Friday, January 13, 2017
Frugal Friday: Getting Things Done!
Saturday: Bitter cold with sharp winds today. John went out this afternoon to insure the pump house light bulb was working so we could plug it in tonight. It took a few minutes to discover why the light work. The outlet ground switch had to be reset. So glad he took time to discover that in daylight instead of struggling in the dark to find out what was wrong.
Leftovers today. My refrigerator is so full I can barely move anything. I'm not sure just why it's burgeoning. I've neither done that much cooking nor did I purchase that much fresh produce this last week but there is the fridge, filled to capacity. Made for an easy no cook meal...twice!
Interesting reading this morning on blogs and in one of my vintage magazines.
After the sun appeared this morning, I opened the curtains on the sunny side of the house. I left them closed on the shady side due to the bitter north wind blowing. But later in the afternoon, when the sun shone fully on those windows I opened curtains and shades to let in that natural warmth.
I've sworn off coffee for a short time...There are loads of tea bags in the house and I'm finding I enjoy hot tea well enough. Nice to use some of this particular stash.
I had not received a Shutterfly calendar though I received notice well before Christmas that it was being shipped out. I contacted customer service and was told they considered it lost at this point so were reprinting and resending at no additional cost to me. I surely do appreciate that customer service!
I received some free samples of cat food. Misu is definitely liking that stuff but I don't know that I'll buy it...It should have come with some coupons, lol!
Washed a full load of dishes last night after dark.
Sunday: I'd planned us to have oatmeal often last week but we only had it once. However, this week, during the Daniel fast, it's on the menu for most days for breakfast. I sent John off to work this cold, cold morning after a breakfast of hot oatmeal with a to go cup of coffee and a packed lunch. His lunch has his usual boxed mac and cheese, celery with peanut butter, baby carrots, a banana, cheese sticks, and peaches with cottage cheese and a package of peanut butter crackers. He also has fruit juice and water. If this sounds like a lot of food to you, remember this must cover two meals and snacks for him today during his 24 hour shift, so really it's not such a great lot of food.
I turned on the propane heater this morning rather than increase the temperature on the heat pump. The heat pump is not really efficient once the temperature is in the 20's as it is this morning.
We opened the cabinet doors under master bath and kitchen sink. Both these sinks are on outside walls. Opening the doors allows the heat in the house to warm those areas just enough to keep pipes from freezing. We also lit the pump house light yesterday evening.
I had a small bag of sweet potatoes. One went bad. That's all it took for me to cook ALL the sweet potatoes right away. They can be frozen whole or mashed once they are cooked.
Ate the last of the rotisserie chicken. The carcass went into the freezer for a future broth/soup making day when the freezer is a little less full. I made a small portion of homemade bbq sauce to go over the chicken.
Had leftovers of the vegetable barley soup for my supper tonight along with a hot cup of tea. The temperature by supper time this evening was 34 and sliding steadily downward. That hot tea hit the spot!
Fed Misu and Maddie extra portions of food and set out fresh water for them. It will freeze tonight and I'll have to put out more tomorrow but then it's meant to warm up and they can drink from the water buckets once more.
Sorted out the kitchen this afternoon, though I admit I felt like nothing much and wanted only to snug into my chair in the living room and watch TV. I ended up tossing some spices (golly they went out in 2012!) and a jar of yellow split peas that had molded deep within. I culled a shelf full of things from the cabinets and set them aside to take out to the shed. I don't want to get rid of these things yet but I don't use them and they shouldn't be stored in the kitchen. I organized food cupboards, cleared out from under the sink and sorted out the drawers. I still need to straighten and clean the baking cabinet but I'll catch that tomorrow.
Used the vinegar/dawn solution to clean the shower this morning...and just realized that's probably why my back has been acting up today!
Earned a few swagbucks this morning since I was up well before 7am.
Earned $6 in Pinecone rewards this weekend.
Monday: Up early this morning and turned on the propane heater. This helps keep the heat pump from going into defrost mode which pushes cooler air into the house. I don't like that especially when the north end of our house is always ten degrees cooler than the other rooms (that would be our bathroom, the back entry and the breakfast area). Mighty chilly Bible studies in that back corner here of late!
I made a pot of grits. I know that John will eat grains. For dinner, I made 3 bean chilly and cooked ground beef to go into my portion.
I cleared the baking cabinet. Good thing. It reminded me that I am out of cocoa.
It wasn't on my list of things to do today but I cleared the mess of unfiled papers from the filing cabinet. Result: Everything fit back that needed to go in and I have a bag filled with things to shred. Do I really need to know we changed oil in the car back in 2010? I think NO.
