Friday, April 28, 2017

My Quest To Find...........

First, I want to tell you what I made from two of the things that I showed you yesterday. Above is the leftovers from my Crock pot Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. It was easy to make and will be easy to heat up in the microwave in this dish. Hubby thinks we have about two more dinners from this. I think he is right.

It was so easy. It's just diced ham, sliced potatoes and onions, dry mustard, cream of chicken soup and milk. Oh and I also added a little shredded cheddar cheese that was in my deli drawer. So I got rid of that bag too.

However I had a little accident when I made it. I darn near sliced the end of my finger off while I was cutting up the ham. It bled pretty badly but Hubby came to the rescue and put a tight bandage on it. After a while it stopped bleeding but it sure was throbbing.

For lunch yesterday, I used up the can of turkey by making turkey salad with onions and celery. We had it on saltines for lunch. There is enough left in this container for Hubby to have lunch today. 

He will be enjoying that while I am out with a friend. We are going on a quest to find the best NY style pizza in the Buffalo area. My friend and I are both transplants to this area. She has been trying to find good pizza since she moved here and I have been trying to find some since Luigi's in Swormville changed hands about 2 years ago. I don't like the pizza the new owners make. Every one that we have tried in our little town has been sub par. 

So today we are trying a new to us Italian restaurant for lunch that is in another town and is known for their NY style pizza. I am looking forward to a nice lunch and enjoying a girl's afternoon out.

I almost always make our pizza here at home. But it would be nice if I could find a place with great pizza that Hubby and I could go to once in a while. Especially in the summer when I don't want to use my oven. 

Blogging plans changed when I cut my finger. I had planned on posting my April Expense Report today since we will be staying home until May 1 with the exception of my lunch today. However just typing this little post was difficult to do with my cut finger. It took me twice as long as it would have if my finger wasn't cut. So this is it for today. I am hoping my finger will be healing by Monday and I will plan on posting the Expense report then.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Can We Do It?

I have a new challenge for us that we are really excited about. We would love for any of you that want to, to join us in this challenge.

As we were looking through our food stockpiles yesterday, we saw quite a few items that have been sitting on our shelves for a very long time. They are items that are edible but that we never seem to choose when we are making our meals. So they linger unused. 

Do you have the odd can or package that just seems to never get opened and used? Do you wonder how you are going to use it? Do you try to remember why you purchased it? Are you tempted to just ignore it and eventually throw it away?  You know, I think we all have those items.

But we never want to throw food out because we paid hard earned money for it. So it just sits. I have quite a few of those items.   

We also took a look in our freezers and found things that are wrapped or in ziploc bags and have been hanging around a very long time. You know, those odds and ends of leftovers that some how get buried in the deep freeze and eventually you wonder what the item is or can't use it because it is freezer burned.

I pulled this one out of my chest freezer last night. It was wrapped in this saran wrap and inside a ziploc bag. I actually had to unwrap it to see what it was. I have thawed it and will make dinner with it tonight. It is a good size piece of leftover ham which I will be putting in the crock pot for scallop potatoes and ham for dinner tonight. The crock pot will go outside on the patio table to cook because it is supposed to be 82 today. I do not want to heat up the house any more than it is going to heat up.

The picture at the top is of items that were in our pantry. They are things that need to get used up because we either don't seem to buy them any more or Hubby decides he doesn't like them.

We have a whole lot of green beans. Hubby told me he loved them but every time I heat them up he won't eat them. So I will be eating them up before they expire. 

The margarita mix came with me from Arizona over 7 years ago. It has never been opened. Can anyone suggest what to do with it besides buy a small bottle of tequila and enjoy drinks all summer? I am happy to buy the liquor but if I could use it in a dessert or something that would make me happier.

I can't tell you the last time that we ate canned soup for lunch. I need to get rid of this vegetable beef so perhaps we could eat it for lunch or incorporate it into some hamburger concoction.

We also have a lot of peas that need to be used up. Hubby won't eat them so I will just eat them as a vegetable at a few meals.

Hubby loved this all white turkey breast that you see in the can. I would buy 4 packs of it at BJ's. I would make turkey salad with cranberries for lunches and we would eat it on crackers. Every time I mention it now, he says he doesn't want it. It is the last can we have. So I think will make a turkey and pasta salad for dinner one hot night in the next two weeks. 

