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Showing posts from June, 2014

Shabat Thoughts: What's Really In the Package?

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It started with the work we were having done upon our home.  My brother agreed to do two small extra jobs in addition to the big work on the porch: change out a ceiling fan and put in a new light fixture.  We told him we had the ceiling fan on hand, bought three or four years ago.  We really liked the fan.  42 inches wide for a good breeze, 3 lights to amp up the wattage in the room, classic look, oil rubbed bronze finish.

So when he was done we walked into the room  and there was a cheap white, one bulb, globe light shade, 22 inch fan.  What?!  "That's what was in the box," he said.  New, never been opened, right there in the box for three years or so.  We don't even remember where we bought it.  The only thing I am certain of is that we likely bought it at a clearance price, because that's how we normally look for upgrades for our home.  We were determined to look on the bright side.  Even this fan, though not what we thought it might be, is better than the ol…

Meal and Job Plans - June 29 to July 5

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It's summertime.  The hardest decisions I have to make each week are which of the fresh produce we should eat and which I won't have room for...Tough times, huh?   I did a pantry inventory last week and mean to do a freezer inventory this week and determine just how much I can put in the freezer of all this good food that's coming in right now.  It's this time of year I probably eat the most 'nostalgia' foods since I grew up eating fresh garden produce and I want to cook them the way Mama and Granny and Big Mama did.  Put a plate of Squash and onions, sliced tomatoes, green beans with potatoes and coleslaw made from a new head of cabbage before me and bring on the hot cornbread.  I cook differently from my family in that I don't toss in a bit of bacon or ham or fatback.  I will toss in a little piece of smoked turkey or a drop of liquid smoke to add that hint of flavor from my childhood without the additional fat.

For my own sake, I'm going to put down…

Afternoon Refresher: Coming and Going

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Hello dears...Come in.  The AC is nice and cool and there is iced tea.  I've just been sitting here trying to decide upon our dessert for the week.  Perhaps you can help me:  Lemon Meringue Cake?  And yes, I do mean cake.  It's a luscious yellow cake filled with lemon curd and topped with meringue.  Coca Cola Cake? German Chocolate?  Lemon Blueberry Cream?   I have no clue either, so let's just enjoy our iced tea.  I've boggled my mind long enough with the possibilities and it's getting late to even think of getting the stove going.

The days have been very pleasant of late.  The mornings are generally comfortable.  The afternoons all that summer afternoons should be:  Blue skies filled with huge cumulus clouds and the earth green as far as the eye can see, shimmering under the sun.  There have been temperamental showers here and there and that too is as it should be for summer in the South.

There's so much fresh produce coming into season all at once and I am…

My Frugal Week - Less and More

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Saturday:  Made pizza for supper using some of the french bread cut into lengthwise pieces, leftover tomato sauce from the fridge and odds and ends of cheeses.  I topped with cooked Italian sausage, onion(from fridge) and peppers (freezer).

Sunday:  Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast.

Washed a full load of clothes.

Went to work on the guest room once more.  I sorted through the flea market items and organized them.  I set aside several items to tag for the booth.

I'd planned to go to the grocery store today, but put it off.  I decided there was nothing I needed so badly it couldn't wait until grocery day.

My Frugal Week/Living Well

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Saturday:  Up early.  Breakfasts are purposely kept simple on Saturday mornings.  Bagels and cream cheese this morning.  Most Saturdays we have some sort of bread (muffins, biscuits, etc) with a light protein.  Easy, inexpensive.

Our dinner today was leftovers from yesterday.

Dinner was big, so cheese, crackers and fruit for supper for me.

Tried out a few free genealogy sites a friend shared.  As I have time to check out her list a bit further, I'll share those that appear to be good.  The one or two that I've tried thus far appear to lead to paid sites.

Sunday:  We headed to church, taking off the trash and picking up mail as we went out.  We also dropped off our Netflix film in the post office in town.

