Monday, March 30, 2009

April challenge for us..... No More Groceries

My pantry is full of crackers, stuffing mixes, muffin mixes, cereals, canned fruit/ vegetables/ meat & the like. We also have a freezer of various meats, a raspberry pie and a gallon of ice cream (okay - there's a few partial bags of flavored coffee in there too).

We are going to have a NO-BUY challenge for the month of April... no buying of any groceries other than eggs, milk & fresh fruit. This is a HUGE challenge because we run to the store for one thing and end up with a cart full of things that were not on the list - and it costs us $100 to walk out the door. I usually make a double batch of whatever we're having so we'll have leftovers; one less meal to cook.

Part of the reason for doing this is that in a few short weeks we'll be heading back to Colorado. If we don't eat all or most of what's in the pantry we'll either have to pack & haul the remaining canned/boxed food OR give it to my son Spencer or donate it to the local Food Bank. We did bring back a few groceries we had left in the camper when we came back to Nebraska last fall - but there are still several canned goods that we left.

I'll let you know how the challenge goes! As long as I'm making challenges.... we may as well give up TV as well. This whole digital TV is for the birds! Ugh!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Mother of All Garage Sales... was a success!!

WOW!!! Where did the weekend go? We spent Friday setting up our booth at the Mother of All Garage Sales - we shared a 10 x 20 booth with friends whom we've done this same garage sale with for years. For a change WE had more stuff than our friends did - not that this is something we're proud of you understand! Usually the Friday nite set up turns into more of a swap meet for the vendors and we were NOT disappointed!! While I was unloading boxes & arranging stuff Jerry set out to scope out bargains! He found 6 of those heavy plastic patio chairs for $10... and also a wash tub - on wheels with a shelf below - complete with lid & drain hose for another $10!! Perfect for the cabin!!! Other treasures were glass chimneys for a couple kerosene lamps we had that had none - 50 cents each, a set of 6 plastic wine glasses (in 6 colors!) for $3.00, a set of 8 cloth napkins for $1.00, a Tupperware dressing shaker for 50 cents, two cream/green round enamel pans for $5.00, three cream/green valances for $1.00 (these will be great in the cabin kitchen!), a black basket with 4storage jars, and a saucepan for $1.00. I also bought a birdfeeder for 50 cents. The other thing we got was a couple of small tires (probably for a wheel barrow?) for $1.00/pair - for Skeeter. Jerry bought some birdhouses from another vendor for 50 cents each then sold two of them for $2.50 each! I can't tell you how many people asked about the wash tub - wanting to know how much it was. When I told these folks I had plans to use it I got varied responses - mostly about planting flowers in it - and nearly everyone who asked about it was surprised that I was planning to use it for its intended use - to wash clothes!
Don't get the idea that all we did was spend money because we did quite well selling our stuff and came home with much, much less than we took!! We also donated some of our unsold stuff to the People's City Mission. All in all it was a HUGE success! But we were VERY tired by the end of the day!

This morning we were getting ready to walk to Walgreens about 10-12 blocks or so from us. We noticed our neighbors across the street had set a couple loveseats out on the curb with a sign that said "FREE"!! We walked on by because we needed to go to Walgreens... but then I remembered I hadn't grabbed a bag out of the pickup... so we walked the 1/2 block back home... but not before we gave this loveseat (covered in cheesy southwest fabric) the sniff test. Didn't smell like animal or cigarettes so we picked it up, hauled it across the street & tossed it into the back of the pickup. We noticed when we picked it up that the legs had been replaced.......... with four 2x4 pieces on each corner! Again - cheesy, but an easy fix. We really didn't plan to get any more furniture to take to the cabin... but this was free... appeared to just need a slip cover or reupholstered (too much trouble) as the skirt around the bottom was torn & there were a couple places that had been worn & patched. The whole time we're moving this thing we're laughing about what rednecks we are... and what our friends would think. But hey! Free is free!!

