This Week In My Home: July Showers

This week in my home...

...I am amazed but the weather men have been on a roll of late in predicting the weather rightly.  There is a chance of showers every day.  Every day it rains just enough to soak plants.  The flowers are so appreciative they are just overflowing with blooms.  April showers may bring May flowers but July showers bring a frenzy of summer blooms and I'm loving it!  Who knew what a mild summer with rain could be like?  I'd gotten so accustomed to last summer's hot dry wind and lack of rain where everything curls up and turns brown right away.  Our temperatures are not meant to get much above the high  80s  (the 'feels like' temperatures are much higher) which is unheard of for this time of year.

Katie is our family weather predictor, taking Granny's place in that role.  She tells me we'll continue to have a mild summer, an early mild autumn and a cold winter this year.  Just you all remember, you heard it straight from a natural forecaster.  Katie's been predicting weather since she was a little girl and whatever sense makes it possible has proven itself highly accurate over the years with few fails.

John and I haven't really adjusted to the schedule yet...But we are both determined to 'start out as you mean to go on' as Granny always told me to do when things changed and so I have planned my week accordingly.  Knowing that his time will be at a premium and that we cannot predict how tired he will be after a shift, our plans are made in an open ended manner.  "We'll go here when I come in from work on Tuesday, unless it's a long night and in that case we'll do it Wednesday..." was a conversation we had this past week.   I will say I was rather impressed when he came in last week on Wednesday and had had very little sleep but went right on to run errands anyway.  He didn't take much of a nap that day but he sure did sleep well that night!

I made good progress last week with my goals and managed to figure out a few things that will help me to improve my goals.  These were just personal revelations, not actual planning methods or anything.  I'm happy over that little accomplished.  This week is to be a bit busier so I'll accomplish less but I've started and that is always a major thing, at least it is for me.  Once you start, it's easier to go on.  It's the never starting at all where I tend to get hung up.  I do dislike seeing unfinished things so I'll push on.  

...I plan my work:

Dig up plants from around the Faith Tree.  Another reason I'm pleased over the rain.  It's keeping the ground soft and workable.

Purchase mulch.

Get a haircut.  I've put this off too long.  I'd planned to go on Friday but I do loathe to make a one purpose trip and not have other errands I can combine to make it worth the gasoline.  This week I have to be in the area for another purpose so I'll combine haircut, errands and visit.

I meant two weeks ago to take photos of the house and 'see' what needed to be tweaked, cleared, etc.  I never got around to that.   I took them on Friday of last week and I'll sit down with pen and paper and make out a list of things I see that must be corrected.  Sometimes it's just adjustments in how I've dealt with a space, or an unexpected tendency to gather clutter, but sometimes it's actually a decorating task that I'd left unfinished and grown blind to, or which hadn't worked out but I quit without figuring out how to make the needed adjustments to right it.  It's ALWAYS eye opening! 

There's a new flea market in the next town and I'd like to stop in and check it out.  If it's nice I'd like to see if they have space and what rental is and whether it would be viable for  me to do this again. This may be bumped to next week as I've no idea what the hours of operation are, nor whether I'll be back in that town anytime this coming week.

I want to change things up a little in the house.  I really want to take time to contemplate what changes I'd like to make and how I'll make them.  I've removed quilts from the backs of the living room chairs for summer.  I've switched chairs about in there, too.  I've removed a few things and rearranged a few more in other rooms...but it's not quite enough.  I have ideas but need to work out how to manage them.  The pictures taken will help but a few spots I already knew I wanted to work on before taking the pictures.

Make yogurt.  I meant to do this two weeks ago and didn't and let the half cup of yogurt I took from the freezer spoil.  I bought plain yogurt last week just so I could start fresh.

Sort out the kitchen cabinets on the wall that divides the dining room and kitchen.  I know there are some things up there that need to be used or tossed.  Inexplicably our snack cupboard section has expanded hard to take up a goodly portion of the section next to it.  I'd like to see if I can better organize the area and make it work differently than it is at the moment.

