Sunday, April 26, 2020

My Maladaptive Coping Skills

   I'm sorry that I have not been responding to comments, checking email, etc..  I have some seriously warped maladaptive coping skills.  I tend to shut down and withdraw for the most part when I feel like my headspace is not right.  I fear bringing people down and honestly, my energy level at those points are reserved for doing things like working in the garden, doing things around the house, etc. .  I've been flipping back and forth between trying to be positive and getting projects tackled here at home with a smile on my face and then having horrible sleepless nights or, if I get to sleep, having nightmares that leave me totally shaken.  My dear hubby is trying to get things done, keep me safe, all the while working outside the home and dealing with the anxiety of possibly bringing the virus home to me.  I'm doing all I can to try to NOT put any more pressure on him with my anxiety and fears. :(  

   I am hoping to be able to find a balance once again and get back to a more normal posting schedule.  I do miss interacting with everyone, but at this point I am not even able to read other people's blogs much.  The reality is that I am trying to keep myself as busy as I can around the house and then I wear myself out and spend the next few days in bed.  Jeff and I are both finding escape in watching movies and me making lots of our favortie foods.  I know he appreciates a good meal so I am trying my best to do just that on most nights.

   Be blessed and I will try to get my act together here soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/17/2020

   Yes, I am very, very late posting this and there will also be no Frugal Friday Wrap Up for this week due to being really busy in the gardens yet again while dealing with a Fibro flare.  Such is life here in our small slice of our fully paid off American Dream.  With the property taxes paid off in full, we don't have the fear that many are dealing with at the moment of losing their homes.  Honestly, it scares me because we have been in that exact position before and especially if you have young children, it is one of the most helpless feelings in the world.  Jeff and I are continuing to do everything we can to make sure that we are prepared for the long haul and the second and third wave of this awful virus that the experts keep trying to prepare us mentally for.  Be blessed and hang in there!

~Chris, Heather and the kids came over to get some strawberry, oregano and mint plants from our garden. Yes, we still practiced social distancing for the most part.
~Our neighbor Shannon also came and got some.
~I transplanted some flowers from the back yard into the front yard.
~Jeff and I watched the movie "The Intern" which we already had here in our DVD library at home.
~I planted peas along the fence line.
~Jeff ripped all the old outdoor carpet off the back porch.
~While out for a walk in the evening, we found a bunch of books just being tossed out in the trash.  I was able to pick up some for the grandboys.
~We also got some free tomato seeds from a free seed exchange at our little free pantry that has been set up down town.
~I saved the bottoms of the green onions and rooted them in water.
~I made a pasta, veggie and black bean salad.  We had some of it with the leftover burgers from the night before.
~Jeff moved the outdoor table and chairs onto the back porch for us to use until he can get the porch rebuilt.

~I got the lettuce, radishes, and spinach planted and moved some volunteer sunflower plants that were just coming up.
~We had a family SKYPE chat with Josh and Lauren, Jaysn, Rachel and Steven.  Chris, Heather and the boys were not home and were unable to join us.  It was fun though to have some of us able to all chat together, share wonderful news and to see Steven's antics and excitement at seeing his Uncle Josh and Auntie Lauren along with their kitty and dogs. :)
~Jeff worked on fixing our lawn mower.  Unfortunately it needs a new part BUT Jaysn and Rachel had given us their lawn mower from when they moved from their house into an apartment so Jeff will still be able to get the lawn mowed without having to make a trip into town for a part right away.
~I grabbed some rolls out of the freezer along with a pizza and got that baked up.  Not your typical or traditional Easter meal but it worked and was easy!
~I cleaned the hot tub and added new chemicals to it.
~The sheets, napkins and kitchen and bathroom towels were all washed and hung out on the line to dry.
~We popped up a big bowl of popcorn and watched the movie "Day After Tomorrow".  It is one of my favorites and I am so glad that we bought a copy of it years ago at either  thrift store or a yard sale.

Monday (It was a huge Fibromyalgia Flare day for me unfortunately):
~My sis/hanai mom to my kids surprised me with a gift hanging from my front door in the morning.  It has a small bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey, a essential oil, hand lotion and a cute little piggy kitchen sink strainer.  The woman knows about me and my pig obession.  LOL!  She told me she had been thinking about me and wanted to bless me and help keep my spirits up during this time.  Love her!
~I had leftover pizza for a late lunch after I took a long nap.  I did not sleep well for the past 3 nights and I had been pushing myself to get a lot done and it all finally caught up with me.
~Jeff did get the lawn mowed.
~He hung his laundry out to dry on the line.
~I watched some budgeting, gardening and money saving videos online.

