Household

Meal Plan July 20-July 26

I need to get back into the habit of planning our daily dinners.  I don’t bother with breakfast or lunch because we tend to fend for ourselves for those meals.  My husband makes a batch of chili every two weeks and eats that for lunch.  I tend to eat leftovers and my daughters are old enough to figure it out.

Monday July 20 – Pesto tortellini with shrimp, kale salad

Tuesday July 21 – Halibut, cucumber tomato salad and roasted potatoes

Wednesday July 22 – Zucchini quiche and salad with whatever is ripe in the garden

Thursday July 23 – Marinated Chicken, vegetables and probably more vegetables

Friday July 24 – Grilled pork chops, vegetables, couscous

Saturday July 25 – Cheese, crackers, olives, fruit, veggies and hummus (it’s supposed to be hot!)

Sunday July 26 – Hamburgers, brats, coleslaw and potato salad

 

What is on your menu this week?

 

selective focus photography of hamburger with patty and lettuce on plate
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com
Family Life, Household

2020 Goals – Update

Below is an update on my 2020 goals.  I am actually making progress!

  1. I was recently diagnosed with VERY high blood pressure.  Until November, it was always normal.  Out of nowhere, it has gone up a lot.  I am now under the care of a cardiologist who has put me on medication and he is starting a round of tests to try figure this out.  So, my number one goal is to get my pressure back to normal.  Several of my goals have been set to help bring it down with the help of medication.
    • I continue to be in the normal range since early February.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.  Truth be told, I could stand to lose more than 20.  But, small goals are best and 20 seems like a good start.  When I hit that, I will add 10 more to lose.
    • This needs work
  3. Continue to get 10,000 steps a day in.  This has never been a problem for me.  But now, more than ever, I need to keep this habit in my daily routine.
    • I was doing such a good job at this one.  In my defense, we had some really cold and snowy days.  Honestly, I am probably exceeding this with my treadmill use, but I don’t count my steps on the treadmill.
  4. Go to the gym 3 days per week.  I need my daughter to hold me accountable with this one.  She is so good about getting herself to the gym on a regular basis, I need to follow her lead.
    • This I am doing
  5. I have spent a lot of time reading about the causes of high blood pressure and what I can do to bring it down.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  I eat a lot as it is, but it’s time to add more, especially potassium rich produce.
    • This is another goal that continues to be a success.
  6. I downloaded the Simple Habit app to encourage meditation on a daily basis.  I keep hearing that meditation helps calm the mind.  I do meditate, but not daily.  Time to start trying to meditate at least 2 or 3 days per week.
    • Yeah me!  I am doing this as well
  7. Get back into the yoga habit.  Several years ago I went to yoga 3-4 days per week.  I was in great shape, but I fell out of the habit as my kids got older.  Since they are now adults, I probably shouldn’t continue to use them as an excuse for not going.
    • 3-4 days a week hasn’t happened, but I am doing yoga again.
  8. Cut down on the alcohol.  I really don’t drink very much. I have wine with dinner some nights and enjoy a cocktail when in a restaurant.   But, until I get my blood pressure under control, I need to eliminate alcohol.
    • I drink wine on weekends only.
  9. Now on to other goals.  Pay off the house.  We had every intention of paying it off December 31.  A couple of unexpected expenses put that on hold.
  10. Read 110 books in 2020.  I sign up for the reading challenge every year on Goodreads.  I don’t think I have ever missed my goal.
    • 21 books read so far
  11. Read 3 classic books this year.  I am starting small because in all honesty, I don’t always enjoy the classics.  But, my mom and I agreed to start with Call of the Wild in anticipation of the movie.  It seems easy to add 2 more to 2020.
    • Call of the Wild – read
    • Dracula – read
  12. More dates with my husband.  In the past I told myself we would have a date night once a week.  That proved to be difficult to achieve some weeks, making it easy to just forget about it.  Date night once a month seems easier.
    • We consistently had a date night once a week in February.
  13. We have a membership to the Milwaukee Art Museum that I plan on utilizing a lot more this year.  I really do need to spend more time taking advantage of the cultural activities my city has to offer.
    • We didn’t visit the art museum, but we did visit the public museum.
  14. Spend more time outdoors.  It’s not always easy in the winter to be outside.  But in the spring, summer and fall, I need to spend a lot less time indoors.  I recently read an article that encourages 1000 hours per year which is about 2.5 hours per day.
    • I think I mentioned the cold, snowy weather.
  15. Throw away 20 items per day.  We have too much stuff in this house and some of it needs to go.
    • Pretty sure I am averaging more than 20 items per day.
  16. More no spend days.  These are so easy to accomplish and the benefit can be seen in your checking account.
    • This has actually been my easiest goal to achieve this year.
  17. Spend more time with my friends.  This is another one that I am pretty good about following through on.  I enjoy meeting friends for lunch, dinner and potlucks.  In 2019 I reconnected with several old friends that I have spent time with.
    • I am consistently meeting with friends at least twice per week.  It has been so niche to catch up.
  18. Finish a knitting project I started in November and start and finish another.  I learned how to knit in 2019 and really enjoy it.  I hope to find more time in the coming year to year improve this skill.
    • I am almost done.
  19. Learn how to can!  We usually have a prolific vegetable garden (2019 was a failure).  My husband is the one who usually preserves the bounty.  But, more job responsibilities means that I should take this one over.
  20. Go on 2 weekend getaways with my husband.  A full blown vacation is not going to happen, but a couple weekends away should be attainable.
    • We are planning something this spring

