Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our adventures and purchases in PA

I have included lots of links to the products and stores/markets I mention in this post, but we were not compensated in any way.  I just want to share with you all these exciting places and items.

The sign from the main road

Well, we were finally there on a Friday.  The Green Dragon Farmers Market and Auction are only open on Fridays!!!  9 am - 9 p.m.  The only purchase I made was 6 handmade toddler friendly cloth birds for $10.00.  The detail is amazing!


We wanted to buy so much, but it was our first day there, and the produce would have spoiled, and we didn't want to lug 50 lbs of potatoes (13.00) or 50 lbs of onions (8.00) up to the room.  DH is still talking forlornly about these missed deals.   Huge beautiful broccoli for $1.00 a head.  We definitely need to plan a weekday only trip now, so that we leave on a Saturday morning.

DH was just drooling to be able to stuff his new RTIC cooler.  We purchased the medium sized.  We need the largest, lol. The ice stayed frozen for 2 days.  Only three of the pies (we bought 8) defrosted, so we cooked those our first day home.  All else remained rock hard frozen.

We of course went to stoltzfus meats where we got Liverwurst, burgers, sausage links,  sausage patties and Zook's Homemade chicken, beef and sausage pot pies.  OMG so good.

Kauffmans fruit farm market is also another place we stop.  I bought three single servings and one quart of the best yogurt in the world.  We have purchased it directly from the farm in past visits, but once I knew they had it at Kauffman's I saved a trip.   We also got some bulk crackers, sesame sticks, pretzels, couscous, 6 apple cider donuts made while I waited that melted in my mouth (no I did not eat all 6) and a four pack of mini pumpkin whoopie pies (yummo)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September Grocery Shopping

9/1. Shoprite $44.95. Hamburger rolls, 8 piece deli fried chicken, 5.74 lbs of 80% Ground Beef, 3.72 lbs of London broil (twin pack), 9.15 lbs (three packages) BS chicken breast.

9/2 Stop & Shop $82.86 I am especially proud of this shopping trip because my entire cart cost less then the price on the beef tenderloin that I purchased. I got 2.38 pounds of Italian sausage, 20.8 ounces of ground turkey, 5.74 pounds of whole beef tenderloin.   Four bags of lays potato chips which were on sale, plus I will get four dollars back from saving star when I reach the purchase price of $18 total.  Two Chobani Meze dips that will each cost me a dollar after saving star refunds a dollar each.  A container of alouette light herb cheese. The six pack of Jiffy corn muffin mix, and two boxes of Krusteaz corn muffin mix.  My one splurge on this trip was a box of weight watchers lemon cakes.   Price before manufacturer and store coupons was $142.66.  (Cornbread mixes were our part of a pig roast side dish)

9/3 bagel chips from a local Jewish deli.    Huge bag.  $4.99

9/3 Stop and Shop $6.09 case Sunkist Diet soda.  

9/4 Produce Market $20.79 3 bagels, 2 pastries, cream cheese,  salmon cream cheese and lemon poppy seed bread (very heavy).  

9/5 BJ's  $55.18 Gatorade 28 pk, diet snapple 24 pk, Stacey's pita chips, 20 ounces mushrooms, gallon milk, half and half, 4 lbs of tomatos, 2 lbs chorizo

9/10 Big Y $44.39 (after saving star)  Chocolate Chip cookies from bakery, A dozen donuts (pumpkin and apple) B1G1 half dozen free, 3 dozen eggs, 2 loaves of crap white bread for DH to use with Peanut butter, a package of store brand light english muffins (I am holding fast and not buying from SoNo), a bag of fritos which will put me at the $12.00 mark with SavingStar for 4.00 back, Seedless rye bread, a bag of kale chips (let's see how my system reacts to these) 2 bags of store brand egg noddles, 3.62 lbs of BSCB, 4 packages of Perdue GF breaded nuggets and tenders B1G1F PLUS two $1.00 off coupons on two of them.  3.63 lbs of cabbage (man, I have a thing for that weight I guess) 3.25 lb butternut and 1.9 lb acorn squash.  I thought this was an amazing trip.  Also received a 10% off of next order!

9/10 CVS. 4 boxes of oatmeal, various flavors.  FREE

9/11 Stop and Shop $58.21 Deli Hard salami, turkey breast and rare italian roast beef.  3.56 lbs of Ground Beef, and 20.8 ounces of ground turkey breast. 3 packages of mushrooms, 2.5 lbs of asparagus.  Quaker rice cakes chocolate and cheddar.  Bays english muffins (still trying to avoid buying from the farmers market.  These were actually very good, I think we have a winner) 8 pc fried chicken for DH. Large family size bag of Utz chips (DH's favorite) Orange Juice.

