Tuesday, July 5, 2022

July Grocery Shopping - Part 1

Yesterday, Monday, July 4, I put in an order for groceries; I wanted more bread and bananas and I also wanted to take advantage of a couple of items that were on sale with digital coupons, etc.  Today, I picked up the groceries.

I bought:

4 bananas (1.61 lbs.) @ $.65/lb. = $1.05

1 x 16 oz. bag store brand coleslaw mix (reg. $1.79; on sale with digital coupon) = $.99

1 tray (5.28 lbs.) chicken thighs (reg. price $2.49/lb.; on sale @ $.99/lb.) = $5.23
1 x 2lb. bag (8 count) frozen beef burger patties (reg. price $9.99; on sale) = $8.99
5 x 18 oz. (@5 count) hot Italian sausages, (reg. price $5.99@; on sale with digital coupon for $2.99@) = $14.95*

1 bag (32 oz.) frozen pink salmon fillets (skinless, boneless) = $14.49

1 loaf (20 oz.) sandwich bread = $1.79

1 box (5.82 oz.) chocolate wafers (reg. price $1.19) = $1.00

Total = $48.49

Original item total = $73,40
Saved with sales/coupons = -$24.91

July grocery budget = $100 + $24.57 carried over from June = $124.57
Balance left in the budget = $124.57 - $48.49 = $76.08

* Each digital coupon can be used up to 5 times in one transaction and I used the one for the sausages the maximum number of times.  I don't eat a lot of sausages, maybe a couple a month, BUT, I wanted to stock up on them because I don't know how much longer they will go on sale at this price and will continue to be available for curb-side pick up.  The mild versions are available only for delivery now and (and in-store shopping, too, I suppose), but not for curb-side pick up!  I have enough sausages now to last me for the rest of the year, probably, and to share with my daughter, too!  

Likewise the frozen salmon - this is the first time I'm buying this, but, fresh salmon is selling for $9.99/lb. on sale, this week (reg. price $13.99).  I want to give this a try and thought I should buy it now, before the price increases!

As always, I am grateful to be able to afford to buy groceries and to stock up, for the availability of food, for curbside pick up, for sales and coupons, for pleasant store workers.

Have you shopped for groceries in July, yet?  Are you finding good sales?  

Monday, July 4, 2022

July Meal Planning - Week 1


Daughter's Meal Prep

The photo is of my daughter's meal prep for this week:

Japanese style mushroom and tuna pasta using spinach spaghetti (with a butter, sake, and kombu tsuyu sauce), yu choy (similar to bok choy) stirfried with garlic and oyster sauce, mixed vegetable shira ae (mashed tofu salad with nanohana, carrot, and mushroom in a sauce of yuzu flavored tofu and ground toasted sesame seeds, and soy sauce, sugar, and salt), boiled corn, bibimbap sauce, salted sauteed mushrooms and carrot.

It's all vegetarian because she said she still had some of the chicken curry, shrimp curry, and salmon I had sent up with her.

I can see that I need to step up my own meal planning and prep!  LOL.

Last week's meals were mostly based on leftovers: Egg salad sandwiches, cereal, salad, coconut roti, milkrice, and cornbread for brunches; pittu with shrimp curry, leftover salmon, ham sandwiches, coconut roti with chicken curry, hamburgers, and baked frozen battered fish fillets with a boxed rice/wild rice mix to which I added broccoli and corn when cooking:

Sunday Night Dinner

On to my meal plan for this week:

Brunches: cornbread, salad, scrambled eggs, waffles/pancakes, cereal, toast/sandwiches, leftovers


Monday/4th of July: Hamburger, baked potato "fries", ice cream, plums (compliments of neighbor S and family; such a blessing!)
Tuesday: Leftover baked fish and rice mixture from Sunday's dinner
Wednesday:  Stir-fried noodles with sausage and vegetables
Thursday: Leftover noodles
Friday: Chicken curry, rice, broccoli, dhal (lentils)
Saturday: Leftover rice and curries
Sunday: Tortillas with leftover chicken curry

4th of July Dinner and Dessert from S

The ice cream is one of my favorites!  But, when S asked me if I'd like some ice cream, with my hamburger, I thought it would be a serving of ice cream in a bowl or a small container, not a whole quart container!  I will have to hide it from myself!  LOL!