We grabbed our bag & headed (again) to Walgreens. We picked up a few things we needed then walked across the street to the BK so Jerry could get a soda. There's a coffee shop next door so I ran in to get "good" coffee (they only sell organic and/or fair trade - and their "to go" cups are organic & 100% recycleable! When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was a large gorilla painted on a barrel. Turns out it was a water barrel complete with a spigot & filter! Gave me lots of ideas! When we left the coffee shop we walked toward home & wouldn't you know it - the Goodwill store was open! Jerry said "What could you possibly need at the Goodwill? We just got rid of a TON of stuff!". My reply: "I just want to see what they don't have - maybe WE have something THEY need!" We went in looked around... I really wasn't finding anything, but Jerry found an oak Eastlake lamp table - in great shape I might add - for $14.99 and a large folding table for $3.99 (we bought it for our garage sale-ing friends!) and a woven drink holder for $1.99. Since we were on foot and still about 7 blocks from home, we paid for our items, walked home & got the truck (which had the loveseat still in it). We loaded our items in the back, then drove to our friends' home to drop off the folding table and show off our big scores of the morning! I LOVE Goodwill shopping!! I just hope our friends don't start shopping there & getting all the good deals before we do!

This afternoon we've been sitting on the deck in our new chairs - enjoying the sunshine even tho' it's not terribly warm out. Tonite we'll be going to a birthday dinner for a friend... and then our week starts all over again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Liver & Onions and other stuff

Sounds yummy, eh? Not to some, but to each his own! Jerry & I really like liver & onions.... or onions & liver (we use LOTS of onions!) and don't really understand those who don't care for it. Last nite we had our friend T over for liver & onions. He said he'd never had it so this was a first for him. I also made mashed potatoes with liver gravy and homemade wheat bread... with raspberry pie & homemade ice cream for dessert. We had a nice time eating & visiting together. This morning when I woke up I could STILL smell liver and onions. By now - mid-afternoon - it is not noticeable.
Today we picked up tables from a friend that we will be using for the Mother of All Garage Sales on Saturday. Tomorrow morning we'll be heading to the Event Center to get the tables set up and begin setting out all the STUFF we're hoping to sell. Jerry brought out four more boxes of stuff (auction leftovers) that have not been marked yet... looks like that will be my plan for the rest of my day!
Life right now is pretty calm. Once we get past the Garage Sale this weekend I have a week to get ready for my big trip to North Carolina! It's been a year since I've seen my daughter Lani. Thank God for cell phones and email! She emails me pictures of the little girls, Hayli, Kristen & Madeline and keeps me informed about what cute (or not-so-cute) things the girls are doing. I am SO looking forward to spending a week with all of them - getting to know my new son-in-law, Kristopher & his little girl Kristen... reuniting with Hayli and meeting Madeline! It sounds like Lani & Hayli have made plans for things to do while I'm there: planting flowers, making Easter cookies, finishing a toy trunk and going to the beach to name a few!
I probably won't be back online until Sunday...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Winter Corn??? I got punk'd!!!!

