Friday, April 28, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 17...


Successes:
1.  My paycheck reflecting the 40 hours worked last week went into my bank account today.  Wowza!  Well, 'wowza' is probably overstating it, but it's been awhile since I worked a full week, so it is nice to see.  

2.  Today is a work day for me as well.  Only one this week, so I enjoyed the time at home.

3.  I completed and submitted an article and photos on Monday morning.  We had a long stretch of overcast and/or rainy days, which delayed the photo taking.

4.  I finally purchased a patio chair.  It seems that I've been waiting forever for the right one to come along.  I finally saw one I liked advertised 'on special' at a retailer and almost purchased it, but did an internet search and found that through Amazon they were $30 less than the 'special' price...and no shipping with my Prime.  Delayed gratification...just in time for it to be too hot to sit outside.

5.  I bought some quilt batting to make a design wall for my craft room.  I'm working on a project that will need careful arranging of pieced squares.  I used a 40% off coupon for the purchase which was a huge help. 

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday: *hamburgers 
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  peanut butter & pickle sandwich and a bowl of cereal
Tuesday:  Ham, Onion, Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
Wednesday:  leftovers
Thursday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Friday:  Greek Tortellini Salad

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Today is Rudy's 1st birthday...


It doesn't seem possible that it has been one year...at times it has seemed SO much longer!  LOL   Actually we didn't bring him home until July 10, so it hasn't been a year that we've had him, but he is now one year old.

I was just today congratulating him on no inside accidents in recent memory, but then Carey came home, and, well what can I say.  Maybe next year I will be able to say that he hasn't had any accidents since his last birthday.  :)
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Open Season by C. J. Box

This is the first book of a popular series by C. J. Box.  The series was recently recommended by Terra on her blog Terra Garden.  Since reading the first book of a new-to-me series fulfills a category of my 2017 Reading Challenge, and since I like to come across a book that I think Carey might also enjoy, and since this one was available as an ebook from my library, it was a shoe in.  

So far really enjoying it.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 16...


Successes:
1.  I attended a free how-to class at the library to make a mosaic stepping stone.  The library provided all materials.  All I did was show up and play in the mud.  :)  And the friend I attended with brought me a jar of homemade pickles!

2.  I worked 40 hours this week...and lived to tell about it.

3.   I came home for lunch every day this week and cooked at home every night...so far.

4.  I bathed Rudy, cleaned his ears, and will trim his nails when he winds down a little...no groomer fee for me.

5.  I baked a $1.29 per pound Easter ham.  So far we've had ham with mac & cheese, sandwiches, and omelettes.  In the plans are quiche, packaging some for the freezer for more quiche and a casserole or two, and using the pan drippings (about a pint) to add to a pot of beans.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  hamburgers
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw
Tuesday:  chili dogs
Wednesday:  Ham, Macaroni & Cheese, Fruit Salad
Thursday:  omelettes
Friday:  *pizza

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

 The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

I checked this one out as an audio book from my library's website.  I chose this one to fulfill either the 'book by an author who uses a pseudonym' or the 'audiobook' category of the 2017 reading challenge.  I'm not liking it much.  If the office is as quiet for the rest of the week as things usually are for us after tax season ends, I'll keep it on super-low volume at the desk.  Kind of cheating, but I think it's that or give up on it altogether.
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter...

I hope that everyone had a lovely Easter.  We had a quiet day.  I made Faithy's Favorite Layered Dessert to take to Sunday family dinner at Kasey's, decorated with some candy Easter eggs, of course.

I've been working on a project for an article that is due at the end of the week.  I'm getting close to being done, but need to take photographs, and it has been a bit cloudy and so somewhat dark in the house.  The longer it takes, the more time I have to think that things need tweaking.

I work all week this week.  I am not used to working that many days in a row anymore!  
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 15...


Successes:
1.  Menu planned.  Grocery list made.  Major shopping trip done.  Coupons used.  Freezer and pantry restocked.

2. One item on my shopping list was ham.  I don't buy one often, but they were on sale for $1.29 per pound.  I have meal plans for ham with macaroni & cheese, quiche, ham sandwiches, and some to be packaged for the freezer for future meals.  

3.   Just paid the electric bill...probably the lowest of the year.

4.  While the weather is comfortable, Carey has plans to take the air conditioner apart today.  He is going to clean the coils and check things over.  Not exactly in his job description, but he has had A/C training through his employer over the years.  A mechanical husband is a frugal thing indeed.

5.  I'm working Monday thru Friday of next week.  I am just a wee bit out of practice.  If it doesn't kill me, I will have a decent pay check.


Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes, corn
Sunday:  *pizza
Monday:  roast, carrots, potatoes & gravy 
Tuesday:  Taco Salad
Wednesday:  French Canadian Salmon Pie
Thursday:  *TexMex
Friday:  pork roast, squash casserole, green beans

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Birthday to my baby girl...


Today is Kasey's birthday.  It's one of those monumental ones.  One of those that may make the birthday girl feel old, but it makes her mother feel ancient!

I delivered a quilt (along with a favorite pie) for her birthday.  It's one Carey's mother pieced in the '90s. She actually made two tops...this one is a throw size that she never had quilted...the other is a full size that she had quilted and used on her bed for many years.  They are both in the same fabrics and pattern.  Carey's mom cut and pieced each hexagon by hand.  I believe she bought the pink background fabric, but the prints were from a friend's scrap stash.  Did I mention that Carey's mother had never quilted, or even sewn much before?   Did I mention that she has never quilted or sewn since?  :)

When she was moving out of her house and downsizing, she gave me this unquilted throw-sized top.  I had it machine quilted last year.  I decided that it would make a special gift for this special birthday, so I took it to the quilt retreat in February to work on the binding, and finished all but the hand sewing.

I was up all night last night putting a label on it and finishing the binding by hand...because that's just the kind of procrastinator that I am.  Now I get to mark another quilt off my goal list for the year.  Woohoo!
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Old Friends by Tracy Kidder

I've loved everything I've ever read by Tracy Kidder.  He writes non-fiction in such a way that it feels like a novel.  This one is about the residents of a nursing home.  I've been wanting to read this one for a long time (it was published in 1993), but somehow have never gotten around to it.
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Chicken Fried Steak...

I hadn't seen Jared all week, so while I was picking up a few things at the store yesterday I got everything needed for his favorite dinner.  I figured I could lure him over with the right incentive.  :)  I made him help with the preparation...you know...teach a man to fish.  LOL

Actually I just got everything started, and left him to it.  Turned out beautifully.  

And it tasted delicious.  Carey is still at his "brothers' weekend," so he missed out, but I made him two plates for the freezer to go to work with him.

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It's not a bargain if I don't need it...

Planners.  Bullet journals.  To-do lists.  I love the pretty ones I see on Pinterest and blogs.  The pretty inks and stickers and printing.  

All planner-related goods are 30% off at Michael's right now.  A good sale always makes me think I should reconsider upgrading.   I did have a look, and they all seemed...overwhelming...pretty, but overwhelming.  I could see myself wanting lots of supplies, and a place to keep them, and spending hours on organizing the pages and accoutrements.  Frankly the last thing I need right now is another hobby...and I could see myself making a full-blown hobby out of these.

 I've talked before about my need for simplicity in my calendars; the same goes for my lists.  So I decided again to stick with what I know.  A spiral notebook that fits in my purse and keeps a pen handy in its wired spine.

Of course, it's a pretty-colored pen.  :)
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Friday, April 7, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 14...


Successes:
1.  My regularly-used sewing machine was my mother's before me. It's not real pretty, and it can't do fancy things.  I have taken a little ribbing for it among some friends, but that's okay with me.  Theirs cost more than my first car did.  Mine is an old friend, I know its quirks, and it can do everything I need it to.  

2.  Carey's favorite sandwich franchise opened a shop nearby.  Grandson's hired!  :)  The day before they opened for paying customers, they had a practice-run day.  Free dinner!

3.  Carey is taking some vacation time.  As usual it is a stay-cation for us.  Lots of things to take care of around the house and yard, somewhat long-distance errands to run,  a day trip to visit mom-in-law, and he is having a few days with his brothers at their hunting lease.  Maybe later in the year we will use more vacation time to travel, but this one will be filed under frugal.  

4.  Today I had to pick up some materials for a project that has to be completed within the next week.  Serendipitously, Michael's had some good coupons/sales that helped me out...50% off coupon for an item that wasn't on sale...some quilting WIP storage boxes on sale for 60% off...and 15% off coupon for entire order including sale items.  I also had to have a scan/copy done at Office Depot on their giant blueprint machine for the project so I took advantage of their buy one/get one 40% off ink for my home printer (mine ran out last weekend)...kind of a big chunk to make at one time, but next time I run out, I'll be glad I have refills at the ready.

