Under Construction

Well, HALO! friends.  I know, I know, long time no post on this blog, right?  Well, that’s because I’ve been under construction.

What?

No, not me personally.  Stuff at my house.

No, not my house.

Gingerbread structures.  Barns, to be persact! 

Oh yes, every October, ‘round the full moon, I get this itching to make gingerbread.  Houses.  Or Barns.  Or churches.  Or London Bridges.  Or the Leaning Tower.  Or, SOMETHING out of gingerbread.

So I got to it.  Here they are so far.  13 little barns to build.  So, build away I did.  They are still under construction. 

“Where?” you ask………

In the dining room. 

Where else does one build a barn?

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Little horsies, too—these are horse barns……..

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Below, partially constructed.  (Note how clever I am with the scaffolding.) 

Yes. 

Yes, they are. 

Spice jars and cans and whatever I can find to hold things in place while the frosting dries……..

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No.  I am not going to sit there and hold each slat for the roofs (roofes?  roofies?  rufs?  oh, who knows?) in place while the frosting dries.  I do believe that is in the category of ‘watching paint dry’ only maybe slower?

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Making progress: 

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When I’m finished making them, the Cherubs (aka grandchildren and some friends, too) will decorate them.  And then, I suppose, eat them.  They are really fun to do!

For gingerbread instructions, look back at this blog here:

http://harpethview.com/2012/10/21/of-gingerbread-and-all-that/

Simple Birthday Supper

 

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Here is the menu:

Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese)

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Green beans (fresh, steamed in bag, from Costco—delicious!)

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Salmon with pesto—on outside grill

(homemade pesto slathered on top of salmon; double fold aluminum foil and roll up edges.  Grill salmon on the foil—the pesto oils the aluminum and your salmon won’t stick.  The best result is this—the kids LOVE the salmon!)

Before:

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After:

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Rosemary/Olive bread (wrap in foil, heat in oven about 8 minutes on 400 degrees)

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Wild Rice (from the box!)

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Cake (see previous post) and ice cream

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For a more celebratory table, use some fun plates:

 

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These are Williams Sonoma chef plates—acquired you-know-where (yard sale).

Add a few flowers and votive candles:

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And a fun centerpiece:

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A simple birthday supper for six.

Homemade 3 Layer Cake

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Daughter’s birthday is today. 

A 3 layer cake—the top and bottom layers are chocolate cake, the center layer is yellow cake.  The frosting is homemade chocolate topped with nuts and toffee pieces.

Here are some tips:

The cakes are from cake mixes.  They are as good as any homemade recipe and certainly a bit easier to do. 

1.  Set oven to temperature and lightly spray cake pans.  Cut a circle of wax paper for the bottom of the pan and strips of wax paper about 2 inches wide for the sides.  I like to clip the strips of wax paper so that they will flatly adhere to the inside edges of the pans.  Clip on both sides of the strips.  Your cakes will be very easy to remove from the pans.

Note:  Parchment paper could also be used.

2.  Mix one cake mix, gently and carefully pour half of the batter into each of the prepared pans.

3.  I have these to wrap around the cake pans—not sure what they are called. 

image  Insulated strips—well used!

Immerse them in water for a while, then squeeze them out, wrap around the cake pans just before placing in oven.  Secure the strips with the pin or whatever closure device are on the strips.  (These are years old, so the new ones may have different closures.)

Using these will ensure your cakes bake evenly with flat tops.  Be careful placing the pans in the oven so that the strips stay in place.  The extra effort is well worth it.

Bake as directed.  When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

4.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack about 5 minutes, then carefully invert the pan and remove it and the wax paper from cake.  Let cool completely. 

5.  When cool, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, set on a cookie sheet, and put in the freezer. 

I generally make the cakes a day or two ahead of time.  Freezing the layers makes them very easy to handle when frosting and decorating.

Select the cake plate you wish to use. 

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Frosting recipe:

I keep my special recipes in ‘sleeves’ in binders—do you?

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Place 2 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar (no need to sift) into a bowl.

Into same bowl, add 1/3 to 3/4 cups coca powder—I use Hershey’s cocoa, unsweetened, and for this cake I used about 3/4 cups of the cocoa.

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In mixing bowl, cream 6 Tablespoons butter until very soft,

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alternately add cocoa powder/confectioner’s sugar with 1/3 cup milk. 

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When all mixed, add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

For two cakes, double the recipe.