Hubby loved this tomato soup. Me not so much. However he always makes his homemade tomato soup now. So I will make some kind of skillet dish with it.

Hubby loves tuna. I do not. However, all of a sudden, he has decided that he does not like this brand. He is getting very fussy about his food these days. So perhaps someone can tell me what to do with it to disguise it besides making a macaroni salad with it.  

The yams were a purchase at Thanksgiving for me to use. However, my DIL ended up bringing them. So I will have to bite the bullet and eat these up as a side dish in the next few weeks. Hubby won't touch them.

Hubby loves Chinese food and he especially loves water chestnuts. I don't. So I plan on making two separate dishes the next time I make Chinese stir fry. One with water chestnuts and one without.

I have few canned refried beans on the shelf. I make my own beans now. So we will use these up in burritos.

The stir fry sauce is something Hubby hated. So I will put it on my stir fry the next time we make Chinese.

The ice cream topping has been hanging around for at least a year. It was a clearance purchase that I paid pennies for. I can no longer eat walnuts which I have always loved. So I think I am going to throw it in a batch of brownies when I make them. Hubby will eat them. Any other suggestions on this one?

And lastly, I have many bags of cranberries languishing in the freezer. I plan on making a whole bunch of cranberry muffins for easy morning breakfasts to start using them up. 

I am hoping to use up the things in the picture over the next two weeks with the exception of the margarita mix. I will be happy if that is gone by the end of the summer. So I am not putting these things back in my pantry. I am stacking them on the end of a counter and that will remind me to use them up. I will let you know what I end up making and if we use them all up in that time period.

Anyone have this same problem in their pantry or freezer and want to join me in this challenge?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

One Of The Most Valuable Lessons You Can Teach Your Children

I think one of the most valuable lessons you can teach your children is how to handle money and finances.

How many of you grew up in a household where the topic of money was taboo? I will bet a lot of you. It wasn't talked about much when I was growing up. I only knew what I saw. I saw the insurance man come to the house and collect money every month. I saw my grandmother pay cash to the bread man, the vegetable man, the scissor sharpener man, and anyone else who came selling their wares. When she would send me to the store it would only be for a few items and she would give me cash to pay. I saw that she played the numbers and bet on the horses but it wasn't discussed. My mom never had any money even though she worked hard at two jobs. I found out in later years that my grandmother took most of her wages to pay for food for the three of us and for raising us while my mom worked. I knew that my mom was in debt and used credit cards to buy us some things. But that was about it.

No one ever taught me how to handle money, spend it, or save it. I had no idea how to pay a bill or handle a checking account. I did have a savings account that I put money in every week at school. But I never saw that money because in later years my mom spent it.

I did know that I had to work to pay for college. There was no money from parents or grandparents to pay for that. I worked hard after classes every day to pay the college.

When I got married, I learned from my Hubby who had a year of experience working a job and using a checking account and savings account. He was never taught at home either. We kind of learned everything we know today by trial and error and reading a lot of books.

When my children were growing up, we made sure to talk to them about money. We wanted them to know how to handle their finances. We wanted them to know that money wasn't just handed to you. That you had to work for it. We wanted them to save regularly in a savings account. They delivered newspapers every morning while they were in junior high and high school. They had jobs in the summer and sometimes after school. They knew that we had priorities in our finances and that they should too.

When they turned 16 and wanted a car, they each paid for one from the money they saved while they worked. They saw that saving for a goal was the way to go. Then they saw the reward for those savings. We were very careful not to hand them everything. We knew that when they were out on their own that they had to earn their own way.

They both knew how to handle a checking account when they graduated from high school. They needed one for college to pay their expenses. We also made sure that they had a credit card that we co-signed on but we had it capped at a $500. limit. It was for while they were in college and it was only for emergencies. They were warned that if they abused it, we would close the account. They never did abuse it. 

They are both 40 something adults with beautiful families now. They work hard, save for their retirements, college for their children, own homes, and know how to handle their finances. We have never regretted teaching them.

Now my grandchildren are getting to the age where they should start learning especially the oldest who is my granddaughter. She will be 10 in June. So as I was perusing books a while ago about money, I saw this one on Amazon: A Smart Girl's Guide to Money .

It looked like the perfect book to gift her. She is an avid reader and I was hoping when I sent it to her that she would be interested. She is just about the right age to read it and learn from it.

