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Archive for May, 2013

Taking the plunge

May 30th, 2013 at 07:36 am

Well, we did it. DH and I have discussing this for a few months and we have been buying items very reasonably and ... we put down rent for a booth in a local antique mall.

I am both excited and frightened. My folks always did something for extra money. When I was a kid they had a furniture store and when we moved they had a small antique shop. I am, by no means, an expert on anything, but I am hoping we can make some money as well as have some fun buying and selling.

Our booth is very small and therefore fairly reasonable. I have a variety of items, priced differently. DH has argued with me over this one item...it is a very large candle with a primitive beaded ring around it sitting on a glass plate. He says it is too ugly and I say for $2.00, someone might buy it just for the candle and the plate. We shall see.

We set it up this afternoon. The place is supposed to have a flea market on the grounds this weekend so hopefully it will bring in more customers. I hope we have a nice weekend for it.

Any suggestions for a successful booth?

Wish us luck!

Happy Memorial Day

May 27th, 2013 at 05:22 pm

It has been a rather wet Memorial Day weekend. It has rained quite a bit all three days. We did manage to finally get to the cemetery today and get our flowers out for our loved ones.

This is sort of a rant, but every year I say the same thing to DH: the owners of the cemetery his parents are buried in must have seen his mom coming when she purchased their plot. She bought the plot immediately after her husband's death and it is in a very nondesirable place. It is next to a drop off with a tree so it is super shady and no grass grows so it is muddy when it rains. And when it rains, the mud splashes upon the stone. With the recent rain and humidity, moss was growing on the stone. We took quite a bit of time to clean it today before putting down the flowers. It is sad that people in the funeral industry take advantage of someone in such a time of grief.

On to other things...

We made it to the library and I did get to check out some magazines. I found a couple more recipes to try. Since I was successful with the last tilapia recipe, I'm getting bold and trying another.

Spiced Tilapia

1/2 t sale
1/2 t ground chili pepper
1/2 t caynee pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t garlic powder
14 t ground cumin
4 tilapia fillets

Combine dry ingredients, sprinkle over fillets. Cook fillets in a large nonstick skills coated with cooking spray over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes with a fork.

Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?

DH is pretty angry right now. The carrots he planted a couple of weeks ago were eaten by a rabbit. He had hoped to get some of them at least. He replanted them today in a pot hoping the bunny won't be jumping up there to enjoy.

Growl...and a new recipe

May 24th, 2013 at 06:17 pm

After supper tonight we went to the grocery store. We actually frequent two: Aldi and County Market. DH went to Aldi yesterday with a substantial list and then I make out a list for CM to fill in for things we either couldn't get, or like better at the CM.

The last couple of weeks, Aldi's bananas have been very ripe, so we have bought them at CM. I have noticed that it seems like the bottom of the bananas have seemed bruised. I kind of wondered why two weeks in a row just the bottom ones were bruised, but I think I discovered the reason.

The cashier who my husband has gone to the past two weeks is not exactly gentle. Tonight I witnessed him pretty much manhandle our groceries. He set the bananas down pretty roughly to weigh them. So I imagine we will have ones bruised on the bottom again. He basically pitched our loaf of bread to the side. I was so appalled I didn't even say anything.

To top things off, one of the local schools had their football players bagging for groceries. I understand they need money, but can't someone give them a few tips on bagging? We use reusable bags and some are larger than others. In one of the larger ones they put three boxes of tissue and something else very thin and very light. But in one of the smaller ones, they put two half gallons of milk and a bottle of grape juice, a can of olives and a couple of other heavier things. Sheesh. Everything was a jumbled up mess.

Oh, well, I told DH we are not going into the cashier's lane again. I think part of the problem is he doesn't feel well a lot of the time so he probably doesn't care. I'm sorry about that and I don't want to cost him his job, especially in our town with a huge unemployment rate.

I found this recipe we are going to try tomorrow night:

Tilapia Rice Cakes

8 oz tilapia
1/2 cup broth
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 c cooked wild rice
1/4 c chopped onion
2 T finely chopped bell pepper
2 T mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Worchestershire sauce
1 t lemon juice

oil


Rinse fish, pat dry. Pour broth into a 2 quarter baking dish. Bake at 450 4-5 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness of fish until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Drain and break into pieces.

