Wednesday, November 27, 2013

That's Much Better

Apparently yesterday's Emo episode was what I needed to unclog my Chi and get my Stars back aligned, or what ever hoo-doo it was, made for a much better day today.
Sort of.
Some things still went wrong...or more like, wonky, but in the end, not a big deal.

First I went to Walgreens to pick up my 50 Free photo prints I ordered the other night.
While I was going anyway, I checked the ad to see if there was anything on sale I wanted or needed. Turned out eggs were on sale again for 99¢. They were a couple of weeks ago and I missed it and I was sad. I just had J buy a dozen of eggs last week for $1.49 because I was afraid they'd only go higher.

They also had Tums on sale for $4.50, and you get back a $4.50 Reward (coupon to use in the store), basically making it free after reward, but turned out I had (7) $1.00 off coupons from the newspaper inserts, so I only paid $3.50 each, and got back $4.50 Reward, so I made $7.00 profit on my money.

The Scope mouthwash scored me 50¢ profit after coupon.

Basically, all said and done, I got all this for $3.42 (+ tax).

After Walgreens we (Ryan was riding with me today) went to the Cat House (haha), the guy's house whose cats I pet and feed and make sure everything is okay.

He paid me $250.00 for my time this week, which is also how much J got paid for riding up to north North Carolina and picking up/driving back a new ambulance yesterday.
Bam, $500.00 for Christmas. Awesome.

After there we went to Office Max to try to buy me a new printer since mine kicked the bucket night before last.
I particularly wanted to buy it at Office Max because I have $68.00 worth of gift cards from a previous deal, and also they'd sent me a $10 off $50 coupon for my birthday this month.

So we looked and finally decided on one and I went to look for my phone, to pull up the coupon I had texted to it from my email.
But there was no phone. Ryan went and checked in the car, but there was no phone.

Since I'd tried to go buy a printer yesterday and it didn't work out, and I'd went and tried to buy a printer today and had apparently left/lost my phone somewhere, I asked Ryan if he thought that some weird cosmic coincidence, or was it a sign I wasn't meant to buy a printer there for some reason.

He went on his phone and signed into my email to look for the coupon still in my email, but his phone would only load 28 pages of 5 emails, which took us back to like, Friday. The coupon was a couple of weeks ago, so it wouldn't load.
He said, Yeah, obviously it's a sign.

(This evening I went online to order the thing, which went well until I got to the part about adding my coupon code and it told me it wouldn't work. I went back and read the fine print on the coupon and it's not good for gift cards, pre-paid cards, stamps, shredding, mobile devices or plans, computers, e-readers, tablets, video game systems, cameras, monitors, projectors, HP products, printers....or basically anything anyone would really want to buy, it looks like.
Yeah, definitely a sign. So where am I supposed to get a new printer??)

(BTW, we called Walgreens and I had left my phone there. They had it in the office, and I picked it up on my way home.)

After Office Max, I went to get my hair cut.
There's two fast-food hair-cut chains right near each other, Great Clips and Fantastic Sam's. I hadn't heard great things about Great Clips, but I had gone into Fantastic Sam's about a year or so ago to get it cut (I had gotten it cut there the year before and liked it) but there was one lady cutting someone's hair, and another sitting in a chair, and neither acknowledged me in anyway. Not a "Hi", "we'll be with you shortly", "Go away", nothing. After a couple of minutes of being completely ignored, I left and went home.
So, today I picked Great Clips for that reason.

Some of you may know I have a lot of thick, heavy red hair that grows fairly quickly. It has been a little over two years since I last got it cut, but it was nearly to my waist again.
When I showed the lady I wanted it cut to my shoulders, her eyes got big and she was like, Are you sure?

I assured her I was, and she got a ruler and measured it and said, We're gonna donate your hair, ok. 
Of course, I was happy to do that. I had done that last time, but just forgot about it this time. She put it in a ponytail and cut it off and one of the other ladies saw it and she was like, her eyes got big and her mouth fell open. She was like, Are you freaking out right now? 

Anyway, turns out, at Great Clips, when you donate your hair, your hair cut is Free.

Which was not only a good thing, but it was a really great thing, because to be honest, I don't like the cut that much. It's not horrible, it just doesn't look nearly as good as the last time.

After hair cutting, I went to Publix for what little I was able to get from this past week's sale since I fiddle-farded around and let a lot of the coupons expire (not to mention, my printer biting it and I wasn't able to print some coupons I needed).

After coupons, this all cost me $3.12, including tax.

CVS had a fantastic sale this week, but I had been ignoring it because ended up letting my Rewards expire back in the Spring, and I didn't really want to start over again.
But they were having a deal on Hershey Kisses I didn't want to pass up, so while I was going anyway, I figured I could check out the deals and see if there was anything I wanted/needed.

