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Potpourri

October 17th, 2017 at 03:55 pm

I was hoping to post that yesterday was a no spend day, but then I remembered I went to the chiropractor and paid my copay of $20. Oh, well. It was well worth it for the adjustment.

When we were going to the thrift shops Friday I did find .11 in the parking lot of one of them. I added it to the coin jar.

DH picked a bunch of peppers over the weekend. I'm slowly using them. When the chiropractor asked if the garden is still going, I said yes and told him about the peppers. He said he was jealous because they are over $1 each at the grocery. I'm sure a freeze will be coming soon, but we are still getting tomatoes.

DH has finally agreed that is OK to have meatless meals once in awhile. It not only saves money on groceries, it also is healthier for us. We rarely eat red meat any more, but I think eating mostly vegetables and fruits is far better. I am going to make spaghetti sauce this afternoon using peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and then I grate Parmesan cheese on top of the spaghetti and sauce on our plates.

I wrote a tough email to a friend. She retired years before me and ever since she retired, she has gotten herself involved into caring for a sick person. First it was her mother-in-law. Then a neighbor. Then her husband, and now an aunt on her husband's side. Part of it is she is way too nice, but part of it is she takes over and then other family members don't step up and she then is upset when people don't help. I can see doing it all for the spouse, but now she is living an hour and ten minutes away from home, and has no free time. She is not happy, but doesn't want to hear she is being taken advantage of. Yet I am not alone in thinking this. Her brother and sister have both told her that and she says she believes when it comes her time to need care, someone will make care of her since she has. Knowing what I know about some of her family, I don't think that is going to be the case. Part of my email pointed out all the times she didn't do stuff when she wasn't doing care taking. Her son and his girlfriend had her doing something for them every day even though it was inconvenient. Her church had her babysitting for church services and although we all appreciate loyal folks, she would give up something fun because she had to babysit. Funny how these folks found replacements now that she isn't available. I'm not saying she should have just left them in a lurch every time, but if something special comes up, cancel and go have a little fun. Right now she is miserable because she has no television, no radio, and she told me her data plan on her phone is at 94% so she can't even get news or email because she doesn't want to go over. She is a better person than I am.

I need to call the furnace folks and have them do the annual check for furnace and air conditioning. That won't be cheap, but I learned the hard way years and years ago. I didn't call and we had a problem and of course it was on a weekend. The service call for the annual check is far more reasonable.

The Pile and other Ramblings

October 15th, 2017 at 09:06 pm

I am ashamed to admit there has been a pile of papers sitting on my desk for the past few weeks. A pile that I needed to deal with, but dreaded it.

Today was the day. I decided after I did what I had to do with paying bills, updating the church's Facebook page, etc. that I would deal with the pile. Some of it meant updating spreadsheets. Some of i meant just going through and putting it into different stacks. One stack is for shredding and one stack was for recycling.

But alas, it is history!

I treated myself to cups of tea while I worked on it. It was nippy this morning on the way to church and I told myself I could have a cup of tea to reward myself. I like having my tea in a tea cup with a saucer even if it means i have to hand wash both of them instead of a mug. I think there is just something about having it fancier than a mug. Maybe I watch too many English murder mysteries and see them offer some one a cuppa too often.

Speaking of refreshments, yes, I'm digressing all over the place, I watched a short video of some comedian talking about how we have changed in the past few years when it comes to company. Although he was being funny, there was a lot of truth in that. He said years ago if the doorbell rang, people went to answer the door, invited people in, asked them if they wanted refreshment, and they sat and visited. Now, people either hide from the doorbell, or if they go to the door, it isn't a family affair to greet visitors and rarely do people have refreshment. I'd say there is a lot of truth in that. I always ask people if they want something to drink if they come to visit. But, I've noticed when I visit others, rarely am I asked if I would like something to drink. Remember when people had nice tea sets or coffee pots and coffee cups just for company?

Thou Shalt Not Waste

October 10th, 2017 at 08:33 pm

I think there should be an eleventh commandment: "Thou shalt not waste." I try not to waste anything.

I spent a big part of today working with sage and oregano -- cutting, cleaning, and preparing to dry them for the winter. I still have thyme, rosemary, and basil to do. Fortunately we are having a later frost so I should have plenty of time to get them dried.

DH's bell peppers ares till going strong. I am making a tomato sauce with peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes for spaghetti tonight. I still have a few quarts of tomatoes I canned last fall so I want to use them up. I picked the second to last onion in the garden.

One thing that really bothers me is the waste I see. The other day I made banana bread and I used a spatula to make sure I got all the batter out of the mixing bowl. Have you ever watched some of the cooking shows and they don't scrape the batter and there's a bunch on the bottom? It drives me crazy. Eating at many of the restaurants, there is a lot of waste. We eat at a chain Italian place often and I have asked the server if I can have smaller portions. Since we usually have the same server, he can usually ask the manager if I can do a lunch portion for whatever it is, even if they don't normally have a lunch portion. I don't want to take the food home -- so much of it doesn't taste very good after it has been reheated. It is sad how much food is thrown away at these restaurants. I'd like to beg them to make the portions smaller and charge a little less. It's not about the money so much as it is the waste.

Tomatoes, peppers, and bread...oh my!

October 8th, 2017 at 08:47 pm

It is a sunny Sunday here in Central Illinois. After church we came home and fixed brunch and cleaned up after.

Last night we had a fun night out with another couple at an Italian restaurant that is actually located in a gas station in a small town near here. We were originally going to go to a German restaurant in the same small town, but they apparently have shuttered their establishment. So, the plans changed and we did the Italian instead. We had eaten there before, but our friends hadn't, so it was fun showing them a new place. We had a lovely visit and it was a relaxing evening.

The wife had planted tomatoes this summer and she was bemoaning that they had some on the counter they couldn't eat. I told her if the wanted, I would can them for her. She brought them to church this morning and after brunch I added some to them and canned them. There weren't too many as our plants are all starting to slow down, but we realized 2 quarts, a pint, and 2 half pints. I will take them to them sometime this week so they have canned tomatoes in their pantry.

Yesterday I posted a photo of DH with some of the bell peppers he grew. I used three of them today to make bell pepper soup...used onion, mushroom, celery, and sauted them and then added homemade chicken broth, garlic,lentils, and home canned tomatoes and some macaroni. That's our supper.

We had some overripe bananas so I baked banana bread. While I was going to have the oven on, I decided to make a harvest bread...it is bread made with both whole wheat and white flour and minced onion, poultry seasoning, and celery seed. The recipe doesn't call for it, but I added some sage because I always think of sage as something to eat in the fall during Thanksgiving in dressing. I have a lovely loaf of it cooling to eat with the soup.

I made a quick trip to visit a shut in and took her a small loaf of banana bread and some sweet pickles I had canned earlier this summer. I take her our church bulletin so she can read it. Her son lives with her and they seem to like whatever I take them as far as food. I showed her the photos of our pantry and DH and his peppers. She couldn't get over the huge peppers. She wanted to know what his secret was and I said good fertilizer and keeping them watered.

I finished paying bills and balanced the checkbook this afternoon too. It's nice to see we have money leftover from paying our bills. I try to be careful. We had an unexpected bill this week with the plumber and the spigot, but we had the money to cover it and still have some left so I think we are doing OK.

