For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.
* Harvested 1/2 c baby greens from the indoor garden. Twice I was able to harvest green onions being regrown from scraps.
* The basil hasn't done much of anything. I think it's just too cold in that windowsill. There are only three little plants and they are still tiny. I planted parsley in the container, and left those three basil plants. If the parsley crowds out the basil, oh well.
* For New Year's Eve, we stayed in and made dinner. Our splurge was a $6 package of smoked salmon. We made a flavored cream cheese with green onions from the indoor garden and some homemade everything mix (sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, salt), slathered it on some good bread and put a bit of salmon on each slice. There was enough leftover for our lunch the next day, spread on bagels from Trucker's job. While this was much more expensive per pound than we'd usually pay, it ended up costing $3/meal for two. This is not much higher than we'd spend on pork or beef. While we will keep it a special meal, it isn't wantonly expensive.
* I used my $5 gift certificate for customer service to buy: 3 quarts of buttermilk (marked down to $1) and a loaf of English toasting bread.
* I made a wintery stir fry one evening: carrots, winter squash, turnip greens, onions, and garlic with a can of tiny shrimp that I got on a clearance rack at the grocer. Served over rice cooked in stock.
* For dinner another evening, I made a bacon and turnip greens quiche. I made the pie dough from scratch. The greens needed to be used up, so I wilted the whole batch. The bacon was purchased as ends and pieces for a fantastic price and I only used half of the 1/2lb~ package. The eggs were on sale for $1/dozen and I used buttermilk ($1/quart) in place of milk since I was out. The side was mashed butternut squash (from the garden) with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar and a pat of butter. Dessert was individual caramel apple pies.
* Another day I made breakfast sandwiches to use up the last of a loaf of bread, the leftover bacon, and some random veggies from the frig.
* Dehydrated two pineapples (on sale for $1/each), 4 apples (from the pick-your-own orchard; stored in frig), and 2 medium squash (manager's special; 12 small and medium squashes for $1).
* I cooked 6 lbs of cranberries in simple syrup until they were soft and sugary. I strained the excess syrup off and ended up with 3 cups of syrup. I'll use this syrup for sweetening teas and for water kefir. The cranberries were very soft. I was able to fit them all onto two leather sheets. Once dry, I will roll them up and can tear off bits for water kefir, break them into pieces for baking or snacking, or powder for baking, drinks, and sneaking into dessert.
* Trucker and I went antiquing on our day off together. We didn't spend much at all, but had a fun time wandering around for 3 hours. We saw lots of things that were high priced at the antique store that we see at really low prices at thrift stores. We also saw a lot of weird stuff...like an infant scale that explicitly said that it wasn't to be used in legal trade. Eek!
* Did a bit of yard work as an excuse to get outside before it gets nasty.
* Instead of going out for New Year's Eve, we stayed in, made dinner together and watched a movie. Even with our splurge on smoked salmon ($6), it was still a bargain night compared to going out. (The entire dinner, drinks and all was $15).
* A bunch of turnip greens accidentally got put in the cold spot of the frig and froze. Instead of waste them, I just wilted the whole lot. I used half for a quiche and the other half will go in colcannon later this week or next.
* I roasted the seeds from the butternut squash in the cast iron skillet and seasoned with salt. Perfect, free snack.
* Trucker is working a bit of overtime until they hire someone new. We are banking more of his check along with tip money.
* I got my check from Christmas. I have now been with the company over 90 days, I got holiday pay. Since I still worked 5 days that week, my paycheck was 20% larger. That went into savings.
* Put more dehydrated food into storage.
* I've been having a hard time making any leeway on any particular writing project (I'm really, really hard on myself). Trucker encouraged me to make a plan of action to finish one of the books so I can self-publish it online. During my break one day, I sat down and fleshed out an outline, came up with my goal word count, figured out words per section, then plotted out my days off for the coming week and the word count I need to hit each day. Sunday was my first day off and I hit my word goal. I will focus all of my non-blog writing onto this project until it's finished.
* I read a few articles on dehydration. I have had it in the back of my mind for awhile that I was likely dehydrated. I work in a bakery for crying out loud. It's always hot and I'm in and out of ovens all day. I started focusing on drinking more water about 10 days ago. Already I'm noticing that my skin looks better and I have fewer headaches (although I have had a couple, I usually have a constant low-grade headache). Could be placebo effect. However, to an extent, it can't hurt to be drinking more water.
* Since it is so cold out, I've been trying to focus on being more active in general to make up for less frequent hiking and running. Things like doing toe lifts while at my work station, wall sits while waiting the 2 minutes until I'm able to clock in, jump roping for short spurts during the evening at home, finding excuses to run up and down the stairs, vigorous house cleaning.
What did you do this week?