Friday, June 23, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 25...


Successes:
1.  Four (4) stay-home, no-spend days this week.

2.  In the process of cleaning off and rearranging my kitchen counters, I found myself repeatedly moving a small, vintage Sunbeam mixing bowl, which served as our pocket change depository.  I already had a trip to the bank on my list of errands, so I quit trying to find a home for the bowl and carried it to the car instead.  Yes, it felt a little strange carrying a mixing bowl into the bank lobby, but it felt wonderful to dump it into the coin counter machine which is free for account holders.  Final tally was $57.75.  The OCD part of me loves the palindromic number.  The aesthetic part of me loves the pin money (now in space saving paper vs coins) tucked into a drawer instead of cluttering the counter.  (It's tucked into my drawer, by the way, because we had a bet about how much the change would total, and I was closer.  😉)

3.  Had a medical bill to pay in the same building I had an appointment today.  Paid the bill in person and saved a stamp.

4.  We have dribs and drabs of several of this week's meals in the fridge.  I proclaim tonight 'Leftover Extravaganza!'

5.  Avoiding pulling your hair out is more frugal than a wig.  Staying married is more frugal than divorce.  Not harming your spouse is more frugal than hiring a defense team of lawyers.  Do ya see where I'm going here?  Sometimes my handy hubby is a bit too speedy at jumping into jobs around the house.  He skips the step about consulting his partner, and his finished result is not even remotely close to what I needed or had in mind.  Yesterday's result is irrevocable.  Thankfully prayer is free!


Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  meatloaf, twice baked potatoes
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  jambalaya casserole
Thursday:  chicken burgers and coleslaw
Friday:  Leftover Extravaganza!

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer solstice...


Summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  I am celebrating!  

Am I celebrating because I am a summer person?  A sun worshiper?  Because I want to squeeze every bit of activity in while the sun is shining?

Nope.  For me it's the ultimate hump day.  The one day in the year I want behind me.  From here on out I'll be coasting toward shorter days and cooler temps.

Before we know it December 21 will be here.  Ahhh...midwinter...just the sound of it makes me giddy.  Nights by the fire with sewing on my lap and the comforting aroma of soup on the stove.  

I know some of you are barely into warmer weather, but here we are almost at 100° F.  You may feel free to call me crazy, but my spirit animal is a bear...one in the middle of hibernation.  
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What I'm reading Wednesday...

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving
at Work, Home, and School by John Medina

I bought this ebook years ago...and then I bought it again three years later.  Isn't there some sort of brain rule against that sort of thing?  Something along the lines of, 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'?

I'm counting this one under 'a book with a subtitle' category of the 2017 reading challenge.
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Friday, June 16, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 24...


Successes:
1.  Kasey was delivering children to camp on Sunday, so we did not have our regularly scheduled family dinner.  I, however, forgot that until after I had made a dessert from pantry staples.  Instead of digging in, I weighed the likelihood that it would survive a week in the freezer without diminished flavor or texture.  I decided it probably would, so I wrapped it well and put it in the freezer.  I feel SO ahead of the game for this week's Sunday family dinner.

2.  Worked on Monday, and came home for lunch.

3.  Wednesday I went to the city to meet a friend.  I was in not one, not two, but three (3!) near accidents.  I almost kissed the driveway when I got home, so happy was I to arrive home with no damages or injuries.

4.  But wait; there's a fourth (4th!)  Thursday I was driving to a neighboring small town, when a car traveling in the opposite direction suddenly veered entirely into our lane.  I, as well as the car in front of me and one behind me, had to swerve off the pavement to avoid it.  I think the driver in front of me may have soiled their undies...they missed a head-on collision by mere inches.   If they had hit, I would almost definitely have collided with one or both of them.  So I am going to be staying in my nice, safe home for the foreseeable future, because keeping a car undamaged and a body uninjured are frugal!!!

5.  I made stationery and wrote letters this week.  Went through stack of unsolicited mail offers, shredding anything with personal information.  Used a sharpie to redact personal info from prescription bottle labels before disposal.  Gas prices are down, and I found the lowest price while on my errand route with a very low tank.  Refilled cleaning bottles with vinegar from mega-size container.  Leaving a/c thermostat alone and using ceiling fans to feel more comfortable, and remembering to turn them off when I leave the room.

