Saturday, December 29, 2012

End of 2012

29th December, 2012

I obviously have not been very consistent this year, posting rarely.   I have spent considerable time at my Mom's but finally managed to get some work done on the outside of the house.  Siding was completed, with one new window and a larger back door.  I also had them build me new steps to the back door with a 4 inch rise, which makes it easier for these arthritic knees to climb.  I will get some pictures in the spring, when it is pretty out there.  Right now we just got another 3-4 inches of snow on top of the 8 inches we got on the 26th.  It is wet and heavy, and I will get out and clean off the car, but I am stocked up so don't have to leave anytime soon.  I filled up the van gas tank on the 24th, before the storm.  Gas was $3.05.  Now it is $3.35.  Crazy.

I need to do a new pantry challenge, and continue purging the books.  I have had close to 40 boxes of books picked up by freecyclers, and more to come.  I have about 200 listings up on EBAY, and need to continue listing more box lots of books and the rest of the clothes.

2013 is going to be a very busy year, travel wise.  I have a nephew getting married in Dallas in March, Brian Retiring in New York in May, DeToy reunion in Iowa in July, niece getting married in Colorado in September and I am probably leaving something out.  I am also expecting 3 new baby relatives this spring.  :Life is good.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Do I want to get into the Drugstore coupon mode again?

I don't know.  I have mostly enough stuff stocked up, but when they are willing to pay me to do it, I find it hard to resist.  Walgreens is a mile from my house, and I pass it on the way to almost anywhere, so it doesn't require any extra trips.  They have a rebate program where if you allow them to put it on their rebate card they give you an extra 10%.  The only things I get are free after rebate, so they are money makers.  The Register Reward program has a few Free after RR, and those are the ones I look at closely.

This week I had 7.20 left on my rebate card, and a 5RR for being an AARP card carrying member and buying $25 worth of stuff last week in one transaction ( rebate things that will actually make me money).

The 3 day Diet start was 10 w/10 RR so I paid for it first with my 5 RR and my rebate card.
Then the Lanacaine was 6 w/6 RR, the Carmex lotion was 4.99 w/4 RR and the walgreens Tampons were 1.50 w/1.50 RR.  There was also a Lipton green tea for .99 w/99 RR.

I used the 10 RR from the first transaction, the rest of my rebate card and 2.02 cash.
I received 12.49 back in RR.  So when I subtract what I started with from what I ended with, I spent 1.73 and have several items for the donation box and several for my first aid kit.

There are a few other rebate items I will be buying with the RR, then I will be done (Maybe) for this month. Walgreens is going to a card based system, like CVS, soon, so I will have to wait and see how that works out.   All in all, I think it is still fun enough for me to continue.  I didn't use any coupons in the above scenario.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sherlock and Abbie, cats 5 & 6

When Morgan disappeared, I had no kitties left in my house, so I found some advertised free at a farm outside town.  I went out to look and was horrified, and so glad that I was going to rescue one of these unfortunate animals.  Sherlock was very interested, and very busy investigating me and snuggled up to my neck when I picked her up.  That was it for me.  Home we went.  She was another gray tabby, and I can't find any pictures of her, probably because she didn't last very long.

I thought she was much younger than she was, because I soon found out that she was pregnant.  She had a single kitten, Abbie.  Abbie was also a neck snuggler, from a very young age.  I was grooming her to be my brother Brian's cat.  One day, when I got home from work, Abbie was struggling to breathe.  She spent that night in an incubator at the vets, and tests showed she was FIV positive, as was her momma.  Abbie passed very quickly.  Sherlock hung on for awhile, not eating, but couldn't be saved.

This experience was one of my growing up stages of pet care.  From this point on, no cat would join the family without first being tested.  It didn't keep me from getting a FIV positive cat in the future, but it started me on my journey of more responsible pet care.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hello again. Long time no see!

Wow, that was a long break.  I am not sure what happened, other than a few trips to Springfield.  I am still doing my kefir and smoothie, though it is often kind of purple these days, because the blueberries are in.  I don't know if I am going to get any blackberries this year, because we have had no rain and are in severe drought in my neck of the woods.  My lawn is brown and crunchy.  The weeds manage okay.  I picked some peas and cucumbers, and have managed to keep the cukes alive, but they are looking pretty sorry these days.

