Friday, December 28, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/21-12/27/18

Family Fun Night basket that I made for Chris and Heather.  It has a Pampered Chef pizza stone, a game, movie, and the makings for S'mores.

   For most people Christmas has come and gone, but for us, we are S T R E T C H I N G it out and have one more big family gathering this weekend to go to.  😊  We are going easy with just doing appetizers (and plenty of them) instead of making a big meal.  I'm bringing a cheese, cracker and sausage plate along with jalapeno poppers (I got them on sale at Costco along with the Brie cheese) and calling it good. I'm looking forward to us all being together and not feeling rushed or exhausted.  This year I did not go shopping the day after Christmas hitting those sales.  I have so much here already and if I happen to see something that I need or I think would be a terrific gift that is still on clearance the next time we go into town, I might consider it, but I am not making a special trip in.  We have been abundantly blessed and I am trying to focus on being content and not wanting more.  Onto the frugal ways:


~Two of our favorite thrift stores had all their Christmas stuff for free on Saturday.  I was able to get ornaments, fun platters, christmas goodies bags, a glass angel and baskets all for free.
~We picked up some fun Elmo dvds for Steven, a chamois shift for Jeff, 3 books, gloves for the little boys and a shirt for me at the thrift stores.
~Jeff and I went on a date to our favorite funky coffee place on Saturday night. Jeff had coffee, I had hot mulled wine and we both had dinner.  It has become a Christmas tradition for us to do this and then go look at the lights in his hometown.
~I got in on some free samples, magazine subscriptions and my gift cards that I cashed in for at Swagbucks and Mypoints came in!
~Jeff and I have been watching some fun movies on Netflix.
~I made 15 loaves of cranberry orange bread to give as gifts (that did me in for days).
~I made up gift baskets for family and friends for Christmas.
~Jeff got the fence and gate he made from free wood up at Jaysn and Rachel's.
~We watched movies we borrowed from the library.
~More Chex Mix was made.
~We went and watched the little boys sing on Christmas Eve at their church.
~We also invited Jaysn, Rachel and Steven up for pie on Christmas Eve and Steven got to play in Grammie's big bathtub and then get dressed in his new Christmas jammies. I buy the grandkids new jammies every year for Christmas.

~I saved the gift bags from Christmas to use again next year.
~Wednesday I puttered around the house trying to get caught up on the cleaning including washing all the throws, vacuuming and cleaning the cat hair off the living room furniture.  I took lots and lots of breaks in between.
~Our hanai son Lee stopped by to see us before he headed home to Portland.  Made our day and filled my love tank.
~I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" on Youtube.
~I'm trying to work my points programs as much as I can.
~I made a big meatloaf and potato trio bake for dinner on Thursday night.  The meat was free venison from our son Chris and the potatoes were ones that I needed to use up before they went bad.  There was lots of leftover meatloaf for other meals.
~We are having a second big family Christmas this coming weekend.  Heather asked me if I had paper plates and napkins I could bring.  I went through my "party stash" and found plates and Christmas themed napkins. 
~It has been really cold here so we have been dressing in layers, even in the house, and wearing warm socks, house slippers and cuddling up under throws during the day.  At night I put an extra blanket on the bed since I turn down the heat to 60F when I sleep.
~With all the snow and cold temperatures, I have been staying home more and more.  Driving on icy roads causes a lot of anxiety for me.  It has been saving on the gas bill for my car. ;)
~I made a menu based mainly on what we have here on hand.
~We needed more supplements so I went through a link at Swagbucks to get 2 sb for each dollar spent, got free shipping and got a 12% discount after coupon.

   May you all be blessed and have prayers and wishes answered in the coming new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Frugal Friday(s) Wrap Up 12/21/18

    Hello All!  Oh my goodness, I have been struggling with Fibromyalgia pain and exhaustion.  So much so that I have spent days on end in bed.  When I do have some energy, we try to do things that need to be done like the shopping and than lands me back in bed or in my recliner yet again.  This Winter is proving to be a hard one on me.  I'm having to limit myself on what I do and I am absolutely chafing at the bit knowing that I am not able to make all the goodies that I usually make or even send out Christmas cards this year.  I am choosing to spend my precious and limited energy on my family and for me, that is what is best.

   Onto the savings:

~Jeff and I bought Steven the snow bibs he is wearing in the picture at the top of this post at the Goodwill that were priced at $7.99.  I had a 20% off coupon so I used that to bring the cost down further.  I found them on a rack that they just brought out thank goodness because all the snow bibs and jackets are selling out fast.  It snowed a few days later and Steven came up to sled and play in the snow at our house.  He was delighted!
~We've been watching lots of Christmas movies on Netflix and Youtube as well as some we have here on DVD.
~I decided to make life easier on myself and bought 2 huge boxes of frozen Jalapeno Poppers at Costco while they were on sale, along with some Brie cheese to used as Christmas appetizers.
~I pulled some frozen veggie cheese chowder out to the freezer and added some cream and ham to it.  We had that for dinner one night and Jeff proclaimed it delicious.

~I've been borrowing books and movies from the library and even donated a bunch of magazines that we had already read here at home.
~Walmart had an amazing deal on their Wild Mike's pizzas at $1 each so I bought 2 of them and cooked them up when Bradley and Isaiah spent the night last weekend.
~Bradley and Isaiah hot tubbed with Jeff.
~We also found marked down donuts at Walmart which caused much rejoicing between the little boys.
~Our cats needed a new scratching pad and I was able to find a Elf Ski Chalet double scratching pad originally from Target but donated to Goodwill for $7.99.  I again had a 20% off coupon for donating some items and used that to bring the cost down even further.  Doofy cat in particular loves it!

