Friday, April 29, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 17...

1.  FINALLY got around to cutting down the 4" foam cushions for the window seat (after decreasing bench width by adding shelves on either side).  I've put it off for a month dreading messing it up.  I'd always heard to use an electric carving knife, but not having one, I opted to use an inexpensive serrated knife from the knife drawer (not my good bread knife) rather than spend $ on a one-time use item.  Since I only had straight, easy cuts, it worked perfectly well to suit me.  Now if I did this sort of alteration a lot, I would go for the precision of the electric, but I don't see any more chores like this on my horizon, so I'm happy saving the $15.99.

2.  Car sharing again til hail damage to son's car repaired.  Not having car at work means I'm packing a lunch.

3.  There was no giving in to fabric temptation this week.  

4.  I drank more water,  made my iced coffee at home, and made fewer trips to Sonic.

5.  Put off haircut for yet another week.

Keep Tryings:
I did pretty well this week all around.  I did make some online purchases that weren't strictly necessities, but they were either needed, waited for, and purchased on clearance, or needed and gifts.  Not really impulse purchases, so not really 'Keep Tryings' at all.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  pizza
Sunday:  leftovers
Monday:  fried rice
Tuesday:  Oven Barbecued Chicken/Twice-baked Potatoes
Wednesday:  Taco salad
Thursday:  King Ranch Casserole
Friday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The accidental comedian...

image credit: Bing clipart

Well, it's scorpion season.  I have killed a couple of them in the house in the past few days.

This morning I decided the dust and detritus on the bathroom floor had reached critical mess mass and had to be dealt with.  I retrieved the broom from the laundry room, and when I started to sweep the floor, a scorpion magically appeared.  I yelped and exclaimed that there was a scorpion hiding in the broom.

The hubs innocently replies that it probably thought I'd never find it in there.

If I had said that, it would have been dripping with sarcasm at how infrequently the broom gets used .  I admit it; I'm a smart @$$.  The hubs, however, imparts his words with no ulterior intent.  

Sometimes that man cracks me up...even if he doesn't mean to...especially if he doesn't mean to.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Told from the assistant's point of view, this is about a reclusive author whose first and only book catapulted her to the stratosphere of the literary world.  Decades later, swindled out of all of her money and on the verge of losing her home, she agrees to write a second book on the condition that she is given a large advance and a trustworthy assistant to help with administrative and domestic duties, and in caring for the author's eccentric nine-year-old son, Frank.

This is new at our library, and I lucked out and got very close to the front of the reserve line.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What a day...

image credit: Bing clipart images

Make up a story about the picture above.  Go ahead.  The wilder the better.  It may have elements similar to my day, but it will not top it, I promise.

All weekend I was dreading going to work today.  And yet, as it turned out, it was full of camaraderie, and memory making moments, and I am so glad that I was there today.
ps:  Sorry to leave you hanging, but I can't elaborate further.  It was one for the books, though.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 16...

1.  Browned and seasoned five pounds of ground beef.  Cooled, vacuum sealed, and put in freezer for future meal starters.  Action today for a frugal tomorrow.  On a busy day I'll be ahead of the game and won't be tempted to resort to takeout. 

2.  We have been using cloth napkins for over twenty years.  They last pretty much forever, and I use very few paper towels and no paper napkins.  Ours are purely utilitarian, and get tossed in with a load of towels, and never ironed.  

3.  I bought a printer this week.  Before doing so, I read tons of specifications, reviews, and consumer questions and answers, and I chose a model that I thought I would be happy with.  I went to Office Max to look at them, and the store employee said it was fine, but he pointed out the positive attributes of another model that was about the same price.  He went to answer a call, and I Googled the model he was espousing...terrible reviews, and way too many stories of printhead problems.  I decided to trust my research, picked up the one I had originally set out to purchase, and hightailed it outta there.

4.  I took my lunch to work.  Car sharing right now means I have to get dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon, so not a lot of choice if I want to eat.

