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New Recipe and the Quest for Coupons

September 10th, 2019 at 12:49 pm

We tend to eat quite a bit of chicken, at least we have it once or twice a week and to be honest, I get tired of making it the same old way. I was looking around on Pinterest and found a Crockpot recipe yesterday that I wanted to try. The recipe didn't give any measurements as making the sauce so I punted, but I am happy to report it came out pretty tasty. I used two chicken breasts so if you do more, you may have to adjust, but here's the recipe as I made it:

2 chicken breasts
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

In a half pint jar mix lemon juice and olive oil, Oregano, chopped onion, and minced garlic. The original recipe called for these items, but I added Sage and some mustard. I mixed it all up. I sprayed the Crockpot with cooking spray, then put the potatoes down and then the chicken, but you could probably put them side by side. My Crockpot was deeper than wider. I then poured the sauce over everything. I tried to make the chicken low enough that was mostly covered with the sauce so it didn't dry out. I cooked it on low for about 7 hours. The recipe said that or on high for 4. I did spoon some sauce over the chicken part way through since there were some tops not quite covered. But, it was really good and an easy meal. The original recipe also called for fresh greens beans to be cooked alongside the potatoes and chicken. All my green beans are cooked so I thought I would do that some other time. But DH said this recipe was a keeper so I was pleased.

Also while perusing Pinterest I saw something that said companies that will send you coupons. Our paper has the worst coupons. I do digital coupons for Kroger and Walgreens, but they don't always have coupons for stuff we buy. So, I emailed 4 companies that we use. Three answered back and said they would send coupons. One told me to check my paper's coupons. I guess I realized a few years ago when DH used to buy the Chicago Trib, there are different sets of coupons -- same companies, but the Trip always had more coupons than the cheapie ones our paper had. They had some of the same, but not all the same. Anyway, if you are interested, here is the url for the coupon site:


We went to Walgreens to pick up some things on sale. I had to get a rain check for toilet paper, but we got some other things. After some of the coupons and sale prices, the bill came to $29.97. I asked if I could use some of my bonus point credit and they let me use $20. I felt like that was a success.

More Canning and Christmas Crafts

August 29th, 2019 at 08:31 am

DH picked tomatoes on Tuesday so I did some canning yesterday. I made some spaghetti sauce. I guess I've canned more this year than in the past because I'm running out of rings for my canning jars. I think I'm using more pint jars because that seems to be the best size for the spaghetti sauce. I realized 2 quarts and three pints of spaghetti sauce and 1 quart and almost a quart of tomato juice. I am going to wait on the almost quart until I can make some more and can it as a quart. I like having it for soups and stews.

While at Aldi yesterday, I picked up three nice size cucumbers. They were 49 cents each. I made sweet pickles with them to add to the ones I made with the freebie last week. I don't need a ton of pickles, but I do like having some around. I also give some away at Christmas. I make baskets of stuff for a couple of people. It really is kind of sad how expensive pickles are when they can be made so reasonably. I realize there is the cost of jars, labels, man power, etc., but still...

Living in the Midwest winter is always a dreaded aspect at least from my point of view. Farmer's Almanac is claiming a cold, snowy winter. I guess another weather forecast is calling for the same. I like to have a full pantry just in case and pray we don't lose power.

I finished another Christmas present this week. I saw on Facebook that Christmas is less than 4 months away. Between the canning and my crafting, I have the bulk of my Christmas done for others. DH is my biggest one and he usually tells me what he wants. That comes later. We have a Christmas Club Account so the money is already saved for what he wants and it is usually clothes. So, are you getting ready for Christmas?

Recreational Shopping and GWTW Foods

August 25th, 2019 at 11:23 am

DH and I try to only eat one supper out a week, and it usually is Friday night. I won't say we stick to that hard and fast rule, but it is sort of date night for us.

Anyway, if we are going to eat with others, we try to schedule it so we can eat out on Friday if at all possible. Often, if we have to change, we will eat out on another night and eat at home Friday.

Besides the financial aspect of it, we try to eat at home for supper, since that is our large meal of the day, because we feel we eat more nutritiously.

Anyway, we ate with another couple and as we were going to leave, the Mrs. asked if we were going to go shopping. I said no, we no longer grocery shop on Friday nights since we are retired; we go during the week in the morning. She said no, not grocery shopping, but going to the mall and other stores around the restaurant. I said no, we didn't need anything. She looked at me like I was an alien.

