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. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 21...

1.  Submitted invoice for payment of article/photo.

2.  Bathed Rudy and cleaned his ears 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)

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 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.

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.  :)

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!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 20...

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

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)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Old Man by Thomas Perry

Best book I've read this 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.

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!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 19...

1.  Had several stay-at-home, no-spend days this week.

2.  Made a donation drop off at Goodwill. Did not even go inside as I am focusing on removing things from the house right now and not bringing anything in.

3. Tried to do my bit for zero food waste by eating leftovers and cooking things that had been in the fridge for awhile and I might have thrown away before focusing on frugality.  (However, I then had to basically empty the freezer which 'somebody' left open all night one night.)

4. Scheduled three days of work for later this month.

5. Made a birthday card from supplies on hand and mailed it with a handwritten note. Made two plates from tonight’s leftovers for the freezer for Carey to take to work. I’m reading a library ebook on my Kindle, and I also checked two other library ebooks out for Carey and put them on his Kindle. Both Kindles were bought last year as rebuilds for very reasonable price, and they work perfectly.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  peanut butter and pickle sandwich
Monday:  leftovers
Tuesday:  late *lunch out (so skipped dinner)
Wednesday:  *barbecue baked potato
Thursday:  oven bbq chicken, Hot Potato Salad, green beans
Friday:  *Tex-Mex

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
I had such a mess (office/craft room spillover) in the kitchen most of the week leaving hardly any horizontal work surface, hence not a lot of cooking done around here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

I managed to finish last week's book.  Just thought I'd mention that since I whined on about it so.  

After soldiering on through that one, I decided to try one of the challenge categories that I really dreaded...steampunk...and I promised myself that I could lay it aside if I hated it.

Chronicles of Steele: Raven by Pauline Creeden

  Surprisingly, I didn't.  I will never be a devotee, but I finished it on Sunday, and it was more enjoyable than the one before it.

That makes 26 books ticked off of my 2017 reading challenge.  I believe...yes, indeed...that makes an even 50%.  Hmmm...didn't someone predict October would see me at 50%?  :)  Of course from here on out, it may get harder to fill the categories.  Things like a book on career from a non-human that has over 800 pages!  Oy!

My Husband's Wife: A Novel by Jane Corry

I started this one on Monday.  I made a lot of progress since I sat with my knee up a good part of the afternoon and evening.  Yesterday my knee felt a lot better, so didn't get to spend as much time reading, but it did keep me up quite late.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Today is Tuesday...

This was supposed to be a 'making it Monday' post, but c'est la vie.

Just tellin' it like it is in this belated-birthday card I made a little while ago.  I will go put it in the mail in a bit...if I can psych myself up to walk to the mailbox.

Pretty much the only other thing I've been making lately is a giant mess!  I have the office/craft room torn completely the point that it has spread to the kitchen and dining room...and then I twisted my knee yesterday which just slows down the process more.  ugh.

(Why, oh why, can't I just wiggle my nose and have everything neat and tidy?!)

I am trying to be brutal towards downsizing my book collection.  All those reference and how-to books are filled with information that can now be easily found on the internet.  The gardening books were pipe dreams, since I have never been a gardener, and their info, too, can be found online.  I kept a few very practical ones for Carey to choose from (he says that he may have a vegetable garden if I ever let him retire), and a couple of practical home remedy case TSHTF.  Fiction I haven't read thus far, and don't particularly have a strong desire to, are going.  I am keeping only ones I have read and love and could read over and over...again, in case TSHTF and I ever have to live without electricity or Kindle.  

I need more shelf space to put fabric on, so that it is easily found and accessed.  Then I need to rearrange the room so that I can have my sewing machine set up and usable at all times.  I need to get the clean up and organization finished and the machine in high gear!  I have a lifetime supply of fabric and a family to supply with quilts.  You may ask how I plan to sew if I have prepper fears of life without electricity?  I'm keeping my old treadle for my back up!  LOL

Sitting on the computer is not getting any progress made toward these goals.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 18...

1.  In the past, whenever I missed a PBS program, I watched it on my laptop.  I've just realized I could download a free PBS app for my firestick and watch them on the television.  Yea for slow learners!

2.  The new dishwasher (not frugal) was delivered (free delivery) yesterday minutes before Carey had to leave for work.   Texted son-in-law begging his assistance installing it when he had some time.  He was here within an hour and had it installed in about a half hour...for free.  

3.  Have supped on beans twice this week.  A large pot of mild beans with cornbread while Carey was home, then what was left was made into spicier Red Beans and Rice when he was working.  Enough of the second was left for another meal, and went into the freezer to make an easy meal for a later date.

4.  My phone is hanging in there and has been charging well and working well for the most part, aside from a bit slow on occasion.

5.  I didn't get a haircut, though I think it's about time for a trim (far past time is more like it).  I haven't been buying much gasoline since the new car uses less, and I've been staying home for the most part.  Drinking more water.

Keep Tryings:
Went to the drive-in theater to watch The Circle.  We decided to go at the last minute, and we were running late, so I didn't take frugal snacks.  Not only did we spend too much at the snack bar, but the movie was a dud.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  pork chops, rice & gravy, green beans
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  *Tex-Mex
Tuesday:  Beans & Cornbread
Wednesday:  No-Peek Chicken
Thursday:  Red Beans & Rice
Friday:  oven-fried chicken and Cornbread Salad

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

While I was at the library a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the librarians.  The 2017 reading challenge that I'm working through includes a category for 'a book recommended by a librarian.'  I am always curious about what someone considers their favorite book, so I asked her what a favorite book was rather than for a recommendation of a current book.   

She recommended Housekeeping.  I remember the movie coming out in the 80s, but I didn't see it, so I had the idea that the book would be a somewhat funny, quirky story of two young sisters and their aunt.  

I am now exactly halfway through the book, and I am really struggling.  And I think I remember trying to read it in the past and giving up.  Rather than being character or action driven, it is description driven.  Rather than the aunt buying inappropriate and cheaply made clothing for the girls, she purchased things for which... "the deterioration of things were always a fresh surprise, a disappointment not to be dwelt on.  However a day's or a week's use might have maimed the velvet bows and plastic belts, the atomizers and gilt dresser sets, the scalloped nylon gloves and angora-trimmed anklets, Sylvie always brought us treasures."

And while the prose are lovely, the sheer abundance of such description is overwhelming to me.  It is not clustered around one character to highlight her difference, but covers every single page about every single character...the grandmother, the aunts, the great aunts, the neighbors, the deceased grandfather, the house, the furniture, the hobos under the bridge.  

It is one of those books that if you love it, you love it for the beauty of the moments it describes in such stunning detail.  And if you hate it, you hate it because of the overwhelming sensory stimulation assailing the reader and masking the plot.
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