5.  All bills paid on time avoiding late fees, and put a big chunk toward a debt I'm trying to pay off.

Keep Tryings:  
too many meals out

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *local Mexican restaurant
Sunday:  *anniversary dinner out
Monday:  Virginia's Taco Soup
Tuesday:  *takeout sandwiches
Wednesday:  roast/potatoes/carrots
Thursday:  *Grilled Salmon Salad
Friday:  Spanish rice

(*not frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

Yes, it has been three weeks, and I am still (not) reading this.  If it was an ink-on-paper book, I would flip to the last chapter and read that and be done.  Oh, wait.

Turns out I can skip to the last chapter of an ebook too.  Done.  It was awful like the first third of the book.  Shallow characters, cheesy dialog, lots of flashbacks...pretty much everything I hate...major waste of time.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Making it Monday...

Virginia's Taco Soup

Today was one of those days where seemingly for every one step forward, I took two steps back.  I got plenty done (bills paid, laundry done, new printer installed, vacuum sealed some foodstuffs for freezer, made my weekly goals list), but also had a few 'duh' moments like running into a chair (that's gonna leave a mark).  

Luckily this soup is unbelievably easy, so no mishaps here, and it's home cooked (sort of) and budget friendly.  I make it when I don't want to work hard, but I want Carey to think I worked at least a little bit hard.  :)  Seriously the easiest and quickest dish in my repertoire.  I posted the recipe at What's Cookin' 4 Miles North of Nowhere.

I have to work for the rest of the week, and we're still car sharing (again).  This isn't as easy as last time, since I'll be working in a neighboring town for three of the days and only one day locally.  I think I've got all the commute arrangements taken care of.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Take two...

Another weekend, another girlie.  Caitlyn's spending the night with us tonight.  Neither of us was really up for photos, but the weather is supposed to be turning rainy, and the bluebonnets are already past their prime, so it was now or never for the year.  We went to the same spot where I took Chloe's photo last weekend.  You can tell the growth of other wildflowers and grasses are overtaking the bluebonnets.  I like this rather pensive shot of Caitlyn with the delicate grasses at her feet.

We went out for dinner, and now she is playing driveway tennis with her uncle.  Not sure what the rest of the visit will entail.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 15

1.  Still have not had to turn on the a/c.  Windows open = savings!

2.  Dishwasher on the fritz for a week.  Carey got home late last night from working out of town.  Started work on it first thing this morning.  Now working beautifully.  Handy hubby = no repair bill!

3.  Bought a large package of pork chops when I went to Costco last weekend intending to cook some for one meal and freeze some for another.  I kept forgetting to package half for the freezer, so I went ahead and cooked them in a different recipe from the first batch.  Two dinners of pork chops in one week is a bit much, but at least there was no food waste, and Carey was able to make meals of the leftovers to freeze and take for work meals as well.

4.  Checked out second half of Outlander's first season from the library.  I hadn't had time to watch any of it, so I had a marathon viewing and was able to turn it in on time.  Incurred no late fees and no guilt about keeping it from next person on the 'reserved' list.

5.  Still no haircut or printer purchase.

Keep Tryings:
1.  Had to cancel a day of work.

2.  I have not done one thing toward reducing the stuff in the rented storage bldg.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftover pizza
Sunday:  family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  leftover meatloaf/baked potato/corn
Tuesday:  pork chops / twice-baked potato / green beans
Wednesday:  cereal
Thursday:  smothered pork chops
Friday:  Chili mac bake

(*not frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

When it rains, it hails...

So Jared received his car back from the mechanic on Monday.  Last night, Tuesday, a new issue came up.

You may remember that we had a little hail a couple of weeks ago.  Last night larger hail bombarded the area of the city he works in.  

He had just finished his shift at work.  It was only drizzling when he walked out to his car, but he wasn't even out of the parking lot before the heavens opened up.


The hailstone that went through his back window was still lying frozen on the backseat when he finally made it home.  The interstate highway had portions so deep in water that he worried about his car stalling.  Visibility was so poor that traffic was only able to move at a crawl, and even so, he missed seeing his exit and was miles past before he realized it...this on a familiar route driven daily.  

This is actually fairly light damage compared to the photographs of area damage shown on the news.  A grocery store in the city had dozens of skylights broken out, and the rain then poured through them, flooding the store and ruining the stock.  Homes had windows broken out and siding with holes punched completely through.  Hailstones were reported from golf ball sized, to tennis ball, baseball, and even grapefruit sized.

