Saturday, September 16, 2023

Finally Letting It All Go


   For the past two weeks, I have been feeling a bit down.  At first I thought it was just from being really exhausted after going nonstop when Josh and family, along with my cousin Jeremy were here and then missing them terribly when they all left.  I have been trying to put on a smile and pretend that everything is fine...something that I have had much practice at throughout my life.  The only person who knew that I was struggling was my husband, and even he did not know the extent of it.  To be perfectly honest, I did not realize exactly what was causing it either.  That was until yesterday...

   As I was trying to figure things out, I remembered how in the past my therapist had asked me I was happy.  My answer surprised me when the word "no" quickly came tumbling out of my mouth.  I told her that although I put on a good "front", there was always an underlying sadness.  I realized that was what was going on once again in my life and the reason I was struggling.  I also had clarity in that moment, about the source of the it, and knew it was time to just let it all go.

   Our Josh, Lauren, Tate and baby Peyton came home recently for a visit before Josh deploys and so that Chris and Josh could celebrate their birthdays together.  Josh has always gone to visit his grandparents on my husband's side of the family when he comes home, even though that side of the family has cut us all off, that is, except Josh.  His last visit to them had been when Tate was a baby.  Things have transpired over the last two years that have hurt all of us, including Josh.  Josh made the decision not to reach out again while he was here.  I could tell it was something that was weighing heavily upon him.  I let him know that I would always support him in whatever decision he made and that I understood how he was feeling.  

   It broke my heart to see my son realizing the ugly truth of this ongoing mess and why we all had been hurt so deeply.  He now understood why the most of us here had to accept that we would never see Papa again.  I was the "holdout" in the group here, not wanting to accept the painful truth that the man that I loved as my second father, had not reached out to his son, to let him know of his mother's death and had not tried to contact us in any way, shape or form for over six years.  As a parent and grandparent myself, I just could not wrap my head around NOT having a relationship with my kids and grandchildren.   So, this was the "trigger", that reopened old wounds for me and left me depressed.   

   It's a blessing that I had been through therapy in the past and learned some coping skills.  Once I was able to identify what the trigger was, it also allowed me to look at the situation objectively. I came to realize that it truly was the "end" of all hope for the situation to change because the person who we wanted to still have a relationship with, was unwilling or unable to fight for us as we had been trying to do for them.  It was another very painful reality check.  However, I found myself being able to finally let it all go...the hope, the struggles, the depression over the situation, the underlying anger, everything.  I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted off me.  I think it comes in part because I no longer have to worry about Josh being hurt any further by this "no win" situation that was thrust upon all of us.  I think he may finally have some clarity and closure, as do I now and, as my other kids and hubby already have.

   I told my hubby about my realization and that I can finally have the closure that I so desperately needed.  He looked relieved, but you could still see the sadness in his eyes about the pain we had all endured.  My hubby is a very tender-hearted man that puts his family first.  Seeing our kids, grandkids or me in pain, hurts him.  He wants to protect us all, and he, through no fault of his own and for reasons beyond his control, was not able to in this situation.   I do think that now that I will not be wrestling with trying to hold out some kind of hope in a hopeless situation, that it will also help him to have some relief knowing that I have learned to put the situation behind me and no longer let it have any kind of negative influence over me.  This has been a long and painful process and journey, but it is one that has reached its final destination, and I can finally lay it all to rest.



Friday, September 15, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up and Thrift Store Finds 9/15/23


   Here it is the end of another week!  The garden keeps on giving us tomatoes, squash, beans and blackberries.  Sometimes it is more than I can handle.  The Summer apples are winding down and the pears are busy ripening.  It has really helped us with the grocery budget.  Prices in the stores continue to rise, so we are so grateful for our garden helping us out.  Here are some of the other ways we saved money this week...

~I have been cherry picking deals and found a great deal on hamburger at Safeway.  I froze 1 1/2 pounds of it and used the other pound to make a large meatloaf using stuffing mix, one egg and some other seasonings.  Served with assorted side dishes and beans throughout the week, this made for 4 complete meals for us.  All the sides came from our pantry and the beans from the garden.

~I sent a list with Jeff and he stocked us up on cold and flu meds from the Dollar Tree and Walmart.  With the media spreading the story of medications being pulled because "they do not work", when we have been taking them for years and they have been working, we felt it prudent to stock up now!

