Thursday, June 30, 2016

Finding Joy in Ordinary Days


   It's a lovely and much cooler morning here.  Currently we are sitting at 72 F in the shade on our back screened in porch at 10:30 a.m..  The birds are making quick work of finishing off the cherries near the top of our old cherry tree and we have harvested all we can reach, even with the tallest ladder.  Soon I will be able to hang our laundry out to dry on the laundry line again without fear of birds dropping cherries on it and staining our clothing and linens.  The gentle breeze is is making one of my wind chimes play a sweet melody and I am sipping on coffee while Rufus tries to figure out how to escape the confines of the porch and go hunt the birds that are taunting him.  I have to smile as I watch him crouch down, tail twitching and I am sure he is wishing that one would find it's way onto the porch, like another unfortunate one did, so he could show me again how awesome his hunting skills really are.  

   I am home today with no big errands to run outside of town.  I may take a walk this evening with Caesar and pick up the mail then, but other than that I am blessed to be able to be home.  Home for me is a safe place and I take joy in the routine of ordinary days when I have some energy to accomplish some things.  I find great satisfaction in doing the laundry, making bread, cooking a nice dinner and other "ordinary" things.  I appreciated being able to go out into the garden and pick some fresh berries, lettuce and snow peas at this time of year and use them in our meals or snack on them right away.  I love being able to surprise my husband with homemade treats and to be able to be here to keep things running while he works so hard for us outside the home.   I also enjoy the flexibility I have to be able to put things aside if need be to help with our grandchildren or help a friend in need.

   My plans for today are to get my husband's work laundry all washed, dried and folded and also do a load of my laundry.  More bread needs to be made along with homemade croutons.  I also need to get some ground venison cooked up into taco meat and harvest some lettuce from the garden so we can have taco salads for dinner tonight.  When I mentioned the idea of taco salads for dinner tonight my hubby he was very exited by it and is looking forward to having a nice crisp and cold salad along with some tortilla chips.  The remainder of the day I will happily putter around, taking time to rest as needed, all the while being so thankful that I am able to be home and finding the joy in ordinary days.

   Be blessed!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Flying Contraptions, End of the Cherry Season and June Grocery Budget Challenge Update


   Last night we heard a strange buzzing in the sky and looked up to see a strange flying contraption silhouetted against the evening sunset.  I'm not sure who it was but from what I gather, this is the second night they have been out enjoying themselves so it has to be a local person who got a new toy. :)  As fun as it looks, I don't think I would be brave enough to try it, even though the views of the rolling farm fields and town would be magnificent! 

  The end of a very early cherry season is upon us.  I am so very thankful for that! I'm getting tired of picking, washing and sorting cherries. ;) We have, at last count, taken about 36 gallons of cherries off our tree.  We have 2 large bags full still in our refrigerator.  I want to give some of those to my cousin this weekend since he was not able to make it out here to pick some for himself.  We have given away most of those gallons, froze 2 gallons and I have eaten some.  Sadly, my hubby, who does most of the work picking them, does not like them.

   Our June Grocery Challenge has gone really well.  I have now spent $146.26 on groceries.  We had to buy coffee, bananas, .49 a dozen eggs and a few other things and I stocked up on seltzer water when it was .69 a 2 liter bottle.  My budget for the month was $150.00.  I have a little over $3 left for the 2 days that are left in the month and I see no problem in not meeting my goal at this time.  Woohoo!  I have enjoyed this challenge.  It has forced me to get creative at times but having the garden producing has really helped.  I thought about doing one for July also and am pondering that idea, but I do have some major stocking up on sugar and canning stuff that will take a big chunk of the budget.  We still have lots of cheddar cheese, meats, baking supplies and canned goods so other than the stock up on canning supplies, we will need only some fresh veggies, bagels, some fruit that my hubby loves, lots of coffee ;), and a few other things.

   I do hope that everyone is finding ways to beat the heat.  Thankfully we should be going back down into the 80's by this weekend.  I got a bit of a sunburn yesterday after being outside for just a little while during the peak of the day.  I really should have known better.  I hopefully will not make that mistake again.

   Be blessed!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Making a List and Checking it Twice


    No, I am not making a Christmas gift list.  What I am working on is my list of things I need to stock up on for the Summer.

~Sugar, I need lots of this for making jams, syrups and canned fruit.
~Vinegar 5% acidity for making pickles.
~A coffee grinder, our's is dying a painful and slow death...found one at Walmart today and I must say, the hubby looked very excited when he saw it. ;)
~Laundry detergent...I made a huge batch of this on Sunday afternoon so we should be set for another 3-4 months!
~Coffee, we are down to one can and a few packages of beans.  
~A folding table that I can set up my sewing machine on and that we can also take with us when we go camping.
~Another pair of lightweight capri pants.  I have heavier denim ones but unfortunately have put on weight since last year and my lighter weight ones no long fit.
~Trash bags.  We ran out of the wood pellet bags that we recycle during the heating season.
~Latex free band aids.  I'm allergic to latex and to many of the adhesives on first aid products.  I'm a klutz and seem to hurt myself when I work on home improvement projects so these are a must.
~Club soda or Seltzer water...picked up 6 2 liter bottles at .69 today at Safeway.
~Facial tissues.  My allergies are horrible this year.
~Sudafed is another need for my allergies.
~Benadryl, did I mention I am allergic to bees?
~Canning jars in various sizes.  I plan on doing a lot of canning this year.
~A full tank of propane for the BBQ grill.

