Sunday, December 10, 2017

Playing in the dirt...

Caitlyn was overjoyed that the two months of pumpkin desserts are over for this year, and had put in her request for 'Dirt Cups' many times over the past month or so...the kind made from chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and crushed Oreos, that is.

I didn't have any gummy worms to decorate them.  I did have popsicle sticks and time on my hands, so I made some garden stakes for them instead. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Gnome sweet gnome...

I really enjoyed the gourd painting class at the library yesterday.  As I was choosing an unpainted gourd from the boxful, this one kept telling me, 'I'm a gnome!  I'm a gnome!'  :)  I Googled 'gnome faces' on my phone, and chose one to use as a guide.  This is how it looked when I left the library.  I had already decided to add a mustache and change the mouth a bit, but I knew I had paint at home, so I decided to wait to make the changes.

Last night I fixed him up a bit.  Here he is with his mustache and new mouth.  I also altered his hairline a bit, and defined his beard a little.  Then I used a fine-tipped sharpie to outline some of his features.  I still need to spray it with sealer

He doesn't have a hole drilled in him to make him a birdhouse.  I guess I could add one if I wanted to, but I know I won't.  I think I will just add him to my Christmas decorations.

It was a fun project, and a fun group.  He's not masterpiece, but as my first (and probably only) painted gourd, I am happy enough with him.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 49...

1.  I'm attending a free hands-on class at the library this afternoon on making painted-gourd birdhouses...all materials supplied free too.  Love our library!

2.  I seem to have been doing a lot of shopping online.  Not great for the wallet, but I only have two more gifts and I'm done.  I guess I can say the frugal part of this is that I didn't use any gasoline, and they all had free shipping.

3.  We decided to have Chicken 'n Dumplings for Christmas Dinner for the ten of us.  I bought three whole chickens on Tuesday.  Rather than have to cook them and bone them all at once, I have cooked one every day, boned them, then packaged the meat and broth for the freezer.  I will just move them from the freezer to the fridge a couple of days before Christmas to thaw.  On Christmas I will just need to heat up the meat and broth and make the dumplings.  Simple.  

Chicken and dumplings is a favorite with my whole family, which is why we are having it, but it doesn't hurt that it is much more frugal than other traditional Christmas fare.  And doing the majority of the work well ahead of time makes for a relaxing family holiday.

4.  As usual we are making single-serving meals from each night's leftovers to store in the freezer for Carey to take to work.  Since we have started doing this, we have almost no food waste anymore.  And Carey rarely (as in I don't remember the last time) eats out while at work (not that that is much of an option where his job is located).  I try to keep the freezer full with a variety so that he doesn't have to eat the same thing more than once in a week.

This is something that I used to do for my mother when she was alive as well.  She hated cooking for one.  She would lament that, "You can't make gravy from one pork chop."  If she cooked larger amounts, she would end up eating the same thing over and over.  We lived three hours away.  After wishing I could cook for her more often, I decided I could.  She had been buying lots of frozen meals from the grocery store, and washed and stored all the containers they came in.  On one visit, I absconded with a huge stack of the plates/covers that were sitting on her pantry shelves.  Then at home after supper each night, I would make a plate (or two or three) for her and put them in the freezer labeled.  Then the next time I went to visit, usually once a month or so, I would pack a big cooler with all the frozen meals and deliver them to her freezer...and take more empty containers home with me for next time.  It was perhaps the most appreciated gift I ever gave her.  Most nights we would speak on the phone, and she would always tell me what she had for supper that I had cooked.  :)  And I felt better knowing that she was getting lots of variety in her diet.

But I digress...

5.  I have really pared back on my hobby purchases.  I think my craft room has achieved critical mess.

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  friend treated me to a late lunch, skipped supper
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey's
Monday:  Vegetable Quiche with Bacon
Tuesday:  Old Fashioned Goulash
Wednesday:  No Peek Chicken, green beans
Thursday:  Meatloaf, Hot Potato Salad, corn
Friday:  leftovers

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Texas snow storm...

