Monday, April 29, 2019

More Fabric on Monday

More New Fabric!

My cousin's phone call woke me up, this morning.  I answered on the third ring, but she had already figured out that I was sleeping and had hung up.  I called her back while I made my morning tea and chatted for a bit.  She was calling to see how my car was.  After I had my tea I went to the garage and started the car; it started without any problem.  Such a relief!

I pondered a bit more on the quilt, taking inventory of all the suitable fabric remnants I had, to see if I could manage to put in corner blocks that looked intentional.  I might have been able to manage it for 2 corner blocks, but, not for the other two.  Eventually, I decided to go to the fabric store and see if I could match the border fabric I already had or if there was a coordinating color that might work out.  I managed to find the exact color and fabric type, and bought a yard and a half.  I was afraid I'd have to pay full price, which was $8.99 per yard, as there was no sign on the shelf saying the fabric was on sale, but, apparently it was on sale for $1.99 per yard!  I was so happy!   My total came to $3.28 with tax.  I was tempted to buy more fabric at that price (it's a good "stock up" price) but, I managed to resist the temptation!  We are trying to use up the stash, Bless, not add to it!  LOL. 

After I came home, I cleaned out the fridge, took the trash cans to the curb, did a load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, cleaned the litter box, and collected some osteospermum seeds and scattered them in other parts of the garden - hopefully, they will germinate and grow!

Today, I am grateful for:
- The car started without any problem!
- Great sale price on the fabric I bought!
- I bought only what I needed and nothing else!
- All what I accomplished today
- Working appliances

Monday's To Do List:
- Go to the fabric store - DONE
- Maybe go to the bank? - DIDN'T NEED TO
- Clean out the fridge - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Dust the living room and dining area
- Do a load of laundry - DONE
- Do the dishes/run dishwasher - DONE
- Clean the litter box /sweep the bathroom - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring the trash cans in
- Radiation Oncologist follow-up appointment
- Dust - living room, dining area, family room, my room
- Water the house plants
- Buy cat food

How was your Monday?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Sunday's Happenings

On Sunday, I slept in till quite late.  However, I was up when neighbor T called and we had our Sunday morning chat.  After that, I sewed additional pieces of leftover flannel to make the quilt backing big enough.  Maybe too big, because now I am thinking that I should make the quilt top a little bigger!  Maybe add a pieced border and then, the binding.  I don't know.  I hate it when I become indecisive like this!  LOL.  I put that quilt aside for awhile.

Then, I got dressed to go to the Temple.  Except, my car wouldn't start!  The battery was completely dead!  In fact, I couldn't even open the door remotely, by pressing the button on my key.  I had to unlock the door with the key and when I tried to start it, nothing happened!  Sigh.  I haven't been driving the car that much and, when I do drive it, it is mostly for shorter distances than when I used to drive to work and back, daily.  I hadn't driven the car since Tuesday and that was a short run to the pharmacy and back.  I hadn't remembered to at least start it after that.  Poor car!  But, at least, I was home when it happened, not stuck somewhere in a parking lot or on the side of a road (which has happened, too!)  I consider that to be a blessing! 

I called the Temple and left a message saying I was unable to attend the service due to the car battery being dead.  Then, I called the Auto Club and explained the situation.  I am so glad I have membership with the Auto Club!  They sent a mechanic over.  He looked at the battery and said it was a new battery and it shouldn't have died in four days of not being driven!  He gave it a jump start and told me to keep it running continuously for 30 minutes or so.  I let it run for a little over 30 minutes, then, I drove it around for another 20 minutes or so.  By that time, it was almost 6:00 p.m. and too late to even attend the tail end of the service at the Temple.  Also, I was reluctant to park the car anywhere other than at home, just in case it wouldn't start again!

One of the monks at the Temple returned my phone call around 6:30 p.m., after the service was over, to ask about the car and if everything was OK.  I said yes, that a mechanic had seen to it and given me a jump start, and apologized for not attending the service.  He said the service had been well attended and went off well.  But, now, I am left with the bag of lemons M and I picked from my tree that I was going to take to the Temple so people could help themselves to them - well over 100 lemons!  Maybe I will still take them to the Temple and leave them there for anyone who comes there during the week.

In the evening, I cut out borders for the Mountain Climbing quilt.  I cut the borders a little wider than initially planned, because I wanted to take the borders to the back to make a self-binding quilt.  As a result, I ran short of fabric for the shorter sides of the quilt!  Oh, no!  I should have bought 5 yards of the pink fabric, instead of 4!  Now, I need to either go to the fabric store and buy more cloth (at full price, too!) or, try to come up with corner squares in a different fabric, and make it look like I meant to do it, all along, instead of an afterthought!  LOL. 

In between sewing and charging car batteries, I changed the bed sheets, chatted with cousin P, and did some reading.

On Sunday, I was grateful for:
- Being home when the car battery died
- Having Auto Club membership
- The mechanic was able to jump start the battery
- I didn't need to replace the battery
- It rained late last night!

I started to write this blog post, late last night, but, I was tired, so went to bed, instead!  This morning, cousin P called to ask how the car was and I was able to start it without any problem.  It is a cloudy, overcast day, but it isn't raining.

Plans for today include:
- Going to the fabric store
- Maybe going to the bank?
- Cleaning out the fridge
- Taking the trash cans to the curb
- Dusting the living room and dining area
- Doing a load of laundry

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Mending: Hearts and Hat

As some of you might remember, I mended the worn out spots on the fitted flannel sheet, earlier, in March. 

Well, today, it was time for the flat sheet to be mended!

