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Wednesday, Weather, and What Not

April 18th, 2018 at 11:49 am

Here it is Wednesday. It's gloomy. The thermometer says 57, but it is a chilly 57 with the wind. Winter just doesn't want to give way it seems. We had snow Sunday night/Monday morning. Yesterday it was at least sunny.

The past couple of weeks have kept me busy. We received our tax refund and decided to use it to replace our freezer that is in our garage and our refrigerator. They were to deliver them both a week ago last Sunday so we left church early to make sure we were home.

They called to say they would be there between 10:30 and noon. Guess 1 p.m. was close enough for them because that is when they arrived. The freezer was fine, but the fridge had a wavy side panel and was dented. I said I didn't want it. The delivery guy said they would probably give me some money off and I said I didn't buy a new fridge to have it dented and I refused it. I called the store and talked to the manager and explained why I felt the way I did and how I wanted to make sure the next one would be dent free. The earliest we could come to a delivery date was Friday. And then we weren't guaranteed anytime which makes DH froth since he hates having to stay home and wait. Add that to forecasted heavy rain.

Well, they delivered it by 11 and beat the rain. No dents, no wavy side, no scratches. So, I am very pleased. I really like the freezer as well. It is a little larger than our old one. They no longer handle the kind we had before in the size we had that is frost free. I have no desire to defrost a freezer. So, I feel that was a good use of our tax refund. Since last year was our first year of us both being retired, it was tough gauging what we needed to have taken out.

Other than that, I've been busy working around the house. Since we had to move furniture twice for the fridge, it meant cleaning under and behind stuff. I then cleaned out the shelves in the Hoosier cabinet (far easier to move if it doesn't have stuff in it. I went through the spices and herbs I have in there and got rid of some stuff that was way beyond its freshness date. For years I had used a lazy Susan two tiered shelf in there and I thought since I'm going to take everything out, I wondered if I needed it anymore. I had a hard time finding stuff on it. Well, I don't need it. I washed it and it went in the pile for the church rummage sale along with a couple of other items.

A couple of months ago I hit the jackpot on some material at a thrift store. I found 8 yards for $5. My goal was to make some table runners for the dining room table, the island, and the shelf of the Hoosier cabinet. I made those as well as 4 napkins. I think there is enough to recover a pillow. I have a pillow we have for years and I no longer like the covering on it. It was bought to match a couch we no longer own (and haven't owned for years). So, I'm going to remove the cover, wash the pillow, and then use some extra filling to plump it up before I make the pillow covering. I think little changes like this make other things look different. I finished the pillowcases I worked on and they are now on my pillows on my bed. I've two photos, one of the pillowcases after I ironed them and one of the table runners on our island.










Our knitting group met last Thursday at church. Our new total is 320 hats. We are a third of the way to our goal of 1000! I have since completed 3 more hats. I like to make at least 5 hats every weeks. Last time I made 7 full size hats and 5 baby hats to donate to a local nonprofit that works with mothers and babies. I don't count the baby hats as far as the total.

For the past few years I have corresponded with a friend of my mom's. She is close to 90 and her health continues to fail. I know mail is a day brightener. So, I dug around the garage to find a small box and sent her an Amish fictional book, a devotional book, 5 dish cloths (I use the leftover yarn from the hats for these) a bar of natural soap, and some flavored tea bags. I received a note today exclaiming how much she appreciated everything. Her daughters come in and clean her house for her so I suggested she share the dish cloths with them. She said she really enjoyed finding everything in the box. I am going to have to do this more often if it brings such joy to her. I guess we should all remember how a simple card or letter can brighten the day of a shut in.

Sorry this entry is all over the place. Just a catch up, I guess.

Playing the Game....Grocery Game that is

April 5th, 2018 at 08:28 am

Each Wednesday and Thursday is what I call the Grocery Game. The Aldi ad comes out on Wednesday and then on Thursday the Kroger ad comes out. I make my lists so we can grocery shop. Kroger sent an email saying I could download a coupon to my loyalty card to save 5% on my total bill this week. You bet I did that! It's not a whole lot, but 5% is 5% off.

We get the local Sunday paper and the coupons are pathetic. Every so often there are a few coupons so I did get a couple of them for my grocery shop today. I also did the digital coupons. I know that today's two grocery bills will be substantial compared to what we have bought recently (we were using stuff up from freezer and pantry), but I'm looking at it a way to restock my shelves. We eat at home quite a bit and I figure in the long run it saves me money.

A little over a month ago I started using Ibotta. I finally got to the $20 savings. The problem is so much of the stuff they offer rebates back on is stuff we don't buy. We buy an awful lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. For awhile they were offering 25 cents on bananas, but that was short lived. There's another app called Saving Star that I looked into, but have yet to find anything that we buy that is eligible.

