Sunday, September 29, 2013

One Week in September

Truthfully, I have no idea if it's been a week, two, or how long. Time seems to have no meaning for me anymore....except for maybe flies.
I was just thinking the other morning about how people say "Thank God it's Friday" and I was over here like, "It's already Friday again?".  
"It's already October?'
"It's already 2013?"
"I'm already 46 years old?" 

No, I am not 46 years old, LOL. At my last birthday I decided 45 sounded too old, too near 50, so I wasn't going to do it. I stuck with 44, until a couple of months ago, when I had to go for skin cancer surgery and saw "Age: 45" written on my chart. Seriously, it freaked me out. I am not that old.
But then a few weeks ago when I was visiting with my Mom and Aunt and we were talking about ages, and one of them asked me how old I was now - 46? - and I said Yep, and nodded. Believing it.
It wasn't until just a couple of days ago (more or less) that I realized I was not 46 yet.
Where the heck did that come from? I know I said I wasn't going to *do* 45, but I sure didn't mean to skip right on ahead. Geez.

Anyhoo, it wasn't a very interesting week. I spent most of it reading.

I canned the last of the Pears I brought home from my parents' last week.

I just made a light syrup using 5 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar brought to a boil. Peeled and sliced the pears and packed them into hot jars and added the syrup. Processed in a water bath for...some time. 20 or 25 minutes to make sure.

And then there was these: (Well, three of the 14 plants there actually are):

These are called Bishop's Crown peppers, because when you turn them upright (upside down?) they resemble a Bishop's Crown.  (Sorry I didn't get a demonstrative photo of that)
They may also be called a Christmas Bell.

I don't even like peppers, but I am just so pleased with these.
If you missed the story of how they came to be, basically we brought one single Bishop's Crown pepper home from a visit last summer to St. Augustine, Florida and J wrapped it in duct tape - haha, I wouldn't recommend that in general - then this Spring we opened it up and got the seeds out of it and sprouted them.
14 plants from one single pepper.
Each of those plants have a good 20 or better peppers on them.

Our Salsa garden idea didn't work out well (didn't get many tomatoes, and peppers ripened after tomato plants have died anyway) so I really didn't know what I was going to do with all the peppers. I don't usually cook with peppers, but I decided to freeze them so as not to waste them and maybe I will look up recipes using peppers (or better yet, give them to someone else).

I did find one suggestion that said filling them with cream cheese and baking them were good.
So I cut open the tops to de-seed them and they are ready for filling/baking.

I got a good gallon size bag out of the first crop. There'll be some more before it's over.

Started with 14 seeds (we had 100% germination, believe it or not) - now have hundreds, maybe thousands of seeds.

If you'd be interested in trying to grow some of these lovelies of your own, hit me up and I'll send you some seeds.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cat Sitting, Coupon Shopping & Yard Sale'ing

Most of my Readers probably don't know that a year or so ago, I used to be an Extreme Coupon Shopper. I used buy like 10 Sunday papers a week (when I could get them for $1.00) and collect coupons from everyone and free papers, and I'd make my Shopping Route so I could spend one or two or sometimes more days a week traveling to multiple stores, where I'd "buy" 10, 20, and sometimes even more of the items I was getting good deals on. The majority of the time I'd not only get the items for free, but I'd end up making money. (Not cash money, but I'd use the credit to buy other stuff I needed that might not be on sale).
But then a lot of people started getting into the Super Couponing game, and didn't take the time to learn and used coupons wrong, then that terrible show Extreme Couponing came out and showed people to use coupons wrong, and the stores were like, "Nope", and changed all their rules and limits.

The limits, and all the others getting into the game, were the worst for me because I have to drive a minimum of 30 miles to the nearest store(s) that I can get the deals at. When I started coming home with Limit 1 or 2 at the most, it made it not worthwhile for me to continue.

Now I really only coupon shop if the deal is worth my gas/time/effort, or if I'm going by the store anyway.

This week I got a job checking on a man's house and feeding/petting his Kitties for two days. I actually was going to do it for free, but he insisted on paying for my gas at least. Anyway, my route to his house took me by a drug store and a couple of grocery stores that I can sometimes get some good deals at, so I went to the Shopper Blogs that list out the sales and coupon matches every week to see what there was.

