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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Breaking the Pantry/Freezer Challenge - Costco Trip!

Yes, I suppose it's best to say that the Pantry / Freezer Challenge is O V E R ... as much as I hate to say it ...

We did clean out a lot from the Pantry ... and quite a bit from the Freezer ... although Hubby would disagree ... and the money NOT spent on food this past month has helped me assist my sister who was in a bad place and hopefully, my boost of cash in her direction has gotten her on steady ground where she will feel confident to continue forward (just a side note, I'm well aware of what it feels like to have NO money and NO where to turn ... I've been dirt poor and I've been well off ... and I will never let someone who means a lot to me be dirt poor, if I can help them alleviate some of the stress, financially, I will)

So. I took a day off in the middle of the week. Hubby and I were originally going to do a boating day mid-week ... but then he got swamped, we found out it was mini-lobster season and well, I said NO I'm not giving up my day off. So, I made a hair appointment (!NOT frugal at all!) and went to Costco .. wheeeee!  It was one expensive day and I asked my boss (not so) jokingly if he offered overtime pay ;-)

A few things on my list were NOT bought due to price or various other reasons ... but I still spent more than I wanted to. Also, we still do NOT have Avocado oil ... my Costco person had no idea that any other Costco outside Canada had it ... told him to go look on Instagram!

So, no avocado oil was bought, but here's what I DID buy:

TP $15.99
Dawn dish soap $9.69
6 pack cartons egg whites $9.59 (for Hubby who thinks the yolk irrate him AND a test drive on something I'm making)
4 pack of Wholly Guacamole $11.69 less $2 (sadly, I have a LOT in the freezer already)
2 gallons of 2% milk $2.89 each
35 count bottles Zephyerhills water $4,39 (back to boating season and my reusable water bottles are sufficient for a long day out)
twin a\pack Oat Square cereal $7.39 (Boy and Hubby)
boneless pork chops $13.42 (they were like $2.39 a pound!)
150 or so paper plates $13.59 (again, summer, boating, lots of outdoor entertaining)
Tall oscillating fan $39.99 (for Hubby/garage/patio/mosquito control)
paper towels $15.79
54 count Dunkin Donuts Kcup $33.99 (this was to appease Hubby after the shopping trip)
2 pk grey poupon $6.99
36 count (I think) fig bars $10.99 (kids and Hubby, whole wheat, Non GMO, blah blah blah)
huge bag of organic toritilla chips $4,99
large bag of Boom Chicka Popcorn $4.99 less $1.50
twin pack of large baking sheets $10.99 (total impulse buy but have used both already tonight!)
3 pk mouth wash $7.59
5 pk artisan romaine lettuce $4.49
3 pk of deodorant $16.99 (usually $8 a pkg)
15 pk of greek flavored yogurt $13.99 less $4
2 pkgs 2 pounds french green beans $4.79 each
large package of spirng mix salad $4.49
Better than Beef bouillon $6.39 (they don't carry the cartons any longer??)
3 dozen xtra large eggs $6.99
2 quarts half and half $1.89 each
pkg of cooked bacon $10.49 (drats, the price went up again)
twin pk of greek yogurt $6.99
3 pk of Aidelle Chicken sausage $13.99
bag of chocolate covered fruits (blueberries, cranberries, cherries) $9.69 (impulse)
grilled chicken ravioli $9.79 less $2.50 coupon
String cheese $8.29 (hey, the price went DOWN!)
Trail mix $12.99
5 pk of avocados $4.89
2 3 lb bags of broccoli florets $5.49 (price is creeping up)
twin pack of sliced mozzarella $7.49
4 pounds of organic ground beef $21.99
bag of lemons $7.79 (yeah. Been without lemons for about 2 weeks!)

Grand total? Way more than I wanted ... $419.11

Oh. Then I stopped in the liquor store to buy some tequila and Cointreau ... only bought the Cointreau at $24.99...figured I have plenty of tequila and no need to spent $35 this day ...