I got all this for free and made 51¢ profit on my money...for these things. I actually made a lot more.

I learned from the Shopper Blogs about a deal this week (ended today) where if you load $150.00 on to a pre-paid Paypal Mastercard, you'd get $50.00 back in Rewards from CVS.

There was a $4.95 activation fee, but after that, you make about a $45.00 profit.

I'm not sure what happened earlier in the week, but it was some sort of disastrous nightmare and I'm so glad I didn't have to deal with it.
I had read that CVS had pulled the deal, but I read on their Facebook page, where people were raising hell at them, that they were honoring the deal.
I thought maybe they'd honor the deal if someone had already did it and called and gave them their receipt number, then CVS would issue the reward, whatever, but I really expected when I asked at the store today about it to be told no, they weren't doing it, or that they were out of cards or something.

Turned out, they had substituted the Paypal cards "My Vanilla" Visa pre-paid cards (or another one I can't recall the name of at the moment) and printed out the $50.00 in rewards right there.

There was an activation fee for the card, and they charge a fee every usage, I think, but I'll do like others did and take it to Kroger and buy Gift Cards, which is what I'd planned to buy for Christmas gifts anyway. (I'll get gas points buying them at Kroger.)
Even after fees I should still clear about $45.00 free money (drug store rewards).

I can only spend it at CVS, but I'm not complaining. It's like getting $45.00 worth of completely free stuff (except times 3, because I did 3 cards).  That's like $135.00 I can put towards Christmas prezzies, or stock up on things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. etc.

Wishing you all a terrific Thanksgiving day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Ugh. I was doing so good earlier this...or well, last week...sometime. WTH day is it anyway?
I'm scatterbrained and all out of sorts now.
All the Christmas Pins and posts on Facebook...somewhere in my feeble little brain I feel like Christmas is tomorrow day after tomorrow instead of Thanksgiving, and I usually wouldn't even be worrying about Christmas decorating until after Black Friday. Earlier I found myself upset because I've hung (hanged?) one strand of the garland of the lighted garland project I had in mind for the kitchen and haven't done anymore, and I only have 1 2 more days....

Last week I had my act together, everything was going as planned (as loosely as I plan anything anyway you'd think that'd be a more common occurrence).
I made a good bit of progress working in the house (IMO). Ok, I gave up on the yard sale thing and carried some of things out of the livingroom back upstairs and stuck in a corner in hopes of trying again next year, but I did get rid of a lot of stuff out of the house altogether. I threw a lot of old papers, instruction booklets for crap we don't have anymore, newspapers/articles I was saving because I guess I thought it was interesting at the time, but now I don't, into the trash, and I donated another box of things, and I carried several bags of my coupon shopping excess to my Mom's.
She and my sister are both up from Florida this week, and also an Aunt and some cousins will be coming into town, so I like to share my bounty with all of them.

I also did list some things on ebay and craigslist. I hate using ebay anymore because there's way more sellers than buyers. I usually only ever get one bid on an item, so they win it at the lowest price. And postage is so freaking ridiculous anymore. For instance I sold 7 small packages of Poise incontinence panty liners, they all fit in a manila envelope, weigh less than 2 pounds....freaking postage is nearly $10.00 for standard, plain ol' parcel postage, not even Priority.  I figured it should be less than $6.00, WTH?

And I don't know what the heck is up with Craigslist. The past several times I've listed anything I haven't gotten so much as a nibble. Not a question, or offer, or nothing. I know my posts are being seen because after I advertised a set of old Mustang seats for $10.00 for all of them for a few weeks, then listed them as Free just to get rid of them from under carport, I got all kinds of interest then.

I left some larger items down here that I'd planned to take to a local auction place this week, but they've cancelled this week's auction on account of the weather being so nasty/cold/wet/possible sleet/snow.

As I said, my sister and Mom is up from Florida, so I had planned to spend a lot of this week visiting with them.  I did go see them the first day they were here, but then the next day Aunt Flo came to visit and I felt horrid. I stayed in my pajamers and laid around and whined with stomach pains most of the day.
I did a good bit of laying around yesterday, too, but felt guilty for not visiting with my sister while she was up so made myself dress and me and J went out to eat with my sister and aunt, then we went back to Mom's house and visited with them a couple of hours.

I had started getting together my shopping list for this week, since I was going to be out anyway, visiting my Mom and sister and also we're taking care of the cats for the guy that I watch his house and feed his cats when he goes out of town, which he is this week. But then I lost interest in going shopping (which was a terrible, terrible thing because I missed out on some fantastic deals).
I tried to get my shit together and go today, even though it's cold and pouring down rain (we've had nearly 4 inches of rain since yesterday), but then J called from north North Carolina (near Virginia and Tennessee) and said the key to the guy's house in the car, so no way I was getting in, so no use in even going out I figured. (Don't worry, he went by and fed the cats on his way home.)