I had said I wasn't going to buy Halloween candy until at least October 1st, but I saw Walgreens was having a great deal on candy, only $1.00 a bag after sale + coupons, and the cereal was only 67¢ a box.

All this cost me only $7.68 plus tax. (Regular price before sale and coupons $49.48)

If you want to see how I did it you can check out my post at my (nearly defunct) shopper's blog, Walgreens 9/19/13.

Our Publix grocery store ends sales on Wednesday and starts the new week on Thursday (no idea why), but since my job carried me by the store on both Wednesday and Thursday, I checked out the sales for both days.

Yesterday I got all this for $8.33 plus tax. Basically I paid for the ice cream and the rest was free.

Today I got all this for negative 18¢. That is, I would have gotten it all free plus they would have paid me 18¢ had it not been for tax. Tax was $2.22, so minus the 18¢, I paid $2.04.
Can't complain about that too much.

If you're in an area that has Publix stores and want to see the coupons I used check out Publix post.

I also stopped in at Kroger grocery store since I was driving past it, too. Blugh.
Kroger has some good sales every so often, especially their Mega sales, but for the most part, not. And this is the last week Kroger's will be doubling coupons in our area, which will make for even less good deals than they already are.

I had a list of several items to pick up, but when I got to the store, for the most part the prices didn't match up to what I read on the blogs, and they were out of the Glade plug-in warmers (no big loss, they don't even include the smelly stuff.)

The Crest was $1.00, and I had a 50¢ coupon that doubled, so I got it free, and the Lettuce is on sale for 99¢ this week, which is a good price for around here. I usually pay $1.19 and up.
Total cost $1.06

The guy whose house and Kitties I was keeping an eye on this week gave me this box of quart size jars and lids Free. Very awesome. I love jars.

I wasn't expecting it on a Thursday, but there were quite a few yard sales going today, so we stopped in to check them out. Because, you know, I need more Stuff. lol.

The first we stopped in, the lady had awesome prices. Too awesome for us, the people that got there before we did were putting everything in piles for themselves and bought all the good stuff, I guess.

This yard sale didn't have much of their stuff priced. Some of it was, and when we walked up they said "Don't worry about the prices, we're making good deals today. Just gather up everything you want and...." (I forgot her exact words. Anyway, I was expecting some really good prices. I asked about a small crockpot and they wanted $2.00 for it. Probably a good deal, but not good enough I couldn't pass it up.

I saw some patterns and one was priced 25¢, the others weren't priced. Ryan has been wanting a vest (or vests), looking at Goodwill for any, so I thought I could get this pattern and give it a try.
Also picked up the backpack sack with the name of the local hospital on it, figuring it couldn't cost too much, with the "great deals" they were going to give us.

So I went to the porch and the lady comes over and says, "Mmm, how about a dollar?"
Umm, how about not.
I said that I thought it'd be cheaper so she said "How about 50¢?"
That was better. Somewhat. Not a "great deal". Maybe a regular deal.

The next yard sale had everything priced...most of it kinda high for my tastes. I found these packages of spider webbing for 25¢, and the little cauldron candle for 10¢. I wasn't sure I wanted to spend 50¢ on spider webbing, but I was afraid it'd get closer to Halloween and I'll end up wishing I had some, and kicking myself for not getting it when I could get two bags for 50¢.

Next we stopped at an Estate Sale, which by the name tells you everything is going to be costly. And it was. There was some nice things, maybe worth what they were asking, but then again they had some regular type stuff that should have only been a quarter or so priced at 2 bucks and up.

I did find this little contraption. Not sure what it is, but it's metal and folds up like this, then opens up into a bowl. I can't remember having seen anything like this before. It's unique, I think, and will make a good fruit basket-bowl.

I loved this metal (aluminum, I think) colander for 25¢.

