Monday, March 11, 2019

How to Watch March Madness without Cable/Satellite

I love, love, love college basketball.  Yes, I am the sports fanatic while W is not at all interested.  I do not love it enough to pay $100+ a month to watch it.  During the year I subscribe to a service through my favorite team's website.  I miss out on the extra games, but I can watch the ones that are most important to me. 

During March I want to watch as many games as possible.  I love all of those colleges that are fighting to make it to the Big Dance.  Each year I try to find the most cost effective way to watch as many games as possible.  This year I starting with SlingTV.  They are currently running a special.  New subscribers can get the first three months of SlingTV for only $15 a month.  The orange package gets you ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3.  I then plan to swap over to the blue package to get TNT, TBS, and TruTV for the NCAA tournament games.  I will add in CBS All Access for $6.  For a total of $21 I can watch the majority of the games. 

I am thrilled to be able to watch the games without breaking the budget or getting tied into an expensive satellite contract.  When there are no games on, W gets to watch a bit of live television.  Watching commercials again may take some getting used to for both of us though.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Weekend Book Reviews

Hentopia by Frank Hyman promises a hassle free habitat for happy chickens.  This book is best for home with a few chickens.  Living in the country I know there is a predator resistant pen but not a predator proof one.  I also could not imagine leaving my chickens for an extended period of time.  For people living in the city who want to keep a few hens, this is an informative book.  The feeder and waterer designs are well done.  Overall it is a good book for beginner chicken owners.

The PVC Pipe Book by Chris Peterson includes over 50 projects made with PVC pipe.  Many of the projects are quite clever.  I know my dog would love the pet wash.  Several of the items are not very cost effective and also take more time than I want to invest in something made from PVC.  Some exceptions are the safety gate as it would be easy to adjust the size and the photographer's helper. The just for fun section has projects that would be great to make along with children.  I found the book to be inspiring, and it made me think of PVC projects in a new light.

No-Waste Kitchen Gardening by Katie Elzer-Peters will make you look at kitchen scraps in a whole new way  With growing tips and fun facts for the fruits and vegetables featured, the book offers more than just the basics.  Some of the plants were things I already grow, but I learned several new things.  This is a wonderful book for those wanting to put scraps to good use by turning them into more food.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Weekend Book Reviews

Burglars and Blintzes by Morgan C. Talbot is the second book in the Moorehaven Mystery series.  Pippa is busy with the last of the season's guests at her mystery author bed and breakfast.  When a skeleton is uncovered with Spanish gold, treasure hunters flock to the town.  When one of her guests is found dead, Pippa blames herself and sets out to solve the mystery.  This series is on the more serious side for a cozy mystery.  I love the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and the setting and characters make me wish I was a guest at the B&B. I look forward to many more books in this series. 

The third book in the Cat Lady Mystery series by Linda Reilly is Claws for Celebration.  Christmas is near in the town of Whisper Jog, and that means it is time for the annual cookie contest.  Lara and her aunt Fran, who run the High Cliff Cat Shelter, take time out to attend.  When one of the judges dies under suspicious circumstances, Lara's friend's mother is the prime suspect.  Lara finds a strange thirty year old letter in an old library book.  The two mysteries have her puzzled, and they kept me guessing until the end.  I enjoy the cat theme of this series.  I am curious to see how the story line continues to develop over the next few books. 

Killer Classics by Kym Roberts is the fifth book in the Book Barn Mystery series.  Charli helps run the family book store, and she keeps a close tab on the choices for the book club.  When an author uses the town and its residents as inspiration for a novel, no one expects it to mimic real life.  Charli's friend, Sugar, is the main suspect when her rival is found murdered.  Charli juggles the mystery and her pet armadillo's new boyfriend.  This book has several side plots that keep the story moving along.  This is a nice addition to the series. 

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Frugal Friday

I am on a roll with two posts in two days.  It has been a while since I did a frugal post. 

I skipped grocery shopping this week.  We had plenty of food on hand so we just ate from the freezer/pantry. 

I used a gift card from Swagbucks to buy the seed starting mix I needed.

