Diary of a Homemaker’s Week:   Wow!

Diary of a Homemaker’s Week: Wow!

 


Saturday:  Right now, it feels like bad news is the rule of the day.  Steven got a new diagnosis added to his list of injuries today.  Katie and his mother had pushed hard to get more testing that showed up the injury.  It's not uncommon, but it is a little bit serious and can make recovery go a little slower.  

I've spoken with him on the phone finally, feeling that perhaps he might be more cognizant and able to speak.  He's been in and out of surgeries enough that I've been very cautious about calling because I didn't want to disturb what rest he might get.  He sounded well enough for all that he's going through.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to talk with him.

John has insisted we have quiet Saturdays here at home.  I struggle with his request.  But each week when we arrive at Saturday, I am so aware of how deeply tired I am.  Then I think of how much more tired Katie must be.  I wish I could give her a day 'off' but I cannot.  She has an almost 3-year-old at home, she has a boyfriend in the hospital in a town 40 minutes north of us, she has a full-time job, and a home to care for, etc.  

Nevertheless, we are tired.  And this day of rest is necessary on so many levels.

We are trying to keep as much routine in all our lives as possible, because routine decreases stress, not just for little boys but for the all-grown-up folks as well.  I'm very mindful of this as I turn my thoughts from work to rest, sometimes by force, on a Sabbath day.

Usually on Saturday we have our own little routine.  We rise to have coffee and bagels.  Then for lunch we have pizza, homemade.  It's something we really look forward to.  And then we will have something leftover or very simple for supper.   

Saturday is also movie day.  Today we found a Colin Firth film called "Operation Mincemeat" and a drama/time travel series called, "Midnight at the Pera Palace Hotel".   The last is an 8-episode Netflix series based upon a real hotel, one in which Agatha Christie stayed.  I've only seen the first episode, but I was intrigued enough I lay down my computer, put away my phone and book and stared at the television for the whole of the episode.  It's rare that much on tv ever gets that much of my attention.

Here's great hopes for a good week ahead.

Monday:  Yes, I skipped a day.  Sunday was a doozy in our home.  

We got up early on Sunday (6:15) so we could make first service at church.  We haven't been in two weeks and despite John's needing to use a cane, we walked and walked.  First it was a long trek into church from the parking lot.  There are golf carts, but they tend to be around front, while we park at the back.  The carts seldom stop to offer help to those who use the back parking lot, which is much smaller than the front one and nearer the side entrance.

After service, I realized that a woman I'd accidentally called twice last week, was a real estate agent.  I spoke with her for a few minutes about listing the town house later this year.  To be honest, I hadn't planned to list it that soon, but I felt a strong urge to go speak with her and get it set up, and I'm glad I did.  She was very encouraging and will help us get through that process. 

Then we had to track down a certain pastor, and our small groups leader had asked for John to speak with him.  That involved walking all over our big church.  While we were looking for the pastor and Jeff, we accidentally signed up for a second small group...lol.  

I kind of got roped in but the woman was perfectly right. It's the intercessory prayer team and when she started telling me what groups and teams they prefer for at church, I said "Oh well we do that every day anyway..." And we do!  As she said, "Then why not just sign up...You're already part of the team even if your name isn't on the list."  Well, yes, she's quite right.  

Afterwards I wanted to run into Publix to grab something quick for lunch.  I had no plans but knew if we were to keep Caleb all afternoon, we'd best have something ready to eat or there would be heck to pay.  I'm not sorry about what I picked up.  I wasn't frivolous, grabbed a couple of sales items, fried chicken and potato salad for lunch, bologna for sandwiches for John.  I'm trying to buy a half pound every six to eight weeks since I know he enjoys it so much.

Home to find Katie and Caleb waiting here.  Katie declined to eat lunch.  She was on a mission to run to Target and trade in Caleb's car seat for one more suited to his weight then head up to the hospital.  Caleb was interested in eating and not interested in Mama leaving him behind.  I told y'all the boy is food oriented.  

