This Frugal Week/Living Well

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 remains temperature stable at the same time, so it's perfectly safe.  I'm sure there's a far more scientific explanation for it all.  If you're interested then look it up, but don't tell me all about it.  This is the gist of what I got from looking it up myself!

Corn on the cob cooked in the microwave in 5 minutes.  That beats boiling water and steaming as well as roasting.  Gosh but it was good sweet corn!  I wrap loosely in waxed paper, with the shucks still on the ears.  The steam loosens the silks and shucks and they slip right off when the corn is cooked.

A quick dessert: I had a single layer of chocolate cake in the freezer that I split, filled with vanilla pudding and topped with a quick chocolate ganache.  I called it Chocolate Boston Cream Pie.  Not bad.

Sunday:  We went to church.  While out John determined what he wanted for his Father's Day meal.  He stopped off at grocery and bought it. Leftovers were packed up for his lunch tomorrow.

John bought the Sunday paper while he was in the store.  He purchased two of them, which was only $.50 more than a single, double the coupons.

We watched a movie I'd gotten from Netflix many weeks ago.   I'll send it back tomorrow.

Packed up John's lunch for work tomorrow.

John checked the refrigerator before we watched the movie.  He determined that we were right about the cause but not able to repair ourselves.  We agreed to call for repair.  I'll be calling to have the AC recharged as well.  This has been an annual thing each Spring but this year it's been so  mild that it wasn't necessary until now.

Monday:  I read a tip that it was helpful to work cornstarch into a matted area on dog's fur.  I had some small success with this for Maddie's coat.

When I called for AC repair I was told they could come out right away...and they did!  The money was set aside through out the year.  We were told the leak is very tiny and impossible to find so we have a small amount of freon added each Spring.   It's very helpful to have the money set aside prior to the repair.

There was enough left over to cover the cost of the repairman coming out for the fridge.  Unfortunately they can't get to me for ten days.

My day out with Mama.  I went on a search for a fourth shower curtain to use at my bedroom windows.  Success!  I will now have the fullness I need.  Mama gave me some new white flat sheets she had in her closet to make curtain liners.

It was a long afternoon out.  Nice to come home and find the AC working well.

I bought very little beyond that curtain.  I didn't have my list along and refused to spend extra money just to spend it.

Leftovers for my supper.

I've decided to try and keep the AC set at 78F which seems just cool enough to me and does cut back on how much it must run.

Tuesday:  Thawed a roast and cooked in oven.  This will be both entree one day and sandwich meat for the week.

Found my vegetable crisper held spoiled vegetables.  Looks like the repair guy can't get here soon enough. I've not had spoiled fresh vegetables in my fridge in years!  Had to toss the remaining portion of celery.

John called on his way home this morning and asked for pancakes.  I diced a peach and added to the batter. This is a favorite summertime breakfast for us.

John washed clothes and hung to dry when he came in.

I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher when the laundry was done.

John took his mower battery and hooked it up to the charger.  We are hoping to avoid having to purchase a new one.

Went to pantry this morning to 'shop' for flour, sugar, decaf and regular coffees.  Refilled my canisters.

Sliced roast for sandwiches tonight.  It will be tomorrow's dinner, but I plan to get plenty of mileage from this roast.

Wednesday:  My ambitions seem to have taken a back seat to just plain old basic housework this week.  That's fine.  All work and no play and all that good stuff, you know?  Didn't stop me from sewing the shower curtains into curtains and hanging them.  Now they look nicely full and provide much needed additional shade in the master bedroom in the late afternoons.

John's battery charge held!  That means we can forgo the purchase of a new battery for a bit.

We had a simple meal today that included a Broccoli Rice casserole.  I thawed and baked the casserole in the microwave.  I did not want to heat the house up.  It was already 90F at about 9am this morning.

Made biscuits for breakfast.  We had leftovers.  I'll toast some in the morning and John can eat with meals today if he chooses.

Took down a lovely old framed print.  Well the frame is lovely, the print is very old and Grandmama apparently tried to wash away the soot that settled on it when it resided with an old woman who lived up the road from her.  I noticed 1928 was scratched in the bottom of the print.  The frame is gesso over wood with a lovely design but all you could see was the dark color.  I dry brushed it and oh my!  The frame is stunning enough all on it's own.  I put an old print from former decorating days in the frame and it's now hanging over our bed.  It's just beautiful!  It took all of about 5 minutes and less than 5 cents worth of paint to bring that frame to new life.
                                                         see the details?  Gorgeous

Cleaned the laundry well while John was mowing this evening.  I had big plans for re-decorating but I find that my decluttering was a bit more intensive than I'd realized (not a bad thing) and I will need to make some thrift stops looking for items that will suit me better.  On the other hand, I realized I have a number of things that might yet go into the booth for sale as they don't work with my current decor nor with the plans I want to carry out, so it should balance out.

