Saturday, December 8, 2018

Good and Frugal Food!


Wonton, Napa Cabbage and Kamaboko soup.

   I thought I would share some of the more frugal and yummy meals and treats that I have been making here at home over the last few months.  Money is tight and I really do have so much food on hand that needs to be used in my freezers, refrigerator and pantry before it goes bad.  With the weather getting colder, I am also inside and home more since my body does not like the cold and changing weather at all.  On the days when I have the energy, I try to make us a nice and comforting meals.  These are just a few examples of what I have been cooking up in my kitchen with the ingredients that I have on hand.  Enjoy!

Fettuccine alfredo with chicken, spinach and red peppers.

Turkey pot pie with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, orange wedges and olives.

Pork Lo Mein with veggies.

Homemade split pea soup with ham.

Steamed dumplings (bought at Costco), homemade coleslaw, kim chee
and grapes.

Steamed dumplings, braised napa cabbage and some wine.

Garlic pork roast and baked and seasoned spicy sweet potatoes.

Homemade Scrapple served with a big salad.

Homemade scrapple and huckleberry pancakes.

Burgers, apple slices and mashed red potatoes with parsley from our garden.

Chicken breasts, stuffing and sauteed zucchini.

Baked squash and cheese casserole.
Vanilla ice cream topped with homemade huckleberry topping.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Into Every Life a Little Rain/Snow Must Fall

     I know that it is not officially Winter yet, but we have had some snow and I can feel the cold penetrating deep into my bones and muscles making me ache even more than my "normal".  This year it seems to be affecting me more than it has in the past.  I'm not sure why, but I am finding that I just cannot tolerate prolonged cold weather.  

   The corner of our couch next to the pellet stove has become my favorite place to sit all cuddled up under a warm fleece throw while I listen to Christmas carols with our cats keeping me company and providing me with a good "hand warmer" as I gently stroke their soft fur.  They provide me with so much comfort and help calm me when I am feeling defeated by my illness and at other times they just remind that life really does have so many beautiful moments and simple pleasures that we will miss out on if we don't take the time to just sit quietly and appreciate them.

   My energy levels have been low lately as I continue to process the traumas in my life that has lead me to this place that I am now health wise.  I find myself "crashing" more often and go back and forth between not being able to sleep well for days on end and then falling apart at the seams and not being able to stay awake and having to spend the day in bed dozing on and off.  Trying to still be there for my family has been my top priority and there are times when I cannot make that happen.  I am blessed that they do understand that I am doing everything that I can to try to be there for them, but sometimes I have to cancel out on plans as I did this weekend when I crashed.

   For now I will try and just cherish the times that I have been able to spend with them lately.  Sharing a big family Thanksgiving together our family combined with Rachel's side of the family, including cousins, being there when Steven had his surgery to have tubes put in his ears, being able to hug and kiss on my two oldest grandsons Bradley and Isaiah, calling and surprising my mom on her birthday, sharing a long hug with our Heather and Chris, and watching Steven enjoy sledding in our front yard with Jaysn and Rachel.  There have been phone calls with our Chris calling to check in and tell me about the progress on their new home, messages from our Josh, emails that have touched my heart from my mother, and visits from Rachel, Steven and Jaysn who are right here in town and stop by to see us often.  

   So yes, I have been taking time for me and stepping back from blogging while I work through things in my past and spend time with those I love most that are in my present.  I do hope at some point to get back to posting on a more regular basis, but for now, I will give myself a much needed break and not feel guilty for taking care of me.  Be blessed my friends and know that I really do appreciate each and every one of you and wish you all the most joyous holiday season. 😘



Monday, November 12, 2018

The Creeping Crud Caught Me and Catching Up

Zion National Park

    Last week the Creeping Crud (virus that is going around) caught me and has laid me up pretty good.  Today was the first day that I have been able to really leave the house in about a week.  We needed more groceries and I was looking for some cold weather snow bibs for Steven.  No snow bibs found but we did get some great marked down deals on meat and baked goods.  A few hours out of the house and I am now happy to be back home in comfy clothes sitting beside the warm pellet stove and listening to some calming music.  I am one worn out sick chic. 😉

