Saturday, December 19, 2020

Money Saving Challenge for the Start of the New Year

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am still extremely concerned about the state of our economy with the whole Covid crisis continuing and with the beginning of a new president and staff in the USA.  I  don't see things getting better for quite awhile and I want to be prepared for anything that may come our way.  I am feeling an urgency to try and save as much money as possible so that we can pay our property taxes off near the beginning of the year and keep our home secured that way.  I also want to be able to have money in savings to pay for a trip in the Fall to see our Josh, Lauren and newest Grandson Tate.  My other year long goal is to have 3 months worth of expenses put away in a separate account (emergency fund).  In order to do this, we are going to have to slash our spending drastically and given that the pandemic is still keeping us at home for the most part, I see this as a good time to do all of this. ๐Ÿ˜‰


   Jeff and I had another talk and we agreed that for the month of January, we would not spend anything other than what needs to go to our regular monthly and quarterly bills and as low as possible for groceries (we should not need much at all)  unless it was for a medical emergency.  Since we already stocked up on the wood pellets for the year, we will not have that expense for the rest of the heating season. Because we have a well stocked pantry, I think this is more than doable.  


   In February, our plan is to take $200 and put it in a grocery fund envelope and just spend from there.  Once the money is gone, it's gone.  By doing this, it makes me think long and hard about buying something because parting with actual cash is hard for me.  If I have money left over at the end of the month, I can use it one of two ways...I can either use it later to stock up on things we need by adding it to another months grocery envelope OR I can save it and use it for spending money when we go down to see Josh, Lauren and Tate in the Fall.  I really like that last option the best but may end up dividing the money to go to both options.



Thursday, December 17, 2020

Tate's Magnificent Arrival!

 




   Our newest grandson, Tate Michael, made his glorious entrance into the world on Monday, December 14, 2020 at 7:22 p.m..  That was the exact same time of birth as his father Josh and the nurses at the hospital took to calling him "Daddy's little clone". ๐Ÿ˜‰  He actually came on his due date without any induction needed and Jeff and I have joked that his mommy had it all planned out since she is a logistics officer in the Air Force reserves and it is also her job as a civilian working on base.  



   The picture above is Josh holding his son Tate when Tate was just hours old.  Josh is thrilled to be a daddy and said that Lauren, his beautiful wife and Tate's mommy, is the strongest woman he knows!  Lauren really is awesome!


  



   Tate's big cousins are all very happy to have a baby cousin but Steven was a little confused by seeing a picture of Tate after he was born and the clamp on his belly button.  Rachel tried to explain what was going on there, in terms a 3 year old can understand, and told him it would fall off when it dried out.  Apparently when Steven talked to his Auntie Lauren, he told her that her baby was broken. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Good thing his Auntie loves him and understood why he thought that and he got straightened out quickly that no, his baby cousin was not broken, that all babies started out that way.  LOL! ๐Ÿ˜   I'm telling you, you never know what these grandboys of ours will come up with next and they have no filter!  It's ok though, my mother (Tutu) does not have one either so they come by it naturally. ๐Ÿ˜›




   Jeff and I are convinced that this little guy will have a big attitude like his other three cousins on this side of the family.  The Sarcasm Gene runs deep and so far none have escaped that. It just makes life all that more interesting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sadly Jeff and I will have to wait awhile to meet our little Tate in person due to Covid-19 rules and the fact that we want to be extra cautious and protect him from possible exposure.  For now we will get lots of pictures and even facetime as much as we can.  It is wonderful being able to see him that was too...but I just want to snuggle this little one so badly.  I have never had to wait to meet the other three. I met and cuddled them within hours of their births, so this is a new experience for me and for Jeff too.  I guess that will just make it all the sweeter when we do finally get to hold him.  Feeling so very blessed and happy to see Josh and Lauren become parents and for us to add another grandson to love to our ever growing tribe!


Monday, December 14, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/11/2020 Plus Bonus Photo

    

Isaiah, Bradley and Steven



  I know...better late than never though right?  I wanted to be able to add a picture of the grandboys...this is the last time that Steven will be the "baby" since our newest grandson Tate is presently on his way...his Mommy is now in labor and we are awaiting news on his arrival!!!  We are so excited!  So above you will see the fun we had Sunday when we met the family at a beautifully lit park near where Chris and Heather live and right down the street from my cousin Jeremy's place.  They light it up for Christmas and this is the first year we have actually tromped through the snow to explore it. ๐Ÿ˜  There were snowball fights, laughter, oohs and ahhhs and lots of fun.  Grammie even brought goodie bags fill with homemade candy and hot cocoa mix to enjoy once everyone went home and got warmed up again. ๐Ÿ˜‰  Making precious memories amid the pandemic as safely outside as we can!



Saturday:

~Jeff and I used the hot tub in the evening.  It was so nice to just sit there and soak in the hot water while looking out at the stars.

~We enjoyed a snacky type dinner with pear slices, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. Yummy!

~It was a 007 movie night.  We watched "View to a Kill" on YouTube.  Jeff really loves these movies...me not so much but I love him so I watch them with him...sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Sunday:

~I printed off some recipes, a few legal papers and my Walmart gift card.

~Jeff fixed us a snacky dinner of crackers, cheese and sausage.  

~We watched some old Christmas specials on Youtube followed by the movie "Hang em High".  Jeff loves his westerns too.

~I baked 2 loaves of bread.

~Jeff got some BBQed pulled chicken out of the freezer to thaw for dinner on Monday.

~I worked my points programs.


Monday:

~Going on half an hour sleep total so not a whole lot of energy but I did manage to make dinner.  Tonight is was pulled BBQed chicken (bought on clearance for $1.99 and then frozen to pull out for times like this) on hamburger buns, homemade potato wedges done in the air fryer and pickles on the side.

~Breakfast was homemade huckleberry pancakes.

~I worked my points programs for a bit but sadly missed my goal for the day.

~I called Walmart to see why they had not charged my debit card yet for my medications that were supposed to have been sent to me...good thing I did because they were still just sitting there.  They got them sent out later in the morning and hopefully they will be here tomorrow.