Yes! Winter corn! Never heard of it? Well, even as a farm girl there were things that I had a difficult time understanding. My dad, a farmer, planted spring wheat - which in itself is a strange phenomenon since it's planted in the late fall. Soybeans - planted in the spring, harvested in fall. Milo & sorghums - planted in the spring, harvested in the fall. Corn planted in the spring, harvested in the fall. My question: if wheat can be planted in the fall, slumbering in the ground until spring when it wakes up & starts peeking out of the ground - then why not plant a crop of corn in the fall, let it rest during the snow of winter & wake up in the spring? It would be like having a bumper crop!
Here's the rub. My dad explained to me why "winter corn" was not "an option" in the midwest (or anywhere?)..... but when Jerry and I drive down the Interstate in early spring and see the barren fields waiting to be plowed & sown.... just when I think the landscape looks so depressing all the sudden there would be fields of green.... not a lot of green but just enough to liven things up a bit. Fields of spring wheat. Even tho' I KNOW why winter corn can't be grown, I still persist in annoying Jerry asking, "I don't see any winter corn, do you?". He groans!
If you remember a week ago we went to Kansas to visit my parents & spend some quality time on the farm. We attended the 50th birthday party of the guy who has been farming my dad's farm while we were there. (Probably mentioned the birthday party, too.) Anyway, after spending the evening visiting with old friends & neighbors Jerry & I prepared to head back to the farm. As we were getting ready to walk out the door to leave, Jerry told me I should say goodbye to the birthday boy who was involved in conversation with two or three others. I told him that I didn't want to interupt & we should just leave - but he insisted. So I waited until there was a break in the conversation then told BB (birthday boy) thanks for letting us barge in on his party (we weren't actually invited, just tagged along with my parents) and wished him Happy Birthday again. He thanked us for coming out, then with a straight face, asked me to tell my dad that he (BB) was thinking about putting in some winter corn this year - maybe that would boost their profits having two crops of corn! My jaw dropped & I could feel my face getting red! Behind me, Jerry was having a hard time not falling to the floor laughing at his practical joke. He & BB had punk'd me!
On the drive back to the farm Jerry confessed that while I was visiting with old friends he had gone to get a drink, pulling BB aside & getting him to play along. Jerry said as he was explaining the joke to BB he could tell that BB wasn't sure if HE was getting punk'd or if I was! It was obvious that BB enjoyed the joke as much as Jerry.
Hope this doesn't get around the local coffee shops back home! :o)

Spring is finally here... maybe...

Good morning Campers! Already at 9:30 it is 54 degrees. It's not real sunny, but hey! this is Nebraska - whaddaya expect?
Yesterday was BEAUTIFUL in every sense of the word. I sat outside on the porch (out of the sun) writing a letter to a friend, did a little reading, and even painted my toenails. A couple days ago I filled my lone birdfeeder (think I may have mentioned that?) and left the bag of birdfood on the porch. Duh! I walked out the front door yesterday to find that the squirrels had discovered it, torn the bag open & created a feeding trough of birdfood approximately 18" long by 2" tall under the rail. Mental slap to the forehead! I had saved a 64 oz. juice container for some reason (must've known I was going to do something stupid that would require keeping it) - so I grabbed a cup & funnel and cleaned it up. Evidently I'm a marked woman now as one squirrel came up on the porch while I was reading & I swear he flipped me the bird. He must've told his friends as there was quite a bit of chattering in the tree in our front yard - it was obvious they were cursing at me! Speaking of squirrels...we have good friends here who have terrible squirrel problems. The little critters dig in their patio flower pots & dig in the backyard plants... and even destroyed a patio swing... you know, the kind with cushioned seats & a canopy. Yup! Tore it to pieces. The sad part about that is - the neighbors feed them so they continue to hang around.
I noticed there are some flowers coming up in the back yard. I didn't notice them yesterday. The bushes along the fence line are loaded with buds as is the big tree in the front yard. The birds were quite noisy early this morning. When I looked out the back door I noticed the bushes were LOADED with little birds. I don't know enough about birds to pick out pick out more than a robin, cardinal & blue jay... but I do enjoy their son! I just love the sound of birds... especially the ones that are on those nature CDs... in fact, a couple of the blogs I follow have these nature songs on their sites (I've not figured out how to do that yet)... so I'll open their blog, read, then leave it open so I can listen to the peaceful sound of nature.
Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, March 20, 2009

But the cabin isn't done yet... next discussion...

The other day Jerry & I had a BIG discussion about several things regarding the cabin. Several months ago he proposed this: paint the south side of the cabin BLACK to absorb heat from the sun. There would be some kind of small structure added to the length of the cabin - with vents that go into the cabin to let the heat in. I was NOT real excited about the prospect of painting the exterior black... even if it was just one side. I guess he finally gave up on convincing me this was a good idea.
Along this same line of thinking... we were at Walmart discussing whether or not to start seeds/seedlings & take with us and the short growing season on the mountain. I asked, "why not build a sunroom/garden room kind of room onto the south side of the cabin?" Hmmm! He had to think about that... try to come with reasons why not!
We tossed around the idea of building a structure about two-thirds the length of the cabin using recycled windows and/or patio doors. The floor could be made of concrete pavers or flat rocks (laid on sand) which would absorb the heat. Raised beds and individual (large) pots could be used to plant the garden.
The eaves on the south side of the cabin would capture rain water which would go into the downspout (which would go thru the roof of the garden room) - which would then empty into a barrel. The water would be used to water our garden.
Many of you may know that Jerry has been a longtime fan of garden ponds, water plants and fish. I used this idea so he couldn't veto the plan! A small garden pond with a few plants & fish would be perfect!
Jerry (he's so smart!) reminded me at that point that we should FINISH the cabin BEFORE we start another building project!
Other projects to plan include composting bins, a shed for the generator, the chicken condo, and a storage shed (for tools & stuff).
Anyone interested in a working vacation?

