Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Hope your 'hauntings' are happy ones!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If at first you don't succeed


A couple of years ago, after our mulberry tree produced a bumper crop, I decided to make jelly.

Nice idea, one problem: The jelly wouldn't jell. I followed the directions; the pectin was fresh. But all I had was syrup.

Folks on the frugal forum suggested I bring the liquid to a boil again, then stir in a package of raspberry gelatin. It thickened it some, but it would never be mistaken for jelly.

So, I decided to call it syrup, and we eventually found uses for it. (With wine vinegar and spices, it made a nice salad dressing.)

But I still had a couple of containers of mulberry juice taking up room in the freezer.

So, I tried a recipe for syrup.

.... well ... perhaps it will thicken as it sits in the fridge. But right now, I seem to have mulberry juice.

I'm not quite sure what to do ... maybe I'll try the gelatin trick again. Maybe it will turn into jelly?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Uh oh

The dishwasher is leaking ....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reclamation project: Mending

I've let my mending and patching projects go lately, and the basket is overflowing.

Most of it seems to be DH's pants ... he tends to put holes in the knees, and in a couple of cases, there are holes above the first patches I put on!

I don't have anything in my material stash that would make a proper patch, so I've done the next-best thing -- cut up a few pairs of worn-out pants and shorts in (close to) matching colors.

So far, I've managed to reclaim 3 pairs of pants that DH can wear around the house, or for work outside.

I suspect the patches are going to outlast a couple of pairs, LOL!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Water torture

I'll spare everyone in blogdom my opinion of the local water company. But suffice it to say, rates have been going up sharply ... and will continue to go up sharply. So we've been vigilant about water usage here at the casa de chaos.

And we've been doing well: Our actual consumption has gone down, even though the bill has gone up.

Until a couple of days ago. The newest bill shows that we used 1.5 times more water than the previous month. Or any other month this year.

We're trying to figure this out. There's no sign of a big leak. There is a bit of seepage in one of the toilets, though I'm doubting it would add up that much. (memo: call plumber this week.) The previous month was estimated ... perhaps we did use more water that month? Though we've had so much rain that I haven't needed to water the garden.

Unfortunately, a meter check ruled out the possiblity that it was misread. (darn)

In the meantime, I'm going to go beat my head against the wall ...

A note: Thanks to those who offered condolences and prayers for my family.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sad day

I won't be posting for a few days ... we've had an unexpected death in the family ... please keep us in your prayers.

My $1.95 CVS trip

I had some ECBs to roll this week, and the only really good deal seemed to be the soy candles, which I've been getting for Christmas gift baskets / hostess gifts. I did get a nice surprise: When I scanned my card in the store, I got a coupon for $5 off $15!

So, here's the rundown:

1 Glade soy candle $6.99
1 bottle vitamins $9.99
2 Hershey's Bliss bars $1.33 (buy 1, get 50% off the 2nd)

$5 CVS coupon
$7 ECBs
$3.50 for the candle
$1 for the vitamins
.79 for the candy bar

Total: $1.02, plus tax of 93 cents. Plus $6.99 back in ECBs in the candle deal.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I hadn't intended to make biscuits with dinner, but I opened the refrigerator to find that one of the cans had popped. So, biscuits it was!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reclamation project: Blanket

I have one of those Velux blankets ... that's the velour-like material that has a foam backing. The material makes a very warm and snuggly blanket. But it also has one drawback: After a couple of years of use, it falls apart.

And that's just what happened when I washed said blanket. It came out with a big hole in the bottom. (Not to mention the #%!% mess in the washer. Ugh.)

I trimmed off the damaged part ... about 5 inches, which made it too short for the bed. My first plan was to buy a new blanket and shift this one to the guest room. But I don't need another blanket for that bed. And it is very warm.

So I decide to sew a new piece of material on the bottom. (Who's gonna see it under the bedspread, right?) One problem: Can't find Velux at the fabric shop. But the clerk had a suggestion: How about fleece? It's close in texture and warmth. And it doesn't unravel, so no need for a hem.

And luckily, it was on sale. I bought 1/3 of a yard for the grand total of $1.50.