Tuesday:

~I refilled all the hand soap dispensers with soap from the larger refill bottle.  I even swissed a bit of water in the larger container at the end to get as much of the soup out as I could.

~Dinner was fish sticks and fresh fruit.

~I finally got my printer ink refilled and printed off some things like recipes, gift cards, etc..

~Worked those points programs.


Wednesday:

~The sourdough fairy surprised me with some starter today!  I named my starter Maude. Thank you to my neighbor Emily!  Now to dig out my sourdough cookbook and try this thing out. ๐Ÿ˜Š

~Two more loaves of bread were made along with a batch of cookies. I used the residual heat in the oven after baking the cookies to help the bread dough rise since it was about an hour later that I decided to make the bread.

~Pizza and salad were dinner.  The salad greens were a bit droopy so I let them soak in cold water for about half an hour and it perked them right back up.

~Jeff and I watched some older sitcoms on YouTube.

~Heather finished making some thin blue line ornaments for me.  One is for me and has Chris's badge number on it and the other one is for a dear friend who also has a son who is a police officer.  I wanted to surprise her with it.  Heather was so sweet and gifted the one for us to me and I just paid for the second one.

~A few more samples were signed up for.


Thursday:

~I used some of the venison burger that Chris and Heather gave us to make burgers for dinner and also used the rest of it to cook up some "crumbles" to add to soups or casseroles.

~Jeff and I went out to look at the Northern Lights.  We did not see any but we sure enjoyed the stars and the Milky Way!

~Jeff and I made a list of things that we wanted to use my Walmart gift card for...kitty litter, cat food and some kind of medical wrap he wants to try for his knee.  I'm good with this because I'd rather use the gift card for things that we need rather than fritter it away on things that we don't right now.


Friday:

~I made Yaki Soba for dinner using up some veggies and meat that needed to be used ASAP.

~The evening was spent making 6 quarts of both white and dark chocolate peppermint bark, 4 containers of peppermint hot cocoa and getting some of my homemade Tuscan Blend salt all packaged up for gift giving.  I may not be able to move in the morning, but other than packaging up the peppermint bark into smaller bags. I am done with my part of the Christmas treat making for the moment.  I needed to get these done so we could send some of them out in the mail by Monday.


   Praying that my next post will be to share our newest grandson Tate after his glorious arrival at some point tonight!  Look for that one in a few days...we have to let the proud parents be the first to share the news of their first child...as it should be!









Saturday, December 5, 2020

Just a Few Frugal Doings this Week 12/4/2020

    



   Nothing too exciting going on this week frugality wise.  It has been a rather difficult week.  A dear friend died, and the mother of several other friends (all brothers) also sadly passed away.๐Ÿ˜ข Another dear friend is struggling at the moment with a horrible situation beyond her control and my heart just aches for her.  I wish there was more I could do for her, but sadly, other than offering her a listening ear and lots of prayers, there is little I can do.  Throughout it all though, I am trying to keep my eyes on the upcoming birth of our 4th grandson and trying to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in my heart and in our home.  Now, onto the frugal doings.



Monday:

~I ordered a Christmas gift online on sale for Lauren and had it sent right to their home to save on time and postage.  I saved over $200 due to the great sale they were having!

~I tried out a new throw together experiment making cheeseburger meatloaf...it was a winner! 

~Two loaves of bread were made in the evening after Jeff went to work.

~I also whipped up some more homemade pancake mix and was so glad I had an extra can of baking powder in the pantry since I ran out in the first can.  Keeping a well stocked pantry is a lifesaver!

~Outdoor Christmas lights were turned  off at 10 p.m. per Jeff's request so that we do not run up the electric bill too much. ;)


Tuesday:

~I cashed in some of my Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart gift card.  We get our prescriptions and many other items through there so this will definitely be put to good use.

~We called my mom today since it was her birthday!

~I made Portuguese sausage and homemade biscuits, along with some eggs, for dinner.  I save half of the biscuits and sausage for another meal.

~Jeff got another huge 50 bag of flour divided between two large food safe buckets.  Within the last two days I have gone through 16 cups of flour between my baking and making pancake mixes.

~I worked my points programs.

~Leftovers were eaten for lunch.


Wednesday:

~I cashed in my Choice Hotel award points to make a donation to Operation Homefront.

~I found the perfect gift for Chris for Christmas on sale and got an additional discount on it by finding and applying an online code.  I checked with Heather first and she said he would love it!

~Leftovers for dinner.

~I worked my points programs.




Thursday:

~Jeff made us grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner (it was a rough day for me with a dear friend dying and another dealing with a huge blow to her family).

~I ordered Jeff and I new phones online via StraightTalk since it works well in our area and our current Tracfone plans do not.  I got us each refurbished phones (savings of $60 per phone) that have the CDMA systems that are needed for out here and the lowest priced unlimited talk and text plan available since that is mainly what we use our phones for anyway.  This way we can keep in touch more easily and not have to limit our time talking to one another.  After I get the phones activated, I will do an autopay for the accounts so that it will give us an even further savings and I will not have to remember to keep refilling our service. Our service will run us about $68 a month for 2 lines...not bad!

~I again worked my points programs.


Friday:

~When Jeff got home from work early Friday morning, we showered and then headed into town, hot coffee in travel mugs, to do our grocery shopping at Winco.  We needed some bulk items and they are the cheapest there.  By going so early in the morning, there was barely anyone in the store making it safer and quicker to get in and out.  We had our list all made ahead of time and stuck to it except for a few treat items that were on sale and will make for some fun snack type dinners. Oh, we noticed that Winco's brand of coffee cans are being downsized tremendously while the price for the smaller cans is going up.  We found the last 2 cans of the bigger size that were also $1 less per can and got those.  IF they had more than the 2 that were on the shelf, we would have bought more.

~I got refills on my prescriptions and they are being sent to the house via Fed Ex.

~I am also so thankful that I had made sure to get previous refills of medications that I use on an "as needed" basis because they have been very needed lately.  One of the bad things about one of these certain medications is that it makes me really sleepy so I made sure to plan for not having a big to do list (other than making dinner) for the day.

