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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

This one is TOTALLY out of my normal reading tastes, but in the interest of giving the 2017 reading challenge my all, I thought I'd make an attempt at it.  The cover indicates that Stephen King found it 'Terifically entertaining," not that I believe all the author recommendations found on book covers.

It will fulfill the "book involving a mythical creature" category.  It would also fulfill the "book with a red spine" which I kind of fudged on last week, but no way was I going to count it for a red spine and then have to read an additional mythical creature story.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I am still working my way through Elizabeth The Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Making it Monday...


I made a run to the superstore today.  Back-to-school displays are a magnet for me.  I bought a composition book with grid pages for quilt designing, my favorite gel pens in black ink to last the year (I am always misplacing them), and the same pens but in pretty-colored ink for my to-do lists.  I avoided buying crayons, but I did open a box so I could drink in their beauty and breathe deeply of their one-of-a-kind scent-sation.  Nothing can send me back to the second grade like the smell of fresh crayons!  Favorite Crayola color?  Magenta.  Could live without Burnt Sienna.  (I'm not sure either of those colors are still part of the Crayola lineup.

Remember those old-school giant crayons that were flat on one side?  Ugh...HATED those...too waxy, so I could never get the depth of color I wanted.  I remember being insulted in kindergarten that our crayon usage was limited to those vile things. Would you believe it only just dawned on me a month or so ago that the flat side was so they wouldn't roll off of the table?!  I mean the box says 'Anti-Roll' right on the front!  What can I say?  I despised them so much.

I also bought envelopes while I was at the store, which is what I went for.  I had a very productive day of card making today, only to find that I was out of envelopes.  Can't get them in the mail without envelopes.  I don't believe I will show the photos of them until they have time to be received.  :)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday snail mail...

Chloe's spending the night, so I let her loose with the Paper Pumpkin that arrived a week or so ago.  She actually made another different one as well, but I can't find it to save my life.  She wrote a sweet note in this one, and it is addressed and ready to go to her great grandmother.

I made this one with the stamps from the same Paper Pumpkin (except the 'you' which was from another one) using different colors etc.

My progress toward sending 52 letters in 52 weeks is lagging terribly this year.  I have a list of at least a dozen people to whom I need to send a letter.  I guess getting one out this week is better than none.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 29...


Successes:
1.  Readied a week's worth of individual servings of meals for freezer for Carey to take to work.

2.  Booked ten days of work over the next two months...all local, no commute...yea!

3.  Today was a lazy-stay-home-no-spend day.  I did some online window shopping, but never clicked on the buy-now button.

4.  Grooming the dog myself: bath, nails, ears.

5.  Made new dog bed.  Basically same as the last one, but with a removable cover that can be more easily removed and laundered.  The last one held up very well, but it sustained some soiling that required disposal (not frugal, but necessary for my well being).  FYI:  I've also been known to dispose of sheets back in the day when my children were ill in the middle of the night.


Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  homemade hamburgers
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  leftovers
Tuesday:  Pasta Caponata with Chicken Breast
Wednesday:  chicken burgers
Thursday:  pork chops, rice & gravy, corn pudding, green beans
Friday:  goulash

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

I am still reading Elizabeth The Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, but it is another one that takes some thinking and time.  Since I have been reading it a LOT and am still only 20% of the way through, I found myself needing a bit of a break for some easier reading.

The Widow by Fiona Barton

I just started The Widow, and got pulled into it pretty quickly.  I'm counting it as 'a book with a red spine' category for the 2017 reading challenge, though I don't really have any idea what color the spine is since it's an ebook.  The paperback cover shown above has red, so close enough!  :)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 28...


Successes:
1.  Received our phone/cable bill.  We have our service through a cooperative, so once a year they pay each member a share of the company profits by deducting it from their bill.  Dropped this month's bill by almost $80.