~After seeing how many meat packing plants are being shut down due to workers getting sick I got a bit concerned.  Jeff and I headed into town, donned our N95 masks, and marched into Winco.  I was shocked to see how the prices had shot up on cheese ($2 more per package than last week), meat and eggs.  I did manage to get some pork roasts, two more 2 pound blocks of cheese, a 50 pound bag of flour, cornmeal, more canned goods and some other things that we needed to round out the pantry.
~Once we left Winco, we headed up to Walmart where we once again donned our masks.  There I found marked down breads, a huge veggie tray, salads, stir fry mixes and boneless pork chops.  We also picked up things for the lawnmowers, some printer ink, new work gloves for Jeff, stuff to make powdered laundry detergent and a gift for someone very special.  I am hoping that we are now set for quite awhile and will not have to go out shopping for about a month or more.  Oh, I also picked up some tomato plants there.  Those suckers are hard to find.  I found one pot with two plants in it and another with 3 plants, so I got both.
~I had picked up a marked down sandwich at Walmart and Jeff and I split that and had some cantaloupe with it for dinner.  We were both tired after shopping and it made for a quick and cheap meal.

~Most of the day was spent in my recliner or bed so I stayed in my jammies.
~I did make a nice dinner for us of boneless pork chops and rice.  We had broiled asparagus and a salad with it.
~I watched more gardening videos on how to increase our yield.
~Caesar has some medical issues going on and so far, I have been able to treat them at home.
~Heather let me know that she had found some cherry tomato plants for me and bought them.  Now we just have to do a quick meet up so I can get them from her.

~My dear friend, who works for Council on Aging, brought Jeff and I each one of the meals they make daily for Seniors and those that are shut in.  She knew I had been struggling lately with Fibro flares and decided to bless us.  We had burgers, baked beans, mac salad and a donut.
~I was able to pot up some chive and squash seeds and repot some tomato plants.
~I watered the gardens.
~Two more loaves of bread were made.
~I tried to help Jeff move a huge pile of mulch but it hurt my neck and shoulders to do so.  He sent me inside to rest.  And yes, I am paying for overdoing it now.  UGH!
~Had a nice visit with my neighbor/hanai sister over the fence today while we practiced social distancing.
~We've been sharing our free mulch with our neighbors.
~The weather was beautiful so I aired out the house.
~I whipped up some quick broccoli cheese soup for a late dinner (I had the meal our friend brought around 3 p.m. and that was the first time I had eaten all day) using some of the broccoli from a discounted veggie tray I bought on Tuesday.
~After Jeff left for work, I watched some TV shows online.

I completely forgot to write things down and we got busy in the garden so no report for this day....Sorry!

Friday, April 17, 2020

We Need to Talk

"Hey Mom, We Need to Talk."

So Caesar and I had a long talk the other day.  We do have the best discussions and he comes up with some absolutely wonderful ideas!

He shared with me that this whole social distancing thing was getting to him too.  He can't play with the grandkids, no one is coming up and petting him when we go on walks like they used to and we have not taken a trip down to the river yet either.  Poor dog is going through social withdrawals. Even his kitty sisters are fighting more with each other and it is getting on his nerves because they want him to pick sides. Everybody is a bit on edge, including the humans.

So...we had the dreaded talk.  No, not the birds and the bees one, but how things in the world had changed and was going to be "different" for awhile to come.  Caesar was not pleased but he agreed that we needed to brainstorm some ideas together to make this all more bearable for us all and to keep us all as happy and healthy as possible.

Caesar was worried about grocery stores running out of things and if his kibble would be there for him.  I reassured him that we had bought extra bags for him and his kitty sisters and that I would be doing this on a monthy basis to get ahead...just in case.  I also share with him that Jeff and I would be trying to keep our shopping down to once a month if possible for all people food and supplies and that we were stocking our pantry with basics like flour, sugar, yeast, salt, oil, canned veggies, beans, and things of that nature.  We were also getting fresh produce that would last a long time.  We would be using Imperfect Foods for fresh produce, cheese, nuts and other things in between shopping trips when needed.  Another thing he was worried about was meat for Daddy.  Daddy loves his meat and Caesar overheard us talking about meat shortages.  I reassured him that I had been stocking up on those too and putting them in the freezer.  We were also going to eat less meat and we going to be sourcing some of it locally directly from farmers and ranchers here who have a deal with the local butcher.  That should keep his Daddy happy and the bills as low as humanly possible while helping keep our farmers, ranchers and local butcher in business.

