Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Touch of Fall is in the Air


   I love Fall.  I think it is my favorite time of the year.  The crisp and cool air in the morning and being able to sleep with the windows open to let the cooler night air in are so healing to me.  Glorious ever changing colors on the leaves is something that I look forward to each year.  It is always a time of really giving thanks to God above for the beauty that He has created for us all.  

   This morning I was given a wonderful gift with an early glimpse of Fall.  I knew last night when the air was much cooler than previous nights and I had to put on a long sleeved pajama gown that I was in for a treat this morning.  It was 48F when I got up around 6:30a.m. after some whining from Caesar to be let outside.  I wrapped myself up in a fuzzy robe, put on some nice warm house slippers and got the coffee going.  Once the coffee was made, I put in in a thermal cup, got the water going on the  gardens and the settled in on the back porch to enjoy said coffee.  

   A day like this just calls for a warm and comforting dinner does it not?  I pulled some cooked rice and some chicken and green chili tamales out of the freezer.  I'll make Mexican rice with the rice by just adding some tomatoes and seasonings to it.  We'll have a nice green salad with it it too.  It will be quick, easy and so yummy!

   Doofy cat followed me to the front door when I went out to do the watering and seemed very happy to see the sun streaming in through the glass in the storm door.  He is a cat that loves heat so I left the big front door open so that he could bask in the warmth coming through the storm door.  He is one very contented kitty right now.

  Caesar is also enjoying the cooler weather this morning.  He is happily walking around the back yard eating grass and raspberries, visiting with his doggy friends and taking breaks to lay down in the sun and catch a few zzzzzz's.  Oh the life of a spoiled dog!

   I'm debating with myself as to what to do today.  I think I will pick some Summer apples from our tree and if I have enough energy after that I may take Caesar for a short walk past the apple orchard here in town and see how the apples and pears are coming along there and look for any leaves that may be starting to turn colors with our much cooler nights.  That just sounds like a wonderful way to spend my day.





Saturday, August 12, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/5-8/11 2017


   We still have smoky skies here but they are saying that it should clear out by tomorrow.  Between that and the record breaking heat, it has been a rough week healthwise for me.  This has led to me spending lots of time resting and even being afraid to try to work in the garden or get the watering done.  I have had 2 different times when my muscles have locked up and I have almost gone down.  So much for being able to pick the apples off our tree this week and make applesauce.  Hopefully, if the skies clear tomorrow, I can get to that.  On the days where I felt a bit better though, I did manage to do some money saving things so it is not all lost or bad news.  Life goes on right? 😉

~Saturday found us house bound due to the heavy wildfire smoke in the air.  It kicked my asthma in and I was worried about the fur babies breathing it also.  For the most part, we all stayed inside and made the best of it.  We watched movies on Netflix, ones we had borrowed from our son Jaysn  and had nachos for lunch and played some Scrabble.  I did venture out in the early morning to water the gardens and later to pick some tomatoes, but that was it.
~I was thrilled when a dear friend came to "shop my pantry" so that she did not have to make the long drive into town today with the horrible air quality we are having and then have to make dinner and rush to work.
~I made some iced tea with 4 teabags.  I'll compost the tea bags in my garden.

~I strained my homemade raspberry gin and now have the flavored gin plus 2 jars of boozy berries. One of those jars will be going to my cousin Jeremy since he loves them!
~Staples sent me a coupon for $10 of $10 or more purchase.  I was able to get lots of school supplies for .38 after tax with my coupon and 10% discount.  They also gave me a teacher appreciation gift since I work with the MOPS program.
~The Dollar Tree store had my hairspray back in along with Secret antiperspirant.  I got those, toothpaste, Hefty bags (at .50 a box after coupon), body powder, salami, coffee creamer and scrubby pads.

~Winco had lamb chops at half price.  I got 2 packages with 5 chops in each.  These were frozen for future special dinners.
~Jeff and I watched the movie "Trouble with the Curve" on Netflix.
~I made another tuna pasta salad to have on these hot days. I used green onions from the garden in it.
~Saturday night I made a big pot of rice.  We will use it throughout the week.
~I pulled out some shoyu chicken from the freezer to use this week.
~We watched some shows online and on Netflix.

~I harvested green onions, a cucumber and cherry tomatoes from the garden. Later in the week I also harvested some blueberries and raspberries.
~We stopped at a yard sale on our way home from town on Sunday.  I got 2 big boxes full of party supplies with plates, napkins, decorations, etc. for $3.  I also got lots of kids books for .25 each, and Jeff found some cds for $1 each.

~I froze 10 bananas to make banana bread with later.
~Jeff fixed the exhaust fan in the bathroom at Jaysn and Rachel's house for them.  It just needed a good cleaning and lubricating.
~I was able to find the last item that I needed for the craft kit I am putting together for the little boys at Walmart today.  I found a huge package of construction paper.  It was on sale so bonus!
~I washed some of my delicates and put them over the chairs on the porch to dry.
~My sweet mother sent home some Paul Newman's Lime Vinaigrette salad dressing (we can't get it here) and wine over for me with Chris and Heather.
~Jeff and I found a great deal on toilet paper so we bought 4 double roll 9 packs.  We figured that we saved about $16 right there.

