Friday, January 13, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 1/7-1/13 2016


    This post will be very short on pictures because I honestly forgot to take most of them.  I already shared in a previous post pictures of our neighbors and my hubby out dealing with the snow.  I don't think anyone is really wanting to see a picture of the Suprep (for my much dreaded colonoscopy next week) that I ended up getting free after a billing mistake at Walmart.  I know I wouldn't. 😉 And lastly, those cookies were gone before it crossed my mind to take a picture of them.  Don't judge! 😁 Just for good measure, I did throw in a picture of Doofy cat in one of his strange sitting positions just because he is so cute!
Onto the frugal doings for this week.  

~We had a mini marathon of watching episodes of "The Flash" on Netflix Saturday and Sunday nights.
~My cousin Jeremy and his puppy Maggie came over for a doggie playdate with Caesar.  Those dogs played so much that they wore each other out!  I made some cream cheese and crab wontons for us to snack on.  We sent a huge box of Milk Bones dog treats home with Maggie since I had found a sale on them for $1 a box awhile back and had a nice supply of them here. We also sent home a classic Peter Seller's movie that we had a duplicate of with him.  It made for a fun afternoon for all of us!
~Jeff let me sleep in on Sunday morning while he took care of the fur babies.  He found a movie on Netflix to watch and looked around at some of the other channels we have through our Roku.  He discovered a channel where we can watch all the episodes of Fixer Upper since Netflix only has season 1 and 2.  They also have all the seasons of Big Bang Theory which we are way behind on.  Free to watch also so that is a huge bonus!
~For lunch Sunday I was digging around in the freezer and found a smoked trout that Uncle Bob gave us.  I toasted some English Muffins, spread some cream cheese on them and then flaked some of the smoked trout on top.  Yummers!
~Dinner on Sunday was another one of my bake it all on a cookie sheet meal using some Sweet Italian Sausage (yes we love these) and both white and sweet potatoes that needed to be used up.

~My husband belongs to a bowling league and one of his bowling balls needed some work done on it.  He cleaned, resurfaced and sanded out the finger holes himself saving us at least $100.
~More loaves of bread were made this week.
~I did lots of back to back baking making use of the heat of the oven.
~I limited my trips in my car to one time out this week.
~At the beginning of the week I cooked a large pot of brown rice knowing I would be needing some for a few meals this week.  It keeps really well in the refrigerator and is very versatile.
~Lunches this week were mainly leftovers or sandwiches.  Hey, it works for me. 👍
~We live in a wonderful community.  When my hubby was out trying to help one of our high school neighbors dig his truck out of the snow so he could get to school, another neighbor from down the street came by on his tractor.  He not only plowed out the truck, but also did the driveway, our driveway and Uncle Bob's driveway since the snow had gotten much to heavy for Uncle Bob's snow blade on his 4 wheeler.
~The library just got in some more new movies that came out on DVD so I put in requests for "Sully" and for "The Magnificent Seven".  We also borrowed two other movies this week.

~Doofy cat got to watch more of his Kitty TV on Youtube.  It really keeps him occupied and out of trouble.  We did have an incident over the weekend however that a little bird that looks like the ones he watches on Kitty TV got trapped on our back screened in porch.  You should have heard Doofy carrying on and scratching to get out to it.  It just shows me that he knows the difference between the birdies on TV and in real life.  Hey if I can get an hour of him not sprinting up and down the halls or jumping up and scratching on things he is not supposed to, I'm going to take it.  I still say it's a good thing he is cute!😺
~Walmart called to tell me I had a prescription ready and that I owed $97.  Uh no!  I called them back and it turns out they do not have my insurance on file even though I have given it to them 3 different times now.  After running the info, I now have a $0 copay.  Yay!  Three minutes of my time saved me $97.00.
~Wednesday night I pulled some reduced by 75% off tamales out of the freezer and zapped those for dinner.  They were quick, easy and delicious!
~Groceries picked up this week were 3 bags of salad mix in sale, 2 bunches of bananas, 3 avocados and a gallon of milk.  I wanted to get some apples for my hubby to take as part of his dinners, but he said he did not want any.  I'm going to leave the bananas for him and concentrate on eating the mandarins that I already have on hand since he does not like those.
~I went through the pantry to see what we had that I can eat on my prep day next week since I can only have clear liquids and nothing red or purple colored. I found some apple cider and grapefruit juice that I will have to strain the pulp out of.  I can also have jello, so I checked my supply of that.  I do have bullion and broths that I can also have. Of course I have a huge supply of teas and lots of coffee too.  I don't think I will need to buy anything extra.

