Sunday, February 7, 2016

In My Home This Week: Brrrrr!

This week in my home...

Lord love February in Georgia! This past week it's been 80F and sunny, cloudy and humid, rainy, and blustery and frosty cold.  Yes, the whole gamut of weather in a week's time. Yet signs of spring will surface here and there.  My own daffodils have been diligent in trying to bloom since December but I saw my first official February bunch growing roadside Friday as we returned home.

We survived the first week of February rather well.  We are now down by two birthdays (just two more to go and one of those is well on its way). We have paid property and car taxes and prepared our tax returns, so all the big heavy stuff is behind us and we start fresh.  I'm ready for a lot of freshness in my life...aren't you?

...I plan meals

I keep promising myself that I will take down the cookbooks now and start fishing for new or forgotten recipes to plan into my meal rotations.  I stay busy though and never do get around to doing that, sigh.  Well I'm consistent in what I choose to make anyway.  I don't know just what it is about February that makes me long for turkey and dressing but I do.  I suppose it's a tradition and who wants to break with tradition?

I've learned to streamline meals on Saturday and while I am all about changing things up in most areas, I'm finding it is very easy to have some 'givens' on Saturdays to keep things simple and easy.  Bagels and coffee for breakfast, whatever meal I've prepped the day before, popcorn as snack and an omelet and toast as our supper.  I don't have to think overmuch about food and it works for me.

on my own 

out with Mama

Beef Stroganoff with Whole Wheat Noodles, Beets, Green Salad

Chicken Enchiladas, Corn, Salsa Fresca Salad

(I made these last week and put in the freezer)

Sirloin Tip Roast, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus

Vegetable Beef Soup, Cornbread, Baked Apples

Turkey Breast with Dressing, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Mushrooms, Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

...I plan work:

I managed to get the last of the clutter from the master bedroom closet.  I have a pile of shredding to do now but it feels good to know that one room is now clutter free. I can move on to the living/dining room and front entry.  I've been culling through my vintage magazines as I read them and the bookshelves were done towards the end of  December and the videos were done in November.  So not too much is needed in those rooms but I'll go ahead and expect to find I have a lot to do just as I found in the bedroom.

I'll finish up a sewing project I'm doing for my niece.  It's a surprise for her husband and I'm very happy to be a part of it.  I almost feel like I should put this on the fun list but the truth is it's required some hard thought and a good bit of work, but yeah, I'm having fun with it.

I need to finish up the walls in the kitchen/back entry/kitchen sitting area.

Must get the daffodil bulbs planted.

I need to go to Lowe's and pick up two blinds for our room.  While there I mean to get some mulch for the flower beds and hopefully get it spread on three beds.

I promised myself this week I'd get the guest room back in shape, since I tend to dump my clutter in that room when I'm removing it from other areas.  I'll haul all that out to the shed and gather things that will be going out for donation.

I need to go over the calendar and add Jewish Holy Days to it so that  can be sure and have those dates and the prep time beforehand set aside.  Nothing this month for us but we're getting closer to Passover and that one requires a bit of work ahead.

...I plan fun:

Attend a Super Bowl Party at the home of friends.

Finish this sewing project which I may well be done with this afternoon.  I'm resting my back at the moment.

Library for more reading materials.  I renewed my current book which is due tomorrow but I think by Wednesday I'll be done or very nearly and since that is Mama's day I'll stop by there on my way back home.  Maybe even take along my notebook and look over some of the genealogy stuff they have on hand there.

Pull out March issues of vintage magazines and go through the latest lot Mama gave me.  I don't really have another day this week to myself, besides today (Sunday) so it's all fit stuff in where you can this week.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Assigning Value To Our Days, Frugal Friday: Ushering in February

A few of the daffodils have bloomed...I think Perennials are well worth the money and should be the bulk of any gardeners purchase until the landscape is established.

January 30:  Made biscuits from scratch today.  A can runs $1.59 on sale.  Frozen are $2.99 for a dozen and they are closer to my homemade version.  I'll call my savings $2.59 for my batch.  I've split it between today's meal and tomorrow's.

I had leftovers of dinner today.  I decided that was sufficient for supper tonight, no need to make an extra meal when I wasn't feeling up to par.

I had a bit of leftover cooked cabbage.  I set it aside to go into tomorrow's dinner of Chicken Stirfry.

Although we typically do not wash laundry on Shabat, I discovered the cat used Blossom's bed as a litter box.  In getting the bed into the washer, I got some of the mess on my clothes.  So we did two loads of laundry today.  All were hung outdoors in the wonderful warm sunshine.

I told you I'd do this so...I gave myself an acrylic gel manicure.  I used the bought on sale kit and the bought on clearance polish. Savings $45.00.

January 31:  Put away pet food bowls before we left for church this morning.

We stopped to drop off trash, pick up mail and dropped a book off at the library drop box.

John has this way of being really subtle about my meal plans.  If he doesn't want what I'm preparing he'll say, "I was thinking we'd go by 'X' and pick up some..."  Uh huh.  Today I looked at him and said "Well...if you do that then I can contribute $5 which is all I've got in my purse.  What can you put towards the meal?"  My subtle message was "Not if it's coming from our checking account."  He told me what he was willing to contribute from his wallet and we went to pick up what he wanted.  I added fresh fruit, bread and drink to go along with the meal which we brought home.  I also went right ahead and put a good portion of the meat up in the freezer. I told him we'd get less next time, which would lower the costs considerably.

That meal he didn't really want today will, thankfully, keep quite well in the fridge and we'll have it either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Clipped coupons and looked through sales papers.  I'm not quite ready to determine the stock up portions just yet, but I knew which of the basic items we needed to buy: Milk and bread and eggs and fruit and lettuce, the perennials of the grocery budget.

Weather warmed up considerably.  The pets do not need the extra calories to stay warm when it's this mild.  I didn't feed them this evening since they had their daily portion this morning.

Total savings for January: $6,254.52 a substantial sum and not a bad start to the year.  I'm not counting on having those sorts of savings all year long but I'd love it if I could, lol!  Actually, my 'savings' will pay for insurance this year...there is that.

February 1:  We did a big day today, at John's request and given the added things that have come up for this week, it is a good thing.  We went out today and did an early grocery shop.  I spent $115 and with the $30 I'd spent last week on dog food, I am still under by $100.  I'll count that not as savings but towards the bulk beef purchase I hope to make this month.

We had another dinner out...that's an awfully lot for us of late and Mama wants to take us out for our birthday later this week...We bought today's meal from the checking account, but it wasn't pricey, just about $5 a piece.  I augmented our sandwich and water meal with a clementine from the bag we purchased at Aldi and we shared a candy bar John bought yesterday.

Went to my doctor's appointment.

