Monday, June 27, 2016

In My Home This Week: Summer Daze

This week in my home...

 ...It was a quieter week than we've had in the week's just past.  The big news this week was getting the kitty out from under the back porch where she'd hidden herself for four days.  We got water and food bowls set up for her until we could concentrate on removing her to the pet crate.  This is one of Bess' cats that managed to escape last week when she picked them up from kennel.  Violet is now at home with the rest of the kitties.  They moved her there yesterday. 

Bittersweet.  That's what this past week has been and I expect this week will be also...It's the last week with the family here.

I'm torn, truly I am.  On Saturday the kids went down to spend time at the new home, albeit the empty home.  John and I whisked around and moved furniture and vacuumed deeply and cleared up toys and the house looked neat and pretty.  I realized I've missed the orderliness of my home, though it's hardly been a mess.  I suspect I shall also miss the clutter and the cars on the kitchen counter (Josh can just reach them now and is constantly pushing cars up on them).  I shall relish the peace and quiet and miss the mayhem and noise.  I'll enjoy being alone and miss having ready company. 

It's always so isn't it?  Can't have this without losing that, can't have that without losing this...One more week...

...we plan meals:             

I think most of all, I shall miss the dual meal planning sessions.  New ideas and recipes have been a constant inspiration for me.  I'm just sorry as can be that the crock broke this past week.  I'm thinking this week's meals shall have to be cooked in the much underused electric frying pan, to keep from heating the house up with the oven.  It's mighty warm outdoors and I am most certainly not planning to heat up the indoors.

Sliders, Southwestern Bean Salad, Whole Grain Corn Chips with Flax Seeds

Meatloaf, Squash Casserole, Pink Eye Peas, Salad, Peach Cobbler

Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread

Open Faced Meatloaf Sandwiches, French Fries, Tomato and Lettuce Salad

Beef Shish Kebabs,  Roasted Vegetables, Rice, Salad

Whole Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Apples, Steamed Green Peas, Rolls

Pizza, Salad

...I plan my work week:

Oh the plans I can make...and the distractions and other things that make them all for naught.  Last week, Bess sort of precipitated the little freezer clearing out so I spent a day sorting out the big freezer in order to accommodate the things she'd moved.  I did a sort of mini inventory while I was digging about and got a better idea of what I had and what needed to be used or tossed.  I made a good start on the long promised compost heap...

So this week's tasks include many of last week's list:

Mop the kitchen. 

Begin work on third quarter budget sheet.

Create pantry and freezer restock lists and determine how I'll go about managing funds for both.

Plan a new wardrobe list.  Some of the shirts I'd purchased in Spring (the least expensive additions to my wardrobe) never fit me as well as I'd hoped.  They were much too snug.  They happen to fit Bess just fine, so I passed them on to her.  This leaves me with a dearth of tops for summer use.  I also need shorts or lightweight pants for home wear.  Jeans are far too hot.  And new nighties. Not a long list perhaps but it helps to plan so I can piece out purchases over a period of time.

Make it a point to save water to use to water plants.  Yes, it's a pain.  No, it's not drought conditions but why pay to run water when I might save half on these long hot days by using up gray water from indoors?  Watering is a necessity just now due to the continuous warm dry breeze.  We haven't even had dew in the mornings of late.

If I can find a moment this week to run into town, I mean to bring home my first lot of things from the store.  I want to clear off a small shelf unit that the store owner had loaned to me, and bring home an item that Bess expressed interest in having for her kitchen.  Much better to give to her now so they can take it with them than store it until I happen to see her after they move.

...I plan my leisure:

No big plans for relaxation this week, but I do mean to keep cool and look nice.  I'm so over the whole schlumping about the house in ratty things look.  I find it very disheartening.  To that end, I mean to take time this week to make myself pretty.  Granted it's hot and work can make me hotter, but a cool shower, a touch of make up, a fresh top, a pair of earrings can do a great deal towards lifting spirits and making me feel I'm at ease.

Read.  There's a review book to be read...but I think I'm going to bring out an old friend book to visit with.  John's input on Friday was that I need to make time to read once again, real enjoyable reading as I used to do.  It's a nice way to 'get lost', you know?

Dream.  Plan. Because those things lift my creative spirit and feed it.  I need that just now, especially when it's hot and difficult to even imagine wanting to do anything that resembles work.   I have files filled with inspiration for home and yard and self.  I have magazines.  I have materials I could use.  I just need the plan and the inspiration.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Iced Tea Chat: The Eyes of the Beholder

 So come on in, but please be very quiet...It seems every one but myself is taking a nap.  And that's just fine by me because it means I have a few moments to be myself and not 'Gah' or "Mama" or homemaker, housekeeper, cook and chief bottle washer.  I think, really, I've almost forgotten who 'Terri' is these past few weeks. 

Just ignore the state of the house.  Despite all the tags I wear I don't keep up so very well these days and my back is giving me a little trouble at the moment so I'm further behind than usual.  I've gotten very philosophical about housework in the past seven weeks, lol.  A two year old is good for that sort of thing!