~I had wine and popcorn for dinner one night this week when Jeff was not home.  I needed comfort food after a stressful day.
~Jeff is having to do an additional out of the way run for work one night this week and he will be compensated for it.  It's nice because that will cover his bowling for next week plus a little extra.
~Everyone needs a treat and my hubby sure deserved one after all the long hours he is putting in at work in addition to helping Jaysn, Rachel and myself out this week.  I found some marked down chocolate chunk cookie dough in the freezer and got that baked up for him.  I will admit, I ate more than I should have also. ;)  He was a very happy guy when he woke up to fresh warm cookies. 👍

~One of my favorite things is having breakfast for dinner.  Friday night we had bacon, homemade pancakes, and a choice of homemade maple or raspberry syrup.  YUM!
~I watched several Youtube tutorials on making some artisan breads.
~I dug down deep into our big chest freezer and found a package of chicken breasts.  They will be be made into more comfort food over the weekend.
~There was just a smidgen of shampoo left in the bottle so I added some water to it.  We now have another shampooing session with that.

    So there it is.  Nothing earth shattering or life changing this week.  We are sticking to our plan to mainly eat out of the pantry, fridge and freezer.  We are not eating out for both financial and health reasons.  Too many people are sick and still preparing food at restaurants right now.  Not worth risking it even if we could afford it.  I'm watching thrifting videos on Youtube to take care of my thrift shopping addiction.  Honestly, it is the thrill of finding amazing things that I love and I have been able to "shop" vicariously through some of my favorite Youtubers.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Becoming a Hermit

  Flu season is about to reach it's peak here.  The hospitals in Spokane (just north of us) expect it to reach pandemic levels by next week since all the college students have returned from vacation this week to resume classes.  They have been tracking "the wave" of cases move across our state from the Seattle area over to the East side where I live.  They are already turning children 12 and under away from being able to visit loved ones in the hospitals up there as a safety precaution because so many people are being hospitalized or going to the emergency room with flu symptoms. This flu season has already proven to be really bad and even deadly in some cases.  The people that I know that have gotten the flu so far have had their flu shots and it did nothing to protect them.

   I am one of those people that cannot get the shot anyway.  I had a horrible reaction to it and was told NEVER to get one again.  I am also someone with not one, not two, but three different autoimmune diseases that we currently know of.  Yes, I am a mess!  Today I have to venture out to the hospital for a pre-op appointment for a colonoscopy next week.  Oh joy! NOT!  I'm thinking I may just wear one of the masks while I am there.  If I get sick I then have to put off having this "roto-rooter" procedure for another 2 months (that is how long it will be until I can get another appointment).  Even though it is just a routine screening, I don't want to have to put it off.  I already had to wait over a month to get this appointment.  So I am becoming a hermit.

   In the past, I was told by one of my doctors that I had to stay away from people so I could limit my exposure to any viruses if I had any medical procedures coming up.  My friend, who works at a hospital in Spokane, also told me to avoid being around people and to stock up on anything I might need today and then stay put at home until after this procedure is over and done with.  I already emailed and cancelled working with the preschoolers next week because I catch everything they have.  I hated having to do that because I love being with them but I am almost always sick within 2-3 days after working with any of them that is sick.  I should be able to return the following week though.

