Friday, December 18, 2015
This Week In My Home: Working to Save
Saturday: Our family holiday didn't work out. Katie's moving this coming week into her very first home of her own. Overwhelm set in with packing, baby and holidays all crowding in upon her. With less people here, there was less food needed, so some things went back into pantry/freezer to be used at a later date.
I ran a full load of dishes before going to bed.
John did a late last load of laundry. He hung many things to dry but did put our company's things in the dryer so they could get them packed up.
Sunday: We saw our guests off and then, since we were up earlier than usual, we tackled household chores. This meant we had the whole afternoon free when we returned from church.
John washed a load of towels and sheets. He hung on the line to dry while we were gone.
We took off trash and picked up mail on our way to church.
Following church we went to the grocery to pick up prescriptions and get necessary items to fill out the week (bread, milk, cheese, fruit). I had $40 in grocery money to apply to the grocery purchases and needed to add only $8 more.
Picked up sales items while in store: beef sausage, bagels and pickle relish. These were the only items I noted I'd wanted while reading the store ad earlier in the week.
We bought a Sunday paper. I saved sales sheets to go over more carefully later. I set coupons aside to be clipped.
We picked up a rotisserie deli chicken for dinner. I had sides here at home to go along with. I've planned three meals and will have the carcass for broth from that chicken.
Packaged up a whole Bess's Coconut Pie to go into the freezer for a future date.
We ate leftovers from yesterday's main meal as supper this evening.
Monday: I overslept this morning after a long rough night of little sleep. It is on these days that I am especially grateful I do my work at home (saving and earning!) and while I try to put in a good day's work daily, I can get the much needed rest to keep me going.
Pruned roses this morning. I have many new plants in the bed. I'll dig them up and share with a friend, but also plant a few in other places about the house for my pleasure. I do love my roses!
Came indoors after it began to rain. I pondered long and hard what to make for dinner. Menu plan to the rescue. I actually had a couple of easy to make meals on my plan this week. I opted to make the Spaghetti a la Diable, one of my favorite uses for a small amount of chicken. Today, I cooked a full 12 ounces of spaghetti instead of the 8 ounces the recipe called for. This was a trick I used often and often in the days when we had a large family to feed on next to no money! Today I set aside a single portion of the cooked pasta for a dinner I've been invited to on Christmas Eve. The dinner is a Spaghetti dinner but white pasta runs my blood sugars very high. I asked the hostess if she'd mind if I brought my own cooked pasta and was told no problem. So about 2 ounces of pasta was put aside. I mixed the other 10 ounces with the sauce. I added some kalamata olives to the sauce this time, an addition I'd not normally make but I had leftovers from my son's pizza making on Friday. The recipe made enough for our meal today and a four serving portion put in the freezer as a freezer meal.
I used the last of the tomato slices from Saturday's dinner and a tomato that looked like it might be trash. As it happened the bad spots were all skin deep and I had just exactly the right amount of tomato for the recipe. The only waste there was the trimmings.
I saved the onion top and bottom and the outer layer of onion to put into the bag of vegetables I use to make broths with.
Saved the chicken carcass in the freezer for future broth making.
I made supper with the last of the chicken. It wasn't enough to make dumplings with after all. I will think of a different menu to use the broth I thawed to make dumplings...Perhaps I'll use some of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey and make turkey and dumplings.
John ended up doing a load of laundry this morning after all. I hung up some of my wet clothing (from trimming the rose bushes in the rain) but some needed to be washed. He used the dryer but checked clothes several times to pull out the ones that were dry.
Tuesday: It was a pricey day in one way but savings were to be had. John wanted us to go get our eyes examined and get our new glasses before the New Year and new deductibles kicked in. We've paid so much out of pocket this year that it seemed reasonable to go ahead with it now. I admit I was in a mild state of shock at the final total today but for that price we got full eye exams, two pairs of glasses each. John took out a dental/vision policy early this year. It comes out of his pay check each pay period and is less than a meal out each month. Well boy have those 'little' policies paid off. First we were refunded enough of John's needed oral surgery to cover the costs of dental coverage for 7 months...Today we saved enough on our glasses to pay for the vision insurance for 4 years. The girl at the office kept telling us, "You guys have a great policy! You're going to be so surprised at how much you're going to save with this plan." She was right and we were impressed.
While we were within 10 miles of the lab, I went on and had blood drawn.
John filled up the car with gasoline at the station in the same area. We saved $.30/gallon.
We stopped for dinner in town at the diner. John paid from his allowance.
We stopped at Mama's to pick up gently read magazines.
I went into the dollar store to buy dog food. I am glad to find the dog food is liked by both dogs. It's their usual brand. In the past Maddie has turned up nose up at the food purchased at the dollar store but not what I brought home a couple of weeks ago. I wonder how much of that has to do with Blossom's obvious non-bias about any food and Maddie's reluctance to have her eat Maddie's food while she's debating if it's good?
When we came in this afternoon, I put a quilt in the wash and hung on the line. I knew it wouldn't get dry tonight but it will certainly dry tomorrow....we've nothing but warm weather to dry laundry, sigh. Not seasonal for Christmas but it does promote savings in not using the dryer.
Made John's lunch for work tomorrow.
Wednesday: Packed John's work lunch, made him breakfast.
