Saturday, December 8, 2018

Good and Frugal Food!

 

Wonton, Napa Cabbage and Kamaboko soup.



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



Fettuccine alfredo with chicken, spinach and red peppers.
 

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

Pork Lo Mein with veggies.

Homemade split pea soup with ham.

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

Steamed dumplings, braised napa cabbage and some wine.

Garlic pork roast and baked and seasoned spicy sweet potatoes.

Homemade Scrapple served with a big salad.


Homemade scrapple and huckleberry pancakes.

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

Chicken breasts, stuffing and sauteed zucchini.

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


Monday, December 3, 2018

Into Every Life a Little Rain/Snow Must Fall



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

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

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

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

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

   

   

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Creeping Crud Caught Me and Catching Up

Zion National Park


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

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

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

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

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

   
   

   

   

   

Friday, November 2, 2018

Still Recovering from Vacation and Some Frugal Doings

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

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

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

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

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


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


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pushed that "Reset Button" and Doing Better Emotionally

 



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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Just Popping In for an Update



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

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

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

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

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

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

   

Friday, September 14, 2018

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




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

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






Monday, September 10, 2018

Sidelined Again...UGH!

   Well the plan was to come back to blogging on a regular basis and go and visit my friends "homes" here in blogland, really it was.  However, as life often does, it sidelined me once again.  In addition to my "normal" health struggles and issues, I am now dealing with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  My youngest grandson Steven got it, then his Mommy Rachel got it from him and now it seems, it is my turn.

   My symptoms are mainly centered in my mouth.  I have blisters and sores on my tongue and all around the inside of my mouth.  It makes eating and drinking most anything difficult at the moment.  I just finished a cup of coffee with creamer in it and that hurt.  However, if I don't have my coffee, we will be dealing with a whole other problem of caffeine withdrawals and nobody wants to be around me if that happens. 😉  I do also have a few spots on the rest of my body also.

   In order to try and keep my hubby from getting this too we have taken measures to try and stop the spread of it.  In addition to frequent handwashing, I am sleeping in a different bedroom than he is at the moment.  We also threw away his toothbrush and got him out a new one, got a seperate water glass and even a new tube of toothpaste for him.  He is keeping his stuff in the guest bathroom, way away from mine.  I'm not cooking much this week because I am afraid of my germs getting onto the food...well that an my energy level is nilch at the moment.  With that said, my hiatus from blogland my be a bit longer than I had planned.  For now I am going to go and lay down for awhile.  My brain is way foggier than my normal everyday fog and I have a bad headache.  Praying that no one else ends up with this...it is no fun!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thank You All and an Update



   I want to start this off by telling you all how much I appreciate the sweet comments and thoughts that you have left me here on the blog and via email.  All of them have touched my heart so deeply.  I'm still needing to respond personally to each one and I hope to be able to do that tomorrow. :)

   I have taken some time to really reflect on things and focus on my family.  Both of my oldest grandsons ended up with a nasty flu like virus and then the baby ended up with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  Now my sweet Rachel has the same virus the older grandsons had.  I have been trying to help out where and when I can and the baby has been spending time up here or I have been going down there to play with him since he can't be around many people until he is over this.  I was able to spend some quality time with the older two grandsons too and that was wonderful!

   Chris and Josh turned 29 on Friday and Jeff celebrated birthday # 59 on Monday.  We celebrated by going bowling with Chris, Heather, Bradley and Isaiah (they were finally feeling better), and had dinner with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven up here at the house the next day.  Steven is still sick and we are trying to keep the grandboys away from each other so they don't keep passing things back and forth.  Josh also paid for Jeff to go golfing on Monday.

   Jeff has been helping Chris build his home whenever he has a spare moment.  This past week he was unable to help much but spent Saturday morning and Sunday morning helping him.  Now they are just waiting for the trusses to come in so they can get those set.

