Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan

There's a green world outside my windows and it's a lovely warm world as well.  Bees are buzzing, birds are chirping and the brief glimpses we caught of neighbors' homes between the trees can no longer be seen.  It's Spring, well and truly.  Now is the time for warmer weather menus.  I've been going through cookbooks looking for new recipes to tempt us.  I attempted one this past week.  I look forward to experimenting further.  John's just made a meal request which happily falls in with my menu planning.  I have a small challenge ahead of me this week as we observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  I'll be creative with breakfasts and suppers this week, more so than with dinners.  What a privilege it is to observe God's word even within my kitchen.

Sunday:  I'm on my own
I have to run to the grocery store this morning to pick up a few things to observe Passover tomorrow evening.  I'll grab something for my dinner from either deli or freezer case.  It is my plans to go out extra early and return home to work on cleaning my kitchen really, really well.

Monday:  Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti, Roasted Italian Vegetables
I have two big boneless skinless breasts.  Friday evening last week I cut one into three nice fillets for sandwiches, so I expect to get two meals from these two breasts.  I won't bread my chicken but will use the yogurt and Parmesan cheese method for coating it.  Today I will also be preparing a meal for tomorrow.  In our observance of Passover we treat it as a Holy Day and do not work.  I'll serve the second breast over a salad one evening for supper.

Tuesday:   Roast Beef, New Potatoes with lemon butter, Green Peas, Tomato Salad
I have a portion of rump roast in the freezer that I plan to thaw and bake.  I'll steam the new potatoes and peas in the same oven.  I'm going to try an all tomato salad, with red and yellow grape tomatoes in a buttermilk dressing as salad.

Wednesday:  Beef Tacos, Refried beans and Spanish Rice
This is the meal John requested.  I will look for cornmeal tacos that have no yeast in them to make our taco shells.  Failing that we do have some flour tortillas with no yeast in them that I can use as a soft taco but I'm hoping to save those to make breakfast burritos one morning and dinner burritos another evening (dinner would use up any meat, beans, rice from our meal today) later in the week.

Thursday:  dinner to be determined by grocery day

Friday:  Cheese Souffle, Roasted Asparagus, Fruit Salad
There seems little point in telling you all how easily this may be made and not putting it on my own menu.  I will have to double check my recipe.  I'm pretty sure I can make this and stay within our dietary restriction this week.

Saturday:  Red, Black and Blue Salad, Molten Lava Cakes
I'll use leftover roast beef to go on this salad, and will be sure to set aside some tomatoes, as well.  If John seems especially hungry I may bake potatoes to serve along with the salads.

 Job Plan:

Home:  Sew bathroom valances. Fabric is washed and dried and ready. No...but the fabric is cut. 
Get Baking and food cupboard arranged. No
Now that closet is straightened up, clean floor, sort out clothes, etc.No

Yard:  Finish cleaning front porch. No
Bring out umbrella and cushions for chairs on patio.No

Booth:  Sort inventory and tag 10 new items for booth.  I sorted and pulled 15 items to tag but didn't tag them.

Extra:  Send out various items in post office.  Get out of house and look for new inventory.  There's a festival end of month and we've been asked to amp up contents of booths.
Finalize vacation plans.  Or scrap them and start all over again.

This week:

Home:  I will sew the valances.  I will. I will. I will....
Finish the cleaning of the yeast from the house (Sunday and early Monday is all the time I have to accomplish this).
Prepare for Passover (Sunday and Monday only).
Get Baking and food cupboard arranged.
Now that closet is straightened up, clean floor, sort out clothes, etc.

Yard: Clean front porch.
Bring out umbrella and chair cushions. 
DO something to back porch to make it attractive.

Booth:  Tag items for booth and deliver and place.

Extra: work on vacation plans.  I must find an interesting, new venue.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Frugal Week: April 5-11

Saturday:  Shabat at home this week.  I prepped dinner on Friday, needed only to cook today.  Quiet, easy day at home, getting much needed rest.

John walked down to get mail.  We got our latest dvd from Netflix.  Watched that and will send back tomorrow.

Washed a full load of dishes.

Turned on fan instead of turning AC down.

