Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good Deals at Piggly Wiggly

I doubt that many of you have a Piggly Wiggly near you. LOL. There are 4 within my shopping area, believe it or not!!!

Usually the prices aren't that good, but I thought these items I purchased yesterday were pretty good.

1. 12 pack Scott Extra Soft Toilet Tissue on sale for $5.99. There were $1.00 coupons for these in last Sunday's paper. I purchased two. I know a lot of people don't like Scott Toilet Tissue, but its absolutely the best value in my book. The rolls last a long time and now they have the "extra soft" kind. ONLY buy it when its on sale. In my area the 12 packs go on sale for $6.49 regularly at Food Lion, CVS, Walgreens, etc. and there are usually some $1.00 coupons in the paper. So the Piggly Wiggly sale for $5.99 was even better. I always try to have two or three twelve packs in my stash.

2. Piggly Wiggly Brand and Lucks Brand canned beans, 10 for $4.00. We use a lot of these to make chili. We make chili year round, but especially now that the Fall and Winter season are coming up. I also noticed that Lucks had a low fat version that was included in the sale. I purchase 10 cans of a combination of Pinto Beans, Great Northern Beans, Navy Beans and Hot Chili Beans. I probably should stop back by and get another 10 to really have the pantry stocked up!

3. VO5 shampoo for 49 cents. I know this is one of the cheapest shampoos, but my boys/men go through shampoo pretty fast. Sometimes I think they are using it for soap, so I give them a variety of shampoos. They have some nicer shampoos and some cheaper shampooos in the shower to choose from. I bought 3 bottles of non-feminine ones to have in my pantry. I already had a couple of bottles, since it goes on sale for 77 cents at drug stores. I've never seen it for 49 cents before.

I have learned to scan all the sales papers because even the stores you don't think have good prices will occasionally surprise you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Share the Love Award




Ms. Ann (Ancient One) of Everlasting Mercy Blog gave me a very sweet award! Thanks Ms. Ann for sharing the love. That really cheered me up!


I would like to share the love with all the bloggers listed on my side bar, just like Ms. Ann did.

If you are listed there, please feel free to accept this award from me!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I've had a bad week!!!

On Tuesday the temperature here in North Carolina was 100 degrees, so I decided it was too hot to walk during lunch. I had just organized all my coupons and decided to go to the Food Lion to see if there were any deals I needed to take advantage of before the next week's sale started on Wednesday.

This is what happened!




And we just finished paying for it, new tires, a new battery and a new license plate the day before!

The other vehicle ran a stop sign at a very high rate of speed and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. I was very lucky and so glad no one was in the van with me! They would have most certainly been seriously injured. After many xrays and other tests, it was concluded that I had contusions to my feet and my sternum. Ouch! I love Percocet!


I hope to be back to blogging soon!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Sunday in July, 2008

This morning I left home at 7:00 A.M. to go care for my Mama. I'm so proud of her progress. She can now get into her bathtub to take a shower! We should all consider the future when building or buying a home. Who knew that all doors would be too narrow and that legs would have a hard time getting over the side of a tub.

I helped her get a nice Sunday Dinner ready for herself. What a change from several years ago when the house would be full EVERY Sunday with all manner of children, grandchildren and great children. She would cook a huge meal every week. Today I helped her cook BBQ chicken, slaw made from fresh cabbage, cooked fresh cabbage, roasted new potatoes from the garden, and fried cornbread.

My brother is going to build a step that will allow Mama to get into my van and if all goes well this week, we are planning our return to church next weekend. I have been taking care of her during the times we normally go to church.

I went home about at lunch time to help get a Sunday dinner ready for my family. My daughter, SIL, and Grandbaby came. Its been a while since they visited because they have been traveling some this summer to visit family. I was so pleased when I got home to see that my sweetie had dinner under control. He made BBQ pork chops, roasted new potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, steamed broccoli and cauliflower and watermelon and cantaloupe for desert. Here is the table he set and the fruit he prepared:




Isn't he fancy?!!! LOL

This is a picture I took in the back yard. You can see the corn in the background. A typical summer day......

