Saturday, December 9, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/2-12/8 2017


Beautiful wreath found at the thrift store for $4.99.  I love it!

   Here's to another frugal week!  Yes, I did spend money at the thrift stores but when I compared the retail prices to the prices I paid for things that will be gifts, I saved big time.  This has been an interesting week with my hubby getting the flu that lasted for 48 hours.  I am really blessed to have a stocked pantry, along with a freezer with homemade chicken noodle soup in it.  It made dealing with his flu a lot easier on us both.  He is feeling better but is still a bit worn out between the flu and having icy roads to drive on for most of his delivery route overnight.  We are taking it easy here at home today since he is really tired and my stomach is acting up.  I think I am just overtired too since I have not slept well at all this week.

Two down filled pillows $2 each.

~Saturday my hubby and I headed down to the valley to do some shopping and to see the Christmas lights in Lewiston.  The plan was to stroll through the park looking at the lights, but I was to tired out by the time we were done finding great deals at Goodwill, St. Vincent D Paul and The Grocery Outlet.  We did have dinner down at Zany Graze and our waiter turned out to have dated the granddaughter of our next door neighbor Uncle Bob. :)  Small world!
~I finally found one of those stacking Tupperware containers that I have been obsessed with ever since I saw one on Rhonda's blog .  It was there waiting for me at St. Vincent D Paul.  Happy Happy Dancing!  I also found some books for Bradley for Christmas and some down filled throw pillows for $2 each. :)

Stacking Tupperware containers for $3.

~Goodwill had some beautiful books and a handmade ceramic bird feeder that I will be using as a gift for some very special people who love things like that.  I also found a new Longaberger ceramic bowl (will be part of a gift basket for Christmas), Jeff found a shirt, and we found a brand new Minions Operation Game for the little boys.
~The Grocery Outlet has some fun wines including a Chocolate red wine.  I picked that up (again for another Christmas gift basket), some Prosecco, some high end bottled tonic water, prosciutto and some other things for gift baskets along with some regular grocery item.  Jeff found a Copper fit glove that he is going to try to see if it helps his hand.  The Copper Fit thingy that goes over his knee has seemed to help that area so we thought this was worth a try.

Beautiful hand made ceramic bird feeder that was $8.99 and that I bought as a gift.

~We also stopped at Winco down in the valley and their prices there are cheaper than the Winco closer to us.  We bought honey from their bulk bin area along with a few other things like avocados and sour cream.
~Sunday we stayed at home and watched 2 movies we borrowed from the library, another movie on Netflix and we hot tubbed.  Jeff did not have much energy and I was worried about him so we decided to take it easy.
~Dinner Sunday night was homemade Zuppa Toscana that I pulled out of the freezer and added more kale to and Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Homemade Zuppa Toscana and Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

~Jeff had a rough time sleeping Sunday night into Monday morning and so did I.  He tossed and turned and was in the bathroom several times.  He got up Monday morning and let me sleep since I was going on about 2 hours of sleep at that time.  I woke up to hearing my poor hubby getting sick. 😪 I called into work for him so that they could get someone to cover his shift tonight and then sent him back to bed.  I got the movies run down to the library, scrapped the meal plan for today and just made myself a chicken and broccoli pot pie for lunch (remember when I got all those pot pies on sale).
~My Fitbit Alta HR stopped tracking my sleep correctly yet again so I tried calling their help number twice, only to be put on hold "for a few minutes".  The minutes later (each time) and no one came back on or bothered to call me back once I hung up (which they say they will of we somehow get disconnected) and I finally had had it.  I got on the Chat help and within 5 minutes they had the problem diagnosed by pulling up my data and offered me a replacement tracker since mine is obviously malfunctioning.  Chat help is the way to go with this company, their phone service sucks!

Homemade Chicken Noodle soup.

~We received a Christmas card in the mail from Shopko with a $10 gift card in it.  I thought that was super great customer appreciation!
~Tuesday Jeff was feeling better but I still got some homemade chicken noodle soup out of the freezer for us to have for dinner since I want him to have things that are easy on his stomach for the next 24 hours.
~I've been enjoying beautiful Christmas music, videos and movies courtesy of YouTube.

YouTube has beautiful Christmas music playlists to listen to.

~Our little Bissell stick vacuum was not "sucking" as well as it should so Jeff cleaned out the filters and the dust and dirt chamber.  I absolutely love this little vacuum and since I got it free, the price cannot be beat.  If and when this one goes, I would be more than willing to actually buy another one.
~I've been raiding my camisole stash each day to add another warm layer under my shirts.  It really does help to keep my core warm so that I do not have to have the heat up as high in the house and it keeps me warmer when we are out and about also.
~I uploaded more coupons onto my Safeway card.

Homemade Ginger/Lemon/Honey Syrup.

~I made some homemade ginger/lemon/honey syrup for cold and flu season.  It is great for sore throats and also as a hot drink.  I just add 4 tablespoons of the syrup to mug of hot water.  Delicious!
~Patches (cat) decided that the basket where I keep all our cloth napkins was an excellent kitty bed just the right size for her.  After fighting with her about it for weeks, I finally just gave up, rewashed all of the napkins yet again, put a soft old towel in there and gave it to her.  I'll find somewhere else to keep the napkins and she has a new bed.   She seems quite pleased with herself for winning this battle. 😉

Hot coffee and getting some ideas for more goodies to make.

