Friday, March 15, 2019

I baked scones, yes, I really did

I made delicious lemon ginger scones. I baked scones. Me! Why is this noteworthy? Well, I have pretty much stopped baking since our sons became adults and moved out,  since recipes are always for large amounts, like for a whole cake, pie or a dozen cookies. That adds up to too much temptation and too many calories. Also for years I have cut way back on eating white flour and sugar. But I got inspired by my friend who bakes scones and I found this mix at a local coffee shop and bakery.
The second photo shows the scones before I baked them. I like the brand Iveta because they have a dozen or more flavors and their scones only have 4 g of sugar per scone. I was recently given scone mix of a different brand that has 8 g of sugar per serving. So I prefer 4 g to 8. Next baking for me will be the blueberry scone mix I was given. Recommended guidelines for amount of sugar per day for women vary, but the average recommended amount is 36 g. Some yogurt has 30 g for one serving, so it adds up quickly. It turns out that scones freeze nicely so I can invite a friend for coffee and scones, send one or two scones home with her, and freeze any left over. Do you like my plan?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Dust off that library card for a longer life

The above photo is taken by Nightsabre at Morguefile. That dog looks like a thoughtful guy and a reader!

I read a notice about a health study recently: "Dust off that library card."
Studies show that readers live longer than non-readers. If you already love to read, like
me, that is good news, and more good news is that you non-readers can start reading books at any time.
My current AARP news letter includes this in a list of 99 health ideas.
In their tip 98 I quote "Dust off that library card. A study of 3,635 older adults found that book readers had a 23 month survival advantage and 20 percent lower mortality risk compared with non-readers. Reading was protective regardless of gender, education or health."
This next photo is taken by DianneHope at Morguefile.

I chose the profession of librarian so you can see this tip about how healthy readers are is music to my ears. Plus I am a writer with thousands of articles and two books published so you can imagine that I like to read.
So in addition to an apple a day keeps the doctor away the study concludes that we can live longer by reading books.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Ruth my Roomba


One of my sons surprised me with a robot vacuum cleaner for Christmas. I hadn't thought I wanted one, but I find it is fabulous. How happy I am when I am sitting on the sofa reading and my little robot is vacuuming the rug. I named her Ruth.
She is a Roomba. I clean the tray every time Ruth my Roomba vacuums for me. I am amazed to see how much dog hair she vacuums up. It takes her about half an hour to vacuum the large living room, and the same amount of time to vacuum the wooden floors in the back of the house.
One time she got stuck under my bed so firmly that my younger son had to lift the bed to free her. She is rather strong.
Before I have her begin I police the floors for pet toys, my socks, electrical appliance cords, etc.Big cords are ok and she bumps them and leaves them alone but little ones like for head phones she will try to vacuum up.
My cell phone tells me when Ruth has completed a job and when she is done she goes right to her charging station and charges her battery. You can set it up to use your phone to tell her when to clean; I don't care to do that. I think I need to keep an eye on her, she gets stuck once in a while.
If she gets stuck she sends a message to my cell phone app and also speaks out loud explaining her problem, like "Roomba's left wheel is stuck". My favorite message from her thus far is "Roomba is stuck on the edge of a cliff."
Great gift though!
Do you have a house cleaning tip or useful appliance?
One blog friend asked if a Roomba would fall down stairs; I have a one story house so haven't checked on that, but I read that it will stop if it encounters a drop in height. Thus her message to me about being on the edge of a cliff. But I haven't tested her on stairs.
Another friend asked if Ruth my Roomba goes around chair legs and under tables, yes she does.
Also my dog Bounce does not mind Ruth in the least, he is not frightened or interested. Of course he is not frightened, he is my 14 pound watch dog with a fearless heart!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

What I Won't Miss

This is the companion piece to my previous post. I got the idea from Nora Ephron's book of essays titled "I Remember Nothing." Nora and I share two things on our lists, Illness and Funerals.
What I Won't Miss
Root canals.  I had one today.
Senior moments.
Impossible to open packaging. When it says "tear here" I often can't.
Tears.
Grief.
Being called "a deplorable" by a certain politician.
Paying taxes.
Teeny tiny print.
Illness.
Funerals.
Household chores.
Paying bills.
Many of the above are boring repetitive chores. Wash dishes and they will soon need to be washed again, that sort of thing.
Seeing suffering.
Waiting in lines.
This list is kind of a downer ! In heaven I won't be missing anything, but in this life it would be sweet if these things didn't occur.
For a more upbeat post, read my previous post on "Things I Will Miss".


Monday, February 11, 2019

What I Will Miss

What I will miss.
I got this idea from Nora Ephron's book of essays titled "I Remember Nothing".
 Nora and I share a couple of things on our lists, namely Kids and Paris.
What I Will Miss
My kids.
Friends.
Candle light.
Lunch with family and friends.
Reading.
Women's Bible study.
Dogs.
Cats.
All wild animals from elephants to coyotes.
 IPA beer.
Pretty shadows.
Paris. Lived there for 5 months.
Istanbul. Lived there for a year.
The Pacific Ocean which I see every day.
Sky.
Clouds.
Hymns.
Fresh fruit every day.
Ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches.

