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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine

I have been wanting to read this for a long time.  I was hoping to find it at the library, but no such luck.  I finally bought a used copy.  

Aging parents and middle-aged offspring cramp each others' style...they may not mean to, but they do.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Making it Monday...

Another couple of things I worked on over the weekend.  
Another card finished.  I will mail it from work today.

And I'm back to cross-stitching tags.  I was so happy to find a pattern for a matryoshka (nesting doll) that would fit on one, and it worked up much quicker than I expected.  It's one square off center...and I could have adjusted the pattern, I suppose...but done is better than perfect!  It will end up on a card front, hopefully this week.  

I ordered some more tags.  I had previously ordered a die to cut my own, but it is hiding somewhere in this mess.

I really need to start getting ready for the quilt retreat.  It is only a couple of weeks away, and LOTS to do to get ready.  As soon as I finish working the three days this week that I have scheduled, I will get right on retreat preparations.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday snail mail...


I have been meaning to sit down and make cards for ages.  I have quite a list of people who are in need of letters, and yet no cards or letters go out.

I have a splitting headache today, so creative mojo is at a minimum.  I managed a not-so-fab card out of whatever was lying about on my dining room stamping table.  Chloe is spending the night, and I wanted her to write a letter to her great-grandmother while she is here, so I whipped out the card while she and Carey went through his old vinyl LPs.

If you squint, it's not too awful.  I wonder if great-grandmother has had her cataract surgery yet?  Oh, I am terrible!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, weeks 36 and 37...

Can't believe I forgot to post the 'file' last week!  Oh well, here's a double dose.

Successes week 36:
1.  Worked three days when I really didn't want to.  Done with commuting...yea!  (Unless I have another weak moment.  If that happens, I promise I will try not to whine further.)

2.  Breakfast at home every day.  

3.  Since I was in neighboring town anyway for work, I ran an errand for a friend.  Saved her gasoline and time.  Doing nice things for friends is frugal when they are the reciprocating kind.  :)

4.  Library ebooks! No gasoline to pick up or return them.  Love that!

5.  Umm...I saved water by not doing laundry until I was out of clean clothes?  :)

Successes week 37:
1.  Worked three days right here in my own community.  Saved gasoline, time, and sanity.

2.  Meal planning and trying to cook what's on hand.  Packing individual meals for freezer for Carey to take to work.

3.  I picked up one and one-half dozen free fresh eggs from my favorite POA-unsanctioned chicken wrangler.

4.  Gave up Cokes cold turkey.  It's been 2 weeks now.

5.  We had planned a day trip today to see my mother-in-law.  I woke at 5:49, showered, dressed, did face and hair, got in car and drove 30 miles of the 200 mile trip in the dark and rain...at which point my husband decided he didn't want to drive in the rain all day (tropical disturbance coming inland on the Texas coast) and called his mother to say we couldn't make it.  (I was game, but not really keen on it either, but didn't want to be the one to say let's not go.)  Delayed the gasoline and lunch out cost (because he will probably go while I'm at work next week), but what was really frugal was avoiding any mishaps that can happen on slick roads...you know...accidents, car repairs, funerals.

Frugal From the Kitchen Week 36:
Saturday:  Dublin Coddle
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  grilled chicken, seasoned rice, pan fried squash, 
Tuesday: *Tex-Mex 
Wednesday:  *barbecue
Thursday:  tacos w/ leftover chicken and grilled peppers/onions
Friday:  egg on toast

Frugal From the Kitchen Week 37:
Saturday: Salmon, seasoned rice, green beans
Sunday: Sunday supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday: Chicken Salad Wrap
Tuesday:  chicken breast, salad
Wednesday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Thursday:  spaghetti (pasta for C, squash for me) & meatballs
Friday:  breakfast for supper: bacon, eggs, pancakes

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

I think I saw this recommended on popular blog.  I'm a little less than halfway through.  It's okay.  Parents raising teenagers in the digital social media age struggle with a crisis of character and introspection.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

I think a commenter here recommended this one awhile back.  I thought it was Peggy, but I looked on her blog and can't find it.  

I haven't had much time for reading lately.  Not sure how I feel about this one yet.  

