It seems like I've been spending a lot lately. Well, more than seems. I have.
As I blogged before, we bought a new fridge and new freezer. We had the money so no biggie there.
Yesterday I bought clothes. A lot of clothes. And normally I wait for big mark downs, but I bought them anyway. The store is going out of business and although I supposedly got 20% off, I don't even know if that is true. But the reason I bought them is I struggle finding clothes that fit that aren't too young for me or too wild. At Christmas I picked out some clothes and DH bought them at this store -- they were on sale and they are conservative. I'm overweight and the last thing I want is something that is super wild or bright or shows more skin than I care to show. Lately, this is the only local store I have found clothes that fit that category. I don't go for huge wild patterns or neon colors. And I want stuff I can wash, not dry clean. I don't like buying stuff online because I want to try it on. So, I was trying to buy local, even if it was chain.
We used to watch "What Not to Wear" and every time they had an overweight gal on there, she would try to shop and wind up in tears. I felt her pain because that is often how I feel when clothes shopping.
So yesterday, I bought some slacks and some blouses. Mostly to fill in for the summer since so many of my summer outfits are worn.
I just hate clothes shopping. So, if I find something, I usually wear it until it is so disgustingly worn. I spent a lot of money. I normally feel really guilty over it, but not this time. I won't be buying clothes for a long time between what DH got me for Christmas and what I purchased yesterday. So, that is good.
As well as hating shopping, I also hate hemming. Being short means I hem just about every pair of pants. I was pontificating to my husband how unfair it is men can buy pants to basically match their inseam, but not so with women. It's funny -- I enjoy embroidery and cross stitch, but despise hemming. Go figure.
In other news, we are having vegetable soup I pulled from the freezer this morning and put in a Crockpot to heat. I really, really like our new freezer. It has a light and it is a little bigger so things are easier to see.
Last night I tried making shrimp and grits. I love this when we in Savannah and Charleston and I was thinking, this is silly. I can make this. And I did. I will admit the shrimp wasn't as good as the shrimp I had out there, but I think it was freshly caught shrimp and mine wasn't. But overall, it was pretty good. And I will try it again.
Back to normalcy around here and no more shopping for awhile!
Viewing the 'Shopping' Category
It seems like I've been spending a lot lately. Well, more than seems. I have.
Here it is Wednesday. It's gloomy. The thermometer says 57, but it is a chilly 57 with the wind. Winter just doesn't want to give way it seems. We had snow Sunday night/Monday morning. Yesterday it was at least sunny.
The past couple of weeks have kept me busy. We received our tax refund and decided to use it to replace our freezer that is in our garage and our refrigerator. They were to deliver them both a week ago last Sunday so we left church early to make sure we were home.
They called to say they would be there between 10:30 and noon. Guess 1 p.m. was close enough for them because that is when they arrived. The freezer was fine, but the fridge had a wavy side panel and was dented. I said I didn't want it. The delivery guy said they would probably give me some money off and I said I didn't buy a new fridge to have it dented and I refused it. I called the store and talked to the manager and explained why I felt the way I did and how I wanted to make sure the next one would be dent free. The earliest we could come to a delivery date was Friday. And then we weren't guaranteed anytime which makes DH froth since he hates having to stay home and wait. Add that to forecasted heavy rain.
Well, they delivered it by 11 and beat the rain. No dents, no wavy side, no scratches. So, I am very pleased. I really like the freezer as well. It is a little larger than our old one. They no longer handle the kind we had before in the size we had that is frost free. I have no desire to defrost a freezer. So, I feel that was a good use of our tax refund. Since last year was our first year of us both being retired, it was tough gauging what we needed to have taken out.
Other than that, I've been busy working around the house. Since we had to move furniture twice for the fridge, it meant cleaning under and behind stuff. I then cleaned out the shelves in the Hoosier cabinet (far easier to move if it doesn't have stuff in it. I went through the spices and herbs I have in there and got rid of some stuff that was way beyond its freshness date. For years I had used a lazy Susan two tiered shelf in there and I thought since I'm going to take everything out, I wondered if I needed it anymore. I had a hard time finding stuff on it. Well, I don't need it. I washed it and it went in the pile for the church rummage sale along with a couple of other items.
A couple of months ago I hit the jackpot on some material at a thrift store. I found 8 yards for $5. My goal was to make some table runners for the dining room table, the island, and the shelf of the Hoosier cabinet. I made those as well as 4 napkins. I think there is enough to recover a pillow. I have a pillow we have for years and I no longer like the covering on it. It was bought to match a couch we no longer own (and haven't owned for years). So, I'm going to remove the cover, wash the pillow, and then use some extra filling to plump it up before I make the pillow covering. I think little changes like this make other things look different. I finished the pillowcases I worked on and they are now on my pillows on my bed. I've two photos, one of the pillowcases after I ironed them and one of the table runners on our island.
Our knitting group met last Thursday at church. Our new total is 320 hats. We are a third of the way to our goal of 1000! I have since completed 3 more hats. I like to make at least 5 hats every weeks. Last time I made 7 full size hats and 5 baby hats to donate to a local nonprofit that works with mothers and babies. I don't count the baby hats as far as the total.
For the past few years I have corresponded with a friend of my mom's. She is close to 90 and her health continues to fail. I know mail is a day brightener. So, I dug around the garage to find a small box and sent her an Amish fictional book, a devotional book, 5 dish cloths (I use the leftover yarn from the hats for these) a bar of natural soap, and some flavored tea bags. I received a note today exclaiming how much she appreciated everything. Her daughters come in and clean her house for her so I suggested she share the dish cloths with them. She said she really enjoyed finding everything in the box. I am going to have to do this more often if it brings such joy to her. I guess we should all remember how a simple card or letter can brighten the day of a shut in.
Sorry this entry is all over the place. Just a catch up, I guess.
Today is Wednesday and it is the day I normally volunteer in a fifth grade classroom. They have been doing state testing so last week and this week I'm doing art projects to give them a break. Today's art project is taking plastic drinking cups and cutting down the sides so they can weave yarn and make a basket. I spent quite a bit of time trimming the cups and cutting them as well as hole punching them. I'm going to take a Gullah basket in and show them a basket made. I think any experience I can provide will help them. So many of our students have so few life experiences. Our church has had a lot of bits and pieces of yarn donated which isn't enough to make hats, so I went through them and took these to use for the weaving. I purchased 2 packages of cups and 2 packages of pipe cleaners. So, monetary wise I'm out a little over $4.
I thought I was really doing well yesterday. I used furniture polish to dust. I don't normally use very much of it and do dry dusting frequently. Well, I'm paying the piper so to speak. My asthma has really kicked up. It never was bothered by the polish before so i wonder if it is the aerosol or the scent. I may have to find a homemade polish to try and use. Any suggestions?
