Monday, November 28, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/26-11/28 2016 Part One

~Saturday we stopped by one of our favorite thrift stores and found some great deals!  LL Bean fuzzy house slippers for  $1.99, a beautiful Anne Klein tote for $3.99, some cranberry scented candles, 2 dvds (Black and White, a Christmas one for the grandboys), a Bonia travel fanny pack (from what I am seeing these things are really pricey brand new), and a nice heavy duty splatter guard.
~Sunday I made some homemade chicken noodle soup using up the rest of the reduced prices rotisserie chicken, some celery, onion, carrot, garlic, parsley and seasonings.
~We are enjoying our new Roku and being able to watch lots of movies and even Youtube on our large TV in the living room. 😁
~I'm saving the inner cardboard tubes from our toilet paper rolls to make Christmas "crackers" for the little kids in the family.  I will fill them with candy and wrap them up with Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons.  I thought this would be a fun new addition to our big family Christmas celebration this year. :)
~Monday night I made a venison and noodle stroganoff skillet dinner.  I used some green onions and tomatoes from the garden in it too to boost the "yum" factor and nutrition.
~I used 3 full poinsettia swags that I got at the thrift store for .99 each to decorate our entertainment center and the hanging light fixture above our dining room table.
~I listed a few things to sell on one of our local buy and sell facebook pages.  I sold my old desk right away to the mother of 3 of my favorite students. :)  That's $20 more than I had earlier in the week. ;)  I think I will put it towards taking the grandboys to their favorite indoor play area business. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Savoring the Moments

   I wish I had a camera at the ready on Thanksgiving day when the family gathered to celebrate.  There were so many special moments that I would have loved to capture and have a visual memory of.  We celebrated with Heather's side of the family and her grandparents, her brother and his family, her parents, her sister in laws parents, my cousin and Jeff and I were all there together enjoying each others company.

   There were 2 new puppies that stole everyone's hearts with their cute little puppy cuddliness.  One was so tiny he could fit in your hand and the other, a Chocolate Lab, with the softest fur imaginable.  Little Joby, the youngest of the children there and the cousin of our grandboys, made the rounds cuddling in on everyone's lap and having them read him stories.  I even got turn and loved every single second of it.  He is just starting to talk and was so excited about the pictures in the books.

   Great Grandpa Carl and Great Grandma Sandra are two of my favorite people and we have grown close to them over the years.  I watched with great delight and Jeff and Grandpa Carl tickled Bradley who was soaking up all the attention.  Grandma Sandra and Isaiah shared a coloring book and had a wonderful conversation as they each colored a page side by side.

   Macie, the only girl cousin in the group, was so patient with both Bradley and Isaiah while playing Candyland with them.  This is HUGE considering that there has been some friction between them in the past.  I made sure to praise her big time for her kindness to her cousins.

   There was a very loud and rambunctious game of Spoons after dinner.  The group that was playing are very cut throat and enthusiastic about the game.  I wisely watched from the couch and played with the younger children.  This particular group has been known to dive onto the floor taking out a table leg in the past to get that last elusive spoon. 😉

   There were so many more special moments that I will treasure in my heart for years to come.  It was wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with family, and they all are a very big and important part of our family.  We are very blessed indeed!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap up 11/19-25/2016


   The week of Thanksgiving was a busy one for us.  We had family come out over the weekend, did lots of cooking and shopping, but most importantly, spent time with our wonderful extended family at Thanksgiving.  I got such a kick out of watching 4 generations of family all together when we gathered at Heather's parents' home for a big potluck feast.  Her grandparents came over from Montana and it is always good to see them. :)  There were 2 new puppies in the Fager family so that was lots of fun.  We played games, snuggled with the littlest of the cousins, played Candyland with the little cousins and spent lots of time just visiting and eating way too much food.  We felt so blessed and surrounded by love.  Onto the savings...

~Our grandsons Bradley and Isaiah made us some Christmas ornaments. :)  The ornaments are now hanging on my upper kitchen cabinet knobs where Doofy cat can't reach them.
~Saturday I made 3 loaves of banana bread.  We kept one, and I gave the other two to my cousin Jeremy and our Jaysn and Rachel.
~Jaysn got himself stuck on a muddy road so Jeff went and pulled their car out.
~Jeff borrowed Chris' truck and went and bought a ton of wood pellets from his boss to heat our home.