A Tear to be Mended

There was a tiny hole which was soon darned and a bigger tear.  At first, I was going to darn it, too, but then, I decided that it needed something more.  I cut out two heart shaped patches from a piece of blue flannel fabric that I had and appliqued them on top of the tear to cover it.  One on the wrong side of the sheet:

Heart Patch

This is what the right side of the sheet looked like, after I appliqued the patch on the other side:

A Square within a Heart!
Then, I appliqued the other heart patch on the right side of the sheet, thus sandwiching the tear between the two patches.  Then, I embroidered over the smaller darned hole to make it look like a hat for the snowman!

Hearts and Hat
The heart is up side down, here (I wanted the hat on the snowman to be seen) but, it will be right side up when the bed is made, as this is the part that folds down over the blanket.

My patches will hold, I know, but the poor sheet might not!  But, maybe, with the patches in place, I'll get another winter's use out of it?  In the meantime, I will look to see if there are any sales on flannel sheets. 

Besides mending, I did two loads of laundry, today, including a blanket, and worked on the backing for the scrap quilt.  I am using a length of flannel that I had bought a long time ago, but it is not big enough, so I am attaching additional pieces of leftover flannel to it.    This is definitely a "stash buster" quilt!  LOL.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The fabric stash
- A working washing machine and dryer
- Time to play with fabric
- Chatting with my daughter
- Tomato soup from the freezer for dinner!

Sunday's To Do List:
- Work on the quilt backing
- Do the dishes/run the dishwasher
- Attend the memorial service at the temple
- Water the garden

How is your weekend coming along?

Finished Quilt Top

Scrap Basket Quilt

Today, I finished sewing the quilt top and added the borders.  Although I tried to keep the quilt blocks to 9 inches square when I cut them out, some of them needed to be trimmed again when I sewed the sashing and one or two of the blocks didn't align perfectly straight.  But, that doesn't matter that much to me.  As I mentioned to a friend of mine, I am not planning to enter this quilt in a competition!

The next step is to add the batting and backing.  That's the part I dislike the most.  For me, the fun part is piecing the top! 

It's certainly colorful, isn't it?  LOL!  But the blue sashing ties it all together, nicely, doesn't it?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Thursday's Happenings

Red Rose in Bloom

My cousin's phone call woke me up in the morning.  She hung up before I could answer the phone, but I called her back when I was having my morning cup of tea.  She was just calling to check up on me and to let me know that she called one of our other cousins in Sri Lanka to see how everyone was doing.  They are unhurt, but, of course, still reeling from recent events.

Later, I took a short walk.  Afterwards, I checked to see what's flowering in the garden.

Climbing up the Lattice

The red rose bush, climbing up the lattice by the front door is flowering.  I hope it will continue to grow and cover the lattice.

One of the aeoniums my former supervisor gave me has sent up a flower stalk:

Aeonium Flower Stalk
The buds haven't opened up, yet.  But, I believe the flowers will be creamy white.

In the afternoon, I continued to sew the quilt, adding the sashings between the blocks.  Eventually, production on the quilt top had to come to a halt because the Quality Control Inspector was testing the comfort level:

Hard at Work?

Or Sleeping on the Job?

I received my natural gas bill, today, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a $50 credit from a state clean air program, which reduced my bill to under $8!

Today, I was grateful for:
- Additional confirmation that the family in Sri Lanka were OK
- Roses blooming in the garden
- Being able to spend the afternoon playing with fabric (joyful activity for the day)
- A low monthly gas bill due to the state credit
- A working sewing machine

I will continue to work on the quilt top, tomorrow.  I hope to finish sewing the sashing and attach the borders. 

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dancer's Quilt Making Instructions

Hi, this is Dancer.  I've been helping Mummy make a quilt and I thought I'd share my quilt making skills with you!

First, you select your fabric.  Some people buy new fabric for their quilts.  But, this time, we are making a scrap quilt, using scraps of fabric leftover from other sewing projects.  Mummy calls them "stash buster" quilts.

Step 1: Select the fabric

Quilts have to be soft and comfy, so, it is important to make sure that the fabric that is selected feels soft and comfy.  The best way to do this is to lie on top of a pile of them and take a nap!

Step 2: Test for comfort

Next you sew them together to make small squares called quilt blocks:

Step 3: Make quilt blocks
When all the quilt blocks are made, you have to spread them out on the bed to see how they look:

Step 4: Spread out the quilt blocks
It is important to make sure they are spread out so that you can see how the quilt will look once it is sewn.  Now is the time to switch the blocks around until you are happy with their placements, although, with scrap quilts such as this one, there's not much you can do about it.  But, we tried to make sure that the colors were distributed somewhat evenly.  Some people have what they call a design board.  We just have the bed:

Making sure it looks visually pleasing
A bed is a fine place to spread out the quilt blocks because the finished quilt will be spread out on the bed, after all. 

Besides, it makes it easier to test out how comfy the quilt will be:

Step 5: Test the comfort level, again
Mummy sewed some of the squares together, but didn't finish.  We will post pictures of the quilt when it is finished.  Hope you enjoyed my quilt making instructions and feel inspired to make a quilt of your own!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Moving Forward on Tuesday

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments and empathy on Sunday's post.  You shared my shock and sadness and your words comforted me.  I was quite unprepared for the overwhelming sadness I felt as I heard about the events. 

Yesterday (Monday), I felt the need to take it easy and do something that would be relaxing.  I didn't feel like I could concentrate enough to cut out the borders for the Mountain Climbing quilt (remember that one?).  Instead, I pulled out the "mile a minute" patchwork and decided I needed a few additional squares to finish the quilt top.  It was soothing to play with fabric, to rather mindlessly pull out scrap after scrap of fabric and sew them together, to iron out the seams, and cut out 9-inch squares from the resulting piece of patchwork.  I set up the ironing board in the family room (instead of by my sewing machine in the dining room), on purpose, just so I needed to get up and walk a few feet to iron each seam, and be moving every few minutes, rather than sit in one place for hours.  Playing with fabric is a joyful activity for me.

