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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Car maintence


When I drove to pick up DS's GF from work last night, I noted that my tire pressure light was on. Hmmm . . .so this morning, I had DS use his tire gauge to check the tires. Sure enough, one was down to 17 psi, not good. So, I carefully drove DS to work today, and we tried 3 gas stations (no air pump, remodeling, it's broken) and I ended up driving a bit to where I knew one existed. I went inside and asked someone to help; a young kid checked the tire, and we both saw a metal nail. Darn. So, he filled up the tire, and I placed 2 phone calls to tire dealers in the area-both seem to be closed on Sunday. I then called DD and asked her to check on Sears automotive center, and luckily, they are open today. I carefully drove over there, waited about 1 hour, and fortunately they were able to plug the leak instead of replacing the tire. One could hear the hiss of the tire once I parked the car. So, $20.21 with tax plus $5 tip to aforementioned kid who helped me at the service station.

I simply didn't want to deal with it in the morning, as it would have made me late for my first day back at work. Athough it's a casual day, filled with meetings between breakfast and lunch, it still would be bad form in my book. So, I hope this is resolved for the moment. I am actively saving for a set of snows come November; the tread on the current set of tires is still very good.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

September menus


August is quickly wrapping up, we've had deliciously cooler temps here and leaves are already starting to change color. I return to work Monday, kids start school Wed. To ease the transition, and keep us in budget, I am preplanning my monthly dinner menus, incorporating what is on hand as much as possible. We will continue receiving our CSA until Thanksgiving, so vegetables will be TBA, unless there is a particular canned/frozen/cheap fresh item I was to use for a particular night. Here's the plan:

1-marinated BSCB (grilled) over a large tossed salad, macaroni salad
2-Salisbury steaks in onion-mushroom gravy (use boxed beef stock to make), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, veg
3-hamburger and macaroni, salad
4-ground turkey-pinto bean tacos on soft tortillas, refried beans, canned corn, assorted toppings (lettuce/tomato/sour cream/taco sauce/salsa/shredded cheese)
5-glazed ham meatballs (mix up sweet n sour packets with chilli sauce and/or a touch of BBQ sauce to coat and keep moist)-use ground ham in freezer; mashed potatoes, fzn peas
7-roast chicken (fzn), fzn Brussel sprouts, brown rice, cranberry sauce
8-baked salmon fillets with lemon juice and dill weed (fzn fillets), fzn oven roasted garlic and rosemary fingerling potatoes, fzn peas
9-CP turkey (diced fzn)-pinto bean chilli, Southern style corn bread
10-spaghetti with fzn meat sauce, salad, fzn  Prince Edward veggie mix
11-sloppy joes (canned sauce, fzn beef) on buns; fzn corn, fzn onion rings
12-omelettes, home fried potatoes (use canned)
14-corned beef (fzn), cabbage, potatoes, carrots; Irish soda bread
15-horseradish crusted (fzn) Tilapia, mashed potatoes, veg
16-CP Campbell's style pork beans, hot dogs (fzn), buns (fzn), coleslaw
17-planned overs: corned beef hash, Campbells style pork beans, coleslaw
18-pate chinois; apple-raisin slaw
19-homemade pizza, salad
21-baked chicken thighs/drums, boiled potatoes, veg
22-salmon cakes (use canned), coleslaw, veg
23-CP beef stew (fzn meat), onion/carrot/celery/potato
24-homemade turkey pot pie (use Aldi's crusts, fzn cubed turkey, fzn turkey stock, assorted veg)
25-homemade mac n cheese with fzn diced ham, veg
26-turkey burgers (use fzn meat) on buns (make), fzn tater tots, veg
28-meatloaf (use fzn beef and fzn turkey), mashed potatoes, beets
29-crabmeat Impossible pie aka "crustless quiche:, salad, green beans
30-kielbasa dogs (fzn), CP New England style baked beans, CP brown bread

Leftovers will continue to be offered for work lunches, Saturday is soup/sandwich day. Cool enough today so I offered (and used up) 4 cans of Campbells chicken noodle soup from DS and GF's appartment with the leftover green beans, a few stray fettucini noodles, the meat off of 2 remaining chicken thighs from last night (leftovers were corralled in one Pyrex container). Made for a heartier soup, which is also an offering to accompany a self made sandwich tonight.

My meat reserves are and will be quite low come the end of Sept, so my focus these upcoming weeks will be to seek out meat bargains for the freezer, to incorporate in October's menus. I anticipate that I will have some frozen chicken parts (no fryers/roasters), fzn kielbasa and sundried tomato sausages, canned tuna/salmon/crab/clams, assorted stray fzn fish fillets (not enough to offer everyone the same type fish for a supper, Now that we are a familly of 6, I need 6 pieces of fish vs 4, for a supper so a package naturally doesn't go as far as it used to); some fzn ham slices (precooked and fzn), some salt pork, some fzn bfst pork sausage links.