~Heather brought us over a zucchini coffee cake.
~We sent half a watermelon home with Chris and Heather since it was too much for us to eat alone and we know they and the little boys will love it.  We also sent them home with packing boxes.
~A friend of my son Chris' who is from Hawaii made some Spam Musubi for him and I and also sent me some coffee.  I am looking forward to getting together with them soon!
~I ordered more cat food and two 40 pound bags of kitty litter online.  I get free shipping and they will be here in 1-2 days.  The products even cost less online than they do locally and I don't have to drive anywhere to get them.
~I line dried Jeff's laundry since it is his work clothes.
~I scored a free magazine subscription.

~There was some zucchini that needed to be used up ASAP so I made another squash casserole.  Comfort food.  YUM!
~Wednesday was another day at home with me keeping the fur babies inside due to the thick smoke and dust in the air.  I did not cook anything because we have so many leftovers in the fridge.  It is literally filled to overflowing at the moment.
~I cashed in at Swagbucks for another $5 Walmart gift card.
~I did some surveys for Pinecone Research.
~I won 55 pts at Mypoints in their absent apple game.
~I watched a lot of videos on YouTube as I try to learn more about CFS and Fibromyalgia and what I can do to help myself heal.
~I used our $30 Walmart gift cards to buy 2 packages of underwear for me (total of 14 pairs), a package of underwear for Jeff, a package of socks for Jeff, a cute outfit for Steven for Christmas and 4 bottles of glue.  I spent $6.64 in cash over the gift card amount.  Jeff and I are stocked up for awhile now on undies and socks.

~Friday I put everything on hold since I had a Fibro flare.  I did not go anywhere and did the bare minimum around the house.  I knew it was bad not only because of the pain but due to the "fibro fog" I could not even remember simple things like what year it is.  It felt like I was walking around with bricks all over my body.
~A box of Cheez Its that I had bought were stale.  I called the toll free number on the box to report that and they are sending me a coupon to get a free replacement of it.

~Friday I made a big salad for dinner with lettuce, avocado, cheese, bacon and some tomatoes from our garden.
~Jeff and I used our hot tub while it was a 90F to soak in to help ease out sore muscles and to cool off.

  After reading through my list again, I am feeling a bit more positive about what I WAS able to do and not so made about what I was not able to do.  It's all a matter of perspective isn't it?  This afternoon the company that Jeff works for is throwing a BBQ and then has rented out a waterpark for all the employees and their families.  I'm not sure if Jaysn and Rachel are going to make it because there is still smoke in the sky and they can't risk taking Steven out in this.  Chris, Heather and the little boys are coming down though when Chris gets off work.  Isaiah and I have a "date" to float on the Lazy River together and I am really looking forward to that.  I'm hoping to spend some time in the wave pool too but think I will skip the water slides since climbing those stairs will be difficult for me today.  Be blessed!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pugnaciousness...it that a thing?



inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent;combative.

    You know, I was hoping after the presidential election that all this fighting, arguing, name calling and childish behavior would stop among my family and friends alike.   Look I get it...you don't like the outcome of the election or you still believe that Hillary should be in jail, you think President Trump and Putin are best buddies even though there is a clear and tense conflict going on between our respective countries right now.  Some of my family members and friends are pro life and some are pro choice.  There are some that are very supportive of law enforcement and others who are suspicious of every move they make.  There are some that are social justice warriors and others that are very conservative.  Those that own and use guns and those that want them banned.  There are those that want a limited government and others who want us to become nation where the government provides free health care and free college.  Some of you are very strong in your faith and others are atheists or agnostics.

   Here's the thing folks, we are family, we are friends.  I know some of you have very strong opinions based on what you have experienced in life and/or what you see on the news, both real and fake.  I have watched as my friends and even some of my family members, along with myself, have been torn apart because we dared to have an opinion that differed from someone else.  I have lost friends because they could not agree to disagree and still be respectful of our differing opinions.  Just because I may hold a different view from you does not mean I am evil or that you are evil.  It just means we have a difference of opinion.

   When you throw out things like "FTrumpettes" "Libtard" or any other derogatory labels on people just because they don't agree with you, you are shutting down any chance of communication.  I get it, you are passionate about your personal beliefs as am I.  Let me just set the record straight for you right now so you know where I stand.  I am a white middle aged female.  Being white does not automatically make me a racist or bigot. Being a mostly conservative straight female does not make me anti LGBT.  I absolutely love and adore my LGBT family and friends.  I believe everyone should be treated with respect and treat others likewise.  Because I am pro-life, does not make me anti-women.  I believe in protecting the rights of the precious unborn who cannot fight for themselves, both male and female.  I do believe in God and have personally seen HIS healing power in my own life and in the lives of others I know.  I enjoy learning about the differing beliefs of my friends and family and finding out both the differences in our beliefs and where we have common ground. I believe in the right to bear arms but I also believe that we have to do more to help treat people with mental illnesses who might get ahold of a gun so that we protect not only the public, but also themselves.  I think that we as a country have failed to help the many people who are suffering from life altering mental illnesses and I wish that there would not be the stigma attached to those illnesses. I also wish there were more support for the families of those who suffer from mental illnesses. 

