Monday, December 31, 2018

Wrapping up 2018


If you recall, I started getting my books from the library in 2017. I've kept track again this year of the money I've saved by doing that. Here's how it adds up:

I was a little light on the reading this year. I only read 54 books. I spent $81.50 on 9 books for book club that I could not get from the library in time. If I had bought all the other books I read, it would have cost me---$552.78.

Now that's quite a savings---but nothing compared to what I saved on movies! You might recall that I subscribed to "Movie Pass" last year. The deal was $9.95 a month and you could see an unlimited amount of movies. Since my friends and I have "Movie Monday," each week (or most weeks), I thought it sounded like a good deal. After just one month, I got an offer that if I prepaid for the year, I could have it for $7.95 a month. Sounded like a good idea to me!!

Somewhere around August, Movie Pass changed the "deal." Obviously, they could not sustain that business model. From August on, you could only see 3 movies a month. That wasn't so bad, except, you didn't know in advance what movies you could see. If you decided to go to the show, you had to check what was the "free" show that day---sometimes two movies were offered. Suddenly, it wasn't worth it anymore. Still, I got my money's worth. I spent $105.90 for the year which includes a movie someone bought tickets for in advance, so I didn't get to use my Movie Pass. I saw 49 movies. At roughly $10.00 a movie, I saved about $400.00! Definitely a bargain! Add to that---I racked up enough points for 7 free movies. Can't beat that. Too bad Movie Pass had to change their deal. I did not renew. I wonder how much business they have lost now. I would have kept it up for the 3 movies a month if I could choose what I want to see.

Now I have a confession to make. What I saved, I really didn't---if you talk needlepoint! Considering I have expensive hobbies, if I can save on two out of three, that's pretty darn good!

Here's to a new year of savings!!

PS Thought you might like to have my list of 5 star books I've read this year. I'm pretty particular about what I'll give 5 stars to. In no particular order:
Something in the Water
The Good Daughter
Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Pretty Girls
It Ends With Us
The Memory Box
The Wife, the Maid, the Mistress
Every Note Played
The Outliers

And here are the best movies I saw this year:
Murder on the Orient Express
Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (even though it was filmed in North Carolina)
The Disaster Artist
The Greatest Showman (my absolute favorite of the year)
A Simple Favor
A Star is Born
Bad Times at El Royale
Bohemian Rhapsody

Happy reading and movie watching in 2019!!

Monday Mystery

I just ordered a shirt made out of 24 recycled plastic water bottles. I cannot wrap my head around that. How in the world can you possibly turn hard plastic into soft cloth? It just doesn't make sense. Unless someone can explain it to me, it's will remain a mystery!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Final Christmas Post

Here are the rest of the random Christmas photos that I haven't posted yet. I think Christmas Eve is the perfect time to wrap it up!

A few pictures of Sandy's house decked out for the holidays.

This is at the top of Sandy's list for favorite gifts this year. Her friend made this ornament for her to commemorate her meeting Kid Rock---Sandy's idol and celebrity crush!
Yes indeed!! And I was there to witness it!
Sandy and family gave Butch this unusual---errr, we're not quite sure what to call it---Advent calendar.
Somehow, a calendar filled with fishing lures---although awesome, doesn't sound quite as reverent as you expect and Advent calendar to be. But really, it's not much different then one filled with candy or little toys. This one is just filled with big boy toys! Same thing.
I got this Christmas block countdown. But my favorite gift from them has to be this darling, tiny, little speaker with the hugest sound!! It was so easy to set up. It's linked to my phone which I have Spotify, Pandora and my entire music collection on. Now I can have my music anywhere!
My ornament from you know where!
Speaking of Santa Claus, Indiana, this was the mantle in the Christmas Shoppe. I love that there is so much to look at! The Santa portrait is really awesome---3D! I would love to have it, but I'm not about to start changing art on the wall when I'm trying to cut back on the decorating!
This poinsettia Christmas tree was at the Charlotte airport. I wonder how in the heck they water it. You know how much water poinsettias need!  Lots!
 Lastly, I wanted to share this picture of the "littles" visiting Santa.
 They are a couple of cuties. I can't wait to see them when I'm in St. Louis after Christmas!

Well that's it for the odds and ends. I'm sure I'll have much to share after the holidays. In the meantime, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! My love to you all!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Travel Tuesday, Part 2

Let me begin by saying Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a great time with their families!

Now for part 2 of our Santa Claus, Indiana trip.

After our comical lunch (see last Tuesday's post to refresh your memory), we went to the actual town of Santa Claus. I had visions of a cute little, quaint town. It was nothing like that. It was really a tourist place with the biggest thing being the theme park. The actual shopping area was just a big, modern shopping center with a couple Christmas themed stores (toy, candy, Christmas).
 Santa Claus was originally named Santa Fe. When they wanted to get a post office, there was already a Santa Fe, Indiana, so they had to change the name of the town. While a group of people were debating the name, legend has it that the doors where they were blew open with a gust of wind. They heard carolers and jingle bells. Someone said "Santa Claus!" The rest is history.
 We had to stop by the post office and send postcards from Santa Claus.