Tomorrow is the last day of whatever is left of the sales, and I wanted to get my haircut, so I decided I'd definitely get out tomorrow and do these things. And my printer crapped out in the middle of printing coupons for what little might be left of the sale items at this point.

Yesterday there was a Code, actually two Codes, to get Free photo prints at Walgreens. They offer those pretty regular, and especially this time of the year. I know they are coming and I always say I am going to go in ahead of time, when I'm not under time constraints and stressing out, and pick pictures I want to have printed and have them ready to upload and order when the Code comes up.
But have I done it? No. Of course not.
I was just going to pass on it this time, but I follow several coupon/shopping/deal Pages and I kept seeing post after post after post, it was like an entire group of people yelling at me that I needed to get my free pictures ordered NOW.
So I sat here until late picking through and uploading pictures.

I was actually glad after I was done, that I had did it, but man, it's stressing on my nerves while I'm having to do it.

With the two Codes, it ended up being 50 Free Prints. I ordered some of our trip last month when we went up and rode the Blue Ridge train, went up to Brasstown Bald, and our little off-roading adventure.
And other ones I ordered....I "steal" (it's not really stealing when they are sharing) pictures that my Dad, Sister, Cousins, Aunts or whatever other Relatives post of themselves and/or their kids on facebook and get myself a print of it when a Free deal comes along.
I love, love, love digital pictures - that I can take ten-million pictures and not have to pay for film developing or keeping them all in albums or boxes, but I do still love having a picture book to be able to sit and look at.

Then today I sign on to Facebook and OML at all the pre-Black Friday and Big Deals going on today. Free appliances, or $1.99 appliances at Kohl's, a Kitchen-Aid mixer for less than $100.00, a computerized sewing machine marked down three-hundred-dollars at Walmart...and toys and this and that and and and...

I just shut.down. Froze. It quit computing. I had to close the page and get up and go in yonder so I could even think straight again.
I put in a load of laundry and fried us some hamburgers for lunch (and Ryan's dinner at work), then washed some dishes.
Finally I was able to think straight again, and managed to talk myself out of buying all the "Hurry - *Hot* Deal"s.

Hard as it was to pass up Free appliances - even though I didn't need them - I passed them up.
Much as I think I want a Kitchen-aid mixer - my Mom gave me a stand-mixer for Christmas one year and I never even opened the box for however many years I had it. (I gave it back to her later when her stand-mixer blew a fuse, and the first time she used it, it blew up, too.) Back then, I wasn't all that interested in cooking/baking/making my own bread, now I want to try making homemade bread, and seem to think I need a stand-mixer to be able to do it.  But I don't think I really do, and if I really did I could borrow Mom's stand mixer anyway. So I passed it up, too.
The sewing machine would be nice, I think, but even though mine is around 20 to 25 years old and is a pain when the bobbin tangles sometimes, it still works, and I sew so little it just doesn't really warrant buying another machine. I could say that I might sew more if I had a better machine, but I doubt it. If I was going to sew more, I'd do it on the one I have.

And I certainly don't need toys - my kids are adult - but *I* want the Playmobil Rescue Ambulance and all the Lego sets for myself.
I remind myself of all the toys and things that's already clogging my Chi around here as it is.

I decided I'd had enough of this day, and I was going to put on my pj's and go to bed and read and watch Christmas movies. Until I turned around and saw the piles of laundry all over my bed waiting to be folded and put away.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Another Week Gone

One day it's Monday, next day it's Friday again. My life is passing me by, so quickly.

It probably doesn't help that I sleep through a lot of it sometimes. It was chilly earlier in the week and the cold temps make me as lethargic as the wasps/dirt daubers still hanging around upstairs. I just have no energy or motivation or gumption, so I either sit and spend hours looking at Pinterest, reading, or like this week I laid under my electric blanket watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.

Yesterday the weather was a lot warmer and I got some things done around here. Started sorting through a lot of stuff around here to get rid of or put in the yard sale boxes (which I am relocating back upstairs again). Sucks bad, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to have a yard sale at this point and I need the stuff out of my livingroom so I can get ready for Christmas.
I did list a few things at ebay and a few on Craigslist, and am also planning to take a few larger items to a local auction next week.

The weather was nice and warm today, too, with rain moving in this evening. We tarped the camper and moved it down in the backyard.
Later me and J rode up to K-mart where I had an order from a couple of weeks ago when I had $4.00 worth of points to spend.  I also had another $4.00 in points to spend, expiring today, so I spent them while we were there anyway.

This was what I spent my free money on a couple weeks ago, lol. The pumpkin buckets were on clearance for 59¢ each (reg. $1.99) and there's several ideas on Pinterest for using them, as planters or luminaries or whatever. Or just keeping as they are and one day having a collection of "vintage" Halloween pails.
The Reese's were on clearance for $1.94 a bag and were a Treat.