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Heart Strings - What I learned from Doris

I lost a good friend and former co-worker a couple of weeks ago to a rare disease. She had been sick for six years and finally passed over to where I know she is jumping and dancing! I worked with her for 14 years before she got sick. She loved her job and was THE most generous person I ever knew. Its been on my heart to share what I learned from Doris.

Most of you have heard of the book from a few years ago called "Everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten". Well, most of what I needed to know in life I learned from Doris. These are some of the them:

1. COVER FOR EACH OTHER: At work this went a long way toward creating a more pleasant working atmosphere. At the time we had six ladies working together and you know how that can be! Covering for each other meant no backstabbing. It meant when someone made a mistake, you didn't run tell, but helped fix it. It meant when someone had to run an errand, you covered for them. Then they in turn would do the same for you.

This is a very good Christian like attitude don't you think? Do we cover for each other in our day to day life? examples: Your husband or teenager accidentally locks himself out of his vehicle 25 miles away. Do you rant and rave and complain or very sweetly go as fast as you can to their aid. Don't you know that sooner or later you'll do the same thing? LOL. You see that your daughter desperately needs a day to run errands. Do you offer to babysit, go help or offer some spending money if she needs it? What ways can you "cover for each other" today?

2. DON'T EMBARRASS THE FIRM: This meant that we should be careful of how we acted and dressed away from work. If we were seen at the grocery store wearing sloppy clothes and someone saw us there, it would reflect on our work place. Same thing with how we behaved. I always remember this when I go somewhere, even to this day. You won't see me at the grocery store in short shorts!!!

This can be applied to our life in other ways besides work. Do we embarrass our Lord or families by the way we dress or act. I suppose this is where dressing modestly and acting sweet comes in. I've never been an immodest dresser, but I always need to be careful to be sweet. Like any good Southern girl, bless my heart. LOL I don't want anyone to see me doing anything that would be a bad reflection on being a Christian. I forget which Saint said, "Use words if necessary". We don't have to say a word sometimes to be a good witness for Christ.

3. DON'T TALK OUT OF SCHOOL: This meant that we should never tell ANYTHING outside of the office that went on there. Everything in my office is completely confidential.

At work and away from work, do we carry stories and gossip where it doesn't need to go? Are we loyal to our loved ones and family? You will never hear me put my family or spouse down to other people. If I can't lift them up, I keep quiet.


4. YOU CAN'T OUTGIVE THE LORD: Doris was the most generous person I ever knew. She would give you anything she had and was overly generous with it and there were no stings attached. I once saw her give a single mom we worked with her gas credit card because she knew she had to go somewhere and didn't have the money to buy gas. She gave to others even when she was too sick to even leave the house. Even after her death there are gifts waiting to be given to their new owners, both material and spiritual.

Are we generous enough? I hope to always give with "no strings attached". If I give something to my children, I don't expect them to pay me back later. Giving in secret is so much fun too! No recognition now, but in God's own time it'll be rewarded!

By the way, Doris's nickname for me was "Debbie Cakes". How sweet it that? I hope to live up to what she taught me. I never could have made it without her.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Small Town America - My Walking Route

Do you like the new look of my blog? I've had the same template for over a year and my favorite color is blue so I thought I'd make a change.

I went for my usual one mile walk today at lunch which takes 20 minutes. Today the temperature was 85 and the humidity was down a little from our normal steam room like numbers. I feel that 20 minutes isn't very long, but it fits well into the time I have available. If I do another 20 minutes tonight at home, that'll be 40 minutes which is pretty good for me!

My office is in a small town on the edge of a neighborhood. I considered walking in the neighborhood which leads into a cemetery with great little lanes to walk on. The good thing would be that there is lots of shade. The bad things are that its very secluded and quiet. If a dog or bad person came after me, there'd be no one around to help. So I opt for walking in the other direction where there is some light traffic. The streets are easy to cross and after I describe the places I go by you'll see why I feel safe.

