Planning Ahead: Holidays

We don't do anything for Halloween in our home.  When the children were here we did try to make fun with the day even long after there were past the age of trick or treating.   Living so far off the road here in the country we don't get any trick or treaters, either.  So  Halloween  has become sort of a beacon light.  Time to flip the calendar to November...and that is a reminder that the holidays are coming up and I'd best get busy with my planning if I haven't already started!

I don't do deep cleaning this time of year, unless a job is just glaringly obvious in need of being tended to.  Deep cleaning can wait until the New Year is well started when I go on a declutter and cleaning spree.  It suits me best that time of year.  This time of year, it's enough to work on holiday stuff.

This Week in my Home: Changes

I've been thinking for some time now that I'm ready to change up the way I post.  I don't want to do away with the Living Frugally and Well posts nor the This Week In My Home post, but it seems to me I might combine them into one post simply titled "This Week In My Home" and be done with it.  So starting this Friday, November 3, I will post my first combined post.  I'll share what I did in my home, how I saved money, what meals we ate and how I spent my leisure time.  I feel these posts will combine well into one. 

Living Well: More Than Enough

Saturday:  John worked last night.  That means a big breakfast is wanted this morning.  I made breakfast sandwiches, but broke my own rule.  I know never to start breakfast until he calls.  Sure enough he was late coming in this morning.  I wrapped the sandwich with aluminum foil and left in te warm oven.  It was plenty hot when he came in.  Nice to have the extra time, two and a half hours of overtime.

While I waited on John to come in, I put all the printed material into the proper genealogy files.

Coffee Chat: Rainy Days and Mondays

Hello loves.  Hurry in out of the rain.  We'll try to time our chatter so at you can dash out when the rain lets up once again.

Stand here with me at the window for a moment.  Doesn't it look like autumn at the moment?  All those leaves that have blown off the trees, the colors of gray skies and brown and copper leaves.  Sigh.  It does make me happy to look out the window.

Have some gingerbread with your coffee.  I made it late last week when I had the oven on to bake a banana bread.  I have tried many recipes over the years for Gingerbread and I think this may be 'the' recipe.  It's such a lovely dark but moist ginger bread!  John likes it with a dollop of whipped cream.  I like it plain.  When the kids were growing up, I almost always served gingerbread with a bowl of homemade applesauce.   It was lovely on a cold night to have a piece of spicy gingerbread with warm applesauce following our meal.

This Week In My Home: Homemaking Hymn

In my home this week:

 I have once again been enjoying the bird bath that sits under the pecan tree.  The view is directly across from my chair in the living room and so I am well able to see the birds that visit that bird bath throughout the day as I am meant to be working...We won't discuss the fact that I'm truly meant to be working in the kitchen at my desk.

Here is one benefit to the lack of rain.  The birds flock to the bird bath to bath or drink.  This week it was mostly Blue Jays who visited.  I watched Friday afternoon as one turned from the bath after drinking, his beak still glistening in the sunlight before he flew off.  A few minutes later it was a Brown Thrasher which is our state bird and most aptly named as it wears a decidedly brown suit of feathers and it makes a huge noise when it's seeking food on the ground as it 'thrashes' about in the dead leaves.  On days when the windows are open and the sheers have been pulled back, I can see the birds clearly but other days I catch silhouettes more than color.

Follow the Cloud by John Stickl

I've had this book for a few months now on my reading table.  I pick it up  and put it down.  That's not because the book is boring.  It's thought provoking.  I can only take in so much of what Mr. Stickl has written and then I must digest it for a bit.

No, it's not a difficult book.  It's written clearly and feels as though I'm in a personal conversation but the content of what he's saying makes me stop and examine myself and my relationship and my ideals and adjust them as I feel led after the soul searching.

I recommend this book to anyone who is wandering why you are stuck, or who wonders if you really do have a mission in life or how you will ever hear from God.

Living Well: Autumn Breezes At Last!

Saturday:  We slept in this morning, something we seem to do more and more of lately.  It's very unusual for us to sleep beyond 7am and to make it until 8am is really something.  Kinda nice though on Saturday morning, agreed?

Watched what there was of sunrise.  It lightened up.  But sunset was worth viewing.

I didn't do any dinner prep yesterday, but dinner was easy enough.  I chopped butternut squash and onion and an apple, halved some petite potatoes and nestled these all around a whole chicken that was well seasoned.  I poured a little apple cider in the pan and then salt and peppered the vegetables.  I let it cook slow in the oven then cranked up the heat for a half hour at the end so the skin on the chicken would crisp and the edges of the vegetables would brown a bit.  Oh my!  Cider Braised Chicken is so very good.

At Last! A Lovely Gift

Not a very clear picture but there's a reason why I wanted you to see my bulletin board a little more closely...

Back in the summer, I wrote about my desire to refresh my embroidery skills.  Well I had a lovely surprise from a reader who told me she'd been decluttering her craft room and she had a 'few' embroidery items she'd love to share with me.  

She understated 'a few'!