2.  Menu planned.  Grocery list made.  Shopped and stuck to list.

3.  Made sure that the list included the fixin's for a fabulous dinner (salad with fresh berries, avocados, spinach, salmon [and pecans from the freezer]) to serve my company, so we can stay in, have a great meal and quiet time to visit and catch up without feeling like we're being frugal.  

4.   I didn't buy any of the Prime deals on Prime day.  I had a couple of things in my cart...and I may regret not having a head start as it gets closer to Christmas...but I figured if I had any doubt at all I didn't need to buy them this week.

5.  I called the pharmacy this week about my longstanding prescriptions that needed refilling and would need a call to the doctor's office to get a renewed scrip for the next 12 months.  Since I wanted them to get the renewals for all of my prescriptions and not just those needing filling imminently, I mentioned that somehow my prescriptions had gotten divided into some being filled one week and some two weeks later, and asked them to be sure to get Rx renewals for all of them when they called.  I had asked in the past about moving the refill for one batch to match the other and was told it would involve moving the refill date for some up by a day or two each month until eventually they were all filled at the same time.  I fell for accepted that explanation even though I thought it was ridiculous.  Today when I went to pick up my refills, they had all of them ready at the same time!  Yea!  No more wasting gasoline on special trips and waiting in line for ages.  Now if I could just get them to fill 90 days at a time.  Insurance won't do 90 days unless by mail order through their provider.  With all the mail theft we have in our area, not to mention the direct sun and 100+ degree heat baking everything in our black mailbox, I just don't want to go the mail-order route.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Carey had leftovers, I had breakfast for dinner
Monday:  *Tex-Mex
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  One skillet sausage and rice with onions and peppers, green beans
Thursday:  salmon with fresh salad
Friday:  homemade burgers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving
at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
I finally finished this one on Saturday after working at it for quite awhile.  While it did take some concentration and thought, it was very interesting, and the science was written in a way that the layman could grasp.  


The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
I picked this one up Saturday night, and read into the wee hours and all day Sunday until it was finished.  Set in the late 1800s, it followed a family from their home country of England, to Wellington, New Zealand, into the wilds of New Zealand when the wife and children are abducted by a Maori tribe, and finally to northern California.  I thought it was well written, and the characters well developed.  I really liked it.

Elizabeth The Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
by Sally Bedell Smith
I have only just started Elizabeth the Queen.  I chose this one to fulfill the "book about an interesting woman" category of the 2017 reading challenge...and because it was available as an ebook through my library.  :)

I considered books about Madelyn Albright and Condoleeza Rice as well, but I think the reason I came back to this one is the sheer length of time that the queen has been on the throne, the changes to the world she has seen during her reign, and the constant scrutiny she and her family have been under.  I know for certain I have never wanted her job.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Design wall construction...

I have had the materials to make a design wall for months (4'x8' insulation boards, batting, staple gun), but kept putting it off.  Today I admitted that I was not going to get it done on my own, so I enlisted Carey's help...which is a good thing, because he had trouble with the stapler, so there is no way I could have used it.  Plus it was invaluable to have someone for me to instruct and supervise.  (It brings to mind the time I explained to Caitlyn that the headband we made was TOTALLY her design, I just executed it.  LOL)

The second one went together quicker and easier than the first.  Now they are both in the sewing room, though not really in their permanent spot yet.

They are, however, perfectly capable of being put into use, which is good, because I could not make any further progress on this quilt top until I could lay it out.  And literally 'laying' it out wasn't an option with Rudy running around.  :)  I am thrilled to have them up and in service!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Seven MORE random thoughts on the 7th...


