Beautiful weather here. Some hot days in the last two weeks - many around 90F!
It was 78F yesterday and going to be about the same today. This weather makes it perfect to be outside doing just about anything.
Yesterday I pulled the old, dry cornstalks out of the garden. Then DH and DD arranged them in bunches out in front of the house for Halloween decoration.
For me that is the definition of Frugal!
I also harvested a zucchini and several tomatoes. All the tomato plants are still producing and the sun is getting those green ones to ripen up nicely.
Here is some earlier garden pictures I had meant to share...
DS helping water.
Some of our bountiful cherry tomato harvest.
I'm thinking about planting a few things for a winter garden, but haven't decided on anything yet.
Viewing the 'Food / Groceries' Category
Beautiful weather here. Some hot days in the last two weeks - many around 90F!
As I've previously posted we have a bee hive in our backyard. This is a 4H project that our DD participates in.
This year her hive produced enough excess honey she could harvest it.
The whole process is so fascinating. It is amazing to learn how bees "operate", the proper way to work with bees and the steps to harvest honey.
After you pull out frames of capped honey from the hive boxes you cut the wax caps off with a Hot Knife (electric knife that gets hot and cuts/melts the wax). Then you load the extractor.
This is the Extractor in our kitchen (you can see some of the wax caps on the top of the strainer).
The local beekeeping club allows 4H members to borrow the club owned electric extractor at no charge.
It works by flinging the honey out with centrifugal force.
Frames loaded inside the extractor.
DD filled jars after letting the honey drain from the extractor into the bucket for about 30 hours.
Almost two gallons of honey collected.
Most of these jars will be given as gifts.
A few might be sold - DD's project leader has customers willing to buy local honey for $20/pint.
We had a busy week here. DH and I decided we would host a BBQ for a few families. I think it has been three years since we invited more than just our family over for a meal - ha!
DD was away all week at 4H camp (which was the BEST ever! )
DH and I had to pick up her chores as well as work on getting the house and yard ship-shape. I also had to pick her up from camp Friday midday. So we worked on party preparation a little bit every day of the week. I squeezed shopping for food and supplies on Tuesday afternoon - my half day of work.
We made it a potluck, so that saved some money. I didn't feel embarrassed about asking and everyone was happy to bring something.
Party supplies were:
$ 2 - red plastic tablecloth
$ 3 - blue star paper dinner plates
$ 2 - blue napkins
$ 3 - plastic cups
$ 3 - plastic shot cups
$ 1 - glow-n-the-dark bracelets
$16 - kiddy pool
$ 3 - sidewalk chalk
The last two items are for DS to use all summer. If we are gentle the pool should make it for next summer too.
As far as food goes I wanted to make kabobs. We have never made them before even though I have wanted to many times. I bought 36 boneless/skinless chicken thighs at $2.50/lb. I used fresh zucchini out of our garden on the skewers also.
$23 - chicken thighs
$14 - Kabob produce (bell peppers, onions & pineapple)
$38 - (2) six packs of beer, (2) bottles champagne, (2) bottles sparkling juice
$ 3 - bamboo skewers
$16 - Avocados for guacamole
$ 2 - Tortilla chips
$16 - Huge watermelon
$ 3 - Whole Pineapple
$ 8 - Strawberries & Raspberries
$ 6 - Ice
$ 3 - lime jello
Almost all the fruit/veggies were organic.
The kabobs were a hit.
I even had a few extras that I threw in the freezer - maybe dinner next weekend?
DH crafted a watermelon "basket" filled with the fruit. I should have taken a picture (I think he did) it looked great.
His guacamole was a huge hit as usual.
I had the idea to make jello shots. I saw this really cute idea to make red, white & blue layered jello cups. Well that gave me the idea to make jello shots. And then the idea to make Margarita jello shots.
(Let me say I have only had jello shots once before and I have never made them.)
They turned out really good! I will make them again as they were such a fun little adult item to have.
DH and DD hit the fireworks stand and bought $25 in fireworks.
We all watched our city's fireworks from our house. It is nice to not have to drive anywhere.
It was a really enjoyable party. I would like to do it more often than once every few years. It's one of those things where you keep asking "Why am I doing all this?" and then you have such a good time you feel like "I am so glad we did this!"
Yesterday afternoon I had an eye exam and ordered six pairs of contacts. $275.
I was well overdue for an exam - it had been two and a half years since my last one.
And my contacts are *supposed* to be disposed of monthly - but, I only ordered six pairs last time and they lasted me this long (30 months). I take extra care to clean them and treat them gently so they last me - I can't imagine throwing good lenses away every 30 days.
Unfortunately, the office doesn't take AmEx so I couldn't use the new card.
My co-worker needed to pay her PG&E (gas/electric) bill in person with a check. I offered to put it on my CC using online and she could pay me. My thinking was to get the $107 charge on my new AmEx. Unfortunately, they don't take AmEx either.
