Friday, March 31, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/25-3/31 2017


Green beans (free) and BBQed pulled Pork (sale pork loin) on hamburger buns (free).

If you read my last post before this one, you know that it has been a rough two weeks for me health wise and that really took a toll on my emotions too.  I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reached out to me, prayed for me and who encouraged me.  It really meant so much to both my husband and I.  That being said, I did not do a lot to save money this week other than stay home for the most part.  There were things I had planned on doing, but did not have the energy or strength to do and that's ok.  I am going to give myself grace.  I am hoping to get to them this next week.

Jeff changing the brake pads on his car.

~Jeff worked on replacing the brake pads on his new car.  He took the good brake pads off his old car (since they had been replaced shortly before the car died) and used those.  I am so glad his new car and his old car are the same model so that the parts can be taken off the old one and used on the new one.
~I put a lot of time into my points programs this week.
~I gave Jeff a much needed haircut on Monday.

A loaf of homemade banana bread.

~We have lots of elk and venison burger in the freezer that needs to be used up.  I went through the refrigerator and found some tortillas that were nearing the end of their "usefulness".  I made a sour cream enchilada type casserole using plain yogurt in place of sour cream.  Very good! 😀
~We watched the movie "Mr. Church" that we borrowed from the library.  If you have not seen it, you really should!
~Winco had a great deal on their pork loin for $1.39 a pound. I bought a package of two.

Pulled BBQed Pork.

I cooked up the pork loin roasts in the crockpot with some BBQ sauce and shredded it.  I froze half of it for another meal later.  I had made enough for 3 meals total but my hubby decided that it was just too good to have to wait for a second meal. 😉
~Three loaves of banana bread were made.  I gave one of the loaves to our sweet hanai sister Shannon.
~We borrowed some more movies and a book from the library.
~Two more loaves of oatmeal bread were made.
~Our volunteer work was this week.  Jeff went down and did it for us on Thursday because I am still in a tailspin emotionally and physically from this Fibro flare.  We got lots of free groceries too.
~I was missing my childhood home and the beauty of the music and sea which has always been healing for me.  I found this music and "movie" of Hawaii on YouTube and have been watching it.  It has helped calm and renew my soul.

Music and scenes from Hawaii to sooth my soul via YouTube.

~Sometimes a girl just needs comfort food.  Artichokes are that for me and I found a great deal on a 4 pack of them at Trader Joe's.  I finally cooked them up and enjoyed them both hot and cold.
~Shannon gave me some Starbuck's specialty coffee.  Nothing like a good cup of coffee!
~With this latest Fibro flare being so bad, I have been doing more research on it from a supplements, nutrition and gentle stretching and yoga standpoint.
~More homemade Zuppa Toscana soup was pulled from the freezer and eaten for dinner one night.

Homemade Zuppa Toscana pulled from the freezer and reheated for dinner on a night when I was way too tired and sore to cook.

~A dress that I had at a local consignment store finally sold.  That was a $22.50 profit.  I'll take it!
~We stopped at Safeway to get some Halo mandarins that were on sale and that I also had a coupon for.  I spent $2.49 for 3 pounds of mandarins.  While we were there I also found a huge bag of Safeway's house brand of dog food for half off so I bought that since we will need more here soon. In addition to that I bought some corned beef from the deli that was marked at half off.  I had been craving a good corned beef sandwich and had the rye bread at home in the freezer.  This was I will have several sandwiches for half the price I would have paid for one sandwich at a restaurant.
~Jeff and I are both craving burgers so I pulled some venison burger out of the freezer to thaw.  I'll make burgers for dinner Saturday night using some of the free hamburger buns that we got.

Books and movies borrowed from the library this week.

~I spent one day this week with my grandsons.  I had not seen them in about 2 weeks and it was so nice to be able to play, read with, do school with  and just spend time cuddling with them both.
~While in town on Friday to deposit Jeff's paycheck, he asked me if I wanted to go to the thrift store and I told him no.  We have a bunch of our bills that come in quarterly coming out of this paycheck and that makes money a bit tight.  I have done a lot of thrift store shopping over the past 2 weekends so I am good for now. ;)
~I cut a bunch of coupons that I got out of the free ads paper.

   So there it all is, not a huge list this week or huge savings but every little bit counts.  I am planning on taking more things to the consignment store to sell since Spring is now here and I have some more dresses and a few purses that I am hoping will sell.  We shall see.  It doesn't cost me anything to try. ;)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Fibro Guilt"


   There is a term called "Fibro Guilt" that I'll bet every single person that has Fibromyalgia can immediately identify with and that most of us who have this debilitating disease have shed tears over. I think all people who live with "invisible illnesses" like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Lupus, IBS, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases that have had their lives so dramatically altered suffer from frustration, anger, and lots of guilt.  We feel guilty for not being able to do the things we used to do.  We are not able to be there for our friends and family all the time and have to bow out of events and plans when the pain and exhaustion get to be too much for us, many times at the last minute.  If we are still able to work outside the home, we feel like we are not giving 100% to our job and that our coworkers are having to pick up the slack when we cannot get it all done.  If we are no longer able to work outside the home, we feel guilt for not contributing financially to our family.  And speaking of family, we are frequently not able to be the same parent or spouse that we used to be and that leads to huge amounts of guilt on our parts.  Today was one of those days that the "Fibro Guilt" hit me hard and left me in tears crying while my husband gently held me in his arms.