   I'm curious, does anyone else make a summer stock up list?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/42/16


   Sorry I am late yet again in getting this posted.  I had a "crash day" after doing too much the previous days and we had a storm system move through that wreaked havoc with my sinuses.  While I am typing this out, my sinuses are still going bonkers even though I took a Sudafed to try and relieve some of the pressure.  We have the grandboys here to spend Saturday night with us and I want to give them my full attention and energy.  I am blessed that my sweet hubby recognizes when a crash is coming and flat out tells me that I am to just rest for the entire day and not worry about doing anything.

~I cashed in via Swagbucks for a $25 Cracker Barrel gift card.  They just opened one up in CDA and I can't wait to go and eat there.  It is one of our favorite restaurants. :)
~We borrowed the really tall ladder from our neighbor so we could get the cherries that are higher up before the birds get them all.
~Harvested lettuce, raspberries, strawberries, radishes, green onions and cherries from the garden.
~Skipped out on going to a community wide yard sale and saved the money instead. ;)
~Father's Day was celebrated here with a BBQ with our kids and grandkids.  My cousin was not able to make it unfortunately.  We grilled venison steaks, potatoes, burgers, corn on the cob and our kids brought veggie kabobs, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and buns.

~We picked lots and lots of cherries and sent some home with the kids, and gave a bunch away to friends. At last count we had harvested about 26 gallons of cherries off the tree.  The kids probably got another 4 gallons when they were here picking.
~I made a Caesar Pasta Salad with a Suddenly Salad mix that I got on sale, a leftover chicken breast, some turkey bacon, a diced tomato, the remaining 1/4 of a orange pepper that I had used in another recipe and some broccoli. I added some mayo and Caesar Salad dressing to it also. So good and filling!
~I have been trying to work my points programs a lot.
~My favorite soft cotton flat sheet ripped and is not mendable to use on our bed.  I will try to salvage what I can and use it for other projects.

~I keep an ongoing list of things that I am looking for at the thrift stores and garage sales.
~More shows were watched online. Confession husband and I love to watch Big Brother in the Summer.  The social dynamics of that game fascinate me.  It's a guilty pleasure. :)
~We discovered that Walmart marks down their hot food items in the deli close to when the deli closes at night.  I found 2 bags of jalapeno poppers for half price.  I brought them home and froze most of them.  It was cheaper to buy them that way than already frozen.
~My multi-talented hubby changed the oil and filter on his car.
~I saved eggshells to use in my garden.

~We love muffins and I had an overabundance of strawberries and raspberries.  I made a double batch of mixed berry muffins.  I just followed my favorite recipe for blueberry muffins but substituted the raspberries and strawberries for the blueberries.  I'll freeze some and also share some with our friends.
~We put more cardboard up in the windows of the front guest bedroom.  Our pantry is also in that room and with the temps starting to climb, I needed to keep the room from heating up.
~More sourdough bread was made.
~I used up the crusts and leftover bread to make more croutons.
~Jackpot!  Jeff and I found 2 brand new king sized white flat top sheets for our bed for $3.77 each at the thrift store.  We have one of those deep pocket beds so the king sized sheets actually work better for us.  I also found some more shirts on clearance for .97 each.

~Jeff and I cut each other's hair and we both feel so much better!
~I manage to snag seasons 3 and 4 of "How I Met Your Mother" for $2.99 at Goodwill.  They usually mark their dvd series up pretty high but for some reason had these at the same price as a single dvd movie.
~We were given a big box full of free groceries while doing our volunteer work. :)
~While going through my closet, I found some very lightweight shirts that I had bought last year and had totally forgotten about.

~I've been turning leftovers into new meals.
~Our rhubarb is not producing as well as it has in past years but I was able to get a bag cut and frozen and also make some rhubarb simple syrup and some stewed rhubarb.  I'll use the simple syrup for drinks and maybe even over pancakes. :)
~I had my friend Shannon come over and pick raspberries.  We have so many and I love sharing.

~The movie that I had borrowed from the library last week did not get watched and luckily I was able to renew it online so we can hopefully get to it this weekend.
~Jeff and I hot tubbed on Friday before he went to work.  It helped to ease my aching muscles and did help with my sinuses too.
~Friday the skies opened up and dumped for most of the day.  Our rain barrel was overflowing.  All of the gardens got a really deep soaking and I am so thankful for that because our temperatures are expected to soar into the 90's starting on Monday.

   I think I did pretty well this week overall.  I know that I will need to get out and harvest a bunch of lettuce before the high temperatures hit Monday or it will all go to bolt.  Hopefully I can get to that within the next day or so.  My raspberry bushes are really kicking it into high gear and the grandboys will be thrilled to help me pick the berries this weekend,  Of course, with them, the berries will be going straight into their mouths and not into Grammie's bowl. ;)  That's fine with me though...I just want them to enjoy themselves.  I hope that everyone has a great weekend!


