Friday, November 11, 2016
Frugal Friday: My Best Efforts
Friday: Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast before he headed out to work this morning.
I was planning my day when my guest's changed plans and announced he was arriving five hours earlier. Boy did that throw me into overdrive. Plans got tossed, new plans were made and some things just didn't get done. We'll do our best to manage without those things.
Made a pan of Gingerbread and a pan of Brownies. I hope that will see me through the company weekend but I'm not convinced it will...
The weather man promised cooler weather this afternoon but it hasn't happened yet. Nor the heavy winds supposed to blow in that cold front. Phooey!
Having the doors opened and shut a hundred times in a half hour made Gramma give a mandate: Stay inside! After all the AC was running and both doors were wide open. I convinced them the gnats belonged outdoors.
Prepped food ahead earlier today for the two big weekend meals.
I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.
Read a saved pin on a sure fire way to care for African violets. One step I can't manage exactly but I'm going to attempt a variation on it. The other things I CAN do. When NOT blooming the plants apparently like more direct sunlight. When blooming they should get slightly less. I swear they look happier already just having spent the day in the kitchen window.
From past experience I've learned the best time to work up my bills and write out my checks is when I am ALONE. That means undistracted. That means I can concentrate and have clarity about what I'm doing. It meant that today when I was balancing my checkbook and getting ready to write out my check for house insurance I was able to clearly and accurately access just what I could pay (the needed amount) and couldn't (the extended amount I'd thought I could)...I realized that I would be two payments ahead, which means over the holiday season when things seem to be thinner than usual, I have a payment set aside. And in January, when I'm trying to adjust to a new annual and first quater budget, I have that payment set aside. Perhaps I can pay it off early. Perhaps next year I can pay it in full, but there are blessings in having a little extra set aside right now to pave the way to a smoother finish for this year.
Saturday: It turned off a bit cooler this morning, though the big blow in of cold weather promised failed to show up at all. Phooey on weathermen! However, it meant the AC only came on a few times this afternoon and not very often at that, even with the kids leaving the interior doors open most all afternoon.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner...Oh boy! Meals were easy enough today. I employed paper plates for two meals and the children each had a disposable cup that I used a permanent chalk pen to mark with their initials. Snacks weren't asked for and weren't given which seems easy enough when you think about it. The kids cleaned their plates and had dessert after two meals and that two seemed easy enough. It was a sign of how good and hungry they were! I have a few brownies left and half a Gingerbread and that's despite making just an 8x8 pan of each. I put out a bowl of fruit with the lunch sandwiches and allowed them each to eat a piece of fruit each before setting out a tiny portion of dessert each which suited them all just fine.
My shoulder roast was rather substantial. We'll eat roast and roast beef sandwiches this next week.
I poured off a quart of rich beefy broth from the roast before I made gravy. That was set aside to use as soup base this week.
John washed a full load of clothes this evening. We used the dryer so our son could go ahead and pack them up to take back home. We 'saved' the load of towels and cloths for a separate load tomorrow and those we will hang out to dry on the line.
I washed a full load of dishes this evening.
I drained the water from the peas (no salt) I steamed before salting and buttering the peas. That pea water went over the hydrangea which is putting out some new growth now that it's getting watered a little more regularly.
I cut up an apple to put in the salad today. I put it to soak in lemon and water. That was a bad move with this variety of apple (Cortland). It got soft and mushy. They are delicious for eating out hand but rapidly turn brown when exposed to air. I think these would be a great pie or cake apple, too.
Sunday: The one nice thing about daylight savings time is getting up at 7am and finding the sun shining. I'd already gotten rather tired of getting up at 7am and until 7:45am until the sun rose.
Made homemade waffles for the hungry horde who needed to polish off the doughnuts to get really full...
Fed cat and dog plate scrapings from yesterday. There wasn't much, mind, but it was a nice addition to their foodbowls.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung to dry. He commented that it looked like we'd used every single towel in the house. I told him "No, there's one clean one in our bath and one you missed washing in the other bath." lol. He was amazed at how many towels 6 guests can use, even if they just use one a piece.
Dug down in my freezer and discovered that we had another full multipack of sausage patties.
I was quite surprised at the children's appetites. They do not snack, but at meal time they EAT. I promise you they ate every bite I ate at all meals. I was impressed. No, they are not overweight but they are quite active as you'd expect.
