The Week Behind:  This is Life

The Week Behind: This is Life

Saturday:  I knew Katie would be grocery shopping today.  I hadn't expected however for her to go out early.  She was here around 12noon to deliver my groceries.  I was very pleased she was able to find as much as she did.  It cost a little more than I'd planned but I'm not complaining.  I have a fresh lot of produce and fruits for us to eat, the one thing I am most concerned we shall run short upon.

After Katie left I asked John to go to the drive thru at Subway.  I just have had enough of my own cooking.  Katie and I laughingly discussed this.  I am accustomed to eating out about 3 times a month.  Most of the time, I think to myself how much better I could make it at home and certainly how much less it would cost to do so.   Katie told me that she herself very rarely eats out (very true) and doesn't mind but we agreed that we both are just longing to get OUT.  I think what we each have is a case of what John described to his brother.  "I don't go out very much and I don't mind being at home...I just hate to have someone tell me I can't go out even though I know the reason!"   And there you have it.  I think that is my real problem as well.  I've been told I shouldn't.  I want to do it anyway.  I won't unless we have a specific need or purpose but I sure want to!

We dropped off mail in town at the drop box.  Waved at everyone we saw who looked our way, blessed few they were.  We drove the long way back home, along rural roads and dirt roads and admired the beauty of the day with it's clear blue sky and wonderful new spring green leaves upon the trees.  Here and there we lifted our noses into the air and caught a whiff of something sweet and fresh, something spicy and lovely.   We drove by Sam and Bess' and saw them on the porch so we yelled a hello at them.  I told John that it was all tonic to me and perhaps we should just plan to drive out once a week along our back roads and take that as cure for what ails us.

And just for the record, that Subway sandwich was the best thing I've eaten in a week!

Meals:  Bagels for me, Toast and Eggs for John
Subway Sandwich, Chips
Corned Beef, Pickled Beets, Potato Salad

Sunday:  What to do for Easter morning breakfast?  I'd made a plan, but items weren't available and so I lay awake a little last night thinking of what I'd do.   I decided that hard boiled eggs that had been dyed should go on the table.  It's a small touch of childhood Easter morning and it pleased me.  I did learn too late that dyeing them in the water they were boiled in meant (a) I couldn't use the water for plants and (b) the dye stains even stainless steel.   Fortunately Comet scrubbed the dye right off!  Also takes care of tea stains in mugs.

I felt a little silly with our dyed eggs but really it made me happy and made up a bit for the fact that this Easter, like every one else's is vastly different than what I'd planned to make it.  I'd pictured a big family gathering with children hunting eggs and babies being passed from one set of arms to another.  Egg hunts with children were John's dream...But all these years he's worked Easter and so there were no family gatherings.  This year...well this year with him retired was to be our year for beginning.  I reasoned that this year is not the year after all.   This year is just one more year that we can't do what we'd planned.    Perhaps next year.  I am not blue about it in the least, more philosophical than anything.

I planned a lovely midday dinner because it just seemed appropriate today.  I'd meant to use my china today, too,  but forgot...I'm so glad that I got my new plates because they make the table look of more importance for any occasion.

Used up all the cornbread leftovers I'd frozen and made a sort of stuffing/cornbread dressing.  It was really neither one.  I piled the seasoned crumbs about the chicken and roasted the chicken.  The bread absorbed extra broth that cooked from the bird.  This was tasty and netted me leftovers enough for another meal (of the stuffing). 

There is something really lovely about the aroma of roasting chicken, isn't there?  Like the smell of bread baking it just seems to make a house seem more homey.

I divided the chicken up into leg quarters (1 in each bag) and 1 bag with breast meat (1/2 breast) and then put the carcass in the freezer.  This was a meaty carcass yet so should net me yet another meal in the future.  In the meantime, I've put the chicken in the fridge but will take time tomorrow or Tuesday (I do have home school with Josh tomorrow) to make up a couple of recipes, some for the freezer, some to be eaten this week.

The day was very easy and low key.  Just John and I here and a hello from our oldest son, a video of my littlest boy chuckling as his Mama played with him, a picture of Rufus whom Bess cornered and clipped out  matted fur.   

We were up fairly early.  Our church had two services today...No three, one was at sunrise.  We watched both the 8:30 and 10:45 services.

I've been rooting around amongst my books trying to find something to hold me captive and I do mean captive.  I want to get lost in a book, as I haven't done in quite a long while.  What I've gotten lost in instead is a French Chateau vlog series.  Link will be in my "Worth Sharing This Week" post.