Have you been to Costco lately??


* that side note up there? I think my point I was trying to make without bringing the whole story to light is that IF I know someone is hurting and will keep hurting because they can't see HOW to dig out of the hole they are in, I will help ... it's what I do because I'm able to and I want to.  I know how much money it cost to move in to an apartment and that's a horrible feeling when you only have a few dollars in your pocket and your payday is still a week away. The KEY is to remember, it's NOT a loan and never expect repayment. If you do get any repayment, yeah! But if you don't, it was given as a gift to help you get in a better place  *

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Menu Plan Week 135 - Using What We Have

Hi ... it's that time again!  My "not so" favorite time of the week ... mostly because it's Sunday and tomorrow means another 5 days of work! Ick. I'm so over that! But for now, it is what it is.

I stayed out of the grocery store for TWO weeks! Amazing! Well, not so much, because I have been on a Pantry/Freezer Challenge which is sort of making some progress ... the pantry is certainly looking better ... BUT when I did go to the stores, I made up for missing a week. I stopped at Aldis and spent $23 (produce, breads and cheese) and then I stopped at the Produce Store and picked up spaghetti squash, mini peppers, zucchini, brussel sprouts and THEN it was my very LEAST favorite store: Albertsons.  I knew that I would totally stick to my list, if even that as the store here is just yucky. I went to get the 69 cents a pound chicken thighs, $1.69 chicken breast and the $5.99 a pound bone in rib eye steaks. Ended up spending $65 ... so between my 3 store stops, I spent a little less than $100. I guess that's not so bad considering I didn't shop last week.

The menu plan was so so last week. Ok, lets be honest. It was a failure on may levels. Hubby ended up traveling at the last minute and we went out for dinner on Monday, the kids took me out Tuesday and Hubby and I went again on Wednesday when he got home (I picked him up late at the airport and we were both starving).  So yeah, the week sucked as far as Menu Planning went ...

There was NO food prep done on Sunday as I had a big typing job to finish up over the weekend :-( Food Prep or Extra Money ... hmmm ... it's a real hard choice, honestly. But, really, I needed to get this job done and out as I didn't want it hanging over my head (my attorney's I work for will occasionally give my name out to other attorneys when they have big typing jobs because I'm fast and know the proper formatting for legal documents (this last project? 150 pages, in case you were wondering) ...

Hubby is waffling back and forth about whether or not he's traveling this week. He has some stuff to take care of here as well as another city and just can't make up his mind...if he DOES travel, I'm in big trouble as I've got protein defrosting in the fridge!

So here's what I've got planned for the week:

Sunday - Italian night ... been awhile so I'll make some red sauce (sausage from freezer) and balance of ingredients from pantry, pasta in pantry, I have a wedge of parmesean in fridge and will finish up the dinner rolls from the freezer. Most likely will have leftover sauce to stash in freezer for future dinner This evening was all about leftovers. Just Hubby and I and well, I was typing, he was doing email for work and we just grabbed out the chicken from Friday and the steak from last night. Truthfully? I had a small plate of nachos to use up some of the salsa I made last week ... not exciting whatsoever!

Monday - Sausage and Peppers in foil packets. New recipe, sort of excited to see if it works as good as the old fashion way :-) ... sausage from freezer, onions and peppers from fridge. Will most likely either use a french bread loaf or dinner rolls from the freezer and cheese from the fridge for those who want sandwiches. Me? I'll serve mine over some shredded cabbage

Tuesday - Beef Barbacoa ... I'm excited to make this again! I picked up a roast for $2.99 a pound at Albertson on Friday specifically for this ... the roast was way less than ground beef would cost ... sadly ...balance of ingredients in the pantry and fridge and I will offer up shredded cabbage (fridge) to go along instead of lettuce since I'm limited on lettuce. Uhm, now that I look, I also am out of beer ... any kind of beer that would be suitable for this ... hmmm, wonder if I could use Funky Budda Floridian?  And yes, there will be a margarita or two offered up to those who'd like one (*just a note,the boy should be going to Fresh Market for me to pick up the $2.99 a pound ground beef)


Wednesday - So I had to re-do the plan a little as the Boy decided he wanted to make dinner this evening (at least he tells me a few days in advance!) ... he's making Southwest Hamburgers ... something he's been thinking about, and like he said, he DOES work in a Mexican restaurant! Beef in freezer, buns in pantry (may need to re-evaluate) and he said he'd pick up anything else needed. Cool ...

