A number of years ago we were going to travel to New York and one of our stops on the tour was Ellis Island. I just knew my dad's maternal family came through there.
They came through Boston. It took a quite a bit of research to find this out, but I finally did. I'm am, of course, struggling with the research because I have no family members alive since my folks were older when they had me and most of the family was gone by then.
Of course being frugal, I wasn't going to pay to join a site to do research so I have been relying on free stuff here and there. I found the site familysearch.org which is run by the church of Latter Day Saints. I work on this here and there and add whenever I find something. Our local history room at the library has the local newspaper archive computer site free for patrons so I have been spending hours there looking up people in the family.
Well, the other day I received an email from the site saying I had relatives in Colonial America. I took the time to look at this and sure enough I do. That was pretty exciting in an of itself. But then I clicked further and apparently there is a long list of folks from knights to kings and queens of small countries and all the way back to Emperor Charlemagne. Wow! I teased my husband he should treat me like her royal highness. He teased me back about getting a tiara and I said that was a given, but not sure where I would wear it since I don't attend balls or political events. Somehow a tiara going to thrift shops and volunteering at church seems like overkill.
Seriously, it was all pretty interesting. And other than my time, free. Is it going to change my life? Probably not. But it was fun. Cheap fun. And I'm certainly going to get some mileage out of it by telling folks. Just wish some of my rich relatives had left me some money!
A number of years ago we were going to travel to New York and one of our stops on the tour was Ellis Island. I just knew my dad's maternal family came through there.
Yesterday we had a high of 65. Yay! Some rain and since we are in almost drought conditions, no one seemed to mind the rain considering it is February and it could have been snow or ice. The temperatures have dropped so it is chilly, but I did see the sun peek out for a bit.
Credit Card Free shared her Ibotta link in a previous post and I finally got signed up. The first day the site was having issues, but I got in just in time to do my Kroger shopping yesterday (after our Aldi run, of course). After I did what I needed to do, it says I have $3.50 in credit. Not bad for a few minutes work. That was after I also did the digital coupons and a paper coupon too.
Friday night we normally eat out and we are being joined by another couple. That is something to look forward to!
I have my menu planned for other meals this week. One of my friends says I'm rigid, but how can I effectively shop if I don't know what I'm going to fix?
Saturday night - cod, mashed potatoes, green beans
Sunday night -- chili
Monday night -- pork loin roast with carrots, roasted potatoes
Tuesday night -- chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday night -- leftover pork roast, baked potatoes
Thursday night -- scrambled eggs or omelet. This is usually the night I clean out the vegetable drawer to put with the eggs.
The chili will use the tomatoes I canned and a friend gave me some beef for Christmas so I plan to use some of the "free" hamburger. The green beans are from the pantry where I canned last summer too.
Today seems to be the day to use up things. Lunch was leftovers from a couple meals. DH and I had different things for lunch, but that was OK. He wanted leftover soup and I had two different things that there wasn't enough of either to make a meal. There is still enough soup for another lunch if we put a sandwich with it.
Last night I made a gallon of laundry detergent. A friend gave me some stuff to make some a number of years ago and I was so impressed, I bought the Borax, washing soda, and back then Fels Naphtha to make it. Now, I don't use the Fels Naphtha, but use Dawn instead. But what a reasonably priced laundry detergent and it gets stuff clean. I keep a little in a squirt bottle to pretreat stuff.
I was looking on Pinterest and saw a recipe for homemade Febreze. I made some this morning and I really like it. I haven't bought any in years. I happened to have saved the bottle thinking I was going to use it for something and I did use it for this. (I am notorious for saving bottles and jars.)
It's funny how some of my friends react to these things. One friend, the one who originally had me make my own detergent is all about saving things and making things and saving money wherever possible. She and her husband eat leftovers. And she is a good one for a bargain. It's like we are two peas in a pod.
Another of my friends thinks I'm crazy for making stuff and doing all the leftovers and such. She is all about getting stuff new. I don't think money is an issue at their home.
Yet another friend would never think of making detergent or anything and won't eat leftovers. Money is an issue as you can imagine.
I imagine the latter two think I'm simply crazy about thrift shopping. I have bought so many things at our local thrift shops -- we are fortunate to have quite a few and they have some really nice things. Lately I've been buying material and sewing things with it. I've made 3 table runners, a set of curtains for my bathroom, and one long panel for a sunroom door and material and thread together I think I've spent less than $16. I buy most of my greeting cards at thrift stores too. I like sending cards and letters, but I hate, hate, hate spending so much on greeting cards. Very few people save cards. I save ones from my husband, but I don't save any of the others; I recycle them. Giving a quarter or less for a card only makes sense to me, but maybe I'm weird.
So, that's what I've been doing today. Using stuff up, made a few things. No thrift shopping -- I'm cleaning instead. And of course eating at home. I am going to make crab cakes and we will have enough for another meal. And so the cycle continues.
Here in Central Illinois we had a glaze of ice overnight. We were supposed to also received 1-3 inches of snow, but fortunately that did not come to fruition. I can't say I'm disappointed.
In 2006 we had an ice storm that took down trees and electrical wires so whenever there is a chance of freezing rain, I always dread it. We were without power for a few days and it was cold and miserable.
In 1978 we had an ice storm that was worse than the one in 2006 and we were without power for over a week. Fortunately it wasn't freezing cold so the ice melted, but it did a lot of damage. It was absolutely miserable. I played more Monopoly that week than I had before or after that. It certainly made me appreciate power and heat a lot more.
Anyway, back to today. No power outages. Just some ice on the ground. I salted the driveway and by this afternoon, it was pretty clear. We did make it to church and didn't slip and slide too much on the way there and the way back.
With the slick roads, we decided to go home and stay home. I started a pot of soup after I fixed brunch. I call it Italian wedding soup, but I guess I've sort of just made it my own recipe. It is really making the house smell good. I try to make it ahead and then heat it up when we are ready to eat.
Here are in the ingredients I use:
1 pound of ground turkey for meatballs
1 onion chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2-3 mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini chopped.
1 quart and 1 pint of chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 quart of tomatoes
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1 cup of pasta -- your choice -- I use what I have on hand
Parmesan to taste
I make small meatballs out of the ground turkey and bake in the oven until they are done. I just use the plain turkey, but you can add eggs and bread crumbs.