Place bottom layer of cake on plate.  Under it, place small pieces of wax paper so that the plate does not get frosting on it.  Frost top and then sides of this layer.  Remove the wax paper strips.

Place second cake on top of first, frost top of this layer and then sides, smoothing to blend with bottom layer around sides.

Repeat for top layer.  You may add whatever extras you wish—I had some toffee pieces and nuts.

Note:  If you have more than 3 layers OR your cake layers seem to want to slide to one side or the other, use a couple of dowels—these were specifically made for cakes. 

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Insert in bottom two layers of cake to secure.  They won’t show, but they will secure your cake.  Be careful, of course, when cutting into the cake.

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Birthday Cake for a Very Special Daughter.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Homework for Kids

Is overwhelming!

This is a huge dilemma—not just for Grandson and his family, but evidently for the entire country. National Public Radio mentioned it the other day.  Parents (and grandparents), you are not alone in your frustration with the sheer VOLUME of homework your child must complete every night!

Perhaps the new intensity of education has not been properly explained to us?  I had a Eureka! moment yesterday—and maybe this is the reason behind the change in schedule for schools and the curriculum.  It’s my BEST GUESS.

Grandson goes to Tae Quon Do (also spelled Taekwondo) twice a week and I sometimes take him and watch.

Master Instructor (Tae Quon Do instructor) sat the children down for one of his talks yesterday.  (One of the reasons I think this is such a great program for children!  He emphasizes many important life lessons.)

The topic was setting goals.  He asked all the kids what a ‘goal’ was.  One girl stood up and said it was to decide what to be when she grew up and work towards it.  So then, each child stated what his goal was (career).  Grandson said, “to be an artist’ which I found interesting and somewhat perplexing.  I think he really means to be an engineer to create things—his obvious talent!, but ‘artist’ also applies here.

At any rate, Master then spoke about growing up in South Korea as a child.  He left his house at 5:30 a.m. and his mother packed his breakfast, lunch and dinner (I’m sure it was rice balls mostly or whatever—certainly not Snackables or some such!).  He returned to his home at 12:30 a.m. the next morning.  He slept and got up and did it all over again.  When he was not in class, he studied.  He had 4 days off a year.  School was held the rest of the time, including weekends evidently.

He said there was intense competition to get into the universities—650,000 people competing for 150,000 slots.

He was thrilled when he got in.  (So was his mother he laughed!)  Everyone wanted to go to the university. 

Funny thing is, university was relatively easy.  It was the preparation to get in and the competition TO get in which was very very hard.

This got me to thinking about the schedule our schools have.  Short summer break (relatively), then a very intense period of time learning, then two weeks off for fall break, another intense learning period, then a break (2 weeks?) during the holidays, and so on.

Why has there been this change in school schedule and what basis is there—what studies which show this is a better system?

And then I realized that indeed there have been MANY studies which show that retention of education (any subject) is better when the student is more or less ‘bombarded’ (‘immersed” is a nicer term) with the information, must repeat it/practice it over and over to be proficient, but then is given a period of time of ‘rest’.  Long term results are much better this way rather than the old system of long summer breaks when MUCH of the already taught information is forgotten.

Think about building one’s muscles—intense exercise, then rest for a day or two……….’rip’ those muscles slightly with weights, then give it a rest for a day, then do it again.  This builds muscle and strength.  Once they are built, you CAN take more time off and they will ‘come back’ in strength because they remember (muscle memory)—you have already done the hard part.  The long-term retention is there.

Further, when you begin again (after, say a week off), you do not begin where you originally started—your muscles already know what to do.  You start closer to where you stopped.  Each time!  You get stronger.

It is exactly the same with the mind:  intense exercise, then a brief period of rest and recovery, then intense involvement again.  And retention is much improved over the old system.

At any rate, this is my best guess.

And we are in world-wide competition to survive, be smarter, be quicker and more resourceful, fewer ‘slots’ to get into the ‘universities’ too.  So, now I somewhat ‘get’ it……………

(As an aside, we can ‘bemoan’ all we want our ‘lost’ childhoods and so on—but this is reality in most of the rest of the world and it has come to us now.  The past is over.  Nothing we can do about that.)

Tell me, what do you think?  Are your children and/or grandchildren struggling with homework ‘overload’ as well?  Did you come to the same conclusion?  Do you think the philosophy and educational basis for this more intense system should be better explained to parents and grandparents?

Some simple tips

Three simple ideas which may make your life a little bit easier:

image  Use bungee cords to keep a patio umbrella closed.

