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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What was that?

broken breakfast

As I closed the hens' door to their pen, I fed them so they could eat before sleep. Moments before, I had found the first egg since December 16th, and was so happy I could have it for breakfast. Usually, I eat two, but I will eat one. Patsy Cline lays eggs only half the size of Thelma's so it takes two eggs for breakfast.
I did not want to climb the steps to put the egg in the kitchen, so I put  the precious egg in the yogurt container that held their dinner of oats. I put it carefully in the car so it would not break.
When I got out of the car back at home, I was foolish and carried a "lazy man's load"--too much. I put one foot out of the car , stood, and dumped the egg due to having too much in my hands and arms.
I felt something touch my pants and heard a tiny noise. What was that? It was pitch dark, so I had to bend so far to even see it. My heart sank as I looked down. Breakfast was broken. I have no more eggs.
Three hours later, nothing has eaten it.
Today, exbf will fetch me some of my frozen eggs, frozen for just such an occasion this winter when egg production dropped off. I hope these hens get enough light as sunrise comes earlier each day since the winter equinox.
I know--to others it's just an egg. To me it was my breakfast.

UPDATE: I have another egg today. So, maybe the few minutes of extra daylight are helping the hens lay. Plus, exbf got a half-pint jelly jar with five eggs out since I want to make pound cake.  I asked him to bring in two jars 4-oz. jars with two eggs in each one. So, I will be set until he comes next week, even if the hens lay no eggs.
Your turn
Have you ever ruined or had ruined the last of anything that you planned to eat?  Have you broken your only egg? Tell me and entertain me, please.

Subsidize the Rich

(M) It pisses us off too. 

Thanks to @[281168802721:274:Political Loudmouth] for sharing this.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Office Max Deal: Six Free Scotch Tape Rolls


Sunday, I used more points of the $40 I earned by recycling cartridges and toners. Before Christmas, I also bought batteries for something like $16.95 to earn another $16.95 to spend.  I still have that amount in place.

Since I have been out of Scotch tape since just before Christmas, Scotch tape was my goal today. I "paid" $17.43 in my OM credits. I have refilled my dispenser with one pack, put three rolls in the supply drawer in the file cabinet, put aside two for my daughter.

Hopefully my g-daughter has outgrown her fascination with Scotch tape and these will last for a bit. My four tapes will surely last until this time next year or beyond.  When my daughter complained her daughter had used all of the tape just playing, I did not offer to replace it because I had no free or really cheap tape. If the daughter must replace it, she will be more likely to enforce what she says--Leave the tape alone; don't play with it.

When I received my receipt, the clerk circled a deal for me. I will receive $5 off my next $25 transaction. Yay for deals at OM. Now, I need to watch Office Max ads and coupons I can use there. Hopefully, OM takes coupons. I don't remember. At any rate, there should be something I need, not want, that is reduced.
Buying gifts is an idea. I have two birthdays in April, one in May, and another in July, one in September, one in November, and there is Christmas. Maybe my printer will need ink. Maybe the $5 with a $25 transaction has a date by which I must use the coupon. The terms and the printable coupon will be emailed to me tomorrow.

Here is the Office Max coupon policy.

Your turn
Do you recycle cartridges and toners at OM? Maybe it is not in your area? Did anyone buy the batteries last year where you received the purchase amount to use this year?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Drop Smidgen Pinch Dash Tad

ready for the old recipes
I got these from the Mennonite store for half of what they are on the Internet. The set of measuring spoons are my gift to me, using a store credit.
Tad- 1/2 tsp
Dash- 1/8 tsp
Pinch- 1/16 tsp
Smidgen- 1/32 tsp
Drop- 1/64 tsp
Your turn
Do you have old recipe books with these types of measurements? If so, do you use a conversion table? Have you ever seen these spoons anywhere?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Conversations Over Time

just another cap to wear

On Friday I was out of milk and went to Walmart to save a bit of money and use a few coupons while I was there. The store was busy but I finally found a lane with only one customer who had about 10 items. Twenty minutes later, I was slipping into a coma as I sat waiting.

Consequently, I kept all coupons safely in my pocket until I had gotten my change!!!! sigh sigh sigh. I would have had to wait another thirty minutes to rectify the mistake at customer service with all the Christmas returns.. I was in no mood plus exbf was sitting on a bench somewhere wondering if I died (I suppose).

Later that night, I went back to cash in the coupons. Even later, I made a purchase and had lost one of the coupons, the one for toothpaste. The woman behind me and the one behind her both searched for a coupon to give me. They heard what I was doing and tried in vain to find a coupon for me. We struck up a conversation and soon the second woman in line said, "I know you." Trying to get my aging brain in order and not embarrass either the woman or me, I struggled to search her face for anything that I recognized. Nope, not there. "Your name is Linda?" She was certain, but still asked me.

Help me. What is your name?


Color me stunned. I am so sorry. How do we know each other. Sorry, I cannot place you,  just my age, you know."

"In the early 1980's we were in sewing class together. You taught me all about coupons."

I struggled to remember her. I do remember coupon conversations at school where I was the "expert" (I knew little, just a bit more than she) and most people never used coupons. Yes, this was a multi week conversation, sharing more of what I knew. Now, this woman was there with a dil who went beyond what Linda, her mil,  did.

