Friday, June 30, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/24-6/30 2017


   Oh what a week!  I've once again been dealing with Fibro flares/crashes and have been kept busy helping friends and family, doing volunteer work, and trying to keep up on harvesting all the fruit in the garden that is coming on.  In between all the activity, I have been trying to rest and deal with the Fibro pain and exhaustion.  My body reacts badly to stress and this week there has been lots of it.  We have had ongoing car troubles, a loved one had a stroke and almost did not make it, another branch came down out of the problem tree (luckily this one was much smaller), and our son Chris, who is a police officer, has had some really scary situations come up in his line of work lately that keep me praying for his safety.

~Goodwill was good to us this week.  I had to return something that did not fit and found some great things.  The little boys fight over a certain large "digger" metal toy we have and I was able to find a similar one for $1.99.  We also found shirts for Jeff, 3 gorgeous Haviland plates, some new bath salts and Philosophy bubble bath, a cute onsie for Steven (I may save it for Christmas) and a homeschooling mom's devotional book for Heather.
~Safeway had butter for $1.99 a pound (I bought the limit of 2) and eggs for $.79 a carton (I bought 1).
~Jeff and Jaysn took the little boys swimming at a community pool that is free while Heather, Rachel and I were at a baby shower on Saturday.
~I found some marked down ($3.86) thinly sliced round steaks and marinated that in homemade Teriyaki sauce and then grilled it.  We had it with rice (free), corn (.48) and salad.

~Monday Jeff's car needed a new starter, but the one that the parts place gave him was the wrong one and I took my car in to get my rear brakes worked on.  My car needed some additional work also so it had to be left at Les Swab.  Jeff borrowed a car from Uncle Bob so he could return the wrong part (they ended up not having the right one and have to order it in) and then come and get me so I did not have to sit there all day long waiting for my car to be fixed ($771.?? later OUCH).
~The strawberries are coming in like crazy now so I have been trying to harvest them daily.  I have shared with our neighbors and still have a bunch more.
~Jeff and I borrowed the movie Guardians of the Galaxy from Jaysn.  It was way better than I thought it would be,
~I cooked up a package of bacon in the oven and them froze it for future use.
~More loaves of oatmeal bread were made.
~I picked lots of strawberries this week.

~We got a coupon for free cat treats in the mail on Tuesday and Jeff found another one that someone was throwing out.  Doofy will be very happy about that! 😍  He loves his treats!
~More free magazines came in the mail.
~Some of the edge coating was coming off one of my black Coach purses so I used a black permanent marker to fill in the areas where the edge coating had come off.  Unless you look closely, you can't tell where the missing edge coating came off now.
~Turns out the second starter the auto supply place gave my hubby was also wrong!  Yet another 64 mile round trip and fighting road construction all over the place later...
~The raspberries are just starting to ripen on our bushes.  I have been enjoying them fresh and warm out of the patch.
~The overflow water from the swamp cooler has been used to water the pear trees and some of the berry patches.

~I've started taking an hour every day to just sit and read a book.  I have a huge home library's worth of books here that I have not read yet so my goal is to read at least 2 books a week of the ones I currently own.
~Wednesday I spent part of the day with Rachel and Steven.  Rachel was exhausted and asked if I could come over so she could get some sleep.  I remember doing the same thing for Heather with Bradley and again when Isaiah was born.  Time spent with my grandsons and being able to help out my girls...priceless!

~Thursday was our volunteer work.  We got a package of free burgers, 2 packages of bread items, lots of canned and packaged goods, potatoes, juice, raisins, coffee, etc.  We did find out that the program may be shutting down soon for lack of volunteers to run it and because the sponsoring agency, the local American Legion, is disbanding. I will be sad to see it go because it has helped so many families since we first moved here 25 years ago.
~My Walmart Beauty Box came in.  I am not as impressed with this one.  It had shampoo conditioner, dry shampoo, some make up remover wipes, a tiny thing of ROC and some sunscreen and some antiperspirant along with a discount card for a dental company.

~I'm starting to harvest raspberries and cherries from the garden now...YUM!
~Jeff cooked up some of the free burgers on the grill Thursday night while I made a quick sour cream and bacon potato salad with some of the free potatoes we got along with green onions from our garden and some seasonings I have on hand.
~Friday I went over and watered all the potted plants and the garden at our neighbor Bob's house.  Norma, is wife, had a stroke on Wednesday. :( They are like family to us.  After that I came back to our house and worked in the gardens here and doing some weeding and watering.

~I deadheaded the roses and used the petals to start some potpourri with.
~While weeding the garden, I accidently took out some dill.  I went ahead and washed it up and laid it out to dry.  I am never one to waste good dill.  I use our hot tub enclosure area to dry my herbs because there is airflow there and it keeps things out of the weather.  Plus, during the Summer it gets pretty hot in there during the day and things dry quickly.  It only took about 2 hours for the dill to be dried.

