Living Frugally and Well

I just love this photo of the petunias on the windowsill.  I could just sit and look at it all day long.

Oh dear!  I've been replying to comments with my new email at gmail for the last few weeks.  Well...It's not posting my replies on the blog itself.  So for those of you who are wondering why I'm not answering questions or replying to comments, I am! I have been anyway, it's just now showing up where you can see it. I will, however, be sure to answer them online in the comment forum from now on instead of via my email.  I really thought they would post directly to the blog comments and I've gone a month without one of them coming up as I thought.  

Saturday:  Katie called early enough to let me know she wasn't coming and even said on Friday evening she thought she was going to have to cancel, but I had food thawed and prepped anyway.  Fortunately I could freeze the pie, I refroze the chicken though it was fully thawed and I know it's a no no but I did NOT need to cook all that chicken at once!  Potatoes...That was a problem.  I cooked less than half and still had a ton.  I'll use the rest this week to make potatoes breakfast following John's work day.

We had leftovers for supper tonight.

I whipped up a Lemon Meringue pie for us and figure the cost of this is even cheaper than the Lime Pie I made for Katie's birthday.  I used the Aldi brand of RealLemon juice and so  I'd say the cost of the lemon pie was something nearer $2.99 because that juice is much less expensive than the limes and they were very well priced.

Made out a brief grocery list of needs while I'm out tomorrow after church.

I'd messaged Bess with my rewards spending wish list for hosting the Jamberry party. She placed my order on Saturday.   I got a ton of stuff.  Yes, there was some money out of pocket but not as much as I'd typically spend and the number of items I'm getting for my cash out of pocket is ridiculous.  I won't need any new wraps any time soon, but I'm not kidding myself.  I'm just going to save my money for the Fall when the new catalog comes out and I want to order a fresh lot.  I'm pretty pleased with my earnings for this party and happy Bess benefitted in earning, too.

It rained this afternoon...and I napped as the rain gently fell on the metal roof.  Perfect summer shower activity.

Set two romaine butts and a celery root end in water to regrow.

Sunday:  Made oatmeal for John's breakfast, made sure there was coffee for his tumbler and packed his lunch that I prepped mostly on Friday evening.  Sent him off to work for his usual workday.

I planned to go to church today.  No I normally don't go when John is working but I had a sermon hit home a couple of weeks ago and I knew I had to consider giving up my alone Sundays as a sacrifice offering.  Now this mightn't seem like much to some of you, but for me, it's a real stretch especially when I'm coming off a long period of John having been at home.  I am pretty much ready to just crawl into my shell and putter around it and recover from being sociable for days on end.  Mind you, I'd give up an alone day in a heart beat to spend it with anyone of the grandchildren or children...So when Pastor Jason preached about true sacrifice a couple of weeks ago, it came right on the heels of my telling someone in church once again that I need my alone time and therefore don't come every Sunday.  I'm just going to trust God to see to it that I get the time to myself I need.

And yes, it was a worthy sermon and a great day. Glad I went!

Stripped bed and washed linens and towels.  Hung on the line before leaving home.  

Gathered up the trash to go to the dump and mail to go to the post office and a grocery list for after church stop at the grocery.

Set up 8 fresh outfits this morning.  Wore one to church.  It needs tweaking a bit.

While in grocery, I wandered and looked in an exploratory way.  I bought some powdered milk in envelopes and some whole wheat pasta.  Those items were not on my list but were needed in my pantry and I can't buy or haven't seen these items at Aldi.

Picked up John's prescription while I was in the store.  Cancelled a prescription we no longer need to have filled.

Noted a 16 pack of Nathan's hot dogs was $10 and just at first it seemed a great buy.  I was pretty close to putting in the buggy when I noted that 8 packs were $3.39 a packet.  That's just $6.78 for 16...The store nearly got me!

Starved.  Seriously beyond hungry and edging over to light headed.  Realized I ate at 5:15 this morning and it was pushing 2pm.  That's to long, and I had nothing thawed or quick to prepare at home,  so I stopped and bought myself a small lunch.  I paid for it out of my pocket money and took it over to the graveyard where I like to visit and picnic.

Decided as I sat there that I much prefer an old fashioned graveyard with it's monuments and crooked head stones and overgrown Cedars and Yews and wrought iron fences or simple bricks here and there outlining a family plot than I do those small headstone/plastic vase of flowers on every one, all flat land modern graveyards.  This particular graveyard was established in 1830's and has little hills and rises and birds sing.  It's very pleasant and pretty and just fascinates me to read headstones there.

