Saturday, April 29, 2017

Goals for April -- Review

April is a kind of nutty month for me.  Even with that I did manage to at minimum partially accomplish almost everything on my purposeful living goals for the month.  

 1.  Patio container garden -- roma tomatoes, basil, some flowers, bell pepper, oregano, cilantro.  I have my basics ready and I'm picking up potting soil tomorrow afternoon so I can finish up.  So this was a partial success.  We had so much rain last week I didn't even pretend to plant.

 2.  Sewing summer wardrobe and using supplies on hand -- I was half and half on this.  I did finish a few items (like my capris).  I did sew up some simple dresses for my niece using things on hand.  I also used up several partial spools of thread.  However, I did buy patterns.  We also had errands several towns away and as a treat my husband took me to JoAnn's.  I bought a couple of yards of various fabrics.  All but one were on discount and all were for set projects.

 3.  Using on hand supplies -- I did pull a free sweater pattern from online and yarn from my stash.  I've finished the back and one sleeve.

 4.  Christmas gift -- I didn't work on a single one.  Sad, but true.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gad About

Right now I feel like we are on the road a lot.  

We had errands and meetings most of yesterday.  We had quite a to do list, but we were able to get everything accomplished.  We're continuing to prepare for retirement and almost all of our errands and meetings centered around that.  We're feeling better about our plan so that is good. 

 I did pick up some fresh fruit and veggie top offs while I was out.  Walmart Neighborhood Market was on our route so it was an easy in and out. I came home with strawberries, pineapple, bagged lettuce, mushrooms, white onions, carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, lemon, 3 cartons of soy milk, a cake mix, and a candy bar for my daughter.  



One of my jars of sweet potatoes didn't seal, so I heated them up (added cinnamon but no sugar) for a side.
Made a quick garden salad.
I seasoned some ground turkey, made up patties, and cooked them in the air fryer.
While they were going I sauteed some onions, mushrooms, and bell pepper in a tiny bit of olive oil.
My family loved the turkey cooked that way so I'll remember it for the future. (Quite easy and little mess to clean up.)

Today is another crazy day.  I have an appointment at the Heart Center midday, and then my daughter has a meeting I am supposed to attend tonight.  I'm kind of hoping to get a few odd jobs around the house done in between the two.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Supper from Aldi

I haven't posted many food pictures lately.  I'm not really sure why.  Tonight we had an all "Aldi" meal.
 
Whole wheat pasta
Chicken, spinach and feta sausage
Eggplant
Tomatoes with white wine vinegar (used to deglaze the pan)

(Nope, I didn't stick to the menu.  Long story short, the endocrinologist has altered my medicines and I am on a strict diet once again....sigh)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Waste Not, Want Not

I was given a box full of sweet potatoes that were picked last fall.  Amusingly enough they came through two people who didn't want to deal with them and made their way to me.  It took me all day, but I have them all processed and added to our food storage.

This box held a lot more than I was expecting.

I ended up with a dehydrator full.
4 saved for a side dish of baked sweet potatoes.
14 quarts of canned sweet potatoes 
6 pints of canned sweet potatoes
10 cups of puree -- enough for 4 deep dish pies



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Menu Plans

I'm trying to get life back on a steady pace around here.   I don't believe we truly need anything from the store other than perhaps milk.

 Our week is shaping up to have a medium level of "busy ness," and I want to keep things rolling on as steady as possible.

 Monday -- I'll be trying to get the house back under control. It isn't horrible, but some areas need some detailing.  I grilled pork chops Sunday afternoon and have two left.  They'll become the base for fajitas.

 Tuesday -- I have a doctor's appointment in the morning and my daughter has a night class.  However, my husband is coming home tht evening.  I am going to cook BBQ chicken in the slow cooker.

 Wednesday -- My husband and I have a day of errands and meetings.  We will have breakfast for supper. Sausage and egg sandwiches perhaps.

 Thursday -- I have a second doctor's appointment and then an evening meeting.  I'm going to cook macaroni and cheese.

 Friday -- We are going to have a homemade pizza night, which we haven't had in a while.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Indulgences

A few years ago I lost a lot of weight and I passed on most of my sewing patterns to someone who could use them.
I was perusing Ebay -- a dangerous pastime to be sure -- when I found a huge lot of various patterns.
Careful inspection of the photos showed them to be in my size and in similar styles to what I will wear.
There was also a variety of children's patterns mixed in, which I appreciate very much because I like to sew for my nieces and nephews.


How I managed to open the box upside down is beside me, but I did it.
Even more amazing is that she had packed all these patterns in this box.
I couldn't get them all back in.


I pulled through all the patterns and separated them according to gender/age.
I found three that I am passing on to my mama.
The rest all went into my sewing room.
There were a few crafting patterns, some girls and boys patterns, a couple of men's patterns, and a slew of women's patterns.

My biggest dilemma is deciding what to make first.

