I apologize for not posting in more than a week. This past week was crazy. Halloween parades/parties at two different schools (on two different days, at least). Box Tops are due Nov. 3, and I just came home from mailing them off for our school (they have to be postmarked, not received, by Nov. 3). I spent a couple nights of the week working on that submission. I also listed a lot of 2T clothes on eBay, and that sold quicker than I expected, so I had to get that out the door. And, perhaps most importantly, my sitter canceled, so I didn’t have my usual break on Wednesday morning.
Halloween was fun. The kids enjoyed trick-or-treating. It was classic Halloween weather, gray and a bit chilly. My sister and her fiancé came up with my nephew, and we all walked around together, then jumped in the car and headed to my mom’s neighborhood, where we hit up another block of houses; played outside; had pizza with my parents, my brother, and my husband; and of course, ate candy. (Thanks to MyFitnessPal, I had hardly any candy — i.e., 4 pieces instead of 26.) It blows my mind a little to see my kids and their cousin playing outside the house my siblings and I spent so many years in (from 1990 onward). 🙂
From a frugal standpoint, it was a pretty successful holiday. I spent minimal money on candy, and stayed away from the more expensive chocolate, except for some Kit-Kats. The younger kids wore their Goodwill costumes. I had hoped to pull together something homemade for my oldest, but I ran out of steam, and so he got an Angry Bird costume for $20 at the Spirit store the night before Halloween. For myself, I pulled together some of my own clothes, jewelry, and makeup, plus a witch’s hat we already had, to be the Disco Witch.
I had thought about having a little Halloween party at my house, but decided against it. I also did not buy any more Halloween decorations even though my younger son has begged to buy some pretty much every day since October 1. He wants it all — giant blow-up monsters, cobwebs, smoke, sound effects, a 20-foot tall Pumpkin King that I showed him on Pinterest. That dude LOVES Halloween.
The reason I didn’t have the party, and that I’m selling clothes on eBay, is that last week I spent $315 at the vet on a stray cat that showed up in front of my house. Please don’t ask me why. I felt bad for it. It was stumbling around in front of my house. I didn’t want it to get hit by a car. So I took it to the vet, where I should have asked, point-blank, “What are the odds that this cat is going to survive?” before I opened my wallet. Instead, I ended up paying for all these tests for a cat that wouldn’t eat or drink and that died in my garage the next day. It was a cute little cat (I named her Pumpkin), and I guess I just got sucked into playing the hero. I totally would have kept her if she had lived. But my husband was furious with me, and I didn’t really blame him, so I vowed to make up the $315. I made about $50 for this lot of clothes, so I’ve got $265 to go.
So next week I have to go pick up the cat’s headless body from the vet (they had to test the brain for rabies) and bury it, because I am now the responsible party, and I sure as hell am not spending $80 on cremation.
Meanwhile, my daughter goes around saying things like, “I miss my dead cat Pumpkin.”
On the cooking front, things have been… interesting. The roast beef I made last week turned out to be more of a pot roast, so I didn’t really have drippings for Yorkshire pudding, but I made it anyway just for kicks. Turns out that without drippings, it is a tasteless quiche… I’m going to try the whole thing again soon. I want to get it right. I did make some delicious scalloped potatoes.
This past week, I stepped outside and harvested some lettuce for the salad I served with Monday night’s spaghetti, and for a sandwich the next day. That was a really cool feeling. Doesn’t get fresher than that! Wednesday night, we had a Thanksgiving preview — hot turkey with gravy (lunchmeat turkey), mashed potatoes, and Stovetop stuffing. I also roasted sweet potatoes but didn’t get around to mashing them or eating them — maybe tonight. Lately I have been using this recipe for mashed potatoes that I found in Real Simple. I don’t think I’ll ever use any other recipe. So good. Just a few changes in technique (and some more butter) make a big difference.
Then there was the pumpkin bread.
I was desperate for baked goods, so I whipped up the batter and tossed this in the oven with exactly 40 minutes to spare before I had to pick my son up from school. I knew when I took it out that it was undercooked, but I didn’t realize how undercooked it was til I tried to get it out of the pan. My cousin suggested that maybe the oven is too hot, that the outside cooks too fast. I am going to do some experimenting, since this happens with my banana bread too.
Looks like Thanksgiving will be at my house, so I need to start investigating some recipes for that. (My parents will handle the turkey. I won’t really feel like a grown-up til I make my own turkey, but it ain’t going to be this year.) I’ll have more opportunity for baking success (or disaster) with my oldest son’s birthday, mid-month. The weeks have been flying by with incredible speed. Monday turns into Friday in a blink. The work and routines associated with cooking, staying on budget, getting the kids off to school, and cleaning make the weekdays go quickly. Friday is probably my favorite night, simply because I get to order a pizza. The weekends have been hit or miss, depending on the weather and how much my husband works. Often, I find myself looking forward to Monday and school and routines.
And all the while Christmas creeps closer…