What a joy to watch the children scuffle through the leaves in the back yard. True it's so dry and dusty they stirred a bit of dust doing it but I well recall scuffling through a pile of leaves with Josie twelve years ago when she was but two and the sound it makes is quintessentially autumn, as is the aroma of the dry leaves.
I put out a variety of sandwiches for lunch. There were a few leftover luncheon meat sandwich halves from yesterday, peanut butter and jelly and toasted cheese.
We went through the house three times separately, us three adults, trying to insure nothing of import was left behind. The children had brought along toys but were forewarned if anything got left behind it would not be shipped home, it would just stay here until next visit. Past experience on our part...it's pricey to mail and nine times out of ten they are no longer interested in the item when it arrives.
Leftovers for supper were from our pot roast meal. There's enough left yet to make a hash meal sometime in the week ahead.
Monday: Can I tell you what I didn't do today? I didn't go buy bread or stock up on milk and eggs nor purchase a generator, etc. Frankly I will tell you that there are good reasons to be prepared but an election seems the least of our worries in this nation. I made a facebook post about this election business this evening and it's the only post there will be from me. I'm about sick of it all and I mean it. Bullying, scare tactics, threats and such just don't appeal to me in the least.
What I did do: Made a batch of banana bread using very ripe bananas.
Made a leftover makeover (no photos, alas) with some leftover broccoli. All of our noon meal was leftovers. I transformed two of those items.
We went down to pick up John's check. On our way we picked up mail, took off trash, went by the bank, dropped off outgoing mail, and on our way home we deposited the electric bill.
We went to the DIY stores again. I finished purchasing the blocks needed to complete the last flower bed I'd made up. I also bought a half dozen snapdragons and a flat of nine kale. It's a start on my fall plantings. I paid for the blocks and snapdragons from my pocket money.
John had a list of things he wanted/needed to do projects. He'd priced items online. We found alternate items that saved a few dollars. We also didn't get a couple of items that we could not find nor could we find reasonable substitutes for. Nevertheless there's a 'setpoint' total we seem to keep coming to with our spending.
Although we were just blocks from Aldi, it was end of the day rush hour traffic. Too hectic paced to even think of fighting our way down through several traffic lights to do the shopping. We'll just do the extra trip over a little later in the week.
We opted to come home for supper where we finished off the last of several items.
In the mail, I received a gift card for $10 off a purchase from Ulta. I needed primer and this was a wonderful 'bonus'. I was able to get primer and a couple of other items for $7 out of pocket, less than I'd have paid for the same brand at stores 40 miles away.
John washed and hung to dry two loads of bed clothes.
No AC today. We left home before it got stuffy indoors. When we came in it was nearly dark and rapidly cooling down outdoors, so I simply turned on the whole house fan until the temperature dropped a few degrees.
Tuesday: We were in no hurry to leave home today though we had plans to shop for groceries. It happens this way when John has a full week of time off. We slow down. A lot.
Shopped at Aldi first. I did just what I said I'd do. I bought only what we needed NOW for the two weeks ahead. With the exception of cheese. John pointed out two very good prices on cheese, both cheddar and cream. He couldn't believe I didn't want to stock up. I doubled my original plan and left it at that. We also bought our Thanksgiving turkey breast this day because in two weeks I will have to shop during Thanksgiving week which is NEVER fun. As well it will be our short pay period. Not a good time to need to buy a pricier item. I came in at exactly the amount I wanted to spend today, despite stopping off at CVS. Then a stop at Publix where I picked up exactly what was on my list and nothing more. I felt good about this shopping trip.
We stopped at the local diner and got our midday meal. John paid from his pocket money.
When I'd put away groceries, I pared four pears we'd had left from last pay period. When they get spotty looking, John won't touch them and I admit I find them less appetizing looking. I was surprised to find they were still fairly firm and juicy. Nevertheless, I sliced them and cooked them with some sugar and a bit of water. I couldn't find my powdered ginger (sitting on the counter last time I saw it...) so I dropped in a couple of slices of ginger root and a splash of lemon juice. Letting it cook down until all the liquid was evaporated made a nice half pint of Pear Butter.
