Saturday, April 29, 2017

April shopping finally below budget!

Drumroll please! $404.44 for the month

3/28 BJ's wholesale   $101.97    6 lbs of various pasta shapes, 40 pack water (though now we are mainly drinking from the tap, I like to have some bottled water in the house) 12 count corn bread, Guacamole mini 12 pack, Lump crab meat, pita chips, milk, starkest tuna pouch 10 pk, chorizo sausage, grated cheese, mushrooms, sirloin tips (treat for DH, He enjoyed once, Pops ate three times, I had none...not a complaint on this, just stating how long it lasted.  I rarely eat beef) 20 ounces mushrooms, 10 lbs of russet potatoes.

4/3 BJ's wholesale $65.78 10 lbs of potatoes (we went through that last batch almost!), Large spring mix (applied for .25 back from checkout 51 and another .25 from Ibotta), 7 and 3/4 lb Smithfield spiral cut ham, 30 ounce package Ritz crackers, 2 lb Daisy sour cream, Croutons, 1.5 lb bag of organic fresh greenbeans, 1.5 lbs of 26-30 shrimp, 2.5 lbs of boneless skinless salmon, loaf of Levy rye.  This price was so low as I have a rewards membership (definitely earn back the membership fee each year) and used a $20 reward AND $6 in coupons plus the two rebates submitted.  Both were credited to my account within hours. 

April 3, Big Y $24.64    Only planned on getting eggs, (and in looking at my receipt I realize I did not get the $1.50 price per the egglands best eggs as advertised...grrrrrr)  I got 2 dozen egglands best, 2 bags of popchips, andouille sausage and 2 turkeys at .49 per pound!
April 5 Ocean State Job Lot $15.14 for 8 six packs of DH favorite Diet Dry Orange Seltzer.  This total includes $2.40 in bottle returns.
April 6 $2.25 oop (I did use a gifted $25 g.c.) 20 ounces of Monterey jack cheese, pound LOL butter, 4 boxes Ronzoni pasta, 2 dozen egglands best eggs, 6 cans of green giant veggies (.49 each when you buy 6) 5 lbs of discounted assorted color peppers (and nothing wrong with them...), 3 cartons of organic stock, last Purex bottled needed to get $5 back, 4 organic lemons and 3 lbs of onions. (.25 back from Savingstar)
April 7 $14.01 six pounds of Boneless Skinless chicken breasts
April 7 $14.94 twelve cases of 24 bottles each Poland Springs Water (not including deposit fee's in this total)  You can read about this deal here
April 8, Stop and Shop $0 out of pocket as I used a gift card received in 2016.  The purpose of this trip was to buy groceries to cook for my Grandmother so I am only listing here what was put into our household.  3 lbs of Italian sausage, 2.5 lbs of ground beef, 1.5 lbs of stew meat.  6 pack mini life coke (stevia and pure cane sugar) for DH to try (not a fan), asparagus, broccoli, celery, jar of Heinz gravy, large bottle gravy master, LOL butter.
April 9, $10.75   2 loaves of Italian bread, spaghetti squash, potato chips (DH was with me, lol)

April 10 $42.44 Target for 96 starbucks K-Cups (6 boxes)  Between gift cards, ground coffee and this I should be set through the summer (but probably will stock up again if there is another deal)
April 12th Shoprite $16.94  Ciabatta Olive Oil Bread, 40 ounces of mushrooms, 6 lbs of Broccoli Rabe (oh yea!)
April 16 BJ's Wholesale $60.64 (yes, Resurrection Sunday)   Light Cream, Gallon of Milk, Salmon, Onions, Shredded Cheese. Two different huge bags of Jelly Beans (DH request, I will steal some away for a craft project) 
Can't forget the deal on 12 cases of Poland Springs!  $14.94
4/26 DH spent $20 on salad fixings and crusty bread. 
Granted, we have been out of milk for almost 10 days (again, only Pops drinks it) but we did quite nicely.   I have been working hard to use what we have in the house and make due. 
I am very pleased with this month's accomplishment. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Our yard and gardening

Wild Turkey

A new houseguest
There are eggs, I have insisted no one use the front porch.   It's going to be a long summer. 
 Robin's Nest

The garden

How does your yard look today?
As mentioned by a reader, the bird nest is now a potential fire hazard. 
To remind us all not to 'flick the switch' I did this
 And now I want to clean all my light switches because that looks dirty. 

