Sunday, June 30, 2024

Balanced Life Monthly Goals: June Review and July Goals

June, and with it, the first half of the year, is almost over!  Time to review my monthly goals for June and post my goals for July (although I am wondering if I should try a different format for the rest of the year.)       

Health, Self-Care & Well Being (6.0)(6.5):  The goal is good health.

June Health Goals Review:
My June health goals included taking my prescribed medications, more regular exercise, and a better diet.  I have been taking my medications and the supplements my doctor recommended that I take, the exercising could be more regular and the diet could always be improved.  Improving my health is a work in progress!  But, the blood clot is being reabsorbed slowly, I haven't had any new health issues. and I am still alive, so, I'm giving myself a little raise in my satisfaction level!  

July Health Goals include more of the same! 

Time Management (7.5)(8.0): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner.
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Procrastinate less

June Goals Review:
Once again, I think I was a little bit better when it came to managing my time in a mindful and efficient manner.  I still procrastinated doing some things (filing/paperwork), but, the important things got done.  I am keeping the rating the same.  

July Time Management Goals: To continue to spend my time in a mindful manner and to procrastinate less.

House (8.5)(8.75):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming.

I was able to get some of the rooms cleaned and organized to a degree that satisfied me and I've kept the rest of the house maintained.  Cabinets and shelves have been cleaned and organized and a certain amount of decluttering have been done, as well.  As always, there's more that can be done in terms of cleaning and decluttering, but, in general, I have kept up with my cleaning routines.  I have raised the satisfaction rating just a little bit, which pleases me very much. 

July House Goals: Continue to keep a pleasant, well maintained house and keep the horizontal surfaces cleared.  

Finances (9.0)(10.0):  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose

June Goals Review:
My June goal was to continue to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose.  I believe that I have been doing this and my finances are fine.  I am on fixed income, but, I continue to live well within my means.  I have raised the rating because, with the credit monitoring in place, I feel that things are secure.

July Financial Goals: Continue to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose.

Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.

June Spiritual Goals Review:
My June spiritual goals included continuing to pray daily, meditate, cultivate gratitude, etc.  I continued doing the things I consider as important to live a spiritually meaningful life with daily prayers, meditation, being kind and helpful to others, and cultivating gratitude.  I'm keeping the same rating.    

July Spiritual Goals: Continue to pray daily, meditate, cultivate gratitude, etc.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her.
June Goals Review:  
My goal was to continue to maintain a close relationship with my daughter, and I believe I did that.  There were daily texts, almost daily phone calls and video chats (we didn't video chat when she was away on a holiday with friends) and, she is currently home on a visit.  There is no change in the satisfaction rating.   

July Goals: Enjoy her visit home during the first week in July and Continue to have a close relationship with my daughter.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.

June Goals Review:
My June goals included engaging in more fun, relaxing activities including crocheting, reading and gardening and I did all of those in June.  I finished crocheting another blanket , I enjoyed reading several ebooks, and I did some gardening.  I am keeping the rating the same.   

July Goals include more of the same. 

Garden (10)(10):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant.

June Goals Review:
My June garden goals were to continue to nurture the fruit trees and vegetable plants and to maintain the garden.  To that end, M and I have continued to feed and water the plants.  We've also added a tangerine tree, two strawberry plants, and two raspberry plants to the garden this month, as well as a few flowering plants that M has shared with me.  I harvested several pounds of blueberries, almost two pounds of Serrano chilies, and several pounds of peaches and shared them with friends and neighbors, as well.  The garden has been very productive this month.  I am keeping the rating the same.

July Garden Goals:  Continue to nurture the fruit trees and vegetable plants and maintain the garden.  

Family/Friends/Community (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends and be involved with my community.
- Regular phone calls and emails, etc., to keep in touch with family and friends
- The occasional in person visits as and when I feel comfortable with doing so
- Participate in the blogging community and the online organizing community

June Goals Review:
June was another good month for keeping in touch with family and friends.  There weren't any in person gatherings with cousins, but, my daughter came down at the end of the month for a 10 day visit!  There were food exchanges with some friends and neighbors, I very briefly attended one neighbor's party, and there were regular phone calls, emails, messages, etc., with other family members and friends, and I participated in the blogging community.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

July Goals will continue to be the same as above.  I have invited my late friend's husband and daughters to dinner in memory of my friend whose birthday would have been this month, so there will be some entertaining in person, as well.

Overall, I am quite pleased with how June went; no area went down in satisfaction ratings, Time Management and Finances ratings increased, and the rest remained the same.  I am continuing to feel a little more balanced.  I hope that July will to be another more balanced month.

My focus in July will be my health.  I need to improve my satisfaction in that area.  

Did you have a good month in June when it came to feeling that there was balance in the different areas of your life?

Saturday, June 29, 2024

The Front Garden in June

The Front Garden in June 2024

I took the photos earlier in the week, but, had other things to write about, so, this post is a bit late.  Not that it matters much.  As you can see, the front garden is starting to shut down for the summer.

Even the Gladioli faded fast

Summer is the time for the succulents to come into their own, unhindered by osteospermum and other spring flowers.

The Stumpery

The stumpery is still looking like a pile of logs that were just dumped there, but, I have high hopes that it will become part of the landscape, over time.

The succulents glow in the late afternoon sun

This is looking up the succulents border from the sidewalk - the osteospermum "river" has dried up!

Succulents Border

There's a lot of cleaning up to do, but, right now, we are leaving things as they are as M is having enough to do in the backyard with the fruits and vegetables.

There aren't a lot of flowers in bloom in the front garden, but, I like to focus on the ones I do find, such as this Dusty Miller:

Dusty Miller Plant and Flowers

Thank you for visiting the front garden with me.  I hope you enjoyed it, even though there wasn't much to see.

