Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sluggy's Solo Road Trip Part 5......WI to MN to IA

Day 9, Friday, I hit the road.
A quick hug for Blanche goodbye and I was back on the road.

Heading west across Wisconsin.

Lots of dairy farms, little traffic......

Hey look!
Another dairy farm.....

Oh goody, more cows.......yawn......

I got off the highway to grab a breakfast biscuit and tried to find some fresh cheese curds while I was in the little town of Colby.
You know, like the cheese?

I tried two different spots with no luck.

       Main street in Colby, Wisconsin

But the town was just beginning their COLBY CHEESE DAYS Festival......

   Rides being set-up

Ah, too bad I was a couple weeks too late for the local Lions BRAT FRY.
Brat Fry???

Back on the highway and after awhile I saw a little building on a hill right of the road.
Well whaddayaknow?

The Nasonville Dairy Cheese  & More Store.
They were bound to have fresh curds, right?

I knew I found something good/authentic when I opened the car door and took a deep breath.
Let's just say the air was perfumed with eau d'cow patties.

Yes, this cheese store was on-site of the dairy.

And the variety of cheeses was spectacular.  I wish I had had a bigger cooler because the prices were awesome too!
I got a few different cheese you don't find everywhere.

The girl in the store was bagging fresh cheese curds.
She even let me have one to try before I bought them.
Now I know what everyone means that they SQUEAK. lol

And the prices on a lb. of curds was the lowest I saw anywhere.

I did pass on the cheese head hats however........

Now I knew(if I didn't before then) I am nNOT on the East Coast anymore because the gal in the cheese store took my personal check! lolz

Unheard of where I live, even when they KNOW you and you are local.

                       The water tower in Stanley WI.
I still had a long way to go before I got to where I was staying for the night.
I passed through Eau Claire and then spent some time practicing saying, "Menomonie" as I passed by there.  I had a hard time saying that one. lolz

I finally crossed over into Minnesota.

I crossed a couple of large rivers, the St. Croix crossing into MN and then the Missippippi near St. Paul and drove around the outskirts of the Twin Cities area.  Traffic was moderate but not heavy through the Twin Cities since it wasn't a rush hour time thankfully.

I stopped at a Walmart to stretch my legs once I got past the worst of the traffic and was South of Minneapolis suburbs.
I found #2 Son some khaki pants on sale and I bought a 12 pack of cherry cola flavored Diet Rite Cola.  They don't sell this flavor out East where I am and it sounded good.  And it was only $3.

Back in the Sonic and back on the road until I hit Owatonna MN.

There was this T-38 formation near the Cabela's right off I-35.

But I got off the highway to hit the liquor store in this town.  I found out that they carried some liquid refreshments I wanted to get for some people.
The fun was finding the way back onto the interstate afterwards, since the entrance ramp back to South I-35 was closed for construction. ugh.

Short detour and we were back on the road.
I had one more quick stop to make before leaving Minnesota.......

 The World's Largest Walleye Fish.

I tried to take this shot so it looked like the fish was laying on top of the Sonic.
Not quite.....lolz
A big fish selfie.....

I wish I had a spare sticker to add to the collection on the side of the fish.
A Texas and a Doula sticker?  I wonder if Lisa Pie(a friend who is a doula in TX) had been here? lolz

Fairly quickly after that I was over the state line into Iowa.

Man, I need to clean my windshield, don't I?

And then I saw the first Iowan wind turbines......

Before long I was getting off the exit for Clear Lake to visit my online friend Anne for the first time.
I've know her since 1999.

    Anne and her new puppy Becca.

It was about 2 pm and I was starving by now, so I took Anne out to a local deli for lunch.  We parked next to this classic car in town.
The Iowa R.A.G.B.R.A.I. Cycling Tour was due to come through town the following week so there were a lot of interesting people in town already.

We walked over to her friend's store.  In the back half the Clear Lake Historical Society, which Anne is very involved in, has a display of local history and sights.

Lots of antique photographs from the 1800's.....

Pictures of the Surf Ballroom.....

After lunch Anne drove me around and gave me the "I've lived here my whole life Tour" of Clear Lake.
We saw about everything that is worth seeing in Clear Lake....except for the Buddy Holly sites.
I guess I'll have to get my picture took with the Ballroom and/or the giant pair of black framed eyeglasses statue the next time I come through here.

