I keep meaning to blog, but not sure I had anything of great interest to write about, so it will just be a few items to catch up.
My knitting group at church has a total of 861 hats so far for this year. We are way ahead of our total from this time last year and the year before. We also have 31 baby hats and 12 scarves. Not very many scarves so I'm going to work on making scarves instead of hats, but they take longer so I guess that is why people prefer to make hats.
I'm using the leftover yarn to crochet dish cloths. My goal is to make over 200 and donate them to a local food pantry to put them in the Christmas baskets. I made 100 last year and most of them right before, so I'd like to double that and make them as I can and also use up the yarn. I try to make them with nice colors so they don't look like leftovers.
My personal goal is to also make things for anyone who has a baby at my church. So far I've cross stitched some baby bibs and I have crocheted a bib and crocheted a baby blanket. I feel that although this isn't a huge thing, I would hope that the parents realize that people in the church do care.
DH planted his tomatoes, bell peppers, and herbs last week. We had one day of sunshine since then and rain almost every day. Hopefully the plants won't drown before they get a good start.
We took a day bus trip to two small towns here in Illinois. One is Moonshine that boasts a population of 2. Apparently this couple bought this small general store a number of years ago and started making Moonshine burgers and it has become a tourist destination. After sampling their burger, I can see why the locals come to get one -- nice thick burger made with quality beef and cooked perfectly. It was a delight. We then visited Casey which is a small town that is famous for its oversized items like a mailbox, pencil, knitting needles, crochet hook, rocking chair, and golf tee. It made for a good day trip and we toured things we have not seen before.
It's damp and dreary so I'm looking forward to our soup for supper tonight. Since I was going to chop vegetables for stir fry last night, I decided to chop a few others and made Italian wedding soup. I like to fix soup the day before and then put it in the fridge and heat it the next day. For some reason it seems to taste a little better the second day. It will be at least two meals and I used some of the tomatoes and chicken broth I canned last fall.
Viewing the 'Travel' Category
I keep meaning to blog, but not sure I had anything of great interest to write about, so it will just be a few items to catch up.
We have stayed busy.
On Saturday we took a bus trip to a city about two hours away to go through thrift stores. We visited 7 shops. Four were actual thrift stores and 3 were consignment shops/antique malls. But it was a fun day. The trip also included a box lunch and it was really good. There was a choice of turkey and cheese, chicken salad, or ham and cheese on a croissant, and then pasta salad, a bag of chips, fruit salad, brownie, and a small peppermint. The lady who runs the travel agency also provides water for us as well throughout the trip.
DH and I did find a few things, but we were not the big spenders on the trip. I think we spent less than $20 total on our purchases, but it was fun to look around. We were on a different bus than what the travel agency normally uses. Sadly, the bus company she had been utilizing suddenly shuttered after 75 years. Two years ago the owner sold the company and the investment group that bought it ran it into bankruptcy. I just hope this doesn't make this travel agency owner also have financial problems because she had paid for many of the trips in advance.
The funny thing about the trip was the fact we were on a bus, but these folks shopped. At the end of the day, there was a church pew, a rocking chair, a couch (yes, a big couch), an end table, a floor lamp, and a child's ride on motorcycle toy under the bus besides all the boxes and bags. At the last stop, the antique mall folks said they would stay open past their closing time and they had bags of popcorn, cookies, and water for us. Pretty nice gesture, for sure!
Yesterday we had church and after we came home and had brunch, DH watered his garden and then picked tomatoes. Finally we are starting to get more tomatoes. He also picked bell peppers. I used a bunch of the tomatoes and peppers to make a spaghetti sauce. I canned that today and realized 2 quarts and a pint of it.
Our knitting group met last week and we are up to 895 hats. Our goal if 1000 seems attainable. We have had some problems though with people bringing donations of yarn. I am trying to think positive, and hope they are just being nice, but three of the last four donations of yarn were really nasty. One smelled of mildew and the yarn was filthy. Another smelled of smoke. The last one just smelled and the white yarn had yellowed. You would hope people would realize no one would want to work with the yarn in this condition and hopefully they didn't use this as a means to dispose of it. I would hope not. But, yuck.