Kroger often has a free Friday download and you can get a free item from it. A lot of it we don't want, but if it is nonperishable, I get it anyway and donate it to the basket we have at church to donate to the food pantry. A couple of weeks ago it was the new Hershey bar with chocolate and peanut butter. I'm sure it is good, but I figure someone might like as a treat at the food pantry. Another week is was a Larabar.

In other happenings a few weeks ago we were perusing one of our favorite thrift stores and I saw a package of pillow cases you embroider upon. They were still in the package except there was a opening in the package where the person had bought the embroidery floss. The package was 69 cents. I walked by it at first thinking I didn't need to buy another project since I had other projects to do. But I went back and figured for 69 cents, I couldn't get hurt too badly.

I set a goal of knitting 5 hats every two weeks for my knitting group at church. Then, I feel I can work on other stuff. I use the leftover yarn from the hats that there isn't enough to make another hat from to crochet dish cloths which I either give to others or I donated a huge stack for our church's rummage sale. So, I decided since I had my five hats done and I have crocheted dish cloths with the leftover yarn, I could start on the pillowcases. It took me over a week to finish both of them since I didn't work on them 24/7, but I completed them yesterday. They are washed and I need to iron them. I still have a bunch of embroidery floss left over so I can use it for something else at some point, but I think I got a good deal on these pillowcases for 69 cents.

One of my mom's friends is a shut in and she enjoys getting mail. Her daughters come in and help her so I'm going to mail her some of the dish cloths for them to share. I also am sending her some tea bags with different flavors. I figure a nice package should brighten her day.

The big news around here is snow is predicted for tomorrow and Sunday. Measurable snow. We are sick of winter and especially any chance of snow. We received some Sunday. Fortunately not a lot and it melted by Monday afternoon.

253 and counting

March 26th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

The church knitting group is up to 253 hats made so far for 2018! We met on Wednesday and that was our count. Not bad for a small church and a small group.

We have had the opportunity to work with another church. One of the ladies called and asked me about our knitting group and I told her about it, where to buy the looms, ask for yarn, and some of our ladies went and taught their group to knit on the looms. Last week their group came and joined our group and we had a delightful time. It didn't matter that we are Lutheran and they are Baptist. What mattered was the work -- we want to provide hats for as many kids in poverty in our public schools!

Anyway, the newspaper came out and did a sweet article on our groups. Here is the url if you wish to read it:

https://herald-review.com/lifestyles/hats-off-decatur-group-gets-to-looming-for-a-good/article_2cb206cd-1704-5e7a-9ed9-ad3b0270bb08.html?utm_content=bufferc724d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=LEEDCC

The 253 hats are just from our church. Awhile back Bluebird graciously donated money for yarn. Our ladies bought it on sale as well using the tax exempt and I can tell you that yarn has been made into many of those hats. Thanks again, Bluebird!

My goal is to make ten hats a month. The ladies set a goal of 1000 hats this year. We made 957 last year. The exciting thing is we have had some ladies who don't go to our church decide to join our group as well. It's just a fun get together. So, other than than the purchase of yarn to fill in, it's a pretty economical way to be entertained as well. We laugh and kid each other, and support each other. It's pretty cool over all.

This and that

March 11th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Yesterday it sort of felt like spring. One thing I really like to do when it is decent is take the vehicle and wash it. There's a coin operated car wash not too far from our house and I like to wash my vehicle and get all the salt off of it from the winter. We splurged the $1 for the vacuum as well to get all the rocks and dirt off the floorboards as well and when we got home, I wiped the outside down and then took some of the Armour All and went over the tires and the plastic on the outside and then wiped down the console and the doors on the inside. It sure made it look nice and made me appreciate what I have. DH was pretty impressed.

After that I worked in the garage and swept it out. That seems to be an ongoing battle because leaves and dirt seem to blow in every time we open the garage door. I also cleaned out one corner where we have a standing rack to hold rakes, shovels, brooms, and my mop. I took everything out of the rack, cleaned it, cleaned the corner and then tried to put everything back in a way that looked a lot tidier. I threw away quite a few things that DH put there. I don't know why he didn't throw them away to begin with. Maybe there is something about taking something a few extra steps to the garbage can. Smile

We went to that home show I wrote about earlier and admired the Amish made cabinets and furniture as well as looked at the booths of doors, windows, lawn stuff. I even won a door prize -- a small bag of cashew chew which is like peanut brittle, but made with cashews.

