Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Wonderful Gift!

   Our Josh and Lauren blessed us with an early Christmas gift of paying for half of our plane tickets to come visit them and meet our new Granddaughter Peyton and spend time with our grandson Tate.   They spoiled us rotten while we were there with trips to Ethel B's Christmas Light display in the cactus garden, seeing the Christmas display at the Bellagio, Lauren took me to Ikea and Josh taking Jeff golfing.  They also took us out to eat so many times!  Best of all though was spending so much time with them cuddling our granddaughter and spend lots of time playing with Tate.  Tate and I even made Cranberry Orange Bread together!  One morning we met my friend Sheena, from high school, for breakfast.  We were so busy catching up that we forgot to take a picture.  LOL! It was a lovely week and one that built memories that will last a lifetime.  


We are home and missing them all now.  It's so hard having them so far away but we know that is what is working for them right now.  They will be moving in the Spring to Utah and hopefully we will be able to spend more time together since it will only be a long 1 day drive to see them.  Precious memories were made and we are so very thankful for this wonderful early Christmas gift!


Friday, November 18, 2022

Tragedy in Moscow, Idaho


   I know that Fridays are supposed to be my frugal Friday Wrap Up post, but this week had been a very rough one for our local area.  Over last weekend, 4 college students were brutally murdered in their home, while 2 other students living there somehow came out alive with no injuries.  Those 2 other students are fully cooperating with the police, and I am sure they are in shock.  If you have not heard about this horrible crime, as it has made the national news, here are two links to news articles on it...

   Our hearts break for the students killed, their friends and family and the University of Idaho campus, where they all attended school together.  One of my friend's sons were friends with the girls that lost their lives.  I have no idea how they are going to begin to process this since they grew up with these girls and were then in college with them.  😭

   Moscow, Idaho is a tight knit community where people for the most part feel safe.  At first the police said they did not feel that there was a threat to the community after these gruesome murders, but later walked that back.  We now know that there is a murder(s) out there on the loose and no one is feeling safe.

   I, along with Rachel, graduated from the University of Idaho.  We have friends that work there.  Jaysn, Rachel and Steven live right outside of that town.  Steven goes to school in Moscow and both Jeff and Rachel work in Moscow.  Jeff was born and raised there.  Chris, being a Latah County Sheriff's corporal, works out of that town also and knows most of the guys doing the investigation since he also used to work for the Moscow Police Department and went to POST or taught at POST with some of the Idaho State Police officers who are also up here helping.

   Moscow, Idaho is where I do most of my shopping and where the rest of our family up here does also.  Rachel, Steven and Jaysn go to church in Moscow.  Our family is strongly tied to this beautiful community where such a horrific crime took place.  We pray they find the murder(s) soon and that they never see the light of day again.


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Peyton Andi is here!


Our little princess, Peyton Andi, is here!  She made her grand entrance into the world on Saturday Nov. 5. 2022 at 9:25 a.m..  

   She is 7 pounds and 22 inches long.  She and her Mommy are both doing great and hope to be going home today.

   As you can see, her Daddy (our son Josh) is totally in love with his little girl. 💓

   Her Daddy is already planning on getting more guns, and a shovel if needed, 😉, if anyone hurts his little girl.  LOL!

   Peyton will be joining her big brother Tate to complete their little family.  Grammie and G-pa (Jeff and I) will be flying down at the end of this month to cuddle our little princess and play with our Tater Tot. 😊  Not going to lie, every time I see our little Peyton, I get all teared up.  We finally have a girl!

Friday, November 4, 2022

Frugal "Luxuries" that make Life Better


   Life, oh life!  Sometimes we get so caught up in everything around us and don't take time to nurture ourselves.  It's a trap that many women (and men) find themselves falling into.  I have been climbing my way out of that trap and trying to nurture myself in small and frugal ways.  It has paid big dividends in my attitude towards life in general, and that is something that I definitely needed to do.  So instead of a Frugal Friday Wrap up for the week, I thought I would share some of the things that I am doing to nurture myself.  Here we go...