Meals:  Hard Boiled Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Biscuits, Fruit Cups
              Roast Chicken, Stuffing, Green Peas, Cranberry Sauce, Banana Pound cake
              Hot Sub, Chips, Fruit

Monday:  Up as soon as I could get my eyes to focus and then I got busy.  Josh comes for school on Monday mornings.  He knocked on the door just past 9a.m.  I'll bet Bess had a hard time making him wait that long!

Today he'd asked to study red birds.  I found a printable of a bird's nest that he colored (he made the baby birds red) and we counted plastic Easter eggs as his math work.  He subtracted this week...But he seemed to enjoy the hands on math work.  He did reading, math, spelling of sorts and watched a video about cardinals.  I read to him from my bird book about cardinals as he colored.   Then we made bird feeders from a paper towel roll that was covered with peanut butter and had bird seeds pressed into it.

Speaking of bird seeds: weevils had gotten into them. It was Josh who noticed the 'little bugs' and it made me glad that I keep my cereals and meal and flours in tightly covered sealed storage containers/jars.  I took the bird seed outdoors and it can stay there from now on.  Duly noted: weevils like bird seed.

Josh always says he wants a snack...What he's really wanting is something to take home.  It's just is thing that he feels he must take something home from here.  I had a great aunt who was just the same and it amuses me no end that Josh, having never met her and likely never will hear her name, but he shares that trait with her.  Today he took home our last two pretty pink hard boiled eggs.  John had asked me to make egg salad with them.  Oh well. 
                                                    Isaac forgets they must be shelled!

After Josh went home John and I had lunch.  I did my math work after and then I just wasted the rest of the day away. 

Simple housekeeping tasks today: changing bed sheets, towels, washed those and hung them to dry.  I washed a full load of dishes and swept the kitchen.  I went through cookbooks this afternoon and sent a small stack to the guest room to put with the other books that are going to be donated.  I didn't see a single reason to keep any of those books.  I copied down two recipes from a total of five of them.  Those books will certainly not be missed.

Had a note from Amazon that the vitamin C subscription order could not be fulfilled.  In fact it has permanently dropped from my subscribe and save list. This has me worried because with the high dosage I take I can't just stop cold.  The result of quitting would be that I'd have  reverse scurvy.  I am slowly decreasing my dosage in hopes of getting down to something that will do little damage if I do have to discontinue it.  And fortunately I have another large bottle on hand.  At my current dosage it's only a 2 1/2 week supply.   I'll look for another source and keep trying to cut back in the meantime.

I skipped the whole menu plan tonight in favor of something that felt lazier and more comforting.

Meals:  Peanut Butter Toast, Banana
               Corned Beef Sandwich, Chips, Grapes
               Fajita Nachos, Tossed Salad

Tuesday:  I found myself getting lazy.  Lazy in mind, lazy in spirit and lazy in body.  I pushed myself to get outdoors this morning and finished weeding the flower bed, then worked on getting the rest of the shed organized.  That took far less long than I'd imagined  it would.

I made up my mind that I am not going to give in to this feeling of laziness...But what to do.  I sat and brainstormed this afternoon and feel I can now get on top of it all.

Went over the fridge to determine what I needed to use right away.  Only leftover chicken presented itself.  I made chicken enchiladas and got two pans to serve two.  One went into the freezer, one for supper tonight.  I also made up a Chicken Waldorf salad that will be our lunch tomorrow.

I know this looks very brief today but really most of my work was done mentally.  I'll have a good deal more to share tomorrow, of that I am sure.

Meals: Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuits
             Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Apple
             Chicken Enchiladas Verde, Red Cabbage Salad, Corn

Wednesday:  We were up earlier than usual this morning and I for one was glad to start the day in such a way.  I hurriedly dressed, made the bed and breakfast and then settled to doing my Bible study as soon as the cat and dogs were fed.

John announced we'd gotten our stimulus check.  We'd been talking for several weeks now about what we'd do and what we wouldn't   Our final plans went into action this morning.  After paying tithes, I ordered new bras, again getting the Warner bras from Walmart that I bought 15 months ago.  They have held up so well and while they are still supportive I am on the last set of hooks and have been for a few months now.    I ordered a new shelving unit for our pantry closet.  John ordered a small generator, with capacity enough to run the fridge during power outages but also to use as his power to his shed where he often needs to plug up equipment.  We agreed on a sum of money to boost the pantry supplies  to start stocking that new shelving unit and the rest of our stimulus check  will go into a higher yield savings account we have in another town.  Feeling pretty satisfied with our plans overall.

