Frugal Friday: Another Finished Project

Saturday:  I happily spent hours working on my genealogy notebook, organizing notes in order by date of events.  I also printed off pictures and documents to accompany sets of notes.  It was a lovely day as far as I was concerned.  I love nothing better than walking down the paths of history, watching as a family grows and leaves home, moves into homes of their own.  It's wonderful to see how the cycle of lives goes on and on.

Made Fried Rice for dinner.  Always an inexpensive option for meals.  I had a chicken breast with mine.  I pulled a packet of homemade egg rolls from the freezer to have with this meal and sliced up oranges.

I was mighty disappointed in that chicken.  I haven't had such a tough piece of meat in a long time.  This was  the $.88 pound chicken breasts I bought a few weeks ago.  I think, for my money, it's more than worthwhile to pay the $2.99/pound at the good meat market which has happily resumed those Tuesday specials on breasts and ground beef.  Now if I just had space in the freezer!

Supper tonight was easy: Cream of tomato soup and peanut butter roll ups for John, soup and PBJ for me.

Sunday: I'll mention this elsewhere this week a few times, but after long hard thought, I've decided to stop doing the Q,A,& Comment post at the beginning of each month.  That is just a whole lot of work I could be spending writing other posts.  So if you leave comments and ask a question or I have something I wish to share based upon something you've said,  I'm going to  post it in the comments.  Check back where you left your comment if you required an answer.  I'm going to try to address things as they come up, but now and then it might take me a day or so to get to the task.   

Fed pets this morning.  Maddie got a piece of that disappointing chicken breast all to herself.  Maddie is highly suspicious of any food that isn't her dry food.  She sort of sneers as she sniffs at whatever you're giving her.  Then she takes it from you like she's saying "Ewwwww!" and immediately drops it at your feet.  I usually leave her to decide if she wants it or not after that, but she does tickle me with her persnickety ways.  Dear old Trudy would eat anything and twice was poisoned because of her disregard for where foods might have come from.   And Blossom was barely allowed you to lower food to her level before she'd consumed it.  You'd best count fingers around that little girl.  I miss both those dogs, but at least Maddie's cautious nature hasn't led her astray.  I suppose there's something to be said about that.

John and I went into the grocery.  I bought more tea to make hot tea.  I was so happy to have a box of the Peachy Green Tazo handed to me, when I mentioned to John what I was looking for.  Another customer happened to be standing just in front of it and reached out to take a box from the shelf for me. 

I am over my intended low grocery budget set for this month.  Today's foray in the grocery is only partly responsible.  I was over when I walked out of Aldi the other day, by about $50.  Today, I had only enough leftovers for one here at home and we slept late and left late.  No time to make quick meal preparations before leaving home.  I didn't prepare on Friday for the weekend.  I am well under the thrifty plan per U.S. Gov't charts but higher than I'd planned to be this month.  Our purchases today, aside from tea were all fresh produce and a rotisserie chicken (for my benefit), while John indulged in pasta and potato salads from the deli.

I am over the low grocery budget but BELOW my usual one.  I don't know if I call that a win or a lose.  John did make more money this month than I'd anticipated he might, however, but I think the next couple of months will be a little more slender so I'll keep hacking away at lowering what I spend.

At this point I'm going to try hard to stay away from the grocery the rest of this pay period.  We have plenty of food in the house.  I will work ahead to try to make a few things ahead to ease me through the week.  It will only ease my work to have things prepared ahead.

Washed a full load of dishes.

Put berries in glass jars to store for the week.  These are capped and in the fridge.

I have oatmeal makings pre-measured and set up for use in the morning.

Monday:  Packed John's work lunch.  Made us oatmeal which I topped with blueberries.  For some reason the oatmeal did not thicken as well as usual but it was tasty all the same.  Made John to go cup of coffee to take out with him.  The winds are strong and brisk this morning as it clears out the last of the rain clouds.

Earned points on Swagbucks this morning.  Not a lot but even little bits will add up to a gift card sooner or later.