~Jeff has been wanting some new bowling shoes for years now.  His are 38 years old (yes, they were rebuilt once) and he really likes to have his own shoes so I bit the bullet and found some online for half the normal price.  Since they are "fancy" with different heal and sliding thingies on the soles, they were still a  tad over $200 on sale.  Hopefully these will last him for the rest of his life and he was totally excited to pick them out.  Merry Christmas Jeff! ;) 
~I found packaged of Italian sausages (5 to a package) for $1.50 after marked down coupons.  I bought 2 for us and 1 for Rachel and Jaysn.  I used one of the packs to make a nice penne pasta with sausage and cheese casserole.  This made 4 meals for Jeff and I.
~I also found fancy salad kits that retail for $4.99 marked down to .99 each at the Grocery Warehouse and picked up 2 of them.
~With the colder weather, I was craving a childhood favorite of chili and rice so I made some for dinner one night.

 ~Since I am not able to send out Christmas cards this year, I am saving on postage.
~I sent a package with gifts for my parents, middle brother and Josh and Lauren to my parent's place since Josh and Lauren will be there to celebrate Christmas this year.  Again, saving by combining the gifts into one box and saving on postage.
~Themed baskets are going to be the big gifts this year from us to our kids here, grandkids, cousin, Rachel's family and Heather's family.  I shop all year long and find great deals, along with getting lots of free things like art supplies, when I use coupons that are sent to me combined with amazing sales.  I have had to fill in around the edges a bit but we all agreed that this year no one was going to go overboard and we were going to keep it homemade or on the frugal side.
~My best thrift store score recently was a necklace priced at $2.99 at Goodwill.  It was really pretty and it looked to be of great quality.  Luckily I had my jeweler's loupe on me and found a tiny 14K marking on it.  Yes, 14K white gold!!!  A friend of our's works there and I showed it to him.  He said I scored big time and that things like that rarely slip through up in Spokane where they price most things.  I looked it up and similar necklaces are retailing at $700.  Oh My Goodness!!!

~My skin has been really sensitive lately and feels like it is burning, itching or has bugs crawling under it (all Fibromyalgia related) so I have needed to wear only the softest clothing.  I have found a few shirts and some Lularoe leggings at Goodwill that have been a Godsend.  I think I am set now to get through for awhile.
~I've been buying 2 bottles of my favorite winter flavored coffee creamer and freezing one of them each time I need more.  This way I have some to use in the cold months when they no longer carry it in the stores around here.
~My tracfone was about out of minutes so I bought a 60 minute card that triples on my phone and combined that with a code for 20 additional minutes along with not having to add minutes (unless needed) for another 6 months instead of 90 days.
~Other great thrift store finds have been brand new Land's End jammies for me, shirts and jeans for Jeff, 2 mugs at .99 eacc that match my Winterberry Christmas china (which was also thrifted years ago) and some really nice books.
~I talked with my sister in Tahiti via Facebook's phone thing.  I had not heard her voice in about 32 years.  Music to my ears!!!
~I cashed in at Swagbucks and Mypoints for $35 worth of Texas Roadhouse gift cards.  This is what Jeff wanted to do this round and we will used them in the future for a fun lunch out.
~I took the cashback option on our credit union's points program and had that direct deposited into our savings account there.

   There have been many more things that we have done but as usual, I forgot to write them down so here is what I do remember off the top of my head.  Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Good and Frugal Food!


Wonton, Napa Cabbage and Kamaboko soup.

   I thought I would share some of the more frugal and yummy meals and treats that I have been making here at home over the last few months.  Money is tight and I really do have so much food on hand that needs to be used in my freezers, refrigerator and pantry before it goes bad.  With the weather getting colder, I am also inside and home more since my body does not like the cold and changing weather at all.  On the days when I have the energy, I try to make us a nice and comforting meals.  These are just a few examples of what I have been cooking up in my kitchen with the ingredients that I have on hand.  Enjoy!

Fettuccine alfredo with chicken, spinach and red peppers.

Turkey pot pie with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, orange wedges and olives.

Pork Lo Mein with veggies.

Homemade split pea soup with ham.

Steamed dumplings (bought at Costco), homemade coleslaw, kim chee
and grapes.

Steamed dumplings, braised napa cabbage and some wine.

Garlic pork roast and baked and seasoned spicy sweet potatoes.

Homemade Scrapple served with a big salad.

Homemade scrapple and huckleberry pancakes.

Burgers, apple slices and mashed red potatoes with parsley from our garden.

Chicken breasts, stuffing and sauteed zucchini.

Baked squash and cheese casserole.
Vanilla ice cream topped with homemade huckleberry topping.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Into Every Life a Little Rain/Snow Must Fall

     I know that it is not officially Winter yet, but we have had some snow and I can feel the cold penetrating deep into my bones and muscles making me ache even more than my "normal".  This year it seems to be affecting me more than it has in the past.  I'm not sure why, but I am finding that I just cannot tolerate prolonged cold weather.  

   The corner of our couch next to the pellet stove has become my favorite place to sit all cuddled up under a warm fleece throw while I listen to Christmas carols with our cats keeping me company and providing me with a good "hand warmer" as I gently stroke their soft fur.  They provide me with so much comfort and help calm me when I am feeling defeated by my illness and at other times they just remind that life really does have so many beautiful moments and simple pleasures that we will miss out on if we don't take the time to just sit quietly and appreciate them.