I know that her parents have been teaching her about chores and money. I know that they have also been teaching her for years how to save her money by having her take piggy bank money to the bank and depositing it. She also knows how to save for a goal. 

So I thought this book could be an extension of what they are teaching her. So my son calls us last night to tell us how much she loves the book. When she received it, she immediately started reading it. She is reading a little every day. He tells me that last night at dinner, she asked them for an allowance. I told him that I didn't quite expect that she would do that. He laughed. She is learning.

He says they will set up an allowance for her but that she will be required to pay for certain items that she needs out of it. He says she will soon be at the chapter in the book that talks about saving 10% or more. So then they will discuss that. 

This book was one of the best purchases that I could have given her and I am so glad that she is enjoying it. Knowledge is good for kids and this kind of knowledge will serve her a lifetime.

Lest you think that I only bought a book for her, I also purchased one more on my grandson's level that he can read to me when he stays here on some weekends. He is starting to read really well so he reads to me at bedtime instead of me reading to him. I bought him: Alexander Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday .

So please teach your children about money. Don't make it a taboo subject. Teach them so that they can learn how to handle their finances while they are young. It is one of the most important things that you can teach them. It will serve them a lifetime!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Little of This and a Little of That

This is going to be one of those weeks where I stay home most of the time. I only have to take our car in for it's yearly inspection and to have the tires changed out on Thursday. This is a job that Hubby usually does but he has some vertigo right now so I don't want him driving. Since we choose to only have one car, I will wait while they do it. So today I will pick out a good book from my library to take with me.

I quickly looked at the sale flyers for the grocery stores and determined there was nothing of interest to me. So unless I run out of something that we can't live without, there will be no grocery shopping this week. So no money spent there. 

We continue to eat from our stockpile. I really want the freezers cleaned out. So on Saturday I thawed a large top round roast that I purchased the beginning of last year for $3.99 a lb. These roasts tend to be tough so I knew I didn't want to cook it in the oven. On Sunday I cooked it in our crock pot on low for the day. I put a little bit of red wine in the bottom of the crock pot, put in the roast and seasoned it with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. When it was done, I took it out and let it rest for a while. Then we cut it across the grain into thin slices. The au jus that the liquid made is the best ever. It's so flavorful. 

We have been eating Philly sandwiches using this meat, provolone cheese, and sauteed onions every night. We use crusty bread and put some of the au jus on it too. I have been quickly heating up whatever slices of meat we will eat that night in the au jus. They are so delicious that when I told Hubby will be eating them most of the week he was thrilled.
I have been serving a platter of fresh veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes or a small salad each night with them. I have three more roasts just like this one and you can bet we will be doing this again. 

Yesterday we watched a company pick up one of our neighbors riding lawn mowers for servicing. It costs $100. just to have it picked up and brought back to the house. Then of course the tune up or repairs cost. Since Hubby can do this himself he spent part of the afternoon yesterday tuning it up, changing the oil, and sharpening the blades. It is now all ready for the season. Then I swept the garage out getting rid of grass clippings that fell off the underside of it and all of the dirt from the winter. It was a beautiful day to do it.

While I was outside on Saturday and Sunday, I took some pictures of our trees that are in full bloom or just coming out(the redbud above) soon. It is sure looking like spring around here.

I also took a picture of our pear tree which is in full bloom with white flowers. Ignore how crooked the house looks. It is this awful camera. I think it is time to research getting a new one.
 
We have many perrennials poking their heads up but these are the ones in full bloom right now. 

When our son and grandson came on Sunday morning for the big breakfast (eggs, home fries, ham and a slice of cantaloupe) I cooked, my son helped Hubby get all of the patio furniture out back and for our small seating area out front so that is done. He also went to Home Depot for some big hooks and helped Hubby hang the bagger for the riding lawnmower on the wall of the shed. We are very grateful for all that he does for us.

Today I will be washing more windows inside since it is going to rain. Wednesday and then Thursday when I get back from the auto place, I will start the outsides of the windows since it is going to be 70 and 80 and sunny those days. I would like to have all of my windows done this week.

The other thing that I have been doing is researching the wholesale food distributors that sell to the public in my area for things like flour, rice, oatmeal, and beans. One place which is very close to my son's house has phenomenal prices so the next time we visit him we will go there and check them out. I would be very happy to only have to buy these things once or twice a year and store them in my food grade buckets. My buckets are getting low.

