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How's the shopping going?

November 28th, 2022 at 12:17 am

The majority of my shopping is finished. I have a few items to get that need to be fresh like oranges. We make stockings for the 4 neighbor kids and I like to put an orange in the toe. Each year we start a Christmas Club so we spend what we have saved and once it's gone, it's gone.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the news said that a lot of folks spent more for their Thanksgiving meals at the grocery, not cutting back even with the rising costs of inflation. They said they wanted a nice holiday and didn't want to skimp. 

So, I guess I'm wondering...will you be spending as much or more than last year? It will be around the same for us I think, unless I include the rising cost of postage stamps for the Christmas cards. Then it might be a little more, but not a lot.

Are you tempted?

October 23rd, 2022 at 06:38 pm

Although there are tons of stories coming across email and such about the state of the eocnomy and inflation and...I just wonder, am I getting used to this? I mean, I was tempted to order something that was a luxury, not a need, from Amazon the other day. I didn't order it, but I really wanted to. 

Then I thought back on what I do about every day -- figuring ways to make do with what I have and stock piling stuff. We bought a whole chicken at Aldi when we grocery shopped. It will make more than 3 meals, plus I have the broth. I canned 2 quarts of the broth for the pantry. 

I almost hate to admit it, but my heart rate went up a little bit when the postal van stopped in front of our house this afternoon and the carrier got out with some boxes. Then I realized, I hadn't ordered anything. I met her at the door and she looked at me, the house number and then her computer. I told her I bet she had the wrong house and she asked if it was a certain number. Wrong number and wrong street. I really felt like Winthrop in "The Music Man" when he sings about the Wells Fargo man when I first saw her. Glad I could get to her before she left the stuff. Someone would have been disappointed. 

Although I would love to buy some new things, I honestly don't need anything new. So, I'm struggling. I mean, we are OK so far, financially, but I don't want to look back and say I wished I hadn't spent money. So, I know I am just being tempted and I need to resist. 

Are you finding the new prices the new normal, or are you still struggling to come to grips with it?

Trying to keep up

October 16th, 2022 at 08:19 pm

It's been another busy week around here. Week before we pulled up the garden. I dried herbs, picked tomatoes and peppers and all that. I'm still waiting on the herbs to dry more fully before I can process them. Instead I decided to do my usual fall thing which includes cleaning and polishing.

Twice a year I put orange oil on my kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities and woodwork. They aren't painted -- they are wood. I think canning really seems to suck the moisture out of the kitchen cabinets and then during the winter, the dry air seems to also do the same. I'm always amazed at how much nicer the cabinets look when I'm finished.  I figure it is a way to keep them nicer. A friend of mine commented that if I ever wanted to paint them, putting the orange oil on them would be a problem. He is probably right, but since I'm not planning on painting them, it isn't an issue.

I have a list of other things to do, like polish my shoes. I have 3 pairs and two pairs of boots that are at least 5 years old. I clean and polish them every year and they seem to be faring well. I just means keeping up with this. I decided a long time ago to buy quality shoes so that they last. A couple of pairs I wore very frequently when I worked and they are holding up well and polishing them seems to help as far as how they look. 

I also want to wash and wax the exterior of our charcoal grill. We don't grill a lot, but it is nice to do so when we want and since it sits outside, I think waxing it keeps it from fading so much. Kind of like with cars. We normally wax the cars before the winter and that's been done so that's another thing to check off the list. 

Each year my church has a Christmas Bazaar and sells cookies by the pound. Of course when the Pandemic closed things down, we didn't do that, but hope to again to it again this year. However, eggs went up from $2.31 on Wednesday, to $3.39 on Thursday at Aldi. I know butter has gone up and I see sugar and flour have increased, just not as much. I'm not sure how many cookies and baked goods we will be able to have due to increased costs. Plus, and this is a sad commentary, but many of us are getting older and some can't bake and do things like we used to. 

I constantly look for ways to tighten our belts, so to speak. We work on not wasting food, not buying things we don't need, but honestly it is getting tougher and tougher as prices continue to rise. We had to spend money on getting our sun room fixed because it was starting to leak. We were fortunate that the people working on it could find the materials and I figure it is a way to keep value of our investment of our house. 

However, I will admit, when I hear the market having another bad day, our investments losing money yet again, it scares me. I think, what else can we do to cut back without taking all the joy out of our lives? We eat less meat than we did 3 years ago. I can and preserve as much as I can. I look for sales and use coupons and continue to put money into savings that doesn't pay squat. We don't eat out as much and if we do, we go to lunch or breakfast which is cheaper. We don't go and party or go to movies. The bulk of my wardrobe comes from a thrift store. I maintain what I have. I cook from scratch. And honestly, I'm just getting weary worrying. 

The Thrill of Thrift

September 18th, 2022 at 10:01 pm

There's just something immensely gratifying about saving money and having some cash in reserve. I can't imagine anyone on this site disagreeing with that!

Overall, our life is pretty darn good considering we both worked in the public sector and didn't make the salaries a lot of folks made working elsewhere. We have decent pensions. We have some investments (we won't talk about the Dow lately), and our house is paid for. There isn't a whole lot that we need that we don't already have. So, shopping isn't a recreational sport for me. 

Growing up poor I think made me consider ways to squeeze a nickel or dime or quarter as much as I could. And I still do. I don't have to look for stuff on sale, but why would I want to buy something for full price?

We watched some series on Netflix that was called "Dirty Money" and it had an episode on plastics and how the Zero Waste Movement is trying to get away from using them. So, I did some reading on this movement because I wondered about it since I had heard mention of it before. I think many of us do some of the things already because we are frugal. We use stuff. We recycle. We buy used. We do it to save money and in the long run it also helps the environment because we aren't buying a lot of new stuff and throwing away the old. 

I look at my jars of stuff I've canned. It gives me incredible pleasure. It means we'll eat well this winter as I use it. It also means I have some Christmas gifts for people since I made some different jellies. My pantry is stocked and I have put most of my grains and pastas into glass jars and recycled the boxes and paper bags. We don't have a bulk food store where you can take your own bags and jars sad to say. 

