In My Home This Week: Banging Out Savings for the End of July

The small containers are filled with pudding I pre-portioned after mixing it up.  Perfect for quick grab snacks.

Saturday: Last night I opened all the junk mail I'd set aside during the week.  I found greeting cards, a Forever stamp, two pocket calendar pages, a great offer for BH&G magazine ($5.99 for 12 issues).  I always sort out junk mail because you never know what you will find.

 I went into town this morning for a special reason.  There was an advertised Estate Sale in the local paper.  I found a few nice things:  a book for John, a book for me, a mirror for my planned closet re-do (slated for sometime in the future), and a few smalls for the booth.

 I went by the Peach Shed while I was out and picked up peaches and tomatoes for us for the week ahead.

There is a home I just love to drive by.  It's a cute older home, and the homeowner has such a creative way of decorating the outside of the house.  I go by there routinely just to look to see what's changed, and to gather inspiration for my own 'look' outdoors.  Going by today was a doubly good thing.  I noted another estate sale down a nearby street and went by.  I found a beautiful pitcher to use to make iced tea.  I've got two antique pitchers but they are regrettably too small for good use, so I'm putting them into the booth, where they ought to bring in enough money to pay for the pitcher I bought today.

Came home and made an easy dinner from leftover chicken.

An unexpected savings...I forgot to include the banana in my sugar free banana meringue pudding, sigh.

Two Saturdays in a row Katie has texted me telling me all about her savings on baby products at Target.  She's done some good work!  I told her we're just going to have to start calling her Target Queen.  For the second week in a row, stacking coupons, red card discounts, using cartwheel and sales she's managed to save well over 50% and build a nice stock of diapers, formula, wipes and baby foods for her little one.  I'm very proud of her for planning ahead and for stocking up so that she doesn't face an emergency outage.

Living Well:  I've found myself a lovely new ritual which I have only on Saturday (Shabat) morning.  I take one of the beautiful tea cups and saucers that Katie and Matt gave me for Christmas, a creamer of milk, and the coffee pot to my chair in the kitchen sitting area and sip coffee as I pray and read my Bible, and journal.  It is a peaceful time every day but adding in that beautiful cup and drinking all the coffee I want,  is what makes it perfect.  

Sunday:  Packed John's lunch.  Made him breakfast.  Sent him off to work.

Even though I had a Shop and Earn credit from Swagbucks, I went ahead and made as many easy points as I could for the first hour of this morning.

After breakfast I headed outdoors.  Plans this morning!  I cleaned off the ironing board on the porch and set it in the yard, along with a metal table that had faded over the past year.  Those both got a fresh coat of paint.  The paints were not favorites, but they were on hand and they will do for now.  At least those two items look fresh and new and one section of my poor looking front porch is nicely spruced up.
Freshly painted with what I had on hand.  Not ideal perhaps, but both the ironing board and the little plant stand on top look better than they did before.  This is still a work in progress...

                           Note how white the railing looks.  It sure didn't earlier this morning!

Discovered that the tray I'd hand painted some time ago will fit the stand to the table I purchased in Spring at the dollar store.  It's so cute with that tray on top!  I think I may just work it into my plans.
I was happy to find this tray perfectly fit over the top of the tray table I'd purchased at the dollar store back in the Spring.

I've been trying to get an item to work on the back porch but nowhere seemed just right.  I took it out to the front porch this morning.  I think I know just where I'll use it.

Then I washed down the siding and a long length of the porch railing....which again, reminds me that cleaning is sometimes enough.  I thought I must paint it but it's looking so nice now that it's washed I may skip the paint.

Indoors once more I set out meats to thaw...this is where I discover I do not have roasts in the freezer.  Replan menu on the list of to dos.

Washed a full load of dishes.  I was going to run the dishwasher last night but I shifted something and found room for more this morning it was definitely full.

My Home Keeping notebook was not working for me at all.  Took time this afternoon to rearrange and better organize and now I am happier with it overall.  I also switched it to a bigger binder since my little 1 inch binder was crammed full.  I swapped with the Recipe Notebook which barely filled the 2 inch binder.  Now  I have two 'new' binders, and all it took was a little time to rearrange things.