One of the lake's South shore public areas....

We both loved this old unseaworthy speedboat turned into someone's flower bed/planter.....

A little...ok, not so little.....cute cottage on the lake.

Over on the North shore they had a park/camping area with these awesome yurts.....

My first Tornado Shelter sign sighting EVER!

The "Pyramid House" over on the North shore.

Hey!  You can rent the Pyramid House.

By the time we made the way all the way around the Lake, it was almost 5pm.  I was expected at quitting time Friday further south in Iowa.
I only had time for a  quick selfie with Anne and Becca.....

And then I was off again.
Right after I took a phone call from my host for the night inquiring, "where you be?".
Ok, maybe she didn't phrase it like that......

Thankfully me being delayed an hour wasn't a problem since dinner was late getting prepared at her house.

About another hour down the interstate and I was pulling up in a driveway in a tiny town in central Iowa.
McVal's house!

My arrival was quite humorous actually.
As I opened the door to get out of the car and go to the front door, an older man walked up and tried to give me a large dog.
He said, "I think this is your dog."

After a moment of WTF?!? I realized that this must be one of McVal's dogs, so I called her on my cell phone & said that I was here in the driveway and she should come outside because I was being drug away by her large dog while I tired to explain to the older man that I didn't live here but the owner was coming out to get the dog.

One of my weirder arrivals somewhere. lolz

My next stop was to see McVal and her clan at the House of Chaos.
I met everyone......Maddy, Meri, Leon(of course!), Ryan, Robb and Robb's mother and about 500 dogs. lolz  Ok, maybe it was only 5 dogs.
But I didn't get any photos right away because dinner was on deck.

The offering for the evening at McVal's Boarding House(yes Boarding House because she had a ton of people staying for the weekend)was Friday's usually dinner, homemade pizza.

I had a slice of the pepperoni and then everyone urged me to try the cheeseburger pizza too.
Well pizza had cheese anyway so I was confused how this was different from a hamburger topped pizza.

But it was.
It had cut up DILL PICKLES on it.

Sort of like this......

but the pickles were cut up.
This must be an Iowa thang I thought.
And after trying it, it is definitely an acquired taste.
Glad I tried it but I'll stick to no pickle varieties from now on.  ;-)

Later on I snapped a few candid shots......

 McVal caught unawares and Maddy being her silly self.

Butter the Beagle, one of many members of the McVal Pet Rescue and Home for Wayward Dog.

Before dinner I did go out to the Sonic and bring in a little present so it could be enjoyed with dinner.

A keg of draft root beer I picked up in Owatonna MN.
I figured Leon needed some practice tapping a keg before he got to college.
Hey!  It's never too early to learn important life skills.......

After some chatting and looking through the genealogy research Robb had(and I didn't find any common ancestors....what a shock!)I was ready for bed.  About the time I headed down to bed Robb's brother and his wife and their dog showed up to spend the night too.
Se what I mean about a boarding house?! lolz 

I think I was asleep before my head hit my pillow.
It was a long full day and I needed to rest up for Saturday's doings here at McVal's House of Chaos.


Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Nothing Much Got Accomplished Last Week" Edition--

Nothing got accomplished last week other than canning relish, cooking a few meals, selling fabric, making phone calls and dog wrangling that is.
Nothing exciting to show y'all or even any photos other than the ones of shopping hauls and the minivan getting hauled away that everyone saw already.

I did crack open a different one of my 3 billion brands of root beers.  I didn't care for this one much.....good thing I had only bought one of it, right? lolz
I should have seen where it says "caramel cream" that I wouldn't like it.  It tasted of cream soda.
I don't like cream soda.

Onward to the meal planning!

