Living Frugally and Well: Summer Breezes

Saturday:  Played it smart this morning: baked a cake, cooked biscuits and started a chicken roasting in the oven early this morning.  The cake went in first and the biscuits and chicken went in as the cake came out.  Cakes like dry heat in an oven, while pies and muffins and breads don't mind moist heat at all and can be baked all at once if need be.

Wish I had remember to start the zucchini while the oven was going.  I didn't and so I heated it up again nearer midday and boy was that a mistake.  It warmed the house up, made the AC run harder than it would have done and necessitated turning on room fans as well as upping the speed on our ceiling fans.  Sigh...Noted and will be sure to pay attention to that in the future!

I made Boston Cream Pie from my layer cake.  My first batch of ganache to top the cake was an utter ruin, runny and grainy looking.  I used some of that mixture though to moisten the next batch of melted chocolate chips and it turned out just fine.  I think I just overdid the amount of milk I added.  I'll use the mixture in iced coffee or something this week.

Boiled the giblets and set aside to feed to the pets.  I'll use the broth to make Maddie pupsicles.

John ate leftovers for supper from his work lunch that he'd brought home.  They'd gone out to eat with a flight crew Friday evening so he brought food home.  I was so full, I opted for a cup of milk with cheese and crackers as my supper.

I emptied the trash can this evening as it was raining and boy did that can smell.  No clue why.  I took it out and set it under the downspout off the roof and let it partly fill with water.  I put cleaner in and washed it out and then let more water runoff  rinse the can.   Left on the back porch to dry.

John washed a load of clothes this morning.  No idea why.  He knew I'd wash clothes in the morning but he just wanted to do the load I guess.  He hung several pieces to dry.

Sunday:  Toasted split biscuits this morning to go with our eggs and fried bologna.

John went into grocery alone today.  Cheapest way to go usually.  He wasn't minded to spend  much as he paid from his pocket for the purchases.  I asked only for a package of bakery hot dog buns.

Came home and made a quick and easy meal.  Hot dogs, with chilled canned 3 bean salad, and chips.  I put two hot dogs in buns and wrapped to go in his lunch tomorrow. I have enough hot dogs left to have them for supper tonight.  I'll serve with fresh fruit this evening.

Prepared John's work meals and put in the fridge.

Washed a full load of sheets and towels this morning.  It was foggy this morning and meant to be rainy this afternoon.  I dried the clothes in the dryer, dividing the load between towels and sheets.  This meant everything dried in about 45 minutes.  Altogether would have taken ten to twenty minutes longer.

Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher this afternoon.

Before we headed home from the town where our church is, we stopped and filled my car.  Gasoline in that area is about 15c a gallon less than in our home town.

Monday:  Sent my man off to work in the usual way: breakfast, coffee, packed lunch/supper. 

This time of year, I usually include some Gatorade or PowerAde because in the heat and humidity it takes no time to unbalance the body's electrolytes.  I buy multipacks and when I can find it as a bogo I do that.  Bottom line is I won't pay more than $.50 a bottle (often  I get it for less) which is cheaper than soda and absolutely a good bit of insurance to put in the lunch bag.

Repotted the tomatoes.  Well, I repotted two.  I didn't really have enough soil but I figure they are better off separated than crammed into that smaller pot together.  I'll pick up more soil sometime this week and pot the other two properly.

Ate my last entrée from the freezer for my dinner today.  I topped it with leftover tomato and onion I had in the fridge and the romaine I'd grown from the butt end I'd put in water.

Shopped at home to make my desk space work better for me.  It's not my dream desk yet but it's a sight closer to being that than it was!

                                                                 and after!

I 'shopped at home', made the best of what I had on hand.  I'm pretty pleased with the transformation thus far.

Then I went to work on the laundry area.  This has been on my mental list (never yet on an official list) for years.  I do a little something and then move on to more important, more visible spaces.  Not completely happy with that area yet but it's what I have at the moment.  Eventually I'll have it as pretty as I know it can be.

Ate leftovers for supper.  I was surprised to find a bit of leftover chicken in the fridge.  I might be clucking but there's nothing like a tired woman finding ready to eat food to make her happy!

Kept lights off all day long.

