Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Full Harvest Moon

Last night Miss MoneyPenny was watching her beloved Mariners get shellacked by the Flippin' As when she kept hearing that ingrate game caller referring to last night's moon as the Full Harvest Moon.  Not!!  Tonight is -  and I'm hoping for haze so it will be all big and yellow like it is supposed to be.  Miss MoneyPenny is your dependable source on all things full moon.  I do have the Farmer's Almanac Gardening Calendar after all and for some crazy reason, I find it fascinating.

You are probably wondering who the guy in the picture is.  Well, this is the guy that has been making me crazy for years.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of people who have sung "Sherry Baby" to me, but I still like this guy and he is still going strong at 78, and looks pretty good, too.

Frankie Vallie and The Four Seasons were Jersey boys and most of them learned music in jail.  Who knew??  The Four Seasons were a huge band in the 60s, with hits like the above mentioned and "Walk Like a Man", "I Love You Baby" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" and many more.  Frankie also appeared several times in The Sopranos as mobster Rusty Millio, in case you were wondering who that was.  He is still performing and recording and doing Broadway.  Below is a sample of what a heartthrob he used to be:

Coupon Reminder:
The Subway Buy One 6" Sub, Get One Free is going to expire tomorrow, the 30th.  It can be found on the back page of the August 26th Red Plum insert.  We used this on Thursday and it worked like a dream.  I love Subway.  You can't beat it for a good, made to order sandwich.  They do it right in front of you, so you know exactly what is going into it.  Subway gets the much sought after MoneyPenny Seal of Approval.  Now that I think of it, I might put together a list of the lucky, but deserving winners of of the Approval Seal.  That should be fun.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Should We Shop Locally??

Miss MoneyPenny believes in shopping locally when at all possible, unless we are talking a serious price difference.  I'm not talking about driving to Silverdale for tomatoes at $1.29 a pound compared to $2.49 locally.  One has to count the cost of gas and your precious time and my time is precious.

So, when the guy from Seattle told me that he was going to buy new tires, I whipped out the $70 coupon for Costco and was ready to go.  He said that he was told by a shop in Seattle that he also needed new wheels as his were tweaked from the pot holes in Seattle.  Costco does not carry wheels so he called our local Les Schwab store.

They said they carry wheels and we could come in without an appointment and get it done.  When we got there, the nice tire guy, Ryan, said that we probably did not really need new wheels and that he could correct most tweaks.  He said that replacement wheels are not near the quality as the ones that came on the VW.  Those wheels were going to cost $65 each!!  What a guy!!

I was surprised to see such a nice waiting room, complete with WiFi and comfy chairs.  The guy from Seattle had settled in with coffee and popcorn when Ryan told us that the car was ready.  That was fast!!  I only had time for one phone call.

The bill for the four new Granada All Season tires, on sale, including tax, was $576.08.  When I had four new Michelins put on the CR-V at Costco, the bill was $490.48, including tax - a difference of around $86, which would have been worth the drive.  But this wasn't a straight forward deal because of the wheel issue and Ryan probably saved us around $260 that might have gotten spent at a different tire store.  Plus, these tires come with local free flat repair and tire rotation.

Who got the best deal??  I think that we both did for our different situations, but there is a lot to be said for a nice honest tire guy (my dad used to be one) and having a local store where they know you.  So, when it comes to tires, the best deal might not really be the best price.

Baby Update:

My great granddaughter was born at 6:42 yesterday evening after two days of refusing to come out.  I wonder if that is a taste of what her little personality is going to be.  She weighed in at 7 pounds, nine ounces, and is 20 inches long.  Mother and baby are doing well, with baby figuring out quickly where dinner was coming from.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

QFC Grocery Basket 9/26

Andy Williams was not really a "cool" guy back in the 60s but we still liked his songs, even if we didn't admit it publicly.  And we watched his Christmas Show.  As I look at his picture now, I realize that I never noticed what a handsome guy he was.  Andy was 84 and died after a year long battle with cancer.  Thanks for the memories.