What was planned last week--

1.  Take-Out Chinese
2.  BLT sandwiches(use our tomatoes)
3.  Zucchini and Chicken over Rice(use our tomatoes)
4.  Tacos or Taco Salad(use our tomatoes)
5.  Flounder, Coleslaw, Butternut Squash
6.  Broccoli Cheddar Soup(in crockpot), fresh bread
7.  Leftovers or Greek Hamburgers and leftover sides
And this is what actually happened--
1.  Take-Out Chinese
2.  BLT sandwiches(use our tomatoes)
3.  Roasted Whole Chicken, leftover baked beans, leftover veggies
4.  Tacos or Taco Salad(use our tomatoes)
5.  Stuffed Peppers and Rice
6.  Leftovers
7.  Leftovers
Only 3 new meals were prepared.  I was feeling spent after canning all that relish and had Hubs pick up a chicken from Sam's Club one night.
Bad, bad me......
I also forgot to plan the stuffed peppers even though I had a bag of peppers leftover after the canning, so I changed things around to suit the ingredients I had.

We ate about all the leftovers that were created this week(except for all those peppers!)and just made quick easy stuff....a big salad, a bowl of cold cereal in milk, yogurt, a hamburger patty, etc.
Last week I made 3 trips to the stores, the local market & Weis on Wednesday, and Target on Saturday.  And then there is always Rite-Aid were I spend a wantonly large amount of money. lolz
I spent $110.60 on food last week(and an additional $2.16 at Rite-Aid).

Going into this week, in leftovers we have.........some of that roasted chicken I'll eat for lunches and some taco filling and fixings and stuffed peppers STILL.

Here is the plan for this week.........The meals that didn't get fixed last week will move to Next week, not this week.  You'll see why below......

1.  Teriyaki Salmon, Coleslaw, Spinach Souffle
2.  Leftover Stuffed Peppers
3.  Zucchini and Chicken over Rice
4.  Lasagna, Spinach Salad
5.  Pizza, Tossed Salad
6.  Eating Out
7.  Eating Out

I didn't get enough tomatoes to can so I just made tomato sauce with it and will use most of it making a large Lasagna.
Family is coming to dinner on Thursday and we leave for the Reunion the following morning so Thursday will be something quick and easy and something everyone will eat.

I am also making a pot of chili on Thursday for the family that is staying here to dog/house sit while we are at the Reunion.  There will be leftover Lasagna and Stuffed peppers and good hot dogs in the fridge(all of which they like to eat...I think!).  I am leaving lots of food for them to have while they lounge around Chez Sluggy.
When we get back we'll survey the damage and start in eating whatever leftovers remain the following week.

Food Waste--a handful of baby salad greens got slimey.

What I need to buy this week......salad greens, cottage cheese(for the lasagna), and a couple of pizzas.  WeisPMITA Markets has 1lb. blocks of cheese for $3.77 this week so I will also be stocking up on cheese.  5 blocks of cheese, greens cottage cheese(on sale this week for $1.99)and milk should set me back $35.  I will probably find other things to buy though, I always do! ;-)

I am up to $218.55 in food/toiletries spending for September at this point(including the Rite-Aid trips).  That means $81.45 left in the $300 Sept. food budget now.  If I really want to I can keep it under $300 this month by sticking to spending $35 this week and keeping the 2 days left after that, the rest of Sept., as low spends on food.
I don't have to, I just want to.

But going to Southern VA next weekend might just soften my reserve......if I meet up with a salt-cured Smithfield type ham while down there, it will! 8-)
What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?
Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?
How much did you spend on food so far in September?


Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Trip to Rite-Aid This Week on Sunday

Just one trip this week....unless someone uncovers an amazing deal I didn't see. lolz

There is always something throwing a wrench into my planned scenarios.
This week there was no $2/1 Excedrin ManuQ in our insert so I worked around it.
Then once in the store I saw they had NO Lysol wipes on the shelves so that idea went out the window for now.
I hate having to rework my plans in the store but think on my feet I must.

Here's what I left Rite-Aid with......

2 x Excedrin Migraine on sale $3.99=$7.98 (of course I bought the 25% more product ones!)
2 x Clear men's shampoo on sale $5.00=$10.00
2 x Soft Soap body wash on sale $3.49=$6.98
2 x Colgate toothpaste on sale $2.99-$5.98

Coupons Used
2 x $2/1 Excedrin Video ValuesQ=$4.00
1 x $3/1 Excedrin ManuQ Rite-Aid mailed me=$3.00
1 x $2/1 Excedrin FBQ=$2.00
1 x $1.50/1 Clear Load2CardQ=$1.50 *
1 x $1.50/1 Clear ManuQ=$1.50 *
1 x $1/2 Soft Soap ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $2/1 Soft Soap body wash In-AdQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate total toothpaste Load2CardQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate toothpaste IPQ(coupons dotcom)=$1.00
Coupon Total......$19.00

I used $11 in +Up Rewards and paid .94¢ OOP.

