Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Want to Live in a Bubble Wrap Cave Again

      I have heard that turkeys are possibly some of the most oblivious creatures around.  They live their lives just wandering around, eating and quite frankly not giving a hoot (or gobble) about anything in their world.  Man, there are times I wish I was a turkey!

   I don't know about anyone else, but I am completely overwhelmed by all the evil, hatred, sliminess and just downright horrific things that I am seeing in the world lately.  I can't log onto my computer or even YouTube without seeing news stories that make my blood boil, bring me to tears and/or at times, make me want to throw up because they are so abhorrent.  Our world is getting worse and worse each day it seems.  

   Our family has enough drama in our own little world to deal with.  We are so tired of the mind games and the more they play them, the more clear things become and the more answers to questions that have plagued us for years, seem to be coming forth, including when and why my health took a turn for the worse.

   I really can't do the stress all this brings on.  Stress is a huge part of what caused my Fibromyalgia and CFS  and I know that now by tracing back to when I first started having really bad symptoms.  When I have been at my worst health wise, is when I have been under the most stress.  There is a direct link there.  Just when I start to do and feel better, we are hit with more crap that sends me reeling backwards again.  As much as I try to insulate myself from it, I really can't. 

  We have done what we can to step away from the extended family drama, but they just won't leave us alone.  I try avoid reading news stories that I know will upset me and even "hide" them on facebook, but the headlines alone make me ill.  Does anyone know if there is a way to hide that news ticker thing off to the side?  I use facebook to keep up with and communicate with friends and family.  Being limited in energy, I tend to stay home a lot and can feel so isolated, so facebook has helped greatly with that.

   In a perfect world I would build a big bubble wrap cave and gather in my family and friends and we would all live there in perfect harmony, safe from the outside world, and just enjoy life and each other.  My cave would have to have a greenhouse too and a small farm so we could grow our own food...that way I would not have to go to the store.  A self sustaining bubble wrap family that is a great idea!


Monday, October 16, 2017

October 2017 Grocery Budget Update #2

   At my last update, I had $73.96 left for the rest of the month.  I spent an additional $28.13 leaving me with $45.83 to last for the rest of the month.  Here is what I bought and why...

~Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.  The price was $1.67 a pound with my Safeway card.  Each package had 5 chicken breasts in it.  My husband and I will use 1 chicken breast for both of us per meal.  There are a lot of times when that 1 chicken breast will feed us for multiple meals.  Breaking the price down further means that each of those chicken breast is going to cost us just under $1 each.  I consider that a good deal.  I freeze each breast in it's own bag and pull each bag out as needed.
~Milk.  The gallons of milk were $1.77 each on sale.  I bought 2 of them and they are dated to be good through the end of the month.  Hopefully I will not have to buy any more milk for the rest of the month.
~Plain Yogurt. I bought a large container of plain nonfat yogurt for $1.79.  I used this in place of sour cream in things and also use it to make sauces.  It can also be sweetened to have for a snack or breakfast.
~Hot Cocoa Mix.  This is bought in bulk at Winco.  I had not planned on buying any but my hubby told me he was about out and he uses it in his coffee every day to make what he refers to as "poor man's mochas".  I'm not going to lie...paying $1.37 a pound is hard for me to do, but it is still cheaper than buying those little packets and about the same cost as making it myself from scratch.  Hubby loves it and he works really hard for us so this is one thing that I just suck it up and pay for. 😉  He indulges me with my flavored creamers so we are even.
~Wonton wrappers.  I paid $1.68 for these.  I plan on making crab and cream cheese wontons as a treat this weekend since my hubby has taken a few days off.  I already have the crab and cream cheese here on had, along with some green onions from our garden.  Have you looked at the price you pay for these things at restaurants...outrageous!
~Peanut Butter.  $2.68 is not the best price around, but hubby had to have it.  He takes sandwiches to work every night and also loves peanut butter on toast and bagels.  It's usually 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or 2 cheese sandwiches every night.  He is a creature of habit.

   So there you have it.  I have $45.83 left and I am sure that I can keep within the budget!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 10/7-10/13 2017


   We woke up to snow on Friday!  This is the earliest I can remember us having snow in a very long time.  It was beautiful but caused lots of problems for people that were out driving.  I am thankful that I did not have to go anywhere that day.  Onto the savings...

~Saturday was date day for Jeff and I.  We went out to lunch at a nice sit down
Mexican restaurant that has really good prices and authentic Mexican food.  It saves us about $10-$20 to eat there instead of one of the other Mexican restaurants in the area.
~While in town, we picked up some milk and 2 little treats for .50 each for our dessert.
~We watched the movie "Dr. Strange" on Netflix.
~We stopped at Goodwill and I find tiny paper candy cups for .99 to use at Christmas and Jeff found a CD he wanted.
~I got my Scentsy burner and enjoyed the perfume of spiced pear cider that I got for $2.99 for a huge block at Goodwill previously.  You only use a little bit of the wax so this will last me for a long time.

~Sunday we met Chris, Heather and the little boys at Dairy Queen to get caught up with them.  We each got ice cream there.
~I found an adorable pair of little warm booties for Steven for .99 at our favorite thrift store.
~Jeff had some money left on a gift card for Home Depot so we used it to get some more long life light bulbs.
~We stopped at 2 other thrift stores while we were down in the valley and found a food processor for $5.99 for Rachel.  She has been wanting one and this one has multiple cutting blades to make her life much easier.  We also found 3 books (one will be a Christmas gift), 2 wallets (DKNY and Fossil), a denim shirt for me (Coldwater Creek), a nice moisture wicking shirt for Jeff, 2 scarves (one is wool from Scotland and is my family's tartan), a bottle opener to keep in the car (I never have one when we go on a picnic), some Method hand soap, 2 cds and a large bag full of brand new Lancome facial products.

