Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Rainy Day Ramblings

 




    As I write this post it is raining...glorious much needed rain! 😊  Oh it makes me so happy!  The trees are getting a good soaking right when they need it while producing fruit and so is the rhubarb that has been struggling a bit this year.  I'm sure the blueberries, strawberries and cane fruits are loving it too.


   Since I am having to stay inside and not work in the yard, I took some more time to go over our monthly budget.  I needed to shave another $100 off of it and had been racking my brain how to do so.  The answer was staring me right in the face.  It was our credit card payment.  I decided to just pay the balance off completely and eliminate that payment all together (took the money out of savings).  I still have money in savings for an emergency and I can balance our monthly budget.  Yay!  We are still cutting down in any areas that we are able to so that we can have a "cushion" for those quarterly bills that come due.  I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I finally realized what the solution was.


   That being said, our food budget will be slashed to $100 a month now. That includes HBA and cat food and litter also.   Since we have a very full pantry and 2 full freezers and the garden is starting to produce, I know we can do it with careful planning.  We do also get monthly commodities and that is a HUGE blessing and help. I will be preserving as much as I am able from the garden as well as sharing with family and friends and still eating lots fresh ourselves.  Yes, it is going to be tight, but hopefully Jeff will get a raise after his probationary period with this new job.  He is already proving to them that he is a go getter and team player and they really do appreciate that.


   I've been busy looking for recipes that use what we have on hand in the pantry and being very picky about what we buy from the grocery store.  Jeff wants to be able to bowl on a league this year but that is not financially possible.  However, he could be a substitute and his bowling would be paid for so that is what he is going to do at this point.  That was another one of those ideas that popped into my head while going over the numbers with him.  He gets to bowl and it is all paid for!  We will be using the little commuter car except on the hottest of days when I have to be somewhere away from home.  That should save us about $50 a month is gas costs.  During the Summer I try to stay home and inside where it is cooler as much as possible anyway.  Jeff will be picking up most of small fill in groceries we need in town before he comes home and we will only do a larger shop once a month and I will go with him to do that.  I have also talked to him about portion control and not picking up sodas or coffees when he is at work.  I am more than willing to put a 12 pack of his favorite soda into the grocery budget each month so that he can have it as his "treat".  Everyone needs one treat item right so they don't feel deprived or frustrated. 😉 Luckily he likes the Shasta knock of of Mountain Dew.  I have my gardens that produce some of my favorite Summer fruits, so I am covered there already.


   I cancelled our out of town trip at the end of the month to go to a wedding.  Between hotel costs and gas costs, it was going to go over budget.  Realistically, there was a good chance we would have had to cancel anyway since it is in a very hot area and is an outdoor wedding.  Heat makes me super ill and I cannot handle it anymore.


   Anyway, that is what is on my mind for today...many rambles.



   


   



   


Friday, June 11, 2021

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/11/21

   




   I thought I would do a cumulative Frugal Friday Wrap Up post today covering several weeks since I have not been good of keeping track of things on a daily basis...please bear with me here.  Between being busy, the heat making me really ill, and Fibro Fog, it really has been difficult to keep up.  So here ya go with what I can remember. 😉 


~The first of the strawberries are starting to ripen and I still have to try to beat the birds to get them.  I love serving them in my thrifted Haviland small fruit bowls.  I have a soft spot for Haviland china and have several complete sets that I inherited but these blue ones are a set that I am slowly gathering myself since I absolutely love them!

~I thinned out the radishes in the garden and used the tops to add to my salad bowl...yum!

~The compost pile is being fed rather nicely with lawn clippings, egg shells, banana peels. etc..  It should give us some wonderful compost next gardening season.

~My parents brought us the HUGE and expensive BBQ grill that they bought at Costco years ago.  It is getting to heavy for my father to move around so they bought a smaller one and gave the old on to us.  We can feed an army off that thing!  They also brought us over their smaller portable camping grill since they are no longer using it.

~Mom also brought us some homemade jams...so yummy!

~Jeff installed a new dishwasher for us after ours died a rather noisy and slow death.  This new dishwasher was not cheap but since Jeff and I both have back problems, it beats having to stand there and do dishes by hand.

~I as able to find health and vision coverage for me through our state's heath insurance exchange.  After the subsidy that we qualify for, I was able to get a great plan that is better than my last one and will be paying about $38 per month out of pocket!  That sure beats the nearly $700 a month we had been paying for all these years with Jeff's previous employer for me.

~I've been using the overripe bananas to make delicious banana bread.

~Jeff got the swamp cooler hooked up so that I would have a cool place to retreat to and help me  from getting too sick from the heat.  I have been using the water run off from it to water the fruit trees and other plants.  Win-Win!

~Our town had it's monthly commodity distribution and I was given so much food.  I am sharing a bunch of it with our family so that it will not go to waste.

~I froze leftover chicken fajita mix and rice, along with some jambalaya for future meals since we had so many leftovers and there was no way Jeff and I could eat it before it went bad.

~The laundry line has been getting a good workout with a lot of our things being dried out there.

~My garden is coming along well for the most part except for the beans...something is eating the leaves at night.  I may have to cover  it up with some mesh to keep critters out.

~While my parents were here they had us join them to go swimming at the hotel they were staying at and also treated us to drinks.  It was nice to just have some one on one time with them without the distraction (as wonderful as they are) of our kids and grandkids. 😉

~Our "treasure hunting" yielded some brand new canning jars, clothing, shoes (new and will be sold), household goods, and some gardening supplies.

~Of course sandwich bread was made...I did not make it for a week and Jeff  had to rely on store bought bread.  He was not really happy about that. I also made him croutons with the ends of the previous loaves...another win!

~Our family gatherings were potluck style as per usual and very fun!

~We lost YouTube on our Roku so have been finding some other channels to watch.  I still get YouTube on my computer and can stream it to the TV that way so all is not lost.

~I transferred some of my homemade vanilla (made with beans my sister grew in her garden in Tahiti) into a smaller bottle so it is more convenient to use than the 1 gallon jar I have been making it in.

~I also transferred more flour into my big glass cannister to make life easier than having to open the big buckets that I store the bulk of it in.

~We did start the envelope system for grocery shopping and are doing well with it.  Parting with cash is harder for me to do so this helps keep me in check.

~I cooked up a big batch of waffles and froze them for future meals.  They rewarm and crisp up great in the toaster oven.

~Needing more ideas for meals, I have been going back and reading through my cookbook collection.  So many great ideas come from there, especially the ones that were from the more frugal type or old farm cookbooks.

~Jeff and I gave each other haircuts.

~We have been going to the oldest grandsons (Bradley and Isaiah) Tee Ball games and I have been packing dinner to take with us.  So far we have had grilled chicken salads and ham and cheese/ smoke salmon tortilla wraps.  Not sure what I am making for next week yet.

