Here's some good things that have happened today.
DH had a lunch interview with a company that has branches in LONDON! He said it went very well. They want to see him again next week.
I spent nothing today. Again. I may have officially kicked my coffee shop habit (at least for a bit), and love my kettle.
I stopped at CVS hoping to use some coupons, but they didn't have what I wanted. I did pause briefly at their moisturizers as it is cold and dry--but walked out without spending a cent.
DH made oatmeal this morning, and it boiled it all over the stove top which made the burners all spark continually. I thought we were due for another expensive repair, but he managed to fix it.
I got an e-mail from a textbook publisher asking me to review a new book for $150. Yes, please.
Last night I made chili, and it's all ready for heating up tonight. Gees, that makes me so happy.
The congestion seems to be sort of clearing from my foggy head. And I'm halfway done with my teaching week.
Archive for January, 2017
Here's some good things that have happened today.
I'm still struggling with this cold and congestion. I'm mostly fine, but despite the neti pot, steam, lots of hot baths, Vicks, it keeps coming back. It seems to really be going around here, and it's making me drag a bit.
Today was another NSD. I'm SO happy I brought the small old electric kettle to work. On Mondays and Wednesdays my classes are back to back in the same building as my office. I had to leave the classroom for a bit as I was coughing a lot while they were working on a project, but between classes I could run upstairs, make a big mug of orange tea and rehydrate for the next class. My office mate was skeptical--she rolls her eyes sometimes at my frugality--but this morning she was making tea with it and has brought several boxes of various teas to the office.
I'll do January UFM budget totals tomorrow or Wednesday. I did get a check from my adjunct university for evaluating their capstone projects, so that'll be a nice boost to the account. DH has a luncheon interview tomorrow. We had cauliflower cheese for meatless Monday dinner, and I've made a cranberry apple crisp with some cranberries from the freezer. As I said, I think we'll continue uberfrugality (with some room for a few things) until DH gets a job. Maybe it's not uberfrugality then--just frugality?
One small worry. The dog yelped when I scratched her ears earlier and did the same to DD. I cleaned her ears with some peroxide, but worry she may have an ear infection. Some new snow has made it very pretty today--if still cold.
Yesterday's grocery bill went back into the $50s, but I came home with plenty of meals. And the checker--a young man about 21--was impressed with my coupons. I love it when they say, "Wow!" I hope they don't coach them on that because I was happy to hear it. Our local supermarket chain was bought by Kroger about a year ago, and they seem to be getting better.
Here was yesterday's uberfrugal fun. DD needed a one-piece swimsuit for her swim classes which start tomorrow at school. Target seemed the best bet, but it's steps away from Costco. She HATES going shopping with me, but I told her we'd go to Costco, price bread flour, and eat a bunch of samples. We ate about a dozen samples, decided the big bag of bread flour was too big, and found a swimsuit there--avoiding Target altogether. So--free lunch, cheaper swimsuit,and a quick trip to the supermarket. And I thought of you all at the supermarket as I was buying edmame as right next to them was a package of what I would call lima beans but which were marked butter beans. The darn things are haunting me.
So, we had stir-fried chicken, broccoli, and pineapple last night with rice. We'll have fried rice tonight with quick dumpling soup and eggrolls. I saw the dumpling soup in an old issue of Midwestern Living at the library and it looked so good. I love having fresh ginger and cilantro around--especially in the and winter. I also made pancakes for brunch and a dozen extra for DD's breakfast this week. She pops them in the toaster and eats them plain. And I made a loaf of bread in the bread maker--long shelved in the basement to use up the whole-wheat flour. I have two opened bags of it in the pantry so we're eating it all.
We did spend some cash as I'm due for a haircut and color--actually a few weeks overdue. My local salon had a deal where if you bought a $100 gift card you got an extra $20--you just couldn't use it the same day. I'd already made an appointment for about 10 days out, so I'll have enough (almost) for two appointments. I touch up the greying roots myself, but the cut and color is something I am unwilling to budge on.
DH and I have decided to really clean out the pantry except for staples. It probably should be an annual event as we have lots of bits of things. I probably would NOT do it in January again, but we'll continue pretty much uberfrugal until he gets a job.
