Saturday, June 11, 2011

Frugal Friday/Living Well...Saturday Evening Version

Saturday:  I made good use of leftover burger buns to make a breakfast sandwich for our us.  I hollowed out the thicker top portion of the bun and broke an egg into the hollow, topped the bottom portion with a thin slice of cheddar and a thin slice of Spam and baked until the eggs were set.  This was an easy and delicious breakfast and I was happy to use up a few more of the leftover buns.

Sunday:  Chance worked an extra shift today.  This extra money goes towards repaying the car loan.

Fed the dogs in the early morning.  They are eating a little less now due to the heat but are eating better in the cool morning air.  I sit with them and get rid of any leftovers to avoid attracting ants.

Watered plants using some of the reserve water I keep on hand.  I like to rotate and refill the bottles routinely and watering the plants helps to do this on a regular basis.

Washed two loads of clothes this morning.  Since the weather promised to be sunny and very hot it seemed a good time to wash and hang to dry the pillows and sheets.

Took a casserole from the freezer for my dinner and let it thaw.  Came dinner time, I heated in the microwave and avoided using the oven.

Went into town to purchase the Sunday paper.  I made sure to buy nothing but the paper, too, though there was temptation to run into the dollar store and the grocery as well.  I gathered trash to take off on that trip and took mail to the post office to drop off.

Monday:  I thawed a corned beef overnight in the fridge.  I bought it during the St. Patricks day sale.  I must say that the cut I bought, known as a point cut, had quite a bit of fat.  I trimmed it deeply and was left with about half the size brisket. 

I cooked the brisket in the crockpot to prevent too much heat in the house.  After allowing it to cool I was able to slice it across the grain into sandwich slices.  I had enough meat to make at least two meals, despite all the trimming of fat.

I look for ways to have little luxuries.  It's apparently the rage at the moment to use herbs to flavor beverages.  I tried basil lemonade this morning.  I used my homegrown basil leaves.  It was actually a lovely drink.

Made Thousand Island dressing to go on our Corned Beef Sandwiches.  The best recipe I've come across is simple.  1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsps. catsup or chili sauce, 2 tbsps. each chopped onion, celery, red bell pepper.  1 tsp paprika.  Mix well and chill. 

I find little need to run very much hot water.  It takes several minutes to get the cold water to come from the faucet so only a little hot water is needed to make the water really warm.

Tuesday:  I knew Chance wanted to leave home early to avoid the heat.  We were off to do more errands.  I offered to buy us breakfast to help save time in leaving the house.  I told him ahead of time what I had to spend, too, so he could choose a spot according to my budget.  As it happened he wanted to get errands out of the way first, so it was lunchtime before we finally stopped.  That opened up a few more possibilities to choose from and because the morning had been mild with a strong Gulf breeze, we opted to go to a drive-in to eat.  The special of the day suited us and left me with change to spare.

We made out a detailed list the night before so we wouldn't miss any of our stops.  That list came in handy as always and kept us on target with our purchases.

Ants.  We've been battling them here, there and everywhere now for two weeks straight.  Forget all natural, works for an hour or so remedy...I want to stop them from coming in, PERIOD.  We bought ant traps and spray.  The spray is for around the outside perimeter of the house and the traps go in the places where we find them most consistently.  So far so good and I no longer have to dread walking into the kitchen and finding them in yet another food storage spot.

We stopped at the grocery to purchase bread and produce.  The cashier handed me a dozen or more coupons, some left by the previous shopper, as well as my own.  I happily accepted them.  All were for items I'd normally purchase on sale and they don't expire until end of August.

Cleaned out the fridge for supper.  Flour tortillas, a cup of browned ground beef,  half a tomato, some feta cheese...I made pizzas.  They sure were good!

Chance waited until after sundown to wash a load of clothes.  He said he wanted to wait until our electricity was beyond peak hours.  I'm reminded that I need to invest in a folding drying rack so we can use the dryer less.

Mindful that I've had a lot of time off of late, I tried to do a little of the project work that is in progress.  Spent the evening sewing one of the colored ribbons onto the guest room curtains.  Then I looked through the button container for suitable sized buttons for the pillow shams in my bedroom.  I didn't find any that were right but I think I have a craft project idea using some of them.  I used the light that comes in the window in that room to sew by.  No need of electric light when an open curtain and shade provide just as much light for free.

