Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Grocery Shopping - Week 4

On Thursday, I bought 1 baguette ($2.50) and 1 cherimoya ($3) from the farmers market, which came to $5.50, total.

I had some of the baguette with the ham and vegetable soup for lunch on Thursday and Friday; the cherimoya was dessert after dinner on Thursday and Friday.  I will make French toast with the rest of the baguette. 

Today, I did this week's weekly grocery shopping, and bought:

1 loaf of multi-grain bread = $1.79
1 bunch of bananas (6 bananas) @ $.59/lb = $1.08
5 lb. pork chops (6 chops) @ $1.29/lb = $6.50
Total = $9.37

So, this week's groceries add up to: $5.50 + $9.37 = $14.87

Total spent on groceries (for me) in Feb.  = $55.86 + $14.87 = $70.73
Budgeted amount is $75.
I've $4.27 left to carry over to March.

I plan to cook two of the pork chops to have for dinners, next week, along with leftover chicken curry, and freeze the other pork chops.

Last week's ham and vegetable soup provided me with easy lunches to take to the office.  I didn't mind having the same thing every day, so it worked out very well.  I am planning to make another batch of soup, this week, too.  I have some bits and pieces of chicken, in the freezer, that I had set aside specifically for soup, so, this week, I'll make chicken and vegetable soup.  

How did you do with your February grocery budget?  Were you able to keep to your budget?  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cherimoya Fruit

Today, I went to the farmers market and bought a baguette for $2.50 and a cherimoya, which was an indulgence at $5.50/lb.  I bought a small fruit for $3.00.

Cherimoya - Whole

This is another fruit from my childhood, known as Custard Apple, and while it is expensive here, I am grateful that it is available for an occasional indulgence.  The ripe fruit is soft and yields when gently pressed.  Unripe fruit is hard, but will ripen at room temperature.

The inside of the fruit is creamy and sweet, with lots of black seeds:

Cherimoya - Halved
One scoops out the flesh to eat.  The seeds are not edible.

I enjoyed half of the fruit, tonight, and saved the other half for tomorrow.  I kept the seeds aside to see if I can plant them.  

Have you eaten cherimoya?  Do you think you might try some if you have the opportunity to buy them?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ebbs and Flows

This week, I have not been keeping up with my cleaning schedule.  I've always had my ebbs and flows, when it comes to housework. I get the house to a certain level of cleanliness and then, I tend to relax and slack off on maintaining.

I have plenty of excuses for doing so, of course. Such as, "Who wants to come home after a full day of work at the office and spend the evening cleaning the house? I'm tired; I'd rather relax." Which means the house work waits until the weekend and then, when the weekend comes, I say to myself, "Who wants to spend the weekend cleaning the house? I'd rather relax and play!" As a result, the house gets neglected.

Fortunately, since there isn't anyone else to mess up the house, things remain tidy, for the most part.  And there are things that get done on a daily basis, as well.  The bed gets made every morning, the dishes get done every evening, the litter box gets cleaned and the bathroom floor gets swept (necessary due to the litter box).  I guess, some weeks, that will have to suffice.

Anyone else experiencing ebbs and flows when it comes to housework?

Pocket Organizers

Pocket Organizers

These are two of the four pocket organizers I made to give as gifts over the holidays.  These two organizers went to two little boys who are brothers.  So I wanted them to appear similar but not identical.  Their mother wrote to me to say she's hung the organizers in her sons' closets.

They were quick to make and, since I used fabric in the stash, frugal gifts as well.  These organizers are smaller than the one I made for my daughter, here.  And these have tabs at the top, instead of an inserted hanger (for easier folding to mail).

I have the rest of the year to think of other frugal gifts I can make for them for this year's gift giving!

Have you made pocket organizers?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday's Productivity

Ham &Vegetable Soup

Today was a productive day.  I went to the office, in the morning.  During my morning break, I went to the bank to do a transaction.  Later, during my lunch break, I went to the library to return one book, renew another and borrow one more.  Then, during my afternoon break, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a medication refill.