We have a long and narrow back deck which seems to be in a ‘wind’ tunnel.  Even with the umbrellas lowered, the wind would get under them and pull them up.  Sometimes the wind blows so hard this umbrella is lifted up out of its stand (at the base under the table) and threatens to topple over, taking the glass-topped table with it.  And I don’t need to explain what a mess that might be……..

TMWLH often was asked to take down the umbrellas (there are two on our deck)—what pain to have to take them down, then put them back up all summer!

Solution!  Use bungee cords to keep the umbrella closed!  A wind can’t easily pick up the umbrella and lift it for a flying adventure now.  And the bungee cords are so easy to put on and take off.  This has truly solved a dilemma for us.

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A very clever cousin of mine (also very thoughtful) sent me a unique singing birthday card.  Inside she signed the names of herself and her husband—on heart-shaped STICKERS!  This way, I can simply remove the stickers and put new ones inside with our names if we wish to reuse the card.  I had never thought of this method to recycle those EXPENSIVE, but oh-so-unique birthday cards! 

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Finally, this isn’t so much a unique idea as a reminder—about two weeks ago I decided to plant some lettuce seeds.  It is fall and lettuce likes cooler weather, generally—but I seldom remember to plant it late summer/early fall.

Lettuce seeds are very tiny and I had two packages which had been partially used, but still had some seeds in them.  (The packets had been around for quite a long time.)  I also had a pot on the deck in which I had nothing growing, but it did have soil.  I simply sprinkled the seeds on the soil, covered with plastic wrap, left in the sun (it had plenty of moisture in the dirt) and left it alone. 

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Now I have lettuce coming up!

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How simple can this be?  I didn’t even get my hands dirty by covering the seeds with dirt. 

Reminder:  now is a good time to plant your garlic bulbs, too.  I think I’m going to plant some in a pot this year and leave it on the deck for the winter as well.  (Make sure it is a plastic pot if you get freezing weather.)

Grilled Chicken and Grilled Cauliflower

 

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I bought these chicken quarters at Kroger’s—a ‘manager’s special meaning they needed to be cooked that day or the next day (or frozen).  They were about $1.25 each.   They were pre-seasoned, so all I had to do was grill them for about 45-55 minutes.  They were very good!

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Here is the cauliflower grilled.  Recipe is so simple:

Clean/wash cauliflower and remove stem and leaves.  Brush on melted butter, sprinkle with seasoned salt (I had some Lawry’s seasoned salt on hand) and shredded Parmesan, wrap up in foil and grill on hot grill about 45 to 65 minutes.  (I did turn the cauliflower about every 15 minutes.)

YUM!

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We also had baked beans (just heated some on stove) and bread.  Banana pudding for dessert.

There you have it—a simple and inexpensive supper for six.

 

 

Pretty Fall Wreath

One of my very talented Granddaughters made this for me—out of burlap ribbon, a wire wreath frame, and fall foliage.  It’s perfect for a fall/Thanksgiving wreath hung on the large mirror near the dining room.

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(No, we are not Hindi nor Buddhist.  I just happen to like the statue—it’s for ‘good luck’!)

 

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The initial to our last name is “F".  This wreath could hang on the front door—

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but it is much too pretty to risk having wind or rain damage it; and hung between the front door and storm door, its flowers would be crushed.

  Besides, now I can enjoy it as well as anyone who comes by for a visit.  If it hung on the door, it would only be visible outside.

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No hot glue was used on this, so that the bows, flowers and letter may be removed and the wreath redone for another season.  I’m thinking Christmas!

THANK YOU GRANDDAUGHTER!  IT’S VERY PRETTY!

 

Simple Suppers for Six

KISS!  KISS!!  KISS!!!

What’re you doin’?” Jabber asked.  “Why’re ya’ sendin’ out kisses to everybodies out there?”

I’m not sending out kisses.  I am reminding everyone of the Keep It Simple Stupid phrase.  Not that I think you are stupid, Weeders.  No, don’t!  Just a reminder that simple strategies are likely to work more effectively.

If you are anything like moi (God bless you my friends, if you are), a little reminder of time-management and organization sometimes triggers one to action.  This isn’t new, I didn’t invent it, you already know it—it’s just a reminder.  (Hey, there is a gubment shutdown goin’ on—and I’m trying to do what I can to keep my own household in good order!)