~Jeff and I worked on our menu for the week on our drive home trying to make sure to use things that we had on hand and making sure that we had lots of variety also.
~Sunday night I made us a nice dinner here at home of salmon (a gift from Heather's parents), boiled and buttered red potatoes (free), green beans for Jeff (free),  and squash from the garden for me.  I put a lemon, dill and caper finishing sauce on my salmon (Jeff did not want any).  I think we spent about .20 total for dinner out of pocket.
~We used our hot tub and enjoyed relaxing in that.  I did find when I got out though that Caesar has stolen one of my slippers and had it partially chewed up by the time we found it out in the yard.  Bad dog!  So much for those slippers...they found their way into the trash.
~Monday Jeff chopped up 5 pounds of onions with our Onion Chopper thingy.  We dehydrated most of it but did use 3 of the onions for me to make French Onion Soup, 1 onion went into my Slopped Joes along with half a bell pepper and we froze the remaining 3/4 of a cup for future meals.  Bless is heart...those onions were strong!

~Monday I also made a pan of cornbread and 2 loaves of French bread.
~Lunch Monday was Sloppy Joes served over cornbread, apple slices and baby carrots.
~Dinner Monday night was the rest of the cornbread and leftover stew.
~I copied down recipes from YouTube videos that I was watching online.

~Tuesday I harvested and cut up a whole cookie sheet full of green onions from our garden.  We had bad weather headed our way so I wanted to get it all done.  I froze most of them but kept some out to use in our dinner for Wednesday night.

~I've been working my points programs when time allows.
~I'm trying to keep the heat down when it is just me at home or Jeff is sleeping.  I can handle cold better than he can now.  I am trying to get into the habit of turning the heat up a bit shortly before he usually wakes up in the afternoon though so that he does not have to deal with it being cooler than he is comfortable with here at home. ;)
~Wednesday Jeff cut up another 5 pounds of onions.  Most of them were dehydrated but some were also frozen.  The frozen ones will be used in dishes like stir frys.

~I made a huge batch of homemade laundry detergent.
~The library was really good to me.  I had requested a bunch of books and movies...a lot of them came in.  I know what I will be doing over the next week. 😊 Our sweet librarian even put all of my things in a nice reusable library bag for me and told me to keep the bag and enjoy it.
~Wednesday afternoon found me really tired and tempted to just order a meal from the tavern.  I stuck to my meal plan though and made chicken chow mein with things that we have on hand and it only took 20 minutes to do it.  I also only used half a chicken breast, so I have another half for another meal.

~Thursday I took the leftover Sloppy Joe meat and put it on slices of homemade French Bread and melted some Provolone cheese over it for Jeff's dinner.  He had it with baby carrots.  For my dinner, I sliced and cooked the other half of the chicken breast up, cooked it and drizzled some of the lemon, caper and dill finishing sauce over it.  I had mine with tomatoes and squash from the garden and some of the baby carrots also.  Both of us were very happy with our meals and they took very little effort on my part.

~The onions that Jeff got going for me yesterday were done dehydrating today so I got them all put in jars.  I now have 2 full jars of dried onions.  That makes me happy!
~After doing Jeff's laundry on Thursday night I was really sore so I got the hot tub going to soak in.

~Friday morning I woke up to snow and no power!  That meant no heat and no coffee.  I was so tempted to get in my car and drive down to the little shop here in town that still had power and get a nice big hot cup of coffee.  It would have cost me $4.75 though so I cuddled up under a blanket and waited and waited...  Four hours later the power came back on and the first thing I did was get the coffee maker going.  I had 2 cups of home brewed coffee to make up for the long and cold wait.
~I found a new person to watch on YouTube that is a pensioner living in Great Britain.  She is extremely practical and frugal.  I am enjoying her videos.

   Overall this was a pretty good week savings wise.  I was good about trying to use foods that we had on hand for meals and I feel like we had a lot of variety.  I really am trying to make an effort to recreate some of our favorite things that we order when we go out to restaurants.  I'm looking forward to seeing how I can save money this coming week. 😊


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Some Days It Just Does Not Happen

   Today I checked my email, for the first time in about 4 days.  I know I should check it more often, but sometimes, I just can't even deal with reading it.  Believe it or not, it takes lots of energy and concentration for me to do so and there are days when that just is not happening.  I feel bad when I miss something important from someone, but most of the people that I correspond with via email understand that it may be days before I actually see their emails and respond.  I am so thankful for those that do understand.  For my own sanity, I have had to let go of the guilt of not checking it daily.

   Let's face it all, I am NOT normal.  😉  I know there are those of you who will say "Well we have known that for years" and get a good laugh out of it.  I'm good with that! 😁  Let's clarify this a bit further, I am not normal for many reasons, one of them being my health challenges.

   On those days when I am having to play charades with my hubby because I cannot think of the word that I need to say (his new favorite was when I tried to do a charade of the clothes dryer) , it would be a real stretch to think I could actually read and write something coherent out without it taking forever.  If I am having a really bad day, I will just stare blankly, mid sentence and either forget what I was saying altogether or desperately look at my husband with pleading eyes, praying that he can finish my sentence for me.  CFS and Fibro Fog are real and are so frustrating.

