Thursday, February 29, 2024

February Monthly Photo Challenge - Older Than You

Eileen at A Bracelet of Days is hosting the monthly photo challenges and February's theme is "Older Than You".  It's getting harder to find things that are older than me, at least in and around my house, and I have already photographed some of them for previous photo challenges, but, here are my finds:

The House: Built 1944

My Father's Much Battered Carved Elephant

My Mother's Figurine

Two Dictionaries:
Sinhalese-English and English-Sinhalese

One Published in 1924

The Other Published in 1936

Both Gifted to my Step Aunt by her Mother in 1944

And, in turn, gifted to me by my step aunt (step-father's sister) because my great-grandfather (mother's paternal grandfather) worked on the preparation of the dictionaries.

My Mother's Recipe Book

Dated: 3rd September, 1953
(She wrote her name, address, and the date inside the front cover)

The First Recipe: Sponge Layer Cake

And finally:
NOT Older than Me!

Dancer Says, "My Mummy is older than me!

Thank you, Eileen, for hosting the monthly photo challenge.  Looking forward to March's theme!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

February Grocery Shopping Part 2

Today's Grocery Shopping

I ordered groceries this morning and picked up the order in the afternoon.  

February grocery shopping part 1, done on February 12, is here.   

I bought:

1 cucumber, reg. price $0.89, with $0.40 off coupon = $0.49

3 bananas (0.83 lbs) @ $0.68/lb. = $0.57

2.24 lb. grapes @ $1.99/lb. with digital coupon (reg. price $3.69/lb) = $4.46

1 loaf multi grain bread = $2.99
(store brand bread was $2.49, but, not available for pick up; delivery only)

1 box 16 oz. saltine crackers = $2.29

1/2 gallon milk = $2.79

1 small container of plain yogurt (5.3 oz) = $1.00
(the larger containers of yogurt were not available for pick up; delivery only.  I'll use the small container as a starter for a batch of homemade yogurt)

1 container (16 oz.) dry roasted peanuts = $3.29

1 lb. ground beef, reg. price $6.29, on sale for $5.99, with $2.25 off coupon = $3.74
(1 lb. ground turkey was on sale for $3.99, but the ground beef was cheaper with the coupon)

1 vegetable oil (40 fl.oz.) = $3.99
(I had asked for the 48 fl. oz. store brand oil and they substituted the brand name oil, which is less quantity, but, sells for $4.99)

3 cans tuna in water, on sale for $1.00 each, with a $0.50 off purchase of 3 coupon = $2.50

5 gallons purified drinking water, @ $1.39  = $6.95
(although only one is shown in the picture, above)
California redemption value (recycling deposit) = $0.50

1 frozen pizza, reg. price $6.49, with digital coupon = $3.49

Total spent = $39.05

According to the store receipt, my groceries would have cost $51.68 but I saved $12.63 with sales and coupons.

My February grocery budget (for food, only) is $100
Total spent to date: $3.00 (for a loaf of bakery bread), $40.36 + $39.05 = $82.41
Balance remaining (to be carried over to March) = $100 - $82.41 = $17.59

"Did you buy any tuna for me?"

I baked the pizza after I came home and had a slice of it for brunch (eaten at 4:00 p.m.)  I plan to freeze some of the pizza for later.  

And that's my grocery shopping for February.  How did you do with your February grocery shopping?  Were you able to keep to your budget?

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

No Rain on Tuesday


Spicy Sauteed Garbanzo Beans

Tuesday's brunch was a bowl of spicy sauteed garbanzo beans from a package I had cooked and frozen, earlier, and a banana-blueberry muffin.  

It was a partly cloudy day, today, but, there was no rain.  I spent the morning doing my usual morning stuff.  In the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up two of my prescription medication refills.  I was very pleased to see that the pharmacy has placed a container for depositing unwanted and expired medications!  I have some old medications that I can dispose of appropriately, now.  I only went to the pharmacy, today, and only picked up my medications.  I didn't buy anything else and I didn't go to the dollar store, on the other side of the pharmacy/drug store.  

I had my brunch after I came home and then, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading my library book.  I have another couple of chapters to read and then, I can return the book to the library.

Later, I watched news and some other TV programs and crocheted.  I haven't started on daughter's blanket, yet.  Instead, I'm using the yarn she has in her stash down here to make another lap blanket to be donated to the cancer clinic.

Dinner was leftover from last night's dinner: rice, beef curry, and moringa curry.  

Today, I'm grateful for:
- The availability of medications
- Medical insurance and drug coverage
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- Time to read and crochet
- Phone calls and emails with family and friends

Today's joyful activities included reading and crocheting.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is supposed to be a sunny day.  M will be here in the late morning to tend to the garden and I might order some groceries to be picked up in the afternoon.