In the afternoon, I called the temple to find out if there was anything planned to help the victims of the bombings and left a message.  Later, I received a message back, saying that there will be a prayer service, scheduled for Sunday (at first, it was to have been held tonight, but, a later message stated Sunday and I called the temple and confirmed that it was Sunday; I suppose more people could attend a Sunday evening service, rather than a Tuesday night service).

Later, in the evening, I attended my cousin's farewell dinner.  She had invited all of us cousins and we spent a very pleasant evening, chatting, reminiscing, enjoying Thai food, and each other's company.  Yes, we discussed the recent sad events in Sri Lanka, but, we also discussed other things, as well.  I gave the baby blanket to my cousin to take to her daughter.  Getting together with my cousins was another joyful activity.  Cousin P and her daughter were able to give me a ride to the dinner and back, which I appreciated very much.

I didn't write out a to do list, but I did a few things from my cleaning schedule, including changing my bed sheets and taking out the trash cans.

Today,  I video chatted with a good friend of mine for a little bit.  The miracles of modern technology!

After we ended our chat, I warmed up the leftovers my cousin had sent home with me and had that for lunch.  Then, I watched some  news on TV and continued to sew my patchwork squares.  I needed 12 additional squares and, so far, I've made 11.

A little later, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription refill.  I also stopped by the dollar store to pick up some bananas and saltine-type crackers (but with unsalted tops).  After I came home, I brought the trash cans in (had taken them to the curb, yesterday) and watered the garden, both front and back.

My joyful activity for today was video chatting with my friend.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Cousin P and her daughter giving me a ride to the cousins' dinner, last night
- A pleasant evening spent with my cousins, yesterday
- Being able to video chat with my friend, this afternoon
- The fabric stash and being able to play with fabric
- All of you who commented and empathized with me on Sunday's post.

I didn't make a To Do list on Monday, but I did a few things that were on my cleaning schedule, anyway, such as changing my bed sheets, taking the trash cans to the curb, etc.  I didn't make a list for today, either, but I ran errands and watered the garden (regularly scheduled for Mondays).  I am hoping to get back to the cleaning schedule, tomorrow:

Wednesday's To Do List
- Vacuum
- Clean my bathroom 
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room
- Water the house plants

How is your week coming along?  Did you do anything to observe Earth Day on Monday?  What are your plans for tomorrow?  

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday Prayer

Today, I woke up to the news of horrific bombings in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, the country of my birth.  It has saddened me so much.  As far as I know, members of my immediate family are safe, but, it pains me to know that so much violence can be inflicted on people and for what?  Buildings can be rebuilt, but shattered lives can't.

May those who were killed rest in peace.  May those who were injured be healed.  May those who lost family and loved ones find solace.  May those whose lives were forever affected in one way or another find the strength to go on.  May the people in my country of birth find peace, unity, and harmony. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Baby Blanket

Crocheted Baby Blanket

I finished crocheting the baby blanket, last night.   It was a good stash buster project!

Just enough mint green for one motif!

Three of these lilac motifs
Three with blue baby yarn

Two of these pink and blue ones

The blanket is 37-inches square.  A good size for a baby blanket, I think. 

Stash Buster Baby Blanket
I washed and dried it, last night.  One or two woven ends worked themselves loose, so I need to tidy it up a bit.  Then, I will wrap it up and make a card to go with it.  I am pleased with how it turned out.  Hope the baby's mother and grandmother will like it, too.  What do you think?

More Grocery Shopping on Friday

4/19 Groceries: Bread and Frozen Vegetables
On Friday, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refill that was ready.  Then, I went next door to the dollar store, just to see what they had that I might want to buy!  Apparently, what I wanted to buy were snacks!

4/19 Snacks!
But, they were such a bargain at $1 each!

Dollar Store Receipt

Then, I went to the grocery store that is also in the same shopping mall.  I wanted to buy bread and more frozen vegetables, as I had finished the loaf of whole wheat bread I had bought earlier, used up the last of the bag of frozen green peas, last night, and had less than half a bag of frozen corn.

The bread cost $1.99 and the frozen vegetables cost $1 each.

But, my primary reason for going to this particular grocery store was to buy these:

This Week's Specials
This store had a special on these brands of canned vegetables, canned cream soups, and pasta, for $.49 each, provided one bought 6 items, mix and match, in a single transaction (or multiples of 6 items).  When canned items and pasta, etc., go on sale like this, that's when I stock up.

Except...I am trying to avoid eating regular pasta, I no longer like the cream soups,  and I already have about 8 cans of assorted vegetables in my cupboard (as part of my earthquake/emergency supplies).  I really didn't need to stock up on these items.

Well, then, why did I buy a total of 42 assorted sale items?

I had $27+ left in my March grocery budget, which I carried forwards to April.  After my grocery shopping on Wednesday, I still had $43 left in my combined March and April grocery budget.  I have plenty of food on hand and it is doubtful that I'll need to spend all $43 of it before the end of the month.  I decided to take $20 from my grocery budget to buy some pasta, canned soup, and canned vegetables to donate to the food bank.  In gratitude, because I have been so abundantly blessed that I have plenty of food in my cupboards and money left in my grocery budget.  I feel blessed that I can do this.

I bought 6 cans each of green beans, green peas, and creamed corn (they didn't have regular corn); 10 packages of pasta, 3 cans of cream of mushroom soup, and 11 cans of cream of chicken soup.  The subtotal for these items came to $20.58.

The Receipt
My total, with the purchase of my bread and frozen vegetables, came to $24.57.  Apparently, I saved $43!