Are you doing any meal planning/meal prep this week?

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Sunny Sunday


Another Sunflower

The third sunflower has bloomed.  I am looking forward to harvesting sunflower seeds, later!

It's a sunny, much cooler day, today, with a daytime high of only 81F!  I even felt a bit cold this morning and haven't needed to put on the fan.  I put away the quilt I washed, yesterday, and washed another one, today.  Neighbor T called in the early afternoon and I had a nice chat with her.  Brunch was some of the cornbread I baked last night; I will bake some frozen battered fish fillets for dinner.

It's been one week since my daughter went back to Berkeley!  She is feeling much better, today, after having a migraine, yesterday.  She felt well enough to go to the dollar store to do some grocery shopping, earlier today; she tested herself for Covid just in case her headache was something more than a migraine (test results were negative) before she went.  She found some herbal teas that were produced and packed in Sri Lanka, including coriander tea, which she found amusing because it is our panacea for everything!

Coriander Tea

They also had other herbal teas, including moringa tea, turmeric tea, senna tea, and blue butterfly pea flower tea; $1.99/box of 20 tea bags.  My daughter bought a couple of boxes to try them and I asked her to get me some, too, to bring with her when she next visits.  I also shared the information with friend R, in case she wants my daughter to buy her some.

Today, I am grateful for:

- My daughter is feeling much better
- Working appliances and the electricity to run them
- Phone calls, emails, etc., with family and friends
- Assorted herbal teas to try
- Cooler temperatures

Today's joyful activity was crocheting,

How is your Sunday coming along?  What are your plans for Monday?  If you are in the United States, how will you celebrate Independence Day?

Starting July

Mangoes and Rosé Berries

Rosé Strawberries

Friday, being the first of the month, I made the traditional milkrice and some seeni sambol (spicy onion relish) for brunch.  Then, I wrote my Balanced Life Goals review, which took more time than I thought it would!  In between, I chatted on the phone with my half-sister, with aunt C, with friend R, and neighbor S.  In the early evening, M tended to the garden and, in return for the box of Sri Lankan tea I gave him, earlier, he brought me some mangoes and a container of a type of pink strawberries called Rosé strawberries!  Apparently, there is a Rosé raspberry, too, developed by the same berry growers!  They were very flavorful although they looked under-ripe!  Dinner was a hamburger, using a leftover patty and two bread ends in lieu of a hamburger bun; my version of a "special sauce" consisted of Miracle Whip, stone ground mustard, ketchup, and sweet relish!  I thought it tasted very good!  LOL.  All in all, it was a good start to the month, I think.

Today (Saturday) has been another good day, except my daughter had another migraine, complete with visual aura; the aura subsided later, but, the headache lingered all day.  I have told her to book an appointment to be seen by her doctor, just for a check up, since she hasn't had one since before the pandemic.

It was a cooler day with a high of only 86F.  I washed another quilt, called and spoke with friend S (not neighbor S), wrote an email to a cousin in Sri Lanka, baked some cornbread using a boxed mix I had been given, put away the dishes that had dried in the dish drainer overnight, washed today's dishes, checked on the garden, crocheted for a bit, and watched some online videos.  One video was about a Buddhist nunnery in Tibet; one video was about a type of Japanese courtyard garden called "tsubo-niwa".  Brunch had been leftover milkrice and seeni sambol; dinner was another hamburger, using the last hamburger patty and two more bread ends.  That is the end of all the leftovers from last week!  

I am grateful for:
- M bringing me a new type of strawberries to try and the mangoes
- Working appliances and electricity to run them
- Online videos that allow me to virtually visit places and learn new things
- Phone calls, emails, texts, etc., which enable me to keep in contact with family and friends
- Leftovers and planned overs!

My joyful activities on Friday and Saturday include trying out new strawberries, gardening, crocheting, baking, chatting with family and friends, and watching videos.

Plans for tomorrow (Sunday) include more crocheting and relaxing.

