Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Frugal Week: August 23 -30

Had to change to this photo of dish towels blowing in the breeze.  It's been breezy here and clothes dry in under 2 hours on the line!  We frugal folks call it the solar dryer...

Saturday:  Our dinner was pretty much prepped for the day, so little work required from me.  I sliced potatoes, covered in water and put in the fridge yesterday.  I should have drained and refilled the pot with lukewarm to take less time to heat up, but I didn't think about the savings that would have made.  I will next time.

I kept coming across a recipe in my vintage magazines that I had made a few times quite a few years ago, Fancy Pants Burgers.  I made that for dinner today. I made the patties up yesterday. I thawed a pound of ground beef and made four thin patties. I didn't need quite all of the pound, so I browned the rest in the skillet I meant to cook the burgers in.  I mixed that meat with some taco meat that I had in the freezer.  I'll use that later to make burritos or soup or something.

We didn't have any cookies or dessert for the day.  My homemade brownies are not cheap to make from scratch but they do taste better than any boxed mix.  I made a half recipe.  These will last us several days as snacks/desserts.

Ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.  I've been utilizing my dishwasher more and more of late and not hand-washing as many dishes.  I'm convinced there's a savings in this for us.

Made sandwiches for John's lunch and gathered things in a basket in the fridge so I could find them quickly in the morning.

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch.  Made him breakfast.

I skipped eating this morning.  Every now and then I do, though not often.  I find it just clears my system so to speak and it makes me feel better.

I stripped the bed and washed a full load of laundry: sheets and towels and cloths.  Hung all to dry on the line.  I didn't have quite enough clothes to make a full load so I left them for Monday when John came in from work.

It might not sound frugal but I shopped this afternoon.  I have no shoes for winter wear.  Mine split at the seams late last winter and I never replaced.  Today I went out with the purpose of buying shoes, several pairs of shoes.  I found a pair of pretty sandals on sale.  I got a dressy pair of black shoes and a casual pair of black ones. I spent good money on those shoes and this is one area where I don't mind spending bigger. My shoe size is common and  that makes it very hard to find good comfortable shoes in my size range, so when I find shoes I think look nice, fit well, and are pretty I pay whatever price is asked.  I received a $20 off $20 purchase coupon on this purchase.  I will go back and use that on something else to enhance my wardrobe, a purse, scarf or nice piece of costume jewelry that I can use several seasons.

I stopped at the grocery to buy something for my supper before heading home.  I also wanted to get a few items on my list for pantry that I use occasionally.  As I got out of my car the woman next to me was unloading her cart.  I offered to take it back into the store for her.  She thanked me then offered me a coupon good for $10 off $50 grocery/beverage purchase.  I spent a little more than $50 so that $10 coupon was a real blessing for us.

I had intended to pick up a couple more packages of the Kosher hot dogs that were on sale as a BOGO.  These have only 7 hot dogs in a package.  I noted that a very good organic brand of beef hot dogs were also on sale, same price with 10 in the package.  I chose to purchase those.

I bought the Sunday paper while in the store.  The coupons will pay for it, but we like the entertainment value of the paper, too.  I also found another $10 off coupon from the same store where I'd bought my shoes which I can use when I go back.  That makes $30 in savings.

I saved half the sandwich I bought for my supper.

I did not turn on the television until nearly 9pm when a program I look forward to  came on.  This NEVER happens when my husband is home though he now cuts the television off more often...just doesn't leave it off ALL DAY, as I often do.

Ordered a new battery for my computer using Swagbucks to earn extra bucks, getting free shipping on the purchase and using PayPal earnings from Swag to cover more than half the cost.

Monday:  I forgot to reset the timer on the coffeepot so it made coffee at 5am.  We didn't make a new pot when John came in from work.  We just reheated what was in the pot.  Since this coffeepot also automatically cuts off after 1 1/2 hours it doesn't burn and get bitter tasting.

Made breakfast from scratch after John came in.  I used the last of the Lemon Poppy Seed muffins as our bread for the meal.

Spent another morning in the kitchen, though it wasn't quite what I'd planned for the day.  I made 1 dozen egg rolls, as well as Chicken Fried Rice for our meal. I steamed half a package of  Snow Peas as a side dish and made Ambrosia from frozen orange slices.  I put several egg rolls in the freezer after they'd cooled.  I bake mine in the oven so they do not require oil to fry.

