Showing posts from June, 2012

Sunday Iced Tea Chat

I've been trying to start this chat for about two hours now, lol.  Definitely thinking that iced tea would really hit the spot at the moment!  There are caramel cookies and a lovely little coconut/oat flour bar cookie to have with the tea.  I have mint and lemon to go in your glass of tea, if you'd like.  Have you tried mint in iced tea?  Oh gracious but it adds a lovely frosty flavor to the tea!  That's why I planted a potful of mint this summer.

Tell me....Where does time fly off to?!  It's been one month and one day since my last Coffee Chat post.  I can't believe it's almost July, sigh.  At least this month I've ticked off a few of my goals, albeit none of the major ones.  Still, I've been running behind since March so I don't suppose I ought to be all caught up in just a single month.

John and I have determined we are going to stay on 'sabbatical' for a bit longer.  There's a good reason and I'll share it a bit in the future, b…

Weekly Menu: The Summer Version

Whew!  I've been hard at work already today and while I'm hardly finished, I've accomplished enough that the end will soon be in sight.  Anything after that is purely 'extra bonus work'.  I've been so busy, I've not bothered to get anything out to thaw for my lunch today.  That leaves me two options: I run into town and buy a Sub sandwich or pick up something frozen at the grocery OR I scrounge about and make a meal from what I have on hand already.  I'm leaning hard on the scrounge part at the moment. I know I have several things that can be either a heat and eat meal or a quickly prepared entree that is frozen and may be baked straight from the freezer.

I thought while I caught my breath between tasks this morning I'd share my menu for the week ahead.  Gracious but this cold water and fan are just the thing to cool me down while I relax for a few minutes!

Thai Roasted Chicken, Cashew Rice, Spinach and Peach Salad
Part of the work this week involved…

Thrifty Thursday

My pot of basil and mint...The gnome has a bluebird in his hand, something Katie knows I'm particularly fond of.  I've used basil and mint fresh for weeks now and the plants have filled out nicely from the skinny little things that came home from the grocery with me.

Saturday:  Back to synagogue.  We packed water bottles from home for our long day ahead.

Recalled that I'd brought home some handtowels to wash after Passover and quickly grabbed those to go back with us, too.

Opted out of having lunch out with the group and headed to the grocery for dog food then home.

Reheated pizza for our dinner when we got home.

Lazy afternoon and evening at home.  We had sandwiches for supper and made more of those good frozen lemonades.  Such a nice treat!  I'll definitely be buying more lemons so I can make more of these!

Sunday:  Up early, as John worked an extra shift.  Took 2 half pound packages of ground meat from freezer to thaw for dinner today and tomorrow.

Stripped the bed an…

July - Third Fiscal Quarter $25 Grocery Challenge

It's fast approaching a new month and the end of the second fiscal quarter of the year.  This year, as my own personal challenge to boost our budget, I've been practicing a Pantry Freezer Challenge at the beginning of each fiscal quarter.  The first two quarters, I proposed we use the majority of our usual grocery budget for stocking up only while keeping new purchases for immediate use low.  For July, my challenge is a bit different: $25 or less per week per person in the household and no more.

All You magazine ran such a challenge last year and I found it quite helpful mid-summer to practice that month of thrift.    Did you know that the cost of living has risen 40% over the last four years? Did you know that there is a prediction that beef and dairy costs are about to skyrocket upwards?   Let's compare those statements with the fact of NO raise in pay for the past five years in our household.  Our income is the same as it was five years ago.  It's no wonder that t…


I've had a difficult time setting down on paper the rest of my Sabbatical thoughts.  I thought I would continue with an enumerated list, picking up where I left off, but that isn't working for me.  Every time I'd have a thought, an idea, until the moment the New Post screen popped up.   The thought was gone, the idea dead.  I sat here and stared at the blankness trying to think what I had to say.  I've done this for a week since my last post.

It's not that I have nothing more to say.  It's that our emotions were so strained and our prayers so much more fervent towards the end that it's difficult to tell what we were going through.  John broke down and cried, I spent more time weeping quietly.  I kept reading about the anointing of joy, about the oil of joy and all I felt inside was ... not joy.  Surely, I kept thinking, surely with all this time spent with God, with all this pressing in, I'd find joy?

It wasn't that I was blind to the blessings in …

Menu Plan - It's Gonna Be a Scorcher Out There!

I happened to see weather reports as I was flipping through channels on the tv very very early this morning.  We've had relatively mild weather so far but to welcome in the summer equinox next week we're slated for some hot days.  Still below 100F, but hot all the same and possibly drawing near the 100F mark with the heat index.  Which means it will fill like it did at the end of winter, early spring here!  Screwy seasons this year, lol.

I didn't get half done that I'd thought I might today.  I had unexpected company, two different sets of company, and that was distracting.  Kind of cut deep into a planned work day but I'll manage to get things accomplished a bit here and a bit there over the next few days.  I'd thought I'd hunt out a Sunday nap, but it's proven elusive.   So on to other 'work' like eating cookies and sipping cool water and admiring the paint job on the storm door (unplanned task that turned out very nicely indeed), washing a ha…

Thrifty Thursday/Frugal Friday

Homemade cookies to fill the cookie jars on the counter.  I can't tell you how often these days I almost pick up a package of cookies only to say, "Oh but I can do homemade," and know that they will taste so much better than anything I can buy.

