Years ago I had a sewing machine. It was my grandmother's. Big heavy "portable" thing that you had to be a weight lifter to put it on a table. I used it. A lot. I then decided to buy a newer machine with a cabinet. My mom was an expert on machines and she picked it out and we brought it home. We both used it. She used it far more than I did. When I moved out, I gave it to her since she was using it more than I did. When she died, I didn't have room for it, so I gave it to one of her friends who had a daughter who wanted a machine. It's been ten years since my mom died.
Since I am retired, I have time to do more than just sew on a button. I decided I wanted a machine. I found one at a thrift store for $20. It isn't perfect, but it works. It also isn't as heavy as my grandmother's. I have no idea what happened to my grandmother's machine, by the way. This one has a few problems, but for the little bit of sewing I plan to do, it is workable.
Yesterday I decided I wanted to try and make a cloth grocery bag. I had no pattern, but I measured one and made my own pattern. As I'm pinning the pieces together I just felt a degree of satisfaction. I won't be making anything big or fancy, but it certainly is nice to make something I can use. I bought some scrap material for $1 and I didn't use it all, so my bag will be less than a $1 when I get it finished. I decided to crochet the handles so I'm not quite finished with it.
There is something so satisfying to creating something and finishing it, isn't there?
I think I may have mentioned a group from church where we knit hats on looms. One of the reports for the local paper is a school chum and I told her about our goal of making more hats than this year and adopting some classes next year and giving them hats. The story did make the paper and as a result, we have had four people donate some yarn and a couple more promise. It's kind of nice when people like to get involved. Anyway, here's the link to the story if you are interested:
To follow up on an earlier post, I did cancel the subscription to the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It wasn't easy. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Trib and I haven't seen it published, but received another phone call this morning begging me to reconsider. I refused. DH said he didn't want me to have to bother with it anymore and I'm relieved.
Hope your Friday is a good one and if you are Irish or Irish wannabe, hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day!
Years ago I had a sewing machine. It was my grandmother's. Big heavy "portable" thing that you had to be a weight lifter to put it on a table. I used it. A lot. I then decided to buy a newer machine with a cabinet. My mom was an expert on machines and she picked it out and we brought it home. We both used it. She used it far more than I did. When I moved out, I gave it to her since she was using it more than I did. When she died, I didn't have room for it, so I gave it to one of her friends who had a daughter who wanted a machine. It's been ten years since my mom died.
Fixed lunch a few minutes ago. Used leftover pork roast to make pulled pork. It was pretty decent. Tonight will be leftover pork chops with baked sweet potatoes and a salad. Last night we had chicken I lightly breaded and baked. The chicken breasts were so thick that I sliced them in half so we have enough for another meal. Yesterday for lunch we had chicken noodle soup which was leftover from Sunday's supper. We tend to repurpose leftovers around here. I do like the idea of cooking once and getting a couple of meals out of it. I still have so much soup left I will be freezing it for another time. A pretty good deal for a whole chicken I got for 69 cents a pound.
Now that I am retired, I try to volunteer. I was not a happy camper yesterday. State testing is going on in the public schools in Illinois and I know how stressful it can be. I volunteered to help out. That means more than just showing up. I had to watch some required videos and sign off on them before the testing. I asked what time I needed to be there yesterday and was told 8 a.m. I got there a few minutes before and the person then realized the first set of testing wouldn't start for an hour. She hadn't bothered to check her schedule. I was not pleased. I realize I am retired, but that is a waste of my time to sit around for an hour. Schools aren't exactly comfortable spots to just lounge around. She sort of apologized, but I didn't say too much. For years I had run the state testing in the buildings I was assigned to. If I had anyone kind enough to volunteer, I made sure they had the exact time they were needed, followed up if things changed, and made sure they were felt appreciated.
A few years ago my husband who is retired from the library and quite a fabulous reader of children's books volunteered to read each week in one of my schools. The two teachers decided they couldn't set a time that he could read back to back so he read at one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon. I told him not to agree to that because it wasn't a good use of his time, but he didn't want to upset anyone. So, he would show up in the morning, read for 30 minutes and then leave and show up a couple of hours later to do the same. These same teachers would conveniently forget when they were going to be gone on field trips or something else came up and he would show up and they would tell him he couldn't come in or one time they weren't even there and he walked into an empty classroom. The following year I told him not to even think about volunteering for those teachers. I lined it up for him to volunteer in another teacher's room. She stayed in the room with him (which is what teachers are supposed to do), thanked him profusely every time he read, and if something came up, told both him and me ahead of time.
Being disrespectful of a volunteer's time is one way to make sure one doesn't eagerly volunteer again. Sorry I had to just vent.
Earlier I wrote about our struggles with receiving the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It has been ongoing. We would get it a Sunday or two and then not get it. I would call, email, message, and it never seemed to help. I have decided it isn't the paper carrier. I believe it is the same one who delivers our local paper and she is top notch. I believe it is whomever distributes the paper downstate. We haven't received the darn thing the past three Sundays. DH stopped into Walgreens where he can sometimes snag a copy and they were sold out, but the clerk told him something interesting...the week before last they didn't get the Sunday paper until Tuesday. We haven't had horrible weather around this time, so there really isn't an excuse.
I have called their number on Sunday mornings and get the blasted automation system which says we will receive a replacement paper in 90 minutes. Yeah, right. Call me skeptical because it has never happened. And it didn't.
The past three Sundays no paper and I call on Monday, and get it promised it will be delivered if not later in the day, on Tuesday. No paper, Then I call on Tuesday and they will credit my account. What good is it to credit my account when I don't get a paper. It isn't like I'm going to get interest on this so called credit.
