Retirement Remedies: Third Quarter Report on How I'm Saving...Or why I'm not.

It feels like forever since I did my first 'report' of how I'd come along with my savings plans, etc.  I know exactly what happened in the second quarter.  I spent all my time just getting well!  There's a huge savings in that I reckon, but then again, I had no idea how ill I was, so there you go.

Since I missed reporting on the second quarter I may mention a few things that I did then.  I won't by any means try to cover all of them as I plan to try and do with my third quarter savings.

First, I did make another bulk meat purchase in May, just before I fell ill.  I bought whole chickens from a nearby discount grocer that were every bit as good as those from the meat market.  I did purchase breasts (bone in) at that time, too as they were about $1/pound at that time.  The whole chickens were $.88/pound,  a price that is fairly regular at this store this year.

 At the end of the first quarter I'd managed to 'find' all but $60 of the  insurance premium amount in our budget.  That amount came from money that formerly went into savings.  It couldn't be helped and we did our very best to make sure all the other areas we'd stretched to cover the rest of the premium stayed stretched.

Retirement Remedies: Last of the Fall Wardrobe Round-Up

This shall be my last of the series for Fall.  Fall so seldom necessitates heavy clothing in the South, but sometimes a light sweater or jacket is especially nice.  I am free styling with these outfits, using Pinterest as inspiration, but intent on what I have.  I was on a roll this particular day.  

I have this pleather jacket in a butterscotch color.  I've seldom worn it but I think now I've lost weight it will be a better fit.  First I put this blush shirt with it.  I've found that the amber and tiger eye necklaces go really well with the blush color.  I also have this cute autumn themed corduroy purse.  It's honestly not something I carry a lot because it tends to be seasonal.  I expect this will be my last year using it at all.

In My Home This Week: The Lists Go On

Can you believe it?  September is nearly over!  I have never been so surprised to see a month pass as this one.  I am sure the amount of tasks accomplished is the reason why it seems to me the month has flown.  I have been too busy to stop and think about time passing and I'm glad.  It's been one very  productive month and many tasks that were postponed for months (or years!) have been attended to or at least I have a good hard start on them.  My list is growing.  I've asked John to purchase a ladder (long needed and long put off) so we can take down the shutters on the house and paint them fresh.  I mean to replace the screening in the windows as well.  There are things to paint, things to plant, things to wash down.  And that's just outdoors.  I have a list of projects for indoors, too!

Then there are lists of pantry needs, and inventory lists and brainstorming lists for savings, earnings, etc.  Oh honey, I got lists!  Now to start tackling the items on them.  Lists are a wonderful long you actually start to use the ideas on them!

Let's start a list of good things to eat this week.  I've strayed a little on my eating plan.  Still losing weight and all that but I need to tweak my actual eating just a little.  I need more fiber for one thing.  Temptation indulgences must come in 100 calorie packets in this house, or healthy homemade, low sugar treats.  Not to mention that penchant for working right up until meal time on my alone days and having nothing ready to eat.  It's a problem.  I need some convenience meals and some ready to eat snacks on hand for myself.  I need to plan my own meals for those days I'm alone and there are no leftovers on hand.  I should have salads made ahead...  I've made out a list of remedies for that, too.  I tell you I am list making woman this weekend!

A Book Review: The Time Garden by Daria Song

The Time Garden by Daria Song is a beautiful book.  

Adult coloring books are vastly popular just now and can be found nearly everywhere.  I loved coloring as a child and was curious.  When I found this book, I thought I'd give it a try.

I anxiously awaited this book...and waited and waited.  It was so popular that demand exceeded supply.  Once I received it, I could see why it was so popular.  First, it has a beautiful book jacket.  The weight of the paper used in the book itself is wonderful. Not only is The Time Garden beautifully illustrated, just awaiting the inspiration I feel to color the pictures in, it tells a story.  That is a bonus.  I've enjoyed it doubly as I color in the pictures.

I plan to purchase two more of these as gifts.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in consideration for a review.

In My Home This Week: Falling Into Savings

The 'Fresh Eggs' sign is not new.  I've had it more years than I can recall but I did give it a fresh coat of paint.  I used exterior latex to paint the sign a fresh white, a red acrylic paint to fill in the letters and two different colors of permanent markers to outline the letters and the border .  I think it was just the missing thing from that little spot, don't you?

