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Good bye, Garden!

October 14th, 2018 at 02:24 pm

Looking out in the yard it seems bare. DH has spent the last two afternoons pulling up all the garden plants. It is getting more and more chilly here and there is supposed to be a freeze on Tuesday. We spent Thursday picking anything worth picking since there was a chance of frost then. We lucked out, but it's coming.

My counter was full of bell peppers and tomatoes, either ripe, almost ripe, or green. Last couple of years we have put them all together on the counter and they eventually all ripen. We tried the newspapers in the box, but it didn't work real well or else we didn't check it enough.

We shared some peppers and tomatoes with friends. So, hopefully nothing goes to waste.

It's kind of sad to see everything gone. It was a good gardening year overall and we ate very well. Guess we'll have to look forward to next year.

Is Fall Actually Coming?

October 9th, 2018 at 08:17 am

Here in Central Illinois it has been way above average as far as temperatures. Hot and muggy in fact.

But that is supposed to change starting tomorrow with highs in the 50s and some lows in the upper 30s. DH has been starting to pull up garden plants. Yesterday I asked him to pick all the remaining red bell peppers and I washed and chopped them and put them in a freezer bag to use throughout the winter in soups and casseroles.

I have been working on drying herbs. All that was left was Thyme and we did that yesterday. I used to dry them in the microwave, but now I just have them sit in the sun room. It takes longer, but I think the flavor is better.

It's funny listening to people. We truly are never happy, are we? When spring was coming we could hardly wait until the heat came. Now we are wanting fall temperatures. One of my friends keeps wanting snow and a lot of it. I hope she gets a little for her own sake, but I am not enamored with it. It is funny how in movies and TV how when it starts snowing people get all misty eyed and wondrous. They never show the shoveling and slick streets, but I digress.

Fall may be coming. At least i have my canning and preserving completed.

A little this, a little of that

October 4th, 2018 at 08:22 am

It certainly hasn't been a thrifty week.

However, the spending was planned. Tuesday was Senior's Day at Walgreens. I was waiting to buy different things that we use like allergy medicine to get the 20% off. I also used coupons. So between the regular priced stuff that was 20% off, and the stuff on sale that I don't get 20% off, and the digital and paper coupons, I saved over $80 and spent over $200. I hate to see that big number, but the stuff is what we use each month so I would have bought it anyway.

DH's car insurance was due and once he turned 70, the premiums really went up. But, at least we had the money to pay for it.

A couple of months back I bought some material at an estate sale. The downsizing sale was at the home of a quilter and she bought premium material. I pulled some of it out yesterday and made some napkins and two potholders. I can't even describe the beauty of working with good material. I also cannot understand why people don't hit up thrift stores and estate sales for material...far cheaper than buying retail. I've found so many craft items that way. Granted, I could afford to buy them retail, but DH says I like the thrill of the hunt, and I think he's right.

For Christmas last year I asked him to get me the cheapie Singer that was on sale for $69. I'm not an excellent seamstress, but I can sew a little. I have used it so much and have enjoyed using it. My friend is an excellent seamstress and her machine cost way more than $1000. She can afford it and I'm sure it gives her great pleasure.

Today is Thursday and is grocery shopping day. Last night was clean out the fridge supper. Last week I think I spent less than $30 on groceries total. We didn't need much and I was just buying stuff we use each week like bread, milk, fruit, and chicken. I made a couple of meals from the chicken and lots of broth besides. I used up stuff we had in the freezer and we had a couple of meatless meals too. Today's shopping isn't going to be horrible, except we are buying some extra stuff for the church's food pantry.

It has been pretty warm and humid here in Central Illinois. Yesterday it was around 90. Today it is supposed to be in the 70s before it goes back up. It should give the a/c a break for a day, anyway.



Thrift Shop Treasures

September 30th, 2018 at 10:43 am

DH and I hit thrift shops each week. We have 4 favorites, but there are some others we try to go to once a week. And we are fortunate that most of our thrift shops are really nice and reasonably priced on most items. This last week we only purchased a couple of items for a friend and she paid us for them. We didn't find anything for ourselves, but it was fun looking.

I have a friend who sort of turned her nose up buying stuff at thrift stores which I thought was weird since she would buy stuff at flea markets and antique shops. But, I guess she's come over to my side. I found some brand new, unopened craft items and she was thrilled to pay me for them.

Last week we went to a small town and stopped in the thrift shop and I found a brand new pair of flats for $6. Decent shoes that should hold up and I was pleased to get them. I have worn some sneakers this summer I snagged for around $10 last year. They were like new. I'm not going to buy shoes just for the sake of buying shoes, but if I find something decent and affordable, I am going to get it.

I have really found some amazing craft items. I snagged a pair of pillowcases last year for 69 cents that they had tucked the embroidery floss in with them. I embroidered them and they are on my bed as I type. I found another set last week that hadn't been opened for $1.50. That will be a nice winter project for me and I still have some of the original embroidery floss left over. I get a lot of the yarn for the hats I loom for church. It is brand new with the sleeve still on it. It works great since it is usually one skein of this color and one that -- not enough to make anything big, but great for hats.

DH found an amazing shirt the other day for $2.25. It is a dress shirt and in excellent shape. He is a clothes horse so I can't complain when he finds a good deal like that.

Some of our friends have given us a list of things to look for and about what they would like to spend. It gives us something to look for and helps them out too.



