Sunday, March 29, 2020

Early Morning Thoughts...Pandemic Edition

   


   As I laid in bed in the very early morning hours, I fought with myself as to whether to get up or stay there and pray I fell asleep once more.  After an hour and a half I gave up.  I got up, slipped into my cozy and soft fleece robe and headed to the living room while it was still very dark outside and the world was quiet.

   I did not start the coffee maker, hoping that after reading some blog post of some amazing people and the comments on my own blog, that I would be able to go back to sleep.  Sometimes this works.  Not this morning.  I finally gave up on that thought and got the coffee maker going.  The front living room curtains were also drawn open so that I could see the sun rise once it decided that it was ready to wake up also.

   As I sat sipping my coffee, flavored with French Vanilla creamer, out of one of my favorite mugs that reminds me of spending time in Montana with my parents, it occured to me that we really do live in a different world now.  It is one that none of us could have ever been fully prepared for and will forever change how we look at and do things.  Some of these will be for the better, and some for the worse.

   Our family has a private facebook chat group where we can all connect behind the scenes and keep up with one another.  I started this before this pandemic hit and am so glad I did.  It keeps us all connected.  We have also started using Skype and Facetime to chat with each other where we can see each other and watch the crazy grandkids and we can all connect with my parents too.  I know that was a crazy run on sentence, but I am just starting to sip on my coffee now so my brain is not fully engaged yet. 😊  We are also trying to share more of our daily lives on Facebook, along with pictures for our friends and family to interact with.

   As for my little town, people are reaching out to one another and doing what they can.  One of my friends is sewing facemasks for the residents and workers of our senior care home.  She ran out of elastic and put the word out that she needed more and the donations came pouring in.  Friends and neighbors are checking with one another if they need to run in to one of the bigger towns to see if anyone needs anything from the grocery store or pharmacy.  I have let my friends know that if they run out of something, like flour, please let me know because I do have a rather large supply here and would be more than happy to share with them.  Our little store here in town is trying so hard to keep the basics like milk, bread, eggs, butter and other items in stock so people don't have to make the longer trip into the bigger towns where the virus has made it's presence known.

   With all this good, we are also seeing how this seems to have caught so many people totally off guard.  It amazes me that even with the news of this virus hitting our state of Washington pretty early on, people were not stocking up on basics and continued to go out to eat, go to the movies, etc. instead of using that money for things that they would need and are now complaining that they don't have the money to buy a few extras.  My biggest pet peeve though is people who were out buying pot and alcohol for recreational use while not stocking up on things that they and their kids would need.  They are the ones now complaining the loudest it seems.  I feel so bad for their children.

   We are also seeing many people who have never been taught how to cook for themselves and who have relied on restaurants to keep them fed.  They have bare pantries and they put themselves at risk every time they go out to pick up food for each meal.  Before things got really bad I told my kids to please go out and stock their pantries well.  One couple in particular, because of their busy lifestyle, had relied way too much on take out food.  They did do some stocking of the pantry though and I'm so glad they did.  Gotta keep all my family as safe as possible!  People in general are going to have to learn how to bake bread, make soups that don't come out of a can, make casseroles to help stretch the meat, etc..  Luckily they can find everything they need to learn how to do this online these days.

   I think gardening, even in pots, is going to make a huge comeback.  It has to.  Think about the disruption in the farming industry and how much food we import from poorer countries.  Those countries, with inadequate healthcare, are going to tragically suffer huge losses of lives.  Those countries will be struggling to feed themselves, much less trying to export things.  Please, if you are a praying person, keep them all in your prayers...my heart aches knowing what they are going to be facing, if they are not already.  We are going to need to grow as much of our own food as we can and learn to preserve it, just as they are.  I have already seen a run on gardening seeds at the stores, so many people in my area are getting prepared to do just that.  I hope Jeff and I are able to grow enough for our family and to help our neighbors in need also.

   Even after this pandemic passes through, we will be feeling the effects from it for years to come.  The economic hit that has already happened and high unemployment rates this has caused will haunt us for years to come.  Jeff and I are in a better position than most as out home is paid off.  We will be using some of the stimulus check from the government to pay our property taxes and pay off a hospital bill in full.  Jeff commented that he would rather pay off the hospital bill in full than one of our other bills because they are going to need every penny to help fight this thing...he is right.  I am so grateful to be married to such a kindhearted man who realizes in these tough times, who needs things most.

   Be blessed, be safe, and take care on one another.