I saute' the onions, celery, pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots in the olive oil and when they are soft, i add the garlic. I then add the chicken broth and let it simmer for over an hour. I add the turkey meatballs, Turmeric, and Oregano, and tomatoes and let it simmer for another 30-40 minutes so it cooks down a bit. I add the pasta and when it is cooked , add the spinach and cook for about a minute. Ladle into bowls and add the grated Parmesan. You can also add a little olive oil to the top.
This makes quite a bit so unless you are hearty soup eaters, you may have some leftovers.
As you may have guessed, I'm pretty involved in my church. Two things our ladies guild does is have a rummage sale in June and a Christmas Bazaar in January.
Two Christmases ago I crocheted little crochet thread ornaments and put them on Christmas trees and donated them. The trees sold, but I think I paid more for the trees than what they got at the bazaar. I bought the trees at thrift stores and an estate sale, but I felt like I did a lot of work for nothing. I also found a candlewick stocking and did it and donated it and it sold.
This year with leftover yarn from the hats we make in the knitting group, I crocheted dish clothes. I think I donated over 30 and they all sold. So, I'm going to continue to make those.
But, I was wondering if you have some ideas on other easy things to make that I can try and donate to either the rummage sale or bazaar. Are there certain things you like?
Thanks in advance.
The first four letter word is what it is doing right now as I look out the window: snow. Yuck. Ever notice how in the movies and on television that suddenly everything is wonderful when it starts to snow. Guess I missed the magic of it because I worry about shoveling, walking, and driving in it.
The second is the mother of all...the f word. No, I'm not using it, but when we did our thrift store outing on Friday, DH looks at all the kids books because he uses a lot of books when he volunteers and reads to classes. He gets the bulk of his books at the library, but there are some he likes to own since they are seasonable and sometimes he has difficulty getting them. He showed me one book that was on the shelf and said he was taking it to the cashier to show her since he bet they didn't want it on their shelf. This is a thrift store run by a church. The title was "Get the "F word" Asleep." It looked like a kid's book with the graphics on the front and the illustrations throughout, but it had all sorts of cuss words in the story. I am not lily white when it comes to my language and to be honest, many words don't really phase me unless it is taking God's name in vain, but I personally think a book like this shouldn't look like a kid's book. Someone had put a sticker over the title so I imagine someone putting it out didn't notice, but what if a child had picked it up. I am all for keeping stuff like that out of kids' hands. Anyway, the cashier agreed and immediately disposed of it. If people want those sort of books, fine with me -- just don't let them look like a picture book for kids. Mark it some how so it doesn't get confusing.
Pulled some soup out of the freezer and put it in the Crockpot to warm up for supper tonight. I tease DH about if he wants to go out to eat and he always says no. He likes saving money and apparently likes my cooking. So, maybe I'll add a third four letter word: save.
Every notice how you think things are going along and you aren't spending a lot and then suddenly "bam!"? I expected the carpet stretching, but then a few other things came up.
I could of course not bought these items, but eventually I would have caved anyway.
Our router has been on the fritz for over a year. I have restarted it so many times, unplugged, unconnected, did everything that was suggested on the FAQ site. I think it just was ready to quit. Besides my computer, we stream Netflix on our television and it got to the point we couldn't watch anything. The modem was even older than the router so we decided to bite the bullet and replace both with a combo.
Then I was being the good little "do bee" and washing the mattress cover and when I went to put it back on the bed, realized it was splitting in many places. I don't even remember when we bought it, so I'm thinking it has some age on it. I have been waiting for Kohls to put linens on sale and they did this weekend so we went out, bought a new mattress cover, a set of towels to replace some badly worn ones, saved some money, had $5 off, and then got $10 Kohls cash.
None of this, of course is going to break the bank so to speak, but it sure seems like things pop up all at the same time.
A friend gave me some gift cards for my birthday. We stopped at Starbucks and had a treat. DH had a Frappucino and I had a straight cup of coffee. DH says he doesn't like coffee, but loves a Frap. Since it was basically free to us, it was a nice treat. We don't often go to Starbucks.
We came home and did some caulking in the bathroom. Not exactly a pleasure, but something that needed to be done.
So, it was a bit of a spendy week, but we did get some things accomplished. Looking forward to a week of not spending too much.
Oh, I almost forgot, I did splurge for a bottle of Gatorade. I saw and shared a meme on Facebook that said we should get as excited about church as we do the Super Bowl and if the Pastor makes a good point during the sermon we should dump Gatorade over his head. So, stopped and bought a bottle of Gatorade to kid him. It cost $1.09 with tax. I'm sure he will get a kick out of it and we will put it in the food pantry basket so it won't go to waste. Someone might think of it as a treat!
There are times when truth is truly stranger than fiction. Today's article in the paper proved that. Illinois is hiring a state storyteller to tell the good things going on in education to the tune of $47K.
Illinois has big financial woes. Many of our larger city school districts are low performing. Most school districts that depend on local taxes are hurting big time. Starting salary in my city for a teacher is $39K. Most young teachers can't afford that because they owe so much in loans. Or if they take the much needed job, they live at poverty level if they have a family. Yet, our state is going to hire a storyteller. I'm wondering if this storyteller is going to tell fictional stories because the truth is pretty scary!
In other "factual" news, I almost have the room straightened up where we had the carpeting stretched. The guy showed up, on time, and after he finished, he said the job was more than he anticipated and that he had to restretch the whole room. I asked if he was going to raise the estimate and he said no, that wouldn't be fair to me. He also fixed a closet door in another bedroom because I asked him to show me how the bifold doors worked. He showed me, fixed it. So, I gave him $25 more than he said and he thanked me profusely.
Today I volunteer at school. I am working with some fifth graders on writing. It is sad how poorly they write and spell. A couple of them give me attitude claiming I don't know how to write and I just laugh as I work on their papers with them and correct the many grammatical and spelling errors. One of them said I didn't know what the teacher wanted and i finally told him that I have known the teacher longer than he has been alive, and I was the one who used to demonstrate in this teacher's class the writing model.
Our local paper is raising their rates yet again. This is the second time in a year. We seem to get less for more money and the mistakes continue to escalate. DH loves getting the paper and we can afford it, but it irks me we have to pay more and the quality isn't there.