Rearranged my desk bookshelf and removed some cookbooks.  Two went on the shelves in the living room since they are 'reading cook books' and are filed with the authors other works.  Two I set aside to give away.  Much as I like them, I've never used one recipe from either and since they are not unique or antique, they should really go to a home where they will be used.

Made a pan full of croutons from some pieces of bread that had huge holes in the middle.  That's the risk when I buy this particular whole grain bread from the store bakery.  It has holes.  Sometimes they are big holes.

Made fresh bread crumbs to add to my can of salmon for salmon patty.  That was a good lunch!  John is not fond at all of salmon but I do enjoy it.  I'll see about getting a few more of those 4 ounce cans of salmon as they are just right for one person.

I forgot medicines twice this week.  I decided I needed a reminder sheet where I check AFTER I actually take the pills.  Here's hoping this keeps me straight!

Started up an order sheet for my next Walmart online order.  I'll likely place the order by mid-week, but waiting a little will give me time to determine all I'll need.  I try to make sure my order qualifies for free shipping.  I consider most of the money spent as part of my grocery budget and figure it accordingly.

Popped corn for a snack this afternoon.  2 tbsps of kernels, 1 tsp of olive oil and 2 minutes.  Why on earth did we ever think microwave popcorn was so quick or so good?!

Used up odds and ends from fridge in my salad for supper tonight.

I have a bottle of dressing I just don't care for at all.  It's too tart...but I think it would make a great marinade for chicken, so I'm saving it for that purpose.

Made sure to put all the crackers and cereals we bought the other day in glass jars or tins for storage.  It saves us finding ants in them later on.

The cat was yowling...I went to the door to see what was up and she stepped over the threshold and dropped a live lizard at my feet.  I don't know where on earth the doggone lizard is, but the cat went straight back outdoors.  She normally refuses to come in the house and was none to anxious to stay this time either.  My only consolation, and it's the ONLY one as I loathe lizards, is that perhaps it will dine on the spiders and palmetto bugs and ants that keep coming in from heaven knows where.  Cheap pest control?  {{{Shudders}}}

Worked on a new set of housekeeping routines.  I think I'll appreciate the way I've set it up.  Today went well at any rate.  Despite all the outdoor time today, my main focus on Sundays is the kitchen.  I started doing this a couple of weeks ago and it's worked well thus far.  I take out foods to thaw for the week ahead, clean the kitchen well (counters/appliances/cabinet doors/floors), organize the fridge so I know what leftovers must be used up in the next few days, and generally tidy up the laundry, back entry, kitchen sitting, my desk and the kitchen itself.   It's not so much work I can't accomplish it in a couple of hours time, so I can easily do a decent job of it on church Sundays as well as on my Sundays alone at home.

Living Well: It was nice outdoors this morning and I enjoyed my time working on the porch. Not only was the sun shining and the breeze blowing just enough to keep it pleasant but it was quiet.  No music boom booming, no tractor puttering in the field, no mowers running, no one over on the hill shouting in play.  It was just the sound of the wind chimes slowing chiming and the birds singing.  I felt so calm and deeply relaxed  despite all the hard work.

 I noticed the same thing last week, too, when I sat down on the back porch to cool off.  The breeze was blowing, some mourning doves were boo-hoo-hoo-ing across the field, a woodpecker tapped on the security light pole and though I'd been anxious and was weary, I felt that same deep still calm that seemed to soak into my bones.  

Perhaps when I'm feeling anxious I should be stealing out to the porch more often.  It seems to be a good cure for what ails me.

Monday:   More work on the porch railing this morning.  I'm about half finished with the cleaning job.  I ran out of cleaner to work with.  Power washing would take less time, but I don't have funds for that...elbow grease is always the least expensive way to go about tasks like this.

Worked in the kitchen today and got food prepped for the week.  I was thrown by the lack of roast in my freezer, but managed to put together three meals today for the first portion of the week and prep salad making stuff.