I received back $8 in new +Ups(2 x $2 Clear, 2 x $2 Colgate).
I have $24 in +Ups to spend/roll.
I don't have any +Ups expiring until 10/1 and I have a plan for next week already.

And I got 90 points(triple pts. until Sept. 30th) for this transaction taking this neglected card up to 265 pts. so far this year and I have one more week to use this card and get triple points.

Now I am off to process tomatoes, make coleslaw and iron and pack some fabric to mail out to buyers on Monday.
Then I'll straighten up the house if I don't go take a nap instead.  ;-)

*  These Load2Card and ManuQ CLEAR coupons expire today(hence my trip today), so get up to Rite-Aid before Monday if you want/need to use them.  More are expected in next Sunday's inserts(just in time for a Dove/Unilever Deal) but they won't help you with this week's ad.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Shopping

First off I stopped in at Rite-Aid before leaving the mountain to finish off the Kimberly-Clark Get $8 +Ups wyb $20 Deal.....

1 x Scott TP on sale=$7.74
I used a $1/1 Scott ManuQ(Sunday inserts).....$7.74-$1=$6.74
I used $6 in +Up Rewards and paid .74¢ OOP.
And I got the $8 +Up Reward.

Before this transaction this wellness card had 902 pts. on it so getting to 1000 pts. before 12/31 will be a snap......a snap I tell ya!  8-)

Next it was a trip to Target.
Yes, you heard that correctly, "I" went to Target of all places.
Let's just say that I NEVER go to Target!
Not after I had a dreadful experience there trying to use coupons in 2009 or so.

Well you could have knocked me over with an IPQ I was so shocked to have a very good experience this time.
The store has changed a bit and doesn't throw off the negative energy like it did before.
That and the shelves were not bare from other people running the deals and even though it was a Saturday afternoon the place wasn't uber crowded....not even a little crowded.
And the cashier was friendly and knew the coupon policy.
Oh my heart......

I may just add Target back into my shopping rotation of stores again.  I don't think the deals are as good as some other places usually and it requires me to go down into the city so I won't be going there much.
But it's back on the list.

Here are the deals I did there today--
I had a $5 gift card from a many years old deal I did there back in 2009.
I also had a $25 gift card that #2 Son gave me this Summer.

Transaction #1

2 x Playtex tampons on sale $6.99=$13.98
I got a $5 gift card back for buying this.

5 x Lysol toilet cleaner on sale $1.97=$9.85
I got a $5 gift card back for buying this.

Coupons Used
2 x $3/1 Playtex item IPQ(nla)=$6.00
1 x $1/2 Playtex items Target IPQ(on their website)=$1.00
2 x .50/2 Lysol Toilet Cleaner IPQ=$1.00
Coupon Total.....$8.00


I used the old $5 gift card making the total $10.83.
I used part of the $25 gift card to pay the balance of $11.01($10.83+.18¢ tax)
Zero OOP and 2 new $5 gift cards.

Transaction #2

2 x Playtex tampons on sale=$13.98
I got a $5 gift card for buying these items.

Coupons Used
2 x $3/1 Playtex items IPQ(it reset on coupons dotcom)=$6.00
1 x $1/2 Playtex items Target Q(website)=$1.00
Coupon Total.....$7.00

I used $5 gift card gotten for buying the first set of tampons(transaction #1).....$6.98-$5.00=$1.98+.11¢tax=$2.09 put on what was left on the $25 gift card so ZERO OOP again.
And I have another $5 gift card.

Going into the following transaction I had $10 in $5 gift cards left.

Transaction #3

6 x Starbucks bags of Coffee on sale $6.99=$41.94
I received 2 x $5 in gift cards for buying these items.