~I have rediscovered my love of Soft Jazz music.  YouTube has some great channels that share this, along with cozy cafe scenes (something else that calms me).  Cozy Smooth Jazz channel is one of my favorites.  Jeff even enjoys it. 😉

~I've continued to recreate some of my favorite food dishes that I used to order in restaurants or that I grew up eating.  The other day I made a big pot of rice and used some of it to make rice balls with ume boshi (Japanese small, pickled plums) in the middle of the rice ball.  This is something that brings me back to my childhood and reminds me of field trips in elementary school.  My friends, who were Japanese, knew that I loved these, so their mothers would make an extra rice ball for me and I would bring extra homemade cookies to share with them.  The rest of the rice was used as a base to serve stroganoff over and some for making jambalaya.

~Soft lighting, especially at this time of year, is something that I look forward to.  I have a nightlight in the kitchen, a small table lamp in the living room, and candles flickering as the darkness envelopes us in a cozy little cold weather bubble.  The fire is also going in the pellet stove and we have soft throws to cuddle under and a new plush rug in the floor in the living room.

~I like to switch out the fragrances that I wear.  Above are two of my favorites for the colder months.  I'm finding that where I only used to wear them when I went somewhere, I am now wearing them on a daily basis here at home.  I'm also pulling out the nicer earrings (with gemstone too), and wearing them at home.  I have so many beautiful earrings.  My grandson Steven is the one who got me started on this when he told me I was not dressed and ready for the day until I had my earrings on.  That boy was onto something because I do feel more ready for the day and, dare I say, "prettier" when I have a nice fragrance and some pretty earrings on.  

~Cozy socks, and fun socks.  These are frugal treats that I do love to not only get for myself, but also surprise others with.  There is nothing like putting on a pair of soft and fuzzy socks after a long day of shopping or playing with the grandkids.  I also try to find seasonal fun socks.  My mother also loves fun socks, so I get them for her as gifts.  I am finding that my girls love these too!

~Homemade bread is another one of those things that just say comfort and home to me.  My hubby is also a huge fan of homemade bread and tells me I spoil him with it.  You will frequently find some bread dough rising on the top of my pellet stove under a pretty tea towel.  When the dough has risen, then it's into the oven and before you know it, the house is filled with the enticing aroma of bread baking.

~ Who says you can't have those clothing items that you want.  I bought the coat above last year at Marshall's when it was on sale and I had a gift card.  It is a thin "puffer" style that is incredibly warm and not bulky at all.  It's great for every day use and for traveling since you can pack it easily into either a suitcase or carry-on bag when you do not need it and it does not take up much room.  Throw a pretty silk scarf (I bought this one at the thrift store) or a cashmere scarf (also found at a thrift store or yard sale) on for a pop of color, some warmth and that little extra touch that speaks to your personality and makes you look very put together.  Most of my wardrobe is either thrifted or bought on sale.  I have absolutely no problem buying things at thrift stores.  I find great bargains there in clothing, housewares, furniture, books, dishes and glassware, purses, etc..  I use those things with pride!  😊

~We just got done with the gardening season, but we are still enjoying some of the things that we were able to grow this year.  The pears are ripening up inside the house and I keep pulling blackberries out of the freezer to enjoy.  There are cherry tomatoes in the freezer that can be popped into a pan, along with some olive oil, garlic and seasonings to make a wonderfully easy and delicious sauce for pasta.  I have Walla Walla Sweet onions all cut up and bagged into one cup portions in the freezer for easy access and use.  There is a rather large acorn squash just waiting for me to bake it in the oven.  These are all things that we love and that we ate a lot of fresh during the growing season and can still enjoy now.

~I've been binge watching certain TV shows on Paramount Plus, Disney Plus and Peacock channels.  We are able to access these channels for free thanks to our kids.  Some of these channels even have live TV so we can watch Survivor the night that it airs.

