Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Do you suppose that whoever figured out the calendar as we know it decided February should be short because people would be so thoroughly sick of winter?  Personally I'd like to see August about 4 days shorter due to the heat but that's just me...

I feel I did very little blogging last month but you dears sure did me the favor of commenting a lot and I do appreciate it.  It was fun to read and uplifting too on those dreary days of feeling unwell. Thank you all for that!  Now let me get started and see what I need to reply to or comment upon.

Jobs and Meal Plans Week 1  I mentioned pansies in this post and quite a few of you told me of how strange it sounded to you.  Isn't it strange that we all live in this same country and have such different weather zones?  Truth told, I think it sounds so strange to hear of flowers here when you've snow there because there is a sense of being in the same neighborhood amongst us all, when in fact, it's only a neighborhood of the mind...sort of an June Cleaver neighborhood I think.

Julie Baker, I had no idea anyone would miss our simple breakfast and supper menus, but I promise you they vary little from one week to the next with lots and lots of repeats.  I tend to run on auto pilot on those meals.

Sarah mentioned on this post that she was bagging up items in her freezer to compose meals, putting in vegetables, meat/entree etc. together.  What a smart idea!  It is the freezer version of the Shoebox Suppers I saw mentioned in one of the vintage magazines.  That homemaker mentioned putting an empty shoe box on the pantry shelf and adding in the components for meals, say canned spaghetti and a box of hot roll mix, Parmesan cheese, canned vegetables to round out the meal, that sort of thing.  Very convenient to have them together in the freezer that way and on those days when you can't think of a thing to fix, you'd just reach in and take out a bag.  Love it, Clever Woman!

Job and Meal Plans Week II  Janell mentioned not being able to get an email to me.  I thought it was linked to my profile, but for others who need to contact me, will usually get mail to me just fine.

Annabel Smith the images on my pages are from vintage advertisements in the magazines I have.  They are all over 70 years old and I've trimmed off commercial mentions and avoid those that prominently portray a product name.  They are inspiring to me as I feel that I approach my home in an old fashioned way.

Job and Meal Plans Week III  In which I lamented the lack of onions in my household...And found I had more of you in sympathy with me than I'd suspected I might.  Good suggestions included keeping some chopped onions in the freezer and keeping dehydrated onions on hand.   I have a small bottle of dehydrated and plan to buy another this pay period.  And yes, I think I'll chop a few and put in the freezer.  A friend who does this routinely recommends zapping them in the microwave for a minute or two and then putting them in the freezer, as it cuts down on odor.

Kathy I succumb to a pity party now and then, but I confess, much like a child, I can pretty well point to the fact that I am overtired and need to be kinder to myself, have been too pushy about doing things, or have spent too much time out of routine.  Balance, balance, balance helps a lot, as does counting blessings.

Janell you are making a good list for Peaches to Beaches.  I am looking forward to going.  I need to make a list for myself, but I keep an eye out for booth items, too.

Susie@Persimmon Moon Cottage I read a letter in our local paper this week about a woman who was struggling with these insurance woes and discovered that she was now relegated to a doctor within 20 miles of her home even though she was under the care of a specialist 150 miles away...seems that is in this health care act that couldn't be read until it was passed, too.

Job and Meal Plan Week IV  Janell did explain briefly why no yeast and it is because it is a command of God to remember the days the people fled Egypt and were unable to wait long enough for the bread to rise.  They ate flat bread, made without yeast and so for one week each year, following Passover, Messianic and Jews eat no yeast.  Yeast also represents sin during this time of year and in the weeks preceding Passover homemakers gather the yeast in the household and remove it from the home the day before Passover starts.  It is an observance I enjoy participating in each year as it reminds me to look hard at my life.

Frugal Friday I   Thank you all for the birthday wishes.  I think that was almost my last really conscious week of February as we both succumbed to that cold after that visit.

I discussed my frustration at losing so many sheets (and 2 pillowcases by the way) which had simply shredded though they were both perfectly whole after laundering.  I have always tried to keep three sets of sheets per bed, but have never bothered to find more than two for the guest bed.  I haven't been anywhere to look for more sheets yet, am surviving with the two sets I like the least.  I might add they are both looking rather worn and thin.

