Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Frugal Week/Living Well July 12-18


Saturday:  We packed up and drove off to see the most Southern grandchildren this morning.   It was easy to pack for, as it was a flying trip: drive down today/drive back tomorrow.  I packed an insulated bag with water and sodas and snacks.

We knew we'd have to stop for a couple of meals over the weekend.  We had breakfast here at home, I packed fruit, crackers, and a little snack for us to have at the hotel later if we were still hungry.  We knew there would be a single cup coffeemaker in our room.

We went down to celebrate an early birthday for our soon to be five year old grandson.  I figured the twins were about the age to notice that Dan was getting a gift...I tried to solve this by bringing along something for each of the three.  I gave Dan a small bag to carry toys in on roadtrips.  This was something we'd bought for John and it proved to be the wrong size..and non-returnable.  Z got a hat that John got free with a purchase.  He is a hat fiend.  H got one of those dolly juice bottles that drains as the baby 'drinks'.  I loved those things as a girl and thought H would be impressed.  She was.  I spent a whole $1.50 on that bottle, my sole purchase and all of them were perfectly happy.



Daniel's birthday gift was a big hit with him.  He generously brought out 'extras' of the set that he already had and shared those with the twins.  He spent quite a long time playing with his new toys, but the most fun time of all, was when he and I took the gift he received from his mom and dad and played for an hour using our imaginations...I shall always think that is the greatest gift you can give a child, one that allows him to use his own mind to have fun!

Sunday:  We made coffee in our room this morning and drank it there at our leisure.  We decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and headed off.  John stopped for a breakfast sandwich that we ate outdoors in the dining court at the travel stop.  It was cool enough I wore a sweater this morning over my t-shirt...In the marshy portion of South Georgia in the middle of July!  Not chilly mind you, but I never felt I had on anything extra to make me too warm...

We stopped again about three and half hours later.  This time at Walmart.  John wanted to pick up a couple of needed items to make his new pants extra durable for work: iron on patches and buttons to reinforce his suspender's hold on his waistband.  We bought one extra item:  steaks for dinner when we got home.  We knew we wouldn't eat until much later but decided to raid our snack bag in the car rather than purchase more snack foods in the store.  It was a satisfying lunch.

I made a salad and boiled corn to go with the steaks here at home.  While I was cooking the steak, I cooked hamburgers in a separate pan for John's work lunch tomorrow.

John washed a load of clothes and hung them all to dry on the line.

I considered washing a load of dishes, but decided to wait until tomorrow morning when the dishwasher will be completely full.

Monday:  Up early to see John off to work.  Of course, I packed his lunch and made him breakfast.

Boiled a half dozen eggs. I had two for my breakfast and peeled and chopped the rest for egg salad for sandwich filling.

I washed a full load of dishes.

Refilled water bottles with fresh water and put in fridge.  This encourages my husband to drink water.

Watered the plants on the back porch with stored water that I like to keep rotating.  I empty bottles, refill and then move to the next row to use as water for plants.

Put away the food Maddie left in her pan this morning.

Slated to go out with Mama today.  I counted my cash first to make sure of just what I could afford to spend for dinner.  I also checked Katie's gift registry page to make sure I didn't double up on any item that someone else might be gifting.

Mama gifted me two gently read magazines and the Sunday paper coupons.

I found, at the store where we shopped, that few of the items Katie requested were in stock.  I made up my mind to get her something for her kitchen.  I thought perhaps new towels might be fun.  I spent about the same as I'd planned to spend, she will have a new rug, towels and dishcloths, always a nice refreshing change.

I bought us a new doormat, too.  My old one was shedding the little plastic pellets meant to scrape stuff off your shoes.  It had gotten so the door mat made a bigger mess than the messy shoes.  The new mat was priced as an 'end of summer' item already.  Yea!

I used the last of the tomato and bacon I'd cooked for salad yesterday to make a BLT for my supper.

Tuesday:  Used some leftover cornmeal batter to make cornmeal pancakes for breakfast.

I keep a close check on my potatoes this time of year.  I thought I smelled something just a little off, yesterday but didn't find anything.  This morning it smelled a bit more off.  I dumped all the potatoes out and sure enough I found one with a little soft spot that was just beginning to turn bad on two potatoes.  I cut the bad spot away.  I cut one potato into sticks. I put them to soak in cold water in the fridge.  I'll make pub fries from those.  I then diced the other potato and par boiled it.  That one I used to make a small hash-brown casserole to go with our dinner today.