Thursday - Ahem. 4 Way Chili ... we didn't get around to this yet again and well, THIS week is THE week to make it again! Chili in freezer, balance of ingredients in fridge and pantry. Will use leftover pasta from Sunday night and spiralize the zucchini for myself


Friday - I'm really NOT sure at this point what I want to make this night :-) I might just leave it up to Hubby and maybe lean towards leftovers?

Saturday - Hubby's choice, as always ... he's pretty good about using what we have on hand ;-)

What are YOU making this week? I'm looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... go check it out!


Monday, July 20, 2015

4-Way Chili

We have a place down the street from us (well, over the bridge, around the corner and THEN down the street) called Skyline Chili.

Oh? You've heard of it, have you?

So ... it's not that I'm a 'fan' of the chili so much as the little coney dogs that are loaded sky high with the finely shredded cheese and onions ... oh yummm .... but ... Hubby and everyone else always, always gets the chili, 4-way ... and it's not inexpensive, all things considering.

So when I have leftover chili, I try to re-create my the leftovers in to a whole different meal ... and this is one of the things I do (the other is Chili Cheese Dogs, of course!)

Four Way Chili is really simple:

Layer 1 -spaghetti (or you can do like me and use spiralized zucchini)


Layer 2 - chili (and this recipe is a chocolate based, beanless chili so it's perfect)


Layer 3 - finely shredded cheddar cheese

Layer 4 - finely diced onions

Now, the restaurant serves theirs on a platter.

Me? Way easier in a bowl!


Go ahead and give it a try! You'll like it, I promise!!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Wake Up Wednesday,  Instagram Blog Hop, Pin Worthy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Hump Day Happenings, Wednesday Roundup, My Stay At Home Adventures, Wonderful WednesdayHearth & SoulFluster Buster Creative Muster,  Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and Spice, Hump Day Happenings, Waste Not Want Not,  Wake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic SuperheroAll Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTogether on Tuesday, Tasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday Obsessions, Thrifty Thursday,  Showcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives Thursday, What To Do Thursday, No Rules Weekend Bloghop, Foodie Friday, Fabulous FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFreakin Did It Friday, Pure Blog LoveFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseWeekend SocialFoodie Friends FridayCelebrate It!,  Weekend RetreatWhat’s Shakin Weekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything Goes,  Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Weekend PotluckTGI Friday Friday with FriendsSimple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend Wander,  Saturday Night Fever, A Bouquet of TalentThe Party BunchShow Off Saturday, I Gotta CreateShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff Saturday,  Super Saturday Show & TellSunday Features,  Potluck PartySunday ShowcaseSnickerdoodle SundaySundae ScoopSuper Sunday, G’Day, Sunday’s BestMop It Up MondayMerry MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth Monday, Pinch of JoyPin It Party,  Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday,  What’d You Do This Weekend,  Making It CuterTime To Sparkle, Inspire Me MondayMealtime MondayTime To SparkleMakin You Crave MondayClever Chick, Motivational Monday,  Mix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayMonday Funday, Anything Goes Monday, Making Monday, Lou Lou GirlsInspire Me Monday, Marvelous MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie Friends, Retro Repin (Pinterest linkup) Share Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Two Cup Tuesday, Create, Link, Inspire, The Makers, Wow Me Wednesday, Create and Shareloa, Best of the Weekend


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Menu Plan Week 134 - Using What We Have

Here we are again, already, another week has just flown by!