   My energy levels have been low lately as I continue to process the traumas in my life that has lead me to this place that I am now health wise.  I find myself "crashing" more often and go back and forth between not being able to sleep well for days on end and then falling apart at the seams and not being able to stay awake and having to spend the day in bed dozing on and off.  Trying to still be there for my family has been my top priority and there are times when I cannot make that happen.  I am blessed that they do understand that I am doing everything that I can to try to be there for them, but sometimes I have to cancel out on plans as I did this weekend when I crashed.

   For now I will try and just cherish the times that I have been able to spend with them lately.  Sharing a big family Thanksgiving together our family combined with Rachel's side of the family, including cousins, being there when Steven had his surgery to have tubes put in his ears, being able to hug and kiss on my two oldest grandsons Bradley and Isaiah, calling and surprising my mom on her birthday, sharing a long hug with our Heather and Chris, and watching Steven enjoy sledding in our front yard with Jaysn and Rachel.  There have been phone calls with our Chris calling to check in and tell me about the progress on their new home, messages from our Josh, emails that have touched my heart from my mother, and visits from Rachel, Steven and Jaysn who are right here in town and stop by to see us often.  

   So yes, I have been taking time for me and stepping back from blogging while I work through things in my past and spend time with those I love most that are in my present.  I do hope at some point to get back to posting on a more regular basis, but for now, I will give myself a much needed break and not feel guilty for taking care of me.  Be blessed my friends and know that I really do appreciate each and every one of you and wish you all the most joyous holiday season. 😘



Monday, November 12, 2018

The Creeping Crud Caught Me and Catching Up

Zion National Park

    Last week the Creeping Crud (virus that is going around) caught me and has laid me up pretty good.  Today was the first day that I have been able to really leave the house in about a week.  We needed more groceries and I was looking for some cold weather snow bibs for Steven.  No snow bibs found but we did get some great marked down deals on meat and baked goods.  A few hours out of the house and I am now happy to be back home in comfy clothes sitting beside the warm pellet stove and listening to some calming music.  I am one worn out sick chic. 😉

   Before I go any further on this post, I would like to ask for your prayers, good thoughts and anything else you can do for the people in California that have lost their homes, livestock, pets and friends and family in the terrible fires.  The devastation is heartbreaking.  We have a family friend who lives in Paradise and he escaped with his life.  Within the last day or so found that his home is one of the few left standing and they say the only reason it was is because he had a large swatch of defendable cleared space around it.  The pictures of how close the fire and what all is charred shows a clear circle around his place.  David is one of the lucky ones.  Many others have lost everything and the loss of life, which is the hardest thing, continues to climb.  I am praying that our friend Bless, who is also a blogger down near the other big fire, is okay also.

   It has turned really cold here and that is affecting my Fibromyalgia and making me flare more often.  My body reacts to the cold by stiffening up big time and it can be quite painful.  The  weather patterns also get me every time.  I'm also experiencing new symptoms that can pop up with Fibro.  I am now up to 168 symptoms with the latest being feeling like you have bugs crawling on you.  YUCK!

   My mind is also slowly releasing bits of information about my past that I have kept locked away because they have just been too much and too painful for me to deal with.  I now understand why I have kept these things tucked away for so long.  If everything had come out all at once, I would have had a total mental breakdown I am sure.  It has brought back all those old feelings of insecurity, feeling unwanted, used, terrified and a hurt that is so deep that you can get pulled down into the depths of the whirlpool of despair if you do not have a loving support team around you as you process it all.  With each new morsel of information being released though it is like grieving for the childhood me and for the effect that it still has on my life today.  It is an exhausting and extremely painful process but one that is necessary and that I hope will help me to heal.  It really has helped me to realize why I am the way I am and why I have Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and OCD among other things.   I am praying that I can overcome many of the things that are going on with would be nice to not have to deal with so much all the time.

   Even in the midst of all of this there are still moments of great joy though.  I've been able to spend time with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven (who were also sick) and get lots of little boy cuddles, smiles, laughter and still feel very needed.  Jeff has been helping Chris and Heather build their home and apparently Isaiah could not get enough time with G-pa and wanted to be his helper this past weekend so he did.  That made Jeff so happy and filled his "love tank" to overflowing.  Evenings spent cuddled up under fleece throws usually find a purring cat (or two) on my lap at any given moment.  Lots of hearty meals have been enjoyed like homemade stew and split pea soup with ham followed by ice cream with homemade huckleberry topping.  I'm finally back to being able to make bread again for Jeff and I am enjoying that.  Some of my favorite Fall themed pictures have once again found themselves back up on the walls so I can enjoy them and the more Summery ones are put away until it is time to switch things out again.  It's funny how little things like that can mean so much to me, but they do.  I need to end this post now and try to convince Caesar that it is time to come in from the cold since the sun is getting lower in the sky and the temperature is dropping quickly.  Be blessed!





Friday, November 2, 2018

Still Recovering from Vacation and Some Frugal Doings

   It's a very blustery day here with gusting winds and I am so thankful to be inside where it is warm.  Even the fur babies are wanting to be inside for the most part.  I'm hoping things calm down earlier than when our high winds warning is set to expire because we need to go shopping this afternoon and high winds blowing my car around gives me anxiety.

   The high winds actually remind me of our lives lately.  I feel like we have been in a whirlwind of activity (good stuff really) and the wind has been knocking me around. ;)  I'm thankful for the cooler weather, the rain and even the wind because it is refreshing after all the heat, dust and even smoke from this Summer.  At the same time though, I want calm weather (physically and metaphorically) so that I can recover from all the wonderful activity and special times we shared with family recently.  Yes, I get worn out easily but it was so worth it! :)

   I spent the first part of this week on the couch for the most part napping on and off during the day.  Then came the insomnia once again.  Such is life with Fibromyalgia.  This used to frustrate me to no end, but I have come to accept that this is my "normal" and I just try to be flexible and not beat myself up over it.  I was starting to go a bit stir crazy though and so was Rachel, so she and I took a short trip into town the other day with Steven so that she could pick up some new jeans and get some "comfort food" from the Co-op.  I really enjoyed my time with both her and Steven and it was really good to get out for awhile.  I love having them still living here in town.