Rinsed out a soap bottle to make enough soapy water for hand-washing.

Filled the lid to the pie keeper with soapy water and washed the dishes in that instead of filling the sink.

Sunday:  Packed John's lunch, made his breakfast.

Rainy morning.  Worked on various things about house.  We've had no need of AC running today, as it is quite cool.  I didn't turn on heat either.  I put on a jacket instead when not working.

Was going to sew valances, remembered I needed to wash fabric first.  Not enough to make a full load of clothes, so let will let it wait until tomorrow when John comes in.  He'll have a full load with his uniform and linens from work.

Noted John had opened a new bottle of laundry detergent.  I turned old bottle upside down to drain into new. When it was empty, I moved the cap from old bottle to new one.  The old cap is marked with small/medium/large amounts in red nail polish (doesn't wash off as the permanent marker used to do) so we do overuse the detergent.

Leftovers reheated for my dinner.  I used the last sleeve of saltines to make Sweet 'n' Saltines.  I baked the cookies in the same oven while my food was reheating.

Used the 1 stick of butter variation for the crackers instead of the 2 stick variation.  I like the texture of the toffee like base better and appreciate the savings of using 1 stick of butter instead of 2.

My bras were hand washed and hung to dry.

Spent afternoon playing with genealogy.

Washed zippered baggies, refilled water bottles, inventoried fridge for items that I needed to use up and noted those that I must toss tomorrow.

Made a single cup of coffee for the afternoon brew.

Monday:  Used leftover Challah to make French Toast.

Topped and sliced strawberries, cooked with a little sugar on stove top to make a yummy strawberry syrup to go over the French Toast.

Saved the milk/egg mixture leftover to use in muffins or pancakes later this week.

Planned week's meals.

Went through both freezers and cleared them of all foods that should be gone by next week.  Glad I did.  I found at least three items I had no idea were in the freezers.

Gathered all the bones I've saved for broth making.  I have at least 16 jars of broth in the freezer at present.  I don't really need to give up the space to all those bones.  I have the bones in a grocery bag, ready to go off to dump with me.  Not counting these as waste.  I should have tossed instead of saving.  The waste comes in having them in the freezer taking up valuable space.

waste:  1 cup cooked chicken, 1 pie pan with chicken/veg/gravy in it dated September '13, a very badly freezer burned bit of smoked turkey breast, 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (fridge).

Used leftover roast beef, a packet of gravy, the old potatoes I'd diced and boiled Friday, to make roast beef hash for dinner today.

Straightened pantry and have a better idea of what I have on hand, even without the written inventory.

Shopped at home:  mustard, a packet of matches, grape juice and olive oil from pantry to restock kitchen.

Recalled a good tip I read in a vintage magazine: the author suggested a pantry away from the kitchen is more economical because if we only see a limited amount of food in the kitchen area we are less prone to be too generous with our ingredients.  I confess that is why I keep butter in the little freezer in the pantry closet and chocolate chips, too.  If I don't see them I'm less inclined to over use.

Rinsed out a second dish detergent bottle to make soapy water to wash up after dinner.  

Didn't fill sink to wash the handful of dishes I had to wash.  I just filled the biggest pan and washed the smaller items in that before washing the pan itself.

Moved some dried fruits from packages to jars so I can see them...seeing equals using in my world.

waste: 1 bag of dried apricots.  They were dark when I opened the package but it was the moisture collected in the bottom made me go ahead and toss them despite the expiration date being well within limits.

John washed a full load of laundry.  Pollen so heavy right now we are using dryer, but a few items were hung to dry.  When one item didn't dry completely in the dryer, it was draped over a chair to finish off near a sunny window.  This reduced the amount of time the dryer had to run overall.

Tuesday:  We planned a morning of errands.  We're never in a hurry to leave the house any more.  As John is wont to say "We don't have any schedules to keep."  To our detriment sometimes, he's right.  We don't have any schedule to keep.  But meal time comes around all the same, doesn't it?  Can't cook it if I'm not home, failure to plan ahead is not easy when you live with someone who insists he be allowed freedom to be spontaneous...So we cope.  I had allowance and offered to buy chicken at the local place for dinner.  We added a leftover bit of his bagged salads that he carries to work lunch and homemade cookies with homemade coffee.  I set up the pot before we leave so all that is necessary is to push the start button to begin brewing when we come in from our day.