No sweets, dear, but mint or lime for tea...Doesn't that sound refreshing on this hot afternoon?  We had a brief break in the heat over the weekend and the week started out with cooler weather.  Tuesday morning after I saw John off to work and felt the sweet cool morning air, I came indoors and opened the windows all over the house and let the house breathe in fresh air.  I was able to keep them open until Josh got up.  Then I worried he'd bump one of those wobbly windows and have it come crashing down on his little hands.  I couldn't bear the thought of that so I closed them right up again, but gracious!  I just wish I could have bottled some of that clear, cool air and recorded the sweet, peaceful sounds of bird calls that trilled all about the house.  The birds certainly did relish that cool air as much as I did.   For all that it was mid 60's Tuesday morning, it was soon mid 90's and not in the least refreshing that afternoon!  And so it's been very warm ever since.

I mentioned in 'This Week In My Home' that I've suffered a little home envy this past week.  Truth is that it's the shiny new finishes I'm envious of, not the size of a home, etc.  It just seems to me that after twenty years of living in our home it's no longer fresh...and frankly the money to refresh is just not there.  I try hard to make the best of what I have but you know, now and then it's just not hitting anywhere near the mark of my own ideal...and so I find myself wishing I could do a lot more rather than a little here and there. Then I walk into a lovely little home that's been thoroughly refreshed and there I am with a hard dose of envy trying to wiggle it's bitter way down my throat. 

This week it's seemed especially hard as I've listened to plans for the new home, some of which will be done before they move in and I've done my best to just smile and be glad that these things can come to pass.  But oh!...oh well...I know it's asking a lot to expect I can ever do such things to my home and I accept this most days. 

Well funnily enough, Bess and I were talking and she mentioned how she'd like to do this or that and said she wished her home could be like mine.  I was shaken by surprise.  "My house? Really?  Why on earth would you want something like this place?!"  "Because it's a home, and so obviously home to you all.  I feel at home here and I can tell that Sam and Katie and JD do.  All of your little touches make it so comfortable and pleasant," she said.  And there I sat with tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat changed to something a good deal sweeter than the bitter root I'd been attempting to not gag upon.  I guess home, like every thing else, is in the eyes of the beholder, isn't it?

Bess amused me earlier in the week.  She explosively said "Oh I'm so tired of this!" when she'd looked at one of her facebook posts.  I asked what the matter was.  "It's every time I tell someone I'm living with my mother-in-law.  They all say the same thing:  'I'm so sorry!"  I wish they just understood how much I really like you and they'd understand there's no need of their sympathy."  Well there was a second real compliment.  I like Bess a great deal.  I often think how much I wanted a similar relationship with my other daughter in law, but she wasn't able to have that sort of liking for me and try as I might, I couldn't have it for her. 

I do realize how blessed I am that Bess and I get along well and I've truly enjoyed having my family in my home with me for this time.  Yes, it helped that we all knew it was a temporary thing but the weeks have flown rather than dragged by as they might have if we'd all just been enduring the time.

Sometimes in my readings I'll come across a multi-generational family group living in a home and wonder how they managed.  Now I know.  If the mix is right and good, then it works.  I'd like to think I could do this with all of my children, but obviously that's not so, or I'd have gotten more enjoyment with my oldest son's family when they visited instead of being wracked with doubts and resentments and frustrations.  

I've had such a blessed time this past month, I have truly, despite my wee bout of envy.  I saw my oldest son and his children earlier in the month and had the fun of watching how Josh interacted with his older cousins.  This past weekend Katie and Taylor came to visit, and my niece with her two girls.  They are all about the same age, all toddlers.  Bella and Josh are two and Adi and Taylor are one.  It was fun to watch them.  Where Josh mimicked the older cousins he got down on hands and knees and crawled with Taylor.  At one point Josh was sitting in a chair and Taylor came and stood before him.  She spoke something to him and Josh smiled and said " Josh.  Josh."  I wonder if he really understood what she was saying to him?  It was truly a joy to watch these little ones playing in the living room.
                                           Josh getting down on Taylor's level...
                                               and Taylor coming up to Bella's level, lol.
                                                        Taylor seeing what Adi is up to...
It was fun but my gracious how the house did resound with wails and cries.  Toddlers just don't handle things as well as older children might...  Taylor is the most calm child I've seen yet.  She only cried one time the whole day through and that because I was changing her diaper.  She wasn't all that keen on Gramma doing it rather than Mama!  That little girl is an observer.  She looks at people and she looks at décor and she examines everything about her.  I so want to get to know her a bit better!

Sunday, I guess I was just tired out.  We'd taken a long road trip down to the kid's new house on Friday and pretty much turned right around and came back.  I confess I've not taken my alone time in small doses as needed and I'd found the week and weekend very wearing.  I ended up with what my penpal friend Roni calls 'Evil head'.  It's what happens when your thoughts turn to envy and resentment and grief over minor things and  pity parties are just about at every single corner.  It makes me snippy and brusque and moody.

I was quick to let my family know that I had the malady and not one of them was to blame for it.  I  had every intention of taking myself off all alone for a bit but John insisted on taking me for a drive.  I almost wish he hadn't.  I spent the entire ride weeping and whining.  Yes, I had valid reasons to weep and to whine too for that matter.  I was overtired and weary and had been over stimulated by all the goings on for the past week or so.  I was sorry that I'd had so little chance to spend with Katie and Taylor the day before, and so little time to visit with my oldest son and his family earlier in the month.  I was upset that this time has gone so quickly past and now we are literally on the last legs of this long visit...John upset me further with some observations he made and then was upset when I cried over that.  He insisted he couldn't bring me home until I stopped crying and I couldn't seem to stop weeping, so our 'short ride' covered a good many miles before I dried up enough to be taken home.