Well, this is unusual, especially for early December.  It started snowing about dusk, and it is actually sticking.  
Here's the back yard.  Carey let Rudy out, and said that Rudy licked the snow all along his path.  He loves to eat ice and begs for it whenever I open the freezer, so he probably thought it rained down treats.  :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

This one is based on the 1892 murders of Andrew and Abby Borden.  I've read several books on the topic, all of which stuck to the facts of the case.  This one is an imagining of what ifs, and it is written in a somewhat Gothic style.  

Today was a rainy day, and perfect for staying in and reading this one.

Unrelated, but with a somewhat similar feel was a miniseries I binge watched on Netflix Monday night: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.  Based on the life of Grace Marks who was a young Irish-immigrant maid living and working in Canada.  In 1843 she was convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper.  I thought it was very well done.  I hadn't heard of the story before, but a friend at quilting group recommended it, and once I started watching it, I couldn't stop.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Frugal Friday File 2017, week 48...

1.  I picked up a day of work this week unexpectedly.

2.  I cashed in credit card reward points for two $50 gift cards.  Our credit card doubled the reward points it gives on purchases sometime this year, so that was helpful.  Unfortunately I think that was after I charged (and immediately paid off) the car's down payment.  I also periodically check to see which businesses are currently multiplying reward points at their stores...I don't shop at most of them, but I noticed today that Michael's is offering 10 reward points on each $1 spent, and so is Starbuck's.  I have a trip planned to Michael's this afternoon, and I will be buying some Starbuck's gift cards for Christmas, so those will add a few points to the tally.

3.  On the way to Michael's I will stop at the bank to make a deposit.  The library is nextdoor to the bank, and they are having a half-off sale of the books in their used/donated book nook.  So I will also run in there and see if I can pick up some new-to-him books for Carey, and maybe the kids, for part of their Christmas presents.  Ten-cent books as gifts.  Sure!

4.  I went to the dentist yesterday, and was thrilled that it was almost entirely paid for by insurance.  Our insurance is changing at the first of the year, so my fingers are crossed that all of my current doctors will be on the new plan.  I SO appreciate having insurance coverage, but I really hate figuring out the ins and outs of it, and I really, really hate having to leave a trusted doctor if they aren't on my 'plan' and have to search out a new one who is.  I also have an appointment to see the ophthalmologist and get new glasses this month.  Trying to squeeze everything possible in before the switch.

5.  Groomed Rudy at home myself: bathed, cleaned ears, and trimmed nails.  Washed his bedding, and changed the air filter near his kennel while I was at it.  

Frugal From the Kitchen This Week:
Saturday:  *Tex-Mex
Sunday:  Sunday supper at Kasey's
Monday:  Sausage, 4 Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash
Tuesday:  Frito Pie
Wednesday:  leftovers
Thursday:  *late lunch out, skipped dinner
Friday:  ???

(*not-frugal takeout or dinner out)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What I'm reading Wednesday...

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

I love good time travel.  I'm about 1/3 of the way into this, and it has some...issues.  I'm going to keep reading, because counting the inconsistencies is kind of humorous.

The main character isn't at all trying to blend into the 19th century household in which she 'landed.'  She is frequently slipping modern TV-crime-fighter jargon, like 'vic' (victim) and 'unsub' (unknown subject) into her conversations with 19th century household members.  In her own time she's an FBI profiler...or is she a special agent shooting it out with a terrorist ring...or wait, she's a murder crime scene specialist.  She remembers her first case where Kentucky girls were killed and dumped on the Appalachian Trail...I suppose that is possible, but not too handy since the AT doesn't run through Kentucky.

Like I said, I love good time travel, but I don't like lazy research or laughably overused plot devices.  I will give it a bit more time, but so far, I can't recommend this one.
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