My first trip to Springfield, around Mother's Day, I roped Jeff into helping me build some raised garden boxes in Mom's back garden.  I based them on this Pin from Pinterest, but used 8" boards instead of 6" making it about 15" tall, which is pretty easy to work with.

This last trip was from early June, so I could take care of the critters while she went on a trip to Ireland.  On my way there Tuesday the 5th, I called Matthew and talked about building some drawers for Mom's bottom kitchen cabinets, because she was having some difficulty getting to the things that were stored in the back of them.  Of course, being his father's son, Matthew was at the house Friday when I got back from dropping Mom off for her trip.  He had already unloaded his tools and was ready to hop in the hot tub!  After his soak we went shopping at Lowe's for wood, Ace and finally a specialty hardware store to find 20 full drawer glides.  Jeff was able to come over and help out and he and Vicky brought us dinner Saturday evening.  We finished at 10:30 Saturday night.  Matthew is genius.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Now that I am making a green smoothie every day, incorporating all kinds of fruits and vegetables with my water kefir,  I find that I have a lot of compostable waste on hand.  I wanted to start something that could move with me when I finally get around to selling my house, so I did some research and settled on a worm composting system.  I ordered it last weekend, and the worms arrived on Wednesday, but the composter won't be here until Monday.   Yikes!  I set up a temporary home in a bin with some shredded paper and some of the current compostables.  Hope they are happy where they are and don't decide to go exploring.  Pictures to come when the whole set up is ready to go!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lazy week--Nice weather!

I went to my Mom's last weekend- and spent some time listing more auctions because EBAY had a week long listing special.  I had over 150 auctions up at one point.  Now I have just been waiting for them to end and packaging the sold items.  Last night my ST JOHN suit went for $200.  I had previously had it at a fixed price of $199.99 for several months with lots of watchers but no purchasers, so I listed it at auction for $159.99 and two people battled it back up to $200.  Funny how people's minds work when it comes to auctions.  Another woman in California has bought 3 fixed price items for a total of $99.97 but won't be paying until she gets paid on the 3rd of March.  All in all I think the EBAY promotion has helped considerably.  I will be moving all unsold vintage items over to ETSY when they end.  I may list the current items in ETSY on EBAY this spring--especially the possible wedding dress.

Well, I am out of greek yogurt, so it is off to SAMS I go.

Monday, February 13, 2012

little steps and a visitor

 There has been a black tom cat on my porch this last week, and he will scratch and the windows and meow at me.  This has a tendency to create a bit of a stir inside.  He is smelling like a tom cat, and if he is still around next week I am calling my vet and getting him neutered.  I don't care who he belongs to, if he is hanging out on my porch, I want him fixed.  It will be way too stinky this spring.

This is a jug of water Kefir, brewing for 
a few days.  Then I take out the kefir grains and allow it to continue to ferment for a few days, and add flavorings, like lemon or cherry concentrate or fresh cranberries, like the one pictured below.  The grains were dehydrated when I got them and it has taken a few feedings to get them going strong, but the last batch carbonated nicely.  I am using it in my smoothies.  It is full of probiotics.  I also got my old sprouter out and am giving that a go again.  It has been tucked away a long time.

Ramona is a sometimes lap kitty, but she loves to climb the ladder as much as Jean-Claude.  I love this picture of him, because it shows his chest circle!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Green smoothie rendition #2 and more food.

Today my green smoothie, still made in the blender, was

4 leaves of organic kale, minus the leaf spine
1.5 cups organic spinach
1 granny smith apple, peeled and cored
1/2 frozen banana
4 frozen organic strawberries
2 cups water kefir
1/4 cup chia seed gel
1/2 avocado

It is VERY GREEN, but still very tasty--I am amazed.  I know I would have had a great deal of trouble making myself drink this, if I hadn't made it myself.  I am drinking half now, and will have the other half this afternoon.  By using the blender, I am still getting all the fiber.  This is a great way for me to get my daily vegetables.

I also made a broccoli salad with bacon, raisins and sunflower seeds, miracle whip, apple cider vinegar and honey.  It is supposed to have some red onion, and I may add that next time.  For dinner I am having some of the turkey, apple, and rice curry soup I had frozen, but I am adding some kale.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pantry pictures after the challenge-a work in progress

This cabinet probably saw the most use, tuna and salmon and some sauces.  The fruit cabinet also thinned out a bit, but not much!   I tossed some stuff out of the baking cabinet, so now it has the vinegar and jello in it.

