Marching Back to School!

It’s Sunday night, the last day of February. I’m reclined in the recliner, watching Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci. My feet hurt. The kitchen is full of dirty dishes, in a good way. The dishes are from Tommy’s latest baking adventure — homemade cinnamon rolls — and from a marinade I put together for some flank steak, for our dinner tomorrow.

The marinade is just lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and adobo seasoning. I’m hoping it will help the flank steak taste as good as it did when I was young and it was one of my favorite things that my mom cooked.

Searching for Italy is making me want to try my hand at homemade pasta, or better yet, get myself over to Severino’s for some. And some prosciutto and mortadella.

Not much new lately. Still a lot of puzzling and wine. I continue to declutter and occasionally post on Buy Nothing. My pile for Goodwill is large. But an exciting development coming soon: N and F are going back to school two days a week starting the week of March 15! This will be an adjustment for all of us, but I think it will great for them to get out of the house in a relatively safe fashion. Boredom/pandemic weariness or numbness has driven us to some questionable choices lately.

Last Saturday, F was so bored she was lying on her bed crying. I ended up taking her to Old Navy with the promise of definitely buying her something. I hated to answer “I’m bored” with “shopping!” but options were so limited given the weather. (I bought her a few things; cute stuff but at least one piece is already falling apart.)

The next day, Tom took F and N to the Funplex (indoor arcade/rides), in answer to their continued pleas of boredom. I mean… I’m not too worried about this. They wore masks. It’s not any different than me going to the supermarket. But I wasn’t thrilled.

While they were out, I used the quiet time to start seeds: tomatoes, onions and zinnia.

Picking this up a week or so later:

We’ve had a decent amount of takeout lately, especially on the weekends. Mexican from Oasis, Middle Eastern from Norma’s, flatbreads and pizza and bowls from Crust N Fire. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed every bite! Due to a mixup, we got double our takeout order from one place one night. Free food, woo hoo! (A few days later something similar happened with another restaurant that we didn’t even order from. It’s a (tasty) combination of having a common address and the advent of “no contact” delivery.)

But I’ve also cooked a fair amount. One day I roasted Brussel sprouts and tinkered with my leftover chicken soup from the freezer, adding carrots and onions and fresh thyme, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Chicken cutlets, mashed red potatoes. Nothing fancy.

I’ve been trying to have bananas, apples, clementines, applesauce and peach cups always available, plus broccoli and carrots for veggies. I have starting holding other types of food back from the kids. Crackers, granola bars, yogurts — the kind of thing they will tear through if given the chance, in this pandemic. I’m not sure about the psychology of this, but they definitely are eating less and they haven’t found my hiding spot. It’s delightful to open the door to this spot and see all the stuff in there. I think it helps make my grocery order lower — don’t need this, don’t need that, already got it. They are definitely eating more fruit. Every morning before they come downstairs, I put out the snacks for the day in the pantry. The best part is that they haven’t questioned this. They accepted it right away, which makes me think they are glad for some structure.

Saturday the 27th, F and I got pedicures, which was lovely. In the evening my sisters and nephews came over.

So Tommy’s cinnamon buns were AMAZING. I would post the recipe but he gets his recipes from Tik Tok and/or just kind of wings it.

He also made beignets one night. His new baking hobby is a little inconvenient for my push to reduce unhealthy snacking, but there’s no way I would throw water on it. Sometimes I make him freeze extras or give them away.

Hey, my new rug from Hook & Loom came! I forgot about that — that was pretty exciting. I like the feel of it; it’s not that thick but it feels comfy if you sit on it. Smooth, not itchy. It’s “eco-cotton.” It was not cheap ($400+) but it was ethically produced. Now, with the rug in place, I can turn to the couch, curtains, artwork, paint, etc. I have looked at a lot of couches online lately. Bit of an obsession. But, in the interests of frugality and not trashing a usable item, I think I’m going to hang onto the current couch for a while and maybe just get some new back cushions. I washed the slipcover and it looks slightly better than it did. Smells better for sure.

If I did buy a couch… it’d be this one. I think.

Friday the 5th, my friend T and I tried to have a magical reunion of our kittens who are sisters. Said kittens sadly did not seem to recognize each other lol.  Saturday was taken up mostly by traveling to Somers Point for soccer, followed by a quick celebration at my sister-in-law’s for her birthday. Home to more puzzling, and we also started watching Making a Murderer.

Sunday the 7th: felt great in the am. Super sunny, had Wawa coffee waiting for me. Did some chores but took my time. Just a really pleasant morning. Eventually we made our way to my MIL’s house for another brief, small birthday celebration (hers). Again… not great pandemic choices this weekend. We will have to be more circumspect ahead of the kids going back to school. I wouldn’t say that any of our encounters have been particularly high risk. Certain people have recently had Covid, so… I don’t think they can give it to us. Some of the people have been in our “pod” from the beginning. I wore my mask in some of these situations, I kept my distance from people, and I kept these interactions short. But there is definitely laxity creeping in.

Frugal wins:

  • I filled out all the necessary info to get my $210 rebate for my new contacts.
  • I took some time to cancel all the little subscriptions (like, under $10/month) that have crept up on me that we no longer really need. Some of them were pandemic-induced, like the Epic reading app for kids.
  • The Refill Market is coming!
  • I got a $4.53 check from Rakuten.
  • I didn’t actually buy any of the bazillion things I looked at online. Oh wait, I did buy a doormat. I couldn’t resist. Too apropos.
  • I packed my lunch for work… sometimes. Some weeks were better than others but I probably packed it at least 2 days each week.
  • I graduated out of physical therapy, so I won’t have to pay $40-$80 in co-pays every week anymore.
  • Every once in a while I remember that I don’t have any debt. This is for a number of reasons, some good, some bad… but zero debt feels great and I aim to keep it that way.
  • Not frugal, but a positive — I donated to a couple different worthy causes including a family down the street that lost their home to fire.

The past few days were 60-70 degrees. Love it!

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