Made a fruit salad from a spotty peach that had been trimmed, cantaloupe Mama gave me, cherries I had in the fridge that were fully ripe, and blueberries from the freezer.  I sprinkled the smallest amount of lemon juice over and tossed well.  I wish I'd thought to do something I'd tried last summer: honey and lime zest and juice.  Yum.  I'll keep that in mind for next salad.

I chopped the rest of the cantaloupe and put in the freezer.

Put the rest of the cherries in the freezer as well.

Digging about in the fridge I found two crowns of broccoli I'd used only a portion of...They were starting to look yellow. I took the greenest florets from the edges and steamed for our dinner today.  Then I took the remaining portions of the two crowns and steamed them.  I chopped those and put in a bag in the freezer.  I'll use that chopped broccoli to make Cheesy Broccoli Rice casserole for dinner one day.

Gathered all my leftovers and bits that need to be used up together.  Now I know just what I have in fridge and what I need to plan to use in the next day or so.

While cooking dinner, I cooked an extra large chicken breast, and two thighs.  I planned those to make two meals: chicken sandwiches for supper one night and chicken tacos for another night's supper.

Wednesday:   Went out to shed this morning to look for some items I thought were out there.  I didn't find what I wanted after all.  Did note that it's one spot in need of some general housekeeping once again.

John and I worked on altering his new work pants.  I hemmed on the machine and ironed on patches on the waistband to keep his suspender teeth from tearing the fabric.  Then we sewed on buttons, which keep the clips from slipping off during his work.  The cost of these alterations was minimal, well under $6 even with the two cards of buttons bought.  We have enough buttons and patches for a future pair of pants and any repairs needed out of that $6.  I don't know how much it might have cost to take them to a tailor but I'm willing to bet it would have been more than $6.

For our dinner today, I made taco salad.  I used some ground beef I'd thawed earlier in the week.  I make my own seasoning from tomato paste, onion, garlic and cumin.  The paste we bought was a bit more tart than I wanted so I added a little bit of sugar.

I learned  a couple of years ago that I need not mix up a full packet of dry Ranch dressing mix at one time.  I usually add just a couple of tablespoons to about 3/4 cup buttermilk and mayonnaise.  I like Ranch dressing on my taco salad.

Though I had tortillas, I decided to try to salvage some stale corn chips we'd bought a couple of weeks ago.  I put them on a cast iron skillet and slipped into a warm oven.  Sure enough they crisped up nicely and we used them on our salad. 

Thursday:  I made tuna salad for sandwich filling for John's work lunch tomorrow.  I didn't add egg to my tuna salad, instead I chopped up an apple that was looking a little worse for wear.  We really like apple in our tuna salad, either diced or grated, adding in mayonnaise and pickle relish to taste.  The apple decreases the acidity of the tuna fish somewhat and makes it more digestible.

John went  to town to buy a battery for the lawnmower as well as gasoline and oil.  When he came in he told me to take those totals from our oil/maintenance sub-account.

Knowing that he meant to mow I had to rethink my plans for dinner.  He prefers to have a lighter meal so we had sandwiches.  We had sandwiches for supper, too, BLTS.

Friday:  John off to work this morning.  I packed his lunch, made him breakfast.  He took off trash with him, meaning to save me a trip out of the house today.

When I stepped outdoors to tell John goodbye I was surprised at how cool it was.  I opened windows and turned off the AC, letting the house fan cool the house down to outdoor temps.  It was really nice until the humidity rose.

Used a wrinkly peach that John refused eating to make breakfast of peanut butter toast topped with ripe peach.  Yum!

I was working about the house with an eye towards having a free day.  I considered my options and decided really I didn't need to go to town today...then I remembered the gift bags I needed for a bridal shower tomorrow.   I checked in my stash first.  I had birthday and Christmas bags but nothing like what I needed for my shower gift.

I ended up going to town, to the dollar store.  In my usual way, I decided to make the trip to town worthwhile.  I emptied all the individual room trash cans and gathered enough  to take off a bag to the dumpster.  I also boxed up some items I was mailing off and got them ready to go out.  I checked vitamins and determined which I'd best buy while in the store as well.  All in all I think I got quite a good amount of things done and made that trip count.

I didn't buy dinner while I was out as I was tempted to do.  I thought and thought as I wandered about the store and determined what I'd make for John's dinner tomorrow (to be eaten while I was away) and for my own dinner today.

Came home and went through fridge.  I had exactly what I thought I had to make John's dinner, which consisted of a variety of leftovers and produce items.  I made a big plate of tuna salad on lettuce and tomatoes for my dinner.

The afternoon was free for me to relax and rest.  I know tomorrow will be busy and I want to be well rested before starting out.

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