Needless to say that night at least I slept hard and well.  I guess Granny was right as always when she said that tears were no different than a tea kettle's whistle:  It lets off steam.  I needed to vent and so without all of that pressure inside, I relaxed and rested.  It was as restorative in the end as a long day alone might have been.

I've had to come to terms with a few things of late and that's not always pleasant, at least not in this instance.  Sometimes needs and opinions between a couple vary greatly.  It happens that one needs one thing and the other needs something else.  Compromise, of course, is the ideal.  I've a rather bad habit of biting back an opinion I really ought to express and then resenting John for having stated his and not considered my personal needs.  Oddly enough, he's absolutely no good at reading my mind.  Unreasonable of me and not of him.  I've had to examine myself rather closely to determine just why I don't voice my opinions or state my personal needs.  I somehow have this notion that  I might somehow inconvenience John or in some way offend him by differing with him, or be considered petty in my own thinking.  That's terribly unfair to him, of course, as well as to myself, because I then resent him over the matter.  Oh it all sounds terribly sticky and messy and it is, indeed.  And it's something I have to correct in myself.  I have to acknowledge that there are times we are not going to agree on every thing perfectly every single time but I do have the need to express myself better.  It's something I shall work on.

Another area I need to examine hard is my willingness to forgo my personal needs in order to please others.  I am not, as it happens, referring to John in this instance, but another family member.  The truth is that when my son and his family are in their own home, I need a bit of space to myself.  I have a lot of things on my plate in the near future which will take time and energy.  The house will need a really good sorting over and the flea market booth must be packed up and shut down and then stored here, which will take even more of the time and energy I have. I've promised Katie the small freezer and that means shifting the pantry and freezer stuff about which will take a little more time.

All of these tasks will mean setting aside the expectations of other people and what they think I should do with my 'spare' time.  On the one hand that bothers me immensely, because it will be resented and I dread that guilt and feeling of being selfish that comes right along with that.  On the other hand, I am too well aware there is only so much of me to be spread about and I simply cannot risk being pushed by guilt to do things I have no energy or time to do.  I am feeling well overall but I do not want to risk straining myself too hard against my abilities.  It's never benefitted me in the past!
I think my greatest fault is fretting over how others think of me if I fail to meet their expectations of me.  Again...It's truly the eyes of the beholder, isn't it?  In my eyes I have failed and in their eyes I'm being selfish...and yet I doubt sincerely at this moment when my mind is clear and peaceful that either vision is the correct one.

All deep thinking considering how little time I've had to think, lol!!

So the timeline of this extended visit is looking to be coming to an end about July 5, a little more than one more week.  I wonder, now that Josh has grown to trust us and love us so, how he will be affected when we are not there on a daily basis.  I admit to a certain smug satisfaction when he cries out 'Gah!' at my bedroom door or when he comes and freely climbs up in my lap even though his mom and dad are in the room.  Will he miss having "Gah" about?  I so hope so!

I am much amused by his obvious admiration of Grampa who didn't woo nor court him but was simply himself.  I have a funny feeling that a lasting bond has been formed between the two of them and it pleases me immensely.  It makes my heart swell to hear John in the music room playing his guitar, say "You ready?" and Josh pounds on the piano in accompaniment.   The other morning Josh woke in the foulest of moods.  Nothing we did could please him.  He finally went off to the music room and shut the door and we heard him playing the piano.  When he was done he knocked on the door for us to let him out and he was all smiles...Oh that is so like his Grampa! lol

We had a bit of inadvertent house cleaning the other day.  The propane company came out to spray the tank with a fresh coat of paint.  As they rolled up the hose it suddenly burst and spray painted the house and windows.   It ruined the brand new screens on that side of the house and required some major cleaning with mineral spirits and then a light power washing.  It all looks just fine.  I had a spare roll of screening and the men used that to replace my window screens and reinstalled them.  They were deeply apologetic about it all and really did do an excellent job of cleaning up.  I'm just glad they were able to clean it!

I'm nursing an aching back at the moment which has steadily gotten more painful rather than less.  Not a clue what I did.  It began with a slight twinge of sciatica and somehow yesterday it became a general seizing up of my back as I moved a load of clothing from washer to dryer.  Years ago when I worked with the orthopedic doctor he told me that the back and knees were still the great mystery areas to doctors because they cannot clearly see either one no matter how great the imaging equipment they have to work with. 

Well dears, I shall have to end here.  All naps have ended and supper must be attended to.  It is my night to cook...oh which reminds me my crock insert for the Crock Pot broke last night.  It was in the dish drainer and we heard a great crash.  The crock was sitting upright on the counter, but the lip around it was completely broken away.  I shall be in the market for a new pot but will take my time and consider my options before I get another.  I have most certainly appreciated that hard working little appliance!

And again, I say, I shall end.  I have deeply enjoyed the time with you.  We'll talk again soon, or so I hope!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Frugal Friday: Proceed With Caution

Saturday:  I was certain I didn't have anything to make a big breakfast for John as he came in from work today but I went to the freezer and looked anyway.  Sure enough I found some sausage I'd forgotten about purchasing two weeks ago.  I had just enough eggs to fry and made toast.  Good enough!

I planned a steak dinner for today, using the last of the steak from the freezer.  I also used lettuce, previously sliced tomatoes, red cabbage, a carrot to make a salad to go along with the meal.

