Sunday, December 30, 2012

Makes you go ... hmmm ...

 Went to the meat counter at one of the supermarkets here to take advantage of some sales ... and noticed that almost every package of meat had the orange "manager's special" sticker.

Yikes!  Everything's on markdown?

Nope ... a closer look showed that most of the meat was selling at its regular price ...   in fact, one item I'd come in to buy had to be remarked, because it wasn't showing the sale price.

New marketing ploy? Or did someone just get carried away with the stickers?   ;)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Merry Christmas to all!

  May this holiday find you in the company of those you love ...

 Have a wonderful (and frugal) day!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The incredible shrinking ....

First off, I'm still here, and since you're reading this, you obviously are, too.  We'll just assume the Maya ran out of stone when they made that calendar ...

Anyway ...

Looks like coffee packages are shrinking even more.  I was about to buy a certain name brand (with a coupon) when I realized that the "can" looked a bit smaller compared with the other brands on the shelf.

No wonder.  It was 30 ounces!  Let's see, that's down from 32 (or was it 31), which was down from 34 ...   The other national brand had 33-ounce regular cans, but their special blends were 27 ounces.

When I did the match, I realized that after coupon, I'd be paying the same amount for 30 ounces that I pay for 33 ounces of Aldi's coffee. 

Never mind ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today's tip: Save those coupons

         If you get packs of coupons, or those monthly coupon books in the mail, do yourself a favor:  Take a couple of minutes to go through them, and save the ones from the service companies you use .... or might want to use.  

       I know we probably save at least $60 a year by using oil-change coupons from our usual garage.  And I saved $150 this year on my (grrr) recent car repair.  (The haircut coupons are nice, too.)

     Personally, I think the best coupons are the ones that say: "Free service call with repair."

       I don't know about your area, but around here, it seems like service folks charge nearly $100 just to walk in your door -- anything else is extra.  So getting that cost off the final bill can be a help ... and if you have a really bad year for repairs  ... it will help a lot.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bright idea: reusing a thermostat

    When the repairmen put in the new furnace, they also replaced the thermostat, leaving us the old one. 

    This particular thermostat, which we'd put in a couple of years ago, had a few bells and whistles ...  including a battery-operated thermometer.  

     So rather than throw it in the garage sale pile, I moved it upstairs.  (Where it it currently 71 degrees).  I may move it around, just to see how well the furnace is doing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When the repairman says ...

... "Ma'am, you need to come and look at this,"  You know you're in big trouble ...

    Yep, something else is broken here at the Casa de Chaos.  This time it's the furnace. 

   Started when the blower wouldn't come on ... I thought it was likely a relay switch, since the manual setting worked.

  The relay was blown, all right.  Unfortunately, the repair guy found something else: A cracked heat exchanger.  Definitely bad. Potentially fatal bad ... .

So in the space of a half hour ... we went from expensive repair to very expensive replacement.   (We did the AC, too ... I suspect it would have blown up just for spite next summer.)

I'm not really surprised; the furnace was old enough to vote, after all.  I would have liked to have gotten the dishwasher repaired first. On the other hand, dishwashers are optional; furnaces are not.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bread and butter

  The great pumpkin butter experiment was a success!

  The pie pumpkin we bought on markdown made 4 1/2 cups of puree, which translated to 2 1/2 pints of butter. 

   Next time, I may cut the spices down a bit.  I had to add the extra 1/2 cup of puree to soften the gingery taste.

  The butter is posing with a loaf of savory pumpkin bread I made, using the puree from our Halloween pumpkins.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas

We've been decking the halls here at the Casa de Chaos. 

  I lobbied for a new tree this year to replace our tabletop tree.  We have a nice 7-footer, but I wasn't keen about chasing Big Boy out of it every hour or so ...

  Actually,I like this new tree .. it's prelit, which eliminates one of my big frustrations.  As for Big Boy .. he and Little Girl think it's just dandy.  They jump on the table and curl up under the tree. (I see a photo for next year's Christmas card, LOL!)

 But we got a not-so-merry surprise on the outdoor lights: 3 of the 5 sets didn't work.  Considered going to LED's, but we would have needed nearly twice the number of sets to cover the same area ... putting it out of the budget.

 In the end, we decided to replace one set of lights.  Skipped decorating one portion of the house, and used another style of lights (which we already had) on another. It looks pretty cheery!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

November freebies

A bit sparse this month, but always welcome:

2 beers

Bear Naked cereal

Maybelline makeup

1 small orange juice

3 bags of Twinings tea

Monday, December 3, 2012

Doing it the old-fashioned way

We're back to washing dishes by hand again at the Casa de Chaos. 

Seems our dishwasher ... our 2 1/2-year-old dishwasher ... is leaking.  (We've been  trying to replace all the original appliances, etc. Now we have to fix the replacements, too?  Grrr.)

Anyway, we  haven't been in a hurry to call a repair shop. (And yeah, it's off warranty.)  Been canvassing friends and co-workers, but not coming up with any names ...

Of course, the avid DIY'ers are saying, "hey, it's probably easy to fix .."  It probably is, but I'm not brave enough to start poking about in a nearly new appliance.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sometimes it works ...

Since the spice mixes turned out well, we here at the Casa de Chaos decided to try making flavored coffee creamer mixes.

The amaretto recipe smelled divine ... but in taste, it sort of lost all its almond flavor.

The pumpkin pie flavor ... just didn't translate.

Ah, well. It's nice to experiment.  Good thing it was just a couple of small batches, though....