It was a sunny day in downtown, but it had rained in the area around my house and the intersections were flooded on my commute home, in the evening.  The rain is a blessing and it meant I didn't have to water the garden, today.

I took the trash can, yard waste bin and recycling bin to the curb for trash pick up, tomorrow.

Later, I made a pot of ham and vegetable soup.  I had a ham bone in the freezer (leftover from daughter's graduation party, last summer) and I added 3 sliced carrots, 1/2 diced yellow onion, some leftover cooked green beans and green bell pepper from the freezer, half a tomato diced, 3 diced potatoes, a few whole pepper corns, added water and boiled everything for 30 mins. or so.  I added a little salt to taste at the end.  I had a bowl of soup for my dinner, tonight and there are at least 3 more servings left, if not more.

Anyone else save leftover bits of vegetables, etc., in the freezer, for making soups?


Apple-Pomegranate Jam

Apple-Pomegranate Jam

Sunday, I made a batch of apple-pomegranate jam.  I had some apples (bought at $.39/lb.) that needed to be used up.  And, since I was running low on jam, I decided to make some apple jam (as opposed to apple pie or turnovers or applesauce).  And since I had a bottle of pomegranate juice (bought on sale for $1.99), that also needed using up, I decided to make the apple-pomegranate combination.  I think it was a good decision.

I didn't have a recipe, as such; I generally tend to follow the general guideline of "equal amounts of fruit and sugar, add some lemon juice and boil till it gels".  But this time, I actually measured my ingredients, so I could write this post!

I had 6 large apples (2 Red Delicious and 4 Granny Smith), which I peeled, cored and chopped.  It amounted to 9 cups of apples.

So, here's my recipe:
9 cups chopped apples
8 cups sugar
2 cups 100% pomegranate juice
2/3 cups lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)

Combine chopped apples, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon stick and boil, stirring all the time.  I added the pomegranate juice halfway through, after the apples had softened a bit.  Cook until it thickens to jam consistency.  I use the "sheeting" test to judge if the consistency is right.

I like the combination of apple and pomegranate.  The apple jam, by itself, was very sweet, even with the addition of lemon juice.  The pomegranate juice added a nice flavor.  There's more pomegranate juice leftover for something else.

I made 10 jars of jam.  It took me 2 hours, start to finish.  I had bought the canning jars on sale for $8 for 12 jars.  I estimate the cost of ingredients to be under $6.00.  Each jar of jam cost under $2 to make. 

Have you made apple-pomegranate jam? 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Grocery Shopping: February Week 3

Did my grocery shopping, yesterday, at one of the regular supermarkets (not ethnic grocery store).  Bought:

1 gal. milk = $2.89
1 bag frozen corn = $1
1 loaf of multi-grain bread = $1.99
Bananas @ $.69/lb (6 bananas) = $1.46
4 cans of tuna @$.50 = $2
1 bottle of oil (32 oz) = $1.89

Total =  $11.23.

Also bought some toiletries ($.5.98) and cat food ($21.99) - budgeted for separately.

Total spent on groceries (for me) in Feb. so far: $44.63 + $11.23 = $55.86
Budgeted amount is $75.
I've $19 left for the rest of the month. 

I didn't buy any meat because I have chicken curry and cooked chicken breast in the freezer, along with sausages, and I've canned fish and canned corned beef in the pantry.

I didn't buy any fresh vegetables because I still have half a head of lettuce, most of a bag of carrots, the green beans and cabbage I bought last week; so, only the bag of frozen corn to have on hand.

I didn't buy any fresh fruit other than the bananas because I still have half the papaya and the cantaloupe I bought last week, as well as 5 oranges I picked from my tree, yesterday (and more oranges still on the tree), plus the last of the pomegranates (from my tree) and apples in the fridge.  Plus a few frozen berries and cans of fruit.