Errands: a long list of things to do today.  Gathered trash to take off.  This included some stuff from John's music room as well as the excess bones from the freezer and all the household trash we could gather prior to leaving.

Post office.  I mailed off packages to three folks.  I carried along some of my own postage and used that, and let the clerk determine what more was needed.  I spent $6.53 today to mail off those three packages, a sort of bargain these days with postage what it is.  No need to send any of it priority or flat rate.  I chose the least expensive options.

We took the phone and electric bills into town with us and dropped them off.  Both offices are local and we generally do this when we're in town anyway.

Banking done.  Hardware store.  I asked John to do a couple of home repairs this month.  He knocked them both out this week. We have a light fixture at the back door that was never wired up for some reason.  This should have been done at factory and wasn't.  We have no clue why. We've had repairmen look at it and there's nothing can be done without fishing wires and a whole lot of trouble and expense. The naked fixture just glared at me the other day and I realized it was so unnecessary.  We have extra covers that were in the house when it was delivered.  I asked John to put a cover over the fixture. I figure it will look more appropriate even if it doesn't work.  There was no cap to go over the screw so he found a package of washers at the hardware store for $1.29.  One held the glass cover on and the whole looks far better than it has in almost twenty years.  Silly we waited so long to do something so simple and inexpensive, isn't it?

John priced buying lawn mower blades in bulk, but the shipping offset any discount given.  The truth is the local place, which might out price larger hardware stores in many areas has the very best price already on mower blades.  We'll just buy a couple of pairs of them here and there.

CVS.  I went in with John who drove over to pick up filled prescriptions.  I picked up a sales sheet and scanned my card to get coupons.  I've looked over the sales sheet pretty thoroughly and I think there are one or two items I ought to go buy.  I would like to do a mega deal of sorts, but it isn't going to happen. I don't have the extra cash nor coupons enough to make them.  But if I go out later this week, I might well stop by and buy a smaller quantity of items that will better fit my budget and boost my current supplies.

We asked to return a prescription that was supposed to be removed from auto refill last month.  It is a savings of $12 for us.  We have an ample supply on hand should we need the item and it seems silly to get a brand new bottle every month for a medication to be taken as needed.

Our lunch left us filling full, and since we ate late we had a cereal supper.  This was a good thing because we used up the last  but one banana from the bunch bought last week on grocery day.  I'll put that banana to good use tomorrow.

Washed a full load of dishes.  Skipped hand washing as I only had two items in the sink.

I'd had ENOUGH of a problematic browser on my computer refusing to open pages, stalling, freezing, etc. I asked advice on Facebook amongst my friends as to what they used.  The replies were the same: Google Chrome which is compatible with many operating systems including my little obsolete dinosaur program.  I downloaded free from the Google site and have found the computer is operating much better overall.

Wednesday:  Packed John's work lunch.  Made him breakfast before sending him off to work.

Used up an item in the fridge to make my own breakfast.

I had more dishes in the sink this morning.  I filled the deepest dish in the sink with water and used that as my wash bowl to clean other items.

Stripped bed and washed sheets with items in the laundry basket to make a full load.  Dried sheets and underthings in the dryer and made sure to set timer so I wouldn't forget them.  (Our timer on the dryer rusted out within a year of purchase but the dryer works fine otherwise).  Hung a few things to dry.

Put the clean sheets right back on the bed.  Normally I try to rotate but I was busy between stripping bed and finishing laundry and didn't put another set on.  It seemed silly to waste time folding up one set only to unfold another.

Mama has mentioned wanting to go shopping for clothing next week.  I know where we'll be going and thought I'd look over my own wardrobe to remind myself of what I have.  Not saying I won't buy anything new, but I certainly will know just what will work with what I have and how much I don't need overall.

Ate leftovers for dinner. I did a Leftover Makeover but failed to do anything about a post...Leftover homemade bbq sauce was turned into homemade Teriyaki.  I poured that over leftover fried chicken and baked in the oven to heat all of that.  I put leftover yellow rice in the bottom of my pan before I put the chicken in the pan.  I cut a carrot, celery and onion and stir fried with ginger and garlic as my vegetables and had a big navel orange for dessert.  Economical, 'special', and tasty.

