Here we have the two week version of my Frugal Friday Wrap Up. I am still thrown off by Caesar's death a few weeks ago now. Trying to adjust to losing him and then Jeff going back to work has been hard for me. Nights are the worst. I'm back to sleeping well only when Jeff gets home in the morning and don't even head to bed until around 4 a.m. because I will just toss and turn anyway and I get frustrated with myself. I am trying my best to have a good attitude and be thankful for everything that we have been blessed with, but that sadness still creeps in although it is happening a bit less often over time.
The covid 19 cases continue to explode in our area so I am NOT making trips into town to do my shopping. I have found other places and ways to shop to avoid the plague. Both college towns are showing huge increases in numbers like we have never seen before in our area and with this holiday weekend, there will be more partying from those college students and the cases will continue their steep climb up. I have a friend who worse as a contact tracer and she has warned me to expect many many more cases. The public schools around here are also starting. Some in person and some with hybrid models. Our elementary schools will be giving parents the options of in person or distance learning but the junior high and high school will be online only for the time being. This decision was just made last night and the poor teachers are scrambling.
Onto the savings and frugal doings:
~I made a big pasta salad and added slivered ham, red peppers, broccoli and cauliflower to it. Jeff loved it and he HATES cauliflower. Now I know how to get it in him. 😉
~Jeff ripped down a bunch of warped lumber to give to our neighbor and Chris for kindling for their wood stoves.
~We watered at sunset since it was so hot during the day.
~I picked some raspberries...they are getting few and far between now.
~Even though it was a scorcher of a day here, we were still able to wait until about 6:30 to turn on the swamp cooler. Until then we were able to make due just with some fans since we got it cooled down well in here overnight and kept the windows and doors shut, along with the curtains closed, until then.
~Jeff watched another movie that Jeremy gave us.
~I got caught up on my "trash TV".
~It was a scorcher of a day! We were under an excessive heat warning. I made an iced coffee and out it in one of my favorite iced drink glasses. Oh it tasted wonderful and so cooling. That was my breakfast.
~I marinated some thinly sliced round steak in teriyaki sauce and Jeff grilled it up for a late night dinner. We had rice and watermelon with it out on the back porch once the sun went down and things cooled off a bit.
~We stayed home...trying to save money on gas here.
~It was still hotter than Hades so I hung the freshly washed sheets out on the line to dry...it did not take long for them to be totally dry either.
~Horrible day for Fibro flare...my legs kept buckling on me so I spent most of the day in bed watching videos on YouTube.
~Meals were sandwiches for dinner and a big green chef's salad for lunch.
~Jeff and I gave each other haircuts...much needed and boy does it feel good to get some of that weight off my head. ;) It was too hot to blow dry it so I just let the curls take over. ;)
~I baked two loaves of bread.
~I worked my points programs.
~Jeff started working on a ramp up to our back porch. He has to wood here to build it with. This is make getting our wood pellets for our stove easier to get up and stacked on the back porch. The ramp itself will be removeable so he can store it when not in use.
~Lunch was teriyaki rice bowls (made with leftovers from earlier in the week).
~It was too hot to go out into the yard to hang things on the laundry line to dry so I stuck things on hangers out on the back screened in porch. Everything dried quickly due to it being close to 100F there at the hottest point of the day.
~I called our internet provider since our internet keeps going up and down. They are coming out next week since they said there seems to be a problem in the line.
~We picked a bunch of apples off our Summer Apple tree.
~Jeff and I ran into town to get some new shoes for work for him. They were on sale and it saves us about $30.
~Jeff was able to install a new driver's side door handle on my car.
~We went to Goodwill and found a cute mug, a shirt for me and a cute brand new jacket for the newest grandson.
~We picked up 2-pound blocks of cheese (3 total) for $3.99 each and pears for .86 a pound.
~Jeff returned a part to the auto parts store that was NOT the right one for what we needed and got that credited back on our credit card.
~I finished making the raspberry gin and vodka. Both are so good and the raspberry vodka makes a darned good screwdriver! Just saying.
~About half of the apples picked on Wednesday were made into some delicious applesauce. More to come this weekend.
~The guys came a fixed our internet earlier than expected....problem in the line. I think they are really trying to get things done before the school year starts here since the kiddos are doing online learning for the foreseeable future.