Now it's a good thing that this is under the bedspread. Believe me, this is no testament to my sewing abilities! Both of these materials tended to slide: I spent a lot of time just keeping the needle on track. I also should have paid more attention the nap on each side when I pieced the material.

But it worked out. And the blanket is saved for another season! And if it falls apart in the next wash, I'll just cut off the fleece and make a pad for the cats to sleep on!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Garden report: Final harvest

Well, the garden is done for the year.

Saturday night's forecast called for frost, so I decided to pull everything inside. So, did it frost? Er, I don't think so.

On the other hand, it's been chilly and cloudy, with more of that on the way. So I'm doubting that anything will ripen properly.

So, I have a small box of green tomatoes, and four large semi-ripe tomatoes sitting on my kitchen windowsill. We did have a sunny morning, so I put the box o' tomatoes outside to sunbathe, LOL!

I have a half-dozen bell peppers to put in the freezer, along with the Romas I'd pulled in last week. And lots of green beans!

I pulled in the herbs and lettuce ... they'll get to go out and sunbathe, too, LOL! I did cut some of the lettuce for Sunday's dinner.

Friday, October 9, 2009

September freebies

I think I'll just officially call this Cereal Month. We certainly got enough samples.

Pop Tart
Country Crock (FAC)
Total Blueberry
Honey nut Cheerios
Gain detergent
Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal
Green Giant steamers (FAC)
Kashi Heart-to-Heart
2 Glade candles (2oz )
1 Glad candle (4 oz) FAC
1 GeoTrax DVD
1 Huggies diaper
Bear Naked granola cereal
Always pad and liner
Nature valley granola bits
Kotex pad and liner
2 Kotex tampons

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey, where'd my towels go?

I was grousing last week about not being able to find single rolls of Bounty Basic paper towels.

Well, I found them at another store, and picked up a couple, using coupons of course. ;

They seemed a bit small, though. When I got home, I realized why:
The roll in my closet had 68 sheets. The new rolls, 52 sheets.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Bargain bin

I'm doing the happy dance over a ground beef deal! (I know, I must get out more, LOL!)

The local supermarket had a 1-day sale on various meats, including $1.18lb ground beef and 88-cents lb ham. Unfortunately, they were out of ham (but I got a raincheck).

So I got 3 lbs of the beef and decided to use the $1 off any purchase Discover coupon. Also got my 5 cents credit for bringing a reusable bag. My total was $2.48 .. about 83 cents a pound!

And a couple of other deals:
  • Baking alert! Fleichman's yeast is going on sale at some stores. In this week's insert, there's a coupon for 40 cents off any strip or jar. If your store doubles, you can get a strip of yeast for next to nothing. Also, Meijer is giving coupons for 50 cents off your next order with every strip you buy. Kroger did it last year, and may be doing it again.
  • Go to SmartSource and print out the $1 Bumble Bee tuna coupon the other bargain bloggers are talking about. I found them for 99 cents at Meijer .. so free tuna. (I've never tried tuna in a pouch .. hopefully there's more to it than in cans these days.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Helping our furry friends

I recently discovered that the Humane Society in my city runs a pet food pantry .. and unfortunately, it is in dire need of donations of food. Like the pantries set up for us humans, it's seeing a great call for its resources.

Personally, I can't imagine having to give up my furbabies because I didn't have the money to feed them. So when I'm looking for bargains, I'll be looking for items that I can donate, too.

I'm challenging you to do the same: If your local shelter has such a pantry, would you consider donating your pet-food bargains?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Garden report: Running out of time

The garden season is coming to a close, and things are moving along more slowly than I'd like:

I've been harvesting tomatoes, but I still have close to 2 dozen green ones on the vines.

The peppers are getting bigger, but the red ones haven't shown any signs of ripening. I did pick my first yellow pepper over the weekend!

The beans are slowing down. I suspect there will be one more good pick before it's time to let them go.

My fall crop of lettuce is growing nicely. I planted new cilantro, and I'm seeing tiny shoots in the pot!

October means that I must pay close attention to the weather reports .. especially those overnight lows. First frost here is traditionally around Oct. 14. Last year, it was late. This year, the weather's been so odd that I have no idea what will happen.

So I'll watch ..