We drove from the doctor's down to John's work place to pick up the paycheck.  I hadn't done bills yet, but I did bring along the checkbook.  Before we make our deposit, before we pay any bill or get cash for allowances and groceries, we pay our tithes.  The money I spent on groceries this morning?  John gave me cash from his Christmas money, a loan of sorts.  After we made out tithe checks, we headed to the bank to do our business there.

We paid our property taxes and bought car tags.  Those funds were in our account already, in a sub account.  As of this pay period I will begin to save money for next year's expenses.

Stopped at the bank in that town to put items in our safety deposit box.

John filled up my car with gasoline before we headed home.

John and I were mutually agreed on what we wanted for our birthdays.  I ordered both from Walmart and they will be shipped to the house.  I used the balance on my PayPal account to cover half the cost.  I went through Swagbucks Shop and Earn and will be credited 3 points every dollar spent for the full amount before taxes and shipping.

Bought four boxes of whole wheat spaghetti today.  I have priced it at various places and the least expensive I'd seen to date was $1a box at Walmart.  At Aldi today, we found it for $.99, a very small but saved amount, $0.04.

February 2:  Poor John...My alarm didn't go off this morning.  Fortunately he had eggs and bread at hand and cooked his own breakfast.  I was up in time to pack the lunch I prepped last night, but if I'd continued to sleep in this morning, he'd have found all the items together and packed them himself.

Made Swagbucks goal for the first time in three days.  Some days are just harder than others for reasons unknown to me.  Glad it went well this morning!

Tucked away $7...I have this idea of something I'd very much like to do so I am saving all my $1 bills towards it.

Sat down this morning after Bible study and prayer(!), and paid bills.

Called a doctor's office whose claim is being denied as he's not covered under my particular policy.   My appeal to pay went unremarked entirely.  So...bill due what to do?  I told the clerk the situation and she offered me a 50% reduction if I'd sent out a check today.  It was by no means the largest bill I've had and the other bills for the office we paid the full amounts due.  It was a courtesy on their part and appreciated on mine.  I had the funds set aside in my medical payment fund.  I saved $68.

Went into town today.  I used the last of the grocery money to purchase stamps and pay for the goods bought at CVS today.  I will write a credit to the meat fund for the stamps, but technically CVS was grocery and from grocery budget it shall come.

I had $4 in ECBs that were expiring this week and wanted to use them.  What on earth is the point of free money if you toss it in the trash?!  So I spent my ECBs today.  I really thought hard about what I meant to purchase and I think I did well enough.  Not perfectly but well enough.  I earned $1.75 in ECBs to spend between now and March.  My total out of pocket including taxes was $12.39 with a total savings of 62% or $18.91.  My favorite purchase of the day?  The candy bar that earned me $0.75 ECB and ended up costing me a mere $0.24,,,That price took me back to my teen years, lol.  I also got a free toothpaste using a sale/manufacturer's coupon/store coupon combination.  I think I have enough toothpaste for a year now so will only watch for sales to replace what we use.

I stopped for a fish sandwich today.  My doctor urged me to be sure and eat my fish,  so while I was out I got myself some fish.  I paid for my sandwich out of my allowance.

I priced flat rate boxes and envelopes today at the post office.  I'd made up my mind I wanted to send the grandchildren something for Valentine's Day but golly gee whillikers!  Postage is too high to send them treats or anything more than a card...especially when I've a birthday package to mail off already. it shall be.  Handmade cards at that.  Best get busy with my craft supplies.

As I've been reading through my vintage magazines I've been culling them again.  Some are just tattered and delicate.  Well I can't bring myself to throw them away but I've a friend or two who will enjoy them and have less of an investment in them, so I'll gift them to those girls and let them determine the magazines fate after they have enjoyed them.  I'll keep the best of my collection to continue to read annually.  I scanned the ads and such that I wanted to use as copy on the blog, so I'll have that.

Made myself a single cup of coffee when I came in from town.

Feb. 3:  Today I made Chicken Fried Rice.  It was super tasty and I think what made it was the use of the broccoli stalks instead of adding peas or other vegetables.  I liked using the last of the broccoliI'd purchased and having zero waste for that foodstuff.  I priced Enchiladas at my favorite place and they are $8.99 for three.  I made 9, or $27 worth.  My cost to make was one can of enchilada sauce ($.79), half a block of cheese ($.89) and 9 tortillas from a package of 20 ($.79). So for less than 10% of ordering at the Mexican restaurant I have food for two meals (with leftovers) for us.  Savings $25

Not so happy to discover that my sour cream molded.  The expire date was Feb 16, 2016.  No clue why it went off but it did.  That was waste but nothing to do with me!

I made two pans of chicken enchiladas.  I put both in the freezer for now.

John picked up mail on his way in this morning.

Fed the pets.  Went out to put away food pans and found ants crawling all over them.  The weather was super warm and it took just a few minutes for the ants to go to work.  Waste of a sorts, yes.  The truth is once that food is tossed into the yard not only do the birds peck at it but the dogs go out and eat it all up to keep the birds from having it.

I set my grocery budget in late December for the year.  I was just a little over it last month and not by much.  Then I read a post on another blog (I think it was A Working Pantry) and she mentioned a government table that laid out food costs.  The following figures are for Thrifty, Low Cost, Moderate and Liberal diets.  I would say that we are Moderate in our choices.  My budgeted amount is $230 less than what they suggest is moderate spending!  That's a Savings!  Now multiply that by 12 and you've got a huge amount of savings of $2,760 annually.
 Thrifty                Low Cost        Moderate      Liberal
$367.00               $473.60           $589.70        $711.80

Feb. 4:  John prepared our taxes last night.  He used Tax Act to file an itemized deduction. It cost us $29.98.  In years past, when we filed itemized deductions we paid a professional to do them.  It cost us $169 to have our taxes prepared and  file an electronic claim through that service.  I gathered numbers and John entered them into the computer.  WE filed them electronically.  Savings: $129.02

Wanna know how we lost $2,000 this week?  Let's revisit the whole government subsidized health care policy.  I have said and will say I am grateful, despite the difficulty we had in finding this cost in our budget, that I had it last year (and yes, I have it this year at a still higher cost...).  However, the last month of John's work year, he was scheduled to work both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This amped up our income by a bit more than we'd estimated we might earn.  Despite doing an itemized tax form, despite having $xx,xxx.00 in medical and charitable giving, despite squeezing our budget to cover the $xxxx cost of medical insurance subsidized by the government, we were FINED for earning more than we'd estimated we might.  Yes, really.  All those medical expenses we paid out of pocket, all our giving over the year didn't budge our tax refund even one penny but two holiday pay periods and we got reamed.  savings loss: $2,000.

All that said, let me tell you what we felt overall:  We were genuinely and honestly and still in awe that God took our fishes and loaves income and stretched it to cover all those added expenses this past year and our net worth  just slightly less than we started the year with last year.  Yes, I am perturbed at what I think is blatantly unfair treatment at the hands of our government but I will say that I am so grateful we look to God as the source!