I sometimes struggle with buying stuff I do not need. So, I am really working on that. I am not saving money if I buy something that I don't need. I'm would be just shopping for the sake of shopping and I do not want to do that. I have to have a place for something or a use for it before I can buy it. I had gotten rid of a bunch of shoes at the beginning of summer that were worn out, so I didn't feel guilty buying the shoes. The yarn goes for the hats so I don't go crazy buying it, and I take the hats to church every two weeks to add to the stash when we meet. I have some pillowcases to replace so once I get these new ones finished, the old ones will either go in the trash or maybe I can recycle them into bags. I saw something on Pinterest. We keep cloth bags in our cars for grocery shopping.

But, each week it is like a treasure hunt at the thrift shops!

The Care and Feeding of Friendship

September 29th, 2018 at 01:56 pm

Lately I've noticed that so many don't seem to understand that being a friend often means putting a little effort into it.

I'm almost to the point where I am staying off Facebook because of the rabid political posts on both sides. I still email and I do Messenger. And I'm one of those old fashioned folks who writes letters and cards.

However, I've noticed that other than two people who are honest to goodness friends, I'm the one who does the reaching out. And to be honest, I'm weary of it. If I don't call, write, message, or email first, I don't hear from them. Most then respond, but then nothing. Yesterday it all sort of hit me all at once. There are a couple of people who we email at least once a day. But, I didn't hear from anyone yesterday.

I'll admit it, my feelings were hurt. It didn't have to be a message the size of a small book. And I had emailed in the morning like I almost always do.

Today, I didn't email. I figured I would wait and see. This afternoon one did respond and basically blamed me because she hadn't received a message from me. Really? I'm the only one who can start?

I just don't understand, I guess. I thought relationships take some effort on both ends. And I'm just feeling like I'm being taken for granted.

I don't want to lose friends, but I'd like to be the recipient of a message that wasn't a reply to mine. Guess I'm picky.

In The Mood

September 20th, 2018 at 07:59 am

I'm not talking about the Glenn Miller piece either!

It's funny how so many things revolve around how we feel about something. I know I have really been in the mood to can and fill up the pantry with home canned items as well as things that are on sale. I know by the middle of the summer when stuff starts coming on, I really am in the mood for canning.

I have also been working on Christmas gifts. I like to have them finished before Christmas. I'm not a person who handles working under a deadline that is stressful. I've finished all mine and I'm making some for a friend for her stocking stuffers.

DH is starting to clean up the yard and garden for winter. He surprised me today by cleaning the siding and the windows. He normally doesn't notice stuff like that, but he did. I do think "moods" truly effect many of our actions.

Tomorrow is garbage collection day and I've already planned on decluttering some things that cannot be recycled or reused. I'm in the mood for a tidier spot, that's for sure.

So, what motivates you?

Staying busy

September 19th, 2018 at 08:38 am

September is half over, and I continue to stay busy.

I feel really blessed to be retired. It enables me to have time to do a lot of things I wouldn't have had time to do.

We are still getting some tomatoes and bell peppers. I made and canned some more spaghetti sauce. I had given some to a friend for her pantry earlier.

Last year when I was making hats for our church group, I had leftover yarn that there wasn't enough to make another hat from, so I crocheted dish cloths. I have donated them to our church rummage sale. I know this may sound petty, but it kind of hurt my feelings when they only put a quarter each on them. I don't think they are worth tons, but at least 50 cents. But a quarter? The local thrift stores sell smaller ones that are just a mish mash of colors for $1 and I at least try to make mine pretty. Well, I decided this year I'm just going to make them for friends. That way I don't get my feelings hurt. I asked a couple of friends who like them if they would like some for stocking stuffers and they were grateful. So, I feel like I'm using up the yarn and it still does some good.

I have a bunch of rubber stamps. I decided to get them out and start using them again. I bought a blank ink pad and then stamped a design and then colored it with colored pencils. I can say I don't care for the stamp pad. It didn't really ink the stamp very well. Anyone have some suggestions?

We did spend some money, but hopefully it will benefit us in the long run. We paid a guy who does guttering to replace our downspouts with larger ones and to put gutter guards to hopefully keep leaves and debris out of the gutters. We had the money saved so it wasn't a debt inducing project. I called a company to come out and give us a quote on mending the ceiling in the family room where we had a leak a couple of months ago. They will have to patch it. We have popcorn ceilings and there is a small hole so it just isn't painting.

Beautiful Weather

September 10th, 2018 at 07:35 am

After a few weeks of extreme heat and then a couple of days of rainy weather, we have gotten a nice break of lovely weather. It is around normal temps 70s and the sun is out.

It was nice to see so many of the neighbors out working in their yards yesterday due to the incredible weather.

DH mowed after he picked up sticks and branches. We had some rain and some wind a couple of days before. I started cutting herbs to wash and dry them. It takes awhile to let them air dry, but I'm in no rush. It's nice having them to use all winter too.

I know some folks are not anticipating good weather with Florence. Hope you all stay safe.

Frustration and more found money

September 5th, 2018 at 08:55 am

My last entry was about found money so to speak. I received a debit card from the hospital that overcharged me $200 almost two years ago. As a couple of you mentioned, they should have paid me interest because If I had been two years late in paying, I would have paid interest. No kidding.

Well, yesterday DH and I took the debit card to our bank which happens to be the bank the debit card supposedly was issued from. I wanted to put th money in savings. There is a branch manager we deal with and he is a good guy. He asked if I had activated the card and I said yes. Well, long story short, I had to use an ATM to get the money. We don't use ATMs so he had to help us with that. And then we were charged $2.50 to get the money. Even he was surprised at that. He said the hospital uses these debit cards instead of using checks, but somehow it really isn't affiliated with their bank. Grrr. I emailed the hospital this morning expressing my distaste for this, between the lost interest and the cost of using the ATM. Honestly, I was afraid of using the card to purchase things because I was afraid I would be at the grocery and it would get rejected or something.

