Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 7

1.  Disaster Preparedness
Terri made a great point on last week's post regarding this.  She pointed out that I could prepare for evacuees.  During the last hurricane while we did not host evacuees we did provide food and shower facilities for people who did not yet have power.  Week 7 was all about home security.  We do have security measures in place, but I will not be sharing those.  Take a few minutes to read the suggestions.  I like to think about home security on a daily basis too.  Living out in the country we not see the quickest response time to emergencies. 

2.  Makeover the Garden
I still need W to secure the garden area so Toby and I can work in there.  I did decide to grow some potatoes in containers.  I need to pick the seed potatoes up this week.  We have cleaning the shared garden so my parents can plant some potatoes there.  The rabbits and chickens are getting plenty of goodies.  The broccoli has flowered, but it is staying for now since the bees are thrilled to find some blossoms.

3.  Organize Recipes
The weather was too pretty this week to stay in - highs near 80 are unusual for February.  I am not complaining though.  I will save this for a day when the weather is not as nice.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks
I did not have one this month, but I have marked two off the goal already.  I am sure we will have more this summer when the garden is producing.

5.  Focus on Saving
I talked myself out of buying some wants that were not needs.  I opted to look at long term goals rather than short term wants.

6.  Have Fun
I spent some time this week just hanging out in the yard.  I was not working all of the time.  Toby loved just sitting in the yard and rolling in the grass too.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Weekend Book Review: Why I Hate Green Beans

Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray is a collection of stories from the life of the blogger.  I had never heard of the Lincee Ray or her blog before I started reading this book.  I am now a fan of both.  Lincee's writing made me laugh out loud several times, and I loved her honesty especially when describing her post-surgery adventures.  She shares her faith without being pushy or overbearing.  I already have a few friends that I plan to gift this book.  Lincee felt like the perfectly imperfect friend.  While I do love green beans and am not a fan of the Bachelor, I completely enjoyed this book. 

disclosure:  I received this book from Revell/Baker Publishing but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day is the fourth book in the Country Store Mystery series.  Robbie is extra busy at Pans 'N Pancakes thanks to all of the tourists in town for the maple syrup festival.  One of the visitors is a professor who makes enemies every where he goes.  He is found murdered, and the suspect list is large.  Robbie has to balance running the restaurant on her own while trying to solve the mystery.  I have read the previous books in this series, but this one easily stands on its own.  The characters are down-to-earth and fit well together.  The mystery was strong and kept me guessing until the end.  This is a strong series, and I am eagerly awaiting the next book.

Sarah Graves' latest book is Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, part of the Death by Chocolate Mystery series.  Jake and her friend, Ellie, are owners of the Chocolate Moose, a chocolate themed bakery.  When the man who has been threatening to turn them into the health department is found dead in the bakery, Ellie is the only suspect.  Other people turn up injured and a big storm is on the way.  To make matters even worse, Jake has lost contact with her son.  This book has so much going on that it was hard to keep track at times.  On the positive side the story moves at a fast pace with several twists and turns.  While it was slightly unbelievable at times, I do not mind the fictional side being strong.  The action went right up until the end.  I look forward to seeing what happens to the characters in the next book.

Curses, Boiled Again! by Shari Randall is the first book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series.  Allie is an injured dancer who has returned home to recuperate and help her Aunt Gully at her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack.  When Gully is invited to participate in a best lobster roll contest, it seems the perfect way to put her lobster shack on the map.  Unfortunately all four judges are poisoned by a competitor's lobster rolls, and one dies.  Gully soon becomes the only suspect.  Allie sets out to prove her aunt is innocent.  This is a great start to a new series.  The characters are fun.  Allie's quirky friend, Verity, is my favorite.  The mystery was fast paced and kept me guessing until the end.  I look forward to more from this author!

disclosure:  I received these books through NetGalley and St. Martin's but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Frugal Friday

I feel like this week was heavy on the freebies which is not a bad thing.

1.  I got a free 8x10 print from CVS.  I chose another print that will work well in my countertop frame.

2.  I got a free 90 subscription to "Shudder".  It is a channel through the Roku that has scary movies - my favorite.  I cancelled already so I do not forget and end up with a monthly charge.

