Thursday, July 18, 2019

Reducing The Summer Utility Bills

At the time of this writing, here in southwest Missouri, it is 92 degrees with a heat index of 105. We are under an excessive heat warning through Saturday evening. 😰

In many areas of the country keeping cool in summer can cost as much, or more, than keeping warm in the winter. Here are a few things that you can do to keep cool while holding down the cost of summer utility bills...

#1. Watch your degree of comfort. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or above. A setting of 78 instead of 73 saves 20 to 25% of your AC operating costs.

#2. Keep the cool air inside. Close doors and windows. Check the weather-stripping. Seal up cracks. Insulate. These measures will help cut heating costs in the winter as well.

#3. Don't block vents. Move furniture away from vents and window units. Trim shrubbery outside, too.

#4. Close drapes or blinds. This helps keep the sun's heat out. Solar screens and shades can also effectively block a large amount of the sun's heat before it enters your home. 

(NOTE - We go so far as to cover our windows with foil in the least the top half...with the shiny side against the glass. It completely blocks the sun and deflects heat away from the house.)

#5. Check your filters. Do this once a month during cooling season. Vacuum or replace them as necessary.

#6. Grow native deciduous trees. Plant them where they will shade your house from the sun's hottest rays in the summer and let warming sun through in the winter.

#7. Check the EER before you buy. Some systems use less energy than others...sometimes only half as much. Find the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) on the yellow energy-guide label. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. An EER of 10 will consume half the energy of a similar unit rated at 5.

What are some of the ways that you and your family keep utility bills to a minimum and beat the heat of summer?

Until next time...

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Spotlight on Grandma's Postcards - State of Kansas

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Spotlight on Grandma's Postcards - State of Kansas

Be it as a girl growing up in Jackson County, Missouri or living here, now, in Barton County, Missouri, I have never lived more than a few miles away from the Kansas border my entire life. 

If you've read any of the previous posts that feature my grandmother's postcards, you might have noticed that throughout her lifetime, she lived in, or near, several Kansas towns...McPherson, Elyria, Inman, Moundridge, and Stockton to name a few. In fact, my dad was born at Stockton and we still have family that lives there today.

State Of Kansas
This week I'm sharing this lovely postcard found in my grandmother's collection. As you can see, it features a lady in a red dress, wearing a beautiful hat, and carrying a parasol. In her other hand she is holding the Kansas state flower...a sunflower. 

On the back, the card is addressed to my grandmother, Mrs. Maude Brown, Elyria, Kansas. It is from her sister, Jessie, and is dated April 5, 1914 (my grandmother's 19th birthday).

Aunt Jessie says...

"Maude, I will send you this card for your birthday. You will have to excuse me for not writing sooner. I will send you something for your birthday sooner or later. I hope to see you soon. What are you going to have for Easter? We are going to have eggs. I will send Clifford something later on. When is Wiley's birthday? From your sister far away, Jessie McCann"

Clifford was Grandma's first-born child (my dad's oldest brother) and Wiley, of course, was my grandfather.

While the message itself isn't that interesting, the card is are these sunflowers growing outside our backdoor right now...

I'm any of my readers live in Kansas? If so, in what part of the state?

Until next time...

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Grandma Maudie

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tuesday 4 Meme - Dream Time ~ Have You Ever

Hosted by Toni

Greetings, Dear Friends! 

I'm joining Toni over at Tuesday 4 Meme! Here are this week's questions...

Dream Time ~ Have You Ever...

1.   Danced At A Ball? 

I can't say that I've danced at, what I would consider, a ball, but many years ago I did dance in high school gymnasiums, dance studios (believe it or not...I took disco lessons back in the day), and other such places. Does that count? (Today I dance in my kitchen!) 💃

2.   Flown A Kite?
Yes! My grandpa and grandma used to get me a new kite just about every year. My aunts were better at flying their kites than I was at flying mine, but I still had a lot of fun trying...and...on those rare occasions when I could actually get it up and keep it there...what a thrill! 

3.   Strolled Hand In Hand Along The Seashore?

Yes! At the National Seashore on North Padre Island @ Corpus Christi, Texas. What a beautiful place! 🐚

4.   Sat On A Park Bench People Watching?

Yes, but not deliberately. I have sat on park benches and have watched people walk by while I was sitting there, but I wasn't sitting there just for that purpose. 

Until next time...
~ Rebecca

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Happy Homemaker Monday - July 15, 2019

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 15, 2019

Good morning, Dear Ladies! Happy Monday! 💗 

I trust that each and every one of you had a good week last week and that your Monday is off to a great start!