Finally Friday!

This week went by quickly! I got my airline tickets purchased for my trip to North Carolina to see my girls! I'll get to spend Easter with them! Is it too soon to start packing? It's been over a year since I've seen Lani, my daughter...I can't wait to see them all!!
Tuesday at the auction the kitchen guys (we'll call them Joe & Tommy, cuz that's their names!) made corned beef & cabbage. It smelled SO good but we had had a BIG lunch & I wasn't hungry. I knew there was a corned beef in the freezer and while I laid in bed reading I kept thinking I should go put it in the crockpot... but I fell asleep. I DID put it in Wednesday morning & let it cook all day...and all night... and we had it yesterday for lunch. This slab of meat stuck out of the crockpot - I had to put foil over it because the lid wouldn't fit... but by the time we ate it yesterday it had shrunk to about a third of the size it was going in! We ate almost all of the meat & scooped out the veggies into a casserole dish......... and put ANOTHER corned beef in to cook in the juice! It should be ready for dinner tonite! Do you get the idea that we like corned beef??
Yesterday I washed sheets & towels & hung them on the clothesline to dry. I love how laundry looks on the line... and how it smells! I had washed a load of light colored clothes... but evidently some of the fringe from the red throw rugs I'd washed was left in the washer & turned a couple shirts PINK! I soaked them in OxiClean... one (Jerry's) came clean, the other (mine) did not! I hate using regular bleach, but I may have to resort to it in this instance as this shirt was a favorite! Ugh!
Anyway...while my laundry was hanging out Jerry & I ran a couple errands... followed by a trip to the hardware store & thrift store. While at the hardware store I was looking at the different rubs & spices that were displayed by the grills. I commented to Jerry (er, I thought it was Jerry), rather loudly, "Hey honey! How about some butt rub?!" and a voice from my past said "I don't really care for butt rub!". I turned around to find a guy I had worked with more than 15 years ago! Thank goodness he has a good sense of humor! Jerry also knew him & we talked for a while!
At the thrift store I picked up a few more books (I'll have a library when I'm done!), a pair of Eddie Bauer capris, a black tank top with faux turqoise stones around the neckline and a little black skirt. Jerry found a couple "Sunshine Family" toy sets (still in the box) which he purchase to sell on eBay.
I think tonite is a stay at home nite. Tomorrow there is an auction Jerry wants to go to... about 2 hours from here. The auction bill listed three apartment size gas stoves (we only need one!). We had priced them at Menards - around $350 - so if we can pick one up for less than $100 that would be great! Tomorrow night we have a 50th birthday party to go to! Busy, busy, busy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patty's Day & other stuff