~Wednesday Jeff and I took the $10 gift card from Shopko and used it to buy a 32 pound bag of dog food that was on clearance for $11.99 since they were changing the packaging on their store brand dog food.  After tax we ended up paying a little over $2 out of pocket!
~We stopped at the thrift store to find some more clothes for Steven since he is outgrowing everything right now.  We were very happily surprised to run into Jaysn and Steven there so I was able to see if the clothing would actually fit him since he has long legs and arms like his daddy.  We found him some shoes for .99, and several shirts.  Grammie here also got some snuggle time in which is priceless! 💖  Some of the other items we found were ornaments for .59 each, a ornament wreath for $4.99, some hardware and building stuff that Jeff needed to do some repairs for .98, another cd for $1.50, a large brand new bottle of Avon bubble bath for .79, a Kitchenaid brand serrated veggie peeler that does those long matchstick cuts for .59 (that was on my wish list) and a camo fleece shirt on the clearance rack for .10 for Bradley and Isaiah to share.
~The mice have invaded our home again so we bought some more D-Con at Walmart and also found my favorite vitamin drinks there for .50 each.  I am not good about drinking water, but I will drink those.

Christmas movies borrowed from the library.

~We borrowed more Christmas movies from the library.
~Jeff and I both made sandwiches for dinner since we had a late lunch.
~Jeff felt like he is coming down with a cold so we both took some Lysine and I had some honey/ginger and lemon tea that I made with the syrup that I had put together on Tuesday.  It was really good.
~Thursday I stayed home and worked on a few things around here.  I also went through some Christmas cookbooks and got more ideas for home baked gifts.
~Jeff took in bags full of things for our kids and grandkids in with him when he went to his bowling league.
~Friday I made a large crockpot full of split pea soup.  It was the perfect meal for a frigid and gray day.  We have leftovers and I am not sure if I will freeze it or if we will finish it this weekend.
~I made a customized mug for my brother Fritz.  I bought a plain white mug at the Dollar Tree and used Sharpie permanent markers to write a fun message on it from my grandkids who adore their great uncle! I baked it in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes.  When it had cooled, I wrote a note to make sure to hand wash it and not run it through the dishwasher.  My hubby then got it all wrapped up in bubblewrap and added to the package that we sent out to him and my parents for Christmas.

Adding some Christmas garland that I hope Doofy will not destroy!

~I reused the mailing box that a gift I ordered for Josh came in.  It is a large sign.  I added two more wrapped gifts to the box, retaped it up and got that sent out to Josh today also.
~After mailing off the 2 boxes, I got to thinking that I might go the gift card route next year.  Postage is so expensive!
~The Christmas letter is finally done and the original copy is printed off.  I need to run in to Kinkos and get copies made of it.  It is cheaper than using up all that ink on my printer to go that route.
~I printed off a Buy One Get One Free coupon for Blizzards at Dairy Queen.  It right down the street from where we are getting new tires put on our car next week so we will go there for a "date" while the tires are being put on and balanced.

Homemade split pea soup for dinner Friday night.

   This coming week will be a busy one filled with baking goodies and candy making for Christmas.  I am also hoping to get all the Christmas gifts here wrapped so that I know what we do and don't have.  We are also thinking about taking a break this Sunday and going to see a movie.  This is a Christmas tradition for us that we look forward to every year.  Be blessed!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Happy Birthday in Heaven Grandpa Duerr

    I have a hard time remembering birth dates but for some reason, I always remember my Grandma Jean's birthday (it is the day after mine) and my Grandpa Duerr's, which is Dec. 7th.  Maybe I remember his because it is also Pearl Harbor day, a day that is remembered each year in Hawaii where I grew up and because I had a teacher who, as a child, was on a beach that fateful morning and saw the Japanese planes coming in and the destruction that followed.  Or maybe it is because my Grandpa Duerr was so different from my other grandfathers (I had 3 of them) in he was always warm, loving and adored his grandchildren and let them know it.

   I did not grow up being able to spend much time with my Grandpa Duerr because we lived in Hawaii and he lived in Ohio.  I don't remember my first time meeting him because I was 2 years old and my grandmother was dying of cancer so he bought train tickets for my parents and I to come back to Ohio (we were living in California at the time and my mom was finishing her teaching degree).  My grandmother wanted to meet my mother and I and spend time with us and my father, her oldest son,  before she passed away and my Grandpa Duerr, who loved his sweet Evelyn Anna more than anything in the world, made that happen.  I have pictures of my cousin Tim and I with both of our grandparents.  The next time I saw my grandfather was years later, after he had remarried my Grandma Betty, when they came to Hawaii.  My grandfather was afraid of flying, but he did it anyway so that we could all meet Betty and because she really wanted to see Hawaii.  I was still pretty young then and I don't remember much of that trip other than Grandma Betty appearing to be pretty high maintenance and was not a very "warm and fuzzy" person...she was very different from my Dad's mother.

