Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Goals in Review

Another warm day, today (95F at 5:30 p.m.!)

I went to the office in the morning.  In the afternoon, I went to a medical appointment.  The clinic was quite crowded and there was a bit of a wait.  I didn't mind; I had brought some work with me and I did that while I waited my turn.

After I came home, I put water to the back garden, did a load of laundry,  and video chatted with daughter. 

Such an unexciting life to blog about, isn't it?  :D  I need to find some exciting topics to blog about. 

How about a month-end review of the April Monthly Goals?

Spiritual: Continue with daily devotions/meditations; attend the monthly prayer meeting, if possible - Done.

- Outside: Continue to spruce up the garden.  We are now under additional mandatory water rationing, so I might have to rethink my plans for the front garden (plant more drought tolerant/succulents, etc.) - Edged the rose bed with edging stones to keep the soil from washing away when I water; took cuttings from one of the succulents in the garden to plant along the wall;  weeded the area under the lemon trees.

- Inside: Continue to clean and declutter: my goal is to declutter 10 items a week, this month; also need to get the donations organized and call for a pick up; focus on the 3rd bedroom which is my guest/crafts room (want to organize the closet, file cabinet, desk and clear surfaces) - I didn't accomplish this goal; however, I have accumulated several bags of donations.

Daughter:  Plan to visit her this month - DONE!  :D

Family:  Send sympathy card; keep in touch by phone and emails, etc. - Sent the card; exchanged several emails and phone calls; visited with one cousin.

Friends:  Get together with neighbor for coffee; e-mails & phone calls - I didn't get together with my neighbor for coffee, but one neighbor brought me dinner one night and I visited her and took her some cookies in return and I took over a jar of jam to my other neighbor.  Met several friends at the prayer meeting and exchanged e-mails and phone calls with others and video chatted with one other friend. 

Career:  Continue to manage work load efficiently - On-going.

Finances:  Continue to keep a spending log.  Keep to the grocery budget of $75.  Pay property taxes (and regular monthly bills) - Done. 

Health:  Work on better nutrition (increase vegetables), more exercise and more sleep; ideally, I'd like to lose 5 lbs.  - Well, I didn't lose any weight, and although I bought a lot of vegetables, I didn't eat as much of it as I should have!   Definitely need to carry over this goal into May and work on it.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies:  Continue to sew from fabric stash - I sewed pillowcases and repaired a quilt.

Productivity and Time Management:  Continue to make efficient use of my time and be more productive - Well, I am going to say I did OK.  I don't think I will ever feel I was sufficiently productive or managed my time well enough, because I always think I should have done more, I could have done more if I had been better with my time, etc.  But I think I did OK. 

Did you make any goals for April?  If so, have you reviewed them to see how well you did in attaining your goals?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday's Doings

We are having a mini heatwave!  In the low 90s yesterday, today, and, according to the forecast, tomorrow, too.  Oh, well, the forecast also says that it will cool down to highs of 70F by the weekend.

Today, I went to the office, went to the pharmacy during my lunch break, went through this week's grocery ads, and video chatted with daughter in the evening.  I also watched a TV documentary about snub nosed monkeys which was very interesting.

Not the most productive of days, but I'm OK with that. 

Plans for tomorrow include, going to the office, going to the bank during my lunch break, going to the podiatrist appointment in the afternoon, and some house cleaning in the evening.  Should also water the garden.

How was your Friday?  Did you have a good day? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday's Productivity

Today, I took the second loaf of sunflower seed bread, a jar of strawberry jam and a stick of butter to the office with me to share.  There were happy co-workers.  :)

After work, I went to the UPS store to mail a package and then, put gas to the car.  After I came home, I took over a jar of jam to my neighbors.  After that, I went on the computer to video chat with my daughter.

I was so happy I was able to share the bread and the jam with my co-workers and to share a jar of jam with my neighbors.  To have sufficient to share with others - that is the definition of abundance, for me.  And the bread and jam are frugal gifts that are much appreciated by my colleagues and neighbors.

How was your Tuesday?  Did you have a good day? 

Monday's Productivity

Today, I did a load of laundry, watered the front garden, did some paperwork, took the trash cans to the curb, cooked and froze the pork chops I had bought, cut and prepared the rest of the strawberries and froze them to make jam later, and baked a new batch of no-knead bread.  This time, I added sunflower seeds to the dough and made sunflower seed bread!

Fresh Out of the Oven
 I could hardly wait until the bread had cooled down enough to cut the first slice!

The First Slice
 Because, when you have strawberry jam, you need some bread to go with it!
With Butter and Strawberry Jam
I ate the warm bread spread with butter and strawberry jam and had a cup of tea with it.  It was wonderful.

Did you have a good Monday?  


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Strawberry Jam

Yesterday afternoon, I bought 10 lbs. of strawberries for $.99/lb.  Later in the evening, I made strawberry jam with 5 lbs. of the strawberries.

First, I washed all the strawberries:

Washed Strawberries

 Then, I hulled them and cut them into small pieces:
Hulled and Cut Strawberries
I generally add 3/4 lb. sugar to every 1 lb. fruit.  So, for my 5 lbs. of strawberries, I added 4 lbs. of sugar.  Then, I added the juice of 2 lemons (I didn't measure how much juice that came to; maybe 3/4 cup?)  I didn't add powdered or liquid pectin; the lemon juice provides the necessary pectin.  Gave everything a stir:

Strawberries, Sugar, and Lemon Juice
Then, I boiled everything while stirring it constantly until it became jam!   I go by consistency and test for done-ness by dropping a bit of the jam onto a saucer and checking to see if it holds its shape when the saucer is tilted or if it runs.  If it runs, it's not ready yet and needs to be boiled a little longer.  This particular batch of jam needed to cook for about an hour before it was ready. 

Jam in the Making

I washed and sterilized my jars while the jam was cooking; once the jam was ready, I ladled it into the jars, put the lid and ring.  Then, I used the inversion method to seal them, by turning the jars upside down for 5-10 minutes.  After which, the jars are turned right side up again and left to cool.  The lids make a "ping" when they seal.

In the past, I have sealed my jams by pouring melted wax over the jam, but now I do that only when I use regular recycled jars (not new canning jars).  I have also done water bath canning (I don't have a canner, but use a regular pot), but again, I only do that when I am using recycled jars.  I've been making jam for many years, now, and so far, I have not had any problems with the jam getting spoiled.  Once opened, of course, the jam is best stored in the fridge.

Yesterday, I made 14 half-pint jars of jam with the 5 lbs. of strawberries: 

Strawberry Jam
I need to make labels for the jars.  Strawberry jam is one of my favorite kinds of jam.  Some of it will be for my own use; others will be given as gifts.  In fact, I already gave one to a friend, today. 

