Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Applesauce Anyone?


   Our Yellow Transparent apple tree has been blessing us with lots of apples this year that are relatively worm free.  Most years this is not the case and it makes cutting them up to dehydrate or make into applesauce a huge chore.  Not so this year thankfully. 😊  This is the second morning that I have been working on making applesauce to freeze for future meals.  Both hubby and I enjoy homemade applesauce and I am hoping to get 4 batches made and frozen while the tree is still producing.  I will admit that it was a struggle to get it done today because my arms feel like they have lead in them and my neck and back feel like they are on fire with my current Fibro flare.  Yes, I overdid it yesterday big time, but I did get a lot done that needed to be.  Here is my easy process for making applesauce in the crockpot.

Wash your apples.

Core and cut into bite sized pieces.  You can leave the skins on with this type of apple but you need to peel apples with thicker skins.  You could also peel these apples before cutting them if you prefer a smoother applesauce, but we don't mind the bits of skin that don't break down completely...most of it does though.

Fill your crockpot so it is mounding with apples but you can still fit the lid on.  I used one of my biggest crockpots.

Add about 1 cup of water for a large crockpot and cook on low heat.

Stir your applesauce about every 45 minutes or so as it breaks down.

Add sugar to taste.  I added about 1 cup of sugar because my apples were pretty tart to begin with and my hubby likes a sweet applesauce.  You could also add cinnamon (to taste) at this point of you wanted to.

Cook your applesauce for about another hour as it thickens up and reduces down further.  You can use a stick blender to break it down and make a smoother sauce at this point if you like but we prefer it chunky.

Let the applesauce cool and then enjoy right away and/or freeze/or can some for some delicious eating later.  I freeze mine.

Happy Eating!

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Just for Fun Twenty Questions

     My sweet blogger friend Bless, from had this quiz up on her blog and asked that friends play along.  I thought it looked like fun too so here it goes!

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? A homemade blueberry pancake.

2. Where was your profile pic taken? At a restaurant the day my oldest son Jaysn and our Rachel got married.

3. Worst pain you've ever experienced? Giving birth to our oldest son Jaysn with no numbing drugs at all!

4. Favorite place you've traveled? Across Canada by train making stops at national parks and staying for a couple days at each place before getting back on the train to go to our next destination.

5. How late did you stay up last night?  Depends on the night, I am trying to be in bed by midnight but have trouble with sleep since I have both CFS and Fibromyalgia.  Sleep issues are part of those diseases.

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be? Montana, but my kids, cousin and grandkids would need to come too.  I can't be very far away from them. ;)

8. Which of your Blogger friend's lives the closest to you? Marilyn of

 10. When was the last time you cried? A few days ago when I was having a really bad pain day and was so frustrated with it all.

11. Who took your profile photo?  My hanai son Lee.

12. Who was the last person you took a picture with?  All the grandsons and my hubby!

13. What's your favorite season?  Fall!  I love the crisp air and the changing colors of the leaves.  I also get to break out and wear my cozy sweaters again too.

14. If you could have any career, what would it be?  To be able to go back to teaching once again...I miss it.

15. Do you think relationships are ever worth it?  Um yes, happily married here for 32 plus years to my best friend!

16. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?  My Grandma Jean.  She and I were so close and she was my unconditional love person when I was growing up.  She died when I was 20 and not a day goes by when I still don't get teary eyed thinking about her.  I will always love and miss her.

17. Are you a good influence?  Define good...LOL!  In all seriousness I would say yes, most of the time. ;)

18. Does pineapple belong on pizza?  Depends on what they other toppings are along with it.

19. You have the remote, what channel?  Netflix because I have so many choices there.

20. Whom do you think will play along? Laura from

Friday, August 25, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/19-8/25 2017


   Lots going on here this week.  I have felt like we have been on an emotional rollercoaster with high hopes and then dreams crushed.  Such is life right.  Onto the savings...

~Saturday we purged the back bedroom and took out lots of lots of stuff to donate.  Boy did that feel great!
~Sunday Jeff and I took boxes and boxes of things we were donating to our favorite thrift store.  While there, we decided to look around.  We had a $20 off any purchase over $20  card that we could use.  Jeff found a rolling carry on luggage case that he is going to convert into another case for his bowling balls.  He has done this with another carry on and it has worked really well for him and saves his back. He also found me a Slack Key Guitar Masters cd. I found a Pampered Chef ceramic casserole for $2.99, a pretty blouse and a pair of black jeans that were the half off color tag of the day.  I also found another beautiful Brighton purse that is perfect for the colder months and is bigger than the other one I found last week. This one will be great for days when I have to carry more with me, like the days I work at MOPS.  Upon cleaning out the purse, I found a small hidden compartment and in it I found a 10x Jeweler's loop.  I have been wanting one of these for at least 10 years.  Now I have one....bonus!  We paid $3.03 after using our $20 off card.