~We bought a basically new recliner off Facebook Marketplace from a family that was moving.  Jeff is still going to try to fix my old one that I love also.  I need recliners for my back since it is difficult for me to sit upright for long periods of time with my back issues.

~Jeff and I have had great luck at Goodwill finding shorts for him for work, 2 sleeveless and soft summer shirts for me, a new dress for a wedding for me, some gardening tools, dvds and Hawaiian music CDs (.99 each).  One of the CDs was signed by one of the artists and his cousin and I are friends.  How cool is that?  I do love my Hawaiian music by the local artists.

~I am now in the process if filling in every blank spot in my garden with more seeds.  Lettuce will be ready before the other plants grow big enough to take over the area.  I also seeded in pots of garlic, petunias, hollyhocks and zinnias.  Oh yes, I also have seeded in marigolds around the squash and cantaloupe plants to help protect them from bugs.

~We have a wedding out of town in a few weeks.  I booked us into a hotel that had great reviews, free breakfast and had low prices.  I don't want to be driving home on dark twisty country roads late at night.  My friend/hanai sister Shannon will be taking care of our cats for us while we are out of town for the night.  We trade off taking care of each other's fur babies.

~Speaking of Shannon, she came bearing gifts of wine and sparkling cider one night.  I had dinner all made so we had a spur of the moment "family dinner" with her here. 😀  Lots of fun and so much laughter!

~I am very carefully looking at the grocery ads and only buying most things when they are at rock bottom prices and stocking up on them IF they are non perishable or have a long life before expiration date.  I was able to get some free BBQ sauce the other day along with assorted cream cheeses for .99 each and boxes of Cheerios for $1.25 each.  I still do need to buy things like bananas for hubby and I can't wait until my lettuce is ready in the garden to eat so I can stop buying that at the store.  We are doing a lot of eating out of the packed freezers and pantry right now since we have an abundance of food there also.

~Our rain barrel is set up since we are going to be in a severe drought this Summer and I am trying to collect all the rain water I can at the moment.  It is very sporadic at this point but I will take what I can get.



   That is about it for the time being...my brain is not working so well this morning as I am finishing off this post...what else is new right?  LOL!  Gotta laugh...it does a heart good you know. 😉 I need to get off this thing and get a few projects done before we head to a graduation party later today.  Be blessed all and have a great weekend!





 



Thursday, June 3, 2021

Taking a Slow Day for Me

    










   Jeff and I have both been pushing ourselves to get projects done around the house and had a really busy weekend.  This, on top of a busy week last week and me hurting my back, coupled with the unseasonable high heat, has left me needing a day to rest and recover.  I decided this morning that today was going to be that day.




   Since I had a rough night last night full of nightmares that left me exhausted, I decided to go back to sleep before Jeff left for work.  I honestly did not even hear him leave so I must have fallen into a much needed deep sleep cycle quickly.  I switched from the bed in the guest room (where I sleep better due to the mattress in there) back to our bed for this second "sleep" since I felt "safer" after my nightmares in there.  I finally woke up around 9:30 a.m. rested, but still very sore.




   I took my time and had coffee on the back porch and got caught up on a few things online, and panicked when I remembered that I had neglected to take my medications when I first got up.  That taken care of, I planned my day...my slow day and then took the buckets of water from the overflow of the swamp cooler and watered one of the pear trees.  I will do the other trees as the day goes on and the buckets fill up again.





   First on the agenda was to get some boneless, skinless chicken breast marinating in a lime vinaigrette to cook up later.  I planned to cook them in my Airfryer and serve them with a cold and crisp green salad for dinner.  Easy and delicious!  I then got two loaves of bread dough mixed up, kneaded and set out on the hot tub to rise in the heat out there.  They got HUGE!  I brought them in and popped them in the oven to cook.  Jeff has been having store bought bread for sandwiches and I know he prefers homemade, so he will be more than happy to have more on hand.  





   Being that it was such a sunny and hot day, I took some pictures of a few on my Columbine plants and then headed inside and got the Swamp Cooker turned on to cool the house way down before the intense heat of the day got too bad.  We are going to have a planned power outage from 10 tonight to 6 in the morning o Friday so I really needed to get things cooled down in the house before that happens.  I also made sure to get flashlights, battery operated candles and anything else we might need ready to go and I made sure that the cell phone was completely charged up. I also got the hot tub chemicals taken care of so that stays nice and clean.





   Lest you think I got a lot done and so much for a "slow day", I really did take things slow and spent a lot of time watching slow living type YouTube videos in between different tasks.





   **Later in the evening:  Jeff came home to me in the kitchen finishing off getting dinner ready and seeing the homemade bread.  He was a very happy man. 😊  Dinner was delicious and I added some broccoli cheese rice to the menu to round things out a bit.  Jeff is now up on the roof trying to tighten the clamp on the water hose and adjust the float arm so that we do not have as much water leaking down the roof.  Hopefully after that he can relax a bit since he has had big projects (including putting in a new dishwasher since our old one died) all week long and we have Bradley and Isaiah's PeeWee ball game tomorrow night and then he works for part of the day Saturday and we have a graduation party to go to as soon as he makes it home to pick me up.  Hopefully he will agree to rest Sunday since he has to be back at work on Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Four Generations Finally Together Again!





   It had been since October of 2019 since we have been able to see my parents and we finally were able to get together this past weekend!  They came over for a combined birthday, housewarming, and anniversary family party.  We had so much fun and I honestly could not stop hugging my mom. 😌 My father and I had some of the most in depth talks we have ever had and I learned a lot about both him and my mom.  It was wonderful to have everyone together, visiting and just catching up with each other once more...perfectly priceless!










     I tell you, the fun never ends with this crew!  I can't wait to be able to all get together again in the hopefully near future.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Heat is On

   




    The heat is on...literally.  We went from comfortable 70's to the 90's this week.  UGH!  Those of you that have been with me know that I do not do heat well at all.  It make me physically ill.  My gardens also are having a hard time not knowing how to cope with this sudden change.  Here is how I am trying to cope.


   Jeff got the swamp cooler all up and running on Monday for me.  It is a lifesaver!  However, the overflow water drips off the roof of the house.  In order not to waste water, I have a bucket to catch said water positioned under where it drips down onto the ground.  I will use this water to water the plants in my flower borders in the back yard.  I do have the rain barrel set up but there has been very little rain so it does not have enough water to even fill a bucket yet.


   I'm attempting to get up early in the morning so that I can get things done before the heat of the day comes on and also take so time to enjoy the cooler morning air while I have my coffee.  Since I am hanging out more things to dry on the laundry line, I do a load of what ever it is that I am going to hang out in the morning the night before.  This works well for me with everything except the sheets on our beds.  Those I have to do in the morning and then get them hung out to dry.  We do love  good line dried sheets in this house. 😁


   Veggie and fruit gardens are watered in the early evening.  This gives the water time to soak in and not be evaporate off with the hot sun.  Jeff had not had time to set up the soaker hoses in the raised beds yet so I have been doing it with hose in hand.  Luckily I have a bench set up by the side veggie garden so I can sit there while I water and it has become a nice little evening ritual for me.  I enjoy watching the birds come in while I water to enjoy the coolness of the water and look for bugs.