I've done very well this month with no shopping.  I bought John's birthday presents online and I bought shoes, but otherwise I've stayed away from stores and off online sites tempted as I was too look.  When I did go to online sites, I'd place items in my cart but made myself wait 24-48 hours before returning to purchase.  Not one purchase made aside from those birthday present items. 

Out with Mama today.  It was her turn to buy our dinner, my turn to pick up the tip and pay for ice cream.  It's a nice system that works well for us.  We tried a new to us restaurant.  As I placed my order the waiter said "That's a dinner and it's...", he spread his hands wide, "this big...would you rather have a lunch sized portion?"  Oh yeah, I would!  He didn't mention the lunch sized portion was half priced, but it was. 

Mama wanted to shop somewhere today.  She was just in the mood to buy something and it didn't much matter what.  This is part of her compulsive spending habit.  I've seen it in action all my life and recognize the pattern.  She wanted to go to the dress store, to the bookstore, to Target, to another store to just look.  The truth is that due to the state of her knees (which she refuses to even consider having operated upon despite the doctor's urging) she can't do all that shopping in one week much less one day.  In the end, she decided to go into Target.  I have new carpet to pay for this week and a hair appointment and a big credit card bill (partly from December and partly due to the lost insurance check and partly due to John's birthday and the new shoes...ACK), drivers license and tags to  coming due in the next two weeks.  The last thing I personally need to do is wander around any store, much less one that tempts me no end with pretty things.  I opted to stay in the car.  This displeased Mama but I managed to get something of a manicure done and had a bit of a break from things.  I was in no hurry to do anything anyway, so what did I care how long she shopped?  In the end, my 'expense' for today was $10, spent on tip and ice cream.  I'd planned for $12, so I consider this a budget bonus, lol.

I don't normally, and not sure I shall again, but this morning I re-used my tea bag for a second cup of tea.  It was a bit weak, too much so for this coffee loving girl.  I'll just go on and use a fresh one for each cup here on out.  I like some body and strength to the cup I'm indulging in.  However, I had to give it a try.  Sometimes these things suit us well enough and sometimes they don't.  I'll seek other ways to save on my tea drinking.

Stripped bed and washed sheets.  I hung on line because even though it was still cloudy when I hung them, the wind was blowing briskly and the sun was promised for afternoon.  I was sure they would be dry and smelling wonderful by the time I returned from my afternoon with Mama.  I was so sure of it, I hung out the pillows to catch all that freshening wind, too.  And when I came home every last bit of the lot was damp with misty rain that blew all morning and well into the afternoon, despite that blasted weather man's promise.  Here's where I sing praises to the dryer.  It might cost something to use it but at least  I don't have to wait until tomorrow or later for those pillows to dry out.  The remaining clothes were hung to dry in various places.  Remind me to continue to DISbelieve things the weather men say when they are forecasting.

Decided whether or not I felt like it, I'd best get busy at the necessary stuff.  That meant doing some routine housework I'd skipped doing this morning.  And it meant getting started on clearing up the guest room for carpet on Thursday.  I worked for a solid hour and got it down to pretty much the stuff I'll need help with.  Also noted how very much this room needs a good deep cleaning.  Oh my.  Another area that will be deep cleaned and fresh once the carpet is in. 

Tuesday:  I never turned up the heat last night when I came in.  I was a bit more than just chilly when I went to bed, but the new blanket I bought is cozy enough, I was ready to kick it off an hour later.  This encouraged me to go ahead and toss that old Vellux blanket that littered the washing machine.

I broke the jar to my blender.  I will be looking for one online as a replacement.  This will cost between $15 and $20.  My blender didn't cost much more than that and we've already replaced the jar housing ring, but the blender is perfectly good.  I'll check around our local thrift stores before I purchase this online though.   There's a chance I can find one a little cheaper.

Remember that Vellux blanket I was tossing into trash?  I wrapped it around that broken blender jar so it wouldn't poke through the plastic bag and cause possible injury to anyone.