~Dinner was turkey that had been previously frozen several months ago cut up and simmered in turkey gravy served over instant mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans.  Yes, it was like having a more traditional type Thanksgiving meal since we had the lamb chops for Thanksgiving.  It was delicious!




   May all who are reading this be blessed!












 


Monday, November 30, 2020

Updates and Getting Things Started In the Neighborhood


 


   Thank you for the prayers for those in our family with Covid-19...we sure do appreciate it.  They are doing really well and should be fully recovered within the next few days.  We are so thankful!  Three other family members just tested negative after direct exposure by one of them to someone who was also Covid-19 positive...again so very thankful and relieved for God's many blessings!


   I know that Jeff and I have both struggled with depression surrounding this whole long mess with the virus severely disrupting our lives, as it has so many of yours also.  My cousin Jeremy expressed what it has been like for him too.  I think it really helps when we share how we are feeling and to know that we are not alone and that hopefully there is an end in sight to all of this.  It may not be here as soon as we want it to be, but at least it is there at some point.


  



   Jeff and I had a long talk about this all, again, and he decided that he wanted to do something to brighten things up for our neighbors and help lift their spirits also.  He went outside and started stringing up lights.  I stayed inside and put up more pickle lights in the living room window and worked on transforming the Fall themed tree into a Christmas themed tree. ๐Ÿ˜Š  Still not quite satisfied with what it was looking like outside, Jeff spotted some fun solar lights later that evening at the Dollar Tree while we were there picking up a few things and running the rest of our errands for the week.  We purposely shopped when we knew everyone else would be at home or still out of town.  Once we got home, he got them all set out lining our front steps...I love it and so does he!  He still has some more plans in the works for later on.  We noticed after doing this that our neighbors started to follow our lead and started putting their stuff up early too. ๐Ÿ’–  Things are definitely looking a lot cheerier up here on the hill now.


   With the Christmas dรฉcor started, we decided to continue our holiday theme and watch Christmas movies.  We ended up watching Home Alone  and Home Alone 2.  I have not laughed that hard in a good long while and it felt wonderful! The night before we had watched Rick Steve's Christmas in Europe dvd.  Right now I have instrumental Christmas music on lightly in the background and I am loving it.  It is calming and so beautiful!


   




   I'm back to menu planning and trying to make comfort foods for us that warm us from the inside out while making use of things in our pantry and freezer so there is less shopping to do and less chance of exposure to the dreaded virus.  I pulled some homemade turkey enchiladas out of the freezer last week and served it with yellow rice and a side salad.  We have also had lamb chops with mashed potatoes, homemade applesauce and homemade bread, a pork chop and rice casserole that is one of Jeff's favorites along with side salads. Tonight we are having meatloaf (another favorite) with squash and leftover rice from the pork chop and rice casserole and more of the homemade applesauce. I think Jeff is going to have some potato salad with his instead of the squash.  Later in the week I have a salmon loaf, yaki soba, pulled BBQed chicken on rolls, and burgers planned for our main courses.  


   Plans for projects this week are getting the pantry organized since I let it go again and stopped putting things away in their proper places, more bread will be baked, a deep cleaning of our bedroom will be done including washing the curtains (which I did not get to this Summer) along with some serious purging of things we no longer want or use.  I realize that I have neglected deep cleaning due to depression and anxiety and that has to stop.  I know I will feel better once some of these bigger projects are tackled.  I made a dent in things this past week, but there is still a lot more to do. ๐Ÿ˜„  There is ALWAYS more to do right?


   Speaking of more to do, I'm going to go and switch on the outdoor Christmas lights, plug in the pickle lights in the window and then get going on making dinner.  Be blessed, stay safe and wear your masks please.


   

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Confirmed Covid-19 Case in our Family

    Sadly I knew the day would come when someone in our family would get this dreaded virus.  Yesterday it was confirmed that one of our family members indeed has it and another, who has many of the same symptoms is presumed to have it too.  Since they are in the same household, they declined getting the second person tested since they already know what the result would be.  They are now in isolation at home for 10 day or until all their symptoms are gone since they had already been symptomatic for a few days before one of them was required to get tested by their employer.  ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ  At this time, their symptoms are mild thank God and they have lots of support from everyone around them to pick up what they may need and drop it off at their home for them.  I was prepared for the test results because they had been telling me what their symptoms have been and they fit the virus symptoms.  The not being able to taste or smell thing kind of confirmed it for me before they got tested.


   We have not been around them for over two weeks, so we were not exposed to the virus by them, but other family members have been.  They did not know at the time that they were already infected with it and were asymptomatic at that time.  Given that the numbers of cases continue to rise at a hair raising rate around here, I really am not surprised that people in our family now have it...I just wish they did not and I am praying that their symptoms remain mild and that others who have been exposed will not get it too.


   Cases in our little town here continue to rise also.  The latest numbers for the last two week period show 12 new cases in that time frame.  Remember, this is a small town of about 600.  We've already had over 30 cases in the 4 week period prior to that and a few even before that.  Our county also hit new daily highs in numbers, as did the county in Idaho right across from us.  This is not reassuring in any way.  I am really afraid of what it will be like 2 weeks from now when cases start popping off from people who are continuing to gather in large groups for Thanksgiving despite the restrictions in both Washington and Idaho.  I know of many people who have been violating the Washington mandates of no gather with anyone outside your immediate household already with multiple households getting together for early Thanksgiving celebrations.  They proudly post it all on social media for everyone to see.  All this is going to do is make it more likely that we will go into full blown lockdowns and that is going to hurt the businesses that are already struggling to make it that were not already put out of business from the first shut down. ๐Ÿ˜ž Even worse, we will see more deaths that may have been avoided if people had followed the mandates and recommendations. ๐Ÿ˜ข


   Jeff and I are continuing to do everything we can to avoid this thing ourselves. I hate having to away from our family, but I am glad we took a firm stand and followed the rules laid out by our state now or we could also have it.  I know there is still a chance we could get it at some point because it is out their circulating within our community so we are taking all the needed precautions.  The stress and worry of it all is causing my fibromyalgia and other health issues to flare up big time though and that in itself is making things even harder here.  Just praying and trusting in God to protect those I love because that is all I can do for them right now.