I wish I could stay home and read tomorrow, but it's my last day of my three weeks working in the neighboring town.  For the next couple of weeks I'll be working here in town, then I will be off for awhile.  SO looking forward to a bit of a break.  Our quilt retreat is coming up in October, so I have some planning and cutting to do to get ready for that.

After that we have vacation time, so I will need more books to read!  Have you read any books lately that you would recommend?

Friday, August 31, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 35...


Successes:
1.  I filled up with gasoline at a station that is 20¢ less per gallon than others in the area, plus 10¢ less still if you use their brand loyalty card, which I did.  An easy $6 savings since I was working near this particular station this week.

2.  I went into JoAnn's today.  I succumbed to some impulse purchases as soon as I walked in the door.  Not part of the frugal plan, but they were on clearance.  I needed some new cutting blades for my paper cutter, and they were buy 2 get 1 free.  Thanks to using the store app coupons, I received 40% off one regular priced item, and 20% my entire order.  Total savings $18.67.

3.  
This is what Rudy left in my path the other night.  He was either trying to (a) keep me contained or (b) cause my death by tripping.  If you can't tell, it is a long row of his toys lain end to end, plus one of my Birkenstocks to top it off.  He has never chewed shoes previously, so he got in trouble.  The strap shows definite damage, and may rub uncomfortably from here on out, time will tell.

I need shoes with a lot of support, and I wear Birks morning to night, from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning till I slip into bed at night.  The tile floors and cement slab the house is built on (not to mention every other building and store I frequent) are not kind to my high arches and dodgy knees.  It has been a long time since I have purchased a new pair of Birks, and some of my favorites are looking pretty tired.  So I used the chewing as an excuse to look at new ones, at least new to me.  

I went to Ebay and searched Birkenstocks in my size.  I found a black, closed-toe pair, lightly worn, very inexpensive with low shipping cost, and they can be worn to work.  I found a pair of sandals like new and in my favorite style, less than half the cost of new, and free shipping.  Then I found a new pair in a style I've never seen before...I fell in love...and I paid full price.  Doy!  But at least the shipping was also free on that pair.

Really, it was all Rudy's fault!  
We've made up now.  No hard feelings.  In fact, he is sleeping across my legs as I type.


4.  I worked three full days even though it was not what I wanted to be doing this week.  Ah, well, it will pay for those shoes.  ...sigh...

5.  The electric bill has arrived and actually went down a little.  Usually this is our highest billing period of the year, and this year it has been SO hot.  We are still hovering around 100°F, though today was only 96°.  That the bill went down a little, rather than up a lot, was a pleasant surprise.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *pizza
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  late lunch, skipped supper 
Tuesday:  pancake and a smoothie
Wednesday:  *Chinese
Thursday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Friday:  Dublin Coddle

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Aaaarrrrrrgggg...

So far, this week has been...challenging...enraging...demoralizing...depressing...

I hate, hate, hate having to watch everything I say around friends and family who do not agree with my political views when they have no hesitation about voicing their opinion.   And then I really hate slipping up on my resolve herewith and it causes a rift in our relationship.

I hate, hate, hate commuting!  I mean it this time.  I am NOT working out of town anymore!

I hate, hate, hate making idiotic and embarrassing mistakes.  Let's just say I found the intercom beyond my abilities today.  Unfortunately it wasn't an inability to send a message...I just sent a smart-ass response to the wrong person.  **eyes rolling so far up in my head!**  Oh, did I mention the 'wrong person' was the boss...and he was in the middle of a meeting with a client.  

O. M. Geeeeee.  It's only Tuesday!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 34...


Successes:
1.  We love breakfast for supper, and it really is frugal.  However, it always seems that when I decide to make waffles, I'm out of milk.  So when I saw a recipe for a homemade pancake/waffle mix from Kathryn at Do It On A Dime that used dry milk in the mix, and thus only required adding a cup of water and an egg to make batter, I knew I'd be much more likely to make more breakfasts for suppers than to fall back on take out.  

When I was rooting around in the pantry on Saturday and found a forgotten bag of instant dry milk, I realized that I had all the ingredients to make a batch.  I put the mix recipe on What's Cookin' 4 Miles North of Nowhere.

