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Archive for July, 2018

Canning, crafts, and Christmas

July 15th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

I have kept busy the past few days working around here.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon doing some canning. Nothing big like bushels of anything, but small portions of things.

DH has had quite a few tomatoes come on and since he prefers larger tomatoes for slicing, I had quite a few cherry tomatoes. So, I juiced them and realized a pint and a half pint of tomato juice. I so enjoy tomato juice during the year.

A friend gave us some black cherries, but we weren't eating them quickly enough, so I juiced them and then made jam. Only realized two 1/4 pints, but they will be added to the gift stash.

I had some grapes that I wasn't sure how much longer they would be good. Again, not a lot of them, but thought, why not juice them. I realized a half pint and 1/4 of grape jelly. Another addition to the stash.

I had made apple juice and DH couldn't drink it all in a timely manner. So, apple jelly came about to the tune of 1 pint, 6 half pints, and one 1/4 pint.
Yep, you guessed it more stash!

I also made sweet pickles yesterday -- 1 pint and 2 half pints.

Between the green beans I've canned and some of the spaghetti sauce I made, the pie safe we use as a pantry is full. And I'm not complaining. Some of these items will be consumed here at home, but others will be gifts at Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I have also been working on items. I use a Swiffer duster and I just hate the waste of them. I was looking at the handle and I think I figured out a simple pattern to make my own using the oblong knitting loom. Between using a very soft yarn and then crocheting a piece for the handle, I think I figured it out. I showed it to a friend of mine who thought it would work. I didn't tell her I planned to make her some since I know she uses the duster too. I crochet the Swiffer mop pads out of leftover yarn when there isn't enough to make hats and she says she loves the fact she can use it and throw it in the wash. So, the same will be true of the duster.

I have a bunch of crochet thread in different colors so I have been crocheting ornaments to try and use it up. I was thinking of a friend who has a small apartment and thought if I could find a small table top tree, it would be ideal for his apartment. One of the thrift stores had all their Christmas 50 to 75 percent off so I scored a small tree for a quarter. It was like new.

I also finished a scarf in the Cubs colors for a friend to match the hat I made him over a year ago. He had picked out the colors. I thought this would be a nice Christmas gift.

I have also found a few items here and there on sale and have been squirreling them away for Christmas.

So, are you getting ready for Christmas?

Tomatoes are coming on!

July 12th, 2018 at 08:08 am

DH brought in quite a few tomatoes this morning. I'm excited because two of them were heirloom. We aren't to the point where I need to can, but I can hardly wait until we are. I am going to make more juice this year because I have really enjoyed drinking homemade tomato juice.

The first batch of onions are about gone. DH says he will put in another planting.

How are your gardens going?

Free Food

July 9th, 2018 at 07:43 am

We were the happy recipients of some free food. Our friends were leaving on vacation and she didn't want it go to waste and asked me if I would like to have it. Of course I said yes!

6 ears of sweet corn
broccoli
brussel sprouts
cherries
3 containers of Greek yogurt


We have had two ears of the corn. It is grown locally and it was delicious. I have consumed two of the yogurt and added some of the cherries to the fruit salad I make each week. I'm going to have stir fry tomorrow night so the broccoli will be part of it and I'm thinking of making a salad with the brussel sprouts by shredding them.

Some of DH's tomatoes are starting to ripen so we are enjoying them as well. Not free, but pretty darn good.

Driveway work begins

July 5th, 2018 at 11:29 am

Twenty years ago we bought this house and even then the driveway was cracked. It has gotten worse. Our home was built in 1979 and it is the original driveway.

Today, the driveway guys came to start the tear out. After he got it totally torn out, he told DH that there's a reason our driveway was so bad -- it was only 2 1/2 inches thick in spots. It is supposed to be a minimum of 4 and ideally between 5-6. He said the sand underneath had washed away and if any heavy vehicles had been on it, it certainly didn't help.

So, it is both exciting and frustrating. It is exciting because we will have a new driveway and two pieces of sidewalk replaced which will make our home look better and it will be far easier to shovel this winter without hitting the places where the concrete were different levels. But it is frustrating that yet again someone did not do the proper job and years down the way, we have had to suffer the consequences.

We have been saving for the driveway so we will be able to pay cash when it is completed. That's a very good thing.

