Friday, March 24, 2023

Cloudy Thursday

Dinner: Rice, Chicken Curry, Cucumber Slices

It was cloudy, today, but it was dry and, occasionally, the sun shone through the clouds.  The daytime high was 56F, which is rather cool for us.  I have to admit that I had the heater on all day.

Speaking of the heater, I received my natural gas bill, today: $222.95.  I had hoped to keep it to $200, but, the last few days have been cold and I've had the heating on.  I am OK with a $223 gas bill during a winter month, though.

It has been a relaxed day, today.  I did a load of laundry,  did a few (very few) housekeeping tasks, sewed another patch or two on the quilt I'm repairing, chatted with friend R, video chatted with my daughter, and watched several videos.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A dry day
-Working appliances
- Being able to have a relaxed day when I feel like it
- Chatting with friends and video chatting with my daughter
- A warm house

Today's joyful activities have included watching videos online.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a mostly sunny day.  I'm looking forward to that!  M will be here in the evening to tend to the garden and we might plant the other loquat seedling, then.

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

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Rainy Wednesday

Nectarine Flowers

It was partly cloudy this morning, but, there was some sunshine, when I woke up.  M texted me the weather forecast which said 50% chance of rain and asked if I had anything I needed done inside.  I said I didn't have anything that needed doing inside, but, it was sunny at the moment, and left it up to him to decide.  Afterwards, I opened the windows to air the house and went outside to walk for 15 minutes.

I was just finishing up my walk when M arrived and with him, the rain!  LOL!  It was mostly a light drizzle, but, it would pick up, occasionally.  He decided it wasn't too bad and I joined him in the garden, picking another handful of snow peas and checking on the plants.  Today, M pruned some of the Euphorbia tirucalli plants I have growing in the side yard (I had planted them opposite the windows to provide a bit of privacy. but, I didn't want the branches going over the wall into the neighbor's side), planted one of the two loquat seedlings that neighbor S had given me last year, and did a bit of weeding.  I also had him empty the buckets of rainwater I had collected into the blue recycling bin for storage (the plan is to collect more rainwater in the emptied buckets during the next rain storm, due next week) and we found out that we can't fill the bin above a certain level because there is a metal handle like thing on the outside of the bin, about one third of the way up the bin. and the water leaks from the two ends where that handle has been inserted into the bin.  The excess water drained out but, that's OK.  I now have a few gallons of water stored in the blue recycling bin!  

Then, it began to rain in earnest and I told him to go home and I went inside.  The rain ceased, eventually, and we are supposed to have mostly sunny weather until next Tuesday when the next rain storm is expected to arrive. 

I didn't realize until later in the evening, when I was watching news, that we had a small tornado touch down, this morning, in a nearby city, close to downtown Los Angeles!  

Oh, and by the way, M's repairs to the garage roof didn't hold up under this week's rain and winds.  Some of the shingles had blown off and I found them on the driveway, this morning!

After M left, I had my brunch.  I wanted something warming after being outside, so made myself a packet of ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles were on my mind, partly because I had commented on another blog, yesterday, and mentioned ramen noodles.  Pensive Pensioner at Small Treasures had asked if one can eat on 50 (British) pence for one day (she had seen the challenge on another blog).  She had been able to buy a 200g can of baked beans for 21p, a loose baking potato (70p for a kilo) for 14p, and a small banana for 12p; those three items came to 47p.  According to the rate of exchange, yesterday, one British pound was equal to US $1.22, so 50p would be the equivalent of $0.61.

I checked the prices online at the grocery store I have been using for my groceries since the pandemic first started, and I found out that $0.61 didn't go far!  The smallest can of baked beans at my store was 8.3 oz. (235g) for $1.99!  Loose baking potatoes are $.99/lb. (and they tend to be rather large), and bananas are $.65/lb.  Ramen noodles and instant cup noodles were $.50 each and I might have been able to find a tiny carrot ($.99/lb.) for the remaining $.11 to grate into the soup.  Or, I could have bought a single bread roll for $.33 and perhaps found a small banana for the remaining $.28.  I thought I would have got most food for the money with the ramen noodles and I'd have to have half for brunch and half for dinner!  That would have been a most frugal meal!  As I mentioned to her, I guess our food prices here are higher than UK food prices (or, at least, the food prices at the store from which I order my groceries are higher; the ethnic store might have had lower prices, but, I don't shop there, anymore, because they don't offer pick up services).  

But, as you can see, I had ramen noodles on my mind!  LOL.

After brunch, I made a birthday card and mailed it.  Then, I watched a couple of videos while I continued to repair the quilt.  I also mended one of my knitted wool socks - I had previously darned the heel but, this time, it was the area just below the toes!  

In the evening, neighbor S called me to ask if I'd like to have some burek (made with phyllo dough, spinach, and cheese), some of the brown Armenian bread that I had liked earlier, and some candy!  Of course, I said I'd love to have some!  A few minutes later, she brought me some delicious food (and chocolates!):

Dinner and Dessert Compliments of Neighbor S

I ate a slice of the bread with a little butter while I warmed up the spinach and cheese burek which was very tasty.  Afterwards, I ate one or two of the chocolates!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor S sharing her delicious food with me
- M's help with the garden
- A working heater (yes, I switched it on this evening)
- I don't have to manage on $.61 for meals a day
- There were no tornados in my area

Today's joyful activity was planting one of the loquat seedlings.  It replaced the loquat tree which died a few years ago.  My little orchard continues to grow!

