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Monday, September 15, 2014

Being patient, furnishing a home on a budget

The bathrooms in this rental have little storage, even with cabinet vanities, especially compared to the former rental. I was able to use 2 wall shelving units that I already had (one was in my bedroom, now my master bathroom; the second was one that we used in the powder room, now in this powder room) but I needed/strongly wanted one for the hall bath that is used by 5 people. I hate the clutter on the small sink vanity, there is no medicine cabinet, so I deemed a shelving unit was something I would pay for. I first tried on line, then physically went to Home Depot. Easily $100 for what I WANTED, do no thanks. I knew that if I was patient, I'd eventually find something suitable, on the second hand market, that would meet our needs. I've been checking Habitat for Humanity, GoodWill, Salvation Army, Savers frequently. I was ready to move to church sponsored thrift shops.

Enter the 2 tiered shelving unit that I bought off of a local Facebook tag sale site this afternoon, as I was commuting back from work. While not as wide as I'd like, it'll still provide over 2 feet of storage space for things like personal care products, the container for cotton balls and swabs, toothbrush holder and the like. Best part: $10 cash. Fits very nicely into my modest budget. Former owner is glad to declutter her home, making some cash in the process. It's a win-win situation. : )

This week's CSA, and a freebie

One more week left after this week, but here's my Summer CSA share: lettuce, 1 lb tomatoes, arugula, a pint of pcik your own cherry tomatoes, 4 purple pnions, 2 lbs potatoes, and this week's extra: hot chillis. While picking up, an older couple told me to take their 2 lbs of potatoes as "they still have some left from last week." Don't they know that potatoes keep? I thanked them. : )

Supper tonight: baked Pollock seasoned with lemon juice and lemon pepper, boiled red bliss potatoes, baked acorn squash with butter/maple syrup/cinnamon, French style green beans.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunny Sunday: and beef is actually on the menu!

 A beautiful, sunny Sunday. I have the Sun porch door open to the Den to allow the residual heat inside the home

Out on the deck, my laundry is drying.
 Open curtains allowing passive solar to warm the home. I refuse to turn the furnace on, and temps will again dip into the 40's tonight.
 My LL Bean wicked good slippers are keeping my feet toasty warm.
 A scented candle=a frugal luxury. These came from my stash, and I know I bought them on sale, with coupons.

Corned beef and cabbage is on the menu;

another way I am adding warmth to the home is my Sunday baking: 2 squash pies (very New England of me) and an apple pie for our dessert offerings.

Saturday errands and more on bills


Up and out early Saturday, but not before hanging a load of clothes up to air dry and setting up a Crock Pot to cook a batch of Potage St Germain, a French-Canadian pea soup for supper.

First errand: a trip over to the transfer/recycling center. Once again, I had far too much actual TRASH. Grr . .something just isn't right. I still had a ton of recycling, which is the norm for us. I asked for my recycling trash bags back, so as to reuse them until they are spent. Even with buying them at Aldi's ($5.49? box) they are expensive. $10.80-more than what I allot per month. While I anticipated a slight increase in charges, this has more than doubled. I was spending $4-$8 month for trash fees. I have noted that DS tosses things that are supposed to be recycled or composted. Time to put signs up on the trash/recycling bins that list what goes where.

Next: Shoprite. They had several things on sale, I used $7.30 in coupons as well. This is what I bought: 2 boxes each: elbow macaroni, plain ziti, ditalini (figure that I can use these both in soups as well as pasta-tuna salad), 4 4 lb bags Domino sugar, 2 boxes Bigelow tea, 4 loaves Arnold whole grain bread (50 % off and I had coupons), 2 tins bristling sardines, 3 marked down orange peppers, marked down bananas, marked down mushrooms, buttermilk, just over a lb of Deli cheese ends @ $2.79/lb (Apline lace Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Colby Pepper Jack, Munster); a Deli marked down end piece of ham (for aforementioned soup), 2 bottles Loreal color care shampoo, I spent $41.12 cash.

Next: Stop and Shop: I saved $2 with coupons and an additional $2.96 in employee discounts, Here's what I got: 2 each of store brand 2 liter sodas: root beer, cola, lemon-lime; 2 boxes store brand "cheeze its," Twinings Darjiling tea, 2 bags 8 o'clock hazelnut coffee (BOGO), 4 bags Manicheviwz (sp?) egg noodles @ 88 cents-I always stock up on these around the Jewish holdiays, a crash n burn can of Maxwell House hazelnut coffee, 1 12 pack Scotts TP (on sale, plus I had a coupon to stack on it so I paid $3.99 for what normally goes for $10.69!), a crash n burn pkg 4 ct store brand Tp @ $1.59, 2 bags of red bliss potatoes @ 49/lb on marked down, 2 5 lb bags white potatoes BOGO, 2 3 lb bags yellow onions BOGO, almost 6 lbs of Gala apples @ 79/lb (local from CT-awesome deal), 12 individual yogurts, a bottle of Tropicana (store cpn), a marked down pkg of raspberry turnovers, 1 marked down loaf of Challah bread (was thinking French toast), 2 loaves Sara Lee whole grain white bread (coupon). I sent $56.60 cash.

