostas.  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Putting everything I can into HSA, how am I doing it? and why?

Well, the HSA did certainly help us with 2015 taxes.  Now it is even more important, as I am now dealing with huge medical bills.  More to come, but those will more than likely be covered as I hit our families entire 12k deductable.  The bad news is, I need to come up with that 12K.

We sold a brand new hotspot that we bought for DH for Christmas last year that she didn't need once we bought it.  $40.00 to HSA.

I am being very diligent this month with looking for every spare bit of change.  After getting milk I found that Ibotta had .25 back.  Got that money in my account in less than 5 minutes.

I am not actively looking for other things we can post to Facebook sale sites as well as Ebay.

Monday, May 2, 2016


My heart hasnt been too much into cooking this past week.   So far I pulled some cooked pork I had saved in diced form from the freezer and made a pork/onion/mushroom soup for Gpa P.  As usual he at most of if in one day.  

This was taken after he had some.

I also made some strawberry shortbread muffins.    Very easy recipe.  

DH made pork ribs, and salmon as well as a roasted chicken.      I used up odds and ends of veggies to make stock and then a chicken vegetable soup on Saturday.   


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Having to change how I eat


So, had a health emergency last week.    Actually asked DH to call 911.    After two days in the hospital it was determined that I have a Cecal Bascale  and also a form of colitis.  Here is some more info. 


 The type has not yet be determined.    I have more appointments later this week.  

I am not eating very much.   I have lost 10.9 lbs in the last five days.   I am now on a low fiber diet.   No more salads, my food of choice.    No more Kashi cereal or bars.   No more raw veggies.   No more brown rice.   No whole grains.  Cut way back on coffee (only drink coffee and water)   My extremely healthy diet isn't good for my body.  I am very sad.   

I will share more as I learn and adjust.  I want to continue to stay healthy and avoid more surgery.    

Have had some free time to make some crafts

I created a few new button/broken jewelry crafts.     If you a good friend DON'T LOOK!!   Might be a gift for you.