Questions, Answers, Comments Oh My!
Not knowing what the month shall bring weather wise, I thought it best to get this January Q&A post done early this month.
The first post of January in which I quoted Arthur Ashe and pretty much decided this would be my motto for the year, "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can."
I showed you my change in colors in the living room and Susie commented on them. I have to tell you that the room has a calm light feeling that is very appealing in these winter months where days can often be gloomy.
Rhonda You are right...I ought to go to a different CVS and see if the management is better at working with the deals. I am very familiar with this particular CVS but there are several within 30 miles of me that I might visit most weeks.
Lana You mentioned starting the kitchen work which I know is now in stage 2...I feel for you...and yes, I am glad that your Panthers are in the playoffs! I was rooting for them myself.
Pam I have had beets in the past in a pot. They were just beginning to grow really well and old Trudy decided they needed to be yanked out right away. I ate those beet greens, but no, I haven't planted any since then.
I remember a conversation with one of John's single partners several years back. There was a general complaint session going on and one of the things being complained about was a fellow co-worker. When asked exactly what he found so despicable about him, he looked at me and with a curl of his lip said, "Well for one thing, he eats leftovers!" LOL
In the first working post of the month I discussed my reading of Confessions of An Organized Housewife...I got about 5 chapters into it and then quit. I haven't picked up even one of the other books on my bookshelf. I really need to spread myself a little thinner and read more! That said I've been to the library and have now read two books, have two more going (not including the above mentioned book) and a hankering to read even more. Just not necessary stuff!
Pam, I have Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride, two different books by Heloise (the mom not the daughter, both of my books are vintage copies and so so so helpful in money savings), another fun vintage book called Orchids on My Budget by Marjorie Hillis. A modest shelf but there's lots of nice information in all of them. I also mixed in several other books related to home but not necessarily savings.
Crystal H. I cannot live near a warehouse that sells books by the bagful!
Dorie, I cannot imagine 30,000 books on my shelves. Wow.
Sarah if the doctor has still not come through with the diabetic classes, there are some things you can do on your own. Call your insurance company's nurse help line. She might be able to tell you where classes are held in your area and whether or not your insurance will cover them. Continue to read all you can online at Diabetic Connect and Diabetes Self-Management. I know your husband is upset ad scared at the moment and worried that he's going to do something horribly wrong and end up paying for it with loss of limb or life BUT...he's probably doing so much more RIGHT than he was doing that he's already added years to his life! I continue to take just Metformin and Cinnamon and Oregon Grape Root Extract and have no need of insulin. My averages at my most recent doctor visit were 120. I eat a small amount of sugar daily (I try to keep it to no more than 20 grams and closer to 15grams) and my doctor is aware that I do this. As long as he eats plenty of fiber, switches to whole grains for pastas and brown rice and keeps track of his carbohydrates he should do just fine.
And I understand all too well why you'd avoid asking some people with diabetes for advice! There's at least one I know of who just continued to eat whatever wanted and simply took a little extra insulin or went without eating, etc. Nope,I agree, this is important and I want to get it right. Even though I've relaxed a lot on myself, I don't guess I'll ever just eat anything again without thinking of how many carbs I've had and what I might have that would be better, etc. It's balance, balance, balance. Feeling bad is so not worth eating wrongly and the lasting effects can't be forgotten either!
Karla, I fell into a worm hole a few times myself this past month, lol. It's easy to lose track of time when days are dreary and dark and the house seems clean enough. Fortunately we've had about half as many sunny days which did wonders for my energy levels and helped me accomplish a few things.
In my first Value post of the month I related my savings giving the actual value of what I do in my home. It's an eye opener any time you do this. This is my third time in ten years doing this (I used the 'Year of Savings' title on previous blog) and I am always amazed at how much value my being home has. A common thread in the comments was that many of you do not check your receipts. I only do this some of the time, but really I ought, we all ought, to check them each time. The best time to get refunds is while you are right there! Besides it's pretty hard to dispute their claim that you bought 23 gallons of milk when your husband is standing at the cart with just the two jugs staring them in the face!
