Goodbye February, Hello March

We had a good month in February, all things considered:

  • Keep grocery spending under $450. We spent $468.21 for food in February. That would have been over budget but our daughter-in-law reimbursed us mid-month for all the snacks and meals we provide the kids (and for gasoline), so we used some of it for . . . more snacks! What was left over was used to pay for haircuts for both Brett and me, Kaipo’s grooming, the purchase a small (reconditioned) printer, and Brett and C’s outing to see the IMAX 3-D version of Antman.
  • Aim for zero food waste. I had to throw out two things in February: a bunch of broccoli that went from green to yellow (and bitter) overnight, and the small remainder of a head of lettuce that I forgot about. Everything else was used and eaten. I’ve vowed to do better next month.
  • Have one full no-spend week. We were going to have a completely no-spend week 2/19 to 2/26, but both my large mixing bowl and large baking pan broke and had to be replaced. And, Amazon had the Stasher mega stand-up bag for over $10 less than it typically costs. We’ve been wanting one to store the dog’s food, so we bought one of those as well. Total spent $61. We otherwise didn’t spend on anything else.
  • Have four no-drive days. Even having the kids with us for a week and driving them all over, we had six no-drive days in February, and only had to fill our gas tank twice.
  • Try one new recipe. I made a beef pot pie for the first time ever, using puffed pastry for the crust (and boy, was puffed pastry hard to find around here!). I made a wonderful, easy beef stew in the slow cooker (my first time for that too), then put it in a baking dish and topped with the crust. It was fabulous! I also made crusty Dutch oven bread for the first time this past month and cannot imagine making bread any other way. It’s been a winner with everyone.
  • Track my meals and calories every day on MyFitnessPal. I did not follow through with this and have decided I’m not going to continue. January was informative, but basically the good habits and portion sizing I learned before appear to be ingrained.
  • Walk 20 miles. The weather is getting better although was still all over the place this past month which made consistent walking difficult, and my recovery also knocked a few days off, but I ended up walking 26+ miles this past month.
  • Visit one natural or historical site in the area. We visited Carnton Plantation on February 3 with our grandson. It was bitterly cold that day (below freezing), too cold to wander and see things outside, but the indoor tour was interesting and informative. Eleven-year-old C was especially fascinated by the bloodstains left on the floors in the upstairs rooms (every room in the house had been utilized as a surgery for wounded Confederate soldiers). He was grossed out though by the lack of any indoor bathrooms. Even though didn’t get to do a weekend hike with the grandkids, Brett and I hiked in Smith Park, on a different trail than the last time, and had a great time and got some good exercise.
On the Black Trail in Smith Park
  • Read two books. I hoped to read at least two book this month but ended up reading four, including rereads of Band of Brothers, Grant, and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. I began rereading Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War the last week of the month as well as Eat, Pray, Love, which I enjoyed the first time around. I’ve put several other books on hold at the library for March.
  • Study ***** every day for at least 10 minutes. I kept up with this every day and am learning and improving. I usually spend between 15-30 minutes a day with the lessons.

We put $41.06 into the change/$1 bill jar last month and the jar is now almost completely full! I was thinking it would take a year to fill the jar, but in another month or so I’m going to have to take it to take it all to the bank and start filling it again. We also received our rebate check from Costco this past month in the amount of $86.09. That amount will go into savings and we’ll use the check next time we shop.

I’m beyond happy that my eye surgeries were successful and I can clearly see distances, read signs, etc. again without glasses – YEAH! Vision in both eyes is again 20/20 except for close work, like reading or working at my laptop, and I almost cried when the doctor said my vision will stay that way for the rest of my life! Going forward, I will only need to buy inexpensive readers versus an expensive pair of prescription glasses every year.

