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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make Your Own Baking Powder

contains aluminum
Why on earth would you want to make baking powder when you can buy it from the store? People ask me this kind of question all the time. The same people are appalled that I do not purchase toilet paper.

I assume, dear parsimonious readers, I won't shock anyone reading this. It's just nice to know things for the future! Why? Here's why.

*First of all, you may have run out of baking powder and cannot or do not want to stop and go shopping.
*Second, you may have plenty of baking powder and discover it is waaay out of date.
*Third, (this is for preppers) baking powder may no longer be available in your situation.
*Fourth, maybe you, like I, do not want aluminum in your food.

The recipe:

1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar

Stir in small dry bowl with dry fork.

That's it. Just make sure nothing has moisture or salt on it when you are making this. Make just what you need since this will be ruined by moisture. If you want to make more at once, add a tsp of corn starch to the mixture. Stir thoroughly. Store in airtight container. I would use a small canning jar with lid and ring. At Christmas, you might want to make enough to last through your baking spree. At other times, make just what you need. I have some 2-ounce Ball Canning/Freezing jars that I would feel comfortable storing a few teaspoons of homemade baking powder.

If you are a prepper, you only need baking soda and cream of tartar. Both have long shelf lives. I finally used my Calumet the brand I have used my whole life and that my mother used. Now, I will use the brand below or make my own.

no aluminum
Would you rather avoid aluminum and still purchase baking powder?  If so, purchase baking powder that is free of aluminum-- Argo Baking Powder.

Your turn
Have you ever made you own baking powder? Does it work for you? Do you make it in large amounts to store? Do you try to avoid aluminum? Just say something so I won't feel so alone.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sluggy's Boring Blog Giveaway Box

Okay, go to Sluggy's blog over at Don't Read This; It's Boring to enter a giveaway. She is going to fill a box by putting items in each week. I forgot when the deadline or when the drawing will be held. But, by blogging about her contest, I get one entry. You can blog about her contest for an extra entry of your own. Okay, just go.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Inbox Dollar Purgatory

About four or five years ago a friend begged me to join Inbox Dollars. BEGGED ME! She said that I could earn cash from my joining and participating and she really needed money she would get for referring me and for my participation. I joined. She kept telling me how she made $30 every three months or so. Not me. EVER!

I hated it. I only clicked on emails to read. The surveys never panned out. I hated playing the games for money. Besides, she was spending money to play! My friend died two years ago. Good thing. I could kill her for all the email I have suffered through.

Finally, I just quit participating! I went on strike for at least a year, clicking on an email to read about once a month and deleting a hundred more in a month.

Giving up is hard to do. But, I did. I also conceded to the realization that making money two-cents at a time was grueling and demoralizing. Surveys started looking good to me, very good! I was in too far to quit. They owed me and owned me.

All weekend, I have been in sight of the goal. On Sunday, I went over the $30 goal, the amount one must reach to ask for a payment. I was at $30.41. THEN, when I requested payment, I was told there was a $3 check processing fee. Did I really want payment? Yes, oh, yes! Then I will disengage myself from this ongoing torture!

They have some nerve. I just want out of there. The catch? I have to keep participating to get my payment. The plan was to disengage them so email would stop! AND, they will not mail the check until April 2. Blankety blank! I am so mad I could spit! Caught up in purgatory called Inbox Dollars, that is where I am.

Will MY POINTS be so difficult?  What other site like this should I avoid? While I don't mind making piddly amounts, this was ridiculous. Although once I did their surveys, the last five-dollars did go fast. 

I felt chained to that site, continually being eaten like Prometheus bound to the boulder for stealing fire from Zeus with a giant eagle continually eating my liver. I am condemned to five more weeks of this assault.

Your turn
Have you had a bad experience like this with one of these sites? Please share and warn me, NOW!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old-timey glue

 Freshly broken egg shell

My mother taught me things her mother did during The Great Depression. When I was a child, stamps did not come ready-to-stick-on like they do today. There was glue on the stamp, but the stamp had to be licked or wet with a finger or sponge.

Imagine, if you can, a stamp with a surface that comes to life with moisture. Well, these stamps had to be licked or wet somehow in order for them to adhere to the envelope being mailed.

Overly-ambitious licking might remove part of the "sticky" part. Damp hands, putting a stamp down in the wrong place, licking and changing your mind about putting it on an envelope, a damp environment over time--all thwart the glue on the back.  The same is true of stamps that need moisture to bring glue to life. I am sure you all have stamp and glue issues even today.