   I have been having a bad flare that is going into it's second week now.  Between my Fibromyalgia and my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have been in lots of pain (to the point of wanting to throw up) and have been getting very little sleep, although that is exactly what my body needs to heal.  Within the previous 2 nights, I had gotten a total of 6 hours of sleep and that is with the "help" of sleeping and pain medications.  Tuesday I managed to go to work for 2 1/2 hours for the MOPS program after only getting 2 hours of sleep the night before.  Laurie and I had 15 kids to watch between us ranging from babies to 5 year olds.  The other person who was supposed to come in and help cancelled at the last minute.  We both were going full bore the entire time.  After we were done, I stopped to pick up a few groceries, grabbed some lunch to bring home and then collapsed on the couch once I made it home unable to move much at all.  I dozed off for about 20 minutes.  Tuesday night our Heather got ahold of me telling me that she was not feeling well, was in pain and wondered if I could watch the boys if she had to go to the doctor the next day.  We had already planned for me to go over the next morning to help her homeschool the boys, but now she was not sure she would be able to do that.  I told her to let me know Wednesday morning how she was doing and what she needed me to do.  I was really worried about her. I got a call Wednesday morning and Heather was not doing well at all.  My son Chris asked me if I could come over and watch the boys so I got myself ready and out the door.  By the time I got there, I could see that my Heather was in lots of pain.  They headed out and it was just the boys and I with me not having had my coffee yet.  Heather, even with being in pain, had made me a pot of coffee because she is just amazing like that.

   Bradley and Isaiah were so sweet and so excited to have me there with them.  They both gave me big hugs...and it hurt, bad.  😢 I came close to crying but I was so afraid that if I did cry, the boys would feel awful for "hurting me" even though it would not be their fault at all.  I told them I loved them but we had to be gentle with Grammie.  Since my body was aching and so was my head, I took some ibuprofen while I sipped on my coffee and had the boys play hide and seek with me.  They hid, Grammie seeked.  It gave me a chance to drink my coffee and to have the pain meds take effect.  We then sat down to ready some books together.  They cuddled in on either side of me and when one of them leaned in too fast against me, it hurt, bad. 😧  I had to tell them again to be gentle with Grammie, because my body was hurting.   While we sat there reading together, I kept telling myself to focus on those two amazing little guys that I loved with all my heart and being able to spend special time with them and not on how bad I was hurting.  We then found other activities to do like seeing what kind of metal magnets stuck to (Science), where the kids in the Lego magazine were from on the map in the school room (Geography), and Bradley got out his reading book and he read to me (Reading).  We had lunch and watched some Lego episodes on Netflix.  After that we built with Legos.  Yes there is a theme here with Legos.  I poured every bit of energy and strength I had into my grandsons for the 4 1/2 hours that I was there while Heather had her doctor's appointment and had some tests done at the hospital.  Once I got home, I was exhausted, hard to keep my eyes open, but not being able to sleep and my sciatic nerve decided to just act up too to add insult to injury so to speak.  I heated up some soup for our dinner and then burst into tears.

   Everything came pouring out of I felt guilty for having to tell the little boys that they could not hug Grammie tightly because it hurt me and that they had to be very gentle when cuddling with me.  I never want my grandsons to be afraid of hurting me.  I felt guilty that I was so exhausted and an emotional wreck.  I felt guilty because I can not contribute financially to our household like I used to.  I felt guilty because my husband has to pick up the slack do lots of the things that I used to be able to do.  I felt guilty that all the financial burdens are now on my husband.  I felt guilty for not being the wife to him that I once was.  I felt guilty for costs of all my supplements that I need to take and for all the medical expenses.  I felt guilty because I have not had the energy to even respond to the comments from so many kind people who have commented on my past few blog posts and I feel like I am being a horrible friend.  I felt guilty for all the stress I feel due to the horrible and hurtful behavior towards my husband, my kids, grandkids and myself by my husband's relatives that just makes my Fibro flares worse and that has caused this HUGE flare that I am in now.  I felt guilty because I feel like I am a burden.  I just felt guilty.