I had to go into town.  I knew I'd need eggs, was out of milk, wanted to treat John to a russet Baked Potato, something I haven't made in over a year. I also wanted to provide birthday pie for my two youngest who have birthdays just six days apart.   Katie was visiting today and I won't likely get a chance to see her again until her birthday is long past.  I spent about $30 today.  I realized I've spent about $80 the past week on groceries and still I need things.  I've cautioned myself to be mindful and very careful in the coming two week period.

Washed a full load of dishes. 

Bess washed two full loads of clothes, one of which contained some of our laundry.

Don't have to water plants courtesy the cooler weather and end of week rain we've had.

Pulled coffee from the pantry.  Bess had an extra gallon of whole milk for Josh's nightly bottle that she brought out of the freezer.

I dug about in the fridge and realized we had plenty of stuff for sandwiches tonight.  We used the last of a bag of Cheese Puffs from Josh's birthday party last Sunday.

Sunday:  Bagels and coffee for breakfast I said but we were running low on bagels....then I found a package of frozen waffles we'd forgotten about.  We ate them like bagels, spreading them with cream cheese.

Sam opted to stay home today.  He as interested in making pizzas for Sunday dinner.  He used tomatoes I'd sliced earlier in the week to make sauce.

John was pleased with the Father's Day 'gift' today at church:  Coca Cola and a Moon Pie.  All the men looked pretty happy.  It's not really frugal on our part, but it was fun and special for him.

Stopped at the grocery on the way home.  We needed bread, and John wanted a paper.  Bess had her own list of things she purchased.

We had pizza and leftover pie for Father's Day dinner today.  I was glad that the meal was so easy.  I was extra tired today.

Scanned sales ads from the newspaper. 

When asked what was for supper, I reminded everyone we had plenty of chicken and turkey for sandwiches yet.

Naps are free and often restorative.  I  took one this afternoon.  It was a huge help.

Sam used his truck and some straps to partially pull down a turkey foot oak that died a couple of years ago.  This is one job that I deeply appreciate.  We don't have a chain saw and don't know anyone who has one we might borrow. 

Monday:  I am having one of my very poor sleep spells and my attitude is about as rotten as it comes...I'm fighting resentments and pity party invitations pretty doggone hard at the moment.  This morning I made time to find some quiet moments.  I am pretty sure that is a partial part of my attitude problem.  Not a monetary savings but one meant to keep harsh words at bay and that's a savings of hurt feelings and causing undue stress on others.

We'd had a bit of a storm blow thru on Friday so lots of kindling sized wood to pick up.  I wish we had need of it but I piled in edge of woods on side of house where it came become a refuge for ground birds and such.

John pulled the turkey foot oak trunks to one side of the yard where we hope that someone might need them for fire wood.

I pulled lunch out of thin air when the chicken failed to even think of thawing...was not showing much sign it's gonna thaw for dinner either.  Another hat trick necessary?  I cut into thin pieces and pan fried it for supper. 

John insisted on a 'simple meal' and nothing is more simple than meat and potatoes.  I made potato salad which used up a boiled egg that needed to be used.

Made John's work lunch and set to one side in the fridge

Feeling I'm spinning out of control budgetwise at the moment.  Everyone seems to be strapped for cash for necessities and while I'm aware that it's all temporary it feels hard.  It's good incentive to proceed with caution however, and attempt to use what I have even more than before. 

So when Bess was unsure what her budget for groceries might be this week I told her no worries.  The freezer and pantry aren't empty!  We'll do our best to make do.  We're agreed that produce and milk are our big priorities.

I washed a full load of dishes.

I gave myself a pedicure.  Bess gave me a sample of a Jamberry wrap. I used it as an accent nail.

John mowed the lawn today.  Lawn services are available here but average $50 or more.  We keep nearly 3 acres mowed so I can just imagine how much money John saves us by mowing our yard. 

I gave myself a pedicure this afternoon.  I know I'm saving upwards of $40 per manicure and no, I'm not planning to start putting dollar signs on all my tasks yet again.  Just mentioning obvious savings.

Tuesday:  Packed John's lunch.  Made him breakfast.

It was so lovely and cool this morning, just in the mid 60f range.  I came indoors and opened windows and let the house air until Josh got up.  Our windows are unstable and can come slamming down suddenly.  They are heavy and all metal and I know personally how hard they can land on a finger.  I cringe just thinking of having Josh get hurt when he's standing at one of them.

John left a necessary item at home this morning.  He called and asked if I might bring it to him.  I did so and picked up his check to deposit.  I also mailed off the bills I'd prepared.

Came home and Bess and I planned meals.  I took a freezer inventory of meats we had on hand first.  Bess and I were surprised to find we had 14 meals worth of meats.  We planned meals around what we have on hand.  We also planned to make a couple of make ahead meals.

We went grocery shopping.  I came in under budget and have a little extra for purchasing meats next week at the special market that has weekly sales on good ground beef  and boneless skinless breasts.

We stopped for lunch at Sonic.  We opted for $5 meals.

While we were unloading groceries the propane people came to paint the tank.  As they were rolling up the hose after they'd finished the hose burst and paint sprayed the side of my house, windows and window screens.  In the end, the house was spray washed (at least that back side, lol) and they replaced the screens in the windows.  They did use my screening but that was to prevent their taking my frames with them.  I like the company and I knew the man who was working but I'd hate to lose my frames!

Watered plants which needed the water desperately.

Wednesday:  I had a little quiet time on the back porch this morning, which I count as bonus.  I woke with a tremendous headache and needed that quiet time.

