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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.

Vintage and Current: What Will Last?

June 8th, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Yesterday DH and I decided to take the day and go to some out of town antique shops/flea markets and thrift stores.

As I wandered around, one thing that came to mind is all the stuff that has some age to it -- a lot of it was around when I was a kid and some even older, and the fact that most of it is in good shape. I realize a lot of has to do with the fact people didn't damage it, but I also think it has to do with the quality of how it was made. I commented to DH that I bet a lot of the stuff that is cheaply made won't be around and we had a discussion on how this cheap, disposable stuff is really hurting our economy in the long run -- landfills are filling up and people figure why take care of something -- it's just cheaper to buy new. I have a few pieces of furniture that are older than I am. As long as they are taken care of, they will probably be around after I'm gone. I have some dishes that are the same way. I rejoice in using them, but I also take care of them. We have purchased some furniture made by local Amish. That stuff should last awhile as well.

So, here's a list of some things that might be around for awhile:

Blue Willow dishes
well made furniture -- some old, some new
pens -- I use refills
metal crochet hooks
quality pots and pans
decent flatware
glass pitchers

Do you have some things you think will be around and not disposable?

Our shopping wasn't very extensive. We probably spent less then $20 and that included stopping at an A & W and having two frosty mugs of root beer.

Today we went to the library book sale they have each month. I signed up for the library's summer reading club and was given a certificate for a free book. I suggested that DH look for a kid's book since he reads so many to different classes, but he couldn't find anything he wanted. I couldn't find anything I wanted and so we gave the certificate to a retired pastor we knew who was there -- he and his wife are nice folks, but they struggle on making ends meet. I'm sure he will make good use of the coupon.

We also hit our local thrift stores today. Again, not a lot of shopping. I did buy two American flags, not the tiny ones, to have on hand. Each Memorial Day we put a flag on my husband's father's grave and so I have one for the next two years. It was fun looking and at one of them I got to visit with a friend, so it was more of a social gathering than anything.

Gas Tax and Day to Day Stuff

June 2nd, 2019 at 11:34 am

I live in Illinois and doubling the gas tax is just about a sure fire bet. The General Assembly has passed it, so that means our gas tax will double to 38 cents a gallon. Ouch. I understand that we need it for roads and such, but if the legislators hadn't allowed the powers to be to take money from the original road account, I think we would have been in better shape and had more money.

Fortunately DH and I don't have to drive to work so our driving is for appointments as well as things we choose to do. But I worry about those people who are already having a time of it making ends meet and now this.

The Governor is also wanting to legalize Marijuana so I imagine that will go through with flying colors. I am torn on this issue. First of all, if it is legal, then maybe people won't treat it like they did when there was prohibition. Yet, I'm also worried we will have people using it and driving and being a bigger menace on the roads. Of course, maybe they won't be driving with the higher gas tax.

I just feel like all Illinois is wanting is more money. I understand why we need it, but I also wonder if there are ways to cut some of the spending like we have to do in our own personal budgets.

I do think DH and I will do a little less driving. We enjoy going to some of the area towns to visit. We may not go as often. I don't think the towns will miss us horribly, but I'm sure every dollar we spend helps their economy. Get enough people going and spending, it does make a difference. Perhaps I'm just too simple minded on the whole tax thing.

In other news, DH's garden is growing. He has some small green tomatoes on a few of his plants. If we could just get less rain and more sun, it would sure help. So many of the area farmers are struggling to even get their crops in. And so many in the heartland are facing the devastating effects of flooding. I picked some lettuce and a couple of green onions yesterday to make part of a salad tonight. I really like having fresh from the garden vegetables.

A couple of weeks ago I planted the end of celery in a pot. It is growing. I had to put it in a tall pot because last year when I did it, a bunny decided it was for his buffet.

I bought a weaving loom at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago. One can make scarves and other things. I finished my second scarf. I paid $5 for the loom and I feel I did OK with it. I like learning new things and I can actually use some different yarns with it that it is easier to weave with than crochet with so I feel that is good stewardship.

Aldi had blueberries on sale this week so I bought extra and made some blueberry jam and canned it. I think it is my favorite type so I was excited about that. A friend is kidding me about filling my pantry, and yeah, I do that. There's a satisfaction to having stuff in the pantry when I want it, especially knowing what's in it like the jam.