I believe this is going to be my best find of the day. Vintage Fisher Price Goldilocks and 3 Bears (although there's only 2 bears there) pull along toy for $1.00.  This toy is about my, or my sister's age, and we had one as young'uns. I love old toys from my childhood, but usually they're tagged "Vintage" or sometimes even Lord forbid "Antique" and priced accordingly (aka ridiculously).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apple Canned Goodies and Spiders

When I left off yesterday, I had chopped up a bunch of apples in my crockpot, added 2 Tablespoons of (imitation) Vanilla extract and let them cook on Low for 6 hours.

At hour 6, I added 1½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, and 3-4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, stirred it good and went to bed.

This morning I awoke to yu-u-u-u-myness. Ohmigah it smelled soooo gooood.

Jarred up looking pretty with the free printable labels.

Even after the apple butter, I still had some more apples I needed to do something with. I decided to make Apple Pie Jam.

I forgot to get pictures, but I peeled, cored, and diced the remainder of apples, which ended up being 14 cups (I measured this time).

4 cups diced apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice {I used bottled}
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 box pectin
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

The recipe called for 4 cups of apples, I had 14, so I doubled the amount of lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and used 1½ box of Pectin. I didn't double the sugar because it seemed like a lot to start with. I think my apple jelly might have ended up tasting more like sugar than apple - I'm not a jelly eater, so I don't know if it's supposed to be that sweet - but anyway I didn't want to make these too overly sweet.

I added about a cup of water, the lemon juice, spices, and Pectin and brought to a rolling boil. Then I added the sugar(s) and returned to - possibly - a rolling boil, and boiled - possibly - for 1 minute.

The directions says when it boils and you can't stir it down, and it seemed like it was doing that so I set the timer for 1 minute, but then it seemed like I was able to stir it down, I wasn't sure so I let it go a little bit longer than the 1 minute.

So hopefully this jels up right, and tastes good. Supposedly when you eat it on toast or a biscuit it's supposed to be like you're eating apple pie.

I had ran out of canning jar lids and had to go to Walmart to get some more. While I was there I went over to the craft department to look for some acrylic craft paint, and I was looking around at the other offerings and saw a pack of peel'n'stick magnet strips for 97¢.

If you remember awhile back I had started a Halloween project making magnetic Spiders and the advertising magnets I was using wasn't strong enough. These felt more heavy-duty in the package, and they didn't cost too much, so I decided to give them a try.

It takes a bit more squeeze-y, but I'm still able to punch circles out of the magnet with my hole-puncher.

They are peel'n'stick but the stick part isn't really sticky enough, and some (most) of the spiders don't have perfectly flat bottoms where I cut the ring part off, so I'm still going to have to hot glue them. Oh joy.

This was sticking to my crockpot real good at first. The magnet stuck fine, but eventually it let the spider go from the sticky part and it fell off.

There are 18 magnetic strips in the package, but I was able to punch 39 holes out of 1 strip. I only need 50 (or less...Ryan took one or some to work to scare his arachnaphobic co-workers, lol), so I'll only be using about 1½ strips. The price works out to about 5¢ a strip, so with the spiders (50/$1.00) this project works out to about $2.00/50'ish spiders, or about 4¢ per spider.

I was thinking about maybe combining the little spiders with this one, in the corner of my carport next to/above the door, with all the tiny magnetic spiders "running" across the door. That ought to keep unwanted guests away, mwahahahaha.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Apple Adventures Day 3

Apple-preserving production shut down a few days ago with the loss of our poor Kitty and other random bad luck happenings such as cutting and burning myself in the process.

But I still had (have) apples that need something done with before they rot and are wasted, so I got back to work today.

Another thing holding me up was that I wasn't sure what to make next. I made apple pie filling, applesauce, and apple jelly. I have several jars of apple butter my Mom had made previously. I looked around on the internet for some ideas but nothing jumped out at me, so I settled on attempting to make my own batch of apple butter.

I settled on this Crockpot Apple Butter recipe from Money Saving Mom because it sounded easy, I didn't have any Allspice or Cider (that other recipes called for), and she gave me free printables.


  • 6 pounds medium apples 
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups raw or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3-4 teaspoons cinnamon

  • Peel, core, and slice apples in fourths. Put them in the crockpot with the vanilla and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir every few hours. Once apples are very, very tender, mash with a potato masher and stir in sugar and spices. Cook on low for another 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally.