What to do? Grab a pot of paste (kind with little stick on inside of lid) or find the mucilage. Those were our two choices. But, sometimes there was none in the house or not in sight. Maybe it had run out. We children always had mucilage and glue at school, but maybe there was none at home or none within reach.

At any rate, Mama would use the inside of a freshly-broken eggshell to stick stamps onto envelopes. It takes a long time for the inside of an egg to dry to an unusable state. So, she always had an egg shell handy. I do remember she sometimes cracked an egg in a cup and stored it in the refrigerator so she could have the "glue" inside the empty shell.

Once the egg was in the refrigerator, she had an eggshell full of "glue." Take your finger and rub some of the liquid onto the stamp and affix it to the envelope. Sometimes, then as now, envelopes, for whatever reason, lost their stickiness. So, the stamp can be glued onto the envelope. And, the envelope can be sealed for mailing--all by using what most people throw out.

I have used this method in the near past for resealing envelopes and for stamps that have lost their "sticky" attribute. As a matter of fact, I last used egg glue on an envelope and a stamp within the last three months.

Yes, I know there are glue recipes, but what can be easier than sticking a finger into a fresh egg shell and using the "glue" in the shell?

Your turn
Have you ever used the inside of an egg for "glue?" Are you willing to try it?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pepper~New Girl in Town

January February 8, 2012

I decided that another hen was in order. The girls were not laying enough eggs. Wednesday, exbf and I went to the Dutch Oven Bakery for a hen. No, not from the bakery proper, from the Mennonites that own the bakery and live next door. Joel found a small hen, young he thought, from last fall's chicks. That makes her a pullet and not laying eggs yet.
Their dog frightened me. He did not do anything. He is just a big dog. So, exbf petted him, not to erase my fear. He just always pets dogs. Okay, so I did put my feet out, saw the dog and screeched, "Oh no, a dog! Get out and protect me!" Exbf indulgently went around the car to the dog and petted it while he talked to it. I still was not sure about the dog and his desire to rip me apart.
The mother came out on the balcony and talked with me. She called her son to come help me. She suggested feeding red pepper or black to the hens to improve laying. She did not know if it helped, but her sons fed it to their hens.
On the way home exbf and I talked over hen name. Neither of us liked what the other suggested, over and over again. So, finally, because the hen is sort of spotty, has some RIR and Barred Rock background (according to Joel), and we were laughing over feeding pepper to hens, I suggested "Pepper." He liked that, so she is Pepper. She really looks like she has been peppered.
All the animals excited me. Joel thought it was funny. "Oooh, bunnies." This one looks so angry. I don't know if they eat these or not. There were lots of bunny cages, one to a cage.

Another shriek, "Cows." Exbf saw a little black pig out of the pen and told Joel. "Turkeys!" It turned out that the tiny pig had been stepped on and injured, so they took her out of the pen with all the other bigger pigs.
There were lots of turkeys in bunches around the yard/acreage.
I asked what the deal was with the pen of chickens. Joel said that they put the roosters up, hoping the hens might lay better. Really? I told him that too many roosters probably worried the hens so that they could not make eggs. He grinned and nodded.
Pepper came home in a box. We heard her pecking after a few minutes. She was good,  really good. Either she was just a good girl or traumatized. Exbf carried her in the box to the pen. I let the other three girls out. Then, I carried the box in the pen, locked the door, and let her out. She shot out, complaining and terrified. She ran round and round the pen, looking for a way out, sticking her head through the chain link.
look at the difference in their sizes
Here is Pepper on the inside and Louise on the outside. Louise tried to get in through the chain link to attack Louise. She was so angry and determined to get at Pepper. Louise came to me, finally, followed me around and complained in a low, growly voice.
Thelma, Louise, and Fancy were outraged and hollered lots. Louise rarely comes to talk to me. She followed me around complaining. She approached the pen where Pepper was standing and tried to hurt her. Louise went to the door of the pen and wanted in. Out of curiosity, I let her in and she attacked Pepper with both feet. Louise and Thelma are big, heavy birds. Fancy is much smaller. Pepper looks like a banty. I hope not. Pepper is no match for even Fancy, much less Louise.
Finally, toward the end of dusk, I let the three girls back in. I sat and watched to see if they would attack Pepper. Yes, they did and frightened her so. I had exbf stay out and watch. I told him to clap his hands loudly and say, "No!" in a booming voice. It works, but they just attack again. Finally, dinner was ready, so I had him come in and eat. Usually, all three are in their boxes by dusk.

