The Week Ahead: June



Most of you may realize that I am fascinated with this natural world we live in and I love reading of new discoveries.  I think it was a couple of years ago that I read that scientists typically discover new species of flora and fauna and bugs/insects in the tens of thousands every year.  Every. Year.  I find this totally remarkable and just one more reason to marvel at God's creation.  He knows every grain of sand and every hair on our head but we don't even know all the wonders he's created yet!

I saw something funny on Instagram the other day.  It was a news post on an environmental post detailing that scientists just discovered 35 new species of life in an aquatic cave that had apparently been unopened for five million years.  I confess I always sort of scoff at their estimation of years but I don't doubt the finding of 35 new species.

However, it was the comment left underneath that headline post that made me laugh at loud.  The commenter said "STOP!  Don't do it!  It's still 2020..."  

I know today is not the 'rest' day of the week but I'm more tired than I realized.  Katie and Caleb came out to spend the day with us yesterday and it was so pleasant and nice on so many scores.  Little Bub took a long nap of over an hour and yawned sleepily and rested his head on my shoulder for the next hour after he awoke.  I took him into the bedroom to change him and he rolled onto his stomach and kept laying his head down on the bed as though he was going to drift right back off.  No, he wasn't sick.  He just seems to be weary from his week of nursery-life and I reckon it was a big enough change in his life to warrant being tired.   I know just how he felt.  As I type this my eyes are aching and burning with weariness.  I've warned John I might well go to bed early tonight again.

I came into this weekend with NO plans for food at all.  Having spent the day out with Mama on Friday, I made no preparations.  I planned only to make a peach cobbler with some rather ripe peaches I bought then and that was as far as I got on Saturday.

Well we pieced out a lunch for all of us and then I scrabbled in the freezer and found the other portion of the Poppy seed Turkey casserole.    I'll never again make this because it was so bland and a perfect waste of the pricey poppy seed the recipe called for.  However, it was food and it was right there. I put it in the toaster oven to cook for an hour and it was still pretty much frozen solid.  I'd thought I'd have made a little  headway but only the bottom of the casserole was  thawed.  I put it into the microwave to finish thawing and heating.  Note to self:  In summer, why waste an hour or two of electricity using the toaster oven when I can thaw and reheat in under 8 minutes in the microwave?


Work:
I'm going to change this up a little bit for this week at least.  I did a lot of thinking last week and had a lot of ideas and I want to share some of them. This  week some of the things listed below are June GOALS and some are meant to be work for the week.

I've been thinking a lot of late about meals and summer heat and while it appears we're heading into a fairly mild summer it's also truth that the gas oven heats up the house something fierce if run for long periods of time.  Anything I can do to avoid adding heat to the house in the summer is a savings for us where the AC is concerned.  So this week I want to compile a list of easy summer meals that won't heat up the house.  That means I'll continue sifting through online recipes and YouTube videos looking for reasonable ideas.

My pantry and freezer inventory also made me stop and think.  I maintained my pantry well over the last five months, despite shortages and handing out to the kids when they couldn't find items.   What I did note was that I was out of certain items in January that I typically keep one or two of on hand that I just consider as icing on the pantry.  Things like maraschino cherries, and Bamboo shoots which I don't admittedly reach for every day but which I do like to keep on hand. And which I do miss on those occasions when I want them and they aren't there. 

I also noted that I waited in vain for the spring sale on Pineapple.  I have two cans of slices and I've noted that there are apparently not going to be any sales on pineapple this year.  So I have some places in the pantry that need to be stocked.  I have only two cans of pineapple, 1 of pear slices, one box of flavored gelatin and yeast is a bit low...things that aren't really pricey but are very low and are staples in my household.

So I think I'm going to make my grocery list from that inventory list and restock accordingly as I'm not desperate for a whole lot of the mainstays this month.

I've also noted that I might be getting less bang for my buck than I'd like where my foods are concerned.  It's easy to shop only at Aldi, drop into the discount grocer once every six weeks and back up our needs with a quick run into Publix or the hometown grocer but there are other grocery stores besides those I tend to scan the sales sheets of.    

I came to this conclusion this past week after walking quickly through Walmart and noting they had a whole carrageenan free broiler fryer chicken for 98c a pound.  They are smaller than the roasting ones I get from Aldi but they are also 50c a pound cheaper and suitable to more purposes than just roasting.  I love Aldi and I love their quality on most things but they might not be the least expensive option in town and  I could stand a few extra stops to save some money.

I'd like to look up some of those other stores  and see what they have to offer price-wise and maybe visit and see what they have on their shelves.