Meals 4/17 - 4/28

I'm going to admit, these last two weeks have been a blur.  We have eaten homemade food all but one night we were home (Chinese)  DH and I were away on business events 4/21 (a long time student was in the production of Fiddler on the Roof) 4/22 a convention that we attend where I get side work for music scoring (not this time though...)

4/17Monday DH grilled salmon with broccoli and rice

4/18Tuesday I started cooking for the week, pasta tuna salad (huge bowl) broccoli rabe with sausage that was grilled earlier in month and sliced/frozen for just this purpose.  Hardboiled 8 eggs and made a zucchini quiche (shredded and frozen end of the season)

4/19 I baked 4 chicken leg quarters

I tried to replicate a chili that DH loves from a New Haven spot called Order of Fries
Was sweet enough but not hot enough.  Back to the drawing board...errr cooking pot....
This week I made chicken vegetable soup with the leftovers
DH made his famous grilled chicken barbecue salad
Grilled sausage patties (last from PA trip) on rolls with fries and salad
I made sauce and meatballs.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My yard this morning and my chores

I could sit and just listen in my yard all day.  I even have a CD of bird calls (recorded in a forest) that I listen to when I'm driving and feeling edgy.

Here is a video that has a pair of I believe yellow finches

My first finch of the season so I was excited, took quite a few shots

Rhubarb and Strawberry plants



I also filled all the bird feeders, (and left a few seeds for the chipmunks)
Watered the first bed of planted seeds (peas and lettuces)
Made the bed, two loads of laundry, dishes done and I made a pot of chili, but different that my usual.  Trying to duplicate the "Order of Fries" restaurant chili.  I'll let you know how it turned out.
Teaching from 3-830 pm today
How is your morning going?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What's been cooking

Sunday was sauce with meatballs I made on Saturday as well as Italian sausage that was grilled and added to the pot.  1/2 of the sausage was saved for another day. 

Monday was grilled chicken breasts (boneless) with rice and veggies.

Tuesday was leftovers

Wednesday Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Thursday Gumbo.  DH said I could make it again.    That is the highest compliment coming from him (he has a culinary arts degree and was a caterer when we first met)

Friday fend for yourself

Saturday daughter's birthday surprise dinner in RI

Easter Sunday, Ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, macaroni and cheese, lemon chocolate cake.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cheap Date

I have had a very light teaching week.     Some of my students are on April vacation.     I have been able to get home to spend time with DH every night during daylight hours.

Yesterday we went to a free birds of prey demo.     We love birds.     There was less than 20 people in the audience.    Here are some photos.    

We then had dinner at Smashburger with a gift card.        I should have titled this FREE DATE!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Deal on Turkeys

If you have a Big Y near you see if they have frozen turkeys for .49 a pound.    I put two in the freezer.     Might check back for one more to defrost and cook soon.   

Monday, April 3, 2017

Landscape Improvement and thinking ahead

I am slowly trying to replant all the plants that were on our property when my Grandparents first built it.  Mainly the low maintenance one's (not going to get into rosebush's again)
For some reasons that I now understand more, my Mother when I was a child removed a lot of the plants/shrubbery that I loved from the property.  Now that I'm the homeowner, I understand that the placement of these items were mainly the reason. 
Pussy willow.  I loved this shrub.  I loved seeing it bloom with it's little fluffy tails each year.  In investigating a new purchase (small bushes start at $45....OUCH) and also where they should be planted.........I now understand why she not only removed this one (against the foundation near the kitchen....roots can ruin piping and foundation.....)  But also the beautiful willow tree down in the lower part of the property (was near the now defunct septic tank....another no no)
But how could I find a frugal way to replant this favorite plant?
For $9.99 I purchased 8 stems from a local nursery.  Pussy Willows (and all willow members) release their own rooting hormone.  I recut each stem on an angle, and put it in water.  I hope to have roots in a few weeks.  Then I plan on gifting some of them to other family members with land (along with some instructions on where NOT to plant them)    So excited!