Still no sunshine here--it must be at least a week without sun and it's pretty darn cold.
We've been oh so darn frugal. And I'm pretty darn sick of it, but that's just too bad. Yesterday was a no-teaching day, but did have one long and trying meeting. Perhaps my tremendously stuffed-up head didn't help. Anyway, I've got a new opportunity at the university which I'll detail as it proceeds. It's not what I would have wished for, but it could be pretty interesting.
Yesterday I made turkey broth with the remnants of the turkey breast. We had three dinners and two lunches from that lovely thing--and now the soup to come. Since I have frozen potstickers, I think we'll go Asian and add some bok choy, edamame, and some red cabbage. I've got a couple Asian-themed meals planned for the NY celebration. There's a bottled stir-fry sauce and some water chestnuts in the pantry. Like CCF, I have rice that I'll make into fried rice. Looks like the weekly grocery trip will be on for today. I mostly need fruit and veggies as we're still plowing through the freezer.
Yes, the freezer still has a long way to go as does the pantry. I made bread from a mix yesterday, and we made a pizza from the remnants of the stuff in the fridge. I fried up mashed potatoes into patties for lunch with some eggs. The pizza was good, but not sure about my potato patties. But we ate them.
DD starts a swimming unit at school on Monday and needs a one-piece swimsuit. I guess that probably means Target. Just glad I don't have to buy one myself--especially after our uber-frugal (and uber-starchy) meals of the past month. I'll use the Redcard and should look for coupons before we head out.
I've started a new book, The Essex Serpent, which I'm liking, and have a day full of laundry, budget totaling, and course planning to do.
Ignoring all the confusion and chaos around us, this blogger has sought to find the real truth behind the lima vs butter bean debate. This is what the always infallible internet has to tell us:
"Butter bean is a term that some use for particular types of lima beans; the only difference is in regional terminology. The lima bean is a domesticated legume with the scientific name of Phaseolus lunatus that gets its name from its place of origin, Lima, Peru. Some in the American South and the United Kingdom call particular types of lima beans “butter beans.”
Dried lima beans that are more flat and yellowish than the common rounded and green variety are often called “butter beans” in Southern States. In the South, lima beans and butter beans are considered to be two different types of bean, however, in their scientific name is the same and they are not two distinct species of bean.
The culinary terminology used in the United Kingdom differentiates between lima and butter beans more in line with the Southern United States distinction, where lima beans that are dried, larger, and light yellow are referred to as butter beans and the smaller green bean is called a “baby” or “junior” lima bean. These distinctions do not change the scientific terminology, and the two common terms used for the lima bean are often interchangeable regardless of regional or culinary preferences.
All of this marvelous knowledge comes from reference. com which cites the USDA. Scientific knowledge is important. Perhaps even more riveting than all of this is that I got my husband to eat about 25 percent of them in his lunch. Expect further updates tomorrow.
Still uberfrugal and today was a NSD. My classes went well despite oncoming cold. DH has had it for a week so I guess it's inevitable I'd get it.
Yesterday we got a refund of $147 from the dentist which went into the bank this afternoon. DH had a good phone interview and lots of other leads. I think things are picking up for him. We'd love to see a job offer.
No other news to report. No BBQ sauce spills. I should turn the turkey breast bones into soup and should bake some pumpkin bread. We'll see how much zip I have left.
And speaking of eating it all up, somewhere along the line DH bought a bag of frozen lima beans. Honestly, I'd have to be in some desperate straits before I willingly ate lima beans, and all the recipes I see for them have cream of something soup or ham bones or something like that in them. Anyone have ideas? Should I just combine them with canned baked beans and have him eat them? You're all invited over for a lovely ladies lima lunch.
But with some hopeful lights. DH had another phone interview today that he thought went well. And someone from his small group at church forwarded his resume to some of his contacts.
I began teaching my Health Science Writing classes today. They seem like a nice and varied bunch, and the classroom is much better than my MW classroom. I also made a mug of tea in the office hotpot instead of picking up my usual coffee. It will do just fine.
