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Archive for March, 2020

Just an update

March 26th, 2020 at 06:41 pm

The weather here in Central Illinois has been nothing short of gloomy until yesterday. We actually had an afternoon of sun after a morning of pea soup fog. DH got a chance to go out and work in the yard which delights him. He found two baby bunnies in the front yard. They've since moved which is good. He will be planning his garden and hopefully when it warms up, planting a garden and he doesn't like bunnies to use it as their personal buffet.

Illinois has been ordered to shelter in place since Saturday night. Two days ago I suggested to the Facebook group that our subdivision has that maybe we could do a zoo with stuffed animals for kids to see in windows since yesterday was supposed to be nice. One lady took the suggestion and ran with it so to speak...she made a list with street names and which animals, and it was nice seeing families going out with the checklist looking for the "zoo animals." This was not my original idea; I saw it online somewhere else. The best thing was people who normally never say anything would shout a hello if you were in the yard.

I guess one bad thing is I can see some neighbors who are not following the shelter in place order. People can still go to work if their place of employment is considered essential and that's not what I'm talking about. It's seeing people going to other people's homes and having people over or going shopping for non essential stuff. It angers me because it means they are doing this and however many other folks are doing it which is going to extend the outbreak as well as the sheltering in home.

I've kept busy doing cleaning and some crafting. I don't have the ability to make masks. So, I've worked on other items for donations later when this passes.

I think our grocery spending has increased some as some items have sort of increased. Last week there was so little bread at the store we wound up paying $4.50 for a loaf of organic. Granted, it was tasty, but, that over $2.50 more than what we would pay for a loaf. Last week the grocery stores were slammed and there were empty shelves in so many areas. When we went this week, there were many items there that were not there last week, including toilet paper. We didn't need any so we passed. Figured let those who were without get it. It was weird seeing the yogurt aisle riddled though. We eat yogurt for breakfast and although we found some for our breakfasts, not the kind we normally get, but oh, well. Guess it means we are having to be more flexible. As we walked by, we saw the ice cream case was pretty empty. I wonder if many of us will have put on weight once this is over. LOL

Hope you are all staying safe.

My Perspective

March 19th, 2020 at 08:48 pm

I shared this on Facebook this morning. I'm not a sage by any means, but to be honest, I'm a little tired of the complaining and negativity as well as the panic on the news.

I was thinking about our situation and then remembering something in the past. In 1978 I was in high school. That year we had missed so many days due to bad weather. Either a snow day was called or we had early release since many of the students at my school district lived in rural areas. We were supposed to have a longer spring break, but the board of education decided to have us go to school on all those days except Good Friday to help make up some days.

However, on Good Friday we had an ice storm. Power was knocked out in many areas of our county. Sadly, the school board had to close schools for the following week. Like many, we did not have power so we had to rely on a battery operated radio for any current news.

We basically had the phone to keep in touch. My dad went to work, and life went on. We didn’t have the money to go shop. We played Monopoly at night with candlelight and we used the fireplace to keep some heat in the house. We ate what we had at home. My mom found some dry ice to put in our freezer so our frozen stuff didn't spoil. This went on for over a week.

Right now, we are very blessed we have electricity, heat, and water. We can still turn on the television, computer, or phone. There are so many things we can access online and we can order things to be delivered. God has blessed us with so many wonderful things. We need to keep things in perspective. Maybe we can’t go out and meet with friends, but we can still contact them.

Look beyond yourself. If you are feeling lonely, think of the many people who live with this every day. Do something for someone else. Write a letter. Write an email. Give someone a compliment. If you are crafty or handy, make something for someone else. Pray for someone. This may be a way for us to be creative in helping one another. Look at history, so many people have suffered so much more in things beyond their control. Having to sit home isn’t that bad if you have a home. We aren’t living the miserable life of captives in concentration camps. Find some kindness and share it!

It feels like Illinois is closing down

March 15th, 2020 at 09:16 pm

Our governor just had a news conference and closed all restaurants and bars as of Monday evening through March 30th.

Last week all schools were closed starting Tuesday until March 30th.

Most churches are suspending services and those that can are going to streaming. No activities for two weeks.

Lots of panic shopping going on as far as the news reports -- cleaning out supplies of all kinds.

DH wonders if the governor will suspend travel in the state as well.

I normally keep a few items on hand. Last week when we grocery shopped, other than hand sanitizer and facial tissue, everything was basically stocked. I guess that isn't the case. I just feel with this new announcement of closing restaurants and bars, I bet the food hoarding will get even worse.

I'm hoping to keep busy around the house. I have some projects to work on. I hope DH doesn't go stir crazy. He likes to be out and about and he normally goes to the mall to walk.

Well, here is my state update. It feels surreal.

What do you reuse?

March 8th, 2020 at 08:04 pm

I really like the show "Home Town" on HGTV. I guess one reason is the hosts seem like nice people. But another reason is they work with a variety of budgets. And both Erin and Ben seem to be the kind to not only use new stuff, but reuse and repurpose other things. I like watching that kind of thing and it seems I am spending a lot of time looking for ways to do just that.

As many of you know, I belong to a knitting group at my church where we loom knit hats and scarves and give to schools and other non profits in our area. We gave to 4 schools last year as well as the hospital for the preemies, and then a bunch of baby hats for one of the clinics here in town as well as a social services group and a woman's shelter. One of the things I do with the smaller bits of yarn is crochet dish cloths and I made and donated 125 of them to a local food pantry.

