Thursday, January 18, 2018


Dinner has to be quick and easy as I am going to work in about an hour. So this is what is on the plates for tonight.

Sloppy joes (using the last of the ground beef that we didn't cook for our spaghetti dinner with our cousins), fried potatoes, and sliced cucumber.

My work dinner consist of left over spaghetti, grapes, yogurt, and sliced cucumber.

All of my work dinner is put into our rubbermaid portion containers. I am using very small containers as everything else is in the dishwasher getting ready to be washed. My dinner bag goes to work and comes home with me every morning. I do not leave anything at work. I also pack my own silverware, decaf tea bags, some sugar, my own mug, and anything else I could need for my meal.

I usually "snack" on my dinner through out my twelve hour shift as sometimes it is very difficult to get a true "30 minute lunch" when you have a very busy patient assignment in the CVICU.


I have two large containers of turkey stock in the freezer from Thanksgiving. They need to be used up and I also have two containers of chicken stock in the freezer from this week. I was considering making a ham and bean soup tomorrow for dinner and was considering using one container of turkey stock instead of the homemade chicken stock I have in the freezer. I have two ham bones that need to be used and I was going to use the smaller of the two for tomorrow.

Thoughts on using the turkey stock instead of the chicken stock for bean soup?

Dinner last night

I made sticky chicken earlier in the week and was able to take all the meat off the drumsticks. The crock pot was full of drippings and stock from the original cooking of the sticky chicken. I strained the stock and put it in the freezer for soup at some point.

The meat was taken off the bones prior to serving it to the family. There were nine drumsticks total. I put the bones and skin back into the crock pot with additional water and made a second batch of chicken stock which went into the freezer.

We all had a good portion of chicken that night for dinner and I continued to have chicken left over in the fridge that needed to be used. I ended up making chicken salad using what we have in the pantry and fridge prior to my grocery shopping adventures yesterday.

A few stalks of celery including the leaves
the rest of the chicken
poultry seasoning
onion powder

The kids were able to choose from chicken salad or left over spaghetti from dinner with their cousins the other night. There is still some of both left over and will be taken to work with me tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday. I offered the kids and my husband some grapes with dinner since I found some at Aldi yesterday afternoon. They were a bit pricey but we haven't had fresh fruit in a while.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Aidi, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General

My middle DD had to work this morning so I took her in and she bought a 18 lb bag of nine lives cat food as reimbursement for the ride to work. I was going to buy cat food anyway, but she got it instead.

My DS came with me and he is responsible for calculating the prices and math in his head. Je loads the car and helps pack groceries in bags.

18 pound bag of cat food (we have four furry buddies which my family loves, but I am not fond of).

Dollar General:
25 pound box of tidy cat scoopable litter   7.50
8 pack canned mighty dog  dog food 4.75

The total came out to 14.71

Dollar Tree:
two packages of pepper and onion strips
dish soap
generic tylenol
generic ibuprofen
generic aleve
chopped onion
chopped chives
three woman deoderant
two men deoderant
two large cans of baked beans
20 ounce canned crushed tomato
yellow cake mix
hot chocolate
brownie mix
gallon freezer bags
aluminum foil
thin spaghetti
2 bottles vo5 shampoo
one men body wash
apple juice

Total spent: 29.92

2 packs of yeast
cheese crackers
snack crackers
roma tomatoes
chopped spinach
frozen green beans
baby brussel sprouts
2 rolls of ground turkey
10 lb potatoes
2 dozen eggs
2 packages of brats
chicken leg quarters (two large packages 0.89 a pound)
two loaves of white bread
one loaf of wheat bread
hot dog rolls
one chuck roast (3.89 a pound)
chicken breasts (1.69 a pound)
two boxes of cinnamon cereal
5 lb carrots
red grapes
a few bananas
two cukes
2 rolls of 85 percent lean ground beef
two gallons of skim milk
grape jelly
canned yams
3 lb onions
two boxes of stuffing mix
24 pk bottled water

Total spent : 97.74

Partial mortgage payment/Life/Bills

I went to the bank yesterday and spoke to the bank manager. She helped me put a stop payment on that partial mortgage payment I made in December. It was a total of 640.93 and this amount was credited back into my check book. After I was helped at the bank I called the mortgage company to clarify that the partial payment was not to be proceeded should it eventually get to them. They put a note in my record and stated that since I put a stop payment on it there was no reason to notify them.

I also verified that they did receive the full payment I made over the phone on Friday in the amount of 1280.93 for The first payment that was due in February. This payment came out of my pay check and left only a small amount to pay the rest of the bills with. The full payment should be taken out in two to three days per the mortgage company through my bank account as a withdrawal.