   So today is the day for stopping by the store and picking up a few things after my appointment.  I need milk and some fresh fruits and veggies.  I'll make it a quick trip in and out.  That should be it for another week or two.  I am once again thankful for a full pantry, freezer and refrigerator and thankful for my friend who warned me about how bad things were getting this flu season.

Snow and Small Town Blessings

I love living in our small town.  The other day our neighbor Mason, from across the street, was trying to dig his truck out of the snow so he could get to school.  He was already running late so my hubby went over to help dig him out.  Uncle Bob, who was on his 4 wheeler, was trying to help too but the snow was really heavy.  Along came another neighbor on his tractor and he not only dug Mason out, but then did our driveway and Uncle Bob's.  He moved huge amounts of snow out of the way for us all and then went on his way to help other people in town.  This is one of the many things that I appreciate so much about small town life.  Neighbors help neighbors and watch out for one another.  Yet another blessing of living in a small town.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ninja Skills (as my youngest grandson Isaiah would say) Frugality

Bread dough rising on the pellet stove.

   Jeff and I had a long talk this morning about our finances this month due to the unexpected Emergency Room bill from the  hospital that finally showed up here 9 months after the services rendered and after we had been asking about where it was for months.  They demanded payment upon receipt.  We also had to buy another ton of pellets since we were down to 6 bags and that is what we use in our pellet stove to heat our home.  We had budgeted for the pellets but not for the bill from the hospital which was higher than we had originally been told because someone fell down on the job and did not bill out for professional services or something like that in a timely manner and apparently just found those charges and sent them to the insurance company months and months after the fact.  Personally I think someone should lose their job! 😡

   Anyway, those 2 expenses alone took up most of the money that we have left after paying our monthly bills.  Time to use my mad ninja frugal moves for this month!  I am pretty frugal for the most part, but we do still go out to eat, have fun shopping at thrift stores, and maybe go out to see a movie.  Not this month!  This month we stick to a bare bones budget and cut spending down to a minimum.  You can't spend what you don't have and we need to avoid using the credit card.  So here is what we are doing.

   We contacted our Credit Union and did their skip a payment service on the credit card for this month.  We did incur a $15 fee but it could not be helped.  Our bills had already been high this month with taxes due on a loan we had to take out on my life insurance policy several years ago for a horribly painful and scary breast biopsy that I had to have done.  By being able to skip credit card payment and taking some money out of our savings, we were able to pay the Emergency Room bill that just arrived.

   Our grocery budget has been slashed dramatically this month.  I have 2 grocery lists going.  One for the things that we absolutely need and another for things that I need to restock but that can wait until we have more disposable income. Things on the needs list are milk, cheese, fresh fruit, and veggies. Things on the restock list are liquid smoke (I just used the last of it), certain spices, etc. and can all wait awhile to be restocked. We are also shopping our pantry, fridge and freezer.  I have been making our bread and looking for new recipes for things like English Muffins, which we really enjoy, that I can make at home.  Back to back baking sessions will be used so that I don't waste the heat of the oven. I went through a local Hawaiian cookbook that I bought at a local thrift store a couple of months ago and an finding lots and lots of recipes that I grew up eating.  Many of these recipes use things from your pantry that have long shelf lives because almost everything has to be shipped in by huge boats.  I have most of these things on hand because my pantry is well stocked with these items.  I grew up with a mother who knew the value of a well stocked pantry since a storm, longshoremen's strike or damage to a harbor could delay shipments getting to the stores. I will never forget the toilet paper shortage, along with other needed items like milk, that happened when the boats could not get to us in Hawaii and the stores had no backstock.  I now have a stockpile at home of toilet paper because I know what it is like to go without...not fun!  We are using all the fresh produce and things with a close experation date first and then going to canned and frozen produce.  Luckily I took having a well stocked pantry to a much higher level than my mother ever imagined so we are set for months!

   We have at least a year's supply of  shampoo, conditioner, body wash, liquid dishwashing and hand soaps on hand.  We also are well supplied with OTC medications, antiperspirants, feminine hygiene items,  toothpaste and just restocked our vitamins and supplements, so we will not have to worry about those for awhile. I made at least a 3 month supply of laundry detergent so that is taken care of as well.  I also just used a Walmart gift card that I earned through Swagbucks to buy a huge bag of dog food for Caesar that should last us through the month and I have enough of Doofy's expensive cat food to last the month.

