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Archive for April, 2017

I should be content, but...

April 23rd, 2017 at 09:52 am

Most days I am content with what we have and feel pretty blessed. Then there are days...

A couple of folks I worked with are either buying or selling their homes or both. We've lived in this house 19 years this month. It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere. I didn't think we moved that much, but I realized that as a kid, I lived in 6 different places not counting college, and as adult, I've lived in 3. I realize there are folks, especially military families, who move far more. But for someone here in the Midwest, it seems like a lot of moves. Probably why I don't want to move again.

Anyway, back to the folks and their homes. My city is around 70,000 in population, maybe a little more if you count the villages near by. Cost of living is pretty cheap and we are still having economic problems. Our city used to be almost entirely blue collar, but we have lost lots of industry. The cost of an average home is $81,000 according to city data. Imagine my surprise when someone I worked with who is about 20 years younger just sold their home for $374,000. Wow. I'm in shock. I know I made more than she did, so her husband must have a big paying job. Another person made about what I made and she and her husband just bought a house for around the same price. I can't even imagine the upkeep or payments. Not to mention cleaning the huge thing. I'm talking these houses are big. Ours is around 1500 square feet. These houses are at least double that.

Then I start wondering if I made mistakes and didn't take enough chances. Our goal, when we bought our first house together in 1990, was to get the house paid off. We didn't pay off that one, but sold it with more equity than what we owed, and bought this one. We made extra payments on our mortgage and when something worked out we could actually pay it off early, we did. We then spent the money we were paying on the mortgage, well spent is the wrong word, but I just kept writing the checks and put it in a savings account until we had enough to invest. I guess part of me is just a little jealous of their fancy new homes.

I have been talking to myself and saying I need to be content with what we have. It's wrong for me to be jealous. Realistically, I don't want a bigger home and I certainly don't want to clean a bigger home. I don't know for sure, but something makes me think they may have outside help cleaning. I certainly don't want to pay for the taxes (Illinois taxes are outrageous) as well as insurance.

Anyway, forgive me for my coveting, but thank you for allowing me to think through this and put my thoughts down as I work through this. Hopefully I am feeling more content.

As Seen On TV

April 21st, 2017 at 01:33 pm

It's been an exciting week around here. Lots going on. I am involved in some things for both church and the schools where I volunteer. I can't say it's been a cheap week because we have purchased some things here and there, but nothing to break the budget by any means. Most of it planned too.

I know I've written about the knitting loom and making hats with some ladies at my church. And by now, you have probably figured out I have an ornery side to me. A few weeks ago we were watching the local news and the sports director commented it would be slow sports night and he might have to take up knitting. Well, I thought it would be worth a try so i emailed him and invited him to join our little group. Especially since Rosey Grier used to do needlepoint so why not be a good sport and join us. I wasn't sure if he would even answer, but he did. The sports director, Gordon Voit, took us up on the challenge and came and did a little knitting and broadcast a sweet story. I wish he hadn't spotlighted me so much, but he spent almost two hours with us and by the time he was ready to leave, he had endeared himself to all of us. One of the ladies, the one who talks about reading obituaries is 89 1/2. She is a spunky little thing and is always ready to do something for someone. So, if you have a few minutes and want to view this little clip, I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.wandtv.com/story/35194853/knitting-challenge-gordon-voit-goes-head-to-head-with-the-loom

SA problems and dinner

April 16th, 2017 at 02:20 pm

Lately I have had problems accessing the Saving Advice blogs. For two days I would click on a title and would get an error message saying the page had been removed. Today it is taking forever for the pages to load. I thought it might be my computer and or router, but I'm not having problems with any other sites, so I'm going to think it is with SA.

A friend told us they weren't sure if they were going to have Easter dinner at home or out. Then mentioned that a local chain restaurant had a deal for $110 for ham, 2 sides, and bread. I looked it up and then saw our local Kroger ad and tried to determine what it would cost if one bought stuff from Kroger to feed 8-10. I think even adding a dessert, the cost would be around $54 before tax. That is still less than $110 and most of the stuff was ready made, other than heating up the ham and the rolls.

Our dinner for the two of us was more reasonable and we have leftovers. Some we will eat again tonight and the rest will find itself incorporated into other meals throughout the week.

Hope you had a lovely Easter.