This Week In My Home: Second Verse Same As the First

In my home this week...

...I am mostly repeating last week's plans since I was out of commission all week long and then Friday John and I took advantage of my feeling so much better to finally make a trip to the grocery and then go out to the missed but much planned for meal.  It wasn't exactly the day we'd planned originally but some things don't get repeated right away.  Ho hum.

I do feel much better and have already been hard at work this afternoon.  I'm merely sitting down to cool off at the moment. 

Living Frugally and Well: Working on a Profitable Month

Saturday:  John and I slept in a little late then lazed about the house.  This is our Shabat and we take the 'rest' part of the day as seriously as we take our daily reading and study.  I didn't prep dinner for today yesterday so I thought long and hard before committing to any plan.  In the end, I made a salad, reheated the leftover pan of Chicken Enchiladas and called that good enough for our dinner.   I offered leftovers to Bess for supper that evening.

Put all the leftover salad into a bowl for my supper tomorrow night.

Pulled chicken breasts from the freezer and thawed last night.  I wasn't sure what time to expect Bess, so I decided against making the casserole dish I'd planned.  Instead I put those on to boil with a half onion and a very big carrot.  I made sure not to salt any of this.  I wanted that carrot to blend with some of the chicken broth for Mr. Isaac who thinks food is good stuff.  He's been eating baby food packets all week and I thought he might like a 'homemade' bit of baby food.  He seemed to really enjoy it.

Iced Tea Chat: Autumn, Where Art Thou?

It's not cool outdoors, not in the least.  The gnats will drive you pure distracted as well, so you might just as well come on inside and let's have an iced tea chat.

No cookies but a chocolate cake.  I don't know why I baked a chocolate cake except suddenly I could taste chocolate cake.  I typically don't make chocolate cakes because I haven't found a good recipe for one.  I've tried a new recipe this time.  We'll see.  I'm letting the layers cool and then I'll fill them with vanilla buttercream frosting.   I've promised a baking to someone as a thank you gift for a kindness and then John has asked for his favorite cookies, as well.  His are the no baking required stove top cookies and as long as this heat is to continue I'd say his odds of having his favorite cookies are quite good!   I want to bake.  Autumn lends itself to baking I think and to slow simmering stews and pot roasts and heartier meals.  Don't you think so, too?  The trouble is the weather isn't cooperating in the least! 

Living Frugally and Well: Starting the Last Quarter of the Year

Saturday:  Prepared a nice breakfast for John's coming in from work this morning.  I'd made a breakfast casserole (savory) and fruit salad for our meal this morning.  I prepared the casserole ahead yesterday morning.

Disappointed it wasn't cooler outdoors.  Air conditioner started coming on before it was 10am this morning.  Despite this, it was cloudy and gray so I took advantage of how the day looked and made a big pan of chili to serve over yellow rice.

In My Home This Week: Fair Sailing

In my home this week...

...I am psyched for the fair this week.  This is a big deal in Middle Georgia, the Georgia National Fair and the fairgrounds will be packed for the full 10 days it's in town.  John and I are going this week.  We set a portion of our vacation funds aside just for this and planned a special dinner out at our favorite restaurant as a grand finale to the day.  I'm very much looking forward to this date which we planned months ago.

Bess was here overnight last night and then went to meet Samuel at the fairgrounds this morning.  He brought Josh up.  Bess has been tending to her mom this past week and she was quite ready to rejoin her husband and Josh.  Things worked out rather nicely for them, since Sam had some time off this past week and so he kept Josh at home while Bess took Isaac with her to her mom's. Her mom is doing much better but she was a pretty sick lady for a few days there.

John and I won't be eating any fair foods.  I've never liked funnel cakes, caramel and candy apples do nothing for me.  I've had my share of the seasonal boiled peanuts already this year, so I don't want those.  I do not care for turkey legs and we don't eat pork so none of those grilled foods for us, either.  What I'd really like is a single bite of cotton candy but you can't buy it by the bite and I'm leery of asking a stranger to let me have some, lol.   I wish I could find a guaranteed all beef corn dog, but most folks don't bother having the all beef ones so that's out, too.  I figure after all those things get crossed off the list every thing else is just ordinary stuff I could have any old day, so why bother spending the money?   I'll just wait until we get to the restaurant and then we'll have our big splurge!

...I plan my week:

First on my list this week are the few items I didn't attend to last week.
Finish cleaning the kitchen walls... just the area about the stove is it.
Hem  my pants.  I did all the other sewing but didn't even put those on to see how much I needed to hem.
Mail the package to Amie.
Spruce up the door wreaths to look more autumnal.  Especially now that so many leaves have started to turn color and fall.

Post the bills after we get check in the bank.  Banks are closed Monday.

Grocery day worked in here somewhere.

Continue work on the porches.  I got the front porch porch siding cleaned and washed windows there last week.  I ran the soapy brush over the porch and along the algae rails but they need more scrubbing.  I didn't do anything to the back porch last week at all.