Sarah your idea of buying single sheets instead of sets certainly seems the most sensible thing ever. I do use white sheets in the guest room, as well as white towels in that bath, but I like a little color in the master bed room.  I think I will have to seriously consider switching to white or ivory sheets both of which are found easily enough and never seem to go out of style.

Frugal Friday II  Athanasia the Butterscotch Oatmeal is a real favorite in our home.  John won't eat it made any other way!  For two servings you'll need 1 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 whole egg and 1 1/2 cups milk.  Beat the egg well before adding and stir this constantly over medium low heat.  It will thicken and be ready in about 8-10 minutes.  A dash of salt helps the flavor.

Frugal Friday III  Julie Baker I confess the roses and mums got me through February.  In fact, I didn't toss the last of those flowers until this past Friday (Feb. 27) so they gave me a lot of pleasure for a good month.  I'll be looking for more this pay period.

Sarah I share your excitement for getting an Aldi near you.  I recently answered a world of questions from my niece who has started shopping there and she's pretty pleased with it.  Bess also listened when I'd sing praises of the store and started doing the bulk of their shopping there.  She is well pleased with the savings too.  I hope you find you enjoy and appreciate it as much as we do.

Sparkie Doll/Rose  I should think the ladies were well pleased with the gift of snowdrops from the garden.  Old fashioned flowers make a bigger impact with the elder ones.  I remember Granny always took 'yard flowers' to the hospital and the sick she visited and everyone always commented on them favorably.  She had something blooming in her garden just about every month except December and January I think.
Living rurally as we do shopping two or three times a week isn't an option really, at least not at the local place which is convenient but not always the best produce and rarely the best price about.  I'd like to shop weekly but we've never been able to get into the habit of it since we're paid every other week.  I wonder how much savings there has been in just shopping twice a month?

Angela I don't mind answering this question publicly and I hope it is a help.  When I first began taking an allowance I got $15 a week.  John and I gave ourselves a raise last year to $25 a week.  We take out two weeks at a time and when it's gone, it's gone.  John tends to buy meals out for us from his pocket and sodas too but I try to be a sport and chip in as well and if we have room in the budget I encourage him to take cash from bank to cover what he's spent.

For my part, I tend to use my allowance to fund the booth rent (and stock too if I haven't made a profit for a couple months running,but never put in more than $30 total) and those little incidentals that make a woman smile: new polish, a new purse, etc.  I find this amount more than sufficient for my needs at this time.

Janell I had no idea you could grow day lily from seed!  I've always planted them from root sets.  It would be a joy to have some seed.  Kroger does indeed have excellent markdowns on flowers each week.  I wish I was able to shop there more often than I do because I always enjoy going over the sales to see what is available.

Gramma D my orchid is about to bloom, though some of the blooms are yellowing as though they mean to fall off.  I suspect putting them on the mantel wasn't the best idea and across the room on the table might have been a better thought.  Last year one of them didn't bloom until spring when I was able to put it outdoors for the warmer season.  I would like to acquire another one or two but am waiting to see them marked down as you mentioned.

Best Bun shared this:  From John Greenleaf Whittier

" If thou of fortune be bereft and in thy store be but left two loaves, sell one,and with the dole buy hyacinths to feed thy soul"

Frugal Friday IV  Vickie Morgan  I try to use Pinterest or Polyvore and magazine spreads to gather ideas choosing those that have either similar pieces to what I own or colors that are similar to those in my closet.  Then I can have a better idea of how to make up different 'looks'.  I tend to be such a rutted road sort of person, wearing the same outfits over and over again.  This has really inspired me this year and made it possible to get by with fewer additions and to be more focused when I do add pieces.  I have yet to make out a proper list to shop by because it's hardly been necessary with all he additional use I'm getting from what I have on hand.

Susie@Persimmon Moon Cottage, I chuckled over you liking that shelf and chickens because Friday morning I was standing on the front porch in the cold cold air spray painting that shelf blue...I told you all that I change things up and though I loved that shelf as it was, I decided it was time to change it up and painted it.