So, I was able to pay the electric bill, two co payments for doc appointments we had this week, the last water bill for the old rental house, the water bill for the new house, a bill I received from the hospital where I had a procedure done, the internet bill (we do not have cable or dish), a payment to my student loan (which has been in deferment and will be due March first, I have been paying every month regardless), paid for yearly registration for my car, and have a bit left to get some gas for my vehicle and my husband's vehicle.

Once everything goes through the checking account I will be able to put some money aside in the savings and have keep the 75 dollars every two weeks through an automatic deposit from my pay going directly into the savings. I have been doing well with that and do not miss the money from my take home pay.

I would like to get to Aldi and Dollar Tree either today or early tomorrow since I am working Thurs, Fri, and Sat to get some additional groceries and we are either out or running low on some pantry and freezer stuff.

Dinner with the cousins

Our cousins came over last night for dinner. They did ask if they should bring something and I told them no since we had everything all ready prepared and out on the stove.

I had two half containers of Ragu spaghetti sauce in the fridge and one small left over container in the freezer. I put all the sauce into one pan and simmered it on the stove. I ended up thawing a package of 80 percent lean ground beef. It was 2.3 pounds total and I used half the package. I cooked this on the stove with some garlic and added it to the Ragu making it a "meat sauce".

I had a two pound bag of pasta in the pantry and debated if I should only cook half the bag. I ended up cooking the whole bag and felt that if I only cooked half it would not be enough.

I had a package of Italian bread in the freezer. I thawed that out and made "cheesy garlic bread). I added a lot of jarred garlic to some butter and mixed it up well. I spread this on the italian bread, added some "mexican" shredded cheese, and Italian seasoning. I put the bread in the oven and let it cook until it got toasted and the cheese melted. The whole loaf was gone by the time our cousins left.

My oldest DD made a pan of brownies since we had a mix in the pantry.

We have a good size bowl of pasta with meat sauce left. This will be going with me to work on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in my dinner bag. The kids and my husband can also have it for lunches the rest of the week since I will be sleeping in the day time (I work night shift). It's easy to heat up in the microwave and my DS can manage getting his own lunch plate with out having to ask for help.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dinner tonight

Dinner tonight consisted of some marked down beef that I had in the freezer. I was able to saute it with some mushrooms and garlic in oil. I ended up making a pan gravy with the drippings. We had the left over veggies from last night (choice of peas/carrots or broccoli) and my husband and two of the kids opted to finish off some of the mac and cheese that was sitting in the fridge from yesterday along with the offerings from dinner tonight. We are all having water with our meal tonight since we have multiple bottles of water in the fridge. My middle DD is at work and her plate is on the stove for when she gets home later this evening.

I am out of fresh onions and would have liked to saute them with the beef, mushrooms, and garlic. We are making due with what we have instead of going to the store or resorting to take out.

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Quality time

My husband and I were going to go to an art festival this morning but he slept in and I was doing some housework. The art festival was free to the public but was in Orlando and we didn't have enough gas in either vehicle to drive one hour each way. We decided to stay home and hang out with the kids.

My oldest DD is off today. My middle DD is going to work at 5 this evening. My DS doesn't have a job.

My husband and I went on a walk through the new development with Jackson, our dog. We had a good time holding hands, talking, and looking at the other homes that are being built. There were some families outside that were also walking, some were in their yards, and we found a few homes that had chairs outside on their porch.

We also went walking twice yesterday in between doing some chores, taking the girls to work, and making dinner. My husband helped me clean up the kitchen last night from dinner and my girls did the breakfast and lunch plates this afternoon while my husband and I were walking.

There's a lot of benefits to walking and we were able to enjoy some of the "warmer" weather 50 to 60 degrees outside with the sun shining. We were able to be alone, enjoy each other's company, and have conversations about our lives together.

We are blessed to have met each other when I was 17 and he was 19. We have grown up together and draw on each other for support when the other was struggling. Walking is a wonderful thing and doesn't cost anything. We were going to drive to the park but decided to just stay in the development to save some money on gas.

Staying within the budget

Temps and Electric Bill

It's been a bit cold for Florida in the past few weeks. It has been in the 30's overnight which is very cold when you are used to 60 degrees at night. Regardless, we did turn on the heat for about two weeks at night due to the low temps.

The heat has been off for about a week and a half since the temperature at night has risen to about 40 degrees. The day time temps are averaging mid to upper 50's outside and indoor temps have been in the 65-69 range. My husband and middle DD are always warm. My oldest DD, DS, and myself are usually cold and have been wearing sweaters in the house.

