Frugal Friday: You're In the Army Now...
Saturday: Katie brought us a handful of vegetables from her little garden. Two Roma tomatoes, two cucumbers, a squash and a beautiful jalapeno pepper. I sliced the tomatoes and a cucumber, cooked the squash and served those items with our dinner today.
Katie also brought me a small baggie of Coke caps so I can enter the codes into MCR site.
I took the leftover tomato slices and put them in with the leftover green beans and potatoes to make soup tomorrow.
I prepared and pre-packed the non-perishable parts of John's work lunch for tomorrow.
I saved coffee grounds, peelings and paper towels we used through out the day and added to the compost heap.
I watered plants using water I'd stored. I tossed this particular bottle as it was another of the round ones. I can fit six flat bottles in the same space that five rounds one fit.
Sent Katie home with a truck load of stuff gathered from the shed. I won't have to donate it and I know it's all going to be used and loved in her home. One thing that made me super happy was that she immediately spied the twin headboard I'd trash picked. It has really good bones and I was hopeful she'd like it for Taylor's room when she moves up from the crib. She did like it and took it home with her. I can't wait to see how she transforms it but that will be a little while yet.
John and I took advantage of the cooler air this evening to spend a little time on the back porch chatting. He then moved to the front porch and read for another half hour or so.
As I was going about my nightly routine last night I started thinking about something I'd seen at CVS last week: tubeless bathroom paper. I thought at the time about all the many craft projects we'd done in our home with paper towel and bathroom paper tubes. Last night I as I was washing my face and thinking about this, I glanced at our current roll to see if it had a tube. It did...but I noticed that the tube itself must be 3 inches in diameter. This is HUGE....and I wondered if I'm even getting the same amount of paper I used to get if the tubes have gotten so large? Another of the manufacturer's tricks to make it appear the product is the same when in fact it's less. I am going to have to start doing what Amy Dacyzyn used to speak of doing: looking at square feet measurements and determining how which is the best buy via that method. Of course there are brands we don't care for or can't use with our septic system but then again there are competitors for every brand we do like and I'm going to be comparing them all!
Sunday: Finished up another book and tucked right into the next in the Frugal Boot Camp reading.
Made John breakfast and packed his work lunch. Saw him off to work.
Washed a full load of clothes and hung all of them to dry.
Hung the bed pillows to air on the line while laundry was running.
Washed a full load of dishes. I added the coffee pot, the sink strainers and a few other items from about the kitchen. I filled the machine FULL.
Mixed up a bottle of the shower cleaner (half Dawn and half white vinegar) to clean the bathroom showers. Used an old green scrubby to insure all the soap scum came off the walls.
Worked on bills. Totted up the checkbook and balanced against the account.
Waiting two weeks and setting money aside both pay periods, I see I will be able to pay off that last doctor bill to come in.
Ate breakfast. Crushed egg shells from the two breakfasts I prepared and added in some water and the coffee grounds plus the last dregs of coffee to the compost bucket, then I used this rich water to water the plants in the back porch flower bed.
I was very low on dog food this morning. I supplemented with three jars of baby food meats that Bess had given me some time ago. Josh was not a meat eater as an infant (nor much of one now that he's a toddler). The meat is good until December of this year. I fed some of it to Maddie to extend her morning meal.
Saved the jars to use for lunches.
Checked the Kroger site for Friday Freebie downloads I'd done. I had three listed. I knew I was going out and would be very near a Kroger so I planned to stop in and pick those up. Noted that Blue Cheese dressing was also on sale, a great favorite of John's.
Turned off all fans and ceiling fans before leaving home.
Stopped to pick up the mail.
Stopped in at Kroger and picked up my freebies and the salad dressing. Went by the discounted meats area and found some terrific deals on beef. A Bottom Round Roast for $11, cut from $21, a pound of 96% ground beef for $4.99, and a package of New York Strips cut from $20 to $12. I knew I had room in the freezer for these things and they were all very nice looking cuts, not discolored or anyway 'off'.
My 'free' items today were an 8 pack of real sugar soda, a Mountain Dew Kick Start and a Sparkling Ice Tea. I know that we no one in this house will likely drink the Mountain Dew but I bet you, one of my kids will want it. These items totaled $8 and change, but were free thanks to that download on the Kroger store site.
