Diary of a Homemaker’s Week: And July is Done

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Saturday:  Meal for Friday night:  Leftover Lasagna Skillet, 3 Bean Salad, Bread and Butter

Last night we went out to see a play.  Three of our small group had parts in the play and that was meant to be our small group activity this month.  It was really good.  They performed the musical "1776".   It made me want to come home and study American history, Georgia history and family genealogy lines in that same time frame.  None of my relatives were famous nor notable but it's fun to reference the timeline they were living in.

John was off this morning to volunteer at a food and backpack giveaway the church was sponsoring this morning.  I had a leisurely morning alone at home and I loved every minute of it.  I finished watching the final episode of the Great British Bakeoff and then watched the Netflix production of "Persuasion".  It was done in a slightly different manner with a little modern twist here and there but nothing that jarred one's nerves and made you feel you weren't seeing anything at all related to Austen's book.  It was really done quite nicely.

John came in about 1pm.  He was tired but full of talk about his day.  He really does enjoy himself when he's out volunteering and I enjoy hearing him chatter about it all.  It used to be that he felt he could only do such things if I went along but I've resisted hard.  Not because I want my time alone but often because it's one more thing on my plate of things to do.  John is, aside from mowing, far less active about the house and with family than I and I think it's quite all right for him to do this sort of thing on his own.  I get a little rest and alone time.  He gets the social environment he misses. 

I've spent a quiet afternoon doing Bible study, reading blogs and watching videos.  After sundown, I cleaned up the kitchen and have it ready for tomorrow morning.

Meals:  Chicken and Rice (me on my own).  Leftover. Odd I know but it was a bit less than a single serving and was really good.

Baked Beans on Toast (more leftovers, on my own)

Vegetable Pizza

Sunday:  Off to church this morning and then home to prep Sunday dinner.  Katie, children and a guest came to have a meal with us.  Caleb was wound up tight, but he was even more glad than Taylor to be here.  He came in shouting "Papa!"  Then ran to me for a hug and came back three or four times more to hug me again.  

After lunch, he settled down to color at the dining table.  Taylor found an item I'd tucked into the drawer, a sort of diy paper doll set where you can color the clothes and add stickers, etc.  She was happy and Caleb seemed to somehow understand that was for Taylor to play with and he could do other things.  They sat either side of me at the table playing happily.   Caleb wanted me to trace his hand over and over again.  Then he wanted to be my 'bay-be' and crawled into my arms to be rocked and sung to.  He was so loving and so sweet.  I think all he really needed was a nap and to be back into his own routine.

Taylor was chatting happily about going to meet her teacher at open house this week and going back to school.  She apparently lives in a neighborhood where there are plenty of children to play with and was impressed by her neighbor who was going into fourth grade and is 9.  And as always, about an hour after lunch she told her mama, "I'm hungry."  I think what she wants is a treat from the candy jar, but I've learned that the parents all tend to frown upon and sometimes, Grampa and Grandma are slow on the uptake, so they don't speak up as soon as they ought.

Katie and company left to return home, then she and Caleb took Taylor home.

It's been a funny sort of day.  I'm still not sleeping well at all, despite doing all the holistic things I could do to promote sleep.  I'm struggling to just accept that at this it's just another repeat of the same cycle I go through over and over again.  It's seemingly lasting longer than in the past, but then again, perhaps it isn't.  I don't feel very clear headed.

I had a nasty shock over a bill this morning.  I was off in my calculations of what it might be, and I'll have that to deal with over the next month or so.  I'm more than a little angry with myself about that.

One cautionary tale.  It's happened to me twice now.  At the beginning of the year, Katie recommended a certain makeup brand to me.  She suggested I pick it up at Ulta, but we seldom go to that area of Warner Robins.  I opted to order it online.  I clicked on the website, ordered the compact I wanted and waited.  And waited.  

The charge went through on my credit card, and I waited some more. I found contact with the company was difficult.  The website kept showing my item had been shipped.  In looking into it further, I decided that it was lost in shipping, and the company wasn't going to make good on it.     

It took Katie contacting the real company to discover that I'd been had.  They weren't even the real company.  The website was nearly identical to the actual company's website.  It had only very subtle differences. That company was going to take action against the fraudulent one but in the meantime, I was out my cash.  My credit card doesn't have a ready number to dispute things like this.

Well, you'd think I'd learn, wouldn't you?  Obviously, I don't.  Recently I saw an ad for Clark Shoes with a really cute pair of sandals.  I looked at the sandals and thought they'd be a good addition to my wardrobe.  I clicked through the links and ordered.  Again, the website looked legitimate.

