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Archive for September, 2016

Good bye, September!

September 30th, 2016 at 08:32 pm

I know the calendar says it is the final day of September, but wow, where has this month gone? Of course with DH's surgery and my colonoscopy, much of it was doctor's appointments and procedures.

I can say it was kind of spendy. I bit the bullet and bought a MacBook. My current cheapie laptop is about to bite the dust. I just finished copying files and photos. I was going to buy another cheap laptop, but DH said I should just get what I really wanted. We had the money so I did. Now, I am trying to get all the personal stuff of this laptop. If I revert back to factory settings, will it clear most of the stuff off or will I need to run a program to clear the hard drive?

DH and I volunteered at one of my former schools today. He has been reading to two classrooms for the past 8 years. So today he read to the two classrooms and I helped in one of the classrooms by working with a couple of the students who are behind with fluency words.

DH's brother is going to have surgery next month. They were talking on the phone and although DH always seems supportive about the canning and enjoys the food, he never really says too much about it. I had to chuckle yesterday. He asked me if I had a list of everything that was canned. I did so he wanted it to read to his brother, almost bragging about it. Too funny! DH's brother has always had a much larger garden, but his wife doesn't can. She says it is too much work. It is work, but most things in life are.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Hello, October!

I'm ready for fall, y'all!

September 25th, 2016 at 07:23 pm

Another hot day here in Central Illinois. Supposedly we are to have a cold front and a little rain. I'm ready for fall and at least what is termed as normal temps and humidity. I'm glad I'm not in the unairconditioned school buildings this year, but I feel for those who are.

DH continues to improve after his surgery. He still isn't to bend much and isn't to lift much weight, but at least he isn't in a lot of pain. His 70th birthday is this Tuesday and he already has his day planned -- he wants to hit some out of town antique and thrift shops and eat at a buffet called Yoder's in Arthur. It isn't a large buffet, but has excellent food. I already promised him a chocolate cake so I will bake it tomorrow and I'm counting on it being cooler to turn on the oven!

Hot or not, I am using up vegetables and made vegetable soup. We have been blessed with bell peppers this year and I don't want them to go to waste. I've already cleaned, chopped and frozen a bunch and put them in the freezer. Today for brunch I sauteed some and then put them with scrambled eggs. I keep a bag in the freezer of vegetables we don't finish. I put them in a soup. Most of them are fresh vegetables I've cooked or roasted so it gives them a better than canned flavor anyway. So fall or not, we are feasting on soup tonight.

Retirement Reflections

September 20th, 2016 at 06:45 pm

It's funny...I've been retired for awhile -- I retired the day after school was out, but with summer break, I didn't really count it until August 15, the first day of school going back in session. So, lots of people have asked me how I like retirement. I can say I like it a lot.

I'm a sort of schedule person so after the first week, DH and I got into a schedule. We go to bed about the same time every night (later than when I worked since I don't have to get up super early anymore) and we get up around the same time every day. We got into an exercise and shower routine. He walks and I ride an exercise bike. I don't handle the sun or outside due to allergies. I try to do laundry on certain days because there is a comfort to that for me. I plan to grocery shop on Thursdays because it isn't as crowded, but the stores have their aisles pretty well stocked.

Today isn't the first day that it has been such a joy being retired, but as hot as it is today, I don't have to go and work in a hotbox known as many of our elementary schools and return tonight for open house. I can't tell you what a relief that is.

Yesterday my chiropractor asked me how I liked retirement. I guess because I'm not traveling all the time, they think I'm bored. I'm not. I cook, I read, I've canned, I clean, I visit with friends, and lately, I've been taking care of my husband due to his surgery. It's just nice not having to rush around and worry about getting enough sleep and getting to work on time.

One of the ladies I used to work with was always either late or cutting it close. She posted on Facebook that it finally happened -- she and her spouse overslept and the principal came to their house to do a check. In all the years I worked at different jobs, I was not late because I overslept. I would have been so embarrassed. She wasn't -- she thought it was funny. Maybe I'm too old fashioned and strict with myself. I don't find is amusing. It annoyed me to no end when she and other folks who were always running late felt it was OK for other people to pick up the slack because they couldn't and wouldn't get to work on time. Ah, that's no longer my problem, is it? I'm retired. Smile

Mrs. High Maintenance?

September 18th, 2016 at 09:12 pm

Before I forget, I just want to say I have really enjoyed reading everyone's lists. I feel like I have gotten more insight to my SA friends. I also appreciate the kind comments on my own list.

It's been an interesting week. I won't say it has been the most spendy, but we did wind up spending on some things I hadn't planned. DH's surgery was supposed to be outpatient and we were supposed to be home in time for lunch. Nope. I had made vegetable soup to heat up when we got home for lunch and had supper planned, but the best laid plans. I wound up buying lunch at the hospital and buying something for DH because he was starving. We did have the soup that night so it wasn't all lost and I wound up fixing the meal the next night. I had planned on having leftovers for lunch on Wednesday, but DH wasn't sure he could handle it, so we had chicken noodle soup like he did when he was a kid. I keep it on hand and buy it on sale. So I wound up freezing the stuff I was going to have and we will have it tonight for supper. It has probably evened out as far as spending.

