Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

 I am acquiring reading material at a much more rapid pace than I am reading lately.  I still have not finished the last book I posted.  But it is going to have to wait, because new ones became available through the library.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I have been on the reserve list for A Man Called Ove for months!  And it's not recheckable, so I have to finish it within two weeks.  I'm starting in on this one first.


In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

I can't remember who recommended this...or maybe I heard an author interview on NPR...at any rate, I haven't read a seriously scary book in awhile, and am hoping it lives up to the hype.  I just got an email that the ebook version was ready for check out.

So many books...so little time!
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Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25th, Rudolph Day...

Another month has flown by!  The last couple of weeks have felt really busy, but I couldn't necessarily think of a thing that I have accomplished.  This summer's heat has been dragging me down.  It seems to get harder to endure every year.  Two more months before we start cooling off.  Two more months...

Now for this month's Rudolph Day project.  As you may recall, I am using the 25th of each month from now until Christmas to do something, either craft or chore, to be a little more prepared when the Christmas season arrives.

For this month's project I decided to pull out the cross stitch piece that you may remember from last year.  I worked on it while my mother-in-law was here visiting.  Only two colors, so really simple.

Last year I finished up all the cross stitch and then put it away.  I meant to complete and frame it before last Christmas, but...well...you know... 

This morning I dug it out of hiding.  I washed it, and ironed it.  I left it to dry thoroughly while I rounded up needed supplies and cut backing pieces and padding to fit the frame.  

I added the pearls to the cross stitch, cut off some of the excess linen so it would be easier to apply to the backing board and be less bulky in the frame, and zigzagged the edge so it wouldn't ravel.  Then I gave it another press to make sure there weren't any wrinkles from all the handling.  

I did my best to center the design on the padded backboard, and then carefully taped the fabric to the board before placing it into the frame.  Lastly, I added a piece of white cardboard to fill the frame's inset and give the piece a neater appearance.  Then I taped it in securely so there will (hopefully) be no shifting.  The only tape I had was clear packing tape.  Will it hold?  Not sure.  I may have to redo it sometime in the future.  But I figure the packing tape is still pretty secure on those boxes still left packed since the move six years ago, so...

I took this final photo from an angle to better show the dimension the pearls add.   The lacy snowflake designs and the pearls lend a simple elegance to this piece.  I'm happy with how it turned out.  And I'm really happy that it is complete and will be part of this year's Christmas decorating.
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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dreaded chores and a request...

I really, really, really hate hemming slacks.  Unfortunately, we are a family of short-legged people.  The last time Kasey had a business trip, she needed two pair hemmed, and one of those had a lining.  Tomorrow morning Jared has to head to Dallas for a week of training, for which he was issued five (5!) pair of uniform slacks.  He received them yesterday, but he got off very late.  So I only had today to get all of them hemmed.

To be fair, he asked me to show him how to do it himself.  If we had had more time, I would have taken him up on it, but I knew I was going to be pushing it to get it done myself without taking the time to teach someone else.  Obviously, I should have given lessons to both children when they were younger.  :)

I don't mind sewing by hand, it's the measuring and pinning and cutting and ironing and trying on...times five in this case.  And truth be told, it's mostly the cutting I dread.  I always end up cutting too much and then having to spend time remedying my mistake.  (And yes, I did it again today on one pair.)

I finished very late tonight.  I'm really glad I know how to do it, because there was absolutely no way he would have been able to find someone to professionally alter them on the very short time frame that he had.

If you would say a little prayer (or several) for him to have success this week, it would be much appreciated! Photobucket

Friday, July 22, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 29...

Nothing has been very frugal this week.  Pet food and vet visit.  Chiropractor visit for me.  Insurance premiums due.  Ugh!


Successes:
1.  Cooked all meals at home, mostly from pantry and freezer as I'm STILL mostly covered by last big stock-up shop.

2.  Instead of baking just enough potatoes for last night's dinner, I filled a whole baking sheet with large baking potatoes and popped them in the oven.  After dinner, I cut all the extras in half, scooped them out, mashed with butter, sour cream, grated cheese, diced onion, salt and garlic.  I refilled the scooped-out skins with the seasoned mash, put them back on the baking sheet, topped with more grated cheese, covered the whole baking sheet with foil and set it in the freezer.  After they are well frozen, I vacuum seal them individually and store back in the freezer to have ready to accompany future meals.  Love, love, LOVE knowing they are in there ready to use.