~I was craving iced tea again so I brewed up 4 tea bags in 2 cups of water and let that steep to make a good concentrate.  I then added cold water to that to make 2 quarts of iced tea.  Perfect for a hot day.
~I took some leftover teriyaki meat and sauce,added some veggies and whole wheat noodles (free) and made a Lo Mein dish for dinner on Friday night.
~More coupons were printed off via Swagbucks for items I need.  I get 10 Swagbucks per coupon printed and another 10 SB when I use them at the store.  I can usually find the Hefty bags at the Dollar Tree making these a great deal!

~Most of the laundry was hung out to dry on the line
~Our soon to be 4 year old grandson loves foaming hand soap and used up quite a bit the last time he was here so I mixed up some more.
~With my health limitations, I use a "hula hoe" or hoop hoe to weed most of my garden.  I do it in the morning when it is cooler and then let the uprooted plants dry out right where they are.  It makes my life much easier.  Here is one that is very similar to mine:  (this is my affliate link with Amazon so I will get a small percentage of the sale price if you shop through this link and buy this product and/or other products).

~I've been making compost tea with some of the weeds that I have been pulling (the ones that do not come out as easily with the hula hoe).  I just add them to the bucket I keep in the side garden and when I water the garden, some of the sprinkler water gets into the bucket.  My peppers are loving being fertilized with this and it perks them right up!
~Jeff organized the pantry again and we realize just how much food there is.  We need the kids to come and shop the pantry again.
~I've been working my points programs as much as time allows.
~I'm trying to water the gardens in the early morning or evenings.  Once I water the front garden I have to head out there and go after the darned slugs with the salt shaker.  They are eating all my bean plants!  I tried beer in small lids and that did not seem to work.  Tomorrow I put coffee grounds around all the plants.

   All in all it has had been a high spend week between the car repairs and the extra trips into town along with Jeff having to use my car which used more gas.  I am trying to cut back where I can and to come up with menus using the food that we have on hand.  I think we will be sticking with that plans for a few months, only buying what we need and do not have on hand and if it is something that I cannot make here at home.  Hopefully that will help save money that can be applied to the other bills and get them caught up again.  Here's to a hopefully frugal and fun next week!

Do It Yourself Foaming Hand Soap Refills

   My grandkids (ok, me too) love the foaming hand soaps that I can get at Bath and Body Works in all those amazing fragrances.  I only buy them when they are on sale and with a coupon or if I can find them at the thrift store.  That can still get expensive though so I looked up a recipe online for making it myself.

   What you will need is a foaming hand soap dispenser bottle (I just recycled one), some shower gel or body wash and water.  You simply mix 1 part shower gel with 4 parts water and shake it all up.  Clear shower gel works better (or so they say) than the not clear kind, but I have had great success with both.  

   The bottle of body was above was a great find for .99 at the thrift store, is 33 oz. and was brand new (I took the picture after making up the foaming hand soap).  It is a pink grapefruit fragrance and I love it!  I figure that I can refill that foaming soap bottle at least 5 times if not more for .99 total.  Now that is a huge savings!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/17-6/23 2017


  Busy, Busy , Busy!  We had a really busy weekend so I am once again late in posting this.  Better late than never right? 😋  Onto the savings....

~Jeff and I hit some thrift stores again on Saturday and found some shirts for both of us, a Brighton purse, a Cath Kidston wallet, a skeet target thrower (Chris lost his), another leash and collar for Doofy cat, another body spray for me for Bath and Body Works, a pretty necklace and a small Pyrex measuring cup.
~Jeff and I cut each other's hair on Sunday.  We both feel human again!
~More strawberries were picked and the little boys, Bradley and Isaiah, loved them. 😀
~We did a Potluck for Father's Day.  I supplied the Kalua Pig and rice, Jeremy brought a pasta salad, Jaysn and Rachel brought macaroni salad and watermelon, and Heather brought death by chocolate.  YUM!
~The kids left the leftovers with us.
~Jeff and I really enjoyed the movie "Beauty and the Beast" that we borrowed from the library.  I popped some popcorn on the stove and we had that to munch on while we watched the movie.

~Monday we had leftovers for lunch and then had taco salad for dinner.  The taco meat is some that I had cooked up and frozen.  Since it was a hot day, we opted for something cool, quick and easy for dinner.
~I borrowed season 4 of Downton Abbey from the library...that is where I left off before we cancelled our DISH network.  Our new librarian ordered in season 5 for me while I was there.  She is a sweetheart.
~Our little library has a book sale and I found another copy of the More with Less cookbook for .50.  These are getting harder and harder to find so I buy them whenever I see them for friends and family.
~Most of the laundry was hung out in the line to dry this week.
~A huge branch from our neighbor's tree came crashing down into our yard.  We borrowed the trailer from Uncle Bob and hauled all the smaller parts off and gave the larger pieces of wood (after Jeff cut everything up) to another friend.  Our neighbor, whose tree it was, was so sorry that it happened and insisted on gifting us with a night out to dinner.