   Saturday I found out that a friend passed away the day before.  I have known both Greg and Linda since I first started college and even dated Greg's brother for awhile.  Greg and Linda wished their oldest son John a Happy Birthday earlier in the morning and a few hours later Greg had a heart attack and passed away.  Linda and I were really close in college and I attended her and Greg's wedding and was thrilled to see two people I loved get married.  The last time we saw Greg and Linda in person was about 2 years ago when we had dinner together when they were up visiting one of the kids in college and Greg was saying how he was counting down the last 6 years before he could retire from teaching.  Both he and Linda are amazing teachers.  It breaks my heart that he never got to have that chance to enjoy retirement and that Linda has lost the love of her life and her best friend.  I feel so bad for their kids, especially John, who lost his father on his birthday, and the grandkids.  I also know that his brother Jeff is having a really hard time too with all of this.  They were very close.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

   I was able to finally spend some time with my hanai sister Shannon today and to say that I have missed her is a huge understatement.  Since we got rid of the landline phone and our cell phone reception is spotty, we have not been able to have our normal phone calls.  It was so good to share hugs, pick some cherry tomatoes from our garden and just be able to get caught up with each other again.

   Jeff and I ran into another friend over the weekend that I had not seen in ages.  She also has Fibromyalgia and shared with me that she is taking Methyl Vitamin B 12 at 2,500 mcg dose daily and it has really helped with her pain.  I've read some studies that support this.  I am not a doctor and am not I offering medical advice.  I'm just passing along information and you need to do your own research and consult your own doctor.  As so often happens with Fibromyalgia, CFS and other chronic invisible illnesses, what works for one person may not work for another.  I am trying it and am really hoping it helps. I am also hoping that if it reduces pain levels, that will allow me to sleep better.  I'm still struggling with that even with the medications that I am on. 

   Life has been busy for us lately with lots of things going on and will continue to be this way for awhile with helping with the building of Chris and Heather's new home (not that I can help much with that but I can provide food and help take care of the grandkids while Jeff helps with the actual construction), the opening of my cousin's new store and sourcing things for that, and trying to get the house and yard ready for the much anticipated and appreciated colder weather.  It is already cooling down at night into the 40's and we even hit 38F one night.  The leaves are starting to turn on the bushes and trees around here and the apple orchard opens up tomorrow for picking.  Fall is here a bit early and I am loving that!  Life is starting to look a bit brighter again. 😊

   

   

   
   

   

   

   

    



   

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Depression and Anxiety are Ugly Things

   


   I know that I have not been posting on my blog or even reading and commenting on friends blogs lately and I feel like I need to explain why.  It's not that I don't want to visit and comment but I just don't have the energy to do so.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and my OCD has been ramping up, I'm not sleeping well at all and am up most of the night and it is taking most of my energy to just hold it together at times.  I do have happy times between these down times and my family has been wonderful about being there for me and understanding that I am not choosing to feel this way...it is just happening and I wish it would stop.

   Last week it finally got to the point where I called my doctor's office in the middle of a panic attack and they were able to get me in within a few hours.  They are wonderful!  There was a new nurse there and she told me my blood pressure was a bit on the high side.  I told her that was because my anxiety was really high.  She told me that you could not tell by looking at me.  I told her that I had gotten good at hiding it on the outside but was shaking on the inside.  Later I realized that is what I had been trained to do from a very young age.  I have survived through the years by faking calm when I am falling apart, scared and feel like a caged animal that needs to escape danger.

   My compassionate doctor, who has been a huge blessing to me, and I talked about what was going on and came up with a new plan to help me.  My anti anxiety medications are being adjusted, I have something to help me sleep (that is not working so far), will be getting some counseling to help me deal with the grief that comes with the loss of who I used to be and who I am now and I have a disabled parking placard to help me since walking can be painful and very tiring a good majority of the time.  I think the thing that helped me the most though was my doctor looking me straight in the eyes and saying "This is not all in your head, what you are feeling is real and you are not alone. There are a lot of other people who have this (Fibromyalgia) out there and are going through the same things you are."  He validated the fact that this syndrome is real and is multifaceted with so many painful things going on physically, emotionally and is totally draining and exhausting.  The depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are just a few of the many symptoms that can come with this but honestly, they are some of the most challenging to deal with.  Well that and the "brain fog" that frustrates me to no end.  That makes it hard to focus and concentrate on anything and leads to more anxiety and depression and I also believe contributes to the OCD at times.

