Diary of a Homemaker’s Week: Hot Cocoa Weather


Saturday:  I slept in this morning.  It was necessary.  Was it overstimulation last night at the small group meeting?  Or was it that half cup of 'good Cuban coffee' I had?  Either way, I found myself both sleepy yet unable to sleep.   1am, 2am, 3am...

Late is a relative term when you have a little one in the house.  I was amused when I came out of the bedroom to hear, "Hey Gramma..." and when I said, "How are you baby?" he replied by placing his hand on his chest and saying his name.  I told John I suppose he thought I'd forgotten who he was after not seeing him for 24 hours.

John had been talking of going to the grocery store for three days and each time I'd been more than ready to go. I had my list of sales, knew which 'extra' items were necessary and was gradually running out of some key items.   Today I knew I needed to go on and do a shop whether or not John was prepared.  He wasn't.  I went off by myself and I can't say I was sorry for that bit of time alone.   

I've lamented that everyone I seem to end up shopping with is always in a hurry to get done and discourages anything they deem as 'extra'.  I am not by any means someone who just longs to shop until I drop but by the same token, I think on my feet when I'm in a store.  Today for instance, I suddenly recalled that I'd forgotten coffee.  I knew we needed it and wouldn't make it through another full week without having to shop for it.  Fortunately, with no one to distract me, I'd not only remembered it but had time to gaze over the prices on the coffee aisle and found a brand I really enjoy was on a good sale.  

I did walk up and down the aisles. I know this is a 'no no' per most of the financial experts.  Here's the reason why I feel it's okay.   (A)Sometimes walking down the aisle is a good reminder to myself of  what I'm actually out of at home that I'd forgotten; (b) reminds me of what I can make at home myself or (c)triggers an auto memory of how much of an item I already have on hand; (d) prompts me to return items I'd already put in the cart because I realize I have a lower priced alternative before me; (e) serves as a visual cue of how much items cost now compared to in the past when I was shopping for them.  Does it prompt me to do a lot of impulse buying?  No.  My head is so full of numbers at that point what with thinking of my budget, the pantry numbers, the costs, that I'm painfully aware of how quickly extras will add up.  I know that isn't always the case with others and if you are triggered to impulse buy when walking down aisles you'd not meant to enter, then by all means, steer clear and stick with the aisles you absolutely must go down.

My goal today was to buy enough that I wouldn't need to return for two more weeks.  I think I managed that rather well.   I added to the freezer, and to the pantry via the sales I'd noted and picked up the items I needed for Sunday dinner, as well as the week ahead.  Including cat food, bird seed and coffee.  

I have $100 left in this month's budgeted amount and 2 weeks to go until we get paid again.  I'm okay with that.

After I got home, the family returned with the little one's sibling.  He was over the moon about having her here.  This evening, John took the new car seat from the box and the kids immediately tackled that box.  The little one kept saying "It's my house..." and that made me say, "Well you are your mother's child."  She was exactly the same way over a big box, always making a new house when we had one large enough for her to get into.

The two children played and played with that box.  At one point the little one was being hauled from room to room in the box and was dubbed the Giggle Monster by sister because he couldn't stop laughing over being 'delivered' to new areas of the house.  They must have played with that box for an hour solid and then when supper was over, they went right back to it.  

It was good to see that a box is still fun for today's youths.  Sometimes it feels like all that see are screens but I'm happy to see that kids are still kids and well able to use their imaginations.

Meals:  Bagels and Cream Cheese

Bologna Sandwiches, Chips

Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Tossed Salad. Pan juices and frame are in the freezer, meat stripped off bones is in the fridge waiting to be made into chicken pot pie.

After noting that January is a long month, I settled down this evening with a cup of hot cocoa.  I bought a big box of cocoa packets today (sale/coupon).  The kids have asked for hot chocolate the past two weeks so I thought I'd get some to have on hand, once I realized that I had no dry powdered milk and couldn't make it as I'd planned.  

And since I'm talking groceries today, I wanted to say to check out Amazon for good food buys.  No kidding.  Right now, I've got a few items in my shopping cart that are lower than they are in the store.  I've purchased the odd item here and there but last month someone mentioned that walnut pieces were $8/2 pounds.  A 16-ounce bag at Aldi was nearly $6 at that time.  I bought several bags and put them in the freezer.  I use walnuts more often than I use pecans and in the south that is saying something!