~I needed more aluminum foil and just about bought some at the grocery store when I remembered that we stocked up right after Christmas when one of the local stores was clearing out their older stock because their house brand has changed its packaging.  I got the heavy duty large boxes for $1 each then and bought 3 of them.  That should last us at least a year!
~Jeff changed the oil and filters in both our vehicles.
~I pulled some homemade candy (leftover from Rachel's baby shower) out for treats this week.
~Monday I planted more bean seeds hoping to fill in the areas where the slugs had destroyed my first planting of them.
~More bread was made.
~Tuesday I cashed in for a $25 Walmart gift card at Swagbucks taking advantage of it being discounted since it is my first gift card redemption this month and I was also able to use a 20 SB bonus I got on top of that.
~I was able to snag 3 free samples from Pinch Me.
~For a quick pick me up, I made an iced coffee drink in the afternoon using some leftover coffee from the morning.

~More rhubarb was harvested from the garden.  I kept some and gave some to my neighbor. I cut up and froze another 6 cups of it and made a rhubarb cake with the other 3 cups of diced rhubarb.  My hubby was very happy to see that cake cooling in the kitchen.  This is the man who claims he does not like rhubarb, but he loves this cake (and yes, he knows that it is made with rhubarb. 😉
~I was craving iced tea so I made an ice tea concentrate with 4 teabags.
~Our neighbor Shannon gave us half a watermelon.  YUM!
~My PinchMe samples finally came that I ordered last month.  I got tea, lotion, a Scotch lint roller, a sample of dog food and a coupon for some free dog food!

~I was tired Tuesday night and did not feel like cooking dinner so Jeff made us grilled cheese sandwiches on some of the homemade bread I had baked earlier in the day.
~Wednesday I spent the afternoon and evening with family.  Heather, Rachel and the grandboys all met at the park for a picnic.  I then met Chris and Jeff at the bowling alley later to watch them bowl for awhile.
~Wednesday I also hit 2 thrift stores and found some shirts for the little boys, a dress for an upcoming wedding for me, some movies, educational materials for the little boys, a wristlet, and lots of fun beauty products along with a gorgeous necklace and a nice frame.

~Safeway had a sale on Soliel sparking water 12 packs for $1.99 each.  I got 4 packs in assorted flavors and also picked up some free dog food with the coupon that I got from PinchMe.
~Thursday I stayed home with a huge Fibro flare.  OUCH!  I picked the strawberries and got the gardens watered along with doing some laundry but that was all I could handle.  Leftover were for dinner.
~I have been watching "The Big Allotment Challenge" on Youtube and really enjoying it.
~PinchMe offered me a free magazine subscription so I chose Money magazine.
~I planted even more beans, both bush and pole since the slugs have been eating my pole beans.

   We've been hit with some more high and unexpected bills so the goal is to find ways to save or earn even more.  Luckily the garden is producing more so that will really help cut our food costs and we will try to be making meals mostly with what we have on hand.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

   I had just got up and was thinking about heading outside to turn the water onto the side garden when I heard a crack and then a thud.  Jeff and I looked at each other and I said "another branch came down".  Sure enough, this is what we saw.  If I had not procrastinated and sat down in the recliner for a few minutes, I would have been standing right where that branch came down when it did.  Thank you Jesus!  It did not hit our home or vehicles, but did take out just the corner of my front flowerbed. That should recover though.  I am just so thankful that no one was hurt.  My grandkids were playing in the front yard yesterday right under that tree.  Again, thank you Jesus!

   The poor old tree that is in our wonderful neighbor's  yard is dying a slow and painful death.  Sadly, the branch that came down has provided so much shade for us in the mornings and midday in our living room.  The branch did hit the fence hard, but luckily Jeff was able to repair that  after he was done cutting the branch apart.  He borrowed Uncle Bob's trailer to haul off the smaller parts and now have the bigger pieces stacked in the yard for another friend to come and get.  They will use the wood for their campfires this summer.

   I felt so bad for our neighbor/friend/hanai sister Shannon.  She came home from working a very long shift overnight to see yet another branch from her beloved tree in our yard.  She felt awful and told us she could help us clear it up on Wednesday.  Jeff told her not to worry, he would take care of it.  She insisted on gifting us with dinner out one night.  She did not need to do that.  We always help each other out with things, but she still insisted.  I'm now watching another branch that I can see will most likely be breaking within the next month or so.  This poor tree.  I love it and hate to see it dying.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/10-6/16 2017


   It's been another week where I needed to take things slow and rest as much as possible.  Even if I had wanted to, I could not have gotten a whole lot done.  We did manage a day trip out of town on Sunday and were careful to not spend a lot of money there.  I had planned on working more in the garden, but again energy did not allow that and neither did the weather towards the end of the week.  My hubby did manage to get a bunch of weed eating and weeding done before the bad weather rolled in though.  Thank goodness for that man!  The highlight of my week was having the little boys here for the afternoon on Wednesday.  Oh they are so much fun and growing up so quickly!  Onto the savings!

