In My Home This Week: Living Frugally, Living Well

                                  Homemade Chocolate Syrup...It's better than Hershey's!

Saturday:  Shabat is a restful day for us.  No big plans for meals or for work.  We do Bible study, watch a service if we find one interesting, John plays praise music.  That's our morning.  Afternoons are for the usual Saturday stuff: football and napping.  It's surprising how often and how long I can nap on a Saturday afternoon and then sleep like a top Saturday night.

Dinner was a rotisserie chicken we picked up at the meat market yesterday.  I served the leg quarters for our meal, set aside the breast meat and put the carcass in the freezer for a future broth making day.

Cut the stems from the crown of broccoli and set aside for stir fry or slaw.

Made a little too much of the wild rice mixture.  I saved it even though it wasn't only about a cup and I'd no idea what I'd do with it.

Supper on these Shabat evenings now that the weather is cooler is breakfast.  Tonight I made Pancakes and used the last of the last package of beef sausage links.

Prepared John's work lunch.  I included a chicken sandwich from the breast meat I set aside.  I could have made him a salad but he prefers the bagged stuff and I had none of that.  I made him sandwiches and included a leftover portion of Chili Mac for him to heat.

Sunday:  Up early this morning to see John off to work.  I packed his lunch, made him breakfast.

I planned to grocery shop today.  Yes, a bit early, but my reasoning was that I wanted to miss the crowds. It was pouring rain and I can't say that even early on Sunday morning that I missed the crowds at all.

Shopped the perimeter of Aldi.  I made out pretty well there.

I went to Kroger to pick up what I hadn't been able to find at Aldi.  I'm glad I went in.  I found turkey sausage on sale.  I remembered my desire to cut back on that purchase and bought just two packages.  Not in the house, not a temptation is my theory.  My splurge here were two of the Red Baron pizzas which were on sale for $3.50 each.  I can't beat that price for a convenience meal.

I treated myself to a coffee, using the gift card to purchase.  I still have more than half the amount on this card which we received as a gift last Christmas.

Filled my car up while I was out.  Gasoline is well priced, but not yet the low prices Rhonda reported in Oklahoma.  Still, it's $.20 a gallon cheaper to fill up in the city where I was shopping than it is locally.

I did not buy dinner out.  So why to do for my own meal when I'd no leftovers in the house.  I did have that cup of rice from yesterday...and a lot of fresh and lovely vegetables.  And in the freezer I had frozen Chicken Pot Stickers.  I had a meal for myself ready to eat within 15 minutes. And used up that rice I was uncertain I'd find a way to use.  I also used that broccoli stem in the rice.  It is really a bonus in a stir fry, both crisp and tender.

We had rain all day long, and fog too...The electricity went out for nearly 2 hours.  That put an end to doing anything much. I read by the light of the kitchen sitting windows, saving candles.

I might have made dinner, since we have the gas stove, but I just didn't really feel the need of anything.  I had chocolate milk instead and felt quite satisfied.

Monday:  A Monday routine seemed in order this week, as well as my Sunday routine since I'd skipped it yesterday.

I got so busy doing my housework and getting the bill box ready for Harvest, I forgot all about the long slow simmering dish we were supposed to have.  Well one of those pizzas came in handy right away.

Supper was sandwiches made from the last of the chicken breast meat.

I drink lots of water, but some days you can just drink so much water...You need a little something with flavor instead.  I mixed up Koolaid for us.  I started the mix with 1/4 cup sugar.  That wasn't quite enough so I upped it to 1/2 and then 2/3 until it tasted just right to us.  $.20 for a pitcher of 'soft' drink?  We can do that!  It's a nice and inexpensive replacement for soda.  I get two quarts of Koolaid for that $.20.  Soda on sale runs roughly $.26 a can (not summer prices which is usually around $.16 a can).  We'll have two and 1/2 days of Koolaid to drink for the two of us.

Made the trip down to pick up John's check count for a lot: took off trash, dropped off mail, delivered the aluminum cans we give to a man who funds his granddaughter's college spending money with the sale of the cans.  We went to the bank, got our personal cash allowances.  Not bad for an hour...and we got a little drive in there as well.

Paid bills and distributed money to various sub accounts as well.  These sub accounts are what keeps us afloat when we have small maintenance costs for our home and automobile.

We saw a mouse in the house.  I had mousetraps and poison and we put that out tonight.  Here's wishing an early end to the mouse hunting!

Tuesday:  Breakfast sandwiches this morning.