Oh, NO! not today. They were not ready for bed. They walked around complaining until it was almost pitch dark. Finally, the three got in their Rubbermaid boxes. Pepper sat behind the box on the plastic table. Poor thing. She was snatched from her enclosed home and all her friends to live in exile on plastic with three enemies.

Second morning
Pepper's third day here and on table

This is the view from the kitchen window. Pepper stayed up behind their Rubbermaid boxes for about a week, never venturing down unless I opened their pen door. I put food behind the boxes for at least two weeks. The first day it was not eaten, I discontinued the practice.

Pepper's first home

Pepper was abducted/adopted from a very large hen house that was secure from the elements. That hen in the nest box in the lower right corner is laying in a nest box condominium that is suspended from chains. Yes, it swings. Obviously, it suits the hens just fine. But, I have never seen or heard of a suspended, swingy nest box. Have you?

Pepper looks very lonely in my yard, all to herself. I can tell she does not like being chased away. Or, am I projecting my feelings that I would have if I were in her place? 

All three hiding
The next day I decided to take this picture of Thelma and Fancy doing their usual  "stealth sitting" under a bush. They actually hide, sitting very still, and not responding even to food. Of course, dogs and raccoons and other predators can smell them. I think the girls know my limitations and are laughing at me.

I had to get down very low to take this picture. I cannot see them even this well when I am standing. This is the bush they chose long ago to hang out under. Pepper was not allowed to come near.  
While Louise stalked around, fussing at Pepper, pecking her and generally terrorizing her and coming to complain loudly to me and follow me around, Fancy and Thelma disappeared. That's when found them under a bush, sitting perfectly still. This picture is where I bent down and hurriedly snapped a picture. Yes, it hurt my back. I am within a foot of the bush and the ground...ugh. From a distance, only the sight of a few red feathers through the evergreen leaves gives them away.

This has gotten to be such a long post. But, that was the first three days. Maybe if I had gotten at least two hens, Pepper's life would have not been so miserable. It has been 2.5 weeks and things are a bit better.

It seems the young boys are given responsibility over the animals. This is my third trip to buy, and other than the mother calling her son, I have not talked with an adult. Even though he is only sixteen, he was very businesslike and so was my interaction with him. He was only 13-years-old when he sold me my first 10 chicks. Even then, he was in charge and acting like a responsible adult. Three younger brothers and four or five younger sisters were attending that sale.

Your turn
Have you integrated one new hen into an established flock/group? Was the hen running in terror? Do several hens integrated at one time manage better?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Healed! My blog is healed!

Thanks to Lorie, she has restored my blog access. How? I don't know. It looks like magic to me.

I did update at the bottom of this site. I mean of one of my posts and added a picture at the top. Look for update in red at the bottom.

Another thrilling post under my belt!

I feel whole again. If I could have surgery, I would feel wholer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Blogging Insecurities: Poor Me

Tongue in cheek but true.
I keep thinking I have to work twice as hard as other bloggers to even be interesting, entertaining, or informative. Poor me! (just kidding) I don't have what it takes. What does it take? Since I cannot make a link, I will refer to my blog roll only. See? This is hard! Then, all of a sudden my bold capabilities disappeared! Now, I cannot use italics and I wonder if paragraph spacing has left.
...have none at home to report cute antics or misery in the wake of teens. Don't Read This; It's Boring and Frugal Down Under with adorable Molly and Don't Read This; It's Boring
tearing things apart, goats peeing in my bed, cats in the window, or llamas leading me on a run for freedom. Self Sustained Living and Hello; It's Me and Root Simple and Consumne Gal and most everyone
Okay, so I have chickens! Let me wallow in this, okay?
Husband or SO
to report his responses to my quirkiness or to make cool, useful things for me to use and then photograph. Barb's Backyard Self Sustained Living and Root Simple and Hello, It's Me
Desire to be a cooking blogger.
I cook, sure I do. But, sometimes I buy goodies and don't cook so that there is nothing to tempt me. I did buy Easter candy, Cadbury chocolate creme eggs. But, I ate them, all five in the pack. So, no pictures of those are available. Listen, I had to buy them early because last year, only the yucky vanilla or orange or strawberry fillings were left when Easter was near. Better Me-Better World
Musical or artistic career
to showcase my talents. Furtheron, talking to you.
Potty mouth and general disrespect for women,
whether feigned or true. Ornery Bastard and Bitchy Waiter (BW not about disrespect for women). Busted Knuckles has got that covered.
Political comments
...enough said. I do have my private opinions. Ornery Bastard
I am not. Life After Money and Frugal Down Under and Barb's Backyard
I am plain tired of writing, so I will have the rest of you in another pity party post where I will point out your stellar qualities I don't have.
And, I am going to put my awards on the blog if I can remember where they came from!
NOW, spell check does not give me the "ignore" button....sigh.
Your turn
What would you like to grump about today? Is all going well on your blog?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Report on my friend's cancer

I still cannot make a link. Check Hello, It's Me for LindaM's update on surgery for the colorectal tumor. It's all good news, so far, if cancer can have any good news. I will let her tell you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Target is Stalking You?

