Saturday, November 8, 2014

Living Frugal, Living Well

I try to keep our cookie jar filled with mostly homemade cookies.  These were Mexican Hot Chocolate which I really enjoyed.  Right now we've got Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.  Yum!

Saturday:  Meals were so easy today, which I loved.  Butterscotch oatmeal for breakfast.  I measured out the oats and brown sugar, even put in the pinch of salt and set them aside in a covered dish yesterday.  I also measured out the milk and cracked the egg into it.  That went into a covered jar in the fridge.  This morning I dumped the contents of both into a saucepan and we had breakfast in a few minutes time.  It hit the spot on this cold blustery November day.

I put the pizza dough into the pan and let it rise a bit, topped it with leftover Sloppy Joe meat, a variety of vegetables and cheeses and olives.  It sure did taste good this afternoon when we ate.

What is it about apples that so appeal to kids?  I had two of the North Georgia apples left in my blue bowl and company children spied them and asked for them.  No problem, except there was three of them and just two apples.  I cut them in half and we all had a piece of apple.  I'd made mental note I needed to use them this week but thankfully the problem solved itself rather nicely.


John and I had forgotten to take down the umbrella on the patio table last night.  We neither of us realized it had taken off in the wind even though we heard the ruckus...He thought I'd taken down the umbrella yesterday.  I just plain didn't notice it wasn't there.   I set out to find it this afternoon when I did recall that the thing was probably going to blow away and realized it was gone.  It had blown around the Southern end of the house, where it was free from most of the wind.  One span broke, but it still works just fine.  I'm duly impressed with this thing.  It's gone flying a couple of times now and it's proven itself very sturdy and durable.  I paid a whole $30 more or less ( think it was $29) at Aldi two years ago and I was thinking I might get another season out of it yet.  

We had on the propane heat this morning.  Then we turned it off after the indoors warmed.  The electric heat has only come on once or twice, both times after the doors were opened.

Walked down to pick up the mail.  I love to walk when it's cold and windy!  I'm glad I went down.  I found a check in the mail that we hadn't expected at all. I told John we'd add to our Holiday party fund to purchase foodstuffs.  And yes, it's "Holiday" not Christmas.  It's after Thanksgiving, before Chanukah and not near Christmas.  The kids keep referring to it as "ThankChanukahMas", lol.

Sunday:  Put dinner in the crock pot before we left for church today.  I had a can of pears in the fridge along with some cream cheese/toasted nuts/craisins that I'd mixed together.  I decided a pear salad was just what we needed to go with our meal of Pot Roast.

When I served plates, I set a small portion of roast aside.  It isn't nearly enough for hash as I'd planned...but there's broth and a bit of meat enough to make some soup, I think. 

John stopped and bought a paper.  He played with the crossword, one of those frustrating sorts with weird configurations.  I read the paper, gathered up the coupons to clip.  I saved the paper to use as mulch for the rest of the flower bed areas.

I made pudding and divided into four containers.  One went into John's lunch and a second one went into the fridge for later in the week.  We had two portions for our dessert today.

Prepped John's lunch for work tomorrow.

Monday:  Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast.

Turned on the propane heater to offset the need of the heat pump to go into defrost mode.

Washed a full load of clothes and hung to dry.

Washed a full load of dishes.

Took off trash and ran an errand while I was going to town to meet up with Mama.

It was my day to buy lunch out.  We chose a favorite Mexican restaurant and ordered off the lunch menu.  

Went into the grocery store to choose some fruit and a salad for John's work lunch on Friday.  I picked up several items for Mama but came out for less than $20.

Gathered seeds from a plant... I cannot for the life of me tell you what plant at the moment, but there were lots of seeds.  Considering that only two plants grew to maturity my return on seeds is something like several hundred!

Re-purposed an old wooden box that has seen much use in our home.  It has seen better days but is still sturdy enough to get some use from.  I put it on the back porch to hold my gardening tools.

For the past three months my Netflix selections have just sat here looking at us...I decided it was time to suspend that service for now, especially with football season upon us.

Made a single cup of coffee for myself this afternoon and took it on the porch.

Tuesday:  Used frozen saved pieces of bread that were too small for sandwiches to make Oven Baked French Toast for breakfast this morning.  I did not save the leftover bits, but fed them (2 small pieces) to the dogs and cat who ate them right up.  

Made up a dinner of leftovers.  See my post here.  It was a good budget stretcher and I employed several frugal methods to stretch a small amount of meat.

Made pie crust to use for dinner.  While I was at it I made up a recipe for a 10-inch two crust pie.  I divided the ball of dough into three equal portions and filled three pie pans.  I put two pie shells in the freezer and used the third one for dinner.

Supper tonight was leftovers from John's work lunch.  

We opened windows today when the temperatures rose.


Wednesday:  I told John that while today was a frugal day, in many ways it didn't feel frugal.  We moved money around.  We took money from savings to set aside for Christmas gift and meal. 

We paid off the last of the personal loan we took for the back porch. 

We went out to lunch.  We went to a favorite spot and had a lunch entree which included entree and soup or salad.  I had the soup.  Yum!  

We skipped supper tonight.  We opted to have a small bowl of cereal later in the evening.

Thursday:  I slept in a bit this morning.  I told John we'd eat light for breakfast since I'd planned a nice dinner.

