Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Playing Catch Up from Christmas 2013

I have been really bad about keeping up on my blog.  There have been things that have taken lots of my time and energy, not to mention getting sick on top of all of the other stuff.  So here, finally, are some pictures from Christmas. 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reemerging Out of the Flu Fog

   Last Saturday night, after our kids had left, I just could not get warm and laid huddled up under a blanket on the couch.  For a menopausal woman dealing with hot flashes, this was very unusual and I knew something was up.  I was praying I was not getting the flu that my grandkids had since I had helped care for them on Thursday and they had just been here earlier that same day.  My temperature, at 102.2 confirmed that yes, I had been overcome by the dreaded flu. Thus began my week of being in a fog.

   Sunday was spent sleeping for the most part in the twins' old room.  For whatever reason, the bed in there is just much more comfortable for me when I am not feeling well.  I don't think I was awake for more than 30 minutes at a time for an entire 24 hours.  I do remember being in terrible pain all over my body though for a full 2 days.

   Monday still found me in pain but now the heavy congestion started too.  I was in and out of bed but at least I could stay awake for about an hour at a time.  Tuesday the insomnia started to hit, which frequently does when I am not feeling well.  My grandson Bradley suggested "medicine" to make me feel better when his Mommy told him I was sick on Wednesday.  His little brother Isaiah had to go to the ER due to RSV from this flu and luckily was able to come home later that afternoon.  All this Grammie wanted to do was be better so I could help my sweet DIL Heather with the boys.  Thursday Grammie took Bradley's advice and took Nyquil and slept well.  

   Friday found me finally being able to do a few things around here again and noticing how bad our house was looking after not having been vacuumed for a week.  UGH!  Jeff vacuumed and I made a big pasta salad for dinner and got a few more house type things done.  By 6:15 that night I was beat and took a shower and then crawled into bed.  I did not reemerge until 7:45 this morning.

   Today finds me trying to cough up stuff and blowing my nose like crazy.  I want this junk out of me!  While Jeff sleeps this morning, I am working on laundry.  There are 3 loads to do so far and that does not include the bedding from both beds that I want to get washed today also.  This afternoon we need to go and do the grocery shopping.  I suspect that I will come home and collapse once again.  I am thankful that this is a long weekend and that I do not have to go back to work until Tuesday.  Even that is still up in the air depending on how I am feeling.  I really, really want to get back to work though, I have missed the kids and the wonderful staff at the school.  I'm just praying I do not get this again...apparently is making the rounds at school and parents are not keeping their sick children home.  That just makes me furious because I know how sick I have been and I cannot imagine sending a child to school who is feeling that way. 

   Yep, I must be coming out of this thing because I can feel indignation rising up in me when I think about those poor kids being sent to school sick.  If they are feeling anything close to how I have been feeling, they need to be in bed and resting.  This flu has been turning into pneumonia and parents need to take responsibility for not only their own children's health, but also think about everyone else they may be infecting by sending their own poor child, who is ill, to school.  Oh that felt good to get that off my chest...now if I could only get all that mucus to vacate my sinuses and lungs.



Friday, January 10, 2014

Curve Balls and Tightening the Budget Again

Just when you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, life throws you an unexpected and expensive curve ball.  Plans must be reworked, rearranged and some put on hold for the time being.  The budget must also be revamped.  So here we are, starting January off with some serious tightening of the budgeting belt.  Here are a few things we have been doing to try and save money in a few areas so we can direct it to others.

~I found a free calendar offer online and ordered one.  The scripture is a bonus and helps keep me focused. ;)
~I had frozen the ham bone from our Christmas ham and got that out today to use in a big crockpot full of split pea soup.  We will have some for dinner tonight , save enough out for another meal and then I will freeze the rest for future meals.
~Homemade croutons will once again be made in the oven today with the leftover bread ends from our homemade bread.  I'll bake a few potatoes also while the croutons are in the oven.

~Coupons are being cut from the newspapers inserts and also printed off the internet.  I print coupons off sites that give me points for the coupon redemption that I can then use for gift cards to places like Walmart and Amazon among others.
~I cashed in for $35 in Walmart.com via Swagbucks and will be shopping through Swagbucks shopping link to Walmart.com to place an order, using my gift card, on which I will earn even more points to apply towards another gift card.  I also share coupons with my friends and family to try and help them also save.
~Again, cashing in points that I have earned at various sites, I was able to cash in my Disney Movie Rewards points for free dvd.  I chose "The Shaggy DA".

