Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twilight and Thanksgiving

I have found a new variety of heroin...Twilight is the most addictive thing I have read in a while. The problem is that it is too much like drugs. I know it is bad for me. I know it is killing brain cells. I know that I can come up with so many better things to do. So, what do I do? I read it in a single day. What's worse? I am getting the next three books in the morning so that I can do it all weekend. I am an addict and I am ashamed. Do you suppose there is a support group for people who read books like this? I may even have to watch the movie. Chantel called it a 'Twinkie book'. That means you know its mediocre and bad for you, but you consume it anyways. Oh well.

(Honestly, it wasn't too bad. The writing was juvenile, but since that is the target audience, it's hard to complain too much. The story was predictable, but funny. Although, I am not sure it was meant to be as hilarious as I found it. There was a lot of laughing and giggling at the characters and the expressions...especially Edward.)

I hope you don't think too badly of me. I have also been concerned with things more befitting my intelligence and maturity ;). My knitting is coming along nicely. I finished the scarf, but it was very short, since I made it a bit too wide, so I took it all out and started over on a thinner scarf in the same basic knit stitch. I am getting to be fairly consistent in that stitch and will soon venture into the brave new world of purling. Yay!

Other than that, I am more than ready for Thanksgiving. I am so excited to see my parents, since I have not been able to be with them since the summer. They live too far away to make an easy weekend trip. I am also excited because I do not have to do any advance preparation, since we are going to my parents house for the weekend and my mom is taking care of all the pre-baking and pre-cooking duties. Such a nice mommy :) I don't even feel guilty about that because we were not even going to do a big dinner and then she decided she felt like it after all. So it was totally her choice. She is even going to help me make fudge this weekend. Yum yum yummy. It is not the smooth marshmallow-y fudge that takes 10 minutes, but the lovely sugary peanut butter fudge that takes an hour and requires the knowledge of the mysterious 'softball stage'. Ooh...arcane isn't it. I hope to pay very close attention yet again so that someday I will be brave enough to ruin my own batch of fudge. I know that it is still tasty when it doesn't set properly, it is just not as pretty for sharing. Hopefully we will also find time to go the beach for a day if the weather is not rainy. I haven't gotten to go to the beach since last summer I think...so sad.

For now it is past my bedtime and I have to get up and pack in the morning, so I had better scoot. I hope you all have a lovely holiday and will join me in giving thanks for the loving families and friends and lives full of joy that God has blessed us with.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lazy Days

I have been being lazy or busy a great deal of the time lately and so have not found the time or energy to post. Over the weekend I helped Shane in the yard. We cleaned up most of the leaves that have fallen so far and took them to the dump and pulled out some icky shrubs, which will be taken with the next load of leaves. Shane also finished clearing out the iris bed, so that can be planted this coming weekend. While he worked on that, I cleaned the house up, something that I have a tendency to let slide. I can almost always think of something better to do and I seldom have the willpower to get the cleaning done first when I get home and am tired. I also got some cooking and baking done over the weekend. Saturday I make a big pot of cabbage rolls (which fed us all weekend) and Sunday I baked a couple of apple pies. This was my first completely homemade pie. Don't yell at me, but I have never made my own crust. I always heard it was hard and complicated, so I just bought pie crust at the store. I decided to try it out and they came out pretty good. Shane, my pie lover, said the only thing he would change is to make them a little thicker next time. I can probably do that. I also learned to cut the apples a little thicker. I could not remember the way my mother would do it, and the book said to slice them thin, so I did. A little too thin...it was more of an applesauce pie once they cooked down. Oh well, still tasty.