Enough of the weepy stuff.  Let's go shopping.  QFC is running the Buy 2, Save 2 promotion this week.  The ad pictures only Tide and Downy but I have a hunch that it includes the Proctor & Gamble line in its entirety.  From the sneak preview of this coming Sunday's inserts, it looks like the P&G insert will have the best coupons.  I'm not totally sure about this, but I'm gonna wait until then to pair the coupons with the promotion for the best deal. 

Here are this week's highlights:

Franz Bread - $2.50/ea
Starbucks Coffee - $7.99/12 oz or 10/K-Cups (coupon for $1.50 off S/9/9)
Special K Cereal - $2.69/ea (coupon for $1 off 3 RP/9/16)
Fage Greek Yogurt - $1/5-7 oz
Kroger Cream Cheese - $1/8 oz
QFC Butter - $2.50/lb
QFC Cottage Cheese/Sour Cream - $1/16 oz
Nature's Way Supplements - BOGO
Fresh Wild Alaska Coho Fillets - $8.99/lb
Asparagus - $2.99/lb
Bartlett Pears - $ .99/lb
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $ .99/lb
Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Honeycrisp Apples - $1.88/lb
Navel Oranges - $ .99/lb
Sweet Corn - $ .44/ea
Hardy Fall Mums - $9.99/10 inch pot (get the one with the most buds)

Baby Update:

My granddaughter has been laboring since Monday afternoon and I want her to let loose of that baby so I can hold it.  Will keep you posted.

Also, in 2000 I hosted a lovely 16 year old foreign exchange student from Albania.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that she took Chimacum High School by storm.  She and I have remained close through the years after she moved to New York City.  She called on Sunday to let me know of the birth of her second child, a little girl to join big brother Ivan, who is putting his mother through the terrible twos.  She and her handsome husband just bought a house out in the suburbs of Long Island and were moving when she went into labor.  One hour later, baby was born.  That is how you do it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not Your Mother's Mattress

I wish I could say that this is a picture of my bedroom but, unfortunately, it is not.  This is a room where no dogs sleep on the bed and you never get a whiff of the cat box from the bathroom, but this is a good picture of my new mattress.  I wanted you to see how deep the new mattresses are these days. 

Things have really changed in the mattress world since I last purchased one in 2000.  It was an expensive pillow top and I thought that with scheduled flipping and turning that it would last forever.  Not!!  I swear this is true.  One morning I got up and my mattress was shot - overnight!!  I tried to deny it and gave it a good flip but my sore body was telling me different.  After spending a couple of pain free nights on a good mattress, I knew it was true.

I then spent several months whining and complaining, which is an important part of the process for me.  I have to go through the seven stages of grief before I'll take money out of my savings and what with the heat pump (it is scheduled for installation on Monday and I will tell you all about it) I've been hitting it hard.  From there, I started researching mattresses and the stores that carry them.

I found that the higher end mattress involves some pretty snazzy technology, what with memory foam and very intense innerspring construction.  And I need that technology now that I have aches and pains.  When I was young, any old mattress would do, and the couch was a great sleeping place.  Now it would permanently cripple me.

After I decided that I wanted some kind of memory foam, I looked at different stores and settled on Sleep Country because they deliver and set up for free and haul away your old mattress.  The next step, and the most important one for me, was to just go down and start laying on mattresses until I found the right one.  I even used a neck pillow like I sleep on so I could see how it was really going to feel.  This cannot be rushed.  You just have to take the time.

When I found the one I wanted, the dealing began.  It was $1799 and Roger, the nice salesman, said that it would not go on sale.  Period.  But Sleep Country will match the lowest price in the area and take off 5%.  Discount Mattress had it cheaper so I ended up paying $1613, saving $186.

The mattress that I bought is a Stearns & Foster European Luxury Firm Pillow Top, queen size.  It has a 25 year warranty and does not flip but you do have to rotate it, which is fine with me because I almost took out a window the last time I did it.  And it is wonderful.  I can't believe I put if off for so long.

