Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reflecting - January, what a ride

Wow! It's hard to believe that this is the last day of January 2012. We JUST celebrated the New Year. Here in Pittsburgh, we haven't had much of a winter. Yes, we've had cold days, but not much snow.  More rain, I think.  Anyway, I've been thinking over the past month and here are a few January highlights: 
  1. I chose frugal as my 2012 word, paid taxes and all the utilities, car insurance (oops, check the house insurance), and after food, auto expenses (i.e., fuel, tire seal, oil), parking, and bowling I had $20.00 left over to put in savings  (that's a good month!);  
  2. I made a new to me soup, chicken sausage lentil - mmmmm, good;
  3. Completed scrapbooking the Chicago album and started a Fun in the Sun album; 
  4. Spent more time with my oldest child;
  5. Attended K's concert recital. Oh, she had her first date and her first kiss;  
  6. Learned how to check the oil in the car; and
  7. Lost 6 pounds.
Hmmm, am I missing anything? Think I'll go reflect some more.  Glee is on tonight!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Going Scrapping!

I haven't been to a crop for months now. I'm long overdue. So, my crop bags are packed and S and I are headed to Columbiana, OH for an overnighter.  If you haven't ever been to one of Kelli's crops, you ARE missing out.  You can check her site out here. And register.  Kelli's a fabulous hostess, excellent cook and her crops are fun-filled and awe-inspiring. AND you meet alot of fabulous fellow scrappers! 
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Winter's Concert

Last night was the first in a series of concerts sponsored by the 7th grade at Gateway Jr. High.  I drove out straight from work so I would not miss a moment.  Find Amanda and Jacob already seated, pull out my cute little Canon Elph just to find out that the battery needed charged. Hrumph! No one to blame but me.  Sadly, when the main lights went down and the stage lights came on, they totally washed out any shot I may have had with my iphone.  So, no photos of the concert itself (unless Amanda got some good shots), but I did snap these beauties after the show.

When she sees this, she'll demand I take them off. She'll yell, kick, scream, throw a temper tantrum.  Know what I am going to do?  TAKE PICTURES!  BWHAAAAA!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crochet Art

I saw this walking across the Smithfield Street Bridge the other evening, and knew I had to snap a photo or two or three in daylight.  Interesting. Colorful. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Going Green

I've calculated my footprint. You can calculate yours here. I donate to the VA Veterans, often. I frequent flea markets, Goodwill stores and church rummage sales.  I repurpose.  Sadly, this is not enough. I still contribute to waste.  My house is too big for one person and I do not carpool. I buy water in plastic bottles.  On the good side, except for baked beans and tuna fish, most of my groceries are bought from the fresh vegetable and fruit sections, from the butcher and the fishmonger.  The New York Times ran this story, "Five Easy Way to Go Organic," a few years ago. My first food switch was to organic milk.  Somewhere else, I read an article about replacing one food item with an organic equivalent. That's doable.  Anyway, the point of all of this, is this email I received.  It got me thinking about how much more I need to do to lower my footprint.  What are you doing to lower yours?
The Green Thing
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Friday, January 20, 2012

We Got Snow

On the Smithfield Street Bridge looking back towards town
We got snow at quitting time (what else???) last evening.  At least 4 inches of it covered my car.  I couldn’t clean it off fast enough the snow was coming down so hard.  And you know I c-r-a-w-l-e-d home.  But I made it !  Color me proud!!  I went bowling, too.  (The neighbors drove).  Bowled a 112, 149 and 163.
Crossing the Smithfield Street Bridge towards Station Square
This is the forecast for tonight and tomorrow according to the National Weather Service: 
Tonight...Snow and freezing rain likely in the evening...then freezing rain...snow and sleet after midnight. Snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Ice accumulation of up to a tenth of an inch. Near steady temperature in the mid 20s. East winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90 percent. 
Saturday...Cloudy...snow...freezing rain and sleet in the morning...then a chance of snow and freezing rain in the afternoon. Additional snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Ice accumulation of up to a tenth of an inch. Near steady temperature in the upper 20s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph...becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.
I'm okay with it, just please, please do not start until after 7:00 p.m.  After I am home and tucked away, all snuggly in my warm home.  Then the big, bad weather can come through town.

Hmmmmm, with a forecast like this, a long weekend at home is a good idea . . . as long as I use all that free time wisely.  I think a mini spa weekend is in order. After all, I'm down 8 lbs and a few inches here and there this month, time for a little pampering.  And I really, really, really will clean my room.  Oooooooh, I need to stop at market.  I need milk and laundry detergent.  I think I'll roast a chicken on Sunday and start my Read-A-Book-A-Month-Club (Members -1). And I'll water the plants. Really, I will.  