I'm looking forward to that soup.

Keeping Busy

October 7th, 2017 at 07:54 pm

It seems that DH and I keep pretty busy.

Today we attended an estate sale. Pretty ritzy place and pretty nice stuff. I scored a pair of leather insulated gloves for $2, 4 chair cushions for dining room chairs for $16, and an embroidered hand quilted quilt (queen size) for $30. I have a pair of gloves like these, but I often forget to move them to my dress up coat and wind up in my dress up coat with no gloves. The chair cushions were far nicer than the ones I normally buy and although I didn't need them, I thought they would be nice to have. As for the quilt, again, not a need, but it is lovely and I use the quilts I own.

A put a Facebook post asking if anyone had baby food jars with lids. I guess I never noticed that most baby food doesn't come in glass jars anymore. Well, someone contacted me and had 22 of them and I picked them up. I felt very fortunate to have gotten them. I spent a lot of time trying to get the sticky glue from the labels off. That stuff should be used to glue anything you never want to come apart. Sheesh. But, the jars and lids are clean. I'm going to put candy corn in them, glue a green ribbon along the rim of the lid and have kids glue black construction paper faces on them to look like miniature jack-o-lanterns.

Yesterday we hit the thrift stores and I found a lot of great yarn. There are certain types i like to use when making the hats for the school kids. One place had just put out a bunch of it in colors I thought the kids would like. We bought 9 skeins of yarn for around $18. All of it still had the labels on it, so felt that was a good deal.

I'm getting really tired of the mailing and phone calls from many of the places wanting donations. One is a university that calls about every day. I earned my master's degree from it. I received no financial aid, I paid the money out of our savings for the classes, and had to pay an athletic fee on top of it. I thought that was a rip off...I attended class either one evening a week or twice a week during the summer and drove 45 miles one way to attend...I wasn't planning on taking advantage of the athletics. Well, I guess I"m a cheapskate, but I'm not planning on giving them a donation. I've told them that on the phone before, yet they still keep calling. I have more address labels and calendars than I know what to do with from these organizations that send them. I don't give them money, so I don't know why they keep sending them. I usually save the calendars and give them to a primary teacher. She uses them as rewards for her kids who can recite the calendar months.

Aldi had apples on sale so I bought a bunch and made applesauce and apple juice to add to the pantry. A friend gave me some apple butter she made so I gave her a jar of tomato preserves.

DH's garden is still going strong. He brought in 4 huge bell peppers yesterday. I will be using some of them to make bell pepper soup. I make a large pot and then we eat some and I freeze the rest.

I'm attaching photos of some of the canning I've done so far and my husband with the peppers he brought in.

Hope the weekend is going well for everyone.






What a spendy day

October 3rd, 2017 at 09:53 pm

Today seemed to be a spendy day. Not huge, huge amounts, but here and there.

Our spigot on the house was leaking and has been for awhile. It has gotten pretty bad so DH said we needed to have it replaced. The bad news is it isn't cheap, but the good news is the plumber came out this morning and it is taken care of.

I had a hair cut scheduled for today so I went to that. Fortunately my gal is very reasonable ... under $20. When I looked at my calendar, I hadn't gotten my hair cut for months, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

The other spendy thing was I needed to get the oil changed on my car. I know it is a necessity and it helps keep the car in good working order. I take it to the dealership for a variety of reasons -- they keep my service records, are very helpful and friendly, and I feel safe there. They do a thorough check up on things and make sure the tire pressure is where it should be and unlike some places, they aren't always trying to sell me something. I haven't had the oil changed since May and I wasn't quite there on mileage, but decided I better get it done and not have to worry about it if the weather starts to get bad.

In non spending activities, I finished cleaning the house and wrote two letters and worked on publicity for our church's Christmas bazaar. Supper is going to be leftover pork roast. DH teases me we don't let many leftovers go uneaten and why should we if they aren't spoiled? That is like throwing money away!

Where did last week go?

October 1st, 2017 at 11:43 pm

It seems like this week flew by. Not sure where it went and looking back, I'm not sure what kept me so busy, but I was. I got behind on reading blogs so hopefully I have caught up today. I feel like I miss out on everyone's lives when I get behind.

One thing that kept me busy was planning for a fifth grade to meet the police that they are adopting this year. My friend, the teacher and I worked through this and I scheduled their visit as well as the local newspaper to come out and cover it. I unfortunately had to miss it, but here is the article if you are so inclined to read it:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/south-shores-elementary-fifth-grade-adopts-police-for-year/article_5041b6a4-1d56-5ad3-ac40-cdbb57baf02e.html

I have been busy knitting hats. I took our new pastor to meet the principal of the school. The principal was telling the pastor how much the hats meant to the kids last year. So, this spurred me on to getting more hats made in addition to the other ones I have been working on. In between the hats, I have been crocheting dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I took in 31 of them for the church's bazaar that is coming up.

I also have been working on PR for the upcoming bazaar and learning to do the church's web page. I already update the church's Facebook page.

Wednesday was DH's birthday. I spent a big part of the morning baking a cake from scratch. We went out to a local restaurant that is pricey, but the food is exquisite so we felt it was worth the expense. We don't eat there often so it is a real treat.

I have also canned a few more things to add to the pantry.

One couple called and asked about going to lunch for DH's birthday. We haven't heard from them in over a month. We wound up changing some plans so we could meet with them. One thing that absolutely drives me nuts is the fact they are almost always late. The place where we were going to meet is on the other side of town for us -- it is far closer to them. But, it doesn't matter. They are usually late and this day was no exception. I guess they feel if they call and say they are on their way, that makes it OK. Yet, we have noticed they can get places on time and even early for others. It just hurts that I feel we are being taken for granted. Because this was the only time they could meet with us last week, I gave up seeing the kids and officers meet and I didn't get to attend the knitting group at church. I guess I could have been less flexible, but I know DH wanted to see his friend since the visits are getting fewer and far between.

One of my other friends was talking about the end of the month being tight for them, so we were exchanging ideas on how to try to keep this from happening with the new month. It's kind of fun brainstorming this way. It makes me rethink about some of the things we are doing and realizing I have gotten a little lax on a few ways to save money.

We had a heat spell this week and many of DH's tomatoes ripened. He brought in some yesterday and some bell peppers. I made spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, basil, and oregano from the garden and added mushrooms to the mix. I have one quart and two pints to add to the pantry.