Yesterday, of course, was St. Patty's Day. Other than wearing o' the green, we really did nothing to celebrate the day! Jerry's dad came for to visit for the day and we went to HuHot Mongolian Grill for lunch with two of Jerry's four boys D & A... and one little one, L. No family day would be complete without playing cards... so we went to A's house (close to HuHot) and played call your partner 10 point pitch for about 3hours! Always a fun time! Jerry's dad left about 4:30 and we headed to the auction.
At first glance there was really nothing I was interested in. Jerry did find a few things: a replacement propane tank (for the camper), a box of 3 throw rugs and a couple other things. Upon further examination I discovered there was a clothesline that would be perfect for the cabin... and it was NIB (new in box). It's a 4-line retractable clothesline that could attach to the outside of the cabin and a post (that could be the tricky part!). This is the very same clothesline that our landlords have provided for us to use hree! I love the way laundry looks hanging on the line and the smell of it when it's dry! I do wonder if my laundry will take on the smell of the pinon trees and sagebrush at the cabin! At any rate I'm pretty jazzed about the prospect of having a way to dry clothes - hanging clothes in trees was the other option! ;o) We did buy a 110v electric dryer at an auction which we can use at the cabin but we'd have to run the generator in order to use it. We used it a little here and discovered that it doesn't dry as hot as a 220v dryer and had to dry clothes in smaller loads or dry them twice as long! We've not yet figured out HOW we're (I'm) going to do our laundry at the cabin... but I'm thinking that we'll (I'll) use a Rubbermaid tote since I have several of them. One website I saw had galvanized wash tubs that they used - using their feet to do the work! Good exercise, clean clothes AND clean feet!
Laundry and toilet facilities were two of the mini-discussions I had with my Aunt & a handful of cousins in Kansas. We'd really like to have a composting toilet but the cost is a bit prohibitive. We may resort to the Humanure method! They were amused? I think! But I reminded them that our plan is not something new - it's the same things their parents/grandparents did 100+ years ago! Here's a link to watch a video about how it works. Just copy & paste into your browser.

We won't have our refrigerator ready to use this summer and the one in the camper doesn't seem to run on propane, although it's supposed to. We don't have and won't have a root cellar (I'm not sure I'd go in it if we had one!). But Jerry & I did discuss the possibility of using one of our water barrels for keeping food cool. The water stays quite chilly so keeping perishable food (in water-tight containers) in the cool water should work.
Anyway ~ last night as I was lying in bed I kept thinking that I should have put our corned beef in the crockpot in the morning so it would be ready to eat today (yes, I'm a day late!) and I was tempted to get up & put it in to cook before I went to sleep... but alas, as I was thinking about it I fell asleep so this morning when I got up I put it in to cook. It will be tender & ready to eat tomorrow!
I'm currently looking for cheap plane tix to North Carolina to see my girls. Lani found tix on for $152. I need to get those ASAP!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend in the Land of Oz

FRIDAY we headed south to Kansas... the Land of Oz. I hadn't seen my parents since Christmas - so this visit was MUCH overdue! On the drive back today "Back Where I Come From" (Kenny Chesney) was playing and I thought it was appropriate! Friday nite we went to a little town near where my parents live - 30 miles is "near" (much like where we live in Colorado!) - and had dinner at a little steak place. Following dinner we drove back to my hometown, to the home of some cousins. We had a great visit with them and some awesome chocolate cake! Sleeping at the farm is always great... very peaceful... except for the bawling of the cows that make their home in the stockyard.
SATURDAY morning Jerry went to another gun auction... the bids were more than he was wanting to pay so he didn't buy much. I spent my late morning/early afternoon at the sewing machine. Sewing is NOT what I do best... but I can sew if I have to. A friend had given me some fabric a few years ago and I decided to pull it out of storage & put it to use. I made three sets of 4 napkins, two sets of 4 placemats and a table runner. The two sets of napkins & placemats will be gifts for a couple friends of mine in Colorado. Saturday evening my parents were supposed to go to the 50th birthday party of the guy who has been doing the farming for my dad the past couple years. Yet another good opportunity to see people I don't get to see often. Some of my favorite people were there - they had been 4-H leaders as well as Youth Group Leaders at church.
SUNDAY morning I went to church with my parents while Jerry went to Walmart. It's always a joy to go to church there... it gives me an opportunity to visit with people I don't see very often. A lot of my relatives go to church there so it's a little family reunion every time. Sunday evening was spent at church... celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Irish stew, desserts and Malarky. Never heard of Malarky? It's a card game, similar to Phase 10, in that every hand changes... as do partners! There were five tables, four at a table.
The best part of Sunday - was getting to visit with friends & relatives alike - answering questions about our cabin & sharing ideas for future plans there. Of course this caused some eyebrows to raise but that's okay!
TODAY... Jerry & I went to the little antique store in town and another antique store in a neighboring town. The weather was BEAUTIFUL. My brother & sister-in-law came from Pennsylvania and spent part of the day on the farm with us. I rummaged around in the Quonset and found a couple canisters that I remembered from my grandfather's house when I was little. I talked my dad into emptying the contents into other cans & cleaned them up to use in my kitchen!
Skeeter LOVED, loved, loved running around the farmyard... chasing cats & squirrels. He did have a small encounter with an electric fence this morning when he & Jerry were outside. It seems just his tail was zapped... and he must've gotten the idea that the fence meant business because when we were close to it, he dodged it!
It's good to be home, to sit in my own chair, use my own laptop and be able to sleep in my own bed tonite. Ahhhhhh! I guess that makes home the Land of Ahhhhs!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