In a two hour work session today, I made: Salsa Chicken with vegetables for our dinner; cooked extra chicken for salad; Spaghetti Sauce (enough sauce for pasta and enough over to make a zucchini lasagna of sorts for the freezer); Grilled Zucchini (over grilled, but oh well) for the lasagna; chopped vegetables for an Italian Sausage dinner (divided the package of sausage between the spaghetti sauce, this dish and put two sausages in the freezer for a future meal), chopped vegetables for salad one night;  cut up celery sticks;  tore lettuce and bagged for salad; and last,  I patted out two burger patties of seasoned meat for another entree this week.

Hemmed 1 pair of pants, and put darts in four pair so I have pants that fit once more.

Ant spray and ant traps were not working at all.  I did something John did one summer several years ago and put out Bengal powder fire ant killer wherever there is an entry point (cable holes and water pipes for instance) or a lot ants appearing without any known entry point.  I've noticed a severe decrease in ant activity.  I still am finding a few but I'm seeing a lot less and we had that powder on hand, no special purchase required.

It was 104F outdoors this afternoon and the AC worked extra hard.  I blame myself for a portion of that extra work.  I failed to shut the blinds on the western side of the house and it really made a huge difference in the interior temperature.    I checked the filter too and discovered it was ready to be changed.  I noted the temperature immediately dropped 2 degrees with the new filter.

Tuesday:  I gave Maddie the last of the beef stew that we failed to finish eating...On these hot days (even the mornings are quite warm) she appreciates these leftovers straight from the fridge.

John washed a small load of clothes.

I have an almost full dishwasher. I suspect by the time I clear supper dishes we'll have a really full load.  I'll run it then, in the evening hours.

Went into town to get a haircut.  I combined several errands: went by drugstore and dropped off a prescription, by the post office to drop off a bill that needed to be mailed, went by the dollar store to purchase more cleaning supplies and a couple of home needs and went by Subway to buy sandwiches at John's request.  He asked for a sandwich to go in his lunch tomorrow and paid for the food from his allowance.

We had to go in another direction to buy mower blades this afternoon.  John asked if I'd come in and see the new to me hardware store.  I found the paint I wanted for my porch chairs.  When we got to the car, John made a complaint about how much my paint cost.  I looked over the receipt as we were sitting in the parking lot and told him, "These figures don't come up to this total..."  I went back in the store and was refunded money.  I suspect the adding machine hadn't been cleared properly before our figures were added up.  Glad we caught it because it was $25 over what it ought to have been.

Made sure to shut shades and curtains on the western windows this afternoon.  House is much cooler!

I had a basket that hung by hooks over a cabinet door.  Storage was great but I caught my pockets or zippers on those over the door hooks daily.  I'd asked John if he could somehow attach the basket to the cabinet door.  Today he bought some little plastic hooks that came with tiny nails and attached the basket to the interior of the sink cabinet door.  It has worked so well I've told him I mean to look for larger baskets to hand on the back of the cleaning cupboard door.

Washed a full load of dishes this evening.

Living Well:  Just have to I walked into the Subway store this afternoon, a lady leaned from her vehicle and said, "Excuse me...I just wanted to tell you how nice you look!  That necklace is just perfect."   I've no clue who she was, but I surely did appreciate the compliment and felt the ten minutes it took to put the outfit together one evening over the weekend was time well spent.

Wednesday:  Washed sheets and hung on line to dry.

Cut up several pieces of fruit this morning: peaches with a bad spot on each, shrinking strawberries, ten grapes no one would eat, oranges that weren't prime were sectioned.  I had a portion for breakfast and put the rest in the freezer.  I labeled it Summer Fruit Salad.  I used a yogurt container I'd washed and saved to store the fruit salad.

Went out to dinner with Mama.  Honestly, it was my turn to pay but the tab was more than I could pay.  Mama picked it up and I paid the tip.  I owe her a couple of meals out now.