I did enjoy all of the Santa statues---as did Butch!
 We visited the world's largest Santa statue---22 ft, tall.
This is the original post office of Santa Claus. We toured the museum behind it. Very interesting.

That evening we were to go to a seafood restaurant overlooking the Ohio River. It was the #2 rated restaurant after the Patio buffet that wasn't all that hot. We didn't really have high hopes, but the views were supposed to be good. Our hopes were dashed when we couldn't get anyone to answer the phone. Butch had made dinner reservations about a month ago. We called all day, but no one ever answered. It's a small, family owned business, so no telling. 

Instead, we went to a place called The Post. The restaurant/bar is located in the old post office of Tell City. The atmosphere wasn't all that great, but the food was fabulous! It was an Italian place. Butch and I shared a salad and the ziti with sausage. It was so much food that we brought the leftovers home an had them Wednesday night. That should have been rated the number 1 restaurant for sure. We're just glad we stumbled upon it!

On Wednesday morning, we had just a few things left to do. 
We stopped at the Christ of the Ohio statue. You can't really get a fix on how big this is. It was erected to watch over the river men.
 The view was spectacular.
Our next stop was to the world's largest Celtic cross. It took us a while to find it because it seemed to be in a junk yard. There was so much junk everywhere. Sort of embarrassing, really. If tourists are coming to see this, why wouldn't they clean it up?
 You had to walk down a steep path in the woods to get to it. I looked on from above. It was pretty cool.
The last thing on the list for this area was a pretty cool covered bridge. This was actually still in operation until 2004. Butch and Walter found a geo-cache here as well as all over the places we'd been. That's half the fun and often our motivation for visiting unusual places.

We headed back to Evansville on our way home. The guys got to tour the LST while Chris and I just chatted. I've seen enough ships. 

We found a really cool place for lunch.
 It was called Waltons and housed in an old motor works factory. The old truck is actually the patio bar. The antique car grills are authentic from when the factory was in operation.

The inside was so eclectic and decorated with all kinds of old stuff that was actually for sale. There were outboard motors, fire hydrants and a huge collection of globes. And to top it off, the food was very unusual, but delicious! Butch had a Rueben sandwich that had Brussel sprout kraut! I went for the soup and salad bar. It was a great end to a really fun trip in the middle of December amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 

We had such a good time that we've decided that we're going to do something like this every December! 

If there's a negative, it would be that I was unable to get my Indiana Starbucks mug for my collection. There just was only one Starbucks in Evansville and none in those little towns. Oh well, I'm sure we'll be back in Indians sometime. It's a big state!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Make it Monday!

It's not too late to do this before Christmas tomorrow---or Christmas Eve tonight. 

I know, I know! Everyone's busy now. But this is simple and quick! Just how I like things.

I have been folding fancy napkins since my girls were little. Remember these that I did for Mindy's birthday?
 Well, I should have posted a "how to" but didn't think of it. Next year for sure.
This one was a bit time consuming and confusing. But, OMGosh y'all! This one is S*I*M*P*L*E!!!
It's a cute little envelope! I used a 12" napkin for it. The bigger the napkin, the bigger the envelope.
Start by laying the napkin out. If there's a right and wrong side, put the right side down.
 Fold in half on the diagonal.
 Fold the point to the center.
Fold the other side to the center.

 Fold the side to the center again.
 And then the other side.
Fold the bottom up to the bottom of what is the envelope flap.
Fold the top of the envelope down. Voila!! So easy!
It looks so cute not the plate! Of course, this would be a great napkin fold for any occasion. 
And they look great on the table! I guess I better finish setting it!

Let me know if you have any fun and festive ideas you'd like to share.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Another Star in the Family!!

Okay, I guess I'm a little braggy this week about the grands! But I can't help it. They are superstars!!
How about this girl?
 We just got her senior pictures. But that's not what this post is about.
While I was in Charlotte, I got the lowdown. Getting it from her is like pulling teeth. She's quiet and not one to toot her own horn. I'm so glad her mom prompted her to share her news with me. In turn, I'm sharing it here as I am so proud of this one too!

I think I have these details correct. Victoria is taking a budget class sponsored by H&R Block. She was #1 in her class and #136 in 22,000 students across the country!! I can't even comprehend those numbers! She scored in the 99.6 percentile of all students taking the test! Wow! That's all I can say. Wow! And it's all about numbers! Not exactly my strong point. So happy to have a math whiz in the fam!

Congratulations to you, dear girl!! Love, Grammy!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Frustrations

I probably shouldn't be complaining at this time of year, but I am.

As you know, we met Walter and Chris for our trip to Santa Claus, Indiana. Chris needs and uses a walker. That gives her a "right" to use handicapped parking. When we got to the restaurant the first night, there was only one handicapped parking spots. This is what was there:
 This humongous truck was taking up more space than just the handicapped lane.
Now, look at the hang tag. Can you believe it! I should have stood next to the door. There's no way I could climb up in to it with my short legs! How in the HELL can a handicapped person do it??!!! Surely they wouldn't be driving it! This is absolutely ridiculous! Thoughtless people---even at Christmas. Sheesh! And yes, I am judging! Talk about frustrating....