Saturday, August 23, 2014
My Frugal Week/Living Well August 16 - 22
Saturday: Kept breakfast simple: bagels and cream cheese. I knew we'd be eating a big Shabat meal later and figured we'd go light for at least one meal.
I had no idea what to make as a second side dish today. Bess suggested Mac and Cheese. I don't have any of the boxed mac and cheese on hand but I'm pretty sure my homemade didn't cost any more than on sale boxed mac n' cheese does. I made cheese sauce and had enough for a second pan of Macaroni to put in the freezer. I made the cheese sauce from scratch in the same amount of time it took to cook the pasta.
My entire dinner ended baking in the oven at the same time. I'm always pleased when I get to spend time with guests and not tending to something on the stove.
Glad I filled the cookie jar. My son snacks and he enjoyed the oatmeal cookies.
It was so cool Saturday morning that I turned on the whole house fan and opened windows. We shut the windows when the AC came on much later in the morning.
I've been just longing for a biscuit of late so I made biscuits for our supper.
Washed a full load of dishes after dinner today.
Sunday: We had toasted biscuits with our breakfast eggs.
We came home from church and I made dinner here. I cooked potatoes in the microwave in a covered casserole dish. It cut the cooking time for that dish down by two thirds.
Instead of washing out my frying pan right away, I used it immediately to cook slider burger patties. From one pound of meat I was able to make 10 slider burgers. I used to make these two dozen at a time when Katie was home and kept them in the freezer. She'd pop one in the microwave when she came in from school.
While I was making dinner, John did the laundry. We had a full load. He hung them to dry outdoors.
Since we had such a late meal for our dinner, we popped two of the sliders into the microwave for our supper.
We've pretty much stopped buying loaf bread. Instead we're buying whole bakery loaves of better bread and slicing them as needed. I keep bread in the freezer so it stays fresh. Since we buy it at Aldi it costs less than a loaf of 'store' bread. I'm thinking perhaps now that we've made this switch I can try homemade bread once more and see how it goes over with my husband.
Monday: Internet was still out this morning when we rose. John called the service and reported the outage. Gracious they hate to send out anyone and tell us a dozen times that we'll have to pay if the trouble is on our end. Well my goodness! We're paying for a service we can't even access if they don't come out, so what's the point in stalling? John assured them they should come right on out. Turned out to be a problem at the main router and not our trouble at all. Service restored without a service charge.
I made grits in the microwave but I don't think it's a real time saver nor an energy saver either. I should just use the gas stove. Our microwave is so low wattage that it takes about 10 minutes to make quick grits. I could do it stove top in the same amount of time.
John had a work meeting, so I stayed home and cleaned house. I have routines still, though they have changed up somewhat. I did the kitchen yesterday. Today was a run through of the whole house. I was done in a couple of hours.
I made egg salad and tuna salad for sandwiches. I cooked all my eggs at once. The nutritious water was used to water the African Violets.
Haven't cans of tuna gotten teeny in size? Years ago when I started housekeeping they were 7.5 ounces. Do you realize they are now 2.5 ounces smaller? That's hardly enough tuna to feed two! I have been in the habit for some time of adding shredded apple to my tuna. It makes it more digestible and you never notice the fruit at all if you shred it. It also extends the tuna nicely, too. I use 1/4 of a large apple, 1/2 of a smaller one to one can of tuna. You don't have to shred the apple. It's quite nice if it's finely chopped along with some celery to add textural interest if you'd rather have it that way.
Speaking of the African Violets. I set them on a little shelf on my desk and they got bumped Sunday. John said he thought the top had come off one. The top came off three. I set them down in water to root. The last one I broke has a nice root system now and is ready to pot. I didn't throw out the 'bottoms' either though they are leafless at the moment. I watered them right along with the other plants and am hoping they will put out new leaves.
I put together a quick fruit salad to use up the last of the apple (used in oatmeal cookies on Friday and in tuna salad today) and one tiny portion of a stem of grapes I bought late last week for fresh fruit. I added in some frozen blueberries, cantaloupe, peaches and oranges; then let it all sit and macerate a bit as the other fruits thawed. It was quite tasty. I didn't even dress this salad, just served the mixed fruits.