Crafted two wreaths for the front and back door from old wreaths and other items I had on hand.  No special items purchased to make either one.

Stayed home all day, even though I'd sort of planned to go out.

Thursday:  It was quite chilly this morning.  Cool enough to warrant running the heat for a little while.  I set it lower than usual and put on a jacket.

Afternoon came along and we needed the AC.  Love Spring weather! I set the thermostat a wee bit higher than we've had it.

Made two loaves of Challah.  Used the very last of the yeast from my jar.

These next few days we're in 'use it up' mode.  Dinner, though not what I planned, was burgers on hamburger buns (from freezer) and supper will be boxed mac and cheese.

Made a loaf of Apple Cinnamon Bread which took care of an apple that was no longer crisp.

Also made a half dozen strawberry banana muffins (used up the last of the berries/last banana).

John washed a load of clothes earlier today on a lowered water level which he hung to dry.  I discovered a few items that had to be washed today as well.  Since it was towels and rugs, I wouldn't have wanted him to wash with his load due to getting lint all over work clothes, so a second medium load got washed.  Second load is on the line outdoors.

Thursday:  I'm taking advantage of these cool mornings...this morning was a little chilly, too, like yesterday morning.  I made oatmeal for breakfast.  We don't each much of this when the weather is really warm, but when it's cool it's just the thing.

John had an engagement to play for the Feed 'n' Seed at noon today.  We did all housework before we left home.

When we left home, we took off trash, picked up mail.  After Feed 'n' Seed we ran an errand, and went by thrift store and got gasoline all on our way home.

CVS shopping today was sweet and simple.  Two bottles of All detergent, 1 bottle of 7Up soda, $3.54 out of pocket.  I had coupons and ECB.  I added the All detergent to my current stash.  That's 5 bottles bought this year, all for $1.25 or under.

Thrift store shopping today was really for booth but I tend to try and just keep my eye open in general.  So I have a new pair of sandals for summer for $2, a pair of shorts for Missy Pooh granddaughter for $1.  Best buys in my opinion were a music CD with many many songs by Allman Brothers for 50 cents.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Coffee Chat - April Showers and Sunshine

Come in, come in.  So glad to see you stop by.  I'd thought we'd have our chat on the back porch today but alas, all this pollen only makes me itchy and sneezy and hoarse.  But before you rush in, do look at that heart shaped puddle... It's still there, showing up each time we have rain.

It amuses me that it's there.  No clue why it's there because the area where it forms is not heartshaped at all.  But isn't it fun?

An uneventful weekend just behind us, and for one, I am deeply glad.  I needed to rest up since we've run pretty hard lately on our weekends.  Saturday we mostly just relaxed, rested and ate.  I worked on Sunday, but intermittently.  It was a relaxing day overall.  I looked at genealogy stuff until I felt light headed and cross-eyed to boot.  Even with breaks to actually do some real work, I was at the history stuff entirely too long.  But it was worthwhile with more bits of information to add here and there.  I've found it to be true that if I look for something else, nine times out of ten I stumble upon information related to my own ancestors.  If I actively seek information, it's like walking about in the dark.  The moment I look for information related to someone else or the history of a town, boom!  There's a fairly big piece of information.

Genealogy is not only a fun occupation to me, like a jigsaw puzzle or Sudoku, but it's a nice way to retreat into another world, like a book.  It's also a wonderful way to spend your time chasing along rabbit trails.  I don't know if you're a country girl or not, but to say you're chasing along a rabbit trail means that you are off course, not doing what you'd meant to do.  That's genealogy.  Even if you eventually recall what you sat down to research, you'll surely find yet another reason to go dashing down another obscure path that has nothing at all to do with your intent.  Lovely way to waste time.

I wish I were more prone to adventure in other areas of my life.  I've said before I'm a rutty sort of person.  Menus may seem variable to you all but just spend a bit of time reading back over menus from a year or three back in the same month and lo and behold, I've cooked those same dishes before and in pretty much the same menu.  Go to a restaurant, and I tend to order the same foods again and again.  Go on vacation and go to the same place over and over again and do pretty much the same thing each time.