This afternoon will mean lots of moving and shaking going on. Well, at least moving. We will be moving furniture out of one of our spare bedrooms.
A number of years ago we replaced the carpeting in this room. We saved up and bought good stuff and an extra thick pad. It's a neutral color so we hoped it would be something that would last and last. We call it the bear room because for years I collected teddy bears and I have a shelf of bears in it.
Well, about three years ago I noticed that the carpeting was starting to stretch. And it has gotten worse. Before Thanksgiving I called the guy who owns the carpet cleaning company we have used to ask if he knew someone who could stretch the carpeting back. He gave me a name and I called and there was no response. I waited a few weeks and called again. The number had been disconnected. I guess I'm glad I didn't get this guy if his number was disconnected. So, talked to the carpet cleaning guy again and he said he had someone else and they would call me.
Well, here it is January and no one has contacted me. I looked at Home Advisor and they had no names for anyone to do this. I Googled carpet stretching and basically got nothing.
So, old school here we come...I went to a phone book. I found one listing and called and a very nice lady answered. She said yes, her husband did that work and we made an appointment for the next morning for him to come out and give us an estimate.
Let me digress a bit here...we have had such bad luck in the past when we call and make appointments...so many people are either late or don't show for said appointments. DH said he wondered if this guy would even show up.
The appointment was for set for between 8 and 8:30. Our doorbell rang at 8 a.m. sharp. A neatly dressed man introduced himself, and we showed him the room. He gave us an estimate and we agreed to have him do the job. He was polite, mannerly, and friendly.
We had almost gotten to the point of thinking we would just have to replace the carpeting since we were having such trouble finding someone.
So, we are spending $100 to stretch some carpeting instead of replacing. I'm glad. I like the carpeting and I'd prefer not to tear it out. I'd prefer to spend the $100 instead of hundreds of dollars. I've gotten to the point where if I can afford it, I would prefer not to settle for the cheapest just because it costs less. I would prefer buying the quality product if I can afford it. Plus, I don't think we've damaged the carpeting yet so it is salvageable.
I'm not thrilled about moving furniture, but it is a price to pay and I'm trying to reward myself with the thought of rearranging the room. I like to move things around because then it looks like it is new or different. Strange, I guess, but it is all about tricking my brain. Heaven knows I don't need anything new.
Today was not a frugal day. Wednesday afternoons are usually when DH and I volunteer. He reads at a second grade class and I work with a fifth grade class. But, the fifth grade class had something special come up and the second grader teacher was out with the flu and DH did not want to deal with the kids and a sub. So we decided to make it something fun for ourselves. We drove to a small town near here and ate at a place that is run by two sisters. On Wednesdays the special is lasagna and it is the best all around. It isn't horribly expensive -- salad, lasagna, bread...$6.95 before tax. Of course we had to have some ice cream that they make on premises...$2 for a nice size scoop. But, wow, what a great meal and a nice treat because we normally can't do this.
We returned back to our home and split up. He goes and walks at the mall. I had some errands to run. This is my birthday month and a place where I get makeup had a free make over and then 15% off of anything I bought. I am new to the makeup game. My mom never used it so I never had anyone to show me. And when I tried other stuff, my allergies would kick in. So, this stuff is pricier, but it doesn't make me react. I don't wear it every day, but I like to learn new things. So, I went, had the makeover and bought a few things to supplement what I already had.
I then went to the library to return some books and magazines. I just can't beat the library for finding good things to read and enjoy. I finished a book last night called "The Christmas Joy Ride" by Melody Carlson. It was a feel good book and predictable, but still enjoyable. My new plan this year for reading is if I find an author, to read as many of his or her books so I don't have to question myself whether I have read them or not. I know it looks odd that I walk out with a pile of the same author or same couple of authors, but in the past, I have struggled with remembering whether I have read some of these books. My other goal is to read one nonfiction each month since I tend to gravitate to fiction.
Since we had a large, heavy lunch, supper is going to be a light one. But, oh, what an enjoyable lunch it was!
Today it is damp, cold, and basically raw outside. I did have to get to church to fill the ever burning candle or it wouldn't be burning a whole lot longer!
Other than that, it has been a no spend day for me. I have been doing laundry and putting stuff away. Not exactly thrilling, but not horrible by any means either.
One of our friends told us she does laundry every day. There are just two of them and they are both retired. I can't even imagine having laundry to do each day and what a waste it must be of water, detergent, as well as electricity and wear and tear on the machines. I understand people with more in the household would probably need to do laundry every day, but just two people? Egad.
Yesterday I fixed a chicken in the Crockpot and we had one meal off of it. I was thinking I need to figure out something else to make and then this popped up on my Facebook feed and looked really good on a cold winter day so I may be trying it:
Other than chicken and noodles, are there ways you use leftover chicken?
A couple of weeks ago we went to an estate sale to look around. It was horribly cold outside and the weather was supposed to get worse, but we had cabin fever and needed to get out and do something.
We looked around and found nothing we wanted. Not even tempted. But, I did see a display for older golf clubs. I'm not a golfer, but I have a friend who is. I messaged him and told him where the sale was and told him they had a bunch, they were older, and they were $8 each.
My friend went to check them out and was so excited. He found a putter that he said is rare and is worth close to $100. Today at church he handed me a dollar coin as my finder's fee. I laughed and laughed because I had been teasing him maybe I should start charging him a finder's fee for the things I find for him. Guess I can count it as a snowflake, but I don't think I'm going to spend the coin. DH has a drawer with a couple of Kennedy half dollars and I thought I'd add this coin to the mix so they have company.
Yesterday I watched the Pioneer Woman and she did something I haven't seen before -- used up things to make food. Hooray! So many of the Food Network folks seem to be wasteful, at least in my opinion. I can always tell one who didn't grow up poor -- they never scrape the goal or pan. Anyway, i was telling DH about the episode and he said it sounded like PW was following my lead instead of the other way around. She made chicken broth in the Crockpot which is what I do. Today it is beef broth. I had a sirloin steak in the freezer and I was thinking of some way to use it up and thought Soup! So we are having beef and barley vegetable soup. I trimmed the meat and used some of the smaller parts and the bone to make some beef broth to stash in the freezer. I also used the bag of leftover vegetables that was in the freezer of the soup as well as some already made broth. It simmered yesterday afternoon and I made 2 dozen herb biscuits yesterday. We gave some of the soup and biscuits to some friends and we will enjoy the rest. So, I used up some things I had to make a pretty decent meal.
