Friday, March 25, 2016

Assigning Value to What I Do: Spring Is Here

Mar 19:  Earlier this week I emptied the freezer of all the odds and ends of bread and combined them into one bag (what wasn't used for French Toast).  I washed out the bread sacks and hung them to dry and then turned them inside out and dried them some more.  Now they are folded nice and flat and stored in a box where I can pull them out next time I want to put meats up in the freezer.  So much less expensive than using a zippered freezer bag and I can double or triple up as needed if I'm worried about leaks.  Mostly I store like items together and then put those in a heavier duty plastic bread  sack.

Cooked our corned beef today and as soon as I'd glazed it, I determine the best way to slice it so that it could be cut thinly and not shred.  Across the grain is always best and the meat slices beautifully well.  We'll have plenty of sandwich meat and perhaps another meal of corned beef from this piece of brisket.

Leftover mashed potatoes went into the fridge for potato pancakes, which makes a terrific side dish for beef steak or roast.

I had a wedge of cabbage leftover as well.  I'm sure I can stir fry that with some other vegetables for a side dish.

I mixed up some lovely muffins with diced apples, soft raisins and chopped walnuts.  I topped with a little streusel topping.  They are really good and tasty and seem more substantial with all the lovely fruit in them.

Our AC has remained at 76F.   If it begins to get the least little stuffy we turn on the oscillating fan (the ceiling fans are already going) and this helps make it feel much cooler.  So much cooler that I'm sometimes tempted to turn the AC to 78F but I know John would feel it right away.  As it is, he's the first to turn on the fan!


I had trouble with ants.  I keep the pet foods in plastic buckets with snap on lids.  I normally have no trouble with pests with these but the ants got in the buckets and were eating up my pet foods!  I sprayed the exterior of the buckets lightly with ant spray (just along the bottom edge) which the ants didn't want to cross.  Then I stirred the pet food inside the bucket.  This caused the ants to start to swarm up the edges, where I'd scrape them up and out the buckets.  It took some little time but I got all the ants out and the foods are perfectly fine now.  I'll remember to periodically spray along the bottom edge of the can about once a week.  I will not have the industrious ant undoing my savings!

This morning for fun I pulled out an old sketch book and started a new art collage.  It's not as pretty as some I've done in the past but it was fun and I enjoyed passing an hour or two in that way.

Mar. 20:  We spent the day at Katie's.  I packed a supper bag to eat on our way back home.  It meant we had to make no stops and we saved the cost of a take away meal.  Savings $12.

On our way up we stopped at a convenience station to use restroom.  I saw Atlanta Home Journals.  The capital city paper always has a greater number of coupons than our nearest large city paper.  I bought two, one for me and one for Katie.  I more than earned back my $5 investment in usable coupons.

I set up a small travel fund earlier this month.  It was what we used today to pay for our breakfast (We leave early and so we pick up breakfast on the road).  It was a small savings but it is a savings:  savings $9.

Not my savings but one suggested to Katie.  She mentioned wanting to get canisters to hold flour and sugar on the counter top.  I'd suggested glass jars which I think are pretty awesome but later noticed a formula container which is fairly low profile but certainly large enough to hold flour or sugar or meal.  I suggested that Katie re-purpose those, as the color was really pretty.

Mar. 21:  We spent all day at home.  Just staying at home does not save money does it?  Not in this day of shopping online!  However, the shopping done, was paid for with personal pocket money and not from any account of ours.

John made breakfast.  We kept it simple, just eggs and toast, albeit a nice omelet.

We lit the gas heat this morning.  It was quite cold again.  We kept the electric heat lowered.  The quilt sure felt good last night!  Turned off both heaters as temperature climbed.  We wore sweaters and socks/slippers to keep warm.

I made a cake this morning.  It's an easy recipe for a rather coarse cake meant to be used as a base for fruit and whipped cream.  I made the cake and baked it before time to start the casserole, which offset the need to preheat the oven.

Why not put casserole and cake in the same oven?  Too much moisture!  A cake is best baked in a dry oven.  If you want to share an oven to make a dessert and entree at the same time, it's best to make wet desserts such as cobblers, pies, bread puddings or baked custards.

I made a casserole for dinner today.  Half was leftover and I put it in the freezer for another day's meal.

I did not have the mozzarella called for to use in the casserole. Instead I used up the last of a package of shredded Gouda.