For brunch, yesterday, I had 1 banana and 2 slices of the multi-grain bread with half a can of sardines from the pantry; will make sardines on toast for tea with the rest of the can of fish.  Dinner was at a friend's house, last night.

Today's breakfast has been a slice of the bread with butter and a banana.

I don't make firm meal plans for the week.  Instead, I decide on a couple of options and go from there.  For example, since I bought bread, I can take sandwiches to work for breakfasts (peanut butter and banana, perhaps) and lunches (tuna salad or egg salad sandwiches), or I can have scrambled egg on toast for a light dinner.  I took out a package of chicken curry from the freezer and will have that with rice and vegetables for a couple of meals during the week.  There's some leftover shrimp curry in the fridge, too.  Maybe I'll have that for dinner, tonight, with rice, green beans, and the last of the cucumber, sliced.  

How are you coming along with your grocery budget and meal planning?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekend To Do List

It's Saturday morning.  The weekend is here!  Time to make my weekend "to do" list:

- Launder sofa dust sheets/put new dust sheets - done
- Launder bed sheets/remake bed - done
- Grocery shopping* - done
- Buy cat food* - done
- Attend monthly prayer meeting (Saturday evening)* - done
- Tidy linen closet - done
- Tidy clothes closet
- Tidy dresser drawers - started
- Paperwork/file - started
- Meal plan - done
- Bake banana bread*
- Sewing/knitting/reading
- Gardening/weeding
- 30 minutes tidying 3rd room
- Make apple/pomegranate jam - done
- Water indoor plants* - done
- Put gas to the car* - done

* Must do's

I am not sure if I can get all of it done.  I've a tendency to under-estimate the time it takes for me to do certain tasks. The asterisked tasks are the ones that must be done.  Everything else is a "should do" or a "want to do"!

Anyone else making weekend to do lists?     What do you have on your lists?

Friday Review

Another somewhat foggy morning.  But the commute to work was not too bad, although an accident closer to downtown caused some congestion. 

It was a short work week for me with Monday being a holiday and Tuesday being another day off.  I think 3-day work weeks are just fine!  LOL.

Being home on Tuesday meant I was able to get the better part of the weekly house cleaning done then.  I dusted and vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms.  As a result, I didn't have to do any house cleaning during the work week.  I watered the front garden on Monday and watered the back garden on Thursday.  This watering schedule seems to work out well for me.  At least, during the winter months.  In the summer, when the temperatures soar to 90F and above, I usually water the front garden, with its south and west exposure, twice a week. 

On the meal planning front, things worked out very well.  The chicken stir-fry and the shrimp curry I made, along with a lasagna I had in the freezer provided sufficient lunches and dinners for the week.  I shall pull out a packet of chicken curry from the freezer for some of next week's meals. 

Spending-wise, the week was mixed.  I paid two bills, including daughter's rent for March.  But those are planned expenses, and budgeted for.  Other than those two bills, however, there was no spending.  Frugal activities included air drying all laundry, picking oranges from the garden, baking a cake from stuff in the pantry, borrowing books from the library.

In other areas of my life, I chatted with two friends, had daily video chats with my daughter, and interacted with colleagues.  I managed to get a couple of errands done during the week, including requesting and receiving a new yard waste bin to replace the one with the missing lid (lid broke off).  I did some weeding in the garden, read, and sewed.

It was a good week, I think.

How was your week? 


Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday's Accomplishments

Woke up to a foggy morning.  It was still quite foggy during the morning commute and traffic was even slower than usual.  But it just meant that I could listen to the radio for a little longer. 

I had a good day at the office.  As usual, I took breakfast (sesame crackers), lunch (rice and the last of the chicken stir fry) and a snack (Asian pear) to the office, with me.

In the afternoon, I went to the bank, so that was one errand accomplished.

The evening commute was even longer than the morning commute.  As soon as I got home, I turned on the sprinklers in the back garden, so the garden got watered while I fed the cat and had my own tea. 

