Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On Being Thrifty-Five Internal Wins

I’ve got bigger goals right now than Caribou Coffee in the morning. It doesn’t mean I didn't want to pull through the drive through and order a triple shot Americana with two splashes of cream. This morning, having not bothered with coffee because I woke with an odd taste in my mouth and only wanted my tooth brush, 75 minutes later it was an internal fight to not detour to any of the five Caribou’s on my route. I drive through a chilly rain and had soaked feet as dodging puddles was useless. I settled for hot tea at my desk.

Doing a little online browsing last night, still looking at possible options for a TV stand downstairs, I kept getting swayed over to pretty storage units, baskets (I love baskets) and other things to store clutter. I resisted buying anything, knowing I don’t need more things to store clutter-I need to reduce clutter entirely. 

I ruined one of my new to me pairs of work pants and a short sleeve blouse by letting them touch something that had chlorine bleach on it. I am disappointed as these were go to work pieces worn at least weekly. My disappointment is lessened somewhat in that the pants were under $8.00 bought at Goodwill, and the shirt was at least a decade old, only recently worn again with the loss of a few pounds. I might be able to salvage the shirt with a Sharpie marker, at least as an under suit jacket blouse. I’m not going to run out and replace either, as I am still hoping to keep losing a bit of weight, and continue to make my current wardrobe work. I’ve got bigger goals than high fashion. 

I was alone for dinner last night and it would have been tempting to go over to the salad bar at the grocery store and make myself a delicious customized salad. I made due eating up a few bits found in my fridge and freezer, took pup for a walk, and watched a couple YouTube video's. 

Skipping Caribou was only part of my morning internal fight. I almost scrapped packing a lunch, with the idea of ordering the meal delivery, but in the end, left with both a can of chunky soup to throw in my desk drawer,for a future temptation, and one of DH’s frozen bean burritos, an apple, and a cheese stick for lunch today. 

I don’t think of myself as a tightwad. I splurge on plenty of things that bring me joy. I also make bone headed spending decisions on occasion, lured in with a shiny package or misguided thinking that the item will work for me and add to my quality of life, or I just plain succumb to convenience. None of the ways I utilized thrift this week created a hard ship, not so much as even a minor inconvenience. I’ll still have the occasional coffee or lunch out, not on a whim, but with friends and colleagues. I’ll replace my clothes when I truly need to, but not at this time when hopefully will only be useful for a short time. I’ll find the right piece for the TV stand, and am better off spending my time sorting and donating, not sticking away stuff in yet more bins and baskets. I’ve got to continue to remember I have bigger plans for my money; a comfortable, clutter free home; travel with my family; college for my daughter; and a secure retirement.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Quintessential Summer Supper

I've veered a bit off the menu plan but still using up what we have for the most part. I'm tracking to the nearest dollar but couldn't pass up a fresh baked baguette Saturday morning from the town bakery to go with the Greek inspired salad I made for Sunday.

My sister-in-laws cousin had brought a humongous cucumber and onion salad and I was the recipient of a take home container.The Greek-like salad  originally was going to have pasta, but the chick pea, cucumber, onion,olive, and artichokes looked so good as is. I made a tuna salad with the cooked noodles.  

 Corn from a roadside stand with these leftovers from the cabin made a perfect late supper when we got home Sunday night from the lake. Plus, there was enough corn for supper tonight as well. The teen gave me an extra generous dozen with 15 ears, which means more to take off the cob and freeze for a chowder on a cool fall day. Happy August eating.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

State of Renovations

It is probably the most beautiful state capitol building in the entire country. I can say that because I am not modest! The Minnesota State Capitol building has been under renovations for several years and this weekend was the great unveiling with three days of open house events. It truly is the people's house, which always amazes me. No security to go through, you can wander the entire building unescorted, and sit in on hearings if you so wish. 

My job this morning was to help assist people with finding various activities or specific locations in the building. I was in the hallway right outside Governor Dayton's office, that too open as part of the tour or just for self guided folks to wander in and take a peek. His staffer even allowed, and in some cases encouraged visitor to take a seat at this desk. It wasn't overly crowded yet, being I worked right away when the building opened. Still, I gave directions to too many to count on how to get to the top of the building to see the horses. I worked with an extremely interesting women who worked for the House of Representatives as a legislative analyst. Prior to this job, just started in January, she traveled and lived all over the world for decades doing volunteer and humanitarian work. Her husband is a corporate executive, but she herself never could get a work visa, so gave of her time and talent. She seemed like someone with a strong gratitude for the wealth of abundance she has, so when seeing needs, she did something about them. Now stateside, and with a daughter long since out of the nest, this was her time to have a career of her own; she seemed completely genuine and content. I hope I have the opportunity to run into her again sometime.

