Monday, August 13, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 32

I apologize for the lack of posts last week.  My wish for a normal quieter week did not happen.  I tweaked my hip one day last week and was in pain for a few days.  Our neighbor's sister passed away.  That meant cooking and an extra long day at church yesterday for the funeral.  Plus I decided to work on a big project...

I hope to have it finished by Friday and will share it next week.  It is to be a gift for our pastor at pastor appreciation day on Sunday.  Last week I thought finishing it in time would be hopeless, but I am feeling more confident now.

1.  Disaster Preparedness
Week 32 was a second food supply list.  I am actually trying to use up some things so I can restock as cooler weather approaches.  I have not done much with the list.  I do keep a decent stockpile so I am not going to worry about this for the time being.

2.  Makeover the Garden
I did start clearing out some of the dead plants.  I think it is still a bit early to plant fall seeds.  I will wait until later in the month.  On the list for this week is weeding around the fruit trees again.

3.  Organize Recipes
I went through a couple of cookbooks and noted recipes to try over the next two weeks.  W will eat more foods than he used to eat so I am branching out and trying new foods.  I think it will help menu planning if I have a bigger list to draw from each season.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks
I did not go to the grocery store last week.  We ate what we had on hand.  I was even able to cook the requested items for the dinner following the funeral with what I had in the pantry.

5.  Focus on Saving
Staying out of the grocery store helped this goal.  I also did the usual - drying clothes outside and turning off lights when we left a room.  I watched some free movies through Vudu while working on my project.

6.  Etsy Store
The project kept me busy all week, but I am hoping it will lead to some custom orders in the future.

I hope to make a bit of time to post this week.  If not please know I am busy and will get back to it next week!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

S'More Murders by Maya Corrigan is the fifth book in the Five Ingredient Mystery series.  Val keeps busy running the fitness club cafe and helping her grandfather with his cookbook.  To earn extra money she adds caterer to her resume.  She takes a job recreating the final menu from the Titanic for a murder mystery dinner party aboard a yacht.  When the host disappears and is later found dead, Val is in the midst of a real murder mystery.  Val and her grandfather are a great pair, and the mystery kept me guessing until the end.  This is a wonderful, well-written series.  While this book can be read on its own, I highly recommend the other books. 

The second book in the Cat Cafe Mystery series by Cate Conte is Purrder She Wrote.  Maddie and her grandfather are excited for the opening day of their cat cafe.  Things seem to be going well until one of her volunteers gets into a shouting match with a wealthy visitor who wants a cat right then.  When this wealthy woman is later found murdered, the volunteer is the main suspect.  Maddie jumps in to solve the mystery to exonerate her volunteer and save the cafe's reputation.  I enjoy the idea of a cat cafe in a small town.  This book had quite a bit going on.  Some things were resolved, and the rest I expect will carry over to future books. 

Death Over Easy by Maddie Day is the fifth book in the Country Store Mystery series.  Robbie's country store and cafe are a big hit.  She opens her small bed and breakfast just in time for the annual bluegrass festival.  Two of her first guests are her dad and her stepmother.  When a performer is found murdered, her family members are among the many suspects.  After a second body is found, Robbie wonders if there could be more than one killer.  This particular book focused on the bluegrass festival.  Robbie is a strong cozy mystery heroine who spends more time in her business than most.  The mystery kept me going from one suspect to the next.  I look forward to the next book in the series.

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 31

Sorry for the late post.  Yesterday was hectic, but the rest of the week should be normal.  Fingers crossed!

1.  Disaster Preparedness
Week 31 was Inventory Management.  I do not do well in this area.  I tend to start a list but then never mark off things as I use them.  Instead I keep a chalkboard in the pantry.  As we take the last of an item, it goes onto the chalkboard.  I do my best to keep a running inventory of things we use often, but as with the flour last week it does not always work.  I definitely need to work on this one.  Do you use an inventory system?  I would love to hear what works for you.

2.  Makeover the Garden
W did mow the garden last week, and it looks much better.  I was able to do some weeding closer to the beds.  This week I plan to continue weeding, pick up the trash, and clean some of the beds out.  The cantaloupe never did anything so I will pull those plants and plant purple cabbage seeds. 

3.  Organize Recipes
No time for this last week.  This is definitely going to be a fall/winter project.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks
I had planned to add one last week, but we were completely out of all-purpose flour.  I bought two bags and nothing else.  I am not doing any shopping this week though.