   These past few days have been ones where I dissolved into tears because I was frustrated with my limitations yet again.  CFS and Fibromyalgia affect every area of my life.   My sleep has been off, I cannot lift anything heavy, including full laundry baskets, it hurts to try and make up the guest bed and I had another 5 pound bag of onions that needed to be chopped and then dehydrated or frozen.  Nothing was getting done or happening.  Enter my amazing hubby who put everything he had planned to do aside and went down my list and did it all for me.  While he was doing all that, I was able to get a few less taxing things done like make up another batch of dry laundry detergent, harvest, cut up and freeze the green onions from our garden and do some cooking and baking.  Cooking and baking honestly are some of the things that I really enjoy doing.  Knowing that I was struggling though, I made large quantities of French Onion soup, Sloppy Joe meat and two huge loaves of French bread so that we would have leftovers and that would leave me free not to cook on other nights.  Those leftovers sure came in handy tonight when I had to have something quick and easy to feed my hubby and myself before he headed out to bowling league. 

   I am so thankful to my hubby for stepping in and helping me when he is able to.  Other times, when he is at work, things just don't get done on bad days.  I would say that 3/4th of my time this week has been spent curled up in my recliner with my soft fleece throw over me and at least one cat in my lap.  This is my life now and it make the good days oh so much sweeter.  With that being said, I need to get Jeff's laundry in the dryer and then go and heat up the hot tub so I can use it tonight.  Just doing his laundry has made my neck, shoulders and back ache.  I am hoping to ease those sore muscles so that I actually get some good sleep tonight.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 2017 Grocery Budget Challenge Update #1

At our last check in we had spent $150- $46.99 = $103.01 left for the rest of the month.

New Updated spending:

Spent $3.14 at Walmart for milk and 2 treats and additional $25.91 at Grocery Outlet.  At the Grocery Outlet we bought a double pack of Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce, a large bottle of olive oil, 2 sodas for the long grice home, sliced mushrooms, a 2 pound bag of cut up frozen butternut squash and 3 containers of flavored cream cheese.  We would have spent $3 less there but discovered they overcharged us on the olive oil.  By the time we realized the mistake, we were already home and not about to drive an hour back to get them to refund $3.

So, $103.01-$3.14-$25.91 = $73.96 left for the rest of the month.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/30-10/6 2017


   What a week.  It seemed that it just stretched on and on.  When I am having trouble with my CFS and Fibromyalgia, they tend to do that.  I made one trip to do the grocery shopping and run some other errands on Monday, but stayed home for most of the week.  I think my body is telling me that it needs to rest and that I have been trying to do way too much and take care of everyone else.  I need to take care of me for awhile now.  Onto the savings...

~Saturday we went to the wedding of one of our hanai sons and had a wonderful time!  We had dinner there and the wedding cake, which was delicious, was made by a friend that we had not seen in years.  It was so nice to get caught up with her too. 😊
~Sunday Jeff got our home and yard ready for the cold weather.  He shut down and drained the swamp cooler, got all the garden hoses drained and put away, drained and took down the rain barrel (which we did not use due to the drought here this Summer) and hauled off a bunch of the yard waste.
~I found some more interesting shows to watch on Netflix by searching "Cook".
~I took it easy on Sunday.  I was having a Fibro Flare and having said goodbye to my twins that morning as they flew to Washington DC, I was just a bit emotional too.  I spent most of the day puttering around the house in my jammies and fixed a easy dinner using a precooked chicken from the deli.
~Jeff and I planned out a menu for the week based on what we had on hand and around the weather forecast.  A whole chicken was used to eat as is the first meal, 2 different kinds of soup, chicken/baked potato and squash chowder and the classic chicken noodle soup.  I froze 3 containers of the chicken noodle soup for future meals.

~We got a refund check in the mail and are using that to cover most of the cost of a ton of wood pellets to heat our home.  Jeff gets the pellets through his work.
~Jeff and I headed up to the orchard right up over the hill from us and picked 20 pounds of apples at .50 a pound.  We got Yellow Delicious, Mcintosh and Honeycrisp.  We also ran into friends and our lawyer up there who gave us some good legal advice for free.
~I baked extra potatoes on Sunday while I was making dinner to go into some soup later in the week.
~Since we were expecting a freeze Sunday night, I picked the rest of the cherry tomatoes that were even close to being ripe.
~I purchased some Fall themed hot pads for the kitchen at the Dollar Tree.

~Monday Jeff and I headed into town to go help Rachel get a materials list together to fix their back porch and I got to play with baby Steven.  He is growing so quickly and it seems every time I see him, even if it just days apart, he is doing something new. 😊 Nothing like free cuddles, giggles and smiles to make my day!
~I found lots of marked down items plus special sale priced items at Safeway.  I saved us $29.76 today and came home with lots of cheese, bananas, pastrami from the deli, 3 packages of surumi, 3 large cans of coffee, a 12 pack of seltzer water, sour cream, and 4 packages of mushrooms.  I spent $32.99 on everything.  I'm pretty darned proud of myself!

~We bought some cat food at the pet store and they told us about a sale they will be having on the cat food we use near the end of the month.  I am setting aside some money towards that since we will be needing more anyway.  We go through about 2 large bags a month at $23.99 each.
~Tuesday I made 2 loaves of bread for sandwiches for the week for Jeff.
~Jeff picked up 4 packages of sourdough english muffins for .99 each on his way home from work.  I kept one package out and froze the other 3.

