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Grousing

November 11th, 2018 at 02:24 pm

I'm in a bad mood. Let me explain.

I know I shouldn't get so frustrated, but sometimes there are people at church who don't get it.

Every year our church does certain things like we put together Thanksgiving baskets for a local food pantry. And then for Christmas we do Christmas gifts for the food pantry to hand out. All good things. And we have generous members who help out.

Recently we have started helping out a local school. This fall with the approval of the board and the pastor we collected facial tissue and hand sanitizer and pencils to give them to start the year.

Then one of the members whose wife works at this school said they were starting a food pantry and asked if we could donate food for their pantry. And we did for a few months. Then the wife came and told the pastor another church was going to donate too and they agreed since we do a Christmas Bazaar with a major cookie walk, the Thanksgiving Baskets, and the Christmas gifts, we would not feel obligated to give lots of food to the pantry and let the other churches who agreed to cover these two months.

Today we were blindsided because the guy made an announcement without the approval of the pastor or the council wanting us to donate food since the other churches didn't step up.

I get that it is for a good cause. And I don't doubt that the families need it. But when does it stop? I don't like the way he said it to us, trying to guilt us into giving donations. I honestly think if he doesn't stop doing this, we are going to have donor fatigue.

Thanks for letting me grouse and complain. I know it won't solve the problem, but this is a safe outlet for me.

A little this, a little of that

October 4th, 2018 at 08:22 am

It certainly hasn't been a thrifty week.

However, the spending was planned. Tuesday was Senior's Day at Walgreens. I was waiting to buy different things that we use like allergy medicine to get the 20% off. I also used coupons. So between the regular priced stuff that was 20% off, and the stuff on sale that I don't get 20% off, and the digital and paper coupons, I saved over $80 and spent over $200. I hate to see that big number, but the stuff is what we use each month so I would have bought it anyway.

DH's car insurance was due and once he turned 70, the premiums really went up. But, at least we had the money to pay for it.

A couple of months back I bought some material at an estate sale. The downsizing sale was at the home of a quilter and she bought premium material. I pulled some of it out yesterday and made some napkins and two potholders. I can't even describe the beauty of working with good material. I also cannot understand why people don't hit up thrift stores and estate sales for material...far cheaper than buying retail. I've found so many craft items that way. Granted, I could afford to buy them retail, but DH says I like the thrill of the hunt, and I think he's right.

For Christmas last year I asked him to get me the cheapie Singer that was on sale for $69. I'm not an excellent seamstress, but I can sew a little. I have used it so much and have enjoyed using it. My friend is an excellent seamstress and her machine cost way more than $1000. She can afford it and I'm sure it gives her great pleasure.

Today is Thursday and is grocery shopping day. Last night was clean out the fridge supper. Last week I think I spent less than $30 on groceries total. We didn't need much and I was just buying stuff we use each week like bread, milk, fruit, and chicken. I made a couple of meals from the chicken and lots of broth besides. I used up stuff we had in the freezer and we had a couple of meatless meals too. Today's shopping isn't going to be horrible, except we are buying some extra stuff for the church's food pantry.

It has been pretty warm and humid here in Central Illinois. Yesterday it was around 90. Today it is supposed to be in the 70s before it goes back up. It should give the a/c a break for a day, anyway.



The Care and Feeding of Friendship

September 29th, 2018 at 01:56 pm

Lately I've noticed that so many don't seem to understand that being a friend often means putting a little effort into it.

I'm almost to the point where I am staying off Facebook because of the rabid political posts on both sides. I still email and I do Messenger. And I'm one of those old fashioned folks who writes letters and cards.

However, I've noticed that other than two people who are honest to goodness friends, I'm the one who does the reaching out. And to be honest, I'm weary of it. If I don't call, write, message, or email first, I don't hear from them. Most then respond, but then nothing. Yesterday it all sort of hit me all at once. There are a couple of people who we email at least once a day. But, I didn't hear from anyone yesterday.

I'll admit it, my feelings were hurt. It didn't have to be a message the size of a small book. And I had emailed in the morning like I almost always do.

