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It's here!

December 24th, 2020 at 09:00 pm

Merry Christmas to you and yours. As I type this, it is Christmas Eve. We are looking forward to Christmas Eve services -- we had to make reservations since we have a limit of how many can attend and we will socially distance and of course wear masks and use hand sanitizer both coming in and leaving. But, at least we have some sort of normalcy and can attend church. Easter just didn't seem like Easter when we had to worship online. 

We have two couples are friends with and this year we made homemade stuff for each other. I gave them banana bread and some jellies and jams. We got candy and a pumpkin pie from one couple. One couple gave us huge loaves of homemade bread. One was wheat and one was dill. I went to town finding ways to use these breads just to change things up. We sitll have part of a loaf in the freezer. But, what great gifts -- something we can use and enjoy and everyone used their talents.

Hopefully we will end December on a positive note financially. Last month was a good one for our investments, Hope December is likewise. 

DH and I have a Christmas Club account and we put money in it every month and then we have cash to spend. We do go all out since we pay cash for stuff. We ask each other what we want and I try to surprise him with other stuff too since he usually just says he wants clothes. I know I'm getting a couple things to replace some things in my kitchen -- I have a Crockpot that is about 25 years old. It still works, but the handles on the outside are starting to break. I looked into replacing them, but they don't make them anymore. So, I picked out a new one in the same size. I am also getting a counter top oven to replace the toaster oven and counter top oven that I have which are old and beat up. The counter top oven I bought to use at school when I baked with the kids and other classes borrowed it as well. Well, it looks like it has been well used. So, shiny and new is coming my way. 

Hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas!

Another cloudy day

December 18th, 2020 at 09:29 pm

Another cloudy day in Central Illinois. I think this is what makes winter so difficult, the gloominess. We won't mention the cold and the frozen precip, but...

I guess the cloud cover tends to make me feel a little blue. I have no reason to feel that way. 

The past couple of weeks have kept me busy delivering stuff for our church's group. In the past we went as a group to deliver hats to schools and non profits, but this year, I did it solo. I delivered hats and scarves to a school, then delivered dish cloths to a food pantry as well as some food and some hats, baby hats to a local hospital, baby and kids' hats to a health care group that works with those in high poverty, hats to our local cancer center, fidget sleeves to a nursing home, and cup cozies, candy, and beverage mixes to our local police department. We didn't make as many hats this year due to not being able to meet, but many of the ladies continued to work at home. Our totals are as follows:

Hats: 1089

Scarves: 291

Baby Hats: 132

Dish cloths: 210

Cup Cozies: 72

Fidget Sleeves: 18

I also dropped off some presents to some of our friends. Most were put on their porch. I delivered them when the weather was milder so stuff could sit out for a bit. I finished wrapping DH's gifts yesterday. He loves Grape Nehi in bottles and our local Cracker Barrel had 4 bottles in their gift shop. I will admit, I chickened out. I put them in a gift bag. But they and a few other items are under the tree. 

It's hard to believe Christmas is a week away.

November Already

November 8th, 2020 at 11:51 pm

It's hard to believe it is already November. A friend and I were discussing this at church this morning; it seems like this year has been so strange. I feel like my life has been on hold as we wait for the Pandemic to disappear and it hasn't and there doesn't seem like there is too much to look forward to as the holiday season approaches. Illinois' cases have been going up in staggering numbers. It is depressing to say the least.

I am glad that the election is over. Some of my candidates won and some did not. Just hope they all do their best for the good of our city, state, and country. 

As we have more mitigations due to the infection rate. , there are fewer things we can do. I've been cooking even way more than I had been since the choice is that or going to get food and bringing it home. That's OK, but not my favorite and it doesn't seem as good. So, I guess at this point I'd rather cook. I've been watching Barefoot Contessa shows, some on demand, to get ideas. I found a recipe on her recent tomato episode where she takes tomatoes and onions and puts them on the bottom of a roasting pan and then takes a lamb roast and puts it on top and makes a Rosemary and Dijon mustard topping. We don't eat lamb, but I thought, maybe I could use it on a pork loin roast. I've made so many of those lately, I'm kind of tired of our old way of making it. I tweaked a risotto recipe she made and used butternut squash and ground turkey instead of peas, asparagus, and sausage. DH loved it and we have enough for another meal. 