We have been wearing sweaters, opening the blinds to let the morning sun in, and drinking hot tea (myself) and my kids have been drinking some hot chocolate. My oldest DD has been wearing socks, long pants, and a hoodie sweater. My DS has been covering up with blankets that we keep laying over the sofa and a few of the chairs. He has also been wearing his sweater when I ask him to put it on.

We did all the laundry yesterday. I try and get it done three times a week. The dishwasher is used every day on the normal cycle without the dry cycle. This means that the kids have to actually hand dry the dishes with a towel when putting them away. The washing machine is set on the preferred cycle (which is a quick wash in cold water) and the wash cycle is completed in 35 minutes. The dryer is running on an timed dry of 40 minutes and is set to the preferred setting that I programmed into it. When anyone does the laundry all they have to do is push the power button and start. There is no reason to change the settings since this seems to be working well.

Water Bill

The dreaded water bill came in the mail on Saturday. The builders and contracters were running the irrigation to establish the sod and three new trees on the property every day. I was told to continue this for up to 6 weeks to help continue establishing the landscaping. The HOA is mandated to enforce the landscaping rules.

I stopped the every day water irrigation after two weeks of moving into our "retirement home" as I can not afford a expensive bill. The water bill comes every month. I was looking over the water bill and the total cost from 12/13/2017-12/28/2017 was 177.46! This was for about two weeks!


I was looking over the charges and the breakdown of the bill. Here it is:

Utility tax 6.51
Connection charges 50.00 (one time fee)
Irrigation (landscaping) 53.70
Garbage 20.13
Sewer 17.45
Water 11.39
Storm water 8.02
FA residential 10.26

The monthly usage shows that the irrigation for the landscaping what was set to the builder preferences used 14,000 gallons! Holy creepers Batman! The settings were changed after we moved in from every day to twice a week for 15 minutes. We have a rain sensor installed on the irrigation system so if we get enough rain in the week then the irrigation system knows not to run.

In the two week time period we used 2,000 gallons of water to provide for daily needs.

As you can see from above we do have twice a week trash pick up and once a week recycling pick up. When we were living in Virginia we had to take our household trash and recycling to the landfill due to not having public trash pick up. I would rather pay for this service since it is provided to the city residents. It is so much easier to have it picked up and the city provides the trash receptacles and recycling buckets.

I would like to see the new water bill for a full month decrease since we changed the settings on the irrigation system.

My DS showers every night. My oldest DD showers once a day. My middle DD showers every other day unless she is working. My husband showers once a day. I shower every other day unless I am working.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dinner tonight

I took the meat off the bones for the stick chicken, served three different kinds of veggies, and the left over brown rice. We have a crock pot full of beautiful chicken stock. I will put the skin and bones in the crock pot after we are finished and make another batch of chicken stock for the freezer.

We are blessed to eat well on a limited budget.

Dinner plans

As like last week our cousins cancelled dinner plans for this afternoon last night when she called me. I spoke to my husband and told him and he was OK with it since I am really tired and worn out from working the past few nights at work. 12 hour night shift in a cardiovascular intensive care unit can be rough on the mental and physical body. It can be a very stressful job and I was out of work late yesterday morning since I had a very heavy patient assignment. I could not even begin to explain how proud I am to be working in this specialty since 2006.

Anyway, dinner last was the choice of scrambled eggs or sandwiches. I was not in the mood to cook a meal and just wanted to relax. I ended up watching a movie on DVD with my husband and lounging on the sofa with a cup of decaf tea. We had the choice of ham/cheese, pbj, or roast-beef/cheese and/or scrambled eggs.

Both my girls opted for roast beef and cheese sandwiches. My husband had a roast beef/cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato. My son wanted scrambled eggs and then asked for a ham/cheese sandwich. I had half a roast beef sandwich. If folks were still hungry I had another package of sandwich rolls in the freezer that could have been thawed for use.

Dinner tonight is a recipe I have used several times in the past and always goes well. I cut the recipe seasonings in half and used a package of chicken legs from Aldi that were in the freezer. I bought them at one point for 69 cents a pound and there's 4.2 pounds in the package. I put the seasoned chicken in the crock pot with the last four carrots we had and a small amount of celery. We still have some left over brown rice that can be used with dinner and some frozen veggies that are going to be served. It will probably be some broccoli.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Mortgage Company

I made a partial payment on our new mortgage on 12/29 and sent this in through the mail to the address that was on my payment slip. I called the mortgage company today because it has not cleared my checking account yet and it has been two weeks. The mortgage company stated that they don't accept partial payments unless it is set up through their direct withdrawal every two weeks from a checking or savings account.

