Late Friday: Don't hiss or boo...I'm not going political on you. I was just chuckling to myself recalling an incident with Josh today. He loves to sit in my desk chair which will spin about and can be rolled to and fro. He was spinning about today and told Bess, "I'm going to be President when I grow up." "Well son, that's an admirable and lofty ambition, but really think about this... It's a very hard job and lots of people who will tell you what to do. You won't get to order as many folks about as you might think." Josh frowned for a moment and then he smiled, "I fink I'll do it...and this is the President's chair!" We all smiled. After all it's a wonderful world we live in and it's every child's idea at one time or another that they might be leader one day. A little later Bess walked into the kitchen and said "Josh would you..." "Uhm Mom? You can call me, 'Mr. President'..." I've no idea what Bess was going to ask him to do. She just turned and walked back into the living room with a funny look on her face.
Sunday: I had the loveliest day all to myself for a few hours yesterday. It wasn't exactly planned. I consider it a gift in two ways. A gift from God who knows I do need my time alone to recoup and a gift from my husband who might well have offered my services but took on a task himself instead.
It really all began on Friday. Sam asked John to come help him work on something in the house when he came by here to pick up the rest of the laundry. I said very quietly, "I won't be available tomorrow..." I'd fought with a problematic ear all week long last week and it peaked on Friday. I'd also thought, mistakenly, that John and I were going to do something on Friday but when I approached him that afternoon he basically said "That boat has left the dock..." in a less polite way, lol. Oh. OK. I bit back my question, "But you do realize this is our last opportunity during your extended time off?" John wanted to go to the men's breakfast at church on Saturday morning. He was planning on working with Sam Saturday afternoon. Sunday he wanted to go to church... But if the boat was already out to sea then so be it. I hid my disappointment.
Friday night turned out to be a night of no sleep. I think I'd just gotten over tired. I didn't even pretend I was going to budge when John got up to leave for the breakfast. I leisurely got up about forty minutes later and had my coffee and Bible study time and when I was showered and dressed, I pulled out my genealogy notebook and started copying over pages where I'd added information to pages in a messy way. I got up in a little while and prepped dinner and then John came in. I was just about to finish dinner off when Sam called. He needed someone to watch the boys while he ran to pick up material and I thought "Oh well...I guess it's just meant to be that I go keep the boys."
Here's where John gifted me. He said to Sam, "We'll get this attended to in a minute." When he hung up the phone he looked at me and said "I'm going to go keep the boys and then work with Sam when he gets back. See you later!" And off he went. I could have cried out of gratitude. I had made up my mind if I was needed, I was needed ,but John knew I hadn't been feeling well the day before and he was determined to give me that day of rest.
I had a lovely day to myself. I did nothing but genealogy work and research and had a couple of lovely stumble upons of information that I hadn't found before. I never turned on the television nor music and didn't get on computer until later in the afternoon. You know what? I think I need to have a day like that at least once a week. Yes, even foregoing the computer. I have a tendency to feel I must work if I'm on the computer...or worse, I'll start playing a mindless game and discover I'd been completely unaware of life for a few hours of time. What a waste! I do think those things have their purpose at times but not as a regular habit and lately it's been a habit with me.
The result of this quiet day was that I slept like a top last night. A sure sign my mind needed that restful day as much as my body.
This morning we had an awesome church service. Worship service was powerful. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I came to a couple of decisions in church today. There's a senior adult Bible study that's restarting in late August. It meets on Thursday mornings and I am planning to start going to that. I don't especially want to be part of a seniors group when I hardly feel senior but I think I'm going to go. I'm going to let go of this age related thing in my mind. I also sort of committed to going back to the writer's group. We'll see how that goes. I'm less apt to attend if the meetings are going to be in the evening because the drive home in the dark isn't fun. We enjoyed the sermon today, too. Lots of little revelations in that passage of scripture. My mind is still turning over those thoughts.
We went by Lowes to pick up something for Sam's reno work. I have no idea what as I didn't accompany John into the main body of the store. I went over to the garden center and got myself $10 worth of landscape blocks (a total of 8). John asked why I was buying them. I pointed out that I'd just waste the money on something useless if I didn't. This makes my money count, small a sum as it might be. I'm not committing myself to laying them right away but I'll have them when I am ready to tackle big projects once again. For now, I stick to my resolve to just let August be a month without goals. It will give me time to look at the house and wardrobe and life and determine where I want to spend the bulk of my time.