There was an 8:00 free yoga class on the capitol lawn that went until about 8:45. Those that took the class, each said it was a completely wonderful experience to participate in the class. Many filled up their free water bottles, a give away at an outside station, and then joined a tour, yoga mats in hand. There was a class yesterday and one more tomorrow morning. I would have liked to stay, but I had something to take care of late morning, plus, after touring colleges all day yesterday and an early morning rise, I was ready to get home. I'll come back another day, a family day, and give it a proper look. In my former life, I spent many hours here, but still, it felt revitalized and special. 

Here's a few pictures I hastily snapped. On Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook you can see others by searching for #mymncapitol.

L'etiole du Nord-named by the first European settlers, the French fur traders.

The gorgeous rotunda ceiling.

and more stunning architecture.

Henry Hastings Sibley-first governor of Minnesota in 1858.Each governor has a portrait hanging in the Capitol.

Alexander Ramsey. Minnesota Territory Governor and 2nd state off Minnesota Governor.
                     Foyer of Governors office. Minnesota became a state just in time to be officially part                            of the War between the States, otherwise known as the Civil war.

Friday, August 11, 2017

$350 August Meal Planning Challenge

I'm  questioning already my ability to stay at $350 for the entire month. DH picks up little extras and I am determined to count those purchases as well because these are the spending leaks that start little, but can derail a savings goal. I know, cut the guy some slack. Other challenge months I've ignored, but criticizing 1/2 gallon of ice cream in a flavor only he likes and  an eight pack of  frozen burritos seems fair. I'm at $204, with a balance of $146 to August 31. Remember, this is to include all household spending as well. 

I was off work yesterday for the funeral, but it was also DH's birthday. We needed to do a little celebration I had signed him up for the Ruby Tuesday birthday promotion so we took him out for dinner, using his free burger coupon. Ruby Tuesday's has always been a favorite of ours. I love the Ruby Tuesday salad bar and the girls have liked the variety of sides, or combinations to put together your own meal. DH and DS , meat eaters, have always been satisfied with their burgers, adding the salad bar on the side to fill any holes in their appetites. We don't have one right in town, so even though just a chain, it feels like a real dinner out when we go there- infrequently. This will be our only dinner out for the month. Today is the college visit, lunch provided for both DD2 and guest (me), so other than gas and maybe a coffee and juice for the road, an inexpensive day. 

I'm going to get boring on you all, but consider this for my own accountability. Below are the meal ideas I came up with earlier in the week. Strike through are meals we have had. Red text means it was omitted, and underlined means it was added as I discovered additional options. I'm putting the country style ribs in the crock pot for tonight's dinner. Counting tonight's meal, my list of meals above should take us to August 24th, with a couple spares, leaving only a week of meals to plan. Of course we need fresh items like fruit, veg, milk, bread, eggs, and yogurt well before the 25th, and likely more sandwich meat. I added a flat bread pizza tot he list-both homemade pizza and soup are great for using up the last of whatever is in your fridge or freezer, while providing a hearty meal. Though seeing the options laid out, what we have used so far and what is remaining, I have better encouragement that I'll ace this challenge. 
  1. Vegetarian Chili 
  2. Country boneless ribs, roasted potatoes, corn.(tonight)
  3. Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables
  4. Spaghetti and Meat  marinara (no meat)sauce, Italian vegetable blend garlic cheese bread from leftover buns
  5. Meatless mock lasagna with extra vegetables
  6. Goulash with hamburger, green beans
  7. Baked chicken, rice pilaf, corn
  8. Homemade chicken nuggets, cheesy potatoes, green beans
  9. Chicken fried rice and mixed vegetables
  10. Grilled Roasted chicken sandwiches and sweet potato wedges, pasta salad
  11. Bean burritos, with cheese, black bean, corn, and tomato salsa/salad (not the ones DH bought!)
  12. Chicken wraps with peppers, cucumbers
  13. Pork loin, grilled vegetables, pasta salad
  14. Italian sausage on buns, french fries
  15. Chicken Alfredo, mixed vegetables
  16. Vegetable curry and basmati rice
  17. Rice crust vegetable and cheese quiche 
  18. Tuna noodle hot dish and vegetables 
  19. Chicken Cordon Bleu, broccoli cheese rice
  20. Use it up vegetable noodle soup, Homemade wheat bread
  21. Hamburger, onion, veg, assorted cheese(whatever is left to use up)flat bread homemade pizza (since we had spaghetti meatless, I have an extra 1/2 pound of hamburger)