Today, I didn't email. I figured I would wait and see. This afternoon one did respond and basically blamed me because she hadn't received a message from me. Really? I'm the only one who can start?

I just don't understand, I guess. I thought relationships take some effort on both ends. And I'm just feeling like I'm being taken for granted.

I don't want to lose friends, but I'd like to be the recipient of a message that wasn't a reply to mine. Guess I'm picky.

Beautiful Weather

September 10th, 2018 at 07:35 am

After a few weeks of extreme heat and then a couple of days of rainy weather, we have gotten a nice break of lovely weather. It is around normal temps 70s and the sun is out.

It was nice to see so many of the neighbors out working in their yards yesterday due to the incredible weather.

DH mowed after he picked up sticks and branches. We had some rain and some wind a couple of days before. I started cutting herbs to wash and dry them. It takes awhile to let them air dry, but I'm in no rush. It's nice having them to use all winter too.

I know some folks are not anticipating good weather with Florence. Hope you all stay safe.

Problem with SA site

August 30th, 2018 at 07:58 am

Anyone else having problems with the SA site? It says I have to log in, which I do and it says I am logged in, but if I go to comment on anyone else's blog, it says I'm not logged in. So, I have to manually put in my information if I want to comment. Frown

Just an Observation

August 6th, 2018 at 12:37 pm

While waiting on the plumber, who by the way was early, I decided to work on some correspondence. Seven cards and letters made it to the mailbox today. Two were sympathy cards. One was a get well card for a friend who has been receiving treatment for liver cancer. And the rest were for the shut ins I write about every week.

I've gotten so used to email, I forget how much it costs to mail cards and letters.

Most of my cards and stationary are purchased at thrift shops, but it still ads up. Between the postage and the cards, I figured I spent about $1 for each card. Not a huge expense, but all at once...it sure adds up!

Not a lot going on

July 29th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

I haven't blogged for awhile because I really haven't too much exciting going on.

I have kept busy knitting hats. Our total as of last Thursday was 745. Not bad for a small group of ladies. We are getting close to our goal of 1000 hats this year. I have also been busy making different things for gifts. I embroidered a canvas bag. I bought the bag at a thrift shop for 99 cents. It was new -- no one had started it and it still had the starchy feel to it. I had the embroidery floss so other than the 99 cents and tax, it wasn't an expensive project. I need to iron it and put it in my stash for Christmas. I finished crocheting a towel and dish cloth for a friend as a house warming gift. I think I will include a jar of jam with them.

We had a lot of hot, sultry days and the tomatoes really came on. I canned 6 quarts of tomatoes and 2 quarts and a pint of juice this week. I had also made chicken broth and canned 3 quarts of it since I had the canner out.

Have you ever noticed that any time you do a home improvement project it never is just that one thing? I know I blogged about the new driveway, but when it rained a few days afterwards, all the soil around the driveway washed out. With the extreme heat, DH knew he couldn't get grass growing fast enough and if you want sod, you have to order it and it takes days to get it. So, we decided to figure out something else. Menards had a sale on edgers that are oblong and sort of fit together. We bought enough of them to do both sides of the driveway and then some bags of soil to fill in. We worked two different days on that project. It rained this morning and we didn't have any soil wash out so it must have worked.

Just when we think we are on easy street, I looked up at the family room ceiling and noticed we have a leak. Go figure! So, we will be calling someone tomorrow to come and check it out.

Driveway work begins

July 5th, 2018 at 11:29 am

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

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

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

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

First of July

July 1st, 2018 at 12:45 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Food and Fabric

June 12th, 2018 at 02:31 pm

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.

Catch Up

June 8th, 2018 at 08:26 am

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.

Sweaty Saturday

May 12th, 2018 at 01:06 pm

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.


Sunny Spring Sunday

April 29th, 2018 at 12:34 pm

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.

Where has the week gone?

March 9th, 2018 at 07:35 am

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.

Watch out HGTV!

March 5th, 2018 at 11:54 am

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!

Writing Wednesday

February 28th, 2018 at 08:32 am

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.

I am royalty?

February 19th, 2018 at 08:07 am

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.

Wrong.

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!