The 5 lbs. of strawberries came to $4.95; the 4 lbs. of sugar was $1.99; the lemons were free from the garden.  I bought the canning jars on sale, last year for something like $7.95 (plus 9% sales tax) for a box of 12 half pint jars.  I don't remember the exact price I paid for them, but I remember getting all excited about the price because normally, canning jars sell for $9.99 for a box of 12 plain half-pint jars at the stores, here (quilted jars cost more).   I don't know how to account for the gas I used to cook the jam (my stove is natural gas).  But, all told, I am going to say each jar of jam cost about $1.25 to make.   Which makes it a fairly frugal gift.  I give away my jars of jam as hostess gifts (as I did today), as thank you gifts, Christmas gifts, etc.  I will need to buy more canning jars for the rest of the strawberries, and if I pay regular price for them, then, the cost per jar will be a bit more.  But, still, a fairly frugal gift and, it seems, everyone welcomes them.

Have you made strawberry jam?   

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April Grocery Shopping - Part 2

This week's grocery haul
 I went grocery shopping this afternoon and bought what is shown above (oops, maybe I should have opened the bags with the broccoli and pears!)

- milk ($2.65)
- apple juice ($1.69)
- 4 pork chops ($1.19/lb)
- 2 Polish sausages ($3.00@)
- 3 leeks ($1.49/lb)
- broccoli ($.99/lb)
- 3 pears ($.50/lb)
- 10 lb. strawberries ($.99/lb)
- 1 box of microwave popcorn ($.99)

My total came to $28.51:   

10 lbs. of strawberries because I am planning to make jam!  Strawberry jam is my favorite and $.99/lb. is about the best sale price these days. 
Speaking about sale prices:  the 1 lb. packages of strawberries were on sale for $.99 and nearby, there were 2 lb. packages of strawberries selling for $3.99!  Really?  Would anyone pay double the price per lb. for the larger package?

April grocery budget = $75

Amount spent to date:  $33.02 + $28.51 = $ 61.53
Amount left in budget = $75 - $62.54 = $13.47

I think I did well with this month's grocery budget.

How is your April grocery spending coming along?  Are you at budget?  Above?  Below? 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tired Friday and Weekend To Do List

I might start off the week with a lot of energy, but by the time Friday comes around, I am tired!

I had a good day at the office, today.  But I was ready for the work week to end! 

After I came home, I called a friend to check on her and then, I video chatted with daughter.  She had a busy day and had a lot to tell me about her day.  :)

I haven't been very productive, in terms of housework or crafts, this week.  Which is OK.  It just means that I'll need to do a little more over the weekend. 

This weekend's to do list includes:

- Grocery shopping/menu planning
- Laundry
- Baking bread
- House cleaning (dusting/vacuuming/sweeping/mopping/tidying)
- Paperwork/filing
- Sew a new lunch bag
- Make strawberry jam
- Attend monthly prayer meeting
- Buy mulch
- Water the front garden & indoor plants
- Run the dishwasher

I am sure I'll be adding to this list over the weekend, as I go about my activities.

How was your Friday?  Were you glad when the work week came to an end?  Have you made a weekend to do list?

Quiet Thursday

Today, I went to the office and came back.  I didn't run any errands during my lunch or breaks because I did them yesterday (went to the bank and pharmacy).  I considered going to the weekly farmers market, but decided not to.

After I came home, I put water to the back garden.  I had been intending to put water to the back this whole week, but never got around to it, till today.  Currently, we are allowed to water the garden three times a week.  There is talk, however, of cutting that to twice a week due to the on-going drought.    It wouldn't bother me too much, since I already water the back garden only once a week (sometimes only once every 10 days) and the front garden once or twice a week (usually in the summer, when it is over 90F; front garden has a south and west exposure and gets very hot sun in the afternoon).

I started video chatting with daughter right after I had my coffee - she was eager to share her day with me since she had a lot to share.  :)  She started training for her summer internship, she received her statistics midterm test back and had received a good grade and the professor had written some good comments about her work (and had verbally told her that she did great), and tomorrow, she will "shadow" someone who is working in the field.  It's so lovely that she wants to share all these things with me, still.

Dinner was pork fried rice - I sliced the last pork chop and sauted it again; then added leftover rice and green peas and some chili flakes.  I will take the leftovers from tonight's dinner for my lunch, tomorrow.

I still need to write a quick note of instructions to the gardener for tomorrow.  And then, get ready for bed.

How was your Thursday?  Was it busy?  Or did you have a more relaxed day?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

Today, April 22, is Earth Day.  It is a day to be more environmentally conscious.  We all lead such busy lives with all our various cares and concerns, that it is easy to overlook the fact that we only have this one Earth and our own well being is closely tied to it. 

I believe that we can all take small steps to be a little more environmentally friendly.  Recycling and reusing, conserving water and energy use, reducing waste - all these are small steps that we can take and many of us are already taking.

I don't do all that I can be doing to be environmentally friendly (I still drive a car!), however, I do some.  Some of the things I do to be environmentally friendly include:
- Hanging the majority of my laundry to air dry (almost 100% of my laundry, these days, because my dryer is not working!)
- Reducing waste (and conserving landfill space) by reusing and recycling as much as I can and encouraging daughter to do the same
- Conserving water by planting more drought tolerant plants in the garden
- Growing an organic garden
- Conserving energy by turning off unnecessary lights, switching to low-energy bulbs, etc.

Did you do anything special to observe Earth Day, today?  What are some environmentally friendly things you do?  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday's Productivity

Today wasn't as productive as yesterday.  Today, I went to the office and that was about the extent of my productivity!

When daughter was going to college for her undergraduate studies, she lived at home and I used to drive her to campus before I went to the office (and then, pick her up on my way home).  For those four years, I used to wake up at 5:30 a.m., make us coffee, pack our breakfasts, lunches and snacks,  and we'd be out of the house by 6:30 a.m.!

I used to drive for four hours a day!  It took one hour to drive from our home to daughter's campus, due to traffic (yes, even at that hour of the morning!).  Then, another hour from the campus to my office.  In the evening, I'd get off work at 5:30 p.m., drive for an hour from my office to the campus, pick up daughter and drive another hour to get home.  Some days, if there was a lot of traffic (or an accident), the evening commute could take 1 1/2 hours or more!

Daughter had several part-time jobs on campus, including working at the student store.  Some days, she had to work till late in the evening.  I used to either wait for her to finish her job, or come home for an hour or so and then go for her, depending on when she finished working.  On a good day, when she had finished her work by the time I got to campus after work and traffic was not heavier than usual, we'd get home at 7:30 p.m.  Then we'd have a cup of coffee and she'd do her homework while I prepared dinner, did the dishes, etc.  That was a busy time!

These days, I get up at 6:00 a.m. and leave the house at 7:00 a.m.  I get home around 6:30 p.m. for the most part.  It's not so hectic.  It's a nice change of pace!

Today, after I came home, I fed the cat and opened the windows to air out the house.  I brought in the trash cans and checked the mail.  The weekly grocery ads had come in and I checked them.  I don't need any groceries this week, but strawberries are on sale for $.99/lb. and I am thinking of getting some to make jam.  Strawberry jam is one of my favorite jams.  :)

I had intended to water the back garden, but it was a very windy and a bit cold (by our standards, which is to say, it was in the mid 50s!)  I might water the garden tomorrow, instead.