I also made enough room in the freezer that my cold packs for my knees are now frozen!  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kitties in the window, front garden bed

Mica and Ramona have taken to hanging out in the greenhouse window, watching the birds and squirrels.  Unfortunately, Mica doesn't like to share with Ramona.

I spent some time yesterday double digging a front bed, facing south, and burying some tulip bulbs that should have gone in the ground last fall.  They were starting to sprout, so I was running out of time.  I only made it about 6 feet before it started to rain, but it is a good start.  My knees are not happy with me, but they will get used to it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pantry challenge setback

Had a bit of a problem this week, my refrigerator stopped cooling again.  My water wasn't as cold as I expected and when I checked the temp in the refrigerator, it was 60 degrees.  I put everything in coolers and set it out on the front porch while I unplugged the unit.  It seems this particular refrigerator can freeze up in the back, where the air circulates between the freezer and fridge.  The freezer stuff was hard as a rock, but no air was getting up to the top.  Once it defrosts overnight, everything is fine.  Luckily it was cold enough outside to keep everything safe. 
I tossed some salad dressings and the salmon patties and miracle whip, along with some sour cream and other meats.  Not a whole lot, but I needed to get some replacements yesterday, so I ended up spending $25 at Kroger.  Still stayed below $100 for the month, so I am pretty pleased.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Woo Hoo! Big sale on EBAY!

I sold a set of 5 books, a science fiction series by George R. R. Martin, for $399 last night.  After Ebay and Paypal take their cuts, I made about $340.  Two of the books I picked up used, the other three I bought new, so I know there was at least a $250 profit.  This was my biggest sale so far.  The five books weighed in at over 14 pounds boxed up.  I also sent a 21 pound box of books to my brother Brian today.  Thats 35 pounds of books gone, several thousand left to go!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Smoothie, and a cat.

This is my smoothie before blending.  There is cataloupe, chia seed gel and some Suero Viv on the bottom, followed by half a banana, fresh spinach and a couple of frozen strawberries.  Looks good, doesn't it?  It tastes very good.  After it is blended, the spinach turns it green, but there is only a slight taste of the spinach, because the banana and strawberries are the overpowering flavors.  This is a great midmorning snack, and definitely keeps me satisfied for a long time.  I haven't measured everything and entered it into a calculator, so I don't know how many calories or what the nutrition is, but it can't be anything but good, right?

This is what it looks like after the blending--a green smoothie!  It was kind of shocking the first time, I had to force myself to try it, but now it doesn't bother me at all.  I mixed up some tuna salad last night, and have a couple of sandwiches in the fridge to grab.  I still have a couple of salmon patties also.  A pound of ground round is thawing in the fridge.  I think I am going to just make more mini meatloaves, because I am down to one in the freezer. 

Here is Ramona, cuddling up with my Mom.  The top of the ladder is a favorite perch of all three of the cats.  King of the mountain. Below is my Aghan, as it is going together.  I am not sure that I like it yet, hope it grows on me as it gets bigger.  I am certainly going to have to put an ecru border around it, as it is smaller than I thought it would be.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Afghan progress-asking for help

I went to the local Yarne Shoppe yesterday to see if anyone could help me with ideas for putting my afghan together. There were about 7 women in there, knitting away around a big table, talking and laughing. I may be going back there soon! I posed my question, and the first suggestion was to maybe put them together with black yarn, which was a definite possibility. It would have made the afghan have a stained glass look. Then one of the women suggested a "Mattress stitch". She grabbed a needle and yarn and proceeded to demonstrate. I liked it, and as I packed up my yarn and bought a needle, they all asked me to come back when I finished, so they could see how it turned out. I love communities like that! I sat and put two rows together last night. Eight more to go, and then I start putting the rows together. I see some TV in my future!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Leftovers make soup!

I put together a very tasty soup yesterday, with the leftover rice, some turkey broth, and carrots, broccoli and onion from the veggie drawer and frozen corn.  I added some parsley and oregano and  black pepper and called it good.  I still have some for lunch tomorrow, and think I will throw some cheddar on top after I heat it up.  I made some salmon patties and a cold chicken salad out of the meat and soup cabinet, but gosh there is still a lot in there! 

