Friday, December 4, 2015
Savings Season In My Home
Friday: I woke extra early this morning. I got up and started my Thanksgiving meal.
I learned my lesson about not labeling things I've put in the freezer. The second quart jar of broth proved to be from a corned beef and not chicken broth as I'd thought. Fortunately I was able to boil the turkey neck and make a bit more, just enough to make gravy.
I put away leftovers immediately following dinner. Enough for meals for tomorrow went into the fridge. The rest of the meat was stripped from the carcass and packed up as sandwich/casserole meat. and soup making pieces.
I planned to make extra stuffing yesterday and then changed my mind. I am glad I did. I put three pans of dressing up today. One for the fridge, two into the freezer.
Started decorating for Christmas last night really, but decorated the mantel today. Wanting an autumn/Thanksgiving look on the dining table for our meal kept me from decorating the dining room side of the room.
I re-used some pretty Christmas cards I had saved over the years to freshen up the shadow box and the little frames on the end of the collage wall (formerly framed individual leaves, formerly Indian arrowheads).
The morning was much warmer than we've had lately. I opened windows early in the day which kept the house from getting too hot during the afternoon.
I cooked the giblets planning to make giblet gravy only to discover that John dislikes giblet gravy. No matter, the pups and cat will enjoy the giblets and the leftover gravy as well.
Clipped the ends of the flowers I purchased three weeks ago. One thing I love about cool weather and keeping my home cooler than the average? Flowers last very well indeed. I kept looking at one of the items I'd put out to decorate with for Christmas against the red/bold of the mums in the old floral arrangement and decided it would make a nice combination for now. And it did. I split the arrangement between the kitchen window sill vase of rooting coleus and mums and the pretty container from the living room decor.
Saturday: Typically not a big day for us. We truly do try hard to rest and keep from work. I couldn't help it though...I just had to get the tree up and plugged in today. I don't typically decorate it the first day but decorate very slowly over a week's time. However, I have to share my big ''use what you have" thing for the day. The base of the tree needed to be nicer looking than what I used last year. And when I went out to toss the limbs from my Thanksgiving table decor I spied the perfect item on my back porch. I purchased a big 24 inch deep planter last year, which happens to be in the same blue as my blue and white pieces. I turned a bucket upside down, put a drip tray on top of that and set the tree in the planter. Voila! A perfect tree stand that keeps the tree stable.
We had leftovers today for dinner. I wrote my post last night after looking hard at my own leftovers, then discovered this one this morning: http://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/2015/11/thanksgiving-leftovers/ Thought I'd share in case you'd like more ideas. Her lists contain a few I wish I'd thought of, like Sweet Potato Waffles, Cheesy Turkey Pot Pie and Turkey Enchiladas. Go check it out because a lot you will serve the whole Turkey/Dressing thing all over again at Christmas time. Might as well build up a list of ideas for leftover now.
I set aside a portion of turkey and green bean casserole for my solo lunch on Monday. I mean to try that idea of mine with the bread crumb topping.
I promise I did not spend the day decorating...But I did reuse a length of ribbon from last year's evergreen swag to up the red factor on the living room mantel. After that I had to stop decorating. John said I made it look like work even if I claimed I was having fun, lol.
Sunday: Made a pot roast dinner in the crock pot while we were out at church. It is a nice thing to come home and stand at the door after unlocking it and smell a good meal cooking.
It always surprises me how very much Chuck roast can shrink in slow cooking. I managed to cut our little roast into thirds. We'll have sandwiches from the third portion and I'll save the broth in the freezer to make a future batch of soup.
Last thing yesterday evening I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
John washed a full load of clothes today and hung several items on the line outdoors to dry.
We stopped and picked up the Sunday paper on our way home. John filled my car while we were in the area of our church, where gasoline was $.30 a gallon less than it is here at home.
We took off trash and picked up mail on our way out this morning.
