Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Chit Chat


Mmmm... Tabouli!



So here I am at the tail end of my weekend, which has been a good one. For two weeks now I have been working on the weekends: grocery shopping, lesson planning, scheduled get-togethers, etc. This weekend I worked hard to make it that I wouldn't be doing that this weekend.

I kind of have a hard time relaxing when I look around my home and can see when there are things that need to be done or if I know that something is hovering in the background needing my attention. I am not a procrastinator and do much better knowing that my relaxing can be true relaxing and that there is nothing I ought to be doing otherwise.

So, on Friday, I pushed myself to get the menu and grocery planning out of the way before the presidential debate came on at 9:00 p.m. I plan to do the big grocery shopping on Monday. Saturday was going to be my day to finally get to go spend some of my birthday money on a few little treats! My new "Tried and True Meal Chart" (see two posts down) came in handy and I spent some time perusing my new cookbook to pick out a few new meals. I always plan out two weeks worth of meals and the shopping coincides.

Recall that Paul is now home with us for lunch instead of supper, so our bigger meals are then. Here is our lunchtime menu for this week:

Mon. Chick Pea Sensation Patties with Rosemary Polenta Fries and Smoky Avocado Sauce Tues. Mushroom Stroganoff
Wed. Falafels with Cool Cucumber sauce in Pitas

Th. Gimme Chimmis (chimichangas) with Guacamole and Potato Squashers
Fri. Today we'll be attending our once-a-month homeschool skating day from 12 - 2, so we'll have a brunch of Blueberry Carob Pancakes and then take Apples and Peanut Butter in the car for a snack on the ride home.
Sat. Leftovers day
Sun. Family Meal at our home church next door. I'll be bringing Chili and Cornbread

With the menu planning and shopping list out of the way, I was free to enjoy the weekend! So, yesterday I went to Bath and Body Works. I had $20 to spend there as a gift from Paul for my birthday. I know that you can get lotions and bubble baths pretty much anywhere these days, but I have long enjoyed B&BW, but never get anything for myself in there. It's just not usually in the budget and there are other times that I get spending money and have other plans for it. But this year I wanted some pampering things. So I got some bubble bath and some lotion in the Sensual Amber fragrance...





... and some body spray in Velvet Tuberose.


I just got a little sample size of the body spray. That was pretty much it for my gift money and then I got some hand soap in the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin. It doesn't smell very pumpkiny to me, but it's still very autumnal ~ very nice.

Incidentally, though my heart goes out to the many, many families I know who are struggling in this economy (and we are one as well), I do think that those of us who have been practicing voluntary simplicity... or simply maintaining a practice of living within our means, will find the coming days somewhat easier to handle. We have become adept at things like using restraint when making purchases (saying no to ourselves and our children) and stretching our dollars. The other part of my birthday "shopping spree" was picking up two new shirts and a pair of pants for myself at Goodwill and I was thrilled with what I found.


Breakfast in the tent!

The weather here has flipped a switch. Thank you to our northern friends! The drier air has finally arrived and windows and lanai doors are open! We've enjoyed morning bike rides and the girls "camped out" in the back yard last night with neighbor, K. I am so happy to have the windows and doors opened again. Another of our money-saving strategies this summer was to keep our indoor air-conditioning (you pretty much have to use it here in FL to avoid lots of mold and mildew in your house) at 85 degrees F as opposed to our regular 83. I know that we are a lot cooler-natured than most people, but I confess that I find it kind of funny that the energy-saving temp is usually recommended at 78! 83 is quite comfortable for us with our ceiling fans going when we're in the room. But it's surprising what a difference those two degrees can make - and 85 is just pretty darn warm! I, for one, am so happy fall has arrived!

To note, though, we slashed our energy output by one third this year as compared to last! Our higher temps, daily laundry hanging, and careful eyes upon turning off lights and fans when leaving rooms really made a difference.

Finally, I did do one little bit of "work" this weekend, and that was make some Tabouli Salad. I doubled the recipe and shared it with a gal from our church who is a single mom... and who also loves my Tabouli Salad! :) It's fast and easy and so, SO good! I gave her the recipe with her portion and I'll share it with you too:

Tabouli

1 c dry bulgur wheat
1 1/2 c boiling water
1/4 c lemon juice
1 t salt
1 heaping t garlic, chopped
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (or more to taste)
1/2 c fresh mint, chopped (or more to taste)
3 to 5 green onions
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber chopped

Add bulgur to boiling water. Remove from heat and let sit to absorb water for about 15 min.

Meanwhile, blend olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to bowl, including bulgur, when ready and chill and serve!
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