This Week In My Home: Saving Time and Money
Saturday: I was up early this morning and had opportunity to see the sunrise. Not thrifty perhaps and has nothing at all to do with saving time, but it was a lovely sunrise and I noted that the sun has done a seasonal shift. I expect we'll find the days a little more pleasant.
I put beans on to soak last night and this morning rinsed them and put them on to cook. I used a bean soup mix and added in sausage, onion, garlic, chili powder and tomatoes after they were tender and then let them simmer another two or three hours. It was cool and damp today, a perfect day for soup. I put up two quarts of the soup for the freezer.
The cake I made yesterday got frosted with a lightly lemon flavored butter cream. John is not fond of sharp lemon tastes.
When I'd emptied the bean pot, I filled it with hot soapy water and rinsed/hand washed dishes in that pot.
I prepped vegetables for tomorrow's dinner.
A few months back, I cooked a corned beef. I hated to waste all that cooking liquid so I put it in a jar and froze it. I took it from the freezer today to thaw. I'll use it as the cooking liquid in tomorrow's New England Boiled dinner.
I made corn bread to go with today's dinner. I had half a pan left so will serve it tomorrow with our dinner.
Put together an outfit for church.
Refreshed a pair of wooden earrings that looked dingy and faded. I washed with a gentle face soap and then dried them. I took a bit of olive oil and rubbed it into the wood. They look new. I had no idea that I could so easily refresh costume jewelry. I'm going to look over what I have and see what I might refresh.
Sunday: Breakfast was waffles and bacon. The waffles were reheated from frozen I made.
I put corned beef on to cook before we left home. I decided that LOW was the best setting. I put the cabbage wedges atop the meat. The cabbage got soft but was still in wedge shapes, so it wasn't as overcooked as I am sure it would have been if placed in the bottom of the crock pot.
John stopped to fill the car with gasoline, and bought a Sunday paper. I found two percentage off coupons in the paper itself and saved the coupons and sales papers I'll need to plan this week's shopping.
I planned out the menu for this week and not one item on it needs to be purchased. I might well go ahead and plan next week's menu and see if I can use this pay period's funds to stock the freezer and pantry since I need only fruit, lettuce and bread.
Washed a full load of dishes.
John washed a small load of clothes and hung all to dry indoors.
We ate a very late dinner so we skipped supper.
Completed two more surveys for NFS and cashed in my rewards for a $15 Pay Pal deposit.
Monday: I have been busy this afternoon. I shared a list of things I wanted to do this month in my master bed/bath. I made quite a bit of headway this morning in getting my dresser drawers organized once more. Although I really want to go through my house clothes and toss a few they are all clean. Does anyone else hate to toss clean clothing like I do? I have folded all neatly and stacked them in the drawer. The plan is to work my way through the drawer, wearing items and if they are badly stained etc, I will toss when I've worn them a day or two about the house. If they are good they'll got to the laundry and into a fresh place in the drawer so that I'll know they weren't culled.
Organized paperwork and put away.
Cleaned the fridge. Found four items that had to go: cabbage leaves I'd meant to make cabbage rolls with and didn't, an apple that has been in the fridge so long I can't remember when it went in, a jar of chicken broth I thawed ten days ago for soup I never made, and a small piece of smoked beef sausage that I was iffy about how long it had been in.
I put items I feel need to be used very soon together in a basket so I can plan them into meals this week.
I roasted a whole chicken today and barbecued it. We had the leg quarters for dinner today and I sliced and put away the chicken breast for sandwiches this week.
Made my own barbecue sauce to put over the chicken.
I cooked corn in the oven alongside the chicken.
John washed a basket of clothes. We gathered a few items from around the house to add to the load to insure it was full. John hung most to dry.
When I made supper tonight I used some of that corned beef. I found I'd sliced the meat quite a bit thicker than I had thought, so I sliced it through again, making it thinner.
When we were purchasing groceries two weeks ago, I wanted sliced Swiss cheese but there was none. I bought an 8 ounce bar instead and used my box grater to slice it, using the long bars on the side. This was the perfect thickness for sandwiches.
We love the Turano bread from Aldi. I can get up to three sandwiches from those long center slices and so two pieces of bread will make a sandwich for John and I, with an extra two pieces of bread for another use.
It was so warm today that we opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. Lovely to sit here tonight and listen to the peepers in the wet areas, singing their little hearts out.
Tuesday: Packed John's lunch and made him breakfast.