The previous post was on some simple strategies I use for grocery shopping.  This post is a list of meals I have prepared or will prepare—can be switched around.  For the four nights a week I am cooking for six people,  I like to have one pasta night, one meat night, one soup night, and one ‘fun’ night for the kids (and adults!)  By “fun” I mean some meal like pizza, hamburgers or tacos which they really enjoy eating.  For some reason, these ‘fun’ night meals seem more sociable! 

When I don’t know what to add to a main dish as a side, I look in the freezer or pantry to find a suitable addition.  I keep vegetables pretty well stocked, although they are not all fresh veggies.  We (TMWLH and moi) like a fresh salad of some sort almost every night.  We don’t eat a lot of fruit, but I often incorporate it into salads or as dessert.  (Hint:  if you have vegetables which the kids won’t eat, chop in food processor and add to casseroles, sauces, soups.  Other flavors will generally overpower the vegetable flavor and the kids won’t even know you’ve snuck some vegetables into their dinner.  Won’t hurt YOU either!)

These are pretty simple and inexpensive to make suppers—a variety:

Chicken pesto pasta, salad, bread, cupcakes

Saturday Night Special (a chicken-based homemade sloppy joe recipe), sweet potato fries, salad

Roast pork with baked apples, green beans  (roast in crock pot)

Quarter chicken legs on grill.  (Bought from grocery store labeled “manager’s special”—meaning they were about to go out of date–and only $6 to $7 total for 6 large pieces.  LOOK for the special deals!  Then be flexible and use them.).  I also grilled two heads of cauliflower and the kids loved it!   banana pudding

(desserts depend on what I’ve got, what has been on sale, and how much time I’ve got available.  Usually small portions of dessert.)

Roast beef with potatoes, carrots, Cole slaw with apples (make with food processor—easy!)  (crock pot roast beef and vegetables)

Leftover roast beef stew with carrots, potatoes, celery and gravy, (crock pot), berries with whipped cream, some kind of bread 

Tuna noodle casserole with Cole slaw or lettuce salad, bread

Quesadillas (chicken, peppers, onions and cheese); salsa, lettuce and tomatoes, sour cream), ice cream

Chicken pot pies with salad and corn bread (frozen pot pies and are name brand—about $1.50 each at warehouse store)

Tacos with lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, onions, cheese, baked apples with cinnamon sugar and topped with whipped cream

(I use brown sugar and the whipped cream is non-dairy, but in the can)

Enchiladas (chicken or cooked hamburger meat, refried beans, cheese, enchilada sauce, onions); serve with sour cream, salad, breads

Chicken breasts, rice, (can be crock pot if you like—but I prefer to bake in oven) salad, berries with whipped cream and cookies

Homemade chicken noodle soup (can be crock pot) with grilled cheese sandwiches and cake or pudding for dessert

Spaghetti with hamburger meat (can make/heat sauce in crock pot); lettuce salad; cupcakes

Hamburgers (on grill if possible) with salad or slaw, chips, fruit or cookies and ice cream

Macaroni and Cheese with cut up hot dogs or brats or some type of cooked meat.  Green vegetable; bread

Homemade soup (whatever is in freezer leftover and either chicken or beef stock) (can be crock pot), beans incorporated into soup, crackers, cheese

White chicken chili (can be crock pot) with corn bread, crackers and salad

Regular (meat) chili, (can be crock pot), corn bread, crackers, salad

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I make Cole slaw in food processor, a little at a time, so that it is eaten at one meal.   Very simple:  shred some cabbage, shred a peeled carrot, shred apple or a bit of onion if you choose, pour on some bottled Cole slaw dressing—a little at a time.  You don’t want to drown it!  You can add sliced almonds, Craisins, raisins, and/or other items to the slaw to vary it.  Much cheaper and BETTER than what you buy in the store.

I also make an Asian slaw which has a white vinegar/sugar dressing.  It is very good, but makes a great deal of slaw.  Everyone loves it, however!

Baked beans (canned) are good side additions to hamburger and/or hot dog nights; frozen French fries (I like sweet potato fries) are good additions as well—baked in the oven.

Substitute baked sweet potatoes for white potatoes sometimes—we actually prefer baked sweet potatoes.

Having a list of meals helps me in grocery shopping, time management, and actual preparation time.  This strategy will work for you, too!

If you have more tips, PLEASE POST THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.  THANK YOU.

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Decided to check my grocery receipts from the other day—and see if I actually saved some money.  I did!  (YEA!)

