This Week In My Home: Busy, Busy Saving Away
Saturday: Easy sort of day, but then Shabats always are. We take the word 'rest' quite literally in our home for the Sabbath day. Breakfasts are generally of the fix it yourself variety and I keep a supply of muffins, sweet rolls, bagels and cereal (not all but some of each) on hand for that very reason.
We used the last of the rotisserie chicken for our dinner.
I sliced rolls into bread slices to make sandwiches. The last three rolls netted enough bread for sandwiches for supper, sandwiches to go in John's work lunch and one roll for breakfast slices in the morning to toast.
Made John's work lunch.
I have a very very limited amount of funds at present and quite a long way to stretch them. To that end, I spent all afternoon long on Pinterest looking at landscaping ideas that are similar to the one above.
I spent an equal amount of time looking at fashion snapshots to try and figure out how to stretch my wardrobe. This is what frugal folks do: look for ways to get similar results without spending. The truth is that I had completely forgotten one shirt and looking at these snapshots helped me remember that I had it, which netted me the possibility of two or three more outfits. Every piece I own is not the exact same as what is in a photo but I do own similar pieces in similar colors and those pieces I don't have I will figure out how to substitute what I do have. I'd also been about to remove two items from my closet when I came across two snapshots that had used those exact colors with other pieces like my own. Well, that's two more items I didn't know I had, too! I am not saying I will not spend any money over the coming months but I'll certainly spend a lot less if I keep in mind what outfits I can make with what I have instead of going off shopping with the attitude that I've nothing to wear.
I've been looking for new cool drinks to have here at home. In summer months I drink too much water. No really, I do, because I perspire a lot. Often times by day's end I'll feel a bit water logged and weak. I won't by any means stop drinking water, but I need alternatives so that I don't saturate myself quite so much with the water. Tonight we tried a homemade Orange Dream that was rather nice. For two: 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, 1/2 cup each milk, orange juice (or water if you choose), 1 cup ice cubes and about 1 cup fat free frozen whipped topping. Blend until smooth and serve. This will fill two glasses nicely. It was very tasty and refreshing and will make a nice change now and then.
Sunday: Made John breakfast and packed his bag for his work meals.
I used the last roll to make four pieces of toast which was perfect for our breakfast. It's not the really good bread I like so well but it was a suitable substitute and I will purchase it again when future needs arise between pay periods. In the meantime, we've no bread and I've had no desire to go to town. I'll make biscuits or muffins in the morning and we'll pick up some bread Monday perhaps or wait until we shop on Tuesday. I'm not all that concerned about it as you can see!
I've really done nothing much today. I was up late hours last night waiting on texts regarding an ER visit for my young granddaughter. It was determined at last that she had a virus and not the appendicitis they were most concerned over.
Changed the sheets and stripped off the mattress pad to wash as well.
Washed the mattress pad alone as it is quite bulky. For certain reasons at present we're having to wash our clothes and laundry in hot water. It is an added expense but it is preventative which seldom costs nothing and is necessary.
Washed the sheets with towels and dish cloths. All clothes had to go through dryer, but would have done anyway as the pollen is still about, and it was heavy with humidity today as well.
Went outdoors to weed the little flower bed next to the steps. The wildflowers planted there have proven more than adaptable and are pushing up through the layers of cardboard, newspaper and mulch. It was quite a mess and looking rather wild and overgrown once again. I suppose I'll end having to use some weedkiller about the edges to prevent more outbreaks. These are very very hardy wildflowers and will need the commercial stuff. We've already tried vinegar spray on them.
While I was outdoors decided to go ahead with the expansion of the bed about the Ginkgo. I used the rock I picked up the other day to fill the border of the larger circle. I'll put down some newspaper and then will empty last year's soil from the pots into the new area which will serve for planting this year. I had exactly enough rock to complete this little project.