The first thing I do is change into a spare pair of walking shoes I keep at work. Following doctor's orders I apply sunscreen to my arms and neck and hope the Oil of Olay with SPF 15 I applied early this morning is still working. :o) I also apply spf lip balm. My cell phone is clipped on my waist band for emergencies only. I don't intend to talk on the phone while walking around. I need a quiet time during my work day and the phone will be ringing enough when I get back to work.

After leaving my office's front door, the first place I go by is the Smart Start Office. Usually there are parents with small children going in and out registering their children for the "More at Four" program our state offers.

Next is the small town newspaper office. Our paper is published every day but Monday. If news happens on Sunday afternoon or Monday, we're out of luck! I guess its a typical small town newspaper.... takes about 5 minutes to read it!

The next thing I pass is the old train station which has been converted into a burger joint. The food is great, but too expensive for my lunch time budget. I stopped once after my walk to get a salad and a beverage and was floored at the cost. I'll just bring my own from home, thank you very much! Nonetheless they have a large lunch time crowd and a great atmosphere. Behind it are some old rusty train cars. The railroad isn't open through here any more and the railroad companies abandoned the tracks years ago.

Next stop are two exercise places. One really hot days I would like to go in there and exercise in the cool air conditioning.

Right after that is the fire department. I'm careful to get out of the way if the siren goes off!

The next building is the police station. Its comforting to walk by there and see policemen out and about. Right across from that is the Catholic Church. Then comes City Hall, the farmer's market, the library, and a small town hardware store. I can see the courthouse in the distance which has a tall steeple-like top with a clock on it. The clock chimes on the hour. I can also hear a church across town at 12:00 playing chimes from a loud speaker. I especially enjoy the music because they play songs from the "Sound of Music". Nothing like hearing "The hills are alive with the sound of music....lalalala. I love it!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my small town walking route! Have a great rest of your day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Slice of My Life

This is what's going on in my life lately:

1. PICKLES!!! As you know my mother, with the help of my brother, had a big garden on the way to harvest before her stroke. We have been enjoying the bounty of the garden... tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, peas, corn and more. She had two little rows of cucumbers that yielded enormous amounts of fruit. So for about three weeks, we have been making sweet pickles. Each person in the family spends different days with Mama, so each person did the next step in the process when they were there. Sometimes I washed, sliced and put the pickles in the lime. Sometimes I rinsed them and put them in the ice water. Sometimes I put them in the vinegar and sugar bath. Sometimes I boiled them on the stove and put them in the jars. Each batch is a 2 or 3 day operation. I never knew how much went into them all these years when I would see Mama slaving over those cucumbers. I'm not sure how many quarts we have put up but there are plenty for everybody in the family.

2. Exercise. I have been unusually motivated to exercise. I've really been sticking to it by walking during my lunch hour and on the treadmill at home when I can. I've also been trying to eat better. I've been reading several good library books that have helped to motivate me. A recent one is called, "Younger Next Year for Women". Its not so much about looking younger, but about being physically younger. This book stresses LOTS of exercise. Way more than I can dare to accomplish with my schedule right now, but its very motivating. Today I walked one mile on the treadmill early this morning and 1 mile at lunch, followed by a healthy lunch. I'm still hungry, but it was healthy!

3. Sewing and crafts. I checked out some great books from the library on crocheting and purchased 3 skeins of yarn. So far I've gotten nowhere. I'm not giving up, but maybe this isn't my thing. LOL :o) I really want to learn to crochet an edge on a baby blanket and have read 2 or 3 great tutorials from other blogs. I was thrilled to find a dresser cloth at Mama's that my grandmother had made. She crocheted an edge all the way around it and embroidered beautiful flowers on it. This piece is at least as old as I am. She also did this to pillow cases. Surely if she could do that with no library books or blogs, I can figure it out!


4. Cooking. We have been eating lots of fresh veggies. The corn is so good this year. Any meal is good when you have fresh vegetables to go with your main dish. We also love pasta salad this time of year which rounds out the meal.