Today, I spent $5 (at the dollar store) and $24.57 = $29.57

Receipt Showing Total

My April grocery budget is $75 + $27.41 carried over from March = $102.41

Spent to date in April = $1.49 + $21.11 + $36.33 + $29.57 +  = $88.50
Amount left in the April grocery budget = $102.41 - $88.50 = $13.91

Today, I feasted on steak, apples, and too many snacks!

Friday, April 19, 2019

When Cleaning Schedules Go Awry

The Yellow Rose Bush in Flower

Two weeks.  That's how long I was able to keep to my new cleaning schedule, with one or two adjustments during the second week.  Things got a bit off schedule on Tuesday, however, when I didn't dust my bedroom as scheduled!  Or, do the dishes!  I put them both on Wednesday's To Do List.

On Wednesday, I went grocery shopping (regularly scheduled for Tuesday and Fridays), but I wanted to take advantage of the sale on butter, which went into effect on Wednesday, and I wasn't sure if I'd have to do jury duty on Friday or if I'd feel up to grocery shopping afterwards, etc.  After I came home from grocery shopping, I worked on the baby blanket.

Later, in the evening, I went for a walk.  I walked for 15 minutes in one direction and walked back home.   This time, I managed to get home just 12 seconds after the 15 minutes timer went off, which meant that I managed to maintain my pace, more or less.  I checked the distance I walked during the first 15 minutes; according to Google maps, I walked .7 miles and they estimated that it should take 14 minutes to walk that distance.  I was happy to see that I wasn't that off the pace!  So, .7 miles out and .7 miles back; I walked 1.4 miles, in 30 minutes, which isn't bad, I think.  Eventually, I'd like to be able to walk 1 mile out and back. 

What I didn't do on Wednesday is the cleaning!  I didn't do a single thing on my cleaning schedule or to do list, other than calling to see if I needed to report for jury duty (I didn't, which was good because the road in front of my house was being resurfaced today and the road was being closed to traffic from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with no access to the driveways - if I had to report for jury duty, I'd have had to park the car on one of the other side streets, overnight, and I was worried about how safe it would be to do so after my cousin had said her husband's car had been broken into and the battery stolen).

But, I didn't do any of the items I carried forward from Tuesday's schedule and I didn't do any of the items from Wednesday's cleaning schedule, either!  Sigh.  I just didn't feel motivated to do any cleaning, yesterday!

Which meant that, today, I had a very long To Do List, with Tuesday's dusting, Wednesday's vacuuming and bathroom cleaning, and Thursday's kitchen cleaning, paperwork, etc.  Plus a mountain of dishes to be washed!  My cleaning schedule might have come to a halt, but I am not ready to give up on it!

So, after I had my morning tea, replied to blog comments, etc., I dusted my bedroom (even washed a lamp shade!).   And did the dishes - I handwashed some items including the pots and pans, rinsed the rest and did them in the dishwasher.

Lunch was fried rice - leftover rice, leftover broccoli, one of the kielbasa sausage links, and an egg:

Lunch: Fried Rice

In the afternoon, I cleaned the bathrooms, including the cabinet under the sink in daughter's bathroom (pulled everything out, sorted through and tossed a couple of items, wiped the bottom of the cabinet, etc.); a deep cleaning task I had been wanting to do for a long time.  I also cleaned the litter box.

At 7:00 p.m., I called to see if I needed to report for jury duty, tomorrow.  But, I don't have to and I was informed that I had completed my service!  This is the first time that has happened, that I didn't have to go actually go in!  I am glad it worked out this way!  I really wasn't looking forward to having to wake up early to go serve on a jury!

After that, I watered the garden.  Our day time high was around 87F, today, and the poor tomato plants were drooping!  I also did a spot of weeding - not enough to make much of a difference, but, it made me feel better!

After I came inside from watering and weeding, I rested a bit and then, cooked the ground beef (just browned it with some onion; kept half in the fridge and froze the other half) and the salmon steaks (sauteed them with onions and tomatoes).  I had half of one salmon steak with green peas for dinner:

Dinner: Salmon, Green Peas, Tomato Chutney
I had half an apple for dessert.  And crackers for a late night snack as I typed this up!

Then, I had more dishes to do - the saute pans, my dinner plate, etc.!  I washed them and wiped the kitchen counters and stove top.  I need to clean under the burners on the stove, but that will be for another day!

I didn't go for a walk today, as I was tired.

In between bouts of cleaning, I watched news and worked on the baby blanket.  I am in the process of joining the squares.  Cousin P called and asked if our cousin who is visiting had called me.  I said no.  Apparently, she called cousin P and told her that she wants to have a dinner on Monday.  Well, I shall wait until I am invited!  LOL!

My joyful activity for today was working on the baby blanket.

Today, I am grateful for:
- I didn't have to go in for jury duty, at all!
- All what I was able to accomplish today
- My daughter received the promotion she interviewed for
- A sunny, warm day
- Answered prayers

Thursday's To Do List:
- Dust my bedroom - DONE
- Do the dishes - DONE
- Cook the green beans
- Vacuum
- Clean the bathrooms - DONE
- Clean the kitchen - STARTED
- Paperwork/filing
- Water the garden, front and back - DONE
- Water the house plants - DONE
- Call re. jury duty - DONE

Friday's To Do List:
- Pharmacy to pick up refills
- Grocery store for more weekly specials
- Cook the green beans (if they are still good!)
- Vacuum
- Paperwork/filing
- Kitchen cleaning - Clean the stove (under the burners); mop the floor

I am hoping I'll be able to catch up on all the cleaning, tomorrow.  If not, this is why I designated Saturday as a catch-up day when I made the schedule!