Anyway, it prompted me to check for items that I know I'm missing in my pantry.  Every now and then there's a really good clearance price on Amazon so it's worth looking into.  What's in my cart at the moment?  Lipton Onion Soup Mix, powdered non-fat milk, steak seasoning, and clearance priced Peanut Butter Cups.

Sunday:  The family were up to see us off to church this morning.  That was nice.  It was rainy and cold outdoors.  Brrr.  I'd worn warm pants, a heavier than usual tank top under my shirt, with a sweater over that and raincoat, and socks.   I was cold when we arrived at church and didn't stop being cold the entire time we were there.

Home once more, I made our simple Sunday dinner, the one we have every time a certain grandchild is here. I found, with the progress of dinner being made and an antsy little one jumping and hopping and shouting that my mood got increasingly worse. I had a cup of coffee while things didn't need attention in the kitchen, but the progress of my mood was pretty rapidly hitting the downturn. I realized by the time I was washing dishes and unloading the dishwasher that I was tired.  

Honestly, some days I'm no better than a little child when it comes to how my mood and my weariness are tied in together.  I could've wept in sheer frustration of the need for a stopping point and my mood disintegrated every step of the way.

Sure enough, when everyone was on that homeward run, I settled into my chair and went right to sleep and slept hard.  Rain and cold outside and just a touch chilly indoors, I wrapped in a sweater and sweatshirt, finally got warm and the moment I got warm I was fully done with being awake.

The weather outside is truly dreary in the way that only a Georgia January weekend day can be dreary.  All I can think of at present is soup.  And blankets.  And possibly a nap to get me over my nap.    I guess sometimes the body has just had enough.  Give it rest or it will get ill.  I'll take the resting spell.

Meals:  Breakfast Sandwiches

Gramma's Fried Chicken, Mac n Cheese, Grape tomatoes.  No point in making more.  That's all that was going to be eaten by the two kiddos.  And one wasn't haven't the tomatoes.  John also brought them home a bag of Cheetos each so they got plenty full.

Clearing out the fridge: Fried Chicken, Brunswick Stew, Potato Soup, Sweet and Sour Pork, and something else is in there at present.  The little one will get his favorite canned pasta in tomato sauce, a treat he hasn't had in a few months.

Monday:  Sunshine today but the breeze that seems to perpetually blow from the west is frigid cold on that shady back porch.  And no, the temps aren't that low.  I seem to have a slightly stuffy nose and am feeling just a tad weary.  I think I have whatever ailment John had last week.   It isn't a cold exactly but it's something.  It wasn't a rigorous illness and was short-lived.  But I do believe I've got the darned thing, whatever it is.

I'm going to rest this afternoon.  I really wanted to accomplish loads more today but I recognized yesterday that the more I pushed the more my mood and emotions sank.  Rest is what I need, and I'll make an effort to treat myself kindly.

Minor accomplishments today aside from the routine housework was to unload the groceries bought on Saturday into the pantry and put things away where they belong and in proper order.  I also moved the potted plants on the front porch and took time to clean up out there.  I moved the impatien I rescued from the town house outdoors into the bin where I 'greenhouse' plants through winter.  I'm tired of it drooping and dropping leaves indoors.

I put away all the clothes from the weekend and John's load of laundry this morning (only mine...I don't mean that I do every one's clothes), arranged my closet and thought about what I'd wear to church tonight.  

I sat down to work on my checkbook and write out checks for the bills that came in this past week.   While I was working on that I heard a truck in the backyard.  Fed Ex arrived with a package for me from Stitch Fix.  I settled to work some more, and John came into chat.  Then I settled to work again and heard someone knock at the back door.  This time it was the pest control guy come to do our quarterly service call.  I hurried back to my desk and finished writing out checks including one for the pest control guy.

Once all that was done it was time for lunch.  I set out the stuff to make meatloaf for tonight's supper.  After we'd eaten lunch, I made that and a potato dish to go with the meatloaf.    Since we are going to service at church tonight, we'll eat early, and I'll leave food for the family when they come in.

By the time I'd cleaned up dishes again, I realized I was pretty well done.  So much for thinking I'd perhaps get to the pots and plants or the shed this afternoon.  It's not going to happen.  I think I'm going to sit here and see if a nap will sneak up on me as it did yesterday.