Desperate for tops I can wear right now, I went into Cato this morning and scanned the clearance racks for shirts.  I came out with two...and two purses.  Hint: why Terri couldn't pay the tab at lunch? Not true but it would seem to be the case, wouldn't it?  Truth: I charge clothes on my credit card.  I do not charge food.  I never charge more than I can pay off by the next billing so I never pay interest or finance charges.

The purses were $18 for both and will add a lot of 'power' to my accessorizing in future.  The two shirts are not Summer colors, but are more neutrals, which will work well for now and later in Autumn, as well.  I purchased a pale blush peach color and a medium deep gray color.   I won't by any more until autumn, but this will give me three short sleeve tops.  I was down to 1 t-shirt and 4 sleeveless tops.

I ordered a second glucometer from Walmart.  Yes, I do have four already but each one uses a different test strip.  The test strips alone for two of the others cost more than 100 test strips for the ReliOn Prime from Walmart, which came highly recommended.  I figured a second ReliOn glucometer was the best purchase (cost about the same as the test strips) and would give me two reliable glucometers that I can use with the same test strips.  I keep one in my purse for emergencies or unplanned trips away from home.

Last week I put some fatty pieces cut from a cooked steak into a foil cup, then poured pan juices around the fat and froze.  It made a tasty and appreciated treat for Maddie this afternoon when the heat index was well past the 100F mark.

Packed John's work lunch this morning and made him breakfast.

Mama gave me her gently read magazines.

Living Well:  I was disappointed this evening when thunder boomed mightily all around us, but not one drop of rain fell.  My disappointment was alleviated entirely by the glorious sunset this evening.  I went and sat on the back porch and drank in the western skies.  The surrounding storms had cooled the air just enough to make it quite pleasant and the view was stunning.  I always find my heart singing praises to the God Most High when I see these wonderful sunsets.

Thursday:  I saved dishwater and poured over thirsty plants.  Naturally it rained inches in an hour this afternoon.

Set up five outfits this morning.  Now I have things picked out to wear for the next few appointments and such.  I did not incorporate any of the new tops.  I'd like to save them for just a little longer.

Saved cooking juices to pour over Maddie's food tomorrow morning.  I'll put in the fridge.  She seems to enjoy cool foods right now while it's so hot outdoors.

Gave myself a fresh pedicure.

Lined the curtain panel that hangs at our bathroom window.  It was letting in far too much light and heat in the afternoons and evenings.  I used another shorter piece of curtain in the same type of material which worked just fine.  It covers the window itself which was important.  I suspect it will help with drafts come winter as well.

I have used some of the burlap ribbon as tiebacks on my living and dining room curtains.  I was unhappy with the way it kept shredding.  While the sewing machine was set up, I decided to see how turning under the edge and sewing a hem in the cut edges would work.  Beautifully as it turns out.  No more loose threads falling to the floor and the tie backs look much neater overall.

Made supper from a variety of leftovers.  It was a dud sort of meal, not as flavorful as I wanted it to be at all,  but we used up the leftovers and ate the salads, anyway.  I'm very cautious about making meals that aren't flavorful because I find really bland meals always seem to leave us unsatisfied and reaching for snacks.

Planned ahead to combine errands tomorrow.

Had John call the pharmacy I'm using and transfer his prescriptions there.  At least one of his medicines will be free to us at this pharmacy.  It's just a $6 savings but that's $72 a year, enough to pay for at least 3 months of his other prescription costs.

Went through my purses and set aside two to give away.  I discovered another had a broken zipper.  I set aside to try and repair.  A fourth one will be donated.  I put two more in the undecided pile.

Living Well:  You might well wonder at first why I'm dubbing this 'Living Well'.  John and I had words this evening, as we did yesterday afternoon.  Truth told he had his feelings hurt because I've been speaking sharply to him the past week.  I hadn't shared what my trouble was, and I was obtuse to how he was feeling overall.  After he called me out on my behavior, I was ashamed of myself.  I knew he was speaking truth (ouch!  It hurts as much as sharp words to hear truth).  I owe my husband an apology.  And I need to stop bottling up my feelings and share them so that I don't resort to such behavior in the future.