Well that's the problem.  It's time to consider going on vacation and I'm having a hard time finding a place to go.  John's asked we change away from our usual plan.  Oh there's plenty of places to go, and funding isn't a difficulty since we've set aside money since the first of the year for this.  It's getting my head out of the "Vacation : St. Augustine" rut.  It's so easy to just click over to our usual spot, purchase a room, no thought involved other than making sure I get one that has had no pets, is no smoking and has an ocean view.   Our hardest decision is determining what route to take down.

But now....shall we do beach but go north?  Go southwest to the Gulf?  Mountains?  Big mountains or foothills?  Cruise?(ha!)  Historical site or not?  Shall it be a resting vacation or a sightseeing one or some of both?  Near trip?  Far trip?  Decisions, decisions.  And all the while I'm thinking of St. Augustine and how easy it is to just click on the dates I want, hit send and know that vacation is done.  But what am I missing?  That's the question I keep asking myself.  What am I missing?  What adventure is awaiting me on those new roads we might travel?  Who  might we meet?  What sights might we see?  What if I find a new love out there in the world at large and determine that St. Augustine truly has become just a habit?  And would it be such an awful thing to discover that St. Augustine is a real true love and the only place I'd like to be?  But how should I ever know if I don't venture out a bit?   Sooo...hard decisions ahead.

I've been cleaning house, specifically cabinets and pantry and freezers, looking for products in my home that have yeast, or yeast extract or powdered yeast listed in the ingredients.  Not too many items were found which is good.  It's interesting to note that yeast is not just in breads as you might think.  It's also used as a seasoning in more foods than you might imagine.  This cleaning is due to the upcoming Pesach, or Passover, which is followed immediately by the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  I do this cleaning because the Old Testament instructs us to remove yeast products from our home and property for a period of 8 days.  When Passover occurred, men and women were instructed to leave their homes before they were able to set bread to rise.  They ate unleavened bread as they marched out of Egypt.

But the implications are deeper in so many ways and on so many levels.  A little white lie.  An unkind remark, a complaint.  Sin is sometimes so subtle that we fail to recognize it as itself.  It disguises itself well.  It's like yeast.  It's in places where you don't always think to look.  And in this season, while I'm cleaning and seeking yeast, I'm doing a self-exam of myself, looking at my heart and mind and trying to route out the things that don't belong.  I'd love to tell you that I had a clean exam but oh dear!  I so don't...There are so many things I feel I must tend to, that must be mended or fixed or washed and started fresh right here inside my own heart and mind.  Everything I find is one more thing between God and I, that keeps me from drawing nearer to Him.  So that is why I do this each year, not just because I became Messianic and it was understood that I would do this, nor even because the Bible instructs us to do so, but because it has a spiritual benefit for me that makes it worthwhile.

I've been missing Granny fiercely here the past couple of weeks. I think it's the season.  After winter, when the flowers began to bloom once again, I'd often arrive to find Granny had fresh bouquets in her home and as often, she'd have a glass of water on the table filled with blooms for me as well.  "You have to have flowers indoors," she'd say.  Mama has never liked flowers indoors.  She prefers them in the yard. I don't recall Big Mama ever cutting flowers, either.  But Granny did.  She had early blooming shrubs that flowered towards the end of winter and she had late blooming flowers that went strongly into autumn before the cold came about. I'd speculate she had some sort of flowers in her home for nine months of the year.  I recall Christmases when she'd have Granddaddy shoot mistletoe from the treetops in the church yard, and send him to gather cedar and pine.  Anything to have a bit of life and greenery and fragrance indoors.

I wonder what's blooming in the yard at Granny's now?  I keep telling myself I should go look, gather a few things to bring home and plant.  I've ridden by the house a couple of times over the past few weeks but I can't quite make myself go up to the gate, unlock it and go into the yard.  It's hard to look at the house, which Granny kept so neat and nice, looking ragged, with shrubs and trees growing up around it and the tin roof gone all rusty red.  I'm afraid, once I go and see the ruins of it all up close that I'll lose her entirely...In my mind, you see, she's still there.  I expect any time I'm in the yard here  to hear her whistling away while she works in hers.  I see her sitting on the front porch admiring the views.  I think of her coming to the door to greet me, and 'testing' the weather while she's there, to see what the day will bring. 