Last week's bulk cooking meant I didn't have to cook any dinner, tonight.  I warmed up some of the leftover spaghetti for my dinner and ate the rest of the loquats I had picked yesterday, for dessert.  And then, instead of cleaning the living room, I turned on the TV and dozed on the sofa for 20 minutes!

Later, I video chatted with daughter.  A friend called and we chatted on the phone for a bit.  I had a cup of coffee and ate some coconut cookies.  I wrote to a friend.  A nice, relaxed evening.

In a bit, I will start getting ready for bed.  I always say I will try to have an early night.  An early night for me is 11:30 p.m.  But I hardly ever make it!  For example, it is already past 11:45 p.m. and I am still writing my blog post.  :)  I rarely go to bed before 12:30 a.m.  Often, it is 1:00 a.m., sometimes 1:30 a.m.!  Even when I used to wake up at 5:30 a.m.

So, that was my day, today. How was your day?  Did you have a productive day?  Did you accomplish all what you wanted to get done today?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Parting on Monday

Monday morning, I dropped daughter off on campus and drove myself home, again.  It was hard to leave.  Daughter wanted me to stay a little longer.  I wanted to stay, but had to leave.  I am truly blessed with the close relationship my daughter and I have with each other.

I had a good drive home.  There were many blessings - I had a safe drive, there were no accidents, no car malfunctions, and no unwanted indicator lights except for the one reminding me that the car was due for a service, because I have now put 10,000 miles on my car!

As soon as I came home, I called the car service people to schedule an appointment.  They asked me when I wanted to come in and I asked if they could fit me in today.  They checked and said they had an opening at 2:45 p.m.  It was 2:25 p.m., by then.  I said I'll be there.  I quickly put away the perishables daughter had given me to bring home (coffee creamer, salad dressings, salsa, etc.), and drove to the car service center.  I pulled into the service bay at 2:41 p.m.!

I chose to wait while they serviced the car.  I relaxed in the customer lounge and read my magazine while they changed the oil, rotated the tires, and checked whatever else they had to check.  They even washed the car for me (it was bug splattered!), which was a big blessing!  By this time, I was starting to get tired (and hungry - I hadn't eaten anything except for a curry puff for breakfast), but I decided to go ahead and put gas to the car on my way home from the service garage.  It meant one less thing to do tomorrow, either on my way to work or on my way home.  

Home by 5:00 p.m. and a combination late lunch/early dinner: rice, chicken curry, sauted cabbage, followed with more jalebi for dessert.  I cleaned the litter box, phoned my cousin and my neighbor, took the trash cans to the curb, put water to the front garden, picked the last of the loquats, and video chatted with daughter.

It's back to work, tomorrow.  My long weekend break has come to an end.  Tuesday's to do list include:

- going to the office
- watering the back garden
- bringing the trash cans in
- some paperwork

How was your Monday?  Did you have a good day?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday with Daughter

Sunday has gone by in a blur!

We slept in and had a relaxed morning.  Then, daughter worked on her homework while I played on the computer.

In the early afternoon, I did a bit of cooking:

Brussels Sprouts

Lunch was rice, corn on the cob, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and chicken curry.

Daughter vacuumed and did her laundry in the afternoon.  Her apartment comes with a washer and dryer, which makes it very convenient for her to do her laundry.  However, today, her dryer kept shutting itself off every 5-10 minutes and the laundry was not drying!  I hung the clothes up to dry while she put in a service request.  Hopefully, maintenance will attend to the dryer tomorrow.

In the evening, we walked to the Indian store and bought a few goodies: specialty cookies, a package of chili powder, a packet of tea, and some of my favorite sweets - called jalebi - which is a crispy fried batter soaked in syrup.

After we came back to the apartment, I cooked a bit more:

Sauted Spicy Beef
Daughter had asked if I would make this dish as it is one of her favorite dishes.  Sauted spicy beef.  I made enough for her to have some now and some to freeze for later.  Now she won't have to worry about cooking during her finals week. 

And all too soon, the weekend has come to an end.  Tomorrow morning, I will drop daughter off on campus and set off on my drive home.  Neither of us wants the weekend visit to end, but all good things must come to an end, unfortunately.

Hope you had a lovely Sunday with your loved ones.

Spending Saturday with Daughter

Today was spent going shopping with daughter.  She needed a few household items and some stocking up which is best done when there's a car to bring home the big packages.  We shopped for a new vacuum cleaner, a pair of sneakers, light bulbs, new socks, etc. at a retail store; bought yarn and paint from a crafts store; bought specialty groceries from an Asian grocery store; stocked up on toilet paper and cleaning supplies from a big warehouse store (and I took the opportunity to buy a big bag of cat food and a new set of saute pans for myself); bought a few other items from the dollar store; and had lunch out at a Korean restaurant.  I put gas to the car.  And, I took a wrong turn accidentally and got lost!  We found ourselves at a nature trail entrance area, as a result, but I turned around and managed to find the way, again.  Well, now we know where the nature trail is located!  LOL.

Daughter's apartment building is under new management.  Under the previous management, guest parking in the underground parking lot was available for under $3.50 per day.  But the new management does not allow guest parking.  So, guests have to use metered curbside parking, which is $1.50 per hour between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday; Sunday parking is free.  Running down to feed the meter every hour is a bit inconvenient (meter doesn't allow one to pay for more than one hour at a time).  Not to mention expensive ($13.50/day).

Yesterday, when I first arrived, we paid for one hour of parking.  At the end of the hour, we went grocery shopping, after which we paid for one more hour of parking and then, it was 6:00 p.m. and we didn't need to pay for parking.  This morning, at 9:00 a.m., daughter ran down and paid for one hour of parking.   Then, at 10:00 a.m., we set off on our day of shopping.  Part of the reason why we did most of the shopping today was to eliminate the need to constantly feed the parking meter during the day.  We made use of the free parking at the shopping malls and stores. We returned from our shopping at 5:30 p.m.  So, only had to pay the meter for 30 minutes worth of parking in the evening. Parking is free all day Sunday, and I'll be leaving before 9:00 a.m. on Monday. 

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing.  We were both tired from all the shopping and walking around that we did!  But it was fun shopping with daughter and spending the day with her.

Tomorrow, daughter will do her homework and weekly house cleaning and laundry, etc.  She has asked me to cook some dishes for her, so, I'll do some cooking.  I am also planning to visit the Indian store to see if they have my favorite snack mix (they didn't have it when daughter checked, last month, before her visit home). 

Did you have a pleasant Saturday?  Hope you were able to spend time with your family.  Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2015

On the Road Again

Today, I drove up north to visit my daughter for the weekend!  I decided to drive up today so I could spend all day Saturday and Sunday with her.  I'll drive myself home again, on Monday.