John vacuumed behind the dryer...that's where I saw the mouse scamper off to this morning while I was doing Bible study.  At least now we know where the silly thing is coming IN from.  We put out more bait traps.

I made meatballs from a half pound of ground beef.  I stretched it with a 1/2 cup of fresh bread crumbs.  I made the bread crumbs from the end pieces of bread I've saved in the freezer.

While the bread was out of the freezer, I cut the rest of the end pieces into cubes.  This will be handy for making croutons or crumbs either one.  I put the bread back into the freezer.

Put onion tops and root end pieces, celery stalks that were getting bitter and strong into the freezer.  This will do fine for making broth.

I chopped onion and celery for the stuffing I'll make later this week.

Made instant pudding for a quick dessert. I poured two portions into single serve take out containers.  Those will go into John's work lunches over the next week.

Made Pumpkin Pies.  The recipe makes one deep dish pie but I filled two regular pie crusts.  One of the baked pies will go into the freezer for a future dessert.

I did a stack of mending today.  I repaired corners on a fitted sheet that were coming un-sewn.

I've a perfectly beautiful top that I seldom wear because it's too wide in the neckline and the sleeves are five inches too long.  Five inches!  I cut off the sleeves and hemmed but not until I put darts in the back of the neck.  This alteration brought the shoulders beautifully into place.  I expect I'll wear this lovely thing often now.

I mended the desk chair seat cover.  I needed to repair a tear, hem the bottom a bit more and catch a few places on the needlepoint seat cover that hadn't been well sewn first time out.   It looks much better now and the tear was mended using a scrap piece of the fabric behind the tear.  I daresay unless I pointed it out no one could tell that it had been patched.

I made a cover for my mixer using a vintage pillow case that I cut in half.  The other half made a temporary cover for the sewing machine.  I actually have a hard case cover that I mean to put on that sewing machine, just must swap.

The mouse apparently had mending to do last night as well.  He left calling cards on the sewing table.  I asked John to put the last bait trap in the pantry because I'm sure if he's been on the sewing table he's been in my auxiliary pantry as well.

Made cream of potato soup for supper.  I put a single portion up in the freezer for a future meal (thank you Margie for that idea!  Margie discovered that preparing her favorite soups and freezing in single portions was her solution to cooking for one).

Put 1 cup of leftover spaghetti sauce in the freezer.

Sat down this afternoon and planned menu for a family visit next weekend.

Realized I had no cornmeal to make cornbread for stuffing. I'll make a trip into town tomorrow to drop off bills at the post office, pick up that item and one other that we're out of.

I really wanted to go ahead and get a few other items (Christmas postage, cards, a few treats for Hanukkah) but truth is the money isn't there to do so this pay period.  I might well pick up a thing or two with my allowance but the bigger stuff can wait until we receive our next check.

Wednesday:  Used leftover mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes.

Cooked a small portion of Chuck Roast for our dinner.  I put up a quart of beef broth in the fridge.  I'll use it for vegetable soup later this week or I'll put in the freezer.  I made sure to put a date on the label so I'd know just when I needed to use or freeze.

Washed a very full load of laundry this morning and hung all of it to dry.

Washed a full load of dishes, too.

I had to go into town to pick up a necessary item for our small Thanksgiving meal.  I made sure to do a couple of errands while I was out....and to decrease temptation I bought all I needed at the dollar store rather than go into the grocery, too.

Packed John a larger than usual lunch.  He's working an extra half shift in addition to his usual 24 hour shift.  I knew he'd need a snack for tonight and breakfast for tomorrow.  We will appreciate the extra amount on his check  for the half shift.

Made boiled eggs, croissant and hot chocolate for my supper tonight. I boiled extra eggs for egg salad.

Thursday:  Cut up a fresh pineapple I bought Sunday at Aldi for $.99.

Cut and cooked the rutabaga I bought last month.   I put three servings into the freezer, have one set aside for dinner tomorrow.

Mama offered me a fourth of her German Chocolate cake.  I'll put it in the freezer tomorrow but left it out for our big dinner tomorrow.

Mama also packed up portions of her sliced meats from dinner.  I'll use those for sandwich meats for us.

Mailed a birthday card and took off the trash when I went into town to have dinner with Mama and my brother.

Spent a lovely half hour walking about in the very old cemetery at my former church here in town.  It might sound odd but that place is so familiar to me and such a lovely memory spot that I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Avoided the stores entirely today.  I was tempted...but not too seriously.