But I will go.  I will.  Before the flowers are lost and there's no one to remember that Mrs. Butler (whom I met as a child) gave her these and Mrs. English (who died many years before I was born) gave her those and that she herself once gave a portion of her much coveted thrift to the house over on the back highway where it grows in a blaze of Spring time glory in a huge mound next to the pump house.

The Strawberry Festival is to be held at the end of this month.  I was in the Flea Market on Friday morning.  I was not in the best shape.  My knee hurt terribly that day and nothing seemed to dull the pain.  I hadn't been in the shop in nearly two weeks and it was beginning of a new month.  I knew my booth needed some sort of attention.  I placed a few items and before I left I'd sold two right away.  Not enough to make rent for the month, but on my way.  I picked up a small check for earnings.  $8 more and I'd have broken even for the month for the cost of rent plus my new purchases.  Despite my knee, I shopped around a bit.   I needed a pick me up, a little shot of treasure.  I found it in the cutest little china cup.  It's English china with fluffy yellow ducklings painted on the side and it cost me a whole 25 cents.  It made me smile when I saw it sitting on the shelf, it made me smile when I put it on the counter to pay for it and it makes me smile every time I look at it on the kitchen window sill.  Pain might not flee at a smile but it's more bearable.

                                                               Wouldn't you smile, too?

My point was, that the Strawberry Festival will be held the last of the month.  I was told by the store owner to make sure my booth was well stocked.  So I've been sorting out the things I've been holding onto for a while now, meaning to put in the booth at a later date.  I guess now is a good time to set them up and arrange them in a pretty way.  So I've got a messy sort of organized clutter going on in the guest room once more.  I do love looking over these things and determining which should go into the booth now, and which should wait for a while longer.

While I've been working I've noted that I really must increase storage in my craft/guest room.  I've got an overflow in the room at the moment and I'm so crowded I can barely find space to work at the table.  I've long felt that two tall bookcases, one either side of my work table would be ideal and I am still of that opinion.   I'd like deep shelves that would accommodate baskets so I could hide the smaller clutter from sight.  I went ahead and did that job this afternoon, clearing off the table, sorting out a small lot of things to put in the booth this week.  Then I worked on these wreaths for the doors.
                                                  Sweet and Simple for the back door

                                                     A little frou-frou for the front door

I've come to the point where I have a very, very long list of things to do and a great deal of 'I-don't-wanna" being whined about it.  I would not consider myself a slacker, but I'm no work horse, either.  However, it's evident if I'm to tackle any of the things on my growing list I shall have to resolve to work a bit longer each day and forgo a bit of computer time, albeit, I curtail that a good bit nowadays.  I've gotten pretty good about not going online in the mornings and staying on until dinnertime.  Nowadays I allot myself a half hour to scan emails and Facebook for any possible prayer concerns, family messages, etc, and then I get off and stay off until around 3 pm when I go to work on blog, answer emails, etc.  I may have to postpone this until around 5 pm each day.  That additional two hours could net me quite a wallop on that list and shorten it considerably.

I did just that one day this week and made this from some leftover material:

                                                              for this sweetie pie

Her Mama brought the material and asked if I'd make a dress.  We both measured and I cut and sewed it up and woe is us, that little dress (which was much longer, I've done some alterations on this piece) didn't fit at all.  My gracious!  Fortunately the 2nd piece of fabric (leftover after first cut) fit perfectly once I sewed the two edges together.

The top part of the first dress (the elasticized part) fit just fine.  It was the middle portion that was too too snug.  I'd noted as I began to sew that the store cutting on that first piece was very wonky.  So this week I took the first little dress, cut out the middle bit from the bottom of the elastic to the top of the border and then I measured the border three times and decided that it ought to make a right cute peplum bottom for the elasticized piece. I made straps from some of the middle portion of fabric.  This is one of the items I mailed off yesterday.  Fingers crossed that it fits the Little Miss.  I think it will be cute with leggings or capris or shorts.