So, this morning, I packed the car with a few items daughter had requested I bring up with me - including the quilt I was repairing for her - and some of the food I had cooked and frozen, earlier.  Then, I set off on the 400 mile drive.  I was concerned that I'd encounter some morning-commute traffic, but traffic was light and I had a good drive.  Daughter had classes until early afternoon, so, I didn't want to arrive too early.  At the same time, I didn't want to get caught in the evening-commute traffic at the other end, either.  I made two rest stops en route and arrived at my destination at 3:00 p.m., as planned.

Later in the evening, I took daughter grocery shopping.  Then, we spent the evening chatting and enjoying being together. 

Tomorrow, we've planned to do some shopping and explore some of the area to the north of her. 

How was your Friday?  Did anyone else have a long drive, today? 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Curry Puffs/Savory Turnovers

Curry Puffs

Curry puffs or savory turnovers - they are puff pastry "hand pies" filled with a savory ground beef mixture.

I made them this evening with the other half of the ground beef I bought and cooked on Saturday.  I had used half of the mixture to make spaghetti sauce and kept the other half aside in the fridge.  The ground beef mixture already contained diced onions and grated carrots.  I normally also add diced celery and, sometimes, diced bell peppers, but I didn't have either on hand this time, so the mixture didn't have those vegetables added to it.

Today, I boiled some potatoes, peeled and cut them into cubes, and added  them to the ground beef, along with some curry powder, finely minced green chilies, a bit of chili powder, salt, and lemon juice to taste, and cooked it for a few minutes to blend the flavors:

Ground Beef Mixture

I had a package of frozen puff pastry squares in the freezer, which I kept out to thaw on my old Tupperware pastry sheet, which I floured to keep the puff pastry from sticking to it:

Puff Pastry Squares
I do know how to make puff pastry from scratch, but often buy the package of frozen puff pastry from the ethnic grocery store for convenience.  Each packet contains 8 squares and sells for $2.50, usually; but every so often, they go on sale for $1.99 a packet and I buy a few to keep in the freezer.

Once the puff pastry had thawed a little bit and the ground beef mixture had cooled a bit, I brushed the edges of the pastry with water and put a heaping spoonful of the ground beef mixture on one half of the pastry squares:

And fold them over and press the edges closed, enclosing the meat mixture:

Then, press the edges with the tines of a fork to help seal the edges:

Next, I place the pastry triangles on a baking tray (I line my baking trays with foil for easy clean up) and brush the tops with milk.  One can brush the tops with a beaten egg, too, but I was only making 8 turnovers and a whole egg would have been too much.  The milk was good enough:

I baked them in a 400F oven, about 30 minutes.  I never replaced my timer after it broke and forgot to check the time when I put the curry puffs in!  Then, I got busy cooking something else and forgot to check on the curry puffs, until I got the unmistakable smell of something on the verge of getting burnt!  Oops! 

Oh, yes, they are done!  LOL.  Starting to get a little too brown on the bottom - so I quickly removed them from the baking trays and put them on the wire cooling rack (top picture). 

I had one for dinner, tonight and it was delicious.  I'll probably have a couple of them for brunch, tomorrow.  They are best when eaten on the day they are baked, when the pastry is nice and crisp, but they will keep in the fridge and can be frozen, as well, and reheated.

Have you had savory turnovers similar to these?   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Promise of Things to Come

The pomegranate tree is full of flowers!  They look so pretty.  It's almost worth growing the tree for the flowers, alone.  The flowers are attracting bees and humming birds, too.   

Close Up
The flowers are a promise of things to come!  Later this summer, there will be, hopefully, fruit for me to pick and enjoy.

Fruits like this one, which was picked last August:

Pomegranate flowers on the tree are a promise of good things to come!

Do you have any fruit trees in your garden?  Are they in flower now?  Are you looking forward to fresh garden fruit?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bulk Cooking for One

Monday Dinner
Saturday, I went grocery shopping.  I posted my grocery list here

I cooked the pound of ground beef, made half of it into spaghetti sauce, kept the other half for something else, cooked the two salmon steaks, and boiled some pasta on Saturday night.

I was going to cook the chicken drumsticks and pork chops on Sunday, but cooked them on Monday, instead.  I made chicken curry and teriyaki pork chops (which is a fancy way of saying I sauted the pork chops with some teriyaki sauce!)  I also cooked some rice and steamed broccoli and carrots.

I kept all the spaghetti sauce in the fridge because I was planning to have spaghetti for lunch several days during the week, but I think I will freeze some of it.  I kept one salmon steak (enough for 2 portions) in the fridge for the week and froze the other, larger one (4 portions) for another time.  I kept two of the curried chicken drumsticks in the fridge and froze the remaining four, in two packages of two drumsticks each.  I froze two of the pork chops, as well, kept one in the fridge for this week and had half of the 4th one for dinner, last night and the other half for my lunch, today.  They are large pork chops and each is sufficient for at least two meals for me.  But now that I've made this week's meal plan, I think I'll freeze the 3rd pork chop, as well.  That's the main entrĂ©e for a dozen or more future meals, where all I'll have to cook will be the sides!  Bulk cooking for one!

So, here's how this week's meal plan is shaping up:

Brunch - waffle with syrup, bacon, orange
Dinner - spaghetti, carrot sticks; ice cream for dessert

Brunch - spaghetti, orange
Dinner - shrimp curry (the last of the 2 lb. shrimp I bought in mid-February), rice, sauted cabbage

Brunch - spaghetti, orange
Dinner - half of a teriyaki pork chop, rice, steamed broccoli and carrot sticks; ice cream for dessert.

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - remaining half of pork chop, rice, steamed broccoli and carrot sticks; orange
Dinner - chicken & vegetable soup

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - spaghetti, salad, mango or apple
Dinner - Salmon (or chicken curry), rice, tomato chutney, sauted cabbage

Breakfast - Granola bar
Lunch - Same as Wed. dinner?  Spaghetti & salad?  mango or apple
Dinner - Curry puffs (ground beef filled puff pastry turnovers; planning to make them on Thursday night)

Brunch - Curry puffs
Dinner - Chicken curry, rice,  cucumber salad

I've granola bars, a variety of nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts, etc.) and cookies for snacks.

Of course, I might just change my mind and decide to have scrambled eggs and fried potatoes for dinner, one night, because that's what I'd be wanting!  LOL. 

Do you do bulk cooking?  Do you think this is a good way to do things?  Or should I buy less when I grocery shop? 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Quilt Repairs

Triangles/Thousand Pyramids Quilt

This is the quilt that I am currently repairing.  It is a quilt pattern I call Triangles, but it is also known as Thousand Pyramids (mine is just not a good example of a Thousand Pyramids quilt, though).  Like the majority of my quilts, it is a scrap quilt.  I sewed it in 1980, with fabric leftover from my mother's sewing, some donated fabric leftovers from an older friend of the family who also sewed, some recycled fabric (old clothes!), and an old bed sheet for the backing.  Only the batting and the border fabric was bought new, for the quilt.

This was one of two quilts my mother used, year in and year out.  It is soft and worn with use and much laundering.  Both quilts were claimed by my daughter, and of the two, this is her favorite, because it is so soft and worn.

