Friday, July 28, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/22-7/28 2017

   It has been another pretty frugal week and I have been planning ahead for the Fall already.  I'm trying to restock our HBA products that are starting to run low while the prices are down on those items.  I only ventured out of town twice this week.  Once was to go shopping and out to lunch and the other to go to our Isaiah's birthday party.  I had hoped to get more done around the house, but again, my health did not cooperate so well.  I am beginning to think that the heat really makes things worse for me.  Anyway, onto the savings!  *Be forewarned...picture intensive post.

~Saturday Jaysn and Rachel came over with baby Steven to pick raspberries.  They were so sweet and brought out lunch for us too.  Jeff helped Jaysn change the lights on his car and Rachel even did some weeding for us.  Steven is now smiling and cooing so of course he melted my Grammie heart yet again and had Jeff making funny faces at him to get him to smile.  I also spent lots of time cuddling him which made me so happy!
~Jeff decided that he was too tired to go to his class reunion so I made a huge bowl of popcorn and we watched a movie on Netflix.
~Sunday Jeff went golfing using a gift certificate that Jaysn and Rachel had gotten him last year.  He so needed to relieve some stress and when he called me when he was done I could hear the excitement and happiness in his voice. :)

~One of our local grocery stores had the bar soap that Jeff likes at half off.  He bought 9 3 packs for under $8.  He would have bought more, but that was all they had.  He will check back in at the store again in a few days to see if they have restocked it before the sale is over.  If not, we will get a raincheck for another 10 packs of it.  This should last us until around Christmas!
~While Jeff was gone I got our sheets washed and hung out on the line to dry and cleaned out a cabinet in the kitchen.  I am rearranging a few things to make all my baking things closer to my mixer.  This will streamline things and it made more room in another cupboard so that things are not stacked up so high.  I filled up 2 garbage bags with things to toss out and am filling a box with other things to donate.
~I trimmed my bangs.
~I've been harvesting blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, green onions, peas and tomatoes from the garden.

~Sunday Jeff and I happened upon a clearance sale at Winco on their food storage Hot Cocoa in the big cans.  We bought 2 of them.  I would have bought more if I had more cash on me at the time.  I was keeping my shopping there all in cash that day and had other items that we needed in the cart already.
~At Goodwill I found some beautiful silver and abalone shell earring in a jewelry gift box for $2.99.  Those are going into my gift closet for my Heather.  She has a birthday coming up in September.
~We also found gift bags for .29 each, a brand new beautiful caftan for $5.99 (I looked it up and it is in the current Winlar catalog for $35.00), 3 shirts for me, some nice athletic type pants for Jeff, a much needed magnifying glass (this has been on my needs list for 2 years), a garden hose for $5.99 (another item on our needs list) and some cute pig shaped note paper.

~Monday I froze 3 quarts of raspberries and dehydrated some dill from our garden.
~Our post office is finally reopened again and we had a big stack of mail waiting including 3 free magazines.
~Monday night I made us a nice dinner of broiled lamb chops, rice pilaf, green beans and broccoli.  We figured that a meal like that in a restaurant would run us about $40 not including tip or drinks.  The lamb chops were given to us so my cost was about $2 to make it.  Savings of $38 right there!

~On the first of August, our health insurance provider changes.  Some of the changes are great but our premium is going up as well as our co-pays on office visits as well and pharmacy costs.  I have a prescription that I use on an as needed basis and am ok on it right now but I am going to go ahead and get it refilled now so that it saves me money down the line.
~Wednesday I made a raspberry jello salad with raspberries from our garden to take to Isaiah's birthday party out at Grandma Tammy's house.
~I'm watering the gardens early in the mornings now and have found that has really cut down on the slug damage to my plants.
~I printed off a coupon for a B1G1F 6 inch sandwich at Subway.  We will use it when we go to Spokane for our short 2 night getaway.

~I was craving Antipasti so I made a 3 cheese tortellini salad with peppers, fresh basil, tomatoes and peas from the garden along with broccoli and carrots from the refrigerator and just mixed it all together with some Italian salad dressing, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
~I borrowed another dvd from the library.
~We have our car and home insurance bundled and have been with the same company for years now.  The last bill they sent us was lower than it has been previously so hubby looked at it more closely and we got 2 discounts.  One was  for being a long time customer and another for being safe drivers. :)
~Rachel had a job interview Thursday so baby Steven came to spend the afternoon with me.  So many hugs, kisses, smiles and cuddles were shared.

~Thursday we celebrate Isaiah's 4th birthday with a party at his Grandma Tammy's house.  We had a BBQ and potluck complete with water fights and obstacle  courses and Heather made him the most amazing cake!  So much fun!
~We came home to yet another branch down out of our big cherry tree (will this ever end) and invited our friends to come pick the very ripe but still yummy ones off it.
~We got some free groceries while doing our volunteer work.
~Dinner Friday night was baked chicken thighs (we got them free) with baked sweet potato wedges all done on the same foil lined baking sheet, leftover green beans for Jeff and coleslaw with some raspberries mixed in for me.  Throwing the raspberries in the coleslaw was one of those last minute "well that sounds like it might be good" ideas and it really was!

   Tomorrow is our town wide yard sales.  I will most likely go and see what all is out there but don't plan on buying much unless I see something that would make for a great gift or is something that we need.  I will be keeping my eyes out for kids costumes for my oldest two grandsons who are obsessed with being superheros at the moment.  It is really more about visiting with everyone for me.  I love the social aspect of it all. :)  Here's to hoping to run into old friends while yard sale shopping tomorrow.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Am I Alone in my Thinking About This?