   There will alway be those pugnacious people out there who are just looking for a fight.  It could be the middle of the day and they will claim it is the middle of the night.  They seem to go around looking for something to be mad about and they don't care how ridiculous or hateful it may make them look.  If a man holds open a door for a woman, out of common courtesy, there is sure to be some woman who will call him sexist and assuming that she is a weak female.  I have even heard people claim that holding a door open for an elderly person is being  ageist.  I call it good manners and being a kind person but whatever... Then there are the people that take to social media to claim that they overheard a conversation in an airport that was homophobic and they try to get people fired. It is proven that they lied about the whole thing and the conversation never happened.  When confronted with proof that they lied, they try to twist it and say that the bigger issue is homophobia and that basically, their lie is of little consequence.  I would say that it is of huge consequence when you are trying to get someone fired for something that never even happened.  I would also venture to say that when you lie about something like that, you are actually making a mockery of a very real problem. I have a now former schoolmate from high school who got offended and unfriended me on facebook because I dared to say that I thought that the protestors who were destroying property in Portland Oregon, blocking roads, throwing things at police officers and getting in their faces and taunting them were acting criminally and should be arrested.  That apparently set her off and she ripped me a new one and personally attacked me because anything that the protestors did was "justified" because of social injustices.  It did not matter that the businesses that were vandalized had nothing to do with the reasons for the march and protest (and some were even in support of whatever it was they were protesting) or that police officers were hurt who had nothing to do with "police brutality" or that the emergency vehicles could not get through with people who needed to get to the hospital to save their lives.  They were all just collateral damage and that they must pay for the "sins" of others.  Pugnaciousness defined right there.  All rational thought and reasoning out the window and just looking for a fight.  It is beyond ridiculous!

   I for one am tired of it.  I want and need peace in my life. I don't like it when people argue for the sake of arguing and when they think actual facts are of little consequence.  It is fine to be passionate about something, but there also needs to be compassion along with that passion...do you get where I am going with all this?  There also needs to be common sense and courtesy too.  Going around being that angry and constantly looking for a fight must be exhausting and says so much about the state of a person's heart.  I pray that those people find peace in their lives and can let go of all that anger.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/29-8/4 2017


   We sure packed a lot into this last week.  Between taking care of baby Steven, community yard sales, a trip to Spokane, more disturbing news concerning my husband's parents and siblings, and just life in general, I am worn out. I did not keep a running list this week so I am going to do my best to remember everything.  As I sit here typing all of this out, we are surrounded by smoke from fires in the area and from smoke coming down from the big fires in British Columbia, Washington and Montana.  My heart and prayers go out to the firefighters and the people who have lost their homes and for everyone who has breathing problems.

~Saturday's community yard sales in our town were wonderful!  I was able to find things on my needs list and my wants list.  I picked up 2 sets of brand new towels and a single kitchen towel (.10 for that one). One set is for the bathroom (.50 for a set of 2) and one set if for the kitchen ($4 for a set of 4).  I also picked up books for .25 each, some needed picture frames, a sweatshirt for Jeff, and some jewelry for $1 each.  Two of the earring sets are Sterling Silver! A friend had also gotten rid of her hot tub and sold me her brominating tablets for $2.  That stuff is expensive and I was so glad to get it at that price.
~Saturday we also stopped at a community thrift store and found books for .25 each.  Most of the books are for gifts from the grandboys.

 ~We bought more of the bar soap that was on sale for .79 for a 3 pack.  We are set for a long time!
~Sunday we checked into the hotel in Spokane for 2 nights.  I had a voucher for 1 free night and our breakfast was included for both days.
~I took our little 4 cup coffee maker that I had got for $2 with us along with some coffee and some snacks.

~We stopped at a Grocery Outlet store near the hotel and bought a few more things for dinner in our room since it has a microwave and refrigerator.  The only meals that we ate out and paid for separately were lunches.
~We enjoyed the pool at the hotel.

~While in Spokane, we hit a few thrift stores and found some beautiful Haviland china that matches some that I already have, a big honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) mug, some shirts for Jeff, a shirt for me, shorts for Jeff, some cds, books for the little boys, new sippy cups for Steven as he gets older  and some small plastic containers.  I almost forgot, I found a beautiful hard bound book on the history of the college that I went to.

~I hired 2 teenaged girls to watch our fur babies and water the gardens for us while we were gone.  They did a fantastic job and I will be giving them a $10 tip in addition to their pay.
~Tuesday we had to run and pick up Jeff's paycheck on our way back from our short vacation.  We were both tired since we had been up with the fire at the hotel the night before so we stopped at Walmart and I bought 2 large marked down sandwiches to have as meals for that day and the next.  I also picked up a few other needed items.

~I harvested a cucumber, a small yellow squash, lots of tomatoes, green onions, a handful of blueberries and a few raspberries from the garden.
~Wednesday Steven came to stay with us for the day. :)  He just makes my heart so happy and provides lots of entertainment for both Jeff and I.
~I've been watering when it is cooler.

~Working on my points programs has been a priority this week.
~I dried Jeff's work clothing out on the laundry line.
~Thursday I cooked up a bunch of ground elk and made it into taco meat for us to use in salads, tacos, nachos, etc.

~Friday I had another Fibro Flare along with a CFS crash.  I spent most of the day doing things like folding laundry, doing some watering in the garden and other things that were not too taxing on my body and took lots of rest breaks.  I kept entertained and learning new skills while watching youtube.
~I disputed an unauthorized charge on our VISA bill put there by the hotel that we will never be staying at again.  They said they will refund the money and I already disputed the claim with our bank.

   It's now Saturday morning and although there are town wide yard sales in the next town over, I am staying home.  The smoke is really thick in the air and is making it hard for me to breathe.  I also worry about Caesar having to be outside when we are gone and I don't want to have him out there breathing this stuff either.  I'm having to run the fan at night in our bedroom and not use the Swamp Cooler since it brings in air from the outside so that is making sleep a little more difficult for me right now since I need it really cool so sleep well.  I am hoping that this all clears out soon.  We went through this last year too and it was miserable.  I'm really glad we got away earlier this week for our short getaway before all the smoke moved in.