Close Up
 Do you see the problem?

Closer Up
Some of the patches are in shreds!

So, I am making new patches from leftover fabric and sewing them over the torn patches.  The blue floral fabric on the left, below, are remnants from a dress my mother sewed for herself.  The pink gingham on the right, are remnants from a little sundress my mother sewed for my daughter.

New Patches in the Making

Some already sewn: the small floral patch in the center of the photo and the solid grey patch below it are new patches I sewed.  I am just sewing them in place on top and not trying to hide the fact that these are "repairs".
Patches in Place
When I look at my quilts, I take a trip down memory lane!  The red gingham patches in the picture above were from a dress my mother made for me.  The multi-colored plaid was leftover from a shirt she sewed me.  The floral print new patch sewn between those two patches is leftover from a nightdress my mother sewed for herself.  The green with black design was leftover from a dress she sewed for herself.  The pink "dotted Swiss" was a remnant from a nightdress.  LOL.

It would be easier to sew a new quilt, but daughter says it won't have the same feel as this one.  So, I guess, I'll continue to repair it.

Do you have an old quilt that is falling apart like this one?  Would you take the trouble to repair it?

Updated to add new photo:

Dancer Claims the Quilt!
 Dancer Kitty says he likes the quilt and would like it for himself!

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday (Saturday), I was quite productive.  I went grocery shopping at two stores; I cooked; I did two loads of laundry, including the bath mats; I ran the dishwasher; I scrubbed the stove, including under the burners; I wiped the kitchen counters and shined the sink; I cleaned my bathroom (sink, toilet, the undersink cabinet, window ledge, swept and mopped the bathroom floor); cleaned the litter box; made a phone call to a friend; sewed a bit on daughter's quilt; and video chatted with daughter.  Unfortunately, later in the night, my asthma flared up and I needed to take my rescue inhaler.

Today, I woke up relatively early for a Sunday for me and had a cup of coffee.  But I didn't feel quite up to doing anything and went back to bed to lie down for a bit and fell asleep!  Didn't wake up until much later in the morning!   Even then, I had to take the rescue inhaler, so I took it easy.

I played on the computer for the rest of the morning.  Sewed on daughter's quilt in the afternoon.  Washed my hair.  Put away yesterday's laundry and did another load.  Tidied up my bedroom a little (lots more to do).  Cooked the cabbage I had been meaning to cook for some time now.  Wiped the stove top and counters, again.  Handwashed today's dishes.  Swept and mopped the bathroom again since the cat tracked some dirt from the litter box.  Swept the laundry area (need to wipe the washer and dryer).  Wrote to a friend and video chatted with daughter.  Took a walk around the garden and picked the last two oranges.  My little orange tree has kept me supplied with fresh oranges for several months, this year.  

Did you have a good weekend? 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning: Part 1

I didn't go grocery shopping last week, choosing to eat from the freezer, fridge, and pantry, instead.  Then, my neighbor brought me dinner, one night, with enough leftover for several more meals.  And I had lunch provided free one day at the office, when I attended a training session, with enough leftover for that night's dinner, as well.  Plus, on Friday, I went out to lunch and had the leftovers for dinner!  I almost didn't need to go grocery shopping this week, either, but I was running low on fresh fruits and vegetables and I wanted to buy more meat.

So, I did my first grocery shopping for the month.  I went to two stores.  Store 1 is the closer of the two and I considered buying everything from there.  But Store 1 was pricier than Store 2 for some items I wanted to get, so I chose to go to Store 2, as well.

Sometimes, the price differences are small enough to make it worth my while to buy everything from one store, especially when I take the time it takes to go to another store and gas, etc.  For example, spinach was $.99 at Store 1 and I knew it was on sale for $.50 at Store 2, but that $.49 difference would not have mattered too much, if that was all I wanted.  And I found yeast on sale for $1.99 at Store 1, whereas I had paid $2.39 at Store 2 when I bought it, earlier.  But chicken drumsticks were $1.29/lb. at Store 1, when I knew that they were on sale for $.79 at Store 2, and 30% fat ground beef was $5.49/lb. at Store 1 and I knew 15% fat ground beef was on sale for $3.49 at Store 2.  I had studied the weekly grocery ads before I made my grocery list.  :)  The salmon, too, was more expensive at Store 1. 

Store 1:

2.5 lb. pork chops, $1.29/lb. = $3.26
1 gal. milk = $2.59
1 pkg. frozen corn = $.99
1 container ice cream = $2.49
4 2-liter bottles soda, $.89@ = $3.56
2 3-count yeast, $1.99@ = $3.98
Total = $16.87

(I also bought 2 big bags of cat food, but pet food is a separate budget.)

Store 2:

6 chicken drumsticks, $.79/lb = $2.28
2 salmon steaks, $3.99/lb = $5.61
1 lb. ground beef (15% fat), $3.49/lb. = $3.51
2.73 lb. Fuji apples (5 apples), $.39/lb = $1.06
.75 lb. green beans, $1.29/lb = $.97
.53 lb. broccoli crown, $.99/lb = $.52
.65 lb. beets, $.39/lb = $.25
1 bunch spinach = $.50
1 cucumber, 3/$1.00 = $.34
.93 lb. cabbage, 6 lb/$1.00 = $.16  (I still have half a cabbage in the fridge, but this was so inexpensive, that I bought another, small cabbage; it'll keep for a couple of weeks)
1 lettuce = $.50
1 lb. bag carrots, 2/$.89 = $.45 
Total = $16.15

Total spent:  $16.87 + $16.15 = $33.02

April grocery budget = $75
Amount left in budget = $75 - $33.02 = $41.98

This evening, I cooked the ground beef - I browned it with 1/2 diced onion, 2 grated carrots, 3 cloves of minced garlic, salt & pepper.  Then, I put aside half of the mixture for another dish I will make later (haven't quite decided if I will make a cottage pie (ground beef mixture topped with mashed potatoes) or curry puffs (savory ground beef filled puff pastry turnovers).

To the remaining half of ground beef in the pan, I added a can of spaghetti sauce ($.49 on sale) and some oregano.  I also had half a package of 8 "brown and serve" sausages in the freezer - I had bought them on sale with a coupon, some time ago, to try them (not my usual breakfast links type sausages) and hadn't liked them too much.  But I didn't want to throw them away, either, so they sat in the freezer till now.  I microwaved them, cut them into small pieces and added them to the ground beef and spaghetti sauce.  I cooked some pasta and had that with the meat sauce for dinner, along with another carrot cut into carrot sticks; the sausage bits were fine in the sauce.  I had some ice cream, topped with cashews and pieces of preserved ginger, for dessert!

There's enough spaghetti sauce left for another 4, possibly 5, pasta meals.  There's enough cooked pasta leftover for another 2 meals.

I also cooked the 2 salmon steaks - I like to season them with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice and saute them in a little bit of oil, some sliced onions and sliced tomatoes.  One salmon steak is bigger than the other; the bigger one will give me 4 portions and the smaller one will give me 2 portions.  So, 6 portions in all.  I packaged the larger salmon steak and froze it for future meals. 