~Jeff enjoyed watching another movie that we got for free from my cousin when he closed his store.
~We got the apples that have fallen off our tree into the compost pile...free compost is a good thing!
~I made chicken salad sandwiches with some canned chicken. Jeff had his plain but I added craisins to mine. The cats enjoyed the broth from the chicken can as a special treat.
~Jeff was cleared to go back to work!!!! Good thing too since he took our car in and it needs $400 worth of repairs. YIKES! He goes back tonight.
~I made 2 loaves of bread...yes, we went through the previous 2 loaves that quickly since Jeff loves his toast and sandwiches. Plus, with going back to work tonight, he needed some for even more sandwiches to take with him.
~Jeff picked up some lettuce on his way home from his doctor's appointment so I can make chef's salads again for dinner.
~Taco soup has been sounding delicious lately so I made a huge batch of it for lunch (and have lots of leftovers). I served it with shredded cheddar cheese and some crushed up tortilla chips from the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. Big hit with the hubby!
The following week is just a compilation of what I remember since I forgot to write anything down:
~Jeff and I defrosted our upright freezer in the garage and found all kinds of stuff in there. We threw out some things that were freezer burned and organized the rest so we now know what we have.
~We went to the commodities giveaway and got at least $400 worth of food for free. They had so much and were amazed the people were not taking things like fresh produce and canned beans or the whole bean bags of coffee. They loaded Jeff up big time! We are now stocked up with coffee, fresh produce, canned goods, frozen meats, cheeses, breads, grains, cereals, juices, etc..I am feeling so very blessed! ❤
~I made another batch of homemade applesauce. We had some fresh, I gave half of it away and I still managed to freeze about 8 cups worth for future use.
~My hanai sister picked up a 50 pound bag of flour for me and would not let me pay her for it...she got homemade applesauce, blackberries and cherry tomatoes as a thank you.
~I've been harvesting tomatoes, blackberries and apples.
~Uncle Bob gave me 2 cucumbers from his garden. I made quick pickles with them.
~I made 4 loaves of bread.
~Jeff picked up a few things we needed from the grocery store in the town he works out of for me on his way home.
~Jeff and I found that someone had made 2 deposits into our money mover account at the credit union. We finally found out that it was Jaysn and Rachel...they wanted to surprise us and help us after the big expense of Caesar's vet bill. It honestly made me cry...so very thoughtful and sweet of them since Jeff had not been working when they did it.
~I made us a lovely dinner of lamb chops with a rosemary and butter sauce, baked potatoes and veggies. I found the lamb chops when we defrosted one of our freezers over the weekend.
~I ordered two 30 packs of toilet paper and a large bottle of naproxen sodium from Walmart.com and am having it shipped to us. Cases continue to skyrocket for covid-19 in the towns we shop in regularly and neither Jeff or I want to be anywhere near them. It was actually cheaper for me to order it online since the price was good, I got free shipping and I don't have to use gas and make a 60 mile round trip to do my shopping in person.
~One night this week I quickly put together a chicken spaghetti using a homemade sauce, canned chicken, noodles from the pantry and some fresh thyme from the garden. It was so good!
~Found out our car is going to need an additional $800 worth of repairs. Luckily we can put that off until we catch up on other bills.
~Friday night I made breakfast for dinner...pancakes, sausage patties and strawberry topping that I had made in the past and frozen. YUM!
~My mother made Jeff and I both 2 more masks. These were personalized with the logo from the resort that my father used to manage and where I grew up. The tsunami took the resort out years ago and they are still trying to rebuild it. So very special to us.
~I got a coupon for free chewable vitamins in the mail. I may give it to Rachel since they are chocolate flavored and she might be able to get Jaysn to take them that way. 😉
~I have been looking up more recipes to find some the utilize what I have on hand here. Jeff and I both like lots of variety and I am trying to recreate our favorite treats that we normally would buy premade and also some of our favorite restaurant meals.
~It has finally cooled down enough here this week at night so that I only have to run the vent and not the water cooling part of the swamp cooler.
Hopefully I will be able to stay on top of things this weekend and coming week. I am trying to get back into a regular (well as regular as I can manage) schedule with Jeff now having returned to work. At least I have been able to keep up on the cooking and the laundry so that is progress right?