Later, I watched some TV while I sewed another flower to my current quilt and video chatted with my daughter.  Daughter was also watching TV and doing homework while she video chatted with me.  We are good at multi tasking, that way.  And we had dinner "together", in a manner of speaking, she at her end and I at my end.  She had rice, shrimp curry that I had cooked and frozen for her, and tomato chutney; I had rice, shrimp curry and cucumber salad.  It's funny how we had more or less the same thing for dinner, even though we are apart.

After dinner, I washed the dishes, wrote to a friend, and cleaned the litter box.  I also finished reading the book about the "ghost ship" Mary Celeste, today.  I'll probably return it to the library tomorrow (although it is not due yet).  I had already started reading the biography of Mary Todd Lincoln, so read a bit more of that.

Plans for tomorrow include going to the office, a bit more reading, a bit more sewing, and writing up the weekend to do list.

How was your Thursday? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Texas Star Quilt

Texas Star
This is a quilt I made in 1990.  It is a queen size quilt, patched using the English paper piecing method.  The pattern is generally known as Texas Star.  It looks more like star-shaped flowers to me.

This is yet another scrap quilt, although I bought the yellow fabric for the diamonds between the stars.  The back of the quilt is a bed sheet.

This quilt is not quilted at all; as I mentioned in another post, I enjoy the piecing process more than quilting.  Instead, it is tied with yarn through the centers of the stars (although a few ties have come off; a certain kitty likes to play with them when this quilt is on my bed!), which makes it a tied quilt.

Anyone else prefers to tie a quilt rather than quilt it?   

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cake for Tea

Is there anything better than cake still warm from the oven?
Sponge Cake

This is probably my favorite cake to make.  I think it is the first cake I ever learned to make - a very basic sponge cake.  I copied the recipe from one of my mother's cookbooks when I was in my early teens.  I still have the old note book in which I wrote out the recipe, now rather smudged from frequent use.  The quantities are given in pounds, but when I was at university, I didn't have a scales, so, converted the quantities to cups, which I pencilled in.

This is the cake I always make when I want a quick cake for tea or a snack.  It's made with ingredients that are staples and I almost always have on hand.

The recipe as written down in my note book:

"Cream together 1/4 lb. butter and 1/2 lb. sugar until pale in colour.  Add 2 eggs, one at a time unbeaten, beating well after each addition.  Gradually fold in 1/2 lb. sifted flour with 3 level tsp. baking powder to the mixture with 1/2 cup milk.  Lastly add vanilla essence and salt.  Bake in a moderately hot oven for 30 min.  Serve with jam or butter icing on top."

Sponge Cake Recipe
Do you have a favorite "go to" cake that you make over and over again?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dancer Lends a Helping Paw

I needed to cut more green "leaf" patches for my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt which is in progress here.  So, I spread out the green fabric on the dining table and started to trace hexagons with my template.  I got a dozen or so hexagons traced before Dancer Cat came to see what Mummy was up to and decided to give a helping paw! 

"I'm here to help you, Mummy"

"Yes, it feels soft"

"It'll make a good quilt"

"Actually, it's quite comfy"

And that was the end of my tracing more hexagons!  Cat lovers will understand why I didn't just push him off!  I just cut out what I had already traced and moved to the sofa to baste them to the paper inserts.  Two minutes later, Dancer realized I was no longer seated at the table and came to join me on the sofa!  LOL.

Anyone else has a cat who likes to help with projects?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dresden Plate Quilt

This is a quilt I made in 1984.  It is the second Dresden Plate quilt I've made (the first one was given away; it had green background squares with blue sashings).

This is a twin size quilt and the "plates" (they look more like flowers than plates, don't they?) are made from scrap fabric.  The fabrics for the background, sashings, and borders were purchased (on sale, of course).  The back is a bed sheet.

Dresden Plate

This is probably one of my favorite quilts, because it is purple!  The individual "plates" are hand sewn and appliqued to the purple background fabric and then the blocks and sashings were machine sewn together to make the quilt top. 