Two Four letter words

February 4th, 2018 at 12:51 pm

The first four letter word is what it is doing right now as I look out the window: snow. Yuck. Ever notice how in the movies and on television that suddenly everything is wonderful when it starts to snow. Guess I missed the magic of it because I worry about shoveling, walking, and driving in it.

The second is the mother of all...the f word. No, I'm not using it, but when we did our thrift store outing on Friday, DH looks at all the kids books because he uses a lot of books when he volunteers and reads to classes. He gets the bulk of his books at the library, but there are some he likes to own since they are seasonable and sometimes he has difficulty getting them. He showed me one book that was on the shelf and said he was taking it to the cashier to show her since he bet they didn't want it on their shelf. This is a thrift store run by a church. The title was "Get the "F word" Asleep." It looked like a kid's book with the graphics on the front and the illustrations throughout, but it had all sorts of cuss words in the story. I am not lily white when it comes to my language and to be honest, many words don't really phase me unless it is taking God's name in vain, but I personally think a book like this shouldn't look like a kid's book. Someone had put a sticker over the title so I imagine someone putting it out didn't notice, but what if a child had picked it up. I am all for keeping stuff like that out of kids' hands. Anyway, the cashier agreed and immediately disposed of it. If people want those sort of books, fine with me -- just don't let them look like a picture book for kids. Mark it some how so it doesn't get confusing.

Pulled some soup out of the freezer and put it in the Crockpot to warm up for supper tonight. I tease DH about if he wants to go out to eat and he always says no. He likes saving money and apparently likes my cooking. So, maybe I'll add a third four letter word: save.

Not very frugal

January 24th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

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

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

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

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

Finder's Fee and Using Stuff Up

January 21st, 2018 at 01:47 pm

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

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

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

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

No spending and parking

January 11th, 2018 at 08:12 am

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

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

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

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

Not a whole lot to report

January 7th, 2018 at 01:48 pm

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

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


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

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

Wish I were tidier

December 20th, 2017 at 10:20 am

I don't know what it is about Christmas, but I feel like my house is one big clutter bucket. I spent this morning trying to get a handle on some things. Our recycling bin is full, which is good. I think part of the problem is I have had so many projects going on here and there and I really don't have a designated area so I tend to move them around and then things get everywhere.

I felt like a Victorian lady this morning writing letters and cards. I have three shut ins I write almost weekly so I got those letters penned. I had some thank you cards to write as well. Then, I got brave and wrote a letter to someone I haven't heard from in almost 30 years. Maybe we will reconnect. We didn't get mad at each other, just drifted apart and she lives three hours away. So, if I hear from her, that will be wonderful and if not, life goes on. I also emailed some greetings this morning and then got some presents ready for the gals who cut our hair.

I do feel a little better having things a little tidier. I just wish I would be more on top of it so I didn't have to do a big long project on getting stuff back in an orderly fashion. Maybe that could be a good goal for 2018.

This and That and That

December 18th, 2017 at 07:35 am

The past few weeks have been busy. A good busy overall, I think. We've attended free concerts, a free Nativity scene display (over 500), two Christmas teas at historical homes -- also free, and a play which wasn't free. Besides our regular activities, we've shopped, gifted, and visited. Today we are meeting some friends for lunch (cheaper than dinner) to exchange some token gifts. Yesterday we dropped off some gifts, most homemade, to some friends. One lady is 95 -- she has about everything she wants so finding something to give her can be a challenge. I crocheted a Christmas stocking and filled it with peppermints, her favorite candy. I also gave her a plate of fudge. Her son was a little easier. He loves chocolate and I had found a glass sleigh at a thrift shop so I filled it with chocolate candy. Both also received a loaf of snickerdoodle bread. Not major expenses on either gift, but they seemed well received.

We are having doctor's appointments this week. Two for me and one for DH. One is for my glaucoma -- I have to go every 4 months and the other is just a general checkup.

