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What I have learned...

September 2nd, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Well, we have three months of having the booth under our belts.

I finished doing the paperwork today to see how we did.

One thing I learned is people around here do not buy deviled egg dishes. I sold the ones I had for what we had in them to a kind lady who was going to give them to a friend to replace the ones he lost due to divorce. I feel fortunate I didn't lose money.

Another thing I learned is to look at what everyone else has in their booths and not buy the same stuff. If it isn't selling in their booths, chances are it isn't going to sell in ours. So, we usually do a sweep every month to see what everyone has and look for different items.

In an earlier post I told my husband that we have to buy things that we ourselves might not like, but because someone else might collect it. It is difficult to do this because we usually gravitate to those items we ourselves like, but I have some things in our booth that I personally would not want. But we all have different likes.

In a previous post someone suggested to buy in such a way you can mark the price up to three times the amount. Sage advice, I might add.

I have been listening to what my friends say they buy and look for those items. One friend likes snowmen so when I find them reasonable, I pick them up and am storing most of them for more seasonable shopping, although I have a couple of things out. Another friend likes bird items and she has been a very faithful customer.

I think another thing I've learned is I have to do what I call, "hustle." I post photos on Facebook each week of stuff. I email people when I have items I think they might like. I move items around in the booth and exchange things out every few weeks so it looks different. We have seen booths that have looked the same for months. I wonder how they even make booth rent.

Our booth is small. I have it pretty packed. In all honesty, it has been fun.

So, I'm pleased to report that for the first month we broke even. The second month we made about $24. And last month we made about $36 after paying expenses.

We are using the profits to buy more items, but I think the education has been a benefit as well. I have no desire to go into business for myself, but it has been enjoyable.

Facebook Findings

July 28th, 2013 at 10:00 pm

There was a story on the news the other day that people using Facebook may often find dissatisfaction with their lives.

Basically, the story said people see photos of others having fun, feel like they are missing out on life, and depression comes about.

I think there's a lot of truth to that. Maybe not full blown depression, but people feel like they aren't getting enough of what everyone else is getting.

I'm not saying people need to stop posting their vacation photos and family celebrations, but we need to stop and remember that a photograph is usually taken for one of two reasons. One is to help us remember something and two, to show someone else what we did. It is a snapshot in time.

I've been to some cool places and I've guilty of those vacation shots. But, my life isn't one big vacation, that's for sure.

But, I think human nature makes us feel like we are missing out on stuff.

One of my Facebook folks is constantly posting photos of her dream homes. Over and over, she makes comments about how she wishes she had this and that. The realistic side of me wants to say, "Get away from the computer and make your house more of what you like."

I guess that would be cruel, eh?

Last night had a couple for to join us for supper. It was a simple meal. The best part of it was the fellowship. I didn't have super fancy dishes or wine glasses and no flowers or big candlelabras. But I think we all had a nice time visiting.

And I realize how very blessed I am.

Points to Ponder

July 7th, 2013 at 08:20 pm

I haven't blogged much in the past week simply because I haven't had too much to say. We have worked on some chores around here and Friday and Saturday we hit some garage sales. I've cooked most meals and stretched things, but none of the recipes are anything new or exciting so nothing to share there. I made foccaicia bread last week, except I made it in glass baking dish and instead of putting the herbs on top, I mixed them in with the dough mixture. DH loved it and asked if I would make it again for this week. I think we ate it with 4 or 5 meals and since I subsituted some of the white flour with wheat, I think it was a little healthier.

July 4th has come and gone and I'm tired of the neighborhood fire crackers that have been going on for the past week. I didn't sleep well either the 3rd or the 4th because some one or ones were shooting them off late, and when I say late, I'm not talking 9 p.m. Some were still going off after midnight. This has continued for the past 3 nights.

I have decided that some of the folks that bought the most firecrackers and fireworks are probably ones who could least afford them.

In that vein, doesn't it seem like the people who can least afford it are the ones who have a zillion pets?

Doesn't it seem like the folks who can least afford it are the ones using their credit cards for rewards, bragging about what they earned, yet not paying the silly things off?

I know there are people out there who bought fireworks and are not hurting for money. Or who have pets and take good care of them without hurting their budget. I use a credit card. I buy certain things with it like groceries. I don't really use it for the rewards, although I get a paltry cash back. I use it because it is far easier at the grocery store to use the credit card than to write a check. I also use my credit card if we are buying a big ticket item in case I need some recourse. But, I pay that puppy off every month as well.

Maybe I'm just crabby from lack of sleep, but I'm a little tired of people complaining they don't have money and then buying many of these items or using their credit card.

Thursday Thoughts

June 27th, 2013 at 02:23 pm

It's supposed to be a hot day here in Central Illinois. We have received quite a bit of rain and I imagine within a day or so, things will be drying out. Hopefully, by the weekend, it is supposed to be cooler.

