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I'm on House Arrest

February 9th, 2017 at 01:51 pm

OK, I'm not really on true house arrest, but figured if the news can be sensational maybe I should too.

DH suggested I remain at home today and out of the cold air so instead of my volunteering and grocery shopping, I remained inside. I will say it was a nice day. DH left to volunteer and walk at the mall. I watched a movie he wouldn't have liked, did some crocheting, and watched a television show he doesn't like as well as some laundry, and breathing treatments. I can honestly say it was a no spend day for me. Smile

Supper is going to be sausage and cheese quiche with a green salad. I'm using up some sausage and eggs have been really reasonable lately. I am struggling with the fact I'm out of my routine of grocery shopping...I do find that rut so very comfortable.

A couple of no spend days

February 8th, 2017 at 08:36 am

Today looks like a no spend day. Not planning on going anywhere. DH plans to volunteer at a school where he goes each Wednesday and then walk at the mall. I intend to stay home. We had a major weather change in the past 24 hours so my asthma has kicked up. We were 63 degrees yesterday and the temperature dropped almost 30 degrees last night and they are calling for a chance of snow. Yuck.

Yesterday we dropped off some things at the thrift store we donate to. The profits support the Lutheran School Association that is near and dear to us. We went to the library and checked out some materials so that was a good day. Fixed all meals at home. And a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile called and we caught up so it was a pretty good day overall.

Monday was a spendy day to an extent. The thrift store I mentioned before had just restocked and we bought a bunch of canning jars. I mistakenly thought I had enough last fall when I was canning, so I don't want to find myself in that situation again. I also bought some yarn there...50 cents a skein. I wasn't planning on buying anymore yarn until I had used up what I had. I was close, but not quiet. But the yarn I bought i wanted it to try and crochet a bathroom rug. We also met another couple we haven't seen in awhile for dinner so it was a nice day overall.

Tomorrow will be a day to spend...grocery shopping. But it won't be too much since we have lots of stuff in the pantry and freezer. It will mostly be fresh fruits, bread, and some dairy. So, not bad spending, I guess.

Use it up

February 3rd, 2017 at 01:30 pm

I've noticed that many have posted about eating from your pantry and freezer. I need to do that more because I'm blessed to have both filled. I do need to use up a lot of the food.

Since I've retired, I've gotten back to crocheting. I'm not an expert by any means, but I can do a few things. I joined a group at church called "Stitches of Love" and we make things to donate. Our current projects have been making hats on knitting looms. We have donated to some of our public schools since winter is upon us. And it is fun, kind of like what I would think a quilting bee would be like. But one unfortunate part is we often have left over bits and pieces of yarn. So, I've been working on things to use that leftover yarn. I have made covers for my Swiffer and also donated some of the covers to the church's bazaar. I've given some away. Right now I'm making dish cloths. My goal is to have one for each day of the week so I can use it and then have a fresh one. I'm pretty close to having those made for myself. I've given some away so that's why I haven't reached my goal. I at least feel like I'm using up the yarn. I don't want to get in the habit of buying yarn before using up what I have. I checked out some books on crochet and one suggested crocheting a rug so maybe that could be my next project.

The other thing I need to work on using up is paper and stationery. I am old school and I write letters and send cards. Egad...that ages me, doesn't it? Actually, I have a couple of elderly friends who enjoy getting mail. And I will admit, I've hit the thrift stores and bought cards and stationery. I need to use what I have before I buy anymore. I rather doubt if they care if I use the same stationery or card each week.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Informal Lima Bean Poll

January 30th, 2017 at 02:51 pm

Since My English Castle posted about having some lima beans and the fact they are haunting them...I thought for the fun of it, I'd ask my Facebook friends what they thought. My question was simple, do you like lima beans? The results were interesting and closer than I imagined they would be: 36 said yes and 45 said no. Those who said no, were adamant they disliked them. Many of the those who said yes often added they had to be fixed a certain way or in soup.

As you can tell, I am easily amused. Smile

Being Grateful

January 29th, 2017 at 01:08 pm

It has been a busy week getting back into the swing of things so to speak. DH and I both did our volunteer stuff, plus grocery shopping and all those other things you have to do to keep up with stuff.

When we were on vacation, we picked up sea shells to share with the classes we volunteer in. I did a little presentation for the fifth grade class showing them the beach and Civil War forts. This class is fairly high poverty so I imagine very few will ever travel outside of our city unless they travel to visit family. All the classes seemed to appreciate we thought of them while we were away.

There is nothing like appreciating your home after you have been away. The kitchenette in the condo was tiny. It worked, but I feel like my kitchen is huge now so maybe that is a very good thing. I also appreciate having a stocked pantry and freezer. I cooked while we were away, but cooking is far more fun in my own place. I fixed a pork loin roast for supper last night and we are going to have pulled pork sandwiches for supper tonight. I like it when you can cook once and eat twice off of stuff.

Last summer we went to a friend's garage sale and I picked up some crochet thread. It was her mom's and it had some age to it. I finished a scarf for a shelf last night. I'm trying to do projects to not only keep my hands limber, but there is something about making something that is so very satisfying. I don't have a lot of money in it so that doesn't hurt.

It is a dreary day with some snow flurries. We had some sun yesterday and it is amazing how that little bit of sunshine lifted so many spirits.

I was reading some of the other blogs and one person had posted about the things they did this month to save money. One thing I did a few months ago was to change our cell phone plan. We had a plan and when I decided to get a smart phone a couple of years ago, the salesperson told me I HAD to have so much data. I didn't think I would use that much, but stupid me, I went with it. He promised me I could lower the amount. Well, I tried, and he did walk me through lowering it a little bit, but I felt like we were paying for far too many minutes and far too much data. We went with Consumer Cellular a couple of months ago. My old phone was shot so we bought wo new phones...I got another smart phone and DH got a flip phone which is what he wanted. Other than buying the phones outright, the rest of it was easy and a lot cheaper. We are paying a lot less, over half in fact. I'm happier with my phone than I was with the other one that was far more expensive. DH likes his new phone too -- bigger numbers and less features. He had a flip phone before, but it had far more on it than he would ever need. So, I think it another month, the savings we have gotten over switching will have paid for the new phones. The service is fine and guess what? I haven't used all the data and I'm paying for less than half of what that rep at the other company claimed I had to have!