I plan to cook the chicken (make a curry, probably) and the pork chops, tomorrow.  Again, I'll probably freeze half of it for future meals. 

Today, I had one of yesterday's leftover chocolate chip waffles for brunch, with the last piece of leftover bacon and a fresh orange.  Dinner was spaghetti, carrot sticks and ice cream, as mentioned above.

How is your April grocery budget coming along?  Do you usually shop at multiple stores if you know you can get some items for lower or would you consider that a waste of your time?


Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Review and Weekend To Do List

So glad that it is Friday and the weekend is here!  This has felt like a long work week, to me.  But I managed to accomplish all what I had set out to do, today:  I went to the office, I went to the post office to buy air mail stamps and to post my cards, and I left a note of instructions to the gardener (he did some pruning and trimming for me).

At lunch, I went out for Japanese food (teriyaki chicken, vegetables and rice).  It cost $6.48 with tax.  I ate half of it for lunch and the remaining half for dinner, so, I guess that's not bad for 2 meals.  Breakfast was a granola bar and an orange.  I also had a chocolate chip waffle for dessert, after dinner (just added some chocolate chips to waffle batter).  Two leftover waffles will be kept in the fridge for breakfasts or snacks during the weekend.

I took the evening off and played some computer games and video chatted with daughter.  The only housework I'll do tonight will be cleaning the kitty litter box. 

This weekend's to do list:

- Laundry
- Grocery shopping (milk, vegetables, fruit, meat/ground beef)
- Shop for edging stones for the plant bed in front
- Menu plan/bulk cooking
- Repair daughter's quilt
- Filing/paperwork
- Water the garden & indoor plants
- Start tidying the 3rd bedroom (closet, desk, chest of drawers, shelves)
- Sew machine cover?

Some items, like laundry, are repeated weekly as they are recurring tasks.  Other items have been carried over from last weekend's to do list as they didn't get done then.  A busy weekend ahead!

How was your Friday?  What are you planning to do this weekend?   

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday Review and Friday's To Do List

I  was able to get most of my list done, today; I went to the office, wrote a sympathy card to the sister of an aunt who had passed away (couldn't mail it because I need to buy an airmail stamp from the post office), picked 3 oranges from the tree (3 more left on the tree for picking next week), cleaned the 2nd bathroom, etc.  In addition, I exchanged emails with cousins, spoke on the phone with another cousin, video chatted with daughter, and wrote to a friend.  Whatever I didn't get done that was on my list can be done tomorrow, or carried over to the weekend.  

I am keeping my Friday's list very short:

- Write a note to the gardener
- Go to the office
- Post office for airmail stamps/mail card & letter

There used to be a time, several years ago, when I used to work half-day on Fridays.  I'd come home and spend the afternoon cleaning the apartment in which I lived with my mother and step-father.    I rather liked that, because not only was I able to get the weekly cleaning done in an afternoon, but also, the place was clean for the weekend.  These days, I tend to prefer to relax on a Friday evening after I come home from work!  And it takes me longer to clean than it used to.  Of course, the house is a little bigger than the apartment was.  Not to mention I am 30+ years older!  LOL.

Hope you all had a lovely day today and a good day, tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesday Review and Thursday's To Do List

Today was a sunny day after yesterday's rain.  I accomplished most of today's to do list:

* Go to the office - Done
*  Attend work-related training (lunch will be provided) - Done
* Pay utilities bill - Done; went to the post office to mail it
* Filing - Not done, but sorted through some papers
* Clean 1 bathroom - Done

My Thursday To Do List:

- Go to the office
- Write and mail a letter
- Write and mail a sympathy card
- Clean the 2nd bathroom
- Pick the last of the oranges
- Cook the cabbage

Not a very ambitious to do list - I find my energy levels declining as the week progresses.

How was your Wednesday?  What have you planned for Thursday?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday Review and Wednesday's To Do List

It did rain, during the evening commute, today!  Not a lot, but considering we are in our 4th year of drought, any rain is most welcome!  It means I don't have to water my garden at least until the weekend. 

Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday.  I accomplished only some of my to do list:

- Go to the office - Done
- Bring trash cans in - Done
- Dust my bedroom - Done
- Cook cabbage - Not done; my neighbor brought me dinner plus enough for at least another couple of meals!
- Do 15 minutes of filing - Not done
- Bake something? - Decided not to; neighbor brought cookies, as well!

I had come home, brought the trash cans in, had a cup of coffee, gone through today's mail and grocery ads, dusted my bedroom, and washed the day's dishes, when my neighbor called and asked if she could come over for a minute.  I said, yes, of course, and was glad I had dusted the living room yesterday, especially since she came over with her new sister-in-law!  My neighbor has been over many times, but this is the first time her sister-in-law has been to my house. 

Later, a friend phoned and I chatted to her for a bit and of course, I video chatted with my daughter.  :)  I am satisfied with what I accomplished today; the filing is low priority and can wait until tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
* Covered parking in the office building - I didn't have to go out in the rain to get to my car after work.
* A safe drive home.
* Rain to water my garden, which means I save on my water bill
* Neighbors who bless me with their friendship and dinners
* Friends who call and/or email and keep in touch.
Wednesday's to do list:

 - Go to the office
- Attend work-related training (lunch will be provided)
- Pay utilities bill
- Filing
- Clean 1 bathroom

 How was your Tuesday?  What have you planned for Wednesday? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Review and Tuesday's To Do List

I managed to do everything on my Monday's to do list, except buying edging stones, which was a "maybe" to begin with.

I went to the bank during lunch and managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the pharmacy to pick up some saline nasal spray, which I hadn't put on my to do list.

My drive home took twice as long due to some closed roads and extra traffic because it was baseball season opening day.  My regular route goes past the baseball stadium, but today, I took a different, longer way home.  As a result, it turned into a 2-hour drive!  I put gas to the car and came home instead of going to buy edging stones.  I think I'll wait until Saturday to get the edging stones. 

Took the trash cans to the curb, checked the mail, had a quick phone call with daughter (she has requested I call her when I get home so she knows I've got home, safely), had a cup of coffee and some bread, butter and jam.  Then, I spent the next 45 minutes doing the housework I had planned to do: dust the living room and family room, empty the waste baskets, clean out the fridge, wipe down the counters, etc.  I also cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom floor (a daily chore, since the litter box is in the bathroom).

I had a short chat with one of my neighbors across the street when I went out to put the kitchen trash in the trash bin, as she was out collecting her mail.  Later, I phoned one of my friends, wrote an email to another friend, and video chatted with daughter while we both watched a dance competition on TV. 

Soup and bread for lunch, orange and amaretti cookies for dessert; barbequed chicken drumsticks (leftovers) for dinner.

Leftover sauted sliced chicken breast and vegetables with bread and butter for tomorrow's lunch, with a pear and amaretti cookies for dessert.

