Friday, January 20, 2017

Frugal Friday: Mighty Fine

Saturday:  Rest day in our home.  We had cold cereal for our breakfast.  John used Almond milk.  I had two bananas that were perfectly ripe.  One more day and either one was done for.  Having supplied my freezer with banana pound cakes and baked banana nut doughnuts and made banana cookies this past week I was hardly ready to put more banana anything in the freezer, which wouldn't have held so much as a banana anyway.  So I doled out one a piece and we ate the whole thing.  That would be TWO fruit servings each.  I did find the banana offset any need to add a sweetener to the plain cereal I was eating.  Since 1/2 banana has about 15 carbs and a 1 tsp of sugar has 22 carbs, I came out ahead eating two halves of bananas if it made that cereal palatable without sugar.

We had the second pan of 3 bean chili and rice enchiladas.  It was so yummy, even the second time around.  Cheap eats can so be delicious and flavorful.  And there's a third round of leftovers that I made space for in the freezer.  I'm not sure how but I wiggled it in there!  I'm sure not having to store that last banana in the freezer left me just the right amount of room.

I took a few minutes before bed to set up the coffee pot for John's morning cup and to pre-measure and set out the ingredients for our morning oatmeal.  I store the cracked egg and the milk (almond milk in this case) in the fridge.  The oatmeal, a little sugar and dried cranberries (and a pinch of salt) were put in the saucepan and then capped off with the lid.  Tomorrow morning, when I stumble to the kitchen and my brain is screeching for a morning cup of coffee and is instead going to get tea,  I won't have to worry about measuring wrong and messing up John's work morning breakfast.

Sunday:  John off to work this morning.  He had breakfast  He had coffee.  He had his lunch packed and ready to go out the door with him.  I call that a morning success story!

I stripped the bed, snatched up the bath towels and started a load of clothes to wash.  In fact, I did two large loads this morning since I decided to wash the mattress pad as well.  ALL clothes were hung on the line to dry or on the drying rack.  It meant doubling up on napkins and pillowcases but I feel sure they will dry just fine today even though the sun disappeared.

It's the little things: a cool but lovely morning, an awesomely beautiful sunrise.  Tea and toast on the front porch gazing at the skies and thanking God for His lovely creation.  I faked out the cat and dog by going to the back porch first and then slipped out the front door so I had that lovely morning to myself for a wee bit.

Listened to numerous sermons as I did the housework this morning.  Often when John is gone I leave the TV off all day long, but this morning, I wanted to fill my home with good sermons. 

Frozen leftovers for my dinner.   It was too much for one but I was able to downsize the container so less went into the freezer.  Leftover salad, leftover broccoli.  None of it tasted like leftovers. 

Cleared the bookshelf in the guest room so we can move it next week when the carpet is installed in that room.  Sorted out another box of books and set them aside to donate.

Pulled groceries from the pantry required to make meals this week.  This way I know what needs to be added to the shopping list and what doesn't.

I wrote out my menus for the week and posted on the bulletin board.  Glad I decided to keep checking the calendar.  I'd forgotten John scheduled himself to work a half shift this week.

Took time out from cleaning to watch The Kitchen on Food TV just as I promised myself I would do. 

Monday:  Made breakfast for John when he came in from work.  I then cleared up the kitchen and fed the pets.

After Bible study this morning, I set about making up several meals (or at least prepping them) at once.  I cooked lentils then made into lentil taco filling.  I sliced vegetables for dinner today and for meals later in the week. I also sliced some oranges and stored in the fridge for easy snacking. 

What I used up today: 1 pound of brown lentils that have been on my pantry shelf for way too long, 1/2 cup buttermilk that was dated 2014, but I seriously doubt that is correct since I've frozen buttermilk multiple times since then and never have had a container left over.  Odds are it was definitely from 2016, however, and time to have been used up.  Two apples that were starting to wrinkle were cored and baked (using fruit juice to keep moist and slightly sweeten) for a low sugar dessert.  We'll be having corn chowder for our supper tonight and that is likely the last time I'll make and freeze that.  As good as it tastes with fresh corn, it's just not one of my favorite soups.

Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

John washed a small load of clothes.  He used the dryer for all the lightweight pieces so it took only 20 minutes to dry them.  He hung the heavier items on the line to dry.  He went outdoors to work on a project, so I timed the dryer load, removed the items and folded right away so they wouldn't wrinkle.

John didn't eat his lunch yesterday.  Since I'd just made it and nothing of it was spoilable (not for a long time at any rate), I simply popped it back into my fridge.  He keeps his lunch in the fridge at work and has cold packs in it so it was all good and cold when he brought it in.  I will repack it when he works tomorrow.