Thursday, August 3, 2017

Upgrades, The Fall of the Shaw of Iran, and a Fire


    Jeff and I went on a much needed short getaway on Sunday and Monday night up in Spokane.  We stayed at the RL at the Park once again because we had a voucher for a free night after the previous 2 stays where we had very poor service there.  They say that the third time in the charm so we thought we would give it one more shot.  We got up to Spokane around lunch time so we thought we would have lunch downtown.  We soon discovered that the restaurant we wanted to go to did not have free parking anymore and that you had to pay $8 for 1 1/2 hours just to park...NOT HAPPENING!  We ended up going to the food court at one of the malls and having food from Panda Express there instead.  

   Upon check in at the hotel, we were very impressed that they had upped their game.  There were people there to hold the doors open for you and greet you.  The check on process was in yet another new area in the lobby, but it was fast and done on Ipads.  The very enthusiastic guy checking us in took our voucher and said he would make sure it was applied to our bill and then sent us off to our upgraded room with a balcony overlooking the pool and the river.  It was a much bigger room than we had on our 2 previous stays and had a wet bar which was very handy for setting up our little coffee maker that we brought with us since the hotel no longer has them in the rooms.  Everything was nice and clean this time too, which really impressed me.

   We quickly loaded some things into the mini fridge since we bought things to have for snacks and dinner in the room and then changed into our swim suits and headed down to the pool since it was still in the high 90's.  We met 2 couples, one from Alberta, Canada and another from the Portland area and had nice visits with both of them.  I quickly learned from the Alberta couple that they are having some of the same issues in their province as we are having down here in the USA dealing with healthcare, immigration, the economy, and their Prime Minister.  That couple left to go to dinner and the young couple from Portland took over their lounge chairs.  Oh this couple was fun and we had so much in common.  We soon realized that we were "neighbors" with our rooms right next to each other.  

   The next morning we got up, had breakfast and headed out for a walk along the river so I could take some pictures of it.  Along the way we saw a building about 5 blocks away that looked like a old beautiful church with spires and towers, so we decided to check it out.  Upon our arrival at it, we realized it was the county courthouse and I began to take some pictures of it.  An older lady stopped to chat with us about the building and gave us some history on the area.  She then asked about our family and we told her about them and about our son Josh, who is in the Air Force and where he has served.  This is when things got fascinating.   She told us she live in Iran for 10 years, when she and her husband were raising their 5 kids.  He was an electrical engineer and worked for Pan Am Airlines who was bought by the Shaw of Iran at the time.  They got to know him well and they became friends.  When all the political upheaval happened there and he was overthrown in part from trying to bring Western Culture to Iran, they all had to evacuate quickly.  She told me they were only allowed to bring 300 pounds of luggage per family and that having 5 kids meant that most of their luggage was clothing.  Everything else had to be left behind.  She clearly remembers seeing the shaws plane take off and his family following in another plane.  She told us that 28 planes took off that day one after another evacuating all the American and other foreign  workers and their families.  She said it was hard to leave all their Iranian friends behind.

   On our way back to the hotel, we happened upon a really neat store filled with fossils, rocks, gemstones and all kinds of fun things.  It was great to explore and there was always something new and fascinating to see!  We found some cool toys for the little boys there and will give them to them at Christmas.  We decided to go and do some shopping and have lunch while our room was cleaned.  Upon our arrival back at the room I quickly noticed that the problems with room cleanliness were again happening.  There were 2 different sized towels in the bathroom and I recognized that one of them (because of the logo on it) was from another upscale hotel in that town.  The towel was also badly stained.  The bath mat was also stained and the top sheet on the bed had a stain.  UGH!  I decided to just make the best of it though and we headed down to the pool and again met some lovely people, including another family from Alberta and a family from Minnesota who homeschooled their kids and had a set of triplets.  Later that evening we had dinner in our room and I went out on the balcony to enjoy the view while my hubby watched some TV.  It took me awhile to fall asleep and it was after midnight when I finally drifted off.  At about 3 a.m., we woke up to an awful LOUD noise.  It was the hotel's fire alarm!  We quickly got dressed and then the fire alarm stopped in the tower we were in but I could still hear it in other parts of the hotel so I called down to the front desk to see if it was a false alarm or if we needed to vacate the building.  We were told to vacate, so we did.

   By the time we got downstairs, the fire trucks were there and the firefighters were going into the main building.  We could smell something burning at this point.  Hotel guests were all milling around outside and many people said that their relatives had not come down out of the building.  There was no one from the hotel out there giving us any information or checking with people to see if they were missing family members or friends who might still be in the building.  Finally half and hour later, it was the firefighters who were giving people information and telling people there had been a kitchen fire but it was now out and we could go back int he buildings and go back to sleep. Of course, I had trouble falling back to sleep after all that.

   We got up a few hours later to find our bill slipped under our door and saw that they had not deducted one of the night's stay as had been promised when I gave them the voucher.  I made a phone call down to the desk and they said they would take care of it and I could pick up a new receipt when we came down for breakfast.  We got down there and they had no clue what we were talking about but finally got it taken care of and gave me a new receipt.  Since there was a fire the night before in the kitchen, they were giving everyone there a free breakfast (our's was actually included in our room deal) that they had brought in from another one of the hotels in the same chain that was next door.  Wow!  I have never seen so many rude hotel guests in my life who were pushing others to get to the food and filling an entire plate with bacon leaving very little for all the people in line behind them.  The hotel quickly ran out of food due to people piling their plates high with things and making multiple trips back, pushing others out of the way who had just gotten in line for the first time.  I also felt bad for the poor staff that was trying to keep things stocked and having to tell people that they had run out of much of the food already.