We all know about coupons, buying things on sale, making out menus, keeping track of what we’ve got and don’t have stocked, special markdown days. (Senior Days here for us—Kroger’s has a 10% discount for seniors the first Wednesday of every month and Publix has a 5% discount for seniors every Wednesday.)

As a bonus, I read on one receipt that if I completed their survey within 7 days, they’d add 50 points to our store card good for purchasing gas at a discount.  You can bet I did that survey!

The trick to successful money savings at the grocery store is to be organized.  I am like most people, sometimes I’m too busy and I’m not very organized.  At least not all the time.  Sometimes I do.  It all depends on a lot of things, mostly if I’m in the mood to actually make it a priority or not.

I’m in the mood and have been for a while.  This because of lots of reasons, not the least of which is our income doesn’t go up. Actually, it doesn’t even ‘come in’ any longer! 

(We’re retired and can’t get much in return for our money investing it and we don’t have high paying jobs.  I mean that I don’t.  TMWLH, however, works sometimes at the golf course being a ranger.  Sometimes he gets a check for $15 or so.  If you call that a ‘high paying’ job, then that’s what he has.  There ISN’T any pay for just running a household, however.  And then there is Security who doesn’t demand a salary—yet—but she does demand sometimes expensive treats.  Make that every night she demands expensive treats.) 

Prices keep going up.  I know most of us are in the same boat—retired or not.

Well, this is a reminder to you (and to myself)!  Start clipping and saving those coupons on things you use and need.  Collect the coupons, make your list, and if you can put off buying whatever it might be, then wait until the next senior day/double or triple coupon day at your grocery store.  Sometimes you can even find your needed items on sale.  With a 5 to 10% discount and a doubled coupon you can save quite a bit.

Yesterday I saved about 35% at one store and then at the other store, 40%.  (I’m taking their numbers off the cash register tape, but did my own calculations.  So I’m fairly certain I did save approximately that much.  It amounted to a total of $96 this month.) 

Lest you think we eat a huge amount of food, let me just say that I prepare dinners four nights a week for four other people. 

I buy items we use, including some laundry and cleaning products (less of those lately—I’ve discovered the wonders of white vinegar and baking soda all over again).  We go to a warehouse club about once a month and I stock up on other items there.  Buying in bulk is a good practice for nonperishable items especially and we do save some money shopping there.  We also have good storage space, a real help in saving money. 

I recognize that storage space is a luxury.  If you don’t have it, then make room under your beds or elsewhere when you find good deals.  The items WILL get used and you will have saved some money.  And if it really bothers you to store the items under your bed or couch or stacked in a corner, soon they’ll be used up and gone.  So it’s not a permanent commitment unless you want it to be.  If it becomes a permanent commitment, then you can figure out some sort of permanent solution to your storage dilemma.  Or maybe you will have saved enough to move into a bigger space with storage?

I assure you, I’m no Coupon Clipping Queen like my daughter.  For the two of us and Security, I find this system works fairly well. 

1.  take stock and update it periodically  (I do it on my computer and print out the list, keeping the list in the pantry or cabinet where things are stored.)

2.  make menus for the week and allow for leftovers to be used or frozen for future use.  After a month, you’ll have a list of menus you can use over and over and not feel you are being deprived.  Yet you’ll be able to dine very well and spend less time preparing your food because you’ll have those recipes memorized!

3.  make lists of what you need from various stores  (I’ve got a running list in the kitchen all the time.  Helps me not to forget!  I also clip coupons and keep them by the list.)

4.  wait until sale days for purchasing most of it

5.  select the items you will buy from a warehouse store and go only once a month.  (If you time it right, you can make lunch out of the samples they hand out.)  Warehouse stores also have coupons.  Use them! 

For us I purchase mostly meats, lettuce packages (Romaine lasts a long time and is very cheap in the large packages), cherry tomatoes, toilet paper, paper towels and tissues, detergents for washer and dishwasher.  Sometimes I will get specialty items, but only if I can store them properly (freezer? or shelf space) and only if we really will use them.  I’m fairly specific on what I buy at the warehouse store.

We don’t scrimp on what we eat, but I do like to cook and I do use my freezer for various purposes—leftover items for home made soups, rewrap and freeze larger packages of meats, etc.  I do not grow my own vegetables nor fruits.  I don’t can food, either.  I admit we could likely save a good deal more if I got into the ‘drastic’ stage of saving money on groceries, but we don’t need to.  Besides, we are RETIRED.  Heck, I’m 111 years old, so I figure we might as well enjoy some things.  Which we do.

