Friday, April 1, 2011

Frugal Friday/Living Well

Saturday:  We packed water bottles to go with us to synagogue.  This is always a help as we seem most thirsty just about the time to head home.  Not stopping for a soda saves only $3 but these days that will almost buy the gasoline it takes to head home!

While we were out we decided to check to see if the monthly refills were ready at the pharmacy.  They were, so we saved a second trip out of town.

When we got home I had dinner pretty much ready.  I needed only to heat the spaghetti and sauce, which I'd frozen in a pie pan.  I'd left rolls to rise while we were gone and baked those in the oven alongside the spaghetti dish.  Making a salad was the hardest work I did for our dinner.

Sunday:  I've been wanting to create a cleaning closet in the wasted vertical space of the cabinet where the trash can is hidden from sight.  I'd looked for more milk crates at the dollar store but they had none and there were none to be found at Walmart either.  I decided it was worthwhile to use some of the ones I'd stacked in a cubby area of my closet to use as shelving. 

The cupboard now looks so neat and nice that I am more than pleased with the results.  And using some of the crates from my clothing closet was good incentive to cull a few pairs of unworn shoes and unused purses.

 I was so pleased with the results of this job that I decided to remove all the items from my kitchen walls around the main work area and clean the walls.  Well, that was quite a job and the kitchen quickly looked worse!  However, I found that cleaning the walls wasn't that difficult.  I have a gas stove and that adds a little bit of residue to the walls, just as cooking does.  I use plain old blue Dawn dish detergent to wipe the walls down and then scrubbed them good with a Dollar store version of the Magic Eraser. 

Gracious but those walls look neat and clean...And since everything is off the walls I think I'll just get Chance to hang the knife rack and that paper dispenser on the wall that is above the best work area for me for cutting.  I believe in economy of motion as well as economy of money.

Monday:  A little maintenance and organization was needed for my vintage magazines.  I couldn't find current month's issues as the magazines were currently stored. Because I bought the least expensive copies I could find in the first years of collecting, many of the covers were torn or tattered.  I plan to reuse these magazines for years to come, so I used acid free tape and staples to repair as well as I could and then organized by month.  I used strips of cardboard to make month dividers for the bigger magazines.  I didn't have acid free boards on hand but used a cereal box to make my dividers.

It was cooler this morning and the day got steadily cooler as we moved into the afternoon.  I decided soup was the very thing to have for our supper.  I had some leftover vegetable soup and a mix of vegetables and broth I've saved the past few weeks.  That soup is sure smelling good!

I kept telling Chance I needed to do a load of dishes but I refused to start the dishwasher until the machine was full.  As long as space for one cup or glass or plate remained I held off.  Finally, the machine was filled and then I washed dishes.

Did you know that operate efficiently your dishwasher requires hot water right away?  It's true!  I run my kitchen tap until the water is nice and hot before starting the dishwasher.  That extra water does not go to waste.  No, there are water bottles to refill or dishwater to be caught in the sink or plants that require water. 

For years now we've washed our clothes on the shortest cycle...of the Heavy Duty setting.  Recently Chance pointed out the normal setting and since we've no longer got mud and grass loving children at home, it makes sense to switch our wash cycle to the shortest setting on the NORMAL cycle.  I am sure we're saving a little  more water and electricity.

Tuesday:  A trip into town to attend to errands.  First stop, the local grocery.  The sales ad that ends today has canned pineapple (8 ounce cans) for $.50 each.  This is a good price for pineapple and I stock up, 20 cans, 10 each of crushed and slices.    Also on sale are bananas at $.49 a pound.  I buy four pounds.  I'm longing for a banana creme pie.  Any extras will be used atop peanut butter toast or cereal for breakfast, and if need be I'll freeze those that get too ripe for future banana breads and smoothies.

I also picked up milk and bread while in the grocery, figuring I'll need both before the weekend anyway.  And as I have no immediate plans to travel further afield, I think it's wise to buy now rather than later.

Dog food prices at the local grocery are very high.  I'd meant to skip the temptations of Dollar Store aisles and buy dog food at grocery but gee wilikers it's well worth the temptation to stop in the Dollar Store!  3 pounds bag of dog food at grocery $5.79.  17 pounds at Dollar Store, $9.75.  Made it out of Dollar Store with a bag of dog food only. 

At Chance's request purchased dinner while I was out. I kept it simple and inexpensive, choosing to buy chicken tenders.  After we ate, there were leftovers sufficient to put into a lunch for him.  These proved a bit spicy.  I made a salad  for him to slice the tenders over after warming them.  I think that will tone down the spiciness sufficiently.

Wednesday:  Out with Mama.  I stayed out of stores entirely this day.  My expense for the day was $5.

Granny had a newspaper in her room that contained sales sheets and coupons.  I helped myself to both.  I noted a sale at a grocery a few miles away that will be worthwhile to visit when I'm out again on Saturday.  They have boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.59/pound.  I've room in the freezer, so shall pick up about ten pounds while I'm out.  

Before I left home this morning, I bagged all the trash.  I'd meant to carry off trash yesterday while going to town but didn't even think of that bag of trash until I was on the road.  No going back in our house, once we're down the driveway unless what we're forgetting is absolutely necessary.  Convenient to carry off trash while I was out?  Yes....Necessary?  No.  I knew full well I'd be out today with Mama and in going to town could carry the trash with me.  So I did.

