Grocery Spending and Budgeting

Welcome 2018!

I’m a little behind schedule as that grand baby decided to make an early appearance (12/29/17, 3 weeks ahead of schedule) and then brought along a few things we didn’t foresee (overnight stay for Bilirubin issues and then Randi in for postpartum pre-clampsia!) so I’ve basically missed the whole entire new year week. First New Year’s EVER sober …. imagine that!

Ok, so now that Baby Nolan is here, Princess Randi is safe and home again, and Matt is hopefully recovering from all the drama, I’m ready to get back on track here!

First things first!


Yup, that dreaded B word.

Hey, it’s everyone’s goal and much easier said than done. So this year, Effective 1/4/18 (as that’s when I finally made it back home) I wanted to set a budget:

$100 a week for food and consumables (cat food and paper towel are included here)
$50 for miscellaneous stuff (clothes, dinners out, spontaneous stuff)

Seriously, that should be obtainable, right?

Of course! But not so much in the real world.


So, we have a new listing agent (hello Sklar Team!) and we are staging the house which I am so proud of Mark to agree to this as he had a hard time agreeing to it which means we are back and forth to the storage unit, selling stuff on Craigslist which stinks and then trying to pawn stuff off to friends and family to no avail. Is our stuff really that crappy? Come on!

Anyways. Again. Back to the point here!

2018 week 1 total

My goal for 2018. $100 groceries per week. $50 for miscellaneous stuff. Borrow right to left but never down (next week, in the future, etc.)

See? Since I’m doing Sunday to Saturday, I’m ahead here! Wheee! Technically, that leftover money should be moved to a debt payment (credit card or appliances) but I’m holding it for now. Probably the wrong thing to do but hey, I get nervous when my bank account is low and Mark is asking for what I have available! Eek, it stinks being the one who gets a paycheck! ūüėČ

Trader Joes

Ok, ok, here’s the first week of 2018 played out … I did it!

Trader Joes – January 6, 2018
Total Spent $53.41

Uhm, hey, this also included THREE bottles of wine which was totally NOT on the list!

Bottle of Red $12.99
Bottle of White $7.00
*name that song!*
Bottle of Two Buck Chuck $2.99 (this is a joke recommendation)
loaf of ciabatta $1.99
Social Snackin Crackers $2.69
2 pk Cheese Enchiladas $1.99 (for Jamie)
2 bags of Mandarin Orange Chicken $4.99 each (for Sunday Take Out Dinner)
2 bags of veggie fried rice $2.29 each (one for Sunday dinner and other for freezer)
2 pkgs of garlic, 3 heads each $1.49 each
Boursin Garlic & Herb spread $3.79 – spontaneous buy with them crackers above

Trader Joes reciept 1-6-18.jpg

Then we stopped at Office Depot to look at office furniture since Randi’s bedroom is being changed out to an office per the Stager Chic:

Office Depot – January 6, 2018
Total Spent $42.91

Originally, we just wanted to get some bubble wrap since the neon light in Florida room is being kicked to the curb (along with Mr. Wonderful!) and ended up looking at furniture and stuff.

Clock $17.99 (replaces the cheap crappy white one we have in the kitchen now)
Bubble Wrap $22.49 … sale was buy 2 get 1 free but like I told hubby, I don’t need that much bubble wrap to save $22. I mean, spend 50 to save $20 when it wasn’t needed? No thank you.

office depot receipt 1-6-18

That Office Depot stop was a perfect example of how you can get sucked in to buying more than you need or want to “save a buck” or two. The savings isn’t worth it if you aren’t using it.¬† That receipt could read $75 instead!

Have you set a new budget for 2018? Share and hopefully we can motivate each other!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties … go check them out!

Naked Pulled Pork

I say “naked” because, it’s without any BBQ Sauce …

And surprise, the 2nd time I made this, Mark ate it and said it was pretty damn good. Yeah, he said that about the green beans too … maybe his back pain was just making him super complacent?

What surprises me more than anything is that this humble hunk of pork can be transformed into something so freakin’ simple with just a few ingredients …

naked pulled pork

3 to 5 pound pork roast (I used a boneless pork butt this last time which makes me wonder, how is it boneless??)

1 tsp himalayian salt (the pink stuff)

half bottle of liquid smoke

1/2 cup water

Grab your crockpot.

Usually, I trim some of the fat, but this last time I didn’t. So I guess it works either way ūüėČ Trim or not, it’s up to you!

Grab a tsp or so of salt and sprinkle it all over everything and then massage the butt . Not a lot, you don’t want anyone to give you funny looks, you know?

