Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review: Infuse

Infuse is a book of recipes and ideas for making infused water drinks. The author, Eric Prum, provides the reader with ideas ranging from crisp to sweet.

The whole idea behind water infusions is hydration, followed by the benefits of the liquids and antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables. The body absorbs them from foods better than from pills. Some people are more likely to stay hydrated if their water has some flavor to it.

While there are a lot of ideas and interesting combinations in this book, infused water isn't for me. I don't like my water to taste like anything at all. Not cucumbers, or mangoes or whatever. I like my water to taste wet. If I wanted the taste of cucumbers, I'd just go and eat some cucumbers.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Super Savings Saturday: Meijer, Kroger, Target

Target:
4 packs of Hormel black label bacon 3.94 each, I used 20% off Cartwheel and 4 x $1/1 coupons
Box of waffle cones 2.24 -25% Cartwheel
4 oatmeal cups 1.59, -15% Cartwheel and -4 x $1/1 coupons
I paid $6.96 after discount for bringing my own bags and my Target card.

Meijer -
3 bags apples 3.99 each (got home and cut them up for applesauce... and one entire bag was nasty inside. I had my husband return the gross ones :(  )
bananas
2 rotisserie chickens (we ate off one and I deboned the rest for upcoming meals. I froze the meat. I made stock out of the bones) - $5.99 each, I used 2 x $3/1 store coupons and a $1/$8 deli purchase coupon
2 bottles papaya enzyme 4.79, -BOGO, -$2.50/1
King's Hawaiian rolls $3
onion .50
cheez-it 3.08 -free crackers, cookies or chips up to $3 when you spend $75 (store coupon)
16 crystal light .99 each when you buy 8, used $1/2 mPerk and 7 x $1/2 coupons
2 packs ribs on clearance for $1.11 per pound, I got about 7 pounds
1 pack bratwurst
10pk popcorn 3.50
popcorn seasoning - free when you buy the popcorn
I paid $49.68.

Kroger-
apples $3.99
2 packs buns $1 each -.40/2 digital coupon
free Friday download - candy
2 packs raspberries $.99 each
2 half gallons of milk $1 each
I paid $10.60.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Super Savings Saturday: Giant Eagle, Kroger, Meijer, Target

Giant Eagle: Boxes of strawberries $1 each, raspberries $1 each, 3 boxes Bryer's ice cream $1.99 each, used $3/3 coupon, 3 shredded Sargento cheese, 1 bag of reduced bananas, 2 Sargento cheese tastings, 1 box band-aids and 1 bottle hair detangler. I spent $19.09.

Meijer: I got frozen and fresh produce, lemonade and English muffins.

Kroger: I got half gallons of milk for $1 each and I got my Free Friday download item, which was a yogurt. I also got raspberries, buns, bread and eggs.

Target: I got 4 bags of frozen vegetables, six cans of refried beans and two bottles of vitamin D.

Book Review: Women Are Scary

Women Are Scary: The totally awkward adventure of finding mom friends by Melanie Dale is an incredibly humorous look at how mommies try to make other mommy friends.

I think we have all gone through at least ten of the situations presented in this book. I personally have a hard time making friends, and I always have. I have been hoping over the years that I would be able to make mommy friends at the preschool classes my kids have been involved in over the past four years. While I'll have conversations, none of these has really turned into a friendship.

What I liked the most about this book was how the author puts readers like me at ease and offers a few workable solutions to those of us who are introverted and would just as soon stay home than be at those preschool classes. This book is easy to read and uses casual language, including a wide variety of words for "poop"!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Book Review: How to Love Your Neighbor (without being weird)

How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird is a guidance and relationship book by Amy Lively. The title of this book caught my interest. I have lived in my house for 11 years, along with my husband. Our oldest child is 8 1/2, and we only know about 1/3 of our neighbors. The thing is, we live on a one block long street!

The biblical command of "love thy neighbor" isn't always clear. Does it mean the literal person next door? Or the person behind you in line at the supermarket? What about the person who cuts you off in traffic? Do we need to love them too?

The author helps introverted people come around to the task of getting to know your neighbors and showing your real personality. If something great happens, wonderful. If not, well, you know that you tried.

I like that idea, of neighborliness. I think we should all look out for one another.

What I didn't care for though was using that as an excuse to proselytize. I would not be happy if my neighbor suddenly came over to tell me about how Jesus saved them. I mean, that's great and all, but I feel like that's very personal and along the lines of morality and such. And if your neighbor doesn't feel the exact same way as you (if you don't know them, how do you know they aren't Buddhist? Or Muslim? or atheist?)?

Why not just leave it at being kind to your neighbors?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Book Review: Until the Harvest

Until the Harvest is a fiction book by author Sarah Loudin Thomas. This book is easy to get into and would make for a great novel to sit and read on a rainy day.

The story focuses around Henry and Margaret, and explores different sides of their personalities as well as how they interact with one another. This book is steeped in Christianity, although I think even those who aren't religiously affiliated would still enjoy the story here.

What I liked the most about this book was the rich development of the lead characters. The reader really gets to know what makes these two people tick. I wonder if there will be another story involving one or both of these fictional people.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Why Stockpiling Isn't Working for Me Anymore

I've been using coupons for decades. Twenty years ago when I was a grocery store cashier, I had fun watching people save money on their grocery bills by using coupons. This was, of course, well before the days of that extreme couponing show that I've never seen.

I never really stockpiled until we bought our house, and even then, not right away. This was because I didn't drive until 2007, and we bought our house in 2004. Until then, I only bought what I could carry home... or if we needed a huge grocery run, my husband would drive.

I never bought coupons from clipping services, never bought tons of newspapers ... for a while I had a subscription and got the Sunday paper, but I cancelled that about 5 years ago. I would manage to find plenty of printables from coupons.com along with digital coupons, mobile coupons, tear pad coupons and "peelies" and "blinkies".

However, I've made a lot of mistakes with having a stockpile, some of those mistakes I've made repeatedly.

I don't keep good enough track of what I have or how much of it. Hence, things get past the expiration date. In some cases, way past.

I bought multiples of things and it turned out we didn't like it, or our preferences changed, or we just didn't use it that fast. Thus, it would sit around taking up space.

Some things I'd get free or for just a few cents, but waste is waste.

I'd donate bags and bags full and give stuff away, but it seemed like my stockpile size would remain the same. Oddly enough, the same goes for exercise and my pants size!

I'd struggle with putting things away. When in a hurry, I'd just put the bag of stuff down by the basement shelves. Soon, there were bags on top of bags, with stuff spilling from bags. I didn't know what was in the bags. So I'd think we were out of something. Except it was in the bags, or under the bags, or behind the bags.

Because I had more tissues, toilet paper, shampoo, tampons and toothpaste than would fit in the previously designated area, that overspilled into the basement also.

It came time to schedule air conditioning filter replacement and I was worried about what the HVAC tech would think of the mess.

I began worrying how I would feel if bugs got into the food, or a burst pipe rendered all of it useless.

I would get annoyed when stuff would fall on me when I'd try to go and get something off one of the shelves.

I'd be annoyed when one of the kids would go down there to "help" or look for something.

My husband was so annoyed, he just refused to go down there (he has some stored stuff down there, and it's hard to get to because of the bags of stuff).

So, for the past six weeks I've been working on donating excess, tossing expired and using things up.

Part two, in a few weeks, will explore how this is working and how I'm changing my social media and couponing habits to reduce stockpiling behavior.