Monday, May 22, 2017

Thank You!

Thanks to any and all who took Noble's survey for her math class. She is finished and by passing all of the section tests with 100% she doesn't have to take the final. Little smarty pants! We are so proud of her.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Help!

My sweet daughter, Noble, is in need of participation in a survey for her last math class assignment.
The survey is one question and takes just seconds to complete.

Here's the link to her tumblr page with the link to her survey.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Noble says "Thank you!"

Friday, May 12, 2017

Something Clever

I saw this trash bin in a rest area bathroom in Minnesota and thought the elastic looked suspiciously familiar.


Yep! On closer inspection I saw the familiar label. Somebody's being frugal here, and I say, "Good job!"


Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Musings

Here is a staged photo of a home in a magazine: . . . Note the bedside table.


Here is a real life bedside table, totally unstaged.


 And another, unstaged:


I recall my first inkling that something was amiss when, as a ten year old, I accompanied my parents as they looked at model homes in subdivisions around San Diego. As I toured the tiny (8x10) bedrooms I wondered aloud, "Where is the dresser? And the dirty clothes hamper, and the trash can?" There would be a bed, maybe a bedside table or nightstand, a desk and chair, a cute rug. All of it just as trendy and new as could be. But I recognized that it wouldn't look like this when people actually lived in the home because it lacked the accoutrements of real life.

I've given up trying to have a magazine photo worthy nightstand (or bedside table). It's just not possible. I clear off the surface and it looks all beautiful, then I do some living and items just migrate to the top where they are within easy reach as I'm going to bed or getting up in the morning.

Someday I'll have a dedicated guest room where I can stage a beautiful table with just a lamp, a pretty doily, and a vase of flowers. Otherwise, I live a real life and need real things beside me.

How about you?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday's Treasures on Wednesday

A trip to the thrift store today and I scored big time!

Pieces in this pattern are in my mother's kitchen - I decided not to wait to inherit and have looked for this pattern
every time I go to a thrift store or yard sale.  Today I scored this beautiful three bowl set, totally worth the wait!

A couple more books for me, and two girl's classics for a young friend of mine.

An unused copy of a classic -- it will be a gift.

Three fun baby books. Sandra Boynton is a favorite of mine.

The table runner I bought for the delicious looking apple fabric.  Some colorful cloth napkins.

A spring daffodil, two linen towels, and a yellow embroidered napkin.

Christmas napkins, two each of three motifs, hand appliqu├ęd.

Detail of applique.

Lovely cross-stitched linen tablecloth.
Detail of cross-stitching.

Christmas fabric for more gift bags!

Wonderful pieces of fine wale corduroy. Just right for children's clothing.
 Lastly, I took my two sewing machines in today for servicing. While I'm without them I plan to prepare a few things to sew. (Actually, I'm going to attempt a little bit of mass production so I can stock an Etsy store with things to sell. Watch for the announcement of an opening soon!)

Friday, March 31, 2017

I Am A Reader

Last year I read over 125 books. Many were old favorites which I consider the same as visiting with a beloved friend. At the beginning of 2017 I set some reading goals so that I would cover more new ground.

Reading Goals for 2017
12 non-fiction books (these usually take longer to read, more thinking)
38 fiction new to me (minimum)
50 old friends (I can read as many as I want as long as I reach the other goals)
100 TOTAL

Here are the titles I've read during the first quarter of 2017

Non-Fiction:
The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
Amish Grace by Donald B. Kraybill, et. al.
The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Daughters in My Kingdom, The History and Work of the Relief Society
Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple
A Square Meal by Jane Ziegelman & Andrew Coe

Fiction:
Home and Away by Dean Hughes
The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith
At Home in Thrush Green by Miss Read
The School at Thrust Green by Miss Read
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith
The Handsome Man's DeLuxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

Old Friends:
The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne
Little Lady, Big Apple by Hester Browne
The Little Lady and the Prince by Hester Browne
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Gossip from Thrush Green by Miss Read
Affairs at Thrush Green by Miss Read
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Friends at Thrush Green by Miss Read
Celebrations at Thrush Green by Miss Read

I'm well ahead for my non-fiction goal which is good. I tried to be conservative so I could actually reach the goal. I'm a book and a half short in the new fiction category, and plenty to spare in the Old Friends category. It looks like I have a few favorite authors, which I do, but for this first quarter I was catching up on a couple of series. I think I have one more No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books to read, and then I can venture into some new territory.

What have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daily Bread

Whole Wheat bread fresh from the oven
This particular bread makes the best toast! It's my favorite food in the morning, or afternoon, or even night time. (I think I'm a breadaholic!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Valentine's Dinner for Two

One dozen red roses courtesy of TopDad

Baked Salmon, brown rice, steamed broccoli, green salad, fresh homemade bread, and raspberry/cherry juice.


