Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah


Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 25th, Rudolph Day...

June 25th!  We are now at the halfway point between last Christmas and next Christmas.  Amazing.  And while I'm not a real fan of seeing Christmas everywhere so early, I do think that when you make things by hand, you have to get an early start, or things just don't get done.  

Pamela at The Lady of the House Speaking introduced me to the idea of Rudolph Day; that is designating the 25th of each month as 'Rudolph Day' and making ready.  That made sense to me.  I don't have to think about plans and preparations all month every month, but I can think about them on the 25th and take small steps to be ready(er).

So if you hate seeing Christmas pulled out mid-year, avert your eyes.  I am going to try to post one Christmas project on 'Rudolph Day' each month from now to Christmas.

One thing I have been wanting to do for awhile is to paint a canvas as a backdrop for our nativity scene, so this morning at 3:30 a.m. (yes, that's when I usually start on crazy things) I just jumped in.

This is an awful piece done at one of those wine-and-friends painting 'classes.'  They are fun to attend, but don't always render the best results.  I decided to paint over this canvas which heretofore has never seen the light of day.  (Frugal re-use!)

Did it turn out great?  Meh.  Do I want to re-do it?  Pretty much.  Am I going to?  No.  It is done, which is more than it was last Christmas, and done is better than perfect!

And it doesn't look too bad when set behind the stable made by my father in 1981 (which I dug out of the closet for this photo).  I think it will look even better when officially done up at Christmas.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 25...

1.  Was sitting at a quarter tank of fuel when I was out and about on Monday.  Saw $2.20 per gallon, but continued on to a station that is usually much lower than competitors, and I was not disappointed.  I filled up for $2.02 per gallon.

2.  Made cards this week using only supplies on hand.

3.  Tuesday's inbox had a notice from Amazon that I have $24.20 credit as a result of anti-trust settlement.  That was a nice surprise!

4.  Somehow I ended up on Etsy looking at earrings.  When I was about to hit 'buy,' I decided to go have a look through my jewelry box instead.  I've gotten out of the habit of wearing earrings, so I was excited to come across some old favorites.  I decided I would wear the earrings I already own for at least a month to evaluate if I 'need' any new ones.

5.  No haircut, no puppy, no fabric.

Keep Tryings:
Oh my goodness,  I resorted to eating out entirely too much this week.  I haven't been to the store since the big refrigerator clean out after the door was left ajar all afternoon last week.  I must make a menu plan and grocery shop.  I need a personal shopper.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *pizza
Sunday:  leftovers
Monday:  *bbq
Tuesday:  *friends night out
Wednesday:  Waikiki Meatballs over Rice
Thursday:  Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken Sausage and Tomatoes
Friday:  *Chinese

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Nostalgic musings...

Today for lunch, I made tuna salad sandwiches.  As usual, as I was trying to decide what to put in the tuna salad (I like it with either celery, apple, pecans, sweet pickle relish, dehydrated onions, and mayo...or alternatively with diced hard-boiled eggs, dill pickle relish, fresh chopped onion, and mayo), I started thinking about a seasoning mix that was available when I was a newlywed, the intended purpose of which was to spice up and extend tuna salad.  I couldn't remember what it was called, but I was nostalgic enough to Google "80s tuna salad helper." 

The very first link that came up was a forum discussing Nabisco's Tuna Twist.  Yep, that was it!  Apparently there are a lot of people that still remember and miss it.  There were a few copycat recipes which I saved and may try someday.  I love the coupon photo I found:  7¢, wow!  :)

It got me reminiscing about food from my youth.

A few years ago, my friend, the other Kathleen, and I thought it would be whimsical to make a throw up throwback meal for her daughter's family, and used items that our mothers served when we were kids.  As I recall, that dinner consisted of fried slices of SPAM...  

pea salad...
photo credit:

 and shoestring potatoes.

We did not produce a gelatin salad mold.  Blech!  No thanks.  My mother may have made a dessert jello mold with fruit and marshmallows occasionally, but olives?  ...shudder...  However the photo of the savory mold above brings back a flood memories related to magazine advertisements.

