Saturday: Remember that small group I was regretting was scheduled for last night? Well, let me take back my complaint. It was so fun and made quite nice by our leader.
He is of Cuban descent and had asked a Latin fusion quartet to come in and share their talents with us last night. He also provided coffee, Piccadillo to serve on buns, appetizers common to a Cuban party, and Tres Leche cake. The lobby of the church is done in cool greys and whites, but Jeff had added colorful vinyl tablecloths to the tables and each table sported a colorful vase of bright and exotic looking flowers. Several of the Latino community from our church and surrounding areas came in to share in the evening and I think we had 30 or 40 people altogether. The music was lively. It was a lovely evening out and felt like we'd gone to one of those clubs in the late 40's/early 50's, minus the dancing couples.
We came home last night and sat down to watch the last episode of Reacher, which John's been watching without me for the most part because the violence is pretty raw. Then he switched over to the first episode of Season 4 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (language warning on that program). We ended up going to bed somewhere after midnight, but it was a kindness on John's part to turn on Mrs. Maisel because I was shivering from the shock of watching the odd moments of Reacher and didn't want that my last imprinted images before sleep.
Didn't matter, because I saw 5am before I went to sleep this morning. Thankfully, the four hours' sleep I got were solid and we've had nothing at all to do today so I could take it easy.
Meals: Bagels with cream cheese and Turkey bacon.
Pizza and Cheesy Breadsticks.
This was an inspiration that hit me as I was making pizza. When we shopped at Aldi a couple of weeks ago, we picked up a package of Mama Cozzi's Cheesy Breadsticks. We'd bought them long ago and liked them. As I looked at the piece of dough I had left today, I patted it out, spread it with homemade garlic butter, and cheeses and put it to bake while I made the pizza. Verdict: we like the homemade better. The curst is superior and I've always felt the garlic and oil on the bought breadsticks were overpowering. This is cheap to make and nowhere near the $4.99 price I paid for the Aldi version. We don't typically eat breadsticks with pizza. Last week we ate the breadsticks with salads and a vegetable soup I made for lunches.
Eye of Round Roast, Jenny's homemade Mustard, Rice with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, Brown Gravy.
I don't typically buy Eye of Round roast and I was surprised to read that if you wanted tender meat, you should slow cook it. It is from the rear leg of the cow and lean with a layer of fat on one side but no marbling, so it's very lean. It's suitable for slicing raw and pounding for cubed/chicken fried steak or cutting into dice for stew. Because I wanted to slice the roast, it was recommended I slow cook the roast. It holds together nicely for slices even after 6 hours of slow cooking (3 on high, 3 on low) and was tender and moist. Definitely a cut I'll price out in future when we want a roast for sliced meat.
Enough of this left to make sandwiches and possibly a few bits to toss into the leftover rice and gravy to make a soup base.
Sunday: I have a hard time saying "No" and that's a fact. And I've been pondering for the past 20 hours or so the fact that I did tell someone "No" yesterday evening. It was fact that we are busy today with various church things. It is true as well that I have a long list of things to do and things to finish up and much as I wanted to say "Yes" to the request, "No" was the only possible answer but nevertheless I've been eaten up with wondering what sorts of repercussions I shall have because of this.
I've taken myself to task and reminded me that I can't possibly please everyone. I've rationalized by admitting that my week has already been planned and planned more fully than any in the past. I've reasoned out that this is the first time I've said "No" in months of requests regardless of how busy or tired or overwhelmed I might have felt in the past months. But I am still having some guilt over the fact that I turned down a request for a favor that simply wasn't going to fit into my day.
A sure sign that for all I have become a grown, and damned near old, woman I still lack confidence of any sort. I guess I just need to practice the word "no" a little more often!
Never mind. It's been a day. We were up early; John decided to set his alarm a full half hour earlier than we normally rise. No clue why he found that necessary, but there we are. We didn't leave the house a minute earlier than we usually do.
We came home and I spent an hour or so picking up the house, which always seems to have fallen apart a bit much for just two reasonably neat people over one day off. I made lunch. I read my book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After a chapter or two, I made myself get up and do a bit more housework.