Thursday is supposed to be a mostly dry day.  I don't have any specific plans for the day, other than more quilt repairs and maybe some housekeeping.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  Could you manage a day's meals with 50 British pence or US$.61?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Rainy Days

Tuesday Dinner: Baked (Frozen) Fish Fillets, Savory Rice, Snow Peas

It rained on Monday morning, but ceased for a while in the afternoon.  It was cloudy, but, warmed up to 63F in the late afternoon, and I aired out the house.  I had a fairly productive day; I put away the laundry I had done, earlier, ran the dishwasher and washed a few other dishes by hand, cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom, took the trash can to the end of the driveway, picked more snow peas (you can see them in the photo above) and lettuce from the garden, and did my meal plan for the week.  In the evening I had a long phone chat with my aunt C, chatted a bit with friend R, exchanged emails with a couple of friends, and video chatted with my daughter.  It started to rain again, in the evening, and it rained practically all night.

It was still raining when I woke up this morning!  Quite heavily at times, but, it stopped for a couple of hours in the afternoon before it started to rain again!  During the break in the rain, I went outside to bring in the trash can and to check on the garden.

I had scheduled an appointment with my tax accountant for this afternoon, and, at first, when I heard that there would be quite a bit of rain today, my first instinct was to call and ask to reschedule the appointment.  Yes, it is a very southern California thing to do.  Rain puts a halt on everything!  But, I decided that I would brave the weather and keep the appointment as rescheduling might be difficult.  I need not have worried.  My tax accountant emailed me in the morning asking me to cancel the appointment and reschedule it...due to the rain!  She said she didn't want me to get sick, getting exposed to the rain!  LOL.  She also said that both the IRS and State of California has extended the tax filing deadline until October 16, for residents and businesses located in certain counties in California which have been declared natural disaster areas due to the recent storms and Los Angeles County is one such area.  I emailed her back saying I'd be happy to reschedule, but, I would like to get the taxes filed before the regular April deadline.  So, we rescheduled it for Monday, March 27, which is supposed to be a sunny day before the next storm arrives on Tuesday, March 28!  

As a result, I didn't have to go out in the rain! 

I spent the afternoon repairing the quilt and watching some videos (some frugal living videos, a visit to Amsterdam, an episode of a news program I missed watching, etc.)  Afterwards, I watched news and a program on the public television channel about cats.  

I had some toast with jam in the morning for breakfast, today, and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  Dinner was baked fish fillets using frozen, battered fish fillets I have in the freezer, some rice I cooked with a little vegetable stock powder, and the snow peas I picked, yesterday.  I put some Sri Lankan bottled chili sauce on the fish fillets.  Sliced apple for dessert.  I have some of the rice, left over.   It's only the second day, I know, but, I'm keeping to this week's meal plan, so far!  LOL.

Daughter's internet connection has been down all evening, so we said our goodnights over the phone, today.

Today, I am grateful for:

- More rain!
- Being able to reschedule the tax appointment
- Not having to drive in the rain (several intersections in my neighborhood get flooded when it rains)
- Working appliances
- Internet access, electricity, etc.

Joyful activities during these rainy days have included chatting with family and friends and watching online videos.

Plans for Wednesday include tending to the garden with M if the rain permits, more quilt repairs, and some card making.  

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for Wednesday?


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

March Meal Plans: Week 3 Review and Week 4 Plan

This was the plan for Week 3, which I started with a lot of leftovers and some chicken that needed to be cooked and frozen:

Breakfasts/Brunches: Scrambled egg and toast or fried potatoes; ham & split pea soup with biscuits(on a day when I want more of a lunch than a breakfast)✔, yogurt with cereal and fruit preserves (eaten mostly as dessert instead of brunches)✔ 

Dinners: Ham & split pea soup (on a day when I don't have it for brunch)✔, patties with ground beef filling and salad✔, smoked sausage sauteed chicken stir-fry with vegetables and rice✔, leftovers✔.  Or...I might have something quite different!  It'll depend on how much I feel like cooking, or not!  

And this is how it worked out:

Brunch: Drop biscuits with cream cheese
Dinner: Rice, sauteed chicken, carrots & broccoli stirfry
Dessert: Yogurt with strawberry jam and cereal

Brunch: Ham and split pea soup, drop biscuits with butter and golden syrup (the last of the drop biscuits)
Dinner: Patties, salad
Dessert: Yogurt with strawberry jam and cereal

Brunch: Patties
Dinner: Soup & cheese crackers
Dessert: Yogurt with palm treacle

Brunch: Soup
Dinner: Rice, chicken, stir fried vegetables (broccoli, carrots, snow pea pods)
Dessert: Yoghurt with apple-cranberry jam and cereal

Brunch:  Spam sandwich (yes, the canned luncheon meat! Not as good as canned corned beef, in my opinion, but half the price.)
Dinner:  Soup and salad (the last of the ham & split pea soup; shared it with M)
Dessert: Yoghurt with apple-cranberry jam and cereal

Brunch: Spam sandwich
Dinner: Spam fried rice (leftover rice, cubed Spam, an egg, frozen green peas)
Dessert: Chocolate wafers

Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Sauteed chicken, boiled new potatoes, steamed pea pods 
Dessert: Chocolate wafers, ice cream!

