Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up

I spent a wet and muddy weekend at camp.  Knowing the weather would be so horrible still didn't mean I could cancel. Teddy had to be groomed and my Aunt wanted me to visit.

While I was away, the tile was re-grouted.   We're set for now and will have Jimmy Jam give us a quote to pull out the tub and put in a stall.  We never bathe, we always shower.  We'll pick larger tiles with thinner grout lines when we get around to doing it too!  We'll also pick some kind of cushy shower/jet set up and one of those uber-flush toilets.  Getting that stuff at cost has it's advantages...
TBG's birthday is/was today.  I did not buy him a specific gift. I had thought about a Fitbit or something like that but wasn't sure.  I suggested he pick out something since I didn't know what to get him.  I did spend some time shopping for items he's wanted me to get for him in general just so I wouldn't be empty handed.  Here are two loungers and a set of sheets I picked up for him to use at camp.

When I got home, I found he'd ordered himself a Fitbit on his own!  My part of the gift was to register and download everything.  Then we went out to dinner.  The meal was good, but the restaurant was too loud.  Some places try to have both restaurant and bar traffic and the bar part generally ruins the dining experience.  The food was really good, but I'm done dining there as we could not relax and talk.

I did come home to the smell of chicken stock in the crockpot so I am very proud of him.  He started it this morning so I drained it tonight and mixed it with a box of broth, jarred it up and made slurry for the pup.

I get to sleep in a bit tomorrow since I have a morning dentist appointment.  I'll try to be better about posting this week.  Time just gets away from me!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Helpful Husband

Do you know many married couples where the husband never cooks or cleans?  In my circle of friends, the answer is no.  But now that I am working around a lot more people, I hear a lot of that.  Thankfully my guy is a "partner" and helps out a lot.

Last night, he roasted the bird for me.  It was my night to swim and it was thawed in the fridge.  So he made me a roasted bird, green beans in foil and yellow rice. 

Part of the issue is that he knows that pitching in helps both of us.  It meant I had something to make into lunch today.  The rice and chicken were the basis for burritos tonight.  There is one breast left and I'm headed to camp.  He knows that he must eat that while I'm gone.  If he doesn't save the bones for me, he'll take care of them himself by putting them in the crock pot with water.  He understands that mixing homemade stock with store-bought means a lower sodium broth.  That's good for everyone.

Since I made the burritos tonight, he is going to do the dishes.  He helped me clean while I was cooking (and drinking) because he's a good guy -- and because he wanted us to have a chance to sit on the patio and have some (more) wine while dinner was in the oven.

I don't get women who tolerate a husband who won't help around the house, doesn't cook and expect those things to be wifely duties.  The fact that a guy does the grocery shopping doesn't get him off the hook (I've been told it does).  IMO, if both spouses work, then both people need to carry the load.  I figure it's not only fair, it means he's self sufficient and I won't have to worry that he'll be adrift if anything ever happens to me.

Maybe that's tough love... or maybe it's just teamwork!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yet Another Use for Duct Tape

There are plans for Jimmy Jam to come in Thursday evening to re-grout the area in our bath that is leaking.  We are just not ready for a full renovation and just fixing the worst of it should help.  It's something we don't feel like doing ourselves.

Our short term fix seems to be working.   The offending areas of missing grout are being covered with duct tape.  It's looks sorta violent -- but it's doing the job!

We don't expect perfection.  I just want to seal the area until I feel we have enough saved to rip it all out and put in a new shower stall.  I think we'll need to save around 10K and be prepared to live without a shower for a week or so.  I am hoping we'll be ready to tackle this in the spring.  Until now, this will have to do!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Rest of Sunday (Not Really a "Rest"...)

After a long day of cleaning like I had on Sunday, the last thing I want to do is food prep -- who wants to mess up what you just got clean?  Then there is also the fatigue factor.

We ate dinner and then I set about getting some work done with fruit.  That meant cutting up a whole small watermelon -- when they are $3.99 for a five pound melon this time of year, you gotta get them.  I'm just as likely to eat this in the place of a salad before dinner or lunch and it makes a great sweet, cold snack before bed. I also love to add it to my morning smoothie.
Once I get the pieces cut for us, I chop up the rind to use for the dog.  We had asparagus ends, strawberry hulls and one head of romaine lettuce.  The pup will enjoy this for the next week.  My batch yielded two and a half big jars.  Teddy loves watermelon and that includes the rind.  I just make sure to wash it well with a veggie cleaner to remove as much wax and pesticides as I can. This gets whizzed up in the food processor.
Here's TBG getting lunch ready in our clean kitchen.  We had a late meal of tuna fish and then took the pup for her second swim and we fit in a walk.  The weekend just goes so fast -- and that's often why I'm too tired to post on Monday night!

One great free indulgence is going to bed early.  After a work-intensive weekend, I think it's well-deserved.  The next time you work hard on something and want a treat... go to bed early the next day!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sliding into Slothdom...

This is how sloppy my kitchen has gotten.  While I've been too busy to post, apparently I've not been using the time to keep the house in order.  Devices and clutter, a percolator,  groceries that I haven't had room to store, empty jars and lunch bags I haven't been putting away, fruit, baking soda, Tops (supermarket) Monopoly tickets, mail, etc. have been taking control of this once neat spot.

