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Change

June 18th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

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

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

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

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

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

And you saved...

June 12th, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Do you read those messages on your receipts from some of the stores that tell you how much you saved by shopping there?

Our public library is now putting that on the bottom of the checkout slips. Last week I checked out some magazines and some books and at the bottom it told me: "You just saved $89.89 by using your library. You have saved $513.71 since April 14, 2017."

Pretty cool!

Sunday Catch Up

June 11th, 2017 at 12:57 pm

It's Sunday afternoon. The outside temp is hot and it's windy. Glad we have air conditioning and can afford to run it.

I've paid bills and updated a few things. I'm getting ready to enjoy a book for part of the afternoon. I know I certainly get my money's worth from the public library. DH has watered some of his vegetables that are in pots that have dried out so quickly. I picked a little lettuce and washed it and put it in the chill chest for tonight's cold supper of sandwiches.

I was doing a little research the other night. I'm not dedicated enough to actually buy a subscription so I just search for stuff that I can find that is free. Just for kicks I typed in the name of a great uncle who died in World War I. I knew very little about him other than his name and that he died in the war. Well, I discovered that he is buried in a cemetery in Iraq and that he fought for England. I knew the family had come to America in 1902, but didn't realize he was in the English military. I also didn't know there was a cemetery in Iraq for casualties of World War I and World War II. Unfortunately the cemetery isn't in very good shape due to folks looting and tearing it up. That's unfortunate, but it isn't limited to Iraq. Why people feel the need to desecrate cemeteries is beyond me.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I hear that book calling!


Sunday Catch Up

June 11th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

It's Sunday afternoon. The outside temp is hot and it's windy. Glad we have air conditioning and can afford to run it.

I've paid bills and updated a few things. I'm getting ready to enjoy a book for part of the afternoon. I know I certainly get my money's worth from the public library. DH has watered some of his vegetables that are in pots that have dried out so quickly. I picked a little lettuce and washed it and put it in the chill chest for tonight's cold supper of sandwiches.

I was doing a little research the other night. I'm not dedicated enough to actually buy a subscription so I just search for stuff that I can find that is free. Just for kicks I typed in the name of a great uncle who died in World War I. I knew very little about him other than his name and that he died in the war. Well, I discovered that he is buried in a cemetery in Iraq and that he fought for England. I knew the family had come to America in 1902, but didn't realize he was in the English military. I also didn't know there was a cemetery in Iraq for casualties of World War I and World War II. Unfortunately the cemetery isn't in very good shape due to folks looting and tearing it up. That's unfortunate, but it isn't limited to Iraq. Why people feel the need to desecrate cemeteries is beyond me.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I hear that book calling!


Snowflakes

May 31st, 2017 at 08:11 am

I'm not as good as some of you about getting snowflakes, but I did get $2 for filling out a survey on television watching. I discovered we are creatures of habit and kind of boring as well.

I'm expecting a rebate from Miracle Gro -- there was a $2 rebate on each bag up to $20 and I sent it in for the soil we bought. It was also on sale. We actually bought more than that, so I saved the extra receipt and gave it to a friend with the rebate form and suggested she put the money in her granddaughter's savings or college fund. It was for $12 more. She offered to just give me the money back, but I thought the granddaughter could use it -- she is 3 and her folks are savers too.

It's a spendy time

May 21st, 2017 at 02:03 pm

I don't know why, but usually in May and June we tend to spend. A lot. Part of it when certain bills fall. Part of it is we just tend to spend. It's not like we don't have the money, we do, but sometimes it just hurts to part with the money. I hope that doesn't sound too weird.

One expenditure was not totally unexpected. I knew it was coming. We have a water softener. We've had one in this house for 19 years. Our water is incredibly hard. We put the one in 19 years ago and it has started to really go bad. The guy came to look at it to see if is was fixable and he said because of the age and the mechanism that handles how the salt is distributed, it wouldn't be worth fixing. So, alas, we put out the cash for a new one. Hope we get 19 years out of this one.

We are still purchasing materials for the bathroom remodel. I ordered a light yesterday. Our local Lowe's didn't have it nor did any other places around here. I looked it up on Amazon and they had it and then I thought maybe i should look at Lowes.com. They had it and it was $10 cheaper. It's my $10, so I ordered it from them. I wish I could have gotten it delivered to our Lowe's, but that wasn't available.

We have been watching a couch at a local furniture store. There was one I really wanted. It went on sale, but it still seemed to be more than what we wanted to spend. They were having a floor sample sale this weekend and we went in and he originally said the same sale price as before and i told him we were in here before and thought it was too much. He came down more so we bought it. The one we have is a sad one. We've had it for a number of years and it has two recliners. Well, the middle cushion isn't a recliner and it has sagged. Then the bonded leather started peeling away. I don't know why because we aren't hard on furniture. I had it covered up with a throw as much as I could, but the area is getting bigger.

We had a little scare last week too. A few months ago we bought a new car and traded in a car. When we went to transfer insurance, we thought it was all taken care of. We get the premium notice on what should be the new car (we paid the premium on the car we kept, or so we thought.) Anyway, seems they cancelled the policy on the car we kept and kept it on the one we traded in. I have been driving without insurance for almost two months. I was just nauseous thinking about that and all the things that could happen. We went in and got it straightened out last Monday morning, but they kept telling us they had it fixed to begin with. There's a reason I don't trust folks. Anyway, as soon as they send the premium notice, we will pay that as well.

