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Archive for March, 2015

Oops...grabbed the wrong jar!

March 29th, 2015 at 04:12 pm

As I was fixing supper tonight -- our typical Sunday night staple of "Sloppy chicks" -- I went to get a jar of frozen tomato sauce I had made last summer. My mind was on other things and I grabbed the wrong jar. Defrosted that puppy, never even looked at it when I added it to the onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms and ground chicken...it was leftover chili! So we had sloppy chick chili mac. It was kind of soupy and I had made mashed potatoes last night and we had leftovers. I added them to thicken it. But you know, it wasn't bad! DH said he enjoyed it and that is all what matters!

Spend some to save some

March 28th, 2015 at 04:47 pm

I know it sounds contradictory, but sometimes I have to spend some money to save some money.

Last weekend we made three trips to Farm and Fleet. Fortunately it is very close to our house. But we saw a garbage can on sale and needed to replace ours since it has split. (DH has also wanted a mini tiller so he looked and bought...he said as he gets older it is getting harder to kneel and try to spade the soil by hand. I don't think we will actually save money on the tiller because he doesn't have a big plot, but he's happy. I figure I'm lucky he loves working in the yard instead of out boozing and getting into trouble.)

The third trip was to take the lawnmower there to get a tune up. It hasn't been tuned up or the blade sharpened in a number of years. We dropped it off and they worked on it and we picked it up today. It came to $62 for the tune up. Far cheaper than purchasing a new mower and since the mower still worked before taking it in, I think it was money well spent. So, I think in the long run we will save money by spending some.

Today I put a turkey breast in the slow cooker. The slow cooker is one I bought at a flea market for $10 a few years ago. It works great, looks nice, and although I have other slow cookers, it is a just the right size for this meal. That turkey breast will make up at least two meals so having spent money on that slow cooker a number of years ago, I think I'm saving money by cooking at home.

Speaking of slow cookers, I have 4 of them, counting the one previously mentioned. They are all different sizes. The $10 one is actually programmable which makes it even nicer, but I think I've saved a ton of money by using these wonderful appliances. So, by spending money, I've probably saved a bunch.

I opened up a jar of green beans I canned last summer. I'm not sure I saved very much money by canning since I had to buy some of the stuff outright to get started, but I do think they tasted better than the stuff from the store and I will have the jars and rings for the next time I can. Maybe I'll save money.

I've been watching thrift shops for canning jars and have purchased quite a few of the smaller pint ones. I read you can freeze things in these if they are straight up and down if you don't fill it to the very top so there is room for expansion. I did freeze some tomato sauce last summer with some of the small jars and I think it helps me save money as I use this stuff. I have also been using the tomatoes I canned last summer. Tonight, I finished up with the equivalent of about 5 quarts of broth. I had made chicken broth earlier this week and put it in the fridge to chill and today I had a bunch of turkey broth and it is also going to be frozen. I like keeping broth in the freezer so I have it when I want to make soups and stews. I spent money buying chicken and turkey for meals and used the leftover broth to freeze so I have it for other things.

I've been stocking up on things like soap and shampoo since there have been coupons for the stuff we use as well as sales. There was a sale on buy one, get one free and then there was a coupon for 50 cents off in the paper, so I felt like I had a good deal. It is stuff we normally use so I felt like although I didn't need two bottles right now, by buying them and having them, I'll save money so I don't have to get them at full price when I'm actually totally out.

I bought some orange oil when it was on sale awhile back and used it to wash and moisturize our kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities and bathroom trim and doors. That stuff isn't exactly cheap, but I think it sure helps preserve and clean the wood and hopefully help me save these pieces.

I spent $3 to wash my vehicle the other day at the car wash. It's not perfectly clean, but we've had so much salt on the roads and streets from this winter and although our snow is gone (hopefully won't return for a long time), when it rains, the puddles still have salt. I felt the $3 to wash the vehicle will help me save my vehicle from the damage salt could do to it.

So, I've been spending. We will be spending some big bucks in a bit...we are going to have insulation installed in our crawl space. We had an energy audit and he was shocked there wasn't any insulation down there. We are also going to add to the insulation in the attic. We are talking spending big bucks, but hopefully in the coming years, it will make our power bills a bit more reasonable and hopefully the floors a whole lot warmer.

Do you agree? Do you have sometimes have to spend money to save money?

A Little "Catch Up"

March 16th, 2015 at 04:42 pm

Life seems to be flying by lately. We are doing PARCC testing and my days at work seem to be getting longer and longer as I go in even earlier to get the computer lab ready before we begin testing. Testing means walking and monitoring and trying to keep both students and teachers calm. It almost seems like my life is a little out of control since I am so busy with the testing and can't get too much else done. I'm coming home totally beat and my back and legs are tired and sore. I've been wearing sneakers and have two different pair I alternate.

This weekend I was trying to play "catch up" with stuff at home. I haven't felt like doing a lot of cleaning or laundry during the week so it means I'm trying to do all of this on the weekend. I've done fairly well on keeping dinner on the table most nights. It means a lot of planning which I don't mind.

