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Archive for January, 2018

A State Storyteller for Education

January 31st, 2018 at 06:59 am

There are times when truth is truly stranger than fiction. Today's article in the paper proved that. Illinois is hiring a state storyteller to tell the good things going on in education to the tune of $47K.

Illinois has big financial woes. Many of our larger city school districts are low performing. Most school districts that depend on local taxes are hurting big time. Starting salary in my city for a teacher is $39K. Most young teachers can't afford that because they owe so much in loans. Or if they take the much needed job, they live at poverty level if they have a family. Yet, our state is going to hire a storyteller. I'm wondering if this storyteller is going to tell fictional stories because the truth is pretty scary!

In other "factual" news, I almost have the room straightened up where we had the carpeting stretched. The guy showed up, on time, and after he finished, he said the job was more than he anticipated and that he had to restretch the whole room. I asked if he was going to raise the estimate and he said no, that wouldn't be fair to me. He also fixed a closet door in another bedroom because I asked him to show me how the bifold doors worked. He showed me, fixed it. So, I gave him $25 more than he said and he thanked me profusely.

Today I volunteer at school. I am working with some fifth graders on writing. It is sad how poorly they write and spell. A couple of them give me attitude claiming I don't know how to write and I just laugh as I work on their papers with them and correct the many grammatical and spelling errors. One of them said I didn't know what the teacher wanted and i finally told him that I have known the teacher longer than he has been alive, and I was the one who used to demonstrate in this teacher's class the writing model.

Our local paper is raising their rates yet again. This is the second time in a year. We seem to get less for more money and the mistakes continue to escalate. DH loves getting the paper and we can afford it, but it irks me we have to pay more and the quality isn't there.

Spending to Save

January 28th, 2018 at 01:19 pm

This afternoon will mean lots of moving and shaking going on. Well, at least moving. We will be moving furniture out of one of our spare bedrooms.

A number of years ago we replaced the carpeting in this room. We saved up and bought good stuff and an extra thick pad. It's a neutral color so we hoped it would be something that would last and last. We call it the bear room because for years I collected teddy bears and I have a shelf of bears in it.

Well, about three years ago I noticed that the carpeting was starting to stretch. And it has gotten worse. Before Thanksgiving I called the guy who owns the carpet cleaning company we have used to ask if he knew someone who could stretch the carpeting back. He gave me a name and I called and there was no response. I waited a few weeks and called again. The number had been disconnected. I guess I'm glad I didn't get this guy if his number was disconnected. So, talked to the carpet cleaning guy again and he said he had someone else and they would call me.

Well, here it is January and no one has contacted me. I looked at Home Advisor and they had no names for anyone to do this. I Googled carpet stretching and basically got nothing.

So, old school here we come...I went to a phone book. I found one listing and called and a very nice lady answered. She said yes, her husband did that work and we made an appointment for the next morning for him to come out and give us an estimate.

Let me digress a bit here...we have had such bad luck in the past when we call and make appointments...so many people are either late or don't show for said appointments. DH said he wondered if this guy would even show up.

The appointment was for set for between 8 and 8:30. Our doorbell rang at 8 a.m. sharp. A neatly dressed man introduced himself, and we showed him the room. He gave us an estimate and we agreed to have him do the job. He was polite, mannerly, and friendly.

We had almost gotten to the point of thinking we would just have to replace the carpeting since we were having such trouble finding someone.

So, we are spending $100 to stretch some carpeting instead of replacing. I'm glad. I like the carpeting and I'd prefer not to tear it out. I'd prefer to spend the $100 instead of hundreds of dollars. I've gotten to the point where if I can afford it, I would prefer not to settle for the cheapest just because it costs less. I would prefer buying the quality product if I can afford it. Plus, I don't think we've damaged the carpeting yet so it is salvageable.