One of our local stores had penny pincher coupons with some of what I call loss leaders. I bought some pasta (especially since i have spaghetti sauce) as well as some other items for the pantry that were far less than regular price. My pantry is getting well stocked.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Canning/freezer tally

September 24th, 2017 at 09:11 pm

I decided to start tallying what I've canned thus far. DH has a small garden and grows mostly tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, and herbs. I've purchased green beans and fruits for jams and jellies. I make far more jams and jellies than I plan to eat since I give them as gifts. But this is the tally so far:

Green beans 28 quarts, 6 pints

Tomatoes 19 quarts, 3 pints

Tomato Juice 4 quarts, 6 pints, 2 half pints

Mixed berry jam 1 pint, 6 half pints

Tomato jam 4 half pints

Apple jelly 2 pints, 4 half pints

Strawberry preserves 6 half pints

Tomato Preserves 1 pint, 10 half pints

Applesauce 4 quarts, 3 pints

Spaghetti Sauce 3 quarts, 3 pints, 1 half pint

Grape Jelly 6 half pints

Apple juice 2 quarts

Sweet pickles 9 pints, 3 half pints

Beef broth 1 quart

If the tomatoes continue to come on, I will probably get a few more quarts. I still need to dry herbs for the winter. But all in all, not a bad total. A friend stopped by and I showed him the pantry and he was amazed. He knew I canned, but I guess he never realized that I actually had more than a jar or two of stuff. He said it must be wonderful to have all this in the pantry and not have to go to the grocery for so many things. In the past I have given him some items as well as his mom. Another friend really likes great tomato chow chow and I usually put up a couple of quarts to give him when the growing season is over and we have lots of green tomatoes.

I have about a half gallon of chopped bell peppers in the freezer as well. I will add to that total as more ripen. I also have a gallon bag of shredded zucchini in the freezer.

I have about a gallon of chicken broth in the freezer too.

I have actually made more jelly than I counted. I have given some away already. One person is very grateful and thanks me and thanks me. One couple wasn't as nice. They gave me a perfunctory thank you and then told me later that their grandkids ate it. It was like it wasn't good enough for them to try. Most are kind and return the jars and rings.

Being Crafty

September 21st, 2017 at 09:08 pm

A friend emailed me that he was a little irritated at his wife. She is very talented when it comes to crafts and sewing, but she has the bad habit of going to the craft/sewing store and buying things because she thinks she's going to do the project. She said she was going this week and he asked why when she had so many things already in her sewing room.

I know the temptation. Every time I go, I want to buy this and that and this because it is fun thinking about doing them and then having a finished project. It doesn't help that this chain also sends out coupons about every day in email. Fortunately this store is across town, so that helps curb the temptation. DH probably wouldn't care, but I care. I don't want to buy a ton of stuff that just sits around. I recently bought two skeins of yarn and some buttons because I crocheted coffee cozies for a class to give our local police department. I sewed the buttons on the cozies. The school's mascot is a star and since police officers used to have a star, I figured this would go along. It was a nice little project and then I used the smaller star buttons and glued them to index cards for the kids to write messages to the officers.

I will admit I have bought some things at the thrift stores lately for some personal projects. I bought some crochet thread that came from France -- really nice stuff -- for 99 cents a skein. I saw a towel pattern on Pinterest I thought I could use. I recently purchased a piece of material for a dollar at another thrift store and used it to make a pillow case for a pillow I have had for a long time. The other case was pretty ratty. And I also have some other crochet thread I bought at rummage sales and thrift stores that I hope to use to crochet some ornaments.

Last summer I bought a pair of pillow cases that were to be embroidered and I worked on them and have them finished. I plan to give them as a Christmas gift. They were still in a sealed package. I was delighted to get them and it was fun working on them.

Our church group is continuing to knit the hats on the looms. So far we have 680 hats made. Our intention is to adopt a couple of schools and give them the hats as well as tissue, wet wipes, and pencils. Fortunately people have donated a lot of yarn so I have used a lot of that besides buying some to fill in. I try not to bring home more yarn, either the donated stuff, or the stuff I buy, than I think I'll use. I did run out of yarn a couple of weeks ago. I use the yarn to work on the hats and then if there is some left I use the remainder to make dish cloths. I'm trying to adhere to the "Use it up" slogan.

As much as I enjoy crafts, I think they can be a hit on the budget if one would let them. I have tried to pick stuff up at rummage sales and thrift stores as much as possible. I did buy the knitting loom, but I think I've made more than a 100 hats on it since I bought it over a year ago. I had the crochet hooks so that wasn't an added expense.

My mom used to crochet and I remember she always had a ton of yarn around the house. Then, in her 60s, she decided she didn't want to crochet, and instead taught herself to quilt. No small feat by any means, but she was very talented when it came to sewing and crafting. I didn't want the yarn so we wound up donating it to the school where i worked. When she died, she had so much material that it was just a shame that she never got to finish all the quilts she had some day hoped to make.

I would prefer to use up everything. I don't know if that is possible, but that is my goal. I don't want a bunch of stuff sitting around. So, my goal is to limit myself to only having the stuff I will actually work on and finish. It sort of saves money because then I'm not as tempted to go out and buy a lot of other things.

Anyway, here is a photo of a completed cozy on a coffee cup. Sorry it is so dark, but I never can get the light to be just right.


Big Houses

September 17th, 2017 at 08:25 pm

Every week our newspaper prints the real estate transfers that happened in our county. I am always surprised to see some of the prices of the houses and wonder who has the money to buy such expensive houses and maintain them.

I know there are some wealthy folks out there. It is just here in our Central Illinois area, we are still struggling with unemployment and underemployment. According to realtor.com the median home selling price is between $77,000 and $85,000. Yet, so many are selling for over $200K. And some of the folks buying them are people I know who I didn't realize had that kind of money. I realize that many of you live where moderately sized houses go for far more. I'm just talking about prices in my area.

Our home is valued at about $130,000. which is pretty decent...it isn't huge, around 1500 square feet, in a nice neighborhood. We paid $94,000 for it over 18 years ago and we have updated things as we had the money to do so.

I just wonder how some of these people have the money to buy a house for over $200K and then I guess I don't think everyone expects to pay it off. That was our goal from the minute we signed the loan for $50,000 on our house. We paid extra every month to get it paid off. And it is paid off. I remember when we were looking at houses, we went through a house that was pretty nice. I asked the realtor why they were selling and his comment was we would be able to figure it out once we got inside. The living room was sparsely furnished, but we thought they were minimalists. The bedroom was clean and neat and had what we would consider normal amount of stuff in it. Same with the kids' rooms. but the family room...two lawn chairs. That was it. He said they bought the house and found out they couldn't afford it.

A few years ago a friend was talking about buying a house and in our discussion she said she didn't have a big down payment. I commented that we had to have 20% down to buy our first house in 1990 and she said they didn't have to put much down at all. I opened my big mouth and said I think there should be a substantial percentage put down so people don't feel free to walk away since that is one of the big problems we had when the real estate market basically crashed....too many people with too much debt and lots of underwater houses.

DH and I are not risk takers. When we bought this, our second house, we had $44K in equity in our other house so we only had to borrow $50K. The loan officer suggested we buy a bigger, more expensive house and we said no, we didn't want to be "house poor" and not be able to make the payments or save up to fix things up. Our initial house payment was far less than most rent and the interest rate then was over 7 percent. We decided this was it. We weren't planning on moving again unless health dictated it. With that in mind, we updated and probably have over improved the house, but it is to our liking. And we don't owe a penny on the house or the updates.

One of our friends has a big house. They are constantly getting loans from the equity to do things. That scares me...I wouldn't want to put our house in jeopardy to do things like vacations or buy a car. And this person complains any time something has to be done...I just comment and say big house means big bills for heating, cooling, fixing, taxes, insurance, etc.

DH and I admire those big houses. But I'm awfully glad to have a smaller one that we don't owe anything on.