Go by Kroger and see if the Ball jars are still buy one case get one case free as they were last week.  This is a clearance item.  I'd like another two cases of the wide mouth quart jars which are very handy to have for storage.  I'll pick up my two free Friday download items while I'm in there.

I have $6 in ECB for CVS that I'd like to spend but must do so before Tuesday is over.

Gather a load of stuff to take out to the shed.

Start a restock list of supplements and vitamins, so I'll know what must be ordered.  And place the order!

Make John's requested cookies.

I have a day out with Mama on the calendar

Start working on the Jamberry party I'm hosting October 23-27.  Pay attention girls who want to join in.  You can find me on Facebook.   I'm planning party games and my theme is all things Fall.  Jamberry has introduced some new products and is expanding their line to include some cosmetics I think.  They've just introduced a matte finish lipstick line.  Message me here or put in a friend request on Facebook if you'd like to join in.

While I'm out this week I hope to find some more mums to replace the two that dried up in the stupid heat last week.   I think I can deadhead and trim and then  replant them but they do not look nice enough to be there in front of the back porch.  I'll see what I can find that's suitable.  I should be able to start adding some pansies and possibly parsley to the area about now.

...I plan meals...though I don't know why I bother!

No, I haven't had good luck of late in making the planned meals.  I'm constantly failing to prep ahead, or even to thaw meat a day earlier than it's wanted.  Then John will decide he wants to go out to eat or wants a certain something that wasn't on the menu.  I know I'll be eating out at least twice this week and possibly a third time when we're out getting groceries unless I plan ahead to have something quick and easy.  I've already shared our meal for Saturday...I guess I'll plan a couple of meals just in case.

We still have a bit of egg salad and pimento cheese left for sandwiches.  I'll make some chicken salad as well since I cooked extra chicken breasts on Saturday.  We also have some Marinated Smoked Turkey and Cheese sandwiches in the freezer as well as some Chicken Noodle Soup so suppers are pretty much taken care of this week.

Chicken Pot Pie, Pear Salad, Cranberry Jelly

Fancy Pants Burgers, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Garlic Toast
I never did get to make this meal and I really was looking forward to having it.

Pan Roasted Chicken Apple Sausages and Vegetables, Green Salad, Gingerbread with Whipped Cream
I usually buy turkey sausage and they have a tendency to get very dry when pan roasting.  I expect the same of these Chicken Sausages.   For this reason I'll start the pan of vegetables with a foil cover and then just let the sausages and vegetables brown a bit under the broiler afterwards.   I'll use butternut squash, onions, apples and perhaps a potato or two.  I'll use a little apple cider in the pan to steam them.

...I plan my leisure:

And again...why bother?  Honestly last week my leisure looked like a round of 1 each on my favorite games at the end of some long days.  I didn't do any of the things I'd thought I'd might but I did enjoy a glass of iced tea on the porch after I'd finished cleaning.  Hardly felt like leisure as much as necessary so I could keep going that day.  Oh yes, I did manage to work my way through the September issue of modern day magazines I had stacked by my chair. And one vintage October issue.  I did that yesterday.

This week I hope to:
have a spa morning.  I want to do a proper mani and pedi and put some wraps on those fingers and toes!

Really.  Work on genealogy.  I'm yearning to do this.

Read the next book in my October pile.  I forgot but I did read a book last week.  When I was all done I sighed deeply and John asked me why.  I told him I'd just finished my book.  He told me he was sorry.  I told him it was the last book in that particular series and he looked concerned and said he was very sorry, lol.   About how I felt about it myself.

What have you planned for your week?

Time for Yourself...What's Keeping You From Taking Time Out?

I just love how relaxed this woman looks.  She's got that whole pot of coffee sitting at the ready there.  You can tell this woman is ready to indulge herself in a little bit of 'me' time.  

I haven't children to send back to school any longer and John's schedule is more erratic than ever.  Admittedly, by the time I pencil in time with Mama, contemplate the must attend to items on the calendar, and peer hopefully at any possible family engagements, my calendar is pretty much full these days.  I've heard often and often from newly retired folks that they not only don't have trouble filling their 'empty' days but they need a vacation to get a bit of rest from being retired!   A little time alone is as necessary for me as breathing.   A little bit goes a long way towards restoring me and curing what likely is ailing me, too.

This Week In My Home: Present and Future Possibilities

This week in my home...

...I have been thinking about this week and this month and a little beyond.  It's getting nearer our holidays and John's mentioned both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  When that man of mine starts thinking of holidays ahead it's high time I started my planning!  

The weather is  nice.  Friday it was 97F and I was one wretchedly hot and wrung out woman after my day out.  I was irritable when I arose Saturday morning and it hadn't cooled noticeably but this morning, at last, I stepped out on the porch and sighed deeply with pleasure.  I braved the chill air without a sweater but honestly?  It was a bit chilly out there.  Lovely!  Typical of Georgia autumns it will slowly warm it's way back into the 80s this next week but I am hopeful that we've seen the last of the mid and high 90s for months yet.

In My Home This Week: All Routine