Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/6-12 2019

   Yes, I am very late once again in posting this.  We had a very busy Friday getting lots of things done around the house.  Saturday we took our youngest grandson to the fair while his parents got some much needed down time to get a few things done at their place.  It's hard to clean and organize when you have a pint sized tornado, who refuses to nap, following right along beside you. 😉  Jeff and I remember those days well with our 3 boys.  Steven made this Grammie's day when he clearly said my name though...talk about welling up with happy tears!  Sunday and Monday were both huge crash days for me.  Here it is Tuesday and having finally fallen asleep at 5 this morning and sleeping until around noon, I finally can focus well enough to get this post finished.  Such is the rollercoaster of life that I live.  Hopefully once Jeff gets up, I will be able to get some bread made for the week and also do some more cooking.  We have a rainy weather front coming in and I can feel it in every fiber of my body but life must go on right?   So here we are with last weeks frugal doings:

~I harvested tomatoes and beans from the garden.
~We took Caesar for a nice walk.
~I watched some videos on YouTube to give me more meal ideas.
~We had leftovers and produce from the garden for dinner.

~We stayed home because Jeff was not feeling well.
~Dinner was a sheet pan meal of chicken cordon b
ue and roasted potatoes.
~We watched some shows on YouTube.
~We hot tubbed to ease those aching muscles once again.
~I made two loaves of bread.
~Jeff and I got the house all decorated for Fall with things that we had here already.  I love the way the house looks now.
~Jeff found some black slacks that no longer fit him so he is giving them to Chris.

~I picked squash from the garden.
~We had a surprise birthday party for Jeff at Chris and Heather's.  He has no clue, even as we drove up and he saw the cars there. :)  It was a potluck and so much fun!
~Chris sent us home with locally grown blueberries that he got from a friend's farm.
~Heather sent home most of the birthday cake with us.
~I left the rest of the pasta salad I made with Chris for his lunch Monday.
~Jeremy paid me for a table we had at his shop that sold.  I took that money and went to Winco and stocked up our pantry even further for the colder weather ahead.  I do not like to go out when there is ice on the road or the weather gets bad.  I feel much safer with a stocked pantry going into the colder months.

~Jeff picked blackberries for me.
~We got a movie from the library.
~I spent the entire morning in bed dozing on and off.  I was totally exhausted after the family party yesterday but it was so worth it!
~I watched some tv shows online after Jeff went to bed for the afternoon and early evening.
~I made a cheese ravioli casserole and garlic bread for dinner.

~We had more rain coming in and it really did a number on my fibromyalgia so Jeff picked the blackberries for me since I got dizzy any time I leaned over.
~Leftovers from last night were for dinner.
~I made some more quick cucumber pickles with cucumbers from our garden.
~Lunch was cherry tomatoes from the garden and cottage cheese seasoned with dill from the garden.
~Jeff substituted for a friend at bowling league so his bowling was paid for.
~I watched several videos and shows online.

~I borrowed another season of Downton Abbey on dvd from the library.  I love that series and find it very calming to watch.  I'm also a sucker for anything based in that time frame.
~I harvested more tomatoes, beans and cucumbers from the garden.
~Jeff grilled up some burgers and zucchinis for an early dinner/late lunch.
~We took Caesar for a walk when we went down to the library and to the post office.
~I froze more blackberries from the garden.

~I cooked up 2 chicken breasts in the InstantPot.  One I turned into chicken salad and the other I went on to make chicken alfredo using some green onions and cherry tomatoes from the garden.  It was so good and easy!
~We picked more blackberries and froze most of them.
~I used one of the Williams and Sonoma Fall leaf plates as a base for an battery powered candle.
~I went through some of the things in our pantry and got them more organized.

   On another note, please make sure you fill up your vehicles with fuel...prices are going to go up according to the news with the fires in Saudi Arabia's oil fields.  Jeff and I got both our vehicles filled up before the prices started to climb and are going to limit the use of my car until they go back down again or we have to do a major shopping trip.  Be blessed all!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

No More Dr. Phil for Me

   It is no secret that I do not sleep well at all.  It has gotten to the point where I am not falling asleep until Jeff gets home around 5:30ish in the morning now.  Even then, my dreams are strange and at times very scary.  I started thinking about it and really taking a good look at what was going on in my dreams and realized that it is all Dr. Phil's fault.  This is said tongue in cheek, but there is a grain of truth to it.

   Since I don't sleep at night, I have been watching Dr. Phil on YouTube and boy is it bringing up all kinds of issues for me.  A lot of his shows revolve around child abuse and sexual abuse and exploitation.  Having been a victim of child molestation myself, which led to all kinds of maladaptive behaviors, I can relate to so many of his guests.  It also takes me down trails in my mind that I do not want to go down again.

   Yes, I have been in counseling for a lot of this, but there are still some "doors" that remain locked and closed because I am not strong enough to deal with them in my waking hours.  It seems those doors are opened at night in my dreams though and I wake up with full on panic attacks.  

   Some door should remain closed.  There is no need to open them and go through the horrific pain again.  I have blocked many of those memories for good reason.  I have worked hard to come to the point where I am able to get myself through panic attacks and be a more possitive person on a regular basis.  The last thing I need is for me to spiral down that big black drain of depression again.

   So no more Dr. Phil for me.  I just can't deal with it right now.  With the news so focused on the horrible sexual explotation of children by Jeffrey Epstien and his cronies, it is more than I can handle.  My heart aches for all the victims and I hope and pray that every single person involved in the abuse is jailed for life! Yes, I feel very strongly about all of this because what I went through is just a tiny fraction of what they went through and I live with the damage done to me every single day of my life. I cannot even imagine how those victims are even able to function.  Please keep them all in your prayers and that justice is served for them...they deserve at least that.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Good Eats Lately

Teriyaki, rice and peanut sauced veggies.

Blueberry pancakes and Portuguese sausage.

Meatloaf, roasted garlic potatoes and a cucumber and tomato salad.

Homemade bread.

Grilled burgers, zuchinni and homemade jojos.

BBQed beef on buns, carrot sticks, cucumbers.

Fried tomatoes and tomato gravy over bread.

Corn and potato chowder.

Squash casserole, plums and blackberries.
Caramelized appled over ice cream.

BLTs, shoestring potato fries and quick cucumber pickles.

Avocado toast with tomatoes.

