<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: October, 2015
 

Archive for October, 2015

Overwhelmed

October 30th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

The last few weeks have brought about a slew of envelopes, phone calls, and door bell ringing as people ask for donations or fundraise. It's been bad in the past, but this year is has totally overwhelmed me. I know the mail part has to be because our name and addresses were sold and I'm not happy about it. One particular charity sends something almost weekly. I looked them up and only about 5% of the money donated actually goes to the folks they are supposed to help. Fat chance they are getting anything.

I work in education and I understand the concept and necessity of fundraising, but the district I live in has gone crazy. The neighbor kids have been selling so much stuff.

Today we received what I think was a telemarketer call at 7:08 a.m. Normally I would be up and gone, but today is a day off because we had parent-teacher conferences until 7 two nights this week. I had looked forward to sleeping in. DH didn't answer the phone; I would have and let the person have it. We had someone about a year ago call about that time to inform me he wanted to help me fix the virus on my computer. I informed him I didn't have a computer virus and how absolutely rude it was to call before 9 a.m. in America and if he was calling from another country, he needs to find out what time zone he was calling.

Locally we had a community food drive a couple of weeks ago. My school was collecting and DH went and bought 3 cases of canned goods so I could take them in. Then the other building I work in decided we should donate too and started browbeating us to donate money. I said I had already donated and this person said I should donate more because it was a good cause. I kept my mouth shut, but I wanted to tell this person that yes, it is a good cause, but we consistently donate to a food pantry every month and belittling me because I wouldn't donate even more wasn't influencing me. It's none of this person's business what I do with my money.

In other news, I have been struggling with my asthma. That was one of the reasons I had hoped to sleep in because I haven't been sleeping well. Since I got home after 7, I couldn't do my breathing treatment until after then and it kind of wires me up. I needed the treatment, but I also need some sleep. Guess the telemarketer didn't think so.

Right now I stand at 126 school days until retirement. Some days fly by and some just crawl. I imagine with the holidays coming, these days will fly.

Frost

October 18th, 2015 at 01:13 pm

Lots of things going on at our house.

We had a projected killing frost this weekend, so a lot of time was spent getting tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and onions picked. DH pulled up a lot of the plants Friday night and the rest yesterday, including his flowers and the herbs. I spent a big part of Friday night cleaning vegetables and yesterday I did some canning. The pantry is looking pretty nice. We had bought some apples on sale too, so I canned some apple juice, apple jelly, and apple sauce, and I made some bell pepper soup. We will have some of the soup tonight and I canned 3 quarts and a pint of it for the pantry. A fellow who does landscaping stopped by to talk to us and he was saying his wife has gotten caught up in the blood moon conspiracy theory and has gone crazy canning since she is afraid there won't be food available. Funny, there was something on a program saying if Martial Law would go into effect, we would be hard pressed to find food. I don't subscribe to all this, but it could be scary if you thought about it and believed it. I just like to save money and know where our food is coming from.

My school district has this wellness program where they encourage you to get a screening during certain days they have set up. The screening can be as simple as a blood test for the basics, or you can pay for extra stuff, and they included a free flu shot. I had already gotten my flu shot, but I did the basic screening. Supposedly if you signed up by a certain time, at the end of the year you will get a $75 "refund" since we pay a portion of our health insurance. I like to keep track of my vitals, so the blood test wasn't a problem and the refund this spring will be a nice bonus.

This was my payday so I finished paying bills and then figured out what goes into savings. This is the last month to put money in Christmas club since they send us the check the first of November. We have a decent amount in it. So, in November I will start over for the next Christmas. We are also saving up for a new roof. We have a few years, but figure we should have the money so we can negotiate when the time comes. I truly believe "cash is king" when it comes to these matters. When we met with our financial adviser last summer, I was afraid he would get upset over our different savings accounts. He actually applauded us for saving up for things. We have a vacation account as well and then we have regular savings. It isn't like we are actually losing a lot of interest since interest rates aren't paying squat anywhere. I like having the different accounts because it makes it easier for us to keep track. We also don't have all of our bank accounts at the same bank.

We received our water bill and there is a flyer with it. On the back of it was a photo of a rain barrel...it looks like our rain barrel! The flyer said there could be a credit if you use something like this for storm water run off. So, I need to call the city to find out if we can get that credit at some point. Every little bit helps.

DH has been fighting some squirrels. They like to dig up his front yard because they are burying nuts for the winter. DH loves his front yard and doesn't want a bunch of holes. So, I am being entertained by him running out the front door to chase the squirrels and it gives him some exercise too.

