Frugal Friday: Holiday Daze

I have been trying for over a year to get my violets to bloom once more.  They were losing leaves left and right and just not doing well at all.  I stumbled upon a pin about African violets which suggested bright sunlight and watering every time that the soil even began to feel dry.  I thought they were getting plenty of light where they were but obviously not.  I moved them to the kitchen window and both now have buds forming.  Per the Pinterest post I should move them from the window as soon as they begin to bloom...I was soooo close to getting rid of them because I thought they were done, but apparently I was very wrong!

Saturday:  I have a slight cold.  Nothing major but just enough of something to aggravate me and slow me down.  Well today is a rest day anyway.  I slept in this morning, unusual for me but I did, until nearly 9am.  Nice to get the extra rest before the long day tomorrow.

Put a chicken in the oven to roast.  I had Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash that I added to the pan a bit later.  I also put the green beans in the oven to heat a little later, still.  Dinner ready and my prep was minimal since I did it all yesterday.

Gave myself a manicure.  I used some of the Jamberry wraps I bought earlier in the summer months.  I have given a lot of these to my girls, but I kept a few for myself.  Glad I did.  I really am enjoying a more durable manicure.

It was meant to be pretty cold last night.  I went out to the shed and raided my small stash of old towels/rugs/sheets and prepared bedding for the dog and cat. 

Washed a full load of dishes.

Noted how many leftovers we have for the coming week. I won't be cooking very much beyond the holiday victuals.

Sunday:  Left home just a tad later than I'd meant to do.  I stopped in the 2nd town to fill up my car as it was $.20 a gallon less than in my town.

My children treated me to lunch.  It was quite good.

Started home and pushed hard.  I made it to Perry before I stopped.  I picked the grocery to stop at: restroom, bread and dog food were all to be had there.  One stop shopping.  Picked up a sandwich for my supper...then thought better of driving and eating in the dark.  Ate when I got home.

No one truly was home all day today.  That means no water ran (aside from our morning showers and the full load of laundry I did this morning), no TV, no fans, no AC and very little heat.

Hung most of the load to dry.

Bess mentioned a cranberry salad she liked.  I found a recipe that is similar.  I  have all but one ingredient on hand.

Monday:  I set out turkey breast and several pint and half cups of broth to thaw last night, along with our breads for stuffing.   I knew I needed to get a head start on preparations.  It's a long drive down and back (3 1/2 hours one way) to Sam's.  I don't need to be worn out before I head out again down that way!

Today I made dressing.  I needed cream of celery soup.  I made my own.  Why go buy what can easily be made right here at home?  The dressing is all prepared and in the freezer.  I'll take out to thaw Wednesday night and bake when I get up at 5am Thursday morning.

Made pie crusts for my pumpkin pies.

I was continually pulling things from the pantry this morning, with an eye upon what I was missing and what is looking a bit thin.  This time of not stocking the pantry makes me very conscious of how much use it is to us.  We're very low on meats at present. I haven't had time to stock up and just at the moment don't have funds though that will change here in a week or so.  I can't help but think of Becky who lived off her food stores for a year during her husband's unemployment. I've always said a full pantry/freezer is like an additional emergency fund, every bit as important as the dollars we save for the needy season.

I was also aware of how blessed I am that I am a capable cook, well able to make many foods from scratch if need be, like that 'cream of celery' soup I used in the dressing.

I stayed quite busy all morning long. I made good strides on cutting down on the overall work of the holiday.  I feel if I can do as much as possible in prepping our little Thanksgiving meal for two then I can count Friday as a much much needed rest day. 

I had half a large roasted hen in the fridge.  I knew this would be our dinner today. I opened a can of turnip greens and made potato salad to go with the chicken.

After we ate, I put the carcass on to boil.  I have 1/2 gallon of broth (plus a nice hot cup of broth to go with my supper.  I swear it's made me feel much better already!), plus nearly 1 1/4 cups of meat bits.

We went down to pick up John's check and make a deposit.  I don't know where my head was...I forgot to take a deposit slip along with me!  Fortunately I had a blank check with me so they could access our account and deposit the check.  We dropped off bills at the post office on our way out of that town. 

John stopped and bought us a treat from his pocket money.  Very generous considering we didn't get pocket money yet this week.

 Katie had given me a number of beautiful Roma tomatoes when we visited her.  I hadn't used them up despite regularly eating.  This morning, I diced all but two and put them on to cook with some garlic, soda, oregano and parsley.  This made  a cup of 'pizza' sauce as Sam calls it, although I still need to puree in the blender.   I marked it and put in the freezer.

It's short pay period this time and it always seems to hit us doubly hard where grocery funds are concerned.  Here it is holiday meal time and I'm grateful I used foresight to buy the bulk of our holiday food supplies well ahead.  Now I can concentrate on just the few items I don't have or which we typically replenish (eggs, milk, bread, lettuce, fruits) each pay period.  I need three items for holiday meals, none of them expensive.  I am also grateful that I figured out I needed to set aside a little money in the heavier pay period to help us over this short one.  It does indeed come in very handy and in the rare months when both pay periods are flush, I shove it over to savings.

