Sunday, July 3, 2022

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: What Are Those Wet Drops Coming Out of the Sky??

     It's been a quiet week out at the ranch. Not only did we have (some) rain a few days -- one lovely day, it did nothing but drip and drizzle. And our plants loved it! We did, too, actually. It made for better sleeping, and one contemplative afternoon to get some work done. 

     Nothing's planned for the Fourth. We'll watch some fireworks, but that's about it. And we have plans to help Daughter #1 and her partner move into their new house this week, as well as a trip to Granby to see old friends (and use the Hot Sulphur Springs waters). It should be reasonably quiet around here.

     And peaceful. That's the key -- peaceful.

WARNING:  Just heard that postage rates are going up again, July 11! First class will now be 60 cents an ounce, instead of 58 cents. This may not seem like much, but it adds up. Buy your 'forever' stamps now, and you'll save. 

One guy's experience at a retirement/investment seminar. We go to these now and then...for the food.   

"Liberal world order??"  Americans everywhere are flinching. ('He slipped up,' the Brick noted. 'He wasn't supposed to say that.' I don't think so, either.)

'Babysitting entitled climbers' (actually, beginners with $$ to burn) on Denali.

One of my favorite idea posts ever -- 'no bake, no craft' gift ideas for $1 each. If you have a group of people you need gifts for, this is perfect. (From Like Merchant Ships)

Establishing residency -- the easy way. This is particularly helpful if you live out of a fifth-wheel, like we do. (No problems at present -- but it's helpful info for the future.)

The dark side of facial recognition software -- images you wish to forget may still be out there in the netherwinds. (Or they may label those photos as being you -- but it's not you. Rep. Boebert found this out the hard way.

What's your favorite spice -- or blend? A number of great ideas in the comments here. (Thanks, The Frugal Girl)

Did you know the Israeli Parliament dissolved itself? No doubt some people wish Congress would do likewise...

Ten celebrities who survived the Holocaust. Including Robert Clary, who later played 'Le Beau' on Hogan's Heroes!

A man is searched at a checkpoint after "suspiciously eating a cheeseburger." Turns out he had bricks (!!!) of meth taped to his body. This is a weird one...

The strange discovery of the WWII plane Lady Be Good -- found in the desert more than a decade later.

First images from the Webb telescope will be coming soon. And they're "emotionally moving," according to the scientists studying them. 

Beautiful Romanov jewelry that survived the Russian Revolution. (From Russia Beyond) Including this piece, Maria Feodorovna's Kokoshnik diadem:

Thirty valuable treasures that are still missing.

Fifty American landmarks that you should see. 

Surprising 'lost and found' signs.

The 'Napalm Girl' gets her final skin treatment -- a very different ending to a gripping photo.

The Sofia Hagia's floors were cracked -- by heavy machinery used to clean them.

There's much more to Michael Oher and his story than The Blind Side. 

Dole Whip: a Disneyland classic you can now make for yourself. 

Fruit salad with pineapple peel juice!

John Hinckley says he "can't remember," and doesn't want to remember shooting President Reagan in 1981. But he's sorry, he says.

'What was one time a stranger was unexpectedly kind to you?'  Reader responses, via Bored Panda. And...

Some brilliant design SUCCESSES!  including: a bread knife in die Schweiz. (Switzerland!)

The 'embarrassing anatomy of a phishing scam.'  If you've been hit by 'urgent' phone calls and e-mails about your credit cards, Amazon, taxes, etc... you need to read this!  (Thanks, Len Penzo) His

'Six ways to avoid being pickpocketed' is good, too.

Five hotels that offer free happy hours for guests.

Celebrities who divorced their parents.

A sax player with dancing cats is busted out of the subway... days before New York City's mayor rode the subway, and realized they were bad?!  Well, yes, they can be scary -- but I never felt threatened by dancing cats.

"'Let me tell you something: When I started looking into this, I was shocked at how bad this place is,' Adams told the New York Post.'"

At least he finally noticed.

The New York Supreme Court rules: non-citizens can NOT vote in New York City elections. (I didn't realize that they could!) According to the court, this is a privilege reserved for American citizens, according to the Constitution. How 'bout that...

The 'Traitor of Colditz: why did this British officer deliberately inform on his comrades' escape attempts?  I'm looking forward to reading the new book by the same name.

Ten memorable movies about Paris. Some of these are a trifle weird too, but hey... Paris.

Men wore corsets in the historical past?  Yep, says MessyNessyChic

Buying a Sears kit home -- what's it like?

The oldest cookbooks in the world.

Import a 15-year-old homeless kid with a fake passport, so your daughter can have a kidney transplant? Is that what happened here? (It sure seems like it.)

Weird (and funny) "oops!" wildlife photos.

How to make homemade grape jelly -- with juice, instead of fruit. Based on the comments, YES, you can make this with other juices, as well. (From The Frugal Girl)

Movie mistakes you may or may not have noticed.