I did have to break down and buy a new Crockpot. One of mine that I used a lot died a few months ago. But I wasn't going to pay full price. I knew as soon as the holidays approach, many stores start putting them on sale. So, I scored a 6 quart Crockpot for $39.99 and tax...$20 off that store's retail price and more at another store. But, I put that new baby to work. I cook a chicken in it yesterday and used the broth to cook some noodles to go with it. Then, I put the carcass back in with some vegetables and herbs and water and let it cook down over night to make more broth which I will can and have for soups and flavorings for rice and noodles. Could I buy a box or can of broth at the grocery? Yes, but at least I know what's in my broth and I'm using what I already had. Cooking the whole chicken means at least 3 meals for us plus the benefit of the broth. So, dividing the price of the chicken by 3, then adding what it cost me buying noodles in bulk, and what it cost for the carrot seeds, and then a little bit of spices and add ons, I think our meal last night cost around $8 for the two of us. To me, that is thrilling! That wasn't adding the cost of the Crockpot in of course, but I'm glad it worked and I look for it to get quite the work out!

Our grocery had apples on sale. I took my own cloth bag for them (we use them at the grocery stores) and bought some and made more apple juice and applesauce. Fortunately I have a lot of jars and lids and rings. I also made tomato juice and canned that and diced tomatoes for the pantry. I also have been picking, washing, and drying herbs. Why buy the stuff in the store when we have it here and I can dry it? I don't put in the oven or a dehydrator; I wash and towel dry them and then set them in our sun room and let them dry naturally. I then run them through a food processor and crunch them up and put them in jars. It sure is nice seeing those knowing they are relatively fresh. 

We go once a week to the local thrift shops. That's our activity. I normally have a small list of things I'm looking for. I scored some beautiful Hallmark and Day Spring birthday cards, sympathy,  and thank you cards last week. I bought around 36 cards for a little over $8 and that included tax. As expensive as postage is and cards themselves have gone up, I was pleased with my good deal. I have scored some name brand clothing a few times and why pay full price when I can get an item for less than a third? I'm not buying junk or worn out stuff. Plus, I guess I'm helping by buying used according to the Zero Waste folks.

The hubster still pays with cash and over the past couple of years has amassed quite a few coins. I talked him into letting me have all the pennies and he said he'd give up some of the "silver" coins as well. We have about $73 to put in a savings account. It's not a lot of money, but it is far easier than trying to save big bunches at once. We have a Christmas Club account I want to put it into. We use that to buy Christmas presents as well as for Christmas tips and all that so come January, we owe nothing as far as Christmas. And the credit card company doesn't get any interest from us as well. 

I won't say I don't buy new things because I do. The Crockpot is a prime example. But honestly, if the economy depended on my shopping, it would be in worse shape than it already is. 

Do you find being thrifty thrilling? What are some of your best examples?

Labor Day Weekend

September 4th, 2022 at 07:34 pm

Hope y'all are having a good Labor Day weekend if you live in the states. 

Most of my week was spent working with things around here. Our CSA box afforded us a few cucumbers and I made sweet relish and canned it. My husband's cherry tomato plant has been prolific so I juiced them with a couple of larger tomatoes and canned a pint of tomato juice and had a little over half of a pint in the fridge which we enjoyed with our brunch this morning. I decided to try a new recipe and made root beer jelly. I found the recipe on Pinterest and the recipe was spot on -- it came together perfectly and it is very yummy. This summer I made a variety of jellies. I will give some of it away as Christmas gifts this year so I guess I'm sort of starting my Christmas shopping already. I used all of my jelly jars and most of my half pint jars this year. With just the two of us, the quart jars are often too big for some items. I use them for apple sauce and apple juice and green beans and regular canning tomatoes, but are way too big for spaghetti sauce and tomato juice. 

Also on Pinterest was a recipe for Basil salt. I made some of that and I have some for us and a couple small jars to also give away. It was easy and since we had the Basil, I figured why not. I have started drying some of our herbs so I'll have them this winter and spring. 

I hated to spend the money, but I bought some things to make handles for the bags I'm sewing using up the material I already have. I have made handles with the extra material, but they just don't seem to hold up as well as the the commercially made stuff. I was fortunate to find it on sale though.

Not a lot planned for the holiday weekend. We are eating from the freezer as much as we can so I can use up some of the items we have, as well as eating from the pantry and supplementing from our garden and CSA box. 

News and Real Life

August 28th, 2022 at 07:00 pm

On an evening news program, there was a report about grocery prices and inflation. The reporter claimed that the department of agriculture claimed that grocery prices are coming down and that the cost of eggs has dropped 60%. Also mentioned was chicken wings had dropped down to prices of over a year and a half ago. Yes, you read that correctly, that's what they reported. I was aghast. That was broadcast Tuesday night and I planned on grocery shopping the next day.

The week before I had noticed eggs had risen 50 cents a dozen at Aldi which is usually cheaper than the other name brand store I pick up things I can't get at Aldi. I did notice a few cents drop when I went to shop in Wednesday, but it wasn't anywhere near 60%. However, I happened to pop in to Aldi yesterday because I had forgotten to buy something and noticed that eggs had increased a few cents from Wednesday. I looked at chicken wings and I didn't see any drop reduction on them either. 

I am concerned with the rising cost of food. The saltines we like has risen 14 cents. That's not huge, but when you see everything going up, or then the worst is the empty shelves, you know it could be a grim fall and winter. I was watching a Clark Howard video and he said that grocery prices were actually showing a 13% inflation rate; far higher than the overall inflation rate. 

I continue to look for sales, but honestly, the grocery stores aren't running a lot of sales, at least not on some of the things we buy. We don't buy a ton of processed foods. I can and freeze what I can. I have written companies for coupons and some are far more willing to mail coupons than others. Some flat out informed me their prices were low enough and that they don't send out coupons anymore. 

So far, we are fortunate that we can afford our groceries. But I wonder how many who are already livng paycheck to paycheck are doing it. They may be going to the food pantries, but even the food pantries are being stung by the higher costs and can get less for their money. 

So, I'm not sure where the reporter was giving his facts other than quoting the department of ag's stuff, but maybe it is better other places than here in the Midwest. Are you seeing grocery prices going down? 

Food Frolics

August 21st, 2022 at 07:25 pm

It's been a foodie sort of week.

The tomatoes are still coming, but not as many. I did have enough to make and can some pints of spaghetti sauce and make some tomato juice. I had some leftover chicken and made broth and canned it. I had some green beans from the CSA box so I canned those as well. Only realized a pint and a half pint, but this winter, they will enjoyed. I picked some lavender and made lavender jelly and then I got brave. I've commented that Pinterest can be my downfall.

I was perusing jelly recipes on Pinterest and one that caught my eye was coffee jelly. I like coffee, so I thought this might be fun.

I did make it and it's good. I know I won't be eating it after 2 p.m. on toast though with the caffeine, but how unique. 