3.  Chloe's birthday is coming up.  I will be at quilt retreat.  She informed me that I had to make cake pops for her before I leave.  The thought crossed my mind to just get them from Starbucks...6 for $7.50...hmmm, 2 dozen for $30?  Might be worth it...they are a LOT of work.  But I have everything I need, so I'll do it in steps.  I love that she wants me to make them for her, and I never want to disappoint her.  :)

4.  It is TOO HOT to want to leave the air conditioning, so mostly staying at home playing with Rudy.

5.  Still putting off a haircut.  

Keep Tryings:
I broke down and made three (3!) online fabric purchases this week...getting ready for quilt retreat very soon.  It had been almost two months since previous purchase.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Sausage and Rice Skillet
Tuesday:  Homemade Pizza -- bacon, pineapple, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno
Wednesday:  leftovers
Thursday:  meatloaf, baked potatoes, brocolli
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monkey Love...

Sick of posts about Rudy yet?  Sorry.  This is what my life is about right now.  It will stop soon.
But today's post is about his new favorite stuffy, Monkey Love.  What did you think the post title referred to?  Get your mind out of the gutter!

Today Rudy had his first trip to the vet since coming home with us.  He got booster shots, and, like any baby, he is running a little fever and doing a lot of sleeping...with Monkey Love.





Monkey Love is happy for the respite from their regular play:
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Frugal Friday File, Week 28...


Successes:
1.  No pet is necessarily frugal.  Even if they arrive in your home at no cost, going forward they require a lifetime of spending on food, vet care, and grooming.   Our new little guy did come with a price tag, BUT I had money socked away for a 'special budget item' that was enough to cover the entire initial outlay.  

2.  Having the good sense to keep a handy hubby always lands in the frugal success column.  :)  This week I described to Carey something I had seen on Pinterest, and with some wire mesh and lumber scraps (all of which he had on hand), he was able to execute a FABULOUS solution for corralling pup.

3.  Turned down lunch and shopping invitation, and countered with invitation to hang out here with Rudy.  Friend is an animal lover.  :)

4.  Sent hubs to grocery for some fresh produce, but otherwise we are still doing quite well on the supplies I stocked up on two weeks ago.

5.  Our phone service is a rural cooperative.  Once a year they distribute capital credits to members (customers) by applying the balance to your bill.  I believe the amount increases the longer you are customers.  We've been with them for over 15 years, so this month we got an $80+ credit on our bill.  Nice.

Keep Tryings:
We have used a lot of gasoline this week making an 8-hour round trip to visit mother-in-law on Saturday and a 4-hour round trip to pick up Rudy on Sunday.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  pork chops, sweet potatoes, creamed peas
Tuesday:  *Tex-Mex
Wednesday:  Taco Salad
Thursday:  Goulash and garlic bread
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What's in a name...

Just a few of the famous Jack Russells.  Such personable little guys make for perfect camera hams.

Wishbone...the great literature loving dog.



Freddie de la Hay...a JR in literature.


 Jack from The Artist...so adorable.


Buddy from Doc Martin...never gives up on Martin...just keeps coming back.  :)

And who can forget Eddie from Frasier?  I always loved how it annoyed Frasier when Eddie wouldn't stop staring at him.  JRs are really good at staring contests.  Ours was staring at me today...enough that Carey asked, "Why is he staring at you?"  LOL!



We actually considered all of these names for our new little JR, but it just seemed prosaic to use well known JR names.  I like being a little different.  It is worthy of note, however, that three of these five are named Freddie, Buddy, and Eddie.  All suit them.  They lend a touch of the every-dog to these special little guys, and accent the youthful spirit that JRs keep even as seniors.  

I think our Rudy will wear his name well.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Crazy spending...

baby picture

Meet the object of my affection and crazy spending.  Today we picked up this little guy, and I anticipate not having a lot of uninterrupted time to write blog posts for awhile.

As yet we are still trying to settle on a name.  I like two or three, and I'm trying them out to see which one fits the best.

He is ten weeks old, and was a good traveler on the way home.  Once home, he was quick to pick out a favorite toy.  He has spent the afternoon alternating between exploring his new digs and going back to his favorite toy.


We took him to Sunday dinner at Kasey's, and he was a big hit.  
When we were seated during dinner, he walked around checking things out, then walked around the table until he found my chair and laid down under it till dinner was over.

Now that we are back home, he ate well, took a nap on hubby’s lap, went potty outside, and at the moment is back to his favorite toy.  It was a big day.
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 27...