Pantry Ponderings

October 12th, 2015 at 08:21 am

I did a count last night...My pantry has 19 quarts of tomatoes, 12 pints of tomatoes, 5 half pints of tomatoes, 17 pints of beans, 4 pints of beans, 1 half pint of beans, 3 quarts of corn, 2 pints of corn, 1 half pint corn, 14 half pints sweet pepper jelly, 2 quarts of sweet pickles, 5 half pints of sweet pickles, 1 quart of applesauce, 1 half pint applesauce, and 4 pints of bread and butter pickles...not bad, eh? Especially since we have a very small spot for the garden. I taught myself to can last year and didn't can a ton, but have really ventured out this year. The green beans were from a friend and the corn was a combination of a gift and some we bought. I haven't made the apple jelly yet and I was thinking of green tomato chow chow since we have quite a few green tomatoes. We will probably get a frost in the next couple of weeks so I'm trying to figure out what to do before then. I hate for stuff to go to waste. I am proud of what we have put up. I posted a photo on Facebook last night and did get quite a bit of validation.

Planning for Christmas

October 11th, 2015 at 02:05 pm

I have been working on a project at work and sent it in for a presentation for our school board. The IT person replied to my principal and me that since I did such a good job, I should get Monday off. Yeah, that was a joke...we have no school tomorrow in observance of Columbus Day. However, my ever witty boss said if I continue to work so hard, in ten weeks he will give me some time off for Christmas break. Ten weeks. Suddenly I started seeing the same time frame on Facebook that Christmas is ten weeks away.

Last summer I started making some things for Christmas. I have been working steadily. On Facebook this past week, someone had a meme that said a homemade gift really isn't a cheap gift and pointed out if someone knitted or crocheted an afghan how many skeins of yarn are needed, how much a typical skein of yarn is, and how many hours was put into it. All very true. It's sad that people think that because something is homemade it is cheap. Homemade foods aren't cheap either. I have spent hours today in the kitchen canning and making jelly. Plus there is the cost of the jars, lids, rings, and whatever else is needed. When I bake there is the cost of the ingredients as well as whatever else is used to store and/or transport.

Yesterday we hit some thrift shops and I found some jelly jars very reasonable. I snatched them up because I'm about out. Good thing because today I made 6 half pints of Sweet Pepper Jelly. I have been using it on toast simply because the last time I made some I had a little left over -- not enough to can, but too much to throw out. One way it is really good is over cream cheese and serve it either on crackers or celery. Right now we have quite a few bell peppers so I figured I might as well make use of them. Below is the original recipe, but when I made it a second time, I changed it by adding more peppers. I thought the amount they had was kind of skimpy.

Sweet Pepper Jelly
3/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
3/4 cup finally chopped green pepper
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
6 1/2 cup white sugar
6 Tablespoons pectin

3 pint sized canning jars or 6-7 half pint jars, sterilized and hot

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large stainless steel sauce pan. bring mixture to a boil and boil for 6 minutes. Add pectin and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off and discard foam. Ladle the jelly into the prepard jars. Wipe off rims and apply the lids. Place the jars in a large pot of water and bring to boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from water and let cool. Make sure lids have sealed. Refrigerate after opening.

I'm toying with the idea of making some apple jelly. I made apple juice yesterday and I'd like to see if I can also make apple jelly.

We hit the grocery store Friday night and found some baking ingredients on sale. I was pleased because we have a church bazaar and our church is known for selling all different kinds of cookies by the pound.

Ten weeks. Don't forget! Or are you all ready?

What a weekend

October 4th, 2015 at 02:33 pm

This has been a busy weekend. After getting off work, we drove about 45 minutes to pick up a bookcase we ordered to replace one. I'm trying to get things bought that we want before I retire such as furniture. We had saved for it so it wasn't an unexpected expense, but it came sooner than they said. So, I left work, we went to pick it up, ate supper, unloaded the piece, and then went to the first of two nights of celebration for my husband's class reunion. He had a wonderful time and was so happy we went. Of the two evenings, it was very reasonable -- we each bought an ice tea so that was the cost. He was a little worried that when we got home I was in bed by 10 p.m. I tried to explain after working all week and getting things done at home in the evenings I wasn't ill, just exhausted.

Saturday was busy doing some of the things I normally do on Friday night like grocery shop and laundry. We had the nice dinner for his reunion and it was a very nice evening. We dressed up. A friend teased me I needed to buy a new "frock" for the gala event, and we laughed and laughed at that. I said I didn't think they had a frock department. We both wore things we already owned. So other than paying for the dinner which we did earlier this summer, we didn't spend anything else.



Today was church and then brunch, then house cleaning and moving the new bookcase in and the old one out. After brunch I put a whole chicken I got on sale yesterday in the Crockpot. I had a bag of navy beans in the pantry that I soaked overnight. White chicken chili sounded good for a supper one night this week and then we will have enough for lunches. I made sweet pepper soup yesterday for tonight's supper and lunch tomorrow. We still have bell peppers coming on and I figure why not make use of them?

I think I'm a little crazy, but I enjoy cooking and it some ways it relaxes me when I can put things together and have something good to eat. One of the local restaurants advertised Sunday brunch for $12.99 each. I guess that isn't too expensive; we haven't eaten brunch out in years because after church we come home and I fix sausage, scrambled eggs, toast, cheesy grits, and fruit salad. I tease DH we could go out, but he loves what we have on Sundays and we figure we save a wad of money eating in.