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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guess it is official, I'm a bag lady!
We usually hit the thrift stores on Fridays. There are 4 we go to each week and then there are a couple others we hit every once in awhile. Anyway, I found some lovely canvas bags that were brand new. I thought that they might make good gift bags -- a two for one sort of thing. I can put a gift in them and the recipient gets both the gift and a reusable bag.
Anyway, I decided to decorate them. I found some iron on transfers. And then I crocheted a couple of things and had some things I could sew on.
I have about $1.50 or less invested in each bag. Here are the results on the photos below.
Last week our knitting group got together for our bimonthly meeting time. Our goal is to make 1000 hats for 2018. We will choose high poverty schools in which to gift them. We have a couple of ladies making scarves. I can crochet, but one of the other ladies wanted to know how to knit a scarf on a loom, so I looked up the YouTube instructions and taught myself and then taught the ladies.
Anyway our hat total as of last Thursday was 533 hats! Not bad for a group that averages about 8-9 people.
I did score some yarn the other day at a thrift store. It was new and packaged, but they wanted as much as I could have purchased it at a fabric store on discount. I said something to one of the ladies and she said, well, if that is the case, let's just cut the price in half! No complaints from me!
Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. We are going out for supper and that should be nice. We get each other a card and have a great meal and we are satisfied with that. At this point in our lives, we basically buy what we need and want so a gift is not needed.
Last night we went out with friends. Egad, two meals out in two nights...well, we were supposed to have gone out over two weeks ago, but we had an out of town funeral and then they had an out of town wedding so it kept getting postponed. We were celebrating a birthday of the other lady. Two of us are retired educators. Our retirement system in Illinois sent out an email that there was an article about certain people in Illinois getting over $100K in pensions and how so few actually get that much. So, we were discussing that and the article said the the average pension is $54K. I know he makes more than that in pension and he was carrying on about how he couldn't believe anyone would get that little as a pension. I quietly said, I get less then $50K a year for pension. He didn't know what to say. I agreed to it so I could retire early. It was totally worth it to me. DH retired from the public library and his pension is less than mine. He does also get Social Security which helps, but neither of us make huge amounts.
But are we poor? Not really. My friend has made lots more money, in fact he probably made more than what DH and I made for many years. But he is so poor in handling money that is almost ridiculous. He lives for now and then grouses when he can't do things because he owes so much money. I think it is a balancing act each month when he and the wife pay bills. They have, in the past 4 years, taken two huge vacations, both of which they borrowed money for. They have a home here and a small residence in a Southernstate. They eat out every day. He has all sorts of expensive collections and is continually adding to them. His home isn't paid for because he continually borrows from the equity. He has personal loans. I rather doubt if his place in the south is paid for. He keeps throwing up to us that he has this second place and how it is they vacation during the winter months.
It all came to a head the other day. We take bus trips, most of them day ones, and an upcoming one is to see Carol Burnett. It is in St. Louis and we are going to have a meal at a restaurant on The Hill, and then see the program. It costs $249 each. I asked DH if he wanted to go, he said he did, and I immediately wrote out a check to pay for it and secured our spots. I told our friends and his response was they can't even think about it right now. In other words, they are so overextended it isn't possible.
It really doesn't matter how much one makes if one doesn't know how to handle it. He may draw far more than I do, but spending every penny isn't helping him because the wants keep him broke. I know when he found out that I don't make what he makes pension wise, he was shocked. I could see him thinking how in the world do they do what they do?
We do it by cutting back on other stuff. We do eat out, but not every day. Often times we eat out at lunch -- cheaper, less crowded (we go early), and we don't do a huge meal, usually soup or a sandwich or if early enough, breakfast. I cook. A lot. Most of it from scratch. We buy an incredible amount of our groceries at Aldi. I can tell you he wouldn't be caught doing that. He prefers Wal-Mart and Sam's. He especially loves Sam's to buy in bulk. I make things we have and we buy things at rummage sales and thrift shops. I found two curtain sheers, new in a package, that I just knew would look great with DH's curtains in the den. I had white sheers, but these were tan and his curtains were brown. The sheers were $1 each. I ironed them and hung them and they matched great. When I mentioned doing this, he looked at my husband and said that I must not care for your because I spent so little on the sheers. He then went on to brag how they spent $1500 for two valances and 4 tiers for their kitchen windows...they were custom made! I recently made two sets of cottage sets for my bathroom and kitchen windows. The material was $9 and I made other things with the leftover material and I still have material left. I'm sure my friend would turn his nose up at this. I liked the material.