We enjoyed our 'breakfast' Saturday night, then I froze the leftover waffles on a cookie sheet.  Once frozen, I moved them to a Ziplock bag, and took them to the kids on Sunday.  They can pop them in the toaster, and have a favorite breakfast in a flash.

2.  Made sure all bills were paid on time before my work week started and fatigue set it.

3.  Work.  Sleep.  Repeat.

4.  No shopping of any kind.

5.  So thankful for a car that gets good gas mileage.  Even with all the driving I did this week, the needle is still far from 'empty'.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Breakfast for supper: waffles, eggs, bacon
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, creamed peas
Tuesday:  slow cooker roast, potatoes, carrots
Wednesday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Thursday:  *friends night out
Friday:  late lunch, skipped supper

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 33...


Successes:
1.  Received another work call; an employee's spouse was transferred, and she is leaving pretty imminently.  They are located in the neighboring town that I said I wasn't going to commute to anymore, but this branch has been really great to work at in the past, so I'm compromising and booked three days a week for the next three weeks.  I did say I could be flexible due to a medical issue with a coworker in that branch.  It's one I have struggled with myself, so I know how unpredictable and debilitating it can be.

2.  The amount of work I've had this year has been hard on my limited work wardrobe.  I finally caved and ordered some new black slacks as well as navy ones.  I also ordered a few tops  and a scarf which will replace some in my closet that are starting to look more washer worn than I am comfortable going to work in...we are expected to maintain a professional appearance.  Everything was 50% off.  Now my closet, which has been needing a good clean out for awhile, must be attended to sooner rather than later.

3.  I made a new casserole recipe which was pretty awful.  We ate it anyway, but the leftovers were not saved.  I'm not THAT frugal.  :)

4.  I went out to eat with a friend, and we both had salads.  I ordered my dressing on the side and used the old dieting method of dipping the fork in the dressing before spearing each bite of salad.  There was WAY too many lovely fresh lettuces and cucumbers to finish.  Since the greens on my plate remained undressed (!) and would stay crisp, I brought them home to make a side salad for us at another meal.

5.  I was looking around the pantry this week to see what needed to be used up, and I came across a bottle of peach flavored syrup to make flavored beverages.  I brewed a pitcher of tea and am now enjoying peach iced tea.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *dinner out with Bobby
Sunday:  Burrito Casserole (worst Pinned recipe ever!)
Monday:  *Chinese
Tuesday:  *friend night out
Wednesday:  *baked potato
Thursday:  Spanish rice w/ beef
Friday:  Shrimp Salad

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 32...


Successes:
1.  We were going out to a place we like for a late lunch/early dinner (not frugal) on Wednesday.  I remembered before we left home that they have put a Little Free Library out front of the cafe.  The first time I saw it, I didn't feel right about taking a book since I didn't have any to leave in exchange.  Today I picked up a couple of books from my already-read pile before we left home.  

I love the idea of little free libraries, and I want one, but we live in a semi-rural area and on a cul-de-sac to boot, so I don't think it would see much traffic if I had one.  I happily deposited my two donation books today on my way into the restaurant.  And the frugal part of this story is that on the way out of the restaurant I found a mystery paperback that caught my fancy to take home with me.

2.  Aestivation - prolonged torpor or dormancy of an animal during a hot or dry period.  As opposed to hibernation.  That's what I'm doing.  Hiding from the heat.  Staying home.  Watching free craft tutorials on Youtube.  And movies on Netflix (which may not be free, but at least I'm getting my money's worth on the subscription).

3.  Getting a head start on Christmas gifting/crafting.  I'm making plans and lists.  I've requested an all homemade gift exchange among the family this year...not sure all will want to do that, but it's okay to mix it up.  My quilt group is also doing a handmade exchange this year, so I'm working on that as well.  A good portion of all gifts will be done with supplies on hand.

4.  Using free printables to replenish Yahtzee! score cards.  We play Yahtzee! often, lately at every family supper.  And last week we were down to using the remains of a pad from the 1960's.  My kids were amazed as they handed me a partially used score sheet, all foxed and somewhat brittle around the edges, with my maiden name written in elementary cursive.  :)  I don't need to make a pad out of the ones I'm printing, but I have plenty of free chipboard and a jar of padding compound from when I made these, so I might as well.