   Once again, I forgot to keep daily track of my frugal doings so I am going to do my best to try and remember some of what I did this week...wish me luck!

~made a pasta dish with free sausages, tomatoes and squash from the garden, some homemade tomato powder (from last year's abundant tomato crop) and some sale priced pasta from the pantry that ended up making 3 meals for Jeff and I
~divided up a packaged of reduced price thin cut pork chops into 2 meal sized portions and cooked up one of those portions and froze the other for a future meal
~made homemade pancakes and added huckleberries to them that needed to be used up from the freezer
~my parents did "Christmas" gifts from them when they were here on Saturday...Mom made Jeff a really nice and cozy bowling themed quilt, Dad gave us all wreaths and Mom gave me a Christmas wall hanging that she made along with some cozy pig socks and her old smart phone (she got a newer one and this is an upgrade for me too)
~my parents also treated us to dinner and lunch
~I received a coupon for $10 off at Staples which I will be using today to stock up on more toilet paper (I am a very practical person) ;)
~I found packages of new underwear in my size at Goodwill and bought 2 of them to replace some of mine that have seen better days and needed to be replaced
~Goodwill was also the recipient of 2 bags of donations from us and I gave my 20% off coupon that I received to Rachel to help offset the cost of something she was buying there
~I picked up some free produce from the "sharing" table here in town
~we have been enjoying watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" (we bought several seasons of it on dvd at Goodwill when they were half priced) at night when I can't sleep
~I uploaded some digital coupons onto my Safeway card and to my Winco account
~more syrup was made because we were running out
~I used some leftover mashed potatoes to make potato cheese soup with
~Jeff and I gave all the grandboys the superhero capes we bought them in Las Vegas and they had a wonderful time running around the park in them with their capes flying out behind them...some of the best entertainment for them and us ever :)
~I finally got my cold weather clothing all organized and into my dresser and sorted through things purging like mad along the way.  It made me realize just how many items of clothing that I have that I no longer wear and that could "go away" and that I really did not need much of anything more other than the new underwear I just bought
~Jeff stocked us up on the batteries that we use most often in our flashlights and remote controls while they were on sale
~Rachel and Jaysn's refrigerator and freezer is much smaller than the one they had at their old rental so they are storing some of their freezer items in our big freezer out in the garage
~I have been doing my best to try and use what we have on hand to make meals with...we did however order a chicken strip basket from the tavern to share on night for dinner earlier in the week when I was really struggling with my energy levels

   I know there has got to be more but at the moment I am drawing a complete blank.  I really do need to get back into the habit of writing things down daily.  Praying for a relaxing weekend for you all!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pushed that "Reset Button" and Doing Better Emotionally


   Sometimes we all need something big to happen to help us push that reset button and sometimes it is a series of smaller things that lead us to that moment.  I recently had both.  

   It is no secret that I have been struggling emotionally and physically for some time now.  I have been taking needed steps to try and get into a better place in both areas but was still having trouble "letting go" of an ongoing and very unhealthy extended family issue that has been taking a huge toll on all of us.  There was still a place in my heart that wondered if there was any hope that there would be a softening of hearts and accountability taken for hurtful personal choices made by others that have been made to cause great emotional pain to my husband, kids, grandkids and myself.  I learned within the past few weeks due to another incident that things are beyond hope and that the lies, "playing the victim and martyr", etc. are just getting worse by the ones causing the issues in the first place and that they are definitely not going to change.  Strangely, that has brought some relief because now my husband and I no longer play the "what if" game, as in what if his parents were hospitalized or on their deathbed, would he even be allowed to see them.  Now we know that we would be blocked from seeing one of them (and they would be told that we did not want to see them which is NOT true) and that the other one does not want to see my husband (and especially not me) at all and that, as usual, it is all my fault for even breathing.  Yep, apparently they are still using me as the scapegoat for all their bad personal choices in life.  It is interesting to me though that they exposed exactly what they are doing to the one person in my immediate family that they still had a relationship with and that person called them out on all of it.  It really hurt my husband to the core to find out what they were still saying and doing, but I think the not knowing if he would be allowed to ever see them and if he would be turned away on the spot hurt more than now knowing for sure that even if they were dying, we were not to be told anything.  It is just another way to drive that knife deeper into his heart and to again play the martyr on their end.  That is their choice and they have to live with the consequences of it.  There is nothing we can do to change things when the other party/parties, just use whatever they can to continue to try and cause pain to our family.  We refused to continue to stupidly "invest" and participate in the head games they were playing and that made them angry.  So yes, as hurtful as it is, we can now have some closure on that issue and hopefully put it all behind us.

   The other thing that happened that really helped was being able to totally get away for awhile and experience new things with no responsibilities whatsoever.  We just got back from a wonderful vacation in Las Vegas where our son Josh and his beautiful future bride Lauren generously hosted us.  We stayed at their home and were able to meet up with some of my childhood friends, were gifted a beautiful cd that my friend Gary and his family just recorded, had one of my hanai sons over for lunch, reconnected with one of my cousins, checked out another cousin's new restaurant, ate way too much good food, and got to explore both Red Rocks Canyon and Zion National Park.  Josh and Lauren built in days of rest for me in between our big outings, which I really appreciated, and allowed me to be able to do as much as we did.  Traveling there and back was difficult for me and caused me high levels of pain that even Hydrocodone was not touching, but it was so worth it!