$4.00 doesn't go as far when you're not shopping clearance.  I always feel guilty when I don't spend the free money on stocking up on things I know we need/will need like toilet paper and dish soap, but I know I would have ended up buying these items anyway so I reckon it'll all come out in the wash.

The chocolate candy bar and coins I bought to make a gift for my oldest son and/or his fiancee'.  I'm planning to give them some ca$h for Christmas but I didn't want to just put money in a card, that's too boring. Pinterest has lots of ideas for giving money-gifts, and one of them was real money and candy money.

After K-mart we went to Dollar Tree, and wooo-wee, I must have been in Dollar Tree withdrawal or something - I think I ended up buying nearly everything I saw.

I particularly went to look for some Christmas decorations - lighted garland and a wreath, or wreath makings - and some wall hooks for hanging jackets or cast iron pans.
I only ended up finding some garland - not lighted - but spent nearly $45.00. Holy mackerel, I don't know that I've ever spent over $40 at Dollar Tree (at one time).

One of the things I was very excited to find was bottles of Ground Nutmeg and Cloves spices. Big bottles. When I bought these spices before I paid like $3-$4 for the little tiny McCormick containers.

On the way home we stopped by Krystals (White Castle in other parts of the country) for a bag of burgers to bring home.

I saw a sign advertising a free $20.00 coupon booklet with a $10.00 Gift Card purchase.
Since I already knew I was going to be spending $13.99 for the bag of burgers, I knew I could buy a $10 gift card, get my free coupon book, then spend the gift card on my burger order that I was buying anyway.

There's a total of 14 coupons, 2 each for January, February, and March, then 1 each month from April to November. Some are $1.00 off, or a special item price, but also included are:
Free Bowl of Chili
Free Chili Cheese Fry
Free Chili Cheese Pup
Free Corn Pup
Free Cup of Coffee
Free Sunriser
Free 5-piece Game Time Wings
Free Apple Turnover

8 items, for absolutely Free. Always pay attention to the gift card deals, even if you think you're not in the market for a gift card.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gobble, Gobble

My Mom has Thanksgiving at her place (up here, in Georgia) and she or usually her older sister, my Aunt, will fix a turkey. Problem is, by the time we all eat at it, there's not much left for left overs. And we loooove leftover turkey sandwiches the next day...or so.

So I decided I'd get us a small turkey (on sale for 59¢lb) and cook it up and we could pretend it was leftover Thanksgiving turkey from Mom's.

I've never cooked a turkey before, so while it spent the weekend in the fridge thawing, I read about a thousand websites telling how to fix/cook/bake/roast a turkey. (Because, not like I over-think things or anything.)

I read about brining, but I also read that some store turkeys are already injected with broth and salt and brining might be too much.

I skipped the brining, but I did do as this site advised and sprinkled it all over with salt, let it sit for a bit then coated it with (I Can't Believe It's Not) Butter, then let it sit a little longer, to kind of get close to room temp.

I heated the oven to 400*, and put the turkey on a wire rack in my roaster pan.

I cooked it uncovered for 20 minutes.

Then I reduced the heat to 325-350'ish and put the lid on (as per this site), and baked/roasted for 2 hours.

I looked like it was done, nice and golden and crispy, but actually the skin is kind of dry/tough and it didn't get done all the way through, I don't think. Or maybe dark meat just looks like that.

Either way, since I'm "freezer cooking" it, I'll cook it some more when we get ready to eat it after Thanksgiving and make sure it's done well.

I deboned the turkey,

Putting the meat into freezer bags by white, dark, and broth.

The shocking news is, I wasted about 1/2 of this turkey. I know, terrible.
Not the meat, but the neck/gizzards, and the bones. You're supposed to make gravy and turkey-bone broth/soup from those things, but I decided to try learning to fix the turkey first before I move on to learning other stuff. I don't like giblet gravy, and don't know when I would use turkey-bone broth/soup anyway, so not a great loss...other than being a sad waste. However the yard cats probably think they've died and gone to Heaven.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Today's Shop

Today I got all this - including a turkey - for less than $20.00.

Publix Cost $17.90
Saved $113.51

Kroger grocery store is having a Buy 10 get $5.00 off Mega sale this week...These mega sales used to be awesome, until the stopped doubling coupons. Blech.

But they have (had) marshmallows for 69¢, which even without a coupon is a great price. Knowing I'm going to be making a few Rice Krispy Treats for the Holidays, it would not be smart of me to wait until next month and have to pay full price ($1.00 +) for marshmellers when I could get them for 69¢ now.