It's Thursday and it means two things: we grocery shop and we have eggs for supper.
Yes, I'm a creature of habit. Fortunately hubby likes "ruts" as well as eggs.
The fridge is starting to look bare. We had lots of leftovers last night: turkey, chicken and noodles, green beans, and gravy. I added a little mashed potatoes and some creamed corn since there wasn't enough green beans. For a cold night it was a warming meal.
I learned recently that some friends of ours don't shop on a regular basis. I'm surprised because he is always talking about growing up and being on a strict budget and saving money. I can't imagine shopping before every meal. As we had this discussion we realized two things -- they don't plan meals very well and look for bargains and I am a big planner. DH informed him I was probably the most organized person he knew. I wouldn't go that far, but there is a comfort to being organized and having things planned. I also learned that this couple would often go to the only warehouse store in our city on the weekend and graze so they didn't have to cook. Very interesting.
I have another friend that we label "cheap." He is. He goes way beyond frugal. It is sad because he has the funds to do far better. We wonder if spending money truly pains him. Then we have another friend who claims to always look for a bargain, but I honestly think he and his wife have no issue with cheating. By that, I mean, when Panera had styrofoam cups, they would order iced tea and then get coffee because the tea was a few pennies cheaper. She will always ask after a meal if the restaurant will give her a cup of coffee on the house. They are always trying finagle a way of getting something more or something for nothing. They run the servers ragged for this and that and then leave a paltry tip and a religious tract saying their souls are more important than money. Yet they are these folks who claim they are stalwart Christians. I feel cheating is stealing. Between the two, I will stick with my cheap friend instead of a cheating one.
Hoping after our grocery shopping adventure, I can finish the bathroom curtains. I'm using the curtains I have for a pattern.
Ever hear about you not owning things, but they own you? I think there is a lot of truth to that statement.
I have been working around here the past few days trying to take care of some things. Twice a year I try to use orange oil cleaner on my cabinets since they tend to dry out as well as get dirty from cooking and canning. I always dread doing it since I have to get on a step stool to do the upper cabinets since I'm short, but after I do them all, I'm so pleased with how nice and fresh they look.
The other day it was snowy and really cold out and I noticed my shoes and boots had salt on them from walking outside. So, I cleaned them and then used a special polish on them. One pair I've had a number of years and I think when I went in to buy a new pair of shoes a few months ago, I had them on and the salesman commented how old these were and the fact they still looked like they were in good shape. Apparently cleaning and keeping a protective polish on them helped.
DH decided a few years ago he liked a silver service of a coffee pot, sugar, creamer, and tray and we purchased it at a flea market. It's his service and funny since he doesn't even drink coffee, but I'm the one who gets to keep it polished. As I'm working on it, I'm admiring the beauty of the whole thing. And how much nicer it looks after it is cleaned up.
As we were eating brunch this morning at home, there was a commercial talking about if you had to buy a car and then learned this would be the only car you had for the rest of your life, how would you treat it? It then compared that to your body and how you should take care of it since it is yours for the rest of your life.
I was thinking not only does this apply to our bodies, but also our finances. I know people who are retirement age or nearly there who are saying they wished they had put more money away because they aren't sure how they are going to live or how tough things are right now for them. A couple of people in particular had a chance to have matching 401Ks, but swore they couldn't afford to put money in them. I never had that opportunity, but boy, I wished I had! Neither of these people worked at jobs that paid only minimum wage -- they had good steady work and great benefits. But, they basically piddled their money away all the time complaining they didn't have enough. I truly wonder how they are going to face retirement because both will receive pensions and getting paid once a month might be a struggle since they are of the mindset of "oh, I have money" and then they spend without looking toward the future.
Guess it is wise to take care of things to make sure they last to the best of your ability, whether it be an object, your health, or your finances.
A couple of years ago I made a promise I wasn't going to buy any more tea until I drank what I had. I wasn't talking about the tea I use to make iced tea which is what we drink instead of soda pop.
I had done pretty well and used up most of the tins of tea I had. Most had been gifts.
This Christmas some friends gave me some peppermint tea and some Chai tea all loose leaf. I had never had Chai tea so I tried it. I rarely put sweetener in my tea so I am finding it a bit sweet, but good. Right now I'm drinking a cup of peppermint tea. I decided to use my coffee maker and put in a clean filter after washing out the piece where the filter goes and it made a nice bit of tea.
We watch quite a few English murder mysteries and many of them have tea being served. One thing that I don't do is put milk in my tea. Just wondering if any of you do. I guess I never thought about doing it. I put milk or creamer in my coffee. Sometimes I put honey in my tea if I have a sore throat, but usually I don't add anything. Perhaps it is what one grows up doing.
Yesterday was a no spend day for me. It seemed like Monday and Tuesday I was living at Walgreens. Monday I went in and got some of the things that were on special and used coupons to stock up on some things. Tuesday I had a prescription refill and it was senior day and I bought an item at 20% off.
Our neighbors have sold their house and will close tomorrow. Yesterday must have been packing up day. They rented a U Haul and had friends and family there to help. Which is great for them. However, we live in a cil-d-sac and of course these folks all parked their vehicles in and around their house. One person parked their car very close to our mailbox. So close that the mailman blasted me that he couldn't get the mail truck in and that if it happens again, he won't be delivering our mail. I explained it wasn't our car, but the neighbors and they were moving, but he said he won't deliver if it is there again.
Getting out of our driveway with all the cars was an adventure. Our part of the cil-d-sac is narrow before it widens for the bulb. With a car at one end of our driveway, one at the other nearly in front of the mailbox, and one directly behind our driveway on the other side of the street, There were little room to back out. I had to see saw many times in my vehicle just to leave to go volunteer. I hated coming back and "threading the needle" to get back into my driveway and I hated having to speak to the neighbor about the car in front of the mailbox. But, I did, I was polite, and just asked if they needed to park a car in front of our house, please pull it up so the mailman wouldn't pass us over. I don't think it was intentional on their part and they were polite. They have been good neighbors. I am worried about whomever is moving in and hope it is someone decent.