It happened again.  Although the date was well out (May 16, 2016) for the grated fresh Parmesan cheese I'd bought at Aldi, it molded after opening.  Lesson learned.  In future, I shall put it in the freezer and use it from there.  Yes, Aldi will refund my money and replace the item, too, so no loss there.

Made a salad which was mostly sliced tomatoes.  We'd bought some lovely little cherry tomatoes of various colors and varieties.  They were beginning to get over ripe and a little wrinkly. Savings $2.99

Used up the last of the sloppy joe mixture which was about 2 tbsp.  I mixed it into the taco meat I cooked and froze about two weeks ago.  We had nachos for supper tonight.

Mar. 22:  Made oatmeal this morning, adding in 2tbsps of almond butter as protein along with the usual egg/milk mixture.

Told John today was our day to finish off the muffins I made on Friday morning.  I did not want them going to waste, so that was our breakfast bread.

Tried a new to me Pinterest recipe today.  It called for a whole turkey.  I decreased ingredients and used a rolled boneless turkey breast. In future, I shall be sure to have cooking twine on hand to tie up the roast.  I held it together with my shish kebab skewers today.  By the way the recipe was delicious.  I'll share in April's recipe sharing post.

Put asparagus in the oven to roast towards end of the cooking time.

We used heat for only about an hour this morning and chose to use propane.  We had frost (!) last night.  So much for thinking Spring might indicate a last frost date in the lower South.

Our electric bill dropped by $50 from last month, despite needing the AC some each day.Savings $50.

Saved two magazines for Katie who is big into gardening at the moment.  Both are good sources for gardening information for our zone, Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens.  As well there are recipes she'll enjoy trying I think.

The pollen is dying down although we've still got privet and pecans to go before this season is completely done with pollen.  I think I can paint now without coming out to find items turned yellow.  I plan to shop for paint tomorrow.  I have a shopping list ready.

Mar 23:  A day of errands for us.  I bagged trash to carry off, and we checked mail on our way out.

I sat in the car while John got a haircut.  This allowed me to log in another chapter of my review book.  Nothing like making time work for you, right?

We went to Lowe's to pick up two lists of items.  John's was a mental list and he ended up with nothing in the buggy, not because he forgot but because none of his items were available or were so costly that he felt he might find them elsewhere.

My list ended up being partially filled.  I spent $50.  And here's how I kinda saved $50.  I used a gift card and paid for the rest from my personal allowance.  Nothing came from the household accounts.  I bought three cans of spray paint for the dining room chairs, 10 ft. of chain so I can replace broken chains on a pair of metal hanging baskets I want to use (and likely will end up repainting), four pots of petunias ($.50 each for no good reason I can fathom other than they were in with a lot of plants that looked rather weak.  Savings here was $13.92, these pots were selling for $3.98 each for plants that looked just as well), cording to install storm door screens, command hooks to hold the KitchenAid Mixer attachments that seemed to fit nowhere at all (now neatly arranged behind the mixer on the wall).  Oh and a bag of mulch.  I'm sure I've left something out but every item purchased filled a current need/project.

We went off to get labs done after that and then we stopped for lunch.  This was necessary as my blood sugar dropped suddenly and got quite low.  I had Lifesaver candies on hand to help bring it back up but needed a protein/carb meal to stabilize.  I paid for dinner, again from my pocket money.
By the way, when we got home, I restocked my meter strips, candy, isolets, and put a protein granola bar in my kit as well so if it happens again, I have ALL I need to meet the crisis moment.

Stopped at Hobby Lobby where I put back easily as much as I put in my buggy.  In the end, I bought three cans of spray paint (Guest room bed), a square print for the frame and mind you when I got home I immediately broke the doggone glass in the thing, but framed the picture I wanted to frame with it anyway.  I also bought a clock for the living room gallery wall (wonderful bargain at just $10) and a package of card stock to aid in making tags and cards.  I spent almost $40 and that too came out of my pocket money (and then I was tapped out, lol).

When we came home, John started a small load of clothes to wash and hung to dry.

I went to work installing command hooks and framing my piece of personal art...and then there was a knock on the door...

