Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My dog is squirrely, and it's making me nuts...

Yes, Uncle Wigglebutt...one of the many names he goes by.  This photo cracks me up with that blur of tail.  It is in constant motion; hence, the Wigglebutt.  The uncle comes because I call him my childrens' brother, which makes him my grandchildrens' uncle.  One of them actually calls him that.  :)

What is driving me crazy is the house training.  He spends all his outdoor time hunting...and eating...acorns.  Totally uninterested in potty time...perfectly happy doing that inside...and he's getting lots of fiber from the acorns, so...


Here's another favorite pastime of his...deer stalking.  These low windows must have been made with him in mind.  He loves watching the deer...and barking, barking, barking till I give him a time out.

And then there's this:


Oh, hell no!
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Monday, August 29, 2016

In my mailbox today...

This was a nice surprise!  I was not expecting to receive a physical copy.  What is it you ask?

My name in print!  

The top photo shows the article with photos...the bookcase on the right is in our 'playroom' (actually a guest room, but it's the one the girls play in)...the other photo I took at Kasey's house.

Thanks Rachael for sending me the copies!  So sweet of you to know it would make my day!
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Calendar snob revisited...


After suffering with my much-hated 2016 calendar for eight long months, I will be starting a new 16-month calendar on September 1.  You have no idea how excited I am to be done with the old one at the end of this month!

Things that I thought I could ignore last year proved too much for me.  I didn't like the semi-glossy paper.  I didn't like the pictures. I didn't like that it hung over the bottom of my bulletin board making it hard to write on the last week of each month.  I hated the handwritten changes I had to make so it was even usable for me.  And I hate that I still feel angry with myself every single time I look at it, because I settled for something I didn't want just because time was short and I hate shopping.  I did that with a car once...talk about buyer's regret!

The other day as I was adding an appointment to the old calendar, it came over me to suck it up and make one that suits me.  I figured I could start right now and be happily using it next week!  And a major plus...I wouldn't have to give calendar shopping any thought at all this year.  

I wasn't starting from scratch.  I used to make my own every year, so I had the basic layout saved in Microsoft Publisher.  I just had to bring it current and make sure the holidays got added correctly.  Really not as bad as I remembered, and I was done pretty quickly.  The part I dreaded was the printing, as it had been a trial in the past.  But my current printer proved much easier to print it out on since it handles cardstock better than its predecessor, and it does two-sided printing like a dream (no having to turn the sheets over and try to figure what end goes in first and which side is up!)

Is my new calendar plain vanilla?  You betcha!  I seem to need the wide open space and unadorned format to keep the focus on the events I write in rather than the page design.

All this and frugal too...I had everything on hand!
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 34...


Successes:
1.  Ahhh...a new 16-month calendar is ready to start using next week.  Homemade means it has everything I want, nothing I don't want, and no money spent.  :)

2.  Wanted to eat lunch out yesterday while running errands...came oh so close...but then came home and ate leftovers.

3.  Called to confirm my work days for next week, and tentatively picked up an extra day the week after as well.

4.  Received confirmation that an article and photographs I submitted has been accepted for publication and payment will be forthcoming.  Not a fortune, but equal to about one day's take-home at my day job; and was offered another article for the holiday edition.  :)

5.  Planning a garage sale with Kasey next month.  Gathering up stuff to sell...an exercise that really takes away the desire to spend money on more bric-a-brac.

Keep Tryings:
I planned a trip to WalMart specifically to return a pet carrier and get a pet bed.  As I was checking out, I was truly irritated to realize I had completely forgotten to bring the pet carrier.  Aargh...another trip required!

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  liver & onions, garlic mashed potatoes
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Chili Frito Pie
Tuesday:  *late lunch out, skipped supper
Wednesday:  pork chops, hot potato salad, broccoli
Thursday:  *sushi
Friday:  *pizza

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 25, Rudolph Day...


Oh my goodness, the days are flying by now.  I am getting almost nothing done these days, as Rudy (the puppy, not the reindeer!) is keeping us hopping.  I had to think of a small job I could complete for this month's Rudolph Day.

I decided to go in search of these crocheted snowflakes.  I've always kept them in a separate box to keep them stored flat.  I would hate to have to re-block them, though I'm sure it could be done.

