This Week In My Home: Living Frugally, Living Well

Saturday:  I used leftover hash brown casserole to make Egg Nests for our breakfast this morning.  It was a nice change of pace for a Shabat morning breakfast.

Our dinner was a heat and eat frozen entree right from our freezer, Turkey and Dressing, cranberry sauce left from our Thanksgiving meal and a salad with toasted nuts, apple slices and craisins.

We did nothing this day.  No shopping, nor driving.  We didn't even burn electricity except for the television and fridge and freezers running until late afternoon when I turned on the AC for a bit to cool the house off a bit.  A cold front is coming in tomorrow.  I for one shall be glad to see it.

I made a supper of waffles and hash browns and sausage for our company dinner tonight.  I used pancake mix for the waffles.

My Daughter in law brought a foam mattress topper for the guest bed.  I'd had that on my list of things to purchase.  I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated it.

When my DIL showed me the present she'd made for my mom I thought it was very nice.  It was a lamp made of teacups and saucers.  She said she was looking for more pieces in thrift shops so that she could make more.  I took her to my shed and rummaged about.  I found three teapots, a few teacups, a sugar bowl, a creamer and several saucers in my stash.  These were all mismatched pieces that I couldn't use in my booth due to small cracks or chips.  Lori was pleased to acquire so many pretty pieces to use.

Sunday:  John and I got up early to prep our salad stuff for the family party today.  We chopped onions, tore lettuce, washed and wrapped baking potatoes and put baked beans on to cook in the crock pot.  I also made a peach cobbler as an extra dessert item.  I had all the ingredients for that on hand.  I put peaches in the freezer last summer.

We borrowed a table and grill from Mama as I said on Friday.  I thought I might really need to buy a chair or two but in the end we pieced it out with the help of a stool or two instead.

DIL brought a bunch of disposable aluminum lasagna pans with her.  These were used to take meat to and from the grill, hold peach cobbler, and corral baked potatoes.  They were so handy and saved the need to wash a lot of serving pieces.

We gave family gifts this year.  Baby Josh was given an ornament (a Nutcracker which has special meaning to his Mama) and the other children were given a recorder.  They tootled about all afternoon long.  These items were not expensive but they were sufficient to make the grandchildren happy.

Happy to note at end of the day that my Shop and Earn from our last stay in Kingsland had credited to Swagbucks.  I am very near having enough for a $50 gift card this month.

Monday:  I feel sometimes as though I've done little all week long to save money, especially when we throw a big party for our family.  All of the money for our party came from either our Christmas fun or grocery budget.  We didn't go over.  I moved money back into savings today.  Being able to do that made me feel we had, after all, been saving where we could.

Although we had guests staying with us all weekend long, we did not buy extra except for a single loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.  I used what I had on hand in the house to prepare meals.  When we ran out of juice, I got a bottle of juice from our pantry.  When I ran out of sugar, I went to the pantry and got another. And so it went all through the weekend

Fed the pets food scraps from yesterday.

John washed two loads of clothes.  He hung most to dry here in the house.  It was far too damp and cold outdoors to dry clothes on the clothes line.    He decided to put the sheets from the guest bed in the dryer and after they were dry, he tossed in the towels, taking advantage of the hot start to dry them more quickly.

Received (at long long last) my rebate Visa cards from Office Depot.  Truth, I gave up on getting them.  I filed my rebate form in July and it took until now to have it processed.

I cooked burgers for our lunch and Potatoes O'Brien.  The buns and the potatoes and peppers were leftover from our party foods.

We went down to pick up John's check from work.  We took off trash on our way, went to bank and post office while we were out.

As I was paying bills, I discovered that I needn't set aside two half payments of utilities as the extra pay period finally caught up to the cycle of those bills.  I talked it over with John and we put those half amounts aside for our meat purchase in January.

John had given me extra cash last week to cover any difference in our Christmas fund money and our spending.  I felt very pleased to return that cash to him.  He'd taken it from his allowance.

It was mighty cold today, bitter sink into your bones cold.  The house never really felt warm and even my fuzzy robe and slippers didn't help to warm me up.  I decided we needed to put some humidity in the air and put the tea kettle on the stove.  Amazingly the house seemed to get warmer and we didn't turn up the heat pump by even one degree.