We have visited with two different couples and they ask us what we are up to. I guess we are boring because other than volunteering and living day to day, we haven't done anything spectacular. One couple has to tell us about all the places they have been running to and shopping they have done. The other couple was telling us about the trip they are going to go on to the ton of many thousands of dollars. Funny thing about both couples, neither one has the money to do any of this. It is either put on credit cards or using loans. I will admit, after hearing about the grandiose trip, we kind of wondered what we were missing out on for a bit. Then we realized we really don't like to do lots of major traveling nor do we want to spend the money on a trip right now. We had a minor pity party and then realized we are happy with our lives at this point and we really aren't missing out on stuff. I think we forget that people like to brag about this and that to make themselves feel important. I'd much rather lead the boring life we lead, save money and have it when we have spend times. Then when we do something out of the ordinary, it remains special.

SA problems and dinner

April 16th, 2017 at 02:20 pm

Lately I have had problems accessing the Saving Advice blogs. For two days I would click on a title and would get an error message saying the page had been removed. Today it is taking forever for the pages to load. I thought it might be my computer and or router, but I'm not having problems with any other sites, so I'm going to think it is with SA.

A friend told us they weren't sure if they were going to have Easter dinner at home or out. Then mentioned that a local chain restaurant had a deal for $110 for ham, 2 sides, and bread. I looked it up and then saw our local Kroger ad and tried to determine what it would cost if one bought stuff from Kroger to feed 8-10. I think even adding a dessert, the cost would be around $54 before tax. That is still less than $110 and most of the stuff was ready made, other than heating up the ham and the rolls.

Our dinner for the two of us was more reasonable and we have leftovers. Some we will eat again tonight and the rest will find itself incorporated into other meals throughout the week.

Hope you had a lovely Easter.

Sunday Musings

March 12th, 2017 at 11:14 am

Sunday afternoon here in the Midwest. We didn't get the snow they predicted yesterday. It wasn't going to be much, but still glad it missed us. Overall, we haven't had too bad of a winter so far, but we do need some precip. I would just prefer it wasn't snow or ice. Picky, aren't I? There's a chance of snow tomorrow. Fortunately if there is snow, we don't have to go anywhere.

We went to a small town near here (Arthur) for the Home and Garden Show yesterday. Other than the money for gas, we didn't spend anything at the show. We go most years because we like to look at the booths because many of them are Amish businesses. Some of the handiwork is nothing short of amazing. We did stop by the Amish bulk grocery and buy a few things. They were planned. We stopped at a thrift store too, but didn't buy anything.

After church and brunch here at home, I usually pay bills, and update our church's Facebook page and then head over here. It seems like I'm visiting old friends as we keep up with each other.

Not much to report new really. Last night I fixed a pork roast and we will have pulled pork sandwiches from the leftovers for a lunch or two. I also made chicken noodle soup for tonight's supper. I bought some whole chickens on sale about a month ago and fixed one that week and put one in the freezer. It made it's appearance this week for a couple of meals and I used the leftover chicken and broth for the soup we will have tonight and probably for lunch one day this week. I did our weekly grocery shopping on Thursday (one big advantage of being retired) and I planned meals for this week before going. I just can't imagine not planning meals to some degree.

I don't miss packing lunches for work. I would often take leftovers, but I still don't miss that. I have a friend who is always complaining she has no money, but often puts on Facebook where she had lunch. Granted, she hits fast food, but even that can rack up quite a bit if you eat out every day. If she has to work overtime, she moans and groans on Facebook how hungry she is. I really want to tell her to grow up. She knows she has to work overtime on these occasions so why not pack something to heat up or eat later? Guess I'm kind of snarky. I have suggested she read stuff on this site when she has complained about being broke and she informed me she knows how to save money. She might know, but unfortunately she doesn't use that knowledge if her posts about being broke are true. That is the key, isn't it? Use what you know.

The newspaper came out to do a story on the knitting group at church. It is supposed to run sometime this week I think. We are making hats to donate to the public schools next fall. I counted the hats we have made so far on Thursday and we had 70 made. That's pretty good for just a few ladies working together. One lady joked if we keep up this pace, we might be able to adopt a whole school. Wouldn't that be something?

Hope you all have a great week!

Potpourri

February 26th, 2017 at 11:10 am

This will be a potpourri since I don't have one really important thing to say.

Every so often, we share food with a few of our friends. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy sharing food, even if we can't meet for a meal. We had a surprise this week...someone called and said they had a surprise. They had grilled pork and gave us enough for two meals of pulled pork. Yum!

Someone on Facebook posted about instead of giving up something for Lent, how about collect a plastic bag of stuff to donate each day. That sounds like a great idea, but we have been giving stuff regularly anyway, so I'm thinking maybe of finding something each day to donate instead of 40 bags.