~I dehydrated 3 trays of mushrooms and a tray of Roma tomatoes.
~For brunch on Tuesday I had a small bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup (I froze the rest) along with a sourdough english muffin topped with smoked salmon cream cheese.  I had been busy doing all kinds of other things, my back was killing me and I needed something quick and easy.
~I had planned to fix a pork chop and rice casserole for dinner on Tuesday night but found that the pork chops smelled "off" after they thawed.  I simply substituted 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast cut up into bite sized pieces for the pork.
~My points programs were worked as time allowed.
~Wednesday baby Steven was here with me for the day.  We bundled up and took a walk (him in the stroller) down town to the library and stopped at our little store to pick up something that we needed.  We both enjoyed getting out and Grammie here got a lot of exercise pushing that stroller back up the steep hill. Man am I out of shape!

~I borrowed a book and a movie from the library.
~Jeff and I sent home a package of diapers and some apples that we picked at the orchard with Jaysn when he came to pick up Steven.
~Since I knew Wednesday would be a long day for me (I got up at 5:30 a.m and Steven got dropped off at 6:45 a.m.), I cooked a elk roast (free from Chris) in some beer (stuff Josh left here), along with some onion soup mix (bought in bulk so way cheaper than in packages), and threw in some baby carrots and potatoes (free) along with 3 stocks of celery that needed to be used up.  I cut up the elk roast into bite sized pieces and put it back in the broth for about 20 minutes before serving.  YUM!
~Jeff and I found a new youtube channel that we are enjoying watching.

~Thursday I had a bad "Fibro Fog" day but Shopko had a great sale on toilet paper and down alternative comforters.  I had Jeff pick up 4  12 pack double rolls of Charmin at $4.88 each and a king sized comforter for $18.88 (regular price was $99.99) on his way to bowling league since it is literally right down the street from the bowling alley.  We needed both the toilet paper and the comforter.  We have a queen sized bed but Jeff tends to roll over and take the comforter with him so with a king sized one hopefully I will still have some of it on the 3 nights of the week that we actually have to share the bed. 😜  Jeff was happy that he got to pick out the comforter that he wanted and was very good about NOT getting anything plaid. 😁
~Friday the "Fibro Fog" started to clear but then came the "I'm sore all over my body and can't life my arms up past my shoulders" pain.  Thank goodness for leftovers and for all the free magazines that came in the mail this week to keep me both fed and amused for most of the day.

~Jeff drained our hot tub and put flex seal on some of the areas that had cracks in it.  He started this on Friday afternoon and will finish it up on Saturday morning.  Hopefully we can get the hot tub back up and running that evening.
~We had high winds coming in so I took down all my windchimes so they would not get blown off the hooks.  Unfortunately, I had a beautiful windchime made with copper on my front porch that someone must have stole while we were gone on vacation. This made me both angry and sad since it was a gift from my parents and had a gorgeous hummingbird painted on it that reminded my mother and I of my grandmother.
~I posted a listing for Jeff's old car that was broken down on a few sales sites and listed it as a parts you haul.  Within minutes of listing it I had 3 people who wanted it.  The first person who contacted me got it and ironically, she is the mother of the bride of the wedding we went to on Saturday.   Small world. 😀

   That's about it for this week.  We are planning on helping Jaysn and Rachel with a big project this Sunday and then I think we have no other outside commitments (other than Jeff's bowling and his work) for this coming week.  That makes me very happy because I sure have a lot to catch up on around here.  Be blessed!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 2017 Grocery Budget Challenge


   Jeff and I were looking at our bills for this month and trying to see where we could cut costs since we have an extra $100 a month coming out now for my car payment and we have to put in several tons of pellets to keep us warm this heating season.  One of the best places that I know I can cut expenses in is my food budget.  Luckily, I am not alone in doing a grocery budget challenge as several of my sweet friends here in blogland are doing the same.  My friend Bless at is the ultimate black belt or shopping ninja as my middle grandson Isaiah would say at this. 😀 If you have not visited her blog before, you really should. 

   I am setting a goal for myself for $150 for the month and that includes stocking up on sale items that are at rock bottom prices.  I will not include pet food or kitty litter.  As you know, if you have read my blog for awhile, we usually have several family gatherings each month and we do those potluck style.  I will have my oldest grandsons here for the day at least once and hopefully several other times as well.  I want to have a dinner with each of my kids and also with my cousin this month.  There is also a friend, who has a birthday near the end of the month, along with my oldest son Jaysn that I want to do something special for.

   I have a full pantry and 2 deep freezers to pull food from so we will not be hurting by any means.  I love a good challenge and I know this is one that I can meet.

So far I have spent:
$10 for apples from the orchard ( .50 a pound and I am sharing them with my family)
$36.99 for stock up on groceries

So $150- $46.99 = $103.01 left for the rest of the month.

   I'll try to update as I go along this month.


Why    😭   ???

Why would someone choose to do the unthinkable and murder and injure so many innocent people?  Why would they plan so carefully to randomly shoot strangers who were gathered at a music venue?  What could have caused someone to be filled with that much anger and rage to do such a thing?

Fifty nine people killed and over 500 injured in the worst mass shooting in recent USA history.  The authorities are saying that some of the injured may also succumb to their injuries and pass away too.  Lives destroyed and shattered...Why?