But who doesn’t like to save some money?  This is a relatively painless way to do it.  And let’s face reality here:  you have to eat and likely you don’t eat out all the time.  Might as well incorporate saving money into your daily routine—it doesn’t take that much time, just a bit of organization.

One baby step at a time!  After a few months, look at your savings.  See if it is worth your investment of time and effort.

This upcoming month, I’m going to make a homemade soup with dried beans—the kind one soaks overnight before cooking.  I haven’t done this for a good long while (decades), but what am I doing at night, anyway?  Just sleeping!  It’s going to be an easy way to save a few pennies (cheaper than canned beans) and won’t take much time to do.  As I said, one baby step at a time.

What have you been doing to save money on your grocery bill?

 

OPS

What does that mean?” inquired Jabberwocky as well she might. 

You might too–

“Does it mean you made a mistake?  As in oops?  You misspelled the word?” Jabber went on……..

No.  It stands for OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF.

Of which I seem to have acquired quite a bit, for better or for worse.  My children groan when they consider the stuff, thinking that should I suddenly keel over and be gone, they would be the ones having to dispose of OPS not to mention the stuff I actually acquired which is MINE.  Well, then again, since I acquired OPS by legal means, it’s all mine.  So there you have it………

I’m a frustrated interior decorator. 

And gardener

and cook

 

and a whole bunch of things I’m really fairly mediocre doing, but I like to do anyway.

And I do like stuff, all kinds of stuff.  This is not to say I am attached to it.  Nope.  No sentimentality with moi, when it comes to stuff. 

But I love to find new uses for old things.  That kind of love.  (Has something to do with old me trying to find new things I can be useful doing…….you know, it’s all Jean Paul Sartre existentialism stuff.  Or something like that.  Look it up weeders, should you be curious.)

So, I want to show you some new stuff I have acquired of late—actually two items which I love, love, love!  One is this:

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An old copper campfire coffee pot. 

Did I mention it was copper?  I’m in love with copper.  My kitchen has a copper range hood, a large copper farm sink, a smaller copper sink in the island; the gazebo has a copper roof.  I have copper items over the kitchen cabinets on display.

No, it is NOT clutter.  It is ‘staging.’  With interesting objects d’art.  (Interior decorator terms.                        I think.  See how I’ve picked up the lingo?)

What’s that?  When do I polish it?  Oh, you know……….once in a while.  When I am in the mood. 

Oh alright, you are such sticklers for precision! 

I don’t polish any of it very often at all.  It has what is called ‘patina’ which means no one has polished it for a while and it’s gotten dingy and all.  We interior decorators refer to that as ‘patina.’  Satisfied?  

What?

No, in answer to your question.

I have never polished the roof to the gazebo.  That was done once, when it was fairly new, but the polishing didn’t last. 

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Wasn’t done again.  I’m not THAT crazy.

The copper campfire coffee pot will be put on display over the kitchen cabinets.  Not up yet, but it’ll get there.

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The second item I have acquired is another old suitcase! 

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The internets are full of ways to use these things—even recover them, attach them to walls as shelves, all kinds of creative geniuses out there! 

But I just clean them up, open them up to the sun for a while, then spray some Febreeze inside and throw in a good-smelling soap (one of those you brought back with you from some motel stay, so it’s free) and voila! good storage that looks interesting, and smells good too.  

Cheaper than all those baskety things in the stores so popular right now—hides clutter, easy to open and easy to move. 

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Use them as display items, for interest as ‘objects d’art’ in a room (above).

Below, these are used to hide cords to the TV and DVD and all those other cables which I don’t know what they do, but seem to be necessary–

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And of course,

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storage in your closet for out-of-season clothing.

*Yes, one shoe CAN change your life—ask Cinderella.  I, myself, am still looking for that one shoe……….

What do you mean, “Why?” 

PAY ATTENTION HERE!  To change my life! that’s why………

(In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to have one’s suitcases packed and ready to go, right?)

Okay, so that’s some of my new OPS.  You been out there on the ‘circuit’ searching for OPS you can use, too?  Tell me what you found and how you’re repurposing it?  (“Repurposing” is a new bloggy term I see being used all the time.  I’m not original, I just pick up what more creative types write.)

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first four pictures from here:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pictures+of+frustrated+housewife&qpvt=pictures+of+frustrated+housewife&FORM=IGRE#a

 

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