My only spending today was on antiperspirant for DD's gym bag supply which I bought from CVS with ECB and a coupon. I also picked up some milk while there to get the ECB bargain. Total outflow $5.37 with $1 ECB. More leftovers for lunch punctuated by a big BBQ sauce accident. DH and I were eating leftover pork tenderloin on buns. He decided to shake up the BBQ sauce, but I had already taken the top off. Several cupboards, the kitchen rug, the counter tops, floor, and dog all got quite a spattering.
Such is January in Cheeseland.
of Spring semester that is. Although the weather is mild-ish, it's very gray. I taught two classes today in a small room that is supposed to hold 28 students but had 22 chairs and not much room for more. Latecomers had to step over everyone else. It's not ideal, but it will do. Only one real issue--a student who I had to tell twice (really?) to put his laptop away. I hope that's the end of that because if it continues, I'll ask him to leave. Everyone else seems fine. Another first day tomorrow with two more.
DH had an interview this afternoon. He has a bad cold but pressed on which I think was a good idea. He's not sure how it went but he was there for 90 minutes which I think is a good sign. A different phone interview is scheduled for tomorrow.
DH and DD are both at church now. She's babysitting and he's at the small group. My spending today consisted of $12 for a new grade book. The university used to furnish them, but no more. I ordered it from Amazon using a gift card received at Christmas, so I spent nothing out of pocket. I also filled up the car for #27. We had =no shock here= leftovers for lunch and leftover turkey from yesterday's turkey breast for dinner.
I was thinking today that we may try to continue the uberfrugality until DH gets a job. I do need a haircut so that will have to be in the mix, but everything else can wait.
I finished The Underground Railroad which I indeed recommend even if it is harrowing. And we're continuing to watch Homeland. I feel really boring, but between DH's cold, plenty of odds and ends to do around here, and uberfrugality it seems more like stasis that anything. Thank goodness for the library.
My grocery bill, that is. I scoured the ads, gathered the paper coupons and clipped the e-coupons. I made the meal plan for the week, inventoried the fridge and the freezer, and came in at $36.61 Hooray! We have become VERY good at eating it all. Veggie burgers last night with the tail end of a bag of frozen fries, crudites and dip. We're finishing off the ginger cake too. Tonight was pork tenderloin with onion marmalade, rice pilaf and some lovely fresh green beans. Lunch is the rolling inventory of leftovers.
Other tasks today included running into the university to copy my course calendars and spending an hour dejunking and rearranging the office. I donated five older textbooks to the book donation box, re shelved others, and pitched more piles of papers. Our office is still a disgrace as the university lacks the cash for repainting it. We checked the records, and it hasn't been painted in 27 years. We have ugly water-stained ceiling tiles, but we are about # 9782 to have them replaced. Perhaps in the spring my office mate and I will repaint it ourselves. In the meantime, I'm trying to scrounge plants and hang some more artwork.
Very inspired today by the women's marches around the world. We are mighty.
DD and I used the $5 Thursday movie special for a January mood brightener. I loved La La Land--not sure it's for everyone, but I thought it was worth seeing on the big screen as the cinematography is spectacular. And we got free popcorn with the tickets which together with the water bottles from my bag made for a lovely evening. Maybe not technically uberfrugal, but cheaper than therapy.
Our planned trip to see the eagles feed has been postponed due to the horrible weather. It's been raining half the morning. I used our $5 bagel credit for 6 bagels--another deliberate mood lifter. And I narrowly escaped a stupid multi-car backup in the parking lot. The bagel shop is next door to Starbucks and a breakfast diner, and as I entered the lot six cars were all backing out simultaneously. I knew it wasn't going to end well, and indeed it didn't as unbelievably four of them collided. I'm glad I hung back, but there was lots of shouting in the parking lot.
So, my plan for the day has been changed to tidying the family room and office, doing laundry, and maybe some quiet reading time and a DVD or two.
In the interest of eating it all, I made cheap soup from bratwurst, potatoes, carrots, and some onion. I've used this recipe before as I usually have those pantry staples, but added a handful of leftover frozen chopped spinach from Wednesday's stuffed shells. Honestly, I would normally throw that single handful out, but it worked well in the soup. And there's still some for lunch today.
DH has an actual interview on Monday. I'll prep him over the weekend.
And still cabin-feverish. I had a fun day out for us all planned tomorrow driving west to see the eagles feed on the river. But now DH has a cold and I'm not sure that will happen.