A little of this...a little of that

April 12th, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Today has been quite a busy day around here. DH and I cleaned house. I am happy that we did and I like having a clean house. I just threw in a load of towels after putting fresh ones out after freshening up the bathrooms. They weren't dirty, but I have found if I do touchups here and there, they don't get bad either.

Lunch today was chicken and noodles. I had purchased a whole chicken and cooked it in the Crockpot the other night with some spices, herbs, and a few vegetables to make a good broth. We had some of the chicken for dinner, and I used the rest to make chicken and noodles with the broth. I also froze the extra broth so I will have it on hand for something else. So, we have had three meals from that chicken and I think one more is on the horizon. Not enough to make it an entree, but we may be having potluck for dinner one night with the leftover pork chops from another meal. I like having extra food because it means it is easier to put meals together. I usually have some soup in the freezer so if we need a quick meal, I can thaw and heat it up, but I used the last of it. So, that is on the list to get done.

Well, after my rant the other day, I can say a couple of things seem to be worked out. I emailed the city librarian about the fact our books weren't checked in and we were getting fines. He emailed a response and within an hour, we received a phone call from the person in charge of circulation and our books were checked in and the fines wiped out. That was a relief. DH checks out bunches of children's books because he reads to classes during the week. It's one thing to pay a fine that you truly owe because you were late and we have done that without grumbling. But it is a whole different story when you owe fines on stuff you returned on time or before. Right now DH has 24 books out and I'd hate to see what the fines would be if he returned them and they weren't checked in.

Yesterday the neighbor kids played on another street. Hopefully they will find the other street a better fit for their kickball game. I don't like being a cranky neighbor, but I don't like it when you've had to ask them more than once to stay off your property and there is so little regard for both your request and your yard and plants.

I don't know when you get the ads for your grocery stores, but we get two of them on Wednesday and one on Thursday. I do wish we'd get them all on Wednesday because I prefer to make my lists on Wednesday night. So, i have to make a tentative list and finish up on Thursdays before I go shopping. Oh, well.

I just finished a fictional tome last night. If you like Fannie Flagg books, this one is similar, but it is a Christian novel. It is "Velma Still Cooks in Leeway" by Vinita Hampton Wright.It is set in a small town and kind of an interesting outlook.

I have been working on knitting hats for my church group. We meet tomorrow and I like to have some finished before we go and work some more. I have been making Swiffer covers and dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I have a feeling one of the dish cloths is going to be wild because I have lots of different colors, but not enough to make anything out of just a couple. One of my friends has a tea room and I have been giving her some of the Swiffer covers and the dish cloths and she is delighted. She told me she didn't care about the colors, and on the dishcloths, she intends to throw them in bleach so eventually they will all be faded out. I just like that I can use up these leftovers. I have lots of dishcloths for myself now and can use a clean one every day since I have made so many. Guess I'm rich in dishcloths. Smile I used a Swiffer cover today to polish our floors. I bought some special cleaner/polish and like the fact I'm not using a disposable pad, but can wash it when I'm finished.

It is sunny here. Not super warm, but a pleasant spring day. We had so much rain last week that is makes it seem so much more like spring when we have a couple of days of sunshine. Hope things are nice where you are too.

Today is not the day to mess with me

April 10th, 2017 at 02:41 pm

Today hasn't been a relaxing day. Actually, some of this started yesterday.

DH is very proud of his yard and garden. He has certain plants that come up every year and then he plants annuals. He babies his lawn and garden. We have repeatedly had to remind the neighbor kids to stay out of yard and driveway. Our driveway is steep and I'm sure it is fun to ride down,sled down, or skate down. But, it also has some broken areas (we are saving to replace it in the next couple of years) and there is another neighbor who parks just at the edge of it. We have bushes too, alongside the drive. It makes it difficult for people to see traffic coming into our court and for the traffic seeing anyone leaving the driveway. I have had to ask them to stay off our driveway for their own safety. I don't want anyone to get hurt either falling down on the driveway (liability issues) or getting hurt because a car or truck didn't see them race down the driveway. I do believe kids are still playing in the driveway when we aren't home because last summer when I wash washing down the garage door, it was dented about a fourth of the way down. Neither DH or I dented it and it kind of made me think something was run into the door. We have also found some of our solar lights broken around the yard. OK, lots of wordiness, but we have asked the neighbor kids to place stay off our property nicely. Yesterday they were playing kick ball and within ten minutes, five times the ball came into our yard. We have a slight hill so it isn't like the ball just casually rolled into the yard. It was kicked and it landed way up by the house. Once in DH's garden. So, then we have kids walking around in the garden and the planting to get their ball. I finally contacted a parent and asked them to have their kids stop kicking the ball in our direction. She said the wind took it and I nicely suggested they kick towards her house in the future. I didn't want to be that neighbor who had to tell the kids to stop, but today, they started in and guess what, second kick, the ball winds up in our yard. I simply went out and asked the little boy to kick in his own yard. Guess I messed up their game, and I only can imagine what they do when we aren't home.