On Friday

Berkeley Tie Dye Tomatoes

The Berkeley Tie Dye tomatoes are getting big!  According to what I've read online, they are supposed to get a pink stripe on the outside when ripe.  But, I might pick one while still green to make a green tomato curry, this weekend.

On Thursday, daughter had back to back meetings all day, with a short break for brunch.  I did a load of laundry and sorted through my clothes closet, moving the winter clothes to the left side (the side I rarely open) and shifting the summer clothes to the right side (the side that I open most often).  As I shifted the clothes, I decluttered a few items that my cousins had given me, which I've tried and decided didn't fit me or suit me.  I've put them aside to offer to friend R to send to her daughters.  I will continue to try on and declutter the summer clothes, too.  We spent a relaxed evening at home and I watched the presidential debate.  Dinner was chicken curry, cucumber salad, tomato chutney, and rice. We also picked and shared the first ripe strawberry before the birds could get it! 

On Friday, daughter had another full day of work.  I put away the laundry I had done on Thursday and tidied another shelf in the linen closet (I had previously tidied the shelf with the crocheted table covers my grandmother and mother had made and the shelf where I keep the towels).  Today, I tidied the shelf where the bed sheets and pillowcases are stored.  

M was here in the evening to tend to the garden and we picked the last of the peaches (leaving a few half pecked ones at the top of the tree for the birds to finish).  I washed and sorted through the ones we picked and now, I have some set aside to eat fresh, some to make into a compote, and some for a small batch of jam.  That's on the to do list for Saturday.  Daughter also picked the first two plums and we shared one.

I made a smoked sausage stir fry for dinner, with onions, bell peppers, carrots, snowpeas, and cashews; we had it with freshly cooked rice.  Later, I cooked a chicken curry with the package of chicken thighs I had bought.  The majority of it will be frozen till next Friday, when I am having my late friend A's husband and daughters over to dinner (A's birthday would have been on the 4th of July).  

On Friday, I'm grateful for:

- Daughter being home
- M's help with the garden
- This year's peach harvest
- Water for the garden
- A sunny and warm, but not too hot, day

Friday's joyful activity was picking the rest of the peaches.  We had a good crop of peaches, this year.

Plans for Saturday include processing the rest of the peaches and maybe finishing up the linen closet (have to put away the quilts for the summer and tidy the bottom shelf where I store the sofa dust sheets and there are a couple of quilts in progress that are being stored there, too).

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


Thursday, June 27, 2024

June Grocery Shopping - Part 2

On Wednesday, I bought some groceries for the second time this month.  My previous grocery pick up had been at the beginning of the month, on June 3.  

Here's what I bought on Wednesday (sorry, no picture because I was in a bit of a rush to get everything put away):

Groceries (food items)

2 cucumbers, $0.79@ = $1.58
1 lettuce, reg. price $1.99, with $0.40 off coupon = $1.59

(After I submitted the order, I realized that I had forgotten to order green beans and broccoli, but, it was too late to alter the order.  Daughter brought home a cabbage she had, so we will cook that, instead, and I'll order green beans and broccoli next week) 

4 bananas, 1.51 lb. @ $0.68/lb = $1.04
2.21 lb. red cherries, reg. price $5.99/lb., on sale this week @ $2.49'lb. = $5.51

4.5 lb. chicken thighs, reg. price $2.49, on sale @$0.99/lb. = $4.46
0.59 lb. salmon, reg. price $15.99, on sale with coupon for $7.44/lb. = $4.39
(I had ordered 1 lb., but, they gave me a much smaller piece!)
3 cans tuna in water, 5 oz@, reg. price $1.29@; on sale with coupon @$1.12 = $3.37

1/2 gal. milk = $2.79
1/2 gal. half & half = $5.49 

1 can pasta sauce, 24 oz. = $1.89

1 box pancake mix, 32 oz., reg price $3.29, on sale with coupon = $2.84

1 bottle pancake syrup, 24 fl. oz. = $3.29

1 box cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds) 12 oz. reg. price $4.29, free with coupon = $0

1 box (16 oz.) saltine crackers = $2.49
(I ordered store brand and they substituted a more expensive brand name for the same price)

1 loaf white bread, 20 oz. = $1.99
8 hamburger buns, reg. price $1.79 (on sale for 4th of July) = $0.99
8 hot dog buns, reg. price $1.79 (on sale for 4th of July) = $0.99

2 bags tortilla chips, 9.25 oz., reg. price $6.29@, $1.99 @ with multi-buy deal = $3.98
2 bags potato chips, 8 oz., reg. price $4.99@, $1.99 @ with same multi-buy deal = $3.98

2 tubs ice cream (pistachio & butter pecan) 14 fl. oz. @, reg price $5.99@, on sale B1G1 = $5.99

Total for groceries (food items) = $58.65

In addition, I bought these following non-food items:

1 toothpaste (4 oz.), reg. price $2.79, on sale with coupon = $2.00, 

8 bars soap, 3.7 oz. @, reg. price $7.99, on sale with coupon = $6.99

1 pair latex gloves = $2.49

Sales tax on non-food items = $1.11

Total for non-food items = $12.59

My total came to $71.24 for everything.

According to the receipt, my original order total = $119.77
Amount I saved due to sales and coupons = $49.64

I had $82.29 left in my June grocery budget and I spent $58.65 on this grocery shopping order.

Balance remaining in the June grocery budget = $82.29 - $58.65 = $23.64

I don't anticipate going grocery shopping again, during the remaining three days of this month, but, if I do, I have $23.64 to spend.  If not, I will carry it forward to July.  

How are you doing with your June grocery budget?

Midweek on Wednesday


The First Strawberry!