When I retired I joined a group at church called "Stitches of Love." The purpose of the group was to knit and crochet items to donate to various places. In the past they had crocheted lap robes. They recently started working on round knitting looms and made hats. We made hats and I took them to a few schools and they were passed out. It was fine and the schools appreciated them. However, a friend and I decided to adopt a classroom this year and we made hats for the whole class and the teacher and took them in. The kids loved knowing they were made for them. So, I brought this idea to the group and it has been interesting about the reaction. We decided to try and ask other Lutheran churches to join us and suddenly there is a zeal we haven't seen. It is pretty exciting to see people wanting to get involved with this. My DH said it is like we have a new purpose. So, that is kind of cool.

As far as grocery shopping, I've just been buying fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, and dairy. I'm trying to use up things in the freezer and pantry. It has certainly made our grocery bill go down the past few weeks. I have tried to be creative in using some of the stuff too. Hopefully that is a good thing.

Sunny Sunday with a Side of Wind

February 12th, 2017 at 11:26 am

It's a sunny, but windy Sunday here in Central Illinois! At least it is warmer. We had some pretty frigid temperatures Wednesday and Thursday. Now it seems almost like spring. I just hope it isn't getting our hopes up. I know I have been looking at a small garden area and asking DH if we should do a little fix up before planting. When we moved here almost 19 years ago, there were yard timbers outlining the small area where there were plantings. Well, like most things, they don't last forever and some are really rotting away. Neither of us are really handy, but I thought we could pull them out and replace them with some of the landscape stones or pieces to keep them separate from the lawn itself. We shall see.

We attended church and came home and did our usual brunch of scrambled eggs, cheesy grits, sausage, toast, and fruit. I'm thinking I'd like to fix some chili -- I am going to try and use more from the freezer and pantry. A friend gave me some of the beef she bought when she bought half a cow. This was for my birthday and I'm not complaining one bit. I have beans and I have canned tomatoes, so adding some onion and mushroom and spices, it should be a decent Sunday night supper. I like chili anytime and fortunately DH is a soup lover so that works out.

Because of my asthma problems, I didn't do my weekly grocery shopping which usually means Aldi then Kroger. DH and I went Friday and just did Kroger simply because after volunteering on Friday, I was tired and didn't think I could face going to two stores. Fortunately we didn't need a ton of stuff, but I do believe we spent about $20 more than if we had gotten the bulk of stuff I buy on a weekly basis at Aldi. I buy eggs, fruits and vegetables, and some dairy at Aldi.

I wasn't happy when we received our power bill. When we were gone for two weeks, we turned the heat down to 62. Our house is pretty well insulated and we have newer energy efficient windows as well as an energy efficient furnace. It was a little lower than usual, but not that much lower. I'm thinking for two weeks we didn't use as much heat and certainly not as much power since we weren't home running the washer/dryer, television, wifi, etc. I had unplugged some things like the modem and wifi as well as the television. And, we had colder temperatures the month before so I didn't think our power bill would be as much as it was. Must be all those stupid fees they tack on. Our water bill was far less since we were gone for those two weeks. I'm glad. I was going to wonder if we had someone living in our house while were away! Smile

I continue to work on the rug I'm crocheting. I think so far, I have about $2 worth of yarn in it. I'm sure it will be more since I'm not close to being finished, but when you get full skeins for 50 cents each, it does mean you aren't spending as much.

As I have blogged before, I try to use up the bits and pieces of yarn to make things. A friend of ours runs a tea room and they have a vinyl floor. I asked her if she could use Swiffer covers and she said sure. So, we gave her two yesterday and you would have thought I had given her gold! Each week we save our egg cartons, cottage cheese containers, and other plastic lidded containers for her and they reuse them. She has chickens and sells her eggs and the cartons come in handy. I told her it was always such a pleasure to bring her things because she is always so appreciative.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

Canning Update

September 4th, 2016 at 01:55 pm

DH has been teasing me that I get more excited about seeing Mason jars than I do jewelry. It's true. We don't go anywhere where I need fancy jewelry. I have a lovely wedding set from when we married 26 years ago and a couple of nice, but simple necklaces and I'm good for out to dinner or to church. But the sparkly Mason jars...that's what catches my eye!

Yesterday I decided to inventory what I have so far. DH has grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, and carrots. I have purchased fresh green beans until a friend gave me a few pounds this week as they finished their garden. I wanted a list since my pie safe is full, I have some jars in the bottom of a Hoosier cabinet, and now in the bottom of the island:

51 quarts of green beans
19 pints of green beans

15 quarts of tomatoes
13 pints of tomatoes

2 pints of tomato basil salsa
1 half pint of tomato basil salsa

6 pints of onions
2 half pints of onions

6 half pints of apple jelly
6 half pints of grape jelly

13 pints of pickles
2 half pints of pickles
4 pints of relish

2 quarts of carrots
8 pints of carrots

I would have more carrots except I ran out of jars. I prefer the pints because that is about what we eat at a meal, but I punted last night and used the quarts. One of the thrift shops had pint jars really reasonable so on Tuesday I am going to stop by and see if they have them. I don't need a whole case at this point. I have about 8 quart jars left for tomatoes.

In addition, I have 3 pints of minced garlic in the fridge that DH grew and I have about 2 pounds of chopped bell peppers in the freezer.