What do you do if or when your cleaning schedule goes awry?  Do you try to fit in the tasks you didn't get to or do you wait until the next time around?   

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April Grocery Shopping - Week 2

April 17 Groceries

Today, I went grocery shopping, to take advantage of the advertised weekly specials!  

I first went to a discount grocery store (Grocery Outlet), to buy the unsalted butter they had advertised at $2.50/lb.  A couple of other stores have weekly specials on butter, too, this week, and on both salted and unsalted butter, but their sale prices are higher at $2.99 and $3.00/lb.  I prefer salted butter for spreading on bread, but unsalted is better for me and, for $.50 less per pound, I can always add a little extra salt to anything I might be cooking in butter!  I did check to see if they had salted butter, but the salted butter they had was a different brand and not on sale for $2.50.  There was no limit on how many could be bought, so I stocked up and bought 6 lbs. of butter!   I didn't take a photo of the butter I bought because I was anxious to get them in the freezer (I went to another grocery store on the way home and the butter had to stay in the trunk of my car, albeit in an insulated container, while I did that!)  But, I took a photo of the receipt!  My total for the 6 lbs. butter came to $15.00

Receipt for Butter

This is a store I rarely go to, for one reason or another, so, I took the opportunity to walk around the store and checked out their prices.  Now I know why I don't go that often to this store - their regular prices on many items are higher than the prices in the other stores I go to.

After that, I went to the Armenian store (located across the street, a few yards down).  There, I bought all the items shown in the top photo. 

I bought:
2 salmon steaks @ $4.99/lb = $5.21
1 T Bone steak @ $3.99/lb = $4.59
Ground beef (15% fat) @ $2.99/lb = $3.17
14 oz. package kielbasa sausage links = $1.19
1 lb. bag carrots = $.39
2 tomatoes @ $.69/lb = $.30
1 cabbage @ $.20/lb = $.25
Snow peas @ $1.99/lb = $.22
1 cucumber = $.20
3 Golden Delicious apples @$.49/lb = $.94
1 package raw almonds @$3.99/lb = $3.87
Total = $21.33

4/17 Grocery Receipt

Today's grocery totals came to $15 + $21.33 = $36.33

My April grocery budget is $75 + $27.41 carried over from March = $102.41

I spent $1.49 on April 2 to buy a dozen eggs.

Spent to date in April = $1.49 + $21.11 + $36.33 = $58.93
Amount left in the April grocery budget = $102.41 - $58.93 = $43.48

This morning, I had eaten a scrambled egg and a piece of whole wheat toast for brunch.  After I came back from grocery shopping, I had one of the apples.   Dinner was in two stages!  First, I had the leftover tomato soup with some crackers.  But, since I was still hungry, I cooked the steak and had some of that with the leftover corn from a couple of days ago.  There's enough steak left over for at least three more meals, either with cooked vegetables or salad.

I don't meal plan, as such, but, I will cook the salmon with onions and tomatoes and that will be at least 2 meals with vegetables or salad as sides.  I will brown the ground beef and probably freeze it for now - I can use the cooked ground beef as a filling for curry puffs, using the puff pastry dough I have in the freezer, or for something else.

How is your April grocery shopping coming along?  Are you finding some good prices where you are? 

Cloudy Tuesday

Tuesday was overcast and cool.  I woke up to the lovely sound of Dancer throwing up!  He's OK, though.  I think he ate his dry food too quickly!

I made a pot of tomato soup for lunch, with tomatoes I had in the freezer, half an onion, two carrots, half a green chili, and the container of leftover salsa I had frozen:

Tomato Soup with Salsa

I added the salsa after I had blended the tomato soup, so the soup wasn't perfectly smooth, but that was fine with me.  I had two bowls of the soup for lunch!  I froze three portions of the soup and kept one portion in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch.

I spent the afternoon crocheting and watching various news programs on TV.  The grocery ads came in the mail and several stores are having good deals for Easter.  Butter is on sale for $2.99/lb. at several stores and one discount store is having unsalted butter on sale for $2.50/lb.  I wonder if they have salted butter at that price, as well?  The ad only specifies unsalted butter.  Time to stock up!

Later in the evening, I went for a short walk.  I walked for 10 minutes in one direction, then, when the timer went off, turned around and walked back home.  It took me a little longer than 10 minutes to walk home, though, as my pace slowed.  Then, I watered the garden both front and back.  Something must have bitten me when I was watering the garden, because, a short time later, I noticed a red swelling on my left cheekbone!  I applied some antibiotic ointment on it and it has gone down a bit.  I mustn't water the garden when it is getting dark!

I did a load of laundry after that, even if it wasn't on my schedule!  But I didn't dust my bedroom, which was on the schedule!  Or do the dishes!

Dinner was a salad:

Salad:lettuce, cucumber, carrots, grapes, chicken, and dressing.

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:
- I didn't have to go for jury duty
- Daughter is feeling better
- Dancer seemed fine after his morning indigestion
- Appliances such as blenders and washing machines
- Water for the garden

Tuesday's joyful activities included crocheting and enjoying my homemade tomato soup!

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust my bedroom 
- Water the garden and house plants - DONE
- 15 mins of paperwork - DONE
- Do the dishes
- Make tomato soup - DONE
- Cook the rest of the green beans
- Call to see if I need to go in for jury duty on Wednesday - DONE; don't have to go in, yet.

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Dust my bedroom
- Do the dishes
- Cook the green beans
- Grocery shop
- Vacuum
- Clean the bathrooms 
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room

Wednesday is going to be a busy day! 

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Midway Through April on Monday

I was so glad I didn't have to go in to do jury duty, today!  I was able to sleep in!  I had a relaxed morning, having my tea, replying to blog comments, commenting on a few other blogs, etc., and chatting with cousin P who called to ask how the temple ceremony went.