Mixed up a batch of the dish detergent and vinegar shower cleaner.  My shower is need of a good scrub out and since my brother is coming to tend to a leaky shower head I thought I'd just go on and get it done.

Heated up leftovers from a supper earlier in the week for my supper.

Entered Coke points into MyCokeRewards.  I considered spending some of them but they didn't have the magazine I was looking for, so I'll just wait and see what they offer up next month.  Did you know they change their rewards catalog daily?

Passed my goal for Swagbucks this morning before leaving home.  Everything over that is always gravy.

Friday:  Woke early this morning. I sprayed shower last night with the cleaner and rinsed it this morning.  It sparkled!  I do use a scrubby and go over the walls to pick up the more stubborn areas of soap scum, but I do little work with this spray.

We are having our 'holiday' today....So for breakfast we had canned cinnamon rolls and little baby sausages.  It's a tradition.  We have enough leftovers for tomorrow morning.

After breakfast, John washed two full loads of clothes.  He hung most to dry.

I made stuffing for our turkey.  I used a loaf of Challah we'd saved from Shabat and frozen instead of making biscuit bread.

I used homemade turkey broth in my stuffing mix and to make my gravy.  I pulled three quarts from the freezer.

Because I used a canned glazed sweet potato for our casserole, I drained the liquid and bypassed the sweetening my recipe called for.  It was a good choice, because the casserole surely didn't need to taste any sweeter than it did.

Shopped at home: loaf of bread and gallon of milk from the freezer, coffee and mayonnaise from the pantry shelves.

Used the last of the Apple Cider to glaze the turkey breast.

Planted most of the iris and all of the daffodils this morning while the turkey was baking.  I potted two planters with daffodils.  I will top those planters off with pansies so it will be a pretty spot of color to see from the living room windows for several months to come.

After dinner I divided leftovers.  I put up a portion of dressing and turkey for tomorrow's dinner, along with a portion of gravy and the leftover sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce.  I put a portion of turkey in the fridge to use for sandwiches (and moved the turkey Mama gave me yesterday to the freezer).  I put a portion of turkey and dressing with gravy on top for a future meal from the freezer.  I put up a portion of dressing to have another day (freezer) and I froze the carcass and the last of the turkey gravy.  That gravy will make a great sauce for a pot pie.  I labeled and dated every single item for the freezer.

We had turkey sandwiches tonight for supper.  We used the Shabat loaf of bread for sandwiches.

It was so bright and sunny that we didn't use lights indoors most of the day today.

We went nowhere at all today.  It's been a lovely day at home!

Living Well

Does this photo look out of place to you?  It is from a couple of years ago...I was out in the yard this morning planting daffodils.  I wrote a friend later that I was certain the world didn't have nearly enough daffodils. It is one of my most favorite of flowers.  

As I was planting them (and some iris as well) I thought of how happy they will make me in February or March or April as they come up and bloom.  I tried to plant them in places where I might see them from the living room windows, or when I pull up into the yard after when we return.  I didn't have nearly enough and I mean that sincerely.  I planted 30 bulbs and that's a handful where daffodils are concerned.

I thought I had just worlds of iris too, until I started planting them.  Now I see I haven't anywhere nearly enough to put in all the spots where I thought I'd plant them.  Some of the iris are new to me.  I gathered a few varieties at Granny's in the Spring on the last cold and windy rainy day we had while they were blooming.  Recently John's partner brought a big bag of iris to work.  They are white ones from his wife's great grandmother's home in New Jersey.  I was happy on two counts when John called to say he was bringing them home.  First, because I have no white iris at all and second because they are the best sort of passalong plants: they are part of some one's heritage.  

It was a happy hour, with hands busy and mind focused two seasons ahead, counting on happiness in a future that is largely unknown.  Because whatever life brings in the coming months, happiness always comes in the simplest the lovely yellow blooms of daffodils after a winter of greys and browns.


annie said...

I do love your posts!
I don't do enough putting back in the freezer. I need to do better on lots of things. I enjoy reading your blog, it is very encouraging to press on! i also think I said that before! :)

rebecca said...

Such a BUSY little beaver you are!!! I always enjoy reading the details :)

Now, what are you going to use that chocolate syrup for? (Is that how you made the chocolate milk?)

Karla said...

It's been ages since I've been by the Blue House. So good to see your routines and meal plans - they comfort my soul.

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Well Done!

  Saturday:  I was asked to keep Caleb today and so I'd sort of prepared the house the night before.   I might as well not have bothered...