I still need to dry herbs, but I feel like we have a good showing. I imagine before the first frost I will make green tomato relish as we scramble to pick the tomatoes. I made it last year and used it like relish and a friend liked it so much, he ate it like salsa.

I make apple juice for DH since he likes it when we have Sunday brunch. Sometimes I make far more than he will drink in a couple of weeks, so I used it to make apple jelly. Early this summer we bought grapes and although they tasted good, the skin was kind of chewy. I juiced them to make the grape jelly.

The ongoing joke around here is I tell DH I need a walk in pantry. Although it would be nice to have one, I have no idea where we would locate it and I certainly don't want to spend money. I will say that I'm going to be forced to go through my cabinets and truly purge those items I don't use such as different dishes and pots so I can make room for any other canned goods. Guess this is the initiative I needed. I tend to use the same casserole dishes and pots so it is silly to keep the ones I never use.

Hopefully all this stuff will help on the grocery bill come winter.

Misunderstood Mary

September 3rd, 2016 at 02:03 pm

Both DH and I enjoy history, and his favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately we live less than an hour away from Lincoln's Presidential Museum, his Springfield home, and New Salem sites. I've learned more about Lincoln since being married to my husband, and there are lots of interesting facts about the man and his family.

Rumors have abounded that his wife, Mary, was crazy. Well, like many folks, I enjoy a good juicy tidbit so I have been reading up on Mary Todd Lincoln the past few years. I just finished a biography and with all the details and references, I hope the author told the real story. I truly think Mary was misunderstood. She grew up in a wealthy family, but being the third daughter, she was told they really wanted a son. When a son was born, she was sort of "forgotten" but still loved. Then her mom died and her dad married a younger woman who really didn't want anything to do with his first family. Mary was sent to a boarding school during the week although she lived close enough to ride a horse to school. But, she was well educated and made to feel appreciated. She had 12 years of formal schooling which was kind of rare for women of that time. Contrast that with Lincoln's only one year of formal schooling.

The book said she married Lincoln because not only did she love him, but she knew he had the ambition and intelligence to become president. She was quite the political figure herself and understood the workings of politics. She apparently didn't get along with the Washington ladies because she was a contrary person yet also they had little in common to talk about...most did not have the schooling and educational background she did.

Her life was pretty sad overall -- lost three children and her husband was killed in front of her and her eldest son was ashamed of her and had her tried for lunacy. Many of the rumors spread about her were actual lies to benefit the person and persons who told them according to the author. Mary wasn't without faults, but after doing all the reading I have, I don't believe she was crazy. I do think she was, as the author said, pretty narcissistic and prickly, but she wasn't a danger to herself or anyone else.

So, you are asking yourself why am I writing about Mary Todd Lincoln on a savings site. Well, although she did overspend the White House renovation budget and she did spend money, she also had some sense about her. Back at her time women rarely had the opportunity to control their finances. If there were no husband, then a grown son would, or an officer of a bank would. When they were in the White House, she saved over 50% of the president's salary. When Lincoln died, he had bonds and she kept them intact. She did buy a house in Chicago, realized she couldn't afford it, and rented it out. She then let her son purchase it at a very reasonable price and even lent him money for some of his financial deals, which most were not successful. Her net worth at her death was over $84,000 that in 2016 would be worth close to 1.8 million dollar according to an inflation site.

So, I think she was more misunderstood that crazy. She did have money. She did save. Yes, she spent money and did buy things she didn't need. But haven't we all?

School Starts Tomorrow...

August 14th, 2016 at 01:34 pm

...and I'm not going! Tomorrow is when retirement truly becomes real. It has seemed like summer break for me, so when teachers and students return, it will hit me that I'm really retired.

I have had so many people ask me if I'm going to substitute teach. I don't intend to. I guess it's a way to make extra money, but if I wanted to make extra money, I would have continued working. I subbed when I first started out -- I was told I had to sub and prove myself before I could get hired full time so I subbed and worked a couple of other jobs besides to make it until I was hired full time as a classroom teacher. Then I also worked some freelancing for awhile because back then teacher salaries were pretty darn low.

The other thing that people have asked is what I intend to do with myself. I hope they are just making conversation, but do they really think I have to be accountable to them? I have worked over 30 years in education, and I've worked at outside jobs since I was 16. Before that, my folks had a used furniture business and later an antique shop and it was expected that I help with them so it isn't like I'm lazy. I'm not planning on watching videos and eating bon bons all day. But, I'd like to actually do some things fun that I couldn't do because I worked or didn't have the money.

This has been a busy week. DH and I went to a play at a nearby theatre and it was a blast. Yesterday we went to an outdoor market in a small town about two hours away and enjoyed looking around and then visiting the shops on the square. We didn't buy much, but the experience was pleasurable and something a little different. I have canned some green beans and some tomatoes this week, did some volunteer work at church, and even helped my former principal with something. And, I finished book 66 for this year Friday night.

We ate supper out last night and I told DH this is why I took my lunch all those years, took coffee to work in a Thermos, and we ate at home so much and had so many leftovers...so if we wanted to go out to a nice restaurant and enjoy the experience, we could because we had the money. I'm spending some money as we saw the play and then took the short trip. But, it is money we saved and we paid cash for stuff.