I made them about 25 years ago.  At the time our living room had a wall of windows, and I would hang a snowflake in each of the upper window panes.  Our formal living room at the time was decorated in pastels, hence the non-traditional pink ribbons.

Today I cut all of the ribbons off.  My plan is to hang them in the big window in our dining room this year by putting a tiny dot of hot glue on the glass and imbed monofilament, attached to the snowflakes, in the dot.  When it's time to take them down, the hot glue will pop right off of the glass.    

I rounded up the perler bead snowflakes Caitlyn and Chloe made with me last year , and will hang those as well.  I'm excited!  They look pretty just laid out on the table like this.  I think they will look awesome in the window.

So now they are all packed together back in the box to keep them flat.  The pink ribbons have been discarded.

One more job to tick off the list.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

This is by the same author as A Man Called Ove which I read recently and loved.  When I saw my library had this one as an ebook, I had to get on the list for it.
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday dessert, Orange Cake...



I browsed Pinterest last night looking for a dessert recipe for which I had the ingredients on hand.  I followed this recipe for the cake...super easy.  I was going to bake round layers, but at the last minute I opted for an oblong...so much easier to transport when still in the pan.

I didn't have all the frosting ingredients on hand, so I improvised.

My frosting included:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate (do not reconstitute)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk or cream (optional)
zest from one orange (reserve 1 tsp)


  • Blend the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.  
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. 
  • Add orange juice concentrate 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition and tasting...stop adding oj when the flavor is to your liking.
  • You may add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of milk or cream to make a less stiff consistency if you wish.
  • Beat at medium high speed until smooth. 
  • Remove from mixer, and add the orange zest to the frosting (reserving a teaspoon or so to garnish the top later), and gently stir by hand to incorporate the zest throughout the frosting.


Once the cake is cooled completely, spread the frosting over it evenly.  Press the reserved orange zest between two layers of paper towels to remove any excess moisture.  With your fingertips, sprinkle the reserved zest over the frosted cake.

My frosting turned out very tart...hence the advice about tasting between adding more orange juice concentrate.  Carey and I really liked it, but it had mixed reviews with the rest of the family.  More yeas than nays, though, which is a success with that bunch.  :)
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 33...


Successes:
1.  As my fuel tank was approaching empty, I was near a gas station that is usually lower than most others.  Saved: 25¢ per gallon x 20 gallons = $5

2.  Wednesday morning there was another gift code from Shutterfly in my inbox.  Usually they are for discounts on stuff I don't need, but this was for 4 sets of return address labels.  I've been wanting some pretty return address labels.  Since the gift code was good for one day only, and I had a pretty full day, I was pushing it to get them designed and ordered before the end of the day.  I used one of my photos as the background and personalized the font style and color.  Normally their price for 1 set of 24 is $9.99...yikes!...I got 4 sets of 24 for free.  I did have to pay shipping which was a whopping $6.45, but I used a prepaid credit card that I received as a refund when we cancelled a service.  That covered it with no out of pocket expense.  

3.  RE: 'Keep Trying' from last week (the child gate to keep Rudy from sneaking off to chew up my kitchen and laundry room rugs).  I found the receipt and was practically out the door to return the gate, when hubs thought of where our old, way-too-narrow child gate might be (attic), and I thought of a way to combine the old one and the new one by dismantling one and using zip ties to make a free-standing screen out of them.  Rudy could definitely knock it down if he wanted to, but that would alert me to him heading for the rugs, so I'm good with it.  I'm counting this as frugal, because if I had returned the gate, I would have ended up purchasing another more expensive option.

4.  Went to preview auction.  Three items I was interested in turned out not to be what I was looking for after all.  Left early without purchasing anything.

5.  Paid bills on time.

Keep Tryings:
Spent more on groceries this week than normal.  The iron level requirements for blood donation have changed recently, and Carey has been one point under the new standard the past two times he has tried to donate blood.  I'm trying to feed him more red meat this week to see if it makes a difference

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  *chicken
Monday:  salad with salmon filet
Tuesday:  *friend's night out
Wednesday:  King Ranch Casserole
Thursday:  steak, baked potato, salad
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I'm reading Wedesday...

Skara by Andrew Appleby

A novel based on the neolithic village found on an island off the north coast of Scotland.  

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Monday, August 15, 2016

A rainy Monday...

