Friday, September 30, 2016

This Struck a Cord with Me...

My paternal grandfather and I.

   I was reading a post by the lovely Brenda over at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me blog and she made the comment at the end of one of her posts about voting the issues of the candidates that are running for president of the United States.  She mentioned that she was voting for the candidate that was Pro Life and her  deeply personal reason for doing so.  That struck a resonated  with me because I would have been a casualty of the "Pro Choice/Women's Reproductive Rights" movement if it abortion had been legal when I was conceived.  I am so thankful that it was not legal then and that I am here today.   I also want to state upfront that I am in no way bashing my dear mother, who at that time, felt scared, overwhelmed and to be perfectly honest, had no idea how she was going to raise a baby and finish her college degree, even with my father's love and support.  She is a very strong woman in so many ways, but at that moment, she was scared.  I know how she feels because I too had that same scare and looking back now, I know I had a miscarriage and was not just "late".  Luckily for me, when I did share the news of my possible pregnancy, my then boyfriend/now husband gently said "I guess we just become a family sooner than planned."

   Before I get into this, I really want to say that my heart goes out to women who have been put in a position where they felt they had no choice but to have an abortion.  Whether it was family pressure or not knowing that there were so many people out there who would have loved that baby and adopted it as their own, my heart aches for them and for that precious child.  For those women who just saw the baby as a inconvenience and something that was a mass of tissue to be discarded so they could go on with their lives and not have to go through with the pregnancy, I feel so bad for you that you were fed so much misinformation and made that choice.  For those women who live with the devastating feelings of guilt for what they have done, may God comfort you as only He can.

   I value life and believe that life begins at the moment of conception. I have heard the arguments that are given for aborting a baby that was conceived in rape and yet I know a very brave woman who this happened to and she had her precious daughter who was then adopted by her amazing husband when they got married.  Both mother and daughter are so thankful she chose life and are as close as they can possibly be!  It is a joy to see them together and the love they share. My friend, the brave woman, is now able to spoil her beautiful grandchild, someone that she would have never known had she made another choice.  I also know other people that were conceived in rape and then were given the chance at a good life by their brave birth mothers who made the loving decision to not only give birth to these precious people, but also gave an adoptive family the gift of a child to love, raise and complete their own family.  I have a cousin that has become a much loved part of our family through adoption.  I would love to one day be the grandparent to a child or children that became part of our family through adoption.  My husband and I offered to adopt a precious little one when a teenaged friend (who had been adopted by her wonderful family herself) became pregnant and were heartbroken when she felt pressured to have an abortion and went through with it.

   I'm a mom who loves my children with every fiber of my being.  Although my oldest son was planned for, our twins were a unexpected surprise. I'm so glad that God blessed me with my three amazing sons by birth and my hanai kids too.  I now have 2 beautiful daughters as 2 of my sons are married wonderful women.  I'm a grandmother to 2 energetic, curious and totally adorable little boys and am praying that there will be more little ones to love on soon. I am so thankful that I was not another innocent victim of abortion.




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ReDoing the Underwear Drawer

    Ok ladies, I want to talk to you about something that most of us don't tend to think of very often, especially if we are of a certain age where we are not all "rocking" the latest Victoria's Secret matching bra and panties sets. ;)  When was the last time you actually went through and sorted out "that drawer" in your dresser?  I could not sleep last night, so I decided to take on the challenge.

   I could not believe what all I found in there.  My grandmother's hand embroidered hankie that I carried when I got married was a delightful surprise but there were others that were not.  I sorted through and tossed out pairs that had seen better days, and also found some in there that I had never even worn since they had got shoved way to the back.  I have gone up a size so some of them fit and some, well...we won't go there. ;)  I also found some that were brand new in a style that I had bought by accident that does not fit well with my body type.  I had recently bought a bunch of new undies in my current size so those were nicely folded and put in the drawer along with the other new pairs that fit that I had found while sorting through everything.  There were only a few other pairs that I have had for awhile and that fit that were kept.

   Now that I have tackled that drawer, I am thinking the sock drawer is next.  I am one of those people that switches out their socks by the season.  I have my warmer weather socks and my cooler weather socks.  This past year, I have not worn many of my warmer weather socks since menopause has caused my internal thermostat to go into overdrive and if my feet get hot then I am miserable.  I have been a cute sandals kind of gal for the most part during the months that I can get away with it. ;)

Be blessed and go sort your socks, or undies, or shirts, or.....