Just so you know, the Kirkland Signature mattress from Costco is made by Stearns & Foster and is a very good mattress, at a very good price.  I don't know about delivery or set up, but I'm pretty sure there is no haul away.  If you have a truck and some strong good looking guys, this might work quite well and be the best deal out there.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Recap 9/24

Miss MoneyPenny is in her "getting ready for winter" mode and yes, it did involve scoring a flu shot for the guy from Seattle and herself.  They don't even hurt any more and I'm the world's biggest baby when it comes to needles.  We got ours unexpectedly at my doctor's office when we were there on Friday for an appointment, so there doesn't seem to be a problem with supply, as in other years.  Now that I think about it, it might have been so easy because of all the gray hair that we are sporting.
We started out the weekend on Thursday by heading out to Sleep Country for a new mattress.  I will share that whole process of buying a mattress that I went through when I get my notes and paperwork sorted.  Soon, I promise.  Then we slipped over to Costco so I could take advantage of the $3 coupon on four containers of Cetaphil Cream.  After the coupon, they were $8.49 each, which is a screaming deal on Cetaphil, especially since it is the 20 ounce size, and should last me the better part of a year, depending on how much I slather on.
On Friday afternoon, we headed out again for Sequim.  Poppy was scheduled for her doggy vaccine and since she had a slight reaction last time, they wanted to give her the vaccine two weeks after her rabies shot.  That poor little girl really suffered afterwards, even with the Benadryl, and it makes me wonder what on earth they put into those things.
Anyway, as we were leaving, I stopped at the counter to pay for Pici's prescription and the nice receptionist had a hard time believing that I had actually pre-paid for Poppy's vaccine two weeks before.  We went round and round and I thought she was pretty aggressive about it.  Now, you know Miss MoneyPenny's method for dealing with misunderstandings like this.  Smile and be nice and have your credit card out and have your paperwork to back you up.  I did not have my paperwork with me but I assured her that I did have it a home.  After she thought about the hassle it would be to reimburse my credit card, she dug a little deeper into the records and found it.  Sheesh!!
Miss MoneyPenny saves all paperwork having to do with major expenditures, and vet bills qualify, carefully stapling the credit card receipt to the top page.  Believe me when I say that this has saved me some very serious money and I had to learn the hard way.
On to the garden.  We pulled all of the potato plants and dug around, hunting for escapees.  Some of them had made it to the dahlias, so we had to be careful not to disturb their roots as they are blooming their little hearts out and make me very happy, as the deck pots are getting that "done" look, except for the begonias, of course.  I picked a big cucumber and it looks like that pot might be "done" also, since it hasn't risen above 70 degrees in at least a week.  We also excavated two Russian Kales that I let grow because they were so beautiful.  They were like small trees, with lots of icky aphids, and I'm not going to grow them again because they were not our favorites.
It looks like I might have one more picking of green beans and I have at least four more zucchinis coming on, but those plants look pretty done for.  There are a few red onions left and the tomatoes are trying to ripen.  The basil gave up the ghost but I did pick a quart of blackberries. 
Before I forget, the Ebates daily double is 123 Inkjets and it is 32%.  I took advantage of this deal the last time it came around and bought enough printer ink to get free shipping.  They post to your account quickly and that really gives it a shot in the arm at 32%.
There is also a coupon in Sunday's insert for Outback Steakhouse that is worth mentioning.  Buy One Dinner Entree, Get One Free (BOGO).  I've used coupons lots of times for meals and it works slick.  I just put it on the table so that the waiter knows I'm going to use a coupon.  They also have a BOGO coupon for lunch on Saturday and Sunday only.  You know, of course, that you tip on the original amount before the coupon.  Miss MoneyPenny used to wait tables and really hated cheapo coupon users.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mother's Little Helper

This is going to be a very personal story that I'm going to tell you.  I tell it as a cautionary tale in the hopes that what I've been going through will help at least one person.  You may wonder what this has to do with getting the most from your money and your life but I think that you will understand as I share my journey through prescription meds and the effect they have had on my life.

It all began when I was going through a very painful divorce from my favorite ex husband way back in 1994.  The dark ages.  A very kind and concerned doctor was worried about the grief that I was going through and the fact that I was just not handling it very well, so he prescribed Klonopin for me.  It was magic for my state of mind and helped pull me out of that crazy time.  And I continued taking it for 18 years.