The first strawberry is getting ripe and a pair of mourning doves have been spotted walking on the ground, circling around the pot of strawberry plants!  I have a feeling they are eyeing it and I'm wondering if I should pick it now or keep it until my daughter gets home so she can have the pleasure of picking it!  

M was here this morning and he set up the window air conditioner up in the bedroom window for the summer.  I had to move the bed aside for him to access the window and I took the opportunity to sweep under the bed and afterwards, I vacuumed my bedroom and daughter's bedroom. 

M transplanted some of the okra seedlings and watered the garden (and weeded it, too).

I ordered my groceries in the afternoon and picked them up at 4:30 p.m.  I had submitted my order already, when I realized that I had forgotten to order some green beans and broccoli.  I tried to modify my order, but, it was too late to do so.  Oh, well, I had ordered an iceberg lettuce and two cucumbers and there are carrots in the fridge; I can manage with those for now and buy green beans from the ethnic store (or, put in another order next week). Besides, daughter brought home a cabbage that she had, which wouldn't keep until she went back to her apartment, so, that works out well (I have canned and frozen vegetables, but, not green beans).  

After I came home from picking up the groceries, I put stuff away, had a cup of tea, watched the news, and relaxed a bit.  I'll do a separate grocery post.

Then, I cooked dinner - salmon, sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers (all from the freezer), rice, and made a cucumber salad.  There was tomato chutney to go with the dinner and ice cream for dessert.  After I cooked the dinner, I cleared the kitchen counters and tidied up the kitchen, a bit.

Daughter's flight arrived a little after 9:00 p.m. and I picked her up from the airport.  Then, we came home, had dinner, chatted a bit, and she went to bed a little after midnight.  She is working from home for the rest of this week and she has an early morning meeting, tomorrow (it'll be a day of meetings, according to what she said, with a short break for lunch).  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe flight home
- M put up the window AC unit for me
- M's help with the garden
- Being able to order groceries online and pick up, curbside
- Safe drives to the grocery store and airport and back

Wednesday's joyful activity was hugging my daughter!   

Plans for Thursday include tidying the linen closet and doing another load of laundry.  Most probably I'll also watch the presidential debate in the evening and crochet.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

More Canning on Tuesday

Tuesday's Canning

On Tuesday, I processed the peaches I picked on Monday.  I was able to can four and a half pints of sliced peaches.  The one good thing about canning the peaches as opposed to making jam is you don't have to stand over a hot stove stirring the mixture until it sets.  Even so, the preparations take time - to wash and sterilize the jars, to make the sugar syrup, to blanch and peel the peaches and slice them, and then to cook the peach slices in the sugar syrup (because I chose to hot pack them) and fill the jars and, finally, to can them in a water bath for 20 minutes.

I was filling the jars when one or two slices of peaches fell on the floor.  I picked up one and tossed it, but, didn't notice the other.  Needless to say I stepped on that one piece by accident and got smashed peach globs all over the kitchen floor before I noticed it!  Some syrup dripped on the stove, too, and I was wiping the top of the stove when my hands began to cramp!  I was glad that I had managed to get all the peaches into the jars and put the jars to can before the cramps started.  I drank water and rested for awhile.  I had washed the bowls and other items I used when prepping the peaches as I finished using them, so there wasn't a big amount of washing up to do, afterwards.  Later in the evening, I swept and mopped the kitchen floor.

There are more peaches on the tree; I will ask M to pick the ones that are too high for me to pick, tomorrow. 

In addition to canning peaches, I did a load of laundry, cleaned the washing machine, changed the bed sheets on my daughter's bed (if all goes well, she will come down for a visit, tomorrow!), brought the trash cans in (the recycling bin had not been collected as someone had parked their vehicle too close to it and I guess the trash pick up truck couldn't reach the recycling bin, safely), swept my bathroom, and cleaned Dancer's litter box.  

I had tuna salad on crackers for brunch and the same, again, for dinner as I was too tired to cook!  Apples and dried palmyra plant sprouts for snacks. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Peaches from the garden
- What I was able to accomplish
- My hands didn't cramp until the peaches were processed
- A slightly cooler day (a high of only 87F)
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was canning peaches and preserving what I can of my garden fruit.

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M, picking more peaches, ordering groceries for pick up, and picking up my daughter from the airport.

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

Monday's Happenings


The Pole Bean Plants

Yay!  The pole bean plants are doing what they are supposed to do and have started winding their way up the fabric strips supports!  Some are going up the bamboo poles, as well, but, that's fine, too.  A few others are still searching for something to hold onto, but, hopefully, they, too, will find a fabric strip or a bamboo pole.  M is also happy to source a few more bamboo poles if I decide we need more.

It has been another sunny and warm day, today.   It might have been a few degrees cooler than it had been over the weekend, but, it was still above 90F and I was feeling the heat.  So much so that, at one point in the afternoon, I took off the pair of knee-high compression socks I was wearing on doctor's orders (after my blood clot).  My feet do swell when it is hot (or I have been standing for any length of time), but, it was too hot to wear them!  I did put them back on, later, after it had cooled down a bit in the evening.

Today, I stripped my bed in the morning (I still had flannel sheets on!) and remade the bed with cotton blend sheets and pillowcases for the summer.  Then, I did two loads of laundry including the flannel bed sheets.

By this time, I was hungry for brunch and the easiest thing to make was a cold cuts sandwich, with the last slice of bread (as opposed to the bread ends or heels as some people call them).    I had some peach compote as part of my brunch and it was delicious (and cool and refreshing).

In the afternoon, I took a short nap!  It was made shorter by the fact that former neighbor T called, and then, my daughter called, and my aunt called!  After which, I decided that I had napped long enough and watched some news and had a cup of tea.

Afterwards, I took the trash cans to the curb, watered the front garden, and watered the back garden, again.  The poor raspberry canes were looking a little stressed by the heat, but, I hope they will revive. 

