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Archive for March, 2019

Saving to Spend (Darn HGTV!)

March 31st, 2019 at 01:17 pm

Each month, when we get our pension checks, I write a check to one our financial institutions and put money away for different things. One is Christmas Club, another is vacation. And another is just a regular savings account and we use it for home improvement.

Well, that account is going to be going down because as I tease DH, we've watched way too much HGTV this winter!

We ordered a new storm door for our front door. Ours is old, doesn't latch, and we wanted to update the look. It has a better window in it so it should provide a little more protection from the outside temperature.

Our front door is also older and had been stained to look like wood. It has faded and become blotchy so we are having it primed and painted to freshen it up.

We have decorative bricks on the lower half of the front of our house. We are getting them painted. When we bought the house, the siding wasn't very old, but we couldn't figure out why they chose gray siding with bricks that are more reddish. So, we are getting the bricks painted and will continue to save for siding down the road. Fortunately our siding looks OK right now and isn't chipped or broken.

Finally, we are getting an area in our bedroom patched. We have a crack in the drywall. It is on both sides and I think it is from the house settling. So the painter is going to patch and repaint the wall.

DH keeps going around saying the new paint is going to make the front of our house "pop" and be whimsical and playful...and oh yeah, "spark joy."

I better get that remote away from him before he OD's on HGTV!

Busy Tuesday

March 26th, 2019 at 08:50 am

Today has been a busy place at our homestead. Three different folks came by. One was for the annual termite inspection. Glad that is over with. One was a guy to measure for a new storm door. And the other was for a painter to do some small projects. All of these items come from our home maintenance savings account. Looking forward to having some things fixed up or touched up.

Yesterday I had a bad bout of Vertigo. Very scary, and glad today I'm better. I did go see the Express Care place to make sure and she gave me some medicine. It made me sleepy, but at least I'm not dizzy.

Started some laundry and we also have to go fill the candles at church. No expenses today so that's good.

It is sunny so maybe spring is starting to wend its way.

A great afternoon for a cup of tea and a book

March 21st, 2019 at 11:49 am

Here it is the official second day of spring (first full day if you want to be accurate) and it is gloomy and cool. I'd say cold, but I guess 41 is a lot warmer than it has been this winter.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the library and we did. I returned 4 books and checked out 5. So, after I finish here, I'm going to go back to reading.

Amber asked for a list of books I've read so far and here it is:

Title & Author
The Christmas Wedding James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
The Skeleton in the Closet M.C. Beaton
Amish Promises Leslie Gould
Amish Sweethearts Leslie Gould
Standing in the Rainbow Fannie Flagg
This is the year I put my Financial Life in Order John Schwartz
The Next Millionaire Next Door Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallaw
Christmas Cake Murder Joanne Fluke
Plum Tea Crazy Laura Childs
A Highland Christmas M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came M.C. Beaton
Raspberry Danish Murder Joanne Fluke
The Dead Ringer M.C. Beaton
An Amish Family Reunion Mary Ellis
Waking Up in Dixie Haywood Smith
A Plain Man Mary Ellis
Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body M.C. Beaton
A Christmas by the Sea Melody Carlson
The Essential Tea Companion Kim Waller
Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand
You Don't Own Me (#6 Under Suspcion) Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
As the Pig Turns M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener M.C. Beaton
The Blood of an Englisman M.C. Beaton
Winter Stroll Elin Hilderbrand
Winter Solstice Elin Hilderbrand

I tend to get on an author and try to read everything they have. I did the same with Grisham, except for his non legal ones. I also tend to like the Amish fiction because sometimes I need something easy, even if it is predictable.


I finally finished up all the teas that were given to me that I wasn't particularly fond of and I did splurge and buy a box that was a holiday tea that was on sale. It is a sugar cookie flavor and it has a hint of it and is a nice change when I don't want regular tea. Today is just plain hot tea and I'm getting adventurous and having some with some milk.