I'm not thrilled about moving furniture, but it is a price to pay and I'm trying to reward myself with the thought of rearranging the room. I like to move things around because then it looks like it is new or different. Strange, I guess, but it is all about tricking my brain. Heaven knows I don't need anything new. Smile

Not very frugal

January 24th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

Today was not a frugal day. Wednesday afternoons are usually when DH and I volunteer. He reads at a second grade class and I work with a fifth grade class. But, the fifth grade class had something special come up and the second grader teacher was out with the flu and DH did not want to deal with the kids and a sub. So we decided to make it something fun for ourselves. We drove to a small town near here and ate at a place that is run by two sisters. On Wednesdays the special is lasagna and it is the best all around. It isn't horribly expensive -- salad, lasagna, bread...$6.95 before tax. Of course we had to have some ice cream that they make on premises...$2 for a nice size scoop. But, wow, what a great meal and a nice treat because we normally can't do this.

We returned back to our home and split up. He goes and walks at the mall. I had some errands to run. This is my birthday month and a place where I get makeup had a free make over and then 15% off of anything I bought. I am new to the makeup game. My mom never used it so I never had anyone to show me. And when I tried other stuff, my allergies would kick in. So, this stuff is pricier, but it doesn't make me react. I don't wear it every day, but I like to learn new things. So, I went, had the makeover and bought a few things to supplement what I already had.

I then went to the library to return some books and magazines. I just can't beat the library for finding good things to read and enjoy. I finished a book last night called "The Christmas Joy Ride" by Melody Carlson. It was a feel good book and predictable, but still enjoyable. My new plan this year for reading is if I find an author, to read as many of his or her books so I don't have to question myself whether I have read them or not. I know it looks odd that I walk out with a pile of the same author or same couple of authors, but in the past, I have struggled with remembering whether I have read some of these books. My other goal is to read one nonfiction each month since I tend to gravitate to fiction.

Since we had a large, heavy lunch, supper is going to be a light one. But, oh, what an enjoyable lunch it was!

Cold and raw

January 23rd, 2018 at 01:13 pm

Today it is damp, cold, and basically raw outside. I did have to get to church to fill the ever burning candle or it wouldn't be burning a whole lot longer!

Other than that, it has been a no spend day for me. I have been doing laundry and putting stuff away. Not exactly thrilling, but not horrible by any means either.

One of our friends told us she does laundry every day. There are just two of them and they are both retired. I can't even imagine having laundry to do each day and what a waste it must be of water, detergent, as well as electricity and wear and tear on the machines. I understand people with more in the household would probably need to do laundry every day, but just two people? Egad.

Yesterday I fixed a chicken in the Crockpot and we had one meal off of it. I was thinking I need to figure out something else to make and then this popped up on my Facebook feed and looked really good on a cold winter day so I may be trying it:

https://12tomatoes.com/cs-chicken-rice-soup-warm/?utm_source=glp-12t&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_content=photo&utm_campaign=cs-chicken-rice-soup-warm

Other than chicken and noodles, are there ways you use leftover chicken?

Finder's Fee and Using Stuff Up

January 21st, 2018 at 01:47 pm

A couple of weeks ago we went to an estate sale to look around. It was horribly cold outside and the weather was supposed to get worse, but we had cabin fever and needed to get out and do something.

We looked around and found nothing we wanted. Not even tempted. But, I did see a display for older golf clubs. I'm not a golfer, but I have a friend who is. I messaged him and told him where the sale was and told him they had a bunch, they were older, and they were $8 each.

My friend went to check them out and was so excited. He found a putter that he said is rare and is worth close to $100. Today at church he handed me a dollar coin as my finder's fee. I laughed and laughed because I had been teasing him maybe I should start charging him a finder's fee for the things I find for him. Guess I can count it as a snowflake, but I don't think I'm going to spend the coin. DH has a drawer with a couple of Kennedy half dollars and I thought I'd add this coin to the mix so they have company.

