Friday, December 2, 2016

Frugal Friday: Using What I Have, Holiday Style

Saturday:  I found it a good bit cooler this morning than the past two mornings.  I wanted crispy toast for breakfast, not our usual bagel.  I don't know what it is about nice crunchy hot toast and a hot cup of coffee, but it seems to go nicely with a cooler morning.

I made a recipe of pizza dough...then John decided he'd rather have a turkey sandwich, which turned into not a turkey sandwich but a plate of turkey with some of the leftovers.  More power to him!  That fridge is packed with leftovers and I am trying to put on my thinking cap and determine what I can do with them all and fill the gaps in my freezer with ready to heat and eat meals.  I do have a few ideas.

I fashioned a second wreath from one of the older ones and did some decorating on our back porch entry area.  I have decided that with all the cedar on the place I can afford to keep trimming branches and using that as fresh greenery...Why on earth should I go buy more faux stuff when the cedar is free?

I used a coupon code good through Monday to purchase two items, something for John's Christmas and a book I'd been wanting for some time.  It saved me $10, more than the cost of shipping and tax on the two items.

Made the pizza for supper.  We'll have leftovers.  I will use them later in the week for a meal for a supper for us.

I only used 1/2 of the 1/4 pound ground beef I had cooked on Wednesday.  I stowed it in the freezer.  It will come in handy in the future as pizza topping or soup seasoning.

I reviewed my Pinterest boards tonight and decided upon my theme for indoor decorations this year:  Woods on a Snowy Evening.  I'll be decorating with evergreens, pinecones, moss, milk glass, glass jars, etc.  I have beaded bird ornaments and glass pinecone ornaments I purchased a few years ago.  I used gold edged pinecones on one of the wreaths and a bunch of pretty vintage pinecone picks on the other wreath.  I'll be using pretty much what I have on hand with only a few minor additions should I find them.  I will definitely buy ribbons.  I have two other items in mind but we'll see if I find them.  Neither should be expensive.  I expect I'll pay more for ribbon than anything since I buy it to re-use for several years running.

Sunday:  I combined an outfit that was comprised mostly of pieces Katie had given me.  I only added my own scarf and earrings.  When I came home, I put together another one, again using a top  plus a butter yellow cardigan she'd given me, adding in another scarf and my own jewelry.  And the jeans I wear as my 'good' jeans were also some she gave me, come to think of it.  Probably some of the make-up I wore as well!

I am all about making the most of what I have today.  I used up little baby sausages left from our post Thanksgiving breakfast in our eggs this morning.

While we were out this morning, we stopped to pick up mail and then stopped on our way home to purchase a paper. 

When we came in, I made dinner plates up from leftovers from Thanksgiving Turkey meal. 

I put everything on the counter I could possibly repurpose into leftover makeovers this afternoon.  Two bananas and an amaretto creamer that's been in the fridge awhile: A fancy Amaretto Banana Bread.  When it's cool, I'll put that in the freezer.  Sweet potato casserole and some leftover roasted butternut squash: Autumn Soup.  I didn't have the vegetable broth called for, so I used chicken broth.  I put two 1 1/2 pint jars of soup into the freezer and will add half and half when I thaw and reheat.  Turkey and dressing became a small entrée for two that is now in the freezer ready to heat and eat.  The rest of the turkey and gravy were mixed and will eventually be Turkey Pot Pie.  That's in the freezer, too.   And the carcass is in the freezer waiting to be made into turkey noodle soup a little later.   I have 1 1/2 pints of Chicken Wild Rice soup in the fridge.  If we don't have it for supper tonight it's going into the freezer, too, which nicely fills some empty space and then gives me some quick meal ideas on busy days.  

I have some leftover potato salad which is going into John's lunch.  And that should clear up all the leftovers from this past holiday week but I'll double check tomorrow when I'm not so tired!

Gave myself a pretty manicure this morning while dressing for church.

We washed a full load of sheets and towels and house clothes this afternoon.  Most were hung to dry.

I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Prepared John's work lunch for tomorrow.

I bought a new brow pencil this past week at CVS...For some reason I cannot find it anywhere, yet I know I made it home with it.  I remember taking it out of the bag and placing on top of the cabinet in the kitchen...sigh.  I should have just put it right into the makeup box, but I didn't.  Lesson to me: do it anyway, even if you are busy, and you'll know just where it is in the future. I found it, still in the cloth shopping bag.  Apparently I meant to put it in the make up box later and instead I put the bag away.  Again, lesson to me: put it away right away and then you can find it!

Monday:  Frugal started the day. I made John's breakfast and packed his lunch.

I dressed a little more warmly rather than turn up the heat when the morning air got chilly.

Ate a breakfast of two slices of toast and a container of FREE to me yogurt (a Kroger Free Friday special a couple of weeks ago).

After I fed the dogs, did Bible study and a little housework, I went to the closet and pieced together a second outfit using a shirt Katie gave me.  I wore that instead of the first planned outfit.  Nice to know I've at least two options with that shirt.  I'll have to play with that piece a bit more.

Took a bottle of water with me when I left to go to Mama's.

Took off the trash on my way out.

Not a spendy day today by any means.  It was Mama's turn to pay for dinner and my turn to pay for our ice cream. 

We shopped in the gift shop of Cracker Barrel after our meal today.  I found a roll of ribbon.  It.was.gorgeous.  It was perfect for my theme.  It was pricey.  It was beautiful.  I decided to buy it anyway, even if it was expensive.  Happy moment, when it rang up for half price!  I made bows for both the wreaths when I got home.  I have loads of ribbon left.

I always look at every thing when I'm in Cracker Barrel, even if I don't mean to buy anything.  That's how I stumbled upon that ribbon.  Also how I happened upon a really nice story book for my great nieces'  Christmas gift.  It is a lovely book and was half priced.  I paid for ribbon and book from my allowance.

Decided to put ALL the snowflakes on the tree.  It looks pretty and full and pretty full.  Not sure I need those extra pieces I'd thought I'd buy for it.  I do however, have a tiny little tree in the dining area that has NO ornaments just yet.  Perhaps I'll buy a package of mini snowflakes for it.

Supper: leftover single serving entrée from freezer, leftover last piece of pumpkin pie.  No waste and pretty doggone good.

Sat down while I was thinking hard on money anyway, and pre-planned next year's budget.  I altered a few things and I purposely figured lower than this year's figures on salary but we should manage.  If we can reduce or cut out anything, so much the better.  But at present, with some tightening here and there we should do well overall.

While I was planning ahead I made out three lists of needs/wants: home, personal, and supplies (things I'd normally use and am very nearly out of like blank address labels and page protectors, sticky tabs, pens).  Now I have lists of the items wanted and needed and as extra money comes along can purchase a few of them as they go on sale.

