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. 😊  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. πŸ’–  Things are definitely looking a lot cheerier up here on the hill now.

   With the Christmas dΓ©cor 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. πŸ˜„  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.  😟  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. 😞 Even worse, we will see more deaths that may have been avoided if people had followed the mandates and recommendations. 😒

   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. 

   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...


~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.


~I cut Jeff's hair.

~We had leftovers for dinner.


~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.


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


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

~Jeff's prescription refill was free.  Yay!


~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.


~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. πŸ˜•  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 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


~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.


~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.


~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.


~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.


~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.


~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.


~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.