Tuesday's to do list:

- Go to the office
- Bring trash cans in
- Dust my bedroom
- Cook cabbage
- Do 15 minutes of filing
- Bake something?

A much shorter list for Tuesday.  It is supposed to rain, tomorrow!  I hope it will.  We desperately need the rain and my garden will appreciate it!

How was your Monday?  What have you planned for Tuesday?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Monday's To Do List

Monday's to do list:

- Go to the office - Done
- Go to the bank during lunch break - Done
- Put gas to the car on the way home - Done
- Pick up edging stones on the way home? - No
- Take out recycling & empty waste baskets - Done
- Take trash cans to curb for trash pick up on Tuesday - Done
- Clean out fridge - Done
- Wipe kitchen counters - Done
- Dust living room and dining area - Done

That should keep me busy and out of trouble!

What are your plans for Monday?

Weekend Productivity

Rosemary No-Knead Bread

I made good progress on my weekend to do list:

* Laundry - (my bed sheets; sofa dust covers) - Done; remade my bed and put new dust covers on the sofa (they are old bed sheets, actually, and meant to keep the cat fur off the white sofas)

* Tidy/dust family room- Done; tidied and dusted.

* Repair daughter's triangles quilt - Not done.  This quilt is one I sewed back in 1980, and some of the triangles were cut from old clothing, so the fabric is worn and tearing after all the laundering over the years.  But it is daughter's favorite quilt because it is so soft and worn.  I am in the process of replacing the torn triangles.  It's a Work In Progress and I've all of summer to work on it.

* Make bread - Done (pictured above).  I used the same no-knead peasant bread recipe I blogged about here.  But this time, I added some rosemary leaves I had picked from my garden and I lessened the amount of salt called for in the original recipe to 1 tsp. (2 tsp. made the bread too salty for my taste.)  Of course I had to have a couple of slices of the hot-from-the-oven bread and it was quite lovely!  I think, next time, I'll increase the amount of rosemary.

* Make chicken & vegetable soup - Done;  I made the soup with the package of frozen roast chicken bony bits and onions, celery, and tomato (all from the freezer, as I tend to slice and freeze all the bits and pieces) and the last 2 carrots in the fridge; and salt and pepper, of course.  I was planning to leave it in the fridge overnight so the fat could solidify and be removed, but it smelled so good while it was cooking that I had a bowl for my dinner!  Today, I removed the fat (there was only a little bit) and added a handful of red lentils and 2 potatoes cut up.  I will have another bowl of it for my dinner, tonight, with a slice of the rosemary bread.  
* Run the dishwasher - Done; I usually wash my dishes by hand and then, a friend told me that the dish washer needs to run at least once a week to keep it in good working order.  I usually save the dishes from a couple of days to have enough for a load and even then, it's half empty!

* Do some filing - Did some; there's another small pile of papers waiting to be filed another day.

* Water/fertilize the indoor plants - Done; I don't keep a lot of houseplants because the cat likes to eat them or play with them.  The few that I do have are kept on top of the tall book cases, well out of his reach.

*Put gas to the car (can be done Monday, after work); will do on Monday

* Buy edging stones for front rose bed - Postponed for another day

* Take some succulents/drought tolerant plants cuttings to root - Done; they have been put in a jar of water to root.

* Deadhead the roses - Done; cutting off the spent roses encourages new growth.

* Sew pillowcases (Work In Progress) - Done and I posted about it, yesterday.

* Sew machine cover - Postponed for another day.  Decided to continue using the not too pretty, but serviceable plastic cover that came with the machine for the time being.

Today, I slept in a bit.  Then, video chatted with a friend for a bit and video chatted with daughter (twice!)  I had scrambled eggs, bacon and fried potatoes for brunch; freshly made bread with butter and a cup of tea for afternoon tea; and will be having some soup with another slice of bread for my dinner.  I snacked on freshly picked loquats from my tree while I deadheaded the roses, and later, I watered the front garden.  Several neighbors waved and wished me for Easter and I phoned another neighbor to wish her.  I phoned a friend, too, to wish her for Easter.  All in all, it's been a good day.

How was your weekend?     


Sometime back in September of last year, I bought a comforter/bed sheet set to share with daughter.  She got the comforter (to use as a mattress pad) and I got the bed frill and bed sheet set.  Except the pillowcases were too short for my large pillows.  In my earlier post, I had mentioned my plans to alter the pillowcases, but, for one reason or another, they were never altered.  I had unpicked the pillowcases and the shams, but I hadn't sewn them.  Until this weekend.

This weekend, I finally sat down and sewed them.  I decided to cut strips from one of the pillow shams and use them to lengthen the pillowcases and the other pillow shams, to make the right-length pillowcases. The pillowcases are white with tiny lilac dots; the pillow shams are lilac with large white outlines of flowers:

New Pillowcases

A better photo of the lilac dotted pillowcase with the floral fabric border strip sewn to lengthen it:

Pillowcase with Border

The bed sheets match the white with lilac dots pillowcases; the bed frill and comforter match the lilac floral pillowcases.

Close Up of Lilac Dotted Fabric

I have some extra lilac floral fabric left over - it'll go into my fabric stash for some future project!  Maybe some pillowcases for daughter or for the guest room.

Or, maybe I'll need to make some additional pillowcases for myself, for these ones seem to have been already claimed:

Dancer Kitty Gives His Seal of Approval

I am happy to say that I've finished one more "work in progress" project!  On to the next!

Do you have "works in progress" too?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Balanced Life and Weekend To Do List

We all lead fairly busy lives and it is easy to feel overwhelmed or unbalanced in some way.  If we work outside the house, we might feel that we are spending a lot of time at work and not enough time at home.  Or we might feel that we spend a lot of time doing for others and not enough time on ourselves.  Or career work and housework take up most of our time and we haven't time for family, friends, leisure, etc.  There was a time when I felt like my life was very unbalanced and then, I found out about something called a "balance wheel", with each spoke representing a segment of your life: spiritual, home/environment, family, work, health, finances, leisure, etc.  The goal is to make each segment equally plumped so that your wheel is less wobbly.

These days, my monthly goals are based on the segments of my balance wheel and I try to incorporate the balance wheel concept into my daily life.  I don't necessarily set out with the decision I am going to work on specific spokes on any given day.  But, at the end of each day, I like to review what I have done that day and see which spokes I have touched upon.  Then, at the end of the week, or after two weeks, I can get an idea of which spokes are not being touched and take steps to remedy that.

For example, yesterday - I started and ended the day with my daily devotions (spiritual), went to the office (career), paid some bills (finances) and went to the post office to mail them during my lunch break (time management), and, on the way back from the post office, I went to the pharmacy to pick up one of my medications (health, time management).  While I was at the office, the gardener mowed my back garden (outside environment).  In the evening, I had a phone call from my half-sister (family) and I called a friend (friends).  Then, daughter and I spent the rest of the evening video chatting (child).  I emailed a friend (friends), posted on my blog and read a few other blogs (leisure) and I read a few pages in my library book (leisure). 