   Cooking ahead and in bulk is something that also helps me deal with the heat.  I'd rather spend one day in the hot kitchen and have meals for a week rather than trying to do it daily.  We also tend to have a lot of cold pasta, veggie and potato salads this time of year.  Having homemade prepared meals in the freezer that are quick to grab is also one of my secrets to dealing with the "I am just too hot and tired to cook" dilemma. 😉


   Ice cold beverages are a must!  I refrigerate the leftover coffee from the morning and then add creamer and half and half to it later for a refreshing afternoon pick me up, or I will have that instead of hot coffee if the morning is air temperature is already climbing quickly.  I try to have some iced tea in the refrigerator and I make sure the ice cube trays are kept full in the freezer.  Jeff and I drink a lot of water also.


   Yes, we still use our hot tub.  We do use it at a lower temperature though when we need a good oak to help our sore muscles but we also use it to cool down in on the hottest of days.  By mid Summer, when the temps are in the high 90's and low 100's, you will find me in there, sometimes with an "adult beverage". 😄


   It might sound weird, but I watch a lot of movies during the day when it gets really hot outside.  I have the swamp cooler cranked up to keep me cool inside the house, curtains closed for the most part and put on a movie to keep me amused.  I especially like to watch Christmas movies or winter themed ones.  There is just something about them that helps me feel cooler...strange but true.


   Jeff taught me a trick that helps when I am nauseous from the heat.  He has me put a ice pack, wrapped in a towel, on the back of my neck.  This helps cool me down and helps with the muscle pain.  I also learned that our cat Midgy loves to have the same ice pack put on her back on hot days to help cool her down.  She is a rather rotund cat with thick long fur and needs some help getting cooled down herself.


   Those are just a few ways I am coping with the heat.  I know that we have a long hot Summer ahead of us and I am going to try to do everything I can to stay cool and not get as sick as I did last year from the heat.  Be blessed all!




   


   


   

Monday, May 24, 2021

A New Chapter in Our Lives

 




   After 12 years of working the graveyard shift as a freight delivery driver, Jeff's time there came to an end on Friday night.  He started his new job in Contractor Sales at a building supply company today and could not be happier. 😊  He called me when he was on his lunch break to let me know how things were going.  There is definitely a learning curve since everything is computerized for inventory, but he will pick it up quickly I'm sure.  He is a hands on learner and picks up things quickly once he is shown how to do something and does it a few times himself.  He is now working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. which works out great for us since it will allow us to go to Bradley and Isaiah's Pee Wee baseball games this Summer, and being just 4 miles from Jaysn and Rachel's house, will allow him to stay with them if the roads get bad this Winter and shut down. 


   It is not just an adjustment for him, but for me also.  I am finding that I am more productive during regular daytime hours.  Today I was able to get 5 loads of laundry done and folded, make split pea and ham soup and work in the garden along with getting some things cleaned on the outside of the house.  I also got the gardens all watered.  There are still the beds to make with freshly washed linens, but I will wait for Jeff to help with that since my back is done for the day. 😉


   Jaysn came out this afternoon after work to borrow the truck so he can pick up a bed they are buying tomorrow.  It was so nice to visit with him for a bit without distractions.  We had fun sharing some memories and I sent him home with some sausages for the big family party this weekend.  They are much easier to just grill that Rachel making homemade pizza and she needs a break at the moment.  Trying to move into a new home and having family come for visits has been keeping her super busy (and stressed).


  Anyway, Jeff just got home so I am going to visit with him but I wanted to check in.  Be blessed!


   

Friday, May 14, 2021

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/14/21

 



   What a week it has been!  I went from being sicker than a dog from my reaction to my second Pfizer covid vaccine to slowly coming out of that and feeling semi "normal" again.  Even with that, I did manage to get quite a bit done in the garden, along with some cooking.  We did not go hungry by any means. 😉  Today, Friday, is the first day that I am finally free from any obvious side effects from the vaccine and I am so grateful for that.  Do I regret getting it?  Still no.  Onto the frugal doings:

   

Weekend:

~We worked in the garden getting the raised beds ready to plant.  Jeff put cardboard on the bottoms of the two remaining beds to block the weeds.

~I made 2 move loaves of bread.

~Jeff and I were craving tuna pasta salad so I went out to the garden, got some green onions and then pulled tuna, pasta and mayo out of the pantry.

~I was feverish both Friday and Saturday night with my reaction to my second dose of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine so I washed all of the bedding from the guest bed and the mater bedroom bed and hung it out to dry on the laundry line.  It smelled so good and was heavenly to crawl into bed Sunday night.

~Jeff made us grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner on Sunday night...mine even had tomato in it just the way I like it.  😋  I know it was Mother's Day but all I wanted to do was stay home and have a relaxing day.

~We talked to all the kids and my parents this weekend either by phone or facetime.  


Monday:

~Jeff and I went down to our town's assisted living care center to visit with Uncle Bob and got to see several other friends we have not seen in ages also.  We also stopped at the bank to visit with another good friend and at the little store to see if their prices were similar to many at the larger stores....surprisingly, many of them were!

~I made fajitas for lunch.  I already had cooked chicken fajita meat so I just zapped it in the microwave with a quarter of a frozen chopped onion and a sliced up fresh yellow pepper.  So easy and so good!

~Since I was wanting something different to drink, I mixed up a pitcher of peach iced tea.  Oh how I have missed that!

~The green onion bottoms that I had stuck in water after cutting off the tops were finally rooted out enough for me to plant in one of the new raised garden beds.  YES!

~Since I woke up way too early this morning, I gave myself permission to take a much needed nap.  I slept for 3 hours.  I had not planned on sleeping that long but apparently I needed it.


Tuesday:

~I got two of the raised garden beds seeded in with assorted lettuces, kale, spinach, radishes and bush beans.  I also got my blue columbine planted.

~The garden bench was in rough shape after sitting out all Fall and Winter.  I gave it a good scrub down so it is presentable again.

~The strawberry bed, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry bushes, along with the rhubarb all got a good watering.

~After doing way too much I ended up in a huge amount of pain (also still dealing with of the covid-19 vaccine after effects UGH) and could barely move.  Jeff got a frozen pizza out of the freezer and we had that for dinner.  I had gotten it on sale previously and it was perfect for a day like this.

~I curled up in bed after dinner and watched money saving videos on YouTube.  I was glad that i did because I had forgotten the concept of weighing decisions based on "how many hours of work will it take to pay for item x, y, or z and is it worth it).  Great reminder!


Wednesday:

~Jeff and I ran into Pullman to Walmart to get more soil for one of our raised beds in the garden.  While there I found a queen sized sheet set on clearance for $15!  I bought it since it will be prefect for the guest bed with the warmer weather coming on.  I also found salad mix, cheesecake and hoagie rolls on clearance.  I resisted the urge to buy a bunch more plants even though many of them were on clearance.