Nothing exciting to report

September 6th, 2017 at 06:47 pm

Not too much new going on here which is just fine. I guess I'm not one that has to have lots going on. I just read Patient Saver's blog about feeling retired and finding plenty to do. I responded I never can understand those folks who would say they never would know what to do if they retired. I find plenty to do. I just finished a two day house cleaning. My last hardwood floor is drying as I type. There's something about appreciating what you have when you take care of things.

I've read over 76 books so far this year. Most are fiction. One or two were money non fiction books, but so many say the same thing. A couple of months ago I mentioned that the library keeps a running tally of how much using the library has saved us since last March. My tally so far is $1327.20. That doesn't count the multitude of books DH checks out on his card. I'll have to ask him what his total is. We certainly get our money's worth out of the library use.

My church group has over 665 hats knitted so far. We will meet and vote next week on how we are going to disburse them. I'm going to go to a state site and look up poverty rates for the local schools to aid in our decision.

With the leftover yarn from the hats I've knitted, I've been making dish cloths. I have given quite a few of them away and now I'm saving them to donate to the church Christmas bazaar. I've seen them at local thrift stores for sale for between $1.39 to $1.50. Mine are a little larger, but I think we should put $1 on them since most of the yarn was left over and my work doesn't count.

I haven't counted how much I've canned yet. I need to do that so I can keep track of what we have. But we have green beans, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, tomato jam, sweet pickles, apple jelly, mixed fruit jelly, and grape jelly.

My next goal is to continue the decluttering project I've been working on this summer. I have a few boxes packed already. There are some other items I know I want to box up. I have been saving newspaper so I can wrap the stuff in it so it doesn't break.

One of our grocery stores puts out a monthly "Penny Pincher" coupon book. Most months there isn't much in there. This month they had sugar on sale even cheaper than Aldi. Since I bake a lot for the church bazaar, I thought I could buy the limit of 2 of them for this. There were a few more items we could use so we made a trip of it since we were on that side of town. I told a friend I feel like between canning and finding some of these bargains, I'm preparing for winter. My folks grew up in the Depression and when fall came, my mom and dad always bought stuff on sale and stock piled it in case we would have bad weather and couldn't get out. A couple of friends of mine basically shop each day or every other day so they think I'm weird. Maybe so, but there's something reassuring seeing some of this stuff in case we need it. Plus, I try to get stuff on sale.

Prayers for those who were effected by Harvey and those who will be hit by Irma.

80

August 31st, 2017 at 03:03 pm

Eighty. That's how many tomatoes are now resting on our kitchen counter. That doesn't include the cherry tomatoes that are sitting in the colander. Eighty glorious round orbs just waiting for me to do something with them. I see canning in my future. We did have 84, but we had four of them sliced with our supper last night.

A friend came over the other day and I was showing him our pantry of canned goods and his comment was we didn't need to go to the grocery store. Not sure about that, but with tomatoes, green beans, jam, jelly, and broth canned, we do have a nice selection. DH has a bunch of bell peppers coming on and I will chop and freeze many for the freezer so we will have that.

I'm sorry it got too warm for lettuce. We had the last of that a couple of weeks ago, but it was sure nice while it lasted.

I think I hear those tomatoes calling....

It's exciting at first...

August 30th, 2017 at 02:48 pm

Do you ever notice how exciting it is to plan for updating a room and what a pain in the patootie it actually is?

Last winter we decided to update the vanity and medicine cabinet in the master bath. Now, don't get all excited. This is barely bigger than a closet, but it has a vanity, stool, and small shower. Adequate, but small.

Very little has been done to this bathroom for over 15 years so the new stuff with a new vanity top, new faucet and then I decided to go all out and get new towel bar and toilet paper holder and shower curtain rod was very enticing. And while I was at it, a new light fixture and new exhaust fan with a light. We bought the house 18 years ago so I don't know how old the current exhaust fan is and it doesn't have a light.

So, we ordered the vanity and medicine cabinet and had an Amish woodworker make it. It is lovely. It is oak, solid, and in Mission style.

We picked these items up in May and have been storing them ever since so I could make sure we had the money to pay to have them installed.

Five weeks ago I called for an estimate. We talked to the person and and we were put on the list. I guess the business has been slammed so they finally came out yesterday to install. But, the plumber and carpenter couldn't put in the new light or exhaust fan. So, we had to wait until another day for the electrician.

I've noticed that the times they give you are merely suggestions. Yesterday the guys got here around 8:40 and they said between 8 and 8:30. Today, the electrician was supposed to start at 8 so we hustled to get out of bed and cleaned up and dressed before he arrived. It was almost 8:30 by the time he got here.

I'm looking forward to having an updated bathroom. And, I'm sure I'll think it is all worth it once it is finished. But, waiting around while they work just isn't a lot of fun.

One Upmanship

August 27th, 2017 at 07:22 pm

Some folks just love to be in competition.

We recently went out to eat with this couple. I knew what was coming when he asked when our next trip was going to be. He didn't really want to know about us, he just wanted to open up the subject so he could brag about their next trip.

We aren't in competition. We do things because we want to do them and hopefully because they bring us pleasure. It isn't about bragging about them beforehand or afterwards. It is the experience we savor.

As you may know, we just returned from a lovely trip to Branson. We had a nice time. It was long enough to be refreshing, but short enough we were still home in a few days so the garden didn't suffer. We enjoyed the shows, meeting new people on the bus, and we felt it fit our budget.

We save for our trips so even if I put something on the credit card to pay for it, we have the money in our vacation account and we take it out and pay for the trip.

Not so with our friends. Between credit cards, personal loans, and home equity loans, they "finance" their trips. They have told us they are still paying for a major family vacation from three years ago. They will be leaving soon for another big ten day vacation and after that will be going on another vacation. I'm glad for them; they are better travelers than we and have been to more places, both in the U.S. and out of it. I'm not trying to be in competition with them.

We bought a new car last spring. It was a planned purchase. We put down a large downpayment and did finance a small amount because our credit scores have taken a hit since we had no outstanding debt. This person was almost grouchy when he learned about our new car. We didn't buy it to impress. In fact, it is just a newer model of the car we have that is now our second car. We bought it because we wanted it and we take pleasure in driving it.

I guess I'm not a very competitive person. I am not into bragging rights and such. I get it as far as contests and sports. But in real life. what a waste of time and energy. No one lives the same way.

Are we alone or are there people in your life who are always in the one upmandship mode?

Article on Finance -- Harder to become rich?

August 24th, 2017 at 08:05 pm

In our newspaper this week in the business section was an article stating that people are finding it harder to become rich.

One thing that bothers me about an article like this is they don't define what "rich" is. If it means being a multi-millionaire, or someone who had a decent savings and retirement.

I read it and grumbled to DH. Most of the people we know would agree with this article. The article basically said most folks don't have any savings, little retirement, and carry a large credit card debt. I wanted to say this is old news.

Anyway, I don't know what rich is. I'm sure to someone who is making minimum wage, I'm rich. We own our home, we have savings, we have retirement, and the only thing we have besides our monthly bills that we owe on is our newer vehicle which we financed so our credit scores would quit plummeting. We could pay it off right now.