Years ago my doctor treated some chronic allergies/colds/bronchitis with Flonase and later with Afrin.  I confess that I was quickly addicted to both and developed severe anxiety attacks.  No fun.  I weaned myself off with my doctor's help.  Being medication sensitive medicines do weird things to me.  I tend to lean hard on doing nothing and waiting for it to pass but sometimes you just need a bit extra help.  If I never have to use it to stop a nosebleed I'll be quite happy but it was frightening to me and my paramedic hubby was very alarmed which didn't make me feel any better, lol.  Fortunately ice on the bridge of the nose/forehead did the job.

Annie  I got a great deal done on Friday, enough that I felt safe saying I am back at 100% now.  I was only mildly tired after working hard all morning and put in a good afternoon's work as well.  It sure felt good to tackle my home.

Coffee Chat I  Gramma D Keeping a journal for your granddaughter is a sweet idea.  I'd thought of doing something like that with my grand but she was thrilled at the idea of writing to me.  It will be a nice way to stay in touch and perhaps when the others are older they will also appreciate letters from Gramma and Grandpa.

Sarah  I am sorry I didn't get to this one sooner, but perhaps the book is waiting for you yet.  My favorite cookbook is The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook  It's been published many times.  I have a 1945 and 1976 copy and one other I'm not sure of the year of.  My first copy was copyrighted in 1959.  Nothing changes in them except the chapter page illustrations. The recipes remained the same.

Coffee Chat II  Patsy L, Georgia does not have its own exchange.

Sarah, I prefer the older vintage magazines over the new modern day ones.  Mama gives me her magazines as she's read through them.  I like Better Homes and Gardens sometimes and Southern Living but most of the rest I look through and I'm done.  Reading those magazines is a lot like watching satellite TV these days.  Same recipe/articles of interest from one magazine to the other.  Repeat, repeat.  Ho hum.  I have a good selection of vintage magazines which I've had to cull hard this year due to the sad condition of many.  I keep them sorted by month and I read all the March issues in March, etc.  I find them fresh each time I pick them up and then the advertisements are of interest as well being from another era.  I sample recipes, read short stories and enjoy the articles on how to really do some hands on money saving, home improving tasks.  I'd rather take the cost of two new magazines (about $7 an issue these days) and invest in one good condition vintage magazine.

Susie@Persimmon Moon Cottage  When I was in the middle of periomenopause, I had terrible anxiety about sundown each day.  I recall sitting on my hands and clenching my jaw tight to keep from screaming and acting out.  It was tough days but an older woman I corresponded with at that time told me she'd felt the same during those days and that she'd got through it.  That was a huge help to me.
What I feel now is more a sadness of sorts, but not depression, just a drop in mood, as the day ends, a sort of sadness at seeing it go.  And as I said it is so tied to a time of home coming that I think it's also that, only no one is coming home at that hour.  It's not nearly so bad when John is here but when he's working I feel it strongly.  I've told him often enough that while I enjoy my long days alone when he's working, I am quite ready for him to come home by 6pm, lol.

You and someone else mentioned the pungency of aroma of a skunk. I generally smell them only after they've been killed on the highway or when they are making their way about the land nearby.  A skunk's aroma is so strong that it is possible to smell one up to 4 miles away...So I can well imagine if one were to venture into my yard it might well take my breath away!  To me, the long distance aroma reminds me of just brewed coffee.

Kathy  Donna Erickson was a huge inspiration to Katie.  I believe her background was primary education at one time.  I think it was her influence that inspired Katie to craft and create.  And we seldom bought craft supplies except glue and construction paper.  Katie followed Donna's example and used what we had on hand in form of paper tubes and boxes and bedsheets (not Donna's example but Katie's own idea of resourcefulness! lol

Sparky and Pam  The clothes are in the donation pile in the guest room.  Done!

Mable Hastings,  John is dragging his feet a bit on decision making with this but we did look at a bundle for  a home cell phone/internet/satellite TV service that would knock enough off our current bills to cover the cost of the insurance premium each month!  That's a substantial amount of savings.  That at least is a harder incentive to ignore.  We are slated to go out this week and talk to this particular group.