I also picked more peaches; these are perfect, unbruised ones and one or two of them aren't quite ripe.  I am leaving them on the kitchen counter overnight with the intention of canning them tomorrow morning.  I don't think they will spoil overnight.

Although I made my weekly meal plan earlier today, by the time I finished watering the garden and picking peaches, I didn't feel like cooking rice and warming up curries.  Instead, I decided to have breakfast for dinner - sliced fried potatoes, two slices of ham cold cuts lightly sauteed, a scrambled egg and peach compote for dessert.  It was just right!

Breakfast for Dinner

Today, I am grateful for:

- Ceiling fans and the electricity to run them
- More fresh peaches from the garden
- Phone calls and emails from family and friends
- Water for the garden
- Afternoon naps

Today's joyful activity included spending time in the garden and taking an afternoon nap!

Plans for Tuesday include:
- Canning peaches
- Bringing in the trash cans
- Tidying the kitchen
- Doing another load of laundry

How was your Monday?  What are your plans for Tuesday?  Are you managing to keep cool during these warm days?

Monday, June 24, 2024

June Meal Plans: Week 3 Review and Week 4

This was my meal plan for June Week 3:

Brunches:  Scrambled egg and fried potato (Monday)✔, French toast✔, waffles, maybe pancakes, tuna salad and crackers✔, leftovers✔ salad

Dinners:   Leftover broiled chicken drumstick and salad (Monday✔); leftover spaghetti and meat sauce✔; yogurt flat bread and chicken curry (from the freezer)✔; rice and chicken curry; leftovers✔ fried breaded shrimp, cold cuts sandwich

Snacks/Desserts:  Peaches and other fresh fruits, maybe fruit salad, yogurt, cheese and crackers, carrot cake, pistachio brittle, kotta kilengu (dried palmyra palm sprouts)

Here's how that worked out:

Brunch - Scrambled egg and fried diced potato
Dinner - Broiled chicken drumsticks and salad
Snacks - Peaches

Brunch - French toast 
Dinner - Leftover spaghetti and sauce
Snacks - Peaches, kotta kilengu (dried palmyra palm sprouts)

Brunch - Leftover spaghetti and sauce
Dinner - A cold cuts sandwich
Snacks - Peaches, carrot cake (from neighbor S)

Brunch - Tuna salad and saltine crackers
Dinner - Yogurt flat bread and chicken curry
Snacks - Peaches, peanut butter and peach jam on crackers

Brunch -Chicken curry and yogurt flat bread
Dinner - ???  I didn't write it down
Snacks - Peaches

Brunch - Chicken curry and yogurt flat bread
Tea - Cold cuts sandwich
Dinner - Fried breaded shrimp 
Snacks - Peaches

Brunch - Salad with the last of the lettuce, green grapes, chicken cold cuts, honey mustard dressing
Dinner - The last of the chicken curry and yogurt flat bread
Snacks - Peach compote

Well, I stayed true to the meal plan most of the time, although there was a lot of repeating of meals.  It's a good thing I don't mind leftovers, isn't it?

So, onto this week's meal plan!

This week, I need to go grocery shopping (or, at least, order groceries for a pick up).  My last grocery shopping order and pick up was on June 3 and I've come to the end of the bread (I had the last slice for a sandwich this morning), the milk, and the fresh vegetables (although I have some carrots and onions left and plenty of frozen and canned vegetables). 

June Week 3 Meal Plan:

Brunches: Cold cuts sandwich (Monday), waffles with peach or blueberry compote, cereal and milk, salads, boiled mung beans with katta sambol, scrambled eggs with bacon and fried potatoes, or something else!

Dinners:  Chicken curry (from the freezer) and vegetables with rice; sauteed salmon (from the freezer) with rice and green beans or broccoli; roast pork (from the freezer) made over into a stir-fry and served with rice or yogurt flat bread; leftovers

Snacks/Desserts:  Fresh fruit/fruit salad, peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, ice cream if I buy some

That is the plan and, as always, it is subject to change! 

Are you making a meal plan this week?

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Warm on Sunday


Three Pints Full

It was two degrees cooler, today, with a high of only 97F.  It was cooler inside than outside when I woke up, so I kept the windows closed to keep the house cool.  I waited until it was 86F/30C inside the house before I turned on the ceiling fan, and then, waited until the outside temperature had gone down to 87F or so to open the windows.  It is 77F outside at 9:30 p.m. as I write this and the windows are still open and the ceiling fan is still on.  The temperature inside is 85F.  The neighbors are taking down the tents.  

I canned the peaches, today, and I could have cried.  Almost every single peach M picked for me on Friday evening had spoiled!  I had kept them out on the dining table, instead of putting them in the fridge, and it had been too hot for them!  I had to compost so many peaches that I thought I wouldn't be able to can any peaches.  But, I had a few other peaches in the fridge which were slightly bruised, but, not spoiled, and I managed to fill three pint jars.  I hot canned them by cooking them in the hot sugar syrup for a few minutes, as doing so enabled me to pack more of the fruit into the jars.  There were a few additional slices of peaches that were partially bruised - I cut off the bruised parts and cooked the rest of them in some of the sugar syrup to make a peach compote (the pieces weren't good enough to can).  

There are a few more peaches on the tree and my plan is to pick them, tomorrow, and can them.  

I borrowed another ebook from the library, today, and read that in the evening, when it was too hot to do anything else.  Later, I put water to the fruit trees and the vegetables in the back garden.  I watered the few houseplants, too.

Brunch was a salad with the last of the lettuce, some green grapes, and a few slices of chicken cold cuts.  Dinner will be the last yogurt flat bread and the last of the chicken curry.  I will have some of the peach compote for dessert.  