We talked for way too long, but they had lots of groceries, up to the top of the cart. The other Linda must have been a very young woman because I took that class about techniques for making lingerie in 1982. Okay, I was a very young woman, but not that young. The class taught me nothing because it was a front for a sewing machine shop owned by the teacher's husband. At any rate, I switched from home sewing to commercial sewing and learned to use commercial machines, finally buying two. I learned to sew when I was four, so learning to sew was never the object of those classes. I digress.

A conversation over thirty-years ago led to a Friday night conversation.

Then, that led to a little mental math teaching from me; You know I cannot stop this?

And, we both wanted to exchange phone numbers and did.

I came home and cut coupons from 75 coupon inserts that exbf left me on Friday. Whew!

Your turn
Have you ever had such a stunning encounter where you had lasting influence over something seemingly inconsequential? Okay, I was stunned that she remembered my name, where we met, and something I showed her and still used coupons due to our conversation. Do these occasions cause you to realize that some moments are lasting?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Get Paid to Drive Your Car

AdverCar may be a good idea, maybe not. I doubt that my 2000 Malibu that sits outdoors, has a few dings, and is rarely clean would qualify. I could wash it more often, but the elements and birds take their toll, long term and short term.

Your turn
What is your opinion of this program? Have you ever participated? Know anyone who has?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

HO What? HO and HO Stetson and Mental Math

a zing
no, it is not psychedelic pink as it appears
I stayed up all night after a nothing Christmas Day. I was watching this video about becoming Santa. The video is 1:30 long, so prepare yourself. It is a wonderful video. Read my comment on the post.

About 2 am, I decided to go to Walmart at 5 am. I washed my hair and let it dry while I watched the video, paused it a dozen times, and finally paused it for the last 20 minutes and headed on out in/on my trusty steed Malibu. When I arrived two men were at the door, waiting. I went up, spoke, and found a couple of friendly guys. I asked them what goodies they were looking for and told them I was only there early because the electric carts would be scarcer than hens' teeth in the mad crush later. They sort of mumbled but would not reveal what brought them out.

Since I lost one glove somewhere between picking it up in the house and getting out of the car and my back and knees were hurting worse that usual, I went to sit in the car. The guys assured they would do their best to let me back where I was in "line." In the car I wrapped up in a blanket, waited until one minute until 5 am and got out. As I headed for the dozen people at the door, another two dozen emerged from their cars. All I wanted was a cart not merchandise.

I approached the two guys, "I know what guys would want this early! Guns or TVs?"   They laughed nervously as I continued my I-have-not-had-sleep-chatter.

The original two men and most of the other people charged ahead for something, but what? I claimed a cart and was the only person who has a disability who braved the night and the crowd.

A few minutes later, I caught up with the little horde all gathered around and end cap...aha...they were plundering an end cap of of? of?'s cologne! Jovan and Stetson and more. Guys, just pay a dollar for a bar of soap! I related my thoughts to a store manager and was rewarded with laughter and "It's the truth!" I broke out the bottle of water and pack of crackers I brought to fortify me so I would not buy something to eat.

I kept passing one guy or he kept passing me. He was a man on a mission, walking with a sense of purpose. . . . He had scooped up multiple of gifts--several men's cologne's sets, several women's cologne sets and multiples of smaller items. Then, there were several rolls of wrapping paper, bags of bows, and Scotch tape. ??? This guy has somewhere to celebrate Christmas this weekend and just waited and bought all on sale. Smart guy.

I bought nothing and set out for Lowe's since it is on the way home. Since I arrived about 10 minutes early, I searched for the stray glove in the car and wrapped up in a blanket as I ate cookies. Lowe's percent off was sorely disappointing. I did buy two paint rollers at regular price.

One year, I visited Lowe's early and found all Christmas marked down to 90% off. That day, I purchased maybe $30 of all sorts of extension cords--6' to 75' plus all sorts of outdoor floodlights that stick in the ground. That was $300 in extension cords and electrical stuff. Just because it was green did not bother me. I left today with my two paint rollers.

Dollar General had no cars outside, so I decided to go in there. As I walked to the door, the manager unlocked it. My adventure catastrophic encounters will be a whole post when I have the energy to recount it.

Then, I went to (a better store that I won't mention the name) and bought a blanket I sorely need, marked 40% off. Yay! I will be warm at last. As someone was getting the size and color, I mused about what the final price would be. I actually did not remember the price from my former shopping trip. The woman pointed to the 60% off original price sign. I asked her the original price. She was so helpful, telling me she would scan it and tell me the price, but that the original price was $40.

"Oh, that will make the blanket $16," I immediately volunteered. She and the other clerk looked blank said they would not know until they scanned it. I was trying to remain calm after my Dollar General trauma. "Well, I will be paying 40 cents on the dollar. Multiple the 40 dollars times the 40 cents. just multiply 4 x 4 = 16 and just add the two zeroes. That makes $16."

One clerk said that half would be $20. Another said that maybe the blanket would be about $15. I repeated "$16." When the blanket was scanned, the price was $16. They still looked at me with a blank expression, as though they still did not realize I figured the price faster than the cash register.

People--Learn mental math. Teach your children mental math! No, you do not visualize a problem on paper and solve it like you would on paper. THAT is NOT mental math. Want me to teach you? I can do it on the phone or on the internet. I have tutored remotely and was successful. I absolutely get a high when I teach mental math.

Today was a gloriously sunny, beautiful and bitterly cold day.

Today, I went shopping on the day after Christmas for the first time in about ten years.

Today is my sister's birthday. She said if it weren't for me, she would never get a gift.