9/13 for snacks for DH's lunches.  He hasn't touched anything yet.  Also included an iced coffee that I have been wanting to try.  $77.81

9/15 Target to get stocked up on Bush's Sciracha beans (limited) Gpa P loved.  I had coupons, and there is a Savings Star Deal which I reached.  16.88

9/18 $3.75 sourdough boule

9/19 Big Y 8.38 after savings star, checkout 51 and coupons.  Two avocados, 5 lbs potatoes, 1.72 lb of BS chicken thighs and a can of rotel tomatoes.

9/26 $38.24  Three HUGE Big Y Roasting chickens .68 a pound.  Two packages of Ground veal dated 9/27 with $2.00 off stickers on them and one package of turkey italian hot sausage with a $1.00 off sticker.  2 bananas that I got for free after Ibotta.  5 lb bag of potatoes and celery.

$462.52         So, over my 400 dollar goal but UNDER my previous 500 goal (which I always went way over)  Funny huh?   We did bring back some baked goods from PA, but I target that as vacation $$. Though it will go towards meals.   Since alot of these purchases haven't even been touched yet I am counting on these purchases to be eaten in October.  I will again set the budget for $400 and focus on loss leaders and big sales only.  My market share is almost done (a little less than $100 left)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Decorating on a budget

I try to reuse what I have from year to year making it last as long as possible. And even though I do have some artificial pumpkins and dried flowers every year I still want to go pumpkin picking and get some ornamental Indian corn.

Last year my daughter gifted us some pumpkins, plus I received some sugar pumpkins from a friend.   But my yearly hunt for ornamental corn was very frustrating. None of the usual farmstands had any.  The only place I could find them was the third Home Depot I visited. They were small scrawny looking trios of corn for four dollars each. But I did buy some because not only do I decorate with them for October and November, but then I put them out for the squirrels and the deer to enjoy.   Last year I spent $28 on six of those trios. This year we got an amazing ornamental corn wreath and five huge trios of ornamental corn for $20.   

Isn't this wreath beautiful? I won't be feeding  this to the squirrels, I will be preserving it from year-to-year and hopefully it will last a long time.

I hung four of these from the banisters on our front porch

One on our lamp post

This year on a trip to Lancaster County Pennsylvania. We were looking around the area where we were staying where there was a local nursery shop. We found some unusual pumpkins, gray ones, Dusty green, warty pumpkin shaped gourds, all at ridiculously high prices.  Well I shouldn't say that they were normal commercial prices. $20 for the gray one various prices for the other ones. Since we have never seen a gray pumpkin like this before, I said to my husband let's look around at the farms first and if we can't find something and it's here when we get back then it's meant for us to have it.

There were mud sales and yard sales and lots of benefits sales on Saturday. We've never been there for a full Saturday or even on a Friday.  We were able to experience things that we have not in our previous trips. The mud sales were the reason we had planned a trip for this date.  Also the Green Giant farmers market is only open on Fridays. Boy that was an adventure and since Friday was our first day we couldn't buy any of the things that we wanted to buy because they would have spoiled in the car. I will tell you about that in a different post.

Back to the pumpkins we purchased four huge pumpkins at an Amish benefit sale.  I'm assuming it was to help raise money for one of their families. There was at least 25 different families selling homemade and gently used items. But we stopped for the pumpkin wagons. I am so glad we did. We spent $19 on pumpkins.   Pictured are three as my Mother kept one.  An Amish boy wheeled them to our car in a wagon and helped my husband put them in the car. He was surprised that he received a tip.

Last but not least is an ornament that we purchased from some Amish boys. It was made from recycled horseshoes. I can see this lasting for a lifetime. They wanted $20.  One of the two boys was also juggling with a tip jar so my husband gave him two dollars. Again very appreciative and surprised. My husband always believes that someone is entertaining him whether it be in any city and they make him smile he will give them a tip.  He told the young boy to keep up the good work at learning this new skill.  

Notice my donkey looking down at it? Isn't it cute? I know I'm a weirdo LOL

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Meals this week

Sunday breakfast was McCain's babycakes, eggs, bacon, toast.  Rest of the week is croissants (freezer) english muffins (big y and bay's) turkey sausage links, cereal.