There is something immensely gratifying about having a cup of tea in a china tea cup and saucer and have a pot of tea brewed. I've done the mug and tea bag bit too, but every once in awhile I like to treat myself to a fancy tea cup and a pot of tea. I collect blue willow dishes. Well, I should say I have collected. I won't buy anymore because I have more than enough, so I have plenty of tea cups and saucers as well as tea pots. Why have these things if I don't use them?

I have always wanted to go to a real tea room and have a pot of tea specially brewed, but never had that opportunity. There is an author by the name of Laura Childs who writes a mystery series based in Charleston, S.C. and the owner of the tea shop solves mysteries. Every time I read one of her novels, it makes me wish I could go to a real tea room.

Potpourri

March 18th, 2019 at 07:58 am

First, I want to thank everyone who responded about my last entry. I appreciate the support. I guess I'm sensitive, but it really bothers me when someone posts hurtful comments. One thing I wonder is, does this person or persons realize that those of us who wrote the blog can see their email? And if so, do they know you can research who they are by the email? Anyway, I appreciate the support of those of you who kindly responded.

It was an expensive week last week. My headlight went out and knowing how car places work, we made an appointment to get it replaced. I guess with modern cars, you almost have to take the darn thing apart to get to the headlight. It was high density and the cost was $455 for the very expensive bulb and the hour and a half it took to replace it. Yikes! We had the money in savings so that wasn't the case, but it sure is hard to part with it. A friend teased me I could have just opened the car window and used a flashlight. Now, that would have been a sight, and I'm sure the police would not have found that a bit amusing.

Also in the expenses was the home care insurance policy for DH. Fortunately we have not had to use it, but It seems the spring is fraught with lots of insurance since we have homeowner's, home care, flood, and then both car insurances coming due. Again, we have the money, but it is tough seeing it go out at such a fast pace.

We did get our taxes done. We didn't have to pay either the feds or the state, but not sure about next year. I say this every year, but I honestly feel like if you live below your means and you save and are honest, the tax laws really zing you.

One thing that wasn't as expensive was groceries. We bought some fresh fruit and vegetables and some milk, but we ate from the freezer and pantry which helped a lot. We tend to have a couple of weeks of large grocery bills and then a couple of weeks of cheaper ones. I like it when Kroger has a buy one get one free when it comes to meat because I take advantage of it and then freeze one for later consumption. Guess it evens out. Tonight I'm going to use some chicken and I'm going to trim it and use it and some chicken I have in the freezer that I did the same with and make some chicken broth. I like keeping it on hand to make chicken and noodles as well as soups.

DH and I continue to make good use of the library. I have read 24 books so far in 2019. According to the library receipt, I have "saved" $855.27 by using the library. It looks good at least. I know we get our tax money's worth out of the library anyway.

It looks like spring is finally coming here in Central Illinois. It has been a harsh winter. DH spent part of the weekend working in the yard cutting back stuff that he didn't get to in the fall. He said all the garlic he planted is starting to come up and some of the herbs that come back each year are showing they want to come back. Yay! I'm ready for homegrown stuff. I know we have enjoyed using the stuff I canned this winter.

Hope you have a delightful week and can find some economical ways in your days!


What do you think?

March 11th, 2019 at 08:17 am

I feel like I've gotten a lot done already this morning. Emptied the dishwasher, exercised, cleaned up, read a magazine so I can return it and my other large pile of things to the library, and wrote a letter. I like days like this when I get quite a bit done early.

I noticed that there is someone who sometimes comments on my blogs and they are not very nice comments. Either that person is really cranky or someone who wants to comment and then start something. I deleted the last comment. I notice when I get an email, I get an email address for them. I sort of wonder if this is their way of capturing our email addresses to send spam. It seems in the past when I've done that, I get a bunch of spam from a different website. What do you think?

Bargain Hunting

March 9th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

Usually on Fridays we hit the thrift stores. We found some great finds yesterday. One had everything 75% off. I found 3 craft things I wanted. I had seen them a couple of weeks before, but refused to pay the price on them. One is an apron that you embroider. I thought that would be a nice gift for a friend. It was still in the package and had the embroidery floss. We paid 63 cents and tax for it. I started it last night. This year I started something and that was to give a friend a gift for each day December 1-25. Most are just simple things that I either picked up very cheaply or made. I look for things all year. She enjoyed opening something up every day. On Christmas the gift was a little more substantial, but I don't think I spent any more than I normally would have. I've already made a couple of things so far and I think this apron will be appreciated.