Most of the produce came from our gardens.  It has been a great year for the gardens!

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/6/19

   OK, so here is the deal.  I am trying to type this out on my new computer which has a much smaller keyboard than my old one.  The keys are also slick since it is new and my fingernails keep slipping on it.   Also, I have not been keeping a daily record of my frugal doings this week because of computer issues (I just got this new one up and running last night), busy days and fibro flares...such is life right? 😉  So, what I am going to do is list some of our frugal doings lately along with some pictures of meals we have had and some preserving that has been done.  Here we go!

   Frugal doings:

~I'm still making and freezing applesauce like a mad woman.  Our tree still has apples on it and I need to get out there and pick more of them.
~The blackberry bushes are producing lots of lovely berries.  I have been freezing some, giving some away and eating a bunch of them.
~The tomatoes, squash, beans and cucumbers are going nuts and providing us with lots of fresh produce.
~I'm making lots of quick pickles with the cucumbers.
~I sat down and made a menu based on what we have on hand.
~Butter was on sale at $2.50 a pound.  I bought 10 pounds and froze it.
~Winco puts out coupons for when the college students come back for school on things like beef jerky, popcorn, yogurt, chips, poptarts and other items.  I made two trips to Winco and used the coupons to stock us up and also gave coupons to our girls to use.
~Jeff and I gave each other haircuts.
~I cooked up two preseasoned porketta roasts.  We had some over rice and I froze 3 more meals worth.  I still have some in the fridge for Jeff's dinner tonight to use over buns.
~I've been baking bread again.
~Goodwill has been kind to us lately.  We found 3 Williams and Sonoma Fall leaf small condiments plates for .99 each, shirts and sweaters, dvd series that I have been on the hunt for, furniture repair pens, fleece fabric in a old bowling print (Jeff wants a robe made out of it), shoes for me for Josh and Lauren's wedding, and a few other items.  All of these were either half off, or 20% off.
~We went out to dinner for Jeff's 60th birthday and had a buy 1 get 1 free beer deal and they gave him a free slice of cheesecake.
~I've been hanging out the laundry to dry when I can.
~Rachel bought me lunch on Tuesday.
~We were blessed to spend time with all the grandboys, Rachel, Heather, Chris and Jaysn on Tuesday.
~I continue to watch shows online and also listen to beautiful music online also.
~We stocked up on ziplock type bags from the Dollar Tree.  I use them to freeze applesauce in along with fruit and veggies from the garden.
~I was tempted to buy some new Fall decor pieces but realized that I already have lots of things here and do not need anymore. OK, so I did buy those little plates, but they were just so darned cute!  I did avoid the wreaths, swags and signs...so that is a positive right?  LOL!
~The library has been getting some great books and movies in lately so I have been taking advantage of that.
~Jeff and I have been trying to get out with Caesar and take more walks. Free exercise.
~I sent some frozen homemade applesauce down to Rachel's mother who is recovering from surgery.
~We received some free samples and magazines in the mail.

   That is about all I can remember at the moment.  One more day of hot weather and then it's more Fall like weather.  I can't wait to start decorating this weekend.  Be blessed!

Thursday, August 29, 2019



   It's a cloudy day here with rain showers off and on.  This comes as a very welcome relief for me but not for our area farmers that are in the middle of harvest.  I can hear the farm trucks still running trying to get the grain that has been harvested under cover so that it does not get soaked.

   Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day in bed.  I was having a rough time of it with major brain fog and pain.  Jeff was so sweet and made dinner for us, folded all the laundry that I had done earlier in the morning and even put the laundry away.  Yes, I am blessed with a wonderful and thoughtful husband.

   It is just past noon here and I have had my coffee and shared half a peanut butter sandwich with Caesar.  He loves peanut butter!  I am trying to get motivated since I still have tons of apples and plums to process and Jaysn will be coming out later to get an air mattress from us to take with them to Rachel's sister's place for the long holiday weekend while they have a nice visit there with Rachel's sister and her mom.  My brain fog is still here with me, but is not as bad as yesterday, so I am hoping I can get something, anything, done today.

   With friends and family going out of town for the long holiday weekend, Jeff and I are stepping in to help take care of pets and watch out for our elderly neighbors.  It got me to thinking about how we are here helping Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma with anything that they need and the close and loving relationship we share with them.  Our love for them, and their's for us, is unconditional.  They have become "family" to us and in many ways, they have become the loving grandparents to our kids that my husband's parents have chosen not to be.  It is bittersweet.  I am just so very grateful for the relationship we all share with them though and for the love, encouragement and support that Bob has shown my husband also.  Watching my husband with Norma, and his gentleness with her, just melts my heart.  I know that Norma, even with dementia, knows that Jeff loves her and will always treat her with the utmost respect and love.

   I have been thinking a lot lately about life in general and how everything changes whether we want it to or not.  It's hard to accept sometimes, but we just have to adapt to those changes, as hard and frustrating as they may be.  It has been a rough week for me relearning those lessons and at times being in tears over them.  I try to keep a positive attitude but sometimes the pain and frustration just get to me and I break down.  I am learning to cope better though and come out of those funks faster and see them for what they are when I am in them.  That is progress and I am proud of myself for doing the work I needed to so that I could get to that point.

   I suppose I should wrap this post up and go take a shower.  I'm still in a prolonged Fibro flare so showering tends to wear me out but is very needed.  😉  I always feel better after having taken a shower, but sometimes need to lay down for a bit afterwards.  Such is life.







Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Computer Issues, Cooking and Trying to Keep Up


My poor neglected blog...yes, I still love you but Grammie has been overwhelmed lately.  My computer has been slowly dying (and extremely slow running), I've been cooking up applesauce from our trees like a mad woman and I have been trying to keep up with the rest of the garden produce also.  I've also been busy enjoying my kids an grandkids.  All, except the dying computer, are good things but trying to do it all has left this old lady exhausted!

   I knew that my computer was slowly dying.  It took 15 minutes just to load up today.  UGH!  Jeff and I did buy me a new one while they were on sale at Walmart about a week ago.  We even got an additional discount on it since we drove in to get one after checking online to make sure they had it in stock, only to find out once we got there that they were out of stock.  They had more coming in and set one aside for us so we drove back in 3 days later and they gave us a $25 discount for our trouble.  I need to get the new computer all updated, configured, protected and transfer some of my files to it, but I have not had a whole day or the attention span needed to do so.  The fibro fog has been thick lately and I really need to be able to concentrate fully to do it.