Stopped to look at the discounted plants in front of the store. Found a large dish of big succulents for $6.49. I snatched them up. They have been overwatered and should do well when they dry out.
Went on to Publix to pick up the sales items (including dog and cat foods) that I'd listed as too good to not pick up. Nearly everything was a buy one get one free deal. I added pickle relish, bread and butter pickles, crackers, mayonnaise to my pantry today. The price on mayonnaise with the store coupon subtracted was less than Aldi store brand. I picked up some breakfast sausages we like for less than I can purchase them at the discount store in the next town. I also bought the fancy little potatoes that John is so fond of...I got one mixed and one that will do for mashing if I choose. I don't typically buy these potatoes but he really is fond of them and I thought I'd treat him. They were also buy one get one so I purchased two packages.
I chose, while in the store to pick up some organic half and half (no carrageenan), a block of a cheese we LOVE but just one even though it was on sale. I knew we had plenty of cheese at home. This is for special treat. I also bought our bread for the pay period and a Sunday paper.
Truthfully, I do not need any more groceries this week except a gallon of milk and some bananas. I think we still have two dozen eggs in the fridge. I can easily wait on purchasing anything further and I still have a portion of my grocery budget for the pay period, despite my spending today.
I did not purchase a snack nor did I get a soda. I opted to get a 1% fat chocolate milk which was less than soda or water. I knew milk has some protein and that would be helpful since I didn't plan to eat until I was back at home and could prepare my meal.
Picked up the Sunday paper. I saw a lot of useable coupons in this bunch.
Came home and made my soup. Earlier last week I poured off the liquid surrounding the meat loaf. I knew some of it was fat, but only a very little. I put this liquid in a jar, along with the cooking water from our beans and potatoes we had that same day. The fat congealed on top and the broth and cooking liquid combined underneath it. Yesterday after dinner, I added the last of the sliced tomatoes and the leftover beans and potatoes I'd made for the baby to have for her dinner. Today I added a bottom slice of a tomato I'd saved in the fridge after making sandwiches, about 1/4 cup of onion, 1 teaspoon of the beef broth base and the last of the meatloaf (two slices) with that jar of liquid (removed the fat). This made a very tasty soup and I ate it for both a late lunch and supper later.
Checked my receipts and found a $2 off next purchase at Kroger coupon that printed out when they scanned the salad dressing. I can use that $2 on any item. I'm going to watch for sales over the next couple of weeks and will use it when I go in to pick up the next batch of Friday Freebies.
Monday: It has most definitely been a Monday! Not great big things going wrong but lots of little frustrations and unplanned tasks and such to throw me off track all day long.
John worked last night. He had a late call so earned an hour of overtime. That is extra money in our pocket.
I made breakfast and while it was a big breakfast, I was very mindful of cutting back at the same time. We had smaller portions.
I put food in the pet food cans on the front porch. These are the nice 5 gallon buckets with re-sealable lids. I did not, however, put all the food out there. Twice now I've found ants making their way inside the cans despite their being sealed. I've no desire to discover pet foods are now ant foods. I stored the rest of the food indoors in another re-sealable container.
I did a few minor housekeeping chores and one of these turned my day upside down. I've been fighting ants for about a week now. Not great inroads but scouts and sometimes the junior scouts have converged with the scouts preparing to start a new super highway invasion into my home. I decided preventative maintenance could be combined with deep cleaning and went to work on all the upper cabinets. I mixed up soap and vinegar in water and removed all the contents from the upper cabinets. Then I wiped them down well. A few cupboards had to be cleaned a bit deeper with dishwasher detergent to remove greasy stains. While I was at it with the dishwasher detergent I cleaned the doors and the soffit edges above the cabinets, too. Let me tell you this turned into quite the task. I spritzed the cabinets very lightly with ant spray and then left them to thoroughly dry before putting stuff back in. My last job, or so I thought, was to wipe the counter tops with the soapy vinegar water.
I made dinner from a freezer item (spaghetti sauce Bolognese) and cooked pasta.