Monday: Sent John off to work this morning and was surprised to find it dark outside when I told him goodbye...Oh the season is slipping away quickly now! I enjoyed the soft morning air and quietly mourned the passing of the summer days albeit we've six weeks until fall. The signs become more clear daily that this season is bowing out. It's not just the dark morning but the turkey foot oaks and the Sweet Gum trees are dotted with colorful leaves. In years past I might say "Oh it's been so hot and dry, that's why..." but there's not been excessive heat nor lack of rain. And there's nothing except seasonal changes to account for the golden rod swaying tall and beginning to bloom in roadsides.
After John was gone and I'd fed the pets and contemplated the signs of the season to come, I came indoors and found yet again I was inspired to do a little deeper cleaning than I'd thought I'd do today. I'd planned to follow my usual Monday routine but I decided to first toss the kitchen rugs into the wash and then I dusted the blinds front and back. Gosh but they were dusty.
I hung the rugs outdoors then stripped my bed and bathroom and put those things to wash. When load two was stowed in the washer, I mopped the kitchen and our bathroom, which was cleaned well first. I didn't clean the kitchen until after I'd mopped. For no particular reason except that was how I worked this morning. I puttered about the house going from one task to another and had just decided that it was time to shower and refresh myself when Katie texted she'd like to run errands with me today. A little over thirty minutes later we hit the road.
After I ran my first errand we headed to Target. Katie remembered seeing baby formula on clearance on the baby aisle. She's the sort that nests early on and is fully prepared with every thing well before time. So formula was on her mind today and we did indeed find the boxes of individual packets were half priced and bought all they had. These will be nice for the diaper bag.
I just smiled as I typed that out about her nesting. I remember a visit we made when Katie was pregnant with Taylor. Katie showed me a little dresser she kept in the kitchen of their first apartment and she pulled out each drawer which was packed with baby food and cereal and then led me to a closet where she had several tubs of powdered formula...Yes, my girl believes in being fully ready for baby long before baby arrives and she believes in stockpiling enough that she always has a surplus. No child will ever go undiapered nor hungry if mothered by that girl.
We looked at baby clothes and were so pleased with the Cat and Jack line at Target. So many cute baby boy items! And hats! I so want to get Isaac one of these:
I just don't know what size he needs. His head is bigger than average.
We oohed and ahhed over them. We scanned the clearance rack and picked up a couple of items and I lingered long over the little girls things wondering if Bess' baby will be a boy or a girl.
When we returned late this afternoon, Katie asked me in to see the children's room. She'd done a whale of a lot of work moving Taylor from a small bedroom to the larger one and all of Mama's accumulated stuff from the larger bedroom to the smaller. Katie's even got the baby bed made up...
The room is so cute. Her theme is cacti and llamas for the baby and Taylor's side of the room is a girly pink space because that's the sort of girl she is. Katie has used gray and an antique teal color and a sort of succulent green as well as a deep pink (since it's a shared room she pulled that from the cacti blossom) as her color theme. There's plenty of room to play and lots of light in the room which is something I love. She has pretty much gotten all the big stuff off Facebook Yard Sale and sites such as that for pennies on the dollar and has managed to pull things together with paint and fabric.
When I'd admired all that she'd done, I headed home. I had my few groceries to put away and clothes to come in off the line. Honestly now, is there anything in the world more wonderful smelling than cotton sheets that have been hanging on the line in the sunshine?!
Tuesday: John and I have turned into arm chair travelers. We've watched videos on YouTube of India, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Belasaurus. We've gone on cruises. We've visited cemeteries all over Hollywood. We've visited dozens of theme parks. I have thoroughly enjoyed these 'trips' albeit via digital waves. I figure it's likely the only places I'll get him to go besides the beaches in Florida and Georgia, lol.
That's what we do most early evenings now. We sit and watch travel videos. See the world and never leave the luxury of home!
Today was laundry day for Bess. Isaac adjusted in a minute to not having Josh about. He enjoyed being the only grandchild and took full advantage of the step stool to reach into the sink, look into the deep freezer, etc. He was fascinated by a lizard sunning himself on the landscape block right outside the living room which lead us to look up lizards online. I'd never seen this sort before this week. Misu was yowling at the door Saturday and I did NOT go to answer. I've learned my lesson with that cat! At any rate, I'd never seen the sort that she'd left behind after killing it on Saturday and it was the same sort today. Nothing but a "Common Lizard". But yes, it was bugs all last summer that fascinated Josh and now it's Lizards with Isaac. Oh how I love these boys, because honestly? Shivers even looking at photos of lizards.
Wednesday: A random mix of stuff today. Mostly thoughts that are rambling through my head.