I rehung a towel hook in the bathroom. I puttered in the kitchen removing baskets that I'm not using and then cleared a drawer of utensils and cleaned and organized that. Then I went off to the pantry and set to work.
I'd meant only to take an inventory but over the past few months I've been increasingly unhappy with some of the arrangements in the pantry. Things I seldom used were taking up easily reached shelf space. Things I routinely reach for were jumbled up in such a way I couldn't easily get to them. I now have it all set up in a more sensible arrangement in my opinion, but we shall see. It's my experience that as things change so does the way things are organized.
As I worked on the pantry shelves, I was contemplating some changes in the kitchen cupboards this week.
I need to start getting ready to leave for Senior Supper tonight.
Meals: Grits, Toasted Biscuits
Pizza (leftovers), Salad
Monday: We enjoyed Senior Supper last night. They served spaghetti, which I told John they were going to have before we walked into the building. The aroma of Garlic bread was very aromatic in the parking lot!
When we got home last night we chilled before the television. I can't tell you what we watched. I went to sleep, and John suggested I head to bed, which I did. Once in bed, I finished reading the chapter I'd started in my latest Harry Potter read (book 6) and then I went to sleep again. We slept in this morning. I was a bit surprised by that. That means I slept for nearly 10 hours, which is a LOT for me.
Up this morning and ready to tackle the day. I started with making breakfast. One of my 'easy' breakfast treats is to boil several eggs, leave them in the shell, put them in the fridge and one morning when I want to keep the meal low key I take out the eggs, pour boiling water over them and allow them to sit while I make toast. We have nicely warmed boiled eggs.
This morning, I cleaned up the kitchen first, then headed to our bathroom. Even when I haven't worked my weekly routine in a long time, I automatically head to the bathrooms on Monday to get them clean. Today I took time to empty and wipe down all the cut glass containers on the vanity tray on my side of the sink. I cleaned the counter deeply, discarded some very nearly used up items that I haven't touched in months, etc.
John, though his hip was hurting him pretty hard, came in to start painting, but I had torn the bathroom apart and so we postponed that task. Just as well. I mean the man's hip is really hurting and his spent most of the day with a heating pad on it. For him to allow a heating pad anywhere near him...well he has to really, really hurt.
I cleaned out the little medicine drawers. Our house hasn't got a proper medicine cabinet and I've used one of those little plastic drawer sets to hold our most used items. I didn't bother to check for expiration dates. I read a most interesting article long ago that said most expired medications are safe for years past their 'date'. It was stated in that same article that many of the dates were simply company notes so that we'd buy products more often. By the way, these are the same companies that downplay the role of essential oils or herbs as medications and convince doctors to prescribe more and more medications. So, if you feel uncomfortable with using expired medication toss it and go buy more. I am taking the "You do you and I'll do me" approach. Opinions can differ. We don't have to do exactly as another does.
I organized the 'medicine chest' and then the overflow basket that sits atop where I keep items that won't fit in the drawers. I finally, after nearly 26 years took the time to label the drawers so that anyone else can see immediately which drawer has cold/allergy meds, which has bandages, and which is a miscellany of items.
Back in the kitchen, I decided to clean out from under the fridge and stove. I use my long Swiffer duster to go under these appliances. I even removed the broiler tray and cleaned out that dusty broiler drawer. I don't know if you all remember, as I seldom mention the broiler, but the broiler on my stove is on the bottom. It is just about 8 inches high, and the bottom is the bottom panel of the stove. It's impossible to clean if I ever use it. The last time I used it, I had to lie on the floor to clean it and I said that was the last time I'd use it. And it was! However, it collects dust, and when I clean the oven grime sometimes falls down into that broiler drawer. It was time to get it cleaned. The duster did a grand job of picking up the stuff.
Then I went back to doing the pantry inventory and somehow ended up doing the freezer inventory today, as well. I am pleased with my freezer stock. I don't know how, but putting everything back in the freezer made room. Not complaining, lol. Everything in there is organized once more which is a good thing. I had three open bags of corn and two open bags of French Fries as well as a full one. There were a couple items that I really need to plan to use up as they are quite old and not the sort of thing that I typically keep in the freezer. It was meant to be a save for items I didn't want to waste. I cooked them and frozen them in July of last year. Yes, I need to use them and shortly!
