Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Wrap-up

Around the House(Keeping):

I took the bull by the horns and brought the winter coat and comforter in to the dry cleaner -- because the coupons expired the last day of May. Even though we're supposed to have highs only in the 60s again for the next few days.

I mowed and trimmed the yard. That's about all I get done outside these days, because a) it's not like I have nothing else to do and b) it keeps growing like crazy due to the rain. I tried to get out there and do this week's mowing before the rain of the day hit; only got sprinkled on a bit toward the end. We recently finished The First Four Years in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series for a read-aloud; I was contemplating, as I was mowing, whether I should just let it grow and see if someone will buy hay -- like they used the hay from the school section near their claim.

Quick shop for basics at Walgreen's; Girl Scouts registered for next year so they get the early bird patch; basic weekly cleaning of the bathrooms; working on next week's menu plan; rebate check deposited at the bank.


Attended a poetry reading in first grade. An end-of-the-year celebration type thing. The class sang songs and each student read a poem (they read it; they didn't have to memorize - since they're first graders, this was part of working on reading for the year) and showed a picture they'd done to illustrate the theme of the poem. My daughter had the longest poem, "100 is a Lot." The poem had 100 words (or, really, 104 with the title, she told me, "but really 107," because she also said "read by N_"). The teacher had also put together a scrapbook for each student for the year, with photos from classroom celebrations and field trips, samples of their writing about those events, a copy of the class photo, and a personal note to each student. A really nice thing to do.

I also put the last Daisy petals on a Girl Scout vest, as well as the patches earned during this year's cookie sales. (I figured she only has a couple of times left to wear this, as she's almost done being a Daisy and will be moving on to be a Brownie.) I did this in the half hour before we left for tonight's activity: Chuck E. Cheese with six, six- and seven-year-old Girl Scouts.

This was what the girls wanted to do with some of the cookie money they earned for the troop. And we needed to do it soon, before two families -- the troop's top cookie seller and my co-leader's family -- move out of state over the summer. So, we put a coupon to work and fed the girls two large pizzas (a few slices of the sausage left; none of the cheese), soft drinks and, later, ice cream treats. The ice cream treats were our solution as to what to do when we ran out of tokens (from the 200 we started with!) for running around playing games and such. It actually worked out really well with timing for when we had told parents to pick them up, and the girls had a lot of fun running around, playing, eating, dancing with Chuck E. Cheese, and being silly.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Thursday Post

I think maybe I will experiment with when works the best for me for a weekly wrap-up and/or goal post.

The weather has been cool and rainy here for quite some time. Post-car accident, I'm still going to the chiropractor three times a week (although getting tired of how much time that's taking up) and last night, the massage therapist said, "I feel like it's been raining for the past three weeks." I answered, "That's because it has." (Up side? We're now out of drought.) Highs have been mostly in the 60s and, with that and the rain, I have done very little outside work -- which is getting to be frustrating. I have washed up my sweaters for the seasonal switch, but am still living half out of my winter wardrobe, so the clothes haven't been switched around yet.

I've also done some of the spring deep cleaning inside (insides of windows, laundry room, entryway, living room, bathroom, kid's room) and am working on sorting through paper stacks. (I am an inveterate magazine clipper.) Haven't faced the kitchen yet, although I'm kind of wanting to, and working toward minor home improvements this year to make life easier. I read a Kindle book a while ago, Organize for a Fresh Start by Susan FayWest, which talks about organizing for the season of life you're in, and the season of life we're currently in is working parents of a school-age child. (She's about to finish first grade. I'm slow in getting the house caught up.)

I'm also transitioning to more electronic time management (to-do lists and reminders, notes, etc.) and am wondering if there's a good way to keep track of my weekly meal plans electronically so that I can go back and refer to them. This week, we had weiners from our bulk meat purchase from our freezer for Memorial Day (we boiled them on the stove. Because it was raining), with chips and strawberry-rhubarb pie (fruit from the freezer from previous summers). Tuesday was Saucy Chicken (chicken breasts baked with cream of chicken soup, served over rice) and frozen peas; Wednesday, spaghetti. Tonight? Leftovers.

I got together with my book group friends this week; when we weren't discussing each other's lives, we discussed the book Illuminations by Mary Sharratt, historical fiction about Hildegarde von Bingen. I'm always interested, after reading historical fiction, in how much of it was historical fact. In this case, ti seems like all of the main characters were indeed real people, although the author of course gave them personalities for the book. Since Hildegarde spent decades walled into the room of a monastery as a servant to an anchorite, the part of the book where she carried a plant around to the sliver of sunlight that she could see for those years also had me thinking that yes, I probably would react that way, too, if penned away from the outside for years.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

(Last) Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I haven't posted in a while, and last week shaped up to be more frugal than this week has so far. I enjoy reading the posts and comments on this topic at

Last week, I

- was better about meal planning/deliberately using up leftovers.

a) Turned some lunchmeat that needed to be used up into filling for turkey and cheese crescents with a can of crescent rolls that was in the fridge.
b) used blueberries (that had been in the freezer from a previous summer) that hadn't been used up in a recent blueberry pancakes meal, to make blueberry muffins
c) used some of sauerkraut that had been sitting in partially used jars in fridge to make German casserole (pork sausage -- from our freezer, sauerkraut, apples and onions are the basic ingredients)
d) used cream cheese that had been purchased on an earlier sale and in our freezer to make the cheesy enchiladas that someone else posted in these comments a while back (sorry, I don't have access to the recipe right now -- I did write down who it was but can't remember off the top of my head!)

- also used things on hand for food for end of the school-year celebrations and other events
a) brought strawberries and raspberries in the freezer from last summer as ice cream toppings for end of the year church youth choir party
b) used rhubarb from freezer and other ingredients on hand to make rhubarb coffee cake for potluck at final Girl Scout troop leader meeting of the school year
c) used strawberries from the freezer and Jell-O and sour cream that were on hand to make strawberry Jello salad for a church funeral luncheon

(I'm trying to increase the pace of using the strawberries and raspberries from the freezer somewhat, before it's time to go picking again and replenish with this year's crops!) I also did a little bit of chest freezer organization, so it's easier to find (and use!) the things that are in there. Right now, I'm using empty Girl Scout cookie boxes (the cardboard boxes that held several boxes of cookies) to contain the pork and beef from our meat purchase last year, so everything is not piled on top of each other. Some smaller items are in the plastic dishpans from the dollar store that we used for a Girl Scout activity. Now that the other cuts of meat are easier to find, I'm hoping to use them more -- and not just focus on the hamburger as much just because it was easy to get to!

Also, acquired a free banana from quarterly meeting snacks at work (kid ate it); used graham cracker snacks passed out at church celebration for lunchbox snacks; and fed child on Sunday by delivering her to a classmate's birthday party after church. :)

She found a free kid's book in husband's Cheerios box; I registered her for before-school childcare for next school year during the timeframe when the registration is free (even if we need to change our timeslots later); and we found free downloadable printable invitations for her upcoming birthday party.

Earned $33 from this spring's consignment sale. Read free Kindle and library books, and watched a code for a free Redbox DVD rental for the family ("To the Arctic").

The 6-year-old and I also harvested dandelions, and made dandelion fritters, before I mowed (with a reel mower -- no gas expense required).