Grocery shopping was another downfall. I didn't think my lists were substantial -- I go to two stores, Aldi being the major one. But eggs had gone up 50 cents a dozen. Saltines had risen 12 cents a box. So, I spent more than I anticipated. I fear that prices are going to continue to rise as a drought seems to be hitting so many parts of our country. I remember during the Pandemic seeing empty shelves and what was there was so expensive. I decided that if there were lots of bread loaves at the grocery when we stopped to get DH's prescriptions, I would buy a couple of loaves to stash in the freezer just in case. There was plenty of bread, so I did just that. I haven't been hoarding stuff, but I have been filling my pantry and freezer like I normally do every fall with things from the grocery and the garden. 

Spendy Couple of Weeks

August 7th, 2022 at 08:26 pm

It's been an expensive couple of weeks and I hope this is it for a bit!

After a dental visit for xrays and check up and cleaning, the dentist nicely told me that I needed a little repair and crown. I could wait, but the tooth was probably going to crack. I scheduled the appointment and I now am the (proud?) owner of a temporary crown. He didn't see any major issues under the filling and I figured that was good and cheaper than a root canal and crown.

A few months ago we had helped a friend by driving and picking him up when he took a car to his daughter. He said he would wash and wax our car this summer. He called and said he would do it Friday. Yesterday when he called to say it was finished, he said he needed to talk to me. We go to pick it up. Seems my car battery died. He and his father charged it, but said it probably needed to be replaced. So, that will be on the docket tomorrow. 

Yesterday when I finished emailing some friends, my laptop reported I was no longer online. Seems my modem/router decided to give up the ghost. So, that was another expense. A dear friend came over today and hooked it up and talked on the phone to get it connected to the cable/internet company. What a blessing that was! 

DH's lawnmower needed replaced; it was quite old so we replaced it. We gave the old one to a neighbor who will recycle the parts.

Hopefully that is it as far as big expenses for some time. Fortunately we had the money in savings, but, it seems to hit all at once! 

We had been given a gift card for a chain restaurant and since we were going to be on that side of town yesterday, we used it for breakfast. Even so, a simple breakfast with coffee for me and lemonade for DH was $28 before a tip. The gift card covered it so that was good. Honestly, I don't know how some of our friends can afford to eat out 5-6 times a week. If we eat out for lunch or supper I always get water, but it was breakfast, so I wanted coffee. Guess I could have saved some money getting water then too, but then we tend not to use the rest of the dab left on the gift card. It isn't a place we normally frequent. 

I have been doing some canning. I canned some tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and then some apple juice. I hated paying full price for the apples, but DH likes apple juice and I refuse to buy the commercially made stuff since you never know where the apples are grown. I also made Basil jelly and corn cob jelly, both are sweet. DH picked way too much Basil when I was making spaghetti sauce and I wanted to use it. I could have dried it, I guess, but we would have had to pick even more to get enough to make drying it worthwhile. That will come soon. We also picked and processed our garlic and I have it in the fridge in olive oil. So, my pantry is starting to fill up. There is something very gratifying to having a full pantry and freezer. Hopefully some of the canned goods will help us save money this fall and winter!

Garden and Pantry

July 10th, 2022 at 08:21 pm

We finally received some rain Thursday and Friday. DH has been keeping the garden going with nightly watering, but natural rain is preferred to the plants. So, it was a blessing.

We've been getting a few onions. I continue to use some of our fresh herbs. We enjoyed some cherry tomatoes and DH brought in a couple larger ones that were starting to turn red; he was afraid some of the animals might go after them for the moisture in them since it has been so dry. 

I broke down and bought some fresh green beans at the market. I kept hoping they would have a sale, but I guess that isn't going to happen anymore. I washed, snapped, and cooked them in chicken broth and then canned them. I also made and canned some apple juice as well as kept some in the fridge for DH. I have been saving some of my vegetable ends and made and canned 3 quarts of vegetable broth. 

We did venture to the Amish community near us and have lunch out at a restaurant that is set up like and old fashioned soda fountain. They have a lunch special and then make homemade ice cream. DH loves ice cream. We then stopped at a meat market and bought some beef. They will package it the way I like it since there are only 2 of us. After that we stopped at a bulk food store and got a few things I was starting to run low on. On our way home we stopped at Aldi and Kroger and did our weekly grocery shopping and I was pleased to get all of this done in one day. It makes me feel a little more secure with a full freezer and pantry, especially during these uncertain times. Plus, since we were near the two grocery stores on our way home, felt like it was a good stewardship to stop.

There's something exciting about seeing my canning jars starting to accumulate with the different colors of goodness in them. Sure hope we can get lots and lots of tomatoes this year!

A little canning and coupons and shopping

May 22nd, 2022 at 07:57 pm

Although I work at trying to keep the grocery bill down, even before inflation, I would buy fresh fruit, even out of season. I read that certain fruits are pretty darn healthy and I would justify it that good food helps with good health. So, each week I make a fruit salad and we have some each day. But, I often cannot use all the fruit, so I freeze the small bits. When I get enough, I make what I call multi-berry jam. I made that yesterday and realized 4 half quarts. 

Last week at the grocery I bought the smallest package of chicken, but even so, there was more than we could eat at one sitting. So, I trimmed some and used the extra to make chicken broth with some vegetables. I canned 3 quarts of that. It makes me happy to see those glass jars filled!

I think I wrote that I was writing companies asking for coupons for items we buy. So far I've received in the mail coupons from Chobani and Kimberly Clark and Yoplait emailed me some coupons. I was pleased they responded. 

I believe some of you have written that you use apps like Ibotta and Fetch. I use both and this week cashed in $50 from Fetch. I wanted a new hand mixer since mine quit working altogether. Kohls had a Kitchen Aid on sale for $59.99 and so after applying the $50, I paid around $15 and change for a mixer that is normally around $70. The one that died was a cheapie model and honestly, we got what we paid for. I decided I better upgrade and get something else. 

Overall, I felt like I had a good week on canning, coupons, and shopping. Just wish the stock market had been as positive. 

Where's the Smelling Salts?

May 18th, 2022 at 08:16 pm

DH and I did the weekly grocery trip. It seemed like everything we bought today has gone up except eggs. Eggs were down a dime. Granted, I had to buy a couple of things I haven't had to purchase in awhile, but oh my goodness, the prices! And we only bought a small package of chicken, a small pork loin, and a package of turkey sausage patties as far as meat. This was going to two stores, Aldi being one of them. We spent over $150! It's been a long time since we've spent that all at once, and normally it was a stock up trip. This was not a stock up trip! I told DH he needs to start bringing smelling salts with me in case I faint at the checkout! 

Before we left, we checked the Dow and it was down over 400. When we checked after we returned home and cleaned up after lunch, it had dropped over 1000. It looks like another losing month for our investments. 