I contacted the company to ask when they'd be shipping and got an email back from a man with a private email, Hispanic name and a Chinese company name.  Little alarms went off in my head, but I received a courteous enough reply and was sent a proper tracking of the item.  Indeed, it was coming from China but was clearly in route.  And they did arrive.  

Yes, indeed, I got a pair of shoes, but they are most absolutely NOT Clark shoes.  They look similar to the Clark shoes I was ordering, but they are made of lightweight plastic hollow soles and are most obviously a cheap knock-off of the shoes I thought I was ordering.  

In both cases, I've only been charged exactly the price I was invoiced for.  No more.  In the first instance, I was fully scammed.  In the second...well scammed just the same but I do have a product to show for my money.

So, here's my caution to you all.  I've been ordering online for years but I've always stuck to the companies I'd typically do business with.  I don't know how to tell you to avoid these 'look-alike' companies.  I was fooled twice now.  But be aware that they are out there.  Try to order from reliable sources.  Other's might complain about Amazon but every product I've bought from them has been legitimate and while not making it easy, Amazon does refund money if you aren't satisfied.  

I know not everyone is out to scam you but try to deal with those companies with whom you're very familiar.  If a friend or family member recommends a company to order from, find out when they ordered, how satisfied they were and how long they've been doing business with the group.  Read customer reviews.  Proceed with caution.  

I haven't lost a fortune this year by any means, but I don't like to find myself chumped and losing any money at all and I have been.  

This evening my anxiety amped up to full strength. At the moment my main issue is a concern about another and my head, no doubt due to lack of sleep and unclear thinking, has played out all sorts of scenarios none of which end well.  I'm half sure that the anxiety attack was helped along by the things John watched this evening on tv.  He's moved away from news which is pretty awesome, and he only tunes in a couple of times a day to that.  But he's been watching clips of adventure films with intense moments.  

He's also watched plenty of his favorite big equipment operators and then started watching the launching of ships. It wasn't one of those 'when things go wrong' sorts, but just routine launches.  I found myself getting very anxious as those big ships went off the slip into the water and at that point, I decided that it was just me and I needed to take my medication. I took a dose of the medication I have on hand for such attacks.   I am still on the niacinamide which seems to be helping tremendously but every now and then, I need a little something more.

Meals:  Pancakes, Fried Spam

Gramma's Fried Chicken, Squash Casserole, Beans and Potatoes, Sliced Tomatoes, Mac n cheese (for the kids and for John who doesn't like mac and cheese), Banana Pudding.

Leftover chicken, Squash casserole and Beans and taters for me.  Leftover chicken, mac n cheese and baked beans for John. Followed by a fresh peach.

Monday:  I was sleeping soundly this morning when Katie called me quite early.  She apologized for waking me, and as with all the kids, sounded surprised that I'd still be asleep...sigh.  It wasn't that early nor that late.  But I wish my children could remember that (a) I don't sleep well and (b) the one perk I have now that John is retired is that I can sleep in, something I spent years upon years NOT doing because there was school, my work, or John's that set off alarms that made me rise early, sleep or not the not before.  This privilege to stay in bed beyond 7am is about the only perk I've seen in being 'retired', lol.

Never mind.  The reason for the call dealt with Caleb who had gotten a mosquito bite that made his eye swell. I suggested she give him Benadryl, which she'd been reluctant to give him. Since I could hear him chatting in the background and he was obviously not feeling bad.  I said, "Then I'd take him to nursery."   She was uncertain if they would even accept him.

I spoke with someone who works at a nursery in another area, and when I mentioned some of the strict policies held by the nursery Caleb is attending, she was shocked.  "How do they expect a mom to even work, then?"  I do understand the desire to be accountable and the need to prevent spread of disease, etc., but I've often wondered the same thing.  The bonus for the nursery he attends is that it is part of our church, and we feel that gives him an additional background he might not get elsewhere.   But yes, it does seem they make it hard for a mom to work.

She decided to call ahead and assure that he could go in.  I thought that an excellent idea and as I've heard nothing else from her, I assume they gave her the go ahead.  

My day has been quiet.  I have puttered very slowly about the house.  I've not concentrated on anyone area but just moved from one quiet task to another.  Somehow, things have gotten done but it's not by any means been a hard workday.

The house got picked up.  I went over our checkbook, which I'm trying to do once a week so that I stay on top of where we are in our finances.  I washed a load of dishes and then I cleaned up my homemaking notebook. 

I recovered that with a pretty blue and white patterned fabric.  

