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Garden, Groceries, and Spending

July 21st, 2019 at 01:59 pm

DH's tomatoes have been going along pretty well. He brought in quite a few this week and I cooked them with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and garlic and made spaghetti sauce. I canned 10 pints yesterday. DH grew the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and the herbs.

Every week I make a fruit salad and often there is more fruit that what we will use. I freeze the extra. Yesterday I pulled all the small containers out of the freezer and made mixed berry jam and canned it as well. I realized about 6 half pints of it.

I've been using both the Ibotta app and the Fetch app and have been collecting points or whatever we collect. I don't buy a lot of the stuff that owe get a lot of credit for, but I figure it is basically free money.

I've been doing some embroidery and I really wanted a new lamp to sit by chair that would bring more direct light. i was looking at our local sewing shop and they had one which was plastic and it was on clearance for $40. I just couldn't see paying that. We were doing our thrift store run on Friday and there was a nice metal one exactly what I wanted for $5. We bought it and I tried it out and it works great. I'm hoping this better light will help with eye strain. As far as the embroidery, I did have to purchase a skein of embroidery floss since the pattern calls for three colors of yellow. I had two of the three. I bet the clerk was shocked I spent exactly 62 cents. I am trying not to buy any more craft items for myself until I finish the stuff I have.

I did buy some graph paper because I have some counted cross stitch I want to graph out. I also bought some school supplies to put in the box at church for a local school. We buy pencils, hand sanitizer, and facial tissue because those are things that go quickly and are used up and teachers often have to buy them out of their own money.

We have our dental checkups this week. I think this one is going to be pricey because I need a new retainer. I wear retainers every night to keep my teeth from moving. After spending thousands of dollars to get teeth pulled and braces in my 40s, I don't want things to go back to disarray.

The Heat Is On!

July 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

This spring was cool and wet. Well, July is more than making up for it! It is 90, high humidity and after all the rain we received this spring, you wouldn't know it because there are cracks in the yard. DH is out watering his garden and I know it will be another round of very sweaty clothes to deal with.

One advantage of the sun and heat is we are getting tomatoes. DH brought in quite a few today. We will be enjoying them. Not enough to can or anything at this point, but there is nothing like a fresh sliced tomato with a little salt and pepper.

We have had issues with Dutch Elm Disease in our town and many trees are succumbing to it. Our neighbor has a huge tree in the front yard. He's out there today trying to cut down big limbs by himself. One limb he cut was probably the size of a small tree. It's a good thing he's handy -- he put on the roof a few years ago -- they have the biggest house in the court and it took him three years to do the whole roof by himself.

I have a chuck roast in the Crockpot with potatoes and carrots. Kroger had a sale on them this week, buy one, get one the same size or less for free. So, we are going to enjoy one and the other is wrapped up in the freezer. I think we are going to have two or three meals from this one. Better to use the Crockpot than to heat up the house and oven.

I have been reading a series called "Needlecraft Mysteries" and it is by Monica Ferris. The main character is Betsy who inherits a craft shop from her sister called "Crewel World." Betsy is an amateur sleuth and helps solve murders while running her craft shop. I've learned a lot about different things reading this since she uses information on cross stitch and embroidery as well as knitting and needlepoint. I am currently embroidering a dresser scarf and I am thinking I'm going to go crazy before I finish it -- the flowers have three different colors of yellow! But, I bet it will turn out nice if I get it done.

Last year my knitting group at church made 1202 hats total. As of Thursday, our total is 1214 hats and here it is the first of July. We have 41 scarves and 60 baby hats too. It won't be long when we will be looking at places to donate the hats and scarves. Last year I looked up the poverty rates at our local schools and we did the schools that had the highest rates. I imagine I will do that this year. We also, as a church, adopted a local school and we made sure they had hats and gloves for every child as well as some scarves and we are donating to the food pantry for the school too. We feel it is a good way to help others around us in our town.

This and That

July 7th, 2019 at 05:32 pm

I've sort of been out of it this past week. I'm trying to catch up on reading the blogs, but my mind and heart were not into earlier. Two people I worked with at a school died from cancer. On the same day. Then my sister -in-law passed as well, so it has been sort of a sad yet reflective week. Although none were a shock, it is still hard on one.

We've had extreme heat and humidity and it really takes it out of me. I struggle with asthma and it makes it difficult for me to breathe so I've also been feeling a bit tired.

