Friday, February 28, 2014

Frugal Week Feb. 22 - Feb. 28


Saturday:  My favorite old fashioned alarm clock is acting up.  Sad face.  It is a non-electric/battery, old fashioned wind up alarm clock.  I've been babying it along until I can find another one similar to it.  Frankly we've had our new electric clock/radio/Cd player for months now and we've yet to figure out how to set the alarm.  No instructions in the manual which tells you how to turn the thing on and off.  Maybe they couldn't figure out how to make it work either.

Easy breakfast of bagels. I don't buy the whipped cream cheese, though it is easier to spread.  I bought the  block of cream cheese which was about half the cost of whipped cheese.

John felt the heater was coming on too much this morning.  It was set at 67F but he cut it back to 65F.  We didn't turn it up when we started feeling cool.  We put on a sweater.  We didn't turn it back up this evening.

We went out today to pick up a birthday gift.  I priced a few things that we need at home.  We will be budgeting for these items now that we know about what we're going to spend.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Modern Home Economist: Good Grooming


One of the things you'd often find in old school Home Economics classes were a few books on 'Charm' which mostly translated as good posture and hygiene with an added emphasis on manners, modest dress and make-up.  I still look for these books when I'm out and about in antique shops or flea markets with copious older books.  I guess because I was that girl in high school, not quite popular, not quite fitting in...so I read any number of these books learning how to care for my nails and teeth and hair; how to stand, sit and walk; how to dress appropriately and choose a wardrobe.  Truth told, at 55 I am sure I owe the quality of my skin today to those forays into 'Charm' books when I was 12 (and 13 and 14 and 15 and 16...).

Why would this have been included in Home Ec classes?  Number 1: Good hygiene equals good health.  Number 2: Healthy hair, nails, teeth and skin, plus good posture truly adds immeasurably to overall health and attractiveness.  Number 3:  Home Ec truly taught that good basic self care equaled a good foundation to building excellence in self as well as skills that built home, family, etc.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shabat Thoughts: Biblically Frugal







Several years ago, when the mailbox was filled with bills every day except Sunday, I wailed to John , "One day I want to walk to the mailbox and not find it full of bills!"  It seemed we were always struggling to keep up with what we owed.  Want and lack were always the order of the day, as was complaining and whining.

Eventually the verses in my Bible began to sink in.  God never meant for us to spend our days whining and complaining.  Instead we should spend them in gratitude and joy and praise...and coughing that up when you can't see your way through the day's needs is quite a stretch, let me tell you! 

As we paid bills one night, John told me that he had a vision of us being debt free and he was certain it was God's desire for us.  Nothing looked any more impossible to me than being debt free.  We'd spent years pinching and scraping and struggling just to keep up with the bills.  We began to study every Bible verse that seemed to relate to our financial lives.

End of February Meal Plan/Job Plan


Here we are in the last week of February and the old worn out phrase "Where did the month go?!" comes to mind yet again.  It went as all months go:  entirely too quickly!  Did I make it count?  Not really.  I lost time, I wasted time, I spent time working on one thing when I meant to be working on another.  That's all due to change.  I've got my lists started.  That's the  precursor to some hard work in several areas.

One of my major work areas this week will be the pantry/grocery budget.  A little waste, a few too many impulse buys, a lot of overage...Yes, the kitchen is under scrutiny this week.  I'll be looking over recipes and working up menus for the spring months: breakfast, dinner, supper, snacks.  I've grown bored with the winter choices, haven't you?

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Frugal Week: 15 - 21





Saturday:  Wanted to add a few items I'd forgotten from last week:  I picked up a dollar bill I found on the ground.  I do pick up coins anytime I see them, but was surprised to find this dollar bill and more than happy to pick it up!

When I made the pudding for the Boston Cream Cupcakes, I only used about 1/4 of the pudding, so I poured the rest of it up into individual containers.  I used saved containers from KFC meals side dishes.  We usually get KFC on vacations as a treat and those side dish containers are a bonus.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coffee Chat - Oh Fickle February!