~How could I ever forget our precious fur babies. We are down to the two indoor cats, Midgy and Patchy, and we have a neighborhood cat that adopted us, as our outdoor cat.  We call her Ginny.  There is a possibility that we may temporarily be taking care of Nala, the golden retriever that belongs to Josh and Lauren, since they can only have 2 pets in base housing.  Nala is the most "adaptable" of their 3 pets.  They plan on buying a house once they know the housing market there and then Nala would return home.  This is an offer we made to the kids so they would not have to rehome one of their pets for good.  Fur babies bring so much love and laughter into our lives and know how to comfort us when we are going through a rough patch.  They are a priceless gift!

~I've returned to the comfort of our soft bed in the master bedroom.  During the warmer months I had been sleeping in our guest room since I needed to spread out (so I did not get too hot to sleep) and I also was having trouble sleeping and was afraid to wake Jeff up with my tossing and turning.  This time of year, I love the coziness of pulling the soft quilts and blankets up around my shoulders and feeling the warmth radiating from my hubby and at least one of our cats as they sleep.  A good bed, cozy blankets and soft pillows, along with a warm hubby and a snoring cat (yes, Midgy snores), make for a good night's sleep for me.

~Warm drinks, whether good coffee, hot cocoa, tea or even mulled wine, are things that I look forward to.  There is nothing like sharing some mulled wine on a cold night with a friend as we get caught up with each other, or a cup of hot cocoa with my grandkids (or hubby) after coming in from playing or working in the snow.  A full pot of good coffee is something to be shared and enjoyed on my hubby's days off.  We try to save the "good stuff" for the weekend and use the regular coffee for the weekdays.  Oh, and creamers...I have to have good creamers.  It is something that I do splurge on.  I have tried some of the store brands and I do not like them at all!  

~Books, books and more books, with a few magazines thrown in.  "Hi, I'm Debbie and I'm a bookaholic".  😆  There is nothing like cuddling up with a good book!  I adore books and have so many here in my personal library that is busting at the seams.  It is a running joke in our family about me and my books.  I have a personal library here complete with a children's section for my grandchildren.  Heather is now borrowing books from me for my oldest two grandkids to read.  This is exactly why I built up my children's book collection.  Now my personal favorites are cookbooks, decorating and craft books, or Christmas related books.  My favorite sources of books that I buy are from yard sales and thrift stores.  I also buy books there for gifts if I know that someone that would enjoy them.

~A full pantry and freezer with lots of things to pull together nourishing meals is another luxury.  I have scoured sales, dehydrated herbs from the garden and made homemade seasonings, along with putting up produce from our gardens in order to have the pantry and freezers full of food that I have on hand.  I know what it is to go without and to have to depend on others for food so you can feed your children.  I have been there in the past and I can tell you it was terrifying to me.  I also experienced it as a young child, and it made me feel like I needed a full pantry in order to feel secure.

~Tools and building supplies.  Jeff is able to make or fix so many things because he has the tools on hand and has been blessed with lots of free wood.  Rachel called the other day to tell him that they had all kids of good hardwood pallets at her workplace from all the new machinery for the new plant that she was helping to get ready so they could start manufacturing things in.  Jeff took our truck in, along with some tools, and he was able to fill the back of our truck up with good solid wood.  Chris will also be able to go and get some next week hopefully because it will be good to burn in their woodstove since they have not been able to go out and cut wood this year.  I am hoping Chris gets several truckloads of it or borrows the family trailer from Jaysn and Rachel and fills that up too to haul home.

   Well, those are the things that I can think of off the top of my head.  We used to have a running hot tub, but that is not working at the moment.  We will try to see if we can get it fixed in the late Spring or this coming Summer.  I do still have a deep soaking bathtub that I can use if I need a good long bath.  I'm looking forward to cozy nights with our antique game table set up in front of the pellet stove while Jeff and I play Scrabble or Rummy.  Watching old movies while munching on popcorn is another favorite activity that we partake in and really enjoy.  Honestly, there really are so many frugal luxuries that we can all enjoy IF we have a resourceful and grateful mindset.  Be blessed my friends and please share in the comment section what your frugal luxuries are that you enjoy this time of year.  I know that I am always inspired by all of you!