   Entertainment this month will be borrowing movies and books from the library and watching lots of movies and shows through our Roku that we bought for $25 as a Christmas gift to each other.  That was money well spent since we do not have cable or satellite anymore.  We also will be getting together with family and friends either here or at their homes and sharing meals and lots of laughter. If we go out to eat, we will be using gift cards given to us for Christmas.  More board and card games will be dug out and played near the warmth of the pellet stove.  I plan on reading some of the books that I have here in my own personal library that I have meant to get to but have not yet.  Of course we will continue to use our hot tub which is a luxury that we love but keep it on economy mode when not being used.

   I will be limiting my using of my car as much as I can.  I do have work 3 times this month as well as a doctor's appointment and a medical procedure that needs to be done so the plan is to combine those with any other errands I may have.  I'm sure we will be going to see the grandkids and can use my hubby's little commuter car to do that if the roads are good.  My car has 4 wheel drive where my hubby's little car is only front wheel drive.

   Since my husband works nights and sleeps during the day, I will keep the thermostat down on the heat as much as I can and dress in layers.  I never thought I would be thankful for hot flashes, but I must admit that it does help to have my own "internal thermostat" turned way up this time of year. 😉  We dress in layers, wear warm socks and house slippers in the house and also snuggle up under cozy quilts and throws.  I make good use of the curtains to hold heat in and open them to let the sun in to warm the home during the day and I close doors to rooms that we do not use.  He does bump the heat up when he is up and about, but I can handle it a little cooler when he is not.

   So that is the plan for this month's Frugal Ninja Skills test.  Hopefully we will not be thrown any more financial challenges this month.  I think our plate is full enough already.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cold Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/31/16 - 1/6/17

Baby it's cold outside!

   Oh what a week this has been!  We finally got the bill from the hospital when my husband had to go to the emergency room back in March of 2016.  Our insurance company paid their portion of it back in April and sent us the statement of what our portion was.  We waited for the hospital to send us a bill...none came.  We called about it and were told they were processing it.  Still nothing.  In October my husband went in to the hospital to ask about it but the person in billing was out so they left a sticky note on their computer to get back to us...nothing.  Guess what just showed up in the mail with a "pay upon receipt" notice.  Yep.  There went over $400 in one shot that was not in our budget.  The savings account took another hit on that one to make up the difference.  That left us with about $60 until my hubby gets paid mid month and I have a doctor's appointment with a copay of $45 next week.  Oh joy!  NOT!  Luckily my husband still had $20 to use for his bowling league fees this week and between the $6 left after that along with another $8 for next week's fees we will barely squeak by. We had planned on being able to buy more pellets for our pellet stove but after paying the hospital bill, did not have the money for that.  Luckily my husband's boss, who we buy the pellets from, let us get the pellets now so we don't run out and Jeff will pay him out of his middle of the month check.  We are very blessed by the company he works for!  Thank goodness we have a full pantry, refrigerator and freezer and a big supply of toilet paper on hand. 😉  That certainly helps keep the stress level way down.

~Winco had their Christmas themed Ziplock bags marked down to $1 a box and Pumpkin Bread mix marked down to .98 a box.  I bought several of both to help stock the pantry.
~Jeff and I rang in the New Year by hot tubbing and watching a movie on Netflix while we snacked on crackers, cheese and beef sausage.  Nice, low key, and just the way we like it.
~We found more treasures at the thrift store including lots of marked down down clothing for the new baby, Jeff, and myself.  I also found a really cute purse, a Brighton wallet, some more dvds for Bradley and Isaiah, and lots of Christmas gift bags for next year.  Jeff found a Rap Raplinger CD for me.  Rap is a local comedian from Hawaii that I grew up listening to and watching his shows.  :)

A small purse that has a removable strap so it can be a clutch and a Brighton clutch that I thrifted.