   Before I go any further on this post, I would like to ask for your prayers, good thoughts and anything else you can do for the people in California that have lost their homes, livestock, pets and friends and family in the terrible fires.  The devastation is heartbreaking.  We have a family friend who lives in Paradise and he escaped with his life.  Within the last day or so found that his home is one of the few left standing and they say the only reason it was is because he had a large swatch of defendable cleared space around it.  The pictures of how close the fire and what all is charred shows a clear circle around his place.  David is one of the lucky ones.  Many others have lost everything and the loss of life, which is the hardest thing, continues to climb.  I am praying that our friend Bless, who is also a blogger down near the other big fire, is okay also.

   It has turned really cold here and that is affecting my Fibromyalgia and making me flare more often.  My body reacts to the cold by stiffening up big time and it can be quite painful.  The  weather patterns also get me every time.  I'm also experiencing new symptoms that can pop up with Fibro.  I am now up to 168 symptoms with the latest being feeling like you have bugs crawling on you.  YUCK!

   My mind is also slowly releasing bits of information about my past that I have kept locked away because they have just been too much and too painful for me to deal with.  I now understand why I have kept these things tucked away for so long.  If everything had come out all at once, I would have had a total mental breakdown I am sure.  It has brought back all those old feelings of insecurity, feeling unwanted, used, terrified and a hurt that is so deep that you can get pulled down into the depths of the whirlpool of despair if you do not have a loving support team around you as you process it all.  With each new morsel of information being released though it is like grieving for the childhood me and for the effect that it still has on my life today.  It is an exhausting and extremely painful process but one that is necessary and that I hope will help me to heal.  It really has helped me to realize why I am the way I am and why I have Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and OCD among other things.   I am praying that I can overcome many of the things that are going on with would be nice to not have to deal with so much all the time.

   Even in the midst of all of this there are still moments of great joy though.  I've been able to spend time with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven (who were also sick) and get lots of little boy cuddles, smiles, laughter and still feel very needed.  Jeff has been helping Chris and Heather build their home and apparently Isaiah could not get enough time with G-pa and wanted to be his helper this past weekend so he did.  That made Jeff so happy and filled his "love tank" to overflowing.  Evenings spent cuddled up under fleece throws usually find a purring cat (or two) on my lap at any given moment.  Lots of hearty meals have been enjoyed like homemade stew and split pea soup with ham followed by ice cream with homemade huckleberry topping.  I'm finally back to being able to make bread again for Jeff and I am enjoying that.  Some of my favorite Fall themed pictures have once again found themselves back up on the walls so I can enjoy them and the more Summery ones are put away until it is time to switch things out again.  It's funny how little things like that can mean so much to me, but they do.  I need to end this post now and try to convince Caesar that it is time to come in from the cold since the sun is getting lower in the sky and the temperature is dropping quickly.  Be blessed!





Friday, November 2, 2018

Still Recovering from Vacation and Some Frugal Doings

   It's a very blustery day here with gusting winds and I am so thankful to be inside where it is warm.  Even the fur babies are wanting to be inside for the most part.  I'm hoping things calm down earlier than when our high winds warning is set to expire because we need to go shopping this afternoon and high winds blowing my car around gives me anxiety.

