Saturday, November 16, 2013

In Search of the Early Edition

The Saturday/Sunday paper has the same coupons as the Sunday but only costs $1, so I usually pick up a few copies on Saturday.  But today, it took me 4 stores to finally get them.

  1. Holiday gas station to use the $ .20 off per gallon from the Cub card.  Forgot to get papers.
  2. Walgreens - got over $43 in stuff for about $10 plus 4,000 BR which now means I have $102 worth of points to use.  They were out of papers.
  3. Target - decided to do the dog food deal, so I got about $25 plus a $5 gift card for next time.  They don't carry papers.
    1. 3 - Almay Make-up removers
    2. 3 - Tide eraser packs on clearance
    3. 2 - 15 lb bags of Iams mini chunks
  4. Cub - got 3 papers.
In summary:
$71.00 in products
$38.00 spent after savings
$9.00 in points and gift cards for next time

It was an okay day of couponing, if I had actually planned it out I could've done better.  But I got my early edition papers and coupons for next time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Minimalism and Knitting

Indian Feathers
I have just completed two projects using lace weight yarn.  One was my travel knitting project for Britain, the other was the above project with the leftover yarn.  I got to thinking about how lovely it is to have a whole project's worth of yarn or two in one small ball.  And how I loved to work with fine yarns and spin fine yarns.  Then it occurred to me, I could minimize my knitting as I've minimized my wardrobe.

From now on, I will seek out only those projects that use fingering or lace weight yarns.  No longer will I need to purchase heavier yarns for a "someday" project.  In actual fact, I hardly ever use them for anything but always find a use for my sock yarns.  And let's face it, sock yarns are often the best looking yarns and most inspiring in a shop.

The benefits of this are many:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Britain Through Fiction

The desk at 221 Baker Street

When I knew that we were going to Britain, I wanted to learn more about the country and the history.  So I decided to read my way through British history from as far back as I could go to the present.  The books I chose were based on what I already had in my kindle library for free, what I could get for cheap or free and what I really wanted to read and was willing to pay for.  And also, what I felt like reading at the time.  Here's the list:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lost Dog Found

Last night I dreamed that we drove to Scotland with our dog in the car.  We played at a park and I think I had some sort of task to work on.  When it was time to go home, I called for our dog and a different black and white one came running.  Someone had taken our dog by mistake and left theirs.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

One Carry On, One Hand Bag

"Two short sleeved shirts, two long sleeved shirts, one cardigan, two pairs of pants, one pair of capris, a skirt and three pairs of shoes."
    "That's less than my daughter brings home for a weekend from college."
    "We were gone two weeks."

It can be done - one carry on bag and one hand bag and you can survive for two weeks.  Why would anyone want to attempt this?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Britain Extra - Fiber and Sheep Spotting

If you don't know by now, I'm a knitter, spinner, weaver and lover of all things fiber.  If you don't know that about me haven't been reading my blogs.  Anyway, in the course of our travels, anything fiber related was photo worthy.  This entry is to share with you my finds.

The Standing Stones of Stenness in Orkney are actually fenced in for sheep to graze.  When you go and view them, you are invading their territory!  But don't worry, walk slowly.  If you're lucky, you'll get to see them itching their butts on the stones.
Standing Stones of Stenness

On the Mainland just north of Evie is a neat little shop called the Woolshed.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Britain Outtake - 8 Reasons to Visit the Orkney Islands

What makes the Orkney Islands unique?  We had the opportunity to find out.

1.  There aren't many trees on the island.  So the islanders put up standing stones so their sheep can itch themselves on them.  There are possibly more sheep than people on the islands.
Standing Stones of Sheepness/Stenness

2.  Are you my mummy?

Britain - the Homeward Journey

So we walked, took the tube then flew home.  We were picked up by a friend and rediscovered our comfy couch and delivered pizza.  

I would go again to Scotland in a heartbeat.  I didn't really like London, but then I don't like crowds and busyness.  Perhaps next time I'll need to explore the west side of England.  Also, I will stay on North Ronaldsay and take the overnight ferry to the Shetlands.  And then there's Ireland and Wales.  

The Hills of Hoy from Brinkie's Brae

I would go again and just sit in the

Britain Day 14 - Oxford and the C. S. Lewis Jubilee

When planning this trip, I searched for C.S. Lewis tours in Oxford so we could do a day trip from London.  To my surprise, Holy Trinity Church, where Lewis attended, was having a C.S. Lewis Jubilee Festival.  This is in honor the 50th anniversary of his death.

We took a bus out to Headington and walked a few blocks down to the church.  There was a walkway up to the carriage house where the exhibition was to be.

We walked in and saw...a display board.  We exchanged glances and smiled, had we come so far to read a display?  But of course there was more.  They had audios of people who knew Jack and of course, cake and tea.  