I have to say though that the afternoon here was a horror.  One tantrum after the other, none of which were ours.  Dramatics over the lightest injury or slight scare he had, like sitting too close to the edge of a seat on the child's chair he prefers or a fall from one of the wooden boxes he was sitting upon (four inches off the ground.  The house looked like a tornado had hit it.  There was nothing he didn't lay his hands upon and throw across the room.  He was stubborn.  He screamed.  He cried.  He wailed.  He was spanked.  He was put in time out.  He was cuddled.  Nothing made a bit of difference.  He didn't calm down until Katie returned.  It was possibly the most stressful four hours I've had in a very long time.  

When they were gone, I told John, "If he acted like this all of the time, I'd have to decline to keep him..."  That was our consolation.  He seldom acts out like he did Sunday.  Yes, he has the occasional tantrum, and from what I've seen so do all the other two- and three-year-old children I know.  It's just part of growing up.  But seldom is he consistently hard to handle all the time we have him.  Usually, he's over his temperament quickly and is able to move on to something else.  Not today.

John had been asked to play for the Talent Show at Senior's Dinner last night, so we went back to church at 5.  Honestly, I would have skipped it entirely after our afternoon, but he was asked specifically to come take part in this program and he'd given his word. It was about 9:30 when we got home.  I felt drained but too hyped to go right to bed.  When we did go to bed, my lower back/hips were so painful I didn't think I'd be able to sleep.  I'm pretty sure that having bodily lifted Caleb's 31 pounds several times and carried him indoors or across the room was the culprit of that pain.  I think it was sheer exhaustion that eventually overcame the pain and I finally slept.

This morning, we were up early again, this time just after 7.  I wanted to find room in the freezer to put a whole chicken and two bags of ravioli I'd bought yesterday.  That involved rearranging the entire freezer, but I did make room with a bit of space leftover.  Which was awesome because after that I cleared the fridge of food I might not use in a timely manner and processed all of that for the freezer or future meals this week.  I chopped tomatoes, zucchini and squash, and wrapped up a piece of leftover meat that I want to use for another meal but felt shouldn't stay in the fridge overlong.  

Then I made breakfast and planned meals for this week.  That and the light housework I did made for a pretty full morning.  These were things I knew I needed to attend to, but we had plans for today.  John had started a load of laundry as soon as he was up, so when the laundry finished, we were ready to go.

Anne, hold on to your hat! Today we went to buy a NEW mower.  As I type this, we are waiting for the delivery truck to bring it out to the house.   

On the way home, having saved a goodly portion of money in buying the mower we did, we discussed getting the old mower up and running once more as a back-up mower.  We'd had in mind that we'd buy a brand-new deck to go on the mower, but it occurred to us that we might instead have a welder repair this deck for far less money.   The guy who owns the auto shop in town will do such welding work and doesn't charge a huge amount for it either.

I'm making Spaghetti and Meatballs for supper tonight.  It seemed like an easy heat and eat sort of meal.  I've already cooked it all, including the pasta and just need to assemble plates when we get Caleb home this evening.   Then I can put it in the microwave and heat each plate and serve it up.  His can cool off while ours are heating.

Now, I'm going to stop chatting and get us a cup of coffee to have before we leave to go pick up Caleb.  I so hope it will be a pleasant evening.

Tonight, Katie and Steven are officially engaged.  Katie is well aware that the journey forward will require a lot of her, but I sense a peace about her I've not seen before.  It's as though, tired though she may be at present, she is sure of her path.  John and I wished them well.

Tuesday:  We didn't get our new mower yesterday as promised.  It seemed to be a bit of a tangle and John wanted to go with me to pick up and keep Caleb.  So, we opted to have it delivered today.  There's been another hold-up this morning, but it's coming!

I thought I'd share our meal plans of this week. On Saturday, we had pizza, then leftovers of food we had gotten at the little steak house we love so.  