Over the weekend we had a huge pike in Covid-19 cases all tied to WSU in Pullman, WA. There were 30 cases Saturday and 39 cases Sunday while the partying along Greek row continued. 😠 Today there was only 1 cases reported but I have heard from people working the testing sites to expect more...much more. After this weekend's parties, I believe them. We are already seeing the effects of this as certain city offices are shutting down to in person visits to try and keep their staff safe. Classes at WSU are all online this semester so there was really no need for all students to return in person at this point. Some were locked into leases already but many living in Greek housing, has the option to stay home.
This is a huge problem for many people since businesses will be further restricted, just as they were starting to reopen with restrictions in place. We do all our banking in that town along with some of our shopping and 2 of our kids work there also. 😔 Honestly, I think that things are going to get much wrose again for awhile and businesses that were barely hanging on might close permanantly with these latest numbers.
I fully expect panic buying to take place once again as people realize what is coming down the pike for us. At this point the last place I want to be is in a grocery store where so many people may be carrying this awful virus...thus I am so glad that I followed my gut and stocked up big time on HBA and groceries.
Jeff and I are also coming off a time of no income after his surgery and recovery (once his sick leave and vacation leave were used up). He did return to work this past Friday night and is happy to be able to work once more but it is taking a toll on him since he has to get all his stamina back. I am being very protective of him and making sure he takes at least one weekend day off from big projects around here so that he can rest.
This past Saturday, Jeff and I defrosted and cleaned out our big upright freezer (we still have the chest freezer to do). I was amazed at all the frozen fruit and applesauce we had in there. I am also in the process of making a bunch more since our tree is producing abundantly right now. Seeing what we have and getting it all organized helped me to be able to make meal plans for months out. Sunday night we enjoyed lamb chops (found in the freezer) with a butter and rosmary sauce , baked potatoes and beans from our garden for dinner. The night before it was homemade mac and cheese (also from the freezer).
Our refrigerator and pantry are also stocked. We hit a sale on cheese for $3.99 a pound when we had to run errands early last week and bought 3 of them. I may have Jeff pick up a few more on his way home from work in another town that also has them but where the college students are not. 😉 Jeff goes through cheese at a phenomenal rate and yet his cholesterol numbers remain good...unlike mine. The pantry shelves are full of shelf stable grains, canned meats, fruits, vegetables, soups, condiments and baking goods along with cereals, crackers, pasta, etc.. Oh my seasonings are also stocked up.
Having things stocked has given me great peace of mind knowing that we will be okay throughout Jeff's recovery and time of no income along with the uptick in the Covid-19 cases here recently. In another month or so, we will do another big stock up trip at Winco and be fully masked up. Hopefully at that time I can stock up for another 2-3 months so that we do not have to do a huge stock up again. I could go without doing that though if needed, but I want to have a 6 month or more supply on hand of anything and everything we use on a regular basis. None of us knows how this Fall and Winter will be with Covid, the flu and the unpredictable weather patterns that we are experiencing.
Our big goals now are to pay off Jeff's medical bills, pay off Caesar's vet bill 😢, get the wood pellets restocked for the heating season and get my car fixed (ball joint going out). In order to do this, we have to continue to keep the rest of the bills down as far as posssible. Our well stocked pantry is a huge asset in this process. Hopefully Chris and Heather will be able to get enough meat while hunting to once again share with us. That has been a huge blessing for years now. I supply them with apples for applesauce, raspberries and blackberries from our garden and they bless us with meat. It has worked out well and everyone benefits. 😀
On another note, I do want to thank all of you for your prayers and thoughts for Jeff and I both with his surgery and for the loss of our beloeved Caesar. It still seems unreal for him to not be here and I am constantly finding myself calling for or looking for him. Last night Jeff and I finally took a walk in the evening...something that I have not been able to bring myself to do since Caesar's death. That was our "thing", to go for walks in the cool of the evening during the Summer months. With Jeff now back at work, I am trying to adjust to being able to sleep without both him and Caesar here with me. Caesar provided me with such a sense of security and so much unconditional love and laughter. I still am missing my huge shedding like crazy speedbump of love.
