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Archive for December, 2013

Life is like soup

December 31st, 2013 at 09:07 am

The last day of 2013. Wow. I'm a bit melancholy simply because change is often difficult. I was thinking about 2014 and although one always hopes it will be a good year, there is always the fear of the unknown. I could go into rational and irrational fears, but I won't because it could be a downer.

Last fall we were asked at a meeting to talk about something exciting we did over the summer. People had these grandiose stories. I felt like there was something wrong with me. We didn't do tons of stuff. We did take a short vacation and although it was enjoyable, I was happy to get home. I like being at home with my loving husband enjoying the simple things like coffee in the morning, cooking, and reading. It was enjoyable feasting on the stuff from DH's garden. We had fun getting stuff for the booth and setting it up. I am not an exciting person overall. I get more enthused about going to the library than going to the mall. I like to learn.

This morning my husband left to go deliver library books to a shut in. I was straightening up the kitchen and then getting stuff ready to put in a pot to make soup. I sort of reflected on how blessed I really am.

I have a loving spouse who is loyal and kind. I have wonderful friends who care for me. I have a nice home that is warm on these frigid days. I have enough to eat, and more clothes than I really need. I have a good job. I live in a country that allows me many freedoms and rights as well as responsibilities. So, I realize I am blessed.

Looking back on 2013 it was a good year. I saved money and spent money. I learned some new things. Hopefully 2014 will be equally as good.

Our soup is basically a mixture of frozen tomato sauce I made last summer from DH's tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, basil, and oregano. I cut up some celery we had in the fridge and added the remainder of the sloppy chicks (sloppy joes made with ground chicken) we didn't eatafter having it for two meals, and some pasta shells sitting in the pantry. Economical as well as healthy!

Life is kind of like that soup I am making. There are certain non exciting things that are the basis, yet other things that make it flavorful. Hope you have a delicious new year!

New year, old ways

December 29th, 2013 at 11:11 am

The new year is quickly approaching. I don't make resolutions because I'm a realist. If I decide to make a change, I don't do it because of a date on a calendar.

I was thinking of things to do this new year. I have some projects we've been saving for. When we bought our house over 15 years ago, one thing that really bugged me was the previous owners put carpeting in the utility/laundry room. This room is where we come into the house from the garage. Why in the world would they put berber carpeting, and light carpeting at that in there? Well, I think the reason is it made it look brighter and it probably was cheap. Anyway, I know that carpeting is not clean and I'm sick of it. I want plain old vinyl in there.

Another project is I'd like the door replaced on the side of the garage. I've painted it many times, but to be honest, it is an icky looking door and I don't think it is something that would keep anyone out if they wanted to get in. Of course with all the junk in front of it, a would be burglar would have a challenge getting in.

So, now the savings has begun. I noticed in the SA columns Jeffrey had talked about the 52 week challenge and having a separate account for it. I'm not doing the challenge, but I'm on board with having separate accounts. Our credit union is great about letting us have separate accounts. We have a Christmas Club, vacation, regular savings, Golden E, and money market. The first two are pretty self evident. The Golden E, because DH is over 55, gets a little better rate of return, not that any bank or credit union is paying much, so we decided that is our house fund. We've been putting in money to save up for stuff around the house. In a few years we will need a new roof. So, we add money each month to this account for around the house expenses.

Some friends of ours complained the other day that they needed some work done on their house and weren't sure where the money would come from unless they tapped their home equity loan again. Yes, I wrote again. They think we are weird because we pay cash for stuff. Of course they think I'm cheap because we eat at home so much. We could afford to eat out a whole lot more, but to be perfectly honest, I'd rather eat at home, know where the food came from, and have leftovers. And, I know we save a ton of money!

Do you have separate accounts for things?

Tea Party!

December 27th, 2013 at 05:05 pm

A friend of mine had a birthday this week. Her daughter asked what she wanted and she said how about a tea party?