5.  Vacation planning.  Keeping it as frugal as possible.  Meal planning and pet arrangements are a major consideration in the process.  Can't we just stay home?

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *Tex-Mex
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad
Tuesday:  leftovers
Wednesday:  *dinner out
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  *burger

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

I haven't been reading anything lately, and have been wanting something to spark the desire again.

Susanna Kearsley is a favorite author.  While I haven't loved all of her work, her The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden are favorites and are on my read-again list. 

Bellewether is her newest book...just out this week...and long awaited as there were some delays.  I paid full price for the Kindle version and started it immediately.  

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Saturday snail mail...

Just checking in to document a couple of cards I made this weekend.

Card #1:

This is a shaker card filled with coins in the 'jar'.  It's a belated birthday card for one of the boys.  I included a check inside the card.  When I give them cash, check, or a gift card, I try to put at least a little imagination into the presentation.  

To see a couple of other ways I've presented them with cash as gifts, see here and here.

Card #2:
Caitlyn needed a card to take to a birthday party tomorrow, so I made this one for her to take.   I was multitasking when I was making it, and I'm not 100% happy with it, but she thought it was fine. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 31...


Successes:
1.  I was out of multi-purpose cleaner in the master bath.  I could have gone and made some, or retrieved some from another part of the house, but there was a container of a liquid hand soap that I don't really like sitting on the counter, so I poured some of it in the toilet bowl and brushed as usual.  Soap is soap, and the ones I don't like for one purpose  get used for another.  

2.  I scheduled 7 new days of work locally for next month.  

3.  The pantry needs reorganizing desperately.  Rotating some of the lingering stock out will  help neaten things up as well as be frugal.  Tonight we will be having salmon croquettes.  Maybe in the next few days there will be tuna casserole, tuna salad sandwiches, some kind of curry to use up the bottle of curry sauce (and fading vegetables in the fridge)...  

4.  Staying home shutting out the heat.  I don't glow.  I sweat...copious amounts of sweat.

5.  We have a water well.  That means that there's no water bill climbing when Carey waters the trees by non-stop slow drip to try to keep the stress of this dry heat from causing damage.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  *chicken
Tuesday:  egg on toast
Wednesday:  Chloe's b'day supper at Kasey & Beau's
Thursday:  Taco Salad
Friday:  salmon patties, sweet potato fries, green beans

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

I fain would gain the coastal plain...

...where the rain falls oft with the heat of a summer afternoon, and cares drift away on the gulf breeze.

Earlier this week I made a trip from our home in the Texas hill country to the gulf coast near my hometown.  I found my heart lift as the land leveled, and I could see for miles in every direction clear to where the bright azure sky meets the earth.  The highway is wide and flat and flanked by the last of this year's cotton crop.  No curves.  No hills.  And the legal speed limit is enjoyably increased.  

When I was young, I made a trip to the mountains, and I discovered that I suffer from geographical claustrophobia.  I enjoyed the beauty, but as snow moved in, an anxiety settled around my heart that I would be stranded, unable to leave.  On the return trip home, I felt such a sweet relief of homecoming.  I experienced a palpable sensation of anxiety shedding off of me like water poured out on the flat ground; instantly its residue too thin to even be observed soaking into the landscape.  I felt that again this week.  

And then in my inbox today, I received an email from Etsy with this photo of an artisan's work that I found very beautiful.
shop this artist on Etsy at OnceAgainSam

But I realized that my own amulet would have to look more like this:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 30...


Successes:
1.  Refilled prescriptions.  I am SO thankful for prescription coverage!

2.  I had a sleep study last night.  I am SO thankful for medical insurance!  (But my share was still expensive.)  

3.  Last night as I was trying to fall asleep in a strange, uncomfortable bed in the city with electrodes stuck to my face, scalp, neck, chest, and leg (and starting to get hungry from skipping dinner), I was promising myself that I could pick up breakfast on the way home.  However, when checkout time came before sunrise, all I wanted to do was get home and get some real sleep in my own bed.