Monday, June 20, 2016

June 2016 Grocery Budget Challenge Update and Cherries Coming Out Our Ears

  I realized this morning that I have not done an update on how our June 2016 Grocery Budget Challenge is going.  So far I think we have done pretty well.  Upon the last update I had $106.67 left for the month.  I have since gone shopping for things that we needed and also stumbled upon some great stock up deals too!  I debated on buying them but figured I could cut back on something else if needed.  
   We shopped at both Walmart and the Dollar Tree.  Combined total for both stores came out to $52.47, leaving me with $54.22 for the rest of the month.  I was able to offset the cost of the stock up items with coupons.  I used coupons that I had printed off going through Swagbucks and will get 10 points per redeemed coupon.  I saved $18.00 in coupons alone.  Most of my stock up items were things that were on clearance or sale, which netted me even further savings.
   Our garden is supplying us with lettuce, strawberries, raspberries, green onions, and tons of cherries at the moment.  So many cherries!  We have been picking like mad and so have our kids.  We've given a bunch away already and are asking our friends and neighbors to please come and pick some for their families also.  I would say that a conservative estimate would be that we have harvested about 17 gallons of cherries within the past 2 days.  I don't know what that works out to in pounds but I do know that the cheapest we have seem cherries selling around here is for $2.98 a pound.

   I'm pretty confident that I will be able to stay within our challenge budget for this month.  It's the 20th already and we have our volunteer work this week which will give us more free groceries.  I am trying to plan meals around what is in the freezer, garden and pantry for the most part and have gotten pretty creative when I have run out of something. ;)  I think the $54.22 remaining will be more than doable! :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/17/16


   What a week.  Thank goodness I have been so good about being frugal in most areas because we really blew our "eating out" budget out of the water this past week.  We ate at restaurants 4 times within the week.  OUCH!  That has got to stop.  Honestly I think we were just stressed and needed to pamper ourselves and spend time with our family (kids, grandkids and my cousin).  Trust me, this is NOT a normal thing for us to eat out that much.  On that note, Father's Day will be spent here at our house having a potluck BBQ, not going out. ;)  Onto the savings...

~A big pot of chicken noodle soup was made with the rest of the deli chicken.  Some was frozen and some was eaten for meals right away. :)
~Our rain barrel and the buckets I set out were filled to overflowing from the rains we got early in the week.
~I watched several shows online.
~Old fashioned popped on the stove popcorn seems to the the go to snack around here lately and we have had it several times this week.
~Jeff and I were craving Mexican food and I had an avocado to use up so I made soft tacos for dinner one night.  We had ice cold cantaloupe with it.  Perfection!

~We shopped our pantry and freezer for most of our meals this week and also used lettuce and radishes from the garden for salads.
~Believe it or not we actually had to use our pellet stove one again because the temperatures took a huge dip (like down into the high 30's one night).  My husband covered up the swamp cooler vents with a thick towels so all the heat would not escape.
~Our dog has been having problems with his ears so I gently cleaned them for him.
~I gave myself a manicure.  I am hoping it last more than a day with all the gardening I do.
~Our garden is starting to go into full swing here.  We harvested lettuce, radishes, strawberries, a few raspberries, and some cherries.

~Saturday Jeff took me up to Coeur D'alene, ID.  We stopped in to see a friend at her store and met her youngest son for the first time, and did some shopping.  I had a $5 Target gift card so we bought some apricots and drinks.  We also found some amazing deals at the Goodwill and another local thrift store including a brand new Under Armor shirt for Jeff for just .49.  I also found a large storage container for Rufus' food.  The container was marked down to half price.  I had been on the lookout for something to keep his food in that was sealed and dampness proof.
~We filled up with gas in Coeur D'alene.  It was .30 cheaper per gallon there than it is down our way.
~I baked more bread.
~We did not finish 4 bananas before they got the the multi brown spotted stage.  They were perfect for banana bread though so I made 3 medium loaves and took 1 of the loaves to some dear friends that just needed some comfort.
~One of the big tree branches on our cherry tree came crashing down.  We suspect our Caesar was jumping up and grabbing it with his teeth to get some cherries.  I salvaged all the ripe cherries and Jeff cut up and took the branches down to our town's composting site.
~I continue to use the water from the rain barrel, along with the water that I catch in buckets when doing the big gardens and the run off water from the swamp cooler to water the trees and the potted plants.

~In an effort to be more inspired with my cooking again, I pulled out my old tried and true favorite cookbook "Mennonite Country-Style Recipes".  This cookbook has been used so much that I have had to mend it over the years.  Every recipe I have tried from it is amazing and for awhile there I was buying copies of it to give as wedding gifts.
~I used soy flour as a substitute for eggs in some of my baking this week.
~Jeff and I are enjoying watching some shows on TV that we are getting free by using our big old fashioned TV antenna.
~It got cold again this week so I made a nice hot "meat and potatoes" dinner.  I baked 5 of the Sweet Italian Sausages that I got on sale last month along with a large sliced up sweet potato all on one tray. The oven was still hot from when I had baked the banana bread earlier so it did not take the oven as long to heat to 400F.  This made a nice meal for my hubby and I and I had enough leftover for lunch the next day.
~The temperatures took a large dip at night and I was afraid for my tomato plants.  I had an old ripped duvet cover that we had put out in the garage to use for painting projects and cut that open to make it larger and cover the tomato cages with it.  I secured the sheets to the cages with clothespins.