A close up of the quilt:

Dresden Plate Close Up

Close Up of Individual Block
Each block is very minimally hand quilted with a circle inside the middle and outline quilting along the outside of each plate.  I enjoy the piecing more than the quilting!  

Each block is also a trip down memory lane!  In the block above, I see fabric from four of my mother's dresses, three of my dresses and two nightdresses, plus leftovers from the border of another quilt!  Mother used to sew all our clothes, so, there were lots of leftovers for my quilts!

The quilt block below is also made from all leftovers from our clothes.

There are many Dresden Plate variations; some with a bigger center, some with rounded edges, others with a combination of both rounded and pointed edges.  This was just the pattern I found in a book and chose to make.

Another Close Up

Weekly Grocery Shopping

Went grocery shopping today; I went to one of the ethnic grocery stores in my neighborhood, as their prices tend to be less than the regular grocery stores.  I bought:

2 lbs. Shrimp @ $4.49/lb = $9.09
2 bread rolls @ $.50 = $1.00
1 Papaya @ $.69/lb = $1.32
1 Cantaloupe @ $.49/lb = $1.29
2 Asian pears @ $.99/lb = $0.97
1 cabbage @ $.33/lb = $0.31
Snow peas @ $1.99/lb = $0.26
Carrots @ $.50/lb = $0.50
Green beans @ $.79/lb = $0.44
1 cucumber = $0.34
1 can Chocolate powder = $3.69
1 package raw cashews = $3.46
1 package sesame crackers = $2.30
Total: $24.97

So my total for groceries so far in February is $19.66 + $24.97 = 44.63.

Balance remaining in my February grocery budget: $75 - $44.63 = $30.37

The shrimp was a splurge, but it was on sale and I bought extra to freeze.  I cooked some of the shrimp, tonight, and had for dinner.  I will cook the rest tomorrow and package for the freezer.

I am planning to make a stir fry with the snow peas and some of the carrots (along with a can of baby corn that I have in my cabinet and a chicken breast half from the freezer); served with rice, the stir fry will provide 3 or 4 meals during the week.  I am also planning to have a few salads during the week, too.  Not a very specific meal plan, but it works for me. 

How are you doing with your grocery budget?  Do you make detailed menu plans?


Friday, February 13, 2015

Farmers Market Thursday

Today has been another sunny and warm day here, with highs in the mid 80s.  Of course, I spent most of the day inside my office, so I only got to enjoy the warm, sunny day when I went to the nearby farmers market.  I've mentioned it before, that there is a farmers market near my office building, which is held every Thursday.

Today, I stopped by the French bakery stall and bought a crusy bread roll for my lucnh.  I had taken the butter and cheese for it from home, so the cost of lunch wasthe $1.50 I paid for the bread roll.

After I came home from work, I collected a package that had come for me from my neighbor who had taken in the package for me, put water to the back garden and watered the indoor plants, and cleaned the bathrooms.  So far, this week, I have been able to keep to my cleaning schedule and that has pleased me no end!

It has been another relatively quiet day, and now, it is quite late and time for me to go to sleep.  Tomorrow is another work day and I must get up early.

I hope you have all had a happy, peaceful, productive day, today.  Have you any special plans for tomorrow, it being Friday the 13th?  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fish and Chips Wednesday

Busy day, today.  Went to the office, then, attended a work-related meeting in the evening.

I've been craving fish and chips for several weeks now.  It's been quite some time since I last had fish and chips.  Today, I passed by my favorite fish and chips shop on the way to the evening meeting.  So, I picked up an order of fish and chips for dinner.  I must say that it was every bit as good as I remember them being.  And it made me feel quite nostalgic.

When I first moved to this city, I lived in the same neighborhood as this fish and chips shop and I worked in a building across the street from the fish and chips shop.  I usually brought my lunch from home, but many of my co-workers would buy fish and chips for their lunch and I'd occasionally join them.  It was a treat then, and it is still a treat, now.