A turkey breast is too much for John and I any more. A turkey is impossible to finish off for the two of us, so we began just buying turkey breast (bone in). But it's too much. I looked at the remains of the breast I cooked for Saturday's meal and realized we'd not finished even one half. I mentioned this to John on Sunday. "Have the meat department slice it in half." Good suggestion but no meat department will do that for you any longer. There was a day 25 or 30 years ago when they did. Now, to a store, all report it is a safety hazard and a liability risk.
So I guess it's down to me to partially thaw and then bone it best I can. The other option is those little 3 pound roasts with the 1 pound gravy packet shoved inside the packaging (a perfectly useless over salted product in my opinion). Those run about $9 at Aldi, making the meat cost upwards of $4.50/pound, which galls me when turkey breast can be had for $1.79/pound at top price and for as little as $1.19 when on sale.
For this particular breast I removed a whole section of cooked breast and put it in the freezer, but I'll own I'm less than happy with cooked turkey that has been frozen. It just loses something in the thawing. It's plenty moist, not drying out, but it lacks the texture and flavor that freshly cooked meat has. And yes, I am that picky! But being thrifty I'll make sure and use it all up, but next time... I also bagged up my carcass and skin for broth making one day in the future, as well as another container of small pieces.
I will also say that this particular breast was cooked in the crock pot which is my least favorite method for cooking turkey. I much prefer it roasted but dislike it even roasted meat when it's been frozen. In other words, I don't like any cooked turkey once it's frozen. Ah well...I'll figure this out. We do like our turkey. There must be a good solution somewhere. Any suggestions?
Yesterday we had a new game. Bess started it. She put the 'do-roar' mask on the stick horse.
And Isaac thought a dinosaur ride would be fun. Well a dinosaur obviously can't trot or gallop the way a horse can, now can he? So Gramma heaved him this way and that as she stomped her feet one at a time and then roared. Let me tell you being a dinosaur is rigorous exercise, lol. I was so sore last night I kept waking up aching in various parts of my body and constantly had to change sleep positions.
And yes, we realized later, when Isaac had given the 'Do-roar' to Grampa to hold that just possibly we might have set the stage for nightmares...
Thursday: Sobering morning. I was working on the checkbook and running some 'expected budget' figures and holy moly! I am seriously debating just how much we can tighten the belt. I don't think it will be this snug every pay period but possibly this pay period will be the tightest one we've had to date.
My consolation is that this is apparently a theme song for every August, at least according to my past blog posts. I expect it's as much to do with higher electric bills as it is that we had some major expenses last month (also typical July!) in big annual fees that came due. Sure, I had money set aside, but now I need to build those funds up again for the next time they come due... It's also partly due to John's losing a little time each pay period of late. Just a wee bit but it's enough to throw off the balance of everything. Well, he's planned his retirement date and he's using up accrued days of leave a little here and a little there and it affects us, each pay period.
So after the sobering moment, I ran a projected budget for the coming quarter at the new rate of pay...Ow. Finally, I just put everything away and prayed. "God, you know what we've got coming due, what we need and what we'll have...and it doesn't fit. Show me what I need to do and thank you now for providing for all our needs to come." Really what else can you do? I remind myself this is good training for the slightly lower budget we'll have when John retires.
I'd thought I'd slip out of the house for a bit of fun today but after my morning revelations it seemed prudent to stay home...and the deciding factor was when I looked in my wallet and realized I had half the money I thought I had. I clearly recalled just where the other half went, but I'd forgotten about that little bit of spending until I looked at my cash supply. Oh well. Staying home isn't the worst thing I can do. After all today is my only day alone for the next two weeks. So I'll just take advantage of it.
I puttered around doing housework this morning. Nothing heavy, just the usual stuff. I mean to go clean another set of kitchen cabinet doors here in a minute or two. I had meant to do some outdoor work this morning but got caught up in food prep work. I put on a loaf of bread to bake (turned out beautifully this time) so we'll have loaf for Shabat tomorrow night and I started a batch of English muffin dough. It won't be ready to use until tomorrow morning and I'll need to get up extra early if I mean to have some for breakfast. I also made up a batch of Matzah Cracker Candy which is yummy and a good start on using up the matzah crackers from Passover. I have about half of them left though...I'll have to see what I can plan to do with them.
I cleaned a second set of cupboard doors. I finished an entire wall except for those two little cupboards above the fridge. I'm not sure why they even put those there, honestly. I can't even reach them unless I use the step stool. Part of why I can't reach them is that the fridge sticks out so far from the wall and lower cabinets that it's ridiculous. Just one of my random thoughts, y'all. The point is I accomplished a bit more on a bigger job.
