Thursday, February 28, 2019

February at a glance...

Feb 1 - attended a funeral at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery with full military honors.  Very moving.

Feb 3 - Sunday family supper and Yahtzee!

Feb 8 - More banana bread...this time with chocolate chips.  One piece eaten, the rest individually packaged for freezer for Carey to take to work.

Feb 9 - What do you mean it's too cold to play outside?  It doesn't seem to be bothering the squirrels!

Feb 10 - late night crafting

Feb 14 - Chocolate-covered strawberries...mmmmmm

Feb 17 - Sunday family supper and Yahtzee...again.

Feb 20 - Shrimp Alfredo in spaghetti squash bowls

Feb 22 - filling out passport renewal application

Feb 23 - Gorgeous day with interesting clouds

Feb 26 - prices going up, but this station still lower than any others

Feb 27 - my friend Debbie in Seattle sent me a box of goodies for Valentine's Day.  It included some specialty chocolate bars.  They all had lovely wrappers, but one was so beautiful that I used it to make her a thank you card.  She's a card maker too, so I'm pretty sure she will see the beauty as well as the humor in this.  :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Still plugging away...
Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati

I'm barely over 50%...52% to be exact.  I just went to Amazon to check number of pages...almost 900!  Note to self:  check book length before selecting a book for challenge.  These long ones tend to slow my progress on annual goal.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Frugal Friday File 2019, week 8...

1.  Lots of staying home and reading.  

2.  Warmer temperatures means less heating.  We actually got into the mid 80s this week; I've even seen the first bluebonnets of the year.

3.  I got my hair cut this week.  Even though I have a short cut, my stylist's cuts look good for quite awhile, so I can get away with going longer between cuts.  I didn't make an appointment for the next visit, as I will wait until it starts telling me it needs it.  Although I occasionally still miss my natural original hair color (which I can no longer achieve naturally), I am okay with the gray and saving the big budget color jobs.

4.  I've been altering recipes and making substitutions rather than making trips to the grocery.

5.  Had our annual review with financial advisor.  Filled up with lower-priced gasoline while in neighboring town on a required trip.  I found the ultimate bargain ($38!) on a brand-new Ninja slow cooker for Kasey for Valentine's Day as she had just broken hers, which she used all the time.  Paying bills on time, moving money into savings for annual premiums so it's there for due date, and money into savings for emergencies.

Saturday:  breakfast for supper
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  Dublin Coddle
Tuesday:  *Chicken Fried Steak
Wednesday:  Shrimp Alfredo w/ spaghetti squash
Thursday:  *chicken
Friday:  chili

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Last Wednesday's book, Once Upon A River, is almost finished.  I didn't want to take time away from the last 50 pages of it to write this post, but I did.  You're welcome.  I am loving it!

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati

I will probably start this one tomorrow.  It was a Kindle deal of the day yesterday, and it will fill in another state on the 2019 reading challenge map.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Making it Moday...

A couple of cards today using up scrap papers.

No school today, and Kasey was tied up in the city.  I went over to see if the girls wanted to hang out for a little while.  I took them out for lunch, and then they came home with me to dash off some notes to their great-grandmother.  I didn't have any cards made up for them, so I had them write in blank card bases, then made the card fronts after I delivered them back home.

I would have had them make the cards, but it had to be a very short visit.  Beau had yard work chores for them to help with at home.  We were lucky I could rescue them for even a little while.  :)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Frugal Friday File 2019, week 7...

1.  I wanted to create new decor for above the fireplace to include some large wooden letters.  The chunky letters that I had in mind were too pricey for me.  I purchased some that are about 12 inches high, but only about 1/4 inch thick.  To create a more substantial appearance, I hot glued just two used wine corks to the back (one at the top, and one at the bottom) so that they stand out from the wall and have the appearance of depth.  I'm happy with the look.  A big plus:  the combination of thin wood and corks are so lightweight, each hangs securely on just a straight pin that I hammered into the wall.  No noticeable nail holes will be left when it's time to change decor again.