John filed Mama's taxes today,  saving her hundreds as well.

Mama treated us to lunch for our birthdays. We ate late and were so full that opted for a lighter supper than usual.  Knowing we were going out for lunch today we ate a lighter breakfast as well.

Hung sheets and towels on the line to dry.  Though we normally use the dryer for underthings, today with everything on the line, I wasn't about to turn on the dryer for two sets of undies.  I hung them on the drying rack instead.

Even though we were heading off to eat in Mama's car, we made our trip count: took off trash, dropped off mail at the post office, picked up our incoming mail at our box here at home.

February 5:  I presented John with a handmade birthday card this morning, as I found none with the sentiment I wished to express.  I made the card yesterday, as well as another for my eldest daughter whose birthday is next week.  No savings in John's as I found nothing suitable but for Amie's I'll count it as $4.

I'd planned to make Valentines for the grandchildren but realized that I'd really waited too late to put together anything pretty.  I recalled the local dollar store had Valentines for just $1.  I had John with me today so didn't get him one yet, but I did buy ten cards for the grands.  I posted the four North Dakota grands cards in with their Mama's package saving myself postage on those.  I used that savings elsewhere though to send individual mails to the three Kingsland grands.  They are of an age where a letter for each is an exciting thing.

I had to pay a portion of rent this month at the booth, sigh.  I'm giving this until September but I think I've seen the writing on the wall where this is concerned.  I do enjoy it but it's really a way to waste a bit of money I could use elsewhere...Unless things pick up between now and then I'll have to close out at end of August.Lost $15.

Came home and made lunch for us (John's favorite burgers, fries, baked beans) and prepped dinner for tomorrow.

I mixed up a single layer cake and made into cupcakes. I got 11 cupcakes from the batter.  I made chocolate buttercream to frost 8 and the last three I smeared thickly with lemon curd as a topping.  That is our birthday cake for our birthdays.  I like that it's already portion controlled.

Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Total for February: $998.72 and you could knock me over with a feather because I'd never have believed I'd have even 1% of that to show for this week's savings!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: A Fifty-Year Silence

I was intrigued reading the copy for A Fifty-Year Silence, Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot and the book  did not disappoint.  Truthfully I hated to put the book down at any moment because I found the story intriguing and well written.

Ms. Mouillot describes the very passionate relationship between her grandparents who were divoced for fifty years and the impact their lives had on her live, both as Holocaust survivors and as lovers.  Ms. Mouillot researched diligently to try and piece together what drove the two apart and what caused the fifty-year silence that kept them tied irrevocably to one another and led them to live continents apart alone, never again entering into marriage.

As the writer explores the history of those early days of courtship, marriage and Holocaust she unravels a world of memories that both of her grandparents prefer to forget.

In a way, it's also a coming of age story for the author as she sorts out the intricacies of a relationship she neither understands nor can ignore.  This true story is mystery, romance and tension all rolled up into one.

I highly recommend this book.  I was not compensated for this review but did receive a copy of this book from

Questions, Answers, Comments Oh My!

February is a short month...well it always seems short even when there are 29 days which just makes it short by one day this year.  Still, it always seems to fly by.  Unless of course it's a rainy or sleety sort of February.  Then it appears to linger for at least 45 days.

Not knowing what the month shall bring weather wise, I thought it best to get this January Q&A post done early this month.

The first post of January in which I quoted Arthur Ashe and pretty much decided this would be my motto for the year, "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." 

I showed you my change in colors  in the living room and Susie commented on them.  I have to tell you that the room has a calm light feeling that is very appealing in these winter months where days can often be gloomy.

Rhonda  You are right...I ought to go to a different CVS and see if the management is better at working with the deals.  I am very familiar with this particular CVS but there are several within 30 miles of me that I might visit most weeks.

Lana You mentioned starting the kitchen work which I know is now in stage 2...I feel for you...and yes, I am glad that your Panthers are in the playoffs!  I was rooting for them myself.

Pam I have had beets in the past in a pot.  They were just beginning to grow really well and old Trudy decided they needed to be yanked out right away.  I ate those beet greens, but no, I haven't planted any since then.  
I remember a conversation with one of John's single partners several years back.  There was a general complaint session going on and one of the things being complained about was a fellow co-worker.  When asked exactly what he found so despicable about him, he looked at me and with a curl of his lip said, "Well for one thing, he eats leftovers!"  LOL

In the first working post of the month I discussed my reading of Confessions of An Organized Housewife...I got about 5 chapters into it and then quit. I haven't picked up even one of the other books on my bookshelf.  I really need to spread myself a little thinner and read more!  That said I've been to the library and have now read two books, have two more going (not including the above mentioned book) and a hankering to read even more.  Just not necessary stuff!  

Pam, I have Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride, two different books by Heloise (the mom not the daughter, both of my books are vintage copies and so so so helpful in money savings), another fun vintage book called Orchids on My Budget by Marjorie Hillis.  A modest shelf but there's lots of nice information in all of them.  I also mixed in several other books related to home but not necessarily savings.

Crystal H. I cannot live near a warehouse that sells books by the bagful!

Dorie, I cannot imagine 30,000 books on my shelves.  Wow.

Sarah if the doctor has still not come through with the diabetic classes, there are some things you can do on your own.  Call your insurance company's nurse help line.  She might be able to tell you where classes are held in your area and whether or not your insurance will cover them.  Continue to read all you can online at Diabetic Connect and Diabetes Self-Management.  I know your husband is upset ad scared at the moment and worried that he's going to do something horribly wrong and end up paying for it with loss of limb or life BUT...he's probably doing so much more RIGHT than he was doing that he's already added years to his life!  I continue to take just Metformin and Cinnamon and Oregon Grape Root Extract and have no need of insulin.  My averages at my most recent doctor visit were 120.  I eat a small amount of sugar daily (I try to keep it to no more than 20 grams and closer to 15grams) and my doctor is aware that I do this.  As long as he eats plenty of fiber, switches to whole grains for pastas and brown rice and keeps track of his carbohydrates he should do just fine.

And I understand all too well why you'd avoid asking some people with diabetes for advice!  There's at least one I know of who just continued to eat whatever wanted and simply took a little extra insulin or went without eating, etc.  Nope,I agree, this is important and I want to get it right.  Even though I've relaxed a lot on myself, I don't guess I'll ever just eat anything again without thinking of how many carbs I've had and what I might have that would be better, etc.  It's balance, balance, balance.  Feeling bad is so not worth eating wrongly and the lasting effects can't be forgotten either!

Karla, I fell into a worm hole a few times myself this past month, lol.  It's easy to lose track of time when days are dreary and dark and the house seems clean enough.  Fortunately we've had about half as many sunny days which did wonders for my energy levels and helped me accomplish a few things.