We were watching some of the news and a couple of the commentators were saying that with the rapid increase in prices on so many things, people are not buying. I believe it. I know with the increase in gas prices, we are rethinking some of our errands and such. Today we went to the post office, and two grocery stores in one trip, trying to bunch things together. And we're lucky. We can afford to this. I honestly don't know how people who are already struggling are going to weather this. 

Extreme Couponing on the News

May 15th, 2022 at 07:22 pm

Last night there was a story that claimed it was "Extreme Couponing." That of course piqued my interest. I remember watching those shows, jealous as can be, because in our area we could never get all those things for next to nothing.

Let's just say the story wasn't really extreme couponing. It was on NBC if you want to search for it. It showed a lady who is using digital coupons from CVS to buy things and getting it for less, but not like the old days where people would get tons of stuff and pay next to nothing. The reporter went on to say gone are the days of clipping coupons since so much of it is done digitally and made a very brief mention of getting money back with companies like Ibotta. 

The news story said couponing has come back into fashion due to inflation. I wanted to say that a lot of us on the SA blogs still coupon when we can if it saves us money. 

I remember years ago watching these folks prepare for battle with their lists and getting all this stuff for little to nothing and being jealous. Of course a lot of it I don't need or use and unless it was something I could have donated to the food pantry, I wouldn't have even tried to get it. But it was fun watching them. We've never had decent coupons in our newspaper; I discovered years ago that there are different coupon sets. Our newspaper must have bought the cheapest set because the coupon inserts were mostly ads to buy stuff like Franklin Mint and things like that. DH used to get the Chicago Trib and they had better coupons, but then they quit putting them in the paper downstate. 

I check the digital coupons for the places I shop and use them whenever I can. I also use Fetch, Ibotta, and Receipt Hog, but the problem wtih these, I don't buy a lot of the things to get the credits they promote. 

I have been emailing companies and asking for coupons. Some are really very good about sending them. Chobani will send you some each month. One company informed me they keep their prices low so they don't have to provide coupons. I thought, well, maybe I'll find a company that has the same prices and provides coupons. 

DH bought some Miracle Gro soil a few weeks ago and I was happy to see they still do a rebate on it. I don't go and buy stuff to just use the coupon or send in the rebate, but will use these if it is something we would normally purchase. 

So, do you use coupons? Do you use them more now or less?

Snow Days

February 6th, 2022 at 08:51 pm

This week was not a fun one as far as the weather. Here in Central Illinois we started with a lot of rain Tuesday afternoon, which then became ice, then it started snowing. We received over 11 inches of snow from Wednesday through Thursday and then we had high winds which meant we had huge drifts. Then, as if this wasn't enough, the temperature dropped. Sadly our city road crews did not keep up with things and we were snowbound for three days. Fortunately we did not lose power. I had already slipped to the store Monday morning when they started talking multiple inches because I wanted to avoid the panic shopping. I didn't think we'd be able to do our usual Wednesday morning grocery shopping. I didn't get fresh fruit other than bananas and tangerines since we still had some, but I did pick up a loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk as well as some yogurt. 

Because of the extreme cold and the ice under the snow, I did not even try to shovel. On Friday a kind neighbor came and used his snow blower and cleaned out our driveway. DH and I did the sidewalk from the driveway to the front door.  The city snow plow didn't come until Saturday morning around 6 a.m. Our streets were so deep, we couldn't have gotten out even with our driveway cleared.

I spent some of the time doing genealogy, but I also spent some time sewing. I am hard on pot holders. I cook a lot and I use them a lot and although I try to keep them clean, I still spill or touch something and therefore I wash them a lot. I had two that I've kept for sentimental reasons. They weren't really pretty or anything, but my mom had given them to me years and years ago. But, even after many washings, they looked kind of icky and they were getting thinner and thinner. The stuffing inside had compressed. I looked at them and being frugal, I decided I didn't want to throw them away. So, I sewed them together and then made a cover to recover them of some leftover material. I did it all by hand because I didn't want to get the sewing machine out. It kept me busy Thursday afternoon and I felt like I had made something out of nothing so I counted it as a win.

We were able to get out yesterday and to be honest, after being homebound for over 3 days, it wore me out. We did hit the store for some fresh fruit and kitty litter. We use the kitty litter on our driveway since salt is so corrosive. People were shopping like crazy and fortunately we didn't need any bread because there wasn't any on the shelf. I guess Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday during the start of the snow, the shelves were bare at most stores so it made me feel good I have canned what I did this last summer, plus I buy extra things when it is on sale. 

We have a Facebook page for our subdivision and a dad said his son wanted some money and he said this was the perfect time to go out and make some. He offered a deal for his 12 year old to come and shovel the snow at the end of our driveways for $10 that the snow plow had left. We jumped at that offer! It was darn cold out there so it was a pleasure to give this kid some work and some money. DH gave him a little more since he came on time and was police and respectful. 

I'm ready for winter to end!

Christmas spending and saving

December 25th, 2021 at 10:03 pm

 Today is Christmas and I find it hard to believe it is almost over. All the excitement and planning and now it is almost over. It kind of makes me melancholy.

DH and I went overboard on Christmas presents this year. Everything is paid for, so no outstanding debt there. We open a Christmas Club each year and I put money in when we get out pension checks. But, it was nice not to scrimp. We plan to spend money on some remodeling and hopefully if Covid ever settles down, some traveling. 

We had Christmas Eve Candlelight Service last night and it was so sweet and moving. It was nice sitting with friends (masked of course) and getting to enjoy some sort of normalcy. We still socially distance, but at least we were close enough we could see each other and not do the Facebook virtual stuff. 

Today was quiet for us. We invited a man from church to join us for dinner. I know he's been vaccinated and also the booster since I'm the one who set up the appointments and filled out the paperwork for him. He is careful and wears a mask when he goes out as well. Our friend was in an automobile accident years ago and as a result, he often has short term memory issues. His parents go to Florida over the winter, so he is basically home alone and although he can take care of himself, we know it gets lonely for him. He joined us for the meal and left and I guess called his parents. His father just called to thank us for being so nice to their son and how much they appreciate us for doing so. That made my day! 

Hope your Christmas is a blessed and joyful one!

Christmas spending and saving

December 21st, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Again, I find it difficult to believe Christmas is already here! 

Every year we open up a Christmas Club and we use that to fund our Christmas shopping. I saw on the news last night someone said spending was up because people want to make this a special Christmas and give a little more. I thought, I bet inflation plays a part in that as well. I wonder how many people will be owing big time once the holidays are over. I noticed on many of the blogs many of you made your own gifts, or shopped throughout the year so you won't owe after the season is over.