    The Summer that I turned 12, we took a family vacation back to the mainland and through Canada.  We spent time with family and friends in California, Oregon and Ohio and took the train from Montreal, Quebec to Vancouver, BC, making stops along the way to stay at National Parks.  It was on this trip that I really got to know my grandfather well.  We stayed with him and Grandma Betty and all my cousins, my Aunt Susie, Uncle Ronnie and Uncle Gary came over and spent as much time as possible with us.  I have very distinct memories of my Grandpa Duerr, sitting on his back patio looking out over his beautiful vegetable garden and watching all of us grandkids playing together.  I also remember him telling my cousin Tim to unlock the handcuffs (my Uncle Gary was a police officer and had come over straight after work) that he had locked me to the fence with.  LOL!  Don't worry, I did get my cousin Tim back later!  I was fascinated with weather and tornados so my Grandpa took us to see the town of Xenia that had a tornado come through just 2 weeks prior to us getting there.  I was amazed to see how a school had been "sliced" in half and the papers in the standing half still pinned to the board and the desks were still all neatly lined up.  A few days later, while Grandpa and I were sitting outside in his garden, I told him that the air felt weird and I was feeling electrical currents in my body and I thought there was a tornado coming.  About an hour later, the air got very still and then the wild animals started running like mad in one direction.  I again told him that the electrical currents were getting worse.  He gave me a strange look but decided to go and check the weather on TV.  Sure enough, there was a tornado warning.  I will never forget his reaction to this when it looked like one would be coming near us.  He had us go pick all the ripe tomatoes out of his garden and sent my father and uncle to Kentucky Fried Chicken to get lots of chicken for us to eat while we sheltered in the basement and had that and fresh tomatoes.  😀  I now associate tornados with fried chicken and tomatoes.  Anyway, my Dad and uncle got back with the chicken and we had the TV on upstairs tracking where the tornado was hitting.  Grandpa sent us downstairs and then all of a sudden called me to come upstairs to see something.  There was a tornado off in the distance and he wanted me to see it!  He understood my fascination with them and wanted me to be able to observe one from a safe distance.  My Grandpa Duerr really "got me".  He explained all the things that I saw flying around in it as the roofs from businesses and homes and some other things were in there too.  When it got a bit too close for comfort, he and I once again headed down to the basement.  The tornado did not hit his neighborhood thank goodness, but it did hit just 2 miles away from there and caused all kinds of damage in that neighborhood, which he took me to see.  I thought he was "perfect" until we were taking a drive one day and I saw two little girls holding hands and skipping together down the sidewalk in what my grandfather described as the "bad part of town".  I thought the little girls were adorable and said so.  My grandfather thought it was "disgusting"...his reason, one was white and one was black.  He had been raised in a time when prejudice was sadly very common and so had my father, and yet my father knew it was wrong and tried to break that cycle within our family, along with my mother who rightfully believed that the color of your skin should have no bearing on anything!  I was shocked and hurt to hear him say that and I told him so.  There we were in the car and I was telling my grandfather how wrong he was to think like that.  They were two innocent and beautiful little girls and how wrong it was to be so hateful and judge someone just because of the color of their skin.  My father tried to shut me up and told me I was being disrespectful to my grandfather.  I did shut up but not until after I told my grandfather that I loved him but thought that he was totally wrong and how disappointed I was in him. 😟  I must have touched something deep down within him because he never got mad at me and was very careful to never say anything like that again around me.

   Five years later, I returned to Ohio for about 2 months during the Summer and stayed with my Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Susie, my cousin Tim and cousin Amy.  I desperately needed to get away from a very stressful family situation at home be free from being the buffer, mediator and "other parent", which had been my role since my brothers were born and had only gotten more intense when my sister joined our family.  I was also "stuffing" the shame and guilt of having been sexually abused by someone outside the family and had never gotten help for dealing with all the emotions that brings up.  Staying with my dear Aunt and Uncle and being in a totally different family dynamic where my uncle came home to his family every night after work (my father's job prevented him from doing so since there had to be a manager on duty at the resort 24/7), my Uncle Gary and baby cousin Diane (she was 7 at the time) would come by almost every afternoon to visit and where we spent as much time as possible with my Grandpa Duerr and Grandma Betty was new to me.  I learned how I wanted my family to be when I got married.  I wanted that life where weekends were spent doing fun things as a family, where cousins got to grow up together, where grandparents were there and enjoyed being with their family and took great joy in their grandkids and kids.  I learned more about my Grandpa Duerr and his unconditional love for us all and heard stories about my father and uncles growing up, about my grandmother Evelyn, and about how my grandparents and my father, who was a young child then, made it through the Great Depression with the help of my grandmother's aunt and uncle and living on their farm with them and later by my grandfather working a full time job and gardening for other people as well as for his own little family and my grandmother taking in people's washing to do to make ends meet. I wanted to learn about my family history and would later become the family historian.  All this talk did not go over well with my Grandma Betty, who was not fond at all of my father's siblings, their wives and their children.  She made it very clear that she preferred her own children and grandchildren.  For some strange reason though, she liked me and wanted me to have a relationship with her grandkids.  I did get to know them and spent time with them that Summer and they were very nice people for the most part other than one creepy cousin who wanted to "make out" with me.  YUCK!  I did find out later Grandma Betty had a dark secret that she did not want me and my family  to know about and was mortified that one of my uncles, who was a police officer, had stumbled upon some information about her past and her connections to the Mob.  Because he had that information and had shared it with my other uncle and aunt, they were on her "crap list" and she did not even want them in her home, but my Grandpa put his foot down and told her that his family was always welcome in their home as was her's.  I have always wondered if she liked me because of my father's position as the executive manager of a resort that catered to the rich and famous.  I do know she threw that around to her friends.  Her own children were "academics" according to her.  My Uncle Gary was a police detective and firefighter and my Uncle Ronnie was in middle management for the General Motors.  My uncles and my father were all self made men that worked hard all their lives and were well respected and gave back to their communities, just as my Grandpa Duerr had.  He taught all his sons that whatever job you do, give it your all, do your best and take pride in it.  He led by example and his sons all had the deepest respect and love for him.

   My cherished memories of my Grandpa Duerr will always stay with me.  He was a man who worked hard his entire life, loved his family and was so proud of them, always welcomed you with a huge hug and kiss and got a tear in his eyes when we had to part.  He had a green thumb and  maintained a beautiful and productive garden up until the very end and would share the garden bounty with family and friends.  Sadly he never got to meet my husband because he was afraid to fly out to our wedding and he never got to meet his great grandchildren (my children) either.  He passed away suddenly within a 3 week period where I also lost my Uncle Dave, and my Uncle Lorne.  I was able to say goodbye to my Uncle Lorne, because we knew he was dying and I called and spoke to him several times, leaving nothing unsaid about how much I loved him and how much he meant to me.  I did not know that my Uncle Dave was ill until he passed away and I do wish someone would have told me so I could have called and spoke to him when he was in the hospital.  My Grandpa Duerr passed away suddenly, with no warning, so no one got the chance to say goodbye.  I wish I could have had just one more chance to see him, share a hug and tell him how much I loved him and how much I cherished being his granddaughter.  I miss you Grandpa, I love you and I hope you and Grandma Evelyn (who was the love of your life) and now Uncle Ronnie too, are together and happy in heaven.  Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hot Sauce, a Broken Pot and the Flu

Someone is about to get squirted for being on the countertops again!