I have a feeling they are part of society that uses shopping as recreation. I guess that is fine if you have the money, but I don't want to be tempted. I did go to a fabric store on Thursday and bought a skein of embroidery floss to finish a project and some extra bobbins for my machine. I looked at stuff, but my sole purpose for shopping there were those two items and that's what I bought. I guess our recreational shopping is our weekly thrift store foray. But even then, I usually have a list in mind of what I want or what others have asked me to look for. I scored a new package of light bulbs that fit our dining room light fixture for $1.50. That was a good find because I am about out of them. I found a Thanksgiving garden flag to replace one that is worn out. But to shop just to shop, I don't think so.

Years ago I probably would have loved to do the recreational shopping except we didn't have the money. It's funny how one's priorities change -- I have money to buy just about anything I want or need, but there isn't a whole lot I want or need. I know I am incredibly blessed in that aspect.

Anyway, enough of the shopping chatter...awhile ago I posted that two other couples were going to join us and have a meal based on foods in "Gone With the Wind." I reread the book and I made a list of foods that were mentioned. Just a side note, most of the foods were listed were during the first half of the book. I wonder if Margaret Mitchell did that on purpose -- a lot of the foods listed were memories of when Scarlett was young and Tara was prosperous. The last half of the book, not too much mention of food, but lots of brandy and spirits. Maybe once Scarlett was no longer poor, food didn't come up. I did a little background reading on Mitchell, and apparently the book was a way to pass time when she was laid up from an injury. Anyway, in case you are interested, here is my list of foods from the book:

golden topped biscuits
fried chicken
yams with butter
buckwheat cakes
ice cream
barbecue pork
layer cake
corn pone
sweet potato pie
corn bread
hog meat
vegetables (no specifics)
fried squash
stewed Okra
carrots in cream
chocolate layer cake
vanilla blanc mange
pound cake topped with whipped cream

Estate Sale Finds

August 20th, 2019 at 02:18 pm

DH and I attended an estate sale last weekend. I found two beautiful quilts that didn't have stains, were beautifully pieced and the quilting was exquisite. They had a lamp that is a reproduction Tiffany style that a friend was looking for. Plus there was a bunch of material. The material was "fill up a bag for $3." DH fell in love with some of the material and encouraged me to get it. We wound up buying the quilts and the lamp as well. The prices, in total, would have been $233 for it all, but they charged us $140. We asked our friend for $20 for the lamp. It was originally marked $40 and she was willing to pay that, but since they gave us a deal, we gave her a deal. The cashier said she just gave us the material. I'm sort of thinking they hadn't made a lot of sales and it is sad because there was lots of good stuff at decent prices including Fiesta ware and name brand pots and pans. I didn't need any of that stuff although it was lovely. Lots of Christmas decorations as well. The sale was really fun to look through.

I looked at the material after we got home and decided to sew some more grocery bags. Some of the ones I had from years ago are really starting to show wear and tear and although I mend them, they aren't in the best shape. I had some material as well and since I have been buying thread at thrift stores for a quarter a spool, I have plenty of it. So, over the course of three afternoons I took out the material and did some measuring and cutting and pinning. The result was two table cloths for our dining room table and 13 grocery bags and then I used the leftover material to make smaller bags I'll use for gift bags. The material I had at home was about $5 in total -- again thrift store finds. I had meant to use it for bags originally, but had put it off. I used some of one to add to some of the material I bought to trim the table cloth. I think all in all, if I had paid the $3 for the material at the last estate sale, I would have spent around $10 for everything. I gave a bag away to a neighbor. She had stopped by to give us some cooking magazines. She loves buying them and hates to see them sitting around. She gives them to me. I enjoy looking through them and I then give them to another lady who enjoys looking through them as does her mother and then they pass them on.

DH and I have been studying these quilts and they are nothing short of amazing. I'm thinking that the lady must have made them because the hand quilting is exquisite. I didn't need them, but boy, are they lovely. I do so appreciate handiwork.