~The quilt was put back on the bed to help keep us warm with the cooler temps.  I did not want to run the pellet stove unless my nose froze. ;)  We had taken the quilt off the bed and were only using a sheet and the feather duvet to keep us warm at night when it got warmer outside previously.
~Tuesday was PinchMe sample day and I was able to get moisturizer, Zquill and one other sample that I have now forgotten.  Everything sample seems to be claimed within the first minute or so of the site opening.
~I worked on my points programs.
~We had a freeze warning for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  Jeff and I dug out all the old sheets and curtains we had put out in the garage to use for various projects and covered all the tender plants with those and with old plant pots.  The potted plants and hanging plants were moved undercover. We also used the duvet cover again over the tomato plants.  Praying this is the last freeze warning we have for the rest of the gardening season.

~Jeff and I met Heather and the grandboys at the park this afternoon.  I took some strawberries and raspberries from the garden along with some granola bars to snack on.  Everyone gobbled up the berries really quickly. :)
~Thursday we had to run into town to deposit my husband's paycheck.  We stopped at Les Scwab to have a tire mounted on a wheel so that my hubby would have a full sized spare.  The tire had only cost him $5 at the thrift store (it is a good named brand and had lots of tread on it) and the mounting onto the wheel only cost him $14.00.  I had some free coffee while we were there.
~We used coupons that I printed off via Swagbucks to use when we went grocery shopping.  I saved $18.50 in coupons alone.  The cashier was really excited and told me how her mom is a couponer and she and her sister are in college and shop their mom's stockpile. :)
~I found 20 count frozen beef hamburgers for $6.95 at Walmart and huge bags of flash frozen Whiting fish for $5.  We love to BBQ around here and also enjoy eating fish for dinner.
~I have been searching for a nice heavy duty grill pan that goes onto your BBQ grill to do your veggies on so they don't fall through the grates.  I found one at the thrift store for .99 .
~My Summer Walmart Beauty Box came in the mail and it was filled with all kind of goodies...all of which I will use.  I pay $5 per box and they come quarterly.

~While we were out running errands, we dropped of the payments for our electric bill along with a few others.
~I brought home half of my dinner from the Chinese restaurant on Thursday night to have later.
~I tend to be forgetful due to my CFS so I set a timer when I am doing the watering so that I don't neglect to change over or shut off the water.
~Leftover coffee was made into iced coffee drinks again this week. I pulled a vanilla creamer (previously bought on sale) out of the freezer to make these with. So yummy!
~I borrowed more movies from the library.

   I'm really praying for a much better coming week frugality wise.  I know that I will be spending more time inside because our outside temperatures will be climbing and I do not do well in the heat.  I'll need to get the back guest bedroom ready for the grandboys who will be coming to spend the night next Saturday and I am hoping to get my sewing machine set up in the front guest bedroom so I can start using it.  I have a pile of mending to do and I really do not want to do it all by hand. ;)  Be blessed!

*Please excuse the wonky font sizes...Blogger is being strange and doing whatever it wants today.  It will not allow me to try to fix it and make it more uniform.  Sometimes I think Blogger has little gremlins behind the scene messing with things. ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Caesar Tried to Make Friends with a Baby Skunk

Poor Caesar.  He loves to make friends with other animals and I'm sure he thought the little black and white baby skunk that wandered into our yard was a kitten.   Jeff and I heard a small bark and then a another.  This is not normal for Caesar to bark, even at "friends", we both rushed to see what happened.  There was the little skunk, tail raised, spraying.  Caesar took a direct hit to the face. :(

I quickly got online to see what we could do to offer the poor guy some relief and get rid of that awful stench.   This is what I found and it worked wonders!  I would recommend following this link and printing the information out so you have it handy if you ever need it.

Broken Branches, Broken Lives

   [I]ntegrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. ~Chris Karcher,Relationships of Grace, 2003

   Sunday night we came home to find a huge branch of our old cherry tree, which was loaded with cherries that were beginning to ripen, broken and barely hanging on.  We think our Caesar must have jumped up and tugged on it trying to get himself a snack.  He loves cherries!  Jeff cut the branch the rest of the way down to not cause any further damage to the tree.  When we really looked at the branch, we could see that it had been rotting from the inside out and was therefore weakened and how just a little "tug" could finally bring it down.  This got me to thinking about how this can be a metaphor about life and how people can, through their actions, destroy families and organizations, along with lives by continuing to cause damage and spreading "rot" until someone or something breaks.