Made a mushroom and onion omelet this morning and hash browns.  I saved the largest potato to bake and split between John and I.

Chopped vegetables for the Kale and Farro Stew.  I went ahead and cut up extra celery.  John likes to snack on it.

John washed a load of clothes and hung nearly all of them to dry.

We had the Kale and Farro Stew today and I urge all of you to try it.  I did add a little salt (measured about 3/4 tsp) but the recipe does call for Feta cheese to top the stew.  I think it had the perfect amount of salt for seasoning.  It was a thick and hearty stew and we really enjoyed it.  I believe this will easily feed six.  John went back for a second bowl of it but I've enough left for us to have at least a bowl each from it.  I used dried parsley and had nothing but the bottled lemon juice on hand and still found the stew was full of flavor and had a wonderful texture overall.  The spinach held up very well, too. 

Walked about the yard and looked over the bulbs I've planted.  Every single one of the crocus are up.  The Daffodils planted in pots are not yet peeking out but the ones I'd previously planted in ground are up.  I'll have to move some of them after they die back this year because the area where they are planted is being taken over by the woods at the edge of the yard.  I want them to have sunny areas where they will thrive and multiply.  On second thought, that's where I got into poison last spring...I'll just trim back the baby privet hedges coming up in front of the daffodils and call that good enough.

Wednesday:  Packed John's lunch, made him breakfast and forgot to send him off with his coffee...but that is minor.  He is working an extra half shift today.

Gathered items needed to do some banking today.  I'll go out a little later, take the trash with me, pick up mail, transfer funds, pick up some needed paperwork. 

Have already finished clearing all the lighter things from my guest/craft room.  It's down to the stuff the guys will need to move.  John hasn't done anything at all about his stuff in the music room.  I'll try to move small things but most of this must wait on him.  I do wish he'd at least made a start yesterday but he was tired from his 24 hour shift and didn't do anything in there. 

Washing the sheets and spread from the guest bed.  We've nice sunny weather and higher temperatures today.  Good weather to dry laundry.

As I was clearing stuff from the guest room, I pulled the rug we'd formerly used in the living room sitting area from under the bed.  It's not what I want for the kitchen sitting but it is a rug and it does have some of the colors from the room in it, and isn't a horrible clash.  I've decided that for now I'll put it in that spot.  I don't know if I'll find a rug I like for that area this year, nor if, when I do, I'll have the money to purchase it since all of our Christmas gift monies went into carpeting for these two back rooms.  It will also soften sound in that room a bit.  "Use what you have...."   later note:  John is worried the rug will stain the new flooring as the old rug did the white tile.  So that rug will be coming up when I can move things back to music and craft room.

Earned a few Swagbucks this morning before 7am.  I use these very early morning hours to watch videos on Swagbucks as it does not eat into our data allowance.  I could watch until 8am but I am not going to devote a lot of time to something that eats up a lot of time with small rewards.

Was very tempted to buy take out today.  I headed right back home and made a delicious salad from the other chicken breast I'd cooked  over the weekend.  It was much more tender than the previous one.  I mixed my own dressing to go over the salad.  It was a sort of Oriental chicken salad with orange segments and almonds over grated carrots, leafy lettuces, and red onion.  It was very good!  Made me glad I had fought off the temptation to purchase take out.

My Coke Rewards is phasing out.  They will accept point entries up until March.  You must spend them by June, at which time they will start a new program called CokeRewards.  I do not know at this time if that will include points and a way to earn gift cards or if that is being phased out entirely.  The website says it's by popular demand but I highly doubt that.  I suspect what we'll see is an opportunity to purchase Coke products at discount just from the few things I've seen thus far. 

Got all but two of the special Swag codes today, which boosted my points up by 24 more than what I had this morning.  I'm that much nearer my next gift card.