We had an unexpected but welcome guest who came to visit.  Recalling John's words earlier in the week about how I had ceased to panic over visitors, I kept my mental jumping about to myself and decided to make do with what we had on hand.  That was coffee with crackers and cheese as a stop gap mid-afternoon and the same sandwiches and orange slices we were going to have for supper anyway.  It wasn't fancy, and hardly what would be called company food, but it was food and that suited our budget and our immediate need.

Ran a not quite full load of dishes this afternoon, which was necessary as I had to have plates for tomorrow's meals.

Mar. 25:  Up at usual hour this morning.  I prepared breakfast for us and our guest.

Washed a very full load of clothes (sheets and the mattress pad).  I'd swept porch this morning and there was no noticeable pollen since yesterday's sweeping, so I hung the items on the line to dry.  With the sun and wind they were soon ready to bring indoors and fold.  It took only slightly longer than using the dryer for one load might.  And it was all free energy!

Made dinner.  I knew the two chicken breasts weren't going to make it, so I pulled frozen burgers from the freezer and cooked those.  I used up the mashed potatoes from over the weekend and steamed broccoli.  There is a savings here by the way.  John urged me to run into town and pick up food at the diner.  I declined.  There really was no need and I daresay I had dinner on the table in the same amount of time it might have taken me to go to town and back.  Savings $17 for not buying dinner and gas not used.

The strawberries I'd stored in a glass jar really did keep very nicely.  I had enough to make strawberry shortcake today and they weren't in the least aged since I stored them over the end of last week.  I shall make sure to do this always in the future!  I know the last batch didn't keep half so well in the original clam shell.Savings $1, half a clam shell of berries.

I had some lemons on the counter that I hadn't used in a timely way.  I put them into a plastic container filled with water.  I'd prefer glass jar but I am flat out of larger glass jars at present.  I must buy another flat of them.  However the lemons will keep hydrated and not dry out as they were and I'll be well able to use them over another few weeks.  One of my favorite things to do besides using in  my drinking water is to squeeze a nice wedge of lemon in my glass of ice and then pouring over about 8 ounces of Diet Dr. Pepper.   I'd never have thought it half so good but it's really tasty.  Lemon butter does nice things to asparagus and broccoli, too.

John had to go into town to get a drill bit needed for a guitar reno project.  I sent along two bills that needed to go out right away and he carried off trash.  Bless him he really worked at combining his errands.  He went by the station and got gas for mower, went by post office to drop off mail, stopped by mail box on his way back home and picked up mail.

While John was gone, I checked the leftover turkey breast from Monday and found it was more than enough to make tonight's supper sandwiches.  I shall add in sliced apples, cheese and some whole grain tortilla chips.  That should make us a nice supper.

I dug about in fridge and found half a jar of Queso cheese dip which I heated in the microwave and served with the chips.  They guys really seemed to appreciate that addition to the meal.  Glad I found it. Savings $1.59.

I made up John's sandwiches and pre-packed the non-perishables for his work lunch tomorrow.

I made tea at lunch.  I put water over the used tea bags and used to water my geranium I wintered over.  Granny always said the geraniums appreciated the tea.  I think in future, I'll tear open the bags and let them have the tea leaves as well.

Was messing about the sink area this afternoon and found the hydrangea stem had buds...I guess I'll plant it and see how well it does, it's been in water all winter.  No loss if it doesn't do a thing and what a blessed savings if it does!

Washed a full load of dishes.  More and more I realize that  adding just one person to the mix, having a dozen dinner plates wold make a huge difference.  I'll be on the lookout for a nice looking set of white plates I think...So very versatile.

Mar. 26:  Sent John off to work with a packed lunch and a good breakfast.

Our guest left this morning.  There was no added expense in having him here and that was due to following our usual meal patterns and using what we had on hand.

I cooked my dinner from the freezer and what was in the fridge that needed to be used:  BBQ chicken breasts, brown rice, black beans.  I have one chicken breast left which will become pulled chicken sandwiches for supper Sunday night I think.

I used the last bit of a big jar of salsa in my homemade BBQ sauce.  Savings: $2 in not buying BBQ sauce but making my own.

Made Pimento cheese for sandwich filler.  I have just loads of cheese on hand at present, not sure why we've so much, but may as well use it for sandwiches.

Washed a full load of clothes: guest bed sheets, towels from both baths, undies and shirts we'd worn here at home this week.  I used the dryer today, as it's very overcast and damp outdoors.