Body shops are now booked through the end of August (!), and car window supplies are on backorder everywhere.  Not a rental car to be found in our community or anywhere in the big city, so we are back to sharing.  

I'm just very thankful he made it home safely, and that we didn't have hail out in our area.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The obligatory bluebonnet photo...

The bluebonnets have been out since before the middle of March.  I thought they would be gone by now, but I guess since our temperatures haven't been too hot, and we've gotten a little rain now and then, they still look pretty.

It is practically mandatory that you get a photo or two of them each year, especially if you have little ones to plonk out in the middle of them.  You routinely see families along the roadsides...some spontaneous, and others all decked out for a portrait sitting.  The other day I even saw someone unloading props from their trunk...a rusty old tricycle and a Radio Flyer...and their kids were running around in pink cowboy hats.  The hats, I thought, were a bit over the top.  :)

I haven't taken any bluebonnet photos in quite awhile, and I wasn't sure I could rope anyone into posing for me this year, but every time I drive past this fence I think what a perfect spot it would be...and easy since it's right down the street.  It was really nagging at me.  Chloe spent the night last night, and this morning I asked her if she wanted to stop and take a picture.  She was having the odd accommodating moment, and even let me do her hair in baby swings.  Such a happy child, except when she's not.  :)

I feel better now not having let the bluebonnets, or my day with the munchkin, slip away undocumented.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 14...

1.  Began the week by revamping the menu to designate easier, less time-intensive meals on the nights I had to work.  I usually just make a menu by listing meals, but not assigning them to specific days, instead leaving that up to what we are in the mood for on a given day.  But thinking about effort expenditure ahead of time helped me not resort impulsively to takeout when I was tired.

2.  With one car in need of repair, we've been able to get by sharing a car this week.  Internet searching helped diagnose the problem, parts needed, and method of repair.  Carey and Jared couldn't do the work in the time frame required, so the parts and the car have been taken to the shop to have our mechanic put them on.  Fingers crossed that he can get it back home by Monday and within budget.

3.  Scheduled another day of work for this month and two weeks in August.

4.  No hair cut time, but still the $ stayed in my pocket.  Ditto for printer, though I have been researching online.

5.  Lunch hour yesterday: Came home, put supper in slow cooker, ate a peanut butter sandwich, left car with the car-less, got chauffeured back to work.  That felt very frugal.

Keep Tryings:
     Books!  Aaaack!

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Easy Thai Shrimp Soup
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Mexican Casserole and salad
Tuesday:  meatloaf, twice-baked potatoes, corn
Wednesday:  spaghetti, garlic bread
Thursday:  beef tips in gravy with rice
Friday:  *pizza

(*not frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  This is the fourth day I've worked this month...only ten more to go.  So many days scheduled at the same branches means they may notice my wardrobe repeats.  Normally I don't work more than a day or two a month at the same branch since leaving full-time work, so I scaled back my work wardrobe dramatically.  Ah, well, I'll switch up the accessories and call it good.

2.  "If a 'g' comes at the end of a word, the pronunciation is a hard 'g':  bug, frog, jug, mug, pig, wig, zigzag."  I really, really hate it when people type 'frig' as an abbreviation for refrigerator, when it should be 'fridge.'  A former co-worker used to use it all the time.  One day I wrote in the margin, "Did you know this means f*ck?"  I see it all the time in Blogland when clicking over to check out recipes or projects I see on Pinterest.  I never, ever correct anyone on their blog, but I figure I can vent on my own.  I don't think I've ever seen it on any of my favorite blogs, so I'm not trying to call anyone out here, and I truly hope I'm not offending anyone.

3.  Monday as I was running errands on my way to quilt at the library, I noticed a clicking noise.  I got out to check my tires and found this.  :(  
The tire was still inflated, and I was very near the library, so I headed straight there.  I texted Carey the photo, and he texted back that he would come and change it for me.  So happy he was home to do it. I used to actually like changing tires, but the spare on my SUV is really hard to get to, and I'm not sure my knees are up to it these days.  I happily quilted while my man came and took care of it.  