One of my goals for retirement was to leave Klonopin behind with my old life, so I sought out the help from a therapist and my current physician.  They worked out a tapering schedule between them and I've been doing the work, so if you notice that I have been grumpy...well, I have been.  I feel that I need to make this very clear that these prescription drugs are not like cocaine or heroin, where you detox and feel really crappy for several days, but that if you do not taper properly, you can actually die!!  And the taper takes a long time, so you have to be committed.  And it has been rough.

When I first began taking Klonopin, one of the first side effects was a mean gnawing in my stomach that felt like hunger, but wasn't because I had just eaten, but could only be relieved by eating.  I mentioned this to my doctor at the time and he was not concerned.  So I ate to sooth my stomach and you can probably guess where this is going.  I began to quickly gain weight (50 pounds the first year) and get really depressed.  More drugs.

Then I got bad heartburn.  I'd never been troubled with heartburn before and if I should have so much as a touch, I knew that I was eating the wrong foods and too much, so would scale back and that would be that, but I was now feeding the wild animal in my stomach and couldn't stop and didn't really care.  More drugs.

The thing about the Prilosec for heartburn was that it worked beautifully and I became addicted to not having heartburn.  Insurance paid for this so I continued on blissfully until insurance quit paying for it.  I was shocked!! at the cost, so tried to taper off.  Talk about your beast!!  My stomach is so out of whack from years of Prilosec that within 26 hours of not taking it I'm in real agony.  I've heard that getting off of that stuff is next to impossible.  I believe it, but when I'm cooled off after the Klonopin taper I'm going to go after it next.

As you read this I hope that you realize that I am not really a drug fiend but someone who didn't educate herself about the drugs I was being prescribed and didn't question why I was being given them and for how long I should take them.  Those days have changed for me and I hope for you, too.  We have to be our own patient advocate when we go to the doctor and if you feel yours doesn't have time to really inform you, then find a new doctor.  There's lots of them out there, for crying out loud.

In our current economic climate, health care and prescriptions are horribly expensive, so it really pays to shop around and get the best deal - health wise and financially.  We don't want to be like the sad people who have to choose between cat food for dinner, prescriptions or having the heat on during a cold snap.

Me??  That bad old beast has come back to haunt my stomach, not wanting to give up it's hold on me.  It has not been fun but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I hope this helps.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

QFC Grocery Basket 9/19

Ah, yes.  I remember her well.  I think that Twiggy did more to fuel the diet revolution than all the carbs in the world.  Who could possibly be as cute and THIN as she was??  Wasn't going to happen for me and 99.9% of the rest of the teenagers in the 60s.  One day you look in the mirror and think that you look pretty good.  The next day, after you see Twiggy, it is cottage cheese, peaches and Rye Crisp forever.  Happy Birthday, you skinny little life wrecker.

It is beginning to feel so fall like around here.  I just love it!!  This morning when I got up at 6:30 we were socked in with fog and it was chilly.  The hazy sun burned through around noon but the temperatures have dropped noticeably.  Where am I going with this!!  My fingers are itching to do some knitting is where.  It always happens in the fall, so I ordered some Amy Klimpt sparkly sock yarn to celebrate.  Who could resist this:

The picture doesn't do it justice, but it is black laced with pink and purple and best of all, sparkles!!  I usually give my socks away, but I'm keeping these babies for myself.
Enough of that.  Let's go shopping.  QFC is running their 10 for $10 ad again.  This is a good time to stock up on groceries for the food bank.  I think that we get lax about the food bank in the summer because we are so busy and food is growing everywhere, so we just don't think about it.  Well, the cold is coming and people gotta eat.  So, here are the headliners this week:
Remlinger Coffee - $6.99/12 oz (have you heard of these guys??  Me neither)
Campbell's Soup - $1/ea
Kroger Saltines - $1/ea
Rosarita Refried Beans - $1/ea
Barilla Pasta - $1/ea
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese - $1/ea
Rice A Roni - $1/ea
Mirra Mesh Poufs - $1/ea
Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3 oz (coupon for $ .50/3, SS/8/12)
Nancy's Yogurt - $2/32 oz
QFC Cottage Cheese & Sour Cream - $1/16 oz
Yoplait Greek Yogurt - $1/5.3 oz
Pork Shoulder Roast - $1.49/lb
Ranger Free Range Whole Chickens - $1.59/lb
Fresh Wild Alaska Coho Salmon - $7.99/lb
Fresh Wild Rockfish - $5.99/lb
Angel Soft Bathroom Tissue - $1/4 rolls
Driscoll's Raspberries - $1/6 oz
Driscoll's Strawberries - $1.99/16 oz
Green Onions & Radishes - 2/$1
Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Sweet Tango Apples - $1.88/lb
Food Waste Update:

