Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday Coffee Chat

Humph.  I really feel I should have a photo of someone biting ears or tail off a chocolate bunny but not one in my files, so we shall have to suffice with the usual lead photo.

My two youngest contacted me early this morning about an Easter Basket.  Well I did think of Easter baskets this morning when I woke extra early to see Chance off to work.  I thought about the fact that this is the first time in thirty years (Yes, thirty!) that I haven't prepared an Easter basket for a child of mine.  I find it rather astonishing that I didn't make one up just out of habit!  Well I did buy some Butterfinger Eggs (help yourself, they are in the cookie jar) but really those were meant for me, not for children.  I don't often find those Butterfinger Eggs at Easter.

No chocolate rabbits today but tomorrow or Tuesday I'll go to town and buy one or two at 50% off, lol.  Chance laughs at my 'after holiday' candy, but gracious I don't mind a bit waiting a day or two later when the savings is so great.

So...What have I been up to of late?  Lots of plans in the air, lots of thinking about yard, home, groceries, finances, decor and more. 

I spent a good bit of this week doing not much of anything.  I'm blaming allergies but a good day and night of rest helped tremendously.  I spent Monday cleaning and shopping, Tuesday was all about resting and not working ( a holiday for us).  Wednesday I mostly cooked and cleaned, and Thursday I tackled housework with renewed fervor.  Friday I went off with Chance to do a job for a friend and then came home to cook and clean for the weekend.  Yesterday was busy enough with the usual class, synagogue, and then a business meeting following, that thankfully, over lunch.  It was late when we got home, much more so than usual.

The local Strawberry Festival was held yesterday in our little town.  Oh I wanted to attend, I truly did, especially to visit the Women's Club book sale, but no luck.  There were plenty of booths still up when we came home but it was late, as I said, and we'd been up since early hours and busy the whole day, so we came right home. 

We didn't do much of anything once we got here...It was hot outdoors and nice and cool indoors, and we were tired.  Not much incentive to work.  That's quite all right, since Chance had planned to work today, I felt he needed a good rest and so I encouraged him to put on pajamas same as I and get fully into the mood of relaxing.  I'd say it worked rather well, lol.

This morning, we were up quite early but it's been an unusual day for me.  For one thing, I just couldn't settle to anything I wanted for breakfast yet I was quite hungry since we'd opted for bowls of cereal last night.  I ended up eating lasagna for breakfast, that bowlful I'd set aside for my son on Thursday.  Then later at lunchtime I really wasn't hungry at all, so ate some fruit and Matza bread.  Now here it is supper time and I am hungry once more but what to eat?  And which meal is it anyway?  There's pumpkin pie so perhaps I shall have dessert?  I shall have to give a good once over to the fridge to determine what might suffice for a meal.

I spent the morning going up and down the step stool.  I'll likely pay for it tomorrow and since I shall I decided it was worthwhile to do the whole job today and be done with it.  I cleaned along the soffit of the kitchen and the galley area above the stove and then decided to go on and scrub the upper cabinets really well.  It didn't take a lot of time, but did involve quite a few trips up and down and up and down.

I had stripped the bed and washed the towels and sheets.  While the bed was being remade, I attempted the second choice fabric with the current reversed quilt.  Not so good.  Now I'd struck out twice, with not enough fabric the first time and not quite the right color quilt the second time.  I decided to get the other spare quilt and reversed it on my bed then draped the second choice fabric over the pillows and it all came together very nicely indeed.  I have LOADS of this particular fabric so might opt to use some as bed skirt.  The pillow shams will take no time at all to make.

Then I went off to the master bath with the leftover fabric from the bench.  I decided to make a sort of roman shade for the window and use sheers to soften the mirrors around the garden tub.  I'll  remove the golden towels and bring out the green ones to pair with the cream towels, and that will give a whole new fresh appearance to that room as well.  Two down...

My thoughts have been busy all morning and afternoon as well.  For one thing, I sat down and played with our budget for this second quarter of the year.  It's going to need a bit of tweaking if we're going to manage as well as I hope to but I can do it.  I'm ready to just tackle a good challenge area!  Now, I confess, I was not quite so gung ho this morning.  Hard work though really does inspire me to think hard and I've determined that I can do this very well indeed and I mean to do just that.

Huch.  I found the book very helpful when I made up the Passover Seder plate this week and we used it as our guide for our Passover blessing.  I was overwhelmed when Chance urged me to read it before but I think I'm ready for it now.    So that's goal number one on my list.

I've planned a retreat for the coming month and the room is booked.  I lack just $23 having enough to cover the full cost of the room.  I don't see that as a problem because I typically save that a bit more than that each month just in singles when I get change after a purchase.  Gathering the rest of that money is #2 on my list of goals.

