Our weather pattern has been weird. We get one or two decent sunny days and then 4 or 5 rainy, dreary, cool days. Not good for the garden, that's for sure.
DH has decided to try and plant a few more tomato plants and when he was digging in the yard found a wire. He quit immediately and will call about having Julie come out and make sure it isn't anything bad. We can't see where the wire goes. Doesn't seem to be coming from our house or the neighbors nor does it seem to be a part of the electrical boxes. Better to be safe than sorry.
I have been trying to get a few projects done around here, like everyone else. I decided I can officially start on making some Christmas presents. I already had the items, just need to work on them. It gives me hope anyway.
I have run out of library books and basically am rereading some books we have here. A friend left a sack of books on my doorstep, but I have read them already and it was too soon to try and read them again. Some of them were the ones I lent her.
Is it just me, or are you seeing an increase in your grocery spending? I am finding some things are going up. We aren't eating anymore than we did. Don't want to get on that snacking bandwagon. I think part of it is the stores aren't running big sales either. Guess they are just trying to keep up with demand. So, we aren't spending as much doing other things, but are spending a bit more for the groceries. Guess it will even out.
Viewing the 'Crocheting/Knitting' Category
Our weather pattern has been weird. We get one or two decent sunny days and then 4 or 5 rainy, dreary, cool days. Not good for the garden, that's for sure.
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.
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?
I've been trying to use up stuff from the freezer and pantry and only buying things we use each week like milk, eggs, fresh fruit, and bread. I know it has made a big difference in our past few grocery bills plus we are using what we already had. Once a week it is what I call buffet night where we have a little of this and little of that from previous meals. I just hate to see food go to waste so it's a good way to clean out the fridge.
Although we don't live in a flood plain, we bought flood insurance last year and this year's premium came due. So, I'm trying to cut back on spending a little bit on other stuff so it doesn't make our checkbook balance go down far too much. DH read that so many places have had floods that have never had the problem before and regular home owner's insurance doesn't cover it. I really feel insurance poor some days, but hopefully we will never have to use any of it.
I continue to work on hats and scarves for my church's knitting group. We haven't been able to meet for the past couple of months because every time we have a meeting planned, we've gotten snow or ice. So, I work on stuff at home. Another church gave us a bunch of crochet cotton so a couple of us are also making dish cloths. I made 125 of them last year to donate to a local food pantry for them to put on their line for people to take if they wanted them. I used leftover yarn for them and someone had given me some crochet cotton too. Hopefully with the three of us making them, we can have about 300 made for Christmas baskets this year. I know it isn't a big thing, but a new dishcloth is kind of nice.
I had purchased some yarn and it is very thin. My fault -- I didn't look closely. It would take three strands to make a hat or scarf. So, I've sort of put it to the side. Well, I was browsing Pinterest which I swear is dangerous. I saw a knitting loom pattern to make a market bag which is one that isn't totally solid. So, I followed the pattern and have made two, using up this thinner yarn. I am thinking maybe I can make these for gifts to add to packages for Christmas. They go quickly and don't take a lot of storage so maybe this is something someone could use. Plus, another use for the yarn.
I did crochet myself a doily out of some crochet thread I had purchased a few years ago at at thrift store. I have made 4 book marks out of the remainder of the thread. One more thing I used up.
And an update: A couple of weekends ago I talked about the neighbor girl and her mom letting her play sports with a 103.5 fever. Sadly, the girl wound up in the hospital for almost a week not only because of the fever, but she couldn't move her arms and legs and ached all over. She's home now, but I can't even imagine the pain and expense that caused. Plus, the fact she could have infected everyone else she came in contact with.
It's been a busy week, but not horrific. We celebrated my birthday last Sunday and had a wonderful dinner in a town about an hour away. It's always a challenge because we often get horrible weather around my birthday, but things were mild. It was nice and the food was delicious.
We had a good server. We think she was a college student. She was efficient, but not overly friendly. Since we are basically older folks, I wonder if most servers see us as those folks who eat early and want a bargain and are bad tippers. DH always leaves a generous tip, especially if we get good service. We know they are struggling and need good tips since most restaurants do not pay minimum wage or more. We chuckled on our way out as she was shocked when she saw the money (DH pays cash) and that he said keep the change and it was far more than she expected. We know one couple that no matter what the bill, they leave around two or three dollars. Most of the time, that isn't even 15% and they are the kind that want special treatment and often try to wheedle a free cup of coffee or dessert.
We had our knitting group meet this week. We are up to 272 hats already. We had a lady from another church come and give us a bunch of yarn that her church can't use. Her church makes lap afghans and they use just regular yarn, not the sports yarn, or thick yarn, or any of the fancy yarns. She also brought a bunch of dish cloth cotton yarn. I used a lot of that to make dish cloths to donate to one of the food pantries to put in their Christmas baskets last year. Another lady saw the dish cloth yarn and said she would help me make dish cloths too so that's a good thing.
Last night we met with two other couples for supper. We have been taking turns hosting. The hosts provide the main dish and one or two other things and then we all bring a couple of dishes. We feasted on roast beef, potatoes, carrots, green beans, homemade French bread, cherry pie, and apple cake. We had a delightful time until it was time to leave. It has iced and then snowed an inch over it. Driving home was not a pleasure, but we did get home and were grateful for our safety.
