Friday, May 31, 2013

Beef prices going up

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by this.

Seems last summer's drought has caught up with us -- earlier this month, beef prices hit a new high. 

Pork prices here have been very low, likely because farmers were selling off animals due to the drought. I suspect we'll see price hikes there next.

Here's a story from earlier in the month:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Getting back to normal

Been a little off schedule this past week due to the nasty intestinal bug that visited my house.

Illness does make for rather limited meals ....  lots of jello, soup and lemon-lime soda!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

      Remembering why we mark this day...

      Wishing everyone a safe holiday.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Little by little: How I've been saving

     Some days it does seem like $$ flies out the window ... so I've been keeping a list of the little things I do to save money.  Here's what's been going on recently.

Overripe bananas went into the freezer. (And as I write this, they're being baked into banana bread for the week's work lunches.)
Crumbs made from slicing homemade bread go into freezer to be used in meatloaf, etc.
Using up samples of shampoo, toothpaste, and body wash (which will tide me over until I find a good deal to replenish my stocks.)
Used a paint samples to refresh the flower pots that hold this year's crop of herbs.
Making a point to catch the letter carrier for outgoing mail ... saving trips to the post office.
The lawnmower maintenance was done at home, rather than paying someone to do it.
Books:  Using the library, also downloaded some free Kindle books.  (I don't own a Kindle, but I downloaded the app on the computer).
Movies: Borrowed a couple of older ones from the library, saved the rental costs.
Repurposing: As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I used material from some old jeans to make place mats.  I'm also making another set out of a couple of old throw pillow cases.   And an old T-shirt is being turned into an outfit for my porch goose.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Garden report: Almost there

  It's been a bit slower going than I had wanted, but the garden is getting close to completion.

All the plants are in ... four varieties of tomato, 2 varieties of bell peppers and eggplant.   I'm still looking for a cucumber plant!

On the herb/green side.  I harvested my first batch of "micro greens" -- baby turnip greens and lettuce.  I think we'll be having the first pick of kale this week. And I need to find something to do with sage.

The big job that awaits me is to plant my beans.  Had other things to be done over the weekend, and figured I'd give my back a rest.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sewing project: Placemats

Jackie ... you get the credit for inspiring me!

I had some of this striped, mattress ticking fabric that I wanted to make placemats with, but didn't have enough to make two identical sides.

Realized that I had material that was comparable in weight and color -- old jeans!

Not the easiest thing to sew, but I think it came out pretty well.

On another sewing note, back in November, I mentioned that I'd screwed up the sizing on my patio curtains.   Well, I finally got around to letting out the bottom hem and the curtains are now where they belong -- at the window.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Today we mulch!

Time for another garden report:

 The garden has been cleared of rocks (truly my best crop!) and had its first tilling.

We made a trip to the county landfill's compost/mulch pile to get a few bags that we'll mix into the gardens.

  In the meantime, I've bought veggie plants: tomato, eggplant, red and green bell peppers. 

I'm planning to grow some grape tomatoes in a container this year, too.

Also bought a sage plant and some oregano seeds.

 I still have to get my bedding plants ... I may go back to the hardware store where I bought my veggies ... they're cheaper than the big-box store.

As for what's already planted ... my kale is about ready for its first pick.  The turnips are sprouting (I just use the greens).  The lettuce is sprouting, but looking a bit sparse.   Still waiting on the basil.

      I was hoping to be a bit further along, but it's been cool and rainy ... and we had an unseasonably late frost!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

No more GreenBagTags


For those of you who shop at CVS, be aware that the GreenBagTag program has gone away.
   (For those that don't know ... you attached this tag to a reusable bag and had the clerk scan it every time you made a purchase at CVS.  For every 4 shopping visits, you got a $1 ECB.)
    I had not heard about this, so I was a bit surprised when the clerk told me this evening.  In fact, I took a spin through CVS' Web site and their Twitter and Facebook pages and didn't find any mention of it.
But all is not lost.  If you haven't used your tag since before the end of April, and you plan on shopping at CVS before the end of this month, take your tag and have the clerk scan it.  You'll get a $2 "Thank You" ECB.  (Though it has a short turnaround time ... about a week.)

Some bloggers are reporting that there's another program in the works ... guess we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Whip it!

If you were expecting something more ... interesting .... sorry about that.  (But I always wanted to use that title.)

   Actually, I got a great price on butter recently. Trouble is, we don't use much butter, except occasionally in baking.  But we do use blended butter or  margarine for everyday.

So, I had an idea.   With a little help from the Internets, I came up with a recipe to  make whipped butter ... or rather a  butter/canola oil blend.

I used half a pound of butter, whipped it till soft, then slowly beat in 3/4 cup of canola oil until everything was incorporated nicely. (Had the consistency of a cake batter.)

It set up quite nicely and spreads easily.  I think next time, I may use a full cup of oil just to see if it will lighten up even more.

It filled a 15 oz container.  Cost: around $1, less than half the price of what a container half that size costs at the store.

      A lot of this, of course, depends on the price of butter ... but know that I know how much this makes, I have a means for comparison. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stamp out Hunger food drive

For those of us in the U.S. ...

Saturday is the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

By now, you may have received a bag in your mailbox, but even if you haven't, please consider bagging up some non-perishable (no glass containers, please), and leaving them by your mailbox this Saturday.

The need is still great, and I'm sure the local food bank will be grateful for whatever you can send.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What I ate: Last week's meals

Sunday: Homemade meatballs in mushroom gravy over noodles. Served with corn on the cob.

Monday: Pulled pork, green beans and leftover noodles tossed with butter and Parmesan  cheese.

Tuesday: Jambalaya with sausage and chicken. Served with salad.

Wednesday: Ham with steamed green beans and grits.

Thursday: Hot dogs and homemade chicken-noodle soup.

Friday: Spaghetti and meatballs, served with salad.

Saturday:  Fast food ...

Friday, May 3, 2013

April freebies

 Not a huge month, but some good things.

2 burger meals - burgers, chips and water
1 roll Scott TP
2 trial tubes Aquafresh (FAC)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


        A few weeks ago, I saw a blog post about a rebate on a well-known brand of clean-up wipes. (While I'm trying to cut back on the disposables, these do come in handy.)
        So I downloaded the form from the link provided. Filled it out,  enclosed the receipt and UPC and sent it off.
         It came back:  Offer expired. Box closed.
         A closer look at the form revealed that the offer was indeed expired.  The form was for 2012!
         D'oh!  That's what I get for not paying attention.
         But all is not lost. I did track down the correct form, and have sent that off.  Though my rebate will be 46 cents less than planned.