   The high winds actually remind me of our lives lately.  I feel like we have been in a whirlwind of activity (good stuff really) and the wind has been knocking me around. ;)  I'm thankful for the cooler weather, the rain and even the wind because it is refreshing after all the heat, dust and even smoke from this Summer.  At the same time though, I want calm weather (physically and metaphorically) so that I can recover from all the wonderful activity and special times we shared with family recently.  Yes, I get worn out easily but it was so worth it! :)

   I spent the first part of this week on the couch for the most part napping on and off during the day.  Then came the insomnia once again.  Such is life with Fibromyalgia.  This used to frustrate me to no end, but I have come to accept that this is my "normal" and I just try to be flexible and not beat myself up over it.  I was starting to go a bit stir crazy though and so was Rachel, so she and I took a short trip into town the other day with Steven so that she could pick up some new jeans and get some "comfort food" from the Co-op.  I really enjoyed my time with both her and Steven and it was really good to get out for awhile.  I love having them still living here in town.

   Once again, I forgot to keep daily track of my frugal doings so I am going to do my best to try and remember some of what I did this week...wish me luck!

~made a pasta dish with free sausages, tomatoes and squash from the garden, some homemade tomato powder (from last year's abundant tomato crop) and some sale priced pasta from the pantry that ended up making 3 meals for Jeff and I
~divided up a packaged of reduced price thin cut pork chops into 2 meal sized portions and cooked up one of those portions and froze the other for a future meal
~made homemade pancakes and added huckleberries to them that needed to be used up from the freezer
~my parents did "Christmas" gifts from them when they were here on Saturday...Mom made Jeff a really nice and cozy bowling themed quilt, Dad gave us all wreaths and Mom gave me a Christmas wall hanging that she made along with some cozy pig socks and her old smart phone (she got a newer one and this is an upgrade for me too)
~my parents also treated us to dinner and lunch
~I received a coupon for $10 off at Staples which I will be using today to stock up on more toilet paper (I am a very practical person) ;)
~I found packages of new underwear in my size at Goodwill and bought 2 of them to replace some of mine that have seen better days and needed to be replaced
~Goodwill was also the recipient of 2 bags of donations from us and I gave my 20% off coupon that I received to Rachel to help offset the cost of something she was buying there
~I picked up some free produce from the "sharing" table here in town
~we have been enjoying watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" (we bought several seasons of it on dvd at Goodwill when they were half priced) at night when I can't sleep
~I uploaded some digital coupons onto my Safeway card and to my Winco account
~more syrup was made because we were running out
~I used some leftover mashed potatoes to make potato cheese soup with
~Jeff and I gave all the grandboys the superhero capes we bought them in Las Vegas and they had a wonderful time running around the park in them with their capes flying out behind them...some of the best entertainment for them and us ever :)
~I finally got my cold weather clothing all organized and into my dresser and sorted through things purging like mad along the way.  It made me realize just how many items of clothing that I have that I no longer wear and that could "go away" and that I really did not need much of anything more other than the new underwear I just bought
~Jeff stocked us up on the batteries that we use most often in our flashlights and remote controls while they were on sale
~Rachel and Jaysn's refrigerator and freezer is much smaller than the one they had at their old rental so they are storing some of their freezer items in our big freezer out in the garage
~I have been doing my best to try and use what we have on hand to make meals with...we did however order a chicken strip basket from the tavern to share on night for dinner earlier in the week when I was really struggling with my energy levels

   I know there has got to be more but at the moment I am drawing a complete blank.  I really do need to get back into the habit of writing things down daily.  Praying for a relaxing weekend for you all!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pushed that "Reset Button" and Doing Better Emotionally


   Sometimes we all need something big to happen to help us push that reset button and sometimes it is a series of smaller things that lead us to that moment.  I recently had both.  