Gardening...Caesar loves to watch us garden and wants to help us "dig" at times.  I told him the garden would be in full swing this year so it would provide him lots of entertainment.  He has been supervising me already getting seeds started in pots and in the garden (the cold weather crops have been directly sown into the garden soil).  We were given a huge amount of free mulch, so we are using some and are sharing it with friends and neighbors also.  Everyone needs to work together right now to get through this thing.  We were given permission to dig up some plum trees from a public right of way in our town and will be doing that this weekend and getting those planted.  We also have some volunteer prune plum trees in our yard which will be replanted in another location so that we can utilize the area they are in now for a compost pile.  One of those prune plum trees is being given to a friend who wants to start a mini orchard in her yard also.  We are sharing seeds and will be doing a lot of trading and bartering in the near future as things get even tougher.  The plan for now is to provide as much food as possible for our family and for friends and neighbors as will as preserve some for the future.  This will cut costs and provide us with healthy foods for us and others.

Speaking of cutting costs.  So many people are out of work and trying to get through to unemployment is nearly impossible here.  It is a mixed blessing that Jeff still has his job (for the moment at least) since it provides us with income and the ability to have health insurance.  He is doing everything he can to keep healthy, maintain social distancing and keeping things disinfected while he works.  Poor guy has been having a huge amount of anxiety about possibly bringing this virus home to me.  Anyway, we are preparing for the worst case scenario money wise (the future is not looking bright at the moment) so we took the following steps...
1.  We paid off our yearly property taxes in full with our stimulous check.
2.  Paid off a hospital bill with more of that check.
3.  Banked the rest of the check in an emergency fund.
4. Trying to use less electricity by hanging most of the laundry out to dry on the line when it is nice outside.
5.  Not turning on lights until they are definitely needed.
6.  Me not blow drying and styling my hair most days.
7. Being careful to try and not waste food.  If fruits or veggies go bad, they are added to the compost bin or buried directly in a corner of the garden to self compost over time.
8.  Doubling or tripling up on recipes so that I can freeze some for a future meal.  This cuts down on food waste, energy, time and money.  Let's face it, having a yummy lasagna in your freezer is reassuring and can also be given to someone who needs a meal for whatever reason.
9.  Reaching into the depths of the pantry to see what needs to be used up ASAP before you use the newer items.  I took inventory of our pantry and found a whole other 5 gallon bucket of rice in there.  SCORE!!!!
10.  Taking inventory of our HBA items to see what we do and don't have and trying to make sure that I don't overbuy or underbuy what we need and go through on a regular basis.

Now, more than ever, it is important to make your home a haven and a happy place to be.  Caesar saw that gleam in my eye when I started to talk about this.  He knows me well.  Some of the things that we are doing or plan to do are to grow a bunch of flowers from seed this year.  I was able to get the flower seeds for .25 a package.  I love flowers and Caesar loves to stop and smell them.  I also transplanted volunteer Columbines to other areas of the yard that needed more color and cheer.  Columbines are some of my favorites.  They and they sunflowers that come back year after year make me so happy and require little to no work on my part.  Jeff is also going to be rebuilding the deck with some free rough cut lumber that he has been collecting and planed down to make it smooth.  We bought the screws needed for the project and will be getting some deep charcoal grey deck paint to finish it off with once it is built.  The plan is to start the build next weekend.  I will then get to decorating it with pillows on the porch swing, a fun candle lamp and a few other items.  

Speaking of redecorating, I love to change things up by the season and have been pulling out framed pictures and switching out the Winter decor for Spring decor.  We have picked up several pieces of free furniture from the curbside here in town that people are getting rid of and they will be cleaned, painted and repurposed here at home.  One smaller freestanding cabinet is going to become my baking center to free up counter space.  It will also allow me to have most of my baking supplies within easy reach at all times.  Another is a old hutch which will go into our front bedroom turn pantry and craft room, to store things more efficiently and get things up off the floor.  I am excited about that also!  The fleece blankets will soon be going away and the more Spring/Summer like throws will be coming out.  The Fall /Winter cloth napkins will also be put away and out will come the Spring/Summer ones.  My mother made quite a few of them for me so they bring back wonder memories of her and of my brother who gave us a gift card that I used to buy all the material for them.  Some furniture will be rearranged and moved to new rooms giving everything a fresh look.  I am excited about these changes!

I am looking forward to revisting with some of my favorite books and reading new ones that I have here.  Our library is currently closed, but I have a huge library of my own.  Jeff and I are also enjoying watching movies we have on hand and Caesar is enjoying being able to share some old fashioned popped popcorn with us when we have a movie night.  Caessar definitely thinks we should do these more often.