How is your weekend coming along?

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Monthly Goals for a Balanced Life: Mid Year Review

Here we are, half way through the year!  The first six months behind us, the next six months ahead of us.  It is a good time to pause and do a bit of a review, don't you think?  In addition to my usual monthly reviews, I want to take this opportunity to review my goals for a more balanced life, to see if I want to continue the way I've been doing things or do things need a bit of a mid-year adjustment?  

For example, New Year's Resolutions - do you make any? If you do, do you review them from time to time to see if you are keeping them or if they need to be modified in anyway?  I made five New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of this year.  Very briefly, they were to pursue good health, better time management, being more organized, being more positive, and maintaining a balanced life.  These resolutions are incorporated into my monthly goals for a balanced life; the monthly reviews enable me to see my progress on those resolutions.   

Or, how about a Word of the Year? Did you have a Word of the Year?  Or One Little Word as some call it? I know at least one blogger who selects a new word every quarter.  I chose "Resilient" as my word of the year; I wanted to be more resilient in all areas of my life and considered it as part of my overall well being, but, going forward, I will include it as part of my "Spiritual" category, along with joyful, grateful, and positive, in my Balanced Life goals.  

I visualize my life as a wheel, with 10 spokes, currently (I had more spokes, at one time, but, 10 are what I have now), each spoke representing a category or area in my life.  Each month, I rate my satisfaction in each area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes have a rating of higher than 5 and are of equal length which enable the wheel to roll along smoothly.  If some spokes are shorter in length than others, then, the resulting wheel is lop-sided and wobbly!  I usually indicate my satisfaction ratings for each segment within parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in black and the end of the month ratings being shown in blue.

So, here is my mid-year review of my goals for a balanced life:

Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, resilient, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able

I have continued with my daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, resilient, and joyful.  I have continued being generous and giving in various ways (not just in terms of giving money and other donations, but, also giving my time, energy, and other resources).  I haven't been to the Temple during the first six months of this year, but, I have had the monks come to my home for an almsgiving, I have helped them from time to time, and I have practiced the teachings of my religion in my daily life, observing the daily precepts of being mindful of my thoughts, speech, and actions in order not to cause harm or pain to another being.  I feel that I do live a spiritually meaningful life and moving forward, I will continue to keep the same spiritual goals. 

I will continue to keep the rating at 10.

July's Spiritual goals will be the same as above.  

House & Garage (6.75)(7):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house and garage as needed
- Organized - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue with the decluttering process
I've kept up with the housework, cleaning, organizing, maintaining, and decluttering.  During the first six months of this year, I have sorted out the garden shed and the garage, and I have decluttered hundreds of items.  June decluttering included several food storage containers and canning jars, a couple of items of clothing, some household items, magazines, gift bags, boxes/packing material, and a broken sewing machine.    Moving forward, I will continue to keep the same goals for a pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming home.

In June, I managed to keep the house maintained and I managed to fix one item that was broken; I felt very pleased with myself that I was able to do that!

I have raised the rating to 7, based on what I was able to accomplish!

July House & Garage goals will be the same as above.  My July Room of the Month will be the kitchen and my decluttering goal is 31 items.

Garden (8.0)(8.0):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed)
Planting summer vegetables!
- Start improving the parkway in the front

The garden has done well during the first six months of this year, providing me with fresh fruits (lemons, oranges, peaches, blueberries, a handful of plums) and vegetables (broccoli, peapods, beetroot, broccoli leaves, chard leaves, chilies, potatoes, and one or two sweet potatoes) as well as flowers and hours of enjoyment.  I was able to preserve some of the produce to share with my daughter, family, and friends, and to enjoy in the coming months.  Going forward, additional watering restrictions will make gardening more challenging, but, I will continue to focus on growing an edible garden.

The parkway improvements are still under consideration; it will be my July project.  

I am keeping the rating to 8.0 even though a recent heat wave caused some damage to the newly planted vegetable plants.