How are your 2020 goals going?

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Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com
Household

Meal Plan March 1 – March 7

Below is our meal plan for this week.

Sunday March 1 – salmon, potatoes, broccoli and salad

Monday March 2 – mushroom barley and salad

Tuesday March 3 – bean burritos

Wednesday March 4 – tomato soup and grilled cheese

Thursday March 5 – baked ziti, salad and bread

Friday March 6  – I will be out of town so my husband will probably have pizza

Saturday March 7 – My parent’s 50th wedding anniversary party.  Italian food for all!

What is on your menu this week?

 

 

 

 

Family Life, Household

Emergency Kit

Today I officially drank the kool aid and decided that it would be best for me to follow the advice of the many news sources out there and prepare for the off chance that my house gets hit with coronavirus.  I chose to do this for a few reasons.  First, my husband stocked up on two weeks worth of non perishable foods several weeks ago for this reason.  He never reacts to stuff like this, ever.  He is honestly the most even keeled, non reactive person I know.  If he thinks that this virus is worth stocking up on canned vegetables, I better take notice.  I will mention that he bought 12 cans of canned peas which I will never eat.  Not ever.  So those will likely be donated to a food pantry at some point.  Honestly, who eats canned peas?

Reason number two I decided to stock up, H1N1 (swine flu) did actually hit my house in 2009, so I know that it is possible for a pandemic to effect my family.   Two of my three kids were sick for about 10 days each, back to back.  Yes that’s right, I missed close to three weeks of work at that time.  I worked in retail and while I never got sick, the last place I needed to be was at a mall passing the germs on to others.  My manager politely told me to stay home.  Thankfully, I had sick time, so I was paid for those lost work hours.  Those two kids have never been sicker than they were at for those weeks.  I felt so bad for them.  But, we got through it, which is why I felt it unnecessary to jump on the bandwagon.  After all, we survived swine flu!  But, everything I have read seems to practically scream at us that this will be far more devastating and if a family member gets it, self imposed isolation is the only choice.  In 2009, those of us who were not ill did not self isolate for those weeks.  My husband went to work, my youngest went to school and I ran errands as needed.  Twenty days of swine flu required a lot of ginger ale. My husband has already made it very clear to me, as soon as there is a confirmed case in Milwaukee, he is isolating himself.  The benefits of having a job that allows you to work from home.

The third reason I gave in, it just seemed like the adult thing to do.  I rarely have OTC medication on hand.  I am far too cheap to buy things like that on the off chance we will need it.  But, I remembered back to 2009 and my husband driving to Walgreens at 5:00 am when it was clear our daughter had a serious case of the flu, for medication I did not have on hand.  I do not want to be caught off guard this time.

So today, after work, I went to Walgreens and stocked up on the items that I have read we should have on hand.  Good news, I had $10 in rewards, so I even saved money.  Obviously I hope that we are not effected by coronavirus and that everything I bought will be able to go to college with my daughter in the fall or be donated to our local food pantry.  But, if one of us, or all of us gets sick, we are prepared to the best of our ability.  But like I said, I am never eating those peas.  What are you doing to prepare?

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Look at all that single use plastic, another reason why I never buy stuff like this.

Frugal Living, Household

Frugal Dog Care?