   My two huge crockpots have been getting a workout as they cook up batches and batches of homemade applesauce from our summer apple tree's abundance this year.  Luckily these apples have a very thin skin that breaks down as they cook so I do not need to peel them.  Jeff and I have harvested huge amounts of these apples and have had Heather and the boys come and harvest some too.  My guest bathroom's bathtub is full of apples at the moment (it is the coolest place in the house) that still need to be processed into either applesauce or dehydrated.  I already have about 24 2 cup containers of applesauce in the freezer so far and will be adding to that.  In addition to that, I have been cutting up and wild freezing plums that I foraged along with trying to take care of a glut of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and beans from our garden.  The blackberries are starting to ripen, so I have also been harvesting them every other day.

   Jeff and I have been busy trying to get other things done around here also.  He has been really busy trying to keep up with the yard along with doing a few projects.  I have been busy purging years of things that we no longer need and getting things donated to thrift stores.  We still need Jaysn and Rachel to come and get Jaysn's twin bed from his old bedroom for Steven and then I can rearrange things in there and have that as a combination pantry/storage and sewing/crafting room.  I would like to get back into using my sewing machine again for mending and to make some simple things like cobbler style aprons since those are so hard to find and I love them.  The colder weather will be here soon so I will need indoor projects to keep me busy and also keep me from going stir crazy.

   In addition to all the home processing we have been doing, I have been slowly adding to my pantry and freezer.  Winco has amazing prices on canned veggies so I have been picking up a case at a time of corn, green beans and tomato products.  I am also adding canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, calm chowder, and other things as I find them on sale.  Chicken has been on sale, so I am stocking our freezer full of that too. These are all products that we, our kids and our neighbors use and I like to have them on hand in abundance so that I/they don't need to run to the store to get them or, if money is tight, can make a meal from.  I'm back to cooking in bulk so that I can stock our freezer with ready made meals or components of meals. This week I cooked up a bunch of venison burger and seasoned it with taco seasoning.  We made taco salad with some and I am using the rest of it to make two pans of enchiladas.  One will go into the freezer and the other will be eaten this week.  Yesterday I made a huge pot full of potato and corn chowder using some hashbrowns that had been lingering in my freezer.  Some of that will be frozen for at least 2 future meals.  I really find that having these on hand is very frugal and gives me huge peace of mind, especially on days where I cannot manage to cook a meal from scratch.

   Trying to "do it all" had left me exhausted.  I push myself to get things done that need to be done and then find myself collapsing.  I have spent more time in bed and napping and/or unable to walk unless I hold onto the walls for support or Jeff helps me, than I care to admit to.  There have been many nights when my pain levels were so high (I always have pain, but these are above and beyond my "normal") that I cannot sleep and fight back the tears.  There have also been moments when I have considered going to the hospital just to be able to get some pain meds that will cut the pain levels so I can sleep.  I have a super high pain tolerance level so even considering that tells you how bad it has been.  Life with Fibromyalgia in NOT fun and it takes everything I have just to make it through the really tough days when my body has totally broken down.  Yes, I know I need to pace myself, but fresh produce will not wait and needs to be processed before it goes bad.  Jeff does help as much as possible, but he has his own health issues and is in pain also.  What a pair we make. 😜  At least we can understand how the other one is feeling, so that is a plus.

   I'd better end this here.  I am out on the back porch and it is heating up quickly.  I can feel a flare coming on due to the heat and the changing barometric pressure.  We have a high weather front moving in and I can feel it in every fiber of my body, even my hair follicles on top of my head.  I need to get a few more things done this morning before my body will not allow me to do any more.  Be blessed!  



Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sensory Overload and Anxiety


   To be perfectly transparent, I have no idea exactly what this blog post is going to include as I start it or it it will even make sense.  Call it the mad ramblings of a woman who has been sleep deprived for years and prays to God that she will get more than 28 minutes in the deep sleep cycle (the one where the body heals itself) a night.  It does not matter how many hours of sleep I eventually get, but the quality of that sleep is what matters and mine is severely lacking in that department. Sleep medications do not help me get into that deep cycle and just make me feel hungover and the other medications that I have tried have the same effect.  This had led to some interesting days around here. Throw in the pain that comes with Fibromyalgia also, and let's not forget the anxiety and depression that rear their ugly heads.  The struggle has been hard and real lately.

   I was doing pretty well with keeping the anxiety and depression under control there for quite awhile and was honestly taken aback when it started to become a problem again.  I thought that maybe my medication to help me deal with it needed to be adjusted again.  Then I had 2 fairly good days and I realized that maybe something was triggering it.  I thought about when I started struggling again and what brought that on and then what had been different the past two days when I had not been having issues.  There was a common factor.

   Sensory Overload is something that I have struggled with for most of my life and I did not know that it and the migraines that I have had since childhood could also be related to Fibromyalgia.  Lights, chaos, crowds, noises, smells, even texture and temperature along with colors can really upset me and send me into a flare.  I noticed that my ramping up coincided with some loud and obnoxious sounds in our neighborhood and then stopped for two days when that sound was not present.  

   Here is the thing though, I can do what I can to mitigate and dampen the sounds, but I cannot totally eliminate them since I have no control over the person who is making and causing them.  I have felt like my home, which had been my sanctuary, has been unfairly invaded by these horrible noises.  I can't just shut all the windows and doors this time of year because I need to have air circulating to keep things cool and dry in our home and the fur babies need to be able to come in and out off the back porch.  

   Sometimes it feel like a dark cloud is coming in and taking over.  I just want to retreat from it and feel safe in my home.  Is that too much to ask?

