Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 5/18 - 5/24

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.
* I harvested 4 cups of greens from the garden.
* Frank the bunny is doing great. I make sure he always has access to pellets, but I feed him a lot of green matter. He hasn't gotten diarrhea, so I'm not feeding him too much plant matter.
* I've been emptying the bunny trays onto the back garden bed. It is planted to tomatoes and beans, so nothing that is touching the ground will be eaten. Hopefully this fertilizer will ramp up my soil.
* As I work in the garden, I can tell a big difference between new beds and older beds. The older beds are easier to work and the soil contains much less clay than new beds. Every year I dump lots of compost and mulch onto each bed and it's encouraging to see it making a difference.

* I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work. It seems that a lot of the things I like end up on clearance at this store. I lucked out this week. Pints of buttermilk were $.14 (yes, you read that right!), cups of heavy whipping cream were $.15, and pints of soy creamer were $.20. Butter was on clearance for $1/half pound so I bought 5 containers. I bought a bag of manager's special bell peppers: $1/5. They also had corn on the cob for $.10 an ear. I bought 2 dozen ears. We'll use some when we have company over and I'll freeze the rest.
* Trucker made taco dip for me one evening. He added leftover taco meat as well as a bunch of veggies. The lettuce was all from the garden. It was delicious and made for 3 meals.
* We had company over one evening and grilled out. I made hamburgers using 3 lbs of ground beef (on sale for $7), 3 slices of crumbled bacon (leftover from other meals) and 2 small sweet red peppers. I bought store-brand hamburger buns and put out a wide spread of condiments and caramelized onions. All of the lettuce came from the garden. I grilled a dozen ears of corn (planning for leftovers to freeze or use in recipes this week). I made a flavored butter to go with the corn made with a few minced hot chile peppers and the zest and juice of one lime. For dessert, I served grilled bananas with slightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream (I used one half of a $.15 container of heavy cream), drizzled with goat's milk caramel ($1/bottle on clearance) and a dusting of cinnamon.
* I used leftovers from grilling out for taco night. I crumbled up the hamburgers, added taco seasoning and heated. I had leftover lettuce and tomato. I cut the corn off one leftover cob and added that to the tacos as well as the rest of the caramelized onions. I served with homemade sour cream.
* With the leftovers from taco night, I made stuffed peppers. I just chopped up the rest of the veg, added some more grilled corn, added the meat, mixed in some homemade sour cream and breadcrumbs and stuffed it into green bell peppers ($1/5 on manager's special). I poured a can of enchilada sauce over the top ($.49 from salvage grocer) and sprinkled a little cheddar on top before baking until the peppers were tender. I like to use leftovers creatively so it doesn't always feel like we're eating leftovers, but they still get used up. Food waste is a major issue, and proper planning can do wonders for reducing or eliminating it. See your leftovers as ingredients. Hamburger patties get crumbled and now it's just ground beef. Taco meat is just seasoned meat that can be added to soup, chili, omelets, casseroles, or stuffed peppers. Some people pay to get their food pre-processed/cut/cooked. See your leftovers as a convenience item.
* I had several oranges that needed to be used up so I made orange curd. It turned out absolutely perfect and I kept going back in for another spoonful. For breakfast, I've been enjoying cranberry orange scones from Trucker's job spread with a heavy layer of curd. Absolutely phenomenal.

Food Preservation:
* I made some of the heavy cream into creme fraiche and sour cream which will extend the life a little (although not a long time). And it's awesome. :)
* I made orange curd out of oranges that need to be used up. Kept well refrigerated, it can store for up to a month in the frig, although I doubt it will last that long.

* I bought Joel Salatin's Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal for $2 at Half Price Books. This book has been on my wishlist for a long time.
* We had a couple cheap coffee dates.
* I went exploring out of town one afternoon. I packed coffee and a snack, so it was a free day other than the gas.
* One day during my run, I went off the beaten track and explored around the trainyard.

* I spent an afternoon at the arboretum. I walked through the woods, through a swamp, explored a primitive cabin, climbed trees and went wading in the lake, with fish swimming all around my legs. It was absolutely fantastic.
* I've been working in the garden most days and going for walks or runs outdoors every single day. I've noticed that the more I do this, the more anxious I get being trapped inside. I've stopped using the internet as much and prefer to take multiple walks in a day than check Facebook (sorry to any Facebook readers who've noticed I'm not posting as much anymore). My mood is much better, and I'm sure that the sunlight is a big part of that.