I have NOT been to the grocery store since last Friday ... over a week ago! Hubby did buy 2 gallons of milk this past week, a package of hot dog buns and some beer, but other than that, nothing new was brought in to the house! Yes!

Then again, not a whole lot was really used up either ... I was out of the house 2 nights with my dad (another hospital visit, he's fine now but has a cold on top of everything else), and I did hit up the drive through on my way to work one morning after having 5 hours of sleep ... weak moment but otherwise, everything was ok. We stuck with the menu plan a few nights and the rest was just fend for yourself with leftovers, sandwiches, etc. We did go out Friday night for a date night (food and drinks) but were out more for adult beverages than food ...

The Pantry / Freezer Challenge is coming along just fine ... I need to update my freezer inventory on my phone and then transfer it to the blog ... it's just constantly changing ;-) I really need to tackle all 3 refrigerators and get them cleaned and organized and THEN tackle the freezers ... so that is Sunday's project ...

There will also be some meal prep for the week ahead. I just need to stay focused and make it happen, you know? But I like to laze around a bit on Sundays! But prepping ahead makes the work week so much easier and better in the end so I will stay focused ... some of the things I plan to do are boil eggs, make a batch of ranch dressing, cook up chicken breast (eggs and chicken for lunches), make some rice and hopefully get a crock pot meal started so it's just a heat and go meal one night. Well. So much for those grand ideas! I did managed to shred 2 8 oz blocks of cheddar cheese but THAT is it!

I anticipate a busy week ahead so hoping to keep things simple:

Sunday - leftover hot dogs and cheese spaetzle that we made for friends on Saturday night ... hot dogs were from the 4th of July shop that Hubby did and balance of stuff from fridge and pantry

Monday - 4 way chili (still have NOT made this the past few weeks!) ... will make mine with zucchini and all others with pasta. Chili in freezer (still) balance of ingredients in fridge and pantry


Tuesday - Taco Tuesday (surprise!) ground beef in freezer, balance of ingredients in pantry and fridge. Would LOVE to make the meat on Sunday so all I would need to do is reheat ... we will see


Wednesday - Chicken Tortilla Soup ... this is a new recipe and it's made in the crock pot ... I'd like to try and make it Sunday on the 4 hour setting but not sure if I will get around to that! All ingredients are on hand in pantry and freezer except the salsa verde, may just skip that ingredient to avoid a run to the store Will offer up Black Bean Quesidillas for those who feel they need more substance ;-) All the ingredients are in the pantry and fridge!

Yes, I realize that is a Mexican theme two nights in a row ... oh well ;-)

Thursday - leftovers ... I realize that I need to incorporate a leftover night back in ... Hubby doesn't take leftovers for lunch like we used to do in the old days so there has been a little more food waste than I like ... if not enough then there's always sandwiches, salad, etc.

Friday - looking at Flat Bread Pizza night most likely. Homemade, of course. I do have a batch of dough in the freezer and should have the balance of ingredients in the fridge and pantry. Would really like to try a new grain free dough recipe I have or maybe just a margharita frittata for me ... it depends on how my work day goes ...


Saturday - Hubby's choice ... he's good about using what we have on hand!

Looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... go check it out!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Smelly Shoe Fix!

*It's summertime and well, my shoes are starting to smell a tad funky so it's time to repost this and redo ... it really does work!

Honestly, we have real good hygiene habits in my house, I can assure you of that!

But, lets face it, living in paradise with 125% humidity can be a little trying sometimes ... my running shoes (which have NOT seen much running action for quite a while) get a little ripe smelling ... and oh man, you should smell the shoes that Hubby wears outside in the yard, patio, garage and boat that constantly get wet ... enough to suck the oxygen right out of your body ... whew!

Then you have the Boy ... who works out pretty darn hard and doesn't always wear socks, nor does the Princess ...