I had leftover roast, broth, green beans, gravy and green peas in the fridge. I chopped the roast, mixed all the ingredients with a half can of tomatoes and half a can of tomato sauce (also leftover) and half a can of canned potatoes diced. I cooked this most of the afternoon until it became a thick savory stew. It was super good for supper on this chilly fall evening for supper.
Gathered items meant to go to Katie's. I had new bath rugs I'd purchased over the summer that I'd decided I didn't want to use in our bathroom now the cabinets are white.
I also carried a new blouse that was too snug in the hip area for me.
True to our word, John and I watched movies all evening long. Not even a peek at Facebook, news feeds nor news channels. Regardless of outcome we voted for the candidate that came nearer our personal convictions.
Wednesday: I did not sleep well last night. I let a silly thing worry me and it went round and round and round in my brain until I very nearly felt crazy. Reason finally reigned. And what was all this worry about? That stupid house insurance bill, the very one I'd saved money to pay. How unreasonable was my worry? I didn't want to have the bank balance drop once I'd paid the bill! Lordy the way I will let stupid fear get hold of me at times!
John woke me at 5am this morning to tell me who'd won the election. Awake anyway, I figured I might as well work on Swagbucks. Glad I did. I managed to get a survey!
Normally, we stop for breakfast on our way to Katie's. Since we were up so early this morning, John made me a beautiful breakfast plate with fruit and eggs and toast. Lovely way to start an autumn morning with good things packed into it to look forward to.
We stopped to pick up dinner to take to Katie's. I had John get extra for their supper. It seemed unfair to have her husband miss our visit and a special dinner, too. Nothing fancy but a meal we all consider a treat.
Pleased I carried along the rugs. Katie loved them for her kitchen. She also loved the blouse. And then she surprised me with a blouse she'd culled from a friend's donate/giveaway pile. I loved it!
No apples found at roadside stands...or even open roadside stands either.
We drove home and made toasted cheese sandwiches here for our dinner.
Thursday: We had a relatively quiet day at home today.
I was unloading the dishwasher this morning when my upper dish rack slipped out of place. This has been ongoing for 20 years and was no great surprise. The roller assembly broke in two pieces this time however. We found another set on EBay for $7.50 and ordered the set. I told John that's none too shabby for a 20 year old dishwasher to need only one repair in all these years. It's a GE by the way and I think it's long usage without a bit of trouble certainly is a great recommendation for the brand.
Although the lettuce from Saturday's leftover green salad looked a bit brown about the edge, the lettuce was still quite good. I am so determined these days to let little go to waste that I picked out the brownest and put the rest in a bowl.
Katie sent us home with two dozen lovely ripe (or almost) roma tomatoes. Her bushes decided to have a second life. They were still loaded with green tomatoes and fresh blooms yesterday.
So much for the no waste mandate. I found a tablespoon each of pimento cheese and egg salads at the back of the drawer.
Saw bluebirds at the bird bath this afternoon...That's a nice addition to the blue jays, cardinals, and mocking birds. I refilled the bath this afternoon. It was bone dry. I used some of the water I took out to water the plants I just bought.
Although the dishwasher might well be without a top rack I filled the bottom rack and washed as full a load of dishes as I could.
We hung jeans to dry on the line. I hung our bath towels and mat out to dry and freshen after our showers.
Friday: Made oatmeal for breakfast. It is truly one of our favorite cold weather breakfasts and I can't beat the low price, even with adding an egg to the dish.
Stretched a half pound of ground beef with a bit of Italian turkey sausage (1 link) and rice to make stuffed bell peppers for tomorrow's dinner. I set the other half pound of ground beef aside to use in another entrée for the first part of next week.
Made a half recipe of a new recipe. I've been doing this often lately partly because I have no need of a recipe that serves 6-8 and partly to extend the meats we have on hand. The recipe was delicious if a little more saucy than we would eat at one sitting. I used the leftovers and the extra pasta cooked to set aside an entrée for myself for Sunday.
Planted all the flowering kale and snapdragons.
Packed up John's lunch for Sunday. Because his sandwiches tend to dry out if left in the refrigerator over the weekend I put them in a zippered bag to keep fresher.
I used bottled water from my stored supply to water some of plants.
Turned off all unnecessary lights during the day all week long.
Keeping the heat down to 68f.
I'm calling this a week. What did you do to save this week?