Friday, August 26, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 34...

1.  Ahhh...a new 16-month calendar is ready to start using next week.  Homemade means it has everything I want, nothing I don't want, and no money spent.  :)

2.  Wanted to eat lunch out yesterday while running errands...came oh so close...but then came home and ate leftovers.

3.  Called to confirm my work days for next week, and tentatively picked up an extra day the week after as well.

4.  Received confirmation that an article and photographs I submitted has been accepted for publication and payment will be forthcoming.  Not a fortune, but equal to about one day's take-home at my day job; and was offered another article for the holiday edition.  :)

5.  Planning a garage sale with Kasey next month.  Gathering up stuff to exercise that really takes away the desire to spend money on more bric-a-brac.

Keep Tryings:
I planned a trip to WalMart specifically to return a pet carrier and get a pet bed.  As I was checking out, I was truly irritated to realize I had completely forgotten to bring the pet carrier.  Aargh...another trip required!

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  liver & onions, garlic mashed potatoes
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Chili Frito Pie
Tuesday:  *late lunch out, skipped supper
Wednesday:  pork chops, hot potato salad, broccoli
Thursday:  *sushi
Friday:  crockpot chicken

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 25, Rudolph Day...

Oh my goodness, the days are flying by now.  I am getting almost nothing done these days, as Rudy (the puppy, not the reindeer!) is keeping us hopping.  I had to think of a small job I could complete for this month's Rudolph Day.

I decided to go in search of these crocheted snowflakes.  I've always kept them in a separate box to keep them stored flat.  I would hate to have to re-block them, though I'm sure it could be done.

I made them about 25 years ago.  At the time our living room had a wall of windows, and I would hang a snowflake in each of the upper window panes.  Our formal living room at the time was decorated in pastels, hence the non-traditional pink ribbons.

Today I cut all of the ribbons off.  My plan is to hang them in the big window in our dining room this year by putting a tiny dot of hot glue on the glass and imbed monofilament, attached to the snowflakes, in the dot.  When it's time to take them down, the hot glue will pop right off of the glass.    

I rounded up the perler bead snowflakes Caitlyn and Chloe made with me last year , and will hang those as well.  I'm excited!  They look pretty just laid out on the table like this.  I think they will look awesome in the window.

So now they are all packed together back in the box to keep them flat.  The pink ribbons have been discarded.

One more job to tick off the list.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

This is by the same author as A Man Called Ove which I read recently and loved.  When I saw my library had this one as an ebook, I had to get on the list for it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday dessert, Orange Cake...

I browsed Pinterest last night looking for a dessert recipe for which I had the ingredients on hand.  I followed this recipe for the cake...super easy.  I was going to bake round layers, but at the last minute I opted for an much easier to transport when still in the pan.

I didn't have all the frosting ingredients on hand, so I improvised.

My frosting included:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate (do not reconstitute)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk or cream (optional)
zest from one orange (reserve 1 tsp)

  • Blend the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.  
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. 
  • Add orange juice concentrate 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition and tasting...stop adding oj when the flavor is to your liking.
  • You may add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of milk or cream to make a less stiff consistency if you wish.
  • Beat at medium high speed until smooth. 
  • Remove from mixer, and add the orange zest to the frosting (reserving a teaspoon or so to garnish the top later), and gently stir by hand to incorporate the zest throughout the frosting.

Once the cake is cooled completely, spread the frosting over it evenly.  Press the reserved orange zest between two layers of paper towels to remove any excess moisture.  With your fingertips, sprinkle the reserved zest over the frosted cake.

My frosting turned out very tart...hence the advice about tasting between adding more orange juice concentrate.  Carey and I really liked it, but it had mixed reviews with the rest of the family.  More yeas than nays, though, which is a success with that bunch.  :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 33...

1.  As my fuel tank was approaching empty, I was near a gas station that is usually lower than most others.  Saved: 25¢ per gallon x 20 gallons = $5

2.  Wednesday morning there was another gift code from Shutterfly in my inbox.  Usually they are for discounts on stuff I don't need, but this was for 4 sets of return address labels.  I've been wanting some pretty return address labels.  Since the gift code was good for one day only, and I had a pretty full day, I was pushing it to get them designed and ordered before the end of the day.  I used one of my photos as the background and personalized the font style and color.  Normally their price for 1 set of 24 is $9.99...yikes!...I got 4 sets of 24 for free.  I did have to pay shipping which was a whopping $6.45, but I used a prepaid credit card that I received as a refund when we cancelled a service.  That covered it with no out of pocket expense.  

3.  RE: 'Keep Trying' from last week (the child gate to keep Rudy from sneaking off to chew up my kitchen and laundry room rugs).  I found the receipt and was practically out the door to return the gate, when hubs thought of where our old, way-too-narrow child gate might be (attic), and I thought of a way to combine the old one and the new one by dismantling one and using zip ties to make a free-standing screen out of them.  Rudy could definitely knock it down if he wanted to, but that would alert me to him heading for the rugs, so I'm good with it.  I'm counting this as frugal, because if I had returned the gate, I would have ended up purchasing another more expensive option.

4.  Went to preview auction.  Three items I was interested in turned out not to be what I was looking for after all.  Left early without purchasing anything.

5.  Paid bills on time.

Keep Tryings:
Spent more on groceries this week than normal.  The iron level requirements for blood donation have changed recently, and Carey has been one point under the new standard the past two times he has tried to donate blood.  I'm trying to feed him more red meat this week to see if it makes a difference

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  *chicken
Monday:  salad with salmon filet
Tuesday:  *friend's night out
Wednesday:  King Ranch Casserole
Thursday:  steak, baked potato, salad
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I'm reading Wedesday...

Skara by Andrew Appleby

A novel based on the neolithic village found on an island off the north coast of Scotland.  


Monday, August 15, 2016

A rainy Monday...

Today is a rare rainy August day.  And even more rare is the fact that the temperature only reached 80° F (27° C)...way more like spring than late summer!  It put me in the mood for something really fresh and light.  

Mixed greens, fresh strawberries and blackberries, mushrooms, avocado, feta cheese, tossed in a homemade honey and Dijon dressing and topped with a gorgeous, perfectly cooked salmon filet.  Yum!  

Carey isn't a fan of salmon.  He'll eat it, but I know he doesn't really enjoy it.  And as high as the price is, I figure why force it on somebody who doesn't like it.  So I usually make it when Jared and I are on our own.  We both LOVE it.  And we both thoroughly enjoyed our salad.

I had an appointment with a chiropractor today.  My left shoulder is still causing lots of pain.  I went to him for the first time last week.  He's young, well trained, and I have hopes that we will be able to get the shoulder back to normal.  The muscle spasms in my back that were also plaguing me for the past month or more are already gone for the most part, and since the last visit, I have enjoyed three days of more energy than I've had since I can't remember when.  I love the chiropractor I've been going to for the past twenty years, but she is over an hour away from where I live now.  And I think there is something to be said for young doctors coming out of school with new methods and treatments.  I am feeling very hopeful.

Here's a photo of Rudy in his new vest...we had to go up a size.  He makes us laugh a lot.  Right now he is racing around the house at warp speed.  That means that in a few minutes he will be begging to crawl up into my lap to be held until he falls asleep.  Baby!  :)

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