Made cookies. I'd opened a can of condensed milk to use 2 tbsps for a recipe I'd made earlier. I thought about my options with the milk and determined Magic Cookie Bars would fill the cookie jar and use the rest of the milk nicely. I added every little bit of this and that chip that I had in the pantry/freezer that were almost gone: caramel nibs, white chocolate, mini semi sweet, chunk milk chocolate. They all totaled about the right amount of chocolate chips anyway, so it was a bonus to use up the odds and ends.
Made my own graham cracker crust. I crushed 1 sleeve of graham crackers, melted 1 stick of butter and then mixed crumbs with butter and 1/4 cup sugar. This is the same recipe you'd use to make graham pie shells, too, by the way.
Took vegetable soup from freezer to thaw for my meal this afternoon.
Monday: I got up earlier this morning to make muffins. In searching the cupboard for chocolate chips I stumbled upon a jar of cinnamon chips. I seldom use them and these were given to me by my daughter in law last year at some point. I checked yesterday to be sure they were not rancid. Cinnamon chip muffins this morning were very tasty.
John was late coming in. I went outdoors to do a little more work on the back yard. I had a big pile of weeds when I came back indoors and last year's potted plants were emptied in the area surrounding the Ginkgo tree where I'd increased the size. I also got the begonias all potted up this morning. Next I must plant the Dianthus.
Somehow, between weeding and doing breakfast dishes and such I got too hot. Entirely too hot. I couldn't seem to think straight. I was completely thrown way off schedule by John's coming in so late. I completely missed the window of opportunity for making dinner and every thing I had out was either hot and spicy or too entailed to make quickly...sigh. I finally decided the best thing to do was to cool down, so I turned the fan on me until I felt half human once more, drank some water and looked at all my options. Going to town for take out was one idea. I just felt too tired to even think of dressing to go to town. Our town is so small we don't have a single drive thru option, lol, so one must dress decently. In the end, I altered my menu, figured out an option that used what I had on hand at present and made a passably good dinner.
Went to work on bills after dinner and was in the midst of that work when John announced he was ready to leave...What?! I had no clue and had to rush to get ready to leave the house. We took off the trash when we left home, and carried along mail to drop off at post office. I made sure to take the banking needs with me, as well.
We stopped at the local grocery on our way back home. I picked up the sales items I wanted, as well as a loaf of bread to tide us over until we grocery shop.
We had pizza tonight for supper. It was one of the sales items I chose at the grocery. At $4, it seemed a good buy. We always get two meals from the one pizza which makes it a very good buy for a convenience food.
I washed a very full dishwasher of dishes.
I saved the water from steaming peas to fertilize an African Violet.
John washed a full load of laundry this morning. It was raining so he used the dryer to dry part of the load and hung other pieces to dry.
Tuesday: Pancakes this morning per John's request. He cooked them using the pancake mix from the baking cupboard.
I went to the pantry this afternoon and picked up a bag of flour, another box of pancake mix and replenished my kitchen supplies.
We'd tentatively planned to do grocery shopping today but after John got a notice there was a meeting at work in the morning, we decided to batch up the meeting with errands/groceries.
I got busy in the kitchen today and made a corned beef, meatloaf and chili mac. We had chili mac for dinner today and I have enough leftovers for John to eat this another day this week.
Sliced corned beef and put in containers for sandwich meat. We had sandwiches tonight and I put three containers in the freezer. I had enough meat left for one more sandwich.
I plan to have meatloaf for dinner and leftovers will become sandwiches. I expect to get a total of eight servings from the meatloaf.
Made a pitcher of Koolaid for a refreshing drink this afternoon. I don't use the full cup of sugar called for. I start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed. This packet required about 2/3 cup.
Wednesday: John had a message from work yesterday. There was a mandatory meeting this morning. It seemed best to postpone going off grocery shopping until today. We saved about 30 miles travel/gasoline usage in combining this meeting with grocery day.
John was given breakfast this morning at the meeting. He brought me his bottle of juice. It was a Coke product so I made sure to save the cap.
No shopping anywhere except Aldi today. I wish I could say I was within budget but I went over by $15. There was no wiggle room this pay period so I made up the difference from my allowance.