Today is a rare rainy August day.  And even more rare is the fact that the temperature only reached 80° F (27° C)...way more like spring than late summer!  It put me in the mood for something really fresh and light.  

Mixed greens, fresh strawberries and blackberries, mushrooms, avocado, feta cheese, tossed in a homemade honey and Dijon dressing and topped with a gorgeous, perfectly cooked salmon filet.  Yum!  

Carey isn't a fan of salmon.  He'll eat it, but I know he doesn't really enjoy it.  And as high as the price is, I figure why force it on somebody who doesn't like it.  So I usually make it when Jared and I are on our own.  We both LOVE it.  And we both thoroughly enjoyed our salad.

I had an appointment with a chiropractor today.  My left shoulder is still causing lots of pain.  I went to him for the first time last week.  He's young, well trained, and I have hopes that we will be able to get the shoulder back to normal.  The muscle spasms in my back that were also plaguing me for the past month or more are already gone for the most part, and since the last visit, I have enjoyed three days of more energy than I've had since I can't remember when.  I love the chiropractor I've been going to for the past twenty years, but she is over an hour away from where I live now.  And I think there is something to be said for young doctors coming out of school with new methods and treatments.  I am feeling very hopeful.

Here's a photo of Rudy in his new vest...we had to go up a size.  He makes us laugh a lot.  Right now he is racing around the house at warp speed.  That means that in a few minutes he will be begging to crawl up into my lap to be held until he falls asleep.  Baby!  :)

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 32...


Successes:
1.  Finally used $75 gift card that I got as a result of emailing corporate office of restaurant where we we had a miserable dining experience back in May.  We took our grandson (who coincidentally was with me at the bad meal in May).  Three meals, two iced teas, one water, and two desserts-to-go (desserts ordered to get as close to the card value as possible).  Tab came to $74.  All we owed was a nice tip.

2.  I returned a pet water bottle to PetSmart that wouldn't fit on Rudy's kennel door.  Twenty dollars back in our pocket.  Proud of myself for keeping the bottle and receipt together for a month till I could return it.

3.  Worked yesterday and today, and booked three days of work for October.

4.  Used my Amazon credit (from the Apple ebooks antitrust settlement) on a bottle of BioFreeze topical pain spray for my shoulder.  Brought the price down from $28 to $4, so I had pain relief of a sort before they even sent my purchase.  :)

5.  Thought about getting my hair cut early this week (I didn't want to wear a ponytail to work) but I put it off again, still, so I French braided it for work instead.

Keep Tryings:
I bought a child gate so that I could take it to my daughter for when she puppy sits.  I spent extra for an extra wide one...fits doors from 31 to 50 inches...so that I could use it in an interior passage archway at my home also.  Tried it out tonight.  It seems my archway is approximately 51 inches wide.  :(  

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  frugal dinner out, see #1
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  salmon patties, Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe, broccoli
Tuesday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Wednesday:  meatloaf, twice-baked potatoes
Thursday:  *pizza
Friday:  *Chinese takeout

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Chloe's ten...

This one turned ten last week while I was gone.  Last year she gave me specific criteria for her present (a particular style and size of Beanie Boo), and I was still off a little.  She was very sweet about it, but this year, she asked for the same thing she had asked for last year, so I figured it must be pretty important to her.  So I suggested that we should go shopping for it together.

Last night she spent the night, and we hit the road this morning on the hunt.  It took six stores, but she came home happy.  

I tried to buy her the gray wool fedora while we were out.  She has a perfect face for hats.  I know this because I look ridiculous in hats...always have.

She reminded me that she already has a fedora (below).  

I countered that the one she has is a summer hat, and today's find is a winter hat.  She couldn't be swayed, which was a frugal decision.  

It made me look through the old photos I have of her in hats, and I ask your patience while I share some taken through the years.

Her 'newsie' look.
 
Her beret gives her a bit of the Hyacinth Bucket vibe.

Love the demi veil.

Hamming it up in a hand-knit.

A real Kentucky Derby fascinator from the other Kathleen.

And when it comes to sleeping caps, she has a style all her own.   *Ü*
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Friday, August 5, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 31...