I visited a Kroger earlier in the week, with no luck finding the 10oz bags of regular marshmallows. Not even an empty spot.
I came home and checked the internet again, to make sure I was looking for the right item. I was.
Another day, checked another store. Nope. Another day, another store. Still nope.
Checked another store today and nope, so I went to the Customer Service desk to try to get them to check a computer or call a central office or something, anything, to find out where I get some freeking marshmallows.
Manager took my name and is going to have "his person" check on it and call me.

Meantime, I went to Walmart and got them to price match it for me.
Walmart is generally really difficult to deal with around here and I would have preferred to have not tried price matching since I didn't have a printed ad to prove the sale price, but the mega sale ends tomorrow so I was desperate and had to try.
Luckily I didn't have any trouble. This time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bargain Shopping

I'm house/cat sitting (not really sitting, I go check on the house and feed the cats once a day) again this week, so while I'm on the road anyway, I've been doing some coupon/deal shopping.

Last week (or whenever Halloween was) Walgreens offered Free 8x10 Collage photos. I made one of our train ride and trip to the mountains last week (or, a couple weeks ago, whatever). My sister sent one of my niece/s up here to J's account.
The candy was marked down to 33¢ and 37¢.

JCPenney had sent out flyers in the mail with a $10 off $10 purchase coupon - which means you can get something that costs $10.00 for Free (excluding tax).
There was also a $10 off $25 purchase coupon, but it had expired before I got down there, and anyway I usually don't use those kind of coupons too much, I usually just use the *Free* coupon, but I think I'm going to have to start paying more attention to the other coupons, too. I could have used it on this order, and still have gotten another $10 worth free.

I don't really know why but whenever I get a coupon that makes items free at JCPenney or Kohls, I generally always look at the Men's Department Clearance racks. Not women's, or housewares, or shoes, or.... Just men's. And this time was no different.

Ryan had just mentioned the other day wanting to go to the Mall to look for some jeans (at which I freaked out because he has more jeans than the rest of us combined, and they are in good condition and was cheap at Goodwill, and if he wanted more jeans, why not shop at Goodwill, where he could get like 5 or 6 pair of jeans for the price of 1 at the Mall?).  Anyway, he said all the jeans he has are light (blue) and he wants dark ones.

So I ran across these dark blue Arizona jeans in his size, marked down from $35.00 to $14.00. Even though my coupon was only $10.00 off, I was willing to pay the $4.00 for them.
I don't know why, but instead of going and checking out right then, for some reason I started wandering around like I was lost. Because I wasn't looking for anything else, so I don't know....
At any rate, I happened to walk by a Check the Price machine, and for no particular reason I checked the price. I didn't have reason to believe it wasn't the correct price, but turned out the scanned at $7.97 instead of $14.00.

So then I needed to find something for a couple dollars more in order to bring the total up to $10 (or more) to be able to use my coupon.
Ryan's been saying he needed a new wallet, and they had this Levi's one marked down from $28 to $15, but when I price checked it it rang up $7.97 also.
In case it didn't ring up as cheaply as I wanted, I was also carrying the underwear in J's size to see if they rang up cheaper than $15 (marked down from $26).  Well they also rang up $7.97, which was just toooo good of a price to pass up on these drawers.

My total, including tax, was $24.something, so after the $10 off coupon, I got all this for less than $15.00.
I'll be wrapping them up for Christmas prezzies.

I also visited the Goodwill, still looking for Christmas sweaters and...whatever else I was looking for.

Ryan (again) along the same time he mentioned wanting new (dark) jeans, he mentioned wanting to look for...I can't remember exactly how he said it, but it wasn't "zip up hooded jacket".  Last year (or maybe the year before) I had gotten some $10 off $10 Kohl's coupons and he went with me shopping one day and we ended up getting him a couple of zip-up hooded jackets for free or cheap. He loaned his Grannie one in the nursing home and it got gone, and I don't know what happened to the other one. No telling, he probably gave it to someone else.

Anyway I found this practically brand new zip-up hooded jacket at Goodwill for $5.95. These go for around $20 I think, so good price.

Still not a lot of luck finding Christmas Sweaters. There were long-sleeve turtleneck shirts, and sweatshirts, but not Sweaters.  I managed to find a Sweater-vest I think my son's fiance' can wear with a red shirt underneath.

I found a red men's sweater - half price - that I thought I could just decorate up for Christmas myself.

I have a long-sleeve t-shirt my nephew gave me last year that I love wearing, and wanted to be able to find some more. Other than it, and my collection of hoodies, I only have 2 other long-sleeve shirts. They are allright, but just not as comfortable as the t-shirt shirt.

I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, but I found the blue sweater.... What first caught my attention was how soft it was. And then I saw it had a Red tag.  The half-price color of the day was Red. Sweet.
I don't know if it's my size but for half price, it's soft enough I can use it for some projects I saw on Pinterest like making mittens or  toboggans out of sweaters, or the one I really like, making a blanket from sweaters.