Here is my nephew, Matthew, modeling an Armani coat I picked up to resell. Doesn't he look dashing!  I had his wife Angie take the pictures because she is a great photographer.  I spent the afternoon with them in  St. Louis, so they could visit with their furry child, Ramona.  They are on their way to Hawaii to live and I am taking care of Ramona until they get settled. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Afghan progress

I have finished all the pieces for my afghan, and now have to put them together.  I am having a problem deciding what color to whip them together with, but think I am going to end up using the ecru.  The instructions just say to whip stitch or slipstitch them together, but they are all different colors, so the stitching is going to stand out.  Usually I have outlined the pieces in one color before putting them together, so this is my first time with this issue.  I started crocheting them together, but didn't like the look of them, so I have taken them back apart and will  try whip stitching tomorrow.  So close, and yet sooooo far.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pantry challenge update

I am doing pretty well with the challenge, haven't eaten out yet this month!  I am not doing so well at the menu planning.  My problem is that I don't usually eat a MEAL, just parts of one off and on all day long!  Right now I am making some rice, and I have some salmon marinating.  When the rice is almost done I will cook the salmon.  I will eat one salmon and some rice right away, and the other will be broken up on a salad this evening.  The rice could be used in a soup or in porcupine meatballs later.  I don't like being tied down to what to eat, because I never know what I will be in the mood for.  I think I will be better off just making a list of possible meals, and marking them off when I use up those ingredients.  I have managed to make up an inventory of the freezer, canned goods, and spice and herbs, so that helps. 
In the refrigerator, compliments of this weeks cooking, I have a tomato meat sauce, some tuna and white sauce, some tuna casserole and that will get me through the week-end, with salads already cut up and some fruit in the crisper.  I need bananas and cantaloupe from Aldi's, but that should do me for the rest of next week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apollo and Morgan, cats 3 & 4

I had my two cats, Hank and Merlin, and life was good.  I had a screened in porch that I left food out for them, because my cats were indoor/outdoor for a long time.  I lived in a trailer park while I was going to school, and it was out in the country, so I wasn't worried about speeding cars.  One night I heard a racket out on the porch and found Hank in a standoff with this gorgeous gray and white long haired cat over the food.  It took me several weeks to get this cat used to me, and moving the food bowl closer and closer to me, I was finally able to get my hands on him.  Underneath all that fur he was light as a feather.  He was also all matted up.  By this time my baby sister was also attending the same college, and had a trailer in the same park.  I called her up to hold the cat while I trimmed out the mats.  He was calm as could be as long as he was in your arms or in the house, but as soon as he got out he reverted to the feral he had been for so long.  I took him to the vet and got him his shots and had him neutered.  He never gained a lot of weight, but he was so soft and gentle in the house.  Apollo got on well with Hank and Merlin.  He was a ragdoll type cat, and would just lay in whatever position you put him in.  He would have been a great cat for a house with children! 

Not long after Hank died, a neighbor kid came by with an orange and white kitten, trying to find it a home.  Morgan was a beautiful cat, but he always had a skin condition, allergies of some sort.  He didn't like to be touched, and I think it was just too uncomfortable for him.  He used to hang out with my 80+ year old neighbor on her porch swing.  She was allergic to cats and never petted him, but she would talk to him for hours.  He would roll over and show her his belly and she would scold him when he was watching the birds too intently!  She bought him snacks and toys and I fed him and paid his vet bills.  I can't find a picture of Morgan, probably because he was always with Thelma!

Below is a video of my current two cats and one I am babysitting for my nephew, enjoying a little catnip party!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pantry pictures at the beginning of the Challenge

 The Freezer compartment, with broth freezing on the cookie sheet.  Yes, I really do have this much food.  Hope to make a dent in it so I can freeze some ice cubes, somewhere.  I have inventoried the top section, but still have that bottom drawer to go through.  Hope I don't have to throw much away!
 The Refrigerator portion is also stuffed to the gills.  I do have bags of varous nut flours and seeds behind all of this, and want to keep them in there.  Some of it I will replace immediately as I use it, the Chia seed gel and the Cantaloupe sections go in my smoothies.
 The meat, soup and veggie cabinet with some pantry items on the top shelf, brown sugar, corn starch, etc.
 The fruit cabinet, with spices in the box at the top and honey and cooking spray on the second shelf.  This is right next to the stove.
 The baking cabinet with most extracts, and some don't know where to put it stuff.
 Assorted goodies, needing to be sorted.  Corner cabinets are tough.  I think I need to get some lazy susans in here.
Overflow again,  crackers, raisens, malt and tea.  The only cabinet I have inventoried so far is the Fruit and spice cabinet.  I do have work to do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Freezer inventory