Last week we gifted a friend with a box of canned goods. He had commented how he wished we had enough canned green beans and tomatoes that he could buy some. So this year when DH planted more tomatoes, I canned extra. We gave him canned tomatoes, canned tomato juice, homemade spaghetti sauce, green beans, homemade applesauce, sweet pickles, and some jams and jellies. He was absolutely delighted. He dropped off our gift over the weekend -- what a neat surprise -- he ordered a nice ham for us. My kind of gift -- something we can enjoy and not have sitting around. Funny how as you get older, you don't want the stuff you thought you couldn't live without.

As we roll towards Christmas, I hope you all are not so busy that you can't enjoy the holiday. I know this has been one of the more pleasurable since I did a lot of things ahead of time and I could because I'm retired. I enjoyed going to the free things a lot. Plus, I've taken time to relax. And relax I have this year. I just finished book 99 for 2017. I hope to get at least one more read for the year. I think 100 is a nice round number. Smile

A relaxing Sunday

November 26th, 2017 at 01:44 pm

It's a lovely warm Sunday here in Central Illinois. It is almost 55 degrees and sunny. Amazing for the end of November.

After church we came home and had brunch. We cleaned up and DH went to nap and I worked on the church's Facebook page, paid bills, and then reconciled the checkbook.

A local church advertised that they were going to show a large collection of Nativity scenes. Nativity scenes have always had a place in my heart. When I was a little girl, a neighbor had one and I was just amazed by it. My parents bought me one for Christmas when I was eight. I still own it and I still put it out. That was 49 years ago. Yikes, I'm old! Smile Anyway, we toured the display and there were all kinds of them in all different styles. I didn't know Fisher Price came out with one.

The church had it well planned with tables set up and arrows to show you and each one had a card telling who owned it and any history that was known. Funny thing, I have never seen one like the one I own. Some of the ones we saw today were as old if not older. So, maybe mine is unique. After the tour, they had a table with home made cookies and punch and a grand piano with an excellent pianist. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and best of all, it was free.

I noticed that most of the people coming through were in their 60s and 70s. I commented to DH. I said I guess it is the older folks who realize what a lovely way to spend an afternoon and one doesn't have to spend money to do it.

Now that I have viewed them, I'm ready to get mine out. Other than the gas to drive to the church and back home, it was a reasonably priced way to spend the afternoon and makes me appreciate what I have even more.

Keeping up

October 30th, 2017 at 11:03 am

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

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

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

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

The Pile and other Ramblings

October 15th, 2017 at 02:06 pm

I am ashamed to admit there has been a pile of papers sitting on my desk for the past few weeks. A pile that I needed to deal with, but dreaded it.

Today was the day. I decided after I did what I had to do with paying bills, updating the church's Facebook page, etc. that I would deal with the pile. Some of it meant updating spreadsheets. Some of i meant just going through and putting it into different stacks. One stack is for shredding and one stack was for recycling.

But alas, it is history!

I treated myself to cups of tea while I worked on it. It was nippy this morning on the way to church and I told myself I could have a cup of tea to reward myself. I like having my tea in a tea cup with a saucer even if it means i have to hand wash both of them instead of a mug. I think there is just something about having it fancier than a mug. Maybe I watch too many English murder mysteries and see them offer some one a cuppa too often.

Speaking of refreshments, yes, I'm digressing all over the place, I watched a short video of some comedian talking about how we have changed in the past few years when it comes to company. Although he was being funny, there was a lot of truth in that. He said years ago if the doorbell rang, people went to answer the door, invited people in, asked them if they wanted refreshment, and they sat and visited. Now, people either hide from the doorbell, or if they go to the door, it isn't a family affair to greet visitors and rarely do people have refreshment. I'd say there is a lot of truth in that. I always ask people if they want something to drink if they come to visit. But, I've noticed when I visit others, rarely am I asked if I would like something to drink. Remember when people had nice tea sets or coffee pots and coffee cups just for company?

It's exciting at first...

August 30th, 2017 at 07:48 am

Do you ever notice how exciting it is to plan for updating a room and what a pain in the patootie it actually is?

Last winter we decided to update the vanity and medicine cabinet in the master bath. Now, don't get all excited. This is barely bigger than a closet, but it has a vanity, stool, and small shower. Adequate, but small.

