Relax, Refresh, Recharge

Relax. Refresh. Recharge.” | Relax quotes, Sunday quotes relaxing ...

Next month, our department will be down to 3 people to run a 24/7 department.  Since I already gave up my May vacation, due to staffing shortages caused by the pandemic, I knew I needed to take a 4-day weekend to catch my breath and refresh before working some 60+ hour weeks.

I started out my 4-day weekend with getting a haircut.  My hair is now only 1 inch long.  My choice because it will just make life that much simpler for several weeks until it grows out again.

Saturday I went shopping with Mom.  I found some Christmas gifts.  I got almost $130 worth of items for around $20.  Finding bargains like that really refreshes me!  We also went to Joann Fabric and Bath & Body Works.  I found a few more gifts there to save back.  Had a coupon for $10 off a $40 purchase, so it helped stretch my dollars a bit more.

Sunday I was able to attend Sunday school class for the first time since before all of the lock downs started.  It was wonderful to be back in class!  Since we are trying to cut back on how many hands are touching things at church, we no longer have offering time.  Instead, we drop our tithes in a basket on the way in.  During what would have been the offering time, we have time for praise reports, words of encouragement, etc.  I love those times!

Monday, I met a lady from church for lunch.  After that, my daughter came over and we went to Ross and Target.  I found some more gifts at Ross, and also bought a few tops for me.  With the quarantine weight gain, I also needed a larger duster in black lace and one in white lace.  Found them!  And at great prices too!

We came home and I made homemade pizza — a favorite of my daughter’s.  She hasn’t had that since she moved out in January.  We spent the evening talking while she washed her laundry.  (She will be getting her own washer and dryer tomorrow.)  That was a gift from me and my hubby since we didn’t have to pay for a big wedding or reception, due to the pandemic.

I also got much accomplished at home: 

  • did my August menu plan and bought all the needed groceries to complete it,
  • took something to my aunt that I have been wanting to get to her for a couple of weeks, 
  •  cleaned the house,
  • cleaned the blinds,
  • did some organizing in the attic,
  • revamped my freezer inventory,
  • washed my bedding,
  • made laundry soap and fabric softener,
  • got all laundry done,
  • did some bible study,
  • worked out yesterday, and took a walk this morning,
  • and now getting ready to listen to some teaching on you tube before I start supper.

It was a very productive 4 days off, but I still had some time to kick back and relax.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July | Denver Mart Drive In

With the uptick in Covid 19 cases, and many area tightening things a bit, I decided to start Christmas shopping in case we find ourselves in another lockdown situation like we had earlier in the year.

Bath and Body Works were having their semi-annual sale, so I bought several items there.  Today I went to Kohl’s and was able to cross a couple of names off my list.  I bought off the clearance racks, which were already marked down, but got an extra 30% off the markdown price.  I also had a coupon to get an extra 20% off everything.  I saved well over $100 and only spent around $20.  I got really nice things too!

Since our daughter got married this year, and has limited space, instead of giving her lots of packages to open, we are going to do what my parents do.  You get all of your gifts in one medium sized gift bag, along with some cash.

I am drastically cutting back on who we buy for.  It is making my shopping so much easier and budget-friendly too!

If we do end up in lockdown at Christmas, I will deliver the packages and stand at a distance when they come to the door.  

Easy Recipe: Corn on the Cob

Jamie's Sweet and Easy Corn on the Cob Recipe | Allrecipes

This recipe is so easy, and it tastes fabulous!

Put your corn on a baking sheet.  Leave the husks and silk on the cobs.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Let them sit for a bit to cool down slightly.  The husks and silk are MUCH easier to remove than before cooking it!  

Homemade Laundry Soap and Fabric Softener

I have been making homemade laundry soap and fabric softener for years.  It saves SO MUCH MONEY!!!  However, it takes up a lot of space in my laundry room, as you can see below.

 

It required bottles on the floor, smaller bottles in the cabinet for when we are doing laundry, plus the leftover bars of soap.

I found a new recipe for laundry soap that doesn’t require adding all of the water up front, so instead of storing 2 gallons of it, I only need ONE jar!  And to make it even better, this new recipe doesn’t require grating a bar of soap!  So I went from the above clutter to this:

Laundry soap and softener

The above is the new laundry soap (left) and fabric softener (right).

LAUNDRY SOAP:

1-1/2 c. baking soda

1-1/2 c. washing soda

1/2 c. Epsom salt

1/4 c. sea salt

20-25 drops essential oil

To use:  Add 1 heaping T. to washer.

For my new version of fabric softener, I bought these:

fabric softener sheets

They are the texture of sponges, but they are much thinner than an actual sponge.  I had to cut them down in size to make them fit into the jar:

fabric softener cut down

Here is the recipe:

FABRIC SOFTENER:

Old t-shirts, cut into pieces OR other lint-free rags

Place in jar.  Disclaimer:  BE SURE TO USE A GLASS JAR WITH A GLASS LID!  My first jar was a glass jar with a metal-like lid.  The vinegar caused the lid to rust through.

Add white vinegar to saturate them.  (Approximately 3/4 c.)

Add 7-10 drops essential oil.

To use:  Squeeze excess liquid back into the jar.  Toss rag into dryer.  Once dryer is done, put rag back into the jar and tilt jar to wet the rag again.

I used both of these newer versions today on a load of clothing as well as a load of towels.  Everything was very clean and smelled wonderful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Keep a Freezer Inventory

Image result for crammed messy freezer

When your freezer is full, do you ever get a bit overwhelmed when trying to find the meat that you know you have, but can’t find?  I used to do this.  I got fed up and determined there had to be a better way.