I've rewritten my inventory lists and am now making out my planned shopping list for restocking outages. I'm also implementing a symbol for items that I use but not frequently, NTH. NTH is Nice to Have. That way I know it's not a necessity but something that I would like to have and if there's a little extra in my budget or I see one of those items on sale, then I'll buy it. For the most part, I'm going to set a dollar amount, a percentage of my new budget and that will be strictly for pantry purchases and Ill stock as much as I can for that dollar amount.
That's pretty much all I've done today but it took all day long to do it!
Meals: Boiled Eggs, Toast
Mushroom and Rice Soup, Roast Beef and Swiss Sandwiches. I mixed the gravy with the leftover mushroom rice the other night and today stirred that up with a cup of beef broth and a dash of soy sauce. This made enough soup for two cups of soup, and it was delicious. I still have roast beef left to make another meal.
Noticed after lunch that our bread was nearly used up, so I started a fresh loaf.
BBQ Chicken, Baked Potato, Collard Greens, Mexican Cornbread. I made the BBQ sauce from scratch. This was something that Mama used to do all the time and I prefer it over most 'boughten' BBQ sauces. I often feel a store-bought BBQ sauce has a bitterness to it that I find unpleasant. I love that I can make it at home with basic pantry items: catsup (tomato sauce or chili sauce any tomato-based sauce), vinegar (or tart citrus such as lemon or lime), mustard (dried or prepared), Worcestershire and some type of sweetener. You can vary it as much as you like. Add honey or brown sugar or Splenda, agave, etc. as your sweetener and equally as often I've used peach jam, apple butter and such as my sweetening influence. Pineapple juice works well, too! Add liquid smoke, onion, garlic or any other seasoning you enjoy. More or less vinegar and mustard. Hot pepper or no pepper. It's very versatile. In fact, I'm considering decreasing the amount of store brands of BBQ sauce I keep on hand and lean more towards making my own.
Found the collards while digging in the freezer, and the Mexican cornbread was a half recipe amount that I froze last month at some point. This was a delicious supper by the way.
Tuesday: I'm sitting here feeling sleepy. It's 5:15pm and I just pushed a frozen entree in to the oven. The trouble is that the meal I planned to make tonight (Russian Cabbage Rolls) sounded terrific on Saturday when it was cold outdoors, and I was planning meals. Now it's 80F, the AC keeps coming on and I'm so not feeling a long slow cooking meal...Not to mention I've pushed it so late that I won't get it made today anyway.
My day took an unexpected turn this morning when Katie texted that she needed me to keep Caleb after all. She'd made other arrangements last night, but Bess had sick boys this morning. I agreed to keep the youngest boy and she brought him out about 9am.
He came in with a loud "Hey!" and a grin that nearly split his head in two. Fifteen minutes after Katie had left and he'd eaten a sketchy breakfast, I had had to chase him down four times, yelled "NO!" loudly three more and recalled why I find keeping him so exhausting! Oh, he's sweet as pie, I assure you. I coveted those kisses he came to give me and that little bit of blinking flirting he did with his pretty blue eyes, but goodness gracious!
I hadn't seen him in less than a week, but his legs were longer. I know this was truth because the pants he was wearing were inches too long in November and now they are proper length on him. His face is leaner in a boyish sort of way, with none of the round baby look to his cheeks. It was fun to sit and watch him play. He's suddenly very adept at stacking his blocks high and riding his little scooter.
I laughed out loud when he was in the kitchen testing cabinet doors. John had worked his way around the room, and they ALL have cabinet locks on them now. Caleb couldn't believe it, lol. He had to test them two or three times before acknowledging that Grandpa hadn't forgotten one of them.
And then Katie returned. She'd been to a job interview and gotten a new job, one that is nine to five, Monday through Friday, still in her field. She'd stopped on the way home and made arrangements for Caleb to go into daycare at our church center which is within 5 miles of her new office.