 Added the next day:

    I thought I was basically done with this post until I discovered some really disturbing information on someone who has caused me deep pain as a child that I am still trying to work through.  Upon learning about the information, it sent my anxiety through the roof.  It also brought back horrible memories for me, some of which I had been suppressing for years.  I was not able to sleep until my husband got home at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday at which time I totally collapsed and was out for about 3 1/2 hours.  I was in full on fight or flight mode until then.  Here it is 3:25 a.m. on Thursday morning and I am so tired but still wired.  I desperately need to sleep but my mind and body will not allow it.  Praying that sleep will come soon...I'm running on fumes and that continues the vicious anxiety loop that I seem to be in once again.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/2-8/8 2019

~We had Steven here with us so Jeff got up early so he could spend time with him too.
~We took Steven to get milkshakes at Ferdinand's, which is the creamery at WSU where they make fresh ice cream and cheese.  After that, we stopped at the bear research center, also at WSU, to see the bears.  He loved going to both places. 😊
~From there we headed to Goodwill and found him a stuffed animal that converts back and forth from a dolphin to a walrus.  We also got 2 shirts for Jeff (some of the ones he has now have got to be tossed out because they are so stained) and a glass kitchen container.  Jaysn met us there after he got off work and took Steven home with him.
~Jeff asked if we wanted to just go out for dinner and I said no.  We stopped at Winco to pick up some groceries and got a footlong sandwich and some salads from the deli instead...much cheaper.  We also picked up 3 kinds of lettuces for me to make huge salads with since this coming week is going to be a scorcher and I don't plan of cooking much.  We found huge pork roasts marked down so I also bought a double pack of those and froze them for future meals.  BLueberries were super cheap so I got a package of those and will be freezing at least half of them.
~I picked more raspberries in the evening from our bushes.  They are finally slowing down.
~I froze more overripe bananas for breads and muffins and threw the peels on the roses.
~Steven helped me harvest more squash and tomatoes while he was here.  He is a good little helper and loves to be in the garden.
~Jeff broke his glasses the other day so we took them into our eye glass place and they found some discontinued style frames that fit his lenses.  They gave him a wonderful deal and only charged him $50 for the frames and putting his lenses into them.  That saved us about $400 since he has bifocals with special coatings on them.

~Jeff and I both slept in because we were exhausted!  We have been going, going, going way too much and had another busy day ahead of us. I did get up earlier in the morning to have Caesar go pee though and let the cats out on the back porch and then headed myself back to bed.
~We met the family at the bowling alley and Jeff was able to bowl for free.  It was Steven's first time bowling with the help of a ramp and his cousins Bradley and Isaiah cheered him on and were huge helps in keeping him semin corraled.  Jeremy also bought me a cider from the bar.
~We all went to Pizza Hut for dinner and Jaysn found a deal where the large pizzas were just $12.99 each so each family bought one and we all shared.
~I was given a bottle of wine by my cousin Jeremy and some Lularoe leggings and a tops by Feather, Chris, Bradley and Isaiah for my birthday gift.  I then recycled the gift bag and tissue paper and added it to my stash.

~Jeff went over to help Chris caulk the seams on the siding of their house so that they could get it painted.  I was supposed to go over also and go to church with Heather and the boys, but I was totally out of it and slept right through Jeff leaving.  Luckily Heather knew that I may not make it ahead of time.
~I got up and harvested tomatoes and squash.
~The sheets were washed and hung out on the laundry line to dry.
~I marinated some thinly sliced top round steaks in homemade teriyaki sauce.
~I made a cold iced vanilla latte instead of having hot coffee when I got up.
~The neighbor's dog was barking like crazy and driving me nuts.  I needed something to help calm my jangled nerves so I pulled up my friend Gary Haleamau's playlist on YouTube and streamed it on my TV. Gary Haleamau Music   Gary and I grew up together and he is considered one of Hawaii's Living Legends in music.  He now lives in Las Vegas and we were able to get together with him and some of his beautiful family when we were down visiting Josh and Lauren last Fall.
~Jeff gave Bradley and Isaiah the Cornhole game that he made for Isaiah's birthday and they were thrilled.  Some of their friends were there and now they have asked Jeff to make one for their family also.  They are going to pay him for it.  I think Jeff has just found himself a side job!
~Heather sent a huge bag of tortilla chips from Costco and a bag of huckleberries that she picked home with Jeff for us.
~I did some bulk cooking and made a huge batch of pancakes and portuguese sausage.  We had some for dinner and the rest will be used for meals later this week. 3/4 of the pancakes were plain and 1/4 were blueberry.  Jeff is not a fan of blueberry pancakes.
~I also cooked a big batch of rice and saved some for eating with the teriyaki later in the week and made a big batch of sushi rice with the rest.
~Jeff brought in a tall comfy stool from the garage for me to sit on while I cooked up all the pancakes and sausage since my back was going out on me.

~Jeff closed the house up in the morning to keep the cooler air in and try to drown out the noise of the barking dog and screeching dog owner.  UGH!
~I worked on my points programs.
~I had some green onions that were huge in the garden so I harvested them, cut them up and put them in a container in the fridge to use this week.
~More tomatoes were harvested from the garden.
~Jeff and I had our main meal of the day for lunch.  I fried up the teriyaki thinly sliced steaks and we had 4 of them (they were little) and saved two (along with some of the sauce) to make a stir fry later in the week.  I served those with some of the rice I made yesterday and a pad thai veggie stir fry with peanut sauce.
~Cold coffee drinks are some of my favorite summer treats so I brewed an extra strong pot and put that coffee in the fridge so it is ready to use.
~We have lots of fires surrounding us once again which means we could get some heavy smoke moving in tomorrow and Wednesday.  We are also under a high heat warning.  We are being told to keep our pets inside and severely limit our activities. Since we use a swamp cooler to chill our home down during the hotter months, this may mean we cannot use it since it will draw in the smoke.  With that in mind, I got all my cooking for the next few days done late into the night.
~I made a bacon ranch with ham and cheese noodle salad and my squash casserole that I love so much.
~I also refilled the Berkey water filter because it was getting low.
~I gave all the gardens and trees a deep watering and moved some of the more heat sensitive plants under a flowering plum and a willow bush so they would stay cooler.
~I also picked some more raspberries.
~More shows were watched online.
~Caesar and I took a walk when it cooled down in the evening and saw that some of the wild plums are about ready to pick.

~I slept in until noon...apparently my body needed it.
~Jeff and I had the salad I made last night for lunch when he got up.
~Jeff headed into town to pick up Caesar's prescription and another gallon of milk.  He took his little car, that does not have AC even though it is 100F outside.
~I harvested some tomatoes and squash from the garden. I was out there for about a minute and thought I would melt from the heat.
~I kept the fur babies inside for the most part during the day since it was so hot.
~When it finally cooled down to 90F, Jeff and I took a walk down the hill to forage for some of the wild plums.  We got quite a few and left a lot to further ripen and/or for other people.  The heat just about killed me and I found it hard to breathe,  Such is life with Fibromyalgia.
~Jeff and I worked on watering the gardens once the sun started to go down.
~Dinner was whatever we had in the fridge or sandwiches.  There was no way I was going to cook in this heat.