Thursday:  No carpet today.  We had two phone calls yesterday from the flooring man.  One to delay until Friday and a later one to ultimately reschedule for next week.  My living room is full of excess stuff and I can't get to any foods in the pantry without completely unloading every thing I managed to store in that closet...Soooo not worth it! lol  That said, it took me a moment in Walmart today NOT to buy food items I had in the closet, but I resisted. 

One more use it up:  the nice whole wheat crackers are in the pantry...And I didn't buy another box at Walmart today.  I pulled out the good but shunned Saltine crackers we've kept for a while.  One sleeve used up with tonight's leftover stew supper.

John and I went out today.  He'd suggested going ahead to Driver Services to pick up my license.  I was smug...I had ALL the required documents to prove citizenship and that I am who I said that I am, etc.  Ha.  I didn't have my birth certificate.  I picked it up but I must have put it right back into the box.  It was suggested I could go by courthouse in the same town and pick up a new copy for $25.  I said "No, thank you.  I have a copy. I'll just come back."  After all I'm about to pay out $32 for a license.  I will not pay $25 for silly flustered thinking on my part.  It will cost me far less to pick up my own copy of the birth certificate and drive back.  The loss of time is upon myself.

We went out to eat.  John paid out of his pocket money for our meal.  We ordered an all vegetable pizza and it was just delicious.  NOT having to cook that vegetable meal was deeply appreciated.

We went to Walmart.  It's not a place we frequent only because we can think of dozens of things to add to our buggy.  We went in with a very good idea of exactly what we wanted today.  Did I put anything extra in the buggy? I did.  I bought a birthday card for an upcoming birthday.  I bought a new frying pan to replace my deeply pitted ceramic coated pan that I'd decided this week must be replaced.  I  paid for both of these items out of my own pocket.  They were MY additions.

That ceramic frying pan is the exact replica of the one I bought three years ago for three times the price.  The name brand is different but even the logo on the bottom of the pans was almost identical.  I'm pretty sure I have a 'by the same manufacturer for a different retailer' item on my hands.  The ceramic frying pan lasted me far longer than any of the Teflon ones we'd bought before so there was a savings in purchasing it.  It more than paid for itself, hence I was ready to purchase another.  That this one cost so much less is all bonus.

John bought me the requested birthday gifts.  I wanted a variety of things including a digital cooking thermometer and a couple of other items.  I suggested my gifts would come up to about $30 total and it was $30 spot on.  John paid for those from his pocket money.

Our date was fun and pleasant.  It was beautiful weather.  I so enjoyed that one on one, undistracted time with my spouse.

My lovely stainless compost can that looked so nice on the countertop and not at all like a bucket of stinky food scraps,  developed a pin hole in the bottom despite being emptied routinely and properly cleaned each time.  I told John I think I'll go back to using a cottage cheese container and will try to figure out a suitably nice plant to go in that expensive flower pot I now own.  I hate that it proved to be a short lived thing.  I'm happy I paid such a low price for something that originally cost so much more!

Made out a list of the Kroger free items on my online shopping list.  I will also check the website first thing in the morning for this week's item.  Since I'll be in a town near a Kroger tomorrow,  I'll pick up the free items while I'm out.

Since all other plans have been shot (no hair appointment due to the first rescheduling of the flooring folks), I plan to try to have a little fun while I'm out. I've made and discarded fourteen plans thus far.  I'm going to do something but not sure what.

Friday:  Because we started our fasting early, we finished up a little earlier than most folks.  First cup of coffee this morning in 21 days.  Gracious but it was GOOD!   However, I actually craved that cup of hot tea this afternoon.  So I guess I am now a tea drinker, as well. 

I sent John off to work with a packed lunch.  He goes through stages of what he wants in his bag.  This is a new stage.  I don't mind as long as I'm informed ahead of time and he did tell me in plenty of time to fix just the lunch he wanted for his work day.   He also had his to go cup of coffee and his new go to breakfast: oatmeal. 

Gathered up trash before I left so I could take it to the dumpster.