I could not resist this for .99 for Steven.

~Harvested a bunch of oregano from our garden, washed it and hung it to dry.
~Jeff build another fence around the blueberries and around the blackberries to protect them from the fruit crazy dog!
~Sunday Jeff and I took a short trip up to Coeur D'Alene, ID and went out to lunch at Texas Roadhouse.  We had a $25 gift card and our meal came to under that amount.  We did leave a $5 in cash tip along with the rest of the change after the gift card was applied.
~We used a Home Depot gift card to get some more seeds for our garden.
~We hit 2 thrift stores and found 3 shirts and a blue light bulb.

Momma and baby duck swimming by the Boardwalk up at the Lake Coeur D'Alene.

~We really enjoyed a walk on the boardwalk up at the Coeur D'Alene resort and watch a momma duck and her babies go begging for food from all the people on the boardwalk.
~We watched the movie "Hidden Figures" that we borrowed from the library.  It was really good!
~I froze 10 overripe bananas to use for banana bread later.
~Jeff potted up more mint to give to my cousin.
~I used some beer in small lids to bait slugs that are eating all my bean plants.
~The rest of the beer was used to cook some elk steaks in.
~Our garden is now giving me the first of the cherry tomatoes, strawberries along with green onions.

The handful of supplements and my thyroid medication that I take every day.  Without the supplements, my Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue would be so much worse.

~We needed some more supplements so I ordered some through Vitacost going through a link at Swagbucks so I get some points on that and I also used a 20% off coupon code.
~Two loaves of sandwich bread were made.
~The grandboys were here Wednesday afternoon.  They hot tubbed with Jeff, colored some coloring sheets from Moana that I printed off for them, played in the yard and wore out both our fur babies, had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on fresh homemade bread and then watched some kids tv shows on Netflix.

A very brave Gpa who played in the hot tub with Isaiah and Bradley when they were here Wednesday.

~Wednesday's dinner was zucchini (.50 for both) and shrimp (bought on sale previously) over rice (free).
~Thursday Jeff took me into town in the afternoon/evening.  We hit Goodwill and I was able to find brand new with tags baby clothes for gifts for a baby shower I am going to for 2 sisters in about a week's time.  I also found some things for our Steven, some Bath and Body Works body spray for $1.99, a huge brand new canister of hair spray for $1.99, a book, Jeff found a leather catchers mitt for $3 and a car phone charger.
~The Dollar Tree is my go to for cards.  We found Father's Day cards at 2/$1 for the dads in our family.

Jeff's $3 find at the Goodwill!

~The mail brought more free magazines for us and for our kids.
~I SKYPED several times with Josh this week.  That always makes me happy!😊
~It rained off and on for 3 days so that cut way down on me having to water the gardens.
~I am continuing to research more ways to help with my CFS and Fibromyalgia and making more changes in my life.  Some of these changes are not easy but I am willing to do whatever I can to help my health.
~Doofy needed some more calming collars so I looked online at  They had an amazing sale on them with packages of 3 for less than I pay for 1 at Petco.  I bought 2 packages of them (so 6 month's worth), some more of his specialty (aka expensive) cat food and a 40 pound bag of clumping cat litter.  I got free 2 day shipping and an additional discount.  I spent less on everything than I would have on 4 collars alone at Petco.  I figured my savings at about $80!

Shrimp and Zucchini in a garlic and wine sauce served over rice.

~Friday night I took some leftover elk steaks, cut them up, made a gravy with the sauce the streaks were cooked in and added some mushrooms and sour cream to that and then threw in some leftover cooked rice.  It made for a nice creamy casserole for dinner.
~I borrowed more movies and books from the library.

Movies borrowed from the library.

   This coming week I really do hope to be able to get out in the garden more and get a few more things planted as well as trying to get a handle on the weeds.  The strawberry bed needs to be covered with some netting as well so that I don't lose the berries to the birds.  We shall see how much I can actually get done...only time will tell.😉

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thankfulness, Living Within My Limits and Being Kind to Myself


Bradley and Isaiah being monkey boys!

This morning I woke up after a bad night with very little sleep.  I am in the middle of a pretty painful and draining Fibro flare/crash.  Today is day 4 of it and I am thankful that I have a bit more energy today than I did yesterday.  Yesterday was a very bad, no good day where everything hurt and I felt like my body was weighted down with lead.  Just watering the gardens took everything out of me, and I used sprinklers to do it along with some hand watering.