   As much fun as we had, it was also wonderful to return home and be with our fur babies, see our Jaysn, Rachel and Steven waiting for us with open arms at the airport and to know that we will be seeing the rest of our family, including my parents who will be here visiting, in a few days.  We will be celebrating our oldest son's birthday too! 

   All of this has driven home the point more than ever that real family is based on the love and respect you have for one another even if you have differing opinions.  Our hanai (adopted by love) family is so important to us and mean the world to us also.  We have chosen to be "family" to one another and invested in those relationships and to be honest, I would be lost without them. 

   So here I am pushing that reset button while I putter around my home once more and being oh so thankful for for both the good and the bad that has led me to this moment in time.  It has given me clarity, peace of mind on some issues and a deep appreciation for real family and share experiences with them.  Yes, I am doing so much better emotionally now. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Just Popping In for an Update

   I'm sitting here on a cold Fall night with the pellet stove running beside me.  The warmth is going deep into my bones and I love that feeling.  I also have Doofy cat curled up in my lap enjoying that I am again wearing his favorite flannel nightgown.  The days have been beautiful with the changing colors of the trees and the nights have been cool and make sleeping (when I can get there) all the more comfortable.

   We've been apple picking and to the pumpkin patch with the grandboys and all had a wonderful time together.  They are growing up so quickly and this is a tradition that I hope we can continue for years to come. It was so much fun to watch all three of them pick out their pumpkins this year!  We also had a family dinner at my cousin Jeremy's new store and had a great time going through all the stuff he has there.  I am already planning some of my Christmas gift shopping. ;)  We still need to get a bunch of our furniture, books, and vintage linens and dishes over there for him to sell and I need to help him set up the table displays.

   The progress on Chris and Heather's new home has been amazing! It really warms my heart to see their dream coming true.  Family has been pitching in whenever they can to help get it up and dried in before the bad and wet weather hits.  I wish Jeff and I could do more to help, but time and health has not allowed that unfortunately.

   Jaysn and Rachel are finding they need more room for their family and we went apartment hunting today.  The first place we saw was not going to work at all but a dear friend happened to have a 2 bedroom apartment here in town that he is repainting right now and that turned out to be just the right place for them.  They are even going to be able to put up a temporary fence to keep Steven corralled in the backyard and Steven has made friends with some of the neighbor's cats already. :)  Rachel is happy because it also has an in unit washer and dryer that will make her life so much easier and will not have to haul all their laundry up here to our house to do it when the snow comes.  They will only be about 6 blocks away from us and will be down the street from the swimming pool so that will be great for them come this next Summer.

   We head out to see Josh and Lauren here in a little over a week now and Jeff and I both cannot wait!  We are so looking forward to spending time with them, seeing their new home, exploring Zion National Park and seeing old childhood friends of mine.  It will also be nice to lounge around and swim at their neighborhood pool. ;)

   As for not posting lately or visiting my friends in blogland, please know that it is not for lack of want but rather lack of energy, motivation and the like.  I have continued to struggle with my health and when I overdo it (as I did with the day with the grandkids mentioned above), my pain levels spike up even higher for days after that.  Those are not good days at all.  Weather changes affect me negatively too.  I'm also working through some things emotionally and that takes so much energy out of me.  My posting and visits will most likely continue to be spotty at best for awhile and I do hope you will bear with me.  I need to focus on my health and my family at the moment.  Hopefully things will get better here soon and I will be able to be back on a more regular schedule.  Until then, be blessed and Happy Fall!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up (The Scatterbrained Edition) 9/14/18

   I'm trying to get back into some kind of posting rhythm again and get back to doing a Frugal Friday Wrap Up post.  However, I have not been good about actually getting on the computer daily and making notes of what we have been doing frugality wise around here lately.  So......I am going to try to remember some of the things we have done over the past few weeks and share those here.

~We have been harvesting squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and blackberries from the garden.
~Since I caught Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and am unable to eat anything acidic, I have been freezing the blackberries to use later.
~Jeff grilled up 3 large elk steaks that I marinated overnight.  I cooked up some beans that Rachel's mom sent up and also made a 4 grain side dish that was delicious (it was a mix I picked up at the Grocery Outlet)
~Jeff and I have had some great luck at the thrift stores lately.  We bought a jacket for Steven for .25, shoes for me at $2, lots of books, a talking Elmo doll, some pants for Jeff and wait for it....a Berkey Water Filter system for $8!  It came with the filters and everything.  That is something that I have had on my wish list for years and years!
~Jeff had been fixing up a second bike for Isaiah to ride here.  He found some pedals that he needed at the thrift store.
~We had been talking about getting a area rug for the living room for the colder months to make it more comfortable for everyone.  Jeff found one for $20 on sale at Walmart. Yay!!!
~I have been trying to have us eat mainly out of our pantry and freezers and only buying fresh produce, some baked goods and dairy products for the most part.
~We have been watching shows online and on Netflix and YouTube.
~Since the weather has gotten so much cooler, I am back to enjoying a cup of herbal tea at night or in the afternoon.  It warms me up, soothes me and helps me to stay hydrated.
~I have pulled out the Fall throws and blankets to cuddle up under in the living room.
~My leave in hair conditioner was almost empty so I mixed up a new batch using a sample packet that came in the mail via PinchMe along with some warm water.
~I was able to get some free mayonnaise with a coupon I recieved.
~Winco recently had coupons in one of the local college newspapers that allowed me to get some terrific deals.
~Bradley and Isaiah got a lesson in how to lay bricks to build a strong wall from Jeff while they were here one day.  They love building anything and the pile of bricks proved irresistible to them.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sidelined Again...UGH!

