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Thank you, Bluebird!

December 3rd, 2017 at 01:13 pm

A big thanks to Bluebird for the generous gift to my church's knitting group! The ladies were amazed that someone that didn't know us was so kind and thoughtful!

This has been an interesting week.

On Thursday we took a bus trip to Arlington Heights Race Track (Chicagoland) for the Lambs Farm Craft Show. We weren't sure of what to expect since we have not been to the race track or the craft show before. Apparently Lambs Farm helps developmentally disabled folks and the craft show is a huge fund raiser. The track buildings were quite large and two floors housed the craft show. It was all inside. We were intrigued by the track and I looked it up online and apparently it is owned by Churchill Downs...you know, Kentucky Derby fame. The craft show was huge. We didn't buy much and we didn't plan to. We really wanted to go for the experience. I did find some crocheted things and I was shocked at the high prices...hats like the ones we make were around $12 to $15. I saw crocheted flower pins for $8. It was a fun day and I'm glad we went. I don't think I would do it again simply because I'm not much of a shopper.

I have had a ongoing frustrating experience at our Kroger. We used to buy a certain bread and they would usually not have it. So, we found a store brand that we liked as well. Except, they now have problems keeping it on the shelves. We have to find someone to go in the back and look for it. We usually shop on Thursdays, and the trucks come in early morning Thursdays. It would usually depend on the clerk on whether we would get the bread. Those that cared would bring some out; others we think just said they went back to look. Well, we wound shopping Friday of this week due to the bus trip. Friday right after lunch before it gets crazy busy. Well, we get there and no bread. And most of the bread section was riddled. We asked someone and he claimed there was no bread. I was fed up. We paid for our other groceries and came home. I did the krogerfeedback.com thing with the id number and complained that for a store that has a computer inventorying system, they shouldn't have a lack of bread right before a weekend and whomever is in charge of stocking the bread should check it more often so it isn't half empty of all the different breads. I heard from a manager and she called on Saturday morning and said she was sorry and they had the bread in the back (how interesting it appeared less than 24 hours later) and she hoped we would return. Well, we went back yesterday and the bread section was riddled again and the kind we wanted wasn't there. Of course there was no one near that section. We went to the diary section and the nice young man said he would find someone. Well, he must have had as much trouble finding someone because he came back out and asked exactly what we wanted and he came back out with the two loaves of bread. We thanked him, especially since it wasn't his grocery section. We go to the checkout and I commented to the cashier about how frustrating this has become. Apparently the manager was within ear shot...she gave us the bread free. Guess it pays to complain.

The other thing that happened this week actually started a couple of weeks ago. DH and I really like English murder mysteries and we have been enjoying Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Anyway, a few weeks ago I discovered Midsomer Murders has a Facebook page and I liked it. They held a contest to make a bingo card with things from the show. I made one and it was a real fun thing to do. I didn't expect to win, but thought it was something interesting to do. Well, a couple of days later I get a private message through Facebook and they said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me a tea towel and I should include my address in a reply. I did, but to be honest, since I live in the United States, I didn't really expect to receive a towel. Well, I received it a couple of days ago. That was a nice surprise! Here's a photo of the towel:

A Good Tired

November 19th, 2017 at 02:45 pm

This has been a whirlwind week and I'm tired, but it is a good tired.

It started last Sunday with a blessing of the hats that were knitted by our group at church. Then after church, a friend and I counted out hats to the two schools that would receive them. One had over 220 kids and the other over 440 kids. Plus, we needed to count out the gloves.

On Monday we made our first delivery. Our Pastor and some of the ladies went with us and we walked around to the rooms and showed them a sampling of the hats and showed them the knitting looms we made them on. After we left, the ladies and Pastor were shocked at the poverty so many of our children live in. They said they realized why I had suggested this project. We did the same on Thursday for the other school. Again, the folks were surprised at the poverty and how many kids had so little. I guess if you don't work in this environment, you don't always realize it is there. On Monday the local TV station came out and did a very short story and on Thursday the local paper did a story. Here are the urls if you wish to see these:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/stitches-of-love-delivers-a-load-of-hats-to-franklin/article_30e028e5-fd19-5af2-a10a-7a3ef2cf8ba0.html

http://www.wandtv.com/story/36834283/decatur-church-helps-keep-kids-warm

I know I've been blogging a lot about this project, but it has been near and dear to my heart. I just wish we could have done more. We are a small church and I feel at least we helped some children.