I mean, seriously, I've had to throw shoes away because you could smell them just sitting there. No one wants to be the person that people are wrinkling their nose at when they are walking by you!

So when I saw the featured post for the Smelly Shoe Solution (and dang, I'm still trying to find the original post because I had no need to bookmark it, such a simple fix!)



Yes. That's IT!

Ready to give this a try? I was!!

Go to the dollar store and go down the "beauty" aisle. Grab yourself a small squirt bottle ... currently they have these pretty blues, pinks, greens that are clear ... I grabbed a blue because blue makes me feel calm ... I buy ALL my squirt bottles at the dollar store ... they have a ton of different sizes and styles and I LOVE SQUIRT BOTTLES!

Then go to end of that aisle, and look for the hydrogen peroxide and the rubbing alcohol. Grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol.

Go check out, fork over your $2.12 (if you live in Florida with a 6% tax rate), and go home.

Once home, remove the label from the bottom of the spray bottle. Grab a Sharpe and write ALCOHOL on the bottle, nice and big. We don't want this to be mistaken for something else, say, like water!

Take sprayer top off, dump in the alcohol.

Put sprayer back on and give a few squirts to make sure its working as a SPRAY not a stream.

Step back from the fumes and remember how freakin potent alcohol is!

Grab shoes to be treated and step out on front steps or back door, whichever, just outside.

Hold shoes up, insole towards you and spritz each shoe 2 times (one up in toe area, other in heel area). Set shoes down (OUTSIDE) and come back in for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minute timer has sounded, go retrieve shoes. Apprehensively, give them a sniff test. Think to yourself, I need a better sniff than that and really give them a good smell.

SURPRISE! It works!!!!  Princess has these really pretty blue canvas shoes that she loves but peeeeeweeeyyy, the smell! She was gone over the weekend so I spritzed them a few times ... when she got home, she wanted to know why her shoes were sitting outside? She picked them up, holding them away from her and stopped, sniffed them cautiously and said "HEY! They smell just like when they were new!" No joke, folks. This works!!

NOTE: Seriously, I thought I was going to pass out when I test sprayed the stuff in the kitchen sink ... whew, it was strong! That's why I suggest doing it outside!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Wake Up Wednesday,  Instagram Blog Hop, Pin Worthy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Hump Day Happenings, Wednesday Roundup, My Stay At Home Adventures, Wonderful WednesdayHearth & SoulFluster Buster Creative Muster,  Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and Spice, Hump Day Happenings, Waste Not Want Not,  Wake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic SuperheroAll Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTogether on Tuesday, Tasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday Obsessions, Thrifty Thursday,  Showcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives Thursday, What To Do Thursday, No Rules Weekend Bloghop, Foodie Friday, Fabulous FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFreakin Did It Friday, Pure Blog LoveFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseWeekend SocialFoodie Friends FridayCelebrate It!,  Weekend RetreatWhat’s Shakin Weekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything Goes,  Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Weekend PotluckTGI Friday Friday with FriendsSimple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend Wander,  Saturday Night Fever, A Bouquet of TalentThe Party BunchShow Off Saturday, I Gotta CreateShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff Saturday,  Super Saturday Show & TellSunday Features,  Potluck PartySunday ShowcaseSnickerdoodle SundaySundae ScoopSuper Sunday, G’Day, Sunday’s BestMop It Up MondayMerry MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth Monday, Pinch of JoyPin It Party,  Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday,  What’d You Do This Weekend,  Making It CuterTime To Sparkle, Inspire Me MondayMealtime MondayTime To SparkleMakin You Crave MondayClever Chick, Motivational Monday,  Mix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayMonday Funday, Anything Goes Monday, Making Monday, Lou Lou GirlsInspire Me Monday, Marvelous MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie Friends, Retro Repin (Pinterest linkup) Share Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Two Cup Tuesday, Create, Link, Inspire, The Makers, Wow Me Wednesday, Create and Shareloa, Best of the Weekend