4.  Costco trip required this weekend.  Prescription refills.  Pecans.  Dishwasher tabs.  New printer?  

5.  We are down a car this week (unrelated to tire problem above).  Sharing hasn't been too I've been working in town this week.  If repairs aren't finished by Monday I may have to rent a car.

6.  I have made no progress on cleaning out the storage shed.  I just realized that maybe knowing that is what I really should be doing, I instead booked up my month full of work days.   The heat will be on us before we know it, and then...I know me...I will put it off till fall. 

7.  I was so happy to see 5 o'clock yesterday.  I really must get more sleep.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What I'm (not) reading (yet) Wednesday...

I still haven't finished last week's book.  It's okay, but not really grabbing me.

I seem to have been on a bit of a book-buying binge this past week.  Yes, all of the ones below have been bought since the first of the month!  

I bought three Kate Kerrigan books over the past week, so maybe one of hers will be up next.

I heard an author interview about Book of Ages - The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin which is about the sister of Benjamin Franklin.  He wrote more letters to his sister than to anyone else.  She was "a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator.  Unlike him she was a mother of twelve."  It promises to be well researched, and I hope really interesting. 

I've also bought a couple of books by Roland Merullo.  I thoroughly enjoyed his Breakfast With Buddha, and look forward to reading more of his work.  

Yes, I have definitely been binge buying books.  They were all bargain prices, but still.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Making it Monday...

Today was quilt day at the library.  I love quilt day at the library.  

I don't have photos of my progress, so I thought I'd at least show my fabric choices.  The image above shows the different prints in the Sea Life collection by Camelot Fabrics.  I will be including a dark gray solid.

This typed alphabet print will be the backing.  I think it is so cute.

And the binding will be from this narrow stripe.

I got quite a bit done today, but I'm not sure how much sewing will get done for the rest of this week, since I work through Friday.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Fool's Day hail storm...

I enjoy a good April Fool's Day joke as much as anyone.  This year we got a doozy played on us by Mother Nature.  I left for work to cloudy skies but dry ground.  At the end of the day I came home to sunny skies and dry ground.  During the interim, my husband took photos like the one above.  Those are hail stones on our sidewalk and driveway.  Quite the accumulation.  

We haven't checked out the roof to see if there was any damage.  There were several car accidents in the area with all the cars sliding on the ice.  And then it was gone almost as quick as it came.

I was working about thirty miles away yesterday where there was barely a sprinkling of rain.  Crazy spring weather.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 13...

1.  Checked out Outlander Season 1 from the library.  I've been wanting to see it since it first came out on Starz...but not enough to subscribe.

2.  I was so late mailing my m-i-l's birthday card, I thought maybe I should run and purchase one and mail it in one trip.  But I just sat down and got it made instead.  Probably just as quick, and no distractions or impulse purchases that way, and used up supplies on hand.  I did use fuel driving the card (along with one from Caitlyn and two bills) to the main post office in the city, but the cards reached m-i-l the day before her birthday, so it was worth it to me.

3.  I hate clipping coupons, because they always seem to be for things (cleaning products or convenience foods) that I don't use, and because I ALWAYS forget to take them when I go shop.  Today I signed up at my local grocery store's website and also downloaded their app for my phone.  Now I can select the digital coupons on the website for items I actually use and they are sent to my phone.  (Actually I think the search can be done from the phone also, but to me it's just easier on my laptop.)  On today's shop I saved $9.33 on things like my favorite toothpaste which I am about two days away from being out of, the brand of bacon I always use, the paper towels I use and am almost out of, crackers which I had used the last of this past week, canned diced tomatoes, and laundry detergent.  I don't think I'll be appearing on Extreme Couponers anytime soon (or ever), but it was $9.33 I would have spent on the shop today, so it feels like found money.

4.  Booked two days of work every week for the next six to eight weeks.

5.  Doubled recipe last night, cooked, packaged, and froze half for future meal.  Cook once, eat favorite motto.

Keep Tryings:
Regain a handle on meals out! 

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday: *bbq 
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *Chinese
Tuesday:  *salad with friend
Wednesday:  Beef Koftas w/ Yogurt Flatbread
Thursday:  pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans
Friday:  roast, potatoes, carrots

(*not frugal takeout or dinner out) 
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