In my first Value post of the month I related my savings giving the actual value of what I do in my home.  It's an eye opener any time you do this.  This is my third time in ten years doing this (I used the 'Year of Savings' title on previous blog) and I am always amazed at how much value my being home has.  A common thread in the comments was that many of you do not check your receipts. I only do this some of the time, but really I ought, we all ought, to check them each time.  The best time to get refunds is while you are right there!  Besides it's pretty hard to dispute their claim that you bought 23 gallons of milk when your husband is standing at the cart with just the two jugs staring them in the face!

While I was mentioning my overcharge situation, Sarah commiserated and then pointed out that sometimes it's the other way around: she is undercharged or given back too much change, etc.  She points out that this is a two way street and we need to correct those things just as we want the errors that aren't in our favor corrected.  And she is completely and totally right!

Many of you expressed your sympathy over the deer hitting John (I refuse to say John hit the deer since he was it he road and the deer came across it, lol).  Yes, many people do die in these sorts of accidents as he knows too well being a paramedic, but we are deeply grateful that his car was all the damage there was.  It's all fixed now and I pray that we may never ever again have another such accident (his third time on the same road in the past ten years).  It helps a lot that the county there has cut wide swaths to keep roadsides clear and give plenty of vision room...I wonder Deanna if that helps the deer see better?lol

In my coffee chat, 'An Old Fashioned Girl'  Lana quickly picked up on the title as a Louisa May Alcott book.  It was one of my first books by her and probably one of my all time favorites, even more so than Little Women.  I wonder why no one ever bothered with a movie based on that book?  And Lana I would love to visit the Alcott home and many others in that same town where famous authors abounded.
I don't think either of my great grandmothers ever drove and I'm not positive Great Great Aunt Mattie Lee, who was quite the modern Milly in many ways, ever did either.  However, Granny and all her sisters did and as near as I know so did Grandmama and all her sisters. 

I am glad to find myself in good company among so many who dislike shopping.  I do grocery shopping very well and I can handle about one regular store but I've never liked the all day shopping trips nor the marathon sort of shopping trip.

In my next weekly planning post  Judy I am not sure if you can see the bed skirt in the photo I posted in my Geese and Groundhogs post...Just a bare glimpse under that long white quilt.  That quilt will go away when it's warmer but right now with the weather back and forth, I need it on the bed.  John is such a bad one for taking covers that I'd spend the night without any cover at all if it weren't for that king sized quilt on the queen sized bed!

Vickie  I do indeed love to be home!  I like nothing better, except to go visit my grandchildren when I can, lol.

Lisa shared this in the comments : I did come up with an original, for me that is, recipe. I put pork chops in my crock pot, seasoned them with garlic powder, salt, pepper and Accent. After 4 hours I put stuffing mix on top, added the appropriate ingredients and let it cook another hour. They were a huge it with even my picky eater! 

Mid-month Frugal Friday post  Once I'd done all that freshening up in my home, I was ready for a new blog look, too.  I'm glad so many of you like it.  I don't get my site specially done or anything just use the design tools on blogger.  That's one of their back grounds but it seemed fresh, pretty, a little bit mid-century modern retro to me.  

Susie, I need to check that hydrangea stem again.  The water suddenly turned full of algae and it wasn't looking so well.  I cleaned the container and stuck it back in clean water along with the two coleus stems I'd had rooting.  I have a pretty good green thumb but now and then certain things defy me.  I've one African violet that is determined to droop and look pitiful and one succulent that is withering despite doing all the supposed right things.  I'd sure love to have a hydrangea, especially since it is a white one.

Tammy, John prefers his lunch to be mostly shelf stable things.  I put in yogurt and fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, nuts, crackers, shelf stable pudding or jello, a soda and water.  He has plenty of food and occasionally I'll add in other snack type items since his job is very much eat when you can as you can.  He does occasionally get burgers and fries, or a sub sandwich and brings home the rest of the stuff but that's fine by me.  I just feel it's a huge savings to pack that lunch, supper and snacks and glad to know he at least has the opportunity to grab something edible if he's running hard on the job.

Shell I am worried a little by the things I read.  Brenda at Coffee,Tea, Books and Me wrote this post
and Annabelle has mentioned several shortages due to other country demands.  So it is well worth thinking about.  There is a lot of new construction in our larger town areas, but yes, to hear of closings of Walmart does sort of set you back.

Lana shared this:  made the oven fried chicken recipe using chicken thighs in this post of recipes this week and it was soooooo good that I think it will reduce buying fried chicken from the deli. I did not add the biscuits to the pan.

Joanne Baker shared:  One of the things that I have done with meatloaf baked in a cupcake tin.... I used the little meatloaves and put them into green peppers for stuffed peppers!

Pam, There are color guides on the sides of the box of color which show what color your hair should turn with the dye you choose.  There is a root kit from Nice N Easy that you might consider but the formula for salon dyes and at home coloring kits.  You may want to discuss this with your stylist before you do it and ask her recommendations.

In the Jan. 17    This Week In My Home, Dorie shares this recipe for a low calorie cake.  I believe there are sugar free angel food cake mixes, but I recall in Weight Watchers years ago this recipe was given to us as a low calorie treat.  Some made it in bundt pans, some made it in cupcakes and some did sheet cakes but all agreed it was quite tasty.  
Here's Dorie's "receipt":   I make a very diabetic cake with a pkg of one step angel food cake is in a large bowl, then add a can of unsweetened, undrained crushed pineapple, mix, place in a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 until done. Very good for a dessert for us diabetics.Gramma D

I was surprised to discover several of you were chicken liver folks, just like me.  I do love them fried but the broiled ones I made that day were very good indeed and I mean to get some livers and divide them into servings for myself so that I can do that again.  

My Winter Wardrobe post generated a few comments. I know that's hardly 'cold' weather gear for some of you, but it's really cold weather gear for me, lol.  Our lows rarely are in the teens or even the twenties.  All in all, winter is fairly mild.  Those coats I showed only are worn if the wind is sharp and the temperatures hovering near freezing.  Otherwise I get along just fine with a light jacket or sweater over a t-shirt, especially if I have a scarf about my neck which seems to go a long way towards keeping me warm.

Mimi, I think crocodile or alligator purses are really nice and these vintage ones make me especially happy.  The truly vintage one is large enough to hold a few things, but that modern version in green is just about clutch sized inside.

Gramma Dorie there are several nice retirement places near me.  I'll adopt you in a heartbeat! lol  And just think how much nearer you'd be to North Carolina!  But alas, I know it will also put you further away from the rest of our family.