I have never been so confused about what I felt in my life. I was all at the same time incredibly sad and equally as elated that my time with Caleb here full time during her workdays is over. I was torn by all that I shall miss of seeing him change in the months ahead and grateful that John and I could reclaim our retirement. I was excited by the possibilities of what I could do with the time I now have on my hands and at the same moment wondering how I could bear to return to just the routine things. I'm telling you it was truly a regular mix of emotions, and I didn't know what to say. I hope I remembered to tell Katie "Congratulations" but right now, I'm not sure I did!
Bess ran by to pick up ginger ale I'd told Bess the boys could have. Caleb loves his Aunt Bess and she loves him. He ran to greet her and met her at the door. "Hey!" he shouted. I heard Bess laugh a little and then she greeted him.
Bess looked at me as she was heading out and said, "Millie has suddenly started getting into EVERY.THING and it's driving me nuts! There's nothing she hasn't gotten into in the past week and every bit of it is something she's completely ignored for the past year!" I laughed and said, "I feel you, Bess. That's been Caleb since he turned two, too!"
John's hip is out of sorts. He's been taking it very easy today. I'm glad I refused to let him climb the ladder to finish off bathroom painting yesterday. I'm not sure how he'd have walked at all today!
As for home or personal accomplishments today...There weren't any really. I cleared up the kitchen after breakfast and picked up the house after Caleb left for home.
I got a Stitch Fix box today. I had the opportunity to preview these pieces and I am reminded once again that how things look online and how they look in person can be worlds apart. I LOATHED one blouse in person. I told John had I been in a store, I'd have bypassed it every time, but for some reason I chose it to try on. I am sending that one back.
Another shirt looked more as though the print was khaki but in fact it's olive green. I'd explained to the stylist that two blouses I didn't choose was because they were olive-green, and I've got a whole section of olive-green items in my closet at the moment. Well, I now have one more, lol. I actually really like this shirt and feel it will be a versatile piece in my wardrobe. But seriously...No more olive-green after this!
I waffled back and forth on a third shirt. I like the pattern. I like the style. It fits well. My hold-up was solely based on price. However, I decided it was a good investment piece. It's heavy enough to be wonderful for cooler weather and not so heavy that I can't wear it in late autumn and early spring here in the South.
The final two pieces are both cardigans and were just what I hoped they'd be. They both go with several pieces in the closet and I've often wished I had something similar.
However, I did share with my stylist earlier in the month that all I'm seeing recommended for me is pretty much a repeat of the same styles I've already purchased in a different fabric. Nothing wrong with that except I feel a bit like I'm stuck in an algorithm online and that's not what I want my wardrobe to be.
And that my dears is pretty much all I did today.
Meals: Pancakes (leftovers reheated) and Beef Smoked Sausage The sausage was Parkview Beef Smoked Sausage from Aldi. I was impressed. I'm going to buy this brand again. It's a great substitute for the Hillshire farm sausage I've had such a hard time finding in my area.
Subway Sandwiches, Chips, Sodas Our celebratory lunch with Katie.
Beef Stroganoff Bake, Garlic Butter Green Beans, Tossed Salad
Wednesday: John was still not feeling chipper this morning. I'm pretty sure he is suffering with sciatica. I pulled up some simple exercises he can do, urged him to continue with anti-inflammatory meds until I can find something better, walk a bit, and rest. Bess came by with some cream that she'd been given for her back pain. This is something that is non-prescription but used to be several years ago when John used it first. We just haven't replenished our supply, so this also is a help.
Somehow, having John not feeling well, has meant I feel I need to be quiet, do quiet tasks and stay near. Now he's hobbling about just fine, lots of grunts and groans and pain but he's managing. But somehow, even though I know that essentially, he'd do exactly what he's doing now while he's not feeling well, I feel I need to be quiet.
I cleaned off the two porches. I also trimmed back the frost bitten potted plants. I think I can salvage the Mandevilla and the two largest Kolanchoe.
I made out my shopping list for the pantry. It took a bit of time to go through and I made notes of other things to think about and I can easily recall several things at this moment that I forgot to put on that list, but the bulk of it is done.
After lunch, I headed off to the craft area and made several cards suitable for boys/men, a few extra that could be either male or female.
Then I made supper for tonight and started my entree for another night.
I cleaned out the drawer where I've kept Caleb's extra clothing and will pass those along to Katie. She'll need those when he starts nursery, so she'll have extra clothing for him.
