Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

I've had to renew this one at the library.  I have read another by this author that I truly loved.  This one has an interesting premise, but the descriptions just go on and on and on.  I don't know if this is just my mood lately, or whether I just keep picking books that don't compel me to read them without stopping.  I would skim, but the writing is such that if I skim I miss important facts, and I find myself having to double back which takes longer than just concentrating the first time.  I may or may not finish.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 47...

1.  Kasey is on vacation this week and she gifted me a whole day of help around the house.  She mopped, dusted, hung a gallery wall of art, put up the Christmas tree (up, but not yet decorated).  It was way more frugal for me than a housekeeper, and spending a whole day of one-on-one time with my daughter is priceless!

2.  A year or so ago, before I decided to be more frugal, I contributed to an Indigogo campaign initiated by designers of a new ice machine, so they could get it built, perfected, and produced.  Contributions were for a set amount somewhat discounted from what the retail asking price would be set at once they were in production, and contributors would be receiving the new machines once production was up and running.  I received my Opal Nugget Ice Maker this week, and it works perfectly pumping out my favorite 'magic' ice just like Sonic's!  It was not cheap, but I am counting it as frugal because a) the money was spent last year with no assurance that they would actually be able to do all that was hoped, and b) I no longer need to make my trips to Sonic, so it should pay for itself shortly.

3.  I have been staying home every single day (except for yesterday's feast at Kasey's) due to not having a car at the moment.  Doing a few chores and watching library DVDs Kasey picked up for me.

4.  I have purchased one Christmas gift online this week, and I used one of my reward-points amazon gift cards to pay for it.

5.  I pay what seems like a lot for my cell phone service.  But I was thinking today that back in the 'olden days' when we were charged long-distance fees by the minute, my land-line (not even a known phrase back then) bill could run me double what I pay now just for the time I spent talking to my sister and mother.  So, yes, I could probably find a way to cut my cellular expenses, but just for today I'm going to look back a few decades and be grateful for the unlimited talk I enjoy now.

Keep Tryings:
Last week's 'Keep Tryings' included $300 of car repair that we had just had done on my car.  Yeah.  Wish we had held out on that for awhile.  The accident also completely ruined one of the almost brand new tires, which was another $300.  Carey is taking it today to start the process of estimating repair costs for the accident damage.  ugh.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Frito Pie
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's, coincidentally Frito Pie  :)
Monday:  roasted cauliflower 
Tuesday:  chicken curry
Wednesday:  *burgers
Thursday:  Thanksgiving feast
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

To remember from this Thanksgiving meal...

This may be one of those stories where you had to be there for it to be funny, but I'm going to tell it anyway, because it tickled our funny bones, and I don't want to forget it.

So as everyone had feasted to the max and people started leaving the table, Caitlyn (11) stretched out on the bench used as seating on one side of the table.  She groaned, and declared, "Oooohhhh, I think I'm having a turkey BABY."  Kasey and I got the giggles, because it was just so unexpected and descriptive of an over-full tummy.

Whereupon Jared returned to his seat at the table with his dessert, which forced Caitlyn to move suddenly, and she wailed, "Aaagghhh, my GRAVY broke!"

And that is one example of what I am so thankful for:  family and fun, love and laughter, that we share around the table and throughout the year.

Wishing you...

Hoping you all are enjoying a table laden with bounty and surrounded by loved ones.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday...working not reading...

I'm quite happy sticking around the house this week; not quite so happy about the reason...having rendered my car undriveable in that asinine accident.  At least I don't miss my magic ice from Sonic, because a handy-dandy new Opal Nugget Ice Maker (see photo above) was delivered to me last week.  (More about that on Frugal Friday.)

Tomorrow is our Thanksgiving feast.  Luckily I had done my shopping for it already.  Luckier still that Kasey is doing the majority of the preparations since we will be gathering at her house.  

Carey gets home from a work trip this evening, so I need to get some things done today.
  • shower and wash my hair
  • change the bed
  • wash sheets
  • dust mop all the floors
  • clean the toilets
  • change the mantle decorations
  • clean off the dining room table
Hopefully I will get all that done before the exterminator comes to do our quarterly treatment this afternoon.


Saturday, November 19, 2016


Minor accident.  No injuries.  Come on people; there's nuthin' to see here; let's move along.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 46...

1.   Reserved recently-released Season 2 of Outlander from the library instead of paying to watch on Amazon.  I haven't received it yet, but I'm #1 in line.

