Saturday: We had quite a long afternoon away from home but it's been awfully nice in some ways. For one thing we went to the funeral.
I didn't refuse to turn around and come home, which John immediately put in to do after the service. I pointed out that we could do as he suggested but by the time we got home it would be about 5pm and that meant leaving home again by 5:30 since we had to stop and pick up an item that we were requested to bring with us to the group meeting tonight at 6:30. John could see quite plainly that going home really was a waste of time.
So we went out to eat at a pizza place we haven't been to in quite a long while. I hadn't thought we'd get a meal out today but it made sense to stop and have something since we typically have light snacks only at the meeting. As we sat there I kept feeling vaguely dissatisfied.
John asked me what was wrong and I confessed that I didn't feel I knew a thing more about the woman whose service we'd attended than I knew before. Honestly she was a gentle spirit, anyone who met her could see that. But that's all anyone had to say of her. John asked puzzled, "Well what was it you expected to hear? Her faults? That she could be disagreeable?" "Noooo...but I'd like to have felt I had learned something about her. I had hoped that this year, especially if we'd gone to the vow renewal as we were asked to do, that I'd get to know her better. But maybe she wasn't the sort of person that you do know any better. Maybe she was exactly what she seemed to be, just a kind sweet person and there wasn't anything else she would have shared." I thought about it a little more and said "You know, I knew my Aunt Mary Jo my whole life but I couldn't tell you much about who she was at all, or how her life had been or how it affected her. And I guess what I want to know is why this woman was the sweet and gentle spirit she was."
But that's me. I want to pick apart people to know why they tick when others might have gone tock. I do it to myself. I do it to characters in a book. You might call it nosey but I truly am interested in why people are as they are.
I wanted coffee something fierce but the pizza place didn't sell coffee. At all. I mean seriously, how can you not have coffee?! But they didn't. I nearly froze sitting there under the ceiling fans which were at full spin. I was glad I ordered a hot sandwich! And when John suggested we go next door to the grocery and get coffee as well as the soda we'd been requested to bring, I readily agreed.
The line for coffee stretched into the floral department and around the corner into the wine bar which was unoccupied. I wanted that cup of coffee just that badly that I was willing to stand in line for a half hour. And boy was it good when we got it, too.
On our way over to the drinks aisle to get soda, I stopped at the display of daffodils I'd been admiring. Not potted bulbs but cut floral bunches. I bought two bunches for $5 and they smelled heavenly! Never mind that they would sit in the car for the next few hours, I wanted those flowers. I've had exactly three daffodils bloom thus far. All the green leaves are up but not a flower among them yet in my yard...And besides, I reasoned, $5 wasn't a heavy expense. No regrets, as always, none at all when it comes to flowers.
Sunday: Last night's small group meeting didn't end until nearly 9:30. That's been about the time each has ended thus far. It was a good meeting and well enjoyed by all. This morning after church service (a good rousing sermon today!) we went to the lobby and met up with some of the members and had coffee together and talked more. We were literally trying to kill time until we met up with Katie and family at the restaurant but she called and said that neither the baby nor Chad was up yet so why not just pick up frozen pizzas and come to the house? We agreed and about the time second service started we headed to the grocery store.
The change of plans didn't upset us in the least. We knew we'd get far more of Caleb's attentions at the house than we'd get in a restaurant. He is a people watcher...I should say he likes to watch strangers. His normal every day people are not worthy of his attentions unless they are eating and feeding him. But at home, we get to watch him play and he interacts with us. Today when we came in he patted a seat for me to come and sit down in and patted another and indicated that his Grampa should sit there. We obliged him
It was a pleasant way to spend a few hours and we enjoyed our time visiting.
Home meant chores. Laundry, dishes to unload (and to load), a bed to make up fresh and eventually here I'll determine what we'll have for supper and what in the fridge needs to be used in the week ahead. It's been a pleasant weekend!
Monday: Went through the fridge and expired box items under the cabinet last night and then through the freezer to see what I might use up this week. I've got a list of ideas now and have already gotten a few things made like Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and a casserole dish for supper tonight. I have strawberries thawing so I can make a batch of preserves later.
After doing light housework (a Monday morning routine), I headed into the sewing room to get that stack of mending done. I shortened the sleeves on the white t-shirt and then had to shorten them a bit more as I accidentally cut into the fresh new hem, sigh.
