Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

I started this book last week, but barely got into it before laying it aside to read something else.  I'm back to it now, and making good progress.  I'm enjoying it.  It will fulfill the 'book that is a story within a story' category of the 2017 reading challenge.

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo
This is the one that I snuck in.  It's one of a mystery series that is set in an Ohio community with a large Amish population.  Since we will be going to Ohio soon, I was hoping to soak up a little preview of the area.  It was pretty good, but I wouldn't describe it as a favorite.  And it didn't fit any categories of the reading challenge.  :(

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday supper...

We were able to go to Kasey and Beau's for supper tonight.  I made Bananas Foster for this week's dessert.  Five minutes to prepare and got good reviews.  While I was there, the girls wanted me to trim their hair in preparation for school starting on Tuesday, so of course I did.

Then when I got home, these leaves were lying on the driveway.  (Not all together; I gathered them up for the photo.)  This is more fall color than I've ever seen in my yard; we have all oak trees that don't change color.  I can only assume that Harvey left these.  We definitely haven't had any cool nights to make any local trees change...unless they were just stressed by the storm.

But it is interesting, as we are in the planning and preparation stage for our vacation time specifically to enjoy some autumnal splendor this year.  Looking at these makes me very excited.

Stormy weather...

The first radar image was just as Hurricane Harvey's eye hit land.  And just so you know, the blue dot just north of San Antonio in each image is my location.
image credit: KSAT12 weather app

image credit: KSAT12 weather app

image credit: KSAT12 weather app

image credit: KSAT12 weather app

We didn't see any violent weather here.  We had some rain and a little wind, but we just saw the edge of the storm.  The news from the coast where it went inland and Houston flooding look devastating.  Prayers for those who have rough days ahead of them dealing with the damage and loss.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 34...

Expensive week!  Rudy had a vet appointment for his immunizations now that he is an 'adult' dog.  I had a dentist appointment yesterday (after avoiding it for WAY too long), and another one today to begin some preventative care.  Fingers crossed, insurance should cover the majority.  

1.  No cavities.  Zero.  Zip.  Ever.  No, I take that back.  I did have one once, but it was in a back molar that I used to grind, and said grinding ended up breaking the tooth below the gum line.  It had to be pulled several years ago and replaced with an implant; so I'm back to saying I have no cavities.  :)  So at least I don't have any fillings to pay for now, and over my lifetime I have a very low average of dental costs per annum.

2.  I filled up with gasoline.  Fuel prices are projected to go up due to Hurricane Harvey shutting in the refineries.  

3.  I bathed Rudy and cleaned his ears.  Then, since he had his vet appointment scheduled, I let them trim his nails.  They always do it, if needed, as part of an office visit, so there was no additional cost for it.  You will note I can't bring myself to call it 'free'.

4.  I went to the store yesterday to pick up a few things in case we are stuck at home for a few days.  (Estimates are that we might see 20 inches of rain over the weekend, so flooding could be a problem.)  I managed to avoid most impulse purchases.

5.  I have an abundance of eggs in the fridge.  Some purchased, but some free from a friend with chickens.  I think I will hard boil the majority.  That way they will be edible to feed us if we lose power.  And if we don't lose power I will use them to make tuna salad, egg salad, potato salad, deviled eggs...

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Dublin Coddle (no kale this time)
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey's
Monday:  Swedish Meatballs with Noodles, green beans
Tuesday:  *pizza
Wednesday:  pork chops, sweet potato, broccoli
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Drum roll please..........I finished both of the previous books that have taken me forever!  Yea!  Woohoo!  Applause!

I finished Elizabeth the Queen in the wee hours of this morning, and even when I had reached the end...the very, very end...the end where it sent me back to an amazon information said I was only 71% complete.  So the ebook page counter was just way off, which is what I am going to blame for it being such a frustrating read; I continually felt like I was making no progress through it.

If you are ever interested in what I think of books I have completed, I keep a list of them along with a paragraph or so of my thoughts on each on my 'Reading List' page which is linked under the title banner at the top of the blog page.

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

Today I am starting The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley, and hoping that it is a lighter read than the others on my night table.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse 2017...

This is just one of the reasons I love living around the corner from the kids.  We ran over right at the height of the eclipse to share it with them.

They had made viewers from cereal boxes.  We took over the sheets of paper with pin hole.

They had one pair of eclipse glasses that we all took turns looking through.

And I pointed out that the light filtering through the leaves show the crescent of the eclipsed sun.  

Being handy to drop by for ten minutes of life experience at a time makes me so happy.  :)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday family supper dessert...

Tonight's dessert is from Very Best Baking by Nestlé ...Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie.   