While we continue to keep a grocery list on the fridge, I also have a list of needs to complete the above menus, written on my menu planning calendar. So far, I think that I will need to buy (besides the usual): lettuce, Jack cheese, 2 pkgs hamburger buns (or make), 3 pkgs of fzn ground turkey, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery.

More household furnishings on a budget

 I previously posted about finding this oak, drop leaf table at Habitat for Humanity, for a whopping $40.
 The next day, I went back for this mate, matching table-also sold for $40.
 Good, quality, wooden furniture that probably harkens back to the '70's/80's. Lenoir House, a division of Broyhill Furniture-I know someone previously spent a tidy sum on these 2 tables. They fit nicely in our Den, next to our $300, second hand couch, love seat and ottomon. I've tried to keep with neutrals and the same color palette as I acquire posessions for our home. Being able to reuse what we have is a major money saver!

The rug that I bought 2 years ago to keep the floor under the dinette table warm, works wonderfully in this room, as well. A nice bonus.
 No price on this tall, candle stick style, chocolate brown lamp with green, gingham shade, so I had to ask: $15, sold!

Salvation Army find: a high quality, based on the materials used in the lamp shade, red/burgandy lamp for my living room. I noted that the price sticker had a Jan 2014 date so I asked if they also marked down their other furnishings besides actual furniture and was told, "Yes! How about $6.99?" Sold! Red is my accent color in the living room.

 A Frankenstein lamp: $4 silver base from Goodwill, a $10 lamp shade from Walmart. I try to keep lamps under $20/each so perfect. This is for DD's room.
DD's lone lamp already in her room was desperate for a new lampshade, which I picked up at WM while I was there. $15 but I only spent $5 on the buttercream colored, porceline ginger jar lamp 2 years ago at another thrift shop. The old shade? DS's GF expressed an interest when I asked him to place it in the donation box-she took it, replaced the too small shade on another lamp that we are using in the Den as well. 

2 mini lamp timers. There was quite a variety for sale; after reading the packages, these inexpensive options will more than meet my needs of having 2 lamps automatically turn on/off in the den and living room.

A small splurge: a yard of cotton fabric (on sale @ $8.99/yard) coupled with some cream colored, lace trim (not on sale so I could use a 50% off coupon, bringing the cost for the trim to approx $3.59) will be transformed into a set of matching cafe curtains and valence for my Master Bathroom. $12 window treatment is much more affordable than ready made curtains. The walls are a creamy beige, as are the floor tiles. White fixtures with the sink placed in a dark brown vanity; shower curtain rod, towel bars are all black with a copper accent. The vanity top is a man made "granite" that is black with beige/copper flecks. I already have a purple bath rug, a buttercream bath mat, a soft beige shower curtain, a purple trash bin. I tend to use my few purple towels in this room, if not pull from the household stock of mostly cream colored towels. This room could use a splash of color and I love this fabric!

I checked Savers, no luck on lamps but I did come home with this:

 A brand new, hanging kitchen towel in a Fall motif. Local stores are bursting with Fall decor, I can't really rationalize spending tons of money on these items, so we reuse what we have, and I allow for small treats such as this one. We use 2 daily in the kitchen, in lieu of paper towels.
What I especially liked about this one is that it is a doubled over, thick Cannon towel. Nice quality. I spent $1.05 with tax.

So, our list is smaller, and I will continue to scour the second hand market for our wants/needs:

-Dining room side board/hutch
-another lamp for my bedroom
-a bath rug for the master bath (LL left one behind, it's on it's last legs)
-a wall hanging shelving unit of some sort for the hall bath, to get the clutter off of the small vanity, allow users to store daily beauty products conveniently
-night table with drawers for DD
-a rug for DD (we're most likely ordering one from JC Penney, using a 15% off coupon)

Friday, August 22, 2014

New medical issues to address


Don't think I mentioned it, but I misstepped off the cellar stairs last weekend and fell onto the thin rug over concrete. Ever since, my right ankle has been bothering me, developed into a consistant limp. Sigh. . . so I called the orthopedist office, and had an appointment to confirm what I already knew-I have a small tear in my archilles tendon that runs from the ball of the foot up the back of the ankle. RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation as well as high doses of generic Advil, a sample pack of Voltaren gel (a topical Advil as described to me)-if I like it, I'm to call the office and they will call a RX in. Would have to do so before Sept 1, my start date for our new year under our high deductible insurance plan. I will have to do a 6 week course of PT, however, which will quickly eat our new deductible, coupled with other, existing, medical expenses.