Before we left, I had put a pork loin roast in the Crockpot with carrots, onion, herbs, and small potatoes so I didn't have to worry about cooking supper in case we got home late. A little planning guaranteed we weren't tempted to eat out. Plus, we will realize another meal from the pork and carrots. Can't beat that!

I asked a friend if he would be willing to fix a door on our Hoosier cabinet. It has become unglued and I'm afraid it is going to fall apart and the glass pane will shatter. I will not be able to replace it if it does since there are two doors with the matching panes and are original with the piece. We worked out a deal -- he will glue and clamp it. I gave him some sugar free candy we had bought for him and I will bake him some homemade bread for his trouble. I'm excited about getting it fixed.

After supper we relaxed by watching Hinterland on Netflix. Intense would be the word to describe this series. I worked on using up some yarn and making dish cloths. I had some purple that there wasn't enough to make a hat so I used it up and then had some blue from a project I had crocheted for myself awhile back. I had crocheted a cover for a pillow and had the yarn left over. So, I used some of it to trim around a dish cloth and then used some other yarn up as well. I finished 4 dish cloths last night and used up some yarn that wouldn't have been enough for anything else.

It was a fine day.

Today has been great too, so far. We went to church and then went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription for DH. He also had them print his 2017 prescriptions. We have a home health care policy for him that if you don't use it in the calendar year, they will give you a refund of what you paid on prescriptions. It won't be a huge amount since his prescription plan covered the lion's share as well as all of them being generics, but it is nice to get a rebate of sorts. I have to get that ready to mail in.

We came home and I fixed brunch and had the opportunity to watch new episodes of Barefoot Contessa. I like her calm manner and I seem to learn stuff from her episodes. I've missed seeing her so I was glad we could catch these. I still do covet her walk in pantry. A girl can dream, I guess!

Tonight we are supposed to go and have dinner with some friends at their home. We take turns hosting each other. It is a casual evening and plenty of fun and other than the food, pretty reasonable.

Not a whole lot of spending going on, but some fine times!

Awash in papers

March 4th, 2018 at 12:11 pm

My desk looks like it is awash in papers. Egad, I'm getting overwhelmed!

Sunday afternoons are usually bill paying time for the week. So, I have a few things made out and ready to mail. Some other things I paid online.

I have been working on publicity for my church for Holy Week and Easter as well as a rummage sale coming up in June. I am not a procrastinator so I feel better when I have stuff lined up, even if it isn't submitted yet.

Pretty soon I'm taking out the accordion file so I can start organizing tax papers. We don't receive some of our documents until the middle of March. I like to have things organized so when we do get them, we can take them to our tax preparer and get them done quickly. I'm curious how our taxes will look this year since this is the first full year I've been retired. We talked to our tax guy last year and he made some suggestions on what we could do, so hopefully we did what we needed to do so we don't owe a lot.

I have been decluttering a little at a time. We took in a box of really good stuff to church for the rummage sale. Our ladies aren't procrastinators either and have been asking for stuff already so they can get it marked ahead of time. This was the first year they had a "do not donate" list. Unfortunately there are always some people who want to "donate" things that really aren't good stuff, but just a way for them to get rid of junk and not have to deal with it. I checked, none of my donated stuff is on the do not donate list. I crocheted 3 towels for the rummage sale and I pinned the washing instructions from the yarn covers on them so the new owners will know how to take care of them.

Well, back to the papers. Hopefully I will get things straighten up so it doesn't look like a file cabinet exploded.

Good intentions

March 1st, 2018 at 01:26 pm

I really have the best intentions to declutter. Really, I do.

I start and then something else comes up. Darn it!

A week ago I started on the linen closet. I boxed up two boxes of things to donate to the local thrift store. I put some things in the laundry to see if they would come out OK. I need to iron them except for the two pieces I threw away. They were not salvageable. I could not get the stains out. I don't like to donate stuff that other people wouldn't want.

I also have good intentions of getting some projects done. I finally finished crocheting a dish towel last night, I'm making some things for the church rummage sale.

My intention is to use up the craft stuff before I allow myself to buy any more. So far, I've behaved. I don't want to wind up being one of those ladies who has a ton of yarn, material, craft stuff and when I die, none of it was completed. I did have to buy some embroidery floss the other day since I needed a color I didn't have, but I figure it was an end to a means. I found it at a thrift store so I didn't pay much. But that was a few weeks ago. It is for Christmas so I have a little time before i have to start on it since I'm doing stuff for the church rummage sale.

So, guess I should take my good intentions and get off the computer and get busy.