One of the highlights of my day was a lovely email from a blog reader, who is reading my blog from the very beginning!  How wonderful is that?  In July, it will be 10 years since I started this blog!  I'm so glad that I let my daughter persuade me to start blogging.  I have made so many wonderful friends through this blog and everyone has been so kind with their comments.  Thank you!

Today, I am grateful for:

- A truly lovely email from a blog reader
- Being able to open the windows to cool off the house
- Three pints of canned peaches
- Ceiling fans and electricity to run them
- Water for the garden

Today's joyful activities included canning what peaches I could and reading another ebook.  

Plans for tomorrow include picking more peaches and canning them, changing my bed sheets and doing a load of laundry, and making a meal plan.

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday?  How is the weather where you are and are you managing to stay cool if the temperature is hot?

Saturday in Review

On Saturday, we warmed up to 99F, which is the highest it has been so far, this year.  I was perfectly happy with that temperature, especially since the house stayed cooler than that.  However, it became a little uncomfortable in the late afternoon, partly because I kept my windows closed to minimize the noise from the party next door.  I switched on the ceiling fan in the family room and that helped to keep Dancer and me cool.

The invitation said that the party would start at 3:00 p.m., and it did, but, the music started at 2:30 p.m. It is 1:40 a.m. as I type this and the music is still going on, although the live band stopped around 1:00 a.m.  I went over at 3:30 p.m. handed over a small gift (a scented jar candle that I had in my stash), and came home.  

I had planned to can some peaches, today, but, I felt that the day was too hot to be processing peaches.  Instead, I read, watched some videos, crocheted a bit, and took an afternoon nap!  Later in the evening, I chatted with friend R and, of course, video chatted with my daughter.

Brunch today was leftover chicken curry and yogurt flat bread.  I had a cold cuts sandwich after my nap and fried breaded shrimp for my dinner.  Snacks included fresh peaches.  

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Finding a suitable gift in my stash, along with a birthday themed gift bag and card
- Ceiling fans and electricity to run them
- Afternoon naps
- Phone calls and emails from friends
- Internet access and being able to video chat with my daughter

Saturday's joyful activities included feasting on fresh peaches.

Plans for Sunday include canning those peaches before they spoil!

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

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Friday: As the Garden Evolves

The Evolving Rockery Stonery

It started out as a bare spot that would get muddy and I started putting the odd stones I'd find in the garden when digging to cover the bare spot.  Over time, some celery self seeded and M added a few more plants.  Today, I suggested that it needed a stone border and M gathered all the larger rocks we've found in the garden and added a border!  He has planted some bulbs in there, as well, so there should be spring flowers, next year.  In the meantime, the sedum seems very happy and I expect the dogbane/scaredy cat plant cuttings will grow to fill in the space, too.  

We also constructed a sort of trellis to provide support to the pole beans:

Bean Trellis

We used the bamboo poles that M found for me and I tied strips of fabric I had torn from some old scrap fabric that I had (too stained to use for patchwork) instead of string because I didn't have any string.  The strips of fabric are tied to the chicken wire fencing - I'm hoping that the bean plants will grow up the chicken wire mesh to the strips of fabric.  I can add more strips of fabric, if needed.

There's some progress inside the house, as well.   I changed the sofa dust covers, did a load of laundry, and sorted two of the shelves in the linen closet.  One shelf has all the towels, the other shelf has table covers that my mother and grandmother had crocheted.     

I also picked more blueberries, today, and some peaches.  I gave some of the peaches to M to take home with him, along with a jar of peach jam I had made earlier in the week.

On Friday, I was grateful for:

- The start of summer
- M's help with the garden
- The evolving garden
- Fresh blueberries and peaches
- What I was able to accomplish

Friday's joyful activity was picking ripe fruit from the garden

Saturday is supposed to be sunny and warm, with a high in the low 90s.  I am planning to finish organizing the linen closet and to can the peaches I picked.  

How was your Friday?  How is your garden coming along?  What are your plans for the weekend?


Friday, June 21, 2024

On Thursday



The neighbors are getting ready for another party to celebrate the lady of the house's birthday.  Her daughter brought me an invitation on Wednesday and, on Thursday, the RVs were moved out of their driveway and parked on the street and the tents went up!  I am not planning to attend the party, but, I might take a small gift over, before the party gets started, and then, settle down to enjoy the music, I suppose!  

Speaking of neighbors, I called former neighbor T to check on her and later in the evening, I took a plate of just picked peaches to the new neighbors who have moved into T's former house.  

On my weekly cleaning schedule (which I follow when I remember to), Thursdays are my kitchen cleaning days.  So, I focused on the one floor to ceiling cabinet that I had started on, earlier in the week, and organized the rest of the shelves.  I found two more packages of pasta, which I added to the rest of the pasta stash and a 5lb. bag of all purpose flour that I had forgotten I had!  I moved the flour to another shelf where I have another bag of flour!

I had lined the shelves in that cabinet with some contact paper, several years ago, and the paper on one shelf had torn.  I checked to see if I had anymore contact paper, but, all I could find was a partial role of clear contact paper, which wasn't what I wanted.  So, I taped together some calendar pictures from an old calendar and used that to cover the torn contact paper.  Not sure how long that will work, but, it'll do for now.  I will focus more on the kitchen, next week, when it will be the room of the week.  

I managed to declutter a few food storage containers that I had kept.  I have a thing about keeping empty jars and containers to reuse.  I do reuse some of them, but, I don't need all of them!

Brunch was tuna salad on saltine crackers.  Dinner was chicken curry with yogurt flat bread.  Snacks included peanut butter and peach jam on crackers and fresh peaches.

On Thursday, I was grateful for:

- Another sunny and warm day
- Fresh peaches from the garden
- Continuing to make progress with organizing my cupboards
- Electricity
- A reliable internet connection

Thursday's joyful activity was picking fresh peaches from the garden.