In case you ever wondered why a store wants so much information, this article tells you some interesting, true, and creepy stories. Blogger still will not allow me to make a link tied to a word, so here goes with the primitive method.
Read this second. It's long....New York Times article:
Your turn
Do you ever have to argue like I do in order to pay cash without giving your telephone number? Is this not creepy?

Restoring My Cast Iron

Of course, I had to bribe someone to help me. Today, Mark came over to help me. He sanded rust from two of my skillets with 180 grit sandpaper block. About six months ago, I fired up the grill. Everything that burned off nicely now has a layer of rust. Things that did not burn off are still black and gunky. I had the grilled fired up today, burning off the old residue of about a dozen other pieces.

The grill is cooling now. But, soon I will fill my soup pot with water to try and boil off the residue of the chicken I charred to the cast iron surface. I really want to make soup. It just doesn't seem right making soup in anything but cast iron. My cornbread skillet and my little 6" skillet are ready to use. Exbf would love some cornbread.

Yes, I have pictures and cannot post them.

Several years ago, I received a pile of free stuff from freecycle. The woman said she would keep adding things until I came. She did. She added so much it took her, her grandson, and me to load my trunk, back seat, and front passenger seat. I received maybe a dozen cast iron skillets. A Griswold and Lodge were amongst the lesser ones from Korea. I will keep only those two and sell the rest. Well, I bribed Mark with two skillets.

Next, I will try rubbing salt into the skillets to get off the last of the residue. I really did not want to resort to salt, but that may be the only way. Since Mark was coughing from sanding off rust, maybe he will welcome salt. You didn't think I was cleaning it, did you? It really hurts my injured hands to get rust from skillets. I have other things I would rather do with my hands, like typing.

Now, keep your fingers crossed that my paragraph making ability of my blog has magically been restored.

That is my day other than washing dishes in the dishwasher, washing four loads of clothes, hanging some of them on the clothes line, drying the rest in the dryer, and folding some of the clothes. It is not much for a whole day, but that is my world. When I have a few surgeries, I can do more hopefully. I still cannot afford the lift chair...sigh.

But, I do have most of my cast iron back in the kitchen! And the sun shone all day with temperatures about 65 most of the day. Mark was happy with the little 6" skillet and a larger 12" one that I gave him for his help. Next week, he will just get

Your turn
Do you use cast iron? What methods do you use to remove the gunk? The rust? Do you think food tastes better in cast iron?

Pray for my Friend, Please

LindaM is going to have surgery tomorrow to remove cancer from her bowel. She will have a colostomy bag. Okay, so now I cannot make a link, AGAIN. Her blog is Hello, It's Me-- in my blog roll.
She is resigned to this procedure that will change her life. To live she must fight. She has a strong, fighter spirit. Yet, this must tax her courage to the utmost. It would mine.
I live way down South and she lives way up North. We have never met, but have become fast friends and confidants. Some day, we will meet. I am sure.
Several friends have been contacted about prayer for her. At this point at least six churches have her on their prayer lists. She wants your prayers for her surgery and the ensuing fight against cancer.
This all makes me very sad. Join me in whatever way you can to wish her the best outcome and lend moral support. Her teen daughter may update her blog but probably won't answer questions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Put it on the curb?

At midnight, I will go and see if the free, curb-lurking, white plates I put on the curb yesterday are gone. Tomorrow is garbage day. If they are still there at midnight, I will bring them up behind a tree and put them out after the garbage runs in the morning. I put them on the curb at about 5 pm on Tuesday. They will live there on the curb until they are gone. But, I don't want them in the garbage truck and in a landfill.

This is one of my methods of decluttering. I have several ways I handle unwanted things:
1) sell to antique shop
2) consign to antique shop
3) sell to junk place
4) give to friend
5) donate to church thrift store
6) will sell on Etsy when I get store up and running
7) place it in trash if it a useless item for anyone.
8) give to one of my children
9) repair or refurbish to sell or keep
10) keep it to repurpose
11) put it on the curb
12) sell it to salvage yard if it is metal
13) use it as a gift for friend or my family

I have a box of things to sell on Etsy, so I should get moving on getting the store ready to sell things.

