Friday, March 24, 2017

The Weeks Frugal Accomplishments aka Finding Focus

March 16 - 21

Thursday:  We did a great job on meals today.  I made pancakes and fried bologna for breakfast.  This meal is always a favorite.  I served it with store purchased syrup but when that bottle is done I will use my maple extract to make my own maple flavored syrup.  For lunch we had unstuffed cabbage rolls or deconstructed cabbage rolls or cabbage stew (depending on who you talk to within the family).  It was very filling and satisfying and there are still a lot of leftovers.  Before I try to serve it at Keegan's party I needed to try this recipe for coq au vin.  I served it with a freshly made loaf of bread.  This dish sounds as if it should be pricey to prepare but it is not.  It utilizes chicken thighs which are inexpensive and I bought a bottle of red wine for $2.50 and it only required half of the bottle.  I will serve this dish next week for her party and I will use the remainder of the wine.
Maceo went hiking with some friends today.  He packed almonds and peanut butter sandwiches to munch on during the hike.
Bishop went to open studio to finish a pottery piece that he has been working on.  For the price of his lessons he gets unlimited open studio time.  We would only have to pay if he needed to glaze and fire more than twenty pieces during the paid for lesson period.  It is a really great deal.  It makes for great entertainment and amazing pieces of art.
My entertainment for the day, beyond the fun of trying a new dish, has been to watch the NCAA basketball tournament.  I look forward to doing this every year and will enjoy every moment that I get to watch before we lose our cable.
I worked Swagbucks hard today so that I could meet a personal goal.  I reached 2200 points today and redeemed them for a $25 Amazon gift card.  I now have $75 in Amazon gift cards that I will be able to use in so many ways - food, gifts, school books, etc.
I purchased 9 pounds of onions for less than $2.40.  Today I sliced three pounds of them and put them up in the freezer.  I saved the onion skins to use in broth making.  I also saved bones from the coq au vin for making broth.
Herb is getting on board with some of the frugal measures.  Today he washed several baggies for reuse.  And he has taken to dumping our trash directly into the outside bin if the bags contents are fairly dry; he then reuses the trash bag.
I used the last of the pancake batter to make a late night snack for Maceo after he returned home from a long, demanding evening of rehearsals.

Friday:  Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!  I made a corned beef in the crock pot and made some colcannon (cabbage and potato) to accompany it.  We have leftover corned beef to make reubens with tomorrow.  I sure hope that sauerkraut is far enough along to use.
Herb has been walking to the gym in the morning.  It is within a mile of us but every little bit counts.  As it is getting warmer, I anticipate doing some walking instead of driving to the nearer locations.
Herb and Maceo are putting our gym (YMCA) membership to good use.  Due to Herb's medical conditions it is imperative that he work out consistently.  Swimming is particularly helpful and the Y has a pool.  We paid this month but will now likely qualify for a free membership due to Herb's disability and veteran status.  That will be very helpful during this transition.  No matter how the membership is being paid it is a resource and it is imperative that we utilize our resources well.
I saved bread bags to use for storage purposes.
I worked Swagbucks while watching the NCAA tournament.
I cleaned house while watching the NCAA tournament.
My entertainment for the day is most definitely the NCAA tournament!
The boys both hung out with friends.  This is the best kind of entertainment and doesn't cost a thing.
I typically buy geraniums and such for the flower pots that I keep on the front porch.  Knowing that I will not have enough money to buy plants this year and keeping in mind that it is important for me to utilize the resources that I have, I planted flower seeds in those pots.  Most of these seeds are seed heads that I took off of other plants or were gifted to me.  If they grow well I will have to replant most of them.  That will give me the motivation to get my flower beds in order.
It looks as though a storm is rolling in so I didn't water my plantings, hoping that nature will do it for me.
An artist friend of mine had a drawing for an art giveaway; you know, one of those things where you like and share a businesses facebook page than you're entered into a drawing.  I was one of the lucky winners.  Today I was blessed to receive a print of an etching that she made.  Love it!
I also gratefully received a box of canning jars.  They are presently in the sink soaking in hot, sudsy water.  They are all quart jars.  I was delighted to find two metal Miracle Whip Salad Dressing lids.  These will be fun to use on jars that I store dry items in.  I was even more delighted to find two unique canning jars.  One is an Electroglas jar from the Northwestern Glass Company.  I had never even heard of this kind of jar before.  The other jar is an OLD Kerr Economy jar (based on this information).  It is likely from the early 1900's and would have had a flat metal spring clip for closure.  It doesn't have a lid but is, otherwise, in perfect condition.  I will have to do something very special with it!
I cleaned out some drawers in the bathroom with the intent to assess and organize my first aid supplies.  I found that I am in good shape where first aid supplies are concerned.  I am only lacking regular bandaids and those can be picked up at the dollar store.  I also found more toothpaste and quite a few sample size soaps, shampoos, etc.  My bathroom drawers were in definite disarray but they are looking good now and held some pleasant surprises.
I brushed my teeth with toothpaste from my cut open tube; this makes four brushings so far.
And, finally, I brought in some forsythia and daffodils to make a pretty arrangement in the center of the dining room table.  I used three different vases - two made by Bishop and the other made by a professional potter.  I love it!