I'm also sad--sad that for the first time in four years I am not bound for London on this third Thursday in January. I've heard from lots of my former students today, and we're all sad together. It doesn't bear thinking about and while it's probably for the best, it doesn't make me feel any better knowing that.
I am not happy either at the dire financial hardship of many of my friends. There's likely to be some serious downsizing at the university, and the bleak situation there coupled with politics, no London, no job for husband is making me blue.
I'm not a weepy person--at least not anymore--but I think I need a few days to myself to get my head back on straight. I just want to be quiet and maybe have some drinks with my BFs. If this continues, I may drive to MN one weekend soon and hang out.
But we remain uberly frugal. Yesterday the car tire needed a new valve, but it was our only spending and was $40. DD got another babysitting gig at church for next Monday, so she'll have some spending money soon. We ate leftovers for lunch and stuffed shells for dinner courtesy of the almost forgotten cottage cheese from the fridge and frozen spinach in the freezer. Maybe I'm a shark--I need to go forward.
I cooked and baked for about half the day yesterday. I made bean salad, quiche, two batches of granola, and two loaves of peach bread. Lots of things went from freezer to the oven. I was pretty beat after all that, but bagged up granola for gifts, wrapped up a loaf of peach bread, and finally delivered gifts to our university admin staff who make life possible. One lot of granola and a loaf of peach bread went to my struggling colleague whose classes have been cut and more awaits another.
The worst part of the day was the meeting from hell with one of my most miserable colleagues. Man alive, after a dozen years of working with her, I'm amazed I'm still standing. She makes the simplest decisions long and agonizing. Our meeting should've lasted 15 minutes and somehow she dragged it out to an hour and a half, making everyone annoyed and impatient along the way.
But honestly, I was happy to get out of the house and off to school. I like to work. I had lunch with an unemployed colleague who insisted on buying lunch with his gift card, but I had a BOGO coupon, so I had a lovely lunch for free. I did errands, went to the bank, picked up milk and got EB at CVS. My office mate bought me lefse. I'm doing pretty well. I wish I could make things go as well for everyone else. Very minimal spending after a NS Day yesterday.
Best of all? The textbook publisher finally paid me the $1000 they've owed me since September.
BTW--I'm very sick of Swagbucks but penny by penny, the cash keeps rolling in.
Sorry,NJDebbie,but there is lots of joy in Wisconsin this morning after that amazing Packer game. And we didn't even eat all the game time snacks because we were too nervous during that last quarter. But, they will be out for next Sunday's Atlanta game.
Except for the church offering, it was a NS day with new movie titles from the library and several new books--including--to my delight, the Colson Whitehead book that has received such raves. I love the library, especially now as we're being uberfrugal.
Speaking of uberfrugality, I may need to have one day with a little leeway. We're planning to head to western Wisconsin this weekend to watch the eagles feed on the river. It will be a good day for a lunch out. Maybe I can use the cash from the boot/skate sales.
Meal plan for the week is done. It's going to be a meatless Monday with a quiche for dinner--leftovers to DD's lunch this week. Taco Tuesday and spaghetti Wednesday as per usual.
We finally got the Christmas tree down, and I've chosen some unloved ornaments to go in the donation bag. I'm also making granola bags for my buddies without full teaching loads. I have lots of oats and dried fruit, so no outlays there. In other exciting plans, DH and I will clean the carpets, and I have meetings at school beginning tomorrow.
Happy MLK day! We're spending some time today to act on his words: "The time is always right to do what's right."
My most exciting news is that I sold a pair of DD's outgrown boots for $15. Does that give you an idea of how mundane life has been around here? She went to "Cocoa and Cram" at her school this morning--an exam prep session that had snacks, so I didn't feed her breakfast.
I'm off to the bank, the grocery and drug stores. Crossing my fingers that I can keep under $50, my uber-frugal goal.
DH and I had a quiet night. I'm sorting through course files and generating huge piles of recycling. We've been trying to watch "Man in the High Castle" but I've lost interest, so we switched over to "Homeland" DVDs from the library. What great acting.