~I found the above Brighton Christmas retired tote bag at one of our local thrift stores.  There was no price tag on it so I took it up to the counter and asked about the price, and I let them know the bags around it were marked at $5.99.  She looked at the bag and saw that someone had spilled coffee on it so she gave it to me for $4.99.  I knew that I could clean the coffee stuff off it since it was a coated bag.  Sure enough, I was able to get the coffee marks, along with other marks off it.  I am in love with this bag and will be using it this holiday season!  I really get into changing out my purses to match the season and holidays.

~I made some very smooth cinnamon applesauce.  Some was frozen and some was eaten fresh.  YUM!

~During the colder seasons, I love to wrap up in soft cotton jackets and sweaters.  I always try to get a size bigger that I wear because it like it to be very loose.  I found the soft sweater above for $5.99 minus 20% with a coupon.

~Jeff and I curled up with home popped popcorn and watched some shows on YouTube over the last weekend.

~I found some Christmas magazines, a large Pyrex bowl with cover and two books at our local thrift store that helps employ people in need or with disabilities.  The children's book is for my grandson Tate as a gift to help him know that he can always ask for a cuddle when he is sad.  With his daddy deploying in about 2 weeks for 6 months, we thought this would be a wonderful book for his daddy, our son Josh, to read with him before he goes.

~Jeff found a large pull behind luggage bag at the same thrift store and made it into a bag to haul his bowling balls and shoes in.

~Goodwill blessed me with some new house slippers, a beautiful handmade box from India, and some cat toys.  I was in need of the house slippers and they will be perfect for the winter months.  The cat toys will hopefully help get some of the kitties' energy out as they will be spending more time in the house with the days getting shorter.  The box is just beautiful and I can see it being a wonderful gift for someone.

~At a yard sale I found some like new Sketcher's shoes in my size.  I knew the person selling them and she told me she had only worn them a few times.  I got them for $2.00.

~I've found several TV series that I have not watched before on both Paramount Plus and Peacock networks.  It has been fun watching them, along with current TV shows.

~Jeff washed our big living room rug and hung it out on the big, tall chain link fence to dry.  The cats are loving having it back on the floor now since I had taken it out before Josh and Lauren got here for their visit.

   Please my friends, stock up on medications that you may need now.  Please also stock up your pantries.  Prices continue to rise, some astronomically.  If you can afford to put some extras away, I definitely would.  I see it as insurance and a hedge on future price jumps.  Be blessed all!

Friday, September 8, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/8/23


   Yes, it has been a few weeks since my last post.  We had family here and it was delightful!   I will be doing a separate post on that once I get some more of the pictures that were taken of the fun!  After all of the excitement and the go, go, go of it all, my body crashed and I have been trying not to overdo things.  I know that many of my friends reading this will be amazed that I actually am taking it slow and not overdoing it.  Well now, but it was a different story with all the family here. ;)

   We did try to stay as frugal as possible even with having all the kids, grandkids and my cousin here, so that will be included in the frugal doings.  Here we go...

~Jeff and I, along with all the kids, tried to make most of our meals either potluck or picnic style.  

~I was able to use Lauren's military discount to get tickets to the Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park for half price.  This was something that I wanted to give the grandboys as an early Christmas gift while they were all together.  They loved it and little Miss Peyton enjoyed watching.

~We took advantage of Josh and Lauren staying at a hotel to use the swimming pool there.  We also hit the free splash pad and went swimming at one of the lakes nearby.

~I've been harvesting beans, tomatoes, squash and blackberries from the garden.  

~I've been freezing a lot of the Sungold Cherry tomatoes to use in pasta sauces in the colder season when that burst of freshness is much needed and appreciated.

~I had a squash processing day.  I shredded up about 12 cups worth of zucchini and used 2 of the cups to make 2 loaves of zucchini and dark chocolate chip bread.  The rest of that batch was placed in the dehydrator to dry out so that it can be used later.  Did you know that 1/2 cup dried, rehydrated with about a cup of hot water (use more if needed) is equal to 2 cups fresh.  Perfect for zucchini bread or added to sauces, soups or to make casseroles with.  I took advantage of having the food processor out and sliced up some yellow summer squash to make a casserole with.

