Friday, February 28, 2020

Frugal Meals Lately

   Instead of doing a Frugal Friday Wrap Up this week, I am going to do a frugal meals lately because:

a.  I have lots of yummy food pictures to share
b.  I have been awful about keeping track of our frugal doings
c.  I'm being terribly lazy
d.  All of the above!

   Seriously though, I do love to see what people have been making to give me ideas on what to make to change things up a bit.  Last night I made a HUGE pan of lasagna and had a nice salad with that.  My hanai sister Roni has just moved back home after being away for 10 years, so we celebrated that with dinner and a nice bottle of red wine that she bought when she came back with us after Josh's wedding in October.  Sadly, we were all famished and I did not get a picture of the yumminess but we care continuing to enjoy the lasagna since it made so much. 

   So here are some of the other meals that we have had over the past month or two:

Hickory Smoked Chicken Breasts, Mashed Red Potatoes, Carrot Sticks, Cranberry Moscato


Sloppy Joes, Acorn Squash, Carrot Sticks

Waffles with Homemade Huckleberry Sauce

Ham, Corn and Potato Chowder

Caesar Pasta Salad

Steak, Peppers and Onions, Saffron Rice and Carrot Sticks

Asian Style Venison Tips over Rice, Kim Chee, Sautéed Napa Cabbage, and Apple Slices

Orange Chicken and Asian Veggies over Rice

Chorizo, Red Potato, Sweet Potato and Onion Hash, Apple and Asian Pear Slices

Venison Burger, Rice with Furukaki, Kim Chee

Some of the other meals that I did not get pictures of were homemade biscuits and gravy, ham and cheese sandwiches on homemade bread, avocado and tomato sandwiches on homemade bread, tuna noodle casserole for Jeff, honey walnut shrimp with rice and so many others.  I hope that these meals help to inspire you on those days when you are wondering what to make for dinner.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Not If But When

        Get Prepared Now for What is to Come

   Today I heard the words that I knew would be coming "not if but when" and to form a plan and prepare now for a possible severe disruption to your daily lives.   Our own CDC put this warning out reguarding the Covid-19 virus that is quickly making it's way around the globe.  I have friends and family who either are currently or who have been in the "hot zones" and their lives have been turned upside down.   I have talked to local first responders and I can tell you that they are not prepared for any of this.  Law enforcement does not have the needed supplies on hand or the training on how to deal with this kind of emergency situation and it seems neither do the local EMTs.  I have family members in these areas so yes, I do have first hand information.

   Jeff and I have been stocking up on things that we need here at home so that we can stay home if needed if there is a quarentine type situation either here or in the towns where we shop.  The only items that we could not find were the masks, which according to one of the salepeople we talked to, were all being bought out by the Chinese students to send home to their families.  I can't really blame them for wanting to protect their families...I would have been doing the same thing in their position.

   I talked to our son Chris, who is both an EMT and a police officer, and told him if he finds out that he has been exposed to this virus and has not headed home yet, that he is to call our Heather and have her and the boys go somewhere else to stay and offered up our home for them to come to.  I need to let Jaysn and Rachel know the same thing.  I know that Chris is going to be required to be out there working in law enforcement no matter what.  

   Taking into account that we may have more family here at some point to stay, we put in extra supplies of things like baking supplies, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, aseptic packs of milk and some other items.  We also have some treat items because we all need a treat sometimes. 😉  All of the things that have stocked up on are things that we would use on a normal basis anyway, so they will not go to waste if we don't have to use them quickly.  It is always good to have extras on hand for any situation where you may find yourself homebound or low on funds.  I made sure that I have vitamins and my medications filled and am good for about 2 months on one medication and 6 months on another just in case the pharmacies are not able to get the meds in that I use on a daily basis, or I am unable to go and get them.

   My prayer is that we will not have to deal with this and that no one does get sick.  However, it is not looking good at the moment and for me at least, being prepared helps to keep me calm.  My husband, who is usually the calmer of the two of us, is even a bit alarmed at this and is also making sure that we have another ton of wood pellets coming.  He even made some suggestions on other things we might need.  He and I both want to make sure that we are doing all we can, not only to take care of ourselves, but also our family.  Once a parent, always a parent I suppose.   Be blessed and please prepare yourselves for the possibility of at least 14 days of not being able to go out, shop for items, etc..  This could go bad very quickly and the worst thing is to not be prepared and find yourself in a panic.


Friday, February 21, 2020

No, I Have Not Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

   No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  We have had a lot going on here and to be perfectly honest, it has been taking a toll on me physically and mentally.  I find myself in bed almost daily, having to escape from the world, if even for an hour or two, due to physical pain and sensory overload issues.  I need to withdraw from the world to try and calm my body and mind.  That being said, I have also found myself in tears due to the pain from Fibromyalgia on several occasions and I am one to not cry from physical pain often.  I'm not sharing this to gain sympathy, rather to just document it so that I can look back and trace when I have good and bad times with this and if I can find a pattern.