   That brings me to today.  I checked my VISA statement and guess who put a small but unauthorized  extra charge on my card.  YEP!  👿  I will be getting ahold of them and letting them know that they will be reversing that charge today and I am also getting ahold of their corporate office!  I guess the third time is NOT the charm with this particular property. The next time we go up we will be staying at a different property that is tried and true.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/22-7/28 2017

   It has been another pretty frugal week and I have been planning ahead for the Fall already.  I'm trying to restock our HBA products that are starting to run low while the prices are down on those items.  I only ventured out of town twice this week.  Once was to go shopping and out to lunch and the other to go to our Isaiah's birthday party.  I had hoped to get more done around the house, but again, my health did not cooperate so well.  I am beginning to think that the heat really makes things worse for me.  Anyway, onto the savings!  *Be forewarned...picture intensive post.

~Saturday Jaysn and Rachel came over with baby Steven to pick raspberries.  They were so sweet and brought out lunch for us too.  Jeff helped Jaysn change the lights on his car and Rachel even did some weeding for us.  Steven is now smiling and cooing so of course he melted my Grammie heart yet again and had Jeff making funny faces at him to get him to smile.  I also spent lots of time cuddling him which made me so happy!
~Jeff decided that he was too tired to go to his class reunion so I made a huge bowl of popcorn and we watched a movie on Netflix.
~Sunday Jeff went golfing using a gift certificate that Jaysn and Rachel had gotten him last year.  He so needed to relieve some stress and when he called me when he was done I could hear the excitement and happiness in his voice. :)

~One of our local grocery stores had the bar soap that Jeff likes at half off.  He bought 9 3 packs for under $8.  He would have bought more, but that was all they had.  He will check back in at the store again in a few days to see if they have restocked it before the sale is over.  If not, we will get a raincheck for another 10 packs of it.  This should last us until around Christmas!
~While Jeff was gone I got our sheets washed and hung out on the line to dry and cleaned out a cabinet in the kitchen.  I am rearranging a few things to make all my baking things closer to my mixer.  This will streamline things and it made more room in another cupboard so that things are not stacked up so high.  I filled up 2 garbage bags with things to toss out and am filling a box with other things to donate.
~I trimmed my bangs.
~I've been harvesting blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, green onions, peas and tomatoes from the garden.

~Sunday Jeff and I happened upon a clearance sale at Winco on their food storage Hot Cocoa in the big cans.  We bought 2 of them.  I would have bought more if I had more cash on me at the time.  I was keeping my shopping there all in cash that day and had other items that we needed in the cart already.
~At Goodwill I found some beautiful silver and abalone shell earring in a jewelry gift box for $2.99.  Those are going into my gift closet for my Heather.  She has a birthday coming up in September.
~We also found gift bags for .29 each, a brand new beautiful caftan for $5.99 (I looked it up and it is in the current Winlar catalog for $35.00), 3 shirts for me, some nice athletic type pants for Jeff, a much needed magnifying glass (this has been on my needs list for 2 years), a garden hose for $5.99 (another item on our needs list) and some cute pig shaped note paper.

~Monday I froze 3 quarts of raspberries and dehydrated some dill from our garden.
~Our post office is finally reopened again and we had a big stack of mail waiting including 3 free magazines.
~Monday night I made us a nice dinner of broiled lamb chops, rice pilaf, green beans and broccoli.  We figured that a meal like that in a restaurant would run us about $40 not including tip or drinks.  The lamb chops were given to us so my cost was about $2 to make it.  Savings of $38 right there!

~On the first of August, our health insurance provider changes.  Some of the changes are great but our premium is going up as well as our co-pays on office visits as well and pharmacy costs.  I have a prescription that I use on an as needed basis and am ok on it right now but I am going to go ahead and get it refilled now so that it saves me money down the line.
~Wednesday I made a raspberry jello salad with raspberries from our garden to take to Isaiah's birthday party out at Grandma Tammy's house.
~I'm watering the gardens early in the mornings now and have found that has really cut down on the slug damage to my plants.
~I printed off a coupon for a B1G1F 6 inch sandwich at Subway.  We will use it when we go to Spokane for our short 2 night getaway.

~I was craving Antipasti so I made a 3 cheese tortellini salad with peppers, fresh basil, tomatoes and peas from the garden along with broccoli and carrots from the refrigerator and just mixed it all together with some Italian salad dressing, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
~I borrowed another dvd from the library.
~We have our car and home insurance bundled and have been with the same company for years now.  The last bill they sent us was lower than it has been previously so hubby looked at it more closely and we got 2 discounts.  One was  for being a long time customer and another for being safe drivers. :)
~Rachel had a job interview Thursday so baby Steven came to spend the afternoon with me.  So many hugs, kisses, smiles and cuddles were shared.

~Thursday we celebrate Isaiah's 4th birthday with a party at his Grandma Tammy's house.  We had a BBQ and potluck complete with water fights and obstacle  courses and Heather made him the most amazing cake!  So much fun!
~We came home to yet another branch down out of our big cherry tree (will this ever end) and invited our friends to come pick the very ripe but still yummy ones off it.
~We got some free groceries while doing our volunteer work.
~Dinner Friday night was baked chicken thighs (we got them free) with baked sweet potato wedges all done on the same foil lined baking sheet, leftover green beans for Jeff and coleslaw with some raspberries mixed in for me.  Throwing the raspberries in the coleslaw was one of those last minute "well that sounds like it might be good" ideas and it really was!