 ~We took advantage of the produce sale at one of our local groceries stores and by combining their sales and coupons we were able to purchase 2 big bunches of bananas (2 bananas were already eaten by the time I took the above picture), a bag of salad and a bag of spinach for $2.06
~Speaking of bananas, I used 7 overripe bananas to make 4 loaves of banana bread.  We sent 1 of the loaves with one of our hanai sons back to college and gave one of the loaves to our friends.
~One of the grocery stores in our area will save the huge frosting buckets for you and will give them to you free.  I just picked up a bunch last week and will be getting more.  We use them to store bulk grain purchases in, for dog water buckets, projects that my hubby has going and many other things.


~I do a lot of baking of homemade breads and treats.  I was able to buy this 50 lb bag of flour for just under $17.00.  I will store it in the food grade buckets that I got free from the bakery at another store and will be sharing some with my daughter-in-laws.  This saves us lots of money not only in flour prices but also in the gas it takes for trips to the store.
~I was told that I needed to reduce my stress levels and also my cholesterol levels.  I am trying to do that by taking long walks with our dog at least 4 times a week.  My husband is joining us most of the time and we are all enjoying the exercise and visiting with people we meet along the way.
~A good friend recently told me about a way to reduce the cost of prescriptions even further by only buying a few pills at a time for things like pain meds.   That way you only pay for what you actually need and don't end up with extra pills that you do not.  If you find you need more of the pain meds than just a few, the rest of your prescription is still there on file for you with the pharmacy.

~Jeff and I continue to borrow movies from the library and also swap movies with our neighbors and family.  Movie night here includes a big bowl of popcorn which much be shared with our dog who is a popcorn addict. ;)
~There are some TV shows that I enjoy that are not on our cable provider, but I have found them online and watch them via the computer.
~Shopped around and found a health insurance plan that provides more coverage and has a lower deductible along with a lower premium payment than ones that the company I had previously been with before the whole "Obamacare" fiasco jacked up the prices to the point where I could no longer afford health care coverage there.  Unfortunately, again, due to the whole "Obamacare" fiasco and the government website crashing multiple times and them not keeping good records of people who called in for help, I am without health insurance coverage until next month.

Those are just a few of the many things that we have been up to here.  Praying that we have no more expensive curve balls for awhile so we can get the ones we are currently having to deal with paid off quickly and continue working towards being debt free.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Just a Few Blessings to Share

As we start 2014, I want to do so with an Attitude of Gratitude.  We do have much to be thankful for and I could spend hours listing them...but I will spare you that and just list a few. ;)

Caesar, our huge dork of a dog.  He has proven to be such a great companion for us and for our oldest grandson Bradley.

Bradley and Isaiah!  They are pure joy and we are so thankful to live close and get to spend lots of time with our grandsons.

Our children Jaysn, Rachel, Josh, Chris and Heather.  They are all amazing people with good and caring hearts.  We could not be prouder of all of them.

Our parents.  Both my parents and Jeff's parents are still with us and we count ourselves blessed to have these wonderful people still in our lives.

Reconnecting with some family members who we had lost touch with over the years.  I am thankful that we are once again part of each others lives. :)

My siblings, Leonie, Fritz, Eric and my SIL Christie along with  our nieces and nephews.  We are all there for one another, no matter what even though we are very different people.  Our love and respect for one another will always keep our bonds strong.

Friends who have become family and are there for us always and unconditionally.  You know who you are and we cannot express in words how much we love you all.

Finally, my husband Jeff.  He is my rock, my safe harbor and as I told someone the other day, my "safety blanket".  I would be lost without this wonderful man that I have spent most of my life with.  This man taught me to trust again, helped me heal from past hurts and has loved me unconditionally and stuck by me through some very difficult and trying times.  My Grandma was right when she said I would marry him and he would take care of me shortly after I met him.  Sadly, she never got a chance to meet my sweet hubby but I know that she died knowing that I would be safe with him and she did not need to worry about me.

Those are just a few of the many blessings that I have in my life.  I am looking forward to spending much more time with my friends and family and hoping to build more special and wonderful memories with them all.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Bradley and Isaiah's Button Frame Gift

Bradley helped me make a gift for his Mommy and Daddy for Christmas. 

Bradley picked out the buttons and Grammie glued them onto the picture frame that she found at the thrift store with some craft glue.

Grammie also made a picture collage of Bradley and Isaiah that she was able to get at Walgreen's for free after coupons.

Bradley proudly presented the gift from he and Isaiah on Christmas morning to his Mommy and Daddy who absolutely loved it.

Good job Bradley!