In other things, DH and I had two day trips this week. One was to St. Louis and the Italian neighborhood called "The Hill." Part of the bus trip included the lunch. We had a grand time exploring the Italian groceries and other shops and bakeries. Yesterday we had another bus trip to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. DH usually picks out some clothes he wants at the Penneys there. We no longer have a Penneys locally. So, we came home exhausted from that, but it was a great time.

Pastor stopped me at church today and said that because of the publicity on the hats, we have had phone calls to church and that people are wanting more information about joining out knitting group. So, that made me happy...maybe we can reach more kids!

I'm still tired from everything this week, but it is a good tired. It was all good this week, from the knitting, the delivering, and the eating and shopping.

Keeping Busy

October 7th, 2017 at 12:54 pm

It seems that DH and I keep pretty busy.

Today we attended an estate sale. Pretty ritzy place and pretty nice stuff. I scored a pair of leather insulated gloves for $2, 4 chair cushions for dining room chairs for $16, and an embroidered hand quilted quilt (queen size) for $30. I have a pair of gloves like these, but I often forget to move them to my dress up coat and wind up in my dress up coat with no gloves. The chair cushions were far nicer than the ones I normally buy and although I didn't need them, I thought they would be nice to have. As for the quilt, again, not a need, but it is lovely and I use the quilts I own.

A put a Facebook post asking if anyone had baby food jars with lids. I guess I never noticed that most baby food doesn't come in glass jars anymore. Well, someone contacted me and had 22 of them and I picked them up. I felt very fortunate to have gotten them. I spent a lot of time trying to get the sticky glue from the labels off. That stuff should be used to glue anything you never want to come apart. Sheesh. But, the jars and lids are clean. I'm going to put candy corn in them, glue a green ribbon along the rim of the lid and have kids glue black construction paper faces on them to look like miniature jack-o-lanterns.

Yesterday we hit the thrift stores and I found a lot of great yarn. There are certain types i like to use when making the hats for the school kids. One place had just put out a bunch of it in colors I thought the kids would like. We bought 9 skeins of yarn for around $18. All of it still had the labels on it, so felt that was a good deal.

I'm getting really tired of the mailing and phone calls from many of the places wanting donations. One is a university that calls about every day. I earned my master's degree from it. I received no financial aid, I paid the money out of our savings for the classes, and had to pay an athletic fee on top of it. I thought that was a rip off...I attended class either one evening a week or twice a week during the summer and drove 45 miles one way to attend...I wasn't planning on taking advantage of the athletics. Well, I guess I"m a cheapskate, but I'm not planning on giving them a donation. I've told them that on the phone before, yet they still keep calling. I have more address labels and calendars than I know what to do with from these organizations that send them. I don't give them money, so I don't know why they keep sending them. I usually save the calendars and give them to a primary teacher. She uses them as rewards for her kids who can recite the calendar months.

Aldi had apples on sale so I bought a bunch and made applesauce and apple juice to add to the pantry. A friend gave me some apple butter she made so I gave her a jar of tomato preserves.

DH's garden is still going strong. He brought in 4 huge bell peppers yesterday. I will be using some of them to make bell pepper soup. I make a large pot and then we eat some and I freeze the rest.

I'm attaching photos of some of the canning I've done so far and my husband with the peppers he brought in.

Hope the weekend is going well for everyone.






What a spendy day

October 3rd, 2017 at 02:53 pm

Today seemed to be a spendy day. Not huge, huge amounts, but here and there.

Our spigot on the house was leaking and has been for awhile. It has gotten pretty bad so DH said we needed to have it replaced. The bad news is it isn't cheap, but the good news is the plumber came out this morning and it is taken care of.

I had a hair cut scheduled for today so I went to that. Fortunately my gal is very reasonable ... under $20. When I looked at my calendar, I hadn't gotten my hair cut for months, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

The other spendy thing was I needed to get the oil changed on my car. I know it is a necessity and it helps keep the car in good working order. I take it to the dealership for a variety of reasons -- they keep my service records, are very helpful and friendly, and I feel safe there. They do a thorough check up on things and make sure the tire pressure is where it should be and unlike some places, they aren't always trying to sell me something. I haven't had the oil changed since May and I wasn't quite there on mileage, but decided I better get it done and not have to worry about it if the weather starts to get bad.

In non spending activities, I finished cleaning the house and wrote two letters and worked on publicity for our church's Christmas bazaar. Supper is going to be leftover pork roast. DH teases me we don't let many leftovers go uneaten and why should we if they aren't spoiled? That is like throwing money away!