Skipped making coffee this afternoon.  I'm low on decaf and since I didn't go out as planned today, I didn't pick any up as I'd meant to do while out.

Change of plans.  I was meant to go out with Mama today but she texted as I started out the door to say she had a doctor's appointment.  I changed my plans entirely.  I sat down and refigured my day.  I went nowhere but I stayed plenty busy.

Tuesday:  Woke early this morning.  I know why I couldn't sleep in.  I was so tired last night I couldn't make up a breakfast menu for this morning.  I had to wake early so I could make a reasonable plan.  Had a good start on breakfast before John came in from work.

Put away leftovers from his work bag right away.

John washed a full load of clothes.  Heavy humid air and overcast outdoors had him hanging clothes to dry indoors.

I'd just finished my morning routine work when Bess called and then Sam called right behind her.  Sam was on his way to Birmingham for a regional meeting.  He happened to be taking the route that leads along the Federal highway through our little town.  He called to ask if he could stop for lunch.  Of course, I said "Please do!"

That meant I had to get busy and plan a meal.  I'd taken hamburger from the freezer but it wasn't thawed.  What to do?!  I couldn't bear the thought of more chicken, I just couldn't.  So I made a big pan of spaghetti sauce.    I filled the pan with vegetables first: zucchini, carrot, onions, tomato, green bell pepper, then added in the meat and seasonings.   I stretched spaghetti sauce in this way when the hungry horde lived at home and money was tight.  I've never stopped making sauce this way.  We get a serving of vegetables with every scoop of sauce.

I put a bunch of sauce in the freezer after dinner.  Nice bonus of an easy meal.  I had leftover spaghetti as well which I dressed with oil then packed into the freezer.

Wednesday:  With John's new schedule it is necessary to really pack these single days full.  Today we cleaned house, took off trash, drove to Macon stopping at the post office on the way, then drove from Macon to Warner Robins to run another errand.  Back home we took stuff from the car and put it in the house then drove into town to run two more errands (opposite direction from where we'd headed this morning).  And when we got home we did a whole lot more work.  I'll share it all below.  The point of this paragraph: we combined errands and runs!

In Macon we shopped at the specialty grocery and got chicken breasts and ground beef.  I also bought some decaf coffee, the sort you grind fresh.  Boy did that coffee smell good all through our trip!  Gracious!

We drove from Macon to Warner Robins so John could book his transportation for his trip later this month.

We removed money from a savings account to cover the meat purchase and his transportation costs.

We came home, picking up mail on the way in.  We brought in our groceries then loaded right back into the car and went into our local town where I went into a local bank to tend to another matter and John bought gas for the lawnmower.

When we came home I started milk heating for yogurt, divided and put the meat into the freezer.  I froze some of the beef in hamburgers and then flattened the rest out into thin layers in zippered bags.  That thin layer of meat freezers quicker and takes up less space than lumps of meat.  I was able to pack the beef and chicken into the lower half of the refrigerator freezer.  I have a wire shelf that splits that space into an upper and lower space.

I made 6 cups of homemade yogurt.

John mowed the entire lawn.  He'd originally planned to just 'start' the lawn but I guess he decided he'd rather not do it Friday after work after all.

I prepared his work lunch/supper for tomorrow and set up oatmeal and coffee for morning.

I packed the car to make a trip up to Katie's.  I had my usual load of stuff going up her way, lol.

Thursday:  Sent John off to work.  Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Gathered my deposit to go out the door with me, as well as few other necessary items.

Opened the dishwasher door and let the dishes air dry while I was gone.

Turned up the AC to 78f.  With no one home I think it's unnecessary to leave the AC set at 76f.

Watered the plants in front of the back porch with the water I used to incubate my yogurt yesterday afternoon.

Took off trash.  I found four landscape blocks at the dumpster.  It was worth my time to get a little hot and messy to get those four blocks.  I added them to my stack at the house. I think I'll have plenty to go around my Faith Tree now.

Stopped in two different towns in order to make a deposit.  I'm unimpressed with service at both bank branches and plan to lodge a complaint for both.

Spent a quiet day with Katie.  She was unwell.  Glad I took her something to have for supper.  I stopped on my way home and used a gift card to purchase a meal.  I paid 36c out of pocket for my supper.