Plans for Friday include sweeping and mopping the bathroom, tending to the garden with M, maybe canning some of the peaches.  

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mid Week On Wednesday

Treats from Neighbor S
(Carrot Cake, Pistachio Brittle, Apples)

On Wednesday, M was here in the morning to tend to the garden and he brought me a daylily plant from his garden.  In addition to watering the garden and weeding, he also picked some of the peaches from the higher branches of the tree for me, climbing up on a ladder to do so.

Some of the peaches had been pecked at by birds and damaged, and we composted them.  Others had some soft spots and bruising,, but, I knew I could use them.  I kept the good peaches aside and concentrated on the rest, cutting off the soft and bruised areas.  There was just over one pound of cut peaches and I decided to make a small batch of jam,  I made just under a pint of jam, filling one half pint jar and about 4/5ths of the second half pint jar.  They will be kept for my own use.  

Then, I offered some fresh peaches to neighbor S and she brought me some carrot cake a friend of hers had made, a pistachio brittle, and some fresh apples from another friend's garden!  

Under the Bathroom Sink Cabinet on Tuesday

First of all, thank you for all the positive comments about the under-the-bathroom-sink cabinet.  I appreciate the fact that no one said anything about how messy it looked in the before picture!  But, one or two expressed some concern about storing the light bulbs under the sink where they could be damaged if there was a leak.  I must admit that I never considered that possibility!  So, today, I pulled the box of light bulbs out and replaced it with some containers of sanitizing wipes and the bottles of flea spray:

Same Cabinet on Wednesday

The containers are plastic and they should be fine if there is a leak (although, I hope there won't be a leak in the first place!)

Then, I moved onto the plastic shelving unit that is next to the bathroom sink:

Additional Bathroom Storage

I relined the shelves with the same wrapping paper I used to cover the cardboard box and rearranged a few things.  The two boxes on the bottom shelf are cardboard boxes I had covered with fabric, a couple of years ago.  One holds all the light bulbs and the other holds my stash of disinfectant sprays.

The next shelf up has the box I covered with wrapping paper, yesterday, with some bath products that I had stored in another container, previously.  Next to it is a plastic heart shaped basket holding the stash of lint rollers (I stocked up on them when the store was having a sale on them).  

The shelf above it has a plastic shoe box with Dancer's supplies - his brush and flea comb, his monthly flea prevention medications, spare charcoal filters for his litter box, etc.  On top of it, I have kept his thyroid medications and the bottle of the sedative I give him prior to vet appointments.  Next to Dancer's stuff, there is a small blue and white jar holding some laundry detergent (used when I handwash some items like my wool sweaters), a dish holding a bar of pink laundry soap, and a small dish with a coconut oil/sugar scrub I mixed up.  

The top shelf has a fist aid kit and some extra bandages, the disinfectant spray and sanitizing wipes, and a small box holding the trash bin liners.  I thought that I should cover that box with some wrapping paper to make it look a little prettier, but, obviously, didn't get around to doing it, today.

The very top of the shelving unit has some spare rolls of toilet paper, but, I didn't include that in the picture.  

The bathroom organizing is done; all that is left is the usual weekly bathroom cleaning that I do on Fridays.  

In between sorting and organizing in the bathroom, I had a long chat with Aunt C and cleaned the floor in my daughter's room because Dancer threw up in there, on the recently washed crocheted rug, which needed to be washed, again, and chatted with my daughter.  

Brunch was leftover spaghetti and a fresh peach; dinner was a cold cuts sandwich; snacks included a piece of carrot cake.  

On Wednesday, I am grateful for:

- M's help with the garden
- Fresh peaches from the tree
- Treats from neighbor S
- Being able to share some peaches with neighbor S
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activities included gardening, picking peaches, and sharing some peaches with neighbor S.

Plans for tomorrow (Thursday) include sorting out the kitchen cabinet, which I didn't do today.  

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  Where do you store your spare rolls of toilet paper?

A New Week

A Trio of Red Roses

Here we are, starting a new week in June, with spring coming to an end and summer just about to start.  I am trying to maintain my momentum from last week, when it comes to housework.

This week's focus is the bathroom.  So, on Monday, I decided to clean and tidy the cabinet over the bathroom sink and the cabinet under the sink.  I wiped down the lights that are over the medicine cabinet and dusted the top of the cabinet, then, cleaned the mirrors.  The medicine cabinet shelves were fine as I had sorted through them, earlier.  

The cabinet under the sink has two drawers which are fine, too - the top one holds my hair dryer, a hair curling wand, and a bag of cotton balls (one of my last purchases from the dollar store before it closed), the lower drawer holds several containers of wet wipes, which are part of my earthquake supplies (to be used if access to clean fresh water is limited).  The main part of the cabinet is one open space, which hides the sink drain pipe, etc.  I use this to store some cleaning supplies and my stash of spare light bulbs.


I had kept the light bulbs in a small plastic shoebox type container, but, as you can see, the supply of bulbs didn't fit inside the container!  I know that there are some lovely bathroom cabinet storage units, but, I didn't want to buy anything.  

Instead, I took a clean cardboard box and covered it with some gift wrap that I had on hand, and put all the light bulbs in it:


It will be easy enough to pull the box out when I want to choose a new bulb.  I left the cleaning supplies in the plastic basket, as everything is nicely contained in there.  

On Monday, in addition to cleaning and sorting through the bathroom cabinet, I cleaned the refrigerator, took the trash cans to the curb, did a load of dishes, and watered the garden.  I also picked more blueberries.