   Living with the uncertainty of IF and WHEN you will get to sleep (last night I was awake until 5 this morning when I finally was able to sleep and here it is closing in on 2 a.m. now and I am still wide awake even though I am exhausted), what your pain levels will be like, if you will be able to walk without holding onto the walls or if you are out shopping if your legs, arms, and back will hold out until you are done is scary.  It's not being able to get the words out or even find them in your cloudy mind.  It's fighting back tears and pretending that everything is ok when people ask how you are doing because you don't want to let them down or let them see your pain and struggle.  It's the confusion of having a manageable pain day one moment where you can do a load of laundry and the next being in horrible pain and having to sit or lay down trying to find some relief because regular OTC pain meds don't do a thing to help.  It's unpredictable and it hurts to have to cancel plans with friends and family because of it and know that I am letting them down. It is also knowing that at this point, there is no cure for this thing and that I may have to live the rest of my life like this.  And, it's the added financial burden for more meds, counseling costs, etc. and me not being able to work to help pay for all of it.  That is a lot to deal with.

   I'm sharing this because I need to get it out there.  I'm not asking for sympathy, just understanding.  I'm struggling at the moment and I hope that my sharing this will also help someone else who may also be struggling so that they too know that they are not alone.  So please understand that if I don't always respond to comments, blog, read and comment on friend's blogs, it is not because I don't want to...it's because I just don't have the energy, can't focus or am putting everything I have into trying to just survive at the moment.  I'm working on areas that I can to feel better and I hope to be back to being more upbeat and cheerful and at least regaining that part of my life  soon.  Thank you for understanding and God bless.

   



   

   

   

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Frugal Food Lately

Grapes washed and stems cut to make for easy snacking.


   I'm not going to have a Frugal Friday post this week because I forgot to keep track of things.  However, I thought I would share some of the frugal meals and food that we have had lately.

   We start off with me cooking up about 2 pounds of elk burger into taco seasoned meat.  This is what I did with it.





       


Taco salad made with .50 sale priced bagged salad, tomatoes from the garden, taco meat, crushed tortilla chips and Thousand Island dressing.


Burritos with taco meat and cheese, Mexican rice made with tomato powder from our tomatoes last year and served with watermelon and blueberries.

Taco meat and cheese served over the leftover rice served with a side of grapes.

The last of the taco meat and rice layered between 3 huge soft flour tortilla and a homemade enchilada sauce made with tomato sauce and cream cheese poured over it all and baked in the oven.  I served it with more of the sale priced bagged salad with craisins, Feta and a lime vinaigrette dressing.

Next up are a few more meals that I made this week. 

Squash from the garden sauteed with shrimp.

Mashed red potatoes with parsley from the garden, tomatoes from the garden, marinated elk steaks and onion rings.

Zucchini with parmesan cheese and sausages. 

Baked chicken and potatoes.

And lastly something sweet...

Three loaves of banana bread made from overripe bananas.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/4-8/10 2018

   Sorry that this is not a very good post and is lacking pictures but to be totally honest, the heat, smoky air and changes in air pressure have really been taking a huge toll on me.  I'm having trouble forming complete thoughts, nevermind getting them onto the screen here.  I'm also hypersensitive to everything at the moment and in lots of pain with nausea coming because of that. I'm also having nightmares again.  Until the weather gets better and the skies are cleared out of the smoke, I fear I will continue to be like this. I'm just fatigued, sore, frustrated and am still trying to put a smile on my face and remain as positive as I can be.  I really want to be positive and happy and am trying my best to be that way despite all that is going on with me right now.  Onto the savings...