DH and I went to a book sale run by friends of the library on Monday. We didn't find any books. DH parks in what we call the back 40 because he doesn't want to get his car dinged or dented. Well, it most certainly paid off. As we were taking our stroll, I found a folded up $20 bill in the parking lot away from all the cars. I had the bank manager check it yesterday to make sure it was legitimate and it was. So, besides the money from the debit card, we put that $20 in the savings too. So that was a good thing.

Found Money

September 1st, 2018 at 08:02 am

Yesterday's mail had a surprise. It was a prepaid card that said that I had overpaid at a local hospital to the tune of $200. I checked it out and it seems legitimate. I remember I had a procedure two years ago and remember thinking that I was overpaying since a friend has the same insurance and he said that he never paid more than $100 for these things and I was billed $300.

Of course it took over two years for them to realize this, but hey, it is found money in my book. On Tuesday we are going to the bank and cash it out and put the money in savings which is where it would have wound up to begin with if we hadn't had to use it. So, it was a nice surprise.

Grocery Market Snob

August 31st, 2018 at 08:03 am

I've concluded I'm a grocery market snob.

I'm not saying that I only shop fancy stores. Hardly. Aldi is my number one store and Kroger is number 2 with Dollar General and an Amish bulk food store filling in for different things. Plus DH raises tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, and herbs.

Actually, I think I'm just a food snob.

A couple of years ago DH and I went to Dollar General to buy some cleaning supplies and we are standing in line with my fistful of coupons behind two women who each have a cart full of 2 liter soda pop. They pull out their SNAP cards to pay for them. All I could think was what a waste of money and nutrition.

Don't get me wrong. I am not totally against drinking soda. My dad worked as a warehouseman for Coca-Cola for 22 years. Of course, when I was growing up, having a bottle of pop was a luxury, not something you did all the time. Back then you had either a 6 ounce real glass bottle or a 6 1/2 ounce bottle and you paid a deposit on the bottle. It was made with real sugar. Granted, it still wasn't the healthiest, but one wasn't slurping down 32 ounces at a sitting. I've noticed in the store that there are small cans coming about and I wonder if it is because people are realizing that huge bottles and glasses aren't the best. At our local gas stations they have something called "Polar Pop" and I asked someone what the draw was and they said it was because it was cheap and you got a lot. I guess it is a huge styrofoam cup with your choice of soft drink. I can admit I've never bought one. I drink mostly three things: coffee, tea, and water.

As for the snob part, there are certain teas I really like. We found a cinnamon tea with citrus added that makes a wonderful iced tea that tastes a bit sweetened without sugar. Yesterday I brewed 5 quarts of it to have in the fridge to enjoy with our lunches.

I also look at what people buy in their carts at the grocery store. One person I know brags about only shopping once a month. I was wondering how that could be until I saw her cart. Cases of beef stew, pork and beans, and bags, and bags of chips and cases of soda pop. Not a canned or frozen or fresh vegetable in the mix. I guess it is more reasonable to buy all this, but I just can't imagine it is very healthy.

I've been reading more and more about eating a mostly vegetable diet and all the benefits it can provide. I'm not sure DH and I are ready to fully embrace that, but we do have a few meals (besides breakfast) that are meat free. Although I cringe when I have to buy fresh produce at the store, but think it is cheaper in the long run if it helps us keep healthy.

So sadly, I have to admit that I do sort of think I'm a snob when I see someone who only has junk in their basket. I'm not talking about the one or two item folks who just run in to get something to fill in. I'm talking about the basket full folks who have all processed foods and very few nutritious choices. I'm not talking the poor who fill up on starches. I get that. I'm seeing people who make a good wage. I just wonder if they are doing the best for themselves when do buy the cheap stuff.

So, I'm a grocery market snob. Hopefully a healthy one!

Problem with SA site

August 30th, 2018 at 07:58 am

Anyone else having problems with the SA site? It says I have to log in, which I do and it says I am logged in, but if I go to comment on anyone else's blog, it says I'm not logged in. So, I have to manually put in my information if I want to comment. Frown

Monday Musings

August 27th, 2018 at 02:41 pm

We have stayed busy.

On Saturday we took a bus trip to a city about two hours away to go through thrift stores. We visited 7 shops. Four were actual thrift stores and 3 were consignment shops/antique malls. But it was a fun day. The trip also included a box lunch and it was really good. There was a choice of turkey and cheese, chicken salad, or ham and cheese on a croissant, and then pasta salad, a bag of chips, fruit salad, brownie, and a small peppermint. The lady who runs the travel agency also provides water for us as well throughout the trip.

DH and I did find a few things, but we were not the big spenders on the trip. I think we spent less than $20 total on our purchases, but it was fun to look around. We were on a different bus than what the travel agency normally uses. Sadly, the bus company she had been utilizing suddenly shuttered after 75 years. Two years ago the owner sold the company and the investment group that bought it ran it into bankruptcy. I just hope this doesn't make this travel agency owner also have financial problems because she had paid for many of the trips in advance.

The funny thing about the trip was the fact we were on a bus, but these folks shopped. At the end of the day, there was a church pew, a rocking chair, a couch (yes, a big couch), an end table, a floor lamp, and a child's ride on motorcycle toy under the bus besides all the boxes and bags. At the last stop, the antique mall folks said they would stay open past their closing time and they had bags of popcorn, cookies, and water for us. Pretty nice gesture, for sure!