I was rooting around in the fridge trying to find something for lunch when I came across these tasty morsels.  The first picture is what was left after the guy from Seattle and I had tacos about two or three weeks ago.  The thing on the right used to be avocado.  Yuck!!  Check out that sell by date on the buttermilk.  I found this hidden behind my box of wine (yeah, I drink it out of the box because half the time I mix it with Crystal Light.  I know...horrors!!)

Cha Ching = $4.00

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend Recap 9/17

Now you know how much Miss MoneyPenny loves Sol Duc and you can see why.  This is cabin 118, complete with swing.  Miss KnowItAll and I usually take the waters the weekend after Labor Day, but this year we decided to go a week later as it has been too hot the last couple of years.  It is much more pleasant to take the warm waters when it is cooler.  Hot plus Hot equals grumpy and steamy ladies.  Anyway, we hit the jackpot this year because it was beautiful and sunny but crisp.  Perfect.

Here are a couple of views from our cabin:

This one looks much more impressive in person but you get the idea of the sun setting on the tippy top of the mountains:

As far as I'm concerned, this place is pure magic.  The beds have really been upscaled, with down comforters, no less, the food at the lodge is top notch, and the people that work there are very nice.  And some of them are quite handsome, like this very sweet young man who let me take his picture.  What was he gonna do?? so he just smiled for the camera:

The guy from Seattle rode herd on the homestead while I was away and everybody survived.  Anyway, I think that he is coming back to see me.  He did look a little frazzled when he left this morning, though.

After the guy from Air Flo left this morning (yes, I am getting a heat pump - I'll go into the details later) I took a stroll around the gardens and checked everything out.  It is amazing how much everything changes in the garden at this time of year, just since Friday morning.  I did some harvesting and this is what the garden gave me this week:

1 itty bitty red hot pepper
1 quart blackberries
1 cup strawberries (from the strawberry pot)
1 pint Sungolds
4 big cucumbers
3 pounds green beans
2 zucchinis
1 Walla Walla Sweet onion

Sometimes I feel like I'm getting away with something when I can get my fruit and vegetables from the backyard and not have to go to the store.  I'm sad to say that my salmon catching neighbor moved this weekend, so that is the end of the fresh salmon.  I did notice that his apple trees are ready so I'm going to pick up the windfalls and make applesauce for the freezer.  They really make the best applesauce, in my opinion.

The Mariners are winding down and the Seahawks are coming on strong.  When baseball season comes, I call up the Dish people and update my package so we can watch the boys.  This costs me $50 per month, but they are worth it.  When they play their last game, I'll call up the Dish and have them put me back on the basic package which is $24.95.  Speaking of the Dish, I won't even go into the great time that the guy from Seattle had with the remote while I was gone, but we finally did get it working again so that we could watch the Seahawks.  Who won!! over Dallas.  Great game.

Cruise Fund Update:

Old Balance = $581.31

                     +    29.99 (Amazon sale)

New Balance = $611.30

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Costco Coupons 9/13 - 10/7

According to my Google homepage, "undulate" is the word of the day and that is what I'm gonna be doing this weekend up at Sol Duc.  I've never in my life heard of this word, but undulate means to move in waves.  Who knew??  Anyway, Miss KnowItAll and I are heading out at 11 tomorrow morning and I'm almost ready.

The reason that I'm showing you more pictures of my begonias is that it has been hitting in the 30s in the early morning here, and you know what that means.  Black and slimy begonias, and it is just plain heartbreaking.  I love these gaudy whorehouse red, and this from the guy from Seattle, gay bathhouse lavender, hanging, over the top beauties.