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

Monday, February 26, 2024

Another Rainy Monday and a Meal Plan of Sorts

A Baker's Dozen of Banana/Blueberry/Cashews Muffins
(in dark blue paper muffin liners)

The day started out cloudy and rather grey; the rain started in the afternoon.  A light rain, but, the garden is getting watered!

On Sunday, I checked my freezer. organized it a little (the bottom bin and two of the five shelves), and updated the inventory.  Then, I took out a package of beef smore/curry, a package of moringa curry, a package containing two cooked mild Italian sausages, and a package of frozen blueberries for this week's meals.  

I had one banana that was getting a bit too ripe for my liking, so I made a batch of banana muffins with blueberries and cashews.  They will be good for breakfasts and snacks (and to share with M when he's here on Wednesday).  The beef curry and moringa curry will be good with rice for dinners and the sausages can be made into something to eat with pasta or with mashed potatoes.

Today, Monday, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a refill of Dancer's thyroid medication.  I asked myself if I wanted to get a doughnut from the store, next door, but, decided I didn't because I had muffins at home.  So, no doughnuts this time around!

After I came home, I had brunch (a slice of toast with the last of the tuna salad I had made over the weekend and two of my muffins), took the trash cans out to the curb, read and commented on a few blogs, cleaned Dancer's litter box, etc., and watched the news.

I also accepted the delivery of this box:

New Yarn!

I had made a few granny squares with some pink yarn leftover from a baby blanket I had crocheted, earlier; my daughter liked the colors and asked for a pink granny squares blanket for herself.  So, we ordered some yarn, on sale for $3.49 per 7 oz. skein) which was delivered, today!  Guess what I'll be doing in the coming days and weeks!

Dinner, tonight, was rice (with some frozen green peas added to it), beef curry, moringa curry, and peach chutney:
Monday Night's Dinner

Last week's meal plan worked out well, enough, although I didn't have the salmon dinner I had planned to have.  Here's this week's meal plan:

Brunches: Tuna salad and toast (Monday), banana-blueberry muffins, spicy sauteed garbanzo beans, milkrice and curry (Friday, March 1), pancakes or waffles, leftovers

Dinners: Rice, beef curry, moringa curry, peach chutney (Monday and Tuesday), sausages with pasta or mashed potatoes and vegetables, turkey casserole or pot pie, leftovers.

Once again, this meal plan is based on what I have on hand.  It might (or might not) change, if I do a grocery pick up this week.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Rain for the garden
- Dancer's medications
- The car started after not driving it for a week
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- Phone calls, emails, and texts from family and friends

Today's joyful activity was crocheting.

How was your Monday?  Any special plans for Tuesday?

Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Back Garden in February

The Backyard on a Sunny February Afternoon

Are you ready to take a short stroll through the back garden?  The photo above is looking straight down the garden; the photo below is taken from the side gate (the big tree in the background is a neighbor's pine tree, which was trimmed late last year.

From a Different Angle

See all that lovely green stuff on the ground?  It almost looks like a lawn from this angle, doesn't it?  It's just a weedy type of grass that grows only in the winter when it is cool and wet.  As soon as summer comes and it starts to get hot, that grass will die back and it'll be just bare ground, again, especially since I won't water it.

The star of the garden, right now, is the peach tree:

Peach Tree

You are going to get tired of pictures of the peach flowers, but, I love seeing them!

Peach Flowers

There are clumps of osteospermum in the back garden, too:

Purple Osteospermum

And the aloe vera flower stalk is still in the process of opening up, with the buds separating from the cluster (the flowers haven't bloomed, yet):

Aloe Vera Flower Stalk in Bud Stage

Looking down along the side wall, with the clumps of crocosmia growing along the wall, the orange tree with osteospermum growing around its base: 

Orange Tree and Companion Plants!

Also growing under the orange tree is this volunteer carob plant!

Volunteer Carob Plant

I might ask M to dig it up and plant it somewhere else!

This clump of crocosmia (and a yucca plant behind them) are growing further down along the side wall.  You can see some of the plants flopped over, which is what happens when they are not staked.  Almost all of the plants will flop over after they've flowered and once the leaves start to die, we will cut them down to the ground.  


On the other side of the garden, behind the garage, the path to the shed is almost completely hidden by these plants, a mixture of purple Martha Washington geraniums, curry leaf suckers, osteospermum, and gazania, plus weedy grass!  As M says, "Just add water and watch the garden grow!"  

A Hidden Path!

The area near the shed is full of gazanias and commelina (Asiatic dayflower) plants, growing like weeds.  M cleared a whole bunch of them from around the base of the persimmon tree, but they are still growing in other places:

Gazania and Commelina (Asiatic Day Flower) Plants

I've tried transplanting the gazania to other areas in the garden, but, they seem to prefer this particular location.