    I also filled another jar with Leavings to make some more Apple Cider Vinegar.

    This is the jar of ACV I started last week. I don't know too much about ACV but it appears to be on track as far as I know. It's smelling vinegary, although not too strong yet.

    I gave it a stir-up and bubbles came up like carbonated bubbles, or kinda like it was boiling. I believe that's a good sign.

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    Country Drive & Yard Sale'ing

    Ryan found some car parts from a guy on Craigslist who is over in Alabama about an hour from here, so we took a nice little drive in the country.

     It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a drive. Sunny, clear, cool(er) temps, very low humidity. Just perfect.

    And even better, it being a beautiful Saturday, there were yard sales along the way. (I really should have stayed home and had my own yard sale on a day as gorgeous as this. Oh well.)

    This little guy (gal?) is about 2 feet tall and has blinking eyes. It was only 25¢, I couldn't pass it up with Halloween coming.

    Tiny vintage Santa sleigh and reindeer decoration I hope to be able to use in a Pinterest craft, DIY snow-dome or some such. I paid 10¢ for it. (The shotgun shell is just for size reference.)

    Is this sweater ugly?  My oldest son's fiance' mentioned an idea she had where we all dress up in ugly Christmas sweaters for Christmas. I love tacky stuff like that and thought it sounded like a great idea, so I've been on the lookout for cheap ugly Christmas sweaters. Or, any Christmas sweater, I guess, because Christmas decorated sweaters aren't ugly to me. I think they're awesome. Got this one for 50¢.

    I had told Ryan about my idea for making the Barbie Head toy I bought into a Creepy Altered Doll for Halloween, so when we saw this Crazy Eyed doll at one yard sale he said I should get it and (make it into a Creepy Altered Doll). Actually he said it was already Creepy as it was, lol.  I gave 40¢ for it. (They asked 50¢, but I had 40¢ in my pocket.)

    There was a thrift store along the way back so we stopped in to check it out. Didn't find any Treasures there. Oh they lots of stuff I'd have taken for free, but nothing I really wanted to spend money on.

    I did buy these (4) Little Golden books.

    Books were the biggest things I Hoarded above anything else. Any  and every book that I ever got in my hand became mine; fiction, non, adult, childrens, manuals, recipe...
    Even when I decided I had to stop Hoarding, books weren't even up for consideration to be gotten rid of.

    Until I realized I could Hoard books on my computer/e-reader and they wouldn't take up as much physical space.

    Then I was able to let a lot of my books go, but some of the ones I kept are Little Golden books from when I was a kid and my kids were kids. I decided to keep the ones I already had, but not add to the collection. No more collecting.

    Until yesterday evening, me and Ryan went in Walmart for a couple things and he wanted to look for a particular magazine, so we stopped in the book section, where I haven't been in a very long time now. (Even before I got my Kindle I had stopped buying books new and had been trading at the Used Book Store.)
    Anyway there was a rack on the end of one of the shelves filled with Little Golden books, and the price sticker said $3.00 and some were $3.79. The actual retail value on the book was $3.99.

    OMG, I nearly had heart failure right there. I had to pick up several books and look through them to see if they were maybe, I don't know, triple the pages they used to be? 3 freakin' $'s? Are they crazy?
    I used to pay 79¢ for a brand new Little Golden book. They were like 59¢ when I was a kid. WTF?

    So the kids books were 4/$1.00 at this Thrift Store (and honestly, I still thought that was too much for these books. I used to pay 10¢ for thin little kids books, and 25¢ for Chapter books at Yard Sales), anyway I picked me out 4 Little Golden books.
    Kind of a thumbing-my-nose at the ridiculous Walmart/Retailer prices, I guess.

    They had more, but I didn't get carried away with my little rebellion, ha.

    Friday, September 13, 2013


    I've mentioned before that I'm a member of a couple local Freecycle  groups.

    If you don't know what Freecycle is, it's local virtual groups where you post things you no longer want, but don't want to throw in the Trash. (You can also request things you want, in case someone has an item laying around they wouldn't mind parting with but just hadn't thought to offer it.)

    I get my Freecycle group notices by email, and tonight an email came offering - among other stuff - some of the Holiday popcorn tins.