   Last night was a rough one all the way around.  I put up a garland complete with fairy lights on our old hutch.  Doofy eyed it like it was prey.  He was told no and seemed to lose interest so we finally went to bed around 11:30 p.m..  Jeff had not been feeling well all day so we had taken it easy and watched lots of movies.  At 12.30 a.m. I heard some banging and very distinct munching sounds.  I sprang out of bed to find Doofy eating the bottom part of the garland.  He had shorted out last year's garland by chewing on it so this was the new and improved version.  I surveyed the damage and quickly calculated a plan.  I got out the hot sauce and a pastry brush and painted the lower parts where he could reach it easily with hot sauce.  I then went back to bed.

   After finally having just dozed off, I was rudely jolted out of sleep by a crashing sound.  CRUD!  I came out to find my favorite flowerpot that I stored up on the very top and at the very back of the tall hutch shattered and dirt everywhere on my antique buffet that sits next to the hutch.  Yes, I still had dirt in it because after Doofy ate my beloved Christmas cactus from out now deceased Grandma Ann, I had just put it up there hopefully out of his reach.  Apparently, not to be thwarted by my hot sauce basted garland ends, he decided to jump up on top of the hutch to feast on the plastic (yes, he is supposedly allergic to plastic) middle of the garland and wiggled his big butt so much in delight that he moved the cherished pot over and off the edge.  Jeff said he would clean it all up in the morning and for us to head back to bed. I picked up the pieces of shattered pottery before heading back to bed because I did not want anyone to get hurt and figured we could deal with the rest of the mess in the morning.  By this time, Jeff was feeling even worse and was tossing a turning in bed.  Doofy cat, knowing he was in big time trouble came in and curled up next to me in bed in an effort to let me know he was sorry.  I forgave him...I always do.

   Now that I was fully awake again, I could not get back to sleep so I got up.  I was going to clean up all the dirt but it was everywhere and I needed a vacuum to do a good job of it.  I did not think Jeff would appreciate me running a vacuum at 2:00 in the morning.  I put on some YouTube videos and learned how to make several different kinds of baked goods.  I headed back to bed around 4 a.m. and Jeff was not doing well and was really restless. My fibromyalgia was starting to flare at this point and my legs were aching but I finally dozed off around 5 ish.  At 5:30 a.m. I woke up to find that my hubby was in the bathroom and was feeling even worse with stomach cramps.  He was in there for about 45 minutes and finally came back to bed.  He and I both finally feel asleep after more tossing and turning, but I kept waking up to check on him.  

   Around 9 a.m., after finally falling into a restful sleep, I was awoken by the sound of someone loudly throwing up and it was not a cat coughing up a hairball.  It was then official, my poor hubby had the flu.  😟  This man can handle just about anything but throwing up.  Oh he was so miserable.  I got him some water and then called his employer to let them know what was going on so they could sent one of the sons of the owner home to sleep so that he could cover Jeff's route Monday night.  I then sent Jeff back to bed where he slept until I woke him at 4 p.m. so that he could get something to drink and be up for a bit before heading back to bed.  He drank some water, watched a little TV and was back in bed all within 2 1/2 hours.  Poor guy is no longer throwing up but his body aches and he has a bad headache.

   While Jeff slept today I took the movies back to the library, and picked up the mail.  I did not get all the dirt vacuumed up because I did not want to wake Jeff.  I picked up all the dog and cat fur from our shedding furbabies and threw that in the trash.  I finished laundry and got my pillows and a quilt out so I can sleep on the couch tonight so that Jeff can spread out on our bed and hopefully the cats will sleep with me on the couch and not on the bed with him.  I am praying that he will feel better in the morning and that I do not get this.  My menu plan went out the window and I checked to make sure that we have lots of seltzer water, 7Up, and some vitamin waters along with crackers, jello, bananas, bread for toast and applesauce on hand.  I do have homemade and canned chicken noodle soup too.  I will have to see how Jeff is doing tomorrow and call in again for him if he is still sick.  At this point I am thinking he is going to need another night off because he was running a fever when he headed back to bed a little while ago.  My poor hubby...I feel so bad for him.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/25-12/1 2017


   It is early Saturday morning, like really early (1:00a.m.) and I can't sleep so I thought I would get this post finished and posted before I head to take a shower and then to bed.  I've been listening to Christmas music and enjoying myself this evening for the most part.  Two of the cats have been a pain and both got squirted multiple times for fighting.  Most of the time they are fine but for some reason, late at night they kind of lose their kitty minds.  I managed to find all my wax melts and changed out one of my Scentsy burners for Christmas themed one.  I did have to take the bulb from the one I have been using and put it in the Christmas burner since the bulb burnt out within a few minutes of me having it on. The burner I was previously using was a gift years ago from my sweet SIL Christie and the Christmas one is a recent find from Goodwill.  Both Jeff and I are enjoying them. Most of my wax melts have been found at thrift stores or on great sales at Walmart so that is a huge savings right there. Onto the rest of the savings this week... 

~Saturday we hosted a party here at our house for friends and family.  We did it potluck style of course. ;)  It was supposed to just be snack stuff but I had a feeling that we would need more than that so in addition to the crab and cheese wontons that I made I also raided the pantry and freezer and came up with homemade sweet potato fries with chipotle and sea salt seasoning and cut up 2 packages of turkey smoked sausages and served those in BBQ sauce.  I also baked up a frozen Dutch Apple Pie and served that along with the Pumpkin Pie that Rachel's mom made for us.  I'm glad I made extras because everyone was really hungry!  We had a wonderful time getting caught up with Roni, Char and Erica.  I found out that Roni has now moved to Palm Springs, CA and will be a short 2 hour drive away from where Josh is being transferred to!  That makes us all very happy indeed!
~We had Jaysn and Rachel shop our pantry for canned goods that they needed.  Rachel took home lots of assorted cans of beans and Jaysn found a few of his favorite things to take home too.