   It is no secret that I have been struggling emotionally and physically for some time now.  I have been taking needed steps to try and get into a better place in both areas but was still having trouble "letting go" of an ongoing and very unhealthy extended family issue that has been taking a huge toll on all of us.  There was still a place in my heart that wondered if there was any hope that there would be a softening of hearts and accountability taken for hurtful personal choices made by others that have been made to cause great emotional pain to my husband, kids, grandkids and myself.  I learned within the past few weeks due to another incident that things are beyond hope and that the lies, "playing the victim and martyr", etc. are just getting worse by the ones causing the issues in the first place and that they are definitely not going to change.  Strangely, that has brought some relief because now my husband and I no longer play the "what if" game, as in what if his parents were hospitalized or on their deathbed, would he even be allowed to see them.  Now we know that we would be blocked from seeing one of them (and they would be told that we did not want to see them which is NOT true) and that the other one does not want to see my husband (and especially not me) at all and that, as usual, it is all my fault for even breathing.  Yep, apparently they are still using me as the scapegoat for all their bad personal choices in life.  It is interesting to me though that they exposed exactly what they are doing to the one person in my immediate family that they still had a relationship with and that person called them out on all of it.  It really hurt my husband to the core to find out what they were still saying and doing, but I think the not knowing if he would be allowed to ever see them and if he would be turned away on the spot hurt more than now knowing for sure that even if they were dying, we were not to be told anything.  It is just another way to drive that knife deeper into his heart and to again play the martyr on their end.  That is their choice and they have to live with the consequences of it.  There is nothing we can do to change things when the other party/parties, just use whatever they can to continue to try and cause pain to our family.  We refused to continue to stupidly "invest" and participate in the head games they were playing and that made them angry.  So yes, as hurtful as it is, we can now have some closure on that issue and hopefully put it all behind us.

   The other thing that happened that really helped was being able to totally get away for awhile and experience new things with no responsibilities whatsoever.  We just got back from a wonderful vacation in Las Vegas where our son Josh and his beautiful future bride Lauren generously hosted us.  We stayed at their home and were able to meet up with some of my childhood friends, were gifted a beautiful cd that my friend Gary and his family just recorded, had one of my hanai sons over for lunch, reconnected with one of my cousins, checked out another cousin's new restaurant, ate way too much good food, and got to explore both Red Rocks Canyon and Zion National Park.  Josh and Lauren built in days of rest for me in between our big outings, which I really appreciated, and allowed me to be able to do as much as we did.  Traveling there and back was difficult for me and caused me high levels of pain that even Hydrocodone was not touching, but it was so worth it!

   As much fun as we had, it was also wonderful to return home and be with our fur babies, see our Jaysn, Rachel and Steven waiting for us with open arms at the airport and to know that we will be seeing the rest of our family, including my parents who will be here visiting, in a few days.  We will be celebrating our oldest son's birthday too! 

   All of this has driven home the point more than ever that real family is based on the love and respect you have for one another even if you have differing opinions.  Our hanai (adopted by love) family is so important to us and mean the world to us also.  We have chosen to be "family" to one another and invested in those relationships and to be honest, I would be lost without them. 

   So here I am pushing that reset button while I putter around my home once more and being oh so thankful for for both the good and the bad that has led me to this moment in time.  It has given me clarity, peace of mind on some issues and a deep appreciation for real family and share experiences with them.  Yes, I am doing so much better emotionally now. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Just Popping In for an Update

   I'm sitting here on a cold Fall night with the pellet stove running beside me.  The warmth is going deep into my bones and I love that feeling.  I also have Doofy cat curled up in my lap enjoying that I am again wearing his favorite flannel nightgown.  The days have been beautiful with the changing colors of the trees and the nights have been cool and make sleeping (when I can get there) all the more comfortable.

   We've been apple picking and to the pumpkin patch with the grandboys and all had a wonderful time together.  They are growing up so quickly and this is a tradition that I hope we can continue for years to come. It was so much fun to watch all three of them pick out their pumpkins this year!  We also had a family dinner at my cousin Jeremy's new store and had a great time going through all the stuff he has there.  I am already planning some of my Christmas gift shopping. ;)  We still need to get a bunch of our furniture, books, and vintage linens and dishes over there for him to sell and I need to help him set up the table displays.