Later, in the afternoon, I got started on my To Do list.  Afternoons seem to be the time when I am most productive, these days!  I changed my bed sheets and did a load of laundry (the patched flannel bed sheet seems to be holding out just fine!), dusted the living room, dining area, and the family room, cleaned the fridge, and went through the freezer, too (tossed a few really, really old frozen bananas!).  Later in the evening, I took the trash cans to the curb.

Breakfast was a rice cake spread with peanut butter.  Lunch was a salad.  For dinner, I took out a baked chicken breast from the freezer, warmed half of it with a little plum sauce glaze, and had it with some fresh green beans and carrots that I cooked up with some frozen corn (sorry, I cut up the chicken breast before I remembered to take a photo):

Dinner - baked chicken and vegetables
The other half of the chicken breast is in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch or dinner.

When I cleaned out the freezer, I took a quick freezer inventory.  I only have the freezer that comes with my side-by-side fridge/freezer.  I have been eating from the freezer these past few weeks in an attempt to reduce its contents and, finally, it is starting to look a bit empty!  I know the conventional wisdom is to keep the freezer stocked up, but the recent power outage reminded me that keeping a freezer full of food can have its downside, too, especially since I don't have a generator to keep the freezer running if the power is out for a long period of time.  I will still stock up when things are on sale, especially things like butter, but I will keep only reasonable quantities of meats.  Speaking of butter, I have 2 lbs. of butter in the freezer.  It should last me at least two months, if not more.  But, if butter does go on sale for $3.00 or under between now and when I use up the last stick of butter, I will buy at least another couple of pounds to have on hand. 

Currently, in my freezer, I have:
5 lb. unopened bag of whole wheat flour
5 lb. opened bag of all purpose flour (almost full)
opened package of uncooked red rice
several packages of cooked white rice
5 1/2 packages of frozen puff pastry
1 package grated coconut
4 pouches of honey mustard glaze (came with bags of frozen meatballs I bought to make curried meatballs)
1 lb. bacon
1 package cooked beef pot roast
1 whole roast chicken breast
1 piece baked chicken breast
opened package cocktail sausages
small container of leftover salsa
Frozen tomatoes (will be made into tomato soup, tomorrow)
1 bag cranberries
2 bags edamame
opened bag of green peas (about 1/4 bag)
opened bag of corn (about 1/2 bag)
couple of small baggies of sliced onion
whole green chilies
opened package of pandan leaves
opened package of sunflower seeds
opened package of walnut pieces
1 loaf of sliced white bread (the next time someone asks me to bring a dessert, I will make a bread pudding!)
1 loaf banana bread
1 container of corn bread pieces
1 opened package of pita bread
2 lbs. butter
open package of margarine (3/4 package left)

In the evening, I went for a walk.  I haven't been walking regularly at all, but, I was inspired by Eileen who has started on a walking program, herself.  She not only sent me a link to the walking program she has adapted to suit her, she also gently nudged me in a comment!  LOL!  Today, I set my timer for 15 minutes and walked in one direction, with a target point in mind.  I reached my target point in 12 1/2 minutes, however.  But, instead of continuing for another 2 1/2 minutes, I turned around and walked back.  I reset the timer for the walk back, but, apparently, I didn't start it, because I still had 15 minutes on the timer when I got home!  LOL!

Today, I am grateful for:
- I did not need to report for jury duty today and I don't have to go in tomorrow, either!
- Being able to sleep in!
- A productive afternoon
- Daughter was able to work from home
- Being able to go for a walk

Monday's To Do List:
- Change bed sheets - DONE
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels) - DONE
- Dust living room/dining area and family room - DONE
- Clean the fridge - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up - DONE 
- Call to see if I need to report for jury duty on Tuesday - DONE; don't have to go in
- Water the garden, front and back  the newly planted tomatoes, etc. - NOT DONE

I meant to water the newly planted tomato plants, but, when I checked on them, it seemed like they didn't need watering.  I will water them tomorrow, instead.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust my bedroom
- Errands, if any (grocery shopping, etc.)
- Water the garden and house plants
- 15 mins of paperwork
- Do the dishes
- Make tomato soup
- Cook the rest of the green beans
- Call to see if I need to go in for jury duty on Wednesday

How was your Monday?  Have you done a freezer inventory, lately?  What's in your freezer?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday: Celebrating the New Year, Family, and Prayer Gatherings

In Sri Lanka, the two major ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamil, celebrate their cultural new year on April 13th and 14th, with the actual time of the arrival of the new year determined by astrologers, based on the movements of the planets, not a clock striking 12 midnight.  The old year ends at a certain time and, before the new year arrives, there is a period of in-between-time known as "nonagathe" or "punya kalaya", during which work is supposed to be stopped and people engage in joyous activities, playing games, visiting families, and attending religious ceremonies.  The cultural new year is a time of celebrations, with special foods and lots of associated rituals.  Of course, it is harder to observe these cultural traditions when one lives in another country, but I do what I can.  So, when the temple sent a message stating that they will hold New Year blessing ceremonies on Saturday morning and Sunday evening, I decided I'll attend Sunday's event.

Cousin V had called on Friday evening to say that the monthly prayer gathering will be held at the assisted living facility where her mother, my Aunt T, is currently residing, on Sunday, at 1:00 p.m.  On Saturday, cousin P called to say that she and her daughter can give me a ride to the prayer gathering.  I gratefully accepted the offer of a ride.  It was agreed that we should leave by 12:30 p.m. and I assured her that I will be ready and waiting.  This morning, I set my alarm to wake up by 9:00 a.m., had my cup of tea, responded to blog comments, etc., then, showered and got dressed.  I was dressed and ready, well before noon.  I ate a banana for breakfast and crocheted a bit.  At 12:30 p.m., when I hadn't heard from cousin P, I called her to let her know that I was ready.  It was then that she said that her daughter couldn't drive us, after all, could I drive us and could I give her 10 more minutes?  So, I waited until she came over and we left about 15 minutes later.  I didn't mind driving us, but I do dislike going late to these events.  We were the last to arrive and someone commented on it, saying that they were just about ready to send a search party for us!  

