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Showing posts from September, 2012

My Daily Household Routine

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I am really curious about the daily "cleaning" that you do every day to keep your house nice. What things do you do every day to keep things clean? I love reading others' housekeeping routines to help gauge where I might improve my routine.

My routine is a combination of Flylady and what I've worked out over the years as necessary.  I used to be an abysmal housekeeper.  I was an all or nothing sort of gal.  I would spend a week or more cleaning every single room in the house, from top to bottom, inside to out and then collapse in exhaustion convinced that housekeeping was hard work (and it is at times) and too much trouble to bother with.

Well...Then I married a man who helped me begin to break jobs down into daily tasks.  Who knew you could do a load of laundry every single day instead of waiting to do it once a week and feeling overwhelmed?  Who knew that every single time we showered (and that was every single day) we could hang our towel up to dry and use it …

Weekly Menu Plan

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I'm working under a handicap at present...Nothing sounds really good to me, but meal plans are necessary whether the mood is right or not.  I'm looking for all kinds of inspiration in all kinds of places and feel sure I will manage a week of menus.  Recipes abound around this house, in magazines, online, in cookbooks, etc.

I've been asked at least twice about favorite cookbooks for thrifty meals.  If I had to say I had a favorite one I'd pick my old standby: The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook by Ruth Berlzoheimer.  I am on my third copy of this cookbook, first published in the mid-1930's and reprinted periodically ever since.  The first copy was Mama's, given to her as a wedding gift and I confiscated it at age 15.  I read that book cover to cover and then started it all over again.  I still recall my huge disappointment that white sauce, which sounds so elegant, was nothing more than a thin milk gravy in country cooking.  However, my interest i…

Our Frugal Week

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Not a new lamp though it looks brand new.  John spray painted this lamp this week.  Formerly a navy blue with a '90's gold and white design on the front, this lamp is now a lovely oil rubbed bronze and looks like a 'modern' lamp instead of a leftover from another era.

In My Home:
The paintwork is pretty much complete.  This photo best shows off the new color and how well it matches my bench and shade material.
John carefully put back our things as a surprise for me last Friday afternoon.  He wanted the room to be complete by Sundown on Sabath and it very nearly was.  Complete enough at least to put back our things.
It took just 1 gallon of paint (with enough left for touch-ups) to transform this room from a floral stripe to a calming oasis.  I confess I spend time just standing in the doorway admiring it all, lol.

This room and the lamp above, as well as a towel hanger we've had for a very long time were our paint projects this week and I'm reminded yet again th…

Weekly Menu Plan

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A little late with my planning.  I'm having a bout of allergies and don't feel good.  My appetite is decreased (not necessarily a bad thing) which means that the idea of food in general is uninspiring.  However, this evening I went through all those magazines I've let stack up over the past month and found about as much inspiration as I need for this week at least.  Sometimes, I just need a shot of someone else' creative thinking, and a husband who decides he simply must go out for a cheeseburger...

Cheeseburger and Fries, Soda, Ice Cream Cone
Now and then, it's nice to go out for an old fashioned drive-in meal.  John and I enjoy the brown bag special at Sonic.  Our burgers had onions, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and they really piled on the vegetables, lol.  I counted the fries as veggie too and offered to buy John an ice cream cone on our way home after running the last errands.

Tuna Melts, Tomato Soup, Ice cream
Sore throat continues and frankly I wanted someth…

My Frugal Week

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A diy project we tackled this month in our home.  I think we've spent about $120 total for Kilz, paint and supplies needed.  

In Our Home:  

Thankfully the whole house program of cleaning means I don't have to do a heavy pre-Fall cleaning and I am grateful for that.  Today I changed out the quilt on our bed.  The summer quilt (in pastels) went into the washer and onto the line to blow dry. 

I have a small cold/allergy thing going on.  Lots of Vitamin C, zinc, and water (items we always have on hand) and Vapor rub for my chest has helped a good bit.  I was happy to find I'd stocked a few boxes of Kleenex over the summer when there were good sales.  I'll definitely be getting more to restock for the Fall and Winter seasons.

Our electric bill arrived. I'd love to claim it was our vigilance that knocked off about $20 but the truth is it was the cooler weather we've had which meant the AC ran a good deal less in the evening, night, and morning hours. 

Again that '…

Button, Button, I love the comments Button Best!