Snacks included grapes, homemade cheese crackers, and chocolate wafers
Beverages included homemade passionfruit lemonade and apple juice from the store

Well, that turned out quite well, I think.  I finished all the leftovers I needed to finish and nothing went to waste.  

On to Week 4!  I have some of the Spam leftover and just a little bit of the yogurt I made (which I am keeping as the starter for the next batch).  

Brunches: Frozen burrito (Monday), salads, fried rice, sauteed garbanzo beans, egg salad sandwiches, toast with cheese

- Breakfast for dinner (Monday; scrambled egg, fried Spam, toast)
- Smoked sausage/vegetables stir fry with rice
- Baked frozen fish fillets with rice and pea pods
- Chicken curry and rice? 
- Leftovers

That is the tentative plan for now.  I might change things as I go!  

Did you make a meal plan, last week?  Did you keep to it?  Will you be making a meal plan for this week?   

Monday, March 20, 2023

Rain on Sunday

Dinner: Sauteed Chicken, New Potatoes, and Snow Peas

Well, the forecast had been for a cloudy day, and it was that, but, it rained, too!  A light rain, but, it started late last night and went on for most of the day.  At one point, I looked out from the window and Mama Cat was seated under the curry leaf tree, flicking her ears as raindrops fell on her head!  I guess she didn't want to get up and move a few feet to be under the patio roof, even though I had put out a rug for her to sit on and a cardboard box to sleep in!  She is a feral cat although she lives in my garden.  

I made French toast for brunch, today and had the new potatoes and snow peas from the garden with a piece of sauteed chicken for dinner.  

I spent a good part of the day chatting with friends and one of my cousins.  In between, I continued to repair the quilt and watched some videos.  It was a very relaxed day and I had the heater on because I felt cold.

Today, I was grateful for:

- More rain for the garden!
- A working heater
- Chats with family and friends
- Being able to watch videos online
- A relaxed day

Today's joyful activities included chatting with family and friends and relaxing!  

Plans for tomorrow include some housekeeping activities and making a birthday card for my half-sister.  

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

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunny Saturday and the Front Garden in March

Saturday's Harvest

I picked more lettuce and snow pea pods from the garden on Saturday!

It was a sunny day with clear blue skies and an afternoon high of 73F!  It was warmer outside than it was inside, so, I spent the morning and part of the afternoon outside!  It was pleasant to listen to the birdsongs and watch the butterflies and the lizards, while I had my morning cup of tea and said my morning prayers.  I watched a pair of hummingbirds drink nectar from the crocosmia flowers, but, they flew away when I tried to take a photo.  I also did two loads of laundry and changed the dust sheets on the family room sofas.

Later in the afternoon, I sewed a bit on the quilt I am repairing and watched a couple of videos while I did so.  Still later, I watched news and some TV programs and knitted.  

Time for the monthly photos of the front garden:

The Front Garden in March

Looking Straight Down Along the Sidewalk

The Succulents Bed Along the Sidewall/Fence 

The Aloe Plants are Done Flowering

New Growth on the Euphorbia Tirucalli

New Leaves on the Pomegranate Tree

Flower Buds on the Jasmine Plant

The front garden is sort of in a transition phase right now.  The lantana bushes have suffered some frost damage from those nights when the temperature dipped down to 35F and are not looking their best.  The succulents beds need some tidying up, too.  But, the plants are all doing well and there's more rain in the forecast, so, they will get plenty of water, again!  

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Another sunny and warm day
- More garden produce to harvest
- Working appliances
- Phone calls with family and friends
- The car started without any problem

Saturday's joyful activities included sitting outside listening to birdsong and enjoying the sunshine.

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

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Sunnier on Friday

Friday's Harvest

We had a sunnier day, today!  The house felt cold when I woke up (I had turned the heater off before I went to bed), but, it was warmer outside (63F)!  So, I opened the doors and windows and went outside for a bit.  Walked around the garden, did a bit of weeding, and then, walked up and down the driveway for 15 minutes.  

I did a little tidying and sorted through some papers in the afternoon and replied to blog comments. Watched some videos and later, watched the news.  

M was here in the evening to tend to the garden and I shared some soup and salad with him before he left.  He fertilized the nectarine tree and the Fuyu persimmon tree which is just starting to form leaf buds:

Leaf Buds on the Fuyu Persimmon Tree

The lantana and plumbago hedge is behind it.   There is a little strip of ground between the persimmon tree and the hedge and I had planted a couple of potatoes that had shriveled up and a sweet potato top.  Both potato and sweet potato vines had died back and I had M dig them up to see if we had anything.  There were four tiny potatoes (shown in the first photo at the top) and one skinny little sweet potato!  I put the sweet potato back in water to see if I can get it to sprout, as it was not worth cooking it.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunnier and warmer day
- Having the garden to walk in
- Chatting with family and friends
- M helping with the garden
- Today's harvest!