2.  The shortage on Carey's last pay check was a clerical error, which--after calling to alert them to the error--was deposited in our bank account within a few days.

3.  Making progress with Rudy's house training, which means that we are using many, many fewer paper towels and plastic poo bags.

4.  Bathed Rudy myself saving grooming fees and tucked him into his new frugal bed in his spiffy clean kennel.  He seems to like the bed, and no damage to it as yet.  :)

5.  Met a former coworker for lunch in the town I used to work in...ordered water with my meal.  Then, as we are both big fans of books and libraries, she took me to tour the newly-built library there.  We spent an enjoyable afternoon in one of their seating areas catching up on each others' lives.

Keep Tryings:
The car needed repairs that Carey couldn't do at home.  There were two issues that needed repair, and we opted to have them done in stages since one was more of an inconvenience than a danger.  First stage cost: $300.  While it was in the shop, an employee was moving the car and damaged the back bumper.  The shop owner was very apologetic, and is handling and paying for the damage repair.  

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  potato soup
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  sandwiches at home
Tuesday:  smothered pork chops, rice, broccoli
Wednesday:  *pizza
Thursday:  fried rice
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Making it Monday...

Today I made a pillow.  A big pillow.  How big, you may be wondering?

Big enough for a growing puppy!  I used two standard bed pillows...not the expensive kind.  I sewed a long side of one to a long side of the other.  For the cover I used about a yard and a quarter of a sturdy pillow ticking.  With right sides together I sewed around the edge with about a 3/4" seam allowance (leaving a fairly large opening to insert the pillows), then turned it right side out and top stitched around it again with about 1/2" seam allowance.  I stuffed the pillows into the cover and stitched up the opening with a double row of stitching.  Hopefully the double-seamed edges will slow down Rudy's urge to rip into it.

I hope it is comfortable.  I hope it is indestructible!  I know it was frugal.  It cost about half of what his last pre-made dog bed did.

Something got into me today.  A burst of energy and motivation on the same day!  Must be the SUPER MOON!  :)  Aside from making Rudy's pillow, I vacuumed the entire house, washed all the bath mats, cleaned the toilets.  And because I knew Rudy would be sleeping on his new bed, I gave him a bath, cleaned out the kennel, and vacuumed it well.  Then I emptied the vacuum cleaner, and took out the trash.

Now I've had a shower and washed my hair and am ready to go to bed and read.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 45...

1.  Signed up for the 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited.  Enjoying reading the first free book.  Put a note on my screen saver to cancel by 12/8.

2.  True confession: I really like Rice-a-Roni.  I found a recipe for a DIY version on Fabulessly Frugal, and it was great.  It makes the chicken flavor, but I adapted it to also make the Spanish Rice flavor (to which I add ground beef, diced tomatoes, and cheese to make a one-skillet meal).

3.  Mild weather means a low electricity bill this month.

4.  Staying home mostly, trying to combine trips when need to drive.

5.  Received pay for another article and photos.

Keep Tryings:
Some days all the effort just doesn't seem worth it.  One step forward; two steps back.  Carey is on vacation right now, for which we are doing absolutely nothing but staying home.  Today his paycheck was deposited to the bank, and it was $400 less than normal.  Gggrrrrr.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Grilled steaks and baked potatoes
Tuesday:  Spanish rice
Wednesday:  *sandwiches
Thursday:  I had bacon and egg sandwich, *husband &son went out 
Friday:  roast beef with roasted winter vegetables

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

I saw Caroline mention she was reading this recently.  I put a hold on the ebook at my library's website, but then it came up as a Kindle daily deal, so rather than wait I paid $2.99.  It was a much quicker read than my last book, and I read pretty much straight through (started on my Kindle Fire and finished on the re-manufactured Kindle keyboard after it was delivered).

The story line was pretty good.  I did get a little impatient with the main character/victim being a little wishy-washy, but all in all it did hold my attention.

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner

I started this one last night.  I think because the description reminded me of my mother.  And after the election, I just want my mama.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

October's delayed Rudolph Day...

Well, this was delayed longer than intended.  I've been indulging in reading more than I maybe should, and haven't managed to get a lot else done.

My Rudolph activity for October was to get some sewing done for Christmas, and here is my start.  This is a quilting-at-the-library group project.  We each sewed four strips of a holiday jelly roll together, cut the joined strips with a Dresden Plate template, we each took twenty of the cut strips, then joined those into Checkered Dresden blocks.  Instead of joining the blocks into a quilt, we each are keeping a block to make what we wish out of.  Some are making pillow covers; some (me included) are making table toppers.