   Our family has experienced this, as have our friends.  This week we learned of a lawsuit filed in court to recall our mayor.   We are friends with one of the parties that filed the lawsuit and also with the mayor and is wife.  All three of them are good people.  However, there are others, who from what I have gathered after reading the town council minutes, that have been stirring things up.  One of those people appears to have a personal grudge against our mayor and has for years...this I know  because of the things this person has said about our mayor.  There is a term called "projection" when someone projects their own issues and what they either have done or are doing, onto others and uses them as a scapegoat.  It is my opinion, that this, is in part, what is going on here.  Some of the accusations are things that this particular person is guilty of themselves and ones that our mayor had to step in (with metaphorical muck boots because the $#!* was deep) and try to clean up when he was elected. It was a close race and he won by 2 votes.  There were decisions made before our mayor took office, that are directly contributing to what is going on now. Instead of trying to be part of the solution and sitting down together to help our town out during a financial crisis, there are some people who are determined to tear this town apart.  Let me also say this...our personal experiences with the mayor and his wife (who have become our good friends over the years), have been nothing but positive.  When we first moved here, they threw a block party for all the new families moving into the neighborhood so that we could get to know one another and build a strong community.  When we decided to homeschool our boys, the wife, who is a former high school English teacher, was so supportive and helped me design a great program for our boys.  When my parents would come to visit, they would rent out one of their apartments to them for a few nights at a dirt cheap rate since we could not all fit in our tiny home.  Later, as my parents and their friendship grew, they would not accept any money when my parents would come to stay.  Our son Jaysn rented his first apartment from them and they were nothing but supportive and amazing landlords to him.  He would take care of their place when they were gone on trips.  When our water line broke twice, our mayor came up on his own time, and brought his personal backhoe, and helped us locate and dig up the broken line (that was down about 6 feet deep) and showed my husband how to fix it, saving us so much time and money.  We tried to pay him for his time but he would not accept any money.  We did bless him with homemade banana bread though. ;)  Over the years we have shared the cherries from our tree with them and I have baked numerous loaves of bread for them...just because.  They are very generous and giving people who have contributed to scholarships awarded to local kids and have been involved in numerous fund raisers.  I think this is why it hurts so much...because they have given and given to a community that he grew up in and has been a part of for his whole life and she also has given so much to and loves, and then they are hit with this lawsuit to recall him.  Now they have to hire a lawyer and fight it legally in court to have this case dismissed.  This will cost them time and money and even if they win, because this story has been picked up and shared with newspapers as far away as Laredo Texas, his name has been dragged through the mud and his reputation has been forever sullied.  My heart just hurts for them.

   I understand all to well what they are feeling.  We have been through this is our own lives with our fractured family situation and in the past with work situations.  One of our sons is also going through this now.  It is a matter of integrity.  To have someone either come in an accuse you of something or try to undermine you and take credit for things that you have done is hurtful.  It can cost you your job, as it did for me years ago and may now cost our friend.  All we can do at this point is pray hard, be there for our friends and family, support them and stand up for what is right.  In the long run, those that seek to destroy others slip up and are exposed for who they really are...unfortunately though, they leave a trail of broken lives behind them.



Friday, June 10, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/10/16


   This has not been my most frugal week.  We spent Saturday and Monday at the hospital with a loved one and made several other trips into the two towns we shop in as well.  I tried to combine errands as best as I could, but we did have to fill up my car with gas a couple of times due to all the running around we did.  We also ate out twice. We did try to save in other ways though.

~The thrift stores have again been good to us.  My husband needed a hot and cold water splitter for a plumbing project and found one for .29 cents.  We also found the complete second season of Due South, brand new in wrapper, for $2.99.
~Other thrift store finds were a nice big glass jar with lid for .69, a t-shirt from my hometown, a silicone ice cube tray, a kid's nerf football for .69, a local history book for .69, a nice brand new leather purse (the same one I wanted to buy when it was in the big retail store) for 2.99 and a Wilson's leather wallet for .99.
~I pulled some things out of the freezer to use up this week.  I'm trying to shop the freezer first and make meals based on what I have in there for the most part.

~I keep granola bars in my purse.  They came in handy when my husband and I spent 8 hours at the hospital on Saturday and the cafeteria there was closed.
~We had free coffee at the hospital on Saturday and I had some again on Monday (we were there with a family member).
~We watched several movies we borrowed from the library.

~I line dried multiple loads of laundry out on the line this week.  I had to wash all the linens after we bug bombed/fogged the house.
~I tried to go cold turkey and not have coffee on Tuesday but still brewed a pot for Jeff.  By that afternoon my head hurt and I made myself a nice iced coffee drink...big fail on stopping coffee but HUGE savings on making a iced coffee drink at home. ;)
~I'm back to making sourdough bread again. :)

~I made a pot scrubber out of an old produce bag that some tangerines came in.
~I washed and sorted the huge stacks of cloth napkins and aprons that I have.  Some will be donated and some will be used as rags while others will remain in the rotation.
~The Salvation Army thrift store had some amazing deals the other day and I was able to walk out of there with 3 new pretty shirts, a soft sweater that looked brand new and 3 new canning jars with lids. That cost me about $13.00.  I stopped at another store and found a brand new copy of the DVD "Stand and Deliver".  It came to $1.99 after tax since it was the clearance color tag of the week.