As a kid I remember having a little plastic tea set and the doll and I would imbibe, but I never have been to a true tea party.

DH asked if I had tea and crumpets (he certainly watches too much T.V.) and I said no, but there were three kinds of tea and scones and sandwiches and other goodies.

We all sort of dressed up. Dressing up wasn't a prerequisite, but I think the nature of the party made us all want to. Not everyone knew each other, but we all shared the affection for our friend. It was a delightful way to spend the afternoon. I wasn't too sure because I'm not a big party person, but everyone was friendly and we talked and mingled and it was just a very civilized afternoon.

There were vintage tea cups and we oohed and aahed over them. Most were handed down from different family members.

Maybe the English have the right idea after all!

Merry Christmas from Illinois!

December 25th, 2013 at 08:16 pm

Hope you and yours had a blessed Christmas. We had sufficient to suffice and it was very, very nice!

Sparkling Spam...

December 24th, 2013 at 03:45 pm

It's Christmas Eve and I'm doing yet another breathing treatment before I change clothes for Christmas Eve services.

So, to amuse myself, I decided to open the spam folder. Talk about surprises!

I can meet my love match on match.com! Hmmm. Bet my current love match who is cleaning up after supper would be surprised! Not that I'm looking...don't get me wrong. (BTW, DH cleans up after supper...I do all the cooking. Yes, I know, I am very blessed!) EHarmony is so excited they sent me two emails within an hour. I am a very popular person for never having visited either site!

I can keep my penis size forever or so the email says. Golly, that is something I've always wanted...not. I'm female and I don't have penis envy. There's another company with the same sort of offer. Talk about barking up the wrong tree...

My scholarship application is being processed. Even better! I've been out of college over 30 years. Wonder if it is retroactive to then? Imagine the interest on that money...bet I can get my Ph.D.!

There's a KIA clearance going on just for me. Land o'goshen...they apparently don't know me well. Personally, I try not to buy foreign made cars...long story, but my dad drilled in me to buy American. There's also an extend my auto warranty one...is that on my current vehicle or the new Kia?

Two emails from the same company about a platinum credit card...Wow, they really must want me own one. I have two credit cards and that's enough for me at this point. But wait...there's more! Someone is willing to loan me $2500 quickly...might need that if I get that credit card and use it for extension stuff.

Someone is offering me a special Kohls card...I am a popular gal...over 30 spam in one day, and here's another jewel...I can learn a foreign language in ten days. No offense, but I'm having problems remembering English...ask any teacher and we constantly question our own spelling and grammar because both have been butchered so much by students.

Well, I'm gratified to know I'm such a well rounded popular individual...it is always nice to be wanted.

My breathing treatment is over so it's time to get ready for the real stuff. But, thought I'd add a little levity.

Merry Christmas!



A Potpourri of items

December 23rd, 2013 at 11:04 am

Santa came early around here...A friend stopped by Saturday night to drop off a gift. She has told me she didn't know what to get me this year. So, a big part of her gift was quarts of homegrown canned green beans. She also gave me a quart of applesauce and a quart of tomato sauce. All of which she worked hard on canning. Talk about a thoughtful gift! We love food around here and homegrown and canned is about as good as it gets. Little to no salt and no preservatives! Yay!

We are without a Christmas tree this year. No pity please. I'm not writing this for sorrow. It wasn't planned, but time and weather kept DH from getting a live tree this year. We are OK with it. He likes a live tree, but doesn't want to get one too early because it dries out. Two weekends ago we had a big snow and this weekend it rained and rained. He went yesterday when the rain let up and the tree farm he has always gotten one had closed for the season.

So many of the folks I work with have been so ill the past couple of weeks. I had hoped I would keep from getting ill, but Friday I started getting ill. Because of my asthma and allergies everything usually settles in my lungs so I'm trying to keep on top of it with breathing treatments. But, it could be so much worse.

In the newspaper today, a person who is in charge of a homeless drop in place said they have served over 2000 unduplicated patrons. For a city around the size of 74,000, that is a lot of homeless. It certainly makes me appreciate what I have so much more.

