Saturday, October 16, 2010

Update: October Grocery Budget

I set a limit of $200 for this month's grocery budget.   I normally give us a $150 budget for groceries but I noticed that October had 5 Fridays, so I increased it a bit. I'm so glad I did!

Durring my lunch break yesterday, I went to Aldi's to pick up some things that I needed for Todd's Sweetest Day meal.  I spent $61 there.  After work, I stopped by the local IGA because they had great meat prices.  I ended up buying steak for $2.99/lb!  I WAS going to buy the $6.99/lb cut, but I found this yummy looking steak for half the price, and we have enough for 2 meals! Cha-ching!

They also had chicken drumsticks on sale.  Todd loves his chicken drumsticks with pizza.  So, I was going to make him his chicken and a pizza for tomorrow's Browns / Steelers game (big rivals.)

I found fish on sale for $1.99/lb.  I picked up a couple of pounds of Pollock.  Oh, and I forgot...the hamburger meat! $1.49/lb!!!  I bought 6 lbs.  Can you say hamburgers and meatballs? :-)

So, needless to say, we are stocked up right now.  Now, if all goes as planned, I am hoping to make the meatballs, hamburger patties, chicken and steak this weekend.  We will eat these items throughout the week.

Total spent on food this month: $170.74.
Amount left in the budget for this month: $29.26
I am thinking we would only need milk, sour cream, and possibly Todd may need lunchmeat for work.  We should be fine until the end of the month.

Sweetest Day 2010

I’m not sure if any of you know about Sweetest Day.  I know we didn’t when my family first moved here from Buffalo, NY!  Sweetest Day is a made-up holiday from American Greetings, which is headquartered here in Ohio (if I remember correctly.)  It is like another Valentine’s Day.  Another excuse to spend money on frivolous, overpriced items.

I will admit, I didn’t get anything for Todd last year for Sweetest Day (I didn’t even know about it.) He got me a box of chocolates and a card.

This year, Todd is working on Sweetest Day, so I have plans of making him his favorite meal.  Steak (real steak this time – that costs more than $1.99/lb!), shrimp cocktail, broccoli (we havent had broccoli because I cant eat it with my cumadin) sauteed mushrooms, a baked potato and his favorite dessert (homemade brownies (Rachel @

Tonight is going to be all about him.  I hope he enjoys himself.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I have an hour drive into work and back home every day.  I like to take this time to catch up on podcasts or listen to books on CD.  I have found a podcast that I really like of a married couple who have their own business helping others with their money.  Their website is:  Their names: Matt & Janelle Wegner.

Matt is definitely a talker, and Janelle puts her two cents in here and there.  But all in all, I enjoy listening to the topics they have had thus far.  They are entertaining yet informative.  I think anyone who enjoys the teachings of Dave Ramsey would enjoy Matt & Janelle’s podcast that comes out every Wednesday.

What podcasts do you enjoy or would you suggest?

Friday Weigh-In: 1/2 Week

The "New Way of Life" started on Tuesday.  I decided that my weigh-in's would be on Fridays.  So, from Tuedsay to Friday...I've lost...are you ready for this....  6 lbs!!!!  I know, that's not normal.  I do not expect to lose 6 lbs every week.  I am drinking alot more water, so I know alot of the weight loss is water weight.  And also my body going into shock from not eating so much all the time!

Just as a reminder, I have a goal to lose 20 lbs by Thanksgiving. 6 down, 14 more to go.  I have to stay on-track.  That being said, I better get going.  I have to go start preparing dinner for tonight (I have to make pizza dough) and take puppy for a walk.

We're Rich!!!...for 3 minutes!

I get paid the 15th and 30th of every month.  Todd gets paid every Friday.  So, on some occasions we are both paid the same day (like today.)  When I open up the bank account online, I see that nice, large number.  AND THEN I remember the mortgage has to be paid, I have to make a payment on the car (even though a payment isn’t due until 2011 because we are so far ahead in payments) along with a couple of miscellaneous bills.  Talk about a buzz kill.  As Dave Ramsey preaches, every penny is accounted for, and NONE of the money in the account is to spend frivolously.  That’s OK…I much prefer the peace of mind that everything is paid than a large balance.