This next one is the little orphan that I found growing in the compost.  It must have been warm enough down there for it:

I tried to take a picture of the new type of begonia that I tried this year.  It is much less flashy but works great with the rest of the bunch, with the little pointed leaves and dainty flowers.  You can see it poking up in the top of the first pix:

I know this is going to come as a shock, but I don't seem to be on the Costco mailing list yet.  What do I gotta do??  I booked a cruise.  Isn't that enough??  Luckily, Miss KnowItAll gave me hers.  What I'm excited about with this bunch of coupons is the $3 off of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.  If you are a fan, and I am, jump on it and buy the limit of four because this coupon seems to only come around once a year.  It is the 20 ounce Costco size instead of the usual 16 ounces, so it is a deal and I think that it may have been the first product to get the famous MoneyPenny Seal of Approval.  Here are the highlights:

Palmolive Dish Soap - $2/limit 2
Kirkland Cooking Spray - $1.75/limit 1
President Feta Cheese - $2/limit 4
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream - $3/limit 4
Goodyear Wiper Blades - BOGO
Advil & Advil PM - $3/limit 5
Aleve - $3/limit 1
Michelin Tires - $70 off set of 4 (think winter driving)
Starbucks French Roast Coffee - $5/limit 5
Pantene Shampoo or Conditioner - $2/limit 2
Vicks Nyquil - $4/limit 6 (cold season coming up)
Kirkland Signature Diapers - $5/limit 2 (grandbaby coming soon)

Seahawk season is here and I'm thinking of trading in my big old two hundred pound TV for a flat screen.  We measured and it looks like a 42 incher will fit nicely in the entertainment center.  It would be nice to actually be able to see the score from the couch, so will be checking them out when we are at Costco.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

QFC Grocery Basket 9/12

The grocery flyer saga continues, starring Miss MoneyPenny.  What does a girl have to do to get the darn things, anyway??  I'm sure it is a conspiracy.  I even closed my post office box and put up a mail box.  I have noticed that my neighbor, Tina, always gets her flyers on Tuesday so I thought it would be a slam dunk for me.  NOT!!  Yesterday I went over to to Tina's and borrowed hers so that I could post the deals for you.  Sheesh!!

QFC has a great ad this week and they are continuing the Buy 10, Get $5 promotion.  How long is that thing going to last anyway??  If you are planning on working the Kraft deal, best get on it as the deadline is the 15th.  Here is the LONG list of deals:

Red & Green Grapes - $ .99/lb
Roma Tomatoes - $ .99/lb
Broccoli/Cauli - $ .99/lb
Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
Local Sweet Corn - $ .44/ea
Eggplant - $1.50/ea --I'm thinking ratatouille (sp?)
Local Organic Peaches - $1.99/lb
Ribeye Steaks - $5.99/lb
Fresh Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Wild Fresh King Salmon - $9.99/lb
Coffee Mate - $2.49/32 oz (promo)
Gevalia Coffee - $5.49/12 oz (promo)
Nalley Chili - $1/ea (think food bank)
Spice Island Spices - 50% off
Silk Almond Milk - $2.99/64 oz
Nancy's Yogurt - $2/32 oz

I noticed in the ad that QFC is offering flu shots again.  When did it become flu time again??  That was fast.  When I turned 60 I started getting a flu shot because I figured that I wouldn't survive the flu like I got it last time.  The first time I got the shot, I felt like I had a low grade flu for about six weeks but that hasn't happened since.  I usually get mine at the walk-in clinic.  I go during the middle of the day during the week and never have to wait.