Today, a very nice man, a clerk, smiled down at me and told me how pretty my coat and scarf were. He remarked that the pink coat matched my pink nail polish. He liked the houndstooth scarf with the coat. I assured him I was not a Tide fan. He assured me it was still very pretty with the bright pink coat, that it looked very nice, smiling/beaming all the while.  From now on, I will wear nail polish and the pink coat and houndstooth scarf and maybe a man who is not married will be charmed.

The glove I lost was in the middle of the floor, right where I picked it up before I walked out of the house. Whew!

Works magic!

Your turn
How was the weather where you were? Find any good sales?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Upcycling a Christmas Card

Merry Christmas

framed Christmas card
I paid $1 for the frame. Someone sent me the card in 1999. There is no glass over the card. I just stuck the card in; it fit; it is done. Yes, it is lying flat since I could not bend to get a good picture where it was sitting. It has been used every year.
This is absolutely the prettiest Christmas card I have ever seen. The GED student who gave it to me said I was just saying that to make her feel good and did not believe I would frame it. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cocoa and Oliver Twist

almost midnight and 23 F
watching Oliver Twist

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking pillow tapestry
sentimentalized picture of privilege
Where is the pillow I made?

When I was a child, I don't think I ever received a "stocking stuffer" in a stocking. Maybe others did and those things were not called "stocking stuffers" back then. Even small or cheap things were NOTin the stockings.

Miniatures, kisses, mixed nuts

We got candy, chocolates, fruits, and nuts--that's it!

I remember Christmas from before I entered school. I was born in 1946.  The haul was identical each year:

Hershey's Miniatures
Hershey's Kisses
Assorted nuts
Candy canes
A horrid candy I never ate

If what we got varied, I have absolutely no recollection. I asked my mother when I was an adult with children why we got what we did. She said little bars were best for little children. They look at the number of items and prefer getting lots of tiny items. Plus, she said she could get variety in the Miniatures in just one bag, good thing when she had little money. Mama said she liked all the different candy she got us and sort of laughed.

Back then and for many years, the wrappers on Hershey's kisses were silver for the plain and gold for the ones with nuts. Now, they are festive in green, silver, and red. We always got silver only, what we all preferred, even Mama.

The Miniatures had the same plain wrapper all year. Now, there are four colors--silver, gold, red, green. Silver wrappers are for "Hershey milk chocolate." Green is "Hershey's Special Dark chocolate, mildly sweet chocolate." Gold is for "Mr. Goodbar made with chocolate and peanuts," my least favorite of the four bars. Red is for "krackel, made with chocolate and crisped rice." Yes, they do label them that way.

Right now, I am eating miniatures and kisses. I rotate around the pieces so nothing with disappear with a glut of the other candies left.

We broke out our several little silver hand nutcrackers during the day. We all had our favorites of the mixed nuts, so we traded some away if we could. Even though we lived with 10 acres and pecan trees, we children still were excited by the nuts.

Candy canes were not favored by me, but I would have been disappointed not to receive them.
You may not have seen my Candy Cane post since it disappeared and never went back in a way to be seen. Okay, it showed up.

The oranges and apples were the largest we ever saw all during the year. Size made them awesome and special. You just know Santa had a part in their size.  We had oranges and apples during the year, but never lots just for us to hold and carry around, even in our bedrooms.

The horrid candy was a huge, round mound of sugar covered by chocolate. (What is the name? Chocolate Drops?) As much as I love chocolate, I could not bear the sugary, white inside. I could trade those for all the Hershey's Dark Chocolate Miniatures that I wanted because my four younger siblings hated dark chocolate as much as I hated the chocolate mounds with sugar inside. .

My children never got stocking stuffers. I have no tolerance for people who think they must get extra things for stocking stuffers even though their children have hundreds of dollars in other items. Of course, I never say anything, just force a smile and an appropriate cheerful comment. Cheap junk bought just for a stocking stuffers is not my style either. Hmmm, I suppose I think everything should be edible. When I was a child oranges and apples were eaten almost as eagerly as the candy. My children were impressed by the fruit sizes and ate them along with the candy. They had apple every day year round yet, they devoured an apple that had to be held with both hand! You would think we were "Little House on the Prarie" folk, living slim.

I realize that earlier in 4th Europe, candy, fruit. and small gifts were put in stockings, but their was not a pile of huge or expensive toys under a tree. I am not a Scrooge, but when I hear parents who have overspent agonizing about not being able to afford stocking stuffers, I am troubled. When I hear adults who need to spend more on something, anything, for a stocking stuffer for another adult whenever there a wrapped presents or a present waiting, I feel that the "stocking stuffer madness" is overcoming people.

This post was not meant as a Scroogish rant. I started out to recount my stocking items, those of my children and the stocking tradition in our family. The post started to sound like an anti-consumerist rant. It was not in that vein at all.

The stocking I received, full of nuts, fruit, and candy was such a special memory for me. I recreated it for my children with a minor omission and  one addition, of course. The core of Hershey, mixed nuts, and fruit remained.

Your turn
What is your opinion of stockings and stocking stuffers? Do you have fond memories of stocking contents? Maybe you think stocking stuffers are mandatory? Do you stress over having stuffers and gifts under the tree?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lost post right here!

it really is good
Go to The Best Candy Cane.