I can clearly picture the cover of a Family Circle (or was it Woman's Day) magazine that had a winter-fruit pie...a lot of dried fruits and maybe some fresh.  Mom made it, and it was FABULOUS!  As I recall, there was no sugar in the recipe, it was just so good.  Sadly, the recipe was lost, and I have not been successful at searching it out either in cookbooks or on the Web.

This was the era when we began to see convenience foods.  Soup Starter was a shortcut to a homemade meal.  It still had to be simmered for quite awhile as I recall, so not really all that convenient.  I'm not sure I ever used it, but I do remember keeping a canister or two in the know...just in case.  So again, the photo makes me feel nostalgic.

photo credit and recipe - Apron Strings
One thing that my mother used to keep a jar of, and definitely needs to be reproduced in my kitchen, is Brandied Fruit.  It's fermented, and a neighbor gave her a starter of it.  It can be used in various ways, but I always loved it over vanilla ice cream.  Mmmmmmm.

So what do you remember fondly that has either been discontinued or gone out of style?  Please share in the comments.  :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cards in the mail...

Chloe and Caitlyn are at camp this week.  The camp encourages letter writing (a camp after my own heart!) so I wanted to get cards in the mail to get there in time.  Chloe is my little 'honey bee,' so that's what decorated her card.

I thought they would like pop-up cards.  Perfection was not a priority.

Caitlyn's card is also a pop-up.

Hers has a ladybug, because she's my Catiebug.  :)

And then there was a simple hello to a friend.

A bee-lated bee-day card for another friend.

A thank you card to the doctor, whose care I have just left, for her kind care and attention for the past two years.

And a hello to another friend rounds out the bunch and completes my goal for 6 cards made, letters written, and in the mail.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Little jobs...

Today is one of those days that I have a million little things to do...things that have evaded the Do-It-Now principle for too long.

make to-do list for the week
clean out fridge
take out trash
empty dishwasher
reload dishwasher
refill handwash dispensers
do shoulder exercises
do shoulder exercises
do shoulder exercises
make 6 cards (and write letters)
mail 6 cards
wash towels
dry towels
fold towels
wash a load of dark clothing
clean off ironing board
put new cover on ironing board
pick up prescriptions
organize meds for the week
fill the car with fuel
drink water
drink water
drink water
drink water
drink water
drink water
drink water
drink water

Okay, that may not be a million, but there's more that I'm sure I'll come across in the process.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 24...

1.  I was supposed to go grocery shopping on Tuesday, but I had a headache and a couple of kiddos spending the night while their daddy was working and their mama had a two-day business trip come up at the last second.  (I, happily, am their frugal emergency baby sitting service!)  I nixed grocery shopping in favor of self-preservation.  I still needed an easy supper that I thought they might like, however.  I made Mexican Macaroni Salad.  The dressing calls for mayo, sour cream, and salsa.  I didn't have salsa, so I stirred together the mayo and sour cream and added half a packet of taco seasoning.  It worked great.  I also added browned ground beef to make it a one-bowl meal.  Sometimes being frugal means being adventurous with a recipe.  I left out what I didn't have on hand, and made substitutions of stuff in the pantry that I thought would work.  There was macaroni, corn, black beans, ripe olives, red onion, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, browned ground beef, and the dressing.  I got it pulled together without making a trip to the store.

2.  A pool = huge initial expense, ongoing pool chemicals, and ongoing maintenance.  Having a local family member with a pool = free access, no expense, no maintenance (for me)...THANK YOU local family member!

3.  The hubs got another free t-shirt for donating blood this week.  ALL of his t-shirts have come as thank-yous for blood donations.

4.  I've been waiting on the reserve list for two ebooks for quite awhile through library, and they both became available this week.  

5.  Still postponing a haircut.  And I haven't gotten a puppy yet either.

Keep Tryings:
I came home after being gone for several hours to find that the refrigerator door had been left ajar all afternoon.  Goodbye leftovers.  :(

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  chili dogs
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *sandwiches
Tuesday:  Mexican Macaroni Salad
Wednesday:  pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, green beans
Thursday:  *chicken
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The best medical advice...

image credit: Bing clip art

My doctor of nine years took a leave of absence a couple of years ago.  I remember, because I had several appointments to get treatment and follow up for my case of shingles in the weeks before she left.  Oh, I have missed her so much!  Her replacement is very nice, but the office, which was handy to get to when we lived on the ranch, is really pretty inconvenient now that we have moved; even worse is making the long drive when you don't feel good.

