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Gift of Jars and 6%

September 15th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

On Thursday both DH and I were away from home. I was at the knitting group at church and he had gone to the mall to walk. Between the two of us, no one was home for about 2 hours. In that two hours, someone dropped off two of my jelly jars and a brand new case of half pint cars. They must know we have one of those doorbell cameras because they left it at the end of our driveway on the lawn and the doorbell would not pick them up because we have a steep driveway.

My detective skills must be terrible because I cannot figure out who left these jars. I have asked many people and even posted on Facebook and no one owns up to them. I would like to express my gratitude, but so far, no one wants to own this good deed.

I'm excited about the jars, and I was starting to run low on half pints. Just wish I knew who left them.

As for the 6% -- I decided to sit down and look at all our accounts, retirement, savings, investments, CDs, and see how we are doing compared to a year ago. Let me preface this with, we are very conservative when it comes to investments. But, we show a 6% increase from this time last year. Considering the up and down of the market (and our retirement accounts), we feel 6% isn't bad. Far better than being below.

Speaking (or writing) of the knitting group at church and I did, we have over 1500 hats made so far, with 98 scarves, and 89 baby hats. One of the ladies has a niece that works as the leisure times services director at the women's prison in our town, and they have joined us in crocheting scarves and hats. It makes them feel like they are contributing to our community and we are welcoming their contributions with open arms. I am pretty stoked about this. Four years ago when I joined this group, there were about 4 people coming regularly. We have about 11-14 who come twice monthly and others who contribute when they can. Instead of handing out hats wherever, we have adopted whole schools and we have people who donate gloves to go along with the hats and we also give hand sanitizer and facial tissue to the classrooms of these adopted schools for the teachers to put in their classrooms. It is pretty exciting to see how this ministry has grown in four years.

A Major Prize

September 12th, 2019 at 08:06 am

Do you remember in the movie "A Christmas Story" when the dad was so excited because he won "a major prize?"

Dateline September 11, 2019, and I won a major prize from the library's reading club!

I enjoy reading and was eager to do the weekly check ins and the reviews. My hope was to win a $10 gift certificate to one of the restaurants we like because I knew they had gifted the library ten $10 gift certificates.

Yesterday I received an email stating I had a prize waiting for me so I wended my way down to the library and picked it up. I was really surprised to learn it was a West Bend Theatre Crazy Popcorn Machine and a box of popcorn and oil. It's a great prize and went along with the movie theme for the contest.

Not exactly sure what I'm going to do with it however. I don't sell on Ebay and to be honest, not really sure I want to deal with the mess and clean up for popcorn for me. DH doesn't eat popcorn very often. But it was fun to win something!

New Neighbors

August 15th, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Supposedly we are to get new neighbors today. The house next to us sold. I will admit, we are apprehensive because a good neighbor or bad neighbor can really turn things one way or another.

The neighbor who sold was an excellent neighbor and although she had been here less than 2 years, she was someone you could visit with. She had been hired by a local corporation and moved down from a neighboring state. Then less than two years later they did lay offs and she was cut. She was shell shocked because there was no warning. Our cup-d-sac has been pretty stable, we have a few move in and out in the past 21 years, but life changes and so we have to go along with it.

I'm baking cinnamon crisp cookies to take over. I did meet the wife the other day and they have 4 kids. So, I know to bake lots of cookies! I guess I'm old fashioned -- I have tried to welcome new folks by baking stuff and taking it over.

Besides baking, I juiced some tomatoes and plan to can the juice. It won't amount to much, our tomatoes have slowed down a bit, but I don't want to let anything go to waste

It's about time to get the last batch of cookies out to cool. So I'm wondering: I know when we moved here 21 years ago, no one greeted us or brought anything over. Did anyone where you live?

Cloudy Sunday

August 11th, 2019 at 11:00 am

It's been dry here in Central Illinois and really rather hot and muggy. We might get scattered showers and it would be a blessing if we would. We did get a few drops of rain earlier this morning, but nothing much. There are cracks in our yard. DH spent hours watering his garden yesterday. He has some plants in pots which he waters more frequently, but then does a good soak for the stuff in the ground. I just paid our water bill from last month and it had gone up over $20 from the previous month so I'm sure August's will be pricey too. But, unless we have water restrictions, I imagine he will continue to water to keep things alive. We don't water the grass. I do worry about the farmers. They have had a tough year so far -- way too much rain this spring and were late in getting their crops in, and now hot and very dry conditions.

DH spent some time digging up the garlic yesterday. I need to finish processing it. I always keep some back to replant, and then I clean and mince the rest and put it in a jar in the fridge with olive oil.

There are three very ripe bananas sitting on the counter so I plan to make some banana bread this afternoon. Hate to see them go to waste.

A couple of months ago we reconnected with a guy I used to teach with and his wife. We've been going out to eat with them and another couple and then one time we went to their house for dinner where they provided the main part of the meal and we provided other stuff. It was a lot of fun. This Friday I suggested we do "Brinner" which is breakfast for dinner and I am going to make quiche, an egg casserole, cook some sausage, slice some tomatoes, and have coffee, tea, juice, and water. One couple will bring rolls or bread or muffins and the other will bring some sort of dessert. When the weather gets cooler, we plan to do a dinner with what would have been served during "Gone With The Wind." One fellow loves the movie and I'm partial to the book. I think it will be fun doing theme dinners like this. Heck, it will just be a delight to be with them.