For the past couple of years we have been saving for a new driveway. We bought the house almost 20 years ago and the driveway wasn't in the best shape. But, it seems to have more troubles now. We got an estimate and hired someone who is well thought of around here. There are 5 driveways ahead of us and I'm already dreading leaving our vehicles out and being without a driveway, but I'm sure in the end it will be worth it. We actually saved more than we needed so that was good.
I was going to say we had a no spend day, then remembered DH picked up some prescriptions yesterday. It was a no spend day for me anyway, I guess.
I found a recipe for a crab meat casserole I would like to try. So, I guess I'll be putting crab on my grocery list. I make the grocery lists tonight and then finalize them tomorrow when the ad comes out for Kroger. We do the bulk of our shopping at Aldi, and then pick up certain things at Kroger. I started using Ibotta, and although I'm getting a little here and there, since I rarely buy ready made things and do most of our shopping at Aldi, I'm not making a whole lot. I found another app called Saving Star that is like Ibotta and they offer money on a few different things. Maybe between the two I will get a little money back.
Yesterday it sort of felt like spring. One thing I really like to do when it is decent is take the vehicle and wash it. There's a coin operated car wash not too far from our house and I like to wash my vehicle and get all the salt off of it from the winter. We splurged the $1 for the vacuum as well to get all the rocks and dirt off the floorboards as well and when we got home, I wiped the outside down and then took some of the Armour All and went over the tires and the plastic on the outside and then wiped down the console and the doors on the inside. It sure made it look nice and made me appreciate what I have. DH was pretty impressed.
After that I worked in the garage and swept it out. That seems to be an ongoing battle because leaves and dirt seem to blow in every time we open the garage door. I also cleaned out one corner where we have a standing rack to hold rakes, shovels, brooms, and my mop. I took everything out of the rack, cleaned it, cleaned the corner and then tried to put everything back in a way that looked a lot tidier. I threw away quite a few things that DH put there. I don't know why he didn't throw them away to begin with. Maybe there is something about taking something a few extra steps to the garbage can.
We went to that home show I wrote about earlier and admired the Amish made cabinets and furniture as well as looked at the booths of doors, windows, lawn stuff. I even won a door prize -- a small bag of cashew chew which is like peanut brittle, but made with cashews.
Before we left, I had put a pork loin roast in the Crockpot with carrots, onion, herbs, and small potatoes so I didn't have to worry about cooking supper in case we got home late. A little planning guaranteed we weren't tempted to eat out. Plus, we will realize another meal from the pork and carrots. Can't beat that!
I asked a friend if he would be willing to fix a door on our Hoosier cabinet. It has become unglued and I'm afraid it is going to fall apart and the glass pane will shatter. I will not be able to replace it if it does since there are two doors with the matching panes and are original with the piece. We worked out a deal -- he will glue and clamp it. I gave him some sugar free candy we had bought for him and I will bake him some homemade bread for his trouble. I'm excited about getting it fixed.
After supper we relaxed by watching Hinterland on Netflix. Intense would be the word to describe this series. I worked on using up some yarn and making dish cloths. I had some purple that there wasn't enough to make a hat so I used it up and then had some blue from a project I had crocheted for myself awhile back. I had crocheted a cover for a pillow and had the yarn left over. So, I used some of it to trim around a dish cloth and then used some other yarn up as well. I finished 4 dish cloths last night and used up some yarn that wouldn't have been enough for anything else.
It was a fine day.
Today has been great too, so far. We went to church and then went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription for DH. He also had them print his 2017 prescriptions. We have a home health care policy for him that if you don't use it in the calendar year, they will give you a refund of what you paid on prescriptions. It won't be a huge amount since his prescription plan covered the lion's share as well as all of them being generics, but it is nice to get a rebate of sorts. I have to get that ready to mail in.
We came home and I fixed brunch and had the opportunity to watch new episodes of Barefoot Contessa. I like her calm manner and I seem to learn stuff from her episodes. I've missed seeing her so I was glad we could catch these. I still do covet her walk in pantry. A girl can dream, I guess!
Tonight we are supposed to go and have dinner with some friends at their home. We take turns hosting each other. It is a casual evening and plenty of fun and other than the food, pretty reasonable.
Not a whole lot of spending going on, but some fine times!
Yesterday we had a high of 65. Yay! Some rain and since we are in almost drought conditions, no one seemed to mind the rain considering it is February and it could have been snow or ice. The temperatures have dropped so it is chilly, but I did see the sun peek out for a bit.
Credit Card Free shared her Ibotta link in a previous post and I finally got signed up. The first day the site was having issues, but I got in just in time to do my Kroger shopping yesterday (after our Aldi run, of course). After I did what I needed to do, it says I have $3.50 in credit. Not bad for a few minutes work. That was after I also did the digital coupons and a paper coupon too.
Friday night we normally eat out and we are being joined by another couple. That is something to look forward to!
I have my menu planned for other meals this week. One of my friends says I'm rigid, but how can I effectively shop if I don't know what I'm going to fix?
Saturday night - cod, mashed potatoes, green beans
Sunday night -- chili
Monday night -- pork loin roast with carrots, roasted potatoes
Tuesday night -- chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday night -- leftover pork roast, baked potatoes
Thursday night -- scrambled eggs or omelet. This is usually the night I clean out the vegetable drawer to put with the eggs.
The chili will use the tomatoes I canned and a friend gave me some beef for Christmas so I plan to use some of the "free" hamburger. The green beans are from the pantry where I canned last summer too.
Today seems to be the day to use up things. Lunch was leftovers from a couple meals. DH and I had different things for lunch, but that was OK. He wanted leftover soup and I had two different things that there wasn't enough of either to make a meal. There is still enough soup for another lunch if we put a sandwich with it.
Last night I made a gallon of laundry detergent. A friend gave me some stuff to make some a number of years ago and I was so impressed, I bought the Borax, washing soda, and back then Fels Naphtha to make it. Now, I don't use the Fels Naphtha, but use Dawn instead. But what a reasonably priced laundry detergent and it gets stuff clean. I keep a little in a squirt bottle to pretreat stuff.
I was looking on Pinterest and saw a recipe for homemade Febreze. I made some this morning and I really like it. I haven't bought any in years. I happened to have saved the bottle thinking I was going to use it for something and I did use it for this. (I am notorious for saving bottles and jars.)
It's funny how some of my friends react to these things. One friend, the one who originally had me make my own detergent is all about saving things and making things and saving money wherever possible. She and her husband eat leftovers. And she is a good one for a bargain. It's like we are two peas in a pod.
