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Busy, busy

March 18th, 2018 at 02:00 pm

It's been a busy week.

It's also been a tough week. My asthma has really kicked up and I'm having issues breathing so I'm having to do breathing treatments. It makes me tired having to struggle and coughing so much. But I know it will eventually get better.

I did an art project with the fifth graders I volunteer with this week. We used some fancy yarn that was leftovers from donation yarn that no one could use at church. We made baskets by weaving it in and out of plastic drinking cups I had cut for that purpose. Some of the kids really did a fabulous job. Some decided it was too much work and quit. I had taken in a Gullah basket to show them before I did the project. I spent quite a bit of time getting the cups ready as well as making sure I had enough materials. I hate to sound negative, but I wasn't too shocked that so many kids decided it was too much work to try and do this project. I think it took most of them that finished it about 15 minutes to complete it.

We did get our names put on the list for a new driveway. We have to wait a bit since there are five people ahead of us. I dread the construction and parking in the street, but will be glad to have a smooth, new driveway. We saved almost $8K for it just in case, but the bid came in at $5500. So, we will have money left over to put on the next project we will be saving for. As nice as it is to own our home, there's always something to fix or replace isn't there? Our driveway is original with the house which was built in 1979 so I guess the fact it has lasted this long isn't something to sneeze at. We have a hill so I guess it is a tricky pour.

We finally got our last group of tax papers so our taxes are done! Amen!

I finished the book "Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella. I know it is fiction, but I think the author probably nailed the rationalization of why people spend foolishly.

Last night we went to a nearby small town and had dinner at an Amish home. Our friends are friends with this couple and the Amish couple do this every so often to make money. She served it buffet style. And it was amazing. Not good if you are watching calories, but yowza! Fried chicken, meatloaf, pulled pork, lasagna, dressing, chicken and noodles, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, green salad, pickled beets, two types of pickles, cottage cheese, homemade rolls with butter and/or homemade apple butter. And pie. Four different kinds of freshly baked pie. Oh, my! There was a large group besides us and after they all left, she handed my friends and us a container and said take some home! So we brought a few things home for another meal. I'll have to supplement a little bit, but still, that was a great deal. Everything was homemade. What a treat! Not something I'd want to do often though.

I still have some ironing I want to do today after my breathing treatment and before supper. I haven't felt like doing a whole lot, but have been pushing myself to try and get some things accomplished or otherwise when I do get over this, I will be so overwhelmed.

Hope everyone has a good week.



Wednesday Catch Up

March 14th, 2018 at 08:57 am

Today is Wednesday and it is the day I normally volunteer in a fifth grade classroom. They have been doing state testing so last week and this week I'm doing art projects to give them a break. Today's art project is taking plastic drinking cups and cutting down the sides so they can weave yarn and make a basket. I spent quite a bit of time trimming the cups and cutting them as well as hole punching them. I'm going to take a Gullah basket in and show them a basket made. I think any experience I can provide will help them. So many of our students have so few life experiences. Our church has had a lot of bits and pieces of yarn donated which isn't enough to make hats, so I went through them and took these to use for the weaving. I purchased 2 packages of cups and 2 packages of pipe cleaners. So, monetary wise I'm out a little over $4.

I thought I was really doing well yesterday. I used furniture polish to dust. I don't normally use very much of it and do dry dusting frequently. Well, I'm paying the piper so to speak. My asthma has really kicked up. It never was bothered by the polish before so i wonder if it is the aerosol or the scent. I may have to find a homemade polish to try and use. Any suggestions?

For the past couple of years we have been saving for a new driveway. We bought the house almost 20 years ago and the driveway wasn't in the best shape. But, it seems to have more troubles now. We got an estimate and hired someone who is well thought of around here. There are 5 driveways ahead of us and I'm already dreading leaving our vehicles out and being without a driveway, but I'm sure in the end it will be worth it. We actually saved more than we needed so that was good.

I was going to say we had a no spend day, then remembered DH picked up some prescriptions yesterday. It was a no spend day for me anyway, I guess.

I found a recipe for a crab meat casserole I would like to try. So, I guess I'll be putting crab on my grocery list. I make the grocery lists tonight and then finalize them tomorrow when the ad comes out for Kroger. We do the bulk of our shopping at Aldi, and then pick up certain things at Kroger. I started using Ibotta, and although I'm getting a little here and there, since I rarely buy ready made things and do most of our shopping at Aldi, I'm not making a whole lot. I found another app called Saving Star that is like Ibotta and they offer money on a few different things. Maybe between the two I will get a little money back.