~Another scorcher of a day so I slept the morning away since I could not fall asleep until after 4 a.m. yet again.
~I'm attempting to grow some more basil starts in water from the trimmings I took off my basil plants outside.  I am hoping to overwinter the new plants inside so I have fresh basil year round.
~Jeff and I did sit down and make a new budget and plan for paying off debt while still getting more money into our savings account.
~Leftovers for lunch.
~I called our vet about Caesar's stomach ulcers caused by the steroids.  We are trying something new to get the bleeding to stop.  Poor baby.  I feel so bad for him.
~Jeff and I used our hot tub (unheated) to cool off. It felt so good!
~Jeff had leftover teriyaki and rice and I had a crab sushi all made here at home.
~I watered the gardens at night since it has been so hot and I wanted to make sure that nothing got burned from the sun.
~Jeff had his DOT physical today for his job so her took the paperwork and the receipt in to work so he will get reimbursed for the cost of it since he had to pay up front.
~Beautiful piano music calms me so I had that playing for part of the day via YouTube.

~I got some tamales out of the freezer for dinner and served those with a big salad.
~Harvested raspberries, blueberries, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes from the garden.
~I worked my points programs.
~The Hawaii girl came out in me so since I could not sleep, I watched surfing competitions on YouTube.  I loved watching surfing in person growing up and found it really relaxing.  I'm a water girl at heart.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trying to Find "Balance" Again

Bradley, Auntie Lauren, Uncle Josh, Steven and Isaiah

   The picture above is one of my favorites of Josh, Lauren and the little boys.  Those boys love their auntie and uncle and the feeling is mutual!  

   Life has been so busy starting out with Josh and Lauren coming over for a visit at the end of May.  We loved having them here and having our whole family together again. :)  We thought things would slow down after that but, as things always seem to go, life got even busier.  

   To be honest, things have become a bit of a blur for me.  It seems like we are always running somewhere be it for Caesar's ongoing health issues, helping the kids with various things, spending precious time with our family, running errands and just trying to keep up with the gardens and the harvesting around here.  Throw in an obnoxious person with a screeching voice who lives in our neighborhood and likes to yell at her poor dog and it sends me into sensory overload and brings on migraines and sends me into a HUGE flare.  

   It has also been really hot here and I don't do the heat well at all.  I tried to go for a short walk today and ended up in lots of pain and could hardly breathe.  I felt like I had lead weights all over my body dragging me down.  Jeff had me sit down in my recliner to recover and took care of some things around here until I was able to get up and go work on watering the front garden while he took care of the back ones.

   We have had to put out more money than we had planned on and have had to resort to using the credit card to pay for Caesar's medical bills.  Jeff broke his glasses, so we needed to get him some new frames.  Luckily the lenses were still good and not damaged, so we could reuse those.

   Between all of this and the heat really messing with my sleep even more than normal, I am not doing all that well although I try to hide it as much as possible, and I keep pushing myself beyond my limits.  I have spent more time in my darkened bedroom curled up in my bed, sometimes with a pillow over my head, trying to drown out the noises of the world than I can keep track of.  

   I need to find some sense of Balance again in my life.

   There are things that I can control, and things that I cannot.  Unfortunately there is not a remote control that I can use to turn the volume down or mute a certain screeching person or their yapping dog.  What I can try to do though is go into the room farthest away from them within our home, close the door and turn on a fan to try and drown them out.  Tomorrow's project is going to be to get the guest bed made in there and set up the fan to do just that.  I'm also going to look for some room darkening curtains for that room when at the thrift stores or at Ross or Marshall's. 

   Moneywise, Jeff and I are going to sit down and redo the budget once again so we can pay off the medical bills as quickly as possible.  I've told him I would also like to go to a cash only grocery budget because it helps limit impulse buying on my part. 😉  Any leftover cash from the previous two weeks envelope can either be used to stock up on good deals or put back in the budget to pay off bills faster.  We also need to commit to not eating out as much again...we have slipped up on that one big time.

   My biggest challenge is going to be reigning myself in from doing way too much.  My health just can't handle it.  There is a certain "tipping point" for me and I have just run right over that too many times lately only to pay for it with increased pain (the kind that makes you nauseous), no energy, and having my anxiety and depression ramping up.  

   This will not be easy for me, or for Jeff for that matter.  He and I are both going to have to make some much needed changes and sacrifices because he too needs to find more balance in his life.  He tends to push himself to the limit and then burns out.  He has reached that point here lately and did not even argue with me when I told him to just sit and relax for a few days.  He gets antsy if he has to sit around, so when he agrees to just sit, I know he is either sick or totally burnt out.

   I think that finding balance in our lives is something that is universal to everyone.  It is something that most people I know struggle with.  I also think that with the way things are in our world today, we need to find a way to shut out the hustle bustle and just plain ugliness and find peace within our own homes if at all possible.  I know I do.




Thursday, August 1, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/19-8/1 2019 Two Week Edition

Week 1
~We harvested cherries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and strawberries from the garden.
~I froze 8 cups of raspberries for future baking.
~Laundry was hung on the line to dry.
~Lunch was a Caesar salad that Mom sent home with us and broiled cheese sandwiches on sourdough.
~We got a frozen pizza out for dinner.
~Jeff had found a James Bond movie on dvd at a yard sale awhile back so we watched that instead of going to the movies at a theater.

~We harvested more cherries, tomatoes and raspberries.
~I started some raspberry infused gin with some of the raspberries from the garden.
~Our bedding and towels were washed and then hung out on the line to dry.
~Jeff worked on making a cornhole game for Isaiah's upcoming birthday.
~I cooked up over a pound of ground venison to make taco salads and other meals with.  The weather is getting hotter and we wanted cold meals.
~Caesar got a good brushing to help keep him cooler and more comfortable.
~I watched some shows online and continued to read a book I got from the library during the hottest part of the day.
~Jeff and I had to run into town to pick up some more materials to make the cornhole game.  While there we stopped at Walmart to pick up my prescription and found some great marked down lunchmeat, cheese and bread.
~We watered the gardens in the evening when it was cooler.
~Jeff and I hot tubbed in the evening to ease those aching muscles from being overworked trying to get most of the outside stuff done before the heat climbed to the point where it would make me sick.

