Friday, May 31, 2019

Fading Away


    I try to post a Frugal Friday Wrap Up post but this week there won't be one.  There are more important things that have taken precedence this week and that has been my focus.  

   Our sweet Heather had surgery this week and the recovery is harder on her than expected.  Chris took time off to be with her and her mother has also been there as much as she can be.  Her church and friends started a meal train for the family and that has been a huge blessing.  I had offered to take the little boys but they already had it covered.  They did however come and spend some time with Jeff and I yesterday much to the delight of Steven who was also coming out with Rachel.  It was wonderful to see Bradley, Isaiah and Steven all enjoying each other's company.

   Over the holiday weekend, Aunt Norma (our neighbor) fell and hit her head.  She had a pretty bad deep brain bleed and was in the hospital for part of the week.  Upon release from the hospital, Uncle Bob made the decision to bring her home to take care of her instead of having her go to a medical rehab center to have strangers caring for her.  He thought she would be happier at home.  Sadly he has found that he cannot meet her many needs at this point and they are now working on getting her into a rehab center.  

   Aunt Norma has dementia and she is fading away from us all.  This fall has taken a huge toll on her and she has decided that she does not want to fight anymore and wants to go home to the Lord.  I spent time with her yesterday and had Chris come over also because he is like a grandson to them and they share a very deep bond.  We took all the grandbabies over so that Norma could see them and to also cheer up Uncle Bob.  Yesterday she could still say a few words but from what I understand, that is not the case today.  I really feel like she is just ready to escape the body and mind that is holding her captive and be free from the bonds of this illness and pain she is in once and for all.  

   Uncle Bob and I had a long talk about that yesterday and I explained that it is not that she wants to leave him, she loves him, but that she is just tired of fighting this health battle and wants to go home.  He loves her with every fiber of his being...she is his entire world.  They have been married since she was 16 years old.  Even through this horrible illness, she still would look at Bob with that deep love in her eyes and smile at him.  She would tell us stories of their life together.  Now that light is gone after this fall.  She just does not have the strength or ability to do anything at the moment and it is heartbreaking.

   After Jeff gets up later this afternoon, we will go over and visit with them again and see if there is anything we can do to help.  I would love for Uncle Bob to be able to get a break, even just going downtown for coffee, but he refuses to leave her side and I totally understand that.  He is so afraid of losing her and it is just killing him to see her fading away. 😢  My heart is breaking for him and for her and the rest of their family. 

   May I ask a favor?  If you could keep them all in your prayers, thoughts, etc. I would greatly appreciate it.  They are our hanai family and we love them deeply.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

My Home, My Sanctuary

   As I was wandering around my garden today after a very busy and long weekend, I was overcome with a feeling of profound gratitude and contentment.  I looked around at our home and gardens and realized that I am surrounded by beauty and that my husband, children and I have created a sanctuary here where love abounds and that our gardens and home are a reflection of our lives thus far.

   Over the years, we have added to our gardens through generous gifts from friends and family who have given us flowers and plants from their own gardens.  We have also bought some plants and are now gifting others with new plants and starts from our gardens so they can expand their own.  It is wonderful to look around and remember who gave us what and the joy they had in sharing with us and the continual joy those plants bring to us.

   Over the years we have added fruit trees, like the pear tree above, raspberry bushes, blackberry bushes, blueberry bushes, strawberries and rhubarb.  We also added an Arctic Kiwi that has done nothing but produce a vine until this year where it looks like we might be getting some flowers on it.  Praying that this is the year for kiwi!

   Our garden nourishes us through the fruits, herbs and veggies we grow, but also through the beautiful flowers that feed my soul.  I need to be surrounded with beauty because it really does delight me.  As I look at God's amazing handiwork with the varieties of plants He has given to us, I am so very thankful.

   Have you ever deeply breathed in the perfume from an iris?  It is absolutely intoxicating.  I have several varieties here and I treasure them all.  Some were gifts from others, and some were gifts I gave myself.   I would rather have a plant that cut flowers because they come back year after year to bless me over and over again.