Combine fish, egg, panko, wild rice, pepper, mayo, mustard, Worchestershire and lemon juice. Shape into 6 3/4 inch patties. Chill for 2 hours. Heat oil, cook patties until golden brown, about 10 minutes total.

Sure hope they turn out.

"Close to Famous"

May 20th, 2013 at 06:54 pm

No, I am not blogging about myself...

Funny how things work out...I am still baking bread with a couple more classes. The library assistant said she just finished a book by Joan Bauer titled, "Close to Famous" and it is a children's novel about a girl who bakes. I just finished reading and what a clever book.

The main character is being raised by a single mom; dad was killed in Iraq. She loves to bake, but her major problem is she cannot read. She and her mom roll into a small town and you meet the townspeople who all have their own problems.

I won't tell more, but it was worth a read and the author ended it with the girl, Foster, saying she is going to make the world a better place one cupcake at a time. Truly a delicious read!

Odds and Ends

May 18th, 2013 at 05:09 pm

Each week I fix a fruit salad. Same fruit. During the winter it is pricey, but we pay for it anyway because we believe it has helped us stay healthier. Our fruit salad consists of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries and sometimes I get wild and add an apple at the last minute or kiwi. Each night I slice a banana and then put the fruit salad over it. It's pretty and yummy, and we like it. That being said, this week DH found strawberries on sale so we had leftover salad. I took the remainder of it in my lunch. The ladies I eat with were amazed that we have fruit every night. Cleaning the fruit and cutting up strawberries doesn't take that long. I know folks are busy, but THAT busy?

I've blogged about the bread making and so far, the kids have loved it. I do have some left at the end of each day and I hate for it to go to waste so I offer it to staff. One lady who I know cooks quite a bit was shocked that it was a recipe and not a box mix for the bread machine. I told her those box mixes about $4 each and why spend so much when with 6 ingredients, you can make basic white bread? So, she asked for the recipe.

We hit a true thrift shop today and found some great bargains. I found two small American flags, made in America, a small Howard Miller clock with a picture frame, some linen napkins, a small blue and white candle holder, and an unused candle...total cost: $6 for all. I did not need any of this stuff, but the candle will go in my stash when I need a quick gift. The candle holder is for me...I like blue and white stuff. We will use the napkins, and the flags are going in our yard. The clock is going to go next to my chair in the family room because I take off my watch when I get home and we don't have a wall clock. It had been a gift to someone who works for a large milling company here in Decatur...there is a small (less than an inch wide) logo on it, but it looks news. Fine with me. Howard Miller is a famous clock maker so hopefully the clock will run for a long time...it had a battery in it and it was working.

About a month and a half ago a university offered an online course to any teachers in our district on financial matters and retirement. You are to sign up, agree to take the coursework, and they pay you $25 for signing up and $25 when you finish. I signed up not only for the money, but also, I hoped to learn some things. I have taken three modules and I can say I have learned a few things about vocabulary and such. Some of the things are common sense like emergency fund and savings accounts. But, it never hurts to learn new things and get paid to do it besides. I don't think many signed up. Oh, well.

It was a beautiful day here in Central Illinois. After hitting the library and the thrift shop, we went to Lowe's and bought some plants. DH has been busily planting tomato plants, bell pepper plants, and herbs. We sure hope for a good harvest!

On the news tonight part of the midsection of the country is forecasting tornadoes. Hope they don't get them and hope they don't come here either.

Hope you had a great Saturday as well.

Have needle...

May 17th, 2013 at 08:23 pm

Why is it so many things need mending lately? Last Saturday night I spent a couple of hours mending a quilt. So many of the pieces had separated so I tried to mend it before I washed it.

Tonight I sewed seams back together on one of those cloth grocery bags.

In the past couple of months I have mended some socks, sewed in some buttons, and even patched a sheet.

I am sure mending has saved some money since I did not replace any of these items.

I wonder if many continue to mend things...I am sure the SA folks do, but I doubt if a majority who aren't frugal do. What do you think?