After I cleaned the cupboards I decided that something fun was in order so I went off to my closet and started trying different combinations of pieces. I admit I got distracted. I played with my hair and found two other ways of styling that I liked right well. I played in the costume jewelry. I'm really loving the dramatic stacking of necklaces (much more showy than those delicate gold chains stacked) and I have a set of necklaces that worked well for that look. In the end, I puttered around for a bit over an hour, found a few new to me outfits using two main pieces and then decided I'd had enough of it all.
Then I settled to look at Pinterest. I looked at all sorts of things: outfits, room décor, frugal tips (ack...some of the information out there for the younger frugal generation is sort of crazy stuff!), recipes, etc. I made notes in my notebook as I went along and found things that were good ideas. I have discovered a few things I didn't know and got inspired to do a few things. All in all it was a pretty decent day, spent attending to the business of home.
Friday: Well here we are at the end again...
I puttered and pondered all day long yesterday. I journaled. I pulled out my calculator and ran figures. Finally last night I realized that there is a way to manage this pay period. Not that I want to do it every pay period but for this pay period, it would work fine. Immediately John called to tell me he'd be working a little overtime today. No it's not ideal following a 24 hour shift to discover he must work on, but as I pointed out to him, "We can fuss...or we can simply say 'Thank you, God' for this overtime." He sighed deeply and said "You're right." He had no idea of course, the whole thing I'd been through in looking at bills yesterday but he does know that this is a stretching time for us and the lean season. Nevertheless he added, "But we're going to go out and eat tomorrow..." "We'll go someplace cheap and call it our get away," I told him. He agreed and that was our last conversation.
I ran over figures in my mind once more and again felt sure we could do something this pay period to manage...I resisted the urge to go deal with the budget sheet right away. It was bedtime, not the time to be working yet. So I went to bed with some measure of peace last night.
Up this morning at 7:30 which is late. I missed hearing the school bus come and go on the hill. I missed my usual moment of prayer for Josh and his day but spoke it as soon as I was up. Then I went into the kitchen to tackle my English muffins which had to rise a further 45 minutes once formed. I'm not happy at all with this recipe....I did as the cook suggested and it was a sticky mess and very delicate dough overall. I finally put them to rise and went off to have coffee and Bible study.
Forty-five minutes later I was rather pleased with how the Muffins looked and heated my pan. What a sticky horrible mess moving them from the baking sheet where they were rising to the frying pan! The perfectly formed muffins were misshapen and lost their rising. They taste fine. But it's not the grand success I wanted and certainly did not go as well as my first Bagels. I'll be looking at other recipes to see how they play out. Oh well. Try, try again.
After Bible study I pulled out the check register and found that indeed I could manage this pay period with the shifting about of things as it had come to me I might last night. Whew. It's not how I want every pay period to run but it will see us through this one and if next proves to be as snug then we shall have a proper sit down talk about what's to be done. Prayers on my part at present are that this is the only pay period and no such discussion shall ensue.
John called me finally at 11am to day he was on a call...And so I figured our planned date was kaput. No tears or whimpers on my part. Such is life when you are a paramedic's spouse. He'd hit his second wind by the time he called to say he was on his way home and told me to get ready...so I shall end here.
I used the broth from the turkey breast to cook stuffing and make gravy. Big mistake, it proved to be. I had sprinkled the turkey breast with a little seasoning salt and that made the broth super salty. We ate the meal all the same but not keen to eat the leftovers of the stuffing as a stand alone. I'll likely mix it with something...I'll have to be creative.
Made a simple green bean casserole without fried onion rings. It was yummy and might become my go to recipe since it is also cheaper to make this dish in this manner.
I meant to go by the grocery store to pick up bread on sale but that fell by the wayside Sunday afternoon. Since I made bread on Thursday night (even better than my first attempt!) I decided that we have plenty on hand for just now.
Gave myself a full pedicure.
Meat for Sunday dinner didn't thaw as expected. Plan B was also discarded. I went on to Plan C which worked out just fine.
Decided to spend $10 on landscape blocks. I realized I'd just waste the money on something that didn't count for anything much. I'm back to the point where I want to make my money work as hard as it can.
Odd as it might sound, it being just August and autumn a long way away for us here in Georgia, I am thinking hard already about what I want in my fall wardrobe. I'm going to try to shop mainly thrift stores this year for those pieces I want. We'll see how that works out.
Set up four more outfits, having already worn two new to me combinations that I liked fairly well. I'm telling you, pinning outfits that inspire me on Pinterest and periodically reviewing them, really is a tremendous help in utilizing what I have.