   This year our Columbine were very prolific and out of a few plants, we now have many.  The colors have cross pollinated and every year it is a surprise to see what colors we will have.  They will grow just about everywhere, including in front of the steps to get up to our hot tub.  Jeff dug those out and we gifted them to my mother, another huge fan of these beautiful and delicate flowers.  We also sent her home with more thornless raspberry starts.


I am surrounded by all this beauty.  It makes my heart sing and it just makes me so thankful to be alive and to have this place to call home and share with my friends and family.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Yes, I Post A Lot of Food Pictures

    After doing my last Frugal Friday Wrap Up post, I realized that I do post a lot of food pictures.  It made me think about my reasons for doing so and here they are in no particular order:

~This is an area where I can be creative in.  I love making nice meals for our family and using up what we have on hand.  I'm good at it, if I do say so myself, and it is also one of the few things that makes me feel accomplished and "normal" while dealing with this horrible monster called Fibromyalgia that limits me in so many other areas of my life.
~I frequently forget what I have made in the past and looking back on the pictures reminds me of those good meals so I can make them again.
~It is one of the areas that I can be most frugal in, thus being a huge part of my Frugal Friday Wrap Up posts and in controlling our budget.
~Making delicious and frugal meals is one of the ways that I show my love and appreciation for my family and friends.  On a daily basis, my hubby works so hard for us both at his job and here at home.  I want to give him nourishing and nice meals to show him how much I do love him and appreciate everything he does for us.  He is very appreciative of the meals I make and honestly, it helps soften the blow when I can't cook. ;)
~I like to share our meals in hopes of inspiring others.  I know that I appreciate seeing what other people are making and eating because it gives me new ideas for meals here at our home.  So thank you to all who do post pictures of your meals also!😘

Here are just a few of our favorites over the years:

Pepper Steaks, Wild Rice and Radishes

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Loaded Udon Noodle Soup

Banana Bread

Twice Baked and Stuffed Potatoes

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Garlic Chicken Pizza

Shrimp, Squash and Cauliflower Stir Fry

Ham and Cheese Calzones

Tuna Pasta Salad

Our favorite Pasta Salad made with Mini Cheese Raviolis instead of regular pasta noodles this time

Taco Salad

Dairy Free Ham and Potato Chowder

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Ravioli and Asparagus

Homemade Croutons


Homemade Bread and Biscuits

   I hope this gives you some ideas!

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/17-5/23 2019



Midgy keeping me company while I snuggle under a colorful and cheery quilt that my mom made.
   Here we are at the end of another frugal week.  Not going to lie, it has been a rollercoaster of one for me.  I had lots of energy on Sunday and overdid it which sent me into a horrible flare that I am still in.  😞  It has been a long time since I have had a Fibro flare that has lasted this long, so for that, I really do need to be grateful.  I do think it was the perfect storm so to speak though.  I am grieving several losses in my life lately and the weather is strange with constant changes, which also causes me to flare.  My parents are coming for a visit for the long holiday weekend and are staying in a hotel and as much as I love having them stay here with us, this time it is making things easier because I did not have to get the guest bedrooms ready, do a bunch of baking and menu planning. There is also the added bonus of having a swimming pool at the hotel for the grandkids to go swimming in. 😉 Now onto my frugal doings for the week...


~Stayed home and worked my points programs.
~Tamales, rice and salad for dinner.  Tamales were ones I had gotten on sale in a family pack and split into 5 meal sized portions.  Rice was free and was seasoned with some spices and some tomato powder that I made from our tomatoes from the garden previously.
~I watched the movie "Goodbye Charlie" on YouTube.  I love classic old movies and this one had Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis in it.

~It was May Day in our little town so we went down to the park and visited with everyone.  We did not buy food there but instead came home and had lunch here.
~Jeff and I watched the movie "Crocodile Dundee 2" that he found on our previous trip out of town.
~We also used our hot tub and really enjoyed a long soak in it.

