Sunday, February 22, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

I'm not sure how things are in your part of the country, but around here, it has been a cold, snowy winter. I enjoy winter, but I think I am about done with it at this point. The kids have enjoyed their snow and cold days away from school, but as with most children, they have reached the point where being cooped up in the house is too much. I was so thankful for a day with reasonable temperatures on Sunday, so that my daughter could go out and play in the snow. She was able to stay out too long, but at least she got outside and got fresh air, sunshine and a chance to run around. A nice welcome break from movie, tv and game marathons over the past few weeks.

Spring isn't yet here, but with the different sports practices, sports banquets, and meetings that we have this week, the schedule feels more typical of a spring/summer week than a winter one. I have decided to try out a few new recipes this week on the nights that there is time to make dinner before or after events and stick with tried and true on nights where dinner has to be quick to table.

lunch out

Swim Banquet

Qrunch Burgers and Chicken Patty Sandwiches

Lime Cilantro Chicken

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

Brazilian Shrimp Stew


For the kids, breakfast will be cereal, oatmeal or toast most mornings and lunch will be a mix of the hot plate lunch at school or a packed lunch from home. My husband and I will stick with our standard routines.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

CVS Deals - 2/22

I had really good intentions of going to CVS last weekend, because I had a $5/$15 coupon that I had received by e-mail. Of course, the weather here last weekend was awful and I never had a chance to go and the coupon expired. I tried to call and see if they would reactivate it, but they were closed. This weekend, I got a $4 ECB offer e-mail. I decided I didn't want to miss out on the free money, so I headed to the store this morning.

1 - M&M Speckled Egg
1 - M&M Milk Chocolate
1 - CVS Liquid Nutrition drink

-$1 M&M mfg coupon (
-$1 M&M mfg coupon (
-$1/2 M&M CVS coupon (CVS website, printable coupons)
-$4 ECB

$0.25 OOP. Earned $1 and $1.25 ECBs for the deals that I bought. Got to love when you are paid to shop!

Savings on my receipt are listed at 98%. I think I might go back and pick up the Colgate toothpaste deal that printed. My only question is can I stack the coupon from the paper? I noticed that the coupon from the coupon machine says MFG on it...does that mean it's considered a Mfg coupon vs a CVS coupon? Has anyone tried the deal?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

May you be surrounded by love.
Today and every day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
I have really been enjoying Historical Fiction lately. Most of the Historical Fiction that I have been reading is set in England, so when I was given the chance to check out a new book by Elizabeth Camden set in Washington D.C. in the late 1890s called Beyond All Dreams, I jumped at the chance.

The book jumps right in to the story in the first chapter, introducing Anna O'Brien and Luke Callahan. We are also given just a bit of background to help set the stage. The story starts out a little bit slow, but then quickly gathers momentum pulling the reader into the story.

I felt that the story really said a lot about being content and what happens when you push beyond normal boundaries and experiences. The outcome of doing so certainly is not always what you had hoped or expected, but as the title suggests, sometimes the outcome is beyond all dreams.

I really enjoyed the balance of historical fact inter-mixed with the fictional tale. You could tell the author had done her research, from the opening of the new building for the Library of Congress to the Tourmaline mine in Maine. The history going on around the story helped to make the characters and events in their lives more real to me as a reader.

The story is told in third person, yet there are plenty of insights offered by the narrator into what the characters are thinking. This really helped me as a reader get to know the characters and allowed a nice balance of learning about more than just one character's inner thoughts.

I really enjoyed the book and found the experience of reading it satisfying. I would recommend the book to others that enjoy historical fiction or romance.

I haven't read any of Elizabeth Camden's other books, but based on my enjoyment of this book, look forward to reading others.

You can learn more about the book and author, as well as find other reviews on the blog tour landing page.
About the book:
Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Purchase a copy:

About the author: Elizabeth Camden is the author of six books and a RITA and Christy Award winner. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida.