So, I might make less, but I think we get more bang for our buck.
Had a nice surprise and a disappointment today. DH had what looked like 6 cherry tomatoes almost ripe. He said to go ahead and pick them so I bent down and did...2 of the 6 had already been bitten by a chipmunk. Oh, well, at least not all of them have. They should be full ripe by tomorrow and we will enjoy them with our supper.
We have ar
I'm already dreading making the grocery lists for this week. I've been using up lots of stuff, both fresh and pantry wise so I think this week's grocery bills are going to be a lot higher than what we have had lately.
Unfortunately DH's garden did not give us carrots, radishes, or lettuce. Apparently the seed was bad because nothing came up. Well, I take that a back, 3 small lettuce leaves showed up after his third planting. Not even enough for including on a sandwich. His green onions are going gang busters as are his herbs. I brought some onions in for our dinner -- crabmeat casserole and roasted zucchini with chopped onion and added some Oregano and sage to the casserole.
A few months ago I purchased 10 yards of some fabric for $9 at a thrift store. I really liked the material and my plan was to make two cottage sets, one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen window. I've made them, two table runners, and today I made a pillowcase for a casual pillow. I then used the scraps to recover my two favorite potholders that are really starting to look worn. I crocheted covers a few years ago, but they look pretty bad now too. So, I cut those off and made little covers and although they don't look perfect, it does make them look better. I still have some material left. Not sure what I will do with the rest of it, but I most certainly have gotten my money's worth out of it.
Over the weekend we went to an open air market and I was a big spender. Bought a squash and a cucumber for 50 cents each. We've eaten the squash already and the cucumber is going to make an appearance in my salad tomorrow. I really like reasonably priced fresh vegetables.
It's been awhile since I've written anything. Nothing really very exciting going on, but that's fine. I am not complaining.
Have had a couple of expensive things, but not unexpected things come up. Our property taxes are due and we save all year for them so we have the money for them. Plus I made an appointment for DH to have his eyes examined and told him it was time for new glasses. His glasses are years old and I had him get out a pair of some of his older ones and he realized if he broke his current ones, his older ones wouldn't be much help. His eyes are weak and there is only so much one can do with the prescription, but the eye doctor did say they could add to the prescription this time so that might help with his vision. Plus, with the new technology and different frames, the gal helping him pick them out said that the glasses will be lighter weight so he's pleased about that.
I went through some items the other day to donate. I struggle with giving up things. We have more things in this house than we will ever use. I think it is the Depression Era mentality that was drilled into me by my parents. They lived through the Depression and had little. We need to drop those items off and get them out of the house.
We hooked up the rain barrel, but haven't had any rain in a long time. Hope we receive some rain soon because things are getting very dry and the corn leaves are starting to curl in many of the fields near us.
Last week one of the thrift stores had books on sale and hardbacks were 49 cents. I normally don't purchase many books and instead check them out of the library, but I did see a John Grisham that I had not read. It is "The Innocent Man" and there was no book jacket. I read the first couple of pages and realized I had not read it. I started (and finished) it this week and realized it was nonfiction about Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz and how they were convicted of a murder they did not commit and how DNA 12 years later freed them. I think I got my 49 cents worth and now DH wants to read it. We will donate it when he finishes.
I used a YouTube video to learn how to knit a scarf on a rectangular loom. The loom came in the package I bought over two years ago and it was a new challenge. It turned out well. I used some yarn I bought at a thrift store that was still in the package so I have less than $3 invested in my new scarf. I do need to take my coat to get it dry-cleaned. I haven't had it cleaned for a few years. I brush it every so often, but it does need to be cleaned.
Hope everyone has a delightful weekend.
Not much to update. I've been busy, but nothing really super exciting. We did go on a bus trip to see "Phantom of the Opera" last week. One of the churches put it together so it was more reasonable. We had a lovely time and it was a nice day for the trip.
