Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday snail mail...

I wanted to get some letters in the mail last weekend without pulling out lots of stamps and inks.  So the images on these are computer generated...I found the images online and manipulated them in my 'paint' program, then added the 'hello' and printed.  Mostly quick and easy except that I couldn't, for the life of me, get the layers on straight.  After getting about the third one on crooked, I figured that was just going to have to do and sent them that way.  LOL

Pay no attention to the table piled high with all manner of junk.  Unfortunately, it looks like that the majority of the time.

I previously scheduled this to post today.  Right now I am with my quilting buddies, and I will be home Tuesday.  Luckily Carey is home to keep Rudy company and feed him.  

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 39...

1.  Trying to figure out packing for upcoming trip.  Needed a pill organizer designed to carry more than 2 weeks of med doses as we will be gone slightly over that.  I found a 1-month organizer that was awesome, but it cost $15+; instead I bought a 1 week morning/evening organizer for 88¢.  Since I only take meds once a day, the morning/evening organizer can be used by me for two weeks, and I will take my current 1-week organizer as well, and I will be covered for our entire stay.

2.  I wanted to take a couple of decks of cards to play canasta during evenings in the cabin.  Everywhere I looked locally only had decks of one design.  I wanted two designs to make it easier to separate the decks if we weren't playing 2-deck games.  I looked on amazon, as well as zazzle and some other sites.  I happened to be in Wal-Mart the other day, and thought I would check again.  Finally found two decks of different designs!  $3 at Wal-Mart instead of $5 online.

3.  Also taking a jigsaw puzzle with us.  We will only be staying in each location for two to three days, and a puzzle probably will not be finished in that time, so I've been looking for a portable puzzle work surface.  The ones that I thought would work the best were anywhere from $60 to $120!  (I wasn't interested in the roll-up mats since we will be packing and unpacking the car repeatedly and figured it would get crushed or lose pieces.)  I bought two pieces of foam core board for $5 with a 40% off coupon, covered one side with a rubber shelf liner (bought for $9 at Wal-Mart as opposed to the $16 I saw it for on amazon) so puzzle pieces won't slip or slide.  We will use one piece of foam core to assemble the puzzle on, and when it's time to move it, I will lay the second piece on top making a puzzle sandwich, and tape the edges.  This can go on the floor of the cargo hold in the car and things can be set on top of it without damaging it (and if it is damaged, it won't be a great loss).  I did buy some stackable sorting trays, so we won't have to be constantly re sorting the loose puzzle pieces into color families.  I will update you after the vacation on how this whole setup works out.

4.  I have a book on my challenge that is really looooong.  I have reserved the audio version at the library so we can listen to it during our road trip.  Free entertainment.

5.  But before vacation, I have the quilt retreat.  
  • I'm taking my 40-year-old sewing machine.  
  • I'm taking only projects for which I already have supplies on hand.  
  • We are receiving a free night at the retreat facility as a courtesy due to a malfunction of their air conditioning last time we stayed there.  
  • We are cooking in crews...each crew is responsible for only one meal during our 4-day stay...and my sole responsibility is to make a dessert for one dinner, buy some breads and condiments, help out in the kitchen during that meal, and split the cost of the rest of the meal (we will save our receipts, add them up, and split among the crew members).  Pretty easy, and much less expensive than eating out or having it catered.  
Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:  I didn't feel great this week, and couldn't make myself cook.  Since I was home alone for most of the week, I didn't eat very well.
Saturday:  *barbecue
Sunday:  cereal
Monday:  *soup & salad out with a friend
Tuesday:  popcorn
Wednesday:  egg on toast
Thursday:  *Tex-Mex
Friday:  oven fried chicken drumsticks, seasoned rice, veg

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Can't squash this...

My normal abhorrence of grocery shopping is greatly mitigated by the presence of these beauties greeting me at the market door this time of year.

The variety is amazing.  I only bought one.  I don't have a photo of the one I bought, but it is rather smallish and a sort of yellow and orange variegated.  It is sitting on my mantel.  Yes, it spurred me to take down the summer mantel decor finally, so that is worth the $2.49 cost of the pumpkin, surely.

Of course, was I meant to be decorating today (or blogging I might add)?  No!  I am meant to be getting ready for the quilt retreat.  Ah, well, it will get done...probably.    

In the meantime, just looking at pumpkins makes me smile.

I want to go here:
photo credit: Huntington, WV

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

I have been so tired, that every time I think about what I've been reading, I can't remember one thing about it; not the title, not the subject, nothing.  Of course when I start reading, it all comes back to me, but it's still rather an unnerving feeling to have it happen again and again.  