~Busy day out in the garden for us both since the weather was good.  Lots of weeding got done.
~Jeff repurposed the fence and gate he had built for keeping Steven in the yard at their old apartment (which we had to remove when they left) to put around my newly expanded blackberry patch.  I now have a nice gate to get in and out of the patch and do not have to climb over a fence and possibly injure myself again like I did last year. ;)
~A friend made a surprise visit and I sent her home with some mint plants from our garden.
~I had some tortillas that needed to be used up and had not made any bread yet so I made chicken salad sandwich wraps with those.  I added some coleslaw cabbage mix to the wraps for some added nutrients and crunch.  I was surprised that Jeff like it so much.  Good to know for next time!
~I cooked 2 pork loins that I had got on sale in the crockpot, shredded those and added BBQ sauce to it.  It made lots of it!  We had some on buns, along with some carrot sticks for dinner.  I had cut up multiple carrots so we would have some leftover for snacking on or with meals within the next few days.
~Our sheets were washed and hung out on the line to dry.  I love the smell and feel of line dried sheets.
~We needed more pancake mix so I stirred up another batch of it.  It is so handy to have this ready to just add the wet ingredients to.

~I found some clematis plants clearanced at Walmart for $2.69 each.  I had been looking for 2 more at a good price and this was even better than I could have hoped for.
~We also found a few more marked down grocery items there.
~We made sandwiches for lunch and then I took a 4 hours nap.  I was exhausted.
~Dinner was a grab what you want kind of deal.
~I cooked up 3 artichokes in the Instant Pot and had one of those for dinner. I will have the other 2 late in the week.
~I found the movie "The Five Little Peppers" on YouTube and watched that.

~I made a batch of pancakes with some of our homemade mix.
~It was a stay at home day and was much needed.
~Still flaring so I worked on my points programs and got all the laundry folded.
~Jeff worked out in the garden and got the big tomato plant in while I planted the clematis.  He then worked on getting the composted manure worked into the soil in the front garden bed and then moved onto the side garden where he transplanted all the volunteer sunflowers into one area.
~Jeff finished off the rest of the pancakes that I made on Tuesday.

~I borrowed 3 dvds and 1 book from the library.  I also donated some magazines to them.
~Walmart had 2 prescriptions ready for me so we headed into town to get those and pick up some more sale priced manure/compost for the side garden.
~We stopped at the thrift store and found a beautiful painting, some cds and 2 kitchen items.  We ended up getting the painting, which was marked at $19.98 for free since I had a customer loyalty card filled up and that gave me $20 to spend in the store for free.  I had a "gut feeling" about the painting and looked up the artist and found that his works start at about $200 for the smaller ones and go up from there.  Mine is pretty large!
~I again worked my points programs while sitting in my recliner.  I am still in a flare and the trip into town just did me in.

~I got my leggings and all the napkins washed and hung them out on the line to dry.
~Jeff stripped the leaves off the kale plants that were bolting for me. I washed and froze them to use in soup.
~I used my Vidalia Onion Chopper to cut up potatoes into French Fries.  It worked really well and saved me time and kept my hands from cramping up.
~I cooked the garlic fries on a sheet pan along with some fish fillets for dinner.
~Upon searching the freezer, I found that one of my plastic containers of chili cracked so I thawed it out and put it in another container to eat later this week.
~I froze some leftovers to use for future meals.
~Because we eat dinner so early, and because that is frequently my first meal of the day, I get hungry later at night.  Luckily I had two more cooked artichokes so I had one of them cold with some mayo.  Yum!

   I hope you all have a safe weekend and please reach out to those who may be hurting who have lost loved ones since this is a weekend of remembrance for those who have served our country and are no longer with us.  It may also trigger those same feelings for anyone who has lost a loved one who has not served in the military.  Be blessed.