We were talking to another couple and I had posted the photo of my pantry with my canned goods on Facebook and they happened to mention it. The woman informed me she wouldn't can because it smells up the house. Granted, when I canned the small amount of onions we had, yes, it did smell some, but green beans and tomatoes aren't super stinky. I felt like she dismissed me as the poor relative. Maybe so, but I can't see all of DH's hard work in the garden go to waste and I think eating these vegetables is probably pretty healthy for us. I shouldn't let her comments get to me; she usually has something to say that I find hurtful. I'm sure having some tomatoes in a soup or chili this winter will make it all go down that much more smoothly and the hurtful remarks will hopefully be forgotten.

On to book #67! Smile

Organization

July 22nd, 2016 at 01:17 pm

Like many of you, I have some projects I have on my to do list.

One of them I was dreading was the pantry. I'm glad I have a pantry. It's not huge, but helpful to have. It's a reach in, not a walk in, but I tend to get lazy and things get really unorganized. So, this time I took everything out. I got rid of some things. I moved a few things around.

I have been looking on Pinterest for organization ideas. I really didn't want to spend any more money on baskets and such. I had purchased a couple of wire racks a number of years ago and I still use them. But, I really wanted to figure out to use what I already had.

I am going to admit I love baskets. I don't buy the expensive ones, but I buy them at thrift stores. Anyway, I thought instead of going to the Dollar store and buying plastic bins and baskets, why not use what I already had. I won't say it is photographic perfect, but my little pantry sure looks a lot better and other than some elbow grease and moving stuff around, it sure looks better.

Plus, I recycled some things I no longer use and gave them to a thrift store. So, maybe it was a win-win for the thrift store and my home. Hopefully organization will help me save money by seeing what I already have.

This and That

June 23rd, 2016 at 01:32 pm

It's funny how once I get used to doing something, it becomes the "new normal." We eat a lot of chicken, and I often make chicken broth and put it in the freezer. During the winter I use herbs I've dried and during the summer I use fresh herbs. Many of my friends think I'm crazy when I can just buy it. Why buy chicken broth when I can make it for next to nothing? Sheesh. Plus, I know what's in it and I don't use salt for health reasons.

I finished book 45 this morning. It was one by Joanne Fluke who has a series. I've read this one before, but it has been years and it was nice to revisit it. I really like mysteries (DH calls them cozy mysteries) and I've gotten hooked on the books that are Amish fiction. Granted, they are fairly predictable, but sometimes that's just nice to kind of let go. I perused the mystery section and found a new author I'm going to try. I've not read any by this writer and there are three in the series so I checked all three out. These aren't in the new section so it isn't like I'm keeping anyone else from reading them. I finished a newer Mary Higgins Clark over the weekend and returned it quickly because I imagine someone else will enjoy reading it.

I finally received the documentation on what I needed to pay for my penalty for my pension and we drove it over Monday afternoon. I received an email Tuesday saying it was processed and now they will take 6-8 weeks to determine what my benefits will be before depositing my first check. Fortunately we have money in savings if truly takes that long. I think about some of the folks I've worked with and many of them probably didn't have anything in savings and were desperate by the time their first check came around.

Supper is a mixture of leftover stuff. We went to Aldi and Kroger earlier today for our weekly trip, but I like using up what we have before starting new on the weekly meals.

DH has been keeping our garden going by watering. It has been extremely hot here in Central Illinois. Some parts of Illinois received a decent rain yesterday, but we only received about a tenth of an inch. This is the first year he planted two cucumber plants and it is hilarious hearing him talk about how they are taking over. He has put stakes in the ground and is training them to grow up, but he thinks the plant may be knocking on the door to get in at some point. Smile We haven't had any ripe tomatoes yet, but there are a few cherry tomatoes that are starting to turn; DH is already drooling for the taste of the first one.

Hope you are staying cool and hydrated if it is as hot where you are.

Sad Sunday

June 12th, 2016 at 04:13 pm

Today's news about the massacre in Orlando has made it sad for our country. People who left their homes to go and have a nice time were shot. Why one person's hate can destroy so much is unfathomable. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Makes me want to hug my DH and friends just a little tighter. Sigh.


DH has put in a small garden. He has planted radishes, onions, herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers,garlic, and one cucumber plant. Our backyard is so shady so most of the garden is in the front yard. Last year I canned tomatoes and made bell pepper jelly, and dried herbs. It was a pleasure using these items throughout the year. It has saved us some money since I like cooking. DH spends a lot of time taking care of his vegetables as well as his flowers. Since I retired and we can travel when we want instead of only during the summer, we decided not to go anywhere this summer so DH can keep an eye on his plants. People look at us like we are nuts. I saw this article about raising food for your family and it said how important it was to stay around and take care of your garden. My dad grew up during the Depression and they had a garden and chickens and sometimes a cow. He said you didn't go anywhere because you couldn't leave your garden and livestock because you depended on these things for your food supply. Anyway, if you like gardening or reading about gardening, you might enjoy this article:

http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/how-much-should-you-plant-in-your-garden-to-provide-a-years-worth-of-food

Busy Hands...