~I found lots of marked down meats, bread and a pizza and a baked chicken in the Deli at Walmart.  I divided up the packages of breakfast sausages into smaller portions and froze them along with the 2 marked down Sweet Italian Sausage packages.
~The mail brought a feminine hygiene sample.
~It rained on Wednesday so I did not have to water any of the gardens.  I used some of the rainwater that fell into buckets I had set out to water some other potted plants.

~We needed some more supplements so I place an order at Vitacost going through the link at Swagbucks.  I will get 3 points per dollar spent and I used 2 codes for a 10% discount and for a free product plus I took advantage of the BOGO half off sale.
~The library got a movie in for me that I had put in a request for and I picked it up on Wednesday.  We will watch that one this coming weekend.
~My hubby BBQed up some sausages on the grill for dinner one night and we had leftovers for lunch the next day.

~I worked on my points programs.
~I harvested radishes, strawberries, lettuce and a lone raspberry from the garden this week.
~After the stressful weekend, I had a CFS flare.  Jeff and I used the hot tub to help ease some of the muscle aches I was feeling.
~I washed and hung out to dry a bunch of ziplock bags that I had stored bread and cheeses in.
~It is raining here today (Friday) so there is no need to water the gardens that are now getting a good soaking.

   I am hoping that this next week will be a more frugal one but that could all change quickly depending on our loved ones (yes, plural) health.  I would really like to spend most of the week at home and get caught up on things around here and do some more work in the gardens.  The weeds are taking over and I need to get them out and get a few more things seeded in.   We shall see what life brings us.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Coffee in my Creamer and a Grocery Challenge Update


    Good Morning.  I'm sitting here a bit blurry eyed trying to type this out.  I went to bed at 10:14 last night because I just could not stay awake any longer and felt physically and emotionally drained and my whole body hurt.  The cat crawling back and forth across me sent shots of pain through me.  I was so happy when Rufus decided to finally settle down. My hubby got home around 6:30 this morning from worked and I cuddled in close to him and fell back asleep until 9:20 this morning.  I suspected I was in a crash cycle last night, but it was confirmed this morning and when I poured myself a big cup of coffee creamer and proceeded to add just a bit of coffee to it.  UGH!  I poured most of that out into another cup and added coffee up to the brim of my Aloha Hawaii, complete is hula girl, mug and am now sipping on that.  I'll use the rest of the creamer with a hint of coffee over the next few days. ;)

   Things are still a bit crazy around here.  Between what is going on with our loved ones health and the irrational behavior of the other party who is, quite frankly, causing us huge amounts of concern and trying to help a friend through a really rough patch, I am spent.  I highly suspect that if one of the loved ones is hospitalized again and IO (irrational one) has their way, we will be blocked from seeing them if the loved ones are not able to communicate their wishes.  IO wants total control of everything. We just want the best care and to follow, support and respect the wishes of our loved ones, even if that means we would not have them here with us as long. :(  

   Yesterday I was feeling the need to escape for awhile so I headed into town to do some shopping.  There were a few groceries that we needed and I was still on the hunt for more capris.  I did not find any capris, but I did find 3 nice shirts, a really soft and pretty sweater, a dvd and 3 canning jars with lids at the thrift stores.  I spent $15.00 on all of that.  I headed up to Walmart, where I ran into my wonderful neighbors, Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma, who told me there was a big storm headed our way.  I quickly bought what I needed and found some wonderful marked down items in the meat, deli and bakery department.  As I exited the building, the storm had already hit and the rain was coming down in huge drops with the wind whipping it around.  As I was trying to get my car loaded up with the groceries, a very sweet man offered to take my cart back inside for me so that I would not have to do that.  God bless him!  Once I was home I got the discounted pizza in the oven for a late lunch for Jeff and I, put the cooked roasted chicken in the refrigerator for dinner tonight ($2.69) and divided up 2 huge packs of discounted breakfast sausages into 9 smaller packs of 8 links each and 1 with 7 links and froze those along with 2 packages of discounted Sweet Italian Sausages ($2.78 each).  Those went into the freezer for future meals.  I also picked up some fruit and avocados. So to update my June Grocery Challenge, I have now spent $43.33 of my budget on the above and on bananas last week.  That leaves me with $106.67 for the rest of the month.

   Last night, feeling the crash coming on, I got a load of my laundry going.  That got popped in the dryer this morning and I got another load going while my coffee was brewing away.  I went out to the garden and picked some fresh strawberries and noticed that I have lettuce and radishes to be harvested and there are weeds that need to be pulled.  Hopefully I will get around to some of the weeds today and then I can also get the 3 new cucumber plants I bought in since I had 3 others that I started from seed die.  I also need to yank one of the tomato plants out that is slowly dying so that whatever it is does not spread to the other plants.

   Again, thank you all for the outpouring of prayers, support and good wishes.  We really do appreciate them all.  I am going to try to get caught up on my blog reading and commenting within the next few days because I do want to see what those of you who are also bloggers are up to.  All of you who leave comments here inspire me and I do appreciate every single one of you!

