Mary Beth Writes

1. When we were sick in January (with flu and cold) Len used the CVS card that I had signed up for last year and then barely used.  He bought several OTC medicines plus a cool-mist vaporizer using that card, which saved us 20%. That was helpful.

2. While I was under the weather I signed up for Starz in order to binge-watch an Outlander season.  After I watched TV for two days I canceled the subscription, thus paying nothing.  This is the third year I have done this.  Why do they let me do this??

3. We used free movie tickets (from donating blood) to see “The Post”. The next night we watched “All the President’s Men” at home.   I don’t even know what to say … Frugal Inspiration to understand and defend our constitution? 

4. I made a list of meals we could cook from what we had around the house as opposed to musing– “What would we like for dinner tonight?” and then going out and buying a bunch more ingredients.  Not very glamorous, although this resulting vegan Moroccan Vegetable Stew was – and still is – delicious.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dave-lieberman/moroccan-spiced-chick...

5. We have in the last two weeks interviewed many guys about work we want done on this house. This sucks up a lot of time but it means the work we need to have done will (hopefully) get accomplished in a professional and timely way.  And we won’t get ripped off.

One guy mansplained at me, on the phone, for 20 minutes about why I ought to hire him. He said he learned his skill from a dog – and he wasn’t trying to be funny!  His price was twice that of the guy with a boring website who called a day in advance and made an appointment and then kept it.  

6. I baked a lot of snickerdoodles and then we gave a lot away. We also (ahem) ate a lot of them.  When it’s January moving into February in the Midwest and everyone is complaining about winter – cookies work uncommonly well as casual, afternoon anti-depressants.

From Wikipedia: “Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century AD Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region. They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain.

One of the most popular early cookies, which traveled especially well and became known on every continent by similar names, was the jumble, a relatively hard cookie made largely from nuts, sweetener, and water.

Cookies came to America through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s. The Dutch word "koekje" was Anglicized to "cookie" or cooky. The earliest reference to cookies in America is in 1703, when "The Dutch in New York provided...in 1703...at a funeral 800 cookies...'"

So cookies were invented by Persians and shared around by Muslims!

Mindful Chickens?  We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

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What's in Vanilla?

I just read a flurry of emails on a frugal website about the rising cost of vanilla and how people are working around that while continuing to live their frugal lives.

Not one of the letters asked these logical questions.

Why has the price of vanilla risen so steeply?

What is happening to the people who grow and process it? 

"One must have sunshine..." Living Life Forward

This is another interview with a person who lives frugally and thoughtfully by design and by default. 

Thanks, Helle.

.....

How I met Helle Koustrup Berry tells you a lot about how she arranges her life.

Mindful Chickens a Month Later

(I just like the bison joke...) 

It’s been a while since I wrote a Mindful Chicken. 

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about TWO things.

  1. Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).
  2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

___________

ONE – I donated blood. Why is this frugal? A tech checks your blood pressure and temperature. They prick your finger to test for hemoglobin (iron) levels are normal or low.

Looking for Sincere and Heartfelt Tales

A while back I posted an article about my friend Franc; I talked about how he has created a good life for himself even though he has rarely earned more than $15,000 in a year. (Right here)

This article was satisfying to write. I enjoyed spending time with Franc and asking nosy questions. Yes, it’s a challenge to interview folks and then write about their lives, but I did this often in my 12 years as a newspaper columnist and I like the adventure of it.

Mindful Chickens - Chicago Edition

Mindful? Thinking about what we do around here to be responsible to the world and to ourselves.

Chicken? Cheep, Cheep, Cheap!

 You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a lot going on – including this pleasure.  Len and I went to Chicago for several days to care for our granddaughter while our daughter and son-in-law went out of town.

Mindful Chickens on an Icy Night

My church has been working for months to organize their fund-raising auction that was supposed to be TONIGHT. But instead we are in the middle of the massive spring storm that is scrubbing the nation from Oklahoma to I don’t know where next. The wind is howling; rain is sleeting into snow over a glaze of ice.

So the auction is postponed until next Saturday evening. I have put in so many hours (as have many other) working towards this event in the past weeks - that being quietly at home not working on it makes me feel as if I won a lottery. 

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