Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eastertide Blessings.....




Dearest Readers,

May your day be pleasant and full of joy!  Many, many blessing this glorious day....He Is Risen!

Yours so kindredly,
Shan

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing....What Do You Think?


Dearest Readers,

Like so many of you, the stewardship of my family's budget is one of my primary responsibilities.  I take great care to watch the pennies, along with the dollars that are spent each month.  I purpose each time I shop to purchase items that are necessary, well-made and at the best possible price.

There is a new show on TLC called "Extreme Couponing"....you can guess that this is a show about people using coupons to receive enormous discounts when they shop. What you might not know is that this show has stirred up a great amount of controversy! 

I do use coupons (and discounts), not only for groceries, but for clothing, hardware, gardening, entertainment and restaurants. But as this show is about extreme grocery shopping, I will keep my thoughts focused in that direction.

In recent years, my grocery store (King Soopers) sends me coupons based on my shopping.  Therefore, I now receive coupons for things like flour, meat, cheese and even milk.  In addition, I use the inserts in the paper along with "Catalinas" (those are the coupons printed at the register when you check out) and my rewards card. I average savings between 20 and 68 percent.  I also buy some of our groceries at Costco and will occasionally take advantage of a sale and in-store coupons at SuperTarget.

As you may know from my series Providing for the Pantry, I keep a Winter Menu and Summer Menu., as I have done this for years, I could shop for my pantry blindfolded!  By having a menu plan I can accurately predict just how many jars, boxes, ounces or pounds of any given item I might need for each season or the entire year.  Because I shop from my pantry first, I can use the bulk of my monthly grocery budget to stock-up and buy fresh produce and milk. 

I don't shop just to shop.  I don't use a coupon just because I have one for items I don't need. 

With all of that said, I can honestly say that I just don't care for this show.  It seems to me that this is a show about obsessive (rationalized because they are "saving" money) shopping and compulsive (albeit organized) hoarding.  There, I said it.

One woman bought 62 bottles of mustard, one 112 bottles of overnight pain relievers, one gal had a 2 year supply of disposable diapers....she did not even have children....I could go on and on. A few of the participants have mentioned that they donate to food banks, local churches and our troops.  But even that noble act pales in comparison with the hoards (these folks have gone way beyond a stock pantry, trust me) of food, toiletries and sundry items that are stocked in these homes.

Participants are proud that their homes resemble mini-marts and delight in showing the audience shelves filled to over-flowing in basements, garages, and additions built onto their houses just for their hoard(are you kidding me?). One lady has 1400 rolls of toilet paper stuffed under her toddler's bed and a tower of canned goods in her children's playroom.  Again, I could go on ad nauseam.

There is now an investigation underway against one participant for fraudulent coupon use and retailers are already changing their attitudes and policies towards coupons and discounts.  What a shame that a few bad examples will now spoil a frugal necessity for the rest of us.

It is disappointing that TLC didn't use this opportunity to create a show that was about practical budgeting, menu planning and coupon practices that would be a blessing to many of us in these difficult financial times.  Instead they created a show about nothing except gluttonous consumerism.

I don't think it is a coincidence that this shows airs along with "Hoarding, Buried Alive".

What are your thoughts on this show?

Yours kindredly,
Shan
Honey Hill Farm

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Golly Gosh it's a Post!.....


Dearest Readers,

Spring has sprung and it has taken me hostage with all its diversions!  I have been thinking and pondering and puttering....both inside and outside...poor Dearest, I can think of far more "projects" in one afternoon than he could ever finish in a lifetime!

First, our dear old home is in need of a paint job.  Now I could just paint it in the existing color scheme and call it a day, but what fun would that be?  Instead, I have scoured the pages of my Victorian Homes magazines, watched all my Victorian movies, and perused many historic Victorian home websites with the purpose of finding a color scheme that would both suit me and my very orange (not even close to red) brick home.  And the winner is......

The historic Hale House (click on picture to enlarge)

Of course, I do not have even a smidgen of the trim on my home compared to this gem, but I have always loved this combination (see orange brick chimneys...my WHOLE house is that color).  I didn't use the lighter shades of red, as I just don't have enough trim to add so many colors. I also think my scheme is a little more blue-green...yummy!

Here is a list of the paint colors...all are from (exclusively at Lowe's)Valspar's Natural Trust for Historic Preservation Series:

Dark Red:  Cliveden Henna Red 1008-7A
Dark Green:  Pine Forest 5007-8C
Medium Green: Twilight Meadow 5007-8A
Light Green:  Gentle Wave 5007-7C
(I tried scanning the color swatches, but they just didn't come out close to the true color)

I bought Valspar's paint with built-in primer....I "heart" this paint, it is $40/gallon, but it is soooo worth the price.

I am also using white in a couple of places to tie-in all the lattice and wicker. Coupled with the terra-cotta (which is a nicer way of saying ORANGE) brick, I will have 6 shades of color on my the "old gal"...hardly making the grade for a "painted lady", but she is a modest Victorian Farmhouse after all.

I am making painstakingly slow progress on the painting, as I have just been able to paint in fits and starts.  Once the weather stabilizes, I will finish in record time...pictures to follow.

Hmmm....what else?

We have had quite a bit of tree murder trimming done here on the place, as one of our Walnut trees was sickened by blight and there was a grove of horrible sucker trees right where our garden expansion was to be. As these trees where either next to the house or incredibly tall, we decided to hire professionals to do the work.  You should have heard the "thud" when the old Walnut tree was finally felled....it shook the house.We kept the huge pieces of Walnut...such a beautiful wood...we hope to find a woodworker who might like it...we just can't bare the thought of using it for firewood.

Once we enclose the newly expanded garden, we will begin to build our greenhouse from recycled bits and bobs.  We have already accumulated two used windows, one is leaded glass and the other is a beautiful oval shape. We plan to go to Habitat for Humanity and purchase the rest of the recycled windows before we actually build the frame. I can hardly wait to have a greenhouse...what a long awaited dream!

I also want to paint my kitchen, but want to wait until we get the outside painting done, and the garden in.  After that, I will leave the building of the greenhouse to the "boys" in the family, hopefully, by that time I should be able to fling the windows open and paint the walls a wonderful dusty rose color...it should be ever so cozy, I can hardly wait. 

By the time the paint dries in the kitchen, it will be time to paint the greenhouse....um, did I mention I like to paint?  Maybe not so much by the end of this summer.

Anybody else painting their house?

Yours so kindredly,
Shan