Susie, Personally I love the rather retro look of a scarf tied about the head and like you if the wind is rough I'm not at all above tying mine up into a babushka type covering either!  I think it's still a chic sort of statement (just put on your sunglasses and look like a star!).  Nearly all of my scarves come from either clearance racks or thrift stores.  The silk ones are mostly from thrift stores.  I have to clean two of them though and they both say dry clean only.  Anybody have any experience cleaning silk at home?  Help?

Waste Not post:  Ginny, I find it's a lot harder with those perishable type produces to buy just what you need.  So often they are pre-packaged and it's just too much.  I bought asparagus this week which is just starting to show up in our Aldi market here.  Asparagus rarely goes to waste as we could easily eat twice as much but three crowns of broccoli is hard to use up when you're just two folks, even if you eat it twice a week!  However, I can't beat Aldi prices and so I buy what they package and buy fewer items so that I can use it all up.  We've just had Chicken Fried Rice which I used broccoli stems in.  It was good and tasty and I liked that a lot, but even my creative cooking skills need work to keep up with stuff to not have any waste, lol.

Susie I often pour my potatoes into my own basket/bin when I bring them in from the store.  I was having one or three rot every time we purchased them and I found that helped a lot.  I keep them under the sink, which isn't ideal but it's the only spot I have that I can use.  I have the onions in a separate bin right beside them and I've had a lot less potato sprouting going on since I moved the onions to their own bin.  

Sarah, I do not freeze orange juice but I have frozen navel orange segments without them seeming too sour.  Of course, I usually mix those frozen oranges into ambrosia or fruit salad (oh so refreshing on a hot summer's day!) so that might mask any sourness.

Lana had this to share:  Did you know that premium not from concentrate orange juice is squeezed from oranges frozen whole? About 20 miles from my parents house in Florida there is a freezer warehouse company and there are rows upon rows of concrete block buildings that are freezers full of whole oranges.

And yes, I have noticed a few price drops.  In fact this past week at Aldi there were many signs with prices crossed out and new, lower prices written in.  I was rather astonished but very grateful.

Mable Hastings shared this tip: Have you tried shredding the woody ends of asparagus spears and sneaking them into soup or raw into salads? Shredding or using a peeler to get ribbons of asparagus hides the woody texture. Since I learned this trick, we have not tossed out any of the asparagus.

Back to the part where I noted cost vs. wages, I am far more prone to do this regarding food because I think, this is the one area where I spend the most on a consistent basis.  I seldom ask it when I'm buying something to wear, and NEVER ask it when I'm considering a bunch of flowers or a book, but I do very often when it comes to food.  It's a good gauge for me because if I'm tempted to overbuy on produce the thought of throwing money away galls me.  And yes, we ask it when we go out to eat even if we are paying from allowance monies.  We had pizza this past week (and I had a salad) at a favorite pizzeria.  After we left John asked if I'd thought it was worth the money we paid. I laid it out to him in light of what his time at work cost us.  We agreed that we'd enjoyed it but we'd keep it as a very occasional treat.

Kathy:  YES!  Tuna cans were once upon a time 10 ounces, shrank to 7.5 ounces and now weigh an average of 5 ounces.  That is technically about one serving for one person.  Like you I well remember making up a can of tuna into tuna salad and making four sandwiches but these days even with the addition of apple we do good to stretch it to 2 1/2!  I do like using the apple in the tuna which is less bitter than celery and really does seem to neutralize the acidity of tuna.    And on the same subject I was just looking last month at a vintage ad which featured a can of tuna and marvelled at the great huge size of it!

In my Wandering post, Shell asked if Misu was still with me.  Yes, she is.  I haven't taken photos of the pets in a long time namely because I was having trouble getting my camera to focus properly.  Misu reigns over Blossom who forgets she is a doggy and not in a house ruled by cats any longer.  In fact, Misu was just snugged up with Blossom in Blossom's house and bed where they are apparently companionable roommates during this stormy day we're having here.

Kathy, I have accepted that my family has probably changed about as much as they are going to change and try to be at peace with that fact.  

Flagler Beach is along that route I love, on old A1A and I hope you do take time to enjoy that drive at some point.  It's absolutely lovely!

Lana  My ex and I used to take the ferry in the northeast end of Jacksonville and it was pretty cool.  John and I have never done that.  He avoids Jacksonville like the plague but the one time we drove through there on the interstate it wasn't so goshawful.

I'm glad to know you found peace in not getting the little house you thought you'd like...but I do agree God likely has a better place for you.  

And I'm happy to know I"m not just a malcontent, lol.  It does help to know that others struggle emotionally with where they are in life at times and that it's not all just me.

Dorie you should share pictures of your yard sometime.  It sounds so lovely to me when you describe the geraniums and such growing.

Anonymous I do wish you'd shared your name!  Thank you.  It is fact that the differences was far deeper than just an attitude in my mother and I disagreeing where flowers were concerned.  It was my first real sense of separation from my mother and it seems that often those things occurred with a frequent and harsh regularity following that time.  I was feeling especially blue about it the day I wrote that post.  

Deanna Yes, my family has a distance about it and my brother is especially lacking in familial feelings.  I don't know why he's the way he is.  It amazes me that we grew up in the same family with the same circumstances and we all turned out so differently.  I tend to be more forgiving and definitely was the peacemaker/keeper and the scapegoat too if I am honest enough to say it.  We all three had a difficult time and it translated into problems for each of us that we all handled in different ways.  Chuck and I were both depressed and his led him to take his life.  I hung in there and thank God was released from depression after I gave my life to Christ.  My younger brother turned inward and pushed others harshly away from himself.   I spent a lot of time in prayer and I finally had to accept that this is as good as it gets.  He doesn't speak or address me in any way, often will do some odd job here but heaven help me if I dare thank him.  I fully expect that once my mother dies there will be no relationship at all between us and that too is something I had to come to terms with.  We can change ourselves all we like but we can't change others if they aren't willing to change.

