Sunday, May 22, 2022

What's Cooking...or Not


     We had a low key week with us back to just two to cook for. I had work work creep into my evenings and house projects each night I forced myself to stay on task, so wasn't very good creative.

  • Sunday: DH got hungry at 2:30 and made a pizza. I had a slice too, so neither wanted supper as it was well after 3:00 before we finished. He polished off a pineapple and I later had sliced apples with peanut butter for a snack. 
  • Monday: Sloppy Joe's and tator tots
  • Tuesday: Taco salads- sort of. The premade shells for salads were ridiculously expensive, so I substituted stand up shells. This used up the pricey iceberg lettuce I had in the crisper.
  • Wednesday: Ravioli with meatballs ( used up opened bags from freezer)
  • Thursday: DH and I ate out
  • Friday: crockpot 3 cheese rotini
  • Saturday: Graduation party food, I made Special K bars, but with rice crispy cereal.

     We're cleaning the park today but it's cold and wet again, so still waiting to decide lunch. I've got a second pan of bars, plus a ham, cheese, and pea pasta salad either way. Supper will be who knows- the salad if not eaten for lunch, or maybe just boxed mac and cheese and vegetables. Like last week, here's some options heading into a long weekend. Some will be for the lake and others for the week. I'll intentionally strive for leftovers, but also going to buy easy things like bagged salad, and potato salad  and coleslaw from the deli. I need to go grocery shopping at some point.

  • Grilled burritos
  • Grilled chicken and side salad
  • Burgers with all the fixings
  • Spaghetti with vodka sauce 
  • Macaroni and cheese and vegetables
  • Ham and au gratin potatoes
  • Grilled cheese/ meat and cheese with French Fries
  • Pizza
  • Chicken, broccoli, rice, and cheese hotdish
     I was supposed to have a five day weekend coming up, but not sure with turnover at work, that will happen. Also, my daughter might be starting a very part time evening job a few nights a week, so she'll either eat lunch late, or supper early. She's hardly been home yet from her trip to really plan, but no doubt we'll all eat. We've got so many things up in the air with life right now, well my girls do, so organizing at least meal options might help. 
     Whether we all live together one month or four, combining meal preferances and needs will be interesting. I'm all for increasing our plant based meals so my daughter should help give me ideas. Poor DH though- I'll need to make sure we can get him a baked potato and have chicken and burgers at the ready. Any ideas out there that have been wins in your house?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

My Week in W's is Back

     I want to keep Friday Free for All, but I be missed my W wrap up posts. They kind of act like a Schmatterings off life. As my last post of the week, tucking them here on Saturdays makes sense. Here we go...

What’s top of my mind:

     The infant formula shortage is a real concern that crosses all socioeconomic, cultural, and racial American families. Seeing anyone from either party play games and ridiculous politics on this makes me ill. It touches my family and family friends, my neighbors, and people I'll never meet, but I care about those babies every bit as much. Then the know it all mom shamers berating those that didn't choose breast feeding adds more stress and insult.

Where I’ve been:

     What a social schedule! Not. DH and I went out for dinner and I went with my daughter to see another house. Sadly, she had a text on route that of course couldn't be read until we got there. The house sold and showing cancelled 15 minutes before she was scheduled. She was very disappointed as this could have been a perfect fit. It's early again in her search so I don't want her to feel down.

     Pup and I have been on some gorgeous walks. He's not bothered a bit by his hideous hairdoo. I picked up the world travelor last night from the airport. She had 12 hours of travel from leaving the hotel until I got her home, but reported the trip was wonderful.

Where I’m going:

     Tomorrow is grad party one of I think will be five, this for our nephew. Technically, two graduates are one joint party for my BILs granddaughters, cousins graduating together from our local highschool. My sister has always been one of their grandparents as they were married well before their children married and had kids- nice for their blended family to get more people celebrating. Sunday is our family park cleanup.

What I’m watching:

     I've recently started watching episodes of Law and Order UK. The legal process is similar but in so many ways, so very different. Several episodes showed children being tried in court, but then in other episodes, the needs of the young offender seemed to top the heinousness of the crime. It's television so of course I don't know how much liberty is taken, but I find it fascinating.

What I’m reading:

     I found my daughter's copy of The Secrets of the Divine Yaya Sisterhood and read a bit to get started. I still need to get cracking on the Theater for Dreamers before it's due back.

What I’m listening to:

     I had a lot of head down work to do so had BBC World live streaming during parts of my work week. Riding with my daughter a couple times, she had a very random mix of music that was put together by my younger daughter including songs from the Les Mis and Hamilton soundtrack's, to Motown, to Taylor Swift.

What I’m eating:

     Using up things left and right. Too much pasta this week but it's been easy meals I could either make quick or throw in the crockpot. I'll shop and maybe plan Sunday.

Who needs a good slap:

     I keep getting pulled into a project overseeing grant expenditures unrelated to the program I manage. It doesn't fall into anyone's job really- just something that has to be done. I'm known for being very fiscally strong and that I foresee issues ahead. On this grant, I'm so tired of the games the grantees are playing trying to slip things that are clearly not allowable into their request. I denied 40 hours of activities that weren't eligible. Then, it got submitted for the same number hours, but the 40 hours suddenly showed up on a different line! I may be stretched but I'm not stupid. Two slaps!

What I’m planning:

     We have to figure out timing to get my daughter's Visa. I think we'll probably drive as air has been atrocious, just like gas but we only need one car not two airline tickets. I'm not sure about staying right in the city, paying huge rates and parking, or outside and driving in. Her appointment is 11:20 on a Friday. We'll come Thursday, but likely leave early afternoon and get home. It's a lot of driving in short period of time but straight through driving on the interstate.