I have two meals to plan today, both using leftovers. We are going to have a frittata for one meal using up some sausage and cleaning out the vegetable bin. For another meal I'm going to make spaghetti using up the leftover sloppy chicks (sloppy joes made with ground chicken). DH has lettuce growing and fortunately our bunny troubles seem to be in the past so I will make a salad with the lettuce and radishes, as well as some of the tomatoes we bought.

We did find some things to put in our booth yesterday. I need to wash things up...I don't understand why people do not wash things to sell, but I guess they are too busy or too lazy.

We did go to the library yesterday and I checked out some magazines and a DVD. We watched a DVD we had checked out earlier and I will enjoy the magazines...our library changed the checkout period for magazines...they used to be for two weeks, but have been cut to one. So, I always check to make sure I get them returned on time.

I will be making a meal plan for the next week so I can then make grocery lists for the two stores we frequent. I kept the Sunday ad for the one to check what is on sale. The other is Aldi and although they have a weekly ad, most of the stuff they advertise is not stuff I usually purchase.

Hope you have a fine day.

Booth update

June 21st, 2013 at 09:35 pm

We checked in on our booth and we have made enough to cover the booth rent for this month and a little besides! Yay!

I have decided it is a game...what can we buy that truly interests others? DH is having to learn that just because he likes something, doesn't mean a lot of others do. I bought a couple trinkets that he questioned me on last week. I put them in the booth and they both sold over the weekend. It was luck, shot and simple, but it wasn't something I would particularly like for myself. So, it is learning to think beyond my own likes and dislikes.

Antique booth update

June 16th, 2013 at 07:20 pm

We are halfway through the first month of this antique booth. We have not quite made booth rent yet, but I am hopeful. It is a learning experience...things we thought would sell immediately haven't and stuff I added for filler have sold. Go figure!

Today they are supposed to have a vintage car show in the parking lot and they are supposed to sell food with the profit helping a homeless shelter. I certainly hope we have good weather for this to bring in lots of customers. I know not everyone will buy, but I figure if we have lots of folks going through the antique mall, the better our chances are. They were supposed to have an outdoor flea market a couple of weekends ago and because of the bad weather, they cancelled it. This place isn't quite a year old so the foot traffic isn't great...I hope activities like the car show help bring in other people.

I'm going to post some photos of some of the stuff in our booth so you get an idea of the stuff we are trying to sell.






Thank you to everyone who comment on the previous post about the booth. I am taking your advice that was generously given.

Taking the plunge

May 30th, 2013 at 02:36 pm

Well, we did it. DH and I have discussing this for a few months and we have been buying items very reasonably and ... we put down rent for a booth in a local antique mall.

I am both excited and frightened. My folks always did something for extra money. When I was a kid they had a furniture store and when we moved they had a small antique shop. I am, by no means, an expert on anything, but I am hoping we can make some money as well as have some fun buying and selling.

Our booth is very small and therefore fairly reasonable. I have a variety of items, priced differently. DH has argued with me over this one item...it is a very large candle with a primitive beaded ring around it sitting on a glass plate. He says it is too ugly and I say for $2.00, someone might buy it just for the candle and the plate. We shall see.

We set it up this afternoon. The place is supposed to have a flea market on the grounds this weekend so hopefully it will bring in more customers. I hope we have a nice weekend for it.

Any suggestions for a successful booth?

Wish us luck!

Growl...and a new recipe

May 25th, 2013 at 01:17 am

After supper tonight we went to the grocery store. We actually frequent two: Aldi and County Market. DH went to Aldi yesterday with a substantial list and then I make out a list for CM to fill in for things we either couldn't get, or like better at the CM.

The last couple of weeks, Aldi's bananas have been very ripe, so we have bought them at CM. I have noticed that it seems like the bottom of the bananas have seemed bruised. I kind of wondered why two weeks in a row just the bottom ones were bruised, but I think I discovered the reason.

The cashier who my husband has gone to the past two weeks is not exactly gentle. Tonight I witnessed him pretty much manhandle our groceries. He set the bananas down pretty roughly to weigh them. So I imagine we will have ones bruised on the bottom again. He basically pitched our loaf of bread to the side. I was so appalled I didn't even say anything.

To top things off, one of the local schools had their football players bagging for groceries. I understand they need money, but can't someone give them a few tips on bagging? We use reusable bags and some are larger than others. In one of the larger ones they put three boxes of tissue and something else very thin and very light. But in one of the smaller ones, they put two half gallons of milk and a bottle of grape juice, a can of olives and a couple of other heavier things. Sheesh. Everything was a jumbled up mess.