Oh what I week we have had. It has been a heartbreaking one with us losing Caesar and a dear friend losing her beloved father within a few days of each other. Another friend is struggling and we are doing everything we can to help her. I have not been able to keep up on the garden as I would like to as I grieve and my Fibromyalgia is flaring big time. I am still calling for Caesar, forgetting that he is no longer with us. 😥 Our entire nighttime routine has changed without our boy. Throughout it all, I have tried to just plug along and establish a new "normal" routine. Last night I finally gave in to the pain and had a raspberry gin and tonic (pictured above) to help numb the physical pain I am in. I think after the week I had that it was well deserved.
~I signed up for the free Peacock TV service online. There are many shows there that I enjoy so it will be fun to explore it.
~I made 2 loaves of bread and used the last half of a previously made loaf to make croutons with.
~More raspberries were picked and frozen along with some that will be given to family.
~We had chicken, stuffing, beans, tomatoes and peas from the garden. I took the leftover chicken and chunked it up for another meal and then took the rest of the chicken and threw it in the crockpot, along with another chicken bones that I had in the freezer. I seasoned it and threw some parsley from the garden in for good measure and let it simmer away until right before bed. I took the meat off the bones and put it in the refrigerator. Oh my is that stuff good. I will either make soup or chicken and dumplings with it.
~My friend Billy was hosting the 38th Annual Slack Key Guitar Festival and they live streamed it on YouTube. It was fun to see my old childhood friend that I still keep in touch with and listen to the amazing artists.
~We Skyped with Josh and Lauren.
~Chris and Heather had us come out and enjoy lunch with them at their house. I took some watermelon with us to add to the meal.
~My cousin Jeremy is closing his store so he had the whole family come and get what they wanted. It was a resale store so he had all kinds of stuff. We ended up with 2 shelving units, a chainsaw, receiver,cards, pictures, first aid supplies, movies, glassware, serving trays, bulk foods including honey, rice, canned hams, soy sauce, etc., sewing supplies, clothing, laundry detergent making supplies, and other personal care items along with so many other things I cannot think of at the moment.
~Jeremy had us come over for dinner afterwards and he gave me a huge package of vanilla beans along with a large bottle of good quality vodka. He is also giving me a chair that has been in our family since 50 year before Lincoln became president. The history of that chair is all documented. When he moves, he will be giving us his living room furniture which is really nice since he does not want to take it all with him. It is just what we have been wanting for ages now but we had never told him that.
~Chris told Jeff today that he is blessing him with his old truck. It needs a brake job but we will take care of that. Chris is paying some of the other expenses to get it all registered in his father's name. That is his Father's Day, Birthday and Christmas gift to his dad. :)
~The best part of the day though was just getting to spend most of it with our family here and enjoy each other's company!
~I used some leftover chicken to make a nice chicken salad for our lunch today.
~Jeff is modifying some double sided shelving making it deeper so that I can store blankets and quilts on it.
~Our sheets and towels were washed and then hung out on the line to dry.
~I turned one of our rolling drawered carts into a first aid station. My cousin gave us lots of first aid supplies so now they are all in one place. We are set and so are our neighbors. 😉
~I made a nice casserole and some garlic bread for dinner.
~I was able to bless my hanai sister with a nice leather coat...she was so happy!
~Tense day around here...had to take Caesar to the vet after a very rough night of him struggling. We lost him later that day.
~Leftovers for lunch because I wanted to be by the phone as we waited to hear from the vet since they kept him there to run tests.
~I got a movie from the library in the mail.
~I also got a free sample of lip gloss and a free magazine in the mail.
~Jeff got our free shelving reworked and made it into single sided deeper shelves instead of double sided shelves. He then got our extra blankets and quilts put on some of them and the others were used for food storage. This is all in the front bedroom that we turned into a pantry/craft/storage room.
~leftovers for lunch.
~Made some homemade won ton soup. I needed comfort food badly.
~We are giving all of Caesar's dog food to Heather and Chris for their dog. We have almost 2 whole bags worth that I had bought not knowing that we would loosing him. :(
~I picked more raspberries and poha from the garden.
~Jeff and I watched one of the movies that we were blessed with from my cousin Jeremy.