There is so much evil in the world.  We are seeing it more and more every day.  You can't turn on the news or log onto Facebook without seeing man's inhumanity to man.  Sick and twisted people are torturing people who do not agree with their ideology , trying to out scream each other and tossing out labels on anyone who does not think the same as they do, rioting and destroying property, setting up roadside bombs to maim and kill ...I just don't understand this level of hatred and evil.

Our world has gone absolutely crazy.  It only seems to be getting worse and worse.  What scares me is that as a Christian, I know that it will continue to escalate.  I am seeing it happen all around me.  I worry about my adult children and about my grandchildren.  When my husband and I had our kids we could have never imagined what all they would have to deal with in their lifetime.  My grandchildren are growing up in very scary world and try as we might, we cannot shield them from all of this.  My oldest two grandsons have had to deal with the fear of  people who hate and target their daddy, Chris, just for the uniform he wears.  When my son Josh was overseas, serving in the Middle East, I lived in constant fear that something would happen to him.  I thought some of that fear would go away when he returned stateside.  He pointed out to me recently that he is probably even more at risk here due to the uniform he wears also.  Our baby grandson Steven, a happy little guy, will all too soon realize that there is evil in the world.  My heart aches knowing that he, like his cousins, will have times where they are fearful for the lives of those they love and maybe even their own.

I know we are living in the last days.  I know things will get worse.  All I can do is pray and try to speak and show love to others while the world around me seems to be going insane.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/16-9/29 2017 Two Week Edition


   This is going to be a 2 week wrap up.  Our lives have been busy and on a major rollercoaster of emotions, very little sleep and trying to spend as much time as possible with loved ones for the past 2 weeks.  Josh was home on leave and he and Chris just left this morning to fly back to Washington DC early this morning.  I had wanted to go to the airport with them but was hit with a major Fibro Flare, so I stayed home and Jeff drove them up to the airport that is a little over an hour away.  I was so sad to see Josh go but excited for Chris since he will be spending a week with Josh and getting to see and do so many wonderful things!  Onto the savings...

Week 1:
~Saturday was a busy day for us.  We ran into friends, former students and even our Hanai son Sam!  It was so wonderful to get so hug them all and get caught up on their lives.
~We stopped by Bath and Body Works where I traded in a fragrance mist that did not agree with me for a wonderful apple scented one.  I love the Fall fragrances that they have, but the apple ones are my absolute favorite.  I got the new fragrance for free since I traded in an older one.  I love their trade in policy...if you don't like a fragrance, you can trade straight across for another one.
~We also stopped at Goodwill and found several things on our list that we have been searching for.  I love being able to shop thrift stores and get things at a fraction of the cost of retail.  It was there that we ran into our hanai son Sam.  He shared with us that he had gotten a job teaching art at his old college in Bend, Oregon!  He is an amazing artist and we are so proud and happy for him! 😊

~We enjoyed some family time at the fair.  This is the last fair in our area that does not charge for admission so we were able to enjoy free entertainment.
~There was a yard sale right across from where we parked when going to that fair.  I found a nice windchime and a brand new sleep shirt for $1 each.
~Sunday we went up to the apple orchard here in town and picked apples.  They were .50 a pound.  I got some for us and some for my parents.  I am hoping to pick more on Friday when some other varieties, along with the pears, are ready.
~We used our hot tub on Sunday night since it was cold outside and enjoyed listening to the rain on the roof too.
~Monday I did not get anything done at all.  I was sick and dozed on and off most of the day.

~Tuesday I tried to play "catch up" around here.  I dehydrated a bunch of roma tomatoes, froze cherry tomatoes and made more homemade applesauce.
~Since we live in a rural area with farm fields all around us and the weather is getting colder, the mice are looking for warm places to call home.  It is at this time of year that we start to get bad mouse problems so I spent time getting all the cereals, cat food, crackers, etc. that are opened into mouse proof containers.
~Wednesday I dehydrated 2 packages of mushrooms.

~Jeff had picked up some coupons from the recycling bin at the post office.  I was able to match some of them to a half price sale at a local grocery store for the cereal that I like.  Jeff stopped by on his way home Wednesday morning and picked up 4 boxes of the cereal for $1.49 after coupons along with a few other sale priced items that we needed like peanut butter.
~I made 5 loaves of banana bread.

~My amazing parents loaned Josh their truck so that he could drive directly over here once he got off the plane in Kalispell, MT to be with our dear friends/family that lost their husband/father/grandpa.
~We had so many of our hanai kids here along with all of our family.  I made a huge bowl of popcorn for people to snack on as they came and went.

~I made a veggie fettuccine alfredo with squash and tomatoes from the garden, some broccoli, wine and lowfat cream cheese.
~Josh helped me harvest all of the celery from the garden since it was going to freeze overnight.

Week 2:
~My parents spoiled us rotten while we were at their home in Montana.  Staying with them is like staying at the best bed and breakfast ever!  The food is great, the company is wonderful and the view looking out over the lake can't be beat!
~My parents took us out on their was just what I needed to finally relax after 2 very stressful weeks.
~Jeff and I stopped at a thrift store (surprise) in Bigfork, MT and found a vest, jacket, sweater, shirt, lots of cds, a dvd, jewelry (sterling silver earrings and a designer bracelet each for $1), books for .50 hardback and free for kid's books and a pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans ($2.50)

~My mother gifted me some grandmother's locket, my great grandmother's gold necklace, a beautiful silver necklace that my father bought her years ago, and another necklace that my mother had made.  All are precious to me.
~I stocked up on wine from my favorite winery in Montana direct from the source.  They also gave me a bag full of wine corks when I mentioned that my Heather was using corks to craft with.  They are so very sweet!