I am off to get my day started with oatmeal topped with strawberries for breakfast. I hope you all have a good and productive one.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fashionista-Not Me

I will never be accused of being fashion friendly. We wear our clothing until there isn't much life left to those threads. Our clothes wear for years. Some I have and still wear are over 20 years old. Of course they were purchased back in the day when clothing had some weight to it not like the thin clothing they are selling today.

The reason they last so long is because I don't put them in the dryer. All of that lint you clean out from your lint trap are the threads breaking down in your clothes. However I am considering drying my clothes in the dryer these days but only for the ease of it. I do realize they will wear out faster.

We like to be clean and presentable so we don't wear clothes that have seen better days unless we are home and working on a dirty project. We save our best looking ones for going out in public.

I do keep a few dressy type outfits for going out to fancy restaurants which only occurs once in awhile. And I need a decent outfit for weddings and funerals. But most of my clothing is casual.

However, when I started to unpack and wash my spring and summer clothing, quite a few were looking old and tired so it was time to retire them. They were clean and without holes so they were put in the donation bag. 

Ninety nine percent of Hubby's wardrobe is from LL Bean. Their clothes are classic, fit him well, and wear like iron. He is very happy to just place an order when he needs something. He did a week or so ago because he needed two pairs of jeans. The two pair that he has been alternating now have patches on them so they still have life but aren't good for going anywhere. He found two pairs that he liked for $39.99 each and earned a $10. promotional certificate and 2% back from Ebates .
He also put it on our credit card and earned 1% back.

I buy my clothing where I can find a good sale. I like Kohl's and JC Penneys. I love their clearance racks and shopping for clearance online. 

Recently I found tops on Kohl's online clearance for great prices. I liked the style for the spring and summer and the colors. Did I buy just a couple? Nope!  I bought 8. When I see a great sale, I buy in bulk. These replace the 8 that I am donating. They were all the same style but they only had 4 colors. So I bought 1 purple, 3 light blue( my favorite color), 2 yellow, and 2 peach. I saved $ 33.58 using a 30% off coupon code. I also earned $10. in Kohl's cash. My total came to $81.47 including tax. I went through Ebates for 6% back. It doesn't bother me one iota that they are all the same top and some are the same colors. I don't care if someone thinks that I am wearing the same clothes a couple of days in a row. I know better. Of course I will alternate them with my other clothing. Paying $ 9.60 per top after rebate is the reason I can justify so many tops that are alike.    

When I ran errands last week I stopped at Kohl's and used my $10. Kohls cash, a 15% off coupon, and store merchandise credit( this was over a year old) to pay for a new pair of shorts and two more tops. The merchandise credit more than covered my purchase. I love the shorts so much that I am going to watch for them to go on a great clearance and buy a few more pairs. That is when I will use up the merchandise credit.

This, my friends, is how we buy all of our clothing. When I see socks for Hubby on sale I buy 20 pairs of the same white athletic socks. That way he can mix and match them and I don't have to throw one away when he gets a hole in one. Believe me when I say that he is hard on socks, so I am always looking for a great sale. We also buy all of our underwear the same way. Right now we each have a stockpile of underwear and socks that are still in the packages.  

I will do the same with shoes. Hubby has two new pair of sneakers on the shelf waiting for the ones he is wearing to be worn out. I have one pair.

Once a year, I would need a pair of black flats to dress up. That usually occurred when we would visit family and old friends back in the Albany and Saratoga area. For years, I have borrowed a pair from my DIL who gladly allowed me to use them for the evening. It's always nice when your DIL wears the same size shoe. Recently I found a nice pair on clearance at DSW so I no longer have to borrow hers. I also bought a red pair and a brown pair. This is just another example of when you find a great price buy more than one. 

Granted when Hubby and I worked we had to have a more varied wardrobe but we still purchased our clothing on sale and with coupons. For hanging around the house I would buy in bulk.

How do you save on your clothing purchases? Feel free to share.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Top's Grocery and Stockpile Haul

My second shop this week was at Top's for a few things we needed and some items for the stockpile.

I purchased 3 cans of Bush's beans for $ 2.00 after coupon, 2 jars of Top's applesauce for $ 4.00, and 2 bottles of apple juice for $3.29. All of these were for my basement stockpile.