Saturday, September 24, 2016

PTSD and my AH HA Moment

I am taking a huge risk here and am going to bear my soul to you all.  I know that for those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that we have been dealing with a very stressful situation with my husband's siblings and now his parents also.  I have been struggling, like deep depression, sense of dread, bursting into tears over minor things, threatening to leave just to escape this whole mess, having a dark cloud over my head that does not let me fully experience joy like I should kind of stuff.  We got some amazing news over the weekend and I realized that although I was happy about it, I did not experience the fullness of joy that I really should have given the wonderfulness of it all.  I am generally a pretty happy and upbeat person for the most part and did not realize just how bad things were getting for me emotionally.  Today that all came to a head over something that should have been a minor thing, and a comment that our son Josh (who is home on leave) said that usually would not be a big deal, but given my fragile emotional state, opened the floodgates that led to my Ah Ha moment.  I do suffer from an anxiety disorder and from PTSD due to some childhood traumas.  That is something that I don't usually disclose much.  I wrote the following on a forum that I have belonged to for a long time now, a place where I can be open about things that I usually keep hidden.  I am going to edit out a few bits because the could cause great pain to a few people.  I am hoping that maybe by me sharing this, it will help someone else too who is struggling like I have been.  Be blessed!

I'm struggling today emotionally and again dissolved into tears. I so wish all this crap would stop. I hate that Josh is having to see me this way. Jeff explained more to him about what is going on and now Josh "gets it" about why I am such a wreck right now. Josh told me that I do not have to be the "strong one" for everyone else in the family and that I had been trying to be that for far too long. I think I have figured out that my PTSD from some childhood trauma has been triggered by all this mess. As a child I was always told that I had to be strong and take care of everyone else and that I was responsible for them. If something bad was happening to me, it was to be swept under the rug (including being molested for years by someone outside the family) and not talked about...I would just have to deal with it on my own because it would bring shame to our family. My mom finally took me to a psychiatrist for "family counseling" when I was 17 (something I had been begging for for years) after she scared herself with an outburst that she had. I never told the psychiatrist about the molestation but did tell him about some of the other stuff. He was amazed that I had coped as well as I had for all those years and advised me to go far away to college so I could finally live my own life and not be responsible for everyone else. I was a child that was forced to be the adult and caretaker in the family, the "mom" to everyone. I went twice before the appointments were cancelled. I think we all would have benefitted greatly from some good family counseling and could have avoided so many more years of hurt and pain. But it is what it is and my mom and I have worked through our stuff and are now very close and supportive of one another and for that I am extremely thankful!

I now realize that I have fallen back into the same pattern of trying to be strong and take care of everyone else but me. I have stuffed my feelings and put up with way too much for far too long "for the sake of my husband's parents". I have these conflicting feelings of love and yet intense hurt (and even anger) because of being rejected by them and being told that they know we are strong, we will understand and that we will always be there for them, but their other adult children (the colossal screwups and narcissists) "need them more" and that their needs and wants will always come first. Well we are not that strong, we don't understand, and are so hurt by their behavior...all of us! Meanwhile, I go into "mom mode" and try to make sure that everyone else is comforted, taken care of, feels loved and valued (including my MIL and FIL) and I try to "make things right" for everyone and keep hitting a brick wall. Same thing I was expected to do and happened in my childhood. Wow, just getting that out and coming to that realization is making me feel stronger and more able to cope. I think Josh's remark and my subsequent meltdown actually unlocked the key to why I am at this point. I must remember to thank him for that. And for the record, Josh felt awful about my bursting into tears and his part in it and was really sweet, loving and supportive when he came in to talk to me about it. It was nice to have my grown son hug me and tell me how much he loves and appreciates me and all I do for our family and for him. Maybe this is the turning point for me. Maybe some "self care" is what I need and to be able to not only intellectually step away from the situation but also do so emotionally as well. I know it will not be easy and that I will still struggle, but at least this is a start.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap up 9/17-9/23 2016



Hello all, I have not been keeping a running list this week due to a wedding, vacation and having my son Josh home on leave from the Air Force.  I will try to remember my personal frugal doings for the week but you will see that we were very spoiled by my parents while we took a short vacation there with them at their beautiful lakeside home.  They are so generous with all of us and we are truly blessed by them.

~I packed snacks and drinks to take with us on our trip over to see my parents and brother.
~We filled up our car with gas at the best priced gas stations that we could find.  It is .20 cheaper or more per gallon at the gas stations we stopped at than it is around here.  That proved to be a huge savings for us.
~There is a little thrift store in the town that my parents live near.  We found a dvd set of an old TV series starring Betty White in her much younger years.  It is called "Life with Elizabeth. We paid $1 for it.

~My parents treated all of us to the Glacier Symphony with a guest artists who was doing a tribute to John Denver's music.  It was amazing and so much fun!
~My parents treated us to dinner at this funky BBQ joint that we have come to love.  So much wonderful food and we brought home half of it for more meals.
~One night my father BBQed lamb of my favorites!  Mom sent home the leftover chops with me and I had those for dinner later in the week.

