Monday, December 5, 2016

Cherry picking the deals this week, getting a few needs

 As usual, I combined sales plus doubled up to 99 cents coupons:  Demerara sugar $3.29, baking powder $1.99, 4 bags peanut M & Ms @ $1.49 each
 low salt turkey breast (not on sale), 80% ground beef $2.99/lb
 3, 120 count boxes Scotties tissues @ 67 cents, can of shaving gel @ 99 cents, OTC eye drops $11.99 but zero out of pocket as I paid with my HSA account, after using a $5 coupon.
 Swiss chard @ $2.49/lb, 5 lbs carrots @ $2.99
 coffee $5.49, 2 Oj @ $1.99, 6 boxes of herbal tea @ 99 cents (not a typo!) These (not the coffee) were all part of a "breakfast promo" where on buys any 6 of a select list of items already at reduced prices and then gets $3 off the order, limit 2 breakfast promos.
 2 lbs bacon @ $2.49, 2 18 count eggs @ 79 cents (not a typo!)
American cheese @ $3.99/lb and a wedge of Parmesan @ $4.49. I also got 1 gallon of milk and  2 cans ready to eat, Progresso clam chowder @ $1.49, kind of pricy but good for a quick meal at home. I spent $72.45 out the door

A WWYD quandry


Quandry: on 11/18, a local woman posted on a FB freecycle type network that she was looking for HH goods, in particular, kitchen items. I know her family, although not her personally. Early 20's with 2 young kids, was living with inlaws, sounds like the young family is finally getting their own place (they were teen parents). Great. I reached out that I had some items, posted a photo, she wanted all save 2 items (which I donated recently as I am in decluttering mode). Arrangements made for pickup on 11/27. Just prior to the appointed time, she reached out that she had to take her son to the walk in clinic, could she maybe come later that day or some day the upcoming week?. Great, thanks for the communication, let's reschedule for the upcoming week.

 I heard nothing. I reached out 2 days later, she replied right away, appololized, the whole family has been so ill. (I am assuming that the kiddo gave the rest of the family whatever he had)  I replied, no worries, please get back to me by Fri to reschedule pickup.

 As of yesterday morning, still no response so I sent yet ANOTHER text asking if she was still interested.

 I want this box OUT, it would have been donateed along with the rest that I recently donated. I don't want to come off as a biotch . . but should I send yet another follow up stating that if you don't come and get the boxed items by X day, they are donated? I've been more than accomodating, and am trying to help this young family out, but geez . . .WWYD? 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

DIY household cleaner update: the Dawn and vinegar "magic" shower cleaner

I used up the chemical, all purpose cleaners awhile ago, and have been trialing DIY cleaners instead both for health as well as home economy. The Internet is full of recommendations for a Magic shower cleaner that uses 50-50 Dawn blue dish soap and heated white vinegar. I did have some Dawn on hand, so I trialed it, following the recipe formulation.

Round 1 (Followed the recipe to the letter): It cleaned well, left the shower super slippery.

Round 2( Followed other's recommendations to do a 2 part to one part formulation): cleaned just as well, much less slippery

Round 3(Followed the 2-1 ratio previously trialed but this time, I used my regular dish soap): works just as well as Dawn.

The take away: just use whatever dish soap you feel works well for your water and use less than originally recommended.

I spend $2/gallon on white vinegar and $1/50 oz bottle of LA's awesome dish soap. I use 6 oz of soap (12 cents) and 12 o of vinegar (12 cents). I clean 3 full bathrooms once a week and a powder room twice a week using this Magic cleaner. A mixed up bottle lasts me approx 2 weeks. Add tax on the soap and round it off to 50 cents/month for bathroom cleaner. Yeah, I'll keep doing this. I still have some generic "Tilex" for mildew/bathroom mold. Once gone, I'll move to just  a generic bleach solution.

On the general cleaning front, I still vacuum once/week, Swiffer on off days (no vacuum) using up bulk stock of disposible paper pads or a dry mop with a removable, washable head (I bought a second one). I also plan on repurposing some microfiber cleaning cloths to use on the Swiffer mop once the disposible pads are gone. I dust once/week and am using up spray Pledge. I will then go back to lemon oil on a flannel rag.

Dr Bronners mixed up with water is my kitchen cleaner. Murphy's oil soap for once/month wood floor cleaning.