John called from work when meeting finished up and asked if I'd like to go with him to the bank to deposit his check. I said I would and he came home to pick me up. We took a nice little drive to the bank in the next town to the west (where the tellers are as friendly as at the home bank branch). I got cash for our allowances and we dropped our tithes into the mail right away while we were out.
John surprised me with lunch out 'on the veranda' at the sandwich shop we like so well. He paid for our meal out of allowance monies.
Tuesday: Packed John's work lunch. Made him breakfast.
I made out a shopping list...several in fact, for various stores. I decided today would be a good day to go off shopping for myself. I can never interest Mama or John in going to stores where I'd prefer to shop so I wait until I have a day alone to do that sort of thing. Today I headed to Macon.
I walked out of two stores without purchasing a single item. It wasn't for lack of trying, heaven knows. I specifically was looking for shoes today. I tried on several pair. It seemed that either my size was not in stock or I needed a size up or down and it wasn't in stock. I decided long ago that as much as I admire and love pretty shoes, life it too short to walk about with hurting feet! I make sure my shoes FIT and never settle.
In the third store I found several items of clothing on clearance. All of them fit very nicely. I put back only one item because I doubted how often I'd actually wear it. I chose TWO purses. Oh I did like them both so much, but I knew in the end that one was all I needed to add to my collection and truly the one I chose is much more my style. As I waited at the register I noticed a spot where the bag had apparently been gouged. I'm hard enough on purses with out buying one that is already showing signs of wear. I asked the clerk to remove that from my pile of things. I should be set for Fall/Winter wear now with clothes. I just desperately need shoes! The money to pay for these items was on hand, set aside here and there for just this purpose.
I treated myself to lunch out today only because I was very hungry, it was very late and I'd eaten very early this morning. That came from my allowance.
Skipped supper this evening after my late lunch.
Wednesday: John brought home a portion of his work lunch, a sandwich. It was cold so I put it in the fridge. He will have it for supper tonight.
Cleared the fridge this morning. I combined some leftovers to make a side dish for dinner. No sharing on that idea, it was strictly to salvage operations and not something I'll repeat in future. We had three different items from the fridge with our meal today.
food waste: 1/4 cup grits, 1 cup boiled potatoes, some food scraps I'd put aside for the pets and then forgot.
I had some buttermilk in the fridge. I can only buy in half gallon jugs at my stores, so I seldom use it up as it nears expiration time. I poured into 1/2 cup containers and put in freezer. When I need buttermilk I thaw and shake the containers well then pour into my recipes.
The leftover cheese sauce went into al dente cooked macaroni today. I poured all into a pie dish and froze for a future side dish.
Our shredder stopped working today. I found that a paper jam was part of the problem. The other part of the problem was that the shredder teeth/feeder portion broke. I"ll order another one next week but in the meantime we can do small portions of shredding with the current one.
Thursday: I have a hard time remembering what day it is with this schedule of ours. Calendars are no help. I have write it down, look at phone or computer screen to know anymore. I've started making out a to do list each evening before I go to bed, of things I'd like to accomplish the next day. I always put the next day's name on the list so I am aware immediately each morning of what day it is.
Sort of timed myself this morning after I got up. I looked at clock then hurried off to shower. Showering, drying my hair, dressing and making bed take 15 minutes It sets the pace for the whole day when I just go right ahead and get it done. Yet another set of tasks I'm amazed to find take far less time than I imagine it does.
The pets were not particularly hungry today. No idea why. They both sort of snacked. When I was satisfied they'd had all they wanted I put the food away.
John and I had peanut butter toast this morning with our choice of cereal or yogurt. Easy enough meal for a morning that we'll be busy
I placed an order with Walmart on Tuesday evening, using my Swag account to earn Swagbucks for the money spent. I had enough purchase to get FREE shipping. Imagine my surprise to have delivery at my door this morning just after 9am! Sort of appropriate since it was all household items like soap and over the counter pain relievers. I saved further money by using $35 credit from Paypal that I'd earned from surveys.
So I 'paid' only $20 for those items though they totaled $50.
We went grocery shopping. I went to Publix today. There were a number of BOGOs that made it more than worthwhile to spend money there this week. I got four boxes of Coke products for $4. I had coupons from MyCokeRewards that took $8 off the cost.
One of the promotions featured a Free Rotisserie Chicken with the purchase of three P&G products. I had three of the items on my shopping list already. I made sure to get the free item.