More urgent, however, was what happened later that evening as I was preparing supper; special needs kidlet had his first seizure, fell to the floor, cutting his head open in the process. 911 call made, a trip to the ER, numerous tests and now we will be following up with both a pediatric cardiologist (abnormal EKG) so now we need an echocardiogram, as well as a pediatric neurologist. Naturally, getting late afternoon appointments are next to impossible. I've already signed up to take a 1/2 personal day on 9/2 for the neurologist and await a call back from the cardiologist to get that appointment squared away. 5 stapes in his head, restrictions on activities, can't be left alone, etc. We got home at midnight, exhausted. He asked to sleep with Mom, and naturally the cats joined us. He doesn't remember what happened, just coming out of it, covered in blood. : (

DD baked off the chicken that I had ready to go, and later refrigerated it.

 We had yesterday's plan tonight. the kids at home made themselves something to eat out of what we had on hand. Fine.

Bulk of my time today was spent making phone calls, updating physicians/therapist/school on what happened and trying to determine what we need to do next.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This week's CSA, a freebie, and what's for dinner?

 Late posting this for this week, but here's my organic CSA share from Monday: 2 purple kholrabi, 2 lbs potaotes, celery, recipes, a head of garlic, a bunch of pea shoots, a quart container of green beans, 3 lbs Heirloom tomatoes, including my favorite: Black Krims!
 Monthly cleaning service here yesterday presented me with the above air freshener from Yankee Candle as a thank you for continuing to use their service, in celebration of our 2 year anniversary. Attached was a hand written card. Nice touch.
Supper tonight is a continued pantry/freezer clean out/eat down. Joining 2 households had lead to some overages, but we are actively addressing that. A mixed berry crisp was baked off last night, using the table top convection oven. Dinner menu tonight: oven roasted chicken drums and thighs, canned French beans, buttered "garden" fettucini with herb seasoning, a large tossed salad with choice of dressing.

Wednesday night supper

 One of the adjustments that I am calling "growing pains" with our new living situation, is that I am cooking 6 out of 7 days/week now. Saturdays remain soup/sandwich night so easy on me. Tonight's supper for 6 stretched one lb of ground turkey from Aldi's. I beat 2 eggs, grated a large carrot, added spices and homemade breadcrumbs and mixed this well before adding the ground meat.
 I formed these into 6 good sized patties and fried them off in my electric skillet, which I have been turning to as my cast iron pans shouldn't be used on the smooth top range here. These burgers were served with choice of cheeses and condiments on rolls.
 roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic and rosemary
canned beets.

You just never know what you will find . .

at Dollar Tree. I always make it a point to pop in there, when I am close by (it's located in the same plaza as Aldi's). Here are some of my deals that I got recently:

 Quarts of beef stock

A lavender body wash from Canada that I decant into liwuid soap bottles and cut with water to make up my own refills, bars of lavender soap

 HTA boxed milk for the emergency shelf
 LB pkgs of lasagna noodles

Pkgs of the new "pot sized" linguini that came out last year. I like to use these for chicken noodle soup

 Olive oil "Pam" spray from a division of Baker's Joy. An ounce less than Aldi's version, but still a bargain

I also got the Canola oil version. I am set for a while with 4 cans each

 Frozen fingerling potatoes with rosemary and garlic. Had these last night, delicious! Only 2 servings per 10 oz pkg, so I used 3 pkgs, defrosted them as instructed and roasted them off in the table top, convection oven. Sure are cheaper than the $5/lb ones sold at the farmer's market.
 20 oz cans of refried beans that we call "bean paste" which we use to coat flour tortillas before adding a bean/meat mixture and additional toppings. Some in the family also use these as a side dish.

29 oz cans of DelMonte stewed tomatoes. We use a lot of tomatoes, and these come with the onions/peppers/garlic and seasonings already added. Great as a side dish, or a base to a chunky pasta sauce.

200 count tissues-awesome as several of us are allergy sufferers

Bottle of Tapatio, a preferred hot sauce.

In addition to those items pictured above, I recently got the following: DT strore brand tissues, 8 ct packs of medium size eggs, fzn "pepper stir fry" which I use like fzn chopped peppers/onions sometimes cutting up further or not, instant oatmeal packets, individual choc pudding cups (lunch box treat), multi packs of small sized chocolate bars, VO6 cream rinse, a green oval plastic soap dish for the powder room, a clear plastic "soap saver" for the powder room, dish washer detergent, birthday cards, fzn bags of mixed berries (raspberries/strawberries/blackberies), Goya dulce de leche waffer cookies. Yes, there is a lot of junk, smaller sized packages that don't necessarily equate a bargain, food items of mysterious origin (country) that I try to avoid. All in all, however, there are some great deals to be found.  I also purchase the bulk of my cleaning items from DT: tall canisters of Comet cleanser, LA's amazing orange cleaner (for pretreating laundry), LA's amazing laundry detergent, Sun brand dish washer powder, LA's amazing blue dish soap, Brillo pads, etc.