Planned weekend meals.  I pulled out some of the Brunswick Stew Katie made to thaw.  I'll have to serve over rice for John's sake as it's got a nice warm heat to it that he'll think is a little too much, but the rice will temper it nicely.  I also pulled out a Turkey Strata I'd made back in December and froze.  It will do well for dinner on Sunday I think.  I am just tired enough that NOT having to make a fuss today suits me well.

Cleaned out my purse and added $6 in $1 bills to my little stash.  This is the money I generally use to pay my booth rent or buy new stock for it and it's all saved from $1bills as I go through the month.

Total Savings this week:  $115.30

Notice how low the savings appears this week?  That's to be expected some weeks.  I don't see my value as lessened simply because I didn't save big bucks.  I know I did many things to save money.  I used the frame even though I broke the glass.  I washed out baggies and hung them to dry.  I saved bread end pieces and stashed them in the freezer.  I've taken care to check the fridge and used what I had without running into town to add this or that.  We've hung loads of clothes to dry and air dried loads of dishes.  I've put away the pet food when they were done eating and cut the stems on the carnations I bought 3 weeks ago yet again and rearranged them in fresh water.  I improved my home in small ways (hanging up those command hooks in the kitchen for instance) and we've combined errands whenever we had need to go to town.  We've lived well and peacefully.




10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Katie might like better homes and gardens website. They have tons of garden information. Sounds like she is loving her new home. In the summer the yard is my favorite part of our home and I bet it will be hers to after she landscapes . Another great blog is Aiken home (house?) and gardens.Gramma D

Kathy in Illinois said...

Terri, I like your saying, "We've lived well and peacefully." I can't think of anything better than that!
God bless, Kathy in Illinois

Kathy said...

Sounds like a great week.
I panic when we have unexpected guests as I'm not usually prepared for company. I really need to be better prepared.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

You did a great job, with the unexpected guest.. I panic over these situations.ha
You were able to use your meals that you had on hand.. Great.
The turkey sounds good.
Hope you two have a blessed Easter.

Anonymous said...

What wonder full tips you shared. Not combining cake with things in the oven that are wet. I'd never thought of that. Your update on storing strawberries in a glass jar, and so on. Thanks! :-)
We got ants in our sugar container and dog food too when we were first married. Grandmother told us to put the container , undisturbed in the sun outside. Do not shake or move the contents at all. When the heat hit the canister the ants started running out without us doing a thing. I would not leave the crunchy dog food out long though as it contains oils I think. Out in the sun the ants left and no new ones got in during the process either. It surprised us that it worked so well.
Have you tried keeping cheese good by wrapping in a piece of paper towel sprayed with white vinegar.? I have done this with piece that I found mold on and cut it out or piece I opened but knew I would not be using up quickly. As long as the cheesed is fully covered by the one layer of towel or cloth and the wrap stays damp the cheese stays good. After covering I put it in a plastic bag for storage in the fridge. No vinegar smell gets into the cheese.
Wishing you the peace and joy during of this Easter season. Sarah

Lana said...

I am so good at breaking glass in frames, too! It is so aggravating! I have gone to Dollar Tree and picked up frames just for the glass if I have something that small. The pollen is in high gear here. Everything is solidly yellow this morning. Our new upstairs heat pump resulted in huge savings with the heating bills this winter. Jan and Feb bills were both $150 less. The downstairs one is getting wobbly but I hope we don't have to cough up $5000 for a new one this year. Happy Easter!

Lana said...

Forgot-As soon as I told y'all about the Swagbucks surveys at 4:30 everyday they vanished. Sorry guys. I haven't made my goal all week.

Sparkiedoll said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_and_squeak

Leftover mashed potatoes and cabbage can only mean 'Bubble and Squeak' Yum, yum, yum! Best wishes, Rose (Kent UK)

Karla Neese said...

Terri, would you share you recipe for Pimento Cheese?

beckyathome said...

I think saving any money at all is a wonderful thing! So many times, it's easy to have more bills or spending than money and we are lucky to break even.

It must be the time to break the glass on frames. One of ours got broken recently, too. My husband was fortunate enough to find a replacement at a garage sale.

Low blood sugars send every speck of logic or common sense out of my mind. I'm glad all you did was get lunch:) After all, you could have eaten a Costco size of M and M's--just kidding. I hope you weren't too uncomfortable before you got straightened out, and, that's what frugality is all about--being able to have $ for when you need some!