Make cranberry sauce.  I am out of cranberry sauce.  Aldi doesn't have it in stock this time of year.  We eat just enough chicken and dressing (Alpine casserole for instance) and pot pie to make it a year round favorite here.  I refuse to pay the cost of the stuff at the other grocery stores.  Especially when I have three pounds of berries in the freezer and it's super simple to make.   Did this on Friday...I was planning ahead when I wrote this and then I decided to just do it!

Make room in the freezer for the meats I hope to purchase this week.Ditto above

All the routine housework and meals and such...

...I plan meals:

Roast Chicken, Zucchini au gratin, Green Peas with Mushrooms,  Rolls, Mini Boston Cream Pies
I made a single layer cake instead as I realized that making it that way would allow me to have enough to put in John's lunch two times this week as well.  I also discovered two things: I mightily dislike the taste of aspartame now that we've moved so hard away from it.  No more sugar free puddings with that ingredient in them!  Yuck!  

My second discovery was that I made really good use of the oven that morning:  I baked the cake, then put in the breakfast biscuits and the roast chicken.  That was a good thing.  I forgot that the Zucchini dish had to be made in the oven as well and so I ended up heating the oven up later that morning.  BIG mistake!  It made the house uncomfortably warm and the AC ran at top notch and still couldn't keep to the set the temperature.  It was unpleasant until later in the afternoon when we had a heavy storm go through and that cooled down the house and the temperatures outdoors.

24 Hour Layered Salad with Chicken Slices, Cheesy Garlic Toast, Fresh Plums
Hot Dogs in Bakery buns, chips, 3 bean salad, Boston Cream Pie
I made the menu change for two reasons.  John and I had both eaten chicken for four days running.  We were starting to get broody.  I also couldn't find the layered salad recipe anywhere in my cookbooks.  I mean to find one online and print it out.  I swear I had a cookbook with a pretty photo of the salad in a glass bowl but doggone if I can find it in any of the ones I have at present.

on my own x2

Hamburger Pie, Steamed Broccoli, Orange Gelatin with Canned Peach Slices
This orange gelatin with peach slices in it was a happy discovery.  I had half a can of peaches left from John's lunch prep one day and mixed up the Jello and laid the slice into it in a pretty pattern.  It was soooo good!  We both raved over it.  Happy discovery now a regular for our summer menus.

Fajitas, Corn on the Cob, Green Salad, Mini Boston Cream Pie
I bought lovely bell peppers this past week.   Aldi has a package of thin sliced sirloin steak in the meat case that we purchased two pay periods ago and tried.  It's almost as thin as breakfast steaks and it slices up so easily for stir fry etc.  It was super tender and not at all gristly or fatty.  We were duly impressed.  

The package we bought this past week I divided into five packets.  Two 2piece packets for breakfasts (half slice of steak in each) and then I put two full slices in the other three packets.  I think it will be enough meat for the two of us.

Spaghetti  a la Diable, Wedge Salad, Cheddar Biscuits, Orange Gelatin with Peach Slices
Leftover chicken can be used in this menu along with some of the fresh mushrooms we bought.  We should have stopped sprouting feathers by now.

...I plan to watch for sales on...

Thought I'd add a new section to our weekly list.  I'm always watching for sales on things.  I know about what I'd normally pay for an item on sale and when I find things at that price once again I'd like to stock up.  I have had to raise my prices on a few things here and there but I generally know about the time I'm down to my very last of an item whether or not I'm going to see that 'buy price'.  This past week I finally restocked canned Pineapple.  My 'buy' price went up $.25 a can but I'd waited six months to see how prices went and that was the best price.   As of this week I'm watching for the buy price on:

Bathroom tissue.  I'm over halfway finished with my last 36 roll package.  I bought this just after Christmas 2016 and I need to restock.

School supplies to restock my office supplies.  These sales are just starting to show up as of last week. Labels, pens, notebooks, file folders, planners...There are so many things that come in handy for the home office.  It does take a bit of getting used to having you planners run from July to June but that's minor when you consider the difference in costs between school planning calendars and those sold at start of the New Year.

Fall suitable clothes on the clearance racks...I'll shop for darker color items of the reduced summer stock. 

Canning jars.  I use them for storage, for canning, for dry pantry items, etc.  I need some more!  