I made a simple lunch.  I unloaded the dishes and put them away while I made coffee.  I made a neater copy of my food inventory list...and wondered where I lost my sheet with vegetables and proteins and those tallies.  It was nowhere among the sheets of paper I held in my hand this afternoon.  I did a bit of weeding and walking about the yard.  You, see?  Nothing much to it but yet, things have gotten done.

Meals:  Cheese Raisin Bread toast

Pizza, Sliced Tomato Sandwich   We only had two smaller slices of pizza left this weekend.  Not quite enough for lunch.  John asked for a tomato sandwich, and I thought that sounded good.  And it tasted good!

Chicken Patties, Oven Baked Squash Fries, Salad

Tuesday:  I'm feeling so leisurely this week that you'd think I was on vacation...Which admittedly sounds just lovely.  Won't happen but sounds lovely all the same.

I got up when I heard John setting up our breakfast this morning.  He knew what I meant to have because I'd told him.  I knew he wanted to work on yards today, at least one of them, and so I dragged myself from my bed.  I have been sleeping rather well for the past couple of nights.  I guess my body is determined to make up for the lost sleep of last week.  It is such a luxury to have the time to rest these days and I am grateful for that luxury.

We had our breakfast and then I began tackling the kitchen.  I put away last night's dishes that were handwashed after supper and wiped down counters really well.  I picked up the multiples of pairs of shoes scattered at the back door.  I watered and deadheaded plants.  That was just the kitchen work.  It took me quite a little while to do those things.  I still need to sweep the floor and to sort out my refrigerator to insure I haven't forgotten some item that ought to be cooked or used right away.  I typically do that on Sunday but all I did Sunday was remove the foods I thought we might want for supper on Sunday evening.

I made the Chicken Patties last night for supper and they were good, not a bad way to use leftover cooked chicken.  I felt they were a little bit bland.  All the recipes I've read online included green onion.  I used white onion in them and lemon pepper, but I felt they needed something more.  I told John I'd found myself wishing I had Heinz 57 sauce, something we used to keep on hand and haven't in the past couple of years because it's not available at Aldi.  I think that would have added the right amount of seasoning to the chicken patties.  

I based my idea of how to go about making them off of recipe I'd read years ago for crab/salmon/tuna cakes.  I made sure to finely mince the meat, mixed with breadcrumbs, mayo, egg and onion.   It netted me five decent sized patties.  So, it's not a bad use of cooked chicken at all and gives me an additional recipe for using up cooked chicken meat.  John suggested that sage would be a good addition and he might be quite right.   

While I was puttering about the bathroom this morning, I reached for the bottle of coconut oil, which I'd noted the other day was slippery.  Well, it slipped right through my hands and hit the floor hard, breaking the cap and spilling a goodly portion of the stuff out before I could retrieve it.  This made me rather upset with myself, not because of the accident itself, but because the waste would have been prevented if I'd simply have taken a moment the other day to wipe the bottle down well and remove the slippery oil from the outside.  

I pondered what to decant the oil into then remembered that I had received a pump nozzle with the order.   I dug that out.  Now the bottle is capped once again. I really have little reason to pick up the bottle.  Now ask me if I've gone on and properly wiped that bottle down yet.... Uhm, No.  And yes, I shall get it done right away.  DONE

While I was up just now, I went ahead and sorted out the fridge, too.  I managed to fit some of the chicken broth into the freezer. I still have two containers I can't fit in anywhere but I'm hoping within the next day or so I can get those into the freezer as I free space.

I took out meats to thaw for the next couple of meals, but I've waited so late in the day for this that I feel I really need a plan for supper tonight that doesn't involve either of those meats.   I see in looking over my menu that I've not included a thing that doesn't need to be thawed, sigh.  So, I'm planning afresh for at least this one meal.   

I made myself a lunch of some of the leftovers in the fridge.  John won't eat until he comes back from mowing.  I'll likely have him a cheese sandwich waiting as that will please him, I think.  It's always a nice, cool sandwich.

Now I think I'll tackle this slipcover project I keep putting off.

later:  I've put off the task of doing this slipcover because it is a bit complicated.  Not only am I attempting to make a fitted slipcover for a chair with curves, but I'm also using a striped fabric which presents another whole set of complications.  

I started by trying the fabric over the fabric that the chair is covered in.  Nope.  The stripe fabric is so light and the old upholstery so dark that it simply doesn't work.  Instead, I altered the fitted muslin slipcover I'd made for the chair and then stapled it on so there is a light base underneath the white and grey stripe.

I got this far today.  

I tend to go slowly when I'm working on something like this.  I want it to turn out nice and I know that taking it one step at a time means that I am less likely to find myself making big mistakes.  At this stage, I'd just ripped out one section of seaming and started over again.  I quit for the day at that point though, once I'd fixed the part that was wrong.  

