Friday, February 19, 2021

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu

Well, the menu plan is late this week, but hey better late than never for sure.  

You will notice an odd meal on the menu plan.  That is because one of my daughter's history units had a final where you had to make a Medieval meal from a varied list of options, so we are kind of punting said menu to make food with ingredients we have on hand (I refused to go and buy things like sandalwood to color a dish...we do not have that type of money).  

So, let's get to it!

Friday:  Potage (basically vegetable and barley stew with a bit of meat mixed into it), sourdough bread.  Pokerounce for dessert (basically toast with honey and spices on it.  Sounds good anyway :).

Saturday:  Bacon cheeseburgers on homemade bread, salad, baked beans.

Sunday:  Home made pizza and breadsticks

Monday:  Spiced pork roast, mashed potatoes, green beans

Tuesday:  Meatballs over pasta with spiced cranberry sauce (I'm just going to adapt some left over cranberry relish from Thanksgiving to make the sauce).

Wednesday:  Pancakes, bacon, eggs with berries (from the freezer)

Thursday:  Beef teriyaki, miso soup, salad with Asian dressing (look up recipe for Asian dressing), rice.

Desserts:  Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting (otherwise known as birthday cake for the daughter *laugh*), Pokerounce, berry crumble (probably raspberry, depending what needs to be used in the freezer) 

And there you go folks.  Our tentative menu plan for this coming week.  How about you?  Making anything good?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times Nearly 3)

It has been crazy around here.  And not in a good way.  What happened to delay blogging this time?  Covid.  Covid happened.

We aren't sure when or how Armina got exposed as we have been really careful about limiting trips out of the house and using all of the precautionary things that the CDC recommended, but the germs got through somehow.  For her the bug hit like a stomach bug that lasted for about two weeks where she was miserable and with four days of her being really sick, living off of ginger ale and sleeping a lot.  She's feeling better now, thank goodness and so far *knock on wood* the rest of us haven't caught it yet.  But, I've been busy taking care of her and in between deep cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms, repeatedly and very often, to try and stop the germs from spreading further.  All the while we were under quarantine protocols and the son was going kind of bonkers from the change in his normal routine.  I'm just grateful it wasn't worse and that the daughter seems to be recovering just fine, but's been an interesting two weeks.

While the husband was stuck at home on quarantine, though, he did get busy.  My sister-in-law had called and offered us her old washer and dryer as a friend of hers had given her much newer machines and she wanted the old ones gone.  Her washer was much nicer than mine in the features it had on it, and it turns out that my washer was miserably small.  I had always thought that I was doing six loads of laundry per day just because I had a special needs kid, and sure, that was part of it, but it turns out that my old machine when compared it to my sister-in-laws was REALLY tiny inside.  I had my husband look up my washer's model number and things and we found out that my washer was basically an apartment washing machine.  Makes sense, really, since the previous owners were an old retired couple with no children living with them, so what did they need a full sized washer for?  But, yeah, as soon as I realized that my washer was sitting at just about 3 cubic feet capacity, I decided that fixing it was out and just getting a new washer was in.  So, my husband switched out my washer for my sister-in-law's old one and got it all hooked up.  I love how I can get my laundry done in half the time and only have to run it once compared to most things that I was having to run twice to get completely clean in the old washer.  The, new to us, washer also spins the laundry a lot better, so I am only having to dry the clothes once compared to twice with the old washer as it wasn't spinning the water out of the clothes right since the earthquake.  

The new-to-us machine does have a mixer valve problem that my husband is going to have to fix (I can run cold or hot water, but it will only do warm for a very short period before switching to all hot water and I have to babysit it to get it filled with warm water), but overall I'm really happy with it so far :).

Shot of the new washer is up top.

2.  When my daughter wasn't feeling good, but wasn't really really sick, I got some stuff done around the house.  I had my kitchen carts next to each other for a while now, but the daughter kept whacking herself off of the wheat grinder.  I felt bad that was happening to her, so I decided to rearrange the carts to hopefully work better and make it so she didn't get hurt on the carts all the time.  So, I finally rearranged them with one in the corner by the door (where they were before) and was able to get the wheat grinder handle out of the way of whacking anyone this way.

I then moved the microwave cart over by the sideboard (kind of limited in how I place the cart due to the heating vent under the cart that I didn't want to put a lot of weight on, so I had to face it weird to straddle the vent instead).