   As I sat down to write this post, I got a notification from Melanie at Road to the Farm on Youtube that she had uploaded a video.  Melanie also has Fibromyalgia and her video today was about trusting in God when we have flares/crashes and knowing that even when we get behind on things, He is there and will take care of us.  Melanie and I have a lot in common.  We both tend to push way too hard when we are having good days and then pay for it with crashes. Learning our limits is hard.  I love how God orchestrated her posting her video at the same time that I was sitting down to write a post on this subject.  I believe that His timing is perfect and that it was meant to be this way so that she and I could lift each other up and encourage one another as we walk this path.  I am so thankful for Melanie being willing to share her life and struggles along with such good words from the Lord.

   Our two oldest grandsons, Bradley and Isaiah, are coming to spend the afternoon with us today.  They are a bundle of energy and a total delight. 😁  I love those boys beyond words and look forward to any time I can have with them.  They are very aware that there are days when Grammie can't really play with them and that all hugs must be very gentle or they will hurt me.  Today is one of those days.  What I can do though on days like this is take them to the park and watch them play.  I can cuddle up and read books with them or watch a favorite movie.  That is what I choose to do...focus on what I can do with them and not what I can't.  I want to build wonderful memories with them to last their and my entire lives.  My own grandmother had some pretty serious health issues and was not able to play with me as a child, but I loved spending time with her.  We would sit and talk outside in her yard, quietly read our books and share hugs and kisses.  Spending the night with her was one of my favorite things to do.  She and I had such a strong bond and could read each other's thoughts, even across the miles of ocean that separated us when I left Hawaii to go to college in Idaho.  I want to build those kinds of bonds with my grandsons, all three of them.

   Knowing that the little boys are coming today, I need to pace myself and be careful to limit my energy output this morning so that I am not totally worn out by the time I go to pick them up.  I got a load of Jeff's laundry going when I first got up and then got the bread dough going in the Kitchenaid while my coffee maker brewed that wonderful elixir that I savor each and every morning.  I divided the dough into bread pans and set that to rise in the oven and then took a break had my coffee.  From there I folded a load of my laundry and then, instead of hanging out Jeff's laundry on the line to dry, I put it in the dryer.  I knew I did not have the strength or energy to hang the big and heavy load out today, so the dryer it was.  The bread dough had risen by this time so I got the bread baking and took another break to get this post going and to watch Melanie's video.  I just got the bread out of the oven and it is now cooling on the counter, covered by a towel so that Doofy cat does not sample it.  😉  I still need to take a shower, get myself ready for the day and then take a quick trip down to the library to pick up some videos that are there on hold for me. 

   My muscles feel like they are burning in the back of my neck and at the top of my spine right now and the cartilage between my ribs are sore.  I know that even with as little as I have done already, it may have been too much.  I will be spending the rest of my time until I go and get the little boys taking it easy on myself.  There are other things that I had hoped to get done today, but they will have to wait.  My priorities today, given my limited energy are my grandboys, making bread for my hubby so he will have bread for sandwiches to take to work with him, and getting his laundry done.  I refuse to feel guilty because I know that if I push myself too hard, I will not be able to enjoy my grandkids this afternoon and they are the most important "priority" in my life today.  



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/3-6/9 2017


   It has been an interesting week here full of high school graduations and parties, time with family and friends and roller coaster weather. Our hanai son Lee and his girlfriend came home to see his sister graduate, so we got to have some time with them and I loved it!  One of my best friends who is more like a sister and is who we call our kids "other mother" was here for a visit too and she got to meet Rachel and Steven.  I think she enjoyed the cuddle time with him the most. 😉  Who doesn't love cuddling a snuggly newborn?  Our weather has been everything from scorching hot in the high 90 to the lows in the high 30's.  I think my gardens are confused.  I did manage to find ways to save money this week though and am praying for even better savings next week.

~Saturday we attended the local high school graduation and went to 2 parties afterwards.  We had dinner and got to visit with old friends at the parties.
~Sunday Jeff BBQed up some of the reduce priced bratwurst that I had found the previous week (yes, I froze them when I brought them home from the store) and I made a sour cream and dill potato salad with some sale priced potatoes.  Jeff also made some brownies and we had watermelon with it.  This made for a lovely dinner for us, Jaysn, Rachel and my friend Ronnie who was visiting.
~Ronnie brought me a lovely gift of a bottle of wine from the Napa Valley.

~We borrowed and watched some movies from the library.
~Most of the laundry was hung out on the line to dry earlier in the week before the rains came.
~I bought some plants at the local ACE Hardware store to replace the ones that the ants ate.  I thought I bought some flat leaf parsley, but it was really celery.  For the cost of 2 bunches at the grocery store, I will have 12 bunches of celery when they are ready.  I also bought 2 pepper plants that already have peppers growing on them (my plants started from seed are still tiny seedlings), a pretty columbine that is a new discovery for me (I have developed a love for them and they spread like crazy) and some basil (which has been nearly impossible to find around here).  I carefully looked for the pots of plants that had multiple plants in them instead of just a single plant.  More bang for my buck.
~I have been working on my points programs as much as I have time for.