Lunches have mainly been leftovers and last of cold cuts.

Dinners chicken escarole soup, grilled chicken breasts with rice, pork pepper pot stew, london broil and mashed potatoes.  Ground Turkey with eggplant and indian spices.   Various veggies.

I am making sure I make double batches of things so there is an assortment of leftovers for Gpa P as we will be away Friday through Sunday.  I have subs for my students.  Woohoo!

Here is a photo of the finished Pork Pepper Pot stew.  Leftover pork cubed from last week, jalepenos, roasted and fresh peppers, Goya Large dried white corn (hominy?)  Two packages of Goya Sazon, last carton of turkey stock, onions.  Lots of onions.  I can't eat this due to the heat and my gastro issues but Gpa said was a winner.  Not as good as the Escarole, but he was happy.

I also made fake baked potato soup (cauliflower, butter, onion, celery, chicken stock, blended with cheese and crumbled bacon)  I hope that will tide him over while we are away (Fri - Sun)  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Frugal Activities and keeping busy

I have felt like a chicken with her head cut off this week.  DH second week of working, and he is frustrated, but I am not going to get into that here.  Hopefully receiving a check tomorrow will at least make this temporary gig worthwhile.

I have been getting back into my school year routine, and with him out of the house in the morning I can stay focused and get a lot done.  I'm trying to get all errands and chores done while he isn't here, so that we can focus on each other when I get home (who are we kidding, he's usually asleep on the couch by time I get home)

So, this week I've done business related paperwork during the mornings.  I combine book keeping with exercise (ipad and quickbooks) and doing strength training and elliptical.  So far it's been working.   I use voice activation for dictating emails and lesson plans.  I just proof read afterwards before hitting send.

Actual teaching hours are M 3-8, T 9 - 8, W 3-9, Th 2-7, Fri 1-7 and S 730 am - Noon.

Also took my Mother to an eye appointment.  (she has wet macular degeneration and has  partial vision loss)  She has a big milestone birthday coming up this year, and we are taking her to Amish country to see all the sights and quilts that we tell her about before she cannot see them.

Anyway, laundry.  In the past I was doing hang up loads and dryer loads separately, even though they were like colors.  I thought it was saving me time, but it actually was costing me more time and more resources (water, electric, soap)  I have gotten 4-5 loads down to 2.  Darks and whites.  I just have to be vigilant when separating for drying time.

Making my own coffee, both hot brewed and cold brewed.

Baking a cake from scratch.  Was a bit dry (I did taste a corner) I think I baked it a bit too long.  But it tastes good, and I know what's in it!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Avocado Deal

Two Hass Mexican Avocados (I had to hunt through them because some were from Chile) 3.98 - .80 SavingStar - $1.49 coupon - 1.50 checkout 51 if you purchased 2 with a can of rotel tomatoes (which I needed).    Avocados were free!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weird Al

I don't go to shows very often. I tend to like silence or just spoken word when I am not at work. I do not even listen to music if I'm driving because I find it distracting. I have to figure out time and key signatures… Then I start arranging the music in my head for my ensembles. 

This show was so enjoyable.   It started on time (another reason I don't want to attend the shows. I tend to compare them to how I run my own performances, and I like promptness, clean language and staying on schedule)

I enjoyed every second.   Did not want it to end.    We had orchestra lower box seats, and my husband insisted that I must have had discount code, though I did not.   We paid $123 for both seats including the fees.    I do not know how that happened as the box seats at the box office when we were looking tonight were 93.50 each.   SCORE!

Finale complete with storm trooper

Not really a frugal nights except that we got the tickets at such a low cost. But I feel a blogger asked me to share photos so here you go Nathalie!

Today's Recipe Chicken Escarole Stew

Escarole from the farmers market was the inspiration.   Two BS chicken breasts were browned in olive oil.  Meat was taken out of oil to cool for dicing.   Organic Garlic (from my garden) Organic onions (farm share) were chopped and added to oil.  A can of rinsed Cannelini beans and a can of tomato paste added.  Once meat was diced, all ingredients as well as a carton of organic chicken stock were added to crock pot and cooked on high for 4 hours.



Gpa P will have plenty for dinner while we are out.

City Seed Farmers Market (Four Root Farm)

Such beautiful produce.   I spent $3.75 on a sourdough. 