1.  I took a three hour nap.  Since I never went to bed last night, that's okay.

2.  I vacuumed the entire house today.

3.  I heard an article on NPR today about 'flying ant day' being a distraction at Wimbeldon.  Just like Wimbledon, the ants decided to swarm around here a few days ago...lucky me!  But thank Heavens my ants didn't fly.  Here is a disgusting photo to creep you out and make you take pity on me.  
And that is just a close up of one pile of them.  They stretched the entire width of my kitchen window between the wall and my sink.  <<SHUDDER!!>>  I took the photo to text to my exterminator so he would hurry to my house!  :)  The only good thing about them was that there were no live ones.  The treatment from last year was still strong enough to work.  By the time they made it into the house, they just piled up and never got any further.  Still it was time to re-treat, so I'm glad it's done.

4. My 'wedding' rings have been missing for the past couple of months.  I wasn't too worried, because though I couldn't remember in the slightest the events surrounding my taking them off and putting them someplace other than their normal resting spot, I did vaguely remember putting them someplace 'safe.'  I was a little hesitant to tell Carey, but I don't wear them much, so it wasn't something he noticed.  Also they aren't my real wedding rings.  The only one I was really worried about was the anniversary band since he had it made for our 20th anniversary (20 years ago!).  It has real stones, but they are tiny.  The three-stone ring is fake...well, the gold is real, but the stones aren't.  I got it when I returned a pair of hideous earrings he bought me for Christmas once.  LOL  They look nice together, and are WAY more comfortable than the rings I actually got married in.

Anyway, today I cleaned out my purse.  I removed everything from every little pocket.  And lo and behold, there they were on a key ring that holds keys I have to keep but never have to use.  I feel better.  They were someplace (relatively) safe.  :) 

5.  I'm making a pasta salad with grilled chicken for supper tonight.  Everybody likes it, and it is nice to have in the fridge to have small meals as wanted for a few days.

6.  I think it is time to change my mantel decorations, but I think I will wait till after my friend comes next week.  Patriotic is still okay through July, right?

7.  Let's see...what else?  How about a confession?  I watch reruns over and over and over.  Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, Golden Girls, and Frasier are white noise around here.  Rudy's favorite is Big Bang...he likes the animated commercials.  LOL



Frugal Friday File 2017, week 27...


It's been an expensive week what with life insurance premium due (it's outrageous!) and a swarming ant invasion making an exterminator treatment a necessity rather than an option.  I gave in to the lure of an online sale for some clothes, and I went to The Container Store for a birthday present and succumbed to their display of organization tools (some of which I have set aside with the receipt to return on my next trip to the city).  My successes this week were not stellar, but, hey...

Successes:
1.  Worked on Wednesday.  Wasn't hungry, so I skipped lunch and read my library book for the entire lunch hour instead.

2.  I listed a used book for sale on Amazon.  It is one I bought years ago for $1 to use for a craft project.  (As per my usual I never got around to making the craft.)  When I was whittling down books recently, I checked Amazon for the going price of used copies of this book.  It was enough to make it worth a try...but I don't think I'll hold my breath.

3.  I used leftover chili from our Frito Pie on Tuesday to make an Easy Enchilada Casserole on Thursday.  I was short of cheddar, so I combined some shredded mozzarella for the layers instead of running to the store.  It was a little lasagna-esque, but it wasn't bad.

4.  I did not buy any fireworks for the 4th of July (that is for people who have money, quite literally, to burn).  I didn't drive to any festivities.  I stayed home and put Rudy to bed early so the sounds wouldn't get him wound up.  And I tried to ignore the concussion of the neighbors' fireworks (which went on past 2 a.m.)  This neighborhood makes me crazy sometimes.  I like fireworks, but I prefer the organized, professional displays rather than the too-often careless individuals spreading sparks in our dry brush growth.  The county instituted a burn ban yesterday.  We should have been under a burn ban BEFORE the holiday.  Talk about low-level political backscratching.

5.  I'm not the manicure type; I used clippers to trim my nails uniformly short when I broke two very close to the quick.