   

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/20/2020




    What a week it has been!  I was right about more restrictions coming in for Washington state.  Most went into effect on Monday and will go for a month. 

COVID-19 Guidance In order to slow the spread of rapidly increasing COVID cases in our state and ensure that hospital and medical systems are not overwhelmed, we are taking the very difficult but necessary steps to protect public health. We recognize this will cause financial hardship for many businesses and the governor and staff are exploring ways to mitigate the impacts. • From midnight on Monday, November 16 through Monday, December 14, all counties in Washington rollback to the restrictions outlined below. Restriction modifications for all counties effective midnight on Monday, November 16, unless otherwise noted. If the activity is not listed, it should follow its current guidance. All K12/higher education, health care, and childcare are exempt from the new restrictions and will follow current guidance. These restrictions do not apply to courts and judicial branch-related proceedings. 1. Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days (14) prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering. A household is defined as individuals residing in the same domicile. 2. Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household. 3. Restaurants and Bars are closed for indoor dine-in service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance. Table size for outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of five (5) people. These modified restaurant and bar restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 18, 2020. 4. Fitness Facilities and Gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes are permitted but are subject to and limited by the outdoor social gathering restriction listed above. 5. Bowling Centers are closed for indoor service. 6. Miscellaneous Venues: All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely, as well as all court and judicial branch-related proceedings, are allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits or 100 people, whichever is fewer. ▪ Miscellaneous venues include: convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in a hotel, events centers, fairgrounds, sporting arenas, nonprofit establishment, or a substantially similar venue. 7. Movie Theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are permitted and must continue to follow current drive-in movie theater guidance.

https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/COVID%2019%20November%20Statewide%20Restrictions.pdf 


   Jeff and I knew these would be coming so we tried to get as prepared as we could over the weekend and finished up the rest of the stuff during the week.  Here is a peek into what we did and how we saved as much as we could doing so...

Saturday:

~Cookies were made...yum!

~We bought a generator and a rolling stand for it so that we could run the generator to keep our pellet stove going if the electricity went out.  It is powerful enough to also run the refrigerator and a lamp while the stove is going.

~While at Walmart, I picked up the last Christmas gift I needed for Steven (jammies on sale) and we also found another pair of fleece lined jeans for Jeff.  He wears those to work during the colder Winter months and now he has two new pairs to replace the ones that have totally worn and ripped out from previous years.

~Jeff and I needed some comfort food so I baked some turkey bacon in the oven and made a large batch of pancakes.  I had my pancakes topped with strawberries from our garden that I had sliced and frozen this Summer.

~We got a bit more shopping done at the Grocery Outlet.


Sunday:

~I cut Jeff's hair.

~We had leftovers for dinner.


Monday:

~We returned all the library materials that we had borrowed to the library to avoid late fees.

~We had chicken along with twice baked load potatoes (using some of the leftover turkey bacon in them) for dinner. I baked extra potatoes for later in the week also.

~I called our internet provider to protest our bill.  They overcharged us so they are giving us credit on our next bill.

~I also was double charged on our cell phone plan...I got that taken care of too.

~I froze some overripe bananas to make bread or muffins with later.




Tuesday:

~Rough day here so we had a choice of leftover breakfast for dinner or chicken and potatoes.


Wednesday:

~Another rough day for me so Jeff threw a pizza into the oven for dinner for us.

~Jeff's prescription refill was free.  Yay!


Thursday:

~Jeff went down and got us commodities.  There was so much there...potatoes, onions, sugar snap peas, breads, sweet potatoes, grapefruits, carrots, canned goods, lots of frozen meat, squash, grains, cheeses, etc. 

~I divided up a large bag of cheese and froze half of it and the rest is in the refrigerator for Jeff to make nachos with.

~While Jeff was getting the commodities, I made 2 loaves of bread, a tuna noodle casserole (for Jeff, I can't stand the stuff but Jeff loves it) and used the rest of the chicken left on the bones to make a large pot of homemade chicken noodle soup using bits a bobs of leftover dried pasta that I had collected over the past few months when I made other things.

Friday:

~Jeff bought the last ton of wood pellets that we needed for our stove and brought them home from work in the morning.  I'm really glad we got them when we did because we got further confirmation that there definitely is a shortage and if you need them, get them now!

~Jeff and I made another trip to pick up a few more items from the stores since we are going to be home for a month, other than going to the grocery store if needed, for a month.  If the covid cases continue to go up within the next few weeks, they may lock us down even further...I wanted to be prepared.  I stocked up on seltzer water (it was on sale and it really does help with my Fibromyalgia), got a free cookie mix from Safeway, creamers for Jeff while they are sale, more chips, instant coffee (for those days when I don't feel like brewing a pot and want some fast), a spiral cut ham while it was on sale at Grocery Outlet, salad, some specialty cheeses that we deeply discounted, milk, more bananas, hand sanitizer and a bunch of other things I can't remember right now.  I wanted the ham for Christmas and it is big enough for the whole family IF we are able to get together by then.  

~Jeff picked up more work gloves at Harbor Freight along with some oil for the generator to have on hand here.

~By the time we got home, I was wrecked and had to sit in my chair since I was having trouble walking (I had even used my cane in town...I had not had to do that for months).  Jeff got the groceries put away and then heated up chicken noodle soup for me and tuna casserole for himself.




      I am glad that Jeff and I got the last of the shopping done and got the pellets bought.  He will have to get them unloaded this weekend.  At least we do not have to worry about keeping warm during the heating season. That is something to be very thankful for!  We also have lots of food on hand, along with toilet paper and tissues (I forgot, we bought more of those today also, praise God for the Dollar Tree that still had some on hand and did not jack their prices up).  And yes, I have been having trouble with my Fibromyalgia acting up, along with a few other conditions that I deal with.  It is what it is and the weather changes and stress seem to have conspired against me at the moment.  On a more positive note though, Jeff and I are using the hot tub a lot lately and that seems to be helping us both.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Frugal Friday 11/14/2020 Anxiety Made Me Do It Edition

 





   Not going to lie, Covid-19 is really freaking me out right now. 