Tuesday:  Rain, lovely wet rain!  The water buckets and bird bath are filled to the brim, the concrete hard soil in flower pots is looser and less compact.  I am deeply thankful for this  rain which has lasted hours in a nice slow steady outpouring.  I pray many others who require it receive it as well!

What to make for breakfast?  We're out of sausages and I won't pick up more until the end of the week when we have a fresh inflow of funds in the account.  I scrounged about and figured out a menu that seemed substantial enough despite the lack of meat. 

Low ambition today.  Nevertheless I made dinner and while I was at it salvaged the green onions from the fridge which were trying to go bad.  I chopped half the package or more for a batch of egg rolls and put the remaining onions in the freezer to use at as needed.

Made 13 egg rolls.  Put one dozen in the freezer.

I had seven wrappers leftover...I have one idea for use but think I'll look for a few more.  Don't want them to go to waste!

John touched up paint on the counter edges.  This is an ongoing attempt to keep the counters looking nice.  The wood had an oil based paint on them originally and the suggestion was that we remove the latex, take off the wood pieces and redo them with oil based or remove and put on fresh wood and paint those with latex.  John likes neither of the suggestions so it's touch up continually.  Fortunately we've plenty of paint and once a week or so he walks about with a tiny brush and dabs at the places that have shed paint.

We had a call from the flooring man about doing our bedroom carpets.  We'd just received Christmas money from Mama and it's not quite enough to cover the cost, but it means the hit to savings is a lot less.  Frankly I don't want to give up my funds for flooring because I had already tagged it for several much needed items and a couple of wants of mine: jeans, underthings, a blanket, a rug for the kitchen sitting, a couple of chairs if I found any viable options at thrift store, etc.  However, I'd very much like to have the carpeting all match and now seems the best time to insure that happens, so we made an appointment for late January and will cough our gift monies for the privilege of it.  And if I see a way clear to return any of that to us, I will and if not, I shall not complain.

Supper tonight was cheese sandwiches with the grapes I very nearly forgot last week on the side.  John happened to mention grapes and I remembered due to lack of space with holiday foods I'd shoved them in the produce bin, where I'd not been since!  I pulled them out over the weekend and we've very nearly finished them now.

Wednesday:  It does not feel like Wednesday at all to me.

My mind has been racing this morning. Since we've had some rain, and since the ground is not overly saturated now is a good time to think of putting in bulbs and pansies.  I'll be out Friday and plan to go by the discount grocery for turkey sausage anyway.  I will pick up a few 6 packs of pansies at $1.20 each.

Saw a pin I'd previously saved about storing loose vegetables in gallon milk jugs with screw on caps.  The jugs at Aldi have changed and are more square shaped and have a screw on lid.  I'd just emptied one and tossed in the trash but thought better of it.  I'd pulled black eyed peas from the freezer that Mama packaged up in sandwich bags and the bottom split open just as I got it over the floor.  Peas went everywhere.  I rinsed out that milk jug well with a tiny bit of soap and water and filled it with some garden peas. It lies flat on it's side and I marked it on the cap with contents but may get a permanent marker and mark the sides as well.  I'll collect more milk jugs over the next few weeks and put all my loose vegetables and even berries in them

Did a quick freezer inventory and noted how much of things I have. I organized it a little better and am certain I can now find what is needed.  Biggest surprise of how much I have on hand?  Three things: chicken broth (I thought I'd emptied a lot of that out.  Apparently I scratched the surface,lol), butter beans (lima beans to some of you though they are truly different as night and day.  Lima beans are more starchy), and corn on the cob.  I don't think we've eaten any since I put it up in the freezer.  I made note that I needed to really start putting those things on the table.

What I have little of is meat.  I can however, manage for about 2 1/2 weeks on what we have.  Since we seldom eat more than 1/2 pound of meat daily and sometimes not that, I am sure I can stretch it to last. It looks like The Fresh Market is not offering the Tuesday specials on ground beef and BS Chicken breasts that they've had for months now, so I'll be shopping around for deals elsewhere.

Read through the sales ads that began today.  Publix has a few items it is more than worthwhile to go buy this week even though it is not grocery week.  For one thing the roast the kids want for our family meal is on sale.  Also John's soda and Nathan hot dogs are less expensive than at the discount market.  Since I plan to be in that area on Friday, I'll go on and check sales at a couple of more stores to see if there's anything on a super good sale.   My day in that city is building up into a big deal.  Better go prepared with a snack and water and possibly even a take along lunch!

I don't shop at one store often, but there is an incentive coupon of $5 off $30 purchase.  Lo and behold they have the roast for sale less expensive than Publix as well as BS chicken breasts for just over $1.30 a pound.  I guess I shall go stock up on meat at that store this week and use that coupon!

Made meatloaf for dinner.  I used one pound of ground meat.  I should be able to stretch the leftovers to make 3-4 sandwiches for us.  Instead of opening tomato sauce and chopping a lot of vegetables, I used about 1/2 cup of salsa as my wet ingredient and that seasoned the meat loaf nicely.  I did add some chopped onions but there was no need of adding more of anything except bread crumbs and an egg.

I thought of a post I'd read recently on a blog about saving on groceries.  One of the statements was to use less cheese.  I agreed with this wholeheartedly, as many blogs will post a recipe and say "We used LOTS of cheese because we love it!"  So do I!  BUT I also know that cheese adds more fat and more expense to a dish.  So while making the squash casserole this morning, I used just 1/2 cup grated cheese.  Rather than grate more to put on top, I did as the money saving blogger suggested and reverted to the method used in many 1940's and '50's casseroles: I topped with crushed crackers.  Bread crumbs or crushed potato chips or corn chips are all good options as well.  All are fairly inexpensive, the chips crumbs are generally leftovers anyway so there's no waste.  The bread crumbs, crackers and chips make a nice contrasting crispy topping on the casserole dish and that adds to the overall appeal of it. 

Thursday:  I don't know just why I overslept this morning, but John was a dear and made us a nice breakfast.  Poor man was no doubt hungry as he waited for my coffee to finally take effect.

We ran errands this morning as we left the house, all the usual stuff: dropping off and picking up mail, taking off trash, going by bank, etc.

John and I went into Home Depot...No surprise there.  We've been spending little bits here and there to fix up our home.  John is still working at finishing off the bathroom wainscoting and needed a brad/staple gun.  He found one that suited his needs.   We were in the paint section looking  at spackle and noted the 'Oops' paints.  I bought a small can of a pretty sage green that was just $.50.  No clue what I'll use it for but it will be used for something.

John treated me to a very nice dinner out.  Because we'd eaten breakfast so late it was an early supper for us, as well.  We brought home leftovers.