I know it is right below here, but it would not show up other's blog rolls under the candy cane listing, just a "post about my post disappearing." Just post comments on the original below. Thanks.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Best Candy Cane

Even though I am parsimonious some days and cheap other days, I have refused to quit buying candy canes even though I really cannot stand the red-striped candy canes. After buying the 12/$1 pack, I put one for each of my grandchildren in with their Christmas gifts. I open one, either tasting or consuming the cane,  and confirm that, "no" I really still do not like candy canes.

This year, I was given candy canes, so I just used those for grandchildren and children--watermelon candy canes. Just thinking about it was yucky. When I broke down and tasted one, I discovered they were delicious.

I am all about traditions of my childhood that were passed on to my children, but this peppermint candy cane is for the birds. When I have the 3-inch little ones in the cellophane pouch, I offer them to people after Christmas, all year long if that is what it takes. I never throw them out. One time I offered them to a charity that was pleased to get them.

At my home people are so polite and take just one even when I insist they take more. Finally, around June I start insisting that people who will get one, get all in the covered candy bowl. One seventeen-year-old was here with an adult  friend. He was embarrassed when I dumped the bowl contents into his hands. However, he could not hide the joy in his eyes. I assured him that I hated them. That was one happy kid with siblings who probably like candy canes, too.

At any rate, these watermelon candy canes are delicious. Try them. They are just not red and white! Holly in my yard is brutal with needles on the leaves. It is so painful and causes my allergies to act up.

Your turn
Do you really like peppermint candy canes or, like me, just eat them because of the tradition or that they are there? Have you ever tried watermelon candy canes? Have you ever dumped a traditional sweet from your family traditions, a tradition you long observed?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Santa and Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline and Santa 2013

This is the Christmas adventure last Saturday!
Here is what Janet said last Saturday:
"Well I can't imagine why you can't tell until next Saturday.... In fact I wonder if I even read your message correctly. In mulling over you message I have decided that your town (or Walmart?...Sears?...Park and Recreation?? church? vet clinic? ) may have offered a take a photo of a pet owner and their pets with Santa opportunity and you decided to take the girls in for a photo shoot."
Good guess, Janet.

The sitting was free last Saturday at TSC. Otherwise, Santa and I would have had a come-to-jesus-meeting! He had never held a chicken before and did not take instructions. Yes, I asked 10 out of 13 poses have her looking forward, so between her skinny face, his big hands, the bandana, and him squishing he, she looks weird. He just could not hold her right. He was a grumpy Santa. He did NOT like her flapping her wings all over him.
In this picture, I went to the side so she would turn. Everyone was trying to get her to look up. She needed to look sideways. It was a fun day.

This is a picture where she finally found Santa's belt buckle to hold onto. In others her feet are just hanging.
She whispered in his ear, so I just have to guess she wants more corn under the tree and coupons for more free range time.
The rest of the animals were dogs. We left quickly.
Your turn
Have your animals, especially chickens, ever had a Christmas "portrait." Did Santa look like he had never seen an animal, much less hold one?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Double Rewards at O'Charley's

Smart Source
If you buy a $25 gift card, you will receive $10 in reward cards. You can give someone a $25 gift and it will cost you only $15 in the end.
Only available 12/16/13 -- 12/31/13.
Receive 2 $5 reward cards redeemable 1/1/14 --  2/13/14
Enjoy $5 off $10 purchase
I suppose the two $5 reward cards could be two more gifts. Can you even buy a drink for $5? I have not been to O'Charley's in years, and I don't drink. It's impossible for me to judge this coupon's real value. There is no O'Charley's in this town. 
If this were Ruby Tuesday, I would be all over this deal if I had the money.  At least there is one where I live. Maybe they have a deal like this anyway, just not advertised except in the restaurant or online.  hmmm
There are two coupons with coupons codes on the bottom where I cut the ad off.
Your turn
Do you ever buy these kinds of restaurant deals?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Deliriously Happy Hens

deliriously happy hens

Parsimony at it's finest allows me to have the nerve to ask for food, for me or my But, this is an acquisition of cheap chicken food for three days. It beats spending. Plus, this stuff is prepared just like my picky hens like it--chopped or shredded.

One day while I was in Walmart getting help with my new cell phone gotten free from ATT, I heard an announcement. The vendor was frantically calling people together for some sort of "infodemonstration" (my term) and a free gift. I ignored it. I had heard this announcement on about six different occasions over a week. I did not go there that many times, just multiples occasions one day. loooong story
The woman was demonstrating a mandoline. I saw food, scrap food. I watched the mercifully short demonstration, waited while she sold mandolins. Then I asked for the scraps for my hens. She was very nice and helped me scrape off the food into store bags. And, I got my free gift for watching the demonstration.

knife to cut fruit in decorative shapes

The next day, I came back because the phone was not right. I caught two demonstrations that day. All the onions and orange slices went into a separate bag, not to be given to the hens. I came home with enough hen food for three days.
Usually, Thelma jumps right in the middle, scratching it all over, kicking it six feet behind her. This day, I put food outside the pen in the grass and pulled up a chair for pictures. She is wary of me since the raccoons have been out.
My hens love their food chopped. So, this was perfect for them. They had corn, cabbage, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, squash. I had not put in the oranges and onion.
The food I brought home could have been put in a pot of water or some chicken broth, cooked, and eaten. I would have added the onions I removed and kept the strawberries and apple to eat with the orange. A bit of meat would have been good to add for a hearty soup.
It sort of made me sad that people are hungry and food is thrown out, especially prepped food. The board, hands and mandolin were "washed" in a basin of water right there. Cooking would removed any bacteria from the vegetables. Even the orange and strawberry could have been cooked if a person were concerned with bacteria. I am.
Although I am not hungry, I would still consider eating this. If the timing had been right, I would have just eaten it. The woman and I discussed it would even be good for us to eat. She assured me that if she were back in Atlanta, she would.
I just like free food for my chickens or for me. I can open my refrigerator (hens can't) and find all this, except for potatoes which are still in the bag on the floor.