One of the ladies I worked with commented that she couldn't afford to save. Yet, she was going out and partying, bought lots of new clothes and shoes, and when she decided to get married, had the big church wedding and fancy reception. The reception was a sit down meal at a pretty nice place. She had, in fact, invited more people than she had places to seat them. She was complaining to me that one paycheck a month was going to student loan debt. She wanted to know when I paid mine off. I told her I didn't have them because between scholarships and working before college and all during college and doing without a lot of things, I graduated debt free. My parents didn't have the money to send me to college. So, I did the best I could. She admitted she used her student loans for stuff over and above her degree.

Barely a year later she is already filing for divorce. She had been living in a condo her parents owned before she married because she couldn't afford rent. She married a guy and they immediately bought a big house. I imagine things will get hairy as they work out the divorce settlement.

So, on the surface she probably looks OK, with a newer car, nice clothes, and having fun. But I bet she doesn't have squat as far as savings. So, is it harder to become rich? For her, she would say yes, but I think for a lot of people like her, it is her own fault. It is different if someone is underemployed and can't find something else or has a horrible accident or illness. I'm talking generally that so many people don't want to do without and must have instant gratification and get stuff without saving up. As for retirement and regular savings, well they claim they can't afford it, even some who would have matching funds for 401K.

So, what do you say, is it harder to become rich?

Back from Branson

August 20th, 2017 at 08:23 pm

A couple of months ago, DH and I saw a flyer from a local travel company for a short trip to Branson, Missouri. It seemed like a good deal with six shows and some the meals being picked up as well as the hotel and the bus. We had the money saved in our vacation fund. We view bus trips like this -- it is like a buffet -- it may not exactly be what we want, but we do get to meet different people and try different things.

It turned out to be a pretty neat trip overall. We received the schedule a few days before and other than lunch on Monday and lunch on Thursday when we returned, all the other meals were either picked up or it was a free hot breakfast at the hotel. On our way, we stopped at a Sirloin Stockade for lunch. She had called ahead and they offered a deal -- $10 for the lunch buffet which included the buffet, drink, tax, and tip. The menu said the buffet alone before tax was $8.99 so we felt that was a pretty good deal. We have never eaten at one, but felt it had some nutritious and tasty items. On the way home we stopped at an area that had a McDonalds and Arby's side by side and we went to Arby's for two reasons -- we like their food better and they give a senior discount.

We actually saw 7 shows. The show Monday night was a talented couple playing at the restaurant. The other shows were diverse -- one was singing and dancing in lovely costumes with music by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and another was a Creedence Clearwater Revival group. We left the hotel at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and didn't return until after 10 p.m. Busy days, but fun ones.

We owe no money. We did shop a bit. DH bought a belt at a leather shop to replace one he has that is worn out. I bought a couple of gifts for people. One was a jar of jam -- what do you get a 94 year old besides food? I also bought post cards to send to the ladies I write each week and wrote those out and mailed them. But, the trip was paid for with savings and we took some spending money with us, so we didn't charge anything. Other than the two before mentioned meals, we wouldn't have had to spend anything.

I will say, and I know that part of the price was for tourists, but as expensive as jam is, those jars I have been making and canning are worth far more than I ever thought! Yikes!

We had a nice time, it was a great get away and what even added to the enjoyment was it was the first week of school here -- I always wanted to travel when we were in school so that was an added benefit. That was the reason we went to Tybee Island in January last year -- we went because it wasn't as busy and we couldn't when I taught. Same thing with the Branson trip -- there were plenty of things to do and see, but it wasn't so overly crowded that it was a hassle.

Catching Up

August 11th, 2017 at 03:18 pm

Yesterday was our meeting for our knitting group at church. I had to chuckle over the ladies because they counted the ones that were brought and it made for a total of 597 hats. Well, they wanted to know who could finish a hat before time was up for the day and said we have to have 600 before we leave. Too funny. One lady said she just had to put a pom pom on hers and another two said they had to do a little more. Not all of our members were there, but when two came in, they had a few more hats and when all was said and done, out total was 605 hats by the end of the time. That's a lot of knitted hats. That doesn't include the scarves that people have made nor the preemie hats. The preemie hats are donated to NICUs at local hospitals and to a group that helps women who are pregnant. We are small, but I think we are mighty.

An added benefit was one of the ladies brought in some produce. She had cucumbers and bell peppers. She asked if anyone could use any and some people said yes. But, when it was all said and done, hardly anyone took the cucumbers. She asked me if I could use them and I said yes. I see sweet pickles in my future.

A couple of years ago we went to a Bed And Breakfast in the Amana Colonies and part of the breakfast was Mango Juice. DH can't have orange juice since the acid really bothers him, so he tried the Mango juice. And he was smitten. Whenever Aldi has mangoes on sale, I buy them and let them sit on the counter to ripen. Actually, I prefer them overripe because they are juicier that way. I made DH a quart of it and he has been enjoying it. I looked up on the Internet on how to make it and it really isn't hard. I don't have a juicer or anything, so I do it by hand. I guess if I were making gallons it would be an issue, but it isn't. And it's a nice treat for DH. I make apple juice for him too. I refuse to purchase apple juice that has had apples grown in China. After reading some of the conditions of the growing of apple trees and other fruits and vegetables, I choose not to go there.

DH's tomato crop has been good one. We have been eating lots of fresh tomatoes and I have been canning some. I believe that is also in my future...some more canning. I don't mind and they are sure nice to have in the winter. I spoiled myself and made tomato juice the other day. Last year we didn't have quite enough for me to do that and felt I needed to can just the tomatoes. But, since DH planted more plants we have extra and I'm making myself some juice. Funny as I type this there is an ad for V8 on the bottom of the screen. I also intend to make spaghetti sauce since we have onions, bell peppers, garlic, and basil.

The other day a friend brought over some turkey he had smoked and 4 ears of sweet corn he had gotten from someone. We had over three meals off of that turkey. We don't have a smoker so it was a real treat. We are so blessed to live in a country where so many fresh foods are available, aren't we?

Dignity and respect are history

August 10th, 2017 at 06:40 pm

So many of you wrote so many lovely comments about my last post about my friend, Barb and her love for cornbread.

We attended her memorial service yesterday. The service itself was quite nice. But, what happened at the end was not, in my opinion.

The pastor ended the service and thanked us all of attending. She was the wife of Barb's nephew and the family stood up to walk out so they could greet us. One of the workers at the funeral home immediately ran to the front before they could leave, said this concludes the service for Barb, and we will dismiss the family and then dismiss you. If he had left it at that, I would have been fine, but what came next...he said the family of Barb ____ was served by (insert the name of the funeral home) and we will be happy to serve you in your time of need.

Really?!?

What happened to respect for the deceased and the family? So anything goes when it comes to self promotion? I posted this on my Facebook feed and some friends said this has happened at other funeral homes as well.

I would say that dignity and respect are history as commercialism has taken hold. So very sad.