We looked for sales ads.  Abysmal.  Stores have either stopped producing a full size ad even for online usage or they aren't producing a sales ad at all.  One store listed but six items for sale.  Six.  Any other items, they said, they were unable to insure would be in stock in any form.  Honesty is a good thing, I guess.  But I guess we'd best get used to planning on our feet!  When we will go I'm also not sure of but we shall keep the money set aside or even put on a gift card and use as we can  when we do shop.

For the record, today I tweezed my brows and am fully made up my face and have removed the chipped toe polish.  I haven't made up my mind just yet what I want to put on now that I've removed the old stuff but I'll settle on something later today.

later:  I have given myself a mani- and pedicure, at least fresh coat of polish on both.  I have to admit I feel much better than I felt yesterday just with these small improvements to my personal appearance.

I sorted out the drawer of house clothes.  I suspect I'll be moving a top or two from the closet into that drawer over the coming week.  I wish the new capri leggings would arrive...I am sure they will be here before much longer!  Then I'll feel I am decent for home at least. (note: they did arrive later today!)

I set up three outfits to wear if we should go out anywhere.

I finally found a book to get lost in.  It's one I haven't read in years, Exit Betty, by Grace Livingston Hill.  I'm so happy to find a book that holds my interest once again!

As contradictory as it might sound, I took a brief nap.  My eyes burned and I felt weary beyond words, so I allowed myself a ten minute nap.  John calls this sort of nap a 're-set'.  He says it will make you sleep better and feel better all over.  I've found he's right when I do stop fighting it and give in.

When I made biscuits for our lunch I cut them smaller.  They were so tender and delicious!  I made up a full batch and set the rest aside for use in another meal.  I'll either use them to wrap hot dogs for pigs in blankets or I'll make those barbecue cups for supper with them.  I didn't save back any of the canned biscuits as I'd meant to do...And that reminds me also of another economy sort of dish.  You make your biscuit (or use a canned one split in half and then flattened a bit, to hold cheese and sloppy joe filling.  You top with the other half biscuit, seal the edge and bake until golden.  It's so simple a meal but really quite delicious.

I set out butter and eggs to come up to room temperature.  I'll make an orange meringue pie and chocolate chip cookies.   I'm going to put half shortening in the cookies to keep them a little softer and I'll purposely make them a little smaller too.  I'll put half the dough in the freezer.   For the orange meringue pie, I'm experimenting with 6 ounces of orange juice concentrate mixed with three egg yolks and a can of condensed milk.  You pour into a pastry or graham cracker shell (I'm going to do graham cracker) and then bake for 25 minutes then top with a meringue made from the egg whites.  This orange meringue pie appears in many old magazines and I think it will be a pleasant change from the sharper lemon pie...We'll see.  I can easily freeze this pie if I'm careful to protect the meringue. well I didn't make the orange pie as planned...But it's still on my list of things I mean to do!!

Meals:  Eggs, Grits, Toast
             Waldorf Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups, Tiny Biscuits
              Long Burgers, Oven Fries
              I made them 'long' because I only had hot dog buns on hand

Thursday:  Sometimes I do believe I'd lose my mind if it weren't firmly tucked inside my head...John wanted to get oil changed in the car and asked yesterday afternoon  if I had any problem going this morning.  Well no, I said, I had no problems with that at all, and then he said "Do you want to ride into town with me to get gas for the mower?" and up I jumped and off we went, forgetting all about Bess who was supposed to be dropping by with eggs.  Fortunately she has a key to the house and when she called to ask if we were coming right back I told her we would  then instructed her to get the food for the chickens since I never made it across the field.

When we came back, I paused to speak to the Princess who was rather testy with the world because she was hungry NOW and Mama wasn't getting her fed.  I spoke to Bess a minute, then headed indoors and as soon as she pulled out of the yard, I recalled that Josh was coming to school this morning...sigh!  And here I'd been thinking all day long about what we could get done this morning but I'd forgotten him quick as a snap when John asked if I wanted to ride with him and go to the grocery store after getting the oil changed.