Each time I call, I get someone who cannot pronounce my first name correctly. It is Debbie. I can't imagine that being THAT hard. They can't pronounce our street name nor our city. I finally asked where their calling center was located. He said Philippines, but I really think it is India. The guy yesterday promised me a newspaper within an hour and a half. I told him we are three hours away from Chicago and I rather doubt if anyone wa going to speed and drive here to give us a paper. I asked to cancel and was given he same spiel I was given last week. Basically, give us a chance, we promise you will get the paper Sunday. etc. I told them I wanted to talk to someone from Chicago and he promised someone would call me later in the day. I kept my cell phone with me and no call. Not a surprise. I called this morning, got another person who couldn't pronounce my name or city or street name, started in with the same verbal garbage about giving them another chance and I just said I was tired of it all, I had better things to do with my life than call about a newspaper that wasn't being delivered and no, I didn't want to access it online. My husband wants a real newspaper, he doesn't read things on devices and I wanted the coupons, so cancel. She argued and I told her again I wanted it canceled and the credit to be returned to me. Supposedly it is done. We shall see.
Sunday afternoon here in the Midwest. We didn't get the snow they predicted yesterday. It wasn't going to be much, but still glad it missed us. Overall, we haven't had too bad of a winter so far, but we do need some precip. I would just prefer it wasn't snow or ice. Picky, aren't I? There's a chance of snow tomorrow. Fortunately if there is snow, we don't have to go anywhere.
We went to a small town near here (Arthur) for the Home and Garden Show yesterday. Other than the money for gas, we didn't spend anything at the show. We go most years because we like to look at the booths because many of them are Amish businesses. Some of the handiwork is nothing short of amazing. We did stop by the Amish bulk grocery and buy a few things. They were planned. We stopped at a thrift store too, but didn't buy anything.
After church and brunch here at home, I usually pay bills, and update our church's Facebook page and then head over here. It seems like I'm visiting old friends as we keep up with each other.
Not much to report new really. Last night I fixed a pork roast and we will have pulled pork sandwiches from the leftovers for a lunch or two. I also made chicken noodle soup for tonight's supper. I bought some whole chickens on sale about a month ago and fixed one that week and put one in the freezer. It made it's appearance this week for a couple of meals and I used the leftover chicken and broth for the soup we will have tonight and probably for lunch one day this week. I did our weekly grocery shopping on Thursday (one big advantage of being retired) and I planned meals for this week before going. I just can't imagine not planning meals to some degree.
I don't miss packing lunches for work. I would often take leftovers, but I still don't miss that. I have a friend who is always complaining she has no money, but often puts on Facebook where she had lunch. Granted, she hits fast food, but even that can rack up quite a bit if you eat out every day. If she has to work overtime, she moans and groans on Facebook how hungry she is. I really want to tell her to grow up. She knows she has to work overtime on these occasions so why not pack something to heat up or eat later? Guess I'm kind of snarky. I have suggested she read stuff on this site when she has complained about being broke and she informed me she knows how to save money. She might know, but unfortunately she doesn't use that knowledge if her posts about being broke are true. That is the key, isn't it? Use what you know.
The newspaper came out to do a story on the knitting group at church. It is supposed to run sometime this week I think. We are making hats to donate to the public schools next fall. I counted the hats we have made so far on Thursday and we had 70 made. That's pretty good for just a few ladies working together. One lady joked if we keep up this pace, we might be able to adopt a whole school. Wouldn't that be something?
Hope you all have a great week!
It's Sunday afternoon and there's a routine around here. We attend church in the morning, come home and have brunch, clean up, and then DH goes to finish the newspaper and I head to the computer. I update our church's Facebook page and then pay bills, then relax by perusing SA blogs. Not a bad routine at all.
After reading folks' blogs and then seeing a gal I went to high school with, I realize both DH and I were very blessed to have the jobs we had for as long as we had. DH graduated college and intended to be a high school history teacher. Well, he didn't coach and in the late 60s and early 70s, that was pretty much an unwritten requirement. He worked a couple of different jobs here and there and then found a job on the public library's bookmobile. He worked there 35 years and loved it. He enjoyed books, liked helping people, and every day was different.
My start was a bit different. I wound up working about 5 different jobs before I was hired full time as a teacher for the public schools. There were times I worked two jobs and did some free lance writing to make money. But, I never forgot what a struggle it was. When I was hired, I remember what my dad told me when I was 16 and getting my first job -- go in early, do more than they expect, give more time, and never stop learning. He said you never want to give your employer a reason to fire you. I realize there are always circumstances beyond one's control, but he was right. I never was fired from a job so I guess I was very fortunate.
As I mentioned, I saw a friend I went to high school with and she just was laid off from her current job. She had hoped to stay with it until she retired at 62, but no such luck. It wasn't too long ago she was laid off from another job because of money problems with the place she worked. They had to cut back and she and a couple of others lost their jobs. I told DH I guess we were really lucky to have the same jobs for over 30 years.
I'm not sure what I would tell someone starting out looking for employment other than to not stop learning. When I was home on break during college, I worked as a reporter for a small newspaper. Back then, there were typesetting machines that you typed into and you saw one line at a time. You had to learn different keys to center stuff and to quad left and so on. One of the typesetters called in sick and the other one asked me if I wanted to come back and learn to fill in. I did with the editor's blessing. It worked out for all of us because when we would get close to deadline, he would put me on the typesetting machine because I could edit and type at the same time when time was short. Back at college I worked part-time for both the publishing company of my college and then for another publishing company which helped me pay for my school. Now typesetting is defunct with all the fancy computers, but because I was willing to learn it helped me finish college with no debt.
Anyway, just thought I'd say I feel very blessed and hope others seeking employment find worthy work of their talents and skills.
That sums up my feelings right now. I thought digging out DH's old pedometer would save me some money. I don't want to invest in an expensive FitBit or anything. So, I went and got a new battery...DH hasn't used it in years, went through all the trouble to unscrew all those little dinky screws to get it replaced. Then, it took me about a day to figure it out since DH has no idea where the little instructional book is. I finally got it figured out yesterday afternoon and did record some steps. I was all primed today to use it...did my morning exercise, went grocery shopping, and while cleaning, knocked the darn thing off my waist band. I will be giving it a proper funeral in a few minutes after I dissect it to get out the nearly new battery. Well, phooey! No good deed goes unpunished.
As I go through some of my desk drawers, I have a bunch of stamps and a few stamp pads. I really used to enjoy stamping things. I never got into it hot and heavy like some, but usually at Christmas I would stamp some Christmas decoration on the envelope, and the same for birthdays and greeting cards.