Today is my sister Miss SmartyPants's 60th birthday and she is going to celebrate it by taking three of her grandchildren out to dinner and a movie.  She is an exceptional granny.  Then, instead of coming up here for Sol Duc, she is meeting her friends for a week of backpacking in The Three Sisters area.  I have to say that neither of these birthday celebrations would thrill me.  I could handle the dinner and a movie but would be whining and complaining all the way on the backpacking trip.  And looking for snakes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend Recap 9/10

The guy from Seattle snapped this very charming picture of the garden late in the afternoon as the sun was shining through the zucchinis in a Thomas Kinkaide kind of way.  The old green lawn chair in the left corner has been the perfect place for a pot of cucumbers.  They are hanging all over the place.  These cucumbers have been very sweet and tasty but quite prickly on the outside.  This is my first success with cucumbers, so as far as I know, they are all prickly.
Speaking of the guy from Seattle, I traumatized him by taking him up to Sequim with three dogs and a cat for their annual wellness exam.  If you take all your critters you get what they call a "litter" rate, so I was all over it.  None of my babies enjoy going to the vet so there was a lot of peeing, howling, hair loss and big time panting going on.  Somehow we survived it and headed for the coffee stand for a cool one when we were done.
You might remember that I asked if anyone knew what the plant that I got from Miss KnowItAll is.  I received a very nice comment telling me that it is Brunnera Macrophylla aka "Jack Frost" and it was the 2012 Perennial Plant Association plant of the year.  I checked it out and that is correct and am thrilled to have this little beauty.  It also looks like I've got him in the right spot, even though I had to move everybody else around to accommodate him.  He has weathered the move quite nicely and has really perked up and is looking very handsome.
Before I forget, the Smart Source insert has a $5 coupon for Revlon foundation, blusher, powder and concealer.  I use the foundation and will be watching the ads for a sale to pair it up with.  Revlon goes on sale at Target and Rite Aid often.  Actually, I just now looked at the Rite Aid ad and they have Revlon on for Buy One Get Second 50% Off, so that could be a possibility.  The coupon is good until October 14, so you have some time to look around for the best deal.
On to the garden.  I picked the last of my blueberries today and will really miss them.  I only have two of my original five bushes left after the Boston Terrorizer went on a frenzy when I first rescued her and took out three of them.  She was pretty wild and crazy until she figured out that she had hit dog heaven on earth.  She then set out to be the boss of the house.  Anyway, my original plan for the blueberries was to have early, mid and late bearing bushes, and it was working out.  I think what I have left is more of the mid bearing kind, as she also chewed up their little tags that I was so careful to keep, so I'm not really sure. 
So this is what we harvested this weekend:
1 cup blueberries
1 quart blackberries
Large handful Sungolds
2 pounds green beans
2 pounds potatoes
1 onion
4 zucchinis
3 cucumbers
1 itty bitty red hot pepper
This is National TV Dinner Day so take advantage of it.  When I was a kid we just loved the fried chicken one with the strange mashed potatoes and weird, very sweet desert thingy.  We rarely got the dinners but my mom was real big on the cheapo chicken pot pies with just the top crust.  Blech!!
Cruise Fund Update:
Old Balance = $570.32
                     +     10.99 (Amazon sale)
New Balance = $581.31

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

QFC Grocery Basket 9/5

Lately Miss MoneyPenny has been feeling like she has the floppsies, kind of like the sedums.  The high energy of summer is just gone around here and it even feels like fall, what with the cold nights and shorter days.  But this is my favorite time of year, especially if the days are warm and sunny as they have been.  Just perfect for getting the chores done early and then flopping into a deck chair with a good book.  But sooner or later somebody is going to have to divide up these beautiful sedums, and that would be me.

This weekend I went out and fought down the iris bed.  I love irises and mine were gorgeous, once upon a time.  They were lovely yellows and blues...until something bad happened to them and their blooms turned this strange brownish color and they lost their scent.  I've been hoping they would turn beautiful again but they didn't, so after three years I ripped them out.

Miss KnowItAll is in the habit of picking up plants here and there, planning to do something with them, but doesn't, and then brings them over to my house.  Pictured below is the latest and the cause of me finally going after the irises.  She said it was called "blue bells" but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be from that huge family of "heucheras" which I'm quite fond of.

I have a mounding, what I think is a campanula that was in the best spot for this plant, so I moved it, in hopes that it will mound away its little heart out in the iris spot.  This is what it looks like after I moved it and with the sprinkler on it:

If anyone knows what these plants really are, please let me know as I'm not very good with plant names and their families.