  There is another fish and chips shop, not too far from my present home, but the one time I ate there (many years ago), I got sick!  I don't know if it was due to what I ate, but I never bought any fish and chips from them again.

But the fish and chips I had today was delicious and for $3.24, an affordable mid-week dinner treat (I had the smallest size serving, which was one piece of fish with fries).. 

Do you like fish and chips?  Do you have a favorite fish and chips shop?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fine Tuning the Cleaning Schedule

Today was a nice, sunny, warm day.  I went to the office; during my lunch break, I made a call to have my green yard waste bin lid replaced (the lid came off when they collected the trash, last week); they will service the trash can next week, they said; then came home and dusted my bedroom and vacuumed the house.

I think I might finally have a cleaning schedule that I like.  It breaks up the major house cleaning tasks into manageable portions which can be accomplished in an hour or so on work day evenings.  And it leaves the weekends free to work on those organizing tasks and craft projects I usually feel I don't have enough time to do.

So the cleaning schedule for this week is:
Monday - dust the main rooms (living room, dining area, family room)

Tuesday - dust my bedroom and vacuum the house

Wednesday - catch up day (this week, I have a work-related afer office hours meeting, so I want to keep the evening free)

Thursday - clean bathrooms

Friday - clean the kitchen

This schedule leaves out cleaning daughter's room and the guest room, but I could do those rooms on a Wednesday on a different week when I don't have to attend evening meetings.

I am hoping I'll be able to stick to this cleaning schedule.  I have a tendency to procrastinate!

Do you have a cleaning schedule?  Are you able to maintain it?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Productive Monday

I've had a rather productive day, today.  Went to the office and during my morning break, I paid my utilities bill (water, electric, sewer service and trash collecting) and went to the post office to mail it.  On the way back to the office, stopped at the pharmacy to pick up medications.  I am very grateful for having a post office and pharmacy near my office.

There is also a library close to the office, but I didn't need to go there in person to renew two library books that were due; I was able to renew them on-line.  I like to renew library books a day before they are actually due, so that, if I am not able to renew them for some reason, I still have time to return them on time.

After work, on my way home, I stopped to put gas to the car.  Gas was $2.59/gallon, today; up 10 cents from the last time I put gas, which was last Monday.

Once I got home, I took the trash cans to the curb for trash collection, tomorrow; put away the laundry from yesterday, emptied the dishwasher, and dusted the living room, dining area, and family room.  I considered dusting my bedroom, as well, but decided to keep it for tomorrow.

I am happy with my level of productivity, today. Plans for tomorrow include dusting the bedroom and cleaning the kitchen.

How was your Monday? 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Growing My Quilt, One Flower at a Time

The very first quilt I made (in 1975) was a hexagon quilt.  Since then, I've made several other quilts, but I am back to making another hexagon quilt, in the "Grandmother's Flower Garden" pattern.  This has been a "work in progress" for quite some time, now.  It's very much like growing a garden!

Starting with the seeds, um, hexagons:

Hexagon Patches

Hexagon quilts are made using the English paper piecing method.  I am using index cards, old greeting cards, etc. for the hexagon inserts, and, scrap fabric for the hexagons (except for the green hexagons; I bought the fabric for them; bought on sale, of course, for $1.00 per yard).  My hexagons are rather big, being 1 1/2 inches on each side. 

The individual hexagons are sewn together, using a whip stitch to join them, to form flowers:

Flower in Progress

One hexagon for the center; surrounded by six inner "petals" and 12 outer petals in a coordinating fabric to form one flower: 

Completed Flower

The inner petals of this particular flower are made from fabric scraps leftover from a Valentine's Day dress my mother made for my daughter when my daughter was 3 years old.  The next year, Mother altered the dress so daughter could wear it again.  It's one of the dresses that I have kept for sentimental reasons (and perhaps a future granddaughter?)     

The next step is to add "leaves" along the outer border of the flowers.  I have chosen to add only one row of leaves between flowers, so, adjoining flowers share leaves.  The inner petals of the purple flower below are also from leftover scraps from another dress my mother sewed for my daughter, when daughter was about 5 years old (and altered, so daughter could wear it a lot longer).  