I ran a short wash cycle of dishes in the dishwasher.  I didn't have a full load and looked about to find things to add to it, but it was still not quite full.

Tuesday:  Last night I burned the candle in my buffet arrangement down to nothing.  I was able to put another candle stub in its place. I am glad I saved these short pieces of candles even though at the time I had no clear idea how I might use them.

John made breakfast from leftovers from our party.  He made a Steak and Cheese omelet using steak and cheese and peppers from the party.  I had the end piece of the sour dough bread as my toast.

I cashed in points from Pinecone.

Made today's daily goal for Swagbucks.

Made lunch of Cowboy Chili using hamburger and adding in baked beans from our dinner on Sunday.  I put the rest into the freezer to add to a batch I'll make next week for a work party.

We used salad and croutons from the party for our salads today.

I rinsed dishes over the dishpan then used that water to hand wash the dishes that don't go in the dishwasher.

I turned the dishwasher liquid bottle upside down to drain.  I expect to get at least one more washing from that bottle.

We turned on the propane heat in the early morning hours but as soon as the sun was hitting the house we turned it down.

We really should have gone out to buy groceries today but I asked to wait until tomorrow.  My reason was that I was tired from the weekend activities but really one extra day is also a savings as I will be able to stretch my grocery money that much further.  Not going shopping today is enough of a savings to buy an extra bag of sugar and an extra bag of coffee for the pantry shelves.

We paid that loan we took from ourselves back in March to build the porch.  I was pleased to take that payment and put in savings this month.  That makes three deposits to our savings here in December, in a month that is notorious for being a heavy spending month.  It makes me feel very good to do that.  We've had some sticky months this year but we persevered and this month is really highlighting our efforts.

Wednesday:    I was generous with our grocery funds this week, knowing that next pay period will be a shorter pay period overall.  I did restock our pantry.  I put back two bags of sugar, 2 pounds of butter, 2 bags of coffee, 2 bottles of maple syrup, 2 cans of baking cocoa, 2 of baking powder and 1 Salt grinder (an item John likes to have on hand) and 1 18 roll package of toilet paper.  I purchased a corned beef brisket, a bag of the Southern fried Chicken breasts we like so well and four packages of beef breakfast sausages. I only needed the cocoa, so doubled on that purchase.

I was less disciplined when we went into Publix.  Part of that had to do with there being several items I could
not buy at Aldi.  Namely dill weed and silver sugar to make Star of David Sugar Cookies for one of our Hanukkah treats.  I also bought a big chocolate coin to share with John for one of our Hanukkah nights.  We also bought a Submarine sandwich for our lunch and a half pound of good deli Beef bologna.

All that said, I was confused about what day it is...something that happens with a schedule like ours, lol...and failed to realize it was a new sales week, so I didn't check the sales paper when we went into the store.  I'll be going back either this week or first of next because there's a most excellent price on dog food and I don't want to pass it up.  I'll save a good bit buying it now rather than later.

We bought a gift card for a couple who are getting married this weekend.  I took that money from our gift fund.

I have enough of the grocery funds left to buy both dog food and the few vitamins we need.  I'll pick those up Friday when we're in another town.

I've been really intent on using up items this week.  This morning's breakfast was altered from what was on the menu.  I was down to one slice of bread...and two of the rolls from Sunday's dinner.  That made up our breakfast breads.

Our dinner used some more of those chopped bell peppers and a half steak that was in the fridge drawer.  I made steak burritos using tortillas I had on hand.

I washed grapes and cut into portions.  The loose grapes I put in a bowl and ate for my dessert this evening.

Thursday:  Stripped our bed, washed a full load of laundry and hung to dry on the line.

Mopped floors this morning.  I used a bit of the dishwasher detergent in the mop water.  It really brought the floors back to life...Remind me next round to skip white floors in a country home!

Cooked a corned beef in the crock pot.  I sliced it when it was cool.  We had enough meat for hash, a meal of corned beef, and sandwiches for 8.  I put half the sandwich meat in the freezer.  I bought Swiss cheese this week and Pumpernickel bread for Reubens next week.

