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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.

Groceries

May 2nd, 2019 at 07:49 am

Yesterday was an expensive day at the grocery stores.

I shop at two: Aldi and Kroger. We also have a Sav-A-Lot and Wal-Mart, but I would prefer not going to Wal-Mart. People tell me that they are cheaper, and perhaps they are, but I call it the "evil empire" because of the way they go into small towns, drive all the other businesses out, and then raise their prices. Now a couple of the small towns where this happened has had them pull out and there is no store there. Plus, a few years ago PBS' Front Line did a show on how Wal-Mart basically tells businesses where they will have factories and how much they will charge. At least they did. So, if I can avoid them, I do.

Anyway, my goal the past couple of months has been to eat what we have in the pantry and freezer. I still have some things in the freezer, but the pantry was starting to get bare as far as crackers and chips. DH wanted a particular type of cracker a couple of months ago and he hasn't touched the box. I don't like them per se, but I opened the box to have some with my sandwich for lunch. Anyway, after I finish this box, we can move on to something else. Perhaps the fact I don't really like them will keep me from overeating. I did stock up on some other crackers and some chips for lunches. I won't open the other boxes of crackers until we finish this one.

Kroger has had fresh green beans on sale for 99 cents a pound. I have been buying some and canning them. DH doesn't have the room to grow green beans, and sadly, the folks who sell them at Farmer's Market are three to four times the price when they are in season. I prefer canning them because I like fixing them without a lot of salt.

Kroger also had apples on sale so I bought a bunch and made applesauce. I realize I spent more than what it would have cost me to buy commercial applesauce, but the brands we can get here, some of the apples come from China. I read a report that says that some of the fruit grown in China is basically grown in sewage. No thanks. I don't add a lot of sugar, but do add some maple syrup right before I put the immersion blender in to give it a nice flavor.

We had some bananas that were beginning to get overripe and they are perfect for banana bread. I made four small loaves. Two went in the freezer. DH loves banana bread and when he came in, he asked if any of it was for him. I told him it was all for him, but two were going in the freezer because he wouldn't be able to eat it all before it would spoil.

We've had so much rain here that the farmers cannot get in the fields. It is getting to the point where they may not be able to plant corn. A couple of days ago our weather man said we are 7 inches above normal and we've received 2 inches of rain since then. Although I'm not thrilled with so much rain, I sure hope come this summer we don't have a drought. I think the farmers can plant soybeans later, but that will probably drive the price of soybeans down if there is a glut in the market.

Happy Easter!

April 21st, 2019 at 12:33 pm

It seems like spring has finally arrived and here it is sunny and beautiful on a Sunday. That hasn't happened in months. It seems like every Sunday lately has been horrid as far as weather.

We had Easter services today. Our Pastor always has a children's sermon and today the kids were so excited he had a hard time keeping them on topic. But he has a good sense of humor and I do think the congregation enjoys the kids and their enthusiasm.

Normally on Sunday when we get home I fix brunch which is usually scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables, cheesy grits, toast, and fruit salad. Today we had ham, scalloped potatoes, creamed corn, peas, cornbread, deviled eggs, and a cheesecake like dessert. Some of the items I prepared yesterday to make it go faster. My husband must have been hungry because he was ready to eat 30 minutes before our meal was ready.

Yesterday I made chicken stir fry for supper and since there is usually more chicken than what we can eat, I make chicken broth with the leftovers. Why buy it when I can make it at home and I know what goes into it?

DH worked on planting onion sets, radish and lettuce seeds yesterday. We've had so much rain that he worries the soil was too wet, but he hopes that yesterday and day helped dry it out a bit before our next set of rain storms this week.

I've been reading the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton. I get them at the library. We did go to a bookstore yesterday that handles used books and just for grins I looked to see if they had any. They did, but they were the ones I have already read and the price was way more than I would have spent on a book I only plan to read once. I am so glad we have a great library.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

This and that

April 19th, 2019 at 12:10 pm

After posting on Sunday complaining about the snow flurries, I felt a little guilty when I saw Peoria a couple of hours northwest of us had 5 inches of snow. And I know areas north and north east of us got quite a bit too.

We did some thrift shopping today. I found a blouse and DH found a shirt. Last week I found two nice pairs of jeans. One I didn't even have to shorten. I have a friend who thinks buying clothes at thrift stores is just awful. I disagree. I can wash the clothes and I save a bunch on them.

I buy many of my greeting cards at thrift stores. I like saving money. I would rather give a dime or a quarter for a nice card than $4 or $5. Most people don't keep cards so why spend so much?

Every week I buy fresh fruit to make a fruit salad. There is always way too much fruit, so I freeze the extra. This week I cooked it and made mixed berry jam and canned it. One of the grocery stores had lovely fresh green beans on sale so I bought some and canned them in chicken broth I had made. I still have some green beans from last year, but we will be eating those so I'm preparing for next winter.