We already started our Christmas Club for 2022. Just hope 2022 is less Covid and more joy!

Catch up!

December 19th, 2021 at 10:18 pm

It's hard to fathom that Christmas is less than a week away! This year has flown by!

Our British dinner a week ago was a success. We all made new recipes and realized there was a certain thrill to trying the unknown. We liked everything and I ordered those Christmas crackers and those were an absolute hoot. The other two couples are good sports about being willing to try new things. Although the dinner wasn't cheap, I'm sure it was still far cheaper than going out to a fancy restaurant. We all provided different things. And with this being the second year of Covid, it was just nice to have a little normalcy.

Christmas shopping has been finished and paid for so no January surprises there. I spent a lot in postage, both for Christmas cards and packages. Last year I sent two packages that took over a month to get to their destinations. This year things went better. Seems the place I mailed them last year has a worker (it's a post office annex, not the post office) who apparently doesn't know what she is doing, and puts something on them that sends them all over. One was to go to San Francisco and it went to LA, then SF, then came all the way back to Kentucky, then back to Springfield, Illinois, then finally back to San Francisco. The other one was to go to Terre Haute which is two hours away and it sat in Springfield for almost a month. I take them to a small town post office near us now and so far, have had no issues which is a blessing after last year's debacle. 

Unless things get locked down, 2022 may be a very spendy year for us. We have some trips planned as well as a bathroom remodel. We have the money in savings so it isn't like we have to go get loans, but we are both retired, and we figure if we can travel, we should before we get too handicapped to do so.

We visited with a couple the other day and it's interesting that when you think people are the same as you are, then realize they are not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing. But, they were talking about some issues they have. They are always looking for a deal. Seems she saw some ad on Facebook for some shoes that she thought were name brand, but seems they were a knock off and the name on them was similar, but not the same, but only discovered it after she received the two pairs she ordered -- not well made and the soles are slick, not treaded. Apparently they cannot be returned and they were less than half of what the name brand would have cost. The other thing was they received a notice from a company that claimed since they were good customers, they could pick a prize and only pay postage of $5.95 or something like that. So, they picked something, and gave their credit card number to pay the postage. Well, besides the postage, another charge of over $70 was added. These are not stupid people, but we believe they have gotten scammed. It is just scary! 

Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and let's hope 2022 is a successful year for all of us!

Soggy Sunday

October 24th, 2021 at 08:38 pm

 

Fallingwater

Lots of rain today -- woke up to a storm and could just hear the rain pelting down. I guess we have a chance of bad storms tonight. Certainly hope that doesn't come to pass.

I went out and picked a few things from the little bit that remains of our garden. I want to make some soup for this week and use up some vegetables I have in the bin. I waited until it stopped raining for a bit.

We had purchased a bus trip in 2019 for 2020 and of course could not go. We did get to go this year and went to the Laurel Highlands to see two of Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes: Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. Both were really amazing in their own way. Kentuck Knob is supposed to be Usonian which supposedly is for the average man -- but with the final cost, I don't think it was for the average man, but cool nonetheless to visit. Fallingwater was, of course, amazing. We had budgeted money to eat out and buy a few things. My purchases were basically postcards. DH did find a shirt he wanted. But, we used money we had saved so we aren't in debt. Of course the trip was totally paid for in 2019 and to be honest, I was a little worried we might lose that money if the travel business went under. Fortunately we did not. We enjoy our time away and got to see a part of the country we had not been to so that was really cool. But, I can tell you, it was mighty nice to sleep in our own bed when we returned. 

I have tried to finish my Christmas shopping. I thought I had succeeded, but one item did not fit DH so I will have to return it and see if I can get something that does. But, other than buying stamps for the Christmas cards we send, I believe I am finished. I know they have said there might be problems getting things, but hopefully people will have planned ahead if they planned on shopping. 

 

Kentuck Knob

 

Potpourri

September 21st, 2021 at 07:13 pm

The past couple of weeks I've stayed busy, but nothing really earth shattering. I thought I was finished canning, but did wind up with some more tomatoes. Then a friend gave us some zucchini which I'm working on using. I made some zucchini relish, and am itching to try zucchini marmalade. We purchased a half share of CSA this summer and there were cucumbers in it, so I made some sweet relish too. 

It's hard to believe September is nearly over. DH's 75th birthday is Monday. I plan to bake him a chocolate cake and we hope to go out for supper. I spent some time cross stitching some towels for Christmas baskets as well as crocheting some dish cloths. I plan to make those little baskets up with those and some jams, jellies, and relish. 

There was a spot on the news a couple nights ago saying to do one's Christmas shopping early because they think there might be shortages of stuff.  I hope they aren't just saying that to put people in panic mode again. Other than DH, my shopping is basically finished. He usually tells me some clothes he wants. We give money to those who do things like cut our hair. 

The group at church branched out a little this year and we adopted a group that gives blankets to people who donate organs of loved ones. We made 30 blankets and I mailed them yesterday. We continue to make hats and scarves and dish cloths. 

I guess we are saving money because other than the normal stuff like groceries and medicine, we aren't going shopping. There isn't much of anything I need or want at this point, except for people to stay healthy and the Pandemic to end.  

Not being trendy paid off!

August 15th, 2021 at 09:17 pm

I know I'm usually out of step with whatever is the current trend. I'm OK with that.

Let me briefly explain. For a time in my life, I wanted silence. Being a music lover, that was strange, but I didn't want music or talk or television or anything while I did things around the house or while I was in the car. 

Recently everything has become more pronounced in my life. Music seems sweeter. My enjoyment is immense.

DH has quite a collection of CDs, and one of them was the greatest hits of ABBA - very upbeat and fun. Except DH isn't always the most careful and the middle of the CD is damaged. Very discouraging when I wanted to listen to one of my favorites: "Money, money, money!" (OK, imagine that, eh?)

I decided I would splurge and go to Target and buy a new one. Imagine my chagrin to discover Target no longer carries them. We have no music stores in our town so that is out. I refuse to go to what I term the evil empire aka Walmart. So, I figured I would just have to do without. 

On our weekly thrift shop foray one place was selling CDs for a quarter each. And you guessed it, ABBA was in the group of them. Of course I snatched that up! What a delight. What a joy! What a bargain! How fortuitous!

So, apparently CDs are passe. All the better for me -- a quarter for some great tunes!

Shopping for clothes

July 11th, 2021 at 07:02 pm

Clothes shopping is just not my thing.