Yesterday I was so tired and achy that after church and brunch I relaxed on the couch for an hour and took some Ibuprofen. Right now strep throat and the flu seem to be taking our school by storm and I don't want to get ill for a number of reasons, one being my missing testing would be a big problem since there doesn't seem to be anyone who would step up to manage it. Fortunately the rest and the meds seemed to help. I was still tired, but less achy and I did get my housework and laundry completed. I also put together the dough for some homemade bread. And I put short ribs in the Crockpot for tonight's supper and I can say they were delicious.

I was thinking last night about a neighbor of mine. When I was three, my folks moved from a country setting to the city and bought an old store building. My dad worked for Coke, but he also wanted to run a furniture store. So we moved and I stood in the back yard (not really a yard because it was all gravel) calling "Simon! Simon! Simon!"

The Chipmunks were popular when I was younger. A neighbor thought at first I had a brother, but when none showed, she finally said, "Yes!" and she became Simon to me for the rest of her life.

She was quite the blessing to me -- taught me many things including how to cook.

Every week she would bake bread. She had a certain recipe that she baked for her husband because he was diabetic. I remember smelling the wonderful aroma and if I were lucky that day, she would cut off part of the end, or heel, and butter it, and that would be our treat. It was wonderful and she was wonderful.

Yesterday as I put together the ingredients for some bread, I thought how fortunate I was to have had her in my life and the fact that I watched her and learned how to bake bread. A friend of ours had a bread machine and she said she couldn't get a decent loaf out of it. DH says he is amazed how easy I make it look. I've even demonstrated bread making for some of our classes at school because we think it is important for our children to realize bread doesn't just come from the store.

My friend, Simon, also taught me about making use of things and not wasting and stocking up when things are on sale.

More importantly, she loved me and made me feel like I had worth. I just hope that I do the same for someone else.

Spent some money...

March 8th, 2015 at 12:41 pm




Yesterday was a nice day here in Central Illinois. We decided to go to Springfield and do a little shopping. So, I'm going to admit, we spent some money.

There is a Kohls there which is larger than ours and they had something I wanted to purchase for a friend's birthday. Our Kohls didn't have it. So, I bought it and will give it to her in a couple of weeks. It was on sale and we had a $5 off coupon from the loyalty thingy the company has.

We went to an antique mall. I'm going to tell you upfront what we bought was a want, not a need. There was a beautiful hand pieced, hand quilted quilt. I looked at it, and walked away and then went back. It was the size to fit a queen size bed. It was marked $195 which is pretty cheap for hand made quilts here in Central Illinois. I started to walk away again, and I saw the sign said half off of everything in the booth. DH walked over, saw me looking at the quilt and said he really liked it. So, we opened it up to see if it had any tears or stains. It didn't. So, we decided to buy it.

Now, I could rationalize this and say we haven't bought a new quilt or bedspread for over 12 years. My mom used to quilt and I would order one from her and she would make it and I would pay her for it. I have some quilts and I paid more for these quilts than what I paid yesterday. Most of my quilts are over 20 years old. Most are in good shape. I did not need this new to me quilt.

But, I wanted it. It is a different pattern than any I own. We brought it home, washed and dried it, and slept under it last night.

I posted a photo of it on Facebook last night and someone even offered to buy it from me! I had to chuckle over that!

So, I'll admit I spent money. I like what I bought. I am not going to rationalize buying it. But, I don't want to get in the habit of doing this either.

Ice ice -- not nice!

March 3rd, 2015 at 01:25 pm

We had freezing rain and ice this morning. Area schools were closed. DH nicely turned on the television so we could check about my school district.

Nope...nothing there. So, I rush to get ready and leave. I slide down our driveway. Our street is like a skating rink.

The main road was better, but the parking lot at school was treacherous. I got in and was greeted by the custodian asking why I was there.

Seems school was closed a few minutes after I left home. So, I checked with the principal, and another teacher came in too. We discussed a couple of things and I decided to go home. He offered to walk me to my car and I thanked him because I was afraid I would pull him down if I fell. He did stay at the door and make sure I got to my vehicle without mishap which I thought was very nice. I came home and had to park in the street because our driveway was still very slick.

Right now Facebook is lit up with folks complaining about the late notice.

I am glad the people in charge decided to close school. I know it inconvenienced people for the late notice, but the forecasters had originally said it would be slick, but the temps would rise and by mid morning it would be melting. Well, by 7, it didn't look like it would be melting anytime soon. I worried about the kids having to be out in it and the people driving. We have many staff who live many miles from our district.

Last week a teacher in our district was killed on her way to work -- her car had stalled and someone fell asleep at the wheel and hit her car. It certainly gave me a different perspective...how much better to call school, even late, and to keep people safe?

Although I dread having to make up this day at the end of the school year, I spent the day working around the house. I used orange oil on our kitchen cabinets (they are wood) which cleans and moisturizes them. I have mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned a bathroom, and worked on laundry. For lunch I used leftover mashed potatoes to make potato patties and fried eggs and served with bacon and toast -- hubby was very pleased. Supper tonight will be chicken stir fry.

Fortunately it has gotten a little warmer and things are melting. After a big snow this weekend and ice, I'm ready for winter to subside. Of course, I'm sure New England would have more to complain about.