4.  My sister has a great-grandchild now, so she stopped by to pick up a family heirloom rocking horse that I've had possession of since our grands were toddlers.  Since sis lives 500 miles away, I was glad that she was able to work it into a trip, and nobody (me) had to make a special trip or try to ship it.  :)

5.  A co-worker called Carey about an electrical problem at the house they use while working.  Carey fixed it at zero expense by having the correct supplies on hand (and a lifetime of practical know-how).  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, he is a frugal guy to have around.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  *Tex-Mex
Tuesday:  *hamburgers
Wednesday:  meatloaf, baked potatoes, corn on the cob
Thursday:  late lunch, skipped dinner
Friday:  breakfast for dinner

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday dessert...

My mother was a great baker.  Kasey fondly mentions my mom's cinnamon rolls occasionally, and how they were the best.  I've been meaning to make a batch for a long while.  

They were a big hit at Sunday family supper.  And Kasey looked as happy, and messy, as she always did when mom made them.  :)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 29...


Successes:
1.  My gas tank was severely depleted when I arrived to work a few minutes early this morning.  I filled my tank full-to-the-fullest-full at the lowest-priced store in the area (just one block from the branch I was working), and I got that little chore out of the way before work.  I wanted to eliminate any chance that I would forget and run out halfway home.  :)

2.  Thirteen days of consecutive 8 hour days.  DONE!  I have no work days scheduled on the calendar.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  And I am SO looking forward to it...for awhile at least.  That doesn't mean that I wasn't really pleased with the paycheck that went into the bank account today.

3.  I've pretty much decided not to schedule future work at non-local branches.  Those may prove to be famous last words, but the extra hour or two of my time commuting (unpaid) and eating out when I am SO tired at the end of the day really cut into the take-home pay.  Then there is poor Rudy having to stay outside all day every day in 100 degree weather (or in the cold on winter days).  How is it frugal to turn down work?  Well...fewer meals out...less gasoline...less wear and miles on the car...less wear on its tires...less wear on my work clothes and shoes, and avoiding replacing them...fewer makeup days means a lower expenditure there...less opportunity for impulse spending (oh the vendors that hit up office staff and the seekers of charitable donations...more days at home in the second half of the year means more time for handmade gifts rather than expensive store-bought ones as the holidays draw ever nearer.

Now all those savings may not balance out the fewer pay checks, but maybe I'll figure out a side gig that will make up some of it too.

4.  I did pretty well packing a lunch for work.  On the mornings I didn't bring one from home, I stopped for breakfast tacos; one for breakfast and one to put in the fridge and warm up for lunch.  Not free, but $2.50 total for breakfast AND lunch isn't too bad.  

5.  Are you seeing a theme with the frugal list?  From home to work and back again has been the extent of my month so far.  I've read library ebooks.  I did some cross-stitch.  I haven't gone to the movies.  I didn't buy anything on Prime Day.  Oh, and not to ignore Carey's work contribution, his check that went into the account today was a nice one, what with the double-time-and-a-half holiday pay for the 4th and all.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  chicken fried steak, steak fries, cream gravy
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey and Beau's
Monday:  *burger
Tuesday:  *takeout
Wednesday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Thursday:  *Chinese
Friday:  *pizza

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 28...


Successes:
1.  I worked five brain-challenging days this week.

2.  I might not have cooked often this week, but when I did I made large quantities, so there are quite a number of individual servings prepared and stored in the freezer for Carey to take to work.

3.  I saved Sonic receipts that had survey codes on them, went online to fill out the surveys, and now have several codes that will net me free drinks.  In fact, I cashed one in on my way home from work today.

4.  I stayed home and did laundry and some organizing.  Carey went with his brother to view a new hunting lease...a hunting lease for his brother...Carey has decided not to be on the lease any longer (since he doesn't hunt, it was silly to go to the expense).  We didn't go out or to the movies.

5.  I purchased an item from Amazon that gave the option of "expert assembly."  It didn't look like it would over tax our own expertise, so i saved the exorbitant fee that they wanted for something we were perfectly able to do ourselves.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey and Beau's
Monday:  pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw
Tuesday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Wednesday:  shrimp boil
Thursday:  *barbecue
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

I heard the author interviewed on the radio, and it really piqued my interest.  A female serial rapist is attacking men.  It's not just a feminist turn about.  It examines the feelings of the men who are attacked and the publicity surrounding them.  No one protects their anonymity.  Where a woman might be asked or ask herself, 'What did you/I do to deserve this?'  these men are asked and/or asking themselves, 'How did I let this happen?'  