Are you planning on a big get together for Thanksgiving? We normally do not have one. The last couple of years we've invited another couple, but they are staying in due to health issues and I can't blame them. I wonder if Thanksgiving will be the big travel holiday it has in the past.

So, November is here. I'm trying find positives. Each day I post something on my Facebook account for which I am thankful. I really do have a lot to show gratitude for, it just seems sometimes life gets a bit challenging. 

Looking forward to election day

November 2nd, 2020 at 03:49 pm

Let me point out this is not a political post. 

That being said, I'm looking forward to election day because I'm simply tired of all the nasty political advertisement and social media posts. I want to tell them all, go back to kindergarten and learn how to play nice. It's not just one side, it is both sides. Egad. 

In other news, DH picked the last of the herbs and the leeks and green onions. We did a third planting of onions and they are small, but hey, food is food, right? I plan to use some of the onions and leeks and roast them with potatoes and bell peppers as part of our supper tonight. 

We had a nice time on Halloween. We put a bowl of candy in the middle of the driveway and sat in the opening to the garage door and instructed the kids to take two pieces of candy. It was fun seeing the kids dressed up and the kids and parents were very polite. We have quite a bit of candy left over. I have some cookie recipes on using it up, so I may put the candy in the freezer and then make Christmas cookies with the leftover stuff. 

Last week the stock market wasn't very good. Sure hope it rebounds. We haven't spent as much as usual simply because there isn't a lot we need or want. Almost all of my Christmas shopping is done. Just waiting on DH to tell me about a musical CD he wants so I can order it. I may start thinking about addressing Christmas cards in the next few days and will need to buy stamps. I guess I'm old fashioned. I like sending and receiving cards. One of my friend's daughter just started college and I have been mailing her a card each month and her mom visited her dorm room over the weekend and said she has the cards tacked to her bulletin board and was so happy to get "real mail." 

Hope your day is a good one.

Reaching Out

October 26th, 2020 at 03:29 pm

Years ago AT&T had a slogan, "Reach out and touch somebody." Of course the company wanted you to call and keep them in business. 

However, I think we need to stop and take this slogan to heart. As we still struggle with the Pandemic, there are an awfully lot of lonely people out there. For example, a lady at church asked about our looming group. She wanted to know if she had to come and make hats. I said no, come and visit with us. We sit over 6 feet apart and wear masks and have windows open. She got teary eyed and said she has been so lonesome and would like to come and talk with others. 

Another lady who had been with our group recently died. The sad fact was she took the sheltering at home to the point she didn't get her prescriptions refilled and therefore did not take her heart medicine for months. She was found dead at her kitchen table. I regret that I didn't message more; we weren't real close, but still, I feel maybe I could have offered to go pick up meds for her. 

I don't think it just has to be phone calls (sorry AT&T), but emails, letters, cards, messages, texts, or even a "Hi, ya" from a distance. Most of us are social beings and we need that interaction. 

So, as nice as you are all, hope you spread a little sunshine to those around you.

Life Lessons from Church Choir

October 11th, 2020 at 06:23 pm

I have always loved to sing. When I was in eighth grade, I was asked to join the church's adult choir. I was beside myself with joy. Usually that was only for people starting high school and beyond. I didn't realize it then, but I learned some valuable life lessons.

1. The choir is made up of different talents and personalities. Hopefully they all add something to the music.

2. There is one goal -- to make beautiful music.

3. Teamwork is important. There's at time and place for soloists, but the ultimate goal is to blend together.

4. You cannot judge someone by how they look. It is their voice that counts.

5. Not everyone likes the same music.

6. Not all music is appropriate for everything.

7. Some songs are far easier than others.

8. Some are more gifted than others -- I was always envious of those who had perfect pitch.

9. Some of the best musicians don't read music.

10. Don't forget to have a great time!

So, what does this have to do with finances?

