Saturday, December 6, 2014

This Years Holiday Deals

The weather here in our part of Wisconsin has moderated a little.  It has actually been quite pleasant even though the full moon tonight is called the Cold Moon.   The past week or so, my husband and I have taken the opportunity to bum around to stores we usually don't go to and track down thrift stores we haven't gone to in a long time.  We have eaten out and had a lot of fun.  As a result I have gotten some very good deals for Christmas presents and things for us.

December 6, 2014 full moon is called the "Cold Moon"

It's sunny, bright and the snow is melting.

I have written about this topic before, but for those who didn't see it here is the link.

I will give you some examples of the games I play with getting good deals.  I can't tell you what I bought because certain people may read this blog.  I can say that I was shopping online for a certain item.  $70 was the lowest price I could find.  Then on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I went online.  I found the item, which retailed for $110 was sold for $99, on sale in the store for $49 but for that day was $29.99.  I ordered two through ebates so I got another 6% back, free shipping and $15 in a cash coupon.  I won't mention the store, but I think everyone knows who gives $15 cash.  Then as we were shopping at this store on Friday, I found something else I wanted on sale for $13.00.  I ended up getting it free and I still had $2.00 left over.  It makes shopping a fun game.  I don't usually like games but this one gives me something in return.  Kind of like winning at gambling.  I figure I saved $80 times 2 = $160 plus $3.60 plus $13 plus shipping.  I don't know what that is because I rarely pay shipping costs.  I just know I got a really good deal.

Next I ordered an item for my granddaughter.  It came in record time.  It came in just a few days, but the top I ordered was very very small.  I ordered a medium and it looked like an extra small.  I was so disappointed so I emailed their customer service department.  I got an answer back in just a few hours.  They told me they were sorry for the problem, and they would gladly order me another at no cost.  They said I didn't have to return the original item or incur shipping costs.  I ordered a bigger size and will be able to donate the smaller set.  Someone else will go to a thrift store some day and be thrilled with this item.  Nice.

Another example of online shopping that worked out well was last week.  The credit card I use gives reward points. I only use this card from home for my online purchases because it has protection and safety features.   I use ebates, shop at home or mrrebates for all my online purchases.  I have all my  rebates transferred to my account and save them for the holidays.   I ordered a $50 toy and only paid $8.  Yippee!

 I also went to a store that gives reward points.  I bought $60 worth of stocking stuffers.  I got $15 off the total bill and $10 more in reward points added back.

I did lots and lots of other online shopping and used codes for discounts and shipping.  Sometimes it is hard to keep track of all of this, but it is so worth it in the long run.

Then I went to St. Vincent du Paul.  I always look for items that fit with my collections.  Many years ago my mom gave me the start to a collection called All Through The House.  It was retired and the pieces couldn't be purchased in stores any longer.  Last year I found three pieces.  Yesterday I found a Christmas Tree from the Department 56 All Through The House collection.  I paid $4.  I looked it up when I got home.  It is a retired item that can be purchased through a reseller for $44.

This is the tree I found this year.

There are two trees in this collection.  The one is this picture I also found at a St. Vincent du Paul thrift store.

We also found a brand new pair of Nike shoes for my husband.  If you watch carefully, places like Kohls and Target donate to these stores.  The style of the shoes are still being sold.  I saw the exact shoe for $55 and we paid $10.

If you are patient, eventually good deals can come your way.  I don't like shopping so this makes it a little more fun.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Memories of Gifts Gone By

My mom was a great gift giver.  She would always try to find something unique to give my sister and me for Christmas.  She would take a family item and do something to make it special, or try to find limited edition items.  She would drag my dad all over the state looking for one certain thing.

This is a special Santa dressed in Green Bay Packer colors.  This is #90 of 150 that were made.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus made by the same lady as Packer Santa.

When my parents purchased my dad's Uncle Bill's house, they found these stools in the garage.  Printed underneath was his name.  Uncle Bill used them for ice fishing and my mom had them rosemaled for us.  We lived in Stoughton Wisconsin at the time and Norwegian heritage is a big part of that  community.

Ice fishing stool used by my dad's Uncle Bill

Mom and dad had some friends who lived in Northern Wisconsin.  Every year they would vacation there and visit these people.  They had a little business where the husband would cut the wooden blanks and the wife would carve and paint Father Christmas's.  Mom bought one in 1987 and the other in 1990.

Father Christmas 1987
Father Christmas 1990

We have received a lot of other items but what we got the most often was The Original Snow Village by Department 56.  The first item I got in 1989 was a train station.  My mom's family were railroad people, so it was what she chose.  Back then they cost a lot of money.  One piece could cost $75 to $100.

So plain and basic compared to today's villages.

They were truly special when we received them, and they still are, but now Christmas villages are everywhere.  Now they are very inexpensive.  Every year I set out a village.  It is a lot of work, but I love them when they are finished.  I have purchased some of my own so I can't use every piece every year.  I try to change the theme every few years to make use of them.   Today was full of good memories. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dill Pickle and Ham Dip

On November 14, we celebrated my dad's 90th birthday.  I blogged about it and what a good time we had at his open house party.  I made too much food, so one of my favorites wasn't eaten by very many people.  I had a lot left over, which we enjoyed for quite a while afterward.  It was simple to make and can be eaten on crackers or with chips.  This recipe makes a big batch so it can easily be cut in half.  If you don't eat meat, just leave out the ham.  Dill pickle spread is delicious.

Dill Pickle and Ham Dip

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces of Buddig beef or ham
16 ounces of dill pickles, drained and diced

I used my vidalia chop wizard for dicing.

Combine softened cream cheese, chopped ham and diced dill pickles and mix well.

This dip keeps for a long time.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Boot Cuffs

A few days ago it was Thanksgiving Day.  We were invited out this year.  My son-in-law's parents were kind enough to include us in their family meal.  It was a wonderful time.  My daughter's mother-in-law has recently retired.  She has learned how to knit, so we had fun talking about knitting.  She showed me some of her new projects.  One thing she made were Boot Cuffs.  I am so out of touch, I didn't know what they were.  When we got home, I looked on and discovered they are very popular.  I found many styles and patterns.  So this past weekend, I pulled out some yarn and started knitting just to see how they looked.  I basically cast 56 stitches on a size 8 circular needle.  It was a 12 inch circular needle.  I did the knit 2, purl 2 ribbing stitch for 4 inches.  I would make it 6 inches long next time.  It is just a ribbed tube and took no time at all to make.  This is the final product.

Twelve inch circular knitting needle in a size 8.

It looks like I have a wool sock under my boot.

These turned out pretty well so I tried another style.  These are a little fancier.  They are done in crochet.  These took even less time.  I made them during the Green Bay Packer game yesterday.

For those who crochet, here is the free pattern.  It is called the Belmont Boot Topper.  It is on  If you knit or crochet, it is a wonderful website.  If you can't find a pattern there, you may not find it anywhere.  I plan on making more and trying some different styles.

I think I am a little old to wear this trendy style, but the ribbed style does add warmth.  Today we certainly needed all the warmth we could get.