OK, today is January 31, 2019 and I see the date this post appeared says February 11, 2019. Spooky right? Or some sort of time travel into the future.
I was attempting to schedule it to have it post on that day of Feb. 11 in future, but hey ho, blogger has a mind of its own sometimes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cheerful Red E-Bikes in My Town



These red e-bikes look cheerful to me and people who ride them are being kind to the environment and to their wallets. They are electric bikes that are available on demand. The bicycles are power assist so you do need to pedal. The company is called Jump and charges one dollar for fifteen minutes. So you can ride one to a nearby restaurant or wherever and leave it there. To get a ride home you look on your phone app and see where the nearest one is, walk over to it, and you can leave it outside your house for the next person. So two fifteen minute rides would cost two dollars. These in my photo are in a row at a charging station outside the neighborhood library near my house.
No, I haven't tried them but lots of people are using them and I see riders around town with smiles on their faces.
Do you have these or anything similar where you live? Are they popular in Europe, the U.K., Kuwait, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, India and Australia? I have blog friends in those areas so thought I'd ask.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Scottish and French TV Shows I Recommend

I love this French TV series "Call My Agent" about the talent agents at the fictional biggest movie star talent agency in France. The main character is Mathias, played by the incredibly handsome and debonair Thibault de Montalembert and Camille Cottin plays his main rival in the agency. On a fun note his daughter joins the agency against Mathias' wishes and they need to keep her identity secret. A big plus is that world famous actual French actors play fictionalized versions of themselves, a different actor in each episode. The client actors are needy, demanding, gifted and need careful handling. In one episode the client actor gets so far into character of a crazed loner that he can not leave the character and begin his next acting job, so the agents have to help him in a clever way return to the real world. This show has 4 seasons, 2015-2018 and I hope for more. I am watching it on Netflix.

Still Game is a very funny Scottish TV show, set in the fictional Craiglang area of Glasgow. Two life long friends are played by Fred Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. They are pensioners who live on tight budgets in a stark high rise building. The guys and their friends get in to trouble with their mad cap plans and escapades. In one they visit one of the newfangled warehouse stores and get locked in at night. They set up tents and a grill and forage for food and beer in the store. The bartender, Boaby, at  the Clansman (their local pub) and Isa, a kind hearted gossipy lady who earns a bit of money cleaning at the local convenience store are two of the great characters. I watch this on Netflix. It has about nine seasons, beginning in 2002 and they made a final season in 2018. I  am happy to see there are 56 episodes. When my oldest son comes over to visit and hang out we watch an episode of Still Game, he loves it too. My youngest son and I like the comedy Corner Gas, a Canadian show.
I chose these two shows for my post because I think they are not as well known in the USA as I think they deserve. Are there any shows you have discovered and want to share in the comments?
To clarify, I am in the USA and watch both of these shows on Netflix. One blog friend says she wishes these shows would run in the USA and the good news is, they do if you subscribe to Netflix.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Frugal Ideas, A Good Way to Start This New Year

A fresh new year, a clean slate. I thought it would be fun to share a couple frugal things I do and to ask for your favorite frugal tips in comments.
Heating the House
I turn down the heat to 61 degrees F (16 C) at night (from about 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.); the living room heats up quickly to 73 degrees F (22 C) in the morning which I like. My dog Bounce sits right in front of the new wall heater in the morning. I am out and about for several hours each day and turn the temp down to 68 then. Since my house is well insulated it holds the heat. We had insulation put in in the attic, a new front door that doesn't leak air, and a newer living room window.
Is that frugal? Everyone has their own ideas on favorite temperatures. I don't heat my bedroom or the house at night, I like it cool for sleeping.

Growing Vegetables
Come spring I plant vegetables and I read that a square foot of garden can produce a dollar's worth of vegetables. For a 10 by 12 foot garden that could be $120 you won't spend at the grocery store. Seeds are a cheap way to go. I like to plant Chinese sugar pea seeds, edible pea pods are so good fresh from the garden. I always plant tomatoes and zucchini, two zucchini plants are plenty for one person and I plant one green and one yellow zucchini. I plant cilantro, green onions and greens like rainbow chard, kale, or lettuce.
I think my three blueberry plants count as a frugal garden choice since they have provided me with blueberries for eight years. I planted 3 different blueberry varieties, just for fun. They each have a slightly different flavor and berry size and are ripe a few weeks apart which lengthens the blueberry season.
Re-use Egg Cartons
For good drainage for flower pots, I tear up cardboard egg cartons and put them in the bottom of the pots. That is free since you will likely buy eggs anyway.
Doing Laundry
To save water, cost of heating water and to use less laundry detergent I have a front loading clothes washer. I got an energy rebate from our city water department when I bought it several years ago. Also it does not have that central post or agitator so is more gentle on clothes.
Flower Vases
New flower vases can be expensive so I buy them from shops like Goodwill and yard sales. It is useful when I give a friend a bouquet and they can keep the vase.
Lin mentioned saving money by stopping cable TV, which I forgot to include here. My cable bill was getting up to about $90 a month, awful, and I didn't find much to watch. So I cut the cable about 4 years ago, and already had Amazon Prime so I get those TV shows, a family member gets me Netflix, and I pay a total of $20 a month for Britbox, Acorn TV (two sources of British and some Australian and Canadian shows), and Hulu. I am pleased to save $70 a month which adds up to $840 a year. Over 10 years that is $8,400, a huge amount of money saved. One of my sons bought me an Amazon Firestick so I use that to turn to the show I want to watch. The Firestick has the neat feature where I hold down the search button and say the name of a movie or TV show and it looks for it and shows viewing options. Thanks for the reminder Lin.
What are some of your best frugal ideas? I like to get new ideas to try.