Saturday, July 11, 2015
This Week In My Home: Tightening Purse Strings
Saturday: I made steak fajitas from the leftover steak. I added peppers and onions and served in warm tortillas.
Made an avocado dressing using 3/4 of an avocado, some non-fat Greek Yogurt and lime juice.
We had leftover salad as our salad today.
John made egg salad from the remaining boiled eggs I cooked earlier this week.
The weather was unexpectedly mild so that the AC cut on and off routinely all day long. That's nothing to do with anything I did to save money, but it surely is a help to the budget!
Spent the afternoon going through the magazines Mama gave me earlier in the month and culled recipes, articles, coupons, inspirational photos.
Continued to treat my cold with vapor rub and Eucalyptus oil. By evening the cough and sore throat were finally lessened.
Prepared John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Reviewed the Fifty not Frumpy site on Polyvore and pinned a few more inspiration outfits to my boards. Not sure how much longer I can wear these pieces but until I replace them, I've a few more 'new' ideas for those old things.
When I heard the first pop and hiss and whistle and boom of fireworks this evening I went out on the front porch. Happily discovered we could see fireworks above the tree line on the next hill...so we got a free show.
Living Well: I didn't start out the day as a happy camper. I didn't feel well, wasn't happy with the way the week had gone overall...I just needed to be nice to myself today, so I was. I gave up chocking down the awful whole wheat bread I'd bought and instead enjoyed a whole grain but so delicious bread. I read. I napped. I rested. By end of the day, I felt a new person. TLC...sometimes we just need to take care of ourselves.
Sunday: Out of bread this morning. I allowed myself a granola bar (high protein, high fiber, low carb) which tasted like a treat. I may have just found my every other week replacement for pop tarts, lol.
Made John's breakfast and packed the lunch I prepared yesterday for his work lunch today.
Had plans to go out with a friend today for shopping and lunch. I had a hard time getting dressed this morning. I've lost at least one and possibly two pants sizes...and my tight pants fell to my hips and dragged the floor today.
Shopped for pants. No luck at all. I can alter mine slightly by taking darts in the waist band but it's a temporary fix. Having worked on the white jeans just in May, I'm not keen to do more taking in on denim. It's tough work.
Stayed within my shopping list boundaries and my budget today when shopping for other things. I bought bread and bananas at the grocery. I bought candles at a home goods store. I didn't buy any clothing pieces at all though I was mighty tempted by a dark brown maxi skirt that I was sure might be versatile wear. Maybe I'll go back for that, but I'll see what Pinterest boards have on that piece before I do. Not keen to invest too much just now until I settle into a new more permanent weight.
When buying bread, I decided to look at the ingredients on the loaf I really like. It had sugar way down on the list of ingredients. The whole wheat I'd bought had dextrose, sugar and honey listed in it's first six ingredients. Wow. And I'd loathed the taste of it. I decided to buy the bread I liked best, and had the bakery slice it thin which decreases the overall carbs per slice. I'll be a lot happier eating that bread than the whole wheat one that left me feeling ill. The load I like does have whole grains added into it so it's a good loaf overall.
Chose a diabetic friendly meal for my lunch and stayed within my planned expense for that meal.
Came home and made a homemade tomato soup and piece of cheese toast for my dinner.
Picked up the Sunday paper while I was in the grocery. Coupons and sales sheets made it worthwhile.
Pre-mixed some whole grain waffle mix for tomorrow's breakfast (I mix dry and cover and wet and store in fridge)...but recalling that John said he'd heaps rather have pancakes I may make him pancakes from it. Myself, I like waffles.
Living Well: It wasn't easy to schedule this 'play date' with my friend today. We've been trying off and on for the past three months to find a day that suited both our schedules. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Sometimes we just need a bit of girl talk, you know? And oh how we talked. About clothes, about diets, about decorating and children, about God and faith and who we were when we came to know Him. We talked about (not in a derogatory sense) people we both know and shared our frustrations over things we can't change in the lives of those we love. We talked about everything, while we shopped, while we ate, while we drove along. It was some of the best medicine I've had in a while.
Monday: Harvest day and a day for a major decision. How to pay the current lot of medical bills we'd received (about half of what insurance website tells us we owe)? We decided to take out an unsecured loan. We're essentially borrowing from ourselves at a low interest rate and plan to pay it off as quickly as we can. As for the rest....well that's a decision we'll have to make as they come along. Some are quite do-able on their own even with an additional payment in our roster. I'm not unhappy about this. Our credit is well worth protecting and unpaid or slow paid medical bills can lower a credit score in nothing flat. We are able to afford this and our savings will remain secure.