Be blessed!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Answered Prayer, Alienation and the Ant Invasion

  Thank you to everyone who sent us good thoughts and prayers.  After a long and worrisome weekend, our loved one that was in the hospital is home.  We had gotten a call from them on Saturday and after they told me what was going on I insisted we take them in to be seen.  I am so glad we did. They had been feeling badly for 2 weeks and it was getting worse.  We were lucky, we got them in just in time.

  While all this was going on, anger and resentment from another family member towards us just got worse.  It did bring some things to the surface though and we have finally realized that this situation with this certain family member cannot be resolved because they will never let go of their anger, fear, resentment and jealousy and instead of facing their own demons, they instead demonize me.  I have not been their only target, but they have not been able to totally destroy my relationship with others in the family as they have with someone else.  For years I, and my husband, have been lied about.  They went after our marriage, our parents, our kids and and now even our grandkids.  The stress of it all took a huge toll on our marriage and on my health.  The situation became so toxic that we almost walked away from it all, but given certain circumstances, that would have meant not being able to have contact with other family members who have been deeply hurt by this whole mess also.  We could not do that.  We limit contact with the source of the issue as much as possible and are kind when we see them, but that is NEVER returned.  Even with a health crisis of a loved one, this person could not stand to even be in the same room as us and was very angry at us that we were the ones who got our mutual loved one help.  Things will be getting worse because we still have more health crises that we are dealing with in the family and there will have to be some changes made for the health and safety of our loved ones.  I'm sure that most families have some kind of dysfunction in them....our just seems to be on the "crazy soap operas" scale of things.

    After dealing with the nastiness and pettiness of that person, we then had to deal with an actual ant invasion in our home later last night.  My husband was getting ready to go to work and saw a few ants on the kitchen counter.  Then he looked down on the floor and it was "moving".  YUCK!  Ants everywhere and they were spreading out to the rest of the house.  We did not have any bug spray so we quickly called our friends/hanai family next door and Shannon came to our rescue.  She brought over bug bombs and got me and the fur babies out of the house since I and our cat are especially sensitive to chemicals.  She, bless her heart, set off the foggers for us since Jeff had to leave for work and then she came back over to open up the house and air it out for me since I could not go in it until it was completely aired out.  I tell you, this woman went above and beyond for us and we love her dearly and feel so blessed to have her in our lives.

   Today I am spending the day washing all the towels, napkins, etc. that were affected by the bug bombs/foggers and washing down surfaces.  My laundry line is full at the moment and round two of the laundry will be going out there as soon as the first 3 loads are dried.  I also have bread going in the breadmaker and need to get out in the gardens and harvest some lettuce and strawberries.  It is going to be in the low 90's today, but will start a cooling trend tomorrow.  Thank you Jesus!

   Anyway, I may be sporadic in my blog posts for awhile again as we deal with all the things that are going on and trying to get answers and help for our loved ones and having to deal with the added stress of the conflict within the family.  Thank you again for your prayers and good thoughts.  We are just at the beginning of a long road filled with sinkholes I fear.



Sunday, June 5, 2016

In Need of Prayers


We need prayers and good thoughts coming our way.  
We are dealing with some serious health issues within some our extended family right now.
We also need for hardened hearts to be changed, pettiness to be put aside and for us be able to come together as a family and focus on and support those that need us most right now.  

Thank you

Friday, June 3, 2016

June 2016 Grocery Budget Challenge


Pears growing on one of our trees.

   June is a month where our garden starts producing for us.  I have already harvested some strawberries and lettuce from the garden and the rhubarb is also ready now.  The cherries and raspberries should be ready by the end of the month, along with the peas, more lettuce, kale, and radishes.  We may even have some ripe cherry tomatoes too.

   Between the gardens and having a full pantry and 2 full large freezers, we should be eating really well and not have to buy all that much this month.  Thankfully, this comes at a perfect time for us to do another much needed grocery budget challenge.  We are looking at some unexpected additional expenses and the money has to come out of our budget from somewhere.  We also really do need to use up a lot of the older produce and things in the freezers to make room for the newer things that will be put in there during this year's harvest.

   That being said, my husband and I decided that $150 would be a very reasonable amount for our food budget this month.  There are a few things that I know we are going to need like apples, bananas and some milk along with hot cocoa mix that we buy in bulk because hubby uses it in his coffee.  I would love to be able to only eat fruit from our garden but my hubby is not a fan of raspberries, strawberries and cherries.  He will eat rhubarb though if it is made into a cake or bread. ;)  I will also be picking up more carrots, celery, tomatoes and avocados since we use those in salads and I will get more potatoes.  I'm sure there will be other things as well but I am determined to stay at or under $150.  I have already spent some of the budget on 2 bottles of club soda so I am now at $148.20 left for the rest of the month.  Wish me luck!


Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/3/16

A quilt that my mother made and gave us along with a new queen sized bed.