Coupons Used
1 x $4/2 Starbucks coffee items(nla)=$4.00
2 x $2/2 Starbucks coffee items(coupons dotcom)=$4.00
Coupon Total.....$8.00

I used the 2 x $5 gift cards......$33.94-$10.00=$23.94(no tax on food)
I used what was left on the $25 gift card($11.90)& paid $12.04 cash OOP.

And I have $10 in gift cards left.

After gift cards I got and coupons, the tampons were .99¢ a box, the toilet cleaner was .77¢ a bottle and the coffee was $3.99 a bag.
The tampons are for Daughter, the toilet cleaner for us and the coffee for Hubs so everything was needed and/or wanted and will get used.

Goods worth $91.75 reg. retail for $12.04 OOP and $10 in gift cards at Target.

We also picked up some clearance clothing(for Hubs and #2 Son)and 2 packages of no nitrites OM hot dogs on clearance for $3 a package so an additional $6 of the food budget did get spent as well.

Total all food & toiletries OOP today.....$18.78

Did you get any good deals at the stores this week?


Friday, September 19, 2014

Happenings at Chez Sluggy Lately

Let's see what's going on around here this week, other than hitting up Rite-Aid for almost freebies and going to the grocery store.
Boy, do I lead a dull, dull life.......

Here's the biggest news this week.




Another vehicle bites the dust.

We'll save approx. another $800 a year on our car insurance having this van gone.

From a high of about $2,800 a year for insurance to $1,340 a year now.
My van insurance was roughly the same I now pay for the Sonic(since it's new) but unloading the Hyundai Elantra and Dodge Minivan will save us $1,460 a year going forward.
Plus all the repairs, gas and taxes/fees.
Plus we'll get a small partial refund on the car insurance bill I paid last month.

#2 Son will either have to be happy to drive the purple car when he is home for breaks or he will get a lot of exercise walking places. lolz

In other news........

I didn't sleep well yesterday because I am stressing out over--

A.  The repairman coming back today to fix the a/c and heating units.  He left here 2 weeks back and couldn't tell me what was wrong with them.  He had to call for technical support to a guy in India...WTF?!?  I have little confidence that this will be fixed today.  At least we aren't paying for a service call or parts as we got an extended warranty on the thing.

B.  Someone bought a boatload of fabric from me on Etsy 2 days ago.  She didn't pay me enough so I am waiting on more shipping $ at Paypal to come through.  This stuff doesn't leave until I am FULLY paid.

The daughter paid us the first installment of the loan we floated her to buy her house.
Only 119 more to go.
I hope I live long enough to get all this $ back. lolz

Not feeling so great this week, besides the not sleeping.  I have some naggy ailments happening, things that pop-up every so often.  Annoying and make me grouchy.

I also have to schedule a mammogram, a CT scan(for a final check on a scar on my lung to make sure it isn't a tumor)and I need to get to the eye doctor before the end of the year.  That "baby cataract" that wasn't even large enough to mention really last Fall is now causing me eyesight problems.  I dread having a surgery but I need to get this taken care of before I head off on any more driving trips.  I just don't feel confident driving long stretches with my vision as it is now.

Speaking of trips........

                         photo credit S Walker

Next Friday we head out for the Vassar/Baker Reunion down in VA.  This is a shot of last year's attendees taken by my 1st cousin's(once removed) wife.  I'll be more mobile this year since at last year's event I was still recovering from a blood clot in my ankle.

I hope people hang around longer this year and don't just eat and run like last year.  Between that and not getting around well I didn't get to talk to/get to know hardly anyone there. 

I also want to go visit a cemetery while we are down there and take some photos of my 2x Great Grand headstones.
Later on the evening of the Reunion we'll have dinner with my mother's cousin & her husband, from her father's side of the family.

I hope to stop at Berky's Restaurant outside of Lexington for early dinner or late lunch on the way down.  Never been, always wanted to go there.  The fried chicken is to DIE FOR!
I haven't had fried chicken in ages.......

What else--

*   I got an old ragged nightgown ripped up with the seam ripper so now I can use it as a pattern to make some more gowns.  I loved that gown and it hurt to have to let it go....sniff, sniff......