* Printed postage online and sent the packages with the postal worker to avoid gas and time going to the post office and get a small discount by printing ourselves. As always, we wait until they are done with the street and take it to them so they don't have to lug all our stuff all over.

Waste Reduction:
* I processed down old, dried bread and bagels into plain bread crumbs. I also processed down a few sweet scones and cookies that we didn't eat into sweet crumbles. These sweet crumbs can be used as an ice-cream mix-in, muffin topping, or in a bread and buttermilk fudge recipe I just found.
* I used bread crumbs in stuffed peppers to use them up and stretch the filling.
* I composted lots of weird things.

* I worked a total of 1.25 hours of overtime.
* I got my first raise of $1.50/hr. Yay!
* Trucker brought home a bag of bagels and several scones. We've used the scones for breakfasts. Any bagels we don't get to will be sliced to use for bagel chips or made into bread crumbs.

* We refilled our tank for the grill so we're prepared for the next power outage. We were going to buy another one, but it cost $50 extra if you didn't have an empty one. We'll be on the lookout for one on the used market.
* I stocked the cars with snacks just in case.

* We continue to list new items on our store and research, research, research.

* I've continued to get some sort of exercise every day I don't work. Even on one of the days I worked, I went for a 2.5 mile walk late at night. Some days I go on multiple walks.
* I went trail running for the first time. It worked me a lot harder than running in the neighborhood. I'll have to try this more this year.
* I had to buy some new workout clothes since the ones I got when I first started running were too big. I bought them on a half-off sale at my favorite thrift store. I paid $1.50-3 each for 3 pairs of shorts and $2 each for 2 shirts. One of the pairs of shorts was the same design as my favorite running pants that costs $25 new, with tags still on it. It's reversible and has a hidden pocket for my key.

* I talked with lots of people while running. I really love my neighborhood. This summer, I plan to take produce to more people, just to get those community ties forming.

How was your week?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Week..Before Money 5/11 - 5/17

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.

* I bought my first bunny! It's a sweet little New Zealand Black mix buck. I talked with a local farmer and will pick up my two does in two weeks. I paid $10 for the buck and $15 for feed, so my total so far is $105.
* I planted 5 tomato plants-Mortgage Lifter while Trucker burned the last of the felled trees. We will spread the ashes over the garden beds.
* I harvested 4 full-sized radishes from the garden, as well as 1 c baby kale, 1 c lettuce and a few tablespoons of thinnings: beets, carrots, radishes, swiss chard.

* I splurged on some salmon. It was $2.89 for a little over half a pound, so it wasn't the cheapest thing ever, but it wasn't unbelievably costly. This was for two pieces that I pan fried in butter. It was absolutely wonderful. Usually we'd stretch $3 worth of meat into two meals, but we lived large this time. By occasionally having a tiny splurge at home, it makes it easier to avoid going out to eat so much. Basically, by spending an extra $1.50 on meat for one meal, we staved off going out to eat once, thus saving around $20. With the salmon, we had a salad that was made entirely of veg from the garden: kale, lettuce, beet thinnings, carrot thinnings, swiss chard thinnings and radishes.

*I went to the art museum on Sunday since it is free that day. It's a smaller museum, but I enjoy it.
* We had a couple cheap coffee dates using our travel refills.

* I got out and took walks as often as I could.
* One afternoon I lay in the grass and watched the clouds drift by. I don't remember the last time I did that. I needed it.

* I walked to the library instead of driving. It is 3 miles round trip, so it saved me about $.50 in gas. While that is not impressive, it also cut down a tiny bit on wear and tear. In general, I wouldn't usually do something that would take an hour just to save $.50, but I enjoy walking, so it is worthwhile. When trying to save money I will do a task if it meets one of two criteria. It must either save me enough money to make for a fair hourly rate (If something takes an hour to do, I generally want it to save me at least $7-8) or I have to enjoy doing it (line drying clothing takes an extra half hour and saves me about $1.50, but I get to be outside in the fresh air and I'm happy).
* Paid extra on a debt.

Waste Reduction:
* Fed weeds and a few kitchen scraps to the bunny. Frank loves plantain leaves. Whenever I'm weeding the garden, I toss him the weeds and he turns it into near instant fertilizer for me.