John gave me some cash...He knows I like to carry (and seldom will break to spend) a single certain denomination bill.  Knowing this he gave me a little more to buy new jeans with.  I so appreciate his doing that.

We skipped supper and had a light snack a little later in the evening.

I made John's work lunch for tomorrow.  I shared a portion of the leftovers with him.  I saved the rest for my dinner tomorrow.

Friday:  Made John's breakfast and packed his work lunch.

It was quite cold here this morning.  I turned on the propane heater to offset the electric heat pump.

I had a long list of things to do this morning in and out of the house.  I made sure to pack my lists, coupons and such in my purse last night so I wouldn't leave home without them.

Got my haircut at the Ulta salon once again.  I LOVE how my hair looks when they are done with it.  8 weeks between appointments and I look pretty good in between.  I had considered dropping this and returning to a much less expensive cut but John convinced me to return.  "I watched you walk out with a huge smile, head up, shoulders back and you carried yourself well for weeks after.  I think it's worth stretching our budget to make room for this for you."  Well, I didn't see how we could quite manage but then I reasoned that going there once every 8 weeks is do-able.  Happy I listened to my husband because I felt like a few hundred bucks walking out of that salon today.

I wanted a new makeup box, but knew I needed to replenish my aged supply of makeup.  I was on my way to the register when I realized they had just loads of makeup bags and boxes and they all had makeup kits inside.  There was a $5 off coupon in the latest salon sales ad.  I purchased a new makeup box with makeup for $15.  I couldn't have purchased the eye shadow alone for that, much less lip gloss and brow and primer.  I can most certainly 'make do' with that makeup if it's not exactly to my taste for a month or so and I am pleased to have the new makeup box.

John gave me money for jeans.  I headed to the Cato in the same shopping center and looked about.  I found four pairs in sizes that fit me. Note I said 'sizes'...We all know the same size from jeans to jeans is not the same and it varies even more between manufacturers.  I came out with two pairs, one a straight leg pair and one a boot cut, both a dark navy wash.

I took time to return the jeans I purchased two weeks ago that didn't fit.

Really considered hard the rest of my day.  I was tired and had at least five planned stops.  I cut it to three and it worked out just great.

I went into Publix and bought the soda John likes on sale.  It was a great buy and I purchased more than we needed right away.  I also stocked up on Nathan's hot dogs.

The deli was a good place to choose a sandwich for my lunch.  I priced each type and bought according to price, not according to want.  I skipped tea or soda since I had a bottle of cold water with me.

Went to the shopping center in the town between home and Warner Robins.  I went into Roses there to grab up a few things for the kids.  Nothing expensive just little things to sort of add to their holiday.  I did as John requested and kept expenses low.  I think they'll like their little gifts.

I had hoped to pick up items to decorate my little tree with but found nothing for it.  I bought a package of tiny candy canes and think I'll use those on that tree with tiny red balls and some paper snowflakes I make myself.  Not quite my 'Walk in a Snowy Woods theme' I'd planned but so what? 

We are giving Josh a toy that belongs to John and is new in the box though it's been about for a while.  I don't have anything suitable to give to Taylor so I purchased a hand/eye coordination toy for her.

Went into the discount grocer and picked up sausages, a lovely roast for our family meal next weekend and a package of chicken legs for $.69 pound.  I packaged up three packages of 4 legs and 1 package of just 2 legs.  I can fix them in varying ways.  I priced meats overall as I walked down the meat counter.  This place has nice meats.  Not the same quality as I purchased at the meat market but nice enough. It would not be a bad spot to buy meats this month if need be.   I may request we make a trip down to the meat market after the first of the year and stock up on things other than ground beef.  I'm hoping after the holidays The Fresh Market will return to their Tuesday specials.  Waiting until after the start of the New Year will allow me time to see.  If not, then I'll purchase at the meat market.

Bought four 4cell pansies for $5.  I will try to get those planted this weekend before the rains return.  We're due some heavy showers early part of next week. I am so glad that this extended dry spell is broken and deeply glad that many of my neighbors to the east will see plenty of rain this time as well.

Came home and made myself a nice cup of coffee.

Worked on bills for pay day next week.  I haven't quite finished but I did tot up the checkbook and found to my surprise that I almost balance to the penny.

John is working tonight.  My supper is a leftover single serve entrée from the freezer.  I have a dinner plan for tomorrow and I think we'll manage to wing it on Sunday without my picking anything up extra or doing any extra cooking this weekend.   It's been a nice week, not as jam packed as I anticipated, not as productive as it might have been but it's been pleasant and I enjoyed it. 

That's another week in this Blue House.  I hope you all made good savings and will tell us what you did!

P.S.  I'm doing a Boot Camp Refresher course.  Not reading books this go round but digging about hard on Pinterest and blogs. 

Winter Produce: In Season, Best Buys

December, January, February

Belgian Endive
Brussels Sprouts
Buttercup Squash
Cactus Pear
Collard Greens
Date Plums
Delicata Squash
Mandarin Oranges
Maradol Papaya
Passion Fruit
Red Banana
Red Currants
Sharon Fruit
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Coffee Chat: Sweet November Done

Do come in....We'll likely have a few more coffee chats for a bit.  I'm worn slap out at the moment and despite decorating for Christmas and feeling inspired, I feel tired and that means inspiration thus far sputters.  Sputters do not start fires.  They just light up for a quick moment and then they are dead ash.  I was hoping for more, but considering all in all, I'll go in sputters for the time being.

How are YOU doing with the Thanksgiving leftovers?  I quelled mine and ended up with an impressive little bit of freezer meal magic for those super busy days ahead.  Butternut Soup (with a surprise addition) and a future filling for a turkey pot pie, and even a double portion of dressing and turkey with gravy for one of those days when we're less near gobbling.

I will do a quick share of our Thanksgivings.  I went to Sam and Bess' on Thursday for the DAY OF celebration.  Katie was too sick to come and that was fine.  It's a long drive when you feel quite well.  Sam decided to try frying his turkey and let me just tell you, I opened up my car door and could smell that bird cooking and it made me hungry right away.  And he'd just put it in!  It turned out absolutely delicious.  It takes far less time to fry a whole bird than it does to bake one.   John also had a fried turkey at his workplace and the other guys all brought in side dishes.  John contributed potato salad and macaroni salad and rolls.  He came home raving about his turkey, too.

The grandchildren were busy playing and had no time at all for acknowledging the presence of Gramma....though Josh did go stand at the window for a moment and he said wonderingly "It's Genny's car!"  He turned and saw me and smiled and that was it, the whole grand greeting of the Gramma.  That was fine.  It was obvious the children were having fun.