After that, I quit looking at every shirt on the rack, and started looking for Red tags. I found me another sweater, three shirts, and two skirts, all half price, or about $2.47 each.

And I coupon shopped at Publix. I got all this for $43.51 including tax.  Now if you're like me, you're probably not too impressed by that amount....that's really about all this is worth, not on sale, and not using coupons.

But by shopping the sale and using coupons, I saved $139.86. So that means, all this stuff, buying it regular price and not using coupons, would have cost nearly $200 smack-a-roos. Shewwww, that's reedonkuless.

For those of you that look at this stuff and think it's kind of a strange grocery shop, this is what's called "Stockpile Shopping". I only buy the things I can get by combining a sale with coupons, and I stock up on those things at their rock-bottom price so I don't have to go later and pay full price for an item.

For instance, the Welch's grape jelly is on sale for Buy-One-Get-One-Free at $2.59, or as it works out, $1.30 each.  I had coupons for 50¢ off, and my grocery store doubles coupons up to 50¢, so it made those coupons $1.00 off. Meaning, I paid 30¢ each.
Regular price for these are $2.59 each at Publix, $1.98 at Walmart, so stocking up when I can get them at 30¢ instead is much better.

Otherwise, I usually buy my milk, eggs, bread, and produce at Aldi, where it's cheapest, and I buy meat where ever I can find it on sale.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Fall Kitchen

I was wandering around in the dark last night - it's not really that dark with all the little lamps/night lights I have around - and was enjoying how my kitchen looked with the little lamp and Thanksgiving decor and the "fire" in the fireplace. I can't photograph it to look as pretty as it does in person.

Here it is with the flash. Not as nice without the ambiance of the lower lighting.

(Yes, that is a smoke detector sitting on the mantle. With temps dropping to freezing some nights lately and with our furnace broken, I leave the electric heater "fire" going all night, and I fear it malfunctioning or something while I'm asleep. I do have smoke detectors on the walls, but I wanted an even earlier warning if something happened.)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Cast Iron Cooking

 Since I went to the trouble of cleaning up/seasoning my cast iron pans yesterday, I figured I'd get some use out of at least one of them.

 The only thing I ever really knew how to cook - dinner wise - in a cast iron pan is chicken. I searched online for cast iron cooking recipes, but it still came back to chicken. I wanted something easy for my first go at cast iron cooking.

I came across a really easy recipe for Homemade Chicken Strips at the Pioneer Woman blog.
She has pictures for every step and the recipe, so it seems kind of redundant to repeat it all here.

(I didn't have any buttermilk but my Mom had told me how to DIY my own with milk and lemon juice. Here's a website that tells about it: Make Your Own Buttermilk With Milk, Lemon Juice Or Vinegar.)

But here's the pic of my chicken strips frying in my cast iron pan:

And the finished product, which were really good if I do say so myself.

And clean up (the pan) was so freaking ridiculously easy, easier than my so-called non-stick pans, I'm like, WTH.  I scraped it out with a spatula and rinsed with hot water, wiping with a sponge. Just like that, clean as a whistle.  Dried it with paper towels, gave it a coat of shortening and that's that.

Next time I might try a cobbler or some kind of dessert.

Cast Iron

This morning I wanted to try to figure out what to do with my Christmas Cactus plants to try to get them to Bloom for the Holidays.

I don't know if I'm going to be able to. I read it says they need 12 hours of bright, but indirect sunlight, and 12 hours of complete darkness, and cool temps, around the 50's.
The Sun comes up on the South side of my house during the Fall/Winter, and our carport is on that side of the house, so basically, we don't get 12 hours of bright light in here. We get Sun in the kitchen and laundry room windows first thing in the morning but after that it pretty much always looks like a cloudy day in here, even when it's clear, blue sky outside.

I ended up moving them out to the laundry room on top of the washer so they'll get a couple hours of bright light anyway, but I'm afraid it's going to get chiller than the 50's out there, with our furnace not working. I have electric heaters going, and the gas fireplace in the livingroom on, but that doesn't help a lot out there.

While I was in the diningroom where I had been keeping the plants, I saw my cast iron pans and remembered I had wanted to do something with them, too. Clean them up, season them, hang them up. Maybe use them.

This cornbread pan had rust, so I cleaned it with salt & vegetable oil, greased it up and baked it on 250* for 30 minutes, greased it again, and baked it for 30 more minutes. Then I greased it again and set it out to cool.

I did the same with the corn-cob-stick-muffin pans, but the frying pans were new so I washed them in hot soapy water first before seasoning them with shortening and baking.

These pans are called "American Camper" and were bought a few years ago at a tool and supply sale at the local VFW.
J wanted them - As for me, this'll probably get me kicked out of the Southern Gal club, but I've never been a big fan of cooking with Cast Iron. Mostly, I didn't know about "seasoning" or how to care for them, as in, not washing them in soap and water. I had one little cast iron skillet (I wonder where it is now?) that I'd bake cornbread in, then I'd wash it in the sink, same as my other dishes and pots and pans.
They're also heavy, and I burned myself a lot.
So anyway, he bought them, and they've sat unused for years.