I have had a pair of potholders for over 25 years. They are my favorites. They are just the right size and thickness. But with all the use, they are fraying and are stained. I wash them frequently, but they look kind of icky. I bought some yarn the other day at the thrift store to use for something else and had some leftover so I thought maybe I could crochet a cover for each one. I finished one last night so I'm going to try it and see if it works. If not, I'm not out much.

A friend of mine was bemoaning the fact he went to some trade show and he didn't have the money to buy all the new stuff he wanted. I have a difficult time feeling sorry for him -- he makes a bigger pension than I, but is never ever happy.

I did can two more quarts of tomato juice. Most of it came from cherry tomatoes, but I don't want anything to go to waste. The garden is really slowing down so I'm only getting a few things here and there, but feel very blessed to have all we have had.

Friday night we were watching Dateline and the gal they were interviewing who was telling the story...well, I told my husband I didn't like her. She seemed like she was basically a high maintenance gal who married the guy she eventually turned in for murdering her dad, although she said she knew it before she married him. Seems she liked living the high lifestyle and when the money ran out, she no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. DH was teasing me that I was high maintenance too...and laughed. He reminded me I get more excited about canning jars than jewelry and I buy yarn from the thrift shops to do my little projects. My purses come from thrift shops and garage sales simply because I'd like to have something different, but would like to have a little money to put in the purse once I have it. So, yep, that's me, Mrs. High Maintenance...not!

My List

September 16th, 2016 at 07:27 pm

First of all, just a thank you to all of you who commented best wishes and prayed for my husband's double hernia surgery. It was Tuesday. He was given a spinal and of course, he was one in the thousands who had problems getting the numbness to wear off...we were at the hospital almost 12 hours for something that wasn't supposed to take half that long. But, he's home, he's feeling better, so that's good.

1. I have been blogging 6 years with SA.
2. I am married and have been for over 26 years.
3. I am currently (and happily) retired after teaching for over 30 years.
4. I love to read. I just finished book 77 for 2016 -- I belong to a Facebook group where we have a goal of reading a certain amount of books per year and we post what we read and if we liked it or not.
5. I love to cook. Unfortunately I love to eat as well.
6. I am a Christian and try to live my faith in such a way that others don't find me judging, but kind.
7. I grew up poor. I am not rich, but we are comfortable. I feel very blessed.
8. My parents were quite a bit older when I was born -- I was an accident and basically told that growing up.
9. I am shy.
10. I am often very sensitive and get my feelings hurt over silly things.
11. I have a slight hearing loss and it keeps me from wanting to be in crowds.
12. I really like Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. I often wonder if living in Illinois (being born and raised here) was a mistake.
13. Because of my love of reading, that is how I met my husband almost 30 years ago -- he worked on the public library's bookmobile.
14. I like the idea of traveling, but really hate to be away from home. I get homesick pretty easily because of it.
15. I worked in Chicago for a year at a publishing company. (I am from Central Illinois so being in the big city was culture shock.)
16. I drive, but I hate it. I don't want to be without transportation, but don't enjoy it.
17. I really like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and Mission Style furnishings.
18. My mother canned when I was growing up, but told me I was stupid to learn how. I taught myself how to can vegetables about three years ago.
19. I am probably unAmerican, but I don't care for sports.
20. I have not met any SA members, unfortunately.

A Couple of Busy Weeks

September 11th, 2016 at 07:51 pm

Last week was kind of busy and this week may be as well. Last week I tried to get some things done before my colonoscopy. Fortunately I did complete my list before the prep and the procedure went well. The doctor said I didn't have to come to the follow up appointment which was good news, but my complaint is why would the nurse tell you that when you are so groggy?

DH is having double hernia surgery Tuesday and if you are so inclined, I would appreciate prayers for him. It is supposed to be outpatient so hopefully he will be home Tuesday afternoon, but I imagine he will be very sore.

I asked him to pick any tomatoes that are starting to turn so we have them. I canned two quarts of juice from cherry tomatoes and the others today and our counter has quite a few tomatoes that need to ripen. I think our shorter days is making it so they don't ripen as quickly. He mowed today and has pulled up the cucumber plant, all the carrots, and one tomato plant that had basically died back. I was out of jars when I canned carrots last week so I have been scrounging pint jars. I realized I had a couple in my pantry I was using to store dry herbs and baking soda. I emptied the contents into non canning jars and washed them up. We finished a pint of pickles this week so I used that jar. So, I finished canning the carrots we had and wound up with 3 more pints and a half pint. I really didn't want to buy any more jars if I didn't have to.

I was really tired after the colonoscopy Friday, but we went to the grocery stores anyway since we didn't need a whole lot. I have our menu planned for this week so that will help. I know it is already Sunday, but I'm starting with last night since that is how I planned:

Saturday: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, small salad, fruit

Sunday: Sloppy chicks, baked beans, chips, pickles, sliced tomatoes

Monday: chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit

Tuesday: pork roast, roasted potatoes, carrots, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Wednesday: leftover pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Thursday: scrambled eggs, leftover sausage (from Sunday brunch), toast, sliced tomatoes, fruit

Lunches will be leftover sloppy chicks, pulled pork from the pork roast, and I try to keep sliced deli turkey on hand.