~While in town, we ran up to some of the college student apartments and went "treasure hunting".  I found half a case of brand new quart sized canning jars, new shoes in their boxes (will be reselling these), gardening supplies, clothing and show knows what else.  I still have a huge tote to go through full of stuff.

~I was really craving some good burgers so I made some at home for dinner and served that along with some homemade applesauce that I had pulled out of the freezer earlier in the day.


Thursday:

~The mail brought a lovely surprise of a refund check for part of my health insurance payments from way back in 2015.  Hey, I'll take it!  It also brought a free magazine, Country Living, which I will enjoy reading later today.

~I got the squash planted today.

~Jeff and I dug up some of the errant strawberry plants and got them potted up for Steven.

~Jaysn and Steven came for a visit to borrow our blow up air bed since they have some of Rachel's cousins and their kids staying with them this weekend.  Steven was very excited about his strawberry plants that Grammie and G-pa gave him. :)

~Jaysn blessed us with half a gallon of milk.  That was really sweet of him.

~I made a pork chop and rice casserole for dinner.


Friday:

~I spent the morning on my screened in porch getting caught up on things online and enjoying my coffee.  One of the neighborhood cats decided to come into our backyard for a visit.  My cats were so deeply asleep that they did not even notice.  LOL!

~I hung Jeff's work clothing up on the line to dry after I washed them.  It is so nice to be able to do that again!

~We have an abundance of pineapple mint growing in one of our front beds by the house.  I grabbed a big handful of the mint, rinsed it and then steeped in in boiling water to make some mint tea.  I love this cold on a hot day.

~Jeff and I have both been craving Subway sandwiches so I made my own version of them here at home for lunch.  Much healthier and way cheaper since I had bought smoke turkey slices lunchmeat when it was on sale and frozen it. I got that for $1 a package.  Even with making thick sandwiches, I still have enough meat for one more.

~Jeff and I went down to visit Uncle Bob and helped him with a few things.  I let him know that Chris was going to be coming down in the morning to see him also.  He seemed very pleased about that. :)

~It has been unseasonably hot here and just getting hotter in the next few days.  I made good use of the bamboo blinds we put up on the back porch last year to cut the amount of sun coming in.  I also got the glider rocker all decked out in it's bench pad (an old body pillow that I cover with a twin sized fitted sheet) and a comfy pillow to rest my head on when I lay down and read.  Patchy greatly approves.




   Jeff only has one more week at his current job and then moves on to his new job.  I can tell that he is totally burnt out at this point but continues to do his best, even when asked to go above and beyond at the last minute for others.  Tonight he is doing his route and one of the other routes by himself.  Yes, he will get compensated for it, but it is frustrating to find out at the last minute (this morning) that the other guy wanted time off tonight and yet Jeff has been turned down for time off even when he asks in advance.  Putting in the extra hours tonight will mean that he will be exhausted tomorrow when Chris, Heather and the big grandboys come over in the morning.  We had also planned on going somewhere on Sunday, but we shall play that by ear at this point.  We shall see how Jeff and I are both doing at that point since the heat tends to make me ill.  Be blessed!







Saturday, May 8, 2021

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/7/21

 




   I finally feel human enough to be able to finish off this post.  Jeff and I both got our second dose of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine on Thursday and while he got through with just a sore arm and tiredness, I did not.  I ended up sicker than a dog with teeth chatter chills, sweat pouring down me, high fever, headaches and intense body aches.  It's now Saturday and I still have a bit of a temperature, sore arm, headache some body aches but I am praying the worst is over.


Weekend:

~Jeff ordered 5 cubic feet of gravel to be delivered to our home to redo our driveway and rented a walk behind skid steer to help with the project.  They did not deliver the gravel on Saturday morning and gave us the runaround all day long.  They finally got it delivered mid day on Sunday so they only charged us for half a day rental on the skid steer after realizing how angry we were.

~We used some heavy duty plastic and some pellet bags to put down under the gravel in certain areas where we have bad weed breakthrough problems.

~Jeff got 2 pickup beds full of dirt from Chris and Heather's huge pile that was sitting in their yard from when they put the pad down for their future shop.  Those were used as the base layer to fill the raised garden beds that Jeff built with materials we already had on hand.

~We did spend about $100 on organic garden compost and organic aged manure to add to the garden beds.

~We laid down cardboard in the raised beds before adding the soil to use as a weed barrier.  It will compost down over time but will smother the weeds in the process.

~I took a reduced priced fully cooked chicken out of the freezer and we had part of it for a meal along with homemade baked potato salad.

~I dug up some sunflower starts, along with dill, from the garden before putting in the new garden beds so I could transplant them.

~Sunday I thawed out some homemade BBQed pork and served it on buns for our lunch.

~We used the hot tub both Saturday and Sunday night after working so hard in the yard and garden.

~The rug in the living room was filthy so I took it outside and washed it then hung it over the tall fence to dry.

~Uncle Bob (our dearly loved neighbor) came home with a walker.  He needed a tray on top of it to transport things around the house.  He asked Jeff to build him one.  Jeff was able to whip one out within 10 minutes out of lumber we had on hand.  Jeff added an edge coming down off each side on the bottom to secure it but also make it so Bob could remove it if he wanted to.


Monday:

~Jeff had an interview for a new job and got it!  Yay!  Since he was already half way there (from our house) already, he proceeded down to Lewiston for the required drug test.

~I put the rest of the chicken from the weekend into the crockpot along with some veggies to cook.  I then stripped the meat off the bones and added some half and half and a can of corn to make a corn and chicken chowder.  We had some for dinner and had lots of leftovers for later in the week.

~Jeff mowed the lawn and added the grass clippings to the compost pile. I also added the veggie scraps and peeling to it.

~I cut up and froze 3 bunches of green onion tops and then put the bottoms into a container to root so I can plant them out in about a week in the garden.  

~I also diced up half an onion (the other half went into the chowder) and froze that for future use.

~Since I overdid it during the weekend, I spent most of Monday looking for new recipes to try in my cookbooks using ingredients I have on hand.

~A menu plan was made based on what we have on hand and needs to be used ASAP.


Tuesday:

~Jeff and I went to 2 thrift stores looking for jeans for him.  We did find a pair at one of them, along with a pajama gown for me, a locking lid salad bowl and a spoon rest. We both saw other things we like but did not need so we did not buy them.

~We decided to go out for an early dinner to celebrate Jeff's new job.  We went to our favorite place that serves sushi along with lots of other amazing Asian dishes.  Our sweet waitress came over with 2 fried sushi rolls that she said were miss ordered and asked if we would like then for free.  We said yes since I was planning on ordering sushi anyway.  Jeff ordered what he wanted and we brought half his meal plus one of the sushi rolls home with us because we were so full.  We left her a very generous tip for her kindness and the excellent service.