   Today the numbers for the county next to us (remember, we live right on the border between two counties) where my kids and cousin live and we do some of our shopping were 120 new cases!  We also had another death in our county along with other new cases. That is in one day folks!  I have never seen the numbers so high.  


   The governor of Idaho just sent the entire state back to Phase 2 of the plan due to so many cases in the state and limited gatherings to 10 people or less.  Our governor of Washington state, along with Oregon and California, just implemented 14 quarantines for  people traveling between states and into ours.  We are also being told no more than 5 contacts a week outside of our own immediate family.  Oh, and there will be more restrictions coming on Monday.


   Jeff and I got ahold of the kids and my cousin to let them know that we would not be joining them for Thanksgiving...we just can't risk it.  They were sad, but understood.  Chris then told me that a lot of their police department was either out with Covid-19 or were on quarantine because they had been exposed.  Chris luckily has been home recovering from Lasik eye surgery at the moment but he also told me that they had been transporting people to the hospital with Covid-19.  Both he and Heather are EMTs.  Even though they wear PPE while tending to patients with known Covid, there is still a chance that they could have been exposed and may get it.  UGH! Thank God Steven tested negative for Covid-19 and just had the flu that is going around his daycare.  Jeff seems to either have a cold now or is still fighting that sinus infection and the triage nurse did not call him back Thursday afternoon nor all day Friday.  He does not have a fever or coughing so we are not worried that he night have the dreaded virus. I am super ticked off at the doctor's office though for not getting back to us.  You have to go through the triage nurse to even get an appointment right now.


   Anyway, I decided that since I had all this nervous energy, I might as well put it to good use.  I made 2 loaves of bread and used the leftover bread to make croutons for Jeff.  I cleaned out the refrigerator and I refilled the flour container that I use several times a week.  I took inventory of what we had and what we needed for personal care and made a list of those things while I organized and reorganized everything.  I researched generators along with Chris to see what was the best fit for our home to keep our pellets stove running if the power went out (it's going to be a bad winter and a generator has been on our list for years...this will be our Christmas gift to each other).  I topped off the toilet paper rolls with spares for each bathroom (yes, this helps me with anxiety as strange as it may sound).  Leftovers were for dinner so that I did not have to think to hard about making something from scratch.  I also worked on my different points programs so that I can cash in for a $25 Walmart gift card from Swagbucks to use on things that I can order online and have sent to us.


   While I wait for the croutons and bread to cool I am going to work on a menu plan for this coming week.  I want to be very careful and not waste things.  I already pulled butter, cookie dough and some peaches out of the freezer earlier.  Cookies are very needed right now...stress comfort eating and all you know. ๐Ÿ˜•  Who knows what all this next week is going to bring restriction wise?  I need to be prepared with chocolate chip cookies!


   Jeff and I will be taking a trip into town to look at the generators at Harbor Freight and stop next door also to pick up some fresh produce and a few other items from the Grocery Outlet. We will go to Pullman, WA and not Moscow, Idaho since there are less confirmed cases there at the moment.  Let's be real though, for every case that is tested and confirmed, there are 4-5 more out there wandering around and spreading it.  Jeff and I are both very happy that we have the Christmas shopping done already for the grandkids and our kids who do not live close to us and I have homemade goodies ready to send off to my parents and brothers already.  That only leaves my cousin Jeremy and our kids here and we usually do mostly homemade goodies so that works for me. I have also stocked up on things that I need to make the additional goodies, so I will not have to fight the holiday crowds.  There may not be holiday crowds anyway if we have to go into another lockdown.  Either way, I am covered.


   At this point I don't think there is a whole lot more we can do to protect ourselves other than taking care of the last minute things and then hunkering down.  I know things are getting bad when Jeff says let's buy a generator, cancel Thanksgiving plans with the family and make one last run to pick up a few things this weekend.  If the anxiety is getting to him (he is the calm and steady one) then you know things are just going to get worse and he wants to be prepared for the long haul.  Praying that anyone reading this is also prepared for what is to come and hard times.


   



   


   


   

   


   


Thursday, November 12, 2020

High Anxiety and Fibromyalgia Flares

 



   I'm not coping well at the moment.  My anxiety levels are really high between the whole election messiness and our country going crazy, Covid-19 and people dying from it in our area (some even that I personally know), not being able to go and see my parents and my brother Fritz this year, and not seeing my kids and grandkids often because we are all trying to be careful and any sniffle or not feeling well with anyone in our family cancels out any family get togethers.  My family is my world and not being able to see them, hold them, hug them and laugh with them just kills me inside.  Most of us are really good about wearing masks, but there are a few that are not and that could potentially put us all at risk.  Three of us are high risk due to age and health issues, and yes, we three make sure to wear our masks when out and about.

   

   It seems like every time I turn on the computer, I am bombarded with bad news.  I see covid cases and death rates rising, people out looting and rioting and acting like rabid animals towards their fellow man. I see them smashing and destroying properties and businesses that took people years to save up for and develop.  These rioters and looters don't care one single bit about anyone but themselves...they are opportunistic cockroaches in my opinion.  Oregon that just legalized the use of hard drugs.  If they think they have a problem now, just wait until all the drug dealers and addicts move to Oregon.  Crime is going to skyrocket!  I have family there and it scares me to death to think of what may happen to them.


   I am deeply concerned for and and scared for our country right now.  No matter who wins this election (with all the recounts going on), we are going to continue to have people protesting for a very long time.  It seems like it has become a way of life for some.  My concern is also about certain rights being taken away from us and watching our country go down a socialist path.  I don't want us to end up like Cuba or Venezuela.  I don't want that kind of a world for my kids and grandkids.  