Just for fun, I priced stamp pads the other day when I was at a sewing center. Holy cow! They have certainly gone up in price since the many years ago I purchased a couple. I also looked at an office supply store and they were cheaper, but they only had black and red.
I still have a couple of stamp pads and I have some ink to refresh one of them so I did that and have been using the stamps on a few of my cards and letters.
I guess I'm a dying breed because I still send birthday cards, sympathy cards, get well cards and even thank you notes. Of course with schools not teaching cursive, people may not even be able to read cursive in a few years. Sad commentary when you think they will not be able to read historical documents like the Declaration of Independence. Anyway, I still write letters to some people and I like embellish the envelopes.
Do you know if folks still enjoy using their stamp pads? I figure since I'm not spending anything, I can still enjoy using them.
This will be a potpourri since I don't have one really important thing to say.
Every so often, we share food with a few of our friends. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy sharing food, even if we can't meet for a meal. We had a surprise this week...someone called and said they had a surprise. They had grilled pork and gave us enough for two meals of pulled pork. Yum!
Someone on Facebook posted about instead of giving up something for Lent, how about collect a plastic bag of stuff to donate each day. That sounds like a great idea, but we have been giving stuff regularly anyway, so I'm thinking maybe of finding something each day to donate instead of 40 bags.
When I retired I joined a group at church called "Stitches of Love." The purpose of the group was to knit and crochet items to donate to various places. In the past they had crocheted lap robes. They recently started working on round knitting looms and made hats. We made hats and I took them to a few schools and they were passed out. It was fine and the schools appreciated them. However, a friend and I decided to adopt a classroom this year and we made hats for the whole class and the teacher and took them in. The kids loved knowing they were made for them. So, I brought this idea to the group and it has been interesting about the reaction. We decided to try and ask other Lutheran churches to join us and suddenly there is a zeal we haven't seen. It is pretty exciting to see people wanting to get involved with this. My DH said it is like we have a new purpose. So, that is kind of cool.
As far as grocery shopping, I've just been buying fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, and dairy. I'm trying to use up things in the freezer and pantry. It has certainly made our grocery bill go down the past few weeks. I have tried to be creative in using some of the stuff too. Hopefully that is a good thing.
It's a sunny, but windy Sunday here in Central Illinois! At least it is warmer. We had some pretty frigid temperatures Wednesday and Thursday. Now it seems almost like spring. I just hope it isn't getting our hopes up. I know I have been looking at a small garden area and asking DH if we should do a little fix up before planting. When we moved here almost 19 years ago, there were yard timbers outlining the small area where there were plantings. Well, like most things, they don't last forever and some are really rotting away. Neither of us are really handy, but I thought we could pull them out and replace them with some of the landscape stones or pieces to keep them separate from the lawn itself. We shall see.
We attended church and came home and did our usual brunch of scrambled eggs, cheesy grits, sausage, toast, and fruit. I'm thinking I'd like to fix some chili -- I am going to try and use more from the freezer and pantry. A friend gave me some of the beef she bought when she bought half a cow. This was for my birthday and I'm not complaining one bit. I have beans and I have canned tomatoes, so adding some onion and mushroom and spices, it should be a decent Sunday night supper. I like chili anytime and fortunately DH is a soup lover so that works out.
Because of my asthma problems, I didn't do my weekly grocery shopping which usually means Aldi then Kroger. DH and I went Friday and just did Kroger simply because after volunteering on Friday, I was tired and didn't think I could face going to two stores. Fortunately we didn't need a ton of stuff, but I do believe we spent about $20 more than if we had gotten the bulk of stuff I buy on a weekly basis at Aldi. I buy eggs, fruits and vegetables, and some dairy at Aldi.
I wasn't happy when we received our power bill. When we were gone for two weeks, we turned the heat down to 62. Our house is pretty well insulated and we have newer energy efficient windows as well as an energy efficient furnace. It was a little lower than usual, but not that much lower. I'm thinking for two weeks we didn't use as much heat and certainly not as much power since we weren't home running the washer/dryer, television, wifi, etc. I had unplugged some things like the modem and wifi as well as the television. And, we had colder temperatures the month before so I didn't think our power bill would be as much as it was. Must be all those stupid fees they tack on. Our water bill was far less since we were gone for those two weeks. I'm glad. I was going to wonder if we had someone living in our house while were away!
I continue to work on the rug I'm crocheting. I think so far, I have about $2 worth of yarn in it. I'm sure it will be more since I'm not close to being finished, but when you get full skeins for 50 cents each, it does mean you aren't spending as much.
As I have blogged before, I try to use up the bits and pieces of yarn to make things. A friend of ours runs a tea room and they have a vinyl floor. I asked her if she could use Swiffer covers and she said sure. So, we gave her two yesterday and you would have thought I had given her gold! Each week we save our egg cartons, cottage cheese containers, and other plastic lidded containers for her and they reuse them. She has chickens and sells her eggs and the cartons come in handy. I told her it was always such a pleasure to bring her things because she is always so appreciative.
OK, only in Illinois would there be a piece of legislation stating October is Zombie Preparedness Month.
Granted, the person wants folks to be prepared for natural disasters, but even that goes beyond the norm for sensationalism. Yikes!
OK, I'm not really on true house arrest, but figured if the news can be sensational maybe I should too.
DH suggested I remain at home today and out of the cold air so instead of my volunteering and grocery shopping, I remained inside. I will say it was a nice day. DH left to volunteer and walk at the mall. I watched a movie he wouldn't have liked, did some crocheting, and watched a television show he doesn't like as well as some laundry, and breathing treatments. I can honestly say it was a no spend day for me.
Supper is going to be sausage and cheese quiche with a green salad. I'm using up some sausage and eggs have been really reasonable lately. I am struggling with the fact I'm out of my routine of grocery shopping...I do find that rut so very comfortable.
Today looks like a no spend day. Not planning on going anywhere. DH plans to volunteer at a school where he goes each Wednesday and then walk at the mall. I intend to stay home. We had a major weather change in the past 24 hours so my asthma has kicked up. We were 63 degrees yesterday and the temperature dropped almost 30 degrees last night and they are calling for a chance of snow. Yuck.