   My sweet husband just held me while I cried and let me vent.  He then gently told me that he loved me and that he was there to take care of me...that was his job.  He told me I am not a burden and that I take good care of him and he appreciates that.  He also told me that we are in this together and that he will do whatever I need him to do to help me through this.  I calmed down and we talked some more things through, helping me to process them.  But you know something...the guilt is always there and some days it's "voice" just screams at me making me feel simply awful about myself.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spokane Getaway Last Weekend

   I thought it would be fun to share some pictures of Jeff and my spur of the moment Getaway weekend last weekend in Spokane.  The river pictures are of the Spokane River and Falls.  It was running really high on Sunday when I took these pictures and by Monday morning it was another 3 feet higher and touching the bottoms of some of the bridges.  They ended up shutting down all the pedestrian bridges later that day across the river.  Sadly, someone jumped into the river, committing suicide Monday afternoon from one of the bridges also.  

      These next pictures are from the Red Lion Hotel that we stayed at.  They had just finished remodeling their hotel and I love the way the main lobby area turned out.  So much fun!  I did not take any pictures of our hotel room because frankly, it was just a standard room and we had multiple problems with it and the housekeeping service.  They did give us a voucher for a free deluxe room for our next trip up there.

      This is our breakfast on Monday morning.  Oh so good!  Our waiter, Daniel, was amazing and so kind, attentive and courteous.  When talking the to manager about our other issues with our hotel room and showing him in our room what those issues were,  I was sure to tell him about the great service we got from Daniel and that he really helped turn our morning around after the other issues.  I know that Daniel was a new hire but I sure hope they give him a raise.  He deserves one!

   I wish I had gotten pictures of the time we spent with our friends but we were all having such a good time and totally spaced off taking any.  It was great to get caught up with them and to play with the toddler and the baby.  My friend Robyn is totally in Grandma heaven with those two little cuties and my goodness they adore her. :)  All in all it was a good trip with lots of shopping, good food, time with friends and being able to just relax with my hubby.  Hopefully the next time we stay there our room will be clean and not missing things.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/18-3/24 2017

Brand new Columbia brand fleece jacket for $3.97.  Yes, this is the second one I have bought within that last dew weeks.  I am definitely set on fleece jackets now.

   It's been a mixed bag for frugalness along with some splurging.  We did go away for the weekend and tried to keep it as frugal as possible, but we did spend money on eating out a few times.  The rest of the week, once we got home, we pretty frugal though in part because I was just too worn out to go anywhere or do anything for several days and my body was in crash mode.  Onto the savings...

I loved the pattern on this lightweight sheer top and it was only $1.50!

~Saturday we took a swim and used the hot tub at the hotel.  We also had some snacks in our room that I had brought along.
~We took a long walk and took pictures of the Spokane River and Falls.  It was roaring and so pretty!
~Our hotel provided a free latte each day and free coffee all the time to all the guests.

More thrift store finds.  I was tickled to find the matching baby shower themed napkins to the dessert plates I had bought last week at another thrift store.

~We did more thrift store shopping at several thrift stores. Many of the store had great deals and I found some clothing items for .25- .99 each.  I also found a new leather purse that is perfect for Spring at half price, a leather key case, napkins and cups for the baby shower that match the plates I had previously found at another thrift store last week, some jeans, a caftan, a dvd, another brand new Columbia fleece jacket, a few things that Jeff wanted (I can't remember what all he found), some books, a small leather wristlet purse and some prepared microscope slides for the little boys to use with their microscope.  At the Union Gospel Mission they had done away with their rewards cards but honored mine so I was able to get $10 off my purchase there. 
~Sunday we spent the afternoon with one of my closest friends from college and her beautiful family.  I got to meet her newest grandbaby, Evie and get caught up with her oldest daughter who I used to babysit when she was Evie's age, played with her almost 2 year old grandson Blake who I had not seen since he was an infant and get caught up with her middle daughter, the husbands of the girls, her son, who stopped by and her hubby.  We made plans to go camping over Memorial Day and to go to a few college football games in the Fall.

The purse  and the key case were both half off and the little wristlet was only .99 since all yellow tags were .99 at the store where I found it.

~Jeff and I stopped by the Grocery Outlet on our way back to our hotel and grabbed some things for dinner there and had that back in our hotel room.  We hit another Grocery Outlet the next day to pick up a few things there also and ran across some great deals including big cans of coffee for 2.99 each.  Jeff grabbed 4 of them.
~We enjoyed watching HGTV at the hotel since we do not have it here at home anymore.
~Trader Joe's had some good deals on produce so we grabbed a few things there.

Coffee for $2.99 a can from the Grocery Outlet store.

~Due to some problems at our hotel with our room and poor service from some of the staff, I talked to the Front Desk Manager and we were given a voucher for a free night at the hotel in a deluxe room at a future date.  The manager told us he would even try to upgrade us further and to contact him directly so he could make it happen.  Yes, the problems were that bad!
~Tuesday I stayed home from work because I was having trouble with my stomach and was just worn out.  The upside to that was that I did not spend money on gas or in another thrift store.
~Tuesday's dinner was something that I threw together trying to use up the kale I bought last week.  I sauteed up some thinly sliced chicken pieces with the kale in some butter, added some lemon juice, salt, pepper and a bit of water.  When that was all cooked, I added some diced frozen red peppers, turned the heat off and let that sit covered for a few minutes.  I also made some Cheesy Broccoli Rice and served it with some cherry tomatoes.
~The leftover coffee was put in the thermal container to keep it warm throughout the day.