~My generous mother sent me home with lots of goodies including homemade lilikoi (passion fruit) butter, homemade raspberry syrup, homemade cherry syrup, honey and Esther Price chocolates that they picked up on their trip back to Ohio.
~Mom also gave me a hand woven rug, a beautiful Christmas lap quilt, my grandmother's mother of pearl inlaid button box (which we suspect was her mother's), and some mugs that my grandparents had made upon the birth of each grandchild. I already had mine but my mom sent home the ones for my cousins Andy and Jeremy since Jeremy now lives near us.
~We spent a lovely day out on the lake on my parents party boat.

~I found my favorite wine from the vineyard in Montana at one of the grocery stores there.  I stocked up!
~Jeff and I enjoyed watching HGTV at my parents home.
~As per usual, I watched some shows online once we were home.
~My cousin Jeremy blessed us with a huge spaghetti squash that was given to him by one of his co-workers.
~I picked tomatoes, squash, beans, the last of the cucumbers and lots of blackberries from our garden.

~I made a really nice salad one night with mixed greens, feta cheese and blackberries.  It was a wonderful combination!
~We stopped at the Grocery Outlet and they had their huge 2 pound packages of pastrami and turkey breast deli meats for $6.99 each.  I bought 2 pastrami and 1 turkey.  I also bought some swiss cheese and some provolone.
~Three overripe bananas were made into banana bread. Jeff and Josh took one loaf with them when Josh went to work with his dad and Josh will take the other loaf with him on the plane Sunday when he flies back to the Washington DC area where he now lives.
~Friday's dinner was a Crockpot creation of smoked turkey sausage, potatoes, onions, carrots and celery cooked in chicken broth.

~I did work my points programs once I got home.
~Our garden produce is being used in salads, sandwiches and satays. Some of the blackberries are being frozen for future jam making.
~It got chilly further along in the week so we did start using the pellet stove when needed but tried to dress warmly inside to keep that down to a minimum.  My house slippers are on my feet almost constantly during the day. ;)

~Walmart sent me my Fall Beauty Box and it had some nice bath related things for the most part.  It was worth the $5 this month. :)
~The mail also brought several free magazines.
~My homemade nectarine vodka turned out really well.  Mixed with orange juice, it makes a terrific cocktail.   Just sayin! ;)
~We have an abundance of apples so I made an apple crisp to go with dinner on Friday night.I had everything I needed on hand. Oh it was so good and I had forgotten how simple they are to make.

~With the cooler weather, I have been working my way through the many boxes of tea that I have here.  It's a nice pick me up during the day and a great way to unwind at night.
~I uploaded some coupons to my Safeway card and will take advantage of the savings when I stop by there tomorrow while I am in town.
~Our son Josh, who is home for a short visit on leave,  was delighted to be able to use our hot tub earlier this week. :)
~My MIL returned a book to me that she had borrowed.  Some of the pages fell out of it when she was reading it.  Luckily I helped put myself through college by working at the university library and a book mender.  It should be a fairly easy fix and one that I can do myself.

   So there you have it.  A huge thank you to my parents who spoiled us rotten while we were there for a few short day.  And another huge thank you to my brother Fritz who I always have the best conversations with. :)  We are enjoying spending time with our Josh while he is here and Jaysn and Rachel even came out Wednesday night for a bit. :)  Be blessed all!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/10-9/16/16


     It has been another interesting week.  I tried for the most part to stay home to save money on gas and do things around here.  We are now down to one car.  I've been working on either making or finding Christmas gifts at great prices so that I am ready ahead of time and not stressed out.  Sadly, after a very hurtful phone call on Friday night that left me shaking and in tears (yes, still that same horrible mess but certain parties just escalated it even though I thought it could not possible get any worse), we may have less gifts to make or buy.  :(  Onto the savings:

~Early morning phone calls rarely bring good news.  Saturday, at 3 a.m., my hubby called me and told me that his car had broken down right outside of the town he works out of.  I got dressed and drove over there to meet him.  We then towed the car, very slowly, into that town and left it at our trusted mechanic's shop.  I did learn one thing...I do not like towing at all.  Scared me to death to have to do it.
~We had my cousin Jeremy over for brunch on Saturday and I fixed a simple meal of an oven pancake, breakfast sausages and eggs.  This was served with some good Kona coffee.  I had bought the sausages and eggs on sale previously, made my own pancake mix and the Kona coffee was a gift.
~Our local apple orchard is open and in full production.  They have expanded over the last 5 years adding more varieties of apples, along with prune plums and pears.  We took my cousin up after our brunch and picked pears, Cortlands, McIntosh and Honeycrisp apples.  They still only charge .50 per pound.  Jeff and I picked 23 pounds worth of fruit and will be sharing with our kids.  I'll be going up again to pick more for our trip to Montana for my parents, brother and their neighborhood friends. :)