It turned out fabulously yummy.  And the scoop of vanilla ice cream sends it over the top!

It was very popular with our troops.  The recipe is at the link up top as well as at What's Cookin' 4 Miles North of Nowhere.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday snail mail...

The girls stayed over last night, and so I had them make and write cards for their great-grandmother this morning.

This one is Caitlyn's.  Just washi tape and a wooden 'love.'  And inside a sweet note.

Chloe's was super simple as well (they were hungry, so I thought fast was better than fancy).  They both are great letter writers.  I didn't find a misspelling or grammar error worthy of correcting (a few commas missing, but we let those slide today).  

Both of them are eager to start back to school.  Both will be in middle school this year.  Why do babies have to grow up so fast?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 33...

1.  Payday!  Now I remember why I booked all these workdays.

2.  Pretty $3.24 for the spiral binding, it was pretty frugal...but for me it made the list because of how it helps me be frugal with my time and energy.

3.  Shopped gasoline prices near where I was working this week.  Often they are lower there, but not this time.  Saved 15¢ per gallon by waiting till I got back home to fill up (which was a little nerve wracking, as I was pretty low).

4.  Decided not to rush back to get my hair cut again.  The style, while not my favorite, is tidy and extremely easy to take care of.  I think it will look fine while growing out as well, and I'd kind of like to start the clock on how long I can go till the next cut.  :)

5.  The girls are spending the night tonight.  I will take them out to our favorite little neighborhood Tex-Mex place, so not too frugal there (but really pretty reasonable).  But living right around the corner is definitely frugal for us ('cause we like to see them often) and for them ('cause we are handy for the occasional night out or business trip).  

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *pizza
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  goulash
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  C: leftovers, me:*dinner out with a friend
Thursday:  *hamburgers
Friday:  *Tex-Mex

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What am I not reading Wednesday...

photo credit:

A book being read gathers no moss, but the books around here are getting decidedly mossy.  I haven't finished either of the books I have been reading.

I am commuting this week, so not too many waking hours at home...and those are reserved for dishes and laundry.

I have spent most of my workdays doing required annual training.  It's been quiet at this branch, so I was able to plug away at them.  Today I finished the last of them...HALLELUJAH!  The 'boss' told me to bring a book tomorrow, as he will be out most of the day, and it should be really quiet again.  

Why, I don't mind if I do!  :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Making it Monday...

I feel like I've gone on ad nauseam, (and here ) about my need for a to-do list, my need for simplicity, and yet still yearning for pretty.  All the pretty ones I look at had too much stuff that I wouldn't use and would only clutter up my brain.

I like a spiral to keep a pen or pencil tucked in the spiral.  My original true love is a steno pad, but the part I don't like is rewriting the staples of my week over again on every page. 

I was inspired by this weekly layout by Kate Louise.  Hmmm, I wonder if 'Kate' is short for Kathleen, because Louise is my middle name too.  :)  

 So I started playing around with my publisher program.  I didn't arrange mine by days of the week, as I tend to prioritize things on the fly, and I don't like assigning things to specific days.  I kept a place for my monthly goal and my 3 major weekly goals for the things that I have to remind myself to keep working on or toward.  I arranged the constant repeats in a way that made sense to me...daily tracking my swiffering (my only real New Year's resolution this year), loading and unloading the dishwasher, decluttering with 27 Fling Boogies (á la Flylady), keeping up with laundry loads, and even my 52 Letters in 52 Weeks.  Oh, and the colorful banners really satisfy the pretty factor for me.

I was able to fit all of this on a 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" space, which means I could fit two per sheet of printer paper.  I printed them out, and cut them apart.  Then I stacked them up and I rummaged through my craft room and found some chip board that came as part of shipments of something or other.  I cut two pieces of chipboard (a handy bit of recycling, this) the same size as my list sheets, and I took them to Office Max to have them spiral bound.

 The chipboard gives it a nice firm writing base.

And now I have the best of both world and the world of pretty planners.  :)  I've already started this week's list.  It is exactly what I need, because it was made just for me, and it has all the recurring chores preprinted.  It has enough pages to last over a year.  And it's pretty!

And other than my printer ink and printer paper which I had on hand, it cost exactly $3.24 for Office Max to add the spiral binding.

I can live with that.  :)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday snail mail...

Caroline, look away!  I know you have not opened yours yet.  :)

Simple cards.  Just paper and the one little 'hello' stamp.