At that point it was late to think of supper.  I had come up with the idea of a one pan meal.  Thankfully that could cook while I picked out seams.  

Now I'm wondering if I'll actually have enough fabric to finish this project.  I still have two full yards and a yard length of half width fabric.  I think I know how I might stretch it out but that too will involve a bit of complications, lol.

Could I just order more fabric?  Well yes and no.  You see it was meant to be a navy and white stripe but it's decidedly not navy, it's a deep charcoal grey.  I'm not mad about the error on the part of the shipping company at all.  I have two chairs that are charcoal grey as well as the two new chairs that are a deep blue grey.  The charcoal and white stripe looks really nice with them all.   But if I order more, would they make the same mistake twice?  Ahhhh there's the rub!  

I'm saving every bit of this fabric as I cut a piece away.  So far, I've had to piece it in places, much as my great-grandmother pieced together the same pattern fabric scraps to form one piece of the pattern she was using.  Because it's a stripe that part of making it work has been easier rather than more difficult, so far.

I've been sitting here for the past two hours looking hard at this project and contemplating how to continue with it.  And that's why I have put off upholstering it for so long after I received the fabric!

Meals: Cereal and Toast, peach for me

John: Cheese Sandwich, Orange juice    Me: V-8, last of the squash casserole, a bit of the cornbread I made the other night for supper.

Beef Smoked Sausage, Cabbage (previously frozen), Pierogi, Pickles   More and more this is my go-to on a night when I can't think what on earth to cook.  It comes together pretty quickly and doesn't require me hanging over the stove.   And just so you know, the other meats I'd taken out were perfectly thawed but a lot more complicated to make at the late hour I finally started our supper cooking.  

Wednesday:  I was dreaming away this morning when my phone rang.  I blearily grabbed it noted the blurry line of numbers, declined to answer and rolled back over only to have it ring again, this time with Katie's face and name.  Caleb's classroom had a virus exposure, and he can't return until to his classroom until Monday.  Hello Wednesday morning!

I wondered briefly what on earth all those working moms were doing with their children this morning.  One of the girls who works with Katie has a child there and she had to stay home with him today.  Of course, we took Caleb.  

He was fine.  He might look like a boy but in his onesie shorts this morning he still has baby fat rolls on his upper legs. I found it such a sweet sight to behold when his back was turned to me.  He colored, he played with cars, he dug about in the children's drawer in the buffet, he played with boxes, he went outdoors, and mimicked River and he was fairly good.  I could tell he was tired and thought it would be easy to get him to lie down.  Think again, Gramma!

I finally ended up holding him and he did go to sleep despite himself.  He slept for nearly an hour and a half. I took a short nap myself, seeing I was held down by that 2-year-old boy.

Our plans for the day were tossed.  Really, we could have done what we planned with Caleb along.  It wouldn't be a hardship at all, but John forgets that Caleb is a great little travel/shopping companion.  He must have remembered at some point today though, because he said to me later this afternoon that tomorrow we'll go for a d-r-i-v-e.

I figure that pretty much wraps up tomorrow.  He'll be happy to have gotten out of the house for a bit but being confined in the car will likely mean he doesn't want to nap at all.   I think Friday I'm going to keep him at his house.

When John went out to mow this afternoon, Caleb was heartbroken that Papa would leave him indoors especially after he himself had given Papa his shoes and hat and anything else he thought he might take with him outdoors.

When John came back indoors, he was covered with dust.  Caleb took one look at him and said "Wow."  He followed John to the bathroom and was loathe to leave him.  We finally decided I'd give Caleb a bath in the tub while John showered which suited the little boy just fine.  He enjoyed his water play in the tub and it took some coaxing to get him to come out before he got chilled to the bone.

I kept trying to pick up, etc., today when he had moved from one activity to another, but it really is an exercise in futility.  This evening just before I put supper on the table, I picked up one last time and shut the toy box lid.  Caleb knows that is a sign he'll soon be leaving.   After supper, he climbed on my lap, and we watched short reels on my phone.  He loves seeing the kitties and babies and puppies.  He was perfectly content until he heard his Mama's knock on the door.

All in all, a decent enough day with him.

After he left, I hurried to blow the dirt and dust off the porches and patio, then did the dishes and floors.  After that I took time to freshen up my pedicure, I'd been dying to get to all day long.  The alarm is set for the morning...and that will end this day.

