Monday, November 11, 2019

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

We thought we were going to be alone on Thanksgiving until my DIL in the Albany area asked me about it. She usually takes turns alternating between her sister and us for Thanksgiving. It was her turn to go to her sister's. But because we were going to be all alone, they decided to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am truly grateful that she, my son, and granddaughter are going to come for a few days and spend it with us. We spent a few Thanksgivings alone and it just wasn't the same.

So I want to make it wonderful for them but simple.
As I get older, it is hard to do all that work without a plan which includes doing many things in advance. 

So I made up my menu a few weeks ago and I have been slowly picking up things as I see them going on sale. 

Our menu is:

Turkey - Done
Gravy- Done
Mashed Potatoes - Done
Sausage Herb Stuffing - Done
Niblet Corn - Done
Broccoli Spears - Done
Pickles and Olives - Done
Pumpkin Pie - Done
Apple Pie - Done
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream- Done
Chocolate Milk
Ice Water - Done
Moscato Wine
Rum and Coke - Done
Beer - Done
Coffee with Flavored Syrups and Creamer - Done

As I bought the necessary items on sale, I marked them off of the list above. I purchased my almost 20 lb. turkey last Friday at Aldi's for $ .87 a lb. 

I have everything I need in my stockpile to make the gravy and mashed potatoes. I purchased the herb seasoned stuffing cubes last week. I have plenty of butter, chicken stock, onions, celery, spices, and sausage to make the stuffing.

The broccoli and corn are in the chest freezer. The pickles and olives are in the pantry.

I purchased my pie crusts for both of the pies. I hate making my own and this is a time saver for me. I do have the apples, butter, sugars, and spices to make the apple pie. The cans of pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and spices to make the pumpkin pie are all in the stockpile. The vanilla bean ice cream is to go with the pies. But it is also to make an ice cream sundae if my granddaughter desires one. I have chocolate syrup, whipped topping for the sundae and the pies, maraschino cherries, nuts, and sprinkles.

So I need to pick up the Moscato wine and milk for dinner and I am done purchasing everything. I have the beer and rum and Coke for drinks. 

I was going to have cranberry sauce but quickly figured out that no one liked it but me and I don't eat anything that has sugar anymore. I was going to put rolls on the menu but decided that the stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, and pies were more than enough carbs.   

I promised Alexa that I would make more cinnamon swirl bread(I brought some out on our trip and she loved it.), chocolate chip muffins and cookies for when they come too. Those things will all be made a week or so before they come and I will freeze them until we need them.

The pies will be made and baked the day before Thanksgiving. The rest I can handle on Thanksgiving day.  

I have a copy of the menu list above and will use it to mark what times I need to start things that day and cross them off the list as I do them. 

It is looking like the lowest price for turkeys in our area is going to be $ .48 a lb. at Wegman's.  Top's will price match that price. So I will decide whether to price match 2 at Top's or spend $.87 a lb. for 2 more Butterball at Aldi's. Once I have the 20 lb. one out of my freezer and in my fridge, I will make a decision and pick up at least two more turkeys. We continue to eat out of our freezer so that I have the room. I may even pick up a third one, roast it, and food saver the meat. I will never get such a low price on meat until next Thanksgiving.

In other news, with the exception of cash flowing three gift envelopes, all of my Christmas shopping is done and wrapped. I will go to the bank and get the cash for those gifts right after Thanksgiving for our family in Rochester. I took all of the gifts but one to Albany with me for that family. Alexa's last gift arrived a few days ago, is wrapped, and ready to go home with them after Thanksgiving.  

Soon we will be hunkering down for the winter. It has been snowing all day here and we are supposed to get more tonight. The slower days of winter especially after the holidays will give me more time to blog. I will be taking some time off the blog while my family is here. I am so looking forward to that.

Starting in December, I will start telling you about our goals for 2020 and the direction the blog will take next year. I have tons of ideas.

In the meantime, I would love to know what the lowest price for turkeys are in your area. Feel free to leave a comment and share them.     

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Preparing For Thanksgiving

Being that it is a cold and dreary Saturday, I decided it was time for my refrigerator deep clean. I wipe out the fridge the day before I go grocery shopping each week. However twice a year, I give it a really good deep clean. Since Thanksgiving will be here in a few weeks, I decided it was time.

