Thrifty Thursday December 9, 2011

Friday:  After a busy couple of days it was nice to have an 'at home' day.  I wanted to make a special meal of Spaghetti with meatballs.  No dried bread crumbs...Well I'll use fresh.  No Parmesan cheese...but I did have some Italian blend.  I used a mix of turkey sausage, Italian turkey sausage and some ground beef.  The turkey sausage was a breakfast sausage brand that just wasn't the best. I didn't want to waste it and so using it as part of the meat mixture was a great way to use that up.

John wanted cookies...and we'd bought one pack the week before.  I had a package of chocolate chip cookie mix (sale/coupon= $.25 for the packet).  I added 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter to the mix as well as the egg and butter called for and patted the mixture into a pan to bake.  It was very good!

We spent the day catching up on housework but the whole day wasn't needed.  A bit of Christmas decorating took place.  I refashioned some items I had on hand already.

Our supper was leftovers of Turkey Rice soup.

Saturday:  Our day of rest...No housework on this day for us.  However, saving time wherever I can is the order of the day, especially on these weekends when John must be at synagogue an hour earlier than I arrive on his work weekends.  I chose my clothing the night before, get right up and shower, put on my makeup as I feed the animals (the light is so much better on the porch anyway).  I pack our Bibles and notebook the night before as well.  John even moves his equipment to the back door the night before.  It's just so much easier to get out of the door if we've saved all the steps we can prior to the morning.  Worked like a dream today because I was ready and fully dressed a half hour before we even needed to leave.

And what do we do when we come home?  This time of year, we normally put on our pajamas and truly rest.  I read short stories in my vintage magazines,  play games, nap...

Sunday:  Up early and stripped the beds.  John suggested he'd wash a load of clothes.  I asked him to toss in the towels too. John hung the towels to dry on the line.

I went into town to pick up the Sunday paper.  John wanted steaks and since they were on sale, I agreed.  While in the grocery I looked over the sales items.  I determined that about $20 worth of stuff should go on our pantry shelves for emergency/convenience meals.

Back home I put together our meal.  I used the microwave to partially cook our potatoes then finished them off in the oven since I meant to use the broiler to cook steaks.

Stripped the lights from the top of the Christmas tree and then strung with the new lights.  You can't even tell the difference between the two sections.  Makes me feel even better about saving that extra money.

Noted that the peas have blooms on them.  I was so excited I shouted for John to come look.  Cilantro is growing well, beets are finally looking like they've got energy enough to grow well and the lettuce is almost ready to harvest once again.  I am so proud of my little potted garden!

Washed a full load of dishes this morning.  We time washing clothes, dishes and taking showers so that we have a continual source of hot water.

Monday:  Leftovers today of beef stew and corn muffins.  I added a Pineapple salad and our meal was complete.

Pretty much a routine day.  The weather has been very mild for the past four days.  We've opened windows each afternoon to keep house from becoming stuffy but no heat or AC has been necessary.  Our electric bill usage last month was under $100...Can we possibly get it to go lower in this mild weather?  I'm all for trying!

Tuesday:  A long day of errands.  I made out my list, gathered all my paper work and checked my list thrice.  I didn't want to forget a single thing and we didn't.  We made six stops and had all we needed to attend to our errands at each one.

Biggest best thing we did today: planned ahead and set money aside all year long for taxes and tags.  We paid property taxes today and bought a tag for the truck.  What a boon to know that money was in the bank.

In the grocery today, too, picking up a few necessities and a few items we mean to use as gifts.  I stocked up on cream cheese.  John was surprised at how much I bought...I didn't tell him I'd cut back by half what I wanted to purchase even though it was a great buy...Groceries are necessarily costing a little more this month.  Thankfully this is something I plan well as planning to cut back hard and drastically in January and doing a pantry/freezer challenge then to balance the overage in this month.

We had food at home and that is what we had for dinner/supper.  It was a late dinner/early supper, but we did indeed eat at home.  I made meatball heroes from the leftover meatballs in sauce and had enough meat to fill six hoagie buns.  I wrapped and put four sandwiches in the freezer for future easy meals.

Wednesday:  Just a nice easy day out with friends.  We did luck out on a gift that we found for half price.  John also found a couple of inexpensive little items to add to some appreciation gifts he wanted to give out that were very very well priced.  Mostly however, we just plain had fun.

Home later we ran a load of clothes in the washer.  Too cold and drizzly to hang outdoors to dry.  John timed them for 25 minutes.  That was actually long enough to dry the small load of clothes he put in!  Honesty time?  I've always thought it took at least 40 minutes.  I'll definitely have to rethink my dryer timing!

Washed a full load of dishes after we'd had supper.

Planned ahead and not only made John's lunch for work tomorrow but his lunch for Friday as well since I knew I'd be super busy tomorrow.

Boiled eggs for egg salad, made tuna salad and pimento cheese...With the sliced turkey meat and peanut butter we have on hand, I should be able to get through this week of work lunches without trying to think out lunches.

Thursday:  Remember that 'set point' amount I said I'd found myself spending at Walmart?  I was determined to be more careful and I found it worked beautifully today while there.  I came in at about half the usual amount.  Progress indeed and that 'half' was mostly Christmas shopping I was doing.

Mama offered up half a deli roasted chicken, one of those yummy Garlic Butter ones from Walmart.  I accepted happily.  I will use a portion of it tomorrow to make John's Saturday work lunch, and my own dinner.  The rest will go in the freezer to make chicken noodle soup a bit later.

John and I had a dinner for EMS to attend tonight.  He was offered steaks and baked potatoes to bring home (from the extra).  We brought home one steak and two potatoes, perfect for a steak and egg breakfast one morning (with hash browns of course!).

Made french toast for breakfast.  My batter was made using some of that Pumpkin Egg Nog I bought last week on sale for $1.  It has been so very nice in coffee and was especially lovely in this french toast batter.  I froze the rest this morning, setting it aside to use later for bread pudding or pudding.

Had some half and half that tasted just a tiny bit 'off'.  Decided to use that to boost my buttermilk.  Ratios are easy enough.  1:1  1part cultured buttermilk to 1 part milk/cream to make 2 cups buttermilk.  I've been 'feeding' this buttermilk for several months now and it's just terrific for biscuits and cakes and such that require sour milk.  I let sit on the counter today and will put it in the fridge before we head to bed tonight.

We had to run the heater the middle of this week but are keeping the thermostat set to 65F for days and lowering to 60F at night.

I have returned to my previous practices of 'no one's home' and limiting myself strictly to natural daylight,  fewer flushes and less water usage all throughout the day.  That also means putting on an extra layer of clothing at times (or bundling in a fleece throw when I sit down).  Why the 'strict' atmosphere?  Our electric bill usage this past month was under $100 a rarity and I'd like to see it stay that low or go lower if possible.
This meant that when I returned today even though I found the house rather chilly, I just pulled on an extra sweater.

In a fit of time economy, carried all the autumn and undesired Christmas decorations out to the shed while headed outdoors anyway.  AND while I was out there I refilled my basket with other items I knew I did want to use.  Put the basket in the car, went off to Mama's and when I returned I simply unloaded the basket with the single bag of items I had to carry indoors.  No wasted time or motion and accomplished a task in steps that made sense for my time frame today.

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