It seemed only fair to make something extra from that fabric.  Because when the kids came in to visit a couple of weekends ago, they brought me this:
                                        It's a toy box...with a nice solid top for extra seating
As my daughter in law pointed out, it will also be a nice spot to set the Christmas tree this next year.  Ha. Very good idea.  I had requested it be made sturdy enough and a little taller so it could be used as extra seating if need be.  I am already thinking it might be handy to pull up to the dining table on one side.  I love double and triple duty items!

Those are some of the things I've done, but there's still the list...And what is on my list?  Well there are yard chores: clean and paint front porch, paint my shed, touch up John's shed, spruce up furniture, plant pots for spring/summer/autumn blooms, decorate back porch, determine my plans for flower beds about house.  The shed needs to be sorted out (that's why it keeps popping up on my list of work to do each week!) but that's more organization than cleaning.  And we won't mention that desire to go to Granny's yard and gather plants which must then be replanted, so soil must be prepared here first, etc.

My closet needs tweaking, cleaning and just a good going over.   A couple of kitchen cupboards require some attention.  There's a pantry/freezer inventory to work upon and a running shopping list to start so that I can add items to my grocery list each pay period until I've stocked up once more.  John made note that his music room seems to be awfully stacked up with things that aren't his the other day and the truth told the closet in that room might well need to be sorted out a bit so he can move some of the things that aren't his into it.

There's stacks and stacks of books, magazines and other such stuff that I ought to be listing on eBay or in an Etsy shop and then there's three months worth of magazines waiting to be looked at by my chair.  I'm trying to tackle those 1 each day until I have read them all.

I have several furniture refinishing projects to finish or start.  There's some deeper cleaning needed in a few areas, some sewing  that should be done, and some that I'd simply like to do. Ditto for a few decorating projects for which I have materials, but have yet to begin the process.

There are copious amounts of paperwork to be sorted through and shredded.  I've not even mentioned the yard sale season is here so now's the time to get out and look for well priced items that might work well in booth.  And still I haven't mentioned the blog and the posts I long to write for it...Oh the list goes on and on, mind you.  That's just what I can think of off top of my head at moment.  I wonder at times, I do truly, how I ever spent a full day 5 days a week working away from home.  I stay so  busy here all the time now I can't imagine how I'd balance it all if I worked outside of home as well!

I've been trying of late to institute a new way of work.  Daily basics get done every day except on Saturday, which is Shabat for us.  On the days that I am home, I try to do at least two more tasks besides basic housework.  This week I cleaned and cleared yeast items from freezers and pantry and am tackling my closet a little at a time each day.  Last week I sorted out the pots and pans and appliance cupboards.  It's not much doing things that way but it's what I can manage of late.  I cut the valances after the fabric dried the other day.  Now I shall try to get them sewn before the week is done in another bit of time.  On the day's when John works and I'm home alone (3 out of his four days working each two weeks), I've been trying to do one large project or cleaning task in addition to the basics plus two. I suppose that it's 'eating an elephant' all over again: a bite at a time.

I do still have certain routine tasks I try to do certain days.  Sunday's are kitchen days, meant for really cleaning that room nicely.  Mondays are pretty much kitchen days, too, but more on the baking and prep work side of things. Wednesdays I change and wash sheets and towels.  Friday is almost always Shabat cleaning and weekend food prep.  Tuesday and Thursdays are my most variable days for planning and/or shopping, errands, time with Mama and booth work.  Not all of that every week but some of it each week.

For all that I have all this stuff to be done, it feels I've accomplishes very little today.  And yet, I can say sincerely that I have been busy all day long.  Aside from chatting along to you all, there's been basic housework done, and the booth items pulled and tagged, dinner made (leftovers transformed into another dish...and I didn't think to do a Leftover Makeover feature of it!), crafting, writing, culling, and looking through a practically new recipe book for inspiration for next week's meals.