Aunt T was happy to see us all there.  Today was the anniversary of her wedding to my uncle, who was my mother's younger brother.   After the prayers were said and we had lunch (pizza and salad), we sat around, chatting.  Cousin V's husband was anxious to leave around 4:00 p.m., so it was agreed that he and R's husband should leave (R is Aunt T's niece) and I was to take cousin V, visiting cousin M, and R to cousin V's house, later.  We waited for another hour or so before we left.  Just as we were about to leave, cousin V's sister-in-law and another family friend came to visit Aunt T, so Aunt T was happy that she had more visitors.  

I drove us all to cousin V's house and she gave us tea.  After tea, I asked cousin P if she was ready to leave and she said yes.  The others were trying to persuade us to stay, but I had planned to go to the temple, so, I said I needed to leave.  Cousin P came back with me, but, she was going back with her daughter.

I got home after 6:00 p.m.  Changed out of my clothes into a white skirt and white sweater (I wear white to temple) and got to the temple in time for the ceremony.  I was very happy I was able to participate in the ceremony and receive blessings for the new year.  

After I came home, I video chatted with my daughter.  She has been down with a cold and cough this weekend and is still feeling a bit under the weather.

Today's joyful activities were attending the blessing ceremony at the temple and spending time with the family.

Today, I am grateful for:
- New Year blessings at the temple
- Time spent with family
- Being able to drive myself and give rides to others
- Having a safe home
- A really sweet letter from Aunt C

Monday's To Do List:
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Dust living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up
- Call to see if I need to report for jury duty on Tuesday
- Water the garden, front and back  the newly planted tomatoes, etc.

How was your weekend?  What are your plans for the upcoming week?

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Days of Yarn and Roses

Baby Blanket Squares

Yellow Rose Bush

I have spent the last couple of days playing with yarn and admiring the roses in the garden!  

I seem to have set myself a bit of a challenge when I decided to use the yarn I had in my stash for the baby blanket!  I discovered that I had a quantity of white yarn, some pink yarn, two shades of blue yarn and a dark red that had been bought for specific projects (sweaters), lots of leftovers in darker shades of blue and grey, some novelty yarn bought to make scarves, and not much in the way of neutral pastel shades which are suitable for a baby of either sex!  

Granny Squares

In general, I like to use mint green, pale lemon yellow, lilac, or the variegated baby yarn which has a mix of these pastel colors, when I am making baby blankets.   I had enough of the pastel shades to make the granny square centers, each with a unifying yellow edging, surrounded by several rows of white.  I made a total of six of these larger squares, each approximately 12 inches square.  It is a good length, but it needs to be wider.  

Long enough but too narrow

I have been thinking of ways to make it wider - crochet a central band?  Add a wider border on the two sides?  Or, make three more 12-inch squares to make it a 36-inch square blanket (plus a border)?  I have enough of the pink and blue pastel baby yarn to make the centers for them, but, I don't have enough yellow!  Shall I introduce another color to the mix?  I have some lilac colored yarn I could use in lieu of the yellow.   I don't want it to look totally scrappy, either.  Should I make those squares entirely white?  Or...should I buy some pale yellow yarn for the purpose?  What do you think?

In the meantime, while I ponder on what to do, I have been walking around the garden and looking at the roses:

Love to see them open up
Each is a bit of perfection in itself

The yellow rose bush has at least a dozen buds on it, so it will continue to flower in the upcoming days.  The other rose bushes just have one or two flowers or buds, each. 

Had to lift this up to photograph as it was too heavy for the stem!
In between all the crocheting, I have been doing the cleaning tasks I set for myself, as well.  On Thursday, I did some paperwork and cleaned the kitchen, which included washing one of the upper cabinet doors, wiping down the counters, and mopping the floor.  On Friday, gardener friend M and I planted the two tomato plants I bought and he dug a shallow well around the lantana plants in the front, to enable to water to pool around them and prevent water runoff to the street when I water them.  I also called to check if I need to report for jury duty on Monday and was told I don't need to come in on Monday, but I have to call on Monday evening to see if I need to report in on Tuesday.

These past few days, I've been grateful for:
- My yarn stash
- Time in which to play with yarn
- Sunny and warm spring days
- Roses and fresh oranges
- Ladybugs on aphid control on the rose bushes!

My joyful activities have been crocheting, watching TV while I crochet, and gardening.

How is your weekend coming along?  What do you think I should do to widen the baby blanket? 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Windy Wednesday, Too

Crocheted Blanket
This is the blanket I washed, yesterday.  I crocheted it, several years ago, as a way to use up all the leftover bits of yarn that had accumulated! 

Close Up of the Stitch
I am not sure what the name of the stitch is, but it resembles a shell pattern.  I tried to alternate rows of light and dark to the extent possible, but, towards the end (top of the blanket), I ran out of dark colors and there isn't much of a contrast.  But, it was a good way to use up all the leftover yarn!

It was another sunny, warm, and windy day, today, although the wind gusts were not as strong as they were yesterday.  According to the news, yesterday's wind gusts knocked down several trees and at least one power pole.  I was happy that the only things that were knocked down in my garden were some potted plants.