I made a salad, but discovered that my lettuce was seriously compromised. I salvaged enough for a salad but the rest was soft and decaying. I was so disappointed. I had artisan lettuces, three full heads in the container. I think the compromise came in when I wrapped a head in paper toweling and tucked it into the corner of the container. I generally use cotton flour sacking material to wrap damp lettuces. I paid the price. I salvaged perhaps a head of lettuce altogether. The rest made for the compost bucket, sigh.
While I was working in the kitchen cabinets, John kept commenting on finding ants about the dining table. He eventually stopped fussing and grabbed a can of spray and misted them all. Then he went outdoors to get the pest control stuff and sprayed the perimeter of the house outdoors, about the corners of the window frames and then along the perimeters of the dining room. He also sprayed into the back of the kitchen sink cabinet.
I attempted to make a Lemon Tiramisu. I will let you know tomorrow how well it turned out. I tried it today but am waiting to see if it improves further on sitting...
I put items back into the cupboards, putting bagged items into jars or tins. This is one way I've learned to keep ants absolutely OUT of my foodstuffs. At least the cabinets look very neat now and I'm even more aware of a few things in my cupboards that we really ought to be eating.
I had planned to work on the bottom cupboards tomorrow BUT...As I went to put something away in the main food cupboard there were ants...Back at work for me! Might as well do them all now, right? Sigh.
Made tuna salad and egg salad for supper sandwiches. I've mentioned several times that I generally add shredded apple to my tuna salad. We find it cuts the acidity of the fish and I seldom experience any unpleasant after effects if we eat it later in the day. I did not realize I had borrowed this idea from the same Heloise's Housekeeping Hints book that I reviewed yesterday. In fact, there were several of my time/money saving tricks in that book. I guess the book truly has influenced me as a homemaker, hasn't it? Well the apple does more than just makes the tuna taste good, it extends it. So what might normally make 2 sandwiches stretches to more than enough to make 3 or 5.
I tackled three more cabinets after dinner had settled and I'd rested a bit. But first, I got the jobs I knew had to be tended to done. I made the sandwich fillers; I washed dishes and put away things. THEN I went to work on the next three cabinets. I knew that I'd be overtired after cleaning and organizing cabinets. Best to get food and regular cleaning done first.
Tuesday: Out this morning. I made us breakfast first. Then when we were ready to leave home, I had the bills ready and the trash packed up to carry off. We picked up mail.
We drove to John's work and picked up his paycheck and did our banking and mailed bills while we were there.
Went on to do our shopping. I shopped at Aldi. I was a little over the amount I'd set aside to spend which seems to be the story of my life. My overages all had to do with snack foods we purchased. No complaints. We didn't buy high priced things, nor individual packages. A good whole grain chip, a bag of pretzels, a jar of Nutella and out usual chocolate.
Did not buy bananas. I tested the green and the almost ripe and every one of them was soft under the skin. They will not last for more than a day or two at best and the green ones won't ripen. I'm not buying right away for banana bread, I wanted them for eating, first. No bananas.
John wanted to take me out to dinner. We went to a new to us place, a little Greek restaurant. I offered to pay for dinner from my pocket money. John generally does the treating for lunch but I like to surprise him now and then. We had a lovely meal, very tasty and the service was great. We both agreed it was someplace we'd like to return to again.
We took the long cut home, filling up the car with gasoline on the way. This is unusual for John and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We had rain again this evening. I can skip watering all but the plants on the front porch tomorrow.
Egg Salad for supper tonight.
Wednesday: I cooked two apples that were a little beyond their prime. I served them with breakfast this morning.
John and I appear to be deep in fall cleaning mode, albeit late summer. I set things right in both my closet and the guest room closet, setting aside a few things to go out to the shed. In the meantime, John cleared the music room closet and not only carted things off to trash but set aside a few things to donate. He cleaned so much from the closet that he was able to clear off equipment from a piece of furniture and put those pieces in his closet.
I was chopping vegetables for our dinner stir fry. I put some aside in the freezer for another stir fry meal later (or fried rice).
I have broccoli to use later this week but knew the stems would be left. Since I was making stir fry I went ahead and cut the stems off the heads and used them in the meal.
Leftovers from lunch were packed up for John's work lunch tomorrow.
John carried off a trunk load of trash.
I changed the filter on the AC. I hadn't done that in a bit over a month or perhaps in two months and it really needed it. The AC should run more efficiently now.