5.  Focus on Saving
I am planning to make do this month.  If I can get by without something, I will. 

6.  Etsy Shop
Still working on items....

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

Knot My Sister's Keeper by Mary Marks is the sixth book in the Quilting Mystery series.  Martha's daughter gifts her a DNA kit which leads Martha to discover a half sister named Giselle.  Outspoken Giselle cannot provide many answers about their father who disappeared 30 years ago.  Together Giselle and Martha decide to solve the murder.  The mystery and the side story lines in this book kept me reading whenever I had a free moment.  Giselle is a wonderful addition, and I hope to see her in future books.  This book easily stands on its own, and a love or knowledge of quilting is not required.  This is a wonderful addition to an amazing series.

Libby Klein's second book in the Poppy McAllister series is Midnight Snacks are Murder.  Poppy has her hands full trying to get her and her aunt's bed and breakfast renovated and opened.  Add in the fact that Aunt Ginny is not sleeping, her former mother-in-law shows up to "help", and a snack bandit is running rampant in the neighborhood.  When it seems the snack bandit escalates to murder, Poppy finds herself in the middle of another mystery.  The characters in this book are funny.  The mystery is strong, but the characters really make the book.  Aunt Ginny is an eccentric lady.  The handyman and Poppy's mother-in-law would drive the best person crazy with how helpful they both are.  It was a relaxing and enjoyable read.

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

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber is the second book in the French Bistro Mystery series.  Mimi, owner of a bistro, is gearing up for crush week at the neighboring wineries and a sweets festival held on the grounds of the inn.  When the festival organizer who is also her chef's sister is found murdered, Mimi jumps in to clear her chef's name.  The mystery moves along quickly, and the characters all work well together.  I had read the first book, but it is not necessary to enjoy this one.  I am already looking forward to the next book. 

Kathi Daley's ninth book in the TJ Jensen Mystery series is Beaches in Paradise.  This was a fast paced mystery that moved only quickly with only a small amount of side information.  It can be read on its own, but I felt that I got more out of the story from having read previous books.  TJ's friend Gina is missing and a dead man is found in her vehicle.  TJ and her boyfriend, Kyle, are racing to find Gina and the murderer.  This series deviates a bit from the typical cozy mystery.  While it has many of the normal parts (family resort, animals, slight romance), the characters lean toward the methodical side when solving a mystery.  It is a more serious but still fun cozy mystery. 

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

Frugal Friday

I have had another busy week.

1.   I mowed yet again and am continually thankful I do not need to pay someone to do it. 

2.  I mopped the social hall at church for a wedding shower this weekend.  That will add a bit to my August check.  After VBS it was dirty.  No one came to pick up the VBS leftovers.  Before I threw everything away, I sorted out things I could use to decorate for pastor appreciation later this month.  I also set aside a pile of items to use for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. 

3.  I ended up doing some grocery shopping since I was totally out of flour.  That was all I purchased though.  I made macarons to take to the shower.  I used leftover Oreo icing to fill them.  I had everything on hand so there was no out of pocket cost.

4.  I made a dish scrubby and three dish cloths for the shower gift.  I had the cotton yarn on hand.  The registry was picked over, and I knew these would be a useful gift.

5.  We went to an estate sale this past week.  The house was packed full of nice things - vintage and antique.  Most of the items were things we would never use or were a bit out of our price range.  I did find a crochet hook that I needed, two cones of cotton yarn, and a mini French press.  I gave $11 for everything.  The French press alone sells for about $18 on Amazon, and the yarn would sell for $15 each.  Everything I bought was useful.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 30

1.  Disaster Preparedness
Week 30 was nutrition and exercise.  After this week I feel better about the nutrition side of things.  Our 12 year old nephew stayed with us for a couple of days.  He asked both W and myself about snacks.  I told him to check the refrigerator and pantry (and found out W had done the same).  Our nephew complained that all we had were fruits and vegetables.  He did eat four Oreos that were left from making the cake last week.  This time of year I get plenty of exercise in the yard and garden.  Taking Toby for walks has also increased my activity level.  My focus needs to be on strength training though.

I did find some candles on clearance to add to our emergency supplies.  These are a good size and are made of thick glass.  At just 15 cents each I could not pass them up.

2.  Makeover the Garden
I did work on weeds a bit, but we had more rain.  I do not feel I am making much progress.  I might have to give in and let W mow in between the beds.

3.  Organize Recipes
Yet again I did not work on this goal.  Winter will get here eventually.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks
I bought just a few groceries this past week.  I am hoping to skip the stores this week though.

5.  Focus on Saving
My plan for August is to use up some things.  I am piles of samples and also need to work on the freezer.  I want to free up some space to do some freezer cooking.  My calendar for October to the end of the year is filling up.  Having meals in the freezer will save both time and money.

6.  Etsy Shop
I have been working on some items to add to my Etsy shop.  I just need to get those finished, photographed, and listed.