* I worked over 45 minutes one day and a half hour the other.
* I voluntarily worked a Saturday for time and a half. We worked over 25 minutes, during which time I got paid double time.
* I packed my lunches for work each day: a big salad, apple chips and peanut butter, scone or muffin from Trucker's job, banana, or protein bars.
* Trucker brought home goodies from his job.

* We made some good sales. Trucker found a wonderful vintage couch that he bought from the original buyer (who'd owned it for nearly 60 years). He sold it to an adorable couple who was tickled pink to have the perfect couch for their 50s living room. Everyone was happy.

* Twice I went for a run just after a thunderstorm. Absolutely perfect. There is nothing that makes me happier than a rainy day run.
* I walked an errand for a total of 3 miles.
* One day I walked home from Trucker's job (I rode up with him, then left from his job) just for the fun of it. I got in 7 miles because I decided to take a detour along the railroad tracks.
* Drank our daily water kefir.

* One of my favorite things about running in the neighborhood is the kids. They're awesome. As I ran, two kids ran up waving and saying hi. I waved back and one asked me "Why are you not wearing shoes?" I replied "Cuz it's fun!" He said, "Oh, okay. Well, don't step on any rocks!" Later, I ran by another group of kids, who all said hi and asked questions. Then two little girls yelled "Hi, lady!" from their bedroom window. It's seriously awesome. Getting outside and onto the sidewalk/street is such a great way to foster community. I also talk with the kids' parents and grandparents while running and feel more a part of my neighborhood. Between the barefoot running, foraging, and curb shopping, I think I've officially become the neighborhood eccentric, but that's okay. They seem to like me, and I've watched as some of my weird habits have caught on. There weren't any runners/joggers in the neighborhood 2 years ago, and now it's a common sight and I've even seen someone foraging!
* I brought a jar of water kefir and grains to a coworker who was having digestive problems. I had extra, so I figured I may as well hook him up. I gave him written instructions to help him get started.
 How was your week?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 5/4 - 5/10

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.

* I spent a half hour one evening weeding the garden beds.
* I separated the pepper plants into individual containers.
* We spent an entire afternoon working in the garden together. Trucker burned yard waste (from all the trees he cut down) while I prepped a garden bed and planted it. I planted: 5 rows of Blue Lake Bush Beans (my old boss gave me a bunch of seeds she had leftover last year), 3 rows Chantenay Red-Cored carrots, 2 rows French Breakfast radishes, 2 rows Detroit Red Beets, 3 rows Plum Purple Radishes.
* Trucker saved some long, straight sticks for me from the burn pile to use as bean trellises.
* When I was planting, I swooped a line through the soil for my seeds. I disturbed some of the bugs living in my soil. One of these tiny  bugs came running over a clump of soil right as I dropped in the first of the beet seeds. It hit the poor guy in the head (accidentally!) and sent him flying. On a tiny scale it was like watching a documentary re-enactment of dinosaurs and meteorites. It reminded me of a Gene Logsdon quote: "The beauty of bugs in your backyard rivals, if not surpasses, the beauty of birds in your backyard. Exciting things are happening in the world of bugs outside your door-as exciting as the survival of the fittest among animals in the jungle. All you need to watch is a magnifying glass and some time."
* I purchased rabbit hutches and supplies from someone off of craigslist. I paid $80 for a three-rabbit hutch, 4 water bottles, 3 feeders, toe nail clippers, a scale and the poop trays. We'll get everything set up this week and I'll try to bring my rabbits home within a couple weeks.
* I harvested 3 cups of baby kale and lettuce from the container garden.
* I picked up some composted manure from Menards. It was only $1.50/bag; 1 got 5. I just need a bit of something to supplement what I've made and the coffee grounds Trucker's been bringing home. Very soon I'll have rabbit manure to put on the beds, so this will hopefully be my last time buying manure. Rabbit manure is one of the few kinds that can be put on without composting, so I'll be able to start using it right away. This alone will be a worthwhile reason to keep rabbits. When I get them, I'll try to track how much brown gold I get for the garden so I can see what the dollars and sense adds up to.
* I took my parents and sister their transplants.