Lots of spending

April 30th, 2019 at 11:45 am

Every month when we get our pension checks, I put money into different accounts. We have a Christmas Club, a vacation, a savings account, and a Money Market. We have to have the regular savings since it is at a credit union in order to have the other accounts. We use this one for home improvement.

Well, that account just took a hit. But, it was planned and we are pleased we had the money. We purchased a new storm door for our front door. It was a special order and we are more then delighted with it. It was installed last week.

We have a sunroom and we wanted to have vinyl flooring. It had carpeting and it was impossible to keep clean. We had issues finding someone to even come out and measure and consider it. It all happened so fast when we found someone. We went a week ago yesterday and picked out some and the owner of the business came out and measured and called to give us an estimate. We agreed and he said maybe this week or next and we said let us know. Then he called Tuesday night and said they could some Wednesday so we hustled to get everything packed and moved.

Murphy of course had to intervene and when they unrolled the vinyl, it was torn in the middle of the roll. We took a flying trip back to the business and picked out something else and within an hour the installer came and he had it done. I spent the afternoon cleaning windows and dusting things before putting it back. I am more then dpleased and have enjoyed using the room a lot since then.

We will be having some painting done when the weather gets better, but the nice thing is we had the money put back for these expenditures. We have a friend who is constantly running to the bank whenever he wants something because he has no savings. I'd rather save and then go shopping, than have to wait for the bank to tell me if I can afford home improvements.

We've had quite a bit of rain so DH wasn't sure if what he's planted in the garden would come up. So far he has onions and radishes popping up. He's hoping for the lettuce. He is going to wait before planting herbs, tomatoes, and bell peppers. But, I'm already anticipating fresh stuff. It is amazing how a packet of seeds can bring such good stuff like radishes and lettuce. I think it is money well spent.

Happy Easter!

April 21st, 2019 at 12:33 pm

It seems like spring has finally arrived and here it is sunny and beautiful on a Sunday. That hasn't happened in months. It seems like every Sunday lately has been horrid as far as weather.

We had Easter services today. Our Pastor always has a children's sermon and today the kids were so excited he had a hard time keeping them on topic. But he has a good sense of humor and I do think the congregation enjoys the kids and their enthusiasm.

Normally on Sunday when we get home I fix brunch which is usually scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables, cheesy grits, toast, and fruit salad. Today we had ham, scalloped potatoes, creamed corn, peas, cornbread, deviled eggs, and a cheesecake like dessert. Some of the items I prepared yesterday to make it go faster. My husband must have been hungry because he was ready to eat 30 minutes before our meal was ready.

Yesterday I made chicken stir fry for supper and since there is usually more chicken than what we can eat, I make chicken broth with the leftovers. Why buy it when I can make it at home and I know what goes into it?

DH worked on planting onion sets, radish and lettuce seeds yesterday. We've had so much rain that he worries the soil was too wet, but he hopes that yesterday and day helped dry it out a bit before our next set of rain storms this week.

I've been reading the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton. I get them at the library. We did go to a bookstore yesterday that handles used books and just for grins I looked to see if they had any. They did, but they were the ones I have already read and the price was way more than I would have spent on a book I only plan to read once. I am so glad we have a great library.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

This and that

April 19th, 2019 at 12:10 pm

After posting on Sunday complaining about the snow flurries, I felt a little guilty when I saw Peoria a couple of hours northwest of us had 5 inches of snow. And I know areas north and north east of us got quite a bit too.

We did some thrift shopping today. I found a blouse and DH found a shirt. Last week I found two nice pairs of jeans. One I didn't even have to shorten. I have a friend who thinks buying clothes at thrift stores is just awful. I disagree. I can wash the clothes and I save a bunch on them.

I buy many of my greeting cards at thrift stores. I like saving money. I would rather give a dime or a quarter for a nice card than $4 or $5. Most people don't keep cards so why spend so much?

Every week I buy fresh fruit to make a fruit salad. There is always way too much fruit, so I freeze the extra. This week I cooked it and made mixed berry jam and canned it. One of the grocery stores had lovely fresh green beans on sale so I bought some and canned them in chicken broth I had made. I still have some green beans from last year, but we will be eating those so I'm preparing for next winter.

I had some mandarin oranges that were getting overripe so I decided to try and make orange loaf. I found a recipe and it turned out pretty well. DH liked it a lot and I baked 4 mini loaves and gave two away.

As we progress into Easter weekend. hope you all have a wonderful Easter.