   Tomorrow is our town wide yard sales.  I will most likely go and see what all is out there but don't plan on buying much unless I see something that would make for a great gift or is something that we need.  I will be keeping my eyes out for kids costumes for my oldest two grandsons who are obsessed with being superheros at the moment.  It is really more about visiting with everyone for me.  I love the social aspect of it all. :)  Here's to hoping to run into old friends while yard sale shopping tomorrow.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Am I Alone in my Thinking About This?

    Soapbox time again.  Before I start though, I want to out it out there that our family has been on public assistance in the past and had to relay on food stamps to help feed our growing boys when they were very young.  It was NOT something that I wanted to do and we got off them as soon as we could, even when we still qualified for them.  Our caseworker said we were the first people she had ever met that actually came in to request to get off them even when we still qualified for them.  We were finally at a point where we could afford to feed our family on our own by making deep cuts in other areas and we wanted those resources to go to another family that needed it.

   Last weekend my hubby and I stopped at Winco to pick up a few groceries.  My plan was to only use what cash I had on hand.  We bought what little we needed, being very careful about prices.  We did run across a deal on some hot cocoa mix that my hubby uses in his coffee each day so we bought 2 cans of that knowing that it would save us money in the long run and also knowing that meant that we would have to forgo buying something else that day.  As we were loading up our groceries onto the conveyor belt, there were two young women in front of us doing 2 separate orders.  They each had mostly high end "gourmet" type items along with IPA beer.  Checkout was taking awhile and they had to swipe 2 different cards.  That is when I noticed that they both had the EBT food stamp card along with their debit card.  They were using the food stamp card to buy the groceries and then their debit card to buy the expensive IPA 6 packs of beer.  Their food stamp cards were having some glitches with the computer, but they eventually went through.  I will admit that this disturbed me.

   This is not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last that we have seen this happen.  We have seen people using this programs to buy steaks, lobster tails, and lots of junk food and then whipping out cash to buy expensive wine, beer and cigarettes.  We have seen people buying all kinds of junk food along with some healthier items, just to put the healthier items back when they have gone over the amount that was on their food stamp card.  They will keep the cases of soda, the huge bags of chips, the sugar laden name brand cereals at $4.00 or more a box and leave behind the fresh fruit and veggies, milk and cheese.  And then they too will whip out some money to buy that all important case of beer at $18 or more!  These particular people had young children.  Apparently beer and junk food are way more important to them than feeding their kids healthy foods.

   I know far too many people who struggle to feed their families on very little and I certainly do not begrudge anyone getting a treat now and then, but to see such blatant abuse of the system, and yes, I call it abuse, well that is just shameful.  If you can afford to be buying expensive alcohol and cigarettes with cash, then you can afford to be buying your own groceries. If these girls had been being careful with their budget and buying things that would have lasted them for awhile and were not gourmet items, then I don't think it would have bothered me, the checker and the people in line behind us so much either.  The amount that they spent on the gourmet items that would last them maybe a week is what I spend in an entire month!

   You know it breaks my heart to see young moms struggling to buy food to feed their families and having to put needed items back when they run short on funds while seeing other people like this who spend foolishly because it is not coming out of their personal budget.  I've also seen people, who like we were when we were on public assistance, being so careful to find the best deals and healthiest foods they could to feed their families and only have a small amount monthly to do that with while I see other people with $400-$600 worth of mostly junk food piled high in their carts and then paying with the EBT card. It is honestly maddening!  I remember it being a struggle just to come up with cash to buy toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.  There was no buying beer, wine or gourmet food.  It was a rare occasion and usually a birthday when we bought a single bag of chips, ice cream or a 2 liter bottle of soda and even then it meant that we would have to sacrifice something else to do that.  I see the same people  over and over again on the day that the EBT cards are funded at the store buying the same stuff over and over again, so it is not just an occasional junk food or gourmet food splurge.  Something needs to change.

   I really wish that there were more limits on what you could buy with the EBT card and I also wish they would allow you to buy needed things like toilet paper with it also.  Things like chips, soda, prepackaged cookies could all be done away with in my opinion.  If you want those and can afford to buy beer with cash, then you can afford to buy those things with your cash also.  I wish there were more education programs that went along with getting EBT cards.  I think mandatory classes on nutrition, basic cooking and budgeting would help many of these families.  In my volunteer work I have heard way too many people saying they don't know how to cook dried beans or rice, cook fresh vegetables, or even cook fresh chicken, fish or other meats.  Believe it or not we have people come in that are mad because we don't have frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, more junk food items. etc.  They turn up their noses at the healthier food options we have like whole grain cereals, canned tuna, dried beans, rice, canned tomatoes and even some of the fresh produce when we get it.  What they don't seem to understand is that all the food is donated and we are a volunteer run program.  None of us gets paid to do this and we certainly don't get to go and shop for these items.  It actually costs money for us to do all this between gas to go up to the Second Harvest Food bank in Spokane and bring back the food, the rental space to have our free food distributions monthly and gas for our volunteers who come and help there and also do the home deliveries to the shut ins.  A lot of the people coming in are also on food stamps and have run out of money on them by the end of the month when we have our free free distribution.  It maddens me when I hear people saying that they don't get enough in food stamps and that the $600 is too little an amount to feed them and their family of 4 for the month (this family also gets other forms of public assistance and none of the adults are working outside the home even though they are healthy and more than able to).   Meanwhile I have a 75 year old man on a fixed income who is there getting food for him and his wife who has dementia who gets no help at all and had to make the painful choice between buying the medications that his wife needs (the ones that Medicaid and Medicare don't cover) or buying food.  I know what choice he made and that he will make sure that his wife has what she needs and will skip meals himself to make sure that she still gets 3 meals a day.  We try to make sure that he gets "extra" food because we know the situation and how hard he struggles with all that he is dealing with.  There is also the single mom, working 2 jobs trying to support herself and her children, with the generous heart who is always there to try and help others, who is struggling to get by, who does not qualify for food assistance because she makes "too much" just going over the cut off by a few dollars.  She knows if she just worked one job or didn't work at all that she would qualify for all kinds of help, but she wants to do better for her kids and set a good example for them.  These are the people that I feel so badly for.  These are the same people standing in line behind the woman complaining that $600 a month in food assistance is not enough. 😠