Then I found when I hemmed the white jeans I've just bought that I'd really screwed up pretty badly. Undid all the stitching and redid only to do it wrong a second time! At that point the fabric began to fray badly, so I simply cut them again and hemmed them fresh. I told John I hope these pants don't shrink because they are just long enough now as they are! He said calmly that if they ended up too short then I'd just buy a new pair and be done with it. "The days of making do are well behind us now..." Funny thing is he'll be the first to make do!
I left one pair of jeans unhemmed simply because I really don't need them at the moment. I have plenty and it seems silly to have all of them hemmed and ready to use if I really don't need to use them just yet. I kind of like having a pair in reserve.
John and I are taking a bit of a lazy day. I've done enough to make me feel productive but am by no means working hard. I opted to skip working in the cemetery this morning, simply because I was tired from the weekend behind us.
Tuesday: Little has gotten done today because I had Isaac and Millie over this morning. I so enjoy keeping those two who are no trouble at all. Millie's 'walking' but not like anyone I've seen yet! She walks on her knees only and mostly she still prefers crawling but it was fun to watch her practice her moves today.
As I could do nothing much but watch the children really, I began to look through the last of the March vintage magazines and realized finally that these old March issues are full of recipes for tuna and fish for Lent. I realized that if I wanted to try a 'new' tuna dish those magazines were certainly the place to start.
But I've been thinking a bit about food overall anyway. I have resisted the urge to assign a day a certain type of meal, i.e. Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday...that sort of thing. But it occurs to me that there are a variety of ways to accomplish these meals rather than being locked into just one thing. Goodness the sheer variety of pizzas I've come up with since starting out Saturday pizza lunches is amazing. And that's just pizza. The same basis of pizza dough also makes Calzone and Stromboli as well!
Today I was thinking of black beans. I tend to serve them as black beans and rice, yet I might make black bean burritos, black bean burgers, black bean soup, etc. Do I do this? Very rarely. I tend to stick to the black beans and rice and then I get bored with that so I will slash black beans off the menu for a bit and then cycle back to that simple menu.
Chicken Pot Pie is another example. I might also make Chicken turnovers, or Chicken Stratas, or Chicken with Dumplings and use the same basic ingredients. And that's just the tip of the chicken heap!
I'm going to try to think more outside of my automatic response zone and find a variety of ways I might serve things. And just to insure I remember that I'm not locked into one or two recipes, I"ll jot these ideas down on paper and keep the sheet tucked into my recipe file so that when I am making out menus for a week or month I'll have a better idea of what I might actually make rather than groan inwardly and look for all new recipes all over again.
Wednesday: I told John I really meant to spend an hour in the cemetery today. We are almost done with the cutting down of trees on the inside of the fence. Next we will have to work on the outside, but to get the interior completely clear is our big goal for right now. It won't be pretty...not yet. It's rough cut and there are tree stobs and stumps that we must get out of the ground. There are more thorns than you could imagine and they've grown up from the ground and into the tops of the trees which are perhaps 10-15 feet high above us. It's a hard and tedious task and we hack and slash and cut and pull and for all our efforts we get a bunch of ground we've previously cleared stacked up with a lot of debris and trees to bulky and awkward to move, though none of them have any real size as far as their girth goes. Today we made a little more headway but it took a good hour and a half and I was shaking like a leaf when I came indoors. High carb breakfast and hard work out means that I don't feel ill when I'm working but it also means my blood sugar goes a little higher than I'd like. However, it sustains me for a morning's work out.
Light housework only for me today. I don't have big tasks to accomplish and I do things in increments anyway. Yesterday morning I got the bottoms of 2/3 of the kitchen cabinets scrubbed down. Perhaps a bit later today I'll finish off that task and start on the upper cabinets.
I am at the point where my kitchen cabinets need a new coat of paint once more. I'm thinking of doing chalk paint on them as I've seen several kitchens that get a good work out like mine and it has held up well. One day, there will be new cabinets in that room but in the meantime, I want what I have to look as good as they can, and so paint seems to be the least expensive answer. Once pollen season is over, I'll start a lot of painting projects, not just in the kitchen. The kitchen is just one more item on a rather long "to be done" list.