~It was a cooler and overcast day here so we did not need to run the swamp cooler.
~Leftovers for lunch.
~Jeff set up a hutch that we got for free in our breezeway for me to use as a potting bench.
~Purged some more stuff.
~Worked my points programs.
~Found a new music station on my Roku. Listening to one from Hawaii now.
~Made 2 more loaves of bread.
~I found a package of thinly sliced round steak for $2.86. I am freezing it for now and then will thaw and make it into teriyaki...yum.
~We found some hydrogen peroxide and alcohol at Walgreens. I have aloe vera gel here so I can now make some hand sanitizer and have the hydrogen peroxide on hand for other things, including in the garden.
~Jeff got the new receiver put in and it works great!
~Dinner was a garlic and freshly cracked pepper seasoned pork loin, cheesy broccoli rice and fresh peas from the garden.
~Chris, Heather, Bradley and Isaiah came over to have lunch with us and drop off some things. Heather blessed me with a quart bag full of delicious huckleberries!
~I made a huge pan of homemade mac and cheese using some of the turkey bone broth in the sauce for extra flavor and nutrition. Not only did it make the huge pan full, but it made 2 smaller pans full that I froze for later meals. The whole family loved it.
~I sent the leftover mac and cheese home with Isaiah...he is a mac and cheese fiend.
~We also sent Chris and Heather home with 1 and 3/4 full bags of dog food along with 3 cans of dog food for their dog Tank. It came right in time for them since they finished off the bag they had that morning. This should keep them going for about 3 months since he does not eat as much as Caesar did. I'm so glad they could use it.
~Jeff and I ran into town in the late afternoon to pick up a new handle for the Flex since it had broken earlier in the week. We were going to do it Saturday, but we are expecting high heat so we did it while it was cooler.
~I have really gotten into coloring in the grown up coloring books lately. It calms me. I needed a small manual pencil sharpener since I am using colored pencil. We stopped at Good
will since I thought that I might find one there along with more colored pencils. I did not find the sharpener, but I found a bag full of assorted color pencils and gel pens. I got it! I price matched them at Walmart and I got at least a $50 value with the current sale prices. Without the sales, it would have been closer to $100. I paid $3.99.
~I also found a brand new pajama gown (I have the exact some one but it is getting worn out) and a quilting pattern book for my mom. I also used a 20% off coupon that I had for donating some things.
~I did find a pencil sharpener at Walmart for .47 and I got my cholesterol blocking OTC meds for half the price as anywhere else. I picked up another pack of dry erase markers while they were on sale for $1 also.
So there you have it, our week in a nutshell. Blessings, heartbreak, tears, pain and the beginnings of healing all wrapped up within a one week time frame. I will admit, I am emotionally spent at this point. We have a heat wave in progress right now so I will be spending this weekend and most of the coming week at home and trying to catch up on sleep, some reading and watching some good movies. It is much needed.
We sadly had to say a final goodbye to our Caesar yesterday. 😭 He had been in declining health but it took a bad turn for the worse on Monday night. Our big loving hulk of a dog and the best buddy to our grandsons was struglling big time. I had told Jeff just a week earlier that I thought our time was short with him as we took him down to the river to go swimming...one of his favorite things.
Jeff took him to the vet on Tuesday morning and had to leave him there while they ran tests and tried to figure out what was going on. I knew in my gut that the news was going to be horrible and it was...Cancer. He had a large tumor that could be seen on his chest along with another in his stomach. He also had a raging fever and they suspected he also had sepsis.
Jeff and I made the hard decision to help our beloved dogger leave his pain behind. We headed over to the vet's office and despite the covid-19 restrictions, they made an exception so we could be there with him while he made the transition over rainbow bridge. It was one of the most devastating things I have ever gone through as I comforted Caesar as he lay there in obvious pain and struggling before he was finally at peace. He fought bravely right up until the end and the last thing he saw and heard was me telling him that he was a good boy and that it was alright.
Our Heather, Bradley and Isaiah met us and we all went to bury our beloved boy. My oldest two grandsons showed such compassion for Jeff and I. They loved that dog and he had been a part of their lives for as far back as they could remember. He was a part of our family and he loved those boys and got so excited when they would come over. He stood guard over all three of our grandsons when the whole family gathered and made sure that they were safe and happy.