~Jeff cleaned out our upright big freezer that was really badly frosted over.  Oh my goodness...there were things in there from 2012!  Yep. not good freezer management on my part at all.  I am now planning meals around what we found in there.  We are having pastrami sandwiches on Onion Buns, homemade Scrapple, a baked ziti and Italian Sausage casserole (that I had made this past Winter and frozen), pasta and pizza with pesto sauce, and whatever else I can come up with.
~Bradley spent the night with us on Sunday night which helped his kitties that we are taking in feel safer.  Bradley hot tubbed with Jeff and we watched some of his favorite TV shows on Netflix. Monday morning we had homemade blueberry pancakes with homemade syrup and some sausages (yep, took those out of the freezer).  He then took a long bath and after that we worked on puzzles before I had to return him to his mommy. :)  He kept hugging us, thanking us for letting him stay the night and telling us he loves us.  Grammie heaven I tell ya!
~More free magazine arrived in the mail on Monday morning and I found some coupon inserts in the recycling bin at the post office.
~I borrowed 2 movies from the library

~I was able to gleen some beautiful plums from the side of a gravel road on one of my walks.  No one ever picks them and they are on land that is not built on.
~I found a sweater that my mother made me years ago but that I had never worn because it was too big for me.  Well, with my weight gain, it now fits.  One problem, I found some stains on it from bugs or something getting into it.  I sprayed it with Oxi Cleaner, let that soak for a few hours and them gently washed it.  It came out perfectly clean and I will enjoy wearing it this Fall and Winter.
~Jeff and I were both wanting some cookies so I dug into my pantry and found a chocolate chip cookie mix that was out of date but still looked fine.  I chanced it and they were good. 😉
~Tuesday I had my meeting for MOPS and I would really appreciate some prayers.  So far there are only myself and one other childcare worker.  I am the only one returning from last year.  We desperately need more workers and I have put the word out about it but I believe in prayer so please, if you are inclined, pray.

~Since I was in town for the meeting, I ran up to Goodwill and found a blouse, a game that I will take with me to MOPS, some lotion, and some waterproofing stuff for Jeff's work boots.
~I stopped at Winco and Walmart and found some great mark down deals on food.  I bought 7 packages of marked down Brats, 2 pork roasts, a loaf of Italian herb, some precooked chicken and garlic bread and some Swiss cheese.  I also picked up some other grocery items that we needed.  My plan is to not go anywhere, other than right here in our tiny town, until next Tuesday.
~I have another yeast infection (brought on by stress and the hot weather) so I am treating it homeopathically since that is the only thing that works for me.
~Wednesday Jeff had to run into town to pick up a lightbulb for my car.  One of my brake lights was not turning off.  We are hoping this solves the problems since one of the other bulbs in that light area was burnt out.  Jeff picked up my perscription for me while he was in town too. We recently switched health insurance companies and he forgot to take my card with him but they were able to get most of the information off his card and then Jeff just called me and I gave him my personal ID number.  Walmart is great about that in this area.
~I made more homemade maple flavored syrup and had some of it with some leftover blueberry pancakes from Monday.

~Scrapple is the perfect comfort food and as stressed as I was after yesterday with the MOPS lack of workers, I needed comfort food.  I made a batch of really yummy Scrapple and it does make me feel better.😊
~I hung Jeff's laundry out on the line to dry again.  It took me a full 20 minutes to do so and I'm sure the neighbors were wondering why I was still in my bathrobe at 12:30 if the afternoon...what can I say, it was a bad day health and pain wise and I could not stand anything against my skin that was not super soft, so jammies with a robe thrown over it was my outfit of the day.  You would think the neighbors would be used to seeing me like this by now since I have been dealing with these issues for years and yes, I have been known to go to the garden to grab something in my jammies too.
~Jeff's car broke down AGAIN on Wednesday night and I had to tow him into the closest town and park his car there. It was scary since I hate towing and the tow strap also came loose while I was towing him.  I was shaking when we were able to pull over into a safe spot and reattach the tow strap. Our neighbor graciously agreed to go back with him and tow the car the rest of the way home tomorrow.  He will then try to get it running then and we are getting rid of it!  My car also developed electrical issues, so now that needs to be fixed too.  We will be down to just my car so I sadly had to bow out of working for MOPS because Jeff's work schedule and mine will not coordinate together and we cannot afford to replace his car or keep repairing it.  It makes me so sad to have to give up you can see above, I was really excited about it too. It was my one link left to my old career. 😞

~I harvested tomatoes, beans, apples, blueberries and green onions from the garden this week.
~Thursday morning Jeff took that battery out of my car and took it over to put in his car to get it home.
~We did our volunteer work and got lots of good food.  We got 2 dozen eggs, a package of 3 steaks, fruit, potatoes, cereals, canned goods, cereals, hot cocoa mix, juice, etc.  Lots of meals will be made with all these blessings.
~Friday found me making a batch of applesauce with some of the Yellow Transparent apples from our tree.  I also got pork roast going in the other crockpot.  It smelling a lot like Fall here.