Kept the same colors, but changed up the prints a little.  Measuring was not my forte the day these were made.  :)

Cloudy day when I took this photo, so the colors aren't very true.  The inspiration I found online used a book page for the background.  I wanted a specific 'summer vacation' theme, so I typed out several lines of words on that theme, then copied and pasted them over and over again.  Printed it out and cut to size.  The pearls were originally white ones that I colored with a sharpie to match the orange layering paper.

Just paper and washi tape and the same 'hello' stamp.  Oh, and a few little enamel dots.  I wrote a letter on letterhead-sized paper, so made the long card to enclose it in, and both went into a business-sized envelope (but a hot pink one).

Again just paper and washi tape, with the addition of a wooden laser-cut word which I 'painted' black with a Sharpie marker.

Also got four other ones in the mail this week that I didn't get photos of.  I'm back on track to get 52 letters mailed out in 52 weeks!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 32...

1.  It had probably been a year since we had steak on the menu, so I put ribeyes on the shopping list.  They were pretty pricey, but large, and we cut them in half before serving.  Cooked on the grill to a perfect medium rare.  Fed three adults for much less than ordering the same at a restaurant...and enough left to make three extra-special meals for the freezer to go to work with Carey, as well a a nice-sized piece that I sliced thin to add to a fabulous salad to go to work with me.

2.  I bought 4 oz of ground cinnamon from the bulk bins for $1.38...the same amount of name brand in a shaker is almost 3 times as much...and it saved a plastic shaker from ending up in the landfill.

3.  A 24 oz package of my favorite brand of thick-sliced bacon is regularly $8.98.  It was on sale for $5.99 this week.  Four extra packages came home to my freezer.  Shouldn't need to bring home the bacon again till next year.  ;)

4.  But Carey didn't get that memo, because he got a surprise raise today...effectively bringing home even more bacon.  😊

5.  I booked a few hours of work on Monday morning.  This is at a local branch, so I was happy to say yes when asked.  I turn down less than full days at branches that I have to commute to, because it just doesn't seem worth a few hours' pay when it has to cover gas for the trip over and back.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  ribeyes, hot potato salad, corn
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  fried rice and egg rolls
Tuesday:  roast, potatoes, carrots
Wednesday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Thursday:  grazed the fridge
Friday:  Asian Sesame Meatballs with rice

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Same and same.

The novel was away for the weekend, so it didn't get read at all.

I did, however, keep reading Elizabeth the Queen and STILL I am at just under 50%!  I'm reading it on my Kindle, so I can't tell actual page numbers (I checked out the ebook from the library, and keeping my Kindle's wifi turned off so the book stays on it even though the library's copy has been returned from my Amazon account).  According to Amazon it is around 700 pages long.  I've read longer books before in much shorter time.  I can only assume that the printing on those 700 pages is like that of the Lord's Prayer written on a grain of rice.  And then, getting weary of it and reading other books in between doesn't help.  :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Break out the chopsticks...

I don't often fry things, and I virtually never deep fry anything.  But recently my sister told me she made egg rolls at home, and that they turned out great and weren't too hard.  So last night I decided to give them a try too.  I'm not putting up a detailed recipe, since I want to tweak the seasonings.

I used ground pork and browned it in a skillet.  Then I added prepared 'angel hair' cabbage slaw mix and I chopped onion and carrot.  I seasoned the mix and cooked just for a few minutes until the vegetables were slightly tender.

I rolled in prepared egg roll wrappers sealing with a dab of water.

I heated about an inch or so of oil in a large fry pan and cooked, turning to brown evenly...

...and then drained on paper towels.

I made fried rice to go along with them.  If I hadn't been so hungry, I would have made sure more of the vegetables showed in the photo to make it more colorful.  

For the fried rice, I cook 2 cups of rice as per the package directions.   I cut bacon into about 1 inch lengths and cook till starting to brown, then I add chopped onion and green pepper, shoestring carrots and sliced mushrooms and let cook till just tender.  I make a well in the middle of the vegetables and add a couple of beaten eggs and scramble, then I stir the eggs into the vegetables a bit and add the rice to the pan along with a generous amount of soy sauce, stirring to mix all.

I made both the egg rolls and rice in large amounts, since I wanted to have some to share with Jared and make Carey several meals to put in the freezer to take to work, as well as some for me to take to work for lunch today.  :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  It rained 2 1/2 inches in the early morning hours.  Boy did we need it!  The thunder and sound of rain woke me up, and it was so soothing to fall back to sleep to those sounds.  So soothing that I turned off the alarm when it went off.  Thank goodness I wasn't scheduled to work today.

2.  But it did make me super late for quilting day at the library.  :(  About lunch time I stopped by to visit for a little while, but I didn't stay to sew.  