Thursday: I've mentioned to John twice now that I'd like a haircut and to do some other shopping as well but he had his own plans each day. Today he got up and took up his guitar right away, excited to continue working on the song he wrote last night. I read a chapter in my book while I had coffee, but realized when he picked up the guitar again after breakfast that today's pattern was set. And so it has been. It is a day in which we shall do littler or nothing. I guess in a bit I'll head out to the shed to see what I might sort out there. It's not a big mess, but I do have some things to donate and it will be a good time to sort out the planters and such.
I think, since we will be in the area on Sunday that I might wait until then to get my haircut. We can stop by Lowe's to get some soil and perhaps a six pack or two of plants if there are any I like. It will be good to combine errands that day, especially since we won't see Taylor this weekend.
I have quite a long to do list but find that I'm rather unmotivated over all. I have many items on my to be done list this I might tackle. And the only reason I shall go out to the shed this morning is because frankly, I am sick of staring at a computer screen which has been how I fill most of my downtime of late.
Got a bin full of things together to take to the donation center and shifted a lot of stuff about so that John could move the newly repaired old dryer into my shed until someone needs a dryer and we can offer it up. Not thrilled about giving up space but there you are. My shed often is more communal than mine.
There will be no work in the cemetery until John sharpens our tools. The loppers I was using proved themselves rather dull yesterday and it took longer to work my way through things. His chain saw as well needs to be sharpened. I just don't feel up to working out there today anyway. If he doesn't sharpen tools by tomorrow I will go out and rake what I can of the loose debris into a pile but there really is little I can do beyond that until the tools are refreshed. He did sharpen tools this morning after all and then he went over and used the weed eater in some of the places that were close to the fence and mowed a bit, too.
Last night I decided to go through some books on ration meals/recipes from WWII era that I was gifted a year or two ago. I like to periodically refresh my knowledge of ways that I might save in my kitchen.
I made Waffles this morning using the butternut squash, an egg and the sour milk as my wet base. I put four or five sheets of waffles in the freezer, each having 4-6 waffles. This will do us for quite a few more breakfasts.
I also took time to mix some thawed buttermilk into a bit of sweet milk. This is sitting on the counter now where it will stay at least 24 hours.
I also found this article from BH&G fun. I knew I could make many of these myself and have tried to make several before, though I don't do any of them routinely. However, I thought you all might like to take a look at the slides and perhaps inspire yourself to make a few pantry staples at home. If you already do make any of the items listed in this slide show, let us know.
For my part, I often make my own bbq sauce, yogurt and occasionally coffee creamer and English Muffins as well as bagels. I've made soft pretzels but we're not big fans of pretzels here in my home, so I seldom bother with those. And of course, I make my own chicken broth and sometimes beef broth. I make Marinara sauce and keep it in the freezer.
Friday: Anybody else hate later evening texts? Katie texted me last night close to 10 that Caleb was at the doctor's office with a 104.5 temperature. It had been 106 when she took it at home! He has RSV which is a respiratory virus that antibiotics do nothing at all for. The ultimate thing is to let him run the fever, dosing him up with ibuprofen and acetaminophen alternately to keep the fever down. Ugh! I hate knowing my bubby is sick. We sprang into action last night and went into town, leaving a care package of Gatorade powder and baby ibuprofen on the back doorstep. This morning when we went through town, I stopped and got Jello cups and Pedialyte both the liquid and some individual packets and ran then by the house.
Caleb looked sickly to me on Sunday and seemed far more tired than he ought to have been and I guess Katie and Chad felt the same as Chad has kept him home from nursery all week but the peak of his ailment hit yesterday evening. The RN at the doctor's office assured Katie that most likely he'll run fever again today and then he'll pretty much be over the whole thing. I knew nothing about RSV and looked it up. Honestly ya'll, it does seem that there are things I never knew a thing about as a mom. I don't know if it's new strains of old viruses or was just misdiagnosed way back when I was mom, but I do know the shock of taking a child's temperature and seeing that thermometer rise far higher than it ought to ever go!
When I stopped in this morning to drop the stuff off for Chad, I found Caleb with a crusty nose but cool as a cucumber. Chad had been worried because he couldn't get Caleb to eat anything. I'd suggested he try applesauce until I could get there with the Jello. I told Chad there was an old wives' tale "Feed a cold and Starve a Fever." I assured him it didn't mean to literally starve but that liquids were more wanted than food when a body had a fever. He'd never heard of that old adage, so I guess we both learned something new this week, huh? Applesauce was just liquid enough to go down super easy for Caleb.