~Jeff and I went to the Farmer's Market last Saturday and bought some fresh fruit there.  I only bought what I could eat within a week.  They had some nice looking apples there, but our local apple orchard opened at the end of this week, so I will be buying my apples from them.  Cheaper and it supports a locally owned farm here in town.

~Jeff and I also went to a few yard sales last weekend.  I found some chick and hen plants for $2 a pot, some cookbooks including one from Whitefish Montana where Josh and Lauren were married, and western wear shirts and 3 pairs of shorts for me at the final yard sale.  Two of the shirts are flannel and will be staying with me and the other two will be a surprise for my cousin Jeremy who has been selling them in his online store.  I wanted to help him out in some way and was thrilled to find these in like new condition.

~We are continuing to "cherry pick" the sales at the grocery stores and stock up on things when they are at reasonable prices.  Sad to have to say reasonable rather than good, but that is the economy that we find ourselves in now.

~Walmart is clearancing out a lot of their Summer clothing and I was able to but matching shorts for the 3 oldest grandboys for .50 a pair.  I also picked up a robe, a shirt, and some sleep shorts for me for $1 each.  I did pick up some shorts for Jeff for $1, but sadly they did not fit him.  I am going to try and find someone who they will fit, and if not, I will donate them.  They just cost me $1.

~I bought 2 bottles of red wine that were normally $21.99 and I got them on sale for $5.99 each at Grocery Outlet.

~My sweet Heather surprised me with a phone call telling me that she had bought me a digital kitchen scale to go with the sourdough starter that she was gifting me!  We have been discussing how to get me started making sourdough everything and I have been pinning recipes to Pinterest like a mad woman.

~I picked a large bucketful of summer apples from our tree to make even more applesauce with.

~I'm seed saving from squash, flowers and tomatoes.

~We got several rounds of drenching rain so that had cut way back on the watering in the garden.

~Fall decorating has begun in my home and I could not be happier!  Soon enough I will be bringing out the Fall candles to burn at night and I cannot wait for that and the first fire in our pellet stove.


Monday, August 21, 2023

Clearing Out the Smoke, Rain and Other Blessings!

   I'm currently sitting out on my back screened in porch listening to the rain come down while soft piano jazz music is playing in the background. The rain is so welcomed as it scrubs the heavy smoke from wildfires out of the air.  I can breath again!  I am praying that the rain makes its way up to the Spokane area and beyond as they have had devastating fires up that way with many losing their homes and with 2 deaths between 3 different fires.   My neighbor's co-worker lost her home and I am waiting to hear how we can help her rebuild.

   My garden and yard desperately needed this good soaking rain.  Everything has been so dry and despite our constant watering, it seems the plants can never get enough and have been struggling in the horrible heat.  I am so very thankful for a much cooler day and rain, as I can feel it refreshing my soul once again.  It is much needed before the heat comes back on later in the week, just in time for our Josh, Lauren, Tate and Peyton's visit.  They are used to the heat and kind of like it...I can Josh be my kid and like the heat?  LOL!  Going to a little splash pad in in the plans for this coming Sunday and we will be celebrating the twins, Josh and Chris's birthday with that and a baseball game with friends and family.  I will happily be in the splash pad area with the little ones while the game is going on. 😉 I can't wait to have Josh and family home again.  They will be staying at a hotel with a pool due to the erratic sleep habits of my two youngest grandbabies.  The pool is a nice bonus and one that I plan on taking advantage of while enjoying it the grandkids.

   As you know, Jeff and I have been planning for him to be able to work part time and take early retirement.  Well part of that plan involves replacing things that need to be replaced and fixing other things, as well on stocking up on needed items.  It has also been learning new skills that will save us money, and/or enrich our lives.  I'm a firm believer that God will guide you to those needed or desired items, and He has once again come through for me in a big way.  My poor little immersion blender has seen lots of use and was one it's way out.  I had been wanting to replace it.  Well I found one at Goodwill for $5.99 and it had the blender and the milk frother attachments.  Now I needed a new immersion blender and I had been wanting a milk frother also.  Now I have both!  On that trip I also was blessed with a Home Dairy book on how to make cheese, yogurt, butter and more.  I already know how to do the yogurt, butter and a simple cheese, but I wanted to learn how to make other types of cheese as well.  My find of the day though has been something that I have wanted for a very long time.  I wanted a nice basket with handles that I can use in the garden to gather produce and I wanted it to have a washable and waterproof liner.  The only baskets that I knew about that had these attributes were Longaberger baskets, and those are way out of my price range.  Imagine my surprise and happiness when they wheeled out a new trolley of merchandise and there it was, the basket of my dreams (with the illusive liner) for $3.99!  I carefully flipped it over to see if there were any brand marks on the bottom because it was so well made and much to my delight, it was indeed and Longaberger basket.  Oh Happy Day!!!  On that trip I also found a hand blown wine glass from Italy (which is now being washed) and a movie.  Yes, it was indeed a great trip to the thrift for me!