Successes:
1.  Paid grandson to puppy sit at our home while I was gone for four days.  He loves dogs, and took great care of Rudy.  I paid him a pretty fair daily fee, because he had to clean up after a puppy, after all, and he kept training and feeding consistent.  

2.  I don't think I've spent any money this week other than puppy sitting...thinking...thinking...  I have pretty much been staying home since returning from retreat.  I did pick up an ice tea last night on my way to the airport to pick up Kasey.  Oh, I bought takeout for dinner on Wednesday.  But as far as buying a 'thing,' I think the closest I have come is placing a board game in my Amazon 'cart' which I am considering buying for our Sunday night after-dinner games...haven't made a final decision on it yet.

3.  Making use of the library this week.  Finished my borrowed actual book.  Started my borrowed ebook.  Picked up books for the kids that Kasey had reserved before going out of town...delivered to kids at noon on Wednesday...Diego texted me at 5:54 that he had finished his already.  Love that kid!

4.  Made tuna casserole last night for supper.  One of those meals that I almost always have everything in the pantry and can throw it together in a blink.

5.  Carey just left to donate blood, and will probably come home with another free t-shirt.  I think I will make homemade pizza for dinner tonight since all ingredients are on hand.  And I scheduled two days of work for next week.  

Keep Tryings:
I forgot to turn the ceiling fan off in my bedroom when I left for retreat.  Fan ran needlessly for four days.  Sshhhhhh...don't tell Carey.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  retreat eats
Sunday:  retreat eats
Monday:  retreat eats
Tuesday:  retreat eats
Wednesday:  *barbecue
Thursday:  tuna casserole
Friday:  homemade pizza

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What I'm reading Wednesday...

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I put this one on What I'm Reading Wednesday last week.  I finished it this morning.  I took it with me to the quilt retreat, and snuck away for a little reading time now and then.  OH, HOW I LOVE THIS BOOK!  A big thank you goes to Peggy at A Primitive Plot for recommending it to me.  I will definitely be looking for other books by this author in the future.  I believe this was his first one, and I even loved the acknowledgments...one of the sweetest tributes to a parent I can imagine.

I guess I will now start my other library book blogged about last week.  Probably good that it sounds to be totally different from this one.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Frugal Friday File, week 30...

Somehow in the rush of packing and projects on Friday, I didn't get this posted.



Successes:
1.  Having a sewing machine and knowing how to use it can really  save the day!

2.  Having frugal friends.  Quilting friends all chip in to pack and prepare meals for retreat instead of splurging on expensive retreats that provide meals or going out.

3.  Using supplies from the craft room.

4.  Using my forty-year-old sewing machine.  I toy with the idea of a new one, but the one I have works for now (though you can't get new parts for it, so its days may be numbered).

5.  Carey was able to get his truck's air conditioning repaired for $200+.  We thought it might be much more, so he put it off as long as he could stand it.  So nice to have a trusty and economical mechanic for jobs hubs can't take care of himself.


Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  sandwiches and chips
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *dinner out
Tuesday:  pork chops, rice, three bean salad
Wednesday:  Shrimp Pasta Salad
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  *burger out

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Just home from summer quilt retreat...

Quick post as I have a lot of catching up to do.

Left on Saturday for our summer quilt retreat.  Our usual retreat location had an air conditioning malfunction!  We were miserable.  The repairman came, and he got it limping along, but he didn't seem to be very optimistic.  We gave it a whole day without getting hardly any work done, as it was just so uncomfortable.  Then we decided we just couldn't spend the night.  

At the very last minute, we called another nearby retreat center that a couple of us had visited, and they didn't have any guests booked, so they let us come.  It was wonderful that we were able to save the retreat and get into someplace that had working AC.

We've made jelly roll race quilts in our group before, but never as a competitive endeavor.  This time we actually had a time keeper and a prize.  Suffice to say I didn't win.  But am happy with the blue and white quilt top I finished.

I didn't get photos of everyone's quilts, but did get a couple of my favorites.  The one above is Caroline's Pink Perfection.  I just love it.  So sweet!

This one is Susan's Stained Glass.  She sat right next to me, so I got to watch her progress on it.  I think it really turned out pretty.

And I came home with a yearning for one of their ironing tables!  SO sturdy and big.  The owner told us how they made them, and I think I may just have to get this done!  She had a secret that makes it really easy, so if and when I accomplish this, I will share here.
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