Set up breakfast, pre-measuring items for oatmeal, setting the coffee pot to brew extra early, filled my little saucepan with water for my morning tea.  Anything I can do to ease my transition from sleep to waking is worthwhile.

Tuesday:  I loathed that alarm at 5am this morning...

Quickly packed John's lunch, dumped wet and dry ingredients from each jar into saucepan and turned on my water to boil for tea.  This took all of three minutes perhaps to put the day in motion.  Then I could stare woodenly at the saucepan and stir.  By the time John had showered, his breakfast was made, my tea was ready and his lunch had been packed up.

Ran through Swagbucks 'to do' list this morning and somehow scored a survey that took no time at all. 

Transferred $20 from Pinecone payment into my bank account.  This is my personal account and I am trying to build the poor thing up.  It needs a hard boost but there's none forthcoming.  This is the fund I use to purchase my clothing and all the household d├ęcor stuff from, so in went that small earnings.

Cashed in Swagbucks for a $15 Lowes card.  This will go towards the next blind I need, which is the guest room.  It's a larger window than any of the others and so will cost more to purchase.  But it's just one window and not two at a time like all the others!

I did light housework and piddled about this morning trying to determine how to spend my day.  Should I run errands?  Work in shed?  Clear smalls from the guest room?   I was feeding the dogs when I got a call from Bess.  She desperately needed someone to take care of Josh tomorrow.  Sam has to be in Macon, the friend who normally watched him for her was busy with appointments herself and Bess was scheduled for two back to back appointments at the same time.  I won't be going down.  Sam will come here with Josh tonight to spend the night and I'll keep him here tomorrow.  Which means no grocery shopping.  Which means errands today for sure!

Josh deigned to leave Mickey Mouse Clubhouse long enough to say hello to me.  He called me Gamma...Five weeks ago I was still Genny Genny.  I don't know if I'm proud or sad or both.

I really did think I'd go visit thrift shops but reality bit.  I have a shed full, FULL, of pretty things I've set aside because I don't want to use them in my home just now.  I haven't even started planning projects yet this year and have no need of any thing I can name.  Why go thrifting?  When I asked myself that, I was able to see that  I didn't want to ...I just wanted to do something different. 

So I went over to the next town to the larger Dollar General and picked up bananas and a pint of milk.  Yes, just a pint.  I was able to knock out a good portion of a non-grocery shopping list of needs: baby aspirin, deodorant, toothbrushes, emergency cat litter, milk, bananas, new dishcloths, etc.  Then I headed to CVS where I bought the face cream I use, and got at a bargain courtesy my ECBs and a 25% off coupon that printed out at the kiosk. 

Went by DQ and got the $5 lunch and ate in the cemetery next to the oldest graves.  Now that might sound odd, but it's lovely there with huge old cedars and an antique iron fence and graves from the 1840's and possibly earlier (sunken spots with no headstones).

Realized on my way home that one item on my list was completely ignored and was the most needed after deodorant and milk.  I stopped at the local grocery and got that item, just one, because it's more expensive there but it was more convenient to shop local than return from whence I'd come.

Came home and sorted out my closet in the accessory/shoe alcove. I'd left it a mess. Much neater.  While I was there I grabbed the purse that needs new straps and removed one of them so I can take it to measure against the chain I plan/hope to purchase to replace the handles.  Put said strap in my purse.  No excuses.

I'd thought I'd move donation boxes of books but strained myself lifting one and decided it wasn't such a grand idea after all.  It can wait until there's help about.

Wednesday:  I survived the day with a very active 2 1/2 year old boy...Anyone giving out medals for that?  

Accomplishments today were very low:  We had Lentil Tacos for dinner which were good (Josh had a hot dog and French fries).  I opened a packet of pre-made taco shells we'd bought back in May...dead ants fell out of the inner sealed packaging...Not a happy woman, I went to fetch the second package we'd bought.  No ants!  We can only assume, since nothing else from the pantry has had ants, that this was a manufacturer's problem.  Not typical of the product which we've used many times in the past. 

Other than that, I was the engine to the choo choo that pulled Josh up and down our hilly  driveway, colored on the patio with sidewalk chalk, walked the yard over many times, had my photo taken 100 times, helped a little boy up and down from wagon, chairs and stairs 100 times, encouraged him to eat at the table, wiped his nose and washed his face, was a drummer to his piano and grandpa's guitar (haven't been asked to make a second appearance so I think my career as a drummer is over before it's begun), was read a book which began, "The End!" and ended with,  "Good book!", and turned Josh into a rabbit at least 100 times using a drum stick as wand and saying "Abra Cadabra!" as ordered to do.  It was a glorious day and I say sincerely that this Gramma and Grandpa were smiling enough to make our faces ache. Loved every moment of my day.  And I'll just bet I sleep really well tonight.