Meals:  Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Sandwiches, Chips, Oranges

Meatloaf, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beans, Biscuits

While we were eating supper, we got a call from nursery.  It wasn't a happy call.  I was very downhearted going to church service tonight and felt the world was sitting heavily upon me.  

When we came home this evening, three deer were standing on the side of the road.  They crossed the road slowly in front of us, so I'm glad that we had slowed down to make the turn into our driveway.  They walked up the drive-in front of us for a few seconds then slipped off into the woods.  That made a total of 7 we saw today, as four more crossed the road when we were leaving home this afternoon.

Tuesday:  The world outside our windows this morning was sparkling white and iridescent.  The sun drew out a thousand sparkling diamonds along the path it shone down upon.  These heavy frosts look like snow at first glance and then I realize it's just frost.  I admit to feeling a wee bit of disappointment.

I had a little one from across the field this morning.  John was targeted as being most in favor, and that is no great surprise to me.  I seem to be a favorite among the boys, and he is of the deepest interest to the girls as long as they are tiny.  "Papa...Papa" went on and on all morning long.  "Papa sit on me," which means she wants to get in his lap, "Papa read", "Papa come get...", "Papa hold this."  "Papa I'm full," and being just the opposite, she means "I'm hungry."  Papa was the go-to man and Gramma sat and watched amusedly as he got up and down three dozen times.  

Her mama came in as we were finishing up our lunch and had some, too.  Then we three adults visited for a bit before they left to return home.

We left home to go to church again this evening.  Spiritual Emphasis Week is our wind-up of the 21-day fast that has been ongoing churchwide.  Last night's speaker was on fire.  Tonight's was as well.  The altars have filled each time the altar call went out.  I'm glad that we've taken time out to go to these meetings in person.

We did not eat supper before we left home last night.  John refused.  Honestly, I've no desire to eat a late-night meal.  I made us a snack and that really suited me just fine.   

There's a convenience store/gas station that is new to our area where John has stopped repeatedly of late to pick up something.  He just loves going in and choosing food items or drinks for us and for those at home.  I noted last night after our stop that really it was getting out of hand.  Perhaps he ought to limit himself to once or twice a month at best and not each time he's in the area.  He agreed that likely once a month was truly more than enough.

We came in to find the little in bed for the evening and the mama studying a course required for work and the final bit of licensing required.   

Meals:  Egg and Cheese Biscuits

Pepperoni Pizza

Bologna, Cheese and Crackers for us.  Spaghetti with Meat sauce and salad for the family.

Wednesday:  Heavy rain this morning when we rose.  It poured for hours.  A miserable way to start a day in my opinion.  Oddly enough I don't mind rain that comes midday, but it makes me feel a bit low to see rain pounding in the yard at 7am.  It makes for a miserable haul to the car with a little one, too, as one is bound to get soaking wet as you get them situated.

After we'd seen everyone off for the day, I tackled housework and breakfast right away.  It took most of the morning, which surprised me really because we'd done very well the day before keeping things picked up and put away.  I sorted through the little one's clothes and put away the gifted items that were too big for him.  I have a bin under a bed where we are keeping those larger things for future needs.  I sorted out a small pile of donations/give away items from my own closet.  I bagged up the items I'm not keeping from my Stitch Fix.  I thought long and hard about two pieces and I realized that they just weren't 'me'.  Those were dropped off at the post office this afternoon.

For lunch today, I tried a new pie crust from a cookbook I've had on hand for years. It's my intention to try at least one new to me recipe from one of my cookbooks this year. I have less than a dozen so this will give me plenty of inspiration.  I really liked the way the crust turned out even though I didn't exactly follow directions.  I wanted to make the dish right away for our lunch.  I've posted that recipe on my Blue House Journal Recipes blog.

After lunch, I settled to do some writing but didn't get far.  We had a call to go pick up the little one.  We're in a very frustrating situation at present and while it's been put to prayer, we need a right now solution and there hasn't been a right now answer.  Solutions offered up were slapped down immediately as being against policy, lack of staffing, etc.  As no suggestions were given from the opposing side, I began to get frustrated and exited interview while I was still reasonable.  