Yesterday, while I was running the errand for John, Bess began clearing out the small freezer in the guest closet and moving things to the main freezer.    This pushed me to do a task I've been meaning to do: cleaning out the freezer.  I have a bad habit of being super economy minded and saving odd bits and pieces of things that take up more room than you'd think.  Honestly, I was able to wash 20 odd zippered bags today that held things we've not eaten, apparently will never in a million years eat and which I'd stuffed in a spot here and another there.  Amazingly, this freezer purge netted me enough room to not only store the frozen things we bought yesterday but a double batch of chicken enchiladas and a spaghetti casserole and peach crisp for Bess to take to the new home.

So, as I said in the paragraph above, we've been doing some cooking ahead.  I made a Spaghetti Diable for Bess and one for our lunch today, plus put extra pasta without the meat from the dish into the freezer to use as a base for a Chicken Parmesan dinner.  Bess made a double batch of chicken Enchiladas, one large pan for them and two small pans for us.  I made a peach crisp (using frozen peaches from last season) for them and a blueberry peach crisp for all of us to eat now.

I asked Katie if she wanted the freezer.  She does.  So sometime in July the little freezer will go to her home.  I only have a few jars of chicken broth left in that freezer now.  I told Bess, I think in future I will cease to make and freeze broth.  In honesty it is not a convenience to me, once I've frozen it.  Instead I shall either buy stock in shelf stable cartons or buy in cans and stock only a few.

Bess did laundry today.  She kindly tossed in the few pieces of mine that also needed to be washed.

I washed a full load of dishes today and hand washed several sinks full as well.  It was one heavy dish day.

Thursday:  I needed to mail off Katie's birthday card and there was, as always these days, a bag of trash.  I also wanted to go to the discount grocery in the next town and pick up breakfast sausages and hot dogs, plus rolls for our supper tonight and food for Maddie.  I will say that it was very sobering to realize I was right at budget when I left that store.  I'll be postponing any meat purchase until I am a bit more flush with cash or a fresh grocery budget.

Bess offered to make smoothies this morning.  She used some of the frozen fruits from last summer that I'd packed in the freezer, as well as some bananas that ripened at the same time as another bunch.  Tasty!

Spent some time with the heating pad today.  Then I moved my computer back to my desk in the kitchen, which also seemed to help my back.  Little things help a lot.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung them to dry.

Noting the missing water bottles from the fridge, I asked that they be rounded up from various places.  They were put in the dishwasher and washed.  I had a full load with the addition of ten bottles! 

Friday:  John took me out to breakfast this morning.  It wasn't cheap but then again, we didn't need lunch after eating such a large and late meal.  Last pay period was very tight but we had a little room to spare this one, so we didn't use our allowances for this meal.

I looked around in the shop attached to the restaurant but bought nothing.  I found it was quite easy to reason myself out of any number of purchases.

We went by the grocery to pick up some items John wanted to get for co-workers who'd done him a kindness this past week.  I knew I needed decaf coffee for the week ahead and postage stamps which this grocery sells.  I got both items while we were in store. 

I did not purchase flowers which I know will not keep well in the house with the fans running and the warmer air that circulates.  Cut flowers do much better in a cooler home.

I had leftovers from supper that I told the kids they might have for lunch.

John and I opted for a light afternoon snack instead of lunch.

Unloaded dishwasher and refilled water bottles for the fridge.

So happy that dinner was practically cooked yesterday.  I need only to warm and to make a side dish.

In My Home This Week: Sweeter and Sweeter

In my home this week: 
 Another week behind, another week ahead.  On Friday this past week, I went down with Bess and Sam to see the new house.  It's a lovely place.  I admit to a wee small bit of home envy, which has taken root in me of late anyway courtesy the foolishness of having spent an entire afternoon viewing a bloggers' summer tour of homes that contained lovely things I have no way of possessing myself at the moment.  Not deep rooted envy, just a little moment and  I did quickly uproot it and put it aside. My family is so happy to have their home in their possession.  There's a bit of reno work to be done first, nothing too earth shattering and only delaying them about ten days before they can move in for good.

 I needed this weekend to remind me how very blessed I am.  I had a lovely day for the second time this month:  I had grandbabies in the house as well as my great nieces.   My niece is just a couple of years younger than Katie and Sam, Ashley and Katie all have children near in age.  There were just four here but at one point the house felt a bit like it was rollicking as aunts and cousins loved on children not theirs and children ran about screaming and laughing and playing.    Funny how four very little children can fill a house right up with noise.

It might not have been the most peaceful Shabat, nor the most restful one on record, but this sweet season keeps getting sweeter and sweeter!

 ...I plan meals

Steak, Baked Potatoes, Salad, Pies
It was a birthday meal for my children.  Sam's birthday on Shabat and Katie's will be next Friday.  My children have never really been ones for birthday cake.  They prefer pie.  Since I was gone yesterday and low on eggs anyway, I bought pies for them both. 

Pizza, Salad, leftover pie
A father's day meal John will enjoy.

Crock Pot Ritz Chicken, Green Beans and Potatoes, Pear Salad

Grocery Day

Leftover Italian Beef, Mashed potatoes, Pan Roasted Zucchini, Rolls

Red Beans and Rice, Coleslaw, Corn Muffins, Peach Crisp

Meat Loaf, Potatoes Au Gratin, Steamed Green Beans, Salad

....I plan work in my home:

I have the bill box worked up already.  I took advantage of a quiet space in the week and went ahead with that work.  I'll just finish up by writing out the checks and getting them mailed off.