Well, in money matters, some people are risk takers while others are not. Some just can make money easily, and others have to struggle. Good choirs have wonderful conductors and for most of us, those with good financial efforts have had someone conducting us along the way, giving us the hints we need. Just like not all music is appropriate, not all investments are appropriate. And there are swindlers out there, sad to say. Church choir really did give me some great examples for life, even finance. I was not the soloist, but I enjoyed the team work. I liked learning new songs and different pieces. I just loved to sing.

Past tense. Asthma has stolen my breath in order to be able to truly sing, but it has taught me other things. I need to enjoy life as it comes, even in those bad times. When a hard piece would be introduced, it would have been easy to give up, but there's just something glorious about learning and mastering a new piece. Same with life and even finance. OK, that fund is hard or boy, putting money aside is difficult, but what a sense of accomplishment when something is mastered.

Hopefully I will continue to learn and use these life lessons. One thing I will admit that is even if cannot be in the church choir anymore, I can still enjoy music. So maybe that is the best lesson of all.

Tomatoes and Teeth

August 2nd, 2020 at 09:11 pm

No crystal ball needed here...I can see more tomato canning in my future!

Not that I mind. It sort of gives me a little bit of security knowing I am using some of our garden to provide for us this winter. I also use some of our canning as presents at Christmas. Fortunately I have some friends who like home grown, home canned produce. After awhile, what do you honestly give to people who basically buy what they want? Especially when they offer to buy some of your canned goods from you? I would never accept money, so I often wrap up some for Christmas and they are happy and so am I.

DH has given away tomatoes to 6 different families just this week. He wound up planting more than he usually does. Due to our shelter at home early this spring, he prepared his garden a little earlier and some of his plants were nipped by frost although we covered them. He then bought some others to make sure the original ones were to be replaced, except they did OK once he cut away some of the nipped parts. He planted the new ones too and I guess we are in tomato heaven!

July was a very expensive month for us with DH's tooth problems. Two regular dental appointments to figure out which tooth was the problem and what to do, a root canal, a temporary crown, and soon to be permanent crown. I have already told DH he may be crowned, but I am not practicing my curtsey nor am I referring to him as "his royal highness. " OK, a bit of levity there, sorry! I also had my regular check up as did DH so our young dentist should be getting some extra help with her school loans from us!

I worry as I see our Covid cases starting to rise again in Illinois. We wear masks everywhere. My hands are so dry from washing them so much and using hand sanitizer when we are out. I hope the cases will plateau, but then, they are testing more people, so I'm sure there will be more cases as more are tested. Some friends who were sick in January and February with respiratory things now wonder if they had been some of the first to have had the virus. We can pray that things will soon get better.



Photographs and Memories

July 19th, 2020 at 10:28 pm

When I was a little girl, my dad would take me to Fairfield, Iowa, to visit my great aunt during the summer. I would stay a week with her. She lived in this old house that had been made into three apartments. I remember loving that old house with the huge glass in the front door, the beautiful woodwork, and the light fixtures. Huge evergreens flanked the driveway. My aunt's apartment had a turret and that was her bedroom closet. The people who lived on the first floor had a huge apartment with a side porch. It was a nice time and a beautiful house. Sadly I only got to visit a few summers until she got very ill.

One of the projects since I've retired is to go through photographs. When I was a classroom teacher, I would invite people to come and speak to my class and take photographs. When I retired, I went through these photos and mailed them to the people who were in them, some from 30 years before. I figured they might enjoy seeing them.

Anyway, I ran across the 4 photos I took during the summer of 1970. I would have been 9 years old that summer I spent with my great aunt. I had taken two photos of the outside of that glorious house and two inside. One of the ladies who lived on the first floor and this one showed the lovely fireplace mantle and vintage chandelier. The other was one I sneaked of my aunt in her apartment; she wasn't happy with that. These photos were taken with an Instamatic? Remember those? So, a 9 year old with an Instamatic, not exactly quality shots, but still a little remembrance. I wasn't allowed to take many photos when I was a kid because it was expensive to develop film.