   Jeff and I continue to wait and see if and when he can have his surgery to repair his knee.  His surgeon is on vacation this week and was so busy last week that he did not get a chance to call the insurance company and advocate for Jeff.  Hopefull this coming week, once he is back in the office, he can do so.

   We did go out to dinner as a special treat.  Jeff, after having a really bad week, wanted to take me out for an early Valentine's dinner and I resisted at first but then realized that he really needed to do something nice and fun.  We went to our favorite Mexican place, had a lovely dinner and yes, we did stop at the thrift store (I know, I need to stay out of those places) and found some movies for .99 each and series on dvd were only $1.99 each.  We got some fun ones to add to our collection and I used some of my cash to pay for them.

   Jeff and I have been trying to purge things in our closets and other areas of the house.  Rachel, Jaysn and Steven came out and got Jaysn's bed from his room so that Steven can have a big boy bed now that he is getting too big for his toddler bed.  Rachel donated the toddler bed to a organization that provides beds for families in need, which I think is an absolutly wonderful thing to do!  Jeff and I also ran a huge bag of old blankets to the Humane Society for them to use and thanked them for the gift of our belated cat Doofy who brought such joy into our lives.  It was our way of giving back to such a great organization that is a no kill shelter.  We also took in a box of purses and coats to the consignment store.  They took most of the coats and purses.  The girl working there fell in love with one of my vintage wool coats that fit her perfectly, so I gifted it to here.  She kept saying she could not accept it and I told her that I was giving it to her, one friend to another, because I knew that she would love it and get lots of use out of it.  The smile and her face and light in her eyes just made my day!

   On a sadder note, some dear friends are going through one of the roughest times in their lives right now and at the moment, the outcome is not looking good.  It has caused me to do some deep soul searching myself since it has brought up some issues from my past also that were life altering and that still cause me great emotional pain to this day.  My heart just aches for everyone involved and I pray that the truth will come out, good or bad, and that there can be healing and forgiveness.  At this point, all I can do is pray, be there as a listening and supportive friend and to be there to help pick up the pieces of shattered lives if things go the way that they are looking now.

   One of the hospitals in Spokane, WA has been designated at one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation to treat highly infectious diseases with those zero pressure isolation rooms.  We had 4 patients who are ill with the Covid-19 virus who were on the Princess cruise ship up there now.  They arrived today to be treated.  I really pray that they will all make a full recovery.  The hospital is well equipped and trained to deal with this, but there were some idiots at the airport who were not wearing any type of protective gear, even though the transport team was wearing full protective gear.  They were in close contact with the ill patients and I really do hope that they all go into a quarentine themselves after that stupid stunt and don't catch it and pass it on to others.  The news stations have film of it and were broadcasting it.  Way to spread fear and panic in this area when there are already people freaking out about even having the patients in the secured and locked unit at the hospital.  Honestly, I was not fearful of those patients coming for treatment but I sure am of the idiots who knowingly did something so stupid.  Time to top off the toilet paper supply since there is a good chance it is going to spread throughout Spokane and beyond now due to the stupidity of others.  Jeff's company, that he works for, does a  lot of business with companies in Spokane so there is a chance of one of the drivers getting infected from someone up there and then it spreading down here too.  People from our town, including some of my neighbors, work in Spokane.  One of them works at the hospital right next door to the hospital where the isolation rooms are and if this thing takes hold in the community, I fear she may be infected if someone comes in not knowing that they have the virus.  Several of my hanai kids also work in other hospitals up there.  This could potentially become a huge mess since it has been proven to spread fairly quickly.  UGH!

   Okay, I am going to end this on a positive note though...Bradley and Isaiah are coming to spend the night tomorrow and I am very happy about that!  We have been promising a sleepover for awhile now and it is finally happening now that the everyone is feeling better.  I would love to be able to have Steven out here too with them, but that is just too much running and yelling for this Grammie at this point in my life.  Hopefully I can get into a normal sleep pattern and out of my "dracula"(sleep in the daylight hours) mode at some point so I can have him come stay too.  We did have a fun time with Steven when he was here yesterday getting his new bed though!  Apparently G-pa is his favorite, that is until Grammie gets him chips or cheese. ;)

   Be blessed all!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I'm Proud of Us


   Jeff and I have been working really hard at trying to save money and build up our savings account once more.  We cut drastically in some areas, one of those being eating out.  I'm proud to say that we have not eaten out in over a month and the money that normally would have been spent there is going straight into our savings.  Yay!!!!  Has it been easy?  No, but I have a goal in mind and to be honest, most of the time, I really do like my own cooking better anyway.