John handed me a cup of yogurt when I got to the car. The top had been cut open in shifting things about. I happen to keep a supply of plastic spoons in the car dash pocket (and straws, salt packets, toothpicks, napkins, lol) so I grabbed one and had the yogurt. Since I'd been unable to finish breakfast this morning it was a welcome thing!
We stopped to fill up car in that area. Gasoline is $.20/gallon less expensive there than here in town.
John stopped in town and bought lunch from his pocket money.
Our supper tonight consisted of leftovers.
Thursday: Packed John's lunch for work. Made him breakfast.
My own breakfast this morning was a smoothie. I used frozen banana, milk and two pineapple slices. I added a handful of oatmeal for stick to your ribs stuff. Yum.
Made first goal on Swagbucks. I try to do this daily but some days it's just plain hard. My first goal is usually fairly low, but if I wait until later in the day it's tedious to acquire the points needed to make that goal. I'm trying to make it my task to get Swagbucks knocked out early. Everything there after is gravy.
I cleaned the master bath this morning and used the last of the homemade cleaner. Equal portions of vinegar and dish washing detergent works brilliantly at clearing up the soap scum. The vinegar is also nice for destroying odors when cleaning the toilet. I'll be mixing up another batch this week.
Maddie decided eating was not necessary this morning so I put her food away.
It was chilly outdoors. I brought in the orchids. They are loaded with new buds and I wanted to keep them that way.
Used leftover water to water plants.
I thought I had a solution for master bedroom curtains for summer. Turned out I didn't. It seemed as good a time as any to clear out things in the guest closet. So I did. I've culled hard in clearing out items to donate or pass along to others.
Walked into the master bedroom to put an item away and heard a hissing sound. How I've come to hate hearing that noise! A leak in another piece of plumbing. I shut off the water at the valve, cleaned up the mess and got on the phone to call for repairs.
Ate an early lunch of leftovers while waiting on the plumber to arrive.
The first repairman left shortly after he arrived. He didn't fix the problem but he did give me the name and number of another repairman to call. The second repairman couldn't come until 7pm this evening. Plumbing is his side business.
I realized this evening we had a failure. Oftentimes these service providers who have a full time job and work on the side prefer cash as payment. I didn't have cash on hand and not enough to pay this gentleman. I shall be sure to keep a small repair fund on hand here in future.
It felt like a waste of day and in some ways it was. There were so many other things I'd planned to do. I felt obligated to keep Mama company (she'd come out to stay until all repairmen were done) and got little work done. I'd wanted to leave home but couldn't. In the end I made the best of it and showed Mama the notebook I've been putting notes in for family history. She gave me names/marriages and some family history. I made notes as she talked.
Friday: Used the leftover cinnamon muffins for our breakfast this morning. I split and buttered then heated in the oven.
Cut a package of beef sausage into serving pieces. I put just one on our plates and the rest into the fridge to use over the next couple of days.
John washed a full load of clothes and hung most all of them to dry. They were all hung inside. We've another rainy day. It's rained every day since last Friday!
I ran a full load of dishes after the clothes were done.
I made a fruit salad to go with our lunch. I used a 1/4 of an apple that was in the fridge, the last 2 slices of pineapple and fresh bananas, grapes and berries. I used the pineapple juice as my acid to keep the banana and apple from turning brown.
We've needed no AC for the past 2 days. The cooler air is most welcome. I know these days are fast coming to an end.
Had to go out to bank this morning to replenish the allowance I used to pay for plumbing repair. I took out extra cash and put in an envelope marked HOUSE REPAIRS. It's not a big sum but it's enough to pay a small repair fee in cash. I don't expect that money to be used in any other way and it's a little more convenient to have it on hand rather than in the bank.