Decided to spend some time with my genealogy research this evening.  I haven't looked at it in about three weeks and I do want to get full  value from the subscription John gave me for Christmas.

Had to toss a full head of lettuce, half a tomato and a couple of other items that were on bottom shelf of fridge today.  I called a local repair man on the recommendation of the hardware store in the next town.  I told him the trouble, he said he'd order the part and be out tomorrow to install it.  I'm cancelling the guys who are supposed to come next week, so there will be no charge associated with that.

I have two nighties that continually slip off the shoulder, making them frustrating to wear.  While I was sewing the rod pocket in the curtains this evening, I took a dart in the middle of the back of the nighties.  This should take up the width enough to prevent slipping.

Thursday:  Made a big breakfast this morning.  I toasted left over biscuits, scrambled eggs and made hash browns from scratch.  Homemade Hash browns are super easy.  I just dice firm potatoes into small pieces, and then cook in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil and a lid to steam them soft.  I used two potatoes, at a cost of about $.10 to make a pan full of hash browns.

John had  a doctor appointment this morning.  I meant to go with him but I had to wait on the repairman to call.  I bagged trash so he could carry that off.

Take off trash and return home minutes later with the scrawniest little patchwork kitten I've ever seen...sigh. Having just gone through the house and tossed all the big empty boxes we'd been saving, I had to scratch around a bit to find a spot to keep this kitty.  I emptied a box I was using for storage, lined with newspapers and an old dishtowel.  She got a bath for fleas.  I must say, she's a loving little thing  and was perfectly content to be bathed and rubbed dry and took milk from a saucer.  I put a small box of earth in the bigger box with her.   No expenses thus far, other than brain power to figure out how to make do.

                     She's in a foster home with a nursing Mama cat now...weighed all of 3 ounces.
                                       We have a home waiting on her when she's weaned.

John stopped on his way home and bought Subway sandwiches.  One is for his work dinner tomorrow, the other for our dinner today.  No more heating up the house with cooking today.

Touched up some of the frames on pictures in the master bedroom then rehung them in a pleasing arrangement.  This is something I've meant to do for the longest time now.

                            This room is now completed...Spent less than $90 to get a whole new look. 

Friday:  I put a turkey in the oven early this morning to avoid heating house later in the day.  In fact, my whole dinner was pretty much cooked by my usual breakfast hour this morning.  I'd rather run AC in the morning to keep house at temperature than heat up the house and hear the AC run forever all afternoon trying to catch up.

Didn't have enough dishes to wash a load this morning, but needed plates and silverware.  Hello, sink...I did a full load of dishes after our dinner today.

My freezer hasn't made ice since it was repaired.  I meant to call the repairman to have him come see to it. Thankfully we have two bags of ice in the big freezer, something we typically have this time of year for grocery shopping and to fill the empty space in the little freezer.

Decided to just look at the ice wasn't plugged in!  I fiddled with it for a bit and finally got it all plugged in.  By dinnertime it had dumped ice at least four times. Not quite enough for our meal but enough to warrant not calling the repairman to come back.

Made peach cobbler with a package of frozen peaches and the addition of the last of the peaches we purchased last week.  I used the Upside Down Cobbler recipe from Aspiring Homemaker.  I cooked it next to the turkey breast.

The Southern Style Cream Corn I made in the crockpot didn't thicken as it ought.  Mama suggested I continue to cook it with the lid off.  I did and it thickened a bit but not quite enough.  Then she shared a family secret for the first time.  My great aunt shared many years ago that when her corn didn't thicken as she liked she'd add a tablespoon or two of cornmeal and stir it in.  Worked like a dream.  Glad I finally got old enough for someone to share that bit of family secret with me!

I purposely made extras so that I'd have leftovers for our Shabat dinner Saturday.

Made a batch of thick spaghetti sauce to use in making lasagna.  I never did make this dish a few weeks ago and I really would like to have a few prepared entrees in the freezer.  I used half a pound of ground turkey (I forgot I had it in the freezer) and 1/2 of Italian Turkey sausage.  No canned spaghetti sauce ( I use that as my tomato sauce usually), so I used a can of tomato paste with extra water added.  Everything that went into the sauce was from freezer or pantry.

Sam and Bess stayed into early evening hours.  I didn't eat supper.  Who thinks of supper while holding a new grandbaby?  I had a bagel with cream cheese after my solitary Shabat prayers.  I usually just use a bun or roll or bagel when it's only me at home for Shabat (or when we travel).

Living Well

It was a week in our household.  A typical ordinary sort of week with worries, struggles, foolish anxieties, blessings, laughter, tears.    We paid for repairs, worked at jobs and tasks that must be done, watched the account take a slight dip.  Finished projects, fixed items ourselves that might have cost an additional repair fee, talked over solutions to ongoing problems and came up with something that is more reasonable than a big expense.