You can't pick your relatives

February 25th, 2018 at 11:45 am

Like many states in the Midwest, we have had plenty of rain and gloomy days this past week. The sun is out and although it is cool, it looks to be a lovely day. I know people at church were talking about their attitudes changing because the sun had appeared.

It's been an interesting week on the genealogy front. I had the opportunity to spend over an hour at the library in the local history room using the free local paper archives. I discovered a few more tidbits from my family. My mom always acted like my dad’s side of the family wasn’t very good. Yet, from what I’ve figured out so far, my dad’s side a couple of generations back, did have some wealth and prestige. His mom and her parents and siblings came to American in 1902 from England and located to Albany, Georgia. Why there of all places, I have no idea. And how they wound up in Decatur, Illinois, is another story I will never know. But I guess when they were in England, they did have some money and a fancy home. But, things got tough here in America for them and hard scrabble would be an accurate description.

My mom has a couple of generations here in America before her. My great grandfather was arrested for stealing brass from the Wabash Railroad which is where he worked. My grandfather was arrested as a teenager for being in an east side of Decatur gang. My grandmother was arrested for shoplifting in the 1920s. My mom was arrested for disorderly conduct in the 1940s. Kind of sad to learn this, although this was way before my time. As they say, you can’t pick your relatives.

Another thing I discovered was that many of the relatives on my mom’s side were railroaders. Two cousins a time or two removed who were brothers worked for Wabash and one saw the other crushed between two rail cars as he was trying to hitch them together. That had to be horrendous.

Dh teased me I was a cheap date for a Saturday. I was happy to go to the library, check out a couple of books (I scored the last Sue Grafton!), and then spend time doing some research. He spent the time in the children's section finding books to read out loud to the classes he reads to each week. We came home and I spent a couple of hours updating the family tree. I fixed supper and we spent the evening at home.

On the knitting front, we have 135 hats made so far in 2018. The church ladies are teasing me they are hoping to get to 1000 by the end of the year. Wouldn't that be something?

Every fall I try to purchase some name brand chicken noodle soup to have on hand in case one or both of us get sick. That seems to be a comfort food for each of us if we have colds or sinus infections. I try to catch it on sale and use a coupon and that's what I did last fall. So far, we haven't need to eat much of it. So, I'm going to heat some of it up with sandwiches for supper tonight.

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!

A Good Tired

November 19th, 2017 at 02:45 pm

This has been a whirlwind week and I'm tired, but it is a good tired.

It started last Sunday with a blessing of the hats that were knitted by our group at church. Then after church, a friend and I counted out hats to the two schools that would receive them. One had over 220 kids and the other over 440 kids. Plus, we needed to count out the gloves.

On Monday we made our first delivery. Our Pastor and some of the ladies went with us and we walked around to the rooms and showed them a sampling of the hats and showed them the knitting looms we made them on. After we left, the ladies and Pastor were shocked at the poverty so many of our children live in. They said they realized why I had suggested this project. We did the same on Thursday for the other school. Again, the folks were surprised at the poverty and how many kids had so little. I guess if you don't work in this environment, you don't always realize it is there. On Monday the local TV station came out and did a very short story and on Thursday the local paper did a story. Here are the urls if you wish to see these:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/stitches-of-love-delivers-a-load-of-hats-to-franklin/article_30e028e5-fd19-5af2-a10a-7a3ef2cf8ba0.html

http://www.wandtv.com/story/36834283/decatur-church-helps-keep-kids-warm

I know I've been blogging a lot about this project, but it has been near and dear to my heart. I just wish we could have done more. We are a small church and I feel at least we helped some children.

In other things, DH and I had two day trips this week. One was to St. Louis and the Italian neighborhood called "The Hill." Part of the bus trip included the lunch. We had a grand time exploring the Italian groceries and other shops and bakeries. Yesterday we had another bus trip to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. DH usually picks out some clothes he wants at the Penneys there. We no longer have a Penneys locally. So, we came home exhausted from that, but it was a great time.

Pastor stopped me at church today and said that because of the publicity on the hats, we have had phone calls to church and that people are wanting more information about joining out knitting group. So, that made me happy...maybe we can reach more kids!

I'm still tired from everything this week, but it is a good tired. It was all good this week, from the knitting, the delivering, and the eating and shopping.

The Snowball Effect

November 8th, 2017 at 10:44 am








I have blogged here and there about the knitting group at church and the fact we have been making hats to donate to high poverty schools near us. We have a total of 805 hats sitting in tubs ready for us to count out and deliver. This total was made in less than 12 months and it was fascinating to see how people wanted to be a part of the action.