A drawing by Albrecht Durer -- found in a library book!  More of his possible work was found on a wall of a souvenir shop in Wien (Vienna), too -- a city he was not known to have visited. 

Brad Pitt gets drawn into a search for treasure -- that he admits was a "foolish hunt."

"You just tried to scam the wrong person..."  An interesting Quora question.

Now here's how you get rid of home squatters -- sic a SWAT team on them! (New York City, are you paying attention?) 

Beating the system -- in innovative ways.

A huge solar flare is heading for earth soon. 

Rupert Murdoch's granddaughter got married. So what? Until you take  closer look at the bridesmaids!  (Yes, I laughed. He looks like he has a great sense of humor.)

The bride's grandmother was buried in the bride's wedding dress... by accident! This is a strange one.

Weird facts about Queen Victoria.

or... Madame Pompadour.

Here's one way to get your stolen car back -- shut its engine down remotely! (Frankly, I'm surprised it wasn't stripped by the time he got it back.)

Have a great week.

Happy Fourth

 God bless America, land that I love.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Encouragement - Sort Of

 I just read this comment recently, and it made sense -- in a way. 

“Just because you’re trash doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. 

It’s called garbage can, not garbage cannot.”

 I don't think ANYONE is 'trash,' myself included. But this does give you a different perspective on insults. Which is good.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Bargain Foods -- And A $25 Plan -- That Can Get You Through To Payday

      It may be this month -- or next. 

      Sooner or later, though, you're going to be living a month where you don't have enough to live -- if you want to eat, that is. 

      Now what?

First, plan ahead now. You should have at least two cans of something you can quickly make a meal out of -- or stretch to make that meal cover more than one person. Possibilities:

      -- canned chili. Pour it over rice, tortilla chips or a baked potato.

     --  canned ravioli or other pasta. Layer with mozzarella and/or cottage cheese, and bake til bubbling.

     -- canned soup Add cut veggies, rice or potatoes to make it thicker. (Add the rice five minutes before serving.)

     -- corned beef hash. Add more cut potatoes...or mix up instant mashed potatoes and spread on top as 'shepherd's pie.'

     --boxed macaroni and cheese.  Add a can of green beans and/or tuna.

     The perfect time to buy these? When they're on sale. Even if they aren't, these won't break your paycheck. Other good things to stock up on: instant mashed potatoes, a pound or two each of rice and beans, canned tomatoes, a can or two of chicken, tuna or chopped clams. (The latter three make great chowder, with milk, potatoes -- and a little butter.)

"But it's too late," you moan. "After I finish making the rent/mortgage/car payment this month, I'll only have $25 -- $50 at most -- to live on for the next one or two weeks! What can I do now??"

You could visit the local foodbank. They help pretty much anyone who needs it. But even at our leanest times, I haven't done that. 

What I have done:

*Patronize our local thrift shop -- at least a few days a week, they put out free baked goods. (In our case, it's Tuesdays.) I've picked up everything from sourdough bread to bagels -- and usually it's upscale brands. Then I use these for toast, sandwiches, breadcrumbs...then eventually French toast.

*Check the clearance racks at the grocery store, usually when I miss the bread offers at the thrift shop. I can get 6 bagels for 99 cents, or a pie for $2.99. If a day-old bread outlet was closer, I'd go there, as well.

*Bake my own bread, biscuits, etc. (This means buying at least 5 pounds each of flour and sugar, plus a package of brown sugar ahead of time, as well as salt, yeast, baking soda and baking powder. These can be used over and over for a wide variety of items.) I also stock oatmeal, not only for breakfasts, but apple crisp and oatmeal cookies. 

Pancakes are good. Waffles, too.    


*Use up every scrap of leftovers, including salad greens. These can be incorporated into soup (canned soup, or chicken bouillon cubes are a start), or chopped fine and stirred in with dried pasta after it's cooked. (Add a little cream cheese or butter, if you've got it, for extra flavor.) Add a little cooked bacon in with the vegetables (chopped fine) to the pasta, stir in an egg, and you're making spaghetti carbonara, an Italian specialty!

*Use what's in the cupboard or freezer -- right down to the last. You can eat it as-is...or research on the internet for recipes that use that canned corn, tomatoes or beans. (Try this recipe for taco soup. It uses all three. Skip whatever ingredients you don't have, for now.)

"That got me through one week," you whimper. "But I still only have $25 til the next payday!"

Don't worry -- you can do this. Deliciously.


1 pound bacon -- the leanest possible.  ($3.97 this week at Safeway. Or buy a half-pound.)