Yesterday we had church and after we came home and had brunch, DH watered his garden and then picked tomatoes. Finally we are starting to get more tomatoes. He also picked bell peppers. I used a bunch of the tomatoes and peppers to make a spaghetti sauce. I canned that today and realized 2 quarts and a pint of it.

Our knitting group met last week and we are up to 895 hats. Our goal if 1000 seems attainable. We have had some problems though with people bringing donations of yarn. I am trying to think positive, and hope they are just being nice, but three of the last four donations of yarn were really nasty. One smelled of mildew and the yarn was filthy. Another smelled of smoke. The last one just smelled and the white yarn had yellowed. You would hope people would realize no one would want to work with the yarn in this condition and hopefully they didn't use this as a means to dispose of it. I would hope not. But, yuck.

It's really hot and humid here in Central Illinois. Many of our schools had early dismissal today and plan to do the same tomorrow. I no longer work in those schools, but I'm glad for the students and the staff because I remember how miserable it was working in those conditions.

Thrift Store Bargains

August 12th, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I feel like I've hit the bonanza the past couple of weeks in thrift store shopping.

I write 3 ladies each week. I try to have different cards and stationery because I think it adds to the experience. Two of the ladies are 95 and one is 88 and they like getting mail. I found 4 sets of brand new blank cards and envelopes for 50 cents each and some stationery also for 50 cents. So, I'm set for a little while on that.

I have almost finished most of my Christmas gifts for this year. I have a couple of things to crochet, but have been on the lookout for some other items to start for 2019 birthdays and Christmas 2020. At one thrift store I found a bag of cross stitch items for $1. There were two hot pads to cross stitch on and 5 bibs. Well, I didn't need the bibs, but for a buck, I figured I can work on them and donate them to the church bazaar. I gave two of them to another crafter so she can work on them. I found another brand new craft kit for $1 for hot pads, and a new kit for a table runner that you cross stitch on complete with thread for $1. I also bought two towels that you cross stitch on (kitchen towels) for 50 cents each. Fortunately awhile ago I bought a bag of embroidery floss for 50 cents and it has a lot of different colors, so I should be set. Just need to find some patterns for them, but I think I can find some free ones on Pinterest.

I have also found quite a bit of yarn for the hats I make with the knitting group at church. So far, I've made 7 hats from the yarn, and because one place had the new skeins of yarn half price, I think I paid $1 or less for the skeins. I still have quite a bit of yarn to use. I try not to stash too much because I have limited space and I don't want to have drawers and bags full of stuff not being used. Our knitting group met last week and we have 831 hats made so far this year. Our goal is to have 1000 and hopefully "adopt" three schools this year.

Being a plus size gal, it is often difficult to find clothing at thrift stores in my size that isn't worn out. I did find a nice blouse for $4.99. It was a name brand blouse and didn't look it had been worn a lot. It is a summer one and as warm as it has been, I'm sure I'll get enough use of it before putting it up for the winter.

I did score a small plastic thread holder yesterday. It is just an oblong box with spools sticking up and a lid. I have thread in a drawer and it is difficult to see what I have. For $1.50, it will help organize some of the thread.

DH found some like new kids books at a couple of the thrift stores. He reads to elementary classes throughout the year and although he often checks out books from our library, he likes to have some at home in case he doesn't get to the library. Most of the books were a quarter each. He also found some like brand new Wimpy Kid books to donate to the library of the my former school. They replace the worn ones with these books he finds. We figure it helps the school's budget by doing this and we aren't out much.

One of my friends teases me I always find great deals at the thrift stores. I tell her it is entertainment for me to go through stuff and look closely. Sometimes people go for the bling of things that are out in the open. I like to paw through some of the stuff and find things. I know I found some Christmas stuff awhile back that was reasonably priced to begin with and then they were having a sale for half off. My kind of deal!

Just an Observation

August 6th, 2018 at 12:37 pm

While waiting on the plumber, who by the way was early, I decided to work on some correspondence. Seven cards and letters made it to the mailbox today. Two were sympathy cards. One was a get well card for a friend who has been receiving treatment for liver cancer. And the rest were for the shut ins I write about every week.

I've gotten so used to email, I forget how much it costs to mail cards and letters.

Most of my cards and stationary are purchased at thrift shops, but it still ads up. Between the postage and the cards, I figured I spent about $1 for each card. Not a huge expense, but all at once...it sure adds up!

Another spendy week coming up

August 5th, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Last week seemed like a spendy week and this one, well more of the same. We did find out where our leak came from and fortunately it wasn't the roof, but a PVC pipe in the attic. It has been fixed, but we now have to repair the ceiling. We have that popcorn ceiling all over the house and there are a few areas where the nails have come through in other rooms so we figured we might as well have the person give us a bid on fixing the family room ceiling and those little areas. We do not want to go through the trouble and expense of having it all scraped off. Personally, I can live with the popcorn ceiling, although all the HGTV folks would probably have a fit. Guess I'm showing my age -- it doesn't bother me that much and why pay to have it all taken down?

I have had my ongoing struggle with our normal plumbing company. A couple of years ago we wanted the water spigot moved. For whatever reason, the builder had it inside the garage. So, if you wanted to use the hose or water something, you had to either squeeze between the wall and the car to get to it or move the car. I asked a plumber, he said he could do it for less than $300 and I said fine, when? He said he would call me. Four months went by and in between I called and asked again and was told he would call me. He didn't. Long story short, a friend of his mom's told the mom and finally it was done. A week ago Friday I had called and said I had two jobs in the same bathroom and would they please come out next week. I was told they would call us. I hate that. Why not say, such and such day either morning or afternoon? Well, this Friday I called a different plumber and the guy offered to try and work us in that day and I said no, Monday would be fine. So hopefully the new plumber will show up and do what we need done. We have a small leak in our toilet and we need something fixed on our shower. I just want it done. Sheesh. I've concluded so many companies don't want to deal with small jobs anymore -- they want big ones.