~Mom sent us home with lots of goodies and another bottle of wine.  She also gave me a pair of jeans and a very soft scarf.
~Josh and Jeff went golfing on Thursday (it is their special thing to do together) morning using up the last of a gift certificate balance that Jeff had to cover the cost of Jeff's golf fees.
~We got lots of free groceries while Jeff and Josh did our volunteer work.
~I was able to track down tickets to the sold WSU vs USC game for our Josh at a much lower cost than we could get them at big name online ticket places.

~I hung out a load of towels on the line to dry Thursday.
~We were given free groceries when we did our volunteer work.
~We happily discovered that our new car gets way better gas mileage than my old car.  It cost us about $55 dollars round trip to go to my parents' place where it would have cost us at least $85 round trip in my old car.
~Josh bought us lunch on Wednesday.

~I picked up some things at the Grocery Outlet store when we made a quick stop there on our way home from Montana.  They have sweet potatoes at half the price there than I can get down our way.  I bought 2 bags of them, some artichokes ( 2 for less than the price of one down here), 2 big jars of artichoke tapenade, pot stickers, lettuce and a few other items.
~We found a fun game for Chris, Heather and the little boys for Christmas.
~I raided the gift closet for a wedding gift and a birthday gift.
~I used coupons for free products and to save an additional $4 off some of our favorite candy which I was able to find at the Dollar Tree and $8 off of toothpaste at Winco.

~Jeff's work laundry was hung outside to dry on the laundry line.
~Josh filled up Jeff's car with gas since he has been using it this week.
~Josh stocked up on beer while he was here and ended up not drinking only one so I have lots of beer to cook with now.  I foresee roasts and beer cheese soup in the near future. 
~We received lots of free magazines in the mail.

   The plan for this week is to try and rest and recover.  I do plan on going up to the orchard to get some pears and apples at .50 a pound and to make a huge batch on homemade chicken noodle soup.  it is going to be a cool week here so I want warm and filling meals. :)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thank You



   Thank you all for your sweet support and love at the loss of our dear friend/hanai family member Mel.  I read all of your comments but got overwhelmed so I did not respond to each one individually.  I was just trying to hold it all together and remain strong for his family.  I have yet to totally let down and grieve.  We went from dealing with all the emotions of that to going to Montana to spend time with my parents and brother there.  I could see my own father ageing and slowing down.  It scared me even though I know that we all age and that he will be 80 this coming year.  I spent all the time that I could with him, my mother and my brother. I am so afraid of losing him like my friend Roni has lost her father.  I felt like crying a few times, but held it in because I was afraid if I started, I would never stop.  

   My Jeff, Josh and Jaysn helped my parents and brother trenched in an underground electric fence around an acre of land.  It was a huge job and it took them all day.  Everyone was exhausted by the time it was done.  Rachel made a wonderful dinner for everyone and she and I took care of baby Steven.  I did go into town once with my father that day to pick up something and helped him with a few small projects also.  I took great delight in seeing my parents and my brother with our grandson Steven.  It was the first time they had met him.  My mother snuggled that baby every chance she got!  How precious is the time that great grandparents have with their great grandchildren.  It is a gift that so many do not have the chance to share.

   While in Montana, my parents took us for a ride on their boat.  We stopped at a tiny island in the lake and I found a heart shaped rock.  I have a sweet friend who lost her mother some years back and feels like her mother leaves her messages that she is still there through random heart shaped things.  I found a heart shaped rock just waiting there on that little island and picked it up for her.  Yesterday, we stopped in at her place of work and I told her I had something for her from her sweet momma.  I gave her the rock and she was visibly moved.  She shared with me that it was 8 years to the day since her mother died and later also shared how much that rock meant to her since she has been having a rough day.  It was just another reassurance to her that her mom was still there looking out for and loving her.  I know in my heart that rock was placed there for me to find just for her.

   Jeff, Josh and I came home yesterday.  Josh will be leaving to go back to Washington DC on Sunday and Chris will be going back for a week with him.  I am treasuring my time with Josh and encouraging him to spend time with his friends and not feel like he has to spend all his time with us.  I know that is important to him and as his mother, I need to make sure that he knows that I want him to do that also.  He and Jeff are spending the morning today golfing.  It is their special thing to do together and something that I know they both look forward to. While they are out doing that, I am here trying to get caught up on the laundry and spending some much needed time alone.  Everything is catching up with me, especially my emotions which I have been trying to keep pushed deep down. I am on edge and my son Josh can sense it.  He does understand that part of it is due to my illnesses but another part is me trying to be strong for everyone else and all that we have been dealing with.  I am on the verge of another panic attack and I am hoping I can just have a good cry this morning while he and Jeff are gone and let it all out.  I know I need that but am so afraid of falling apart right now.  I may just have to take a shower and let it all out then.  I don't know why but I seem to feel safe letting it all out in the shower.  Maybe it's because the water washes away my tears and muffles the sounds of my sobs.  I just know that something has to give before we all get together again tonight.  I do not want to fall apart at the bowling alley.  Josh will be spending tonight with Chris, Heather and the little boys.  It has become a tradition for Uncle Josh to have a sleepover with the little boys every time he comes home for a visit. That is another thing that I treasure...seeing him and them have something special just for them.  He was saying that when Steven is a bit older, he wants to do that with him too.  He is a very good uncle to all of his nephews and I know one day he will be a great daddy to his own children.