~I had Jeff stop at the grocery store on his way home and pick up 2 packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I packaged them up separately and then put them in a larger Ziplock freezer bag froze them.  He also picked up 2 cantaloupes since they were also on sale.
~I got the hot tub all ready for us to use this weekend since Isaiah is spending the night Saturday and he requested hot tub time.
~Watching more shows online and on Netflix and YouTube.
~Jeff is picking more apples for me this afternoon off our tree so I can make 2 more batches of applesauce.

   We are heading into a heat wave come Sunday so I am going trying to get as much done as I can right now since this next week will be a bust for me cooking and putting stuff up for the most part.  Trying to plan ahead here. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Scrapple Recipe


   I have had people ask me how I make my Scrapple so I thought I would share the recipe.  Keep in mind this is not the authentic Scrapple, but something that tastes very similar to it and is much easier to make. 😉  For me, Scrapple is comfort food and something that my mother and I used to enjoy as a special treat.  I searched for years to find a recipe that was easy and had the same flavor profile and finally hit on this one.

Brown 1 1/2 pounds of sausage in a large saucepan.  You can use plain ground sausage or Sage sausage (which will save you a step).  Do not drain the fat!

While that is browning get your other ingredients ready.  2 2/3 cup water, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 t. salt, 1 to 2 t. sage depending on how much sage you like (omit if using sage sausage), and 1/4 t. of pepper or a bit more to taste.

Add your water and seasonings and the bring to a boil.

Slowly mix in your cornmeal and then simmer it for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Put the mixture into a parchment or wax paper lined loaf pan and then refrigerate until cold and firm.

Slice it up into about 1/2 inch slices and fry up until browned in a skillet.  You will not need to put oil in the pan since there is already oil from the sausage.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Things I Wish People Would Realize About Living With a Chronic Pain and Ilnesses



   I had to cancel out on plans again recently to go and see some friends that were in from out of town and were playing at a music festival.  I really wanted to go and had planned to.  Up until the hour before we had to leave to get there, I was praying and that I would feel better and be up to it...sadly, I wasn't. 😔  This is the second time I have not been able to go and see them due to my health.  It was a scorching hot day and my body does not react well to heat at all.  I was nauseous and in pain...not a good combination.

   We attended a graduation party in May and it took everything I had to go to it.  I again was in pain and had to shuffle my way across the floor just to go and see our dear friend who the party was for.  After that I sat down and stayed in that chair for the rest of the time.  I got strange looks when my hubby made up a plate of food for me and I snapped at another friend when he started poking my side to get my attention.  It hurt!  I explained to him why I snapped and why I was hurting and then apologized again a few days later.  I felt awful for snapping at him because he is a really sweet person and was just trying to be funny.

   I've had to cancel out on work numerous times.  This is one of the reasons that I can no longer substitute teach.  Between the stress of dealing with some very rude and unruly students (most of the kids are great, but there are those that are not and make teaching very difficult) and CFS and Fibro flares and crashes, I just could no longer do it.  Even with my working with the MOPS program now, I have had to cancel out a few times and am very blessed that they do understand my health issues.

   There have been family members and now former friends who have called me a liar and said I was making this up to get attention or said that I am lazy and taking advantage of my husband.  I went through years of doctor's appointments with no real answers as to what was going on with me and was told there was nothing they could do to help me.  I kept getting sicker and sicker and had all those other illnesses that I and my doctors did not realize were all part of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  I finally got the CFS diagnosis and later the Fibromyalgia diagnosis.  Even with the diagnosis, there are still people who think I am faking it or at the very least, don't realize how bad things really are and don't understand why I can't hold a regular job and have to cancel plans.

   Here are a few things I wish they would realize about people like me who live with various debilitating and life altering illnesses.