I have been feeding the rabbits lettuce and mustard from the garden.  They love it, and I love that it is free.

I have been drying nettle for the chickens.  The garden is full of stinging nettle this time of year.  It is a good herb to help with laying.  I have nearly a gallon bag so far.

We turned the heat off for a week.  It has been needed this week, but the week before the temps were close to 80 degrees.  The house stayed within a couple of degrees of where we keep the thermostat.

I cut back the pepper plants that were still growing in the garden.  They are sprouting back out since we have not had a hard freeze.  That gives me several well established plants that will start producing sooner.

Those are the highlights from the past two weeks. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

March Goals Update: Week 1

I guess I jinxed myself by hoping for a normal March.  My dad has been in and out of the hospital since October.  We thought everything was going well, but he ended up back in there this week. That threw all of my plans out the window. I am playing catch up and appreciate your patience for the next few weeks.  Now on to the update.

1.  Start the Remainder of My Garden Seeds
I did pick up a bag of seeds starting mix while out running errands this week. It has been too cold for me to get out on the back deck and plant the seeds.  I always make a mess so it is better for everyone if that is an outside job.  I do have containers with lids to put them in and will leave them under the counter lights in the kitchen.  Please tell me I am not the only one who has seedlings scattered all over the house this time of year.

2.  Organize My Craft Room
This may have to be a two month long goal.  I think the before pictures will explain everything...

This is the result of rushing in to grab stuff for a project and then tossing everything back in when I need to straighten up the living room.  I do have a box of donations, and I plan to sell the big clock in the back at the farmer's market. 

I took part of a day to work on the yarn corner.  I need to get rid of some fabric so I have more room in the cubbies for yarn.  I am hoping it looks slightly more presentable by the end of this month.  I will share some updated photos on my progress next week.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March Goals

*Scheduling a post in advance only works if I remember to choose "publish" and not just "save".  Better late than never.

I am crossing my fingers (and toes) that March is calmer than February was. I am doing my best to avoid any outside projects this month so I can focus on getting things at home back on track.  Now onto the goals for this month....

1.  Start the Remainder of my Garden Seeds
Tradition here is not planting spring/summer crops outside until after Easter which is later this year.  Even though we have been having very warm weather, talk around the community is about the year we had an ice storm in the middle of March (around 25 years ago).  We always have a cold snap just prior to Easter no matter what date it falls on.

I will instead be starting my spring seeds inside.  I had hoped W would have the greenhouse set up, but he has had more pressing projects.  I expect the kitchen counters and any other empty surface will be covered with seedlings in a few weeks.  Before I can start on this goal, I will need to pick up seed starting mix next week.

2.  Organize My Craft Room
I will share a before picture on Monday.  Let's just say that calling it a disaster would be polite.  It was manageable before I started crafting as a job. I need it to be more organized so it functions better.  I need a system, but I not quite sure what that system is.

I only have two goals this month since the second one is a major goal.  I just hope I can finish it in one month. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Goals: Final Update

February was such a crazy month.  I felt two steps behind the entire time.  Now here I am dragging up with my goals update on the last day of the month. Here is hoping that March will be calmer, and I can get back to a regular schedule.

1. Finish Five Styles of Easter Baskets
I only managed to finish two styles of Easter baskets.  I am planning to work hard on the other three over the next week as we are expecting rain and then cold temperatures.  I ended up staying busy with coin purses and the pet in a jar.

The chick and frog baskets both turned out well.  Thank goodness Easter is a bit later this year. 

2.  Organize My Makeup Drawer - Done
I have kept this area neat.  I still have some samples to use up. The ones that are left are corralled together rather than being scattered everywhere.

3.  Clean Out/Inventory Freezer and Make Some Freezer Meals - Done (Mostly)
I still need to take the squash to my mother-in-law.  I have been using the inventory sheet to keep up with what I use.  I did make a few freezer meals just not as many as I hoped.  I am going to call this one a success.  Having the freezer organized is very helpful.  Now if I can just keep it from getting into a mess again!

Please come back tomorrow for my March goals.