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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.

Go Away, Murphy!

April 2nd, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Murphy apparently thought we invited him for an extended stay. He can leave at any time. Nothing super major, but nothing minor either.

A few weeks ago DH noticed he has a low tire pressure. He thought it was from the constant temperature changes so he filled it up. But, it kept going down, slowly.

So, we made an appointment at a tire place to get it checked. I took it in since he had was supposed to volunteer at a class. The guy said the vehicle was done and it was $62 and some change. I asked incredulously "to fix a tire?" He said they didn't fix a tire, but changed the oil and rotated them. I was chagrined to say the least because we had just had the oil changed and tires rotated three weeks before and they should have noticed that when they went to put the sticker there. I said we didn't ask for that, but to check a tire. He asked did I still want them to check the tire? I wanted to make a snarky remark at this point, but held back and said that was the real reason we brought the vehicle in.

So what should have taken 30 minutes according to the original estimate appointment time was over 2 hours. He acted like he was doing me a favor for not charging me for anything, but I had news for him, I wasn't paying for the oil change and tire rotation since I didn't order it.

And the tire still has a leak. Grrr.

Then a couple of weeks ago my headlight burnt out and it cost over $450 to replace.

Now our 8 year old dishwasher has decided to leak. Not truly unexpected because we've read that appliances don't last long and 8-10 years is a typical lifespan and I use my dish washer a lot since we eat at home a lot. At least it didn't ruin the kitchen flooring.

So, for awhile I'm going to do all dishes by hand why we figure out our next step. I imagine a new one will be on the horizon. I can live without one, but it just didn't come at a good time. A lot of our normal expenses came due last month and this month like homeowner's insurance, car insurance, home health care insurance, and then I had a big bout with Vertigo. Couldn't see my doctor so had to see an Express Care and then do a follow up with my doctor. Fortunately, the Vertigo was short lived, but still an added expense.

I think Murphy has overstayed his welcome!

Busy Tuesday

March 26th, 2019 at 08:50 am

Today has been a busy place at our homestead. Three different folks came by. One was for the annual termite inspection. Glad that is over with. One was a guy to measure for a new storm door. And the other was for a painter to do some small projects. All of these items come from our home maintenance savings account. Looking forward to having some things fixed up or touched up.

Yesterday I had a bad bout of Vertigo. Very scary, and glad today I'm better. I did go see the Express Care place to make sure and she gave me some medicine. It made me sleepy, but at least I'm not dizzy.

Started some laundry and we also have to go fill the candles at church. No expenses today so that's good.

It is sunny so maybe spring is starting to wend its way.

A great afternoon for a cup of tea and a book

March 21st, 2019 at 11:49 am

Here it is the official second day of spring (first full day if you want to be accurate) and it is gloomy and cool. I'd say cold, but I guess 41 is a lot warmer than it has been this winter.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the library and we did. I returned 4 books and checked out 5. So, after I finish here, I'm going to go back to reading.

Amber asked for a list of books I've read so far and here it is:

Title & Author
The Christmas Wedding James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
The Skeleton in the Closet M.C. Beaton
Amish Promises Leslie Gould
Amish Sweethearts Leslie Gould
Standing in the Rainbow Fannie Flagg
This is the year I put my Financial Life in Order John Schwartz
The Next Millionaire Next Door Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallaw
Christmas Cake Murder Joanne Fluke
Plum Tea Crazy Laura Childs
A Highland Christmas M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came M.C. Beaton
Raspberry Danish Murder Joanne Fluke
The Dead Ringer M.C. Beaton
An Amish Family Reunion Mary Ellis
Waking Up in Dixie Haywood Smith
A Plain Man Mary Ellis
Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body M.C. Beaton
A Christmas by the Sea Melody Carlson
The Essential Tea Companion Kim Waller
Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand
You Don't Own Me (#6 Under Suspcion) Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
As the Pig Turns M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener M.C. Beaton
The Blood of an Englisman M.C. Beaton
Winter Stroll Elin Hilderbrand
Winter Solstice Elin Hilderbrand

I tend to get on an author and try to read everything they have. I did the same with Grisham, except for his non legal ones. I also tend to like the Amish fiction because sometimes I need something easy, even if it is predictable.


I finally finished up all the teas that were given to me that I wasn't particularly fond of and I did splurge and buy a box that was a holiday tea that was on sale. It is a sugar cookie flavor and it has a hint of it and is a nice change when I don't want regular tea. Today is just plain hot tea and I'm getting adventurous and having some with some milk.

There is something immensely gratifying about having a cup of tea in a china tea cup and saucer and have a pot of tea brewed. I've done the mug and tea bag bit too, but every once in awhile I like to treat myself to a fancy tea cup and a pot of tea. I collect blue willow dishes. Well, I should say I have collected. I won't buy anymore because I have more than enough, so I have plenty of tea cups and saucers as well as tea pots. Why have these things if I don't use them?

