For the past few weeks, my normal night-owlishness has definitely taken some hits. Don't get me wrong, I am still rarely asleep before midnight. But now that the monsoons are over I am not sleeping until ten, that's for sure.
Just this morning I got up at eight am, which is highly unusual for me. The thing is though, if I want to take advantage of the cool air, this is the time to do it. While I'm no longer in Texas (or Arizona), the weather is in the high eighties and up to ninety plus, and rarely cools down much in the early evening. So, this morning I have already gotten up, opened all the windows, and had my daily outside half an hour in my favorite swing. I've also had breakfast, picked up the house and so on, and here it is earlier than 10 am. Decidedly unlike me the other half of the year, to say the least. And, since I am not going to sleep much earlier than midnight, I'm definitely allowing myself that mid afternoon nap under the fan on days when I am at home!
Meanwhile, in order to keep the house cool (and because we are extraordinarily lazy in the summer when it comes to things like housework) we are grilling as often as possible, as we often do in summer. This means that the queen of the frugal food budget has had to make some adjustments. I've already adjusted up my $200 grocery budget due to dietary requirements and price increases (more about that later) Although the food budget I talked about there, was an average, summer is the one time that it goes up beyond the average the most. I have managed to get lots more in season fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, I have just shunted baking, and most scratch cooking to the side. Many of our menus consist of grilled meats and salads, and store bought breads and rolls along with deli salads. I do still buy loss leader meats in bulk (for those who are wondering, that means
I increase my laziness by cooking the family packs all at once and then freezing the extras or using them in things like salad or chicken breasts and salsa and black beans the next day. Recently, I've also discovered some easy ways to prep the meals even more, like flattening the chicken all at home time, putting marinades in Ziploc bags and then freezing. I love the meals she has here, I'm just wondering if I should flatten the chicken prior to freezing-and since I eat beef, pork and lamb as well, I'm still on the search for more marinades. Like I say, people, lazy summer days. The good side is that my electric and water bills get a slightly small break, because grilled foods, and takeout salads lead to almost no dish washing. At least that's what I tell myself.
Of course, like everyone else, different budget items fluctuate in different seasons. I have yet to see my summer bill that includes air conditioning. So far we are managing to keep it at eighty and have it run for just a few hours each day (generally late afternoon and then a quick bust before bedtime, as this house does not have a great cross breeze)
On the other hand, we are hardly using any lights, lighter clothing means less laundry and virtually no dry cleaning (and that I hang almost everything to dry). We're taking shorter and cooler showers (usually in the evening after the heat and sweat). Because we barbecue and eat salads, the oven and burners get used much less. Colorado many free or almost free events virtually every weekend at this time of year. This weekend one local town has a Summer Fest, downtown Denver has a Cherry Blossom festival, and Coors Beer is sponsoring a River Fest.
And, while travel could be a large summer expense, this year both of my road trips are not being taken during the summer, since I'm heading for southern climes. Traveling out of the summer season will get me cheaper rates and allow for an escape as the weather changes. I do have a few road trips to the north planned as well as a trip to stay with my daughter.
Each season has it's own best advantages (even winter, if it is not too long). Right now, I am loving summer!
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