Next was the Condiment King's(aka Hubby) requests:
2 jars of olives for $ 2.19 and 1 jar of slice jalapenos for $2.00.

Now for my favorites: 3 cucumbers for $ 1.00 each,
2 cantaloupes for $ 3.99, and 2 containers of fresh strawberries for $ 2.99 each. All of the produce was a little pricey but I love all of these things and they are still cheaper than buying junk food for snacks. We love sliced cantaloupe for breakfast. The cucumbers and strawberries disappear as snacks. 

My total for this haul was $ 26.45. If I add that total to my Aldi's haul this week, I have spent $ 49.18 on groceries this week. However I did spend $41.49 on  Easter candy that will last for months for the grandchildren. 

Yesterday I did some weekly cleaning around here and I washed 10 windows in the house on the insides only. I still have 12 to do. It was easy to do them because it was a rainy cloudy day and I could see where the streaks were. Hubby will help me do the outsides with the pressure washer and squeegee on a nice day. Once my windows are done I feel like it is spring.

Tonight I am making Philly steak sandwiches for dinner.

I hope you all have a fun and productive weekend. See you on Monday.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My New Experiment

As you age, there are just some things that need to be done easier. I have hung my laundry for years. Then while I was doing jury duty, I took the easy route and put it in the dryer. It saved me a lot of time and things came out smooth and not needing to be ironed. So I decided that I might start using my dryer.

While I was using the dryer I purchased 6 wool dryer balls for $10.97+ tax on Amazon. I decided I would use them and see if they cut down on my dryer time. So I timed what my loads took to dry the weeks I was on jury. I now have a pretty good idea of what each kind of load takes.

So yesterday, I dried a load of darks including jeans in my dryer with all 6 balls in it. I thought it would be noisy. It made some slight noise but I couldn't hear it in my kitchen nor the family room.

I timed this load using a setting that I could set the number of minutes. The load took only 60% of the time of when I dried a similar load while I was on jury duty. Wow, that is awesome. I was not expecting that. But I am not ready yet to say that these save dryer time until I have experimented doing each kind of load - whites, darks, towels, sheets, etc. I will do each a number of times and document it and then I will make up my mind. I also want to see how much this ups my electric bill. But if they work, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and pay a little extra to make things easier on yourself. I will let you know how my little experiment turns out.

If anyone uses wool balls in their dryer, I would love to hear if you have had success or failure with these. Please leave a note in comments.

I also got a surprise yesterday. A check for partial payment of my jury fee came in the mail. It was for $ 360. They still owe me $ 200. but that is being held up because the budget for April was passed late. Eventually, the $200. will come. This money was hard money to earn being that it took my freedom away. But hallelujah, I don't have to serve again for 6 years.

Tonight I am making a lamb ragout with lamb leftover from Easter. This will be the end of the lamb that we have eaten all week. It was so good.   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My 50% Off Haul & a Grocery Shop

Every holiday I shop the day after to get 50% off the candy. On Monday, I took my grandson to Walmart to see what candy was left that we could add to our stash for cheap. He had a great time picking out some of his favorites.

As you can see in the picture, we made out well. The candy has been added to some that is leftover from Christmas. This candy is for the grandchildren to have a few pieces when they visit. I also use some of the chocolate to make cookies. It freezes well.

My grandson spotted the last Bunny Yoda in the store and his eyes lit up. After running a price check on it, I purchased it for him at $ 9.61. You would think I gave him a million dollars. He sat it up in the back seat of the car next to him. He carried him all over the house.

This is one of the ways that I save during the year. I rarely pay full price for candy for the grands. And we do ration it to make it last. I also purchase next year's Halloween candy by doing this. I really hate paying full price for overpriced sugar. But the grands enjoy a treat once in a while.

After Walmart, my grandson and I went to Burger King for breakfast so that he could get French toast sticks. I had a giftcard that I purchased on a Dollar General deal last Fall which paid for it. While we were eating, I looked at my grandson who had his hand in his mouth and seemed to be fishing for something. I was afraid that he had eaten something hard in his meal. However, he handed me one of his baby teeth that came out. I carefully wrapped it in a napkin and then stored it in a plastic bag when we got home. I assume his Dad called on the tooth fairy to come last night. 