So I called Bess and arranged to have Josh come earlier than usual.  We had plenty of time for him to finish up his work and get time to play a little game he enjoys on the Kindle.  He had me play, too but like his daddy used to do, he kept taking it back over telling me I didn't know how...Well I do!  But it's a lot easier if there isn't a squirmy long legged five year old on my lap  jostling me in order to see what I'm doing.

So off we went to the tire place to get oil changed.  The biggest revelation to me was seeing all the traffic on the road.  A main  highway runs through our little town and is a direct trucking route.  We've gone west on that road many times and have seen few cars and trucks.  Today we were headed east... So it was very interesting to see all the trucks and a lot more cars than I've seen in weeks.  Hard too, to see so many businesses closed. 

Apparently the tire shop is considered essential but things had changed inside.  For one thing there's a huge lobby and six feet from the counter the room was roped off so you couldn't go near.  We were instructed to leave car keys in the basket and to sign in on a register sheet.  The clerk told John he'd come fetch the keys when we'd settled in the waiting area.  This is a very large area with wing back chairs in pairs but no longer were there pairs.  There were four chairs a good 12 feet apart, one in each corner!   We were wearing masks  which still feels mighty strange.  I was careful to touch nothing the whole while we were there.

John picked up a New testament/Psalms Bible  that someone had placed there and came to me to show me a passage of a Psalm we read nearly every Friday night, Psalm 92.  His eyes were just sparkling with good humor.  This Bible was in a different interpretation than ours and the last lines read:

They are still vigorous in old age, they are full of sap and green; They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and green: They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; They will still bring forth fruit in old age.

This tickled John mightily.   "Well baby, that truly does describe us!  We're fat and flourishing!" and he walked away chuckling to himself over that verse.

I'd brought my book and I sat reading while our car was serviced.  I noted that John was allowed to go to the register when it came time to pay but there is a protective barrier in front of the area.

We went to Aldi after that, because we had set aside money to expand our pantry from our stimulus check. This expansion also included a new shelving unit that was ordered yesterday.  John was insistent that we get the food for that new space now. I know why he wanted to do this.  It's partly to do with the fact that once we assign a task to our money he likes to see it carried out right away.  It was partly due to the fact we were in the town anyway and just one block below Aldi.  It  felt like the right time to shop.  I can't explain it any better than that.  Remember I said I never regret following my intuition, only when I fail to do so!

We found the store well stocked.  Still no canned green beans or peas but plenty of other items.  There was a limit of four on canned goods and we bought the limit of many things like tomatoes, and a few other things  and a vegetarian pork 'n' bean that I haven't seen before .  It's not baked beans but like pork 'n' beans in a tomato based sauce only they use liquid smoke to season instead of pork, which made me think, but more on that in a moment. 

Our purpose was to begin stocking  the new pantry shelving as much as we could and that's where I focused hardest.  I did buy a gallon of milk for us and one for Bess and I got two of those big lovely roasting Never Any hens that are carrageenan free.  There was no limiting sign on flour so I told John I'd like four but when we got to the register the clerk said we were limited to 2.  We told him that was fine...I'm not going to argue with anyone over the limits placed.  I try not to clear a shelf of anything and to always leave something for the next person who might come along.  Happy, too, to find brown rice today and bought two bags.  I have a good supply now on hand and won't buy more for awhile.

I spent right on the dollar (minus Bess' milk) what we'd set aside to spend!  I couldn't have come so near if I'd tried.  Instead I went by instinct and availability and that's how I shopped.

Now back to those canned pork 'n' beans.  I used to make from scratch baked beans in my younger married days and they were some kind of good...I kept meaning to make my own at home after I married John, but once John and I stopped eating pork, I was a bit thrown off about how to season those beans.  I've mentioned I keep liquid smoke on hand anyway, but why it never occurred to me to use in my baked beans is beyond me.  So I'll go back to making my own baked beans from now on.

Something else I noted today.  I bought  shredded Mozzarella.  I typically have a block of mozzarella on hand but the other night I wanted Mozzarella for a casserole and had only a tiny bit.  I made up my mind, as I'd done with the cheddar that kept disappearing (John sometimes snacks on cheddar) to put some shredded cheese in the freezer for future keeping rather than run out when I want it for pizza or a casserole.  My reasoning was that when I use it, I shred it anyway, but no one is going to reach in the freezer and eat a bag of shredded cheese out of least not in my house! 