Now, with that out of the way, let's go shopping.  QFC has a pretty decent ad again this week and they are still running the Buy 10/Get $5 promotion.  Here are what I think are the deals, being food that you can actually eat and be healthy on:

Franz Bread - $1.99/ea (promo)
QFC Milk or Orange Juice - 3/$5 half gal
Silk PureAlmond Milk - $2.99/half gal
Pace Salsa - $1.49/16oz (promo price)
Challenge Butter - $1.99/lb (promo - freezes well)
Coffee Mate Creamer - $2.59/32 oz (promo - I'm not saying it is healthy, only addictive)
Daisy Sour Cream - $1.49/16 oz (promo)
Fage Yogurt - $1/5.3 oz
Nature Made Vitamins - BOGO
New York Strip Steak - $5.99/lb
Hormel Natural Choice Lunch Meat - $2.99/8 oz (promo)
Wild Fresh Coho Salmon Fillets - $7.99/lb
Fresh Rockfish Fillets - $5.99/lb
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese - $ .75/ea (promo - think food bank)
Hass Avocados - $ .99/ea
NW Peaches & Nectarines - $ .99/lb
Raspberries - $1.99/6 oz
Strawberries - $1.99/lb
Local Sweet Corn - $ .44/ea

The annual Sol Duc trip is coming up next week so I need to dig out my blue flowered swimming suit and clean out the ice chest.  It really doesn't pay to take an expensive suit up there because they get ruined.  The concrete seats in the pool are rough so that you don't slide, but they can really take out the bottom of your suit.  I have experienced this.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend Recap 9/3

Isn't this squash a beauty??  Shane, the world's cutest handyman, brought this over from his garden when he came by to put up my new mail box.  He said that it was a Hubbard squash and that they were taking over his garden.  I believe it!!  Now, I love this kind of squash but I'm a little nervous about cutting it up.  What do you use??  An ax??  A chainsaw??  I shouldn't have let him leave until he cut it up for me.  Maybe I'll give him a call.
Anyway, I know that you will be happy to learn that I will no longer have to go dumpster diving at the post office for the weekly grocery ads.  I've got my own mailbox now and couldn't be more thrilled, not to mention that I will save $56 a year, which is the cost of a post office box.  And I will get mail delivery six days a week.  Sweet.
The guy from Seattle and I did the monthly Costco trip on Saturday and there are a couple of things that I wanted to mention.  The first thing is that Bandon Cheese sells for $4.99 for two and a half pounds at Costco, making it $2 a pound.  This is the cheese that I grew up on since we lived 20 miles away from the cheese factory.  It is a tasty medium cheddar which works for everything from grilled cheeses to macaroni and cheese casserole.  The cheapest that I've found Tillamook is $5.99 for two pounds, making it $3 per pound, on sale.  Give it a try.
The other thing is the Kirkland brand of tuna.  I'm very finicky about tuna and just can't do Bumblebee or Chicken of the Sea.  I'm pretty sure that they are interchangeable with Friskie's.  So I got hooked on the locally canned tuna which is very high quality but goes for close to $6 per can at Chimacum Corner.  Then Miss KnowItAll brought over a can of Kirkland tuna for lunch one day and I thought it was just as good.  This is a real savings.  At Costco you get eight cans (8 oz each) for $14.99, making it $1.87 a can.  If you like tuna, this is a good deal.
This was definitely eat out of the garden weekend.  I roasted up veggies like crazy for pasta and then again for salmon dinner (thank you, Mr. CutiePie.)  I thought it would be cool to make a list of what came out of the garden.  I think sometimes we forget how valuable and tasty the food is from our gardens, so here is my list for this weekend:
2 pounds green beans
1 pound onions
1 pint pesto
1 pint blueberries
2 1/2 pounds potatoes
4 zucchinis
1 cucumber
handful of Sungold cherry tomatoes
1 quart of blackberries
2 shallots
Shane is going to build me another 4 by 10 raised bed and help me get a raspberry bed established.  Now that I am retired I find that I have a whole lot more time and desire for growing vegetables.  So far, my only fruits are blueberries, blackberries and rhubarb.  You really can't count the strawberry pot because I only get enough for my cereal a couple of times a month.  And no chickens!!