~The town wide yard sales were not as plentiful this year but I still managed to get some nice things for dirt cheap.  Jeff's best deal of the day was a bicycle for $1 that he is going to fix up for Isaiah (we have everything we need here already to do so) and mine was a pair of sterling silver turquoise and coral Native American made earrings for .10, yes ten cents!  They were mixed in with a bunch of cheap costume jewelry so I am assuming that is why they were still there and no one had found them for hours before I got to the sale.
~The company Jeff works for throws an employee appreciation party each year.  This is the second year in a row that they have held it at a waterpark and told the employees to bring their families.  Also this year they booked it for 4 hours and brought in pizza for everyone.  It was so much fun and our kids and grandkids really enjoyed themselves!
~We stopped at the Grocery Outlet store in Lewiston Idaho before heading home from the water park and found some wonderful deals there.  We got Nutrigrain blueberry granola bars for 2 boxes for .97 (gave one of them to Rachel for Steven who polished off 2 of the bars in the box before they even left our house), chocolate chip cookie dough for $1.47 with a B1G1F deal, and found several other great deals also.
~I was able to get in on some of the higher value encraves at Swagbucks and cashed on on Sunday for another $25 gift card for Walmart.  I took advantage of the discounted price and also got a 100 sbs rebate.
~Three loaves of banana bread were made and then I baked up a pan of sweet potato wedges since the oven was already hot.
~I sent one of the loaves of banana bread home with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven when they came by for a visit.
~We hung the towels and bathing suits out to dry after washing them.
~Jeff built a new shelving unit with some wood he had here on hand and attached it to the side of our entertainment center (which he also built) to house more of our dvds and cds.
~Dinner was clam chowder for me and oatmeal for my hubby.  I had no more energy and neither did he.
~Rachel harvested and enjoyed some tomatoes from our garden. That makes me happy!
~Monday Jeff and I gave each other haircuts.  We were overdue for them and with the heat climbing into the triple digits, it was time to get it done!
~I made some cold tuna pasta salad and the fur babies got some of the tuna water from the cans.
~The Summer apple tree did not do as well this year fruit wise, but I was still able to get some apples off of it to make either fried apples or applesauce with.
~Since I know it will be too hot to cook for the next few upcoming days, I took some frozen turkey lunch meat out of the freezer along with some chicken thighs.  The turkey lunch meat will be used to make sandwiches and the chicken will be dinner Monday night and also again later in the week.  I'll bake some potatoes, sliced up under the chicken too as part of our meal and enough for several other meals also.
~The laundry was hung out on the line to dry.
~Jeff got the plants in the front garden all mulched to help hold in the moisture in the soil since we are going to be in the triple digits temperature wise.  He got the mulch for free.
~I watered all the garden beds, trees and flower beds in the back of the house in the evening.  I forgot to do the front flower beds so I will have to get those tomorrow.  I did remember to water all the potted plants though.
~Tuesday it was hot so I stayed inside the house for the most part and worked on my points programs.  Rachel brought Steven up for awhile.  He got shots yesterday and was a bit fussy.  He likes coming up here to play where it is cooler and he has more room to run around.  We got out a big bowl and filled it with water for him to splash in...he loved it!
~Dinner was turkey sandwiches since it was too hot to cook.
~I found the link for the recipes from the cookbook "Good and Cheap" https://www.leannebrown.com/index/  It has some really good recipes there and you can download the cookbook for free also.
~Before I went to bed, I ran Jeff's work laundry through the washer so it would be ready to hang out in the morning when I got up.
~Our salt container from the store broke so I recycled a baby's puffs treat container to hold the salt.
~Wednesday I needed to head in to Pullman and pick up a prescription at Walmart.  My prescription cost jumped up under the new health insurance which ticked me off a bit.  While I was there I looked in their clearance areas and found a black swim skirt (I needed another one), 2 shirts ($4 and $5 each) and 2 pajamas ($4 and $5 each).  I also picked up some marked down corned beef from the deli along with a marked down chicken bacon ranch sandwich for Jeff, a watermelon and some bananas.
~Safeway had a surprise special of prepackaged salads marked down to .50 a bag.  I bought a bunch of them and gave some to Rachel and Jaysn also.  We will be eating lots of salad over the course of a week and I am good with that.  I love salads when it is hot outside.  Some other great deals that I scored were cooked shrimp and hummus at half price, mayo at half price and a large container of blueberries for $2.99.
~My best scores of the day came from the thrift store.  I stopped in to see if I could find some more shirts for Steven since he is outgrowing everything.  They had a .25 sale on all blue tagged clothing items.  I was able to find 5 shirts for him, 1 for Jeff, a shirt to resell (Nanette Lapore brand) and a pair of denim skinny cut jeans for me...all for .25 each.  I also found a birthday gift for Chris, 2 cookbooks, a Disney drawing book for the little boys and a Chicago Cutlery knife.
 ~Jeff's laundry was hung out on the line to dry.
~I watered the gardens in the evening.
~The mail brought a free Country living magazine, coupons, including one for a free item, from Bath and Body Works, and a box from Pinch Me that had a hair mask and some Starbucks coffee K cups in it.
~I watched a presentation by a doctor who specializes in Fibromyalgia treatment and learned a few new things.
~Thursday was a blazing hot day so I spent most of the day inside.  I had the swamp cooler running overnight to get as much cool air into the house as possible.  Jeff shut it off when he got home at 6 a.m. since it was already starting to get hot outside.  I turned it on again later in the day when it got hot in the house again in the afternoon.
~I used my Instant Pot to cook up 2 artichokes.
~Dinner was leftover oven baked chicken, potatoes and a salad.
~My encraves were finally back at Swagbucks, so I ran them in the background while I got other things done on and off my computer.
~We invited Jaysn, Rachel and Steven to come up this afternoon to cool off in our home and also have some watermelon and cantaloupe. :)  It was nice to visit with them and laugh at Steven's antics.
~After they left, Jeff and I used our hot tub (unheated) to cool off in even more.  I needed to cool my inner core down and that worked well.