August 9th, 2019 at 01:47 pm

Busy seems the operative word around here, but that's fine. I've been canning. I have 27 pints and 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce and 1 quart and 3 pints of tomato juice so far. I bought a bunch of different kinds of apples and made apple sauce and realized 3 quarts and 3 pints. It takes a lot of apples to make that much. I found canning lids about half price at Kroger so I stocked up.It seems the packages of chicken always have more chicken than what we can eat for one serving, but not enough for another meal often enough, so I often freeze the extra and then use it to make chicken broth. I think I canned 3 quarts of it as well a couple of pints. My pantry is filling up with the other stuff I've canned so far and it is a good feeling. There are a couple of folks I give home canned stuff to for Christmas because they appreciate not only the work, but the flavor. I have used my Crockpots for the applesauce as well as the chicken broth and I bless the soul of whomever came up with the idea of a slow cooker. I certainly get my money's worth out of mine. How about you?

I've been crocheting scarves to go with hats for my church group. Yesterday the local TV station decided to do a little story on us out of the blue so that worked out OK. It seems anytime they do that, we get a few more new people and that's great. As of yesterday, we are up to 1377 hats, 67 scarves, and 82 baby hats, all of which will be donated this fall. Two of my friends joined our group yesterday and the ladies asked how we knew each other and the mister said we had taught together. Then he proceeded to tell them that they stopped by our house for dessert last week and I would not give them ice cream until they learned how to use the knitting looms. The ladies laughed heartily at that -- anytime they can find something to tease me about, they are delighted. I'm soooo glad I can bring such joy to them! Seriously, it was all done in good fun and it makes things a lot more enjoyable. And to set the record straight, we had the ice cream before I showed them how to use the knitting looms just in case you were wondering. Smile

We had an issue with my car. My air conditioning wasn't cooling very well and so we figured it needed to be recharged. Well, seems it needed a new seal as well as recharging, then the power steering needed a new seal, and then another thing went wrong. Talk about Murphy not only visiting, but moving in! Egad...$1200 later - Murphy had better had moved on!

I strained my eyes doing some embroidery so I've had a week where I would have to watch myself. It was my own stupidity -- I get started on something and I don't want to quit until I finish and embroidery is detail work. Oh, well.

My "troll" Sandy commented on a post I wrote a couple of months informing me I was as snarky as ever since she decided to stop by. Lucky me, eh? I really wonder if she is someone that knows me in "real life" and is figuring this is a way to be mean without my knowing her identity. Someone had mentioned that the last time and I'm beginning to think that might be the case. I really wanted to respond something back, but then realized that would be indeed snarky, so I'm letting it go. Not worth it.

Oh, I am adding this...my computer printer died a couple of years ago so I have been without one. Although it hasn't been a horrible inconvenience, there have been times I wished I had one to print something. Someone donated one to church and our pastor remembered that I was without one and suggested I might want it. I scored a working printer for free. Since most of the stuff I print is for church anyway, that worked out exceptionally well. I just have to buy a replacement color cartridge, but that is OK fine with me!

Hope things are going well for all of you, even Sandy!

Garden, Groceries, and Spending

July 21st, 2019 at 01:59 pm

DH's tomatoes have been going along pretty well. He brought in quite a few this week and I cooked them with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and garlic and made spaghetti sauce. I canned 10 pints yesterday. DH grew the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and the herbs.

Every week I make a fruit salad and often there is more fruit that what we will use. I freeze the extra. Yesterday I pulled all the small containers out of the freezer and made mixed berry jam and canned it as well. I realized about 6 half pints of it.

I've been using both the Ibotta app and the Fetch app and have been collecting points or whatever we collect. I don't buy a lot of the stuff that owe get a lot of credit for, but I figure it is basically free money.

I've been doing some embroidery and I really wanted a new lamp to sit by chair that would bring more direct light. i was looking at our local sewing shop and they had one which was plastic and it was on clearance for $40. I just couldn't see paying that. We were doing our thrift store run on Friday and there was a nice metal one exactly what I wanted for $5. We bought it and I tried it out and it works great. I'm hoping this better light will help with eye strain. As far as the embroidery, I did have to purchase a skein of embroidery floss since the pattern calls for three colors of yellow. I had two of the three. I bet the clerk was shocked I spent exactly 62 cents. I am trying not to buy any more craft items for myself until I finish the stuff I have.

I did buy some graph paper because I have some counted cross stitch I want to graph out. I also bought some school supplies to put in the box at church for a local school. We buy pencils, hand sanitizer, and facial tissue because those are things that go quickly and are used up and teachers often have to buy them out of their own money.

We have our dental checkups this week. I think this one is going to be pricey because I need a new retainer. I wear retainers every night to keep my teeth from moving. After spending thousands of dollars to get teeth pulled and braces in my 40s, I don't want things to go back to disarray.