June 11th, 2016 at 02:37 pm

Well, not just my hands, actually. It seems like things are going by very quickly. I'm trying to get caught up on projects, some fun, some not so much.

We had a new roof put on last month. We saved up for it and I think it looks great. We've had some rains and so far no leaks, so that is wonderful. DH is the gardener and one of my retirement gifts was a gift certificate to a local garden place. We bought some lovely flowers which DH planted both in the ground as well as in pots and he has his small vegetable garden going as well.

Last week we cleaned the siding and windows. We don't have a power washer so this meant doing it by hand. I think the house looks better. DH wasn't thrilled with the prospect, but he does like the results.We figure it was a money saving procedure since we used what we had (Dove dish washing soap and elbow grease). I'm glad we did it when we did because the temps are in the 90s with heat index being nearly 100.

We hit some rummage sales the past few days. One had crochet thread so we bought some of it. I recently made a small dresser scarf out of a skein we bought at a thrift shop so I have some more to work with. A couple of months ago I bought a candlewicking kit for a Christmas stocking. I have the candlewick and embroidery finished and am now working on sewing the stocking together and finishing it. I don't have a sewing machine so it takes me longer, but that's fine...it keeps me busy. I plan to donate the stocking and some of the things I crochet to my church's Christmas bazaar.

I just finished book number 38 for this year. We go to the library regulary and we also check out magazines as well as books.

We succumbed to advertising and bought a bottle of Recolor which is supposed to bring back the color of things. Our front door is fiberglass and it had faded. It was stained to look like a wood door. I put that on this afternoon. It helped some. It wasn't the miracle worker stuff, but we didn't expect it to be either.

Since it is so hot, I put a pork roast in the Crockpot with potatoes and carrots for supper instead of heating up the house. I made a fruit salad for dessert.

We've spent a little money here and there, but nothing major. I hope keeping my hands and the rest of me busy, keep me out of trouble. Smile

Fortunate, Lucky, or Smart?

June 3rd, 2016 at 12:55 pm

We were with some friends and we were talking about finances. One friend happened to mention that we were fortunate to be "comfortable." I didn't say anything really to respond, but it sort of made me wonder, is it all about luck or did I perhaps have a little bit to do with it?

I am not going to say I don't spend money. I do. But, I try to bargain hunt. I grew up relatively poor. Not dirt poor, but there wasn't very little for extras and most of the stuff I had was bought used. I saw my parents age and even though they worked hard their whole lives, they never really got "comfortable." My dad was always trying to figure out a way to make more money. He worked a full time job as well as doing jobs on the side. My mom helped run a used furniture store they had for awhile and then did garage sales and quilted. I knew once I had a full time job, I needed to figure out something for retirement because I didn't want to work until I dropped if I didn't have to.

I listened to a couple of people I worked with. Before I got hired as a teacher, I worked full time and picked up extra work when I could. I started a small IRA. They said the idea was to start saving young so the money had a chance to build.

When I was hired as a teacher, I went to church with a financial adviser and so I asked to meet with him. He was starting out like I was. I told him someone had said something about a retirement account where you pay low taxes when you retire. He explained it was a 403b and how it worked. It took out pretax dollars and then when you retire and drew it out, you paid less taxes because you should supposedly make less. Let me tell you, making what little I made at the time, taking out $50 a pay period was hard.

Fortunately I did not have school loans because I had some scholarships and worked throughout college and paid everything off before I graduated. Someone asked me how I did that and I explained that my college time, although a good time in my life, was not one where I spent a lot of money. I didn't go out partying on the weekends. I rarely ate out because if you lived on campus, you were required to pay board which was a food service plan. Spring break was spent at home. My folks helped out with buying clothes and shoes (mostly from garage sales), and snacks from Aldi. I ate more peanut butter and saltines for snacks and when I ran out of peanut butter, just saltines. I didn't have a fridge so I drank water in a glass from the fountain. Usually it was cool and I really lived it up when I got some iced tea mix. During the winter I had a little "hot pot" which was a small electric kettle and I had hot tea and hot chocolate. Am I sorry for not living it up -- not really.

Anyway, as DH and I got money ahead, the financial adviser (same wonderful guy!) directed us to other retirement options like a Roth IRA. I still have that small IRA I started years ago and it is still kind of small because the Roth is a far better vehicle for us now.

As I said, I spend money. But, I try to plan my purchases. I shop sales. Heck, I shop thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales! We save for things. We recently put on a new roof. Actually we paid to have it put on. No home equity loan here...we have been saving for the past couple of years. DH went and got the money out of the credit union account and put it in our checking account and we paid for it when it was finished. We save for Christmas and we save for vacations.

Am I fortunate? Yes, I believe I have been blessed. I guess when he implied I had been "lucky" I kind of bristled at this...I worked hard and as an educator, realized I would make more salary if I had more education so I earned a master's as well as hours beyond my master's. This increased my pay. But, I didn't inherit tons of money. I worked and saved and DH worked and saved. So yes we are fortunate, but I also think we used our brains to help ourselves. Do you think I was wrong to bristle at this friend's implication?