Keep Tryings:
1.  Broken Kindle.  :(

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  homemade burgers w/ lettuce, tomato, onion,
                 avocado
Sunday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Monday:  Carey / leftover burger; me / 1/2 lettuce sandwich
Tuesday:  *dinner out
Wednesday:  Carey / Taco Salad; me / *friends' night out
Thursday:  Homemade Pizza
Friday:  Homemade Lasagna

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Bees: A Novel by Laline Paull

The Bees is described as "The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games."  It takes place inside a beehive, and follows the colony through dangers from outside enemies and elements, and from inside changes.  This fulfills the 'book from a nonhuman perspective' category of the 2017 reading challenge.

I'm finding it much more enjoyable than expected!  I might even say it's a triumph of anthropomorphism.  :)  

I borrowed the ebook from my library, so the demise of my Kindle put a crimp in my reading pleasure, but I'm thankful that I can use my Kindle Fire as a backup.  I should finish it tonight or tomorrow.
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Noooooooooooo...

*

I worked today.  I had planned to cook dinner, but just didn't have it in me.  Carey was willing to finish up leftovers, and I made myself a ham sandwich.

We were eating in the living room (yeah, we're classy like that), and temptation overcame Rudy.  He grabbed the hammy side of my sammy and took off.  Carey ran after him while I tried to steady my plate.  I saved the plate; unfortunately my Kindle fell to the floor.  It may have survived the first blow, but Rudy made another pass and it fell again.

It was chaos, I tell ya.

Kindle screen is broken, which means it is entirely unable to function.   I am absolutely dejected.  I love my old version of Kindle which is no longer made.  The search has begun for a rebuild.

And basically I made do with half of a lettuce sandwich for supper.  I didn't even check it for doggy cooties before I ate it...just too d@%n tired and frustrated to care.

Poor Rudy.  At his last vet visit he heard that old familiar tune we all hate..."he could stand to lose a little weight."  Well, he has done very well with a little less supper and a little more exercise, and it seems he is now fed up with not being fed up, when I clearly could stand to follow the same advice.  😕


*no dogs were harmed in the making of this blog post...or in its triggering events.  The photo is actually from a few weeks ago, I just think he looks sad in it.  Come to think of it, he looks a little pudgy in it too.  Maybe it was right after he heard the vets edict.  
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Friday, June 9, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 23...


Successes:
1.  Trying to think what I could make for supper without going in the store last night (I was actually IN the store parking lot, just did NOT want to go in!)  I remembered I had a pan of smothered pork chops in the freezer.  Yea!  Made some rice and a vegetable for a super-easy home-cooked meal.

2.  I was leaving a comment about online clothes shopping over at A Boomer Girl's Guide yesterday.  I love online shopping, my complaint is ALL the catalogs that come in the mail after they have your delivery address.  I had a stack of catalogs next to my chair, so right then while I had a few minutes I began calling the customer service numbers on the back of catalogs and had them take my name off their mailing lists...and not just for that brand, but I thought to ask if they could remove my name from ALL the catalogs in their group of companies.  It will take up to a month, they said, to see the stoppage, but that's okay.  

I know that there is a service that you can sign up for that will stop unwanted mail, but it costs money to sign up for it.  It was free for me to call the catalog directly and will potentially stop several brand mailings for each call I made.

3.  Carey let me know that he had finished a library book that I had downloaded to his Kindle.  He said he enjoyed it, so I went to the library website and downloaded two more by the author to his Kindle.


4.  I haven't bought any fabric this week.  And in the past month all I have bought is 4 neutral charm packs (pre-cut 5 inch squares) on sale.

5.  It has been an expensive week with graduation lunch out, large chunk of change going into each graduate's education fund, and a birthday girl's day out.  I looked at sheets while at Target, but will wait for a sale.  Have been thinking about cutting my hair shorter, but will think awhile longer.  I work one day next week at the branch nearby.  My paycheck for last week hit account today, Carey's paycheck hit account today, bills will be paid, heads will remain above water.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Late lunch out with graduate, skipped supper
Sunday:  sandwich & chips
Monday:  Greek Tortellini Salad
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  *burger
Thursday:  smothered pork chops, rice/gravy, vegetable
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...


