Family Life, Frugal Living

Meal Plan March 29 – April 4

Well, here I am a couple days late again with my meal plan.  Unlike last week, my tardiness is due to me actually doing stuff around the house.  Notice, we are eating more meat than we normally do.  I have found that during these weeks, I have wanted to make more comfort foods.  So often, those meals include meat.  I am being gentle with myself these days as we get through this.

Sunday March 29 – pasta with sausage, salad and bread

Monday March 30 – grilled steak, asparagus, baked potato and salad

Tuesday March 31 – vegetable pot pie

Wednesday April 1 – vegetable fried rice

Thursday April 2 – minestrone soup and bread

Friday April 3 – fish, potatoes and salad

Saturday April 4 – chicken noodle soup

What is on your list for the week?

soup served on bowl
Photo by Buenosia Carol on
Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Below is the list of things we did this week to save money.

  1. I signed up for The Great Courses.  It’s an online library of classes that includes everything from history to professional development.  Cost for 30 days is $0.  If I chose to keep it after 30 days, it will be $10/quarter.
  2. I took advantage of one month free on audible to download a couple books that I can’t get on the library’s online option.
  3. I literally haven’t gone anywhere, so I spent $0 on gas.  I filled up my tank two weeks ago and it remains full.  I will need to drive it a little bit this weekend to keep my battery happy.
  4. I have used up food that I was holding onto in the pantry that I thought I would eventually throw away.  One thing about being in isolation, you learn to make do with what you have on hand.
  5. I started a batch of salad sprouts!  I used to do this more regularly.  I realized that I had a bag of seeds for sprouts and decided to give it another go.  They started slow, but started to take off.

What did you do to save money as the majority of the world is trapped at home?

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto on
Family Life

Meal Plan March 22 – March 28

I did not get our meal plan out here on Sunday as planned because I was binge watching The Office instead.  It got my mind off of things which I think is more important.  I didn’t do it yesterday because I was trying to be productive around the house.  I made waffles for breakfast, tuna casserole for lunch, had dinner in the crockpot by 9:00 am and baked brownies.  I read for a couple hours, went on an hour long walk and tried to convince myself that my son continuing to go to work wasn’t going to make him gravely ill.  These are rough times we are living in.  And honestly, if that orange buffoon that we call president doesn’t learn to shut the F*** up, I am going to lose my mind.  Honestly, what the hell is wrong with him?  Anyway, on to my meal plan.

Sunday March 22 – pasta alfredo with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes

Monday March 23 – black bean soup, bread and salad

Tuesday March 24 – chili and salad

Wednesday March 25 – chicken au gratin, potatoes and salad

Thursday March 26 – vegetable pot pie and salad

Friday March 27 – Maybe takeout to support business. I have been really scared to do this, but I have a friend, who is a doctor.  She has assured me that it will be safe.  If not, I am breaking out the frozen chicken nuggets and fries.

Saturday March 28 – salmon, roasted potatoes and it will time to break out the frozen vegetables.

We are eating a lot of salad because I am trying to use up the last of our fresh lettuce before the expiration date.  At that point, we will pretty much be out of fresh vegetables and we are not going out.  I probably sound crazy because I won’t leave the house.   But, with the heart issue I have, which is very minor, it feels prudent to just not take any chances and stay home.  I am just a week away from the 14 day milestone that will signal that I am virus free.  I want to keep it that way.  Happy isolation everyone!

rocky shore with rocks on the shore during sunset
Photo by James Wheeler on


Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

I know you are all shocked to read that this was an incredibly frugal week.  We barely spent any money.  Crazy how being trapped at home helps save money.