In this Frugal Friday post, Georgene asked what I do for an hour daily on Swagbucks...Mostly this week I've pulled my hair out, lol.  I did make out a list of what I personally do.  I do the three daily items because those generate bonus points at month's end.  That is to watch one NCrave, answer the daily poll and go through the NOSO offers.  I then run Laptop Guy(better known as Jungroup videos but you'll see the guy with the laptop on your screen) as well as a young lady smiling at a computer screen (NGAGE videos).  I try for surveys but mostly get denied. I do use Swagbucks to do my online shopping (they pay you a multiple of swagbucks per dollar spent at a variety of stores or hotels etc.  It's all advertising really for the businesses).  Those are my main ways.  I don't have an android nor a smart phone and my kindle won't sync up with my home wireless connection for whatever reason so that's pretty much it for me.   If you have smart phones or kindles you can run some of the videos etc on that.  Lana shared these two posts in the comments which I'm happy to republish here:

"How I earn $35 in Swagbucks rewards most months is by running SBTV and EntertainNow on my iPad everyday and this can be run on an iPhone too. I also run MovieCLips, LifestyleTV, SportlyTV and IndyMusicTV on my android phone everyday or these can be run on an android tablet. This gives me 86 Swagbucks daily. I try for surveys but do not go crazy there as it can be a time waster. On the Most Popular Way to Earn on the home page there are often 2 buck things to do and they often credit just by clicking through to them. 'Laptop Guy' on that part can be run mindlessly while watching TV in the evenings if you have not met your goal for the day. Meeting the daily goals really adds up on the bonus at the first of the next month. Always sign up for the team challenges because if your team wins you get bucks and you really don't have to do much for that other than make enough bucks to qualify. Hope this helps! I am not the brains behind all of this but my Husband figured it all out for me.  More Swagbucks-Like them on Facebook and set them to show at the top of your news feed so that you see Swag codes when they post them and install the Swag button in your toolbar so that you get notifications on your screen. Hubby has his laptop set up to always search through Swagbucks and get a few that way every week."   

And as someone posted to me recently there are always Peanut labs (under surveys) which you can pick up for 1, 2, 3 points each that often involve little effort.  If you watch videos you can pick up points but I limit myself to those that are just 3-4 videos long to get the points because invariably my screens lock up mid-way through a 20 video roll.  Not worth my time!

I hope some of this is a help.

Mary Thank you for stopping in.  I read your comments on Prudent Homemaker too and have enjoyed them. You are pretty savings savvy!

This Week In My Home post  Lots of comments on our back porch.  That photo was taken the day the build was finished.  Painting was still ahead.  But yes, it's a lovely porch and I do enjoy it.  In winter, if the wind is not blowing (it faces north) I can sit there and bask in evening sun.  It's a wonderful place for study in the summer mornings and a great place to gather on pleasant days.  No regrets of spending that chunk of money and that's the way it ought to be when we do choose to spend.  We wanted to add value to our enjoyment of the outdoors and that porch did it.

Lana  Oh 50cents for a can of tuna sounds awesome.  I seldom see it for less than 80c a can.  Fortunately I still have 2 or 4 of those 39c cans I found last year.

Sarah please share this with your husband...The ONE thing I misunderstood the most and needed to learn the deepest is that a diabetic NEEDS carbs to keep insulin levels balanced.  So eat that half banana or apple or orange.  Eat the half cup serving of potatoes or rice and a piece of bread (whole grain is best and dont' forget it took a long time to find one that was palatable to me).  We just don't need to eat things like white rice or regular pasta or several pieces of fruit at once.  And as for the potatoes, sweet potatoes or a waxy red or Yukon gold is best.  They have less glycemic impact and all the good nutrients of potatoes (vitamin C, potassium for two).  Avoiding carbohydrates too rigidly will lead to kidney damage!  So please read this off to him and make sure he gets at least 10% of each meals calories in carbohydrates.  The key is to balance them with protein.  So if he eats fruit or whole grain crackers he should have cottage cheese, or yogurt or peanut butter along with it.  I hope this is helpful. 

And last post was the migraine one  I still have the headache but it's no worse.  At my doctor's suggestion I'm taking aspirin.  Pretty sure weather is every thing to do with it as it was a little worse today with thunder storms passing through.  Taxes got paid and bills got paid and groceries have been bought.

Nothing to do with those posts but an addendum to my Coffee Chat post, it's been a tough day for us.  Bess called me this morning from the doctor's office.  They couldn't locate a heartbeat for the baby.  Sonogram showed that the baby is stillborn.  Bess and Sam need all the prayers and love you all can lavish on them. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Coffee Chat: Groundhogs and Geese

Hello dears, do come in.   I've been thinking all day of some sweet treat I might make that is low sugar and tasty but haven't come up with a thing thus far.  I really  must buy myself some more Splenda.  I'd gotten quite good at substituting with it once I figured out that adding 2 tablespoons of sour cream would offset the dryness that resulted in subbing Splenda for sugar.  Now I think I might substitute nonfat yogurt for the sour cream and have the same results.  Ah well...I can always make us a piece of cinnamon toast which is quite welcome this time of year, agreed?

Our weather has been all over the place, typical of this season.  Warmer and muggy as it is today , cold and breezy, rainy, snowy...Yes, snowy, though ours could have been measured by the 1/4 cup  measure per acre. A little further north there was several inches and then beyond that it was half again as much as we had.

I like snow.  In extreme moderation when it falls on a weekend so that we've nowhere to go.  But you see we had someplace to go the snowy weekend.  There was a tug on our heart that we had to tend to.  It involved this:

Isn't she lovely?  She chattered at us and took out her frustrations on my water bottle and generally charmed us which is every little girl's right, I guess.   In the photo she is busy rubbing my necklace across her gums which apparently are ready to produce more teeth.  She'd been very content to sit on my lap and shove the beads in her mouth, but she'd gotten frustrated.  Little girl is a calm happy baby with a bit of impatience mixed in, lol.  I was amused at her when she couldn't quite get things to do as she thought she wanted them.  She'd sling something away and then grab it up again to wrestled with it a bit more. We've been missing our grands and this one was available right away so we got our Gramma and Grampa fix.

It was a lovely drive up to Katie's home.  There was, as I said a nice bit of snow between her area and ours and it made everything look so beautiful and fresh somehow.  The roads were clear and for that I was deeply glad.  It was a very pleasant day overall despite the deep bone chilling cold and hard winds that blew.  Katie made spaghetti which suits me perfectly when it's cold outdoors and a lovely salad.  I brought along a peach cobbler and the stuff to make that cheesy garlic bread that so suits Spaghetti...Do you know the one I mean?  It is a mixture of fresh garlic, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese and if you do it as the recipe says you add in butter, too.  Then you spread it on a coarse but not dry bread slice.  I like a good french or Italian bread.  Then toast until the cheese bubbles.  Usually I bake it at 375F or even 400F but never any hotter than that.

John took a brief nap after dinner as did Taylor and as soon as she was asleep, Katie asked if she might do my nails.  I haven't really done much with my fingernails in years.  Over time they have taken the brunt of housework and yard work and polish never lasted 12 hours much less 24.  To remove and reapply aggravated my dry ragged cuticles.  So I've resorted to keeping my nails clipped short and kept them clean and that was that.  I do generally do a pedicure weekly in the warm months but no manicures.

Katie wanted to do a gel polish on my fingers which she promised me would hold up at least 9 days to hard wear.  I think I surprised her with my color choice:

She chose the 'accent nail' color.  I love it.  And honey this was one hard working nail polish.  A week later, I'd not chipped one nail.  I cleaned and scrubbed and washed and scraped and mopped and had done all the usual things.  Not one chip.