I set up the oatmeal fixings, pre measured and ready to combine for tomorrow morning.  I set up coffee to drip.

Thursday:  I think I slept as hard as any worn out two year old last night.  I was reluctant to crawl out of bed, but awake well before the alarm went off.

Made oatmeal and packed John's lunch.  I made him a to go cup of coffee to carry with him.

I  was out of enough things that not grocery shopping was no longer an option.  I headed to Aldi early this morning and was back home well before lunch.

Eating breakfast at 5:15 means by 10:15 I was so hungry I could have chewed my fingers.  I stopped at Burger King and ordered a breakfast sandwich and ate it.  Cheaper than lunch and still fresh and good.

Once home, I put away the groceries, then sat right down and totted up the checkbook.

Two purchases made at Aldi today I put on my list last week and yesterday.  They were non-grocery items. One was a blanket to replace our ratty one.  It was $14.99 and I will see if it's warm enough to suit John.  If it is then I'll cancel my order for the $40 blanket with a long shipping delay.    The other was a $5 kit similar to Spirograph.  I remember I enjoyed that greatly when I was young and thought it something Daniel might like to play with when he visits.

I did not shop anywhere except Aldi today.  I spent about $20 more than I normally do (not including the blanket and toy) but I added Almond milk and a big container of mixed nuts to the shopping list.  Both items were way cheaper there than they would have been elsewhere.  The almond milk has done very well for us in the oatmeal, and allows John to have a dish he'd otherwise find too savory rather than custard-y as he's accustomed to eating it.  I thought the nuts would be a good snack item.  It will last us quite a long while.

Made a salad dressing for my salad this evening.  I wanted a thousand island type dressing.  I used up the ketchup that was at the last of the bottle.  I made salmon cakes from a small 5 oz. can of salmon which is perfect for serving one.

Love inspiration!  Today alone I've had ideas of how I might accomplish three tasks using what I have in a new way.

Friday:  Woke not feeling well today.  Nothing much wrong but nothing much seemed to go right with the beginning of the day. 

I woke super early.  There is a comfort in sitting in a quiet house watching dawn lighten the sky.  It was a good time for prayer.

I made hash browns and eggs.  It takes moments to cut up a potato for hash browns.  I am often tempted to buy the bags of frozen or freshly cubed potatoes but I always manage to talk myself out of it.  I recall how good fresh potatoes taste and how easily they are cut up for the dish and pass them by. 

Planted the rosemary I purchased after Christmas.  Removed the rosemary I thought had died from it's bigger planter and planted directly in the ground too.

I tried to dig up the small little rose bushes coming up but those babies are attached to some huge roots and too much for this woman.  I'll see if John can rescue the one that is almost up but I simply cut down and mulched well over the one that wasn't going to budge.

Planted peas in front of the rose trellis. It is on my list of things to do next week but we are due heavy rains this weekend.  I know the ground now is just soft enough to dig and not waterlogged.  The peas should be done by the time the roses put out and need the trellis.

We will have leftovers today.  I simply do not feel well enough to work anymore today now the basics are done. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Please feel free to share what you did to save and live well this week.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dressed Like a Lady: At Home

I started this series of posts this week because I think how we look is important. I don't mean whether or not we're fashionably up to date or wearing the latest designer styles, but how we present ourselves to the world, whether it's the community outside our doors or to those who see us daily in our own homes.

I do realize that many will say this is shallow and unimportant but I disagree on many scores.  Number one, how we look affects how we perceive ourselves.  It's easier to feel more confident and self-assured  when we take time to tend to our personal care and show it.  I think that looking decent has an effect on our overall sense of how prosperous we are.  Even when I had just two shirts and two pants long ago, knowing that what I put on daily was clean and freshly ironed and starched made a HUGE difference in my concept of NOT feeling poor.

Number two, it's important to our family.  Has your family ever asked you "Where are you going?" when you had no intent of going anywhere but just took the extra time to look presentable?  It might be a sign you've let yourself go if that is a common question just because you put on a clean tee shirt and  pair of jeans or you put on something other than your pajamas when you're at home! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dressed Like A Lady: It's Not Just Clothes

Parts of this post are a repeat post from July 2015.  I thought it appropriate to our theme this week of 'Dressed Like A Lady'.  I do not currently use all the brand specific products shown within the original post.  Often it is about the TYPE of product used rather than the brand used, so please note that.  I've also added more  information to the material to round out the post for our purposes here this week.