Another of my friends thinks I'm crazy for making stuff and doing all the leftovers and such. She is all about getting stuff new. I don't think money is an issue at their home.
Yet another friend would never think of making detergent or anything and won't eat leftovers. Money is an issue as you can imagine.
I imagine the latter two think I'm simply crazy about thrift shopping. I have bought so many things at our local thrift shops -- we are fortunate to have quite a few and they have some really nice things. Lately I've been buying material and sewing things with it. I've made 3 table runners, a set of curtains for my bathroom, and one long panel for a sunroom door and material and thread together I think I've spent less than $16. I buy most of my greeting cards at thrift stores too. I like sending cards and letters, but I hate, hate, hate spending so much on greeting cards. Very few people save cards. I save ones from my husband, but I don't save any of the others; I recycle them. Giving a quarter or less for a card only makes sense to me, but maybe I'm weird.
So, that's what I've been doing today. Using stuff up, made a few things. No thrift shopping -- I'm cleaning instead. And of course eating at home. I am going to make crab cakes and we will have enough for another meal. And so the cycle continues.
As you may have guessed, I'm pretty involved in my church. Two things our ladies guild does is have a rummage sale in June and a Christmas Bazaar in January.
Two Christmases ago I crocheted little crochet thread ornaments and put them on Christmas trees and donated them. The trees sold, but I think I paid more for the trees than what they got at the bazaar. I bought the trees at thrift stores and an estate sale, but I felt like I did a lot of work for nothing. I also found a candlewick stocking and did it and donated it and it sold.
This year with leftover yarn from the hats we make in the knitting group, I crocheted dish clothes. I think I donated over 30 and they all sold. So, I'm going to continue to make those.
But, I was wondering if you have some ideas on other easy things to make that I can try and donate to either the rummage sale or bazaar. Are there certain things you like?
Thanks in advance.
Every notice how you think things are going along and you aren't spending a lot and then suddenly "bam!"? I expected the carpet stretching, but then a few other things came up.
I could of course not bought these items, but eventually I would have caved anyway.
Our router has been on the fritz for over a year. I have restarted it so many times, unplugged, unconnected, did everything that was suggested on the FAQ site. I think it just was ready to quit. Besides my computer, we stream Netflix on our television and it got to the point we couldn't watch anything. The modem was even older than the router so we decided to bite the bullet and replace both with a combo.
Then I was being the good little "do bee" and washing the mattress cover and when I went to put it back on the bed, realized it was splitting in many places. I don't even remember when we bought it, so I'm thinking it has some age on it. I have been waiting for Kohls to put linens on sale and they did this weekend so we went out, bought a new mattress cover, a set of towels to replace some badly worn ones, saved some money, had $5 off, and then got $10 Kohls cash.
None of this, of course is going to break the bank so to speak, but it sure seems like things pop up all at the same time.
A friend gave me some gift cards for my birthday. We stopped at Starbucks and had a treat. DH had a Frappucino and I had a straight cup of coffee. DH says he doesn't like coffee, but loves a Frap. Since it was basically free to us, it was a nice treat. We don't often go to Starbucks.
We came home and did some caulking in the bathroom. Not exactly a pleasure, but something that needed to be done.
So, it was a bit of a spendy week, but we did get some things accomplished. Looking forward to a week of not spending too much.
Oh, I almost forgot, I did splurge for a bottle of Gatorade. I saw and shared a meme on Facebook that said we should get as excited about church as we do the Super Bowl and if the Pastor makes a good point during the sermon we should dump Gatorade over his head. So, stopped and bought a bottle of Gatorade to kid him. It cost $1.09 with tax. I'm sure he will get a kick out of it and we will put it in the food pantry basket so it won't go to waste. Someone might think of it as a treat!
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!
Apparently I am naive.
Years ago I joined Facebook and have derived a lot of pleasure in keeping up with friends on the site. But in the past couple of years it has become a major issue.
I'm all for capitalism. As for a side hustle...I am glad folks have the time an energy to do this. But, when people "friend" me just to try and sell me something, it is getting to be abusive.
One person has deemed herself a travel agent. She created a group, and then starts sending all these "offers." I have no desire to go to the Bahamas. I left the group and she added me again.
One person was a friend of my husband's from high school. Not a close friend by any means. Saw him at the last reunion. He asked to be friends on Facebook. I have quite a few of the folks from my husband's class as my Facebook friends since he doesn't do computers or social media. But this guy was relentless. He is a travel agent on the east coast and I would get messages on my timeline and private messages telling me how he could plan this trip and that. I tried to be nice and say I'd let him know when I wanted him to plan a trip. He wouldn't let up. I finally said I appreciate his willingness to help us plan a trip, but we have a local travel agent and would prefer sticking with her if we want to plan a trip since we have worked with her before. Sheesh.
Now it is all the make up, leggings, lipstick, bags, and cooking stuff. I have major allergies. I wear little makeup. I buy stuff that doesn't make me react too much when I do wear it. I don't wear leggings. I have more than enough bags -- I was a teacher -- I have book bags that my husband purchased for me as gifts (Mary Englebreit) and I'm not going to buy a new bag. I use what I have. My favorite is the cooking stuff. Since I cook, I should participate in their parties and buy more stuff. My kitchen is already loaded. If they only knew. I'm not going to buy some gadget that I don't need or want just so they win something.
So, last night, I had had it. A gal I knew asked to be friends on Facebook and then when I accepted, she immediately put me in a group and started the hard sell for make up. I posted on Facebook that the reason I joined Facebook was to keep up with my real life friends. I'm all for capitalism and if they put something on the general feed, I will read it and if I'm interested, I will privately message them. But I'm an adult. I don't need a hard sell. I don't need someone to constantly try and get me to buy something. That's why I have refused for years to go to these parties to have the pressure to buy something I either don't want or need. And I ended it with if the only reason you have friended me was to add to your customer base, to please unfriend me and do us both a favor. I wonder how many will unfriend me. At this point, I'm so fed up, I don't care. Interestedly enough one of my real friends messaged me and said I said what so many people are thinking but don't have the courage to say. Lots of comments went along with what I posted. So, I must not be alone in this thinking. I went into my groups and took myself out of all their sales groups. Facebook now has a feature where you can click so they can't put you back in.
Sorry for the lengthy post, I just needed to really vent.
It is hard to believe 2017 is almost history. DH always gives me a new calendar for Christmas and I was copying birthdays and anniversaries to it from the old one, I also noticed all the other things I had written on it. DH and I had the privilege to do a lot last year in day trips and even a couple of other trips. We went to Tybee Island and stayed in a condo last January. That as amazing because after being a teacher for over 30 years, a vacation during the school year is not possible. Well, if you follow the contract it isn't. And, I'm a rule follower.