Friday:  I was in a hurry this morning.  I was in a hurry yesterday morning too and left cat food sitting on porch railing and in came the mega highways of ants to the porch.  So this morning I kept my eye on the clock and when both Maddie and Misu had time enough to eat went right out to put leftovers away.  Worked beautifully.  Not one ant and no wasted food.

Took a load of stuff to the booth and spent a little time rearranging things.

Naturally we were batching errands today in order to make the most of our gasoline.  So we took off trash, picked up mail, went from the flea market to the lab for lab work, then to see about getting John's haircut (no luck) and to the grocery where we picked up bread and produce and stuff for dinner at Katie's this weekend.

Figuring up July's expenses I find I'm a little over.  I know this is in part due to the food we picked up for dinner with Katie this weekend and our lunch purchase.  I shall have to see about setting up a small fund each month for unplanned meals out and/or unplanned dinners.  That way I can be nearer my planned grocery budget.

Tuna was on sale at this store today but I didn't buy any.  I figured the price per can at around $.80.  I have 8 cans on hand right now for which I paid $.39 each.  I'll look for a price nearer $.50 a can to add to my stock, I think.  What we have on hand will last us about two months or so.

We put leftovers from our lunch in the fridge.  I expect they will be handy come Monday when I have a doctor's appointment.  I'll try to cook some vegetables and set aside to heat up when we come in, too.

Planned ahead this afternoon and made up two batches of pudding, which I put into four ounce containers.  Pre-portioned desserts really do decrease the temptation to have 'just a little bit more' and make the cost per serving a true one overall.  I must remember to mix up a batch of skim milk and chill it well in future before making pudding.  I've found that using cold water from the fridge is not quite enough to let the pudding thicken as it ought, as it warms slightly while mixing and then warms a bit more while stirring in pudding.  Trial and error, all kitchen work involves trial and error.

Cut up celery and carrot sticks for snacks.  These can be eaten in quantity if chosen so I don't bother to measure them out in serving portions.

I pared three peaches from last week's half peck bag and put each sliced peach into a separate container with a tiny bit of lemon juice.  This assures I eat just one peach (a proper serving since they were baseball sized) at a time and not more.

I planned weekend menus to insure we had food ready and I wasn't winging it at any point.  Winging it is often expensive and always time consuming on a weekend especially, when I want to keep my Sabbath work at a minimum and want to keep the budget somewhat in line.

The dishwasher wasn't quite full.  I knew Saturday's dishes would not all fit.  I decided to add the burner grates from the stove and that filled the empty spaces very well.  I washed the load in the evening hours.

Living Well:   I'd thought for sure John would be bored doing the things I had listed as errands.  I'd offered to go on my own, but he'd insisted he wanted to be with me.  Well I shouldn't have worried, lol.  Everywhere we went John got caught up in a conversation with someone.  I could tell by his face he was really enjoying himself.  He genuinely likes people and is friendly himself, so to run into others who obviously like people as well is good medicine to him.  I was happy to have company and enjoyed watching him enjoy himself.


Peggy Lineberry said...

Love reading your posts! Gives me ideas and energy to tackle in my frugal home

Anonymous said...