Patsy Cline has a fast-moving beak.
I brought a pretty apple for them.
See the decoratively cut apple?  The demonstrator gave away the little knife to make that type cut. I got three even though she knew I had gotten one and bought nothing.
Your turn
Have you seen this kind of live demonstration of "as seen on TV" products? Does it ever make you sad when you see perfectly good food being tossed, scraped into the trash? Do you ever ask for food for your animals or yourself? Have you ever had a knife like that?

All Out WAR!

Okay, up until this point there were no rats in my cabinets. Now that I have seen rat scat in the cabinets, I have no more mercy for anything. "ME" That is what this is all about now. 

The cannot get into food cabinets unless they chew their way in. That has not happened. Can they open doors? However, they are in lower cabinets with no food. That means I must wash each item I remove to use.

They have probably come into the house around the water wipes or drain. That means I must take everything out from under the sink to see if they have breached the barriers I put in. That is going to be a chore with my limitations. ugh This is going to hurt.

I heard something crashing in the basement a few minutes ago. So, going down there to view the underside of the sink is going to be an adventure and maybe hazardous.

Rat poison will be in place within minutes of posting this!

This is just so disgusting. I actually think this is the most disgusting thing in my life, EVER. Okay, rats are not on the counters yet, and if that happens, I may have to abandon the It's all out war here!

The rats did come across a bag of rice NOT in a cabinet or a secure place and were eating it. I figured if I left it, they would not get into other food. So, I am still sticking with that thought.

That rice will go to Charlie for him to use to remove moisture from electronics. See? We don't waste anything.

Your turn
Any more advice?

Dealing with Rats

I have been able to catch rats and kill them. However, another one just comes in. Today, I took a step that seems to be working. There is a set of French doors in a room where moisture has made it impossible to close the doors all the way. So, not only does a draft enter, but rats found their way in through there. Well, that was my thought.

Today, exbf used Gorilla Tape (brand of heavy black duct tape) to tape mothballs to the tiny and large cracks all the way around the door and down the middle. Then, he made sure that there was no space where the moth balls could emit odor. He stuffed moth balls into the room on the other side of that, a room I do not enter at all and will not cause the odor to come into where I live. I had to put up with mothball smell for a bit. It was so warm out that I could leave the back door open. Now, it has dissipated to a faint odor. I am going to staple plastic over that door, maybe tomorrow.

Hopefully, this faint odor is not toxic to me. Hopefully, plastic will shut out the rest of the odor.  I remember when I was in my early thirties and very cheerful elderly ladies hugged me in church, smelling of moth balls and brandy. Sometimes, they hugged me twice! In the summer these ladies were never quite so happy or odorous.

The good news, no rat noise. This is the first night with no noise since the first rat came in about three weeks ago. The sticky traps are great but expensive. I cannot force open the snap traps to set them.
Next week, he will work on the room at the front of the house, my sewing room that still has things rats can destroy. It is immediately in front of the room...never mind.

This is a better explanation. Along one side of the house are four rooms in a row. Front room--sewing room, abandoned. Second room--living room abandoned and where he stuffed moth balls into the room. Third room-- where the French doors are between third and second room. Fourth room--kitchen.

The room where I am sitting is next to third room.

Ooops, heard a rat in third room just now, right next to me. So, I will break out the sticky traps. Irish Spring in the doorways will hopefully keep any other rats at bay so that they do not consider my den a good home.

When exbf left at 6:15 pm, I was exhausted. I went to bed at 6:30 pm and  slept until 1:30 am.  This messes up my sleeping, but I could not stay awake.

Tomorrow, I make a five-gallon rat trap!

Your turn
Have you ever used moth balls and were able to contain the odor? Has it been your experience that moth balls repelled rats?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And, We Have a Winner of the Doll Clothes!

Before I announce the giveaway winner, let me show you what I added--a sweatband I made for the Cabbage Patch.
Sweatband for Cabbage Patch
(I made this)
And, the winner is Janie Junebug.

pink shorts and top
(also made this)

(for children 8 and over)  
retainer modeled by Cabbage Patch Kid
(doll and army outfit not part of prizes)
one-piece socks and shoes

I just wish I could give these to all the little girls out there. The clothes fit the larger Cabbage Patch, but they will also fit the next size down.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Update: Almost Free Batteries for All Your Christmas Needs