Our last trip was to Aldi's where I picked up these few things. The fruit and grain bars were $ 1.39 and the salsa was $ 1.49. The chicken breast was $ 3.12 and the diced tomatoes with green chilies were $ .45. The grapes were $ .99 a lb. and the eggs were $ .89.  The chips were $ 1.49. The total came to $22.73.

I always have fruit and grain bars on hand because they are used for a quick way to counter a low blood sugar. The salsa and diced tomatoes are going into my stockpile. We go through at least 2-3 dozen eggs a week here. The chips are snacks for Hubby for the rest of the month. The grapes are my snack of choice. My husband asked me to get cold cuts for easy sandwiches so the chicken is what I chose.

I do have to shop at Top's this week but I chose not to take my grandson on that trip. He was getting fidgety after all of the shopping we did. So we went home after Aldi's.  

Did any of you shop the 50% off candy sales? 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Frugal Things We Have Done Over The Past Few Weeks

These are the frugal things that we have done over the past few weeks:

- Used very little gas by only going to the courthouse every day and back.

- Errands were run on the way home when I needed to.

- I packed a lunch, snacks, and a bottle of water(which I refilled with my water at home) every day for three weeks while I was on jury duty with the exception of three days. One day we ate lunch out as a group at a reasonably priced restaurant. Two days while we deliberated the court paid for our lunches to be brought in.

- I made the morning coffee every day when I got there with coffee, creamer, etc. provided.

- Every day I walked up the stairs to the second floor and then back down again sometimes multiple times. I ignored the elevator. We walked outside after lunch when we had time. One day I walked with two other girls to the 7-11. However, I didn't buy a thing. This was free exercise to keep me healthy.

- Parking was a problem some days so I would go early to get a space. That way I didn't have to ride around and waste gasoline looking for a parking spot. I brought a book to read in the car while I waited for the building to open.

-  I have very few things with the exception of games around here for when the grandchildren come. They have outgrown most of what I had. Those things I will pass along to the families with babies that live on either side of me. So I purchased two new things for under $10. total and surprised my grandson this past weekend.

- I didn't buy a fancy Easter dessert for our dinner. I made chocolate chip cookies and we also had ice cream in the freezer.

- Hubby made chef's salads some nights for dinner. Others I would throw a crock pot meal in before I left in the morning. I would fill it so that we got a few meals from it. We did eat out some nights but I kept the price down by getting takeout most of the time.

- I don't have a lot of clothes so I mix and matched outfits that were different every day to make my wardrobe stretch those three weeks. I even wore things that had been hanging in my closet and that I hadn't worn in ages.

- I would throw a load of laundry in the dryer when I went out in the morning. If Hubby forgot to switch it to the dryer, I would do it when I got home. Yes, I gave myself grace and used the dryer while I was on jury duty. We will see how much it upped my electric bill. 

- My DIL's birthday was this weekend. She has never worn matching socks since she was a little girl. I got her 5 pairs of really cute different owl socks for only $11.99 which I purchased way back in October. She always loves different socks. I also got her a shopping bag for shipping costs only with a picture of my grandson on it. Then I added some cash for her to buy something she wants.

- I did very little shopping those three weeks. I was too busy. That shows me that when you are really busy you spend less money. So I will try to repeat this pattern again this month and spend very little.

- Hubby got our landscape company to reduce the bills for this year by $1100. He got both the spring cleanup and monthly maintenance bills reduced.

- I earned $ 560. for my three weeks of jury duty. When the state finally pays me, I will put it into savings. This is before taxes. Yes, I do have to claim it for 2017.

- We sold the surface rights for 10 acres of property that we owned and invested that money. We have kept the mineral rights. The company that has leased the minerals rights from us before just renewed the contract with us for three years. That money will be invested. 

- First the first time, I did not read our electric and gas meters last month and submit it to the company. This was because of a huge snowstorm that he had and because I was on jury duty. It was too difficult to get to the meters. So I let the company estimate our bill. Big mistake because I am pretty sure they overestimated us. It was the largest bill that we have had in years. So I read the meter yesterday to make sure that they read it correctly this time. We only have to read and submit every other month. We will see if the bill is out of whack when I get it. It should be low.  

- Hubby installed a new energy efficient shower head in our shower. We didn't hire someone to do it. Hopefully this will save us on our water and sewer bill.