Do come in!  Don't be put off by the look of formality today.  This is my way of fighting the February doldrums.  The weather is so unpredictable and fickle.  Sunny and warm, rainy and cold, snow, ice, cloudy and muggy.  A girl has to keep her spirits up this time of year when it does seem winter is just never ending.  By the groundhog's calculations we've a few weeks to go yet and frankly my dears, I find early Spring is almost as fickle.  Mud and damp and cold do not make for a happy homemaker.  So let's put on something pretty and pull out the company china and have a bit of fun.  It's at this point that I really do play house.

I'm all ready to  rearrange accessories, switch curtains from one room to another, change out the quilts and comforters, even move pictures about but it's all done a little bit at the time.  It's a major 'shop at home' (or in the shed) experience.   Sometimes it leads to a few new purchases, but mostly it's a use what you have thing.  It's nice to combine what you already own and find  you've got a whole new look...something I did with my wardrobe this winter.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekly Meal and Jobs Plans



Weather all over the place. Honestly you don't know if you should wear the woolens or put on the summer weight sweaters for the day lately!  It makes meal planning equally as tough.  It's grocery week but the meals planned don't require but two additional ingredients.  I'll be making up another two weeks' worth of menus this week so I can purchase ahead.

I had plans for the day, since I'm alone, but not sure they will come to fruition.  I'm not sure I'm 100%.  I feel well enough to work, just iffy about leaving home.  Some days are like that.  I have just loads of things to choose from to do for fun and work if I do determine home is the best place to be and that is one thing I can honestly say.  I'm never bored, never unhappy to be home.  My problem is that once I start spending time at home, I can find more excuses for just being at home and fewer and fewer for why I should leave!

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Frugal Week- Feb 8-14


Saturday:  We had to leave extra early for Shabat.  I put a frozen entree in the freezer last night to thaw and reheat when we get in today.

We didn't stop for sodas, just brought water from home and got fresh bottles at synagogue and drank that.

Stopped at CVS on the way home to pick up prescriptions.  I stayed in the car and asked John to purchase the one other item I needed.  Since my grocery budget was spent, I didn't  look for sales to see if other items were tempting.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Modern Home Economist: Cooking Lessons





It feels like it's been forever since I put up a Modern Home Economist post...and it has!  But I have a wealth of goodies to share with you.  Today's post is related to cookery.  I've found a number of good articles in the vintage magazines that are truly instructional for some basic cooking and thought we'd start out with a few of those.  I hope to soon figure out how to arrange the Home Ec posts into categories but that might be stretching my technical knowledge!  We'll see.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these articles.  I want to start with a link to an article about proper oven use.  I found this around Christmastime and found it very helpful.  I had no idea it took 20 minutes to get an oven up to temperature.  For a few dishes this might not matter so much but it's very important when baking to have the oven at the right temperature before the dish goes into the oven.  Hope you find it as helpful as I did. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coffee Chat - February Gloom and Cheer

 


Come in, come in...It's time for a good hot cup of coffee once more.  Do have a seat. 

It's so nice today, the windows are open once again, but there's cold weather on it's way. Not complaining.  Cold weather has it's place just as hot weather has and February is the proper place for cold weather, at least in my hemisphere.  I always thought it quite odd that other parts of the world would have summer in February and then I gained a pen pal in Scotland who moved to Australia and we complain daily over the great heat in her area and the great cold in mine all through these months and come summer we'll complain just the opposite.  I'll grumble over hot weather while she mentions huddling over a heater trying to stay warm.  At least we amuse one another when one side complains the temperature is too hot and the other replies that it's far too cold.

How about a piece of  Italian Cream Wedding Cake to go with the coffee?  It's birthday month in our home.  Not that we celebrate all month long but there are many birthdays crowded into this month for us.  Three birthday presents down...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Post Script to Questions,Answers and Replies, Oh My!