Saturday:  Our quiet day at home.  I love my little Saturday morning ritual of taking one of my pretty tea-cups (Christmas gift from Katie and Matt) and having my fill of coffee.  I brought home a beautiful creamer from my booth at the flea market to hold my milk.  I've plans to make myself a pretty tray (on hand, needs paint) and pull out my pretty pottery coffee pot...In the meantime, I get a lot of enjoyment with my ritual, which also includes an episode or two of  "I Love Lucy" these days.  John and I caught ourselves laughing out loud this morning at the episode we watched.

Made spaghetti for dinner today.  Another hole in my pantry was shown: No whole wheat spaghetti on hand.  Not one stick.  I happened to have purchased a spaghetti squash this week but John is 'iffy' about unusual things even if he's had them in the past.  Well item number three on my pantry list: whole wheat spaghetti.

A Touch of Fall

I didn't want to go all orange and red for autumn decor this year.  Early autumn in Georgia is less flame colored and more green and brown with lots of blooms.  Pink, yellow, purple wildflowers bloom in profusion in the fields.  But yes, the predominant color is green.  I was more interested in greens and browns.  It's apparently called 'neutral' in fall decorating lingo.  I pinned a load of ideas on my Pinterest board.  I started off with a blue Ball jar of mums in purple...Not quite where I wanted to head either but the flowers were inexpensive and pretty.

As with most everything these days it's all 'Use what you have,' a motto I'm coming to learn never limits me as much as I think it will.  What I had, besides those purple mums was the remnants of a bag of leaves the guys brought me back from New York state in 1993 that I had pressed in a heavy stack of books.  I really wanted to somehow use them and so I decided to put them in the frames I've had my arrowheads displayed in for the past few years.  I  chose the nicest three (and the only ones that would fit, ha), mounted them on scrapbook papers with a buff/ivory tone.  I love them next to the two long prints.  The prints were obviously meant to display an autumn scene in the country because there's a good mix of color in the trees.

Coffee Chat: Under the Bluest Of Skies

Would you believe I was all ready for a coffee chat last week and then forgot to invite you?  Yes, I was.  And then...and then, I just plain forgot!  I don't know what happened.

Well never mind.  I'm here now and please do come in for coffee.  There is candy in the candy jar. Yes, really.  I have this husband who is not a diabetic but has insisted on sticking to my eating plan these past few months.  Here in the last two weeks he has mooned about looking for that elusive 'something' and finding the cupboards bare.  A good sale, plus coupons, presented themselves to make candy really cheap just now.   John seemed to find that elusive 'something' was the sugar he was denying himself.  Me?  I have a piece now and then, which is why I bought the small fun/snack sized items, but I can take or leave it.  I find a single square of good dark chocolate is the ultimate for satisfying me.  Help yourself and let's have a nice chat.

We can sit on the back porch if you'd like.  It's warmer again and humid but it's bearable when there's a breeze as there is now.  If you peek between the clouds at present you'll see the skies have turned that beautiful autumn blue, the bluest of blues.  I'm struggling with myself over this back porch.  I am really.  For one thing that orange table and green rocker are just a bit much for me.  And it's not the green I'd planned on, but John says it's 'cute' and looks country and I'm going to trust his opinion over my own at the moment.  I stepped out of my comfort zone I guess, and I'm regretting it.  It's always good to stretch a bit isn't it?   I've got other projects I want to work on and my list doesn't include re-doing the back porch.  I can live with it...I can live with it.

This Week In My Home: Falling into a New Season

I feel nothing much at all was accomplished at home last week, yet when I checked last week's list I find I did all but paint the front porch.   I was out running errands on the nicest of days, of course.  And we're slated rain again.  Never mind.  That porch will eventually be painted!  Nothing ever goes completely undone when I set my mind to getting it accomplished.

I have made more project plans.  I think I shall be busy for the rest of this year and likely into next.  I may not finish all I hope to accomplish but I'll do what I can as time and money and ability allow.  That's the best way to approach all things.  At least get a start on tasks and do what might be done.