8 AA and 8 AAA

Peelie for $10 Walmart gift card
$13.69-$10.00=$3.69 for 16 batteries
If I had kept the Energizer coupon I gave away to a friend who buys for a food bank, I would have paid even less than $3.69 for 16 batteries. Okay, I paid $13.69 today, but I will get $10 of that back as a gift card. That is three gallons of milk. Can I say 6 weeks of free milk? Sure, I can.
This deal is only at Walmart. But, each address can get four (4) gift cards. I may know what I will give older grandchildren for birthdays this year--batteries. Yes, I would do that--socks and batteries.
Find your Energizer coupons, figure out what sizes you need, and roll on down to Walmart for a money saving deal. Peelies are good on C, D, and others that I cannot remember. I've tossed the peelies. Sorry.
Hurry,  because this may end on December 31, 2013. Not true. look below. Sorry, I tossed the peelie. Even without a coupon, this is still an awesome deal.
Update on Deadline  and size batteries:
The deadline for entering codes is 8/14/14. Sizes eligible are "AA/AAA--8, C/D--4, 9V--2 or any combination of the above sizes." You must buy two packs.
I did see the peelie on packages of AAA-16, so I suppose it is eligible, too. If the peelie is there, I would think the peelie code would work. This deal is for people 18, (19+  in AL and NE residents.) It appears this deal is also in Sam's Club.
Your turn
Do you have a Walmart near you? Would you shop Walmart to get this deal? Do you, children, grandchildren or family use lots of batteries? Come on back here and tell me what your batteries cost using this deal. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Failures, Including Victor

from Lowe's for Christmas gifts
I really want both of these.

Grill Cover
On April 27, 2011, a tornado did damage to my home and ripped the grill cover from the grill. Can you believe that part of the grill cover was somehow under the house, partially through an opening into the crawl space. I don't know if it was sucked around the corner and sucked or pushed into the opening. Since FEMA would not help with anything, all repair was left up to me. I bought a new and (to me) expensive cover for the grill. It was coal black for a day or two. Finally, it was a light gray and annoying. Yes, I took it back since it faded. Since I do not have the receipt at my fingertips, I got a $25 gift card for Lowe's.

However, I was able to use it for two books, one for each of my grandchildren. The almanac (8-yr. old boy) is colorful inside and teaches about things like cloud names. He might need help reading some of this. The bird book (6-yr.-old girl) will be great. She will need help reading all of this, I am sure. But, my son and his wife are both teachers, English teachers.

Each book was $9.95. I would never have spent this amount for a gift for them. But, I am glad I was forced to buy from Lowe's. These are books are perfect. They will each get a $0.97 Matchbox car in addition.

Remember Victor? He did not work out for me. He caught one rat, then was blinking all the time like I caught another. Then, the batteries that were supposed to last for catching 50 rats somehow quit. I have other plans! Victor was returned.

Since I could not find the receipt, I now have a $54 gift card for Tractor Supply (TSC). I may buy gifts through the year from TSC.

The plumber came and brought all the parts and collected his fee. He said he would return the next day and finish the job, so I could just pay him for those parts. He is so nice, most trusted plumber in town, and a relative of friends. He never came back. So, I took back the parts. I now have a $42 card for a hardware store. I need boards from there.

$54 + $25 + $42 = $121 on cards!

I could have found all these receipts, eventually. But, how many hours might that take? I guarantee you it was more time than I was willing to expend right now. It's Christmas. I need to buy gifts! These businesses are not what I might think of as gift-search destinations...until I thought twice.

I wanted to get a birdhouse from TSC, one for the little grandchildren in TX to enjoy. But, I also wanted to use flat rate boxes, so that was out--too small. Besides, my daughter sent me pictures of two boxes sent Priority. The mailing cost on those boxes was free to me, but the contents and the boxes were crushed! Thankfully, these boxes were the only ones I ever sent that did not have breakable items.

No Fear
All the totals will be used. This time of the year, every store has special items so they can cash in on the Christmas buying. However, these were my last two gifts.

This was frustrating, but not too much. At least there are useful items and gift items at all these stores.

Your turn
Have you ever had so many gift cards issued when you could not find receipts? I have not. How do you like those books for gifts?

Patsy Cline Goes for a Ride

going for a ride

Patsy Cline has never been in this cage. She has never gone for a ride. Well, she came home in a box when she was ripped from her chicken family. That does not count.
I took the cage and pulled it to the pen. I opened the pen about ten inches and blocked the door with the wagon and cage. Then, I opened the cage and dropped oats into the cage, hoping she would jump in to get oats. Well, she saw the oats fall and rushed over. However, she looked under the wagon, very confused, looking here and there for the oats she saw fall.
She would then come from under the cage and back into the pen, looking at me quizzically. Okay, after a dozen sprinkles of oats, she was still not getting that the oats were in the pen. Thelma watched warily from a distance.  
Finally, I caught her and put her in the cage. Thelma became more wary. So, I gave up on catching her and told her about the adventure awaiting Patsy Cline.
Patsy Cline had to wait in the car in the cage while I went into the house for a moment. When I came back, she was checking out the floor best she could. She looked at me, the console, the plastic I had under her, just everything. I was much amused.
Hoping Patsy Cline would not be fearful, I drove carefully so not to throw her around the cage. She squatted for a while and finally just sat down. Then, she got up and started looking out the window. She did not appear to be wary of things flying by. She looked interested.
After her adventure which I can only tell you next Saturday, I decided to let her go along for some short chores and stops. She pecked on oats and her apple.
I think I will take them for a ride more often. I stopped for a dollar hamburger. The order taker and the woman at the window were quite amused, laughing because I had a chicken in the car. Then, people laughed harder when they heard her name.
By the way, chicken poop smells awful after two hours being closed up in the car. Ewww!
Your turn
Do you ever take your chickens for a ride for anything? Do they seem to enjoy it and look around? 

I just deleted a post!

If you get my posts by email, will you email it to me so I can resurrect it for the blog?

Thank you!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Cards

Janie's giveaway some good stuff. Go Here to sign up for this awesome giveaway.

Books, Amazon Gift Cards, T-Shirt, Free Editing

Isn't this great. This mean you can win Christmas presents if you don't want any of these gifts.