We're still eating it all. Last night I made a pot of vegetable soup that has CSA veggies from the freezer, cabbage and celery root still from the CSA and assorted little bits from the veggie drawer. Not magnificent soup, but hearty. Then today I baked Rachel Ray's chocolate chip banana bread using three bananas rescued from the freezer. DD liked it, but it was too sweet for me. However, it will all get eaten.
DD also got paid for her church babysitting gig today. She's happy. I'm encouraging her to save some of it. She also babysat for them Monday night, so will look forward to that.
Oh, and I took a new photo for DH's Linked in profile. It looks pretty good. He's busily applying for more jobs now. I cashed $25 out of Swagbucks. Back to working on my other classes and finishing cleaning out my England class files.
I need to find something fun and frugal to do together. And of course, the Packers' game is Sunday.
Let's start with the good news, eh? My presentation went very well. I had dozens of people at my session and got excellent feedback. They also fed us breakfast, coffee break snacks, lunch, and more coffee break snacks. DH dropped me off so I wouldn't have to pay to park in the ramp or walk on our ice-coated sidewalks.
Now the bad news. Two of my friends got more teaching sections cut due to poor enrollments. They're going to be really pinched financially. To add insult to injury, my boss has hired a new lecturer while cutting sections for others. This is really out of line and a tremendous morale depletion. I'm fine: fully booked and fully enrolled. He certainly has the "right" to hire who he wants, but it's tremendously insulting and, I think, morally wrong. I am debating complaining to the department chair.
Hopeful news? My DH has had conversations with a potential employer, and we're hopeful he'll have an interview soon. A friend from his old firm has also dropped off his resume with another possibility. And remarkably, it was a no-spend day.
Yep, that's my blog these days. I have another couple hours of organizing my conference talk and am ruing my choice of the hour-long option rather than trying harder to find other participants and do a panel.
Guess what we ate for lunch? Leftovers! I pretty much always eat leftovers for lunch, but somehow serving them to DH makes them seem pretty mundane.
It's Wednesday which is always spaghetti night here, and we've had freezing rain. Perhaps my mood can be ascribed to not being out of the house since Sunday. But I'll be at the conference all day tomorrow. Or the mood could be blamed on it being the first January since 2012 that I haven't been headed for London. Let's not even discuss that.
No spending. Indeed nothing but working.
I spent all morning working on my upcoming conference talk. I still have lots of work to do on it, but the bulk of it is laid out. DH went to an early networking meeting and applied for a few jobs. We spent nothing and ate leftovers. I'm really boring, but I did get half my class admin stuff ready for next semester--spending hours--as usual on the details of the syllabus and learning platform. I got an e-mail offer from a textbook publisher to take a quick survey on their classroom simulations for a $10 gift card which should arrive next week. Still waiting for the Chicago seminar reimbursement and the accuracy checking money from another publisher.
I'm still cabin feverish, but it's so icy here I don't see myself going out until Thursday. It took me 10 minutes to walk to the end of the drive and back for the mail.
That's what I get for trying to do too much. But we had a lovely lunch--lasagna, bread, salad, warm sprout salad, wine, mimosas, flan, brownies, and pears. My dessert-bringing pal failed to bring dessert, so I made an orange flan, but someone else brought brownies and pears. I cooked, I cleaned, and now I want to go to bed at 8 p.m.
In the interest of eating it all, we will be eating leftovers of all of the above this week. My DH got invited out to lunch by a former colleague today. Total spending on assorted flan ingredients= 2.12. But I'm now out of eggs, so hope I can get to Saturday's shopping without buying more.
I hoped to spend only $50 this week, but I've got girlfriends coming for lunch on Monday, so today's grocery spending was $57. That included extra milk, lasagna ingredients,and everything possibly needed for the week as well as some notable bargains. We too continue to eat it all as my DH is still plowing through the bean soup for lunch while I had the last vestiges of the NY ham, and DD had leftover chicken soup. Dinner featured yet more delicious eating it up--this time the CSA veggies. The glazed CSA butternut squash (yum) had wild rice, cranberries, onions from the CSA. I subbed two aging clementines for the required OJ. We had that with pork tenderloin on the last of the CSA pears and apples. We still have lots of leftovers.
