Monday, June 30, 2008

New hand towels for the bathrooms

Both of the bathrooms needed new hand towels. I like white towels because I can wash them in hot water with bleach to disinfect them but they don't change color.
I found packages of hand towels at Big Lots, just $5 for a package of 5. For the hall bathroom, I sewed polka dot ribbon on them - it matches the shower curtain in that bathroom.
I used fabric scraps for the master bath room, scraps left from the rugs I made last month.

I decorated all 10 towels - 4 for the hall bath and 6 for the master bath.

A Year of Savings - the year is half over!

I started 2008 with a goal to spend $100 on groceries and all household spending. As I added last weeks shopping totals to my yearly totals, I saw it was week 26 so that means that 2008 is half done already.

While I had hoped to have lower spending totals, I seem to be averaging about $108 in spending and about $45 in coupons each week. At the first of the year, prices were already starting to inflate and I continue to be surprised by how much. Inflation has caused my spending to be higher in 2 ways. One is because most all prices are higher. The other is that when I do find good deals, I tend to stockpile items we will need and use because I know they will just cost more if I wait and buy them later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Birthday Month

I read once that June is the most common month for birthdays and it is sure true in our family. My brother Rex is a June baby. Jimmy and Nina are June babies. All 3 of my in-law children are June babies too. Some years, we have had one big June birthday dinner for all the kids, but celebrations were spread out this year.

This banner was for Jimmy and I put it on his door on his actual birthday. I made it with 2 circle punches, letter stamps, a piece of ribbon and glue. He took a trip to Portland earlier in the month and requested his birthday cash early so he could it for traveling.

John and Amanda have the last 2 June Birthdays and these were their gifts, wrapped and ready to go.

John also wanted "birthday dinner" and requested Mexican with homemade tortillas and Nina asked for blackberry cobbler. Nina and I did the tortillas together - I made the dough, she rolled them out and I cooked them on the griddle. We had beef taco filling with the traditional toppings and a Mexican chicken casserole.

Jeff made up a scavenger hunt for John's gift, and John seemed to really enjoy searching all over our house for the clues.

A Year of Savings - Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby is a company that was started in Oklahoma and is still headquartered here. My town has a very nice, clean, well stocked Hobby Lobby and it is just a few blocks from my office. I don't there too often but I had time to browse around and got some great deals this morning.
All their rubber stamps are half off. The alphabet sets were 6.99 each so with the half off applied, I got them both for 6.99 total.
Hobby Lobby prints a 40 % off coupon about every other week. It is good on anything that is not already on sale. I used one on a set of blank white cards with vellum envelopes.
My total at the checkout was a little over $10.

I am really happy with the sets of letter stamps. I looked up the price on sets of stamps in a 1997 D.O.T.S stamp catalog and the sets sold for $30 back then. Some prices do go down, maybe there is hope for gasoline to go down too!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quilt for Connie's new grandbaby

My friend Connie is a not a seamstress except when she is expecting a grand baby. She swears she took 3 years of home ec in high school but she can hardly even thread a needle without instruction. With me talking her through the whole thing, we made a quilt in neutrals for her first grandson, Caleb, 7 years ago.
Connie's daughter, Jessica, is now expecting their second child, a daughter in September. Jessica has already decorated the nursery with custom bedding in black and white zebra, lime green leopard and pink polka dots so Connie wanted to match the quilt to the bedding. I talked her all the way through this one too, but she did get it machine quilted at a little quilt shop on Main Street.

I machine stitched the binding on it tonight and Connie will hand-stitch it in place. I have the scraps and plan on making some bibs for the new baby.

Jessica grew up in the 90's and I know she will really like these. It was nice to spend so much time with Connie working on this porject.

But I guess I am just too traditional, this hot pink and zebra is not my cup of tea.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Neighborhood sale 2008

My purchases - really cute coffee mugs that remind me of my Aunt Bernice. They don't have a name on them but they are kind of cross between Holly Hobbie and Precious Moments.
More mugs - these are larger mugs with Normal Rockwell pictures, they even have a different picture on the back than on the front.
Pampered Chef ice shaver for my mother-in-law, Wysocki jig saw puzzle and a very cute juice pitcher with daisies. It is pretty small and would be perfect if frozen orange juice still came in 6 ounce cans.
Small blue and white dish,
the container with cardinals and a pine branch is a brand new Hallmark spice candle
the planter is holding a twig star
Nina's purchases - several Wilton items for cake decorating, a brand new but 20 year old picture bingo game, this was Nina's favorite game when she was a preschooler, Uno Stacker and a low fat cookbook.
She also got these cute little dessert dishes. They are very small and will hold about one nice scoop of ice cream. They were just 25 cents each.

Nina and John came over early this morning. We had pancakes and bacon for breakfast and Nina wanted to use this new recipe. They are pretty tasty and very fluffy. They don't call for sugar or oil but I did add a pinch of salt.