I have lost other fur babies in the past, but Caesar's death has affected me on a much deeper level. I think that is because we had him for so long and he truely was my buddy. He frequently slept with his head resting on my foot or his paw touching me. He and I both gained comfort from one another. He helped me to get through some of the most difficult times in my adult life and was a source of unconditional love as Jeff and I were for him. I will always carry him in my heart and be so thankful for the love and time we shared. I love you Caesar and thank you for your unconditional love that you gave to us all.
Yes, I realize the picture above is from July 27, but I forgot to share it then and we had leftovers during this past frugal week so there ya go. 😉 The above meal is Char Siu chicken thighs, cilantro lime rice and coleslaw with craisins. I call it my Multicultural Plate. 😋 It was really good and it definitely is comfort food, which Jeff and I both needed.
So here is why I am freaking out a bit. Jeff and I had planned on putting my expensive health insurance premium payment on the credit card since we have to pay the whole amount out of pocket for the month of August. Jeff cannot go back to work until after he is cleared by the surgeon at the end of the third week in August at the earliest. So that makes 1 possible week of work in August IF everything goes well. That check will have the first half of my insurance for September taken out of it so it will be a very small check that will have to stretch big time. Well, we found out that his employer was not able to do it that way so we had to pull the cash out of savings to pay it and that leaves us with very little left to pay the middle of the month bills that are coming due. UGH! We had been hoping that the government would be sending out more of the pandemic stimulus checks but it is looking like that is not going to be happening now. Things are going to be scary financially until Jeff is able to get back to work now and we do not want to have to resort to using the credit card again if possible.
Anyway, now that I have had my freak out moment, here is what we have been doing to save money this past week in no particular order.
~Jeff and I took a drive down to the river and took Caesar with us. Jeff packed us a wonderful lunch. Caesar and I went swimming and then we let him dry off for a bit. While we were doing that, a little girl got into trouble in the water and luckily I saw her and started running down the beach to help her...she was starting to drown. A teenager on the beach saw what I was doing and asked if the girl was really in trouble...when I said yes, she jumped up also and ran much faster than I can and got out there and hauled her in. That teenager is a hero in my book! Parents really need to keep an eye on their kids at all times and have them stay in the actual swimming area and not where the current can take them out.
~We got another movie from the library.
~Lots of raspberries were picked and frozen.
~Jeff and I did one more stock up trip for nneded things since the Covid -19 virus has taken off and we are now in the red zone. Things will be shutting down even more now. Hopefully we will not have to go into town for a least another 3 weeks.
~While at the Dollar Tree picking up big bottles of conditioner and a few other items, we noticed a sign that said all the hand sanitizer stuff we had bought there was recalled. I spoke to the manager about it and they said to bring it all back in and they would refund my money. That money will be used (once we bring it back) to buy milk and fresh produce later in the month.
~I found some marked down meats at Walmart along with marked down bread. I used one package of marked down Italian sausage to make pizzas with a huge loaf of marked down Italian bread. I took the leftover homemade pizza sauce and added half of the cooked Italian sausage (that was not used on the pizza) and mixed it together. I will be making a casserole with this in the next day or so and will serve it with the other marked down French bread loaf that will be made into garlic bread.
~Another meal we enjoyed this week was marinated venison steaks that I cooked up and served with green beans from the garden, squash and some wild rice mix.
~More make over meals were roasted potatoes and meatloaf served with a big green salad. The next round, for another two meals, was the leftover meatloaf that was then broken up into smaller pieces and some brown gravy, corn and beans were added to it. This was served over mashed potatoes. Another big hit with Jeff.
~Jeff built slide out drawers on our bottom shelves under the cooktop. Our cabinets are really deep and things get lost back there. I was able to organize things better and I purged a bunch of stuff too. Jeff had everything he needed on hand.
~We have watched more movies online.
~Jeff cleaned out the back guest bedroom and I got it ready for the grandkids to be able to come and stay with us. I want to do this soon before things get too bad with this virus again.
Again, I know there is much more but I was not good about keeping track and I have been dealing with a pretty bad Fibro flare again. At least the weather has cooled down though, so that is a wonderful thing to be thankful for. Be blessed!