Bonus:  I didn't rush toward a quick fix for the appearance of the blog.  Yesterday it had a really obtrusive and annoying Photobucket ad/warning placed all over my page.  I went to Photobucket to read more about whether or not I needed to pay for their service (that used to be free, but now they want anywhere from $5.99 to $39.99 a month for a package to keep the blog like you want it.  Oh, and it's billed annually, so that's a nice chunk paid up front.)  Thank goodness I didn't pay, because you know how many images they have been hosting that affected my blog?  Two.  The background and my signature, and the background wasn't even in my account, it was in the designer's account.  So I will be doing without those two things.  I will work on the layout as I have time to make it pretty again, but I'm not going to throw money at it.  OH, and DEFINITELY won't be throwing any money in Photobucket's direction...their website was SO ANNOYING AND HARD TO NAVIGATE because of all the pop ups you had to keep closing in order to read their new rules.  It was so frustrating I literally screamed at the computer more than once before I could get things figured out and delete my account!  It was like they didn't want you to be able to get out of their grasp.  I closed the account which had one photo...ONE...and I left a comment letting them know how unnecessarily difficult they were making things.  I realize that they are in business to make money, and giving things away for free was not working out for them, but to be so obnoxiously difficult!?  Great business strategy.

Sorry.  I needed to vent.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *Chinese takeout
Sunday:  sushi (son's treat)
Monday:  *burger
Tuesday:  Frito Pie
Wednesday:  *sandwich
Thursday:  Easy Enchilada Casserole
Friday:  Bow-tie Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...


1.  Today is my sister's birthday.  Tomorrow is Bobby's.  Next week is Jared's.  And later this month is Beau's.  It's a big month.

2.  Next week my best friend from childhood is coming for a short visit.  I'm hoping that we can arrange a brunch visit with the third member of our trio who lives in the nearby city now; she has to report for jury duty, but we are crossing our fingers that she doesn't get chosen.

3.  I have a long list of things I need to get done before my friend arrives.  This place is a disaster!

4.  And I am running out of time.  Monday is an all-day quilting day at the library...with two more squares due for our exchange quilt...which I have not even started working on yet.

5.  And speaking of quilting, I am so excited!  When I was at work on Wednesday I got a text from my sister-in-law.  She included a photo of a quilt that was given to her (and Carey's) parents early in their marriage.  It's in her possession, but she says it's ours if we want it.  SCORE!!
My husband's family is not as sentimental about old things as mine is.  Thus I have a bit of a reputation as a pack rat with them.  Oh, let's be honest, they think I'm a hoarder; but, hey, it has paid off to my advantage more than once.  I am not sure they have any idea what good stuff we have ended up with.  I'm not sure they think it's good stuff!  

I'm really happy about this quilt.  Since Carey's mom had gifted me with a Grandmother's Flower Garden top that she pieced, which I had machine quilted and gave to Kasey for her birthday this year, this one will be set aside for Jared if he is interested in it (or if he ever finds a wife who is).  That way each of our kids will have a quilt that belonged to their grandmother that has 'grandmother' in its pattern name.  I'll have to find out from Carey's mom who gave this one to them, and then figure out how to put a label on it with the information.

6.  Okay, I may be a hoarder.  This week while working at cleaning my desk area I found myself moving a container of piano keys out from under it.  We had to dismantle my childhood piano (couldn't find anyone to take it, and it was too expensive to repair).  I made Carey save the keys...intending to make an art piece out of them.  Yeah.  Hoarder.  Now I'm thinking about how to sell them on ebay.  Surely someone else might think it's an interesting project idea too.

7.  I've been having trouble sleeping...or rather not sleeping.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

A German circus on tour during WWII, trying to avoid danger from the German army and under the big top.  I've almost finished.  It started off very strong, and the story is very interesting, but the writing in the second half seems different...the dialog seems amateurish, and it seems like the author isn't keeping the details straight.  

I will finish it later tonight.  I have enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I would read more by this author.

I'm counting this one as "a book about an immigrant or refugee" on the 2017 reading challenge
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