Added $1 bills to my stash.  Not sure what I'm saving for, but I'm saving it for something.

Came home to all my work pretty much done, save folding the dried laundry on the line.  Just lovely.  A quiet afternoon at home, after all.

Washed a full load of dishes.  While waiting for the water to get good and hot, I filled the dishpan with water so I could hand wash a few pieces that are not dishwasher safe.  Why do I keep harping on the 'full dishwasher'?  Because I know so many who don't fill it full. They just wash what is in it once a day.  I rinse my dishes prior to going into the dishwasher and I make sure to scrub off stubborn food bits.  My dishwasher was not top of the line twenty one years ago and has just one spray arm.  And with my washing only when the machine is full, I want to be sure there's nothing to attract pests.  But when I do wash a load it's a full machine, every single time.

Monday:  Made a 'big' breakfast for John's after work morning breakfast.   I had extra potatoes sliced for Saturday that we couldn't use.  I cooked some with potatoes and onions and put some smoked beef sausage on top.

I mixed up muffins from scratch to go with the breakfast.  I tossed in the last of the blueberries and a few strawberry quarters.  These were super good.

Had to do major surgery on that poor purple petunia.  It also had powdery mildew on top of the horrible aphids.  So, I cut it all back to pretty much nothing, save just a few sprigs that were okay.   I had some healthy tips that I stripped leaves from then washed in soapy water.  Here's hoping I can root some more of these lovely things.  I've not had luck with the other varieties, but the last I did from this plant took well.

Cleaned the front porch this morning.  It needs a little deep cleaning but I just wasn't up to it today.

Sorted out the coupon file, then clipped and filed new coupons.

Worked on the third quarter budget. I was really surprised at how much money John brought home this last quarter.  Given that he's supposed to be getting paid for more hours each pay period and there is not supposed to be a short check each month, and given that he will not be working any over time now that he's working 48 hours per week...I figured our income at about middle of what he's brought home this quarter.  Given that I've paid up nearly all the sub accounts our savings each month will be substantial. Now I need to determine just how that money will be used each month.  Unclaimed funds never last.  If I designate them for say savings or Christmas funding or new mower then I can make our money continue to work for us even if it's not being spent right away.  That beats having it flitter away on lots of little nothings.

I am seriously contemplating giving John and I a raise in our allowance as well.  We haven't had a raise in a couple of years and I know we could always use a little bit more pocket money.  It would also cut down on our urge to spend a little extra here or there.

I felt heartened by the third quarter budget lay out.  It's been hard this year to go without many things I'd liked to have had, to put personal monies aside for things like filling sub-accounts, etc.  Now's the pay off time.

When I made dinner today, I decided to slightly change the menu.  Instead of making Italian Pepper Steak over  rice, I made Pepper Steak sandwiches.  I'd forgotten the purchase of Onion rolls last pay period that I'd stashed in the freezer.  I cut up peppers and onions, used bottled Italian dressing and sliced sirloin steak.  I had enough mixture for 6 sandwiches.  I wrapped 4 and put them in the freezer.  This was a very quick and easy meal and cut way down on the heat produced in the kitchen, too.  I can reheat the frozen sandwiches in the crockpot.  In fact, I think that would be perfect one of these Sundays we're off to church.

While clearing off my desk, I found two receipts from yesterday that I needed to enter into my checkbook.  No big deal.  But I looked at the receipts and both have surveys.  One offers a free product, the other was for a sweepstakes entry.  I entered both online and completed them.

John is very particular about how his fruit looks.  The grapes I bought quickly went past that prime look and are slipping into the slightly deflated look.  But you know what?  They are sweet and they are not spoiled...yet.  So we had grapes for supper tonight.  I might not get him to eat them again but then again, I might if I set them back on the table again tomorrow.  As a matter of fact, I sort of have a plan for them tomorrow that will pretty much incorporate them right into our meal.  It's a new to me Chicken Salad recipe I plan to make and it calls for grapes.

Tuesday:  I decided this morning that it was not necessary to have both eggs and sausage for breakfast.  I opted to make just the sausage and the breakfast was very satisfactory.

John had a repair that needed to be done on a tire.  We went to the tire repair place in the next town but they had gone out of business.  I mentioned to John that there was a full service gas station on the corner.  He was able to get the tire repaired there for $8.

My husband was smart.  He hung around and watched to see what they did to the tire.  Then he drove to the hardware store and bought a repair kit with the same tools and items they used at the station.  It cost $10.95.  He'll have what is needed on hand the next time this happens.