The new system seems to work well and the daughter isn't walking around with a constant bruise on her arm, so I'm calling it a win :).

3.  Since we were under quarantine, I ordered our weekly groceries online and had my husband pick up said groceries at the store and he had them just drop the bags in his trunk so he didn't expose anyone to anything. I had a coupon loaded on my card for a bunch of bonus points for going over 100.00.  Since we were out of a bunch we managed to go over the amount and were able to get .80 off per gallon for gas as a result.  It resulted in me being able to fill up my truck for a lot cheaper than I would have otherwise.

4.  I sat down with my husband and made a plan for food stuffs and other things for the house.  Everyone up here is panicking about our supply lines getting cut off (there has been a couple close calls of late thanks to the federal government) and what we are going to do for food if we do with everything going on.  Even our governor came out and said we needed to become independent up here and we needed to do it fast or we could be in serious trouble.  So, we are trying to source things as much as we can locally to not only support local businesses, but just to feel safer in our supply lines.   Hopefully, if the state government gets on board, maybe we can see some real investment in state agriculture and things, which we desperately need up here.

So, related to the new "master plan" we figured out, my sister sent me a check at Christmas to use toward a new washer (if we ended up needing one and could FIND one with the appliance shortage and all) and/or for household stuff, so we had put those funds aside to use for that purpose (I promised her, so I tried really hard to use it for what she wanted me to use it for).  Since we got a new-to-us washer for free, we decided to set aside a little of the money my sister sent to use toward parts to get the new washer working well and then we used the rest to order a pork pack from our local butcher.  We picked it up before the quarantine hit, which was a blessing as trying to figure out the logistics of having someone else pick it up would have been a nightmare.  Having meat in the freezer has been a tremendous sense of security for us the last year (after we bought the beef pack last year) and just having that security that we had food in the house was worth spending the money.  We decided that pork was a good route to go to stock up the freezer as pretty much everything you can do with chicken you can do with pork, so it seemed a better use of freezer space than having both chicken and pork in the freezer all the time.

And I was able to fit a whole hog meat pack in the freezer through the wonders of adult Tetris skills (I had them slice the hams into steaks to make it easier to stack them), so yay me *laugh*.

5.  I repaired yet another hole in a comforter.  I have decided, after many, many, many darns to the comforter (which is my favorite one for my bed, unfortunately for me), that it is time to admit defeat and so I'm going to look and see what I can find for outer fabric for said comforter and then use said comforter for batting in a new comforter (the batting in said comforter is holding up fine, the outer fabric is just worn and dying on it).  So, hopefully I can figure out some way to save what is left of said comforter.  Here's hoping.  

6.  My husband went through his large store of t-shirts a bit (when he worked in the field he would go through t-shirts like mad, so we always had a large supply) and picked out ones that had shrunk and would fit the son.  Which worked out well as Alvah keeps shooting up like a weed, so it has been hard to keep on top of his growing spurts.

7.  My husband and I refilled our small containers of hand sanitizer from a large container we bought before quarantine last year.  By refilling the small containers we have saved a TON of money over the last year and the large container is still going strong.

8.  My husband took an old container of spray foam insulation he had and started to fill in the many gaps around the doors in the garage that we have had since the earthquake.  Some of them were bad, like you could see daylight shining through them bad, so it was a real relief for him to start working on getting the garage better protected from the cold.  We can definitely tell a difference in how much the garage heat is coming on after he did that, so I'm hoping that we might see a reduction in our gas bill because of it as well.  We'll see next month.  Fingers crossed.

9.  I ordered a large roll of double fold bias tape to make tie face masks for my husband for work.  This will allow me to make a decent amount of masks at one time for him, which is good and buying in bulk definitely saved me some money.  Since my husband is in a mask 8 hours a day at work and we wash them a LOT, I definitely need to make him more.  The tape should be in this week and I can hopefully get started making more masks for him.

10.  I repaired a separating sole of a shoe with "Shoe Goo".

11.  I sat down with my daughter and figured out what she wanted for her birthday cake (her birthday is coming up at the end of the month) and we planned on what she wanted for her birthday dinner as well.  Luckily, I already got her birthday gift, so at least I don't have to worry about picking up something and then realizing I can't because of quarantine.  Planning ahead definitely saved my bacon this month :).