Washed a full load of sheets and clothing. I hung over half of that to dry but with another load to wash and foggy morning, I put the sheets in the dryer.
While I prefer to rotate sheets, today I simply remade the bed with the freshly washed and dried sheets. It saved me the step of having to fold those clothes, a small time savings for me since my days was heavily planned.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
We were given a new customer gift yesterday at the eye doctor. It contained really nice gel pens, BPA free water bottles and little plastic cups with a coozy on the outside. I made sure to read instructions on the bottles. They are hand wash only, so they did not go into that full load of dishes.
I meant to also share that not knowing we'd receive a free pen each, I'd asked the young lady if I might have the pen I was given to write with. This pen had advertising on the side and often that is just what they mean for you to do. The premise is that taking a pen and sharing will be a free bit of promotion for the company. My rule is never to ask for a pen that isn't advertising something. Those are office supplies. Otherwise, go ahead and ask..\
Worked on Swagbucks in that hour before John left home for work. This allows me to use up some free time when I really don't yet feel awake enough to read properly but can happily click through videos, etc.
I put on the coffee pot, kettle, and three pans of water to heat while I was outdoors feeding the pets. I hung a load of towels and jeans to dry on the line while I was outdoors, too. Again, combining two tasks to save a bit of time.
When I came indoors the water was hot enough to allow me to defrost the big freezer. I emptied out the freezer and put in the pans of boiling water, closed the lid and waited. While I waited, I took time to journal and make out my to do list for today.
Organized and rearranged the cleaned baskets in the freezer. I've been filling the two largest baskets with meats and those were by far the most often lifted and the heaviest baskets. I decided to put the two big baskets in the bottom to hold my vegetables (mixed vegetables went into one and single vegetables (meaning only one kind of vegetable is in each bag) in the other. The beef and chicken were off loaded into smaller baskets by type (ground beef and roasts/steaks in another, etc). This means that next time I need to lift baskets, I won't be lifting 20 or 30 pounds.
I did a freezer inventory as I put the things back in. I culled out a piece of turkey breast (cooked in July) that had gotten hidden in the melee, a smoked turkey wing piece and some beef scraps that I'd meant for soup but which looked far too freezer burned to suit me. I also removed a single portion each of corn and butter beans I'd cooked a long time ago and not used. I'll wait until the contents of those jars thaw, then toss the food, but keep the jars. They are the wide mouth salsa jars which I find so very handy for food storage.
Washed a mutt load of towels (the ones I used to mop up the freezer defrosting). I know John will not want to wash those with any of his uniform items tomorrow and I don't want them sitting about.
Moved the freezer to make sure there was no water drip there. There was. Glad I moved it and checked. I mopped up that mess, waited for it to dry and then swept and fresh mopped the area. Once dry I'll put the freezer back into place and mop the rest of the kitchen.
Pulled a single serve entree I'd put in the freezer in November out. I thawed and heated for my lunch. It was chicken, brown rice, broccoli and teriyaki sauce I'd made here at home.
Worked out my Christmas table setting. I'd thought I might run over to the next town today to pick up some things to use on that table, but I found I had no need. Every item I used I had on hand right here at home.
Decided that today is the day to create that compost pile I keep telling myself I am going to start. I sectioned off an area, dumped the vegetable scraps into that space and covered with a bit of dirt. While I was outdoors anyway, I went ahead and weeded about the Ginkgo tree flower bed and did some more weeding on that rose bed.
Used more of that 'can't use it in the dishwasher' detergent to mop the floors. It's been quite a little while since I used that detergent. The floors look lovely once more. Must remind myself to never ever get white floors in a country kitchen ever again, sigh.
Thursday: Used a lonely banana left from the 2 1/2 bunches bought over last week to make a batch of banana muffins for breakfast this morning. I made 7 muffins using that one banana. Quite tasty ones at that.
Used up some leftover potatoes in making a fritatta for breakfast.
We ate a lighter meal midday because we're having a heavier meal tonight at the EMS work party.
We've a rare bit of really cool weather coming up and I pieced together three warmer, more winter type outfits. We'll be right back into the mid 70's in two days time but at least I got in a little practice planning winter outfits.
We were allowed to bring home two extra steaks from the party. Those will be nice for dinner on Saturday.
Friday: We were out of coffee. I'd proposed to John that I'd go to CVS and use my ECBs to pay for it. My $5 ECB covered all but $.79 of the coffee which was a very good brand on sale.
John and I were looking for a new scent for him a few weeks ago. As it happened, the store had the sampler but none of the fragrance. We came home and looked online and the best price we could come across was $34. We decided to wait on it. I looked at CVS today and the price there was $44...I happened to decide to walk around. The gift sets of scent were displayed above the hair care products for some reason but I'm glad I walked over that aisle. I found a gift set of the same fragrance with a matching scented deodorant for $20.
I contemplated what we'd do for meals this weekend. I formed a plan. I was out late and knew we'd want dinner. The best option was to buy something in town but what? I chose a meal from the local diner that was only $7.
Went into the local store and bought a minimal amount of fruit, bananas and 2 apples. We have some canned fruit and frozen, too, but a little fresh fruit is nice to have on hand.
I gave the pets extra food due to the colder weather tonight.