.....Wednesday wonderings.....

It's Hump Day! The weekend is not far off.

Monday I decided to bake bread! Don't get excited... I did it the old fashioned way... I bought a package of 3 frozen loaves of whole wheat bread! We keep our house rather cool (thermostat is set at 65) so the bread didn't rise like I thought it should have. I threw a towel over it & forgot about it... until 11:30 when I was headed to bed! I realized that it had FINALLY doubled in size & was ready to bake... so... I heated up the oven & baked bread! I finally went to bed about half past midnite!

Yesterday we ran to SuperSaver (a local grocery store) and bought a few things. We bought some bulk items - lentils, split peas, dates, nuts and I decided to try blueberry Kefir! I'm not a milk drinker so I'm hoping to get my calcium, Vitamin D & some probiotics from this! I've heard it's really good & good for you so we'll see! We went to the auction last nite... bought nothing! The "egg lady" was there so I did get 2 dozen farm fresh eggs! We went to a favorite Mexican restaurant with friends for a bite to eat instead! We were even home in time to watch "The Mentalist" and "Missing"!

Today is a stay at home least until 5:30. I have a hair appointment at a little salon down the street from where we're living. I'm a bit nervous about it since this is the first time going there. I've gone to the same stylist for years but the last couple times I got my hair cut I've been disappointed.

Not sure what Thursday has in store. We'll be going to the farm to see my folks on Friday. Skeeter likes going to the farm - lots of room to run & lots of cats to chase! I have a couple sewing projects to do while we're there. I have a BIG piece of fabric a friend gave me that I'm going to cut into squares and make into cloth dinner napkins and get some direction from my mom as to how to turn another piece of the same fabric into a kitchen curtain. I also want to go through mom's fabric closet & find some material to make shopping bags! Sewing is NOT my gift... but I CAN sew a straight line which is all any of my little projects take! My mom sews wonderfully - made clothes for me when I was growing up and has made lots of beautiful quilts.

I have a mound of laundry to tackle and a few things to do around the house before my (*gulp) hair appointment. Better get crackin'! Have a great hump day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ford, Chrysler, GM....

INTERESTING...maybe the country should consider bailing them out to some degree

Nothing needs to be said... Ford, Chrysler and GM's contributions after 9/11

An interesting commentary...You might find this of interest:

'CNN Headline News did a short news listing regarding Ford and GM's
contributions to the relief and recovery efforts in New York and Washington .

The findings are as follows.....

1. Ford- $10 million to American Red Cross matching employee contributions of the same number plus 10 Excursions to NY Fire Dept. The company also offered ER response team services and office space to displaced government employees.

2. GM- $10 million to American Red Cross matching employee contributions of the same number and a fleet of Vans, SUVs, and Trucks.

3. Daimler Chrysler- $10 million to support of the children and victims of the Sept. 11 attack.

4. Harley Davidson motorcycles- $1 million and 30 new motorcycles to the New York Police Dept.

5. Volkswagen- Employees and management created a Sept 11 Foundation,funded initially with $2 million, for the assistance of the children and victims of the WTC.