Flower with Leaves

I remove the paper inserts from the inner petals as I "grow" each flower, and then, reuse the inserts.

Here is a picture of the quilt in progress:

The Quilt in Progress

All the flowers are made from fabric leftover from dresses, nightdresses, other sewing projects, etc.     I've tried to achieve a little bit of uniformity by having yellow centers for all the flowers.  The yellow fabric is leftover from what I bought for another quilt; there was just enough to make the outer petals of one flower, so I decided to put that flower in the middle of the garden.

Another picture of the quilt, showing more or less the whole of it.  16 flowers sewn together and one more ready, with leaves, to be attached.  After that, I need to cut out and make more green leaves.  I have 25 more flowers, waiting for leaves.  I want to make it big enough for a queen-size bed.

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt
I am hoping that I can get this quilt finished by the end of this summer.   Better stop blogging and start sewing!  LOL.

Have you made a hexagon quilt? 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

February Grocery Shopping: Week 1

I went grocery shopping, today, and bought:

1 gal. milk = $2.89
1 frozen pot pie = $1.88
1 bag frozen green peas = $1.00
2 boxes hot cocoa mix (6 envelopes per box); @ $.99 = $1.98
2 cans peanuts; @ $1.50 = $3.00
1 lettuce = $.99
2 lbs. banana; @ $.69/lb = $1.40
.78 lb. beef steak; @ $3.99/lb = $3.11

Total: $16.25 (according to the receipt, I saved $11.52).

Earlier in the week (Monday), I had bought bread ($.99), bananas ($1.42) and a box of 3 ice cream bars ($1.00) and spent $3.41.

So my total for groceries this week is $3.41 + $16.25 = $19.66.
My grocery budget (food items only) for the month is $75, for 1 person.

I cooked the steak and had some of it for dinner, tonight, with mashed potatoes.  Leftover steak will be kept for a couple of dinners, next week.

Have you gone grocery shopping in February yet?  Do you shop weekly?  Or every other week?  Or do you do a monthly shopping?

Remembering My Mother

My Mother

Today is the 9th anniversary of my mother's death.  I still miss her every day and dream of her almost every night.  May she be free from pain and suffering, hurt and sorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Organizing Cleaning: Room vs. Task

Every time I clean the house, I debate with myself, weighing the pros and cons of cleaning one room completely at a time, such as tidying, dusting, and vacuuming the living room, before moving on to the next room, vs. completing one task, such as dusting or vacuuming, throughout the house.

Seems like each has its good points. Doing it one way, a room at a time will mean that at least one room gets completely cleaned.  Doing it the other way, one task at a time means it is easy to do all the vacuuming when I have the vacuum cleaner out.

On the other hand, there's also a "half done" aspect to both (unless I do the dusting and the vacuuming all on one day).

I guess for some people who live in a 2-story home, it might make sense to do all the downstairs areas on one day and the upstairs areas on another day. But I live in a single story house with a fairly open floor plan - it's harder to divide the house into sections, although I guess I can treat the public rooms (living room, dining area and family room) as one section and the 3 bedrooms and hallway as another.

There is no right way or wrong way to clean, of course. It all depends on what we find to be convenient and works for each one of us. It's just that I am not quite happy with how I'm doing things and looking for a better way.

So, how do you organize the weekly cleaning, especially if you are unable to clean all the rooms or areas in one day or one weekend? Do you "do" one room at a time, moving around the room in a clockwise or anti-clockwise manner, before moving on to the next room?  Or do you tackle each task, but do it throughout the house? For example, when you empty the waste baskets, do you empty all the waste baskets throughout the house, or just the one in the room you are cleaning?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wednesday, February 4

Today, there was thick fog shrouding everything when I woke up in the morning and during the morning commute.  Later, the fog lifted, but it became hazy, again, in the evening.  But, in between, we had very pleasant weather.