*  Paid bills.  It looks like we are going to end September with $2K+ for the Savings Challenge so we are on track for this month.  We are, however, behind for the year at this point in the game.
But never fear because October is our 3 paycheck month. 8-))

*  I mostly piddled around and didn't get much done besides canning the relish.  Now I have to find a place to put it all! 8-)

Not much else going on here.
How about you?
What are y'all up to?



Just Some Rite-Aid Chatter

I went out on Wednesday to Rite-Aid.  I figure since the deals look not-so-great for the next 2 weeks I'd better spend/roll some more +Ups.

I got this on my wellness card......

2 x Listerine on sale $3.99=$7.98
1 x Colgate toothpaste on sale=$2.99
1 x Candy bar on sale=.67¢   Mmmm, dark chocolate......

Coupons Used
2 x $1/1 Listerine Naturals Catalina Qs=$2.00 *
1 x $2/1 Colgate Enamel Health item ManuQ(Sunday inserts)=$2.00
Coupon Total.....$4.00

$11.64-$4.00=$7.64 + .03¢tax=$7.67

I used $7 in +Up Rewards and paid .67¢ OOP.
I received back $6 in +Up Rewards (2 x $3 Listerine)

Then I bought this stuff......

3 x Garnier Shampoo on sale BOGO50%=$10.77 **
2 x Cottonelle TP on sale $7.49=$14.98 ***

Coupons Used
2 x $1/1 Garnier IPQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Garnier IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Garnier Pure Clean VideoValuesQ=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Garnier Sleek and Shine R-A FacebookQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Cottonelle VideoValuesQ=$2.00
1 x $1/2 Cottonelle ManuQ(Sunday's inserts)=$1.00
Coupon Total.......$10.00

I used $15 in +Up Rewards and paid .75¢ OOP.

I received back $5 in +Up Rewards(wyb $15 Garnier-I had $6.73 tracking on that deal coming into today).
I also got tracking of $14.98 on the Spend $20/Get $8 Kimberley/Clark Deal for buying the toilet paper.

*  I had 1 $1/1 Catalina Q that the machine spit out on Sunday when I bought this variety of Listerine and another $1/1 ManuQ tearpad Q from my dentist to use, but as soon as the Listerine got rang up ANOTHER $1/1 Listerin Naturals Q spit out of the catalina machine so I used that instead of the tearpad Q, as it was longer dated.
If you don't have a Listerine Q and you want to chance buying it and having a catalina Q spit out you can use, making it free after +Up Rewards received, be my guest.  Just make sure the cashier checks that the machine is turned on and working.
If it doesn't work out, you only spent .99¢ on a bottle of Listerine after +Up Rewards received so that's still a good deal.

**  With the Garnier since I bought 3 bottles and the deal was BOGO 50% off, 1 was reg. price, $4.49, 1 was half off at $2.24 and the third bottle got 10% discount is what this wellness card now has being at the Silver level.

***  I was going to buy a package of Scott TP as well to finish off this Kimberley/Clark Deal but the Qs for Scott I printed out didn't match up with the type of TP that was part of this deal.  I have a $1/1 Scott ManuQ from Sunday's inserts at HOME...ugh.....so I'll go back later today or Saturday to buy this and get my $8 in +Ups reward.

After I buy the package of Scott TP I'll have $27 in +Ups left and I won't have to roll/spend any again until 9/28 if I don't want to buy anything next week.
But I do already have a plan for next week's deals.

$1.42 more spent at Rite-Aid this week and $57.37 more in products brought home.
I am such a spendthrift. hehehe

Both my wellness card and son's card now have 850 points on them each.  Only 150 more to reach Gold and 20% off for the rest of this year and all of next year.(Except my card already gets 20% off from reaching 1000 pts. last year.)  I took son's card from 0 pts. to 850 in 6 transactions in 20 days, with under $3 in actual OOP spending.
Maybe for the rest of September I should put all spending on the BIL's card since it's only at 175 pts. for the year.  I need to sign this card up for triple points first however.
Going into the Holiday deals at Rite-Aid I know I can get another 150 points to Gold on both of the cards at this point.

I have to buy the Scott TP on son's card and then I'll switch to the BIL's card for the rest of September.
It would be crazy to have 3 cards in the family at Gold Level for next year. lolz