   All of this has ramped up my anxiety and caused my fibromyalgia symptoms to flare up big time.  It is also causing my IBS to go into overtime.  Earlier I could not find words...my fibro fog was so bad in my head.  Trying to concentrate on something is almost impossible.  I am having to correct so much while I type this out that it is not even funny. At one point I had to hold onto furniture to walk from my bed to the bathroom.  I am still really achy all over my body, even my hair follicles on my head hurt!  My skin is breaking out and I itch all over.  All this and more are part of my flare.


   I am trying, I really am, to calm down and just remember that God is still in control, no matter what.  I am spending less time online and trying to fill my time with uplifting things when I am not paralyzed by fear and anxiety.  Yes, I am on medication to help with the anxiety, but I may have to take an additional medication that I have here for times when my anxiety spins out of control and I start to slip into depression.  I absolutely hate feeling this way!  


   Our state, along with many others, is seeing a huge spike in Covid-19 cases.  There was a media information online thingy on Tuesday and basically they were preparing us all for much stricter rollbacks on things once more.  I fully expect our governor to come out and tell us that we are not allowed to gather with more that 5 people a week (that was one of their many recommendations) and to NOT get together with people outside of our immediate households for Thanksgiving unless we do it outside and wear masks the whole time.  That is impossible to do over on this side of the state with snow coming in and cold temperatures.  I have already warned Chris and Heather about this and that we may not be coming for Thanksgiving after all.  I have a feeling that the media online thing was just preparing us for this announcement and that it will happen today or tomorrow.  I so wish people would have just worn their masks and been careful so we could have avoided this.  There are way too many people who know they have covid-19 wandering around infecting others, never mind the ones who do not know they are infected and spreading it too.  Out little town has 16 cases that we know of...16 now!  I am afraid to see what the numbers will look like within the next few days.

   Jeff is getting worried too.  We have seen Biden's plan for a 4-6 week nationwide paid shutdown.  With all the trouble that the government had getting unemployment to people already, how do they propose to make sure that people have the money BEFORE the shutdown so that they can pay their bills DURING the shutdown?  Jeff and I have decided that we need to do everything we can to save as much money as possible and bank it for the time being.  We do not want to be caught short and not be able to pay our monthly bills and also want to have money set aside for the property taxes that will come due at the beginning of 2021.  The only big purchase we still have to make is another ton of wood pellets for our stove.  We have 2 put in right now, but we will need one more and with the shortages on pellets, I want to get it sooner than later to make sure that we can still get some.

   I am praying we get some kind of relief from all of this soon but I fear that things are just going to get a lot worse before they get better.  Praying that I am wrong.

   

   



   

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/6/2020

 Saturday:

~Jeff and I went shopping in the evening while everyone else was out trick or treating.  Nice calm stores with not a lot of people.  We did find some great deals on vermicelli noodles (3 packs for $1), organic celery (.99 a bunch), bags of baby carrots, cauliflower and broccoli mix marked down, sliced swiss cheese, ginger snaps, blue corn chips and honey wheat pretzels.  We also took advantage of a Safeway $5 of $5 purchase coupon to get coffee creamer and half and half.  Oh, I also found some of the everything bagel seasoning since I am going to try making bagels here at home.

~Leftover Kalua Pig and rice for dinner.  I added some cabbage to mine since I love it that way.


Sunday:

~I made 2 loaves of bread.

~The reduced price mixed veggies were made into a creamy soup.

~Jeff watched a movie I had borrowed from the library for him.

~We took advantage of our hot tub to soak away some sore muscles.


Monday:

~Jeff buried some of the blackberry vines in the ground using a technique called layering.  They should produce new blackberry plants this Spring.  I promised some to a friend who has the orchard up over the hill from us.  He loves blackberries and is excited about the thought of being able to have his own. 

~Our son Chris called and I got to talk to him and our grandsons Bradley and Isaiah.  That just made my day.  I offered them some canned tuna when they come over since we have so much of it and found out my grandson Isaiah has been begging them for some, but they had to wait until the next payday.  Now they will have 8 cans of it and Isaiah can have all the tuna he wants. ;)

~We had leftover soup for lunch.

~Dinner was a frozen pizza that I had gotten on sale and popped into the oven tonight.  I am so glad we are stocked up on quick meals too.


Tuesday:

~I made a rather peppery stroganoff. The lid came off the pepper when I was pouring it in.   Ooops.  We still ate it over potatoes and our sinuses are cleaned out well.  LOL!

~I also made some canned cinnamon rolls later in the evening for a treat since they needed to be used ASAP.  They also just sounded good!

~We got a free newspaper and magazine in the mail.

~Jeff returned a movie to the library so that we would not get a late fee.


Wednesday:

~We got a Lego magazine in the mail today for the oldest two grandboys.

~Dinner tonight was fish sticks done in the Air Fryer, loaded baked potato salad and grapes.

~Jeff and I love the show Survivor and found a channel on YouTube that has Survivor from other countries:  Survivor Official is the channel is you want to check it out.

~I loaded up digital coupons onto my Safeway card.  I do this every Wednesday so that they are there if I need them.


Thursday:

~I watched some episodes of  Australian Survivor on YouTube.

~I was in a bad fibro flare so meals were whatever was easy and accessible.

~Jeff took the truck to work so that he could load it up with a ton of pellets to bring home.

~Jeff has been working so hard covering the route for himself and the other driver who is out on paternity leave.  He has been exhausted and I wanted to do something nice for him.  I decided to make him his own batch of flourless peanut butter cookies.


Friday:

~I watched more episodes of Australian Survivor while munching on popcorn.

~I worked my Swagbucks again.  I had not done so for quite awhile.

~Jeff and I hot tubbed.  He took a fall on a slick floors at one of his deliveries early this morning and is in pain.  He seems to be doing better after a good soak.

~We had leftovers for dinner, along with a salad.









Saturday, October 31, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 10/30/2020

    




   It has been awhile since I did a Frugal Friday Wrap Up post.  As is my new normal, I forgot to write down things daily, so we are going from a very befuddled memory here...bare with me please. ๐Ÿ˜‰  In no particular order, here is what I can remember:


~Chris gave us a bag full of venison burger.  This is a huge blessing to us!