Meals: Eggs/toast

Hot Dogs, Chips, Peaches

Meatloaf, Corn, Green Beans, Rutabagas for me instead of corn

Thursday:  The smell of freshly baked bread is wafting through the air of the house.  A little bit ago, I was listening to the rain on the roof.  I hurried outside to place the back porch plants on the back steps so they could get much needed watering.  The Boston fern especially appreciates that top dressing of water on its leaves which really refreshes the fern so that it's lovely.  I need to get a spray bottle and mist it daily.  It's always so lovely and green after it's had rainwater.

The day began too early.  I woke at least an hour before the alarm went off and that was set for 6:15. I wanted time to do a few things before Caleb came in.  John wanted to run the errands we'd planned to do yesterday after Caleb arrived.   So, I resisted the urge to sleep just a few minutes more.  I got up and got busy.

By the time Katie brought Caleb in, I had showered, dressed, made the bed, put away laundry I folded yesterday, put away all the dishes from the load I'd run in the dishwasher last night, started breakfast and started prepping supper.  All that before 8am.  I impressed myself.  I didn't drink a hot cup of coffee, but it wasn't quite lukewarm when I finished it.

Caleb had breakfast and happily played with his cars.  He must have all of them out to play with.  No car is ignored.  They get lined up bumper to bumper and they are parked as though they were in a parking lot, and they are run around the floor.   This kept him occupied until John was ready to go.  John rarely is ready to leave home prior to 10:30 any morning, regardless of reminding him of how hot it is this time of year.

We ran errands first.  Banking, picking up stamps (which have risen in cost again).  Then we drove over to Perry.  While we were riding, I looked up to see if there were more than one mower dealer in Perry.  Turned out there were three.  Caleb and I sat in the car while John viewed mowers at two of the sites.  I think he's found the one he wants, and we have prices and are in prayer about how to pay for it.  We can finance short term, or we can use savings.  I'll confess that the cost of the mower makes me very reluctant to use savings.  Even though we are quick to repay ourselves I wouldn't feel comfortable decreasing our savings by that much.  John's considering a half and half solution.  We pay for half, and we finance the other half.  It's all been put to prayer, which is where we start with any major purchase we plan to make.

Am I reluctant for him to buy a mower?  Not at all!  I've had to create a sub-account just for mower repairs these past two years because he's constantly having to buy parts for the mower he has.  It's cost him hours of time in repairs.  I actually asked him to buy a new mower two years ago, but he refused a the time saying he'd go just one more season which has turned into two more seasons.  Either way I'm the one struggling to make the budget work with mower expenses.  If we can at least save him time, then it's worthwhile.

John wanted to take Caleb out to eat.  His idea was a fast-food place and that was fine, but it was packed.  I suggested we go to our usual place, order burgers there and share with Caleb.  We had enough left on our birthday gift card to pay for one more meal.  

John was very nervous about Caleb being with us.  Very anxious he'd make too much noise, cause a scene, bother someone else, make a mess, etc.  Lest you wonder how he managed eating out with five kids, let me assure you that in our time together we ate out exactly three times in a restaurant with the children, and it wasn't all lack of funds.  He would rather buy takeout and take them all to the park to feed them than go into a restaurant with children and that's what we did!  It wasn't until Katie was in high school that he himself suggested going out to lunch with her along.

Caleb was restless.  He'd just been cooped up in a car seat for a bit over an hour and was hot and had had an interrupted nap.  He was thirsty and hungry.  That he was restless wasn't surprising. I could see John tensing up and he began to whisper threats at Caleb, lol.  Here's the deal, once the bread was brought to the table, Caleb tucked in and started eating and was good as gold.  He didn't relinquish his plate until we also were done eating.  

Sweetest moment in my opinion was when we were leaving the restaurant and he said loudly to everyone he passed "BYE!"  He laughed and chatted all the way home.  I knew there was no way he was going to take a nap today and I was right.  He was tired, and I could see the tiredness in that he kept coming to crawl up into my lap and then wanting to play rough after a few minutes.  He got increasingly hard of hearing as the afternoon went on...in other words he stubbornly wanted to do what he wanted to do and refused to stop.  All signs of weariness in that little boy.

Tomorrow, I shall go over to his house to keep him, which will be easier on Katie and easier on Caleb.  He can have his home routine and will actually lie down and sleep in his own room after lunch.  

I picked up the house after he left today.  I made a supper of leftover this and that.  And I've baked Shabat bread for tomorrow night.   John has said he'll vacuum and wash sheets and towels.  I'll try to get the bed made before I leave in the morning if he's up at the time.

I'm calling this week over and done for the diary at this point.  Hope you all have had a wonderful last week of July!

(C) Terri Cheney


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