We've been blessed that we have been able to live on our pensions and Social Security (DH's) and not hit any of our retirement accounts.
I was thinking the other day at how fortunate I truly am. Although DH and I buy each other Christmas gifts and we tell each other ideas, there really wasn't anything that I was so desirous that I would kill to have. When I was younger and struggling, it seemed like there were always things I just had to have. Looking back, I realize how silly that was. Maybe with age comes contentment.
it's been bitter cold here in Central Illinois. It's supposed to continue for the next few days. We did get out and hit the thrift stores yesterday and I felt like we really rocked them. One store had Christmas gift bags that looked like new...9 cents each. I bought over 15 of them. They had a crocheted stocking for 9 cents. It looked like new too. I bought it for the pattern, but will be able to use it as well. All Christmas stuff was 50% off and I bought some small dessert plates to use for cookies and fudge for next year. I washed them when I got home and will store them until next year. I also found three pint canning jars with rings and they were half off so they cost us 60 cents for all three. At another place I found some greeting cards for 15 cents each. I bought a bunch of birthday cards, some Valentine, Easter, and sympathy. I guess I'm not a card snob. One friend says he only buys name brand ones. Good for him. I buy nice ones and try to write something appropriate in them. I figure no one keeps the cards anymore. I know i don't. I read them, appreciate them, and recycle them. DH reads to classes at two schools and he scored some children's books. Allin all, I think we spent less than $20 and felt like we hit the jackpot.
Last summer we were thrifting and I found a kit that had a pattern and medium weight yarn to crochet kitchen towels. It was $2.50 and supposedly had enough materials to make two towels. I took a break from hats and made a towel. I felt it was a success. I made a hat and then made the second towel with the kits. For grins I decided to look up the company. Seems it is a company that you buy a yearly membership in for $9.99 and then each month they send you a kit for a project at the princely sum of $19.99. As much as I liked the kit, there was no way I would have paid almost $20 for it as well as the yearly fee. I felt like I had a good deal. So, one towel will be part of a friend's birthday this spring and the other is a Christmas gift. Guess I've already started my Christmas shopping for 2018!
Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!
A number of years go we would peruse Pier 1 and there was a set of dishes I had my heart set upon. I really, really wanted them. They were made in Italy and I thought they were simply beautiful. But, alas, we couldn't afford them. I finally gave in and bough one plate. I hung it up on our wall so I could enjoy it.
So, fast forward way over a decade. I still have that plate on my wall. I take it down every so often and wash it and put it back up. I still like it.
Just about every week we go through four thrift stores around us. The past two weeks I've seen a set of these same dishes. It's funny, I still like them, but I have no desire to own them. I think that waiting probably showed me I could live without them. And now I could buy that set from the thrift store. I will admit, I was tempted. Then I thought, where would I put them? Would I really get a lot of use out of them? A number of years ago I donated the fancy China I had simply because I rarely used it. I have the blue willow dishes that I really like and I use them for everything. Plus, We don't have fancy dinner parties. I'm not a gourmet. I cook simple nourishing meals and they are served just fine on my dishes I have.
I am amazed at the kinds of things that we find in the thrift stores. Sure, there's the glass vases that everyone seems to donate. But, I'm talking the good stuff. At least the stuff I like. Most of my blue willow has come from thrift stores and second hand places. All of our drinking glasses come from there. Why pay big prices for a drinking glass when I can get them for 25 or 50 cents and if I break one, I'm not out a lot of money.
Anyway, I tell DH that I guess waiting has taught me a number of things. We see things that I had wanted years ago and couldn't afford...wait a few years and it pops up at thrift stores for a lot less and then I can decide if I really needed it or not. Instant gratification isn't very frugal is it?
A big thanks to Bluebird for the generous gift to my church's knitting group! The ladies were amazed that someone that didn't know us was so kind and thoughtful!
This has been an interesting week.
On Thursday we took a bus trip to Arlington Heights Race Track (Chicagoland) for the Lambs Farm Craft Show. We weren't sure of what to expect since we have not been to the race track or the craft show before. Apparently Lambs Farm helps developmentally disabled folks and the craft show is a huge fund raiser. The track buildings were quite large and two floors housed the craft show. It was all inside. We were intrigued by the track and I looked it up online and apparently it is owned by Churchill Downs...you know, Kentucky Derby fame. The craft show was huge. We didn't buy much and we didn't plan to. We really wanted to go for the experience. I did find some crocheted things and I was shocked at the high prices...hats like the ones we make were around $12 to $15. I saw crocheted flower pins for $8. It was a fun day and I'm glad we went. I don't think I would do it again simply because I'm not much of a shopper.
I have had a ongoing frustrating experience at our Kroger. We used to buy a certain bread and they would usually not have it. So, we found a store brand that we liked as well. Except, they now have problems keeping it on the shelves. We have to find someone to go in the back and look for it. We usually shop on Thursdays, and the trucks come in early morning Thursdays. It would usually depend on the clerk on whether we would get the bread. Those that cared would bring some out; others we think just said they went back to look. Well, we wound shopping Friday of this week due to the bus trip. Friday right after lunch before it gets crazy busy. Well, we get there and no bread. And most of the bread section was riddled. We asked someone and he claimed there was no bread. I was fed up. We paid for our other groceries and came home. I did the krogerfeedback.com thing with the id number and complained that for a store that has a computer inventorying system, they shouldn't have a lack of bread right before a weekend and whomever is in charge of stocking the bread should check it more often so it isn't half empty of all the different breads. I heard from a manager and she called on Saturday morning and said she was sorry and they had the bread in the back (how interesting it appeared less than 24 hours later) and she hoped we would return. Well, we went back yesterday and the bread section was riddled again and the kind we wanted wasn't there. Of course there was no one near that section. We went to the diary section and the nice young man said he would find someone. Well, he must have had as much trouble finding someone because he came back out and asked exactly what we wanted and he came back out with the two loaves of bread. We thanked him, especially since it wasn't his grocery section. We go to the checkout and I commented to the cashier about how frustrating this has become. Apparently the manager was within ear shot...she gave us the bread free. Guess it pays to complain.
The other thing that happened this week actually started a couple of weeks ago. DH and I really like English murder mysteries and we have been enjoying Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Anyway, a few weeks ago I discovered Midsomer Murders has a Facebook page and I liked it. They held a contest to make a bingo card with things from the show. I made one and it was a real fun thing to do. I didn't expect to win, but thought it was something interesting to do. Well, a couple of days later I get a private message through Facebook and they said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me a tea towel and I should include my address in a reply. I did, but to be honest, since I live in the United States, I didn't really expect to receive a towel. Well, I received it a couple of days ago. That was a nice surprise! Here's a photo of the towel:
This has been a whirlwind week and I'm tired, but it is a good tired.
