Friday, July 29, 2011

My frugality project

I'm always looking for a project or experiment.  My South Beach project, my Old Lady project, my Wen experiment (which by the way is working out great IF I don't use it.  Ha!  If I use Wen every day, my hair looks at me like Droopy Dog.  


It makes my hair TOO soft, too silky to hold a style.  Oh, it looks fine, it just won't hold body or curl.  If I use it a couple of times a week, it's great.  It's just enough conditioning to keep down the frizzies and combined with some volumizing shampoo, we've gotten to be good friends.).

So I've been thinking a lot this week about another project.  An experiment in frugality.  One of my friends on Facebook posted a question this week, "How long could you go without spending any money?"  Except for necessities: gas, groceries, medicine, bills.

I got to thinking about that and thought it'd be fun to try it.  I've been at home this week, cleaning my house and doing yardwork, watching movies, cooking and reading and guess what??  Aside from my $7.50 movie ticket today, I spent NO money.

I am already a million times more frugal than I used to be.  I try to reuse everything, make do with what I have and if I bring something into my house, I try to get rid of something.  Give it away, usually.  But I wasn't always this way.  Seven years ago, I set out to live a simpler life.  To live with less.  And I have never been happier.  Less truly is more.

I'll be honest, having your husband in prison causes a woman to find other ways to fill that void.  Even though I have never had Larry home with me, his absence is a canyon-sized void in our home.  When I was much younger and having a much harder time with our situation, I tried to fill that void with shopping.  I became a compulsive shopper, an excessive spender.  And guess what?  Most of that spending was of the plastic kind.  I was spending money I had not even earned yet.

I was 23 when Larry was transferred to Walker County, up near the Tennessee line and I drove the 242 miles one way every weekend to see him.  On my way home through Atlanta, there were two malls that called out to me.  Those of you who knew me back then know that I had the clothes!  I had the shoes!  I had the expensive pocketbooks and I had the entire line of Clinique makeup!  I used nothing but Clinique.  I had the $60 perfumes, too.  The ones that made Larry's nose run and his eyes water.  A complete waste of plastic there.  Ha!

I never wore the same thing twice to see Larry.  And before I knew it, I was in a hole.  I had thirteen (13!) maxed-out credit cards.  I was nearly $20,000 in credit card debt.  I was drowning in it.  I would pay my $200 credit card payments then go charge another $200-$300.  I never filed bankruptcy but I did seek help from Consumer Credit Counseling and maintained my excellent credit score.  But it was hard.  It was really, really hard.  I worked in credit, as you all know, and I could not let my credit score suffer.  How could I advise someone about his/her payment when I couldn't even manage my own?  I couldn't.  So I lived at home much longer than I should have.

I finally bought a house I could afford.  Well, kinda.  I brought all that debt with me.  Since then, I've been blessed with a few windfalls that have gotten me completely out of debt except for my car.  No mortgage and no credit card debt.  I have learned my lesson.  No more charging.  No more buying things just for the sake of buying them.  I can't stand clutter anyway. 

And I really can't stand shopping anymore either.  It feels like such a chore when I need new clothes (my South Beach project, wooo hooooo!) or if I need to buy a present for somebody. 

So this frugality project of mine shouldn't be all that hard.  I'm starting Monday, August 1st, and I will go as long as I possibly can without spending any money needlessly.  NO clothes.  NO shampoo.  NO makeup.  NO soaps and body washes and lotions.  I will use what I have.  I will eat what's in my pantry and my freezer. 

I want to replace the TV in my second bedroom.  It's 20 years old (a purchase from my old life, a TranSouth office that I closed) and has started doing the vertical line thingy.  I can hit it on the side and it plays fine.  For a while.  I read online that all it needs is resoldering the part in the back that has come loose, the vertical hold.  I can do that!  I have a soldering iron!  I can solder!  I've seen me do it!!  :)  So when it gets to the point that I can't pop it upside its head to get it to play, I'm going to take it apart and try to fix it.  And if THAT doesn't work, instead of going to Walmart or Best Buy to get a new one, I'll get one secondhand or better yet, get one Freecycled.  Maybe an exchange for a little blue sofa I have stored in my building out back?

If anybody wants to join me next month, please do!!  I think it'll be fun.  At the very least, it'll be educational.  :)  You never know what you can do until you do it.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Imagine, guys (if there are any guys reading my blog!), having dinner at a restaurant with your wife of 25 years and you're looking over the menu together, trying to decide what you want.  All of a sudden, your wife blurts out what she wants.  A divorce.