I learned to make "old timey" fried cornbread like my Mama makes and which my sweetie has asked me to make before. Nothing to it! Not my favorite, but anything for him. :o)

5. Cleaning. Need to.

6. Gardening. Need to.

I hope you enjoyed this slice of my life.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mid-Year Financial Checkup


Now that the year is more than half over its a good idea to do a Mid-Year financial checkup:

1. Go over all your bills to see which ones you can stop altogether or which ones have charges you can get rid of. I am in the process of doing this. Mid year and January are my usual times to try to become more financially fit. (and physically fit!!)

I have turned my kitchen table into a temporary desk by pulling out all our bills, a calculator and bringing the phone in there. I'm going to list on a legal pad all our bills, the amounts due and due dates. Then I'm going to go over each one with a fine tooth comb to see which ones can be reduced, eliminated or fine-tuned.

I started this yesterday by working on our phone bill and one other bill. I made a couple of calls, reduced some minutes and an interest rate and feel pretty good about it. Little charges add up over time and seem to creep in there without our really noticing it.

I plan to work on this more this weekend and the coming week.

2. I also intend to work on our budget. I've already been thinking about how much gas we use each week. $80.00 to $100.00 a week!!!! YIKES! AAARRRGH!!! I'm sure the figures most of us allowed for gas and food have changed since January 1st! Any money saved in Number 1. above may be reallocated to gas and food.

3. Its not too early to be thinking about 2008 taxes. Yuck! But, having these things organized as you go along is so much better than waiting til the last minute next April. It could be as simple as just setting up a file to put deductible receipts in or a more complicated filing system if your deductions are more complicated. I'm filing 2008 deductible receipts in a file that says "2007" on it. Gotta fix that!

4. While you are into this you could declutter some papers! I know I need to! This would be a good thing to work on during the July Decluttering Challenge I posted about here. Maybe I could show some before and after pictures of this next week. (if my camera is working) I'd love to see any before and after pictures you have of decluttered desks, filing areas and paper stashes!

For more Frugal Friday tips please visit Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Free Pattern and New Ideas

Well if you read yesterday's post, you'll understand this statement: The Lord had a better idea!!! LOL

I spent the night at my Mama's after going home for a shower and to get my overnight things. I grabbed some books, catalogs and magazines to look at while over there. One was a catalog called "Connecting Threads". It has lots of quilting patterns, fabrics and other crafts. It gave me lots of ideas for quilts, etc. to make in the future.

I thought you might like to see some of the free patterns offered on the "Connecting Threads" website.

TISSUE BOX COVERS:



This is one of many free patterns offered. I thought I would like to make some of these for gifts and my Etsy Shop. I don't necessarily want to make them with the seasonal appliques shown, but using pretty fabric. But, who knows, I might get good at applique if I keep trying!

I've have a new niece or nephew on the way and would like to start planning a baby quilt for the baby shower as soon as the gender of the baby is revealed! I found some great ideas in the catalog.

I'm also enjoying an older book by Leslie Linley called "Take Along Crochet". It's from 1985 (I think) and I bought it a library discard sale a while back. I can crochet, but need to learn a lot more. In this book is a "Kenya Bag" that I would love to make. If they go together fast enough I would like to sell them in my Etsy Shop. This would be a great project to take along to Mama's when spending the night there and would help satisfy my urge to create! There are also other projects in the book I would like to try. All those Crochet abbreviations sound like greek to me, but I know I'm not too old to learn more new things.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TIME......


One of the major themes of a lot of my posts is time.... or the lack thereof...:o)

I've done numerous posts on managing time, getting organized and all of that. But, no matter how hard I try its like I'm just beating my head against a wall or spinning my wheels!

The Lord has shown me a new thing. I'm not in control!!! This is a new revelation to me. You probably knew this and I thought I knew it, but now I REALLY know that I'm not in control. I think we forget this sometimes.

I have to be realistic in what I can and cannot do with the time God has given me. So what does this mean to me in my day to day life?

If I don't get it all done ITS OK! My new way of thinking is that if I have time, I'll sew, clean, declutter, blog, etc. If I don't, I'm not going to get bent out of shape. I simply accept God's will for me on that particular day.