While I was mentioning my overcharge situation, Sarah commiserated and then pointed out that sometimes it's the other way around: she is undercharged or given back too much change, etc. She points out that this is a two way street and we need to correct those things just as we want the errors that aren't in our favor corrected. And she is completely and totally right!
Many of you expressed your sympathy over the deer hitting John (I refuse to say John hit the deer since he was it he road and the deer came across it, lol). Yes, many people do die in these sorts of accidents as he knows too well being a paramedic, but we are deeply grateful that his car was all the damage there was. It's all fixed now and I pray that we may never ever again have another such accident (his third time on the same road in the past ten years). It helps a lot that the county there has cut wide swaths to keep roadsides clear and give plenty of vision room...I wonder Deanna if that helps the deer see better?lol
In my coffee chat, 'An Old Fashioned Girl' Lana quickly picked up on the title as a Louisa May Alcott book. It was one of my first books by her and probably one of my all time favorites, even more so than Little Women. I wonder why no one ever bothered with a movie based on that book? And Lana I would love to visit the Alcott home and many others in that same town where famous authors abounded.
I don't think either of my great grandmothers ever drove and I'm not positive Great Great Aunt Mattie Lee, who was quite the modern Milly in many ways, ever did either. However, Granny and all her sisters did and as near as I know so did Grandmama and all her sisters.
I am glad to find myself in good company among so many who dislike shopping. I do grocery shopping very well and I can handle about one regular store but I've never liked the all day shopping trips nor the marathon sort of shopping trip.
In my next weekly planning post Judy I am not sure if you can see the bed skirt in the photo I posted in my Geese and Groundhogs post...Just a bare glimpse under that long white quilt. That quilt will go away when it's warmer but right now with the weather back and forth, I need it on the bed. John is such a bad one for taking covers that I'd spend the night without any cover at all if it weren't for that king sized quilt on the queen sized bed!
Vickie I do indeed love to be home! I like nothing better, except to go visit my grandchildren when I can, lol.
Lisa shared this in the comments : I did come up with an original, for me that is, recipe. I put pork chops in my crock pot, seasoned them with garlic powder, salt, pepper and Accent. After 4 hours I put stuffing mix on top, added the appropriate ingredients and let it cook another hour. They were a huge it with even my picky eater!
Mid-month Frugal Friday post Once I'd done all that freshening up in my home, I was ready for a new blog look, too. I'm glad so many of you like it. I don't get my site specially done or anything just use the design tools on blogger. That's one of their back grounds but it seemed fresh, pretty, a little bit mid-century modern retro to me.
Susie, I need to check that hydrangea stem again. The water suddenly turned full of algae and it wasn't looking so well. I cleaned the container and stuck it back in clean water along with the two coleus stems I'd had rooting. I have a pretty good green thumb but now and then certain things defy me. I've one African violet that is determined to droop and look pitiful and one succulent that is withering despite doing all the supposed right things. I'd sure love to have a hydrangea, especially since it is a white one.
Tammy, John prefers his lunch to be mostly shelf stable things. I put in yogurt and fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, nuts, crackers, shelf stable pudding or jello, a soda and water. He has plenty of food and occasionally I'll add in other snack type items since his job is very much eat when you can as you can. He does occasionally get burgers and fries, or a sub sandwich and brings home the rest of the stuff but that's fine by me. I just feel it's a huge savings to pack that lunch, supper and snacks and glad to know he at least has the opportunity to grab something edible if he's running hard on the job.
Shell I am worried a little by the things I read. Brenda at Coffee,Tea, Books and Me wrote this post
and Annabelle has mentioned several shortages due to other country demands. So it is well worth thinking about. There is a lot of new construction in our larger town areas, but yes, to hear of closings of Walmart does sort of set you back.
Lana shared this: made the oven fried chicken recipe using chicken thighs in this post of recipes this week and it was soooooo good that I think it will reduce buying fried chicken from the deli. http://www.livingonadime.com/cheap-dinner-recipes-ideas/ I did not add the biscuits to the pan.
Joanne Baker shared: One of the things that I have done with meatloaf baked in a cupcake tin.... I used the little meatloaves and put them into green peppers for stuffed peppers!