~Harvested strawberries, raspberries and a few blueberries.
~I made a layered taco enchilada casserole with the leftover taco meat, some seasonings and some flour tortillas that needed to be used up.  We had that for lunch and had enough leftover for at least one more meal.
~We watered the gardens in the evening.
~For dinner we made chicken breast sandwiches and I had mine with tomato from our garden.
~Our treat today was another cheesecake slice with fresh raspberries on the side from the garden.
~I refilled our Berkey water filter since we are going through tons of water to drink.

~I had plans to get up early and get a bunch of things done but was awoken at 3:44 a.m. by the sounds of our neighbor's son's truck running in the driveway next to our's.  Aunt Norma had fallen again so I stayed up and prayed as the sun rose and then went back to bed when I knew she was going to be ok.
~The library had 4 movies in for me so I ran down there to get them.
~Leftovers were what we had for lunch.
~I watched several YouTube videos to get me caught up on the national news.
~My sister Leonie and I had a nice video chat today.  She lives in Tahiti and I am so blessed that we can remain close and actually see each other via video chat.
~I washed my bras and used those clip hangers that you get from the store when you buy towels or pants to hang them up to dry on our bathroom's shower curtain rod.

~Jeff took Caesar in to the vet to get his teeth cleaned and to get his rabies shot.  They had to put him under to do it.  They called and said they were concerned that he might have an autoimmune disease based on his gums being badly inflamed and some things going on with his nose and ears.  I authorized a biopsy so we can hopefully get some answers and see if it is something that we can treat or if it is just something that he will have to live with.  It could also be something that will shorten his life...I am praying it is not.  We are going to have to tighten our financial belts even more to pay for this.
~The vet told us that w could moisten Caesar's dry dog food for the next 10 days instead of having to go out and buy canned dog food.  He is a big dog and it would take lots of canned dog food to fill him up.
~In that frame of mind, I looked at more budget friendly and frugal videos on YouTube since reading blogs is harder for me when I am in a fibro flare as I am now due to the heat (it drains my energy and makes it really hard to sleep or even move).
~Dinner was a rotisserie chicken that I had bought previously while it was marked down and then frozen along with some homemade potato salad using parsley and dill from our garden.
~I picked more raspberries before an evening storm rolled in.
~I watched several TV shows online.

~I loaded up digital coupons on my Safeway card.
~The weather was so much cooler that I was able to go out and pick more raspberries and blueberries without dying of heatstroke.
~I spent the morning on my back porch just enjoying life and watching YouTube videos trying to learn new skills.  My fur babies joined me and napped.  They all tend to stay close to me during the day and evening.
~We got quite a bit of rain last night and it really helped fill up my rain barrel.  We will be using that water to water our fruit trees in the back yard.
~Since it rained so much last night and into the early morning hours, there is no need to water the gardens today.
~Jeff and I took a walk with Caesar.
~My hanai sister came over to pick raspberries in the afternoon.
~I made a double batch of blueberry/raspberry muffins.  Some will be going to a friend who had surgery, some went into the freezer and the rest are for us to enjoy.
~Jeff and I watched "Captain America" on dvd that I borrowed from the library.
~Dinner was a raid the fridge kind of night with each of us getting what we wanted.
~I watched several tv shows online.
~I have been having trouble with heartburn and acid reflux again (I think it is because I am eating so much fruit).  It got really bad late in the evening so I drank some apple cider vinegar and it was gone within a minute.

~It is Isaiah's birthday today!  Our cuddle bug is now 6 years old.  I was able to facetime with him over the computer while he was out for his special birthday lunch.
~The heat is building back up outside and I can feel the pressure in my sinuses...ouch!  I kept the house closed up for the most part trying to keep the cool air that came in overnight in the house.
~As the heat and air pressure rises, so do my pain levels.  I took a shower last night and just let my hair dry naturally.  I had planned on wetting it down this morning and styling it but that is clearly not going to happen now.  I just brushed it out and put a hat on when I had to run some muffins down to the bank for a friend who works there to take over to another friend who just had surgery.  They live just down the road from each other in the next town over.

Week 2

This week will be one running long list because there was way too much going on and I forgot to write things down each day...such is life and oh what a week it was!