* I made tacos one day with some leftover diced pork from the freezer (about 1/4 cup). I rinsed out an almost-empty jar of salsa and poured it in the pan, then added handfuls of dehydrated cherry tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers and eggplant (just to use them up) and cooked until the veggies were rehydrated. I served in tortillas ($.90/pack of 12) with sour cream, cheddar cheese, salsa, and lettuce.
* We made a quick, easy lunch one day of quesadillas and tomato soup. The soup was from the salvage grocery store: $.40 for a quart. We used half and saved half for another day.
* I made grown up slushies with a koolaid packet and vodka for our major gardening day. Sure, the koolaid doesn't count as a health food, but it's far better than drinking all that mold from the store-bought slushies, plus I use way less sugar. Nice little grownup treat for the first day it breaks 85 degrees.
* We did eat out one day. We had a very busy day and were temporarily without use of our kitchen (long story that doesn't apply to this page). I used a coupon from a pizza chain for a very cheap pizza. We signed up for the pizza joint's customer loyalty program so that on the rare occasions we do buy a pizza, it adds up to a free one. This purchase bumped us up to a freebie on the card. We'll save that for a day that we want to have a relaxing/lazy evening with a movie or for another crazy day. We drank beverages from home. We had enough leftover for lunch.

Food Preservation:
* I didn't preserve any food, but I wanted to point out something incredible. Last year I tried my hand at making something weird: crabapple candy. I basically just cut crabapples in half, seeded them then dipped them in sugar. I dehydrated until they were thoroughly dry and leathery. I've stored them for over 6 months and hadn't tried them until this week. WOW! They are like a chewier sour patch kid. They're really, really good.

* I met up with a good friend one evening. Since I'd made the drive, he insisted on taking me out to dinner. We went to a local Mexican restaurant for enchiladas and hours of talking. It was a lovely evening.
* Trucker and I had a coffee date for $3.18 with our travel mugs.
* Trucker and I took a 3 mile round trip walk to get ice cream/frozen yogurt. Sure, it's not the healthiest thing, but I burn about 235 calories in that distance, and the small size cone I get is 170 calories. This is my version of Michael Pollan's rule (you can eat whatever you want, but you have to make it from scratch yourself): I can have the frozen yogurt cone, but I have to walk to get it!
* We went out to my parent's for their town's community yard sale. We all-parents, sisters, Trucker and me-had breakfast together. I actually don't remember the last time we'd all been together (until a month ago, there had been at least one of us working opposite shifts of everyone else for at least 5-6 years). Trucker brought home lots of bagels, muffins and a scone from his job. We brought those and left the extras for them to enjoy. Dad fried up a pound of bacon (which we fought over fiercely; it's good bacon) and fried eggs. Afterwards, we all walked around town for the yard sales together.  We had a lot of fun and all found some great deals.
* After the yard sales, my dad took me to visit a microfarmer he knows. The guy and his wife have a wonderful setup: hogs, cows, horses, chickens, gardens, and bees. When he found out that I am thinking about getting into beekeeping, he got me all suited up and took me to the apiary. I got to do some very minor things to see how I felt while a couple million bees were buzzing around me. He said I did great and he thinks I'll do well with it. I felt calm and didn't get stung once.

* We went for a walk at the park we went to last week, although this week we didn't get lost! We did the 2 mile loop we didn't do last week. It's a lovely trail that winds through a meadow then through a pine woods. There were butterflies all over.  Walking, talking and laughing with him is one of my favorite things.

* Paid extra onto a couple of debts, including the mortgage. We have paid extra on the mortgage every month since we got the house.
* We have started printing postage from home. We usually get a small discount by doing so. When our mail guy is finishing on our street, we take the packages to him at his truck. So not only do we save money on postage, but time and gas money by not going to the post office.
* I filled up the gas tank at work instead of elsewhere since it was convenient (and less time driving and wasting gas to get to another gas station) and saved me $.10/gallon.
* Trucker placed a bid on an online auction for a freezer. Hopefully we win (bidding ends Tuesday night). We want to use it to store meat from our rabbits and some garden produce, as well as day-old breads or other bargains.
* I bought two pieces of cast iron at a yard sale for $5...total. I'm keeping the pot with lid and will either sell or give away the small skillet, as I've already got one that size.

Waste Reduction:
* I used the last bit of a bottle of shower gel as bubble bath since I couldn't get more out otherwise.
* Composted all sorts of random things.
* We won at auction a box of kitchenwares. In it was a stack of plastic pudding cups. I used these for my pepper transplants. After I put them in the ground, I'll recycle them.

* I worked overtime for a half hour one day.
* Trucker brought home goodies from his job.
* I brought my lunch to work each day.

* We both continue to work on our online stores. We're doing a lot of excessive research, so it's taking time to get everything listed. However, the way I see it, a lot of people go to college to get ready for their jobs. So this is basically my educational time. I'm researching each item thoroughly so that I'll know better what to purchase in the future, and I will have an easier time listing items later since I'll know exactly what it is and where to look for value, etc.
* I worked a bit on my book.

