Friday, August 11, 2023

At the Cottage ~ August 11, 2023

    A little cloud of sorrow hung over my week, as my beloved twelve-year-old cat, Button, died.  Colton got him for me a month after we married, so he was with us right from the start.  He is greatly missed.

    I am very glad to have Ginger following me around the way Button used to.  No, she isn't Button, but her antics amuse and delight me.  She is a good little companion, getting in the middle of everything I do.  I trimmed my mint this week and set some of the clippings in jars in hopes of propagating them.  We'll see how that goes- I think I need younger, more tender cuttings.  Here she is getting a refreshing drink of mint water.

    I also got my last remaining rose bush weeded.  Hopefully I can get that flourishing again.  Ginger thought to help, but she was on the other side of the fence in the garden.  I managed to capture the exact moment that she realized she could no longer fit through the fence like she used to.

    Our A/C went out this week.  It had been making some funny sounds, and finally it quit working.  Colton called my dad, who came over and helped troubleshoot.  He brought a bag of beef for us that he picked up on his way!  And he included some little treats for the boys.  Just pure kindness and generosity. 

    He and Colton were able to figure out the issue but needed a part, which the local A/C repair man didn't have, but he kindly let us borrow a part from his scrap pile to get us by until we could get what we needed (different size).  My dad made some phone calls and arranged for us to be able to get the part wholesale, saving us about $100, and who knows how much by doing it all ourselves.  When we return the borrowed part, I will send cookies as a "thank you".

    I've done a little clothes shopping this week.  I had intended to wait for the Tax Free Weekend, but as I was searching online to see what sales would coincide with it, I saw that one of the children's clothing stores (The Children's Place) was running a good sale, with an extra 25% off when you sign up for their emails.  As a bonus, they were having an early tax-free special for Texas shoppers.  I ended up getting the boys several shirts in their next size up for about $4.50 each.  Shipping was free and I didn't have to fight the crowds!  I also earned some coupons for $10 off my next $20 purchase, so I am very pleased with all of that.  We still plan to go to the brick-and-mortar stores tomorrow, as Colton needs some new clothes and will have to try them on.  I'm hoping it won't be a madhouse, but I expect it will.

    I ventured into town to get some grocery specials.  We usually do our grocery shopping in the next town over, which is thirty minutes away, because our town's grocery store is so expensive.  However, they do run some good sales, so I always check the flyer.  This week, I got a ten pound bag of potatoes for $3, bananas for $0.33/lb, and a pound of ground beef for $0.99 with a coupon.  I may or may not have bought two cartons of Blue Bell ice-cream that were half off.  See?  I do buy convenience foods and treats sometimes ;)  

    Fun fact: We visited the Blue Bell (a Texas company) factory in June with some friends!  I don't have too many pictures without us in them, but here are a few:

A display case in the Blue Bell Museum

Looking out the Museum window at an old ice-cream delivery truck replica

Display case in the ice-cream parlor above the factory

    Photos were not allowed in the actual factory part.  Top secret, you know.  But we did get to see them make the ice-cream and package it from the upstairs observation deck.  The flavor that day was Cookies 'n Cream.  A good time (and ice-cream) was had by all.

    Ice-cream is certainly not part of the gut-healing program I am on right now, so my recent purchases are waiting in the freezer.  Once I finish the program, I am allowed to maintain an 80/20 balance of healthy/not-so-healthy, and boy have I been dreaming of that 20%!  I'm almost there.  This is week 8 out of 13, and I have seen so much improvement.  I had a little setback over a food that didn't agree with me and that reminder of what I used to feel like is enough to keep me from falling off the wagon once the program is over.  I've had a taste of health and energy and I'm not giving that up!  Moderation, Kelsey.  Moderation. 

    I've been saving the supplement bottles from the program since the pills came in glass amber jars.  This week I took the labels off and washed them up.  A tip for getting sticky label residue off is to coat the surface in peanut butter or almond butter and let it sit for a bit before wiping it off.  The oil in the butter is what makes it work, so you might be able to get away with just olive or vegetable oil.

    I think I will store dried herbs in the bigger ones and maybe homemade vanilla in the smaller ones.  What would you store in them?  I'm looking for some ideas.

    I want to show you how big my grocery store lettuce grew in a week's time.  I can't believe it!

    Over the last couple weeks, I have been freezing bananas that get overripe before the boys can eat them.  I flash freeze them on a pan and then put them into a bag in the freezer for smoothies.  Really this goes for any fruit that is past its prime but still good.  The boys love smoothies in the summertime and I feel good about the ingredients and no waste, so it's a win/win/win.  To the blender I add:

    -2 frozen bananas 
    -A few handfuls of frozen fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, or peaches
    -A few generous spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt, for probiotics and creaminess
    -Milk, to cover

    I don't add any sweetener because the bananas are sweet enough.  I also add Amazing Grass green powder if I have it, which has two full servings of vegetables per scoop.  Hidden in the smoothie, the boys can't taste it.  