~We did stop at WSU to see the bears again since it was on our way.  I love watching them lumber along and play. :)

~Both Jeff and I tackled folding several loads of laundry together, sorting as we went as to what to keep and what to donate.


Wednesday:

~The cats and I spent some time out on the back porch in the morning while Jeff slept.  It is wonderful to be able to use it again as a dining room/living room and expands our home floor space.

~I cooked up some ground venison into taco meat and we had taco salads for our big meal of the day.  Yum!

~Tulips from the garden were picked and put in a vase to brighten up the inside of our home.  We are expecting possible hailstorms tomorrow so I wanted to make sure I got some in before the hail had a chance to destroy them.


Thursday:

~I looked at the grocery ads on line and did not see a single thing on sale that we needed.  I did notice another hike in prices though...YIKES!

~I talked to Chris and he wants some of the excess strawberry plants too.  Yay!  They will be divided equally between Steven and Chris. 😉

~Jeff and I got our second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and they had treats there for everyone.

~I found huge packages of mild smoked sausages for $1.97 at Grocery Outlet.  I bought two of them for our big family party later this month.  I also found peach iced tea mix and bought some of that to have on hand this summer.  It is one of my favorite drinks.

~Jeff made nachos for us for dinner with the leftover taco meat.


Friday:

~Oh my goodness was I ever sick with the side effects from the second Pfizer vaccine.  Needless to say we did not go anywhere or do much at all.

~I covered up some plants with boxes to keep them from freezing.


   I did start my grocery envelope system and put $100 into it.  I will add another $100 in two weeks when Jeff is paid again.  It really does help me to have to deal in cash because it really makes me think about what I am spending.  Hopefully this will be a good way to keep that all under control.









Monday, May 3, 2021

Income Going Down, Quality of Life Going Up

  




   In my last post I shared how our income might be going down.  Today we found out it will be and we could not be happier! 😁  I know that might sound strange, but stick with me here.  Jeff applied for a different job at a building supply company as the person who works with the contractors and builders.  He has the skill set and experience for this since he worked at and helped set up a new building supply store in the past, was the yard supervisor there and also worked as a carpenter building homes.  He has the connections in the building industry and he is a local guy who knows a lot of people in the area.  The assistant manager of the store he will be working for is someone he worked for in the past and who knows and appreciates Jeff's work ethic.  The new job is in Moscow, Idaho (Jeff's hometown that he grew up in) and is a daytime shift!  Woohoo!  Mostly he will work on weekdays with an occasional Saturday thrown in.  Yes, he will no longer be part of the night dwelling mole people!  LOL!  His new job is also just a few miles from Jaysn and Rachel's new place, so on the Saturdays that he has to work, he can run out there and have lunch with them and Steven.  He will also be getting off in time to go to most of Bradley and Isaiah's baseball games during the week.  Win-win!


   Jeff called and gave 3 weeks notice at his current job and one of the owners there was really happy for him.  She sees how hard he works and can also see the toll that this job has taken on his body.  He could have just given two weeks notice but he knew that might put them in a bind and wanted to give them an extra week to try and find someone to take over his route so he could train them.  He could have just given them 2 weeks and taken the 3rd week as a vacation, but that is the kind of guy he is...a truly good and caring person.  


   It was wonderful to both hear and see the absolute relief and genuine excitement that he has over this new job.  It is a field that he loves and is good at, will give him great social interaction with people that he knows and cares about, and will be a lot less taxing on his body.  His quality of life is definitely going up, as will mine since he will not be in so much pain.  It has been extremely concerning to me to see how much pain he has been in and the frustration he has been experiencing.  I love him so much and want to do everything I can to protect him.  I have totally been behind him 100% on this much needed change and I know that together, Jeff and I can still do well on a reduced income.  We have a good plan in place and have already been implementing it in anticipation of this. 😉


   

   

Monday, April 26, 2021

Redoing the Budget for a Smaller Income

    



   There is a possibility that our income may drop a bit in the near future.  We have run the numbers and we can still manage, but we will have to tighten things up considerably.  Honestly, there are areas that we can easily cut some costs, but others expenses are set, so it will be a balancing act of sorts.  We have been praying about this possible change and, if it is part of God's plan, it will come to fruition.


   There are areas that I need to work harder on, like our food budget and being careful NOT to waste food.  I have shamefully fallen short in that arena and need to get back on the frugal wagon once again.  Today I went through the refrigerator and the fruit bowl.  I looked at what needed to be used up ASAP.  I found 6 bananas that were way overripe and turned those into 3 loaves of moist banana bread.  I noticed that we were down to 1 lonely piece of sandwich bread, so 2 more loaves of that were made.  I had a big tub of cottage cheese that needed used so I got that out and decided to make cheese lasagna. I mixed that up with some Parmesan cheese and parsley from our garden.  Since I was lazy, I used some Havarti cheese instead of Mozzarella.  The slices were easy just to layer in.  After the lasagna was baked, I put some fresh Parmesan cheese on the top to melt in and give it a little kick.  All of the ingredients I used were deeply discounted or from our garden and I had them on hand here.  I served this with some garlic bread that I had gotten for free.  There are lots of leftovers for later in the week, which is a good thing since I have a leftovers night planned for Thursday.  Our freezers are still packed with lots of meat, cheeses, butter, veggies and frozen fruits.  Our pantry is full to the brim, so we have lots of options to pick from there also. We will be using those things instead of buying more right now unless I see a screaming deal.  We are also going to finally do what I have been wanting to and that is having a $200 monthly grocery budget and use cash because it really is harder for me to part with that.


   I also went through our HBA items and made sure I had all the shampoo, soap, antiperspirant, body wash, hair spray, OTC medication, etc. that we need for the next 6 months.  Luckily I had used some coupons the other day to get toothpaste for .50 a tube and big bottles of dishwashing soap for under $2 a bottle.  I also stocked up on laundry detergent at the Dollar Tree (4 more bottles) so I think we are set.


   Since I am sleeping in the guest bed now (it is way more comfortable with my fibromyalgia pain), I wanted to make sure that we had 2 complete sets of sheets for both that bed and the bed in the mater bedroom that Jeff prefers.  I dug way back into our linen closet and found that I already have what I needed.  I had forgotten about a set that Jaysn had given us years ago that he had bought for his bed and then decided that he would rather sleep on the couch at that time since it was comfier for him (this was way before he married Rachel).  So I can cross that off my list!  Savings of at least $40 right there.