Very little has been done to this bathroom for over 15 years so the new stuff with a new vanity top, new faucet and then I decided to go all out and get new towel bar and toilet paper holder and shower curtain rod was very enticing. And while I was at it, a new light fixture and new exhaust fan with a light. We bought the house 18 years ago so I don't know how old the current exhaust fan is and it doesn't have a light.

So, we ordered the vanity and medicine cabinet and had an Amish woodworker make it. It is lovely. It is oak, solid, and in Mission style.

We picked these items up in May and have been storing them ever since so I could make sure we had the money to pay to have them installed.

Five weeks ago I called for an estimate. We talked to the person and and we were put on the list. I guess the business has been slammed so they finally came out yesterday to install. But, the plumber and carpenter couldn't put in the new light or exhaust fan. So, we had to wait until another day for the electrician.

I've noticed that the times they give you are merely suggestions. Yesterday the guys got here around 8:40 and they said between 8 and 8:30. Today, the electrician was supposed to start at 8 so we hustled to get out of bed and cleaned up and dressed before he arrived. It was almost 8:30 by the time he got here.

I'm looking forward to having an updated bathroom. And, I'm sure I'll think it is all worth it once it is finished. But, waiting around while they work just isn't a lot of fun.

Dignity and respect are history

August 10th, 2017 at 11:40 am

So many of you wrote so many lovely comments about my last post about my friend, Barb and her love for cornbread.

We attended her memorial service yesterday. The service itself was quite nice. But, what happened at the end was not, in my opinion.

The pastor ended the service and thanked us all of attending. She was the wife of Barb's nephew and the family stood up to walk out so they could greet us. One of the workers at the funeral home immediately ran to the front before they could leave, said this concludes the service for Barb, and we will dismiss the family and then dismiss you. If he had left it at that, I would have been fine, but what came next...he said the family of Barb ____ was served by (insert the name of the funeral home) and we will be happy to serve you in your time of need.

Really?!?

What happened to respect for the deceased and the family? So anything goes when it comes to self promotion? I posted this on my Facebook feed and some friends said this has happened at other funeral homes as well.

I would say that dignity and respect are history as commercialism has taken hold. So very sad.

Happy Fourth

July 4th, 2017 at 07:48 am

Happy Fourth of July! Hope it is a safe and joyous one for all!

Supposedly our Illinois lawmakers are supposed to vote on a budget today. The House passed one two days ago, but like the three branches of government (remember that in school?) it has to go to the Senate. The governor says he's going to veto if it passes because there are no changes in the budget -- he'd like to see some cuts and term limits. Imagine that, a politician wanting term limits. Smile Anyway, the state needs a budget because so many organization in the state cannot run without the stand funding. Many of our schools may not open on time. Some pensions may be delayed. Road work has totally been shuttered. If you've been on any Illinois roads lately, you know how necessary that work is.

Panhandling has become an issue in our city. I emailed the city manager who ignored my email, at least he didn't respond. That was three weeks ago. Last week I emailed one of the city council members who not only responded, but did so within two hours of my email. I asked about the laws concerning panhandling and he said that there is one against aggressive panhandling, but cities are cautious about passing new ones since a law was passed a couple of years ago in our state capitol and it was taken to court and considered unconstitutional. It has gotten to the point where if you go to our library these folks will knock on the windows of your car and follow you to your car or to the building and they don't give up. Because we have a mental health facility located in our downtown, one never knows if the person you are dealing with is also mentally ill which makes it even more of an issue. Our city is a very giving city, we have a homeless center that provides food and drink, daily showers, laundry facilities, use of the phone, counseling, clothing, medical services, as well as a place to send and receive mail. We have a men's mission, a lady's mission, as well as different organizations that provide food, clothing, and services, and one place, called Good Samaritan that provides a hot lunch every single day of the year and gives snacks besides. The director of the homeless center has said not to give money to the panhandlers because it isn't because they are needing the basics, they will use it for drugs or alcohol.

As I said yesterday, few plans here for the holiday and that's fine. If you like a great harmonic rendition of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" here is a super one:
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=1FEFBMNU&utm_source=GodTube+Must-See+Video&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=07%2F04%2F2017

Hope you have a wonderful day!


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