On Sunday I bought fried chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad for John and Katie.  Does anyone else dislike macaroni salad?  I don't mind the tuna pasta salad we make at home, but John doesn't like to eat my homemade pasta salad if it's not tuna pasta.  He says it doesn't taste right.  I think macaroni salad that you buy at the deli or store is just ick.  We had supper at Senior's group that night.

Monday, we had spaghetti with meatballs.  I used homemade sauce and made meatballs with some meat I'd taken out to make another meal.  I don't often make meatballs to go with my sauce, but every now and then I like to surprise John with meatballs.  I figured Caleb would like that, too.

 Today's lunch was inspired by John.  We had a smoked tenderloin Sunday at senior supper and those ladies packed the box heavily for John's supper.  John had suggested we have a salad with the smoked meat.  As I lay awake last night (tis that season at present), I kept trying to figure out how to make it into a salad.  My inspiration came and that's what we had it for lunch today.   I used whole kernel corn sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes, a bit of celery and onion, shredded cheddar and crushed corn chips along with lettuce and the smoked meat cut into dices.  I made a dressing of BBQ sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise.   It was all very good and I'm likely to try something similar in the future if we happen to have smoked meat again.

For supper tonight we'll be having bologna sandwiches and Cheetos.  John's out mowing the front yard with his new mower (what a joy that gives me to say!) and I know he won't want to eat anything heavy when he comes in.  

I have three more meals planned for this week.  I'm not sure exactly when we'll eat each one but think it's likely that on Thursday, we'll have Meatball heroes with the leftover meatballs and sauce.  Since Caleb can't handle cheese very well, I thought I'd save that meal for a night when we're at home.

My other two meals are Lena's Russian Cabbage Rolls and the Swiss Chicken (stuffing, canned soup, chicken).  Both of these meals may be cooked in the slow cooker, and I can just clasp the lid to the crock and take the thing with me.  I'll likely have mashed potatoes to go with the cabbage rolls and do Green Beans with the Swiss Chicken.

I did a good bit of housework this morning while we were waiting on delivery of the new mower.  I'm really only cleaning surfaces and keeping floors done but that will suffice for now.  My other big push each week is to make ahead whatever meals I can and cut out that daily work which means a bit more time to attend to other duties or to rest.  

Then I sat down and planned our budget to not include rent on the house.  This will carry us through the last quarter of the year.  I have considered all our expenses.  I've decided that much as I like to pay insurances annually or in big lumps right now it's best to do it on a month-by-month basis.  It's far more manageable for our current budget.  When things ease up, then we'll redetermine how we shall proceed.  We'll be trimming back our allowance and the grocery budget.  With a little care, we should make it just fine until we can sell the house in town.

Today I am just tired after two big days back-to-back and poor sleep at present.  I decided that while I might do all sorts of tasks here in my home, in an attempt to 'catch up', I really needed the rest instead.  Otherwise, how shall I keep going?   But I can't help but see all the things I am not doing.  Anyone else ever feel like those un-done tasks glare at you a bit harder when you know you've no energy and little time to attend to them?  

When we went into town this afternoon to purchase gas for the mower, I went into the store there at the station and picked up chocolate treats for the month.  We love the Milky Way Fudge bars and Reese's Nutrageous but finding either is difficult at best.  For whatever reason, they do sell them here in our hometown at the gas station, so I go into the store once a month, buy both and tuck them away in our snack bin in the pantry.  Today I also purchased Reese's Cups and Hershey's Almond bars.  That should carry us until next pay period or possibly a little longer.  

I've just been outdoors to admire the cut lawn.  So nice, after having it get so thick and unkempt looking.  John took a break for a cool drink and when I asked if he was done for the day assured me, he was still on the job.  I'm glad that the mower has lightened his spirits enough that he is excited to tackle the task.  Here's hoping this encourages him to do still more and that his hip/leg isn't hurting him any worse.