The chapters are as different as the survivors.  The IT specialist is written in instant messages.  The stand-up comic is written as a long routine.  Very interesting.  

I wish I could stay home and read!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today is Tuesday...

I made this after work.  I think I'm addicted to these things!  Now that it's done, I don't really like how it's oriented on the tag.  Maybe it will look different in the morning.  Or I will just find a different way to use it.

This morning was crazy, and I couldn't even tell you what made it so stressful, just complex tasks with the phone ringing and me there alone.  And the building is in the process of being rebuilt, so out of the entire large office building, our branch and one other are occupying it.  And it is filled with work crews, so I keep the door locked, and every time there is a delivery or a client at the door, I have to stop what I'm doing and lose my train of thought to go to the door.  This afternoon was much better, but loud with the construction sounds.  Last time I worked here they were having asbestos remediation...now I'm reluctant to take a deep breath...though they said it was perfectly safe...suuuuure it is.

I'm rambling.  I'm tired.  I'm going to bed.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Frugal Friday 2018, week 27...


Successes:
1.  Happened across a station, off of my normal route, where gasoline prices were 10¢ less per gallon than the regular place I stop.

2.  Worked/working two days this week.

3.  I took a smoothie to work both mornings for breakfast.  

4.  I've been wanting some magnetic sheets to cut to size to organize and store some metal craft dies.  Did lots of web surfing and pricing.  Came across a tip that Home Depot has magnetic vent covers...8" x 15" and three to a package...for $4.98.  When Carey said he was going to HD, I pulled up the photo of the package online and asked him to bring me one package.  Works perfectly for my needs.  Easy to cut to the size I want.  Holds well.  Lower price than most alternatives I found, and no shipping costs.

5.  I cooked a large pork shoulder roast in the slow cooker this week:  street tacos one night, burrito bowls tonight, and some for the freezer that will make pulled pork sandwiches later.  I also saved the liquid from the pot.  I will remove and discard the fat from the top, and then use the liquid to make a pot of beans this weekend.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey's
Monday:  grazed the fridge
Tuesday:  street tacos, guacamole, pico de gallo
Wednesday:  leftovers
Thursday:  *barbecue stuffed baked potato
Friday:  Burrito Bowls

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

Since last week I started and finished At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen.  It's sort of WWII meets the Loch Ness monster.  Sounds crazy, but it works.  A Philadelphia high society couple make a faux pas one New Year's Eve, and are kicked out by the husband's parents with whom they live.  They make their way to Scotland to become monster hunters.  The people of the small village, and the up-close look at the war, affect them in very different ways.  I loved this one.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Remind me why I read Anne Tyler?  They always seem like the same quirky characters, but the delivery is familiar and cozy...and I just love the cover on this one.  :)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Halfway...

Can you believe we are halfway through the year?!  Which means I am halfway through The One Year Bible; I like to work my way through, cover to cover, every few years or so.

What else are we halfway through on?  Here's a mini review of my 2018 goals.
  • I've worked a lot more than usual this year.  I've already met my annual minimums and completed all required annual training (except for one that the company doesn't have ready yet).
  • So much work means I haven't had the time to do a lot of quilting...or pretty much any.  While at work recently, I met a client who was also a quilter.  She asked what my specialty was...I thought for a minute and said my specialty was letting dust accumulate on my machine and procrastinating.
  • I counted up my 52-letters-in-52-weeks stats recently, and I'm already at 44!
  • I've been doing pretty well at making smoothies for breakfast when I'm home, and occasionally have even managed to take one with me to work.  Not perfect, but progress.
  • I am still a night owl.  I haven't reset my habit on that point, with the exception of the times I have to be up early for work or other appointments.
  • I'm staying on top of finances, and have moved some accounts around that we have been talking about doing forever.
  • I've been keeping up my Weekly Goals & To-Dos.  I love coloring in those little boxes when I finish something.
  • (photo from beginning of last week)
  • I haven't cleared any pieces of furniture out of the house, but I have taken several boxes of small things to Goodwill.
  • The house is a major disaster at the moment, but the floors get Swiffered more often than they used to.
Since my word this year is 'Produce,' I feel pretty successful, as I have been somewhat more productive, and have been consuming more produce (fruits and vegetables).  :)

And that's about it for me.  How are you doing with your plans for the year?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 26


We are halfway through the year!