But enough with the morose. We've been eating lighter due to the heat. DH is starting to get a few more tomatoes so we are enjoying them. He has lots of Basil and other herbs as well as onions. I made a Tomato Basil salad that is chopped red onion, chopped Basil, sliced cherry tomatoes, red wine vinegar, some olive oil, and then added Feta cheese after it was all mixed. We've also been enjoying some lettuce that DH planted. He has planted radishes twice and the first time we had so much rain, they didn't do well and this time, it got really hot right when they started coming up so we figure they won't do well. Oh, well.

On the money front we haven't been going crazy spending. I'm happiest at home reading or making scarves and hats for my church group so I don't have to get out in the heat. DH used to work on a bookmobile and there is a new mystery series about a lady who drives a bookmobile so we both read it and then had fun discussing it. Staying home certainly saves money!

Frugal Yarn Shopping and other stories

June 30th, 2019 at 11:42 am

First of all, I'm going to brag on a couple of ladies at my church. Bluebird generously sent a donation for my church group to buy yarn for the hats and scarves we make and donate to area schools and non profits. These two ladies combined a phone app as well as paper coupons to buy some very beautiful yarn for us to use. When they presented it last Thursday, people said it was like Christmas and they were choosing the colors they wanted to work with. Again, thank you Bluebird for your kind gift. Please know the money is being carefully used. They haven't used it all, so they can go shop again when they can get another big sale.

Our totals for hats as of last Thursday was 1, 142 hats, 33 scarves, and 58 baby hats. Not bad for a small group of ladies. Here it is the end of June so we will be handing out hats before we know it!

We haven't been doing a whole lot stuff other than working around home. DH spent a big part of the weekend watering his garden and then putting mesh around his plants so the chipmunks don't feast. I have been cleaning and trying to get ahead of the papers. Between crocheting scarves and reading, I have also been using up leftover yarn to make dish cloths. Last year I donated a 100 to a food pantry to put in their Christmas baskets. I have 74 completed so far. I know they aren't fancy, but hopefully they can be a blessing to someone. I try to make them with pretty colors even if they are leftover yarn.

About a year ago I bought a pillow kit to embroider at a thrift store. It was an unopened package. I spent many hours doing the embroidery and finally could sew it together. It will be a Christmas gift for a friend who appreciates handmade items. I bought a new pillow form on sale so another Christmas gift is checked off my list.

I sometimes forget how people view money and possessions. We are very careful with our money. I'm not saying we don't spend money because we do, but we save and plan mostly. A friend of ours has a bigger house, nicer cars, and draws more money than we do. Whenever they get new stuff, we rejoice with them because we know they are happy. Sadly, I guess it is one sided. We had saved up to do some things on our house -- we put new vinyl in our sunroom, bought a new storm door, and had some painting done on the outside. In the greater scheme of things, not huge amounts of money -- probably far less than what they probably spent on some new stuff they bought. However, since we have had this work done, she's been snippy. I don't know if she's jealous or what, but it makes me melancholy that they cannot share our joy as we have shared theirs. I guess the love of money is truly the root of all evil.

Thank you, Bluebird!

June 25th, 2019 at 07:35 am

Thank you, Bluebird, for your generous donation to my church's knitting group. We received your check at church. The ladies are thrilled to have more money to buy yarn. You rock!

What a spendy month so far

June 20th, 2019 at 07:50 am

It's been a speedy month so far. Property taxes are due. We pay the whole amount because I'm always worried I'll forget the second installment. License plate sticker was due. And then we hired a painter to do some painting.

But fortunately we have the money saved back. None of these were unexpected.

Plus I'm glad we hired the painter. He did a marvelous job on painting the brick trim on the front of the house and the two doors. They look like new. We had a slight crack in the wall between our master bedroom and bathroom from the house settling and he fixed it and painted the wall and it looks great.

But I hate to say it, I'll be glad when the spending stops. Yikes! I realize some folks live this way -- spending everything they have coming in. I don't know how they do it. I'm not talking about people who are the working poor and they can't help it. I'm talking about people who make good money, but don't stop spending.

I've kept busy in the evenings. I have been crocheting scarves to go along with the hats my church group is working on. Last week I finished embroidering a pillow case that I need to sew together to cover a throw pillow. It will be a Christmas gift. I just remembered why I hate using the floss that comes in the kit -- it was horrible -- it tangled all the time. I asked DH to remind me if I ever get another kit, to provide my own floss.

My money saving trip today will be to the library. I'm out of books to read. I've read 64 so far. My goal is a 100.

Gas Tax and Day to Day Stuff

June 2nd, 2019 at 11:34 am

I live in Illinois and doubling the gas tax is just about a sure fire bet. The General Assembly has passed it, so that means our gas tax will double to 38 cents a gallon. Ouch. I understand that we need it for roads and such, but if the legislators hadn't allowed the powers to be to take money from the original road account, I think we would have been in better shape and had more money.