Pam, There are color guides on the sides of the box of color which show what color your hair should turn with the dye you choose. There is a root kit from Nice N Easy that you might consider but the formula for salon dyes and at home coloring kits. You may want to discuss this with your stylist before you do it and ask her recommendations.
In the Jan. 17 This Week In My Home, Dorie shares this recipe for a low calorie cake. I believe there are sugar free angel food cake mixes, but I recall in Weight Watchers years ago this recipe was given to us as a low calorie treat. Some made it in bundt pans, some made it in cupcakes and some did sheet cakes but all agreed it was quite tasty.
Here's Dorie's "receipt": I make a very diabetic cake with a pkg of one step angel food cake is in a large bowl, then add a can of unsweetened, undrained crushed pineapple, mix, place in a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 until done. Very good for a dessert for us diabetics.Gramma D
I was surprised to discover several of you were chicken liver folks, just like me. I do love them fried but the broiled ones I made that day were very good indeed and I mean to get some livers and divide them into servings for myself so that I can do that again.
My Winter Wardrobe post generated a few comments. I know that's hardly 'cold' weather gear for some of you, but it's really cold weather gear for me, lol. Our lows rarely are in the teens or even the twenties. All in all, winter is fairly mild. Those coats I showed only are worn if the wind is sharp and the temperatures hovering near freezing. Otherwise I get along just fine with a light jacket or sweater over a t-shirt, especially if I have a scarf about my neck which seems to go a long way towards keeping me warm.
Mimi, I think crocodile or alligator purses are really nice and these vintage ones make me especially happy. The truly vintage one is large enough to hold a few things, but that modern version in green is just about clutch sized inside.
Gramma Dorie there are several nice retirement places near me. I'll adopt you in a heartbeat! lol And just think how much nearer you'd be to North Carolina! But alas, I know it will also put you further away from the rest of our family.
Susie, Personally I love the rather retro look of a scarf tied about the head and like you if the wind is rough I'm not at all above tying mine up into a babushka type covering either! I think it's still a chic sort of statement (just put on your sunglasses and look like a star!). Nearly all of my scarves come from either clearance racks or thrift stores. The silk ones are mostly from thrift stores. I have to clean two of them though and they both say dry clean only. Anybody have any experience cleaning silk at home? Help?
Waste Not post: Ginny, I find it's a lot harder with those perishable type produces to buy just what you need. So often they are pre-packaged and it's just too much. I bought asparagus this week which is just starting to show up in our Aldi market here. Asparagus rarely goes to waste as we could easily eat twice as much but three crowns of broccoli is hard to use up when you're just two folks, even if you eat it twice a week! However, I can't beat Aldi prices and so I buy what they package and buy fewer items so that I can use it all up. We've just had Chicken Fried Rice which I used broccoli stems in. It was good and tasty and I liked that a lot, but even my creative cooking skills need work to keep up with stuff to not have any waste, lol.
Susie I often pour my potatoes into my own basket/bin when I bring them in from the store. I was having one or three rot every time we purchased them and I found that helped a lot. I keep them under the sink, which isn't ideal but it's the only spot I have that I can use. I have the onions in a separate bin right beside them and I've had a lot less potato sprouting going on since I moved the onions to their own bin.
Sarah, I do not freeze orange juice but I have frozen navel orange segments without them seeming too sour. Of course, I usually mix those frozen oranges into ambrosia or fruit salad (oh so refreshing on a hot summer's day!) so that might mask any sourness.
Lana had this to share: Did you know that premium not from concentrate orange juice is squeezed from oranges frozen whole? About 20 miles from my parents house in Florida there is a freezer warehouse company and there are rows upon rows of concrete block buildings that are freezers full of whole oranges.
And yes, I have noticed a few price drops. In fact this past week at Aldi there were many signs with prices crossed out and new, lower prices written in. I was rather astonished but very grateful.
Mable Hastings shared this tip: Have you tried shredding the woody ends of asparagus spears and sneaking them into soup or raw into salads? Shredding or using a peeler to get ribbons of asparagus hides the woody texture. Since I learned this trick, we have not tossed out any of the asparagus.