Last spring I contacted a friend who writes for the paper and she came out and interviewed and did a story. Our group was averaging about 4 people every other week to come and knit. The reporter commented we welcome others and could use donations of yarn or money. There was a sudden influx of yarn and I think we had about $40 donated as well. The best part is we had some new people join the group. Plus we had some other people contact one of the ladies and say they wanted to knit and give us hats and they did.

Then I was watching the local news and the sports director made a comment that it was going to be a boring sports night and he might take up knitting. I challenged him to come and join the group and he did and he did a sweet story on us. Our group grew again. And, we received even more yarn donations!

One of my friends who doesn't have time to knit or come to the group buys yarn and donates it because she feels it is such a worthy cause. Another of my friends doesn't belong to our church but she has been a faithful knitter.

Our original plan was to adopt a few classrooms and give them hats and then find funds to buy Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and pencils.

One member of the congregation said he would like to purchase gloves to go with the hats as long as no one knew he did it.

Then some other folks decided to knit some scarves. We don't have a ton of them, but we do have some to match some hats.

Anyway, next week we will begin our deliveries. We have enough hats to adopt two schools kindergarten through sixth grade with hats, gloves, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and pencils. We have 74 other hats to go to a school down the street from our church. And we are going to give 22 hats and matching scarves to a case worker for a child and family service agency.

It is amazing how this little project has snowballed in less than a year. We started with four regulars coming to the knitting group and we have between 12-16 attending and knitting. It is heart warming to see how so many wanted to become involved not for the recognition but because it touched their hearts.

Keeping up

October 30th, 2017 at 11:03 am

Not a whole lot to report. I've kept busy doing this and that around here. Today I'm doing some cleaning. I have a tea pot collection. I like blue willow and through the years I have been given tea pots and we have bought some. I have them displayed on a shelf over the sliding glass doors. I asked DH if he would get them down so I have them washed. They weren't really too bad, but I like to keep on top of things so they don't get really dusty or dirty. As I washed them, it made me think about the lovely designs and where they were made and what company. I had forgotten that one of the more unique ones was designed in England but hand painted in the Philippines. Pretty cool

I also starting addressing Christmas cards. Yes, I know it isn't even the first of November. I just dread addressing them. I know they are an expense and the postage keeps going up, but most of the people we send them to are not online. For some they are our annual catch up time. Anyway, I feel better having started them. I found a couple of boxes of new cards at thrift stores this year for little to nothing. I feel that helps with the cost. I have been crocheting small ornaments to put in each card. The ornaments are basically free other than my work. I am using crochet thread I already had. I will need to iron and starch them, but I have enjoyed making them so hopefully people will enjoy receiving them.

Other than a few items for DH for Christmas, I have the bulk of any shopping finished. We do give tips to the gals who cut our hair. I buy a few gifts for friends, but supplement them with either things I've canned or made so it keeps the cost down. I enjoy doing this sort of thing and hopefully the receivers enjoy getting them. We have a Christmas club so whatever we spend, the money is there so we don't go into debt. I just can't fathom going deep into debt for Christmas. I like being generous, but I don't think I could handle seeing a big debt.

It's a cool, dreary day here. Just the right kind to make me want to clean so our home feels cozy.

Where did last week go?

October 1st, 2017 at 04:43 pm

It seems like this week flew by. Not sure where it went and looking back, I'm not sure what kept me so busy, but I was. I got behind on reading blogs so hopefully I have caught up today. I feel like I miss out on everyone's lives when I get behind.

One thing that kept me busy was planning for a fifth grade to meet the police that they are adopting this year. My friend, the teacher and I worked through this and I scheduled their visit as well as the local newspaper to come out and cover it. I unfortunately had to miss it, but here is the article if you are so inclined to read it:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/south-shores-elementary-fifth-grade-adopts-police-for-year/article_5041b6a4-1d56-5ad3-ac40-cdbb57baf02e.html

I have been busy knitting hats. I took our new pastor to meet the principal of the school. The principal was telling the pastor how much the hats meant to the kids last year. So, this spurred me on to getting more hats made in addition to the other ones I have been working on. In between the hats, I have been crocheting dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I took in 31 of them for the church's bazaar that is coming up.

I also have been working on PR for the upcoming bazaar and learning to do the church's web page. I already update the church's Facebook page.

Wednesday was DH's birthday. I spent a big part of the morning baking a cake from scratch. We went out to a local restaurant that is pricey, but the food is exquisite so we felt it was worth the expense. We don't eat there often so it is a real treat.

I have also canned a few more things to add to the pantry.