   Please tell me I am not alone in my thinking that our food assistance and for that matter, other forms of public assistance need to be revamped?  I really feel there needs to be more accountability in these programs.  It makes me angry to see people who are really hurting and being caregivers to their ageing or ill spouses or children and families that are working hard and struggling to make ends meet not get help while others are clearly working the system and abusing it and sitting back doing nothing productive when they could be out working and just collecting their benefits.  As one of those spouses who cannot hold a regular job and struggles at times just to function at all, I know all too well the pressure that is on my hubby to provide all the income we need to survive.  Even when we were on public assistance, that man was working as hard as he could at any job he could and taking side jobs as well just to keep a roof over our heads.  I would work when I could but I only made about $20 a day as a substitute teacher after figuring in daycare costs for 3 kids.  Once they were in school I could work more and did and we got off the food assistance program. Once we brought them home to homeschool, we were again down to one income but did not receive public assistance other than medical which the state would not allow me to drop since my husband did not get health insurance through his job.  Once he was able to get that, we paid for our insurance but the kids were still on the state's insurance because again, the state would not allow us to drop them from it.  That honestly turned out to be a God send because we would still be paying off the medial bills from our twins after the surgeries and physical therapy they both had to have.  As it is, we will be paying off my medical bills for surgeries for years to come.

   So there it is, my little rant for the day.  Sometimes things like this just build up and I have to get them off my chest.  I have my volunteer work later today and will be taking our littlest grandson with me since I will be watching him while his mommy is at an interview for a job and his daddy is at work.  I am praying that no one complains today about what we don't have and will just be thankful for what we do.  The program may be shutting down soon for lack of volunteers and funding and I worry about people like that sweet elderly gentleman and the single mom working 2 jobs.  I am praying that more younger people will rise to the challenge and volunteer for this program.  Those of us doing it now are honestly not able to do all the heavy lifting involved anymore.  I would hate to see it go.





Monday, July 24, 2017

One of Those Days


   Today is one of those days where I could feel a Fibro Flare coming on before I even went to sleep last night.  I woke up this morning feeling like I had to play "Beat the Clock" before the flare got even bigger.  I set out to do the things that needed to be done and could not be put off for another day. Bread dough was made in the Kitchenaid and set out to rise in the bread pans and then potatoes were washed and gotten ready to pop in the oven to bake alongside the bread.  I then moved onto washing and bagging 3 quarts of raspberries so I could get those frozen.  Once I got that done, I headed out to the garden to harvest the dill (it was getting to the point where some of it was no longer good to use), get it washed and then do a quick dehydration of it in the microwave.  

   I got the bread and potatoes in the oven to bake and then went to take a shower.  My plan was to hang my hubby's work laundry out on the line when I was done with my shower.  By the time I crawled into the shower, I was aching.  I barely could lift my arms up to even shampoo my hair.  I knew I was in trouble.  Getting dressed was literally painful so I opted for the softest things that I could find.  Forget blowdrying and styling my hair.  A quick toweling it dry and a comb through was going to have to do.

   As I emerged from our bedroom, my sweet hubby took one look at me and knew...  He could see the way I was slowly moving and could see the pain written in my eyes and all over my body.  He could also see that I was on the verge of tears yet again.  Between the pain and the guilt of feeling so badly, I get teary when I am in a flare.  Bless his heart, he got my laundry out of the dryer and told me that he was just going to put his load in the dryer so that I did not have to worry about hanging it out on the line or going back out there later to get it off the line once it was dried.  He then got another load of laundry going for me.  I was able to fold my small load and then I headed to my recliner where I spent the next one and one half hours.  My sweet hubby also ran some things down to the library for me and picked up the mail before he had to head to bed for the afternoon.early evening since he has to go to work later tonight.

   After my rest in the recliner while I caught up reading some of my friends blogs, I had enough energy to go out to the front porch and deadhead and turn my potted geraniums and take a walk through the front veggie garden and the side veggie and fruit garden.  I also picked some raspberries before the heat got to me.  Jeff had been weeding the side garden earlier and got about half of it done.  God bless that man!  That was enough for me and I am now back in my recliner and suspect I will be here for a good long while until it is time to make dinner.

   My pain level is at about a 8 right now or in the "red zone".  It was even higher and worse earlier.  I truly despise feeling this way.  I had great plans to get lots done today and then rest tomorrow since I am supposed to go huckleberry picking on Wednesday and then we have our grandson Isaiah's birthday party and our volunteer work on Thursday.  I would bow out of Wednesday, but I have a friend coming with me.  At this rate though I may have to cancel...here comes that lovely guilt again.  If it come down to that or my grandson's birthday, I will go with birthday party all the way.  After all, you only turn 4 once and that is one thing that I refuse to miss out on!