Yesterday we dropped off some things at the thrift store we donate to. The profits support the Lutheran School Association that is near and dear to us. We went to the library and checked out some materials so that was a good day. Fixed all meals at home. And a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile called and we caught up so it was a pretty good day overall.
Monday was a spendy day to an extent. The thrift store I mentioned before had just restocked and we bought a bunch of canning jars. I mistakenly thought I had enough last fall when I was canning, so I don't want to find myself in that situation again. I also bought some yarn there...50 cents a skein. I wasn't planning on buying anymore yarn until I had used up what I had. I was close, but not quiet. But the yarn I bought i wanted it to try and crochet a bathroom rug. We also met another couple we haven't seen in awhile for dinner so it was a nice day overall.
Tomorrow will be a day to spend...grocery shopping. But it won't be too much since we have lots of stuff in the pantry and freezer. It will mostly be fresh fruits, bread, and some dairy. So, not bad spending, I guess.
I've noticed that many have posted about eating from your pantry and freezer. I need to do that more because I'm blessed to have both filled. I do need to use up a lot of the food.
Since I've retired, I've gotten back to crocheting. I'm not an expert by any means, but I can do a few things. I joined a group at church called "Stitches of Love" and we make things to donate. Our current projects have been making hats on knitting looms. We have donated to some of our public schools since winter is upon us. And it is fun, kind of like what I would think a quilting bee would be like. But one unfortunate part is we often have left over bits and pieces of yarn. So, I've been working on things to use that leftover yarn. I have made covers for my Swiffer and also donated some of the covers to the church's bazaar. I've given some away. Right now I'm making dish cloths. My goal is to have one for each day of the week so I can use it and then have a fresh one. I'm pretty close to having those made for myself. I've given some away so that's why I haven't reached my goal. I at least feel like I'm using up the yarn. I don't want to get in the habit of buying yarn before using up what I have. I checked out some books on crochet and one suggested crocheting a rug so maybe that could be my next project.
The other thing I need to work on using up is paper and stationery. I am old school and I write letters and send cards. Egad...that ages me, doesn't it? Actually, I have a couple of elderly friends who enjoy getting mail. And I will admit, I've hit the thrift stores and bought cards and stationery. I need to use what I have before I buy anymore. I rather doubt if they care if I use the same stationery or card each week.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Since My English Castle posted about having some lima beans and the fact they are haunting them...I thought for the fun of it, I'd ask my Facebook friends what they thought. My question was simple, do you like lima beans? The results were interesting and closer than I imagined they would be: 36 said yes and 45 said no. Those who said no, were adamant they disliked them. Many of the those who said yes often added they had to be fixed a certain way or in soup.
As you can tell, I am easily amused.
It has been a busy week getting back into the swing of things so to speak. DH and I both did our volunteer stuff, plus grocery shopping and all those other things you have to do to keep up with stuff.
When we were on vacation, we picked up sea shells to share with the classes we volunteer in. I did a little presentation for the fifth grade class showing them the beach and Civil War forts. This class is fairly high poverty so I imagine very few will ever travel outside of our city unless they travel to visit family. All the classes seemed to appreciate we thought of them while we were away.
There is nothing like appreciating your home after you have been away. The kitchenette in the condo was tiny. It worked, but I feel like my kitchen is huge now so maybe that is a very good thing. I also appreciate having a stocked pantry and freezer. I cooked while we were away, but cooking is far more fun in my own place. I fixed a pork loin roast for supper last night and we are going to have pulled pork sandwiches for supper tonight. I like it when you can cook once and eat twice off of stuff.
Last summer we went to a friend's garage sale and I picked up some crochet thread. It was her mom's and it had some age to it. I finished a scarf for a shelf last night. I'm trying to do projects to not only keep my hands limber, but there is something about making something that is so very satisfying. I don't have a lot of money in it so that doesn't hurt.
It is a dreary day with some snow flurries. We had some sun yesterday and it is amazing how that little bit of sunshine lifted so many spirits.
I was reading some of the other blogs and one person had posted about the things they did this month to save money. One thing I did a few months ago was to change our cell phone plan. We had a plan and when I decided to get a smart phone a couple of years ago, the salesperson told me I HAD to have so much data. I didn't think I would use that much, but stupid me, I went with it. He promised me I could lower the amount. Well, I tried, and he did walk me through lowering it a little bit, but I felt like we were paying for far too many minutes and far too much data. We went with Consumer Cellular a couple of months ago. My old phone was shot so we bought wo new phones...I got another smart phone and DH got a flip phone which is what he wanted. Other than buying the phones outright, the rest of it was easy and a lot cheaper. We are paying a lot less, over half in fact. I'm happier with my phone than I was with the other one that was far more expensive. DH likes his new phone too -- bigger numbers and less features. He had a flip phone before, but it had far more on it than he would ever need. So, I think it another month, the savings we have gotten over switching will have paid for the new phones. The service is fine and guess what? I haven't used all the data and I'm paying for less than half of what that rep at the other company claimed I had to have!
Hope you all are having a great Sunday.
I haven't been around for over two weeks. No, I wasn't boycotting SA. I was either getting things ready or away on vacation. Yep, you read that correctly...two weeks of vacation. Never in my life have I been on vacation that long. It as something we had planned and saved for. In fact, we've been planning this for a few years. A goal we had once I retired was to rent a condo in Savannah, Georgia, and spend some time there. A friend suggested we rent one on Tybee Island so we did.
It was an enjoyable time, but I can say from my perspective, two weeks is too long. I missed my home. I missed my routines (does that mean I'm getting old and crotchety?).
We planned to eat out some, but we ate the bulk of our meals at the condo. I took many non perishables and we bought some fresh stuff while there. There is an IGA on the island and we made friends with the butcher. I asked him to tenderize some meat and he told me it would be a little bit because he had to clean the machine...fine with us. But get this, we were going to come back to the meat case but we didn't have to. He found us and delivered the meat to us! I felt like Tybee was a small town. We had lunch at a place and the owner was friendly and learned our names and was happy to give us directions and advice. Although I took some things with us, it isn't the same as having things in my pantry and freezer, so I had to plan carefully what I would fix because I didn't want to buy unnecessary things.