Hope you all are having a great Sunday.

Haven't been Around Lately

January 22nd, 2017 at 11:31 am

I haven't been around for over two weeks. No, I wasn't boycotting SA. I was either getting things ready or away on vacation. Yep, you read that correctly...two weeks of vacation. Never in my life have I been on vacation that long. It as something we had planned and saved for. In fact, we've been planning this for a few years. A goal we had once I retired was to rent a condo in Savannah, Georgia, and spend some time there. A friend suggested we rent one on Tybee Island so we did.

It was an enjoyable time, but I can say from my perspective, two weeks is too long. I missed my home. I missed my routines (does that mean I'm getting old and crotchety?).

We planned to eat out some, but we ate the bulk of our meals at the condo. I took many non perishables and we bought some fresh stuff while there. There is an IGA on the island and we made friends with the butcher. I asked him to tenderize some meat and he told me it would be a little bit because he had to clean the machine...fine with us. But get this, we were going to come back to the meat case but we didn't have to. He found us and delivered the meat to us! I felt like Tybee was a small town. We had lunch at a place and the owner was friendly and learned our names and was happy to give us directions and advice. Although I took some things with us, it isn't the same as having things in my pantry and freezer, so I had to plan carefully what I would fix because I didn't want to buy unnecessary things.

Our condo had a beach view. It was fun looking at the freighters and fishing boats as well as other boats. One afternoon and night it was really foggy over the ocean so there was a ship that had a continual fog horn. Living in land locked central Illinois, this was truly a new experience.









We found Sandra Bullock's house on the island. We viewed it from afar, but DH is a big Sandra Bullock fan so that was pretty exciting, even if she wasn't there. We did eat at a restaurant there she supposedly likes called the Breakfast Club. It is a small building and not real fancy inside or out, but the breakfast was marvelous. We were fortunate because we didn't have to wait for a table...I guess there are often lines outside waiting to get in.





We went into Savannah a few times. Let me tell you, if you go to Savannah and Tybee, be sure and have a pocketful of quarters. You pay for parking everywhere from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We mostly went to eat some place. We really like Leopold's Ice Cream Shop. We've been to Savannah three times before this, so this is a must do place on our agenda. It was as good as ever. While we were there and parked, we walked around to some of the different shops. I did buy some tea from a locally owned shop and some spices from another that sells only things grown/manufactured in Georgia, I am not a big shopper so I don't think we increased their economy much. We walked to some of the shops on the main highway in Tybee and I got a bigger kick out to finding some pinecones on the way. Georgia pine trees are much taller than those here in the Midwest and the pinecones are huge. We also collected sea shells on the beach which we will give to the 5 classes DH and I volunteer in as souvenirs. Here are photos of DH and then me on the beach. I hate having my photo taken, but I figured I'm not getting any younger and I'm not going to ever be beautiful, so why not?






We had saved money to pay for everything. I still owe the credit card for two hotel room stays, one on the way there and one on the way back, but I have the cash put in the checking account to pay that. So, we walk away from our vacation not having a big bill over our head.

I think the best thing was getting home. It was an adventure -- we have never rented a condo before and we haven't been beach folks either, so it was something different and sometimes challenging. The condo was small -- we knew that and it isn't a criticism. We couldn't see paying more for the condo than we would for a hotel room. But, after being in a place so small, our house which isn't huge seemed very roomy! I'm glad to be home and I'm glad to be back on SA.

Keeping busy

January 1st, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Happy New Year to all of you! Hope 2017 is a happy and prosperous year for all of us.

Last week I posted a photo of our table and tree and received some very lovely comments. I appreciate the comments and feedback and the fact so many of you take the time to read my ramblings and even comment on them. I posted the same photo on Facebook and I had to laugh when my pastor wanted to know if we had new dining room furniture. I guess the tablecloth and Christmas runner made everything look different. He has been to my home before and eaten with us. I have told DH repeatedly that moving stuff around and changing linens give things a different look.

This has been a busy week for me. Partially because DH has been under the weather so he hasn't wanted to do too much. He is getting better so that is good, but I used the time to clean and declutter. We took a bunch of stuff to a thrift store to donate this week. Some of it was hard to part with -- I hate getting rid of kitchen items, but I have run out of room and these are items I haven't used. It is crazy to keep them. I tend to use the same things over and over again. Only one item did I purchase new and that was several years ago -- everything else was bought used so I didn't have a ton of money in them. But they are useless if they are just in the cabinets taking up space.

Since I'm on the cleaning kick, I'm trying to do the same thing in my pantry and fridge and freezer. I want to make sure I use stuff before it either goes bad or gets freezer burn. Right now the fridge is starting to look a bit bare, but that is OK. It is by choice and not because I haven't been shopping. Years ago, and I might have mentioned in a past blog, there was a columnist for the Chicago Tribune named Mike Royko. He wrote a column where every week he would go grocery shopping and he and the kids would eat all the easy to fix foods and leave the other stuff. So, he made a new rule, they had to eat everything before going to the store. I'm sure he exaggerated a bit, but it was funny when he said they had to get creative with some of the stuff, like an onion, flour and some water. He said it also encouraged his sons to find friends or their families who could cook or learn themselves.

My newest vice has been crocheting and knitting on a loom. I joined a group of ladies at church and they taught me to knit on a loom and we make hats to donate. We make small hats to give to hospitals for preemies, and then we make bigger hats and donate them to schools and organizations. I also crocheted a scarf to go along with a hat and donated it to one of our places for the homeless. I encouraged my friends on Facebook to do the same because I thought they might be useful in the winter. I am struggling a little bit with the crocheting because I am not allowing myself to go crazy on buying yarn. My church has some yarn that was donated and I used a bunch of it to make the hats, but I refuse to use that yarn for stuff for myself. I did buy some yarn and crocheted a cover for a throw pillow. My mom sewed the pillow covering a number of years ago, but it was looking pretty downtrodden so I thought crocheting a new cover would be nice. I finished it and it does look pretty nice. But of course I have part of a skein of yarn, so I have been looking for little things to make that can use up the yarn. I made myself some Swiffer broom covers out of some of the leftover yarn. I am now making dish cloths. I have been experimenting with different patterns to see what I like best. As I tell DH, it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble!