Grocery day

Mop the kitchen.  Gracious goodness but it needs it!

Start making out a restock list for my pantry.  I may not be Mother Hubbard but goodness that pantry is starting to look mighty bare! I'll also plan a restock of meats for the freezer.  I'm getting mighty low there, too.  I don't plan to actually do this until the family has moved into their new home but having a list ready might cue my memory if a good sale presents itself in the next week or two. 

Round up sheets and a towel and such that Sam can use at the new house while he's working in the area for the first part of this week.

Begin preliminary work on third quarter (!) budget.  Golly but the year is gliding past!

Paddle hard and forgo the worry that I'm behind which is a constant given these days. 

...I plan my leisure

I'm finding I'm tired these days.  And I mean an honest to goodness tiredness, not an unhealthy not feeling well sort of tired.  This week I mean to go to bed early and to set aside some alone time, which I find I am sorely missing and needing badly.  I mean to do this so that I can continue to savor and enjoy the time with my grandson and family.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


  Confused by posts that have appeared and then disappeared today?  Wondering what on earth is going on?

It's me.  I've been doing some much needed work on another blog with blogger, a recipe blog.  I'm trying to make a companion blog to this one.  Between computer glitches, a two year old running about, breaks and such, I've gotten confused.  So posts have mysteriously been posted to this blog that ought to have gone elsewhere and some posts were posted well ahead of time here that are meant for later in the week. 

Pardon me while both sites are under light construction, won't you?  And please accept my apologies for any frustrations it might have caused you.

Frugal Friday: Freezing In the Heat

Saturday:  Nearly 100f today.  We pulled curtains closed on the sunny side of the house, ran fans to help circulate the air.

John washed a full load of clothes. He hung the bulk to dry.  I washed a full load of dishes.  This is not usual for us but it was necessary.

Samuel replaced the ceiling fan in John's music room.  That's a nice bit of home improvement done over these two weekends that should help keep the house a little cooler.

I cooked dinner entrée in the crock pot.  I made mashed potatoes from scratch but I think in future if it's this hot I'll use the instant potatoes.  I can boil water in the microwave and keep that heat down.  I decided to make cornbread, which used up the yolks from yesterday's birthday cake recipe.  I put a coffee cake in the oven to bake alongside.  I won't be using the oven again when it's this hot though.  It's just too hot and makes the AC work that much harder.

I mixed up frosting for Josh's birthday cupcakes.  Bess wanted blue and green.  I made a half batch, divided it in half and colored each to suit.

Bess and I went out to pick up supper as the guys vetoed any idea of baking anything in the oven this evening.  John paid from his allowance for take out for us all.  Bess and I carried off trash on our way into town.

Sunday:  Coffee cake for breakfast this morning with eggs and sausage. I used the last of the turkey sausages we like so well.  I will wait to purchase more.  This hot weather doesn't really have a thing to do with it but I feel things have gotten a bit out of hand and a spending freeze is in order.  I do still have some grocery cash left but if I can hang on to it I can use it to restock pantry/freezer in a few weeks.

I cooked two boneless turkey breasts in the crock pot last night.  These are for Josh's birthday party today.  John wants to go to church and so we'll need to eat a little later than usual.  Bess and I decided to just serve sandwiches today, along with cupcakes and cheese curls.  Simple and easy on every one. 

I delegated a few chores to the kids.  Nothing odious but I was pleased when we arrived back to find the house looking pretty ship shape and turkey roast sliced and all in readiness for guests.  Sigh.  It is NICE having extra folks at home who know what is wanted and do it.

Josh looked so dapper and sweet when we arrived.  He had a new set of clothes that his Mama saved for his birthday today.  Oh my gracious, how handsome he looked!

We all opted to have a very light supper tonight.  Each of us chose a snack.

I ended up closing all of the curtains today, on sunny and shady sides of the house as it got quite warm and indoors was 81f.  We'd been closing off our bedrooms which were quite cool but the open living area of the house was stuffy.  We opened bedroom doors and directed fans to blow that cool air out into the main living spaces.  We were rewarded with a cooler home.  The AC ran, but it worked less hard to keep the house cool.

Bess and I talked over meal planning and decided we'd just make do with foods on hand this week.  A few produce items are all that is really needed this week to see us through the week.  The guys will be gone three days on their jobs and Bess and I will be gone one day ourselves.  We'll make do with making meals and reheating leftovers.  I've decided to instill a temporary spending freeze on my side.  I'm counting yesterday as day one and today is day two for me.

Monday:  I did two loads of clothes this morning, both full loads.  I hung the bulk of things to dry.  I didn't have enough line for the mattress pad I'd washed, so I hung over the back porch railing.  It was hot and dry outdoors this morning and things got dry very quickly.

I spent the morning organizing the kitchen cupboard where I'm storing the main food supplies.  It desperately needed the work as it was very much a tumble.  Now I can easily find things.  This should save a load of aggravation.

This afternoon, I cleaned out the linen chest and organized it.  It will be much easier to find needed items now.

At Bess's suggestion I made turkey salad from half the leftover turkey.  It was delicious and a lovely cool dish for lunch on a day when temps are going to be 105f.

Bess filled the pool and invited over my great nieces who are about Josh's age to paddle about.  They were only outdoors for perhaps a half hour and it was 102f at the time.  Indoors the kids had an ice pop and played with the toys for the next hour or so.  It was a fun way to pass a very hot summer afternoon.

