Friday, April 15, 2011

Frugal Friday/Living Well April 15

Saturday:  Packed water, sodas, and granola bars for our morning at synagogue and just after.  The granola bars and soda kept hunger at bay while we hurried home.

The plan had been to eat leftovers which we'd reheat when we got home, but it was quite a bit later than usual when service was over and we were both very very hungry.  "Chance asked me to call ahead to the local place and order chicken.  The diner was out of fried chicken pieces but offered chicken strips instead.  I told the lady how many I needed to feed and she suggested how many pieces would be needed.  Bless her she failed to mention that she'd put in extra due to her lack of fried chicken.  We had plenty of chicken for our meal, and enough leftovers for two lunches.

Kay came home to spend the week.  She came in bearing steaks.  Again, too much food, though I thought she'd purchased very wisely, not buying huge steaks but just average ones. However, we still ended the meal with a steak and a half leftover.  I planned another meal with those leftovers.

Washed a full load of dishes on the shortest cycle.  I used the water run before starting the machine to do a small sinkful of dishes.  I didn't fill the sink full of water either.  Who needs gallons and gallons of water to wash just a few pots and pans? 

When we came in from synagogue, I looked at Chance..."I forgot to turn the AC back up to 78F before we left..."  "No problem," he told me.  "I remembered it."  Good!  We didn't keep our home nighttime cool all day long.

Chance suggested I make coffee.  "Do as you did last night, and make us just one cup each.  I don't want or need two cups, do you?"  No, I didn't and I've got that 'short pot' of coffee down just right finally.  There's just enough to fill two mugs and nothing leftover.

Sunday:  Kay requested a special dish for dinner.  I had all the ingredients on hand.  So glad I keep my pantry/freezer well stocked.

Washed a full load of laundry of sheets and towels on the shortest cycle.  I also dried in batches.  Putting the towels in first and then the sheets and timing both loads for a shorter than usual drying time, but getting clothes completely dry all the same.

Use what you have...Digging about for breakfast this morning, I settled upon my favorite of boxed cereal with homemade yogurt.  I had ripe pears in the fruit basket, and pumpkin seeds in the freezer.  Perhaps not the most common additions to cereal but it was very tasty all the same.

Did a home pedicure.  I much prefer to do this task at home, complete with soak, scrub, cuticle care, and polish than to pay someone else to do it for me.  I used one of those lovely shades of polish I purchased last summer.  Happy feet!

I was examining the quilt on my bed.  It's not spring/summer colors but autumn/winter colors and I do really want to replace it for the warmer seasons.  However, in looking over the quilt I noted the possibility of using three colors more with it to change the look entirely: chocolate brown, french blue and unbleached muslin...I happen to have those color drapes on hand.  Perhaps this winter I shall change things up a bit.  And maybe the use of unbleached muslin now will lighten the look until I do find an alternative?

Monday:  A day of errands.  Keeping ourselves on task was the most important thing.  Two danger zones for me: the grocery store and the Home Improvement Garden Center.  It makes it very hard when the weather is so especially nice not to buy a bunch of plants.  I decided I'd be better off seeing what pots I have to fill, what areas I have to fill and work with plants that will work with what I have, instead of randomly buying every pretty thing (and isn't it all so very pretty this time of year?) that fell under my eye.  In the end, at the home improvement center I bought nothing.  Chance picked up those items he required and that was just fine.

At the grocery we stuck hard to the list made out before we left home.  I did skip two items, one that wasn't in stock and one that I wasn't sure would keep until it is required next Monday.  So I decided it would be better to go over and buy those items that day. 

Kay is wonderful at finding the things I've hidden...Here we'd been longing for chocolate and hadn't taken time to buy any.  Then she putters about in the pantry and comes out with two bags of candy I bought several weeks ago on a special sale.  Hooray! 

Tuesday:  You really never know what you have until you clean things up do you?  I spent this morning clearing out my big old dresser.  I found the picture hanging kit I've been looking for the past four days.  Why was it in my dresser drawer?  I've not a clue!

I set aside broken jewelry pieces for repair or to reuse beads for new pieces, sorted out the earrings (now I have matching pairs) and untangled necklaces in my jewelry drawer.  Matched socks and folded gowns and underthings and tossed out the knee high stockings I've not worn in three years and which I recall had runs anyway.  I separated my winter at home clothes from my summer at home clothes and then culled my sweater drawer.  Now that everything is all nice and neat I'm pretty sure I'll be better able to match accessories to clothing,  get dressed in less time and use my creative nature to play and hang those pictures! 