What’s making me smile:

     Ishared already pup and I have been on beautiful walks. Now we're seeing the green and flowers. This makes me smile. No duckling sightings yet, but I've not seen the mamas on the pond so perhaps they're staying close to home and the babes will come soon.

My photo did not do justice to this tree.

Lilacs near the pond are up higher.
There's no low growth this year

      I hope your weekend has started off right. If you'd like to share your W's if the week, play along in the comments.

The hostas are really coming now.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday Free For All- Crap and Good Times

      Welcome to the Friday Free for All. This is a no  theme day to just chat about different topics on my mind. Today's grouping falls to two categories, things that are pure crap and good times and fun. Let's start with crap.

Crap Products

     When my daughter and I went to pick out flowers just at Walmart, we passed an end cap of summer mugs and plastic glasses that can only be described as utter crap. I can't imagine collecting these free, let alone paying $4.98 for one. They were just cheap plastic, looked nonfunctional, and just space wasting. They were called fishbowl tumblers, 40 oz. and I'm gob smacked at the ridiculousness of them. Now I know I just complained about someone describing oak furniture as ugly and annoyed that people state opinion as if fact, so call me a hypocrite if you like. These are a landfill headed ugly nightmare. This is one of several options, each as awful as the next. 

Crap People Do ( or Don't)

     I'm so annoyed with people not picking up their crap when it spills out to impact others. Well, you know how I shared that I was able to get all my garbage bagged and secured in my trash can? Well, apparently an idiot in the neighborhood didn't plan so well. The park was filled with newly blowing trash not there the day before. We've had some windy blowing rain, so it just was gross. While trying to get some of it picked up, of course I'm spotting dog crap left as well. Others besides me must have filled bags when they were out walking or maybe kids did  some pick up to throw properly as it was better yesterday. But the crap action people made Wednesday unpleasant. I'm looking forward to our family park clean-up day, and alos not if it looks as bad as our did for a day. 

Good Times and Small Budgets 

     I have so many things that I love to do that even if I wasn't watching my spending I'd gladly partake in. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Como Park Conservatory, the river walk, and the free outdoor concerts that will be starting up again, to name a few in my part of the world. Now that we've sampled another trivia venue, I'm game for more. Several hours of games, good food and drink, and good company is a budget friendly good time. I keep looking for more options that may be seasonal, but can help fill a calendar. I'm looking at the Events on Facebook and Eventbright for ideas. How are you spending summer nights and weekends? 

Good Times with Others 

     When I think of some of the best times I have it's usually doing thing with others that are very basic, not extravagant affairs. Poker nights with my sister's, a perfect lake day in and out if the water or lounging on a floaty, hanging out by a fire retelling the same stories and laughing again, walks and happy hours with the moms, cooking together with my girls, or having girls dinner. Opening a bottle of wine and joining neighbors outside in porches or a quick meet-up on a pub patio with friends refills me.DH sort of splurged, but had a coupon, for dinner out last night. Nearby was a large group of women finishing up, but talking and laughing, and picture sharing. They truly all looked to be enjoying life at that moment. I'm looking forward to trying the Pizza Grill Kit I got DH for our anniversary with family and friends and games of bean bags (or corn hole depending on what you call it) at the lake or our own back yard as I got one for DH for Christmas. I've loved our vacations of course, Caribbean, UK, Europe, Alaska- potentially once in a lifetime experiences, so don't get me wrong. But these good times that can happen often and spontaneously, is where real life lands. 

     I've been down again, working from home, still cabin feverish from the long winter then wet and cold spring. Now I need to get the average Joe good times going again, starting with the park clean up and family picnic or lunch out, weather dependent this Sunday. A couple more grad party announcements came yesterday and it's nice to think about celebrating for others. The flowers are popping on the crab apple trees and lilac bushes now and with the added rain this week, yards are so green! It's time for me to shake off my blues and get my dose of green, yellow, and all the colors of late spring. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Thrifty Thursday- Little Bits


      It's sure getting hard to come up with things to include in my Thursday thrift post. I seem to either be spending a lot or not at all. No great wins in the shopping or budgeting department, but I mostly bought things we've needed or really wanted at the time. For example, lunch out with my daughter was a splurge, but also a pre- thank you for all the help on Saturday. I guess at least thinking thrift is a little bit of actual thrift. I came up with the following.

  • My younger daughter has free texting and WIFI which surprised me, so she's  sent a few hello's. Peace of mind is a bargain!
  • Carefully loaded the garbage cans with the extra trash, avoiding an overage fee
  • My daughter found loads of change in her sister's room
  • Trimmed pup ourselves with a rechargeable dog l groomer razer and accompanying tools. He looks rag tag but more comfortable
  • Made multiple dinners this week without another store run
  • Bought just as many flower plants as I had interest to replant. Bought some seeds for the fun of seeing if we can get some to grow. I planted in pots and planters I already have.
  • Finally broke down on a vacuum, but it was an in-store roll back price. I'll keep the old as the suction is still good so the attachments and hose work for going around base boards and high. Useful if more than one of us clean
     It's not exciting to be thrifty or economize. But it's also most often not a hardship either. We've all been impacted by the higher prices in stores, at the pump, and without most of our wages going up. It feels more manageable to get through the inflationary times when I think on the fact we have all our needs met and still enjoy the treats and comforts of life time to time. Share any successes big or small. How are you still treating yourself despite the higher costs?