Sam came in and asked if I'd like a glass of wine.  I don't drink wine often but I do like a nice Cabernet and that's what he had.  It was just lovely.  But oops on me!  I'd not eaten since 5:30am and wine on a very empty stomach made me just a bit woozy.  Sam came in again and suggested I have a  It settled me right down to normal once more.  Tipsy Gramma is not a good thing to show the children!  Fortunately they were still ignoring me.

The day went fast but it was lovely.  Bess sat the children on a blanket on the floor where they ate picnic fashion and then they joined all of us at the table for pie.  Josh surprised me by digging right into Sam's pumpkin pie.  He liked that pie very well and when Bess sat down next to Sam with a slice of coconut pie, he dug right into that one as well.   I told Bess if we could just figure out what savory pie he'd like we'd be in business getting that child to eat.  All those children proved to be pie eaters.
And of course, after dinner we sat them on the steps and got a few photos of them all together.  There was a whole series of shots and in ONE they are all looking at the camera at once, lol.  I couldn't help but note that the only one still and looking at the camera in every single shot was the puppy...

Bess and I then went to sit on the back porch where the children were playing.  Well, that didn't last long.  Gnats were pesky since it was 83 that day.  Yes, 83.  It wasn't the gnats that drove us indoors, though, it was sheer nerves.  The twins were playing with Josh's tricycle which you can push or ride.  Zach was pushing Hailey up the ramp and then suddenly let go of her.  Not only was he in dire danger of being run down but we were certain Hailey was about to take a bad tumble.  No, just adult heart attacks occurred.  Then Daniel fell off the porch...He wasn't hurt but it was too much for me.  I'd been watching anxiously as Bess stepped off the edge of the porch over holes her pup dug and I was certain each time she'd take a tumble.  When Daniel fell that was it.  I was done. 

We did note that the leaves in the woods behind the house had taken on lovely color in the few days between my visits.  They'd had several frosty mornings.  When Bess complained of the heat I remarked that it had been in-fall like altogether but those long summer days prior had led to one of the first Thanksgivings I've seen real autumn color on the trees in many years.

I had a nice ride home and  made far better travel time than when I'd made the same trip the Sunday before.  I listened to nice bits of hometown radio stations, mostly religious.  I heard a rousing good sermon, some beautiful music and a little later, a Moody broadcast of the First Thanksgiving.  I learned all about Squanto and what they ate and how history books now have written out the Pilgrim's true purpose in coming to the new land: because they were radical religious people who believed deeply in God and his omnipotence.  It was very interesting and the miles flew as I listened to that broadcast and heard docents speaking about habits and living conditions and reading excerpts of diaries. 

Early to bed that night and early to rise the next morning.  Friday was to be our holiday meal together, our special time.  Well it wasn't.  John had to work a bit late and the cinnamon rolls were no good and burnt, too though they went into a lower oven than suggested and cooked less time. I put them in the oven when John finally came in.   He raved over the work turkey and I raved on Sam's.

My dinner took longer than I'd though it might despite plenty of prep time done before hand.  I was that proud of it though when I put it on the table.  And the table looked lovely, too, by the way.  I used my first set of china with the browns and creams and blues in and set the table linens to match.   That was all fine and good until John was still raving about the work turkey when I set our dinner on the table.  I wanted him to acknowledge how good MY turkey breast was (and it was, too!).  And he wanted to watch TV rather than have dinner conversation until I finally asked him to turn off the TV and pay attention to me.  I loathe asking for attention that by rights ought to be mine...

John and I didn't have words but the day  took a turn that was unpleasant and from that point onward was pretty much spent in silence and as the day went on I had what a British friend calls "Evil Head".  John was silent because he spent most of the day dozing. He was worn out from his shift.  I was silent because who was there to talk to?  I felt a bit cheated in my holiday if you want to know the truth.  So I worked.  And fought back my unreasonable hurt feelings of being ill used all day long.  Ugh.  Not pleasant for me at all.  Thankfully I managed to shut my mouth tight and not spoil th day entirely for John.

I put up the tree and cleaned up way too many dishes and made a bigger production of our meal than I'd meant to.  Wisely I took myself off to bed early-ish again that night and the clouds had lifted and noxious mood was gone by Saturday morning.  The weekend passed far more pleasantly than Friday had done, despite the turkey repeats both days.  I was very happy to whisk that turkey into the freezer Sunday after we'd eaten yet another turkey meal.  I think turkey is grand and really enjoy it but turkey from Thursday through Sunday is a bit much.

John bought me a little wagon a few weeks ago.  It's wooden and painted in Christmas colors...I'd been dreaming of Christmas decorating for weeks.  I have two Pinterest boards dedicated to Pins I'd gathered.  I put the tree up on Friday and added a few decorations Saturday and Sunday but had no clear idea of where I was headed.  Until Saturday evening, when I went through the boards and realized that while I had one theme in my head, what I was pinning was another entirely....and what I had was definitely working with the pinned themes.  I was obviously mightily drawn to the natural looking Christmas so that's the direction I went in.  I called it "A Walk in Snowy Woods".  Now photos online all show images for the phrase as grays and whites.  In Georgia, snow in woods is evergreen and brown and white and sparkly white.  Here and there a red bird or a blue jay flashes a bit of color in the woods, so there are little touches of red. 

One thing I did not have: ribbon.  When I cleared my craft space earlier this year, I trashed all the tatty bits of ribbon I'd kept for years upon years.  They'd been washed and ironed and reused so many times that they truly were scrap bits at this point.  Nothing even vaguely Christmas was in my stash.

I had planned to go shopping on Friday (and still do) but Mama and I were out Monday for lunch.  She'd suggested Cracker Barrel and after we eat we always stroll through the store and look.  I found a beautiful story book for the great nieces for Christmas for half price.  Wonderful bargain and that was going to be my sole purchase.  I'd talked myself into and out of dozens of pretty things when I found myself holding a single spool of ribbon.  Ten yards of the loveliest, most perfect, matching my theme ribbon.  But pricey!  It was far more expensive than any ribbon I'd ever purchased in all my years.  I looked at it and looked at it and finally decided that I'd regret NOT buying it more than I would buying it.  That's always a very good test of things for myself.  I'd asked myself that question with every item I was trying to talk myself into buying and I'd put them all back.  They were not regret worthy.  But this ribbon, sigh, this ribbon was regret worthy.  I walked to the counter with it and thank goodness I had a portion of my personal allowance left.  Imagine my surprise when the ribbon rang up at half off!  I assume it was all part of their holiday sale but I had no idea.  Half price was just barely more than I'd have paid for ribbon normally.