Friday, May 17, 2019

A Rather Random Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/9-5/16 2019

Bradley, Steven and Isaiah

This is going to be a rather random Frugal Friday Wrap Up because:

a. I totally spaced keeping track of things
b. I've been in a major Fibro Flare
c. I lost my "mojo"

Over the weekend, Jaysn and Rachel moved into a bigger town closer to both of their jobs and their church.  We had Steven for a portion of both those days and our older grandboys, Bradley and Isaiah, surprised us with a visit while Heather helped with the move.  I cannot tell you how happy it made Jeff and I to have all of them here and watch the sheer delight they all had being able to be together.  We got out the bicycles and the tricycle that we have here for them and they played on those and chased each other all over the yard.  They also spent a lot of time giving each other big bear hugs.  They really love each other and it just makes my heart sing to see them all together.  I hope they always remain this close.

Steven and G-pa

Steven helped G-pa in the garden on Sunday.  Jeff was pulling up weeds and then breaking up the dirt clods so that I could replant the area the Caesar dug up.  Steven was really good and breaking up the dirt clods and loved getting super dirty. ;)  He was rewarded with a nice snack of strawberries when he finished his big job.  Start them young!

My Mother's Day gift that Jeff made me.

Jeff finished building me a cornhole game that I asked for as my Mother's Day gift.  He even customised it, much to my delight.  It is something that the whole family can play together and will provide years of enjoyment for all of us.  Jeff used wood and paint that we had here on hand.  I love it!

Dinner one night.

Now for the rest of the random frugal doings that I can remember. ;)
~I made meals with things we had on hand that we bought at great deals (marked down, loss leaders, etc. and some we frozen or put in the pantry for latter use).
~A pitcher of green iced tea was made with 3 tea bags from a package of 100 that I got at the Dollar Tree.
~We bought lots of marked down meats, cheeses, bakery goods, etc. and froze most of them.  With the college students gone we find the best deals since the stores here tend to over order products and then drastically reduce them.
~We needed some more plants and aged manure for the gardens.  We found a great deal on the bags of manure at Walmart and then I also picked out the pots of plants that had multiple plants (instead of just one plant) in each one.
~We had some bad weather at the end of the week so Jeff used some of our empty pellet bags to put over the smaller tomato plants that we had already got into the ground to protect them from the wind and hail.
~While in town shopping, we realized that we had not had breakfast or lunch, so we picked up a reduced foot long sub sandwich from Walmart and split that.  Lunch for under $4 for 2 people is not a bad deal in my book.
~I worked my points programs and did quite well on those.
~I watched my "trash TV" online.
~I set out buckets to collect the rain water to use to water plants when the rain stops.
~More YouTube videos were watched on money saving and learning new skills.
~When the weather cooled down and got rainy, we did not use the pellet stove but instead just dressed warmer and cuddle up under blankets.  Of course our "portable furry lap warmers" were right there with us purring away and enjoying cuddling with us too.

So that is about it for this week.  Yes, there is most likely is more but even Jeff can't remember at the moment.  Sometimes I think my "Swiss Cheese Brain" is starting for affect him also.  LOL!  They say the longer you are together, the more alike you become.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/3-5/9 2019



Chicken Cordon Bleu, rice and salad.
I'm late again on posting.  Rachel and Jaysn moved this past weekend and we have been helping watch Steven for them while they are busy.  We've enjoyed every moment but the Grammie has been exhausted when he leaves. ;)  I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day!

Hubby BBQed burgers and sweet potatoes.