Other than that I have been practicing my knitting and watching too much internet tv. My scarf is now about 17 inches long and I am all caught up on House, Bones, and Kitchen Nightmares, as well as a couple of other shows on Hulu. We actually spent an entire evening this week watching a bunch of episodes of Reba that they had loaded recently. So lazy :)

I have also been improving my mind, though. I am almost finished reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette. It has a lot of great tips and ideas in it. I am going to discuss using some of them with Shane and see what he thinks about trying to save some money around the house. The biggest things I want to do are to really do a good job in our garden next year and get a lot of canning done and to make up a price book for grocery shopping. I have read about this in several places and it seems like a great way to save a lot on groceries with only a bit of work at the start. I think I will start when I do my shopping this weekend and get some prices down.

For now, I need to back to work. We are in the slow time of the year right now in the agricutural business and there are often giant chunks of free time. I am working on a couple of projects for my boss, but other than that, he doesn't mind if I read, knit, or surf on the computer. So nice!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I can knit!

Well, sort of anyway. I managed to do about 5 rows of what will become a scarf last night in the class. After casting on about 5 times for practice. It was a lot of fun. The class was just for beginners, so I didn't have to feel silly asking to see something again or needing help figuring out exactly what I just did that left such a funny pattern in the yarn...wanna know what I did? I yarned over. Yes, I am a crocheter. No, I have no idea how I did it. Oh well. I like knitting. For now it takes a lot of concentration, and I am not sure I have it down 100%, but I will keep practicing and hopefully get much better at it soon. Yay me!

And isn't it the prettiest yarn...yay me!

Oh, I almost forgot, go to Charity Grace's page and look at her beautiful idea for a banner for the holidays, I think I may make several.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am so excited!!! To prove that, it took me four tries to spell excited correctly. Not even my fingers can wait for their treat tonight. :) Tonight is my beginners knitting class. Yay! I am very excited about learning to knit. I love crochet, but there are some projects that just look better, go faster (I hope), and will be easier if knitted. For instance, I don't think it would work to crochet mittens. I might be wrong, but I just don't see that going smoothly. Crochet is great for things like that afghan that I promise to finish after the dishcloths, also easily crocheted, that I am making for the gift baskets.

I am sure you all know just what it is like to have a dozen projects in the works, and then, just to irk your husband (not really, but I am sure he thinks so) you find something new that you absolutely have to try. There is the afghan, the Christmas projects, the counted cross-stitch in the closet, the fishing pole case to sew, and a million other little projects that I have around the house, in one state of completion or another. And now I am going to learn to knit and add a scarf to the pile. I certainly don't mind. My point of view is this: I am not always in the mood to cross-stitch, or to crochet, or to drag the sewing machine out. And some things are definately not portable. I like to take projects with me to work for free time and on car trips, although I tend not to work on them much in either situation. Nothing ever works out quite like I think it would, but the option is still there.

To summarize, yes I am adding yet another thing to the list of my skills and to the even longer list of my projects. I don't mind. :) I will try to post a picture when I get home of the scarf in progress. Although I am sure you all either know how to knit or know what a scarf looks like, I will be wanting to show off my newfound skill...hopefully. ;) Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lazy Day

I love grey weather. It just seems cozier. I want to snuggle up with a blanket, good book and a cup (or three) of hot cocoa. Aah, just sounds great doesn't it? So what have I done today? Nothing on that list...and nothing on my Christmas prep list either. I need to get in gear.

Since dinner is just leftovers from the last few days, I am devoting my evening to several things. I will make that cocoa for my husband and myself, work on my Christmas crocheting, get some pictures scanned in to the computer that have been sitting on the desk for the last 4 days, and last, but not least, just relaxing and enjoying a quiet evening.

One other thing I want to mention, both to thank the blogging community in general for pointing it out to me and to show to anyone who might not have heard about it yet, is the Tightwad Gazette. I requested a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette from my library and am enjoying it immensely. I have seen it mentioned in several blogs and it seemed to be the sort of thing I needed to read to really get a handle on all of the various ways to save money and be more creative with the money I do spend. My husband and I have decided that we would like to get our house paid off within two or three years (yes, we only bought it a year ago, no we are not nuts) and in order to do this, we keep to a fairly small budget. However, recent discussion has led us to the conclusion that we are not putting enough away for this goal. We eat out at least once a week, and I am not using all my resources to save on groceries and the few other purchases we make. The biggest budget buster is obviously eating out. We have decided to go back to the cash budget we used to use and stop putting all the little odds and ends on the card. By switching back to cash, we will not buy all those extras, since the money is simply not there. Any extras we do want need to be planned for and agreed upon by both of us.