Cornbread

August 7th, 2017 at 05:50 pm

It is interesting how food plays an important part of our lives. Take for example our friend, Barb. Barb was a former neighbor. DH knew her years before I did since she would frequent the bookmobile he worked on. Anyway, after she was widowed, I would invite her to Thanksgiving. For a number of years she didn't attend, but made other plans with friends because she had no local family. Then she started accepting our invites. She admitted a few years ago the reason she came (besides the company) was my cornbread. She said the turkey, potatoes, and green beans were fine, but it was the homemade cornbread she liked the best. Barb died this weekend. She was 88 and when she came for dinner on Memorial Day, she was telling us how she couldn't believe she had lived that long. She gave up smoking over twenty years ago and it probably helped quite a bit. But she also went and exercised some. She kept social and kept her mind alert. And other than some arthritis, she got was slower, but still got around and did things. I just chuckle over the comment about the cornbread.

Well, I posted a photo of her on Facebook (see below) with my husband at a Thanksgiving meal. One of the guys from church commented on it and of all the food on the table, the thing he commented on was the cornbread. He wanted to know if I made it and was it Jiffy or homemade. I told him it was homemade, baked in a cast iron skillet. We discussed this at some point and then I made the offer to teach him some Sunday afternoon when he isn't golfing.

All of this just because of cornbread. Too funny.

Frugal Kitchen

August 3rd, 2017 at 03:31 pm

I cannot count the number of Frugal Chef parties I have been invited to in the past 20 years. Because people know I cook, they think I'm just overjoyed to be invited and expect me to buy tons and tons of stuff. Boy, are they ever wrong.

One look at my kitchen would tell them otherwise.

I have a few of my grandmother's things like some Pyrex and pots and pans. I have a couple of my mother's items as well.

Most of the things in my kitchen have been purchased second hand. I have quite a few Pyrex dishes in different sizes and shapes that I use constantly. Vintage stuff. Not made in China. I enjoy using it, and feel I am not only cooking more safely in stuff that is tried and true than the stuff that might have problems down the road. Plus, in my small way, I am recycling.

I have 5 Crockpots. They are all different sizes. Two are about ten years old or older. One is 3. My newest two were purchased at thrift stores. They were clean and work perfectly.

Don't get me wrong, I do buy some new things, but why spend big bucks if I can save some money and buy used? We went to an estate sale a couple of weeks ago and found a set of stainless flatware. It was vintage. The nice thing about vintage stuff is it has a bunch of the extra pieces. We paid $16 for the whole set. It wasn't my first choice in pattern, but hey, for $16 I have an extra set. I have a set I bought over 30 years ago and some of the pieces are missing. Not sure where they went to -- maybe the same hiding place as socks -- and we did buy a new set about five years ago, but there wasn't enough to get through without hand washing some stuff in between. I don't like to run the dishwasher unless it is totally full. I could hand wash stuff, and I did on occasion, but having the extra stuff is helpful and it even had pickle forks. I like pickles with my lunch so that was an added benefit.

Anyway, I was perusing Facebook and there is a site talking about saving money by buying used kitchen stuff. Guess I'm finally chic! Anyway, here is the URL for the story:

http://rootsy.org/low-cost-kitchen/

The tomatoes are coming on. Yay! DH also has bell peppers, onions, and herbs. I made a fantastic marinara sauce to serve over spaghetti the other night by cooking down some tomatoes with bell pepper, onion, mushroom, basil, and oregano, and adding some shredded Parmesan. I paired it with a small lettuce salad (lettuce, tomato, pepper, onion) for a delightful meatless meal. I thought DH would be upset over the lack of meat, but he wasn't and said it was delicious. I had purchased the pasta on sale, so I figured besides using up some of the fresh stuff we had, I made an economical meal. Oh yeah, served on some of the plates we bought second hand.

I am amused

August 2nd, 2017 at 02:59 pm

Yesterday i was catching up with someone and learned something I find amusing.

Years ago I became friends with an older lady at church. She was always careful with her money. We did things together. When I went to college we kept in touch. When I returned home, we would do things together. One summer we attended plays at the local university.

A few years ago she became unable to take care of herself and her meds so she entered a nursing home. I visited her each week and would bring her things that she would say she missed. I knew she and her late husband had worked and she said they had invested in savings bonds, but she was always very careful with her money. I took her out once (I had to get permission) and we went shopping and she said she wasn't sure she had the money to buy something and I told her if she didn't, I would pay for it. She did, but I did treat her to a snack at a place of her choosing.

She died and I knew her house was for sale and I had heard the only family she had left was in another country. I didn't think anything of it. Each Memorial Day I put flowers on hers and her husband's grave.

Well, yesterday the person I was catching up with happened to mention her dad was the executor of the estate and that my friend had money. Lots of it. Like over a million.

Here I thought she was broke and she had over a million. Wow, looks can be deceiving. I am quite amused at this because she certainly fooled me. But I know there have been more instances of this that I've read about people living frugally and then when they die, having quite a bit of money accumulated. I'm glad I didn't know she had this money. I would never want people to think I did anything for any gain.

It's almost August

July 31st, 2017 at 02:58 pm

It is hard to believe today is the last day of July. The garden is going gangbusters which is good. Tomatoes! Lots and lots of them are coming on. I spent some time canning them Saturday. I looks like I will be canning some more this afternoon. No complaints about it either! I know it was sure nice this last winter to open up a jar of tomatoes and taste that fresh tomato from the summer. We have shared some tomatoes with some friends and they keep commenting on how good they are and they are.

My pie safe (where I store most of the stuff canned is starting to fill up. This past week I have canned some green beans, tomatoes, made sweet pickles, and made mixed berry jam. I buy fresh fruit every week to make a fruit salad that we have some once a day. With the extra fruit (some of the packages are larger due to it being in season) we can't eat it all so I put it in the freezer. When I get quite a bit saved, I then cook the berries together and make jam. I enjoy the jam, but I also plan to give some away at Christmas time. I make up baskets of goodies to some of my friends. Most of us don't exchange purchased gifts per se since we basically have what we need or too many knick knacks.

The garlic looks like it is about ready to be harvested too. I usually pick it and then clean and mince it and store it in olive oil in the fridge. We don't get a ton, but enough to use it throughout the year and have some extra cloves that we plant for the following year.

One of my husband's friends seems to have a problem with my husband's green thumb. It is almost to the point of jealousy. I don't know why. This person is very talented in so many areas and can do so many things. DH, and I love him dearly, isn't mechanically inclined. We usually have to outsource many jobs. But the lawn and garden are his speciality. As DH says, no one can be good at everything. Just wish his friend wouldn't have such problem with his ego and appreciate what DH can do.

Our pastor is retiring in two weeks. We will miss him dearly, but his replacement appears to be a good guy as well. The church had a retirement luncheon yesterday and a short presentation to thank our pastor for his service and caring for the congregation. It was very touching to see all the lives he has touched. I took my camera and took photos of and then uploaded them to the church's Facebook page. I then created a video to put on my page since I put in things I wanted to say.