~I found a Bacon Lovers pizza on clearance in the deli at Walmart for $3.99 and picked that up for dinner on Saturday.  We enjoyed that and watched a movie we had here for a nice quiet night at home.
~We used the $25 Walmart gift card to buy a air filter for my car and some avocados.
~I baked a pumpkin pie and some cookies to take with us to Heather and Chris' for dinner on Sunday.  We headed over there earlier in the day so Chris, Jeremy and Jeff could go sight in their guns.  Jeremy had to leave after that but we stuck around for a fun baseball game with friends and family and then had dinner.  Heather made Cheddar Bay Biscuits and a delicious garlic cheese and potato soup.
~My oldest grandson Bradley and I did some shopping on Sunday.  We used coupons at Bath and Body Works to get a free lotion and a $10 large 3 wick candle.
~Bradley and I also hit Goodwill and spent under $7.29 for a really cool Spider Man Mask that he fell in love with and 2 shirts, one for him and one for his little brother.

~Monday I picked a big basketful of blackberries from our blackberry bushes.  I also harvested cucumbers, beans, squash and tomatoes.
~We had an old quilt in the garage that needed to be washed.  It was too big for my washer and it was kind of delicate so I hand washed it in our big bathtub.  Jeff hung it out to dry on the laundry line for me the next morning.
~Monday I also baked 2 loaves of bread for sandwiches for my hubby.
~I hung Jeff's laundry out to dry on the line.
~We watched more shows online.
~I bought a beautiful pork loin roast over the weekend at a fantastic price.  Monday, when I took it out of the package, I realized that there were actually 3 pork loin roasts in there.  I had spent a little over $3 on the package.  I roasted them all up with some apples and onions.  We had the 2 smaller roasts for dinner  (there were leftovers) and I put the larger cooked roast away for another meal or 2 later this week.

~The temperatures outside really dropped Monday night so I closed up the house (I usually sleep with the bedroom window open until we hit the freezing mark) and threw an extra blanket on our bed.  I did not want to have to use the pellet stove yet.
~Tuesday my mom called and we had a lovely visit over the phone.  I cannot express in words just how thankful I am for the close relationship that she and I share.
~Another batch of prune plums were cut up and dehydrated.  I want to take some over to my mom when we go visit on Sunday.
~My husband got a $10 credit put on his customer loyalty card as a birthday gift from the bowling alley.
~Completed 2 surveys for Pinecone Research which I will be credited for.
~I  have made good use of the leftovers this week to reduce food waste.
~Our mornings have been really chilly here.  I've been throwing open the curtains and the front door (leaving the storm door closed) on the sunny side of the house first thing in the mornings to help heat up the house.  It was 50F in the house this morning when I got up.  This helps heat up the house fairly quickly.

~Our mechanic called and sadly, our little car is dead.  The whole engine needs to be replaced and given how old the car is and the miles on it, the cost to replace the engine is more than the entire car is worth.  We are going to sell the wheels and snow tires and scrap the rest.  I am now trying to convince my husband that we can get by with just one car since I am not working outside the home and, if need be, I can borrow my neighbor's extra car if I need to.
~Frost hit one of our gardens so I salvaged what I could from there.  So far the other gardens are doing ok but I know it won't be long now until they too take a hit.
~I took part of the larger third pork loin that I cooked earlier in the week and used it to make homemade pork lo mein.  I threw in carrots, celery, cabbage, some red bell pepper and some green onions from our garden along with the pork that I cut into slivers.  I made a sauce with oyster sauce, water and some agave syrup and combined the goodies above and some cooked noodles with it.  Yum!  We have leftovers for another meal plus part of the 3rd pork loin left.  This will make yet another meal for both my hubby and I.
~My hubby winterized our swamp cooler so it is all drained, wrapped up and ready for the cold weather to come.
~I have been missing teaching but know that I cannot handle the stress of working at our local schools right now with all that is going on.  A wonderful opportunity came my way this Wednesday to be able to once again do what I love in a much less stressful environment.  I will be helping out with a local MOPs group (Mothers of Preschoolers) 3 times a month for a little over 2 hours at a time.  They will pay me $25 for each time I work and the best part...I will be working one on one with a little boys with Down's Syndrome and helping him transition into a group of children his own age.  It is a total God thing because the beautiful young woman who reached out to me for help in finding people to work at the program had no idea how much I was missing working with children and that I have always had a special place in my heart for precious little ones with Down's Syndrome. I love how God works!
~I received a box in the mail from PinchMe that had a few samples in it.
~Thursday night I hot tubbed which did help me get some sleep. :)
~I shared some cucumbers and tomatoes from our garden with our neighbors.
~We dug out some small blackberry bushes to take to my mom who wanted some for her garden.  These are thornless blackberry bushes that produce an abundance of fruit. :)
~I have stayed home for the most part this week.  We did have to run over and borrow our son Chris' truck earlier in the week and we ran errands on Friday, but other than that, I have been happy to just be home.
~Friday I picked 2 quarts of blackberries to take to my parents.
~I packed up a bag full of assorted apples and pears to take to my parents.  We had picked them up at our local orchard.
~My gift closet came in handy yet again!  I had a new Circulon stock pot that I had gotten free with the purchase of my cooking pans years back.  I packed that up in a beautiful recycled gift bag and wrote a nice note on some blank notecards that I had bought at the thrift store.  This was a wedding gift for a very special young couple who I had the pleasure of watching grow up and teaching. :)
~We stopped at Salvation Army and I picked up some more Junie B Jones books, a sign that I feel in love with and a brand new black crossbody purse that came with an umbrella and coin purse.  I looked it up on QVC and it retails for $79.  I paid $4.97. Oh I found a really nice book for the grandboys to add to their Christmas presents.
~The Dollar Tree got a new batch of movies in.  By the time we got there they were pretty well picked over but I did find 4 for us.  One dollar for a movie and some homemade popcorn makes for a very cheap date night. ;)
~I had a custom photo mug made for one of my sons for Christmas.  I had found a deal on it and only had to pay shipping.