It started last Sunday with a blessing of the hats that were knitted by our group at church. Then after church, a friend and I counted out hats to the two schools that would receive them. One had over 220 kids and the other over 440 kids. Plus, we needed to count out the gloves.
On Monday we made our first delivery. Our Pastor and some of the ladies went with us and we walked around to the rooms and showed them a sampling of the hats and showed them the knitting looms we made them on. After we left, the ladies and Pastor were shocked at the poverty so many of our children live in. They said they realized why I had suggested this project. We did the same on Thursday for the other school. Again, the folks were surprised at the poverty and how many kids had so little. I guess if you don't work in this environment, you don't always realize it is there. On Monday the local TV station came out and did a very short story and on Thursday the local paper did a story. Here are the urls if you wish to see these:
I know I've been blogging a lot about this project, but it has been near and dear to my heart. I just wish we could have done more. We are a small church and I feel at least we helped some children.
In other things, DH and I had two day trips this week. One was to St. Louis and the Italian neighborhood called "The Hill." Part of the bus trip included the lunch. We had a grand time exploring the Italian groceries and other shops and bakeries. Yesterday we had another bus trip to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. DH usually picks out some clothes he wants at the Penneys there. We no longer have a Penneys locally. So, we came home exhausted from that, but it was a great time.
Pastor stopped me at church today and said that because of the publicity on the hats, we have had phone calls to church and that people are wanting more information about joining out knitting group. So, that made me happy...maybe we can reach more kids!
I'm still tired from everything this week, but it is a good tired. It was all good this week, from the knitting, the delivering, and the eating and shopping.
It seems that DH and I keep pretty busy.
Today we attended an estate sale. Pretty ritzy place and pretty nice stuff. I scored a pair of leather insulated gloves for $2, 4 chair cushions for dining room chairs for $16, and an embroidered hand quilted quilt (queen size) for $30. I have a pair of gloves like these, but I often forget to move them to my dress up coat and wind up in my dress up coat with no gloves. The chair cushions were far nicer than the ones I normally buy and although I didn't need them, I thought they would be nice to have. As for the quilt, again, not a need, but it is lovely and I use the quilts I own.
A put a Facebook post asking if anyone had baby food jars with lids. I guess I never noticed that most baby food doesn't come in glass jars anymore. Well, someone contacted me and had 22 of them and I picked them up. I felt very fortunate to have gotten them. I spent a lot of time trying to get the sticky glue from the labels off. That stuff should be used to glue anything you never want to come apart. Sheesh. But, the jars and lids are clean. I'm going to put candy corn in them, glue a green ribbon along the rim of the lid and have kids glue black construction paper faces on them to look like miniature jack-o-lanterns.
Yesterday we hit the thrift stores and I found a lot of great yarn. There are certain types i like to use when making the hats for the school kids. One place had just put out a bunch of it in colors I thought the kids would like. We bought 9 skeins of yarn for around $18. All of it still had the labels on it, so felt that was a good deal.
I'm getting really tired of the mailing and phone calls from many of the places wanting donations. One is a university that calls about every day. I earned my master's degree from it. I received no financial aid, I paid the money out of our savings for the classes, and had to pay an athletic fee on top of it. I thought that was a rip off...I attended class either one evening a week or twice a week during the summer and drove 45 miles one way to attend...I wasn't planning on taking advantage of the athletics. Well, I guess I"m a cheapskate, but I'm not planning on giving them a donation. I've told them that on the phone before, yet they still keep calling. I have more address labels and calendars than I know what to do with from these organizations that send them. I don't give them money, so I don't know why they keep sending them. I usually save the calendars and give them to a primary teacher. She uses them as rewards for her kids who can recite the calendar months.
Aldi had apples on sale so I bought a bunch and made applesauce and apple juice to add to the pantry. A friend gave me some apple butter she made so I gave her a jar of tomato preserves.
DH's garden is still going strong. He brought in 4 huge bell peppers yesterday. I will be using some of them to make bell pepper soup. I make a large pot and then we eat some and I freeze the rest.
I'm attaching photos of some of the canning I've done so far and my husband with the peppers he brought in.
Hope the weekend is going well for everyone.
Today seemed to be a spendy day. Not huge, huge amounts, but here and there.
Our spigot on the house was leaking and has been for awhile. It has gotten pretty bad so DH said we needed to have it replaced. The bad news is it isn't cheap, but the good news is the plumber came out this morning and it is taken care of.
I had a hair cut scheduled for today so I went to that. Fortunately my gal is very reasonable ... under $20. When I looked at my calendar, I hadn't gotten my hair cut for months, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
The other spendy thing was I needed to get the oil changed on my car. I know it is a necessity and it helps keep the car in good working order. I take it to the dealership for a variety of reasons -- they keep my service records, are very helpful and friendly, and I feel safe there. They do a thorough check up on things and make sure the tire pressure is where it should be and unlike some places, they aren't always trying to sell me something. I haven't had the oil changed since May and I wasn't quite there on mileage, but decided I better get it done and not have to worry about it if the weather starts to get bad.
In non spending activities, I finished cleaning the house and wrote two letters and worked on publicity for our church's Christmas bazaar. Supper is going to be leftover pork roast. DH teases me we don't let many leftovers go uneaten and why should we if they aren't spoiled? That is like throwing money away!
A friend emailed me that he was a little irritated at his wife. She is very talented when it comes to crafts and sewing, but she has the bad habit of going to the craft/sewing store and buying things because she thinks she's going to do the project. She said she was going this week and he asked why when she had so many things already in her sewing room.
I know the temptation. Every time I go, I want to buy this and that and this because it is fun thinking about doing them and then having a finished project. It doesn't help that this chain also sends out coupons about every day in email. Fortunately this store is across town, so that helps curb the temptation. DH probably wouldn't care, but I care. I don't want to buy a ton of stuff that just sits around. I recently bought two skeins of yarn and some buttons because I crocheted coffee cozies for a class to give our local police department. I sewed the buttons on the cozies. The school's mascot is a star and since police officers used to have a star, I figured this would go along. It was a nice little project and then I used the smaller star buttons and glued them to index cards for the kids to write messages to the officers.
I will admit I have bought some things at the thrift stores lately for some personal projects. I bought some crochet thread that came from France -- really nice stuff -- for 99 cents a skein. I saw a towel pattern on Pinterest I thought I could use. I recently purchased a piece of material for a dollar at another thrift store and used it to make a pillow case for a pillow I have had for a long time. The other case was pretty ratty. And I also have some other crochet thread I bought at rummage sales and thrift stores that I hope to use to crochet some ornaments.