Home at last and a happy child went off to play with the mega blocks the aunt brought from her home the day before.  

Meals:  Cheese Toast

Chicken Pot Pie, Cranberry Sauce

Leftover Pasta sauce, Spaghetti, Broccoli, Garlic Bread

We watched the final service of Spiritual Emphasis Week online.  We'd intended to be there in person, but timelines didn't coincide so that we could manage that.  After the service we three adults sat and discussed various options and thoughts on the matter before us, with all of us feeling frustrated and weary.  We did our best to come up with a solution and it's not ideal but it's an offering to take back to the table and see if it's acceptable.

Thursday:  I woke unusually tired this morning.  So far today I've dressed and made breakfast and that seems to be as far as I'm going.  I will force myself to move a bit more and get the basics of homecare done but frankly my heart isn't in it.  Mind you, heart or not, I've never yet allowed my feelings to dictate my taking care of responsibilities, but it is a luxury of so-called retirement that at least I have the option of a late start.  Frankly, this is a rare morning for even this much enjoyment of retirement.  I didn't expect ease and freedom, but I didn't expect the continuous demand to further increase responsibilities and decrease in freedom that we've faced.  It is what it is.

No one was particularly happy this morning from the littlest to the oldest.  John and I have unfortunately resorted to sniping at each other.  We are not upset with one another in the least but it's the fruit of the great frustration we feel.  It's ironic that his chief reason for snapping is because I voice the very same feelings he has.  He tends to feel if I'm feeling that way then it's a sign of his utter failure to 'fix' things, never mind that he has the same unhappiness with the situation and has none but the same solutions we've all had.  I've vowed, silently, to just say nothing about it all the rest of the day.  Again, it is what it is, and until we have a God-given solution, there's nothing further we can do about it.

Off I go to attend to duties.  Work is often enough a good distraction from what worries one, I find and there is some satisfaction in at least finding I can overtake one or three things and turn them from a disorderly mess into something that is neat and improved, even I'm unable to fix the problems that we face otherwise.

later:  I took myself off to do light household chores.  I still need to unload the dishwasher, but I'll get to that when I'm preparing supper tonight.  I'll alter my menu for the week slightly at this point of the week.   I've got a good case of needing to do something easy instead of fussy.  Not in the mood for fussy in the least.

After I did the housework, I went out and refilled one of the bird feeders with a fresh lot of seed.  Then I went into the shed and sorted out the Christmas stuff and picked over the shelves until I'd filled a box with stuff to donate.  I picked up two more containers and realized that both contained items that needed to be properly sorted and put away, but by that point I'd spent an hour working and weeping over the unfairness of life in general, a direct result of my own weariness I'll wager, and I was pretty much over all of it including myself.  

I came indoors and made lunch, had more words with John who is as trigger happy as I in mood today and decided that I'd just be quiet the rest of the day and we could each suffer in silence.  Sounds like a plan to me.

I've spent the week working on a coffee chat post but after scrapping and starting again three times, I finally just deleted the whole thing and said "Enough."  We'll have a chat another day, okay?

meals:  Muffins, Eggs

Meatloaf sandwiches, chips   That's the last of the meatloaf so that will be stricken from the supper menu for the week.

Black Bean Burgers, Mexican Rice, Salad, Tortillas

I used Brandy's (the Prudent Homemaker) recipe for the burgers.  Big hit in the household tonight.

Friday:  Another day.  Another problem with the same issue that's plagued us all week long.  Which led to more snipes and snaps between us.  Never mind that we're not angry with each other, we're all incredibly frustrated.  Most arguments at present relate to what solutions might work and why they were none of them ideal.  

We picked up the little one, bought him lunch, picked up a pizza meant for supper tonight and came home again.  

The solution we've come up with isn't ideal on many scores but enough is too much already.  

Long week with a lot of worrying and struggle behind us.  Also, a load of blessings, though we might have lost sight of them.  

Meals:  Bacon and Cheese English Muffins

fast food shared with a 3 year old

Pizza with Veggies, Wings, Apple slices    John offered last night to buy pizza and I'd suggested we have it tonight.  We picked it up while we were out fetching the little one.  I deeply appreciated having a ready supper tonight but wanted wings.  I remembered I had some in the freezer and I managed to thaw and cook without any issue.

(C) Terri Cheney

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