UPDATE: Mark took the plates.

Your turn
Do you have a way of handling things other than the ways I listed for myself? Or, from my list, which do you use? What is your favorite? What is your least favorite? Any probems with any of these 13 ways? Do you have plans for decluttering?

Gone to Hell in a Handbasket

My blog experience on Blogger has been deteriorating since Day 1. I can no longer see my side columns. Lots of functions just don't exist for me. Blogger never responds. No one in support responds.

Can you see both my side columns?

I would quickly change to, but there is some restriction of ads. I will not give up my one ad.

Computer people that I would pay if I could pay do not want me to watch them. If a person does not know my problem and I cannot articulate it, just show, then paid support is worthless. No, none of these guys knows anything about Blogger, but will try to fix it. No thanks.

Day 1 problem: Use the little slider on the right to move down to the bottom of my page. You will pass miles of pink page and when you are within a fourth of an inch of the bottom of the slider thing, you will see more blog waaay down there. Useless!

I have been told by a person online that some command/code has been replicated 10s of 1000s of times to make that big pink gap. But, the person online refused to help.

While I refuse to give up, I cannot spend the 40+ hours I have spent in the last three days to solve this problem. My head hurts from beating it against blogger. It's bloody. And, I need to dishes and laundry, at the very least.

Okay, venting done.

Maybe the paragraphs will show up and this will not be a huge block of text.

Your turn (I cannot even use bold)
Any solutions? Anyone else had this problem?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Improves Math Skills

It's not hard to believe. Chocolate makes everything better. Read this to see how it works. There are lots more ways chocolate benefits a person.

Blogger is still not cooperating and no one at Blogger answers questions. So, Wordpress may be the better choice.  However, I don't know if I can afford it. At least I could make a link today.

Your turn
Are you getting chocolate for Valentine's Day? If I buy it myself, I will have chocolate.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just a tiny perk

Since I have an Office Max reward of $48 for recycling cartridges, I went in to purchase something I needed. There was a sign on the counter: "If I don't ask you if you want paper, you get a Coke free."

When the transaction was finished, and he had definitely finished talking to me, AND was leaving the register, I paused and said, "Ummm, you did not offer me paper, do I really get a free Coke?" Man, I am thinking this is waaay too easy. "Yes, get yourself a Coke." He smiled as he left. Depending on the location, the 20 oz Cokes are usually about $1.79. I am still smiling.

The Cokes were in the tall refrigerated cases. Only this case was just a case because the refrigeration was not working. I do have ice at home.

Your turn
I have never had a cashier fail to say or do whatever was needed to avoid giving me the little freebie. Have you? This was a new win, so I was just a bit too happy over only a Coke.

Milk and Cereal Deal

There will be no pictures. Asterisks take the place of paragraph breaks since Blogger is not playing nicely. I'm not bragging, but...
Last week, on Wednesday I took advantage of a coupon in the grocery store ad and bought four boxes of Cheerios for $10 and got a gallon of milk free. Not content to take the deal offered me, I sweetened it a bit.
By shopping on Wednesday I got the Senior discount of 5%.
I purchased the 4 cereals for $10 and got the milk free.
I used two coupons for $1 off two boxes of Cheerios. (-$2)
For the senior discount I got $.50 off.
Total was $8.35 for all the milk and cereal.
Since I had the $10 store gift card from the newspaper deal. I decided to do it again. Only, I did not have the same coupons and would not get the Senior discount on Saturday.
Saturday,I purchased the 4 cereals for $10 and got the milk free.
I used a coupon for $1 off three boxes of cereal.
The total was $9.85 for all the milk and cereal.
The $10 store gift card had $0.15 left.
This deal came out Wednesday, and already I have worked it twice. Each time I have gotten 3 boxes of Cheerios and 1 box of Golden Grahams. I will have to build an addition add in order to store cereal. I still have not consumed the Special K from a few weeks ago that I purchased with the same deal. Only one of the Golden Grahams did not have a coupon. So, 7 coupons for cereal used makes me happy. Last night, I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for the elusive Golden Graham coupon. I only need one.If I can print one or lay my hands on one, I will take it in for a refund of the coupon price.
Seriously, exbf will be a recipient of some of these boxes of cereal.
Cost before coupons: $36.62
Cost after coupons: $18.20-$9.85 gift card=$8.35
Bottom line, I saved 73% on milk and cereal.
Your turn
Has anyone else had the milk and cereal deal in your store? Have you been able to take advantage of it? Did you use coupons from the Internet or inserts? I am not bragging, just excited to spend 73% of what an item is worth. How have you been doing with coupons and sales?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saving on Price of Coupons in Paper

As I came into the grocery store tonight, a young man asked me if I wanted to register for a $100 grocery gift card. Free food? Of course I did? I filled out the ticket stub. He asked me what was my favorite part of the newspaper. Coupons!