I packed John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Fed the dogs another portion of food scraps to supplement their food this morning. No one is complaining out there, even though they normally do not get table scraps. Blossom is so eager for any special foods that she will literally catch it in the air as it drops. Maddie has learned not to sniff suspiciously at anything but to eat first and wonder if it was good later or she'll lose it to Blossom.
Made turkey salad from the last bit of turkey breast. I added a boiled egg and some diced apple. It was certainly tasty and helped stretch the turkey meat. We should get a second batch of sandwiches off that.
While boiling the egg for turkey salad, I boiled three more. I'll use those for egg salad for sandwiches this week. I have not bought any sandwich meats from the deli except bologna in the past four months and no one has complained over it.
Monday: I packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast before he left for work.
Earned all my first goal points and a few more on Swagbucks this morning early.
Fed the pups and cat. I noted how low the dog food bin was. I have been hoping for a trip to Walmart or a great sale but neither is in my near future, so I went by the dollar store and bought their brand. My pets do not generally like the dollar store food even if it is the same brand as they get from the grocery but my budget needed the kindness this week.
While at the dollar store, I picked up a gift card and birthday card for my son in law. I also shopped for blue and white ornaments for my tree. Well...I found the blue ones and at $3.99 a package I could handle that right well.
Went by post office to get postage for an airmail letter.
Headed off to get lab work done. It was a long wait today as everyone apparently waited over the holiday/Black Friday/shopping weekend to do lab work.
Went into Hobby Lobby. I wanted so many things but in the end I bought two floral picks (1 bunch of poinsettia and one of a white flocked weed...I don't know how else to describe it but it was a lot cheaper than many other white options. Mine just lacked glitter. Glitter apparently runs the cost up to $7 per stem as opposed to $2.99. I also bought red balls, white frosty snowflakes (in multi packs) and a tree topper. All was half priced and all was paid for out of my personal cash. I spent more than I'd planned on Christmas but you'll see how that works out shortly.
Stopped to get lunch. I had $4 and change left and knew there was a $1 bill in the change pocket on the dash of the car. My lunch cost me $5.33. I had planned to eat at home. I had not planned to be 45 minutes or longer in the lab waiting to get my blood drawn.
Skipped the grocery store entirely. We have a loaf of bread at present. We will need to buy more but it can wait until after today is over. We'll have a small injection to boost our budget at that point and I can get bread (and bananas and cheese and something GREEN from the produce department) at that time. In the meantime we'll make do with shriveled grapes, the last of the lettuce, and the loaf of bread I took from the freezer last night.
Went by to pay our cell phone bills. It was a bust, and it was silly. The girl was so anxious to get rid of me that she failed to ask if I had my debit card with me. I did learn that one must be a full month behind on the phone bill to get charged a late fee. I was worried as my bill arrived Thursday and was due this coming Saturday. I'd normally just mail but of late I've had a few problems if there isn't at least a ten-day period between mailing and due date. Well...I stopped at the local post office, bought an envelope and mailed it off today. I paid extra for that envelope and stamp but I wouldn't have liked to waste gas and time by going home to pick up same and then driving back to town to put in the mail.
When I arrived home, I made myself a cup of coffee and read through facebook posts. Then I went into the guest room and started to look for the ornament hooks. Happy happy dance. I found bookoodles of red balls in a bag from an old bin of Christmas things. I will be returning the red ones I bought today and was inspired to organize those totes so that it's better organized.
First I decorated the tree and it turned out lovely. Yes, there's a lot of red on it but it balances it out very nicely with the blue pot and the few blue balls I used (just one package but I will keep the second package.
I never decorate the back side of my tree. I decorate about two thirds of it. Even though we have the tree in front of a window it faces out over the back yard. No one is seeing it, so I save time and skip the back side.
I emptied each tote, took note of what I had and began to organize my items. I now have one tote dedicated to greenery and floral picks, one that is nothing but ornaments, one for nativities. I will be buying three more totes. One for the Christmas tree and one for the Nutcrackers and one for stockings and ribbons and table runners and such. I may end up with one more tote that is miscellaneous items that I seldom want to use but feel very sentimental over. It's silly things like a fluffy nylon Santa that was Katie's first Christmas, and ornaments I purchased over the years from my very first marriage married Christmas and toys that belonged to one of the children or another.