I made out my shopping list, prominently listing those items needed for the holiday.  I have put said list in my purse.  When I leave in the morning, I will be assured of having that list with me.

Tuesday:  I gave the pets the gristle and skin from the chicken carcass yesterday to supplement their morning food.

It is a short pay period and that means short grocery funds.  Thankfully I planned for this and did the bulk of my holiday shopping last pay period.  I needed only small items today.  I did very well, even though I allowed an added item or two extra for John and decided to restock what was on sale ( just what I was using up): 2 cans of evaporated milk, 2 cans of pumpkin puree, a jar of peanut butter.  It's not much but it does ADD to the pantry rather than just reducing it and supplies were plentiful just now at Aldi where we shopped.  I bought lots of produce today because it was inexpensive and beautiful.  Long lasting items like apples and oranges, sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions and celery. 

What we didn't include in our budget this time: snacks or meats.  I do need meats but I don't have funds at the moment so it can wait.  We've enough to feed us this pay period.

No deli lunch today.  John went into Publix to pick up some prepared macaroni and potato salads for his work dinner on Thursday.  That was his choice.  He did ask if I wanted lunch and I told him it wasn't necessary.  We had plenty of the Family Goulash to reheat.  I made a salad after I'd unloaded and put away groceries and heated the dish in the microwave.  We have enough leftovers yet for another serving each.  

Cleared the fridge of leftovers and we ate them for supper.  Now there's a little room to spare for holiday foods.

John repaired my wash stand drawer that came apart a couple of nights ago.  As good as new...and I'm happy as that wash stand is quite old!

Washed a full load of dishes.

Wednesday:  I found a partial loaf of bread that I'd missed Monday morning when I was getting ready to make breakfast.  I'd assumed I'd put it in the freezer.  No, I'd just missed the basket Sunday morning and it had gotten pushed further back on the top of the fridge.  Pure chance I found it this morning.  I used up the good sized pieces for our breakfast and put the small pieces into the freezer to turn into croutons later.

Prepared as much as I could today: mashed sweet potatoes and put into a casserole dish, made Pumpkin pies, washed and trimmed the Brussels Sprouts, washed and sliced potatoes and set to soak in a pan of water, made a cranberry gelatin salad. 

Tomorrow morning when I rise to see John off to work I'll put the pan of dressing in to bake for Sam's dinner.  I'll pack up the gelatin, a pumpkin pie and a pint and half of broth in a cold bag, and the warm dressing in another insulated bag and head south.

Put one pint of chicken broth into the freezer.  Used the remainder of that half gallon of broth to make a pot of chicken and wild rice soup for our main meal.  We had warm pumpkin pie after.  Yum.  Nice winter meal.  I have about 1 1/2 pints of soup left that will be supper one evening over the weekend.

Tentatively planned my Thanksgiving Table.  I'm going to try and have it set when I leave here in the morning.  I'll use one of the sets of china with my brown goblets and I'll craft a centerpiece for the table this afternoon from leaves, and mums, and nuts and whatever else I can lay my hands upon.

John sanded off the top of the Queen Anne table we'd planned to discard.  It's smooth as butter now, much better than I'd thought it could be.  I don't have a spot for it but perhaps Katie can use it in her home or we'll find another way to repurpose it.  In the meantime, John put it in his shed for storage out of the weather.

John suggested a new computer for me, due to the absolutely maddening time I've had with my cursor the past few months.  I told him yesterday that it seemed to be resolved except with Blogger.  Well lo and behold this morning I came to Blogger and discovered the page was set up with a new format...and I've had NO trouble at all with my cursor.  Here's hoping that this is resolved at last.

I cooked two burgers for our supper tonight.  I browned half the package and put the crumbles in the fridge.

Thursday:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Simple savings today.  I did the usual: made breakfast, packed John's work lunch. 

Before leaving home, I turned off all the fans.  Having watched the news I knew that the day was supposed to be 80F...sheesh...I switched the AC on and set the thermostat to 78F.  No one would be home, but it wouldn't run until later  in the day.  It wasn't unbearably stuffy when I returned.

No stops for take out along the way.  I took snacks and water and opted to have my supper at home instead of stopping at supper time on the road.

Placed an order for a gift on Target.  I used my gift cards and paid $4 out of pocket.  I made sure to use shop and earn on Swagbucks to place that order and one at Walmart.

It took seven or eight photos to get one of all four children facing forward.  Only Freya the dog looked at the camera the whole while, lol.  I talked to the four in North Dakota.  I just missed out on Taylor and Druid.

Friday:  Up early this morning, but I slept incredibly well after going to bed fairly early.

I stuffed the turkey and put in the oven when John called to say he'd be late.  I figured I could always put the sweet rolls in after he arrived.

Our sweet rolls were a big bust.  They never rose at all, burned on the bottom though they were cooking for less time than recommended.  As we crunched through them I asked John if he reckoned we got less calories for having them extra crunchy?  I won't buy the Aldi brand canned cinnamon roll again.  I'm seldom disappointed in an Aldi product but every now and then they do indeed disappoint.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung many items to dry.