~I cooked up a large teriyaki pork loin that we were given, a big pot of brown rice and some sweet potatoes.  We had some of the pork loin for dinner on Saturday and used the rest in Pork Lo Mein later in the week. The leftover brown rice was used to go along with salmon loaf for Monday night's dinner
~Sunday Jeff and I used our coupons for a free full sized signature product (up to $13 in value) at Bath and Body Works.  They had these little Santa hats for $1 each that you put on top of the lotion or bath gels bottles.  We bought 2 of those and got 2 lotions for free.  Two more gifts taken care of. ;)

~Sunday we also stopped at Goodwill.  I found a cookbook there that has been on my "wish list", a Christmas book, some brand new fuzzy slippers and cup cozy set, a adorable little girl's jammie, a cd, a Ohio Pottery bowl, and the best things was a hand blown glass paperweight that was made by friends of our's years ago when we had a glass blowing studio here in town.  They made amazing things and we even placed a custom order with them for glasses for my parents.  Each of their pieces in engraved with the studio name and the year it was made.

~We watched several dvds that we borrowed from the library and some of our own also.
~There was a sale on broccoli last week and I bought quite a bit of it.  Monday I used some of it to make a quick broccoli cheese soup for lunch.  It was so yummy on a very cold day!

~I borrowed a few more books from the library including the Junk Gypsy book.  I used to love to watch their show when we still had DISH TV. :)
~I found a marked down cooked rotisserie chicken for $2.49 and a 12 pack of Beer Brats for $4.89 at Walmart. We had part of the chicken, along with some leftover brown rice, for dinner on Tuesday night and I repackaged the brats into packages of 4 each and froze them for future meals.
~Safeway had some pork tamales marked down in the deli section for 75% off per package.  I bought the 2 they had and froze them.  They also had Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup for .59 a can with a limit of 4.  I bought 4 of those.

~Our Thanksgiving celebration was spent with our Heather's side of the family.  It was potluck style and there was so much food!  I took mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.  :)  We played games afterwards and visited quite a bit. :)
~Heather's father Bruce sent us home after Thanksgiving with a large bag full of halibut, smoke salmon and trout that he caught. :)
~Friday found us hitting the Black Friday sales at Walmart at about 10 a.m. when all the craziness was over.  We picked up some jammies for the grandboys at $4.97 each, dvds (some will be given as gifts later next year at birthdays for the grandboys), a ROKU for $25 and a discounted bag of garlic knot rolls in the bakery.

~We borrowed some movies from Jaysn and Rachel when we went out to play with their birds while they are gone for Thanksgiving. :)  I had fun dancing with their bird named Pineapple who is suddenly being very social with me. :)
~We received more free magazines in the mail.

   Not a bad week!  This coming week I will be working 1 day and we will be watching the grandkids that same early evening.  I plan on doing some baking and spending lots of time just tinkering around  our home and getting up the Christmas decorations.  Be blessed!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/12-18 2016


   This was a pretty good week frugality wise.  I had fun shopping at the thrift stores with my girls, had a fairly frugal and much needed overnight trip away with my hubby. I also found some really good deals at the Grocery Outlet stores in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene.  

~Saturday my girls and I spent the day shopping together in a town north of us.  We all love to shop at thrift stores and found some amazing deals.  One of the stores had a $10 off of any $30 purchase.  They just happened to have a beautiful changing table for $29.99 that Jaysn and Rachel could use with the new baby coming.  I bought that as a gift for them along with some books for the grandboys.  They took the $10 off and I used a prepaid VISA gift card to pay for it so no cost out of pocket for me.  We also found toys, baby clothes, clothes for ourselves, some tools and more books at the thrift stores including one by Olivia Newton John that we hit that day.
~The girls and I also took advantage of Harbor Freight's free item coupons and got a headlamp, a tarp and a electric current reader meter for free.
~I shopped at Grocery Outlet twice over the weekend and found some great deals there.  They had huge bags of smoked almonds for $2.99 each, avocados for .50 each, cereal for .99 a box, Prosecco for $7.99 a bottle, 3 pound bags of sweet potatoes for $2.99 and 5 pound bags of apples for $2.99 a bag.
~I made a elk roast with carrots, celery, carrots and sweet potatoes in the crockpot.  It was so good!

~Sunday we decided at the last minute to just stay overnight in the Spokane area since we were going up to the Olivia Newton John concert that I won the tickets for.  I booked a hotel at a discounted price at that had breakfast included.  Upon arrival at the hotel they upgraded our room to a suite and provided a free shuttle service both to and back from the concert venue.  The breakfast offerings were oatmeal, cereal, waffles, muffins, eggs, donuts, bagels, biscuits, sausage gravy, bacon, fruit, assorted juices, coffee, tea and yogurts.
~The concert itself was amazing!  Since it was a small venue, we could see her and her band well.  If you ever get a chance to see her in concert, do!