Britain Day 13 - 221B and the Globe

Sometimes you just have to visit a tourist trap because you want to.  Such is the case with us visiting 221 Baker Street.  It's the actual address where Doyle based the Sherlock Holmes series, so perhaps it's not such a tourist trap after all.  

The place is not just for Sherlock fans, it's also a neat little Victoria style museum.  The building is protected because of its unique Victorian style.  

Even the toilet in the visitor center was picture worthy,

Britain Day 12 - Sarah and the Tower of London

About 10 years ago, I started chatting online with an English woman named Sarah.  We share the same birthday, though not the same year.  We read lots of the same books, have many other interests in common including writing.  Along with a Canadian friend, we three have a writing group together.  Since I was in the "neighborhood," she came down to London to meet me.

"Rosalind" and Sarah

We met at the Tower of London and toured it together.  First off, a beafeater tour.  Quick, humorous and to the point.

I've always pictured the Tower of London more like just a couple tall, towerish buildings.  It's more like a mini town that was built on over the centuries.  There was lots to see and we didn't go into most of the buildings.  Hubby said I was too busy talking.  I say

Britain Day 11 - Salisbury...and the rain, it raineth every day

Another rainy day greeted us as we took a train to Salisbury.  How does one get to Stonehenge without pre-booking?  Take the Salisbury tour bus.  We were able to hop on and off at places around the area, the first stop was of course, Stonehenge.

Yep, there they are.  Huge ancient standing stones.  We walked around them and snapped some pics, trying to stay dry.  On the plus side, there were less people there because of the weather.  I couldn't help but think that the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness were more impressive to me.  But it's just one of those things that a tourist has to do if in the area.

2 Ravens having a conversation

 We took the bus to the next stop, Old Sarum.  In retrospect we should've skipped it because of the weather.  The walk up the hill was wet and chilly,

Britain Days 9 & 10 - The Night Train to London

We woke to a rainy, windy morning.  After checking out of Bluebell, we dropped off our laundry and took a taxi to Culloden.  No buses go there on Sunday.

This is where the clans had their last battle and died within an hour.  We spent some time inside the center then walked out onto the battlefiled.

Headsets were provided and we got to #2 when the rain began to pour.  Up went my umbrella, then it went inside out.  At this point in the trip we were pretty tired from a lot of walking and more days were wet than dry.

Britain Day 8 - Pitlochry Highland Games

So if you go to the Scottish Highlands, you'll want to see men in kilts and hear bagpipes, right?  So far the only men in kilts were those who were renting bikes or a part of a wedding party.

Pitlochry Highland Games to the rescue.

We took the train to Pitlochry and as soon as we got off, we heard bagpipes and lots of them.  Just a short walk under the train bridge and to the grounds and we were there.  They were still setting up, I didn't have my time right, so we looked for a place to sit in the lovely "bleacher" section.

Terraced Seating?
The website didn't have a schedule on it, so I guessed what time we should be there.  I knew there would be a parade that went through the town.  We found out that we didn't have to go into the town, the parade would end up walking right in front of us.

The Black Watch

Men in kilts, everywhere.  Lots of them were part of bagpipe bands in which they'd compete later.  If ever there was a place to be inconspicuous in a kilt, this was it.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Britain Days 6 & 7 - To Inverness and Loch Ness

 We said good-bye to the Orkney Islands and flew off for Inverness.  Yvonne packed us a lunch which we ate at the airport.  The Kirkwall airport is basically one big room, with a door off to a security part.  There is 1 conveyer belt for luggage, I watched some men bring in the luggage from a plane by hand - 4 suitcases.  But everyone took their job seriously and it was the highest security check we had all trip.

Our first stop in Inverness was to do laundry.  The center of the town is really quite small and easily walked within 5-10 minutes.  Our B&B, the Bluebell House was just 2 blocks from the laundry.  We had a lovely 4 poster bed and took advantage of it right away.  We were both pretty tired and took a zero day of napping and vegetating.  I finally had a chance to do some knitting too.

Friday morning we went to a kiltmaking museum.  It was interesting, but there was less there than I thought there would be.  We learned how they are made by hand, saw a funny film about "famous kilts" and saw some people sewing them.

Another shop down the street caught my eye and I went in.  I discovered things made by an Orkney artist, whose studio I wanted to visit but it was always closed when we went by.  Her sister, Judith, owns this shop, a little bit of Orkney in Inverness.

Britain Day 5 - Hoy Island

On a cool, misty morning, we drove onto the car ferry at Houton which took us to Lyness on Hoy.  It was cold and windy outside, so I didn't stay on the deck long and missed seeing the dolphins.  But I guess you can't see everything.