I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. Part of it is I haven't had much to add. Part of it is I have been fighting something that apparently won. I have been under the weather and hopefully with Christmas break will begin to rest up and feel better.

I hope all of you have Merry Christmas with lots of love and joy.

Spendy Sunday...sort of

December 8th, 2013 at 01:58 pm

Today was a bit of a spendy Sunday. Not horrible, but...

This afternoon we went to a Christmas tea at one of the major historical homes in our city. It is always nice and basically free unless you buy something or donate money. It is always pretty lovely and a good way to visit this historical home.

After that we stopped at Walgreens. A few weeks ago they had flour on sale, but had run out. DH had gotten a rain check, and we have checked off on and on, but it hadn't come in. They had it today. They also had peanut butter and tomato sauce on sale, and also some allergy medicine and there was even a $5 coupon on the allergy medicine so we did some money. I've been trying to restock my pantry has things go on sale. A few weeks ago one store had Del Monte vegetables on sale for 69 cents a can. We bought some. Then another store sold them for 50 cents a can, but there was a limit. But we stocked up and have quite a few.

After we came home I paid some bills and renewed our AARP membership.

None of this was super expensive, but it all adds up.

We had a dusting of snow this morning. It was a bit slick in spots, but fortunately nothing like other parts of the country have been having.

Last week about every meal had some sort of leftover in it. One day we had a pork stew made with leftover broth and pork. Another day we had spaghetti made with the leftover sloppy chicks. One night we had leftover mashed potatoes that I mixed with cheese and baked like a twice baked potato. And when we didn't finish that, I made potato patties and rolled them in Panko and sauted them to go with the fritatta I made with leftover vegetables and sausage. And, we finished up the turkey and gravy by mixing it with dressing for another meal. DH said he thought I got more mileage out of most of these leftovers than ever.

Hope it's a good week for everyone.

Hmmm...broke but lots of Christmas lights

December 2nd, 2013 at 04:47 pm

This is a snarky entry. I'm apologizing in advance.

One neighbor claims she's broke. She and hubby have full time jobs and she is selling make up on the side. I think she's taken off days from her regular job to attend functions out of state for this make up company. Their car broke down and she posted how she needs to sell things to pay for repairs.

Yet, the extravaganza is up and lit across the street. Christmas lights across the front the house as well as lit decorations and a blow up thing. She usually has three blowups in her yard.

Most of the stuff she's had, but for someone who is pleading poverty, the extra on her electric bill has to come from somewhere.

That, of course, isn't counting the decorations she's had on inside her house and showing through the windows since before Thanksgiving that are plugged in 24/7.

Am I being a humbug or being practical?

Thanksgiving and new bread recipe

December 1st, 2013 at 01:28 pm

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with plenty to eat and people to love.

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful; my brother and his wife joined us and we had a good meal and good fellowship. We are truly the dysfunctional family poster children. My brother is 19 years older than I am. We have the same mother, but different fathers. He was basically an adult when I came along so we didn't grow up together. When I was a little kid he and my mom got into some fight and they didn't talk to each other after that. Forty some years later my mom dies, I call him to tell him, and since then we have tried to work on building a relationship. I know that sound weird as adults, but my mom was the type of person if I had tried to be friendly to him while she was alive, she would have made my life absolutely miserable.

I did some baking yesterday. I tried a recipe I tore out of the paper a few months ago. It is a honey sweet bread and it was pretty good. Below is the recipe if you want to make it for yourself or for treats to give away for Christmas:

Honey loaf

3/4 cup coffee
3/4 cup honey
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teapoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients and whisk smooth.

Scrape batter into a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake about 45 minutes. If the top is starting to brown too much, at this point, cover with foil and bake another 15 minutes. Cool 30 minutes in the pan, then tip out and cool completely on a wire rack.

I served it with some butter spread on it...yum!