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.
Viewing the 'Food / Groceries' Category
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:
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:
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.
This morning I was just nosing around Pinterest. I am having to take a break from knitting and crocheting. I was crocheting last night and my fingers started to hurt and then later my shoulder was sore which is my body's way of telling me I've overdone it. Usually if I take it easy for a day or so and don't knit or crochet, I'm OK.
Anyway, I was looking at Pinterest because I had already read all the current blogs and saw a small recipe for Lavender Jelly. We just happen to have some lavender plants that DH hasn't gotten rid of yet (they are in pots) and I asked him if he minded if I cut off the blooms to make some jelly. He said no, he was going to get rid of the plants anyway. I had used some earlier to make all purpose cleaner with vinegar and Dawn so he's used to me using stuff.
Anyway, I have four small jars of jelly. Hope it turns out. It didn't seem like an overwhelming activity and I had the jars, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice.
Today was an expensive day. We replaced the tires on my car. Ouch. But, they needed it. The car is paid for and a couple of months ago we had some big bills, and now the tires, but far better than a pricey car payment every month. I had hoped to wait a couple more months, but the forecasters are thinking we might have a bad winter so I decided to spend the money anyway just to be safe. Plus, DH is going to have cataract surgery in the next few weeks and in between the surgery and post op appointments, I may find it hard to get in and get new tires.
Also had to pick up a prescription. It is asthma medicine and this is one of the worst times of the year for me. Sadly, when I called in for the refill, they didn't have it and had to order it and I guess because it was near the weekend, it took longer to get. Good thing I don't wait until I'm out to refill.
Other than that, I spent the morning canning. I think I'm done for this year except I may make some jam later on closer to Christmas. I refuse to buy any more jars so I'm using what I have. I tried something different this time -- I was making and canning applesauce and I saw on Pinterest a recipe for apple scrap jelly. What it is is basically taking the apple peels and cooking them with water, then running the juice through cheese cloth, and adding pectin and sugar. It has a pinkish tint to it. I followed the recipe, but I don't think it called for enough pectin because it seems fairly runny, but oh, well. It tastes good. Just a good way to use up something and I like trying new stuff.
I talked with our financial advisor about something and told him about my canning. He's such a nice man and has been a friend as well as advisor. When I finished canning and came back from getting new tires, I dropped off a pint of spaghetti sauce, a half pint of the apple scrap jelly, and a quart of apple juice. You would have thought I had given him gold or something. He kept thanking me and said he knew the jars really contained love. It is nice to be appreciated.
We have a new weatherman for our local station and I think he believes he is entertaining. I do not need to be entertained when watching the weather...I want the forecast basically, but he likes to think he's clever. Well, Mr. Clever kept saying we were not going to have a frost Friday night. DH happened to go outside Friday evening and came in and said he believed it would frost. So, here we are out with a flash light so he can pick bell peppers and Rosemary in case it did frost. I picked a few tomatoes that were starting to ripen just in case. Fortunately we had picked a majority of the herbs earlier that we wanted to dry.
Well, it did frost. It wasn't a killing freeze, but some of the herbs got it as well as some of the other plants and flowers. DH normally pulls up stuff when they predict a frost because he doesn't like dealing with the plants that get kind of soft and slimy after. That stupid weatherman was wrong and he assured us in the viewing area we would not have a frost. Glad DH was smart enough to go check.
We did go to an outdoor market yesterday that is about an hour and half away from us. It is in Morris, Illinois, along the Illinois-Michigan Canal. We also like to visit the downtown of Morris and go through the shops. It wasn't a huge spend day. We bought an acorn squash from the Morris FFA for $1 and some cinnamon rolls for our breakfast this morning as well as a cupcake from the local bakery to enjoy there. I had taken a Thermos of hot tea with us since it was a bit chilly and that was a nice treat. It was basically just a trip to get us out and about. I liked looking at the booths. I noticed that some had some knitting and crocheted items and I like looking at them.
When we came home I took some vegetable soup that I had in the freezer and heated that up for our supper and made herb cheesy biscuits. Not a super big spend day and we had a nice time.
I noticed that someone had posted that Christmas is 74 days away as of yesterday. I'm already thinking about all the cookies I need to bake for our church bazaar the first Saturday in December. Yikes! Most of my Christmas shopping is finished. DH picked out some clothes from Lands End that he wanted and they sent an email with a huge percentage off just that day so I took advantage of it.
DH will probably be pulling up the rest of the plants this afternoon. It supposed to warm up later this week, but you never know when the frost will be, especially with this weather man!
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.
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!
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!
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.