Friday, July 21, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/15-7/21 2017


   In reading over my list here it seems like longer than a week since we met up with my baby brother and his sweet family for breakfast on Saturday.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  I think we just packed so much into one week, so it made it seem longer.  Onto the saving!

~My baby brother insisted on paying for Jeff and I when we met them for brunch on Saturday.
~Time spent with my baby brother Eric, sweet SIL Christie and our nephews Cade and Eli...priceless!  I just wish we had remembered to get some pictures together.
~We filled up my car with gas since we were down to half a tank while we were up in Coeur D'Alene, ID.  Gas is a full .30 a gallon cheaper there than it is down where we live.
~We did not make it to the wedding since it would be a huge rush to get there from CDA and a 3 hour drive, so instead we did some shopping.  Of course we went to the thrift stores and found some things there that we needed. Goodwill was having a 50% off all linens and I found a beautiful and large fleece blanket/throw to use in the cooler months ahead while cuddling on the couch. We also hit Grocery Outlet and picked up a few grocery items as well.
~I knew I was worn out Saturday afternoon so we picked up a frozen pizza while we were at Grocery Outlet to have for dinner that night at home.

~Sunday I harvested peas, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and tons of raspberries from the garden.
~One of our soaker hoses that winds it's way through the raspberries, prune plum trees and blackberries sprung a horrible leak that just kept getting worse and worse.  Jeff was not able to fix it.  Luckily we had some spare soaker hoses that I picked up at a yard sale several years ago (knowing that we would have to replace the others at some point).  Jeff got the old one taken out and the new one put in.
~The laundry line was used to dry lots of clothes, towels and blankets.
~Sunday we had a surprise 80th birthday party to go to for our Heather's grandfather.  I took cherries and raspberries to contribute to the early dinner.  It was so much fun to be with some of the people that I love most in the world and I did well despite being in the middle of a Fibro flare.
~After the party we went into Moscow, Idaho to Winco to pick up a few grocery items that were needed and then came home.  This saved me a trip into town and lots of gas.
~I finally got the rest of the pepper plants put in the garden.
~We used a voucher for a free night at a hotel in Spokane to book a room for 2 nights.  We are paying for one of those night, but the other is free.  Our breakfast is included in the price and we get free coffee and a free latte each day too.  There are no coffee makers in the rooms anymore, so I will be taking our small coffee maker that I got last weekend for $2 with us.  Jeff and I are looking forward to this getaway...they even have a fun water slide at their outdoor pool. :)
~Jeff helped me menu plan for the week.  We tried to make a menu based on the weather, how busy we are each day and what we have on hand and needs to be used up.

~Monday night I made "Malibu Chicken" for dinner with a multigrain side dish, carrot sticks and steamed broccoli.  It tasted so good and was fairly easy and quick to put together.  I also used only one boneless skinless chicken breast and just cut it in half down the middle and also sliced it horizontally to cut down on cooking time.  We had some delicious carrot cake that our Heather made and sent home with us after her grandpa's birthday party.
~Our post office has been shut down since Saturday and will be closed for 8-9 days or more.  They are doing asbestos abatement since the flooring is being replaced and it contained asbestos.   We now have to drive to another town to get our mail.  I refuse to drive over there daily so I will be picking up the mail when I drive through that town on Thursday on my way to Heather's.  I am worried that it is going to take more time to get this thing done because there was no one there even working on it today when I went down to the library and to try and mail something off.  They even shut down the outside mail box.
~I got in on the free samples at PinchMe on Tuesday. :)
~My husband requested Tuna Pasta Salad for dinner on Tuesday so I got that made Tuesday morning and used some green onions from our garden in it.  It's super easy to make and something that he really enjoys.  Since I was in crash mode on Tuesday, I was thankful for something that took very little effort to make on my part and that my hubby loves.
~Wednesday I took advantage of a free offer for a subscription to "This Old House" magazine via PinchMe.

~Wednesday also found me picking raspberries, blueberries and strawberries once again from the garden.
~I've been working my points programs.
~Thursday I went huckleberry picking with Heather, Chris, Bradley and Isaiah.  We had a wonderful time and I was able to pick 1 1/2 quarts of berries.  Chris and Heather picked about 2 gallons and sold those for $100.  Huckleberries are selling  for anywhere between $15-$25 a quart depending on where you buy them. I kept my huckleberries and am hoping to go back up again this coming week to get more. We took a short drive up to the old fire lookout tower and some people we know had rented it so they gave us a tour.  It can be rented out for $39 a night and the view cannot be beat.  You can see over a hundred miles in all directions!  I would love to be up there during a thunderstorm. 

~Friday 3 loaves of banana bread were made with 5 overripe bananas. I had one very happy hubby when he got up in the afternoon after a really rough night at work.
~I used a black Sharpie marker to fill in some areas on a black picture frame that had gotten scuffed and nicked.

    I'm going to try and make this an early night and see if I can fall asleep and stay asleep.  I have not been getting much sleep all week long and it is starting to take it's toll on me.  We have Jaysn and Rachel coming over tomorrow to pick raspberries and have lunch with us and I am so looking forward to that.  I want to be awake and thinking clearly while they are here.😉  Oh, the picture at the top is my Doofy cat...boy has he got attitude!  LOL!