I washed a full load of dishes after dinner.  They too air dried.

I cut some fresh cedar today and added several bunches of it to my old wreath.  I can't afford a new wreath but I have loads of fresh cedar here on the place.  I'll cut more and add to the wreath but it's looking fresher and prettier for the addition.  I'll hang the wreath on the outside of the front door so there won't be needles falling inside.

I have the Christmas tree fluffed and in the basket....but no extension cord so I can't plug it in.  John has apparently commanded all the extensions and I've no clue where they are nor if the lights on my tree even work. update: found a cord and the lights all work.

I didn't bake bread today and I didn't buy bread either.  I'll be using a bagel for Shabat bread.  I put three fourths of the last loaf of Challah in the freezer, a reminder to me why I quit baking bread in the first place.  John simply doesn't eat it.  He'll go for the sliced bought bread every single time.

We've a load of leftovers...and that's just for home, though I did cook a modest amount.  I left leftovers with Bess and Sam yesterday, as well.

My Black Friday shopping was at CVS and I picked up mostly items that were free or very nearly free.  I spent about $26.  I had a few items that were not on sale and if I'd been smart I would have purchased those after I purchased the items that earned ECBs but there was a long line and 1 clerk.  I hate to hold up a bunch of folks.  I earned $16 in ECBs and will use those in the coming weeks.  I put a few items into my pantry that I could use and it's nice to know they earned me a few Extra Cash Bucks.

That's my week and it was a great one!  What did you do this week?


beckyathome said...

You have had a very busy week with tons of driving! I'm glad that you were able to spend so much time with family.

It sounds like you have a lot of things planned. Time is flowing so quickly, it will be Christmas before we know it, won't it! I think you have a real flare for putting things together to be coordinated--like decorating with a certain ornament and such. If you think of it, I'd love to see a picture. This is an area I struggle in, and would love to see some of your ideas.

We did some holiday things today with family and have more to do tomorrow. Usually, we put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, but we did not today. It was more fun to spend the day with the family. So, there's always next week:)

Lana said...

That was a lot of driving! But worth every mile I am sure.

After finding out that our vision insurance can only be used after a year and a day each time and our appt for this year being on Dec 19 we cancelled it for 2017. We will pick it up and go in Jan of 2018 and hardly miss a beat and save every month in 2017.

Hubby needed new jeans for work so we purchased 4 new pairs of his favorite WalMart brand at 9.96 and then did the jeans shuffle. I used two pairs of the oldest ones for denim from the pocket areas to patch some that I wear around the house. The back pockets were cut off to make rice bags for stocking stuffers. I also washed the new ones with my older ones to redye them somewhat. Then we went through all of hubby jeans and remarked and hung them on the color coded hangers so that he knows which pairs get worn when.

Our freebie 13 pound turkey made a lot of meals. Four for Thanksgiving dinner, 4 for sandwiches later that day, two for reheated leftovers on Friday, turkey salad for 4 sandwiches and a big pot of broth which made 8 meals of soup for two, 7 for the freezer, along with 3 turkey dinner meals of turkey, stuffing, gravy and potatoes that went into the freezer along with one package of chopped turkey breast for a casserole or such. Not a scrap was wasted.

I bought a few well priced gifts online this weekend but stayed clear of the stores. We did buy a new artificial tree which is smaller and easier to manage. I had been watching for a sale price on it so we jumped when it went on sale on Friday. We split the cost and paid for it from our pocket money. It is being shipped so I do not even have to go to the store for it. The tree we are retiring is 24 years old so it owes us nothing. Last year it shed so many needles all through the season that it could have been a real tree.

We must get our Christmas decorations out of the attic and get a move on! Time just seems short this year.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Your grandsons are adorable.. Good photo..
You had a really busy week..
Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving and get lots of rest after its over.
Hope your cold is better soon.

Karla Neese said...

We had a nice, small Thanksgiving here this year too. Last year it was just Brad and I, this year it was us and the girls. We did a brined turkey breast (bone-in), mashed potatoes, a new-to-us dressing recipe that we did not like and won't repeat, pumpkin pies. Ashley brought green bean casserole since that is something she says she CAN actually cook. Sarah brought homemade chocolate pie and Sister Shubert's rolls. And canned cranberry sauce was added too.

I had a great idea for our Christmas tree this year. I'm just not wanting to haul out the big tree since it's just the two of us. Brad bought a small, thin tree for his office but then decided he didn't want to mess with putting it up at work. We have a very large cedar chest we are wanting to move out of our bedroom. I decided this morning I will move that cedar chest to the living room in front of the window where our tree goes. I'm going to set up the small tree on top and surround it with my Christmas village. I thought that would be enough decoration without all the hassle of a large tree.

Gifts this year are only 1 for each girl as we are going on a family cruise next May that we are helping to pay for. I was able to find a really creative gift for them. I asked what their favorite family recipe was and they both said Grandma's pie crust recipe. So, I had my mother-in-law write out and send me the recipe. I ordered pie plates from a lady on Etsy that has the recipe in Grandma's handwriting on them. I think the girls will really like them.

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