I also moved a treasure trove from the basement freezer upstairs. Honestly, except for some fresh fruit and veg, we don't need food for a good month. I'm looking forward to drawing it all down. Really, I dream of an empty downstairs freezer.
Great double couponing meant free yeast, some odd frozen cauliflower "tots" from Green Giant, Hormel lunch meat, and tortilla chips ready for tomorrow's Packer game.
Man, it's cold. Granted I grew up in Minnesota and -20 was a fairly common occurrence, but it feels cold here, and it's only -15 with the wind chill. I have several layers on and my warmest socks, but I do let the heat drop to 58 from 8 to 2 then it rises until bedtime.
I've spent much of the morning helping DH polish his resume and am now about to write him a cover letter. We have bean soup (LOTS of bean soup) and wild rice salad for lunch. The pantry clearance continues unabated.
I also signed my university contract and returned it. Yet on today's list is the insurance reimbursements, more work on my syllabi, and lots of work on my conference talk. I did manage to get out of Costco with just the milk and required smoke detectors since ours have both gone pop. But I splurged on a cup of $2 coffee with my Costco shopping buddy. I'm still under $30 in total spending since Sunday--even with the smoke detectors at $24.99. Grocery shopping is scheduled for tomorrow, and my target is $25 at the primary store (enough to activate the double coupons) and another $5-10 on the shop with the better produce. I might be able to delay that until next week.
Stay warm, folks!
All my family is home now; child sniffling on the couch, husband rooting around, dog happy that everyone is home. And it's very cold here with negative numbers for the wind chills. As directed by the Frugalwoods folks, I'm clearing out the pantry. I've got bean soup on the stove with bits of the NY ham and tomatoes and chiles from the pantry. I've made some wild rice which will be stuffed into the remaining CSA butternut squashes.
Every bit of laundry is done, and now I either/all need to face the office, the Christmas boxes, the basement, and school planning. Or escape to Costco with a friend for an hour or so. I honestly think it will do me good to get out, and I raise my right hand and promise to spend no more than $5. We need milk and spreadable butter. I spent nothing yesterday. I made my SB goal. I should go out.
Well, three days into uberfrugaldom, and so far, so good. I met university colleagues today for coffee, but brought my own to our university coffee shop which adjoins the library. Everyone brings their own food there, so it didn't seem out of place. We've had lots of bad news on enrollments, and while I appear to still have a full teaching load, many of my colleagues will be cut back to 75 percent or even less. I'll need to be a frugal evangelist to them. After doing some work, I deposited my adjunct paycheck and bought some necessary toiletries for DD with CVS extra bucks. Total outlay 17 cents, and I got $1 in Extra bucks back. Teeth cleaning was free with my dental plan, so today's spending topped out at that 17 cents. It's turning cold here tonight, so I'm watching the heating bill closely.
We are busily eating our way through the refrigerator's contents, and I've made bars for DD's lunchbox this weekdays. I wish she had a few more days off; we've enjoyed the down time. I've also been a whirling dervish decluttering and picking up. It's been good and there's so much more to do. Tomorrow I'm heading to the university to start planning spring semester and work on an upcoming conference talk.
We had a lovely NYE. Rather than sacrificing our rather modest tradition of pizza, a movie, and a jigsaw puzzle by the fireplace, we went ahead with it. We saw the Dev Patel movie, Lion, which I recommend although the more cynical among us may find it sentimental. In my current mood, I thought it was very good.
I did some bargain grocery shopping on double coupon day yesterday, and the freezer is well stocked. Lots of pasta bargains, the usual chicken breast markdowns for the dieters and some freebies.
In an unusual situation at our church, they had no volunteers for the nursery this morning, and they sent out a call for paid help. DD was interested, so she made some spending money, and I tagged along. They tried to pay me as well, but that's silly, and I refused. Through both services we had one very charming little boy who played with toy cars on the playroom rug. We came home and made pumpkin pancakes which were delicious, I must say. We've now used up the non-carryover part of our flex spending, we gave some time to church, and (!) I sold my ice skates for $12. I hate to admit it, but I think my 50+ years of skating are done. My fear of falling has overcome all the joy I used to get out of skating. I'm happy to have them out of the basement and happy to have the $12. Now to find some more crud to declutter--especially if it brings in some cash.