It's really hot and humid here in Central Illinois. Many of our schools had early dismissal today and plan to do the same tomorrow. I no longer work in those schools, but I'm glad for the students and the staff because I remember how miserable it was working in those conditions.
A couple of months ago, DH and I saw a flyer from a local travel company for a short trip to Branson, Missouri. It seemed like a good deal with six shows and some the meals being picked up as well as the hotel and the bus. We had the money saved in our vacation fund. We view bus trips like this -- it is like a buffet -- it may not exactly be what we want, but we do get to meet different people and try different things.
It turned out to be a pretty neat trip overall. We received the schedule a few days before and other than lunch on Monday and lunch on Thursday when we returned, all the other meals were either picked up or it was a free hot breakfast at the hotel. On our way, we stopped at a Sirloin Stockade for lunch. She had called ahead and they offered a deal -- $10 for the lunch buffet which included the buffet, drink, tax, and tip. The menu said the buffet alone before tax was $8.99 so we felt that was a pretty good deal. We have never eaten at one, but felt it had some nutritious and tasty items. On the way home we stopped at an area that had a McDonalds and Arby's side by side and we went to Arby's for two reasons -- we like their food better and they give a senior discount.
We actually saw 7 shows. The show Monday night was a talented couple playing at the restaurant. The other shows were diverse -- one was singing and dancing in lovely costumes with music by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and another was a Creedence Clearwater Revival group. We left the hotel at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and didn't return until after 10 p.m. Busy days, but fun ones.
We owe no money. We did shop a bit. DH bought a belt at a leather shop to replace one he has that is worn out. I bought a couple of gifts for people. One was a jar of jam -- what do you get a 94 year old besides food? I also bought post cards to send to the ladies I write each week and wrote those out and mailed them. But, the trip was paid for with savings and we took some spending money with us, so we didn't charge anything. Other than the two before mentioned meals, we wouldn't have had to spend anything.
I will say, and I know that part of the price was for tourists, but as expensive as jam is, those jars I have been making and canning are worth far more than I ever thought! Yikes!
We had a nice time, it was a great get away and what even added to the enjoyment was it was the first week of school here -- I always wanted to travel when we were in school so that was an added benefit. That was the reason we went to Tybee Island in January last year -- we went because it wasn't as busy and we couldn't when I taught. Same thing with the Branson trip -- there were plenty of things to do and see, but it wasn't so overly crowded that it was a hassle.
A big thank you to those who commented on my last post about losing a friend to suicide. I read somewhere that it takes three days for a person to adjust to a change and I think that is really true. There are still questions and I doubt if there will be answers. My heart goes out to the family and friends. We are going to attend the visitation and it should be a lengthy wait since he was a popular guy and his wife has many friends as well.
A friend suggested we do something different yesterday to have a mini getaway so they drove us to St. Louis. We had lunch at an Irish Pub. We've never been there and it was quite good. We went to a place called "The Hill" which is a neighborhood with Italian restaurants and stores. We shopped at an Italian grocery and viewed more types of pasta than I have ever seen in one place. We walked around to some of the other stores and bakeries and then stopped and had some gelato. We then went to another part of St. Louis where Concordia Seminary is located. I am Lutheran and in the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod, men who are called to the ministry must attend a synodical seminary to earn their master's of divinity in order to receive a call from a congregation. We walked around the lovely campus and went into the chapel. It was a relaxing day spent with good friends. We did spend some money - we paid for our lunch and bought a couple of things at the grocery as well as purchasing the gelato, but I don't think we spent more than $50 in total. We offered our friends money for gas since they drove, but they turned us down saying that they planned on going anyway.
It looks like another hot week. I turn the thermostat up when we leave the house so the a/c doesn't work as hard and we use ceiling fans to help as well when we are home. DH mowed the front yard and did get pretty overheated. Because we haven't received much rain lately, he hadn't mowed in a few weeks because the grass was dormant. We received about half an inch over two days so the grass grew a little and became rangy.