   

   

   

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/27/20 Pandemic Edition

 



   It has been an interesting week to say the least.  So many mixed emotions with being thankful that my hubby does still have a steady paycheck and work, but at the same time being terrified he is going to get the virus and both of us will get sick.  I'm trying to stay as calm as I can, but that underlying fear has taken a toll on my sleep patterns once more and the most sleep I am able to get is a 4 hour stretch with lots of 1 hour, wake up, 1 hour wake up, get up for a bit, back to bed, 2 hour kind of sleep days.  Some days I can't sleep at all and others find in in bed resting for most of the day.  In an attempt to brig some sort of normalcy and even some variety to our even further restricted lives, I am stepping up my menu game and trying to keep it interesting around here.  Here is a list of my frugal doings for the week, along with some pictures of some of the meals we had. 





Saturday:
~I made 2 loaves of bread.
~Right after taking the bread out of the oven, I put in a double batch of biscuits to bake.
~Jeff got the side garden ready for me to get the cold crops direct seeded into the ground.
~We used our laundry line to dry Jeff's laundry.
~Leftover soup along with some of the freshly baked biscuits for dinner.
~I reused a tea bag to make another cup of tea.
~Jeff and I used the hot tub.  It sure felt good after both of us had been working so hard all day.
~We had to windows and the sliding glass door open during the day to air the house out.

Sunday:
~I made another batch of the honey/lemon, ginger syrup.
~Used the leftover honey in the pyrex measuring cup (after I melted the honey) to put on my homemade biscuits for breakfast.
~We washed the sheets and hung them out to dry on the laundry line.  I love the smell of line dried sheets.  Nothing better!
~Jeff and I took Caesar for a walk.
~Jeff cleaned out the raspberry patch.
~Jeff also mixed up some potting mix for me.
~I tried and experiment where I laid 2 slices of Roma tomatoes on some soil in a pot and put a layer of soil over the top and watered it.  We will see if it grows. :)
~Dinner tonight was cheese raviolis with pesto sauce served with carrots ticks on the side.
~Caesar got the carrot peeling and ends.  He loves them!
~I listened to a livestream backyard concert by one of my favorite Hawaiian artists.



Monday:
~I baked a double batch of mixed berry muffins using some of the berries I grew in my garden last season and froze for just this purpose.
~I froze 4 packages of those muffins for future treats.
~I also froze 5 avocados to use for guacamole later.
~Jeff and I Skyped with my parents for nearly an hour.  It was so good to see them and be able to share concerns as well as laughter. :)
~I was able to chat online with one of my hanai daughters who is also a teacher.  She is just an amazing person and misses her students terribly.
~I know this might sound strange, but I was feeling a bit scared and wanted to "shut the world out" for awhile so I drew my front curtains in the living room closed.  It really did help me feel more secure.
~Our state ordered a lock down order for 15 days...this could get interesting but we are prepared and stocked up.  Hopefully I will know by tomorrow morning if Jeff's job is considered "essential" by our state and if he can stay home with me.
~I made a big pot of stew and served it over rice for dinner.

Tuesday and Wednesday (because somehow I lost a day in there somewhere)
~Jeff's job is considered essential.  The paycheck is nice but the fear of him picking up this virus is real.
~We got our order from Imperfect Foods and are once again stocked on produce. This time we got pears, avocados, parsley, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, watermelon radishes, a bag of mini peppers, squash, cucumbers and a bag of Arborio rice.
~Dinner was leftover rice, Portuguese sausage, dice up pears, kim chee (for me) and 2 fried eggs (for Jeff).
~I wrote a letter to my oldest two grandsons with a story starter in it. :)  Jeff mailed it off on his way to work.
~I received a small check in the mail for something that sold at my cousin's store before he closed it down.
~I chatted with one of my girls today since Idaho just went on a lockdown too. (Wednesday)
~Leftovers were for dinner on Tuesday night.



Thursday:
~I made two loaves of bread and a double batch of garlic croutons.
~I shared my recipe for the bread and croutons on Facebook for my friends to use.
~Jeff made us grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner since I was really out of it by the afternoon/evening and had to take a nap.
~I looked up recipes on how to use the watermelon radishes...I'm going to pickle them Asian style...yum!
~I talked to my mom and she is making fabric masks for Jeff and I.  She is also making some for Chris and for the local EMS and hospital in her area.