This and that

March 11th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Yesterday it sort of felt like spring. One thing I really like to do when it is decent is take the vehicle and wash it. There's a coin operated car wash not too far from our house and I like to wash my vehicle and get all the salt off of it from the winter. We splurged the $1 for the vacuum as well to get all the rocks and dirt off the floorboards as well and when we got home, I wiped the outside down and then took some of the Armour All and went over the tires and the plastic on the outside and then wiped down the console and the doors on the inside. It sure made it look nice and made me appreciate what I have. DH was pretty impressed.

After that I worked in the garage and swept it out. That seems to be an ongoing battle because leaves and dirt seem to blow in every time we open the garage door. I also cleaned out one corner where we have a standing rack to hold rakes, shovels, brooms, and my mop. I took everything out of the rack, cleaned it, cleaned the corner and then tried to put everything back in a way that looked a lot tidier. I threw away quite a few things that DH put there. I don't know why he didn't throw them away to begin with. Maybe there is something about taking something a few extra steps to the garbage can. Smile

We went to that home show I wrote about earlier and admired the Amish made cabinets and furniture as well as looked at the booths of doors, windows, lawn stuff. I even won a door prize -- a small bag of cashew chew which is like peanut brittle, but made with cashews.

Before we left, I had put a pork loin roast in the Crockpot with carrots, onion, herbs, and small potatoes so I didn't have to worry about cooking supper in case we got home late. A little planning guaranteed we weren't tempted to eat out. Plus, we will realize another meal from the pork and carrots. Can't beat that!

I asked a friend if he would be willing to fix a door on our Hoosier cabinet. It has become unglued and I'm afraid it is going to fall apart and the glass pane will shatter. I will not be able to replace it if it does since there are two doors with the matching panes and are original with the piece. We worked out a deal -- he will glue and clamp it. I gave him some sugar free candy we had bought for him and I will bake him some homemade bread for his trouble. I'm excited about getting it fixed.

After supper we relaxed by watching Hinterland on Netflix. Intense would be the word to describe this series. I worked on using up some yarn and making dish cloths. I had some purple that there wasn't enough to make a hat so I used it up and then had some blue from a project I had crocheted for myself awhile back. I had crocheted a cover for a pillow and had the yarn left over. So, I used some of it to trim around a dish cloth and then used some other yarn up as well. I finished 4 dish cloths last night and used up some yarn that wouldn't have been enough for anything else.

It was a fine day.

Today has been great too, so far. We went to church and then went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription for DH. He also had them print his 2017 prescriptions. We have a home health care policy for him that if you don't use it in the calendar year, they will give you a refund of what you paid on prescriptions. It won't be a huge amount since his prescription plan covered the lion's share as well as all of them being generics, but it is nice to get a rebate of sorts. I have to get that ready to mail in.

We came home and I fixed brunch and had the opportunity to watch new episodes of Barefoot Contessa. I like her calm manner and I seem to learn stuff from her episodes. I've missed seeing her so I was glad we could catch these. I still do covet her walk in pantry. A girl can dream, I guess!

Tonight we are supposed to go and have dinner with some friends at their home. We take turns hosting each other. It is a casual evening and plenty of fun and other than the food, pretty reasonable.

Not a whole lot of spending going on, but some fine times!

Watch out HGTV!

March 5th, 2018 at 11:54 am

I know I've commented on this before, but we watch HGTV and it seems every person looking for a house always has to have entertaining space.

We bought this home almost 20 years ago and I don't really think we said we needed entertaining space. Maybe we are weird. We wanted a ranch, a bigger kitchen (the other house's kitchen was tiny and had no storage), 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a bigger bedroom than we had. DH wanted a decent yard, but not huge. Because of allergies we hoped to get away form having a basement. Entertaining really wasn't a contender in our choice. We actually bought a bit smaller house than we had before. That one was 1600 square feet and this one is around 1500 square feet.

Well, DH pointed out we are entertaining tonight. My friend's birthday is today and I invited her and her husband over for dinner. Dinner will be lasagna, salad, Focaccia bread, and chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. They were delighted to be invited and DH is delighted that there is cake and ice cream to look forward to.

Anyway, I guess it is time for HGTV to watch out -- we are entertaining!

You can't pick your relatives

February 25th, 2018 at 11:45 am

Like many states in the Midwest, we have had plenty of rain and gloomy days this past week. The sun is out and although it is cool, it looks to be a lovely day. I know people at church were talking about their attitudes changing because the sun had appeared.