    Soapbox time again.  Before I start though, I want to out it out there that our family has been on public assistance in the past and had to relay on food stamps to help feed our growing boys when they were very young.  It was NOT something that I wanted to do and we got off them as soon as we could, even when we still qualified for them.  Our caseworker said we were the first people she had ever met that actually came in to request to get off them even when we still qualified for them.  We were finally at a point where we could afford to feed our family on our own by making deep cuts in other areas and we wanted those resources to go to another family that needed it.

   Last weekend my hubby and I stopped at Winco to pick up a few groceries.  My plan was to only use what cash I had on hand.  We bought what little we needed, being very careful about prices.  We did run across a deal on some hot cocoa mix that my hubby uses in his coffee each day so we bought 2 cans of that knowing that it would save us money in the long run and also knowing that meant that we would have to forgo buying something else that day.  As we were loading up our groceries onto the conveyor belt, there were two young women in front of us doing 2 separate orders.  They each had mostly high end "gourmet" type items along with IPA beer.  Checkout was taking awhile and they had to swipe 2 different cards.  That is when I noticed that they both had the EBT food stamp card along with their debit card.  They were using the food stamp card to buy the groceries and then their debit card to buy the expensive IPA 6 packs of beer.  Their food stamp cards were having some glitches with the computer, but they eventually went through.  I will admit that this disturbed me.

   This is not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last that we have seen this happen.  We have seen people using this programs to buy steaks, lobster tails, and lots of junk food and then whipping out cash to buy expensive wine, beer and cigarettes.  We have seen people buying all kinds of junk food along with some healthier items, just to put the healthier items back when they have gone over the amount that was on their food stamp card.  They will keep the cases of soda, the huge bags of chips, the sugar laden name brand cereals at $4.00 or more a box and leave behind the fresh fruit and veggies, milk and cheese.  And then they too will whip out some money to buy that all important case of beer at $18 or more!  These particular people had young children.  Apparently beer and junk food are way more important to them than feeding their kids healthy foods.

   I know far too many people who struggle to feed their families on very little and I certainly do not begrudge anyone getting a treat now and then, but to see such blatant abuse of the system, and yes, I call it abuse, well that is just shameful.  If you can afford to be buying expensive alcohol and cigarettes with cash, then you can afford to be buying your own groceries. If these girls had been being careful with their budget and buying things that would have lasted them for awhile and were not gourmet items, then I don't think it would have bothered me, the checker and the people in line behind us so much either.  The amount that they spent on the gourmet items that would last them maybe a week is what I spend in an entire month!

   You know it breaks my heart to see young moms struggling to buy food to feed their families and having to put needed items back when they run short on funds while seeing other people like this who spend foolishly because it is not coming out of their personal budget.  I've also seen people, who like we were when we were on public assistance, being so careful to find the best deals and healthiest foods they could to feed their families and only have a small amount monthly to do that with while I see other people with $400-$600 worth of mostly junk food piled high in their carts and then paying with the EBT card. It is honestly maddening!  I remember it being a struggle just to come up with cash to buy toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.  There was no buying beer, wine or gourmet food.  It was a rare occasion and usually a birthday when we bought a single bag of chips, ice cream or a 2 liter bottle of soda and even then it meant that we would have to sacrifice something else to do that.  I see the same people  over and over again on the day that the EBT cards are funded at the store buying the same stuff over and over again, so it is not just an occasional junk food or gourmet food splurge.  Something needs to change.

   I really wish that there were more limits on what you could buy with the EBT card and I also wish they would allow you to buy needed things like toilet paper with it also.  Things like chips, soda, prepackaged cookies could all be done away with in my opinion.  If you want those and can afford to buy beer with cash, then you can afford to buy those things with your cash also.  I wish there were more education programs that went along with getting EBT cards.  I think mandatory classes on nutrition, basic cooking and budgeting would help many of these families.  In my volunteer work I have heard way too many people saying they don't know how to cook dried beans or rice, cook fresh vegetables, or even cook fresh chicken, fish or other meats.  Believe it or not we have people come in that are mad because we don't have frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, more junk food items. etc.  They turn up their noses at the healthier food options we have like whole grain cereals, canned tuna, dried beans, rice, canned tomatoes and even some of the fresh produce when we get it.  What they don't seem to understand is that all the food is donated and we are a volunteer run program.  None of us gets paid to do this and we certainly don't get to go and shop for these items.  It actually costs money for us to do all this between gas to go up to the Second Harvest Food bank in Spokane and bring back the food, the rental space to have our free food distributions monthly and gas for our volunteers who come and help there and also do the home deliveries to the shut ins.  A lot of the people coming in are also on food stamps and have run out of money on them by the end of the month when we have our free free distribution.  It maddens me when I hear people saying that they don't get enough in food stamps and that the $600 is too little an amount to feed them and their family of 4 for the month (this family also gets other forms of public assistance and none of the adults are working outside the home even though they are healthy and more than able to).   Meanwhile I have a 75 year old man on a fixed income who is there getting food for him and his wife who has dementia who gets no help at all and had to make the painful choice between buying the medications that his wife needs (the ones that Medicaid and Medicare don't cover) or buying food.  I know what choice he made and that he will make sure that his wife has what she needs and will skip meals himself to make sure that she still gets 3 meals a day.  We try to make sure that he gets "extra" food because we know the situation and how hard he struggles with all that he is dealing with.  There is also the single mom, working 2 jobs trying to support herself and her children, with the generous heart who is always there to try and help others, who is struggling to get by, who does not qualify for food assistance because she makes "too much" just going over the cut off by a few dollars.  She knows if she just worked one job or didn't work at all that she would qualify for all kinds of help, but she wants to do better for her kids and set a good example for them.  These are the people that I feel so badly for.  These are the same people standing in line behind the woman complaining that $600 a month in food assistance is not enough. 😠