While in the filing cabinet, it was a good time to retrieve things needed to get driver's license renewed and to purchase tags. The driver's license renewal is ridiculous. This year, after 42 years of having a Georgia license, I must PROVE I am a resident of Georgia, the US and that proof must include so many items it's not even humorous. Note: the past driver's license is good only to prove my address...
After dinner today, I sat down at the sewing machine and sewed the envelope closure pillow shams I cut out in November. They make the bed look 'made up' now instead of just pulled up for the day.
The romaine and celery all have fresh green leaves. I was going to pot in soil but the pot of soil is frozen solid...so I'll wait until it thaws...
John caulked around my shed door. After the rains last week the door was so swollen we couldn't open it. He also planed down the edges a little so that the new door latch he made is a better fit. Now the caulking should be the final help in keeping the door from swelling in the future.
I made three bean chili for our meal today. John's was meatless. I browned a half pound of ground beef and added half of that to my portions of chili.
Tuesday: I've been using my mouth guard once more. It has helped a good bit with the pain I've been experiencing which convinces me still more that it's related to clenching my teeth.
Oatmeal for breakfast.
John wanted to run a couple of errands today. I combined mine with him. First stop was to pick up the mail. Second stop was trash dump were we dropped off the household and shed trash bags. Then on to the real errands.
John went in to get a haircut. I went next door to Kroger and picked up the FREE items and a bag of dog food. I owe one to Kroger. One of the items on my list had expired. I didn't know this and went to customer service to get an adjustment. They gave me the money back anyway, which was super nice of them. I certainly wasn't going to hold them to it, once I discovered that it was expired! Today I picked up a bottle of ranch dressing, a bag of tortilla chips and a sports drink.
I had a long list of items to look for to enable me to better plan meals for the Daniel fast. In the end, I bought almond milk and a bag of Yukon Gold baking sized potatoes (not available at Aldi last week), some whole wheat pitas and tortillas. Everything else I'd thought I might purchase stayed on the shelves. Did note that in Kroger one might buy a smaller canister of oatmeal for $1.59 which would have fit my $20 challenge perfectly.
John's wanted Maddie to have a dog bed for the longest time now. I think she's just fine as she's always been with her rugs and sheet, but he wanted a dog bed. Today at Kroger we found one for $10.99 which was about 40% off the regular price.
John wanted to go to one of the DIY stores. I walked down to the shoe store and Ross to look for much needed smaller shoes. I've lost a shoe size but was making do with my old shoes that were a size too large. I found two pairs, one at each store. In the first store I was signed up for the rewards card and given extra points for signing up. The shoes I purchased there were on clearance. I received a senior discount in Ross and saved an additional 10% off the shoes I purchased there.
I've mentioned John going to the DIY stores here lately at the rate of about 1 trip per week. Yes, it costs something each time to go but honestly the man comes right home with his bag of items and goes to work making some little improvement or other on home or shed. He's even paid for things out of his own pocket at times, though we do have a house fund to use towards such purchases as well. I'm not going to complain when each small spending results in overall improvements to this property!
For lunch today we ordered two slices of veggie pizza each. We each paid for lunch from a portion of our pocket money.
I baked potatoes in the microwave then filled them with leftover 3bean chili. It was a good supper.
John used a shutter we'd removed from the house some time ago to make a sort of lean to cover over my shed door. I swear that louvered shutter gives that shed a French air. I told John he's got my decorating wheels spinning...His purpose wasn't to inspire me but to help prevent some of the water dripping down off the roofline onto the door. He's sure the lack of eave there is what has caused that door to swell so badly when it rains.
Thought today I'd plant my cabbage, romaine and celery roots. Nope. Though the temperature was in the high 60's today, there was still a solid frozen disk of soil in that pot of soil. Guess I'll sit it on the front porch to fully thaw tomorrow when temperatures are meant to be back in the '70's.
Wednesday: I took a much needed brief nap after John left this morning to boost me up for the rest of the day.
Made oatmeal for his breakfast and mine. I used some frozen blueberries in it this morning. That burst of warm blueberry juice in each bite was really lovely.
I'd meant to use Almond milk but in my fluster this morning (sleepy, groggy, and hurting) I grabbed the regular milk instead. No harm done...After studying all the variations online about Daniel fasts I came back to what John asked me to do: avoid sugary sweets, bread and meat. I find that too often with these sorts of things it's easy to become very legalistic rather than doing things in a spirit of sacrifice that will be pleasing to God. It's walking that line of giving something up and not 'counting every mint leaf' that is often the real struggle. We focus too much on what we're doing and miss the calling of God upon our lives in trying to do it perfectly.