…Shrimp Gumbo, Fried Shrimp, Shrimp Stew, Shrimp Butter…

While coming home from our trip this past weekend, we stopped off at a farmer’s market that had a lot of produce.  I was outside petting an adorable little kitty when I saw that the place was selling a large box of apples for $4.  I wanted it!  They were an assorted variety of apples.  Todd gave me the go-ahead to buy them against his better judgement.  Again, I mention, I have OCD tendencies, and I am a sucker for a good deal.  So, we got the box.  When he went to pick it up, he mentioned he thought that there were about 40 lbs of apples in it.  I was tickled pink because I had just run out of the $0.59/lb McIntosh apples I purchased from the store the week before.  And we all know $0.10/lb is a lot better than $0.59/lb!
When I got home, my curiosity got the best of me, so I had to get the bathroom scale.  This box of apples weighed 52 lbs!!!  Yes…you read correctly. FIFTY-TWO LBS!! That is just $0.08/lb!

This is what 52 lbs of apples look like:

What am I going to do with all of these apples?
I have recipes for apple chips, apple cake, apple cobbler, apple pie filling.
I have given a bag of apples to each of my two girlfriends at work, and I plan on giving a bag to my neighbor friend who fed the animals while we were away.  Oh, and my mother when I give her the concord grapes we bought for her (her favorite.)

Of course, I ran out of sugar last week, so I have to go and buy another bag.  I was hoping that there would be a sale on sugar this week, but if not, I am still going to go buy a bag.  I cant wait to start cooking.  There are several crockpot recipes as well that I will be experimenting with. 

Do you have any recipes that you could share to help get rid of some of these apples?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I think that most of us know that this month is breast cancer awareness month.  I had a co-worker that passed away from cancer a few years ago.  We worked together while she was going through the treatments, and then she was in remission, she decided to move to Florida and start a new career.  The cancer came back after approximately 3 years and she passed away.  She was in her mid 50’s.

This past weekend, I found out that my grandmother has breast cancer.  I knew she found a lump on her breast, and I knew she had an appointment several weeks ago to get them removed.  I hadn’t heard anything since.  Come to find out, when they went in, they ended up taking out 20+  lymphnodes and 3 of them were cancerous.  She has an appointment today to see what options she has for treatment.

This is something that I think has unfortunately hit many families.  I beg that everyone do a self-examination and get their mammograms on a regular basis.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diet Day 2

For me, diets are always rough the first two weeks.  After that, I get the hang of things.
Wednesdays are especially difficult for me because this is the day my friend from work and I go out to Benihana's for lunch.  They have an awesome lunch boat that has a TON of food for $9.95! The lunch boat includes:  Edamame (I cant have - it's soy, and it counteracts the cumadin), soup, salad (I cant have - also counteracts the cumadin), 4 pieces of a california roll, 4 pieces of sashimi (raw fish), shrimp & vegetable tempura, steamed rice and a side of salmon (cooked in teriyaki sauce.) I know, I have to get out of the quantity mind-set, but it's a good deal!  I love my sushi...and this is a good buy.

In the past, when I was losing weight, I was able to put aside half of the meal for lunch the next day.  Not only does that save on calories, it saves time and money for me on Thursdays because I have lunch ready without having to think about it! 

So, this morning, Lana & I just got back from our walk.  My fingers are finally getting blood flow again (it is nippy this morning!). I am starving.  I really want an egg and toast, but I need to watch my intake of eggs.  Plus, the calories.  I wouldnt mind having oatmeal, but I like it with raspberries, and I havent picked any in the last few days (it's still dark outside.)  So, it looks like I'll be having cereal this morning.

I am happy that we got our walk in this morning.  Now, if only I can get up the nerve to do Jillian Michael's 30-day shred again. I remember the pain last time I tried it for more than 2 weeks.  Yikes!

Wordless Wednesday

This is what we saw most of the way driving to NY and on the way home.  I love the fall colors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Diet Day 1

I have started my “new way of life” today.

 I woke up at 5:30AM as usual and spent some time with Lana May.  I hopped on the scale and was nearly in tears when I saw my weight.   Lana and I then went for our 1.25 mile walk around the block in the dark (I don’t like that it’s so dark until 7AM!)  I was starving by the time we got home, so I made myself a ham, egg & cheese on an English muffin.  It was yummy (though I shouldn’t have that for breakfast more than once a week.)