Toss that bad boy in your crock pot, fat side up.

Add your half bottle of liquid smoke all around and over the top,

Pour in the 1/2 cup water around the sides.

Put the lid on the crockpot. Set on low for 10 hours or more.

Now. 10 hours could be fine. I’ve had times where it’s a big bone in hunk of meat and it takes 16 hours … you want the meat to basically fall apart when you stab it with a fork.

Once cooked, pull out of the crockpot and let it cool a little until you can touch. Once it’s cooled enough, pull it apart, making sure to pull the slimy fatty stuff and discard that.

Go ahead, take a taste. I think you will be surprised! If you feel it’s a little dry, add a little of the juice from the crockpot and add that to the meat.

Go ahead and serve this up with a side of green beans or whatever else you’d like … no need for a bun or bbq sauce which makes this a family friendly Whole30 meal!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Blog Parties … go check them out!

Let’s Party #2

Let’s Party!

Welcome to the second week of Let’s Party! I don’t have any rules for the party, just ask that you do not link up Etsy shops, giveaways and sweepstakes stuff … this is suppose to be a fun, learning place!

Make sure you stop and visit some of the other bloggers that are sharing as well! I’ve picked up some pretty great ideas and tips by visiting others! Share the love and leave a comment!

Simple Whole30 Chili

Happy New Year! Seems that a lot of folks out there are doing a January Whole30 so I thought this would be a perfect time to share this simple Whole30 Chili … not to mention, the majority of the United States is freezing cold! Even here is South Florida, temperatures are finally cooled down as well and we are anticipating some much cooler weather the week ahead.

simple whole30 chili

As I’m over on the West coast of Florida for a few more days helping the Princess and new baby out, it’s a little cooler here and what the heck, I’m making this!

Am I doing a Whole30? Not necessarily … and neither is Princess or her Hubby which is FINE…this recipe pleases everyone!

Here’s what you need:

2 pounds ground beef (score, I even have marked down grassfed stuff in the freezer!)
1 onion, chopped fine (hubby hates chunky onions)
4 tbs tomato paste (you know to freeze your leftovers in a Ziploc bag and just break off what you need, right?)
3 tbs chili powder
1 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs cumin
1 carton of beef broth
2 14 oz cans of roasted fire roasted tomatoes or just plain diced tomatoes. The fire roasted ones are really worth looking for though, trust me!
generous dash of salt and pepper

In large pot, cook your ground beef and onions til no longer pink.

Drain the excess fat from the pan.

Add the rest of your ingredients and stir well to combine all.

Allow to simmer 45 minutes or so, giving a stir occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

pretty chili to eat with spoon

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties … go check them out!

#Whole30  #JanuaryWhole30  #Paleo  #Chili  #Soup

Let’s Party #1

Hey! Let’s Party!

Welcome to the first week of Let’s Party! I don’t have any rules for the party, just ask that you do not link up Etsy shops, giveaways and sweepstakes stuff … this is suppose to be a fun, learning place!

Make sure you stop and visit some of the other bloggers that are sharing as well! I’ve picked up some pretty great ideas and tips by visiting others! Share the love and leave a comment!

Instant Pot Baked Potatoes

Technically, they aren’t baked, but rather steamed, right?

Anyways … when Luckys Market had their 8 pound bag of taters on sale for $1.99, you bet I was right there to pick up a bag and use my $5 off $30 coupon. Of course, I spent more than $30 … I apparently have no self control in a new store.

Instant Pot Potato ready to eat

I did, however, pick up a beef tenderloin to make on Christmas day so hey, $30 of it was for the beef. Pricey little thing.

My original plan was to make it when Jamie & Amanda were around (Mark was in Indiana) but I also wanted to do it during daylight to snap a few pics … cuz we all know the night time pics just look horrible. Not that my daytime pics are a whole lot better, but to some degree, they are. I’m working on that little skill, trust me.

So, was I worried about doing this without poking them? A little. Ok, A LOT. I mean, heck, we are putting these things under pressure and they need to breathe, right??? Expand?? Something.

potatoes cleaned and ready

But I went ahead and did it the way the majority of sites told me to … and NO POKING the taters.

Grab a few taters, make sure they are the about the same size. Give them a good wash cuz you know they grow in the ground, right?? *My brother in law and his wife grow taters and can I tell you how awesome they are when you just dug them out of the ground?? Tender and soooo flavorful.

Back to our task at hand. Sorry about that …

cup of water fire-king glass

Add a cup of water to the Instant Pot.

pour water in

Place your trivet in the pot. It came with it, you have it, just go find it.