Today will be a spendy day -- we are going grocery shopping. Last week I went on Wednesday since we had a forecast of really cold temps and the super cold air bothers my asthma. I guess people must have thought with the upcoming temps and then chance of freezing rain on Saturday night, by Saturday many of the grocery shelves were bare. Glad I could shop when I did.
Apparently I am naive.
Years ago I joined Facebook and have derived a lot of pleasure in keeping up with friends on the site. But in the past couple of years it has become a major issue.
I'm all for capitalism. As for a side hustle...I am glad folks have the time an energy to do this. But, when people "friend" me just to try and sell me something, it is getting to be abusive.
One person has deemed herself a travel agent. She created a group, and then starts sending all these "offers." I have no desire to go to the Bahamas. I left the group and she added me again.
One person was a friend of my husband's from high school. Not a close friend by any means. Saw him at the last reunion. He asked to be friends on Facebook. I have quite a few of the folks from my husband's class as my Facebook friends since he doesn't do computers or social media. But this guy was relentless. He is a travel agent on the east coast and I would get messages on my timeline and private messages telling me how he could plan this trip and that. I tried to be nice and say I'd let him know when I wanted him to plan a trip. He wouldn't let up. I finally said I appreciate his willingness to help us plan a trip, but we have a local travel agent and would prefer sticking with her if we want to plan a trip since we have worked with her before. Sheesh.
Now it is all the make up, leggings, lipstick, bags, and cooking stuff. I have major allergies. I wear little makeup. I buy stuff that doesn't make me react too much when I do wear it. I don't wear leggings. I have more than enough bags -- I was a teacher -- I have book bags that my husband purchased for me as gifts (Mary Englebreit) and I'm not going to buy a new bag. I use what I have. My favorite is the cooking stuff. Since I cook, I should participate in their parties and buy more stuff. My kitchen is already loaded. If they only knew. I'm not going to buy some gadget that I don't need or want just so they win something.
So, last night, I had had it. A gal I knew asked to be friends on Facebook and then when I accepted, she immediately put me in a group and started the hard sell for make up. I posted on Facebook that the reason I joined Facebook was to keep up with my real life friends. I'm all for capitalism and if they put something on the general feed, I will read it and if I'm interested, I will privately message them. But I'm an adult. I don't need a hard sell. I don't need someone to constantly try and get me to buy something. That's why I have refused for years to go to these parties to have the pressure to buy something I either don't want or need. And I ended it with if the only reason you have friended me was to add to your customer base, to please unfriend me and do us both a favor. I wonder how many will unfriend me. At this point, I'm so fed up, I don't care. Interestedly enough one of my real friends messaged me and said I said what so many people are thinking but don't have the courage to say. Lots of comments went along with what I posted. So, I must not be alone in this thinking. I went into my groups and took myself out of all their sales groups. Facebook now has a feature where you can click so they can't put you back in.
Sorry for the lengthy post, I just needed to really vent.
I haven't blogged much lately because I haven't had much to report. We have had very cold temperatures which means I don't go out much because the cold air bothers my asthma. So, I have been doing chores around the hose and doing some crafts as well. Last week I decided to only go to Kroger's instead of doing Aldi and Kroger's so I wasn't out as long. I about had a fit at the checkout. We buy most of our fresh fruits and vegetables at Aldi as well as our dairy and some of our meats. When the cashier said the bag of grapes was $7.65 I said I didn't want them. I couldn't believe it. I knew it would be higher, but over half as much! This week I shopped a day earlier in the week since it was supposed to get ferociously cold on Thursday (it was zero on Wednesday so that should tell you something). I happily shopped at Aldi and then Kroger. Spent half of what I would have spent at Kroger and felt blessed besides.
Besides Christmas and New Year's, celebrated my birthday on Friday. DH gave me some jewelry -- he assured me he did not pay full price...found some deals at Kohls. I imagine he bought it when they had big sales during the holidays. He as become quite the shopper and hates to pay full price for anything anymore. We did eat out twice...once for lunch with one set of friends and then dinner with another set. They came back to the house for cake and ice cream and a nice visit.
I read 100 books in 2017 so I'd like to read that many in 2018. I've only read one so far, so I guess I better get busy. We went to the library yesterday and I checked out quite a few. A friend suggested I use the Goodreads site, but I ran into an issue -- two books they suggested based on what I've read and enjoyed our library didn't have. I could probably do interlibrary loan, but not sure I want do it for a book I may or may not really want to read.
We are supposed to get freezing rain today and then snow on top of it. It would not disappoint me if we didn't. A Facebook friend posted a photo of a local grocery store's freezer section and it was almost empty. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up and by Wednesday we are to be near 50. Guess people panic at a drop of a hat.
It is hard to believe 2017 is almost history. DH always gives me a new calendar for Christmas and I was copying birthdays and anniversaries to it from the old one, I also noticed all the other things I had written on it. DH and I had the privilege to do a lot last year in day trips and even a couple of other trips. We went to Tybee Island and stayed in a condo last January. That as amazing because after being a teacher for over 30 years, a vacation during the school year is not possible. Well, if you follow the contract it isn't. And, I'm a rule follower.
We've been blessed that we have been able to live on our pensions and Social Security (DH's) and not hit any of our retirement accounts.
I was thinking the other day at how fortunate I truly am. Although DH and I buy each other Christmas gifts and we tell each other ideas, there really wasn't anything that I was so desirous that I would kill to have. When I was younger and struggling, it seemed like there were always things I just had to have. Looking back, I realize how silly that was. Maybe with age comes contentment.
it's been bitter cold here in Central Illinois. It's supposed to continue for the next few days. We did get out and hit the thrift stores yesterday and I felt like we really rocked them. One store had Christmas gift bags that looked like new...9 cents each. I bought over 15 of them. They had a crocheted stocking for 9 cents. It looked like new too. I bought it for the pattern, but will be able to use it as well. All Christmas stuff was 50% off and I bought some small dessert plates to use for cookies and fudge for next year. I washed them when I got home and will store them until next year. I also found three pint canning jars with rings and they were half off so they cost us 60 cents for all three. At another place I found some greeting cards for 15 cents each. I bought a bunch of birthday cards, some Valentine, Easter, and sympathy. I guess I'm not a card snob. One friend says he only buys name brand ones. Good for him. I buy nice ones and try to write something appropriate in them. I figure no one keeps the cards anymore. I know i don't. I read them, appreciate them, and recycle them. DH reads to classes at two schools and he scored some children's books. Allin all, I think we spent less than $20 and felt like we hit the jackpot.