Happy July 4th!

July 4th, 2018 at 07:52 am

Here in the U.S. it is Independence Day. We are blessed to have so many freedoms. Hope your day is a great one!

I've been keeping busy. On Monday I wanted to crochet so I tried to find something on the television to watch and found a run of Extreme Couponing. I watched 3 hours of it. I know they are older shows and I also know that there is no way we could ever do the deals they get. Our newspapers coupons are pathetic. I didn't realize that there are actually different coupons depending on what the paper purchases. We used to get the Chicago Trib on Sundays (long story, but can't get it by subscription and our Walgreens doesn't get copies or get enough). It would say the same brand of coupon flyers like Smart Source or Red Plum, but there would be far more coupons in those than the ones in our local paper. Plus, none of our stores double coupons. Anyway, It was interesting to watch. I'm not sure I would want to make a full time job of coupons and I look at the shelves of things they have and wonder if they honestly use all the stuff they swear they got for free. I mean, how many toothbrushes does one really need in a year?

I did get one scarf crocheted and I crocheted a dish cloth. We went out to eat with friends at Olive Garden and it was a belated birthday celebration. The dish cloth was part of her birthday gift. I had crocheted a hand towel that hangs over a drawer or stove handle, I made the gift bag, and the card was from a set of cards that I bought for $2 at a thrift store. All in, I had less than $3 for her gift. Sadly, if she knew that it wasn't an expensive gift, she probably wouldn't like it, so I didn't share that.

I did hit Walgreens yesterday. The first Tuesday of the month is senior day and they give 20% off of things not on sale. It doesn't cover prescriptions, but we didn't need any so that was OK. I made my list, took a few of the coupons, did some digital coupons, and did my shopping. Between the 20% off, the coupons, the sale prices, and the $50 rewards credit, the original $127 plus bill was $53.78 out of pocket. I didn't think that was too bad. I can't do that every month, but then again, some of these things I don't need every month.

Today is supposed to be, as they say, "hot as a firecracker" here. The forecasted temperature is 91, and the humidity is supposed to make it feel like 110. I don't think I will be doing much outside.

First of July

July 1st, 2018 at 12:45 pm

It's the first of the month and it means our pensions come in and so do the bills. The checking account was a bit thin this time because I paid the property taxes and DH also got new glasses. But, I'd rather have a smaller checking account than having to take from savings. I wanted to try and see if we could do our regular monthly bills as well as save a little in the checking ahead of time to pay the taxes and we did. It's a nice feeling that we are paid up and I didn't have to deduct from savings. It seems that when we take from savings it goes out faster than we can replenish it.

It's been incredibly hot and humid here and it makes us want to stay in a lot. We did do a little running yesterday just to get out and get moving. We hit an estate sale, a thrift shop, and a flea market. We had a good time looking, but purchased nothing. We didn't need anything and there wasn't a thing there that called our names.

DH is starting to get ripe cherry tomatoes. I've been purchasing them year round because we think his eating some at meals has helped his PSA scores. So hopefully this will be the last week we will have to purchase any for awhile. We did enjoy his first regular size ripe tomato last night for supper. There was one before it, but a chipmunk ate the bottom of it. We did wind up buying some netting to put around the tomato plants to try and keep the chipmunks away from them. He's used it in the past with success.

Yesterday I had some fabric pieces left over from some things I had worked on. I thought that maybe I could repurpose these pieces and I made two very simple small bags. I thought I could use them as gift bags. They aren't sturdy enough to carry anything. It got me to thinking about our reliance on plastic bags and plastic itself.

We take our own bags to the grocery stores and use them when we shop. When we go to the thrift stores, unless I buy a lot of stuff, I normally request they keep the bag. There was a story on the world news last night about a family in Illinois trying to live without plastic. Even then, they have to use some plastic because of the way some food items are packaged. But, they use metal cups, glass bottles, dishes, containers, etc. But, I thought, wow, I remember reading something that went around the Internet a few years ago about some lady at the checkout and the gal was talking about recycling saying that the older generation didn't know about recycling and then the lady commented about reusing stuff, drinking soda pop in bottles and paying a deposit and then returning the bottles, and things like that. I miss those glass bottles for stuff. I guess with everything, there's good and there's bad to it.