   Please tell me I am not alone in my thinking that our food assistance and for that matter, other forms of public assistance need to be revamped?  I really feel there needs to be more accountability in these programs.  It makes me angry to see people who are really hurting and being caregivers to their ageing or ill spouses or children and families that are working hard and struggling to make ends meet not get help while others are clearly working the system and abusing it and sitting back doing nothing productive when they could be out working and just collecting their benefits.  As one of those spouses who cannot hold a regular job and struggles at times just to function at all, I know all too well the pressure that is on my hubby to provide all the income we need to survive.  Even when we were on public assistance, that man was working as hard as he could at any job he could and taking side jobs as well just to keep a roof over our heads.  I would work when I could but I only made about $20 a day as a substitute teacher after figuring in daycare costs for 3 kids.  Once they were in school I could work more and did and we got off the food assistance program. Once we brought them home to homeschool, we were again down to one income but did not receive public assistance other than medical which the state would not allow me to drop since my husband did not get health insurance through his job.  Once he was able to get that, we paid for our insurance but the kids were still on the state's insurance because again, the state would not allow us to drop them from it.  That honestly turned out to be a God send because we would still be paying off the medial bills from our twins after the surgeries and physical therapy they both had to have.  As it is, we will be paying off my medical bills for surgeries for years to come.

   So there it is, my little rant for the day.  Sometimes things like this just build up and I have to get them off my chest.  I have my volunteer work later today and will be taking our littlest grandson with me since I will be watching him while his mommy is at an interview for a job and his daddy is at work.  I am praying that no one complains today about what we don't have and will just be thankful for what we do.  The program may be shutting down soon for lack of volunteers and funding and I worry about people like that sweet elderly gentleman and the single mom working 2 jobs.  I am praying that more younger people will rise to the challenge and volunteer for this program.  Those of us doing it now are honestly not able to do all the heavy lifting involved anymore.  I would hate to see it go.





Monday, July 24, 2017

One of Those Days


   Today is one of those days where I could feel a Fibro Flare coming on before I even went to sleep last night.  I woke up this morning feeling like I had to play "Beat the Clock" before the flare got even bigger.  I set out to do the things that needed to be done and could not be put off for another day. Bread dough was made in the Kitchenaid and set out to rise in the bread pans and then potatoes were washed and gotten ready to pop in the oven to bake alongside the bread.  I then moved onto washing and bagging 3 quarts of raspberries so I could get those frozen.  Once I got that done, I headed out to the garden to harvest the dill (it was getting to the point where some of it was no longer good to use), get it washed and then do a quick dehydration of it in the microwave.  

   I got the bread and potatoes in the oven to bake and then went to take a shower.  My plan was to hang my hubby's work laundry out on the line when I was done with my shower.  By the time I crawled into the shower, I was aching.  I barely could lift my arms up to even shampoo my hair.  I knew I was in trouble.  Getting dressed was literally painful so I opted for the softest things that I could find.  Forget blowdrying and styling my hair.  A quick toweling it dry and a comb through was going to have to do.

   As I emerged from our bedroom, my sweet hubby took one look at me and knew...  He could see the way I was slowly moving and could see the pain written in my eyes and all over my body.  He could also see that I was on the verge of tears yet again.  Between the pain and the guilt of feeling so badly, I get teary when I am in a flare.  Bless his heart, he got my laundry out of the dryer and told me that he was just going to put his load in the dryer so that I did not have to worry about hanging it out on the line or going back out there later to get it off the line once it was dried.  He then got another load of laundry going for me.  I was able to fold my small load and then I headed to my recliner where I spent the next one and one half hours.  My sweet hubby also ran some things down to the library for me and picked up the mail before he had to head to bed for the afternoon.early evening since he has to go to work later tonight.

   After my rest in the recliner while I caught up reading some of my friends blogs, I had enough energy to go out to the front porch and deadhead and turn my potted geraniums and take a walk through the front veggie garden and the side veggie and fruit garden.  I also picked some raspberries before the heat got to me.  Jeff had been weeding the side garden earlier and got about half of it done.  God bless that man!  That was enough for me and I am now back in my recliner and suspect I will be here for a good long while until it is time to make dinner.

   My pain level is at about a 8 right now or in the "red zone".  It was even higher and worse earlier.  I truly despise feeling this way.  I had great plans to get lots done today and then rest tomorrow since I am supposed to go huckleberry picking on Wednesday and then we have our grandson Isaiah's birthday party and our volunteer work on Thursday.  I would bow out of Wednesday, but I have a friend coming with me.  At this rate though I may have to comes that lovely guilt again.  If it come down to that or my grandson's birthday, I will go with birthday party all the way.  After all, you only turn 4 once and that is one thing that I refuse to miss out on!



Friday, July 21, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/15-7/21 2017


   In reading over my list here it seems like longer than a week since we met up with my baby brother and his sweet family for breakfast on Saturday.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  I think we just packed so much into one week, so it made it seem longer.  Onto the saving!

~My baby brother insisted on paying for Jeff and I when we met them for brunch on Saturday.
~Time spent with my baby brother Eric, sweet SIL Christie and our nephews Cade and Eli...priceless!  I just wish we had remembered to get some pictures together.
~We filled up my car with gas since we were down to half a tank while we were up in Coeur D'Alene, ID.  Gas is a full .30 a gallon cheaper there than it is down where we live.
~We did not make it to the wedding since it would be a huge rush to get there from CDA and a 3 hour drive, so instead we did some shopping.  Of course we went to the thrift stores and found some things there that we needed. Goodwill was having a 50% off all linens and I found a beautiful and large fleece blanket/throw to use in the cooler months ahead while cuddling on the couch. We also hit Grocery Outlet and picked up a few grocery items as well.
~I knew I was worn out Saturday afternoon so we picked up a frozen pizza while we were at Grocery Outlet to have for dinner that night at home.