Wednesday:  The dogs and cat didn't eat quite all their food this morning.  I put it back in the container to keep the ants away from it.  I've been increasing and decreasing to find the right 'formula' for the amount they need for this hot weather.  It looks like it's around 1 1/2 cups for the dogs and 1/4 cup for the cat. 

This was Mama's day to go out, so I made sure to take trash with me to drop off on my way to town.

Mama had magazines and coupons for me.  I don't much care for the magazines, really, but every now and then I find a helpful hint.  Did you know that coconut oil is good to use on your feet because it kills fungus?  Apparently, like honey, coconut oil is just a good all around antiseptic to keep on hand.  We use it for cooking, so we usually have it on hand.

Even though I can make perfectly good cinnamon rolls, I bought a plate of them at the Mennonite restaurant.  I put them in the freezer because we have plenty of other sweets on hand.  I thought they'd be nice to warm in the microwave one weekend morning and save me the heating up of my kitchen.

We shopped nowhere this day, so money was  saved all around.

Clipped and filed coupons as I watched a decorating program on tv.

Used the internet to help with a Bible study instead of buying a book.

Recycled plastic shopping bags to line the smaller trash cans.

Decided it would be worthwhile to buy cotton flour sack toweling to use to wrap damp lettuces and cabbage after I've washed them.  I've been wrapping them in paper towel and then putting into a plastic bag to store, but it seems to me the flour sack toweling would do the same job and I could reuse it again and again after washing. 

Cooked cubed steaks for Chance's lunch.  And a couple extra to be cut and used to stuff homemade biscuits.

Thursday:  Decided to take advantage of the low early morning temperature to work outside.  I've not been outdoors to work in the yard in nearly two weeks.  I spread 9 bags of mulch, trimmed some dead branches on shrubbery, and got a good coat of paint on the front side of the glider.

Cleaned the shower using my favorite Lysol toilet bowl cleaner.  It cuts right through soap scum and I can use a little and just spread it out to do the whole shower.    Love when that shower looks sparkly clean!

Cleared the plastics bin which is slowly becoming the glass jar bin.  I've been struggling with overflow for weeks.  I tossed all the lids that apparently go to nothing at all and matched tops and jars or containers.  Took about 15 minutes to do and should save me at least that much time looking for matched pieces every day for the next two weeks.

Completed another step on the guest room curtains.

Had Chance reposition some curtain rod hangers earlier this week.  That necessitated  buying new rods, surprisingly.  We bought the least expensive at Lowe's.  I think they were $1.34 each.  These new curtain rods are well worth the money.  They are more sturdy than what we had and the end that slides over the second rod has a capped edge that makes it a breeze to run through a curtain rod pocket without snagging the fabric.  I'd always tried to keep a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on hand with the old rods I had to keep from snagging, but I love that someone thought to do this for us.

Having the curtain hangers closer to the mirrors means that one panel is more than sufficient to soften that hard surface area.  Previously I had to use two panels.

Cooked all the squash I bought last week even though I didn't plan to eat it all today.  I put a recipe sized portion in the freezer to make a squash casserole in the future.

Made up a plate for my Saturday dinner.  No need to stop for takeout that day, I can just come home and pop the glass plate in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

Used 2 quarts of  'saved' water to pour over three of the front porch plants. 

I realized I could combine two tasks.  I wanted to fill water bottles and run some warm water to wash the dinner dishes with.  I filled the water bottles with the cool water that came from the faucet first.  The water warmed enough to wash dishes just as I filled the last bottle.

Saved the water that cooked out of the squash and the liquid from the can of green beans to pour over dog food in the morning.  Were it winter, I'd save these vegetable broths in the freezer and make soup with them.

We have a black hose and it stays in full sun almost all day long.  The hose has to run several minutes outdoors before it is cool enough to use on the plants. I use the hot water to wash off the deck, the siding, a window, the patio set, whatever is handy and won't be hurt by the hot water.