Then, he started his sales pitch. I listened. There were various options for subscribing to the Birmingham News. All of the deals came with a gift card. Of course, I am always interested in lowering the cost of anything. Today, I did.

At Walmart the Sunday paper costs $2.00 + $0.17 sales tax. So, 26 weeks of Sunday papers cost me $53.42. His deal was three months for $52. Plus, I would receive a $10 gift card to the store where I was shopping.

The savings get even better. How much does it cost to drive the car 9 miles each Sunday for 26 weeks. Let's say it cost me $1/Sunday. That's $53.42 + $26=$79.42. Do I ever buy something I don't need just because I am there in the store? Probably. But, I won't even contemplate that cost.

Another sweet part of the deal--the price for the 3 weekend papers is the same as the price for the Sunday paper. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday papers will be delivered for the same price as the Sunday-only deal. Sweeeet!
I wrote a check for $52, hoping that I will not hurt myself by doing so. I have to look at this long term. The young man gave me the $10 gift card.

Now, my $79.42 expense has been cut to $42, almost a 50% savings on coupon purchases. Actually, with the true cost of gas and unnecessary purchases, I am probably saving more than 50%.

It gets better. I can go to Southern Savers and find out how many and which inserts will be in the paper. However, if I go to a paper box that is 1/2 mile round trip from my house, or go to any paper box, there will be no coupons even though I don't have to pay tax on the paper or drive very far. I called the Birmingham News and they explained why they quit putting inserts in paper boxes--cost!

When I buy the paper at the store for $2.17 and drive 9 miles round trip, there will be some of the coupon inserts, not all. Now, I will be assured of getting all the inserts. Insert Snoopy Happy Dance here.
Oh, besides driving, I have to drive on a Sunday when the route to Walmart is very busy. There are few parking spaces and rarely a handicapped space. Plus, I have problems finding an electric cart. If I wait beyond 2pm, there are no papers. Knowing all this before I leave home really stresses me out.

This Sunday will be my last time to drive to get a paper for the coupons. Often, I spend 3 hours there because I see friends and we talk for 30 minutes. Plus, the lines are long. I am looking forward to different Sundays.

I predict my savings with coupons should double since I have cut so many of the expenses of obtaining a paper. Plus, I will get more coupons. I also predict that the last half of this month is going to be tight. The grocery card will be the only thing to help me with groceries now. I don't even want to go online and check my bank balance....shudder. The month is not even half over.

Your turn

Can anyone relate? Do paper boxes in your area NOT carry coupon inserts? Do you have to pay tax when you buy a newspaper in the store? Is your paper offering grocery cards for newspaper subscriptions? Why can't I make a proper link on Blogger now?
This had paragraph divisions when I wrote it.

Free answers for your computer questions

Join and get all your computer questions answered for free. These guys give all sorts of good advice on free software, computer fixes. They own their own businesses and are quite knowledgeable. I used this group for advice on what to get when I bought my computer three years ago. Try them.

Your turn
Have you ever used this Yahoo Group? Do you have another site that will answer questions? If so, can you share with us?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A new hen

I have added another girl to the "flock," but I cannot add pictures. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Look at the Sidebar--->

About a month ago, someone approached me via email about adding a button to the sidebar of my blog. It was called "Daily Deals." Since Charlie loves his "Daily Deals," I decided to put it up. Through all my illness and recovery, the deal sat. Now, I have it posted. This is not exactly the same thing Charlie uses, but it does have some good information.

I have looked at some of the information. Click on it and look around. No, I don't get paid by the click! Let me know what you think. Every day there will be a new daily deal. Then, there are sites with coupons.

Your turn
Don't hold back. What do you think of the button and site?

What Happened?

My post is half gone and changed. Anyone got an idea about how to get my information back. I hate hate hate this color.

Helllllp! No, Blogger never helps at all.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Save money with 20 Tips for More Efficient Google Searches

Saving time=saving money, soooo

Many of these tips I have known for years and cannot convince others they are really true. Time is money, you say? Yes, and I say less time spent is more efficient and less nerve-wracking.