The other day I decided to Google the address to see if the house was still standing. To my amazement, Zillow had it, said it was a single family home, and had a recent photo of the outside. I was pleased it still looked nice.

I decided to be bold and I wrote a note addressed to the owners of the address and included the photographs and wrote about my staying there with my aunt and the two ladies who lived below my aunt's apartment. I started the note with "I am not wanting or expecting anything so please take the time to read my note." I explained I was 9 when I took the photos, but I talked about how lovely I thought the house was even then and I was delighted to see it was a single family home. I expected nothing in return.

I received a pleasant surprise. The owner wrote back and talked about how they love the old house, that the woodwork is still intact as is the vintage ceilings and light fixtures and how much they love the home. She thanked me for the photos.

I realize this has nothing to do with finances. However, it made me remember some good times of my youth and how happy I was to learn about the house and that it is still faring well. I think sometimes we need to stop and think about things in our lives and how they can bring us satisfaction or happiness.

Sunday, Sunday

July 12th, 2020 at 07:01 pm

We had quite the storm last night -- high winds, hail, rain, all in a matter of minutes. Due to the storms, many were without power in our area. We were fortunate that ours only flickered a couple of times, but just a couple of streets over, they were without power for hours. DH was absolutely worried about his garden. I think most of it fared well.

We went to church. Some could not make it due to the storm damage. One couple was blocked in their own place due to a fallen tree. I guess some of the streets were blocked and people had to go around or stay home. We are only having a limited number of people attend anyway, skipping every pew, have to use hand sanitizer when we go in, and wear masks throughout. Nevertheless, it is wonderful to be able to worship in our sanctuary and visit from a distance.

DH is out cleaning up some of the storm debris. Lots of leaves were torn from trees. Some leaves are from trees that are not ours so we wonder how far they came from.

I continue to make softer foods for DH to eat as he awaits having a root canal the 27th. We had chili last night. I made a big pot and after he said, we can just have it again tomorrow night -- this worked great. Fine with me. I'm using tomatoes I canned last year and onions and herbs form the yard. Figure it has to be fairly healthy with all the vegetables.

Our garbage bill went up a dollar. They had been warning us the prices would probably go up so I was pleased it was only a dollar. This is for every two months so I guess 50 cents a month. It seems like everything else has risen and in far greater leaps than this.

It's going to be a busy week for us. I'm seeing the allergist for my yearly checkup and we have hair cuts scheduled. This is our second hair cut since our state has allowed it. I'm sure the stylists and barbers are happy to be making money again. I'm not a person who spends a lot of time my hair and since we have to wear masks, my gal suggested we do something very simple because the mask would probably negate anything I would do as far as straightening my hair. For awhile I didn't do anything since we didn't go anywhere.

Hope you have a good week.

Happy Friday!

July 10th, 2020 at 10:30 pm

The week is starting to wind down. DH is out in the yard. He's mowing since it is a tad bit cooler and less humid. We had horrible heat and humidity last weekend and most of this week. He spent some time watering his garden before the mowing and we had a few tomatoes to pick! Most were cherry, but homegrown is homegrown, right?

There's something gratifying about going to the garden and getting a few things to use. I pulled up some onions that I'm going to use for a meal. I will be getting some herbs to add the spaghetti sauce tonight. It's my canned sauce, but I think fresh Basil tends to add to it although when I made it, I had cooked it with Basil.

Yesterday the looming group church met for the first time in months. There was a small group, we sat at a table each so it was like more like ten feet apart, we wore masks, used hand sanitizer before we sat down and used it again on the way out. The church hired a lady to come in and sanitizer the tables and chairs for every group that uses the room. But, it was so fun to catch up and visit with people. Many have been working on hats and scarves and they brought them. Our totals are as follows:

Hats: 585
Scarves: 223
Baby hats: 54

I don't think we will make as many hats this year as we did last year, but we aren't in a contest nor are we trying to break records. Another church had brought us a huge amount of dish cloth cotton so two of us have been making dish cloths. We are going to donate the lot to a local food pantry to put in their Christmas baskets. This year I think we will have enough for every basket to get one. I know it's not a big thing, but I would think if I were on the receiving end, it would be nice to get a little surprise like that.