  I hope you had a good week. :)












Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Stop the Political Madness Already!




   Our mailbox has been stuffed full, our phone seemed to be ringing non stop (until we got rid of the land line) and even YouTube has been airing political ads.  Facebook has become a "war zone" with friendships being torn apart, more "F bombs" being dropped,  etc.  Twitter is filled with so many hateful things being said.  It feels like a repeat of what we saw leading up to the Presidential election 2 years ago only this time it is worse and what makes it sad is that I thought it couldn't get any worse than it was then.  Thank goodness today is the "official" election day in my state. Maybe a small portion of it will stop.

   I was hoping that we would be getting a total break from all the madness tomorrow but I know that is not going to happen.  Every day it seems that there is something else going on.  Protests are far from "peaceful".  Trash is left everywhere after "marches" or "occupations" and cost taxpayers thousands, if not more, of dollars to clean up.  People are still being denied service at restaurants and chased down by other people who do not agree with their political views but who obviously have never been taught manners and that the quickest way to shut down any kind of discussion is to start yelling at someone and not be willing to at least be civil and act like a reasonable adult.  Name calling by all sides is childish and does not get us anywhere.  The hypocrisy is staggering!  

   Here's the deal...if you want something to change, then you need to do something constructive and not destructive.  Instead of protesting everything, get involved in your community feeding the homeless.  Take back your communities from crime...become a police officer, form a neighborhood watch association, don't protect criminals.  Communities can come together and raise money for scholarships to help young people go to college or trade schools based on merit and need.  Instead of feeling like you have to counter protest something, just stay away so that it does not get the massive media coverage that the group you don't agree with is seeking and bonus, that should lessen the violence and property destruction that seems to come with these protests.  Make your neighborhoods, towns and cities attractive to new businesses and support the local mom and pop places too.  Get to know your neighbors and find common ground, even if you do not agree on everything.  It's hard to hate on someone who you have shared a nice chat over the fence with, shared a meal with, and so on.  If you don't like a business for whatever reason, just don't patronize it. No need to stage a full out national boycott.  My husband and I have chosen not to support several businesses in the surrounding area with our hard earned dollars because of our personal beliefs and/or bad experiences with them.  We are not out there vandalizing them, screaming at people who are choosing to go there or surrounding and harassing them.