DH is currently planting tomatoes and some herbs. He couldn't find decent plants for bell peppers so that will be another day. I took my knitting loom to knit a hat on the bus, but I dropped the bag and broke a peg off. I have glued it back on, but yesterday at a thrift store, I found a bag with three different sized looms in them so we bought them. I am using the new loom while I make sure the glue is dry on my old one. So far we have 406 hats made and we meet this week so I imagine the number will go up.
I bought some fresh green beans on sale at the store. I need to clean and snap them. We don't have enough garden space to plant green beans. I hope to can some of them. I like finding them on sale.
I cleaned out the shed today. DH is a wonderful guy, but tidiness is not one of his virtues. I got rid of some things that should have been thrown away and I found a piece of the mower we gave to a guy a week or so ago so I walked it over to his house.
It is in the upper 80s here, very humid, and DH and I are both sweating. No glowing, truly sweating. A few years ago we were out with another couple and it was in the 90s and we were walking round. She said she didn't want to get hot and of course we were out of town and looking around, so I wanted to see what we could see. She informed me she didn't want to be around people who sweat, and I should as a lady, tell myself not to sweat. Really?
Ever since then I've been even more self conscious about my sweating. I grew up and we didn't have air conditioning so there were some pretty hot days and nights. I always cleaned up and had clean clothes, and used deodorant.
So, today both of us are really perspiring. One of the doctors on PBS was saying it was good to sweat to get the toxins out. I informed DH i should be toxin free and he said, "me too!"
Guess I better go get busy. I took a short break to hydrate. Now back to sweating.
Recently I discovered an author new to me. Her name is Betty Hechtman and she writes cozy mysteries with characters who crochet. There's usually a pretty good twist to the plot and the characters are both believable and likable so I'm enjoying reading through this series.
I read about one of the characters crocheting a granny square bracelet and I then researched it online. Sure enough, there are patterns to make these bracelets so I made one for myself the other night just for fun. I already had the crochet thread so I thought it would make a nice little activity. I then looked on Etsy to see if there were any there and didn't see any, so either they aren't a big hit or maybe something new to hit the scene. I'm curious if people would purchase these at our church bazaar so hopefully you will give me some input. I don't imagine they would go for more than a buck or two, but I have lots of different colors of crochet thread so other than my work, it wouldn't cost me anything to make them.
It finally is starting to look and feel like spring around here. We did have a frost last night, but hopefully that is the last one. I don't think it harmed DH's garden. So far it seems like only the onions are starting to peep through so that might be a good thing.
We have an Aristocrat Pear in our front yard and it is simply stunning. This is the best it has ever been as far as flowering.
I've been on a tangent lately about trying to get things straightened up and cleaned up. DH is never on this page. Well, rarely if he is. He surprised me the other day and said he would like to get rid of a lawn mower we've had for over 20 years. It had been a nice mower and we've spent money in the past making sure it would work, but he hasn't used it for at least 5 years. He was going to just put it out for the garbage collector, but I suggested we offer it to a very handy guy we know. So, about 30 minutes ago he walked over, and took it home. DH had hosed it off because it was dusty, but hadn't tried to start it. He told the new owner he didn't think it would start. Well, the fellow put a little gas in it and it started right off. Amazing! So there are two happy people -- the guy with the new to him mower that needs a little fix up and me, because that is one less thing to stumble over in the garden shed.
DH is happy because he's out puttering in the yard. I've trying to get bills paid, the church Facebook and webpages updated as well as some other paperwork. Not a bad afternoon overall since we are not rushed having to do things.
Next item on the agenda -- go through receipts and shred those that have been paid on the credit card. After that, maybe a nice relaxing read of a murder mystery.
It seems like I've been spending a lot lately. Well, more than seems. I have.
As I blogged before, we bought a new fridge and new freezer. We had the money so no biggie there.
Yesterday I bought clothes. A lot of clothes. And normally I wait for big mark downs, but I bought them anyway. The store is going out of business and although I supposedly got 20% off, I don't even know if that is true. But the reason I bought them is I struggle finding clothes that fit that aren't too young for me or too wild. At Christmas I picked out some clothes and DH bought them at this store -- they were on sale and they are conservative. I'm overweight and the last thing I want is something that is super wild or bright or shows more skin than I care to show. Lately, this is the only local store I have found clothes that fit that category. I don't go for huge wild patterns or neon colors. And I want stuff I can wash, not dry clean. I don't like buying stuff online because I want to try it on. So, I was trying to buy local, even if it was chain.