I put the chicken carcass and a back from another chicken in to make broth for soup this week. I added a tbsp of vinegar to leach calcium from the chicken bones.  I picked over the bones and got another 2 cups of meat from them.  I saved the skin and soft grizzles for Misu and Maddie.

I mixed up Banana Poundcake using three bananas that got fully ripened very quickly.  I made in loaf pans instead of a tube pan and put one in the freezer.  I'd meant to put both in the freezer but underestimated my husband's like of freshly made Banana Poundcake, lol.    

Washed another full load of dishes.

Tuesday:  We had plans to travel to a favorite nearby destination today.  I made breakfast for us here at home.

I packed water bottles to take with us.

We had dinner out.  We ate late so supper tonight was cheese and fruit for me.  John chose to eat some of the egg salad I'd made.

I packed John's lunch for work tomorrow and put in the fridge.

I had the coffee pot ready to make coffee when we walked in the door this afternoon.

Wednesday:  Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast.

Yesterday morning when we left home, John cut off every ceiling fan in the house, fans we normally leave running.   I couldn't help but think he might have hit upon an unseen savings window.  Today when I left home I did the same.  I was gone several hours, as we were yesterday.

I had a list of what I meant to purchase at the craft store today.  I found all but one item on my list today.

Found a pair of shoes, 50% off.  I save $32.

Mama bought lunch today.  I paid the tip and bought our dessert from my allowance.

Spent a few minutes doing housework after I got in.  I am grateful that we are fairly neat people in this household.

Skipped supper since we'd had such a late lunch.  I did have a graham cracker and peanut butter with my milk this evening.

Thursday:  Up early this morning to have coffee and do Bible study before John came in from work.

I made French toast for breakfast.  The last few times I've made french toast, John has insisted I scramble the egg and milk mixture.  I usually add nutmeg and vanilla to my egg/milk for the toast and I just didn't think it would make good scrambled eggs.  This morning I decided that since he was likely to want the scrambled egg, I'd skip the vanilla and nutmeg.  Yes, I missed it but French toast is still good toast without it.  Besides, I can always sprinkle cinnamon sugar on my toast which is pretty awesome.  Hint: I always add a smidge of freshly grated nutmeg to my cinnamon sugar.  It adds a bit of something extra that is very nice.

After breakfast was cleared away and the pets were fed, I washed out water buckets and watered the outdoor plants. I do not understand pets in the least.  Fresh beautiful clear water in the buckets and pails and what do they want to drink?  The green cruddy water running across the patio...sigh.  Never fear, the plants appreciated the green cruddy water, too.

Another kitchen morning.  Savings galore!  First I skimmed fat off the pot of broth, then added in chicken and fresh vegetables to simmer.  I'll thicken later and add noodles and we'll call it supper instead of dinner tomorrow as planned.  I don't know.  Maybe it will still be dinner tomorrow.  Anyway, it's all simmered up and reduced a bit.  later note: we didn't have for supper as I got involved in a discussion with a dear friend online and missed the supper hour.  We had something  we could make quickly instead.

Made meatballs and stretched the half pound of meat with some bread crumbs, an egg, chopped onion, garli and finely minced baby portabella mushrooms. I also added 2 patties worth of the turkey breakfast sausage we like which extended the meat a little further. I managed a dozen meatballs from the meat with the extenders.  I browned the meatballs in olive oil.

Made spaghetti sauce.  I added my chopped fresh vegetables which included several Roma tomatoes that wanted to go spotty on me.  I cut away the bad parts and chopped the good ones.  I browned the vegetables (not the tomatoes) in the oil I'd cooked the meatballs in, scraping the pan well so all those lovely bits came up.  I simmered the sauce  for two hours or so, then added in the meatballs and removed from heat.  I don't intend to have this meal until Saturday.  All the components should have great flavor after sitting together for a couple of days.

I made potato pierogi from leftover mashed potatoes and leftover egg roll wrappers.  I put 16 in the freezer.
I had a few false starts but I think they will be all right.

I put a portion of our fajita mixture aside for another meal.  I'll mix with rice and black beans to stretch and fill tortillas and make burritos for the freezer.  These will make quick and easy suppers and work lunches.

I cut the fan on in the kitchen sitting area each morning to keep that area cooler as the sun heats thru the windows.  In the afternoon I've found I can cut the fan off, saving that energy.

