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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grocery, household and garden shopping plans for February

I bought an orchid plant as a gift to some friends, this upcoming weekend.
We get to enjoy it's beauty in our house, until Sunday.


I am low on brown rice, vegetable oil and vinegar. Plus I will need dairy milk and almond milk for the month. I'm still hoping to find a good deal on avocados. I will pick up more bananas from Trader Joe's. Cash & Carry has 3-lb blocks of frozen spinach on sale this week, and I'd like to pick up  a couple. Otherwise, I think there is nothing else that we really need. But I will stock-up on deals as I find them. And I will buy $2 of treat items from Dollar Tree, like chips and crackers. I am making some almond cookies as a gift, this week. So I will need whole almonds. I will pick those up on Senior Discount day at Fred Meyer.


We are still needing low wattage lightbulbs. It's embarrassing, but the 5-light kitchen fixture has 2 burnt out bulbs. I'll be making a trip to Home Depot in the next week or so, and will pick up light bulbs, then.

Flats for starting seeds indoors. I am down to one flat for indoor seed-starting. The rest of the flats developed cracks over the past few years, thus leak badly (fine for outdoors, not fine for indoors). I will also pick those up at Home Depot, very soon. The seed-starting flats are more likely to motivate me to get to Home Depot than the lightbulb issue.

I make a run to Dollar Tree just once per month, now. I found I was needlessly spending too much by stopping in, on a whenever-basis. So, at Dollar Tree this month, I'll pick up q-tips and cotton make-up removal squares, for one daughter's theater class -- Stage Make-up (yes, she is in class putting on and taking off make-up!). I can also use those q-tips in cleaning the ridges of the refrigerator/freezer gasket. Toothpicks (for cleaning the tiny gap between the stove and counter top), liquid dish detergent (for hand-washing dishes), shampoo for daughters, toothbrushes (Dollar Tree sometimes has containers of 6 toothbrushes, they're soft and wear out in a month, but that's how often we like to replace them), and I'm still looking for a cheap squeegee for window washing. I'll check Dollar Tree and Home Depot.

Yard and Garden

I need some more soil for an area where I will put some of my potted daffodil bulbs. This bed has sunk over the years and we want to bring the level up. We'll also pick up the work on the walkway from the driveway to the back yard (on the side of the house). We've been slowly adding a walkway with pavers. I think this year, we could complete the work. And February is a good month to begin. I can fit about 18 pavers in the trunk, each time I go to Home Depot. This Saturday will be the first HD trip for this new year, if I can rouse one of my kids to come with me.

Also, last week I killed 4 mosquitos in the house! Those of you with snow still on the ground may find that hard to believe. This could prove to be a bad year for us with mosquitos. We have a seasonal creek (AKA a drainage ditch), a small pond and a large pond (AKA "the swamp") on the property. We try to stay on top of the mosquitos with treatment (BT -- it's a safe alternative, for humans that is, to traditional insect killers). I'll pick up some more dunks for the pond and pellets for the stream this month, and get a jump start on the mosquitos for the year.

I am very relieved to not "need" very much, right now. We have some large expenses coming up with work that needs doing on our house. We've been slowly replacing the 40-year old windows throughout our house, with more energy efficient ones. This time, it's the living room windows. We've been putting off replacing this room's windows as they could be among the most expensive window replacement in our home. While we have the money saved, I still hate to see the balances in our accounts drop so much after having some work done. On the up side, new windows will not only be more energy efficient, but they will look beautiful, too. The current ones are double-paned, but the seal has been broken for years, and moisture has leaked between the sheets of glass.

If you will -- keep me in thoughts and prayers, today. I have my follow-up to the follow-up this morning.


  1. Lili - Missed what you have going on with your follow-up follow-up, but will be sending good thoughts your way.

  2. Hope all goes well this morning and your worries will be lifted with good news to your follow ups. Sorry to hear you have been going through this. I will keep you well in my thoughts and prayers.

    Your plans and assessments sound very well thought through. Great, just a long list of TO DOs.


  3. Praying for the peace which passes all understanding. Melissa

  4. You are in my thoughts and prayers today, Lili.

  5. Thanks for the list - gives me a little push to do one of my own : )

    Praying for you.
    Jo Ann

  6. Keep us posted on your follow-up--sending a virtual hug (and prayers, of course).

    I think I need to have you come to my home and q-tip my house!