Monday I found out that my 'old' doctor (ha!  she's barely older than my daughter) is starting a new practice much closer and convenient for me.  Happy, happy, happy!.  She's smart, and skilled, and pays attention to details.  She is the first to have suspected one of my chronic issues, and thankfully she hounded me to get further testing and follow up with specialists when I kept putting it off.  I am ecstatic at the prospect of being under her care again.

I had an appointment this morning to get records and insurance in place and catch up, and also to move my prescriptions to a more convenient pharmacy.  Eventually going to the doctor and getting prescriptions filled won't be like taking a tour of central Texas.

She told me to cut out soda and get more exercise.  So when I got home I grabbed a cup of unsweet tea and took the girlies home to spend some time in their pool.
I was in for hours.

It was exhausting!  :)


What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13th...

Today would have been my friend Allison's 59th birthday.  

My feet are stuck in the sand.  

She has her wings.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 23...

1.  I remembered to take advantage of one of my Amazon Prime benefits and borrowed a Kindle book before last month ended.  Now I need to get it read and returned so I can borrow another this month.

2.  I scheduled a day of work next week.

3.  Started making Christmas gifts.  

4.  Entertained girlie by printing free coloring pages from the Web.

5.  I had an errand to run that put me across the street from one of the girls' favorite treat shops, so I invited them to come along.  What's frugal abut that, you ask?  Well, I happened to have a $10 gift certificate to said treat shop in my wallet.  Everybody's happy!

Keep Tryings:
1.  Splurged on a birthday gift but it was a good purchase.

2.  Must tighten belt, as we had to replace all four tires on my car today ($$$), and next month will bring insurance premium due ($$$)

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  chalupas
Sunday:  leftovers
Monday:  leftovers
Tuesday:  Jicama Shrimp Salad
Wednesday:  *burgers
Thursday:  *Tex-Mex
Friday:  breakfast for dinner

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Curlformer product review...

Caitlyn inherited her mother's hair, which like my hair is board straight!  She's always wanted two things (which I totally empathize with, because I wanted them too at her age), long hair and curls.  Her hair has grown quite long, and she let me trim the ends a few weeks ago.  

Last week Joolz put a video on her Facebook page, and I just knew I had to buy the product for Caitlyn for her birthday.  Curlformers!  I found these locally at Sally's Beauty Supply.  They were not cheap.  

Her birthday was Tuesday, and I had told her that I had her present, but she had to come spend the night to get it.  I wanted to play with it!  :)

You slide a mesh curlformer onto the long (about 12 inches) hook that comes in the set, and then pull the hair with the hook end through the mesh.  She said it only pulled enough to hurt one time.  There is a learning curve to this.  YouTube has some helpful videos.  As you put in the curlformers, you have to make sure that the twists don't get kinked like an old telephone want them spiraled uniformly.

We started with freshly-washed-and-towel-dried hair, and I sectioned it.  I think it would have been best to have some styling gel or mouse to work through before starting, but I didn't have any, so I had to use hairspray.  Starting with the lowest level, I subdivided off a single section, sprayed with some hair spray, pulled it through a Curlformer.  I probably put in about five Curlformers per level.  

I continued working in sections to the top.

Then she fell asleep.  You can use a hairdryer to dry it, but from what I gather, it works best if you keep them in overnight while you sleep.  They're soft, so they're not uncomfortable.

Then in the morning, you just pull out the curlformers, and use your fingers to ringlet the curls down.  I split the larger ringlets into smaller ones.  Then I had Caitlyn turn her head upside down and shake her hair out.  

We put in a bit of hairspray and clipped it back.

She was pretty happy with it.  After breakfast we went outside to take some photos to make a card to send to her great-grandmother.

All in all we had fun playing with them.

This last photo I took just now.  It has been several hours, and the curls are holding pretty well, even being crushed while she lies on the sofa watching tv.

I wish I'd had some of these when I was her age!
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