Our local Bergner's is going out of business like all the others in the country. We stopped by yesterday. I did wind up buying a couple of things at 70 percent off. I bought a new nonstick skillet, a new Dutch oven, and a new cutting board. So this morning after brunch I went through and got rid of 3 pans and I'm throwing out my very well used cutting board. I do feel guilty for spending the money. It's not like we don't have the money -- we do. But DH said as much as I cook, I should get decent pans. I haven't had a new pan in over ten years. I try to take care of what I have, but eventually, many things wear out. Except my cast iron. That will probably outlive me.

I found a small amount of green beans on sale. I canned them. They will be part of a birthday present for a friend. I also made some spaghetti sauce this week.

And, DH and I went to see the sequel to Mamma Mia -- the locally owned theatre has what is called "Tightwad Tuesday" and ran the show for $5 each. We enjoyed it. We haven't been to the movies in years so it was a nice treat.

Not a lot going on

July 29th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

I haven't blogged for awhile because I really haven't too much exciting going on.

I have kept busy knitting hats. Our total as of last Thursday was 745. Not bad for a small group of ladies. We are getting close to our goal of 1000 hats this year. I have also been busy making different things for gifts. I embroidered a canvas bag. I bought the bag at a thrift shop for 99 cents. It was new -- no one had started it and it still had the starchy feel to it. I had the embroidery floss so other than the 99 cents and tax, it wasn't an expensive project. I need to iron it and put it in my stash for Christmas. I finished crocheting a towel and dish cloth for a friend as a house warming gift. I think I will include a jar of jam with them.

We had a lot of hot, sultry days and the tomatoes really came on. I canned 6 quarts of tomatoes and 2 quarts and a pint of juice this week. I had also made chicken broth and canned 3 quarts of it since I had the canner out.

Have you ever noticed that any time you do a home improvement project it never is just that one thing? I know I blogged about the new driveway, but when it rained a few days afterwards, all the soil around the driveway washed out. With the extreme heat, DH knew he couldn't get grass growing fast enough and if you want sod, you have to order it and it takes days to get it. So, we decided to figure out something else. Menards had a sale on edgers that are oblong and sort of fit together. We bought enough of them to do both sides of the driveway and then some bags of soil to fill in. We worked two different days on that project. It rained this morning and we didn't have any soil wash out so it must have worked.

Just when we think we are on easy street, I looked up at the family room ceiling and noticed we have a leak. Go figure! So, we will be calling someone tomorrow to come and check it out.

Canning, crafts, and Christmas

July 15th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

I have kept busy the past few days working around here.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon doing some canning. Nothing big like bushels of anything, but small portions of things.

DH has had quite a few tomatoes come on and since he prefers larger tomatoes for slicing, I had quite a few cherry tomatoes. So, I juiced them and realized a pint and a half pint of tomato juice. I so enjoy tomato juice during the year.

A friend gave us some black cherries, but we weren't eating them quickly enough, so I juiced them and then made jam. Only realized two 1/4 pints, but they will be added to the gift stash.

I had some grapes that I wasn't sure how much longer they would be good. Again, not a lot of them, but thought, why not juice them. I realized a half pint and 1/4 of grape jelly. Another addition to the stash.

I had made apple juice and DH couldn't drink it all in a timely manner. So, apple jelly came about to the tune of 1 pint, 6 half pints, and one 1/4 pint.
Yep, you guessed it more stash!

I also made sweet pickles yesterday -- 1 pint and 2 half pints.

Between the green beans I've canned and some of the spaghetti sauce I made, the pie safe we use as a pantry is full. And I'm not complaining. Some of these items will be consumed here at home, but others will be gifts at Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I have also been working on items. I use a Swiffer duster and I just hate the waste of them. I was looking at the handle and I think I figured out a simple pattern to make my own using the oblong knitting loom. Between using a very soft yarn and then crocheting a piece for the handle, I think I figured it out. I showed it to a friend of mine who thought it would work. I didn't tell her I planned to make her some since I know she uses the duster too. I crochet the Swiffer mop pads out of leftover yarn when there isn't enough to make hats and she says she loves the fact she can use it and throw it in the wash. So, the same will be true of the duster.

I have a bunch of crochet thread in different colors so I have been crocheting ornaments to try and use it up. I was thinking of a friend who has a small apartment and thought if I could find a small table top tree, it would be ideal for his apartment. One of the thrift stores had all their Christmas 50 to 75 percent off so I scored a small tree for a quarter. It was like new.

I also finished a scarf in the Cubs colors for a friend to match the hat I made him over a year ago. He had picked out the colors. I thought this would be a nice Christmas gift.

I have also found a few items here and there on sale and have been squirreling them away for Christmas.

So, are you getting ready for Christmas?

Tomatoes are coming on!

July 12th, 2018 at 08:08 am

DH brought in quite a few tomatoes this morning. I'm excited because two of them were heirloom. We aren't to the point where I need to can, but I can hardly wait until we are. I am going to make more juice this year because I have really enjoyed drinking homemade tomato juice.

The first batch of onions are about gone. DH says he will put in another planting.

How are your gardens going?

Free Food

July 9th, 2018 at 07:43 am

We were the happy recipients of some free food. Our friends were leaving on vacation and she didn't want it go to waste and asked me if I would like to have it. Of course I said yes!