#2 is easily my favorite. I showed this to a class of seventh graders who initially did not believe me. Their laptops could be seen on a screen at the front of the room. So, I had a cooperative girl to whom I had already proven this project her laptop onto the screen. We used a familiar term, maybe something like Christopher Columbus, but maybe not that. Whatever the phrase was, she got 8 million hits without quotes--Christopher Columbus. With quotes like this--"Christopher Columbus," she got only 975K hits, quite a difference. The difference is google searched and found everything to do with Columbus, MO and every person with the name of Christopher, plus other streets and trivia when searching without quotes.

By the way, our schools provide the laptops, teachers, laptop backpacks for the students who turn them in at the end of the school year and get them back when school starts (grades 6-12). Yes, the Dells get stepped on, sat on, stolen, lost, and broken. The whole school was wired for wifi, so any student can use their laptop on school grounds. Many students say they are getting the internet for Christmas.

I won't describe the advantages of the other ones I know and use. Try this site and free up some of your time. Make yourself more efficient. Show it to your children, spouse, others.

Your turn
Do you use these shortcuts for efficient searches? Do you think these will benefit you or your family.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rub-A-Dub Sharpie to the Rescue

Rub-a-Dub Sharpie Laundry Marker aka money-saver

I really do not like to ruin my clothing, especially newer pieces. The waste, the money--it all annoys me. So, when I saw the huge stain on my pants I wore to the ER, I was annoyed, to put it mildly. I know I felt something wet on my hand, something spilled on me by a tech or a nurse. I did not deliberately pick out my darkest and best pair of black pants to go to the ER. Believe me, just getting on a clean pair of pants that night was a feat. I was not dressing up for any hunky doctor.

The pants are black, but the pants look gray in the picture. Yes, they are the darkest pair of black pants I own. I just cannot photograph them. The main stain is about 3/4 inch long. The white part is really bright orange. Yes, there are some orange, smudgy places, too. Lovely!
The stain is right at my knee, so this barely visible stain is not too bad. Actually, the orange does not show up at all, just in the picture. I just now used the marker on the stain and will do so again. At best, these pants are wearable. Now, they are not my best pants, just the darkest. Darkest usually means "best," but not in this case.

My husband, now ex, would wear out the tips to his dress shirt collars. If they were dark, I would trim the frazzles from the tips and use a Sharpie marker, whatever color the shirt was. Through the years I rescued a blouse given to me with one stain and numerous other items. For forty-two years Sharpies have saved me money.

Your turn
Do you save money by salvaging your "bleached" clothing by using a marker? Do you hate to ruin clothes as much as I do? Do you have a bleach stain coverup tip?

Friday, February 3, 2012


The first daffodil of 2012, blossomed on 2/2/12

Can you believe this weather, inhabitants of the South?


The Road to Hell must be paved well with my good intentions. My failed good intentions have cost me cash. Bought and thrown-out food, scavenged and wasted food, gifts of food and other items, bright ideas I had--all are the past but still really bug me. Some of this failures were expensive, at least to me.
rotted and in the compost hole
I brought home 13 pumpkins for pumpkin pie and pumpkin butter and for chicken food. The chickens refused to eat them or the seeds, unlike pumpkins of other years. They were not good tasting to me, so I suppose the chickens had good reason to turn up their beaks. The worst part was my failure to get them off the patio table and allowing them to rot and get all over, necessitating my thoroughly washing the table and exbf having to expend energy and time to remove rotten pumpkins. They would have been so much easier to throw in the compost hole if I had dealt with it earlier.

While I was ill, about 15+ lbs of bananas bought cheap and destined for the dehydrator went bad. Now, I am out of dehydrated bananas! The 15 lbs. were moldy and runny, so there was no salvation, not even baking or freezing. They were not fit for hens. Yes, hens turn up their nose at really rotten food.

Four heads of celery languished. Eventually, they were not even fit for hens. Six quarts of blueberries Charlie gave me went to the hens and a quarter pound of cherries I bought when they were $2.99/lb. My hens were delighted to get both of these, along with some plum tomatoes. I buy few cherries or plum tomatoes because of the cost, but I had bought both when I felt like I could afford the little treat.

All of the above can be attributed in full or in part to my being ill. I was feeling horrid on Christmas Day and now realize all had been getting worse for about three weeks until the eventual catastrophic gastrointestinal failure. Other things were beyond my control.