I also took time to blow off the porches and patios.  We haven't had any rain since the day I visited the boys' schools on September the 8th.  There are clouds of dust following as he mows, and that fine dust settled all over the porches and patio.  I took time to admire my planters with the coleus and mums, dusty miller and touch me nots and asters.  Honestly these fall planters have made it all worthwhile with their beauty.  I wish I'd had pretty planters all summer long, but it just didn't happen this year.  The coleus cost me $14 and has given me non-stop beauty from May when I purchased it and will go right up until it frosts.  It's well worth the purchase in my opinion.  I've snipped the branches and acquired dozens of plants from those original four in the basket I bought.

Wednesday:  I've altered my meal plan. I had planned to make The Alpine Chicken slow cooker meal but this morning, as I was flipping through my recipe notebook, I opened the page to Arroz con Pollo.  Since I'd slept later than I'd planned to, and I didn't want to have to cook the meal on HIGH which tends to burn a little (my slow cooker runs on the hot side), I thought a one skillet meal would suit me better.  

As soon as we ate breakfast, I got my meal started.  It's all cooked and ready now and I'll take it with us and reheat in the microwave this evening.  I find this works best.  Even so, Caleb will be antsy until I set his plate before him. 

John and I had a discussion this morning.  I'd announced yesterday that I'd reworked our budget for the fourth quarter of the year, and we'd be reducing our allowances and grocery budget.  I explained my reasons and he acknowledged they were valid, but he also suggested that in cutting back in those two areas are something he feels is unnecessary.  He thinks the budget will balance on its own without my taking 'moving backwards'.    

I have to acknowledge he's likely right.  Two things I didn't count into our fourth quarter was a month's rent from the town house nor the coming cost of living increase in our monthly checks.  There's good reason to believe that alone will offset any additional expenses we might have until we sell the house. He suggested we live in faith these next three months, believing provision will come and of course, being cautious in our unplanned spending such as going over budget categories when it's not necessary or impulse buys.  I agreed with his reasoning and so we will have the same budget minus rent to finish out the year.

You know we've no idea when or if the house will sell.  We don't know if our income will rise at all.  We're just going on faith here and in the end that's all we can do, isn't it?  We didn't plan to still be living on a tight budget at this stage of our lives.  We didn't plan to have a second house.  But so far, we've managed, and I guess we'll just go on faith that we're going to continue to manage.

Good news today.  Physical Therapy had Steven up in a wheelchair and managed to roll him out of the room, so he had a change of scenery that wasn't OR or the same four walls.  He looked as though he felt really well.  There are still issues, like not dealing well with strangers or new faces, but he's made progress and for that we are thrilled.

Thursday:  On the 'good news today' front, we got the electric bill this afternoon.  I was shocked at how low it was.  When I read through the itemization, we received a membership refund from the co-op we belong to.  It used to be that this was an annual occurrence but in past years it's been between three and five years between refunds.  I am pretty sure we got one last year.   A refund this year was totally unexpected but so very much appreciated.  I'd set aside money for the bill earlier this month at the usual rate.  

John and I are agreed that we'll take the refunded amount from that money already set aside and we will slide those funds over to my upright freezer fund.  I'm inching a little closer.

I've been super busy this morning.  I slept really well last night which I was more than ready for as you might imagine.   Sleeping well always sets the stage for wanting to work in my home or yard.  Since I knew that today was to be in the high 90's (forecast is 93 with feels like of 98).  I am not going to work outdoors in that!   I have however, done a huge load of laundry this morning and took those to the line to dry.

My laundry today consisted of our summer spread from our bed, the sheets and cases from the guest room bed, the chair arm covers and the antique quilt I've been snuggling under all summer long.  I felt it was time to remove that and put it away.   It's terribly worn, and a family heirloom.  I know it's fragile (handsewn, old flour sack fabrics, etc.).  I've loved sleeping under it and feeling I was in my great-grandmother's care the whole while but it's time to put that quilt aside and let it rest for a bit. 

One thing I LOVE about antique quilts is that the cotton fabrics and the cotton filler inside washes up so well and when air dried on the line, the filler plumps up nicely all over again.  