Dinner on Tuesday night.

~I renewed a dvd that I borrowed from the library since we did not get a chance to watch it over the weekend.
~We got a coupon for a free protein bar in the mail.
~Wednesday I was still out of it and had done something to my neck so it was really stiff and sore.  I decided to go easy on myself and not worry about making bread.  There was still enough for sandwiches for Jeff for work.  I remembered that I had some homemade par baked pizza crusts in the freezer so I pulled them out, defrosted one and put a thin layer of mozzarella cheese on it and stuck it in the microwave to melt the cheese.  It was quick, easy and satisfied my carb cravings.
~I worked on my points programs.
~Jeff drained and cleaned the hot tub and then refilled it so we have fresh water in it again.
~Thursday I cooked up some pasta and added the leftovers from Tuesday to that along with some cherry tomatoes, garlic and some more kale to it all.  It was really good!

Leftovers from Tuesday's dinner were turned into a pasta dish with a few additions for dinner on Thursday night.

~A dear friend called me Thursday to check on me and see how I was doing.  It was just what I needed and so sweet of her.  It sure lifted my mood since I have been struggling this week.
~I made 2 more loaves of bread, much to my hubby's delight.
~I scored 2 more free magazine subscriptions for magazines that my son Chris and my grandsons love.
~Insomnia hit again several nights this week so I spent my time rehabbing handbags, looking up cruise information and putting all the things away in the early morning hours that Doofy cat was knocking off  things and then batting around.
~Friday night's dinner was another comfort food meal using items that needed to be used ASAP.  I threw some elk steaks in the crockpot along with a can of mushrooms, some Cream of Mushroom Soup, onion soup mix (I buy that in bulk), some dehydrated onions, and some leftover red wine.  I served this with brown rice.  I then cut up the leftover steaks, threw that back in with the leftover gravy and will serve this over baked potatoes sometime this weekend.
~There was an email from Petco for free cat treats.  I will be printing this off and picking some more up.  Doofy will be a happy camper.

   This next week looks to be a busy one for me with work Tuesday, helping to homeschool my grandboys on Wednesday and they volunteer work on Thursday.  Depending on how I am doing Thursday, I may or may not spend the full 6 hours doing volunteer work.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dansko Shoes Rehab


    I bought the above shoes at the thrift store for $4.97.  They are Dansko brand and super comfortable.  They showed very little wear on the soles of the shoes.   Dansko is a pretty expensive brand that retails for $100 or more per pair.  Looking at the shoes, I thought I could rehab them and make them look pretty good with just a little effort.  I started by using leather conditioner on them and let that sink in and dry.  I then used brown shoe polish on the non suede leather parts.  I finished it off by using a brush for cleaning suede on the suede parts of the shoes.  I spent about 10 minute of actual hands on time on these.  I think they turned out really well and I will be using them for years to come in the Fall and Winter months.  I love being able to make something that is a bit beat up look great again!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/11-3/17 2017


   It's been a busy week here with me trying to push through despite the Fibro flare and my Chronic Fatigue deciding to join the party too.   UGH!  Despite all that, we did have a good week filled with fun and family and that balanced out the bad stuff. 😉  I am thankful that my work was cancelled for this week though because I was not moving well at all on Monday and Tuesday.  Now onto the savings!

~Jeff used a Home Depot gift card we got for Christmas to buy a Air Hammer wrench and some router bits that he wanted.  Both will be used quite a bit to work on our vehicles and on household projects.  He still has a remaining balance on the card to use later.
~We went out to Olive Garden for lunch and used another gift card that we got for Christmas.  They are having their Buy One Take One deal so we had a nice meal there and were able to bring home 2 additional entrees for free.  We chose Cheese Ravioli in Marinara Sauce and a Five Cheese Ziti as out take home meals.  We used these for dinner, served with a nice salad, for dinner another night.

~Jeff picked up some other tools he needed from Harbor Freight where they were on sale.
~While we were in Coeur d'Alene, ID, we also went to the Grocery Outlet and spent $32 for groceries that would have cost us $82 anywhere else.  I found 3 bunches of asparagus marked down to .79 each and some marked down hot Italian Sausage and marked down mushrooms.
~Sunday I used the marked down hot Italian Sausage, some potatoes and onions that needed to be used up and half a large bag of kale that I picked up (for 1/3 the price of regular grocery stores) to cook up a huge batch of Zuppa Toscana soup. We had some for lunch on Sunday, had some Monday and I froze some for future meals also.