~Sunday we ran into town to do the grocery shopping and we again hit Goodwill.  I am on the
lookout for a Santa suit for Steven.  I did not find that but did find shirts and a sleeper for the grandboys, a brand new shirt for me, a pretty jacket that was half off due to it being the colored tag of the week, a package of baby proofing cabinet latches (we needed to both baby and cat proof the kitchen cabinets), a new cookbook, and something else that Jeff wanted that has now slipped my mind.
~We found some great deals in the clearance section at Old Navy and spent under $20 for 3 shirts and some socks.

~We stopped in at Bath and Body Works so I could pick up a few things that were on sale.  I also had  coupons for a free item when I spent $10.  I saw a young woman in line and gave her one of the coupons.  She was thrilled and was able to get another body spray as a Christmas gift for her mother.  It just made me happy to be able to bless her!
~We watched several movies on Netflix including "The Adams Family" and a documentary on the new lead singer for Journey.
~Monday we stayed home and relaxed.  I got out a big 1000 piece puzzle and started to work on that.
~Jeff was craving Sloppy Joes so I made those for dinner.
~As I was cutting up the veggies for the Sloppy Joes, I froze some of the extra celery to use in soup later.

~We borrowed the new "Wonder Woman" movie from the library along with 2 other movies.
~Tuesday I made 3 loaves of banana bread with some overripe bananas.
~I marinated some elk steaks in wine and seasonings for dinner on Tuesday.  These were served with wild rice mix and carrot sticks.  My steak also had mushrooms topping it.  Jeff is not a fan of mushrooms in general.
~Wednesday I cut Jeff's hair for him.

~Jeff took me out for an early dinner and we arrived at Happy Hour.  We both ordered appetizers ($3 off each one) and I had a drink ($3).  We then had dessert.  We saved $9 on dinner by going during Happy Hour. :)  I also figured out how to make Jeff's Pulled Pork Nachos and both of our desserts so I can recreate them here at home.
~We stopped at the Dollar Tree and picked up a few needed items there.  I found some new puzzles for the little boys to work on when they are here.  One is even 3D!

~We made another stop at the thrift store and I found a onesie for Steven for .10, a brand new throw pillow with a down inner pillow for $4.98 (new store tag said it was $38.93 originally), another Hawaiian CD, a Christmas ornament, some pie servers and a heavy duty pizza cutter for Heather, .99 each, a Christmas book for the little boys, a gorgeous red pitcher, a hat and some cozy fleece lined mittens for baby Steven and some wax melts.

~We watched some HGTV House Hunters episodes on Youtube.  They had a couple who was relocating to Spokane, WA on.
~Thursday I did the chems and added water to the hot tub and then drained the garden hose again.  My hands were frozen by the time I got done but it needed it and I want to be able to use the hot tub this weekend, if not tonight.
~I baked 2 more loaves of sandwich bread.
~More TV shows were watched online.

~I contacted the Fitbit company online since my fitbit was not working correctly and a very nice representative helped me to reset it.  It is now correctly tracking my sleep once more.
~I used some of the leftover steaks to make Lo Mein for dinner.  I made a large  amount of it and thought I would have leftovers, but it was just so good that both hubby and I had seconds and finished it off.

~Friday I spent some time online viewing videos on how to make simple Christmas crafts with children.  I got some great ideas to do with the little boys.
~We had leftovers for dinner, Jeff had the rest of the Sloppy Joes and I had the leftover Elk Steak thinly sliced with mushrooms and also had some broccoli with a lemon, dill and caper sauce.  Jeff also had pie for dessert.
~I've been trying to make sure to work on my points programs each day.
~My mother celebrated her 77th birthday Friday and we sent her a lovely ecard.  Mom and I agreed long ago that ecards for birthdays are the way to go!  It is so hard for me to think of her as being 77.  She has the energy and stamina of a much younger woman and can run circles around most women in their 50s!

~I could not sleep late into the night on Friday and into the early morning hours Saturday so I put on some Christmas music and did some mending.  I figured if I was up, I might as well be productive. I can do the mending while relaxing in my recliner.
~Christmas books are some of my favorites, so I pulled out some for me and for the grandkids to enjoy. I try to add at least one new one to my personal library each year.

   I am hoping that Jeff can get the outside Christmas lights up this weekend and can help me get some of the other Christmas decorations out of the walk in closet for me.  He had that thing packed like a giant jigsaw puzzle so I just tell him what I want and he finds it for me.  I figure that is fair since I have no idea where he has put most of the stuff.   After the lights are all up outside, all we need is snow!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It Feels Good to Let Go and Be Happy!

Our beloved kids and grandkids all together with us in September.  These are Jeff and my treasures!

   For years and years I have dreaded certain birthdays, special occasions and holidays.  What should have been times of celebrations turned into weeks leading up the the actual occasion of stress for me.  That lead to depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  Not anymore!  😁

   This Thanksgiving was the first time that I have been able to really enjoy myself and not be filled with worry, anxiety, guilt, anger, dread and emotional pain.  It feels great!  What led to this?  Letting go.

   My husband and I finally not only made the decision, but followed through on letting go of the toxic relationships we had with certain members of my husband's family.  We have ignored the game playing, sending of junk mail (what is up with that?) to us and manipulation tactics.  We did not send birthday cards, nor will we send Christmas cards to them.  There will be no phone calls, no flowers or Christmas gifts sent to them this year.  They made a decision to cut us out of their lives but then certain parties try to suck us back in.  We will no longer be pawns in their games.  Apparently that has not sit well with some of them and you know what...we don't care.

   It certainly took us long enough to get to this point and to realize that we not only can but need to be free from all the toxicity that they brought into our lives.  Looking back we can now see the patterns and the games that have been played for years.  It feels good to finally be free from all of that.