12.  My daughter really liked some of my old CD's, but said CD's weren't available to listen for free on her tablet, so I just unplugged the portable stereo, grabbed my old CD binder and gave everything to her.  She is absolutely thrilled to have the stereo in her room to listen to music and I'm just "borrowing" it when we want to listen to music while doing schoolwork.  I really don't mind as my laptop has a CD player in it, so I can just go back and grab a CD if I want to listen to it and the daughter can feel grown up having her own stereo to play in her room :).

And there you go folks.  Some of the things we've been up to the last three (nearly) Fridays.  Hope you are all well and hanging in there.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu

So, last week's menu went off the rails, I have to admit.  I got to Saturday and then life just ended up getting in the way.  Saturday, due to the sewer vent pipe leaking and things, we ended up running around all day running errands/getting parts and then our friends invited us over to use their pool Saturday night, so we definitely took them up on that and got the son some much needed physical activity.  By running him around all day and then swimming and things it really helped to get him back onto a more normal (for him) sleep schedule.  We ended up using what we had left of our gift cards we got gifted for Christmas to take the kids out to dinner Saturday night and then after that I just ended up punting on meals the rest of the week (Eggs Benedict on Sunday by husband request, Beef teriyaki with miso and edamame on Monday and left over pizza on Tuesday).  Not sure why as I did cook at home, but it just seemed like I couldn't get back on track after Saturday.  So, I put the Pad Thai stir fry on the back burner until next week and am just going for things I need to make to use up stuff in the freezer and such.

The menu plan got delayed this week (basically why I didn't post it yesterday) was due to the fact that I had a pretty good headache going last night and just wasn't up to reading/writing anything, so the family had sandwiches for dinner (exciting I know, but it worked :).  So, yeah, onto this week's menu plan!

Thursday:  Slow cooked chuck roast, mashed potatoes with gravy and homemade bread

Friday:  Swedish pancakes with berries and whipped topping (I cleaned and consolidated my freezers yesterday and found like three containers of whipped topping, so is wasting freezer space and needs to be eaten), bacon

Saturday:  Chicken gyros, fruit salad

Sunday:  Open faced roast beef sandwiches, canned peaches

Monday:  Hamburgers/cheeseburgers on home made bread, oven fries

Tuesday:  Roast chicken (Cornish game hens from freezer), stuffing, mashed potatoes

Wednesday:  Swedish meatballs over pasta, green beans

Desserts:  Chocolate mousse (okay, so it's just chocolate Jell-O pudding with some heavy cream whipped in to lighten it and make it mousse-like, but it'll work), lemon pound cake (maybe if I can get time to make it), banana bread (this needs to get made as I need to use the defrosted bananas that are in the fridge).

And there you go folks.  Our menu plan for the week.  Now I need to sit down and work on monthly goals...which is always a bit more complicated.  How about you?  Got anything good planned to eat this week?

Monday, February 1, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times 2)

The last two weeks have been kind of rough.  Where before Alvah had given up sleeping for the last couple of months on anything resembling a regular sleep schedule, the last couple of weeks he just out and out gave up sleeping.  And he was not happy about it.  It was not a fun time for me, I'll be very honest.  Combine that with the 10 year anniversary of my dad passing away and somehow, depression took me out at the knees a bit.  

Luckily the last three days or so Alvah has actually started sleeping better (not GREAT, but better) which has helped me tremendously.  Surprisingly, however, even with a major lack of sleep (thank you coffee!), I was able to get a bunch of stuff done around the house.

First, I managed to finally dig my sewing table out from underneath the major pile of stuff that had accumulated on top of it and around it.  I planned ahead for everything I had ordered from Amazon to pad out my pantry and household and was able to immediately put everything away as soon as it came in, so I didn't have to add to the household clutter (yay!).  I am happy to report we are well stocked on paper towels and toilet paper now for the coming year, which is a relief, I have to say.  

Anyway, once I got my sewing table to a point I could use it again, I'm slowly working through the major pile of projects that have piled up.