It was just lovely out this morning with low humidity and low temperatures and a nice breeze.  After purchasing gasoline for his car, John offered to buy me lunch which we ate picnic fashion next to a lovely old church with a shaded yard.  No, my picnic areas are not the conventional choices but they do have pleasant atmospheres and often have plenty of shade.

I made deviled eggs and chicken salad for our supper tonight.  I put some deviled eggs in John's work lunch.  John loved the chicken salad recipe I sort of threw together without benefit of a recipe but using a photo only.  It was really good that I've only a very small portion of it left!  I was surprised John liked it so well.

I've been consciously trying to work on Swagbucks this week and so far it's paid off in surpassing goal two days in a row.  I'm not watching videos at all since my hours of free data are between midnight and 8am, but I am attempting surveys and I've been able to get one both days.

Wednesday:  It wasn't but 62F outdoors when John left this morning. I came indoors after seeing him off and opened all the windows.  I think it's good to let the house air out now and then and it was still cool when I shut windows before leaving home.  The humidity today was at a laughable low rate, something we do not typically see in our state and the weather man promises we won't see anytime soon again.

Sent John off to work with breakfast in his tummy, coffee in his tumbler and a packed lunch/supper for his work day.   Yes, I harp on this little task, too.  Mainly because it's a huge money saver.  He could pick up breakfast on his way to work and he could buy his lunch and supper but that would end up costing in the neighborhood of $20 for three meals and snacks each work day.  At two work days per week and 8 per month that makes up $160, which is enough to pay one of  ourregular monthly bills!

Multiply that times 50 weeks a year (he gets two weeks vacation time each year) and it comes up to a whopping  $800 per year.  That's a vacation week and a weekend or two away, if we're going to be frivolous with it and if we're going to put it to work it will cover two annual renewal fees at least.  That's why I keep harping on these repetitive tasks.  They save money but their real value is when you do them over and over again, to the point that you don't even think about them any longer.

I used the water I boiled eggs in to water plants on the front porch.

I washed a full load of dishes last night before bedtime.  This should save on two scores:  it was full and it was after max usage hours.

Took off trash, picked up mail when I went out today.

I threw away all the sales papers I set aside over the weekend.  I decided there is really nothing else I need just now and so I won't keep them laying about where I'll be tempted to go purchase anything.

I walked into CVS this afternoon and bought three items Mama wanted.  I bought only those items, looked at only those items and walked out with just those items.  That's rather major for me but I could honestly not recall one item I'd looked at in the sales sheets anyway.

Had an entrée from the freezer for my dinner tonight.

I asked for a to go box and brought home the biscuits and corn muffins from our dinner out today.

Made myself a banana milkshake: 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of frozen banana chunks, blended in my blender.  Yummy.  Naturally low in sugar and a real treat.  Makes a nice dessert with no guilt.

Thursday:  Made a special breakfast for John this morning.  I saved two very thin slices of steak when I was making sandwiches for our meal Monday and fried them in a skillet this morning.  I served with fried eggs and toasted biscuits and corn muffins I brought home from yesterday's dinner out with Mama.  Honestly, they were delicious with jelly and it made me wonder why I don't normally try corn muffins at breakfast.  I think I need to expand my menu ideas for that first meal!

Cooked potatoes for potato salad.  I tossed in the last of the potatoes I sliced for Saturday's dinner.  I used potatoes that were getting a little past their prime.  I also added in the last of the deviled eggs.  They have the same basic ingredients in them as the salad and why boil another egg when I've leftovers on hand?

I'd planned one menu and then forgot to take out my meat earlier in the morning to thaw.  I just moved to another planned meal since the meat item for that would thaw in plenty of time.

I mixed up jello with peaches and a box of sugar free pudding for cool desserts this weekend.

I thought about the myriad jello salads...Now there's a cool summer side to explore.  I've always disliked the 'salads' that are terribly sweet but I'm going to look around for ideas.  Bess had me make one at Thanksgiving that had cranberry sauce and pecans in it.  It wasn't too sweet and went well with our Turkey dinner.  I'll look for that recipe once again and others that are like it.

Made a note on my pantry shopping list to restock puddings and gelatins.

My menu today would be a good really hot day menu: Hotdogs, Potato Salad, Sliced Cucumbers, 3 Bean Salad.  I served the potato salad warm, which is how I like it.  Once it goes in the fridge it's all John's.  I don't care for it cold nor leftover.  The Cucumbers and Bean Salad were served cold.  I thought this an easy meal and a well balanced one between hot and cold foods.

I made sure to only cook 2 hot dogs each.  I had my hot dogs without the bread. I haven't mentioned my reduction plan of late but I'm still plugging along with it.  I haven't weighed but my clothes are feeling a little looser.