I haven't been sleeping well.  Monday night (or I guess it was actually Tuesday morning) I woke up at 2:22 a.m. and then again at 4:44 a.m.  That struck me as very odd.  I have been having to rise at 6:00 a.m. to get to work.  Aaaagh, commutes make the days so much longer.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 38...

1.  Replaced the screen of broken Kindle 3 Keyboard myself.  Yippee-skippy!  Patting myself on the back and LOVING reading the repaired lightweight Kindle 3 so much more than the heavy Kindle Fire I've been using in the interim!

2.  I have been refraining from shopping, which seems to get easier with practice.  I did buy a used book on Amazon this week (shaved $6 off the price of buying a new copy).  It was a specialized book about a topic (which I will no doubt blog about at some point) that I felt was important to share with family.

3.  Preparing for the quilt retreat coming up.  I had to be in neighboring town today to pick a key for work on Monday, so I did go to Joann's while I was there and picked up some quilt batting using a 60% off coupon for one and a 40% off coupon for the other.  I bought a few small on-sale items for card making as well, then used an additional 20% off entire order coupon.  That took my total from $120 down to a much better $62.  Hobbies are expensive, but I try to keep my hobbies to ones that produce practical items.  :)

4.  Also filled up my gas tank while in same neighboring town at 10¢ per gallon less than it is being sold locally.  And I was nigh on empty, so I was happy to get a deal.

5.  And I drove the speed limit which saves on fuel economy and speeding tickets.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey's
Monday:  Roast, potatoes, carrots, gravy
Tuesday:  *Young's sandwiches
Wednesday:  rotisserie chicken, buttered potatoes, broccoli
Thursday:  *pizza
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Too Late to Say Goodbye by Ann Rule

It's been ages since I've read any true crime.  I'm counting this as 'a book by someone you admire' category of the 2017 reading challenge.  The topic of her writing may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there are several things I do admire about her.

Her work is always well researched, and she pulls dry facts (and sometimes salacious facts) together in a cohesive timeline and in a style of writing that makes them very readable.  I also admire that she turned varied life experiences into an amazingly successful career.

And I thought the following falls under what I'm reading as well.  

Back when the screen of my first Kindle broke, I set it aside and ordered a factory rebuild of the same model, but held onto the broken one to try my had at repairing.  When I broke the second one I was devastated, and ordered two new screens, so I could try to repair them both.  

That little chore has been on my to-do list for eons quite awhile.  Fear of screwing it up (pardon the pun) has kept me procrastinating.  I finally watched lots of Youtube videos (this very helpful one multiple times and while taking notes) and felt like I had a decent understanding of what needed to be done.
Here was a really scary part of the job...just getting the back off to expose the innards.

At this point I was pretty sure I had made a huge mistake in not just buying a newer model.  See the black specks in the middle upper half of the photo?

Here's a closeup.  I mean, look at the size (or lack thereof) of the screws!  If you are wondering why I attempted to tackle this instead of asking someone else in my household to give it a go...well, I'm used to working with small parts in my crafting, so I figured I would be the most dexterous.

I managed to get both of them replaced, and after charging the batteries I was happy to see that one of them is now working, so I promptly put it in a new more secure and protective case.  The other had more damaged than just the screen I guess, but I will save it to cannibalize the screen for next time I break one.

And I managed to corral all the screws and get them all back in place.  No loose ones.  Today.  :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A day with boys...

We stole Diego (right) away for the day for a little road trip.  We went to the coast to visit Bobby (left) who is loving college life.  He was done with classes by 2, so we picked him up and made a tour of some family spots in towns near where he is now in school.

We took them to visit my grandfather's grave.  Most of my family (parents, all other grandparents) are buried in Nebraska.  All passed away before the boys came along.  I hadn't visited my grandfather's grave in years, so I thought we should let them come along so they are aware of the location.  

Then we went to my and Carey's home town and to a favorite sandwich shop for a late  lunch.  In the past, we have occasionally bought sandwiches and packed them home to share with the family, but the boys had never been to the shop before.  

Then we drove the couple of blocks to show them the house I grew up in, and then across town to see the house Carey grew up in.

Then we drove Bobby back to his dorm.  His campus is on the coast, and this view of the bay is right across the street from the dorms. 

Probably not a massively fun day for them, but Bobby hasn't been home yet since school started, so they hadn't seen each other for a few weeks.  And it's always important to impart some family history, and hugely important to make sure they know we love to spend time with them.  And feed them.  :)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 37...

