Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm still here!

I'm here, I'm alive, I'm just swamped!

As I have said before, I volunteer at the food bank in our little town. Yesterday, Larry, the manager, got in several pallets of tomatoes, loaded with boxes of beautiful red fruits needing something done to them at once. So although canning tomatoes wasn't on my list this year, (I still have about 30 quarts from last year,) I did tell myself that anything that came my way free, I would put up. I spent too much last year buying fruit to can, so my goal this year was "nothing purchased." Well, 100 pounds of free tomatoes is nothing to turn your back on. So I brought home 5-20 pound boxes.

Then near the end of the food bank time, (we're open from 1pm to 4pm) someone brought in 6 "banana boxes" of pears from trees on their property. Unfortunately, these pears wouldn't last a week until the next food bank day, so they needed to go out as well. Larry gave me two boxes.

Larry is generous to a fault. He will often ask, "how many do you want?" And if you say, "Two, please" He'll ask again, "how many?" When you repeat the number, he adds them together and says, "Oh, you want four!" After working there for 8+ months, he still catches me off guard sometimes, and I come home with double the amount of stuff I had intended.

My neighbors know that on Thursday evenings to be aware of my Suburban cruising the neighborhood. I always share unusual things with them.

I count all this as gifts from God. And as such, I will freely share what I have been given with others. So today, I'm working on gifts. Gifts of tomato sauce, herbed Italian tomatoes, tomato soup, diced pears, Christmas pears, pear butter, banana bread and zucchini bread.

I'll be back when the steam from my canner clears and my hands, feet and back recover.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Toot-Toot!

That's the sound of my own horn!!

Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me-ee!
Happy Birthday to me!

Yes, 41 years ago, it was a red letter day in my family's lives. Their blue eyed, blond haired little adorable baby sister was born. I was the cutest thing they had ever seen and spoiled me accordingly.

Just see for yourselves. I always speak the truth.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Am I so mean that you had to do this?


I took this picture yesterday of my new roses. It's a Jackson & Perkins variety called Rock and Roll. I love the red and white variegated petals. They remind me of a peppermint geranium I had as a young girl.

I try and make the best of the crummy ground in which I plant my garden. And I hate it when those around me don't seem to care about their yards.

Yesterday I kindly asked the neighbor tween-age girls who were hanging out at the end of the driveway if they would please pick up the trash they left lying around the yard. I even provided them with the garbage can.

Then I asked them to not hang out at the community mailbox so that the neighbors could easily come and get their mail.

And now this is the thanks I get. Someone yanked all the blossoms off my roses.

Dear Neighbor Girl, I hope the thorns poked your naughty little fingers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Frugality and Thirty Days of Nothing

Edited to add one more "Nothing" to the list...

Frugality is something I think a lot about. I don't always get around to writing about it, but it is on my mind constantly.

Last year my sister went through a great personal challenge, to do without for thirty days. It was an economic challenge to be more frugal, to take a look at what she spent her money on and try to cut back considerably.

I decided to take this challenge I just discovered at OwlHaven.net. I have read her blog before, but recently been redirected here again. She is a great writer and has much to say about being frugal, living cheap, making do or doing without. And her life is not easy, she is a Homeschooling Mom to 10 kids, 6 of them adopted from Korea and Ethiopia. She often compares her life to those of the families and countries from where she adopted her children. Things like the amount of clothes in her closet compared to the "outfits" an Ethiopian child has, the vehicle she drives, or kitchen equipment, etc. It is humbling to me to think that we in this country have so much, yet are often dissatisfied with what we have and want more.

So this brings me to my challenge, 30 days of nothing, and how I will incorporate this in my/our lives here. I already volunteer at the food bank and I get first pick from the food of the day. I work there each Thursday and often come home with enough food to feed my family and share with several neighbors too. Groceries, praise God, will not be a challenge at all. The challenge will be for me to stop running around wasting gas and coffee shop drive throughs. I do love me some coffee and if you make it a Grande-Sugar-free-vanilla-non-fat-latte, iced or hot, it is nearly impossible to resist. To top that all off, my little po-dunk town now has a drive through Starbucks. Sigh...

So, in list form...
1. No drive through coffee expenditures.
2. No drive through fast food.
3. No unnecessary trips in the Suburban.
4. Use the clothesline, not the dryer. I have two wonderful retractable clotheslines in my back yard, there when I need them, zipped out of sight when I don't!
5. No trips to the grocery store unless it is to pick up WIC items, (Women Infants and Children Federal food program. Boo Boo still qualifies, Robby just graduated he's now 5.) We get milk, eggs, cheese and beans.
6. Money spent will ONLY be for paying bills and catching up accounts.
7. Necessary car repairs will be made. Sorry, we can't be without our vehicles.
8. We purchased pre-paid oil change cards for each vehicle last fall, so those will remain on schedule.
9. NO turning on the furnace until October. Bear mentioned this the other day when he saw steam and smoke pouring out of a neighbor's furnace flue. He commented that he thought we could go until November without turning it on, I think October might be a more accurate estimate. It has gotten down to 45 degrees or so most mornings, but highs are in the 70's during the day. As long as the sun shines in during the day, we can cuddle up at night and be toasty.

I do need to pick up a box of diapers for Boo, but maybe I'm ready to try the yucky store brand instead of Huggies. But when I've gone that route before I tend to use more than I would have, because they don't seem to work as well. Any ideas? I've gone cloth route before and I have all the stuff, but without my dryer and the humidity around here this time of year, I don't think they'd get dry. Ahh, still torn on this one..

I guess that is about it. I'll add more if I think about it later, I'm starting this kind of late, she started on the first of September, so I think I may continue into October as well.

The tough thing will be, this is my birthday month, and Bear's is next month, so I'll have to think creatively about how to celebrate birthday's cheaply.

Here goes...
 

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