   I hope you all have a great and frugal weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Keeping Things In Perspective

    Early Saturday morning I got a phone call from my hubby telling me his car had died.  I went to rescue him and towed his car to our mechanic's shop.  It sat there until Jake had a chance to look at it today.  The verdict...the engine is dead and needs to be replaced at the cost of $2,300-$2,500.  OUCH!  I looked up the Blue Book value on the car and it is not worth replacing the engine.  We will sell the tires and wheels and scrap the rest.  My hubby is upset but I pointed out that the car had served us well for many years and if it was going to break down, doing so when we were close to our mechanic's shop and not while we were far away from home on a trip was actually a huge blessing. We still have my car and since I do not work outside the home, we can share that one.  He went back to bed to get more sleep and I called and cancelled the insurance on that car, effective the day it died. I stayed very calm and was able to put this into perspective.

   Last week, one of my friends got some horrible news that her daughter had been in a serious auto accident and was fighting for her life.  Despite all the prayers and the heroic efforts of the EMTs and the doctors and nurses at the hospital, Breanna lost her battle for life. :(  My friend Edwina is now left with the the task that no parent should ever have to face, preparing for her daughter's funeral and trying to go on with her own life without her precious girl in it.  My heart breaks for my friend and her other children and the rest of her family.  Edwina has a very strong support system around her and I know that she will get through this in her own time and in her own way, but that loss will always be there and the questions of "what if" will come to mind for the rest of my friend's life.

   My husband and I had a car break down while my friend lost her daughter.  There is no comparison.  We can replace a vehicle, but my friend will never get to hold her daughter, watch her get married and have children and enjoy her company ever again.  This was a horrible reminder of what is really important in life and how we all need to keep things in perspective.  Be blessed and go hug those you love never know when it will be the last time you will ever have that chance.




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Making a List and Checking it Twice Fall Edition 2016


   Last night our temperatures took a dip into the mid 30's and I had to throw another blanket on the bed.  I am still resisting having to use the pellet stove to hear our home but know that it will soon become part of our daily routine once again.  Our garden is slowing way down on production with the cooler night temperatures which is a mixed bag of emotions for me.  I have been loving the fresh produce but will be thankful to not have to do so much work in the garden.  I know that it is time to make my list of things to do and get ready for the longer and cold nights and the shorter but beautiful Fall days.  So here is my "to do" list of things that I need to get done to be ready for the Fall.

~Do a thorough cleaning on the pellet stove so it is ready to be put into service again.
~Plan on buying more pellets for the stove.  We still have some bags left over from last heating season, but will need to buy at least 3 more tons.  One of those tons will be bought in mid October if not sooner.
~Make sure I have enough canning jars and lids to use to make all the jams with from the fruit I have been freezing from our garden and from the great deals I have found.  I also want to can up some pears.
~Get the guest beds all made up with extra blankets so they are ready for my parents and brother to come and stay with us for a few days in October.
~Wash all the curtains and blinds.  They got really dirty during this harvest season with all the hust in the air.
~Give all the wood furniture a good wipe down with furniture polish and conditioner.
~Take the grandkids apple and pear picking and also to a pumpkin patch.
~Take a walk through the old section of my husband's hometown on a gorgeous Fall day and take pictures of the brilliantly colored leaves.
~Have the family over for a hot dog roast and s'mores.
~Plan and go on a  picnic complete with hot cocoa.
~Take a walk through an arboretum.
~Press some Fall leaves and send them to friends who do not have Fall in their area.
~Swap out my warm weather clothing for the cooler weather clothing.
~Swap out my warmer weather and Summery type purses for the Fall and Wintery ones.
~Pull out my bins of warm and snuggly scarves, hats and gloves.
~Put some board games and cards out where we can access them easily.  We tend to play more games during the colder months.
~Start looking for sales on Hot Apple Cider Mix.  I love to sip on that during the cooler months.
~Put my cold weather emergency bag in my car and make sure Jeff has one for his car also.  This includes an extra set of winter boots, socks and a warm in case we get stuck in the snow.  I keep blankets in the car year round.
~Get the gardens all cleaned up and ready for their winter nap.
~Put away the rain barrel.