We used to watch "What Not to Wear" and every time they had an overweight gal on there, she would try to shop and wind up in tears. I felt her pain because that is often how I feel when clothes shopping.
So yesterday, I bought some slacks and some blouses. Mostly to fill in for the summer since so many of my summer outfits are worn.
I just hate clothes shopping. So, if I find something, I usually wear it until it is so disgustingly worn. I spent a lot of money. I normally feel really guilty over it, but not this time. I won't be buying clothes for a long time between what DH got me for Christmas and what I purchased yesterday. So, that is good.
As well as hating shopping, I also hate hemming. Being short means I hem just about every pair of pants. I was pontificating to my husband how unfair it is men can buy pants to basically match their inseam, but not so with women. It's funny -- I enjoy embroidery and cross stitch, but despise hemming. Go figure.
In other news, we are having vegetable soup I pulled from the freezer this morning and put in a Crockpot to heat. I really, really like our new freezer. It has a light and it is a little bigger so things are easier to see.
Last night I tried making shrimp and grits. I love this when we in Savannah and Charleston and I was thinking, this is silly. I can make this. And I did. I will admit the shrimp wasn't as good as the shrimp I had out there, but I think it was freshly caught shrimp and mine wasn't. But overall, it was pretty good. And I will try it again.
Back to normalcy around here and no more shopping for awhile!
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.
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.
No, we don't live in the Arctic, but it sure feels like it. I'm sitting here in Central Illinois watching it snow. Some April Fool's joke! Our temps have been below normal and to be honest, we are all ready for some real spring weather.
DH is chomping at the bit to start his garden. It's too cold to plant the cooler stuff like lettuce and onions.
We were supposed to join friends at their home for Easter dinner, but illness changed those plans. Fortunately I have food here. I bought turkey breasts at Aldi between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we had one of those with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, biscuits, and a blueberry crisp. Fortunately I didn't have to go the store to get any of these items. I detest shopping during holiday grocery shoppers are out. Funny thing, this was the menu I had planned before we were invited out.
It's spring break for the school district I used to work for. I'm finding it very interesting that two couples I know who have pleaded poverty are both vacationing during spring break many hundreds of miles away and no, they don't have relatives they are staying with. So, they either aren't as broke as they let on or they are just adding to their debt.
We have a lovely church service for Easter with some fabulous music. Now, we get to revisit winter with a wet, sloppy snow. As long as it isn't too deep, I guess I won't be to upset.
Happy Easter everyone! Hope you had a lovely day.
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:
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.
A few years ago DH and I bought a Hoosier cabinet. Besides really liking it, we wanted the extra storage in the kitchen. I certainly keep that puppy stocked with stuff and am happy to have it. But like many vintage pieces, things start to show wear.
A year or so ago, one of the doors was showing some problems with keeping the glass in. I took the door off and reglued it. It was an easy fix. But the other door, this was way beyond my capabilities. And I've been wondering how I could get it fixed. I knew it would need someone who could not only glue, but clamp it. I didn't have the clamps.
Anyway, I was thinking and we have a friend who is very handy. Anything he decides to do, he always makes sure it is done perfectly. So, I thought I could ask and if he can't or won't tackle the job, that's fine, but if so, then maybe I'm that much ahead. I asked him nicely and offered to pay him. He came over, looked at the door, told me exactly how he would fix it because he had both the wood glue and the clamps. I asked him what I could pay him. We finally agreed on some home made bread. He loves home made bread. So, it is rising as I type.
As I was putting together the dough I was thinking of when I bought my stand mixer. It has been awhile. The pleasure I have received from it has more than made up for the cost.
My mom has been gone for over 11 years. A couple of years before she died, she bought me a bread machine. They had just first come out and weren't the highest quality. But, what a fun machine that was. I used it and used it. In fact, I wore it out. And two others besides. When the last one went to bread machine heaven, I decided not to replace it. I had bought a really expensive one for the last one and it didn't last any longer than the cheapie one to be honest. I don't think they make them to last if you really, really use them. Anyway, it dawned on me I could do the hard work with the bread hook on the stand mixer. I've never looked back and I think it has worked better and clean up is a lot easier.