   Jeff and I also made some fun plans for this Summer that only involve the cost of gas for the car or truck.  We are going to try and limit taking my car to once a week and he will continue to use his little commuter car for work the rest of the time. Keeping me out of the stores also saves money. 😉 Our list includes going huckleberry picking with the kids, going down to the river for the day and going to see the fish ladders at the dam, going to see the bears at WSU (they just make me so happy), going up to CouerDAlene and spending the day there, going to a beautiful botanical park in the Spokane area that has a huge indoor tropical garden, butterfly house, Asian gardens, etc. (and it's all free), and going camping.  When we go, we will take our own food with us to picnic.  Things at home we want to do are get out the corn home game Jeff made me and play that, have fires (in the firepit when it is safe to do so) and roast sausages and make smores, do BBQs with the family, and just walk around town and enjoy everyone's gardens.  My parents are coming over in a few weeks, so we are also having a big BBQ at Jaysn and Rachel's new place to celebrate the May birthdays, anniversaries, and do a housewarming.  It should be a lot of fun and we finally, after more than a year, get to see and hug my parents again!


   In the next few weeks we will have the garden beds Jeff built me up and have the colder weather crops planted, the rain barrel will be up and ready and Jeff will have the soaker hoses all in place.  He is going to run the hose to the side garden in some conduit pipe and bury that in the grass so he does not have to unhook the hose every time he has to mow the lawn.  I am going to see if I can get some well established chive plants  from Jaysn and Rachel since there are many in their garden just thriving and going crazy.  I need to dig up some of the strawberry plants here that escaped their bed and get those potted up in a planter for Steven.  That boy loves his strawberries and there are none currently on their property.  I figured that if we had them potted up near the front door, he would be able to take care of them and make sure they stayed watered.  Jaysn and Rachel also have lots of fruit trees and we can't wait to see what all of them are.  The plan is to share all our fruit and veggies here and there with the family since there is way too much for any of us to use on our own.  Chris and Heather will continue to do the hunting and are great about sharing that with the rest of us.  We are truly blessed!


   So that is the plan for now.  Hopefully everything works out the way we want it to.  It would mean a smaller budget, but a lot less stress in our lives and that is much needed.  Be blessed! 


   


   


   


   

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/23/2021

 Weekend:

~I had  bought some Million Bells plants on clearance earlier last week and potted them up in hanging baskets that I already have.

~I planted some Hollyhock seeds directly into the flower beds...we will see if they come up.

~Jeff mowed the lawn and added the grass clippings to the compost pile.

~One of our neighbors approached Jeff about building her a raised garden bed box like he had done for me.  She wanted to pay him to make it.  Jeff and I looked at each other and decided to just bless her with one of mine. :)  She was shocked that we would do that but we told her that is what good neighbors do...they help each other out. 😁  We are so glad that we were able to do this for her.

~We stayed home all weekend since we had gotten our covid vaccine and were not sure how the side effect may affect us. We made the most of it though by getting creative with meals and taking advantage of the super warm weather to eat out on the porch.

~Jeff got my old rocking chair out of the garage and fixed it so that we can now use it on the back porch.  The cats love it!

~I planted the green onions that I had rooted from the bottoms of the 2 bunches I got at the grocery store.

~We SKYPEd with Josh,, Lauren and Tate on Sunday.


Monday:

~I made a big tuna pasta salad with some green onions from our garden.  Hubby was a happy camper!  The kitties were too since they got the "juice" drained off the tuna.

~Two more loaves of bread were made.

~I transferred most of our income tax refund that arrived today into our savings account. The rest has been earmarked for something else.

~Jeff hung up some wasp traps in the front and back yards.  The wasps are awful this year!

~Jeff and I both spent some time in the gardens.  He did some weeding and I trimmed back the herbs and picked up the sticks that came out of the trees during our windstorm last night.


Tuesday:

~Jeff and I went out to see Jaysn and Rachel's new house and property.  It is amazing and Steven is so happy to have all kinds of room to run!  They have lots of fruit trees, an established garden and tons of building materials that were left there.  Jeff and I are taking the metal roofing to build more raised garden beds.


Wednesday:

~Jeff brought home some free lumber from a job.

~We called my parents and my middle brother and had a long and nice chat with them. :)

~I repotted some rosemary and basil plants in pots that I already have.

~Dinner was four cheese ravioli ($2.49), with pesto sauce ($1) and some Texas Toast (FREE).

~Our backyard provided all kinds of entertainment for the cats and I today.  There were birds, a silly squirrel and even a nice kitty who came to visit.

~I washed down the rocking chair cushion with some laundry detergent and hot water, rinsed it and then set it out in the sun to dry.  The cats were right back on it as soon as it was brought back onto the back porch.  So much for a clean chair for me.  Good thing I love them!


Thursday:

~Chris came over to get some of the wood chips we have for his yard and filled up the back of his truck with some.  He also brought me over a bag of organic potting soil.  I sent him home with some peony plants and a door mat (along with some paints) for Isaiah to paint for me.  He has a whole big plan for how he wants to do it and I told him to just go for it!

~I watched a movie on YouTube.

~Dinner was chicken breasts cooked in the air fryer, broccoli cheese rice and a salad.  Quick, easy and semi healthy.  I save one of the chicken breasts for another meal since I cooked 3 of them.  We had leftover dressing from the salad kit so I saved it for another salad.

~I loaded coupons onto my Safeway card.


Friday:

~I found the huge family sized boxes of Captain Crunch cereal (Jeff like this for a snack) for .99 at Grocery Outlet. I also found crackers for .50 a box.

~I decided to buy the sale price bags of coleslaw mix and garden salad mix instead of the salad kits.  Savings of $8 right there. I can't wait until I can get lettuce going in my garden so I can just pick it fresh.

~Jeff and I stopped to see the bears at WSU.  Four of the younger ones were out in the huge play yard running around and walked right in front of us.  The HUGE bear that was still in his cage climbed it for us and we saw how big he really is.  Free entertainment and I always feel better after seeing the bears.

~It is no secret that I love flowers.  I found some beautiful geraniums for $3.97 each and will be potting these up in one of my pots for the front porch.  I am going to try my hand at propagating them too and see if I can master that.






 





Sunday, April 18, 2021

Did You Say Shots?


 

  Friday was "shot day" for our youngest grandson Tate, his mommy and Grammie and G-pa.  Tate got his baby immunizations and stopped fussing the minute his daddy picked him up.  He is a brave boy!  Yes, that is him above. :)

   Lauren, Tate's mommy, also got her Pfizer shot #1 earlier in the day and Jeff and I got ours that night.  All of us Covid-19 vaccine takers  had sore arms for about 2 days, mild headaches for us girls, and some minor fatigue.  Josh has his first one in a week.  All in all it was not that bad...we are hoping the same for the shot #2.