1.  Today is Caitlyn's 12th birthday.  We had a fun day out together.  She had a gift certificate for a manicure that a friend had given her, so I took her to use that for a French manicure (yeah, I know, a 12 year old.  Don't judge me.  I didn't buy it for her.)  

Then we had lunch at a favorite little Tex-Mex place (this is their child's plate btw)...


...on we went to Target just to browse...she found a shirt she liked and a friend...


...then we went to Bahama Buck's for a shaved ice.

She said her mother had always told her that she was born at exactly eight in the morning, but recently they looked at her birth certificate, and found that she had actually been born at 7:52 a.m.  Which is funny, because how many people really know the exact hour of their birth to the minute...well oddly I do too.  My mother was always a number person, and she thought it was funny, and worth my knowing, that I was born at 6:53 a.m.  Why?  Because it meant I was born exactly seven minutes to 7:00 a.m.  And you know what?  Caitlyn was born at exactly eight minutes to 8:00 a.m.  😊

2.  I am still reading last week's book.  LONG chapters.

3.  I made popcorn last night.  I  made too much.  I left the extra covered in the pan overnight and nibbled some a while ago, and it's still pretty good.  I've had staler at the theater.  It's Purple Amish Country Popcorn that I ordered from Amazon.  A friend made it at the last quilt retreat, and it was good enough to make me want to buy some.

4.  Summer is here!  Hot and humid.  😥  That's not tears in my emoticon, it's sweat!

5.  Pet peeve #1:  people who think it's okay to take helium filled balloons to someplace like a graduation and never think twice about impeding the view of possibly hundreds of people behind them.

6.  Pet peeve #2:  Shoppers in the market who leave their cart in the middle of the aisle, and walk away from it and over to the next aisle to pick something up, coming back to the gridlock their abandoned cart caused, and walking away without a clue how inconsiderate they have been.

7.  Pet peeve #3:  People who let their dog bark and bark and bark at deer without quieting it or bringing it inside.  Yeah, this one is what MY neighbors will be saying about me, if I don't let Rudy in right now.  (LOL  This one was an actual 'pet' peeve.)
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Monday, June 5, 2017

Making it Monday...

Today was quilting day at the library.  Most everyone was working on a mystery quilt.  I did a different mystery quilt a year or so ago, and didn't really want to do one again right now.

I worked on these butterfly blocks for a shared project the group is working on.  Each person is doing whatever block pattern they want as long as they are all the exact same size (12 ½ inches square), and made with scraps from our collection (no buying fabric to make them).  In a few months we will exchange so that everybody has one of each from everybody else, then we will each make a quilt top with all the different squares combined in it, so that each square in the quilt top is a different pattern and from a different person…kind of a keepsake quilt of our time together.  Each quilt will be different since we will each choose how we want to put our own block 'sampler' together.

Everybody else had done their exchange squares (2 of which were due today) at home.  I did the piecing at home, but I hand embroidered the antennae while at the library, because there are just some days I don't feel like packing up and loading and unloading my machine in and out of the car.  :)  When I was done with that I helped my neighbor un-sew a couple of boo-boos.  It was the least I could do, as she was falling behind due to my talking her ear off.

I love the first Monday of the month!
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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Graduation 2017...

2017 graduating class (center in blue)

Today was high school graduation day for Bobby and Chandler.  How did it get here so fast?  The ceremony was held in a neighboring town at a university arena.  The graduates were seated on the floor of the arena in blue caps and gowns...571 graduates I believe.

Chandler accepting his diploma

Chandler was close to the front of the group.  Why, oh why, didn't I take some test shots of classmates ahead of him to practice the timing?  The photographer there at the front was taking photos of each graduate, and the school is supposed to send them to the parents, so maybe we will get a better photo of him then.  The photographer's flash went off exactly when I took this, and it really washed out my photo.  They had them moving pretty fast, so I only had one chance.

Bobby accepting his diploma

 Bobby's turned out better.  Pretty fuzzy...but then I was about 40 yards away...at least you can see his happy smile.

Bittersweet.  So proud of them both, but such a big step into their future of being out on their own.