Watered porch plants with dishwater from the sink.
Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. I used the shortest cycle setting.
Thursday: Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast.
Went outdoors to unload that last suitcase of stuff from the booth. I'd put it off long enough. It took only a very few minutes to finish that task.
I picked up all the sticks in the yard that I'd already gathered in piles. I also gathered up some trash and moved some items into the shed that I'd long since left out.
I did some minor weeding. I ran out of weed mat when I started this last bed and haven't done as I'd supposed I'd do and rake back the mulch and lay the weed mat. That means I've had to pull some weeds. I try to stop on top of that task and get it done at least weekly so that it doesn't get out of hand.
As I worked I found several loose rocks today, ones that weren't already being used as a border. Some were little but I figured even the smallest rocks were a help. I managed to outline at least 4 feet of the next area I mean to work on! Just from little odds and ends. Golly but 'use what you have' does pay off sometimes, doesn't it?
I used the shower cleaner to clean our shower today.
Hung towels and bath mat outdoors to dry and freshen.
After clearing up the kitchen, I was free to 'play' at other tasks. I removed some pictures in my little sitting area in the kitchen and instead hung up a vintage replica of a Sunbeam bread advertisement.
I decided suddenly to hang pictures in the laundry area now that I have it looking neater and nicer. I had purchased something cute especially for the laundry a few months back but decided not to use it at all. I had two white frames in the guest room that I was about to take out to the shed to store. I found some lovely pink rose photos from a glossy magazine that I'd torn out ages ago. Suddenly the laundry seems to be going in a shabby chic direction thanks to those roses. I have a third page but need another frame, so I'll keep my eyes open for another one. Or paint one myself if I have one on hand...
Ate leftovers from earlier in the week for lunch.
Came across a super easy recipe for a French Bread Pesto Pizza. I had everything except the French Bread, but I did have some of the Turano Bread from Aldi which is a crusty hearty bread. Oh my gosh this was a good substitute and a delicious supper! I'll share the link so the blogger can have her due but this is going to go on my supper meals rotation.
I have two things left to do in the kitchen; I'll ask John to tend to those. One of involves a basket of tools he keeps in the kitchen and the other is just too high up for me to reach. I am going to try to tackle one small job tonight, since I'm feeling restless, and the kitchen, laundry and back entry will have seen a good hard cleaning and re-organizing. It's not complete. There are other spots in the kitchen I haven't tackled, but the whole week has been devoted to that space.
Friday: John had to work a little late again this morning. Another smidge of overtime.
It took only a few minutes housework to get the house in shape this morning. I accidentally sprayed the shower cleaner on the bathroom mirror...Well it's nothing but soap and vinegar and cleaned it rather well. I cleaned the sink and toilet with the same bottle of cleaner.
John washed a full load of clothes. He hung a few pieces to dry but we timed the rest in the dryer. It was alternately cloudy and foggy this morning. Too damp to dry anything outdoors.
I cleared up the guest room where I'd been 'dumping' stuff all week long. I made several trips outdoors with items but worked smart. The laundry basket held a bevy of things, and I used my yard wagon to haul things from house to shed. It took just moments to get it all put away now that the shed is organized.
Found a frame in the shed to use in my laundry area. I had another pretty magazine photo to use in the frame. I am very pleased with this bit of 'prettying' up an otherwise utilitarian space. It satisfies something in me to make a neat and lovely space with mere cleaning and magazine pages.
I had to do some errands in town this morning. I carried off trash, took mail to drop off and picked up mail, ran my errands.
I know my husband well. If I go to town he wants me to bring him something back. It doesn't have to be a big something but some little something...I'd planned to make a special meal for him this weekend and didn't want to stop for food at the diner. I went into the local grocery to purchase bananas and noted ice cream on sale. I got that for John.
I picked up a package of cubed steaks. It was lunch time and what I had thawed here at home would take a while to cook. Cubed steaks take very little time and we had nice hearty sandwiches. It cost less for that meat than to pick up burgers and fries at the diner for the two of us.
It's pleasant to come near the weekend and know the house is clean and orderly, meals are planned and there is nothing much that needs to be done. There is work for next week but for now nothing pressing. It's a lovely feeling! Have a great weekend!