~Books from the library are being read and new ideas learned.
~The overflow water from the swamp cooler was used to water the fruit trees.
~I watered the gardens in the evening.
~We found the game "Imagine If" for half price at Goodwill and a dvd.  The game will be given to some of our kids who love to have game nights at their home.  I already have one here.
~Two loaves of sandwich bread were made early Wednesday morning before the temps headed into the 90's.
~I harvested lots of rhubarb from the garden and cut and froze 12 cups of it for future use and stewed some for eating now.  I love cold stewed rhubarb on a hot day.

~A button came off a pair of Jeff's shorts, so I sewed it back on.
~Slugs have been eating the freshly sprouted bean plants so I have been out there picking them off in the morning.  Yucky job but I really do like my beans.
~I uploaded some coupons unto my Safeway.
~I did not realize how many free channels you can get on the Roku.  I have been discovering more and more of them.
~We were out of check registers for the checkbook so I printed off 4 more pages of them for my hubby.
~I printed off a gift card for free treats for Caesar from Petco and 2 gift cards for Texas Roadhouse that I cashed in from Swagbucks for.
~I signed up through to become an affiliate with them.  I am hoping that I can generate some income if people click through my links to do their shopping there.
~More of our favorite TV shows were watched online.

~Thursday was a wet and cold day by the afternoon so I pulled some homemade frozen split pea soup out of the freezer and got that heating up.  I then took some hot dog buns and topped them with some grated parmesan cheese and stuck them under the broiler.  It made for a nice early dinner for Jeff and I and I needed to use up some of the hot dog buns anyway.
~I harvested more rhubarb and shared it with my neighbor.
~Jeff watched a movie he borrowed from our Jaysn.
~I finally got the replacement squash plants in Friday along with the larger pepper plants, the celery plants, another columbine and potted up the basil.
~I needed comfort food on Friday so I made some Udon and Miso soup with shrimp.  I added some baby kale and green onion from the garden.

   Not a bad week at all.  Sometimes I feel like I repeat myself over and over doing the same things but you know what, those are the exact things that do help us save money.  They may not be big ticket items but if you consider how much it would have cost us to go see the movies in the theater instead of borrowing them or even buying each of them on dvd or bluray, we saved at least $60 right there.  Same thing with our watching TV shows online instead of having DISH TV which would cost us about $60 per month depending on what kind of deals they had running.  So that alone is $120 savings which will pay for one of our quarterly insurance payments that is due this month.  It's kind of like drops of water in a bucket...they may seem small, but together they all add up and fill that bucket.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Looking for New Sources of Income


   With the Summer upon us and MOPS being done until next Fall, I am looking for new sources of income, even if they are small.  I am finding that my little bot of income from my MOPS job really did help even if it was less than $100 a month most months.  I've been brainstorming and I have come up with a few ideas.

   One of the things that I already did and had great success with was selling off extra lupine and raspberry plants from my garden in the Spring.  I am thinking I will do this again next Spring but also add various Columbine plants to that sale and possibly some thornless blackberry starts too.

   Our Heather, the little boys and Jeff and I are going to sell some of the cherries from our huge cherry tree this year to friends and neighbors.  We have done this in the past and it was really successful.  Heather and the boys will help us pick, wash and package them up and she will take some back to her town to sell to her friends there.  We will be splitting the profits right down the middle.  We won't make a lot of money off it but it should be enough to help each of our families out a bit.

   I'm going to be selling off some of our household items that we no longer need or use on some of the local buy, sell and trade online sites.  Our house is so cluttered and things have got to go!

   The lovely SJ, who has become a wonderful online friend and frequently comments on this blog, suggested that I become an Amazon Affiliate.  I have mulled that idea over for awhile now and I decided to go for it.  I do order many products through Amazon for our family and I thought this might be a way to help earn some additional income to do so.  I am now regularly ordering some of my supplements through here to help manage my Fibromyalgia and they do seem to be helping manage my pain levels and with energy levels too,  I have had several people ask me about what I am taking so I thought I would share them here in case you are interested in checking them out also.  As always, my disclaimer is that I am not a medical professional and I am only sharing my personal experiences with these products.  Everyone's body chemistry is different and what works for one person may not work for another.  Make sure to check with your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications before taking any supplements to make sure that they will not cause any adverse effects when combined with any medications you may be taking.