On Tuesday, I brought in the emptied trash cans, looked through the weekly grocery ads, picked more blueberries, did a load of laundry, finished joining all the crocheted granny squares and started on the border, and sorted through one kitchen cabinet where I keep some pantry items such as pasta, boxes of cereal, containers of sugar, etc.  As I told my daughter, I am not allowed to buy any more pasta for at least the rest of the year!  

That cabinet is a floor-to-ceiling cabinet and I sorted through the two shelves of the upper part of that cabinet.  My plan is to sort through the lower part of the cabinet, over the next couple of days.

Tuesday's brunch was French toast; dinner was spaghetti; snacks included peaches and dried palmyra palm sprouts, known as kotta kilengu.  

As we start a new week in June, I am grateful foo:

- Sunny, warm weather
- Water for the garden
- Garden fruits
- A well stocked pantry
- What I was able to accomplish

My joyful activities have included picking garden fruit and crocheting.

Plans for Wednesday include tending to the garden with M, picking more blueberries, sorting through another kitchen cabinet, and crocheting.

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

June Meal Plans: Week 2 Review and Week 3 Meal Plan

This was my meal plan for June Week 2:

Brunches:  Egg salad sandwiches✔, cold cuts sandwiches✔, salads, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes, banana/blueberry muffins, maybe pancakes or waffles✔, again.

Dinners:  Leftover chicken drumsticks with salad✔and potatoes or corn; leftover shrimp curry and chick pea curry with rice and snowpeas✔; spaghetti with ground turkey sauce and salad✔, coconut roti or yogurt flat bread and chicken curry. Rice and curries from friend S; frozen burrito; pizza, fried breaded shrimp; leftovers✔,

Snacks/Desserts:  Fresh fruit✔, yogurt✔, crackers with cheese✔, peanut butter, granola bars, cereal, roasted cashews✔,

Here's how that worked out:

Brunch - Egg salad sandwich
Dinner - Broiled chicken drumsticks and salad
Snacks - Peaches, chocolate wafer cookies

Brunch - Cold cuts sandwich 
Dinner - Rice and curry from my friend S; yogurt for dessert

Brunch - Leftovers from Tuesday's dinner
Dinner - A frozen burrito (reheated in the microwave, of course)
Snacks - Peaches, chocolate wafer cookies

Brunch - Egg salad sandwich
Dinner - Freshly cooked rice with leftover curries
Snacks - Peaches, yogurt

Brunch - Fried rice with ground turkey mixture
Dinner - The last two slices of pizza I had in the freezer
Snacks - Peaches, cashews

Brunch - Waffles with blueberry compote
Dinner - Spaghetti and meat sauce (ground turkey cooked with vegetables, a jar of pasta sauce) 
Snacks - Peaches, yogurt, chocolate wafers

Brunch - Leftover spaghetti and sauce
Dinner - Fried breaded shrimp, salad
Snacks - Cheese and crackers, peaches

I went quite a bit off the meal plan when it came to both brunches and dinners, didn't I?  Partly because friend S brought me dinner one day (with enough leftovers for another meal or two), and partly because, some days, I didn't feel like eating what I had planned.  But, I think that's OK.  I like having that flexibility.

So, onto this week's meal plan!

June Week 3 Meal Plan:

Brunches: Scrambled egg and fried potato (Monday), French toast, waffles, maybe pancakes, tuna salad and crackers, leftovers

Monday Brunch: Scrambled Egg and 
Fried Potatoes (with some green bell peppers)

Dinners:  Leftover broiled chicken drumstick and salad (Monday); leftover spaghetti and meat sauce; yogurt flat bread and chicken curry (from the freezer); rice and chicken curry; leftovers 

Monday Dinner: Chicken and Salad
with Honey Mustard Dressing

Snacks: Peaches and other fresh fruits, maybe fruit salad, yogurt, cheese and crackers, 

Once again, this week's meal plan is based on what I have on hand.  I am not yet sure if I will go grocery shopping this week or wait until next week.  If there are some great sales, then, I will grocery shop this week; if not, I can wait until next week.  

Did you meal plan last week?  If so, did you keep to your meal plan?  Are you making a meal plan this week?

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Fathers' Day Sunday

Gladioli in Full Bloom

On this Fathers' Day, which is also the death anniversary of my stepfather, I am remembering my father (who died when I was 7) and stepfather who came into my life when I was 8 (as my dentist and became my stepfather when I was 10) who taught me so much. I am older now than they were when they died, which seems hard to believe.

It has been another sunny and warm day. I had a relaxed day, sewing up the blanket squares, checking on the garden, watching some TV, and online videos, etc.

I had leftover spaghetti for brunch and fried breaded shrimp (from the freezer) for dinner. Snacks included cheese and crackers and fresh peaches.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Memories of my father and stepfather - A warm sunny day - A walk in the garden - Texts and phone calls from friends - Being able to video chat with my daughter

Today's joyful activities included working on the crocheted blanket and spending time in the garden.

Plans for Monday include the usual Monday's To Do List and checking my canning supplies.

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

Warm on Saturday

Brunch: Waffles with Blueberry Compote

We had a sunny and summer-like day, on Saturday, with an afternoon high of 92F.  It was the first truly warm day of the year and I was so happy!  

I made waffles and blueberry compote for brunch.  Later, when gardener M stopped by to drop off some plants he bought for me, I offered him some waffles and blueberry compote, too, and, although he said he was in a rush to get to his next client, he made time for a snack of waffles and blueberry compote.  LOL.  

These are the newest additions to the garden:

Glencoe Raspberries

Two Glencoe raspberry plants and one Owari Satsuma mandarin plant:

Owari Satsuma Mandarin Plant

M will plant them in the ground, next week.  I need to find a good spot in the garden for them.

Later in the day, I took a bag of freshly picked peaches and a small bag of green chilies to give to friend R.  It was a quick, curb-side visit.