Being Crafty

September 21st, 2017 at 02:08 pm

A friend emailed me that he was a little irritated at his wife. She is very talented when it comes to crafts and sewing, but she has the bad habit of going to the craft/sewing store and buying things because she thinks she's going to do the project. She said she was going this week and he asked why when she had so many things already in her sewing room.

I know the temptation. Every time I go, I want to buy this and that and this because it is fun thinking about doing them and then having a finished project. It doesn't help that this chain also sends out coupons about every day in email. Fortunately this store is across town, so that helps curb the temptation. DH probably wouldn't care, but I care. I don't want to buy a ton of stuff that just sits around. I recently bought two skeins of yarn and some buttons because I crocheted coffee cozies for a class to give our local police department. I sewed the buttons on the cozies. The school's mascot is a star and since police officers used to have a star, I figured this would go along. It was a nice little project and then I used the smaller star buttons and glued them to index cards for the kids to write messages to the officers.

I will admit I have bought some things at the thrift stores lately for some personal projects. I bought some crochet thread that came from France -- really nice stuff -- for 99 cents a skein. I saw a towel pattern on Pinterest I thought I could use. I recently purchased a piece of material for a dollar at another thrift store and used it to make a pillow case for a pillow I have had for a long time. The other case was pretty ratty. And I also have some other crochet thread I bought at rummage sales and thrift stores that I hope to use to crochet some ornaments.

Last summer I bought a pair of pillow cases that were to be embroidered and I worked on them and have them finished. I plan to give them as a Christmas gift. They were still in a sealed package. I was delighted to get them and it was fun working on them.

Our church group is continuing to knit the hats on the looms. So far we have 680 hats made. Our intention is to adopt a couple of schools and give them the hats as well as tissue, wet wipes, and pencils. Fortunately people have donated a lot of yarn so I have used a lot of that besides buying some to fill in. I try not to bring home more yarn, either the donated stuff, or the stuff I buy, than I think I'll use. I did run out of yarn a couple of weeks ago. I use the yarn to work on the hats and then if there is some left I use the remainder to make dish cloths. I'm trying to adhere to the "Use it up" slogan.

As much as I enjoy crafts, I think they can be a hit on the budget if one would let them. I have tried to pick stuff up at rummage sales and thrift stores as much as possible. I did buy the knitting loom, but I think I've made more than a 100 hats on it since I bought it over a year ago. I had the crochet hooks so that wasn't an added expense.

My mom used to crochet and I remember she always had a ton of yarn around the house. Then, in her 60s, she decided she didn't want to crochet, and instead taught herself to quilt. No small feat by any means, but she was very talented when it came to sewing and crafting. I didn't want the yarn so we wound up donating it to the school where i worked. When she died, she had so much material that it was just a shame that she never got to finish all the quilts she had some day hoped to make.

I would prefer to use up everything. I don't know if that is possible, but that is my goal. I don't want a bunch of stuff sitting around. So, my goal is to limit myself to only having the stuff I will actually work on and finish. It sort of saves money because then I'm not as tempted to go out and buy a lot of other things.

Anyway, here is a photo of a completed cozy on a coffee cup. Sorry it is so dark, but I never can get the light to be just right.


Change

June 18th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Every year we take our change into the credit union. We are fortunate that they have a change counter, but you have to have an account there for them to use it. This year we had $162.49 in change. DH uses cash for just about everything so he has far more change than I do. I use some cash, but often I'm paying for things like groceries or stuff at the home improvement store so I use the credit card. If I find change I put it in our trusty pickle jar. I was cleaning the other day and moved a chest and found a penny so you know where it wound up. We would have had more change, except we used quite a bit of quarters in January when we went to Tybee Island - Savannah. You pay for parking everywhere and according to the locals, the meters are strictly enforced. We also did laundry there since we were there almost two weeks. We put the money in our Christmas Club Account from our change jar. This gave us over $900 in our Christmas Club account.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm happy to report I've bought two gifts this week. Yay, me! LOL I have also made a few gifts so far. Plus I bought a gift in January too when we were on Tybee Island.

The knitting group I belong to at church has over 300 hats made so far. Most of us are making hats outside of the 4 hours a month we meet. Our intention is to give them to classrooms in high poverty schools in our area.

