The Week Behind: The Only Looking Back I Want to Do

Saturday: Katie called mid-afternoon yesterday to ask if I'd take her to get Taylor for the weekend. I prepped today's dinner yesterday in the late afternoon. The morning was pretty routine stuff. The weather was, thankfully, dry and sunny though clouds increased on our way back.

We made a stop at Ingles for some necessities that Katie required. I picked up something for Taylor (Frozen toddler serving set) and Yoohoo to drink on the way home. I checked out a couple of items I want to stock but found the same selection I've found elsewhere, so no purchases for me much. But the bargain came as I started to the exit. There was a stand full of umbrellas for $4.97 each. I've been in need of a newer umbrella since mine is tearing and has pinholes but I balked at the $15 price tags I've seen. I won't be sliding this new umbrella into my purse as I did my old one but at least I have one that won't let rain come through it onto me.

Home once more I reheated our main dish, steamed Brussels Sprouts and we sat down to eat. I was one hungry girl by the time I'd returned home.

Bess came by to borrow a cup of rice. I was happy to see her as I wanted to pass on the two packets of baby wipes that were extra over what I needed to keep on hand here.

The wind blew and blew and blew today, heavy gusts and the temperature dropped steadily. On Friday it was 80F...on Saturday we were plunging into the 30's by nightfall.

Sunday: My failure to plan cost us money today. Truly it did. I should have taken time on Thursday to plan and start prep for my weekend meals but I did not. I was able to scratch something together Friday evening for Saturday's meals but I had nothing for Sunday's. I'd planned, loosely, on Saturday evening to rise early enough this morning to make dinner for today before leaving for church...Didn't happen. There was simply no spare time to attend to dinner at all. I knew well that we'd have Katie and Taylor out to eat with us, too.

So when John asked me what we'd do after church, I suggested we just head on to the grocery store. Fourth trip into a store in three days time...Sheesh. That extra money on our last check is sinking down the grocery hole. I did at least get dog food this go round. And I'll most certainly not do anymore spending in the grocery area this week. (Ha!)

I washed a full load of dishes and did a sink full by hand. John did a load of clothes and hung most to dry.

I kept the baby while Katie took Taylor back to her daddy. He was good as gold but only slept if I held him. I wonder why he's gotten the notion that Gramma loves holding him?

Monday: I woke ready to get to work this morning and boy did I work! I was more than ready to quit by the noon.

After I had my coffee this morning, I started breakfast. While it cooked, I stripped our bed and took a quick shower. I started a load of laundry as soon as I went back to the kitchen. Hot water and bleach for this load.

After breakfast I went out to hang out clothes. The porch was in a pretty sorry state so I decided before I hung anything to dry I'd clean the porch up. It took quite a few minutes. I swept, picked up some odd bits that needed to be thrown away, gathered the pets' bowls, put old cushions over the newer ones since the dogs and cat apparently think the furniture is there for their seating pleasure. I hung clothes and then took my overwintering plants outdoors to sit and soak up the sunlight.

My plan today was to set about decluttering the kitchen. My first task was to get my housework attended so I cleaned the kitchen. I figure wiping down countertops and putting things away is half the battle. Then I gathered up three pairs of shoes and moved them into out bedroom closet. We keep shoes at the back door usually but we John had a pair he never ever wears. I figured those could sit in the closet and free up space under the bench. I brought a pair of dressier shoes and a pair of shoes I'd washed which don't fit well into the closet. The second pair of shoes went right into the donation pile.

Then I gathered up the folding chairs that have been at the back door since the family day in early December. After I set them on the back porch, I gathered up all the Christmas stuff, excess things I have meant to move out to the shed and all went on the back porch. I was fairly winded after all that walking back and forth as it took a good eight or nine trips. I decided it was worthwhile to 'work smart' after that, so I pulled the car up to the back porch and loaded all that stuff into the trunk and back seat and drove over to the shed to unload and put away. While in the shed, I gathered up all the empty boxes I've been saving, broken flower pots, a lampshade that had a hole in the side, etc. and filled the car with trash to go over to the dumpster. I was pretty well worn out by this point and decided that was quite enough for the day.

Finished up our dinner for the day. I cut potatoes to boil for mashed potatoes, rummaged in the fridge to find the leftover cabbage which I baked in the oven to reheat. I had corned beef in the slow cooker to go with these sides.

I settled to work on day four of Algebra. I don't mind missing the answer to a problem because I've worked too hastily or because I've just plain gotten it wrong but it irritates me to miss it because of the textbook's failure to explain what a symbol means. I had to look it up online to know WHY I had gotten the answers wrong. And if the symbol had been explained I'd not have gotten them wrong! Oh well. I am fortunately not being graded on this and I did learn something more today than what was in the lesson!

We had a lot of leftovers from our dinner. I put up two 'tv dinners' for future meals and those went into the freezer. I had corned beef, mashed potatoes and creamed cabbage in each container. It will be handy to have a ready to heat meal for one of those busier days. I sliced the rest of our corned beef for sandwiches and perhaps another meal. I also put up the last of the mashed potatoes which I'll make into potato pancakes or something.