  1. On Saturday, when I was running last minute errands to prepare for life at home, I needed to pick up chicken food and wild bird food.  I had $20 in rewards at our local pet food store.  I paid $9 for $30 worth of food.
  2. I went through all of our monthly expenses and was able to shave off $369.  Most of these will be temporary, but will be helpful.  I am currently at home from work, paid.  But, things are forever fluid and I feel like it’s best to plan for the worst.
  3. Eric was able to get our garden started with lettuce, spinach and kale.  The chickens have also started to lay again.
  4. Have you seen those gas prices?  Both cars have been filled with gas.  I honestly don’t know when we will need to fill them again.
  5. We have at least 6-8 weeks worth of food.  When things in China got bad, my husband knew it would get here and we would be in lockdown.  Here we are and he prepared us.  So, if you are reading this Eric, I am sorry for all the times we laughed at you and told you were crazy.  Your thoughtful planning has proven to be a relief.  However, I am the one who made sure that we have enough toilet paper.

What did you do this week to save money.

white toilet paper
Photo by hermaion on
Family Life

Isolation-Day 3

I have been determined not to talk about the gigantic elephant in the room, coronavirus.  Honestly, do any of us need to talk about it anymore?  The only reason I am bringing it up, is that today, I finally accepted this as my new normal and got my shit together (sorry to those who don’t like profanity).  Today is technically my third day in isolation.  I was home all day Sunday, but worked on Monday.  The library was hopping, as people knew we were going to be closing up for the foreseeable future.  I was able to load up on books and DVDs with a due date of May 1.  A due date that far into the future really put things into perspective.

Yesterday, my son was laid off from his job.  Two weeks ago, this kind of event seemed impossible.  He has a job on campus while going to school full time.  His school is now online, but his job seemed stable.  He is maintenance and works alone.  But, the university has it’s first positive case, so he was laid off.  Thankfully, something literally came up within a couple hours and he started today.  It’s sounds like a company that is taking necessary precautions.  He needs the work not only for the money, but also for the mental health.  He was feeling really down, like so many of us.  Going to work will be good for him during this time.  I will constantly worry about him being out and about, but he takes the precautions seriously.

Last night, I fell sound asleep at 10:00 and slept until 8:00.  Ten hours of sleep is pretty much unheard of for me, so it’s obvious that a little bit of depression is setting in.  That’s not a shock, I spent two days watching TV, scrolling Facebook and CNN and going back and forth between feelings of anger, fear and sadness. Since the entire planet is in this mess, I am guessing that I am not alone in those feelings.  But, I can’t go on like this.  Projections are that this could go on 18 months, I simply cannot allow myself to feel like this for 18 months.  So, I got up this morning and made a good breakfast.  I got in the car and drove myself to the local county park that has trails and took a 4 mile walk.  I spent that time listening to music (Journey) and thinking about all this.  I spent the last mile on the phone with my mom.  Neither of us cried, but I think we both realized that it could be a really long time before we see each other again.  That is a hard reality to face.

I have spent the afternoon making candles.  I also put some almonds in the crockpot with spices and siracha sauce.  I am not sure how those are going to turn out.  I will only post the recipe if they are edible.  They smell terrible, but I hate the smell of siracha so that could very easily be the problem.  The candles turned out well though and I have been meaning to make some for awhile.  I made lavender lemon for myself and a couple of citrus scented ones for my daughters.

Eric and I started watching Malcolm In The Middle again on Hulu.  Thank goodness that show exists.  We laughed very hard last night and expect that Malcolm will get us through this situation we are all in.  I have also started to watch anything by Judd Apatow.  The 40 Year Old Virgin on Monday night was just the medicine we needed.  I say that during this event, let’s not worry too much about whether or not something is offensive, if it makes you laugh, just watch it.

Let’s remember we are all in this together.  For everyone of us who stays home, that’s possibly 10 less people who get infected.  It’s going to be worth it the end of this journey, it’s just going to be really hard to get there.


The view on my walk.  It was cloudy, but it was outside.


Grapefruit candle



Oatmeal And Toffee Cookies

I baked cookies today!  I am not a great baker, so I tend to avoid it.  But, I seem to have a lot of extra time on my hands these days.  So, I decided to bake some cookies.  They actually turned out really good.