And that has been my day at home.
Meals: Scrambled Eggs, Toast
John had the rest of his Sub sandwich, chips and half an orange. I had a slice of pizza and half an orange.
Kids' Favorite Casserole, Pear Salads
Thursday: Texts poured in at 7:30 this morning. I was awake but hadn't yet determined if I was ready to get out of bed or not. Never mind. The world had decided I was awake and ready to get going so I checked messages.
First a note from my former daughter in law asking for prayer for grandson Daniel. He started playing trumpet with the band this year (he's in sixth grade) and had been bumped to the next grade level classes because he's done so well. Today he was playing in a competition with the seventh grade and he was super nervous about it.
Katie asked if I wanted to go run errands with her today and I really did...but John wasn't yet out of bed and I'd no idea how he was managing with his pain levels today so asked to delay making a decision until a wee bit later.
And then Bess reminded me she is having an outpatient procedure next week and asked I'd keep Millie and pick up the boys if necessary. They will not give her a surgery time until the day before the surgery. I assured her I was still on call for babysitting for that purpose and so we will plan to be home all day one day next week with Millikins.
I showered and dressed and went to make coffee having dealt with all the necessities. I started a load of laundry while coffee brewed.
After breakfast, as I'd seen how John was moving about, I declined Katie's offer to go with her. I was sorry to not go because I don't know when she'll want me to go again, but there you are. John was hobbling about painfully and slowly but what if someone came to the door? What if he needed, for some reason to leave the house? What would he do if he couldn't move? I simply didn't feel comfortable leaving him. As I told him, I might not be any help at all, but at least I'd be able to call someone who might help him.
I went into town today. John had asked for an ace bandage last night and we haven't got a single one. I guess we tossed the last we had because they were all well used but I wasn't aware we had none. I've put that on my list of medical supplies needed. In the meantime, I wanted to drop off some outgoing mail, run by the bank to make a deposit and thought I'd nose around the dollar store. Our town is only three miles away and I felt John would be okay for the half hour I meant to be gone.
Before leaving home, I brought the checkbook up to date and wrote out a bill or two to drop in the mail. On my way down the driveway, I thought about the trash I didn't put in the car to go to the dump. Oh well. I loathe turning around and going back and the trash wasn't of great importance. I can run that and the next lot to the dump tomorrow.
Bank, post office, Dollar store. The dollar store had one ace bandage of a smaller size than the one John requested. I looked about a little, namely at rugs (want one for the kitchen sitting area) and curtains (both a shorter curtain rod and a new curtain as I don't care for the old one with the new paint color). My only purchase at the dollar store ended up being half priced Whitman Sampler chocolates in a pretty heart shaped tin box.
I'd looked for half priced chocolates the day John and I went out last week but there were none. I'd told John over the weekend I'd skip the chocolates if we could get a hot fudge sundae and he said maybe we'd get one this week while we were out. Well going out is going to happen. I was pleased that the dollar store had good quality chocolates, so I got the tin.
I contemplated ordering chicken at the place next door but recalled that I don't like their fries. I called the pharmacy in town, and they had the same size wrap bandage that was in stock at the dollar store. I called the pharmacy in the county seat. They had the larger size John wanted, so I drove there and picked it up. I phoned in an order at the Fireside Grill (no fireside, no grill) to pick up a plate of chicken tenders on the way home. The total reminded me that it's more than worthwhile to buy these at Aldi and take the twenty minutes to heat them up. Still, I do like supporting a decent local diner and that is decent even though there is no fireside and no grill.
After we'd eaten lunch, I settled with the checkbook and wrote out checks for the bills I'd picked up from the mailbox, sorted out mail, folded a load of clothes and put them away and then headed outdoors for a few minutes.
The grape hyacinth and the pink hyacinth are blooming. I spied the pink hyacinth in a tangle of overgrown weeds. I pulled those and, in the process, pulled up the bulb, flower and all. I replanted that then weeded a bit more. I can see that the current rain and warmer temps has fooled my yard into thinking spring is here. The weeds in that particular flower bed are running rampant, so I'll try to get out there and pull some every day or so. I worked along the edge of the patio for a bit. I refilled the bird feeders. I spied one blooming daffodil, but lots more have come up, so I hold out hope for those.