More Gazania

Finally, the blueberry bushes:

Blueberry Bushes in Flower

The bees are loving the flowers; in fact, there's a bee in the picture above - do you see it?  No?  Check the picture below - I've drawn an arrow pointing to it:

Bee on the Blueberry Flower

Thank you for strolling in the back garden with me.  Hope you enjoyed your visit!  

The Front Garden in February

The Front Garden in February (2/24)

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in February, will you come for a stroll in the front garden with me?

Osteospermum mxed in with the Lantana

I am encouraging them to grow wherever they consent to grow!

More Osteospermum (Self-Seeded)

The euryops bushes, growing at the base of the eucalyptus tree, are also flowering; I love their bright yellow daisy-like flowers:


Euryops - Close Up

Between the eucalyptus tree and the fence with the neighbors, I have what I call my succulents circle, with the jacaranda tree in the middle, and aloes and aeoniums growing around it:

Succulents Circle

The aloe flowers are coming to an end, with just a few flowers left at the very end of the stalks:

Aloe Flowers

This is one of my favorite succulent plants:

Aeonium "Sunburst"

Along the fence, I have what I call the succulents border, with many different succulents growing along it:

Some of the Succulents Along the Border

Last year, M brought me a different type of succulent plant from his garden, with "leaves" that look like spring onion tops (I've forgotten the name; maybe a species of bulbine?).  We planted it at the front of the succulents border and it has some flower stalks, now!

It looks like Spring Onions, doesn't it?

I will ask M what the name of this plant is, on Wednesday.  In thee meantime, I took a close up of the flower stalks (still in bud):

Flower Stalks (still in bud)

At the other end of the front garden, in the planting bed along the driveway, the newer rosemary bush is full of flowers and the bees are going crazy!

Rosemary Bush in Flower and a Bee

I no longer have grass growing in what used to be a lawn, but, I have a mostly water-wise garden in the front and I am content.  

I am grateful for:
- Having a place to garden
- M's help with the garden
- The many water-wise plants I have
- The rain we've had
- Flowers for the bees (and the butterflies, too)

Yellow Butterfly on the Lantana Flowers

It's not the best picture, but, it was hard to photograph this butterfly with its wings spread out in flight.

I hope you enjoyed the stroll around the front garden.  We'll walk around the back garden on Sunday!

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Friday - Updated

Mammatus Cloud Formation 

It was a sunny day, today, with an afternoon high of 73F.  When I went outside in the late afternoon, I saw this cloud formation.  At first I thought they were mammatus clouds, also known as popcorn clouds.  But, Lady Ella suggested they might be what is known as mackerel skies - formed by altocumulus or cirrocumulus clouds and now that she has mentioned it, I think that's what these clouds are and Celie, who teaches a class in weather had confirmed it!  Thank you, Celie!

I think I might use this for the "cloud formations" picture in the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt final selection.

"Popcorn" Clouds Mackerel Skies!

I spent a rather relaxed day.  I spent some time in the garden and taking a few pictures:

Garden Lizard, Sunning Itself

Then, I continued to read my library book, until M arrived to tend to the garden.  He continued with the weeding (the garden plants aren't the only plants to respond to the rain!)  

Mary-Lou wanted to see the bay laurel wreath I had made.  Here's how the wreath looked, yesterday, after I made it:

Bay Laurel Wreath

After I took that picture, I decided it looked too plain and needed a raffia bow to dress it up a bit.  Here's how it looked, today, after the leaves dried, overnight:

Bay Laurel Wreath with Bow

The leaves are not as glossy, but, the dried bay leaves will last for a long time.  I gave the wreath to M, today, to give to his sister.  I kept a few of the leaves I trimmed off to dry and use for my cooking.  I did have fun making the wreath.

Speaking of wreaths, here's the wreath base I made with the passionfruit vines that were pruned:

Passionfruit Vine Wreath Base

It looks a bit like a grapevine wreath, doesn't it?  I haven't decorated it yet (obviously); I could use it as a spring wreath, but, I think it will be more suitable for a fall wreath.  What do you think?

In the evening, I watched news and later, a movie, "Love Story", on TV.  I read the book when I was in Sri Lanka, but, I don't remember ever seeing the movie.

Today, I'm grateful for:
- A sunny, warm day in February!
- M's help with the garden
- Library books
- Phone calls and emails from family and friends
- Being able to order things online and have them delivered to the door (cat litter!)

Today's joyful activities included reading and gardening.

Brunch had been a cold cuts and cheese sandwich (using up the last bit of roast beef cold cuts).   I had the last piece of the fruit cake at tea time.  Dinner was rice and the smoked sausage stir fry, with half a large apple for dessert.

I don't have any plans as such for Saturday.  How about you?  Any plans for the weekend?

* Updated to reidentify the types of clouds.