    I have found that I need to avoid Dollar Tree unless I actually need something there. Too tempting for me, by far!

    We've been having great deals on avocados here--49 cents/avo. Wish I could send our prices to you.

  7. Thank you, all, for your prayers, thoughts, and kind and inspirational words! I can't tell you how much that means to me now, and meant to me this morning when I was beginning to panic. (And I was thinking of the peace that passeth all understanding, while in the waiting room.)

    Everything is stable and no new spots were found! Yay!

    My mom died from breast cancer, so I am always concerned about the possibility. Only God knows for certain what my fate will be. And I do try to just leave it all up to Him. But I am human, and I do worry about my kids. They're adults now, but I was 24 when my mom passed away, and I have felt a huge hole in my life not having her all these years. I don't want the same for my kids. My kids are my biggest motivation to take good care of myself. And I'm sure all of the mothers, here, understand that.

    Now, on to other topics -- who here carries food around in their purse? I suddenly got very hungry while waiting in the waiting room. And I wasn't about to go buy a snack from the coffee kiosk in the lobby. So, I rummaged through my purse and found a small candy cane, and a tiny baggie of almonds! Just the amount of nourishment I needed to get me through the next hour or so!

    I have been ridiculed, for always having something to eat in my purse. But I imagine that I have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, over the course of the last 30 years, by not needing to stop to buy food for myself, or hungry children who accompanied me on errands, all those years! I learned this from both of my grandmothers. Either one of them could be counted on for a snack, if we were out of the house when my appetite roared as a child. One of my grandmothers always had black licorice (as well as crackers and gum) in her purse. I think that could be where I get my love for black licorice!

    Hope everyone is having a good day! And thanks again for prayers, thoughts and words!

    1. Glad to hear the good news. :)

      I can't believe you get ridiculed for carrying food--I know a lot of women who do that, including myself. I'm hypoglycemic and having a snack available is important (I keep some in my storage clipboard at work, as well). What is probably more odd ... when I have a lot of running around to do, I pack a sandwich and carry a lunch in the car with me to avoid drive-throughs. I did that today--PB&J in the car isn't exciting, but it's healthy (except for the jelly ... ) and inexpensive. I don't 'fess up to too many people about doing that, though.

    2. Hi Kris,

      I am more inclined to pack a lunch for errands, if I've got kids with me. PBJ may not sound exciting, but having an extra $5 to spend on other things, by not getting fast food, makes it worth any extra trouble! And I do like peanut butter on bread. So a PBJ is a delicious and quick lunch.

      I had packed a fruit and nut bar to take in the car, today, but I left it on the counter when I went to check for my insurance card. If we have bananas at home, I will always grab one for the road. They're portable, neat to eat, don't require wrapping, you can eat them one-handed while driving, and there's no preparation to taking one with me.

      It is so funny that doing this is kinda seen as abnormal behavior. But it's just practical. And you with hypoglycemia, well, it's not much different than a diabetic carrying insulin with them. very smart, I think!

  8. So glad everything went well with your follow up. I wish I was as organized as you are with shopping... I can't even seem to remember to bring my grocery list to the store with me! :-)

    1. Thanks, Cat.

      Writing it all out is not a result of being organized (because I'm not), but is something I do, in place of being organized. I force myself to write this stuff down, to keep me from forgetting things. It's the method that works for me, a very disorganized, but creative, person.

  9. In what world is having a snack in either the car or the purse abnormal? I always have one in both places. Low blood sugar can lead to a migraine and I will do anything to avoid that.

    I am so happy that your appointment went well. I hope you are able to relax a little now and think about other things.

    Speaking of which, where do you buy three pound boxes of frozen spinach and how do you process that? We eat a lot of spinach and that would be useful for us.

    Also, on Dollar Tree Cleaning products, etc., a friend was telling me that she once found four different amounts of powder in four different Oxyclean equivalent canisters. Meaning several of them were not full. Now she always checks everything before she buys it and still finds discrepancies from time to time. Have you ever found a problem like that?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thanks. Mostly I'm just exhausted now. Easy dinner tonight.