Saturday:  I don't feel as though I have accomplished a whole lot today.  I got sidetracked with facebook and related research (yup, political stuff, sigh) and television (it's our last day with the tv, sigh).  I did, however, go to the library.  I returned the books I had checked out previously and checked out a few more.  I checked out one to do with North Korea for Christian and found a couple on Korea that interested me.  One of them is written in hangul, although it does have the English translation, and it will give me the opportunity to apply what Christian taught me over Christmas break.  I also got a DVD on foraging wild edibles.  I am certain I will watch more DVD's once the tv is gone.  And, most excitedly, I "checked out" three packages of seeds.  Our library gives out heirloom seeds, up to four per person.  If all goes well, the recipient is supposed to collect and dry the seeds and return them to the library.  I got cilantro, cucumbers, and kale.  I am hoping that one of the other branches of the library will have a package of beet seeds.
I had a free beverage at Panera.  So, I got myself some tea, sat on the patio soaking in some sun and read from my library books.
It was a sandwichy sort of day.  I had a package of Hawaiian rolls in the freezer that I used to make ham sliders for lunch.  I made reubens for dinner.  I used the leftover corned beef rom yesterday.  I didn't have everything that I needed to make a russian dressing so I just made a fry sauce; first with ranch dressing and ketchup than, once I used all the ranch, mayonnaise and ketchup.  I was hoping that my homemade sauerkraut would be just ready enough to use but it wasn't.  Fortunately, I had a can of store bought sauerkraut in the pantry.  Very delicious!
Herb made his own food.  He wanted catfish and got a really good price on it so that is what he made for himself.  I'm allergic (highly) to catfish so it was great that he made it on a day when I was going to have really satisfying food.  He made homemade tartar sauce to accompany it.  He also made homemade pate, which is actually a pretty cheap yet nutrient dense dish.
Herb made a fantastic broth from the coq au vin bones and the onion skins of those onions that I have been slicing and freezing.
I finished cleaning out the bathroom drawers and guess what I found?  Bandaids!  I am totally good on first aid supplies!  I also found more deodorant and toothpaste, including four partially used rolls of toothpaste; rolls that the husband was going to throw away because he didn't want to work to get the toothpaste out.  I saved those rolls and hid them in a drawer for me to use then I forgot about them.  I look forward to seeing just how long I can make those four partial rolls work for me.

Sunday:  I woke up to Herb having started ribs for our meals today so I made potato salad to serve as a side dish.  I boil the eggs in the same pot as the potatoes for the sake of efficiency.
I enjoy Cheerios for breakfast.  I purchased the cheerio equivalent at Aldi and, for the first time, found something there that is not actually equal.  I will, of course, finish this box of cereal but will be looking for a good sale on actual Cheerios.  If I acquire some real Cheerios at a good price while I still have these others I may use them to make a crumble on top of a fruit cobbler; I think it would make a yummy crumble.  I had some boiled eggs with my cereal.
I poured the potato/egg boiling water, after it had cooled, over the flower pots on the front porch that I planted seeds in the other day.  I put the peels and eggshells in a flower bed.
Today is our last day of cable.  Before it was gone I watched the last of the show that I had recorded.  Herb showed me some apps that will allow me to watch the NCAA tournament once the cable is gone.
I researched when to start some of the seeds that I have and I really need to finish assembling the raised beds as I should be getting my carrots, radishes and kale in the ground.  I also did a little research on making fertilizer; this gardening venture needs to be done in the most thrifty fashion.
So, I split my time, over the course of the day, watching NCAA basketball and doing yard work.
I spent two hours outside cleaning up the yard.  I am trying to clear one particular area of volunteer trees and invasive vines.  I hope to make this area suitable for growing something edible or, at least, open up that possibility.  No matter what, it will make the space more beautiful.  I also got some great exercise and Vitamin D.
I took a walk for a little more exercise and Vitamin D.
I may have pushed my body just a smidge too hard.  I have some aches and pains, particularly in my bad foot and ankle.  While cleaning out the bathroom drawers I found a container of DMSO.  There was just enough for my foot and ankle this evening.  I then washed the container and stored it in case I make some homemade hygiene items.
I finished a tube of lip balm and by "finished" I mean I dug out all the bits of lip balm in the bottom of the tube.
I brushed my teeth again using the paste in the cut open tube; that makes eight brushings since I cut it open and I am still not done.  I think this is something I will continue to do no matter what our financial situation.
I worked Swagbucks today and made my bonus.