* We went for a couple 3 mile walks together. We also walked for 4 hours at the community yard sales.
* I went for a run one day.
* I've lost a couple pounds and my arms are a lot more toned.
* Between eating healthier, exercising and keeping a more physical job, I'm noticing real changes. My mood is completely different than this time last year. I'm much happier, more relaxed. My fingernails are growing out for the first time in I don't know when. I feel prettier and more confident. When I ran this week, I tried for the first time to run up the killer hill that I'd never been able to run to the top of last year. I ran to the top.

* I'm nervous to say this, but it was a pretty even-keeled week.

* When I met up with my friend, I brought him a yummy scone from Trucker's job for his breakfast the next day.
* For mother's day, we gave mum some beautiful perennial flowers for her flower garden instead of just giving her a bouquet. This way she can enjoy them for years instead of days. Trucker brought her some of the most expensive coffee they offer at his job. She loves coffee but doesn't buy really nice stuff for herself (although she often gets nice stuff to give to other people).
* I gave my dad some water kefir grains to help his indigestion.
* My dad let us borrow his truck so I could get manure for the garden and my rabbit hutches. It was at half a tank when I got it, but I filled it up for him. I also remade his key. The top part was broken and he hadn't gotten around to replacing it. It was only a couple bucks, but it needed done and saved him an errand.

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 4/27 - 5/3

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.

* The radishes are starting to bulb up! YAY!
My transplant setup isn't perfect, but it's good enough.
* I need to thin out the garden bed. The carrots, chard and beets are a little crowded.
* The tomato transplants are doing great. All of the okra died (!!!) and the peppers are okay. I'll
 take my parents and sister their transplants next week.
* I put 10 gallons of coffee grounds (from Trucker's job) over the garden beds. I composted all of the filters. I love that he lugs those five gallon buckets to and from his job just because he found a way that he can help my soil texture. So sweet.

* Got in and out at the grocery store for less than $20! YAY! I got: Buttermilk $1.29/qt (1), soy milk $1.25/half gallon (making it cheaper than regular milk), goat's milk $1.99/quart (2, with the intention of making cheese or sour cream this week...maybe creme fraiche!), rosemary, $.79/package (with the intention of seeing if I can get the stems to root to grow), 2 packages of manager's special pork chops ($4.89, $3.08. One went in the freezer the other will be used this week), 2 packages of shredded cheese ($1.77 and cheaper than block).\
* I stopped by Aldi for their eggs: $.89/dozen. I bought five dozen to use as our main protein for a few weeks. Whenever the price is less than a dollar, I buy at least five dozen.  We use them for frying, scrambling, hard boiled, souffles, quiche and baking. Generally, we use them for all other uses and then when they are on the brink of expiry, I hard boil the rest of them. The older the eggs, the easier to peel and they keep longer. We use hard boiled eggs for packing lunches, deviled eggs, goldenrod eggs, egg salad, and chopped onto salad.
* I made buttermilk pancakes for breakfast one morning. Perfection.
* I made stir fry with the pork we had leftover from another meal. One smallish chop fed us both when chopped small. I also used peppers (banana and sweet), an entire onion, a head of garlic, baby carrots, and mandarin orange slices. I served it over rice cooked in pork stock. The stock makes it more filling and adds good nutrition. We've found that we feel satisfied even with no meat in the stir-fry if the rice is cooked in stock.

* We took a 7.5 mile hike one day at a park down the road from us. We used to enjoy going there for a 2 mile loop, but got a little bored. Over the last year, they opened a whole new section of the park that opened up about 10 more miles of hiking potential. It's absolutely beautiful. It's still a new park, so the trees are still small and some of the trails aren't marked well, but I loved it. They planted huge sections of trees that were loaded with flowers, a river ran along the trail and there were plenty of rugged farms surrounding it.
* We went yard saling together on Saturday. I got a suitcase full of old depression-era dolls, teddy bears and children's clothing. At the bottom of the suitcase were old love letters and homemade valentine's day cards. Too fun!
* We went for a couple coffee dates for $3.18. We used our travel mugs to save money and reduce waste.

* We got to walk in this awesome park together.
* Another day I went for a hike by myself at another nearby park. I went off-trailing along the river bed.