It's the same way with the pantry.  I noted yesterday that I have no whole wheat spaghetti on hand at all.  And then I looked hard at the shelves.  There's one whole shelf that might be dedicated to food that isn't, I've no idea why I've used it for other storage.  There is a portion of the top shelf that should be cleared of non-food items.  I need to seriously look at filling gaps and building up stock.  It was neglected these last few months as I've recuperated and now it's time to concentrate on it once again.  I like to face winter with a full pantry. I  guess homemaking days of my childhood kick in.  I remember Mama's pantry and Granny's shelves filled with jars of jellies, soup and green beans and tomatoes and such.  I kind of want to see the same in my own pantry.

In My Home This Week: Looking for Fresh Savings

When I painted this cafe set this month, I realized it was the third coat of paint I'd put on these pieces since I acquired the set quite a few years ago.  I wonder what it's next incarnation will look like?  

Saturday:  I was all set to finish up dinner.  I had only minor things to do and then put in the oven.  John asked me to go into town and buy chicken...and I went willingly and did just that since he generously offered to pay for it as well.  I took advantage of going into town to go by the local grocery and picked up a few sale items (Rump Roast and carrots and our favorite Red Baron frozen pizzas).  Every one of those items went into the freezer (or fridge in the case of the carrots) but none of them were used for today's meal prep.  I bought them 'ahead' planning to take the money from this next week's grocery money.  I mean they shall be food for later not right now.

I did purchase some frozen Brussels sprouts and John's favorite canned biscuits to make side dishes to go with the chicken.  I could have gotten fries and slaw too at the diner but it was early yet for dinner/lunch and I spent less on the sale priced biscuits and sprouts  than I would have paid for just a small 1 cup serving of slaw.

I spent all day long on Pinterest.  No outfits this week, just lots of reading budget and frugal tip articles and pinning lots of ideas for the holidays and fall and the house decor. I got ideas...a wealth of them!

In My Home This Week: Fresh Inspiration

The cooler mornings rolled in this morning and I've lovely memories associated with the second weekend in September and the subsequent second Sunday cooling day period from my childhood years.  It felt just right to go out in that cool air this morning, wearing a sweater and going off to church.  After church let out today we sat in the car in the parking lot and waited for the traffic to dissipate before we headed home.  We had the windows down and John must have mentioned 90 times how much he wished he could drive down the street, cross a bridge and be at the ocean...Oh how I longed to tell him let's just pack up and go!  

Well alas, alack and all those words which means a sorrowful acceptance of fact.  We might have been tempted say a week ago but this week there is no way, no how we could do any such thing.  As it happens we've helped out a child, we've no time, and the week ahead is already appointed.  No beach get away for us.  No get away period, for us.    No problem.  I've lots to do!

Retirement Remedies: Fall Wardrobe Part II

Today I focused hard on a white tee shirt.  It's just a plain basic tee, nice heavy knit.  I also focused on a short sleeve smocked gray cardigan I have had for about three years.   I found a few inspiration outfits on Pinterest to help me build my Fall wardrobe using these pieces.

I don't have the cute print shoes...but I'm keeping my eyes open for comfortable flats.  I have an orange bag which you'll see in the outfit below.  The navy jacket is a light cotton, perfect for cool days.  I also have a navy tissue thin cardigan that I could use on days that  are warmer and require just a little bit of extra coverage.   I have a bracelet and pearl studs very similar to those in the inspiration photo.
later note:  Looking at this photo, the jacket looks sloppy as it is displayed but has nice details that do make it appear more tailored than it appears. Mama bought one at the same time I purchased this one and she wore it today.  It really has a nice look overall, not at all slouchy.

In My Home This Week: A Season Of Savings

Last week I realized I had the basis of several outfits using the same tee shirt and cardigan, simply by changing purse, scarf or pants.  I was shocked at the mileage those two pieces gave my current small wardrobe.

Saturday:  We set out early this morning to visit Katie.  The guys were attending the opening game of the Georgia Bulldogs and we girls and the grand babies were going to visit.  Katie and Matt provided all of our meals that day.  Matt generously offered to make breakfast for us.  We had coffee here at home before leaving (so early!) and skipped the stop we'd normally make for our breakfast.

Katie cleared her closets this past week.  She had a big bag of clothing for Bess and a smaller one for me.  I was amused that she'd given me back a jacket I gave her last year.  It was too snug for me then and she was pregnant.  Now the jacket fits me perfectly and Katie says it is too warm a jacket for her. She gave me two or three other pieces, all toppers, and a lovely pullover sweater.  She also included a pair of jeans in the next size down from where I am now.