Our condo had a beach view. It was fun looking at the freighters and fishing boats as well as other boats. One afternoon and night it was really foggy over the ocean so there was a ship that had a continual fog horn. Living in land locked central Illinois, this was truly a new experience.
We found Sandra Bullock's house on the island. We viewed it from afar, but DH is a big Sandra Bullock fan so that was pretty exciting, even if she wasn't there. We did eat at a restaurant there she supposedly likes called the Breakfast Club. It is a small building and not real fancy inside or out, but the breakfast was marvelous. We were fortunate because we didn't have to wait for a table...I guess there are often lines outside waiting to get in.
We went into Savannah a few times. Let me tell you, if you go to Savannah and Tybee, be sure and have a pocketful of quarters. You pay for parking everywhere from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We mostly went to eat some place. We really like Leopold's Ice Cream Shop. We've been to Savannah three times before this, so this is a must do place on our agenda. It was as good as ever. While we were there and parked, we walked around to some of the different shops. I did buy some tea from a locally owned shop and some spices from another that sells only things grown/manufactured in Georgia, I am not a big shopper so I don't think we increased their economy much. We walked to some of the shops on the main highway in Tybee and I got a bigger kick out to finding some pinecones on the way. Georgia pine trees are much taller than those here in the Midwest and the pinecones are huge. We also collected sea shells on the beach which we will give to the 5 classes DH and I volunteer in as souvenirs. Here are photos of DH and then me on the beach. I hate having my photo taken, but I figured I'm not getting any younger and I'm not going to ever be beautiful, so why not?
We had saved money to pay for everything. I still owe the credit card for two hotel room stays, one on the way there and one on the way back, but I have the cash put in the checking account to pay that. So, we walk away from our vacation not having a big bill over our head.
I think the best thing was getting home. It was an adventure -- we have never rented a condo before and we haven't been beach folks either, so it was something different and sometimes challenging. The condo was small -- we knew that and it isn't a criticism. We couldn't see paying more for the condo than we would for a hotel room. But, after being in a place so small, our house which isn't huge seemed very roomy! I'm glad to be home and I'm glad to be back on SA.
Happy New Year to all of you! Hope 2017 is a happy and prosperous year for all of us.
Last week I posted a photo of our table and tree and received some very lovely comments. I appreciate the comments and feedback and the fact so many of you take the time to read my ramblings and even comment on them. I posted the same photo on Facebook and I had to laugh when my pastor wanted to know if we had new dining room furniture. I guess the tablecloth and Christmas runner made everything look different. He has been to my home before and eaten with us. I have told DH repeatedly that moving stuff around and changing linens give things a different look.
This has been a busy week for me. Partially because DH has been under the weather so he hasn't wanted to do too much. He is getting better so that is good, but I used the time to clean and declutter. We took a bunch of stuff to a thrift store to donate this week. Some of it was hard to part with -- I hate getting rid of kitchen items, but I have run out of room and these are items I haven't used. It is crazy to keep them. I tend to use the same things over and over again. Only one item did I purchase new and that was several years ago -- everything else was bought used so I didn't have a ton of money in them. But they are useless if they are just in the cabinets taking up space.
Since I'm on the cleaning kick, I'm trying to do the same thing in my pantry and fridge and freezer. I want to make sure I use stuff before it either goes bad or gets freezer burn. Right now the fridge is starting to look a bit bare, but that is OK. It is by choice and not because I haven't been shopping. Years ago, and I might have mentioned in a past blog, there was a columnist for the Chicago Tribune named Mike Royko. He wrote a column where every week he would go grocery shopping and he and the kids would eat all the easy to fix foods and leave the other stuff. So, he made a new rule, they had to eat everything before going to the store. I'm sure he exaggerated a bit, but it was funny when he said they had to get creative with some of the stuff, like an onion, flour and some water. He said it also encouraged his sons to find friends or their families who could cook or learn themselves.
My newest vice has been crocheting and knitting on a loom. I joined a group of ladies at church and they taught me to knit on a loom and we make hats to donate. We make small hats to give to hospitals for preemies, and then we make bigger hats and donate them to schools and organizations. I also crocheted a scarf to go along with a hat and donated it to one of our places for the homeless. I encouraged my friends on Facebook to do the same because I thought they might be useful in the winter. I am struggling a little bit with the crocheting because I am not allowing myself to go crazy on buying yarn. My church has some yarn that was donated and I used a bunch of it to make the hats, but I refuse to use that yarn for stuff for myself. I did buy some yarn and crocheted a cover for a throw pillow. My mom sewed the pillow covering a number of years ago, but it was looking pretty downtrodden so I thought crocheting a new cover would be nice. I finished it and it does look pretty nice. But of course I have part of a skein of yarn, so I have been looking for little things to make that can use up the yarn. I made myself some Swiffer broom covers out of some of the leftover yarn. I am now making dish cloths. I have been experimenting with different patterns to see what I like best. As I tell DH, it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble!
Guess I better get back to cleaning. I think taking care of one's belongings is a good way to save money, don't you?
As the holidays were approaching, I was amazed at the decorating some folks were doing. Of course the merchants aren't helping much with all the advertising and how important it is to have your home holiday perfect.
I set the table for supper the other night and decided to get a few things out. Everything on the table other than the flatware was bought used. Some of it I have had for a few years. The green tablecloth was purchased last summer. It was still in the package, but bought at a flea market for $5. I say you don't have to spend a fortunate to have nice things.
A furniture company has a commercial running that the couple didn't realize their home had no style until they took down the Christmas decorations and how you should buy all new stuff to liven up the place. Yep, I bet that will fix everything, right? Maybe that mentality is what has got so many in trouble financially.
Hope everyone in the SA family is having a lovely Christmas. We attended Christmas Eve candlelight service last night and again I was amazed at having the lights turned down low and everyone with a candle, how special it was during the last hymn. Funny how the simple things can make the biggest impact.