We went to the Beef House on Wednesday over in Indiana. It is well known around here for good food and these amazing rolls. We actually did this on a bus trip and saw a play in addition to the meal. I just couldn't get over the feeding frenzy some of these people were a part of with the rolls. They are huge. Bigger than a large fist. Of course like most bread, they will bring out as many as you want. Well, so many at our table wanted to take some home. Not just one, but 2 or 3. They were snippy with the servers who didn't bring enough bags the first time. These servers were high school students donating their time in hopes of getting tips. Anyway, the ladies at our table were fawning over these rolls with that glint of greed in their eyes. The rolls were delicious when they brought them out...warm from the oven or warming drawer and very fresh. But white rolls tend to get stale very quickly. Guess these folks thought they were getting something for nothing. I wonder how many really ate those rolls or threw them out when they got home. Most of the people on the trip weren't poverty stricken, so I guess the offer of something free was too tempting. I didn't bring any home. I'm not above eating leftovers, but couldn't imagine even a few seconds in the microwave would make the rolls soft and good again. Plus, I'm trying to cut down on the carbs a bit.

Handmade

July 23rd, 2017 at 06:21 pm

When I was a kid, I remember a commercial showing a man laying bricks. I don't remember what the ad was touting, but i remember the bricklayer at his craft and was fascinated.

As an adult I'm still pretty fascinated at how things are made, both commercially as well as by hand. Growing up with a mother who crocheted I realized the work that went into many of her creations. She was a seamstress for the garment factories of many years and she could sew about anything as well. When she was in her 60s, she decided to teach herself how to quilt. I learned to appreciate fine talent.

We were watching television the other day and an ad came on for a show called "Handcrafted." I guess it is going to start a new season. I don't know if we get that network, but if we do, I hope we can catch a few of the episodes.

I am amazed at how talented so many people are with their different skills. Some people make things simply because they enjoy the craft. Others make things to save money or even sell their wares to make money.

When I was in college there was very little available funds, but I decided to crochet an afghan for one of my friends for Christmas. I scraped up enough money for the prettiest yarn I could find. I worked hard on this during the summer. It was a labor of love because we didn't have air conditioning and it's often hot and humid here in the Midwest. I was so proud of my work (My mom had taught me to crochet a few years before) and I worked hard on making it as nice as possible. I really thought she would appreciate it because it was a labor of love. It really hurt my feelings when I gave it to her and I could tell when she opened the present it wasn't anything she thought much of. A few months later I went to her unfinished basement to get something she sent me down for and there was the afghan thrown over some boxes. It still kind of bugs me because I worked so hard on something and she didn't appreciate the work. I guess I didn't know my friend very well, but she didn't take into account I didn't have a lot of money then and tried to make her something nice with what I had.

I can honestly say I make things now because I enjoy making them and give them to people I think might like them. I appreciate it when people give me handcrafted items because I know the labor involved. I give away some of the things I bake and jams and jellies because I like working on these items and think people appreciate them. I have decided that one couple will probably never get a gift like any of this again. Every time we give them something I've made or fixed, they admit that they didn't eat it, but one of the kids or grandkids did. It isn't a dietary concern. I don't give stuff to people that I know they can't and won't eat.

I wonder if we have become a society that no longer appreciates handmade items whether it is goods or foods? Yet, I have one friend who makes me feel very special. Every Christmas I give him a basket of handmade goodies and canned items. I asked him one time if he liked it and his comment was "I love everything you give me because I know you made it and gave it with me in mind." You sure can't beat that!

Monday, Monday

July 17th, 2017 at 09:07 pm

After reading Livingalmostlarge's post about the spending, I would say we often find ourselves in the same situation at times. For example, last fall we decided to fix up the hall bathroom. We ordered a new vanity and medicine cabinet. Of course a new countertop and faucet. While we were at it, a new light fixture and of course a new shower curtain and liner. Oh, don't forget the new shower rod and towel holders. Then we realized the ceiling really needed to be repairs and of course we didn't have enough touch up paint and...well, you get the picture.

Today we had someone come out to give us a quote to do the same in the "master bath." I do the quotes because it is tiny. Our house was built in the 1970s and although we are delighted to have a second bath, it's cramped. But, here we go again. We have the new vanity, countertop, faucet, medicine cabinet, light fixture and to really throw a monkey wrench into the mix...exhaust fan with a light. We've been here 19 years and this is the exhaust fan that was there when we moved in. I would like one with a light because it is sometimes dark in the shower with just the light bar over the sink.

It wasn't a no spend day either because it was a trip to the chiropractor. A $20 copay which isn't horrible so I'm not complaining and my back feels better.

Yesterday we had barbecue chicken sandwiches made with the leftover chicken from a supper last week. Saturday night we had chicken and noodles from the said chicken and so we basically got three meals from one chicken. I don't think that's too bad. I still have some chicken broth leftover and I used part of it for the turkey tenderloins I'm fixing tonight. Tomorrow night I'm doing some chicken recipe in the crockpot with potatoes and will use the remainder of the chicken broth. I would say I most certainly got my money's worth out of a chicken bought on sale for $4.31. Truly a winner, winner, chicken dinner.


When there was a scare that we might not get our August pension checks on time, I didn't put as much money into a couple of savings accounts because I didn't want the checking account to be short. Well, since there is now a state budget, that scare is over. We went to the credit union and put the rest of the money into the savings accounts.

I have one pillowcase finished that I was embroidering. I chose colors that friend likes since that is who I plan to give them to for Christmas.

Not Uber But Sort Of Frugal

July 14th, 2017 at 07:04 pm

Friday is the day we usually make a day of it. We eat lunch out and go to thrift shops and garage sales. I have been trying not to buy anything at the thrift shops for awhile since I really don't need anything. But, I succumbed at two of them. I bought two jelly jars with rings for 55 cents and at another one I bought some metal Christmas ornament hooks in a sealed package and a ceramic mini loaf pan for 53 cents. I bake sweet breads and give them away at Christmas. Last year I found enough of these ceramic loaf pans to give quite a few of them away and although I'm sure people would be OK with foil pans, I just think it makes it look nicer. I refuse to pay retail for these and most of the ones I pick up at thrift stores still have the price stickers on them. I originally had picked up a couple of greeting cards, but put them back trying to use up what I have at home before purchasing any more cards or stationery. Oh, at another place I bought 4 packs of brand new pencils for $1.32. I give them to a teacher friend since he can't keep pencils and the kids don't seem to think they need to bring them after they bring a few at the beginning of the year. I didn't spend a lot, but I can't claim I'm Uber Frugal either. Darn it.

I went to the knitting group yesterday at church. We are closing in on having almost 500 knitted hats so far. One of the ladies brought zucchini to give away so I brought one of them home and can I say I was delighted. I know there's the joke about neighbors leaving zucchini on doorsteps, but we never seem to have that problem. Wish we did. We like zucchini and if we can't eat it all before it goes bad, I shred it and put it in the freezer to bake with bananas for sweet bread.

Hot Wednesday

July 12th, 2017 at 08:28 pm

Holy Cow, it's hot. And humid. The weather forecaster says if we get to 94 it will be a record. Whatever it is, it is hot enough for me. I'm not a fan of extreme anything and heat makes it so hard for me to breathe.

It has been a NSD so far. Hopefully it will remain that way. I have been doing some housecleaning. That silly maid never ever shows up. Smile I wound up washing some walls and dusting and mopping. I would like to do some laundry, but I don't want to tax the electrical system any more than I have to with the heat and humidity. I'm just happy we have a/c. I grew up without it and believe me, what a lovely thing to have.