My goals for March are pretty much the same as they were last month:

  • Keep grocery spending under $450. If all goes well, I will have a 20% employee discount from Trader Joe’s to help out.
  • Aim for zero food waste.
  • Have one full no-spend week. 
  • Have four no-drive days. 
  • Try one new recipe. With my daughter-in-law’s help I hope to make katsudon for the first time in March. It’s my favorite Japanese dish, a fried panko-breaded pork cutlet topped with eggs and onion, served over steamed rice.
  • Walk 40 miles. I’m kicking my walking distance back up to 40. I’m not sure whether to count the time I will be on my feet at Trader Joe’s, but during my interview I was told the average distance walked during a work day there is five miles!
  • Visit one natural or historical site in the area. Our big goal this month is to go to Mammoth Caves National Park, located about an hour and a half’s drive away from us. M has a business trip to Mississippi in early March, and then our son will be here from Japan for 10 days over the kids’ spring break, and we’re going to try and fit in this trip.
  • Read four books. I am goaling myself once again with reading four books in March, with at least two of those books I’ve read before.
  • Study ***** every day for 10 minutes. I am enjoying the challenge!

Spring is starting to arrive around here, with trees blossoming or starting to bud out. It honestly can’t come soon enough for me – we had a taste of warmer weather last week and it was so lovely. I’ll be starting at Trader Joe’s next week, and we’re looking forward to our son’s visit and celebrating our grandson’s 12th birthday in March – it should be a fun and busy month!


8 thoughts on “Goodbye February, Hello March

    1. I go in to TJ’s the morning of the 6th for “onboarding:” t-shirts, name tag, and personal boxcutter as well as filling out all the tax forms, etc. I’ll see my schedule as well. Of course, I messed up my back somehow the day before yesterday so efforts now are to get that fixed before I start actually working. It’s always something.

      I am so pleased with the surgery results! Lots of new things to figure out though now that I can see again.


  1. Congratulations on being newly employed. It always looks like TJ employees are enjoying themselves so I hope that is the outcome for you. I wonder if before all these labour shortages you would have been given the opportunity. It’s great to see that employers can see just because we are over 50 we are still useful to have on the payroll


    1. I am excited to get started and see how it goes! I was very surprised when I got the call for a second interview, and even more surprised when I was later offered a position! It’s just two days a week so won’t be overwhelming, and will get me out of the house as well. The money will be the gravy. I met an employee there older than I am and she works five days a week and loves it – she encouraged me to apply for the job so I did!


  2. Glad your surgeries both went well. Having to only use readers sounds like heaven and SO much cheaper. And I’m eager to hear about your TJ’s adventures. (I tweaked my back last week and it took three days to feel somewhat normal again. Take it easy…)

    We keep getting touches of spring and then random storms. We had an ice storm last week but luckily we didn’t lose power. A lot of people around us did! The daffodils I planted last fall are starting to peek up through the soil and now we’re predicted to get another blast of snow this weekend! Blech. It’s clear to see climate change with the random weather we’ve had this winter. I can’t remember daffodils ever coming up in February. I guess it’s good they’re hardy.


    1. My back is still out of sorts – I’m spending lots of time off my feet and praying it gets better before I start next week at TJ’s. I have absolutely NO idea what I did to cause such pain. Brett has been doing everything, including the food shopping. I can stand long enough to cook, thank goodness.

      I am thrilled with the results of the surgery but there’s turned out to be more to it than just picking up some readers (nothing bad though) – just more complicated than I thought. There’s a post coming about all that next week.

      The weather here has been wild – it got up to over 80 degrees here last week (!!), then dropped right back down into the 40s. The week before the trees bloomed and then the blossoms froze, turned brown, and fell off. Crazy stuff. Spring is right around the corner though and that’s when all the really crazy stuff shows up here – Nashville sits right in the middle of the “Dixie hurricane alley” so things could get interesting.


  3. Congratulations on Trader Joe’s! How fun and how fabulous!!! That is my dream retirement job!!!


    1. Well, fingers are crossed that my back gets better before next week – I woke up on Monday with intense lower back pain, couldn’t walk, and it is taking its time getting better although I can now stand long enough to cook dinner. It’s always something though as we age, isn’t it? I am thinking positive though – I really am excited about my job at TJ’s!


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