6 ears of sweet corn
broccoli
brussel sprouts
cherries
3 containers of Greek yogurt


We have had two ears of the corn. It is grown locally and it was delicious. I have consumed two of the yogurt and added some of the cherries to the fruit salad I make each week. I'm going to have stir fry tomorrow night so the broccoli will be part of it and I'm thinking of making a salad with the brussel sprouts by shredding them.

Some of DH's tomatoes are starting to ripen so we are enjoying them as well. Not free, but pretty darn good.

Driveway work begins

July 5th, 2018 at 11:29 am

Twenty years ago we bought this house and even then the driveway was cracked. It has gotten worse. Our home was built in 1979 and it is the original driveway.

Today, the driveway guys came to start the tear out. After he got it totally torn out, he told DH that there's a reason our driveway was so bad -- it was only 2 1/2 inches thick in spots. It is supposed to be a minimum of 4 and ideally between 5-6. He said the sand underneath had washed away and if any heavy vehicles had been on it, it certainly didn't help.

So, it is both exciting and frustrating. It is exciting because we will have a new driveway and two pieces of sidewalk replaced which will make our home look better and it will be far easier to shovel this winter without hitting the places where the concrete were different levels. But it is frustrating that yet again someone did not do the proper job and years down the way, we have had to suffer the consequences.

We have been saving for the driveway so we will be able to pay cash when it is completed. That's a very good thing.

Happy July 4th!

July 4th, 2018 at 07:52 am

Here in the U.S. it is Independence Day. We are blessed to have so many freedoms. Hope your day is a great one!

I've been keeping busy. On Monday I wanted to crochet so I tried to find something on the television to watch and found a run of Extreme Couponing. I watched 3 hours of it. I know they are older shows and I also know that there is no way we could ever do the deals they get. Our newspapers coupons are pathetic. I didn't realize that there are actually different coupons depending on what the paper purchases. We used to get the Chicago Trib on Sundays (long story, but can't get it by subscription and our Walgreens doesn't get copies or get enough). It would say the same brand of coupon flyers like Smart Source or Red Plum, but there would be far more coupons in those than the ones in our local paper. Plus, none of our stores double coupons. Anyway, It was interesting to watch. I'm not sure I would want to make a full time job of coupons and I look at the shelves of things they have and wonder if they honestly use all the stuff they swear they got for free. I mean, how many toothbrushes does one really need in a year?

I did get one scarf crocheted and I crocheted a dish cloth. We went out to eat with friends at Olive Garden and it was a belated birthday celebration. The dish cloth was part of her birthday gift. I had crocheted a hand towel that hangs over a drawer or stove handle, I made the gift bag, and the card was from a set of cards that I bought for $2 at a thrift store. All in, I had less than $3 for her gift. Sadly, if she knew that it wasn't an expensive gift, she probably wouldn't like it, so I didn't share that.

I did hit Walgreens yesterday. The first Tuesday of the month is senior day and they give 20% off of things not on sale. It doesn't cover prescriptions, but we didn't need any so that was OK. I made my list, took a few of the coupons, did some digital coupons, and did my shopping. Between the 20% off, the coupons, the sale prices, and the $50 rewards credit, the original $127 plus bill was $53.78 out of pocket. I didn't think that was too bad. I can't do that every month, but then again, some of these things I don't need every month.

Today is supposed to be, as they say, "hot as a firecracker" here. The forecasted temperature is 91, and the humidity is supposed to make it feel like 110. I don't think I will be doing much outside.

First of July

July 1st, 2018 at 12:45 pm

It's the first of the month and it means our pensions come in and so do the bills. The checking account was a bit thin this time because I paid the property taxes and DH also got new glasses. But, I'd rather have a smaller checking account than having to take from savings. I wanted to try and see if we could do our regular monthly bills as well as save a little in the checking ahead of time to pay the taxes and we did. It's a nice feeling that we are paid up and I didn't have to deduct from savings. It seems that when we take from savings it goes out faster than we can replenish it.

It's been incredibly hot and humid here and it makes us want to stay in a lot. We did do a little running yesterday just to get out and get moving. We hit an estate sale, a thrift shop, and a flea market. We had a good time looking, but purchased nothing. We didn't need anything and there wasn't a thing there that called our names.

DH is starting to get ripe cherry tomatoes. I've been purchasing them year round because we think his eating some at meals has helped his PSA scores. So hopefully this will be the last week we will have to purchase any for awhile. We did enjoy his first regular size ripe tomato last night for supper. There was one before it, but a chipmunk ate the bottom of it. We did wind up buying some netting to put around the tomato plants to try and keep the chipmunks away from them. He's used it in the past with success.

Yesterday I had some fabric pieces left over from some things I had worked on. I thought that maybe I could repurpose these pieces and I made two very simple small bags. I thought I could use them as gift bags. They aren't sturdy enough to carry anything. It got me to thinking about our reliance on plastic bags and plastic itself.

We take our own bags to the grocery stores and use them when we shop. When we go to the thrift stores, unless I buy a lot of stuff, I normally request they keep the bag. There was a story on the world news last night about a family in Illinois trying to live without plastic. Even then, they have to use some plastic because of the way some food items are packaged. But, they use metal cups, glass bottles, dishes, containers, etc. But, I thought, wow, I remember reading something that went around the Internet a few years ago about some lady at the checkout and the gal was talking about recycling saying that the older generation didn't know about recycling and then the lady commented about reusing stuff, drinking soda pop in bottles and paying a deposit and then returning the bottles, and things like that. I miss those glass bottles for stuff. I guess with everything, there's good and there's bad to it.