Put your taters in there.

Put the lid on and lock in place. Make sure the valve moves freely and flip it to pressure cooking.  If you see a stream of steam coming out of the vent after 10 minutes, better check to make sure you have it locked in. I didn’t and wasted my first 10 minutes.

vent open.jpg

Set the pressure cooker to 10 minutes. After about 10 minutes, you’ll hear a beep and the countdown begins! Beep means it’s to pressure and now it starts to cook for the time you programmed!

vent open and not pressurizing.jpg

Allow to cook and release naturally.

Instant Pot Potato cut open

This does TAKE longer than 10 minutes. About 10 minutes to come to pressure, 10 minutes to cook and 10-15 minutes to release. About 30 minutes total. Certainly LESS time if you were to bake them in the oven AND you will not be heating your kitchen up AND it leaves your oven open to cook other things!

flaky inside

Would I do this again? Yes!! I live in Paradise which is also known for the amount of humidity we have so anything to avoid heating the kitchen up is a bonus!!

times up

*I used the leftover taters to make some country fried taters the next day for Mark when he got back from his trip. Just diced the tater up, tossed in a large skillet with some ghee, add some all purpose seasoning and let them crisp up.

Looking forward to sharing this with some of these awesome parties! Go check them out! And come back to party with ME on Wednesday!

Chilled Spinach Dip

It’s that time of year again where we start pulling out our all time favorite appetizers for the holiday parties!¬† We just had the boat parade party Saturday so it was a perfect opportunity for me to get some pics of this!

spinach dip ready to serve

It’s a fairly simple recipe and I have yet to meet a single person who does not like this!

real life photo shoots

This is one of those things that happens behind the scenes of real life food bloggers … apparently Kitten was thinking she was supposed to be part of the photo …


A little cropping helps out but you can still see her paw above the spinach!

Ok, here’s what you need to make this really awesome dip!

2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 packages of Knorrs Vegetable Recipe Mix

1 carton of sour cream

1 can of water chestnuts, chopped

2 cups mayo

1 round loaf pupernuckle bread, hollowed and pieces torn

green onions for garnish

First things first: squeeze that spinach as dry as you can … there’s a lot of liquid in there and you need to remove as much as you can. Toss the spinach in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the green onions.

Mix everything really well in a large bowl, cover and put in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

hollow bread bowl
Bread Bowl

When ready to serve, fill up the bread bowl and serve with the torn pieces on the side for dipping. We generally grab two loaves, one for the bowl and the other we cut up and serve alongside for the dipping. Trust me, you will run out of bread if you don’t use two so keep a stash of tortilla chips and crackers on the side!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these¬†GREAT Parties¬†… go check them out!

Classic Margaritas

I love margaritas. Yes, I know, I also love those¬†Peach Vodka¬†things … but a classic margarita is really hard to beat! ¬†And when one of my girlfriends showed up with a bottle of Patron, I knew we had to make these.

Old picture and do not have any of these bottles, except the skull dude Continue reading “Classic Margaritas”

Dog Sitting

We took care of a puppy over the weekend.

dogsitting blue


Mind you, the cats hate us, even though it’s only a 9 pound Frenchie or whatever he is … all I know is his name is BLUE.

Blue is only 12 weeks old. ¬†I’ve never had a PUPPY before. 53 and I’m babysitting a PUPPY!

The kids are angry. Only because I don’t invite and welcome their dogs (Randi and Matt) or friends (Amanda) with open arms. ¬†They have big dogs. Dogs that terroize the cats. Not sure what Blue will do but the cats are bigger than he is so I’m not overly worried there.

Mark isn’t crazy either.

Well, now he is because BLUE is such a FUN puppy!

And Jamie and Amanda are having a blast with him as well. Amanda has a ‘few’ dogs and she’s got some tricks up her sleeve … including making Blue his very own customized toy! ¬†I’m gonna be sharing that later because I think it’s totally worth sharing.

Friday night, Mark made a lead run for Blue so he could be outside with us while we were in the pool. Blue is small and I don’t think he understands docks, water, falling, etc. just yet so I didn’t want him to have free run of the yard. Imagine explaining THAT to his owner?

Kitten bolted out the door when the kids came home. Big Kitty hid under the bed. Blue slept all night in his crate til 7am. Better than any baby!

All in all, we had a pretty fun weekend dog sitting … not sure how soon we’ll be doing it again though as it was a LOT of hands on playing!

At the end of Sunday night, we were ready to get back into our normal routine and let the real parents take over …

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