But you know what else I've done?  I've sat and listened to the lovely quietness of the countryside.  I opened windows about noon today, on the east side of the house.  There's a pretty stiff breeze from the northwest that's kept it plenty cool today.  No need to open the windows on the breezy side of the house either because there's acres and acres of pine trees just beyond the field on that side of the house and pollen galore too.  I've heard what I haven't heard, a sound that startled me and made me go to the window to look: the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze.  Some of the trees have tiny new leaves, but a few have a much heavier growth.  I've stood and just mused at the quiet around me because just like on Sunday, I haven't had a TV nor radio on all day long.  It's particularly restful to have these sort of 'free' days no matter how hard you might work.  A peacefulness just sort of soaks into your soul as you go about the house.

I think I've just talked myself into rising up and working once more...I have so enjoyed our visit.   Come again in a week or so!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekly Meal and Work Plan

Another new week.  We greeted it with April showers.  In our case the flowers have already come along...the world outside my windows already transformed into tender green leaves, grass that must soon be mown and pollen. It hasn't been as tough as in some years but there is a film of yellow powder on everything.  Welcome to Spring.

I find, as we're getting more and more accustomed to the new work schedule that for the most part, I need to plan only about 4-5 meals per week.  I tend to eat leftovers or am going out to dinner with Mama on John's work days, so I've started planning 5 meals most weeks instead of 7.  It just makes more sense.

This week I am focused on using as many of the products we have in house with yeast, powdered yeast or yeast extract in them.  I've been especially careful not to stock up on those foods over the last few months.  I can buy 'kosher' foods that are yeast free but they are so pricey that it seems to me wiser to just buy limited quantities of foods that might have yeast in them.  I have started a list which I'm keeping on my desk of foods that I know I shall have to use or throw away.  It has helped tremendously with menu planning this week.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Modern Home Economist - Cooking Lessons: Cheese Souffle and Baked Ham

As a new homemaker many, many years ago, I came to my new home with a hope chest of sorts.  In it were most the items I'd use to set up my first kitchen.  Plates, silverware, glasses, a crock pot ($12 and 3 purchase seals from Premium saltines), a set of pots and pans.  No linens for beds, nor towels for the bathroom closets.  Only items meant to prepare food and serve it.  That's a telling thing, I realize.  I even had a collection of recipes carefully saved from several magazines.

One of the saved recipes was from Seventeen magazine for Cheese Souffle. I'd read an account in a Peg Bracken article in one of the women's magazines of a dinner she had to prepare on the fly.  Her husband had a business meeting with a man whom he'd invited home for dinner.  He called her at noon to give her notice and she went into a dead panic.  Peg Bracken's whole line was that she 'hated housework' which she wrote a book about with tongue in cheek.  Imagine the declared clutz of housework having a dinner guest by the name of James Beard...Well she pulled together a meal at day's end.  On her menu was a baked ham and a Cheese Souffle.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Hello there!  Thought I'd answer questions, make replies to your comments from March.  I'm going to do this a wee bit differently.  I'll answer or reply to all comments  on regular posts together.  Meaning I'll answer all on Menu Plans and all on Frugal Friday in a lump.  I thought it might be a little less confusing and link heavy that way.

Menu/Job Plans
Mar 2-8  Lena, the recipe for Tuna Roly Poly is simple enough...but I never got it made...The can of tuna is still sitting in my pantry.  It's a biscuit dough base with tuna but you can substitute salmon or chicken either one.  The recipe I've linked to is online.  Mine is an old cookbook and similar.  I'd leave out green olives entirely if your kids dislike them.

My Frugal Week: Mar 29 - Apr 4

Saturday:  Lori brought food from home for the children.   I made waffles for the adults breakfast this morning.  I had sausages as well but knew that John, coming in from work, would be extra hungry so instead of making more sausages, I decided to scramble eggs to go with the meal.

The kids made peanut butter sandwiches for the children and gave them apples with a yogurt dip.  Then they went off to enjoy some alone time.  John and I had sandwiches when he woke up from his nap.

Funny what kids will enjoy.  The 'new' toys this time to the toy box was a cardboard box big enough to sit in, an old aluminum coffee pot that poured out blocks all weekend long.  Neither one of those items cost me a single thing but they were sure enjoyed.  In the music room there was the new drum with cymbal.  It cost a whole dollar and the kids enjoyed it, too.