I was in the mood to decorate for fall.  What I did doesn't really look like fall.  It's not.  It's just a change from what we have had but it was done in honor of it's being autumn.

I started in the guest room.  I left the same spread on the bed I've used all summer.  I did add a comforter on the foot of the bed, in case anyone stays in there and wants more cover in the cooler months.  I changed the sheets, too.  I plan to leave the throw pillow covers and the curtains I hung this summer.  The print is a happy little cottage-y sort of print and I like it a lot.  I bought the two pillowcases (I shortened into throw pillow covers) from Walmart last year.  I wish I'd bought a complete set of sheets as well, because I like the pattern so much.  I've looked online but none there.  Perhaps I'll check in the stores.  You never know, I might find they are still being sold.

In the living room, I freshened the things on the mantle.  I brought out a mixed lot of creamers in various shapes and sizes with roses on them from the guest room.  These and a few of the oldest books in my collection now grace the mantel.  I put fresh flowers on one end and the porcelain figuring lamp on the other and then hung a small print I'd picked up years ago at a yard sale to fill a small gap.  

I worked on getting the bookcases neatened up and freshened the tops a little and I am quite satisfied with how that looks now.  Then a good dusting of the living room.  No, not a good dusting.  I dusted, but I didn't do it well, so I won't say I did.

On the dining room buffet, I moved some things around and am happier with the arrangement there.  I am currently using a blue and white vase and two jars with lids in the center of the dining table.  I like them grouped in the center, but I suspect the whole lot is all a little too big for the space.  Never mind.  I'm pleased with it at present.

In our room, I swapped our summer spread for a darker teal matelassé quilt that I typically use in the cooler months.  This one is considerably heavier than the lighter summer matelassé cover.   I purchased two velvet pillow covers in a rusty orange tone that I replaced the coral throw pillows with.  I love the combination of the rich rust with the deep teal.  I'd like to replace the shams on the bed, too, but I haven't found anything yet that I am wowed by.  The pillow shams I have now I've had on my bed for about 6 years or so and I use them in all seasons, but I am ready for something fresh.

I hung out clothes in the midst of all this.  Then I made apple cake, from the recipe I'd had years ago and lost and finally found again last year.  That's cooling on the counter now.  I baked it in a long loaf pan, meant for making long angel food cakes rather than in a tube or Bundt pan.  When I turned it out earlier, I tried to turn it over and split the darned thing through the middle of it's length.  I'm sure it will taste just as good, but it aggravated me that I messed it up after it came out of the pan so lovely.

John's sister-in-law kindly sent me a huge box of clothing, mostly tops in a range of sizes from 1x to 3x.  I can't wear the 3x things nor the 2x, but I found a beautiful skirt and 8 or 9 tops that fit me and looked well on me.   There's 2/3 of the box for Katie to go through and I think there's a girl or two at church who might be interested in looking through the box for herself.   Pilar's note indicated I was to expect more from her as she wasn't through sorting out stored clothes.

I'm always cautious about offering pieces to people because some folks get plumb offended at you. Pilar's clothing choices are very nice ones indeed.  But some people are offended that you think they (a) are big enough to wear a larger size (b) NEED someone's cast offs.  I'm going to ask anyway and try to do so in a tactful and sincere way.  Several of these items don't look like they were ever worn.  The tags in them are like new.  Some have the original price tags on them.

I was trying on clothes when John returned from mowing half the lawn over at the manor house. He urged me to keep at least two items I was waffling about.  He likes them, lol.  

Supper tonight: Lena's Russian Cabbage Rolls and Mashed Potatoes.   

I need to make a plan for tomorrow night's meal.  Caleb is not a picky eater but there are things I can't feed him (cheese and milk products for instance) so it pays me to do a bit of studying to determine what he might like.  I may just make hot dogs.  I've done so the past two Fridays and his little face lights up when I say we're having hot dogs.  I keep it really simple: hot dogs, buns, chips and some sort of fruit like apples or canned peaches, etc.   I think I will buy hot dog buns though if I do that.