Monday:  I walked to Panera, got a travel refill and did a little reading on the patio.  It was so lovely.
After returning home I did more yard work.  I have a ton of house work to do before Keegan arrives on Wednesday but I really felt compelled to work in the yard before the weather turned cold again.
I made more floral ice cubes for an upcoming party using violets harvested from my yard.
I made progress assembling the raised beds.  I really want to get one up and running.
I made pancakes for breakfast.  I had saved half of the package of sausage from the last time that I made pancakes and sausage; I used it today.
Maceo had a very full day.  He went from vocal lessons to the gym to acting class to Jesus Christ Superstar rehearsal.  I grilled him a couple of chicken breasts to eat between the gym and acting class.  And we scrounged up a little cash for him to use at Jimmy John's for a cheapo sandwich between acting class and rehearsal.  He also packed his protein powder for a snack and took a refillable cup for his water supply.
For dinner I made spaghetti, a loaf of bread and cut up some apples.  I had originally planned to serve cucumber on the side but Maceo didn't eat an apple that I had cut for him so the rest of us munched on it and we'll save the cucumber for later.
I added the sausage drippings to the ground beef while it was cooking hoping to give it a little extra flavor.  I gave the beef dripping to the dog hoping it would help her dry skin.
We have cable no more.  I love that we have finally gotten rid of this.  I have been wanting to try life without cable for quite some time but, I have to admit, life did get a little rough for me in the afternoon.  I "hit a wall" around 3 and just wanted to veg with some tv.  I pushed past that feeling and got a little more yard work done instead.  Finally, at 8, I decided to chill and, for only the third time ever, I accessed Netflix.  (Yup, we've had this for years and every member of the family LOVES it but I just hadn't got into it...until now).  I watched the first episode of Call the Midwife.  It came highly recommended by Keegan and I did find it to be absolutely beautiful!
The last couple of days have really been gorgeous with temperatures in the 80's.  So, of course, I turned off the heater and I have also insisted that we not turn the a/c on.  Fans are acceptable but not the a/c.  I am hoping that we will acclimate to a degree, delay the turning on of the a/c, and save a little moola.
I used the leftover pancake batter to make a post-rehearsal snack for Maceo.  He ate them with peanut butter.  There was even enough for Bishop and I to have a little snack.
I continued to use toothpaste from my cut tube.  I have now had 10 brushings from this tube since cutting it open.
The least frugal thing that I did today was allow Maceo to go into Walgreens and buy vitamins.  They ended up costing a lot more than I had anticipated; I must admit it kind of took my breath away when I looked at the receipt.  However, after figuring that the cost was less than $1/day and he felt significantly better taking them I decided it was worth the price.  I will be looking for sales in the future.

Tuesday:  I took a look at the calendar and did my best to plan out this next week and made a grocery shopping list accordingly.  Overall, I did a very good job of sticking to my list.  The exceptions were a bag of gummy bears for me and two discounted corned beefs to tuck into the freezer.  I can get better at this though; always room for improvement.
Maceo packed some grilled chicken breasts and a peanut butter sandwich to eat between troupe and rehearsal.
Herb made dirty rice which is hearty and very cheap to make.  He used chicken gizzards as the meet in it.  He had it for both lunch and dinner.  I had it for dinner.
While I was out shopping I picked up a couple of Walmart pizzas.  They are extra large and cost only $6.  This is another thing that can be trimmed from the grocery budget but was a nice treat for lunch today.
I worked Swagbucks.
I did a lot of housework today but still managed to use Netflix to intermittently watch Call the Midwife.  I actually managed to watch three episodes (it's addictive).
I fed Maceo a bowl of oatmeal for his post-rehearsal snack.
He has a very busy day tomorrow.  We developed a plan for his meals; eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and protein drinks for snacks.
I got two more teeth brushings from the cut open tube.
Now off to bed.  We have a full day tomorrow, including Keegan arriving for her visit.

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