We combined errands this afternoon and took a long round about trip to do it. We took off trash, went to hospital for lab work, drove to John's workplace to pick up pay, went to bank, stopped at post office to drop off mail, stopped at our mailbox and picked up mail.
I was in a hurry when we banked and got out too much money. I knew it as soon as I passed the slip to the clerk. It would be so easy to shrug it off and say, Oh well...But I didn't do that. I took the overage and set it aside so I can deposit it next time I am near my bank. I have a way of tucking money away that reminds me, simply by placement, that it's not mine to spend. This has worked very well for me overall.
We ate all meals at home today, no stops for drinks or snacks or anything like that. We've been doing this consistently for the past four weeks and the savings are showing up in our pocket money.
Cashed in NFS survey points for a $10 PayPal card.
Living Well: I try hard to listen to my husband. If he says he wants to see this or that happen, and it's within my power to make it so, I will. When he mentioned a few months ago that he missed seeing me wear my wedding rings at home, I compromised and put on the plain gold band he gave me the day we married. I explained to him that I didn't want to bump and scratch the diamond set, but that the plain gold ring was just as precious if not more so and I welcomed the chance to wear it more.
Last Harvest day, I worked on bills and he watched a I did so. My doing bills alone is a relatively new thing in our household. For the past 22 and 3/4 years he's done it with me sitting along side watching, stuffing envelopes, stamping and addressing, keeping track of what we've set aside in each sub account, etc. This year, he has gradually turned over Harvest day work to me...However, at the end of that morning's work he asked quietly, "Do you miss praying over bills together?" Of course, I'd prayed over the work as I'd done it, but yes, to be honest, I missed that time of prayer together.
So this morning as I set out bills, I invited him to join me in prayer over them. We had a long discussion first about several different points related to our financial life, and then we held hands over our bills and prayed. It was so sweet to renew that ritual prayer time once more. It felt right. And honestly? I felt a little less alone while tending to the job at hand.
Tuesday: Grocery day. I hoped for an early start to avoid heat but missed that window of opportunity. Fortunately we keep insulated bag and coolers in the car trunk to store our foods for the ride home.
Combined errands again. I received a bill or two that we had money set aside to cover in yesterday afternoon's mail. We took those to town to mail. John bagged up trash and took that off on our way to town.
Reading labels and looking hard...I found a thin crust pizza in the freezer section of Aldis that had a decent carb amount for two slices. I know John has missed pizza and he's trying hard to follow my eating plan, partly as encouragement, partly to keep his own health stable. It wasn't pricey either, very reasonable.
Plans were to shop at Aldi and Aldi only. That's just what we did.
I cooked a roasted chicken before we left home this morning for an easy dinner when we returned. I needed only to make sides when we came in from grocery shopping. Easy for me and cost effective for us.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher this afternoon.
John went out to mow yard. He thought he'd need to go to town to get gasoline but started the job anyway. In the end he had just enough gas to do the whole yard and put the mower back in the shed. At least we didn't have to make an extra trip to town.
While John mowed yard, I cleared my closet. I have a slimmer wardrobe than before. The truth is that losing weight is a good thing. Thinning the wardrobe was very necessary. I'd already altered several pants and anymore would ruin them for wear. I have four pair left that I can work with and the maxi skirt. Six tops went to the donate pile along with the pants and a heavy winter coat that was too big 45 pounds ago. I've altered my Pinterest boards to reflect those pieces I no longer have. I'll see what I can do with what I have left using Pinterest for more inspiration. My goal: not buy any clothes until Fall.
John came in hot from mowing. He's made it his habit to sit in the kitchen at my desk to cool off, since it's the coolest spot in the house in the evenings. We had supper there this evening, a cold supper of chilled grapes and egg salad sandwiches.
Living Well: Today while we were in Aldi, we turned to someone saying our name. It was a dear young man we hadn't seen in about three years. His life has changed so much over that time. He graduated college, became engaged, lost his mother, married and now the young couple are expecting their first child. It was so good to see him and see the change of maturity in his face. We didn't chat for long but oh the pleasure of seeing someone you really like and love and seeing the same liking and love in their face for you! It does a heart good.
Just as sweet was his genuine hug and then he looked deep into my eyes. "Are you really okay, now?" Yes, I assured him, I am. "I never stopped praying for you," he said. I so appreciated knowing that and thanked him. It was those warriors of prayer that saw me through this turn of life and I am forever grateful.
Wednesday: Washed two full loads of clothes today. I hung sheets and towels on the line. I hung shirts and shorts to dry indoors.
Decided I wanted a good beef stew...result of reading recipes of late. I added more than the usual vegetables. I put in tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms as well as potatoes, carrots and onions.
It made enough stew to give us a second meal of vegetable beef soup later this week.