I've watched Ina Garten as the Barefoot Contessa for years. She always says don't buy something like an appliance that only has one purpose for your kitchen. And I have to agree anymore. I don't want more stuff cluttering my small storage area. Plus it makes more economical sense to buy something you can use for a variety of purposes.
My mixer has certainly been helpful. When I baked all those cookies last year for our Christmas bazaar, it sure made it easier to put together the cookie dough.
Last Christmas I made ice cream with the ice cream freezer attachment. DH loves Egg Nog Ice Cream and so I made it for him and he was delighted.
Anyway, I am glad I had the mixer to do my bread for my bartering deal.
It's been a busy week.
It's also been a tough week. My asthma has really kicked up and I'm having issues breathing so I'm having to do breathing treatments. It makes me tired having to struggle and coughing so much. But I know it will eventually get better.
I did an art project with the fifth graders I volunteer with this week. We used some fancy yarn that was leftovers from donation yarn that no one could use at church. We made baskets by weaving it in and out of plastic drinking cups I had cut for that purpose. Some of the kids really did a fabulous job. Some decided it was too much work and quit. I had taken in a Gullah basket to show them before I did the project. I spent quite a bit of time getting the cups ready as well as making sure I had enough materials. I hate to sound negative, but I wasn't too shocked that so many kids decided it was too much work to try and do this project. I think it took most of them that finished it about 15 minutes to complete it.
We did get our names put on the list for a new driveway. We have to wait a bit since there are five people ahead of us. I dread the construction and parking in the street, but will be glad to have a smooth, new driveway. We saved almost $8K for it just in case, but the bid came in at $5500. So, we will have money left over to put on the next project we will be saving for. As nice as it is to own our home, there's always something to fix or replace isn't there? Our driveway is original with the house which was built in 1979 so I guess the fact it has lasted this long isn't something to sneeze at. We have a hill so I guess it is a tricky pour.
We finally got our last group of tax papers so our taxes are done! Amen!
I finished the book "Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella. I know it is fiction, but I think the author probably nailed the rationalization of why people spend foolishly.
Last night we went to a nearby small town and had dinner at an Amish home. Our friends are friends with this couple and the Amish couple do this every so often to make money. She served it buffet style. And it was amazing. Not good if you are watching calories, but yowza! Fried chicken, meatloaf, pulled pork, lasagna, dressing, chicken and noodles, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, green salad, pickled beets, two types of pickles, cottage cheese, homemade rolls with butter and/or homemade apple butter. And pie. Four different kinds of freshly baked pie. Oh, my! There was a large group besides us and after they all left, she handed my friends and us a container and said take some home! So we brought a few things home for another meal. I'll have to supplement a little bit, but still, that was a great deal. Everything was homemade. What a treat! Not something I'd want to do often though.
I still have some ironing I want to do today after my breathing treatment and before supper. I haven't felt like doing a whole lot, but have been pushing myself to try and get some things accomplished or otherwise when I do get over this, I will be so overwhelmed.
Hope everyone has a good week.
Today is Wednesday and it is the day I normally volunteer in a fifth grade classroom. They have been doing state testing so last week and this week I'm doing art projects to give them a break. Today's art project is taking plastic drinking cups and cutting down the sides so they can weave yarn and make a basket. I spent quite a bit of time trimming the cups and cutting them as well as hole punching them. I'm going to take a Gullah basket in and show them a basket made. I think any experience I can provide will help them. So many of our students have so few life experiences. Our church has had a lot of bits and pieces of yarn donated which isn't enough to make hats, so I went through them and took these to use for the weaving. I purchased 2 packages of cups and 2 packages of pipe cleaners. So, monetary wise I'm out a little over $4.
I thought I was really doing well yesterday. I used furniture polish to dust. I don't normally use very much of it and do dry dusting frequently. Well, I'm paying the piper so to speak. My asthma has really kicked up. It never was bothered by the polish before so i wonder if it is the aerosol or the scent. I may have to find a homemade polish to try and use. Any suggestions?