I was reading yesterday that the Farmer's Almanac is predicting a 'backwards winter' for the South this year. We'll have cooler weather in the spring and the cold here will last into May this year, while the North experiences warmer than usual spring temps. The year we moved here I was so impatient to plant, but Granny kept telling me the ground is just too cold. It was nearly end of May before we could finally plant any seeds at all that would come up.
Our cold January was evident in today's electric bill. It rose by nearly $50 and no it wasn't a rate hike. We got notice in this week's paper that we have no increase in costs expected this year and haven't had a cost increase since 2017. No this was real kilowatt usage, far more than we used this time last year. We did use the propane heater most mornings, too and still the heat pump was kicking on routinely so yes, it was plenty cold.
It is almost coffee time and that is all I have done today. It feels like another day spent in vain, truly it does. Yet I don't feel inclined to try to make any more of the day, so I suppose that what I've done will be quite enough.
Friday: I woke on my own about 7 this morning and contemplated my day. I woke with a list of chores and tasks foremost of my thoughts. By the time I came to the kitchen, I was well on my way to what proved to be a full day.
I stripped our bed and bath and started laundry while coffee brewed. I started the yeast feeding while I sipped coffee. I made hash browns and eggs and toast. I folded laundry hung to dry yesterday. And after breakfast I gave the whole doggone house a thorough cleaning. By 11am, I'd been in every room (except the music room) and left each completely neat and clean. I'd worked hard and was glistening.
John was moving rather well this morning. He's still in pain, but he was able to move for longer periods of time and stand more upright and he didn't yelp with every step he made. He's determined to be better, so determined that he's pushing himself hard, but his body will only go so far and then he must stop and rest. I'd suggested he might go with me to Publix but by the time he'd walked about the house, showered, and dressed, I heard him yelp and then he called "Terri...I just don't think I can do it."
I went on my own, after insuring he had a snack, water, coffee and such. Honestly, I didn't mind. I'd thought he might just want out of the house, but I hadn't planned on him doing all he did prior to leaving.
I went to Publix to purchase Gramma's Fried Chicken for Sunday dinner, bagels and cream cheese (gracious that was high! $2.59 for 8 ounces of a brand I'd never heard of), some smoked turkey. I got bananas and strawberries (Florida season has started. 2/$5 for quarts). I picked up some ground round on sale for $3.99/pound. I've vowed when I see a good price on the meats we typically eat, I'd add them to the freezer, just to keep my supply going. John asked for cottage cheese, I wanted one bag of flour, because I'd emptied my canister this morning. And flowers. I needed flowers.
I walked around a little, but nothing went into my buggy. Mostly I priced items I've thought about buying or have on my stock up list to buy. I'm officially out of grocery budget money for this month so this was all extra and I wasn't keen on making my total too high. Fortunately, I've worked with my fridge, freezers and pantry this week and knew what I had on hand and what we didn't have or might reasonably use over the next two weeks before we get paid again.
Home again, home again. I admired the scenery on the way. Tender new leaves popping out here and there, birds everywhere, flowers of all sorts even flowering weeds. The pat week has been very warm and when I went out on Tuesday, I heard that end of February noise of masses of birds busily setting up housekeeping once more. It's much different from the occasional sound of birds calling and peeping gently that typifies winter. I think the birds must return in the night and when the sun comes up, they announce their presence in song, calls, chirps, cheeps and shrill whistles; hundreds of birds discussing things all at once.
When I came in, John greeted me at the back door. I made him a sandwich and settled him in his chair once more. As I put away the groceries, I noted that he'd brought his coffee cup and bowl from earlier back into the kitchen, that this or that had been moved, so I knew he'd been up practicing walking about while I was gone. He says it's a lot like having a flat tire now. He gets up and everything feels fine, but the air runs out really fast, lol. At least he's better.
I've planned a simple supper for tonight, hot dogs and coleslaw. We have birthday cakes taken from the freezer yesterday, those mini cakes I made at the start of the month. John is mending, Shabat is coming...It's the end of another week, almost the end of another month.
What was your week like?