Our week was good here. John finally got his new glasses on Tuesday and, while we were out, we enjoyed a belated birthday lunch with grandson, Isaiah, and granddaughter, Audrey, while in the midst of celebrating her 14th birthday. We also attended her birthday tea party that evening with real cheesecake instead of birthday cake. 💗

Fresh Flowers
Delightful Sweet Treats
A Lovely Table Layout
Granddaughter Audrey on Her 14th Birthday
Homemade Cheesecake

On Thursday granddaughter, Abby, and I enjoyed a belated birthday lunch and ice cream outing. Afterwards, we went and had our pictures taken together in one of those crazy photo booths at the mall. What a hoot and so much fun! 😄

Granddaughter Abby and I Enjoying A Sweet Treat At Sonic

I worked Friday and Saturday. Part of my job is to get out on the prairie and see what's in bloom and, right now, the entire prairie is awash with color! It is absolutely stunning!

On Gayfeather Trail Midst A Sea of Black-eyed Susan
Gayfeather (Blazing Star) Just Starting to Bloom

Rosin Weed Stands Proud and Tall Against Blue Sky and Billowy Clouds
After church on Sunday, John and I enjoyed a quiet afternoon at home, then, took a walk around the neighborhood in the evening. it is...Monday morning and we're off and running into a brand new week! Won't you join me as, I link up with Sandra of Diary of a Stay At Home Mom and all the other lovely ladies that gather there on this week's Happy Homemaker Monday💗

Right now I am...

... finishing up breakfast and enjoying a cup of hot tea while I work on this post.

On the breakfast plate...

... egg, toast, yogurt, and hot tea

The weather...

... 69 degrees, cloudy, and humid with a chance of storms coming up a little later in the morning. The high today is only supposed to be 82 degrees, but we've got another hot week on tap according to the 10-day forecast...

On my reading pile...

I finished Mother Culture by Karen Andreola (good book!) but, in addition to daily scripture reading, I am still working on Interpreting Our Heritage by Freeman Tilden, and Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

On the menu this week...

Monday - Salmon patties, leftover potatoes and green beans, biscuits and gravy 🐟
Tuesday - Spinach and feta turkey burgers on whole wheat flat buns with sweet potato fries and salad 🦃
Wednesday - Roasted chicken breasts, baked potatoes, and oven-roasted carrots and salad 🐓
Thursday - Breakfast for supper (probably French toast, turkey bacon, and orange juice) 🥓
Friday - Broiled salmon, baked sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli 🐟
Saturday - Turkey burgers and oven fries 🦃
Sunday - Pasta, sauce, meatballs, peas, and homemade French bread 🍝

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - HHM post, plan the week ahead, home blessing, laundry, bedding, budget, bank
- Tuesday - Deep-clean my office (the Van Gogh room) and get it ready to use as a guest bedroom for a couple of nights
- Wednesday - Library programs - 'Ants on Parade' 🐜
- Thursday - Work
- Friday - Work
- Saturday - Off work; my friend, Dorothy, arrives for a three-day visit
- Sunday - Church; visit with Dorothy

In the craft basket...

... just keeping up with the temperature afghan and making 'giant ant eyes' for Wednesday's library program

Temperature Afghan
Looking forward to this week...

... spending time with my more-like-family-than-friends friend, Dorothy. We've known each other since 5th grade and have been through a world of thick and thin together. It's been a year since we've seen each other, so it will be good to get caught up with one another again! 💗

Image may contain: 2 people, including Dorothy Henderson, people smiling, eyeglasses and closeup
Dorothy and I Last Year At Bass Pro

Something I enjoyed watching this week...

... Bats darting around the darkening sky under a nearly full moon last night. 🦇

From the camera...

Sunflowers In Our Backyard
Scripture passage...

Image result for kjv bible verse night time

Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful week ahead! And I'll see you next week! 💗

Until Next Time...

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Thrift and Savings - Post #7 - Spending Less and Saving More

Image result for money saving
Photo Credit

Greetings, Dear Ones!

As suspected, with all the heavy rains and flooding this year, we are noticing price increases in some areas and a lot of empty shelves in others. 

As time goes on my husband and I continue to look for new ways to spend less and save more, and, while we are making progress in both, there are still so many things that we could be doing differently and I think we have some major decisions to make that could greatly affect all. 

In the interim though, here are a few of the things that we've been doing or have happened lately to make a difference...

- A few weeks ago our microwave blew up (and, when I say, "blew up"...I mean it...literally...the thing blew up and was arcing...when it got done there was a hole burned in the side of the metal plate). 😳 

The next time John and I were in town we went in to the store fully intending to buy a replacement. In the aisle, with a new microwave in our cart, we both said, "Wait!" 

We discussed how often we really used a microwave and decided that we really didn't need it. We put the thing back on the shelf and said, "Forget it!" 

It's been a few weeks now and, to be first we found a few things to be a bit inconvenient, but, over time and with a little forethought, all of those things have worked themselves out and we really haven't missed it at all. 

