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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.

Is it Just Me?

January 14th, 2019 at 04:31 pm

Is it just me, or are there some really weird and often mean posts being added to our blogs? I got one today from June and the person said I was a petty gossip. Not sure if this person knows me or not! Smile

Potpourri

January 8th, 2019 at 01:26 pm

Tonight another couple is joining us for a casual dinner. I'm making goulash which is basically ground beef, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomato sauce mixed with elbow macaroni. We have garlic bread sticks and a vegetable and they are bringing dessert. It is far cheaper than going out and we enjoy being with each other so it should be a pleasure. She is already planning on what she is going to fix when we go over their house. I like this because we can have a nice time visiting and not spend a lot of money.

Speaking of spending, this weekend was sort of spendy one. It was my birthday. For Christmas we had received a gift certificate for a restaurant so we used that for my birthday dinner. DH gave me some money to buy some clothes so I did do that. I have lost a little weight and have gone down a size or two and some of my clothes are really looking big. I'm still wearing some, but I did buy a couple of things in my new size for when we go to church or I volunteer at school. I was fortunate that we had nice weather -- it was nearly 60 degrees and sunny. In past years we have had cold, cold weather and even a blizzard on my birthday so the weather was certainly a much appreciated gift.

Some of the larger items we donated to a thrift shop. Hopefully I will continue to lose weight and can declutter my closet more.

A couple we know has a trailer in a warm climate and they go there for 3 months. I'm glad for them if that is what they want to do, but his messages are what I call a brag fest -- "it was 77 today and sunny and I wore shorts and a t shirt and this is why we do this." I'm not jealous. I have no desire to have another residence nor do I want to spend extended times away from our home. Financially, they really can't afford it -- they live on loans and credit cards and his favorite hobby is shopping. In the past he has tried to make things a competition and I guess he feels this is also a competition, look what I've got and you don't. At this point, we could probably buy a small trailer outright and go there too, but I don't want to. I like my home, my friends, my church, and my community. I like going to the library and checking out books and visiting with some of the people who work there and catching up. And I most certainly would not do this to brag about what I have.

We are dreading getting our statement on our investments this month. The stock market rock and roll ride last month was crazy. Just hope we didn't lose too much.

I went and bought extra stamps since they are raising the price at the end of January to 55 cents a stamp. I know I'll eventually pay that, but I'm putting it off as long as I can. I did score some greeting cards at thrift stores last week. One place had a package of ten for a dollar. I bought 3 packages. A couple I couldn't use -- you couldn't mix or match. One is a birthday card for a son and I don't have a son. We have a box at church where we can put unused cards and they go to the women's prison here in town for the ladies so I bet someone can use that card and a couple others. I think we spent around $6 on cards, but I have birthday, anniversary, get well, sympathy, and a couple of anniversary cards for the year.

A couple other things I did to keep busy was to cut all the coupons out of the coupon flyers in Sunday's paper. I could use a couple, but most I could not. We collect the coupons and a couple sends them to some place for the military to use, even if they are expired. DH bought a Chicago Tribune last Sunday and they had lots too so I spent quite a bit of time cutting out coupons. Hopefully it can help some military families save some money.

I also cut out used postage stamps. Our ladies group collects them for some mission. I dropped the stamps, cards, and coupons off at church today when we went to fill the oil in the altar candles.

DH wasn't happy yesterday when he picked up some prescriptions. The news had been saying some prescriptions were going to go up and unfortunately some of his did. Not a huge amount for his copay, but it all adds up.

So there it is. A mish mash of activities so far in 2019.

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2018 at 12:28 pm

It's hard to believe Christmas is here. So much went into planning and getting things done. I most certainly hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas and the craziness didn't dampen your holiday.

It's been a melancholy month in between planning for Christmas and doing many other things. We lost four friends. Two shouldn't have a surprise, one was 95 and the other 88, but loss is loss. Then two friends' husbands were taken and our hearts go out to them. It makes me stop and realize how very blessed I am to have DH.

I worked with my class at school and we sewed buttons on felt ornaments as well as made reindeer out of candy canes. They have so little craft experience that I had to find things that were easy for them to do. I think they enjoyed all the art. They aren't going to be as thrilled when I go in and work with them on writing. But it is far better for me to work with them in small groups on writing than it is to try and have the teacher work with a group.

DH and I attended our church's candlelight service last night and it was lovely as always. We came home and unwrapped our gifts to each other. Very few surprises for DH since he chose what he wanted, but he seems happy. We had a lovely dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, biscuits, applesauce, and sliced cherry tomatoes.

DH is napping and I just finished writing birthdays and appointments on our kitchen calendar. DH gives me one each year for Christmas and I like ones with big boxes so I can write stuff down.

Hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas!

Little Things

December 5th, 2018 at 08:19 am

It's funny how the little things tend to mean a lot.

Yesterday, my coffee maker died. I make coffee every morning. I wasn't happy. DH said he would buy me a new one for Christmas and my immediate thought was what I would do between now and then? I guess I'm addicted to my cup of coffee in the morning.

I then remembered that there was a box in the garage with an old coffee maker. My mom who has been gone 12 years, bought this one and used it a few times and then decided she didn't like it. So, she gave it to me and I have had it in the box in the garage ever since thinking I would use it if mine died. So, I got it out, cleaned it up, and made some coffee. Fortunately it works. I'm not one of those with the fancy coffee makers.

It's funny how something as simple as a cup of coffee means so much to me.

Yesterday I took some cranberry walnut bread over to a shut in. She had mentioned last summer it was her favorite bread. I had made some loves for our Christmas bazaar and had mentioned to one of her sons our bazaar had it, but he couldn't be bothered. She had wanted to support our bazaar and I thought he could then give her the bread, but guess not. So, night before last I made her two small loaves and took that over with some fudge. We had a nice visit.

Such little things, but they do mean something.