DH picked his first bell pepper and ripe tomato on Thursday. Both were delicious. We had another ripe tomato with our brunch today and there is one for supper tonight. We will have more than one at meals when they start coming on, but they are like a treasure when they first come on. Homegrown certainly taste different than store bought.
DH has had problems with a baby bunny wanting to live in his garden and eat his carrots. He chases it out and uses something called liquid fence. It is a product that has garlic and rotten eggs that is pretty stinky. But the rain the other day washed it off and Baby Bunny decided to visit. I had to chuckle over DH's comment as he chased it -- he said that if he ever caught the little twerp he would kick it over the house. I rather doubt if he could catch it and knowing what a softy DH really is, he wouldn't kick it anyway. But the entertainment is pretty good!
I haven't been around for over two weeks. No, I wasn't boycotting SA. I was either getting things ready or away on vacation. Yep, you read that correctly...two weeks of vacation. Never in my life have I been on vacation that long. It as something we had planned and saved for. In fact, we've been planning this for a few years. A goal we had once I retired was to rent a condo in Savannah, Georgia, and spend some time there. A friend suggested we rent one on Tybee Island so we did.
It was an enjoyable time, but I can say from my perspective, two weeks is too long. I missed my home. I missed my routines (does that mean I'm getting old and crotchety?).
We planned to eat out some, but we ate the bulk of our meals at the condo. I took many non perishables and we bought some fresh stuff while there. There is an IGA on the island and we made friends with the butcher. I asked him to tenderize some meat and he told me it would be a little bit because he had to clean the machine...fine with us. But get this, we were going to come back to the meat case but we didn't have to. He found us and delivered the meat to us! I felt like Tybee was a small town. We had lunch at a place and the owner was friendly and learned our names and was happy to give us directions and advice. Although I took some things with us, it isn't the same as having things in my pantry and freezer, so I had to plan carefully what I would fix because I didn't want to buy unnecessary things.
Our condo had a beach view. It was fun looking at the freighters and fishing boats as well as other boats. One afternoon and night it was really foggy over the ocean so there was a ship that had a continual fog horn. Living in land locked central Illinois, this was truly a new experience.
We found Sandra Bullock's house on the island. We viewed it from afar, but DH is a big Sandra Bullock fan so that was pretty exciting, even if she wasn't there. We did eat at a restaurant there she supposedly likes called the Breakfast Club. It is a small building and not real fancy inside or out, but the breakfast was marvelous. We were fortunate because we didn't have to wait for a table...I guess there are often lines outside waiting to get in.
We went into Savannah a few times. Let me tell you, if you go to Savannah and Tybee, be sure and have a pocketful of quarters. You pay for parking everywhere from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We mostly went to eat some place. We really like Leopold's Ice Cream Shop. We've been to Savannah three times before this, so this is a must do place on our agenda. It was as good as ever. While we were there and parked, we walked around to some of the different shops. I did buy some tea from a locally owned shop and some spices from another that sells only things grown/manufactured in Georgia, I am not a big shopper so I don't think we increased their economy much. We walked to some of the shops on the main highway in Tybee and I got a bigger kick out to finding some pinecones on the way. Georgia pine trees are much taller than those here in the Midwest and the pinecones are huge. We also collected sea shells on the beach which we will give to the 5 classes DH and I volunteer in as souvenirs. Here are photos of DH and then me on the beach. I hate having my photo taken, but I figured I'm not getting any younger and I'm not going to ever be beautiful, so why not?
We had saved money to pay for everything. I still owe the credit card for two hotel room stays, one on the way there and one on the way back, but I have the cash put in the checking account to pay that. So, we walk away from our vacation not having a big bill over our head.
I think the best thing was getting home. It was an adventure -- we have never rented a condo before and we haven't been beach folks either, so it was something different and sometimes challenging. The condo was small -- we knew that and it isn't a criticism. We couldn't see paying more for the condo than we would for a hotel room. But, after being in a place so small, our house which isn't huge seemed very roomy! I'm glad to be home and I'm glad to be back on SA.