~I got in on free magazines and a calendar deal this week.
~I was able to get 2 free weekend papers from the recycling bin at our post office.  They had coupon inserts in them too.
~Our mechanic was able to make the adjustment needed on my car and only charged us $22 to do so.  It is wonderful having someone you trust and who does not charge exorbitant fees.
~Tuesday I picked up a few things we needed at the Dollar Tree and at Winco since I was already in town for my work at MOPS.
~We borrowed some movies and books from our library.  Jeff watched one of the movies that I did not really care to see on Tuesday morning while I was gone. ;)

~Wednesday Jeff had a doctor's appointment so we ran errands and picked up another huge bag of dog food for Caesar while we were near there.  We used one of the Walmart gift cards I had earned so the dog food was free.  We also had dinner out since Jeff had not eaten since he got up in the afternoon. We went to one of our favorite Italian places that has huge portions and low costs.  I ended up bringing half of my dinner home for another meal.
~Jeff and I watched some TV shows online along with some YouTube videos.
~I made 6 loaves of banana bread with some overripe bananas.  I froze 3 of them.
~The weather got really cold so I threw an extra blanket on our bed.  I like to keep the house cooler at night so I can sleep well but needed the extra warmth and did not want to run the pellet stove as much so we could save money there.
~Jeff had some overtime pay on his paycheck this week.  It will go straight to buying another ton of pellets to heat our home for a few months.
~I uploaded some coupons onto my Safeway card and was able to take advantage of some great sale prices on butter, cheese and coffee creamer.  I think I finally have enough butter stockpiled to take care of all my Christmas baking needs and beyond!

~I hard boiled a dozen eggs for Jeff to take with him to work throughout the week as a high protein snack.  I bought the eggs when they were .69 a dozen
~By adding some water to the shampoo bottle when there was just a little bit left in it, I got 6 more shampoos out of it.
~Jeff and I have been wearing house slippers and cuddling under blankets more and more this week as our outdoor temperatures took a drastic drop.
~I gave Jeff a much needed haircut.
~I spent a lot of time working on my points programs.
~The seal around the drain on one of our kitchen sinks started to leak.  Jeff took all the old silicone caulk off it and put new caulk on.
~Our neighbor, Uncle Bob, brought us over some smoked trout.  He and Aunt Norma mean so much to us and have become family.

~I used up 3 squash that needed to be used ASAP to make one of my favorite comfort foods, Squash Casserole.
~Thursday was our volunteer work day.  We brought home a huge box full of groceries including those humongous baking potatoes, a pork loin, breads that normally sell for about $6 a loaf here, crackers, oatmeal, cereal, cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, raisins, and all kinds of other goodies.
~I hot tubbed Thursday night to help warm me up.  When I get chilled to the bone, I ache even worse than normal.  I got really cold when we did our volunteer work and boy was I feeling it.
~Thursday night we had leftovers or sandwiches for dinner.  It was one of those nights when we had to get something fast after our volunteer work and before Jeff had to head out to his bowling league.

~Jeff pulled out my customer loyalty card from the bowling alley and checked on the balance on it.  There was $20 there so he used some of it to get a snack after bowling league and before he headed to work.
~We received several magazines in the mail this week.
~Friday night I made a salad with a bunch of things that needed to be used up in our fridge and freezer.  I had some cabbage, broccoli, celery, ham, pepperoncini and craisins.  I made s simple vinaigrette and mixed it all together.  It was really good!

   I'm hoping that this weekend will be a no spend one.  We spent quite a bit last weekend, even though some of it was covered by the $100 gift card and the tickets were free since I won them.  We did eat out quite a bit and that has got to slow down!  I think that is our biggest "leak" in the frugal ship here.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I'm Humming

   This morning I caught myself humming.  The snow finally arrived and it was creating a "snow globe" world right outside my window.  I always look forward to that first snow.  It's magical!  Over the years I have realized that I spontaneously hum when I am truly happy and at peace with life.  I find myself in that zone where I am calm and  I am taking time to appreciate all that I have been blessed with and just be in the moment.  Here are some of the reasons I found myself humming this morning...

   Our grandchildren spent the night with us two weekends ago.  It had been quite awhile since we had been able to do that with them because we all live busy lives and trying to coordinate everyone's schedules can be interesting. ;)  We played outside, made homemade personal pan pizzas, watched a movie, did a craft and spent lots of time cuddling.  Isaiah fell asleep during the movie cuddled up next to Gpa and Bradley got up the next morning and climbed into bed to cuddle up with me and tell us about his plans to find my secret candy stash and eat it all!  LOL!

   Saturday I spent the day with Heather and Rachel.  We had a Girl's day and went shopping at thrift stores, Harbor Freight, Grocery Outlet and had lunch at the new Panera that opened up.  I bought a changing table for Jaysn and Rachel and the new baby, lots of baby clothes, things for the little boys and even found a few things for Jeff and I. The best part though was getting to know my girls even better.  They both shared things with me about themselves that I did not know before.  I also shared things with them.  I feel like our bond, as strong as it was before, is even stronger now.  They are both amazing women and I could not have wished for sweeter girls to call my own.