Thinking ahead, I wasn't sure how long we'd be out for the day.  I knew I needed to make Chance's work lunch for the next day and would want a light supper for myself.  I put eggs on to boil while I dressed to go out.  I set the timer to ring in 10 minutes so I wouldn't forget the eggs were put on to boil.  They'd just come up to a boil when I walked into the kitchen 9 1/2 minutes later.  I turned them off and left them covered on the stove sitting in the hot water.  Egg salad for Chance and boiled eggs and toast for my own supper were prepped for by cooking the eggs before I left the house.

I turned down the heater (can you believe it?  Ugh...just Sunday we needed the AC!) to 60F when I left the house.  No point in heating an empty house in my opinion.

Remember my statement earlier this week that I felt just as strongly that economy of motion was as important as economy of money?  While I prepared my supper and Chance's work lunch, I also gathered ingredients from the fridge to mix up a homemade Teriyaki sauce to go over the chicken wings I'd thawed on Tuesday when I took several meats from the freezer to place in the fridge and thaw slowly.  I put the marinade in a zippered baggy, added wings, and then set the lot in a bowl, just in case of leaks.  No need to clean the fridge.  I opened the refrigerator just twice: once to remove all items needed to prep the wings, lunch and my supper and once to put all those items back. 

Thursday:  A day at home.  I've just made up a baker's dozen of egg rolls to go with my dinner, in Chance's work lunch and into the freezer.   I had slaw mix, oriental vegetable mix and ginger root in the freezer.  Garlic, onion and wonton wrappers in the fridge.  I cooked the slaw and oriental vegetables with the seasonings over low heat until the frozen vegetables were thawed and slightly tender. 

I baked wings and egg rolls together to conserve oven energy. 

Made twice as much rice as I needed for my single meal so we could have Fried Rice later this week.

Topped and cooked 2 pounds of strawberries to make easy Strawberry Jam.  My recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tbps of lemon juice and cooking for 45 minutes while stirring frequently.  Per the recipe strawberries have natural pectin which will help the jam to gel as it cooks and then cools.  This may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.  (Note: This tasted very good.  It is a soft gel but so flavoraul.  I got 1 1/2 pints from the 2 pounds of berries)

Made three pints yogurt while all other things were going in kitchen.  I added sugar to the warm milk, then 1/2 pint blueberries was shared between two jars.  I have my fingers crossed that Chance will like my homemade yogurt as much as I do and hence the blueberries in the jars.  If not then I'll have it all to myself...Not a hardship at all, lol.

Friday:  Had a hair cut appointment this morning and so I decided to combine errands.  Took off trash and thought I was set to do a bit of banking.  I forgot my withdrawal slips and so will need to return to do that on Tuesday.  I discovered this morning I was out of foundation, had barely enough to cover my skin lightly.  Very frustrating as the bottle clearly still has 1/2 inch in it but there is no way to get the cap off! 

After hair appointment went to the drugstore in next town to buy new foundation.  I dithered a long while on deciding what I'd buy and ultimately determined I'd rather buy a type that made it easy to use all of the foundation. 

Looked at nail colors and longed for new polish.  What is it about Spring that makes us want new nail polish and lipstick?  I tried four or five colors all different from my 'normal' colors...I came away without nail polish reasoning that the five bottles here at home should do just fine until I use more of them.  That saved me a nice chunk of money.

Went on to grocery and picked up  sale priced chicken breasts and Ragu sauce ($1 a jar).  I bought ten pounds of breasts and ten jars of Ragu.

Fought off idea of picking up take-out for lunch or even just a soda.  I had my usual bottle of water along and a candy bar Mama gave me the other day.  That made a good pass for lunch.

Ate leftovers for my midday meal when I got home. 

Cooked one package of chicken breasts (3 breasts) right away.  That will make four sandwiches and one breast over for chicken fried rice on Sunday. 

Living Well

This has been a difficult week in many respects, but oh there have been moments that were blessedly sweet as well.  Most important to me has been the time spent here in my home, doing all I can to make our lives pleasant, comfortable and fruitful.  If I can feel I've done all I can to do this for us, then we can handle the difficulties just fine.

I have plenty of gratitudes for this week as well:

Great news from my son and dil after a worrisome week.

Granny is now placed in the local nursing home, so Mama can easily visit her without excessive driving.

The sweet time of prayer with my husband each evening.

An awesome service last weekend that bolstered us for the week ahead.

Red nail polish.

Trying new things (like making jam) and having them turn out just right.  Each new thing I try and master boosts my confidence in my ability and skills.

April, dressed in frilly white and looking more like a bride than June ever imagined looking.

Organization that enables us to find just what we need when we're looking for something.

A little extra sleep.

Watching favorite movies: Snow White and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Coming to the end of the week with the house looking really nice.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Have you ever tried mineral makeup? Bare Escentuals is expensive but Everyday Minerals (online) is much cheaper and even better. It is by far the best makeup I've ever used and you can easily use every bit of it. You also can get free samples with every order. These little jars are perfect for your purse in case you need a little touch-up. And no, I don't get a commission - I just LOVE their makeup. ;)