But that is another day entirely and we've still a bit of this day left to rejoice in.

John and I had cake (I cut out that broken middle portion) and coffee this afternoon.  It was just lovely.  I'm so glad I found that recipe once again!

Friday:  Yesterday was summer...today autumn.  It is currently just 76F outdoors.  By this time yesterday it was already 93F.  I kept wondering if the weather forecast was truth or fiction, but last night just about sundown, the wind suddenly picked up, whipped the tree branches about and spit a short rain shower at us.  I just knew then that the weather was about to change, and the forecast had been true.  This morning and afternoon have been lovely.

You might know that for all my sadness that the season was about to change, I am now fully embracing autumn and the new season.  I've been so grateful I took August to fully appreciate all that summer is and now I am ready to face a new season as the trees begin to slowly change color and the leaves fall gently to the ground.

The propane gas truck came this morning and filled our tank.  He'll come once a month through March (if we have a proper winter, February if it's mild) and then we won't see him again.  His arrival for the first time each autumn is as much a rite of passage as any other.  

This morning when he came up the drive, I thought I'd stop to speak to him.  I was in the midst of something or other but as quick as I could I went to the door and found him coming around from the front of the house.  "Did you need to speak to us?"  "Oh no, I was saying hello to the doggie.  I was so worried about him after we ran over his paw this summer!"   We had a bit of conversation about dogs in general and then he went on to fill my tank. 

 We've had the same propane man for the past 26 years.  Granny was the one who told him to put us on the same schedule as herself, set up our tank rental and line of credit and then told us who were buying gas from and to pay our bill on time, lol.  Well, we always have, and we've seen no reason to change services in all these years.

Another load of laundry this morning, this time of sheets and towels from our room.  I changed out my mattress pad which John washed.  When I brought it in off the line, I found it was in rags...sigh.  I wouldn't have wasted time and electricity washing it had I realized!  I've put a flat top sheet, a set of sheets and a new mattress pad in my cart online and just purchased them.  Might as well get them now and be done with it.

This morning went along well.  We had our gas man come.  That is running $2.60/gallon just now in our area which isn't great nor horrible.  I can't cook without it so I'm hardly going to complain too long and loud over it.  I had started setting money aside last month for this expense which I knew was coming up and while I don't have quite enough, I'm a lot closer than I'd have been if I hadn't set some aside.

I made up the bed and bath fresh and then cleared up the kitchen after I'd started bread for Shabat and the week ahead.  John and I went into town to get mower gas and I ran into Dollar General to grab a carton of lactose free milk and hot dog buns for tonight.  John requested I pick up a 'different' analgesic ointment and while I was on that aisle, I found triple antibiotic ointment which I knew we were low on, the allergy med that works best for Caleb, as well as a cute pair of pajamas for him.  This is the danger of Dollar General.  Had I stuck hard and fast to my original list (bread and milk) I'd have walked out with less...sigh.

Home once more, I came in and folded dry laundry and vacuumed the floors then put the bread to bake.  I made up an easy lunch of warm chicken and rice tacos using some of the leftovers from our Arroz con Pollo.  I have a little more of that left. I think I can turn it into a quick soup by adding in some broth, green chilies and dicing the chicken.  I'd like to serve it the way they do at a Hispanic restaurant, with a spoonful of pico de gallo on top but I don't have cilantro.  Sounds yummy though, doesn't it?  A perfect fall day lunch and a good use of leftovers.

John came back from mowing just as the bread came out of the oven and said we were going to go see Josh play in his first football game tomorrow.  I was hoping we would go and had mentioned it to John three times, but it was Sam asking him to attend that won the vote on that.  

My spirits are higher than they were.  Steven is improved.  John is better.  We've had good news and goodness all week long.  It's been a wonderful week.

How did your week go?

Amazon Associate Affiliate Link   Caramel Apple Coffee...sounds like the perfect fall weekend brew 

(C) Terri Cheney
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