Friday:  John was vague about plans for today but clear about his desire to leave home.  I brought along bottles of water.  Next time I'll bring along snacks, too!  We didn't stop to purchase snacks but we did get rather hungry before we finally found our way to a favorite restaurant.

Two days this week we've gone off on long drives and had dinner out.  We won't do this every week by any means, and certainly not every time John is off, but as he pointed out to me there are times when he just gets weary of forever saving and making do.   I get that.  There are times I get weary of it as well.  It's nice to remember that we CHOOSE to be frugal and CHOOSE to live debt free.  It's nice as well to just have fun now and then.  The bulk of our money that day was gasoline usage.  We traveled a good ways, saw a lot of the countryside and had some great conversations.   We laughed and joked.  We had some deep serious conversations, too.  We enjoyed ourselves.  And when we came in we were ready to buckle down once more and SAVE.

Supper tonight: Chicken noodle soup.  I set 1 quart of broth aside.  I had enough meat/veg/broth to make TWO batches of Chicken Noodle soup, so one portion went into the freezer.

Living Well





This weekend, this last weekend in August, has been sort of bittersweet.  It's the last holiday weekend of summer...Football games began in earnest.  I've listened to the roar of crowds all afternoon...And outdoors leaves have fluttered to the ground all day long, drifting slowly but relentlessly down.  It's made me a little sad to watch the end of the end of another season, another summer.

Each year there are a few regrets.  This year I'm sorry that I never experienced the joyous thrill of splashing cool water on sun soaked skin.  I regret not eating even one single bit of sticky sweet, chilled watermelon.  I  regret that I bought peaches only twice and that I failed to buy corn to put up for the winter months as I did last year.  I regret we didn't make it to the beach.  I regret not having a frozen Coke.

But there are things I indulged in...I had peach ice cream.  I sat outdoors and listened to the drying wind blow and enjoyed the warmth of a summer's day.  I had pretty flowers in pots and in the flower beds.  I may not have eaten my fill of peaches but I did buy some and enjoyed every juicy mouthful.  I've appreciated the aroma of fresh mown grass at least right up to that moment when I began to sneeze, lol.  And I've appreciated the wonderful scent of laundry brought in from the line, freshened by sun and wind in a way that no dryer sheet or detergent is ever going to impart.  

I've appreciated iced tea mid afternoon after working hard and getting hot. We made it to the mountain for the first time ever in summer.  (I didn't see any more leaves changing color than we've had here.)  I've enjoyed having iced water along with me when I had to run errands.  I relished this season and it's offerings.  That's what I meant to do.  It's what I want to do with every season.

So here's to a pleasant summer just leaving us quietly and gently.  And here's to Autumn and all it's pleasures.  Bring on the football and the rustle of leaves, the pumpkins and crisp cool air.  Bring on the wonderful tart apples, fresh cider, boiled green peanuts and the other nuts and spices we associate with this season.  Bring on the sweaters and the quilts and the first slow simmering stews.  It is time to move on once again.  Let it begin.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Afternoon Refresher: Winding Down


Come in, come in!  There's Banana Poundcake today to go with our tea...I don't mind telling you that this may well be the last of the Afternoon Refreshers.  We'll be reverting back to the Coffee Chats with September.  I found this lovely image in one of the August vintage magazines.  I thought it was unique with that little shell and sea horse plate and the glass embellished with what looks like a silver rope.  Too cute, isn't it?

I've been wanting to have another chat for the past few days but have stayed quite busy in the kitchen.  Of all the places in the household that can generate savings, I think the kitchen is the most time consuming of all. Mind you it's paid off this go round.  I spent a lot of money on groceries this month, but both freezers are full, the pantry is almost back to burgeoning.  In fact, this next week when we shop for groceries, it's my plan to stock up on flour and sugar, buy bread, dairy and produce and exit the store!  I'm thinking September is the perfect time to begin a pantry challenge.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meal and Job Plans for August 24 - 30



This is it...the last week of August?  Gosh but this month went even faster than all the months before it I think!  And another season is ending as well.  My goodness!  I think we should put the brakes on this year, don't you?

Don't you just love the new post topper?  I think it was a Magic Chef Oven advertisement from the 1950s.  I think that weather vane with the utensils hanging from it is too nice!  I'd take that in a heartbeat for my own wall decor.