  Our garden continues to bless us (even though the heat has definitely slowed things down) with Sungold cherry tomatoes, squash and apples.  The blackberries are just ripening and I ate the first 2 last night...I had forgotten how good they are.  I've been busy making applesauce and I need to freeze some of the tomatoes since I am getting more than I thought I would from just the 2 largest bushes and the other red cherry tomato buses are setting fruit, as are the Black Crim and Romas.  The green beans are just starting to get big enough to pick and I am sure we will have a lot of them once they really get going.  I have been sharing with my neighbor and she is anxiously awaiting for the pears to be ready to picked.  We are going to have a lot of them this year, and yes, I will be sharing them with her and with the rest of our family that lives nearby, as well as trying to put some up for Jeff.

   Well I suppose I should go and work on my "to do" list for a bit.  I have taken most of the day off to relax since Jeff and I did so much around and in the house over the weekend.  Between all that, the fires up north of us, as well as one just a few miles from us earlier last week, and just the general day to day trying to keep up on the gardens, it has left me exhausted and in lots of pain.  I have not been sleeping well, but last night, I was finally able to get into a deep sleep and slept until 9 a.m.  My body must have really needed it and I am not going to argue with that.  Be blessed my friends who are reading this and keep stocking up on those things that you need, and yes, even some nice "surprises" along the way.



Monday, August 14, 2023

I'm Melting and Still Trying to Maintain My Frugal Ways


    You see the picture above?  Well I just took it on my back porch in the shade with the blinds down to block out some of the heat.  It is not even to the hottest part of the day yet.  We are under a heat advisory for the next 4 days or so.  I think we may break some records this week.  Me, I am just trying to make it through and stay cool.  I have the swamp cooler on and my guess is that we will have to keep it running nonstop for the next 4 days.  I do not want a repeat of last year when I got heatstroke.  Nope, not doing that again!  

   Despite the heat, I am still trying to maintain my frugal ways.  Last night Jeff grilled up 6 large elk burgers, some marinated squash slices and I made a large batch of blue (yes, the potatoes are blue) potato salad.  All were yummy and we have lots of leftovers (as was the plan).  I needed more bread, so I baked 2 more loaves.  Sandwiches are on the menu this week and chicken salad will be made after I finish this post.  I need to cut up some lettuce and have that ready for a taco salad (I already have the taco meat cooked and in the freezer, and lots of tomatoes from the garden).  

   Other frugal doings are as follows:

~I "hunted" through the Walmart freezer section and found some amazing deals on apple juice concentrate (.31 each), frozen mixed veggies (.87 each and I bought 5 bags), frozen cauliflower (.69) and a few other items.  I dehydrated all of the frozen mixed veggies upon returning home from the store.

~I am currently wearing a very soft cotton dress that I bought at Goodwill awhile back.  It is very cool and comfy...just what I need in this heat.  Upon putting it on, I realized that there was some pilling on it right where a crossbody purse would have rubbed.  I got out my husband's razor (shhhh...don't tell him) and shave off the "pills".  It looks and feels brand new now.

~I made some more of my favorite squash casserole and that fed me for 4 meals.

~One night earlier this week, I cooked up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a teriyaki sauce that I added pineapple chunks to along with some of the light syrup from the can.  It made for an even lovelier sauce and I served it over rice.  I still have some leftover rice to use up now.  That will be an easy thing to add something over the top of it.  My idea of convenience food.  Having been raised in Hawaii, rice is a staple food group there and something that I can totally relate to.