So Lord, unless you've got a better idea, tonight I'd like to cook a simple meal, declutter for 15 minutes, do a load of laundry, work in my zone 15 minutes, sew a bunch of new things for my Etsy Shop, sew gifts for friends, cook supper for Mama, take a long, luxurious bath, watch "Reba", do a "Works For Me Wednesday" post, walk a mile on the treadmill and be in bed by 9:00, where I'll do a Bible Study. LOL

Good thing I figured out I'm not in control, Right?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Handmade Dishcloths From Afar



My camera is being very finicky! Yesterday it was working so I'm finally able to post a picture of these dishcloths that Clare of Sort of Frugal sent to me. We both had give aways on our blogs, but neither won, so we decided to do a swap! I sent her a clothespin bag, since she just got a new clothesline and she sent me these nice handmade dishcloths. I haven't used them yet, because they are just too pretty to use, but I will soon!

Thanks Clare!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Summer Weekend

Happy Fourth of July Weekend! I know its almost over, but I hope yours was happy and that the remainder of it will be peaceful and restful.

I'm not really a summer person and I don't know why. The only thing I can think of is that when I was growing up summers were for working in a tobacco field or worse... picking cucumbers. I vowed to never work in a tobacco field again once I turned 18 and so far the closest I've gotten was driving by many, many acres of it every day!

Nonetheless, summers have their good things: This watermelon was delicious.




Fresh veggies:

We had fresh corn on the cob, fresh sliced tomatoes and fresh field peas this weekend. I'm not sure if you know what I mean by field peas if you're not from this part of North Carolina. They're not black eye peas, and they're not english peas (garden peas). My mother grows a lot of them every year and my brother picked a bushel for me Friday. He even took them to a place that shells them for me. All I had to do was wash them well, Blanch them and put them in the freezer to be eaten this winter. I ended up with 6 bags for the freezer and enough for a meal to eat fresh. I don't like my bags of frozen veggies to be too big, so I filled quart size freezer bags about 2/3 full. This size prevents us from having too many leftovers and/or waste. Also its a good size to put in vegetable soup. If we get some rain there'll be lots more peas to freeze.

This is what my frozen peas look like:



I also was given several containers of locally grown blueberries and made a blueberry cobbler for my family earlier in the week and made one for my mother while at her house this morning. This picture is one I made last summer, but its identical to the ones I made this year. Delicious!





I was at home this afternoon and made this clothespin bag for my Etsy Shop:





The corn planted behind my house has really grown! We need rain pretty bad, but it sure has gotten tall anyway. This is the view from my back yard. Normally I can see my neighbor's pond. This corn makes a natural privacy screen.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday - Cooking Ahead

This past weekend I had some unexpected time at home, thanks to an out of town sibling staying a few days with Mama to help out. I used this time to get caught up on some things at home such as decluttering the laundry room. See this post!

I also decided I would cook some foods for the upcoming week. It was nice to have food available for lunches and supper yesterday. I cooked enough food to last several days as follows:

1. A large bowl of homemade chicken salad using Mama's pickles. Yum! This is great for sandwiches for lunch or supper. I cooked some rice in the broth left from boiling the chicken too. Yesterday I had a little bowl of rice and a chicken salad sandwich. My hubby came home and had some for lunch too!

2. Two large pans of lasagna. I put one in the refrigerator for the boys to eat as needed. I froze the second one into individual serving sizes to be eaten later as needed.

3. A meatloaf. This is also great for sandwiches and for meals. All I have to do is make some potatoes and green beans and I've got a great meal.

4. Salad Fixins. I prepped all the veggies and boiled some eggs. I placed everything into small containers and placed in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. I also purchased croutons, bacon bits and some new salad dressings.

5. I still have some boneless chicken breasts in the fridge to make another special dish later in the week.

Its so nice to have plenty of food already prepared in the fridge for when my guys are ready to eat, but I'm not even home yet!

For more kitchen tips go to Tammy's Recipes!

Practice first.... Sew once!

I worked on the monogrammed bags I am making for Christmas gifts over the weekend.  I had already been successful with one bag.  The monogra...