One couple called and asked about going to lunch for DH's birthday. We haven't heard from them in over a month. We wound up changing some plans so we could meet with them. One thing that absolutely drives me nuts is the fact they are almost always late. The place where we were going to meet is on the other side of town for us -- it is far closer to them. But, it doesn't matter. They are usually late and this day was no exception. I guess they feel if they call and say they are on their way, that makes it OK. Yet, we have noticed they can get places on time and even early for others. It just hurts that I feel we are being taken for granted. Because this was the only time they could meet with us last week, I gave up seeing the kids and officers meet and I didn't get to attend the knitting group at church. I guess I could have been less flexible, but I know DH wanted to see his friend since the visits are getting fewer and far between.

One of my other friends was talking about the end of the month being tight for them, so we were exchanging ideas on how to try to keep this from happening with the new month. It's kind of fun brainstorming this way. It makes me rethink about some of the things we are doing and realizing I have gotten a little lax on a few ways to save money.

We had a heat spell this week and many of DH's tomatoes ripened. He brought in some yesterday and some bell peppers. I made spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, basil, and oregano from the garden and added mushrooms to the mix. I have one quart and two pints to add to the pantry.

One of our local stores had penny pincher coupons with some of what I call loss leaders. I bought some pasta (especially since i have spaghetti sauce) as well as some other items for the pantry that were far less than regular price. My pantry is getting well stocked.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Being Crafty

September 21st, 2017 at 02:08 pm

A friend emailed me that he was a little irritated at his wife. She is very talented when it comes to crafts and sewing, but she has the bad habit of going to the craft/sewing store and buying things because she thinks she's going to do the project. She said she was going this week and he asked why when she had so many things already in her sewing room.

I know the temptation. Every time I go, I want to buy this and that and this because it is fun thinking about doing them and then having a finished project. It doesn't help that this chain also sends out coupons about every day in email. Fortunately this store is across town, so that helps curb the temptation. DH probably wouldn't care, but I care. I don't want to buy a ton of stuff that just sits around. I recently bought two skeins of yarn and some buttons because I crocheted coffee cozies for a class to give our local police department. I sewed the buttons on the cozies. The school's mascot is a star and since police officers used to have a star, I figured this would go along. It was a nice little project and then I used the smaller star buttons and glued them to index cards for the kids to write messages to the officers.

I will admit I have bought some things at the thrift stores lately for some personal projects. I bought some crochet thread that came from France -- really nice stuff -- for 99 cents a skein. I saw a towel pattern on Pinterest I thought I could use. I recently purchased a piece of material for a dollar at another thrift store and used it to make a pillow case for a pillow I have had for a long time. The other case was pretty ratty. And I also have some other crochet thread I bought at rummage sales and thrift stores that I hope to use to crochet some ornaments.

Last summer I bought a pair of pillow cases that were to be embroidered and I worked on them and have them finished. I plan to give them as a Christmas gift. They were still in a sealed package. I was delighted to get them and it was fun working on them.

Our church group is continuing to knit the hats on the looms. So far we have 680 hats made. Our intention is to adopt a couple of schools and give them the hats as well as tissue, wet wipes, and pencils. Fortunately people have donated a lot of yarn so I have used a lot of that besides buying some to fill in. I try not to bring home more yarn, either the donated stuff, or the stuff I buy, than I think I'll use. I did run out of yarn a couple of weeks ago. I use the yarn to work on the hats and then if there is some left I use the remainder to make dish cloths. I'm trying to adhere to the "Use it up" slogan.

As much as I enjoy crafts, I think they can be a hit on the budget if one would let them. I have tried to pick stuff up at rummage sales and thrift stores as much as possible. I did buy the knitting loom, but I think I've made more than a 100 hats on it since I bought it over a year ago. I had the crochet hooks so that wasn't an added expense.

My mom used to crochet and I remember she always had a ton of yarn around the house. Then, in her 60s, she decided she didn't want to crochet, and instead taught herself to quilt. No small feat by any means, but she was very talented when it came to sewing and crafting. I didn't want the yarn so we wound up donating it to the school where i worked. When she died, she had so much material that it was just a shame that she never got to finish all the quilts she had some day hoped to make.

I would prefer to use up everything. I don't know if that is possible, but that is my goal. I don't want a bunch of stuff sitting around. So, my goal is to limit myself to only having the stuff I will actually work on and finish. It sort of saves money because then I'm not as tempted to go out and buy a lot of other things.

Anyway, here is a photo of a completed cozy on a coffee cup. Sorry it is so dark, but I never can get the light to be just right.