We had regular worship service today and then DH and I came home and I finished Christmas dinner. DH has been fighting a sinus infection and it doesn't appear he is getting much better although he has been taking some antibiotics. With the cool, damp weather, my breathing is becoming a problem so after our lunch, we both napped. I will pay for that luxury tonight when I won't be able to sleep, but it was delicious nonetheless.
Hope all of you had a happy time and feel valued and loved.
Here in Central Illinois it is 9 degrees with a wind chill of -6 and we have both ice on the ground and a little snow on top of it. The only good thing is it has been sunny today. I went outside to take out the garbage and it was not fun. It hurt to breathe, was slick as snot, and looking at our steep driveway made me worry how we could get out even if we wanted to.
Church was cancelled today because of the ice. Seems the ice we received Friday night has been a force many people cannot deal with. Apparently the elders decided the parking lot was too slick. I know there are those who think you should go to church even in bad weather, but sometimes you need to look at the safety issue. It is worth asking people to drive on slick streets and walk on treacherous parking lots? My one complaint is this...Food Network had been running new episodes of Barefoot Contessa at 9:30 Sunday mornings when we were in church and I had to miss it. The one Sunday I can watch, it wasn't being shown. Shoot!
One advantage of being holed up is I have gotten a lot of cleaning done. I know I have driven my husband nuts with dragging the vacuum here and there, but I want things tidy. I also balanced the check book this afternoon and didn't feel like it was taking too long. Heck, where would I go.
A disadvantage for my town is it seems like every weekend before Christmas in the past few years we have bad weather which cuts down on shopping. My shopping was done so that wasn't a problem for me, but the last weekend around here is usually a busy shopping time in my hometown. I imagine folks ordered stuff online since they were being told not to get out.
DH cannot complain he hasn't eaten well. We normally eat Friday night supper out, but we stayed in since the freezing rain was supposed to start around 3 p.m. Friday. I have to say it was probably more nutritious...i fixed fish. Last night we had pork loin roast and I'm going to use the leftover roast to make pulled pork for supper sandwiches tonight. I don't know if we have saved money because our heat is running a lot, but as far as eating out we have.
Hope you are safe and comfortable where you are tonight.
I live in Central Illinois. In our city of around 73,000, a decent house can be purchased for around $150K. Some more, some less. Of course this isn't high end finishes and such, but a decent home in a nice neighborhood. I wanted to preface what I'm going to describe by telling you these facts.
Yesterday, my husband's brother and sister-in-law took us through the house they are staying at that belongs to their friend. It is a million dollar house. It is a few miles from our house, but it is in a small community just outside of city, like a suburb, and the taxes are high, high, high. As is the water bills. This house has huge timber beams, quarter sawn oak trim, cabinets, and even doors. No hollow core doors here. The kitchen has a six burner gas cooktop that I drooled over. Many of the floors are hardwood, and the steps going into the lower level are slate. The floor in the lower level is tile. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, but the two second level bedrooms each have a vanity in them. The lot is fairly large and backs up to the woods. It has a fancy screened in porch with windows as well. The garage which isn't attached, is two car and the garage doors cost $10,000 each. It really was a show place. And part of me was just a little jealous.
Then, I thought how much the taxes have to be. And how much it would cost to heat, cool, water, and maintain this property. My little 3 bedroom ranch is just fine. But, it is just funny to see such an expensive house with all high end finishes. Except for one thing...the two shower stalls didn't have glass or doors. She had cheap vinyl liners. No curtain over them. So maybe life isn't perfect after all. But I'm still coveting those six burners!
Our town has Millikin University. James Millikin is a big name in our town and there is a manse called the Millikin Homestead that has been preserved. Each Christmas they have tea and you can walk through the house and look at the furnishings and decorations, and enjoy either a cup of hot punch (rum if you want it added), coffee, and some cookies. A few blocks over there is the former governor Richard Oglesby mansion that also has a Christmas tea. Oglesby was a buddy of Abraham Lincoln so it is always cool to go through his house and see the furnishings. We were teasing one of the guides that Mrs. Oglesby truly had a master suite because in the bedroom was a washstand and a chamber pot. For its time, it was a "suite." Both of these houses really put on quite a spread and you can donate if you wish, but basically they are free. It was a nice way to spend some time on a raw, rainy afternoon.
The first photo is at the James Millikin Homestead Christmas tea. The other two are at the Oglesby Mansion and I thought the punch bowl was unique.
A friend gave me a pile of cooking magazines and I saw this recipe. I like Gingersnaps and hoped it would be good. I made a batch and the cookies turned out picture perfect!
Old Fashioned Gingersnaps
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses, beat well. Sift together dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and dip in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungraded cookie sheets or on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until set and surface cracks. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 4 dozen.
Just an update: I baked 16 dozen cookies total for the church bazaar as well as 8 medium sized loaves of sweet bread. I need a break from baking before I start on the things I bake for gifts.
Each year my church has a Christmas bazaar and at the bazaar they sell cookies by the pound. Before I retired, I would bake a few to send along, but my baking time was limited. Yesterday and today I've baked 12 dozen and plan to bake more in the next couple of days. The ones I baked yesterday and today can be frozen and thawed and they come out like they are fresh.
I was just going to propose something...anyone interested in sharing cookie recipes here? I'm going to share one I got from a Joanne Fluke book. Her protagonist Hannah Swensen runs a cookie shop in Minnesota and this was one of her recipes. I've been making it for years and it is a wonderful recipe. I've even just not put in the cinnamon and rolling the dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and added other things like different chips (milk, semi-sweet, and even white) and it is a great all around recipe. This original recipe is like Snickerdoodles if you are familiar with them.
Cinnamon Crips Cookies
Preheat oven to 325 F
2 cups melted butter (4 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 beaten eggs (large or jumbo)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugars, add eggs. Set aside. Mix dry ingredients together and then slowly add to wet mixture. Add vanilla at last.
Dough ball rolling mixture: 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Roll dough into balls, then into mixture. Bake at 325 10-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then on a wire rack.