Looking over it, I can see that I touched on most, if not all, of my particular balance wheel segments.  At first, I felt that I hadn't done anything in my Productivity/Time Management segment, mostly because I didn't do anything particularly productive in the evening (such as housework, crafts, etc.)  But I figured that, by fitting in two errands (post office and pharmacy) during my 30-minute lunch break, I was managing my time well.  And it's OK to not spend a Friday evening doing housework!  It's called leisure!  :D

This morning, I am sitting here, trying to make a weekend to do list when all I really want to do is sew!   But I know that I really need to make an effort to get in some housework (inside environment) and "productivity", which, for me, means doing something other than reading, watching TV, playing games on the computer, etc.

So, this weekend's to do list, in no particular order as there's nothing that needs to be done on a particular day:

- Laundry (my bed sheets; sofa dust covers) - Done
- Tidy/dust family room- Done
- Repair daughter's triangles quilt
- Make bread - Done
- Make chicken & vegetable soup - Done
- Run the dishwasher - Done
- Do some filing - Did some
- Water/fertilize the indoor plants - Done
- Put gas to the car (can be done Monday, after work)
- Buy edging stones for front rose bed
- Take some succulents/drought tolerant plants cuttings to root - Done
- Deadhead the roses - Done
- Sew pillowcases (Work In Progress) - Done
- Sew machine cover

Let's see what I manage to accomplish!

How do you try to balance the different segments of your life to achieve an overall well-balanced feeling?

What have you planned for this weekend?  Do you have a weekend to do list?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Meal Planning

I have mentioned this before, but I am not very good at detailed meal planning, with a different dinner planned for each day.  Instead, I just prepare a couple of dishes for the week and sort of alternate them.

On Sunday night, I baked a potato (in the microwave) and topped it with a piece of bacon leftover from Saturday's brunch, and had that for dinner, since I wasn't very hungry.

On Monday night, I took the rest of the leftovers from Saturday's brunch (2 sausages, 1 piece of bacon and some scrambled eggs) and mixed it with some leftover rice and a handful of roasted peanuts and made fried rice for Monday dinner.  I consider that to be a very frugal meal because it was mostly made from leftovers.

On Tuesday, I took 2 cooked chicken breasts from the freezer, sliced them and added some sliced potatoes, sliced carrots, sliced onions and frozen green peas and sauted it all with some dried herbs and had that for dinner; I took the leftovers with rice and green beans to the office, for lunch, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (today).

Wednesday and Thursday nights, I had frozen taquitos!  Probably not the most balanced and nutritious dinners, but again, I wasn't very hungry and that was all I really wanted to eat. 

Tonight (Friday), I had freshly cooked rice with leftover shrimp curry and the last of the green beans.
There's still enough shrimp curry leftover for one more meal (probably Saturday night).

I checked my freezer and I have a whole chicken (uncooked), 2 cooked chicken breasts, a package of chicken curry, some sausages, a package of roast chicken bones/bits and pieces and several packages of uncooked chicken bony pieces with which to make soup/broth.

I think I will make a pot of chicken and vegetable soup and take out the package of chicken curry for next week's meals.  I still have half a cabbage that can be cooked to go with the chicken curry and the soup will have onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and whatever frozen vegetables I can find in the freezer.

If I make another batch of the no-knead bread (or try my hand at making kneaded bread!),  that will be a good accompaniment to the soup.

If I choose to do this, then, I don't need to go grocery shopping this week!  I have enough fresh fruit (oranges from the tree, 2 pears, plus 3 mangoes I was given) and some fresh vegetables (1/2 lettuce, 1/2 cabbage, carrots) plus frozen vegetables.  I wasn't very impressed with this week's grocery specials and if I can eat from the freezer and pantry, then, so much the better.  It would save me some money and even better, save me a little time, too.  

Would you go grocery shopping if you didn't have to? 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mother's Crafts Book

The Craft Book

Earlier this week, I went through the box containing my mother's crochet patterns. There were a few pattern booklets she had bought from Woolworths and a few crochet pattern magazines she had subscribed to, in the late 1980s. Nothing very out of the ordinary, but lots of ideas, even if I am not the expert crocheter that she was.

Then, at the very bottom of the box, I found IT - a book I remembered from my childhood! Mother had bought it - sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s (judging from the styles worn by the models)*, but certainly before 1963. A McCalls crafts book, featuring crochet and knitting patterns mostly, but also including other crafts such as stenciling, painting, cross stitch, rug making and reupholstering chairs.

*  Update:  I've done a bit of searching on-line since posting this, and now know that this was the McCall's Needlework Annual (1950); apparently the 1st edition of the McCall's Annual. 

She had given the book to her mother, to crochet something shown in the book. The book must have had a soft cover. Grandmother had propped it up in front of the kerosene oil lamp by which she did her crocheting - at some point, the heat from the glass shade burnt through the center of several pages, leaving holes and scorched areas.

Page 5: "Today's Luxurious Colors"

The book is missing the front and back covers and several pages. I have all the pages from page 5 to page 122; on page 121, the gifts section begins, with an index that indicates that, at one time, the book contained 160 pages.

Inside Pages: Black and White as well as Color

At somepoint, my mother taped over the scorched areas and some of the pages that had torn in half. There are several other torn pages, that have not been taped. And she had had the rest of the book rebound with covers made of paper about as thick as a file folder. It had been a light blue color, at one time. It is a rather faded blue, now, browned with age, itself torn and tattered.

Mother Crocheted the Table Cloth Shown on Top Left

The re-binding had been done sometime after December 1963 - how do I know this? Someone had included a page from a magazine, titled "Child Education", dated December 1963, at the very end of the book, when the book was rebound. On one side, is a Christmas story, titled "Louise Helps Santa Claus"; on the other side are instructions for Christmas decorations and presents. 

This book, about 11 inches wide by 14 inches high, is scorched and torn and yellowed with age. But it connects me to my mother and grandmother - I can picture my grandmother, sitting down when her day's work was done, to crochet, by the light of a kerosene oil lamp, the table cloth my mother had requested of her. I can picture my mother, taping the scorched and torn pages and getting her crafts book rebound.

I don't have what ever it was that grandmother crocheted from the book, although I do have a table cloth she crocheted for my mother. However, Mother crocheted at least one table cloth shown in the book, and I have it.  

So, what am I to do with this old book?  If you look at it dispassionately, it is nothing but an old, torn, burnt book of old fashioned, out-of-style items.  But, I want to keep the book for sentimental reasons.  Maybe even knit or crochet something from the book, to pass along to my daughter (along with her grandmother and great grandmother's crochet.)

If not for those sentimental reasons, there's very little justification for keeping such a tattered old book. Someone who didn't know the history behind it would raise her eyebrows and wonder why on earth would anyone keep such a tattered old thing - it so obviously belongs in the dust bin!

Mother's crochet book will join her cookbooks on my bookshelf.  Mother's cookbooks will be another post.

Do you have something similar?  Would you keep something like this book, especially if it was in a similar condition?  Do you think I should continue to keep it?