However you spend your weekend, enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Napkin Art

I have a brood of artsy children/grandkiddies.  They doodle anywhere and everywhere.  On anything.  Now that they are older, they've stopped drawing on the walls and doors.  Hmmm, well, maybe not Jacob.  He's 2.  Though he hasn't yet...at least not to my knowledge.  K writes on herself.  It's apparently some preteen cult thing.  That's irritating, especially when it takes forever to wear off.  My two sons are very good and I really wish they would have pursued their talents.  Though, I guess my eldest sort of did.  He is a housepainter and a darn good one, too.  He doodles on EVERYTHING (except himself). I think.  I found his latest on a napkin in the kitchen.
Pretty good.  He should really pursue it.
Bowling tonight!  And I walked a mile already this morning and will walk another this evening.  But I didn't water the plants. But I did do laundry.  I did put gas in the car, but I didn't clean my room.  Dag, I can only cross off two of yesterday's Note To Self list. That's sad.  I am not adding anything else to the list until I get caught up. Wow, that's sad.

NOTE TO SELF: Check out Craft Yarn Counsel, WATER THE PLANTS, Find the Chicago photos to finish that album, CLEAN YOUR ROOM.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Project-A-Month Club

Okay, so it’s not a club. Or maybe it is.  Member(s): 1.  Anyway, I decided this year to create one project (or take on one project) a month.  This way I won’t be overwhelmed by taking on too much, or too big a project, and the chances of not finishing will be lowered as I will have 29-30-31 days to complete the project.  Whew!  This month’s project was easy to choose as I am attending one of Kelli’s fabulous crops (this one’s a mini) at the end of the month and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I am choosing from my stack of fabulous ScrapScription album kits.  Be Mine (appropriate for February) and Count Your Blessings. I am taking both AND completing both.  And maybe Cherish.  Just in case.  Hey! You never know.

Did I mention this past weekend was one of firsts?  For me - I checked the oil in my car. And even added some. That was a first.  For this chickie, she had her first date. Very first. To the movies (her Mom chaperoned), but the young man paid K's way.  Cute! Scary! but Cute!  Not so cute that she's gone over her text limit in a matter of what? one week??? Seriously, that girl!  She is my #1 reason for having to go to work each day. Glasses, braces, clothes, shoes, texting. And not in that order either!  Ah, well, รจ la vita.

Note to Self: Check out Craft Yarn Counsel, WATER THE PLANTS, Find the Chicago photos to finish that album, CLEAN YOUR ROOM, get gas in the car, do laundry – 1 load, at least.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soup's On!

  • My fabulous Mom gifted me a stockpot for Christmas.  It's Teflon. No Stick No Stick No Stick.  Yes, I get excited over Teflon pots and pans.  Clean up is just a swipe!
  • We've finally had snow here in Pittsburgh. Not much, but it's snow just the same.
  • And it's been cold. Okay, not as cold as Cordova, Alaska where they are having temps in the 0's to 15.  But for someone who loves 90+ (that's me), it's downright COLD.
And you know what that means???
Lentil and Chicken Sausage Soup

1/2 cup lentils, precooked
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp. rosemary, minced 
1/2 tbsp thyme, minced
1 link chicken sausage (precooked), sliced
6 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp vegetable oil
In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender.  Add the chicken broth, lentils, rosemary, thyme and sausage.  Lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes  Makes 6 cups.

* I used Al Fresco All Natural Chicken Sausage (the roasted garlic flavor).

NOTE: I didn't add Salt and Pepper to the pot, but put the shakers on the table for individual use.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Paraskevidekatriaphobia . . .

. . . a/k/a fear of Friday, the 13th.
Today is the first Friday the 13th of the year.  
How will you celebrate it?
Watch a scary movie,
Tell a scary tale by candlelight,
host a party, 
or maybe, 
just count your blessings.
I will be un-decorating.  Long overdue, I know, but it's time.  I will also be working on my "Things to do in 2012" list and, as it is payday, I need to write out my budget. And then stick to it. Ahem.
No matter what your day is like, I hope it's lucky!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Little Word - 2012

My word for 2012 came EASY.  Actually, it wasn't my first choice.  I now can't even think of the word I first thought of cause this one hit me like a lightening bolt.  It's most appropriate and it totally fits as this new year brings two weddings, paying back family members owed, lowering my own personal global debt and SAVING.  The word?  FRUGALITY.  
Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the use of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance.

In behavioral science, frugality has been defined as the tendency to acquire goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourceful use of already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.
Sites to explore in January: Frugal Living; Thrifty Fun