We had rain this afternoon.  I went out three times to put plants under the dripping eaves so they could benefit from that good rain water.

I knew we'd only need half the meat I took out for tomorrow's dinner so I made a quick sloppy joe for supper.  That's something John and I have always enjoyed but it's only in recent years we haven't had a child at home we just flat refused food period if Sloppy Joes were on the plate!

Friday:  I slept in a little this morning.  When I got up I did a mini spa in my shower.  I haven't had a day to myself of late to do a full beauty morning and since we're not sure just what's ahead, I thought I might ought to juts go on and do what I could.

Gave myself a pedicure.

Made pancakes from scratch.  "Big deal", you might well say.  John likes pancake mix.  I have plenty on hand but leave it for him to use or for those mornings when I'm really having difficulty thinking straight.  However, buttermilk pancakes from scratch beat mix hands down in my opinion.  They rose up light and fluffy.  The secret is to use both baking powder and baking soda in them.

Planned weekend meals.  I have meats thawed to cover all necessary meals and have planned sides and desserts.  No need to purchase a thing this weekend to cover our meals.

Put warm water in the pan I cooked the sausage in and scraped the softened bits from the bottom.  This went over pet food this morning, but when I don't have a supply of pupsicles in the freezer for Maddie, I'll pour that water into a paper cup and freeze it.  She's just as happy whether I freeze broth or drippings.

Shopped at home: flour, boxed stuffing mix (for weekend meal), green beans, peanut butter, bean salad, crackers, cream of chicken soup.

The house is pretty much Shabat clean and with meal plans in place, my day is essentially done though it is but noon.  I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon working on blog posts for next week and my July goals.

Share your frugal week with us!

Living Well

This yellow knockout rose is a lesson in patience and endurance and persistence to me.  When we rebuilt the steps at the back deck, after covering to make it a porch, my brother dug up the yellow rose that set in the niche of the steps and old railing.  I was sorry to have it die before it could be replanted.

But this green tendril kept coming out of the lattice at the side of the porch...and it grew and bloomed. I was amused and grateful that whatever bit of root left was growing, but it was coming out from under the steps for heavens sake and I was afraid it would damage the step and porch.  So I cut it off.

It grew out again.  And it bloomed.

So I trimmed it back once more and when it grew out again and bloomed, I left it alone.  Now to look at it, you'd think the whole bush was outside the porch as it ought to be.  No.  It's still growing from under the steps and through the lattice.  It's just decided that it was planted there to bloom and bloom it must.

What a life lesson this rose is being to me!  When I feel I've been cut down and can do nothing, I should keep growing anyway.  I ought to bloom where I'm planted regardless of my dark and cramped circumstances.  I ought to be mindful of the need to show my real beauty every day.  I should persist in doing my best to be my best.  Just like this silly yellow rose..


Carolyn @ Our Gilded Abode said...

Your mention of sitting in the cemetery to enjoy your lunch reminded me of how I’d do that very thing when I worked – to decompress in the middle of a stressful work day, I’d so enjoy sitting in my car at the cemetery and eat lunch while listening to the birds sing. So peaceful. And I totally agree that the older cemeteries are far more interesting – the blackened crooked grave markers of varying heights and sizes. Thanks for bringing back such a comforting memory!

I’m curious as to how you revive the frozen pepper steak sandwiches in the crockpot? Many times I’ll save a partial hamburger but then not really know how to salvage it for later – the bun is usually soggy and there’s a mix of veggies (lettuce/pickles) that need to stay cold while the cheese and meat need to be warmed. Does putting it in the crockpot prevent that? Thanks for sharing!

When you mentioned going to dinner and coming home with biscuits and corn muffins, I immediately thought of Cracker Barrel. Is that where you went? Love them! Thanks for sharing your week with us!

Debby in KS said...

I loved your story about the rose & its persistence! In my 20's, I lived in a rental with a small apricot tree like that. It was growing mostly inside my yard, right up against the fence. Part of it was growing inside the yard of the house behind me. The man over there kept sawing it off on his side, but the part on my side just kept on growing. Apparently his side did, as well, or he would've killed it. I imagine it had grown from a seed that someone had tossed aside in one of our yards. Or maybe a squirrel had brought it in from further away. There were no apricot trees nearby that I was aware of. In any case, that little tree-bush produced only a few pieces of fruit per year, but I've never tasted a better apricot.

