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Viewing the 'Ramblings and nonsensical chatter' Category

Not very frugal

January 24th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

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

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

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

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

Finder's Fee and Using Stuff Up

January 21st, 2018 at 01:47 pm

A couple of weeks ago we went to an estate sale to look around. It was horribly cold outside and the weather was supposed to get worse, but we had cabin fever and needed to get out and do something.

We looked around and found nothing we wanted. Not even tempted. But, I did see a display for older golf clubs. I'm not a golfer, but I have a friend who is. I messaged him and told him where the sale was and told him they had a bunch, they were older, and they were $8 each.

My friend went to check them out and was so excited. He found a putter that he said is rare and is worth close to $100. Today at church he handed me a dollar coin as my finder's fee. I laughed and laughed because I had been teasing him maybe I should start charging him a finder's fee for the things I find for him. Guess I can count it as a snowflake, but I don't think I'm going to spend the coin. DH has a drawer with a couple of Kennedy half dollars and I thought I'd add this coin to the mix so they have company.

Yesterday I watched the Pioneer Woman and she did something I haven't seen before -- used up things to make food. Hooray! So many of the Food Network folks seem to be wasteful, at least in my opinion. I can always tell one who didn't grow up poor -- they never scrape the goal or pan. Anyway, i was telling DH about the episode and he said it sounded like PW was following my lead instead of the other way around. She made chicken broth in the Crockpot which is what I do. Today it is beef broth. I had a sirloin steak in the freezer and I was thinking of some way to use it up and thought Soup! So we are having beef and barley vegetable soup. I trimmed the meat and used some of the smaller parts and the bone to make some beef broth to stash in the freezer. I also used the bag of leftover vegetables that was in the freezer of the soup as well as some already made broth. It simmered yesterday afternoon and I made 2 dozen herb biscuits yesterday. We gave some of the soup and biscuits to some friends and we will enjoy the rest. So, I used up some things I had to make a pretty decent meal.

No spending and parking

January 11th, 2018 at 08:12 am

Yesterday was a no spend day for me. It seemed like Monday and Tuesday I was living at Walgreens. Monday I went in and got some of the things that were on special and used coupons to stock up on some things. Tuesday I had a prescription refill and it was senior day and I bought an item at 20% off.

Our neighbors have sold their house and will close tomorrow. Yesterday must have been packing up day. They rented a U Haul and had friends and family there to help. Which is great for them. However, we live in a cil-d-sac and of course these folks all parked their vehicles in and around their house. One person parked their car very close to our mailbox. So close that the mailman blasted me that he couldn't get the mail truck in and that if it happens again, he won't be delivering our mail. I explained it wasn't our car, but the neighbors and they were moving, but he said he won't deliver if it is there again.

Getting out of our driveway with all the cars was an adventure. Our part of the cil-d-sac is narrow before it widens for the bulb. With a car at one end of our driveway, one at the other nearly in front of the mailbox, and one directly behind our driveway on the other side of the street, There were little room to back out. I had to see saw many times in my vehicle just to leave to go volunteer. I hated coming back and "threading the needle" to get back into my driveway and I hated having to speak to the neighbor about the car in front of the mailbox. But, I did, I was polite, and just asked if they needed to park a car in front of our house, please pull it up so the mailman wouldn't pass us over. I don't think it was intentional on their part and they were polite. They have been good neighbors. I am worried about whomever is moving in and hope it is someone decent.

Today will be a spendy day -- we are going grocery shopping. Last week I went on Wednesday since we had a forecast of really cold temps and the super cold air bothers my asthma. I guess people must have thought with the upcoming temps and then chance of freezing rain on Saturday night, by Saturday many of the grocery shelves were bare. Glad I could shop when I did.

Not a whole lot to report

January 7th, 2018 at 01:48 pm

I haven't blogged much lately because I haven't had much to report. We have had very cold temperatures which means I don't go out much because the cold air bothers my asthma. So, I have been doing chores around the hose and doing some crafts as well. Last week I decided to only go to Kroger's instead of doing Aldi and Kroger's so I wasn't out as long. I about had a fit at the checkout. We buy most of our fresh fruits and vegetables at Aldi as well as our dairy and some of our meats. When the cashier said the bag of grapes was $7.65 I said I didn't want them. I couldn't believe it. I knew it would be higher, but over half as much! This week I shopped a day earlier in the week since it was supposed to get ferociously cold on Thursday (it was zero on Wednesday so that should tell you something). I happily shopped at Aldi and then Kroger. Spent half of what I would have spent at Kroger and felt blessed besides.

Besides Christmas and New Year's, celebrated my birthday on Friday. DH gave me some jewelry -- he assured me he did not pay full price...found some deals at Kohls. I imagine he bought it when they had big sales during the holidays. He as become quite the shopper and hates to pay full price for anything anymore. We did eat out twice...once for lunch with one set of friends and then dinner with another set. They came back to the house for cake and ice cream and a nice visit.