- We have been eating down our stockpile in our pantries and freezers. We are going to continue to eat down the freezers. However, North Korea is making me nervous with all of their rhetoric. I don't trust their "crazy" leader. I have said for years that the countries we have to worry about are Iran, North Korea and Russia(this one not as much). So I will be spending the money over the next few months to bulk up our canned and dry storage. I will also be adding more water to it.  

- We ran our washer and dryer and dishwasher only with full loads.

Here is hoping that you all have a frugal few weeks. If you would like to share what you did frugally recently, please leave a comment.     

Monday, April 17, 2017

Trying Something New.........

Hubby decided to go outside his comfort zone two weeks ago and make horseradish pickles. They are kind of homemade. An old friend from the eastern part of New York used to make these and Hubby loved them. So he found a recipe and decided to try to do it.

He had me purchase a jar of dill pickles and the other items he needed. Most importantly he asked me to get some prepared horseradish.  

He made up one jar just to try out the recipe. He thinks they are delicious but not as spicy as he would like. So he is going to be tweaking the recipe over the next few weeks to get it where he wants it to be. He is going to try using fresh horseradish next time and he might try making them from pickling cucumbers this summer.

Meanwhile he is going to make another jar because I loved them. And that says a lot! I hate pickles! I decided since he made them to just try a little piece off of one that he was eating. They were so delicious that I had to have two more. These are a keeper in my estimation and I will enjoy them whenever I have sandwiches for lunch, especially roast beef ones. 

Here is the recipe if anyone would like to try it:

Horseradish Pickles

Meanwhile if anyone has made these and has a trusted recipe, I would be most appreciative if you would share it with us in comments. 

Also to give you an update, our groundhog has returned home. Yesterday he was out sunning himself on the ramp to our shed.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Saturday!

I hope you are all having a great Easter weekend. it will be quiet around here until my grandson comes to stay overnight on Sunday evening. We are babysitting for one day of his spring break. It wasn't planned but things happen and we always enjoy his company. It looks like it will be a nice day to get outside in the fresh air.

My leg of lamb is thawing for our Easter dinner tomorrow. Even though there is only the 2 of us plus my grandson when we will eat it, I decided to cook the big piece because we love lamb and will enjoy the leftovers for a few days. 

If anyone is interested in how I cook it, here are the ingredients:

1 leg of lamb
canola oil

2tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp. oil
1 minced garlic clove
1 cup of beef consomme
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

Brush your lamb with oil. Sprinkle with salt, oregano and pepper. Brown in 2 Tbsp. of oil. Transfer it to a roasting dish. Then I mix the garlic, consomme and tomato sauce and pour it over the leg of lamb. I make a double recipe of the sauce because we like to spoon this gravy that it makes over our lamb slices and on rice. Roast in the oven at 350 for about 2 and 1/2 hours. When I take the lamb out of the pan, I then thicken the sauce for gravy.

This is easy and delicious and my family has had it for Easter almost every year of our married years. I serve it with rice, broccoli, and corn. We will also have the dinner rolls that I purchased this week. Hubby is standing here salivating as I write this. I am not making dessert because we don't need to eat it. This meal is heavy enough for us. I do have cookies and ice cream for our grandson.  

Talking about food, I had dessert before dinner last night. I just couldn't wait for the strawberry shortcake that you see pictured. I was craving it all afternoon. Sometimes you just have to do these things.

Also I wanted to share with you the friend who took up residence under our shed while I was on jury duty. We captured pictures of him one weekend day while he was out basking in the sunshine. He came to let us know that spring was finally here. He has finally moved out and gone onto his next destination. We are so blessed to live where we have lots of wildlife.

I want to wish you and your families a Blessed Easter. I hope the Easter Bunny is good to your little ones. If you are traveling, stay safe.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Why Don't We Spend...............

Over our retirement years, I have had people ask why we continue to save and don't spend our retirement money down. I think they thought we should be spending it down all of these years. I guess you are supposed to do that so that so you die broke on your last day on earth. If anyone here can tell me when that day will be, I would be very appreciative.

First, we do spend our retirement money down. That is how we pay our bills and all of the luxuries we need. But we know how much we can spend each year. We will be retired two decades in a few years. Wow! Where has all of that time gone? It just flies on by. However, due to the great stock market over the past few years and the fact that we continue to save money each and every month, we have more money now than the day we retired. 