Used about 1/3 of a head of cabbage to make slaw from scratch.  Honestly, it took me no longer to grate that cabbage than it does to mix slaw, just moments.  True the bags of slaw mix are convenient but they cost about $1.29 on sale.  Cabbage is just $.49/pound and I used about $.30 worth to make our slaw.

I purchased a turkey ham (about 2 pounds) at the grocery for $5.98.  That works out to a bit under $3 per pound.  I cut the meat, using my meat slicer and packaged 6 8-slice packets of luncheon ham for sandwiches with a end pieceleftover to dice and use as seasoning.  At an average of $3 per packet I saved about $12 (6 packets minus the original cost of the ham).

Used leftovers to make a pretty good supper: leftover plain cooked potatoes and cheese potatoes were made into soup.  I cut the leftover steak into smaller pieces and filled leftover breakfast biscuits with the meat.  As we ate our homey fare, Chance looked up.  "Is potato soup expensive to make?"  "Not at all, but this batch was especially thrifty.  I made it from homemade broth I'd put in the freezer, and leftover potatoes and the chopped onion from our  dinner.  About all this batch of soup really cost me was the milk and extra cheese I added in towards the end."  "Well, it's very good!  It's even better knowing it wasn't expensive to make!"  lol  Love that thrifty hearted man of mine, I do!

Wednesday:  It's our 'Monday', Chance's first day back at work.  I don't know, there's something about the beginning of a work week that makes me hit the floor running.  By noon today I was weary but dinner, and a brief nap and I had a second wind.  You'll notice I've not mentioned Spring and cleaning in the same line until now. Good reason for that.  I've been following that lovely little whole house cleaning plan that divides my home into zones.  Each month I've been doing one or two deeper cleaning tasks in each area.  That's why all you'll read about lately is decluttering.  It's been a wonderful time saver splitting up those heavy duty cleaning tasks into manageable segments.

I cleaned the under the cabinet pantry today and sorted through the canned goods.  I let two cans expire...should've checked on the pantry sooner.  However, the about to expire stuff is sitting on the counter.  I must get creative and use 1 can of black beans, one can of corned beef, one can of evaporated milk and one can of three bean salad.

When I put cans back into the pantry, I put those that had the longest expiration date at the bottom and back of the cabinet with nearer dates on to pand moving forward. Sounds more complicated than it is actually.  The stuff that might possibly expire (mostly not before December  of this year) is all handy to grab FIRST when I'm in the cabinet. 

I made a mistake and bought the HOT flavor of a favorite snack.  Not something Chance and I eat at all...Took advantage of Kay's being home and set it out in a prominent place.  Worked perfectly, she's been munching on the things all week long.  Incidentally saved our own chips from her snacking needs.

Cooked up another batch of berries, this time frozen strawberries I put up last month, into that tasty fruit jam (more like a fruit spread).  Two and 1/2 pints went into the freezer for us to use later.  That's 4 jars of jam I've put up this month.

Took down the curtains in living and dining room.  I had enough wash for a full load when I added in the few clothes in the basket as well.

Finally took the accumulation of things out to the shed.  Decided while I was out there I might as well organize things once more.  Lately all I've done is go out, dump the stuff inside the doorway and leave it.  It took about an hour.  I cleaned and organized.  Now all the Christmas things are together once more, all the china and decorative pieces I want to use seasonally can easily be found.  I put together another donation pile and bagged it up, then I gathered trash and swept the floor.

Note to self:  I have plenty of saved hanging baskets in the shed.  No point in buying expensive hanging baskets when six packs and potting soil will give me the same thing far less expensively.

Kept supper simple: toast and jam.  Paired with a cup of coffee it suited me to a tee after a long hard day of working.

Thursday:  Mama and I went out today, since her schedule didn't allow it yesterday.  Mindful of the single item I had to buy that was necessasry and the other items I meant to check upon, I asked Mama to jot them down on a list.  I bought the item I needed.  It was not forgotten.  I didn't have to make a second stop at another store to purchase it, or make an extra trip into town.

I had a small epiphany today.  We were in a store that I normally don't visit simply because it is far out of the way compared to other stores I might go into more routinely.  I guess I just felt I had to buy something because I was there, so I chose a shirt and then a tank top.  Mama and I walked about a bit, looking for the items on my list  and I found the store sadly lacking.  As we kept walking and looking, I grew more and more dissatisfied with the store as a whole.  And finally I focused upon the two items in my buggy, unplanned purchases, in colors that were only just pleasing...I put the two back.  Yes, I did indulge in another impulse item that was a gift for Kay.  It was perfect for her. 