Katie gave me an old smart phone of hers.  She set it up for me.  The nicest touch was the cover she bought for me to go on the phone.  It's covered with soft pink roses.  My girl knows me very well.

Friday:  John washed a smaller load of clothes this morning when he came in from work.   He hung most of the clothes to dry.

I was out of grits but had a box of creamy wheat from Aldi (Farina) and used that to make cereal for breakfast.  It was pretty good!  I haven't had farina in ages and ages, not since the kids were in school.

Went through the fridge and gathered several items up to use right away: a bit of leftover chopped tomato, a small jar of tomato sauce, a cut onion, chicken cooked last weekend. I divided the chicken and put half in the freezer for chicken pot pie.  I made a Spaghetti a la Diablo for our dinner.  This used the rest of the chicken, the onion, tomato and sauce and some mushrooms from the fridge.  I had enough to put an entrée in the freezer for a future meal, today's dinner and leftovers enough for John's work lunch on Sunday.

I put the chicken carcass in the freezer.

I heated some water to boiling for Jello.  I had more water than needed so I put tea bags to steep in the hot water.  This made tea concentrate for me to use for my daily glass of iced tea.

I saved the water from cooking the Green Peas to go with our dinner since I hadn't seasoned them.  I added more water to the cup I'd poured that water into, then added the bags to let them steep again in that water.  I also took up the dishwater when I was done with dishes and poured it over plants.  The pea liquor and tea steeped water went over the geranium.  I set the hydrangea down in the drip water from the AC drain.  This got all of the plants fully watered with yesterday's leftover water from the yogurt incubation.

Took time to plan meals through the weekend.  I'll need to work up next week's menu, too but I at least have an idea of what I'll need to do this weekend for meals.

Made some more pupsicles for Maddie.  I used broth made from cooking the giblet package from the chicken I cooked last weekend.  I'd fed the liver, heart and gizzard to the pets last weekend and then put the broth in the fridge.

I've  a couple of more tasks to attend to this afternoon but I am calling the work pretty much done.  Come share what you did this week to save.

Living Well

This week I want to share a brief excerpt from Gladys Taber from the 1964 Family Circle:

...But our best thoughts, I believe, often come when we are alone in a quiet time. It is good to listen not to voices but the wind blowing, to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsing with the weight of pollen.  If we attend to the music of the earth, we reach serenity.  And then we can share some of it with others in some curious way. 


Regine Karpel said...


Lana said...

Long term disability was approved through the end of October for my husband so more time to heal. Income goes to half in one week. I sat down and made out a new budget and by eliminating what we normally put into savings and 401K we will be just fine. We will keep the savings deposit into our escrow account that we pay taxes and insurance on the house from. We will also learn how it will be to live on Social Security since it is practically the same amount. We can maintain all charitable giving on the new budget too, along with our regular date money amount. This is a good trial run to see how retirement will play out.

I went online and checked on cell phone plans with our current provider and found we could triple our data for only $1.55 more per month. Win! This will be helpful when we are at the lake since we have no internet over there. We have decided that we need to check on plans every six months to see if there is a better deal.

Our extra refrigerator in the garage died several months ago and we had enough saved to replace it so I found what we wanted on sale and there was also free delivery so we saved $180 on the purchase. I ordered it online and we never even left the house so gas was saved. (We had looked in the store previously.) And they will haul away the old one! It will be so good to have the extra space again.

Stocked up on eggs at 35 cents a dozen and milk at $1.39 a gallon. Lidl coming to town has caused Aldi prices to plummet on some things to keep our business. I am not a fan of Lidl anyway. Total for groceries this week was $33.

We had some leftover grilled chicken that was kind of tough so I ran it through the food processor and made chicken salad out of it. It is fine that way and we have yummy lunches for a few days to come. I baked bread and cookies and we mostly ate at home. Chick fil A day we put on our 'Eat Mor Chiken' signs that I save from year to year and grabbed lunch for only $3.60.

Have a great weekend all!

Debby in KS said...