Besides that, I've been making those market bags and giving those away to my friends as a way to use up bigger pieces of yarn that there isn't enough for a scarf or hat. It keeps me busy (and off the streets LOL). Seriously, I just like making sure I can use up the things we have.

I saw on Pinterest how to fold newspapers and make bags so I've made a few of those too. Our comics section is printed on heavier paper and I'm thinking these would make great "gift" bags for thinner things.

I recycle what I can, but I also reuse as much stuff as I can. I seem to have a fetish for glass jars; I have all different shapes and sizes. I like them for storage as well as for leftovers. Plus we won't even mention my love affair with canning jars.

I make my own laundry detergent and have been using the same plastic jug to store it in. I figure I'm saving money as well as not contributing to using more plastic bottles. I also have smaller glass jars with some of the extra laundry detergent in it.

We eat a lot of chicken around here and one thing I do is pound the chicken breasts to tenderize them and then flour them. I hate using a new bag each time, and read a suggestion about using a bread bag. What a great idea. Granted, it is still using plastic, but I figure using them for something else helps.

I'm collecting those mesh bags that fruit and vegetables come in to make a scrubby. I don't have enough yet to make a decent one.

I reuse envelopes that mail comes in. Some I make lists on, and some I just use to store things in. We collect cancelled postage stamps for a mission at my church so I keep an envelope with those in it. We also collect coupons from the paper inserts to send to some military folks and I use one of those reply envelopes for those.

For years I've used cloth napkins and I go through a ton of kitchen towels. I do use paper towels for stuff like raw meat, but I have cut down on the paper towel use a lot. Most of my friends as well as my hubby know if they want to give me something for Christmas or birthday, a kitchen towel is appreciated.

I continue to search for ways to reuse things. We shop at thrift stores a lot for things. Most of my kitchen dishes and plates were bought preowned. I figure I'm saving money not only by doing that, but also by not using one use items like paper plates. I have a couple of cast iron skillets that I use frequently. I have one of those splatter ware lidded pans that is oblong that I use for a lot of baking and cooking. It was my grandmother's.

So, what do you you reuse or repurpose to help save money as well as our environment?

Panic Shopping

March 5th, 2020 at 08:25 pm

Wednesdays are normally our grocery shopping days. Mostly because I am retired and I don't have to shop on the weekends or evenings, and also because Wednesday is when the ads come out for the new sales. We usually go about mid morning before there is a huge crowd except during holidays and snow forecasts where people panic.

Well, I'm wondering if panic is the operative word as far as the Coronavirus. Yesterday our Aldi was really, really busy. It normally isn't when we go. Kroger wasn't as busy, but did have a few more than usual. I had my list of our regular stuff we buy every week at each store. I did need another item that made us go down and aisle at Kroger that I don't normally frequent. It wasn't for hand sanitizer or wipes, but it was the same aisle. And there, at Kroger, was an empty shelf and the labels indicated it was for hand sanitizer. A friend in a state over from us said she was at a Dollar store and the lady in front of her had cleaned out the shelves of cleaning supplies. Another friend who is visiting a friend out east said the stores were empty of cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

Yesterday the market was doing well and they said Campbell Soup was showing a gain because people were buying lots of soup and also canned goods.

I sort of wonder about folks. Do they like reacting to drama? I'm not discounting the seriousness of the flu or the Coronavirus, but seriously, do these people not have anything at home? I think most of us at SA buy when things are on sale and stock up. I know I do. Plus I did a lot of canning last summer and fall so I have things in reserve. I buy hand sanitizer when it is cheaper and usually keep one on hand simply because I'm like that. I'm certainly not going to run to the store and buy them out. Then Kroger put in their website that due to demand, only 5 cleaning items and cold and flu items per order. I wonder if that drove up demand at all.

Sometimes I think the fable about the grasshopper and the ant rings true yet again. Who wins? Probably the retailer.

Doing What I Can

March 1st, 2020 at 11:30 pm

A friend and I recently were discussing ways we could cut more of our plastic consumption. I know we will never be able to totally forego it, but we figure anything we can do to help the environment helps. In an earlier post I talked about making bags. I have sewn a bunch of grocery bags for us and I even made some for some friends to use as well. And recently I have been knit looming some "market bags" that I will use for produce as well as gift bags.

I was thinking about my coffee maker. I use paper filters. Now, I know I'm going to offend some coffee experts, but I don't use a new filter each time. I'm the only one who drinks the stuff and I don't make a full pot each time. I put the coffee grounds on our garden, but throw away the filter. I thought, I wonder if there is such a thing as a reusable coffee filter out there for my machine.

There is and I bought one yesterday. I thought about sewing some, but I didn't have any muslin, so I figured maybe this would be the best bet and I can rinse it out without having to run it through a washer and dryer.

Speaking of which, I make my own laundry detergent. I've been using the same old vinegar bottle for years. It's scary how much water is really in laundry detergent. I also make my own knock off of Febreze.

I try to reuse any jars I get besides my canning ones. I use a ton of canning jars not only for canning but for other food storage. I have some Pyrex that is probably older than I am and cook and store things in them.

My friend wants to learn how to make bags. We are challenging each other to come up with ways to reduce our plastic. I was very careful with a plastic bag I had in the freezer with tomatoes. I washed it out and it looks like I can use it again. Hopefully my doing what I can will also save me some money!