I was so glad to hear from you! Just this morning when I opened the door there on the screen was a baby lizard. I had a hard time scooting it to the outside as he wanted to hurry inside. In another house we used to have a lizard that came in and out whenever he felt like it.
I used to portion puddings and salads and such in Hubby's lunch for work. Then one day I decided to eat one myself. The light bulb went on. I have a dickens of a time stopping at the right portion and here it was measured out for me.
I am working on getting bedding and rugs and all a wash while it is so warm outside. Cleaning the carpet and such while the house can be left open to dry it. {{course not on the hot hot days!!}} Winter will be here before we know it.
I am not letting myself even scan cookbooks when we are out and about. Every cookbook has some recipes that could tempt me to buy it and I sure don't need any more! With the net full of them and my cupboard already bursting with cookbooks. No, it is time to thin them way way down. I have just been putting them in the car and taking them to a friends who sells used things and not looking back. {well hardly ;-) }
I have a few cute homes I always crane my neck to see overtime we drive by. I have been blessed to find the homeowners outside on an occasion. We stop the car to thank the family for keeping their property so pretty. One of the homes I loved for years became for sale and I got to tour it. It was just as cute inside but I knew it would not suit our family even if we could have bought it. I was glad to be able to see it and know that. Still when we pass it I look to see if they have changed things outside and pray for the family who lives there. People around us don't seem to care about how their property looks and it is such a delight to see streets where they do. Also so all of the homes around us were owned and now are rentals. The young families are only seen coming in and out of cars. Rent is so dear now I don't know how they can afford to even rent a home.
I have mostly been battling ants outside. They are all over but one area they are the worst. I have tried to kill them for months. They just build new holes.. They have swarmed 4 times. Overtime I think I have them gone I look and they are all over the place again. So far no spray or powder has worked. I will open the holes and use boiling water next. I did have some ants other places that died when i just put slices of lemons I stomped on top their ant hole door. I put lemon juice around areas I see ants come inside and they have stopped but it takes doing it several times as they just try a different place for a while. The Torro ant traps and products do work . I have used them. I just do not have any.
I have been running the dehydrator and when I notice I will not be using all the celery or anything I throw it in too while the load is drying. Then at least I have it dried and not wasted.
It is time to get our lunch on the table. Till next time, Sarah

Lana said...

You had a very productive week! The neighbor man across the corner from us recently died and I have wondered is I would want to go the estate sale when they have one or if it would be weird.

First I must say that I have a new laptop paid for entirely with Swagbucks Amazon gift cards-YAY! and my keyboard is so different that typos abound. O was so glad that I had saved all that credit for a rainy day. For anyone interested, WIndows 10 is free for the next 12 months. I am not having to learn Windows 8.

WHen we were in AMish country back in May I saw many women washing their porch railings. I have found it to be very easy here , too. I use a wet microfiber cloth and water and it cleans well. The pressure washer only does s much and requires a good bit of bleach to really clean. Last month we painted our deck railings a beautiful terra cotta color and they are just staying cleaner. We do still have a whilte screen porch though and it requires so much cleaning. I want to do it terra cotta too but everything takes time. Right now we are replacing areas os rotten siding. One area we will have to hire out.

We have nt eaten breakfast out on Saturday mornings for most of the summer as is our usual habit. We can get out and to work much earlier before the heat. This is saving a good $50 a month. That money goes into the envelope that we save up for week end getaways.

We have been invaded nu millipedes in our home. They get in and roam the floors and then curl up and die. Everyday there are plenty to clean up. We have had many instances of thunder and no rain last week and we need it so badly. Our grass is crunchy.

I love those KFC containers for portioning out food. I have many of them and they last so well. I do applesauce when I make it on the fall and freeze it for my husband's lunches.

DoTerra has an essential oil blend that works wonders for me when I just need to 'get a grip' and stop being snarky or weepy or whatever is ailing me. It is Balance and I would not be without it! A few good whiffs of it can set me to rights. Heritage SUnshine works for my husband. When he asks if I would like hie bottle of SUnshine I know I need some Balance. :)

Karla Neese said...

What a fruitful week you've had - in so many ways! The peaches sound wonderfully good. I've found myself eating lots of cantaloupe and watermelon this summer - more than usual now that we are eating healthy. And they have been so juicy and tasty this year!

Your hard work on the porch railings sounds very satisfying indeed! I love finding those little spots, like the back porch, where the Holy Spirit just reigns in peace around my home. So special! What beautiful fruit grows in His presence!

I understand perfectly well why you listed your "words" with John in the Living Well section. Being receptive and obedient to a loving rebuke from a faithful friend always makes our lives better. With all of the changes you've been dealing with I'm not surprised there are "growing pains". I find that I too hold things in too often. Most of the time, I feel they are so petty or I anticipate his reaction and end up wrong most of the time. LOL I'm a slow learner in that area I guess.

My number one cleaning goal this week is the master bathroom. Oh how awful I've let it get. Hopefully it will be clean in a short time.

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