I read 100 books in 2017 so I'd like to read that many in 2018. I've only read one so far, so I guess I better get busy. We went to the library yesterday and I checked out quite a few. A friend suggested I use the Goodreads site, but I ran into an issue -- two books they suggested based on what I've read and enjoyed our library didn't have. I could probably do interlibrary loan, but not sure I want do it for a book I may or may not really want to read.

We are supposed to get freezing rain today and then snow on top of it. It would not disappoint me if we didn't. A Facebook friend posted a photo of a local grocery store's freezer section and it was almost empty. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up and by Wednesday we are to be near 50. Guess people panic at a drop of a hat.

Wish I were tidier

December 20th, 2017 at 10:20 am

I don't know what it is about Christmas, but I feel like my house is one big clutter bucket. I spent this morning trying to get a handle on some things. Our recycling bin is full, which is good. I think part of the problem is I have had so many projects going on here and there and I really don't have a designated area so I tend to move them around and then things get everywhere.

I felt like a Victorian lady this morning writing letters and cards. I have three shut ins I write almost weekly so I got those letters penned. I had some thank you cards to write as well. Then, I got brave and wrote a letter to someone I haven't heard from in almost 30 years. Maybe we will reconnect. We didn't get mad at each other, just drifted apart and she lives three hours away. So, if I hear from her, that will be wonderful and if not, life goes on. I also emailed some greetings this morning and then got some presents ready for the gals who cut our hair.

I do feel a little better having things a little tidier. I just wish I would be more on top of it so I didn't have to do a big long project on getting stuff back in an orderly fashion. Maybe that could be a good goal for 2018.

This and That and That

December 18th, 2017 at 07:35 am

The past few weeks have been busy. A good busy overall, I think. We've attended free concerts, a free Nativity scene display (over 500), two Christmas teas at historical homes -- also free, and a play which wasn't free. Besides our regular activities, we've shopped, gifted, and visited. Today we are meeting some friends for lunch (cheaper than dinner) to exchange some token gifts. Yesterday we dropped off some gifts, most homemade, to some friends. One lady is 95 -- she has about everything she wants so finding something to give her can be a challenge. I crocheted a Christmas stocking and filled it with peppermints, her favorite candy. I also gave her a plate of fudge. Her son was a little easier. He loves chocolate and I had found a glass sleigh at a thrift shop so I filled it with chocolate candy. Both also received a loaf of snickerdoodle bread. Not major expenses on either gift, but they seemed well received.

We are having doctor's appointments this week. Two for me and one for DH. One is for my glaucoma -- I have to go every 4 months and the other is just a general checkup.

Last week we gifted a friend with a box of canned goods. He had commented how he wished we had enough canned green beans and tomatoes that he could buy some. So this year when DH planted more tomatoes, I canned extra. We gave him canned tomatoes, canned tomato juice, homemade spaghetti sauce, green beans, homemade applesauce, sweet pickles, and some jams and jellies. He was absolutely delighted. He dropped off our gift over the weekend -- what a neat surprise -- he ordered a nice ham for us. My kind of gift -- something we can enjoy and not have sitting around. Funny how as you get older, you don't want the stuff you thought you couldn't live without.

As we roll towards Christmas, I hope you all are not so busy that you can't enjoy the holiday. I know this has been one of the more pleasurable since I did a lot of things ahead of time and I could because I'm retired. I enjoyed going to the free things a lot. Plus, I've taken time to relax. And relax I have this year. I just finished book 99 for 2017. I hope to get at least one more read for the year. I think 100 is a nice round number. Smile

A relaxing Sunday

November 26th, 2017 at 01:44 pm

It's a lovely warm Sunday here in Central Illinois. It is almost 55 degrees and sunny. Amazing for the end of November.

After church we came home and had brunch. We cleaned up and DH went to nap and I worked on the church's Facebook page, paid bills, and then reconciled the checkbook.

A local church advertised that they were going to show a large collection of Nativity scenes. Nativity scenes have always had a place in my heart. When I was a little girl, a neighbor had one and I was just amazed by it. My parents bought me one for Christmas when I was eight. I still own it and I still put it out. That was 49 years ago. Yikes, I'm old! Smile Anyway, we toured the display and there were all kinds of them in all different styles. I didn't know Fisher Price came out with one.

The church had it well planned with tables set up and arrows to show you and each one had a card telling who owned it and any history that was known. Funny thing, I have never seen one like the one I own. Some of the ones we saw today were as old if not older. So, maybe mine is unique. After the tour, they had a table with home made cookies and punch and a grand piano with an excellent pianist. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and best of all, it was free.

I noticed that most of the people coming through were in their 60s and 70s. I commented to DH. I said I guess it is the older folks who realize what a lovely way to spend an afternoon and one doesn't have to spend money to do it.