I simply have not a clue where I got any of these cornbread pans.

The cornbread slice pan to the far right is labeled "Made in China" on the reverse. I probably won't be using it.
The middle cornbread-cornstick-muffin pan doesn't have any markings at all that we could see.
The cornbread-cornstick-muffin pan on the left is a Lodge 2702.

Pretty much everywhere I saw these pans on the internet says they're "Vintage", but I don't know how to tell that.

I want to hang them up somewhere. I was thinking surrounding one of the kitchen doorways. I can picture that in my mind, obviously I think I've seen it somewhere before. But I have such a history of things not turning out in reality the same as it'd appeared in my mind, I'm afraid to try it.

So maybe on a wall in the mudroom/carport entrance where my Sweetheart cabinet lives.

I'll have to think about it some more, I guess.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Progress, Surprisingly

Y'all may or may not know this about me, but I don't put myself out too much these days. I'll put myself out for others - if they're worthy - but as for myself, well, I generally set myself a goal or two a day and if I make them, great, if I don't, meh, I don't worry overmuch about it.

I'm especially unproductive when I'm cold. And considering our downstairs (where I live) furnace is broken and the temps dropped down around freezing Saturday, Sunday, and maybe Monday nights, I decided I wasn't going to do anything but stay in bed and watch tv or read until maybe next Spring.

I think, other than getting up to fix something to eat, that's pretty much what I did Sunday. Truthfully, I can't remember Sunday. Barely remember Saturday, except J replaced the doorknobs and went hunting.
I remember that because I - stupidly - thought he'd managed to figure out his priorities and was going to do some things around here. Until he, "BLAH BLAH BLAH hunting blah blah" at me, when I had no clue he was planning to go hunting.
His hunting club is an hour drive from here, so usually when he's going hunting he gets up at 4 or 5am and leaves so he can get in the woods before the deer wake up or whatever. Since he slept in, sat around, ate breakfast, replaced the doorknobs and didn't tell me any differently, I had no idea he was planning on going hunting.
I gladly sent him on his way.

I guess I read the rest of Saturday, and most of Sunday. I've read about 6 or 8 books, give or take, lately. I've been on a "Biker" book binge, trying to find a good "Biker" story, and not succeeding. Seems the majority of the authors get their story ideas from "Sons of Anarchy", which I'm not a real big fan of, and picturing Jax, Clay, and Gemma - and Jax, and Jax, and Jax - as the characters in the story really ruins it for me.

Monday I took a break from reading and watched a "Walking Dead" episode on Netflix. I don't know which episode, don't recall what season I'm on. (Don't know why I'm even watching it. I don't like it.)

I thought I was going to watch the rest of the episodes and get caught up, to where ever Netflix is caught up to, but one was enough, I guess. Rather than watch another "Walking Dead" episode, I got up and did productive stuff instead.

I posted about our get away last weekend over at my Family Travel blog:

Our train ride on the Blue Ridge Railway

And our day at Brasstown Bald and Off-roading Adventure

I also posted the Lonely Firefighter Wife post here, and while I was at it, I cleaned up and re-visited my Bitch Blog, because - as you maybe can tell - I'm seriously needing a place to vent so I don't explode. Ahh, SAD, how fun you are.

Then I did some household business, 'balancing the checkbook' - although these days it's more like logging in and seeing how much money is in the account - and paying bills.
I despise anymore having to handle all the household business by myself and I tend to put it off as long as possible. I used to didn't mind, but then again, I used to didn't mind being married to a - ahem, nevermind.

After that I thought I'd start clearing away my Halloween decor. I usually would have done that November 1, but I guess I wasn't in the mood.

I did pack away some of the Halloween decor, but mostly the crafts part of it...more like the unfinished projects I didn't get done. Oh well, maybe next year.

Somehow I went from packing away the Halloween decor crafts, to going through some of the things I had piled up in the livingroom intending to have a yard sale, and loaded up a backseat full in Ryan's SUV and took it to the Thrift store up the road and donated it.

Then I went through a few boxes of the kids' books I have to sort through and made a pile and listed them for sale on Craigslist.
I also listed the boys' old weightlifting bench set they never use on Craigslist.

(Does anyone ever sell anything on Craigslist? Because I don't. I've listed and listed, and nothing. (Well, spam crap responses.)
The only time we ever got rid of anything on Craigslist was when we gave it away Free.
I haven't gotten the first bit of interest in the weight bench or nearly 60 kids books I listed 2 days ago.)

Anyway, it was pretty awesome to have carried off a lot of stuff. Would have been more awesome to have been able to sell it for some change, but....