Bread Baking 101

May 16th, 2013 at 06:09 pm

Today I worked with a fifth grade classroom and we measured out the ingredients for white bread to put in the bread machines I bought.

Personally, I don't use a bread machine anymore because I have worn out three. It is just as easy to mix the ingredients and let it rise in the baking pans. But, I don't have an oven at school I can use, so I make do.

I had everything ready this morning when the kids arrived and they asked, what are we making? Are we cooking?

It was kind of sad when I worked with the two different groups that how many admitted they had never baked or cooked anything with anyone in their family. I showed them a glass measuring cup and explained that was for liquids, then a plastic measuring cup for solids, and measuring spoons.

They washed their hands and we read the recipe. We talked about where flour comes from, and what yeast does. I acted dumb and said if the recipe calls for 3/4 of teaspoon of something and I don't have a teaspoon with that, what can I use? They had no idea. One kid said just guess. I said I had a 1/4 teaspoon and they figured out if we filled it three separate times, it would equal 3/4. I congratulated them on their problem solving.

To say that the aroma of bread baking was popular in that end of our building is an understatement.

When the bread finished baking I sliced it and buttered it and took it down to the class while it was still warm.

It didn't take long for it to disappear. I asked them to compare and contrast the bread we made to the bread they buy at the grocery store. Most of them said this was better. One said they liked that it was warm. Another said she was surprised we could make bread out of so few ingredients.

But one little gal said this, "This bread was better because it was made with love."

I stopped asking questions right there. It was a good experience and they enjoyed eating their "homework." And if it means they have a sweet memory, that's all the better.

Free Food!

May 14th, 2013 at 04:04 pm

Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

OK, let me explain...our school has been adopted by a church. The nice folks at the church decided to provide lunch for no other reason than they wanted to. So, they baked cookies which were wonderful, and had sandwiches, chips, and pop and tea. It was really nice of them.

I had taken peanut butter and saltines for lunch today so they will hold over for tomorrow for sure.

The best part is these folks stayed there and visited with us so we could thank them in person.

No, I'm not crazy, well not carb crazy anyway!

May 12th, 2013 at 01:35 pm

Currently I have two bread machines whirring away in my kitchen. No, I have not gone carb crazy...I bought both machines used and need to see how long it takes to make a loaf of white bread. I intend to take them to school and make bread with some of the classes. So many of our students have no idea that bread can be baked...if you ask them where bread comes from, they say from the store. It is sad they have little concept of how bread is made.

We had our usual Sunday brunch of scrambled eggs, sausage, cheesy grits, and toast today. I have leftover sausage so it will go into another dish this week. Probably a fritatta. I have a stew simmering on the stove for tomorrow night's supper. We had leftover pork roast from last night's supper. There's enough stew for supper and a lunch or two. I figure we will have some of the bread that is currently being baked. I plan on giving away the second loaf.

Our church will be getting a vicar in June. In our denomination, a vicar is like an intern or student teacher who works for a year learning the ropes. The ladies guild put out big plastic tubs and are encouraging us to help fill the pantry for the vicar and his wife and soon to be born baby. I think it is a lovely gesture. It reminds me of when I married almost 23 years ago. The staff of the school I worked with went in and bought a toaster, a paring knife, and a recipe box and they all included recipes, then they filled a laundry basket with canned goods and nonperishables. It was so thoughtful and practical. A few years later one of the ladies I worked with was getting married and she and her soon to be husband were going to buy a house. I bought bags of groceries to help fill their pantry instead of some of the fancy cookware she registered for. She was disappointed. She was polite, but I could tell she wasn't thrilled. One of the other teachers who was like a second mom to her told me she thought it was a great gift and she would appreciate it a little later. She was correct...after they ate all the cans of soup and pasta and used most of the stuff, she went to the store and tried to replace it. She later told me she didn't realize groceries were that expensive and that was over 15 years ago. I suggested to her then she needed to check the grocery ads and buy things on sale and stock up.

The hubster has been busy in the garden. He planted herbs and has also planted green onions, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. He said he's thinking of getting tomato plants this week. Tonight it is supposed to be pretty cool, but temps are going to be in the 80s starting Tuesday.