5.  My phone is still hanging in.  

Keep Tryings:  Our two-year-old dishwasher has to be replaced.  Carey ordered an expensive part...put it on...didn't correct the problem.  Called an appliance repairman...he came out...told us what part it needed, but that it would probably be a recurring problem as the dryer fan blows steam right into the electronic control board...electronics do not like steam.  Checked on the price of the correct part, and it was also very expensive, and we decided not to throw good money after bad.  We will begin looking for a new dishwasher next week, keeping the mechanical design in mind.  Sadly, when we were buying the now broken one, we did a lot of research and this one had a very high rating with Consumer Reports, so how do you know how to make a good choice?  :(

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  oven-fried chicken, buttered potatoes, green beans
Sunday:  Sunday Family Dinner at Kasey's - crawfish boil
Monday:  Honey Garlic Chicken with Broccoli
Tuesday:  *lunch out with mother-in-law, sandwiches for supper
Wednesday:  free Schlotzky sandwiches
Thursday:  *fish
Friday:  sweet & sour meatballs and rice

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Making it Monday...

Today was quilting day at the library.  This doesn't look like a lot of progress, but considering I did all the cutting there before I got to start sewing, I feel okay about it.  The pattern is Tag Team Quilt by Missouri Star Quilt Company.  


The blocks will go together like this, and then borders will be added.  Yes, I am using the exact same fabrics that were used in the pattern sample.  My mother would not be surprised.  When she made my clothes, I always wanted fabric that looked just like the pattern envelope.  LOL  But in this case, I was wanting to use the Elementary line of fabrics that I already owned, and was looking through Google Images to see what others made with it when I came across this pattern.  It turned out I also own MSQC's Block Magazine (Vol. 1, Issue 4, Late Summer 2014) that has the pattern in it,  so that was a happy coincidence.

Gotta hurry up and get this one done.
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Friday, March 31, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 13...


Successes:
1.  Picked up a day of work Tuesday covering for someone out sick.

2.  Taxes done, refund coming.

3.  Last weekend I thought my phone was on its last legs.  I was able to save all photos to 'the cloud' and manually saved all my contacts...just in case.  It seems to be okay for the time being.  I'm happy to continue using it until it is unusable.

4.  I brewed tea for iced tea.  

5.  I used the free Prime 2-day shipping to send a gift directly from Amazon to a friend at her home in another state.  The annual fee for Prime isn't cheap, but living a fair distance from shopping, I feel the cost of the annual fee is reasonable as it saves gasoline and mileage on my car, and in this case it saved me the postage I would have spent if I bought locally and mailed to her myself.  To make sure I get the most for my Prime-annual-fee money I try to take full advantage of the other advantages Prime includes.  This week I enjoyed watching A Man Called Ove for free on Amazon Prime Video, and I've been listening to free Prime Music too.  Oh, and I almost forgot that this week I took advantage of another service included with Prime membership...Prime Photos.  All of the photos I saved off of my phone (when it was acting up last weekend) went to the unlimited photo storage in 'the cloud' included with Prime membership.  

Sorry if this sounded a bit like a commercial.  I receive no compensation for my opinion.  It's just that sometimes I have to remind myself to use the 'extras' that come with Prime, and I thought they might help someone else too.  And if you don't have Prime, it's possible you have other annual memberships that have advantages you may not know about or just forget to use.  Check them out.

Keep Tryings:  Thursday we were going to be near a favorite restaurant that we haven't been to in years, so we planned our errand to put us by there for an early dinner.  I've gotten out of the habit of ordering tea when eating meals out, but for some reason I did this time...$2.39 for one glass of tea.  Of course Carey ordered tea also, so 2 glasses of tea plus tax made it $5.16...and then we tipped 20% on top of that, so just the two glasses of tea added $6.20 to our bill.  A good reminder:  have tea at home and water at restaurants.  (See #4 above)

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *barbecue
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  Greek Pasta Salad
Thursday:  *fish
Friday:  leftovers for him, egg on toast for me

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Book of Speculation by Erica Swyler

This one has really mixed reviews, so we will see how I get on with it.  It fits the reading challenge's category of 'A book that is a story within a story.'
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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday's snail mail...

It has been quite some time since I have written a Saturday snail mail post!  

Yesterday afternoon was so quiet at the office.  After two days of no one dropping in unexpectedly (except for the auditor, who only does that once in a calendar year), and having completed my required annual training the day before, I was left to my own devices as to how to fill the time.  I was very grateful that I had packed along a little kit of card supplies.  Three quickly made and letters written.

Today they are winging their way to friends.  
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Friday, March 24, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 12...


Successes:
1.  I worked three days this week.  I took my lunch all three days.  

2.  We cooked dinner at home all week and packed extra servings into the freezer for Carey to take to work.

3.  We have had some irritation with the cable service lately.  Carey wants to go back to satellite.  I reminded him that a little irritation is better than the huge satellite bill.

4.  My knee is acting up.  Today it collapsed under me while I was trying to run errands on my lunch hour.  I went down...in public...highly embarrassing...but nothing broken, so I survived and was able to return to work and finish out the day.  But once there I got a paper cut.  And the branch got audited.  Why am I always working alone when the auditors stop by?  So happy I was able to get back to my post and they didn't show up to find a deserted office.