   Well the plan was to come back to blogging on a regular basis and go and visit my friends "homes" here in blogland, really it was.  However, as life often does, it sidelined me once again.  In addition to my "normal" health struggles and issues, I am now dealing with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  My youngest grandson Steven got it, then his Mommy Rachel got it from him and now it seems, it is my turn.

   My symptoms are mainly centered in my mouth.  I have blisters and sores on my tongue and all around the inside of my mouth.  It makes eating and drinking most anything difficult at the moment.  I just finished a cup of coffee with creamer in it and that hurt.  However, if I don't have my coffee, we will be dealing with a whole other problem of caffeine withdrawals and nobody wants to be around me if that happens. 😉  I do also have a few spots on the rest of my body also.

   In order to try and keep my hubby from getting this too we have taken measures to try and stop the spread of it.  In addition to frequent handwashing, I am sleeping in a different bedroom than he is at the moment.  We also threw away his toothbrush and got him out a new one, got a seperate water glass and even a new tube of toothpaste for him.  He is keeping his stuff in the guest bathroom, way away from mine.  I'm not cooking much this week because I am afraid of my germs getting onto the food...well that an my energy level is nilch at the moment.  With that said, my hiatus from blogland my be a bit longer than I had planned.  For now I am going to go and lay down for awhile.  My brain is way foggier than my normal everyday fog and I have a bad headache.  Praying that no one else ends up with is no fun!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thank You All and an Update

   I want to start this off by telling you all how much I appreciate the sweet comments and thoughts that you have left me here on the blog and via email.  All of them have touched my heart so deeply.  I'm still needing to respond personally to each one and I hope to be able to do that tomorrow. :)

   I have taken some time to really reflect on things and focus on my family.  Both of my oldest grandsons ended up with a nasty flu like virus and then the baby ended up with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  Now my sweet Rachel has the same virus the older grandsons had.  I have been trying to help out where and when I can and the baby has been spending time up here or I have been going down there to play with him since he can't be around many people until he is over this.  I was able to spend some quality time with the older two grandsons too and that was wonderful!

   Chris and Josh turned 29 on Friday and Jeff celebrated birthday # 59 on Monday.  We celebrated by going bowling with Chris, Heather, Bradley and Isaiah (they were finally feeling better), and had dinner with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven up here at the house the next day.  Steven is still sick and we are trying to keep the grandboys away from each other so they don't keep passing things back and forth.  Josh also paid for Jeff to go golfing on Monday.

   Jeff has been helping Chris build his home whenever he has a spare moment.  This past week he was unable to help much but spent Saturday morning and Sunday morning helping him.  Now they are just waiting for the trusses to come in so they can get those set.

   Saturday I found out that a friend passed away the day before.  I have known both Greg and Linda since I first started college and even dated Greg's brother for awhile.  Greg and Linda wished their oldest son John a Happy Birthday earlier in the morning and a few hours later Greg had a heart attack and passed away.  Linda and I were really close in college and I attended her and Greg's wedding and was thrilled to see two people I loved get married.  The last time we saw Greg and Linda in person was about 2 years ago when we had dinner together when they were up visiting one of the kids in college and Greg was saying how he was counting down the last 6 years before he could retire from teaching.  Both he and Linda are amazing teachers.  It breaks my heart that he never got to have that chance to enjoy retirement and that Linda has lost the love of her life and her best friend.  I feel so bad for their kids, especially John, who lost his father on his birthday, and the grandkids.  I also know that his brother Jeff is having a really hard time too with all of this.  They were very close.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

   I was able to finally spend some time with my hanai sister Shannon today and to say that I have missed her is a huge understatement.  Since we got rid of the landline phone and our cell phone reception is spotty, we have not been able to have our normal phone calls.  It was so good to share hugs, pick some cherry tomatoes from our garden and just be able to get caught up with each other again.

   Jeff and I ran into another friend over the weekend that I had not seen in ages.  She also has Fibromyalgia and shared with me that she is taking Methyl Vitamin B 12 at 2,500 mcg dose daily and it has really helped with her pain.  I've read some studies that support this.  I am not a doctor and am not I offering medical advice.  I'm just passing along information and you need to do your own research and consult your own doctor.  As so often happens with Fibromyalgia, CFS and other chronic invisible illnesses, what works for one person may not work for another.  I am trying it and am really hoping it helps. I am also hoping that if it reduces pain levels, that will allow me to sleep better.  I'm still struggling with that even with the medications that I am on. 

   Life has been busy for us lately with lots of things going on and will continue to be this way for awhile with helping with the building of Chris and Heather's new home (not that I can help much with that but I can provide food and help take care of the grandkids while Jeff helps with the actual construction), the opening of my cousin's new store and sourcing things for that, and trying to get the house and yard ready for the much anticipated and appreciated colder weather.  It is already cooling down at night into the 40's and we even hit 38F one night.  The leaves are starting to turn on the bushes and trees around here and the apple orchard opens up tomorrow for picking.  Fall is here a bit early and I am loving that!  Life is starting to look a bit brighter again. 😊









Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Depression and Anxiety are Ugly Things


   I know that I have not been posting on my blog or even reading and commenting on friends blogs lately and I feel like I need to explain why.  It's not that I don't want to visit and comment but I just don't have the energy to do so.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and my OCD has been ramping up, I'm not sleeping well at all and am up most of the night and it is taking most of my energy to just hold it together at times.  I do have happy times between these down times and my family has been wonderful about being there for me and understanding that I am not choosing to feel this is just happening and I wish it would stop.