Frugal Yarn Shopping and other stories

June 30th, 2019 at 11:42 am

First of all, I'm going to brag on a couple of ladies at my church. Bluebird generously sent a donation for my church group to buy yarn for the hats and scarves we make and donate to area schools and non profits. These two ladies combined a phone app as well as paper coupons to buy some very beautiful yarn for us to use. When they presented it last Thursday, people said it was like Christmas and they were choosing the colors they wanted to work with. Again, thank you Bluebird for your kind gift. Please know the money is being carefully used. They haven't used it all, so they can go shop again when they can get another big sale.

Our totals for hats as of last Thursday was 1, 142 hats, 33 scarves, and 58 baby hats. Not bad for a small group of ladies. Here it is the end of June so we will be handing out hats before we know it!

We haven't been doing a whole lot stuff other than working around home. DH spent a big part of the weekend watering his garden and then putting mesh around his plants so the chipmunks don't feast. I have been cleaning and trying to get ahead of the papers. Between crocheting scarves and reading, I have also been using up leftover yarn to make dish cloths. Last year I donated a 100 to a food pantry to put in their Christmas baskets. I have 74 completed so far. I know they aren't fancy, but hopefully they can be a blessing to someone. I try to make them with pretty colors even if they are leftover yarn.

About a year ago I bought a pillow kit to embroider at a thrift store. It was an unopened package. I spent many hours doing the embroidery and finally could sew it together. It will be a Christmas gift for a friend who appreciates handmade items. I bought a new pillow form on sale so another Christmas gift is checked off my list.

I sometimes forget how people view money and possessions. We are very careful with our money. I'm not saying we don't spend money because we do, but we save and plan mostly. A friend of ours has a bigger house, nicer cars, and draws more money than we do. Whenever they get new stuff, we rejoice with them because we know they are happy. Sadly, I guess it is one sided. We had saved up to do some things on our house -- we put new vinyl in our sunroom, bought a new storm door, and had some painting done on the outside. In the greater scheme of things, not huge amounts of money -- probably far less than what they probably spent on some new stuff they bought. However, since we have had this work done, she's been snippy. I don't know if she's jealous or what, but it makes me melancholy that they cannot share our joy as we have shared theirs. I guess the love of money is truly the root of all evil.

What a spendy month so far

June 20th, 2019 at 07:50 am

It's been a speedy month so far. Property taxes are due. We pay the whole amount because I'm always worried I'll forget the second installment. License plate sticker was due. And then we hired a painter to do some painting.

But fortunately we have the money saved back. None of these were unexpected.

Plus I'm glad we hired the painter. He did a marvelous job on painting the brick trim on the front of the house and the two doors. They look like new. We had a slight crack in the wall between our master bedroom and bathroom from the house settling and he fixed it and painted the wall and it looks great.

But I hate to say it, I'll be glad when the spending stops. Yikes! I realize some folks live this way -- spending everything they have coming in. I don't know how they do it. I'm not talking about people who are the working poor and they can't help it. I'm talking about people who make good money, but don't stop spending.

I've kept busy in the evenings. I have been crocheting scarves to go along with the hats my church group is working on. Last week I finished embroidering a pillow case that I need to sew together to cover a throw pillow. It will be a Christmas gift. I just remembered why I hate using the floss that comes in the kit -- it was horrible -- it tangled all the time. I asked DH to remind me if I ever get another kit, to provide my own floss.

My money saving trip today will be to the library. I'm out of books to read. I've read 64 so far. My goal is a 100.

Greeting Cards

June 11th, 2019 at 08:10 am

CB blogged about getting birthday cards at Walgreens and how expensive they are. No kidding. Butterscotch commented that they are more reasonable at Dollar General and they are. I get most from there, but every once in awhile I want to get a special card for DH. Our anniversary is coming up this Saturday. I spend a lot of time picking out a card not only for the message, but for the printing origin. One thing that frustrates me is Hallmark prints both in US and China, yet the ones from China aren't any cheaper. I figure they are pocketing the bigger profit. Anyway, I search for ones printed in the USA.

I lucked out...with the Walgreens reward system I had enough to get the $5.99 card free. But is it just me that almost $6 for a greeting card is ridiculous?

I write a shut in every week and quit buying stationery from retail places. Seems that many thrift stores have new in box stationery for a fraction of the cost. I figure people bought it, never used it, and it was donated. So, I buy it and use it. I figure I must be one of the few who actually writes letters.