   I find that making these kinds of list really helps me to get organized and do things that need to be done but also to list some fun things that we want to do.  It motivates me and helps me look forward to the wonderful Fall season.

Be blessed!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/3-9/9 2016


   I am so sorry that I am getting this posted so late.  I usually try to either post late Friday night or early Saturday morning.  We have had a busy few days and both posting and reading other blogs has had to take a back seat while life happened.  ;)  All in all it has been a really frugal week, for which I am thankful since early, we are talking 3 a.m. (yesterday morning as of the time I posted this), I got a phone call from my sweet hubby telling me his car died on him on his way home from work and could I come and get him. So we now have a car repair bill to look forward to.  Such is life.  Onto where I did save this week though...

~Saturday was my hubby's birthday and we had a BBQ here at the house.  Everyone brought something food wise to add to the feast and what a feast we had.  The dining room table was filled with burgers, brats, buns, a wonderful mixed green salad, a taste pasta salad, chips. 2 homemade chocolate cream pies, cheese, homegrown tomatoes, homegrown cucumbers, sliced thinly, watermelon, corn on the cob and all the fixings.  There were so many leftovers...I will not have to cook for a few days at least.
~My hubby was blessed with wonderful gifts!  He was given precious framed pictures that the grandboys had drawn, a gift card for the movie theater and a shotgun.  He will also be getting a gift card for a round of golf at his favorite golf course and our son Josh will also be taking him golfing when he is home on leave.
~Our son Chris and our grandsons enjoyed using our hot tub as did we.  I was hurting really badly all over and 2 soaks in the hot tub helped to ease it enough so that I could sleep.

~Sunday we had leftovers for lunch and dinner.
~We watched a movie on Sunday afternoon from our vast collection of dvds.
~Jeff changed the oil and filter on his car.

~Monday we had a family brunch at my cousin's house.  My Uncle Mo was in town and I had not seen him since I was a toddler.  We all had a great time getting caught up on each other's lives and learned a lot about each other. :)  My uncle also gave us copies of his CD.  He is a musician who does mostly folk type music.  What a sweet and very appreciated gift!

~I used coupons at the grocery store to bring down costs.  The young checker at Walmart was not happy with me at all when I made him aware that he had not used the coupons I gave him and asked him to please make things right.  He was not trained well at all and made things much harder than they should have been and took a long time to straighten it all out.  He also copped an attitude with me...not a good thing for him to do because I don't deal with that well and let him know that he was out of line with his comments.
~Tuesday it rained so I did not have to water the gardens.
~We had leftovers for lunch and dinner Tuesday night.
~My husband and I shared a .50 Frosty from Wendy's.
~We watched several shows online.
~I cashed in my points at Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart gift card and since it was my first gift card redeemed for the month I got it on sale and saved 300 points.

~I foraged a bunch of Italian Prune Plums and dehydrated them.
~I also foraged a perfect apple.
~Beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and lots of blackberries were harvested this week from the garden.

~More blackberries were frozen and a large cottage cheese container full (I reuse my containers) was taken to a picnic to share with my grandsons and our Heather on Friday.
~I finally got around to freezing all that corn I picked last week.  I filled up 4 large ziplock bags full. We also gave Heather a big bag full over the weekend. I already had 2 bags in the freezer.   We are set for corn on the cob for a very long time.

~I signed up for several free samples.  I love getting free samples in the mail, don't you?
~Leftovers were on the menu once more for dinner on Wednesday night.  I am finally beginning to be able to see the actual shelves in my refrigerator again.
~Youtube was again my "go to" to learn some new skills.  I am amazed at the sheer amount of wonderful people out there who share their knowledge so freely with others.
~Thursday I cut up and froze lots and lots of green onions from our garden.  These onions were planted from the bottom ends of onions that I had bought in the grocery section of the store last year.  They overwintered and spread.  I am hoping they will overwinter once again.  Fifty nine cents for 2 years worth of green onions is an great deal! ;)

~The mail brought some samples and a coupon from Emergen-C and a $5 gift card from the local building supply place as a nice birthday surprise for my hubby. :)
~With us trying to save for our upcoming short but sweet vacation, I printed off the $25 Walmart gift card that I redeemed my points at Swagbucks for.  I will use it to stock up on a few needed items.

~Pasta salad sounded really good for my picnic with Heather and the grandsons so I boiled up a small package of cheese tortellini and chopped up some veggies, seasoned those and added some Italian Salad dressing to the whole thing.  Cheap, quick, easy and I had everything I needed on hand.