   I won tickets to see Olivia Newton John this past Sunday night.  I had totally spaced off that I had entered the contest and was surprised to find a message saying I had won last Wednesday morning! Jeff and I decided at the last minute, right before we were going to leave to head up to do some shopping before the concert, that we would just go ahead and book a hotel room near the venue so we did not have to drive home later that night.  I found a great deal online, booked the room and upon arrival at the Day's Inn, they upgraded our room to a suite after we told them we were there for the concert and that we needed this after the death in our family.  The hotel also provided us with a driver to shuttle us to the casino and back after the concert.  The concert itself was in a small venue which made it very intimate.  Olivia Newton John's voice is still just as amazing as ever and boy does that woman have energy!  She is 68 years old now and puts women half her age to shame.  She is also funny,  We enjoyed a trip down memory lane, lots of laughter and yes, even a few tears as she sang a new song about going on after losing someone you love.  I cried for my loss of my uncle but found hope in the song and knew that he too would want us to all go on and live every day to the fullest.

   Our fur babies provide Jeff and I with lots of laughter and entertainment.  Caesar gets these quizzical looks on his face when you talk to him and is so excited when you tell him someone, especially my cousin Jeremy, is coming to see him.  Doofy (aka Rufus) has us in stitches when he watched "kitty TV" as I load up Youtube videos for him to watch.  Last night he was determined to get the birds and started pawing at the computer screen.  I feel like a house is just a house until you have fur babies, and then it becomes a home.

   There are so many special people in our lives.  We have very supportive friends that are there for us through thick and thin.  They lift us up when we need them to, pray for us, celebrate with us and provide love and comfort when it is most needed.  We also have an amazing extended family that loves unconditionally.  I don't want to forget the little ones that I work with at MOPS.  Those adorable kids fill me with so much love for them.  The hugs, cuddles, giggles and funny moments just make my heart smile.  

   My heart is filled to overflowing as I hum because life does go on and there is so much goodness in it and so much to be thankful for.  I want to live in the moment more.  I want to enjoy the beauty around me.  I want to love more fully, share more hugs and laughter with friends and family and reach out to people who are hurting and help comfort them too.  I want to spend more time humming.







Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/5-11/11 2016

   I apologize for the delay in you know, last week was a rough one for our family.  There is not a whole lot to write about last week and again, no pictures.  Hopefully I will have more pictures and savings this week.  

~The grandboys spent the night with us on Saturday.  I made homemade pizza dough, rolled it out into individual sized pizzas and par baked the crusts.  The boys each made their own pizza adding whatever toppings they wanted.  I made two others for Jeff and I.  I had 3 leftover crusts that I froze for later.  The leftover sauce will be used in another dish later in the week.  Our topping choices were pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, ham, green onions, mushrooms and diced tomatoes.  The little guys chose pepperoni and cheese.
~We watched the movie Planes Fire and Rescue that I bought from Redbox for a little over $3 and had popcorn.  Isaiah fell asleep part way through the movie and we let Bradley watch for another 20 minutes before we turned it off and got him to bed too.  We finished the movie the next morning.
~Monday we used part of another Walmart gift card to pick up some needed items at Walmart.  My prescription was also just $4 for a 1 month supply.  I know Walmart gets a bad rap at times, but they have saves us a ton of money in prescription costs alone.
~Tuesday I was having a horrible Fibromyalgia flare so I stayed home and did not work at MOPS.  No gas used in my car.
~My wonderful neighbor/hanai sister brought us over lasagna for dinner on Tuesday.
~Wednesday I found out I won tickets to see Olivia Newton John in concert this Sunday!  It was a wonderful surprise and my husband and I are both looking forward to it.  She is one of the artists that we have always wanted to see in concert and never thought we would get that chance.
~Wednesday night I cooked up several venison steaks that I had marinated overnight.  We had those both Wednesday and Thursday night for dinner.
~Jeff and I again enjoyed watching some TV shows online.
~We used the hot tub several times this week to ease my aching muscles.
~I cashed in for another $25 Walmart gift card via Swagbucks.
~More TV shows were watched online.
~With our funky warm weather, I was able to harvest more green onions from the garden.


Friday, November 11, 2016

It's Been a Rough Week

  It's been a rough week.  I had a doctor's appointment on Monday, just a routine physical but we talked about my ongoing health issues and about my anxiety issues also.  I kind of had a meltdown in my doctor's office and he was very kind, understanding and compassionate.  He gave me some resources, great advice, told me to take some time, pray (yes, he is a man of faith and I so appreciate that) and took good care of me.  Having a good doctor is a blessing and I am so thankful for him.