I wanted to do something different with my fruit portion of the meal today, so I made a berry crisp. This was easy and relatively low sugar. I did use the real thing in the dish but kept it very very low. I used just 1/3 tsp in the berries (for each ramekin) and 1 tsp of loose brown sugar in the oatmeal and cinnamon topping. It was very good and a great treat with a spoon of whipped topping on it. I'll do this again with baked apples, peaches, even oranges in the future.
We had the frozen pizza for supper tonight. It was very good! Surprisingly fresh tasting for a frozen pizza. This was a Mama Cozzi Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza. It had a nice touch of basil and finely diced tomatoes over the top of the pizza. I'll buy this one again for us. Following their guidelines this pizza will serve three so there were leftovers.
Prepped John's lunch for work tomorrow. He made his sandwiches, I assembled the rest of the items to go into his bag.
Lab results were in and I needed to decrease my blood thinner. Fortunately I have a full prescription of the lesser dosage of the medicine on hand, so no need to get a fresh supply of pills.
Cashed in Swagbucks for $25 PayPal gift card.
Living Well: Just a quiet, busy day at home. I was busy all morning long, tending to my household and thinking of more tasks I wanted to do. What a pleasure to work, genuinely work, in my home and not feel weary or tired until mid afternoon...and then to feel recovered and get up to tend to just a little more work. I found myself singing out loud as I went about my tasks. I know not everyone understands it, this love of home and how involving the work can be for those of us who genuinely enjoy it, but some of you do. You'll understand just how happy it made me to be so happily employed.
Thursday: Packed John's lunch.
Made John breakfast.
No need to do any real housework today so I took time to sort out the costume jewelry. I was planning to try to set up a few outfits for the week ahead but I got caught in the sorting process and ran out of time this morning.
I planned a day out with Mama today. She paid for lunch and I supplied a portion of the tip.
We went into Kohl's because Mama wanted new sandals. I was the one who purchased something today, a pretty pair of very reduced coral/peach colored sandals. They were $44 and were reduced by $30. I also bought a statement silver necklace reduced from $24 to $4. I chuckled when the girl said "Oh today you saved $50." I did NOT save $50. I would never ever have paid $70 for a necklace and a pair of sandals in the first place! I am pleased I found two items to add to my limited wardrobe and not spend a fortune.
Stopped at packing shed to buy peaches.
Went by the flea market to look over booth and pay rent. Didn't have to pay rent this month. I made money and a little profit! I've added the profit margin to the money I'm setting aside just now (all those survey monies are going to go to good use). The booth is looking nice and full. Some items have been on the shelves a long time though. Perhaps it's time to see how they might do on eBay...Something to think over.
Home early enough today to pull curtains on the west side of the house and keep the living room/bedroom and bath from heating up too much.
Made time to set up the next lot of outfits so I won't hesitate at the closet when it's time to get ready to leave home.
Living Well: That stop by the peach shed to buy a bag of peaches was the best part of the day. The aroma of ripe peaches about the stand out front was so awesome. What's more I was sitting here a moment or two ago sniffing the air trying to decide just what it was that smelled so good...and I realized it was those peaches I brought home. Guess what's included in my supper plans?
This is one of summer's pleasures for me, this short season of ripe peaches. I'll make it a point to go by the peach shed every week for the next six to eight weeks and get a fresh bag of my favorite summer fruit. And when the woman who operates the stand tells me that the last week has arrived, I'll mourn over the end of the season.
Friday: Cleaned out the fridge this morning. I tossed a partial bag of coleslaw mix we'd bought and a half pint of 15 bean soup.
Cleaning out the fridge inspired me to have a kitchen day. Most of today's work went into prepping items for the freezer. I topped and sliced strawberries. Diced green and stop light peppers. Sliced ginger root.
Cooked up the backs/carcasses of chickens I had in the freezer. I put three quarts broth into the freezer this afternoon and 1 1/2 cups chicken after I picked over the bones. The skin was saved for Maddie and Misu.
I used a portion of cooked turkey breast to make Turkey Salad for salads and sandwiches this weekend.
Planned weekend meals.
Used leftover cornmeal muffin batter to make a quick oven meal of baked corn dogs and oven fries. Not on my menu plan but I wanted something very quick and easy since I let it go so late to start preparing dinner.
Used only half the packet of hot dogs. I put the rest away in the freezer since they were still frozen.
Living Well: I am tired today but put in a good day's work all the same...and I've been busy all week long! It has felt so good to be full of energy and able to put in a day of work in my home. This evening, after all the thunder left the area, we went out to the yard and picked up all the limbs etc that had blown down. I assure you this is typically a beginning of the day job for me, not an end of day job. I didn't even for a minute think of putting off the job. It feels good to be back.