~Our Summer apple tree is beginning to give us ripe apples.  I cooked up a batch of homemade applesauce in my largest crockpot and it made 12 cups of applesauce that were divided into 2 cup portions.  Some was frozen, some was shared with a dear friend and some is ready for Jeff and I to have this week.  I freeze it in 2 cup portions because that is what my favorite recipes call for and it is the perfect amount for a side dish or dessert for Jeff and I to share.

~I planted out the rest of the tomatoes from the greenhouse into the one of the dug up raised potato beds.  I know you are not supposed to plant tomatoes where your potatoes have grown, but my potatoes were disease free, so I am going to risk it.

~Jeff and I have been watering the gardens in the evenings when things cool down a bit.  We don't want the plants to burn and we want the water to be able to soak in.  I need to check tonight and see if we will need to rig up some shade over the beans.  I am worried about them burning in the hot sun.  Luckily, we have some leftover shade cloth and lots of light-colored sheets that we can use.

   Now for the heartbreaking news...the fires on Maui.  I, as many others, watched in horror as things unfolded and when I saw some of the videos of people trying to escape the flames.  It touched me deeply and I wondered if my friends there made it out safely.  As far as I know at this point, they did, but some family members of friends of mine remain missing and many lost their homes.  It brings me to tears to think of the trauma that theses precious people went through, and the lucky ones who are still alive, will live with for the rest of their lives.  The people of Lahaina lost loved ones, their homes, businesses and fur babies.  The Hawaiian culture is a close knit one where your neighbors become part of your hanai (adopted by love) family.  They have been displaced and I fear will now be preyed upon by unscrupulous people who will swoop in to try and buy their land where their homes once stood at low ball prices.  Given the desperation and state of mind some of the fire victims find themselves in, they may accept offers and once they can again take a breath and think clearly, regret it.  There is already a grassroots movement in Hawaii urging people NOT to sell their properties in Lahaina.  Please pray for all the people who have been touched by this tragedy and for healing and provision to come.  Thank you.


Monday, August 7, 2023

Sometimes We All Need A Little Help

      Yes, that is my middle grandson Steven above.  He apparently needed his kitty to help him play one of his games on his tablet.  I looked over to see him like this and quickly snapped a picture before he noticed. 😉 I think it perfectly sums up what I have been thinking about lately and that is that we all need a little help in many areas of our lives.

   Jeff and I have been trying to get ourselves set up the best we can to weather the hard economic times that we find ourselves in.  As you know, our family works together to try to find the best deals, share our garden produce and share what is gotten while hunting and fishing.  Jeff and I are now trying to extend that to also shopping locally here in town at our Farmer's Market.

   Above is a dinner I cooked last week.  It is elk backstrap steaks with rice pilaf.  We also had apple slices with it.  The elk backstrap steaks were from our kids Chris and Heather and we are so very grateful for them.  The steaks were absolutely delicious!  I had found the rice pilaf mix on sale and had stocked up on it.  The apples were sale priced items too.  

   Yesterday we went to Jeff's company picnic down on the river in Lewiston, Idaho.  It was a really fun time and the food was amazing.  We had never been to Hell's Gate Park before, so we checked out the camping area and the visitors center.  On our way out of town, Rachel called and said they were going to Costco and did we want then to pick up some razor blade refills for Jeff.  I told her we were in Lewiston also, so we met them there at Costco.  It turns out that they were also at the park at the opposite end of the day use area with their church group. 😀

Anyway, we got the razors and had a good look around the clothing area.  I had Jeff try on some of their Sketcher shoes that were on sale, but they did not fit his foot correctly.  Bummer.  Anyway, thanks to Jaysn and Rachel, we now have over a years' worth of razor blades for Jeff for half the price if we had bought them anywhere else.  

   Backtracking even further, Saturday was our family birthday party for Isaiah.  He requested that I make his favorite homemade macaroni and cheese, which I happily obliged.  The minute we arrived at his house, he came running out, checked under the lid of the crockpot to see the said macaroni and cheese and then picked up the crockpot and carried it inside.  Heather made some homemade pizzas to go with it and the most delicious "Death by Chocolate" dessert because, according to Isaiah "G-pa likes it too"...  Why yes he does and he was thrilled to have it.  Chris and Heather had a surprise early birthday present in store for Jeff also.  Chris was feeling bad that his father had to wash all our dishes by hand since our dishwasher broke.  Some friends of his were remodeling their kitchen and were selling their older but still in good working condition, dishwasher.  He bought it for his daddy. Jeff was so very moved by this generous gift!