   After leaving my appointment, we had an hour's drive to get to the pharmacy at Walmart.  By this time I was worn out between having had our grandkids over the weekend (which I loved) and the raw emotions that I was feeling after my appointment. We got my prescription, picked up a few things we needed, tried to make another appointment for a health screening that I needed done at the hospital (but my records had not been sent over yet so they could not even make the appointment) and grabbed some lunch.  I started falling asleep on the way home in the car and by the time we got arrived at home, I was in a lot of pain.  Like I didn't know whether to cry or throw up kind of pain.  I ended up having to cancel out on work for MOPS the next day.  I tossed and turned all night and was too sore to even get up to take some pain medication.  Tuesday was a recovery and down day for me since I was still out of it.  By Wednesday I was feeling better but still did not have much energy.

   Wednesday night I wrote a post on Facebook about how I was disappointed in the protesters who were out marching, yelling hateful things due to the results of the presidential election and suggested that we really needed to come together, find common ground and heal our very divided nation.  I also suggested that if the protesters really wanted change, they should start by volunteering in their communities, helping their neighbors and doing things that would actually build a sense of community.  I expressed that I wished they would take into consideration that by blocking roads they were making parents late to pick up their children from daycare or after school activities, or people from getting home to take care of elderly relatives or even blocking people who were living paycheck to paycheck from getting to their jobs.  Most of the responses I got to my post were supportive but I did have one person, whom I have known since childhood, go off on a huge tirade complete with horrible language and even personal attacks on me (not the first time she has done that but I thought after the last time she pulled that I had gotten through to her that if she could remain calm and not do the personal attacks that we might find that we agreed on more than she thought).  My reply to her was calm but pointed out that her response to my post was exactly what I was talking about...all the hateful sentiments and speech instead of trying to actually calmly talk through things and rebuild our country.  I pointed out that the personal attacks against me or anyone else would not help but would just shut down lines of communication and people would stop listening to her.   This is someone who knows that I have two sons that are police officers who put their lives on the line to protect everyone, including the protesters.  She unfriended me on Facebook.  I honestly feel sorry for her and all the anger and bitterness that she carries around.  I have since had another mutual friend contact me privately and apologize for her part in posting something that just made things worse, which I know was not her intention.  She also expressed how sorry she was that I was attacked like that by our mutual friend and that person was out of line.  She and I, although we have very different views on things, have a great amount of respect for one another and we know that each of us have good hearts and intentions.  We can agree to disagree, laugh, and move on to happier things.

   Thursday I found out that my beloved Uncle Ronnie had died early Tuesday morning.  My world felt like it had come crashing down.   My heart hurt so badly for my aunt, cousins, their children, my other uncle and aunt and my parents. Everyone is devastated by his sudden death.  He was my father's younger brother and he was very special and important to me.  He and my Aunt Susie took me in during a very tough time in my life and helped me to heal from some very hurtful things that I had experienced.  My father is taking it hard and I'm just in the first stage of my own grief in losing him.  My husband, kids and one of my closest friends have all been wonderful to keep checking in with me to see how I am doing.  Looking back at Saturday when we were on our way to pick up our grandkids to have them spend the night, I told my husband that I had a horrible feeling that something bad was happening and that we were going to lose someone in our family.  It never entered my mind that it would be my uncle.  I had no idea at that time that my uncle had just been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia the day before and had started on medication for it, or that 4 days later he would be rushed to the hospital late at night and die within the early hours of the morning.  

  Thursday mid day I found out a friend of mine's husband was rushed to the hospital not breathing and with no pulse.  They we able to revive him but he is in a coma and they don't know if he will come out of it.  They are monitoring his brain activity to see if there is any damage there.  My heart aches for my friend and all that she is going through.  She has already lost a son in a tragic accident.  I am praying for her, her husband and their other son.

   Thursday night there were also riots in Portland, Oregon and one of my hanai sons, was working in the area that was hit the hardest.  He and the rest of the crew were pulled off the movie set they were working on and told to stay safe in their offices away from the danger happening right outside their door.  He could see the windows being smashed in buildings, things set on fire and spray painted and the attack with baseball bats on a news crew right below him. I  pray he made it home safely after getting off work because the rioters were still making their way through the city causing more damage and blocking roads.   

   Here it is very early on Friday morning and I am still awake, unable to sleep and yet knowing that if I don't I will tailspin into yet another crash and flare.  My heart is heavy with all that has gone on.  I fear for our country that is so divided and hurt for the people who have had their businesses damaged or destroyed by the rioters.  I am devastated for my family and for our loss of my sweet and loving Uncle Ronnie. My heart aches for my friend who's husband is in a coma and who is waiting and praying that he will wake up and be ok.  I fear for the safety of my hanai son Lee who was right in the line of danger tonight. My mind is racing and I can't calm it down.  So yes, it has been a very rough week and I am praying for all of the concerns above. 