~I continued to harvest raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes and got my first cucumber and zucchini out of the garden this week also.
~Black Flea Beetles attacked my side garden and I lost my kale and swiss chard to them but was able to save my tomatoes by dusting the plants with talcum powder.
~Poor Caesar.  He started to have accidents in the house and pooping black poop.  This all started when he was put on the steroids.  We had to cut back the steroid dosage and add Pepcid to his meds to try and stop the bleeding in his stomach from the steroids.  The lab results also came back and he has a benign tumor (thank God) in his mouth and also had a form of lupus that is not systemic that they think can be controlled with a topical ointment on some of the areas it has affected (his nose and ears).  He has been on soft canned dog food (which is a budget killer) because the dry dog food that was softened with water was not agreeing with him.  We take him back into the vet today (Thursday) for a follow up and hopefully will get the all clear to put him back on his regular dry dog food and be able to take him off the steroids that have been causing him such grief.
~We came home Wednesday to find 2 more huge branches from our big old cherry tree had come down.  Luckily it missed my laundry line and Caesar had been on his lower cable by the house and not under the tree.  Jeff got the branches all cut up and hauled to the driveway but sadly in the process ended up breaking his eyeglasses. 😖  He was so upset with himself.  Luckily he still had his old pair, which is close enough to his current prescription, that he was able to wear those and be able to go to work and be able to see to drive.  Yes, now those will have to be replaced and even though they were under warranty, the place he got them from is now out of business.
~I will see if any of our friends or family want the wood from the cherry tree to use in their smokers or for crafting.
~Laundry was hung out to dry whenever possible.  That translates into whenever I had the energy or Jeff was awake to do so.  It has been a bad flare week for me.
~I planted more of the green onions bottoms from the grocery store that I rooted in water into the garden.
~I used old nylons that I cut into strips to tie the slicing cucumber plants up the trellis to try and get them off the ground and trellis train them.
~I found some great deals in the marked down areas of Walmart and other stores.
~I was able to make 2 first aid kits from pencil boxes that were on sale at Walmart and first aid items from the Dollar Tree.  These will be given to our neighbors who are headed off to college this Fall.
~I froze more bags of mixed fruit (blueberries and raspberries from our garden) for double batches of muffins.  I'm thinking I may make muffins for gifts for our neighbors at Christmas.
~Jeff and I stocked up on pain meds, greeting cards, facial wipes, and a few grocery items at the Dollar Tree.
~We have been really good about not going out to eat as much and trying to eat at home even though it has been hot and my energy levels are pretty low.
~We had a yard sale over the weekend (town wide yard sale weekend) and we made over $100 just on items that we had laying around.  I decided at the last minute to do it or we would have had even more stuff to sell.  Some of the items were things that we had gotten for free while "treasure hunting" when the college students moved out in the Spring.  I set aside $60 of that towards our trip to Montana this Fall for Josh and lauren's wedding.
~Jeff found 2 shirts and a ball for Chris' hitch and I found a pair of capri length leggings at Goodwill. I live in capri length leggings in the warmer months.  One of his shirts came out to $1 (reduced color tag of the week) and the other was just $1.99.
~I cashed out our rewards points attached to our credit card and debit card accounts and took the cash option.  I had that money put directly into our savings account.
~Jeff picked up more bread on sale on Thursday morning on his way home from work.  He knew that the heat was really getting to me and did not want me to have to be making bread even though I told him I would.  Sometimes, health wise, we do have to buy things that I would normally make here at home.
~Our budget for the first 2 weeks in August is really tight due to paying off the second half of the  property taxes.  I'm making a menu based on what we have on hand here for the most part.  I do have money set aside for a family birthday party though (that money came from the yard sale profits).
~More shows and videos were watched online.
~I continue to read books and watch videos that we have borrowed from the library.
~I made a pitcher of iced tea to drink instead of drinking so much seltzer.
~The fur babies and I try to spend mornings out on the back screened in porch while it is still cool.  I have my coffee and sometimes get on the computer.  Many times though I just sit and watch the birds, our squirrel friend who entertains us with it's antics, and enjoy that cooler breezes before the heat builds up or a certain annoying neighbor comes outside and breaks the blissful and peacefulness of the morning.
~My cousin sold a clock I had on consignment at his shop.  He paid me my cut of the sale.  I put that money away so that I am not tempted to spend it.

~Our vet is amazing.  She was able to get a medication that we needed for Caesar formulated for us for $50 instead of the $500 the big pharmaceutical company wanted to charge us. It is something that he is going to need to battle his Lupus for the rest of his life.  It turns out that I taught 2 of her stepsons also. 😊

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Deeper Appreciation


One of the Beavers making their way around the canal.

   Jeff and I recently returned from a wonderful vacation spent with my parents and my brother Fritz.  My parents graciously invited us to stay an extra day after Jeff had sprained his wrist the Saturday before we were to leave to go and see them and his bosses gave him the rest of the week off since he was on "one handed light duty" for 7 days according to the physician at the emergency room.  As usual, my parents and my brothers spoiled us.

   My parents live on the shores of a beautiful lake in Montana and it really had become a healing place for us all.  Everyone in our family goes there to rest, recuperate and recharge.  The view from their deck in breathtaking (every view from their home is amazing) and we all love spending time out there watching the wildlife and taking in the views.  This trip we were treated to seeing a mother deer with her twin babies frolicking around on the little island right in front of the house that forms the canal, two beavers cutting down branches and taking them down into their dens to feed their family, lots of geese and ducks and some turtles sunning themselves.  While out on the boat, we also had a bald eagle swoop down and catch a fish right in front of us.  

   We went out to eat at two places that my father wanted to share with us and were greeted warmly at each place.  My mother also made delicious meals at the house and wanted me to not have to cook, which I thought was so sweet of her.  We all did spend time out in the garden harvesting cherries and strawberries together and as a team, we were able to get a lot done in a short amount of time.  My sweet hubby did some odd jobs, fixing chairs and adjusting doors, that could be done for the most part with one hand.  He saw a need and just started in doing it.  He shows his love for others through doing or building things for people and he loves my parents and brother beyond measure.  My brother and I had long and deep conversations about life and faith...it is something that I look forward to every time we go over to visit.  We were not close and even clashed a lot as children, but have become very close and supportive of each other as adults.  He is such a strong person and I have so much respect for him.

   While there I found some old family photo albums from previous generations.  My mother and I went through them and tried to sort out who was who.  Luckily I have been doing the family genealogy and was able to put some names to faces based on other photos that I had recently inherited from one of my grandmothers and great grandmothers that my cousin Jeremy had given me.  Hopefully this will also help me identify more people in the huge box of photos that I have sitting in my closet.  My mother sent the very worn and falling apart album home with me.  She also sent us home with Rainier cherries from her tree (we had taken her 2 huge bags of Chinook cherries from our tree, a big container of raspberries from our bushes and some blueberries), macadamia nuts, lilikoi butter, and homemade jams, a salad kit and a whole cheesecake.  

   On the way home, we met up with Chris, Heather and the boys, and gave them some shirts, two quilts Mom made for Bradley and Isaiah, and a drill press that my father graciously gave to Heather for her sign business.  It was so good to see and hug our kids and and the little boys.  Then, on Friday, Jaysn and Steven surprised us with a visit while Rachel was working late.  Seeing them come through the door just made my day!  I had missed them all so much and would have loved to have seen Rachel too if she had been able to come.

   I so enjoy getting away and spending time with those that I love and also coming home again to our own cozy little nest and being greeted by our fur babies, who although spoiled by our house and pet sitters, are always happy to have "their people" back home again.  Puttering around in my yard and harvesting fresh produce this time of year just makes me happy and is something I do very soon after we arrive home.  It relaxes me.  I spend the next couple of days getting my house back in order and reassuring the fur babies that we are home with them and that all is well in their world again.

   This last trip over and coming home again gave me so much of a deeper appreciation of everyone and everything that fills my life with such meaning.  I have been working on being more positive and appreciative lately and trying to change my mindset to focus on that and not the bad as much and it has been a success for the most part.  Our family has really pulled together even more lately and gotten even closer.  I look at other families and realize just how blessed and special our relationships are.  The unconditional love we have for one another and being able to really cheer each other on and lift each other up in hard and trying times shows how deep our bonds are.  Coming home to our fur babies and being greeted with excitement by them is heartwarming.  Being able to relax in our home that my husband has worked so hard on remodeling to make it a more pleasant, comfortable and brighter place for us all over the years makes me fall even more deeply in love with him because I know that he did this for us and that is one of the ways he shows us just how much he loves and treasures us all.  