Mama wanted to go by her bank.  I headed down a back road and what a happy thing that was.  We had one of those stumble upon moments:  a whole row of homes decorated to the maximum for Christmas.  I expect at night it's perfectly awesome, but it wasn't bad in full daylight.  There must have been six or seven houses and nothing fancy about them, but it would be a wonder alit to a child.  My inner child certainly responded.  And it had it's own speed zone!  Yes, really it had a special digital speed limit sign which read "Slow....Christmas Lane".  How great is that?

I came home that afternoon with my mind moved well beyond Christmas and focused on next year.  I decided to sit down with the projected 2017 budget sheet and see how I might play with our figures. 
For a first through it worked out very well.  I was very conservative in my figures.  Very.  It seemed well to be cautious until we see how things are going to go but planning is necessary whether or not Plan A makes the final cut. 

While I was working on the budget my mind was turning over the things I know I must purchase for myself, my home and my supplies in the coming year.  I took time to jot these things down and it was while I was jotting that I had a sudden thought of how I might save money in one area.  You see, when I bought our patio set it came with a set of cushions on it.  Rather ugly cushions but they were obviously quality ones and I kept them.  Last summer, I painted two of those old cushions to use on the front porch and they've held up beautifully well.  In the meantime, the set I bought two years ago for the patio set have faded and worn so badly that there is no saving them at all.  I was making out my list and about to write down patio chair cushions when I thought, "I should paint those other two and use those on the patio set and just purchase two new cushions for the chairs on the porch."  Now the truth is, it takes a load of paint to cover that fabric but it does make it more durable somehow, so I'll spend about the value of two cans of paint (if I can match what I've used or four cans otherwise) but that's still less expensive than purchasing four new cushions.  I love when my brain clicks in on a possible savings like that and it's a substantial one!

I felt rather satisfied with my 'quiet work' .  And I suppose my mind wasn't completely inspiration-less after all.  I also realized that I'd bought 7 new tops from Zulily over the last few months and four new shirts from Walmart.   Here's the tally with these:  two shirts were given to Bess, two were given to Katie and one was torn at Mama's on the first wearing.  I had to move two to the home clothes because they were too snug to wear about in public.  John washed two more and dried them and they shrank in length (a ridiculous amount of shrinkage).  In the end, of the $70 or so spent on tops I have TWO that I can wear.  I decided that this was just a waste of my funds.  I might have had two very nice tops that I wore until I was utterly sick of them for $35 a piece and they'd have likely been nice enough to pass on to someone else at that point.  Same amount of money but far more wear in them, so I'll rethink this sort of purchasing in the future.

And lastly there is a Vellux blanket on our bed that has seen far better days.  Now I personally have never bought a Vellux blanket but I've been given them several times over.  An within a span of about 4 years they tend to sort of just disintegrate.  I plan to replace our blanket with a good wool or cotton one instead.  I'd rather spend the extra and have lasting quality I think.

That of course, was my planning...and then we got a call from the flooring guy about doing the rest of our carpeting in January.  It will mean putting other things on hold but with a list I'll at least have an idea where any extra we have come in might be best put to use instead of random spending.  And while I love my tile in the kitchen, I'm less concerned about the match between any tiles in the two bathrooms but I am concerned about carpets at least being pretty doggone close in match.  Right now we can still get the same carpet if not the same dye lot.  Thankfully with computer programs these days carpet and cloth dye lots are a lot nearer matches than in the past when it was all done by hand and mistake!

We had rain finally.  The weather man actually forecast it for three different days this week, with the first two days being Tuesday and Wednesday (less chance on Wednesday).  Still odds were not 100% but it was far higher and far more likely than at any point since August or so.  When I woke Tuesday morning, no rain.  I was heartbroken.  I sat on the edge of the bed and realized that I'd been actually anticipating that rain.  I prayed hard as I sat there.  A few minutes later, as I moved about the house I heard the first little 'ping' on the vent covering on the roof.  It was a periodic ping here and there and then it was a real rain.  It lasted for hours, not a great heavy down pour that would have run off the earth but a soaking rain.  I'm sure that it's not nearly enough, not by any long shot, but it's the first appreciable amount of rain we've had in months and I'm deeply grateful it!

Mama and I were discussing this rainless state yesterday.  She insists that the drought is a judgement from God and la la la....You know.  Every time I mentioned that perhaps in God's plan not having rain might have had a natural purpose she'd pipe right in "It's a judgement from God!"  Now Mama is by no means a religious or spiritual person but try and move her off a thought pattern and she's dogged if she's letting go.  My point was that while droughts are terribly hard and concerning and I do believe that some might be a judgement (after all the Bible clearly prophesies some droughts as judgements), I also believe in God's orderliness.  There's always a counter balance to his creations: light and dark (literally and spiritually), joy and sorrow, sowing and reaping, mending and why not rainy seasons and drought?    Though I suppose really drought is a term we tend to toss about a little more carelessly than God intended , so let's say 'extended dry spells'.  What I was trying to say to Mama was that if we have rainy seasons things flourish, so why can't we have dry spells to benefit us as well, to kill off some weed or bug that might prove predatory and not beneficial?  Is that all clear as mud now? lol

Despite my thoughts of God's good purpose in these extended dry spells, I am sorry for those in the path of wildfires who've lost family, homes, or business.  It's a terrible thing to lose all and have absolutely no ability to control the situation.   It wasn't but a couple of weeks ago that Mama and I were out for the day and on returning down a road near her home, noted a fire burning hot and black.  Someone's home went up in flames in moments.  The fright was that the other houses nearby and the fields between would create a wildfire that might devastate greatly.  Fortunately, the fire was put out before it had spread too far, but it was a frightening thing to know that so many homes were endangered due to the extremely dry conditions. 

I live in the country where people are wont to burn trash in burn barrels.  I recall one year Granny burned a good portion of this place off when one spark lit on dry grass in the field.  That was years ago before we children had homes here.   I know she was being careful in her burning but the hose couldn't reach the area and had it not been for a chance visit from a cousin who helped put the fire out, who knows what might have happened to her home?

It was not cool when it rained and for the end of November I would much have preferred a bone chilling cold to go with the wet weather but I am by no means discounting the wonder of having it rain after so long with out it!

The cat was outraged.  It had been so long since she'd experienced rain that she was beside herself at getting drizzled upon.  She likes one porch railing in particular and it was well soaked.  She yowled and yowled at me when I went out yesterday morning to feed her.  Maddie seemed a bit uncertain herself how to handle the damp but I noted that she was pushed to use that bedding spot I put on the back porch for her, so it wasn't a bad thing.  The cat eventually had to sit on my lap and tell me in quieter tones how upsetting she found it all.  Misu generally doesn't care to be that close to a person, she likes to stay on the ground where she can scoot away when she's had enough but obviously the rain just upset her altogether. 