 While I had gotten better about mopping the floor, even that good habit went by the way-side.

The area to the left of the sink perpetually holds dishes that are set to air dry.  Our  butcher block always has mail and food items on it.  We're just turning into slobs!

The view from the other end of the kitchen isn't so pretty either.  Not easily seen, are the smudge prints around the handles on drawers and cabinets.  What a disgrace!

Here's the disgusting grout where the dishes set to dry.  We put them on a microfiber drying mat and that means moisture wicks through and sits.  We do also make smoothies here every morning.  It's a small high traffic areas.

 I attacked this area with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, then wiped it down again and again.  After that, I used the steamer on it.  Once that was done, I sprayed vinegar and water and wiped it down some more -- it took a few passes to get all the baking soda off.  That got wiped into the sink and I scrubbed the stains off that as much as I could.
While I used to try to keep the counter clear, the fact is that we use the toaster and Vitamix every day -- it was a waste of time to take them out and put them back.
A lot of cabinet reorganization had to take place to fit all the groceries in.  There is no way I can buy another thing in a can or a box for a while!  Tonight I will have to cut up fruit.
This area wasn't that bad but it wasn't clean by any stretch of the imagination.  Yes, we keep Gold Bond powder on the counter.  In the summer, we use a lot of it.  The drawer here on the end houses all of the dog supplies and there is no more room in it for the powder.  We call it "The Drawer of Fear" because the dog runs and hides when she hears it open.  It's often a sign she'll get her ears cleaned.

Yes, we clean her ears daily, brush her teeth and groom her -- but we go weeks between cleaning the kitchen!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Finishing up What's in the Fridge

I managed to finish up the rest of the chicken so we are free and clear to eat out tomorrow night!  Last week, I picked up five bags of marked down/discontinued fajita veggie mix.  If my freezer was bigger, I'd have grabbed more!

There was the end of a bottle of salad dressing that I felt had been at room temperature too long to serve again -- that didn't mean I thought it was too unsafe to cook with.  It was the basis for the pasta sauce -- I just added some oil and grated Assiago.  That's a piece of grilled Romaine on the side.  I didn't finish all the romaine, so Teddy's getting it.  The dressing is home-made ranch, so I don't think it's unhealthy.

The pasta is angel hair and I mixed equal measures of white and whole wheat.  TBG isn't fond of whole wheat pasta but when I mix it like this, he doesn't notice.

Tomorrow I have a happy  hour to go to with colleagues from the building I used to work in.  One contractor who was on his second assignment actually found a full time gig elsewhere so we are sending him off.  I  miss everyone so it's nice to get a chance to gather -- it's too bad the one guy is leaving as I really wanted him to find something full time with the bank.   I will have to keep in touch.  This new chapter of my career has been great because I've made so many excellent contacts.  Don't call me washed up -- but you can call me over-fed!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Marked Down Meat

I buy a lot of marked down meat.  It saves money and in most cases, I really do use it the same day.

Today we needed chicken backs for the pup.  Lately it's been harder to find them at the Tops we usually shop at.  There is another Tops that I pass on my way home and we generally have better luck there.  Today they had eight trays of backs and all of them were marked down.  They also had whole chickens marked down.  I picked up five trays of backs and one chicken.

The whole chicken was a little over five bucks and I know we'll get around four or five meals out of it plus one meal for Teddy since she gets the giblets.  The trays of backs were $1.35 each and one tray has four backs -- that will feed her for two days.  Since we feed her the ends of veggies and fruits we don't eat, our expense when the backs are this cheap ends up being about .75 cents per day.  She gets a banana for lunch every day and that is probably a dime.  She gets the slimy whey from yogurt and has also been enjoying about an ounce of buttermilk per day since I've been on a fresh/home-made ranch dressing kick lately.

When I'm not feeding her chicken backs, I look for turkey necks.  Those are expensive at Tops -- nearly three bucks a pound.  They can be found at Price Rite for $1.49 per pound.   My week generally involves a trip to each store to see what I can find for her.  I will also cook her food -- generally a mix of white fish, sweet potato, white potato and a can of mackerel.  That's a real treat and much more labor intensive for me -- and because it involves cooking, generally something that happens more in the colder months of the year.  She'll get a day here and there where it's ground beef, just to mix things up.

I don't worry about the meat being spoiled because I've never had any animal I've raw fed get sick from it.  Once I did open a tray of chicken backs and did not like the way it smelled, so it got tossed.  But generally, it's fine.

There is a certain amount of nerve involved in feeding the way we do -- most vets are not happy about it but can't complain too much because my animals are always healthy.  Some people think it's really expensive to feed this way but we manage to do it without going over board.  It is more work but not unmanageable.  Most of the time when I'm going to the store to get her meat, I end up picking up other things we need.  I rarely go into pet supply stores so that means less temptation to buy toys.

As for food waste, we do really well because what we don't eat, she eats.  I didn't get to eat my salad at lunch today as I had meetings from 11AM to 2PM.  My salad sat in the warm car while I was at the pool.  Once home, I picked out the onions, dumped the rest in her dish and she ate it -- unlike me, she doesn't care if there is no dressing on it!

We've settled on a way to feed the dog that keeps her healthy, doesn't strain our budget, and that isn't all that hard to handle.  It's not going to work for everyone but I'm glad chose to do it this way.