Janell, I like a biscuit dough based cinnamon roll as much as a yeast dough based one, but the lighter yeast ones seem to be John's favorite overall.

Slow internet speed.  We rely on a local public service and our speed is so slow that nine times out of ten with our DSL I have only 3 bars filled on my computer icon.  The company is pushing us to sign another contract and while they are reasonable on that score the slow speed means we'll never be able to use it as part of our TV viewing without paying a much higher fee for higher speeds.  Hence the reason we're looking at bundling services.

February Q,A,&C   Thank You Pam!  I have yet to go buy the fruit needed for the fruitcake but I have saved the recipe.

Retirement Remedy I  in which I talked about canned foods.  All who commented agreed that they have far more than 18 cans in their cupboards,  Like Rhonda, I have been thinking of the economy of it.  And I agree with Susie@Persimmon Moon Cottage, in the days when we were feeding a family of 7 and had only our refrigerator freezer for storage we relied hard on canned goods.  Following my watching of Kelsey Nixon's program, I was inspired to reconsider my canned good storage and have stocked up on a few things that were exceptional bargains.

From an emergency standpoint, canned goods are least likely to be affected by power outages or need of water and while I prefer hot foods, they are at least immediately edible upon opening if necessary.
Retirement Remedy II  (Money: Friend or Foe?) struck a chord with many of you.  This has been a long hard struggle for me in many ways but I daresay I am far far more content than at any other period in my life and I do believe it's the change in attitude towards money.  Again this is also where my gratitude exercise came in very handy.  The more I noted what made a day seem good, the more I realized that often few things related to money and those that did were frugal things (a particularly tasty menu of inexpensive foods or a thrift store find that just fit a need for beauty).

I am grateful that my experiences resonate with you all.  Yes, I am revealing some personal information about my struggles but if I share them then perhaps someone else will be able to change their life in that area as well.

Of all the comments on this post, Lana has the most powerful story of her in-laws financial state.  We don't have much saved for retirement ourselves, very little in fact.  In 23 years of being together, John and I started over with five kids and love, bought 2 cars for cash, bought and paid off a home, have done some maintenance work on cars and home most paid for with cash, restored the savings/bank account that I nearly wiped out, buried one child and raised four to go out into the world, all on lower income.   The idea of a million dollars or more to retire on (as so called experts project we must have) is laughable.   When John does retire but I am certain that because of our experiences  and willingness to adapt, we will manage.

Well dears, that winds us up for February.  Thank you all for your comments and your tips and pointers, recipes and general good cheer.  You encourage me to continue to learn and share.


Lana said...

You are right! You will manage when you retire because you know how to live frugally. My Mother in law never learned that and that is the reason my FIL had to work so late in life. She was a terrible impulse shopper and thought nothing of buying something that was $500 just because it caught her fancy.

Maybe the young ones starting out can come up with a million dollars because they can start so young, but trust me, almost no one can save that much, my husband and I included. We will be living frugally after retirement, too.

Anonymous said...

I think the only reason someone would need like a million dollars in retirement is if they lived an extravagant life already and wanted to continue it. Counting in inflation perhaps they would need it. Since we too have never lived outside our budget we are now living within that and have quite enough money. I am a bit worried if we should need long term care. That is the one insurance we never got. Other than that we should never be a burden to our children and be able to take are of ourselves.
Thank you for telling me{ again! } the name of your favorite cookbook. That one was not there. I did get three other old old cookbooks and have made several things from them since. Many more yummy sounding things still to make!
I was on blog where a women had a Pinterest board about the meals put together. Creamer but it was an old post. If I find the actual post on it I will let you know. They had tons of ideas. I hope to find it myself.
I let myself get over tired many times. I get cranky and almost in tears. Why do we feel we must do it all? Everyone has limits. We need to be good to ourselves and take time to rest more. I keep seeing something else I want to work on when what I really need is to rest for 10 minutes before tackling it. Sarah

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...