~I really wish I was healthy!  It is frustrating to go from doctor to doctor, have multiple tests run and be told they can't figure out what is wrong for years and years.  There are many other illnesses that come under the "umbrella" of the diseases that I have too.  I never know when my stomach is going to rebel because I have eaten something that causes me distress and I have severe stomach cramps and have to be near a bathroom for hours on end. I get dizzy easily.  I have brain fog that is so frustrating that I cry because I cannot find the words that I want to say.  
~I hurt every single day!  There is not a moment I am pain free, even when taking strong pain meds after surgery.  The pain is always there.  Some days it is less intense and I am able to get things done and other days, getting out of bed and even shuffling down the hall is a major accomplishment.  It feels like the worst flu ever and there is no escape from it.
~Having to tell my grandkids that Grammie is hurting and that I can't even share big bear hugs with them some days kills me inside.  I never want them to think they have hurt me or be afraid to hug me, but that is my reality and unfortunately their's also.  I also want to be able to have the little boys spend the night here more often, but I just don't have the energy to keep up with them and that breaks my heart.  Just the slightest touch can hurt.  Go ahead and touch your arm, even lightly...does that hurt you or do you just feel a little pressure?  For me, that light touch it can feel like I have been punched hard.  Today is one of those days.
~I want to work!  Having to give up teaching was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  I love teaching and it is what God designed me to do.  I miss it and the kids so much.  Making that decision to quit due to my health was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  It was not fair to the students though to have a teacher that could not think clearly, had constant headaches, and had very little energy.  They deserve better. 
~I do feel like a burden to my husband at times.  Between me not being able to work much, the costs of my supplements that I have to take just to function, and me not being able to do as much around here anymore and him having to pick up the slack and him having to shoulder the total financial obligations, it is a lot of pressure on him. He also comes with me to almost all my doctor's appointments because I can't remember what supplements or the dosages I am on and he will fill in the blanks when I can't get the words out that I need to say.  He is an amazing man and keeps telling me I am not a burden and that he took our vows of "in sickness and in health" seriously.  He keeps saying that it is his job as my husband to take care of me and that is just what is will continue to do.  I have to say that I am one very blessed woman to have this man as my husband and best friend.  I would be lost without him.
~I have to rely on others to help me more than I would like to.  When we have a big family event, it's all hands on deck.  My kids, hubby, grandkids, cousin, extended family, friends and even my mother, who is in her 70's, pitches in.  My mother is amazing and will cook up a storm and bake tons of cookies for baby showers, weddings, and will come over and help take care of me after surgery.  She also provides a safe and calm place for me to retreat to at her home when my husband and I need a break from the world and a place to heal.  Our Rachel also came and stayed with me after my hysterectomy and we shared so much and learned a lot about each other.  I am forever grateful for that time and for her.  Family gatherings are potluck style which makes life so much easier for all of us.  Big holiday gatherings are shared with Heather's and Rachel's family also and they all understand that I have my limits.  Some of them have seen me during my flares and know that just getting there took everything I had in me.
~There are times when my emotions are all over the place.  I can cry at the drop of a pin for no reason at all.  I get hyper sensitive emotionally at times.  When you have been in pain physically and are emotionally spent too, it is hard to keep it together sometimes.  I have anxiety and panic attacks and am prone to depression.  This comes along with these illnesses too.
~My neck and shoulders feel like the muscles are on fire if I sit at the computer for over 15 minutes or more.  The same thing happens when I am cutting up food, cooking, folding laundry etc..  Bending over to garden causes the muscles in my back to seize up.  My legs will cramp up and I have difficulty walking, I have restless leg syndrome and my legs cramp up almost every night despite the supplements that I take daily (which do help).
~The cartilage between my ribs hurts.  Again, touch your rib cage gently...does that hurt you?  No...well count yourself blessed because it does me.
~I look healthy on the outside so people can't seem to understand and stare at me when I have to use the shopping cart to hold me up and help me walk in the store some days.  I'm sure it is confusing to people who see me often because some days I am fine and can walk around with no problems and other days I look like an old lady who needs her walker and shuffles slowly.  To the people who are stuck behind me in a line, I am sorry that I am not moving fast enough for you...there is no need to huff and puff and roll your eyes at me.  I pray you never have to go through this!  My husband has had to cut my meat for me in a restaurant and put the leftovers in a to go box for me because I don't have the strength in my hands or arms to even do that some days.  You should see the looks I get when that happens.
~Some days I feel like I literally have lead weights hanging all over my body.  Everything feels heavy and it hurts.  Moving hurts, sitting hurts, holding my head up hurts, even laying down hurts.
~Yes, I have gained weight, a lot of weight and  yes, it makes me feel awful about myself.  I most likely eat less than most people and yet I still gain.  The reasons are two fold.  I can't get out and exercise like I used to because it feels like my muscles are tearing when I do (which is exactly what they are doing with Fibromyalgia) and if I overdo it, I pay for it for days on end.  The second reason is that my body is always in "stress mode" so my body holds onto the fat as a way to protect itself.  That is how our bodies were designed, to hold onto fat to protect the organs from harm when under stress.  Now imagine that your body is always in stress mode 24/7.  It wears you out big time and your body refuses to let go of fat and tries to keep adding more to protect you.