Dollar Tree: 5 24 oz cans (these are significantly larger than the normal sized ones)-for the emergency shelf, 2 boxes Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes, 2 damp rid type gizmos for the basement (so I don't need the dehumidifier), 2 8 ct pkgs batteries, a pkg of sunflower seeds, 2 pkgs twix snack size bars. I used $1.50 in coupons (spaghettios and potatoes), spent $12.94

Aldi's: 1 take n bake pizza, 2 gallons each: apple cider and milk, 3 pkgs Danish for Sunday bfst treat, 2 qts 1/2 & 1/2, 2 large acorn squash, 2 fzn oj, 2 bags "mounds" type candies, 2 pkgs pie crusts, lb each butter and stick margarine, 2 tubs neufchatel cheese spread (then I forgot the bagels!), 5 pkgs assorted sliced cheeses for sandwiches, crackers, 2 tubs ice cream, 2 bags tortilla chips. I got a credit of 85 cents for bottle returns, spent $68.79 cash.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The bills are coming . . and I am NOT happy!


Some bills have arrived, at this new rental, and I am far from happy. : (
Item 1: the cable/Internet bill. I am supposed to be on a special promotion, due to moving. Great! We get to return to a better "package" for our cable, at a lower cost. When all was said and done, it was a bit lower than what I was previously paying. New bill came: not only is the monthly charge high, the charge to move the cable in the Den was NOT removed, as I was told it would be when I called to arrnage to have that fixed. Grrr!
Item 2: the electric bill: while I anticipated higher than usual bills, due to adding 2 to the home, and using the dryer to just get the overflowing laundry done, including some items that needed cleaning before storage, I can't figure out why it's more than doubled! Ack! I've already spoken with DS #1, with GF listening in at the room off the kitchen. Cooking habits are the same, laundry-we're back to limited dryer use and will soon be tweaking that even further, water is heated by an oil burner, lights are mostly CFL's-but do the 12 volt halogen landscape light use a lot?, the Xbox? all appliances, save the w/d are brand new-including a large, side by side fridge but that is even labeled energy star. Could it be the whole house fan? only one A/C window unit and it was only used a handful of nights.


What's been cooking:
 Open House was Thursday night, so I came home after work to a Crockpot of homemade sauce, that contained some frozen, leftover chicken cacciatore sauce. Fzn veggies on the side. This worked.
Weird schedules left me a nice, quiet dinner for one: onion/peppers/sausage omelette; homefried potatoes on the side. Fall is here: a pot of organic, Earl Grey tea to nurse after supper. Perfect.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quick and easy

Another busy day, luckily, I had pre-planned an easy supper: ground turkey (used Aldi's fzn), my last can of sloppy joe sauce (a fellow blogger shared a TNT recipe for me to try, using ketchup), some DT fzn tots, and a bag of fzn Prince Edward veggies. It worked.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mes racines me suivent . . my roots are following me post!

On the way home from work Monday, I stopped for my weekly CSA pickup: a small watermelon, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 lb of "braising greens"-mixed greens actually, tosoi (bag with small leaves of this green), a large bunch/plant of tosoi, radishes, scallions, oregano, pea shoots. A good selection.

Yesterday's dinner:
Monday's fish supper was dill seasoned, wild caught salmon, oven baked; served with oven roasted garlic-rosemay seasoned fingerling potatoes; fzn peas. I grew up eating a ton of salmon, like many kids of French Canadian decent.

I was exhausted last night, so I turned in early. Up this morning, I got one load washed and on the clothes horses to dry, while a load of towels washed, before I left for work.  I also managed to make tonight's supper, this morning:

using the small scraps of chicken from Sunday's roast chicken, along with some marinated and broiled BSCB that needed to go.  A green salad, some tortilla chips and option to add some shredded cheese completed the menu.

Another work luncheon today, I offered tortilla chips and a jar of homemade salsa; I simply was not up to preparing anything last night.

On the way home from work today, I stopped at the local ACE hardware for these:

 After researching on line, as well as watching a few You tube videos, I knew what parts I needed and that I wanted them to be metal, not plastic, for durability. I told the clerk that he had to beat Sears "kit" that retails for $87, not including tax and shipping.  Not sure how many line separators I want, I got three, knowing that I can return these if desired. Love one stop shopping, and supporting my small, local businessman.
I also mentioned that I prefer to buy American products, but was delighted to see that the heavy duty pulleys hail from St Hyacinthe, Quebec-a town where my maternal grandmother's family resided before moving down here.

PT today after this quick stop, then on the return trip home from there, I stopped at Price Rite:

 I intended to only buy a gallon of milk, but spotted this sale on 5 lb bags of carrots: $2.19!

Another Quebecois item! While I do aim to buy American, and avoid imports as much as possible (often due to safety concerns, quality concerns), in these cases, I purchaed a superior clothesline system, and some awesome carrots from an area that I deem to be "safe."   All in all, a good day!