You make very good points about the savings occurring from good everyday habits. I think back to my brothers are their perpetual basket of clothes. Dirty or clean? They started out clean, but their laziness caused them to mix them up until they didn't know anymore. So, off they'd go to the washer with that basket. I imagine they probably wore dirty clothes more than once & clean ones often went back into the washer for a wasted re-cleaning. All for the lack of taking the 5 minutes to put the clean clothes away and the dirties in the hamper!! It's the same way I see some friends run that dryer for 2 hours over the course of 2 days to unwrinkle clothes that wouldn't have wrinkled if they pulled them out promptly.
I imagine most of these habits cost an average family about 2000 "only about a dollar"s a year!!

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I enjoyed your story about the yellow rose under you porch that continued to grow toward the light and keep on surviving and even thriving.

I'm wondering along with Caroline, who commented above, how you use the crockpot to revive your steak sandwiches. It sounds like a good idea, but I don't know what temperature would be best, and exactly how you do it.

I would have been disappointed to have prepared for a visit like you did and then not have had it work out at the last minute. My son is in the Air Force stationed overseas. He's been overseas sometimes for long stretches of time and there have been times when he thought he would be coming home for a visit and then things would't work out. It is sad when that happens, and it's not even last minute notice. I always tell myself not to let myself get excited about visits, until it's a sure thing, but hope springs eternal, and I always do get excited. So I live and learn, or not.

Rhonda said...

It's a little complicated to get your blog to have reply under the comments. I did mine a few years ago and remember it was a little tricky.
Just now did a search and found this method and I'm thinking it's what I did.

But you might find an easier way if you search -

Debbie said...

And here I was thinking I was the only one who loved old cemeteries and found them peaceful and beautiful. Glad to see that I am not the only "weirdo" out there. ;) Haha!

I have some poppies that I thought were dead but they just keep coming back year after year, even when I have accidently pulled the plants out when weeding. They did not go to seed last year and yet here they were again. I love it when that happens.

We have been hit with some high car repair bills and have more coming in here soon, so I am cutting way back on my spending. My goal is to be able to eat mainly from our full pantry and freezers (yes, we have the one above the refrigerator and a big upright along with a big chest freezer in the garage also). These bills, along with the quarterly insurance premiums always seem to come due around my birthday. Not the best present and the car repairs put a kibosh on us being able to go out of town for an evening. Such is life.

Lana said...

Clarification on the Swagbucks earnings. It is the apps that we are running 8natended. Thursday night I left Movie Clips running and earned 85 overnight.

Terri Cheney said...

Carolyn and Susie, this reheating sandwiches in the crock pot will be an experiment. I wrapped them in foil to put in the freezer and will leave them in the foil when I put them in the crockpot. I plan to reheat them on low, from frozen state and we'll see how they turn out.

Carolyn we were at Cracker Barrel. Their breads are delicious and I hated to leave them behind!lol

Debbie, why don't you set aside a little money each month towards a birthday for yourself next year? It's a shame to find each year that you can't due to renewals and unexpected bills. Our birthdays come round at the same time that tags are due. I buy a gift card to a favorite restaurant just before Christmas and set it aside for that birthday month.

I love the stories of the poppies and apricots that retuned year after year and glad to find I'm in good company with loving to visit the cemeteries.

Rhonda, thank you. I've copied that link and will look into that.

Anonymous said...

Thank to everyone for the question about reheating the sandwiches. If I was redoing sand which with tomatoes and lettuce I would just take them out and refrigerate till the sand which was done. If they were not to smooched into the bread! :-) I hope yours reheats just right Teri. Great idea. I wondered if you were using grapes in the chicken salad..and you were. I saw such a salad in the ad from Costco a while back. Hubby is scared of eating too much fruit now that he is type 2 diabetic. Sneaking a bit of fruit in this and that helps to get an extra bit extra into his meals. :) I need to do a review of diabetic menu making soon. I am rusty on some things. I just found out a lady I know is diabetic and she will help me too. I can trust her knowledge.
I like it when someone mentioned they just eat regular sugar snacks...but just a tiny bit. Not buying the costly sugar free {but still have carbs} snacks and not enjoying them as much. I will admit a few of the sugar free things we tried taste better than the original to us. Will you use the sugar free jelly mix when you make yours?
I really enjoyed this post..all of it. I wish cemeteries around here were of the old fashioned type. The flat headstones and lack of bushes and flowers seems to sterile. Ours at home won awards for beauty. So peaceful and pretty. Inviting too. I miss being able to tend the bushes or flowering plants around the family stones. Sarah

Grammy Goodwill said...

I love the story of the rose bush and the apricot tree. Great metaphors for life.

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