On the left side of the beverages, I keep any leftovers that we need to eat, meal prep, and our lettuce keeper. Those three containers that are stacked are our pork chops, diced potatoes and steamed broccoli leftovers from dinner last night that we will eat tonight. I love these containers for leftovers and for meal prep. They hold a lot and stack easily.

I take everything out so that it is empty. I use microfiber cloths and Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day to clean the entire inside. I take all of the shelves and bins out to clean in my sink with it. I like this cleaner because it has vinegar which gets rid of any smells that linger.

I am so happy that it is all done and ready to receive the things we need for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Frugal Things This Past Week

These are the things we did frugally this past week:

- Saved money on tolls on our trip by using our EZ pass.

- Purchased Halloween candy at 50% off. It is the next year's supply: for Hubby, the grandchildren and baking.

- Baked cinnamon bread to take to our family in the Albany area

- Took all of the Christmas gifts except for one to our family to save on postage

- Returned an item of clothing that was defective. The company paid the return postage.

- I have been looking for a good buy on reusable produce bags. I finally found one at 40% off at Amazon. The set had 9 of different sizes. Our state has banned plastic bags as of early next year. However some of the stores are going to begin the ban at the end of this year so I wanted to be ready.

- My tablet is extremely old and is not being updated so many apps I can't use. So I will be on the lookout for a good deal. Hopefully, there will be one on Black Friday.

- I picked up a nice size frosting bucket from the bakery at Top's free for the asking. I use these for  storing dry goods in the basement. It saves me from buying more of the large ones. 

- I received a $3.00 rebate.  

- I purchased a $ 60. jacket at Kohl's for under $15. using Kohl's cash that was given to me for a mistake they made and a coupon.

- I saw that Aldi's has Butterball turkeys for $.87 a lb. This will be my buy price for Thanksgiving unless I see something better in the future. We love Butterballs.

- I washed two loads of clothes in the HE washer using cold water. I hung them to dry.

- Hubby turned the heat down to 60 while we were away.

- I got a cut, shampoo, and blow dry at the hairdresser. No color or highlights this time. That saved me many $$$'s. 

- We have been very careful about using up food in the fridge so as to have zero waste.

- I cooked a dozen eggs in the pressure cooker to use for breakfasts and sliced up on salads.

- Some of the apples in our fridge needed to be used up so I made homemade apple sauce with stevia to sweeten it.

-  I watched "Hamburger Hill" on amazon prime videos.

- We just finished our last regular size tube of toothpaste so I am using up some of the many, many travel size tubes that the dentist has given us.

What did you do frugally this week?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Grocery Shopping This Past Week

I needed to go grocery shopping yesterday not only because we needed a couple of things but because it was Senior Discount Day (6% off). This is what I purchased at Top's:

4 jars of Ragu Spaghetti Sauce - $ .75 each after Q's = $ 3.00

4 Kummelweck rolls - $ .75 each = $ 3.00

1 Bag of Ruffles - $ 1.99 after Q

1/2 lb of Virginia Baked Ham - $ 3.36

1/2 lb. of Charlie The Butcher Roast Beef - $ 6.59- comes with free au jus

5 pkgs. of Jimmy Dean Bacon - $ 17.98 after B2G3F 

4 pkgs. of Taco Seasoning - Free after Q's

1 Celery - $ .88 after Q

24 ct. Large Eggs - $ 1.99

1 Land of Lakes Cream Cheese - $ .99 after Q

1 Box of Microwave Popcorn - $ 2.99 

Total was $ 39.93 after 6% discount.

This is the cheapest spaghetti sauce that I have seen in a long time. When I don't have time to make homemade for West, it will come in handy.

The rolls were for beef on a weck sandwiches for dinner last night. And yes, I ate a roll- the 2nd one that I have eaten in 8 months. This is my very favorite sandwich and since my blood work numbers were so beautiful yesterday, I celebrated. But it will probably be another 4 - 5 months before I eat any bread again.

