This Week In My Home: Holidays!

This week in my home:

...I am already starting to feel the pull of the New Year/fresh frugal year though we've just lit the first Chanukah candle and the sun is barely setting upon Christmas Eve...Normally I'd post this on Sunday but it's to be Christmas and I don't want to invade your homes on that day and honestly, I don't want you all invading mine.  I hope to hear from the children, but I'm going to enjoy my day with my husband.   We're going out to church, a little early.  We're coming home to a special meal.  I feel such a deep peace and thankfulness this year.  But the New Year does tug...  I guess it's just habit after all these years. 

I generally do a 'review' of sorts at the end of a holiday season and write out what worked and what didn't.  It's a handy guideline to look back over the years.  I've been doing this consistently since 2012 and I can say honestly that reading back through these pages before the holidays has helped me improve them. 

We stayed spot on budget for gifting and haven't spent crazily for meals, etc.  In fact, I might have adhered a little too hard to budget instead of allowing splurges we might have enjoyed.  We save all year long and a little indulgence at Christmas should certainly be part of the reward, agreed?

This year, I noted that my fails were not to plan on the extra cost of travel to and from the kids' homes in November; not following instinct and making a proper dessert for our family day meal;  and not having enough color on the tree.  It really could have used some red or green.  Oh and not preparing far enough ahead with Chanukah which is something I consistently fail at...ugh. 

What I did right was stick hard to budgets: having the fun of a stocking type gift for each of the grown children (Amie got two bottles of Cane Syrup, a luxury since she cannot buy it up north and Jd got a slightly larger than usual gift card since he's about to go back out to sea).   The kids seemed to enjoy those simple little items.  Another thing I did right, I think, was not stressing over gifting for others outside the children.  I gave nice gifts and some might have been purchased for a low price and some might have been re-gifted but all were given with a sincere thought of the likes of the individuals and wasn't just foisting off cheap or unwanted items onto unwilling victims.   All in all it was one of the most relaxed holiday seasons I've had in years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But as I said, that fresh new frugal pull has begun.  I sat down the other day and made out a list of low cost but nutritious main dishes I might make.  I find this so much easier when it's cool outdoors because so many of the low cost dishes are hearty ones.  Have you noticed that as well?    Chili stretched with extra vegetables and beans, a pot roast rich with root vegetables that expand the meal three or four times, soups and meatloaf  and spaghetti and sloppy joes which are all stretched mightily with vegetables.   

I've filled my Home Keeping Notebook with fresh pages: new calendars, clean ledger sheets, fresh budget and inventory pages...All in anticipation of the start of the new year ahead.  I even have a new journal ready with fresh sheets to be filled for the year ahead.  Can you tell I like beginnings and fresh starts?

Looking back over 2016, I can say sincerely: I have no regrets.  It wasn't an awful year, the hard places weren't unfamiliar and so were traveled with more grace than in years past, the changes weren't difficult ones and were easy to accept.  Grief was often stilled with true joy this year and peace with my place in life and within myself.  Merry Christmas my dear friends!  May 2017 be a blessed year for us all!

....I plan my menus:

Steak, Hash Brown Casserole, Salad, Rolls, Carrot Cake

Red Beans and Rice, Coleslaw, Cornbread, Baked Apple

Oven Baked Chicken and Dumplings, Cranberry Sauce in Pear Halves, Green Peas

Chicken Fried Rice, homemade Egg Rolls, Oranges

on my own x2

Swedish Meatballs, Noodles, Beets and Boiled Eggs on Green Salad

...I plan my work week:

It rained first part of last week which put yard work off...and I had no desire on Thursday to do anything at all.  Friday I was too busy to consider even thinking of going outdoors to do anything except running errands and walking to mail box.  So if weather permits this week:
Prune roses
Plant bulbs 

Hem those new jeans I keep putting off hemming...I soooo would have loved to wear them to church tomorrow.   

Read and post a review on that one book I haven't bothered to finish.

Get Christmas taken down  and put away in the shed.

Give the house a good going over with dust rag and vacuum and mop so it's spic and span for the New Year.

List and begin to USE those pantry items I've failed to cook for far far too long.  Nothing expired mind, but definitely time to get off my tookus and USE them.  Besides food we HAVE is the least expensive meal options there are.

Go through the fridge which seems to burgeon tonight and use everything we can in the coming week.  What we can't, FREEZE and then plan into menus in the next couple of weeks or so.

...I plan my leisure:

Choose a book to read for pure pleasure. I chose TWO.  An Early Retirement by Miss Read and A Country Kitchen Cookbook by Edward Harris Heth.  I've just finished reading his three chapters on winter cooking.  AND ordered two more of his cookbooks since I had that second $10 Amazon Gift Card from MCR. 

Pull out the genealogy binder and get notes and such written out in an orderly fashion.  This might sound like work and in a way it is, but it's soothing to me and as relaxing as reading any good novel might be.

Give myself the gift of a spa morning at home, with fresh mani/pedi.


Rose said...

What lovely illustrations you have used. Rose (UK )

Karla Neese said...

I must say, I'm ready for a new start and a new year. I'm not as prepared as you are, but I'm still ready to leave this year behind. It's been a trying year but I saw God carry us through all of it with Grace.

I have just about used up the leftovers from our Christmas ham. I made 2 quiches with it, made some northern beans and ham (used the ham bone) and will be making Funeral Potatoes with ham for dinner tonight. We don't eat much ham so this is a lot of ham for us!

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