~We got a check from the consignment store for things that we sold and for some of Jeremy's stuff that sold.  We split the money with him.  It is a huge help for us both right now.  Jeff dropped it off with Jeremey on Monday.

~I cut up 6 peppers and froze most of them.

~I made a stuffed pepper and pasta casserole that fed us for 6 meals.  Three dinners and 3 lunches.  I only used half a box of noodles, but with the tomatoes, corn, venison burger, etc. it mad a lot!

~I grabbed a pork roast out of the freezer and made Kalua Pig in the crockpot with that.  We have had it with rice for two meals and still have more of it.  I'm sure it will get finished this weekend.


Patches guarding the container full of coffee beans.


~Tea has been my "go to" drink late at night (decaf of course).  I am still using my tea bags twice.

~I'm turning down the heat here at night since it is just me until Jeff gets home in the morning.  I like a cooler room to sleep in anyway.

~I am also turning off all the lights after Jeff heads out to work at night except those on the Fall themed tree. ;)  It is so calming.

~Jeff repaired a pair of his work pants that he ripped.

~We borrowed a movie from the library on Monday.  The plan is to watch it this weekend.  This will be the last time we borrow movies from there for the foreseeable future so that we don't have to risk running into someone with Covid-19 since it is increasing in our little town.



~We keep adding to the compost pile and hope to have some good compost there by the Spring to add to our gardens.

~Jeff went to our commodities distribution and got quite a bit of food.  This time he had to wait for 2 hours because more and more people are coming and they are only letting two people in at a time.  Since they were getting ready for a big Thanksgiving turkey basket giveaway in early November, they were trying to clean the freezers out to make room for all the turkeys.  They literally filled up a box with all kinds of frozen meats and gave it to Jeff since it was getting later in the day and they needed stuff gone!  We will share with our kids!

~Jeff has been working extra hours and doing the job of him and his other driver he works with, who is out on paternity leave.  He is being well compensated for that.

~Jeff ordered another ton of wood pellets and he will pick those up next week.  Depending on how much we have left after paying bills with his next paycheck, we may order another ton also.  We are expecting more snow by this coming Friday and into the next week with temperatures dropping again.

~I have been transferring food things that are coming into the house in flimsy plastic bags and storing them in sturdy airtight containers instead.  I have whole coffee beans and some quick rolled outs in Tupperware containers now.  The rice is all being put in food safe buckets.  I do need to get several other food safe buckets to put bulk beans and such in them for safe storage also.  I will have to see if Safeway has any the next time I go in.  The bakery there has given them to me for free in the past.

~While going through one of my china cabinets, I found a bunch of matches in there.  I'm sure at some point I just threw them up there to keep them away from my grandboys.  Anyway, it is nice to know that I have a good stash of them.

~Kitty litter, cat food and more toilet paper were ordered through Walmart and should be delivered by Tuesday to our post office.  

~Jeff and I got my hair cut and I feel so much better.


~ We've been entertaining the cats with Kitty TV.  It keeps them from sprinting up and down the halls when Jeff is trying to sleep.

~This may sound strange, but I like to celebrate the different seasons by switching out my coffee mugs and some of my dishes.  I have been enjoying using some of my heavier hand thrown mugs lately.  Each one is unique and I love that!  Most were thrift stores finds or yard sale finds over the years.

~We had a Zoom meeting baby shower last Saturday for Lauren and our newest grandson Tate (who is due in December).  We all sent our gifts down to her to open.  We played games too and I won a Starbucks gift card!  My mother made Tate the cutest Moose baby quilt. 

~Jeff got a sinus infection and had to go and see the doctor.  When he went to the pharmacy to pick up his prescription it was free!


    Not much more going on here at the moment.  The plan for this weekend is to take Saturday to rest since Jeff is exhausted from fighting the sinus infection and working long hours.  Yesterday it was a 13 hours shift...not good.  Praying that tonight is a lot shorter.  Sunday we may run in and pick up a few things we need at the grocery store like fresh milk and celery.  I have a $5 off $5 coupon loaded onto my Safeway card so we should be able to get stuff for free that way.  Here's hoping!





Wednesday, October 28, 2020

It's Made it's Way to my Tiny Town...Covid-19 is Here

   




    Well, it's official.  This nasty virus has hit our small farming town.  I knew it was just a matter of time. ๐Ÿ˜” 


   I had seen a post the other day from the health department saying we had a case in our town and I prayed it was not at our assisted living care facility.  Today I found out there were multiple cases there,  but so far everyone is having mild symptoms and I pray they stay that way since the more serious symptoms seem to hit on day 7 or 8 from what I can tell.  


   I checked in with a friend who is going to be starting chemo later this week to see how she was doing and she let me know that there were actually 14 cases now in our tiny farming town.  Some were at the assisted living care center and others are dispersed throughout the community with a few in the apartment building that she lives in.  ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ  The last thing that my sweet friend needs is to be exposed to this while she battles stage 4 lung cancer.  This dear friend wanted to let me know so that I could protect myself from it also.  


   I then got a message from someone else sharing a alert that went out in the town where two of my kids work that they are thinking they may have to shut the town down because cases and hospitalizations are ramping up there, as are the deaths.  This honestly is very worrisome since covid-19 hospital beds are in short supply all around us for the most part also.  Some people are already be shuffled from one hospital to another and they are talking about having to send some to Portland or Seattle soon if this continues.


   Jeff had to go to the doctor today for a sinus infection and thank God there was a pharmacy right across from the office in that small town.  He did not have to go to Pullman and they had no concerns that he might have this virus, which was a huge relief to us both.  We did have a sit down talk about how we had to take care of some last minute things and then hunker down for awhile (other than him going to work).  


   He dropped off our ballots at a drop box at the courthouse on his way to work tonight and put in an order with his boss for more wood pellets for our stove.  Those will be there next week and he will get them then.  Luckily I had ordered more cat food, kitty litter and a large amount of toilet paper that day before.  It will also be here early next week.  The pantry is organized now and Chris gave us some more venison, so the freezers are almost fully stocked. We will be doing our towns commodity thing tomorrow and that will bring in more food and should top off the freezers.  I've got a medium sized pork roast going in the crockpot now, which should give us several meals at least and have everything else needed to go with it.  We will not be hurting food wise at all and we thankfully have enough to help out others as well if needed.  