   

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blissfully Peaceful...for the Moment and Other Thoughts


    


    I just got up (yes, it is close to 1 p.m. but in my defense I did not go to sleep until 5:30 a.m.), got the coffee going, wiped down all the outdoor furniture after yet another dust storm, and am settling down to drink my cup of liquid gold (Coffee).  I'm seated at my outdoor table on the back screened in porch, cats lounging in the sun spots, and am greeted with a picture of my youngest grandson Tate on my computer screen.  How can you not smile when you see that little cutie?  All my grandsons bring me such great joy but since I can see and hug the others in person, this little guy gets the place of honor as my screen saver. 😘


   At the moment it is blissfully peaceful out here in my little oasis.  No dogs barking, the wind is blowing through the trees and the birds are singing their beautiful songs.  I am savoring every moment because I know that it can quickly be shattered at any moment by a screaming lady and her yapping dogs that is back up here for about 6 months again.  Honestly, it is like nails on a chalkboard.  I have tried so hard to be nice and to model good behavior in how to treat your pets for her, but nothing seems to work.  It honestly makes me sad for her dogs and for her family too.  She has been this way for as long back as I can remember her coming up here.  With that said, I am going to continue to soak in the peacefulness for as long as I can. 😉


   Onto other thoughts...lucky you! LOL!  Jeff and I were supposed to get our Johnson and Johnson covid-19 vaccines yesterday.  We were woken up early in the morning with phone calls from his work, messages from the doctor's office and our kids messaging me on facebook that the government put a "pause" on giving that particular vaccine due to rare blood clotting reactions with it.  YIKES!  I talked to my nurse friend who was helping us to get the vaccine and she recommended the Pfizer since we could not do the Johnson and Johnson.  With the cases rising in our county and being put back into Phase 2 with some pretty restrictive measures in place once again, we were getting worried.  So now we go in this Friday night for that and have the weekend to get through the worst of it praying it does not send me into a huge flare since we are helping Jaysn and Rachel move the following weekend.  Jeff is taking that night off. And then, the icing on the cake, is that we get to do it all over again in a month's time. 😞  Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, at least that is the way I am choosing to view it.  Given that I already have anxiety issues, that waiting after the vaccine for a couple of weeks after the J and J vaccine to see if I would get that rare blood clotting issue is not what I need and would have keep me heavily medicated to avoid major panic attacks.  I already am dealing with high anxiety and a few panic attacks at the moment, but I am able to deal with them, even if they are unpleasant and also bring nightmares with them.


   Given that we did not get our jabs yesterday and it was a nice sunny and warm day, Jeff was able to finish building the raised garden bed boxes for both the front and the side gardens.  I am so proud of him for not only building them, but using free lumber and old roofing metal that we had here on hand to do so.  Love that talented and ingenious man of mine! He was so cute, having me come out and check the heights along the way to make sure that they are just how I want them.  I now have 4 lower leveled ones for taller plants and a taller one for things like lettuce and lower growing plants so I can easily harvest from them with out having to bend too much. 🎕


   One of the other things I had done was cook up a huge casserole dish full of homemade macaroni and cheese, 2 loaves of bread and 3 loaves of banana bread for after our jabs on Tuesday.  Well, we are now working on that and I am coming up with plan b for food to get us through the weekend.  I will make more sandwich bread, am making breakfast sausage sandwiches with precooked sausage patties and English muffins from the freezer (I'll have those ready to go in a container in the refrigerator), I cut up a cantaloupe (but I think Jeff will have that gone before Friday so I may have to pick up another on Friday and cut it up that night before the shot really kicks in) and will most likely make some sort of casserole that is easy on the tummy.  In addition to that, the freezers and pantry are stocked with lots of easy precooked foods that will be easy to grab.  I have lots of other fruit on hand and already have water bottles by the beds (I frequently sleep in the guest bedroom since that bed is better for me in dealing with pain), bathrooms are stocked with toilet paper, and I am keeping up on the laundry so we will not have to deal with all that.  I'm thinking the one thing I have not planned for and need to is digging out 2 more sets of queen sized sheets (I know I have at least one extra set) so we can quickly change the sheets if they become sweat soaked (gross right).  Hopefully though, our reactions will be minor like my parents were.  They got the same vaccine and only had sore arms and a little bit of fatigue.


   So I was in for a shock last night when I was looking through the grocery ads.  Have you noticed a HUGE jump in the price of bacon?  Oh my goodness, it's over $9 a package here and we are not talking those huge deli sized packages, but rather the regular small sized ones!!!  Holy piggies! 😲  Packages of crackers have also doubled in price...thank God for the Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet or we would not be getting any more of those either for awhile.  This is one of those moments when I am so glad that I try to keep a very well stocked pantry so we can avoid having to buy things at outrageous prices or just go without them.  I fear this is just the beginning of prices going through the roof on food.  So glad we are planning for a bigger garden and really working on having great and productive soil this year.


   I think I am going to end this here.  I hear Jeff stirring and I want to be able to just finish my coffee while visiting with him without any other distractions.  We shall see what the afternoon bring us...be blessed!





   


  



Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Amazing Friends, Family and a Frugal (and Normal) DITL

 




     

    So there I was last night and into the early morning hours trying to secure another Covid-19 vaccine appointment for Jeff and I and still hitting a brick wall.  One of the places that had the vaccine available would not take us because we were not "current patients" there even though Jeff has been seen by them in the past.  One of my dear friends saw my post on Facebook about my frustration in trying to book an appointment and told me to let her check into things for me.  She called today and was able to get us in at that place that said they were only taking current patients because she pulled the "friend card".  She is a nurse but I did not know where she was working and it turns out that she works in that very office!  So much love for our Minnie!!!  She is also one of Chris's "bonus moms" as I am to her son Nathan.  I am so very grateful for all our friends in the medical community who have been there time and time again for us helping us get appointments, referrals, etc. when we have either been told they can't take us or we will have to wait for months to get in to be seen.


   Jeff and I are breathing a huge sigh of relief today between that great news and finding out that the dirt Chris had removed to make a nice pad for his future shop will work as fill dirt for our raised beds.  That dirt has had years of cows grazing on it before Chris bought it so lots of built in fertilizer. 😉 Chris and Heather have been wanting it gone for awhile now so this works out well for us all!   Chris and Heather even fed us dinner while we were out there yesterday afternoon/evening.  They had caught a bunch of fresh bass the day before so we had a fish fry.  YUMMY!  I took out a bunch of asparagus because I know they love that and I had two bunches here at home.  Sunday Jaysn and Rachel had us over for Easter, along with her mom Joyce and my cousin Jeremy.  We all contributed a dish to the meal and it was so good.  It was also wonderful to see Joyce again.  We had not seen her in over a year so we got caught up on each other's lives. 💖


   So this week I have failed miserably in keeping track of my frugal doings so I thought I would just do a post on a typical day in my life.  And yes, it's boring but can be rather productive on those days when I do have the energy to do things.  Some days NONE of this happens, but today is a good day.


   We got the phone call from our dear Minnie about getting us appointments, which woke Jeff and I both up (not complaining at all).  Jeff and I had been so stressed out about all of this and it has been leaving us emotionally drained.  We had coffee, Jeff worked on getting the bills done, checks written and all ready to mail off  after he deposits his check tomorrow morning.  I took one look at Jeff after that was done and could tell he was struggling to stay awake.  I sent him back to bed to get more sleep before he goes to work tonight.


