Saturday, January 06, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Getting out of Holiday mode

I'm not sure why it has been hard to get back to normal this year.  While Christmas was far from perfect, it was good and there was a lot of sparkle.  So very different than last year when I was numb from Victoria's death in early December.  For some reason, this year I could have kept Christmas going another week or two or three.

However, in this home, once I have decided to take the tree down and pack up the ornaments... it must be done immediately.  There is no (and was no) little at a time here once Christmas 2017 was to be packed away on the designated shelves in the garage... between the dryer and the deep freeze.

Having said that, it has taken all of last week to get back into regular life again.  I didn't get any review reading accomplished so that takes priority this weekend.  It took all week to decide how to put back the hutch, breakfront, etc.  I think my brain is frozen with lows dipping to -17, -16, -12, etc. at night.  Our old battery in the van had to be replaced (gosh have they gone up in price!) but so far the pipes in the house are fine.

I wasn't able to get out for the immediate after Christmas sales.  Partly due to staying inside to get better from the cold but a lot had to do with the frigid temps and being snowed in a couple of days. When I finally did get out, I checked the Christmas clearance section at Meijers and found a few Christmas gift bags and a package of poinsettia "picks" for cupcakes but little else. 

I have a small collection of cupcake liners, picks, etc. to pretty up simple cupcakes.  Mainly because I can't decorate them like my daughter (do you remember the cupcakes she made for her brother's wedding reception?). 

The top shelves of the yellow pantry.

So what about the Christmas stock up?  That was better!  I have a clearance priced turkey and a clearance priced ham in the deep freeze.  They will be available should we have family over for a meal this winter.  There are plenty of packages of cranberries in the freezer, too, for baking through the year.

I replaced a few spices this Christmas due to being sent excellent coupons from Meijers and Kroger. The only spice I paid full price to replace (and the tin was empty) was not on sale at Kroger but the vintage looking tin looks better (than the plastic jar on sale) on the shelf hanging on the wall in my kitchen.  ;)

Much used items in the kitchen cabinet.

I'm trying to keep my kitchen cabinet full of mainly canned goods planned for weekly menus.  Although right now the shelves also hold Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle soup for when I need it.  Nostalgic, I guess.. when I have a cold.  By having five main meals that I'm rotating most of the time, I have room for the basics on kitchen shelves and in the freezer in the refrigerator.

For instance, I made chili last night and used the last of the ingredients needed for it.  Since chili is a winter staple, I need to purchase the canned tomatoes and beans for it again.  I add a can of pinto beans, kidney beans, and black beans to the chili as well as canned tomatoes.

I hope to once again deepen the pantry to have cases available of the most used items in the garage.  We lost a lot of food in the garage with the mice infestation last winter but we certainly learned a lot and we are thankful it happened when we were not depending on the food to survive. 

So far we have not had any mice this winter and I'm fairly sure it is because there is no food there to attract them.  They ate everything from pasta and dry beans to coffee (no wonder they were running around in the garage at night).  When we resupply the shelves, everything will go into containers with lids to be protected.

The food may have drawn them in but they destroyed more than it.  They ate through paper, Christmas gift bags and wrapping paper, wicker, and left a mess that we are still cleaning.  So be sure to take the warnings about storing food where varmits cannot get to it seriously!  I got away with it for about ten years but it only took one infiltration to do the damage.

Which is why, as my daughter says, I prefer my mice in watercolors with pinafores.


lives in the woods said...

I'm like you, in that once I decide to undecorate it must be done in one fell swoop.

I'm glad you found some good sales, I have not ventured out - been busy babysitting my 2 year old granddaughter and preparing for a road trip to go sit beside my mother. She has been in hospice care for a year, has had Alzheimer's for 13 and each time I go I think this will be the last time I see her on earth. And yet, Jesus has not called her home yet.

Mice are the worst! We did have two skunks take up residence in our crawl space years ago. They did not ruin any food but they did ruin our appetites.

Nancy said...

Brenda, if you don't mind me asking...what are the five meals you are rotating? I'm still getting used to cooking for just my husband and me now that our three girls are gone!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Mice in watercolors with pinafores! Yes!That's the way I like them, too...

I couldn't find your recipe blog just now, but I searched your blog and found the Beverly Nye's Chili....I'll have to think this over to make it vegetarian for my son....But today, it's going to be refrigerator soup for us. And some of my sil the baker's wonderful nutty bread. My Mom always served cottage cheese that she had put chives into earlier in the day with this meal. I am so sorry you are having such crazy cold weather. We are too, but your temperatures are lower! Good grief.

Vee said...

Me, too! I despise any critter that makes its way into my house from rodents to bugs. Blick.

I, too, could keep Christmas going. I have decided the tree is staying for weeks yet, but it will be wearing only lights. My battery operated lights are staying and may be out all year. Who cares? I have only myself to please.

This terrible arctic grip has frozen my head, too. I make excuses and stay in for days. Sometimes my daughter comes and makes me leave the house. I am happier after, but have no power, on my own, to move. To add insult to injury, there is now an oil shortage and I am concerned hoping to be able to hold out until a delivery can be made. If it is not one thing, it is another. Always.

Have not even looked for Christmas deals. Did see fruitcake and shortbread cookies on sale. It took willpower, but I left them on the shelf. ☺️

Knowing you as well as I feel that I do, you have many ways to create a cozy winter home. I expect that even now you and the cat are on the sofa. You are reading or listening to some wonderful book and there is tea not far away.

lynneinMN said...

I think this deep freeze is finally coming to an end in has been a LONG one! Absolutely adore that red shelf with the canisters :-).
God Bless you in the New Year! LynneinWI

rebecca said...

I will be taking "Christmas" down on Monday, God willing. As it turned out I'm still nursing a cold/cough that just won't go away. Just when I think I'm improving, the symptoms take a turn and I'm still not up to snuff!

I feel blessed to live with two men (husband and my father) who have put up with very unimaginative meals. Only in the last two days have I felt up to meal planning and shopping. Chili is a mainstay HERE, too. And as I think about it, I, too, rotate about 5 main menus....maybe a few more.

Carol said...

I hate mice! I rarely ever have them in the house and we don't have a garage to use for storage like that. I thankfully keep most of our staple foods in containers to avoid some of the mess and bugs that excess food can bring.