I hadn't planned on John mowing the lawn.  He had a real purpose.  To run the gasoline out completely so that he could store the machine for the winter.  Well he only had a bit he said, not enough to do hardly anything.  Oh well maybe he hasn't such a keen eye for figuring his gas usage...He ended up mowing the whole lawn!  And the mower is stored for the winter.  No need to buy a special product to put in the tank to stabilize unused gasoline.  No sitting out in all weathers getting beaten to death.  

Dinner was a breeze to make.  Chicken Parmesan, using frozen breaded chicken breasts.  I used leftover spaghetti sauce, shredded my own cheese.  I was out of mozzarella, but had string cheeses (meant for John's lunch but mozzarella is mozzarella, is mozzarella, right?).  

Made a batch of homemade croutons.  Storage with croutons is important, especially if you don't them to mold.  I wasn't sure they were totally dried out so I packed them in a canning jar, put a piece of paper towel over the top and screwed on the ring.  The paper towel will allow air in to keep the croutons dry.  These are so good that I eat them like a snack!  Homemade croutons from good bread has no resemblance to those rock hard tasteless store bought things.

Made egg salad for supper and for John's work lunch tomorrow.

I was so disappointed when I began to sew the nursery curtains for my youngest grandson.  The cute novelty fabric that was reasonable in cost was poor quality after washing.  It ravelled terribly, shrunk more than an inch.    I sewed a zigzag line around every cut edge to keep it from ravelling further after I cut it to size.  I used twin sized sheets as the main body of the curtains.  I was able to get two panels from each sheet.  The window in his room is a huge picture window.

Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Friday:  Up super early this morning.  I packed John's work lunch, made him breakfast.

Katie requested I send her homemade oatmeal cookies. Yes, I could give her my recipe but you see I have this additional ingredient in my cookies that I've never shared, so it's doubtful hers would taste the same.  Nope it's not love, it's dates.  I add half as many dates and half the called for raisins.  The result is a cookie that is richer tasting.  I made a batch of cookies this morning, packed up half the batch for her.

Since I was going to mail the cookies, I figured I might as well just make up a full package of stuff for her, so I gathered all the little odds and ends I've been gathering for her over the past few weeks. I was able to get it all in a medium flat rate box.  Bonus was that some of the items were clothing pieces that cushioned the cookies nicely.

I had a very busy day.  I went into town to dust and restock the booth. I didn't make all of my rent this past month...However, a pricier item was put on layaway this month that will more than makeup for the losses and give me a nice profit too at the end of this month.

Went to Walmart to look for birthday presents for the twins.  I picked out what I wanted, which was within my usual budget for birthdays.  I was pleased at the register to discover the items were on sale!  I have one more birthday present to buy this year for a sweet little boy and then we swap over to the new gift giving rules of a family Christmas gift, and a birthday card with $5 bill for their birthdays.  I regret this and I don't.  I tell you truth it is HARD to make a decision about a gift for these little ones...And while I was blessed to find what  I think were nice gifts and on sale too, the cost of toys is shocking, and I meant that sincerely!

Went to the grocery to pick up BOGO deals that worked for me: cream of mushroom soup (less than Aldi prices after coupon/combined with sale), cat food, kosher Beef Hot Dogs.

...And that led to the idea of what we'd have for dinner Saturday.  Hot Dogs, Slaw, chips and an easy homemade dip.  Not inexpensive necessarily but easy to make and tasty and filling.

Came home and finished the curtains.

Solitary Shabat this evening.  I opted to have a single roll as my bread rather than a big loaf.


Living Well 

Sunrise and sunset are two things I promised myself many years ago I would partake of as often as I could.  Well I spent many and many and many years living on wooded lots and in houses that faced anywhere except east or west.  I enjoyed only the rarest sunrises or sunsets.  Hence my promise to myself that one day I should someday have a home for faced east/west.

When we moved here to this property and began to set up our home, I made certain that we placed the house just so.  I recall the first few mornings we spent here, mid-December, right in the middle of school holidays.  The children woke early and came to join me at the window to watch the sun rise.  One morning they stayed abed and I watched the sunrise alone.  I found the note I left them that morning before I left to go to work..."Dear lazy bone children.  You missed a SPECTACULAR sunrise this morning..."

Sunrises are enjoyed from the front porch in summer (provided the mosquitoes are not feasting on me) or from the kitchen sitting windows.  Or the kitchen sink window.  Prime spots for watching sunrise, every single one.  I seldom missed sunrise when John and the children so often had to rise early for work or school.  I've seen many a glorious start to a new day here on this place.  

Sunsets were enjoyed and appreciated from the living room windows which face west.  Occasionally I am so moved by the beauty that I'll grab my camera and run outdoors to capture a particularly spectacular sunset.  There's a memorable Thanksgiving evening sunset I watched with my daughter Amie many years ago.  She'd had a tough year, one that was worrying. We sat on the back steps (before there was a deck or the lovely porch) and discussed how important it was to be true to yourself and your deepest convictions...and I prayed silently over her that God would guide and direct her as the sun sank in a wonderful glow of color and we shivered in the cold.  

When we began keeping Shabat here at home, sunset took on a special meaning altogether.  I love lighting the candles as the sun sinks down...

I thought I'd share this beautiful song with you all.  I couldn't help but think of it this evening as the sun sank out of sight.  

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