Guess I better get back to cleaning. I think taking care of one's belongings is a good way to save money, don't you?

Decorating on a Budget

December 27th, 2016 at 02:51 pm



As the holidays were approaching, I was amazed at the decorating some folks were doing. Of course the merchants aren't helping much with all the advertising and how important it is to have your home holiday perfect.

I set the table for supper the other night and decided to get a few things out. Everything on the table other than the flatware was bought used. Some of it I have had for a few years. The green tablecloth was purchased last summer. It was still in the package, but bought at a flea market for $5. I say you don't have to spend a fortunate to have nice things.

A furniture company has a commercial running that the couple didn't realize their home had no style until they took down the Christmas decorations and how you should buy all new stuff to liven up the place. Yep, I bet that will fix everything, right? Maybe that mentality is what has got so many in trouble financially.

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2016 at 02:53 pm

Hope everyone in the SA family is having a lovely Christmas. We attended Christmas Eve candlelight service last night and again I was amazed at having the lights turned down low and everyone with a candle, how special it was during the last hymn. Funny how the simple things can make the biggest impact.

We had regular worship service today and then DH and I came home and I finished Christmas dinner. DH has been fighting a sinus infection and it doesn't appear he is getting much better although he has been taking some antibiotics. With the cool, damp weather, my breathing is becoming a problem so after our lunch, we both napped. I will pay for that luxury tonight when I won't be able to sleep, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Hope all of you had a happy time and feel valued and loved.

Merry Christmas!

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

December 18th, 2016 at 01:57 pm

Here in Central Illinois it is 9 degrees with a wind chill of -6 and we have both ice on the ground and a little snow on top of it. The only good thing is it has been sunny today. I went outside to take out the garbage and it was not fun. It hurt to breathe, was slick as snot, and looking at our steep driveway made me worry how we could get out even if we wanted to.

Church was cancelled today because of the ice. Seems the ice we received Friday night has been a force many people cannot deal with. Apparently the elders decided the parking lot was too slick. I know there are those who think you should go to church even in bad weather, but sometimes you need to look at the safety issue. It is worth asking people to drive on slick streets and walk on treacherous parking lots? My one complaint is this...Food Network had been running new episodes of Barefoot Contessa at 9:30 Sunday mornings when we were in church and I had to miss it. The one Sunday I can watch, it wasn't being shown. Shoot!

One advantage of being holed up is I have gotten a lot of cleaning done. I know I have driven my husband nuts with dragging the vacuum here and there, but I want things tidy. I also balanced the check book this afternoon and didn't feel like it was taking too long. Heck, where would I go.

A disadvantage for my town is it seems like every weekend before Christmas in the past few years we have bad weather which cuts down on shopping. My shopping was done so that wasn't a problem for me, but the last weekend around here is usually a busy shopping time in my hometown. I imagine folks ordered stuff online since they were being told not to get out.

DH cannot complain he hasn't eaten well. We normally eat Friday night supper out, but we stayed in since the freezing rain was supposed to start around 3 p.m. Friday. I have to say it was probably more nutritious...i fixed fish. Last night we had pork loin roast and I'm going to use the leftover roast to make pulled pork for supper sandwiches tonight. I don't know if we have saved money because our heat is running a lot, but as far as eating out we have.

Hope you are safe and comfortable where you are tonight.

Million Dollar House

December 11th, 2016 at 02:30 pm

I live in Central Illinois. In our city of around 73,000, a decent house can be purchased for around $150K. Some more, some less. Of course this isn't high end finishes and such, but a decent home in a nice neighborhood. I wanted to preface what I'm going to describe by telling you these facts.

Yesterday, my husband's brother and sister-in-law took us through the house they are staying at that belongs to their friend. It is a million dollar house. It is a few miles from our house, but it is in a small community just outside of city, like a suburb, and the taxes are high, high, high. As is the water bills. This house has huge timber beams, quarter sawn oak trim, cabinets, and even doors. No hollow core doors here. The kitchen has a six burner gas cooktop that I drooled over. Many of the floors are hardwood, and the steps going into the lower level are slate. The floor in the lower level is tile. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, but the two second level bedrooms each have a vanity in them. The lot is fairly large and backs up to the woods. It has a fancy screened in porch with windows as well. The garage which isn't attached, is two car and the garage doors cost $10,000 each. It really was a show place. And part of me was just a little jealous.

Then, I thought how much the taxes have to be. And how much it would cost to heat, cool, water, and maintain this property. My little 3 bedroom ranch is just fine. But, it is just funny to see such an expensive house with all high end finishes. Except for one thing...the two shower stalls didn't have glass or doors. She had cheap vinyl liners. No curtain over them. So maybe life isn't perfect after all. But I'm still coveting those six burners! Smile

Our town has Millikin University. James Millikin is a big name in our town and there is a manse called the Millikin Homestead that has been preserved. Each Christmas they have tea and you can walk through the house and look at the furnishings and decorations, and enjoy either a cup of hot punch (rum if you want it added), coffee, and some cookies. A few blocks over there is the former governor Richard Oglesby mansion that also has a Christmas tea. Oglesby was a buddy of Abraham Lincoln so it is always cool to go through his house and see the furnishings. We were teasing one of the guides that Mrs. Oglesby truly had a master suite because in the bedroom was a washstand and a chamber pot. For its time, it was a "suite." Both of these houses really put on quite a spread and you can donate if you wish, but basically they are free. It was a nice way to spend some time on a raw, rainy afternoon.

The first photo is at the James Millikin Homestead Christmas tea. The other two are at the Oglesby Mansion and I thought the punch bowl was unique.






Another Cookie Recipe - Gingersnaps

December 1st, 2016 at 01:13 pm

A friend gave me a pile of cooking magazines and I saw this recipe. I like Gingersnaps and hoped it would be good. I made a batch and the cookies turned out picture perfect!