    Continuing the theme of moving backwards, we come to the next money saving, while helping out our community and family moments.  Friday we went down to our local in town Farmer's market.  It is very small with just a few vendors.  We bought pickling cucumbers from one vendor and 2 small baskets of the sweetest apricots.  We also bought dinner from the "Tipsy Heifer" (yes, that is the name of their company) who was selling tacos.  I have no idea what they marinate their chicken in, but my oh my was it good!  Jeff and I rarely eat out anymore, but had heard so many good things about the tacos and at 2/$5, we thought it was a pretty good deal.  Plus we were supporting a local business (who's owner is also one of the EMTs that responded when we had to call the ambulance for Jeff about 2 months ago) and some local farmers.  No gas was spent going out of town either so it was a win/win all around.


   Other money saving things we have done recently were participate in our town wide yard sale where we made $121.00 and donated all the leftovers items (with the exception of three things) to a Christian thrift store that helps people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.  Isaiah sold huckle berries that he had picked and gave me the extra bag that did not sell.  He is so sweet!  Heather made huckleberry cinnamon rolls and they sold out quickly!  She made $61 on those alone.  

   Jeff made a deal with his boss at work to buy out some of the excess stock of nails, screws, bolts, etc. that they had sitting around from when they bought the business from the previous owner.  All of this was on a large pallet and shrink wrapped.  It is a huge amount of inventory and Jeff was able to get it all for $50.  The boss also asked him if he wanted one of the old wooden and metal spin around and sectioned off holders for storage of those hubby said yes!  I don't know what the price on that will be, if any, but Jeff got a place all cleared out in the garage next to his workbench for it. (turns out it was $100 and it was so worth it)  Our kids and neighbors will not need to go shopping for some of these items now since we will have them on hand and happily share them.  Jeff is also planning on starting a side business once he retires of fixing furniture and then selling it.


      Our garden continues to bless us.  Above is the last of the raspberries.  I had them on cereal along with some very juicy and sweet blueberries.  It made for a lovely breakfast.  Steven and I dug out the last of the potatoes and he helped me harvest tomatoes and squash.  I made my favorite squash casserole and cut up some of the sweet Sungold cherry tomatoes to put on quesadillas.  Yum!  They added the burst of freshness that just took those quesadillas up over the top!  The beans are putting on their blossoms in the front garden bed and the tomatoes are growing like weeds.  I have had to trim branches on the plants so they can have their energy go toward making fruit and need to finish staking up the Black Crim tomatoes.

   I stocked up on a 50 pound bag of flour and a 20 pound bag of rice.  Prices continue to go up, so I am hedging my bets a bit and trying to buy at the lower prices.  More canned pineapple was added to my pantry since Jaysn took some home with him the other day.  Yes, I let my kids shop my pantry...that is what is  there for, our family to use.  As prices continue to rise, I take advantage of sales when I see them and I am also forgoing certain items because the prices have gone too high for my liking. I know that many of my friends and family are doing the same.

   I had better end this here.  Between this energetic boy and a very busy weekend, I have very little voice left and am dead tired.  My heart is full though and I am so very grateful for all God has blessed us with, including an answer to prayer concerning my oldest son Josh and a change to where he will now be deploying to.  I need to now go and finish the laundry, make some bread and get a elk roast going in the crockpot for dinner.  The rest of my list can wait until tomorrow.  A much needed nap sounds so much better than completing my list. 😌

   Be blessed my friends who are reading this post.  I pray that you all are safe, keeping cool, or warm (depending on where in this big world of ours that you are reading this from), and that you are stocking your pantries with food, medical needs and whatever else you may need.  Don't forget to stock up on clothing needs too!  Now is the time in my part of the world to do so. 