Right from the pier is the Scapa Flow Visitor Center.  We poked around a little in the museum, there is a lot to see there.  We left and decided to drive northwards first.

Up in the northeast part of Hoy is Beneth'll Cafe.  It's a little place with great views over the sea.  Hubby had the special, I had a sandwich and hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream.  The lady was glad we stopped in, she didn't think there would be anyone about since it was a rainy day.  We might have been the only ones to order her special!

Britain Day 4 - Kirkwall and the Southern Islands

Our second day in Orkney was a little cooler but still nice.  We headed east, toward Kirkwall and then down to the southern islands via the Churchill Barriers.  The first stop was the St. Magnus Center where we watched a video.  Then to the St. Magnus Cathedral.

I can't help but think that we did the St. Magnus thing right.  First, the church, then the video then the Cathedral.  It's a chronological way to learn about him.

Just outside of the Cathedral, I visited R. A. Finn's which had some wool for sale.  I chose a skein of North Ronaldsay fingering weight yarn.  I wish I would've gotten 2 skeins,

Britain Day 3 - Orkney NW loop

Morning view from our room
We woke up on Orkney to a breathtaking view of the hills of Hoy.  The mist was lifting from the sea and it was going to be a picture perfect day.  When you can see the top of Hoy, it's going to be a good day.

Our first stop was to Skara Brae, something that I have wanted to see for over 10 years.  It's a neolithic settlement that was found after a storm.  The walk from the visitor center to the settlement was lovely.

Skara Brae was like it was in pictures.  I was a little disappointed that you could no longer walk through one of the homes, but preservation is important too.  Honestly, it was a little bit of a let down and I was wondering if my hopes of Orkney were too high and I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  I shouldn't have worried.

Britain - Day 1-2; Travel, Travel, Sleep, Travel

We left on a Friday evening and flew into Heathrow about noon on Saturday.  After a little debating on what to do next, we decided to travel on towards our Gatwick hotel since I was feeling tired from pneumonia still.  We stayed at the Gatwick Best Western Moat House Hotel near the Gatwick airport, which we would fly out of the next day.  It was a small room but comfortable.  They had a place to eat where we had our first fish n chips.
Gatwick Hotel
 From Gatwick to Kirkwall, we had a few hours layover in Glasgow.  We took a bus to the city center and wandered around the streets and saw a Tardis.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fresh Fruit

Last night I dreamt two dreams that I remember now.  I'll tell the second one first as it's the one that I don't want to lose detail on.

I was in a church, like the old one in Mound, before the renovation.  Old wooden pews lined up toward the front.  People I knew were there from past churches and some that I didn't know.  I was alone so I sat with a family that I always got along with.  I felt like people were being nice to me, but I wasn't a part of them anymore.

This was Communion Sunday.  The ushers started passing out plates of fruit.  There was a collective "ahh" from the congregation.  I don't know if it was because this was a new thing - to have fruit instead of wafers or that it looked so good.  Because the fruit looked delicious!  Fresh pineapple slices, slices of melons, bananas and others, some on toothpicks to make it easy to take one.

What a great idea to have fresh fruit instead of those dried up crackers or wafers.  A family that was sitting a few rows up received a whole fruit basket, wrapped up in a bow.  I remember thinking that it wasn't a wise idea to give one family more fruit than it needed when not everyone had their fruit yet.  But they were very happy and surprised.

When the fruit tray finally came to my aisle, there were only two choices on it.  I chose a juicy piece of pineapple, but it didn't have a toothpick so I held it gingerly in my fingers.  Juices were dripping off it, so I had to bite off a piece here and there.  As soon as I had picked mine, another tray with more choices came by.

Other people were nibbling at their Communion fruit, most had already eaten theirs.  I wondered if we were supposed to hold our "elements" until everyone could partake at once, or eat them when we got them.  I chose to wait, being a traditional sort of person.

The family on the pew next to me shifted over to the left, I was on the end on the right.  There was plenty of room in the pew.  I shifted over and immediately someone sat beside me - my dad.  I didn't think about how odd that was until I woke up.  I was happy to see him and now I had someone to sit with that I knew.  And I remember thinking that if the family had just shifted over earlier and not hogged the pew, that more people I knew could have sat with me.

I don't remember much else of the dream and I don't recall eating the fruit.  But the symbolism of fresh fruit among the churches of my past is interesting.  And even the people of my past - family and friends.  I don't like how judgemental my thoughts were about the one family getting a whole basket, or the family I was sitting with, hogging the seats.  It reminded me of the prodigal son's older brother - the one who couldn't be happy for someone else getting something extra.


The other dream was quite short, or at least what I remember of it now.

My husband and I were in the airport, on our way to fly to England.  My mom was there too - she was the one "in charge" like a mom would be.  We had left so quickly, we didn't bring anything with us, so we planned to buy everything we needed in the airport before we left.