Monday, October 31, 2022

Frugal End of the Month Wrap Up 10/31/22

   It is currently raining outside, but yes, we did get some snow as you can see by the picture above and we are expecting more later in this week.  The temperatures continue to drop and the days are getting shorter.  Jeff and I got the rug we bought out for the living room and put that down.  It adds some much needed "warmth" to the living room and just makes it feel all that cozier.  I've been having more cups of hot tea during the day and at night while snuggled up under a soft fleece blanket.  I've been making sure that our pantry has everything we need to make delicious and nourishing meals that "stick to your ribs" as my grandfather used to say. 😉 

   Our excitement is also building as we anxiously await the birth of our darling granddaughter Peyton.  She could be making her grand entrance into the world at any time now!  It still does not seem real that we are finally going to have a baby girl join our family after all these years.  My mother and I are both so very glad she is though. 💓 While we wait, here are some of the things we have been up to...

~I harvested and dehydrated more basil and sage before the frost got it.

~I picked the last of the blackberries and made some very thick syrup with them.

~Fresh tomato sauce was made with the larger ripe tomatoes, and I froze a bunch of the cherry tomatoes. 

~I cut up a good!

~Scrapple was made with some breakfast sausage meat that Jeff's boss blessed us with.  They also gave us a large package of ham steaks, bacon, and pork chops.  They bought 2 pigs from the fair and had them butchered. They decided to bless all the employees with some of the meat.  That was so very sweet of them and much appreciated.  The scrapple gave us two meals.

~Jeff got the outside hoses all drained, the hot tub winterized (we were not able to fix the problem after all so we had to drain it again), and the rain barrel put away.

~Jeff sealed all the wood on the new door he put on my greenhouse.

~We have been eating the pears from our trees and I have been having blackberries in my cereal.

~Rachel's mom came for a visit and we celebrated her birthday.  We gave her some of the Tuscan Herb salt that I make, along with a nice candle as a gift.  She blessed us with some Fall decor pieces and gave us a pair of leather baby moccasins that she made (she is part Lakota Sioux) for baby Peyton.  That just blew me away!

~We stopped at the Dollar Tree and picked up some Liquid Skin, pineapple, and treats for goodie birthday bags for Jaysn and Heather.

~I overdid it last Sunday and then could not sleep that night.  I finally drifted off to sleep around 4 a.m. and slept until 11 a.m.  That left me very out of it on Monday.  I was so glad that I had made the homemade tomato sauce the day before so that we could have it for dinner with pasta.

~My cousin Jeremy called and told me he had closed on a house he is buying.  I am so happy for him!  We chatted for over an hour.  I miss having him up here near us, but it is sure nice to know that we will remain close at heart and over the phone and Facebook.

~I'm seriously thinking of renaming my cats Patchy and Midgy to Thelma and Louis.  I woke up to them ripping into a bag of cat food that I had bought for Ginny (the outside cat that seems to have adopted us).  This is the second time I have caught them.  Ugh!  Not to be outsmarted by the feline dynamic duo, I repurposed an old coffee can to put the rest of the cat food in.  I give them a few days to figure that one out. 😉

~That tomato sauce that I made was used as a sauce for tortellini for dinner on Monday.  Jeff took some of the leftovers for work one day and I had some for lunch another day.

~I mended a ripped pocket on a pair of Jeff's jeans.  I also put a new button on another pair of jeans for him.

~Tis the time of year to switch out the warm weather clothing for the colder weather clothes.  I did set aside some capris and short sleeved shirts for our trip to Las Vegas in November though just in case it is warmer.  The kids told me it is in the 60's at that time of year and they also keep their home really warm because of the kids.  Oh, I also realized that I need one more pair of comfy jeans, so I will be on the lookout for those at Walmart and the thrift stores.