My grocery budget is small, since there are only two of us. I hardly have to buy any meat thanks to the generous gift of a half of a hog each year by my boss and we are planning to buy and quarter beef this year, which will cut back the meat purchases even further. The savings on buying meat this way are great, but obviously the chest freezer in the garage is a requirement for this method of shopping. I intend to further trim my shopping budget by making more food from scratch, since I tend to be lazy and use more convenience foods that I should. I am working out a way to get a greater variety of dishes out of the shelf of cookbooks I have collected and plan out menus that can be cooked ahead.

I hope that anyone interested in fugality who has not read this books make it a point to check it out soon. I am enjoying the writing as much as the great tips. I also hope you are having a lovely relaxing Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Is it Christmas yet?

Ok, not really, but I am starting to get ready for Christmas. I already mentioned that I am working on some of my Christmas presents. I am making gift baskets for Shanes's and my siblings. I found the baskets on Saturday, actually picnic hampers. Value Village had three different but nice wicker hampers. I paid a little more than I intended for one of them, but it actually still had all the plastic dishes in it and Shane said we can use them for camping. So, my plans so far are to crochet dishcloths, sew aprons, and make baking mixes to put in the baskets. I will also look at the bargain books at the bookstore for some neat cookbooks. Then it will just be whatever strikes my fancy to fill them up...cookie cutters, utensils, etc. I also got some neat Christmas idea books from the library.

One of my new tools is the Christmas Countdown.
They have a schedule and planner ideas to help you be organized and ready ahead of schedule. The whole setup is supposed to make it so that your presents are bought and wrapped, your cards written and stamped, and your decorating and early baking completed, all by the end of the first week of December. Doesn't that sound great? I am not doing any entertaining in my home this year, but I hope to do a lot of baking and we will be doing some travelling. Hooray for being organized!

On other topics, work is super slow right now, so I am getting a lot of reading in on some fantastic blog archives. See the blogs I follow for some great ones. Tonight I will probably be plopped on the computer for the whole evening. Shane is spending this election night watching the excitement over at his friends house, since we don't have TV. I plan to have a yummy dinner that may or may not be strictly on my diet, read blogs, and hopefully go to bed early. I probably won't manage that last, but I always try.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend fun

Friday night was a lot of fun. We did not get many trick-o-treaters, but the ones that came by were so cute. Shane picked up a few movies at Wal-Mart and we watched a couple of them and had pizza for dinner.

Saturday we ran errands, cleaned the house, and planted some bulbs. In the evening we had friends over for dinner and games and had loads of fun. Nikki came over to help me cook spaghetti for dinner and we cut up veggies and made dip for the chips. There were seven of us and we played a couple of really fun card games (Quiddler and Grave Robbers From Outer Space) and ate loads of spaghetti and munchies. Then we had a small ice cream cake that Shane's friend Chris brought to celebrate Shane's birthday. We finished up pretty early for game night and then the guys went to a movie. Nikki and I were too tired, so she went home and I curled up with my book. We really need to have game night more often, especially now that it is getting too cold to be out and about. I also need to find more games for 7 or 8 people. Most of the board games top out at 6 players and we like to invite as many people as we can get. I would appreciate any ideas.

This morning Shane opened his presents from his parents and me. It was all fishing gear, which pleased him. I think he likes my present, which is great since I am not the best shopper ever. Sometimes my ideas are big flops, which is depressing. After leftover cake for breakfast, which is totally not on my diet, we ran around a little looking for a cover for his truck and some work gloves for my since mine are rapidly wearing out. Now it is time to relax for the rest of my Sunday and hopefully get to bed at a reasonable time tonight.