~I fixed and cleaned some wallets and handbags this week.  It did not take long at all and they look really nice.
~Sunday, Jeff and I gave each other haircuts, I trimmed the dog's claws and we did some cleaning around the house before settling in to relax.
~Kalua Pig is a favorite around here so I made a double batch so we could have some to start the new year ( a tradition) and I could freeze some for later.  I never did get any frozen because we had it for 3 more meals.  Oh well...that just shows you how good it was! ;) The pork loin roasts cost me under $4 for both!  When I added in the other items that I used for each meal it came to about $1.20 per meal for 2 people.
~My husband was writing out the checks to pay our bills and realized that he needed another check register.  Since we did not have any more that came with our checks, I quickly printed some free ones off the internet.
~I cashed in for a $25 Walmart gift card via Swagbucks at the reduced 2,200 points price.

Chicken and Orzo soup in the making.

~Monday found me in the kitchen making chicken salad for sandwiches and chicken noodle soup with the leftover rotisserie chicken.
~Jeff and I enjoyed playing Scrabble by the warmth of the fire.
~Lots of delicious leftovers were eaten this week.  It saves me time and money to cook larger amounts of food and enjoy them or even freeze them for other meals.
~We borrowed several books and movies from the library this week.  We finally got to see the new "Pete's Dragon" and "Finding Dory".

Movies and books borrowed from the library.

~I made another batch of homemade croutons with some of the leftover bread that was starting to go stale.
~Our pellet stove is great for putting out heat.  We use the heat from it to dry out our wet shoes and coats.  We simply place them near the pellet stove.  I also use the heat from it to help my bread dough rise.
~I got a free subscription to Sports Illustrated for my hubby and a Outdoor Photography subscription for my son Chris.
~We were running low on Garlic salt so I mixed up some more using salt and garlic powder that I always have on hand.

Homemade croutons to be used in salads and as toppers for soup.

~My hubby borrowed our son Chris' truck to haul home a ton of pellets for our pellet stove since it is our only source of heat and we were starting to run low.  We have lots of snow moving back in over the weekend and are having an arctic blast right now so we are going through the pellets more quickly than my hubby had planned for.
~Jeff used the $25 Walmart gift card that I got through Swagbucks to buy a huge bag of dog food for Caesar.  Jeff and I got to thinking about it and we have only paid for Caesar's food out of pocket 3 times in all the years we have had him.  The rest of the time I have used Walmart gift cards that I earn through Swagbucks to pay for his food.
~I hauled a quilt out onto the couch to cuddle up under since our temps are now going down into the negatives and the pellet stove is our only source of heat for the whole house.

Doofy cat making himself all comfy and warm in the quilt I threw on the couch.

~Our wonderful neighbor gave use some firebricks for Jaysn and Rachel's woodstove since their heat exchange unit went out on them.  This way they can keep their home warm without having to use lots of small space heaters.
~Jeff had some money put on his bowling alley loyalty card as a "thank you" for being a good customer.  He used some of that to buy dinner for himself at his Thursday night bowling league since he had to leave here early to run some things out to Jaysn and pick up some things at Walmart before league.
~Thursday night I made a "snack plate" with cheese, beef stick and mandarins for dinner for myself since Jeff was at bowling league.

"Snacks" for dinner.

~Jeff stopped in at the grocery store in the town where our Chris and Heather and the grandboys live when he was picking up their truck.  He got a package of salad and some salad dressing, both were on sale and needed items.  He paid under $2 total for both items!
~I pulled some of the leftover elk roast out of the freezer and made some mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans to go with it for dinner on Friday night.
~We had some gravy and roast leftover from Friday's dinner so I cut the roast up and combined it with the gravy to serve over rice on Sunday.
~I stayed home Sunday-Friday this week.  That saved not only gas money but also kept me out of the stores. ;)

More clothing for Steven and a shirt for Bradley and Isaiah to share.  We had to get camo stuff for Steven so he could match his camo crazy bigger cousins. ;)  All of these items were either .10 or  .24 each on clearance racks at 2 different thrift stores.

