Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Friday

This past week my husband and I attended a conference in a nearby city. We stayed at a hotel where everything was very expensive. First of all, they charged $6 for 10 minutes of computer time. I can hardly crank up my computer and get started in ten minutes! Also, using the wireless connection in our room required a hefty fee for 12 hours. Needless to say, I did without my computer time!

The hotel had no restaurant and room service was exorbitant. Fortunately, my husband and I took our cereal for breakfast. The tiny cartons of milk downstairs were $2 so that was our only expense for breakfast. Fortunately, we had a coffee maker in the room so we made coffee and they also provided tea bags, although I had also packed my favorite tea bags since I do not like coffee. My husband's other meals were covered at the conference but I was on my own for lunch. I scouted out some nearby restaurants and did not spend too much for lunch.

Still trying to be frugal, but I had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Visiting the Grandchildren

Last week we went to visit Son #2 and his family. What fun we had! We played with the grandchildren, drove to the Panhandle town where I was born, celebrated Em's 9th birthday (a bit early), did some art projects, went for a lovely hike on the ranch next to their house, took some pictures around their house that I would like to paint, and had a grand visit. I was sad to come home. Here are a few pictures from the visit (aren't digital cameras wonderful??).
Em is taking fencing lessons and was practicing with a hay bale.
Little One is growing up way too fast, is talking a blue streak, and is cute as a button
We took the kids to school Friday morning so we could hear Em and her class sing a Fun Friday song. Em, Soph, and Little One wait with Kara.
I loved roaming around taking pictures. This one behind their house makes me want to whip out my paints and get started. The only things missing are the cows and bull that occasionally wander by.
We celebrated Em's birthday with cake and candles (the reigniting kind) and Son #2 was teasing that he might need to use the fire extinguisher to put out the candles. We had a nice celebration with Em. Happy Birthday this week, Em!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Lately I have been looking at my house and noticed a number of cracks appearing in our walls and ceilings. We live on a particularly unstable piece of limestone in Texas and that limestone is covered with a thick layer of black gumbo clay. When we have wet years, our cracks close up and are less noticeable. In dry years the crack open up. This past year was an exceptionally dry year and our cracks are more evident than usual. It has been several years since we last repainted the inside of our house, so I guess it is time to repair the cracks and repaint the walls in an effort to cover up our cracks.

As I was looking at an annoying crack in my bathroom the other day, I happened to glance in the mirror and notice that my face had lots of "cracks" (wrinkles) that I also attempt to cover with "paint" (makeup) in an effort to hide the shifts in my skin due to gravity. Looking at my wrinkles caused me to do some musing about aging and how I hide the effects of aging with paint and cosmetic fixes. My mind then moved to the need to celebrate my own "cracks" the way that I often celebrate the wisdom that has come with earning of the "cracks" in my face. However, I would like to look 35 again--and keep my wisdom.

Perhaps I will give my wall and ceiling cracks a cosmetic touch-up and then celebrate the age and wisdom of my house. I will sit down with a glass of wine and offer a toast to honor all the life that has happened within these cracked walls during the 35+ years that we have lived here.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. My mother always celebrated Valentine's Day by leaving some little gift along with a beautiful Valentine's Day card at our place on the table. When we got up in the morning and came in for breakfast, our Valentine remembrance from her was waiting for us. I have always done the same thing.

When I was first married, money was very tight, so I made my Valentine's Day cards and sometimes the presents. In time, I resorted to buying my cards and presents. However, this year I looked at cards and the price for the 8-10 cards I wanted to send added up to more than $30 and those were not the really fancy cards. AND that did not include postage for mailing them. This made me think about how to save money this year!

First of all I remembered that I had a program on my computer for making greeting cards. I bought greeting card paper (on sale) for $10 and found a package of large envelopes on sale for $2.50. I made my cards and added a few bits of glitz that I already had to some of them. I also made gifts for a few of my friends. I must admit that I did buy my husband a small bottle of the cologne that he had a hankering for at Christmas.