Fluffy Canadian Pancakes from

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Stir in milk and egg yolk until smooth.
In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

After breakfast, we walked around our little neighborhood to about 20 different garage sales.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Energy savings - Dishwasher compared to hand-washing

I have been on a mission to lower our electric bill and I think I have been pretty successful. Most of the cut in rate is due to replacing many of our light bulbs from traditional ones to CFL ones, having new applicances, air drying laundry in the house and unplugging all unused electronics.

My last change was to try hand washing dishes versus using our 2005 Kitchenaid dishwasher. I did not know if there would be any savings or not because I have heard that new dishwashers are very energy efficient.

According to our recent utility bills, hand washing dishes saved both electricity and water.

3/25/08-4/24/08 Electric usage was 614 and cost $61.02

Water usage was 49 and cost $15.36

4/24/08-5/22/08 Electric usage was 485 and cost $51.64

Water usage was 42 and cost $13.68

These 2 months had mild weather so we were not using the heater or air conditioner. I am pretty happy with those low totals but now we are in summer and using our air conditioner and it will add more than $100 to each month.

The $11 savings from hand washing dishes will not make much difference in our budget so I plan on hand washing when I want to but will load that dishwasher if I am tired or we have lots of dirty dishes.

But I am getting more and more unhappy with the energy situation across the board from gasoline to home utilities. I may just decide my protest will be to use as little energy as possible and if I do, I will be hand washing everything.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers Day 2008

This is my Dad showing a big fish he just caught. He is spending 10 days on a fishing trip at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas. My mom and brother are there and other assorted relatives and friends have been joining them too.
It looks to me like he is having a great time!
Happy Fathers Day, Daddy!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm a Winner! Thank you, Emilie.

Emilie at Bunch of Scrap hosted a giveaway this month and I was the lucky duck that one. When she told me I was the winner I was happy but when her box arrived, I was really, really happy. The giveaway was for one pot but she sent 2! They were packaged so pretty, in a pink box with red sparkly tissue paper to cushion my pots.
The green and orange one is so cute in my bathroom.
The pink one that says "eat" looks great hanging on a shutter in the breakfast nook.
Please forgive my photography, my camera is awful in bright light

Emilie has an Etsy Shop called The Worn Acorn. If you are needing a gift or just want a treat for yourself, Emilie may have just what you need.
Thank you Emilie. You made my day.

June supper

We went to the Farmers Market this morning and bought onions, green beans and squash. I used some of our purchases for tonight's supper.
We had smoked pork loin from the freezer with Head County barbecue sauce, yellow squash and green beans cooked with red potatoes.

Dessert was watermelon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Walgreens Deals Today OOP $16.33

I wanted to do the Dove $5 Register Reward for buying $15 so with today's Walgreens $5 off 20 coupon, it seemed like a good time.
The Dove were $2.50 each and I used a 75 cents coupon on each
Walgreens paper towels $2.50 for 3 rolls
Reynolds wrap 89 cents with 55 cents coupon on each
Walgreens wax paper 89 cents - I needed it to make my total before coupons over $20 and I use wax paper frequently

OOP $16.33 and I have a $5 RR for later. Sales tax was $1.76

This is a good deal for me in my town. The nearest CVS is 60 miles away so I make the best deals I can Walgreens and Wal-mart.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Produce tips

We are very fond of cantaloupe. This one was especially good and sweet.
Cantaloupes are kind of tricky, I never cut them when I first buy them. I let them sit on the counter for a few days and when the skin just barely starts to wrinkle, I put them in the fridge or cut them.
When I wait for them like this, they are always ripe and sweet.
Our supper tonight was taco salad, homemade baked corn tortilla chips and this cantaloupe for dessert.

I guess I did not watch the news much last week and was shocked when I went shopping last Friday but could not buy tomatoes. Apparently now, I think they are only banning California and Florida tomatoes. Food Pyramid had these beautiful Arkansas tomatoes today. Aren't they pretty?

They also had red bell peppers for 65 cents. Yes, it is as big for real as it looks in the picture.

Happy Birthday, Nina!

Nina will turn 24 this week, happy birthday Baby Girl! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and a very special year.
A year or so ago she gave me a A Mother's Memories To Her Child by Thomas Kinkade book. It is a fill-in the blanks book about my memories growing up and being a mother. I started right to work on it and got about 10 pages done, but it takes a lot of thinking and writing to fill up this book and with all our activities, the book just did not get finished.
I decided at the first of June that I wanted to finish it and give it to Nina with her birthday gifts. And this project pretty much kept my free time occupied.
However, I did write my part in the book my way. Some of the questions I did not like or did not have answers for, so I covered up some of the questions with pictures and added my own memories of what I wanted to tell Nina.
We took her birthday gifts to her this evening and she was very happy with them, especially this book.
She also gave these fill-in books to her daddy and grandparents. Jeff got his out when we got home and is just starting it, so maybe Nina, on your 25th birthday, you will get another one.
These books are 102 pages long so it may be even longer than that though.