~Sunday I harvested peas, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and tons of raspberries from the garden.
~One of our soaker hoses that winds it's way through the raspberries, prune plum trees and blackberries sprung a horrible leak that just kept getting worse and worse.  Jeff was not able to fix it.  Luckily we had some spare soaker hoses that I picked up at a yard sale several years ago (knowing that we would have to replace the others at some point).  Jeff got the old one taken out and the new one put in.
~The laundry line was used to dry lots of clothes, towels and blankets.
~Sunday we had a surprise 80th birthday party to go to for our Heather's grandfather.  I took cherries and raspberries to contribute to the early dinner.  It was so much fun to be with some of the people that I love most in the world and I did well despite being in the middle of a Fibro flare.
~After the party we went into Moscow, Idaho to Winco to pick up a few grocery items that were needed and then came home.  This saved me a trip into town and lots of gas.
~I finally got the rest of the pepper plants put in the garden.
~We used a voucher for a free night at a hotel in Spokane to book a room for 2 nights.  We are paying for one of those night, but the other is free.  Our breakfast is included in the price and we get free coffee and a free latte each day too.  There are no coffee makers in the rooms anymore, so I will be taking our small coffee maker that I got last weekend for $2 with us.  Jeff and I are looking forward to this getaway...they even have a fun water slide at their outdoor pool. :)
~Jeff helped me menu plan for the week.  We tried to make a menu based on the weather, how busy we are each day and what we have on hand and needs to be used up.

~Monday night I made "Malibu Chicken" for dinner with a multigrain side dish, carrot sticks and steamed broccoli.  It tasted so good and was fairly easy and quick to put together.  I also used only one boneless skinless chicken breast and just cut it in half down the middle and also sliced it horizontally to cut down on cooking time.  We had some delicious carrot cake that our Heather made and sent home with us after her grandpa's birthday party.
~Our post office has been shut down since Saturday and will be closed for 8-9 days or more.  They are doing asbestos abatement since the flooring is being replaced and it contained asbestos.   We now have to drive to another town to get our mail.  I refuse to drive over there daily so I will be picking up the mail when I drive through that town on Thursday on my way to Heather's.  I am worried that it is going to take more time to get this thing done because there was no one there even working on it today when I went down to the library and to try and mail something off.  They even shut down the outside mail box.
~I got in on the free samples at PinchMe on Tuesday. :)
~My husband requested Tuna Pasta Salad for dinner on Tuesday so I got that made Tuesday morning and used some green onions from our garden in it.  It's super easy to make and something that he really enjoys.  Since I was in crash mode on Tuesday, I was thankful for something that took very little effort to make on my part and that my hubby loves.
~Wednesday I took advantage of a free offer for a subscription to "This Old House" magazine via PinchMe.

~Wednesday also found me picking raspberries, blueberries and strawberries once again from the garden.
~I've been working my points programs.
~Thursday I went huckleberry picking with Heather, Chris, Bradley and Isaiah.  We had a wonderful time and I was able to pick 1 1/2 quarts of berries.  Chris and Heather picked about 2 gallons and sold those for $100.  Huckleberries are selling  for anywhere between $15-$25 a quart depending on where you buy them. I kept my huckleberries and am hoping to go back up again this coming week to get more. We took a short drive up to the old fire lookout tower and some people we know had rented it so they gave us a tour.  It can be rented out for $39 a night and the view cannot be beat.  You can see over a hundred miles in all directions!  I would love to be up there during a thunderstorm. 

~Friday 3 loaves of banana bread were made with 5 overripe bananas. I had one very happy hubby when he got up in the afternoon after a really rough night at work.
~I used a black Sharpie marker to fill in some areas on a black picture frame that had gotten scuffed and nicked.

    I'm going to try and make this an early night and see if I can fall asleep and stay asleep.  I have not been getting much sleep all week long and it is starting to take it's toll on me.  We have Jaysn and Rachel coming over tomorrow to pick raspberries and have lunch with us and I am so looking forward to that.  I want to be awake and thinking clearly while they are here.😉  Oh, the picture at the top is my Doofy cat...boy has he got attitude!  LOL!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some of Life's Simple Pleasures



   I had great plans for this Summer (as I always do), but life got busy (and expensive).  My health, along with the health of other family members has limited what we are able to do and where we can go also.  I could have a huge pity party, but I refuse to do that and become depressed.  Instead I am trying to focus on life's simple and free pleasures.  Here are some of the things that I have been taking great joy in lately...

~my youngest grandson Steven's smile (he is 2 months old now)
~the antics of my older 2 grandsons, they never cease to make me laugh
~my hubby and his love for our family 
~my adult children who are all amazing human beings and the closeness we all share
~the coolness of my house when it is so hot outside
~hugs shared with friends and family
~flowers in bloom
~the abundance of our fruit trees and bushes this year
~hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower
~quiet days at home with nothing pressing to do
~listening to the birds outside sing to each other
~the look of excitement and happiness on Caesar's face when I come out into the backyard to play with him
~Doofy cat letting me know in his own special way that he needs my attention
~Our local library where I can borrow so many books and movies
~people with common sense (it seems to be lacking in so many these days)
~the smell of laundry that has been dried on the clothesline
~learning that my son Josh will not be going to Afghanistan...Praise God!
~long conversations lately with my oldest son Jaysn (his becoming a new father has made him want to call us more often and I am totally thrilled about that)
~friends that I have made through this blog
~some cute little finches that have been visiting lately and get pretty close to me when I am out in the garden
~fresh tomatoes right off the bush
~my hubby and I thinking the exact same thoughts so many times about things

   Those are just a few of the simple pleasures in my life.  Right now I am sitting here enjoying the quiet since my hubby has his bowling league tonight so it is just me at home.  His Summer Bowling League is starting to wrap up and I know he has been enjoying it.  We will have a few weeks until his Fall League starts and I want to make those Wednesday nights special.  I have a few frugal plans for those that I will share later. 😉

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Frugal Friday 7/8-7/14 2017

Another bucket full of cherries from our tree.