Today I did get all the Halloween decor put away, and set out what few Thanksgiving gee-gaws I have.
I also did laundry, and carried some craft stuff upstairs to get it out of the livingroom.

For tomorrow I have no plan, no goal. So if I do get something done it will be a bonus for me. Woot.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Firefighter Wife Lonely

I was checking out my Blog Stats recently and noticed that one of the Search terms someone used was "firefighter wife lonely".

Dear Lonely Firefighter Wife:
While I know it's not the same as having your firefighter there with you, please know that you aren't alone.
There is a whole Sisterhood of Fire Wives out there who are or have experienced the same thing you're dealing with and understand how you're feeling.

To the right side of my blog ----> there is a list of other Firefighter wives that also blog. (Scroll down to "More Fire Wife Blogs")
I have become friends with several of the ladies and they are good, good people.

Wife Behind the Fire is a Firefighter Wife Support group with a lot of information and resources for Fire Wives, and also a Private Facebook Group you can join and find someone to talk to pretty much anytime of the day or night.

Hope this helps.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Goodwill Thrift Store

Guess I've been MIA a few days. It's been J's two-weeks off from the ambulance service. He's been gone deer-hunting some of the time...but not enough of the time.

Last weekend I had planned us a family outing, we went up to Blue Ridge, Georgia and rode the Fall Foliage excursion on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
The weekend wasn't without it's difficulties, though I tried to concentrate on the positives and blow off the negs.
I'll try to get around to posting about it on my Family Travel blog sometime this week hopefully.

And the weather and change of the Sun's position isn't helping my moodiness.

Anyhoo....blah blah blah. Yesterday, J decided he'd *fix* the back door deadbolt that ate his key a couple months ago.
Long story short, we ended up going to Home Depot for new deadbolts and doorknobs for both back doors.

While we were out, we went by Kmart to pick up the Free stuff I'd ordered with my Points over the past couple weeks. Ended up with 2 12-packs of toilet paper, and 5 bottles of Dishwashing liquid.

After there, I wanted to go to the Goodwill to look for Christmas sweaters and me some jeans.

My oldest son's fiance' had the idea for all of us to dress in *ugly* Christmas sweaters for our family photo this year and I loved that idea. So I've been trying to look for Christmas sweaters for us at the thrift stores and yard sales this summer, with very little luck. I've only found one so far.
Seems so strange, how everyone hates the Christmas sweaters, and yet I can't find any at thrift stores. Where are they?

I did manage to find myself a couple pair of jeans. A nice pair of Levis and the others are AB, I guess? I'm not familiar with the Label, but they fit my growing arse, so that's all that mattered.
About $7.00 each pair.

I tried on like 7 pairs of jeans around the same sizes, but they all fit so differently, these are the only 2 pair that fit comfortably.

I probably could have found more if I'd tried on more, but I don't really enjoy clothes shopping or trying on clothes, so I settled on these, and maybe I'll try again next time.

While I was looking for myself some jeans, I sent J off to look for some for himself. He found one pair (that I think are a size too short, but if he wants to look like stupid stumpy-man, what do I care?), and a nice looking pair of Field & Stream shorts.
About $7.00 for the Levis, and about $4.00 for the shorts.

I found the boys a pair of shorts. They wear the same size now so it's a little easier.

It's not really shorts season anymore, but finding their size (30 waist) isn't that easy so I grab it when I find it, whatever the season.  Summer'll come back around soon enough.
About $4.00.

Then I checked out the Other Stuff I like to check out, Home Goods and such.

I found a Fire King glass pie plate for about $2.00. Looks like it might be worth a little more, but I actually bought it to use myself. I've always used tin pie pans for pie baking, but decided I wanted to try using glass for a change.

The spinning coffee cup hanger thing was 99¢. Don't know if I'll hang coffee cups on it, or what. It looked like it might have lots of potential uses, in the laundryroom, maybe even the bathroom, or workshop.

Then there was the Salt & Pepper shakers....

I was standing there when the employee put them on the shelf and my first thought was "Those are something."
I didn't know what they were, but I knew they were something, so I grabbed them up.

I tried to read what was written on the bottom, but it was white on white, and I didn't have my reading glasses with me. Tried to get J to help me read them, but he's the same blind as I am.

At first I thought it read "Junior", LOL. Then I traced the first letter with my finger and I thought it was a "T", then I could finally make out the "enton" at the end. Trenton?

Finally the lightbulb clicked on - Fenton.

I don't know from where I know anything about Fenton (an image of my (paternal) Grandmother popped into my mind along with the word, so I assume I heard it from her sometime in the past) but I got out my phone and googled Fenton Salt & Pepper shakers and got my answer.
Yes, I would be buying these for just less than $4.00 for the set.

I'm pretty sure my Mom has some matching pieces to these somewhere.