I never expected when I started losing weight to discover some of my shoes would be too big.  But yes, I gave Bess a brand new pair of sandals bought end of season last year that simply will not stay upon my feet.  She is a size larger and they fitted her perfectly.

Katie sent me home with enough soup for me to have two meals.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My: August 2015

Well here we are with a fresh new month ahead of us.  What shall it bring?  I've no more clue than you have but I'm looking forward to the new season.  Summer was a bit tough over all, you know?   Well it's at an end...and so is August for that matter.  Time for a Q&A post.

In My Home, Savings Posts:  # Peggy Lineberry thank you for stopping by to read here.  I so appreciate it when a reader says they feel inspired.

Sarah, outdoors John used to scoop up a small spade of ants from one mound and drop them into another mound.  They pretty much killed themselves. We had the worst time with fire ants for the first years here but they appear to have moved on.  I don't know if it's the colder winter we had or the drought that drove them away but one of those things worked.

Lana, I love those little KFC sides containers.  You'd think we'd eaten just tons of KFC but it's about a once a quarter or less treat.  The containers last very well and they are the perfect size for a serving of most foods for anyone who must measure or control portions of certain foods.

Savings Post #2  Mindy Lewis, thank you.  Those are kind words to say I bring peace to you with my simple life.

In My Home This Week: A New Season In My Home

What a lovely last holiday of summer we've had.  I'll tell all in an upcoming coffee chat, but in the meantime there's meals to plan and homemaking to do and all the usual stuff to tend to.  It's not a hard life that is truth, but it can be a busy one.  I've not gotten one thing done in my kitchen to cull the things there, but I'll be starting it this week as I've no real plans to go anywhere nor anything much outside the house to tend to.

Meals...I though perhaps, since we were having company over this holiday weekend that I might just run to the grocery and pick up 'just a few things.'  Well, in the end, I reasoned myself out of it and said, "No, I think I'll make do with what I have."  In the end, I made do and it all worked just fine.

We've had some elaborate breakfasts over this weekend.  My son in law made a huge meal for us all yesterday morning.  My husband cooked a big meal for us this morning.  I made chicken rice soup, with leftovers enough I'll send a goodly portion home with my son and daughter in law.  They'll have a ready to eat meal when they arrive home tomorrow and not need to order out nor cook.

In My Home This Week: Saving Is Fun

                     Just one example of the fun in saving.  I spent less than $5 on this little area...
                             and there are leftover numbers as well as the stencil to reuse.

Saturday:  Used leftover chili and creamed corn to make a tamale pie.  It was quite good, but I discovered I didn't have quite enough chili and I remembered from times past when the chili was too dry the whole dish was lacking.   Fortunately I'd decided to be extra thrifty last week and saved the extra chili broth in the freezer.  I thawed it to pour over the chili and added some diced zucchini to the mixture before topping with the cornmeal mixture.  I mixed the cream corn into the cornbread batter.  This added body and moisture.  The corn in the cornbread and the zucchini in the dish also combine to form a complex protein, so it boosted the protein balance of the meal.

Mixed up a box of chocolate pudding with a little cinnamon.  I poured the extra pudding into saved KFC sides containers for two individual servings.

I didn't unload the dishwasher yesterday before Shabat began.  I rinsed and stacked dishes neatly in the sink today rather than work on the kitchen after dinner.  It looked neat enough to satisfy my desire to clean the kitchen.

Retirement Remedies: The Fall Wardrobe Series

I really debated not doing this series at all, despite several requests last Spring for me to follow up with Fall items.   My reasons were that I have at present only about five tops and three pairs of pants...and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to continue to wear the pants.  Really how far could I possibly stretch a small and hopefully temporary, wardrobe?

Then I was reading The Listening Valley by D.E. Stevenson and one of the characters was a French girl who arrived with one suitcase and a handful of things in it.  She always looked 'smart' as it was put in the book, and managed with just a change of scarves or a sweater added to look as though she had a whole new outfit.

That put me in mind of an article from one of the vintage magazines about a French student in an American college who always managed to look chic...but when her dorm companions peeked in her closet they discovered she owned a pair of jeans, a sweater and the skirt, blouse and jacket she'd worn out that evening!

Well so what if my wardrobe is limited?  I still have to dress this fall and I might as well have a bit of fun seeing how well I can do it, right?

In My Home This Week: All Routine