   I'm late again posting is hectic right now.  I usually try to post this on Saturday mornings, but we had some very important and special people to meet an hour and a half drive up north of us.  it had been 4 years since we had seen my baby brother and his beautiful family so we all agreed that we would make time to have brunch together Saturday morning while they were on their way back to Seattle from Montana. Oh we had such fun and my nephews has so much to tell me, even the youngest who tends to be more shy.  This auntie loves those boys so much! 💖  Onto the frugal doings!

~Another, yes another, cherry tree branch came down.  Poor tree is on it's last legs and will most likely need to come down this Fall.  We had some more friends come over and pick cherries on Saturday.  Jeff is harvesting the rest of the tree like a mad man now because he does not want anyone else near the tree, especially the grandkids.
~Saturday was my birthday and Jeff asked me what I wanted to do.  Since we got a late start, we hit a few yard sales and the thrift store.  I was able to find some more tops that fit me along with some pants for $1 each (some new with tags), an emergency radio, a small coffee maker that we will take with us when we go to a hotel because some hotels no longer provide them in room and CDs for $1 each.  I also found some brand new Hot Sox  for $1 (Christmas gift) and a plate hanger for .50.  At the thrift store I found the coffee filters to go with the small coffeemaker for .49, a really cool scripture coloring book (brand new) for $1.99, a crevice attachment for our Shop Vac for .49, a gift bag for .29, 2 Seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond for $2.99 each, some freezer container labels .49 and a beautiful Brighton purse for .99.  I have been on a roll lately finding Brighton purses and wallets.  I love the quality of them.
~Jeff fixed our Swamp Cooler by installing the new water pump himself.
~I harvested more strawberries, raspberries and started harvesting the blueberries this week.

~Two large canning jars of homemade raspberry gin were started with fresh raspberries from our garden.  I need to pick up more gin at the store.  Some of the gin will be used for Christmas gifts.
~Two more loaves of bread were made along with a batch of strawberry muffins with some of the freshly picked strawberries from the garden.
~We decided to try and sell some of the cherries.  Within a few hours of posting online about them I have people buying quart sized bags for $3 each. :)  Heather and I will split the profits. :)
~I found 4 weekend newspapers with the coupon inserts in the recycling bin at the post office.  I can use some of the coupons at the Dollar Tree to get some great deals!
~I sent Heather home with 2 gallons of cherries and 2 quarts of raspberries for their personal use and to share with her parents and inlaws.
~We took a gallon sized bag of cherries to Jaysn and Rachel.
~Jeff and I watched the movie "The Magnificent 7" that we borrowed from the library.
~I borrowed the movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" from the library.  It is a childhood favorite of mine.
~Jeff has been working on his car yet again and was getting really frustrated.  I asked if there was anything I could do to help and within 15 minutes, we had it done.  He just needed an extra set of hands.  I wish he had asked me hours earlier and saved himself some frustration.
~Jeff picked more cherries on Tuesday evening and I picked strawberries and raspberries.  I gave the strawberries and some of the raspberries to our friend Shannon and also sent her home with some cranberry juice concentrate and a vitamin drink since she is fighting a cold.

~I made a squash casserole and used some onions from the garden.
~Dinner Tuesday night was Sloppy Joe Noodle Skillet.  This is just something that I threw together because it sounded good.  HUGE hit with hubby!
~Tuesday night I curled up in bed and watched "Sixteen Candles".  I was in crash mode and needed something to distract me and calm my mind before I went to sleep.  I forgot how bad that movie really is...not going to watch it again but I was too lazy to get out of bed to put a different movie in.
~I needed a prescription on Wednesday and opted to get it at the little pharmacy across from the clinic.  It saved us time and gas money from driving about an hour to our pharmacy.  We will be doing that again since their prices are about the same as Walmart on some of our prescriptions.

~Leftover squash casserole was for lunch on Wednesday and Jeff finished up the Sloppy Joe Noodle Skillet for an early dinner.
~I worked on my points programs this week as much as time allowed.
~Laundry was hung on the line to dry.
~Wednesday I made myself a huge pancake with homemade pancake mix and topped it with fresh strawberries from our garden and whipped cream.  YUM!
~My baby brother and sweet sis in law got ahold of me and told me they messed up on the date they were supposed to be coming through our area, it is Saturday, not Sunday.  It is going to be tight time wise, but we are going to make it work.  We have a wedding to be at that afternoon that is a 3 1/2 hour drive back down south from where we are meeting them.  I'm taking huckleberries that Heather is picking today for them and cherries and possibly raspberries from our garden too.  They have really busy lives and do not have time to do a garden themselves, so this will be a nice treat for them.  No matter how old I get, and how old my baby brother gets, I still want to spoil him and his beautiful family whenever and however I can.  😁
~Thursday I did not go anywhere.  I stayed home, so no gas used in my car, and rested up.  This UTI, along with my other health issues are sure draining me.  I have a busy weekend ahead so I an trying to rest now.

~Jeff dropped some cherries off as a surprise and thank you to our mechanic who is always giving Jeff great advice over the phone.  He is such a blessing to us and we really appreciate him.
~Jeff and I are enjoying watching some of our favorite TV show online.  I love the convenience of it also.
~I found some marked down 22 oz packages of ham lunchmeat...the good stuff!  I bought all 3 packages and froze 2 for using later.
~I bought a family pack of boneless, skinless, chicken breast @$1.99 a pound.  That is the cheapest price I have seen in awhile around here.  I divided them up and put one huge breast in each ziplock bag.  One breast is enough to feed both Jeff and I easily!
~I stopped at the Goodwill and found some new bras that fit.  They were the color tag of the week so I got them for $1 each!  I also found 2 seasons of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (so that give us 4 seasons to watch now) and 1 season of "Home Improvement".  There was a beautifully illustrated Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes book that I picked up for Steven for .49 and I found 2 more shirts for me and some diapers for Steven.