1.  Payday.  Nuff said.

2.  Carey got called back in on his days off to cover for a coworker who is out sick.

3.  No fabric purchases in over a month!

4.  I used up dribs and drabs in the fridge to avoid food waste...half & half purchased for a recipe and the remainder went unused till I used it in mashed potatoes...leftover corn and the end of two containers of sour cream in corn pudding...three boneless/skinless chicken thighs left in a bag and the end of a bag of broccoli for teriyaki chicken & broccoli.

5.  Shopped the Friends of the Library used book shelves and picked up three for Carey to take to work.  He doesn't like to take checked-out books to work in case they get lost.  

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Taco Salad
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey's
Monday:  leftovers
Tuesday:  *taco salad
Wednesday:  Teriyaki Chicken & Broccoli
Thursday:  pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn pudding
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

I finished this one last night.  I was on the reserve list for it at the library for awhile, and it became available last week.  I try to read the ones with reserve lists as quickly as I can so that I can return it back without making the next person wait too long.

The period is Victorian, and I thought the writing style was very representative of the period.  I enjoyed the story even though I didn't identify greatly with any of the characters.  I found myself thinking several times that it would make an amazing television period drama.

I'm counting this one as 'a book with an eccentric character' on the 2017 reading challenge.  While the characters don't seem exceptionally eccentric in light of modern society, in the Victorian era the main female characters, one a naturalist and one a political activist, would have been considered very eccentric.  The young son of the naturalist, would also have been seen as eccentric as he grew older, since he seemed to have a form of Asperger's syndrome.

Confessions of a Surgeon: The Good, The Bad, and the Complicated...Life Behind the O.R. Doors
 by Paul A. Ruggieri, M.D.

I purchased this one a year or two ago and never got it read.  I can't remember why I felt drawn to read it at the time, but it seems like the kind of book I usually look for after hearing the author interviewed.  I came across it on the bookshelf recently, and since I still need a 'book with a subtitle' for the 2017 reading challenge, I put it on my nightstand to start next.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 36...

1.  Staying home to avoid the road hogs lines of cars wrapped around blocks waiting for their turns at the gas pumps.  Staying home also helps me not have to be IN those lines to buy gasoline.

2.  I think I have had my fill of met my quota of pasta-based meals this week.  Oh well, eating from things on hand in the pantry and leftovers in the fridge keeps me away from the grocery store and the drive-thru's.

3.  We had three leftover hot dogs languishing in the refrigerator.  I knew none of us would eat them.  I took them out and cut them in long quarters lengthwise, then sliced the quarters into very thin slices.  I spread them out on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked at about 175° F till they were mostly dehydrated.  Then I transferred them to paper towels and pressed so that the paper towels absorbed any extra fat.  I put them in small plastic containers and am storing in the fridge, and I'm using them for training treats for Rudy.  He's only getting the equivalent of about one 1/8 inch slice of hot dog per day.  I really don't even have to give him any to get his interest, just let him lick the flavor of it off of my hand.  :)

4.  I accepted a half day of work next week.  It's in a neighboring town, and I usually don't accept partial days if it involves a commute.  But this is the region leader's branch, and I like the people there, and I like that they trust me, and I want them to keep calling me.  I'll make a list of other errands that may need to be run while I'm there so it will be worth the drive.

5.  We went to see my mother-in-law this week.  I spent about a half hour massaging her feet, ankles, and lower legs.  It helps temporarily with the fluid retention in her feet and ankles.  I try to do this each time we go.  It's something I can gift her that is totally frugal, takes up no room in her small assisted-living apartment, and is something she thoroughly enjoys.

Will Be Trying:  I haven't actually done this yet, but I read it in a comment on The Non-Consumer Advocate.  I thought it was brilliant, and I look forward to giving it a try on our upcoming vacation.  Instead of buying full-price (and basically dust-catching) souvenirs at gift shops, browse the thrift stores at your vacation destination.  You will potentially find souvenir-worthy items that will actually fill a need when you get them home and remind you of your trip with each use.  I always think our local thrift stores have pretty spare pickings, so I think it might be fun to see what one might find in other parts of the country.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *Tex-Mex
Sunday:  Sunday family supper with Kasey
Monday:  *out of town restaurant eats
Tuesday:  Tuna Casserole
Wednesday:  Baked Spaghetti
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  Feeling SO very thankful.  There was a bit of a crisis this week.  Not my story to share, but there were tears and prayers and a safe and speedy (though it seemed like an eternity)  resolution thanks to a very smart woman with a lot of love, a strong will, a cool head, and technical skill.