Boiled eggs this morning. I had two for breakfast, plan one for tuna salad and the last two for egg salad for sandwiches.
I am out of half and half. I'm not in the least upset as the gallon of milk is also quite low. I find that vigorously shaking creates a foamy milk that is lovely atop a hot cup of coffee.
John didn't pick up his check yesterday since he was going to go to work today. He made the deposit at the bank branch in his work area.
I wrote out checks for tithes and bills and totted up the checkbook.
I wrote out a partial shopping list to guide me in my shopping today. It was for the house and myself, not grocery and I wanted to be careful to concentrate and not get distracted while shopping.
I had a coupon for a free whopper after taking a survey. I decided that it would be a good lunch for me today. I was required to purchase a small fry and small drink to go with the whopper, but $3.50 for lunch is still pretty good!
While shopping I did think of two items I'd meant to purchase: Shout stain spray and a bite guard. I stumbled upon the Shout while I was looking for organizational items and happened to wander down the laundry aisle. The best price I'd seen on a bottle was almost $3 on sale. I found a refill bottle for $4.59 which was double the size of a spray bottle. I'll take it! I can just refill my bottle and I'll take the savings.
I needed a bite guard. I have a couple of wisdom teeth that have pushed my teeth into a different alignment. My jaw drops out of place now and then, too and the roof of my mouth takes a real beating. I decided a mouth guard would help but zowie kapowie those at the drugstore were pricey! Upwards of $40 sort of pricey. John told me I might find a sports mouth guard helped and at $.97 each I am certainly willing to give it a try.
I fell back on an old friend today. I've wanted new curtains in my kitchen for the past year but I simply couldn't find anything I liked well enough. Today as I walked down the linens aisle pricing sheets (just in case I need any real soon) I found the prettiest patterned sheets sold as separates. The color was just perfect...I bought flat sheets and will make my own curtain panels from them. At $9.47 for a full sized flat sheet I can't imagine finding yardage anywhere near that price nor in a pattern I like half as well.
I found a few of the pieces I bought today were great ideas but they didn't work in my spaces or with my ideas at all. I've bagged them back up and they will go right back to the store for a refund/credit. I can use that money elsewhere for other wants/needs on my list.
My lunch was pretty substantial so I had cheese and crackers and fruit for my supper.
Wednesday: I planned to make a pound cake today. My recipe is meant to fill a 10 inch tube but I prefer to bake in two loaf pans. It takes a bit less time than the tube pan and I find a loaf sized pound cake is more convenient. I can freeze them for later and then I have a handy hostess gift or pot luck contribution if needed.
I had one egg left after making breakfast and pound cake. How shall I use that? I think Butterscotch Oatmeal is the best way, or a batch of muffins either of which will fill us up for breakfast tomorrow.
I made Stuffed Peppers today instead of Porcupine meatballs. I use the Porcupine Meatball recipe to stuff my peppers anyway and I'd come across the bell pepper halves in the freezer as I dug for vegetables for Monday's meal. I've had trouble with the rice not cooking thoroughly in the past, so I par boiled it. I brought water up to a boil added in rice, covered and brought back up to a boil and then cut off and let sit for about five minutes. I drained in a sieve and rinsed to cool. No problem with undercooked rice this time.
Truth told I had a bit too much rice for the amount of meat I was using but that's okay. Again the rice will help off set the 'meaty' week we had last week.
It took nothing more than an extra basket, a trash can and cleaning tools to get the bathroom cabinets into shape. I still have two cabinets to go in that room but having the others freshly cleaned and organized is a bonus. I had a bag of trash with expired items and clutter and a perfectly nice set of towels that will go up to Athens for the kids to determine if they want them for either of their homes.
Just as I get over the cold, allergy season is with us. Hoarseness, aching ears, itchy eyes. Fortunately I had allergy medication on hand.
We ran AC all through the day. Temperatures were high 70's/lower 80's from early morning. Given the allergies, I wouldn't have windows open at all anyway. Still, it is incentive to be quicker to turn off running water or a light that isn't being used.
Despite the allergies, I hung a set of sheets outdoors to dry. I brought them indoors and put in the dryer for ten minutes to remove any pollen.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. Water used to rinse dishes for the machine, was in the dishpan, meant for washing those items that wouldn't fit or couldn't go into the dishwasher. I rinsed under warm running water and then switched it to fully hot at the last couple of minutes so the dishwasher started with hot water as required.
I had about 1/2 cup of mashed bananas leftover. I put them in the freezer to save for making muffins or pancakes with later.