Now Colostrum

Amazing Formulas Acetyl L-Carnitine - 1000mg, 120 Tablets

Disclaimer: Both of these are my affiliate links with Amazon.  If you click through these links it will take you directly to the product page. By going through my link, whether you choose to place an order for this or any other product, I do get a small percentage of the sale.

   I have also considered doing some tutoring on the side.  My only fear with that is that I may get some students who are not motivated and try to fight me on doing their work.  I just can't deal with that anymore so this may not be a viable option for me at this time.

   If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Thoughts from a Small Town Substitute Teacher on Graduation Day


    As I sat there watching some of my favorite kids graduating from high school on Saturday, I thought back to so many of the other graduations that I had been to over the years.  It is funny that as I watched these kids graduating, I had a running slideshow of memories going through my mind. Here are some thoughts that I had and I  thought I would put them down here as a way to remember.

   Sitting in the bleachers, watching as the graduates are honored, I am reminded of the paths that these kids took to get to this point in their lives.  For some of the graduates, I have known them for all of their lives and remember the great joy as their parents got married and started a family of their own when their much longed for and dreamed of children joined them to make them not a couple anymore, but a family.  Some of the parents of these graduates were also students that I had taught in years past and if that does not make you feel old, nothing will. 😉

   For a number of these students, their paths were rocky ones.  Some would rise to the occasion and overcome great obstacles in their lives, and sadly, others would go down a self defeating path which, based on watching previous graduates who walked the same path, would end up with some in jail and others, sadly addicted to drugs and dying.  Those students, some of the ones I tried so hard to reach over the years, will always haunt me.  I know that I, even being a substitute teacher, tried my best with them and did everything I could to show them a different way and let them know that they were the only ones who could determine and choose their own paths.  They held the power to do so and the choice was up to them.  It was gratifying though to see a former student on Saturday, who had come to watch his baby brother graduate, that had overcome great odds in his life and turned it around shortly before he graduated from high school when he was finally held accountable for his actions and kicked off one of the sports teams.  That was the wake up call he needed.  He had been one of the biggest challenges in class and to be honest, was acting like a  jerk before this happened.  I kept on him then entire time and told him that I did care about him and his future.  Guess who actually apologized to me and asked for my help on his Senior Presentation at the end of that year...yep, him. I was more than pleased to help him. He is now serving in the Marines and has a lovely wife and new baby.  These kids need someone in their corner who will be honest and real with them and practice tough love and hold them accountable.  There are some that will thrive knowing that you care about them as a person and then there are others who will fight you all the way.  It used to be that there were way more that really came into their own with that kind of backing and were able to turn their lives around, but sadly, as is true with what I am seeing with our society as a whole, there are more and more who can't see past the here and now and the "it's all about me".  The stress of dealing with so many students with that kind of attitude finally took it's toll on my health and I finally had to make the choice to stop doing something that I loved in order to take care of me.

   All is not bad though, I have had so many wonderful experiences as well and have been blessed to see and be a part of kids lives as they master a new concept.  I've tutored kids in the Summer who were having some difficulties in certain areas and they have done well.  One of those young men graduated on Saturday with honors and I am so proud of him for all the hard work that he put in to get there.  I still keep in touch with former students from my full time teaching days and my subbing days.  They have become "my kids" and they know I love them and will be cheering them on.  I got to share hugs with some of them on Saturday and get caught up on their lives.  That is a huge blessing to me.  Some have gone on to be social workers, teachers, EMTs, firefighters, veterinarians. and serve in the military.  Others have chosen different but equally important and personally satisfying paths for their lives.  I just want "my kids" to be successful and happy in their lives.  I want them to be good people who help out their community and others, I want them to be responsible and to be able to raise wonderful families of their own.  I just want the best for them and I am personally invested in each one of their lives having spent so much time with them over the years and having gotten to know them as people.  That is what life is like for a small town substitute teacher, or at least it should be.  I have attended some of their weddings, held their newborn children, taught their own children, mourned with them as they lost beloved family members and celebrated their life's victories.  They will always be an important part of my life and I hope that I made a difference in their's as well.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two Week Edition of the Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/20-6/2 2017

     Due to all the craziness starting out on Tuesday May 22, I decided to make this a 2 week edition. ;)  I am happy to be spending more time at home now after days and nights on end at the hospital.  I'm not complaining though, there is nowhere else I would have been than with my Rachel, Jaysn and baby Steven. :)

~Potted up some mint from our garden to give to my cousin Jeremy.
~Reused hanging plant baskets and pots to fill with sale priced Petunia plants.
~Line dried lots of laundry.
~Put fencing up around the  trees to hopefully keep the dog from eating both the trees and the fruit.
~Got some free hamburger buns from Safeway.
~Called Josh using Jeff's cell phone since it has lots of rollover minutes on it right now.
~Spent most of Saturday afternoon with Jaysn, Rachel and baby Steven at the hospital.
~Took some homemade banana bread to Jaysn and Rachel.
~Entered 4 Disney Movie Reward Codes.  Each were worth 100 points.