1.  First, I decided that I needed to make new curtains for my bedroom as the old ones were kind of getting a bit ratty.  I had bought two different colors of curtains at the used stores a few years ago, figuring that I was set for when I repainted the room that way and I could figure out which color went with the paint better.  Well, when I pulled out the curtain panels to try them out, it turned out that the used store had screwed up the length and width on the panels when they labeled them so I had VERY long and not very wide curtain panels in blue and brown.  I, at first, thought that I'd maybe just buy some curtains from Amazon and call it good, but then my check card got frauded (I am not linking my check card to my Amazon account anymore after this as I have had fraud on it at least once a year for the past three years and it is the ONLY place online I use my check card), so I quickly cancelled all open orders so they didn't roll over onto my existing Amazon card balance (which I'm working on paying off).  So, necessity being the mother of invention, I made a decision and called my step mom who had studied textiles and sewing when she was in college.  I asked her opinion on stripe width and such and with her suggestions in mind, I started to cut panels down and got to work.

The final results are seen up top.  At the moment the curtains match pretty much nothing in the room as I haven't painted the room yet (obviously), but the brown will definitely match the new light fixture we bought for the room, so at least I have that going for me *laugh*.  I used the old curtains to line the new ones as they did need some type of lining and I have to say it works pretty well and blocks light and breezes decently well now.

2.  I also managed to FINALLY, after a few years of determined not getting it done, got some skirts made for my daughter.  She insists on living in skirts when she is in the house and just plain won't wear pants when home and her old skirts were not only getting shorter and shorter on her but they were plain starting to wear out.  

So far I've gotten two done and have one more cut out (the material is the same as the beige with the flowers on it, but I wanted to make sure the material would wash and dry okay before sewing the second one).

3.  I mended two shirts, a pair of pants and a few socks.

4.  I needed one more "s" hook for my pot rack above my sink so I could hang up a new fish shaped pancake pan that Alvah had insisted on getting me for Christmas (I was really touched he wanted to get me anything, honestly, so I was thrilled to get it :).  My husband managed to find one in his store of things in the garage and saved me having to go to the hardware store to buy one.

5.  I filed our taxes for the year, so now we wait for the IRS to start accepting returns and such in the middle of February.

6.  My husband cut the ceiling out of the master bathroom to try and figure out where the water was coming from that created the hole in the ceiling.  He found a sewer gas vent pipe was leaking water somehow and didn't have the proper fittings on it, so we went and got the parts for him to fix it over the weekend.  I'm hoping we don't have some bigger problem we have to worry about and just have to replace a section of pipe and a fitting and then figure out how to fix the hole in the ceiling and match the texture, which will be challenging enough.

7.  The wind started blowing brutally today and I heard a crack.  I looked out my window to the above sight.  I'm hoping that the tree won't come down on the barn or our storage van, but we shall see I suppose.  My husband was going to try and cut it when he got home from work, but the wind is blowing so bad I told him not to try it as I don't want him in the hospital.  Hopefully it comes down with minimum damage to things.  Fingers crossed.

8.  I wanted to make beef and barley soup one day to use up some of our stew meat in the freezer, but found that the stew meat was really tough cuts of meat.  So, I made basically a beef bourgignon with the stew meat (simmering it for long periods of time in red wine) and added some barley at the end of cooking (I have quick cooking barley at the moment).  It really helped to tenderize the meat and ended up being really tasty!

9.  The store finally had my preferred brand of coffee in stock!  So, I was able to get bigger cans of coffee for less money than a smaller can would have cost me having to buy them from Amazon.  I was really happy to find that, I have to say as I like to give local businesses my money when I can.

10.  Speaking of Amazon, I had gotten a box of "Tropical Green Tea" as part of my Christmas gifts (if you search for it on Amazon, it pops up as Harvey and Sons is like the ones that make it and they are about it).  It is a green tea with a pineapple aspect to it.  I have found that it makes the most awesome iced tea and I actually took some Amazon credit I had from an order that had gotten screwed up with Amazon (which seemed to be a huge continuing trend over the past couple of months) to order myself three more boxes.  I had searched for it locally in vain, so finally decided to bite the bullet and order it from Amazon (I'm trying to avoid ordering from them right now as they had messed up so many orders and things of late, let alone just trying to save money).  I, obviously, really like the tea and it was nice getting three boxes for free once the credit was applied (which honestly after the whole check card thing, was the only way I was going to order from them).  Here's hoping they come in with the proper number and in one piece (fingers crossed).

11.  I made home made bread and other items so we didn't have to go to the store and get some, which definitely saved us money.

And there you go folks.  Not a huge list, but I'm happy with it anyway.  Just getting some of my sewing projects off of my list makes me happy.

How about you?  Been up to anything of late?