That's what happens to poor Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) in this movie.  She tells him she cheated with a guy from work, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) and that basically, it's his fault because he took her for granted.  I went to see it today and I loved it.  (I know I say I love every movie I see but I DO.  The only movie I ever didn't like was "Brokeback Mountain" and not because the guys were gay.  Because they were pathetic.  I felt more sorry for their wives and children than for them.  But, anyway, I DO love every movie I see.  I check them out carefully, wait for months to see them and I am very rarely disappointed.)

So Cal and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), separate and he tries to move on with his life.  He meets ladies' man, Jacob (cutie patootie Ryan Gosling), who changes his look and his wardrobe to give Cal back his manhood and make Emily "rue the day she ever decided to give up on him."  

But Cal, who hasn't dated in years (Emily was his high school sweetheart and the only woman he'd ever been with), bombs at dating because he can't shut up about Emily.  He does get better at it, though, but he's never happy.

This movie is hilarious, sweet, romantic and sad all at the same time.  I cry a lot at movies and this one did it to me, too.

This scene right here got me.  Cal had been sneaking over to the house at night to fertilize the flowers and snip the dead blooms off, trim the hedges, that kind of thing.  He's watching through the window when Emily calls him to "help her light the pilot light in the basement."  So he walks her through the process, all the while standing in the yard, looking at her through the dining room window.  She wasn't in the basement, she didn't need help lighting the pilot light.  She called him to just hear his voice but her pride would not let her tell him that so she made up a reason to call.  He stood out in the yard with tears in his eyes, she had tears in hers and Lordy mercy, so did I.  Why do people have to be so stubborn when it comes to love??

And why is that I can't see Julianne Moore on anything without seeing her as Frannie (and Sabrina!) on ATWT and Kevin Bacon as Tim on GL??  AND Marisa Tomei is in this movie, too.  Marcy on ATWT!  God, I'm old.

The movie's great and has a wicked little twist at the end that's hilarious.

Go see it this weekend.  And take somebody you love.

Fill in the blank Friday!

Today's FITBF is about going back to basics.  I link up with Lauren at The Little Things We Do blog every Friday.  She picks the blanks.  It's become something I really enjoy doing!

So here we go.  Some basics about me.  :)

My favorite color is pink.  Girly, pretty, happy pink.  And I LOVE pink and brown together!  However, I do not love pink lips on me.  Toenails, okay, IF it's a hot pink or coral but light pink, no way.

My travel destination of choice is a beach.  Any beach.  Sand between my toes and in my butt.  LOVE.

My favorite type of food is Mexican.  I LOVE buritos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, salsa (as long as it's not too hot), beans, rice, guacamole, all covered in CHEESE.  Yum!!

My happy place is my sofa.  My soft, overstuffed, comfy, incredibly nappy sofa.  Ahhhhhh!

My favorite saying is "That which does not kill me, makes me stronger", quoted by German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche in 1888.  I'm a strong, strong girl. Just sayin'.  :)

My dirty little secret is now, y'all don't think I'm crazy here but sometimes, I think inanimate objects have feelings.  Like this towel I used this week to clean out my little gardening shed.  It was FILTHY and I didn't want to bring it into my house, much less put it in my washing machine so I threw it away with some other things I was tossing.  This towel is a ratty little thin towel (the kind I actually prefer) and has been with me since I ordered a set of them from Fingerhut when I was 20.  So, yes, it's 24 years old.  And, yes, I made payments on them!  Fingerhut was awesome back then.  Anyway, I ordered a set of towels and wash cloths and kept them in my hope chest.  I have been using them almost exclusively since I moved into my home eight years ago.  Oh, I have lots of fluffy, expensive, thirsty towels in my bathrooms but I would just rather use these.  Call me crazy.  I like a thin towel.  Long story short, I hurt its "feelings" and I felt guilty about it so I got the towel out of the trash, hung it on my clothesline, let the Good Lord wash it with all that rain we got yesterday and now it's fine.  It's laundered and back in my bathroom, folded up with the rest of them.  :)

Something my friends might say about me is after that last blank, probably that I need to go to the nervous hospital!  Ha!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baked Beef Rice, Ruthie style

Okay, so y'all know I'm reading A Soft Place To Land by Susan Rebecca White and it's the best book I've read in a long, long time.  Ruthie, the younger of the two sisters, loves to cook and entertain like her mama did and the night she finds out her parents have died, just before they get that dreaded call, she's cooking supper for her grandma.  Chicken breasts baked in cream of mushroom soup and baked beef rice.  Rice cooked in beef consomme soup with chopped onions, a dash of Worcestershire sauce (or rooster sauce, as we call it in the Schneider house) and butter.  I made some today!  I used brown rice, though, instead of white rice so it had to bake a little longer than an hour to get done.  Yum yum!!!

