No Money, No Problems

After wrecking my kitchen with all kinds of homemade madness over the past several days, today was a clean-up day. Sure do wish the dishwasher was working.

Wednesday, I made a chicken alfredo cauliflower “rice” + spinach bake. I guess “bake” is the new cool term for “casserole.” The recipe came from this magazine of one-dish meals I succumbed to while in the checkout line. I liked it, and the kids valiantly tried it, but didn’t like it, and it’s not the kind of thing I would make them eat. I used rotisserie chicken and Wegmans alfredo sauce, but I did make the “rice” myself in the food processor, rather than pick it up premade at Wegmans.

I had leftover casserole for dinner Thursday while the kids had chicken soup.

Friday, I decided to cook, puree, and freeze all the spinach that didn’t make it into the casserole. The Jessica Seinfeld cookbook has a recipe for hiding spinach in brownies.


I also did more prep of the new garden beds. Friday night, we went out to eat and to a (free) fire-safety-week extravaganza at a local station. Lots of fun activities for the kids, and they got popcorn, cotton candy, and juice. Topped off by watching a helicopter land!


Saturday afternoon, after soccer, I started things off by picking and drying some parsley in the oven.


Then it was basil’s turn, picked and turned into pesto. That pesto went into the freezer, while I took out the pesto from July and mixed it with the leftover alfredo sauce for dinner:


I’m not crazy about the sauce on pasta, but on bread it is divine. (That was Sunday’s lunch.) Husband seemed to like it, but kids refused and had just butter and cheese on their  rigs.

After the pesto, I made granola cups, also from the “one-pan” magazine. Here’s something similar. I liked them, but the kids didn’t, even Gemma. I thought for sure she would. Are you seeing a pattern here?  I think in the future I would just make granola and not bother with the cup shapes, and alter it more to our preferences. The sunflower seeds and the wheat component were a little too hard. It called for wheat germ but I’m not even sure that’s what I bought. But overall it was fresh and tasty and I could see us just eating it with milk or yogurt, or maybe I could figure out how to make bars that were nice and chewy.

Throughout all this cooking I was also helping with Halloween decorations:


Aaand I did three loads of laundry and hung one on the line. So nice to be able to just do household stuff without worrying about school. The mini break we had last week was good for that too. I got lots done last Wednesday. Gave cats their flea meds, changed smoke detector batteries, cleaned the guinea pig cage, did ALL the dishes, prepped the casserole, took a walk with our friends, chatted with my next-door neighbor, bought some pumpkins, vacuumed, put clothes away. It was a nice lazy morning and early afternoon, everyone entertained themselves well. I caught Aidan voluntarily reading his book about evolution; Gemma was engrossed in a puzzle for a while; Legos for Sebastian.

Saturday night, thoroughly exhausted, I was happy to just sit around and watch Beetlejuice with the kids. The younger kids are big into “Family Movie Night” now. I think they picked up the phrase from TV. One day they were suddenly all, “When can we have Family Movie Night??” There always has to be popcorn on FMN.

Sunday, Gemma, Sebastian and I went to the farmers’ market in a nearby town. Not much of a selection of veggies, but we did get some more pumpkins, plus cookies and apple cider.

I love this one pumpkin!

They also had some kid activities, like making a sort of lollipop out of apple slices, and planting bulbs, that S & G liked.


Then it was on to travel soccer and a birthday party.

This week is just the usual madness but nothing extra crazy, except that my husband may be going away on business for an extended period but I’m choosing not to think about that right now.

I must confess that we are a little poor right now and need to tighten up accordingly. I haven’t done the budget reckoning for September, and not sure if I did August. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. I’ve put off buying new makeup and getting my hair done. Aidan’s birthday is coming up, as are some dentist appointments, and soon we will need to buy oil. The silver lining is that being low on funds takes lots of decisions off the table, and fewer decisions means less stress for me. All this year I was circling, in my mind, three big purchases: new carpet, new fence (and dog), add a fireplace. Would decide to do one, then the other, then all three. Now I can’t do any of it. Poof, away go all those thoughts.

Sort of the same thing with the garden. If I had the money I might have hired someone to start digging beds out. But knowing that I can’t, I was forced to think about it differently and looked into the whole no-dig method. The extra time to think about the garden has also made me realize that the tree roots from the trees in the back may be more of an issue than I thought.

Travel is also off the table. Not going to Vegas for a friend’s birthday, not going to my cousin’s wedding in Austin in November. One could argue that we shouldn’t have taken one or both of our trips this summer, but they were both wonderful experiences and will sustain me over the winter to come. (I plan to start and then never finish a Shutterfly photo book of the Maine trip.) I’m okay with not going anywhere for a long while. Again, it’s one less thing to think about it. I definitely don’t want to go anywhere while it’s cold and flu season, lest we have a repeat of this. Just going to hang tight til next summer, then it’s Big Sur or Montana or probably another wedding 🙂

But I MUST get the dishwasher fixed. Even if I have to sell plasma.



One response to “No Money, No Problems

  1. How does one sell plasma? 😉 we are tight on money too, the school tax bill was a killer this year and on top of that you know.. life. I love that pumpkin you picked out, it’s gorgeous! We haven’t been to any pumpkin patches yet this year. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow if the weather is nice!

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