~The thrift stores in Coeur d'Alene yield some amazing deals for us.  I was specifically looking for some black pants, dark blue dress shorts, snow bibs for the grandboys for next year and a few other things.  I found all of them!  Both the black pants (Chico's brand), shorts (Coldwater Creek) and a new flannel pajama gown were all brand new.  I also found some gorgeous Cookie Lee earrings (also brand new) and some large Rubbermaid containers for storing cereals, books, a CD for Jeff and a few other things.
~Sunday afternoon Chris called and asked us if we would be interested in having a big family dinner at a place that we all had gift cards to (another Christmas gift) if he would arrange it.  Jeff and I thought that was a wonderful idea!  Chris was able to arrange it and asked if we would like to go bowling beforehand.  The bowling alley has specials on Sundays for families and we had money on a gift card there also. :)  It was a fun way to spend the afternoon and evening and for this Grammie, the ultimate moment was when both my grandsons, who were sitting on either side of me at dinner, decided to make me a "Grammie Sandwich" by hugging me and the same time.  I love those little guys so much and oh they make my heart sing! It was so great to have 2 weekends that we got to spend time with Jaysn, Rachel, Jeremy, Chris, Heather and the grandboys. :)
~I baked 2 loaves of bread and made another batch of croutons.
~I had saved some perfume sample inserts from some older magazines.  Monday I tried out one of the Versace fragrances and I am in love.  I would never spend how much they want for it, but it was sure fun to enjoy it for one day. :)
~Jeff is continuing to strip good parts off his old car to use on his newer one as needed.

~The outside fresh pine wreath came down this weekend.  I stripped the pretty velvet bow and some of the pinecones off it to use on future wreaths before I threw the other drying out part away.
~The thick rubber bands that held the asparagus in bundles was saved.  These come in so handy.  I have no idea when the last time was that I actually bought rubber bands.
~Our hot tub was used multiple times this week because I both overdid it several times and had fibro flare on top of that.  When ever fiber of your body is aching, the hot tub really is the only thing that helps sometimes.
~I worked my points programs as time allowed.
~Stress has caused another yeast infection.  I used a homeopathic treatment here at home to treat and get rid of it.
~I had to refill two prescriptions and did that at Walmart where they only charge $4 for a 30 day supply.

~Jeff and I stopped at the thrift store that helps the disabled.  I had a loyalty card that I had filled up so we got the first $20 of merchandise free on this trip.  We ended up paying $8.36 out of pocket.  I was able to find more shirts for the little boys and some cute baby things for Steven along with an adorable little girl's sunsuit on the .10 clearance rack.   Other great finds were a pair of Dansko leather clogs, a shirt for Jeff, a sweatshirt for me, some outdoor solar lights, a CD, a beautiful coffee mug (found it selling on ebay for about $16 and some change) for .49 and 2 really nice large pasta/soup bowls with the wife rims that were made for Macy's that retail at $18.00 and I got for .79 each.  We also found some cool books on making birdhouses and another recipe book for sandwich wraps, 2 brand new leather men's wallets at .99 each, another Rubbermaid storage canister, some dessert plates for baby Steven's baby shower and something else that Jeff picked up that I have not idea what it is used for, but he does. ;)

~I borrowed a book and a movie from the library.
~The sun was out Thursday so I took advantage of that and no rain to hang out some laundry to dry on the laundry line.
~I conditioned and used brown shoe polish to bring the Dansko shoes I bought for $4.99 at the thrift store on Wednesday back to looking almost brand new.

~I was craving a salad for dinner on Thursday so I used some of the greens I had on hand, some of the rotisserie chicken and some apple to make a yummy dinner for me. is one of my go to spots to book hotel rooms.  I was able to score a $225 a night room for $66 a night.  Woohoo!  We have stayed at the hotel we "won" before and are looking forward to a belated anniversary getaway. There is also an indoor pool at our hotel that I am sure we will be using

~Friday I got a bag of goodies ready to take on our weekend away.   There is a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker in the room.  I'm taking Pumpkin Bread, chips, crackers, cheese, sausage meat stick, tea, coffee, hot cocoa mix, seltzer water, bananas, creamer (travel size), juice, milk (those little aseptic packs) along with some insulated mugs (so we can take our hot cocoa or tea with us when we leave the hotel to go shopping), some paper plates and plastic silverware.  We can pick up things at the Grocery Outlet or Safeway since they are right down the road and zap them in the hotel room so we don't have to eat out as much.  The hotel also offers free cappuccinos each morning to their guests.  We will be taking advantage of that.
~I stocked up an area of our kitchen with goodies for our house and pet sitter.  I hired one of our neighbors to come and stay here since Caesar knows him and Doofy will love having him here too.