Late last night I made a major grocery run so I wouldn't have to go during the long weekend.
$252 that I did get on the AmEx.
Another payday with short paychecks.
(Next week will be golden as neither DH nor I had short days this week.)
But, yeah, $206 less income this week than what I budget/estimate/plan/project for.
I have $60 of cat care cash that I was planning to put toward a cc.
In fact, this week I decided to make this particular card my main focus and commit any *extra* to its payoff no matter what.
Now, I either need to stick to that plan OR use that $60 cash to help cover the usual expenses. No matter which option I am still going to have to transfer some from savings to cover outgoing bills.
It is feeling very one step forward; two steps back.
& I was bad this week...
I don't know if it was the nice weather making me lazy, or the "special" time of the month, or the feelings of stress over weeks of lower income, or some sadness/reality over unexpected deaths (there was a horrific car crash where a pickup truck crushed a car all the way to the front seats. Killing two women - mother/daughter. Happened on a road I frequently drive.) Sicily, the weird missing plane and some other upsetting (child abuse) news stories..
But I ate lunch out four days and as a family we ate dinner out once and had fast food dinner once.
$30 - lunches out
$46 - dinner out
$21 - family fast food
And I completely feel like I am shooting myself in the foot - while taking those two steps back!
I suppose we are "luckier" than most - a Costco trip is hassle free for us (if easy shopping is "lucky" ).
I might have mentioned the store closest to home is right off the highway between the city I work in and the city I live in.
The store is always super clean and has a large parking lot and is rarely crowded during the week.
This afternoon I stopped in for gas and some *stuff*..
Gas was $3.53/gal.
Here are some of the highlights...
$ 9.59 - 3lb bag Frozen Organic Blueberries
$ 8.99 - 6lb bag Frozen California Strawberries
$16.79 - 2.5lb Fancy Unsalted Whole Nuts (I love these! Almonds. Cashews. Pecans. Pistachios. NO cheap-ie peanuts!)
$ 9.99 - 12ct Happy Squeeze Pouches (Tasty fruit & veggie puree - excellent snack for DS.)
$11.99 - 80ct Cascade Dishwasher packs
$19.69 - Jumbo rolls of TP
I also bought rawhide chews for our dog. Canned tuna. Two cases of Izzy juice/sparkling water (special lunch treats for DD). Good clumping cat litter - 35lbs for $8.59. Ice cream sandwiches. Frozen burritos. Crackers.
As you can see I picked up some staples and some favorite treats.
What's your favorite item at Costco?
We are getting a super good, soaking, rain storm this weekend. It is so wonderful to hear the rain on the roof and watch the creek by the house fill up.
I did venture out this morning to take DS to a birthday party for one of his preschool buddies. On the way there we drove past two separate accidents. Solo spin-outs.. people going too fast with standing water on the highway.
DS enjoyed the party and we gifted a small toy truck that I had bought on sale months ago and tucked away. It was nice to not have to go shopping and the toy cost $4.
DH offered to go to the grocery store today.
He likes to spend the time hanging out with DS. I was thrilled with having the option to take a break from going out. I did write up a big list for him. DD left with them to visit a friend, so I have the house to myself. Watching some 'Downton Abbey' without interruption.
Woke up to rain this morning - YAY!
I was so excited. Which I know sounds silly, but it has been so sunny and dry here. Plus, on a rainy day it gives me reason to cozy inside all day - sunny days I feel guilty when I stay inside all day.
DH cooked up a delicious breakfast of eggs with cheese, brown sugar sausage links and biscuits. He had to run to the store for the sausage and biscuits. I also had him get a gallon of milk and fresh French bread to go with dinner tonight, but nothing else. We need to wait for the cc to end its billing cycle on Tuesday before any more shopping. If we can push our grocery run to next weekend it will have been three weeks since I made a big store trip.
I am going to work on our taxes today using FreeTaxUSA website. I have used this site for many years. It will cost me about $10 to file both federal and state.
This is another reason I love my Quicken. It makes tax time easy-peasy. Of course I double check my receipts and statements, but in case I forgot something my Quicken reminds me.
The other items on my To Do list today are:
laundry - including bedding
We will watch the Superbowl later today.
Hope it'll be a good game and if not, hope we enjoy some of the commercials.
We get local, organic produce delivered to us by two different companies. We get them once monthly. I try to set it up so that a box shows up every other week.. Well, things got screwy with the holidays and we recieved both our boxes on the same day.
Lots of produce!
(aka bounty of California agriculture)
Just the fruit...
The pears are AMAZING! Like candy. DS and I have already shared three this afternoon.
I have several more butternut squashes from last month.
I am getting up right now to go make a big pot of butternut soup. I am also using my fabulous leftover pot roast and the DIVINE broth for a beef, veggie and barley soup.
I have sourdough bread to go with both. Can't wait - Yum!