 I am so sold on this type of manicure that I purchased my own kit this past week so that I can have the pleasure of painted nails once more...though Katie did offer to give me a manicure each time I come to visit and honestly if there is time I plan to take her up on it.  But I also plan to make this my year to 'polish' up on hand care.  I'd already started by adding a small tube of a deep moisturizer and a larger tube of hand cream to my makeup box.  I'd taken to applying both just after washing makeup from my hands and my skin and nails were looking a little better than they have in many months.

I also tucked in a bottle of eyeglass cleaner and one of those special lens cloths so that my glasses were cleaned each time I put on makeup as well.  It's all part of my improved grooming resolution for the year.

I've been decluttering things again.  Someone commented that I do this all the time and I must have nearly nothing, lol.  Well, no.  But what I do have is fairly well organized.  However, it's also truth that I have this collecting habit and this keeping habit and over the years I've sort of worked my way down through the real clutter to what has sifted down underneath.  Our closet looks almost empty at the moment aside from paper work that needs to be gone through.  I'm sure I'll end buying a new shredder as I've nursed this current one along and repaired it three or four times now.  But you know what?  I feel lighter and less burdened than I have in years upon years and that's why I am always working on decluttering.

For me it's more than physical stuff, it's emotional and personal.  In the house I grew up in, on the surface we appeared to be one thing, an average  lower middle class family.  Under the surface was a mess.  I mean literally, in closets and drawers and inside cabinets there was a mess!  Clutter and hidden things.  And so it was with our personal lives.  Alcoholism, compulsive spending habits, compulsive eating habits, and lots of hurt and heartache.  I'm not so naive anymore that I don't realize that many families deal with something like this, some form of dysfunction.  But at that time, it seemed to me that the closets and cupboards told more about the truth of our family than the neat clean surface and the oh so carefully worded lies did.

Have I swapped compulsive neatness and cleanliness for compulsive eating or other behaviors?  No, not at all.  Look into any closet or other storage area in my home and you'll see a neat, mostly organized space with some obvious things that need a little work yet.  And yeah, I'd say that is pretty much who I am.  Not perfect but better, still in need of some work.

I was in a fog of sorts last week and I think it was the odd weather and the lack of routine.  I was out of the house 5 days in a row this past week which is very unusual for me.  It meant I kept up with the routine home keeping and meals but I'd not gotten beyond the surface things, not in work nor in thinking.  And then too there are books.  I finished two last week, started two more this week.  I've read vintage magazines which is also a sort of escape from reality.  I've not been hibernating exactly but I do feel a bit as though I have been.

And yet, I have some things from January I can easily look back upon that did get accomplished. Like that mini makeover in my bedroom.
I'd had pretty much the same arrangement on my dresser for five or ten years...I decided I needed to look at something fresh and this is a lot simpler and less expected in a bedroom.

How do you like the new quilt?  I have it over the backside of my old summer quilt at the moment but that teal blue color makes my heart sing.  I feel good every time I walk into my bedroom and see it.  You can just get a slight peek at the sheers in the windows if you look at the very top of them.  The sunshine was so very bright that it washed out the pattern and color.  If I'd taken photos on a cloudy day you'd never see a thing but shadows.  The sheers have the same sort of teal in a budded branch pattern that runs vertically over the sheers,  Had it not been for the absolute need of black out curtains in summer afternoons I'd have happily put up just the sheers.

And there is that closet that is almost empty of all but clothes and suitcases, as it ought to be.  I moved all the photos into baskets I'd purchased and put them in the washstand next to the bed, so they are better protected.  I have albums on the other side of the compartment.  I have sorted out a few books and dusted walls and tweaked things just enough to make it feel different.  There is a lightness about the house that wasn't there prior to this month.

I've been deeply involved in Bible study this month as well, going deeper than I've been in quite a long time.  There have been wonderful lessons and revelations.

I've faced things I feared and got them all sorted out as best I could on my own and made choices and decisions that I'd rather not have had to make at all.

But I still feel I've muddled about.  That I've lost chunks of time.  And it is my wont when I'm working at making things fresh and clutter free to not stop work to go out to the shed.  No I pile everything in the guest room and it's like a smack in the face to go in and see the mess I've made for myself.  I knew this week was going to be a wee bit busy and so I have pushed cleaning the guest room back to next week...but oh come that first free day next week!  I mean to get that room cleared up and made nice once more.  I may not yet have the dresser/vanity/storage I'd hoped to find for the room and I may have to wait a bit before I can attend to it yet, but I can most certainly make it look a lot sweeter than it does at the moment.  Fortunately I've no guests planning to come spend time with me just at present.

I haven't written as much as I'd intended to last month.  There have been distractions, and malaise and hiding myself away and then being overly busy.  A couple of weeks ago I was sitting outside the body shop that repaired the Honda.  John was inside and I was sitting in the car minding the ice cream we'd just bought, wondering how long it could stay frozen.  I reminded John of the ice cream and bagged it in one of the insulated bags and then I pulled out my Sudoku puzzle book which I keep handily in the car's dash pocket for just such a time.  You see the guy at the body shop is also a guitarist and though he means to hurry along, John and he will discuss guitars.

So I'm sitting there waiting on John, and I hear the train whistle blowing.  Not odd, as the body shop is next to the railroad tracks.  The whistle blows again and again and I looked to see which direction it was coming from and discovered to my horror there was a man standing on the track at the crossing nearest me, his back to the train, staring straight ahead.  I thought at first that perhaps the man was deaf and couldn't hear the train.  I waved at him frantically but I realized when I looked at his face that he was doing this on purpose.  He stared stoically ahead and remained perfectly still, ignoring me.  I screamed at him and started out of the car only to watch the train come within inches of him...and he stepped out of the way at the very last possible moment.  I felt ill.  Then I got just plain old mad.  Had the man stepped to my side of the track I'd have given him a good old fashioned mad fit.  As it was, I was on the opposite side of the train which ground to a halt with smoking brakes and effectively stopping traffic from going through the three crossings in town.

I have no idea why or what the purpose of this man's 'dare' was but I was mighty upset by it.  John came out of the shop and took one look at my face and said "I'm sorry!  I was coming!"  I shook my head at him and said "Nnnoooo...The man, you see there was a man...." and at the same moment the wife/owner of the body shop said "Huh...the train never stops here like that..."  I explained to them what I'd seen.   It made no matter that the man had stepped away just in the perfect moment to keep from being hurt.  Ugh.  My emotions were all over the place. And then I got mad because this unknown person had taken up so much of my emotions!  How dare he play his stupid game and not consider there might be others who witnessed it?

I'm not going to rehash all the thoughts that went through my mind that day, nor the next.   I am grateful the outcome wasn't something horrific.  I am grateful there were apparently few witnesses besides myself and the train conductor.  I finally decided that whatever his purpose, I had given over enough of my thoughts and emotions to that stranger.