Went by tag office while I was in the county seat and picked up our tags.  Had a little money leftover.  Enough to boost that tax sub account all the way up to August.  Every little bit helps!

Went by to pick up my birth certificate then drove back over to Department of Driver Services.   Because I'm combining so many errands today, this $25 savings of NOT purchasing another copy of my birth certificate really stretched out.  I still don't see that I saved more than 2 minutes in pre-filling the paperwork out, but 'm good to go for the next 8 years with my license and absolutely certified as a U.S. citizen by the state of Georgia. 

I have a temporary license until my hard copy is ready.   I have a nice enough photo but there's a wattle under my chin.   Phooey on the person who set up the camera so you have to look down.  It ruined an otherwise nice photo of me, which is highly unusual on a drivers license.  They really ought to let us just use selfies...

Took a bin full of items I wanted to donate by my favorite thrift store.  I was told it was buy a bag full for $10 on all women's clothing.  I looked hard at the things in my size but I don't actually need anything, so I didn't buy any clothing pieces. I did try on a brand new pair of shoes but they were 1/2 size too small.   What I did buy were three nice vintage pillow cases.  I will use them to make aprons.  I love a vintage material for aprons.

Went by Kroger and picked up three weeks of free items.  I spent just $5 more on a sales item that I had a coupon for which I plan to put in my pantry, when I can get into it once more.

Had lunch of a pot pie (was supposed to have a cookie but they failed to give me that.  It was part of the meal deal) in my favorite graveyard.  I sat beside a new to me grave today.  This gentleman was a USN surgeon.  His headstone read "A good surgeon  A good friend  A good man" which I thought pretty awesome.  It's not the sort of sentiment you generally see on a gravestone from 1930.  I whiled away my lunch hour wondering all about the good fellow. 

Came home and worked up the checkbook so that we can drop off bills Monday after Harvest.  I figured out that my little pre-paying of car insurance and some of our sub accounts has allotted me al extra money each month.  When I added the remaining tag money and the 'extra' amounts from pre-paid funds to the Tax sub account for the year, I realized that this month I have very nearly fully funded our property taxes.  I will have money leftover the first pay period of February to start pumping up another sub account.  How awesome is that?  I'd never have believed how quickly this could all happen! 

Well, it's the end of the day, sundown just an hour away, so I shall end this week here.  It was not the week I planned but it's been a week!  I think we lived well and wisely.  What did you do this week to live frugally and well?


Anonymous said...

Oh no what insurance check did you lose? Oh how I hate to lose checks.

Anonymous said...

I renewed my driver's license yesterday. The new photo makes me look like I'm on drugs! The gal did offer to retake it but I told her No, I am what I am. smile I honestly don't think it would have gotten any better. I take terrible pics and no, I'm not on any kind of drug! legal or illegal grin. Just sayin' Pam

Lana said...

My husband says that weather men have no accountability! I am always amused at how the forecast changes online as the day progresses so that it matches the actual weather.

I only spent $60 on groceries this month and many budget categories have a lot of extra money left this month. I will roll all the extra into medical bills. Since we started out on 12/27 we have two years deductibles and out of pocket maximums to meet. Ouch! My husband paid all but about $600 of it today. We had thought to trade cars this month since we have enough money saved but we will see. God always provides in amazing ways!

Tonight I cut a large lemon and squeezed only about a teaspoon over my fish at dinner. Instead of putting the leftover lemon in the fridge to find rotten in the back of a shelf I made a pint of lemonade for tomorrow. I wish I had thought to do this a long time ago.

We paid our neighbor boy to do some yard work this week and it was money well spent. We needed to have the yard cleaned up of downed limbs from the snowstorm and the French drains along the front of the house were clogged with leaves.

I know you will be glad to have the carpet finished. Our kids went on and on about the difference in our house with all the new flooring while they were home for Christmas. Our kitchen renovation is a year old now and I do not regret at all choosing laminate counters. I am not a fan of granite and did not want to put it in my house. I am happy to report that I do not have a single scratch on the laminates!