The hardest thing for Caesar, and for us, is not being able to spend time with our family.  Caesar misses the family, especially the grandkids who are his buddies, as much as we do.  We try to do video chats with them and my parents on a regular basis.  We also have a running story that we send back and forth with the older grandkids with us each adding a small part to each time.  It has become a fun activity and the grandboys love getting mail so it is a win win.

Hopefully they will find a way to stop this thing and protect us all.  My prayers and thoughts are with all the front line workers, medical staff, and individuals, friends and families who are dealing with this illness and/or loss of loved ones.  I am hearing first hand how bad things are from a dear nurse friend who is working with FEMA at a hospital in the Bronx.  What she is sharing is absolutely devastating and breaks my heart.  Please keep her an all the other people working with patients in your prayers.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/10/20


   Things got a bit crazy around here this week and I forgot to write down my frugal doings.  It hit me on Wednesday that this could pose a problem since my memory is not so great.  I am going to try to remember everything I can and list it here.  It will be in no particular order since my mind is a jumble and that is just what it is at the moment.  I'm sure lots of people can relate to that. :)

~I bake 3 loaves of bread and a batch of hamburger buns. I used the heat of the hot tub below the hot tub lid and sun from above to help the dough rise.  This cuts the rising time way down.
~We got our order from Imperfect Foods and the produce all looked wonderful this time.
~I made a list of possible meal ideas with all that we have on hand.  I washed everything as it came in the house.
~Jeff and I masked up on Tuesday with some N95 masks and ran errands.  I have a sinking feeling that our Stay Home Stay Safe order is going to extend for yet another month after May 4th and I also see a rise in cases in our area...not a huge rise, but a rise nonetheless. School has been moved to online learning for the rest of this year so that is another huge clue as to what is to come. I wanted to get out and get what we needed before things got any worse.  I am now stocked for at least another month and it cost me about $140 total by shopping sales.

~We picked up some screws at the hardware store so Jeff can use them to rebuild our aging back porch.
~Jeff ripped down a bunch of free lumber that he was given to use to redo the back porch.
~Some tree trimmers were working up the street from us so Jeff asked them if we could have the chipped tree mulch.  They were more than happy to give it to us for free even though Jeff offered to pay them for it.  I pulled some of my mixed berry muffins out of the freezer and we gave them to the guys as a thank you.  They were very happily surprised and appreciative.

~Jeff returned some tire chains that we did not use this past winter to Les Swab.  With the credit for them, we only had to pay another $20 to pay off our account there.
~We have been on several walks with Caesar around town.
~I found several marked down to $1.99 meals in the deli case at Winco so I bought 3 of them since it had been a long shopping day and I was exhausted.  Cheaper than grabbing some fast food on the way home and healthier too!  We had 2 of them on Tuesday night and I froze the other one (Manicotti) for later.
~I cooked up a huge lasagna and made 2 smaller ones that I added to the freezer for future meals.

~The refrigerator was cleaned and I took inventory of all we had so I could work it into my meal plans.
~Since we got some gloriously warm weather, we took advantage of it and washed all the rugs in the house and also opened up the windows and doors to air things out.
~I made a big batch of stroganoff with some venison and some Greek yogurt that needed to be used up.  While that was baking in the oven, I also baked some potatoes along with it. Jeff decided he wanted rice instead of potatoes so I cooked that up as well and we had a side of green beans to round out the meal. I did this after I had take one of the batches of bread out so the oven was already hot.  

~Jeff and I have been watching movies that we already own here along with things on YouTube.  I have also been streaming music via YouTube.
~I have been working in the garden deadheading the roses and the blackberry bushes.
~I watched a video on how to increase the yield of my blackberry bushes.  Good to know and will be tried this year.
~I continue to bury my kitchen scraps in the garden and put the used coffee grounds around the blueberry bushes.
~I made a list of possible meal ideas based on what we have here at home.  I was amazed at how many delicious and varied meals I can make with things on hand.

~It is no secret that I love flowers and to be surrounded by beauty.  This year I decided to transplant some volunteer columbine plants that have landed in places that I don't want them to other spots to brighten things up.  Columbine is one of my favorite flowers and I try to add to my ever growing collection of colors of them each year.  This year, due to the virus, I will not be doing that but I can still continue to expand my collection and enjoyment of them with what I already have growing here at home.
~I placed an order with Vitacost for zinc and some cranberry supplements.  There is research showing that a combination of Zinc and quinine may possibly help with Covid-19 as both a preventative and as a way to treat it.   I am NOT prescribing anything or advising anything as I am not a doctor...just sharing what the research is saying.  You choose to use this information as you see fit.