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps

3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses, beat well. Sift together dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and dip in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungraded cookie sheets or on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until set and surface cracks. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 4 dozen.


Just an update: I baked 16 dozen cookies total for the church bazaar as well as 8 medium sized loaves of sweet bread. I need a break from baking before I start on the things I bake for gifts.

Anyone Interested in a Cookie Recipe Exchange?

November 27th, 2016 at 02:51 pm

Each year my church has a Christmas bazaar and at the bazaar they sell cookies by the pound. Before I retired, I would bake a few to send along, but my baking time was limited. Yesterday and today I've baked 12 dozen and plan to bake more in the next couple of days. The ones I baked yesterday and today can be frozen and thawed and they come out like they are fresh.

I was just going to propose something...anyone interested in sharing cookie recipes here? I'm going to share one I got from a Joanne Fluke book. Her protagonist Hannah Swensen runs a cookie shop in Minnesota and this was one of her recipes. I've been making it for years and it is a wonderful recipe. I've even just not put in the cinnamon and rolling the dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and added other things like different chips (milk, semi-sweet, and even white) and it is a great all around recipe. This original recipe is like Snickerdoodles if you are familiar with them.

Cinnamon Crips Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 F

2 cups melted butter (4 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 beaten eggs (large or jumbo)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugars, add eggs. Set aside. Mix dry ingredients together and then slowly add to wet mixture. Add vanilla at last.

Dough ball rolling mixture: 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Roll dough into balls, then into mixture. Bake at 325 10-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then on a wire rack.

This recipe, since I made the cookies about medium size made about 7 dozen. You can half this recipe easily if you don't need or want that many cookies. They freeze well after they are fully cooled.

Some Thoughts on American Housewife

November 20th, 2016 at 04:10 pm

ABC has a show this season called American Housewife. Not sure if you have watched it, but each episode makes me like this character so much more. Basically, she is a slightly overweight normal gal who loves her family, but feels inadequate because most of the women in this fancy neighborhood are stick thin, exercise constantly, and are basically snobbish.

I think this program sort of mirrors society to a certain extent. Unless you, as a woman, are drop dead gorgeous, stick thin, and travel with the in crowd, you basically feel left out.

I've always been overweight. Well, I take that back, I was born underweight, but that didn't last long. Smile I've dieted and exercised and I have lost weight, gained it back, lost it, gained it back, and gotten frustrated. At one point in my life when I was a lot younger I ate one meal a day and exercised faithfully. I did lose quite a bit of weight, but I never was stick thin. Of course when I started eating regular meals again, I gained it all again.

Being an overweight woman isn't fun. When the program "What Not to Wear" was on, I always understood when the heavier gals would go shopping and burst into tears because they couldn't find things that fit or made them look decent. I have had that issue most of my life. Shopping in the plus section is often an insult because it is usually tucked into a basement or upstairs which just adds to the shame. Most of the stuff out there is just plain butt ugly. I'm overweight, I don't need even bigger patterns to accent that fact. So, I can either go for the potato sack fit which is no fit, or have stuff that is so darn tight I'm afraid to move so it doesn't rip out a seam. Most of the stuff in my closet has some age to it because I lucked into something and am keeping it, stylish and trendy or not.

A number of years ago a group of us from my district went to present at an educational conference. One of the women was short and stout and was an expert in her field. When the two ladies before her spoke briefly, they had the audience's attention. When my heavier friend spoke, people quit listening. They judged her not on the merit of her words, but how she looked. She wasn't sloppy or dirty. She was overweight and therefore most of the audience didn't give her the time of day. She had on nice clothes and her hair and make up were well done.

I struggle with my own self esteem, but I have decided I'm going to try and look at things differently. Perhaps if I walk in with a confident stride and pretend I'm decent looking, maybe I'll feel better about myself, even if others still judge me.

It would be so nice if we didn't judge people so much on how they look. The biggest share of my dearest friends are not model beautiful. Their beauty lies in their character. The folks who know me best kid me about what attracts me to a man. Muscles? Nah! Height? Nope. I've always had a weakness for guys in glasses. I think it is because I'm drawn to men of intelligence. DH says I don't suffer fools gladly so perhaps that is my prejudice.

So, as I watch the American Housewife, it makes me look at things a little differently. Have I become an education snob? I sure hope not. I hope I have not made someone uncomfortable because of how they speak or act or look. I am going to watch myself more closely. I don't like being discriminated against because of my weight so I needn't discriminate against someone because of something they do or say or are just because it is different from me.

Busy Hands

November 16th, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Life has been busy around here. DH and I have worked to get the house ready for fall and winter. DH is still trying to take it easy after his surgery so things take a little longer. But, we've gotten many of our summer items put away. I finished drying herbs and have them ready to use as I cook. The hose is emptied and put up and the rain barrel has been dismantled and put away as well.

Each year my church has a bazaar for Christmas. In the past I've donated what I could, but time constraints have limited me somewhat. This summer as I went to thrift stores and garage sales I had a few items in mind as I shopped. I wanted some table top trees. I also wanted some crochet thread. I found both at different places very reasonably. So, off and on this summer I crocheted ornaments for these trees. The beauty of these ornaments is they don't take a ton of thread so I could buy already started crochet thread and make a few ornaments and not have a lot of money involved. I finished three trees and took them to church so they are ready for the sale. I also found a candle wick Christmas stocking kit new in the package for 99 cents. Candle wicking is a form of embroidery. I worked on it this summer too, finished the embroidery part and then sewed the stocking together. It will also be donated. I forgot to iron it when I ironed some other things the other day.










A couple of months ago I joined a group at church called Stitches of Love. This group makes a variety of things, but a couple of things everyone works on at one time or another has to be these knitted hats that are made on a knitting loom. They taught me how to do this and I've made both hats for preemies and then hats to donate. We've donated to three schools so far. In one of the closets there are tubs of yarn that have been donated so we can use that if we want. I had some odds and ends of the yarn I've used to make these hats, both from the stuff I've purchased as well as the free stuff and I wondered what I could do with it without waiting to make one big projects. I discovered a pattern to make a cover for the Swiffer. So, I made one for myself out of the scraps and tried it and it works pretty well. So, I went through the tubs at church and found bits and pieces of yarn and have been working on making these covers to donate to the bazaar.