Still here and a cartoon for you

I am fine and still here and have not forgotten about my blog. I have just been spending most all of my free time working a project. I can't tell you about it yet but I will soon.

Thanks for all the kind comments, I do love comments like most all bloggers,

and I will be back to my frugal posting and homemaking activities soon.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

First harvest of 2008

Just a dozen or so radishes but I am pretty proud of them!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

weekend doings

Our part of town had a number of garage sales this morning. We looked at a few residential sales but they did not have anything we wanted. So we headed to the one at a nearby church that had a big, well-organized sale. We spent about $25 and here are a few of the treasures.
bright kitchen towels 25 cents each
oversized Santa mugs 25 cents each
small Glasbake casserole $1
Big hammers - $5 each, Jeff got 2 of these. They had a box full of them and he said $5 is a bargain for brand new big hammer.

dark red printed soft cordoroy fabric, it is rolled up and I have not measured it but it is a lot of yards - I guess at least 10 yards $5
Jeff smoked a turkey and 4 pork loins. They are sliced and frozen in meal sized containers. We ate some for lunch and it is all really good. This is a real convenience food for us.
When we moved into this house with its whit-ish carpet, we wanted to buy a carpet cleaner. At that time, I researched them on Amazon but they mostly had lousy ratings and recommendations. We have since hired a company to clean our carpets, he does a great job but is expensive and occupies the house the a good part of the day.

We have also rented Rug Doctors a few times and they do a good job too. But you have to get done and return them within 24 hours.

But I still wanted our own machine so I could clean whenever I wanted. I found this Hoover Steam -Vac on Amazon last month and it had great ratings. The price seemed fair and I ordered. Jeff cleaned the back hall last night and it did a really good job. It does have a smaller tank than a Rug Doctor. But it will be very convenient to just use it whenever we want.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thrift store fabric and a new lily

Jimmy is here this summer between law school semesters. He was an internship at a non-profit law office and works weekends as a waiter. The computers went down at the law office so he got leave early. He stopped at thrift store and found this fabric. It is very orange and very early 70's. I think it 4 or 5 yards long and he paid 50 cents!
This a lily of some sorts, I don't have a clue what kind it is. It is from a bulb we got from Jeff's mom. It looks a little mis-shapened because the wind is blowing really hard, even for Oklahoma where the wind is always sweeping down the plain.
This is the second one to bloom and the blooms only last a couple of days, I went ahead and took the picture even though I knew it would not be great in the wind because if I waited, it will be done.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Interesting sale idea

Food Pyramid has a nice website and they post their new weekly ad every Wednesday morning. I just checked it to see if they have any specials we need.
On their front page and third page, they have coupons for Buy 1 Get 1 Free. At most stores, they run this special on 2 like items.
Food Pyramid is promoting their house brand, Best Choice, and have different twist on B1G1F. When you buy a name brand item, you can get the same thing in Best Choice brand free. This is a great idea if you a brand-name shopper but you want to try out the lower cost items but are unsure if your family will like them.
Some of the deals are buy one can of Libbys vegetables and get one can of Best Choice vegetables free, buy one Jimmy Dean Sausage and get Best Choice free, buy Sargento cheese and get Best Choice free.

KFOR, the NBC station in Oklahoma City did a feature story about generics versus name brands. They compared soda, milk, cereal, cheese slices, peanut butter and graham crackers. Third graders did the taste tests. The results surprised the children. They liked the name brand soda, peanut butter and graham crackers the best, the cheese was a tie and they like the generic cereal and milk the best.
The 6 name brand items sold for $22.11 while the generics were $17.16.

I have frequently bought store brand items and most of them, we think most of them are just as good as the brand name items.

Monday, June 2, 2008

What's for supper

I usually work a morning shift but today I am working in the afternoon. I enjoyed my morning at home and had plenty of time to go for a walk and do some housecleaning before getting ready for work.
Supper tonight will probably be some of those 88 cent Farmland ham steaks.
Carrots are my favorite vegetable so I got a batch of them ready to cook when I get home. It is just 1.5 pounds of peeled carrots seasoned with a little salt and pepper, a sprinkle of sugar and a few pats of butter. Since it is so hot, I will probably cook them in the microwave for about 15 minutes.
We all like a big salad with supper.
I think salad is best made a few hours before the meal so it has time to re-chill in the fridge before serving.
Restaurant salads are so good because they are served chilled and sometimes on chilled plates too.

one more new apron

This is another of the apron styles from the McCalls pattern.
It also used bias binding to cover all the edges. It took quite awhile to sew for just an apron. I like it but it will be last apron I need to make for myself for some time.