Yesterday I watched the Pioneer Woman and she did something I haven't seen before -- used up things to make food. Hooray! So many of the Food Network folks seem to be wasteful, at least in my opinion. I can always tell one who didn't grow up poor -- they never scrape the goal or pan. Anyway, i was telling DH about the episode and he said it sounded like PW was following my lead instead of the other way around. She made chicken broth in the Crockpot which is what I do. Today it is beef broth. I had a sirloin steak in the freezer and I was thinking of some way to use it up and thought Soup! So we are having beef and barley vegetable soup. I trimmed the meat and used some of the smaller parts and the bone to make some beef broth to stash in the freezer. I also used the bag of leftover vegetables that was in the freezer of the soup as well as some already made broth. It simmered yesterday afternoon and I made 2 dozen herb biscuits yesterday. We gave some of the soup and biscuits to some friends and we will enjoy the rest. So, I used up some things I had to make a pretty decent meal.

Thursday

January 18th, 2018 at 08:30 am

It's Thursday and it means two things: we grocery shop and we have eggs for supper.

Yes, I'm a creature of habit. Fortunately hubby likes "ruts" as well as eggs.

The fridge is starting to look bare. We had lots of leftovers last night: turkey, chicken and noodles, green beans, and gravy. I added a little mashed potatoes and some creamed corn since there wasn't enough green beans. For a cold night it was a warming meal.

I learned recently that some friends of ours don't shop on a regular basis. I'm surprised because he is always talking about growing up and being on a strict budget and saving money. I can't imagine shopping before every meal. As we had this discussion we realized two things -- they don't plan meals very well and look for bargains and I am a big planner. DH informed him I was probably the most organized person he knew. I wouldn't go that far, but there is a comfort to being organized and having things planned. I also learned that this couple would often go to the only warehouse store in our city on the weekend and graze so they didn't have to cook. Very interesting.

I have another friend that we label "cheap." He is. He goes way beyond frugal. It is sad because he has the funds to do far better. We wonder if spending money truly pains him. Then we have another friend who claims to always look for a bargain, but I honestly think he and his wife have no issue with cheating. By that, I mean, when Panera had styrofoam cups, they would order iced tea and then get coffee because the tea was a few pennies cheaper. She will always ask after a meal if the restaurant will give her a cup of coffee on the house. They are always trying finagle a way of getting something more or something for nothing. They run the servers ragged for this and that and then leave a paltry tip and a religious tract saying their souls are more important than money. Yet they are these folks who claim they are stalwart Christians. I feel cheating is stealing. Between the two, I will stick with my cheap friend instead of a cheating one.

Hoping after our grocery shopping adventure, I can finish the bathroom curtains. I'm using the curtains I have for a pattern.

Taking care of items

January 14th, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Ever hear about you not owning things, but they own you? I think there is a lot of truth to that statement.

I have been working around here the past few days trying to take care of some things. Twice a year I try to use orange oil cleaner on my cabinets since they tend to dry out as well as get dirty from cooking and canning. I always dread doing it since I have to get on a step stool to do the upper cabinets since I'm short, but after I do them all, I'm so pleased with how nice and fresh they look.

The other day it was snowy and really cold out and I noticed my shoes and boots had salt on them from walking outside. So, I cleaned them and then used a special polish on them. One pair I've had a number of years and I think when I went in to buy a new pair of shoes a few months ago, I had them on and the salesman commented how old these were and the fact they still looked like they were in good shape. Apparently cleaning and keeping a protective polish on them helped.

DH decided a few years ago he liked a silver service of a coffee pot, sugar, creamer, and tray and we purchased it at a flea market. It's his service and funny since he doesn't even drink coffee, but I'm the one who gets to keep it polished. As I'm working on it, I'm admiring the beauty of the whole thing. And how much nicer it looks after it is cleaned up.

As we were eating brunch this morning at home, there was a commercial talking about if you had to buy a car and then learned this would be the only car you had for the rest of your life, how would you treat it? It then compared that to your body and how you should take care of it since it is yours for the rest of your life.