Shabat Thoughts: Addicted


I know all about addiction and how it affects a home.  I grew up in a household where addictive personalities reigned.   As an adult I found myself caught in a repeat pattern.  I have fought addiction three different times.  No, four.  That's why I'm writing this post now.

First let me share with you what addiction is: a behavior that controls YOU.  You can't stop drinking, eating, using drugs, seeking out porn sites, indulging in sexual misconduct, shopping, stealing, gossiping, complaining. Obsessive Compulsive disorders are generally addictive behavior as well.  So you see addiction may be physical or it might be mental/emotional/spiritual.  Yes spiritual.  When you deal with any issue that breaks a commandment or affects your walk as a Christian, it is also a spiritual battle as much as it is a mental one.

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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Afternoon Refresher: Summer, Shopping and Surprise Thunderstorms


Gracious goodness!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  I didn't mean to let time slide past.  Truthfully I've been ready to have you over for tea for quite some time now, but somehow, I could never get my time to meet my desire.  And yet, I promise you that precious little shows around here for all the time I've spent!  Come in, come in.  Or better yet, let's stay on the porch.  Iced tea coming right up.

It's just possible these afternoon refreshers are going to turn into coffee chats shortly.  You may laugh but I've been warning you all that we'd have an early autumn.  On our way to Athens area we saw many trees that were just beginning to get tinges of color.  Last week I discovered blooming golden rod and mallow flowers.   The Sweet Gum tree in the front yard is laden with gold stars amongst the green leaves.  Yesterday the water from the faucet ran so cold that I didn't need ice in my glass to have a cool drink.  Katie contacted me and shared her 'signs'.  I went to sit on the back porch about 7pm one evening and then another sign made itself known.  A sweet elusive scent that had me lifting my head and sniffing trying to remember just what it was.  It was tea olive wafting across the field from Granny's house.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Meal and Jobs(?) Plan



Oh dear at the computer woes!  Our internet has the habit of dying briefly if thunder rumbles then returning in a few minutes.  It makes getting off the computer in a real storm no hardship at all!  Well you could hardly call it a rumble yesterday but out the internet went, the wind blew over whatever weather it might have been rather quickly and yet the internet never returned.  John called this morning and got then to come out and check the lines.  Ours were just fine.  Turns out the trouble was up the road at the actual box or whatever it's called.  I can't for the life of me remember what the young man called it but it's a common enough word.  Anyway, we were without internet until mid-morning and by then I was busy as could be with a variety of things in the house.  I thought I'd settle in to computer time after I was done, but John called to say his meeting was over and he was on his way home and would I please be ready to leave when he got here?  So I ran to wash my hair, dress and make-up.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Frugal Week, Living Well








Saturday:  I made dinner from leftovers.  I had roast beef sliced in gravy and served that with mashed potatoes and a big salad.  There's still enough roast left for another meal for one.

We traveled to see our daughter wed.  I took along a thermal glass of iced water and extra water.

Though my clothes for the wedding were new they were not purchased just for the wedding.  I wanted to purchase new costume jewelry to go with, but in the end, I decided to use what I had.

Gave myself a manicure here at home.

Though initially my husband meant to take an alternate route  home, he decided to just follow the same route we'd taken earlier in the day.  It was a time saver and a savings of gasoline as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August Recipe Challenge: Crock pot Cranberry Chicken


I've had this recipe in my recipe files, pinned to Pinterest, etc.  For years.  Seriously years.  As I was going through my Pinterest file the other day I decided it was now or never time.  I have Cranberry sauce about to expire (though I expect, as acidic as it is, it will be good for a while yet) on my pantry shelf.  I had a bottle of Catalina type dressing in the fridge.  I had chicken.  I'd just purchased onion soup mix.  It was a "Go" on all points.

I admit I was slack this morning. I waited until 9:30 to start this dish.  My chicken breasts were frozen solid.  I forgot the cranberry sauce about to expire in the pantry and hunted all through the fridge for cranberry sauce I thought I had leftover.  In the end, I grabbed a container of homemade cranberry relish from the freezer to use and I'll explain why.  I wanted to make just enough for two.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekly Menu and Job Plan: August 10 - 16



John and I had a lovely time Saturday evening at Katie's wedding.  It was very simple, very understated, very sweet and tastefully done.  It felt just the way she wanted it to be: a small intimate group of family and friends without a lot of fussiness or expense.  Katie's gowns were purchased years ago when she dreamed of her wedding day.  They were beautiful still.  She had the long one for the service and then changed into a shorter dress for mingling and meal after.  There's a photo she wanted most especially with Matt's parents and us that is so sweet it made me cry when I saw it the first time.   I can wish all those things we always wish: that I weighed less or had adjusted my clothing better etc, but you know that moment was sweet and it was captured beautifully.  I promise I'll share a bit more as the week goes on.  I'm still playing catch-up this week!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Frugal Week: August 2 - 8

Saturday:  We ate leftovers today for our dinner. All I needed do was make a green salad.

John and I decided to look at our options with our cell phone bill.  We cut it by $8 a month.

Washed a full load of clothes.

Washed a full load of dishes.


Sunday:  John worked.  I made him breakfast and packed his lunch.

I had the last banana muffin for my breakfast with a smear of cream cheese.

Kept electric usage low.  I didn't run lights nor have the tv on until mid evening.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My! July In Review


Another month gone by!  Can you believe it?  Nor can I.  But there's glory in this month.  For one it's full of summer goodness with fruits and vegetables galore.  And it's just a short time now until Autumn.  I do love the progression of seasons.  Already the goldenrod is standing up tall and the ragweed has started to bloom (Achoo!).

First the July Q&A post netted a few comments.  Sarah, I do so understand feeling lonely in a church.  I can excuse it away in the vast church we're attending at present.  When there are 1000 or more people in a Sunday service, you hardly expect to be noticed at all.  The last synagogue we attended was friendly and nice, but there was never an intimacy there. I've about made up my mind I really should go out and visit some church or another or several here and there on these Sundays when John is working.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August Challenge: Recipe #1 Buttered Peaches with Ravioli



For August, I've challenged myself to try some of those recipes I've pulled or pinned.  This one, from Better Homes and Gardens Magazines was pulled just this summer.  I had the majority of the needed ingredients on hand and what I didn't I felt I had reasonable substitutes for.

Menu and Weekly Job Plans: August 4-9


Now doesn't that look like a perfect summer day?  I do love a good picnic, but I've no idea when we'll get to have another.  I must wait for a bit until things settle down around us.  In the meantime, we'll maybe get a meal on the patio or back porch if the pleasant weather holds.

John's already mentioned a favorite meal he'd like to have, I tried a new recipe today while I was on my own and that just leaves me a few more to plan.

Buttered Peaches and Ravioli, Green Salad, Crusty Bread
Yep, that's a brand new recipe.  I'll share that one here shortly along with my review of it.

Tuna Pasta Salad, Saltines,  Peach Dumpling
A cool and easy meal, full of good vegetables and refreshing.  I find a warm dessert is always nice following a cold meal.

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Frugal Week/Living Well





Saturday:  We were each on our own for breakfast this morning, but there was plenty to choose from.  I indulged in bakery croissants.  I put some of them in the freezer for future treats.

I made a favorite salad for lunch today using leftover cooked chicken and cheese ravioli.  This recipe has handled substitutions well.  I've yet to make the recipe exactly as written.  It calls for tortellini but I had ravioli on hand.  I'd just used the last of the green onions so used a chopped Vidalia onion.  I didn't have Parmesan cheese but plenty of Asiago.  The only substitution I won't make?  Subbing for the fresh lemon juice.  I believe that one ingredient is absolutely key to the flavor of this dish.



I had a bit of food waste today: 2 slices of coconut cream pie.  I should have covered it and didn't.  Shame on me.

Set aside a freshly washed plastic container we'd bought bulk cashews in.  I'll use to store the whole wheat flour I just bought.

Sunday:  John worked today.  I did the usual: packed his lunch and made him breakfast.

Washed a smaller load of clothes, hung all to dry on the line.

Fed the geranium another special bit of liquid: tea.  I brewed tea yesterday and covered the bags with water and let them sit overnight.  Granny taught me to use tea as a fertilizer for geraniums.  She said her grandmother used to do the same and she always had blooms on her geraniums.

Cleaned the coffee pot and maker really well today.

Shopped at home for coffee in the pantry and refilled the decaf and regular coffee canisters.  Also brought out confectioner's sugar.