Dancer had a busy day, too, being the helpful kitty that he is:

Helping Mummy with the Newest Blanket

Dinner was spaghetti with meat sauce.  I used a jar of pasta sauce to which I added some previously cooked ground turkey and vegetables from the freezer.  There are leftovers for tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A lovely, warm day
- New plants for the garden
- M's help with the garden and picking up the new plants for me and dropping them off, too
- Being able to share some peaches with friend R
- Dancer's help with my crochet project

Today's joyful activities included a curbside visit with friend R and crocheting.

Plans for Sunday include continuing with assembling the crocheted blanket.  

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

Saturday, June 15, 2024

On Friday

Pink Lemonade Blueberries Ripening

My Pink Lemonade blueberries are starting to ripen!  This is the first year I've had this plant and I don't know how the berries taste, but, they are supposed to be sweeter than the regular blueberries.

This morning, when I first looked outside, I found Chicken Little happily pecking away at the the ground INSIDE the corn patch enclosure!  Oh, no!  M had replanted some of the corn kernels that had not sprouted, just last week, and I hope that Chicken Little was not eating them!  I chased it away and it protested loudly, but, flew out of the enclosure.  Later, in the evening, M placed a leftover piece of chicken wire over the top and laid a few bamboo poles over the rest of the enclosure, since there wasn't enough of the wire mesh to cover the entire thing!  I've no idea if that will work (it looks rather flimsy to me) or if I'll find chicken and wire and bamboo poles all inside the enclosure, tomorrow! 

Fort Chicken Little!

M planted another row of beans, today, watered the garden, and did a bit of weeding.  I gave him some freshly picked blueberries and a few peaches to take home.

I cleaned the bathroom in the morning and spent a good portion of the afternoon doing a bit of mending, some crocheting, and watching videos.  Later in the evening, however, I had the bright idea of cleaning the inside of my oven door!  It's been a while since I last cleaned it and I can tell you, it's going to take more than one application of baking soda to get it cleaned, but, I did get some of the stuff cleaned, today.  

I went slightly off the meal plan, today, and had fried rice for brunch, using some of the ground turkey mixture I had thawed to make the spaghetti sauce and I had the last two slices of the pizza I had in the freezer for dinner.   I had a fresh peach dessert.  

On Friday, I was grateful for:

- M's help with the garden
- Blueberries and peaches from the garden
- Water for the garden
- Getting my housework done for the week
- Phone calls and emails from friends

Today's joyful activities included crocheting and gardening.

Plans for Saturday include taking some peaches to friend R.  

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

Friday, June 14, 2024

Productive Thursday

Pink Flowered Strawberry Plants

Introducing the newest additions to my garden - Gasana Strawberries. 

This variety of strawberries is supposed to be ever-bearing with pink flowers and red fruit.  M bought a plant for himself, last week, on Friday, and showed it to me; I asked him to get me two plants.  He bought them on Tuesday and planted them for me on Wednesday (I reimbursed him, of course).  We planted them both in one fairly large pot.  Hopefully, we will have some strawberries, later this summer!  I generally don't have much luck growing strawberries, but, M thinks these will do well.  We shall see!  But the flowers are very pretty, aren't they?

I slept in on Thursday morning, and woke up late, but, feeling energetic.  So, after my morning cup of tea and morning prayers, I put away the few pieces of laundry that I left hanging to dry overnight, and tidied the shelving unit in the dining area.  Then, I moved on to the kitchen.  I ran the dishwasher and washed a few other dishes by hand, wiped down the countertops, the fronts of the lower cabinets and drawers, and the fridge.  Later, I swept and mopped the floor.  I also did a load of laundry and washed the kitchen rug and the bathroom mats.

In addition, I finished cleaning my bedroom - the dressing table was dusted and tidied, the mirrors polished, and the floor vacuumed.  I also vacuumed my daughter's bedroom and the hallway.  

There were many breaks in between tasks, during which I had my brunch (the last of the egg salad sandwich), dinner (freshly cooked rice with leftover curries), snacks (peaches, yogurt), checked on the garden, watched some online videos, crocheted, called friend R to check on her, and chatted with my daughter.  But, I am now caught up on my weekly cleaning and all that's left for Friday is cleaning my bathroom.  I am quite pleased with Thursday's productivity.  I wish I felt as energetic every day, but, I don't.  

On Thursday, I was grateful for:

- Waking up feeling energetic and motivated
- What I was able to accomplish
- New plants for the garden
- Working appliances
- Phone calls and exchanging emails with friends

Thursday's joyful activity was crocheting.

Plans for Friday include cleaning the bathroom and tending to the garden with M.  

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

Thursday, June 13, 2024



The gladioli plants in the front garden are starting to flower.  I've read that gladioli flowers are edible, although they are not supposed to have much of a taste. I must admit that I haven't actually eaten them.  But, they look very pretty, don't they?

M was here in the morning and we checked on the plants, together, and he watered the garden, both front and back, for me.  We also pulled up some of the California poppies that had finished flowering and potted up a couple of other plants.  I offered him some peaches, but, he said he'll take them on Friday.  He also took a couple of pictures of my blueberry plants, after asking me if it was okay to do so, in order to show another of his clients that blueberries can be grown in containers.  

In the afternoon, I picked up Dancer's medication from the pharmacy, did a load of laundry, and tidied up my bedroom.  

Brunch was leftovers from Tuesday's dinner and dinner was a frozen burrito.  Snacks included fresh peaches.

On Wednesday, I was grateful for:
- M's help with the garden
- Dancer's medication being available
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- Working appliances
- A fairly relaxed day

My joyful activities included gardening, crocheting, and watching some gardening videos.

Plans for Thursday include cleaning the kitchen.  It looks like the cabinets disgorged all their contents onto the counters!  

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