I hadn't planned on going to the pharmacy, today (running errands is scheduled for Tuesdays and Fridays), but when they texted to let me know that a refill was ready for pick up, I decided to go to the pharmacy, especially since I didn't need to run any errands on Tuesday.  While I was there, I redeemed a $5 Extra Bucks coupon and bought a 4-roll package of toilet paper that was on sale for $4.99 (according to the package, the four "mega" rolls are the equivalent of 16 regular rolls!).  Then, since the dollar store is right next door, I went in there to see what they had that I might want (although I didn't actually need anything).  I bought two tomato plants for $1 each.  And, I went to the grocery store in the same shopping mall and bought 10 cans of wet cat food for $5.50.  I almost bought a package of whole wheat bagels for myself, but put it back. 

After I came home, I rested a bit and then, rather reluctantly, I might add, I got the vacuum cleaner out and vacuumed the house.  This time, I didn't get an asthma attack!  I also cleaned my bathroom - just the one, because the second bathroom hasn't been used at all after I cleaned it last week.  Then, I watered the peach tree (it has dropped almost all the tiny peaches that were forming!), the orange tree, and the newly divided and transplanted lemon grass clumps. 

I didn't do any decluttering or organizing in the spare room, today, however.  Running errands tired me out!  Instead, I pulled out some of the yarn to start a new project.  My cousin who is visiting from Australia revealed that her daughter was expecting her first child later this year.  I thought of making a baby quilt to send through my cousin, but, when I checked my fabric stash, I saw that I didn't have any fabric that was appropriate for a baby quilt, in terms of color and pattern.  I am debating whether to go to the fabric store to buy some suitable fabric, but haven't decided, yet.  I thought that, instead of a quilt, I could make a baby blanket with some of the yarn in my stash.  A blanket would take less space than a baby quilt in my cousin's suitcase, as well.  I am planning to crochet the blanket and use white yarn as it is a neutral color, suitable for either a boy or a girl, as my cousin said they didn't know the sex of the baby.

My joyful activities for the day included buying tomato plants for the garden and playing with yarn!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another drama-free medication refill!
- No damage to the house or garden from the wind
- Daughter had an opportunity to interview for a promotion
- A sunny and warm (if windy) day
- The yarn stash

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Vacuum - DONE
- Clean the bathrooms - DID ONE
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room
- Pharmacy - DONE
- Buy cat food - DONE
- Water the peach tree, orange tree, newly transplanted lemon grass clumps - DONE
- Dailies (dishes, litter box, etc.) - DONE

Thursday's To Do List:
- Clean the kitchen
- Paperwork/filing
- Water the garden, front
- Trip to the fabric store?

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  What do you think is better?  A baby quilt or a crocheted baby blanket?  Or...both?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Windy Tuesday

Yellow Rose

Half Opened

It was another sunny and warm day in Southern California, but it has been very windy!  Once again, I am so glad I had the eucalyptus tree trimmed, last year!

I took a walk in the backyard because some oranges had fallen from the tree due to the wind, and the first roses of the season caught my eye.  I have very few rose bushes remaining, but they are doing their best considering how neglected they are!

Almost Hidden by the Weeds
Today, I woke up feeling drained of energy!  Unfortunately, there are still days like today, although they occur less frequently.  I listened to my body and took it easy, for the most part.

Purple Martha Washington Geranium

Originally, this geranium was a volunteer plant in my garden - it poked itself up from under the back  garden wall - perhaps an offshoot of a plant that was in my neighbor's yard?  We dug it up, carefully, and planted it elsewhere and it flourished.  At one time, I had a whole bed of these geraniums, but most of it died during the drought and last year's heat wave.  M cut it all back and just one plant revived and came back up!  It looks nice and healthy, though, and has begun to flower.  I am hoping to be able to take some cuttings from it and grow another bed of it.

I rested practically all day, today.  Later in the evening, around 7:30 p.m., I told myself that I should, at the very least, dust my bedroom and do a load of laundry.  I am bound and determined to stick to my cleaning schedule!  So, I put a load of laundry to wash and dusted the bed room.  Then, I washed the day's dishes and put away the dishes from yesterday.  Cousin P called as I finished washing the dishes and I chatted with her for a bit.

Afterwards, I decided to do one baby step in the spare room.  I put a few more things away and managed to consolidate the contents of a couple of bags.  I am seriously not allowed to buy any more yarn:

The Box of Yarn
My yarn box is practically full!  Some are leftovers from previous projects, some are for on-going projects (like the red yarn for the Heart Association's Red Hats for Newborns), and some are new yarn bought for intended projects including three new sweaters, but I need to put myself back on a yarn diet until I finish all the projects I've started and/or planned!   I've been crocheting granny squares with some of my leftover yarn to make a blanket; the bag of already crocheted granny squares is also in this yarn box, under the yarn.

I spent about one hour sorting through stuff in the spare room closet.  I really do have a lot of crafting supplies!  I need to sit down and actually do some crafting!

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.  She will be interviewing for a job promotion, tomorrow morning.  If she gets the position, she will get an increase in pay and will continue to be up in Berkeley for a few more years, at least.  If she doesn't get the position, her current contract will end at the end of May and, since it can't be renewed again, she will move down here and look for a job here.  We are fine with it, either way.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The first roses
- Fresh oranges from my tree
- All what I was able to accomplish
- An abundance of craft supplies
- Video chatting with my daughter

It took me awhile to get started, today, but, I still accomplished all that was scheduled for today!

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Change my bed sheets - DONE
- Do laundry - DONE (2 loads)
- Dust my bedroom - DONE
- Bring the trash cans in - DONE
- Water the houseplants - DONE
- Do one organizing task in the spare room - DONE (worked on the closet)

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Vacuum
- Clean the bathrooms 
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room
- Dailies (dishes, litter box, etc.)

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for Wednesday?