Happy Memorial Day!

May 30th, 2016 at 11:56 am

Another Memorial Day here in the United States. I'm not sure if other countries have the equivalent and if so, if it is on another date. I know I'm tired of all the "Memorial Day Sales." Somehow I just can't get into shopping for Memorial Day furniture or whatever when Memorial Day means so much more. Leave it to businesses to commercialize it.

In other news, I'm officially retired. A week ago today was my last day. I finished up paperwork and had a marvelous day. School districts aren't fancy dancy like businesses and usually the staff at one's school takes care of these type of things. We had a luncheon in our gym. Another teacher was also retiring and we have three other staff who are either moving to other schools or leaving teaching. The social committee decided to set up the gym as a "tea room" and it was very clever. They brought in good dishes and glasses and a local place catered the food. They even had cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins. I thought it was delightful. One committee person thought I'd be upset because we didn't go out...this is so fitting with how I live my life. We couldn't go out because we had an hour for lunch (half day for kids as a make up of a PLC day in March) and the rest of the day was meetings. That afternoon they had a "tea" for the two of us retiring and many of my friends and former colleagues came by. It was very nice and well planned. I felt very special. One of my friends said I looked very happy.

It's been almost a week since then. DH and I have enjoyed the time together. Part of the time was spent trying to fix stuff -- we had three things break...a hinge on one of kitchen cabinets, a wheel on the tray in our dishwasher, and my modem went out. Two of these are now fixed. One was an absolute pain...we live in a middle sized town with cabinet shops and hardware stores. No one carried this hinge. I finally went online. There was a distributor in a small town near us. This is an Amish owned business. We take the hinge and he proceeds to show us that the hinge wasn't broken, but the plate and instead of purchasing a whole new hinge, just replace the small piece at a whopping price of a buck. Gotta love honesty!

My first day of retirement we celebrated by eating leftover pulled pork from the school luncheon and then went to one of my favorite places...the library. DH retired from the library so we still know some of the employees. They were kidding me on my first day of retirement, here I am checking out magazines and books. Of course I did...I love reading!

We did go take flowers for some our family members' graves. One cemetery is a very old one and there are some graves that don't look like they have been visited in years. Kind of sad, but understandable if there is no one left. At one cemetery there were flags for Veterans. That is always nice. DH's dad was in WWII and has a military stone as well as a family stone. I try to take cleaning things to clean the stones.

I'm going to digress on to another topic...today's paper had Mary Hunt's "Everyday Cheapskate." Her starting paragraph stated that research indicates that many Americans are spending $1.22 for every $1 they earn. A very scary statistic, but I don't doubt it one bit. I look at the way some folks spend and continue to spend. I know my Thermos and lunch bag were kind of made fun of by many, but it saved us a bunch of money. I know I have to buy some things and I do buy things I don't always need, but I figure eating leftovers, making do with things, trying to repair things, and finding joy in what others consider simple things has certainly helped.

Hope you and your family had a wonderful day whether you observe Memorial Day or not.

Save Early and Save Often

May 15th, 2016 at 11:36 am

In six school days, I will end my career. Eight if you count next weekend. At one of the buildings, we had a potluck and a couple of young coaches asked the other lady and me how we could afford to retire. My response was "save early and save often." They laughed because that was always my response when working with our school improvement plan so we didn't lose data. Getting back to the laughter, it wasn't a chuckle because they thought it was funny. It was actually one of discomfort. I wasn't trying to make anyone uncomfortable, but so many of these young people claim they are jealous that I'm retiring because they want a carefree life, but they buy anything and everything their little hearts desire.

I won't say I have been the best saver and that I didn't buy things. I did. I bought things both which were good and some things which were just plain stupid. Hopefully I've gotten wiser. But so many of these "educated" folks don't understand money. There are about three or four of us in the group who actively save, do without things, and live as economically as we can. With the changes in the teachers' pension system for the newer hires, saving for retirement is far more important than it was when I started out.

I'm currently reading a book about not buying a lot of things in a year. It's different than the last one I read; the author says their rules are buying things they can use like food and things like that, but to be more conscious of spending money for things simply because you want something new. He said the goal is to own what you have instead of saving money. I'm curious how the book will end.

DH has been busy putting in his garden. We had a fear of frost last night, but it looks like we dodged that bullet. I hope we get lots of tomatoes this year since I like to can them and this year I won't have to rush around canning on weekends since I will be retired. Yahoo!

Rant Warning

April 24th, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Someone I know posted this url on Facebook and talked about how it is true -- so many can't come up with $400 in an emergency:

http://www.npr.org/2016/04/24/475432149/could-you-come-up-with-400-if-disaster-struck?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20160424

I know there are people out there due to circumstances beyond their control they don't have a decent income. I'm not writing about people like that. I'm writing about those who are not unemployed or underemployed. What I find amusing is the person who shared this has a good income, benefits, etc. This person doesn't save a penny, lost a home in foreclosure, has creditors calling about the unpaid bills, yet moans the job doesn't pay enough.Lots of shopping goes on. Lots of eating out and buying booze. Of course this person took a big vacation last year, went over Christmas to another vacation, and is planning a summer get-away.