   I suppose I should go and get more things done around here.  This afternoon and evening will be a busy one for us and filled with lots of people.  I know I will be fine in the long run...I just need to let all these pent up emotions out and grieve for the loss of Mel, the finality of decisions that had to be made with my husband's parents and that situation, and with seeing my own father ageing so quickly before my eyes.  It is utterly overwhelming me.  Hug your loved ones and make sure they know how precious they are to you.  Be blessed and thank you again my friends for your love, encouragement, understanding, prayers and good thoughts.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Sudden Loss of a Loved One

   Yesterday about mid morning, while trying to get things caught up around the house, I could not shake the feeling that someone I loved had passed away.  It was that little nudging that I have felt many times before.  I kept waiting for the phone to ring with bad news.  

   After I got everything done that I needed to, I checked the local obituaries online and the local news sites to see if I could find anything there.  There was nothing.  I still could not shake that feeling though.  Then came the phone call.  My son Chris called and asked if I had been on Facebook yet.  I told him that I had not.  He then delivered the bad news...our dear friend M, who is part of our hanai family (and is actually a distant relative of mine we discovered while discussing genealogy), had been killed just hours earlier, mid morning, in a car accident. 😪  M and his wife C, are like grandparents to my kids.  Their daughter R is like a sister to me and her girls are like my own kids and sisters to my boys.  R is a second mom to my boys. C is one of my most beloved friends and so is M.  I was devastated.  Then came the second call within minutes of Chris' call.  It was R and she was clearly in shock.  As soon as I heard her voice I told her that I had just heard about her father and that I was so very sorry.  R and I have been through so much together and have always been there for one another.  I reassured her that I would be here for her through this too.  She told me her plans to drive up here from California and to pick her oldest daughter up in Oregon along the way and that she was getting ready for her and her youngest daughter to leave. I told her I loved her and would see her soon.  I then called C, her mother, to check on her.

   Grief is a strange thing.  While R was in shock and numb, C was also in shock, but was filled with nervous energy trying to take care of all the details and let family know before they heard it from others.  I asked her if she needed me to do anything for her and she asked me to tell my boys about what happened.  I did what she asked, letting my boys know and passing on the information that she gave me.  She had other family with her, so I know that she would not be alone.  I suspect that last night, when she was finally able to sit down, that it would sink in and she would then fall apart.

   My boys, Chris and Josh, started changing plans so they could be here for the family and for their "sisters".  Chris cancelled a fishing trip and Josh made arrangements with my parents to borrow their truck and drive directly over here after he landed tomorrow in Kalispell, MT while on leave. My mom even offered to drive Josh over if he was too tired. My mom loves R and the girls and they hold a very special place in her heart.  I was not able to talk to Jaysn, who was at work, but I did talk to Rachel and she said to let them know what they could do to help.  I messaged both of R's girls telling them I was so sorry, loved them and was waiting here with open arms to give them both big hugs and lots of love. I got a reply back from one of them...she said "Thank you Mama".

   Late last night, I could not sleep.  I got a message in the early morning hours from R.  She and her youngest daughter had made it to Weed, California and were stopping there to get some sleep before heading up to Oregon in the morning to pick up her oldest girl and then head home.  My heart ached for her. She is exhausted and is not dealing well with the loss of her father.  I don't think I would be either if I were in her shoes.  I am trying to be strong for all of them and not break down.  My sweet Rachel did hear me break down once though when she asked how I was doing. I cried and asked her to please keep everyone in her prayers.  

   This morning I am the one running around with nervous energy.  I have so much to get done since R and the girls arrive later this afternoon or evening and I need to be available to them.  Josh is coming over Thursday, so I need to have his room ready.  I still have my normal "to do" list with lots of produce that needed to be processed and laundry to be done. My fibromyalgia is flaring and my neck and shoulder muscles feel like they are on fire but I need to just push through.  This is family we are talking about and if you know me, family always comes first.  You do whatever you have to do to help and then you can fall apart later.  We are still planning on going over to Montana on Saturday to spend time with my parents and brother, along with Josh, but the timing on that depends on if the funeral is that day.  If it is Sunday, then we will not be able to make it to the funeral, but will spend time with everyone before that.  It is also important for us to spend time with my parents and M's sudden passing away just drives that point home more and more. 

   I don't know if I will have much time to blog for about a week.  Between this, going to Montana, then returning home and spending more time with Josh before he and Chris fly back to Washington DC so they can spend a week together there, I just don't know how things are going to go.  Right now I need to take care of my family and spend time with all of them.  Our tomorrow is not guaranteed and every day is a gift.  



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/9-9/15 2017


   As usual, I am late posting this.  I have been offline for about 3 days now.  Life has kept me busy with family, the fair, apple picking at the orchard, visiting with some of our hanai kids and grandkids and friends too. 😊  We also were "tested" this weekend with running into two of the people who have gone out of their way to hurt us and others.  One of them was "family" that are toxic and the other is one of the most vile child abusers that we spent years reporting and who finally got their parental rights terminated.  The child abuser did everything they could to try and get our attention, but we totally ignored them and the family member...well they did their best to be as nasty as they could with their expressions but again, we ignored them while feeling very sorry for their other family members who had to put up with their bad mood.  Nothing we can do to help those people at this point either unfortunately.  Monday I got really sick and I think it was the change in the weather that got me most (and yes, I did push it too much this weekend also).  I woke up with the most horrible headache and spent most of the day sleeping on and off.  I was not running a fever and am fine (well, as fine as I can be other than being my normal sore self) today.  I've been trying to play catch up on all the things that need to be done around here and that has kept me more than busy today. Now, onto the savings!