I have never heard of this before!

The representative told me that eventually the payment would be credited to my account to the principle after the payment was forwarded to the new address for the mortgage company. He also stated that I could stop the payment at the bank.

I am not sure if I want to stop the payment or wait to see if it goes through my account by the end of January. Regardless I made the first "payment" on our new mortgage in full to be credited come February 1st (which was our original first payment due date).

It's a bit frustrating. I got paid today and most of my paycheck went to the full mortgage payment. Thank goodness I can get some of the other bills paid and we don't need anything at the grocery store. We will need to get gas in the two vehicles and after tonight's shift I am off work for the next five days.

I would like to keep my savings in tact and not use any of it since we are working to maintain the budget on my take home pay, with the kids paying their rent, and my husband contributing once a month to the budget.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Work was very hectic last night and I did not get home until almost 8 am this morning. Thank goodness I am only two and a half miles away from the hospital. I slept from 830 until 345 and woke up to my middle DD making dinner.

We still have ground beef left over from the tacos and she mixed it with the jug of spaghetti sauce. She cooked the last bit of spaghetti that was in a box in the pantry. It was really just a small amount of pasta and I told her just to serve smaller portions to everyone. If folks are still hungry there is sandwich fixings (ham, roast beef, peanut butter/jelly, cheese) and trust me they will find something else to eat.

Our new blinds were finally installed yesterday. I am pretty sure now that we have everything we needed for our "retirement home" and we are pretty sure that we will not be buying anything else.

I am waiting for the water bill to come in the mail. I am a bit concerned about the cost for the monthly bill since the lawn irrigation (using reclaimed water) was set by the builder to run every morning for 20 minutes to help establish the newly placed sod and trees. I had to adjust the irrigation system to run twice a week on Tuesday and Friday for 15 minutes instead of daily since I am on a budget and can not afford a high water bill.

My husband opened up a window in the dining room and opened the sliding glass door to let some fresh air in the house. I am so pleased that we are living in Florida now verses Virginia and it is really nice to have windows open in January.

I have to get ready for work soon. I an thankful that my husband made me a cup of decaf tea while I relax before going to work.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Electric Bill

We received a paper copy of the electric bill in the mail today. The total cost is 67.29 from December 14th until January 3rd. We closed and moved in on December 8th and got the utilities turned on December 14th in our name. The meter reading at the time of connection in our name was 203 KWH. The KWH used at the time of our meter reading was 674.

There was a 40 dollar connect fee, and  9.26 in taxes.
We used 471 kilowatts in electricity according to the bill. This is an actual meter reading.
The cost per KWH is 0.11 for the first 1,000 KWH used.
The cost per KWH is 0,13 for additional KWH after the first 1,000 used.

February's bill is expected to be higher since the heat was used for temps in the 20 and 30's and the meter will be read for the full 30 days of use on February 3rd.

We have an HE washer, HE dryer, a new energy efficient dish washer, use the oven and/or stove every day, have laptops, and phones plugged in. We also have a very small flat screen TV on the entertainment center that is plugged in.

We got our new blinds installed today from Lowe's and hope that the blinds help keep in come of the warmth. We have thermal curtains in the "adult" children's rooms since I felt that these rooms were a bit drafty. The kids told me that their rooms feel warmer now.

The energy company is offering an energy assessment and I would like to have the folks come to our house and do an assessment to see where we could improve on our electric use and costs.

Dinner tonight

I am planning on having another round of tacos tonight for dinner. I took out the only pound of ground turkey that was in the freezer. We have a taco kit in the pantry that contains 6 hard and 6soft shells, the taco seasoning, and salsa. We have cheese, sour cream, and veggies in the fridge that need to be used up. I also have a small bit of baked beans that need to be used from Monday's dinner. I also took out some brown rice to steam.

I will be using only a cup of the brown rice since brown rice is very nutritious and a small amount goes a very long way. The brown rice came in a two pound bag from the store when I used my high value coupons the other day. If anyone is still hungry, there's additional soft shells in the fridge that can be used to make additional tacos.

My middle DD is working 8 to 2 today. My oldest DD is working 5 to 10. I am working a 12 hour shift tonight. We will be feeding all five of us and I hope that the meal stretches to ensure left overs so that I can take dinner to work with me tonight. If there are not any left over then I will take some yogurt, some sliced cheese, crackers, and baked beans along with my usual decaf tea.