Find Elizabeth online: website and on Facebook

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

New from Elizabeth Camden | ‘Beyond All Dreams’ Kindle Fire Giveaway and Author Chat Party

Travel back in time to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress in Elizabeth Camden's newest release, Beyond All Dreams. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Beyond All Dreams with a Kindle giveaway and Facebook party on February 17.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy of Beyond All Dreams
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/17. Winner will be announced at Elizabeth's 2/17 Beyond All Dreams Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Elizabeth and historical fiction fans, as well as for the opportunity to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

We had a wonderful weekend here in snowy Ohio. We made the wise decision to do our grocery shopping on Friday evening this week, and my husband volunteered to take my list and go. With the Super Bowl on Sunday and the snow storm that was being predicted (8-12") for Sunday into Monday, the grocery stores were crazy, busy when we drove by on Saturday and even though the snow didn't really start until Sunday afternoon it was nice not to have to include a run to the grocery in mix. I learned that I had bad timing for buying home goods (mattress pads and pillows), when I got the current Kohl's ad and the $15/$50 coupon for home items. In fact, for those items that we had not yet opened - 2 pillows and 2 mattress pads - I went back and did a return/rebuy and saved $50 plus earned $10 Kohl's cash in the process. I even had a 30% off when we bought them, which actually was why we bought when we did. The main difference was that when we bought the sale was Buy One Get One Half off and this week they are 50% off.

We are still working through some stuff that we moved from the deep freeze to the refrigerator freezers, so the menu plan is built around that.

Super Bowl Food - Pizza, Boneless Wings, Crackers, Cheese, Pepperoni, Tortilla Chips and dips

Chicken Patty Sandwiches and Qrunch Burgers

Chip Encrusted Tilapia


Chicken and Waffles

Caprese Chicken Pasta Shells


With the kids in school (aside from snow days - which today is), breakfast will be cereal, oatmeal or toast most mornings and lunch will be a mix of the hot plate lunch at school or a packed lunch from home. My husband and I will stick with our standard routines. I do hope to get back to packing more. I seem to eat better when I pack, plus I am hopeful that it leaves me some time to walk at lunch(if the weather allows).

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Getting Ready for the Big Game #Hormel

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
I love themed parties and themed dishes for those parties. Whether it is making a cake for the kids, customizing the invitations or having a party for the football game, I love the challenge of the theme.

This is one of my favorite party serving pieces, that I pull out for any football themed gathering:

I fill the middle with chips and the two ends with dips. This year, it will be tortilla chips with Wholly Guacamole on one end and a chipotle dip on the other.

This year, I also decided to dress up the cheese and pepperoni tray (I have an addiction to cheese, crackers and Hormel Turkey Pepperoni). I had seen something similar posted by a friend.

Do you theme your gatherings? Are you having/attending a party for the game?

No compensation was received for this post. Product samples and thought starters are provided by Hormel through the Hormel Extended Family Blogger program, in which I participate. All opinions are my own or that of my family.

CVS Deals - 2/1

Looking back, it is strange to realize that for several months, even years, a weekly or more frequent trip to CVS was part of my routine. I managed to save hundreds of dollars by shopping the deals at CVS. I'm not really sure what changed - I think part of it was that I stared to get busier, I think that part of it was that I had built up a pretty good stockpile of the products I would buy and I think that part of it was that the deals were not as consistently good as they had once been. I also think that there were fewer coupons being sent out that were $/$$ coupons and they started to use the % off coupons, which were only good on non-sale items.

Every once and again, I still find a deal worth heading to CVS for, like I did today.
2 - Nature Made Omega 3 Mini (BOGO at $14.99)
3 - Kleenex Tissues (100 ct bonus boxes - $1/ea)
1 - Colgate Max Toothpaste (on sale at $3)

-$5/$15 CVS coupon (e-mail offer)
-$7 Nature Made coupon (Wellness Rewards coupon)
-$1/2 Kleenex (CVS IP coupon)
-$1/3 Kleenex mfg coupon (IP on
-$2.50 CVS Coupon (Prints at Extra Care coupon center)
-$.50 Colgate Mfg coupon

Total $3.96 plus tax. A savings of $34.448 or 90% savings value. Not too bad of a trip in my opinion.

Have you found any deals at CVS lately?