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I have become one of those people that we have all made fun of, myself included.  I am a full fledged, proud, weird dog owner.  I am that person who talks to my dogs in really weird dog voices.  They all have really stupid nicknames, I take more pictures of them than my own children and I probably greet them first when I get home.  After all, they are happier to see me than any person has ever been to see me.  Who else might be so happy that they tinkle in happiness.  See, I said tinkle.  I am that weird that person.

I used to be really cheap when it came to my dogs.  See, before my children became adults, my dogs, while family were more pet than child to me.  In recent years, that has changed and I am no longer cheap with my dogs.

I no longer buy then cheapest dog food I can find, on sale.  I feel so bad that I used to change the dog’s food on a regular basis, based on the sale price, coupons and reward card points.  By luck, our late dogs did not have a constant case of gastroenteritis.  I know better now, dogs need to eat the same brand and if you change, it has to be gradual.  That’s not to say that I buy their food without considering the cost.  I buy the food, recommended by the vet, through chewy.com.  By doing this, I get the discount given by having a monthly shipment.  They also offered a really good introductory price which convinced me to commit.

The girls love their bully sticks.  I also buy those through chewy.com, on discount.   I buy those now instead of rawhide.  Rawhide is another thing that was a regular in this house years ago.  It’s cheap and I had no idea how bad it is for dogs.  I know better now.  Those bully sticks are really gross, aren’t they.  But, the dogs love them and when our oldest, Luna, resists coming in, a bully stick does the trick.

We live in the midwest which means that mosquitos and ticks are part of our summer fun!  Proper immunizations and preventative medicines are a must.  When I was a kid, we had a dog that got heart worms.  I have no idea what the treatment for that cost my parents, but I am so glad that I have the means to prevent that for my girls with a monthly pill.  They are also given a preventative for ticks.  The price for these pills is steep, but I believe that it is worth it if they prevent lyme disease.  I can’t believe the number of people I know who have had lyme disease, it is so unfortunate that humans are not able to take the same kind of preventative that dogs can take.  We have done all immunizations, with the exception of bordetella.  The dogs do not go to doggy daycare, until that happens, I am going put that one off.

We also keep up with annual vet visits, spay them and take them when they need care.  Because of their love of non food items, I did purchase pet insurance for unexpected visits, like needing socks removed from tummies.  We also have a Care Credit card which allows for a year of no interest in the event of the unexpected.

I am not as good as I should be in a lot of areas though.  We have a toothbrush for the dog that has never been opened.  I accepted a box of dental chews that I keep forgetting to give them, so unless I improve that, dental work is likely in their futures.  I also forget to have their nails trimmed until they are ice skating on the hardwood floors with their way too long nails.  I have a friend who works at a vet who has been known to help me get an emergency visit on a Saturday for a trim.  You know who you are!  Thank you.  Also, I have golden retrievers, they need to be groomed and brushed more.  When the weather improves, I will set up the kiddie pool and they will get a well deserved bath.  Not to mention a day in the yard playing ball with their nerf gun.

My girls are so important to us.  They complete our family and I know that they will be a great source of comfort in a few short months when our nest is empty.  Here is a picture of our girls

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It is really hard to take a good picture of dogs! Also, ignore that weird spot on the wood floor that needs refinishing!

 

Frugal Living, Household

Meal Plan January 12th -18th

Below is our meal plan for the week.  I had to buy fresh produce and some ingredients for my daughter’s birthday dinner.  But, we are able to continue clearing out the freezer and pantry by using what we have on hand.

Sunday 1/12 – pesto pasta and caesar salad

Monday 1/13 – My daughter turns 21 today!  She requested vegan mac and cheese, mixed greens with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese and vegan banana cake.

Tuesday 1/14 – spinach artichoke quinoa casserole

Wednesday 1/15 – bean burritos and salad

Thursday 1/16 – salmon, mashed sweet potatoes and kale salad

Friday 1/17 – lentil soup and salad

Saturday 1/18 – Due to a blizzard, last Saturday’s potluck was postponed.  All I am responsible for is dessert.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Household, Recipes

Meal Plan January 5th-11th

quiche

We are trying to use up the irrational amount of food that we have stockpiled in the pantry and freezer during the month of January.  I have been reading blogs where the family has decided that they are absolutely not going to go to the grocery store.  We already have, we ran out of bananas.  But, I think we are going to be able to cut back on the grocery bill a lot this month.  Below is this week’s meal plan that utilizes food on hand.