    I made extra one day and froze it into popsicle molds.  The boys thought this was the best treat ever!

    Hmmm...maybe I should do a cost breakdown and comparison for homemade smoothies for a Grocery Savings post...

    Upstairs in the loft, I started a few craft projects, but didn't get any finished enough for pictures.  I did get some tidying done up there, which will make completing those projects much easier and enjoyable.  I also got caught up on my ironing, finally.

    I did more deep cleaning in my bedroom, too.  I got rid of the clutter piles that had built up, dusted the rest of the furniture, washed the walls and baseboards, and laundered the bedspread.  One good thing about this heat is that my bedspread dried on the line in no time!

    Everything looks and smells so nice and fresh.  My bedroom feels like a restful retreat again.

    This cabinet holds our bedroom blankets and linens: 

    The frame on top holds a sign that my friend hand-lettered for me.  It says:

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave." 

- Martin Luther

    The wooden box was made by Colton's great-grandfather, and the vase belonged to his grandmother.  The vase holds dried baby's breath from a friend's wedding.  The hat, clock, and doily were thrifted.  The vast majority of décor in my home- if not all- has been acquired very inexpensively.

    There are still a few more things I'd like to do in my room, but it is mostly done.  I want to implement the Fly Lady system again, as it worked well for me when I did it before.  Colton starts back at his school nurse job on Tuesday, and John will be starting homeschool in September, so getting a good routine down is going to be crucial for keeping everything running smoothly.  

    I will be taking the week off from blogging as we adjust to our new schedules, but I will be back again on Friday!  I am also going to continue Thrifty Thursday and my Grocery Savings series on Mondays, but they will be on alternating weeks.  I have a few extra posts planned, so this will allow me to squeeze those in, as well.  I do love sharing in this space and appreciate you taking the time to read what I have written.

    I hope you have a wonderful week to come.  Happy homemaking, ladies!


  1. Oh no, I’m so sorry about your cat Button. That is a hard thing to go through as they are so much like family. Twelve years is a long time. I know you’ll miss him.

    How great that your dh and Dad were able to get the ac going again and saved you money on the needed part. It’s so hot right now, ac is a must!

    Great deals on the potatoes and ground beef! I would probably store my homemade spice mixes in the amber jars, those are so nice. The smoothies sound delicious, I like to add powdered greens to ours too. We have the same popsicle molds. 😊

    I love deep cleaning in my bedroom as it makes it feel so much more homey. Your bedroom is beautiful! I hope you have a terrific weekend.

    1. Thank you, Belinda! A clean room feels much more restful without so many "silent to-do lists" looking at me.
      The popsicle molds came from the Walmart clearance section at the end of last summer. Thanks for the idea to get them out and use them!

  2. Sorry about your kitty. :( They become such a part of the family.

    That is a fantastic price on potatoes! They are running $9.49 for a 10 lb bag on my shopping trip last week. (Central Indiana) I skipped them.

    1. Thank you, Wendi.
      That is very expensive for potatoes- I would have skipped them at that price, too.

  3. I'm very sorry about your cat and that you have another who will follow you around. I've found that's helpful after losing a pet because it can feel lonely while I adjust to one being gone. Catching Ginger in her "oh no" moment was adorable!

    Your week was very inspiring and now I want to go give my bedroom a deep clean! I also think I'll pull up our local grocery store sale ads to see what kind of sales they have on loss leader items. We also live remotely so go to a bigger town a little farther away so we can shop at ALDI and Walmart. But it's worth looking at the smaller store's sales just in case.

    1. Thank you, Jenny! A deep cleaned bedroom feels so nice.

      Yes, do check the local ads just in case. Our store is typically very unaffordable, but the sales can be really good. Otherwise, it's worth the cost of gas to drive to the next town. You are blessed to have an ALDI in your area!

  4. I am so sorry about your kitty. We lost our 15 year old cat this summer and she left a hole larger than she ever was. I was recently blessed to have a new cat take up here, one that is spayed and loves small children and is as loving as my old cat. I told John she obviously knew this house wasn't a home without a cat and saw a spot she could fill.

    1. Thank you, Terri. They become such a part of our lives, don't they? So many memories tied to them when you've had them for that long. I'm glad you have a new cat to enjoy. She found a good home.

  5. I am sorry about your cat Kelsey. What an absolutely beautiful photo in the leaves! Animals bring us so much love and joy. I love your cabinet that you keep blankets in! Your bedroom is just lovely! xxx


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