We still did the bulk of our shopping at Aldi but now and then it pays to stock up on good sales on those items we can't get at Aldi.
We seldom have hot dogs in the house since we both insist on a pricey brand. Today's special was a kosher hot dog that has only 7 in a packet. I bought them as a BOGO today, just two packets. I knew John would want some for supper. I also knew if he made supper tonight he'd heat too many and eat an extra one. So I decided I'd be sure to make supper tonight. We'll get two meals off that packet of hot dogs.
A few weeks ago my new battery for this laptop died. I mean it was so dead I couldn't even turn on the computer at all. I put the old battery back in and for the past month it's worked just fine, but I've started getting system messages that I must replace it. I ordered one tonight through Swagbucks Shop and Earn after my $25 Paypal credit (earned from Swagbucks) posted. I qualified for free shipping on this purchase as well.
Friday: I spent the morning in the kitchen. I had two purposes: dinner and prepping tomorrow's meal. I also wanted to deal with some items in the fridge before they expired or spoiled. I started by putting rice on to cook, making twice as much as I needed. I wanted to make my homemade Broccoli Rice from half. The rest will be fried rice next week. I had enough Broccoli Rice for today's main side dish and two individual pans to put in the freezer for serving some other time when I'm alone or need a meal for one.
Yesterday's free chicken was served with the broccoli rice. We had fruit for dessert and no other sides as John wanted to mow the yard. It was quite hot out and he didn't want to be over full when he went outdoors into the sun. The legs of that chicken went into a container for John's work lunch on Sunday. The thigh meat will go into our fried rice next week. I'll save the carcass to boil and pick over for chicken noodle soup another day next week.
I sliced and put up two containers of the turkey breast from Aldi. This was a seasoned piece of breast meat that weighed roughly a pound. I'd said at first tasting that I didn't much care for it but I believer the first portions were compressed skin and fat. As I sliced the piece I found it was indeed good meat. If I buy again I'll know to trim it a bit. I ended with two containers of sandwich meat and enough to serve two sandwiches tomorrow evening.
I mixed up a half batch of Brandi's Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. I altered the recipe slightly, using buttermilk from the fridge. I still didn't empty my jug of buttermilk, so I decided to use it to culture my own milk into buttermilk. I added an equal amount of milk to the container then set it aside on the counter. I'll put in the fridge tomorrow when it's had about 24 hours to sour.
I filled a compote with bunches of washed grapes, cutting stems into serving portion sizes. This means the grapes will be eaten, because they are conveniently prepared already. It also means no one eats a huge amount of grapes just because they were all in one bunch.
Neither the cat nor dog were overly interested in eating again this morning. I put their food up after about 15 minutes.
Gathered trash to take off when John went into town to buy gas for the mower.
The week was done last night at 6pm. The house shone, the lawn was freshly mown. John and I had cleared and cleaned and put away all day long. We were freshly showered and clothed prepared for our evening. "We seem to work awfully hard on Fridays these days," I said to John. He nodded. "It's important that we do..." It was nothing more than our desire to come to Shabat.
As we lit the candles last night John asked how long it has been now that we've done this? It's really akin to being married to him. Logically I know we had a beginning but 'since always' is what I think when we're asked how long we've been married. So it is with Shabat. It did have a beginning, long ago, when I looked at John after another hectic fast paced weekend, exhausted and preparing for work the next day. "I want to keep Sabbath..." I said to him that night and he said "Okay." "To go nowhere, do nothing unnecessary, have a special dinner, be a family." "Then do it," he said.
And we did. We chose Sunday, which was the logical choice at that time and we enjoyed it. The kids appreciated it. Then we found a church we enjoyed and later we were 'in service' which involved a lot of work and our Sabbath sort of fell by the wayside. I'm not complaining about our years of work in the church. It was the right time and the right place in each situation we found ourselves. We were blessed in that season and I pray we were a blessing.
But oh the blessings of our lives at the moment! To be able to work hard, to be able to rest wholly and fully at the end of the week. This morning we sat on the back porch and listened to the birds. The cat perched on the rail, the dog lay at our feet. The sky shone blue overhead, the leaves on the trees sporting autumn colors, the air mild. John looked across at me, "Yes...it was important that we start keeping Shabat..."