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Archive for October, 2016

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2016 at 07:16 pm

Happy Halloween! We are ready for the trick or treaters tonight -Stocked up on candy. Our ranch house has a garage jutting out and unfortunately our good city doesn't believe in more than one street lamp per cul-d-sac so it is kind of dark for those little ones to walk around the side of the garage to the front door. So, we normally open our garage door and have our lights on and the kids just walk up our driveway and get their treats. My husband loves handing them out and seeing the little ones in their costumes. Although I try to catch candy on sale and use some of the coupons, it isn't a real frugal experience. But, we figure it is a neighborly thing to do, and in some ways, it is entertainment, especially being the kids dressed up. Each year I pull out this large plastic lighted pumpkin. I was just thinking we have had this thing at least 20 years. We had it our other house for a couple of years and we've lived here 18. Amazing how things last when you take care of them, isn't it?

Like most of you, I've always tried to hit the sales at grocery stores for this and that. I normally shop at Aldi for most of our items, but there are other things we pick up here and there. We have a County Market that puts out a coupon book every month and it goes for about two weeks. Usually there is only one or two items that we will get and sometimes it isn't worth it to make an extra trip. But this one had bacon on sale, butter on sale, as well as deli ham. Deli ham that is normally $8.99 a pound for $3.99 a pound. And, we were out on that side of town, so it wasn't a special trip. After we finished our shopping, I told DH what a pleasure it is to be retired and not have to scramble on weekends to do this sort of stuff. I feel we are truly blessed to be retired and be able to take advantage of sales like this.

Where or where is my Chicago Tribune?

October 23rd, 2016 at 08:13 pm

I know this is not life changing, but I'm just plain frustrated. DH loves the Chicago Tribune on Sundays. He loves reading it from cover to cover on a Sunday afternoon after we fix brunch and clean up. We used to have a news stand that was open 7 days a week and each week we would go and pick one up. The owner ran it for many years, but finally decided he was ready to retire and his family didn't want to continue without him. A local business bought it, and in less than a year, closed their doors including the news stand part of it. We thought we would still be able to find the Trib at Walgreens.

Well, our local Walgreens gets about 4-5 papers and sells out within an hour. They open at 9 and by the time we get out of church around 10, they are usually sold out. We asked if they could get more each Sunday since we aren't the only ones missing out and one of the employees said he would find out. True to his word, he did ask the distributor and the person said no, they won't give them any more and they really want people to subscribe.

Two weeks ago we stopped at Walgreens -- it was before ten -- and they were sold out. So, I called one about 10 miles away where we had gotten one before and they said they hadn't even gotten any papers. I called another one a little farther away and they said they had 4 copies and all were sold out. We tried one more store and they said they didn't have any either. So, I bit the bullet and called Chicago Tribune and said we would like to subscribe to just the Sunday paper. Last Sunday was supposed to be the first delivery. I was told it would be on our doorstep by 8 a.m.

DH was excited thinking that after 3 or 4 weeks, he would actually have a Chicago Tribune in hand. But, 8 came and went and no paper. I waited until 8:30 and called their 800 number. No live person, but a computer that said it recognized my phone number and to press buttons to confirm we didn't get delivery and wanted it delivered. Then allow 60-90 minutes. We went to church, came home, and yet no paper. I called again and went through the same message. I then went onto their Facebook page and messaged them and they sent me the email to customer service. I could not find it on the webpage. I emailed and received a very nice response from someone in a few minutes. But, because it was after 11, they could not have it delivered on Sunday, but would deliver it on Monday. We did get it on Monday, but for some reason, it just kind of bothered us that we had to wait until the next day. Well, we said, justifying it, it was the first day of delivery, maybe wires got crossed.

Well today is Sunday and at 8 we looked out. No Chicago Tribune. I emailed the customer service person and received a response 30 minutes later. Again, very polite. But, we were at church. When we got home, I responded that there was still no paper although it had been scheduled for redelivery. She said she would email again. Three or four emails went back and forth between us. I don't blame her at all. She responds. But, it makes me wonder what kind of distributor we have here in our town that they don't want to sell newspapers at Walgreens when apparently people want them and don't want to deliver them. Anyway, we did not receive the paper today. So, I'm very frustrated. I plan to call the customer service folks tomorrow.

DH loves reading the paper. I like the extra coupons. I have discovered that there are different coupons in papers. I think our local paper gets the packets that have the least amount of coupons because the Chicago paper usually has the same brand name packets or catalogs of coupons, but there are other coupons in it.