~I hit the jackpot at Goodwill on Monday.  I found 3 Little Tykes and Fisher Price toys for baby Steven, a huge bottle of bubbles to take comping to help occupy the 2 year old grandson of our friends, the dvds "Dumbo" and the original "Pete's Dragon" (new in wrapper) and a shirt.  We also got 20% off our purchase with Jeff's Senior Citizen discount so we paid $10.11 for everything!
~I cooked up 1 1/2 pound of elk burger into taco seasoned meat so we could use it for taco salads and soft tacos this week since the weather decided to get really hot all of a sudden.
~Four loaves of bread were made.
~The plants I thought were volunteer cucumbers in the garden turned out to be sunflower plants so I divided and replanted them yet again.  I did find a volunteer cucumber plant though too.
~We borrowed a cookbook and the  movie "Rogue One" from the library.  The movie was good!
~Worked a bit on my points programs.

Intermission due to family health crisis

~I watered the gardens in the early evening hours so the water would not evaporate off.
~I cooked up a bunch of homemade mac and cheese and some creamy broccoli and cauliflower soup and took it to Jaysn and Rachel on Sunday so that they would not have to cook for a few days.  Jeff and I also took them out to lunch that day and used a B1G1Free reward that we had at our favorite Chinese buffet place that is sadly closing.
~I had doubled to mac and cheese recipe and had some steaks marinating so we invited Chris, Heather and the little boys over for dinner on Sunday.  It was nice to have a family meal with them too.

~Jeff and I found some things at the Goodwill including new in package toilet repair kit, heavy duty hinges. some clothing for him and I including brand new swim shorts and a swim top for me, and some bubble bath (half price color tag).
~The little boys enjoyed using our hot tub (unheated) to cool off in Sunday.
~We finally got the tomatoes, cucumber and squash plants in the garden.
~I saved some of the coffee from the morning pot and put it in the refrigerator to make a cold coffee drink in the afternoon.
~Multiple loads of laundry have been hung out to dry on the laundry line.
~Jeff and I were finally able to get caught up on our TV shows that we watch online.
~More free magazines arrived in the mail.
~I used some credit I had at to stock up on more of the supplements that have been really helping me and without which I never would have been able to help Rachel and Jaysn as much as I did.
~We are watering the garden in the evenings so that the water does not all evaporate away.  Our area has gotten some freakish 90+ F temperatures which unfortunately made my kale go to seed and fried my fuschia plant.  I am praying the fuschia recovers.
~Used coffee grounds have been paced around the blueberry and hydrangeas to give them a much needed acidic boost.
~I have been having great luck lately finding cases of new canning jars at the thrift store for about 1/4th of the regular store price.  I pick these up every time I see them.

~I dried and crushed eggshells to spread around in the strawberry patch to help with slug control.
~I had downloaded two $1 off coupons onto my Safeway card for Tidycat's cat litter and it also happened to be on sale.  I was able to get a large container of it for $4.24 after tax!
~We got a lot of free groceries while doing our volunteer work.
~The Dollar Tree had beautiful cards at 2/$1 so I bought my graduation and a thank you card for the staff at the hospital there.
~My friend Shannon treated me to lunch on Wednesday.
~Put more banana peels around the base of the roses.
~I made 2 loaves of sandwich bread.
~Over-ripe bananas were used to make 3 loaves of banana bread.
~Went through my gift closet stash and found gifts for the 4 high school graduates that we are giving gifts to.
~I found a lightweight pajama gown on clearance at Walmart for $3.  I have some older ones that need to be retired and turned into rags so the timing was perfect.
~I found more marked down items at the grocery store that make for quick meals on hot and busy days.

~We went to a graduation party early Friday evening and had dinner there while getting caught up with good friends.
~Late Friday night my friend Shannon called and asked if I wanted to go and see the late showing of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie "Dead Men Tell No Tales", her treat.  We saw it in 3D and it was so good!
~Jeff and I stopped at the Breakfast and Cereal sale at one of the local stores and got 5 boxes of cereal ($1.79 a box), bananas and 2 gallons of milk ($1.79 each). We did this in 2 trips since he forgot the milk the first time and we were going through that town so we picked it up then along with the 2 extra boxes of cereal.

   I know I am late posting this, being that it is now Sunday 6/4, but life got busy over the weekend with graduations and parties and seeing our hanai son Lee while he is in town to celebrate his sister Tulip's graduation from high school.  We also have been busy trying to work on the yard and got the tomato and squash plants in and also planted the beans.  Apparently the ants really liked my tender squash plants and I am praying that they will come back after some of them have had their leaves totally eaten.  While I am typing this out, we have a nice cool rain and I am loving it.  I just wish we had gotten the rain barrel set up to catch some of this liquid gold too.