I am using up the last of my Windex, will move to a homemade formulation.

I stopped buying paper towels years ago, continue to rely heavily upon my stash of cleaning rags (repurposed cotton clothing and towels).

I spend so little on cleaning costs, which is really nice.

Saturday soup pot

Today's soup pot is truely making soup out of next to nothing:

-the remaining 1/2 of an open onion
-3 older scallions
-2 remaining stalks of celery
-a small bowl of growing wrinkly grape tomatoes
-about a Tbsp of chopped tomatoes l/o from DD's taco night
-4 outer leaves of a head of Savoy cabbage
-2 cups of homemade, turkey stock
-3 carrots
-1 cup of l/o chic peas
-an ancient, lurking package of chicken ramen
-Parsley, basil, French tarragon, black pepper

Came out really good! This is Saturday supper along with some Saltines.

A stress free Christmas


I am intent on having a stress free Christmas.

Decorations: pared down when we moved. Last year, I invested in an artificial tree, at about the same cost as a real one would cost me annually. For every year I use it, starting this year, a tree is a freebie. Ditto my Christmas wreath, advent wreath (with reuse candles). We continue to use the tree and what few home decorations I have, no new purchases in this area.

Gifts: list was pared down as well, I continue to live on projected retirement earnings. I continue to budget monthly for Christmas, so I continue to have the funds earmarked and available, once needed. Annually, I set my timeline for purchasing gifts for before Thanksgiving. I was a bit later this year, but am glad to report that my shopping is DONE as of yesterday.  Daily, I see an uptick in rude customers, hurried, disrespectful drivers on the roads. I choose to stay away from that nightmare.

Celebration foods: this year, at DD's suggestion, we are replacing our  usual Christmas ham with the freebie, 21 lb turkey that I "earned" at Shoprite. Typical sides will accompany. Christmas Eve will continue to include my traditional meat pies, cold shrimp platter, cheese and crackers, a relish tray. Dessert will be homemade, holiday cookies. Still, there are additional costs for the aforememtioned items, holiday baking, treats such as egg nog. This is included in my Christmas budget, line item on my monthly budget. Looks like I won't spend as much as usual, due to free meat, staples bought on sale plue coupon or Aldi's.

So where do I stand besides having completed the shopping:

-wreath on door
-Advent wreath with candles on dining table
-"holiday" scented candles out
-Christmas music playing
-Christmas tree up and decorated (except for Angel topper, her lights aren't working so I have to see what's going on with that)
-holiday cookie recipes selected

To do over the next few days;
-fix the Angel's lights
-put up the lighted roping on the mantle piece
-put up the roping on the front railing and decorate with on hand supplies

In the next few weeks:
-wrap gifts, fill stockings
-mail out Mom's gifts
-bake cookies in batches, freeze until needed

Just prior to Christmas:
-assemble cookie tins for gifting

I truely want this to be a peaceful holiday season.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday planned overs: Turkey Sheppard's pie

Honestly not much to look at, and looks unappetizing at the moment, but here is the kitchen experiment on deck for tonight: previously cooked, and ground up in the food processor, Thanksgiving turkey was frozen earlier and now is the base for a Sheppard's pie. 2 small tubs of homemade turkey gravy (frozen assets) were used along with some turkey gravy made with Better than Bouillion-salty stuff!. I made a mire poix (celery, 1/2 an onion-DD is adding small bits of onion back, and carrots). I also added 1/2 bag each of fzn peas, green beans-all OK with DD's restrictions.

 I paid something like 19 cents for the above pouch of instant potatoes. I mixed up 2/3 of the package to create an 8 serving batch of mashed potatoes to top the casserole. I also added onion powder and black pepper, as I normally do.

Now topped with the mashed spuds and dusted with a sprinkle of Paprika for color. I will serve this tonight with a green salad. Planned over leftovers for  Sat.  We are in use it up mode here, now that it's December.

A supper plate

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A quick stop

After class this morning, I stopped in at Aldi's for a few items that we needed.
 I also popped in next door at Dollar Tree, for these 3 plastic tubs for giving holiday cookies this year. I was hoping for metal, which they did have, but they were all small.
I grabbed more needed items, including a second toothpaste tube gizmo, I had been looking for months for another one! Small things make me happy!