It's been an interesting week on the genealogy front. I had the opportunity to spend over an hour at the library in the local history room using the free local paper archives. I discovered a few more tidbits from my family. My mom always acted like my dad’s side of the family wasn’t very good. Yet, from what I’ve figured out so far, my dad’s side a couple of generations back, did have some wealth and prestige. His mom and her parents and siblings came to American in 1902 from England and located to Albany, Georgia. Why there of all places, I have no idea. And how they wound up in Decatur, Illinois, is another story I will never know. But I guess when they were in England, they did have some money and a fancy home. But, things got tough here in America for them and hard scrabble would be an accurate description.

My mom has a couple of generations here in America before her. My great grandfather was arrested for stealing brass from the Wabash Railroad which is where he worked. My grandfather was arrested as a teenager for being in an east side of Decatur gang. My grandmother was arrested for shoplifting in the 1920s. My mom was arrested for disorderly conduct in the 1940s. Kind of sad to learn this, although this was way before my time. As they say, you can’t pick your relatives.

Another thing I discovered was that many of the relatives on my mom’s side were railroaders. Two cousins a time or two removed who were brothers worked for Wabash and one saw the other crushed between two rail cars as he was trying to hitch them together. That had to be horrendous.

Dh teased me I was a cheap date for a Saturday. I was happy to go to the library, check out a couple of books (I scored the last Sue Grafton!), and then spend time doing some research. He spent the time in the children's section finding books to read out loud to the classes he reads to each week. We came home and I spent a couple of hours updating the family tree. I fixed supper and we spent the evening at home.

On the knitting front, we have 135 hats made so far in 2018. The church ladies are teasing me they are hoping to get to 1000 by the end of the year. Wouldn't that be something?

Every fall I try to purchase some name brand chicken noodle soup to have on hand in case one or both of us get sick. That seems to be a comfort food for each of us if we have colds or sinus infections. I try to catch it on sale and use a coupon and that's what I did last fall. So far, we haven't need to eat much of it. So, I'm going to heat some of it up with sandwiches for supper tonight.

Chilly Friday and Supper Planned

February 16th, 2018 at 08:19 am

Yesterday we had a high of 65. Yay! Some rain and since we are in almost drought conditions, no one seemed to mind the rain considering it is February and it could have been snow or ice. The temperatures have dropped so it is chilly, but I did see the sun peek out for a bit.

Credit Card Free shared her Ibotta link in a previous post and I finally got signed up. The first day the site was having issues, but I got in just in time to do my Kroger shopping yesterday (after our Aldi run, of course). After I did what I needed to do, it says I have $3.50 in credit. Not bad for a few minutes work. That was after I also did the digital coupons and a paper coupon too.

Friday night we normally eat out and we are being joined by another couple. That is something to look forward to!

I have my menu planned for other meals this week. One of my friends says I'm rigid, but how can I effectively shop if I don't know what I'm going to fix?

Saturday night - cod, mashed potatoes, green beans
Sunday night -- chili
Monday night -- pork loin roast with carrots, roasted potatoes
Tuesday night -- chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday night -- leftover pork roast, baked potatoes
Thursday night -- scrambled eggs or omelet. This is usually the night I clean out the vegetable drawer to put with the eggs.

The chili will use the tomatoes I canned and a friend gave me some beef for Christmas so I plan to use some of the "free" hamburger. The green beans are from the pantry where I canned last summer too.

Using up stuff; making a few things, thrift shopping

February 13th, 2018 at 01:09 pm

Today seems to be the day to use up things. Lunch was leftovers from a couple meals. DH and I had different things for lunch, but that was OK. He wanted leftover soup and I had two different things that there wasn't enough of either to make a meal. There is still enough soup for another lunch if we put a sandwich with it.

Last night I made a gallon of laundry detergent. A friend gave me some stuff to make some a number of years ago and I was so impressed, I bought the Borax, washing soda, and back then Fels Naphtha to make it. Now, I don't use the Fels Naphtha, but use Dawn instead. But what a reasonably priced laundry detergent and it gets stuff clean. I keep a little in a squirt bottle to pretreat stuff.

I was looking on Pinterest and saw a recipe for homemade Febreze. I made some this morning and I really like it. I haven't bought any in years. I happened to have saved the bottle thinking I was going to use it for something and I did use it for this. (I am notorious for saving bottles and jars.)

It's funny how some of my friends react to these things. One friend, the one who originally had me make my own detergent is all about saving things and making things and saving money wherever possible. She and her husband eat leftovers. And she is a good one for a bargain. It's like we are two peas in a pod.

Another of my friends thinks I'm crazy for making stuff and doing all the leftovers and such. She is all about getting stuff new. I don't think money is an issue at their home.

Yet another friend would never think of making detergent or anything and won't eat leftovers. Money is an issue as you can imagine.