This recipe, since I made the cookies about medium size made about 7 dozen. You can half this recipe easily if you don't need or want that many cookies. They freeze well after they are fully cooled.
ABC has a show this season called American Housewife. Not sure if you have watched it, but each episode makes me like this character so much more. Basically, she is a slightly overweight normal gal who loves her family, but feels inadequate because most of the women in this fancy neighborhood are stick thin, exercise constantly, and are basically snobbish.
I think this program sort of mirrors society to a certain extent. Unless you, as a woman, are drop dead gorgeous, stick thin, and travel with the in crowd, you basically feel left out.
I've always been overweight. Well, I take that back, I was born underweight, but that didn't last long. I've dieted and exercised and I have lost weight, gained it back, lost it, gained it back, and gotten frustrated. At one point in my life when I was a lot younger I ate one meal a day and exercised faithfully. I did lose quite a bit of weight, but I never was stick thin. Of course when I started eating regular meals again, I gained it all again.
Being an overweight woman isn't fun. When the program "What Not to Wear" was on, I always understood when the heavier gals would go shopping and burst into tears because they couldn't find things that fit or made them look decent. I have had that issue most of my life. Shopping in the plus section is often an insult because it is usually tucked into a basement or upstairs which just adds to the shame. Most of the stuff out there is just plain butt ugly. I'm overweight, I don't need even bigger patterns to accent that fact. So, I can either go for the potato sack fit which is no fit, or have stuff that is so darn tight I'm afraid to move so it doesn't rip out a seam. Most of the stuff in my closet has some age to it because I lucked into something and am keeping it, stylish and trendy or not.
A number of years ago a group of us from my district went to present at an educational conference. One of the women was short and stout and was an expert in her field. When the two ladies before her spoke briefly, they had the audience's attention. When my heavier friend spoke, people quit listening. They judged her not on the merit of her words, but how she looked. She wasn't sloppy or dirty. She was overweight and therefore most of the audience didn't give her the time of day. She had on nice clothes and her hair and make up were well done.
I struggle with my own self esteem, but I have decided I'm going to try and look at things differently. Perhaps if I walk in with a confident stride and pretend I'm decent looking, maybe I'll feel better about myself, even if others still judge me.
It would be so nice if we didn't judge people so much on how they look. The biggest share of my dearest friends are not model beautiful. Their beauty lies in their character. The folks who know me best kid me about what attracts me to a man. Muscles? Nah! Height? Nope. I've always had a weakness for guys in glasses. I think it is because I'm drawn to men of intelligence. DH says I don't suffer fools gladly so perhaps that is my prejudice.
So, as I watch the American Housewife, it makes me look at things a little differently. Have I become an education snob? I sure hope not. I hope I have not made someone uncomfortable because of how they speak or act or look. I am going to watch myself more closely. I don't like being discriminated against because of my weight so I needn't discriminate against someone because of something they do or say or are just because it is different from me.
Life has been busy around here. DH and I have worked to get the house ready for fall and winter. DH is still trying to take it easy after his surgery so things take a little longer. But, we've gotten many of our summer items put away. I finished drying herbs and have them ready to use as I cook. The hose is emptied and put up and the rain barrel has been dismantled and put away as well.
Each year my church has a bazaar for Christmas. In the past I've donated what I could, but time constraints have limited me somewhat. This summer as I went to thrift stores and garage sales I had a few items in mind as I shopped. I wanted some table top trees. I also wanted some crochet thread. I found both at different places very reasonably. So, off and on this summer I crocheted ornaments for these trees. The beauty of these ornaments is they don't take a ton of thread so I could buy already started crochet thread and make a few ornaments and not have a lot of money involved. I finished three trees and took them to church so they are ready for the sale. I also found a candle wick Christmas stocking kit new in the package for 99 cents. Candle wicking is a form of embroidery. I worked on it this summer too, finished the embroidery part and then sewed the stocking together. It will also be donated. I forgot to iron it when I ironed some other things the other day.
A couple of months ago I joined a group at church called Stitches of Love. This group makes a variety of things, but a couple of things everyone works on at one time or another has to be these knitted hats that are made on a knitting loom. They taught me how to do this and I've made both hats for preemies and then hats to donate. We've donated to three schools so far. In one of the closets there are tubs of yarn that have been donated so we can use that if we want. I had some odds and ends of the yarn I've used to make these hats, both from the stuff I've purchased as well as the free stuff and I wondered what I could do with it without waiting to make one big projects. I discovered a pattern to make a cover for the Swiffer. So, I made one for myself out of the scraps and tried it and it works pretty well. So, I went through the tubs at church and found bits and pieces of yarn and have been working on making these covers to donate to the bazaar.
All these projects aren't major things, but they have kept my hands busy and hopefully will help out either the bazaar or the children we donate the hats for. As far as cost, other than buying the looms retail, everything else has been bought used at thrift stores and garage sales or gleaned from the yarn tubs at church. I don't know if I'm saving money, but it is pretty decent entertainment for little money.
Happy Halloween! We are ready for the trick or treaters tonight -Stocked up on candy. Our ranch house has a garage jutting out and unfortunately our good city doesn't believe in more than one street lamp per cul-d-sac so it is kind of dark for those little ones to walk around the side of the garage to the front door. So, we normally open our garage door and have our lights on and the kids just walk up our driveway and get their treats. My husband loves handing them out and seeing the little ones in their costumes. Although I try to catch candy on sale and use some of the coupons, it isn't a real frugal experience. But, we figure it is a neighborly thing to do, and in some ways, it is entertainment, especially being the kids dressed up. Each year I pull out this large plastic lighted pumpkin. I was just thinking we have had this thing at least 20 years. We had it our other house for a couple of years and we've lived here 18. Amazing how things last when you take care of them, isn't it?