6. Hyundai- $300,000 to the American Red Cross.

7. Audi- see VW

8. BMW - Nothing.

9. Daewoo - Nothing.

10. Fiat - Nothing.

11. Honda - Nothing despite boasting of second best sales month ever in August 2001

12. Isuzu - Nothing.

13. Mitsubishi - Nothing.

14. Nissan - Nothing.

15. Porsche - Nothing. Press release with condolences via the Porsche website.

16. Subaru - Nothing.

17. Suzuki - Nothing.

18. Toyota - Nothing despite claims of high sales in July and August 2001.
Condolences posted on the website .

Whenever the time may be for you to purchase or lease a new vehicle,keep this information in mind. You might want to give more consideration to a car manufactured by an American-owned and / or American based company. Apart from Hyundai and Volkswagen, the foreign car companies contributed nothing at all to the citizens of the United States. It's OK for these companies to take money out of this country, but it is apparently not acceptable to return some in a time of crisis. I believe we should not forget things like this. Say thank you in a way that gets their attention.

Summer vacations and other stuff!

This weekend - again - was spent mostly with friends. Friday nite we celebrated the birthday of our friend P who turned 55 in February. She told us she had turned in a vacation request for July & it was approved... and she will be coming to Colorado to spend some quality time with us! Our friends M & D are planning to come out for a visit at the same time as P. M, D & P have campers and are planning to bring them out & park them at our place. Other friends L & B are hoping to visit at the same time if she can get vacation approved. We were hoping our good friends J & G (have been friends for about 10 years!) will come out as well... but they neither own a camper nor like to "rough it"... and the nearest motel/hotel is in town 8 miles away. I don't know if the rest of us talking about it will shame them into making plans to visit us as well! Another friend, S, is planning a trip West in September and is going to stop to see us for a couple days.

After spending most of Saturday helping with the memorial service of our friend S's mom we decided to "treat" ourselves to an adult beverage at a local *smoky* bar. A dozen of us huddled around a table near the door (fresh air) and stangely enough... a pickle card machine. A few of us tried our luck at pickle cards - changing $5.00 into a single dollar (they don't always pay off well). Jerry bought a few & we actually won $2.00...but as I was getting my coat on he put another $3.00 into the machine and we began opening them. I peeled back the little flaps on one card and noticed a red line going catty-corner thru the symbols... I looked to make sure that's what I saw... checked the back of the card... looked again at the red line... checked the back of the card again and announced "We Won $250!!!!" It was like a rebate for sitting in that *smoky* bar for an hour!

Saturday nite we went to the home of friends M & D. We snacked on homemade guacamole, dip & salsa, shrimp/cheese baked on crackers, peel-n-eat shrimp (not me!) and our new favorite adult beverage - milkshakes made with Kahlua!

Sunday (did you remember to move your clocks forward?) Jerry went to a gun auction while I went to a favorite antique mall. We headed to a Chinese buffet for lunch then PetSmart (got Skeeter a new heavy-duty chew toy that looks like a tire!) and the Dollar Tree where I found chef's aprons for the little girls in North Carolina. The rest of my day was spent on the phone with my mom, watching a DVD and finishing a letter to a friend. Not an exciting day... but kind of a nice relaxing way to unwind after Friday & Saturday.

Hope you all had a safe weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

Today was another beautiful day in the midwest.......... no really!! At 9:30 this morning it was almost 55 degrees and later this afternoon it was nearly 80! I'm sure this weather won't last too long... We spent our time wisely, enjoying the backyard. Skeeter spent almost all day outside running, chasing squirrels, playing ball while I cleaned up the "minefield". I made a very healthy salad for lunch - Jerry wanted warmed up leftover pizza - and then we took three boxes of plastic containers, cans & bottles to the recycling center. We made a trip to Menards & picked up some birdseed followed by quick stops at a couple thrift stores. I found a noodle cutter and a "hanger-upper-thing" to put my necklaces on, a book and two cute tops.
Tomorrow is a friend's birthday & we're going to celebrate with her at a favorite bar. Another friend from about 50 miles away called this morning saying she was thinking of coming down Friday to hang out with us so we're going to initiate her into our group!
Saturday we hae a memorial service to go to... not so much fun... but that's life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midweek musings

I piddled around long enough yesterday morning that I forgot to take anything out for lunch so we went to Godfather's Pizza to eat. I was stuffed by the time we left. We had to get stickers to mark our garage sale items (coming up 3/28) so we stopped at Walgreens. I don't know what it was about this store... but as soon as we walked in the store my nose went on overload. As I walked around the store - to see if there was anything else we might need - my nose got stuffier. I finally concluded that because I've changed from store bought household cleaning products to baking soda & vinegar and borax my nose is much happier & evidently more sensitive to all the chemicals and added scents of cleaning products. Argh!