Wow.  You can sure fit a lot of food in a refrigerator freezer.  Especially if it is one of the bottom freezers.  I did throw out some unidentified frozens.  New resolution, label everything!  I can see that the inventory sheet is going to be very helpful when putting together meal plans.  As a single retired, I am not used to actually sitting down for a full meal, and usually single course my way through the day, eating often, but not much at one time.  I am also sorting through lots of stuff, getting ready to put my house on the market at some point.  I found an old Richard Simmons "deal a meal" set, and I think I am going to use it to help me when I am menu planning.  Lots of tools out there, just have to actually USE them.  Hopefully next weeks menu plan will be thought out a little better.

8 years ago, the day after my parents 50th anniversary, my father lost his battle with leukemia and graduated from this life to the next.  Miss you, Daddy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Along with the Pantry Challenge this month, I have also decided it is past time to give up the Mt. Dew.  Again.  This is very hard for me, and I have a 12 pack of Sierra Mist (no high fructose corn syrup, no caffeine) to tide me over the first week.  After that is will be just water and juice.  I am also logging everything I eat into my Spark Page, which of course will make me much more aware of food.  I am hoping to make life easier for my knees!
After more than 10 years without a TV, I now have one.  I had an old 21 inch, but when I got the new dvd/vcr player to convert old family videos, I found that the old TV didn't have the hookups needed.  So now I have a 32" flatscreen and a flat antenna that pulls in the networks, Fox and PBS.  Pretty cool, but in order to watch TV, I have to be doing something else, so now I am crocheting again.  The cats are entertained.  This is the pattern I am working on, but with a pink, cranberry, light brown, medium green and ecru colorway.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal plan for the first week of January

My goals for this challenge are to clean out the cubboards and freezer and avoid throwing away food!
Saving money will be a nice side benefit, but not the primary goal.  I live alone and don't always plan the best way to use up food.  I don't mind freezing leftovers, but I hate forgetting that they are there until it is too late to use them.  Time to inventory the freezer!

I finished off the Turkey barley soup for lunch today, and am freezing the rest of the broth.  I need more protein today, so will have tuna salad for dinner, on a bed of fresh spinach. 

Tuesday-  Scambled egg and toast. Smoothie for snack
                Pita bread pizza with homemade sauce and canadian bacon and pineapple
                Big salad with turkey for dinner.

Wednesday- Steel cut oatmeal w/craisens and a smoothie for morning snack
                 Tuna on toast and apple/spinach salad--Making extra creamed tuna to use in casserole on friday
                  Broccoli, turkey and cheddar rice bake--Making extra for lunch tomorrow and to freeze for later

Thursday- Fried egg sandwich, smoothie for snack
                 Leftover rice bake
                 Twice baked potato and Salmon filet--Making extra potatoes to freeze for later meals.

Friday-     Oatmeal w/apples and smoothie for snack
                  Tuna casserole
                  Big salad with turkey

Saturday--Clean up leftovers

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year, new plans- Eating out of the Pantry again!

I am going to start 2012 off with a new "Eat out of the Pantry" challenge.  I am planning on making an inventory of the freezer, refrigerator and canned goods cubboard this week.  I did the fruit and spices cubboard last week, cleaning out the old stuff as I did some rearranging.  I made a tomato sauce last week and am combining it with some already cooked and frozen ground beef and some spaghetti for todays supper. 

I was in Kroger last week after Christmas and they announced a sale on their cooked, then frozen, turkeys, .39 a pound.  I grabbed one, reheated it, then pulled the meat off the bones and simmered the bones for stock with carrots, onions, and some spices.  After cooling it in the refrigerator and skimming off the fat, I am freezing  it in freezer bags in 3 cup portions.  After making a turkey and barley soup, I still have 18 cups of broth!  Great for soups and casseroles, which I see a lot of in the month ahead, as I use up what I have.  I still have a lot of white meat for meals and dark and white shredded for more soups.  I paid less than $5 for that Turkey!