I've actually ran a test on a pair of knit summer capris.
I used fabric and thread I had on hand.
My daughter is calling these my 70's pants and says she isn't sure she'll be seen with me.
I've reminded her it is a parent's job to embarrass their teenage daughter.  :-)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Newest Frugal Addition


Our giant drying rack is together and handling her first couple of loads. 
We're affectionately referring to her as "The Beast."
She was kind of expensive, but I saved enough on the electric bills to pay for her.
All future savings will be gravy so to speak.

Up until now I could not dry towels or bedding without using the dryer. 
I'm hoping to officially cut back to only using it for emergencies.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Busy Days

I promise to catch up on my reading and my posting soon. We are having busy days, complete with a week off for my husband and my grandson is visiting.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Final Countdown

We're entering the final countdown of craziness to get the last few tax returns out.  This has been a weird season for me because I have only been working weekends.  That is changing this week and I'll be working pretty much daily right on up to the deadline.  However, we are cutting off on April 15th.

 I spent my last day of freedom (only answering phone lines) today.  I took advantage of it and worked on one more summer dress.

 This one is a crinkly cotton.  (I'm woefully ignorant of whether it has a proper name or not...sigh).  This was the first time I worked with it.  In all honesty, I like the pattern and the way the directions are written.  However, I would do some things differently the second time around if I were to use this fabric again. I'd double my facings, rather than try to use interfacing.  I'd also use French seams.

The fabric tends to want to fray a little.  I think those things would have made for a better finished product.

Ironically, I don't think I'll use this fabric again.  I wasn't thrilled with how it sewed and I dont like not being able to truly press things when I sew. Having said all of that.  I do like the color(s), and it does fit well.  


Monday, April 3, 2017

Learning New Skills (using scraps)

I love dolls...always have.  I'll probably never be much of a "piece quilts together" kind of person, but I always look forward to having leftover fabric to use for doll clothes.  (I do save the pieces I don't use and give them to Mama.  She is the quilter of the family.  I just like the quilting process, but not the actual piecing.). I joined a doll clothes sewing group on Facebook and our April sewalong is for doll panties.  I decided to use some of the leftover fabric from my summer dress and try my hand at them.

We have ten 18" dolls in our house, so I pulled together 10 pairs of bikini panties.
Everything was from my stash, and all except the white elastic was leftover from other projects.
I had actually never used any of the white before this, but I have had it for some time.


Take Two


This is take two of my summer dress.
I altered the neckline to a soft v and added facings.  
The original pattern has you just fold over and hem.
Again, this fabric was from my stash and we have deemed it my "Parisian Print"...lol.
There are actualy cats on it, too.
Not sure why I didn't photograph one.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Dress

I actually finished sewing this just as March was ending.  The plan was for this to be my working muslin and see how it went.  I traced out the pattern, because the sizing on the envelope seemed off to my usual experiences.  I was glad I did.  The pattern I went with was 2 sizes smaller than the envelope hinted at.  Fortunately I was able to seek some advice from some others who sew.

I finally settled on making the size my "intuition" was telling me to make.  It fits perfectly!  

 With me being home, hating to be hot, loving to wear dresses, and wanting comfort combined with presentableness, this is the perfect summer dress for me. I imagine this dress, with its soft knit fabric, great length, and happy colors, will get a lot of wear.  I did have to buy the pattern, but the fabric was from my stash.  I also have fabric for several more of these and will be altering the pattern slightly to create the illusion of variety.  I'm expecting by the time I am finished that I will have the cost of the pattern down to less than $2 per dress.  A price I am more than willing to live with.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Freezer Biscuits

Freezer Biscuit Recipe


I used this recipe.  My favorite recipe does not freeze well.  The first time I tried it, I made them as thin as she showed and I didn't like how they turned out.  The taste was great.  This time I made them thicker and one batch made the number shown in the photo.   I bake them for a bit and then brush the tops with garlic butter, pop them back in, and let them finish.


April's Goals

Making monthly goals for 2017 has worked pretty well for me.  I think the shorter term mentality makes it easier for me to zone in on things to focus on.  Reviewing them every month also helps me stay on track.

 April is always a kind of crazy month for me.  We hit the end of tax prep season, which I always look forward to seeing go...not because of clients or work, but it just gets crazy by the beginning of April.  This year my husband actually has the week after Easter off and I am not sure what we are doing.  I do believe our grandson is going to spend that week (or at least part of it) with us.

With those things in mind, I am making a shorter list this month.

 1.  Start a small patio/container garden.

 2.  Continue to work on sewing my spring/summer wardrobe.

 3.  Continue to use up craft supplies/sewing supplies I have on hand.

 4.  Keep up the master planner and continue to use up pantry items and eat from our freezer.

 5.  Work on at least one Christmas gift.

 That's it.

  I'm thinking #4 will be easy because it seems to be becoming a habit.  I can hopefully combine 2, 3, and 5.   The container garden is a joint project with my husband so I think we can get that done the week after Easter.

 Does anyone else have "plans" for the month of April?      

Childhood Foods Revisited

While my husband and I were drinking our morning coffee, we were reminiscing about favorite elementary school meals. We both agreed tha...