   Last week it finally got to the point where I called my doctor's office in the middle of a panic attack and they were able to get me in within a few hours.  They are wonderful!  There was a new nurse there and she told me my blood pressure was a bit on the high side.  I told her that was because my anxiety was really high.  She told me that you could not tell by looking at me.  I told her that I had gotten good at hiding it on the outside but was shaking on the inside.  Later I realized that is what I had been trained to do from a very young age.  I have survived through the years by faking calm when I am falling apart, scared and feel like a caged animal that needs to escape danger.

   My compassionate doctor, who has been a huge blessing to me, and I talked about what was going on and came up with a new plan to help me.  My anti anxiety medications are being adjusted, I have something to help me sleep (that is not working so far), will be getting some counseling to help me deal with the grief that comes with the loss of who I used to be and who I am now and I have a disabled parking placard to help me since walking can be painful and very tiring a good majority of the time.  I think the thing that helped me the most though was my doctor looking me straight in the eyes and saying "This is not all in your head, what you are feeling is real and you are not alone. There are a lot of other people who have this (Fibromyalgia) out there and are going through the same things you are."  He validated the fact that this syndrome is real and is multifaceted with so many painful things going on physically, emotionally and is totally draining and exhausting.  The depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are just a few of the many symptoms that can come with this but honestly, they are some of the most challenging to deal with.  Well that and the "brain fog" that frustrates me to no end.  That makes it hard to focus and concentrate on anything and leads to more anxiety and depression and I also believe contributes to the OCD at times.

   Living with the uncertainty of IF and WHEN you will get to sleep (last night I was awake until 5 this morning when I finally was able to sleep and here it is closing in on 2 a.m. now and I am still wide awake even though I am exhausted), what your pain levels will be like, if you will be able to walk without holding onto the walls or if you are out shopping if your legs, arms, and back will hold out until you are done is scary.  It's not being able to get the words out or even find them in your cloudy mind.  It's fighting back tears and pretending that everything is ok when people ask how you are doing because you don't want to let them down or let them see your pain and struggle.  It's the confusion of having a manageable pain day one moment where you can do a load of laundry and the next being in horrible pain and having to sit or lay down trying to find some relief because regular OTC pain meds don't do a thing to help.  It's unpredictable and it hurts to have to cancel plans with friends and family because of it and know that I am letting them down. It is also knowing that at this point, there is no cure for this thing and that I may have to live the rest of my life like this.  And, it's the added financial burden for more meds, counseling costs, etc. and me not being able to work to help pay for all of it.  That is a lot to deal with.

   I'm sharing this because I need to get it out there.  I'm not asking for sympathy, just understanding.  I'm struggling at the moment and I hope that my sharing this will also help someone else who may also be struggling so that they too know that they are not alone.  So please understand that if I don't always respond to comments, blog, read and comment on friend's blogs, it is not because I don't want's because I just don't have the energy, can't focus or am putting everything I have into trying to just survive at the moment.  I'm working on areas that I can to feel better and I hope to be back to being more upbeat and cheerful and at least regaining that part of my life  soon.  Thank you for understanding and God bless.





Sunday, August 19, 2018

Frugal Food Lately

Grapes washed and stems cut to make for easy snacking.

   I'm not going to have a Frugal Friday post this week because I forgot to keep track of things.  However, I thought I would share some of the frugal meals and food that we have had lately.

   We start off with me cooking up about 2 pounds of elk burger into taco seasoned meat.  This is what I did with it.


Taco salad made with .50 sale priced bagged salad, tomatoes from the garden, taco meat, crushed tortilla chips and Thousand Island dressing.

Burritos with taco meat and cheese, Mexican rice made with tomato powder from our tomatoes last year and served with watermelon and blueberries.

Taco meat and cheese served over the leftover rice served with a side of grapes.

The last of the taco meat and rice layered between 3 huge soft flour tortilla and a homemade enchilada sauce made with tomato sauce and cream cheese poured over it all and baked in the oven.  I served it with more of the sale priced bagged salad with craisins, Feta and a lime vinaigrette dressing.

Next up are a few more meals that I made this week. 

Squash from the garden sauteed with shrimp.

Mashed red potatoes with parsley from the garden, tomatoes from the garden, marinated elk steaks and onion rings.

Zucchini with parmesan cheese and sausages. 

Baked chicken and potatoes.

And lastly something sweet...

Three loaves of banana bread made from overripe bananas.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/4-8/10 2018

   Sorry that this is not a very good post and is lacking pictures but to be totally honest, the heat, smoky air and changes in air pressure have really been taking a huge toll on me.  I'm having trouble forming complete thoughts, nevermind getting them onto the screen here.  I'm also hypersensitive to everything at the moment and in lots of pain with nausea coming because of that. I'm also having nightmares again.  Until the weather gets better and the skies are cleared out of the smoke, I fear I will continue to be like this. I'm just fatigued, sore, frustrated and am still trying to put a smile on my face and remain as positive as I can be.  I really want to be positive and happy and am trying my best to be that way despite all that is going on with me right now.  Onto the savings...