   That really motivated me to find even more areas to save in and the one other area that I know I can cut is the grocery budget.  So, after fixing us a nice meal of meatloaf, saffron rice and a romaine salad, I approached Jeff with my idea of going to cash only for groceries.  Having to part with cold hard cash is much harder for me to do than just whipping out the debit card.  We agreed that any money saved from the $200 a month that I am going to be working with would go to fund either a big stock up and/or a fun trip for the two of us or with our family.  It will help Jeff and I both to think through impulse buys because we both really really want to be able to get away for a weekend and this will help keep us both on track with that goal in mind.  If I used the debit card on a food purchase (like my Imperfect Foods order), that will be deducted from the cash and put back into our account or shifted to the pet food and supply budget since we buy huge bags of dog and cat food along with big buckets of kitty litter every one and a half to two months.

   Once the warmer weather hits, we will be able to cut our electric bill down by drying our laundry outside for the most part and that should cut that down by at least $20 per month.  Plus, who does not like the smell of freshly line dried clothes...that is one of my favorite fragrances in the world!

   I have great plans for this new year to help us not only save money, but also enjoy our lives to the fullest and not feel like we are missing out on anything important.  I want to make our home even more inviting for friends and family and to also make it a safe haven for my husband and I to retreat to and recharge when needed.

   Be blessed my friends!









Sunday, February 9, 2020

It's's Off



I know is has been a few weeks since I last posted.  We were dealing with trying to get Jeff into see his orthopedic surgeon, who luckily was able to get him in quicker than we thought and he even got his surgery scheduled for this coming Tuesday.  Jeff made the arrangements with his bosses to take the week off on vacation time since he did not have sick leave built up for the time he would be out.  Jaysn and Chris made a plan to help us and ocme get us at the hospital after Jeff's surgery since I could not drive us home.  Jaysn even took the day off work.  Jeff and I went shopping and stocked up on things to last us for that week and the following week grocery wise.  All was set to go and Jeff was so excited to be able to get this done and out of the way.

   Then we got the phone call...the insurance company refused to authorize payment for his surgery because they deemed his torn meniscus being repaired "not medically neccesary". 😡  Seriously, th fact that he is in pain and that the injury is just going to get worse and require a more invasive surgery as time goes on does not matter to them.  UGH!  Jeff was so angry and quite frankly, so was I.

   Our surgeon is going to call the insurance company on Monday and try to get things authorized.  I also have a friend that works for another health insurnace company who said she would help us out with exactly what paperwork and "phrases" along with coding, that will help his case.  She shared that insurance company claims people are trained to find any way they can to turn you down and not have to pay out.  Yeah, she is not a fan of that either.

   Jeff's surgery was cancelled for this coming Tuesday and they are booked up Thursday, then the surgeon is on vacation for a week.  He only does surgery every other week so we are looking at another month or more before he could even get in if it is approved.  

   OK, so now we wait...but there is more that could delay it even further.  Jeff has applied for a different job and passed the first interview.  We are waiting to hear on the second one (hopefully we will hear this week).  If he gets this new job, with the same company Jaysn works for, we will have a cut in income, but we will have much better health insurance with a savings of about $500 a month in premiums costs for me alone.  His will be fully covered.  We will also be able to access the clinic at the work place and not have to pay for each office visit.  They have a partial pharmacy right there and the medication costs are super low.  The other benifits are amazing and we are really praying he gets it.  He will have to give 2 weeks notice at his current job though, so that could stretch things out even further.

   Oh yes, there is one more little thing, and you may think I am crazy for even thinking about this but here it goes.  This Wuhan virus that is making it's way around the world, is scaring me.  I don't want to be at a hospital if it makes it's way to our area.  I'd much rather hole up at home and limit our contact with other people.  I don't get viruses that often anymore since I have quit teaching, but when I do, they hit me really hard and it takes me about 3 times as long as "healthy" people to recover from the virus itself.  It also sends me into a bad flare that takes months to recover from.  We do live in an area that has many international students and business people coming in and out with the colleges and companies that do business with the world.  

   I've been adding to our pantry and HBA supplies to make sure that we do NOT have to go out and shop for up to 2 months if needed.  I did this for two reasons...the cut in income and in case either Jeff or I get ill.  It is a given that with my health limitations as it is, having a stocked pantry is a very needed thing.  It saves time, money and stress for both Jeff and I.  I'm also trying out Imperfect Foods home delivery service.  I got my first order and overall, I am happy with it.  I did have a problem with one piece of fruit and them messing up on one of the items, but was quite pleased with the quick response I got from the company when I contacted them.  They are crediting my order for the lemon and for the item they forgot to include (they put a different item in by mistake and told me to just keep that one also) and gave me another credit on top of that.   I love that they deliver right to my door and I can customize my order to fit our needs.  I really do think they are good value for the money since I can get produce, snack items, cheese, meats, etc, from them.  I can also schedule my deliveries for every week, every other week, or suspend my account at any time.  I love that flexibilty.  If you are interested in checking them out, my link is Imperfect Foods 
By using my link (if you want to order anything) I do get a $10 credit once you place your first order and you also get a $10 credit.  

   Anyway, I am going to try and get back on track here once more.  The stress of the on and off again surgery, plus waiting to hear about the other job interview and dealing with a few more things here lately really did take a toll on me.  Praying for smoother "sailing" ahead.