5.  I was going to buy my mother-in-law a birthday card...was on my way into the store when...see #4 above.  I think she's getting another handmade card this year.

Keep Tryings:  The dishwasher part that Carey ordered was $168...and it didn't fix the problem.  Grrrr.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Shepherd's Pie
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  roast, potatoes, carrots, gravy
Tuesday:  meatloaf, twice-baked potatoes, corn
Wednesday:  spaghetti, garlic toast
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Wonder: a novel by Emma Donoghue

Having read several other books by Emma Donoghue...RoomSlammerkin, and Frog Music... I've really been wanting to read this for a  long while, and yet for one reason or another other books have jumped ahead of it.  

I checked this out as an ebook from the library, so it really needs to get done asap.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happiness is...


When your planned entree is under control, but you don't really know what to serve with it, happiness is remembering you have a large supply of individually-wrapped twice-baked potatoes in the freezer!  Never fails to help me keep calm and carry on.  

Tonight I have a meatloaf in the oven, and potatoes defrosting in the microwave before putting in to bake too.

I know I've said this before; sorry to repeat myself.  I'm just such a big fan of putting in the work once and reaping the benefits over and over!  :)
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Making it Monday...

Today was quilting day at the library.  I couldn't find the pattern for what I needed to be working on, so I picked up my WIP (work in progress) box containing Radio Days.  This one was started not long after I joined the library quilting group, so that's about two years now...it's a very low-priority project.  I've got eight squares done now, but it's going back in its box, since I have something more important to work on...if I could just find that darn pattern.

Happily, I thought to email the group last night asking if anyone else had the project book it was in (since I couldn't find mine), and one did and brought it.  Now I think I have everything assembled to get started on it.

I've been working on the office/craft room lately.  I'm still sorting through the books in the bookcases.  I'm hoping to reduce the numbers by at least half.  Then I will move my fabric stash onto the shelves.  My goal is to get my sewing machine set up permanently in there along with a design wall.  And I have a fabulous ironing table (on order from a friend's husband) that will need a home too.  It was the orginal impetus to get the craft room organized, because they said they will deliver it when it's done, and I didn't want them to see the room like it has been looking for the past few eons (not to mention that there probably wouldn't be room to get the ironing table into the room!)

Supper is in the Ninja slow cooker thanks to Carey, so maybe I will get off the computer and head back to the bookcases for awhile.  That is, if I can get Rudy to unpin my legs.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 11...


Successes:
1.  I cooked at home this week even when I didn't want to.  Let's hope that last week's backsliding was an anomaly.  I did, however, pick up sandwiches after work today, because the branch I was in is near a sandwich shop that Carey really likes.  I planned ahead for this and we had our Irish meal last night instead of tonight.  I took some leftovers for lunch today.

2.  The dishwasher has been acting up lately.  I haven't used it for a week or so while Carey was gone.  I did do some online research into what the problem might be.  Now that he's home, Carey has been running test cycles trying to diagnose the issue, and he thinks it is probably the one I guessed after my online searches.  Hopefully we can get by with ordering a part that he can install.  Keeping a handy hubby around is very frugal.

3.  I got a call yesterday from a branch booking me to work two additional days next week (I was already booked for one, so now it's three).  I'm hoping for quiet days, as I just found out there have been some changes requiring new training to complete online.  Yippee...my favorite thing...not.

4.  I got a magazine article idea approved for the summer issue.  It's a how-to, and I'm really looking forward to the process, documentation, and seeing the article in print...and the paycheck.  :)

5.  I have enough moisturizer left for about one more use.  I was running errands the other day, and I started to go buy more.  Then I realized that I have a couple of moisturizers at home that I just don't use for one reason or another.  I decided I should at least give them another try, and, unless I absolutely hate them, they should be used before I buy more.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  steak, baked potatoes, salad
Monday:  Enchilada Soup
Tuesday:  Taco Salad
Wednesday:  sausage gravy over baked potatoes, broccoli
Thursday:  Dublin Coddle with Kale
Friday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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Happy St. Patrick's Day...

These aren't exactly Irish shamrocks, but since the word shamrock comes from the Irish word meaning 'young clover or little clover', I guess these are Texas shamrocks.  They're not exactly proof of a well-kept lawn, but their appearance in the spring always makes me smile.

Happy birthday to my Mom.  Today would have been her 101st.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Village life in WWII England.  I've seen it compared to The Nightingale and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which I loved; but, truly, it was the gorgeous cover art that made me have to read this one.  

It's told through letters and journal entries.  I'm not far in yet, so just getting to know that characters.
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