DH found a like new polo and then he found me a new pair of Keds for the summer. I'm glad because the shoes I wear during the summer have started looking pretty ratty.

I'm trying to get used to taking my own bags with me. Glad I made a few. I was telling the lady who was checking us out at the thrift store that we would soon be paying for bags and she hadn't heard that the governor is hoping to pass that tax on plastic bags.

We went to a home show in a small town near us. We like it better than the one we have in our city because of two reasons. One is there is no admission. Second is they have Amish made stuff and we like looking at it. Other than getting a couple of free pens, we didn't purchase anything and had a delightful time looking. We had some other errands to run in the small town -- funny how they have things we don't have where we live -- and then came on home. We hit a thrift store and I found a package of Easter sticks unopened. I am making an Easter basket for a friend's granddaughter and she likes stickers. S I was happy to get out of the wind and rain and brew some tea.

My folks were great bargain hunters and could often find things used at a very reasonable price. Hopefully I've picked up some of their talent. DH has no qualms about buying secondhand -- he says he likes the thrill of the hunt.

The Care and Feeding of Volunteers

March 7th, 2019 at 07:59 am

Sadly, I'm about fed up.

I volunteer in a classroom and to be honest, I'm tired of feeling like I'm being taken advantage of. The teacher doesn't want to prepare anything for when I come and wants to me to come up with stuff.

I get that the teacher is busy. But, is asking that there be two copies of a book to read too much? He wanted me to listen to kids read and I was expected to read from the same copy. That strains my eyes too much. I said why not have two copies of whatever.

Then, I was doing art for the big part of the year. All stuff I bought, I planned. After I finished the last project before Christmas, I suggested we go to something else. So, his answer was to read some in a textbook and I had to come up with the questions there on the spot. I finally said something about this and that perhaps he should come up with materials and questions and actually have them assigned for a grade. Because otherwise the kids don't feel like what we do has any value.

Now, it seems the teacher isn't good about letting me know when I can come in...just takes it for granted I will show up. I didn't hear from him until Sunday about this week and he didn't tell me that the school was closed on Monday for Casmir Pulaski Day and I had to learn that on my own. He then wanted me to reschedule a time. I said I had other plans. I'm tired of being taken for granted. I'm feeling like a rebel. I know I never treated a volunteer like this. Sadly, there are not a lot of volunteers in the district where I worked and where I volunteer. I just don't get how people don't appreciate someone willing to come in and help. The operative word being help. I know I can plan stuff, but I retired. I don't want to plan everything.

DH reads in three different schools. One teacher of the three is good about letting him know about upcoming things. The other two teachers aren't. We received a phone call this morning at 7:15 asking if he could come later today. I'm sorry, getting a phone call that early scares us -- we think it is bad news.

The other teacher never lets him know about changes either. I don't know if this is just the way society now functions or what, but I find it rude. I have to check school calendars for updates, but not everything is on the school calendars.

As a volunteer, I just think the people who are benefiting should be a little nicer.


Senior Discounts

March 5th, 2019 at 08:33 am

Today is senior day at our Walgreens. If we need stuff, this is the day I try to go and get it. Ours is 20% off stuff not on sale. Too bad it doesn't cover prescriptions. It is a good time to buy those necessary items like deodorant and stuff like that.

We try to utilize any senior discounts we can. The last time we stayed at a hotel, we asked for the discount.

I do with our grocery stores would offer senior discounts, but they don't.

We don't do a lot of fast food, so we don't get the senior discounts for any of them.

We have an AARP card and we use it whenever we can. It saves us money on our cell phone bill with Consumer Cellular.

DH often times his Kohls shopping to Wednesdays when there is a senior discount. He found a great buy last week.

So, do you take advantage of discounts, senior or otherwise?