I was thinking not only does this apply to our bodies, but also our finances. I know people who are retirement age or nearly there who are saying they wished they had put more money away because they aren't sure how they are going to live or how tough things are right now for them. A couple of people in particular had a chance to have matching 401Ks, but swore they couldn't afford to put money in them. I never had that opportunity, but boy, I wished I had! Neither of these people worked at jobs that paid only minimum wage -- they had good steady work and great benefits. But, they basically piddled their money away all the time complaining they didn't have enough. I truly wonder how they are going to face retirement because both will receive pensions and getting paid once a month might be a struggle since they are of the mindset of "oh, I have money" and then they spend without looking toward the future.

Guess it is wise to take care of things to make sure they last to the best of your ability, whether it be an object, your health, or your finances.

Hot tea

January 13th, 2018 at 11:28 am

A couple of years ago I made a promise I wasn't going to buy any more tea until I drank what I had. I wasn't talking about the tea I use to make iced tea which is what we drink instead of soda pop.

I had done pretty well and used up most of the tins of tea I had. Most had been gifts.

This Christmas some friends gave me some peppermint tea and some Chai tea all loose leaf. I had never had Chai tea so I tried it. I rarely put sweetener in my tea so I am finding it a bit sweet, but good. Right now I'm drinking a cup of peppermint tea. I decided to use my coffee maker and put in a clean filter after washing out the piece where the filter goes and it made a nice bit of tea.

We watch quite a few English murder mysteries and many of them have tea being served. One thing that I don't do is put milk in my tea. Just wondering if any of you do. I guess I never thought about doing it. I put milk or creamer in my coffee. Sometimes I put honey in my tea if I have a sore throat, but usually I don't add anything. Perhaps it is what one grows up doing.

No spending and parking

January 11th, 2018 at 08:12 am

Yesterday was a no spend day for me. It seemed like Monday and Tuesday I was living at Walgreens. Monday I went in and got some of the things that were on special and used coupons to stock up on some things. Tuesday I had a prescription refill and it was senior day and I bought an item at 20% off.

Our neighbors have sold their house and will close tomorrow. Yesterday must have been packing up day. They rented a U Haul and had friends and family there to help. Which is great for them. However, we live in a cil-d-sac and of course these folks all parked their vehicles in and around their house. One person parked their car very close to our mailbox. So close that the mailman blasted me that he couldn't get the mail truck in and that if it happens again, he won't be delivering our mail. I explained it wasn't our car, but the neighbors and they were moving, but he said he won't deliver if it is there again.

Getting out of our driveway with all the cars was an adventure. Our part of the cil-d-sac is narrow before it widens for the bulb. With a car at one end of our driveway, one at the other nearly in front of the mailbox, and one directly behind our driveway on the other side of the street, There were little room to back out. I had to see saw many times in my vehicle just to leave to go volunteer. I hated coming back and "threading the needle" to get back into my driveway and I hated having to speak to the neighbor about the car in front of the mailbox. But, I did, I was polite, and just asked if they needed to park a car in front of our house, please pull it up so the mailman wouldn't pass us over. I don't think it was intentional on their part and they were polite. They have been good neighbors. I am worried about whomever is moving in and hope it is someone decent.

Today will be a spendy day -- we are going grocery shopping. Last week I went on Wednesday since we had a forecast of really cold temps and the super cold air bothers my asthma. I guess people must have thought with the upcoming temps and then chance of freezing rain on Saturday night, by Saturday many of the grocery shelves were bare. Glad I could shop when I did.

Fed Up

January 9th, 2018 at 08:02 am

Apparently I am naive.

Years ago I joined Facebook and have derived a lot of pleasure in keeping up with friends on the site. But in the past couple of years it has become a major issue.

I'm all for capitalism. As for a side hustle...I am glad folks have the time an energy to do this. But, when people "friend" me just to try and sell me something, it is getting to be abusive.

One person has deemed herself a travel agent. She created a group, and then starts sending all these "offers." I have no desire to go to the Bahamas. I left the group and she added me again.