Last summer we were thrifting and I found a kit that had a pattern and medium weight yarn to crochet kitchen towels. It was $2.50 and supposedly had enough materials to make two towels. I took a break from hats and made a towel. I felt it was a success. I made a hat and then made the second towel with the kits. For grins I decided to look up the company. Seems it is a company that you buy a yearly membership in for $9.99 and then each month they send you a kit for a project at the princely sum of $19.99. As much as I liked the kit, there was no way I would have paid almost $20 for it as well as the yearly fee. I felt like I had a good deal. So, one towel will be part of a friend's birthday this spring and the other is a Christmas gift. Guess I've already started my Christmas shopping for 2018!
Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!
I don't know what it is about Christmas, but I feel like my house is one big clutter bucket. I spent this morning trying to get a handle on some things. Our recycling bin is full, which is good. I think part of the problem is I have had so many projects going on here and there and I really don't have a designated area so I tend to move them around and then things get everywhere.
I felt like a Victorian lady this morning writing letters and cards. I have three shut ins I write almost weekly so I got those letters penned. I had some thank you cards to write as well. Then, I got brave and wrote a letter to someone I haven't heard from in almost 30 years. Maybe we will reconnect. We didn't get mad at each other, just drifted apart and she lives three hours away. So, if I hear from her, that will be wonderful and if not, life goes on. I also emailed some greetings this morning and then got some presents ready for the gals who cut our hair.
I do feel a little better having things a little tidier. I just wish I would be more on top of it so I didn't have to do a big long project on getting stuff back in an orderly fashion. Maybe that could be a good goal for 2018.
The past few weeks have been busy. A good busy overall, I think. We've attended free concerts, a free Nativity scene display (over 500), two Christmas teas at historical homes -- also free, and a play which wasn't free. Besides our regular activities, we've shopped, gifted, and visited. Today we are meeting some friends for lunch (cheaper than dinner) to exchange some token gifts. Yesterday we dropped off some gifts, most homemade, to some friends. One lady is 95 -- she has about everything she wants so finding something to give her can be a challenge. I crocheted a Christmas stocking and filled it with peppermints, her favorite candy. I also gave her a plate of fudge. Her son was a little easier. He loves chocolate and I had found a glass sleigh at a thrift shop so I filled it with chocolate candy. Both also received a loaf of snickerdoodle bread. Not major expenses on either gift, but they seemed well received.
We are having doctor's appointments this week. Two for me and one for DH. One is for my glaucoma -- I have to go every 4 months and the other is just a general checkup.
Last week we gifted a friend with a box of canned goods. He had commented how he wished we had enough canned green beans and tomatoes that he could buy some. So this year when DH planted more tomatoes, I canned extra. We gave him canned tomatoes, canned tomato juice, homemade spaghetti sauce, green beans, homemade applesauce, sweet pickles, and some jams and jellies. He was absolutely delighted. He dropped off our gift over the weekend -- what a neat surprise -- he ordered a nice ham for us. My kind of gift -- something we can enjoy and not have sitting around. Funny how as you get older, you don't want the stuff you thought you couldn't live without.
As we roll towards Christmas, I hope you all are not so busy that you can't enjoy the holiday. I know this has been one of the more pleasurable since I did a lot of things ahead of time and I could because I'm retired. I enjoyed going to the free things a lot. Plus, I've taken time to relax. And relax I have this year. I just finished book 99 for 2017. I hope to get at least one more read for the year. I think 100 is a nice round number.
A number of years go we would peruse Pier 1 and there was a set of dishes I had my heart set upon. I really, really wanted them. They were made in Italy and I thought they were simply beautiful. But, alas, we couldn't afford them. I finally gave in and bough one plate. I hung it up on our wall so I could enjoy it.
So, fast forward way over a decade. I still have that plate on my wall. I take it down every so often and wash it and put it back up. I still like it.
Just about every week we go through four thrift stores around us. The past two weeks I've seen a set of these same dishes. It's funny, I still like them, but I have no desire to own them. I think that waiting probably showed me I could live without them. And now I could buy that set from the thrift store. I will admit, I was tempted. Then I thought, where would I put them? Would I really get a lot of use out of them? A number of years ago I donated the fancy China I had simply because I rarely used it. I have the blue willow dishes that I really like and I use them for everything. Plus, We don't have fancy dinner parties. I'm not a gourmet. I cook simple nourishing meals and they are served just fine on my dishes I have.
I am amazed at the kinds of things that we find in the thrift stores. Sure, there's the glass vases that everyone seems to donate. But, I'm talking the good stuff. At least the stuff I like. Most of my blue willow has come from thrift stores and second hand places. All of our drinking glasses come from there. Why pay big prices for a drinking glass when I can get them for 25 or 50 cents and if I break one, I'm not out a lot of money.
Anyway, I tell DH that I guess waiting has taught me a number of things. We see things that I had wanted years ago and couldn't afford...wait a few years and it pops up at thrift stores for a lot less and then I can decide if I really needed it or not. Instant gratification isn't very frugal is it?
Ever have one of those times when you just know you bought something only to discover you hadn't?
I was baking cookie bars using up leftover Halloween candy. The class I work with was going to give them to the police officers they have adopted. I had hoped to bake them with the kids, but the kitchen folks at the school can't have us in there during lunch and because of the early dismissal time (they go to school 7:30 to 2) there wasn't time in the afternoon after the lunches.
Anyway, I thought I'd make a pan of fudge while I was waiting for the cookie bars to finish baking.
So, I got out the ingredients and couldn't find the marshmallow creme. I just knew I had some. So, I tore up the pantry looking for it. Nope, not there. I did consolidate some things so one good thing came of it. I refused to make an extra trip to buy some, so it will have to wait until another day.
A big thanks to Bluebird for the generous gift to my church's knitting group! The ladies were amazed that someone that didn't know us was so kind and thoughtful!