We heated leftovers from last week for our supper tonight.

Day three and nothing spent.

Tuesday:  Made John a welcome home breakfast but given the heat I decided cooking grits in the microwave and making toast in the toaster was the way to go.

He washed and hung to dry two loads of clothes.

Josh and I went outdoors early in the morning and I watered plants heavily.  I heard a tree frog calling up rain but went right ahead and watered anyway.  One advantage to the moisture control potting soil is that it will not allow plants to become over watered either and it will retain some of the excess moisture in water pellets to help water the plant as the soil dries out.  Of course we had a nice rain shower this noon...

Josh decided to go swimming again...Not planned but it was cool enough to tolerate being outdoors and aside from the wet shoes, every thing else he had on was fine to get wet.

Put the pets food bowls away.  They didn't eat heavily this morning.

Bess purchased some deli chicken slices yesterday and we made up a red cabbage oriental type slaw to make up sandwiches at lunchtime today.

Bess wanted to make a dish for supper tonight so we started that early in the crock pot.  I have rice to reheat in the microwave and will steam broccoli.

I washed a full load of dishes and did a sink full by hand besides.

Josh occupied himself playing with PowerAde bottle caps as I loaded up the maximum coke points to MyCokeRewards.  We're not buying as many Coke products of late.  Katie blessed me with a number of caps and box codes.  I purchased a $10 e-gift card with a portion of my points today.

Purchased a $25 Paypal card with my Swagbucks.  It's been a long time since I've earned enough anywhere to purchase any gift cards, etc. but that makes a total of $50 in the past four weeks.  I don't expect I'll be able to do that again in the coming month but it's most welcome this month.

My only spending today was MyCokeRewards points and Swagbucks.  Both netted me real spending power but cost me no money to purchase.  Spending for Day 4 is $0.

John is working a half day tomorrow.  I made mac and cheese for his lunch, will pack the non-perishable parts in a few minutes and gather the other items in the fridge.  He doesn't need but just lunch and a snack today, so no big pack-up.

Wednesday:  Packed John's lunch and made him breakfast.  John is working a half shift today as extra time.

Earned the first goal on Swagbucks this morning.

It was not necessary to water plants due to the rain we had yesterday.  Happily we had more today as well.

Ordered a birthday gift.  This will come from the gift fund, so not really 'spending'.

I made dinner for us today.   I didn't feel up to cooking and so I pulled a family entrée from freezer to bake. 

I scrubbed the bottoms of my pots as I'd planned.  I did four of them and Bess did the 5th.  That one looks brand new.  I worked hard at scrubbing and my four looked better but not nearly so good as hers.  I tried Comet, then baking soda with dishwashing liquid and then baking soda with dishwasher detergent.  The last combination with a green scrubbie and a steel wool scrubber worked best of all three methods, along with plenty of hot water.

I feel just enough under the weather that I thought we'd get takeout for supper.  Yep, right in the middle of a spending freeze.  I used allowance to pay for the meal, however. 

Spent the afternoon reorganizing my old recipe blog and now have it up and running as a companion to this blog.  I'll post a link to it when it's up and running.

I started a list today of problem areas I've found over the past month, things that aren't working well for me, like where I work with my computer and how the guest room is set up.

Received a birthday item I'd ordered.  The invoice was correct, but the item inside was not correct at all.  I'm going to be in the town where a branch of the store is located so will return it rather than send money on postage.

Made a list of other errands to be run while we are out tomorrow.

Shopped at home and pulled ketchup from the pantry.   Later in day, Samuel pulled a bag of coffee from the pantry.

Thursday:  John came in from work last night and had a later snack.  I decided to make a simple breakfast this morning.

We went out this morning to tend to hair appointment, errands.  Took off trash (oh so much trash!) on our way out of house, and picked up mail.

We exchanged the wrong movie order at Best Buy.  I received money back on that as the movie was on sell in the store and they refunded my shipping costs.

Stopped at Publix to pick up prescriptions.  We also bought produce and a 6 pack of bottled sodas for John's work lunch, which is more convenient than a canned drink, as he can reseal it and leave it if they must go out on a call.  I spent about $50.  Not happy over that but it was necessary stuff for the most part.

Bought two taco dinner kits.  Normally I'd have purchased tortillas or shells and made my own seasoning but the kits were a bogo and cost about $1.25 each which was far cheaper than tortillas.  We had tacos for dinner last night as we had a full house for supper.

John took me out to lunch.  He paid for that from his pocket monies, no expense to the household budget.

John washed a medium load of laundry.  He didn't hang much of it to dry but used the dryer instead.

I made John's work lunch for tomorrow.

Friday:  Packed John's lunch and made him breakfast.

We went down to the kids new home today.  I took along snacks and water for Josh and I.  No stops needed for those.  I enjoyed the long ride down and the long ride back which went along a different route.  It's a lovely home.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Spring Projects: Indoor Projects/Retirement Remedies Decor

I worked hard and steadily in the yard this spring, but that wasn't all my work.  I did a few things in the house as well.  During a visit, Bess sort of inadvertently started things indoors when she had cuddled under the quilt one evening and folded it to put it back.  I'd always had it turned  to the cream backing fabric.  I was smitten with the colors of the quilt against the slipcover.  And since I'd purchased that bright old fashioned floral picture for the living room walls, the quilt was a nice balance on the other side of the room.  I'd bought inexpensive pillows from an online source in the winter, but the quality was lacking and I wasn't happy.  I found these brighter pillow covers for less than the two pillows cost, but they are so much nicer quality.  (see opening photo and the one just below).