Our blessings were big and small just like our troubles.  We lost only a modest amount of produce in the ongoing problems with the refrigerator and not all the food in it, as we might.  John found a solution to his battery woes with the mower.  Repairmen came and fixed and we had almost enough  money in our sub accounts to cover it all.  I opened the cabinets and freezers and made meals without going to the store to buy one single item.  Mama came in bearing the gift of half a cantaloupe and two big lovely GREEN tomatoes.  I My personal account had a little more money than I'd thought.  I counted up my $1bills and realized I had enough to buy two more of the upgrade blinds for the kitchen/sitting area.  I found objects about the house to help finish my 'new' bedroom look.  Found the last needed shower curtain to complete the window dressing.

Family came to visit. We worked, we played, we rested.  A good week.  Even as ordinary as it was, a good week.

I find that I am best pleased by these ordinary weeks.  It's fun to go on vacation, to have a bit of good excitement now and then, to do something different.  But it's these sorts of weeks that make me really appreciate my life as a whole.  A steady contented peace that laces up all the days together and gives a feeling of quiet joy.  I like that.


Anonymous said...

Lacing the days together...what a lovely way of putting it. What a good feeling you must have had apron rescuing that kitten and finding a good mama cat then later a home for it! :) It sure looked little! Those Big eyes! Yes the ordinary days are really extraordinary . The sweet days of family and sunshine good works and love. The basics of life...the good life.
I have always loved the combination of blues with tans and browns. So naturally I am particularly fond of your new curtains! Congratulations on eying such a good find!! The room is very pretty !!
Thanks for the idea on thawing the meat in a cast iron. This was new to me. Corn this year seems to be extra good. We were disappointed several times with the crops last year but this year... totally Yummmm ! I am still working on cooking from the freezer. This could take a while but needed. While checking through the pantry I came up with several meal ideas I hadn't made for a while. I find looking through my recipe cards or the pantry sometimes jogs my mind to meals or new ideas that had escaped me other wise. When reading blogs I write down some recipe ideas {and the blog name and date or I will forget!} or write out the recipe at that very moment which is bet.:) and so change up our meals. With living together so many years you can read a recipe and know 99% of the time if it will be agreeable to both of us. Also it's best if it contains ingredients we usually have in the pantry. I am not about to buy a new-to-us ingredient..especially expensive one, if it is only going to be used in one recipe!! We go to Winco and other stores that sell bulk items. At least at those stores we can get just a pinch of a new spice or other ingredient to try if we want and the expense is slight. Also with spices we just buy a little at a time of the regular ones and they are fresh asa when they are done we can get more , not wasting a whole bottle. I was worried at first that spices and such at these stores might not be the freshest. We have always found all products are changed out or bought out quickly and have never had a problem. Naturally each family has certain spices they use more often and those we keep more of. Like all products we find sales and store brands too that are less expensive.
We have no AC. We have to keep cool some days by going to the library or such that has it! :-) Lots of summer days though our swamp cooler does the job. How did they do it years back? I remember nothing but a box fan in our home growing up. That was used only during the night meal and on low. We were the only family on the block that did have a small fan in the attic window that acted like a whole house fan I guess. That was used sometimes. On humid hot nights we just melted into our beds! :) Remember those days? We had no idea there was any other way to live. At that we had it easier than they did more years back. I can't imagine living in a cabin where the fireplace is kept going 24/7 no matter how hot it is outside. Can you imagine worrying about the children inside as you rushed to the outhouse? Maybe they took some with them for safety. I know children learn to stay away from dangers ,but still. We have it so good...we cannot even understand completely the life others have had to live.
We have it so good and so easy now.
Cherish...really cherish your time out with your mother. Print it on your mind. You will cherish it forever. The days go so fast. So many only have memories now of such times together. It warms me to hear of your outings.
We are eating from the garden and the pantry of things I had canned last year. It brings a sweet feeling to know you produced what you are eating doesn't it. You put a tiny seed in the ground and up comes supper! What a miracle God produced!!!
I enjoyed coming to your blog as I always do. Sarah

Kathy said...

Beautiful!! Sounds like you are living very well! I'm glad that you have had a peaceful and joyful week.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I appreciate "ordinary" weeks, too. Enough interesting things going on, but not enough to be too stressful. Just enough tiny bumps in the road to make one appreciate the smooth parts.

I find it challenging to come up with dinner ideas in the summer without heating up the house too much. Usually I limit the oven use to only twice a week at most. I dislike standing in front of the stove and frying, sautéing, etc. because it makes me too hot here lately, especially if I have been out and about outside in our mid 90's heat. I'm thinking of making a big pasta salad, enough for at least two meals, this week.

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