~Saturday night Jeff and I popped a bunch of popcorn and curled up to watch the original "Dr. Doolittle" movie on dvd.  It has always been one of my favorites and I found myself singing along and even saying dialogue right along with it. 😁  Jeff offered to take us to see a movie at a theater but there was nothing on that I wanted to see and it was way more comfortable to be able to just curl up here at home.
~I managed to find 1 ripe blackberry and 3 blueberries while I was out in the garden in the morning.
~Sunday Jeff got my hair cut and I feel so much better now.
~I snapped 3 ziplock bags full of beans for dinner later that night while I watched the hurricane coverage on YouTube.
~Chris, Heather and the boys all came over for dinner on Sunday night and I made oven baked chicken with some of the .99 a pound chicken thighs I picked up last week, green and yellow beans from the garden and baked potatoes.

~Uncle Bob gave me quite a few Early Girl tomatoes from his garden.
~I picked beans, squash, a cucumber and lots of cherry tomatoes along with a few Roma tomatoes from our garden.
~I read a book that I borrowed from the library.
~Chris got a cow elk on Saturday night so he is giving us a bunch more meat!  Yay!  I was starting to get low and elk is my favorite.
~Monday Jeff and I headed up to the car dealership where we bought my car to get some work done on it (all of it done for free).  While we were up there we went to 2 thrift stores and bought a few things taking advantage of the Senior Discount that Jeff gets.  I found some things on my list that I had been needing and some fun items too!  I even found a really cool christmas gift for one of my girls...
~Jeff and I had lunch while up in CDA and there was just too much food so we brought home the leftovers and had those for dinner.
~We filled the car up with gas while we were in CDA.  It is .30 per gallon cheaper there than it is down where we live.

~Tuesday Jeff and I hit our favorite thrift store and found some great deals there.  They had a whole clothing rack full of things for .25 each so we picked up some shorts, a couple of shirts and a pair of capris.  We also found a Chico's brand jacket for me that looked brand new (there were other Chico's brand clothing new with tags right next to it but I did not like the way that they fit) for $3.96 that retails for $109.00. 😯  Seriously, who would pay that much for a lightweight windbreaker type jacket?  I also picked up some 2018 Calendars for .20 each and found a brand new Pampered Chef pie dish for $3.99 (this will be a gift for someone).  There were a few other things that made it into my basket also like a silicone bib for Steven and a CD by Diane Reeves (I sang back up vocals for her years ago when she was doing a concert at the University of Idaho Jazz Festival and she is just the nicest and encouraging person).

~Jeff picked up some sale priced milk on his way home from work on Wednesday morning.
~Steven came to play on Wednesday and I am so glad we kept the Pack and Play that we bought when Bradley was a baby.  Since Steven is now rolling over, I needed something to corral him in where he would be safe.  I thought I would use it more than I did, but he was fussy so I spent most of the day holding him.
~Chris and Jeff finally got Chris' truck up and running again.  While they worked on that, I helped Heather homeschool the little boys.  I bribed them with popcorn and orange soda to get their work done and they enjoyed a bath here too before they left since something is not working right with the bathtub at their rental at the moment.  Chris thinks he can fix it easily though, he just has not had the time (they are renting from another family member).
~Thursday I made 2 more loaves of bread for Jeff to make sandwiches with.
~I was in need of comfort food, so I took a leftover chicken thigh, some celery, 2 small squash from the garden, peeled and chunked up 2 leftover baked potatoes and made a creamy chowder with them.  It was perfect for a cooler day and one where I needed to take it easy since I was having a pretty bad fibro flare and working through and processing several emotionally draining and devastating  situations.

~Dinner Thursday night was more comfort food.  This time it was fried tomatoes and creamy tomato gravy over homemade bread.
~Friday I stayed home.  I was still feeling the effects of a fibro flare brought on by all the pain, anger, hurt and devastation that I was dealing with this week.  I internalize not only my own emotional pain, but the pain of others around me too. The school shooting brought up feelings of fear that I had from being a victim of gun violence as a child and my fear of just this kind of situation happening in our school district also.  I have had a student threaten to do harm to me with a weapon in the past (in that case, it was a knife).  We were also dealing with having made the hard decision to walk away from and not have anything to do with my husband's siblings and parents due to the ongoing hurtful manipulation and mind games being played on their part.  It has taken us this long to come to that decision because of the "guilt" that we felt about walking away from family, no matter how unhealthy and hurtful the situation was to us.  When Jeff got up in the afternoon to spend some time with me before he headed off for work later in the evening, he could see  the toll it was all taking on me.
~More free magazines and a box of samples from PinchMe came in the mail.
~I checked our rewards through our credit and debit card and converted my earned points into cash and had that deposited into our savings account.
~YouTube is frequently my "go to" place to find soothing videos and music.  I spent quite a bit of time there Friday night.

   I am sorry that this post is seriously lacking in the picture department.  I just did not get around to taking many this past week.  Hopefully I will remember to do more for this next week's post. :) I am also hoping to get around to reading blog posts from all my friends online.  When life gets busy, I tend to put that off until I can sit down and really enjoy and respond to everyone's posts.  Be blessed all!