I had some broken ornaments in one of the boxes. I saved the cap hook from them as they often will fit other ornaments. I used three or four while I was decorating the tree!
Finished the decorating in the main room. I am still tweaking things, especially the dining table centerpiece and I still need a wreath on the front door but I'm very very close to finished at this point.
I will be returning to Hobby Lobby: the poinsettia floral picks, two boxes of red mini ball ornaments and a tree topper that just didn't look as nice at home as it did at the store.
I decided to use an old tree topper that I have be-glittered myself. It was formerly a battery operated light up thing that never did work. I yanked out the battery pack and wires and then spread glue over it and added sanding glitter to give it an icy appearance. I've got it laid out drying at present, right next to the nutcracker who needed a nose job.
I played decorating house and organizing bins all afternoon and right into evening. I finally stopped and ate supper about 7pm. I opted for yogurt and fruit and a piece of peanut butter toast since that is a good bit later than I normally eat.
Cashed in NFS points for a Pay Pal deposit.
Tuesday: Savings today seems slim on the surface but really it was not a bad day.
I made breakfast, using the leftover bread (pieces that had gotten a little dry) that I had in the freezer.
It was John who suggested a few months ago that I scramble the leftover egg/milk mixture rather than save in the fridge to use in another item. I'm glad he did suggest it because I never ever find that little jar of leftover milk tucked at the back of the fridge about two weeks later! I added an extra egg to the milk to thicken it a little further and had enough to serve eggs to two.
Fashioned a wreath for the front door. Sometimes I have ideas that just don't work out. Today I had one of those ideas. So, I wasted a bit of time. I ripped it all up and started over again and in the end I had something I like a lot. And it cost me $1.25 for the one floral pick I bought.
I didn't take anything out for dinner...and of course, dinner time rolled around. The Cheese steak French Bread pizza I put in the freezer a couple of weeks ago came in handy. I put it in the oven.
John decided we'd go to the movies today. I'd noted as we were driving past the theatre on Sunday that the James Bond film, "Spectre", was still playing. He announced after lunch that the movie started at 3:30.
I got myself in gear and got the gifts for two of our families boxed up and ready to mail. I told John if we left a half hour earlier than planned, we could take off trash and stop at the post office, too. Worked out just right.
We paid for the movies out of our own pockets. John bought movie tickets. I paid for popcorn and on our way home, bought us burgers. It was a nice afternoon date and I really really enjoyed it. I think James Bond is just prime when it's on the big screen and has surround sound.
When we got home I made a pot of coffee for us. It was nice after riding home with the windows down.
Wednesday: Forgot to take out chicken last night to thaw and slept in this morning after a rocky night of interrupted sleep.
This morning, I reheated cinnamon rolls left from our Thanksgiving breakfast (they were kept in the fridge).
Took out a steak to thaw and put it on the bottom or an upside down skillet. This has the same effect as those special purchase 'quick thaw' items. My steak was thawed by dinner time.
I made a very good salad today. I had one tiny tomato and just didn't want to have a 'usual' salad. I sliced grapes, tossed in walnuts, a diced apple, and some cubed Swiss cheese and mixed with romaine lettuce. We topped with blue cheese dressing. It was a very refreshing salad and we really enjoyed it as our side dish.
My whole day was off track or sidelined somehow today. I woke late. I was easily distracted from planned tasks by others that presented themselves. Nothing got finished today either. On the other hand, I didn't go shopping, I didn't make a trip to the grocery and I didn't take buy lottery tickets (a sure fire way for me to lose money...).
Took chicken out of the freezer to thaw for tomorrow's dinner...finally.
Looked over Aldi ads for this week and next. The produce buys this week are pretty awesome. I think I'm going to go ahead and purchase those items this week because next week they are not on sale. It's all nice long lasting citrus fruits that I want. We'll see how that goes. So far I've got two stops at stores to make returns and a proposed grocery stop to make all Friday.