DH has had some tooth problems, so we are trying to have foods that don't aggravate his tooth. Lots of soft stuff. Glad I canned applesauce and tomato sauce last year. I know any money we are saving on food now will be more than taken and then some as he has a root canal and a crown, but that's why we save on other things.

I went to the Chobani site and did the "contact us" and asked for coupons. They are very generous with coupons and encourage me to write in each month. Talk about wanting to keep customer loyalty.

It's been great that our library has opened up. Not entirely, but I can still go and pick out books. I missed reading when the library was closed. I hate to buy books for my personal reading. I tend to read a lot and don't want to buy books that I will only read once. I finished book #58 last night.

We went to some thrift stores. I found a box of nice greeting cards for next to nothing. They were older, but that is fine. Made in the U.S.A. Yay!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. DH is almost done with the yard and I have the biggest share of the house cleaned. A good way to start the weekend off!

Going From Broke

July 7th, 2020 at 04:15 pm

It's hot and I don't handle heat well. DH went to the mall to walk so I actually had control of the TV remote. I was messing around and saw a show about paying off debt on Crackle. Crackle is a free streaming service so I figured I would check it out.

It was pretty interesting. Kind of reminded me a little of Gail Vaz Oxlade's "Till Debt Do Us Part." I wanted to check out the host who is CEO of Chegg which I had never heard of before. Apparently Chegg is some sort of educational resource for folks so it makes sense the person wants to help 20 some year olds with their debt, especially those with student loans.

Here is the website for the show and it looks like there are different sites to help people with information: https://www.goingfrombroke.info/?fbclid=IwAR1DHCSs9TemEo58GMFlpMX2FoRlIfplR6yOKhlXhohc1vVHrd6jHDTQgZA

Other than that, not much new or exciting. DH has been seeing the dentist and there is a root canal and a crown in his very expensive future. I'm reading book #58 so far this year besides doing the crocheting and looming for church and keeping up with housework around here. We've had a few cherry tomatoes from DH's garden and some onions.

Thought I'd say howdy!

June 10th, 2020 at 09:53 pm

I haven't blogged for awhile because I simply don't have too much to report. Just doing stuff around here and sheltering in place. I finished everything on my initial to do list so I'm starting another. Many of the things on my original list were things I had to do outside. I don't like working outside due to allergies and I get sunburned very easily, even with sunblock. So, when I finished everything I needed to do outside, I was ready to celebrate. It included painting the shed door, painting the sunroom door, and of course cleaning my car which I wrote about earlier.

I have my year's worth of green beans canned. I do it every April and May. Usually I can get fresh green beans on sale, but not so this year. Only one week did the grocers have them on sale and that was when things were still wild, so I didn't want to buy too many and look like a hoarder.

I have continued to crochet and loom scarves and hats for our knitting group even though we haven't been able to meet. Hopefully things will calm down before long and we will be able to meet.

I've come to the point where I make a bunch of lists. Maybe it's because I need to feel like I've accomplished something.

Our library finally decided to offer curbside pick up, only books they have, no interlibrary loan. I checked out 6 books last Friday and have read 4 of them already. I missed being able to read because I had basically read through what I had at home.

I wish I could report we are saving money big time, but it seems like groceries have gone up. Plus, when we do get something curbside, DH wants to give a bigger tip because he knows the restaurants and servers are struggling. We aren't going broke by any means and we figure they need the extra money.

I have only ordered once online for something and it was frustrating because it was to be shipped in 2-3 days (I paid for shipping) and it took over 2 weeks. Fortunately it wasn't anything that would spoil, but it was discouraging.

Our thrift stores opened up about a week ago with limits to how many could come in and we have to wear masks. We went through the 4 that were open. I did score a brand new case of wide mouth canning jars for $6 (name brand) and thought that was worth it. DH found a like new shirt he wanted. So, that made it fun at least that we found something.

