Monday, July 11, 2016

This Week...Beyond Money 7/4 - 7/10

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've slacked off on keeping the bunnies in greens every day. I always make sure they have a surplus of pellets, but they love the greens and it saves me money on store-bought feed.
* I harvested two small volunteer garlic bulbs.

* I went home for lunch one day. Trucker had made an amazing lunch for me: pork chops and rice with gravy. So sweet of him.
* I made stir fry a couple of times with pork chops (one divided between the two of us), beets, spring garlic, carrots, radishes, turnips, and assorted greens over rice. All of the vegetables came from the farm.
* I've started doing shots of pickle juice after work. It is one of the most refreshing things after a hot, sweaty day. I'm not even concerned about not having brine for mock pickles because it is so good.
* I found lots of great sales at Aldi, most unadvertised: $.60/dozen eggs, $1.69/gallon milk, $.20/nectarines, $.14/lb bananas, $2.18/lb ground beef, and $.25/lb potatoes.
* I cooked down all of the baby beets and carrots I had so we can use them as ready-to-go sides or additions to other dishes with no prep.

Food Preservation:
* I froze more baggies of greens.
* I made more refrigerator pickles.

* Trucker has wanted to go to a certain conference for several years, but it is out of our price range. This year, he arranged to drive several speakers to and from the airport. In exchange, he got free full admission and some meals. He also got to drive one of his favorite authors, who signed a book for him. He also got the courage to give him a copy of a book he published; the guy started reading it on the way to the hotel. Trucker was on cloud 9!
* My family came out one evening to go hiking (this week is the week they all get off work at the factory) and stopped by afterwards to go out for ice cream with us. We had a great time.
* My parents invited me to go biking with them after work one day. They got us lunch at a fried chicken place (using BOGO coupons from their coupon book and dropping the extra dinner off to my Grandpa). Afterwards we went up to the lake and biked around. Dad wanted to do putt-putt golf, so we stopped at a bait shop that has a course in back. He had a BOGO coupon, so it was 2/3 off. We had a good time and laughed a lot. At the last hole, Mom noticed that none of us had hit a hole-in-one yet. She hit her ball and it didn't go in. I step up, hit mine and knock hers in, effectively giving her a hole-in-one. We had a good long laugh at that until we counted the score. She and I had been tied, but that hole in one made her win by one stroke!

* We went for a short hike at the metropark by our house. The mosquitoes were bad and we'd forgotten our bug spray, so we cut it short. It was a nice hike, however and we got to see a couple herons.

Waste Reduction:
* I composted weird things, especially focused on non-glossy junk mail and other brown material.
* I put veggie scraps in the freezer to use for stock making.

* I took one day off of work to go to a funeral. I picked up several hours throughout the week to make up for the pay.
* Trucker's boss gave him a day off so he could go to the conference for an extra day. So kind of him.
* We had a potluck at work on Friday, otherwise I packed my food. Trucker ate for free the day he worked.

* I met someone who is putting on a men's health conference. We talked about the possibility of me speaking at the event. While I'm not getting my hopes up, I was proud of myself for having the courage to put myself out there. Trucker has been getting on me for years to get into speaking and generally not undervaluing myself, and I am trying to take his advice, no matter how scary.
* Trucker has a new position coming as a new chapter of an organization he is involved with is starting a branch in our city. The conference allowed him to meet a lot of important people for this new journey.

* I have been having really horrendous insomnia for a couple weeks now. As such, I have cut back on both the alcohol and caffeine I consume. The hardest part of this is the chocolate, honestly. Hopefully I can get back to the days when a tiny little chocolate seems the most decadent thing in the world. I'm hoping this will help on the weight loss front also. Growing older certainly happened fast; I always silently judged people who said they couldn't have coffee after 11 AM. Now here I am.

* I have overstretched myself a bit. It's time to take a week or two to decompress, slow down, spend some quality time doing nothing. I have found that I have become my parents: always wanting to help everyone and having a hard time pronouncing that "no" word. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do need to recognize when I'm getting close to my breaking point. I think part of the issue this particular week was being away from Trucker for so many days and not wanting to be home alone, so I committed to too many things.

* My uncle passed away last week. The funeral was this week. It was a hard day, especially watching my aunt and cousins experience this much pain. Almost everyone in the family was there and comforting each other and I was grateful for the kind of family that is there for each other. I did learn one shocking thing about him that day, something I'd never could have suspected. Apparently, my 75-year-old uncle was really into Zumba! In hindsight, I should have known. My mom and I talked and in the coming weeks plan to go up to visit my aunt (3 hours away) and take her out for lunch/shopping.
* While Trucker was at his conference, he needed me to pick up something he won from the auction at his job. He usually takes them donuts every week, so I decided to bring them a little something. I found 4-packs of apple turnovers on sale for $1.79. They were really excited. Reminds me that it doesn't really take all that much to brighten someone's day.
* My dear friend and her children recently moved back from Egypt. Her husband is still there and once they are all settled, will follow. I spent the weekend helping her get settled. The first day, she had bought a really nice dining room table and chairs set ($700, on sale for $500, but was a return, so it was $275). We couldn't fit it in our car, and delivery would be $100, even though she lived .4 miles from the store. So after securing the permission of an employee, we made a mad dash down the street, barefoot (both of us had been wearing backless shoes so we kicked them off onto the cart), pushing the cart with dining set down a posh neighborhood street. We were laughing until we were crying. She was able to negotiate free delivery (phew). After that, my dad let me borrow his pickup truck and we were able to get her a coffee table, love seat, sofa, and random kitchenwares. We visited around 25 stores and checked our prices well. We had to take the door off the frame to fit the loveseat in, but we got it! She brought us some delicious treats from Egypt (this amazing shortbread like cookie with a honey filling that was the perfect amount of sweet, very rich, but just mildly sweet). She also treated me while we were out to some traditional drinks and cheeses we found at a couple of stores we stopped in. It was a lot of fun.

How was your week?

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