Hurry. The contest closes in less than two days!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Finn

Over at Mystic Mud, Michele and her family will have to say goodbye to little Finn. The story of his premature birth and how now the end is heartbreaking. Visit the family HERE,  I just cannot manage to say more, so you will have to read it yourself. I am heartbroken.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Worst Christmas Present I Ever Received

Okay, so maybe it is not the worst, but it hurt most to be given this present. This happened in 1980. My ex had moved away to a new church. I was to follow when the house sold. Does anyone remember 1980 when houses sat for months without selling? He came home with gifts on the 23rd of December. On Christmas morning we opened our gifts.

The girls, five- and ten-years-old received real pearl necklaces with 14 ct. gold clasps. They were thrilled. I was, too. The pearls were just fresh-water pearls, but oh, so pretty to my girls and me. Then, I opened my gift.

My gift held....a pump pot. What is a pump pot? It is a thermos that you push on the top to release the liquid instead of having a button or little lever at the level of the spigot. There is a big, soft button, about 2 inches across on the top. Somewhere, I had seen one when he was with me and had remarked that it would be nice for a picnic. He purchased it for me. Idiot! I admire orange or purple things, but that does not mean I want anything orange or purple.

I was totally in shock when he purchased something that confirmed the girls femininity and bought me something so I could serve him. He saw me as utilitarian, not deserving of ornamentation. Obviously, a shit brown gift was good enough. No, I did not appreciate the thought in it's the thought that counts.

Getting an appliance for a gift is great only if it is my idea. Our second Christmas I was pregnant and we were having  a house built. I told him that I only wanted a washer and refrigerator for my gift. I assured him it would be his gift too. We were young and practically penniless, so I was trying to make things better for us. That washer and dryer sat in the living room with a huge red bow around each. So, I am not against utilitarian gifts at all. It was just the disparity in my gift and the girls' gifts that hurt and shocked me so.

Plus, I had to act pleased for the children's sake on Christmas morning. They were thrilled that we got something for a picnic and were very happy.

My  mother gave me a blender one Christmas because I had been wishing I had one. She said she had hoped that getting something to cook with was okay after I squealed with delight when I opened the box. It was a red Hamilton Beach blender with a glass container, not plastic. It still works after 40+ years.

That January, I told him I was divorcing him. I had already decided to, but the gift cinched it.

If you have anything disparaging to say about me, just don't. I plan to have someone else read the comments and delete all that would upset me. This seemingly incidental happening is part of the pattern of abuse he heaped on me in the name of God.

Your turn
Have you ever just been insulted by a gift from a lover/husband/SO/whatever? Did it cut you to the core?

Want to hear more of this evil ex? If I am encouraged, I might start a second blog, open only to people invited who express interest. Of course, it will start after Christmas since I don't want to recount anything until after a joyous Christmas.

Boon or Bane?

vinegar jugs aka pots for bulbs
Using vinegar jugs for planting bulbs or even seeds is a boon. I save money since I don't have to buy pots. My parsimonious will not, cannot buy pots at retail. My parsimonious self cannot dislike free potting supplies. Boon
However, since I am not doing much potting due to no way to drill holes in the bottom, I have just collected vinegar jugs. They drive me nuts cluttering the yard when they blow from their appointed place. Bane

which brings me to the solution
1/2 bag
I cut the bag, first the handle and then right down the center. 

Voila! Rope
Tie the "rope" onto one jug. Then, string the other jugs onto the "rope." I have another "rope" just like this for another use for something else. Several more jugs could go onto this string of jugs. this is much easier to carry to the road. 

The last jug on the left is a milk jug, also tied. Now, the recycling won't blow all over the street. Now, I don't have to retrieve my garbage.
Because of physical problems and blinding rain and forgetfulness, I have not take the recycling out to the road for a month. There were only three cans and milk jugs, none of which was stinky. So, the bin was full when I put the jugs in.
Your turn
Now, I know others reuse plastic bags. How? Do you ever make "ropes"?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Favorite Ornament

kewpie doll ornament

The older daughter, second child, (almost 44 now) found (okay, I showed it to her) a rubber Kewpie Doll ornament that came on a package or maybe I bought it. She was only 5 months old and suddenly very mobile when that doll appeared on her radar!  It was cherubic and cute--her and the ornament. I showed it to her. She took the doll ornament from my hand and chewed on the shock of hair on top of its head.

She was a peaceable child, not given to temper tantrums. But, for this doll her wrath grew each time she was denied it. I was really afraid she would swallow hair. I am sure she did.

She had her first tooth at four months, so the hair on the kewpie doll was being used to break other teeth through her gums.  She spent many hours with this Kewpie doll.

hair styled by mouth

appealing smile

Putting it high on the tree the next year just made it more dangerous in my mind. She did not like the tree's feel, but I never knew when she might give the tree a good yank and pull the tree down to get the doll down. The doll stayed down that second Christmas and she only chewed the hair a little bit. Finally, one day the kewpie doll "disappeared." I have kept that raggedy-headed kewpie doll because of the strange hairdo my baby gave it by chewing vigorously on the hair and drooling. It still makes me smile every Christmas. It's a precious memory.

Yes, it goes on the tree right along with my assortment of ornaments--kindergarten-made, pom pom ornaments to Christopher Radko.  It brings back baby memories.