All these projects aren't major things, but they have kept my hands busy and hopefully will help out either the bazaar or the children we donate the hats for. As far as cost, other than buying the looms retail, everything else has been bought used at thrift stores and garage sales or gleaned from the yarn tubs at church. I don't know if I'm saving money, but it is pretty decent entertainment for little money.

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Happy Halloween! We are ready for the trick or treaters tonight -Stocked up on candy. Our ranch house has a garage jutting out and unfortunately our good city doesn't believe in more than one street lamp per cul-d-sac so it is kind of dark for those little ones to walk around the side of the garage to the front door. So, we normally open our garage door and have our lights on and the kids just walk up our driveway and get their treats. My husband loves handing them out and seeing the little ones in their costumes. Although I try to catch candy on sale and use some of the coupons, it isn't a real frugal experience. But, we figure it is a neighborly thing to do, and in some ways, it is entertainment, especially being the kids dressed up. Each year I pull out this large plastic lighted pumpkin. I was just thinking we have had this thing at least 20 years. We had it our other house for a couple of years and we've lived here 18. Amazing how things last when you take care of them, isn't it?

Like most of you, I've always tried to hit the sales at grocery stores for this and that. I normally shop at Aldi for most of our items, but there are other things we pick up here and there. We have a County Market that puts out a coupon book every month and it goes for about two weeks. Usually there is only one or two items that we will get and sometimes it isn't worth it to make an extra trip. But this one had bacon on sale, butter on sale, as well as deli ham. Deli ham that is normally $8.99 a pound for $3.99 a pound. And, we were out on that side of town, so it wasn't a special trip. After we finished our shopping, I told DH what a pleasure it is to be retired and not have to scramble on weekends to do this sort of stuff. I feel we are truly blessed to be retired and be able to take advantage of sales like this.

Where or where is my Chicago Tribune?

October 23rd, 2016 at 01:13 pm

I know this is not life changing, but I'm just plain frustrated. DH loves the Chicago Tribune on Sundays. He loves reading it from cover to cover on a Sunday afternoon after we fix brunch and clean up. We used to have a news stand that was open 7 days a week and each week we would go and pick one up. The owner ran it for many years, but finally decided he was ready to retire and his family didn't want to continue without him. A local business bought it, and in less than a year, closed their doors including the news stand part of it. We thought we would still be able to find the Trib at Walgreens.

Well, our local Walgreens gets about 4-5 papers and sells out within an hour. They open at 9 and by the time we get out of church around 10, they are usually sold out. We asked if they could get more each Sunday since we aren't the only ones missing out and one of the employees said he would find out. True to his word, he did ask the distributor and the person said no, they won't give them any more and they really want people to subscribe.

Two weeks ago we stopped at Walgreens -- it was before ten -- and they were sold out. So, I called one about 10 miles away where we had gotten one before and they said they hadn't even gotten any papers. I called another one a little farther away and they said they had 4 copies and all were sold out. We tried one more store and they said they didn't have any either. So, I bit the bullet and called Chicago Tribune and said we would like to subscribe to just the Sunday paper. Last Sunday was supposed to be the first delivery. I was told it would be on our doorstep by 8 a.m.

DH was excited thinking that after 3 or 4 weeks, he would actually have a Chicago Tribune in hand. But, 8 came and went and no paper. I waited until 8:30 and called their 800 number. No live person, but a computer that said it recognized my phone number and to press buttons to confirm we didn't get delivery and wanted it delivered. Then allow 60-90 minutes. We went to church, came home, and yet no paper. I called again and went through the same message. I then went onto their Facebook page and messaged them and they sent me the email to customer service. I could not find it on the webpage. I emailed and received a very nice response from someone in a few minutes. But, because it was after 11, they could not have it delivered on Sunday, but would deliver it on Monday. We did get it on Monday, but for some reason, it just kind of bothered us that we had to wait until the next day. Well, we said, justifying it, it was the first day of delivery, maybe wires got crossed.

Well today is Sunday and at 8 we looked out. No Chicago Tribune. I emailed the customer service person and received a response 30 minutes later. Again, very polite. But, we were at church. When we got home, I responded that there was still no paper although it had been scheduled for redelivery. She said she would email again. Three or four emails went back and forth between us. I don't blame her at all. She responds. But, it makes me wonder what kind of distributor we have here in our town that they don't want to sell newspapers at Walgreens when apparently people want them and don't want to deliver them. Anyway, we did not receive the paper today. So, I'm very frustrated. I plan to call the customer service folks tomorrow.

DH loves reading the paper. I like the extra coupons. I have discovered that there are different coupons in papers. I think our local paper gets the packets that have the least amount of coupons because the Chicago paper usually has the same brand name packets or catalogs of coupons, but there are other coupons in it.

Speaking of coupons, I find it ironic that our local community college will be teaching an extreme couponing class this week. I have no idea how they expect people to extreme coupon when our local paper has fewer coupons and it one can't apparently get papers with the bigger coupon packets.

Thanks for letting me vent.

It's Fall -- Time for Comfort Foods

October 22nd, 2016 at 02:40 pm

It's kind of cool today and it means I can start thinking of comfort foods. I love turkey. Aldi has turkey breasts reasonable and I have been stocking up. So, I decided to put one in the Crockpot to cook away.

Supper will be turkey, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, sliced tomatoes of the few we still have, corn casserole, and fruit salad. I haven't made this corn casserole for awhile, but it is pretty good.

Corn Caserole Recipe
1 small onion, diced
6 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups stuffing
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 cups corn, drained
bread crumbs

Cook onion in 4 tablespoons of butter until limp. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and mustard. Mix well. Add milk. Stir until blended. Put back on heat and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add eggs, bread cubes, corn, sage, and remaining butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Cover with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 45 to 60 minutes.