This is how you make it!

Just toss a cup of rice into a baking dish

 Add a can of beef consomme soup

 Add a dash of rooster sauce (I'd say a tablespoon)

Add four tablespoons of butter 

 Toss in some chopped onion and mix it all together
Bake at 350 degrees for an hour
(add a half cup of water and bake another half hour
if you're cooking brown rice)

It is delicious!!!

I'm going to make this to take to my mama and daddy's next month for their birthday dinner party.  This will go great with those hamburger steaks Daddy's gonna grill!!  I'll make it with white rice then and I'll make a separate dish without onions for Ami and Brian.  :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I'm loving on day three of my summer staycation!

I'm loving stickin' it to the man by drying my laundry on my clothesline!
It's a little overcast but hey, we got all day, right?

 I'm loving how big my baby peppers are getting!
They're not babies anymore.  Sniff.

I'm loving how big my biggest 'mater baby is!
(He don't know that I'm 'bout to pick him, 
batter and fry him just like he is, hee hee)

And I'm loving this amazing, awesome book that I'm reading!
I can't even put it down, see??

It's about these two little girls, 16 and 13, whose parents die in a plane crash and they are separated, the older one going to live with her real dad and stepmom and the younger one, to her hippie aunt out in San Francisco.  It makes me miss my sister and she's just right up the road. :(

Oh, and I'm pretty sure this book will become a movie.  It is THAT good.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's my summer staycation!

I read this definition of vacation online somewhere and I thought it was so cute and so true!

A vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking anymore.

Now what I've been taking isn't bad at all but I'm still gonna enjoy my week off!!  I don't like to travel that much.  I like to stay pretty close to home and do stuff around my house, read and rest.  Things I don't get to do working full time and going to school.  So when I get a week off, I go on a staycation and I LOVE it!!

I had lots of yardwork planned for today so I got up pretty early and got started.  I had to go to the bank and as I was leaving, I heard geese honking.

It was so funny to hear them honk at me!
They were all out in the road but I was in their way.  I loved it!!

They are just so beautiful!

This little pond is directly behind my bank, at Willow Lake Crossing

I told them to smile and say cheese but you see how they listened.

Last night, my IKEA piggy bank told me that she thought she needed to lose some weight so while we watched True Blood, I counted the pennies she'd been holding.  1,200!!  No wonder the girl felt bloated.

I'd never used the coin machine at Kroger before.  I'd seen it plenty of times so I decided I'd just take my 1,200 pennies there to cash in.  Sure beats rolling them! 

There was one crusty, li'l moldy penny 
that the machine wouldn't take

Here's what I got!  
They charge about 10 cents per dollar 
for their processing fee.
Not a bad deal at all!

So then I came home, cut my little bit of grass,
cleaned the patio and water sealed the deck

And watered my 'mater babies and pepper babies 
that are STILL not ready to eat!

This is why we can't have a 
huge veggie garden but I LOVE all my shade!

This little mess right here is a tree that's been dead for several years and I've just been putting off getting somebody to come cut it down.  It's such a little tree, it was no real threat to the house anyway.  Every time we had a storm, another little piece would break off and I'd tell Larry that eventually, we'll just have a stump out there!  It was so spindly and dead, the branches reminded me of witch's fingers so I called it our Halloween Tree.  Well, today, I was looking at it and I leaned on it a little bit and it rocked.  The roots rocked right out of the ground!  It was time to bring it down.  So I did.  By myself.  Don't let that skinny little thing fool ya.  It was heavy, it was bulky and it was pure evil.  

Look what it did to my leg!

I dragged it to the back of the yard and when it cools off a little, I'll chop it up to use for firewood this winter.  

I had lunch at Cracker Barrel yesterday with a new friend and while we munched on fried okra, she told me about this hobby of hers, geocaching.  It's a scavenger hunt that you use your GPS and phone to play and find things all over town, all over the world, actually.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  So I want to get out this week and see if I can find some around Warner Robins.  Might see if I can find some more fried okra, too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

With my head in the clouds

I hope I wasn't the only one completely mesmerized, fascinated and in complete awe of the gorgeous, fluffy white clouds that covered the sky today!  I was on my way to see Larry this afternoon after church and I could not believe how many clouds were up there.  Huge.  Marshmallowy.  Absolutely beautiful.  I took a lot of pictures of them!