Back to the part where I noted cost vs. wages, I am far more prone to do this regarding food because I think, this is the one area where I spend the most on a consistent basis. I seldom ask it when I'm buying something to wear, and NEVER ask it when I'm considering a bunch of flowers or a book, but I do very often when it comes to food. It's a good gauge for me because if I'm tempted to overbuy on produce the thought of throwing money away galls me. And yes, we ask it when we go out to eat even if we are paying from allowance monies. We had pizza this past week (and I had a salad) at a favorite pizzeria. After we left John asked if I'd thought it was worth the money we paid. I laid it out to him in light of what his time at work cost us. We agreed that we'd enjoyed it but we'd keep it as a very occasional treat.
Kathy: YES! Tuna cans were once upon a time 10 ounces, shrank to 7.5 ounces and now weigh an average of 5 ounces. That is technically about one serving for one person. Like you I well remember making up a can of tuna into tuna salad and making four sandwiches but these days even with the addition of apple we do good to stretch it to 2 1/2! I do like using the apple in the tuna which is less bitter than celery and really does seem to neutralize the acidity of tuna. And on the same subject I was just looking last month at a vintage ad which featured a can of tuna and marvelled at the great huge size of it!
In my Wandering post, Shell asked if Misu was still with me. Yes, she is. I haven't taken photos of the pets in a long time namely because I was having trouble getting my camera to focus properly. Misu reigns over Blossom who forgets she is a doggy and not in a house ruled by cats any longer. In fact, Misu was just snugged up with Blossom in Blossom's house and bed where they are apparently companionable roommates during this stormy day we're having here.
Kathy, I have accepted that my family has probably changed about as much as they are going to change and try to be at peace with that fact.
Flagler Beach is along that route I love, on old A1A and I hope you do take time to enjoy that drive at some point. It's absolutely lovely!
Lana My ex and I used to take the ferry in the northeast end of Jacksonville and it was pretty cool. John and I have never done that. He avoids Jacksonville like the plague but the one time we drove through there on the interstate it wasn't so goshawful.
I'm glad to know you found peace in not getting the little house you thought you'd like...but I do agree God likely has a better place for you.
And I'm happy to know I"m not just a malcontent, lol. It does help to know that others struggle emotionally with where they are in life at times and that it's not all just me.
Dorie you should share pictures of your yard sometime. It sounds so lovely to me when you describe the geraniums and such growing.
Anonymous I do wish you'd shared your name! Thank you. It is fact that the differences was far deeper than just an attitude in my mother and I disagreeing where flowers were concerned. It was my first real sense of separation from my mother and it seems that often those things occurred with a frequent and harsh regularity following that time. I was feeling especially blue about it the day I wrote that post.
Deanna Yes, my family has a distance about it and my brother is especially lacking in familial feelings. I don't know why he's the way he is. It amazes me that we grew up in the same family with the same circumstances and we all turned out so differently. I tend to be more forgiving and definitely was the peacemaker/keeper and the scapegoat too if I am honest enough to say it. We all three had a difficult time and it translated into problems for each of us that we all handled in different ways. Chuck and I were both depressed and his led him to take his life. I hung in there and thank God was released from depression after I gave my life to Christ. My younger brother turned inward and pushed others harshly away from himself. I spent a lot of time in prayer and I finally had to accept that this is as good as it gets. He doesn't speak or address me in any way, often will do some odd job here but heaven help me if I dare thank him. I fully expect that once my mother dies there will be no relationship at all between us and that too is something I had to come to terms with. We can change ourselves all we like but we can't change others if they aren't willing to change.