A couple of weeks ago I fixed a beef roast (one of the buy one get one free offers Kroger had awhile back) and had roast and broth left over. I made a large pot of vegetable soup. DH asked me if I was planning on feeding an Army. I said no, but I wanted to use up the roast and broth and the carrots, plus then I had other vegetables in the fridge that needed to be used up and so it took off from there. We had two meals from the soup and I froze the rest. Meal #3 is tonight -- I have it heating up in a Crockpot. There's still a package in the freezer for meal #4.
Recently I was doing some of my amateur genealogy and ran across a person's email on the findagrave site for a person who may or may not be a distant relative. We have since been corresponding back and forth and sharing what we have learned. She lives in Nebraska and is about my age. It's pretty cool overall and we are distantly related. That was like getting a present for me. I love doing research and when I find something like that, it just thrills me.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
We did our final hat delivery yesterday to one of the schools. It has been a challenge getting them delivered between DH's eye surgeries and doctor's appointments, school issues, and the weather. But, they are where they need to be and I'm so glad.
The local paper came out and took photos and did a story. Here is the link if you are so inclined to read it:
This school which is slated to close at the end of this year, was the building where I started teaching in 1986. It was called Garfield then, but that school moved to another building and took the name and it is now Durfee. Funny thing, I taught at Garfield and transferred to Durfee and I was teaching at Durfee when it changed buildings to what was Garfield. I took the opportunity to walk through the school one more time. The district has a dwindling population so they are closing buildings.
Believe it or not, we have already started making hats for next year!
Looking back on the past few days, it seems like it has been a whirlwind of lots of little things.
We made some more hat deliveries. One is to a school that apparently is often forgotten, but has some high poverty kids. The secretaries and principal couldn't thank us enough. We also gave some hats and scarves to a ladies' homeless shelter and the people working there were thrilled. We have one more school to deliver to and that will be the 2018 hat season finished. We met Thursday and have started counting and we already have 91 hats completed and over 11 scarves. We have a local group that sends Christmas gifts to soldiers, many local, and we are going to make hats in the colors they suggested for them. I find if we add different groups, it keeps things interesting.
DH had his second cataract surgery on Tuesday. We never dreamed we would get such bad winter weather this early in November, but we did...very cold, snow that hit warm ground that then froze. Driving him to the surgery was not fun...I was the proverbial old lady driver poking along. I didn't have a death grip on the steering wheel, but I was not going to be hurried or rushed. We got there, he had his surgery, and we arrived home, safe and sound after lots of praying and white knuckles. Usually the surgery center is like a revolving door, but I guess they had lots cancel Tuesday morning. DH was the last one of the three that still had an appointment. But, it is over other than doing the eye drops and so far things seem to be going well.
While DH was resting when we got home, I tried to find some quiet activities. My mom used to take two dish cloths and sew them to make what looks like a jacket. It isn't really and you use three stitches to hold them together and include a poem about don't get excited, don't get misled, these are not for you, but your dishes instead. I made ten of them and am donating them for our Christmas bazaar. I also started crocheting these little red bags with white trim that I'll put some Hershey kisses in for Santa's treat bag. They might sell too for the bazaar. We normally have quite a few crafters as vendors, but I guess this year with all the shows and bazaars, we didn't have as many. We have a cookie walk that is the big draw since we sell cookies by the pound and people tend to load up for the holidays. I see lots of baking in my future.
Other than groceries, we haven't spent much. I've been buying stuff when it goes on sale either for the pantry or freezer or for the upcoming baking. Most of my Christmas is done as far as shopping and making. I have one more item to finish, but have to wait for a bright day since it is counted cross stitch. I've noticed as I get older, my eyes need the natural light for cross stitch.
Last night we had our "Gone with the Wind" dinner. We had planned for it to be earlier, but life gets in the way. We had a delightful time and the food was great. Our final menu was:
mashed potatoes with pan gravy
sweet potato pie
I looked up some trivia and we had a lot of laughs over some of these isolated facts such as there were 1400 actresses who auditioned for the role of Scarlett O'Hara.
One of the things that was brought up was how fun it was to host these dinners and how having everyone bring something meant the host didn't have to spend all day cooking a full meal, but just the main entree. It certainly is more reasonable than going out to eat, that's for sure.
We did our first hat drop off to one of our schools. I invited the local weather man from the TV station and he came with us and talked to some of the kids about the importance of wearing hats and gloves in bad weather. I took some photos of him with the classes and he showed them on his weather segment that night. I was pretty elated after we left and one of the teachers sent me a photo of the kids with the hats. We have two more schools to take hats to. One is tomorrow and the other is in a week. We also want to give hats and scarves to a woman's shelter as well as veterans.
With the colder weather, we tend to have more soup. We usually eat out on Friday nights as our date night. Guess we didn't date the past two -- I pulled soup out of the freezer two weeks ago and made soup this week. There's enough soup from Friday's batch to have at least one more meal. With DH's eye surgery and the fact it gets darker so quickly, he was happy to stay home. I don't mind either. There are only a few places we will even frequent because some of the restaurants in our town have had bad reviews from the local health department. And it isn't just once...some make the same mistakes over and over and they are major. I had food poisoning from a restaurant a number of years ago and I never want to repeat that experience.