Catching Up

August 11th, 2017 at 08:18 am

Yesterday was our meeting for our knitting group at church. I had to chuckle over the ladies because they counted the ones that were brought and it made for a total of 597 hats. Well, they wanted to know who could finish a hat before time was up for the day and said we have to have 600 before we leave. Too funny. One lady said she just had to put a pom pom on hers and another two said they had to do a little more. Not all of our members were there, but when two came in, they had a few more hats and when all was said and done, out total was 605 hats by the end of the time. That's a lot of knitted hats. That doesn't include the scarves that people have made nor the preemie hats. The preemie hats are donated to NICUs at local hospitals and to a group that helps women who are pregnant. We are small, but I think we are mighty.

An added benefit was one of the ladies brought in some produce. She had cucumbers and bell peppers. She asked if anyone could use any and some people said yes. But, when it was all said and done, hardly anyone took the cucumbers. She asked me if I could use them and I said yes. I see sweet pickles in my future.

A couple of years ago we went to a Bed And Breakfast in the Amana Colonies and part of the breakfast was Mango Juice. DH can't have orange juice since the acid really bothers him, so he tried the Mango juice. And he was smitten. Whenever Aldi has mangoes on sale, I buy them and let them sit on the counter to ripen. Actually, I prefer them overripe because they are juicier that way. I made DH a quart of it and he has been enjoying it. I looked up on the Internet on how to make it and it really isn't hard. I don't have a juicer or anything, so I do it by hand. I guess if I were making gallons it would be an issue, but it isn't. And it's a nice treat for DH. I make apple juice for him too. I refuse to purchase apple juice that has had apples grown in China. After reading some of the conditions of the growing of apple trees and other fruits and vegetables, I choose not to go there.

DH's tomato crop has been good one. We have been eating lots of fresh tomatoes and I have been canning some. I believe that is also in my future...some more canning. I don't mind and they are sure nice to have in the winter. I spoiled myself and made tomato juice the other day. Last year we didn't have quite enough for me to do that and felt I needed to can just the tomatoes. But, since DH planted more plants we have extra and I'm making myself some juice. Funny as I type this there is an ad for V8 on the bottom of the screen. I also intend to make spaghetti sauce since we have onions, bell peppers, garlic, and basil.

The other day a friend brought over some turkey he had smoked and 4 ears of sweet corn he had gotten from someone. We had over three meals off of that turkey. We don't have a smoker so it was a real treat. We are so blessed to live in a country where so many fresh foods are available, aren't we?

Handmade

July 23rd, 2017 at 11:21 am

When I was a kid, I remember a commercial showing a man laying bricks. I don't remember what the ad was touting, but i remember the bricklayer at his craft and was fascinated.

As an adult I'm still pretty fascinated at how things are made, both commercially as well as by hand. Growing up with a mother who crocheted I realized the work that went into many of her creations. She was a seamstress for the garment factories of many years and she could sew about anything as well. When she was in her 60s, she decided to teach herself how to quilt. I learned to appreciate fine talent.

We were watching television the other day and an ad came on for a show called "Handcrafted." I guess it is going to start a new season. I don't know if we get that network, but if we do, I hope we can catch a few of the episodes.

I am amazed at how talented so many people are with their different skills. Some people make things simply because they enjoy the craft. Others make things to save money or even sell their wares to make money.

When I was in college there was very little available funds, but I decided to crochet an afghan for one of my friends for Christmas. I scraped up enough money for the prettiest yarn I could find. I worked hard on this during the summer. It was a labor of love because we didn't have air conditioning and it's often hot and humid here in the Midwest. I was so proud of my work (My mom had taught me to crochet a few years before) and I worked hard on making it as nice as possible. I really thought she would appreciate it because it was a labor of love. It really hurt my feelings when I gave it to her and I could tell when she opened the present it wasn't anything she thought much of. A few months later I went to her unfinished basement to get something she sent me down for and there was the afghan thrown over some boxes. It still kind of bugs me because I worked so hard on something and she didn't appreciate the work. I guess I didn't know my friend very well, but she didn't take into account I didn't have a lot of money then and tried to make her something nice with what I had.

I can honestly say I make things now because I enjoy making them and give them to people I think might like them. I appreciate it when people give me handcrafted items because I know the labor involved. I give away some of the things I bake and jams and jellies because I like working on these items and think people appreciate them. I have decided that one couple will probably never get a gift like any of this again. Every time we give them something I've made or fixed, they admit that they didn't eat it, but one of the kids or grandkids did. It isn't a dietary concern. I don't give stuff to people that I know they can't and won't eat.

I wonder if we have become a society that no longer appreciates handmade items whether it is goods or foods? Yet, I have one friend who makes me feel very special. Every Christmas I give him a basket of handmade goodies and canned items. I asked him one time if he liked it and his comment was "I love everything you give me because I know you made it and gave it with me in mind." You sure can't beat that!