I will add borders, and machine quilt and bind.  

The Checkered Dresden tutorial said to use a machined blanket stitch to attach the 'plate' to the backing.  My old machine doesn't have a wide variety of stitching to chose from, and I didn't want to zigzag, so I just did a top stitch as close to the edge as possible.  I'm okay with it.  It looks neat, and it was quick.

I have another sewing project that I need to start tonight, but it's a gift, and I'm not sure I should show it yet.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  Tomorrow is election day...finally.  

2.  Carey and Kevin are grilling steaks for dinner.  I haven't grilled lately, because I couldn't psych myself up for cleaning the grill.  Now that Carey's cleaned it, I will be using it again.  :)

3.  A new replacement Kindle was delivered today.  I bought a re-manufactured one which is the same model as my old one (Kindle keyboard).  It's charging now.  This one cost $30, which since it had free shipping with Prime, was basically the same as a replacement screen would have cost...and then I would have had to put in the screen myself.  Time will tell.

4.  Went to bed about 1:00 a.m.  Woke up at 3:30 a.m. with a terrible headache.  Took Advil LiquiGels and fell back to sleep around 4:00.  Awake at 7:00 to take care of Rudy and get ready to quilt at the library.  Now I am absolutely dragging and can't wait to crawl into bed tonight.

5.  I really need to go clean off the dining room table since we have company tonight.

6.  I really don't want to clean off the dining room table.

7.  I'm too tired to think of a seventh random thought.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

TV with Rudy...

This Toys-R-Us commercial really gets Rudy wound up.  Those talking toys are a little unnerving.

Today I feel like the mother of a toddler...I just can't wait till bedtime tonight.  He has worn me out.

Saturday Snail Mail...

Made some progress on the 52-letters-in-52-weeks goal this week...some 'birthday' and some 'hello.'

The 'button' on this one is paper.  I used a Martha Stewart punch that embosses the rim making it look like a real button, but without the bulk or weight, which is good when they have to go in the mail.

The button punch was too big to go on this flower, so used a smaller circle punch for the center.

More faux buttons.

And a pre-made happy-birthday element went on this one.

The insides were all left blank and filled with handwritten letters.  Some in the mail already, and two are waiting to get closer to the birthdays.

accountability stats: 44 weeks / 32 letters

Friday, November 4, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 44...

1.  Browned beef soup bones, then removed the generous meat that was on them.  The meat went into soup for supper, the bones went in the refrigerator overnight, then placed them in slow cooker with two quarts of water and 1/4 cup vinegar, and left to soak for an hour .  After an hour I added celery, onion, bay leaves and cooked on low for around 24 hours.  Strained stock and it is stored in fridge.

2.  Bought some deeply discounted after-Halloween candy.

3.  I've had the same credit card for a LONG time.  It earns rewards which I have never redeemed.  Occasionally I go look at the merchandise on their website, but it is never anything I am yearning for, so I've always just let them continue to accumulate.  This week I noticed that they have Amazon gift cards for purchase.  I bought as many as I could with my points balance.  They may cover my Christmas shopping...they may BE my Christmas shopping.  :)

4.  Carey is off for three weeks.  We had been hoping for a trip, but it's been a lean year.  I'd rather stay home and work on some projects than rack up bills.

5.  Enjoyed wearing another pair of earrings that haven't been worn in years.  Happy I decided that my old jewelry deserved a chance to be new again instead of being replaced.

Keep Tryings:  
1.  Can't take advantage of the cooler temps by opening windows.  Rudy would tear his way through the screens trying to get at the deer in the yard.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Sausage, rice, cabbage
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *Tex-Mex
Tuesday:  leftovers for Carey, *dinner out w/ friend for me
Wednesday:  scrambled eggs w/ sausage and toast
Thursday:  Goulash
Friday:  Roast w/ dumplings

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What I'm not reading Wednesday, sadly...

I broke my Kindle.  I am so, SO sad.  

It is stuck on this screen saver page.  I've Googled help, and I have tried resetting with no luck.  I think that the screen is broken.  If you look really closely, it looks like there is a lightning like pattern which I assume is a crack (since I dropped it right before it went kaputt).  Youtube had a helpful video of how to replace it, but I have to order one, it's not cheap, and delivery is not quick.

I am so, SO sad.  (It bears repeating.)

Wouldn't you know it happened 2/3 of the way through my 850 page book.  I went to the library and checked out the hard copy, and powered through to get it finished, so at least that is done.
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