The chips and celery were purchased for Thanksgiving. Hubby wanted the cold cuts for his lunches. We use a lot of bacon for Sunday family breakfasts. Eggs were a great price and I was down to 2 dozen. I use a lot of cream cheese. Hubby wanted the popcorn for snacks.

I have a busy day so I need to hard boil a dozen eggs for my breakfasts. Then I will go out to the Post Office to make a return and to Kohl's to use up some Kohl's cash. We have a snowstorm coming tomorrow so I want to get these things done. 

Did you get any good deals this past week?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Been on Vacation

We went to the Albany area(4 and 1/2 hour trip each way) early Friday morning to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, Alexa. We had not seen them since Alexa came to visit in August. We wanted to get one more trip in before the snows come and we are stuck inside for the winter.

It was a wonderful visit. Alexa is now 5'8'inches tall and I have to look up at her to talk to her. Some of you probably remember her when I posted her birth announcement all those years ago. The years have flown. She is a beautiful young lady now and I enjoy spending time just chatting with her.
Before we left I tanked up the SUV using gasoline points that I earned buying groceries. On the way out we saved on tolls by using our EZ Pass which gives us a discount. 

We drove straight through without stopping for lunch relying on the snacks that I had packed. We did the same coming home. 

On Friday evening, we took everyone out to dinner at a diner that Alexa wanted to go to in another town. We had great food and a wonderful time and I only spent $58.01 and a $12.00 tip.

On Saturday, my daughter-in-law took me shopping at Walmart for marked down Halloween candy. We found some at 50% but others that I picked up that were in the Halloween section were not marked. I got to the register and was told that only a few were marked 50% off. I told them to keep the majority of it and just got the few that rang up at 50% off. However, a manager was near by and she told the cashier to give me the rest at 50% off. So I spent $84.66 on candy but saved double that. I left about 40% of it with my family and brought the rest home to dole out over the year to West and family. I also was thrilled to find really large bags of Almond Joys which are never discounted, so I bought all they had which was 8 bags. Hubby uses those little bars in the middle of the night if he has a low sugar. They will last us for a few years. Some of what I purchased is pictured above.

We also went to Price Chopper( wow is that store expensive) and picked up some strip steaks and burgers for dinner. My son grilled and it was everyone's choice what they wanted. It tasted so good.

We spent a quiet day on Sunday and had pizza, antipasto and wings for dinner. 

We came home yesterday. We got unpacked and I caught up some laundry. I still have more today. I also need to go grocery shopping since it is Senior Discount Day at Top's. I made some fish in the air fryer and some frozen veggies so that we didn't have to pick up fast food for dinner.

First thing this morning, Hubby and I went to the lab, in another town, for blood work for an upcoming appointment. On the way home, we stopped and voted.

I have pulled some shaved beef out of the freezer to make for dinner. It will be easy.

Aqua Systems is coming to blow the lines on our sprinkler system at 1PM. When that is done, I will get the groceries.

Then, I plan on taking a nap. I am beat from our trip. I will be back to posting tommorrow.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Grocery Shopping This Past Week

This past week I shopped at Aldi's. My weeks run from last Wednesday through Tuesday of this week.

This is what I purchased:

4 Avocados - $ .69 each = $ 2.76

Organic Smoked Turkey - $ 4.49

2 Cream Cheese - $ .79 each = $ 1.58

2 Heavy Whipping Cream - $ 1.55 each = $ 3.10

2 Half and Half - $ 1.55 each = $ 3.10

2 doz. Large Eggs - $ .89 each = $ 1.78

1 Sunflower Kernels - $ 1.59

2 Macadamia Nuts - $ 8.99 each = $ 17.98

1 Roasted Pistachios - $ 3.59

1 Trail Mix - $5.49

1 Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil - $ 2.29

1 Pkg. of Romaine Hearts - $ 2.39

1 Pkg. of Food Saver Rolls - $ 9.99

Total was $ 61.11 including tax.

My supply of nuts and sunflower kernels was almost gone so I stocked for a while. The trail mix is one of Hubby's snacks. I have at least 1/2 an avocado a day. Sometimes more if I have a salad for dinner and want some cubed up on it. 

I love smoked turkey spread with cream cheese, rolled  up and cut into slices. YUM! The whipping cream is for my coffee and the half and half for Hubby's coffee.

