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)
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Busy Week

January 12th, 2020 at 08:36 pm

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!

Hats Delivered!

November 21st, 2019 at 08:10 pm

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:

https://herald-review.com/news/local/education/stitches-of-love-delivers-warmth-to-decatur-students/article_93e8f8aa-1bfc-5e9b-adf1-6da82bbf03c4.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_Herald_&_Review&fbclid=IwAR0IdPJJOlOtt5xCD6AQy1UHKbzBofnlgJALuD_yuapVTXpwNkNqul-p384


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!

Crafting, Hats, and So On

November 17th, 2019 at 07:58 pm

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.

GWTW Dinner and other tidbits

November 10th, 2019 at 09:18 pm

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:

fried chicken
mashed potatoes with pan gravy
green beans
fried cabbage
cornbread
blackberry cobbler
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.






Potpourri

October 26th, 2019 at 09:07 pm

It's a windy, rainy day here in Central Illinois. A perfect tea drinking day in fact. I like these kind of days as long as there is no storms and no flooding. I think they make me appreciate the really nice days. I have a beef roast in the Crockpot with potatoes and carrots and it is an especially good day for such a meal.

Life has been busy. DH had cataract surgery on Tuesday on his right eye. It's been an adventure since he has worn glasses for over 67 years and seeing distance has been so bad, that he could barely read the alarm clock next to his head. He could read it the next day standing 4 foot away. He cannot read close up and the eye doctor doesn't want him to wear his glasses so his left eye is still weak and he struggles with that. He has surgery scheduled in less than three weeks for it and I imagine he will wind up getting reading glasses, but wow, what a miracle this surgery is.

A couple of weeks ago I made some apple sauce and some apple peel jelly. Usually when I try a new recipe, I always follow the recipe exactly. I just thought it would be fun to try something that you make from something you would not use anyway. Anyway, I gave a jar of it to a friend as well as a jar of apple juice. He criticized the jelly because it wasn't rock solid. Well, it isn't. If I make it again, I will include more pectin. But, it is still usable and I have been eating some one my toast. It really hurt my feelings that he had to find fault. DH said not to give him anything else.

We had our last meeting of the knitting group at church before we start giving away hats. Our totals are as follows for 2019:

Hats: 1731

Scarves 157

Baby hats: 137

Not a bad total for a small group! We have three schools we are "adopting" and will give the schools enough hats for all the students plus some extras, and a few of the scarves. One of our church members purchases gloves that we include so each child will get a set of gloves. We have also given some hats to the Cancer Care Center. We plan to give two teachers who go to our church enough hats for their classrooms as well as hats, gloves, and scarves for our church's preschool. Another Lutheran Church is making Christmas baskets with food, and we will be sharing hats with them to include. We have a homeless shelter for women and their children in our town and we will be giving them a bunch of hats and scarves, and then the remainder will be going to a case manager at Lutheran Child and Family Services for Christmas. What a wonderful project that started 3 years ago with about 4 people. We have around 11-12 who come to our bimonthly meetings and it has been such a blessing that we have had people donate money or yarn to help us out.

So there is a mixture of what's going on in my life. Between eye drops for my husband and getting some things done around here, I've stayed occupied.

Thrift store, Canning, and Hats, Hats, Hats

October 11th, 2019 at 08:06 pm

We took some things to one of the thrift stores to donate. DH had some lighthouse lamps that have been sitting on a closet shelf and never seemed to remember to get them out, but he did yesterday. He collects lighthouse stuff, but he never really liked the lamps -- they were gifts -- and he felt like that was a good thing to give away because they still worked. Maybe someone else can enjoy them.

We also had some other things to donate and it is easier to give a few things at a time...sadly the place we take them you have to climb up steps to take donations so it is a pain. Most of the volunteers are older than I am, so I don't feel like I should ask them to help either. So, doing it more often with less stuff each time seems to be the answer.

We went to our usual round of thrift stores on this cool, windy, rainy day. Did not find a thing we needed or wanted, but had a nice time looking. Of course when we donate, it makes me think how little we really need.

Yesterday I canned some applesauce and apple juice. Over the past couple of years I had given a friend some jelly and jam and had repeatedly asked that he return my jars and rings. I don't think that's much to ask -- just return them when he was done. Well, he didn't. Then he hinted he wanted more jelly. I made a comment that canning isn't free and besides paying for the stuff like fruit, sugar, petting, jars, lids, and rings cost money too. So, he made a big deal by going and buying some new jars. He bought a package of 6 and gave me three. I know this will sound like a snob, but they are not name brand. I've tried using generic jars and have not had good luck with them. I'm almost afraid to use them. I canned a jar of apple juice to see how it would work. They do not feel as heavy as my Ball or Kerr jars so I don't think I would want to use them more than once.