Oh, well, I told DH we are not going into the cashier's lane again. I think part of the problem is he doesn't feel well a lot of the time so he probably doesn't care. I'm sorry about that and I don't want to cost him his job, especially in our town with a huge unemployment rate.

I found this recipe we are going to try tomorrow night:

Tilapia Rice Cakes

8 oz tilapia
1/2 cup broth
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 c cooked wild rice
1/4 c chopped onion
2 T finely chopped bell pepper
2 T mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Worchestershire sauce
1 t lemon juice

oil


Rinse fish, pat dry. Pour broth into a 2 quarter baking dish. Bake at 450 4-5 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness of fish until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Drain and break into pieces.

Combine fish, egg, panko, wild rice, pepper, mayo, mustard, Worchestershire and lemon juice. Shape into 6 3/4 inch patties. Chill for 2 hours. Heat oil, cook patties until golden brown, about 10 minutes total.

Sure hope they turn out.

Odds and Ends

May 19th, 2013 at 12:09 am

Each week I fix a fruit salad. Same fruit. During the winter it is pricey, but we pay for it anyway because we believe it has helped us stay healthier. Our fruit salad consists of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries and sometimes I get wild and add an apple at the last minute or kiwi. Each night I slice a banana and then put the fruit salad over it. It's pretty and yummy, and we like it. That being said, this week DH found strawberries on sale so we had leftover salad. I took the remainder of it in my lunch. The ladies I eat with were amazed that we have fruit every night. Cleaning the fruit and cutting up strawberries doesn't take that long. I know folks are busy, but THAT busy?

I've blogged about the bread making and so far, the kids have loved it. I do have some left at the end of each day and I hate for it to go to waste so I offer it to staff. One lady who I know cooks quite a bit was shocked that it was a recipe and not a box mix for the bread machine. I told her those box mixes about $4 each and why spend so much when with 6 ingredients, you can make basic white bread? So, she asked for the recipe.

We hit a true thrift shop today and found some great bargains. I found two small American flags, made in America, a small Howard Miller clock with a picture frame, some linen napkins, a small blue and white candle holder, and an unused candle...total cost: $6 for all. I did not need any of this stuff, but the candle will go in my stash when I need a quick gift. The candle holder is for me...I like blue and white stuff. We will use the napkins, and the flags are going in our yard. The clock is going to go next to my chair in the family room because I take off my watch when I get home and we don't have a wall clock. It had been a gift to someone who works for a large milling company here in Decatur...there is a small (less than an inch wide) logo on it, but it looks news. Fine with me. Howard Miller is a famous clock maker so hopefully the clock will run for a long time...it had a battery in it and it was working.

About a month and a half ago a university offered an online course to any teachers in our district on financial matters and retirement. You are to sign up, agree to take the coursework, and they pay you $25 for signing up and $25 when you finish. I signed up not only for the money, but also, I hoped to learn some things. I have taken three modules and I can say I have learned a few things about vocabulary and such. Some of the things are common sense like emergency fund and savings accounts. But, it never hurts to learn new things and get paid to do it besides. I don't think many signed up. Oh, well.

It was a beautiful day here in Central Illinois. After hitting the library and the thrift shop, we went to Lowe's and bought some plants. DH has been busily planting tomato plants, bell pepper plants, and herbs. We sure hope for a good harvest!

On the news tonight part of the midsection of the country is forecasting tornadoes. Hope they don't get them and hope they don't come here either.

Hope you had a great Saturday as well.

No, I'm not crazy, well not carb crazy anyway!

May 12th, 2013 at 08:35 pm

Currently I have two bread machines whirring away in my kitchen. No, I have not gone carb crazy...I bought both machines used and need to see how long it takes to make a loaf of white bread. I intend to take them to school and make bread with some of the classes. So many of our students have no idea that bread can be baked...if you ask them where bread comes from, they say from the store. It is sad they have little concept of how bread is made.

We had our usual Sunday brunch of scrambled eggs, sausage, cheesy grits, and toast today. I have leftover sausage so it will go into another dish this week. Probably a fritatta. I have a stew simmering on the stove for tomorrow night's supper. We had leftover pork roast from last night's supper. There's enough stew for supper and a lunch or two. I figure we will have some of the bread that is currently being baked. I plan on giving away the second loaf.

Our church will be getting a vicar in June. In our denomination, a vicar is like an intern or student teacher who works for a year learning the ropes. The ladies guild put out big plastic tubs and are encouraging us to help fill the pantry for the vicar and his wife and soon to be born baby. I think it is a lovely gesture. It reminds me of when I married almost 23 years ago. The staff of the school I worked with went in and bought a toaster, a paring knife, and a recipe box and they all included recipes, then they filled a laundry basket with canned goods and nonperishables. It was so thoughtful and practical. A few years later one of the ladies I worked with was getting married and she and her soon to be husband were going to buy a house. I bought bags of groceries to help fill their pantry instead of some of the fancy cookware she registered for. She was disappointed. She was polite, but I could tell she wasn't thrilled. One of the other teachers who was like a second mom to her told me she thought it was a great gift and she would appreciate it a little later. She was correct...after they ate all the cans of soup and pasta and used most of the stuff, she went to the store and tried to replace it. She later told me she didn't realize groceries were that expensive and that was over 15 years ago. I suggested to her then she needed to check the grocery ads and buy things on sale and stock up.