Some had rain in 'em

Some had sunshine in 'em

 And some had HORSIES in 'em!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When life hands you peaches... make peach cobbler!  Norma brought us a big box of peaches this week at work.  

I brought these home with me.

And this is what I did with them!

2 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
Sprinkle of cinnamon on top

Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar and water in a pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Melt butter and put in the bottom of your baking dish, then mix flour, the rest of the sugar and milk and pour over the butter.  Add the peaches and cinnamon and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

YUMMMM.  If you bake it in an IKEA baking dish, it tastes even better!  :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday!

Today's FITBF is all about something I know a lot about.  It's my favorite activity.  It's SLEEEEEEEP.

The last thing I do before going to sleep at night is pray.  I remember growing up doing the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer and God blessin' Mama and Daddy and Ricky and Ami and Grandma and Maw and Paw and everybody else, Amen.  That has stuck with me.  While I don't do the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer anymore, I still God bless everybody.  :)  And I thank Him for every little thing, whether it's an obvious blessing that makes me happy or something that's not so pleasant that He's using to teach me something.

When I can't sleep (and that is as RARE as a mooing steak), I read or get up and come into my office/guest room and see what everybody's up to on Facebook.

The first thing I do when I wake up is pee, take my medication and chew up a Flintstone vitamin.  I like the purple Dinos the best.

When I'm tired, I get extremely giggly.  The more tired I am, the sillier I am.  Everything is hilarious.

The longest sleep I've ever had was 14 hours.  And I did not have the flu.  I did not have a cold.  I was not having back pain or a migraine or anything like that.  I was just bone tired.

When I sleep, I like it cool, quiet and dark.  I don't like any light at all and I can take or leave white noise like fans, humidifiers or the AC unit outside my window.  I can sleep with or without noise.  But it HAS to be dark and cool.

My bedtime is usually somewhere between 11:00 and midnight.  It just depends on what's going on on Facebook.  :)

I sleep on my right side.  CANNOT sleep any other way.

Going to take a nap now!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday!

I'm loving Riceworks
Brown rice crispy goodness!

I'm loving diet green teas, any kind, any flavor

I just wish they were sweetened with stevia like the SoBe waters and not aspartame 'cause I really don't want a brain tumor (I'd buy MORE, Lipton, if you used stevia!!)

I'm still loving my pizza stone!

I told Larry it's the best thing he's given me yet.  I love it more than I love my diamond ring.  Really.

I'm loving the fact that I'm registered for fall semester and have class only on Tuesday and Thursday nights

I'm off on Wednesday afternoons and I was really, really, really dreading having to go to class on my afternoon off.  The Lord totally worked that one out for me.  He's da bomb like that.

And right now, after this afternoon, I'm loving NOT HAVING CHILDREN.

I had a doctor's appointment, just for my annual checkup and my doctor was at the hospital delivering babies 'cause that's what she does for a living but when I'M there, she's 'sposed to be taking care of ME.  Ha!  The waiting room was PACKED, it's small anyway, but there were 14 women waiting and one of them was a 20-year-old with three children under 3.  These were not sweet, polite, quiet little kids.  They were hellions, running around, screaming, crying, climbing all over everything, including me, because they sat beside me, of course they did.  I held the 3-year-old and tried to get him to go 'night 'night but he was not having it.  He just stomped on my lap and kicked me in the stomach.  When she was called back after an hour, I could not stop "THANK GOD" from coming from my lips.  Of course, MY children would never act like that, blah blah blah, but yeah, I'm very much loving the fact that I don't have any.  I might sound selfish but I love my peaceful quiet house, my money and my sleep.  I love to be able to pick up and go shopping or to the movies when I want to.  It may sound selfish but the time was never right for me and I believe God sho' knows what He's doing.