John dumped the partially burned charcoal briquettes from Mama's grill into ours.  We should be able to use them for our next cookout without any problems.  I've often done so.

I made a sham for a pillow on the guest bed.

I sewed a vintage pillowcase into a cover for my sewing machine.

John made a repair on his guitar himself.

I put a used dryer sheet (really a quarter of a sheet) into a pan that had a sticky sugary mess stuck to it.  It loosened up the stuff on the bottom of the pan without any scraping effort on my part.

We stayed home all day long today.  We'll be out tomorrow and so we've started a list of things we mean to get/do while we're out.  I've already bagged the trash so it is ready to go to the dumpster.

Friday:  We had lunch today at Feed and Seed where John played.  We hadn't planned to eat there but food was brought to us.  It was nice to eat with the group of folk that gather there.

John and I went to Walmart. We had our list and came in about where I thought we might.  I picked up a pretty piece of fabric, white with blue birds on it for $.77, two videos and a set of canning tongs (wished I'd had them when I was lifting hot jars from the water bath after making jelly!).  Those were our 'extras' that weren't on the list.

I bought two DVDs with a total of six movies on them.  Nanny McPhee and Nanny McPhee Returns, and a Ma and Pa Kettle DVD that includes The Egg and I, a favorite film that I probably would never have acquired any other way.  The two DVDs were supposed to be $5 and $8.97 but they rang up as $10 for the two together.  I was already happy but a bargain on them made me happier still.

We bought a half dozen half gallon sized Ball jars.  They make great storage for foodstuffs and they are wide mouthed so they can also sub for a cookie jar if needed.  We will store cereal in our jars.

I made thousand island dressing for our Reuben sandwiches.

Our Shabat bread tonight is a whole loaf of pumpernickel bread.  We'll have Shabat first and slice bread for sandwiches after.

When we left home this morning I lowered the heat to 64f.  No need to warm it to a higher temp when we were going to be gone.

John washed a small load of clothes.  I hung them to dry.

Washed a full load in the dishwasher and left to air.

Received a coupon for FREE Coke today.

Living Well

Someone commented last week on my Christmas decorating post about the arrowheads seen above.  I have three frames with three arrowheads each in them that I hung there when I originally made up that wall.  A lot of these are broken.  I gave some of the nicer ones to my brother a couple of years ago in a generations shadow box.

My Grandfather C gathered most of these from a place he farmed in Bibb County.  The fields and drives and pond areas were just full of arrowheads.  He picked up many and put them in an old shortening can.  I stumbled across them when I was clearing out Grandmama's home to sell.  I was pleased as punch.

We lived on a dead end street in Montezuma for upwards of five or six years and it was not uncommon for me to feel a sense of needing to look for something, that old treasure-o-meter of mine going off.  I found several fine pieces in that yard, without having to dig.  They were just lying atop the ground there in the yard.  I've no clue why  they would be unearthed and waiting but there they were. I found a lovely spear head and a sort of mallet with sharp edges as well as just small broken bits of arrowheads.

For me it's all part and parcel of the history of our area.  It was all Indian lands from the beginning and this area was used as farm and pasture lands.  Details in historical records state that buffalo once roamed here and were a herd animal for many tribes.  The boundary lines were not pushed back beyond the nearby Flint River until 1825.  Despite that fact there were plantations and forts located in the land area but they were few and far between.

That history fascinates me, as do these arrowheads and spear heads.  The care it took to make them is astonishing.  I had a chance to see the process first hand this fall on an episode of Mountain Men when Tom fashioned some flint into blades that he was making for knives.  He had learned from Native Americans in his area just how to strike the quartz to 'flake' it and then to notch the edges.  He did it in the old way, the way it had been done for hundreds, perhaps a thousand or more, years.  I think of that as I look at these tools of a past life, with as much interest as I look at an old piece of worn china or silver, wondering at the hands that touched it long ago.

I think living with a bit of history is important, to remind us that we are both finite in our breaths and infinite in our ability to pass on something that still has traces of who we are attached to them. In some small way, whether through DNA or craft, we live on.

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