Bobby and Kasey

We took Bobby and the family out afterwards for lunch.  (Chandler was with his mom today.  Ah, the trials of modern families.)  Tomorrow they will both be at a barbecue in their honor at Kasey and Beau's house, but Carey will have to be at work, so will miss it.  I told Kasey I would bake some cookies...or cookie bars, actually...so I'd better go get started.  Kasey is just hoping the rain will hold off.
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Friday, June 2, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 22...


Successes:
1.  I worked two days this week, and at a branch close enough to come home for lunch each day.

2.  Payment for magazine article went into my account this morning.

3.  Starting now to plan an autumn vacation to be an enjoyable and relaxing experience while remaining frugal.

4.  Employer group health insurance coverage.  So thankful for it.

5.  Listening gratefully as Carey explains how his old, damaged lawnmower with vibration/rust damaged bolt holes can probably continue its usefulness by his turning the motor 180 degrees, bolting it into the housing in an alternate position, reversing the wheels...and that's where I kind of lost focus.  But I know that he is willing to put in some work and make do instead of sending something to the landfill and spending money on a new one.  Sigh...love that man.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  * hamburgers
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Tuesday:  Roast w/ Drop Dumplings, green beans, carrots
Wednesday:  chili dogs
Thursday:  Homemade Pizza
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Puzzling...

Chloe came to spend the night last Saturday.  I didn't have any little surprises in her drawer, so when I was at Hobby Lobby before her visit, I used a 50% off coupon to get a puzzle for us to work on.  She likes puzzles, but the 500 pieces was still a bit much for her.  We made some good progress, but she deserted me after awhile.  Of course, she would still look over my shoulder and advise me.  :)

I had it set up on the coffee table, which was not the most well-thought-out location.  Carey wasn't thrilled that it was in his way, and it didn't make for a comfortable prolonged working posture.  It also meant that Rudy was able to keep pretty close tabs on the activity.  Carey pitched in and we made good progress.  I finished it at 3 a.m. today.

Finished except for two pieces, that is.  Guess the damp, chewed up little clump we wrestled away from Rudy yesterday was more than just the one piece we figured on.  Oh well.  He likes ice cream, so he probably couldn't resist.  I'll bet he was disappointed.  :)
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

This was one that was mentioned in last week's read, and therefore fulfills the 'book mentioned in another book' category of the 2017 reading challenge.  I worked yesterday and again today, so I've not made much of a start on it yet; and probably won't get more time with it until tomorrow when it will keep me company while waiting for my mammogram appointment and then another appointment for a shoulder x-ray. 
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Friday, May 26, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 21...


Successes:
1.  Submitted invoice for payment of article/photo.

2.  Bathed Rudy and cleaned his ears myself...no grooming fee.  Normally I clip his nails after a bath, but he had a vet appointment this week, and our vet office always clips their patients' nails as a free perk during appointments, so I was happy to let them do it this time.  I looked up grooming fees at PetSmart and Petco, and apparently a bath/ear cleaning/nail trim costs $18.99 for his breed at PetSmart and $33 at Petco.  Nice to have a concrete idea of how much this chore saves.

3.  Knocked out some physically taxing chores on Monday, and was really wanting to order a pizza instead of cooking diner.  But since I had to run to WalMart anyway, I found I was just as happy getting a frozen pizza instead and saving some bucks.

4.  After several years of use, my laptop battery would no longer hold a charge and had to be kept plugged in at all times.  After months and months of this, I finally started researching reviews on Amazon (which is where I got the current one, and was perfectly happy with it, but since it was no longer available I had to find an alternative).  I found one with good reviews and info for about $100 less on Amazon than from the laptop manufacturer.  

5.  Made a menu plan and shopping list.  It's so much easier to stick to my cook-at-home resolve when I have the ingredients in the house.  I still need to go to the local grocery...ran out of energy after Costco yesterday.  :)


Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe, leftover salmon & Kale Salad, Cornbread Salad
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  frozen pizza
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  meatloaf, leftover mac & cheese, broccoli
Thursday:  smothered pork chops, rice, broccoli
Friday:  Taco Salad

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday's Costco trip...

I'm not sure how frugal this trip was.  I didn't really compare prices, which could be a mistake, but at least I am now stocked up on some staples.  This is only part of the things that came home with me.  I forgot to take a photo till I had already put most things away.  