Like most of you, I've always tried to hit the sales at grocery stores for this and that. I normally shop at Aldi for most of our items, but there are other things we pick up here and there. We have a County Market that puts out a coupon book every month and it goes for about two weeks. Usually there is only one or two items that we will get and sometimes it isn't worth it to make an extra trip. But this one had bacon on sale, butter on sale, as well as deli ham. Deli ham that is normally $8.99 a pound for $3.99 a pound. And, we were out on that side of town, so it wasn't a special trip. After we finished our shopping, I told DH what a pleasure it is to be retired and not have to scramble on weekends to do this sort of stuff. I feel we are truly blessed to be retired and be able to take advantage of sales like this.
I know this is not life changing, but I'm just plain frustrated. DH loves the Chicago Tribune on Sundays. He loves reading it from cover to cover on a Sunday afternoon after we fix brunch and clean up. We used to have a news stand that was open 7 days a week and each week we would go and pick one up. The owner ran it for many years, but finally decided he was ready to retire and his family didn't want to continue without him. A local business bought it, and in less than a year, closed their doors including the news stand part of it. We thought we would still be able to find the Trib at Walgreens.
Well, our local Walgreens gets about 4-5 papers and sells out within an hour. They open at 9 and by the time we get out of church around 10, they are usually sold out. We asked if they could get more each Sunday since we aren't the only ones missing out and one of the employees said he would find out. True to his word, he did ask the distributor and the person said no, they won't give them any more and they really want people to subscribe.
Two weeks ago we stopped at Walgreens -- it was before ten -- and they were sold out. So, I called one about 10 miles away where we had gotten one before and they said they hadn't even gotten any papers. I called another one a little farther away and they said they had 4 copies and all were sold out. We tried one more store and they said they didn't have any either. So, I bit the bullet and called Chicago Tribune and said we would like to subscribe to just the Sunday paper. Last Sunday was supposed to be the first delivery. I was told it would be on our doorstep by 8 a.m.
DH was excited thinking that after 3 or 4 weeks, he would actually have a Chicago Tribune in hand. But, 8 came and went and no paper. I waited until 8:30 and called their 800 number. No live person, but a computer that said it recognized my phone number and to press buttons to confirm we didn't get delivery and wanted it delivered. Then allow 60-90 minutes. We went to church, came home, and yet no paper. I called again and went through the same message. I then went onto their Facebook page and messaged them and they sent me the email to customer service. I could not find it on the webpage. I emailed and received a very nice response from someone in a few minutes. But, because it was after 11, they could not have it delivered on Sunday, but would deliver it on Monday. We did get it on Monday, but for some reason, it just kind of bothered us that we had to wait until the next day. Well, we said, justifying it, it was the first day of delivery, maybe wires got crossed.
Well today is Sunday and at 8 we looked out. No Chicago Tribune. I emailed the customer service person and received a response 30 minutes later. Again, very polite. But, we were at church. When we got home, I responded that there was still no paper although it had been scheduled for redelivery. She said she would email again. Three or four emails went back and forth between us. I don't blame her at all. She responds. But, it makes me wonder what kind of distributor we have here in our town that they don't want to sell newspapers at Walgreens when apparently people want them and don't want to deliver them. Anyway, we did not receive the paper today. So, I'm very frustrated. I plan to call the customer service folks tomorrow.
DH loves reading the paper. I like the extra coupons. I have discovered that there are different coupons in papers. I think our local paper gets the packets that have the least amount of coupons because the Chicago paper usually has the same brand name packets or catalogs of coupons, but there are other coupons in it.
Speaking of coupons, I find it ironic that our local community college will be teaching an extreme couponing class this week. I have no idea how they expect people to extreme coupon when our local paper has fewer coupons and it one can't apparently get papers with the bigger coupon packets.
Thanks for letting me vent.
It's kind of cool today and it means I can start thinking of comfort foods. I love turkey. Aldi has turkey breasts reasonable and I have been stocking up. So, I decided to put one in the Crockpot to cook away.
Supper will be turkey, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, sliced tomatoes of the few we still have, corn casserole, and fruit salad. I haven't made this corn casserole for awhile, but it is pretty good.
Corn Caserole Recipe
1 small onion, diced
6 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups stuffing
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 cups corn, drained
Cook onion in 4 tablespoons of butter until limp. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and mustard. Mix well. Add milk. Stir until blended. Put back on heat and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add eggs, bread cubes, corn, sage, and remaining butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Cover with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 45 to 60 minutes.
I will admit I didn't use all the butter. I used a little olive oil for cooking the onion. I did add a small pat of butter for the flavor. It's baking away and my mouth is watering.
I'm dreaming a decent dream and there's this weird chirping noise in my dream. As I come out of dreamland, I realize the chirp is real and I figure it is either a smoke detector or the CO2 detector telling me the battery was about to go kaput. It was the CO2. I do wonder why they always pick late at night or very early in the morning to decide to give up the ghost!?!
I truly like reading the newspaper. The paper and ink kind. I don't like reading one on a tablet or computer. I feel the same way with books too.
This morning I got up early and did some housework and then caught up on my newspaper reading. I was behind one a weekly paper we get. I'm kind of odd duck -- I like reading the classifieds. Last week's edition had the delinquent tax bills for 2015. Our tax bills come due usually June first of the following year and if you make installments, then the second installment is September 1st. I always read these not only because I'm nosy, but I also don't want to get blindsided by a bill I didn't catch.
I was shocked to see two names of folks I know. Both are gainfully employed. Neither are poor. Yet, they hadn't paid their taxes. I don't know if there is a grace period or what, but it makes me wonder how well they handle money. It is also scary. I don't know how it works, but wonder if they don't pay, if someone can redeem their property for the property taxes. These aren't shacks by any means. They are nice middle class homes.
I always save money because I estimate about what our tax bill will be so I have enough to pay it come June. I go ahead and pay it all at once so I don't have to worry about forgetting. I figure it was for the year before so they aren't really using my money per se. I guess we often think people do things the way we do.
Someone posted on Facebook that many Americans don't read. I know some of my friends don't read the paper, watch the news, or read online. I'm shocked when they seem so misinformed. I'm not talking about kids, but middle aged and older adults.
I did get caught up on all my newspaper reading, clipped some coupons, and recycled. Did some housework and did the grocery shopping for the week. DH is out picking sage that I'm going to dry. Not a bad day overall for getting things done.
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