Last summer I bought a pair of pillow cases that were to be embroidered and I worked on them and have them finished. I plan to give them as a Christmas gift. They were still in a sealed package. I was delighted to get them and it was fun working on them.
Our church group is continuing to knit the hats on the looms. So far we have 680 hats made. Our intention is to adopt a couple of schools and give them the hats as well as tissue, wet wipes, and pencils. Fortunately people have donated a lot of yarn so I have used a lot of that besides buying some to fill in. I try not to bring home more yarn, either the donated stuff, or the stuff I buy, than I think I'll use. I did run out of yarn a couple of weeks ago. I use the yarn to work on the hats and then if there is some left I use the remainder to make dish cloths. I'm trying to adhere to the "Use it up" slogan.
As much as I enjoy crafts, I think they can be a hit on the budget if one would let them. I have tried to pick stuff up at rummage sales and thrift stores as much as possible. I did buy the knitting loom, but I think I've made more than a 100 hats on it since I bought it over a year ago. I had the crochet hooks so that wasn't an added expense.
My mom used to crochet and I remember she always had a ton of yarn around the house. Then, in her 60s, she decided she didn't want to crochet, and instead taught herself to quilt. No small feat by any means, but she was very talented when it came to sewing and crafting. I didn't want the yarn so we wound up donating it to the school where i worked. When she died, she had so much material that it was just a shame that she never got to finish all the quilts she had some day hoped to make.
I would prefer to use up everything. I don't know if that is possible, but that is my goal. I don't want a bunch of stuff sitting around. So, my goal is to limit myself to only having the stuff I will actually work on and finish. It sort of saves money because then I'm not as tempted to go out and buy a lot of other things.
Anyway, here is a photo of a completed cozy on a coffee cup. Sorry it is so dark, but I never can get the light to be just right.
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.
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?
It's a warm Friday down here in Central Illinois.
My church was having its annual rummage sale. We dropped by and found a few things. I bought an unopened box of stationery. I write to three shut ins and I try to find nice cards and papers. My husband says that I'm probably one of the few people who still write letters. I also found packages of sheer curtains that had never been opened. I have been looking for some for a window, but didn't want to pay big bucks for them. I spent $6 for both of them and they were new in the package.
We do a weekly tun through the thrift shops and I found a summer dress and jacket for $5. My husband reads to classes during the year and he found a kid's book for 45 cents that he wanted for his library.
I finished book #49 last night. I have been keeping track of all the books I read. I belong to a Facebook book club which we just tell the title and author and if we liked the book or not. The goal is to read 17 books since the year ends in 17. That is one of the joys of being retired...I can read far more.
Yesterday we received a bunch of calls from an unknown number. My curiosity got the better of me and I answered it today. I was greeted with "grandma" and the guy started in on his sob story. I could tell he was calling from a call center because when I answered, I could hear all the other callers in the background. He went on to say he didn't sound like himself because he has a broken nose. I asked him how he broke it and he told me he was in an auto accident and that some lady ran into him. I asked him where he was and he said Fort Wayne and that he was going to his friend's, Mark Fisher's brother's funeral. The brother had leukemia. I asked him why he left town with his ankle bracelet because he wasn't supposed to. I think I stymied him for a couple of seconds and he said he knew, and he was sorry. I asked him if he had told his dad and he said no and I asked him why not and he hung up on me. Some rude "grandson." I make light of this because I don't have grandchildren and I knew it was a scam going in. I think he realized I was messing with him. Hopefully they will quit calling. I'm tired of all the calls we get and there are so many. I bet we answer the phone maybe once every couple of days or so because most of the calls are basically scammers or people wanting to sell us something. Personally, I think it is darn rude of them to even think to waste my time. Although I do think the ones calling from Microsoft and are pretty bad. The second to last one he was telling me my computer was sending him messages and it needed to be fixed. I asked him which computer and he said what did I mean and I said which one, we have more than one and I need to know the ID from it so I can use the right one. He asked to speak to my husband which is even funnier. My husband doesn't touch the computer. What scares me is he knew my husband's name. I told him that my husband hates computers so it would be a bigger waste of his time and he hung up. The last call I just said we don't have a computer and hung up. I'm sure they will call again.
Here it is May 10th. Can't believe it is almost a year since I retired. I've enjoyed it and I love the life I have. I have been so blessed to be able to retire and not have to do without things.
DH and I were talking. I guess we have become used to a somewhat frugal lifestyle so we don't have huge things on our want list. Well, we would like to get a new driveway and we are saving for it. A couple of summers ago when we met with our financial guy, he wanted to see our budget. I have all these different accounts...money market, savings which is our home improvement account, vacation, Christmas club, and then regular checking. I thought sure hew as going to tell me these accounts were ridiculous, but he asked me about them and we told him that we save up for stuff. For example, the savings account is for home improvements. We put in a set amount every month and have a goal in mind. Back then we were working on a new roof because we knew we would need one. Last May we had that new roof put on and paid for it with cash. He said that was wonderful because so many of his people want to take money out of their investments to buy a new car or do home improvements.
The saga has continued with the neighbor and the kickball. It came to a head last week when I saw the kids playing, so I opened the front door and stood behind the storm door and watched. He saw me, kept looking up to see if I was still there, and when he thought I wasn't watching, kicked the ball right into our yard. I went out and told the kids that this kid's dad needed to come over and get the ball. The dad refused. DH and I walked it over there (dad was working the garage) and explained that this is not the first time the kick ball has wound up in our yard and many times it has been in the flowers and the vegetable garden and we don't want kids tramping down the plants. It isn't like the ball can roll into our yard. We sit on a bit of a hill so it has to be an upward kick aimed at our yard. The dad didn't say too much except they were done playing today. I just said my husband works way too hard in the yard and garden for it to be torn up. The little boy never apologized or anything. I finally commented that I knew he was watching me in the doorway and it just makes me wonder what happens when we aren't home. I suspect I know because there have been plants broken off and one of our solar lights has been crushed. Anyway, for a week no kickball and then this week the kids gathered to play basketball. That's how it starts. Then they get tired of basketball and start kickball. So, I had a little yarn project so I sat out on the front step for an hour and a half working on my project. No kickball that night! I'm sure this kid thinks I'm the meanest thing on two feet, but I feel I have to be the adult here since the parents apparently don't want to be the bad guys.