The hubster has been busy in the garden. He planted herbs and has also planted green onions, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. He said he's thinking of getting tomato plants this week. Tonight it is supposed to be pretty cool, but temps are going to be in the 80s starting Tuesday.

We hit Walgreens after brunch today. They had some things on sale that I also had coupons for. A couple of things we didn't need, but decided to stock up since they aren't going to go bad. Plus, I found a couple of things to put in the pile for the vicar's pantry. According to the receipt, we saved almost $30 with specials, coupons, and the loyalty card. Other than a couple of things I bought for the vicar's pantry, everything else was stuff we use. I will never achieve the Extreme Couponing success as they do on the television, but figure if I save a few dollars here and there, I'm doing decently.

It is sunny and a lovely day for all the mothers and grandmothers to be celebrated. Hope your day is wonderful as well.

Garage Sale Grumblings

May 11th, 2013 at 03:29 am

On HGTV there is a new program where two families compete by having garage sales. They put out tons of stuff and get primo prices. Not sure how realistic is it for "reality TV", but interesting to see what they reuse and redo a d put out.

That being said, we went to some garage sales last weekend and most were, well pathetic. I am almost shocked at what folks think others might want. So many had clothes and most of the clothes were pretty tired looking. As for goodies, the term slim pickins comes to mind.

I know not every sale can have things that interest me, but I wonder if folks think ahead and realize in order to make money, they have to have some stuff to sell to make up for the ad and the trouble.

How are the garage sales in your area?

Did a little spending...

April 28th, 2013 at 06:46 pm

Yesterday we did get to the bulk food store run by Amish and I bought some cheese, sausage, and some spices. Their spices are far more reasonable than those in the grocery. I commented the dried mustard in my cabinet was purchased when we married which will make it 23 years old come June 15. We didn't spent a ton, but I felt like we bought some things we would use.

We stopped at a local store and looked around the gourmet food section. DH was shocked at looking at the jars and packages of spices and spice mixtures and the prices of $8 to $15 after buying similar things in less fancy packages at the bulk food store.

Today, after church, we hit Walgreens for a few of their specials. I even had a couple of coupons to put towards the purchase and with the mark downs and coupons, we saved over 25% on our purchase.

All in all, we didn't spent a huge amount either day, I feel like my shelves have a few more necessary items, and I most certainly did not go in debt. I would say that was a success.

Buying in bulk

April 27th, 2013 at 01:34 pm

I have perused many money saving or frugal living sights and so many say to buy in bulk. I get that it can save money, but I wonder where to put a lot of this stuff.

We don't belong to a warehouse store because we found two things: we really didn't save all that much after paying the yearly fee and we were tempted in buying things we really didn't need.

I try to keep things on hand and I have blogged that I keep my pantry fairly well stocked. For paper items I try to use coupons and hit sales and keep stuff on hand.

There is an Amish run bulk foods store near us called Beachy's and I really like utilizing it. They have a huge assortment of herbs and spices which are more reasonably priced than the grocery or speciality food stores. And, one can buy different flours and grains in smaller and larger quantities. I enjoy making bread and like experimenting with flour. I bought a half pound of rice flour to see if we liked the bread it made. And the storage isn't as much an issue since I am not buying huge bags of stuff and not using it all.

I am curious, do you buy in bulk? Are you realizing a huge cost savings if you are? And, where are you storing your purchases?

Have I trained him well?

April 16th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

When DH and I were first married, Mr. Clotheshorse would never look at marked downs or clearance racks. Last week, he was in Kohls and found a pair of dress slacks for less than $6....originally over $60.

So, have I trained him well?

$26

April 13th, 2013 at 01:41 am

I have been grousing most of the evening. We came home from the regular grocery store to fill in its some items we couldn't get at Aldi last night,. It was $26 for bananas, raspberries, bell peppers, lactose free milk, 3 cans of tomato sauce, and whole wheat bread.

It just seems like we got so little for $26.

One of the local food pantry's reported their giving is up 17% since so many folks are coming in for food.

I can certainly see why.

I know we can afford it, but when your bring in two small bags of groceries, one wonders how families afford to eat.

Purposeful Planning

January 13th, 2013 at 04:45 am

DH made a comment that so many of our friends do not plan. I would agree.