3.  I found out about a $3 credit toward a rental through Fandango Now.  W has been wanting to watch "Guardians of the Galaxy" but did not want to pay to rent it.  I used the credit to rent the movie for free.

4.  The weather warmed up to highs near 80 degrees.  We opened the windows and cut off the central heat/air.  Thanks to our well insulated house the temperature inside only fluctuated two degrees.  We are still comfortable and will save on our electric bill.

5.  My mom found gallons of milk discounted to $1 each.  She called to see if I wanted any, and I asked her to get me two. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

I should have titled this post "Happy Valentine's Day on a Budget".  W and I do not exchange gifts - no overpriced roses or expensive chocolates - but I do like to do a bit of baking.  I made half a batch of heart shaped sugar cookies.  Rather than doing any serious decorating, I drizzled royal icing over them.

The second treat I made just to prove that a homemade Valentine treat can be simple and frugal.  A local bakery is selling a dozen (12) chocolate covered strawberries for $25!  At this time of year the grocery stores always have deals on fresh strawberries.  I bought a package for $2.  There were 18 strawberries, but for comparison I will only count the 12 largest in the pack and call the others extra.  I had some chocolate on hand already and used about $2 worth.  I am up to $4 for a dozen large chocolate covered strawberries.  I have nothing against anyone spending $25 for 12 strawberries.  It is just not for me.

Then since I still had chocolate left over, I covered some pretzels and pecans.  

Hope you have a happy and thrifty holiday!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 6

1.  Disaster Preparedness
I struggled with week six which is evacuation preparedness.  The area where I live is normally where people evacuate so I have no idea where we could go.  I ended up not doing much at all with this.  I am more focused on being prepared to stay at home.

2.  Makeover the Garden
This past week Toby and I cleaned out the bee garden.  I was surprised to see that many of the flowers have already started to sprout back out.  This area of the garden should just need maintenance.  I purposely chose flowers that would self-seed and regrow each year.

3.  Organize Recipes
I went through a few more cookbooks this past week to determine if they were worth keeping or not.  This week is supposed to be rainy so I plan to go through at least one section of my personal recipe books.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks
We made a trip to a store we rarely shop at to stock up on W's juice and fruit cups.  I already have a list made for this week so I my no spend week will be later in the month.

5.  Focus on Saving
I mentioned in my Frugal Friday post that I seriously priced toilet paper last week.  While it was not an enormous one time saving over time little bits add up to a large amounts.  It pays to know what a good stock up price for your area is.  The toilet paper scenario is a good example of what I want to do this year.  It is all about the little things.

6.  Have Fun
I know raking in the yard is not most people's idea of fun, but I loved it.  That was the highlight of my week.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Borrowed-Wedding-Planner-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0725F8BYD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518219382&sr=1-1&keywords=murder+borrowed+murder+blueMurder Borrowed, Murder Blue by Stephanie Blackmoore is the third book in the Wedding Planner Mystery series.  I have read the previous books, but it is not necessary to enjoy this one.  Mallory's wedding planning business and bed & breakfast is doing well.  Now she has the chance to plan a wedding for actress Dakota on a reality television show.  She also got coerced into hosting the Winter Ball for a nearby girls' boarding school right before the big wedding.  When a body is discovered at the ball, Mallory adds solving a mystery to her project list.  I adore this series.  Mallory is a great lead character, and the supporting characters (human and animal) only add to the charm of this series.  I enjoyed all of the twists and turns of the mystery and am already looking forward to the next book.

Niki Jabbour's Veggie Garden Remix by Niki Jabbour shares 224 new plants to add to your garden.  I am always on the lookout for something new - as in no one else I know is growing it - to include in my garden.  I loved that the author took plants you probably already grow and gave you options related to them.  I was happy to see some of my favorites included such as tomatillos, fish pepper, and cucamelons.  I was excited to find some new varieties of eggplant and spinach to try.  I got some good information on growing tomatillos which should increase my success.  This is a wonderful book for any gardener that likes to grow outside the box.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!