Our next stop was the garden center.  Clearing my shed last night I found I had plenty of empty pots and hanging baskets.  I bought a big bag of potting soil to fill those.  Next I'll purchase bedding plants.  I usually do this backwards.  Buy plants and filled pots and then I keep forgetting to buy potting soil, so the plants die and I have to buy more...This is going to be a money saver.

Coming home this afternoon I noted something about that painted front door:  it just pulls the house together.  The roof is a barn red, the shutters are barn red and that door is just the touch the house needed to make it look all pulled together.  I'm thinking the back door will have to go apple red, too.  I've got plenty of paint so there will be no additional expense.

I've been dithering over paint color for my cafe table and chairs on the deck.  Well, no longer.  It occurred to me the most logical thing to do is paint it black. There are black and gray and brown mosaic tiles on the tabletop.   I have black paint on hand (seems I have all kinds of paint on hand! lol) so no added expense there.  I wanted to add color but I think it will be less expensive to let the color come from pots, plants, cushions and the painted back door.

Friday:  Discovered the cream cheese in my fridge was at expiration date.  I pulled out my recipe for Easy Philly Cheesecake.  I was able to use up all the cream cheese making the recipe.

My feet really needed extra help after a winter spent in slippers and shoes.  I've been using a heavy duty moisturizer (some I already had) each morning after my shower.  I pull on slipper socks for about an hour.  My feet are so soft...and I didn't purchase that expensive 'as seen on tv' product I'd been tempted to buy.

I was feeling very frustrated with my clothing issues.  It looked like I had just loads but I could never find anything to wear.  I separated my winter clothes and put them in a dress bag.  Now I can see that indeed I don't have 'tons' and I can determine what purchases would be wardrobe stretchers.  In the meantime I can easily choose the pieces that do have good matches.

No need this week to purchase flowers when I've loads of my own in field and yard.  What bouquet can be more fragrant than roses and honeysuckle? Or prettier than such a bouquet set in a lovely old creamer?

I am determined to make no trip to the grocery before Sunday or Monday of this week.  To that end, I've been looking through the pantry and freezer to 'make out' a meal, as Granny used to say often enough.

The sodas have taken a hit with that girl at home.  I've just made a pitcher of iced tea as an alternative.  I'll be juicing lemons this afternoon and making lemonade as well. 

There was no Challah at the market last week.  I'll substitute my homemade crescent rolls for bread for our Kiddish (Communion) tonight.

The dishwasher was finally full after breakfast dishes were added.  Used the shortest cycle and turned off the auto dry which never seems to dry all that well anyway.  Why waste the electricity?

Baked the graham crust while the oven preheated for the cheesecake.  Then added the fish fillets to the oven when the cheesecake was done.

Kay and I each had a couple items in our makeup bag that were mistakes.  We used the item once and that was it.  We made a swap.  I have another bottle of primer which suits me.  She has a lovely green shadow which suits her.

Living Well

It was so simple, really.  And yet, I could see right away how entertaining it might be for the person in the home, just as it was for me in passing by.  A pile of bricks with a deep tray set atop, filled to the brim with bird seed.  And there, perched on the edges were a variety of birds and on the pavement beside three or four squirrels, all happily sharing the providence provided by that home owner.

I catch myself, oftentimes, putting off some pleasure because I don't have the 'things' that might be required.  Like waiting to put out water until I can afford the birdbath I desire.  Or feeding the birds, because I've none of the fancy feeders...

And here, on a quiet neighborhood street, I saw how silly I was in my desire to have things just so.  Here was nothing more than a pile of bricks and a plastic tray and it suited the birds and squirrels.  I'm willing to bet the homeowner and her neighbors, too were pleased to look out and see the wildlife attracted.  I'm willing to bet that like me, the plastic tray and bricks were the secondary thought, because the birds themselves were so entertaining.

So...Maybe I need to reflect on this thing called perfectionism and this feeling that I haven't got money enough to afford myself simple pleasures.  Maybe I'll just buy a bag of seed and pour it into that tart pan I put in the shed Wednesday.  And maybe I'll do as Granny used to do and set a pan of water near a tree in a shady spot and let the birds decide if the bath water suits them. 


Susan in SC said...

I always love to read of your week. Your flowers in the pitcher are so pretty and reminds me of my mother who would do this often. You had a busy and productive week!

Tracy said...

I, too, always enjoy your posts! You always accomplish so much and save so much money. Were you like this back in the day when you worked outside the home?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the shallow dish with some rocks, water and mud for the butterflies!! Grandma D.

Rhonda said...

I like all of your posts and your chatty Friday posts are my very favorite.
You and K are like Nina and me, we are always swapping things back and forth.

hope you have a great weekend