Today's joyful activity was walking in the garden. 

I don't have any specific plans for the weekend.  It's supposed to be sunny and warmer (a high of 68F) on Saturday and cloudy and cooler (a high of 57F) on Sunday.  

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend?  

Friday, March 17, 2023

A Stroll in the Back Yard

The Peaches Are Forming

Thursday was another cloudy day, with some rain in the early morning.  The rain had ceased by the time I woke up, however.  I walked around the back yard, today, and as you can see, the garden is doing well with all the rain.

The peach tree has set fruit, but, according to M, some of the fruit are showing frost damage and, of course, we will have to thin out the fruit in the weeks to come.  

Peaches Close Up

The plum tree is full of flowers and I am hoping that I'll get some fruit, later on:

Plum Flowers

The nectarine tree is still thinking about it:

Nectarine Tree

The orange tree is full of buds - the garden will smell so sweet when they start to flower:

Orange Flower Buds

Nearby, a clump of purple osteospermum is flowering :

Purple Osteospermum

The self-seeded broccoli plants are growing well, too.  No signs, yet, of any broccoli forming, but, I'll be happy with just the leaves!  

Broccoli Plants

The lettuces are ready to be harvested!  They are sharing a bed with some of the snow peas.

Salad, Anyone?

The rest of the snow peas are sharing the planting bed with the broccoli:

The Rest of the Snow Peas

I picked a few more snow pea pods, this afternoon, and added them to the ones I picked on Wednesday; they were sauteed and eaten with rice and chicken for dinner.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Having a back yard
- Rain to water the garden
- The fruit trees seem to have survived the winter
- Being able to harvest lettuce and snow peas
- The promise of fruit to come

Today's joyful activity was strolling in the back yard and picking snow pea pods for dinner!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Today's Garden Harvest: Lettuce and Snow Pea Pods!

I picked some lettuce and the first of the snow pea pods from the garden, today!  Some of the lettuces are starting to bolt!  I picked three more snow pea pods after I took this photo - I'll be having them in a stir-fry, tomorrow.  

Last night, after I posted, I baked the second tray of chicken thighs:

Baked Chicken Thighs

There were 12 thighs in this package.  I seasoned them with some salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, and a little soy sauce.  After they cooled, I packaged them, three thighs per package, and froze them for future meals.  

Then, while the oven was on to bake the chicken, I mixed up some pastry dough and made some patties with the leftover ground beef and dhal curry I mixed together.  There was just enough of the mixture for 10 patties.  I added some freshly grated cheese to the leftover pastry, along with a little garlic salt and paprika, and baked some cheese crackers for a snack.  

Patties and Cheese Crackers

I had some of the patties for my dinner, last night, and for brunch, today.

It was a cool and cloudy day, today, but, the rain ceased and M was able to check on the garage roof and do a few more repairs.  He wasn't very pleased with his efforts, but, he's a perfectionist; I told him that as long as the repairs hold out until I can get a roofer to check on things, it's good enough for me.  M also checked on the peach tree and noticed that some of the baby peaches that are forming are showing signs of frost damage.  We will have to thin out quite a few fruits, in another week or so.  

I called and wished one of my cousins for her birthday, sewed a few more patches on my quilt in the afternoon, watched a walking tour of the Tower of London, and watched news.  Later, I cleaned the litter box.  Dinner was more of the soup and cheese crackers followed by grapes.  Grapes are selling for $2.99/lb. this week, so I am glad I bought some when they were on sale, last week.   

Today, I am grateful for:

- M's help with the garden and roof repairs
- A well-watered garden
- Today's garden harvest
- Working appliances
- A relaxed day

Today's joyful activity was picking the first pea pods from the garden.

Plans for tomorrow include some kitchen cleaning and more quilt repairs.  

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


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

More Rain on Tuesday

The Garden Plants are Loving the Rain
(Those tiny plants are osteospermum seedlings)

Monday was a mostly sunny day and "warm" with a high of 65F.  I must be getting used to the cooler temperatures we've been having because I didn't need to switch the heater on until quite late at night.  Of course, I was wearing a pair of leggings under my jeans and three sweaters plus a scarf, so, I was well insulated!  LOL.  But, it's only 55F, today (Tuesday), and rainy; I'm  wearing the same number of layers, plus a knitted poncho and a scarf AND my fingerless mitts, but, I had to switch the heater on as I felt cold (thermostat was set at 65F, but I was still cold and I've since raised it to 70F).  Now we know why I have so many clothes in the closet!  I wear multiples of them in the winter to keep warm!  LOL!  

On Monday, I paid my gas bill of $337.74 (for the billing period 1/20/23 - 2/17/23).  I had used fewer therms of gas (104) than during the same billing period in 2022 (136), but, the cost of gas and associated fees and taxes have gone up, so, the amount of the bill ($337.74) had increased, too (last year's bill was $277.46).  I used 32 fewer therms and paid $60 more!  Sigh.  The next meter reading will take place 3/20/23; the current estimate of that bill is $263.22.