~Please don't tell me to get more sleep.  Don't you think I want to and am trying?  CFS and Fibromyalgia both make it very difficult to sleep and yet that is exactly what I need to help heal me. If I have to go and lay down for awhile during the day, please don't think I am being lazy, it's just that my body can't deal with anything else and is crashing.
~I am always looking for things that will help me heal from or at least cope better with these illnesses.  I appreciate when people share things because I feel like we can all learn from each other.  However, please don't get all judgemental and tell me that if I only went on a special diet I would be all better.  I have had people actually tell me that it is my own fault that I am sick because I am not on some special diet. I have tried them and no, they did not work for me.  Everyone's body chemistry is different and what works for one person may not work for the rest.  I'm happy to hear about what has worked for you though because even if it did not work for me, it might work for someone else who reads my blog or someone that I talk to that also has one of more of these illnesses.   Just please don't be all judgemental and try to "blame me" for my illness like it is somehow my fault or that I want to have this in my life.  I don't!
~These illnesses are ones that I have to live with for the rest of my life.  There are no cures and you just have to learn to manage them the best you can.  I don't do the medications because the side effects can be horrible and even deadly.  My body chemistry is such that most of these medications don't help anyway.  Being that it is a lifelong illness, sometimes people forget that I am going to need help at times and that it would be much appreciated.  When someone breaks their leg, has surgery, or has cancer, people are quick to run in with offers of help because they realize that that person and their family really do need and appreciate the help.  That is how we should be.  I so am thankful for the help we got when my husband broke his leg and when I had surgery.  Most of these people heal and go on with their normal and healthy lives and I am so thankful that they do! They deserve our help and prayers for healing in their times of need and I will always try to help in any way that I can also.  People like me don't. We will never be healed  in our lifetime(unless God decides to heal us) and have our healthy lives back.  This is a lifelong "sentence" for us. Some of our friends and even family may not understand this and they may not be able to cope with the changes in our lives and how it affects them either directly or indirectly.  The invitations to events, the wanting to get together for coffee, the calls just to see how we are doing or if we might need them to pick something up for us stop.  I understand that it might be frustrating for them when we can't make something, but we still want to know that we are valued and that you want to include us.  There are times when we can make it, and other times when we can't.  I am thankful for my friends and family who have stuck by me and do try to include me and check on me and offer help.  It means more to me than you or they will ever know.  
~I only have so much energy and have to pick and choose carefully what I can and cannot do not only on a daily basis, but on a weekly basis too.  I can only handle 2 big events per week at this point.  For me that means if I work for a few hours at my MOPS job then I can only do one more big thing that week.  That could be watching my baby grandson Steven while his mommy works, having my older grandboys over or going somewhere with them, spending the morning processing produce from the garden, doing a big shopping and stock up trip or even going to a party of some sort.  I also cannot do these things back to back.  I need to rest a day in between.  I do still need to try and keep up on my regular housework and there are days when I can't even do that because I am on the couch with no energy and in lots of pain from pushing myself too much.  I have to take breaks during the day between tasks too.  If I am doing the laundry, I get the load started and maybe hang out another load of the line, then I need to rest for a bit.  I can then vacuum and maybe do one more thing, and then I have to rest again.  This is my life now and I am learning to pace myself.  There are days when I cannot even do this and as frustrating as that is, I am trying to learn to give myself grace and not beat myself up over it.  There will be those rare days when I can get a lot done, but like I said, they are rare.
~I try to have a positive attitude and be thankful for all that I am blessed with.  If I did not, then I would be a wreck and in a puddle on the floor and go into deep depression.  If I am having a bad day and have a bad attitude, please bare with me and realize that I have reached the limit of my pain threshold  and emotional breaking point at that moment.  People with these kinds of illnesses can all only deal with so much before we break.  Please just listen to me and realize that this too shall pass.  I just need to know that someone cares because that helps me through.
~I have to make running list of what I may need at the grocery store, list of what needs to be done around the house and even what I have gotten done.  I have trouble with my memory at times and I can't rely on myself to remember things from moment to moment.  I can even forget if I have done the watering of the garden so I keep a running list of things and cross off but not erase it on my white board.  This way I can get tasks done and actually see that I did them.  My mother says that is also a part of getting older, and I would have to agree with her there, but it is just exacerbated by my CFS and Fibro Fog.
~It takes me longer to get things done than it used to when I was healthy.  A great example of this is that is has taken me a full 3 hours to do this post.  In the past, I would have been able to get this all typed out much faster.  Of course then my brain worked a lot better and I was not in pain when I typed.   