Thursday: Put chicken in the crock pot this morning with the remaining cranberry sauce and cranberry relish, the end portion of a bottle of French dressing and a partial packet of onion soup mix.
I couldn't eat all my chicken. I put that portion and some rice in a container with some of the sauce from the crock pot.
We ate the last of the pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving today too...can you tell I sorted out the refrigerator?
Put three items in the freezer, all with date and contents labeled clearly on top.
I spent three hours on the phone this afternoon, was transferred ten times and told my spiel to all ten representatives and assured all ten that indeed I did NOT receive the renewal letter that was supposed to have arrived by November 1. I spent one long period on hold for nearly 30 minutes at one point. And for what? To insure that indeed I do have coverage for medical insurance next year. In the end? I do. I'm not sure what my premium payments will be but I have coverage. Sad part is that January 1st means I start all over again with deductibles.
I am short on bread and never did get a chance to make any today. Instead I told John to let it be. I had just enough to make him sandwiches for tomorrow's work lunch and toast for breakfast. I will buy bread while I am out tomorrow.
I didn't have bread for sandwiches for supper. I took soup from the freezer and we had that with crackers for our evening meal.
Turned on the tree lights and settled to watch the news. I guess I am just not at all original this year. As the weather man told the report I noticed the studio tree in the back ground. I told John, "They've got the very same tree!" Right down to the ornaments and all. Oh well, the biggest difference is that mine is HERE to enjoy.
Friday: Packed John's work lunch, made him breakfast and sent him off to work.
I got busy with housework right away and then I got ready to leave the house. I had a number of errands to accomplish, but before I did anything I sat down and wrote out a plan. I planned meals for the weekend and took meat out to thaw while I was gone today. I made out a list of shopping I meant to do. I made a brief list of things I wanted done before I left home.
And then I gathered receipts and items to be returned. I gathered trash. I brought the checkbook up to date and looked hard at the balance on the register so I knew just how far I might spend and no further. I gathered mail to post. I put a bottle of water in my bag, checked my supply of cash and left home.
Mama gifted me her gently read magazines.
Once I determined what Mama wanted to do, and where she wanted to eat dinner, I laid out a route that would lead us to the restaurant and allow me to do the returns I needed to do. All went smoothly and I was a tiny bit richer at the end of the returns. Happiest return was at Hobby Lobby where I was credited for the ornaments I didn't need and even after I purchased an extra set of another type, they owed me money. Nice.
I went into Aldi and skipped splurges. I purchased several items on my list, but not all. Some items weren't available and some just seemed unnecessary, after all, since I shall be grocery shopping next week anyway. I paid cash for today's grocery purchases, my cash, not the household's money.
I stopped at the local grocery to get two items. I purchased three more: a marked down package of cubed steak, and two packages of shredded cheese that I especially like and buy only when it's on sale. It is a shredded Gouda and it adds so much flavor to an omelet or casserole or pizza.
My last errands while out today was to stop at the flea market and check the booth. I had to pay the full month's rent out of pocket, but apparently had an item sell moments before walking in to the store. I brought home two rugs I had in the booth. I had a buyer look them over last weekend and offer me less than half what I was asking. Her reason was that she was sure there were paint spots on the rugs. Well there sure weren't paint spots on them when I put them in the booth and no one there has done any painting. I brought them home and vacuumed them front and back. I mean to spot clean them, too then they will go back to the booth. However, I could see right away that deep vacuuming them helped tremendously in the appearance. I shall not be getting half priced offers on them when they are returned!
Made spaghetti sauce for tomorrow's dinner. I like to have it sit and soak up it's own good flavors overnight. I used half a pound of ground beef and a lot of vegetables. I'm pretty sure I'll have enough sauce leftover to serve another meal or two from.
My supper tonight was leftovers I'd set aside during the week just for myself tonight.
I did not wash clothes today. There were so few that I felt it was a waste to put them through the washer alone. They can certainly wait until John gets in from work tomorrow and his uniform can go in as well
That's my savings for this week...What's yours?