* I filled up the gas tank at work for a $.10-.20/gallon price savings.
* I made an effort to reduce utility usage by keeping lights off, opening blinds when practical, saving water for the plants, using cooking methods that are more efficient (stir-frying veggies instead of roasting, soaking rice for a few hours before cooking, etc).
* We finally cancelled our old internet (we waited to make sure the new one worked okay). They gave us the run around and we had to call a few times, but it finally got cancelled. We'll be paying $23 instead of $78 each month. This is $660/year or almost $13 a week. Since I'm only working 2-3 days a week, we are looking for ways to painlessly cut back our expenses as we wait for my raises to make up almost all of the difference between my current 2-3 days a week and my old full-time work. We've pretty much been able to cut back on a few utilities, we cancelled one weekly going-out (that was always more expensive than we wanted) and replaced it with getting together with friends in more frugal ways. We're pretty close to closing the gap. We will continue to reduce expenses as my income raises so that we are able to save money for our goals. When I was working full-time I made a little more, but I was so tired and stressed that my frugality slipped considerably.

Waste Reduction:
* Composted lots of random items.
* Added coffee grounds to the tomato seedling containers as a fertilizer.
* We reused packing materials for items that we shipped from home.

* Worked over 45 minutes one day, and an hour the other.
* Packed our lunches with leftovers and freebies from Trucker's job.
* Trucker brought home 10 gallons of coffee grounds for my garden.
* Our plant was shut down for one day, but I didn't realize it until I got there. So I wasted some gas, but did get an unexpected day off with Trucker that we enjoyed thoroughly.
* Trucker brought home goodies from his job: muffins, scones, bagels and cookies.

* We spent most of the week working on our new ventures.
* I made my first sale! I was really excited.
* I sorted through materials for some crafts that I was wanting to make and sell. I got everything organized so when I sit down to start working, it's ready to go.

* I exercised regularly through the week, mainly hiking/walking/running and lifting hand weights in little snippets of time. Trucker exercised a few days also.
* Focused more on eating produce and whole grains and less meat and snack foods.
* I need to focus more in the coming weeks on drinking water. I'm a little on the dehydrated side, and the temps are supposed to be up in the 80s this coming week.
* We helped remind each other to take our supplements. We both do better when we are taking them on a regular basis, but have a hard time remembering them.

* My dad hooked me up with a supplement that's helped him with his aches and pains. Mom drove it out and dropped it off to me at work one day. So sweet and thoughtful.
* Two of my friends were moving this weekend, so I went over one afternoon to help unpack. We talked, laughed and drank wine. All told, it was the most fun I've ever had unpacking.
* Trucker's anniversary present arrived! It was a little late, but he was still excited. The Prudent Homemaker had an offer of a free $5 Etsy gift card towards your first purchase. I used it to buy a Punisher cookie stamp as this is Trucker's favorite comic book hero. While he was working late one night, I made a batch of shortbread and chocolate shortbread cookies with the stamp. He loved them! Now that I'm not baking as a profession anymore, I'm really enjoying baking at home more.
* I was on my way home one evening and saw a feral crab apple tree heavy with flowers. I clipped a stem and brought them home. I put them in a small vase on Trucker's nightstand.
* When I was at Aldi, I left my quarter in the cart for the next person.

* There was a massive, 4-alarm fire near our house this week. It took three days to extinguish. We were without power for a few hours as they battled the blaze. During this time, the air was toxic from the large amount of burning rubber. Area residents had to stay inside and close all windows and doors. The air was very smoggy the second day. We found it best to leave the area for most of the day. The first night, we drove out of the city and got pizza ($12) and talked for awhile. When we got home, we were still without power. We watched a movie on my laptop until we went to bed for the evening. The next day, we left the neighborhood for the entire day just to escape the worst of the smog. By the third day it was significantly better, although we both still went to other neighborhoods.
*The one thing we learned from this was about being better prepared. When our power went out, we decided that we'd grill out for dinner. Unfortunately, we ran out of propane, so we didn't have that option. Not only do we need to refill this one, but I want to get a second one and have it waiting so we don't have that problem. Otherwise, we did well. We had an hour or so of sunlight left when we lost power and we ran around the house with our stash of flashlights and candles (that we had stored all together in an easily accessible location) to put them in places we'd need them the next morning. I put all of my work clothes/needs together. I set an alarm on my phone since the power was out (since I thought I had to work the next morning). We kept the freezer and frig closed.
How was your week?
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