~My hanai son Lee (affectionately known as son #4) and I had a nice chat online.  It was good to get caught up with him and hear 2 pieces of wonderful news!  Love that boy!
~Friday morning, while having coffee, I checked my Mypoints account and saw that I had enough points to cash in for a gift card there.  I ordered a $10 Texas Road House gift card to surprise my hubby with since that is his new favorite place to go out to eat. :)
~I foraged more of the Italian Prune Plums and some pears while on a walk Friday afternoon.

~The thrift stores that I went to yielded some great finds!  I love the Yellow Ware ceramic mixing bowls and found one for $4.72.  I also found some cookbooks by Katie Lee Joel (did you all know she is married to Billy Joel?  News to me.), along with a few others, a shirt for half price, a Starbucks mug and the first season of Fame on DVD.  My husband and I both loved that show as kids so it will be fun to rewatch it again.
~Friday's harvest from the garden was tomatoes, squash and 2 acorn of which looked like it was on steroids!

~I was really good about consistently working my points programs this week.
~There was a 2 day cereal sale at one of the local grocery stores.  My hubby stopped by and got cereal really cheap, a gallon of milk for $1.79 and bananas at .39 a pound.

   I hope your week was frugal and that you all are enjoying the weekend!  Be blessed!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My Men Minus One ;)


   These are my hubby Jeff, my son Jaysn and my son Chris and my grandsons, Bradley and Isaiah.  Missing is my son Josh, but he will be coming home to visit us all soon!  These pictures were taken on my husband's birthday on Saturday.  Notice how he has his own "security detail"?  Heather found those little SWAT costumes at Costco and the boys wanted them so they could be "just like Daddy".  The shotgun my hubby is holding was one of his birthday gifts. :)  I had to giggle at my oldest son Jaysn who popped into the picture too.  Gotta love that goof! 

    Of course no visit to Grammie and G-pa's would be complete without some hot tubbing time for the little guys. This time their daddy (Chris) joined them since Grammie and G-pa had already hot tubbed before they got there. ;)  I am so blessed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Making Prunes

   There is an old Italian Prune Plum tree just up over the rise from us.  It grows along side the road in the public right of way.  Most years, it provides the best fruit that is free for the taking.

   Caesar and I took a walk over there this morning and I picked a good sized bag full.  It took me two good washings of each individual plum to get the dust off them from the gravel road that they grow beside.  I then set to work cutting them in half and then loading them onto the food dehydrator trays.  I was able to fill 6 trays up.  It should take about 24 hours to get them fully dehydrated and ready to store.

   I love the dehydrated prunes to snack on or to rehydrate and use in different recipes.  You can chop them up and use them in muffins or you can leave them whole and make tarts with them.  I would imagine that you could also use them in trail mix, granola, fruitcake and other things also.  Honestly, these are easy to do and the most time consuming part was the washing of each plum.

Be blessed!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Debbie's Banana Bread

Banana Bread

1/2 c. margarine or butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour (I use half white and half whole wheat)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
2-3 mashed bananas

Beat the margarine or butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until think. Sift in dry ingredients and mix. Add bananas and continue to mix. Fill a greased large loaf pan and bake at 350 F for one hour or until bread tests done. 

Makes one loaf.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/27-9/2 2016


   Hello friends!  It's been another roller coaster of a week emotion wise but I am trying my best to maintain.  When you have done all that you can do (and we have), stand, give it to God and trust that He will take care of it.  It may not be on our preferred timetable, but it is on His.  I think we did pretty well on our savings this week.  Our biggest boost to our pantry came from getting lots of free after coupon products.  I had 3 sets of the coupons for free items and I took advantage of that when we were in town 3 different times. ;)  We were also harvested lots of produce from our garden and one of our amazing neighbors blessed us with more free corn.  Oh yes, I also did some foraging.  Onto the list...

~Saturday Jeff and I headed into town to hit some yard sales, grab some lunch and do a bit of shopping.  We really scored at the yard sales.  I found a big box full of free homeschooling books which I will give to my DIL Heather to use with the boys as they get older.  At that same yard sale we found free sample sized bottles of DaVinci chocolate syrup to add to coffee or pour over ice cream.  At another yard sale we found a rechargeable lantern for $2 and at yet another one we found a full spectrum grow light for $2.  My hubby found a dimmer switch for $2 to replace the one that went bad in our bedroom.  We also hit an estate sale and it was fun!  I got a box full of various spools of thread, a beautiful quilting book, cutting mat for crafting and quilting, a child's book, a US Air Force windsock (our son Josh in in the Air Force) and my favorite find...a yearbook from my freshman year at my college.  I don't remember if I ever bought one but I do know that if I did, I have no idea where it went to. What a trip down memory lane!
~We used some of those coupons for free products at the Winco grocery store and also got in on their sale on 24 packs of bottled water for .98 each.  I got 2 of those because that was the limit at that price.  The free items I got were 2 boxes of microwave popcorn, 2 cans of Pringles, 2 boxes of flavored instant oatmeal, a bag of beef jerky, 2 -5 packs of ramen noodles, and a box of Clif bars.  We saved over $18 just on the free items!