I also cleaned the litter box, took the trash cans to the end of the driveway, took the kitchen scraps to the compost pile, and checked on the garden, a bit.  The blueberry bushes are in planters set under the cover of the patio overhang and they don't get much of the rain, so I watered them.  The rest of the garden is getting rained on, today, and there's more rain in the forecast for tomorrow, as well!  

In the evening, I cooked one of the trays of chicken thighs I had bought on Sunday.  There were 10 thighs in the tray.  I sauteed them with some onions and two of the Roma tomatoes I had bought, earlier in the month.  There was a tiny bit of teriyaki sauce that my daughter had made when she was here and kept in the fridge for me, so I added that to the chicken, too, along with some salt and pepper.  Once they were cooked, I decided to have one for my dinner (although that was not in my meal plan!) with the leftover rice I had in the fridge, and I stir fried some carrots and broccoli to go with it.  

Monday Night's Dinner

I froze some of the cooked chicken in meal sized portions and kept the remaining couple of pieces in the fridge, along with the leftover stir fried vegetables, for later in the week.  I will cook the remaining tray of chicken thighs, tonight, and freeze them, too.  Having cooked chicken in the freezer helps; they are easy to thaw and reheat in the microwave.    

Today, I brought the trash cans in and I kept the lids on the green yard waste bin and the blue recycling bin open, in order to catch any rainwater I could in the bins.  I can leave off adding yard waste and recycling material to the bins for another week or two and then, we'll use whatever water gets collected in the bins first.  

Monday's brunch was two of the drop biscuits with cream cheese and dinner was what is pictured above.  Afterwards, for dessert, I had some yogurt with a spoonful of strawberry jam stirred into it and some cereal sprinkled on top.  I should mix up a batch of granola as that would be just perfect as a topping for the yogurt.

Today, I had a bowl of the ham and split pea soup followed by the last two drop biscuits with butter and golden syrup for brunch.  Dinner will be some of the patties I am planning to make after tea (which is brewing as I type this).  I am thinking that I might just bake the chicken thighs in the oven, along with the patties.  Having the oven on will help warm up the house, as well!

I am grateful for:
- More rain for the garden
- Weekly trash collection services
- Working appliances
- M's roof repairs seem to be holding up
- Delivery services - I ordered some kitty litter and one box was delivered yesterday and the other is expected to be delivered today.

Joyful activities have included being in the garden and knitting.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, too.  If it does, then M will not be able to do any garden work.  

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Monday, March 13, 2023

March Meal Plans: Week 2 Review and Week 3

This was the plan for Week 2:

Breakfasts/Brunches:  Bagels and cream cheese✔, cinnamon rolls✔, leftover noodles from the cup noodles with some leftover shredded turkey added to it (Monday)✔,  scrambled eggs with toast or fried potatoes, lasagna✔, biscuits and cream cheese, cereal and milk (imagine that! Can't remember the last time I had cereal and milk for breakfast!)


- Leftover macaroni and cheese with the last of the shredded sauteed turkey, salad (Monday)✔
- Leftover macaroni and cheese with chicken curry✔
- Rice, chicken curry, dhal, cucumber slices✔
- Ham and split pea soup✔ drop biscuits
- Ground beef with mashed potatoes, broccoli rice and dhal curry
- Leftovers✔

There was, also, yogurt for dessert.

I start off Week 3 with leftover ham and split pea soup, leftover biscuits, a small serving of leftover rice, and leftover ground beef mixture (to which, I added the leftover dhal curry).  Plus an almost full dish of yogurt.  

Breakfasts/Brunches: Scrambled egg and toast or fried potatoes; ham & split pea soup with biscuits(on a day when I want more of a lunch than a breakfast), yogurt with cereal and fruit preserves, 

Dinners: Ham & split pea soup (on a day when I don't have it for brunch), patties with ground beef filling and salad, smoked sausage stir-fry with vegetables and rice, leftovers.  Or...I might have something quite different!  It'll depend on how much I feel like cooking, or not!  

Did you make a meal plan, last week?  Did you keep to it?  Will you be making a meal plan for this week?   

Sunday, March 12, 2023

March Grocery Shopping - Part 2

I picked up my groceries today (Sunday).  As mentioned before, this was a stock up grocery order, to take advantage of sales and current prices before they increased!  

I bought:

Chicken thighs, 2 family packs, 6.58 lbs. @ $0.99/lb. (reg. price $2.49/lb.) = $6.51

Grapes, 3 lb. container, reg. price $7.99, on sale with digital coupon  = $4.99 ($1.66/lb.)