Not Uber But Sort Of Frugal

July 14th, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Friday is the day we usually make a day of it. We eat lunch out and go to thrift shops and garage sales. I have been trying not to buy anything at the thrift shops for awhile since I really don't need anything. But, I succumbed at two of them. I bought two jelly jars with rings for 55 cents and at another one I bought some metal Christmas ornament hooks in a sealed package and a ceramic mini loaf pan for 53 cents. I bake sweet breads and give them away at Christmas. Last year I found enough of these ceramic loaf pans to give quite a few of them away and although I'm sure people would be OK with foil pans, I just think it makes it look nicer. I refuse to pay retail for these and most of the ones I pick up at thrift stores still have the price stickers on them. I originally had picked up a couple of greeting cards, but put them back trying to use up what I have at home before purchasing any more cards or stationery. Oh, at another place I bought 4 packs of brand new pencils for $1.32. I give them to a teacher friend since he can't keep pencils and the kids don't seem to think they need to bring them after they bring a few at the beginning of the year. I didn't spend a lot, but I can't claim I'm Uber Frugal either. Darn it.

I went to the knitting group yesterday at church. We are closing in on having almost 500 knitted hats so far. One of the ladies brought zucchini to give away so I brought one of them home and can I say I was delighted. I know there's the joke about neighbors leaving zucchini on doorsteps, but we never seem to have that problem. Wish we did. We like zucchini and if we can't eat it all before it goes bad, I shred it and put it in the freezer to bake with bananas for sweet bread.

Change

June 18th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Every year we take our change into the credit union. We are fortunate that they have a change counter, but you have to have an account there for them to use it. This year we had $162.49 in change. DH uses cash for just about everything so he has far more change than I do. I use some cash, but often I'm paying for things like groceries or stuff at the home improvement store so I use the credit card. If I find change I put it in our trusty pickle jar. I was cleaning the other day and moved a chest and found a penny so you know where it wound up. We would have had more change, except we used quite a bit of quarters in January when we went to Tybee Island - Savannah. You pay for parking everywhere and according to the locals, the meters are strictly enforced. We also did laundry there since we were there almost two weeks. We put the money in our Christmas Club Account from our change jar. This gave us over $900 in our Christmas Club account.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm happy to report I've bought two gifts this week. Yay, me! LOL I have also made a few gifts so far. Plus I bought a gift in January too when we were on Tybee Island.

The knitting group I belong to at church has over 300 hats made so far. Most of us are making hats outside of the 4 hours a month we meet. Our intention is to give them to classrooms in high poverty schools in our area.

I used to enjoy doing crafts like crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, etc. Then for awhile between work and my hands going numb, I gave it all up, even after having surgery on each hand. I started crocheting again a couple of summers ago -- I made star ornaments out of crochet thread for every staff member at my school for Christmas. Our mascot was the Super Stars so I thought it was appropriate. I discovered if I didn't overdo, my hands didn't hurt. So, I again have found the pleasure in crocheting and now knitting on the round loom. My goal for this Christmas is to crochet a small ornament to put in our Christmas cards. I do one or two here and there, but I have a ways to go. We send out a lot of cards. I thought it would be something nice anyway and keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Smile

I found a brand new package of pillowcases at our church's rummage sale. These are the kind you embroider upon. I'm looking forward to working on these. I know they aren't popular, but for $3 and my work, they will do. Some of those sites on the Internet talk about how out of style Baby Boomers are. Guess I fit that bill. Who needs to be in style anyway?

I Hear the Cha Ching!

June 4th, 2017 at 12:10 pm

It's downright hot and humid here in Central Illinois. The a/c is running and I can almost hear the bill going up. But, being asthmatic and allergic, I will pay it, perhaps not happily, but knowing I can afford it and feeling blessed that I can. And although I gripe, putting in extra insulation a couple of years ago really did help.

I'm working on some decluttering. It never seems to end. But the yarn stash is going down. Between yarn donations from friends and some yarn I've purchased at thrift stores, I had quite a bit of it. I have mentioned before knitting hats with the church group and then I use the the bits and pieces leftover to crochet dish cloths and Swiffer covers. Every two weeks when the group meets, I take the hats I've completed in so I'm getting those out of the house anyway. Today was the paper monster. I save all the credit card receipts and then reconcile them with the statement. Finally got through that pile and they can be shredded. I also have some other paperwork I had to finish before seeing the end to it. Plus paying some bills. And here we were promised that we would have less papers with all this technology!

My heart goes out to those in London with all the sadness.

Hope you are having a lovely Sunday.

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

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.