I now after this shop have 4 dozen eggs in the fridge. We eat a lot of eggs.  We also go through a lot romaine and lettuce in salads.

The aluminum foil is to use for my Thanksgiving turkey. 

The bonus this week was the deal on the Food Saver rolls. These were a great price and fit my Food Saver.

Did you get any good deals this past week? Please share with us.   

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Things We Invested In That Have Saved Us Money

Over the many years of our marriage there are so many things that we have invested in that have saved us money in the long run. They are:

- Drying Racks/and or Clothes Line:  They save the cost of electricity.

- Laundry Egg: No detergent is necessary for most items.

- Dryer Balls: They cut down on drying time when we use the dryer. You do not use dryer sheets.

-  Pressure Cooker: It not only saves electricity over using the oven but it saves time.

- Oil Changes and Tune Ups for our cars: Regular maintenance is a huge money saver and allows us to keep our cars from 10 - 14 years.

- Convection Oven: This saves 20% on electricity over using the regular oven.

- Bread Machine: Let's you bake a loaf for $ .40 - $ .50.

- Chest Freezers: These have allowed us to always buy meat, poultry and fish at rock bottom prices and not spend a lot of energy to keep them frozen.

- Toaster Oven: Many things can be baked and roasted for the two of us. It saves me from heating up the large oven.

- Reusable K cups: It is much cheaper to buy ground coffee instead of K cups. We make all of our coffee at home. No Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or Tim Horton's coffee out.

- Microwave: Even if you only reheat things, it saves you money over using the stove.

- Cloth diapers: I used them for both of my children and I still am using some of those to dust with. 

- Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer: So easy to mix things up from scratch. But the best is the grinding attachment which allows me to grind cheap cuts of meat.

- Meat Slicer: It allows me to cut up roasts, turkey, chicken, and hams for sandwiches which saves on buying processed and expensive cold cuts.  

- Food Saver: This saves our stored and frozen food from getting freezer burned which saves money. I buy off brand plastic rolls for it from Walmart or Aldi's because they are much cheaper. 

- Canning Jars: They are great for freezing food instead of using throw away freezer bags. 

- Many Different Tools: Hubby has saved us a fortune over the years fixing just about everything around our homes. He has fixed many large and small appliances. We have never hired a plumber or electrician. Yes, we did have Roto Rooter last year but that was to clean out a trap down near the road on our property. Up until we moved here, he did all of the maintenance on our cars. 

- Water Softener: We have had them installed in every home. They save us money on using shampoo, body washes, hand soaps, and bar soaps. We use a lot less to get a good lather. It also saves your pipes in your home.  

- Microfiber Cloths or Rags: They have saved me a fortune over buying throwaway paper towels.

- Rug Shampooers: We have owned two. They save us a fortune on getting our carpeting professionally cleaned. Stains can be taken care of right when they happen.  

- Shelving In The Basement: This allows us to stockpile at rock bottom prices. 

- Electric Blankets: These have kept us toasty warm at night and allows us to turn the heat down.

- Extra Blown In Insulation In The Attic: It more than pays for itself by saving on heat and air conditioning.  

- Classic Good Quality Clothing: It lasts for years and never goes out of style. 

- Quality Shoes and Boots: They also last you for many years. I am wearing a pair of sneakers that I have taken good care of and they are now 15 years old.

- Paying Off Mortgages on Two Homes Very Early: Saved us a ton of interest.

- Purchasing Two More Homes With Cash: No interest at all. 

- A Programmable Thermostat: It allows us to set the heat back at night and to come back to a comfortable temperature just before we get up. We don't even have to think about doing it ourselves each day. 

- Our Roku Boxes: Allows us to watch movies so we don't rent DVD's. It also gives us hours of entertainment by watching You Tube videos which teach us how to fix things and many more things. 

- Purchasing Cars With Cash: Just think of all the interest you save. 

- Our Outdoor Grills: It saves us from using our stove and oven in the spring and summer. That way we do not heat up the air conditioned house.

I could add many, many more things that we have invested in that have saved us money. But I would love to hear what you have invested in that has saved you money. Please leave a comment and share with all of us.