Pancake mix, 1 box, 32 oz., store brand = $3.29 ($0.10 price increase since I bought it last in November 2022)

Rice, 10 lb. long grain, white, store brand = $7.49
($2 price increase since I bought a 10 lb. bag in March, 2022; in July 2022, 10lb. and 5lb. bags of rice were not available for pick up - delivery only, according to the website - and I bought 3x 2 lb. bags for a higher price per lb.; the 2 lb. bags of rice have increased in price to $1.99 now)

Condensed milk, 6 cans, 14 oz.@, store brand @ $2.49 = $14.94 (price increased by $0.10/can since I last purchased in October 2022)

Milk, 1/2 gal. store brand with digital coupon = $1.99 ($0.40 price reduction with coupon)

Flour, 5 lb., store brand, unbleached = $3.19 (same price as when I bought in January 2023)

Sugar, 10 lb., white, store brand = $6.99 (same price as when I bought in December 2022)

Ground coffee, 12 oz., daughter's favorite brand, $6.99@ (reg. price $14.99 per receipt!) = $13.98 (it's been quite some time since I last bought coffee, but, it was on sale for $5.99 back then).

Total spent today = $63.37

March grocery budget = $100.00
Spent to date = $36.42 (on March 4) + $63.37 = $99.79
Balance left = $0.21

I had $63.58 left in my March grocery budget after my shopping on March 4; I think I planned out this week's shopping almost down to the penny!  LOL.

I am not planning to buy more groceries this month.  I have plenty of fruit and vegetables in the fridge and freezer, plus there's lettuce ready to be picked in the garden and I noticed that the first snow pea pods are just about ready to be picked!

How are you coming along with your grocery shopping and grocery budget?  How do these prices compare with what you are seeing in your grocery stores?  

Cloudy Saturday

Saturday was a cloudy day, with a little sunshine from time to time, but, no rain.  However, more rain is in the forecast for next week!  

I spent a rather relaxed day, having slept in till quite late. I continued to repair the quilt, watched online videos and some TV programs, chatted with friend R, exchanged emails with a friend, and video chatted  with my daughter.  The only productive things I did today were cleaning the litter box, doing the dishes, and putting in an order of groceries.  I decided to stock up now, instead of at the end of the month, in order to take advantage of the current sale on chicken and daughter's coffee.  I also wanted to get some pantry items, such as rice, sugar, flour, and condensed milk (which I use for my tea).  They are some of the items I stock up on a quarterly basis.  The rice and one of the varieties of coffee I ordered was low in stock, according to the store website; I will find out tomorrow if they have them or not.  

Brunch was some of the drop biscuits with cream cheese.  For dinner, I had leftover rice, the last of the chicken curry, dhal curry, and peach chutney.  I had a bowl of my yogurt for dessert; it turned out well.

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Being able to sleep in
- A break in the rain to dry out a bit
- Daughter's area is not affected by the floods in northern California
- Being able to order groceries online
- A working heater

Saturday's joyful activity was sewing.

Plans for Sunday include picking up the groceries.  

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


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Rainy Friday

Rainy Backyard with Plum Tree

It started raining late last night and it rained most of the day.  Not a very heavy downpour, but, a steady rain.  It eventually stopped raining, later in the evening, but, by that time, we had cancelled M's visit as it was too wet for him to do any gardening and I didn't have any inside work for him to do.

I had a fairly productive day.  I cleaned my bathroom, changed my bed sheets, did a load of laundry (and hung it up to dry; not using the dryer unless I have to), put away the cans and bags of cat food that were delivered, did some dishes, and finished knitting the back of the sweater I am making.  I had to turn the oven on low a couple of times this morning to get the dish of yogurt to set, but, it eventually set:

Freshly Made Yogurt

I put it in the fridge to cool.  Later in the evening, I made a pot of ham and split pea soup, using some ends of ham I had frozen (from the half ham I had bought at the end of December, on sale for $1.68/lb.), about half a cup of green split peas from a bag that I had been given by a friend, a carrot, some onions, and some celery.  I soaked the split peas before I added them to the soup, which shortened their cooking time.  Then, to go with the soup, I baked a batch of drop biscuits:

Drop Biscuits

Dinner was a bowl of the soup and a drop biscuit:

Dinner:  Ham and Split Pea Soup and Drop Biscuit

There are leftovers for several more meals.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Rain for the garden!
- Deliveries of cat food 
- Being able to hang laundry inside the house to dry (daughter's lease, for example, expressly prohibits hanging up laundry to dry, in order to minimize mold build up). 
- Working appliances
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was knitting.

I don't have any specific plans for tomorrow.  I'll probably continue to repair the quilt and take it easy!

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday, March 10, 2023



Plum Flowers

My biggest accomplishment on Thursday was taking the tax documents to the tax accountant's office and handing them to her!  She will review them and do my taxes for me; I have an appointment with her to finalize the taxes, sign the documents, and pay her, of course.  

I spent a fairly relaxed morning, answering blog comments, catching up on a couple of blogs, cleaning the litter box, etc.  Then, in the afternoon, I dropped off the tax documents and came home.  I spent the rest of the afternoon watching online videos and repairing the quilt.  I had to insert new quilt batting in some area because the old batting had disappeared!  Either it got wadded up and migrated to another portion of the quilt or, it came off!  

Osteospermum Flowers

Later in the evening, I watched news and knitted.  Cousin V called and we chatted for a bit and later, I called friend R to check on her.  

Afterwards, I cooked rice and a dhal curry to have for dinner, with some of the chicken curry I had in the fridge and cucumber slices.  I did the dishes while dinner was cooking.  After dinner, I made a batch of yogurt.  I put the yogurt mixture in the oven, after preheating the oven for a few minutes at the lowest setting, to firm up overnight.  I might have to reheat the oven for a few more minutes before I go to sleep.  Sometimes, in cold weather, especially, it takes longer than overnight for the yogurt to form.  