Successes:
1.  Got a compliment on a pair of earrings I was wearing this week.  Was happy to say, "Thanks, I made them!"  

2.  Staying home in the air conditioning reading library books.  I didn't even leave the house to acquire said library books, just went to their ebook site and checked out a couple of new ones delivered wirelessly.  I love that!

3.  We did venture out this week for an appointment with our insurance rep for some free advice.  On the same trip we managed to get over to the Social Security office and get Carey registered for Medicare.

4.  Carey is working an extra day this week.

5.  We were gifted some homegrown tomatoes, which went into a yummy tomato pie!  

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *Tex-Mex
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey's
Monday: steak, garlic mashed potatoes, corn 
Tuesday:  *fish
Wednesday:  meatloaf, tomato pie, green beans
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  hot dogs, slaw, chips

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

I'm about 2/3 through this one, and I'm not liking it much.  I certainly don't understand all of its glowing reviews.  None of the characters are very likable.  Charlotte, an American college coed, is dissatisfied with the results of the minimal search results for her French cousin who seems to have disappeared during WWII.  She comes upon the name of Eve, a female WWI spy, and she hires her to help launch her own search.  The story then diverges into alternating chapters of Eve's WWI story and Charlotte's post-WWII story.  

I've said it before, and I am saying it again: I do not like the use of divergent timelines as a literary device!  Neither do I like a writer who overuses stuttering spelled out in their writing.  It feels demeaning to people who actually struggle with speech fluency...especially when it is repeatedly mentioned how simple-minded other characters believe the stuttering character to be because of it.  
Edited to add:  The afterword indicates that the author's husband (who is a lifelong stutterer) encouraged her to write the spy's stutter and the underestimation of those she came in contact with, and he read and made suggestions along the way.  So my apologies for jumping to the conclusion it was somewhat superficial, as I'm now sure that in this case the author's motives were sincere.

Anyway, I am trying to finish this one.  I am speedily skimming the spy's chapters, maybe because I don't want to care too much about her when they get to the torture chapters, or maybe because it is just not that compelling.

In case I was unclear, I don't recommend this one.  I'm just happy I checked it out from the library instead purchasing it.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Making it Monday...

I am having so much fun with the perforated paper tags 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Frugal Friday File 2018, week 25...


Successes:
1.  Karma.  I had an appointment for my mammogram this week in the city.  It was in a medical building with a parking garage.  First I overslept.  Then it was raining.  I forgot to get cash for the parking fee.  I made it to appointment about 15 minutes late.  I checked in, updated some forms, got called back, undressed, had mammogram, redressed, and was done.  I decided to ask at the 'toll booth' if I could pay with a card rather than cash.  I stopped and gave the garage attendant my ticket, and she said, "Have a nice day!"  I was parked for less than 30 minutes, so it was free!  Less than 30 minutes for a medical appointment where I had to disrobe, etc?  Amazing.  

I have been to this medical building for LOTS of appointments with two different doctors as well as the imaging center I visited this week.  I always make sure to have cash before I go, because the ATM machines in the building charge an outrageous fee.  And after paying my parking fee, if I have change due, I often ask the attendant to keep it to pay for someone behind me who may not have cash or may just need a random act of kindness after a doctor visit.  Karma smiled on me this time.  :)

2.  Mammogram is fully covered as preventative care by insurance.  SO thankful for insurance.

3.  I've gotten a lot of bang for my buck out of my card-making supplies lately.

4.  No shopping...in stores or online...this week.

5.  Returned library books and DVDs on time.  It was not as easy as usual, since the DVDs have to be returned inside the library (rather than in the drop box in the parking lot) and the library construction is in full swing making access rather challenging.

Keep Trying:  I've been relying much too much on takeout lately.  Mostly because I don't want to go grocery shopping.  It's too hot to get out.  It's too hot to cook.  Wah, wah, wah.  Must push through these excuses and get back in the kitchen!

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  leftovers
Monday:  *Chinese takeout
Tuesday:  *dinner out with a friend
Wednesday:  *fried chicken
Thursday:  Goulash
Friday:  pasta salad

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)
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