   So here is to happier times!  Here is to focusing on friends and family that mean the most to us!  Here is to soaking in all the love, laughter and goodness in our lives.  Here's to freedom from toxic situations!  Here's to life!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/18-11/24 2017


Brand new large cozy throw.  I loved the color and pattern!

   I'm late again in posting.  I took a blogging break for Thanksgiving through the weekend because we were busy enjoying family and friends.  Jeff had a 4 days weekend so I wanted to spend time with him too.  We had a wonderful time four days with lots of love, laughter, family and friends!  I took Monday off to recover from all the fun and am still feeling it today but oh was it ever worth it! 😁 Onto my savings for the week.

I was craving burgers so I made some venison burgers for dinner.  I had mine with tomato chutney that my cousin Jeremy made.  YUM!

~Saturday I went to a family Ladies Brunch at Heather's aunt Cha Cha's house.  It was so much fun and there was tons of delicious food there.  I made a plate to take to Jeff too.
~Jeff watched the little boys while Heather and I were at the brunch.  Jeff took a pizza over for their lunch and they were so excited.  Heather and I came back to find all 3 of them cuddled up on the couch together watching a movie.  I so wished I had asked Heather to take a picture of them.
~We went in to do some shopping after the brunch and hit Goodwill where I found a brand new Anne Klein black tote bag for $12.99.  Jeff also found 2 new sleeveless shirts.  Other great finds were a brand new crib sheet in package that we are giving to Rachel and Jaysn for Steven, a brand new throw blanket and a cd that Jeff wanted.
~We needed coffee so we got some at the grocery store.
~Saturday night we hot tubbed and also watch all 3 Men in Black movies.  Jeff and I both love those movies and it made for a late, but fun night.

Great score on a brand new Anne Klein tote for $12.99 at the thrift store.

~Sunday Jaysn and Rachel invited us over for a late lunch.  She made a delicious lasagna in the crockpot.  We played with Steven and had a great time together.
~We stopped by the grocery store on the way home to get some coffee (do you see a theme here) and I found 4 packs of giant bakery muffins for .99 each.  The college students have all headed home for Thanksgiving break so the baked goods were marked way down.
~We hot tubbed again and then watched the movie "I.Q.".  We had not seen it in years and love it.
~Monday I stayed home and made some homemade chicken noodle soup. I also took care of the hot tub maintenance and worked on laundry.  Jeff vacuumed the entire house and remade the bed since I stripped it down to wash all the sheets.
~I worked out a menu plan for the week based on things that we had here and that needed to be used up quickly.
~I'm continuing to work my points programs as time allows.
~Tuesday was pretty much a crash day here but I did manage to make venison burgers for dinner while Jeff got a salad ready for us.
~Wednesday I made twice baked potatoes with bacon and cheese to take with us to Chris and Heather's for Thanksgiving. I ran out of sour cream so I substituted plain yogurt for it.  I do this all the time and it turns out well. All I have to do tomorrow is heat them up and we are good to go!
~Jeff got a whole sack full of magazines ready to donate to the library for me.

More thrift store finds.  A new crib sheet for Steven's crib and a Dierks Bentley CD for Jeff.

~I ordered a new tracfone for myself that will work out here in the boonies.  Jeff has the same one so I know it will work.  I was able to get a really good deal on a triple minute, triple data, triple text and I got a 120 minute card (which triples) with it.  I went through the link for at Swagbucks and am hoping that I will get some points for it.  I also used some credit I had at amazon to offset the cost.
~Jeff and I had leftovers for dinner on Wednesday night.  I needed the room in the refrigerator.
~Thanksgiving Day we divided our time between Chris, Heather, the little boys and my cousin for lunch and then headed in to spend the afternoon with Jaysn, Rachel, Steven and Rachel's mom and sister.   It was wonderful to get to spend all that time with family.  Rachel's mom was so sweet and made us a pie and gifted us with homemade pickles and tomato jelly. 
~We did hit the Black Friday sales at Walmart that started Thursday evening.  Not only did we get jammies for the little boys and some blu ray and dvds, but we also scored big time on marked down Italian Sausages while we were there.  Jeff divided up the packages of sausages into 4 per package and we froze most of them.
~We watched movies on Netflix that evening.
~Friday I got the wontons made for the party on Saturday.  Jeff helped me with those.  We were both sore so we hot tubbed that evening and then watched movies.

   I do hope that all of my friends enjoyed spending time with your family and friends also.  You know we all have so much to be thankful for don't we?  Be blessed!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


My happy happy grandboys, Bradley, Steven and Isaiah!  These three love each other so much and I feel so blessed that they can grow up together!
   Yesterday was a very good day health and energy wise and it scared me.  I actually felt good!  Yes, there was still pain, but it was just annoying and I could actually get things done. :)  I was very thankful for that but, as I said to my sweet hubby, when I feel this good (which is rare), it usually if followed by a crash.  

   I was very careful not to overdo it.  The last thing I wanted was to be out of commision for Thanksgiving.  I have things to do and people I love to spend time with! I really do believe that by spending time this past weekend with some of the people that I love most filled my "emotional happy tank" and really does give a positive boost to my immune system.

   Thanksgiving will be spent with Chris, Heather, the little boys and my cousin Jeremy.  If I am still doing fine after that, then we will head in to see Jaysn, Rachel, baby Steven and Rachel's mom and sister (who are coming up for Thanksgiving this year).  I truly do hope I am doing well because I love Rachel's family and do want to see them before they are back up here again for Christmas.  I am also thinking that we may, if energy allows, stop in at Walmart to pick up a few things at the Black Friday sale.  I am hoping to find matching pajamas for all the grandkids this year.