The week's grocery ads came in the mail and chicken is on sale for $0.99/lb. again.  I still have some chicken in the freezer from when I bought two trays of chicken in February.  I wasn't planning to grocery shop this week, but, now, I'm wondering if I should stock up on chicken at that price or wait!  Well, the prices are good through next Tuesday, so, I still have time to decide.

Crocosmia Flowers

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to drop off the tax documents for the tax accountant to work on
- A safe drive to the tax accountant's office and back
- Phone calls with family and friends
- Video chatting with my daughter
- Working appliances 

Today's joyful activity was dropping off the tax documents with the accountant!  

Plans for tomorrow include some housework, making the ham and split pea soup, and more quilt repairs.  It is supposed to rain, tomorrow, which will be good for the garden!  

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

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Mid-Week, Already?

Cloudy Skies on Monday

More Clouds

Monday was rather cold and cloudy, after some rain in the early morning.  I took these photos in the early evening, when I went to take the trash cans to the end of the driveway.  

All Clear on Tuesday

On Tuesday, however, the skies were clear and the day was sunny with a high of 60F.  I brought the trash cans in and walked for 20 minutes.  

I've been busy doing some paperwork, this week.

On Monday, I went through several stacks of mail that had piled up, again.  Afterwards. I gathered all the tax related documents I needed (I have been putting the various documents in a file folder as I received them in the mail, but, there were one or two documents that were in the stacks of recent mail that needed to be included in the tax file folder).  

On Tuesday, I called the cancer clinic's billing department about a bill I had received.  The bill stated I owed $334.55, which was the difference between what they charged for the office visit and the bone density injection and what insurance had covered.  I had been getting ready to pay it on Monday, but, when I logged into my account, online, I noticed a discrepancy in the amounts I owed.  According to the bill, I owed $334.55 while the online account showed that I had a credit of $115!  So, I called the billing department and spoke with one of their customer service reps.  Apparently, the bill had been submitted to my primary health insurance and they paid a certain portion of the bill in accordance with their agreements with the clinic.  Then, the clinic submitted the unpaid portion of the bill to the secondary insurance, but, they billed me, too, at the same time, without waiting to receive payment from the secondary insurance.  In the meantime, they have received payment from the secondary insurance.  The credit on the account were from previous copay overpayments (at least one of which dated back to 2020!)  The billing clerk I spoke with said to disregard the bill, that I didn't owe anything at all, and that she will put in a request to issue me a check for the credit of $115.  Isn't that nice?  She said it might take about 10 business days for me to receive the check, but, I can wait.  That will be like found money and I will apply it towards offsetting that big gas bill!  

Today (Wednesday), was another cool and cloudy day.  M was here in the morning and he brought some roofing nails to do more roof repairs.  He also cleaned my gutters while he was up there.  I told him to give me a bill for the roofing work and he laughed.  I will have to bake him some cookies or something to thank him.

I spent the afternoon sewing and watching videos.  I also double checked my tax file to make sure I have all the documents I need.  I had emailed my tax accountant, earlier in the week, to let her know that I will be dropping off the tax documents by the end of the week, but, she has not replied to my email.  I will call her, tomorrow (Thursday) and drop the documents off at her office.  

I had the last of the lasagna for brunch, today, and the last of the macaroni and cheese with chicken curry for dinner.  There's another portion of the chicken curry for Thursday's dinner.  

I am grateful for:
- I didn't owe any money to the cancer clinic; rather, I had a credit that they will reimburse!
- Medical insurance
- M helping with the roof repairs
- Working appliances
- More rain for the garden

This week's joyful activities have included watching videos and video chatting with my daughter.

Plans for Thursday include dropping off the tax papers and doing some tidying.

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for the rest of the week?

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Monthly Balanced Life Goals - February Review and March Goals

My monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in black (later, when I do reviews, the end of the month ratings will be shown in blue.) 

The following five areas of my life continued to receive a high satisfaction rating of 10, so, once again, I am just going to skim over them:

Spiritual (10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
I continued with daily prayers, meditation, etc.  The highlight of the month was the visit to the Temple in early February; I was able to hold a prayer service or puja in memory of my mother on her death anniversary.  I was happy to have been able to do this.  March goals will continue to live a spiritually meaningful life.

Daughter (10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
Daughter and I continued to keep in touch by phone and video chats in February.  She also celebrated her birthday in March and I called her at midnight to sing Happy Birthday to her.  March goals will continue to have a close relationship with her.

Community (10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
There wasn't a lot of community involvement in February, other than on line and phone chats, etc.  But, I was content with that for now.  I plan to continue to do the same in March, too.

Finances (10):  The goal is financial security:
I continued to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose, in February, unusually high heating bills notwithstanding!  I will continue to do so in March, too.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care (10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
Another area in my life that continues to get a high rating.  February's leisure/crafts/hobbies, etc., included repairing the quilt top and participating in the monthly photo challenge.  Looking forward to a month of joyful activities and crafting in March, too.