I struggle with enough things, including relationships in my personal life, that take up far too much of the real estate of my mind.  I'm learning to shut thoughts off and I guess this last situation was enough to help me see how much better at doing this I've gotten.  Not perfect yet, but better and for that I'm grateful.

We had a fairly busy two days back to back and then there's been today.  Sunday it was church and then we came home.  Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment and John decided Sunday night to go ahead and buy groceries, because I'd mentioned on Sunday that we'd be in that same town three or four times in the coming week.  It's 35 miles away for goodness sake and it does begin to add up when you're going over several times in a 7 day period!  Anyway, he decided we'd go ahead and purchase groceries even though we hadn't yet gotten paid and then he decided we'd go down and pick up his check.  He'd forgotten all about the doctor's appointment and there was only an hour of time between our finishing up with groceries and the appointment.  He said he didn't want to just sit and wait about and I understood that, but what else was there to do?

We went to the grocery deli and ate in the food court.  There were baby boys everywhere I looked yesterday and I couldn't help but think of my own grandsons and the new baby that's on the way...Oh I hadn't mentioned that one to you had I?  Yes, my youngest and his wife are expecting their second baby come late summer or early autumn.  Bess and I agreed we are both anxious to know whether this baby is a girl or boy.  So I sat and pondered on what the coming baby's sex will be and though over my other lovely grands.

My doctor visit went well, as I assumed it would since I have had no troubles over the last three months.  He was concerned about my migraine which I'll still lay at the weather's feet as it's been crazy with mugginess and clouds and rain and then sudden sunshine.  Do you know it was 79F here today?  But I was telling you about my doctor, wasn't I?  Concerned he is and he urged me to eat fish at least two times a week if not three and I admitted that once was plenty for me but I'd be sure to do it at least once.  He suggested I take a higher dosage aspirin as well.  It seems with my 'history' of blood clot now we must worry about sticky platelets.  Frankly, I admit I am sure it's weather related but then I remind myself when I was suffering with pulmonary embolisms I was convinced it was an allergic reaction to Carageenan so what do I know?  Practice on the side of caution is best.  I agreed to take a higher dosage of aspirin but told him I preferred to build up slowly as in the past it's been killer on my stomach to have full doses.  He is very accommodating this doctor of mine and will accept reasonable compromises.  I also promised I'd really get out and in every single day.  Not just rely on housework as my exercise you see.  No doctor seems to feel housework is really exercise...

I'd lost another ten pounds over the last three months, which surprised me.  I didn't feel I'd lost weight despite going down a size in jeans.  I don't know...we do lose objection when we're observing ourselves up close don't we?  At my age and stage of life, my face sometimes swells a little...and Katie always mentions that the baby loves to grab 'turkey neck' which I told her I found mildly offensive and she retorted 'too bad', lol.  She did explain that the baby grabs her own neck and that was what she called it, but I do have a little lack of tone and tension there and so of course, it bothers me.   And we just won't even discuss the other areas that appear to be flabby!  Anyway, I didn't feel I'd lost, didn't see it in the mirror and so I was nicely surprised to find I had and that too is a good thing, turkey neck or not, lol.

This morning, I sat down to pay bills, a task I had little time for yesterday.  I didn't have the TV on, something I've been doing more and more when John is gone.  I prefer to sit here and listen to the house and to the world outside.  This morning I heard Geese.  Lots of geese.  As in hundreds of geese flying northward.  I suppose ten or twelve bands of them went over through the hour I sat there paying bills and each time I'd listen hard to them honking away.  I thought of the Ground Hog and I suppose he saw his shadow as it was sunny at the time but the local news says he didn't and there were the Geese on their way north once more.  I felt my heart lift a little, because spring must surely be near once again.  And I felt sad a little because we didn't have much of a winter (I say this knowing a blizzard is sweeping across the midwest northern states at the moment).  I have appreciated winter this year and I mean to continue to learn to appreciate it.   There is no doubt however, we've had nowhere near enough the cold hours to make peaches and that as you know is my most looked forward to summertime  expense indulgence!

Oh my gracious!  I'm afraid I've kept you too long, it's gone dark outside. Well hurry home but hurry back too.  I hope to chat a bit more often now that February is here.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

This Week In My Home...Migraine Version

 This week in my home...

Ugh.  I woke with a headache this morning and the thing has stuck with me all day long.  It's a migraine but I don't have the horrid headaches that I used to have with them.  These days the migraine manifests with a very mild headache but a general feeling of malaise, tension in my shoulders and neck, a bit of nausea, a desire for intense quiet (so you know my husband has been super chatty today) and a hypersensitivity to aromas.  I nearly lost it over a bar of Zest soap.  This shall pass, I know and if it's not done with by bedtime I'll drop some lavender oil on a soft cloth and breathe in deep.

Nevertheless, a plan for the week ahead must be tended to and rightly so.  No one wants a free for all week in this house.  Our stores of meat are getting very low and I need to use all my thinking powers to stretch what I have until I can get time and money together to visit the meat market.  Groceries must be bought, bills paid, money saved.  February will be a hard month for us.  Car tags, property taxes and and four birthdays in 29 days.  Yep.

...I plan meals:

Oven Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Steamed Cabbage, Biscuits

Chicken Fried Rice,  Mixed Oriental Vegetables, Clementines
Rice and chicken is cooked, and vegetables are prepped and ready to cook.  This will come together quickly for an after church meal.

Cubed Steak Sandwiches, Oven Fries, Apples
Unusual to have sandwiches midday but I have a doctor's appointment and we'll need to leave at lunch time to arrive on time.

on my own

take out or deli

Chicken Enchiladas, Corn, Salad, Pineapple
I thought I'd make chicken salad from the remaining portion of the chicken I stripped from the backs but you know, I'm pretty sure that I can spare a half cup or so of rice and a cup of black beans to mi with some o this chicken and make a third meal from it.

Stuffed Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn Muffins
I put this entree on my menu a couple of weeks ago and then discovered I had no cabbage.  Well I have plenty of cabbage and I especially set aside those lovely deep green leaves for this dish.

...I plan my work week:

It's Harvest Week, so all that goes with that day: paying bills, banking, mail, shopping lists, etc.

Grocery shopping.  And time to do it the right way.

A doctor's appointment.

Tag items for the booth.

Go into the booth and place a few more items, settle up for January.

Finish cleaning the walls (kitchen, back entry).

Go purchase car tags and pay taxes.

Post a book review.

...I plan my fun:

I was out of house so often last week that there was no fun day.  This week I've only one day to myself and half that shall likely be taken up with a morning of errands and such.  When I come back home, I shall spend the afternoon working on genealogy things.  And I shall spend some time in that chair near the windows reading my current library book and sipping coffee from my pretty cup and saucer.  To me that is the ultimate fun day.