~We had been wanting the movie "Moana" so I bought the dvd/blu ray combo pack.  I am giving the dvd to our grandsons who are thrilled about it and keeping the blu ray here for us.
~Friday turned into another cold, gloomy and wet day so I made some Cheese and Beer Soup.  I had half a can of beer that was unfinished last night so I put it in the fridge with this soup in mind. ;)
~We are taking a baby gift to our good friend's daughter who had a baby in December.  I babysat that same daughter when she was just a baby. :)  Luckily I had bought some adorable NWT baby girl clothes and put them away in my gift closet.

   I know it sounds like we are spending money like crazy, especially with us going away this weekend and staying at a hotel.  There are times though when you just need to escape for awhile and both Jeff and I have been feeling like we needed some time away, just the two of us.  I am trying to keep it as frugal as possible.  I'll share in another post more on how we are doing just that.  Be blessed and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Preparing Your Pantry For Emergencies

   I love Starry Hilder's videos.  She is a homesteader who lives up north of us and recently was snowed in with the horrible storms we had.  We are now dealing with flooding issues and some of the roads in our area have been severely damaged and/or are overrun with floodwaters. Other emergencies could be illness, loss of income, even your vehicle breaking down where you are unable to have transportation to the grocery store.  Check out here video below!



Monday, March 13, 2017

March Grocery Challenge 2017

A large pot of Zuppa Toscana soup made at home.  So good and we had 5 meals out of it since I froze 4 meals worth after enjoying some the day I made it.

   Time for a way overdue update on how I am doing on my grocery challenge for this month.  Rounding my total up, I am at $70.   I have been trying to stick to just buying the things we need at the moment but I did hit the Grocery Outlet store while we were in Coeur D'Alene over the weekend and they had some deals I just could not pass up!

   The grocery items that I have been buying down here have been bananas, milk, oil, flour to make bread, lots of fresh produce and a few treats thrown in here and there.  Jeff eats 1-2 bananas a day so I am always having to get those.  We have been going through a lot of milk lately and I needed the oil and flour to make bread and other snack items with.  Salad making supplies have been pretty expensive lately so I have been trying to find deals on things like sweet peppers to throw in to both stretch the expensive lettuces and to add some crunch and great flavor to it.

   The Grocery Outlet store had some amazing deals on produce like kale and asparagus.  I got a huge bag of Kale for $2.99 and 3 bunches of asparagus for .79.  I also found some marked down hot Italian Sausage so I cooked up a huge batch of Zuppa Toscana with that, half the bag of kale and and some potatoes I had here at home that needed to be used.  I froze 4 meals worth for future dinners along with us having some on Sunday. One of my favorite scores of the day there though were some Betty Crocker Mint Chip Brownie mixes.  We are throwing a baby shower for our Rachel next month and I thought that would be perfect for one of the treat plates.  I'll cook up 3 of the boxed mixes for that and serve it along with a nice fruit platter or salad to go with the cake that Heather is making.  I also found huge bags of organic whole green beans so I bought one of those since Jeff and I love stir fried garlic green beans.  We did get some other snack type things and a large 2 pound block of Pepperjack cheese for $4.99.

   Today while I was making room in the freezer for the 4 containers of soup that I was freezing, I pulled out a reduced priced rotisserie chicken.  I'll be making meals this week with that and then using the carcass to make more soup.  I need to use the asparagus this week also and use up our salad greens.    With all the rain we are having, it sounds like this is the perfect week for comfort food!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/4-3/10 2017

   This has been a great week for some amazing finds at the thrift stores.  Sometimes I think God is really smiling down on me and saying "I know you are having a rough week so here is a nice surprise to brighten your day".  This was surely one of those weeks where He blessed me big time!  Even better than that though was that we were able to spend lots of quality time with our family going out to dinner with a gift card given to us at Christmas and also celebrate Bradley's 5th birthday with friends and family.  Our greatest treasures will always be our family!  Onto my savings and wonderful finds!

~My goodness did I score big time at our thrift store that benefits the disabled in our area.  I found a Coach purse for $2.29.  Yes, you read that right!  Happy Dance!!!!😁 
~I recycled a gift bag to put our grandson Bradley's birthday gifts in.
~We managed to get the whole family together for dinner at Pizza Hut on Saturday.  We took advantage of their deals and used a $30 gift card to pay for most of it.  It was great to have everyone together, including my cousin who we had not seen in quite awhile. :)

~As much as I wanted to go to a huge library book sale on Saturday, I resisted the urge to do so and saved the money instead.  I have so many books here already that I still need to read.
~Sunday was Bradley's 5th birthday party!  I still can't believe he turned 5 on Wednesday!  We had a wonderful time with family and friends.  By the time we got home I was worn out though so Jeff made some boxed mac and cheese for dinner while I made us salads.
~Monday I made 2 loaves of bread, a double batch of biscuits, roasted sweet and yellow potatoes along with some red peppers, and maple syrup.