Anonymous said...

Somehow when i have my picture taken they always wind up with my mother's picture. Just can't figure it out. LOL. When they took hubbys pic at the Dr's office she told him how nice it looked. When i asked her if i had mine taken yet, she looked, laughed and said "yours doesn't look so good". Would be interested in reading how you do your genealogy research. Something i would like to get started on sometime. I see you mentioned birthday. Hope you have or had a wonderful one. Gramma D

Lana said...

Gramma D-My Mother keeps showing up in my mirror! Sometimes it almost makes me say YIKES! My husband looks exactly like his late Dad. Sometimes I see him out of the corner of my eye and think is is my FIL. That is pretty strange, too.

Mable said...

I cannot get two satisfactory cups of tea out of one bag but I have about three cups of tea a day. The first two use new bags and the third uses the two teabags I used and saved from earlier in the day. It works out well. Small savings, to be sure, but every little bit helps.

Debby in KS said...

I so clearly remember the day I looked up while brushing my teeth and let out an "ACK!". My husband asked what was wrong and I told him my mom was looking at me in the mirror! I was 43.

Lana said...

LOL! I know what you mean!

Melonie K. said...

That is so exciting about the tax fund! WAY TO GO!

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,
As always, I so enjoyed reading about your week.
Happy Birthday to you (and John as well, if I surmised correctly:).
We celebrated Mike's Birthday last week with a nice dinner out with our son-in-law who was in town on business (they live in Australia).
I really enjoyed your gravesite discovery of "....a good man." So simple yet... beautiful. Thanks for sharing your little stories and observations. (You remind me of Mike as he too somewhat is fascinated by old graveyards and reading headstones.)
Looking forward to reading more!
P.S. Was wondering if you make pizza at home much? It's a great vegetarian meal and fairly easy if you make your dough in the bread machine! We even used to freeze the pizza dough and shredded mozzarella (from Costco) for easy pizza nights! Now that I stay away from bread I sometimes use sprouted tortillas as my crust...these turn out surprisingly good...and I often jarred spaghetti sauce as our base!

chefjulsowings said...

I pound out or marinate the cheap chicken breasts. You didn't say if you did the tea on the stove or microwave. I use mine 3 times unless they are green or herbal and then those are twice. I boil the herbal and green tea always on the stove and let them steep 5 min. I use a small water kettle that is about 20 oz. The other tea I do in the microwave most times the 3rd time I nuke 2 min and let it sit a min . You can check, when I broke my blender jar I used a regular mouth canning jar. All sizes worked.
Love your blog

terricheney said...

Chef Juls thank you! The moment I read your comment I got up and went to try the canning jar with my blender blade and housing. Works perfectly and now I can choose what size jar to mess up! I am very pleased with this. Thank you so much for mentioning it to me!!

Tracey, I haven't made pizza at home in a little while but you're right it's a good way to get a good vegetable pizza. I make my own crust from scratch and no recipe and it's always good. I shall have to add this to my 'at home' menu.

Mabel I will try a combination of yours and Chef Juls technique for getting more use from my tea bags. I have really enjoyed that hot cup of tea and though I used decaf coffee after lunch and limited it to just one cup, I find the hot tea doesn't keep me awake at all as coffee sometimes might. I don't need help NOT sleeping, lol.

Unknown said...

Terri you have mentioned oatmeal prepared with egg in it, would you share recipe?

Unknown said...

Terri you have mentioned oatmeal prepared with egg in it, would you share recipe?

terricheney said...

It's an easy recipe Julie! 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats. Heat and stir on stove top. It takes about 8 minutes overall and I find it best to beat the egg well before putting in the pan. You can sub 1/4 maple syrup for the brown sugar and it's just as yummy. This makes a hearty long lasting breakfast with just enough proteins to carry. The recipe serves 2.

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Well Done!

  Saturday:  I was asked to keep Caleb today and so I'd sort of prepared the house the night before.   I might as well not have bothered...