Oatmeal and Toffee Cookies

3/4 cup softened butter

1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups quick oats

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 package heath toffee bits

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Oil cookie sheet.

In bowl cream together the softened butter and brown sugar.  Once mixed, add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add flour, baking soda and salt, stir until mixed.  Add the oatmeal.  Add heath bar pieces.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet, flatten and bake 15 minutes.



Family Life

Meal Plan March 15 – March 21

Here is our meal plan for the week.  Last week was the first time that I stuck to the actual meal plan, with the exception of Friday and Saturday, when our plans were changed.

Sunday March 15 – fish, brussels sprouts, potatoes and salad

Monday March 16 – bean burritos, tortilla chips and guacamole

Tuesday March 17 – shepherds pie

Wednesday March 18 – broccoli and kale casserole, salad

Thursday March 19 – spinach quiche

Friday March 20 – spaghetti, french bread, green beans

Saturday March 21 – chicken au gratin, broccoli and potatoes

table on wooden plank
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Spring Book List

I have been busy compiling a list of books that I plan to read this spring.

  1.  This is a big number one for me.  The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben.  I LOVE Harlan Coben’s books.  Every single one of them.  I have read them all and would reread them all if I had the time.  Harlan and I have a special relationship. I follow him on Instagram and one time I commented that the next time he is in Milwaukee he should contact me,  I would take him for a brat and beer.  He responded “there’s beer in Wisconsin?’  I felt pretty special.  He’s kind of my middle aged crush.
  2. Reese’s Book Club always has good recommendations.  I have Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid already checked out and ready to start today.  I have yet to read a book that Reese Witherspoon recommends that I don’t end up loving.  She really has great taste in books.
  3. The follow up to My Lovely Wife is He Started It by Samantha Downing.  I am guessing her encore will be as disturbing and fun to read as My Lovely Wife.  I can’t wait!
  4. I have read rave reviews of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.  I hope to read this one by June, but I am number 93 on the library hold list.  This one might not happen until summer.
  5. I am going to put The Institute by Stephen King back on the list.  I never got to it in the winter, like I had planned.  I have heard great things about it, but for some reason I just couldn’t find the inspiration to start it.

That’s my list.  I love book recommendations, so please send them my way.

Happy Sunday friends, keep reading!

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on
Family Life, Frugal Living

Saturday Stuff

This morning my daughter and I took a walk in our county park.  The fresh air was a much needed start to both our day and our weekend.  Getting out of the house was certainly something that we both needed.

I set up a corner in our living room with a table and lamp for board games and puzzles.  I used items I had on hand.  An old card table, a pretty tablecloth and dining room chairs.  It might not be pretty, but it is doing exactly what I need it to do.  Provide a space for free entertainment.  My daughter is already busy putting together a puzzle and eating some snacks.  Like her mother, she ran before I could get a photo of her.  But, this is our little area to keep ourselves entertained.

Have a good Saturday!



Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Here is our list of things that we did this week to save some cash.

  1. My husband is making a batch of home brew with the ingredients he has on hand.  This should be interesting.  Below is a picture of something that has to do with the brewing.  To be honest, I am not sure what this is all about.                                                                                                       IMG_0629
  2. We have driven very little this week and the savings is obvious in our checkbook.
  3. Does the fact that at my parents party, my daughter’s boyfriend won the centerpiece and he gave it to me?  Free flowers always make me happy.                                              IMG_0624 (1)
  4. Home brew isn’t the only thing that was started in this house this week.  Wine making is on the list.  Very hopeful that this batch doesn’t taste like the piss water that the last batch tasted like.  It was a chardonnay.  I made a lot of risotto to use it up so that it wasn’t just dumped out.
  5. Someone at work left a brand new box of Yankee Candle lavender candles in the free to a good home spot.  This made me very happy!                                                          IMG_0630

That’s it for this week, what did you do to save money?