   Saturday we have a family game night planned since my hanai sister/other mother of my boys Roni and my hanai daughter Erica will be up here to celebrate her mom Char's birthday on Friday and also Thanksgiving.  This will be the first holiday since Mel passed away in September and it may be a difficult one for them so I wanted to do something fun for everyone.  Of course Char is invited too!  We usually do this around Christmas each year, but they are not sure if they will be back up then and I so wanted to continue this tradition, even if it is a month earlier than usual.  My boys and my hubby are so happy that we are doing this too!

   So very much to be thankful for and to be able to spend time with family is what makes me the happiest in why am I scared?  Because there is always that fear that I will crash so badly that I will not be able to go and do these things.  I want to feel good and just soak it all in.  I need to be with my loved ones and not be stuck in bed.  I know that I run the huge risk of crashing big time trying to do too much.  I'm fine with it IF I crash say on Sunday after all the good times and getting together, but am fearful of crashing before then.  I have done everything possible to make sure that I am doing all I can to NOT over tax my body.  The holiday meals are potluck style, and so is the family game night.  My plan is to make wontons for that and my hubby will be helping me.  If I find that I cannot handle that, I do have a backup plan for food.  I have left myself a day between Thanksgiving and the game night to rest (which I know I need to do).

   There are other "outside forces" that affect me and my health that I do not have control over though.  Today it is raining and will be for the next 4 days.  I am feeling it big time.  I am very sensitive to different weather conditions and always have been.  I could feel this coming last night and started to ache everywhere.  It made sleeping very difficult and I am feeling it even more today.  My ears are itchy and feel like they are plugged up and my head feels like it is in vice.  Unfortunately, this is "normal" for me.  I am praying that my body will "adjust" to the rain by tomorrow...sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.  My plans for today of doing some baking and housecleaning have been put on hold. That is life and I just have to go with the flow right?  No use beating myself up over something that I have no control over.  I can only do what I can do and give myself grace and have contingency plans. 😉


Monday, November 20, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/11-11/17 2017


Cute Kate Spade purse.

   Late again in posting this.  We had a busy but fun weekend and since I usually try to get this posted Saturday just did not happen.  Onto the savings...

Three of the movies that we found at the new to us thrift store.  Not showing the brand new in wrapper ones that will be gifts just in case the recipient sees this. ;)

~On Saturday Jeff and I discovered a new thrift store and found some great deals there.  We picked up 2 English mugs, a Kenneth Cole Reaction shirt, a toy for Steven, and 6 dvds (3 of them were brand new in wrapper and will be Christmas gifts for family).
~We also went to Goodwill and found a really neat building set for the little boys, and a brand new North Face jacket for Jeff that was only $14.99.  I looked it up and it retailed for $190. We also found a pair of pants for me, a brand new blanket, a new in package queen sized sheet set for $5.99, some Christmas ornaments, a 3 hole punch and a bowling ball.

New sheet set for Jeff and my bed.

~Jeff and I watched the movie "Going in Style" that we borrowed from the library.  It was really good!
~Jeff reorganized the 2 big freezers so that it would easier for me to find what I needed.
~Monday we had to make another run into town to pick up a few things that we had forgotten the day before.  Jeff had mentioned that we needed mats or rugs by the front and back doors now that the weather is changing and we would be tracking in mud, water and snow.  I was able to find 2 mats at the Dollar Tree.  I figured at $1 each, I could afford to replace them as they got really dirty or destroyed by the cats.

Purse organizer and brand new small Vera Bradley wristlet wallet.

~We also stopped by my favorite thrift store so that I could look for boots for Bradley.  I found some there for him and also found some other amazing deals.  There was a pine garland that lit up, needed that to replace the one that Doofy ate ($2.99), a cute Kate Spade purse ($2.99), a Vera Bradley wristlet that was brand new (.49),  some cds that Jeff wanted ($1.50 each), a squeegee, a toy for Steven (.99), a purse organizer (.99) and a few other things.
~We did go out to lunch at a place that makes huge calzones.  I brought home half of mine for another meal.
~We found a cute little Vtech brand plane for Steven for Christmas at Walmart.

With all the rich foods I have been eating lately, I needed a salad one night.

~Tuesday I made 2 more loaves of bread for sandwiches for the week for my hubby to take to work with him and for his toast.
~I hot tubbed on Tuesday night to help ease my sore muscles.
~I continue to do more research on CFS and Fibromyalgia and how to manage these diseases.
~Our son Jaysn turned us onto the fact that the Red Green show is on YouTube.  I am so excited because Jeff and I love this show and do not get it on our PBS channels anymore.
~Our library has some new books and dvds that looked interesting, so I put in requests for them.

CD my hubby found for me.  I love my Hawaiian music.

~Wednesday I found 2 rotisserie chickens marked down at half price in the deli section at Walmart.  I bought one for us and one for Jaysn and Rachel.  Rachel has been sick with a cold and this will make dinner easy for her and she can use the rest of the chicken to make some nice homemade chicken noodle soup.
~Wednesday I took care of Steven in the afternoon and evening while Jaysn, Rachel and my Jeff went out car shopping.  Jaysn's car died and he wanted his dad's help in finding a good used car that would work well for their family.  Jeff was able to steer them away from bad cars and they found one that needed a few repairs (which the dealership is doing for free when Rachel told them that they would be sticking to their budget, paying in cash and would just walk away from getting the car if the repairs were not taken care of at the dealership's cost.)
~Thursday was a bad crash day for me so I did nothing.
~Friday I struggled but finally got the Garlic Sesame breadsticks done for the family Ladies Brunch on Saturday.