    Recently I had been looking around for some of the holiday popcorn tins for a project, where I spray paint the tin and paint or stencil "Kitty" or "Pet Food" or whatever on it, and use it for nice, decorative pet food storage.
    When I saw that post, having that project on my mind - and apparently forgetting momentarily we have no more Kitty - I responded to say I'd be interested in picking up the items.

    Honestly, the post was a few hours old by the time I saw it, I figured it was probably already spoken for anyway. Free stuff - any and all free stuff - is in high demand around here (ahem, "antique"/junkstore resellers).  So I was pretty surprised when I got a return email saying it was available and when did I want to come pick it up.
    Me and my sidekick, Ryan, headed on out to go pick it up.

    These were the tins I was in particular wanting. They're almost too pretty to spray paint over.

    She also mentioned a wooden planter stand I was interested in, as long as I was going for the tins anyway. Love pretty much anything wooden. I can paint it and make a nice holiday or decorative display, or use it as a holder of some sort. Or, sit plants on it, lol.

    She also mentioned travel coffee mugs, though she didn't mention how many. I wouldn't have gone after them especial, but we can always use these. J and Ryan carries coffee with them in the Winter on the way to work and often the cups won't come back home.  I was buying these at Goodwill for 99¢. Free is much better.

    She mentioned two printers, but didn't know if they worked. I don't need any printers, but I'll check them out and see if they work and probably try to give them to someone(s) who needs a printer or donate to a charity thrift store to sell to raise funds to help in the community.
    If they don't work, we have a community electronics recycling event coming up.

    Everything else - "Boxes of misc items" - was like opening a mystery prize box to see what kind of treasures I might have scored.

    The turquoise storage bowls were  pretty awesome and will be handy. I can always use storage bowls.
    I've never had a slicer/grater with a hand grip thing...just a regular one I have to use my own hand, and usually nearly end up grating my fingertips. So I don't grate much, and usually drag out the food processor to do my chopping/slicing for me. This may save me the trouble of having to mess with that. Or it may be as much of a PITA as my other grater and I end up giving it away or donating it.

    Adding to my collection of old, free pots and pans, lol. They have actually come in handy with my planting/potting/gardening stuff. Maybe I'll have a "pot" garden, LMAO.

    Check out these awesome furry boot house shoes. They're so tacky, I LOVE them. They will keep my feet nice and warm this Winter.

    BLING. Ooooh, spa-a-a-r-r-r-kly. And those amber tinted glasses go great with my fuzzy boot slippers, lol.

    I see a lot of ideas on the 'net/Pinterest using cheap jewelry in crafting projects, but I don't wear jewelry very often so I don't own much. The pieces I do have were given to me by J or one of the kids or my Mom or Grandmother, so even if they aren't that expensive they have special meaning to me and I can't destroy them for a craft project.  Now I have lots of shiny-sparkly to destroy/create with.

    This thing is pretty awesome, too...or, at least, has potential, with some spray paint and..... something. I'll have to think on this one.

    There were also a couple of nice bags. We can usually use bags. The one on the left is one of those draw-string backpacks that are handy for carrying along on outings and such, and the one on the right is an insulated bag for drinks or taking a lunch or snack to work or where ever.

    I don't need this so I'll probably find a kid to give it to.

    Don't really need this stuff either. I might save the rope because we can usually find uses for rope. Heck, maybe I'll jump it, lol.

    And then there were these satellite dish receivers I don't have any use for. Ryan mentioned taking the hard drives out of them (I didn't even know they had hard drives in them), so maybe he can use those. Otherwise I'll see if anyone else needs/wants them or I guess they'll go to the electronics recycling truck.

    With the exception of the travel coffee cups because we (they) use the heck out of them, I wouldn't have paid for any of this stuff.
    Okay, maybe a quarter for the popcorn tins, and possibly the planter. Maybe the fuzzy boots, but probably not even them.

    My point is, if I had to pay for (most) of this stuff, I'd be like heck no, that's junk, I'm not spending my money on that junk.
    But when it's FREE, it seems to become something different from junk. It becomes more like...what's the word I'm looking for? Potential?

    (Says the Hoarder)