I know I've been awfully lax about writing of late. I've been so busy...First there was Mama's hip surgery and the first week I spent 6 days out of 8 running to the hospital or nursing home. I've managed to stay away since last Tuesday without a bit of trouble. I'm glad of that. The gasoline costs alone were starting to stack up rather high and deplete our balance a bit.
Wednesday John and I needed a break from job, hospital, and other things and so we took a lovely drive into the foothills to the grocery there. I'd recently been shopping at Aldi's and I was really liking how inexpensive they were...and I found out just how much so. At the grocery in the foothills: Milk was nearly $5 a gallon (Aldi's price $1.98), a four pack of baby artisan lettuces $4.99 (Aldi's had it on sale two weeks before for just $.99, the very same product name and packaging!). I spent every penny of my money and the 'extra' I'd set aside for our groceries that day and we easily toted in all we bought without a strain.
Not regretting the shopping trip at all. We love the views along Highway 19N and always enjoy that ride. On the way back we took an older route, a former stagecoach road through a historic old town. Little did I know my appetite was just being whetted for the weekend.
Thursday and Friday was spent working fairly hard about the house, mostly in the kitchen. I knew our weekend ahead was going to take it's toll and just wanted to have the house in fair shape for that. Shabat evening was especially sweet and tender. John and I had a heart to heart earlier that day and we both were emotional and felt we'd drawn closer to God as well as to each other.
Shabat service was fun, the Purim festival, celebrating Queen Esther. We had guests and seemed to have just enough food (very few leftovers went home with anyone). One brought a delicious Blueberry soup, served chilled, and it was so fresh tasting. I think I might be making that this summer for myself. John, being typical of most men, didn't think a fruit soup sounded like food. I thought it would be absolutely lovely for summer, light and delicious. The recipe holder shared that she serves it with chicken salad and a good bread in the summer months. Sounds lovely to me.
Sunday morning we went up to visit Katie and Sam. The ride along the way is another old stage coach route, lots of history and wonderful old homes, lovely rolling hills and woodlands of hardwoods to view. The route is pretty direct and we had little trouble finding them, didn't get lost at all until we were on their street and that was the fault of Google maps and not ourselves.
While we'd had pollen falling here Saturday and Sunday they are just enough north of us to not yet be in that season, so we were able to eat outdoors at the cafe they took us to for lunch. We drove about a bit, seeing where they work (oddly enough both are in the boondocks, side by side at the two companies and that is all that is out that way...). Samuel had found another little cupcake bakery and treated us to those for dessert, while Katie provided coffee. We took all that back to the apartment and ate on their lovely courtyard behind the place. Katie had already bought a couple of plants and she and Samuel were planning to plant herbs and trailing vines and flowers in the planters that topped the walls.
The apartment is two story, two bedroom and quite large and light. It's a lovely spot with big hard woods overhanging and shading the back. The kids have the place nicely decorated and arranged and Katie was proud of their chore/menu/appointments chart they keep on the wall so they can stay fairly well organized. It was a lovely visit and over far too soon, despite the change to Daylight savings Time. We were quiet on the long drive home and yes, we did manage to get lost/found on the way but it was a happy accident of lost that netted us a short cut. After that we managed just fine without incident and were home in about two hours.
I spent the evening online looking up all the little old towns we'd driven through and learning the history of several of them, pin pointing historical homes we'd seen along the way, etc. It was a nice way to end the day.
I'm afraid Monday we were just plain tired. I did light housework and then settled to dream over historical registries and such and lucked into finding a photo of my great great grandmother as an older woman.
I found the photos after I'd begun researching my great grandmother's lineage. I'd already managed to trace my great grandfather's family to 17th century England... Well I stuck with that 'project' until my eyes fairly blurred and ran with tears. I was absolutely caught up in this. Now I'm trying to track Hattie's mom and dad. The trail runs down at that point. I found them on an 1860 census for a small town several miles from here and even found my great great great grandfather living with his son here in our county in a 1900 census. But to go further back has been a toughie. I keep exploring all sorts of name spellings etc which is how I discovered him in my county in 1900.
I haven't spent all of my time digging about in archived materials, just most of it. I looked over my homemaking goals for the month and I mean to try to get all caught up this week if at all possible. Mama has a doctor's appointment and is coming home in the next few days so I'll naturally be busy with her, but she is doing very well overall and besides needing someone to drive her about she will be able to tend to her own needs pretty much. I won't worry about doing hard deep cleaning tasks in my own home, but will try to touch on each of the two areas that I should have seen to over the last two weeks while I was so busy. Then next week I can jump headfirst into this coming week's cleaning zone. I hope to re-establish my personal routine this week as well. It's been nice to have all the lovely extras this week but it's time to renew my schedule so I can have ample time for work/play mixed.
Oh, I didn't even mention Peaches to Beaches....That was this past weekend, and no I didn't attend. Friday dawned chilly and rainy and I decided I'd just rather not be out in it. I put the money I've saved the past two months into my personal savings account. I'll use that money towards our vacation when we get to go. I'd saved $80 over the past two months which I thought was pretty good.
I've been thinking about the grocery budget. We really like this meat market we found and we love ordering our special German coffee, but those two purchases alone comprise about 1/2 of my grocery budget every month and dog food takes another 1/4. I really like Aldi's products lines too and think I'm going to do a good bit more shopping there. I feel I get quality products for my money. While I want to stick hard to my budget I really want to feel I'm buying the very best I can afford too. Aldi's will allow me to do just that. Now personally, I've not tried any of their meat except the ground turkey (which is good meat). I'll likely try their chicken now that I've determined the meat market chicken is no better/worse than what I get at the grocery. But I'm interested to see how this plays out this next month (and the rest of this one) in so far as sticking to my budget goes. I mean to give all of the usual products I'd use the Aldi test to see if their brand is as good or better than my current one.
I'd meant to try my hand at a bigger/better gardening spot this year, but not sure I can afford the time or money to expand. I need to find my seeds this week (not sure where I stored them) and plant lettuce, beets and carrots. I want to try my hand at seed potatoes, and John's requested tomatoes and bell peppers. I'd love to have a squash or two (I love yellow crook neck squash). These are all things I'd normally buy anyway. I also bought a few packets of flower seed I want to put out. I shall be making a rather intense list for the month of April of projects. I figure I'll have about five-six good weeks to work and then I'll be completely distracted ( and run down, lol) by grandchildren and children moving in temporarily. John is taking off some time during this period to lend a hand and enjoy as well.
And here I am ready to wind up and haven't even mentioned having cookies to go with the coffee...Shame on me. It's the Snickerdoodle Bars recipe I linked to in the Menu Monday post. Rhonda, that good cook in OK posted the recipe originally and I just knew it was well worth trying if she posted it. Wasn't wrong either... They are very tasty!
Now, I shall go load a few dishes into the dishwasher and then I think I'll just go do a little more research on those family names. I think I'm hooked, lol.