Your turn
Do you have an ornament, worthless by the world's standards, that you have kept over the years because of the connection to your child? We are not talking connections to your family as you grew up, just something worthless that brings a smile or tears, reminding you of your precious baby or child. We will talk about ornaments with family memories later.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Water Heater for Hens' Water

cheap chicken or pet water heater

If you need directions for making a really cheap water heater to keep water for chickens from freezing, here are directions for my heater that I designed and exbf executed in 2009. This is the fifth year, and I still have only $3.71 invested in its construction. The post from 2010 has started to deconstruct itself!

Here are instructions for a cookie tin water heater. I think it cost about $11. I imagine that if you have an old cookie tin and the electrical parts at your house, this will be nearly free. He uses a 40 watt bulb. Mine uses a 60 watt bulb.

My water heater is sitting outdoors in the weather with absolutely no shelter. So, my extension cord must be inside the tall metal container and connected to the light socket. The cookie tin must be indoors because the extension cord has a light plugged into it and is not inside the cookie tin. The connection cannot be exposed to  precipitation. My connection is inside the metal container.

I wonder if a setup with no electricity available could use either design with a candle inside and tiny holes drilled to provide oxygen to a burning candle. What do you think?

Exbf will put it all together when he comes Wednesday.

Your turn
Do you have a water heater for your chickens or other animals? Did you make it or buy it? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spending Less to Stay Warm

I just don't have the resources to stay even comfortably warm. So, I figure out other ways to keep my body warm. Wearing layers, closing off rooms, eating warm foods, baking, and other methods work.

However, when I get under the covers, about half a dozen worn out blankets, I am still cold because of sheets. Percale is like lying on a sheet of ice. Besides, I gave up using percale years ago.  Cotton is better, especially if it is not wrinkle-free. Flannel is the warmest thing around. But, even that was not working for me. Believe me, I need a less drafty bedroom and better quality blankets.

One night, my sheet shifted and I pulled up a blanket in my sleep. The blanket was toasty warm. So, now I use a blanket instead of a sheet next to my body. It WORKS! Try it. I don't have to warm up my blanket. Even with socks, pants, t-shirt, and sweatshirt, I can still feel a cold sheet but not a blanket. It feels cuddly to my body through clothing.

Over my pillow I put a small, cheap fleece throw, gotten as a gift last year, but like the $2.88 ones at Walmart. Then, I pull it up over my head, forming a complete barrier to air seeping in at my neck and shutting out drafts, keeping my shoulders warm. I do keep my nose clear so I can breathe fresh, cold air and not exhale under the blanket causing me to feel

Someday, I will make a blanket into a fitted sheet. Once last winter, I put a lightweight chenille blanket over my bottom sheet. That was before I started using a blanket instead of a top sheet. Right now, I am still using a flannel bottom sheet.

I went out Saturday night and found both hens in the same Rubbermaid box. Other than the second night Patsy Cline was here and a few thereafter, this is the first time they have shared a box. They were both cuddled together. It is so cute.

Your turn
Have you ever used a blanket instead of a sheet to make the layer next to you a little warmer to the touch?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

And, the doctor said, " ....

On November 21st, I had a D and C and was told to make an appointment in two weeks. So, this past Thursday, I was set for my appointment. The doctor's office called and told me that the biopsy was fine, no cancer, no polyps, and I did not have to come in. I assured her I needed to talk to the doctor. The woman stilled tried to talk me out of coming in even though I repeatedly told her I did need to see him, that something was wrong. We went back and forth. Finally, she sounded resigned and agreed.

When I saw the doctor, I told him I had never had enough "pain" to take the oxycodone he gave me. However, the tender feeling that I felt right after surgery was still there, just as strong as the day I left the surgery center. If I pick up five pounds or walk up the five steps to my side door, I feel my uterus.

He seemed to be surprised at the lack of pain and said many women have such hard cramps that they do require medication for pain. I kept reiterating that there was something wrong. He kept assuring me I was okay. I told him I had a bit of an elevated temperature. Of course, it was less than one degree.

After I assured him at least a half dozen times that something was wrong, he said I had a low-grade infection and I needed an antibiotic. I mentioned I also had a sinus infection again, so he gave me Levaquin and said it would take care of both infections.

If I had not insisted, I wonder what kind of infection would have landed me in the hospital. He is a very good physician, and I trust him. Why do I have to insist that there is something wrong to get physicians to take action? I go to doctors because each has a sterling reputation, but it seems I must not be credible. I feel like I am not expressing myself effectively. Can you imagine that?--me not expressing myself effectively.

NOW, I am suffering from pains in left calf, both arms, right foot, right groin and all sorts of places, just like I did the last time I took Levaquin last month.

I feel like I am getting superior care and will not change doctors. I know him, was the patient of his father, now retired. His father was not "knife happy," removing uteruses like some doctors in this town did for so many years. One obgyn in this town treated all women the same. Each one was recommended the same treatment if anything was problematic--complete hysterectomy. His office was one block from me. I have to drive a ways to get to this superior doctor I have now. People thought I was nuts to drive out of town to my obgyn.

I like that known history of attitudes about women. I like that he has all my records and remembers me and things I have said.  I hate it when a doctor does not remember things I say. There is no expectation that he can recite my comments, but not ever recalling anything I ever said makes me think the doctor is not listening.

He is not as funny as his father, but I have resigned myself to that.

Your turn
Do you take into account a obgyn's attitude toward women when you choose or stay with a doctor? Would you choose a doctor who had the reputation of eventually performing complete hysterectomies on all patients? Have you had a D and C and felt two weeks later that it was performed that day?