   I can't believe that May has passed and we are already in June.  High school graduations are this weekend in our area and we have one to attend.  Luckily I was able to find a gift in my gift closet.  The special graduate will be getting a really fun big beach towel. :)  I love being able to shop my gift closet year round for gifts.  I have already picked out a large stockpot for a wedding gift for later this Summer. :)  Onto some of the other savings this week...

~There is a sporting goods store that is going out of business and had everything at 30% off.  Jeff and I went down there and found the ammo that he uses. :)
~Jeff and I found some really great deals at the thrift stores down in the valley.  We got some shirts, books, a Keith Urban cd for .98, a cute glass elephant statue, and a few other things.
~Big Lots had my favorite brand of lipsticks clearanced for $1.50 each, marked down from $8.50 each.  I bought 5 of them in various shades.  They also had the facial cleanser wipes that I use so I stocked up on a 6 month supply since we do not get down to Big Lots very often.

~Most of the laundry was again hung out on the line to dry.
~I switched out the quilts on our bed to the one that my mother made and sent over to us...I love it!
~I finally remembered to send an overdue Christmas gift home with my father and ironically, he brought us over a early Christmas gift from he and my mother.  Yes, we are all a bit strange and love to give gifts to one another. :D

~Jeff and I went to the Goodwill on Monday and found a PUR water filter system and extra filters for it.  We already have a PUR water filter system, but this is the top of the line one that filters out more stuff.  It cost us less to by the better system and the extra filters than it would to just replace the filters on our's,  We will most likely see if one of our kids or friends wants our current water filter system that we bought last October.  He gets the Senior discount, so that also helped lower our costs there.

~Goodwill also yielded a pair of capris for me, a earth science experiment book for elementary aged kids (this will go to our Heather since she is homeschooling the grandboys), and a Bob the Builder dvd for the grandboys that we and they did not have yet.  We have also wanted to leash train our cat so he can go on walks with us since he howls when we take the dog for a walk and leave him home.  I found a complete system and training kit with the harness and leash for $4.99.  Now comes the training part. ;)

~Petco emailed me a coupon good for 1 pound of free treats from their treat bar.  Caesar is very happy to have some different treats. ;)
~I used my $25 Walmart gift card that I got via Swagbucks to help pay for Caesar's dog food and Rufus' cat litter.  I also used a $1 off coupon on the dog food.
~Jeff and I found pastrami from the deli at Walmart marked down along with some hoagie rolls.  We froze 1 package of the pastrami and will use the other package this week to make sandwiches.  We also found a dozen bakery donuts marked down to $1.99 and got those for a treat.

~We were in town way longer than we had planned on Monday and had not eaten breakfast.  It was 2:30 p.m. by the time we got home but we did not go out to eat.  We instead came home and had a sandwich.
~I marinated some venison steaks.  We BBQed those for dinner on Monday night. YUM!
~We watched the dvd Four Weddings and a Funeral that I had recently picked up at a thrift store.

~I worked my points programs.
~Tuesday found Jeff and I working out in the gardens and I knew we would be tired after that.  I threw a venison roast in the crockpot along with some Italian seasoning, red wine, sale, pepper, beef bullion and some Italian salad dressing.  I added some onions and peppers to it about half way through the cooking time.  I shredded it when it was done and served it on hamburger buns.  So good and easy!

~Jeff filled 4 big trash cans with free mulch from our town's composting site.  We used the mulch in our flower beds and gardens.  It was really important that we get things mulched since we are expecting record breaking heat that could hit 100F by this weekend and are trying to do everything we can to help our plants through the heat and conserve water.
~I recycled more of my old pots and potted up more petunias to spruce up our back breezeway. :)

~I planted a second row of beans today because I had forgotten that last year I had done the same thing and got tons of beans that way.  Since I plan of canning beans this year, I needs lots of them. ;)
~I'm now watering in the early mornings or late afternoons to make sure the water has a chance to get way down to the roots of the plants.

~While I water with the sprinklers, I set out buckets to catch some of the water and use those on plants that are not near the sprinkler.  I can't see wasting all that water.

~I bought some flavored syrups to make my own Italian Sodas here at home.  I picked them up at the URM Cash and Carry store down in the valley.  They are much cheaper there than in the grocery stores up near me.

~The laundry was hung outside to dry again.
~I harvested the first strawberries of the season from our garden!

~I borrowed several movies and a book from the library.
~More blessings from our favorite local thrift store!  Jeff found a Fisher 10 CD player/changer and a stereo receiver with remote controls for both of them for $7.99 total!  We also found seasons 1 and 2 of "How I Met Your Mother" and another dvd for $2.99 each, some cds that Jeff wanted for $1.50 each, a shirt for me, a cookbook from Hawaii that has recipes for some of my favorite dishes for .99 and some Jamberry nail kits for .49 each.

~My generic Sudafed that I take had a price drop at Walmart of $4!
~I made some scrapple this week and we had it for 2 meals along with some applesauce.
~I got some free samples in the mail.

   I'm hoping to save even more this coming week.  I'm giving myself a grocery budget challenge for the month of June and will be trying to learn how to make more of the things here at home that I normally purchase ready made.  We are looking at some additional expenses here soon that were not budgeted for and that money has to come from somewhere.  So here's to saving even more!