I had a good day at the office.  I was also able to run a couple of errands during the day.  I went to the pharmacy during my lunch break and I went to the bank during my afternoon break.  Later, I paid a couple of bills and went through the day's mail.  I also read a few more pages in one of my library books and watched a TV program (in addition to news).  I still need to water the houseplants and clean the litter box before I get ready to go to sleep, tonight.

And that's it!   Nothing very exciting, but very much the norm for a midweek working day. 

How was your Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday, February 3

It was a nice, sunny, warm day, today.  I wore my new knitted top to the office.

During my lunch break, I walked to the library (I'm blessed to have a library just two blocks from my office) to return last week's book and borrow two new ones.  One is a book about the ship Mary Celeste and the other book is a biography of Mary Todd Lincoln.  I read a little bit of both books.  I also found another book I want to read (based on the Civil War diary of the author's great grandfather), but I will borrow it another time.  Two books at a time is sufficient!

 In the evening, I watched a couple of TV programs and video chatted with daughter.  Seems like the evening went by very quickly! 

How was your Tuesday? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Craft Projects Queue

Seems like for every craft project I complete, I have another half dozen or so patiently waiting their turn!  At any given time, I have a number of on-going craft projects. 

I just finished knitting the short sleeved top, that I posted about, yesterday, and waiting patiently for its turn is another partially knitted blouse (I need to finish knitting the front and then, make sleeves).  And since that knitted top has a lace pattern which requires a bit of concentration, I started knitting a scarf with more leftover yarn from the blue and white striped knit top, to knit while watching TV, etc.

I recently put together a quilt, but there are 2 more quilts waiting to be worked on! One is a new quilt that is in progress, a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt top; the other is an old quilt needing repairs.

And this weekend, I pulled out and laundered some of my mother's crocheted doilies to see what I can make with them...

Then there are all the sewing projects I want to do, which I haven't even mentioned!

How do you organize your craft projects so that they get done in a timely manner instead of languishing in the closets and bins?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Latest Knitting Project

Knitted Blouse
My latest knitting project; a short sleeved blouse, with a crocheted flower pin.  Ideal for spring.   Made with leftover yarn from this project:
Heart Sweater

One more craft project completed!  On to the next!  I've only about half a dozen "works in progress" from which to choose!  LOL.

Anyone else has multiple craft projects going at the same time?    

February Monthly Goals

I posted my New Year goals in January, instead of monthly goals, but now, it's time to start posting monthly goals, again.  My goals are distributed among the various segments of my Balance Wheel, to make sure that all areas of my life are being worked on at the same time.  Here are my February monthly goals:

Spiritual: Continue with daily devotions/meditations; attend the monthly prayer meeting.

Environment: Outside: continue to spruce up the garden. Inside: Continue to clean and declutter (work on the 3rd bedroom which functions as the guest room/crafts room/home office).

Daughter:  Continue to be supportive with on-line visits; no in-person visits are planned for February.

Family: Commemorate my mother's 9th death anniversary; Get together with family once.

Friends: Get together with friends a couple of times; e-mails & phone calls.

Career: Continue to work on assignments in a timely manner.

Finances: Keep a spending log and refine the budget.  Keep to the grocery budget of $75. 

Health: Make a doctor's appointment; Get more sleep (aim for 7 hrs. a night, instead of the current 5-6 hrs.); Improve diet (add more fruits and vegetables); Get in more exercise (walk around the block during my morning and afternoon breaks; climb a flight of stairs and work up to 2 flights on work days); Lose 5 lbs. (and keep it off!)

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies: Finish Works In Progress:  Finish sewing up the blouse I've knitted; finish knitting the white lace blouse; Sew on the hexagon quilt top; Unpick the lilac knit top and reknit it.

Productivity and Time Management:  Start implementing cleaning routines.

Some of my monthly goals remain the same; others change a bit from month to month.

Do you make monthly goals?  If so, what are your goals for February?