Stopped at dollar store to pick up a short list of items much needed. I forgot to buy shortening at the grocery. I needed magnesium. And most importantly, having come up empty on every possible solution for curtains for summer, I looked at curtains. I was pleased to find four panels in the perfect shade of blue and even better they are room darkening/thermal curtains. I paid no more for these panels than I paid for those sheets I used to make the breakfast area curtains...less since I don't have to sew or line them! I'm going to go next pay period and see about getting a pair for John's music room. That should cut down on the heat that comes into his room. That end of the house gets about 8-10 hours of straight sun in summer and his room gets quite hot. If I move ahead with the purchase of the room darkening shade and the curtain panels, his room may remain cooler all summer and the AC make not work as hard (his room is next to the thermostat).
Came home and made lunch. Typically if we're out at that time of day we'll stop and pick up something but not today. I made side dishes and heated meatloaf. It took less than half an hour and was well worth the savings.
I wore another of my outfits I set up last weekend. I'll wear the last two over the weekend (a party and church) and set up fresh outfits for next week. It really has been a huge time saver.
After dinner, I made two pans of lasagna. I put one in the freezer. We'll have the other pan tomorrow and likely will have leftovers enough for Sunday dinner after church.
I never knew my mother's paternal grandparents. They were people of family stories only to me. I know that he was quite tall and worked as a carpenter, a peach grower. She was tiny and nursed many sick people in the community though she'd never had formal training as a nurse.
All the stories I've heard regarded his kindness and sweet nature, his deft ability to figure to almost the inch how much wood was needed for a project. How he packed shoe boxes at Christmastime for each grandchild with an orange and a big peppermint stick. How he cried when the grandchildren got spanked. How fond he was of his cats. How he built the old church building I attended as a child and young adult.
Of her, I'd heard that she'd leave her own family with nothing in order to give to others. Of her nursing the sick. Of how she was the disciplinarian and a very stern one. How she locked the grandchildren out of the house. How she helped herself to her daughter in law's foodstuffs that were bought specifically for the children. How she insisted on having the majority of the home her son rented while he and his family lived in a single room in the back of the house. I'd heard how often her tongue was sharp and her words hurtful. I didn't like her.
Mama was here yesterday for a number of hours. To pass time, I pulled out the genealogy notebook where I keep notes on each family member I've researched. Mama was shocked when she read my description of her granny. She read the harsh words out loud and looked at me puzzled. "Terri..." and then she fumbled for words. "Mama all my life all I've ever heard of her was that she was mean and hateful..." Mama nodded. "She was hard. But she was..."
And then she told me the side of her granny I'd never heard. "She was liked by others. People were always coming to visit her. Her house was always full of family members who came to hear news of the rest. She always had things prepared, ready for company, and she really enjoyed having people stop by. She liked to be well dressed and wore hats and gloves and suits and pretty dresses and nice shoes and always looked just so. She loved going to the movies and we went to the movies every week. She always got peanuts or popcorn...and I remember sitting in the theatre watching the movie with her and hearing her dentures going 'click click click.'" At this point Mama chuckled. "That's what I remember most about going to the movies with her!"
So this woman changed a little in my mind. She might have been harsh with her family and sharp tongued. But she must have been likable and pleasant and hospitable. She must have had compassion for others to nurse the sick and to willingly go whenever called to tend to them. She must have had a generous heart to so willingly give all she had, even if it meant her own family 'made do' afterwards. Looking at her photo today, though she is an old woman in it, I see she was really quite pretty. I know that she had red hair and barely stood 5feet tall and was always slender. She didn't marry until she was almost 25 and she raised a brood of children to adulthood. She lost one little girl who was a year old and had two sons in WWII, one of whom lost his life on Omaha Beach. She had grandsons who went off to war with her sons.
In my possession are loads of little cardboard framed photos in sepia tones with pencilled notations on the back, a faint register of names that I sometimes can decipher. Often I find these names in the depths of family history, not direct relations, but distant cousins. These photos were hers. Her desire to maintain family ties has put faces to names that I find in my research now.
I'm sorry I misjudged her. I'm glad Mama took the time to give me a more complete idea of who Granny Clydie really was.