While this is hardly a fashion blog and not likely to turn into one, it has certainly been my focus of late about how to look my best on a budget.  That being said, it's understandable that as I put on my makeup today I couldn't help but note some basic items that I consider my 'go to' items.  I do have other make up items but they don't stay in my cosmetic bag.  They move in or out depending upon my mood/season/desire for change.  My basics stay pretty much the same.  I thought you might be interested to know what I use and why/how.

I start with a concealer stick.  I prefer one that  is in crayon form.   I have some sun damage to my skin from years of time spent in the sun without sunhats or sunscreen.  While the damage is not horrid, there are some dark spots I like to tone in a bit.  I also have dark outer corners on my eyes which make my eyes appear droopy.  I put this on first before I use foundation.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dressed Like A Lady - A Challenge for Us This Week

I watched a marathon of several episodes of the six seasons of Downton Abby at the end of December.  I love much about this series: witty repartee, outstanding actors and actresses, beautiful English countryside, gorgeous costuming, and a real live look at history as it was. 

One of the things I noted in several of the last episodes I watched related to the dress of the Ladies of the manor.  I thought,"I could be well dressed, too, if I had a lady's maid!"  Well I can be well dressed without a lady's maid if I just pay attention to the things I noticed while watching the program.

They planned ahead what they would wear the next day.  When the Dowager lady Grantham discovered she'd be having a caller the next day she told her lady's maid Danke that she'd wear something else instead of the dress chosen.  I was less concerned with what was said  after that because I was too busy going "Huh! She'd planned her wardrobe already!" 

A couple of years ago I was desperate to make my wardrobe 'do' for another season when I found myself in tight finances.  One way I insured I didn't wear the same thing over and over again was to take some time to set up an outfit complete with accessories.   I still do this. I base these outfits upon known weather, plans, etc. I always  have one or two outfits for the unexpected things that might come up.  I set up both dressy and casual outfits so I'm always prepared.  The bonus for doing this: I save plenty of time in getting dressed instead of standing there pulling on a dozen things and discarding them.  I also save money.  I found that I wore more of my wardrobe more often and if I find something is seldom used, I soon remove it and place in a giveaway/donation bag.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Eating On A Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard Challenge - Others Join the Challenge

L.E. said...

Very interesting challenge. I live in a fairly high COLA city, but thankfully we have Aldi. I could do this challenge only because we don't eat meat, and because of Aldi. Our Aldi has handheld baskets available for free so I wouldn't need the quarter for the cart.

By us, per pound, potatoes are the cheapest food there is. Aldi sells even cheaper potatoes than I buy.

All Breakfasts: fried potatoes and 8 eggs over the course of the 7 breakfasts.

PB & J - 5 days a week, with a banana on the side
Omelette using eggs and milk, and 1/3 zucchini & cheese; 1 piece toast per person - 1 day
spaghetti with red sauce (no zucchini) - 1 day

Baked potato with butter, and broccoli and melted shredded cheese on top (5 days.) If still hungry can have a second baked potato with butter. 2 days have beets on the side, and 3 days add some black beans for added protein. If don't want the black beans, can either add to the lunch omelette or to spaghetti sauce.
Spaghetti with red sauce, with 1/3 chopped zucchini added (2 days)

Food available for snacks:
1 large banana
a few slices of bread for toast
likely some potatoes
glass of milk

Saturday, January 14, 2017

In My Home This Week: I Got Sunshine!

In my home this week...

...I thought I'd do something a little bit different and just share a few random thoughts.  Okay?

...I am watching as my calendar begins to fill up for the last of the month.  I am always amused by these times when the calendar fills and how the days all seem to fall together.  And then I'll go for weeks without any sort of an engagement or appointment at all. 

... I read an interesting passage in my Bible, in Leviticus this past week. It spoke of the Sabbath of rest for farmland.  I know that we often see fields here in the South uncultivated for a year or so after cotton is grown on it but I don't know any farmer that adheres to the Sabbath rest for the farmland.  I would be interested to see how the Sabbath rest would work for a field, because the promise is that if you do this, the sixth year of harvest will be so large and so abundant you will have enough food until harvest time in the eighth year...with foods leftover to toss away!  Now that is abundance!  Wouldn't that be awesome?

...My celery, romaine and cabbage are all doing very well in the pot of soil. I am sure the warm air and sunshine in the mornings is doing them a world of good.  I have three more romaine root ends I hope to set in a pot this next week.  And in Georgia, it's time to plant green peas.  Peas don't seem to mind frost or cold here.  Parsley would do well this time of year, as well, and lettuce but it does need to be protected from frosts.  I have lettuce seed somewhere...Gracious I need to get busy and start planting so I don't miss out on good homegrown foods!