We normally splurge and eat on on Friday nights.

Canning Update

September 4th, 2016 at 08:55 pm

DH has been teasing me that I get more excited about seeing Mason jars than I do jewelry. It's true. We don't go anywhere where I need fancy jewelry. I have a lovely wedding set from when we married 26 years ago and a couple of nice, but simple necklaces and I'm good for out to dinner or to church. But the sparkly Mason jars...that's what catches my eye!

Yesterday I decided to inventory what I have so far. DH has grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, and carrots. I have purchased fresh green beans until a friend gave me a few pounds this week as they finished their garden. I wanted a list since my pie safe is full, I have some jars in the bottom of a Hoosier cabinet, and now in the bottom of the island:

51 quarts of green beans
19 pints of green beans

15 quarts of tomatoes
13 pints of tomatoes

2 pints of tomato basil salsa
1 half pint of tomato basil salsa

6 pints of onions
2 half pints of onions

6 half pints of apple jelly
6 half pints of grape jelly

13 pints of pickles
2 half pints of pickles
4 pints of relish

2 quarts of carrots
8 pints of carrots

I would have more carrots except I ran out of jars. I prefer the pints because that is about what we eat at a meal, but I punted last night and used the quarts. One of the thrift shops had pint jars really reasonable so on Tuesday I am going to stop by and see if they have them. I don't need a whole case at this point. I have about 8 quart jars left for tomatoes.

In addition, I have 3 pints of minced garlic in the fridge that DH grew and I have about 2 pounds of chopped bell peppers in the freezer.

I still need to dry herbs, but I feel like we have a good showing. I imagine before the first frost I will make green tomato relish as we scramble to pick the tomatoes. I made it last year and used it like relish and a friend liked it so much, he ate it like salsa.

I make apple juice for DH since he likes it when we have Sunday brunch. Sometimes I make far more than he will drink in a couple of weeks, so I used it to make apple jelly. Early this summer we bought grapes and although they tasted good, the skin was kind of chewy. I juiced them to make the grape jelly.

The ongoing joke around here is I tell DH I need a walk in pantry. Although it would be nice to have one, I have no idea where we would locate it and I certainly don't want to spend money. I will say that I'm going to be forced to go through my cabinets and truly purge those items I don't use such as different dishes and pots so I can make room for any other canned goods. Guess this is the initiative I needed. I tend to use the same casserole dishes and pots so it is silly to keep the ones I never use.

Hopefully all this stuff will help on the grocery bill come winter.

Misunderstood Mary

September 3rd, 2016 at 09:03 pm

Both DH and I enjoy history, and his favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately we live less than an hour away from Lincoln's Presidential Museum, his Springfield home, and New Salem sites. I've learned more about Lincoln since being married to my husband, and there are lots of interesting facts about the man and his family.

Rumors have abounded that his wife, Mary, was crazy. Well, like many folks, I enjoy a good juicy tidbit so I have been reading up on Mary Todd Lincoln the past few years. I just finished a biography and with all the details and references, I hope the author told the real story. I truly think Mary was misunderstood. She grew up in a wealthy family, but being the third daughter, she was told they really wanted a son. When a son was born, she was sort of "forgotten" but still loved. Then her mom died and her dad married a younger woman who really didn't want anything to do with his first family. Mary was sent to a boarding school during the week although she lived close enough to ride a horse to school. But, she was well educated and made to feel appreciated. She had 12 years of formal schooling which was kind of rare for women of that time. Contrast that with Lincoln's only one year of formal schooling.

The book said she married Lincoln because not only did she love him, but she knew he had the ambition and intelligence to become president. She was quite the political figure herself and understood the workings of politics. She apparently didn't get along with the Washington ladies because she was a contrary person yet also they had little in common to talk about...most did not have the schooling and educational background she did.

Her life was pretty sad overall -- lost three children and her husband was killed in front of her and her eldest son was ashamed of her and had her tried for lunacy. Many of the rumors spread about her were actual lies to benefit the person and persons who told them according to the author. Mary wasn't without faults, but after doing all the reading I have, I don't believe she was crazy. I do think she was, as the author said, pretty narcissistic and prickly, but she wasn't a danger to herself or anyone else.

So, you are asking yourself why am I writing about Mary Todd Lincoln on a savings site. Well, although she did overspend the White House renovation budget and she did spend money, she also had some sense about her. Back at her time women rarely had the opportunity to control their finances. If there were no husband, then a grown son would, or an officer of a bank would. When they were in the White House, she saved over 50% of the president's salary. When Lincoln died, he had bonds and she kept them intact. She did buy a house in Chicago, realized she couldn't afford it, and rented it out. She then let her son purchase it at a very reasonable price and even lent him money for some of his financial deals, which most were not successful. Her net worth at her death was over $84,000 that in 2016 would be worth close to 1.8 million dollar according to an inflation site.

So, I think she was more misunderstood that crazy. She did have money. She did save. Yes, she spent money and did buy things she didn't need. But haven't we all?