I have already cooked two batches of smothered pork chops...one for tonight and one for the freezer.  The flour should last a year.  Pecans for the freezer.  Two roasts.  Oh, and my membership was due, so that hiked up my bill.  Canned tomatoes and canned Ranch Style beans.  Olive oil.  Large size spices.  Trash bags.  Four-pack of pizza crusts with sauce (I usually make my crust from scratch, but this was an impulse buy).  Ham.  Seems like I'm forgetting some.

I went with my menu plan in mind as well as staples needed.  Other than the pizza crusts, I stuck to my list.  No books!  I wasn't even tempted.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

This is a memoir about the author and his mother and the books they shared, read, and discussed while she was undergoing chemo for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  It fulfills the 
'a book about a difficult topic' category of the 2017 reading challenge.  I figure that among its pages I will find a book that I want to read that will fulfill the 'a book that's been mentioned in another book' category.  :)
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For anyone who has expressed an interest...

Some have asked me about the magazine that I write articles for occasionally.  You can click here to see the new summer issue.  Click through to see my article (on putting an enlarged photo on a canvas and other patriotic decoration ideas) on page 20 and 21.  That's my dad in the middle and his brothers on each side.  

Be sure to stop on page 9 to check out the recipe for a Watermelon Melody, an original recipe for a summer cocktail created by my friend, the other Kathleen.  It looks so pretty, it might even get me to overcome my life-long aversion to watermelon.

Ooooh, and look at page 24 through 27.  I want to take that train excursion!
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 20...


Totally non-frugal week...for which the frugal weeks are made to pay.

Successes:
1.  I drank water at each of our meals out.

2.  Finished my library book and returned before due date.

3.  Figured my gas mileage when I filled up...28 miles per gallon (city/highway combined) is much better than my last vehicle.

4.  Paid bills on time foregoing late fees.

5.  Still no haircut, no new dog toys, no new fabric this week (so far),  no maid service, no yard man, and no psychiatric care thanks to long, friend phone calls.  :)

Keep Tryings:  Our meals out this week were for things like Mother's Day and special time with graduate.  One day held two meals out on same day.  Must cook and eat at home more in coming days, which means menu planning and grocery shop in my immediate future.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Greek Tortellini Salad
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  waffles, bacon & eggs, fruit salad
Tuesday:  *lunch AND *dinner out
Wednesday:  *late lunch out so skipped dinner
Thursday:  grazed the fridge
Friday:  kale salad with broiled salmon filet, seasoned rice

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Old Man by Thomas Perry

Best book I've read this year...so far.  I love Thomas Perry.  I didn't know he had a new book out, and so when I was reading another blog and in a comment by Dianne from Lavender Dreams she recommended it, I had to look for it.  I was thrilled that my library had it available immediately.  I couldn't put it down.  Happily it perfectly fits into the 'espionage thriller' category of the 2017 reading challenge, as I was really not looking forward to that category.

Now I am reading this one...

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

A four-year-old boy is having phobias and nightmares and trouble at his daycare.  His mother is losing work and spending her retirement savings to try to help him, and battling her skepticism when it seems that he may be having memories of a previous life.  

This one was recommended by Christina Baker Klein, author of The Orphan Train, so it will fulfill the 'a book recommended by an author you love' category of the reading challenge.
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day...


I was going through an old deed box this week.  In it were some bank and tax records, dating from as far back as the 1800s, from the family of a great-aunt by marriage.  She and my great-uncle had no children, so my mother 'inherited' a lot of their household items, and somehow I ended up with this box.  It was somewhat interesting to see what the notice, and subsequent conclusion, of an IRS tax audit from the early 1900s looked like.  (Incidentally, after the audit the IRS refunded $34 that had been overpaid by this individual.)  What does one do with this stuff?  It surely has no relevance for anyone, but its history...  

Also in the box were lots and lots of canceled stamps torn off from the corner of their envelopes.  One of which caught my attention with its very appropriate message for today...a three cent stamp from 1934 'in memory and in honor of the mothers of America'.  

As long as I can remember, my mother would say, "You'll have fun going through all this stuff someday."  Hmmm...  So I imagine her patting my shoulder as I slide the box, with all of its content, back on the shelf.  I guess I do it in memory and honor of her.  (Note to daughter: you can dispose of of all this one day.  I promise not to haunt you.  I cannot, however, promise that your grandmother won't.)

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers around the world today!
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