July Garden goals will be the same as above.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Keep in daily contact with her

My daughter was with me for the first quarter of this year, returned to her apartment for two months, and visited me, again, for a week in June.  I loved having her home with me and look forward to the next time we will be together.  In the meantime, we keep in daily contact, checking on each other and chatting.  I am happy with the relationship we have and hope we will continue to have a close relationship in the future, too.   

I am keeping the rating at 10!

July Daughter goals will be the same as above.

Family & Friends (10)(8):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them
- In person get togethers as and when I feel comfortable about them

I am satisfied with the connections I've had with family and friends during the first half of this year.  They were mostly by phone, emails, and texts, but, there were a few in-person visits, too, although some of them made me feel a bit uneasy due to on-going Covid concerns.  I tend to be more reluctant to let my guard down than the rest of my family and the majority of my friends where Covid is concerned and am not as willing to mingle as they are.  They are ready to put Covid behind them and move on; I am of the opinion that we are still in the middle of the pandemic (our County's new Covid case numbers are still quite high, over 7,300 new cases, today) and I am not willing to take many risks.  In fact, I have declined an invitation to get together with my sister for lunch and to attend an up-coming family event due to my reluctance to mingle.  Moving forward, I see myself continuing to keep a physical distance and limiting interactions with family and friends to phone calls, texts, emails, and maybe the occasional curb-side/masked visit.  Is that the best way going forward?  Probably not.  But, it is the only way I am comfortable with, at present.  

I have reduced the rating to 8.0 to reflect the fact that I know there are things I can do to improve my connection to them, even if I am not willing to do those things, at present.

July Family and Friends goals will include:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them; as mentioned above, I've already opted out of two invitations to be with family
- Celebrate a friend's birthday with a curb-side visit
- Observe my father's death anniversary

Community (10)(10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
- Continue to participate in the various community groups to the extent possible in the following ways:
  - Participate in the blogging community
  - Participate in the online organizing group
  - Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
  - Food exchanges with neighbors from time to time
  - Participate in temple events when safe to do so

I participated in my community in the various ways that I felt comfortable participating in the first half of this year.  Much of it was online or on the phone, with some limited in person interactions with neighbors.  Unlike interactions with family and friends, I am content with this level of interactions with the community in the second half of this year.  

I'm keeping the rating at 10.

July Community goals will be the same as above.

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose

I live on a fixed income since I am retired and have continued to manage my finances in a responsible manner, budgeting and spending as mindfully as possible during the first half of this year.  I don't anticipate that to change in the second half of the year, even with rising inflation and increasing costs of living.  

I am keeping the rating at 10.

July Financial goals:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose 

Health & Well Being (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is good health:
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, adequate sleep, etc.
- Attend my medical appointments
- Continue to take my medications as prescribed
- Continue to take necessary precautions against viral infections

I continue to have some chronic health issues, but, my health was good for the most part during the first six months of this year.  I have had routine check ups with my health care providers, including the required lab tests and scans.  I have continued to take my medications as prescribed and the booster vaccinations against Covid.  Going forward, I have more routine check ups, including one appointment at the end of July, one at the end of October, and one at the end of November.   

I am keeping the satisfaction rating at 8.5.

July Health & Well Being goals will be the same as above.

Time Management (7.5)(7.5): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less

I continued to struggle with my time management during the first half of this year and often felt that I was not making good use of my time, procrastinating and idling and not being as productive as I should be.  I know that I spend a lot of my time on the computer.  However, I have managed to accomplish quite a few things during the productive periods.  Going forwards, this is one of the areas in my life that I will closely monitor to see why I feel I am not managing my time as well as I should and what needs to improve.   

I am going to keep the rating at 7.5.

July Time Management goals are the same as above.  

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Engage in leisure activities
- Do crafts and pursue hobbies

I feel I did very well in this area of my life during the first six months of this year, engaging in daily joyful activities, leisure activities, crafts and hobbies, although, sometimes, they were more "inactivities" than "activities"!  LOL!  I tend to be less of a "do-er" and more of a "be-er".  I don't always enjoy doing things - going places, seeing things, attending events, etc.  I'd much rather just be where I am, usually at home, relaxing and not doing anything in particular.  I think this might be why I feel I am not managing my time well, because I am not being productive; I'm just sitting and be-ing!   I did finish a few crafts projects and I participated in photo challenges and I did some painting!  Going forward, I am planning to continue with craft projects and the various hobbies that I enjoy doing.  