   Please please please people, for the love of all that is good, stop with the madness already!

   

   

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Two Week Frugal Friday Edition

   



   So this wrap up is going to be a little different as in I forgot to start keeping track of things until Tuesday night of the first week.  Time kind of got away from me, the heat turned my brain into mush and there were a couple of days when just walking up and down the hall took all my energy and strength for the most part.  I'm trying to keep as cool as possible by staying in the house and using the swamp cooler in the afternoons and into the evening before switching over to just venting in the cooler night air around 11 p.m. or later and then shutting that down around 6 a.m. before it starts to heat up again.  Luckily Jeff gets home around that time in the morning, so he can just shut the swamp cooler down and I can sleep.  My poor garden has been taking a huge hit with the heat though and some of the plants are burning up no matter how much I soak them at night. 😟  So here is my list as best as I can remember it...




~I've been watering the gardens in the evening and trying to give them a good soaking.
~Swagbucks is running in the background most of the time when I am watching TV so that I can get those points.
~Jeff and I hit the Dollar Tree and found marked downs there.  We got 3 packs of Cracker Jacks for .50 (we got 2 of those and they will be part of a gift bucket that we are giving Isaiah for his birthday), Snickers with Almonds fun packs for .50 each (got 3 of those)and we also bought 2 DVDs,
~Safeway had their Powerades on sale for .48 each so I bought the limit of 10.  They were also clearancing a bunch of products that had packaging changes or were items that they were no longer going to stock.  We got whole grain pastas for .58 and .48 each, eucalyptus essential oil for $3,  and organic baby food pouches for .58 each (Steven loves these and they are great to take when we go somewhere with him).  We also picked up a 12 pack of flavored seltzer water for .99 and a 24 pack of bottled water for $1.89.
~We used a gift card that Jaysn and Rachel gave me for my birthday to go and see the movie "Equalizer 2" and did splurge on popcorn and drinks.  It cost us $12 out of pocket after the gift card but it was sure fun to go and sit in a cool and dark theater on a blistering hot day and just get lost in a movie while munching on popcorn. 😉



~I started a second big mason jar full of homemade raspberry infused gin with more raspberries from our garden.
~We needed something quick for dinner one night so I made a white sauce, put cut up smoked ham in it and then served that over leftover warmed up rice and some precooked smoked buffalo chicken strips.  It was really good!
~More raspberries were frozen.
~I've been picking peas, blueberries and some cherry tomatoes from the garden.
~Some red peppers that were getting to the end of the shelf life were cut up and frozen.
~We were in need of more maple syrup so I got more of that done.



~We are trying to finish eating the rest of the lettuce I harvested from the garden.
~Tuesday I made a nice Greek yogurt sauce with minced green onions, celery salt, diced red peppers and diced celery and mixed that up with some cubed and cooked red potatoes to make a rather delicious potato salad.  The plan was to serve it with ham steaks that night but Jaysn came up and asked if they could BBQ hot dogs and sausages at our place and if we could all have dinner together.  Rachel has also made a blackberry cobbler with berries they had picked down at the river earlier in the morning.  We had a nice family dinner and they were thrilled that I had made potato salad and I was thrilled they were doing the rest of the cooking.
~Jeff cleaned out the glasses and mugs cabinet.  We set some of the larger mugs aside for Heather that Jeff did not use and packed others away to sell at our yard sale this coming weekend.
~I consolidated all of my cupcake and candy making paper products into one large glass jar.  It looks really cute and it takes up less space and keeps them all hand and ay from dust.
~I made 2 loaves of bread and some lemon poppy seed muffins.