   So yes, it has been a very rough week.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Love and Will Miss You Uncle Ronnie

   This morning I saw a facebook post of a beautiful sunrise at my aunt and uncle's place in Tennessee that my cousin Tim shared.  The comments under the photo raised the alarm and I messaged my cousin to see if everyone was ok.  My email has been acting up and I had not been able to access it for 2 days so if someone had tried to let me know something, I was unable to get the message.   Tim shared with me that his father, my Uncle Ronnie, had passed away.  My heart broke and the tears started to flow.

   I finally got access to my email and there were the messages from my mom about my uncle's passing.  Last week he found out he was very ill, but that it was treatable, so he started on medication.  Sunday he worked in his yard.  Monday night he was rushed to the hospital and he passed away.  I can't imagine what my aunt and my cousins are going through right now.  Our family is very close knit.  My parents were just back there in August for a visit with the entire crew.  I'm so glad they made that trip and spent time with everyone.  My uncle Ronnie is the middle brother, sandwiched between my father who is the oldest, and my Uncle Gary, who is the youngest.

   I feel the need to share how much my Uncle Ronnie meant to me.  He was this amazing, kind, hard working man who lived life to the fullest and loved to laugh and have fun.  His family was his pride and joy and nothing made him happier than to spend time with them.  He enjoyed fishing and taking his family out on the boat for some water skiing fun.  He and my Aunt Susie were high school sweethearts who shared a lifetime of love and still got that twinkle in their eye when they looked at each other.

   When I was growing up, we lived in Hawaii and they lived in Ohio.  The distance did not stop us from remaining close.  We went to visit them when I was 12 and they came to see us in Hawaii a few years later.  My cousin Tim stayed with us for a bit longer after his parents and my cousin Amy returned to Ohio.  There were some really rough years for my immediate family during high school for me.  I needed to get away for awhile from a very stressful situation and my aunt and uncle took me in for the Summer between my Junior and Senior year.  It was just what I so desperately needed at the time and they made a huge difference not only in my life, but in my relationship with my parents.

   During that Summer, I learned how I wanted my family, once I was married and had children, to be.  My aunt and uncle were great role models.  My parents both worked really hard and my father's job took him away from our family a lot.  We would go days without seeing him every week and that left my mother to hold down the fort and take care of all of us kids.  My mother relied on me to help with everything, including raising my brothers and keeping the household running.  We often joked that my youngest brother was my baby.  There were times when the stress got to be too much for both my mother and for me.  My aunt and uncle's household was very different from the one I was raised in.  My uncle and aunt both worked hard, like my parents did, but they both came home at the end of the day and spent time with their kids and with other family members too.  My Uncle Gary and my cousin Diane would come by their house for a visit and we would all just enjoy each other's company.  We would go and visit my Grandpa and Grambetty and the love and laughter continued.  Weekends were spent boating on the lake, visiting with family or going to Cincinatti Reds games.  The main focus was always on family and keeping those family bonds tight.  Their home was a refuge for me, one where I did not feel like I had to make sure that everyone had done their chores, homework, and that I had be the second parent while going to school and working several jobs so I could afford to go to college.  I got to just be me and not be responsible for the health and happiness of everyone else around me. I saw the close relationship that both my aunt and uncle shared with their children and I wanted that for my future family too.  Both my aunt and uncle included me in those relationships too and helped to heal my very broken heart and weary soul.  They had no idea at the time, but they helped me to be able to rebuild my relationship with my parents and make it much healthier than it had ever been before.  For everything they did, I will always be extremely grateful.  

   My Uncle Ronnie, Aunt Susie and Uncle Gary came to visit my parents about 5 years ago at their place in Montana.  My husband and I went over to see them all.  It was the first time they had ever met him and they immediately embraced him.  We spent time reminiscing and hearing stories about my dad and his brothers growing up years, we talked about God and the power of prayer (my uncles and my aunt are all strong Believers like my husband and I are), shared lots of love, hugs, and laughter and I got a chance to thank my aunt and uncle for taking me in all those years ago and how much of a difference it had made in my life then and continues to today.  Before we left to return home, my Uncle Ronnie and I shared a big bear hug and told each "I love you".  Oh how I wish I had another chance to give him a big hug and tell him again how much I love him and how much he means to me.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 10/30-11/04 2016

Baked Sweet Italian sausages and sweet potatoes with sliced pears was one of our dinners this week that Jeff and I came up with when we did our dinner planning together.

   It's been another frugal week here for the most part.  We've been enjoying beautiful and warm weather for the past few days so we have not had to run the pellet stove as much and were even able to open up the back door and let the warm air in. :)  The fur babies have been relishing being able to come in and out off the back screened in porch without me having to constantly open and close the door.  The grandkids are coming tomorrow to spend the night and the plan is to make homemade pizzas and maybe even do s'mores over the fire pit.  We do know that they are going to want to hot tub so of course that is on the agenda.  Frugal fun with the grandkids!