It seems you got a lot done this week! I must admit that I was impressed that you had any energy left to come home and finish or do anything! It is so miserably hot here that even the simplest errand sucks all my energy for the day. I've been trying to have most of my labor done before 10am everyday and leaving the lighter stuff for later on. I avoided the yard all week but for watering. We were blessed with a nice downpour last night. It sure perked everything up. I hope we get another tonight.

I love Cream of Wheat (Farina). I grew up on that and oatmeal. I do hot cereal every weekday morning from about Sept. thru' May. During the summer I eat cold cereal.

I've been clearing out the office & trying to reduce the clutter. I realized yesterday that I'm nearly done! All the nooks and closet are completely done. I'm down to just surfaces! I figure a couple of hours of thinning and fighting my hoarding tendencies lol, and my little office should be much better!!

I've determined that my favorite summer flower is phlox. I bought a small one years ago and the blooms are so pretty outside and in vases. I whispered to my doggy that for Mother's Day next year, I want about 6 new phlox plants to put in the front yard!! My doggy is a great listener!!

Enjoy your week!!

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Your idea about smashing the hamburger into thin flat portions is a good one. I'm going to be using it. Your work/planning desk is looking cute. It looked cute before, too.

I know just what commenter, Debby in KS is talking about being drained by the heat after running errands. I guess the same heat wave has settled over Missouri, too. I get so hot doing multiple errands getting out of the cool car and then back into it when it is breathtakingly hot.

I am going to start taking a cold wet cloth in an insulated plastic bag to cool myself down with until the AC in the car starts cooling. When I get home from my errands, I water my outside plants and then I am in for the day. By the time I change into my "play" clothes, rinse my face with cold water, and sit down and drink some ice water, I am about done in and that is when it is time to get some house stuff done and start making dinner.

Maybe if I can get myself up and out of the house earlier in the morning, I will be able to get more done.

Becky Gepford said...

I have to confess that one of the favorite special breakfasts I made for the older kids when they were little was cream of wheat with a few M and M's in the bottom of the bowl. Then, the hot cereal was spooned on top, and they got melted slightly. Yum, and super special for them. We always played a game where I pretended I had no idea how they got in there, that no self-respecting mother would put CANDY in the cereal at BREAKFAST, and so on.

Those days are gone, along with almost all of the wheat in the house, but once in a while, I still slip some into creamy rice cereal for Ja'Ana. I'm not sure I've ever done it for Patsy. I'll have to do it one day soon, now that it's come to mind:) (Bummer being #8)

Carolyn @ Our Gilded Abode said...

You had a great week! I do as you do with ground beef for freezing in thin layers. I place the beef in a freezer storage bag and close 3/4 of the way. Then lay bag flat on counter and press beef flat to remove any air inside the bag. Seal firmly and store flat in freezer. This works so well because you can then simply stack layers of frozen food in the freezer. I do this for all leftovers and veggies as well. And the thinner layer of frozen food thaws much quicker, too. :)

Rhonda said...

Good morning Terri, you know posts like these from you are my very favorite ❤️
I'm so sorry Katie has been through such an ordeal and I hope she doesn't have any more. I'm glad you could help her.
You have really good comments too, my brother just told me another German grocer was expanding in the US. I hadn't heard that but see from Lana that it's Lidl.
I didn't get much accomplished last week as we had multiple grands here a lot. We did spend one day cleaning our garage top to bottom and I'm so glad to have that done.
Hope you have a really nice new week, my sweet friend.

Angela said...

Look forward to these posts every week! I hope Katie is feeling better. Could you please share your Boston cream pie recipe? Surprisingly, none of my cookbooks had it and I couldn't find a recipe online that looked just it. And it sounded so good!

Terri Cheney said...

Rhonda, Aldi is also opening 900 new stores in the US...Bess and Sam are hoping hard that one opens nearer them. The nearest is on the other side of Jacksonville, FL and involves driving nearly 2 hours one way. The next nearest is in Warner Robins where I shop and that is 3 1/2 hours away.

Angela, I'll be posting that Boston Cream Pie recipe within a week or so. It's part of my cool summer eating series.

Anonymous said...

Our Aldi is expanding and remodeling. It looks like they are going to add a lot of square footage. Going to be closed for 5 weeks so I will be stocking up. Couldnt live without my Aldi! Gramma D

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...