   Not a bad week!  This coming week I hope to get out and pick some huckleberries with Heather, the little boys and Rachel.  Heather has multiple orders for huckleberries and it is a lot of work for her to pick them.  I don't want to ask her to pick some for me so I am going with to do it myself. :)  It will be fun to hang out with her and Rachel and of course the little boys. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

IHOP Has Nothing on Me


   Wednesday night, after a learning I had a UTI and feeling kind of out of it, I decided to treat myself to something rather indulgent.  Jeff was gone at his bowling league so it was just me at home.  I looked in the refrigerator and spied a large container of strawberries that I had hulled and cut up 2 days ago and it came to me...pancakes with fresh strawberries topping it instead of syrup.  I got busy and made the pancakes with my homemade mix, adding some oatmeal to the batter to make it a bit more nutritious.  I made a HUGE pancake (this was my dinner after all), topped with the strawberries and sprinkled them with a bit of sugar.  It needed something more...then it hit me...whipped cream!  Luckily for me, I had some in the refrigerator.  Well you know I may have gone a bit overboard with the whipped cream, but hey, a girl needs a treat to feel better when she is battling a very uncomfortable infection.  Am I right? 😉 

   I sat out on our back screened in porch watching the sun go down and listening as the birds all started to quite for the evening.  I savoured each and every delicious mouthful and was so thankful to God for providing such abundance when it came to our strawberry patch this year.  We have had so many ourselves and been able to share with friends and family too.  I have to admit, I think my dining experience here at home was much nicer than being in a noisy IHOP and the food tasted better too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Thankful for Small Town Doctors and my Hubby


   Last night, as I went to bed, I had some symptoms that made me feel like I could be getting a UTI.  I took some cranberry pills, like I usually do when I feel like this, and called it good thinking that it would resolve itself like it usually does.  To be perfectly honest, I had been having symptoms off and on for the past week and a half, but last night was bad.  I stupidly waited until last night to start with the cranberry pills too.  Not one of my more stellar moments.

   This morning I woke up had even more symptoms, ones that I had never had before.  Judging by those symptoms (blood in my urine), I knew I needed to get into the doctor to see if it was a UTI or possibly kidney stones.  I called and they were able to get me in at 11a.m. today because they are awesome like that.  I also fasted to make sure they could do a blood draw because I cold not remember when my last one was done to check my thyroid and cholesterol levels.  As the morning went on, my urine cleared and got back to normal looking, but I kept my appointment.  Sure enough, I have a UTI and my doctor told me it can sometimes cause blood in the urine...that was new to me.  I did not need a blood draw after all, but will in November. I'm now on medication for the infection and am praying this "heaviness" I am feeling will go away soon.

   As for the hubby, well that man got up after only a few hours of sleep to take me to my appointment.  I was a bit light headed from the fasting and had a headache since I had not had my morning coffee either.  Plus, he is great moral support and I honestly did not know what I was dealing with for sure.  I tend to freak out a bit (ok, a lot) when medical things are "unknown" and he keeps me calm.  We opted to get my perscription filled at the pharmacy across the street from the clinic in that tiny town and were so impressed with the customer service and friendliness there.  We will be using them again.  My hubby is now back asleep for a few hours before he has to get up again and head in for his bowling league tonight and to drop off some cherries with a friend.  Oh how I love that man who takes such good care of me and makes so many sacrifices to do so.

   The entire staff at the clinic we go to is amazing and so friendly.  Our doctor, whom we have known for years, has become a friend.  He was super supportive of my using my fitbit to try and figure out patterns for sleep and activity and how that affects my CFS and Fibromyalgia.  He thought it was a great idea and likes that I am being so proactive.  He also has been great about not trying to push medications on me for those conditions because he knows that I don't like to take them unless there is no other choice.  Oh, and another great blessing...we ran into a friend that I had not seen in person in years.  She and I keep in touch via facebook, but it was so good to get to share a hug and have a short visit.  I am so thankful for all these wonderful people in our lives.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Oh The Things We Do For Our Furbabies

We build them towers out of boxes.

Apparently it is comfy there.

We brush them out so they will stay cooler.

And it feels like a day at the Doggie Spa!

Such total goofs and we love them!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/1-7/7 2017


   Let's just call this the week when things decided to after (yes again), tree branches (yes plural), the pump to our swamp cooler and yes, my patience with all of it! A frugal week this was not!  I was not always in the best of moods either, especially when I was hot and tired and had to be out in the scorching sun.  I really overdid it this week so many times and as I type this, I know after spending several hours in the yard and garden today, I will be paying for it for the rest of tonight and tomorrow.  That was unavoidable though...just call it life.  There were some wonderful moments in between though with lots of time spent with my family...they always make me smile. 😁 Praying that this coming week is a much calmer and more frugal one.

~Saturday I found a marked down cheesecake and huge boxes and bags of cereal clearanced for $2 each at Walmart.  Cheesecake is a special treat for us and I could not make it for the cost of a premade one.
~Jeff took me out for an early birthday dinner and I brought home half my entree and had it for lunch on Sunday.
~Josh and his friend Kate helped me find a great fitbit to track my heart rate, activity level and the quality and amount of sleep I am actually getting.  It has many other features too but those were the main ones I was looking for to help me learn more about how to manage my Fibromyalgia and CFS flares and crashes.  Josh even gifted me with $50 for my birthday to help pay for it.  What a sweet son!

~One of our big cherry tree branches came down so Jeff and I stripped the good cherries off it and gave most of them to our hanai son #5 Ben who surprised us with a visit.  He was over here from Seattle doing some special music for his father's church. I love surprises like that!