~Saturday we headed over to Chris and Heather's to wrap more venison burger.  We paid for the butcher's fee (who is part of our extended family) to grind the burger.  That cost us $21 and we got 36 pounds of burger from it that is now in our freezer.  That is a HUGE savings on really good meat.
~Our Saturday night date this week was hot tubbing at home and then curling up in bed and watching some old episodes of "Keeping Up Appearances" that I had bought on DVD awhile back.  We love that show!
~Jeff's leather wallet, that he has had for years, is finally falling apart.  Luckily I had bought another one in nice condition at a thrift store about a year ago and put it away just for this situation.  I think I paid .99 each for both the leather one that is worn out (bought it about 7 years ago and he has been using it ever since) and the new one.
~Jeff and I sat down and made a menu for this week based on what we have in the pantry, refrigerator and freezers.
~I went through and inventoried my liquor stash...oh my goodness, between my parents and my cousin's gifts to us, along with what I already had, we are set for at least 6 months! No having to buy anything for the holidays.

A Christmas gift bought at the thrift store for $1.39 for the grandboys.

~We drained and cleaned the hot tub and got it refilled and ready for the colder months hot tubbing.  We tend to use it more during the colder months and I wanted it all scrubbed down and refilled so we don't have to do that when it is below freezing outside.
~While cleaning our hot tub, I accidently stepped on a "bubble" in the fiberglass and it cracked.  Jeff bought some Flexseal for marine use and fixed it.  We were going to use a fiberglass fix it kit but the temperature here is too cold now for that to set up properly.
~We used a gift card to cover most of the cost to go see a matinee showing of the movie "Inferno".  It was really good!
~Harbor Freight Tools put some really good coupons out for free items with any purchase.  I had my husband go through them and see if there was anything he wanted.  He found that one of the free items is something that he has misplaced here (or may have lent out and it never got returned).  The item is free with any purchase and I know that there are some small items that we are in need of that they carry at great prices so I clipped out all free item coupons and told one of my girls about it when we were chatting earlier.  She has already claimed one of the other free item coupons to get something for Christmas for the little boys. :)  We will pick these things up when we have our girl's day in a couple of weeks.
~We don't celebrate Halloween in our family (just a personal conviction) so I don't buy candy to hand out but I do hit the after Halloween candy sales and pick candy up to add to Christmas baskets. :)

I found this craft kit for .59 to do with the grandboys this weekend when they spend the night.

~I cashed in for 2 $25 Walmart gift cards via Swagbucks.  I got the first gift card for 2,200 points which let me apply a 50 point Swag up bonus to my account.  I then got the second $25 gift card for the regular cash in price of 2,500 points.  This "saved" me 350 points that will go to yet another gift card later.
~The cost of my mammogram was totally covered by my health insurance and they gave me a free shirt!  Oh, all was normal with the results.  Yay!!!!
~I used my $20 customer reward credit at the thrift store and found some really great deals!  I found UGG shoes that look like they have never been worn for $2.99, a thirty one tote bag for $1.49, the complete set of Captain Underpants books for $1.49, a SAK wallet that matches two of my SAK purses for .99 and many other goodies!
~My husband is gone to bowling league on Thursday nights so I pulled some homemade Zuppa Toscana out of the freezer on Wednesday and stuck it in the refrigerator to have for dinner on Thursday night.  I will be making another big pot of this and freezing it because it freezes beautifully and the kale does not get "slimy".
~Jeff found me trimming my bangs on Wednesday night because they were driving me batty.  I was just trying to do a quick trim until we had time to do a full haircut.  He offered to help me cut my hair right then.  I feel so much better  now to have some of that weight off the top of my head. :)
~We had an early dinner (at 5:30 p.m.) on Wednesday night.  I made teriyaki meatloaf and brown rice.  We had planned on having a salad with it, but were not hungry enough to have that too.  Knowing that I would be hungry again later in the evening, I opted to have my salad at that time.

Ugg shoes that look like they may have been worn once if at all for $2.99 at the thrift store.  Oh my are they comfortable and are the color shoe that I have been looking for.

~Jeff and I watched several shows online and some videos on YouTube.
~I really have been working Swagbucks again this week.  They had some high paying offers and tasks that netted me quite a few points.
~I received several free magazines in the mail.
~Friday we used one of the $25 gift cards to buy a covered kitty litter box and a new pair of house slippers for my hubby. Jeff did pay an additional $4 out of pocket to cover what the gift card did not.
~We stocked up on loss leader butter, eggs, broccoli, cheese, bread (high fiber), and cranberries.
~Jeff and I did pick up a family Chinese meal from the deli on Friday night since we were running late and wanted to be able to actually sit down and enjoy a meal together before he had to go to work.  We have not seen much of each other with his long work days these past 2 weeks.  What we paid for the family meal from the deli is what we would pay for just 1 person's order at a restaurant. 