Speaking of coupons, I find it ironic that our local community college will be teaching an extreme couponing class this week. I have no idea how they expect people to extreme coupon when our local paper has fewer coupons and it one can't apparently get papers with the bigger coupon packets.

Thanks for letting me vent.

It's Fall -- Time for Comfort Foods

October 22nd, 2016 at 09:40 pm

It's kind of cool today and it means I can start thinking of comfort foods. I love turkey. Aldi has turkey breasts reasonable and I have been stocking up. So, I decided to put one in the Crockpot to cook away.

Supper will be turkey, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, sliced tomatoes of the few we still have, corn casserole, and fruit salad. I haven't made this corn casserole for awhile, but it is pretty good.

Corn Caserole Recipe
1 small onion, diced
6 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups stuffing
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 cups corn, drained
bread crumbs

Cook onion in 4 tablespoons of butter until limp. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and mustard. Mix well. Add milk. Stir until blended. Put back on heat and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add eggs, bread cubes, corn, sage, and remaining butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Cover with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 45 to 60 minutes.


I will admit I didn't use all the butter. I used a little olive oil for cooking the onion. I did add a small pat of butter for the flavor. It's baking away and my mouth is watering.

Chirp, chirp, chirp at 3 a.m.

October 21st, 2016 at 08:50 pm

I'm dreaming a decent dream and there's this weird chirping noise in my dream. As I come out of dreamland, I realize the chirp is real and I figure it is either a smoke detector or the CO2 detector telling me the battery was about to go kaput. It was the CO2. I do wonder why they always pick late at night or very early in the morning to decide to give up the ghost!?!

Newspaper Reading Frenzy

October 20th, 2016 at 08:36 pm

I truly like reading the newspaper. The paper and ink kind. I don't like reading one on a tablet or computer. I feel the same way with books too.

This morning I got up early and did some housework and then caught up on my newspaper reading. I was behind one a weekly paper we get. I'm kind of odd duck -- I like reading the classifieds. Last week's edition had the delinquent tax bills for 2015. Our tax bills come due usually June first of the following year and if you make installments, then the second installment is September 1st. I always read these not only because I'm nosy, but I also don't want to get blindsided by a bill I didn't catch.

I was shocked to see two names of folks I know. Both are gainfully employed. Neither are poor. Yet, they hadn't paid their taxes. I don't know if there is a grace period or what, but it makes me wonder how well they handle money. It is also scary. I don't know how it works, but wonder if they don't pay, if someone can redeem their property for the property taxes. These aren't shacks by any means. They are nice middle class homes.

I always save money because I estimate about what our tax bill will be so I have enough to pay it come June. I go ahead and pay it all at once so I don't have to worry about forgetting. I figure it was for the year before so they aren't really using my money per se. I guess we often think people do things the way we do.

Someone posted on Facebook that many Americans don't read. I know some of my friends don't read the paper, watch the news, or read online. I'm shocked when they seem so misinformed. I'm not talking about kids, but middle aged and older adults.

I did get caught up on all my newspaper reading, clipped some coupons, and recycled. Did some housework and did the grocery shopping for the week. DH is out picking sage that I'm going to dry. Not a bad day overall for getting things done.

A is for Applesauce

October 18th, 2016 at 08:55 pm

I've been making apple sauce the last few days. I've been scouring the ads for apples on sale. I read a recipe the other day for apple butter and they suggested using less sugar and adding maple syrup. So, I decided to try that with apple sauce. I like the depth of flavor it gives it. I peel and core apples and put them in a Crockpot with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little sugar and with some water on low. When the apples are cooked through, if it has a lot of liquid, I spoon it out. I pour in some maple syrup and use an immersion blender to making it smoother and then can it in glass jars. I don't have a recipe per se since I basically do it by taste.

DH decided it was time to get rid of the tomato plants since they were dying back. They weren't really producing much. He pulled off the green tomatoes and I made great tomato chow chow with them and the small bell peppers we have. That's in the canner as I type.

It's pretty warm here. Yesterday it was in the upper 80s. Today is it in the upper 70s, but we are supposed to get a cold front and lower temperatures tomorrow through Friday. We've had above normal temps lately. It made it a bit warm to can today, but I have to can when I can get it done and so stuff doesn't go to waste.