I will admit I didn't use all the butter. I used a little olive oil for cooking the onion. I did add a small pat of butter for the flavor. It's baking away and my mouth is watering.

Chirp, chirp, chirp at 3 a.m.

October 21st, 2016 at 01:50 pm

I'm dreaming a decent dream and there's this weird chirping noise in my dream. As I come out of dreamland, I realize the chirp is real and I figure it is either a smoke detector or the CO2 detector telling me the battery was about to go kaput. It was the CO2. I do wonder why they always pick late at night or very early in the morning to decide to give up the ghost!?!

Newspaper Reading Frenzy

October 20th, 2016 at 01:36 pm

I truly like reading the newspaper. The paper and ink kind. I don't like reading one on a tablet or computer. I feel the same way with books too.

This morning I got up early and did some housework and then caught up on my newspaper reading. I was behind one a weekly paper we get. I'm kind of odd duck -- I like reading the classifieds. Last week's edition had the delinquent tax bills for 2015. Our tax bills come due usually June first of the following year and if you make installments, then the second installment is September 1st. I always read these not only because I'm nosy, but I also don't want to get blindsided by a bill I didn't catch.

I was shocked to see two names of folks I know. Both are gainfully employed. Neither are poor. Yet, they hadn't paid their taxes. I don't know if there is a grace period or what, but it makes me wonder how well they handle money. It is also scary. I don't know how it works, but wonder if they don't pay, if someone can redeem their property for the property taxes. These aren't shacks by any means. They are nice middle class homes.

I always save money because I estimate about what our tax bill will be so I have enough to pay it come June. I go ahead and pay it all at once so I don't have to worry about forgetting. I figure it was for the year before so they aren't really using my money per se. I guess we often think people do things the way we do.

Someone posted on Facebook that many Americans don't read. I know some of my friends don't read the paper, watch the news, or read online. I'm shocked when they seem so misinformed. I'm not talking about kids, but middle aged and older adults.

I did get caught up on all my newspaper reading, clipped some coupons, and recycled. Did some housework and did the grocery shopping for the week. DH is out picking sage that I'm going to dry. Not a bad day overall for getting things done.

A is for Applesauce

October 18th, 2016 at 01:55 pm

I've been making apple sauce the last few days. I've been scouring the ads for apples on sale. I read a recipe the other day for apple butter and they suggested using less sugar and adding maple syrup. So, I decided to try that with apple sauce. I like the depth of flavor it gives it. I peel and core apples and put them in a Crockpot with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little sugar and with some water on low. When the apples are cooked through, if it has a lot of liquid, I spoon it out. I pour in some maple syrup and use an immersion blender to making it smoother and then can it in glass jars. I don't have a recipe per se since I basically do it by taste.

DH decided it was time to get rid of the tomato plants since they were dying back. They weren't really producing much. He pulled off the green tomatoes and I made great tomato chow chow with them and the small bell peppers we have. That's in the canner as I type.

It's pretty warm here. Yesterday it was in the upper 80s. Today is it in the upper 70s, but we are supposed to get a cold front and lower temperatures tomorrow through Friday. We've had above normal temps lately. It made it a bit warm to can today, but I have to can when I can get it done and so stuff doesn't go to waste.

Soupy Sunday and Fix It Friday

October 9th, 2016 at 02:28 pm

Soupy as I'm making soup. Lots of it. Although it's still pretty warm here in Central Illinois, a frost may be coming at some point. I'm trying to use up the many bell peppers we have as well as some other vegetables and making soup. Actually, I made a large pot of soup Friday and I'm making another today. I found celery on sale at Aldi last week and bought a bunch, and bought some other vegetables to go with it. I found an English roast marked down almost half at Kroger's so i put it in the slow cooker Friday morning and then cut it up and used half in the soup Friday and the other half today. I pulled tomato sauce I had frozen last fall to add to the soup and then also used barley and lentils. The current pot is simmering away. Once it cools, I'm going to put it in smaller portions and store in the freezer for easy and quick meals. Fortunately DH and I like soup and can eat it year round. Plus, it is a good way to use up stuff.

As for the Fix It Friday, wish it was my idea, but alas, it was not. I read an article that students in textile classes at Illinois State University set up a station and called their time "Fix It Friday" and sewed buttons on and repaired slight tears for other students who don't know how to do this. They said it is one way to keep items out of the landfills that are still perfectly OK. I know most people reading that are wondering what that is about, but I can attest, there are folks who once they lose a button, throw the garment away. I worked with a gal who had a nice pair of khakis and the button came off. I told her if we could find a needle and thread, I would sew it back on for her, but she said not to worry, she would use a binder clip to keep her pants together and throw them away when she got home. I couldn't believe it. She said she just buys a new pair when it happens.

DH and I are enjoying retirement. Last Tuesday we went on a bus trip to The Hill in St. Louis. We ate lunch at a restaurant (it was included in the trip price) walked around and looked in two of the Italian grocery stores, went on a tour of a mom and pop soap making store, enjoyed the smells of two bakeries and bought a small piece of Italian flat bread, had some gelato and when we arrived home, pulled some soup out of the freezer and heated it up for supper. Yesterday we went to Morris, Illinois, which is about 2 hours north of us. There is market the second Saturday along the Illinois and Michigan canal and they have foods, crafts, and flea market stuff. We walked around the market, bought two cinnamon rolls for breakfast today, walked around the lovely downtown, bought s small dish of ice cream (DH adores ice cream), and drove home and felt we had hit the jackpot. And you guessed it, we had soup last night too. We weren't super hungry after having the ice cream and why go out when we have soup at home?

A friend of ours says he is shocked at how we are spending money. Well, first of all, we've saved for years. All those years of scrimping on this and that and eating leftovers so we had money put away. We aren't taking major trips this year. We like the small, short ones. Plus, it gets us out and moving and walking. What we've spent so far hasn't hit one savings account so we aren't overspending. Plus, we eat at home a lot when we aren't out and about. This same friend and spouse admitted they eat out just about every meal. No thanks. It isn't special anymore. Plus, other than a few restaurants, there aren't many places we like all that well to have to eat out every meal.

Well, time to check on the soup!