In this Frugal Friday post, Georgene asked what I do for an hour daily on Swagbucks...Mostly this week I've pulled my hair out, lol. I did make out a list of what I personally do. I do the three daily items because those generate bonus points at month's end. That is to watch one NCrave, answer the daily poll and go through the NOSO offers. I then run Laptop Guy(better known as Jungroup videos but you'll see the guy with the laptop on your screen) as well as a young lady smiling at a computer screen (NGAGE videos). I try for surveys but mostly get denied. I do use Swagbucks to do my online shopping (they pay you a multiple of swagbucks per dollar spent at a variety of stores or hotels etc. It's all advertising really for the businesses). Those are my main ways. I don't have an android nor a smart phone and my kindle won't sync up with my home wireless connection for whatever reason so that's pretty much it for me. If you have smart phones or kindles you can run some of the videos etc on that. Lana shared these two posts in the comments which I'm happy to republish here:
"How I earn $35 in Swagbucks rewards most months is by running SBTV and EntertainNow on my iPad everyday and this can be run on an iPhone too. I also run MovieCLips, LifestyleTV, SportlyTV and IndyMusicTV on my android phone everyday or these can be run on an android tablet. This gives me 86 Swagbucks daily. I try for surveys but do not go crazy there as it can be a time waster. On the Most Popular Way to Earn on the home page there are often 2 buck things to do and they often credit just by clicking through to them. 'Laptop Guy' on that part can be run mindlessly while watching TV in the evenings if you have not met your goal for the day. Meeting the daily goals really adds up on the bonus at the first of the next month. Always sign up for the team challenges because if your team wins you get bucks and you really don't have to do much for that other than make enough bucks to qualify. Hope this helps! I am not the brains behind all of this but my Husband figured it all out for me. More Swagbucks-Like them on Facebook and set them to show at the top of your news feed so that you see Swag codes when they post them and install the Swag button in your toolbar so that you get notifications on your screen. Hubby has his laptop set up to always search through Swagbucks and get a few that way every week."
And as someone posted to me recently there are always Peanut labs (under surveys) which you can pick up for 1, 2, 3 points each that often involve little effort. If you watch videos you can pick up points but I limit myself to those that are just 3-4 videos long to get the points because invariably my screens lock up mid-way through a 20 video roll. Not worth my time!
I hope some of this is a help.
Mary Thank you for stopping in. I read your comments on Prudent Homemaker too and have enjoyed them. You are pretty savings savvy!
This Week In My Home post Lots of comments on our back porch. That photo was taken the day the build was finished. Painting was still ahead. But yes, it's a lovely porch and I do enjoy it. In winter, if the wind is not blowing (it faces north) I can sit there and bask in evening sun. It's a wonderful place for study in the summer mornings and a great place to gather on pleasant days. No regrets of spending that chunk of money and that's the way it ought to be when we do choose to spend. We wanted to add value to our enjoyment of the outdoors and that porch did it.
Lana Oh 50cents for a can of tuna sounds awesome. I seldom see it for less than 80c a can. Fortunately I still have 2 or 4 of those 39c cans I found last year.
Sarah please share this with your husband...The ONE thing I misunderstood the most and needed to learn the deepest is that a diabetic NEEDS carbs to keep insulin levels balanced. So eat that half banana or apple or orange. Eat the half cup serving of potatoes or rice and a piece of bread (whole grain is best and dont' forget it took a long time to find one that was palatable to me). We just don't need to eat things like white rice or regular pasta or several pieces of fruit at once. And as for the potatoes, sweet potatoes or a waxy red or Yukon gold is best. They have less glycemic impact and all the good nutrients of potatoes (vitamin C, potassium for two). Avoiding carbohydrates too rigidly will lead to kidney damage! So please read this off to him and make sure he gets at least 10% of each meals calories in carbohydrates. The key is to balance them with protein. So if he eats fruit or whole grain crackers he should have cottage cheese, or yogurt or peanut butter along with it. I hope this is helpful.
And last post was the migraine one I still have the headache but it's no worse. At my doctor's suggestion I'm taking aspirin. Pretty sure weather is every thing to do with it as it was a little worse today with thunder storms passing through. Taxes got paid and bills got paid and groceries have been bought.
Nothing to do with those posts but an addendum to my Coffee Chat post, it's been a tough day for us. Bess called me this morning from the doctor's office. They couldn't locate a heartbeat for the baby. Sonogram showed that the baby is stillborn. Bess and Sam need all the prayers and love you all can lavish on them.