      I get the 3-lb boxes of frozen spinach at Cash & Carry (the restaurant supply). Sam's might have them, so would a business Costco, or maybe even a regular Costco. When we lived in Utah, we had a grocery store which also catered to some of the large families in the area, and would sell some institutional size packages, in addition to the regular, small packages, of many items. Do you have any stores in your area that sell the institutional sized cans of veggies. they would be the ones to look in the freezer section, too. The brand on this spinach is Flav-r-pac.

      As for how to use such a large box, I use the serrated knife to cut each box into 4 chunks, while still frozen, (12-oz each chunk). Sometimes, the water content is a bit high, and I need to leave it to sit on the counter for 10 minutes, until I can cut through. But usually the spinach has a texture that is able to be cut through, with a little muscle put into it.

      Yes, on different amounts in products. I instinctively shake containers, now. I always check liquids, and choose the bottle which is filled to the very top, even with products in regular grocery stores. In a gallon jug of oil, there can be as much as 2 tablespoons difference between the most full and least full. So worth a check. With a powder, in an opaque container, I shake and get a "feel" for the fullest one. I know, I must look possessed when I shop. But, you know, bottom line, if it saves me from both the frustration of a half-empty box, and some money, then it's worth it.

      When I was 19, my summer job was in a frozen foods factory, working the asparagus harvest in Walla Walla, WA. My eyes were opened that summer. Not as much was automated as you'd think. My job was checking boxes of asparagus as they came down the line, pulling the ones which were obviously not full. There were only 2 of us doing this job, and we couldn't possibly check each box, so we pulled only the obvious ones. I'm sure many, many boxes went out with less than the stated package weight. And a few with more, probably. So, I always check, as well as I can. It beats having to return to the store for a refund or exchange.

      But I don't think I notice more of this with Dollar Tree stuff than other stores. What I've found, though with some Dollar Tree cleaning products is they just don't work as well, like the liquid automatic dishwasher detergent. That stuff was horrible for us. But the powder is good. I bought some kitchen and bath cleaner there that wasn't up to what I thought it would be. However, their tub and tile cleaner is great. The soap scum product is okay, although I think Scrubbing Bubbles works better. I have only once bought the oxyclean-type product. So I can't comment on whether or not it had as much content as the rest of the stock.

      If it's an unfamiliar brand, then it is hit or miss on quality. But Dollar Tree also carries a lot of name-brands, and *can* be a really good deal. My guess with the oxyclean-type product is this -- likely the "brand" makes some of its profits on less labor in the factory, resulting in an inconsistent amount in each container. It's wise to check packaging whenever you buy, but also, to take things back to the store that don't meet your expectations. With a Dollar Tree brand product, there might not be a telephone number or website for reliable contact, if you have a complaint, so the store is your only place of recourse. I hate being a complainer, but if the package says it containers 10 oz, then I'm spending my money in good faith that a sealed package really does contain 10 ounces.

      Okay, off my soap box!!

      have a great day, live and learn!

    2. Costco is the place that I can go to that sells in bulk. I have never seen spinach there, but I'll keep looking.

      Sometimes I'm surprised that I'm so naive. Of course, not everything is filled exactly right. Maybe by mistake or maybe not. But I'm going to pay more attention from now on.

  10. I'm so happy all went well for you! I've had my own scare; i'm not a fan.
    I rummaged through my purse today and found the apple i'd stuck in there a few days ago. (No wonder it was so heavy!) I added some apple dip and had a snack! I think this is just what moms do, even if the 'kids' are now adults and living on their own!

  11. The good thing about knowing what you know is that you are very alert to any signs, and will not forget to do your monthly self checks. I feel better worrying sometimes because when I do that, seems the worse never happens, like the worrying is being a warrior against bad energy.


  12. I am glad all went well today. I was not on the computer earlier
    so did not know to pray then. I am glad all is stable. My mom also passed away from breast/lung cancer. know the worry. No weapon formed against you will prosper in the name
    of Jesus. I am glad you had the peace that passes all under standing today. I have always carried Food and water
    in my purse. Today I had a meal bar and fruit and water. I also keep water and food in my trunk and a blanket. Maybe I am too prepared but that's ok. My grand mother always had a red thermos with water and packed a small picnic type lunch when we went any place. We lived in a small town so there was not to many places to that served food.
    You just learned to be prepared. I thought having food in
    your purse was normal.
    Have a blessed night.


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