I used to enjoy doing crafts like crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, etc. Then for awhile between work and my hands going numb, I gave it all up, even after having surgery on each hand. I started crocheting again a couple of summers ago -- I made star ornaments out of crochet thread for every staff member at my school for Christmas. Our mascot was the Super Stars so I thought it was appropriate. I discovered if I didn't overdo, my hands didn't hurt. So, I again have found the pleasure in crocheting and now knitting on the round loom. My goal for this Christmas is to crochet a small ornament to put in our Christmas cards. I do one or two here and there, but I have a ways to go. We send out a lot of cards. I thought it would be something nice anyway and keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Smile

I found a brand new package of pillowcases at our church's rummage sale. These are the kind you embroider upon. I'm looking forward to working on these. I know they aren't popular, but for $3 and my work, they will do. Some of those sites on the Internet talk about how out of style Baby Boomers are. Guess I fit that bill. Who needs to be in style anyway?

Not much to report

June 2nd, 2017 at 12:51 pm

It's a warm Friday down here in Central Illinois.

My church was having its annual rummage sale. We dropped by and found a few things. I bought an unopened box of stationery. I write to three shut ins and I try to find nice cards and papers. My husband says that I'm probably one of the few people who still write letters. I also found packages of sheer curtains that had never been opened. I have been looking for some for a window, but didn't want to pay big bucks for them. I spent $6 for both of them and they were new in the package.

We do a weekly tun through the thrift shops and I found a summer dress and jacket for $5. My husband reads to classes during the year and he found a kid's book for 45 cents that he wanted for his library.

I finished book #49 last night. I have been keeping track of all the books I read. I belong to a Facebook book club which we just tell the title and author and if we liked the book or not. The goal is to read 17 books since the year ends in 17. That is one of the joys of being retired...I can read far more.

Yesterday we received a bunch of calls from an unknown number. My curiosity got the better of me and I answered it today. I was greeted with "grandma" and the guy started in on his sob story. I could tell he was calling from a call center because when I answered, I could hear all the other callers in the background. He went on to say he didn't sound like himself because he has a broken nose. I asked him how he broke it and he told me he was in an auto accident and that some lady ran into him. I asked him where he was and he said Fort Wayne and that he was going to his friend's, Mark Fisher's brother's funeral. The brother had leukemia. I asked him why he left town with his ankle bracelet because he wasn't supposed to. I think I stymied him for a couple of seconds and he said he knew, and he was sorry. I asked him if he had told his dad and he said no and I asked him why not and he hung up on me. Some rude "grandson." I make light of this because I don't have grandchildren and I knew it was a scam going in. I think he realized I was messing with him. Hopefully they will quit calling. I'm tired of all the calls we get and there are so many. I bet we answer the phone maybe once every couple of days or so because most of the calls are basically scammers or people wanting to sell us something. Personally, I think it is darn rude of them to even think to waste my time. Although I do think the ones calling from Microsoft and are pretty bad. The second to last one he was telling me my computer was sending him messages and it needed to be fixed. I asked him which computer and he said what did I mean and I said which one, we have more than one and I need to know the ID from it so I can use the right one. He asked to speak to my husband which is even funnier. My husband doesn't touch the computer. What scares me is he knew my husband's name. I told him that my husband hates computers so it would be a bigger waste of his time and he hung up. The last call I just said we don't have a computer and hung up. I'm sure they will call again.

Hard to believe it is May

May 10th, 2017 at 01:14 pm

Here it is May 10th. Can't believe it is almost a year since I retired. I've enjoyed it and I love the life I have. I have been so blessed to be able to retire and not have to do without things.

DH and I were talking. I guess we have become used to a somewhat frugal lifestyle so we don't have huge things on our want list. Well, we would like to get a new driveway and we are saving for it. A couple of summers ago when we met with our financial guy, he wanted to see our budget. I have all these different accounts...money market, savings which is our home improvement account, vacation, Christmas club, and then regular checking. I thought sure hew as going to tell me these accounts were ridiculous, but he asked me about them and we told him that we save up for stuff. For example, the savings account is for home improvements. We put in a set amount every month and have a goal in mind. Back then we were working on a new roof because we knew we would need one. Last May we had that new roof put on and paid for it with cash. He said that was wonderful because so many of his people want to take money out of their investments to buy a new car or do home improvements.