Bag lady :)

June 29th, 2018 at 08:46 am

Guess it is official, I'm a bag lady!

We usually hit the thrift stores on Fridays. There are 4 we go to each week and then there are a couple others we hit every once in awhile. Anyway, I found some lovely canvas bags that were brand new. I thought that they might make good gift bags -- a two for one sort of thing. I can put a gift in them and the recipient gets both the gift and a reusable bag.

Anyway, I decided to decorate them. I found some iron on transfers. And then I crocheted a couple of things and had some things I could sew on.

I have about $1.50 or less invested in each bag. Here are the results on the photos below.





Hats, hats, and more hats

June 18th, 2018 at 11:05 am

Last week our knitting group got together for our bimonthly meeting time. Our goal is to make 1000 hats for 2018. We will choose high poverty schools in which to gift them. We have a couple of ladies making scarves. I can crochet, but one of the other ladies wanted to know how to knit a scarf on a loom, so I looked up the YouTube instructions and taught myself and then taught the ladies.

Anyway our hat total as of last Thursday was 533 hats! Not bad for a group that averages about 8-9 people.




I did score some yarn the other day at a thrift store. It was new and packaged, but they wanted as much as I could have purchased it at a fabric store on discount. I said something to one of the ladies and she said, well, if that is the case, let's just cut the price in half! No complaints from me!

Anniversary, friends, and finances

June 15th, 2018 at 01:14 pm

Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. We are going out for supper and that should be nice. We get each other a card and have a great meal and we are satisfied with that. At this point in our lives, we basically buy what we need and want so a gift is not needed.

Last night we went out with friends. Egad, two meals out in two nights...well, we were supposed to have gone out over two weeks ago, but we had an out of town funeral and then they had an out of town wedding so it kept getting postponed. We were celebrating a birthday of the other lady. Two of us are retired educators. Our retirement system in Illinois sent out an email that there was an article about certain people in Illinois getting over $100K in pensions and how so few actually get that much. So, we were discussing that and the article said the the average pension is $54K. I know he makes more than that in pension and he was carrying on about how he couldn't believe anyone would get that little as a pension. I quietly said, I get less then $50K a year for pension. He didn't know what to say. I agreed to it so I could retire early. It was totally worth it to me. DH retired from the public library and his pension is less than mine. He does also get Social Security which helps, but neither of us make huge amounts.

But are we poor? Not really. My friend has made lots more money, in fact he probably made more than what DH and I made for many years. But he is so poor in handling money that is almost ridiculous. He lives for now and then grouses when he can't do things because he owes so much money. I think it is a balancing act each month when he and the wife pay bills. They have, in the past 4 years, taken two huge vacations, both of which they borrowed money for. They have a home here and a small residence in a Southernstate. They eat out every day. He has all sorts of expensive collections and is continually adding to them. His home isn't paid for because he continually borrows from the equity. He has personal loans. I rather doubt if his place in the south is paid for. He keeps throwing up to us that he has this second place and how it is they vacation during the winter months.

It all came to a head the other day. We take bus trips, most of them day ones, and an upcoming one is to see Carol Burnett. It is in St. Louis and we are going to have a meal at a restaurant on The Hill, and then see the program. It costs $249 each. I asked DH if he wanted to go, he said he did, and I immediately wrote out a check to pay for it and secured our spots. I told our friends and his response was they can't even think about it right now. In other words, they are so overextended it isn't possible.

It really doesn't matter how much one makes if one doesn't know how to handle it. He may draw far more than I do, but spending every penny isn't helping him because the wants keep him broke. I know when he found out that I don't make what he makes pension wise, he was shocked. I could see him thinking how in the world do they do what they do?

We do it by cutting back on other stuff. We do eat out, but not every day. Often times we eat out at lunch -- cheaper, less crowded (we go early), and we don't do a huge meal, usually soup or a sandwich or if early enough, breakfast. I cook. A lot. Most of it from scratch. We buy an incredible amount of our groceries at Aldi. I can tell you he wouldn't be caught doing that. He prefers Wal-Mart and Sam's. He especially loves Sam's to buy in bulk. I make things we have and we buy things at rummage sales and thrift shops. I found two curtain sheers, new in a package, that I just knew would look great with DH's curtains in the den. I had white sheers, but these were tan and his curtains were brown. The sheers were $1 each. I ironed them and hung them and they matched great. When I mentioned doing this, he looked at my husband and said that I must not care for your because I spent so little on the sheers. He then went on to brag how they spent $1500 for two valances and 4 tiers for their kitchen windows...they were custom made! I recently made two sets of cottage sets for my bathroom and kitchen windows. The material was $9 and I made other things with the leftover material and I still have material left. I'm sure my friend would turn his nose up at this. I liked the material.

So, I might make less, but I think we get more bang for our buck.

Had a nice surprise and a disappointment today. DH had what looked like 6 cherry tomatoes almost ripe. He said to go ahead and pick them so I bent down and did...2 of the 6 had already been bitten by a chipmunk. Oh, well, at least not all of them have. They should be full ripe by tomorrow and we will enjoy them with our supper.

We have ar

Food and Fabric

June 12th, 2018 at 02:31 pm

I'm already dreading making the grocery lists for this week. I've been using up lots of stuff, both fresh and pantry wise so I think this week's grocery bills are going to be a lot higher than what we have had lately.