Katie needed lightbulbs and prefers the CFL type. Well I had three large boxes of them here at home that I haven't been using. We switched two years ago to LEDs because I like the brighter light they give. As we replaced our bulbs with the LEDs, I stashed all of the CFLs. I couldn't bring myself to toss a perfectly good light bulb even if I didn't especially care for them. Well they are off to a good home.
At the grocery store I wanted only one item to restock in my pantry: mayonnaise. On sale for a buy one get one free price that was very reasonable, I bought six jars, costing me less than $10. John always remarks that we'll have mayonnaise 'forever' but gracious it doesn't last forever at all! In fact, I'm hoping to see another sale around labor day which is four weeks away. It will likely be the last time that big sales on ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, and baked beans occurs until next May. I'm planning to add another six jars to my stash, which should hold us until Memorial Day 2020 sales begin the cycle all over again.
Sat down this afternoon and worked out a budget for the next four months. I needed to see on paper if a help I hope to continue giving could be fit into income without completely giving up any savings at all. Well it can be done according to the figures and so I can lay that worry aside and just do it without wasting my mental space. It can be done. It shall be done.
I washed kitchen rugs. Sometimes I stop and thank myself for thinking ahead. My kitchen can be a noisy place. I need the softening curtains and rugs to bring the noise level down. However, I am also prone to drips and spills. I'd love to blame someone else but I'm the one who spends 50% of her time in the kitchen. I'm the one who does all that spilling! Rugs and spills...When I started looking for rugs I knew they would have to be cleaned and the easiest way to clean is to toss them in the washer, right? So I made sure I bought rugs that would both fit in my washer and were washable. And as I brought in those pristine once more rugs, I was pleased I'd taken the inspiration to buy the right sort of rugs.
Made a loaf of bread and it wasn't exactly a fail...but I did find the dough extremely wet today. I added an extra cup of flour and as expected later found it touching the glass and about to overflow the edges of the bread pan. I poked at it a little bit and got it off the edges so it wouldn't burn. Bess and I determined that high humidity was the most likely reason. I had to pry the loaf from the pan but it smelled lovely and Bess and John enjoyed their pieces of it with butter. I'll try my hand at it again later in the week. It's turned out beautifully twice. No need to freak out because the third time it poofed.
Made a steak for dinner. I was disappointed. One whole end was grizzle. Ugh. That is not typical of steaks I've gotten at Aldi in the past so no great fuss...but Maddie was awfully happy about it. I'd popped it in the freezer for a few hours and she considered it a great treat. Not a great kitchen day really between the grizzly steak and the slumped loaf of bread.
My potatoes were starting to look a bit beyond fresh. I peeled them all, diced and stashed half in the fridge in a container of water, cooked half for a meal.
In non-frugal news: threw out a some foodstuffs today. Some because it was so salty it was hard to eat in round one. Leftovers of food that just aren't good to me reheated (cooked cabbage and potatoes). Small portions of things left. It wasn't a load of food but it's more than I've tossed in months and months and it didn't feel good...
I also moved some things to the freezer that I had no immediate plan to use up.
Made Matzah Cracker Candy from Passover Matzah crackers.
Made a second loaf of bread. It turned out beautifully.
Ate a frozen leftover entrée for my lunch on the day I spent alone.
Made my first English muffins.
I kept thinking I'd print off some pictures to use in my bathroom but instead, I pulled two from my shed and hung them. No cost at all. I even reused the nail holes I'd already put in the wall.
Earlier this week Dora (aka Gramma D) sent me this link for free Kindle books. I've downloaded a couple this week. https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/
Homemade English muffins. There are 8 on the counter now but what a mess that was. Frugal making, why yes it is, but honestly there's got to be a better way.
Meals this week:
Turkey, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Waldorf Salad, Pound Cake
John tells everyone that I cook Thanksgiving dinner several times a year and 'always in August'. Well I don't...but I do typically cook a turkey breast because it makes good sandwich meat for us. I figured he might as well have a taste of Thanksgiving
Plan C: Tacos
Plan A will move to Tuesday. Surely by then the meat will be thawed...Plan B was scratched due to lack of a key ingredient. I thawed/cooked the ground beef in a few minutes time. And dinner was good though a lot simpler than I'd planned.
ate out with Katie
Steak, Potatoes with onions, Salad
Turkey slices, yellow rice, black beans
I was soooo uninspired come mealtime this day. I didn't want turkey at all but there it was...
leftovers for both my solo meals came from the freezer
we're going out(C) Terri Cheney