2.  Beef & Winter Vegetable Stew was on the menu.  Stew meat was $4.99 a pound.  I searched the meat case for another cut of meat that I could cut into cubes myself.  Boneless beef rib meat was $2.99 a pound, so I thought I would give it a try.  It was already cut into lengths of a convenient size, and since it was boneless, all I had to do was slice into chunks.  The rib meat cooked up very tender and flavorful in the stew.

3.  Though the meat was very lean for the most part, I was left with a small amount of scraps that I had trimmed away.  I tossed the scraps into a Ziplock bag, labeled the contents, and tossed the bag into the freezer.  When I have accumulated enough bones/meat scraps, I will make a pot of beef broth.  

4.  I'm working today; and locally so no commute.  Yea!

5.  Earlier this week, I had used almost all of my survey coupons for free drinks at Sonic.  (I only get drinks at Sonic; rarely food unless the girls are with me.)  I start getting nervous at the thought of no more free drinks.  :)  I diligently check my receipts to see if it has a survey offer, and this week I was rewarded with two.  Yea!  My favorite visits to Sonic are when I use a survey code for a free drink, and they hand me a receipt that indicates $0.00 due...and it has a survey offer for another free drink at the bottom.  LOL  

Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  hummus, crackers, and vegetables
Tuesday:  *Chinese
Wednesday:  *sushi
Thursday:  Beef & Winter Vegetable Stew
Friday:  *Tex-Mex

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day...

Blurry photo...sorry

I want to send out some love on this Valentine's Day to all of you who visit the blog.  I love reading your comments, and count the blog friends I've come to know over the years as friends in real life too.  

I found this wreath and unpainted letters at Joann's recently.  I've been wanting to do something different with the mantel decor for awhile, so I splurged.  (Though, of course, I used coupons and made the most practical choices possible.)  I actually bought more letters than just these, and will show soon when I take down the 'love' at the end of the month.  I already had white paint to paint the letters.  

The wreath is an artificial boxwood wreath.  The white flowers on the wreath are ones I use frequently in lots of ways.  The greenery on the wreath is so dense, that I just tucked the flowers in among it and they stayed quite securely without glue or being on picks, though probably not well enough if I was hanging it outside subject to wind.  This way, though, I can quickly and harmlessly remove them later to change out decor.

The potted hydrangea was a Valentine gift to us from Kasey & Beau (along with some yummy chocolate covered strawberries...mmmmm).  The little Westie on the left end is a vintage cast iron door stop that a sweet friend gave me years ago.

Do you change household decorations seasonally?  I get bored looking at the same thing for too long, and start yearning to gather objects from around the house to create a new vignette.  I mostly stick to the mantel.  

As retirement looms in the next few years, I have been thinking about downsizing.  Looking at house plans that are smaller, but still have storage that would allow decorations to be easily accessible to the living space (among other things that are subjects for a whole other post).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

I think I have been on the reserve list at the library for this for months; long before I came upon the 2019 Reading Challenge.  Yesterday an email arrived letting me know that my turn had come, so I am leaving the challenge limits to travel to England for this story while I can.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Comment troubles...

I've heard from several readers that they are having trouble leaving comments here.  I'm not sure what that's about.  I do know that I have trouble commenting on other people's blogs when I'm reading on my phone, but that doesn't help me have an answer to share.  I received a notice that Blogger has been making changes recently, which is always frustrating, and usually leads to having to spend a day redesigning the blog.  I really don't have time to do that right now, so if you come and it looks like bare, concrete walls around here, know that I will get to it when I can.

But you know who isn't having trouble leaving comments?  Spammers!  I got the nastiest comment last night, and I'm talking nastier than the porn spam that I've received a few times in the past.  This one said that I, and all other baby boomers, are evil, that we have ruined the world, and why can't we just effing drop dead.  Nice, huh?  And that was a very abbreviated version.  I left out the parts with racial slurs and that were meant to degrade and terrify.  I am sure it was probably an email blast from a hate group somewhere, but it disturbed me...not like frightened for my personal safety...but frightened for our world that seems to grow more polarized and hostile each day.