   It seems like I have been hit by the SPAM monster again in some of the replies to my posts.  I do want to apologize for that and I am deleting them as I find them.  Be blessed all!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fibro Fog and Cooking Fail

   My Fitbit lied.  It said I got a little over 8 hours of sleep last night and that I was in the deep sleep cycle for a little over an hour.  It also says I feel asleep and went into the deep sleep cycle at 10:35 last night.  I did learn however that petting a cat that is cuddled up on your lap brings down your heart rate and calms you because that is what was going on at that time of night.  I then took a shower and crawled into bed to watch a movie since I could not sleep.  I do know that it was after 3:30 a.m. when I finally fell asleep.  After subtracting that information from my fitbit official sleep report, I know know that I only got about 30 minutes of deep sleep and 4 hour total sleep last night.  Also given the fact that I have not slept well at all this week, the Fibro Fog is thick today and I should have known better. 😒

   I am going to a potluck Ladies Brunch tomorrow and I decided to make some Garlic Sesame Straws for it.  This is a new recipe for me but it looked easy enough...imagine foreboding music playing at this point. 😩 

   I read the recipe multiple times over the past week and thought I had everything I needed for it.  I got the head of garlic all prepped and ready to put in the oven to roast only to discover that the recipe called for 2 heads of garlic.  Apparently that information did not register in my brain when I went to buy garlic specifically for this recipe.  I really do need to write everything down and not think I can remember something as simple as how much garlic to buy.  I figured that since I had a large head of garlic, I should be just would not be as garlicky.

   When the garlic was finished roasting in the oven, I went to get it prepped and then read to let it cool first.  Ok, that made sense, so I did.  An hour later I again read the it called for thawed Puff Pastry sheets.  Oh Lordy...I forgot to get the Puff Pastry out to thaw earlier.  In my mixed up mind I somehow thought I used it frozen...I know that makes absolutely no sense, but that is how cloudy my thinking and reasoning is today. 

   The Puff Pastry is now out on the counter thawing and the head of garlic is cooled.  A recipe that should have only taken me about 2 hours total, and most of that was baking time, is on hold until the pastry thaws.  I am also entering into my typical low energy time of the day where even on my good days, I tend to doze off.  That is why I tried to get things done this morning.  I'm thinking at this point that I should just be thankful that I still have all my fingers after having to make 7 different cuts on the head of garlic earlier to expose all the cloves for baking.  It remains to be seen if I ever get these things done and IF they turn out well.  If they don't I am just going to make a tray of crackers and some jarred artichoke tapenade (that I bought at a specialty shop when I was visiting my parents) and call it good.  Yet another reason to have some specialty items that you can use for entertainment in your pantry.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Some Christmas Gift Ideas

   Christmas will be here sooner than we know.  I was thinking today of some gift ideas that I would both love to give and in some cases receive because these are things that save time and in some cases, also lots of money.  Since my energy is limited (and I love convenience), I decided to do some armchair shopping to put this list together.  This post does contain affiliate links to Amazon and I receive some compensation if you purchase these products or go through my links and purchase other products also (thank you in advance if you do this), but you can also find these items in many brick and mortar stores like Walmart, etc..  This is the time of year to also be on the lookout for those Black Friday sale prices, many of which are starting to come out even earlier this year.

The Instant Pot is something that I have on my own wish list.  I love that it can be a pressure cooker, rice maker, steamer, slow cooker, saute and warmer all in one.  I could see this replacing so many of my other appliances.

This is the Roku that we have and we love it because it can be used on older style television sets as well as the new ones.  We got rid of cable tv and just use our Roku.  There are many free channels that you can get through Roku as well as stream YouTube.  For a small fee, you can have channels such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling, Vudu, Hulu, etc. streamed through this also.  We have Netflix as part of a family plan through Jaysn and Rachel.

Product Details

Are you looking to upgrade you or your loved one's Kindle?  Right now Amazon has a deal where they will give you a $35 trade in on a new Kindle.  This is a limited time offer.  Here are the terms and conditions...
  • This is a limited time promotion. Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel this offer at any time.
  • Qualifying trade-ins must be completed on by 11:59 PM. (Pacific Time) December 31, 2017 and sent to us within 7 days from trade-in submission.
  • Trade-in Kindle devices will be reviewed in accordance with the Amazon Trade-In Program Terms and Conditions and any applicable Condition Criteria. You will be eligible for an Gift Card and the bonus savings only if your trade-in item is accepted.
  • Once your Kindle trade-in is accepted, you can place a Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, Kindle Oasis, or Kindle for Kids Bundle in your cart and the bonus $20 savings will be automatically applied at checkout. The bonus $20 savings will expire at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) on February 28, 2018.
  • The bonus $20 savings can be used only toward the purchase of qualifying Kindle e-readers that are shipped and sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC and does not apply to digital products, used products, or products sold by sellers other than Amazon Digital Services LLC.
  • The bonus savings may be used only once and may not be combined with other offers. The bonus savings can be combined with an Gift Card value, including any Gift Card value you receive from your trade-in.
  • Offer is limited to five trade-ins per customer and account.
  • Shipping charges may apply to discounted promotional items.
  • If any of the products related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product, subject to applicable refund policies.
  • Trade-In restrictions apply. See Trade-In Terms and Conditions.
  • Gift Card restrictions apply. See Gift Card Terms and Conditions.
  • If you violate any of these Terms and Conditions, the offer will be invalid.

Here is another great promotion going on at Amazon.  They have their all new Fire Tablets on sale starting at $49.99 right now.  Again, this is a limited time promotion.  Start Date: May 17 , 2017
End Date: Dec 31 , 2017

I am a big believer in buying good books for children.  This is one of my favorites!  Every year my grandchildren receive books for Christmas that reflect their current interests and are age appropriate.  My own grandmother did this for me as a child and I still have some of those treasure gifts.

Oh my goodness, if I had a granddaughter I would so buy this for her.  My grandboys love to dress up as superheros and characters from different movies and shows and costumes are always a huge hit with them.

My older grandboys loved their Vtech toys and I am now getting them for our youngest grandboy, baby Steven, who just turned 6 months old.  

Those are just a few of the ideas that I have for Christmas while I sit here doing some armchair shopping today.  I am still in shock at how fast this year has gone.  Didn't we just celebrate Christmas a few months ago?