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Angela asked to see the quilt I'd started.  I had it out on the bed in the craft/guest room trying to determine how I wanted the next blocks to be pieced.  This is what I've done so far.  It is my intent to continue stepping the striped blocks down from the center square.  I played with it a teeny bit the other day and think I found what I would like but forgot to take a photo...Guess I'll be going back to the bed and spreading it out all over again!
Oh look!  I did take a photo after all and you can get an idea of how I mean to progress with that step down.  No clue how big this thing is going to be, lol.  I started out with the center patch idea and a vague notion of how I wanted the squares to look.

Patsy asked "How do I find Chronicles of a Thrifty Homemaker" and "Penny Ann Poundwise" blogs?
www.ChroniclesofaThriftyHomemaker.blogspot.com  or PennyAnnPoundwise.xanga.com   Neither of those blogs will contain all of the content you'll find here thoug…

Budget Stretcher: Leftover Makeovers

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Not very good photos today... I did another budget stretcher meal and wanted to share with you all.  What I had: leftover roast beef in wine reduction sauce; 1/3 of a jar of fruit cocktail, 1/2 apple, and 1 Asian pear; cooked broccoli.  I had just about enough of everything for one or two folks...and three to feed.  So I put my imagination to work.

First I made up a beef pot pie.  I chopped the leftover roast and dumped it and the wine reduction sauce into a casserole.  I took advantage of the canned foods in my pantry and added a portion of each of these to the casserole: green peas, whole kernel corn, carrots, potatoes, green beans.  I only used about 1/3 of a can of each and put the rest into a zippered freezer bag for soup making later on.  I grated some onion (more flavor less product), a dash of Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to season.

I needed the mixture to be more wet but didn't want it too thin.  I made a brown gravy using browned flour and beef bouillon (cub…

Weekly Menus

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First I want to address a question posed to me by KellyJo.  She wrote:  I envy your organization in the kitchen. I really need to get more organized - do you always stick to your menu? One of my biggest struggles is lack of good planning.

Well for her benefit I'm going to do something a little different.  I'm going to copy and paste last week's menus here and then I'm going to tell you what we really ate!

Breakfasts: 
1. Bagels and cream cheese, Pop-tarts, Coffee
2. Sausage and Hash-brown Casserole, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, Orange juice
3. Bacon and Egg English Muffins, Clementines
4. Goat Cheese and Chives Omelet, Sliced Tomatoes, Buttered Toast, Orange Juice
5. Apple Pancakes, Smoked Beef Sausage, Maple Syrup, Orange Juice
6. Fried Eggs, Grits, Biscuits, Grape Juice
7. French Toast with Nectarine Topping, Turkey Bacon, Orange Juice

Dinners: 
1. Stuffed Bell Peppers, Coleslaw, Lima Beans, Corn bread
2. Cubed Steak Sandwiches with Lettuce and Tomato, Sweet Potato Fries

My Frugal Week

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In My Kitchen:

In the interest of saving time, I spent all day Friday prepping food for our company dinner Friday night and then went right on and prepped as much as I could for our meal on Saturday as well.  It certainly was nice to walk into the kitchen, spend five minutes tops putting things together, sliding them into the oven and serving later.

Made a pan of homemade brownies...I can't tell you this is frugal in the sense that I could easily buy a boxed mix far far cheaper than I can make brownies from scratch, BUT it's frugal in that I had all ingredients on hand, bought on sale and I didn't run into town to pick up something ready made.  I can mix up this recipe with one hand behind my back and one eye closed, I've used it so many times over the years.

I planned well for the weekend, but I had NO plan for Sunday lunch.  Honestly, I thought it would be just John and I for that meal and meant for us to have chicken salad plates.  Fortunately, we had a few leftove…

Celebrating Womanhood

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I'm linking up with Dee today to celebrate "Women of A Certain Age" today. 

At 53, I certainly qualify...Here I am, menopausal, a grandmother six times over, and quite happy to be right where I am.

Recently I watched a commercial... a woman of 69 had a facelift.  In the 'after' picture, three years later she looked perhaps 40...Do you know what I felt looking at that woman?  Exhaustion.  Just pure exhaustion.  I thought  how difficult it must be to keep up the facade of acting as young as she looked.  Can you imagine trying to act 40 when you're 72?  Not to mention the burden of looking for signs of aging that must be eradicated and the effort of continually monitoring your actions so you act as though you're half your age, because what's the point of looking 40 and acting 72?  Mind you I have no problem whatsoever with a little judiciously applied makeup or hair color.  I want to look my best...I just don't want to live a lie, so to speak.  I wa…

Coffee Chat

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I've been busy as can be for the past few days.  We had to buy groceries and then we had a weekend filled with company and then John began painting our master bath which discombobulated the bedroom and bath and then the work week began.  Whew!  I feel tired all over again just thinking of it all and I haven't even had time to pay full attention to my home.