Here is an example of how I use my inventory sheet:

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Notice how I only use stroke tallies that are straight up and down, with none going across when I have 5 or more items.  The reason is because when I use an item, I use a sideways stroke to cross through it.

You will notice that I have letters written by my stroke tallies.  That is something I implemented in the last few years to make it even easier for me to find the meat when I needed it.  I have a deep freezer, plus the freezer in my refrigerator.  I came up with these codes to help me:

  • RDF = Right side, deep freezer
  • LDF = Left side, deep freezer
  • UB = Under the basket in my deep freezer
  • KF = Kitchen freezer (top)
  • KFD = Kitchen freezer door
  • KFB = Kitchen freezer, bottom

When I am ready to do my monthly menu planning, I make a copy of my freezer inventory sheet.  Next, I check my current menu plan and cross off any meat that is needed for that month.  Whenever I add a meal to my menu plan, I cross off that item from the inventory sheet.  This way, I know exactly what meats I still have to choose from.

This process makes my life so much less stressful!  I love the thought of not having to come up with a meal every evening.  It’s already planned for me.  Granted, there are times we decide to do something different.  In those times, I circle whatever meal we didn’t use.  When I plan the following month’s meals, I plug in those unused meals for later.

While planning my meals, I also write out my grocery list at the same time.  Within a few days, I go to the store and by all of the items at once so I am set for the month.  

Now that we are empty nesters, I’m finding there are many times I have to circle a meal because we still have plenty of leftovers to eat.  Learning to cook for two is a bit different, but we are slowly figuring out where we need to make changes.

For those of you who may think, “That’s a great idea, but how do I even start menu planning when I live paycheck to paycheck?”  I recommend that you start by seeing what meats are on sale, then plan your menu from there.  Try to cut back on extras for a while, and that will give you more money to put towards your goal of menu planning for a few weeks, and eventually, a whole month.

Thankful List

21 Gratitude Bible Verses: The Power of Giving Thanks

It’s been a while since I’ve done a thankful list — not because I haven’t been thankful.  Rather, I have been busy.  Things are really picking up at the hospital now, so I have been trying to limit computer time when I am home.  During the pandemic, I was getting about 130-150 calls a shift.  Now, I am getting anywhere from 160 to over 200 calls several times a week.  That is exhausting.

For the sake of time, I am only going to list two things today.

My son-in-law got hired full time at a local restaurant just before everything shut down.  Last week he was told that once the forgivable loan program through the federal government ends, he would need to find a new job.  That was very discouraging news for the newlyweds, who have only been married two months.

He applied for a supervisory position at a local business.  He got interviewed, and while they were impressed with him, they chose someone else.  However, they did send his resume’ to their other location in our city.  He got called for an interview there as well.  I was fervently praying, knowing that he had 2 strikes against him:  He was young and had no experience.  However, at 19 years old, he holds a Bachelor’s degree. 

He got the job!!!  We are so thankful for the Lord answering our prayers so quickly on his behalf.  I know he is really looking forward to getting out of the fast food business, as it was not a good fit for him.

Now for thankful item #2.  I am thankful for clean windows!!!  It just soothes my soul to have clean windows.  The weather is perfect today, so I was able to take a walk, then come home and tackle the windows while there was still shade.

My Favorite Seasoning

I have two seasoning blends that we absolutely love to use.  

Amazon.com : 8 Oz. Shoup's Seasoning : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Whenever I make fillets, I pour some Italian salad dressing over the meat, then add Shoup’s to it.  They taste FABULOUS!  I will often add this seasoning mix to casserole dishes to add a bit more flavor.

The other one I use is Spike.

Amazon.com : Spike Seasoning Gaylord Hauser 3 oz Salt : Mixed ...

I add this to salmon patties, hamburgers, grilled chicken, and even baked potatoes.  It is so good!!!

George Floyd and The Gospel

The podcast below addresses the whole issue regarding George Floyd and all of the unrest we are seeing across our nation.  Of all things, this biblical perspective is done by two Christian men, who are BLACK.  Sadly, you won’t hear this biblical message at the most churches.  They don’t want to use the bible to address what we are seeing.  Rather, they prefer to use man’s ways to address something that is completely spiritual in nature.  Please take the time to watch (and share), this very powerful message.  The link to the podcast is below.

Just Thinking Podcast - YouTube

https://thebarpodcast.com/JT/index.php/2020/06/01/george-floyd-and-the-gospel/

My Thankful List

Practicing gratitude': Sharing blessings of recognizing Lord's ...

I have been trying to post thankful lists during this pandemic that are different from the normal things for which we are all thankful.  I have a couple of them from this week.

  1. I am thankful for how the Lord led my conversation with a coworker last week.  I casually mentioned an assignment I got from my publisher and how I had been struggling to come up with something to write from the scriptures they assigned me.   I told her what direction I felt the Lord was leading me to go, and shared a few things I was going to use on the topic assigned.  Suddenly, her eyes welled up with tears.  She said, “I needed to hear that!”  She told me today how she went home and told her mother, “It was like the voice of God was speaking to me through her.”  What a blessing!  I thought it was just a simple conversation, when it took a sudden turn and may make an eternal difference in her life.  How awesome is that!?
  2. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about how I send thinking of you cards near Mother’s Day to those who have lost their moms within the last year.  As I left my office today, I just “happened” to see one of the people who received one of those cards from me this year.  What a blessing it was to see his face light up when he told me how much it meant to him.  He then shared about how hard this Mother’s Day was for him, so it meant so much to know that someone was thinking of him that day.  
  3. I’m thankful the Lord reminded me through these two situations that even when I may think it’s just another ordinary day, He can turn it into something extraordinary!