We hit Walgreens after brunch today. They had some things on sale that I also had coupons for. A couple of things we didn't need, but decided to stock up since they aren't going to go bad. Plus, I found a couple of things to put in the pile for the vicar's pantry. According to the receipt, we saved almost $30 with specials, coupons, and the loyalty card. Other than a couple of things I bought for the vicar's pantry, everything else was stuff we use. I will never achieve the Extreme Couponing success as they do on the television, but figure if I save a few dollars here and there, I'm doing decently.

It is sunny and a lovely day for all the mothers and grandmothers to be celebrated. Hope your day is wonderful as well.

Garage Sale Grumblings

May 10th, 2013 at 08:29 pm

On HGTV there is a new program where two families compete by having garage sales. They put out tons of stuff and get primo prices. Not sure how realistic is it for "reality TV", but interesting to see what they reuse and redo a d put out.

That being said, we went to some garage sales last weekend and most were, well pathetic. I am almost shocked at what folks think others might want. So many had clothes and most of the clothes were pretty tired looking. As for goodies, the term slim pickins comes to mind.

I know not every sale can have things that interest me, but I wonder if folks think ahead and realize in order to make money, they have to have some stuff to sell to make up for the ad and the trouble.

How are the garage sales in your area?

Free tea

May 6th, 2013 at 07:02 pm

A friend of ours has a daughter in law who is a buyer for a department store. She bought some tins of teas and opened them and served them for some meeting, After the meeting, she has no use for the remainder.

My friend knows I like teas, so he gives them to me.

Free is good.

However, I do have to report I think some of the labels are misleading.

One was titled "get young." Well, I am all for that. I brewed a cup and although it tasted a bit medicinal, I thought it would be worth it so see the years roll off. Can you believe it, not one person commented about how much younger I looked.

Last night I drank some that had the name "Get energized." I was a little concerned about drinking it in the evening in case I started moving around like the Tasmanian devil. I must say, I had a very good night's sleep.

Perhaps the labels are just the opposite....if so, I'm not drinking the "Get young" one again and I am staying clear of the one with the claim of getting thin!

This and that

May 3rd, 2013 at 07:47 pm

DH and I have been grocery shopping for the past two nights. We do Aldi one night and County Market the next. I usually look at the grocery fliers from both places, plan a menu, and then make a grocery list. I think we spend a lot on groceries, but we eat a lot at home and most of our meals usually have leftovers for either another meal or for a lunch or two.

A lady I know doesn't go shopping until they are totally out of everything. It's kind of odd -- she seems proud of that fact, but then admits they go to fast food places to tide them over.

She thinks I'm rigid because we have a schedule for shopping. But, I like to know we have food in the house and plan a menu.

She has admitted they are having money problems. I wonder if her pell mell attitude to shopping and cooking is also her attitude in saving and investing.

Meals for this week include:

roasted chicken tenders
scrambled eggs and grits
sloppy chicks (sloppy joes made with ground chicken)
baked turkey breast
tuna cakes
turkey (left over) and couscous

The next item has nothing to do with money, but I was highly amused. A lady I work with has a small farm and horses. One horse leans on the fence and has loosened the wire to the extent he can put his head under it, stretch it out, put a leg through, then another and another and gets out of the fence without tearing up the fence or hurting itself. And you ask, where does this traveling horse wander to? The front yard because the grass is longer and hasn't been grazed. Guess he thinks the grass is truly greener (and longer) on the other side of the fence!

Empty the fridge soup

May 2nd, 2013 at 06:16 pm

I knew last night that I would be arriving home a little later than usual since I was going to attend a workshop in another town about an hour away and wondered what to fix.

It was supposed to be rainy so I thought: SOUP!

We had a little pork roast leftover from the other night. And I had some tomatoes that were getting a bit squishy, some leftover mashed potatoes, some leftover green beans with their liquid...so I sauteed an onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, added some tumeric, basil, and paprika, added the tomatoes and meat and green beans and some water and let it simmer for about an hour last night. A few minutes before I turned off the heat I added this small bit of elbow macaroni that was left in the jar -- not enough for a meal, but too much to throw out.

It was a good meal to heat up and service with crackers and a fruit salad and there was enough for DH's lunch tomorrow.