I cleared the fridge of a few leftovers which we ate for supper. Mostly these were single servings of things.

Tuesday: Made pancakes this morning and used the boxed mix. I don't typically use it and wasn't in the least pleased today. I added too much water and practically made crepes. They were good...but not quite the fluffy pancake I was planning to have.

I have been very conscious of my plans to declutter the kitchen...and have yet to do more than move out two pairs of shoes! Never mind. I'm decluttering in other areas. Today I emptied the basket that sits by my chair where I tuck catalogs and the vintage magazines for the month. I had quite a few catalogs and free with service magazines (electric cooperative and roadside assistance program).

I'm all over the place with plans this week. I'd meant to make chili with the last of a packet of venison but instead I made spaghetti meat sauce. We had spaghetti with salad and cheesy garlic toast for our meal today. I put a single serve of spaghetti with meat sauce into the freezer as well as a pint of meat sauce. I am forever amazed by how God uses my leftovers (1/3 pound of lean ground venison) to make up enough for a meal and more leftovers.

I have NO tomato sauce...No idea how I missed that I'd used my last or why I've bought no more. However, I did have tomato paste and water and then I remembered that jug of V-8 in the fridge that I haven't been drinking as I'd meant to do and someone's suggestion of using it in spaghetti or chili...That went into the sauce along with some tomato paste discs I'd popped into the freezer a couple of months ago and the sauce tasted just great.

I came very close to buying a slipcover for the wingback chair online this afternoon...How close? It was in the cart...I noted however that the width was for 29" chair and somehow I thought mine was a bit larger. And it is! By one whole inch. Truth is I can make a perfectly nice slipcover as I've proven to myself already and while the other was a good buy pricewise, it's likely not half so well made. Easy to put in that cart and easy to remove.

Bess and Josh stopped by this afternoon with fresh homegrown eggs. They've had quite a year with the chickens, between hawks and possums and such but they are laying once more. John and I just bought three dozen and had a fourth here at home but those eggs brought in today were produced this week...They can sit a bit and be fine.

John and I discussed a small life insurance policy he has. I've been getting notices for a few months now asking us to switch our policy type due to his age. He explained to me why we should do so....and so the permission has been given. This will save us money in the long term.

I made oven fries from scratch this evening. I've determined that my homemade oven fries taste way yonder better than frozen French fries, take just about as long to bake and are incredibly cheaper. Now truly I knew this all along (about them being cheaper) but for so called convenience sake we've bought the frozen French fries. I just don't really want to waste money on those any longer. If I'm going to buy a frozen potato product I'll choose one I'm not able to make as easily and get as good results like hash brown patties or tater tots.

Wednesday: John off to work with a packed lunch, hot coffee and breakfast eaten.

I washed a full load of dishes as soon as he left.

I got myself ready to go, turned down the heat to 65F and turned off ceiling fans.

Big day planned. I wanted to do one more of the Target cleaning/paper products deals. I stocked up today on bleach, toilet paper, tissues, paper plates and toilet bowl cleaners.

Why so much toilet bowl cleaner this year? Christmas day (not my chosen time frame for it, I assure you!) John went to work on a leaky faucet in our bathroom. In trying to remove the handles, the screw set holes on each handle were jam packed with the powdered cleanser I typically use on the sink. Now call me silly, but I had no idea that those tiny holes contained screws nor that I wasn't getting all the cleanser rinsed out of them when I'd clean the sink. I was disgusted with the amount of stuff that came out of those handles and which was underneath them as well. I vowed then and there that I'd cease using the Comet to clean those faucets but I do want a good disinfecting cleanser. I have used toilet bowl cleaner in my shower when there was a heavy buildup of soap scum and I figure the same product will work on my bathroom sinks.

I also stocked up on Tylenol which was on sale, offered a gift card and for which I also had high value coupons. I am now done with my annual stocking up on cleaning supplies. I doubt I have quite enough of many things but I've got a good head start on my year and if I now buy just an item or two a month I should stay pretty well ahead of our use over the course of the year.

I went for a haircut. I was beyond the point of needing one. Amazing how much better you can feel after a fresh cut!

Went into the grocery next door to the salon to get bread machine yeast (bought two jars) and picked up a free protein bar. I also nabbed two hyacinth pots with more than one plant and blooms to come from the discount flower shelf for $1 each. I can plant these in the yard and they will return year after year. I'd have bought more of them but was mindful of dollars and pennies today. I'm feeling spendy this month, though most of the expense was covered by the holiday pay of last pay period.

Off to visit with Mama. I took her out to lunch. We opted for drive thru fare today which we ate at the fair grounds. I ran a couple of errands for her, then we headed back to her place to meet up with Katie. She sent Katie and I off to do her grocery shopping. (grocery number 2 for me...) Katie informed her we'd be going to Aldi. Mama lives and breathes by her brand name items but Katie insisted that was the best place to shop and indeed Mama would have paid easily 2/3 more for most items she wanted. I picked up Swiss cheese and half and half for my coffee.