I imagine the latter two think I'm simply crazy about thrift shopping. I have bought so many things at our local thrift shops -- we are fortunate to have quite a few and they have some really nice things. Lately I've been buying material and sewing things with it. I've made 3 table runners, a set of curtains for my bathroom, and one long panel for a sunroom door and material and thread together I think I've spent less than $16. I buy most of my greeting cards at thrift stores too. I like sending cards and letters, but I hate, hate, hate spending so much on greeting cards. Very few people save cards. I save ones from my husband, but I don't save any of the others; I recycle them. Giving a quarter or less for a card only makes sense to me, but maybe I'm weird.

So, that's what I've been doing today. Using stuff up, made a few things. No thrift shopping -- I'm cleaning instead. And of course eating at home. I am going to make crab cakes and we will have enough for another meal. And so the cycle continues.

Icy Sunday

February 11th, 2018 at 01:14 pm

Here in Central Illinois we had a glaze of ice overnight. We were supposed to also received 1-3 inches of snow, but fortunately that did not come to fruition. I can't say I'm disappointed.

In 2006 we had an ice storm that took down trees and electrical wires so whenever there is a chance of freezing rain, I always dread it. We were without power for a few days and it was cold and miserable.

In 1978 we had an ice storm that was worse than the one in 2006 and we were without power for over a week. Fortunately it wasn't freezing cold so the ice melted, but it did a lot of damage. It was absolutely miserable. I played more Monopoly that week than I had before or after that. It certainly made me appreciate power and heat a lot more.

Anyway, back to today. No power outages. Just some ice on the ground. I salted the driveway and by this afternoon, it was pretty clear. We did make it to church and didn't slip and slide too much on the way there and the way back.

With the slick roads, we decided to go home and stay home. I started a pot of soup after I fixed brunch. I call it Italian wedding soup, but I guess I've sort of just made it my own recipe. It is really making the house smell good. I try to make it ahead and then heat it up when we are ready to eat.

Here are in the ingredients I use:

1 pound of ground turkey for meatballs

1 onion chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2-3 mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini chopped.
1 quart and 1 pint of chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 quart of tomatoes
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1 cup of pasta -- your choice -- I use what I have on hand
fresh spinach
Parmesan to taste
olive oil


I make small meatballs out of the ground turkey and bake in the oven until they are done. I just use the plain turkey, but you can add eggs and bread crumbs.

I saute' the onions, celery, pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots in the olive oil and when they are soft, i add the garlic. I then add the chicken broth and let it simmer for over an hour. I add the turkey meatballs, Turmeric, and Oregano, and tomatoes and let it simmer for another 30-40 minutes so it cooks down a bit. I add the pasta and when it is cooked , add the spinach and cook for about a minute. Ladle into bowls and add the grated Parmesan. You can also add a little olive oil to the top.

This makes quite a bit so unless you are hearty soup eaters, you may have some leftovers.

Not very frugal

January 24th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

Today was not a frugal day. Wednesday afternoons are usually when DH and I volunteer. He reads at a second grade class and I work with a fifth grade class. But, the fifth grade class had something special come up and the second grader teacher was out with the flu and DH did not want to deal with the kids and a sub. So we decided to make it something fun for ourselves. We drove to a small town near here and ate at a place that is run by two sisters. On Wednesdays the special is lasagna and it is the best all around. It isn't horribly expensive -- salad, lasagna, bread...$6.95 before tax. Of course we had to have some ice cream that they make on premises...$2 for a nice size scoop. But, wow, what a great meal and a nice treat because we normally can't do this.

We returned back to our home and split up. He goes and walks at the mall. I had some errands to run. This is my birthday month and a place where I get makeup had a free make over and then 15% off of anything I bought. I am new to the makeup game. My mom never used it so I never had anyone to show me. And when I tried other stuff, my allergies would kick in. So, this stuff is pricier, but it doesn't make me react. I don't wear it every day, but I like to learn new things. So, I went, had the makeover and bought a few things to supplement what I already had.

I then went to the library to return some books and magazines. I just can't beat the library for finding good things to read and enjoy. I finished a book last night called "The Christmas Joy Ride" by Melody Carlson. It was a feel good book and predictable, but still enjoyable. My new plan this year for reading is if I find an author, to read as many of his or her books so I don't have to question myself whether I have read them or not. I know it looks odd that I walk out with a pile of the same author or same couple of authors, but in the past, I have struggled with remembering whether I have read some of these books. My other goal is to read one nonfiction each month since I tend to gravitate to fiction.

Since we had a large, heavy lunch, supper is going to be a light one. But, oh, what an enjoyable lunch it was!