~I hung 2 loads of laundry out on the line to dry.
~Rachel's cousin Doug had come for a 2 night visit with them and she invited Jeff and I to come down for dinner.  She made homemade pizzas and contributed some pepperoni for it along with some strawberries to have as a side dish.  Dinner was fantastic but the company was even better!  Jeff and I just love Doug and it was so good to see him.  Grammie also got her Steven fix! ;)
~I watched a few videos on YouTube, pinned some recipes to my Pinterest board that I want to try and worked my points programs.
~Jeff took the dishwasher apart and gave it a deep cleaning.  Hopefully it will work better and last longer this way.
~Since my sleep pattern is so messed up, I usually have a snack at around midnight.  Tonight I opted for cottage cheese with sunflower seeds mixed into it.
~Jeff got home from work around 3:45 a.m. and I was still awake.  We both were hungry so we got up and made pancakes.  I put some homegrown blackberries that I had frozen in mine and we topped it with homemade syrup.  After that we went to bed with full and not rumbly tummies.
~We had our morning coffee out on the back porch and listened to the bees buzzing in the cherry tree and the birds calling to each other.  I love slow mornings like that and waking up to the sounds of nature.  There is just something so calming about it.
~Jeff finished up the leftover pancakes for lunch.
~We went to a friend's college graduation party and had dinner there. The food was fantastic and the company was amazing.  We got to visit with friends we had not seen in years and get caught up on each other's lives.
~We did a bit a "curb shopping" as the college students were graduating this weekend.  We found a shoe organizer, a lamp and a whole package of new flooring.  SCORE!!!
~We stopped by Walmart and picked up some stuff to change the oil in my car, some things for the rototiller and found 2 marked down rotisserie chickens (froze one), bread, ice cream and tangerines.  Yay!!!!
~I was totally wiped out and hurting badly so we stayed home.  I did manage to get Jeff's laundry washed and hung up on the line to dry.
~Jeff worked on building a cornhole game for me for Mother's Day.  This is the gift that I wanted because it is something I can play and that the whole family will enjoy.  Most of the materials to build it were things we already had on hand.
~Lunch was a tuna pasta salad with green onions from our garden.  I served radishes and carrots with it on the side.
~I pulled out a old hand held massager thingy from Bath and Body Works that I got years ago and used it to work on all the muscle knots in my legs.  It really did help and I will use it more often.
~Jeff and I went "curb shopping" once again and got lots of wood for projects, a really nice oak futon frame, lots of blankets and towels that I am washing and giving to the Humane Society where we got Doofy (they are always in need of these things for bedding and cleaning there), some clothing and lots of housewares (most of which will be donated).
~I once again hung laundry out on the line to dry.
~Jeff and I picked up a few reduced priced groceries at Walmart (salad, bread, cereal, sandwich, lunchmeat from the deli) and also found a marked down hanging basket plant that I just had to have.  Later in the day, when I hung it up, I read the name of it and it said "Hawaiian Kona Flamingo".  I was raised in Hawaii and in Kona!  It was meant to be!
~I picked up some things from the library.
~Leftovers were for dinner.
~I took two bags full of smaller grocery bags down to our little convenience store here in town and she gave me 2 cans of soda for them.  She reuses the bags in her store.

Homemade croutons

~I had a wonderful visit with my hanai sister Shannon over our back fence.
~Steven came up and spent the afternoon with us so his parents could get some packing done.  He helped me pot up some flowers.  He also helped take some tulips from our garden that we picked over to Aunt Norma.  Uncle Bob gave him a cookie and he loved it!  He kept saying "yum!" and "oooooohhhhh".  He is a funny little guy.  I gave him a bath and fed him dinner before Rachel came to pick him up to make life easier on them.  I'm going to miss having him so close.
~I tried to recreate one of our favorite dinners from a local restaurant.  I made Teriyaki glazed salmon with my own homemade sauce and served that with rice and a salad.  Jeff and I like different salads so he had his one way and I made a Asian inspired sweet salad dressing (again, homemade) and served that over my salad and added some fresh mango chunks to it.  Delicious dinner and even better to eat it outside on our back porch looking out at all our fruit trees in bloom.
~With the hotter weather upon us, I brewed up some iced green tea.
~I opened up the windows at night to cool the house off so I could sleep better.  It got up close to 80F today.
~More shows were watched online.
~I used the leftover salmon I made last night and made a delicious salmon salad with it.
~Laundry done and hung out on the line to dry.
~I potted up some basil and it is loving having more space to spread out in the bigger pot.
~Jeff loves homemade croutons so I took an entire loaf of French Bread and made it into garlic croutons for him.  He was so happy when he got up today. :)
~I love our library.  I was able to borrow another cookbook from it today.
~I went through and sorted more of our "curbside shopping" finds.
~Jeff BBQed burgers for us for dinner along with some sweet potatoes.  He made enough for another meal also.
~Stayed home and played with my youngest grandson.

Teriyaki glazed salmon in a fresh salad.

   Praying that everyone has a blessed week!