I guess I'm getting old and tired of listening to people who won't help themselves whine how they don't have money.

26

April 17th, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Twenty-six...that's how many work days I have left. Someone asked me if I am getting emotional and I can honestly say I am not. I'm ready to be finished. State online testing has been a bear and somewhere along the line I injured my back, so coming home from work means all I want to do is rest. Last weekend I fixed some meals that I could just heat up and it certainly helped. Did have something slightly amusing happen -- I put our supper in the oven and was on the couch and fell asleep. I knew DH would wake me up because we eat at the same time each week night. Well, a friend who needed to talk came and supper wound up burning because I didn't feel like I could leave to get it out of the oven. So, best laid plans became cinders.

We went out with another couple and I guess I'm very old fashioned, but I think when you are with someone you haven't seen for quite awhile celebrating something, taking phone calls and texting is just plain rude. I can see answering the phone and if it isn't an emergency saying you'll call them back, but to have a full fledged conversation while we are sitting there. Then, to constantly text while you are sitting there -- all for non emergency things. We've been with them before and they've both received calls and talked at length while DH and I sit there. I've hinted that it is rude, but apparently we don't matter enough to get them to stop.

DH started his garden yesterday. He planted lettuce, radishes, and onions. He plans on planting carrots soon and then around Mother's Day tomatoes, bell peppers, and herbs. Usually we are beyond the fear of frost then. He doesn't have a big spot, but he makes uses of what he has. I look forward to preserving things this fall, especially since I won't have to rush around and do it on weekends because I won't be working.

We hit the thrift stores and a flea market yesterday. I found some nice greeting cards that were reasonable. I like sending cards and I still write notes so I try to find reasonably priced cards. I also found some crochet thread. Our church has a bazaar before the holidays and I wanted to crochet ornaments to donate. I found two skeins that were started and for a dollar each, felt they were a bargain. If I were doing a big project, I probably wouldn't have been satisfied with this, but since I'm just crocheting small things, this will work out fine. It also keeps my hands busy at night and I've noticed they don't get as stiff and sore.

A few weeks ago we donated a bunch of stuff to a thrift store that supports a charity we believe in. Are we weird that we went in to see if some of the stuff had sold?

Lurking

February 21st, 2016 at 11:22 am

I've been sort of lurking around SA, but haven't had too much to say. I think it is because I'm coming home from work exhausted and after fixing supper and doing whatever else I need to do, I haven't the energy or brain power to write anything or feel like I have anything worth saying.

I finished a crocheted dresser scarf last night. I haven't crocheted for a number of years because it used to make my hands go numb. For whatever reason last summer, I found some thread tucked away and a small crochet hook and started making Christmas tree ornaments. I made one for each staff member at my school. It helped I didn't try to do them all at once. So, I thought I'd get a little brave and start a dresser scarf, just working a little at a time. It wasn't very wide because the area I wanted it wasn't very wide, but it turned out the way I had hoped and updated the look for around $4. It also kept my hands busy and I wasn't as tempted to snack if I crocheted. So, it was a cheap hobby.

I've been reading a lot. A group started a Facebook group that we post the title we read and what number for the year. The goal is to read 16 books because it is 2016. I'm at 17 and started #18. I continue to use our library so that saves money.

Yesterday was had a spring like day so DH and I went antiquing to a couple of small towns. We didn't buy anything, but had a nice time and did, as my dad used to say, "Got the stink blown off of us."

I've also been cooking a lot. Well, maybe a lot isn't the operative word. I continue to cook. I'm trying to fix stuff that we can get a couple of meals out of which makes it easier on me to get meals fixed when I get home as well as saving money. DH is fed and happy so that is what is what matters.

Odds and ends

January 30th, 2016 at 02:48 pm

Last Sunday I paid bills and then wrote out checks to different accounts. We have money in three different institutions. At one, we have a Christmas club, a vacation account, and a regular savings for house improvements. At another we are just putting money in it for reserve. I also wrote out a check for my Roth. DH informed me he took "my" money to all the places last week. I laughed and said when did it become "my" money since it is for both of us. He just laughed.

Before the holidays stores had quite a few things on sale we use so I stocked up. Our grocery bills this month haven't been very high other than fresh vegetables and dairy. It's weird going into the store and not buying a whole lot, but we aren't doing without so that is good. I'm trying to use up some of the things we have in our freezer as well. I have a pot of ham and beans cooking from the ham that was in the freezer and the broth I made from leftover bits and pieces from chicken. So other than the beans and a few spices, basically an almost "free" main dish.

School has been hectic. We are doing district testing and some folks can't keep to a schedule which stresses me out when they inconvenience others with their disorganization. DH keeps reminding me it won't be long before retirement.

The house smells pretty good right now -- I made a blueberry crumble for dessert tonight. We are having a pork roast with carrots for supper. I'm also roasting potatoes and zucchini casserole. It should be a decent meal. I figure if I have to have the oven on, I might as well fix lots of things in it.

We hit the thrift stores today and I found a mini flag for $1 that was for Valentine's Day. We have one of those mini flag holders in the front of the house, but I hate paying big bucks for the holiday ones so I thought I found a decent deal.


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