It certainly freshened the air and John was intermittently opening the doors and taking great long draughts of the moist air.  It did smell nice, too.  The earth smelled good, as well, no longer having that parched  aroma.  How I prayed and prayed that others would benefit from the showers we got here!  Just last week, all of Georgia was declared in extreme drought conditions which is the highest marker they've used thus far to denote the severity of it.

The water buckets and bird bath filled and overflowed.  I was grateful for every last drop.  The flower pots that had been filled with asphalt hard soil had enough water to loosen the soil nicely.  Now I shall fill those with daffodils and grape hyacinth bulbs and pansies.  I haven't got the pansies yet.  I'll pick those up when I'm out on Friday.  I've a nice bit of allowance set aside I can spend on them and I mean to get as many as I can.  They are so cheerful and pretty in winter!

Well, it's time I quieted off for a bit...and it's the very last day of November now.  Tomorrow will start December and the last four weeks of the year.  It's not been a bad year for us here in our Blue House.  Not all sunshine but not all shadow either.  It's been a balanced sort of year with lots of family love and was just the sort of year I needed.  I am, being myself, already planning for next year but I haven't lost sight of the wonder of December and mean to enjoy it as much as possible.  I hope you do as well. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Proverbial Woman Vs. 31

Proverbs 31:31  Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her words praise her in the gates.

Tav (Tahw) is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Numerically Tav represents renewal and restoration.   It's meaning is 'covenant, sign, seal' .  The Tav is said to have a foot to the left (remember Hebrew reads from right to left, just the opposite of how we read English) and because there is nothing to the left of that letter it is thought to be an indicator that there is something more to come, something unknown.  The pictograph for Tav is a cross...

T'nu-lah is our word here.  It relates to 'Give her...' but in the lexicon the word used is a more ancient root word, Nathan which also means 'give'.  It is not simply a handing over though, it means 'grant, recompense, appoint' so you see, it's an honorary sort of giving not just my handing over to you what is yours but it is more that something is being bestowed.

In the old testament, in the Jewish faith, works are everything.   Even in the Christian faith, James reminds us that faith without works is dead.  Our Proverbial Woman has reached the heavenly throne and is being granted to her credit all the good work she did in a lifetime of living.

In the end, she has become wisdom itself.

Final thoughts:
I never intended this study be this long.  I truly believed I could knock it out in the month of October, four weeks of weekday teachings and that would be that.  Here we are very nearly into December with it and I say truly that all I learned in these weeks of study are a mere scratch in the surface.  I could start all over again to teach this same Proverb and tell you many different things that I learned during this study time.  I'm so convinced that there is still more depth to this Proverb that I mean to study it again in the New Year for my own benefit.

I read a great deal in an attempt to learn all I could, as well as scripture and different translations.  Seeking information was sometimes tough.  I would go through pages and pages slightly altering a phrase I meant to look up and eventually I'd have a small little gleaning for all my study.

I also read many dissertations and theme papers on this Proverb.  Mostly I was mightily disappointed in the intellectual viewpoint: that this proverb is inherently anti-feminist, an impossible feat for any woman to live up to, not a modern day woman at all, etc. etc. One even voiced her disgust and anger at this woman working so hard each day while her husband did nothing but sit and gossip with others!  Think she took that view from her own angst much?   I wanted to shake these scholars who failed to see the true depth of meanings in this Proverb.  It is not about a woman who merely labors tirelessly.  It is about a woman who lived for God and everything she did glorified Him.  She influenced her family, her community, by her faith.

Some religious scholars say that this proverb is an allegory of the bride of Christ, the church.  Others interpret it as a portrait of the coming Messiah.  One or two mention that is a pictoral view of Queen Esther.  I can see both these portrayals of the church and the Messiah  but I see also what God has shown me over and over and over again:  We are called to be disciples to Him in all we do, but first we must have that personal relationship with Him.  Until we allow ourselves to be influenced by Him we cannot influence any one else.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

In My Home This Week: Sparkling and Shining Bright

In my home this week, I:
                          decorating my home for Christmas.  Of course, the photo above (and all the rest in this post are, as well) is from last year.  This year's will be....different!  Different from that one, at any rate.  I've had a few inspirations already.  I've only just started.  I've already figured out that I don't have all I thought I had...sigh.  lol  Oh well!  I love being creative and having fun, too.  For me, decorating or changing up a room feeds my creative urges and that leads me to think about things in a different sort of way which leads to inspiration in the kitchen, and in my wardrobe and on the blog.  Sort of a domino effect comes from it.  So I like to be creative and feed that muse.

Do you know what just amazes me?  People who not only decorate this weekend but already have their presents wrapped and under the tree!  Oh gee!  And I've only just this week begun doing my bit of shopping in earnest.  So far I've ordered two presents and then I have a bare handful of items for a few folks.  Not that we do a lot of shopping, but John seems to have fallen into the spirit of a little thing I wanted to do and keeps adding items in.  I'd promised to keep it to a certain spending and thus far he's the one whose bought and keeps suggesting still more things, lol. 

I had the worst foul mood come on me Friday evening.  No reason for it, none at all, and no idea why it even showed up but had you asked me for a recommendation for my husband, I'd have been hard pressed to give a decent one!  What did he do, you might ask?  Nothing.  He was dead tired from his 24 hour shift and he ate a big turkey dinner and did what most do after eating a heavy meal, he went right to sleep and that's what he did all afternoon long.  Which left me free to do whatever I pleased and apparently what I pleased was to sulk and feel resentful and snarky.  Ugh!  Glad the beast got tamed before she opened her mouth to let it all out.

I expect had I stopped a moment and done what I'd promised myself I'd do Friday, REST, I would never have encountered said foul mood at all.  But I slept well Thurs. night and I decided that was good enough and so I proceeded to do far more than I'd meant to do on Friday.  I should have known better after making two long road trips this past week and prepping for two holiday meals on top of all the regular work.  But NO.  And so that tired cloud hung over my head and built up into a regular old thunderhead.  Fortunately it came to nothing in the end. 

...plan my meals:

Pizza, Salad

Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers

Mexican Spaghetti Squash, Green Salad, Mexican Cornbread

on my own x2

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Squash Casserole, Black Eyed Peas

Beef Pot Pie, Salad with apples and walnuts

...plan my work week:

Figure out how to use up all the leftovers in the fridge...Put as much as I can into the freezer as future entrees. I need to pull recipes and put on my creative thinking cap...

Figure out how to avoid eating more turkey right away...Ha!

Make banana bread.

Make apple jelly.

Inventory the freezer and pantry and start lists of needed items.

Finish  Christmas decorating.

Shopping list for minor supplies to finish decorating and make a return while I'm out.

Mop floors.

Plant daffodil and grape hyacinth bulbs.