Friday:
~I had a rough night's sleep waking up every hour.  I got up early, had coffee and enjoyed the silence.
~I finally managed to shower and just let my hair dry naturally.
~Reading some books on the great depression.
~Jeff pulled some deli ham out of the freezer to thaw.
~I'm drinking my lemon/ginger/honey syrup in hot water.  Loaded with Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
~Made a double batch of Lemon Pasta Chicken using only half of a huge chicken breast (saved the rest for another meal, a whole yellow pepper, some fresh lemon juice, pasta from the pantry, and some fresh parsley and garlic.




   Praying you are all staying safe and healthy!







.








Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Jeff is an "Essential Worker" after all.

   

   Well Crap!  Jeff is an "essential worker" after all.  That means he still has to go to work and possibly be exposed to this thing.  I'm scared out of my mind right now.  This thing could kill me with my compromised immune system.  There needs to be a clause in the unemployment guidelines under Covid-19 for people to be able to get benifits if they have family members who are high risk and that live in the same household so they don't bring it home to them.  

   Please keep us in your prayers.  It't not like I can go live somewhere else or that he can either until this thing passes.

Stay Home Stay Safe Order




   Monday afternoon the governor of Washington State issued a Stay Home Stay Safe order for our entire state.  Only essential workers are allowed to work and the rest of the businesses will have to shut down for 14 days at this point.  The shelter in place order went into effect immediately for individuals and gave businesses 48 to come into compliance.  Honestly, with the cases in our state rising, along with more and more deaths and people who are battling for their lives, I am glad he finally did this.  Now I wait to see if Jeff's business will be put on hold and I think it will according to the classifications of what are essential businesses. I'm writing this post at 3:00 a.m on Tuesday morning, so it will be awhile before he gets home and I know for sure.

   To be perfectly honest, I felt a huge sense of relief when the order was finally put into place...but now the uneasiness is settling in.  It will be so nice to have Jeff home with me to help keep me calm and stable, but Jaysn and Rachel both work in Washington state (although they live in Idaho) and their jobs are considered essential.  Our son Chris, the cop, is also considered an essential worker (in Idaho) as are Josh and Lauren who are in the military down in Vegas.   Only one of our kids, Heather, is able to be home with our two oldest grandson, Bradley and Isaiah, full time.  Steven, our youngest grandson, will be in daycare alternating 2 weeks on and then 2 weeks off per his mom's work schedule.  Ok, so I am not going to lie, I am scared for all of them and for other members of our extended family who are at high risk.  Even perfectly healthy young adults and children are getting this.  There, I said it.

   The staying at home part does not bother me since I do that most of the time anyway.  We are well stocked, have implemented some addition security measures around here in case some idiot thinks it's a good thing to try and steal something, and I have my seeds ready to go to get our garden in.  Jeff has some projects that he wants to get done during his time at home also.  We are using Skype and Facetime to chat with our kids, grandkids and my parents and if nothing else, this is making us all aware of how precious our relationships are with each other.  My parents, Jeff and I had to have some hard conversations due to the situation we all find ourselves in trying to make sure that everyone would be safe and taken care of "just in case".  Those are conversations that you hope you never will have to have, but we did because we do all love and respect each other.

    Financially this is going to hit us hard but I know we will come out of it on the other side.  Our home is paid off so all we owe on it is property taxes.  Jeff can file for unemployment here in Washington and there are provisions for doing it due to this state of emergency that our state is under.  He has one paycheck that is owed to him for the last 2 weeks so that will have to be stretched as far as possible.  Our credit union is offering a deferred or skip payment plan for loans (which we have), so we will most likely take advantage of that so we can cut some expenses temporarily there. Jeff's knee surgery has been put on hold and we are praying he still has health insurance when the time comes to have it.  Heck, we are praying I do too since his is paid for through his work and I buy mine through his work policy.

   I'm glad that financially our kids are all going to be fine but I do worry about them possibly being exposed to and getting this virus.  I also worry about the grandbabies.  I worry about all my family and my friends.  Some of them, due to their jobs, have a very high chance of coming into contact with someone with the virus.  At this point, I would love to just have our youngest grandson come and stay with us but I can't because I am in the high risk group and that baby picks up every virus going around.   Jeff has been using disinfectant wipes on the truck he drives for work and uses hand sanitizer also at work and whenever we have to go out to shop.  He is so worried about bringing it home to me and let's face it, he is no Spring chicken and is at risk also.  Poor guy was having major anxiety that caused him to have heartburn over this.  I think staying home will give him better peace of mind also.

