Mary Beth Writes

This was written 9/19/16

ONE – I baked.  I realized our sweet potatoes were losing their youth. I looked on the internet to see if there is such a thing as Sweet Potato Bread and of course there is. It was delicious, and there is one piece left in, I can hear it humming.

A few afternoons later I wanted a cookie badly but we had none. I made a HALF batch.  A cookie fresh from the oven is a lovely pleasure.  I don’t see why we have to give up warm cookies altogether just because some of us no longer live with kids all over the place.

Here’s what I love about baking even though I am no longer feeding the troops. Someone always seems to show up with whom we can share.  A friend and I were going to go out for coffee on a morning that broke into rain. I suggested, at the moment she stopped by to get me, that we just drink coffee in my house. We did. Did the Sweet Potato Bread make that happen? 

Is this one of the physical laws on the universe?  If you bake it, they will come?

TWO – My daughter was unhappy with the dirty, off-white canvas covers on her Ikea sofa and asked me if she could dye it. I said I didn’t know. She looked on the internet (do I detect a theme here?) and yup, found a blog where a person explained dying canvas slip covers. So this weekend my daughter drove here from Chicago, used our washer, and we dyed the slip covers green. It worked well; the covers didn’t get streaky or mottled.  Not sure if I need to dye anything, but it is helpful to realize one can do this to solve problems and extend the length of time we keep things around.

Although my right hand got so blueish-greenish doing this that I looked as if I was “going Avatar.”  The next morning my hand was back to normal. Did my skin absorb all that? 

THREE – Last weekend when he was out on his bike, Len saw some tables along a country road that were loaded with homegrown watermelons for sale. Two days later we drove back there (he rides far; this was 15 miles west of here!). Oh the heartbreak in Len’s voice when there were no watermelons!

So we drove around the countryside for an hour, at dusk, on a balmy evening, talking about a lot of important and inane things.

The next day my daughter - whose job is to assist people in child custody negotiations - mentioned to me that a big truth about divorce. When couples don’t talk very much as part of their ongoing lives, and then a crisis comes along, these are the folks most vulnerable to splitting. There are so many pieces to this, there is never any one thing that keeps a couple together or breaks them apart, but isn’t this interesting?

Driving around hunting for watermelons that aren’t there might be a relationship-preserving skill!

FOUR – As always, I washed used plastic bags - the ones one buys in the first place for leftovers and homemade cookies and breads.  I don’t even think about this, except sometimes I notice other people throwing theirs away and it alarms me, as if they were flushing healthy goldfish.  (We do toss bags after they stored meat, or food that went moldy, or they developed holes.)  Can a person even guess how many bags we have saved doing this?  I am going to guess that washing and reusing saves us 5 bags per week; and we’ve been doing this for 30 years.  Holy cow, that’s 7500 bags! That’s a lot of money and that’s a lot of bags not in dumps or floating in the ocean. Of course, it’s even more prudent to use bowls and jars, which we do also. Doing the math might surprise you, too!

FIVE – Interesting info to help one decide which yogurt to eat.

There’s the obvious, Greek yogurt tends to cost twice what plain yogurt does.

We’re comparing 6-oz servings here. Greek has more protein - 15-20 grams of protein vs about 9-10 grams of protein for regular yogurt.  

Greek has less sugar.

Greek has less calcium than plain. Greek yogurt supplies about 20% of your daily requirement of calcium, regular yogurt supplies 30%.

Here is something I did not know. If you add one serving of yogurt (either type) to your diet every day for 4 years, you will lose 1 pound every 4 years due to however yogurt interacts with your gut flora and fauna. So if I want to lose 10 pounds, which I do, all I need to do is eat yogurt for 40 years.  

It is not at all hard to make your own yogurt and Greek yogurt. Ask the internet. (Didja see that coming?) Look for the instructions that require a heating pad or a crock pot. You don’t need to buy anything special other than milk and a single serving of good yogurt.

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Mindful Chickens 11/15/2017

Our son was married this past weekend. As he said, “This wedding has a lot of moving parts …” We are slowly coming out of our happy preoccupation with our kids’ lives.

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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!

Mindful Chickens of the past few weeks?   

American Clutter

I watched an 18-minute video about Americans and their clutter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AhSNsBs2Y0 

 (I read about it in the letters section of The Non-Conformist Advocate.   http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/ )

The book it is related to is this: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors. http://www.ioa.ucla.edu/press/life-at-home

From Our Hit Parade of $ Mistakes

I said last week that I would list The Dumbest Money Things Len and I have done in our lives.

1. Oops. I forgot to get a graduate degree at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. What would my writing career have been like with top-notch editors, agents, accolades and cash?

I have no idea. I write fiction but I don’t live it

Mindful Chickens 10/23/2017

1. The most effectively frugal thing I did last week -- was have a cold. I walked some of those beautiful days… but other than that I stayed home with my germs.

Botanical Gardens

10 Things I Learned By 65

Yesterday I turned 65. My birthday weekend was great; we saw all the kids and our grandbaby. The baby smiles slowly at us now. When she feels brave that we will be nice to her, she lifts her hand and waves. My socks melted.

So now I’m old!  Well, at least on the outside … inside I feel a smooth 47.  I went for a long bike ride Sunday afternoon and I wasn’t even sore yesterday when I apparently walked seven miles (in two walks). That’s cool!

Credit Freezing

Just figures; all the frugal sites i read are talking about freezing lovely produce from their gardens - while I'm  freezing my credit report...

Per my Mindful Chickens of just this morning - I just froze two credit reports and fraud alerted the third. There are apparently two smaller credit reporting agencies I never heard of before, so I’m doing nothing about them at this time.

I suggest you read this first. Krebs is a well-respected guy; I heard him interviewed on an NPR show a while back. Read “about the author” section for more credentials.  

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