I am keeping the rating at 10.  

July Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care goals will be the same as above.

In conclusion, I feel I have managed to live a fairly well balanced life during the first half of this year.  Yes, there is room for improvement, even in those areas which have a high rating of satisfaction, as the areas can be changed to expand or contract as needed as circumstances change.  Going forward, I plan to continue to review each area and do what I can to live as well balanced a life as possible while still being cautious about viral infections, pandemics, and other concerns.  That is the goal for the second half of this year.

What do you think?  What are your goals for the rest of this year?

Friday, July 1, 2022

Ending June

Prebaked Zucchini

The zucchini plants had about six baby zucchini growing when we reached 100F on Monday; it has been only slightly cooler after that and all the baby zucchini look like this; scorched and prebaked by the sun!  Of course summer is only beginning and there is still time for more zucchini to grow...except, summer is only beginning and we haven't reached our usual summer temperatures of 100F plus, yet.  I don't think the zucchini harvest will amount to much, this year.  But, I have read that zucchini leaves are edible and I found a recipe online for sauteed zucchini leaves!  Maybe once I've finished harvesting the broccoli leaves, I can move on to the zucchini leaves!

This week went by quickly, I feel!  I resumed my weekly cleaning routines this week after taking a week off the previous week.  On Monday, I dusted the living room and dining area; on Tuesday, I tidied and dusted the family room.  I didn't dust my bedroom on Tuesday, however, so did that, on Wednesday, instead.  I didn't vacuum as scheduled on Wednesday, however, as I had a pain in my left leg and I didn't want to aggravate it by vacuuming.  Instead, on Thursday, I vacuumed and then, did Thursday's cleaning, as well, which was cleaning the kitchen.  I also did a load of laundry, including the kitchen rug, bathroom rugs, Dancer's quilted rug, etc.   All that's left to do is clean the bathrooms on Friday and the week's routine cleaning will be done!  I will still need to do a bit of extra tidying in the bedroom, however, since that is my room to focus on, this week.

And, just like that, June has come to an end and with it, the first half of the year!  June was a good month and the highlight of the month was my daughter's visit!  

Now, we get to look forward to starting July and the second half of this year, but, that's a separate post!

Today, I am grateful for:

- My leg pain went away without worsening
- Working appliances and electricity to run them
- Receiving packages in the mail (vacuum cleaner bags that I ordered)
- Phone chats with friends A and R
- Video chats with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was watching online videos.

Plans for tomorrow include:

- Cleaning the bathrooms
- Tending to the garden with M
- Tidying the top of my dresser
- Tidying the top of my desk 

How was your Thursday?  What are your plans for Friday?

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Monthly Photo Challenge: June

Eileen's monthly photo challenge for June was "Leaf/Leaves".  These are my finds for this challenge:

Fruit Tree Leaves:


Apple Seedling


Culinary Leaves:

Curry Leaves

Broccoli Leaves

Beetroot Leaves


Salad Mix

Spiky Leaves:





Lacy/Fern-y Leaves:

Asparagus Fern


Variegated Leaves:



Philodendron (Silver Satin)


Succulents Leaves:



Silvery-Grey Leaves:

Dusty Miller

Indian Sage

Wilted Leaves:



Scorched Leaves:


Dried Sacred Leaf:

Dried Leaf from the Sacred Bodhi Tree
or Pipal Tree (Ficus religiosa)
in Bodh Gaya, India

Other Leaves:

Embroidered Leaves (and flowers)

Porcelain Leaves

And, finally, just like Elvis:

Dancer...(Photo taken 7:52 p.m.)

Leaves... (7:53 p.m.)

The Room (7:53 p.m.)

Much to the disappointment of his number one fan, Snowball:

"NO!  Dancer Don't Leave!"
(Photo taken 7:54 p.m.)

Thank you, Eileen, for hosting the monthly photo challenges.  I had a lot of fun!