Sunday 1/5 – Trader Joe’s Tofu turkey (this is REALLY good) and root vegetables

Monday 1/6 – Broccoli quiche and chicken breakfast sausage

Tuesday 1/7 – Crockpot chicken chili with tortilla chips

Wednesday 1/8 – Homemade cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese

Thursday 1/9 – Orzo risotto with sun dried tomatoes, broccoli and artichoke hearts

Friday 1/10 – Cod and cauliflower tots

Saturday 1/11 – OUT!  We have been invited to a potluck and all I am responsible for is dessert.  I will be bringing brownies and ice cream.

Breakfasts will be oatmeal, eggs, cereal bars or smoothies.  Lunches are usually leftovers from previous dinners.  Snacks are usually fruit, nuts, crackers, etc.

aroma chili condiments cook
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Household, Recipes

DIY Dry Shampoo

Here is a recipe for DIY dry shampoo. It is super easy to make and it works just as well as store bought dry shampoo. I found this recipe from wellnessmama.com.

Dry Shampoo Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch OR 2 tablespoons arrowroot/cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 5 drops of essential oil of choice (optional- I use lavender)
  • An old make-up brush to apply

Dry Shampoo Instructions

  1. Put the drops of essential oil into the arrowroot or cornstarch and mix with a spoon. Store the mix in a small jar or old powder container.
  2. Apply with an old make-up brush to the roots or oily parts of your hair. Applying with the brush is optional, but it removes the need to comb through as much and is better for styled hair. If you don’t use the brush, comb the powder through your hair and style as usual.

 

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Household

Lavender Room Spray

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My favorite scent is lavender.  I burn lavender candles, use lavender soap and lotion, diffuse lavender oil and spritz my rooms with lavender spray.  I used to spend about $10 for a bottle of room spray at my food co-op.  But now I make my own for a couple dollars, at the most.  The recipe is easy and found all over the internet.

Lavender Room Spray

1 1/2 tbsp vodka

6 tbsp water

10 drops essential lavender oil

spray bottle (mine is a recycled bottle from the spray I purchased)

Pour all ingredients in bottle and shake.

Household

Memorial Day Weekend

It was a lovely long weekend with the family.  I am forever grateful for the blessings I have living in the country I live in, surrounded by family and friends.  It should go without saying that those who died while fighting for their country deserve to be honored.  The USA is extremely polarized at this moment in time, but I think we can all agree that those soldiers who died while defending our nation have earned the respect of all of us.

My husband planted the garden this weekend.  We have had relentless rain, so I am concerned that everything might drown.  He planted tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts, purple cabbage, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, beans and herbs.  He planted lettuce, spinach and peas several weeks ago.  It looks like we might have enough lettuce for a salad very soon.  We were able to get enough asparagus for 2 dinners.  Nothing beats asparagus from your own garden.  I prepare asparagus very simply, I roast it at 350 degrees with olive oil and Penzey’s Fox Point, it turns out perfect every single time.

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We stuck close to home over the weekend.  We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night.  It was wonderful.  We had our first summer like evening and we sat on the patio with good food, wine, music and conversation.  Those moments are free of charge but worth so much.  I made Kale Salad on both Saturday and Sunday night.  I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I cannot.  It’s absolutely delicious.  Sunday night dinner brought all 3 of my children home and my daughters included their boyfriends.  My husband made his famous Korean Ribs.  We have given up meat, but they were still in the freezer from the pig we bought last year.  I did forgo the ribs and had veggie burger instead.  The 3 boys that were here certainly appreciated a rack of slow cooked ribs from the grill though.

My daughter is moving back home from college for at least a year.  She will commute to school, so she had to buy her first car over the weekend.  Car shopping takes way too long.  The girl test drove ONE car, was pre-approved for a loan and asked very few questions.  It still took 5 hours to complete the transaction.  I am very proud of her, she saved her money and secured a loan without any help from us.

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Hannah with her new car

Our chickens continue to lay a crazy amount of eggs and the bees have been very busy.  We lost a hive in recent weeks.  Pretty unbelievable that they survived what has to be our coldest winter in decades, only to die off when it was warmer.  Eric has no idea what caused the hive to collapse, but it goes to show that we need to everything we can to protect our honey bee population, they are so fragile.

After being fortunate enough to have a 5 day weekend, today it is time to get back to work and get back to real life.