Square plastic freezer containers.  I'm so over trying to store the odd shapes of frozen packages and having burst bags etc.  The milk jugs work well for the loose flash frozen items but I want something for things like soup etc that are just awkward to freeze in jars and round containers.  I've found a few at our Aldi but naturally they are now out of stock.  I figure someone has some more.

Decaf Ground Coffee.  Because we don't like the brand at Aldi this often necessitates waiting for a good sale.  I haven't seen one in several weeks now so it's about time.  If all else fails, I'll do a bulk order through

Vitamins and supplements.  

Chicken Breasts, Thighs, and Hamburger.  

...I plan fun and relaxation:

This week I am having lunch out with Mama one day and another day I plan to visit Katie and Taylor.

Time to choose a new book to read.  Should have several new issues of vintage July magazines arriving as well.  Doesn't the spot above look cozy for reading?

I've been meaning to share this but Sally read of my desire to take up embroidery once more.  What she didn't know was that I had one small hoop and about three skeins of floss.  It just so happens that she was clearing her craft room and you all should just see the wealth of things she bestowed upon me!
This photo doesn't show it all.  And yes, those ARE finished pieces she included that are just lovely.  I hope to incorporate these into my sitting area in the kitchen...I've got ideas!

There are dozens of iron on patterns, loads of thread, hoops, kits, books...and the sweetest little old fashioned handkerchief.  I do love handkerchiefs!

So the point of showing you all this is that this week I plan to start to learn to embroider once again. I'll take some quiet time each afternoon that I'm home to begin a project of some sort if it's nothing more than a sample of stitches just to practice my hand at them.


susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I'm still chuckling about you guys eating so much chicken you are starting to feel "broody". My menu plans always have to be rearranged so we don't end up with so many chicken based meals in a row. But this week I just winged it and didn't make out a menu plan ahead of time. I think I'm getting "broody" too this week. Chicken based frozen dinner, husband's choice of grocery store hot table fried chicken; leftover cold fried chicken; and for Day 4 today I made a ham/spinach quiche, made with 4 eggs. At this rate we will be growing feathers soon.

The peach and orange Jello sounds very refreshing and cool. I need to give it a try.

I used to enjoy embroidery, but found stitching on a stamped pattern like on pillowcases, to be so much more relaxing than counted cross stitch, but I loved the way counted cross stitches pieces looked when they were done. That was when my kids were little and a lot of interruptions were happening. My last counted cross stitch was a cute pattern but by the time I finished stitching the duck on the shelf that was part of the design, I had lost count of my stitches and my duck ended up looking like a long legless dachshund with a duck head. It had to be ripped out and restitched. In spite of that, I have lately been thinking of trying counted cross stitch again.

Lana said...

Home from the lake today and I need to regroup and get my head in the game for home. Ten days away and I am hard pressed to get back in the game!

My favorite freezer containers are the Rubbermaid multi-packs from Dollar Tree. They last and last for freezing which is just not the case for a whole lot of containers I have wasted money on.

I was pleasantly surprised to find all my pots looking great after 10 days away. We had a lot of rain, too. Only thing is that those daily rains never let our porch swing dry out.

We don't do any artificial sweeteners. The more research I do on them the more they scare me. Besides the yucky taste.

Becky Gepford said...

We have a store called Bi-Mart where I usually get most of my preserving supplies. They often have the little square freezer containers. I do not know if you have that store where you live. I have so many of the little square cartons, and I do find that they protect from freezer burn better than thinner ones, and also stack so well. I have them in 3 sizes--pint, 3 cup, and quart. After running out, or if I'm too lazy to go to my stash out in the shop for only 1 carton, I use Ziplocks but am also frustrated when the frozen, bagged leftovers cascade out of the fridge freezer onto my toes, because they are SO slippery. I've started keeping a few in a basket on top of the dryer for a quick way to grab them.

It sounds like you had a great week. I'm glad you are getting adjusted.

I love to embroider, especially stamped designs on dish towels. They make great gifts, too.

Vintage Ellen said...

My doctor told me to stop using artificial sweeteners because they can cause problems with depression and sleep. I've noticed I don't feel so "wound up" since I stopped using Equal.

Lana said...

Vintage Ellen, that is interesting. I know three people who are diet soda addicts and all three have reumatoid arthritis. Too much of a coincidence for me.

Diary for July: Week Two

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