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Delayed Gratification Can Be Frugal

December 8th, 2017 at 08:04 pm

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?

Tore up the pantry

December 6th, 2017 at 04:24 pm

Ever have one of those times when you just know you bought something only to discover you hadn't?


Grrrr!

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.

Thank you, Bluebird!

December 3rd, 2017 at 09:13 pm

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:

A relaxing Sunday

November 26th, 2017 at 09:44 pm

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! Smile 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.

A Good Tired

November 19th, 2017 at 10:45 pm

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:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/stitches-of-love-delivers-a-load-of-hats-to-franklin/article_30e028e5-fd19-5af2-a10a-7a3ef2cf8ba0.html

http://www.wandtv.com/story/36834283/decatur-church-helps-keep-kids-warm

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.

The Snowball Effect

November 8th, 2017 at 06:44 pm








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.

84 Dozen

November 5th, 2017 at 09:28 pm

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.

Keeping up

October 30th, 2017 at 06:03 pm

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.

Sad Observation

October 27th, 2017 at 07:51 pm

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.

Staying Busy in the Kitchen

October 21st, 2017 at 09:41 pm

It's been busy around here. Weather forecasters are predicting a freeze a week from today. It shouldn't be a shock, it is October, but we want to make sure certain things are completed if the forecast freeze comes to fruition.

I have been cutting herbs, washing them, and getting them ready to air dry. I had 3 herbs done before today. Today I did the last two. I think our neighbors think we are nuts, but DH loves growing herbs, I like using both fresh and dried, and with the cost of herbs in the store, I'm sure we save a bunch of money. I know the neighbor was giving me an odd look today. I was sitting in a lawn chair pulling off the best of the basil leaves. It was easier than bending over or crouching. Of course I don't think the neighbor eats much of anything that is natural.

I decided to make some sage tea with some of the leaves. I guess it is supposed to be pretty healthy. It's not bad. I don't usually put any sweetener in my tea so it is a little different straight, but I have lots of fresh sage and I'd prefer to use it.

I also chopped a bunch of bell peppers to stash in the freezer. DH picked what was left and pulled up the plants. We picked tomatoes today. It is crazy, but the plants are still producing and a couple of them even have blossoms.

I told George I felt like a medicine woman with these herbs. After reading all the great things they supposedly do, I feel like we are dealing with things holistically.

I found a nice butternut squash at Aldi. I roasted it today and am in the process of making soup. That should make a lovely meal tomorrow; it is supposed to rain most of the day. I cooked a whole chicken in the Crockpot today so I have lots of fresh broth for the soup.

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.


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