It's about this time of year...Oh dear...I didn't even ask you to sit down and enjoy the coffee did I?  Please do have some and there's chocolate in the candy jar.  I haven't had time yet this week to bake...

Now then... it's about this time of year that I begin to really think of cleaning more deeply, sprucing up the porch and deck, and cozying up the house.  For me, it really starts in August and I did begin doing some extra tasks then but I've done enough deep cleaning all through the Spring and Summer and so, aside from airing a few quilts, there's not much to do in the deep cleaning area.

Th…

Weekly Menu: Breakfast and Dinner

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I finally was able to get the postings done to the other two blogs.  For a solid week, my copy and paste option has fought me hard and won, but not today! lol  For those of you on the PennyAnnPoundwise or Chronicles of a Thrifty Homemaker pages, I'm sorry that you've gotten a glut of postings at once.

Do I appear a day late today?  Well I am.  We've pushed hard all week long, ever since John got off last Wednesday.  We've had errands and shopping and company galore and then we started painting our master bath yesterday...This morning, after we awoke at 9am, we realized that we might just be tired and the day is unfolding in a very leisurely way.  We talked and chatted until 10 in bed, then had coffee, showers, a light breakfast of bagels (for John and Poptarts for me).  I put a frozen (homemade) entree in the crock pot for our dinner, listened to John rock the house with Praise music, did my Bible study...We're calling this our week 'end' quite literally a…

My Frugal Week

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I decided to change up my Thrifty Thursday and re-package it.  From now on I'll split the week between my home and my kitchen...

Frugal Home:  The weather has been less hot but not less humid.  Instead of moving the AC temperature up and down for day and night, I just leave it alone.  John sleeps best in a slightly cooler house and I don't care to have it any colder at night, so one temperature does it all.  Should we leave home for an overnight visit to the kids I'd certainly plan to turn it up to about 80F or so.

I washed two full loads of clothes myself this week.  John generally does the clothing but I take care of most of the household laundry.  I washed the mattress pad that was on our bed as well as all the dishcloths (ants, blast 'em, were being particularly bothersome and got all over the cloths in my handy sink-side bowl) and towels made one load.  The next load was our sheets and a few pieces of lingerie.

Watered plants with reserved water, but just the hous…

Budget Stretcher: Eating Seasonal Produce

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In my home, the kitchen is seasonal.  What we eat in summer we don't eat in autumn, nor do we eat in winter what we might eat in spring.  That is because we tend to lean on seasonal foods.  What's in season now?  According to my seasonal chart these foods: 
Fall- September, October, November
Apples
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery Root
Chicory
Cranberries
Cucumbers
Dates
Fennel
Grapes
Greens
Head or Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf Lettuce
Mushrooms
Nuts
Okra
Mandarin Oranges
Pears
Chile Peppers
Sweet Peppers
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Quince
Shallots
Spinach
Winter Squash
Star Fruit
Sweet Potatoes

As you can see there are a variety of fruits and vegetables, enough to allow plenty of variety in any diet.  Remember that seasonal foods are usually locally grown and provided by growers in nearby surrounding areas and are always the better priced foods because they are available in quantity.

Weekly Menu Plan

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The week stretches ahead of me...and it's breakfast on my mind, not dinner!  Before John began working nights I had every other week off as far as breakfast was concerned.  There were just one or two things he wanted to eat during a work week and he was quite happy.  I, on the other hand, could eat or not, as I chose.  I usually did choose to eat, because I like breakfast. I'd often make something for myself that I knew John might not like so well: boiled eggs with hot buttered toast and orange marmalade, breakfast burritos, pop tart, smoothie...

Now I am making breakfast nearly every single morning that comes along ( I think we've eaten out twice in the past six weeks for this meal) and it's grown stale, truly it has.  I need to add some oomph to that morning meal. 

So this week, I'm not going to share dinner menus.  I'm sharing breakfast menus.

Monday:   Raisin Bran cereal, Toast with peanut butter and honey
Why peanut butter and honey?  I confess that I'…