I am just wanting to get out and go shop.  I'm in one of those cycles where I need a few things and ordering online is a proving to be even more limiting than choosing things in store.  I've even visited manufacturer websites and found items were unavailable there as well.  What I want/need: a new summer lipstick as I am at the bottom of last summer's tube; underwear, they are apparently not making the brand I've been wearing and what is available is not in my size so now I must find a new brand that has the features I want; blush; a new signature summer polish for my nails; a few items for the house (see below in the Four Things section);  a new top or three, especially  white, grey and black t-shirts which I consider staples; paint for home projects; plants and soil for decorative pots on porch and in mulched beds...and the list goes on and on.

I need to check my coffee and pet food stock and reorder if needed.

I have five birthday gifts that must come from this month's budget and at least three of them are coming right up in the next couple of weeks.  I must get busy and order or determine what shall be gifted and get those which must be mailed sent off and those that must be ordered shipped!

Mop the kitchen and baths.

Sort out the fridge to see what needs to be used up or repurposed.

Plan the grocery shopping for the month.

Fertilize my current lot of plants (something I'm sure I mentioned doing last week and didn't get to).

Plan a couple of days out/dates with John.  Add Mama days and children activity dates to my June calendar.

Payday for John this week after working his few extra shifts.  He wants to purchase an attachment for one of his yard tools with those funds this month.  My goal is to make sure he gets to do just that.

Maybe: grocery shopping, but I really think we can wait...

Last week I had the idea of 'Four Things' I could do that would improve my home in some way.  I think I got three things done and it felt great.  None of them required a great deal of energy.  Four things that I want to do this coming week:

#1.  I was looking out the front window today and realized that there's a simple project in getting the bed about the Faith tree sorted out.  The dogs and John have made a right mess of it.  John only piles small branches in the bed to get them out of his way when mowing, but the dogs have dug out the mulch and knocked over the stones about it and pulled out the weed matting.  I think I can clean it up. It won't be easy or quick but it's doable without spending I think, and it would greatly improve the looks of the area overall.

#2.  I moved the chairs off the patio onto the front porch for additional seating.  The table is too big for the front porch.  Now I have no chairs on the patio.  I am considering moving the table off the patio entirely for now but where to put it is a big problem.   I think I'll just settle for cleaning the patio up and arranging pots in a more pleasing manner and look for chairs in the future.

#3.  Somewhere in the midst of all those dug up bulbs/plants that have survived are gladiola bulbs.  I'm going to dig them out and plant them NOW so they can bloom this summer.  

#4. Go buy seeds to put in the shed flower bed.  The ones that came up have done well but the spaces between them are beyond ridiculous and no new ones have appeared.



Meals:

Poppy Seed Turkey Casserole, Broccoli, Peach Cobbler
Last of this casserole and not a bit sorry.  It was a new recipe that sounded good but was so bland that I kept adding to it to try and make it better.  

Pan Fried Thin Steaks, Twice Baked Potato casserole, Sliced Tomatoes
I picked up these steaks for just over $3 each at our local grocery.  They were marked down and were fairly thin which made them suitable for a quick stove top cooking.

Southwestern Burrito Salad Bowls, Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
The cookies will do for snacks this week.  I'll put a portion of the dough in the freezer as well.  
The Burrito bowls will have rice, beans, carne asada meat (I'll divide the packet), avocado, lettuce and tomato as well as green onions and shredded cheese.  There will be far more of all the rest of the ingredients and less cheese and beef.

Baked Chicken, Broccoli Rice Casserole, Salad
Not a whole roasted chicken, though that might be a good idea for the extra meat for sandwiches and a couple of casseroles...I'll have to think about that one.

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash, Green Salad
Bess walked over this evening (Sunday) and brought me extras from her vegetable box, including this squash.  I was looking for a recipe from the long ago past that I'd tried and discovered that Acorn Squash, while prevalent in the markets in the autumn months is actually related to zucchini and other summer squash!  Who knew?

Meatloaf, Broccoli Slaw, Squash Casserole
I like meatloaf too as a sandwich meat and as one of the recipe I can double and freeze half.  I think I'll cook both at the same time and then freeze this time, so that I have a thawed ready to heat meal in future.

Pepperoni Pizza, Tossed Salad 
I'll add red cabbage, carrot slivers, tomato and bell pepper to the salad to stretch the lettuce which is getting low.  I'm going to try and make it until NEXT week before I buy lettuce since we've so much extra produce on hand.

(C) Terri Cheney