I was just reading through my recent post and I found I'd said that Louise wanted to know what frugal blogs I followed.  Now I honestly meant to tell you, Louise, so do forgive me for merely mentioning and skipping over.  I meant to go back you see, and write them in, but I obviously forgot.  So here they are:
http://frugalandthankful.blogspot.com

http://ifyoudostuff.blogspot.com/

http://zeahrenaissance.blogspot.com

http://theprudenthomemakerblog.blogspot.com/



So there you go Louise, and I do apologize for leaving it off.  I shall cheer you a bit more dear and tell you the geese are heading North.  They've been flying over by the hundreds the past few days.


Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My!






Well hello dears.  I am trying hard to make this post more timely, so that it falls right at the beginning of the month and not later.  Here's hoping I can sustain this momentum the rest of the year!

It wasn't a high post month.  Part of that due to back problems that continued to bother me throughout the majority of the month.  And then when I felt better I was hurrying along trying to catch up on all the things I'd missed, like treasure hunting!  I think I'm about caught up now.

Let's get started!

Breahn thanked me for sharing my menu plans. I seriously considered giving this up at one point but a flurry of protests came assuring me that others found this most helpful.  I like planning meals.  I carry them out more often than not too, but I like planning them.  Some people like to rearrange furniture. I like to think about how arranging foods just so on a menu will create a meal that is nutritious, appealing and satisfying. I am glad that they are appreciated.

Weekly Meal Plan and This Week's Plans




Steak, Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Rolls
Do you ever get in a rut with a menu plan?  I do often.  I so often serve baked potatoes with steak that I forget that I could have anything I wanted as a side.  Steak and potatoes do have a lovely affinity for one another, but why be so rutty.  This week I decided to make sour cream and chive potatoes. 

Tortellini and Meatball soup, Garlic Bread, Grapes
I've made this soup exactly once.  It's from Country Living magazine and is so tasty.  However, if you plan to make ahead and freeze a portion, I strongly urge you to hold off adding your tortellini even if you opt to use the dried shelf stable type instead of fresh or frozen.  It takes absolutely no time to overcook and becomes gummy and unpleasant.  I learned my lesson the hard way.  However, this soup is sooo good and takes only a little while to make from scratch.

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Frugal Week: Feb 1 - 7





Saturday:  Lori forgot the children's chocolate drink mix.  I hadn't made any of the homemade syrup and didn't really have time to do so.  I sent John into grocery for chocolate syrup on our way home from synagogue.  Cheaper for him to go into the grocery than for me to trail in and pick up this and that while wandering about.  As it was, he grabbed two deli sandwiches for us to eat on our way home, and a bag of the roasted salted in shell peanuts that he liked so well that we'd only recently tried.  I forgot to tell him I'd purchased two jars of dry roasted nuts the day before.

Made breakfast for us.  The kids and grandchildren slept in until just minutes before we left home.  I pointed out where all the foods were for their breakfast and we headed out to synagogue.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weekly Menu and Plans List


Well!  We've had an interesting week...That 'Winter Non-Event' snowed on us around 10pm Monday night.  We stayed home and looked at all the pretty snow Tuesday and Wednesday and did our best to keep the house and bodies warm.  Fortunately we never lost electricity, the gas man came last week just before this whole business was news and all was well.  John went out on Thursday to class, I didn't budge until Friday when I had to leave home to pick up groceries for the weekend company that came in.  Daniel was pleased to find we had plenty of snow on the back deck and trekked up and down and up and down and packed it in really good.  By the time we'd returned home from synagogue Saturday afternoon, there was no remaining bit of ice or snow.

Since I worked menus for the week before we had plans worked out for the week a few things were changed.  I'll start with Saturday's menu which Lori planned and cooked and served.  Really good new recipe she brought up and I think I want to incorporate that recipe into my menus in future.  We had a number of leftovers this weekend, all sweets, so I put them in the freezer.  We can piece them out over the next few weeks.