We might do this every Wednesday.  Just depends on if there's enough that I'm loving.  :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This weekend I...

bought a cool new Beatles t-shirt

got scared Saturday morning when this popped up on my dashboard
('cause the last time my tire pressure light came on, I had a flat tire the next day and I ended up having to drive on it which ruined it which made me have to buy a new one, oh my GOD.  I was on my way to see Larry yesterday and the light came on while I was on the interstate.  I got off in Byron and went to see the good folks at Peach Tire and I just had one tire that was two pounds low.  That's all it was!  Maybe the drastic change in temperature we've had this week??  We went from a high of 105 to a high of 80 overnight!  I don't know but I was too scared to risk it.  You know, since... So by the time I got to Macon, the visitation room was full (God forbid they make accommodations for the 100 new guys they just got.  You'd think they would realize that 100 new guys means 100 new families so they would make some room for them.  Nope.  Not the Georgia DOC.  They too stupid to think like that.  If it's not mud boggin' or rasslin', they don't get it.)  I came back home and Larry called to check on me since I hadn't shown up yet and he decided I should just stay home.  He didn't want me standing in that line again.  I love that boy.  This morning, I walked right in.  Piece of cake.

went to see the new Winnie The Pooh movie and LOVED it
(This was the funniest part to me!  All of them in the hole and Piglet trying to rescue them with a piece of rope that he cut into equal pieces for each one of them!  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.)

took another picture for the scavenger hunt I'm doing

watched this mess on pay-per-view last night, Insidious, and commented on Facebook that these people NEED haunting 'cause not one time did they call on Jesus for help.  That would be the FIRST thing out my mouth if cabinets were slamming in my kitchen.  "In the name of JESUS, get out of my house!"  And you know what?  No more slamming cabinets.  Just sayin'.
Um, no.
made a yummy summer fruit salad for yet another birthday party we're having at work tomorrow
(this time it's for one of our nurses, Norma, and she wanted some fruit so I put together this and made some marshmallow fluff/cream cheese dip to go along with it)

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday!

I am a (morning, evening, middle of the day) person  Definitely evening!  I am a NIGHT OWL.  My ideal day is sleeping until 1:00 or 2:00 PM and staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 AM.  I should be working a night shift somewhere.

My favorite Pandora stations are I don't know.  I don't use Pandora but if I did, I'm sure the stations I'd pick would be 60's and 70's rock and country since that's my favorite kind of music.  Conway & Loretta and Janis Joplin!

Three of my "must have" songs for a road trip playlist are Bad Time by Grand Funk Railroad, You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi and Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf.  I have all three of those on the same homemade CD with You Ain't Woman Enough by Loretta Lynn and George Jones' If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will).  Ha!!

My favorite pattern is paisley, tiny flowers and stripes.  And polka dots.  Not necessarily all together.  :)

My favorite perfume is Victoria's Secret's Very Sexy.  I would drink that stuff but Larry has told me it doesn't taste near as good as it smells.

Rules are usually stupid and I'll buck if I just can't wrap my head around them.  Ya hear me, Georgia DOC??!  But for the most part, I'm too scared to not do right.  :)

My most overused phrase or punctuation is "I swannee" but I say that in memory of my sweet grandma and I'm gonna keep saying it so I can keep her alive and with me. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ding ding ding, I believe we have a Wenner!

I was up late the other night and I caught an infomercial for this stuff.  Wen cleansing conditioner.  Alyssa Milano told me that if I have a bad hair day, it might not be my hair, it might be my shampoo.  I always did like that girl. So I decided I'd order some and try it.  Lord knows, I've tried everything else on my baby fine hair.  My tubs are always full of various volumizing, hydrating shampoos and conditioners, promising me the moon and never following through.  It may be time for us to see other people.  

But Wen!  Wen is supposed to be a one-step miracle, glory halleluyer answer to the woe and wretchedness that is my hair.  The directions say to use 10-15 pumps, massage it in real good, leave it on for 3-5 minutes, then rinse it out.  You can put a little on as a leave-in conditioner after you rinse if you need to.  It claims to take the place of your traditional shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner.

So I ordered a bottle and it came today! Here it is, in my tub, next to my hippie oatmeal soap.  I used it immediately and I am happy to report that I really, really liked it.  The first time out.  It smells incredible (all minty and almondy) and left my hair really silky and shiny.  See??

It's a little pricey so I would recommend getting it from Amazon first and see if you like it before you commit to the Wen automatic ordering process.  Or even better than that, check eBay!  And oh yeah, you don't need 10 pumps of that stuff.  I used three.

In other news, it's still stupid hot here.  I took this picture today at a bank in my neighborhood.  I have never seen that bank clock register temperature this high before.


I'm not complaining, though.  I'd rather it be 107 than 37 any old day.  I hate winter, I hate being cold and not being able to get warm enough.  But I am starting to get a little excited when I think about October.