John didn't feel up to grocery store today. We had milk and an egg but no bread. I dug in the freezer and found a couple of loaves I'd stashed after Shabat two weeks running and set them out to thaw.
Made a BBQ chicken Pizza for our supper using the last of the homemade sauce, half of the reserved chicken, a bit of thinly sliced yellow bell peppers and onions. I topped with shredded Gouda cheese. These were very tasty and good. The base was flour tortillas.
Oh those pound cakes smelled so good coming from the oven but we have lemon cake to finish first. When they were cool I put them into the freezer, wrapping well in waxed paper and foil and then slipping into a zippered freezer bag. I promised John that one of those cakes would be our next sweet treat.
Thursday: Butterscotch oatmeal used that last egg this morning and gave us a perfectly filling breakfast.
Taz didn't show up to eat this morning, so I put his food away. Otherwise Maddie would eat it and she does not need any extras! I put the cat's food away and Maddie's empty pan. They tend to draw ants if left out.
Gathered all the trash before we left to go shopping. I've been using the Aldi drawstring kitchen trash bags (13 gallon sized) and I like them just fine but John doesn't. They do have a tendency to slip down into the can which is a little frustrating. John found a handle top trash bag at Dollar General, their store brand. There were 26 bags in the box for about $3. He decided to give those a try. I took one look at the flimsy looking bag and was sure they weren't going to last at all. I was wrong. They stay put when I drape the edges over the sides of the trash can. The plastic may look flimsy but is sturdier than it appears. I think we're going to switch brands just to suit him but at least I feel I am getting as good a product.
Picked up mail, dropped off trash, paid local bills...all on our way to the grocery store.
At Aldi I was so pleased to find that there were still a few of the Point cut Corned beefs for $1.99/pound left. I chose two of what appear to be the least fatty ones (fingers crossed) for the freezer.
I also found canned blueberries. I remember Mama used to buy these to use to make muffins and such. I bought two of them for just that reason. The frozen ones can sometimes be utterly tasteless and dried ones are a little too flavorful and overwhelm muffins. I think these will make a nice substitute and I love that they are a shelf stable product I can keep on my pantry shelf.
John was going to treat us to lunch but I surprised him. "I took out steak fajita filling to thaw," I told him. "It can heat while I unpack groceries and we'll be eating in a few minutes." He was pleased. He likes our steak fajitas right well and he says we might go out tomorrow, so why not save that bit of money and use it then. Hope the weather cooperates!
I happened to notice our big trash can was lying on it's side between the pump house and pecan tree. I went right outdoors to scoop it up and anchor it to the carport post once more. It took three years to find that lid the last time it blew off into the brush and I'm not searching for it in that brier patch again!
It rained while we were out. By mid afternoon we were content indoors with windows closed and AC off. I'll wager we need heat in the morning.
Friday: Oh yes, the heat was on this morning. It was cold and damp and it never really warmed much.
I used some bread from the freezer to make French toast. I didn't put vanilla or orange zest or nutmeg in my milk/egg batter so that I could add in an extra egg at the end and scramble it for John.
John had an errand to run. I went along and took my book. Extra time to read is not often well come by. I had a little too much of time for reading. This particular book is a bit difficult to take in large doses.
We went out to our favorite restaurant. DIL Lori gave us a gift card for our birthday and it covered our favorite restaurant. It was a nice treat on a cold day.
John switched off ceiling fans while we were gone.
Supper tonight was easy and simple: fried eggs and toast.
For Shabat we had homemade Challah on our table.
Simple and to the point this week. Do you know what negativity and gratitude have in common?
They are both habits you can develop.
I used to be the worst one for negativity. I spent a lot of time moaning and groaning and telling every one who would listen about why my day, my week, my life was so horrible.
One day I really heard myself and I couldn't bear it. I was determined to stop speaking negative things over my life.
I made a conscious effort to change what I said. To speak of the good things, the nice things that happened each day. A little later I went a step further and made it a habit to write down at least five things I was particularly grateful for each day. Over time I developed the habit of gratitude.
It's not that every day was easy or that some days and weeks weren't just ghastly to get through but it helped me to see that good things happened every day too and it gave me perspective which had been lacking. It made a huge difference in my attitude. And it made a huge difference in the lives of those who had to be near me on a daily basis.
I've found that if I need an attitude adjustment what I really need, nine times out of ten is a gratitude adjustment. I need to focus more on what I am grateful for and focus less on what I think I'm missing.