We have started purchasing the materials to update the master bathroom. Let me tell you, master bathroom is certainly misnomer because it is tiny...the only thing master about it is it is right off the master bedroom. We ordered a new vanity and medicine cabinet and had them custom made by the Amish. They are beautiful. I need to order a new light. We bought a new countertop and faucet and I've decided that I'd like new towel racks and shower curtain rod. I realized the last time we updated this bathroom other than the floor was over 17 years ago. Fortunately the shower surround and stool are OK. We did update the floor a couple of years ago with a piece of leftover vinyl from another project. I'm kind of excited about having some new stuff. I realized my toothbrush holder is over 18 years old. There's nothing wrong with it, but I'm kind of tired of the color. I paid $1 for it. I think we got our money's worth as far as it goes. The current vanity and medicine cabinet are still OK as is the countertop and faucet so we plan to donate them to one of the thrift stores. We did that with the other ones from the hall bathroom and they sold within a couple of days. They aren't the highest quality, but they look decent. We try to take care of things.
Health wise I have struggled with allergies and asthma the past few weeks. I think the mold and tree pollen are high and with not having a super hard freezing winter, I think a lot of stuff didn't die off.
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!
Today looks like a no spend day. Not planning on going anywhere. DH plans to volunteer at a school where he goes each Wednesday and then walk at the mall. I intend to stay home. We had a major weather change in the past 24 hours so my asthma has kicked up. We were 63 degrees yesterday and the temperature dropped almost 30 degrees last night and they are calling for a chance of snow. Yuck.
Yesterday we dropped off some things at the thrift store we donate to. The profits support the Lutheran School Association that is near and dear to us. We went to the library and checked out some materials so that was a good day. Fixed all meals at home. And a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile called and we caught up so it was a pretty good day overall.
Monday was a spendy day to an extent. The thrift store I mentioned before had just restocked and we bought a bunch of canning jars. I mistakenly thought I had enough last fall when I was canning, so I don't want to find myself in that situation again. I also bought some yarn there...50 cents a skein. I wasn't planning on buying anymore yarn until I had used up what I had. I was close, but not quiet. But the yarn I bought i wanted it to try and crochet a bathroom rug. We also met another couple we haven't seen in awhile for dinner so it was a nice day overall.
Tomorrow will be a day to spend...grocery shopping. But it won't be too much since we have lots of stuff in the pantry and freezer. It will mostly be fresh fruits, bread, and some dairy. So, not bad spending, I guess.
Life has been busy around here. DH and I have worked to get the house ready for fall and winter. DH is still trying to take it easy after his surgery so things take a little longer. But, we've gotten many of our summer items put away. I finished drying herbs and have them ready to use as I cook. The hose is emptied and put up and the rain barrel has been dismantled and put away as well.
Each year my church has a bazaar for Christmas. In the past I've donated what I could, but time constraints have limited me somewhat. This summer as I went to thrift stores and garage sales I had a few items in mind as I shopped. I wanted some table top trees. I also wanted some crochet thread. I found both at different places very reasonably. So, off and on this summer I crocheted ornaments for these trees. The beauty of these ornaments is they don't take a ton of thread so I could buy already started crochet thread and make a few ornaments and not have a lot of money involved. I finished three trees and took them to church so they are ready for the sale. I also found a candle wick Christmas stocking kit new in the package for 99 cents. Candle wicking is a form of embroidery. I worked on it this summer too, finished the embroidery part and then sewed the stocking together. It will also be donated. I forgot to iron it when I ironed some other things the other day.
A couple of months ago I joined a group at church called Stitches of Love. This group makes a variety of things, but a couple of things everyone works on at one time or another has to be these knitted hats that are made on a knitting loom. They taught me how to do this and I've made both hats for preemies and then hats to donate. We've donated to three schools so far. In one of the closets there are tubs of yarn that have been donated so we can use that if we want. I had some odds and ends of the yarn I've used to make these hats, both from the stuff I've purchased as well as the free stuff and I wondered what I could do with it without waiting to make one big projects. I discovered a pattern to make a cover for the Swiffer. So, I made one for myself out of the scraps and tried it and it works pretty well. So, I went through the tubs at church and found bits and pieces of yarn and have been working on making these covers to donate to the bazaar.
All these projects aren't major things, but they have kept my hands busy and hopefully will help out either the bazaar or the children we donate the hats for. As far as cost, other than buying the looms retail, everything else has been bought used at thrift stores and garage sales or gleaned from the yarn tubs at church. I don't know if I'm saving money, but it is pretty decent entertainment for little money.
Happy Halloween! 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.
I know the calendar says it is the final day of September, but wow, where has this month gone? Of course with DH's surgery and my colonoscopy, much of it was doctor's appointments and procedures.
I can say it was kind of spendy. I bit the bullet and bought a MacBook. My current cheapie laptop is about to bite the dust. I just finished copying files and photos. I was going to buy another cheap laptop, but DH said I should just get what I really wanted. We had the money so I did. Now, I am trying to get all the personal stuff of this laptop. If I revert back to factory settings, will it clear most of the stuff off or will I need to run a program to clear the hard drive?
DH and I volunteered at one of my former schools today. He has been reading to two classrooms for the past 8 years. So today he read to the two classrooms and I helped in one of the classrooms by working with a couple of the students who are behind with fluency words.
DH's brother is going to have surgery next month. They were talking on the phone and although DH always seems supportive about the canning and enjoys the food, he never really says too much about it. I had to chuckle yesterday. He asked me if I had a list of everything that was canned. I did so he wanted it to read to his brother, almost bragging about it. Too funny! DH's brother has always had a much larger garden, but his wife doesn't can. She says it is too much work. It is work, but most things in life are.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. Hello, October!
It's Sunday. Can't say I have monumental happenings to report, but I have been busy.
My church has a small group of ladies who have a group called Stitches of Love. I asked about joining although my crocheting isn't super fancy and was told to come and they would show me what I needed to know. It's kind of a neat idea -- they make items and donate them. They use knitting looms and in the two hours I was there, I made and finished a hat for a preemie. One lady was working on an adult hat that will be donated to either a homeless shelter or a group home, and another lady was crocheting a lap robe for a nursing home. Other people were making different things too. This goes along with my challenge I posted about making a scarf to donate to a homeless shelter. I will admit it made me desire a loom so I did go out and buy a set (the box of looms were on sale). I have finished the scarf and even made a hat to go with it using the loom. I can now work on other stuff at home as well attend the group. The ladies told me not to buy yarn because they have a cabinet of it that has been donated so I look forward to seeing what they have.
I have also been crocheting Christmas ornaments out of crochet thread and I found a small table top Christmas tree that I'm going to decorate with them and donate them to the church for the bazaar. At a thrift shop last spring I found a brand new candlewick Christmas stocking and I finished it a few weeks ago and sewed the stocking and other than ironing it, it will be ready to donate to the bazaar this fall.
I have canned a little more this week. Since DH's garden is small, I get things in smaller increments, but I don't mind because I can a little at a time. It all adds up.