A snarky rant

October 2nd, 2016 at 01:45 pm

Life is going pretty well here. DH is recovering although he is impatient and thinks he should be like he was before the surgery. Yeah, at 70, he's doing remarkably well, but Mr. Stubborn doesn't want to hear that. Smile

We went out with a couple this week to celebrate DH's birthday. Most of the time we feel like we are pond scum by the woman. I don't know why. It isn't like she has a reason, but she can be cruel. Anyway, every time we meet with them, she has to go on and on about whatever they did that was a good work. It is like we are being told they are better than us because they donated some canned goods or tithed to their church or whatever it happened to be.

I guess I look at things weird. We do things too, but feel we shouldn't brag about them. I know most of you at SA have helped people out and if you blog about it, it isn't to brag, but to inform such as those loans to the women in third world countries. Most of the people we are friends with do things for other through their church or organizations or individually. It isn't like most people are just self centered wretches.


Anyway, I feel like I can rant safely here because I'm tired of being put down by this person. So thanks for letting me express my feelings.

Thankful for Crockpots

October 1st, 2016 at 01:08 pm

I think many of us use our Crockpots. A lot. I know I do. I hate to admit this, but I have 5 of them, all different sizes. One of them is getting some age on it, but the rest aren't too old. One replaced another one I had that was about done -- the handles had chipped away. Two I have bought used.

This morning I peeled apples to put in one of the Crockpots to make applesauce to can. Put one Crockpot away from being washed that I had made chicken broth in a day or so ago.

I kind of drool over the new one that is a casserole shape, but I don't need it and truly do not have a place to store it. Can't imagine I'd use it that much either.

Speaking of storage, I'm having to go through my cabinets and go through my dishes and pots and get rid of those items I don't use very often because I need the storage for the canned good. Certainly a good motivator. We don't have a basement and I don't want to put the canned goodies in the garage. So, I guess it is a good problem to have.

Good bye, September!

September 30th, 2016 at 01:32 pm

I know the calendar says it is the final day of September, but wow, where has this month gone? Of course with DH's surgery and my colonoscopy, much of it was doctor's appointments and procedures.

I can say it was kind of spendy. I bit the bullet and bought a MacBook. My current cheapie laptop is about to bite the dust. I just finished copying files and photos. I was going to buy another cheap laptop, but DH said I should just get what I really wanted. We had the money so I did. Now, I am trying to get all the personal stuff of this laptop. If I revert back to factory settings, will it clear most of the stuff off or will I need to run a program to clear the hard drive?

DH and I volunteered at one of my former schools today. He has been reading to two classrooms for the past 8 years. So today he read to the two classrooms and I helped in one of the classrooms by working with a couple of the students who are behind with fluency words.

DH's brother is going to have surgery next month. They were talking on the phone and although DH always seems supportive about the canning and enjoys the food, he never really says too much about it. I had to chuckle yesterday. He asked me if I had a list of everything that was canned. I did so he wanted it to read to his brother, almost bragging about it. Too funny! DH's brother has always had a much larger garden, but his wife doesn't can. She says it is too much work. It is work, but most things in life are.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Hello, October!

I'm ready for fall, y'all!

September 25th, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Another hot day here in Central Illinois. Supposedly we are to have a cold front and a little rain. I'm ready for fall and at least what is termed as normal temps and humidity. I'm glad I'm not in the unairconditioned school buildings this year, but I feel for those who are.

DH continues to improve after his surgery. He still isn't to bend much and isn't to lift much weight, but at least he isn't in a lot of pain. His 70th birthday is this Tuesday and he already has his day planned -- he wants to hit some out of town antique and thrift shops and eat at a buffet called Yoder's in Arthur. It isn't a large buffet, but has excellent food. I already promised him a chocolate cake so I will bake it tomorrow and I'm counting on it being cooler to turn on the oven!

Hot or not, I am using up vegetables and made vegetable soup. We have been blessed with bell peppers this year and I don't want them to go to waste. I've already cleaned, chopped and frozen a bunch and put them in the freezer. Today for brunch I sauteed some and then put them with scrambled eggs. I keep a bag in the freezer of vegetables we don't finish. I put them in a soup. Most of them are fresh vegetables I've cooked or roasted so it gives them a better than canned flavor anyway. So fall or not, we are feasting on soup tonight.

Retirement Reflections

September 20th, 2016 at 11:45 am

It's funny...I've been retired for awhile -- I retired the day after school was out, but with summer break, I didn't really count it until August 15, the first day of school going back in session. So, lots of people have asked me how I like retirement. I can say I like it a lot.

I'm a sort of schedule person so after the first week, DH and I got into a schedule. We go to bed about the same time every night (later than when I worked since I don't have to get up super early anymore) and we get up around the same time every day. We got into an exercise and shower routine. He walks and I ride an exercise bike. I don't handle the sun or outside due to allergies. I try to do laundry on certain days because there is a comfort to that for me. I plan to grocery shop on Thursdays because it isn't as crowded, but the stores have their aisles pretty well stocked.

Today isn't the first day that it has been such a joy being retired, but as hot as it is today, I don't have to go and work in a hotbox known as many of our elementary schools and return tonight for open house. I can't tell you what a relief that is.

Yesterday my chiropractor asked me how I liked retirement. I guess because I'm not traveling all the time, they think I'm bored. I'm not. I cook, I read, I've canned, I clean, I visit with friends, and lately, I've been taking care of my husband due to his surgery. It's just nice not having to rush around and worry about getting enough sleep and getting to work on time.

One of the ladies I used to work with was always either late or cutting it close. She posted on Facebook that it finally happened -- she and her spouse overslept and the principal came to their house to do a check. In all the years I worked at different jobs, I was not late because I overslept. I would have been so embarrassed. She wasn't -- she thought it was funny. Maybe I'm too old fashioned and strict with myself. I don't find is amusing. It annoyed me to no end when she and other folks who were always running late felt it was OK for other people to pick up the slack because they couldn't and wouldn't get to work on time. Ah, that's no longer my problem, is it? I'm retired. Smile

Mrs. High Maintenance?