So I leave you with a picture of cute, innocent kittens.  Look into those sweet little faces and think happy thoughts.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

No, it's not Wednesday...

I just finished this one, and I couldn't wait till Next week to mention it.

Elevation by Stephen King

This was a quick read at just 160 pages, and while short, it was also incredibly sweet.  I've read many of Mr. King's books over the years.  One disturbed me so much that I took a decade-long break from his work.  But this one isn't terrifying, or jolting.  It is well imagined and well written and, by me, well loved.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Frugal Friday File 2019, week 6...

1.  A trusted friend and I have been setting semi-monthly phone appointments to discuss financial goals and strategies.  It's been helpful for both of us, and...since my new, lower-cost phone plan still includes unlimited call minutes...frugal even though we are far apart.  My homework this week is to get a bid on auto insurance from a different company.

2.  The topic of decluttering is everywhere these days.  I noticed on our public library's website that they are having a program next week on "what to save and what to toss" led by a professional organizer.  Sign me up for some good, free fun.

3.  Looks like we're doing separate vacations this year.  Jared and Carey have a trip scheduled to Arizona to watch some spring-training baseball.  They are discussing making a quick side trip to see the Grand Canyon.  That would make me very happy, since Carey has wanted to see it, and I already have (and don't have a yearning to go back).  Jared is paying for the plane tickets, and Carey has his own 'fun money' set aside for hotel and car rental.  They will split meals.

4.  And within this past week or so, two opportunities for time away have come up for me.  One is a nearby spring quilt retreat (which, of course, is done very frugally by our group).  The other is a family reunion in Michigan...but not my family, so I said, 'yes!'  LOL  Thanks to last year's abundant work opportunities, I have some 'fun money' socked away that make both of these possible.

5.  Today I am: baking banana bread (with overripe bananas); sticking close to home to save gasoline and impulse spending (and so Rudy doesn't have to brave the cold temperatures outside); keeping the thermostat set a little lower than Carey likes it; making a few cards and writing letters; and printing some graph paper from an online source instead of running out and buying a whole package since I only need a couple of sheets.

Saturday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  No Peek Chicken
Tuesday:  *Tex-Mex
Wednesday:  Meatloaf, potatoes, broccoli, green beans
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  Goulash

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas

I'm about halfway through this one, and have realized that I read it a few years ago.  I can't remember how it ends, though, so I will keep reading.  :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tip of the week...

I'm a little bit of a germophobe.  I mean not in a crazy way.  Not as much as my previous boss.  :)  But especially in cold and flu season, I want to wash my hands as soon as I get out of a store or get done pumping gasoline.  And hand sanitizers just don't cut it for may kill germs, but it doesn't remove any schmutz, etc.  
 I always have Wet Ones in my purse and in my car's console.  As soon as I get back in my car after shopping or pumping gas, I grab a towelette and give my hands a good scrub, front, back, and between fingers.  A good hardy wipe down.

Then I take the still-moist towelette (or a fresh one) and wipe down my steering wheel, my gear shift, my door handle, and my key...anything I may have touched in the process of entering the car.  I have always worried just a bit about this being a little obsessive.  Until today.  Today I heard on the radio that your own steering wheel is probably the dirtiest thing you come in contact with on a regular basis.   "The average steering wheel was found to have four times the amount of colony forming bacteria per square centimeter than a public toilet seat."  A PUBLIC TOILET SEAT, people!

It's dirtier than your cell phone.  Dirtier than a hotel remote control!  (I also wipe those down with towelettes from my purse.  HA!)

Okay.  I am climbing down from my soap (and water) box now.  

Monday, February 4, 2019


Oh, crap.  We are having plumbing problems.  Began noticing a few days ago, with just slow draining, etc.  Yesterday I freaked out a little when the symptoms got worse.  Septic service company is due out tomorrow.  On the bright side, at least it is happening while Carey is home and not working out of town.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Frugal Friday File 2019, January...