Friday: I did housework Friday morning.  Then I packed up the car and went off to town.  It's what I didn't buy that day that saved me tons of money.  I dropped off trash and then went into the post office to drop off a bill we were paying.  Then over to the next town's grocery.

This grocery has a fair selection of potted plants.  Trouble was the selection was not as good as usual.  I saw lovely coleus, but I'd just planted a bunch of seeds of that in my pots.  And while I had a very clear idea of a planter mix of plants I wanted to pot up, they only had one of the variety of plants I needed.  I wanted petunias but none to be had, sad face here.   Finally, I decided that while I'd gone with a set limit to spend,…

What I've Learned During This Sabbatical

As this week winds down towards the conclusion of our Sabbatical time, I want to share a bit more about it.  It's been a very intense and important time in our lives.  We've prayed for answers to certain questions that have yet to be answered, but we've been busy getting answers in other areas.   I daresay it resembles housekeeping.  I might know I've labored long and hard in my home cleaning out closets and drawers but to someone who is an outsider, unfamiliar with what my home looked like behind the scenes, it might well look as though I've done nothing much whatsoever.  If you keep house, or help keep house, you know how very untrue that is.  If you don't bother, then you have no idea, lol.

Today as I worked, I thought about what I've learned.  There are truths that have come to light and maybe these are truths you have already found or you need to hear them so you can discover them for yourself.

#1  When you say to God, "I no longer want to keep Y…

Weekly Menu

We plan to go to the meat market this week when we do our grocery shopping.  I've got plenty of room in the freezer, enough to see we've got a few things we need to use up.  That's the advantage of letting the meat supply decrease.  I don't know about you but even with my basket system, I tend to use what's on top and plan from there, sometimes forgetting about what's nearer the bottom.

Rhonda asked me last week if we were cutting back on meat.  We are.  Not because of health reasons but because John and I agreed that for our budget's sake we'd rather eat a little less and have better quality meat from the meat market rather than sub par meat all of the time. Often these days we eat a smaller portion of meat.  Just as a well seasoned dish tastes better than a bland one, I've learned that having  better quality foods is more satisfying.

Shish Kebab with Grilled Vegetables, Rice Pilaf, Baked Stuffed Mushrooms
Confession: This really was my menu for to…

Thrifty Thursday

Second hand furniture is inexpensive, often far better quality than higher priced new pieces. 

Friday:  John and I had such a big day on Thursday (he golfed, I was out looking for sandals) that we did almost nothing at all on Friday except recuperate.  We split the light housework between us and then enjoyed our leisure time.  I read, went through magazines and collected coupons, recipes and ideas to clip.  There was a lot of entertainment and value from that free stack of magazines I'd brought home from Mama's on Tuesday.

Dinner: Sweet and Sour Chicken.  I cooked two boneless skinless breasts, put aside half the meat for this week's Southwestern Chicken Salad.  I prepared the vegetables for this dish and chopped vegetables for the next day's dinner side dish.

Easy sweet and sour sauce: 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tbsp catsup, cooked and stirred until thickened.    This is good in a stir fry dish as sauce but equally as good f…

Menu Day

I took a few hours last weekend to make out a month of menus to use this month.  I find cooking very tedious when the weather is too warm to very hot.  Unfortunately I still like to eat, lol.  It's a struggle to think of good meals when I know that cooking means heating up my home and myself.  To that end, I went through two or three of my cookbooks and chose a few recipes.  I've already begun employing this menu as of June 1.  New recipes mixed with old favorites, leftovers pre-planned into meals...I think this is going to prove to help save money as well as time and those unfortunate heat flares I experience in the summer kitchen.

Sweet and Sour Chicken, Steamed Rice, Green Beans, Watermelon
I cooked two boneless skinless breasts and set half aside.  I also went ahead and prepped vegetables for the pan roasted vegetables.  I want to add here that I had planned to buy snow pea pods and other vegetables but the ones that appear here are the best priced, in season vegetables or…

What I Read/Watched in May

May was a lovely month, truly it was.  I so enjoyed every moment of it.  We were blessed to attend a young girl's homeschool graduation party which was just lovely, went on field trips and picnics and vacation on top of that.  All of this and the regular work, too.  I don't think I've had such a lovely May before.  This one sets itself apart as special.

I was able to read a few books this month.  Some I started in April and didn't finish until this month, so I count them as read this month.  I watched a few movies, too.

First, those books started in April and finished in May:

  Year of Plenty by Craig L. Goodwin -   I've been drawn to books about families/individuals who are returning to the 'old way' of raising their own vegetables, forage etc.  That's what I expected from this book.  It is based upon the blog by the same name.  This is the third sort of book I've read this year. 

While this book is named after the blog, the basis is loose.  It i…

Sabbatical Thoughts

I don't know if I've mentioned here upon the blog but since April 7 of this year we've been taking a sabbatical from synagogue.  We'd come to a time where we had more questions than answers, were feeling confused.  We felt as though we were battling on too many fronts at once.  After long, late night heart to heart talks, periodic outbursts and a series of incidents that left us feeling more confused than ever, we finally decided that the best thing we could do was to step away for a space of time.  I suggested a month.  John, as head priest of our household had other ideas.  He decided upon a longer period of time.  We have about two more weeks before we return.
I don't share this now because I wish to boast or brag.  I want to share it because spiritually it's been very intense.  We didn't say to ourselves "We'll have a free Saturday for a bit," nor set aside our Bibles.  Instead, we increased our prayer time, Bible study and sought God…