This has been an interesting week.
On Thursday we took a bus trip to Arlington Heights Race Track (Chicagoland) for the Lambs Farm Craft Show. We weren't sure of what to expect since we have not been to the race track or the craft show before. Apparently Lambs Farm helps developmentally disabled folks and the craft show is a huge fund raiser. The track buildings were quite large and two floors housed the craft show. It was all inside. We were intrigued by the track and I looked it up online and apparently it is owned by Churchill Downs...you know, Kentucky Derby fame. The craft show was huge. We didn't buy much and we didn't plan to. We really wanted to go for the experience. I did find some crocheted things and I was shocked at the high prices...hats like the ones we make were around $12 to $15. I saw crocheted flower pins for $8. It was a fun day and I'm glad we went. I don't think I would do it again simply because I'm not much of a shopper.
I have had a ongoing frustrating experience at our Kroger. We used to buy a certain bread and they would usually not have it. So, we found a store brand that we liked as well. Except, they now have problems keeping it on the shelves. We have to find someone to go in the back and look for it. We usually shop on Thursdays, and the trucks come in early morning Thursdays. It would usually depend on the clerk on whether we would get the bread. Those that cared would bring some out; others we think just said they went back to look. Well, we wound shopping Friday of this week due to the bus trip. Friday right after lunch before it gets crazy busy. Well, we get there and no bread. And most of the bread section was riddled. We asked someone and he claimed there was no bread. I was fed up. We paid for our other groceries and came home. I did the krogerfeedback.com thing with the id number and complained that for a store that has a computer inventorying system, they shouldn't have a lack of bread right before a weekend and whomever is in charge of stocking the bread should check it more often so it isn't half empty of all the different breads. I heard from a manager and she called on Saturday morning and said she was sorry and they had the bread in the back (how interesting it appeared less than 24 hours later) and she hoped we would return. Well, we went back yesterday and the bread section was riddled again and the kind we wanted wasn't there. Of course there was no one near that section. We went to the diary section and the nice young man said he would find someone. Well, he must have had as much trouble finding someone because he came back out and asked exactly what we wanted and he came back out with the two loaves of bread. We thanked him, especially since it wasn't his grocery section. We go to the checkout and I commented to the cashier about how frustrating this has become. Apparently the manager was within ear shot...she gave us the bread free. Guess it pays to complain.
The other thing that happened this week actually started a couple of weeks ago. DH and I really like English murder mysteries and we have been enjoying Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Anyway, a few weeks ago I discovered Midsomer Murders has a Facebook page and I liked it. They held a contest to make a bingo card with things from the show. I made one and it was a real fun thing to do. I didn't expect to win, but thought it was something interesting to do. Well, a couple of days later I get a private message through Facebook and they said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me a tea towel and I should include my address in a reply. I did, but to be honest, since I live in the United States, I didn't really expect to receive a towel. Well, I received it a couple of days ago. That was a nice surprise! Here's a photo of the towel:
It's a lovely warm Sunday here in Central Illinois. It is almost 55 degrees and sunny. Amazing for the end of November.
After church we came home and had brunch. We cleaned up and DH went to nap and I worked on the church's Facebook page, paid bills, and then reconciled the checkbook.
A local church advertised that they were going to show a large collection of Nativity scenes. Nativity scenes have always had a place in my heart. When I was a little girl, a neighbor had one and I was just amazed by it. My parents bought me one for Christmas when I was eight. I still own it and I still put it out. That was 49 years ago. Yikes, I'm old! Anyway, we toured the display and there were all kinds of them in all different styles. I didn't know Fisher Price came out with one.
The church had it well planned with tables set up and arrows to show you and each one had a card telling who owned it and any history that was known. Funny thing, I have never seen one like the one I own. Some of the ones we saw today were as old if not older. So, maybe mine is unique. After the tour, they had a table with home made cookies and punch and a grand piano with an excellent pianist. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and best of all, it was free.
I noticed that most of the people coming through were in their 60s and 70s. I commented to DH. I said I guess it is the older folks who realize what a lovely way to spend an afternoon and one doesn't have to spend money to do it.
Now that I have viewed them, I'm ready to get mine out. Other than the gas to drive to the church and back home, it was a reasonably priced way to spend the afternoon and makes me appreciate what I have even more.
This has been a whirlwind week and I'm tired, but it is a good tired.
It started last Sunday with a blessing of the hats that were knitted by our group at church. Then after church, a friend and I counted out hats to the two schools that would receive them. One had over 220 kids and the other over 440 kids. Plus, we needed to count out the gloves.
On Monday we made our first delivery. Our Pastor and some of the ladies went with us and we walked around to the rooms and showed them a sampling of the hats and showed them the knitting looms we made them on. After we left, the ladies and Pastor were shocked at the poverty so many of our children live in. They said they realized why I had suggested this project. We did the same on Thursday for the other school. Again, the folks were surprised at the poverty and how many kids had so little. I guess if you don't work in this environment, you don't always realize it is there. On Monday the local TV station came out and did a very short story and on Thursday the local paper did a story. Here are the urls if you wish to see these:
I know I've been blogging a lot about this project, but it has been near and dear to my heart. I just wish we could have done more. We are a small church and I feel at least we helped some children.
In other things, DH and I had two day trips this week. One was to St. Louis and the Italian neighborhood called "The Hill." Part of the bus trip included the lunch. We had a grand time exploring the Italian groceries and other shops and bakeries. Yesterday we had another bus trip to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. DH usually picks out some clothes he wants at the Penneys there. We no longer have a Penneys locally. So, we came home exhausted from that, but it was a great time.
Pastor stopped me at church today and said that because of the publicity on the hats, we have had phone calls to church and that people are wanting more information about joining out knitting group. So, that made me happy...maybe we can reach more kids!
I'm still tired from everything this week, but it is a good tired. It was all good this week, from the knitting, the delivering, and the eating and shopping.
I have blogged here and there about the knitting group at church and the fact we have been making hats to donate to high poverty schools near us. We have a total of 805 hats sitting in tubs ready for us to count out and deliver. This total was made in less than 12 months and it was fascinating to see how people wanted to be a part of the action.