5 pounds potatoes  ($2.65)

A dozen eggs (the cheapest here are $2.99)

1 pound of beans  (pinto or black -- $1.50)

a package of hot dogs (many brands are BOGO this week, because of the Fourth -- $3.00)

      (or substitute $3 worth of another kind of meat you like)

1 pound onions   (99 cents)

a gallon of milk  ($3.69 -- make it whole milk, and you can cut it up to 1/3 with water, without loss of taste)

a loaf of bread  ($1.69 -- but I'd check the thrift shop or the clearance rack first)

1 can of tomatoes (88 cents) -- or a pound of tomatoes, for sandwich use, as well ($1.50)

an 8-oz package of shredded cheese -- cheddar or mozzarella  ($2.00)

a pound pkg of margarine ($1.29) or a half-pound of butter

----------------------           --------------------------------

That, based on my calculations, clocks up to $25.27. Close enough - and you may have managed to  spend less than I could have, here in Colorado. Use any extra to buy produce: a dollar will usually cover a green pepper, a pound of carrots or a cucumber, chopped or sliced. (Add to main dishes, or use as a side.) Or consider a small bin of sour cream; it's perfect for thickening soup, or topping other foods. 

You should have condiments like salt & pepper, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mayo, salsa and such. If you don't, you can get by without these -- or check your drawer for those unused sauce packets from your last fast-food run. The only thing I couldn't squeeze out from this budget: coffee or tea. You'll have to wait, stop by places that serve it free (like IKEA, if you have a free membership) or figure out more cash to cover ground coffee or tea bags ($6-9). 


Breakfast -- egg (1) and toast;  French toast; 'kitchen sink' omelet (any veggies plus a slice or two of bacon, chopped, made with 2 eggs); scrambled egg with cheese; hot dog or bacon plus toast; 'poorman's breakfast' (hotdogs, potatoes and onions cooked together)


Lunches -- potato soup (chopped potatoes and onions cooked together until tender -- add milk and a pat of butter, then heat to boiling); hot dog or a slice of cooked bacon rolled in a slice of bread; bean soup (see Suppers); egg salad (eggs and a bit of onion, with a little milk to moisten if you don't have any mayo).

Suppers -- bean soup (beans and 1/2 chopped onion cooked til tender - add tomatoes and a little bacon grease); potato soup; potato baked with a slice of bacon inside; BLT (but without the lettuce); taco soup; grilled cheese sandwich; baked potato, served with a hot dog wrapped in a slice of bacon; any of the breakfast or lunch options. Cheese can be sprinkled on any of these for extra flavor, or add a pat of butter or margarine. 

You won't be able to eat like crazy...except for perhaps the soups. But this should be ample for at least a week, with some leftovers. Desserts will have to wait -- with the exception of, perhaps, cinnamon toast (buttered bread topped with cinnamon and sugar) or, if you've got a jar stashed away, jam and toast.

You made it through the week! Now think about how to adjust future purchases to your taste. Not a big milk person? Buy a half-gallon, instead. Add celery, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, chilies and other goodies that can be used to flavor main dishes, as well as sandwiches. Now's the time to add other budget-savers: a pack of tortillas (or tortilla chips - great for garnish or nachos); pasta, rice, bulgur or noodles (especially ramen, cooked or crumbled raw in salads for a crunchy accent); peanut butter; cocoa (for drinking, brownies and other baked goods); pecans or sliced almonds; olive oil; romaine lettuce for salads and sandwiches. 

It's time to add more meat, chicken or seafood -- if it's on sale. Learn to use less --  the leftovers can accent another dish. (Like homemade pizza, if you've got the flour, plus a handful of mozzarella and a small can of tomato sauce .) Make broth from the bones, and use it for soup or casseroles. Dishes like chicken & dumplings, or that great cure-all, chicken noodle soup. Let yourself be more lavish with cheese, particularly homemade mac & cheese. (One of the Brick's and our daughters' very favorite dishes, by the way.)

Fresh fruit. Buy it in season, for eating and desserts. Canned and jarred fruit often goes on sale toward the fall -- or look for it on Amazon Warehouse.  You'll find other bargain items there, too.

Cookies!  Or go straight for the jugular with chocolate chips, eaten straight out of the hand. (shame on me) You can make cookies with cake mix, too.  Or save your eggs with cake recipes that don't use them, like Whacky Cake. These, along with other dishes, were especially popular during the Depression Era, when practically everything was scarce. You can even get some ideas from the Victorians, who bought some interesting bargain foods (eels??) from streetside vendors. 

Inflation has hit hard, shrinking product sizes and increasing prices in general. The time of buying whatever you feel like has passed...unless you've got an unlimited income. Even if you have, wasting money doesn't make sense. What if you lose your job, have an accident... or prices keep rising? Even if you feel comfortable now, my tips will help you economize enough to save some dollars for the future.

Feel free to add your own bargain foods and recipes in the comments. You'll also find more suggestions and recipes in our other blog, Holiday Goodies. 


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Happy Canada Day!

 To all my Gentle Readers from the Other Part of North America...

Happy Canada Day! 

Enjoy...and maybe take a nap.

Now You Know...

  More weird signs here, courtesy of Bored Panda.