Well here's what I noted: 1 pound bags of shredded cheese cost $2.79.   An 8 ounce block costs $1.69 for 8 ounces.  Shredded cheese is 17c an ounce.  The block is 20c an ounce.  This blows that theory that block cheese shredded at home is always cheaper, doesn't it?  It would pay us to look at various types of foods and really take time to figure out pricing.

I had hoped to have money left to visit another store to stock on a few things not available at Aldi but alas there was no funds left and I refused to do further shopping.  We'd spent what we'd set aside and that was all I meant to spend until our next big grocery shop next month.  I did ask John if he minded much if I looked into subscription delivery for certain items.  We already do this with coffee, vitamins and dog food but for instance, I can get paper plates (which John insists we use for at least one meal a day to 'save' me doing dishes) much less at Target than they cost at Aldi.  I am keen to find as many ways as I possibly can to remain in the $300 a month range for spending.

We stopped in town at the local restaurant to place an order curbside for pick up.  I'm going to try to do this sort of thing locally.  We are very fortunate that we  have few businesses in town that are shut (aside from salons...what those poor girls are doing is beyond me!) but I do want very much to support the local businesses if we can.   Granted at present we aren't eating out a great deal but I'll do what I can to support our locals albeit within a budget.  Today's lunch was from my pocket money.

Friday:  Yes, I am quite late today.  I got busy this morning and here I am now at 6pm trying to write up what I did and post this off to you.   Needless to say  "La La Land" was banished these past few days and I am weary in a very satisfied sort of way.

First, I was up early and the very first thing I did was to wash my face and moisturize it, as part of my ongoing attempt to take better care of myself.  I am blessed to have good skin but I am guilty of neglecting it at times and I'm trying to remedy that.

Made the bed, fixed breakfast and had Bible study.   Then I started bread (tried again with the Oatmeal bread, decreasing the yeast...Worked out very well.  I'll share that revised recipe in a moment), then went out to the shed to get the picture I'd left out there on Tuesday. I had a nose around too looking for something else, but alas, I apparently got over zealous and donated it...

Emptied the compost can, talked to John about adopting the corner he's so carefully cut out from a brushy mess as a new flower bed, deadheaded and removed dead leaves from Iris and then worked in the flower bed where Maddie and I war constantly over her lying down spot.  Found she'd uncovered a lot of bulbs Id planted in the spring...sigh.  And they were well established before she dug them up.  I also removed a lot of the tops of the spiderwort.   Very much a love hate relationship with that.  It does tend to take over but the bees do love it.

Back indoors I hung the rescued picture then plundered through a box of things in the guest room where I found a Currier and Ives print to put in another frame to hang opposite side of the wall.

John began to mow grass (he'd already vacuumed inside house), so I looked over my list of things wanting done and decided I'd better start the kitchen work.  Well...that was the never ending job this day.  I pulled out the ground beef I didn't divide up into packets yesterday, as well as all the foodstuffs required to prepare a few dishes and then went over fridge and discovered another item I'd forgotten.  Fortunately caught in time to still be salvaged. 

So I made up a big bowl of salad, boiled eggs, baked cookies from the dough I'd mixed upon Wednesday, made my Bbq Beef Cups so they are ready to bake, diced potatoes for corned beef hash, cooked bacon, mixed up a meatloaf from one portion of the beef as I divided it, found leftovers that I decided were useful for lunch, mixed up a fresh batch of buttermilk to culture on the counter, put some of the yogurt into tiny containers so I'll have starter for future batches of homemade.  It all sounds like much of nothing in writing but it took more than three hours and I was some kind of weary when John came in and asked if I'd join him in a project after lunch.  I groaned out loud and said "No..." He immediately looked at me and said, "I knew it!  You've been working too hard!"  Well I had been!  I did a couple of more tasks sitting down then loaded up the dishwasher and ran a full load.  I told John I was going to lie down and stretch out my back which was tense and aching.

When I got up the dishwasher was done, so I unloaded and put those things away and then I put potatoes on to bake in the toaster oven.  I then collapsed into my chair and put my feet up and here I've been.  We even ate supper here in front of the TV tonight which isn't typical but seems to be more usual than not these days.

I am well satisfied that I got plenty done today and that I preserved my food supplies best I could.  I have foods prepped for the weekend, though I do not have full meals ready to go as I'd wanted to have but I have the bulk of the most tedious work done.

All in all I'm well satisfied with the work I did the end of this week.  What did you do this week?
(C) Terri Cheney
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