Years ago TLC had a program called "What Not To Wear" and I loved watching it and seeing how they helped people be their personal best. Being someone who has always struggled with weight issues, every time they had someone who was overweight, it captured my interest even more. So many times those ladies would leave the stores in tears. I felt their pain because that is what it was like for me. Being short and overweight did not make it a good experience. Plus, much of the stuff out there is just plain ugly. So, I would wear the same stuff over and over until it was so worn out and I would be forced to and find something and then the whole painful process would start. 

So, as I got older and made a little more money, I ventured to a couple of stores that I never would have thought of walking into. A couple of weeks ago we went to a store we haven't visited since before the Pandemic to buy some slacks and some blouses. One of the ladies took me to the dressing room and told me to let her pick out things and try them all on, even if I didn't think I'd like them. I discovered something -- I have been buying the wrong size in pants. She found me slacks that not only fit better, but I didn't have to hem them. She found blouses that were flattering. I tried on way more things than I bought, but we looked at things that I would not have looked at and it was amazing. One time I didn't leave clothes shopping in tears! 

I honestly feel better about myself thinking that the clothes look good. That made it worth the extra money for me. 

You Deserve It?

January 4th, 2021 at 12:49 am

Looks like 2021 has finally gotten here. 2020 was a challenging year on so many fronts and I think most of us hope that the new year is far healthier. 

One thing I noticed before Christmas were so many of the advertisements and emails and messages is how many claimed people deserved to buy this and that because "you deserve it" after the year we've had. I wonder how many succumbed to the persuasion. I have a friend who does subscribe to that theory, and has for years and then complains how he's running out fo money. 

I don't know if we deserved it or not, but we did trade cars. We felt we were treated fairly and got far more for our 8 year old car (only 35K miles) than we expected. We got a three year loan simply because we owe for nothing else and wanted to help our credit scores. 

That was the big news as far as finances for us. We continue to eat at home -- we really don't have a choice since Illinois only allows take out and to be honest, as much as we would like to help the local restaurants, after you order, go pick it up, bringing it home, reheat it, and then clean up, it just isn't worth the expense and trouble. 

My birthday is Tuesday and to be honest, it is going to be a little bit of a challenge. I'll be 60. It's weird, 40 and 50 didn't bother me, but for some reason, 60 is. One of my friends who has self taught herself on baking and decorating cookies brought some she made over; what a pleasant surprise. A far better one than the two we had this morning -- 6 inches of snow (we were to get a dusting to an inch) and no power for a few hours. Fortunately we did regain power. Hopefully the snow will melt in the next couple of days. 

Let's hope that 2021 is a wonderful year for all of us!

Catch Up

November 29th, 2020 at 08:45 pm

Hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving. It was a quiet one here, just the two of us. Our Pastor asked if we had a quiet one and I said, especially since my husband doesn't talk very much when he's eating. Pastor laughed out loud and said he was a kindred spirit.

I can't say we've honestly saved a lot of money the past few months. It seems although we aren't going anywhere on short trips or anything, other things have come up. Unexpected dentist bills and I needed new glasses -- mine were five years old and it was time -- I wasn't seeing very well. Currently our governor has said no indoor dining and although some places are offering tables outdoors, I don't like to be windblown or get super cold while trying to eat, so we aren't even doing that. We did some of the take out last spring when he instituted this rule and honestly, by the time we got the food home, it just wasn't as good, even if I reheated it. So, I'm on KP until further notice. I know our grocery bills have gone up because I have been trying to make different things so we don't get bored eating the same stuff. We did have a wild outing last week -- our grocery store choices are limited here in our city so we drove 45 minutes to Springfield and went to a large store where they have other things that our stores do not carry. It was kind of nice finding some things we like that normally cannot get. I have gotten more creative as far as reworking leftovers. I try to cook things that make more than one meal not only to save money, but also so I can save myself some time. 

My Christmas shopping is finished. Other than a few items I ordered online, most were purchased locally. I know a lot of people love the online shopping and convenience, but I guess I'm old enough to not care for it that much. Plus, I like to support local retailers. I just mailed over 50 Christmas cards. That was an ordeal -- addressing them all. For those I don't see either in person or on social media, I wrote letters in the cards. The U.S. Postal system ought to be pleased I bought so many stamps, right?

I have one more delivery for our knitting group at church. We made over 1,100 hats this year. Yes, that is less than the past couple of years, but honestly, the fact we hit over 1000 with the fact we didn't meet for months is amazing. Most of the ladies worked at home on hats.  Three schools were "adopted" and we also made 130 for a local group that puts together packages to send to soldiers. We included scarves and also bought 130 tuna packets to go in their boxes. We made some to give our cancer center for them to put out for patients to take too. We made over 200 dish cloths to go in food baskets that one of the food pantries gives out for Christmas and we also gave some to a women's homeless shelter as well as took some food there too. I need to sew buttons and beads on to some fidget sleeves and drop them off at a couple of nursing homes. So, take that Covid 2020 -- you didn't stop our group, Stitches of Love! Our ladies' group at church isn't having their holiday bazaar. We normally sell cookies by the pound and usually make quite a bit of money that we use for missions as well as other baked goods and gently used Christmas items. So, it was suggested that we donate the money we normally would have spent making the cookies and baked goods to the ladies' group so they have some money for some of the missions they support. So, other than some baking I plan to do to share with friends, most of my big Christmas stuff is done. I do need to wrap and mail two packages which I hope to get done this week. But, I have the stuff already so that shouldn't be an issue. 

I finally decided to go through two piles of papers in my area. I call my little room the bear room because I have some teddy bears there. I used to collect them. I gave away three fourths of them, but I kept some that had the most emotional hold. So, instead of my office, it's the bear room. I have a bad habit of letting papers pile up thinking I'll get to them later. Well, later was today. Yay! Lots went to the shred pile and some to recycling and my pile has diminished. 

So, that's what I've been doing. Nothing exciting, but it is the day to day living we all experience, right?

 

 

Mish Mash

August 24th, 2020 at 09:04 pm

This is just a mish mash of thoughts...

This spring when people were hoarding things and panic shopping, one big ticket item that people were desiring was a freezer. I thought, well, if they want freezers, then this summer canning supplies may be in short supply. I made sure I stocked up on lids (I have the jars and rings) so I would have what I needed for this year's canning. So, turn the calendar pages a few months and a friend asked me if I knew where she could get lids and rings (she found jars at a thrift store) because every store in our town was out. We were going to a bulk food store in an Amish community so I looked. They also were sold out of all canning supplies. Wonder what will be next!?! My prediction will be flour, sugar, butter, and other baking things. Unless things change drastically, my church will not be having its Christmas bazaar and a lot of people go to these to get cookies and sweet breads and pies so I think they will bake at home. I plan to pick up an extra bag of flour and sugar this week to have in case the rush starts.