~Tuesday I worked and was in need of some "retail therapy" after a rather hectic morning. ;)  I hit up Goodwill and found some shirts, a blu ray/dvd combo of "The Lego Movie" (this will be a birthday gift for our second grandson Isaiah for his birthday in July), a insulated mug from my college, a book, candle and some of which was brand spanking new. One of the shirts was half price and I also used a 20% off the most expensive item coupon.
~Jeff made us pancakes from my homemade mix for dinner on Tuesday night.

~Wednesday I borrowed 3 more dvds from the library and put in requests for several others.
~Wednesday night Jeff and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary (a day early).  Our son Josh gave us $50 for anniversary and told us to go out to dinner on him.  We went back to the same place (it was a different restaurant than it is now, but still the same building) where we had our rehearsal dinner 32 years ago.  It is now one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.  They serve huge portions so both Jeff and I brought home part of our dinner to have for another meal.

~Thursday I dug into my stash of greeting cards and found a wonderful card for my hubby for our anniversary.  He stopped and bought me one on his way home from work along with a Snickers bar.  Yep, Snickers are my love language. 😁
~We borrowed Chris' pickup to haul home another ton of wood pellets to use in our pellet stove.

~I threw more overripe pears on top of the garden bed.  They will break down and make nice compost.
~Thursday night Jeff had his bowling league so I just made a big bowl of popcorn and had that for dinner while I watched videos on YouTube.
~Friday I was craving steak so I pulled some venison steaks from the freezer and made a marinade right in the ziplock bag the steaks were in.  I let them thaw in the refrigerator and we had them for dinner along with a wild rice mix and salad.

~Do you ever crave something that you have had at a restaurant really badly?  Well that has been me with a certain pasta salad that is different from anything I have ever had before.  I set out to try and recreate it and came close!  I think all I need to add is some cilantro to the parsley that I already added and it would be perfect.  I do think however that my hubby would enjoy my version as it is better though. ;)

~I worked on my points programs and did surveys as time allowed.
~The Asian food cravings hit this week so I dug through the freezer and found some pork pot stickers and cooked those up.

   I think I did pretty well overall both in finding amazing things and in the food department here at home.  Jeff and I will be heading out here soon to go up to a lakeside town about an hour north of us for the day to do some shopping and to have a early dinner.  Be blessed all and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wedding Gift Ideas That Will Be Appreciated and Used

Thirty two years ago we had a Hawaiian style wedding (my culture) and got married in the same church my husband's parents were married in.

   Today Jeff and I are celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary so of course I have been reminiscing and taking notice of the items that we got all those years ago as wedding gifts that we still use on a regular basis today.  Jeff and I also received our second invitation last  week to weddings that will be held this Summer.  That got me to thinking about wedding gifts for the newlyweds to be and what would actually be appreciated and used.  I don't want to get them things that will just end up gathering dust, be regifted or donated or sold at their next yard sale. 😉

    Let's be honest here, although the thought was nice, there are many gifts that we were given that we never or rarely use.  Those napkin rings, while pretty to look at, just were not something that my husband and I (or anyone else we know) use.  We are not fancy people at all.  The beautiful Japanese lacquered serving trays have been used once.  I was terrified for something (or someone) to drop hard on them and ruin them.  The fancy cocktail bread molds, well unless you throw a lot of cocktail parties or tea parties, they are not practical at all and besides that, they are a bear to clean.   I know this one is going to be hard for some people to accept, but that beautiful fancy (and delicate) china, although I really wanted it and was blessed to get some of it, I have used two of the plates (I have four complete place settings along with one of the serving platters) exactly one time.  We had three boys and my husband is tends to get a little heavy handed when using a knife so again, I was afraid of my china being broken or scratched.  It does look lovely in the china cabinet though and in the spirit of being totally transparent and honest, I do collect pretty china pieces because I am drawn to them and I will use some of them myself (mainly the pink Haviland patterns) because they bring back warm and wonderful memories for me of eating off the family china on holidays at the Grandma's house.  I did inherit all that china from her plus another set of her china, but it is packed away at the moment.

   So let's get onto the more practical (and appreciated) gifts ideas that will be used.  Remember that some of these items, especially the Winter type linens, are on sale at many stores right now.  Go get some and put them in your gift closet for those upcoming wedding gifts and even graduations.   Here is my list...