After lunch I was too full to do anything too physical so I spent part of the afternoon doing some laundry & finishing a letter to a friend (former co-worker) who is incarcerated. Because of the nature of his crime his family has disowned him and people he considered to be his friends have desserted him. I'm not sure why I decided to write to him, but he & I had been friends when we worked together and I always liked him. I can't imagine what his life must be like there. I often struggle with what to say to him but he seems grateful to have a friend on the outside who takes the time to write so my letters are usually full of daily activities and details about building our cabin. Boring to me... but he finds them interesting & always has lots to say about them. He is allowed to receive photographs so I sent some to him of our place in the mountains. Color therapy he calls it!

Last night was auction night. We went, looked around and decided that there was very little we needed/wanted. There were four 50 pound bags of IAMS dogfood - the man who won the bid took all four. Rats! There was a set of 300 thread count queen size sheets... someone else got those too! A couple we hang out with was there & before they even got to the blueberries we decided that we'd all just leave. We passed up a pile of little girl baby clothes I would have bid on for Maddie and a really cool vintage bear planter. Money saved!

The sun yesterday and this morning is melting the snow in the backyard making it suitable for mud wrestling. It looks like Skeeter has left some doggie bombs for me to clean up. Wish I could get him to go in one spot so I didn't have to pick my way around the yard. Another reason I'm anxious to get back to the mountains - he uses the acres of sagebrush not the space close to the cabin to do his business. It's already 45 degrees... hopefully it will warm up a bit more and dry up the backyard!

Today's THINGS TO DO list: finish laundry, take bag of clothes to the Goodwill store (walk - about a mile round trip), sort Christmas decorations (some to sell at garage sale) and begin marking stuff for the garage sale.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, March 2, 2009

True Confessions...

I recently got an email about the dangers of using microwaves... and did a little online search of my own about the same. We've all heard about the dangers of micro-waves... there are signs posted in restaurants stating "Microwave in Use". Having gone from May to October last year without the convenience of a microwave while we were building our cabin and knowing that I will not be keeping the microwave we have in storage (no point in having to run the generator or using up precious solar energy to run the contraption) I figured the way to get used to not having this little luxury again is to simply remove it from the kitchen. Saturday I moved the microwave from the counter to the basement storage room. When we move out I will put it back - since it belongs to our landlord. I have some microwave popcorn that I will donate to a friend who does concessions for auctions. Supposedly there is something in microwave popcorn that is BAD. Last week we picked up a stovetop popcorn maker and then bought a bag of popcorn. So far the only thing I've really missed about the microwave is re-heating my coffee. Bye-bye microwave.

Last Friday we had friends over for dinner & to play cards. Our friend decided she REALLY liked the chromekraft table & chairs we'd gotten in December and offered to buy it from us. Jerry had been thinking this table & chairs was not really very "cabin-y" and that we should maybe think about getting something different. Well, there was a flea market in town this weekend and I happened to notice there was a drop leaf table & three chairs for sale... for $25.00. The table top is pretty scratched up & has some discoloration... but paint will fix that problem. We paid for the table, called our friends to seal the deal on the chromekraft set. They came over Sunday afternoon to pick up the table then we all went back to the flea market & picked up our "new" table.

I'm sure our neighbors, if they're paying any attention, wonder about the seemingly constant stream of furniture that goes in & out of our house. I'm anxious to get rid of the excess around here, get packed up and head back to the cabin!

New book I'm reading: BETTER OFF by Eric Brente.