Of course, when I got to work, I found out someone brought in cake! DOH!  Normally, I’d call off the “new way of life” and pig out on cake, but I took a sliver and decided to keep it as an afternoon snack.

I DID indulge in my French vanilla instant coffee – just one cup (60 calories! EEK!)  I hope to even that out by drinking at least 2 of my Klean Kanteens full of water.  Each canteen is 4 cups of water.  That would be my daily requirement for water today.

Lunch today will consist of: ½ a tuna sandwich on a one bun and an apple.
Concord grapes will follow about an hour and a half later.
Then, when the hunger pangs (or boredom) strike around 4 or 4:30, I will have my thin piece of cake.

Dinner will be something we made a month ago and froze half of it.  It is egg noodles, chicken breast, spinach and cream of mushroom soup.  I will put dinner in a rice bowl for me.  It will look like a lot more, and hopefully it will tell my brain that it’s a lot of food (even though it wont be.)

When I was taking my sliver of cake in the lunch room, I noticed an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about being “Addicted to Food.”  That describes me to a “T.”  I think about food from the moment I wake up in the morning until the minute my eyes close at night.  It’s an obsession that I need to learn to control.  Food is to nourish our bodies, not to be devoured in excess.  If you would like to see if there is a meeting in your area, you can go to:  There are none by my home, but there are some near where I work.  Will I go?  Probably not.  They want one to cut out flour & sugar.  That’s not for me.  I don’t do well when I feel deprived.  It just creates a pig-out (sorry Squiggy) fest at a Chinese buffet in a week or two.

I decided that my weigh-in’s will be on Friday mornings.

Let the Games Begin!

I am very competitive.  My friend from work and I are sick of being fat (I know, I say that every week, but don’t do anything about it.)  It seems like we do better with motivation when we are trying to beat each other’s weight loss goals.  Last year, we did a weight loss challenge, but she says I cheated because I got H1N1 and was on feeding tubes for 2 weeks (2000 calories per day, mind you. That’s A LOT of calories!!)  So, we are doing the weight loss challenge again this year.

Her goal: Lose 20 lbs by Christmas.  30 lbs by her birthday in February.
My goal: Lose 20 lbs by Thanksgiving: 30 lbs by Chirstmas: 40 lbs by my 30th Birthday in early February.

She is a short little thing.  5’ – 5’ 1”.
Me, I’m 5’ 7”.  I also have a good 60 lbs on her!
I don’t think it’s fair that we go by weight loss because hypothetically, it should be easier for me to lose weight because I’ve got so much more than she does.  So, we normally go by percentages.  I think this time, though, we would go by our goals.  We will see who meets our goal and who doesn’t.  If we both meet our goals, it will be based on percentages.  Let the games begin!

Hers started Monday, October 11th. Mine started Tuesday, October 12th.

Cutting Back (Again)

I am finding that I am building up my schedule again to keep myself busy.  Well, I have decided today that I need to cut back again.  I have 10 books from the library again.  How does this happen? I put them on hold, and they come in when it is my turn to get the book.  So, I will put them on my "book list" again, and when things calm down a little bit, I will reserve them from the library again.

I am now review books from 3 different publishers, which means I have a steady stream of books coming in.  Alot faster than I can read them.  So, I will read these books before I get to any books from the library.

I used to write blogs and save them in a Word file to add when I had time and the animals were in bed.  Well, I have fallen behind, and I'm running out of topics to talk about.  So, instead of scheduling 3 blogs a day, I think I may cut down to 1 a day (in the mornings.) 

I am going to try to start selling items on Etsy.  I will be purchasing these items from a wholesaler here in town.  Todd and I checked out the warehouse and we absolutely love the items.  I am hoping to start selling on Etsy soon and to go to several craft shows in the next few months.  That will take up alot of time to prepare for the shows and prepare the items to sell.  I am excited, but it is alot of work.

Not only am I going to try to cut back on my activities, but this week, I will be trying to cut down with my food intake.  I have eaten enough this past weekend to last about a week!  I will have raw shakes (1 banana, 1 apple, a dash of water and a carrot) for breakfast and possibly for lunch.  I will watch my portions for all other meals.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 11, 2010

$100 Weekend

So...the question is...were we able to stay within budget this 3-day weekend away?