~Monday Jeff and I headed into one of the towns where we do our shopping.  We hit the thrift store and found some little kid t-ball bats for the little boys, a really nice pack and play (in like new condition) that even had wheels on it (birthday gift for Rachel since she wanted and needed one for Steven), a shirt and lightweight jacket (shirt was .99 since it was the color of the day), a power strip with surge protector, a new package of heavy duty plastic forks, spoon and knives, some large styrofoam divide plates (used these for the 4th of July BBQ and Potluck here), a huge Rubbermaid container, a nice leather Fossil wallet (.79), some brand new  cute Superman baby shoes for Steven (Christmas gift), and a book on how to make Origami sea creatures.  I also had a customer loyalty card filled up so I got $20 off my purchase!
~I used the 2 coupons for free cat treats to get Doofy his treats.
~I found another large marked down cheesecake.

~I made Jeff and I a nice breakfast on Sunday
~Jeff and I were in town during lunch and both of us needed something to eat so I went to the deli area in Walmart and found a nice foot long Hew York style deli sandwich marked down to $2.98.  We split that and also got sodas from the machine outside for .50 each.  $3.89 to fee both of us is a deal!
~I harvested lettuce, strawberries, cherries, raspberries and tomatoes from the garden this week.

~I made a large fruit salad with some blueberries I had frozen along with strawberries and raspberries from our garden.  I used the leftovers to make mixed berry muffins.
~Lots and lots of cherries were picked from our big cherry tree this week.

~We borrowed 2 movies from the library.
~I made Shoyu Chicken with some sale priced chicken thighs that I bought on sale (.88 a pound) several months ago and had frozen.  I served it with rice (free) and the fruit salad mentioned above.  The rest of the family brought bread and a delicious garlic and herb butter, the best baked beans I have ever had and a absolutely sinfully rice chocolate cheesecake for our 4th of July.July Birthday bash.
~We had lots of leftover rice so I froze 2 quart zied ziplock bags full to use as part of future meals.
~I set up a make you own Italian soda bar for our 4th of July party.  I had bought 4 different kinds of syrups previously on sale and had several bottles of Seltzer water on hand.  I also had whipped cream.  Everyone enjoyed making their own unique sodas and thought it was such a fun idea!  I will have to do it again!

~I wanted something "fancy" for lunch on Wednesday since it was the day that I was trying to pamper myself a bit so I made a shrimp and asparagus dish to serve over rice.  I had everything I needed either precooked on in the freezer.  It was so good!
~I've been working on my points programs so that I can get another Walmart gift card.

~My husband's car broke down again (it seems to be a theme with that car) so my son Chris picked him up in town (they were both on their way to bowling league) and my other son Jaysn let Jeff borrow one of their cars for the night so he can get to work and then home again.  Chris also borrowed a car towing dolly to bring Jeff's car home for us.  I am getting to the point where I am fearful that we are going to have to buy another car just when we are getting so close to paying mine off.  If that happens, there goes the money that I would have been putting away towards getting a small cabover motorhome for us for next year.  I am so thankful though for our kids who are helping us out with all of this.
~We needed more supplements again so I went through a link on Swagbucks to Vitacost so I will get some swagbucks for my purchase.  I also used a code to get 12% off.  They were having a sale on some of their supplements for a B1G1 half off.  I noticed that they had some of the probiotics on sale that have really good reviews.  I was almost out of mine here and they were much cheaper at Vitacost and with the half off deal for the second bottle, I ordered some of them too.  Oh I got free shipping also.

~Jeff and I watched several TV shows online.
~Bradley and Isaiah spent Thursday afternoon with me.  I made popcorn and we watched a movie since it was over 100F outside.  Our swamp cooler water pump had burnt out earlier in the day so I had the fans going in the house to keep us cool.
~Jeff ordered another water pump for our swamp cooler and is having it sent down with the freight company her works for so the shipping is free to us.
~I vented to gool night air into our house overnight and then closed it up early in the morning to keep us cool.  We reached 105F here Friday which is way too hot for me and makes me physically ill.  I am so thankful that it stayed cool in the house during the day and that the fans really helped out too.  Jeff was able to get some good sleep since I put a fan in our room.  Normally I would be running the swamp cooler but since the water pump went out, I could not.

~Jeff came home from work Friday morning and woke me to tell me that yet another branch came out of our heavily loaded cherry tree.  He and I were both out there by 6:30 this morning picking cherries.  We gave some to one of our elderly neighbors that lives up here part of the year with her son and his family.  Then I put the word out that we would love to have someone else come and pick what they wanted.  Some friends let us know that they would really enjoy coming so they headed over and stipped the rest of the huge branch.  We were talking about the wood from the branch and I said it would be good for using to smoke meat since it is cherry.  One of our friends who was picking cherries said he would love to have it for doing the smoking of his homemade sausages.  He had a heart attack about 6 months back and is temporarily off work.  His wife is unable to work outside of their home due to health issues.  I did not realize that the job he recently got did not work out due to his health restrictions.  I just feel like this was a total God thing that something so good came out of something that started out looking so bad when my hubby first woke me this morning.
~I harvested more lettuce from the garden on Friday night.  With the daytime temperatures soaring, my lettuce is looking like it is starting to bolt.  I got 2 gallon sized ziplock bags worth of lettuce.