Successes:
1.  Tuesday I went to Michael's for some small American flags for a project for next summer.  I came across the project last week, but no way was I going to pay full price for a week's worth of decor, when I knew they would be 60% off July 5th.  I also checked phone for coupons, and they had a coupon for an additional 25% off purchase including sale items.  Next year I will be happy with my patriotic decoration knowing it was not a budget buster...talk about delayed gratification.  :)

2.  Did not finish my library ebook before loan period ended.  I know I've mentioned this tip before, but it is SO worth repeating and SO frugal.  When your loan period is ending for a library ebook, and you haven't finished reading yet, turn off the wifi on your Kindle and leave it off until you finish the book.  The book will be returned to the library on time from your Amazon account, so you are not depriving other library patrons or incurring any late fees.  However, as long as wifi to your Kindle is turned off, the book will stay on it giving you plenty of time to finish.  The minute you turn wifi on--POOF!--bye bye library ebook, so don't forget and accidentally turn it on.  I have an old Kindle that I use for reading only, so it's not a hardship to turn off wifi for extended time.

3.  Made 1 birthday card and 1 just-because card from supplies on hand, and bought 2 belated-birthday cards at Dollar Tree where they are 2 for $1.  Letters included in each, and all are in the mail.

4.  Was really hungry while running errands, and was near--and sorely tempted by--a great little vegetarian place, but I came home and had a sandwich.

5.  Filled up car in preparation for a trip to visit m-i-l tomorrow, and price was down.  I really, REALLY need a haircut, but put it off again.  I haven't succumbed to my quilting fabric addiction for over a month.

Keep Tryings:
I've done pretty well this week, but I am about to make a crazy purchase.  Not unplanned for.  I have the cash to cover it.  But still...crazy. 

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Reuben sandwich
Monday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's on Monday  :)
Tuesday:  sandwich
Wednesday:  *burgers out
Thursday:  Sausage & Rice Skillet 
Friday:  Baked Ravioli

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Sunday, July 3, 2016

A sandwich by any other name...

Sunday dinner at Kasey's has been postponed until tomorrow.  Fine by me as I couldn't get into making a dessert today.  What I really wanted was a sandwich.

I've been wanting a Reuben sandwich since I saw this post over at Rita's Recipes.  I've been waiting till Carey wasn't home for dinner, since he would just say he would like it if it didn't have sauerkraut.  It always makes me nuts when he says stuff like that, 'cause, yeah, but it wouldn't be a Reuben!

Oh, my goodness.  SO good.  I actually want to make every sandwich she mentioned!  Patience...  :)
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Friday, July 1, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 26...


Week 26 means the year is half over!  I wish that meant I was further ahead than I am.  Unfortunately it means that my intuition to be more frugal this year was a very good one.

The industry that Carey works in has suffered a LOT of cutbacks.  A large number of the people at his job have been let go.  We've been lucky, though his hours have been cut a bit meaning somewhat less take home.  Exercising more self-discipline with spending (or NOT spending) is a good thing.  :)

Successes:
1.  For quite some time I've been ordering ice water with lemon (free) rather than tea or soda ($2 and up) when at restaurants.  I can't convince my family to follow suit...c'est la vie.  I've been increasing water intake at home as well of late.

2.  Made a two-week menu plan and did a massive grocery shop with trips to both Costco and local grocery.   Enough purchased to make one-for-now-and-one-or-more-for-freezer dinners, so I think I can make the two-week menu stretch to much longer than that.  And should only have to return to store for mini shops to replenish fresh fruits and vegetables 

3.  Remembered to use my digital coupons, AND remembered my PIN this time, so I saved $9 on grocery shop.  Not a lot, but there were no convenience foods or things that normally have coupons included in the shop.

4.  Groceries in the house and cooking at home means the freezer is replenished with individually-packed home-cooked meals for Carey to take to work.

5.  Went to auction.  Looked around.  Nothing I needed.  Left.

Keep Tryings:
I still haven't cleaned out my side of the garage, which means that my car is parked outside in the brutal summer sun which can't be good for the interior.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *Tex-Mex
Sunday:  Family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Easy Enchilada Casserole, guacamole
Tuesday:  *friends night out for me; 
                 slow cooker roast, potatoes, green beans for hubs
Wednesday:  Sunday Chicken
Thursday:  meatloaf / twice baked potatoes / corn
Friday:  Baked Ravioli with Sweet Peppers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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