~Saturday of the first week Isaiah had his birthday party down at a lake about 2 hours from us.  We took a pasta salad down to share and had a wonderful visit with Heather's grandparents Carl and Sandra.  They are such sweet people.  We ended up not staying for dinner because it was just too hot.  Jeff and I stopped and had dinner on the way home and I ended up bringing a good portion of my dinner home with me and had that for a meal a day later also.
~Jeff got some free wood chips for our garden.  Hopefully that will help not only to keep moisture in the soil, but also build the soil up over the colder months.
~With a Excessive Heat Warning hitting us for 2 days, I cooked up 3 boneless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and made it into cold chicken salad.  I added curry and some crasins to a portion of it...yum.  This made for 4 meals for us!
~I've been watching the ads carefully and uploading digital coupons to my Safeway card to take advantage of some of the incredible deals they have had lately, including free items.
~The raspberry plants are coming to the end of their fruit production for this Summer but we are continuing to pick what is out there along with a few blueberries also.



~The library has been a wonderful source for free books and movies yet again.
~My cousin Jeremy stopped by for a quick visit and it was so good to see him again,
~We have been going through things and getting them ready to put in Jeremy's new resale store that he is opening.  We have furniture, china, glassware, and vintage linens so far for him.
~I cashed in at Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart gift card.
~I went searching for ink for my printer online at Walmart.com and found it was cheaper to replace my printer with an all in one printer/scanner/copier that came with ink than just to get the ink for my printer.  Walmart did not have the exact model in the store that I saw online but one that was similar so they price matched it for me.  Jeff and I used the Walmart gift card I got through Swagbucks and purchased the printer/scanner/copier to $19 on sale along with a container of kitty litter.  Both were free after the gift card.  We had been wanting a copier and scanner again for us and for the kids to use so this worked out perfectly!
~We were able to get a free product worth $6.99 from Safeway with their digital coupon.  They were out of the second free item so we will check again this weekend to see if they got any more of that item in.  They also had Gatorade for .49 for your first 8 so we stocked up again.  Greek yogurt was marked down to half price so I bought all the key lime ones they had since that is Steven and my favorite.
~Rachel gave me some more of the chickpea curry that she makes and I gave her 2 large squash from the garden.
~Rachel has been picking and freezing raspberries from the garden for Heather.



~Jeff's work clothes laundry has been hung outside to dry.  We do his work laundry separately from the rest of the laundry since he sweats so much in it.
~Steven has been coming up to play here since it is cooler in our house and there is more room to run around.  Wednesday it had even cooled down enough in the early evening that he could be outside in the backyard again so we got out the huge fire truck and riding John Deer tractor for him.  He took great delight in filling up the fire truck with dirt. 😁 Steven also had dinner with us and loved the chow mein noodles, key lime yogurt and cheese stick that we gave him.
~Thursday night Jeff and I each made a homemade personal pizza.  I used fresh basil from the garden on mine.  I had leftover sauce so I froze it for a future meal.
~I had the chickpea curry for lunch...so good!
~We SKYPEd with Josh and Lauren.  I love being able to actually see their faces when we talk and they showed us the new patio furniture they just got.
~My neighbor and I had a really nice visit under the shade of our apple tree on Thursday afternoon.
~I was having some sinus issues so I used my Neti pot to help clean out my sinuses.  We live in farm country where there is lots of dust in the air, the pollen counts have been high and we have had some smoke blow in from forest fires.
~I was also having some problems with inflammation in my gums so I swished with equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide for a minute.  DO NOT SWALLOW this combination.  Spit it out and then rinse your mouth out with water.
~I had some leftover sesame chicken that was not enough for a meal so I decided to stretch it by adding some yellow squash to it from our garden.  Perfect, healthier and yummy!
~Blueberries and raspberries from the garden made for a really nice snack before bedtime.
~Steven enjoyed taking a bath up at Grammie's since we have the deep soaking bath and lots of bath tub toys!




   Saturday is our town wide yard sale and if I get up in time, I will go out and look around for a bit.  We have a company party at a water park in the afternoon/evening about an hour south of us that our kids and grandkids will be joining us for so that should be fun. :)  Be blessed!