Fortunately DH and I don't have to drive to work so our driving is for appointments as well as things we choose to do. But I worry about those people who are already having a time of it making ends meet and now this.

The Governor is also wanting to legalize Marijuana so I imagine that will go through with flying colors. I am torn on this issue. First of all, if it is legal, then maybe people won't treat it like they did when there was prohibition. Yet, I'm also worried we will have people using it and driving and being a bigger menace on the roads. Of course, maybe they won't be driving with the higher gas tax.

I just feel like all Illinois is wanting is more money. I understand why we need it, but I also wonder if there are ways to cut some of the spending like we have to do in our own personal budgets.

I do think DH and I will do a little less driving. We enjoy going to some of the area towns to visit. We may not go as often. I don't think the towns will miss us horribly, but I'm sure every dollar we spend helps their economy. Get enough people going and spending, it does make a difference. Perhaps I'm just too simple minded on the whole tax thing.

In other news, DH's garden is growing. He has some small green tomatoes on a few of his plants. If we could just get less rain and more sun, it would sure help. So many of the area farmers are struggling to even get their crops in. And so many in the heartland are facing the devastating effects of flooding. I picked some lettuce and a couple of green onions yesterday to make part of a salad tonight. I really like having fresh from the garden vegetables.

A couple of weeks ago I planted the end of celery in a pot. It is growing. I had to put it in a tall pot because last year when I did it, a bunny decided it was for his buffet.

I bought a weaving loom at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago. One can make scarves and other things. I finished my second scarf. I paid $5 for the loom and I feel I did OK with it. I like learning new things and I can actually use some different yarns with it that it is easier to weave with than crochet with so I feel that is good stewardship.

Aldi had blueberries on sale this week so I bought extra and made some blueberry jam and canned it. I think it is my favorite type so I was excited about that. A friend is kidding me about filling my pantry, and yeah, I do that. There's a satisfaction to having stuff in the pantry when I want it, especially knowing what's in it like the jam.

Catching Up

May 12th, 2019 at 11:08 am

I keep meaning to blog, but not sure I had anything of great interest to write about, so it will just be a few items to catch up.

My knitting group at church has a total of 861 hats so far for this year. We are way ahead of our total from this time last year and the year before. We also have 31 baby hats and 12 scarves. Not very many scarves so I'm going to work on making scarves instead of hats, but they take longer so I guess that is why people prefer to make hats.

I'm using the leftover yarn to crochet dish cloths. My goal is to make over 200 and donate them to a local food pantry to put them in the Christmas baskets. I made 100 last year and most of them right before, so I'd like to double that and make them as I can and also use up the yarn. I try to make them with nice colors so they don't look like leftovers.

My personal goal is to also make things for anyone who has a baby at my church. So far I've cross stitched some baby bibs and I have crocheted a bib and crocheted a baby blanket. I feel that although this isn't a huge thing, I would hope that the parents realize that people in the church do care.

DH planted his tomatoes, bell peppers, and herbs last week. We had one day of sunshine since then and rain almost every day. Hopefully the plants won't drown before they get a good start.

We took a day bus trip to two small towns here in Illinois. One is Moonshine that boasts a population of 2. Apparently this couple bought this small general store a number of years ago and started making Moonshine burgers and it has become a tourist destination. After sampling their burger, I can see why the locals come to get one -- nice thick burger made with quality beef and cooked perfectly. It was a delight. We then visited Casey which is a small town that is famous for its oversized items like a mailbox, pencil, knitting needles, crochet hook, rocking chair, and golf tee. It made for a good day trip and we toured things we have not seen before.

It's damp and dreary so I'm looking forward to our soup for supper tonight. Since I was going to chop vegetables for stir fry last night, I decided to chop a few others and made Italian wedding soup. I like to fix soup the day before and then put it in the fridge and heat it the next day. For some reason it seems to taste a little better the second day. It will be at least two meals and I used some of the tomatoes and chicken broth I canned last fall.

"Spirit of Central Illinois" segment

February 17th, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Last week my church knitting group was featured on the local news as part of their weekly segment "Spirit of Central Illinois" which features people doing nice things. Here is the URL:


I was featured as was my Pastor as spokespersons for the group. No one else wanted to talk and to be honest, I was scared to death, but the reporter did a good job of not making me look stupid.

So far we have made 458 hats for 2019. A guy at church asked me today where we get the yarn for our hats and scarves and I said most of us buy our own and he was shocked. I said we do get some donations of yarn here and there. He was really surprised.

Usually when we get some sort of publicity we have new people wanting to join and that's cool. Hope that is the case this time too.