That said, we have not gone without anything that we want. We live luxuriously and do everything that we want to. We traveled a lot more when we were younger retirees so more money went towards that. I still take trips with my children when the opportunity comes up. But Hubby no longer wants to fly or travel except for road trips that are less than 6 hours away. He loves being at home as do I.

Secondly, we can't control the economy. Since we have retired inflation has eaten away over 30% of our spending power. For every $1,000. we had in 2001, it now costs $1,387.54 to buy those same goods. Over that period inflation has been about 2.7%. That is a relatively low number but now that the Feds are raising interest rates, that number will be increasing. I remember all too well in the late 70's when interest rates went up to 16+%.

Third, as you age, you need more money to meet health issues. Since we became Medicare, our health insurance has been relatively cheap. However our out of pocket co-pays and drugs have sky rocketed. You see that in our monthly costs for medical. We do not want to go without good health care because we can't afford it. It is frightening to me to be in line behind someone pricing out their prescription before they fill it and walking away because they can't afford it. We also do not have dental insurance. We have looked into it many times since we retired and the cost per year isn't worth what we would be paid back. Dentists in this area do not take insurance as payment in full.  So we self insure for dental. We pay out of pocket what we need to for our teeth. We don't want to be toothless. These costs will continue to go up.

Fourth, we still have goals that we look forward to. My grandchildren are a big part of that. We want to see them through their educations whether that be secondary school or college. We want them to have a choice as to where they get that education. Education was one of the reasons that we have gotten as far as we did in our lifetime and it helped our children get to where they are today. We want the same for our grandchildren. Our parents did not have the money to put us through college. We paid our own way. That is hard to do today.

Fifth, as we age, there are more things that we need help with. With Hubby's bad back, he can no longer do the things in our yard to keep it the way we want it. He still mows the lawn since we have a John Deere riding mower. But everything else we pay to get done. We love our home and love having the beautiful property so we will continue to pay for these things. If we had not saved, we would not have these choices. I still clean and take care of our home with the exception of minor repairs that Hubby does. But there may come a day that I need to hire help and we want to be able to hire someone to do those things. Our sons do help with little things(like getting the spring furniture out for the patio, carrying heavy things to the basement, etc.) but they don't have the time to do the bigger things. They have their own homes and families to take care of. We remember how busy we were when we were their ages.

Sixth, when you own property and your own home, you need to be able to pay to maintain it. You also need to be able to afford your school and property taxes.  They just keep going up as we see our assessment keep going up. We get no break from the state, county or town for being a senior citizen. We have too much money. But that is a good thing!

Lastly, I believe that genetics play a large role in how long you live. My mom died too young because she got a very rare disease. I don't know much about my father health wise since he was out of my life before age 3. However, my grandmother and her siblings lived to ripe old ages. My grandmother was 89 when she died. I plan on beating that record. Hubby has heart disease on his side of the family but with modern medicine and diet he has outlived both of his parents by years.

We also believe that optimism plays a large role in how long you live. We always like to see things as bright not dark. We have never been bored a day in our lives. There are always too many things that we love that we can do. I love writing this blog even though I don't benefit from it. I look forward to your comments and chatting with each of you. 

We didn't retire to be couch potatoes and waste our days. We move as much as we can. I get my exercise each and every day. We both have many interests that we pursue. We continue to make friends and be around people on a daily basis. We still go to parties and BBQ's. We chat with neighbors on a daily basis in the nice weather seasons. We go out with friends. It's a great life. So when we will die is in the Lord's hands but we don't plan on checking out any time soon. 

Bottom line is we don't know when the good Lord will take us but we do not want to ever be put in the position of running out of money for the things we need or want. We have seen too many retiree friends spend their money all the way down in a few short years and now they have the added stress of wondering how they will pay their bills. We retired to get rid of the stress and we are not letting stress back into our lives.

So we continue to enjoy our lives in retirement, saving for our goals, and making sure that we never run out of money. Could we spend more? Yes but we don't know what we would spend it on. We have everything we want and need. 

Everyone has to design their own retirement but this is how we are doing it. We planned our retirement to have many passive income streams which enable us to save each and every month. That plan has worked well for us. So we continue to save each and every month.

We have a few friends who are retiring soon. They are both online friends and friends in our every day lives. Congrats and we wish them all the best in their retirement. We hope it is all they want it to be!