~Tupperware food storage containers.  I am still using the set that my Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ed got us when we were married and I have added to it over the years.  This is probably my most used wedding gift because they are in constant rotation in my refrigerator storing leftovers or bringing something to family dinners.
~Blankets, sheets, towels, kitchen towels, and oven mitts.  These are items that get a lot of use.  Invest in good quality towels please while they are on sale.  My husband and I prefer the huge "bath sheet" sized towels and find that most of the people that we have given those kinds of bath towels too love them.  Same goes for sheets, buy the couple a nice high thread count set while on sale.  Nobody likes scratchy sheets.  Don't forget about the beach towels!
~Cloth napkins.  No, not the fancy damask kind, but practical cotton napkins that can be used on a daily basis and just thrown in the wash after use.  With so many people trying to "go green" or be frugal, this is a wonderful and much used item.  They are also easy to sew and you can find fun fabrics that match the decor and interests of your recipients.  We use our's on a daily basis and our kids have grown up using them so now they have them and actually request them as gifts.
~Pyrex glassware for storage or baking.  These are things that we and everyone we know uses on a regular basis.  One of my favorite gifts to give is a Pyrex rectangular baking dish with it's insulated carrier.
~Mixing bowls.  My favorite mixing bowls are rubber with handles and a rubber ring on the bottoms that help it to drip to the counter while I am mixing something up.  They are a nesting set that we were given when we got married and are still going strong and seeing lots of use.
~Good knives.  Everyone needs good sharp kitchen knives that can be sharpened when they get dull.  Steak knives are also on my list of things that are much appreciated and used.
~Cookie sheets, bread pans, cake pans, and cooling racks.  Again, these are items that see a lot of use in my home.
~Rubber spatulas, tongs, wooden spoons, wisks, a good potato masher, ladles, large slotted spoon, measuring spoons and cups, Pyrex glass measuring cup that can also go in the microwave, splatter guards, and a kitchen timer.
~Good pots and pans.  These make cooking so much nicer and easier.  I also think everyone needs a good heavy duty stock pot to make soups in or to cook for a crowd.
~An immersion blender.  I love these for making creamed soups.  They are so easy to just put directly in the crockpot or regular pots and puree up things like lentil or split pea soup.
~A nice mixer.  This can either be a good quality hand held one or if the recipient does a lot of baking, a nice KitchenAid, Bosch, or Oster one.
~An Instapot pressure cooker.  I really want to get one of these for myself because I have heard such good things about them and they make it easy to get a nice meal cooked quickly.  This would save so much time and money for anyone!
~Matching silverware (stainless steel).  I know so many young people that have mismatched silverware and would love a nice set of matching good quality silverware.  I am still using the set we got as a wedding gift.
~Nice water glasses.  Again, this is something that I have seen appreciated over and over again.
~Cleaning supplies.  Fill a heavy duty laundry basket with cleaning supplies for the newlyweds who are setting up their home together.  I include paper towels, all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, dishwashing soap, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent and dryer sheets.
~If the newlyweds will be living in a house as opposed to an apartment, you can get them shovels (both regular and snow), rakes, hand shovels, hoses, and outdoor gardening stuff.  Big trash cans for garden waste are also a good idea.
~A small toolbox filled with a hammer, both Phillips and regular screwdriver, duct tape, assorted screws and nails, picture hanging kits, eye hooks, and a measuring tape are also much appreciated and needed.
~A customized cookbook.  It is so special to gather well loved recipes from family and friends that will bring back wonderful memories for the newlyweds.  Who doesn't want to eat Grandma's special angel food cake, Nana's meatloaf, Uncle Brad's "secret" marinade for steaks to grill, Mom's shoyu chicken and many other special foods.  Gather those together and make a cookbook.  Many of those recipes will be lost as people pass on and this will become a treasured family heirloom as the years go by.
~A calendar filled with all the family birthdays and anniversaries written or printed in.  You could make your own filled with family photos or beautiful scenery shots that have special meaning to the recipients.
~If you are a quilter, a handmade quilt in the newlyweds favorite colors is a much treasured gift.  My mother makes quilts for all the newlyweds in our family.  She also makes baby quilts for all the babies to follow.
~A family heirloom (if you are related to the newlyweds).  Maybe there is something that one of the newlyweds cherished as a child that can be passed down on their wedding day.  My MIL gave some of the family china to one of my nieces.  It is something that my niece cherished and uses.  For me it was a needlepoint picture that my grandmother had been working on for me before she died.  I loved her needlepoint pictures that she made.  When my grandfather remarried, his new wife Hazel, who had been good friends with my grandmother, had it finished by another friend and gave it to me on my wedding day.  She told me about how my Grandma Jean had been trying to get it finished before she died to give it to me as a wedding gift.  My husband and I were not even engaged yet when she started it, but Grandma told me I would marry him shortly after I first met him and he would take good care of me after she was gone and she was right.  That needlepoint hangs up in my livingroom  in a customized frame that my sweet hubby's father hand made for it as a reminder to me of her love and also of my FIL's love for us.
~I gave my DIL Heather my pearl earrings that I wore on my wedding day as a gift and she wore them on her wedding day.  I would have given our Rachel some jewelry too but she is allergic to so many metals and I did not have anything that she could wear that would not cause an allergic reaction.

   I'm sure there are many other things that I am missing here and that are special to the newlyweds in other people's lives.  I like to mix practical with unique and meaningful to the recipients.  This is just a start of what could become a very long list but I hope that it helps remind me and gives others some ideas to help out with all those weddings coming up.