One couple eats out at least once a day. They complain about not having enough money...hmmm...wonder why! Everything is spontaneous and they grouse because they might call and ask us to join them and we often don't because I have already begun the meal or have something defrosted and feel like I need to cook it,

Each Thursday night I figure out what the menu is going to be for the next week. I will admit we are kind of in a rut for Sunday brunch and Sunday supper, but DH is happy and we are eating at home, so there is a comfort in that, I also try to fix things for suppers so we have leftovers for lunches.

Besides meal planning, we have separate accounts beyond our checking and regular savings accounts. We have a Christmas Club, a vacation, and our mad money account that we use to save up for things. In the past we have saved up for a new stove and dishwasher. It means we try to make regular monthly deposits in these accounts,

As for shopping and running errands, we try to plan for that as well. We try to bundle our trips together so we aren't making a lot of extra trips.

We are not, by any means, perfect, but we have seen a substantial savings in the past few years with our planning. Perhaps we are considered stodgy, but I feel the ends justifies the means. I think one has to purposefully plan to succeed.

My dad used to say...

January 3rd, 2013 at 04:11 pm

My dad used to say that when you no longer want things, you are dying. Interesting concept, yes?

We went to Menards yesterday to buy light bulbs since we were already close to them. (Granted, 12 miles from home isn't huge, but we try to cluster our northbound trips together.) We walked around and looked at things and DH asked if there was anything I wanted and I said, "No, not really."

Right now DH and I are saving up for hardwood floors for the family room, dining room, and hallway. I guess I'm thinking of trying to find ways to save money and sock more of it away. This is over and above our regular savings and my retirement account.

So, to one extent I don't really crave anything, except looking forward to new floors. And shopping for the sheer thrill of it doesn't excite me either. But, I'm not sure my dad's idea rings true entirely. What do you think?

Shame on you, Paula Deen!

January 1st, 2013 at 09:30 pm

DH and I went to the mall today. Not to shop, but because the weather is cold and the sidewalks are icy, so he could walk. Normally, when I'm at work, DH goes by himself, but today, I thought I'd join him and browse. He never worries because I basically am not a spender and I only came so I could walk around a little too.

First, let me say I am a Paula Deen fan. I like the fact she started on a shoestring and worked hard and has been successful. Years ago we went to Savannah and we took the Paula Deen tour. One thing the tour guide kept saying is how she remembered the folks who helped her out when she started and continued to purchase things from them although she has made her way. For example, there was a fruit and vegetable stand that gave her 'credit' each morning when she was running the "Bag Lady" lunches. She would go and get her vegetables and fruits and she would charge them until the lunches were sold and she could pay the bill later that day. A local antique store found her chairs for her first restaurant and let her buy them on time.

So, I love the fact she was an American success story and loyal to those who helped her on the way up.

So, my gripe? Every single thing she now sells is made in China. I saw pots and pans and bake ware and dishes and everything had "Made in China" on the boxes and dishes.

Come on, Paula, you are American so how about helping the American economy and having stuff made in America? Be one of the first of the Food Network stars to show where your patriotism is! Help put Americans to work, because it is, after all, Americans who helped you realize your dream!

Busy Thursday

December 28th, 2012 at 04:31 am

I have enjoyed my holiday break. Today was a busy day at our home, DH wanted a new watch for Christmas. We had a Christmas Club so I had a good budget. He really wanted one that is solar charged and I bought him one. So today we took it so he could get links removed so the band would fit. While there, I had the band replaced on mine that was a few years old. It was ready to break so I figured it would be a good investment.

We dropped some things to a local food pantry. They not only take food but also clothing and kitchenware. We had some clothes to donate and kitchenware...how I wound up with so many muffin tins is beyond me. We also had a turkey we got free and it was far too big for the two of us. The only thing that irritated me was seeing some if the clients who were waiting for the pantry to start calling numbers for food boxes were outside smoking. I wanted to say maybe you'd have more money for food if you weren't smoking, but I kept quiet. One of the things we like about this place is the clothing and kitchen stuff are given to clients. They do a lot of good.

DH had received a Target gift card so he wanted to stop and see if they had a DVD or CD he wanted. He looked around and finally decided he didn't want anything. I looked at Christmas cards, but I didn't buy any. I really hoped to find some that weren't made in China. I may be looking for a needle in a haystack, so to speak. We then went to Kohls. DH had Kohls cash. He found a shirt on clearance for that. We walked around the mall a little for some exercise. We did see some people we knew so they was good,

We had meal #4 of ham. DH said said he was "hammed out." So, I put the remainder in the freezer to be revisited at a later time. Last night I had roasted a chicken for something different so tonight I used the broth, leftover chicken, and leftover roasted vegetables from Christmas and made chicken stew for lunch tomorrow. I had baked cornbread for Christmas and we finished it up tonight. I still have some honey wheat bread I baked for dinner Sunday so I think I am going to put olive oil on it and toast it to serve with the stew. I am trying to use up what we have and not waste food.