Unfortunately DH's garden did not give us carrots, radishes, or lettuce. Apparently the seed was bad because nothing came up. Well, I take that a back, 3 small lettuce leaves showed up after his third planting. Not even enough for including on a sandwich. His green onions are going gang busters as are his herbs. I brought some onions in for our dinner -- crabmeat casserole and roasted zucchini with chopped onion and added some Oregano and sage to the casserole.

A few months ago I purchased 10 yards of some fabric for $9 at a thrift store. I really liked the material and my plan was to make two cottage sets, one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen window. I've made them, two table runners, and today I made a pillowcase for a casual pillow. I then used the scraps to recover my two favorite potholders that are really starting to look worn. I crocheted covers a few years ago, but they look pretty bad now too. So, I cut those off and made little covers and although they don't look perfect, it does make them look better. I still have some material left. Not sure what I will do with the rest of it, but I most certainly have gotten my money's worth out of it.

Over the weekend we went to an open air market and I was a big spender. Bought a squash and a cucumber for 50 cents each. We've eaten the squash already and the cucumber is going to make an appearance in my salad tomorrow. I really like reasonably priced fresh vegetables.

Catch Up

June 8th, 2018 at 08:26 am

It's been awhile since I've written anything. Nothing really very exciting going on, but that's fine. I am not complaining.

Have had a couple of expensive things, but not unexpected things come up. Our property taxes are due and we save all year for them so we have the money for them. Plus I made an appointment for DH to have his eyes examined and told him it was time for new glasses. His glasses are years old and I had him get out a pair of some of his older ones and he realized if he broke his current ones, his older ones wouldn't be much help. His eyes are weak and there is only so much one can do with the prescription, but the eye doctor did say they could add to the prescription this time so that might help with his vision. Plus, with the new technology and different frames, the gal helping him pick them out said that the glasses will be lighter weight so he's pleased about that.

I went through some items the other day to donate. I struggle with giving up things. We have more things in this house than we will ever use. I think it is the Depression Era mentality that was drilled into me by my parents. They lived through the Depression and had little. We need to drop those items off and get them out of the house.

We hooked up the rain barrel, but haven't had any rain in a long time. Hope we receive some rain soon because things are getting very dry and the corn leaves are starting to curl in many of the fields near us.

Last week one of the thrift stores had books on sale and hardbacks were 49 cents. I normally don't purchase many books and instead check them out of the library, but I did see a John Grisham that I had not read. It is "The Innocent Man" and there was no book jacket. I read the first couple of pages and realized I had not read it. I started (and finished) it this week and realized it was nonfiction about Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz and how they were convicted of a murder they did not commit and how DNA 12 years later freed them. I think I got my 49 cents worth and now DH wants to read it. We will donate it when he finishes.

I used a YouTube video to learn how to knit a scarf on a rectangular loom. The loom came in the package I bought over two years ago and it was a new challenge. It turned out well. I used some yarn I bought at a thrift store that was still in the package so I have less than $3 invested in my new scarf. I do need to take my coat to get it dry-cleaned. I haven't had it cleaned for a few years. I brush it every so often, but it does need to be cleaned.

Hope everyone has a delightful weekend.

Sweaty Saturday

May 12th, 2018 at 01:06 pm

Not much to update. I've been busy, but nothing really super exciting. We did go on a bus trip to see "Phantom of the Opera" last week. One of the churches put it together so it was more reasonable. We had a lovely time and it was a nice day for the trip.

DH is currently planting tomatoes and some herbs. He couldn't find decent plants for bell peppers so that will be another day. I took my knitting loom to knit a hat on the bus, but I dropped the bag and broke a peg off. I have glued it back on, but yesterday at a thrift store, I found a bag with three different sized looms in them so we bought them. I am using the new loom while I make sure the glue is dry on my old one. So far we have 406 hats made and we meet this week so I imagine the number will go up.

I bought some fresh green beans on sale at the store. I need to clean and snap them. We don't have enough garden space to plant green beans. I hope to can some of them. I like finding them on sale.

I cleaned out the shed today. DH is a wonderful guy, but tidiness is not one of his virtues. I got rid of some things that should have been thrown away and I found a piece of the mower we gave to a guy a week or so ago so I walked it over to his house.

It is in the upper 80s here, very humid, and DH and I are both sweating. No glowing, truly sweating. A few years ago we were out with another couple and it was in the 90s and we were walking round. She said she didn't want to get hot and of course we were out of town and looking around, so I wanted to see what we could see. She informed me she didn't want to be around people who sweat, and I should as a lady, tell myself not to sweat. Really?

Ever since then I've been even more self conscious about my sweating. I grew up and we didn't have air conditioning so there were some pretty hot days and nights. I always cleaned up and had clean clothes, and used deodorant.

So, today both of us are really perspiring. One of the doctors on PBS was saying it was good to sweat to get the toxins out. I informed DH i should be toxin free and he said, "me too!"

Guess I better go get busy. I took a short break to hydrate. Now back to sweating.


New author, new bling

May 1st, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Recently I discovered an author new to me. Her name is Betty Hechtman and she writes cozy mysteries with characters who crochet. There's usually a pretty good twist to the plot and the characters are both believable and likable so I'm enjoying reading through this series.

I read about one of the characters crocheting a granny square bracelet and I then researched it online. Sure enough, there are patterns to make these bracelets so I made one for myself the other night just for fun. I already had the crochet thread so I thought it would make a nice little activity. I then looked on Etsy to see if there were any there and didn't see any, so either they aren't a big hit or maybe something new to hit the scene. I'm curious if people would purchase these at our church bazaar so hopefully you will give me some input. I don't imagine they would go for more than a buck or two, but I have lots of different colors of crochet thread so other than my work, it wouldn't cost me anything to make them.


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