Fresh Ginger.   Going to read about how to reroof this.   Escarole, Swiss Chard, Kale and Bok Choy

Two lbs of onions, okra and delicata squash

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Shopping for Deals

DH's favorite holiday is Halloween.    I have always held a special place in my heart for Dio de las Muertos.  I have even held special classes on the subject.    Many cultures remember their deceased relatives on special days. This one is just a bit more colorful and festive.   Hubby's living room lap blanket has seen better days.    I got him this one for free at TJ Maxx with my TJ dollars from using and paying off my Credit card in full each month. I did get a set of my favorite colors cloth napkins, and a 12 pack very nicely scented pumpkin spice satchets.  

At Kohl's I used my $20 Kohls cash to get this beautiful orange leather bag on clearance because it had a little Pen Mark on it. I also got a package of my favorite underwear, six pack cotton on clearance.


Meals this Week and feeling accomplished

Sunday was my Scirarcha chili.  

Monday was my first morning completely alone at home for over 5 months.  DH went to his NEW (be it temporary) job this morning, and Gpa P went boating/fishing with friends. 

What a difference it is when I could do tasks uninterrupted.  Meatballs and Sauce made so that DH didn't have to do anything but cook pasta when he got home from his first day of work.

Mushroom with Chourico Sausage Ragout made for Tuesday, just need to make the polenta.

All receipts and papers filed away from January through September (yes, I tend to throw into a basket until I get some alone time) I get easily thrown off track when everyone is home.

I will admit, I was a bit sad and lonely at first, DH is my BFF and we don't do alot of things apart.   But he does need to work, not only for our bottom line, but his own independence and sense of self.  It can't all be about me and my work!  I also did a bit of weeding.

Tuesday I did laundry, a bit more weeding and cleaned the bathroom.   Had to be at the studio by Noon so not to much down time.   I also am happy that I called Capital One and asked them to waive the $39 member fee they charged me.   I have never had this fee before.   They did, "as a courtesy this one time".   

Today I ran to Kohls and TJMaxx with 20 dollars to spend at each.   Starting holiday shopping.   I also went to Target and Starbucks. I will post what I got later tonight.   I tried to sleep in but didn't happen.   Also finished paying all personal and business expenses and finished pay compensation for co-educators.

Thursday sleep in.   (This means 730 if I am lucky)  Hang the curtains that I got free months ago with Kohls Cash.

Friday Repair appointment for out side by side fridge/freezer in kitchen.  The freezer has water coming out of the bottom of the door.  DH and Plumber friend couldn't find anything, so now that DH knew a paycheck was coming from his end he told me to schedule appointment.

Saturday recover from late Friday early Saturday teaching schedule.    Usually have to nap when I get home.

Sunday we are going to see Weird Al. Probably go out for a meal.

Monday, September 12, 2016

City Seed Edgewood Market 9/11

I wish I could just call this post Four Root Farm of East Haddam.       If only they sold their beautiful produce right from the farm.    It would be a lovely drive, and then we could still get their produce.    Or perhaps a CSA where I pick it up.    Would not be a frugal choice.    It is not just around the corner.   I will miss their produce.   

2 pounds of onions, 1 pound of shallots, 3 pounds of okra (already blanched and frozen) 5 beautiful peppers.    

A pound of the sweetest tomatoes ever

And of course Swiss chard.     I think I will blanch this and freeze for the winter.   

Sunday, September 11, 2016

House Party Chatterbox Bush's Sriracha Beans

  Here is my House Party page saying I was chosen to be a Chatterbox for Bush's Sriracha Beans.   This means I will get a can of beans in the mail, coupons to share, and have to post a blog (well, of course I would) post, FB post, or twitter account of my thoughts on the product. 

In order to get picked, you need to apply obviously, and do three tasks.  I had to Tweet about the product, FB share about the product and post a pic of me with the product.  I think the pic helped me be chosen.  I captioned it Cha Cha Cha Sriracha Bean's.  LOL

So, my package arrived.   It is a large can.  

Husband thought they smelled very vinegary.   I could feel the heat in my nose when I took a strong sniff.    I decided to make a chili.    4 organic purple peppers, 3 organic onions, last of some organic Cherry tomatoes starting to get a bit soft.    Browned 20 ounces of ground turkey breast.    Here is everything step by step.  

It is not too spicy.    Just a tinge of a pepper Gpa P gets to enjoy the entire pot.    He loves spicy.  It does smell delicious!!   I would purchase again for him to enjoy.    His review is excellent!