For the past couple of years we have been saving for a new driveway. We bought the house almost 20 years ago and the driveway wasn't in the best shape. But, it seems to have more troubles now. We got an estimate and hired someone who is well thought of around here. There are 5 driveways ahead of us and I'm already dreading leaving our vehicles out and being without a driveway, but I'm sure in the end it will be worth it. We actually saved more than we needed so that was good.
I was going to say we had a no spend day, then remembered DH picked up some prescriptions yesterday. It was a no spend day for me anyway, I guess.
I found a recipe for a crab meat casserole I would like to try. So, I guess I'll be putting crab on my grocery list. I make the grocery lists tonight and then finalize them tomorrow when the ad comes out for Kroger. We do the bulk of our shopping at Aldi, and then pick up certain things at Kroger. I started using Ibotta, and although I'm getting a little here and there, since I rarely buy ready made things and do most of our shopping at Aldi, I'm not making a whole lot. I found another app called Saving Star that is like Ibotta and they offer money on a few different things. Maybe between the two I will get a little money back.
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.
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!
I'm not real sure where this week has gone. I know I've kept busy, but wow, here it is Friday.
This part of the year is always expensive. I know it is coming. We have homeowner's insurance, both car insurance 6 month premiums, contract for pest control, and then my husband's home health care policy. We have extra money in an account and I can move it if we need it, but I just hate to move it because then I feel pressured to make it up.
For the past couple of years we've been saving up for a new driveway. One guy was supposed to come and give us an estimate, but he called a bit ago and rescheduled. I'd like to get these estimates over with (and probably the smelling salts to go with them put away). DH has procrastinated for the past 6 months about calling. I know that most of the folks who do this work usually have quite a list and I wanted to get on that list earlier. Oh, well. I guess part of it is I want to know exactly what it is going to cost because there are some other projects I'd like to tackle as well and would like to know if we have money left over in savings to do them. These are projects that have to be done in spring and summer. I am not a procrastinator so it drives me crazy when people are.
Speaking of procrastinators, a friend of mine just recently retired. He's one of these folks who is very money motivated, but he hasn't applied for his pension or his Social Security yet. He thinks that as soon as he applies, he will get both within a week or so. He is going to be sadly disappointed I'm afraid. He doesn't understand that they don't do retroactive pay either. His loss.
We are going to a free home and garden show tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. Our city has one, but there is the price of admission. We go to one in a small town that has different folks set up and one year we found a great guy who trims trees who was far more reasonable than any of the folks who are around here. That year my husband also won a free door prize so that was a delight.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
I know I've commented on this before, but we watch HGTV and it seems every person looking for a house always has to have entertaining space.
We bought this home almost 20 years ago and I don't really think we said we needed entertaining space. Maybe we are weird. We wanted a ranch, a bigger kitchen (the other house's kitchen was tiny and had no storage), 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a bigger bedroom than we had. DH wanted a decent yard, but not huge. Because of allergies we hoped to get away form having a basement. Entertaining really wasn't a contender in our choice. We actually bought a bit smaller house than we had before. That one was 1600 square feet and this one is around 1500 square feet.
Well, DH pointed out we are entertaining tonight. My friend's birthday is today and I invited her and her husband over for dinner. Dinner will be lasagna, salad, Focaccia bread, and chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. They were delighted to be invited and DH is delighted that there is cake and ice cream to look forward to.
Anyway, I guess it is time for HGTV to watch out -- we are entertaining!
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.
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.
Today DH and I volunteer at one of my former schools. He reads to a second grade class and I work with a fifth grade class. I've been working one on one with these kids on writing. It is so sad to see what poor writers they are, but not really a surprise. Teachers hate teaching writing. Kids overall thinking writing is a pain. I'm not talking handwriting, but putting together words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. It's a pain to grade. I get that. But it is important to be able to communicate.
I get a chuckle over some of these kids who will write anything, and it doesn't stay on topic or even have enough detail, but they will inform me I don't know what their teachers wants. I finally told one attitude filled boy that I have known his teacher longer than he has been alive and believe me, I know exactly what his teacher wants and this isn't it. I know that sounds harsh, but you should hear some of the things they tell me that I don't know squat about writing. There are times after I make comments on their "sloppy copy" that I think I have written more than they have. I go over this with them hoping they will improve. And for some of them, they have.