Thursday, July 27, 2023

Rescuing Dogs and Digging Potatoes


This is Todd.  Todd was rescued from being hit by semi-trucks on the highway north of our town.  Shannon, our very tenderhearted hanai sister saved him while trying not to get hit and killed by the semi-trucks herself.  She brought him home to me and asked if I could help her find his family since she had just come off a 12 hour shift at the hospital and desperately needed to get some sleep so she could do the same long shift again that night.  Steven and I put out posts on Facebook groups and tagged people in the area where he was found along with taking Todd to a local vet to see if he was microchipped.  He was not.  We took him to some local families here who farm up that way to see if they recognized him.  Finally we found out that Todd's family was desperately searching for him and we got into contact with one another.  Todd's very grateful family came to pick him up and brought us a bouquet of flowers as a thank you.  I am so glad we were able to find his family as he is a total sweetheart and the young children in that family were so sad when he ran off.

   In addition to reuniting dogs with their families, we have been busy in the garden digging up potatoes.  The last batch to come out were our all blue potatoes that are supposed to stay blue if you do not overcook them.  I would say I dug up about 25 pounds out of that raised bed.  We also finished digging up the Huckleberry Golds and got another 20 pounds of those in addition to the 20 pounds or so we already dug up out of the half whiskey barrel. The Yukon Golds yielded us about 25 pounds.  All in all, I would say our potato harvest has been very successful and I still have a small patch of volunteer Huckleberry Golds to dig up once they are ready.  It has been hard work digging them all up, especially when you are dealing with health issues like I am, but it has been so worth it and I love the "treasure hunt" aspect of it!

      The garden has kept me busy.  I've been harvesting raspberries, which are thankfully winding down, along with blueberries.  I have also been getting the first of the zucchini and yellow squash and some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  I replanted one of the raised beds that had the Yukon Gold potatoes with bush beans and some spinach.  The beans will help fix nitrogen back into the soil and who does not like fresh beans?  Am I right? 😉  My front garden bean patch is growing like crazy, as are the rest of the tomato plants.  I had to put tomato cages up around more of the cherry tomatoes and it looks like I will need to be staking the Black Crim tomato plants up to the trellises soon.  I still need to do some seed saving on some flowers that I love that have their seed pods filled to the brim.  The apples will be ready in about 2-3 weeks, and I will be busy making applesauce like crazy.

   Meals around here have had to be quick and easy.  Homemade steak fries, coleslaw, green beans and chicken stir fry, mashed potatoes and ham steaks, and potato cheese soup made with the leftover mashed potatoes, have all made their way onto our dinner table in the past few weeks.  Tonight will be taco salads, using up some of the bottom of the tortilla chip bag broken chips.  The taco meat is already cooked and in the freezer, and the cheese is already shredded.  Thank goodness because today I am continuing to work on getting things ready for our town wide yard sale.  I have gone through my closets, drawers, etc. and am continuing to go through my costume jewelry, our dvd collection, cds, kitchen cabinets and drawers. etc. .  Jeff has already gone through the garage and gotten things ready to go there.  I still need to wash down the high chairs and strollers, along with a nice wood dining room table and some toys that our grandkids no longer play with.  If I have the energy and time, I will go through books also.

   Our Isaiah turned 10 years old on Monday and to celebrate, went on a camping trip per his request.  We will be celebrating with him next weekend with a big family dinner and I will of course be making his favorite homemade macaroni and cheese. 😊 Steven, Rachel and Jaysn are on a trip at the moment visiting Rachel's cousin in North Carolina.  Steven was so excited to get to go on an airplane for the first time! ✈  I asked him to bring me home a pretty shell from Myrtle Beach that he finds while beachcombing.  

   I continue to be astounded by the rise in prices for groceries.  Going through the sales ads yesterday, I noticed that the sale prices are double what the sale prices were on some items just a few months ago!  It is beyond ridiculous.  How on earth are families supposed to be able to afford to feed their families at this rate?  I talked to Chris yesterday and he also shares my concern.  He is really hoping to be able to fill their freezers with venison and elk this Fall, as well as fill our's and Jaysn and Rachel's. With four of them hunting this Fall, they have lots of tags they can fill.  

   I had better end this post here and get dressed and ready for the day.  I have a long "to do" list and will try to get through as much as I can.  I am in a major Fibro flare and my arthritis and back are also in full attack mode today.  I don't think there is a part of my body that is not sore at the moment. Even typing this up is painful, but I wanted to get it done.  Enough of the whining on my part.  😜  Let's all try to focus on the positives in our lives and less on the negatives right?