   As much as I love using our library, I think I will put that on hold for a bit now too.  I have some things here we will enjoy and then, once returned, I won't be placing more holds or requests for books or movies.  I did download some more free channels on our Roku and we have tons of movies and books here to keep me busy for a very long time.  As the weather and my health cooperates, I'll still try to get out for walks in the fresh air.  If not, I'll spend some time outside on our back porch and enjoy the fresh air, or relax in the hot tub with Jeff.


   I think in the depths of my heart, I knew this was coming and I tried to prepare the best I could for it.  My heart goes out to all those who are struggling with this right now and for those who are isolated and alone.  I am so thankful that I have my Jeff here with me.  I could not cope without him.

It Seems I Have and Internet Troll


 


   It seems I have an internet troll that has been leaving hateful comments here on my blog.  Whomever they are, they are a very cowardly troll who leaves comments anonymously and seems to have something against us "older" people.  I've been deleting the comments when I see them in hopes that the troll will grow up and move on.  I mean seriously, you almost have to feel sorry for someone with that much anger and wonder what kind of childhood they had to make them lash out like this.  So to my troll, I'm praying for you to get the help that you need to work through your issues and let go of all that pent up anger.  It is going to eat you up inside.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Old Man Winter Paid Us an Early Visit



   I woke up Friday to see this starting.  The snowflakes started out small but then got bigger and bigger.  



   The street in front of our house quickly became covered in snow and I was so happy that Jeff was taking the truck to work that night and bringing home a ton of wood pellets for our pellet stove.




   Saturday we had a Winter Wonderland on our hands and we took full advantage of it!  We hot tubbed that night, watched the movie "The Rookie" and sipped hot drinks and shared a big bowl of popcorn.




      The momma moose and her baby were making their rounds in our neighborhood and I kept hoping they would come and "trim" my raspberry and blackberry bushes for me.  Unfortunately for me, they already got their fill in our neighbor's yard.




   Sunday found us with a thick crust of ice on top of the snow that crackled when stepped on.  I don't know why, but that sound brings me so much pleasure and a smile to my face.




   I ran outside and started to take pictures because it was so beautiful!



 


      The way that the snow curves while coming off the roof reminds me of the crashing waves in Hawaii where I grew up and the icicles are sparkling in the afternoon snow just glitter like diamonds.  Thank you Old Man Winter for this lovely early gift.  I think we all need to be reminded of the beauty all around us in these troubling times.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Hunkering Down for the Cold Months Ahead

    



   Jeff just headed out with the truck to get the brakes done on it so we are ready for Winter driving conditions.  Mother Nature decided to say "screw Fall" this year and head into Winter early.  Can't say that I blame here with all that has happened with 2020.  I think she wants it over as soon as possible also.  


   Our night time temps are expected to drop into the single digits this weekend with highs below freezing.  We are also expecting up to 11 inches of snow on Friday night according to the latest weather forecast.  This is unheard of for this time of year and we are forecasted to set new records for both snow accumulation and low temperatures.


   Jeff will be bringing home a ton of wood pellets for our stove this week.  I am hoping that they will be there tonight so that we can unload them in the morning.  We still have about 10 bags, but with the temps dropping, I am sure we will go through a bag a day when we are in the single digits.  We also plan on getting another 2 tons of pellets put in within the next 2 months and that should take us through the Winter and leaves some for the start of the next heating season as well.


   I've taken the quilts that my mom and our hanai Grandma Ann (God rest her beautiful soul) made for us and have them on both our bed and our guest room bed.  They are so snuggly warm and were made with love.  It is like getting a hug from them both.  I look forward to doing this every year.  I have also switched out my Summer quilted throw that I use in the living room (another one my mom made) and am now using a thick fleece one that my hanai sister Shannon gave me after I had surgery years ago.  It too makes me feel wrapped in love.


   The herbs from the garden have been picked.  Some have been dried to use as is, while others have been made into lovely herb salts and herb butters.  The last picking of the blackberries in now in a large jar with vodka to make more blackberry infused vodka.  I found it makes for the best vodka tonics, adding a nice bit of berry sweetness that is perfect.


   The pantry is well stocked with just about everything we need to bake from scratch, including some dark chocolate chucks to add to cookie dough or make chocolate rolls with.  Canned goods, pastas, rice, oats, juices, coffee, teas and sports drinks are also there.  The freezers are stocked well with meats, homemade premade meals, all kinds of fruit from our gardens this year, veggies, homemade soups, butter and lots of cheese.  We will be getting some more venison from Chris and Heather and are so very grateful for that.


   The kitties are set with food and litter for a month or more and we will just pick more up the next time we do a big shopping trip.  I made sure to have all the HBA things like toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and that kind of thing topped off about a month ago. The over the counter type medications are fully stocked and I am about 3 months ahead on my prescriptions.  We did add to our laundry detergent stash and now have about 6 months worth here.


   All in all, I think we are pretty well set.  Chris gifting his Daddy with the truck, even if we have had to put money into it to fix some things, has been a huge blessing.  I know now that we have a high clearance 4 wheeled drive vehicle, with good tires, that can get us through just about anything.  It is nice to be able to haul pellets, wood, and furniture in it also.


   Lastly, I want to add that sadly the covid-19 deaths in our county are going up.  We now have 9 people who have died within this last 2 week period.   I fear that this is just the beginning since it is now in the nursing and long term care homes here in our area.  The holidays this year will be different with no big parties or gatherings so that we can protect one another.  We do have a family birthday party for Jaysn this weekend and my fear is that this may be the last time we can all be together for awhile.  All of us are healthy at this point and we are very good about NOT getting together if we think we may have been exposed or are not feeling well.  I want everyone to stay healthy.  Praying that we can all get through this and be able to gather again with more of those we love soon.