We also took advantage of the Home Depot Spring Black Friday Sale.  I put aside cash for gardening purchases each winter, so these funds were already allocated.  10 bags of black mulch, $20, 5 bags of miracle grow garden soil (I mix it with my own compost to add to raised beds) $10.00.  I only needed 3 bags, the other two are set aside for the Uncles BDay gift (table planter, soil and a few tomato/basil plants for him to tend to)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Deals and Freebies

Finally got my $4 from Goya added to my SavingStar account

 Completely free 8x10 of me and my daughter in a silly selfie

12 Cases of 24 bottles each Poland Spring Water
Now I check my American Express account weekly for deals
I am getting $15.00 back for this purchase. 
Pick the Nestle ReadyRefresh deal.  They had lots of beverage options.
Remember to always pay off your credit card bill each month!
12 Cases for $29.34 after the refund
I even got to pick the delivery day and time!
subtract the darned deposit fee I paid $14.94 for 12 cases!  Less than .20 a bottle
this will last us a very long time. 
We give my 'niece' (really my first cousins daughter) all of our empties to help pay for her school and sport extra curricular expenses.  It's her 'job' to cash them in.

Cooking/Meals the last few days.

Thursday evening I ended up being done very early, so DH and I had a date night, I had a delicious salad and soup.....tomato soup and the salad was so big I could not finish it.  He had a chicken dish with a side ceasar salad and he also brought most of his meal home.  Before this date night we finally got the last antique on our wish list, and it was way below budget (I have had cash set aside from birthdays/Christmas for several years for this item)

Friday was leftovers for all. 

Saturday was a late lunch at Maggie McFly's (after getting the bad news from the accountant....and this year, we owe) Unemployment was not enough to cover mortgage, so DH didn't have taxes taken out.....have to pay the piper eventually.  So even though I pay money quarterly, and he did work part of the year it wasn't enough.  I have to scramble to pay owed taxes, quarterly taxes, state owed, state quarterly and entity tax.  So, going out for soup and salad and a sandwich for DH was probably not the wisest thing to do when I was so financially freaked, but we needed to eat, we were not near home and had other errands to run.  I also had been out since 6 am, was starting to fade physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Sunday I made a nice breakfast of shredded potato (I shredded) eggs, bacon and toast.  Lunch was frozen Zooks meat pies from PA.   I then threw together a pork pepper black bean stew from items I had taken out of the freezer.  Frozen shredded pork loin with green, red, yellow peppers from a previous meal.  Frozen corn (last from summer purchases) a bit of frozen yellow rice, diced celery, some of my new Tsardust spice mix from Penzey's and half a box of chicken stock.  Was quite good.

Found our last wishlist antique

We have been looking for this for a long time.  At least two years if not more.  Oh we have found them.  Beautiful one's, expensive one's, to big one's.  We have wanted an old ice box.  Why?  Cause we like the way they look, they make me smile, my DH too.  We wanted one in good shape that hadn't had too much refurbishing.  We found one we loved that was way to big though the price was okay ($450)  We want it for display and storage. 

So, on Thursday morning on my Facebook feed I saw someone was posting an antique couch and icebox.  I looked and was instantly enamored.  Price was amazing ($150) seemed to be in good shape, dimensions worked.  I emailed pic to DH.  We talked about it as he was driving home from temp job that was ending (which, the next day they extended him for one more week) and I couldn't justify the spend.  Then he reminded me we have had this cash hidden away for when the time was right.  Let's go look at it.  So, we contacted the woman, and we went to the shoreline to see it.

Good shape, darker then the previous one's, had the original piping, ceramic and metal interior.  The only thing I do not like is that they painted some of the trim inside to be a metallic paint color.  They should have left it alone, but I understand why they did it.  We got it home, and I cleaned it up with almond oil and then Old English with some scratch fill.   You can see our collection of old Newsprint books in the left corner on the floor.  I sit down for an hour a week and read through as much as I can.

See Mr. Planter?

Hard to see but it doe's say Gulden's mustard.  Don't accept if not jarred with the original seal is stamped into the glass as well. 

On top is an antique Planter's peanut drugstore display glass that I have been eying for years in an antique shop in PA we visit each time we are there.  I thought it had gotten sold but found it in the CLEARANCE room!  Originally over a hundred the first time we saw it we paid $32!   The smaller jar is an original Gulden's mustard jar.  $4!