   On that note, I am going to end this post.  I know there are other things that I would have liked to include but I forgot to write them down so they have escaped this sieve of my mind. 😉 My neck and upper back also feel like they are on fire and I need to go and lay down now for a bit.  Such is my life but again, I am so thankful for the wonderful people in it who are there for me and I could not do it without them.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/12-8/25 2017


   Don't you love it when God answers your prayers?  My hubby has been wanting a nice table saw for years now and I had it on my list of possible birthday gifts for him.  Guess what was waiting for us at our favorite local thrift store on Saturday?  Yes, the saw with all the attachments and guards.  We paid $57.98 for it and my hubby is such a happy camper right now.  I know he will get years and years of use out of it.  His birthday gift came a few weeks early. 😊  I'm so glad I asked him to stop there since I just had a feeling that there would be something really good there that day.  There was more also so onto more of my frugal doings for the week!

~Saturday's stop at our favorite local thrift store not only rewarded us with the table saw but also with a huge stainless steel colander (something that I had seen at one of the kitchen specialty shops about a year ago and wanted really badly but could not justify spending $80 on) for $2.99, 3 seasons of Beverly Hills 90210 (the original version) for $2.99 each with seasons 2 and 3 being brand new and never opened along with season 1 of the series Parenthood and the movie Guarding Tess, some clothes for Jeff, a dress for me, a Mulberry wallet for .98 (the closest thing I could find on their website currently is $360), a Coach checkbook cover for .79 and a Brighton purse that is perfect for this Fall for $3.99 (that one retailed for around $300 new also).  I also found some children's books, Jeff found some golf tees and there are a few other things that I can't remember at the moment.
~The company that Jeff works for had a catered BBQ picnic for all the employees and their families on Saturday.  They also rented out a waterpark with slides, a lazy river, a wave pool and some really fun kid's areas.  We all had a great time and the little boys and our son Chris loved the wave pool!  What a treat for us all!

~We stopped at a bread outlet store and got 3 loaves of bread and 1 package of bagels and some onion hamburger  for $5. We froze the bagels, buns and 1 of the loaves of sourdough bread for use later.
~Sunday I pulled some elk steaks out of the freezer and marinated them with some leftover wine and seasonings.  These were served with small buttered and parsley potatoes and a fresh green salad for dinner.

~We got finally got a bit of glorious rain which knocked the smoke out of the air and dropped the temperatures by about 30 degrees.  I took advantage of that to air out the house and it saved me from having to water the gardens that day.
~Monday I hung out the laundry on the line to dry since we had beautiful clear skies and a nice wind blowing.
~This weeks garden harvest included some blueberries, apples, a few raspberries (they are doing a second setting of fruit this year), cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil and some squash.
~I made more iced tea.

~We borrowed the movie "The Zoo Keepers Wife" from the library.
~Jeff and I took Caesar for a walk twice this week.  Great exercise for us all.
~I had a hankering for Mexican food so I went to the freezer and pulled out some leftover cooked rice and some chicken and green chili tamales.  I made some Mexican Rice out of the leftover rice.  I just added some sliced avocados for me and a salad for my hubby to round out our meal.  We had dinner out on the back porch since the weather was so nice.

~Steven spent most of the day with us on Wednesday.  He is so much fun!  He is really getting into watching our cat Doofy and loves videos with cats in them too. :)
~While Steven napped, I made Zuppa Toscana with things from the freezer and pantry along with some kale from the garden.
~I've been working my points programs quite a bit lately.
~Thursday I hung another load of laundry out to dry.
~I searched YouTube and found more exercises and stretches for people like me with Fibromyalgia.  I went ahead and did some too. 😜

~I received a coupon for a free product up to $5 from the Kellogg's company after calling them about another product that I had bought that was stale.
~We continue to watch some of our favorite currently airing tv shows online.
~Netflix put some new shows on that we are enjoying.
~Thursday I made a cookie sheet dinner with Italian Sausage links and sweet potatoes with a chipotle and sea salt seasoning.  We had this with watermelon chunks along with cherry tomatoes from the garden.

~I was craving some Fall like dessert wise.  I cored and sliced up 2 of the Summer apples from our tree and sauteed them in some butter.  I sprinkled a bit of salt on the apples and then added about 1/2 a cup of brown sugar to the pan and turned off the heat.  The residual heat cooked the brown sugar and butter into a nice light caramel sauce that coated the apples.  It was a huge hit with both my hubby and I. Next time I will add more apples.  I'm thinking I may core and slice a bunch more of the apples and freeze them so that I can make more of this later on and possibly even a apple crisp. These apples are the perfect apples for doing this with.
~It looks like we will be adding 2 new fur babies to our family.  Chris called last night and asked us if we would be willing to take 2 of their cats since they are moving and he is worried that they cats will be killed by coyotes or something else since they will have to be outside all the time.  I had offered to take 1 of the cats but he needs homes for 2 of them and thinks he already has a home for the 3rd cat.  Chris said they will help out with food for the cats and other expenses when I told him that we are trying to cut costs here and that Doofy is on a special and expensive cat food so the other cats would have to be on that too since we can't risk Doofy eating foods that he is allergic to.  I am going to have to pick up a second covered litter box since there will be 3 cats here.  Midgey and Patches will most likely be coming to join us sometime this next week and will stay with us for about 2 years until Chris and Heather build their new home and then will return to live with them full time.  Chris was so relieved.  He loves those cats and so do the grandboys.  This way they can still come and see their kitties.  I am hoping that the transition will be an easy one.  Doofy was raised with other cats but has been an "only cat child" here at our home. He does have Caesar though, who he bosses around like mad.  I have to admit, Jeff was really reluctant and did not really want any more cats, but he is doing this for our son and grandboys.