The saga has continued with the neighbor and the kickball. It came to a head last week when I saw the kids playing, so I opened the front door and stood behind the storm door and watched. He saw me, kept looking up to see if I was still there, and when he thought I wasn't watching, kicked the ball right into our yard. I went out and told the kids that this kid's dad needed to come over and get the ball. The dad refused. DH and I walked it over there (dad was working the garage) and explained that this is not the first time the kick ball has wound up in our yard and many times it has been in the flowers and the vegetable garden and we don't want kids tramping down the plants. It isn't like the ball can roll into our yard. We sit on a bit of a hill so it has to be an upward kick aimed at our yard. The dad didn't say too much except they were done playing today. I just said my husband works way too hard in the yard and garden for it to be torn up. The little boy never apologized or anything. I finally commented that I knew he was watching me in the doorway and it just makes me wonder what happens when we aren't home. I suspect I know because there have been plants broken off and one of our solar lights has been crushed. Anyway, for a week no kickball and then this week the kids gathered to play basketball. That's how it starts. Then they get tired of basketball and start kickball. So, I had a little yarn project so I sat out on the front step for an hour and a half working on my project. No kickball that night! I'm sure this kid thinks I'm the meanest thing on two feet, but I feel I have to be the adult here since the parents apparently don't want to be the bad guys.

We have started purchasing the materials to update the master bathroom. Let me tell you, master bathroom is certainly misnomer because it is tiny...the only thing master about it is it is right off the master bedroom. We ordered a new vanity and medicine cabinet and had them custom made by the Amish. They are beautiful. I need to order a new light. We bought a new countertop and faucet and I've decided that I'd like new towel racks and shower curtain rod. I realized the last time we updated this bathroom other than the floor was over 17 years ago. Fortunately the shower surround and stool are OK. We did update the floor a couple of years ago with a piece of leftover vinyl from another project. I'm kind of excited about having some new stuff. I realized my toothbrush holder is over 18 years old. There's nothing wrong with it, but I'm kind of tired of the color. I paid $1 for it. I think we got our money's worth as far as it goes. The current vanity and medicine cabinet are still OK as is the countertop and faucet so we plan to donate them to one of the thrift stores. We did that with the other ones from the hall bathroom and they sold within a couple of days. They aren't the highest quality, but they look decent. We try to take care of things.

Health wise I have struggled with allergies and asthma the past few weeks. I think the mold and tree pollen are high and with not having a super hard freezing winter, I think a lot of stuff didn't die off.

Sunday Musings

March 12th, 2017 at 11:14 am

Sunday afternoon here in the Midwest. We didn't get the snow they predicted yesterday. It wasn't going to be much, but still glad it missed us. Overall, we haven't had too bad of a winter so far, but we do need some precip. I would just prefer it wasn't snow or ice. Picky, aren't I? There's a chance of snow tomorrow. Fortunately if there is snow, we don't have to go anywhere.

We went to a small town near here (Arthur) for the Home and Garden Show yesterday. Other than the money for gas, we didn't spend anything at the show. We go most years because we like to look at the booths because many of them are Amish businesses. Some of the handiwork is nothing short of amazing. We did stop by the Amish bulk grocery and buy a few things. They were planned. We stopped at a thrift store too, but didn't buy anything.

After church and brunch here at home, I usually pay bills, and update our church's Facebook page and then head over here. It seems like I'm visiting old friends as we keep up with each other.

Not much to report new really. Last night I fixed a pork roast and we will have pulled pork sandwiches from the leftovers for a lunch or two. I also made chicken noodle soup for tonight's supper. I bought some whole chickens on sale about a month ago and fixed one that week and put one in the freezer. It made it's appearance this week for a couple of meals and I used the leftover chicken and broth for the soup we will have tonight and probably for lunch one day this week. I did our weekly grocery shopping on Thursday (one big advantage of being retired) and I planned meals for this week before going. I just can't imagine not planning meals to some degree.

I don't miss packing lunches for work. I would often take leftovers, but I still don't miss that. I have a friend who is always complaining she has no money, but often puts on Facebook where she had lunch. Granted, she hits fast food, but even that can rack up quite a bit if you eat out every day. If she has to work overtime, she moans and groans on Facebook how hungry she is. I really want to tell her to grow up. She knows she has to work overtime on these occasions so why not pack something to heat up or eat later? Guess I'm kind of snarky. I have suggested she read stuff on this site when she has complained about being broke and she informed me she knows how to save money. She might know, but unfortunately she doesn't use that knowledge if her posts about being broke are true. That is the key, isn't it? Use what you know.

The newspaper came out to do a story on the knitting group at church. It is supposed to run sometime this week I think. We are making hats to donate to the public schools next fall. I counted the hats we have made so far on Thursday and we had 70 made. That's pretty good for just a few ladies working together. One lady joked if we keep up this pace, we might be able to adopt a whole school. Wouldn't that be something?

Hope you all have a great week!