This was an experiment...converting the Frugal Friday File to monthly instead of weekly.  It seems too long.  I may go back to weekly.  Or should I cut it out altogether?  Opinions?

Week 1 Successes:
1.  Reworked/updated my wall calendar and my spiral to-do list pages.  I know you are probably thinking I am crazy to make my own, and you would be correct, but I don't like change, and this just helps me to have consistent planning pages from year to year...completely personalized and pennies on the dollar of store bought.  My 2019 calendar is on the wall, and to-do list pages are printed and ready to take to be spiral bound, which will be done before I run out of pages in my current one.

2.  Took guest surveys from Sonic receipts.  Three more free unsweet teas with magic ice in my future.

3.  Made a menu plan and shopping list, then made a grocery run.  Having the freezer and pantry stocked makes it so much easier to get through meal prep.

4.  We switched to cloth napkins around 1990, and just toss them in laundry with a load of bath/kitchen towels.  My favorite napkins are sturdy 100% cotton, and they last forever.  Surprisingly they rarely have a stain that sets, so they still look presentable.  I bought some replacements several years ago in plain beige, but have never needed to add them to the rotation.  I should either use them or donate them.  I wonder how many packages of paper napkins and paper towels I have avoided buying over the past (almost) thirty years?

5.  Carey took advantage of senior discount on museum admission.

Week 2 Successes:
1.  Made a run to Joann's for supplies for a project and to replenish my supply of rotary blades since they were 40% off.  No impulse purchases.  Used my Joann's App to access coupons which shaved a further $18 dollars off of my purchase.  Only go to a craft store during a week that your needed item is on sale, plan your purchases, and have appropriate coupons.  It seems like half their stock is 40% one week and the other half the next...purchasing at full price feels like a rookie mistake.

2.  I used Gala apples to make an apple pie...rather than going to the store for the kind the recipe called for...gasp!  Around our house, nobody complains about things like the texture of the fruit in a baked good, so I use what I have on hand.  I sent this one to work with Carey for him and his coworkers, one of whom is my favorite brother-in-law.

3.  Too much online spending has been going on around here.  The only thing I can say in my defense is that I checked Retail-Me-Not before finalizing the orders to check codes for discounts or free shipping, and was rewarded with one of each.

4.  One of my online purchases was from, they of Rudy's favorite television commercials.  (He jumps up from a sound sleep to stand upright in front of the TV to watch these ads!)  I had priced a new outside dog bed locally, and it was twice the price of Chewy's.  And while on the website I priced dog food and found the cost the same or lower than locally, and so 2 dog beds, 40 lbs of dry dog food, and a 6 pack of canned dog food all shipped free.  

5. Cooking in large batches, eating lots of leftovers.

Week 3 Successes:
1.  I turn the thermostat down to 62 when Carey leaves for work.  He wants it warmer when he's home.  I turned the heater off when the outside temps weren't dipping too low. 

2.  Wear my favorite old pair of wool socks to bed.  Between them, flannel sheets, and down comforter it is perfectly comfortable.

3.  Filled the back of the car and dropped it at Goodwill.  Working on being more frugal with use of space in my home this year.

4.  I used way overly-ripe bananas to make two loaves of Pineapple Banana Bread.  Once cooled, I sliced one loaf completely and placed in individual baggies and placed in the freezer for Carey to take to work.

5. Worked one day this week, and scheduled a full week of work in March.

Week 4 Successes:
1.  Our trips to see Carey's mom are always pretty short, since we go and come all in one day, but we are thankful that it is close enough to do that.  In addition to the greeting card set that I made for her, I also made sure to take along some jewelry making/repair supplies so I could take care of a medic alert necklace that was scratchy for her to wear.  I also gave her a nice long foot rub.  All things that don't cost money, and won't take up space in her small suite, but that I hope make her feel listened to and pampered.  (Well, the cards take up space, but at least they are consumable.)