Katie and I treated ourselves to a coffee at Starbucks. I have a gift card from my brother in law, which he knows I stretch hard over the year.

I stopped at another grocery (!!) on my way home to pick up some snack foods that were well priced and to stock up on breakfast sausage. I also purchased a loaf of Rye bread. Can you tell I have a sandwich in mind? While my spending was low today it was hardly the 'no more groceries for us this week' as I'd stated it should be on Sunday.

I picked up pansies in four packs at this grocery. I will get them planted this week before the rain comes in. I very nearly skipped them but I do love pansies so much! Their happy faces and their delicate scent just make me happy. I think $4 is a cheap price for something that will make me smile, don't you?

I brought a portion of my lunch home...and that's what I had for my supper tonight along with a mandarin orange and extra vitamin c tablets. I told John I don't know if I was allergic to something or what but my throat hurt terribly by the time I got home today. I figure the extra Vitamin C can do no harm.

Thursday: Woke to a lovely pink and lavender pastel sky this morning.

I know John would want a bigger breakfast since he was coming in from work and I was quite right. He'd been up for three or four hours by the time he arrived home and he was hungry. I made grits and fried eggs, sausage and toast. I was however mindful of what is enough and what is too much. One egg, one piece of sausage, one piece of toast.

My dinner plans for today required minimal work on my part, so after doing light housework, I slipped outdoors with my bag of tulip bulbs (only a week late in planting them) and spent a happy forty minutes digging in soil. I planted all the tulips and all the pansies, too. I even did some maintenance type work, emptying pots that I expect to have no return plants coming up, planting some bulbs that might well be defunct but I figured I had nothing to lose by planting them anyway. They'll compost if nothing else. We've rain coming in this weekend which will do the plants and bulbs all will have a good soaking.

Came indoors and worked on my Algebra. On Monday I will be reviewing Chapter one. So far, so good. There's only one tiny bit I'm not terribly sure of, but I think I'm getting a good understanding of it so far. I have learned I could use a helping hand with basic addition however...sheesh! And to think I used to be the one who added columns of figures accurately quicker than I could key them into an adding machine!

Made a phone call to our insurance company. With John not driving to work as often, we could reduce the use of his car to 'pleasure' and that meant a savings. The second savings came in when I asked if the same company offered a roadside assistance program. They do and it costs $32 a year. That is a savings of $100 over AAA and covers both cars not just mine. Well goodness gracious! It does seem this year will be a year of decent savings for us. We are barely started in January and here we've managed to 'save' $3000 for the year thus far.

We had Reubens for dinner today with potato chips on the side. I didn't make anything but the sandwiches and it was plenty for us. For supper, we had a single serve dish each from the freezer.

Made cookies for John as I'd promised I would. I made the stovetop cookies he loves so well.

Friday: John off to Columbus this morning. This settled once for all what our retirement income will be and when we can expect our first check. There will be a six week period without income but I will set to work and do my best now to set money aside for the necessary things during that time frame. After that period, we'll be trimming things a bit closer but we should manage well enough.

After John left, I scurried about and got ready to go to an estate sale. I'd gone to work on the living room gallery wall and disliked it mightily. I was very happy today to find two lovely pictures for $2 each at the estate sale this morning. These are better suited to my English country theme. I also purchased a pair of shoes for John that I thought looked like his style. I bought a book for myself, a hard hat for the boys to play with, a two quart jar and 1 gallon jar. I love these two sizes of jars for storage. There were just loads of jars and I'd have gladly bought all I could carry had I had room to store them. My total expense today was $11.25

John tried the shoes on and they fit perfectly. Out of curiosity he looked up the brand and style online. The shoes were brand new and still available online...for $65. I paid $5.

My next big thing today was to go to Katie's to pick up a pair of chairs that she was replacing. My initial plan was that they'd be in the kitchen sitting area, but no luck. They simply did not fit and wouldn't have fit even with a smaller table between them. So the next thing was to switch chairs from room to room. The big hardwood wingback chair is now in our bedroom. I need a side table to go with that chair. The swivel rocker moved back to the kitchen. I love my little rocker in that corner there and am happy to bring it back to it's original spot. The two chairs from Katie replaced the swivel rocker and the wing back chairs in the living room. There's only one problem...they look nice enough that the slipcovered chairs look completely out of place now. Isn't that almost always the way of it? You get something new to you and it pushes things out of place. I'm very happy to have the chairs. And as these things tend to work, I'm sure I'll find replacements or fixes for the problem areas.

I made a big pizza for our main meal today. There were plenty of leftovers.

While picking up the chairs, I picked up an old baby crib springs. I'll put them to use as a trellis in the flower bed.

It's been a lovely week, full and productive. I might not have accomplished the things I meant to accomplish but I did get job done. That's enough.

What did you accomplish this week?

(C) Terri Cheney

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