Seriously get busy trying to alter a pair of pants I could desperately use in my wardrobe.

Start work on the next annual budget...just so I can brace myself.

...plan my leisure:

I have a book I'd like to spend extra time reading.

Spa day. 

Keep my hair appointment.  I am deeply regretting NOT getting my hair cut at the beginning of November. 

Watch the birds at the bird bath (days) and watch the pretty Christmas tree (nights).

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Proverbial Woman Vs. 30

Proverbs 31:30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Sin (sheen) is our next to last letter.  Sin is represented by a pictograph of a molar tooth, known for it's ability to crush or destroy.  It is a letter said to represent God (El Shaddai) and may be found on the cover of many mezuzahs.  Mezuzah are small boxes nailed to the doorposts of homes and contain a small scroll of scripture.

Because of it's shape it is said to represent a three fold cord: husband, wife, God.

Our word in this verse is Sheker and it means deceit or falsehood, lie.

Overall the verse and word seem very straightforward.  Looking further at the letter Sin and it's meanings however, I noted that one author wrote that the three prongs of the letter denoted man's attempts to bring God down to their own level by idolatry, just as the men in Moses camp demanded that Aaron make them a god to worship when Moses was gone more days than they thought he might be.  They did not understand the enormity of the God they were called to be the people of and so they attempted to create a god, rather than acknowledge that the Creator of All was indeed more than anything they might fashion on their own!

Taken in that sense, it is clear that the things of this earth mean little, most especially the sorts of things that man deems as worthy of attention.  Haven't we all  seen how figure and face are lauded, with people going so far as to have themselves surgically altered in order to be more attractive, while all the while within is unaltered and unchanged and often less than admirable?

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.  Matthew 23:25-26

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul...Deuteronomy 10:12

So we find our woman at the end stands before God with the final praise upon her that indeed she has lived Torah, not just read it, nor given it lip service but lived it...

Frugal Friday: Holiday Daze

I have been trying for over a year to get my violets to bloom once more.  They were losing leaves left and right and just not doing well at all.  I stumbled upon a pin about African violets which suggested bright sunlight and watering every time that the soil even began to feel dry.  I thought they were getting plenty of light where they were but obviously not.  I moved them to the kitchen window and both now have buds forming.  Per the Pinterest post I should move them from the window as soon as they begin to bloom...I was soooo close to getting rid of them because I thought they were done, but apparently I was very wrong!

Saturday:  I have a slight cold.  Nothing major but just enough of something to aggravate me and slow me down.  Well today is a rest day anyway.  I slept in this morning, unusual for me but I did, until nearly 9am.  Nice to get the extra rest before the long day tomorrow.

Put a chicken in the oven to roast.  I had Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash that I added to the pan a bit later.  I also put the green beans in the oven to heat a little later, still.  Dinner ready and my prep was minimal since I did it all yesterday.

Gave myself a manicure.  I used some of the Jamberry wraps I bought earlier in the summer months.  I have given a lot of these to my girls, but I kept a few for myself.  Glad I did.  I really am enjoying a more durable manicure.

It was meant to be pretty cold last night.  I went out to the shed and raided my small stash of old towels/rugs/sheets and prepared bedding for the dog and cat. 

Washed a full load of dishes.

Noted how many leftovers we have for the coming week. I won't be cooking very much beyond the holiday victuals.

Sunday:  Left home just a tad later than I'd meant to do.  I stopped in the 2nd town to fill up my car as it was $.20 a gallon less than in my town.

My children treated me to lunch.  It was quite good.

Started home and pushed hard.  I made it to Perry before I stopped.  I picked the grocery to stop at: restroom, bread and dog food were all to be had there.  One stop shopping.  Picked up a sandwich for my supper...then thought better of driving and eating in the dark.  Ate when I got home.

No one truly was home all day today.  That means no water ran (aside from our morning showers and the full load of laundry I did this morning), no TV, no fans, no AC and very little heat.

Hung most of the load to dry.

Bess mentioned a cranberry salad she liked.  I found a recipe that is similar.  I  have all but one ingredient on hand.

Monday:  I set out turkey breast and several pint and half cups of broth to thaw last night, along with our breads for stuffing.   I knew I needed to get a head start on preparations.  It's a long drive down and back (3 1/2 hours one way) to Sam's.  I don't need to be worn out before I head out again down that way!

Today I made dressing.  I needed cream of celery soup.  I made my own.  Why go buy what can easily be made right here at home?  The dressing is all prepared and in the freezer.  I'll take out to thaw Wednesday night and bake when I get up at 5am Thursday morning.

Made pie crusts for my pumpkin pies.

I was continually pulling things from the pantry this morning, with an eye upon what I was missing and what is looking a bit thin.  This time of not stocking the pantry makes me very conscious of how much use it is to us.  We're very low on meats at present. I haven't had time to stock up and just at the moment don't have funds though that will change here in a week or so.  I can't help but think of Becky who lived off her food stores for a year during her husband's unemployment. I've always said a full pantry/freezer is like an additional emergency fund, every bit as important as the dollars we save for the needy season.

I was also aware of how blessed I am that I am a capable cook, well able to make many foods from scratch if need be, like that 'cream of celery' soup I used in the dressing.

I stayed quite busy all morning long. I made good strides on cutting down on the overall work of the holiday.  I feel if I can do as much as possible in prepping our little Thanksgiving meal for two then I can count Friday as a much much needed rest day. 

I had half a large roasted hen in the fridge.  I knew this would be our dinner today. I opened a can of turnip greens and made potato salad to go with the chicken.

After we ate, I put the carcass on to boil.  I have 1/2 gallon of broth (plus a nice hot cup of broth to go with my supper.  I swear it's made me feel much better already!), plus nearly 1 1/4 cups of meat bits.

We went down to pick up John's check and make a deposit.  I don't know where my head was...I forgot to take a deposit slip along with me!  Fortunately I had a blank check with me so they could access our account and deposit the check.  We dropped off bills at the post office on our way out of that town. 

John stopped and bought us a treat from his pocket money.  Very generous considering we didn't get pocket money yet this week.

 Katie had given me a number of beautiful Roma tomatoes when we visited her.  I hadn't used them up despite regularly eating.  This morning, I diced all but two and put them on to cook with some garlic, soda, oregano and parsley.  This made  a cup of 'pizza' sauce as Sam calls it, although I still need to puree in the blender.   I marked it and put in the freezer.

It's short pay period this time and it always seems to hit us doubly hard where grocery funds are concerned.  Here it is holiday meal time and I'm grateful I used foresight to buy the bulk of our holiday food supplies well ahead.  Now I can concentrate on just the few items I don't have or which we typically replenish (eggs, milk, bread, lettuce, fruits) each pay period.  I need three items for holiday meals, none of them expensive.  I am also grateful that I figured out I needed to set aside a little money in the heavier pay period to help us over this short one.  It does indeed come in very handy and in the rare months when both pay periods are flush, I shove it over to savings.