One person was a friend of my husband's from high school. Not a close friend by any means. Saw him at the last reunion. He asked to be friends on Facebook. I have quite a few of the folks from my husband's class as my Facebook friends since he doesn't do computers or social media. But this guy was relentless. He is a travel agent on the east coast and I would get messages on my timeline and private messages telling me how he could plan this trip and that. I tried to be nice and say I'd let him know when I wanted him to plan a trip. He wouldn't let up. I finally said I appreciate his willingness to help us plan a trip, but we have a local travel agent and would prefer sticking with her if we want to plan a trip since we have worked with her before. Sheesh.

Now it is all the make up, leggings, lipstick, bags, and cooking stuff. I have major allergies. I wear little makeup. I buy stuff that doesn't make me react too much when I do wear it. I don't wear leggings. I have more than enough bags -- I was a teacher -- I have book bags that my husband purchased for me as gifts (Mary Englebreit) and I'm not going to buy a new bag. I use what I have. My favorite is the cooking stuff. Since I cook, I should participate in their parties and buy more stuff. My kitchen is already loaded. If they only knew. I'm not going to buy some gadget that I don't need or want just so they win something.

So, last night, I had had it. A gal I knew asked to be friends on Facebook and then when I accepted, she immediately put me in a group and started the hard sell for make up. I posted on Facebook that the reason I joined Facebook was to keep up with my real life friends. I'm all for capitalism and if they put something on the general feed, I will read it and if I'm interested, I will privately message them. But I'm an adult. I don't need a hard sell. I don't need someone to constantly try and get me to buy something. That's why I have refused for years to go to these parties to have the pressure to buy something I either don't want or need. And I ended it with if the only reason you have friended me was to add to your customer base, to please unfriend me and do us both a favor. I wonder how many will unfriend me. At this point, I'm so fed up, I don't care. Interestedly enough one of my real friends messaged me and said I said what so many people are thinking but don't have the courage to say. Lots of comments went along with what I posted. So, I must not be alone in this thinking. I went into my groups and took myself out of all their sales groups. Facebook now has a feature where you can click so they can't put you back in.

Sorry for the lengthy post, I just needed to really vent.

Not a whole lot to report

January 7th, 2018 at 01:48 pm

I haven't blogged much lately because I haven't had much to report. We have had very cold temperatures which means I don't go out much because the cold air bothers my asthma. So, I have been doing chores around the hose and doing some crafts as well. Last week I decided to only go to Kroger's instead of doing Aldi and Kroger's so I wasn't out as long. I about had a fit at the checkout. We buy most of our fresh fruits and vegetables at Aldi as well as our dairy and some of our meats. When the cashier said the bag of grapes was $7.65 I said I didn't want them. I couldn't believe it. I knew it would be higher, but over half as much! This week I shopped a day earlier in the week since it was supposed to get ferociously cold on Thursday (it was zero on Wednesday so that should tell you something). I happily shopped at Aldi and then Kroger. Spent half of what I would have spent at Kroger and felt blessed besides.

Besides Christmas and New Year's, celebrated my birthday on Friday. DH gave me some jewelry -- he assured me he did not pay full price...found some deals at Kohls. I imagine he bought it when they had big sales during the holidays. He as become quite the shopper and hates to pay full price for anything anymore. We did eat out twice...once for lunch with one set of friends and then dinner with another set. They came back to the house for cake and ice cream and a nice visit.


I read 100 books in 2017 so I'd like to read that many in 2018. I've only read one so far, so I guess I better get busy. We went to the library yesterday and I checked out quite a few. A friend suggested I use the Goodreads site, but I ran into an issue -- two books they suggested based on what I've read and enjoyed our library didn't have. I could probably do interlibrary loan, but not sure I want do it for a book I may or may not really want to read.

We are supposed to get freezing rain today and then snow on top of it. It would not disappoint me if we didn't. A Facebook friend posted a photo of a local grocery store's freezer section and it was almost empty. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up and by Wednesday we are to be near 50. Guess people panic at a drop of a hat.