The remaining areas of my life continued to receive a satisfaction rating of 7 or above and they are the areas I will be focusing on:

House (7.5)(7.0):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue with the decluttering process

I'm doing better about keeping the house cleaned and maintained although I continue to struggle with finding a place for everything and keeping everything in its place!

I'm afraid I didn't meet February's decluttering goal of 30 items (unless you count the number of scrap pieces of fabric I "tossed" to the quilt I'm repairing!) and I reduced the rating accordingly.  I will continue with my attempts to declutter with a goal of 31 items in March. 

Goals for March include getting some needed repairs done, starting with the garage roof.  

Garden (7.0)(8.0):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed); M will continue to visit twice a week
- Focus on the winter vegetable and fruit plants

The good news is, the front parkway project was completed!  Woo hoo!  It took a few more bags of pea gravel than originally anticipated, but, that is fine.  The parkway looks intentionally bare, not neglected.  So far, neighbors and others have been respectful for the most part (still find the occasional empty cans of beer, etc.)  I have raised the rating based on the parkway project being completed.

March goals include continuing with planting spring vegetables and caring for the fruit trees.

Family & Friends (8.0)(8.0):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them

There were plenty of phone calls, texts, emails, etc., with family and friends in February.  As I've mentioned before, I am content with how things stand in this area of my life.  It's not ideal, but, I am not that comfortable with in-person visits.    

Goals for March will remain the same.  

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

I had a blood test and two doctors appointments in February.  The blood test results were mostly good, the check ups were good, too, and I received my bone density increasing injection.  I was asked to reduce the dosage of one supplement I was prescribed and to add another supplement.  I have follow-up appointments to return in May.  I'm leaving the rating at 8.5 because, although the blood test results were good, there is still some room for improvement.

Health goals for March will remain the same.  

Time Management (8)(8.0): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less

I think I managed my time for the most part in February.  There might have been some procrastination going on, but, for the most part, I didn't waste my time.
The goal in March is to keep at it.  

I think that, overall, it was a good month and my life was balanced.  I need to focus more on keeping the house maintained in March.  Anyone else making monthly goals for a more balanced life?  

Monday, March 6, 2023

March Meal Plans - Week 2

First a review of how my March Week 1 meal plan worked out.  

Breakfasts/Brunches:  Banana muffins (3 left)✔, pancakes or waffles, milk rice with seeni sambol (March 1)✔, turkey soup (1 serving left)(added to dinner)✔, scrambled eggs✔ with fried potatoes or hash browns, leftovers✔. cinnamon rolls

- Leftover shredded turkey made into something!  It's been sitting in the fridge for several days, now!✔
- Rice with sauteed shredded turkey chicken* or mackerel curry, dhal, moringa curry*, chutney
- Ham* and split pea soup?
- Ground beef* with mashed potatoes, snow pea pods* or broccol
- Leftovers✔
*Items from the freezer

- Macaroni and cheese
- Roti
- Cup noodle soup
- Lasagna

Ha!  See all the items crossed out?  I didn't make them! The items in blue are what I had, instead! Here's how it all turned out:

Brunch: banana muffin
Dinner: Made-over shredded turkey with rice cooked with the last of the turkey soup, cucumber slices

Brunch: Scrambled egg (by itself)
Dinner: Leftover rice, shredded sauteed turkey, cucumber slices
Snack: Cheese and crackers, banana muffins

Brunch: Milk rice, seeni sambol
Dinner: Milk rice, chicken curry
Dessert: Home canned peaches with non-dairy whipped topping

Brunch: Leftover Milk rice and chicken curry
Dinner: Roti, chicken curry, seeni sambol
Dessert: Home canned peaches with non-dairy whipped topping

Brunch: Leftover roti with chicken curry and seeni sambol
Dinner: Boxed macaroni and cheese, leftover shredded sauteed turkey
Snacks: Half the sugarbee apple, home canned peaches, cheese and crackers

Brunch: Lasagna and cinnamon roll
Dinner:  Cup noodle soup (mostly the broth from it; saved the noodles for another day); half a bagel with cream cheese, mandarin 

Brunch: Half a bagel with cream cheese
Dinner: Lasagna
Dessert/Snacks: Cinnamon roll, the other half of the sugarbee apple

I see a sad lack of vegetables, but, I did add some vegetables to the sauteed shredded turkey.


Here is the plan for Week 2.  Once again, I am going with options, instead of a set menu by day, as that seems to work best for me.

Breakfasts/Brunches:  Bagels and cream cheese, leftover noodles from the cup noodles with some leftover shredded turkey added to it (Monday),  scrambled eggs with toast or fried potatoes, lasagna.


- Leftover macaroni and cheese with the last of the shredded sauteed turkey, salad (Monday) 

- Leftover macaroni and cheese with chicken curry

- Rice, chicken curry, dhal, cucumber slices

- Ham and split pea soup?

- Ground beef with mashed potatoes, broccoli

- Leftovers

As always, subject to change depending on how I feel!  

Did you make a meal plan, last week?  Did you keep to it?  Have you made a meal plan for this week?  Or, do you decide on the day of?