You can always identify a Pacific Northwesterner by how much we talk about the weather. Especially when that weather is a glorious and brilliant full sun day near eighty degrees on back to back days in March after a ridiculously cold and snowy February. If you’re sick about me talking about the weather so much these past few months, I’m sorry but I can’t help myself when we’re breaking records in both extremes.
The only downside to this extreme weather right now (we’ve broken the record for both warmest day in March period, as well as the warmest overnight low – including April and October). This means they’re already worrying about an early fire season.
While there’s no definite causation between climate change and these specific weather events, we can definitely expect to see more extreme weather going forward. Compared to many parts of the world, the Pacific Northwest is looking to have much lesser natural impacts (though with an expectation of climate refugees), so the extra beautiful weather can come with an undercurrent that isn’t so positive. For this week though, I’m trying just to appreciate the extra sun.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day, so we made corned beef and cabbage and some Irish soda bread like we do every year. It is such a cheap, easy meal and so freaking tasty. Unfortunately, like I feel about Thanksgiving and turkey, my husband really only appreciates this meal once a year. And to be fair, Irish soda bread is too dang tasty to devour it like we did more often than that.
Of course, this is a meal that is easily shared, so we picked up a four and a half pound roast and invited some people over, three of whom were vegetarian or vegan. Our big crock pot had the regular meat meal, and then the smaller one was just the vegetables for them, and my friend made a spiced up seitan for vegetable protein (and then went the extra mile and made a vegan soda bread that was absolutely delicious as well).
When we received a small crock pot as a present from my aunt many years ago, I debated keeping it since we already had a larger one, but we use the two at the same time way more often than I would have expected. We have quite a few friends with different dietary restrictions, so the dual crock pots make it easy to split meal prep and make allergen friendly alternatives without almost any extra effort.
We ended up with eleven adults and eight kids (plus four dogs under foot), including Felicity, Purple and her partner, and a few neighbors, and between all of us we went through all of the food made, including some snacks earlier in the afternoon and a second corned beef brought up by one of the neighbors.
For what we could have easily spent on a meal out for just us, we were able to feed close to twenty people and we had plenty of time to linger and chat, and in a setting where those of us who are hard of hearing don’t have to strain all night long. I enjoy a good meal out as much as the next person, but my favorite meals are the leisurely ones done at home.
2. Thanks to the absolutely fabulous weather this week, I was able to hang dry our laundry outside for the first time since last fall. It might seem a bit silly, but I was thrilled to get to finally pull out our laundry lines again. It really is my favorite chore, hands down. I think perhaps because it is time spent outside in warm weather and it’s both good for the environment and my financial bottom line.
Plus, clothing lasts much longer when it is line dried instead of put through the washing machine, so I can protect the quality of my clothes and extend out my clothing ban just a bit longer.
3. My husband’s truck was made back in 1996, so some of its parts are getting a bit worn after more than twenty years. He had replaced the headlights with LEDs a while ago, but since the covers themselves were pretty opaque with age, the lights still left a lot to be desired. He bought a headlight polishing kit this past week and spent a little bit of time using it to clean up the truck’s headlights.
The kit was less than twenty dollars, but it has made a huge difference in the brightness of the headlights. Not a long amount of time or a lot of effort, but I’m certain it saved a significant amount over taking it to an auto shop to do.
On the flip side, he and I just haven’t gotten around to looking at the charging ports in my car that haven’t worked forever, and I just had my regular mechanic look at them when I had it in for an oil change and ended up paying for the fuse replacements. Not the most expensive fix, but definitely more than had we done it ourselves. We only have so much time and bandwidth for these DIY fixes, and so sometimes it’s just worth paying to have someone get it done.
4. I dropped my car off for said oil change and electrical work on Monday afternoon and then ran to my son’s preschool from there, where my husband met us and drove us home. The next morning we carpooled in to preschool and after he dropped us off we had our every so often routine of coffee/hot chocolate and doughnuts before I drop the kiddo off at preschool.
Those mornings are lovely and slow and we both love them, but I have to be very mindful to make them every so often (versus every preschool day) in order to keep them special. That, and I have to be careful not to backslide into grabbing coffee and a pastry at every possible opportunity because they are definitely a weakness of mine.
After dropping him off for the day, I walked the just short of three miles to to office. And then I walked back up the hill the half hour to the shop to pick up my car in the afternoon. Between the three trips, I saved $8.25 in bus fares, and I got outside for some nice walks and run in the sunshine. I’m all for the bus, but I would rather walk.
5. We spent some time walking around downtown Woodinville on Saturday and ended up in Barnes and Noble to look for a birthday gift. It turned out that we arrived just ten minutes before story time, so we stuck around. They had cookies and read a couple of fun St. Patrick’s Day books, and the kiddo really enjoyed himself.
Story time at libraries is almost always on weekday mornings, so it was awesome to stumble upon one that was at a time we could actually attend. Kudos to Barnes and Noble for having activities that work around the realities of families with two working parents (or families where the working parent wants to be involved in the fun stuff as well).
Instead of the ten minutes I’ve been managing on the elliptical on Fridays, this past week I squeezed in double that. Still not my favorite exercise, but quick and easy and doable in normal clothes. Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, so we spent a ton time outside and walked around quite a bit, so I ended the day north of 20,000 steps without thinking about it. Sunday was another hike through the woods, but also a lot of sitting and chatting, so I didn’t quite hit that 20,000 number on back to back days.
Monday was outside in the sunshine again, this time on a run by myself. Tuesday, as I mentioned above, was a lot of walking around while my car was in the shop, but I came up just short of that 20,000 step number. Wednesday was another run outside and then a walk to dinner with my family. It’s clear that spring is here because my step count has gone up pretty dramatically, especially when I consider the fact that I haven’t had to manufacture any step counts this week by pacing around my house.
Has spring arrived in your neck of the woods? We’re in false spring mode here, so it will likely be back to the rain soon.