~The town wide yard sales were not as plentiful this year but I still managed to get some nice things for dirt cheap.  Jeff's best deal of the day was a bicycle for $1 that he is going to fix up for Isaiah (we have everything we need here already to do so) and mine was a pair of sterling silver turquoise and coral Native American made earrings for .10, yes ten cents!  They were mixed in with a bunch of cheap costume jewelry so I am assuming that is why they were still there and no one had found them for hours before I got to the sale.
~The company Jeff works for throws an employee appreciation party each year.  This is the second year in a row that they have held it at a waterpark and told the employees to bring their families.  Also this year they booked it for 4 hours and brought in pizza for everyone.  It was so much fun and our kids and grandkids really enjoyed themselves!
~We stopped at the Grocery Outlet store in Lewiston Idaho before heading home from the water park and found some wonderful deals there.  We got Nutrigrain blueberry granola bars for 2 boxes for .97 (gave one of them to Rachel for Steven who polished off 2 of the bars in the box before they even left our house), chocolate chip cookie dough for $1.47 with a B1G1F deal, and found several other great deals also.
~I was able to get in on some of the higher value encraves at Swagbucks and cashed on on Sunday for another $25 gift card for Walmart.  I took advantage of the discounted price and also got a 100 sbs rebate.
~Three loaves of banana bread were made and then I baked up a pan of sweet potato wedges since the oven was already hot.
~I sent one of the loaves of banana bread home with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven when they came by for a visit.
~We hung the towels and bathing suits out to dry after washing them.
~Jeff built a new shelving unit with some wood he had here on hand and attached it to the side of our entertainment center (which he also built) to house more of our dvds and cds.
~Dinner was clam chowder for me and oatmeal for my hubby.  I had no more energy and neither did he.
~Rachel harvested and enjoyed some tomatoes from our garden. That makes me happy!
~Monday Jeff and I gave each other haircuts.  We were overdue for them and with the heat climbing into the triple digits, it was time to get it done!
~I made some cold tuna pasta salad and the fur babies got some of the tuna water from the cans.
~The Summer apple tree did not do as well this year fruit wise, but I was still able to get some apples off of it to make either fried apples or applesauce with.
~Since I know it will be too hot to cook for the next few upcoming days, I took some frozen turkey lunch meat out of the freezer along with some chicken thighs.  The turkey lunch meat will be used to make sandwiches and the chicken will be dinner Monday night and also again later in the week.  I'll bake some potatoes, sliced up under the chicken too as part of our meal and enough for several other meals also.
~The laundry was hung out on the line to dry.
~Jeff got the plants in the front garden all mulched to help hold in the moisture in the soil since we are going to be in the triple digits temperature wise.  He got the mulch for free.
~I watered all the garden beds, trees and flower beds in the back of the house in the evening.  I forgot to do the front flower beds so I will have to get those tomorrow.  I did remember to water all the potted plants though.
~Tuesday it was hot so I stayed inside the house for the most part and worked on my points programs.  Rachel brought Steven up for awhile.  He got shots yesterday and was a bit fussy.  He likes coming up here to play where it is cooler and he has more room to run around.  We got out a big bowl and filled it with water for him to splash in...he loved it!
~Dinner was turkey sandwiches since it was too hot to cook.
~I found the link for the recipes from the cookbook "Good and Cheap"  It has some really good recipes there and you can download the cookbook for free also.
~Before I went to bed, I ran Jeff's work laundry through the washer so it would be ready to hang out in the morning when I got up.
~Our salt container from the store broke so I recycled a baby's puffs treat container to hold the salt.
~Wednesday I needed to head in to Pullman and pick up a prescription at Walmart.  My prescription cost jumped up under the new health insurance which ticked me off a bit.  While I was there I looked in their clearance areas and found a black swim skirt (I needed another one), 2 shirts ($4 and $5 each) and 2 pajamas ($4 and $5 each).  I also picked up some marked down corned beef from the deli along with a marked down chicken bacon ranch sandwich for Jeff, a watermelon and some bananas.
~Safeway had a surprise special of prepackaged salads marked down to .50 a bag.  I bought a bunch of them and gave some to Rachel and Jaysn also.  We will be eating lots of salad over the course of a week and I am good with that.  I love salads when it is hot outside.  Some other great deals that I scored were cooked shrimp and hummus at half price, mayo at half price and a large container of blueberries for $2.99.
~My best scores of the day came from the thrift store.  I stopped in to see if I could find some more shirts for Steven since he is outgrowing everything.  They had a .25 sale on all blue tagged clothing items.  I was able to find 5 shirts for him, 1 for Jeff, a shirt to resell (Nanette Lapore brand) and a pair of denim skinny cut jeans for me...all for .25 each.  I also found a birthday gift for Chris, 2 cookbooks, a Disney drawing book for the little boys and a Chicago Cutlery knife.
 ~Jeff's laundry was hung out on the line to dry.
~I watered the gardens in the evening.
~The mail brought a free Country living magazine, coupons, including one for a free item, from Bath and Body Works, and a box from Pinch Me that had a hair mask and some Starbucks coffee K cups in it.
~I watched a presentation by a doctor who specializes in Fibromyalgia treatment and learned a few new things.
~Thursday was a blazing hot day so I spent most of the day inside.  I had the swamp cooler running overnight to get as much cool air into the house as possible.  Jeff shut it off when he got home at 6 a.m. since it was already starting to get hot outside.  I turned it on again later in the day when it got hot in the house again in the afternoon.
~I used my Instant Pot to cook up 2 artichokes.
~Dinner was leftover oven baked chicken, potatoes and a salad.
~My encraves were finally back at Swagbucks, so I ran them in the background while I got other things done on and off my computer.
~We invited Jaysn, Rachel and Steven to come up this afternoon to cool off in our home and also have some watermelon and cantaloupe. :)  It was nice to visit with them and laugh at Steven's antics.
~After they left, Jeff and I used our hot tub (unheated) to cool off in even more.  I needed to cool my inner core down and that worked well.

  I hope you had a good week. :)