2.  Jared was over, and I thought about ordering pizza.  But I knew I had Italian sausage, a bell pepper, and a bag of shredded mozzarella that needed to be used before much longer.  Also had ripe olives, half an onion, a jar of pizza sauce, and some pepperoni.  I always have flour and yeast, so I mixed up some dough for crust.  Two pizzas made that fed the three of us and made four servings for Carey to freeze and take to work.  

3.  I was in a neighboring town for an appointment, and made sure to fill up with gasoline at our favorite station before heading back home.  Saved 16¢ per gallon compared to the ones closer to home.

4.  Library ebooks.  Free reading.  No gasoline to pick them up or return them since it's all done via computer.  Our library is under construction for expansion.  The building is still open, but I have been relying on ebooks for the most part for convenience and to avoid the construction mess.

5. Staying home and hibernating...multiple no-spending days.

Week 5 Successes:
1.  I needed an angel food cake for Sunday family supper's dessert.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bake it in the lower (larger oven), and it did not do well in the small oven.  It rose and burned onto the element and onto the pan.  I ended up peeling off the crusty top, and the interior of the cake was fine and did not have a burned flavor.  I was using it for a sort of trifle, so tearing it into chunks was the original intent anyway.

As far as the pan, the interior...the complete interior...had black cake burned welded onto it.  I soaked it repeatedly...I scrubbed out what I could...I sprinkled baking soda and added vinegar and let that bubble and soak...I scrubbed with Bar Keeper's Friend.  Then I finally called it 'as good as it's gonna get' and washed with dish detergent, dried it, and put it away.  Frankly, if it hadn't been my mother's pan that I like using, I would have just tossed it.  But sentiment kept me using frugal on-hand cleaners and elbow grease, and ultimately saved the price of another pan.

2.  I've been having muscle spasms in my back Friday through Tuesday.  (Scrubbing that damn cake pan didn't help!)  I hate taking muscle relaxers, but I kept them at the ready.  My plan was to go to the chiropractor on Wednesday, but Wednesday I had no pain and muscles felt loosened up, so was happy to keep the price of an adjustment and the gasoline for the hundred mile round trip in pocket.  

3.  Kasey ordered a high-speed photo scanner and now has all of her photo prints saved and organized digitally.  She has generously offered to let me borrow the scanner to do the same.  Borrowing and bartering is a big help, and I try to be respectful and careful of other people's property when I do so.

4.  I watched a movie on Youtube when it wasn't available on Netflix or Prime without paying to view.

5.  I used up the end of a bag of kale, and the liquid left from cooking a roast in the slow cooker to add to the Dublin Coddle.  I'm still a long way from zero food waste, but I've come a long way 

Frugal From the Kitchen This Month:
week 1
Saturday: *pizza
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  leftovers
Tuesday:  breakfast for dinner
Wednesday:  Winter Vegetable Stew w/ cornbread
Thursday:  Quiche with green beans
Friday:  *dinner out

week 2
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  homemade hamburgers with sweet potato fries
Monday:  15-Bean Soup with Cornbread
Tuesday:  *Tex-Mex
Wednesday:  Dublin Coddle
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  leftovers

week 3
Saturday:  leftovers
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  late lunch, skipped supper
Tuesday:  wings (another test in air fryer)
Wednesday:  Goulash
Thursday:  Sonic 50¢ corn dogs
Friday:  *Schlotzky sandwiches

week 4
Saturday:  Homemade Pizza
Sunday:  Sunday family supper at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  big lunch, skipped supper
Tuesday:  roast, carrots, green beans, garlic & Parmesan roasted potatoes
Wednesday:  chili and tamales
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  *burger

week 5
Saturday:  planned over Mexican Casserole (from leftover chili)
Sunday:  Sunday family dinner at Kasey & Beau's
Monday:  leftovers
Tuesday:  sandwich
Wednesday:  leftovers
Thursday:  Dublin Coddle
Friday:   late lunch out, skipped supper

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Related Posts with Thumbnails