~While at the hardware store picking up a few things my hubby needed, I stumbled upon a cart full of free plants.  I picked up a Stevia plant because I have been very curious about them.
~We stopped at Goodwill and I picked up a few things there....nothing to exciting. :)
~Saturday night Jeff and I were both exhausted so we crawled into bed and watched a movie.
~Sunday Jeff and I gave each other haircuts here at home.  We both are feeling much better without all that extra weight. ;)
~I used a second batch of coupons to get more free items at Winco.
~Chris and Heather invited us over for dinner on Sunday.  G-pa had not seen the little guys for about 2 weeks and they were missing each other really bad!  Going for more than a week seeing each other is not normal for us at all.

~Monday I ordered a 50 pound bag of unbleached flour for Heather and I to share from Winco.  She did not have enough buckets to store her part in so I made a trip to Safeway and got some free buckets from their bakery department for her. I'll wash them out in my big bathtub.
~I found lots of marked down things at Walmart and put some of them away for gifts.  I also got a rotisserie chicken for $2.98 and a large macaroni salad for $1.21 from the deli.  They were both 50% off and I needed something easy for dinner because I wore myself out again. I also picked up a birthday card and candy bar for Jeff since his birthday is this coming Saturday and we already did our combined birthday gift when we went to the James Taylor concert.  We are still having a family BBQ here to celebrate on Saturday though. :)
~I worked on my nectarine vodka.  I strained and filtered it and then made a simple syrup and added it to the vodka and juice mixture.  Now it has to sit for a month before it is ready to use.
~I borrowed another book from the library and put in requests for a few more movies

~I have been craving tuna and tomato sandwiches so I mixed up some tuna and added some slices of a tomato grown in our garden...sheer bliss!
~We lined dried as many loads of laundry as I was able to this week in between the smoke filled skies and dust in the air due to harvest.
~Our rain barrel has been used a lot due to the dry conditions we have had.
~Tuesday I did not go anywhere so no gas used in my car.
~I repacked a bunch of rolls into zip top plastic bags and threw them in the refrigerator so they would not go moldy on us before we could get them eaten.
~Wednesday I picked half a small basket of blackberries and froze most of them.

~Wednesday morning I had some free oatmeal for breakfast along with my coffee.
~I picked up round 3 if the free after coupon items.
~Thursday's harvest included more blackberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and a few green beans.
~When I went to pick up the 50 pound bag of flour from Winco that I had ordered, it was $6 cheaper than I had been quoted online.  SCORE!!!!
~I started to put together my emergency kit for my car with the upcoming potential for bad weather since we will be going over the passes in a few weeks to see my parents.  I threw in a soy based candle in a jar with a lid, matches, some of the free Clif bars, a package of the free beef jerky, antibacterial wipes, wet wipes,  and antibacterial hand sanitizer.  I will be adding water and an emergency blanket, gloves and extra warm socks to it before we go.
~While out on a walk, I picked more of the plums that were growing next to the road.
~Friday morning I pulled a bunch of overripe bananas out of the freezer and made 5 loaves of banana bread.

~I watched more TV shows online.
~It rained late Thursday night and for part of the day Friday.  No need to water the gardens and my rain barrel was refilled. :)
~With the cooler weather upon us, I threw the last of the baked whole chicken into a stockpot and added onions, celery and carrots.  I picked the meat off the bones, gave the skin to the dog (who was thrilled for the treat, and added some noodles the pot.  Cooked that and seasoned it nicely.  Chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight and we will still have some leftover for a future meal or two.
~I snacked on more fresh blackberries from our garden.
~Our friend blessed us with some fresh blackberry and raspberry pie.

~When I went down to deliver the banana bread to our friend who is the truck farmer, he had me pick more corn and again, would not take any money for it.  I got about 3 1/2 dozen ears this time.  He is going to plow it all under here soon and just wanted it gone.
~Friday night I had a late dinner of stir fried squash from the garden with garlic, shrimp and a little Oyster sauce.
~Apples, oh how I love their scent.  I recently bought a small Mackintosh Apple Yankee candle  from the thrift store for .59 and have it burning right now.  I'm in heaven!  It has been burning for about 2 hours and it looks like I can get another 4-6 hours of burn time out of it.

   So yes, it has been a pretty good week for savings around here.  I'm noticing a definite nip in the air as I blog tonight and think I will need to add another blanket to the bed before I go to sleep.  Be blessed all and I am looking forward seeing how you saved this week also.

*I want to apologize for some of the pictures being sideways.  My photo program on my computer is acting up.