I have always wanted to go to a real tea room and have a pot of tea specially brewed, but never had that opportunity. There is an author by the name of Laura Childs who writes a mystery series based in Charleston, S.C. and the owner of the tea shop solves mysteries. Every time I read one of her novels, it makes me wish I could go to a real tea room.

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!


What do you think?

March 11th, 2019 at 08:17 am

I feel like I've gotten a lot done already this morning. Emptied the dishwasher, exercised, cleaned up, read a magazine so I can return it and my other large pile of things to the library, and wrote a letter. I like days like this when I get quite a bit done early.

I noticed that there is someone who sometimes comments on my blogs and they are not very nice comments. Either that person is really cranky or someone who wants to comment and then start something. I deleted the last comment. I notice when I get an email, I get an email address for them. I sort of wonder if this is their way of capturing our email addresses to send spam. It seems in the past when I've done that, I get a bunch of spam from a different website. What do you think?

The Care and Feeding of Volunteers

March 7th, 2019 at 07:59 am

Sadly, I'm about fed up.

I volunteer in a classroom and to be honest, I'm tired of feeling like I'm being taken advantage of. The teacher doesn't want to prepare anything for when I come and wants to me to come up with stuff.

I get that the teacher is busy. But, is asking that there be two copies of a book to read too much? He wanted me to listen to kids read and I was expected to read from the same copy. That strains my eyes too much. I said why not have two copies of whatever.

Then, I was doing art for the big part of the year. All stuff I bought, I planned. After I finished the last project before Christmas, I suggested we go to something else. So, his answer was to read some in a textbook and I had to come up with the questions there on the spot. I finally said something about this and that perhaps he should come up with materials and questions and actually have them assigned for a grade. Because otherwise the kids don't feel like what we do has any value.

Now, it seems the teacher isn't good about letting me know when I can come in...just takes it for granted I will show up. I didn't hear from him until Sunday about this week and he didn't tell me that the school was closed on Monday for Casmir Pulaski Day and I had to learn that on my own. He then wanted me to reschedule a time. I said I had other plans. I'm tired of being taken for granted. I'm feeling like a rebel. I know I never treated a volunteer like this. Sadly, there are not a lot of volunteers in the district where I worked and where I volunteer. I just don't get how people don't appreciate someone willing to come in and help. The operative word being help. I know I can plan stuff, but I retired. I don't want to plan everything.

DH reads in three different schools. One teacher of the three is good about letting him know about upcoming things. The other two teachers aren't. We received a phone call this morning at 7:15 asking if he could come later today. I'm sorry, getting a phone call that early scares us -- we think it is bad news.

The other teacher never lets him know about changes either. I don't know if this is just the way society now functions or what, but I find it rude. I have to check school calendars for updates, but not everything is on the school calendars.

As a volunteer, I just think the people who are benefiting should be a little nicer.


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.

Bundle Up, Buttercup!

January 27th, 2019 at 02:29 pm

One would think it was January or something here in the Midwest. Cold is a four letter word as is snow and I'm not saying either with deep affection. We received some of both this weekend and I guess colder will be the keyword by the middle of the week with wind chills in the negative double digits. I'm dreading the power bill after this month.

We went thrift shopping yesterday. We normally go on Fridays, but since it was so cold, we waited a day for it to warm up to 30 degrees. Smile I'm happy to report I spent nothing. There wasn't a thing that tempted me and certainly nothing I needed. It was good to get out and look around and walk some besides hanging around the house. Maybe a little mental therapy for us.

I have read two books in the past two days. One is "The Year I Put My Financial Life in Order" by John Schwartz and the other is "The Next Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallaw. The first one by Schwartz was about a writer who fortunately had started a 401K when he first started working in his 20s, and although he made admitted mistakes, he and his wife tried to live frugally, and as a result, doesn't think his retirement will be horrible. It is more autobiographical instead of instructional, but it was interesting and he admitted to some mistakes and how they will have to make changes when they do retire. The second book is basically a revisit of "The Millionaire Next Door" by the author's daughter and how things really haven't changed -- those who have money don't flaunt it and live frugally.

Which leads me to an interesting story about a guy my husband worked with. He never married, and lived in an apartment that was very small and the apartment next to him shared the bath. I didn't even realize we had apartments like that in our city. He never dressed well and to hear him tell it, he was broke. He did say he used up all his savings and went on a world traveling trip, but said afterwards he would have to live on very little because it cost so much. When he died, he left $250,000 to a charity that works with babies and their mothers, and did 3 other charities the same way. He was truly a millionaire, but no one knew it to look at him. No auspicious living for him!

I'll never be a millionaire, but I can see being frugal.

Speaking of frugal, I'm using up all the tea I have in the house before I allow myself to buy anymore. Some of it was gifts and I can tell you some of it is just isn't very tasty. But, I tell myself, I'm saving money!

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.