Well, just thought I'd pop in and say howdy! Hope you are all doing well.

Happy Easter and Are You Planning a Garden?

April 12th, 2020 at 10:35 pm

Happy Easter!

We watched our church's Facebook streaming service. I will say our Pastor and his helpers have done a good job trying to keep things normal and uplifting.

I haven't really had much to write about. Just the day to day stuff. We've been staying around the house like everyone else. Grumbling about the neighbors who don't follow the shelter in place orders who are running and visiting and doing whatever they darn well please.

Like many, DH has been working a lot in the yard. We bought this house about 22 years ago this month. So, sometime after that he planted what were labeled "dwarf" burning bushes. I tease him it's a good thing he didn't buy full size ones since they are over 7 foot tall. Well, one of his projects has been to trim them down. What a chore. I helped him as much as I could. Due to allergies and the fact I sunburn so easily even with sun screen, I don't usually do much outside. But we got both trimmed and the branches cut up and put in lawn bags. Then we had a wind storm with big branches and DH had to deal with those. I'm sure the lawn waste guy wasn't happy to come by our house. But we are not allowed to burn, so this is the way we have to get rid of these items.

I planted some lettuce in two different pots, two different plantings. Both have come up and if we had decent weather this week, I bet one would be ready to use. But we are supposed to get really cold weather this week with a chance of snow. I covered the pots up this afternoon because there is a chance of storms and then possible freeze.

DH planted onions, radishes, and lettuce almost two weeks ago. His radishes and onions are starting to peep through. Hopefully we won't have extreme temperatures. He's worrying about getting tomato and bell pepper plants the first of May. Hopefully the place where he does will have them and be open.

I read that many folks who haven't planted gardens are thinking about it due to food shortages. I see Miracle Gro has an ad about gardening and suggests planting a "Victory Garden" like people had during World War II. Are you planning to plant a garden this year?

Just an update

March 26th, 2020 at 06:41 pm

The weather here in Central Illinois has been nothing short of gloomy until yesterday. We actually had an afternoon of sun after a morning of pea soup fog. DH got a chance to go out and work in the yard which delights him. He found two baby bunnies in the front yard. They've since moved which is good. He will be planning his garden and hopefully when it warms up, planting a garden and he doesn't like bunnies to use it as their personal buffet.

Illinois has been ordered to shelter in place since Saturday night. Two days ago I suggested to the Facebook group that our subdivision has that maybe we could do a zoo with stuffed animals for kids to see in windows since yesterday was supposed to be nice. One lady took the suggestion and ran with it so to speak...she made a list with street names and which animals, and it was nice seeing families going out with the checklist looking for the "zoo animals." This was not my original idea; I saw it online somewhere else. The best thing was people who normally never say anything would shout a hello if you were in the yard.

I guess one bad thing is I can see some neighbors who are not following the shelter in place order. People can still go to work if their place of employment is considered essential and that's not what I'm talking about. It's seeing people going to other people's homes and having people over or going shopping for non essential stuff. It angers me because it means they are doing this and however many other folks are doing it which is going to extend the outbreak as well as the sheltering in home.

I've kept busy doing cleaning and some crafting. I don't have the ability to make masks. So, I've worked on other items for donations later when this passes.

I think our grocery spending has increased some as some items have sort of increased. Last week there was so little bread at the store we wound up paying $4.50 for a loaf of organic. Granted, it was tasty, but, that over $2.50 more than what we would pay for a loaf. Last week the grocery stores were slammed and there were empty shelves in so many areas. When we went this week, there were many items there that were not there last week, including toilet paper. We didn't need any so we passed. Figured let those who were without get it. It was weird seeing the yogurt aisle riddled though. We eat yogurt for breakfast and although we found some for our breakfasts, not the kind we normally get, but oh, well. Guess it means we are having to be more flexible. As we walked by, we saw the ice cream case was pretty empty. I wonder if many of us will have put on weight once this is over. LOL

Hope you are all staying safe.