#3 is to do a mani/pedi once a week now that warm weather is here to point up feet and hands. I generally keep up a pedicure pretty well in the sandal season, but manicures...I tend to fail upon.  I was enthralled with the red polish on the short fingernails of an actress this morning and absolutely wanted my own fingers to look as pretty.  I work hard enough with my hands to pretty much ruin a manicure but  I thought if I did one each Friday afternoon, when work is done, it ought to last at least until I get my hands dirty on Sunday morning.

#4Yard work.  My son is to be my gardener this summer since he's not going to be in college.  Part of the tight finances cause is here in this spot, but he's promised to keep his wages low (a home cooked meal and a few dollars to cover his gas) but I'll need to buy mulch, plants, border material etc.  Not high cost but definitely an added expense for the duration of his summer break.

There's also outdoor furniture to be repaired and painted, pots to be painted and planted, paint to go on deck, porch and shed...plenty to do.  I don't expect to get it all done in May but I do think we should manage a good start on it all.

#5 Cool down the interior of the house.  I was so impressed with the uncluttered look of the home we were in Friday that I'm determined to cool the temperature of my own home by taking away those extras that seemed so cozy in October.  And which now seem to visually heat up the space.  I've already mentally pinpointed several items to be removed from my living room.  A few may reappear in other rooms and then again, might not.  I'll store in the shed until autumn and see how I feel about the pieces then. 

Now is also the time to remove the throws from sight if not actually out of the room, slipcover the furniture to cool down the colors, and buy lighter colored shades (and possibly one slipcover for a chair that would be difficult to make a slipcover for.  Why lighter shades on the lamps?  Because we will, as the day's grow hot, begin to draw our shades and curtains and the rooms get dark and gloomy looking.  Lighter shades will allow more light from the lamps when we turn them on.  I'll also go ahead and fashion panels for the windows.  It just so happens I've been saving big cardboard boxes all winter long to make reflective panels for those windows that catch the hottest sun.  I usually wait until July to start this job and that's a huge mistake.  I'd rather start early and net the savings sooner as well.

I went through my home keeping notebook this morning and figured the budget for the second quarter of the year.  One or two of our routine expenses have increased, one or two decreased and we've added a couple...Glad I sat down to work with the figures.  It was an eye opening session.  Chance has been getting a couple days worth of overtime each month since the first of the year.  I don't know how long that is likely to last and don't really like to 'plan' for it, I'd rather plan without it and then be pleasantly surprised each month with the overage.  It's good incentive to live on what we make. 

Anticipating the rise in gasoline,  we'll likely also mean a rise in grocery costs and electric costs as well.  I'll be pulling out the stealth frugal moves, lol, hence the jump start on making panels for the windows and attempting to visually cool the house. 

As well, this past week pointed up how easily I might trim our grocery budget.  One chicken served us four meals.  I roasted the chicken Monday afternoon and ate a leg and half a thigh for my supper.  Wednesday I reheated the chicken and we ate most of the breast.  For supper that night we had chicken quesadillas.  Thursday I made lasagna for our dinner but thought a pan of chicken rice stew would hit the spot for supper.  It did hit the spot for my supper, but Chance ate out that night with a friend.  We had Stew the next day for our supper.  I count the two single servings as a meal in case you're counting closely.  It wasn't one of those huge roasting hens either, just a little broiler/fryer weighing about two pounds. 

I think I shall have to pull out more of those strong savings recipes...Not a problem thankfully as I have quite a large supply of ideas and recipes that extend meals and I've been adding to that file of late.  If I can slightly lower our current budget despite rising costs, I'll count it excellently done.  If I keep even with our current budget even with rising costs, I'll declare it Good.

I still haven't gone into my closet and worked out what goes with what and how to pair up accessories, etc.  I'd worked out perhaps three or four earlier this month and then Kay pointed out two or three more when she was home.  I am sure there are more combinations if I'll just take time now to figure them out.  I am influenced strongly by an article in the April Good Housekeeping where five pieces made thirty outfits...And that was followed by a similar article in one of my vintage Woman's Day magazines.  That lucky lady went on a cruise with a dress suit, a play suit and a skirt and top and didn't need a thing else all week long...I don't expect I shall do anything quite like that but what a bonus to have mix and match pieces in the closet.  So I'll likely take time out of my schedule this week to work with those.  I store my 'outfits' on my digital camera and when I feel I need inspiration, I scroll through the pictures and pull a 'new' outfit.

I guess I should end here.  Chance has been home for a good little while now and I really should give him my undivided attention.  So glad you stopped in and remember, tomorrow and next week, chocolate is 50% off...That's goal enough for the week, agreed?

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