Packed John's work lunch. Made him a cup of coffee to go.
I purchased three boxes of tea yesterday. I do wish you could sample tea before purchasing! I dislike one mightily and the other one, while a favorite of Katie's, reminds me very much of the aroma of Murphy's Oil Soap...sigh. At least the English breakfast tea ended up being tasty.
Washed a full load of dishes this morning.
I was making the bed this morning when I realized I've completely failed to change sheets this week. I decided that three more days on those sheets won't kill us and I can change them routinely come Sunday morning! We'll just save that load of wash this week.
Thursday: Up early this morning. I wanted to make hash browns and fried eggs for John and knew I needed to get a head start. That early start also allowed me room to shower, dress, make the bed and get most of my Bible study done plus prayer time...and I cooked breakfast too and had my first cup of tea, lol.
I cleaned up dishes following breakfast then finished my Bible study. Then I carried out the compost. John was working on the door to my shed and had the drill out. I asked him to drill some holes in an old trash can so that I could use it as a compost holder. He'd not said anything about where I was dumping the vegetable scraps for these past few months, but it seems he wasn't keen on it. I will scoop up that and put in the compost bucket very soon. I added shredded paper today. I can also gather some leaves to toss in and give it all a good stir. The can has wheels so if needed I can roll it near the hose to wet it all, too. I love re-using what I have.
John said he was getting paid tomorrow instead of Monday so I headed back indoors to work on the checkbook. Here's the wonderful thing with getting paid 26 times a year. We have extra money...I always pay half of each of our bills but this time it wasn't necessary to pay each one of them by half. I slid that money over to my sub accounts. Results: I was able to set aside the first of four quarterly payments in one account and (oh this one makes me happy happy!) 8 months of our property taxes! Yes, I was pretty stoked. I fairly floated through my dinner prep today, because this validates my desire to make our money work harder for us.
I made a batch of Rhonda's Red Enchilada Sauce which is some awesome stuff...It was part of my dinner prep today and this recipe makes about 36 ounces of sauce which is easily two cans worth from the store.
Last fall we bought 2 cans of a black bean and corn 'salad' from Aldi. We neither of us liked the one can but I resolved to use it up somehow. Today was that day. I mixed the can of black bean and corn salad with the three bean chili I made earlier this week and some brown rice I'd frozen. This made up enough filling for 13 enchiladas. I made up a pan for the freezer and a pan for our dinner. It blows me away that I can take leftovers and end up with more food than I had when I began.
I put the pecan pieces I bought yesterday in a jar to store in the freezer.
I made some 'cookies' this afternoon using a recipe I found in my file. It has no sugar and is full of fiber. It calls for 2 mashed bananas, 1 cup quick oats (I used the old fashioned I had on hand) and 1/4 cup pecan pieces. Mix well. Drop in mounds on a greased cookie sheet and then flatten. Bake at 375f for 13-17 minutes. They are fairly good. Not sweet exactly but not flat tasting. I think I'd like to add a pinch of salt and some cinnamon next time. This made a dozen cookies. They are Daniel Fast friendly.
I used 1 1/2 bananas I had on the counter that were very ripe. I didn't have quite enough banana so I used the last of the jar of applesauce I took from the freezer two weeks ago. It made exactly 1 cup of moist ingredient.
I made sure John understood that tonight's supper is the last of the soup from the previous weekend. I refuse to throw out perfectly good food. He will always choose something else if there's a choice, so no choices tonight. We eat what we have.
The lock on John's new shed broke. He was able to find the key to the old shed, which allowed him to remove the lock pad from that door to lock the new shop.
John is always finding some little treasure from his dad's locksmith days that he's bringing me. Handmade wooden boxes, antique keys, old locks. Today he brought in a very ornate small key. It looks as though it might have gone to a jewelry box or vanity drawer. It's lovely. My first thought was, "Oh that would be pretty on a necklace." This evening I opened up the January issue of Southern Living and there was an ad from Dillard's in the front pages of the magazine...and the jewelry displayed was a set of keys of various sort on chains, twisted into rings. The necklace key most similar to the one John had just given me was $89. Ha...I always said I had good taste!
Friday: Today we must go down to pick up John's check. I have mail ready to go out with us so I can sign checks and mail them. I've gathered the trash so we can take it off on our way out. I have a plan for supper and dinner is in the oven: pan roasted vegetables (a frozen leftover piece of steak to go with my meal) and there's a salad on the table. The house is neat and clean and I'm pretty much ready to usher in Shabat.
That's my week. Tell me how yours went.