~Jeff cleaned up and photographed some things that we want to sell.  I'm cross listing them on several local buy and sell sites on facebook.
~Friday we headed into town after Jeff got up in the afternoon. We had to buy a second litter box since the 2 other cats will be joining us.  We went to Shopko to find one since Walmart is completely out of them.  We found it for $2 cheaper there than Walmart had them.  While we were there I went to see if they had any of the deep pocket sheets on clearance since we only have one set with the deep pockets.  We found a set on clearance for half price and it costs even less than the other set that I got such a great deal on ebay for.  We also picked up some of the elastic sheet "garters" to keep the bottom sheet in place.  They were also on sale.

~We used the coupon we got for a free product on a huge box of cereal for Jeff.
~Birthday cards were bought at the Dollar Tree for the upcoming family birthdays for .50 each.
~We stocked up on the 2 pound bricks of cheese for $5.99 each.  We bought 4 of them and that should last us a good long while.
~Jeff and I were both hungry while in town but waited until we got home to eat.  I really need to keep some granola bars in the car since I get light headed and cranky when my blood sugar drops.
~Caesar got up on both couches on Thursday night while I slept and got his hair all over them.  I used up an entire Scotch lint roller cleaning the couches off.  Luckily I had gotten the roller free.  I also washed the dog hair covered fleece throws with some of my homemade laundry detergent.  He knows better. 

   Not a bad week and I feel very blessed that we found things either at the thrift store or on sale at the regular retail stores that we needed.  The weather has been cooler so that has helped with my health and I am really trying to learn to pace myself better.  I need to tackle that bucket of apples that Jeff and I picked and get them processed.  I am hoping to get to that tomorrow or Sunday along with cleaning out the back guest bedroom so that the new fur babies can retreat there and feel safe.  Lots to do this weekend and then I hope to rest on Monday since I have a meeting to go to on Tuesday

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Prices Keep Climbing and More Cost Cutting Needs to Be Done


   My husband was listening to the news on the radio the other night and the radio host said that according to the news sources, prices on gas are going to climb at least through Labor Day.  We have noticed a jump in gas prices over the Summer and we are hoping that prices will go down a bit after Labor Day so that our trip to Montana this Fall does not cost so much.  Prices on cheese in this area have jumped a whole $2 per 2 pound brick over what they were earlier this Summer.  My premium for my health insurance jumped yet again, as did our copay for office visits to our doctor (which now cost us $45 instead of $25).  Produce prices are higher in the area than they normally are for this time of year.  Our water, sewer, garbage bill is higher as is our internet and phone bill.  The price for tickets to see a movie jumped up too so even going to a matinee is now something that we really have to think long and hard about.  Sometimes it is cheaper for us to wait for a few months and then we can actually buy the dvd of it (brand new) for cheaper than paying for 2 matinee tickets. Even better is waiting for it to come on Netflix! While looking at the ads for back to school sales and shopping in the stores, I have seen a huge jump in the cost of clothing, especially on underwear and socks which is what Jeff and I were there to purchase while it was on sale.  Our property taxes, which we just got paid off today, went up substantially this year and we are being told they will be going up again next year.  Meanwhile, my husband's income stays the same, as does the small amount I bring in.  Luckily for me, the amount that my health insurance premium went up will be covered by the income that I bring in during the months that I am working, but that leaves no money from that source to put away as planned and leaves us having less money after paying bills in the months that I am not working.  Time to find ways to cut costs yet again.