~We have tried to eat mostly out of the pantry, fridge and freezer for the most part this week.  I am trying really hard to save all the money we can right now and cut our spending drastically.
~I continue to work on my different points programs.
~We are loving the Roku we bought on sale at Christmas.  It has allowed us to stream Netflix, Youtube and some other channels like PBS, news and weather.  I can put on Doofy's favorite kitty tv videos from Youtube on the big TV and that calms him down so he is not sprinting around the house and knocking things over during the day when Jeff is trying to sleep.

   I hope to continue to keep our variable expenses way down this month by continuing to not have to pick up much from the grocery store.  I also need to stay out of the thrift stores...something that is going to be very difficult for me because my car just seems to be on auto pilot when I am in town and goes there without my even thinking about it. 😏 Yep, that is my story and I am sticking to it.  LOL!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

When You Finish Each Other's Sentences


   A few months ago I saw something on Facebook that really made me sad for the author.  She was talking about all the "bad relationships" that she did not want to be a part of and one of the things she listed as being bad was being a couple that could finish each other's sentences.  That stopped me in my tracks and made me think that a. the author is either really young so has no clue about long lasting love or b.the author just wants that beginning of a relationship "thrill ride" feeling and is never in a relationship long enough to find out how truly wonderful it is to have that deep connection with someone to be able to finish each other's sentences.

   My husband and I have been together since the day after Thanksgiving in 1983.  We got married in March of 1985.  That means that we have been a couple for 33 years now.  No one knows me as well as he does or him I.  We are each other's best friend, confidant, biggest cheerleader and the one person in this world that we know will be there for each other no matter what.  Our connection in very deep and strong.  We can look at something and both of us think the exact thing with the exact wording when we speak that thought out loud.  We can look at each other across a room and know that the other one is thinking.  This has come in handy when one of us is hurting or ill.  No words have to be spoken, but we know what each other needs at that moment.  As I have shared before, I have both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia and the "brain fog" that comes with both of those.  There are times when I am in the middle of a sentence and I can't find the word I want to say or I know it but it does not make the connection from my brain to my mouth. My husband knows how frustrating this is for me and he finishes my sentence and bridges that gap for me.  He goes with me to most of my doctor's appointments because I can't remember simple things like what supplements and the dosages I take.  I really do need to write those things down and keep a copy of them in my wallet.  

   My husband, like a lot of men, has trouble putting into words what he is feeling at times, especially when he is dealing with something that is hurting him deeply.  I help him find the words to express himself so that he can get it all out.  My doing this helps him cope with it better so it is not building up inside and making him feel even worse than he already is.  It has helped him be able to see patterns of behavior going way back to his childhood that are hurtful and not healthy at all and has helped him deal with some very traumatic events in his life.

   Being able to finish each other's sentences is a good and positive thing.  It comes from years of love, trust and truly paying attention to what is important to the other person.  It shows a deep and strong bond between people.  Love matures over time and goes through different stages.  I hope that the author of the post I read that "sparked" this post one day finds herself in a deep and mature relationships where she and the one she loves can finish each other's sentences.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Cozy Winter Days at Home

Fiery Winter sunrises that herald the arrival of a new day.

Bradley thoroughly enjoying his hot cocoa and digging the marshmallows out of his cup while he watches a movie.

Gpa and Isaiah getting in some good cuddle time after hot tubbing.

Doofy cat curled up on the pellet stove getting warm after one of his many trips outside to play in the snow that had drifted onto the screened in porch.

A young moose who came to graciously trim our neighbor's bushes while his mother trimmed the rose bush around the corner.
Snow was shoveled...multiple times so we could find our stairs and get our cars out of the driveway.

Homemade chicken and orzo soup was made and enjoyed as it warmed us from the inside out.

And Scrabble was played by the warmth of the pellet stove while hot cider or another drink was sipped on.