3.  When I left the library, I headed to the clinic in a neighboring town where I get my port flushed.  I had had an appointment there on Friday.  The nurses in the chemo department are the ones who flush my port (just port maintenance, no chemo for me).  Sometimes they are really busy with chemo patients, so I always take a book with me in case there is a long wait.  This time I barely had time to get my book out of my purse before they were done with me and I was ready to go.  So thinking it was still in my purse, I walked out and forgot my book.  It drove me crazy all weekend.  I have to work for the rest of the week, so if I didn't get over there today, I wouldn't have another chance till next week.  Also, they have a bookshelf in the lobby...a sort of little free library...that I was afraid staff might put it on, and it might get picked up by another patient, never to be seen by me again, but it was still in the chemo room on the nurses' station counter.

4.  On the trip over, there is an intersection that is at the bottom of a hill which impedes vision of vehicles stopped and waiting for the light to change.  At the hight point of the road, crews had put an electronic flashing traffic warning sign:  Caution...Slippery Slope...Ahead.  It made me do a double take.  I don't just seemed more like a fortune cookie message than a traffic warning.

5.  I was giving myself a hard time about wasting the time and gasoline to make the extra trip.  However, I remembered that I hadn't yet picked up a key for the branch that I will be working at next week...and it is right down the street from the at least I managed to kill two birds with that stone.

6.  On the way home I made a dreaded grocery shop.  I made the menu over the weekend. The freezer and pantry are now full.  We are set for awhile.  I love when I have that job out of the way!

7.  Tonight I am making fried rice for supper, and I'm attempting to make homemade egg rolls for the first time.  I'd better go get to it!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tip of the week...

I purchased these Shout brand Color Catchers to use when washing new quilts to help keep dark colors from bleeding onto light colors.  They have been in a drawer for a long time.

I recently ordered some long-sleeved tops for fall/winter in darker colors...reds, greens, navy.  A couple of them were navy and white.  I was afraid they might be ruined in their first wash, so I pulled the Color Catchers out of the drawer and put two in washer with a full load of dark clothing (the new tops along with older dark clothing).  

A new color catcher is in the photo above on the left.  The two I washed with this load are on the right.  Quite a difference.  I'm not sure how these work, but they do seem to work.  The fabric of all the clothing came out perfectly with no tinting or bleeding.  Quite happy with this product.

Just drop one in the washer (2 for a large load with quite a few new, unwashed colors), add the laundry and detergent, and wash.  Discard after using.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 31...

1.  I ordered 5 replacement knobs to replace the broken ones on the lids of my stainless steel cookware.  I wouldn't say they were inexpensive (with tax and shipping about $10 each), but I still consider them frugal.  The pots and pans are 41 years old (favorite wedding gift ever!) and in perfect condition aside from the knobs, which were broken one at a time over the years.  The last one finally broke recently, and last week I got a blister on my finger when I didn't have good hot-pad coverage.    As soon as the new ones arrive, we'll be set for another 40 years.  :)

2.  Picked up three more days of work for September.  My calendar hasn't been this full in a long time.  But that's a good thing.  I've blocked out most of October and some of November as non-work days, as I will have quilt retreat and then we will be taking vacation during part of that time, so it's a good thing to have a full calendar beforehand.  :)

3.  Signed up for a 30-day free Netflix trial.  I set a reminder for the day before it ends, so that it doesn't slip past without my notice.  I may or may not continue with a subscription, but I want it to be a conscious choice and not an accident.  In fact, even if I do decide to subscribe, I think I might wait till after vacation.

4.  Keeping a close eye on the finances.  Car insurance and house insurance are due soon.  Making vacation plans and reservations.  

5.  Brewed iced tea using one regular tea bag and one peach tea bag.  So good.  Helps keep me away from happy hour at Sonic.  :)

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday dinner at Kasey's
Monday:  curry, rice, and naan
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  grazed the fridge
Thursday:  *barbecue
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hair today, gone tomorrow...

Let me apologize for the terrible photos right from the get go.

I've been wearing my hair up in a clip for quite awhile now,

or pulled back in an elastic band.

 Well, it's still in an elastic band.  And there was at least this much more again on the shop floor.

I just realized, it's not as short as I wanted it, so am considering making another appointment.  But I will live with it for a couple of weeks; my calendar is too full to do anything before then.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Tilted World
by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

The Mississippi river flood of 1927 was the most destructive flood in US history.   This story adds prohibition, bootleggers, and an orphaned baby to the mix.  It fulfills the 'book with multiple authors' category of the 2017 reading challenge

I am still working away on Elizabeth the Queen...or as I am now calling it The Book That Will Never End!
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