Sometimes I feel a perfect meanie with my frugal ways but I've found that bending my own rules often bites me in the bottom and bites hard.  I refused to go into town this afternoon with an item that (a) wasn't of vital importance and (b) had become my burden to deal with because someone else wasn't doing what they ought to have done.  No, it wasn't Chance, so don't  think it was.  He understood perfectly why I refused to go even though it was a six mile roundtrip.

Friday:  That paperwork that I got burdened with...must not have been too important after all, as the person who needed them couldn't be bothered to drive out here yesterday afternoon either.  So glad I didn't waste my time, energy, gasoline to run into town!  Said person is coming out this morning while running other errands. 

Finished up the guest room curtains this morning, at least finished enough to get them hung and they look okay.  I'll not say I did a stellar job, because I didn't, but they look good enough and I can now see the guest room coming together.  Funny how a Queen sheet, thread and two different colors of ribbon can do that, isn't it?  Because I had to buy thread to match the ribbons I think I have about $8 possibly $10 but no more tied up in these 'custom' matched drapes for the room.

Having company for dinner spurred me to see if I couldn't make a pretty table scape.  Did very well, too.  What do you think?  I had everything on the table, including the flowers (left from my payday bouquet).  The ivy I've rooted from cuttings I made last summer.  It needs to be planted when I'm done with this tablescape.

Even though I had a menu plan I wanted to make something special for a company meal.  I dug about in the freezer and found chicken tenders and two boneless skinless breasts which I cut into strips.  I made Tandoori chicken.  I used one of those jars of "didn't quite get thick" yogurt to marinate the strips.  My menu: Tandoori Chicken, Saffron Rice, Carrot and Pistachio Salad, Watermelon.  It was a pretty, colorful meal and low calorie as well.

I sorted through my recipe file as I visited with my guest and we chatted...No I wasn't being rude, she was looking through my vintage May and June magazines at the same time.  I found a couple of coupons on the backs of recipe pages I was about to discard that were still valid.  I clipped them and filed them right away.

Fees are popping up everywhere.  USPO now suggests we make hold requests for mail, change of address, etc online.  Do you know they charge $1 for a change of address posted online.  Are they kidding?  Honestly, I can run by the post office on my usual errand morning and do the same thing for nothing at all.    Now the bank wants to charge for getting a paper statement each month.  Excuse me?  The small print online says it's FREE...Boy.  You really have to watch and call some companies (federal or private) or their silliness...Wonder how many people didn't pay attention to their statements and will just accept the charge?

Living Well

I love living in the country.  I really do.  I like watching the rabbits hop about on the lawn in the morning and evening.  I like seeing dragonflies flit about.  I don't mind bees, wasps, yellow jackets and such as long as they stay off my person and out of my face.  I like their buzzing and zippy flights.  I like to watch the horses swishing their tails and flicking their ears when they are grazing in the field.  I love listening to the roosters crow and chickens cackle.  I like hearing a neighbor over on the hilltop running the mower.  I might not know who it is, nor which house, but it's a companionable sort of sound on a summer morning.  As is hearing children laughing and playing in the evening.

I like to see hay in the fields and note which fields have been plowed and planted with the next crop.  I love the aroma of summer, even when it's parched grass and dry earth and humidity I'm smelling.  I like the way petunias bloom with abandon and the way herbs smell when you brush them as you walk past.  I like to just stand and close my eyes and appreciate how hot the sun feels, and walk barefoot on bare earth to feel that heat as well. 

Mostly I like that I can be by myself and yet there's so much life around me that I can see and hear and touch that I can never say I'm alone and that is saying quite a lot about living in the country.

I took the above picture this morning.  I've been meaning to get a shot of the bales in the fields for two weeks.  I almost didn't get a picture of them at all because nearly all the farmers have taken them into storage!    


BelleDiabolique said...

I've bragged about that carrot salad to anyone who will hold still long enough to listen. Everything was wonderful, but I think the salad impressed me so much because it's a dish I normally am not fond of. Thank you for having me over!

Rhonda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhonda said...

missed your regular full of info posts this week, but I certainly understand about life keeping you busy.

very pretty table you set, the green and pinks/reds are so nice together.

herbs in drinks? really, I am not thinking I would like that but have never tried it either.

our dog is not eating as much this summer either.

now I need to finish dressing for church. Hope you have a nice new week