We were going over our finances and since we have curtailed our eating out, we are seeing more money in the bank account. One of the ladies from church was at the mall and we were talking about how much money one saves by planning meals and creating a grocery list. She said her husband takes a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and some jelly to work. For his mid morning break, he toasts a piece of bread and puts a little peanut butter and jelly on it. She said that often his coworkers tell him how much better his toast looks and smells than what they bought out of the vending machine. As she said, it just takes some planning.

Purchasing inner struggles

December 24th, 2012 at 04:25 pm

I struggle often with do I spend too much or too little? Am I deserving of nice things, or should I do without?

I grew up with parents who were frugal. They had to be. They grew up during the depression and although both worked hard, they never really made a lot of money. More often than not, most of my thinks were used. Don't get me wrong, I did get some new things, but unlike many of my peers, most of my things were what we call recycled nowdays.

I went through a stage in my life where I only wanted new things. I would wait and save and scrimp until I could afford them.

But, as a I age, whether it is new or used doesn't seem to have the significance anymore. In fact, I kind of like buying something really nice that has been used thinking I got a good deal.

Last night we had an early Christmas dinner with my brother and his wife. Most of the things on my table had been purchased preowned. The plates and glasses were bought at flea markets. The table cloth was bought at an antique shop. The centerpiece was picked up at a flea market. The napkins were purchased at a garage sale. All but one of the trivets were bought at resale places. I thought it made a pretty table setting with the blue and white dishes. I thought about putting out Christmas linens, but figured since my dishes are blue and white, why not go with the theme?

I enjoyed using my things. After all, if they had been purchased brand new, I might have worried if we spilled something on them. They just seemed like old friends we could relax with. If something is spilled or stained, well, so be it. We could enjoy the company and the food.

I still sort of struggle with things...but I will say I enjoyed using many of them last night. I think many people save their tablecloths for good or their cloth napkins for company. We use them all the time. I don't have fine china...we have the same dishes we use day to day. Some have become chipped, but I'm not a fancy person, so unless it means hurting someone, I keep using them. I think I have saved quit a bit of money buying used things and I have enjoyed using these items.



Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday Topic

December 5th, 2012 at 12:44 am

A calm Tuesday in the Midwest. My kind of day, that's for sure.

Well, calm for me anyway. Seems the boys at my school were riled up and no one knew why. So many were making such poor choices and I don't even think they could verbalize why.

I wonder if that is the problem with so many folks who are unwise with money. Can they verbalize why?

It is interesting hearing this one couple justify buying a new vehicle last week. Both felt they had to buy a new vehicle because the youngest will be driving next year. She said that they got a great deal and $3,000 cash back which just about made up for what they owed on the other one?!?

Their family isn't the only one I knew who trades vehicles while still owing money. It's one thing if you have an accident and you owed money and had to replace the car, but to go out and buy another when you didn't have the original one paid off.

I'm not nosy enough to ask, but I wonder how many cars these folks never paid off and rolled over. Maybe I really don't want to know.

New Name Brand Purse

December 2nd, 2012 at 10:39 pm

A couple of weeks ago DH and I went to Springfield to venture into a couple of antique malls. We collect Blue Willow dishes and we like to see if there are any good deals out there.

Most of the items we purchase really aren't antiques. I tend to buy things that have already been used because I can usually get them more reasonably.

Anyway, I saw this nice black leather purse. I checked it out and it was in mint condition -- no scratches or tears and the inside was pristine. It was $8. It had three sections and had sturdy straps. DH said it looked like a deal. So, I bought it.

This purse piqued my interest. It had a name plate and I looked it up on google and it is a name brand that is sold by Macy's and Nordstrom's for between $200-400. So, I really felt like I got a deal!

A gal I work with is always talking about her name brand purses and how much they cost. So, I asked her how she liked mine. She went on and on about how great it was and wanted to know where I got it and how much. She is certainly one who has to have the name brand and the prestige of buying it at a fancy store. I finally admitted I bought it for $8 at an antique mall. She suddenly lost interest.

She has made a couple of derogatory remarks about my $8 purse. It doesn't bother me for a number of reasons. I didn't buy the stupid thing to impress anyone, I bought it because I liked it and it seemed like a well made purse for a reasonable price. And I certainly didn't buy it for the name because until I googled it, I was blissfully unaware of this name brand.

And, knowing this gal is deep in debt and is always after the next brand item makes feel realize there's something missing in her life that her buying isn't filling.

So, I feel I am a winner...saved money and found a practical item.

And to think I was tired of political ads...