Ten years ago I visited the Teachers Retirement System to start the plan for my retirement. Because I had been hired and worked a number of years when the TRS deduction was lower, they had something that was a 2.2 upgrade. A number of years ago to help with the pension fund, the amount deducted was raised. It not only helped TRS, but also would help with one's own pension down the road. The lady I talked with suggested I pay the 2.2 upgrade for the years I worked before this rate hike. She said it was a good deal because if I didn't need it for my pension, I would get it back with interest. Not a lot of interest, but some. I received a letter stating that I would get it refunded to me and I could either take it as a payment or roll it over into a Roth. I, of course, rolled it over. So glad I paid that money a number of years ago. Although it was my money, it felt like found money when I heard I would get it refunded.
DH's birthday is coming up in September. I asked him what he wanted and one item he asked for was a pair of shoes like the ones he likes from Lands End. I scored a great deal...I had received a 30% off offer in an email and because we weren't in any hurry, also wound up with free shipping. I felt that was a very good deal. The shoes weren't supposed to arrive until the end of next week -- we received them a day after I ordered. I know that was a fluke because they probably aren't busy, but it felt like a bonus nonetheless.
Yesterday DH and I went to a couple of big antique malls north of us. We bought a couple of things at each, spent less than $40 at both, but had a great time looking.
One was in El Paso, IL. It's a small town north of Bloomington. We've been there before and they often have different things than what we see around our town. Years ago when Mary Engelbreit was hot, DH would buy me small things for my birthday and Christmas. We didn't have a lot of places to shop for it. One vendor had more Mary Engelbreit stuff that we've ever viewed before. I didn't realize she had that much merchandise out. We didn't buy any of it, but it was fun to look.
The other antique mall was in Peru, IL. It boasts 30,000 square feet. I believe it. It was almost overwhelming to look at so much stuff. Again, we saw some different things. One thing we really liked was a Morris chair by Stickley. A big name in mission furniture. Pretty cool to look at. We didn't even entertain the notion of buying it -- it was priced at $2,500. A little much for our pocketbook. But fun, nevertheless.
It's funny seeing how things are being sold in cycles. My friend collects Platzgraff Villager stuff. Her grandmother bought her a set of it a number of years ago when it was a hot commodity to buy these dishes. I remember she broke a cup and when we were going around looking a number of years ago, she showed me one and asked me to find a replacement if I could. It wasn't easy. Well, it seems that most antique places now have tons of the stuff for sale. We found some unique items for her yesterday...I didn't tell her what, but told her she will have a surprise for Christmas!
It's wasn't a super spendy day other than the gas -- we drove a little over 200 miles for the round trip and we did eat supper out. But, a local told us a reasonable restaurant and our supper was about $20 with tip and it was a decent meal so we didn't feel like we were hurt. We also picked up an Illinois state publication that lists all the antique shops in Illinois by city. So that may be quite a find in and of itself.
I haven't had too much to blog about lately. I'm not complaining, mind you. Just trying to figure out a routine that works.
I did wind up spending some money for a new exercise bike. We had been hitting thrift stores and garage sales, but couldn't find one. Yes, there were a couple out there, but the speedometer didn't work on either of them. I didn't care about the speed, but wanted to keep track of the miles. My former exercise bike's display quit working a couple of months ago and then it started having issues with the chain. Neither DH and I are mechanical enough to figure out the chain and since I had purchased it used a number of years ago, we figured I had gotten my money out of it. We did take it in to the place and since they sell both used and new, they gave me ten bucks for it. I felt that was a deal because I didn't have to pay the garbage man or think it would go into a landfill. Maybe someone else can fix it and get some use out of it.
Yesterday we went through kitchen cabinets and got rid of drinking glasses and mugs. DH wasn't thrilled with the prospect at first, but afterwards, he was OK with is since we can now see what we have and not have to stack glasses. I went through the pantry as well. We will be eating some things that are close to the use by date. I also got rid of some items that I could donate. A few years ago I bought a lunch Crockpot at the church rummage sale. It was handy to take lunches in. I still worked so I donated it. Donated a bunch of other stuff today as well as mugs and glasses. I like the fact the pantry is organized. I've been checking out Pinterest for ideas. The only sad thing is most of the pantries shown are walk in; mine is a reach in. But there were a few and I did get some ideas. It looks better and hopefully I can keep it tidy.
It's supposed to heat up this week. I know it is summer, but we had a hot and humid June. Fortunately we don't have any major appointments that we have to do this week.
Due to the extreme heat, no one at the Farmer's Markets has had green beans. One of the stores did get some in from Florida and they were on sale. I canned 12 quarts and one pint of green beans this week. DH dug up some of the onions he planted and I canned 7 pints of those. My pantry is starting to fill again. That makes me happy.
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.
Hope you all are having a great start to 2016! So far, mine has been very good.
DH and I went out to eat last night and then to church. We came home and relaxed. This morning was a relaxing morning as well. We didn't eat any of the foods that are supposed give us a lucky year; we had leftover vegetable soup. A friend gave us a Pike's Peak Roast and we had it for supper the other night and I used the broth and the leftover meat for soup. We've had three full meals out of it and I still had enough to freeze for another small meal.
We did go out and do a little shopping. Found a couple of things on sale and used a coupon to save a bit more. It was stuff we would have bought anyway. Just happened to find it on sale. We also bought furnace filters which weren't on sale, but necessary nonetheless. I figure maintaining the furnace is important and hopefully saves us money by not using a clogged, dirty filter.
We did go to the grocery store and pick up bread, milk, and fruit. We will be eating from the freezer and pantry for everything else. We need to use things up so they don't go bad or get freezer burn.
I know some make resolutions for the new year. I do not because I usually tend to "forget" them and do whatever. So, I'm just trying to make wise decisions as the days go by. I am trying to get things organized. I tidied up my closet today and believe me, it needed it. I have been going through drawers and areas so I can donate things. The other day I organized my thread. I have been buying spools of thread at estate sales and garage sales. I don't do serious sewing, but I do hem my slacks and I do some mending. I have amassed quite a few spools and it was getting to be a problem seeing what I had. So, I decided to put them in a shallow drawer on their sides so I can see their colors. It sure makes it easier to find what I need. Lately I seem to be mending quite a few things.
I did splurge yesterday and bought some crochet thread. I have an old bureau that I have had for over 40 years. I like it, but the top is narrow (it has three drawers on the top, two stick out further than the center one) and I have used a folded runner for the past few years over it. I decided to buy some pretty crochet thread and crochet myself a runner in the right width. Yep, I'm living dangerously, aren't I?
Hope your New Year is a fabulous one filled with many blessings.
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