This about capped off my day. We received our car insurance premium and we expected it to increase a little with the new car (we asked before we bought) , but it went up more. Seems someone decided to delete one of the cost savings we have on both cars. The clerk told me the new amount, I started the check, then told me a different amount since it was prorated. I wasn't happy because I had to void the check and write a new one. She then talked to me like I was stupid and said I could have just changed it and put my initials on it. Maybe I could, but I didn't want the check coming back incorrect. I don't like being spoken to like I'm an idiot.

Then, we went to the library because I received a notice I had an overdue book. It was returned before it was due, but apparently wasn't checked in. Seems the library is changing to a new system and putting in chips so books can be checked in when they are put in the return chute. But, they don't have chips in all the books so they are putting returned books on carts and doing the chip thing and not checking in books. The lady at the checkout desk claims they will backdate the check in, but as it is, both DH and I have overdue books on our records at this point.

So, I'm already not in a very good mood and then have to become the cranky neighbor with the kids. I wasn't grouchy when I asked them to stop, but it just didn't make my day go any better. Hopefully things will improve. I ate being that kind of person, but I don't like things to get torn up.

I tried a new recipe the other day. I wrote it down after seeing it in one of the magazines I was going to donate. DH liked it and I think you could change it out to use whatever you had one hand. I'm going to write it down below, but I didn't use sausage with it. I substituted bell pepper and mushrooms and DH loved it. If we had sausage I would have used it, but instead decided to use what I had.

Brunch Pizza Squares

1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 8 oz tube refrigerated crescent rolls
4 eggs
2 T milk
1/8 t pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, cook sausage and drain. Unroll rolls onto a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Press dough 1/2 inch up the sides and seal seems. In a bowl, beat eggs milk, and pepper. Put sausage on rolls, then pour egg mixture over sausage. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered at 400 for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Sunny Sunday

April 2nd, 2017 at 02:36 pm

It was a nice surprise -- it was sunny this afternoon. It was supposed to be rainy. So, it was like a gift -- a pretty spring day!

It's been busy around here. Not too much out of the ordinary, but busy. Well, one thing big..we bought a new car. I'm not going to apologize for buying a brand new one. Yes, I know a used one is better because of it doesn't lose as much value. But, we are at a point in our lives we don't want someone else's problems. We deal with a great dealer and any service we have needed has been fabulous. Actually, DH got the new car. I got his old one which isn't that old...a 2013. He's a happy man and that's what I value. I tease him that he has a new lady in his life. Men and their cars!

Other than that, I'm just trying to keep my head above water on things. We finally got our taxes done. It seemed like we waited forever to get one of our 1099 forms. We are getting a small refund. We would rather get a small refund than pay. One of our friends who is also retired is getting a huge one. We can't figure out how.

Since I've retired, I have tried to keep a schedule on cleaning the house. I tried doing that when I worked too and sometimes couldn't, but as a retiree, it is easier. I did then when I was off school in the summers. My mom would ask why I would do this, but I told her it was far easier to clean the house when it wasn't really bad then it was to have to do a deep clean. With my asthma and allergies it is helpful if I keep the house pretty clean.

I'm on the call committee at church as we seek a new pastor. Our current pastor is retiring so we have been working on finding a replacement. Plus I volunteer at two schools and do some other things at church. I'm pretty satisfied with how my life is going and I have found I am not spending a lot of extra money (OK, except that new car). I guess I'm not a high maintenance person.

Today I visited with a lady who is 93. Fortunately she still lives at home. Her sons look out for her. We were talking how little things mean to her now. She was always a careful shopper, but she said it doesn't hurt her to part with things anymore. I know some of you have blogged about decluttering and have voiced this same opinion.

DH has been working in the garden putting in lettuce and radishes and onions. I'm already looking forward to eating them!

Hope you have had a nice Sunday.