November 25th, 2012 at 09:41 pm

We are in day 3 of the official Christmas shopping season and I'm tired of the ads already. I haven't gotten to the point of frustration as I did with the political ads, but it is just getting to be too much.

I understand that merchants have to sell stuff to stay in business. A healthy economy benefits everyone.

But really, why is it the ads seem to claim you can't be happy unless you have the newest, shiniest, biggest, fanciest...does stuff really breed satisfaction?

Of course the merchants have turned any holiday into a shopping experience. I'm not sure veterans really benefit from my buying some at a Veteran's Day Sale.

And somehow I can't imagine Lincoln and Washington being especially happy if I buy something during the presidents' day sales.

I give and get my share of Christmas gifts. But, Linus was so correct when he spoke about Christmas becoming too commercial.

"Brandwashed"

November 23rd, 2012 at 02:16 pm

I picked up a book at the library the other day in the new arrivals section titled, "Brandwashed." I am about half way finished and although we probably think we know how brands determine our shopping, it is frightening to think how we often let them tell us what to buy.

The author says research shows that many companies are trying to get brand loyalty from the womb because change it hard once it becomes a habit. No kidding!

The author worked in advertising and mentioned how certain things in advertising make us crave things.

It is informative and I'd say worth checkiing out.

With that in mind, just coming off of a wonderful Thanksgiving, we were watching the nightly news and how folks started lining up at Best Buy Wednesday night to get in "first" at Midnight this morning. I guess I can't understand the desire for a television to give up a holiday with family. Maybe if it was for a kidney or something...

Christmas Club

November 5th, 2012 at 01:13 am

All last year we had been saving regularly in our Christmas Club. Since it is the first of November, it was time to get our money. We had over $1600.

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to go to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg -- bus trip with the credit union where we have the Christmas Club -- $30 each. That is incredibly reasonable for a 170 mile (one way) trip.

DH has been scouring the ads and checking this and that. He knew what he wanted...a new suit for church. He saw one at our Penney's, but not in his size. The great thing was it was marked down a bit yesterday, so he got a suit and a new shirt and I still have quite a bit of money left.

Some friends asked how we could afford to just go and buy something like that and pay cash. I said because we saved all year. In fact, I just wrote a check for next year's Christmas Club tonight. Got to be regular and start saving.

We did some other shopping for other folks and other than a couple of things I need to get closer to Christmas, I think my shopping is done. I usually make baskets with goodies for many of my friends. We are at the point in our lives the last thing we need is more stuff. But food is always a good gift. I have most of the ingredients bought for my Christmas basket food making other than stuff like eggs. I have been finding baskets and found some beautiful napkins to put in them.

Oh, we and splurged! We bought some Godiva chocolates to enjoy in the next few days. Expensive, but rich, and paid for!

A Prada Purse

October 16th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Saturday DH and I had the opportunity to take Amtrak to Chicago for the day. We had a lovely luncheon at the Walnut Room at Macy's and then walked around in some of the stores.

One of the buildings on State Street has escalators that either go to TJ Maxx or down to Burlington Coat Factory. We went to both to look around.

At Burlington there was a Prada purse with the marked down price of $1134.

Not being familiar with Prada, this kind of surprised me. I mean, I know Prada is pricey, but I guess I didn't realize it was that pricey, and that was the marked down price.

Yikes!

I looked at it and it was nice, but I'm not sure it was THAT nice.

At lunch yesterday at school, we were discussing it. One gal we work with is always buying expensive purses. But, the concensus was we couldn't see spending that much money on a purse.

We had a variety of reasons:

1. If we paid that much, we'd have to stuff it with newspaper because we wouldn't have any money left;
2. If we paid that much we'd have to carry it until it wore out and we'd be sick of it;
3. If we paid that much, we'd be sick because we don't like to spend more than $50 (and usually less) on a purse; and
4. Name brands aren't THAT important.

Needless to say I am Pradaless which is just fine.

Retro spices

September 30th, 2012 at 06:51 pm

Our local humane society had a huge "garage" sale over the weekend. It is in an area called Progress City near our local community college. We thought it would be nice to support the humane society because the funds would go to help those folks pay for neutering if they can't afford it.

One downfall is they did not have the sale place marked clearly. There was another building that said they were having a sale. We got in there and it was basically a disappointment. Three people set up and we realized then this wasn't the humane society sale...it was individuals. But, I did score a retro spice rack that was complete.



We brought it home and I washed it and let it air dry overnight. When I was washing it, I thought it was interesting that the spices listed are not the ones I often use a lot of. We aren't into major spicy, so cayenne pepper isn't at the top of our list. Then there was cloves. In fact, there were cloves in it. Not sure how old they were and the set was pretty dirty, so I wasn't keeping them.

I wonder if cooking has changed since the 50s...that when I think this set came out. I bought it because it was alumnimum, seemed to be complete...except there were two paprika so I'm sure there is something else that should have been there...but are we using many different spices?

