Things Besides Food, and Also Food

I feel like everything I write lately has been about food. So I will try to save the food news for the end of this post.

In saving-money news, we have a refinance in progress that promises to reduce our mortgage payments by quite a bit. This, plus not having to pay for preschool anymore come July, will drastically alter the ol’ monthly budget. We will have to rethink our goals and how much we want to save each month.

In smaller saving-money news, I cut my older son’s hair on Sunday. He didn’t want to go to Great Clips, where we went last time; he wanted me to do it. So I happily obliged. I didn’t do anything drastic — just cleaned up the sides and back and trimmed the top a bit.

When I closed out the February budget, I came in at $878 for groceries (budget=$800), $830 for miscellaneous (budget=$800). Eating out (restaurants, take out, fast food) came in at a whopping $371 (budget=$200), but at least $100 of that came from a restaurant trip where my husband “forgot his wallet.” As I recall, he did that on our first date too. So overall that’s not too bad for February.

In supporting-local-business news, I tried the new eye doctor downtown, instead of going to Lenscrafters at the mall. Had a good experience, and he also switched me to contact lenses that cost less than my previous type.

In fun news, I’m close to booking a house for our Maine vacation. If I wasn’t so terribly indecisive, it would be booked by now. What else we will be doing over the summer, I don’t know yet, besides joining the pool. I looked into a few camps for my older son. There’s a farm camp nearby, but he is too old for it, I realized. He wants to go to football camp. I was also thinking of looking into homeschooling curricula: if I could find something designed for summer, that’s science-oriented, hands-on, outdoorsy, etc., maybe I could just use that to structure the summer for all three of them.

Right now, I need to sign them up for the next round of swimming lessons at the Y (the younger two have graduated from Eels to Polliwogs). My oldest is playing dodgeball at the Y on Monday nights now, and apparently, so am I. This past Monday, they had the parents play vs. the kids nearly the whole time. It was really fun, although I have to stop yelping when I duck and dodge. Embarassing.

The weather yesterday and today has been great — 70s. I was relaxing at the table after dinner last night, listening to the kids play outside, the first time they’ve played outside after dinner in months, probably. It lasted about 3 minutes and then I heard a bloodcurdling scream followed by “I have a SPLINTER!!!!!” End of good times.

OK so back to food. End of last week, I made a pound cake from a mix and threw some yellow squash puree in it. I even iced it and decorated it for St. Patrick’s Day (albeit spelling “Bragh” wrong??). But it came out a little dry, and only about half got eaten. I should have checked it earlier in the oven.

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I was rather demoralized by last week’s beans debacle. Friday night, we ordered Thai food/sushi for us, and the kids had grilled cheese sandwiches and broccoli. Saturday night was pizza, and… so was Sunday. Monday, being Lego Club and dodgeball day, was tough; the kids had hot dogs and organic mac n cheese; I had homemade mac n cheese from the freezer, the last of a batch I made quite a while ago (and it was still good). Last night was chicken piccata with those honey-glazed carrots I love and spinach sautéed with garlic and oil. The kids would not eat the veggies and I didn’t push it. Need to just make some of the veggies plain next time. But it was delicious.

Sunday morning I cranked out one last loaf of pumpkin bread, using up the end of my harvested pumpkin.

I’ve been eating at home for lunch, since my last post… but feeling tempted today. I should just eat the leftover chicken. No idea what to do for dinner… it’s going to be 78 today. Don’t feel like making spaghetti as planned.

In food-gathering news, I gave my Winter Harvest Philadelphia account another try and found that it is now active. Woo hoo! I have through Friday to place an order. So excited.

I did a “conventional” Shop Rite order last Friday to get the things that people here were bitching about not having (grape jelly, saltines, etc.). Then on Monday, I went to Wegmans to try to get meat and produce. I had been meaning to get chicken again from 7th Heaven farm, but never got around to it, so I got the best chicken I could at Wegmans. I also bought clementines (from USA this time), kale (for the guinea pigs, not us, of course), potatoes, onions and garlic. Wegmans does not have as many organic options as Whole Foods, but for produce where you are going to peel the skin, organic isn’t as critical (so I’ve read). All that produce was from the U.S. All in all, I felt like it was a very considered food order. I spent a lot of time looking around and reading labels. I passed on many things (for instance, no apple juice I felt comfortable with).

It’ll be interesting to see what I can get from Winter Harvest that might replace some of this stuff.

Time to wrap this up so I can go enjoy this weather. Seed starting today for sure. Maybe I will try to plant this guy, who’s been sitting on top of my microwave for a while.

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Update, Thursday a.m.: I got news yesterday that I am getting $300 in “missing money” from New Jersey. A while back both my husband and I put our names in the database on missingmoney.com, and we both had hits — his was around $70. The site was featured on ABC News and seems to be legit. Check it out! (Dear family of mine, I already put all your names in, sorry you had no hits.)

Spent yesterday afternoon cleaning up the backyard and seed-starting: Amish paste tomatoes, onions, and broccoli. Even got some compost turned in to one of the raised beds, at 7 pm! Love this weather. Got to do wash today so I can line-dry.

 

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