~I continue to water the gardens at night or in the early morning hours.
~I cashed in for a $15 Texas Roadhouse gift card via Swagbucks.  We are meeting my brother and his beautiful family for lunch next Saturday while they are on their way home from my parents place in Montana.  I already have a $10 gift card for there so I am praying this will come in before we meet them.  It is a place that I think everyone, including my nephews who are 13 and 7 will enjoy.
~Jeff took 1 gallon sized bag of cherries to work for his co-workers to share Friday night as they loaded their trucks and 2 quart sized bags for 2 of his friends to have their own bags also.
~I had Jeff grab coffee and some grape jelly on the way home from work one day so that I did not have to make a run into town to get them.  The store was on his way home anyway. :)
~Rachel's birthday is coming up and so is mine so we all celebrated together a bit early.  I gave Rachel some beautiful bath salts that I added some extra epsom salts to.  I packed it up in a frosted glass canister with a wood lid and also gave her a small wooden spoon to scoop the salts out with.  She loved it!
~My cousin Jeremy gave me a beautiful bottle of wine and Chris, Heather and the little boys gave me some adorable resin turtles to go in my garden.  Rachel made me a really sweet card that I will treasure since it was from baby Steven. ;)
~I've been enjoying fresh fruit on my cereal in the mornings.

   I'm going to head to the shower and then to bed now.  It's been a very long and hot day.  Praying that I can get a good night's sleep tonight.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Where Ever My Short Circuited Mind May Lead


   While the "Fibro Fog" is not as thick, I thought I would try to get the words down here before they disappear into the thick fog once again.  Even as I am typing this, I have to constantly go back and correct things because I know what I want to say but trying to get my fingers to type what I am trying to put down in words seems to get lost in transit.  And yes, my mind also seems to short circuit and gets a bit lost at times too.  Very frustrating! 😖  If you have stayed with me on this, it took me a full 5 minutes just to get that typed out.  UGH!

   I love blogging, but have not been posting as much lately because when I do have energy, I have been trying to keep up on the gardening and housework.  It seems that if I can get that done one day, then I crash the next.  It is a vicious cycle.  I do try to take breaks in between and pace myself, but after having a pretty good run there health wise for awhile, I feel like I have now taken a good 3 steps backwards.  Here's an example of what I have been dealing with.  On Friday I was able to get laundry done, work in the garden, get some cooking done, got the hot tub chemicals all taken care of and did a few projects around the house.  I did take breaks in between and I thought I was doing a really good job pacing myself.  Friday night I knew I was in trouble and was so sore that I had trouble sleeping. Saturday morning I thought I was doing ok, so I picked the strawberries and went next door to visit with Bob and Norma.  I came home, did a load of laundry, picked some of the cherries off the huge branch from our cherry tree that had broken overnight and then rested.  After awhile, I showered and Jeff and I then headed into pick up a few things and get my prescription.  By the time I was done with my shower, I was so sore.  By the time we hit Walmart, my muscles were screaming and I could barely move.  I had to use the shopping cart to hold me up as I literally shuffled along in the store.  I looked like a little old lady with balance issues.  Jeff then took me out to an early birthday lunch.  They tried to seat us at these tall tables and I had to explain that I had Fibromyalgia and trying to get up on those tall chairs was going to kill me.  One of the waiters, who must know someone with Fibro immediately said, "We don't want you hurting, let's get you an comfortable booth".  God bless that young man.  The concern in his voice and face told me that he totally understood my pain.  We did get some strange looks from other people when Jeff had to put my leftovers in a take home container for me because I could not even lift my plate to do it myself.  I went to bed as soon as we got home.

   Sunday I was talking with our son Josh and told him I needed to get this under control and was looking at buying a fitbit or something to track my activity level, heart rate, sleep patterns, etc. so that I could also journal when I had energy, when I felt the crashes coming on, etc. and see if I could find patterns between my crashes and or low energy days and also see what was going on when I had good days.  This is something that I have been wanting to do for awhile how so that I can establish a baseline and go from there.  Josh and his friend Katie helped me to find the right fitbit for me and Josh even gave me $50 for my birthday to help cover part of the cost.  I am so thankful to them both because I really feel like this is a tool that will help me figure some things out.

   Later that morning, our hanai son Ben surprised us with a visit and we had a wonderful time!  It was so good to see him and it just lifted my spirits.  He has a genetic disease that affects his muscles, making him feel weak at times, but praise God , he does not have pain with it too.  He and I talked about how we both appreciate the good days and try to focus on what we can do, live in the moment and soak in life and try to remember on the bad days, that this too shall pass and there are better days ahead.  We both agreed that sometimes that is hard to do but if we focus on all we can't do, we would be very depressed, so we choose to focus on the good as much as possible.  He told me that on his worst days, he remembers that his disease is not terminal and that others have it way worse than he does.  Is it any wonder I love this wise young man beyond his years so much?  He is pretty awesome!

   Today was more of a typical day for me.  I got laundry going when I first got up (after another rough night sleep wise) and then hung it out to dry and got another load going but put that one in the dryer(I know my limits). I had some coffee and then got some lettuce harvested in the garden, along with some strawberries and then came in to rest.  I was tired but took a shower and that seemed to perk me up a bit so we ran some errands and by the time we got home, I had to lay down for about an hour to ease the aching muscles and because I could not keep my eyes open anymore.  I rested for about an hour before the phone rang, so I got up and have been sitting here resting and trying to summon up the energy needed to get the clothing off the laundry line and then fold it.  I don't have the energy to cook tonight so  it will be another whatever you grab for dinner.

   Tomorrow we have the family coming over for a potluck/BBQ in the afternoon and I am praying that I will feel better by then.  The only things I really need to do before they get here are cook the rice and make the shoyu chicken (easy to do) and then vacuum.  Jeff will need to sleep until they all arrive since he works tonight.  I am so blessed that my family understands my illness and they all watch out for me and pitch in to help.  I think most of my time will be spent cuddling little Steven while the rest of the crew picks cherries from our tree and takes care of other things here.  I just want to be able to sit back and soak in all the joy ,love and laughter that my family brings into my life.  They are my reasons to keep trying to find ways to deal with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, IBS, Fibromyalgia and other assorted ailments and illnesses.  I honestly think I would be so depressed if it were not for all of them.  They are my everything!😍