In other news, my knitting group at church met yesterday. We have over 1600 hats made. We are going to meet again in two weeks and that will determine our total for 2019. We will start in November knitting for 2020. We have chosen three schools, a preschool, the cancer care center, two classrooms of folks who attend our church, and a homeless shelter to receive our hats and scarves and we have a donor who buys gloves to go with the hats and scarves. I've contacted the three schools and have arranged dates to drop off the hats and show the kids the looms we use to knit. I know that is the teacher in me -- I think it never hurts to who kids how things are made.



"Spirit of Central Illinois" segment

February 17th, 2019 at 08:58 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:

https://www.wandtv.com/news/knitted-hats-bring-love-comfort-to-kids-in-need/article_b5f32a56-317d-11e9-9633-4f4c24614ad3.html

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.

Weather, Crafting, and Organization

February 2nd, 2019 at 08:50 pm

What an interesting week!

Monday I went to Kroger to pick up my prescription. It is the one medicine my insurance doesn't cover and they have the cheapest price. I have a coupon from the manufacturer for money off, but still have to pay over $250 for it. I had to wait a bit so I decided to pick up a couple of things while I waited and holy cow, did things get crazy. I bought my items and took them to the car and came back and in that short bit of time, the parking lot went from calm to crazy. People were circling looking for places. I went back in to get my prescription and while I waited, there were people who would get a card and almost run, throwing things in the cart. Really? Nothing was happening yet weather wise. The Polar Vortex wasn't even on our doorstep yet! Egad!

DH and I did a few errands on Tuesday and came home and stayed there until Thursday. Tuesday night the weather got colder and Wednesday wa the extreme below zero wind chills. Fortunately we did not lose power or have pipes freeze. We were happy to be home and safe and felt sorry for those who had to get out in it.

I've been looming and crocheting trying to use up yarn that I have purchased for the hats and scarves I'm making. DH and I cleaned house on Wednesday so that kept us busy and gave us some exercise too. DH normally goes to the mall to walk, but he didn't want to get out with it being so cold. So, not the same exercise, but better than sitting around.

We have been enjoying our Netflix subscription. I turned to DH last night and said who would have thought 20 years ago we would "stream" movies in our house. I remember thinking the VCR and tapes was pretty darn cool years ago and now you just sit home and the movies come to you.

We did spend some money today. We took our cars to the place where you wash them yourself. We did both cars to get the salt and grime off until the next go round. We also went to a flea market and I found some things to use as Christmas gifts and they were either 50% or 75% off. Last year I collected lots of little items and wrapped them up individually and gave them to a friend so she had 25 gifts to unwrap from December 1st to the 25th. She really liked it so I wanted to do it again this year. I don't want to give her junk just to give her a gift, but things she might use. She likes Curirier and Ives stuff and I found two trivets that were still in the containers. That will be two gifts and she can use them on her table for hot stuff. I found a box of Christmas mugs like new and it was 75% off.

I'm still doing the Ibotta thing and it is slow going, but hey, it is free money. I guess doing most of our grocery shopping at Aldi keeps me from cashing in a lot, but we also don't buy a lot of the things they give you cash for.

We had our weekly date night last night. We had gone to the bank and DH doesn't carry money in his wallet, but all those plastic cards like his license and loyalty cards. I saw he had a Cracker Barrel gift card and I suggested he use that when we ate out. He said he didn't think there was much money on it and I said well, whatever it is, it isn't helping him by staying in his wallet and even if it is 50 cents, that 50 cents. We went there and ate and when he ran it through, there was $4.70 on it. For a $22 meal, that was $4.70 he didn't have to spend out of his pocket.

The other day we were watching one of those daily programs where they have snippets of different things to improve your life and this one gal was talking about organizing your pantry. I always perk up when those things come on because my pantry is overcrowded and I clean it out and try to organize it, but it never looks wonderful. Anyway, this gal was talking about getting these containers and doing this and that and when she showed the pantry, there were like 4 or 5 things on a shelf. Really? Yeah, it looked tidy, but not a whole lot of cooking going on there. That's how she wanted it to look. I'm going to say it out loud, my pantry will not be looking like that.

I saw an article claiming January was the best the DOW had since 1987. I'm not really sure of that, but guess we will see when we get our financial statement.