~With dairy prices going up, I am going to stock up on cheese when the price is $5.99 or lower for 2 pound blocks and freeze it.  This week one of the grocery stores has it at $5.99 for 2 pounds.  I am going to buy 3 packages of it since my hubby goes through cheese like water.  He likes to have cheese sandwiches or peanut butter sandwiches for his dinner while he is working the overnight shift and takes 2-3 sandwiches per night with him.  Cheese can last a long time in your refrigerator and you can also freeze it.  If I freeze it, I will shred it first.  I know you can buy pre shredded cheese for that price but I don't want to be eating the wood sawdust they put in it to keep the cheese from clumping up.
~I'm going to spend more time looking for sales and combining those sales with coupons if at all possible on things that we need.  When I do find a sale that is at rock bottom price, I will stock up on those items as long as they are non perishable.  I recently did this with 3 packs of Dial Basic bar soap for .79 a package and Secret antiperspirant for $1 each.  I also found the hairspray I like at the Dollar Tree for $1 a bottle so I bought 5 of them since I never know if they will have it or not.  I should not have to buy any more of these products now for months!
~Menu planning has become an even bigger priority trying to use what we have in our pantry and freezer and not let things go to waste.  This will help clear out the freezer for hunting season and I can use more of the grocery budget to stock up on sale prices items and not as much on our immediate needs.
~We are going to have to limit our eating out even more.  This is our guilty pleasure and we do eat out way more often than we should.  I am trying hard to recreate some of our favorite dishes that we enjoy in restaurants here at home now and had already started doing that more this Summer before we were hit in the face with the latest round of price hikes,
~I'm going to try and sell a few more items that we have here at home that we are not using and use that money to finance our trip to Montana.  Our trip is not something we can cancel because we are meeting our son Josh there, who will be home on leave.  We will be staying at my parents' home so there is no cost for lodging.  I do plan on bringing food to make a dinner for the whole family since Jaysn, Rachel and Steven are also coming so that is 5 more adults to feed while we are there.  I'll most likely do some sort of pasta dish since my brother is a vegetarian. I've done this in the past making 2 or 3 different sauces so people can pick what they want to go over the pasta and it was a huge hit.  I can also make the sauces up ahead of time. I'm going to make some blueberry muffins and I have already bought a smaller container of coffee creamer to take with us too.
~Jeff and I have debated about whether to continue with our volunteer work but decided to go ahead and continue to do it.  We still feel strongly about helping others in our community and we also get free groceries ourselves.  This program may not last much longer so we are going to do it for as long as possible.
~I'm going to buckle down and do more on my points programs that involve surveys.  I know they can be a royal pain in the rear to do, but they do pay and every little bit helps.
~I'm planning on putting in a Fall garden.  I need to get out there and get some lettuce and spinach planted.  I am not putting in broccoli because the aphids are horrible right now.
~Our Summer Apple tree is giving us a bunch of apples right now.  I want to make applesauce and freeze it for future meals.
~We will try to hold off as long as we can to use our pellet stove this Fall to heat the house.  The stove will also be given a through cleaning before the heating season starts to make it more efficient.  Luckily we still have some leftover pellets from last heating season to start us off.
~Chris and Josh have their birthday coming up at the end of this month.  Josh will get his gift when he comes home at the end of September since it is breakable and I don't want to ship it through the mail, and I will be giving Chris some money towards a more breathable (and yet provides even better protection) police vest that is not as heavy as the one he is currently wearing. under his uniform each day.
~Jeff already got his big birthday present early so I will just get him something small for him on his actual birthday.
~Since I will start working here again soon, I will try to combine my errands with my work days since I will already be in town.  This should save on gas costs.
~With Fall coming soon, I will once again be making more soups which is also a huge money saver for us.  We usually have some for a few days and I also freeze some for future meals.

   Those are the plans for now and I am sure I will find even more ways to save. :)  Having a positive and can do attitude will help me win this budget battle I'm sure. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Touch of Fall is in the Air


   I love Fall.  I think it is my favorite time of the year.  The crisp and cool air in the morning and being able to sleep with the windows open to let the cooler night air in are so healing to me.  Glorious ever changing colors on the leaves is something that I look forward to each year.  It is always a time of really giving thanks to God above for the beauty that He has created for us all.  

   This morning I was given a wonderful gift with an early glimpse of Fall.  I knew last night when the air was much cooler than previous nights and I had to put on a long sleeved pajama gown that I was in for a treat this morning.  It was 48F when I got up around 6:30a.m. after some whining from Caesar to be let outside.  I wrapped myself up in a fuzzy robe, put on some nice warm house slippers and got the coffee going.  Once the coffee was made, I put in in a thermal cup, got the water going on the  gardens and the settled in on the back porch to enjoy said coffee.  

   A day like this just calls for a warm and comforting dinner does it not?  I pulled some cooked rice and some chicken and green chili tamales out of the freezer.  I'll make Mexican rice with the rice by just adding some tomatoes and seasonings to it.  We'll have a nice green salad with it it too.  It will be quick, easy and so yummy!

   Doofy cat followed me to the front door when I went out to do the watering and seemed very happy to see the sun streaming in through the glass in the storm door.  He is a cat that loves heat so I left the big front door open so that he could bask in the warmth coming through the storm door.  He is one very contented kitty right now.

  Caesar is also enjoying the cooler weather this morning.  He is happily walking around the back yard eating grass and raspberries, visiting with his doggy friends and taking breaks to lay down in the sun and catch a few zzzzzz's.  Oh the life of a spoiled dog!

   I'm debating with myself as to what to do today.  I think I will pick some Summer apples from our tree and if I have enough energy after that I may take Caesar for a short walk past the apple orchard here in town and see how the apples and pears are coming along there and look for any leaves that may be starting to turn colors with our much cooler nights.  That just sounds like a wonderful way to spend my day.