A very old recipe of my mother's - Wild Raspberry Dessert


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January's Frugal Report

One good thing to be said about surgery is that it keeps one from over-shopping!

I did well in keeping within budget for January, ending the month with almost $59.00, which rolls over into the next month.  The goal is to keep accumulating an excess which then can be put into savings or used to pay off something.

Here are the numbers:

tithing and offerings - $160
food - $179.80
gifts - $50.25
postage - $76.82
storage unit - $25.00
eating out - $44.33
bank fees - $1.61
other - $205.27

I was able to eat out of our pantry and freezer and was careful to use up things and not waste. I don't get tired of eating the same thing everyday, but my husband does so I get creative remaking foods, incorporating them into something new, or packaging up leftovers for the freezer to be brought out later.

Gifts ended up being less than I expected because of a change of mind. Not being able to drive limited me on what I could do.

Postage cost lots more than I expected, but in my defense I did finished some projects and got them sent off to far away children, so I felt good about that.

In my January post I forgot about my portion of the storage unit we rent; two children pay the other portions.

I hadn't thought about the meals we'd need when I had my surgery. It was out-patient surgery on my right eye; Mr. Movie accompanied me as he had time off work to do so. While I was in surgery he ate brunch, then we had dinner that night, and lunch the next day. Even eating cheaply it adds up.

Bank fees are exactly the same every month; a fee for the ATM and tax on the fee.

The "other" was where I broke in my resolve. I did well until the third week when I was going stir crazy so I surfed the net and spent money for books and sewing patterns (as if I didn't have enough already!). Other also includes the cat food, toiletries, treats, and things I bought when TopDad took me to Chinamart and a thrift store or two.

Overall, I feel I did rather well. It wasn't all deprivation. I like being creative, and I like feeling a little bit of pressure to be so. TopDad takes care of all the other household bills, debts, and such. I am responsible only for food (for humans and cats), laundry and toiletries, gifts and holidays, personal expenses (subscriptions, donations, clothing, grooming), storage unit (for me mostly books, and our crib awaiting grandchildren), and anything I don't want my husband to know about (which isn't much).

How did you do in January? Did you reach your month's financial goals? What do you find most difficult?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

 As I cut a brownie for TopDad in the kitchen I noticed the living room wall was glowing.


I grabbed my camera and headed outside to catch a glimpse of the sun which has not been seen in over a week!


And there it was, just setting in the east casting its golden glow over all creation. Such a treat!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January's Frugal Plans

When our two youngest sons were about 5 and 7 they went on an errand to a corner store a few blocks from home. After they'd been gone longer than necessary for the errand I sent an older brother to find them. Lt. Lehi brought them home safely. I questioned the two boys about why they had been gone so long. Their explanation has become one of those anecdotes of family lore.
"Well, we were walking home and saw a giant pile of sand and accidentally played in it."
I accidentally spent more than I planned to on Christmas this year. Oops!

January is going to be a month of frugality to make up for it.

#1 I asked TopDad for just half of my usual household allowance, with the other half going to pay down the debt I accidentally incurred in December.

#2 I will be creating meals out of what we have in the freezer and pantry. The ONLY food I'll buy is fresh milk, cheese, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Plus some cat food when theirs runs out, and my vitamins as I run out.  I will be making all of our baked goods: bread, cookies, muffins, etc.

#3 I made a list of expected expenses related to birthdays this month and next, including shipping costs.

#4 I typed up a list of ideas for date nights to avoid spending money.

#5 I made a list of things I will not be buying in January: clothing, shoes, books, movies, music, haircut, perm, toiletries, etc. I will use up what I have, do without, make do, etc.

#6 I won't go shopping - no thrift stores, no Etsy, no Amazon Prime, no malls (not that I go there, but wanted to be inclusive), no shopping! No trolling for treasures!

#7 I'll purchase stamps (I'm old-fashioned and like to send cards and letters), and minutes for my phone only if I run out. (Which I'm not anticipating.)

This is what I'm planning for January. Some call it a Spending Fast; others call it a No Spend Month.

What I'm hoping is that I can permanently lower my budget and finish paying off the last of the total credit card debt before the school year is over at the end of May.

I welcome your support and/or suggestions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Something Clever

I saw a pillow for sale (in a catalog, I think) and said to myself, "I can make that." So I did. For JET for Christmas. He loved them.

Big pillows, staged on my queen sized bed.

Rail Fence patchwork 

This one is similar to the one that gave me the idea. That one had even stripes, I made my stripes asymmetrical.

I used the same flannel fabric for the backs, a different side for each pillow.
The only thing I bought were 22" zippers to make the covers removable for washing. The fronts were made of pieces of denim from jeans that the boys and TopDad had worn, plus some brown from an old stained denim tablecloth. The backs were from some flannel that I've had so long I don't remember where it came from. The pillows forms I inherited from my mother.