We were over by $1 on food/entertainment.

What wasnt included in the $100:
$12 in produce we purchased (concord grapes, 52 lbs of apples, and a pumpkin)
Gasoline of $34
Approximately $100 in wine (9 bottles of fantastic wine - one of them being an ice wine.  We will be good with wine until we make a batch or two of our own next year.)

I know many would not consider this being "within budget," but it's good enough for us. :-)
We have paid over $2,000 on Todd's vehicle this month, so we are well on our way.  We need to live a little...and that's what we did with the wine purchases.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We're Home!

We are home! Finally!
We had a great trip.  I cant wait to go back sometime. 

We drove down to go see my father in the hospital this afternoon.  I'm glad we did.  We got to fill him in on the weekend and see him face-to-face.  We spent a few hours with him in the hospital, and I think he appreciated it.  My father is very active, so I think he is going stir crazy.  We brought him his favorite item from New York: concord grapes.

I dont remember if I posted this, but the first place we stopped on the way up was a farm surrounded by fiels of concord grapes.  I grew up eating concord grapes, and they are my favorite as well.  When we stepped out of the car to go to the farm (wine tasting & farmer's market), you were hit by the sweet smell of concord grapes.  It was heavenly. 

We decided to wait to get the grapes on our way home.  I promised my mom that if we found them, I'd bring her back a basket full.  I wanted them to be fresh, because I wont be able to see m mom until next weekend.  So we stopped on our way home this evening.  I'm so glad we did.  We bought a little pumpkin for my desk at work, a large basket of concord grapes and a 40 lb. box of apples!  Yes, you read correctly.  Todd estimates that it is about 40 lbs.  I will have to take the scale in and see how much it REALLY weighs, but I know it's heavy.  Why on earth did I buy a big box of apples?  I cant pass up a good deal!  They were $4.00!!!  Sooo...I will give some to my neighbor friend who watched Squiggy & Lana while we were gone, give some to my two girlfriends at work, and then I will be experimenting on making my own pie filling and possibly apple sauce!

When we got home, Squiggy and Lana gave us a warm welcome.  Lana was a BAD, BAD puppy before we left.  But I think we may have hurt her feelings by leaving her.  This is the first time we've ever left her.  She somehow hurt her left paw.  Squiggy may have stepped on it, or something.  Who knows.  I hope it gets better.

I came home to two beautiful mum plants on the front porch from my neighbor friend who watched the animals.  I love them!  Now, I have to figure out where to plant them.  They are so beautiful.

Oh, and did I mention it's like 75 degrees outside?!?  It was about 40 this morning in New York when we left.  It is so nice here in NorthEast Ohio.  I hope it stays this way for another 3-4 weeks! :-)  I'm not ready for the cold just yet!  But I will admit, we DID turn on the propane gas logs last week because it was so nippy in the house.

So...tomorrow starts another week of work.
Life goes on, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.  I can already tell you that it will be difficult to wake up tomorrow morning for both Todd and me.  Todd has to get up at 4, and I have to get up at 5:30.  Yikes.  Not to mention we are already exhausted from the crazy-busy weekend.

Good times...lots of memories, and blessings that dad is OK.
Life is good.

Still in New York

We are still in New York, but will be on our way home here shortly.
The wedding yesterday was alot of fun - I love hanging out with my entire family (except the boys in the military and my father and his wife.)  We also drove by a few places that I remember going to as a child while my grandmother lived here.  The hill we went sled-riding down as children, grandma's house, the library my grandmother used to take us to as children (tiny little country library) and the like.

We are staying at a Microtel right now.  The hotel from Friday night was a Days Inn from the 1950's.  You know what?  I prefer the Days Inn.  It was old and outdated, but it was huge.  The room was about 5 times as large as this room at the Microtel.  The linens were old, but much more comfy. was QUIET! This place is packed with people, and I hear thumping right now as I type. 

Todd and I have decided to go to see dad today in the hospital.  It will be an extra hour to our drive time, but I need to see him and make sure he's OK. 

I would have pictures for everyone to view, but I brought the wrong cord with me!  So, hopefully when we get home, I can find the cord. 

What is everyone else doing on this beautiful Sunday?