~We "visited" with Josh, Lauren and Tate via Facebook chat with the camera and Tate is making progress with saying Grammie.  I am no longer Dammie.  Yay!  😉  He gets really excited to see G-pa and keeps saying his name over and over again.  G-pa is a big goof and Tate just loves him. LOL!  Lauren's bump has definitely dropped and our precious little Peyton is getting closer and closer to making her grand entrance into the world.  Tate already loves his little sister and kisses his mommy's tummy and talks to his baby sister.  It is absolutely adorable!

~I downloaded digital coupons to my Safeway card.  One of the coupons was for frozen pizzas.  Jeff picked up 4 pizzas for $10 and baked up 2 of them on Wednesday for dinner and we froze the other ones.  Yes, there were leftovers for other meals from the ones I baked up.

~Jeff and I cut my hair and I feel so much better!

~Remember those jeans I mentioned needing to find earlier?  Well Thursday I took a trip into town and stopped on my way at the thrift store in the next town over.  I found a pain of J Jill jeans there for $1!  I also found some brand new pillows there that someone had just donated for $1 each.  I got 4 of them.  They are down filled and have a tapestry print on one side and leather on the other side.  Apparently, the lady had ordered them and did not like them when they came in, so she donated them.  The woman running the store was telling me about them while she was putting them out.  I also bought 2 books there.

~I went to Goodwill and found some pajamas, a brand new bra with tags on it which was the exact bra that I had been wanting to get and it was my size.  Thank you God!  I found some brand new in package Addidas hairbands and some cozy and soft Lucky Brand socks. Oh, I almost forgot, I found a Frozen 2 Monopoly game.  I needed some new games here to play with the older grandboys and this looked like fun!

~I made a huge crockpot full of homemade macaroni and cheese for our Sept/Oct birthday party for Jaysn and Heather.  I had extra sauce left over, so I made some broccoli cheese soup with it.  That made for several meals.

~I did some grocery shopping on Thursday and on Saturday night (after the family party).  I found jewel yams on sale for .99 a pound.  We really like these as a substitute for the more expensive sweet potatoes at this time of year.  They had fully cooked sausage patties for .99 too, so I got 2 packages of those. I picked up some instant potato packages with butter that you just add water to.  They were one sale and with the price of milk and butter going up, I thought this would be good to have on hand and save us some money in that department.  We did find that some things that we wanted were missing at Winco.  I asked our checker about it and he told me they had no idea what would be sent to them when anymore.  Oh, he also accidently rang one of our bulk bin purchases up wrong and luckily, I caught it.  That would have been a $30 mistake had I not.  I really can't blame the checker...the tags they have you write the information on are tiny and my hubby does not have the best handwriting.

~I had a Telemed appointment with my doctor to go over some test results and about where we stand on the echocardiogram (insurance company is being awful about approving it so my doctor sent in some additional information on why it was needed).  Having a Telemed appointment saved me from having to travel to the office.

~We've been watching more movies and series on our free to us streaming services and on YouTube.

~Our hanai sister/neighbor Shannon is in Ireland right now and has been sending us pictures of their adventures!  It is so much fun to see all the sights through her eyes.

~I had a long conversation with my parents over the phone one day.  It was so nice to be able to get caught up with one another.

~I gave Chris and Heather the Christmas gifts for my parents and brother Fritz.  They are taking them over to Montana for us since they will be heading over this week.  My mother is sending the whole gang here Christmas presents back with Chris and Heather.  Mom and Dad decided that they would pick something off of the lists they had us make of things that we each wanted once they passed away and would give those to us now to enjoy.  I thought that was a wonderful idea!

   So there you have it.  As we close out this month, I look forward to the next few where we will be spending more time with family and celebrating together.  I have Steven coming to stay with me several times when his school is not is session am so happy to be able to having my Bubby with me again.  I have missed having him here with me.  I am also hoping to have a sleepover with the older 2 grandboys seperately, so they each get their special one on one time.  Our Isaiah was asking me if we could do this soon.  You know Grammie here said yes we could!  You all be blessed, stay warm, healthy (my doctor told me covid is really rampant here once more), and safe.