September 18th, 2016 at 02:12 pm

Before I forget, I just want to say I have really enjoyed reading everyone's lists. I feel like I have gotten more insight to my SA friends. I also appreciate the kind comments on my own list.

It's been an interesting week. I won't say it has been the most spendy, but we did wind up spending on some things I hadn't planned. DH's surgery was supposed to be outpatient and we were supposed to be home in time for lunch. Nope. I had made vegetable soup to heat up when we got home for lunch and had supper planned, but the best laid plans. I wound up buying lunch at the hospital and buying something for DH because he was starving. We did have the soup that night so it wasn't all lost and I wound up fixing the meal the next night. I had planned on having leftovers for lunch on Wednesday, but DH wasn't sure he could handle it, so we had chicken noodle soup like he did when he was a kid. I keep it on hand and buy it on sale. So I wound up freezing the stuff I was going to have and we will have it tonight for supper. It has probably evened out as far as spending.

I have had a pair of potholders for over 25 years. They are my favorites. They are just the right size and thickness. But with all the use, they are fraying and are stained. I wash them frequently, but they look kind of icky. I bought some yarn the other day at the thrift store to use for something else and had some leftover so I thought maybe I could crochet a cover for each one. I finished one last night so I'm going to try it and see if it works. If not, I'm not out much.

A friend of mine was bemoaning the fact he went to some trade show and he didn't have the money to buy all the new stuff he wanted. I have a difficult time feeling sorry for him -- he makes a bigger pension than I, but is never ever happy.

I did can two more quarts of tomato juice. Most of it came from cherry tomatoes, but I don't want anything to go to waste. The garden is really slowing down so I'm only getting a few things here and there, but feel very blessed to have all we have had.

Friday night we were watching Dateline and the gal they were interviewing who was telling the story...well, I told my husband I didn't like her. She seemed like she was basically a high maintenance gal who married the guy she eventually turned in for murdering her dad, although she said she knew it before she married him. Seems she liked living the high lifestyle and when the money ran out, she no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. DH was teasing me that I was high maintenance too...and laughed. He reminded me I get more excited about canning jars than jewelry and I buy yarn from the thrift shops to do my little projects. My purses come from thrift shops and garage sales simply because I'd like to have something different, but would like to have a little money to put in the purse once I have it. So, yep, that's me, Mrs. High Maintenance...not!

My List

September 16th, 2016 at 12:27 pm

First of all, just a thank you to all of you who commented best wishes and prayed for my husband's double hernia surgery. It was Tuesday. He was given a spinal and of course, he was one in the thousands who had problems getting the numbness to wear off...we were at the hospital almost 12 hours for something that wasn't supposed to take half that long. But, he's home, he's feeling better, so that's good.

1. I have been blogging 6 years with SA.
2. I am married and have been for over 26 years.
3. I am currently (and happily) retired after teaching for over 30 years.
4. I love to read. I just finished book 77 for 2016 -- I belong to a Facebook group where we have a goal of reading a certain amount of books per year and we post what we read and if we liked it or not.
5. I love to cook. Unfortunately I love to eat as well.
6. I am a Christian and try to live my faith in such a way that others don't find me judging, but kind.
7. I grew up poor. I am not rich, but we are comfortable. I feel very blessed.
8. My parents were quite a bit older when I was born -- I was an accident and basically told that growing up.
9. I am shy.
10. I am often very sensitive and get my feelings hurt over silly things.
11. I have a slight hearing loss and it keeps me from wanting to be in crowds.
12. I really like Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. I often wonder if living in Illinois (being born and raised here) was a mistake.
13. Because of my love of reading, that is how I met my husband almost 30 years ago -- he worked on the public library's bookmobile.
14. I like the idea of traveling, but really hate to be away from home. I get homesick pretty easily because of it.
15. I worked in Chicago for a year at a publishing company. (I am from Central Illinois so being in the big city was culture shock.)
16. I drive, but I hate it. I don't want to be without transportation, but don't enjoy it.
17. I really like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and Mission Style furnishings.
18. My mother canned when I was growing up, but told me I was stupid to learn how. I taught myself how to can vegetables about three years ago.
19. I am probably unAmerican, but I don't care for sports.
20. I have not met any SA members, unfortunately.

A Couple of Busy Weeks

September 11th, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Last week was kind of busy and this week may be as well. Last week I tried to get some things done before my colonoscopy. Fortunately I did complete my list before the prep and the procedure went well. The doctor said I didn't have to come to the follow up appointment which was good news, but my complaint is why would the nurse tell you that when you are so groggy?

DH is having double hernia surgery Tuesday and if you are so inclined, I would appreciate prayers for him. It is supposed to be outpatient so hopefully he will be home Tuesday afternoon, but I imagine he will be very sore.

I asked him to pick any tomatoes that are starting to turn so we have them. I canned two quarts of juice from cherry tomatoes and the others today and our counter has quite a few tomatoes that need to ripen. I think our shorter days is making it so they don't ripen as quickly. He mowed today and has pulled up the cucumber plant, all the carrots, and one tomato plant that had basically died back. I was out of jars when I canned carrots last week so I have been scrounging pint jars. I realized I had a couple in my pantry I was using to store dry herbs and baking soda. I emptied the contents into non canning jars and washed them up. We finished a pint of pickles this week so I used that jar. So, I finished canning the carrots we had and wound up with 3 more pints and a half pint. I really didn't want to buy any more jars if I didn't have to.

I was really tired after the colonoscopy Friday, but we went to the grocery stores anyway since we didn't need a whole lot. I have our menu planned for this week so that will help. I know it is already Sunday, but I'm starting with last night since that is how I planned:

Saturday: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, small salad, fruit

Sunday: Sloppy chicks, baked beans, chips, pickles, sliced tomatoes

Monday: chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit

Tuesday: pork roast, roasted potatoes, carrots, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Wednesday: leftover pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, fruit

Thursday: scrambled eggs, leftover sausage (from Sunday brunch), toast, sliced tomatoes, fruit

Lunches will be leftover sloppy chicks, pulled pork from the pork roast, and I try to keep sliced deli turkey on hand.

We normally splurge and eat on on Friday nights.


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