Our tomatoes have slowed down as far as ripening, but there are loads of green ones still out there. There was enough very ripe ones that I made some more spaghetti sauce and canned it yesterday. My pantry is full so I'm looking for alternatives to store some of this stuff. I am not complaining one bit. We will use all of this and I'm glad to have it.

One can tell DH really gets into his garden. About a week ago I was washing some dishes and I looked around there was a squirrel trying to climb a tree with a large, ripe tomato in his mouth. I told DH and he went out and scared the squirrel away. The tomato was lost, and he was not happy about the thieving squirrel. A couple of days later I saw him with a small green tomato in his mouth running along the fence. Just to give you some background, there is a children's book series about "Scaredy Squirrel" who is scared of everything and his misadventures as he tries new things. So we call any squirrel in our yard "Scaredy." Anyway, night before last my husband screams in his dream, "Get out! Get out of here!" and thrashes around. I ask him if he's OK and in his sleep he informed me he's chasing Scaredy out of the garden. I thought it was very humorous. DH doesn't even remember it!

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.

A little paint goes a long way

June 26th, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Recently we hired a painter to paint the bricks on the front of our house that were trim, and to paint our front door and side garage door. What a fabulous job he did and everything looks so fresh.

Yesterday, I painted the foundation in the back of the house that had been peeling. I had to take a wire brush first to get the peeling paint, but after that and cleaning it off, I painted and what a difference that made. I put a second coat of paint on the shed doors, painted around the front door trim and the side door trim and then the mailbox. I had to repaint the black numbers on the mailbox as well as the light pole and address numbers there, but everything looks so much brighter.

DH hates to paint. I don't mind doing it, but I know I'm not as good as the professional we hired. But, a nice coat of paint sure spruces things up. I had the paint for my little projects from doing them before. I did buy a new brush for the foundation because I didn't want to tear up the good brush that I clean well each time I use it. I guess I saved money by using up the paint I already had and trying to keep things going instead of replacing things.

Re: Soggy Saturday Comments

June 15th, 2019 at 04:19 pm

In my email, I've seen three comments on my blog from today from Wink, CB in the City, and Lucky Robin. However, when I try to go to the blog, it says there are zero and that I'm not logged in and it says when I try to log in, I'm already logged in.

Anyway, thank you, Wink, CB, and Lucky Robin for your nice anniversary wishes! I appreciate them.

Soggy Saturday

June 15th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

This weekend it has been forecast that we can get over 2 inches of rain. If last night and this morning is any indication, we are going to be "soupy." We needed some rain because the ground was getting dry, but like usual, it is either feast or famine when it comes to precipitation.

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary. I posted some photos on Facebook. DH wanted to get married in his mom's back yard under a huge oak tree. We didn't have a lot of money for a big, fancy wedding. Anyway, 4 years ago we had the chance to renew our vows under the tree. It was torn down a couple of years ago for a business to go in. One of my college friends asked why we did the back yard wedding and I said we could either pay for a fancy wedding or put a downpayment on a house and we chose the latter. So, 29 years later, we are still happily married and own our home.

Speaking of the home, when we bought this house 21 years ago, there was brick trim on the front of it. We always thought the color didn't match the siding or the roof, but it wasn't a priority. But, after having fixed up other things that had more importance, we paid a professional to prime and paint the brick. My DH has watched way too much HGTV because he says it "pops" now. It does look a lot better. We are going to have the same painter paint the front door to go along with it. Cheaper than replacing it and it should freshen up the front of the house. We have a savings account we put money in each month and we call it our home improvement account. The painter is getting paid from saved money.

No big plans for our anniversary. We did go through a local Chevrolet Museum. We have different places here in our little town and we decided that since we go to museums when we are traveling, we should also visit the local ones. I never realized there were so many Corvair models. So, I learned something new today.

Whirlwind Week

May 23rd, 2019 at 08:38 am

Ever since I retired, it seems like the days and months go by very quickly. This week especially.

We reconnected with a teacher I worked with a number of years ago. He and his wife and another couple and my dh and I went out to eat and then back to their house for dessert. Two of us provided dessert as a way to save a little moolah. I imagine we will get together more often and take turns cooking as the summer progresses. Anyway, they gave us a tour of their home. it's beautiful and large. They have a condo. Newish cars. As well as lots of hobbies. Long story short -- they are retired, but still working and didn't plan for retirement and now worry how they will make ends meet. Ouch.

The next day we met another couple to celebrate her birthday. We decided years ago to quit giving gifts. They buy whatever they want when they want it and how can you deal with that.

Last night we invited a friend to join us for supper; his wife and daughters were out of town. It was nice catching up.

In between this, I canned some green beans, crocheted and knitted, and did some house cleaning.

The weekend is soon upon us. We don't do big stuff for the Memorial Day weekend, but do put flowers on the graves of our loved ones. I was concerned because our peonies looked like they would b open and gone before this weekend, but it looks like we might be OK. My family always used flowers from the garden when we could. DH's mom would buy a big live display for her husband's grave, but didn't decorate anything else. So, DH wants live stuff on the graves.

I can't say this was the most frugal week, but we don't go out that often with people so it was a nice way to catch up.

DH has two small bell peppers already on two of his plants and the tomatoes are have blossoms. Here's to hoping for a good garden. Our damp, cool weather hasn't been good for the garden and the lettuce, radishes, and onions haven't grown much because of all the rain. Hopefully things will dry out by next week (we received rain the last two nights).

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.