The last few years I have ordered a bouquet of fancy cookies delivered to the retirement center where my mother lives. It was expensive, but a nice way to thank the ladies who take such good care of her. This year I decided to make the cookies myself and deliver them to the various shifts that work today and tomorrow. The cost of that was much less than half what the delivered cookies cost.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


For several months I have been following the blog, Rudy's Beat. The blog is an endearing, and often heartbreaking description of a family (mother, father and three older children) coping with a critically ill baby named Rudy who has spent his first 18 weeks of life in an ICU unit. Both parents take turns writing about their experiences and both are excellent writers. They also include pictures and sometimes videos of their moments with Rudy which have made me feel like I was a part of the family and the fight for Rudy's life.

I first came to Rudy's Beat because I know Rudy's grandmother and we often meet at Mass and pray for Rudy. I also wear the blue bracelet that says "Rudy's captured my heart" that a family friend created to help us remember to pray for Rudy and his family.

The family recently experienced the death of their 100-year-old Uncle Rixie and the memorial service was last week. Trish, Rudy's mother, sang at the memorial service and Rolf, Rudy's father, gave the eulogy. Rolf recorded the songs that Trish sang at the memorial service and she has the most wonderful voice. The songs she sang were so moving that I had tears running down my face as I listened. After Trish's songs Rolf included a copy of the eulogy he gave for this remarkable man who was such a huge influence in their lives--especially Rolf's. I could learn many life lessons from what Rolf said in his eulogy about his Uncle Rixie.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Barbara at The Serenity Room is giving away an interesting book, "The Poet's Companion" on March 1st. It is a guide to writing poetry and even contains writing exercises. Poetry is one form of writing that I have shied away from and perhaps that book might help me write poetry more often. Anyway, check out Barbara's Give Away and good luck!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today I am thinking that I would like to go shopping. Actually I am avoiding tasks like cleaning out some drawers, closets, and my computer desk.

But going shopping brings another thought to mind--a new mindset that I am trying to adopt for myself. I am trying to determine the difference between things that I want, things that I need, and things that I have to have. I am now trying to evaluate my purchases with those three criteria in mind.

For example, I ran out of toothpaste this morning, so I have to have toothpaste. On the other hand, I would like to have a new laptop computer. Our old one is thick, heavy, cranky, and the battery will not stay charged. It is difficult to use when we go on a trip--if it works at all some days. So I apply my formula to buying a new computer: I want a new laptop. I probably need a new laptop at some time in the future but I mostly use my home computer and it works very well. And so--I guess I don't have to have a new laptop at the present time. Now, if I find $500 running down a pig track (my dad used to use that expression with us) I guess I could go shopping and get a new laptop, but that purchase is NOT on my to do list for today--or probably any time soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


My daughter-in-law, Kara, is having a Give Away over at her blog. Check it out--who knows, you might win! Actually, I left a comment and hope I win, but that might not be fair to keep it all in the family.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Friends Award
I received this Friends Award from Linda Hoye at My Own Velvet Room. The award is for blogs that can be described as follows:
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight more and include the cleverly written text into the body of your awards." I would like to share this award with the following blog friends of mine:
Each of these blogs has its own unique style of writing and I enjoy reading and learning from them. Thanks to all of you for brightening my days!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Today I am cooking a pot of pinto beans. I had a ham bone left from our Christmas ham in the freezer and decided that today was the day for pinto beans and ham. I have used this recipe since I first started cooking. My mother gave me the recipe and I always thought her pinto beans were the best ever with her made-from-scratch cornbread baked in her big iron skillet. She usually served the pinto beans with sliced tomatoes and onions in a bit of vinegar on the side and also a jello salad. Here is my recipe for pinto beans below:

1 lb. pinto beans
6 c. water
1 ham hock
1 onion, cut up
Pick and wash pinto beans. Soak overnight. The next morning put the above ingredients together and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender adding water as needed. When beans are beginning to be tender, add:
2 tbsp. Grandma's molasses
1 tbsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. chili powder
Salt to taste