~One of my former students and her family are moving and they had a bunch of furniture set out on the curb for free.  We picked up a china hutch that is pretty scratched up at the moment but it will be super cute when I redo it.

~We checked with our town about some plum trees growing on one of the side roads right of ways.  They said we were welcome to dig out a few and replant them in our yard.
~I got the peas planted in the garden.
~Jeff replaced  2 of the burners on our BBQ grill and then grilled some burgers for us.
~I made a baked potato ranch salad.
~The bottoms of the green onions were put in some water to grow more roots before I plant them in the garden.

   So that is our frugal week.  I think we did really well overall and I am pleased with our efforts.  This next week we are going to buckle down even more and try to increase our frugal activities that will benefit us long term.  Stay tuned for more gardening, baking, and home projects.  Be blessed!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/3/20

~I cut half of a huge chicken breast up into tenders and cooked it in some olive oil and seasoned with Hickory Smoked Salt.  I served it with baked potatoes topped with plain Greek Yogurt.  I use the plain Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.
~Jeff worked on organizing the front bedroom/craft room/pantry.  I cannot believe how many "lost" things he found in there including my glue gun. 😉
~Dinner was leftovers.
~I got a smoked sausage out of the freezer and stuck it in the refrigerator to thaw.  I also pulled out a package of bagels for Jeff.
~I cooked up 2 small apple pies.
~Jeff got a small container of strawberries from our garden out of the freezer to use with Sunday morning breakfast.

~I made jambalaya with leftover cooked rice, some smoked sausage and a few other ingredients.
~Jeff watched several movies that we have here on dvd.  I'm glad we have a large selection here to choose from.
~Jeff made us pancakes for breakfast with my homemade mix.  I topped mine with some strawberries...yum!
~I got the grapes all washed and cut into smaller stems to make for easy snacking.

~I used up some cooked potatoes and some broccoli to make some quick potato/broccoli cheese soup for lunch.  It also gave us leftovers.
~I was able to do the USA census online.  It took all of 5 minutes.
~I opened up most of the curtains in the front of the house to let the light in.  It was a rainy day but I still did not have to turn on any electrical lights until later in the evening.
~I found a can of crescent roll dough so I baked those up to go with dinner.

~My mother sent us some masks she made.  Jeff's are bowling themed!  Leave it to my mother to make us smile and giggle even during this stressful time.  Gosh I love that woman!
~I made 2 more loaves of bread.
~My allergies are acting up big time so I am back to drinking my honey/lemon/ginger syrup in hot water.
~I cooked up 2 pork roasts in one of my big crockpots.  At least one will be made into BBQed shredded pork.  The other will most likely will be made into Kalua Pig.  Those are some of our favorites and it will give me enough to also freeze some for future meals also.
~We were able to have a brief video chat with our son Jaysn, daughter Rachel and grandson Steven.  Steven got all excited to see his G-pa and said "What ya doing G-pa?".  Made my heart smile.  That boy loves his G-pa!
~My cousin Jeremy called and we had a nice chat.  He is so sweet.  He is closing down his store and is giving me some gorgeous Gorham crystal wine glasses.

~Jeff had seen a large wooden spool that was used for some kind of construction cable at one of his drop off sites.  It had been sitting there for months.  He thought the wood would be excellent for building benches with so he called the owner of the company where it was located.  The owner was more than happy to have Jeff take it off his hands and said there would be another one soon that Jeff could also have. I thought that was really sweet of the owner.  Jeff brought the first of the spools home this morning.
~Rummaging through the fridge and pantry we found our inspiration for dinner.  We made street tacos with the street taco flour tortillas, some of the pulled pork and shredded some cheddar cheese on each taco.  These were served with grapes and cantaloupe.  YUM!
~We watched some funny videos on YouTube along with some travel ones.  I think Jeff and I both needed the break from all the virus news.

~I pulled out some of my binders that are full of money saving recipes.  It is good to go through them and find inspiration again.  I'm doing this more and more lately and looking through my Hawaii cookbooks as well.  Comfort food is much needed at this point.
~I've been going to bed earlier in the evenings again (I have no idea how my body got back on a normal person sleep schedule) so that is saving electricity since I don't have the lights and computer on as long.
~I binged watched some of my favorite YouTube channels that are uplifting and fun.
~I cooked up some Napa cabbage, potatoes and pulled pork.  It was so delicious and hit the spot.
~I used some of my lemon/honey/ginger syrup to make a tall glass of cold lemonade.

~Jeff and I had leftovers for dinner.
~Jeff pulled some rolls out of the freezer to use to make sandwiches with.