Soupy Sunday and Fix It Friday

October 9th, 2016 at 09:28 pm

Soupy as I'm making soup. Lots of it. Although it's still pretty warm here in Central Illinois, a frost may be coming at some point. I'm trying to use up the many bell peppers we have as well as some other vegetables and making soup. Actually, I made a large pot of soup Friday and I'm making another today. I found celery on sale at Aldi last week and bought a bunch, and bought some other vegetables to go with it. I found an English roast marked down almost half at Kroger's so i put it in the slow cooker Friday morning and then cut it up and used half in the soup Friday and the other half today. I pulled tomato sauce I had frozen last fall to add to the soup and then also used barley and lentils. The current pot is simmering away. Once it cools, I'm going to put it in smaller portions and store in the freezer for easy and quick meals. Fortunately DH and I like soup and can eat it year round. Plus, it is a good way to use up stuff.

As for the Fix It Friday, wish it was my idea, but alas, it was not. I read an article that students in textile classes at Illinois State University set up a station and called their time "Fix It Friday" and sewed buttons on and repaired slight tears for other students who don't know how to do this. They said it is one way to keep items out of the landfills that are still perfectly OK. I know most people reading that are wondering what that is about, but I can attest, there are folks who once they lose a button, throw the garment away. I worked with a gal who had a nice pair of khakis and the button came off. I told her if we could find a needle and thread, I would sew it back on for her, but she said not to worry, she would use a binder clip to keep her pants together and throw them away when she got home. I couldn't believe it. She said she just buys a new pair when it happens.

DH and I are enjoying retirement. Last Tuesday we went on a bus trip to The Hill in St. Louis. We ate lunch at a restaurant (it was included in the trip price) walked around and looked in two of the Italian grocery stores, went on a tour of a mom and pop soap making store, enjoyed the smells of two bakeries and bought a small piece of Italian flat bread, had some gelato and when we arrived home, pulled some soup out of the freezer and heated it up for supper. Yesterday we went to Morris, Illinois, which is about 2 hours north of us. There is market the second Saturday along the Illinois and Michigan canal and they have foods, crafts, and flea market stuff. We walked around the market, bought two cinnamon rolls for breakfast today, walked around the lovely downtown, bought s small dish of ice cream (DH adores ice cream), and drove home and felt we had hit the jackpot. And you guessed it, we had soup last night too. We weren't super hungry after having the ice cream and why go out when we have soup at home?

A friend of ours says he is shocked at how we are spending money. Well, first of all, we've saved for years. All those years of scrimping on this and that and eating leftovers so we had money put away. We aren't taking major trips this year. We like the small, short ones. Plus, it gets us out and moving and walking. What we've spent so far hasn't hit one savings account so we aren't overspending. Plus, we eat at home a lot when we aren't out and about. This same friend and spouse admitted they eat out just about every meal. No thanks. It isn't special anymore. Plus, other than a few restaurants, there aren't many places we like all that well to have to eat out every meal.

Well, time to check on the soup!

A snarky rant

October 2nd, 2016 at 08:45 pm

Life is going pretty well here. DH is recovering although he is impatient and thinks he should be like he was before the surgery. Yeah, at 70, he's doing remarkably well, but Mr. Stubborn doesn't want to hear that. Smile

We went out with a couple this week to celebrate DH's birthday. Most of the time we feel like we are pond scum by the woman. I don't know why. It isn't like she has a reason, but she can be cruel. Anyway, every time we meet with them, she has to go on and on about whatever they did that was a good work. It is like we are being told they are better than us because they donated some canned goods or tithed to their church or whatever it happened to be.

I guess I look at things weird. We do things too, but feel we shouldn't brag about them. I know most of you at SA have helped people out and if you blog about it, it isn't to brag, but to inform such as those loans to the women in third world countries. Most of the people we are friends with do things for other through their church or organizations or individually. It isn't like most people are just self centered wretches.


Anyway, I feel like I can rant safely here because I'm tired of being put down by this person. So thanks for letting me express my feelings.

Thankful for Crockpots

October 1st, 2016 at 08:08 pm

I think many of us use our Crockpots. A lot. I know I do. I hate to admit this, but I have 5 of them, all different sizes. One of them is getting some age on it, but the rest aren't too old. One replaced another one I had that was about done -- the handles had chipped away. Two I have bought used.

This morning I peeled apples to put in one of the Crockpots to make applesauce to can. Put one Crockpot away from being washed that I had made chicken broth in a day or so ago.

I kind of drool over the new one that is a casserole shape, but I don't need it and truly do not have a place to store it. Can't imagine I'd use it that much either.

Speaking of storage, I'm having to go through my cabinets and go through my dishes and pots and get rid of those items I don't use very often because I need the storage for the canned good. Certainly a good motivator. We don't have a basement and I don't want to put the canned goodies in the garage. So, I guess it is a good problem to have.