Hello dear friends! Well, we're back to Winter. I don't mind though, that mud was really getting annoying.
My amaryllis is blooming. Two different friends gave me bulbs to force for Christmas this year. I'd never done it before, but all you need to do is stick the bulb in some dirt and water it from time to time. Oh! and place it in a sunny window. Now that I know how easy it is, next year I might try some paper-whites.
It adds a spot of cheerfulness to the grayness.
To Spend, Or Not to Spend
Dana wrote in her comment last week, that she would be interested in knowing what we did spend our money, it seems all I write of is what we don't spend our money on. So I've been mulling it over all week, and I have to say, this question stumps me.
*** Before I write an further, I just want to say that I'm writing about my personal experiences here, yours may differ. Now days people take umbrage whenever you write of such things, they seem to take insult if what you write isn't in total agreement with their lifestyle. I guess they feel they are being judged. People are very quick to find offense these days, it seems. ***
I remember when I was younger, I wanted so many things, I thought nothing of going to Barnes and Nobles and spending hard-earned money on books and magazines. I loved to go antiquing and although I rarely could afford much, I longed for those things. But each passing year, I find my wants lessening and lessening. I look at contempt at many things I've purchased thinking of all the good that money could have been spent upon. But we do like to buy a few luxuries for ourselves, such as good cheese, not necessarily expensive cheese, we love Cabot's Seriously Sharp, but it is something we could do without if money was tight, therefore it is a luxury in my book. I also buy one package of Gevalia Mocha Latte k-cups every month. I know k-cups are not thrifty, but I always justify it to myself as being cheaper than going to Starbucks.
While I do buy most of my clothes at thrift stores, I do buy more than I need. I love to have lots of options. This goes back to my childhood, being the youngest of four girls, I wore a lot of hand-me-downs and never had very much choice in my wardrobe. And then when I was around fourteen, my parents decided that they had had enough of being parents and stopped providing for me, so my wardrobe consisted of whatever I could buy with babysitting money, friends discards and Ran would help me out and buy me something from time to time. As a young wife and mother, I just didn't have the money for clothes. When we finally could afford to buy some, I got fat and hated everything about fashion. Many years and many pounds later, I finally am able to enjoy buying and wearing clothes, so I know I spend too much on clothes. It's always good to self-analyze yourself. Knowing why you do things, helps you stop doing them.
Ran has some expensive musical equipment, it's important for musicians to have good instruments. Other than that, the main thing we do with our money is have it available for our children. It gave us great pleasure that we could help when they were setting up their households. And they know that if things really were hard for them, we wouldn't hesitate to help out. To us, money is security, something we didn't have for a majority of our lives, so we take spending it seriously.
Now saying all that, we almost bought a farm this week! How's that for spending money? I was curious about the asking price of a house near us, and while I was looking at the multiple-listings, I noticed a farm for sale for a very low price. To be sure, it was a wreck, but Ran and I love fixing up old houses and we are getting bored because there isn't much left to do on our home. The idea of owning a well and septic system was appealing to us, because every other month when we have to make out a check for $200 to our water company, we get angry. Also the idea of being able have chickens and bees sounded nice. We went so far as to look at it, and had ourselves almost convinced, but then we turned one corner and the siding had holes all over it and the idea of vermin crawling all through the house, turned us off to the idea, completely. We didn't mind the idea of all the work of completely gutting it, and living with a rather ugly house, and having to start our gardens and orchards anew, but we drew the line at sharing the house with rats and mice. Oh well! It kept our imaginations busy all week, thinking of thrifty ways to renovate it!
Baking From The Pantry
Another thing I spend too much money on is making jam. We really don't use too much, but I never can help myself when all our berries and fruits are ripe. So as a way to use up some of it, I made these cookies.
Filled Oatmeal Drop Cookies
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. shortening
1 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 C. oatmeal
1/2 C. jam or jelly (I used my own wild grape jelly)
Cream together butter and shortening. Gradually beat in sugars until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, water and vanilla, beat well. Blend in flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir in oatmeal.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make an indentation with the back of the spoon. Fill with 1/2 tsp. of jam. Top with 1 tsp of dough.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown.
Not the best picture. Sorry! By the way, this recipe makes excellent plain oatmeal cookies, minus the jam part. Just stir in your favorite dried fruit or nuts or chocolate chips, or any combination your heart desires and bake as stated in the recipe, sans the jelly.
Thrifty Things We Did This Week
Didn't buy a farm. That counts, right?
Ran baked some beautiful cranberry English muffins.
here He only let them raise once, which resulted in more nooks and crannies, and made them thinner. They look exactly as the store bought!
I finally got around to tying the woolen quilt I made last year. Just in time for the colder weather.
I cut more squares for the woolen quilt I'm currently making. This one will be browns and moss greens. I need more wool, but am waiting for the thrift store to have there big 95% off sale. Patience!
We always check a local grocery store for the out-of-date dairy. We buy cream for the strays and sometimes sour cream. Well, they had butter for $2/lb. and only two days past the expiration date, so I bought five pounds, enough to keep me stocked for the next five months. (I freeze it) And it was organic too!
Spent a total of $17.16 on groceries this week for the butter, two heads of lettuce, milk for the strays and a few other things I don't remember.
Aside from that the usual things of washing our clothes in the old wringer and hanging them on racks to dry, heating with wood, unplugging all the electricals at night, using less lights and more of our candles and kerosene lamps, cooking from the pantry, entertaining ourselves with crafts and board games, watching old movies on YouTube, walking instead of driving, etc.
So that's it for another week at the old Zempel boarding house! I hope that you all have the loveliest of weeks ahead and hope to see you back here next week, the Lord willing and the creek don't rise!