I made out my shopping list, prominently listing those items needed for the holiday.  I have put said list in my purse.  When I leave in the morning, I will be assured of having that list with me.

Tuesday:  I gave the pets the gristle and skin from the chicken carcass yesterday to supplement their morning food.

It is a short pay period and that means short grocery funds.  Thankfully I planned for this and did the bulk of my holiday shopping last pay period.  I needed only small items today.  I did very well, even though I allowed an added item or two extra for John and decided to restock what was on sale ( just what I was using up): 2 cans of evaporated milk, 2 cans of pumpkin puree, a jar of peanut butter.  It's not much but it does ADD to the pantry rather than just reducing it and supplies were plentiful just now at Aldi where we shopped.  I bought lots of produce today because it was inexpensive and beautiful.  Long lasting items like apples and oranges, sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions and celery. 

What we didn't include in our budget this time: snacks or meats.  I do need meats but I don't have funds at the moment so it can wait.  We've enough to feed us this pay period.

No deli lunch today.  John went into Publix to pick up some prepared macaroni and potato salads for his work dinner on Thursday.  That was his choice.  He did ask if I wanted lunch and I told him it wasn't necessary.  We had plenty of the Family Goulash to reheat.  I made a salad after I'd unloaded and put away groceries and heated the dish in the microwave.  We have enough leftovers yet for another serving each.  

Cleared the fridge of leftovers and we ate them for supper.  Now there's a little room to spare for holiday foods.

John repaired my wash stand drawer that came apart a couple of nights ago.  As good as new...and I'm happy as that wash stand is quite old!

Washed a full load of dishes.

Wednesday:  I found a partial loaf of bread that I'd missed Monday morning when I was getting ready to make breakfast.  I'd assumed I'd put it in the freezer.  No, I'd just missed the basket Sunday morning and it had gotten pushed further back on the top of the fridge.  Pure chance I found it this morning.  I used up the good sized pieces for our breakfast and put the small pieces into the freezer to turn into croutons later.

Prepared as much as I could today: mashed sweet potatoes and put into a casserole dish, made Pumpkin pies, washed and trimmed the Brussels Sprouts, washed and sliced potatoes and set to soak in a pan of water, made a cranberry gelatin salad. 

Tomorrow morning when I rise to see John off to work I'll put the pan of dressing in to bake for Sam's dinner.  I'll pack up the gelatin, a pumpkin pie and a pint and half of broth in a cold bag, and the warm dressing in another insulated bag and head south.

Put one pint of chicken broth into the freezer.  Used the remainder of that half gallon of broth to make a pot of chicken and wild rice soup for our main meal.  We had warm pumpkin pie after.  Yum.  Nice winter meal.  I have about 1 1/2 pints of soup left that will be supper one evening over the weekend.

Tentatively planned my Thanksgiving Table.  I'm going to try and have it set when I leave here in the morning.  I'll use one of the sets of china with my brown goblets and I'll craft a centerpiece for the table this afternoon from leaves, and mums, and nuts and whatever else I can lay my hands upon.

John sanded off the top of the Queen Anne table we'd planned to discard.  It's smooth as butter now, much better than I'd thought it could be.  I don't have a spot for it but perhaps Katie can use it in her home or we'll find another way to repurpose it.  In the meantime, John put it in his shed for storage out of the weather.

John suggested a new computer for me, due to the absolutely maddening time I've had with my cursor the past few months.  I told him yesterday that it seemed to be resolved except with Blogger.  Well lo and behold this morning I came to Blogger and discovered the page was set up with a new format...and I've had NO trouble at all with my cursor.  Here's hoping that this is resolved at last.

I cooked two burgers for our supper tonight.  I browned half the package and put the crumbles in the fridge.

Thursday:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Simple savings today.  I did the usual: made breakfast, packed John's work lunch. 

Before leaving home, I turned off all the fans.  Having watched the news I knew that the day was supposed to be 80F...sheesh...I switched the AC on and set the thermostat to 78F.  No one would be home, but it wouldn't run until later  in the day.  It wasn't unbearably stuffy when I returned.

No stops for take out along the way.  I took snacks and water and opted to have my supper at home instead of stopping at supper time on the road.

Placed an order for a gift on Target.  I used my gift cards and paid $4 out of pocket.  I made sure to use shop and earn on Swagbucks to place that order and one at Walmart.

It took seven or eight photos to get one of all four children facing forward.  Only Freya the dog looked at the camera the whole while, lol.  I talked to the four in North Dakota.  I just missed out on Taylor and Druid.

Friday:  Up early this morning, but I slept incredibly well after going to bed fairly early.

I stuffed the turkey and put in the oven when John called to say he'd be late.  I figured I could always put the sweet rolls in after he arrived.

Our sweet rolls were a big bust.  They never rose at all, burned on the bottom though they were cooking for less time than recommended.  As we crunched through them I asked John if he reckoned we got less calories for having them extra crunchy?  I won't buy the Aldi brand canned cinnamon roll again.  I'm seldom disappointed in an Aldi product but every now and then they do indeed disappoint.

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

I washed a full load of dishes after dinner.  They too air dried.

I cut some fresh cedar today and added several bunches of it to my old wreath.  I can't afford a new wreath but I have loads of fresh cedar here on the place.  I'll cut more and add to the wreath but it's looking fresher and prettier for the addition.  I'll hang the wreath on the outside of the front door so there won't be needles falling inside.

I have the Christmas tree fluffed and in the basket....but no extension cord so I can't plug it in.  John has apparently commanded all the extensions and I've no clue where they are nor if the lights on my tree even work. update: found a cord and the lights all work.

I didn't bake bread today and I didn't buy bread either.  I'll be using a bagel for Shabat bread.  I put three fourths of the last loaf of Challah in the freezer, a reminder to me why I quit baking bread in the first place.  John simply doesn't eat it.  He'll go for the sliced bought bread every single time.

We've a load of leftovers...and that's just for home, though I did cook a modest amount.  I left leftovers with Bess and Sam yesterday, as well.

My Black Friday shopping was at CVS and I picked up mostly items that were free or very nearly free.  I spent about $26.  I had a few items that were not on sale and if I'd been smart I would have purchased those after I purchased the items that earned ECBs but there was a long line and 1 clerk.  I hate to hold up a bunch of folks.  I earned $16 in ECBs and will use those in the coming weeks.  I put a few items into my pantry that I could use and it's nice to know they earned me a few Extra Cash Bucks.

That's my week and it was a great one!  What did you do this week?