I have slowly been working on my stock pile of things. Yesterday we picked herbs and I washed them and prepared them to let them dry in the sunroom. We also picked bell peppers and I washed and chopped them to freeze them in freezer bags to have to cook with. Other than applesauce my canning is done for the year. I'm waiting for apples to hopefully go on sale. I have picked up an extra can of this and that when we go to the grocery so I don't feel like I'm hoarding, just preparing.

My dishwasher died over a week ago. We went to purchase one and the sales person reassured me they could get the particular model that we picked out. A week goes by and I get a call saying they aren't delivering it because they can't get it. I call and try to talk to the sales person who conveniently isn't working when I call only to find the thing is on back order under November 1st. I was not happy. She said the warehouse had it! The new sales person asked if I would be willing to consider another model. I finally said yes. Hopefully it will be delivered today. I feel the person who did the original sale should have called and told me that instead of making me wait almost a week before finding out. Customer service is a joke most of the time. This is just one reason I hate shopping.

We hit the thrift stores last Friday. One had new boxes of stationery for $1.50. It is name brand stuff. I got a few boxes. I write letters and I like nice stationery, but I refuse to pay $7 and $8 a box. I felt I got a bargain.

Hope everyone has a great week and stay safe and healthy!





Groceries and the Garden

August 16th, 2020 at 10:01 pm

It's August and before we know it, fall will arrive.

At least I hope we have a fall. It seems like the past few years we had summer, a day or two of fall, and then wham, winter! Same thing with spring, winter which lasted like forever, a day or two of spring, then summer.

DH's garden is slowing down. For a few weeks we were getting tomatoes galore. It was amazing! I canned and canned. At first, DH said maybe I should wait, and I said wait for what? We have the tomatoes, we want them this winter, so I need to can. He gave away tomatoes too. Well, it seems that was the big influx and now things are slowing down. As long as we still have some for the table, I'm happy. I'm just glad I canned and made spaghetti sauce.

Today we dug up the first planting of onions. I have used quite a few already so there were not many still in the ground, but we dug those up, and planted the last of the onion sets. I know we won't get any big enough for slicing, but we will have green onions into the fall. Although DH works the soil and has put down top soil, it was still kind of clay like. I think we are going to have to invest in some sand to loosen the soil up. I put egg shells, tea bags, and coffee grounds throughout the year to help replenish some nutrients and DH uses Miracle Gro granular fertilizer. Anyway, that was hot, dirty work to get the soil ready to plant the rest of the onion sets.

I think I have spent more time outside this year than I have since we married. I don't "do" outside due to allergies, but with DH's garden, I felt I needed to help him. He planted more tomatoes this year. I also helped him when he was trimming bushes earlier this summer.

The last few weeks our grocery bills have really gone down. I have worked to make things that we get from the garden. For brunch today we had tomato-basil omelets since we had a bunch of cherry tomatoes and plenty of basil. Last night we had chicken stir fry. I used onions, and bell peppers from the garden and mushrooms I had in the fridge. I normally also have zucchini and celery, but we didn't have either, so I just added more pepper and onion. It was delicious and hubby was happy to eat the fruits of his labor, so to speak.

I thought I did pretty well as far as the chicken. I bought a package with two chicken breasts. We had one chicken breast sliced in half long ways for supper Friday night, Last night was chicken stir fry with rice. So, one package of chicken and two meals. It sure helps with the grocery budget.

I have started picking and cleaning herbs and putting them in the sun room to air dry. Hopefully I will get the bulk of this done before fall arrives instead of rushing to finish like I normally do.

DH's bell peppers are really starting to come on. I normally chop a bunch up and freeze them so I have them for soups and casseroles during the winter.

I thought I'd post what our menus were this past week:

Sunday brunch: scrambled eggs with onions, bell pepper, Avocado, mushrooms, and oregano, sliced tomatoes, fruit salad

Sunday supper: Italian wedding soup (from freezer), applesauce

Monday lunch: Salad with cherry tomatoes

Monday supper: tuna cakes, risotto, sliced tomatoes, fruit salad

Tuesday lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sliced tomatoes

Tuesday supper: Leftover beef roast from the previous week, mashed potatoes, carrots, sliced tomatoes, fruit salad.

Wednesday: sandwiches with thin sliced chicken and cheese, potato salad, sliced tomatoes, applesauce

Wednesday supper: spaghetti with homemade spaghetti sauce, green beans, cottage cheese, fruit salad

Thursday lunch: we went out!

Thursday supper: scrambled eggs, toast, sliced tomatoes, fruit salad

Friday lunch: Deli meat sandwiches, sliced tomatoes

Friday supper: thinly sliced chicken breast floured and seasoned and browned in olive oil, mashed potatoes, bell pepper, sliced tomatoes, peaches for dessert

Saturday brunch: we went out to a local restaurant

Saturday supper: chicken stir fry with rice, sliced tomatoes, fruit salad.

Who was that masked saver?

August 11th, 2020 at 07:56 pm

Yesterday was a busy shopping day, masks included. We decided to eat lunch out. I ordered a salad and although it was expensive - over $9, I brought half of it home so I had a second lunch today with it. While we were out in the north end of town, I decided to do some shopping. DH was surprised when I said I wanted to do some shopping because other than grocery stores and browsing thrift stores, I rarely want to go anywhere to shop. However, I had some things in mind that I was looking for.

Being a retired teacher, I still like using notebook paper. Staples had it on sale. While we were there, I noticed they had a 3 pack of Kleenex on sale as well so we bought that as well as some ink refills for a pen. I received a coupon for $10 off our next purchase of $20, so I think I may have to go back and get more Kleenex. DH has bad sinus problems and he goes through a ton of Kleenex besides using cloth hankies.

Our next foray was Joann Fabrics. I wanted one of those foam ink pads. I had another one that wasn't foam and it seemed to have dried up pretty quickly. I looked at yarn not because I wanted any, but I was nosy. It looked like someone had bought a lot of yarn because there were empty bins in some of the more economical yarn. I also wanted some elastic. Since I think we will be wearing masks for awhile, I wanted to try and make some masks. However, other than the really wide stuff, they were out and the clerk said people were in over the weekend shopping like mad for elastic and yarn. No kidding. The stamp pad was on sale. Yay, another savings!