But laziness prevails. I keep trying to impress upon them that saying things are nice and good isn't very descriptive. Gone are the lessons on using a Thesaurus. I pulled one out of the library to show them and they have been taught to scorn such old fashioned nonsense.
You probably wonder why they don't like books. Well, we had some administrators who said kids need devices and they are the end all, be all to learning.
Here's my educated response: "Ha!"
Ok, maybe not so educated and profound, but devices should be tools, not primary instruments for learning. I think if we taught kids how to learn and then use basic instructional skills, they would fare far better. Unfortunately the administrators feel that devices are necessary and are to be used almost exclusively instead of those old fashioned things called books and paper and pencil.
Our district decided to do away with math textbooks a number of years ago. And that year our math scores plummeted on the state test (ISAT). Three years ago they took away the reading textbooks and teachers are to come up with their own materials for reading and math. The district touts itself as being progressive by doing this.
As an educator I think this is horrible to put this type of burden on teachers. Most teachers are not curriculum specialists. This is not a put down by any means. There is an art to developing curriculum that is age appropriate as well instructional; assessments are difficult to write and there's more to it than just asking a question.
Well, to go back to what I was originally writing, it is a shame that these kids struggle with writing so much. I know they think I'm a nag and I probably am. But, if they don't write and they don't learn what good writing is, I fear that as students they will struggle not only academically, but economically as well. Those people who communicate well may not know all the answers, but they can ask the right questions to learn what they need to know.
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.
A number of years ago we were going to travel to New York and one of our stops on the tour was Ellis Island. I just knew my dad's maternal family came through there.
They came through Boston. It took a quite a bit of research to find this out, but I finally did. I'm am, of course, struggling with the research because I have no family members alive since my folks were older when they had me and most of the family was gone by then.
Of course being frugal, I wasn't going to pay to join a site to do research so I have been relying on free stuff here and there. I found the site familysearch.org which is run by the church of Latter Day Saints. I work on this here and there and add whenever I find something. Our local history room at the library has the local newspaper archive computer site free for patrons so I have been spending hours there looking up people in the family.
Well, the other day I received an email from the site saying I had relatives in Colonial America. I took the time to look at this and sure enough I do. That was pretty exciting in an of itself. But then I clicked further and apparently there is a long list of folks from knights to kings and queens of small countries and all the way back to Emperor Charlemagne. Wow! I teased my husband he should treat me like her royal highness. He teased me back about getting a tiara and I said that was a given, but not sure where I would wear it since I don't attend balls or political events. Somehow a tiara going to thrift shops and volunteering at church seems like overkill.
Seriously, it was all pretty interesting. And other than my time, free. Is it going to change my life? Probably not. But it was fun. Cheap fun. And I'm certainly going to get some mileage out of it by telling folks. Just wish some of my rich relatives had left me some money!
Yesterday we had a high of 65. Yay! Some rain and since we are in almost drought conditions, no one seemed to mind the rain considering it is February and it could have been snow or ice. The temperatures have dropped so it is chilly, but I did see the sun peek out for a bit.
Credit Card Free shared her Ibotta link in a previous post and I finally got signed up. The first day the site was having issues, but I got in just in time to do my Kroger shopping yesterday (after our Aldi run, of course). After I did what I needed to do, it says I have $3.50 in credit. Not bad for a few minutes work. That was after I also did the digital coupons and a paper coupon too.
Friday night we normally eat out and we are being joined by another couple. That is something to look forward to!
I have my menu planned for other meals this week. One of my friends says I'm rigid, but how can I effectively shop if I don't know what I'm going to fix?
Saturday night - cod, mashed potatoes, green beans
Sunday night -- chili
Monday night -- pork loin roast with carrots, roasted potatoes
Tuesday night -- chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday night -- leftover pork roast, baked potatoes
Thursday night -- scrambled eggs or omelet. This is usually the night I clean out the vegetable drawer to put with the eggs.
The chili will use the tomatoes I canned and a friend gave me some beef for Christmas so I plan to use some of the "free" hamburger. The green beans are from the pantry where I canned last summer too.
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