I know I use far more than my mom ever did. I always chuckle when I think of the things in her cabinet she had for spices...more than a year old? You betcha. So, I kind of wonder if we got a lot of flavor out of some of them...I think most things were over a decade old...it was too expensive to replace every year if you didn't use much of it.

My set set me back $2 and some elbow grease in washing it. I thought the aluminimum would go well with my stainless appliances.

What's Your MPP?

August 8th, 2012 at 03:32 pm

Mugs.

No, I'm not talking about one's face. I'm talking about those devices we use to hold coffee, tea, milk, water, etc.

Yesterday, we perused a couple of thrift stores. I noticed that at each one there was a shelf set aside just for mugs.

Poor, abandoned, lonely mugs.

I bet at one time they were either given as gifts or bought with joy of using. Now, they are abandoned, left to their own, to sit on a shelf for folks like me to notice.

I decided to do a mug count at our house. I thought while I was cleaning out the cabinet, I'd take a few photos. Bet you can tell which ones my DH uses. I have to admit not all my mugs are in one cabinet. I have 6 on a mug rack, some in a hutch, and another in another cabinet. I didn't take photos of the ones on the top shelf because I didn't want to get a step ladder.
















After all is said...drum roll please...I counted 51 mugs in our house. That averages out to 25.5 mugs per person (MPP) in our home. This doesn't count the coffee and tea cups.

And yes, I succumbed to the call of the lonely mug yesterday and bought this clear one. I thought it needed a new home.

Big Spendy Monday

August 7th, 2012 at 02:52 pm

I am, in effect, a bit ashamed. Yesterday we went shopping at a larger city near us.

I am 51 years old and I did my back to school shopping. We spent a ton! OK, I work in education, so perhaps that is sort of justified.

I can rationalize it to an extent. I have been going to the local stores and thrift shops and have found nothing I liked in my size. I'm overweight and I hate so many of the new patterns that are huge. They are not flattering. And what's with all this sleeveless stuff? Not everyone has the toned arms of Michelle Obama. I wish I did, but as I get older, my upper arms are getting uglier. I don't have huge upper arms, but they still aren't pretty. I have lost enough weight that many of the things I own are very unbecoming -- most are years old because I haven't like many of the things I've seen in clothing the past couple of years.

So, yesterday, I took a plunge and went into a store with more classic looks. My DH is a wonderful clothes shopper, so he's ideal to take along. Bet many of you are jealous already. :-) Anyway, I found quite a few things and his comment was he didn't care how much it cost, I should get them because it is important to look professional. So, after three stores, my purchases included 3 dresses, 3 slacks, 7 blouses and a pair of shoes. Not everything was on sale, but I liked what I bought.

I always get a little upset when I spend this much money. It isn't that it put us into debt -- we have the money. I just don't like spending large sums of money and I hate clothes shopping because I have unfortunately been made ashamed of my body and therefore often think I'm not worth it. DH is wonderful and very encouraging. And as for the money, he doesn't get upset over it.

Hopefully this will help my self image a bit. A friend told me to letter my inner diva out and enjoy it. Her words were, "Let her rip!"

Commercials and Mindsets

July 31st, 2012 at 02:41 pm

It is me, or are there more commercials on television?

Furthermore, do these folks think we are stupid?

DH says I observe too much. For example, some of the processed foods show these fancy kitchens with beautiful cabinets, granite countertops, and perfect appliances and nothing out of place -- the gourmet kitchen to heat up a junk food snack in the microwave. Even the dog and cat food commercials show pretty elaborate kitchens! Really? Do they think most of America has the fancy kitchen of these commercials or is it a subliminal message that if you buy this stuff, you'll be like these folks?

I'm not sure the draw is for these car commercials where they drive in some of these settings like big cities and storm out and go rapidly down these streets. In most big cities, it is usually bumper to bumper during the day. I guess the car companies think we will think we can avoid the traffic and have a blast driving their car. I'll just putter along in mine and hopefully save some gas!

I wonder how many homes look as fancy as the ones in the commercial? I guess they feel it is everyone's dream to have these elaborate, fancy homes with up to date everything. Do we all buy into this? Is it a way to make folks unsatisfied with what they have and buy bigger and better?

Right now on Facebook it seems most of my friends keep putting these photos asking if we remember this and that such as a potato masher or speakers from a drive in theatre. I do have a potato masher and often use it, so I guess I not only remember it...I'm not up to date with whatever the kitchen market industry thinks I should be using. It was my grandmother's and it works just fine.

I remember Charlie Brown and Linus talking about commercialism as well as it being a sticking point in "Miracle on 34th Street." Maybe I'm becoming sick of it as well. Have we become too infected with commercialism?


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