That sweet little boy was clinging to daddy, which has apparently been what he's wanting all week long, just to cuddle up. I was standing talking to Chad when Caleb reached out to me, so I held him for a wee bit before I left.
John and I were supposed to be out and about today. I got my hair cut but the heavy gray skies and the dark at 12:30 (dark enough that car lights were helpful!) sent us scurrying home again. Any other ideas I had for shopping tasks will wait until another day. It poured heavily and flooded roadways between the salon and home. We were very glad to get back home!
And that winds up the week for us here... How did your week go?
Gathered Fragments Update: I did make good use of several items I found in my home stores this week. I made 6 jars of Strawberry Jam which came up lovely and thick. I sent two jars home with Bess, put one in the fridge and 3 more in the pantry. I have to say it gelled up so nicely and tastes so delicious that I'm tempted to save any leftover berries in the future to make more. It is John's favorite of jams and I certainly can testify that it was mostly strawberries I would have let go to waste. In the end, it took 3 pounds of sugar (about $1.20) and I used salvaged jars since I seal my jam with paraffin. It tasted far better than any store bought Jam has to date. Yes, I do think I'll keep saving berries in the freezer and do this again!
Made the waffles I mentioned on Thursday in the post above. The 1 cup of butternut squash I used doesn't have a highly noticeable flavor though I could taste it. I used a cup of sour milk from the freezer in this recipe. If I changed a thing I think I'd add a bit of spice to the batter but they came out a lovely golden color and tasted just fine. My waffle maker makes six rectangular waffles and we got about 30 waffles total from that 1 cup of squash mixed into a regular measure of pancake/waffle batter. I put 24 waffles in the freezer.
I made 1 dozen oversized Sweet Potato Banana Chocolate Chip muffins. It was a single smaller baked sweet potato from the freezer. I used the sweet potato because the texture was very similar to the banana. These too came up a golden color that was very attractive. I can taste the Sweet Potato but I truly don't believe John noticed. I have 8 muffins in the freezer. I like these almost as well for a snack as for breakfasts.
I used the 1/4 pound of cooked ground venison to make a pasta casserole, courtesy of the suggestion of Debbie...Her comment prompted me to think of the partial bag of frozen cheese ravioli I had in the freezer. I used a half can of tomato sauce left from last Saturday's pizza, along with a can of tomatoes and two cubes of Pesto from the freezer. I very nearly finished off my bag of frozen ravioli, which I think I like keeping in my freezer. I'll watch for more sales on this in the future.
When I wrote the post on Monday I noted that I'd used the chicken breast half and corn tortillas in Laine's Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Casserole. This is a very good and very easy casserole dish . You just layer cooked chicken and tortillas with shredded cheese and cream of chicken soup that has been mixed with a can of chopped green chilies. I had enough leftovers for one and John ate that for lunch on Wednesday.
I had the two grandchildren on Tuesday and we ate ALL of the pizza leftovers as our luncheon that day. Millie ate two slices while Isaac only got thru one. This is funny only because Millie is a tiny little girl. She is still wearing a 9 months size and barely fills it out though she is healthy as her appetite attests. Once upon a time, when Isaac was a similar age he was quite the chunk and was well into 18 months clothes and would have eaten as much as Millie and more. Now that he's four he eats lighter.
I put a can of peaches in the fridge in the hopes that John would eat them up. However, I am currently pushing the red seedless grapes which are very nearly done and haven't mentioned to him that there are peaches in the fridge.
I made buttermilk from 1/4 cup of buttermilk I'd frozen and the remainder of a half gallon jug of milk,
Today I took the chicken tenderloins I've thawed, the cranberry sauce I chose to freeze, a partial packet of onion soup mix and some Catalina dressing to make Crock pot Catalina Chicken for our supper. This was a big hit in the past when I made it, as odd as these ingredients sound to be combined together. I think I'll serve it with rice and broccoli.
I seldom use a whole packet of onion soup mix at once, as I find it too salty to use. I used 2 tablespoons in the chicken dish and then mixed the remaining portion (about 2 tablespoons more) into a half pint of sour cream for dip to snack on over the weekend.
Now I need to concentrate on the rest of my list of Gathered Fragments and plan how I might use them this next week. I did adjust my previous post by putting a line through those things I have used so if you go back to see what I have left you'll know which ones I've used already.
Did you gather any fragments this week?