   Jeff and I were both able to really relax, unwind and feel totally enveloped in love while we were with my parents and brother and again be enveloped in love as we returned home.  It is a wonderful feeling and one that I treasure.  I feel so very blessed by my family, my home and my life.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/5-7/11 2019

   Here it is Friday morning and I think I am finally starting to come out of this flare.  Oh my goodness, it has been a bad one.  We had the housesitter over yesterday to go over things and my brain just would not work. I was at a loss for simple words and my husband had to fill in all the blanks.  I explained what was going on to the housesitter because she had never seen me in a flare before and I did not want her to think I was on something. 😉  Today we need to do some running of errands and shopping once Jeff gets up and get some bills paid before we head out of town on Sunday for a few days.  We also have a wedding to go to in Genesee, Idaho tomorrow afternoon and I am worried about how I am going to handle the heat.  I don't want to miss it though because I love the family so very much and we have been great friends and homeschooled together for years.  Enough about all of that, onto the frugal doings for the week...

~We stayed home so I could rest as much as possible.
~I did water the gardens later in the evening.
~I picked more raspberries, strawberries, cherries and the first of the blueberries.
~More shows were watched online.
~I started reading the book "Not Buying It" that I borrowed from the library.

~Steven came to spend the day with us while his parents went down to help get his Grandma's house ready for her when she is able to come home once again.
~Jeremy brought his dog Maggie over for a playdate with Caesar and they had a wonderful time together.
~Jeremy also picked a bunch of cherries to take home with him.
~I made us all an easy lunch of cheese, crackers and Summer sausage.
~Jeremy came bearing gifts of wine and chocolate.
~We took Steven down to see his favorite "bubble lady" (our friend who owns and runs the local co-op store) and she gave him a nice American flag to keep and wave around.  She is so sweet!

~Heather and the little boys, Bradley and Isaiah, came over for a visit and to pick cherries and raspberries.  The little boys helped me pick strawberries too!    It was wonderful to have them over also and to see all the projects that they have been working on for the upcoming craft fair that they are going to be part of.
~We watched more episodes of Mork and Mindy on dvd.

~It was my birthday and Jeff gave me a cute little card with a frog on it from our greeting card stash (I was really proud of him for getting a card from the stash).
~He took me out to lunch at our favorite Greek restaurant.
~We went to two thrift stores and I found a new dress, a new with tags pajama gown (some of my older cooler weather ones need to be relegated to becoming rags), a dvd, cd, book for the little boys and 2 bags of vacuum cleaner bags that fit our vacuum cleaner.  SCORE!!!  Oh, everything at Goodwill was 20% off for us since we are senior citizens.
~We also went to Walmart and ran into my cousin there so we shared hugs before wee all got to shopping.
~I found marked down bagels, donuts, and salad kits.  We also stocked up on chips, microwave popcorn and Skittles candy to make a snack and treat basket for our house sitter who will  be staying here with our fur babies and tending to our gardens when we go away for a few days.  We love our Desi and want to make sure that she feels a bit spoiled while she is here.
~I got the sweetest message today on Facebook from one of my former students from my first few years of teaching who also became our babysitter before we moved back up this way from Oregon.  She became part of our family and we love her dearly.  She thanked me for the difference I made in her life by believing in her, encouraging her and seeing the spark in her that she could not see in herself at the time.  She is now an amazing social worker and I could not be prouder of her!
~I got to talk to most of my family within the past few days and it has been wonderful!
~Jeff filled my car up with gas while we were in Moscow, Idaho today.  It was .35 cents  cheaper per gallon there than in Washington state.
~I restocked us on our vitamins and supplements going through Swagbucks to Vitacost and using a 20% off code.

~Jeff picked a bunch more cherries off our tree.  Some are for us, some will be going over to Montana with us for my parents and brother, and some are for friends.
~We used our hot tub to cool off in the heat and soothe my aching muscles.
~Jeff dropped off some things in the library drop box for me on his way out of town so I would not need to run down there on Wednesday.
~I worked my points programs.
~More tvs shows and YouTube videos were watched since I could not do much while in a bad Fibro flare.
~Our hanai sister came over and picked raspberries and we had a really nice visit.  Jeff also sent her home with a huge bag of cherries.

~Still in a flare but I did manage to get Jeff's laundry done.  I was going to hang it out on the line to dry, but we had some scattered rain clouds so I ended up putting it in the dryer.
~I worked my points programs.
~I harvested raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes.
~I had our hanai sister come over again today to harvest raspberries.  There are so many on the bushes and honestly, I cannot get them all picked by myself.  She loves raspberries and I love sharing with her.
~Jeff BBQed burgers for dinner and I got the last of the corn on the cob cooked up for us.

~Jeff got another sprinkler set up in the front garden so that it would be easier for our house sitter while she is here and also for me when I am in a flare.
~I picked strawberries and blueberries.
~More shows were watched online.
~I planted green onions that I rooted from the bottoms of ones I bought at the grocery store.
~Jeff and I had leftovers and fruit from the garden and store for lunch.
~He made nachos for us for dinner.  I am still in a flare so I did not do any cooking.
~I went into my gift closet and found a wedding gift and another graduation gift for some special people in our lives.
~Jeff sent home a huge bag of cherries with our housesitter.

   Since we will be gone part of next week, I am not sure if I will get Frugal Friday Wrap Up done for that.  I know that we will be spoiled rotten by my parents, as usual.  This mini vacation is one that is much needed for both Jeff and I and we plan on spending most of it just relaxing at my parent's home and going out on the lake in the party boat and maybe even taking the canoe out for a bit.  I love falling asleep while  watching the reflection of the moon on the lake as I lay in the hand carved log bed snuggled up under one of my mother's beautiful handmade quilts and then waking up to the view of the lake and the water glistening with the morning sun. The conversations with my parents and my middle brother Fritz are always interesting and I am finding that my father especially is sharing more about his childhood and his time in the military now that he is getting older.  I am constantly learning new things about him and I love it.  Our hanai son Ben may be coming up to see us while we are there also since he now lives about an hour south of them.  It will be so good to see him too.  Be blessed and have a great week!