2.  There are still long lines for gasoline.  And the inconsiderate drivers!  Idiots turning from straight-only lanes on red lights, people not pulling off of roadways to sit and wait in lines meaning that there is no possible way for through traffic to proceed.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

3.  I only have ten books left to complete the 2017 reading challenge.  It's feeling doable, though it is getting harder to find books that fit the categories that are left.

4.   It is time to change the mantel decorations, but I haven't done it yet.  The current mantel decor has been up so long I don't even see it anymore.  It hasn't started to cool off at all here yet, so it seems too early for pumpkins.  I'll have to give it some thought. 

5.  I haven't made a menu plan and shopping list yet either.  I've been able to come up with meals from the pantry, but a menu plan would decrease the last-minute stress.  Yesterday I found and made a new recipe for Baked Spaghetti, which got favorable reviews from the guys.  It feels like I've been relying a lot on pasta, though, and should be enjoying the fresh summer produce while we still have it.

6.  I have to get busy on my sewing machine!  I have blocks that are overdue, and quilting at the library day is only days away.  Also have quilt retreat coming up at the end of the month, and a week of 9 to 5 before that.  Aaagh!

7.  I think I need chocolate.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Before the 1980 Miracle on Ice, there were the boys in the boat at the 1936 Olympics.  This was a really wonderful book about the working-class college students who captured the hearts of millions during The Great Depression by excelling in an elite sport and claiming Olympic victory in front of Hitler's Germany.  

Focusing mostly on one team member, Joe Rantz, it was truly a come from behind story in every sense of the phrase.  Rantz suffered at the hands of an emotionally abusive step-mother and a father who, though he loved his children, didn't stand up to his wife.  Joe was abandoned at the age of 15, but had the spirit and strength of character to live on his own, foraging for food, staying in school, and working to be able to attend the University of Washington where the rowing team was a means of being able to complete his education.

I bought the 'young readers' adaptation which I had gifted to Diego and borrowed from him after he completed it.  It fulfills the 'book that has been on your to-be-read list for way too long.'  I finished it Sunday, and was thrilled to be able to return it to its owner after having kept it for an eon.

Now I'm on to...
The Search by Nora Roberts
A friend sent me this one after she visited in December.  The main character is a dog trainer, and I think after spending time with Rudy, said friend thought I could use training tips in any form I could get them.  Actually, it does give some good instruction.  :)  I'm about one third of the way into it.

This one will fulfill the 'book by an author who uses a pseudonym' category of the 2017 reading challenge.  Though this isn't one of her books written under her pseudonym (JD Robb), the challenge doesn't specify that the book had to be one written under a pseudonym, only by an author who used one.  And I've already read another book which was written under a pseudonym this year, but I ended up counting it under another category.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 35...

1.  Planning a road-trip vacation.  Carey insists on real maps.  I'm willing to humor him, because (a) it is easier, (b) it's within the realm of possibility that we could be in areas where our phones have no service, and (c) I feel sad that maps are becoming obsolete.  I started to go to amazon to order maps for each state that we will be visiting.  But it occurred to me that state tourist bureaus might make them available for free.  A quick internet search led me to where I found links for all the maps I needed on one page.  It was fast and simple to request each one.  They will be mailed to me free of charge and website indicated they will arrive in two to three weeks, though we already received one in today's mail!

2.  Making reservations for the vacation at state park cabins mostly.  Large savings over hotels, plus since we are going specifically to enjoy the change in seasons, it will be perfect to be as close to nature as possible.  Will also be taking my slow cooker and groceries, so after days of sightseeing, we can go back to the cabins for an easy and inexpensive meal.

3.  I had to go get some blood work done today, back to the same place I left my book for the weekend recently.  Would you believe I walked off and left my current book lying on the counter when I was checking in?  Thankfully it was a large hardcover, and so I realized pretty quickly that my purse was feeling too light and made my way back to retrieve it before I left the building.  No wasted gasoline this time.

4.  Speaking of gasoline...  I filled up the car before the 'big storm,' and have been mostly staying close to home since, so I still have plenty without worrying about running out.  There has been a bit of a run on gas stations around here (due to panic mostly), and the prices have jumped by more than 50¢ per gallon, so I've been happy to make my low-cost, pre-storm gasoline last and stay out of the craziness.

5.  Several stay-home, no-spending days this week. 

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  meatloaf, baked potatoes, corn
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey's
Monday:  *chicken and red beans & rice
Tuesday:  sandwich
Wednesday: chicken curry and rice
Thursday:   leftovers
Friday:  something from the freezer

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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