I then had a terrible realization.  I forgot to bring my carry on to put everything into!  "Crap, crap, crap!"  There was no time to go home and get it, so we had to buy everything there with very little time.

Maybe I'm feeling a bit unprepared about our trip.  Time to go make some plans.

One observation from both these dreams is that my mom and my dad appeared in them in one night.  I don't remember the lat time I dreamt about them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How Much Is Too Much?

This morning, I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep.  I had this wonderful dream that I was shopping.  Every item I needed to buy had a flyer on a string next to it, that pointed out where the coupon was that I could use to get the item for free.

That dream isn't too far from the truth.  I've found many websites that will do a coupon matchup for stores that I frequent.  They tell me what deals that week are good, and which coupon combinations to get  really low prices and sometimes free items.  Not only that, they tell you where to get the coupons, and if it's an online one, then there's a link.

For example, the coupon matchup for Walgreen's next week shows that I can get free Kotex tampons, Crest mouth rinse and Sunkist pop for free, after register reward points.

Coupons are probably part of the reason I couldn't get back to sleep.  I kept thinking that there was a coupon insert in our weekend Wall Street Journal outside, and needed to go get that.  I am not a morning person, so I have been drowsy on and off the rest of the day because of this early rise.

My husband is pretty supportive, or at least he's finding the humor in all this.  When I say we need something, he asks, "do you have a coupon for it?"  Today we spent some time cleaning out an area for the beginning of our stock pile.

I think there's something wrong with me, though.  I am constantly thinking about coupons.  How to get them, what stores have the best matchups and what can I get for free.  In fact, I keep turning away from offers that may net me a 50-75% savings because I want to wait until they're free.  At some point, I'll have to stop turning up my nose at boxes of cereals for $1 or even $.50.  I want free stuff, is that too much to ask?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Free (or nearly free) Today, April 12, 2013

Here's what I got for free (or nearly free) today:

Household Items:

  • 2 pack of crest toothpaste - $ .25 each
  • 4 Poise items - free (not for me, but donation)
  • 10 pack Bic silky touch razors - free
  • 6 pack Charmin ultra strong toilet paper - $.59
  • 2 packs of band-aid sheer strips - $1 each, after $3 register rewards
  • El Monterey chicken & cheese chimichanga - free
  • Red Hot Wings buffalo sauce $ .30
  • 3 Wrigley Orbit gum packs - $ .10 each

Kindle books (since I haven't read these yet, I've no idea if they're good or not.  Also, make sure they're still free before buying them):

Cheapskate Follies

This week, I've stepped up my coupon game.  I've been cutting coupons since I could hold a scissors, thanks to my mom.  And over the years, I've slowly gone from saving about 10% to 25-50% on my grocery and essentials.  But after watching the Extreme Couponing show, I've been inspired to step up my game.  With a couple kindle books and some internet searching, I've done fairly well for my first week, I think.

Here's what I've accomplished so far:

  • A larger coupon holder, since mine tripled in size, and is still growing
  • A subscription to Pioneer Press Sunday for about $1 an issue (already getting the Star Tribune) for their coupon inserts
  • Found a local store that sells Pioneer Press for $1 after Sunday - score!
  • Access to a coupon database, and a few coupon match-up sites, which save me tons of time.  Although I am still developing my faves
  • My first free shopping spree - except for the item my husband bought for $1
  • The start of a toiletries stockpile shelf, already half filled with things that I didn't get for free, but at least half price
All in all, a pretty good first week.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 2

Last night I slipped on the ice and sprained my ankle.  Will need to re-start this maybe next week.

Funny thing though, whenever I do a really good work out, the scale doesn't usually change the next morning, sometimes it goes up.  Sometimes when I eat bad, it goes down.  But little by little, I've lost about 8 pounds in the last few months so something's going the right way.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 1

I don't want to start another blog, so I'm just adding this little foray into the hodgepodge of this one.  I'm curious to see if Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred video really will do what she claims, in just 30 days.  So, I'll give her a little time and see if there's any changes.

Day 1

Don't tell Jillian, but I didn't have weights.  But I feel shredded nonetheless.   My body feels a little rubbery and unsteady.  However, I did start to sweat just a few minutes in which is quite different from the other workout video I was doing.

Fuji apple
boiled egg with a little s&p
Coffee with creamer

And last night I dreamed that I needed to find a pair of overalls for some kind of pep rally at high school.  The only ones that came in my size that were cute were $84.99.  Maybe with doing this workout, I'll be able to fit into one of the cheaper sizes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Bunny

Wife: (pointing to a childishly painted bunny figurine) I painted that.
Husband: When you were little?
Wife: (gives the look) yes...
Husband: think you could paint it better now?