   While he slept, I got busy with doing a load of laundry and then getting the bread dough mixed up and rising.  When the dough had risen, I got the two loaves baked and started in on the pork chop and rice casserole so I could pop that in the oven when the bread came out.  Not wanting to waste any of that heat in the oven, I made some cookies and put those in when the casserole was done.  We had green onions that needed to be chopped up and frozen, so I cut the two bunches of those up, saving the bottoms of them and sticking them in a cup with water so that the roots would grow for about a week before I plant them out in my garden.  I lost some of my green onion plants out there over the Winter, so I needed to fill in some gaps.  Green onions...the gift that keeps on giving!  There was also a bag of fresh green beans that needed to be used, so I got those all cut up and cooked to go with our pork chop and rice casserole.  During all this, I realized that I forgot to eat up until I started cooking so I grabbed a yogurt to tide me over.


   In between the cooking and laundry, I worked on scanning through the grocery and garden center ads.  I also uploaded coupons onto my Safeway card and made a grocery list of things we needed at both the regular grocery store and at Grocery Outlet (we get our snack type things like chips there and yes, Jeff loves his nachos and we are about out of tortilla chips and potato chips that he takes with his lunches).  We will go in early next week before our vaccine appointment and get the shopping done, then go down for our shots. Jeff is also off that night so that makes things less hectic. We really don't need much so the shopping should go quickly.   All the stores we need to go to are within a 2 block range from the medical office so that works out great!  


   Plans for this evening are to go over the couch with a damp washcloth to get the cat hair off it (never ending job) and then fold two loads of laundry while watching some "trash" TV.  Don't judge me, we all have our ways of dealing with stress and one of mine is watch the Real Housewives series.  I can get as mad as I want with some of their antics that remind me of people I know and then just turn it off and NOT have to deal with them.  LOL!  Yes, again, one of my many maladaptive coping skills but hey, it works for me and that is all that matters. 😛




   


   


   

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Buckle Up...Things are Getting a Bit Dicey Again

    Buckle Up Baby!  It's About to get Rough Again...



   I'm getting that worried feeling again.  Covid-19 cases are climbing with the new variants in our state and is being made so much worse by the partying college kids at WSU.  Our county is going to have to revert back a phase with further restrictions going into place that we just had come out of.   That is what is going on locally here.  Now add to that all the national debt that our country is adding, inflated housing prices and rising taxes to pay for all the "special programs" and things that for some reason are seeming to be prioritized over what is good for and helps the actual American people as a whole.  Why we are paying for gender studies in other countries just baffles my mind when we have so many people hurting here right now that do need help.  All this frivolous government spending with no regard to the amount of debt we are saddling our children and grandchildren with just ticks me off to no end.  I can also see a huge economic crash on the horizon with hyper inflation, lots of home foreclosures and even more suffering.  If you have studied that stock market crash and what led to the Great Depression, you will see a lot of similarities to what has been going on currently.  Buckle up people, we are in for a world of hurt if we are not prepared for what is to come.


   Bearing all of the above in mind, along with having a goal of Jeff being able to at least semi retire at age 65 before his back gives out (degenerative disk disease that runs in his family), Jeff and I have decided to buckle down even more and try to pay off debt at an more accelerated rate than we have been.  Our goal of having 3 months worth of income in our emergency fund is just about there so once that happens, every spare bit of money over what is needed to pay for basic living expenses and some big projects around here will be going to debt repayment.


   While Jeff is outside right now working on getting the garden cleaned out and trimming trees, I am inside working on a few things myself.  I have rice cooking to go with our dinner of leftovers.  We have  have lettuce, tomatoes, salmon loaf, carrots, and tamale pie that need to be eaten tonight.  I am cooking a large pot of rice to go along with this, making sure that I cook extra to us in future meals.  Two loaves of homemade bread just came out of the oven and the leftover bread from earlier in the week has been made into homemade garlic croutons (which Jeff loves).  I quickly broiled some asparagus while the oven is still hot and use that to have with dinner also and use some cold in a pasta salad also.  Asparagus is one of my favorites and I only buy it when it is on sale in the Spring.  By using the same pan that I did the croutons on, I was able to not only use the heat from the oven, but also save on washing another pan and the pan itself already had olive oil and garlic salt on it.  All I had to do was add a bit more oil, roll the asparagus around on it and then add some freshly cracked pepper and Himalayan salt to it and pop it in the oven.  Easy, quick, frugal and will make for a delicious treat! I will have half of the asparagus with dinner and use the other half in a future pasta salad.


   Jeff has been working on making my raised garden beds with free lumber and some old metal roofing.  He took down a fence in our yard today and will use some of that on the raised beds also.  We are going to go out to Chris and Heather's to see if the dirt that they had cleared for a pad for their future shop will work to help fill the raised beds and all we would have to add is some compost that we are going to be buying in bulk.  Jeff has been really good about using our compost pile to put dead grass and kitchen scraps in along with weeds so they can compost down. Tomorrow I need to put the leftover used coffee grounds around the blueberry bushes.  They love the acid in it and it helps keep them healthy and productive.  Since it is so warm, I am thinking it might be I will get some of the cold weather crop seeds started within the next few days.  The hot tub area is the perfect area to start seeds in because it is protected from the wind and if you put the seed trays on the hot tub cover, the warmth from the hot tub helps the seeds get off to a good start.


   I want to encourage people to learn as many skills as they can and always look for new ways to save a penny here, a dime there and a dollar today and tomorrow.  Be conscious of food waste and freeze things if you cannot use them up right away IF they can be frozen.  Try to eat what is in season and stock up on fruits and veggies at their lowest prices.  Enjoy them in season and freeze some for later.  When you see a good sale on canned goods, pasta, or things that you use on a regular basis and can safely store, buy them so that you do not pay inflated prices later.  Look at the thrift stores for things that you need.  I even find new sheet sets at Goodwill for 1/4 (or less) of the retail prices.  The hand held high pressure shower head Jeff found for $12.99 and installed in our shower retails for about $50 and it has 6 settings.  We love it!  It has excellent reviews and makes showering much easier for me since I can then direct the flow of water water where I need it and not have to bend and twist as much.  I know I sound like a broken record, but YouTube is your friend.  You can learn so many new skills, see how to do repairs, learn a new craft, cooking videos and even find some amazing movies there.  This is how Jeff and I watch the news too.  Honestly, you do not need to be paying for cable TV or monthly streaming services.  The Dollar Tree is a great place to buy laundry detergent, dishwashing soap for your dishwasher, huge packages of napkins, bags of Himalayan salt, cotto salami, medicated body powder and the generic version of Neosporin.  I also buy my jarred pesto sauce there, garden seeds, kitchen gadgets like scrapers, ziplock type bags and parchment paper, foil containers for freezing homemade make ahead meals in, etc..  I even found a small front door mat there that Isaiah and I will be painting together.  Try to think outside the box and substitute things when you can.  Even though the road ahead may be rough and bumpy, we can still find ways to cut costs and enjoy life!