Last spring I contacted a friend who writes for the paper and she came out and interviewed and did a story. Our group was averaging about 4 people every other week to come and knit. The reporter commented we welcome others and could use donations of yarn or money. There was a sudden influx of yarn and I think we had about $40 donated as well. The best part is we had some new people join the group. Plus we had some other people contact one of the ladies and say they wanted to knit and give us hats and they did.
Then I was watching the local news and the sports director made a comment that it was going to be a boring sports night and he might take up knitting. I challenged him to come and join the group and he did and he did a sweet story on us. Our group grew again. And, we received even more yarn donations!
One of my friends who doesn't have time to knit or come to the group buys yarn and donates it because she feels it is such a worthy cause. Another of my friends doesn't belong to our church but she has been a faithful knitter.
Our original plan was to adopt a few classrooms and give them hats and then find funds to buy Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and pencils.
One member of the congregation said he would like to purchase gloves to go with the hats as long as no one knew he did it.
Then some other folks decided to knit some scarves. We don't have a ton of them, but we do have some to match some hats.
Anyway, next week we will begin our deliveries. We have enough hats to adopt two schools kindergarten through sixth grade with hats, gloves, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and pencils. We have 74 other hats to go to a school down the street from our church. And we are going to give 22 hats and matching scarves to a case worker for a child and family service agency.
It is amazing how this little project has snowballed in less than a year. We started with four regulars coming to the knitting group and we have between 12-16 attending and knitting. It is heart warming to see how so many wanted to become involved not for the recognition but because it touched their hearts.
I'm talking 84 dozen cookies...let me explain. It's been a roller coaster week. A dear lady from church passed away unexpectedly. She was 89, but you wouldn't have known it to observe her. She was a whirlwind. She had a stroke, went into a coma, and then peacefully slipped away.
The funeral was quite nice and she had a huge family. I feel sorry for her husband. They were devoted to each other and I imagine he will be quite lonely.
There were many things that she was involved in at church and we are now all trying to figure out how to keep many of these things going. Our annual Christmas bazaar is coming up and we all bake cookies. One of the chairs announced we all need to step up...the lady who just passed away baked 84 dozen cookies for the bazaar. She used to bake 100 dozen, but at 88, she figured she should cut back. I can't imagine baking that many cookies. Yikes! But, some of us have talked among ourselves and we are going to try and bake far more to make up for her not being there and providing.
So, I'm currently searching for cookie recipes that can be made ahead and frozen. I really don't want to spend the week before baking dozens and dozens of cookies. I have one recipe that I know freezes well. I have been stocking up on butter, flour, and sugar. So I guess I better get busy. But, I'm not up to 84 dozen cookies.
Not a whole lot to report. I've kept busy doing this and that around here. Today I'm doing some cleaning. I have a tea pot collection. I like blue willow and through the years I have been given tea pots and we have bought some. I have them displayed on a shelf over the sliding glass doors. I asked DH if he would get them down so I have them washed. They weren't really too bad, but I like to keep on top of things so they don't get really dusty or dirty. As I washed them, it made me think about the lovely designs and where they were made and what company. I had forgotten that one of the more unique ones was designed in England but hand painted in the Philippines. Pretty cool
I also starting addressing Christmas cards. Yes, I know it isn't even the first of November. I just dread addressing them. I know they are an expense and the postage keeps going up, but most of the people we send them to are not online. For some they are our annual catch up time. Anyway, I feel better having started them. I found a couple of boxes of new cards at thrift stores this year for little to nothing. I feel that helps with the cost. I have been crocheting small ornaments to put in each card. The ornaments are basically free other than my work. I am using crochet thread I already had. I will need to iron and starch them, but I have enjoyed making them so hopefully people will enjoy receiving them.
Other than a few items for DH for Christmas, I have the bulk of any shopping finished. We do give tips to the gals who cut our hair. I buy a few gifts for friends, but supplement them with either things I've canned or made so it keeps the cost down. I enjoy doing this sort of thing and hopefully the receivers enjoy getting them. We have a Christmas club so whatever we spend, the money is there so we don't go into debt. I just can't fathom going deep into debt for Christmas. I like being generous, but I don't think I could handle seeing a big debt.
It's a cool, dreary day here. Just the right kind to make me want to clean so our home feels cozy.
Last week a weekly local paper in their legal notices listed all the delinquent property taxes in real estate for the year of 2016. I should have kept the paper and tallied up how much the county is owed by these folks. It's no wonder we have problems paying our bills in the county. I always read through it to make sure our names are not in it, in case we weren't credited with our tax bill payment or forgot something. Sadly, I saw names of people I knew. Two couples seem to have their names in it each year. I wonder if they pay the penalty and pay them off or if they are eventually going to have their home sold or auctioned off for taxes.
One couple that I know was listed and it just makes me sad. Their taxes weren't hugely expensive. I don't know the wife, just of her, but I know the mister and he works six days a week. He's 62 years old and he looks twenty years older. He works as a butcher in a chain grocery store -- he has for over 38 years that I know of. We were shopping and I noticed him going through the clearance rack getting some bread, cereal, and some other item, all incredibly marked down for his lunch. I wonder if they are living hand to mouth. It's not anything I would ask. I know he drives an older car so it isn't like he's blowing money on fast automobiles. I also wonder why he doesn't pack a lunch instead of buying something each day unless the store frowns on them bringing lunches.
I sort of wonder what happened in his life. I was in high school when I met him; I was working for Coca-Cola working at grocery stores giving out samples in the late 1970s. He was a butcher then and single, and seemingly doing well. Then our lives separated because I went to college and he was moved to a different store. Then about three years ago he was transferred to the store we frequent and we recognized each other and greeted each other.
I know I'm blessed. I have a wonderful husband and we usually see eye to eye on expenses. We both have pensions and we have money saved. Our home is paid off. And we are enjoying retirement. My friend asked me how I could retire before he did -- he's 8 years old than I. I said I planned for retirement and left it at that. I sort of wonder if that is why they are having problems. I think a big part of life's troubles is due to lack of planning. I realize there are things that happen in people's lives they can't control, but for so many, they grumble about not being able to retire because there was no forethought.
Anyway, it really kind of made me sad thinking of my friend. I hope they get the taxes paid on their home. I don't know them well enough to even inquire about finances. Just someone from my past and my observation.
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