Yesterday I fixed a chicken in the Crockpot. We had a delightful meal with it and I have enough for some other meals. Tonight is leftover pork roast. I was going to bake sweet potatoes, but I think I'm going to peel and boil them instead and then mash them because I would prefer not heating the oven. I don't care for them microwaved.

A friend was telling me how he didn't like leftovers. Heck, so many of our meals are made up leftovers. I can't imagine not using them. It is difficult to just make enough for one meal. My chicken that I fixed yesterday was caught on sale and I got it out of the freezer. It was a decent sized one and cost $4.31. Between the meat and all the broth, it will provide more than a couple of meals. I freeze the extra broth so I have it when I fix noodles or make soup. I use some vegetables, garlic, herbs, and a few spices when I cook it so the broth and chicken are well seasoned.

We are starting to get some tomatoes. Yesterday we had a salad with DH's lettuce, onions, pepper, and tomatoes. I just love getting fresh stuff.

Hope you are staying comfortable.

Some unplanned spending

July 11th, 2017 at 10:57 pm

Although it isn't a huge amount, I did wind up spending money that I hadn't planned on Sunday and yesterday.

Memorials for my friend were to the children's education fund. Since all are younger than 15, and there are three of them, We felt we had to give a decent gift.

Then yesterday out of the blue we receive a notice that a friend's son and his wife are having a baby and here's the link to the registry...btw, the baby is due in a month. I sort of felt put on the spot. So, I sent a gift certificate through the site. I don't want to sound cheap and/or snarky, but we haven't seen this guy for years and years. We still keep up with the parents, but I sort of felt pressured.

Neither will break us by any means. Just a little unexpected.

Thanks and more

July 9th, 2017 at 07:32 pm

A big thank you to those who commented on my last post about losing a friend to suicide. I read somewhere that it takes three days for a person to adjust to a change and I think that is really true. There are still questions and I doubt if there will be answers. My heart goes out to the family and friends. We are going to attend the visitation and it should be a lengthy wait since he was a popular guy and his wife has many friends as well.

A friend suggested we do something different yesterday to have a mini getaway so they drove us to St. Louis. We had lunch at an Irish Pub. We've never been there and it was quite good. We went to a place called "The Hill" which is a neighborhood with Italian restaurants and stores. We shopped at an Italian grocery and viewed more types of pasta than I have ever seen in one place. We walked around to some of the other stores and bakeries and then stopped and had some gelato. We then went to another part of St. Louis where Concordia Seminary is located. I am Lutheran and in the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod, men who are called to the ministry must attend a synodical seminary to earn their master's of divinity in order to receive a call from a congregation. We walked around the lovely campus and went into the chapel. It was a relaxing day spent with good friends. We did spend some money - we paid for our lunch and bought a couple of things at the grocery as well as purchasing the gelato, but I don't think we spent more than $50 in total. We offered our friends money for gas since they drove, but they turned us down saying that they planned on going anyway.

It looks like another hot week. I turn the thermostat up when we leave the house so the a/c doesn't work as hard and we use ceiling fans to help as well when we are home. DH mowed the front yard and did get pretty overheated. Because we haven't received much rain lately, he hadn't mowed in a few weeks because the grass was dormant. We received about half an inch over two days so the grass grew a little and became rangy.

DH picked his first bell pepper and ripe tomato on Thursday. Both were delicious. We had another ripe tomato with our brunch today and there is one for supper tonight. We will have more than one at meals when they start coming on, but they are like a treasure when they first come on. Homegrown certainly taste different than store bought.

DH has had problems with a baby bunny wanting to live in his garden and eat his carrots. He chases it out and uses something called liquid fence. It is a product that has garlic and rotten eggs that is pretty stinky. But the rain the other day washed it off and Baby Bunny decided to visit. I had to chuckle over DH's comment as he chased it -- he said that if he ever caught the little twerp he would kick it over the house. I rather doubt if he could catch it and knowing what a softy DH really is, he wouldn't kick it anyway. But the entertainment is pretty good!

Emotional Roller Coaster

July 6th, 2017 at 06:51 pm

The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster for me.

DH had a physical in June and some test results came back where he had to see a specialist. It has been scary waiting. He did see a specialist and the specialist doesn't feel things are anything to be concerned with so we check again in three months. At this point, we felt this is a blessing.

Personally, I am waiting on test results not only from a physical, but also from another test. It seems once you get to be a certain age, these checkups and tests get scary because you know what could be. There's probably new reason to worry, but unfortunately worry is something upon which I excel.

The thing that has really thrown me for a loop is a person I used to work with committed suicide. I can't even imagine the despair this person felt that he decided taking his own life was the solution. I makes me think how little we really know people. Of course there are all the questions of why which will probably not be answered. My heart goes to the family and friends who survive.

Currently the state House is meeting to decide whether to vote to override the governor's veto of the state budget. Yesterday they met but didn't have enough in attendance for a quorum. One wonders what they lawmakers are thinking when they aren't in attendance. It's their job. So, the waiting continues. We are supposed to have a dentist appointment this month and I'm wondering whether to postpone it. I could take the money out of savings, but I don't really want to. We are still living pretty frugally until we hear about the budget.

Happy Fourth

July 4th, 2017 at 02:48 pm

Happy Fourth of July! Hope it is a safe and joyous one for all!

Supposedly our Illinois lawmakers are supposed to vote on a budget today. The House passed one two days ago, but like the three branches of government (remember that in school?) it has to go to the Senate. The governor says he's going to veto if it passes because there are no changes in the budget -- he'd like to see some cuts and term limits. Imagine that, a politician wanting term limits. Smile Anyway, the state needs a budget because so many organization in the state cannot run without the stand funding. Many of our schools may not open on time. Some pensions may be delayed. Road work has totally been shuttered. If you've been on any Illinois roads lately, you know how necessary that work is.

Panhandling has become an issue in our city. I emailed the city manager who ignored my email, at least he didn't respond. That was three weeks ago. Last week I emailed one of the city council members who not only responded, but did so within two hours of my email. I asked about the laws concerning panhandling and he said that there is one against aggressive panhandling, but cities are cautious about passing new ones since a law was passed a couple of years ago in our state capitol and it was taken to court and considered unconstitutional. It has gotten to the point where if you go to our library these folks will knock on the windows of your car and follow you to your car or to the building and they don't give up. Because we have a mental health facility located in our downtown, one never knows if the person you are dealing with is also mentally ill which makes it even more of an issue. Our city is a very giving city, we have a homeless center that provides food and drink, daily showers, laundry facilities, use of the phone, counseling, clothing, medical services, as well as a place to send and receive mail. We have a men's mission, a lady's mission, as well as different organizations that provide food, clothing, and services, and one place, called Good Samaritan that provides a hot lunch every single day of the year and gives snacks besides. The director of the homeless center has said not to give money to the panhandlers because it isn't because they are needing the basics, they will use it for drugs or alcohol.

As I said yesterday, few plans here for the holiday and that's fine. If you like a great harmonic rendition of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" here is a super one:
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=1FEFBMNU&utm_source=GodTube+Must-See+Video&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=07%2F04%2F2017

Hope you have a wonderful day!


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