We hit Walgreens to pick up a prescription and they had grape juice and peanut butter on sale. We drink a small glass of grape juice with supper since we are not wine drinkers. We have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch many times so figured we might as well stock up. I bought some of those elastic hair holders to use instead of elastic. They let me use my Balance Reward points for $20 so I spent $11 and some change there after they took off the $20. All in all, I spent less than $100, but felt like I had gotten some good deals and have worked on my stock pile of food and paper products. Plus, I had a couple of things that were wants: the stamp pad and the ink cartridges. Yes, I can use the free pens, but I really like the Cross pen I was given in 1979.

I spent part of the afternoon stamping some cards. I had found a new package of blank cards and envelopes at a thrift store for a quarter a couple of weeks ago so I thought I could stamp them with some designs. I have had the stamps for years and years. I had a red one and green one already so the black one just added to my collection. It was something fun to do.

So, that was it for my shopping trip. I was pleased with my results and shopping on a Monday later morning, early afternoon meant few crowds. No one to ask, "Who was that masked saver?"

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.

Sunny Sunday Sort of

April 19th, 2020 at 07:30 pm

After a cool, dreary week, it has been nice to see the sun yesterday and today. Well, so far today. It's supposed to get cloudy as a cold front moves in with a chance of showers, but right now it is bright and looks springy.

DH is impatiently waiting until the chance of frost passes so he can start to plant part of his garden. We picked up some bell pepper and herbs as well as a few tomato plants before the governor has said lawn and garden places can only sell online or do curbside service. So, we move the plants inside on cold nights and then take them back outside when it is nice. We are getting our exercise anyway by doing this.

I'm impatient about the lettuce I planted way over a month ago. It's been so cold and gloomy that it has come up, but not much else. I have been covering it at night when it gets cold trying to keep it from getting frostbitten. It will probably surprise me and get big all of a sudden and I'm looking forward to when that happens.

We received our stimulus money and we let it sit in our checking account a couple of days and then moved it into savings. Right now we are doing OK money wise. I did order some whipped honey online this week and did a small Kohls order for underwear, but other than groceries and paying the regular bills, haven't been spending a lot. Other than these items, we haven't need anything. Just waiting and staying home, hoping this will soon pass.

We've seen things get a little better at the grocery stores the past couple of weeks. We shop at Aldi and Kroger. It's funny though, Kroger was totally out of flour and sugar last week. We didn't need any, just happened to go down that aisle to get something else and noticed the bare shelves. But Aldi had both. Kroger honestly had regular size packages of name brand tp too and Aldi had no tp. So, I guess it depends on the store and clientele as to what is available and what isn't. I was happy to be able to buy the loaves of bread we like. We haven't been able to for about 4 weeks.

Hope everyone is doing OK in the SA community. Hope you are all hanging in there!

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.

Panic Shopping

March 5th, 2020 at 08:25 pm

Wednesdays are normally our grocery shopping days. Mostly because I am retired and I don't have to shop on the weekends or evenings, and also because Wednesday is when the ads come out for the new sales. We usually go about mid morning before there is a huge crowd except during holidays and snow forecasts where people panic.

Well, I'm wondering if panic is the operative word as far as the Coronavirus. Yesterday our Aldi was really, really busy. It normally isn't when we go. Kroger wasn't as busy, but did have a few more than usual. I had my list of our regular stuff we buy every week at each store. I did need another item that made us go down and aisle at Kroger that I don't normally frequent. It wasn't for hand sanitizer or wipes, but it was the same aisle. And there, at Kroger, was an empty shelf and the labels indicated it was for hand sanitizer. A friend in a state over from us said she was at a Dollar store and the lady in front of her had cleaned out the shelves of cleaning supplies. Another friend who is visiting a friend out east said the stores were empty of cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

Yesterday the market was doing well and they said Campbell Soup was showing a gain because people were buying lots of soup and also canned goods.

I sort of wonder about folks. Do they like reacting to drama? I'm not discounting the seriousness of the flu or the Coronavirus, but seriously, do these people not have anything at home? I think most of us at SA buy when things are on sale and stock up. I know I do. Plus I did a lot of canning last summer and fall so I have things in reserve. I buy hand sanitizer when it is cheaper and usually keep one on hand simply because I'm like that. I'm certainly not going to run to the store and buy them out. Then Kroger put in their website that due to demand, only 5 cleaning items and cold and flu items per order. I wonder if that drove up demand at all.

Sometimes I think the fable about the grasshopper and the ant rings true yet again. Who wins? Probably the retailer.

Birthday Musings and Benefits

January 5th, 2020 at 07:58 pm

Today is my birthday. I"m 59. I'm sitting here thinking I had no idea what my life would turn out to be and how incredibly blessed I am.

DH is going to treat me to a supper tonight at a restaurant we rarely frequent. I'm looking forward to it. Yesterday we went shopping. Clothes shopping is not something I enjoy, but did find a few things that fit that I liked. That was my birthday.

I don't go into detail about our investments and such, but growing up, we didn't have much. My folks worked hard, but most of the jobs didn't pay squat. When I started out, I worked two or three jobs to make ends meet until I could resort to one. My dad constantly drilled into me, get an education and if someone offers to teach you something, learn it gladly. All these things paid off for me. I look at some of the people I went to high school with and they had better opportunities and many didn't take advantage of them. I don't want that to sound like a snob, because I don't mean for it to be that way. Just that some had parents who would have paid for them to go to college and they didn't, and now complain they don't make enough money or that life is unfair. Anyway, we are comfortable. I can basically buy whatever I want and as I grow older, there isn't really a whole lot I honestly want because I have so much now.

One of my friends gave me water color pencils and a book to journal and color in as I read the Psalms daily. Neither of these things I would have purchased for myself, but I'm sitting here thinking, what a thoughtful gift and I'm going to enjoy using these items.

Amber was talking about her credit cash back and I recently had $150 credit cash back on my credit card. I was waiting to get it up to a decent amount and then applied it to the bill. I'm getting ready to use some Ibotta credit at Kohls to buy some new sheets to replace some that have worn out. I was thinking about how old these sheets were and I know one set has to be at least 10 years old. I think we got our money's worth out of them. The other set I'm not sure and I've mended them a couple of times, but the stuff keeps ripping out. I'm using one of the sheets as a cover for DH's chair when he comes in all dirty and sweaty from working in the yard so he can sit and rest before going back out. There' something exciting about cashing in these items that are found money. Like CB I pay off our credit cards each month so we don't owe any interest. I prefer making money instead of giving it to credit card companies.

Having read LivingAlmostLarge's entry about Saving Advice folks being friends as we share our ups and downs, how exactly correct that is. I feel like I have shared many things with so many of you. What a blessing.

Well, I've probably written more than I should, so I think you'll find me coloring!