Now that I have viewed them, I'm ready to get mine out. Other than the gas to drive to the church and back home, it was a reasonably priced way to spend the afternoon and makes me appreciate what I have even more.

Keeping up

October 30th, 2017 at 11:03 am

Not a whole lot to report. I've kept busy doing this and that around here. Today I'm doing some cleaning. I have a tea pot collection. I like blue willow and through the years I have been given tea pots and we have bought some. I have them displayed on a shelf over the sliding glass doors. I asked DH if he would get them down so I have them washed. They weren't really too bad, but I like to keep on top of things so they don't get really dusty or dirty. As I washed them, it made me think about the lovely designs and where they were made and what company. I had forgotten that one of the more unique ones was designed in England but hand painted in the Philippines. Pretty cool

I also starting addressing Christmas cards. Yes, I know it isn't even the first of November. I just dread addressing them. I know they are an expense and the postage keeps going up, but most of the people we send them to are not online. For some they are our annual catch up time. Anyway, I feel better having started them. I found a couple of boxes of new cards at thrift stores this year for little to nothing. I feel that helps with the cost. I have been crocheting small ornaments to put in each card. The ornaments are basically free other than my work. I am using crochet thread I already had. I will need to iron and starch them, but I have enjoyed making them so hopefully people will enjoy receiving them.

Other than a few items for DH for Christmas, I have the bulk of any shopping finished. We do give tips to the gals who cut our hair. I buy a few gifts for friends, but supplement them with either things I've canned or made so it keeps the cost down. I enjoy doing this sort of thing and hopefully the receivers enjoy getting them. We have a Christmas club so whatever we spend, the money is there so we don't go into debt. I just can't fathom going deep into debt for Christmas. I like being generous, but I don't think I could handle seeing a big debt.

It's a cool, dreary day here. Just the right kind to make me want to clean so our home feels cozy.

The Pile and other Ramblings

October 15th, 2017 at 02:06 pm

I am ashamed to admit there has been a pile of papers sitting on my desk for the past few weeks. A pile that I needed to deal with, but dreaded it.

Today was the day. I decided after I did what I had to do with paying bills, updating the church's Facebook page, etc. that I would deal with the pile. Some of it meant updating spreadsheets. Some of i meant just going through and putting it into different stacks. One stack is for shredding and one stack was for recycling.

But alas, it is history!

I treated myself to cups of tea while I worked on it. It was nippy this morning on the way to church and I told myself I could have a cup of tea to reward myself. I like having my tea in a tea cup with a saucer even if it means i have to hand wash both of them instead of a mug. I think there is just something about having it fancier than a mug. Maybe I watch too many English murder mysteries and see them offer some one a cuppa too often.

Speaking of refreshments, yes, I'm digressing all over the place, I watched a short video of some comedian talking about how we have changed in the past few years when it comes to company. Although he was being funny, there was a lot of truth in that. He said years ago if the doorbell rang, people went to answer the door, invited people in, asked them if they wanted refreshment, and they sat and visited. Now, people either hide from the doorbell, or if they go to the door, it isn't a family affair to greet visitors and rarely do people have refreshment. I'd say there is a lot of truth in that. I always ask people if they want something to drink if they come to visit. But, I've noticed when I visit others, rarely am I asked if I would like something to drink. Remember when people had nice tea sets or coffee pots and coffee cups just for company?

It's exciting at first...

August 30th, 2017 at 07:48 am

Do you ever notice how exciting it is to plan for updating a room and what a pain in the patootie it actually is?

Last winter we decided to update the vanity and medicine cabinet in the master bath. Now, don't get all excited. This is barely bigger than a closet, but it has a vanity, stool, and small shower. Adequate, but small.

Very little has been done to this bathroom for over 15 years so the new stuff with a new vanity top, new faucet and then I decided to go all out and get new towel bar and toilet paper holder and shower curtain rod was very enticing. And while I was at it, a new light fixture and new exhaust fan with a light. We bought the house 18 years ago so I don't know how old the current exhaust fan is and it doesn't have a light.

So, we ordered the vanity and medicine cabinet and had an Amish woodworker make it. It is lovely. It is oak, solid, and in Mission style.

We picked these items up in May and have been storing them ever since so I could make sure we had the money to pay to have them installed.

Five weeks ago I called for an estimate. We talked to the person and and we were put on the list. I guess the business has been slammed so they finally came out yesterday to install. But, the plumber and carpenter couldn't put in the new light or exhaust fan. So, we had to wait until another day for the electrician.

I've noticed that the times they give you are merely suggestions. Yesterday the guys got here around 8:40 and they said between 8 and 8:30. Today, the electrician was supposed to start at 8 so we hustled to get out of bed and cleaned up and dressed before he arrived. It was almost 8:30 by the time he got here.

I'm looking forward to having an updated bathroom. And, I'm sure I'll think it is all worth it once it is finished. But, waiting around while they work just isn't a lot of fun.