I had some mandarin oranges that were getting overripe so I decided to try and make orange loaf. I found a recipe and it turned out pretty well. DH liked it a lot and I baked 4 mini loaves and gave two away.

As we progress into Easter weekend. hope you all have a wonderful Easter.

Snow? Really?

April 14th, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Sitting here looking out the window and seeing snowflakes.

It seems like every Sunday we have bad weather. Last Sunday was dreary rain. Today it was a potpourri -- rain and now some snow. It doesn't look like it will stick and I'm glad.

Not a whole lot going on otherwise. Today is Palm Sunday and we have Holy Week Services throughout the week and then next Sunday is Easter. I already bought a small ham because for just the two of us, we do not need a huge ham. I know you can freeze it, but even then, that's a lot of ham to deal with.

I went grocery shopping on my own this week. Normally DH goes with, but we had a schedule change and he was volunteering. It was an easy and cheap week -- didn't spend a whole lot. I did not buy any meat. I'm trying to use up what we have in the freezer.

Last fall when I was at Walgreens, they had on the clearance rack those things you boil eggs in instead of making boiled eggs the old fashioned way. I figured for $5 I would try them, but never got around to using them. I thought of them yesterday and so I decided to try two of them. I read the directions and it cautioned to make sure you grease the inside so I did. Well, I'm happy to report they work. The only thing is the end is flat at the top, but they were a breeze to use. I get so frustrated when I boil eggs and have a hard time peeling them and I will even keep eggs to get older ones having read that helps. It didn't. I think I will be using these more often. Wish I had tried them before.

I had some overripe bananas so I made banana bread yesterday -- 4 small loaves. I gave two away and DH had part of one. I will save the other one for him as well. He likes a snack so I figure as far as sweets go, it isn't laden with preservatives and such.

Paid the water bill today. That should be it for awhile for this month as far as bills go. That's good because it seemed like last month was laden with insurance and extra bills. Property taxes will come up in June. I always like it when we end the month with extra in the checking. I try to move some of it into saving over and above what we normally save.

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!


Another Snowy Sunday

February 10th, 2019 at 12:53 pm

It snowed this morning. Again. OK, I know it is winter, but I'm tired of it. We had been told by the weather forecasters rain with a chance of dusting snow. Well an inch later of snow, and it was slick because the city crews have not been out.

Oh, well. We came out of church and our vehicles were covered. I brushed snow off of our car and then did a couple others for some of the older members. Two ushers said they would get the cars for anyone who didn't want to walk across the parking lot. I think when these things happen, the goodness of people shine through.

Seems like on the money front a lot is going out. We have decided to invest in flood insurance. We don't live in a high flood risk, but with the chance of a possible flood (experts call it a 500 year flood) and homeowners not paying for flood damage, we feel it is better to save the money. We also have a couple other things coming up such as DH's long term care insurance.

I did decide to spend some money on household stuff. I wanted a new cutting board and some new towels and rugs for the bedroom. Kohls had a coupon for so much off, then $10 off if you spent over $50, and everything was on sale. I had a $20 Ibotta refund, and then I also had some money on a gift card from a return I made after Christmas. I looked at the bill...before sale prices and coupons, the total would have been $165.93. After coupons, sale prices, Ibotta credit, and gift card, we paid $31.01 for one cutting board, 2 rugs, and 2 bath towels, one hand towel, and one wash cloth. I know I spent money, but I sure liked saving some as I did it. Hopefully that will be it for spending for awhile.

I pulled some chili out of the freezer for supper. Cold, snowy days make me appreciate chili so much more!

Weather, Crafting, and Organization

February 2nd, 2019 at 12:50 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.

Water Main Break

January 20th, 2019 at 11:48 am

Awoke this morning to a water main break in our subdivision. As cold as it is, I guess it shouldn't be a shock. We did make it to church, but decided to spend money and eat out since we weren't sure if/when we would get water. We tried a place for breakfast we had never eaten before and it wasn't bad. Not planning on making a habit of it, but it was something different.

We were supposed to get 4-7 inches of snow yesterday and we got a light coat of freezing rain. After last weekend's snow, it was a nice break, but sorry for those who had to be out in the mess south and north of us. We stayed in because we weren't sure how the roads were and we didn't need to get out. Instead of we cleaned house and I pulled some stuff out of the freezer for lunch.

I am trying to use up small amounts of yarn before I start new skeins. There's not enough to a hat or scarf, but I've made a lot of dish cloths as well as small facial tissue holders for one's purse and then two Barbie dresses. My two little friends are going to have quite a wardrobe for their dolls. Maybe I should start playing with my Barbie too. I bought one at a thrift store for 75 cents to use as a model.