At Thanksgiving, I did not have enough eggs for the chocolate pound cake, so I bought eggs. At Christmas I did not have enough eggs for another chocolate pound cake, so again I bought eggs. These should have been consumed or scrambled/boiled and fed to hens. Nope, still have store-bought eggs here, eggs I do not want to scramble because I am spoiled with fresh eggs. It remains to see how many of these are good.

My friend gave me a pretty apple gourd that he decided he would pick early. Naturally, it should have been left on the vine to prevent rotting. Nope, it rotted. He does not know it should not be picked when pretty, just left to mold on the ground. It is in the compost.

My plans for a salad garden in the glass enclosure (turtle home?) never came to fruition.  Why? I don't know.

The worst failure has been the fact that the hens laid no eggs for a week at a time. They are having to use all their food as energy to stay warm, not lay eggs. Remember, since my successful chicken defense effort, they have only a Rubbermaid box in which to live and no shelter from the wind during the day. They do not get to sleep inside a warm house. For a solid 48 hours, they were on their own last week, no food, no water. They did have apple on which they munched, left from a dozen or so I had put in their pen. Plus, the water did not run out in their waterer. But, I knew none of this from my position in the house.

And I broke a thumbnail off to the quick as I staggered into a door!

Even with all the apparent failure scattered in my wake, I still managed to dehydrate many jars of fruit and vegetables. Since none of it was designated for long-term storage, it has been mostly eaten. If I do start dehydrating for long-term storage, I need to have used it to determine if it is prone to molding and how I like it.

I have choices: learn from the failures or keep making mistakes. I was too ill to get up to deal with food, plus I did not need to be contaminating food for storage. I must never have marathon dehydrating plans in order not to waste food. Also, I must recognize when food should go to the hens instead of holding out for a miracle recovery of my health. That is a big lesson to learn. But, who expects health problems?

Now, I know I cannot be the only person who has had failures, whether because of health, ambitious plans, or things beyond control.

Now, I cannot afford plum tomatoes or cherries. Finding financial equilibrium will be difficult!

I have had four hours sleep in the last 36 hours, so I am a little morose.
Your turn
Have you had failure, large or small, due to health problems or just bad judgment on your part or on the part of others? Was it as hard to come to terms with your failures as it was for me? Has downright procrastination been a part of the problem? Did you make plans so grandiose that your time, skill, or talents were not up to the challenge?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Original Non-stick Cookware

scrambled eggs in 8" cast iron skillet

Some people say that cast iron is too hard to clean. That is one of the beauties of cast iron--it is easy to clean. Several good cast iron skillets and pots will last three or more generations. I cooked scrambled eggs in this skillet (above) 24 hours before I took this picture. As you can see in the picture below, little egg is left in the pan. Yes, I even scrambled with a spoon. So, there was no flat edge to scrape the pan.

Cast iron has been in use for 2000 years, so this is not a new-to-the-last-century innovation.  It is a proven type of cookware. 

clean skillet
I took the spoon and flicked out what egg was left. The morsels were not even stuck on. Then, I used a cloth to flick out the rest of the morsels. How much easier can that be?

After I saw the picture on the laptop screen, I went back to see what was in the pan the--red stuff. There is nothing evident. ???

Besides being NOT harmful like aluminum cookware and Teflon, cast iron adds iron to your intake of food. So, cast iron has a positive benefit to your health.  Don't be fooled, the new and improved Teflon is still harmful.

If cast iron does not need a full seasoning, I can just put a bit of oil in the skillet, heat it and trust it will be okay until I have time to fully season it. This one is due.

If you are buying used, buy what you can. Taiwanese cast iron is light, but better than no cast iron and much better than Teflon. No matter the brand or where it is made, the cast iron will be better than Teflon or aluminum. If you are buying new, buy Lodge but not from Walmart. Lodge is one of the brands that are MADE IN AMERICA, right in Tennessee, just north of me. Old Lodge is better than new lodge.

You may find a piece of cast iron marked on the bottom with Griswold or Erie. Buy it unless it is cracked. Some cast iron pieces are not marked. I will buy any cast iron at the right price. It goes straight to an antique shop sometimes.  Right now, my gas grill is full of skillets!

Campers and Preppers are probably already familiar with the Lodge brand and with the use of cast iron. No, this is not back-packing cookware.

My mother had her grandmother's ( b. ca 1850) cast iron skillet. No one knows if it was handed down to her. When our house burned to the ground when I was four, the skillet cracked. My mother still owned the skillet when she died.

Your turn
Do you use cast iron? If you don't, why not? If you do, how long have you been using it? Tell me your experiences, good or bad.