<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: December, 2017
 

Archive for December, 2017

2017 and Christmas Shopping for 2018

December 31st, 2017 at 02:12 pm

It is hard to believe 2017 is almost history. DH always gives me a new calendar for Christmas and I was copying birthdays and anniversaries to it from the old one, I also noticed all the other things I had written on it. DH and I had the privilege to do a lot last year in day trips and even a couple of other trips. We went to Tybee Island and stayed in a condo last January. That as amazing because after being a teacher for over 30 years, a vacation during the school year is not possible. Well, if you follow the contract it isn't. And, I'm a rule follower.

We've been blessed that we have been able to live on our pensions and Social Security (DH's) and not hit any of our retirement accounts.

I was thinking the other day at how fortunate I truly am. Although DH and I buy each other Christmas gifts and we tell each other ideas, there really wasn't anything that I was so desirous that I would kill to have. When I was younger and struggling, it seemed like there were always things I just had to have. Looking back, I realize how silly that was. Maybe with age comes contentment.

it's been bitter cold here in Central Illinois. It's supposed to continue for the next few days. We did get out and hit the thrift stores yesterday and I felt like we really rocked them. One store had Christmas gift bags that looked like new...9 cents each. I bought over 15 of them. They had a crocheted stocking for 9 cents. It looked like new too. I bought it for the pattern, but will be able to use it as well. All Christmas stuff was 50% off and I bought some small dessert plates to use for cookies and fudge for next year. I washed them when I got home and will store them until next year. I also found three pint canning jars with rings and they were half off so they cost us 60 cents for all three. At another place I found some greeting cards for 15 cents each. I bought a bunch of birthday cards, some Valentine, Easter, and sympathy. I guess I'm not a card snob. One friend says he only buys name brand ones. Good for him. I buy nice ones and try to write something appropriate in them. I figure no one keeps the cards anymore. I know i don't. I read them, appreciate them, and recycle them. DH reads to classes at two schools and he scored some children's books. Allin all, I think we spent less than $20 and felt like we hit the jackpot.

Last summer we were thrifting and I found a kit that had a pattern and medium weight yarn to crochet kitchen towels. It was $2.50 and supposedly had enough materials to make two towels. I took a break from hats and made a towel. I felt it was a success. I made a hat and then made the second towel with the kits. For grins I decided to look up the company. Seems it is a company that you buy a yearly membership in for $9.99 and then each month they send you a kit for a project at the princely sum of $19.99. As much as I liked the kit, there was no way I would have paid almost $20 for it as well as the yearly fee. I felt like I had a good deal. So, one towel will be part of a friend's birthday this spring and the other is a Christmas gift. Guess I've already started my Christmas shopping for 2018!






Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

Wish I were tidier

December 20th, 2017 at 10:20 am

I don't know what it is about Christmas, but I feel like my house is one big clutter bucket. I spent this morning trying to get a handle on some things. Our recycling bin is full, which is good. I think part of the problem is I have had so many projects going on here and there and I really don't have a designated area so I tend to move them around and then things get everywhere.

I felt like a Victorian lady this morning writing letters and cards. I have three shut ins I write almost weekly so I got those letters penned. I had some thank you cards to write as well. Then, I got brave and wrote a letter to someone I haven't heard from in almost 30 years. Maybe we will reconnect. We didn't get mad at each other, just drifted apart and she lives three hours away. So, if I hear from her, that will be wonderful and if not, life goes on. I also emailed some greetings this morning and then got some presents ready for the gals who cut our hair.

I do feel a little better having things a little tidier. I just wish I would be more on top of it so I didn't have to do a big long project on getting stuff back in an orderly fashion. Maybe that could be a good goal for 2018.

This and That and That

December 18th, 2017 at 07:35 am

The past few weeks have been busy. A good busy overall, I think. We've attended free concerts, a free Nativity scene display (over 500), two Christmas teas at historical homes -- also free, and a play which wasn't free. Besides our regular activities, we've shopped, gifted, and visited. Today we are meeting some friends for lunch (cheaper than dinner) to exchange some token gifts. Yesterday we dropped off some gifts, most homemade, to some friends. One lady is 95 -- she has about everything she wants so finding something to give her can be a challenge. I crocheted a Christmas stocking and filled it with peppermints, her favorite candy. I also gave her a plate of fudge. Her son was a little easier. He loves chocolate and I had found a glass sleigh at a thrift shop so I filled it with chocolate candy. Both also received a loaf of snickerdoodle bread. Not major expenses on either gift, but they seemed well received.

We are having doctor's appointments this week. Two for me and one for DH. One is for my glaucoma -- I have to go every 4 months and the other is just a general checkup.

Last week we gifted a friend with a box of canned goods. He had commented how he wished we had enough canned green beans and tomatoes that he could buy some. So this year when DH planted more tomatoes, I canned extra. We gave him canned tomatoes, canned tomato juice, homemade spaghetti sauce, green beans, homemade applesauce, sweet pickles, and some jams and jellies. He was absolutely delighted. He dropped off our gift over the weekend -- what a neat surprise -- he ordered a nice ham for us. My kind of gift -- something we can enjoy and not have sitting around. Funny how as you get older, you don't want the stuff you thought you couldn't live without.

As we roll towards Christmas, I hope you all are not so busy that you can't enjoy the holiday. I know this has been one of the more pleasurable since I did a lot of things ahead of time and I could because I'm retired. I enjoyed going to the free things a lot. Plus, I've taken time to relax. And relax I have this year. I just finished book 99 for 2017. I hope to get at least one more read for the year. I think 100 is a nice round number. Smile

Delayed Gratification Can Be Frugal

December 8th, 2017 at 12:04 pm

A number of years go we would peruse Pier 1 and there was a set of dishes I had my heart set upon. I really, really wanted them. They were made in Italy and I thought they were simply beautiful. But, alas, we couldn't afford them. I finally gave in and bough one plate. I hung it up on our wall so I could enjoy it.