   The progress on Chris and Heather's new home has been amazing! It really warms my heart to see their dream coming true.  Family has been pitching in whenever they can to help get it up and dried in before the bad and wet weather hits.  I wish Jeff and I could do more to help, but time and health has not allowed that unfortunately.

   Jaysn and Rachel are finding they need more room for their family and we went apartment hunting today.  The first place we saw was not going to work at all but a dear friend happened to have a 2 bedroom apartment here in town that he is repainting right now and that turned out to be just the right place for them.  They are even going to be able to put up a temporary fence to keep Steven corralled in the backyard and Steven has made friends with some of the neighbor's cats already. :)  Rachel is happy because it also has an in unit washer and dryer that will make her life so much easier and will not have to haul all their laundry up here to our house to do it when the snow comes.  They will only be about 6 blocks away from us and will be down the street from the swimming pool so that will be great for them come this next Summer.

   We head out to see Josh and Lauren here in a little over a week now and Jeff and I both cannot wait!  We are so looking forward to spending time with them, seeing their new home, exploring Zion National Park and seeing old childhood friends of mine.  It will also be nice to lounge around and swim at their neighborhood pool. ;)

   As for not posting lately or visiting my friends in blogland, please know that it is not for lack of want but rather lack of energy, motivation and the like.  I have continued to struggle with my health and when I overdo it (as I did with the day with the grandkids mentioned above), my pain levels spike up even higher for days after that.  Those are not good days at all.  Weather changes affect me negatively too.  I'm also working through some things emotionally and that takes so much energy out of me.  My posting and visits will most likely continue to be spotty at best for awhile and I do hope you will bear with me.  I need to focus on my health and my family at the moment.  Hopefully things will get better here soon and I will be able to be back on a more regular schedule.  Until then, be blessed and Happy Fall!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up (The Scatterbrained Edition) 9/14/18

   I'm trying to get back into some kind of posting rhythm again and get back to doing a Frugal Friday Wrap Up post.  However, I have not been good about actually getting on the computer daily and making notes of what we have been doing frugality wise around here lately.  So......I am going to try to remember some of the things we have done over the past few weeks and share those here.

~We have been harvesting squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and blackberries from the garden.
~Since I caught Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and am unable to eat anything acidic, I have been freezing the blackberries to use later.
~Jeff grilled up 3 large elk steaks that I marinated overnight.  I cooked up some beans that Rachel's mom sent up and also made a 4 grain side dish that was delicious (it was a mix I picked up at the Grocery Outlet)
~Jeff and I have had some great luck at the thrift stores lately.  We bought a jacket for Steven for .25, shoes for me at $2, lots of books, a talking Elmo doll, some pants for Jeff and wait for it....a Berkey Water Filter system for $8!  It came with the filters and everything.  That is something that I have had on my wish list for years and years!
~Jeff had been fixing up a second bike for Isaiah to ride here.  He found some pedals that he needed at the thrift store.
~We had been talking about getting a area rug for the living room for the colder months to make it more comfortable for everyone.  Jeff found one for $20 on sale at Walmart. Yay!!!
~I have been trying to have us eat mainly out of our pantry and freezers and only buying fresh produce, some baked goods and dairy products for the most part.
~We have been watching shows online and on Netflix and YouTube.
~Since the weather has gotten so much cooler, I am back to enjoying a cup of herbal tea at night or in the afternoon.  It warms me up, soothes me and helps me to stay hydrated.
~I have pulled out the Fall throws and blankets to cuddle up under in the living room.
~My leave in hair conditioner was almost empty so I mixed up a new batch using a sample packet that came in the mail via PinchMe along with some warm water.
~I was able to get some free mayonnaise with a coupon I recieved.
~Winco recently had coupons in one of the local college newspapers that allowed me to get some terrific deals.
~Bradley and Isaiah got a lesson in how to lay bricks to build a strong wall from Jeff while they were here one day.  They love building anything and the pile of bricks proved irresistible to them.