   I keep praying that I will wake up and this will all be a bad dream.  My mom said she keeps thinking the same thing (minus the praying part).  My friend Laurie, who I have known since childhood, is also feeling that way and she lives in Hawaii which is over crowded and there really is no where to "hide" from this thing.  We are living in some kind of Hollywood disaster movie and as much as I usually love natural disaster movies, this "movie" scares the crap out of me.

   Be blessed my friends, stay safe and please, I beg of you, don't wait until your state, province, national government says to practice safe distancing...do it now.  Stock up while you can and be prepared to be home for the long haul...I don't think this whole 14 days thing they say is going to be the time duration...I think it will be extended way beyond that.

   

    

   

   

Friday, March 20, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/20/20 Pandemic Edition

Comfort in a bowl...Udon noodle soup



   Life has changed in so many ways with the covid-19 virus and all that changes it has brought to people's lives all over the world.  My heart just aches for all the loss and sorrow, fear and anxiety that this has caused.  I am used to staying at home for the most part but this not being able to see my children and grandchildren is the hardest thing for me at the moment.  Jeff continues to work at his job but luckily he does not come into contact with many people while doing this.  I think that all of us at some point will know someone who has lost or has someone who is fighting this awful disease in their lives.  I pray for everyone.

   In light of all of this and the changes that this has brought, it is so important to live a frugal life at this point when so many people have lost or may lose their income at any moment.  I think we are all in for a very bumpy road ahead, even when the initial threat of the virus itself has passed.  The financial loss and setbacks will be with us for months, if not years.  People are starting to go back to learning how to make their own bread and cooking from scratch once again.  If nothing else, I think that learning these skills, which many do not have, is a good thing.

   Here are some of the frugal things we have done this week:

~Baked 2 loaves of bread
~Made a huge pot of potato and corn soup
~Cooked up 4 artichokes in the InstantPot
~Bought the loss leaders at Safeway and picked up a few more things at Dollar Tree
~Got my glasses fixed for free at our optometrist
~Line dried some bathroom rugs outside after washing them
~Trying to be so careful not to waste food
~Jeff brought home so more free lumber
~I bought some more garden seeds from the Dollar Tree to start my garden
~I put the bottoms of the celery and lettuce in water to regrow more
~I dug out a bunch of books on gardening and frugal living to read once again
~We have been using Facetime to visit with our kids and grandkids since we cannot see them in person
~I have started a compost can to put kitchen scraps in so I can bury them in the soil to enrich the garden
~I cut Jeff's hair
~I found a code to add more minutes to my Tracfone
~With all the students home from school, I am trying to help my friends with resources to keep their kiddos learning
~I'm making more of my honey/lemon/ginger syrup
~I put the used coffee grounds around the blueberry bushes who love the acidity from them
~Jeff and I are taking walks with Caesar


   Be blessed everyone and stay safe.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The "Last Shop" and Topping Off.

   Earlier this week I told Jeff I had a sinking feeling in my gut like we needed to go do one last top off shop before self quarentining for the most part.  Tuesday he kind of brushed it off but by Thursday, the feeling was so strong and I woke up in tears twice because I just knew that time was running out.  Jeff got home early Friday morning and I told him about my fears but he was so tired that I just gave up and we both went to sleep.  

   I got up around 2 p.m. Friday (remember, I sleep during the day due to Jeff's work schedule) and saw that not only did our governor close all K-12 schools, but also implemented even more restrictions under his state of emergency that he declared a few days ago.  Then I saw that our president was also declaring and nation wide state of emergency and that was it for me.  I gently woke Jeff up and told him "It's time".  We had discussed that we would have one last top off trip before things shut down so this was it.

   I had made a list Thursday night of the things that I knew we would need.  Jeff added a few more things to it also on our way into town.  Our first stop was Winco, and it was a madhouse.  Frozen veggies were mostly gone, no TP or tissues anywhere (Jeff did manage to snag a package of paper napkins though) and cleaning supplies were stripped for the most part also.    I'm glad we had already stocked up on most of those things.  We did pick up some more fresh produce, some spices, hot cocoa mix, milk, plain yogurt, sports drinks, 2 more big blocks of cheese, bagels, frozen ravioli, pasta sauces, mayonaise, ketchup, some powdered creamer, 2 12 packs of soda (for treats for us), butter, and a few other things.   Then we headed to Walmart and picked up some tissues (we got 2 multipacks) and left 4 packs on the shelves for someone else.  We also got more deodorant, a big bottle of asprin, some cough drops, lunch meats and hoagie rolls.    We ran into some friends there that are our kids age and they were just doing their normal shopping and did not appear to be concerned about the need to have 2 weeks or more of food and things on hand.  I gently explained that we were stocking up, not just for us, but for our family, and that we were preparing to have to be at home for awhile due to Jeff's age and my health issues.  I pray that they went back and picked up a few more things to deepen their pantry.  