You guessed it, movies found at the thrift store.  The Turtles one is for the grandboys and the State Fair actually comes with 2 with the original movie and the second with the 1960's remake.  I am excited to watch both of those!

~Our Caesar has ear mites so I am treating them with homeopathic treatments.  I've already noticed him scratching his ears less. 
~Jeff and I have been trying to combine errands or have him pick up things on his way home or when he goes into town for his bowling league.  This has helped keep my car parked in the driveway a lot more this week. ;)  Jeff's car is much better on gas mileage than mine is.  Do you know I still have not been for a drive or ride in his car?  When we are together we always take mine because it is really comfortable.
~I talked to one of our neighbors on the other side of the fence from where our blackberry bushes are.  I offered to either come over and trim them on her side or I told her how she could easily propagate some for her family with the trenching method if she wanted to so that they too could have some free thornless blackberry bushes.  She seemed pretty excited about the second option. ;)
~While printing off my Walmart gift cards, I printed off a coupon for free she rentals for up to 4 people at the bowling alley and for a buy 1 get 1 free Blizzard at Dairy Queen.

   I hope that you all have had a frugal week and that you are looking forward to a fun weekend!  Be blessed my friends!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

I've Been Keeping Secret...

    Our son Jaysn and our Rachel are starting a brand new chapter in their lives...they are going to be parents!  Yesterday they hit the magic 12 week mark that they were waiting for before they wanted to share the news with the world.  Do you have any idea of how hard this has been for me NOT to share this news here on my blog???  I mean, I've know for 1 1/2 months now and have had to keep this wonderful, amazing, and very happy news from all of you.  So I can finally shout it out "I'M GOING TO BE A GRAMMIE AGAIN!"  :) 

   They told us the day we arrived at my parent's home for our short but sweet vacation.  Josh, my parents, Jeff and I were all in the car on our way to dinner when we returned their call after seeing they left a message for us while we were at a concert.  I'm so glad that Josh was there with us to share in the celebration of the wonderful news!  The timing was perfect!

   This new little one is due in mid May.  My father is pulling for the 16th, which is his birthday and my cousin Jeremy is pulling for the 13th, which is Jeremy's birthday. :)  I told them both this baby will come when it is ready but maybe it will be born at midnight between the 14th and 15th so it could be right between their birthdays.  LOL!

   I have a picture of the ultrasound of "Jazz" (nicknamed because baby was making Jazz hands during the ultrasound) at 8 weeks 5 days on my refrigerator, just like I did of Bradley and Isaiah.  Every day I look at that precious little one knowing that he/she is growing bigger and stronger every day safely in our Rachel.  I've been shopping buying neutral colored baby clothing for Jazz and some maternity pants for Rachel.  I already bought and gave her 2 books on how baby is developing within her so she can track all the milestones and understand what is happening to her body also. ;)  Bradley and Isaiah are split right down the middle on if they want a boy cousin or a girl cousin.  Grammie just wants a healthy baby!

   So please forgive me for holding out on you all.  I made a promise to my kids that I would not share their news on social media until the 12 week mark and until they shared it themselves.  We could not be happier for them and we know they are going to be wonderful parents!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Insomnia and Maggie

   It's a cool and damp Fall day here and I am going on 8 1/2 hours total of sleep within the last 48 hours.  Insomnia has returned with a vengeance. I'm so tired and am dragging today.  Yesterday was a busy day of having my annual mammogram and running errands.  Shortly after I got home from all of that, we got a phone call from my cousin Jeremy who had just picked up a new fur baby.  He wanted to know if he could bring her by on his way home and he needed help naming her.

   Meet Maggie!  As soon as I saw her I knew she her name must be Maggie and my cousin liked it so that is her new name. :)  She is 12 weeks old and was brought up to Spokanimal from a high kill shelter in California.  She looks just like a lighter colored version of my parents' dog Moki, who was also rescued from a high kill shelter in California.  This little girl is all puppy!  She is full of energy and gives lots of lovies.  She is in that chew on everything stage so we had to keep taking shoes, bathmats, etc, away from her.  As you can see, she did find lots of toys she could play with here though.  Maggie had just gotten fixed the day before so we did not allow Caesar to meet her yet because we did not want to take any chances of them getting too wild and her possibly ripping her stitches out.  Doofy (aka Rufus) eyed her warily through the glass door as we had put him out on the deck so we would not try to intimidate her.  He will have to get used to her soon though because she will be staying with us whenever work takes my cousin out of town.  It's so nice to have a new fur baby in the family!