The old fashioned floral picture that started the color wave in the living room

John swears that the pillow covers make the pillows feel more substantial.  I think it's just such an upgrade in the quality overall that it feels better.  As you can see, I went with brighter colors for the pillow covers.  And that led me to think about what I wanted to use on my gallery wall in the living room which has been a work in progress for some time.  I stumbled upon a printable of antique seed packets that I loved for the vibrant colors.  The  long frame was in the shed.

Aren't they pretty?  I am very happy with this project!  I also printed off two which need larger frames.  I've got the 8X11 frames on my shopping list.  I bought another frame at a yard sale last weekend and I worked on another set of framed prints. 

Yes, I'm changing my mind about the look of my gallery wall.  It's still very much a work in progress.  I have this American Limoges bowl that I mean to hang in that space too.

Then there's this cross stitched, apparently handmade napkin I found at an estate sale...I haven't decided how to frame/hang it just yet.  I'm thinking perhaps in an embroidery hoop but not quite sure yet.

Then there is a sunburst clock I purchased at Hobby Lobby for $10 back in the early part of Spring.  I'm not thrilled with the bronze color of it and think I'd like to do something to it, so no pictures just yet, but it's fitting I think to have a sun when you have flowers every where don't you?

I think it will all look pretty but I've not quite enough items just yet to make the wall complete.  It is, as I said, still very much a work in progress, but I went a long way this spring towards bringing in more of the pieces I'd like to hang there.

Then I accidentally started a dining room project...

Out of the blue one morning, I was trying to clean the dining area and got frustrated.  It was so tight and cramped.  Here I was with 6 feet of dining space filled with four chairs, a table, a buffet and a file cabinet and I had a 10 foot wide pathway to the two back bedrooms.  It seemed silly to me to be that cramped in that space and to have such a wide division between living room and dining area when I was needing space so badly. 

The trouble was my desire for symmetry.  There's a 6 foot wall between the dining area and kitchen. The windows are not centered on the outside wall of the area, either.  I was trying to place the table so it was centered on the windows and the kitchen wall but that just put me in a very tight space.  I had to let go of the idea of symmetry in that case and simply work with the wide open space, ignoring placements of both wall and window.

I pulled the table out so that it faced end to end into the room instead of across that small dividing wall section.  John said we needed a rug and he especially wanted an oval one.  He had determined he wanted a braided rug, as well.  We started looking at rugs online.  I discovered that my husband's memory of a braided rug was a fond one but his tastes actually ran to more traditional Oriental rugs.  We finally settled on a rug that suited us both.  It's oval and we love the colors which are a good balance to the jade green of our carpet.  I liked that it had a more contemporary pattern but enough of the traditional formal style he liked. It helped tremendously in our decision making that the rug was less than $100 at Overstock.  We sat down and ordered it on a Sunday.  It arrived on the Tuesday following.  It's even nicer than it looked in the photos online or in the photos above.

You can see my dining chairs (in the above photo and below) and how badly they need paint and work.  I have one freshly painted.  I decided since the weather wasn't being conducive to finishing up the paint I could at least upholster them.

This is not the fabric I intended to use.  I had purchased some vinyl in a deep olive green shade a couple of years ago and had it cut for cushion covers, but I simply couldn't bring myself to use the fabric.  It was so dark and heavy and I really am hoping to have a lighter look in that space as well, despite those dark chairs.  I upholstered the cushions with some fabric I was given a few years ago.  The colors are very compatible with colors in the rug though they look far off in the photo.  They are a pale gray with a pale green (which is showing up yellow in the photo and a soft golden yellow (coming out as tan in the photo), both colors in the rug.  This project literally is costing me about $5 per chair (for paint) and nothing for the fabric.  A friend of mine found these chairs at a yard sale about five years ago for me.  She paid $7 for them and I was more than happy to give her that price for them.  I think it's a pretty good investment to have solid good chairs for only $27 (cost of paint and chairs themselves) total all these years.  They've lasted far longer than other chairs we've had that cost four times that amount each and lasted a whole two years.

My next planned project is to use chalk paint on the table apron and legs and to sand and stain the top.  I'll also chalk paint the buffet. 

An old photo from an autumn past.  The wall has looked pretty much the same for about 6 years now, so it was time for a change.

I decided that new artwork was in order.  I loved the high quality framed rooster prints I have had in the space but they read dark and heavy and with the blues, greens, white and grays going into the room they felt even heavier.  The prints I ordered are unframed canvases which have a more casual feel and which look really well with the other colors in the room.  As with every change though, there were adjustments to be made.  The mirror is too ornate and formal looking in the gold color...changes seem to manifest still more changes.

After I hung the canvases Bess and I stood back and looked at the wall with the mirror in place.  It was she who suggested toning down the mirror by using a silver colored paint.  I thought it a good suggestion and thought perhaps a dry brush technique would work, letting some of the gold show through but not be so dominant.  I've got silver paint on my shopping list.

And there you have my Spring 2016 indoor projects, or what I've accomplished of them thus far.  Again, I've spent very little money overall, probably less than $40 (not including cost of the rug, but less than $125 including it).  I doubt I get to do much more this spring (since summer is very nearly here!) but I think I accomplished a good bit, even if I couldn't quite finish things off.