   After coming home, I got most of the bells peppers that I had in the refrigerator, cut them up, and froze them for future meals.  I also divided and froze some mozzarella cheese.  The next thing I worked on was getting all 4 artichokes going in the InstantPot so that I could have one for dinner and the other 3 would be ready for me to reheat later or eat cold.  Jeff got the other groceries put away and made himself some dinner while I worked on things in the kitchen.  He offered to help me, but I told him to just go ahead and eat since he had not eaten since he got up.  I had not either, but my nearvous energy was getting the best of me, so I NEEDED to get things taken care of before I could settle down.

   Later, I got on Facebook and saw my friends with young children trying to figure out how to continue the learning at home with the schools closed and no plans in place yet to send home work or do it online.  I researched a bunch of websites that they could use for free resources and then came up with some other ideas and shared them too.  One of my friends, whom I adore, was looking at homeschooling resources, so I gave her a bunch of ideas and where to find resources and then found a science experiment book here at home that I am giving to her to use with her kiddos.  She said her daughter so so excited about the book and experiments they will be doing.  I was so glad to be able to help these parents who just want to keep their kids learning and not falling behind.  Our schools are going to be shut down for 6 weeks at least and that is a lot of time for these kids.

   I now have an odd sense of calm knowing that we are as prepared as we can be and that I have still been able to reach out and help friends with their kid's learning.  I may not be able to tutor their kids directly, but I can lead them to resources, offer suggestions and be here to help them if they have questions or need suggestions.  I want to do all I can for the kids in this community and for their parents.  This is just my small way of helping in these rough and scary times.  I also know that due to two of our kids being in the military, their leave has all been cancelled except for "local" leave if they are not needed.  One of my kids will be doing his administration type job from home and I am hoping the other one will be able to do so as well.  They were supposed to be going to a friend's wedding...I'm thinking that will be postponed because so many people they invited are military and this is not a good time to travel or gather in large groups anyway.  I have a peace about this too knowing that they may be called up to go out and help in their community, but that is part of what they signed up for and I have to trust that they will be protected too.


   I know that we, not only as a town, state, nation, but also as part of this great big world, are in for some very rough times ahead.  I want to try to always remember to be kind, help where I can, encourage others, and remember that God is still God and that I have to do my part and trust in Him.  Praying for all of you and for our world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

It's Getting Closer

   💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊💊


   The news just announced we have someone being tested for Covid-19 near us and it is not sounding good.  The person is at one of the colleges and lives in town that Rachel and Jaysn work in, where my pharmacy is and where I do a lot of my shopping.  If the one person has it, you can bet there are more cases circulating in the community.  I knew it was just a matter of time before it hit our side of Washington state.  Things are getting scary.

   Jeff and I were just in that town a few days ago picking up one of my perscriptions (I was able to get a 3 month supply thank God), some Sudafed, beef and chicken bullion (for making soups and things), a huge bottle of creamer and a few other items.  We also went to Safeway to pick up a free can of olives and some rice a roni and were surprised to find Zinc lozengers there since everywhere else was sold out.  We got a package of those too.  I just pray no one who may have the virus was in either of the stores.

   After seeing that we may have it in the community and seeing that local businesses and the colleges are preparing for us to be hit, I did what I always do...I took inventory of my pantry and my medical supplies once more.  I did find some gaps so I am hoping to fill those on Thursday early in the morning before other people are up shopping.  I'll just have Jeff take me in when he gets home from his overnight shift since he has to go and deposit his paycheck anyway.  Things would not be pretty here if we ran out of coffee and if Jeff is home for 2 weeks, we will go through lots and lots of coffee. 😉  Of course there are other items too and if it is just Jeff and I here, we can last quite awhile, but if some of the rest of the family comes to stay, we will go through things much faster.  Peanut butter is another item I would hate to run out of...both Jeff and one of our grandsons are addicted to it.

   Be safe all and please be prepared.