We'd planned to stop at the grocery on our way back home.  This particular grocery has a Starbucks kiosk. John and I haven't stopped for a coffee in a couple of months but today we treated ourselves.  We still have a  balance on the card we were gifted at Christmas so…

Shabat Thoughts: Just Today

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Friday morning.  I couldn't seem to concentrate.  I sat down to read the Bible chapters for the day.  I read a line or two and then started to drift.  My eyes were moving along the page, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you what I'd been reading beyond a word here or there.  No, what I heard was "Gee I wonder if I can find curtains I'd like for the kitchen sitting area any time soon?  What should I have for dinner tomorrow?  I really need to run to the grocery...but maybe not.  I wonder how the baby is getting along?  Are Bess and Sam overwhelmed?  Amie must be feeling exhausted just now.  I wonder if I've made any sales at the booth?"  My mind ran on and on.  Not focused in any one spot, least of all the Bible.

That's just the inner distractions I heard...There were outward ones as well.  John called.  I  heard the newscast on TV in the next room and got caught up in the news stories. I  started a load of clothes and the machine finished it's ru…

This Week's Meal and Job Plan: June 22-28

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Another week past in which few of the planned meals were made.  Some was due to unexpected spoilage of fresh produce.  Some was because I was too hot, too tired, feeling lazy, didn't want to bother...Summer doldrums, if you will.  I think I found a help.  I cooked dinner for Friday's company meal very early, well before 8am and then just reheated slightly at dinner time.  It worked beautifully, didn't heat up the house all afternoon long.  I'll be taking that into consideration for the remainder of these summer days and try to get the meal cooked early morning from here on out.  
I'm feeling fully rested once more, after taking last week off from pushing to do projects and concentrating on just the usual day to day homemaking.  Ready to tackle new projects this week, and coming at the week with a fresh meal plan.  I will need to pick up produce items this week.  I have none left except a head of red cabbage  and a bunch of green onions in the fridge.  I have a gro…

This Frugal Week/Living Well

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Saturday:  Shabbat and not a whole lot going on in our home.  Truth is we are tired as can be anyway, from the two weeks of work we've put out.  We need this quiet restful, thoughtful sort of day to recuperate.

Breakfast was super simple: bagels and cream cheese.

I opened the container with the cream cheese and could tell it was soured.  That was waste.  Fortunately I had a new unopened package.  That's the third hint I've had my fridge isn't working just right.  John has promised to check it over tomorrow, but I think it's time to call a repairman in to fix it.

No time for meal prep for the day with traveling yesterday.  I pulled a steak from the freezer and put on an iron skillet on the counter to fast thaw.  I learned this trick a long time ago.  The skillet doesn't just get cold from the steak, it's constantly trying to adjust to the air around it and create a moderate balance between the cold and the warmth.  This means the steak thaws quicker, but re…

Afternoon Refresher - A Brand Spanking New World

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It's been so hot and muggy that I've been looking for a cool drink mid-afternoon.  I think for the duration of summer, the Coffee Chat will be 'Afternoon Refresher' instead. Doesn't she look cool and crisp?  And doesn't that iced tea look refreshing?  Personally I like lots of ice, a glass FULL of ice,  and a bit of lemon or mint in a slightly sweetened glass of tea.  That makes me a bit of a traitor to the Southern Syrup that most serve as Iced Tea in our section of the states.  Mind you, Southern Syrup is how I drank it growing up, too, but I've given up a lot of Southernisms in favor of lighter fare in foods and drinks both.

It has been a tiring past three weeks or so.  For all that we relaxed and enjoyed our trip to the mountains, we have worked hard back home.  I took a car load of stuff to donate, I've listed quite a few books for sale (my Ebay and Half.com name is Hawksridge2).  I've got a stack of  books to list this week and am debating th…

Menu and Job Plans

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I do love the morning light on this little area I set up for baking!  It just pleases me no end when I see the sun hitting the canisters and highlighting the pictures.

Well...We've had some busy weeks just behind us.  One week away from  home, two weeks working hard and then we finished it off with that new grand baby.  I'm ready though, after this weekend of rest to get back on the work wagon and accomplish a few more tasks.  We were supposed to have company for the latter part of the week ahead but that was cancelled.  The twins are transitioning to toddler beds and their mom felt it was best not to interrupt the process.  A wise decision, no doubt, but I shall certainly miss seeing those kiddos and their older brother.   I was anxious to see how they had grown and what changes had taken place because they do change so very quickly.

Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My!

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Well hello!  I thought I'd take spare moments to knock out this post so that I can send it out first thing this week.  Then I got busy doing more stuff in the house and forgot all about it. This is also known as procrastinating.  I find that as this day has progressed, I'm weary from rising so very early each morning.  I'll piddle the rest of the afternoon at tasks, because I really do want to accomplish a lot more than usual in this week.

I just love what Sarah said about my memory of eating peaches at Grandmama's in this Frugal Week post:
I was thinking about your peaches. Good food combined with sweet memories sure does increase the goodness doesn't it! :) I have several meals we like but remembering the people that taught me to make them or shared them with us adds to the mix for sure.

Meal and Job Plan for June 8-14

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Wow.  I am sooo tired!  I worked hard this past week.  I'll do a bit of work this week as well if I can and then it will be a return to a more normal pace.  I've posted my week's worth of projects and such so you know what I've been up to.  All that and routine housework, too.  My big fail this week was reading.  I hadn't read a word, not once by Wednesday and then I decided I didn't really need that added pressure, so I read two or three magazines from my gently read stash and passed them on.  I was too tired at night to even think of reading and wouldn't stop during the day for it.

Each meal I made this past week used something from pantry or freezer.  I'm a long  way from being done.  I do need, at this moment, to go buy produce, dairy and bread.  We will also pick up one or two items for John's work lunches this week as well as get prepared for our needs when company comes in middle of next week.  However, I am still planning to use all I can …

How the Week Went

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I thought perhaps you might like to see how this week concentrating on home went both meal-wise and job-wise.  
Sunday: Planned: leftovers I ate leftovers.  I was so tempted to eat out while getting groceries since I left so much later than I'd meant to but you  know I just couldn't bring myself to spend the extra money.  It helped a lot that the credit card bill came in yesterday's mail  and while that money is already in the bank,  I felt I had to hang on to my money.  
Made 2 pie shells and a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough for the freezer. Baked a loaf of banana bread to use two leftover bananas. Found a jar of peanuts I'd saved in the freezer and  I'd just spied a single package of microwave popcorn in the cabinet, so I made caramel corn.  That went into the snack jar.  I'll skip making the peach shortcake I'd planned to make for the first part of this week.  Too many sweets on hand is not a good thing.  I also made up a batch of chocolate syrup. …

My Frugal Week(s)

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May 24 - 30

Saturday:  I didn't plan ahead as well as I ought to have done.  I had no ready to serve meal for today...or did I?  I dug about in the freezer and found homemade spaghetti sauce.  I reheated the sauce, cooked the last of an open bag of specialty pasta.  I roasted asparagus and reheated cheese sauce that was in the fridge and needed to be used up. We had the last of bagged salad John left in his lunch bag.  I called it dinner. John called it good food.

I was careful to watch the thermostat and when the AC began to run on and on, I'd inch up the temperature so that it would shut off and take a rest.  This gives the compressor time to reset itself.

Sunday:  Our anniversary.  We didn't do anything much for each other, just small things.  I got a funny card for John that has a pet saying of his incorporated into the verse.  He went into grocery after church to pick up ice for a road trip we'd planned and bought me strawberries and a chunk of a specialty cheese an…

Meal and Job Plan- June 1 - 6

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I said it and I meant it.  It is time for a pantry freezer challenge.  I've a number of things in my freezer that need to be used up.  Truthfully we tend to eat off the top and never make our way down to the bottom. There are no doubt all sorts of forgotten goodies in the bottom!  The pantry is looking leaner than it has in some time but there's plenty of foodstuffs there that haven't been touched over the past few months, like that 3 Bean Salad we ate yesterday (so good and refreshing in warmer weather).

I am off to the grocery store today.  We have very little fresh produce, the milk is down to just enough for coffee and there are five eggs, no where near enough to make it until next pay period.  I do plan to try to stick pretty hard to that short list though, since we are between pay periods

While we're in the pantry freezer challenge this month I will limit myself to purchasing those items and any outages of staples, but nothing more.  The point is to use what I …