Savings - $50.00 plus the cost of electricity

- I've been participating in the adult reading program at the local library. I haven't checked out a single book (most of the books I read have to be ordered online, are received as gifts, or are found by accident at sales or on book tables)...BUT...anything you read counts. You just keep track of your time while reading and for every two hours read you get a coupon for a free treat (drink, fries, or cone) at McDonald's in Lamar. These come in handy when John and I are out and about running errands. Thus far we've used 5 of 12 coupons earned. 

Savings - $5.00 plus tax

Coupons For Free Treats At McDonald's

- I found two books on a book table at the local library for 25¢ - Homemade Memories - Making Memories That Matter by Marita Littauer and the other online at Thrift Books - The Gift of Christmas Past - A Return to Victorian Traditions by Sunny O' Neil for $4.09. 

Savings - $18.93 over the next cheapest prices found online

- John got new glasses and surprisingly, his new insurance paid 100% of the total cost. (Bravo! I always have to pay full price for mine; insurance doesn't pay a thing!) 😎

Savings - $237.00

Using Kickback Points that have accumulated over the past year or so, we got a free tank of gas at Pete's Phillip's 66 in Lamar

Savings - $24.00

Image result for kickback card
Kickback Points

- Bought six jars of Polaner All Fruit (four cherry and two blueberry) on markdown at Walmart for $1.24 each (usually $1.98 per jar)

Savings - $4.44

Polaner All Fruit

- Bought six one-pound packages of 93/7 turkey burger for $2.68 per package (usually $4.32 per package)

Savings - $9.84

93/7 All Natural Ground Turkey

Some of the savings mentioned in this post amounted to mere pennies, but just on these few items mentioned we've saved a total of $349.21. 😲 Little savings here and there really do add up to big savings! 😄

In what ways are you and your family saving money at this time?

Until next time...

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Spotlight On Grandma's Postcards - Through The Years

Thrift and Savings - Post #6 - Flooding and the Anticipation of Rising Grocery Prices

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Spotlight On Grandma's Postcards - Through The Years

In Grandma's postcards there is a whole collection of pretty cards with shiny gold backgrounds that feature various bouquets of flowers and have little poems and sayings on them. 

The cards come from different people, but most are from my grandmother's girlhood friend, Fannie Sullivan.

Today I'm sharing a few of the ones that really caught my eye.

In this one, Fannie writes:

"Hello, Maude! - How are you don't think I have forgot you for not writing sooner for I have been sick for some time. It is awful muddy here we had a big rain last night. I am not going to school this year. Will close ans [answer] soon. I will try and write sooner next - time. Fannie S."

There are two identical ones of this postcard and both are from Fannie. Apparently, they were written less than a year apart.
As you can see, the first postcard is written and addressed in Fannie's delicate and fanciful girlhood scroll...

The card is addressed to Miss Maude McCann, Inman, Kansas, R #1 Box 46 in care of Thearlo [Thurlow] Brown and is postmarked, I think, June 8,1911

(Thurlow was my grandfather's brother, so I'm guessing that this card was sent, in care of him, about the time that Grandpa and Grandma were getting married, which was, indeed, in 1911.)

In this card Fannie says, "Dear Maud - Recd [Received] your card was sure glad to hear from you the card was awful pretty I have been picking and stemming goose berries to sell we have put up 10 gallon hope you like your place to stay I want to go to town Sat [Saturday] to get me a new dress and white bonnet will close ans [answer] soon Fannie S."
The second card is addressed to Mrs. Wiley Brown, Moundridge, Kansas and is postmarked February 5, 1912. In it, Fannie's handwriting is still neat, but more mature. She says...

"Hello, Maudi - How are you? hope you are well by now. I have an awful cold and [am] about sick too. Reccd [Received] your pictures and certainly appreciated them many thanks they were sure natural of you both we are having awful cold weather will close ans [answer] soon. Your F [Friend] Fannie S."
By the time Grandma received this card both friends had married and grandma had a baby.

The card is postmarked May 3rd (I can't tell in what year) and it says...

"Dear Maud - How are you all by now we are sure having winter here today I have about 75 little ducks My garden is not growing very fast we are going to have our pictures taken soon as we go to town now. How is the baby? Write soon with Love Your old Friend, Fannie Morris."
This card is addressed to Mrs. Wiley Brown, Elyria, Kansas and is postmarked September 23, 1915. In it, Fannie says...

"Dear Maude - guess you think I am dead but am still living. I have been so busy canning and drying apples just neglected writing. I was certainly sorry to hear of Inez's (?) death her poor mother thinks of her has had her share of trouble guess you are putting up fruit how is the children? by now I guess they are lots of company to you write soon Your Friend, Fannie"

As you can see, over the few years represented in these postcards, the topics of Fannie's conversation had changed from not going to school, buying new dresses and pretty bonnets, and picture-taking to unusually cold weather, baby ducks, gardening, canning, drying, and raising children...the typical life of a Kansas farm of which I'm proud to say that my grandmother, Maudie, (and her friend, Fannie) both were!

Until next time...

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