So, fast forward way over a decade. I still have that plate on my wall. I take it down every so often and wash it and put it back up. I still like it.

Just about every week we go through four thrift stores around us. The past two weeks I've seen a set of these same dishes. It's funny, I still like them, but I have no desire to own them. I think that waiting probably showed me I could live without them. And now I could buy that set from the thrift store. I will admit, I was tempted. Then I thought, where would I put them? Would I really get a lot of use out of them? A number of years ago I donated the fancy China I had simply because I rarely used it. I have the blue willow dishes that I really like and I use them for everything. Plus, We don't have fancy dinner parties. I'm not a gourmet. I cook simple nourishing meals and they are served just fine on my dishes I have.

I am amazed at the kinds of things that we find in the thrift stores. Sure, there's the glass vases that everyone seems to donate. But, I'm talking the good stuff. At least the stuff I like. Most of my blue willow has come from thrift stores and second hand places. All of our drinking glasses come from there. Why pay big prices for a drinking glass when I can get them for 25 or 50 cents and if I break one, I'm not out a lot of money.

Anyway, I tell DH that I guess waiting has taught me a number of things. We see things that I had wanted years ago and couldn't afford...wait a few years and it pops up at thrift stores for a lot less and then I can decide if I really needed it or not. Instant gratification isn't very frugal is it?

Tore up the pantry

December 6th, 2017 at 08:24 am

Ever have one of those times when you just know you bought something only to discover you hadn't?


Grrrr!

I was baking cookie bars using up leftover Halloween candy. The class I work with was going to give them to the police officers they have adopted. I had hoped to bake them with the kids, but the kitchen folks at the school can't have us in there during lunch and because of the early dismissal time (they go to school 7:30 to 2) there wasn't time in the afternoon after the lunches.

Anyway, I thought I'd make a pan of fudge while I was waiting for the cookie bars to finish baking.

So, I got out the ingredients and couldn't find the marshmallow creme. I just knew I had some. So, I tore up the pantry looking for it. Nope, not there. I did consolidate some things so one good thing came of it. I refused to make an extra trip to buy some, so it will have to wait until another day.

Thank you, Bluebird!

December 3rd, 2017 at 01:13 pm

A big thanks to Bluebird for the generous gift to my church's knitting group! The ladies were amazed that someone that didn't know us was so kind and thoughtful!

This has been an interesting week.

On Thursday we took a bus trip to Arlington Heights Race Track (Chicagoland) for the Lambs Farm Craft Show. We weren't sure of what to expect since we have not been to the race track or the craft show before. Apparently Lambs Farm helps developmentally disabled folks and the craft show is a huge fund raiser. The track buildings were quite large and two floors housed the craft show. It was all inside. We were intrigued by the track and I looked it up online and apparently it is owned by Churchill Downs...you know, Kentucky Derby fame. The craft show was huge. We didn't buy much and we didn't plan to. We really wanted to go for the experience. I did find some crocheted things and I was shocked at the high prices...hats like the ones we make were around $12 to $15. I saw crocheted flower pins for $8. It was a fun day and I'm glad we went. I don't think I would do it again simply because I'm not much of a shopper.

I have had a ongoing frustrating experience at our Kroger. We used to buy a certain bread and they would usually not have it. So, we found a store brand that we liked as well. Except, they now have problems keeping it on the shelves. We have to find someone to go in the back and look for it. We usually shop on Thursdays, and the trucks come in early morning Thursdays. It would usually depend on the clerk on whether we would get the bread. Those that cared would bring some out; others we think just said they went back to look. Well, we wound shopping Friday of this week due to the bus trip. Friday right after lunch before it gets crazy busy. Well, we get there and no bread. And most of the bread section was riddled. We asked someone and he claimed there was no bread. I was fed up. We paid for our other groceries and came home. I did the krogerfeedback.com thing with the id number and complained that for a store that has a computer inventorying system, they shouldn't have a lack of bread right before a weekend and whomever is in charge of stocking the bread should check it more often so it isn't half empty of all the different breads. I heard from a manager and she called on Saturday morning and said she was sorry and they had the bread in the back (how interesting it appeared less than 24 hours later) and she hoped we would return. Well, we went back yesterday and the bread section was riddled again and the kind we wanted wasn't there. Of course there was no one near that section. We went to the diary section and the nice young man said he would find someone. Well, he must have had as much trouble finding someone because he came back out and asked exactly what we wanted and he came back out with the two loaves of bread. We thanked him, especially since it wasn't his grocery section. We go to the checkout and I commented to the cashier about how frustrating this has become. Apparently the manager was within ear shot...she gave us the bread free. Guess it pays to complain.

The other thing that happened this week actually started a couple of weeks ago. DH and I really like English murder mysteries and we have been enjoying Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Anyway, a few weeks ago I discovered Midsomer Murders has a Facebook page and I liked it. They held a contest to make a bingo card with things from the show. I made one and it was a real fun thing to do. I didn't expect to win, but thought it was something interesting to do. Well, a couple of days later I get a private message through Facebook and they said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me a tea towel and I should include my address in a reply. I did, but to be honest, since I live in the United States, I didn't really expect to receive a towel. Well, I received it a couple of days ago. That was a nice surprise! Here's a photo of the towel: