Saturday, April 23, 2022

Prayers for my sister Leonie


   My beautiful sister, Leonie, needs prayers and good thoughts.  I facetimed with her yesterday and was shocked and very concerned about how she was looking.  Sadly, her cancer appears to be back and she is once again undergoing chemo.  This is leaving her very tired and the chemo fog is taking it's toll on her too.  

   For those of you reading this that may not know my background, my sister came to live with us when she and I were in high school.  She came from Tahiti up to school in Hawaii and things did not work out for her to stay with her family members there, so my mother invited her to come live with us.  Even though she came kind of like a foster sister, she quickly became part of the family and my parents even did a "statement of parenthood" once she turned 18 since they could not legally adopt her.  

   My sister means the world to me and I love her beyond words.  We are trying to keep her spirits up and planning for a visit when she is up here on the mainland again this Fall.  Oh how I wish I could just reached through the computer screen and given her a huge hug today.  My heart was just breaking for her and still is.  Please keep her in your prayers for healing and the strength to get through this quickly.

   Mahalo Nui (thank you very much)

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Greenhouse Build and Other Things Gardening Related

   It has been busy around here and thus my absence from this blog and not responding to comments, although I do read and enjoy them...thank you!  😀  Please keep them coming!

   Jeff and my latest project has been building a greenhouse.  I have wanted one for so long and it is now becoming a reality.  I cannot tell you how happy this makes me!  Jeff has most of it framed up and brought home the rest of the materials to finish it off.  Hopefully that will happen on Sunday and I can get busy starting seedlings to put out in the garden when it is safe to do so.  I was telling Jeff that our Steven is going to think it is his own personal playhouse since he will be spending so much time here with me this Summer (or maybe sooner).  Being able to share that experience with one of my grandboys just makes my heart sing!  My plan is to get lots of seeds started so that I can maximize not only every space in my own garden, but to also share with my family and friends.  I am sure that having plants to put out in their own gardens will be a wonderful "gift" that I can share with others.

   Yesterday I was finally able to track down some seed potatoes, Walla Walla Sweet onion starts, along with some celery seeds to grow, and a rosemary plant.  I talked to one of the ladies that runs the nursery part of a local building supply and garden center and she gave me some interesting information.  She told me that their shipments of edible garden type plants are really delayed and that they have no idea if and when they will arrive and how strange that was.  She also told me that when the limited supply that they have gotten in so far arrives, that it is bought up quickly.  She is a younger woman, whom it appears has not been following the news much, so I filled her in on the reasons that all this is happening.  She seemed shocked and thanked me for the information.  

   Once I got home I got dinner started and then got busy getting my rosemary plant trimmed up since it had been hit by frost (it was discounted because of that but I knew all it needed was a trim on its tips and would be just fine).  After that, I got the onion starts into some water so the roots would not dry out and then got busy chitting the potatoes.  The potatoes I chose were called Montana Huckleberry Gold.  I chose these because they could tolerate the cooler weather so I can start them earlier and they were the kind that I did not need to peel to eat and made great mashed potatoes!  Yes, I do love mashed potatoes and I can also use them in soups and for roasting.  Plus, how could I not try growing  potatoes with such a cool name since Montana is my favorite place to vacation in?  Yes, I do have strange reasons for picking this particular variety of potato to try to grow, but hey, it is worth a try right?

   One of the things that I really needed to do was to figure out how to make my compost bin work faster, so I research that and found that I was not adding enough "brown materials" to it.  So one of my projects today is to rip up cardboard boxes into smaller pieces and add that to the bin, along with some old non glossy newspaper shreds.  I will get that all mixed in and we will then go from there.  I tell you, I am always trying to learn new things and how to improve my gardening skills.

   Anyway, I need to get going and get this day started, even if it is now a little after 12 noon.  I got a late start to the day and I am okay with that since yesterday was a busy day of running around for me trying to find all the plants, seeds, and doing some other shopping for food and picking up one of my prescriptions.  Usually Thursday is my day to relax and not do anything, but that is not something I can afford to do at the moment.  I need to work on things when my body allows (the constant weather changes are playing havoc with my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms).  Be blessed all!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Snow, Some Shopping and Preparing for Shortages


   As I sit here typing out this post we have round 2 of our Spring snow storms.  This round is much lighter than Sunday's, which dumped about 4 inches of snow and weighed down my daffodils to the ground.  I had told Jeff that we would be getting more snow as he worked in the yard on Saturday leveling out an area to build a small greenhouse for me.  I really want to be able to start as many seeds as I can to save money on starts and also provide more food from our garden.  Saturday was a blustery but sunny day and I found every excuse I could to be outside as much as possible. 😉 Sunday found us in the house watching movies, me giving Jeff a much needed haircut, him cleaning out the back bedroom so I could once again sleep in there on nights that he, or I, was restless or having a rough time sleeping.  I was so tired that day that I slept through his cleaning.  I curled up on our bed in our room and apparently was out for the count.

   Since we did not want to have to go anywhere over the weekend, we did our shopping on Friday night.  I had gotten a  phone call earlier in the day from Walmart saying that they wanted to know if I wanted to participate in a auto refill programs where they would consolidate my pick up days on my meds instead of me having to make multiple trips.  Looking at when my refills were due, I could just have to make 2 trips this month.  Sounded good to me!  After I hung up with them I got to thinking that this program may also be so they knew how much medications they were going to need in advance for their regular customers.  I know that there are shortages on some medications and there have been times when they have had to order in more of one of my medications because they did not have enough of it on hand.  I asked my neighbor, who works at a hospital about this and she confirmed that it was most likely what was going on.  So off we went to Walmart once Jeff got home.

   On the way into Walmart, I floated an idea to Jeff about getting an electric long reaching tree trimmer.  They had them on sale at Harbor Freight and it would make Jeff's life so much easier and I would not have to worry about him as much.  He quickly agreed!  I told him that would be our "gift" to each other for past birthdays and our anniversary, along with Mother's Day for me.  This will cut down on the time he has to put into pruning all our fruit trees each year and our kids can also borrow it to do theirs as well.

   Along with Walmart and Harbor Freight, we also stopped at Safeway and Grocery Outlet.  I had uploaded digital coupons onto my Safeway card for milk, pizzas, and a case of water.  I found some marked down pork in the reduced section and grabbed that quickly and added it to my cart.  My biggest score though was found in the bakery.  There was a worker in there and I asked if they had any food grade buckets that I could have.  He said they had a lot of them and asked how many I wanted.  I told him I would take them all!  He filled a large shopping cart up with them and the lids and sent me on my merry way with all those lovely FREE food grade buckets!  I had already filled up the last 6 I had picked up from there previously and needed more.  These will be used for more long term food storage, homemade laundry detergent, some for gardening and some to share with my girls.  SCORE!!!!  I only found a few items at Grocery Outlet, mostly snacks for Jeff, but overall, I did not spend much at any of the grocery stores since I am pretty well stocked on most items and am trying to be really careful with money right now since we ended up owing on both Federal and Idaho taxes, so I had to get those sent off earlier in the day.

   Our weekend meals were simple and frugal to boot.  I had thawed out some homemade Zuppa Toscana for dinner on Friday and got that heated up while Jeff took a shower after we got back from our shopping trip.  Saturday I cooked up a Bacon and Ranch Suddenly Salad kit and added cheddar cheese, some leftover bacon, half of a bag of coleslaw mix and a diced up Roma tomato.  I served it with some Little Smokies sausages, and a cut up apple for Jeff and some grapes for me.  Jeff made up some brownies later that evening and they were so good!  You can never go wrong with chocolate brownies, am I right?  Sunday night we just threw a pizza in the oven and had that for dinner.  Easy Peasy and yummy!

   Today I am playing "catch up" and trying my best to make the most of what we have here.  Earlier I got 2 loaves of bread mixed up and kneaded and then set them on top of the pellet stove to rise, which they did beautifully!  While those were baking, I cut up the last of the bread from the previous week and got those ready to pop in the oven.  I love making homemade croutons.  They are great on salads, as toppers for soups, and just to snack on.  Two loads of laundry are now finished and ready to be folded.  I put away a bunch of cases of water and consolidated them into one spot.  My next project of the day is going to be organizing my sewing supplies and trying to get most if that in one spot also.  At this point in my life, I really crave organization so that I know what I have and can find it easily.  This saves me so much time and money, so that I don't buy things that I already have on hand and don't need more of.  For example, I have enough white thread to last me for years!  No need to buy any more of that.  I am however in need of replacement needles for my sewing machine because I don't have any on hand if I break the one that is on my machine now.

   I suppose I should get off the computer and get working on that last project.  I'm still trying to decide what to do for dinner.  I may just go with cheese tortellini and pesto sauce, along with some fresh fruit.  That does sound good.  Okay, that will be the plan.  Be blessed!



Thursday, April 7, 2022

A Thrifty Thursday



   Well, yesterday proved to be a day of unexpected bills.  I did the taxes and we thought we were going to be getting a refund...NOPE!  We owed both Federal and Idaho state taxes.  Jeff works in Idaho, so we have to pay non resident taxes in that state.  I paid online for the federal, but we are mailing in the Idaho stuff since Tax Act wanted to charge me for it.  Luckily we did have the money in savings to cover it all, so that was a huge relief.  Jeff came home to me just finishing up the taxes at dinner time and took pity on me and made grilled cheese sandwiches for our dinner.  I love that man! 😘

   That being said, today is one of those "I'm on the frugal warpath" kind of days.  Luckily the weather is cooperating, so I was able to hang the laundry out on the line to dry.  It is unseasonably warm (in the low 70's), but we are expecting more rain, freezing temps and even snow within the next 7 days or so.  There is something so calming to me when I am hanging out laundry to dry...I have no idea why, but hey, I'll take some moments of calmness in this world that has seemed to have gone totally crazy.

   While the laundry was going in the washer, I got some water boiling and thinly cut up a potato into small dices and then added it to the water.  I the added some Auguson Farms cheesy broccoli soup mix to it, along with a handful of frozen broccoli that I had in the freezer that need to be used up.  I let that simmer while I moved on to my next project.

   Remember those large cartons of ricotta cheese that I found for $1 each, well I had one left that needed to be used.  I mixed the ricotta up with some parmesan cheese and some Olive Garden herb mix.  I then layered the sauce, noodles (uncooked), ricotta cheese, a handful of mozzarella cheese from a bag I pulled out of the freezer, and then repeated that pattern all over again until my pans were full and the top layer of noodles was covered with sauce.  I was able to make 3 pans to pop into the freezer.  This is our idea of convenience meals and makes it easy to grab one to give to someone who might also need a meal.

   I had to break the lasagna noodles up to fit in the pans, so I had lots of broken pieces of noodles.  I never throw them away.  I put them in a bag to use in homemade soups in the near future.  This is something that I learned many years ago from my mother, who was a great teacher in all things frugal!

   While out in the freezer putting the lasagna in, I grabbed some cotta salami for Jeff and also a bag full of frozen Zuppa Toscana.  The soup will be dinner tomorrow night since we are expecting bad weather to move back in.  Soup on a rainy night is something that brings me comfort and makes me feel all cozy.  Again, having that soup all made and in the freezer for me to just pull out is convenience food at it's finest.  I may make some garlic and cheddar biscuits to go with it.  That just sounds delicious and I know Jeff would love it!

   It's now mid afternoon and I am going to take the rest of the day off, other than bringing in and folding that laundry when it is done drying.  Jeff has bowling tonight, so I don't have to make dinner for the two of us.  I'll just grab something easy, maybe those egg rolls from the freezer??? 😉 I am in the middle of a bad fibro flare, but have been pushing myself to get some things done.  My pain levels are going back up again, so I may have to talk to my doctor about raising me pain medication dosage.  I need to get adjusted to it before I have Steven here a few days a week this Summer.  Sometimes it takes me a good month or more to adjust unfortunately. 

   So that is it for today...stay busy, stay frugal and stay prayed up and sane!


Monday, April 4, 2022

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/1/22



~Jeff brought home a bunch of free pallets from work that we will be using in the construction of our greenhouse.

~Jeff and I were both wiped out so we rested when he got home from work.  

~We watched several episodes of Survivor.

~Dinner was a salad for me with some of the leftover chicken and grapes added to it and Jeff made himself some sandwiches.


~Jeff worked on fixing the gas cap latch on his car and also did a few other things to it.

~I made a huge pot full of hearty chicken noodle soup using the rest of the chicken from the deli along with carrots, onions, celery and some diced potatoes.  I added some broken up fettuccini noodles that I had leftover from making another dish a few weeks back.  It made for a wonderful meal with lots of leftovers.

~I pulled some homemade applesauce out of the freezer to thaw.

~We took the evening to relax.

~We Facetimed with Josh and Tate. Tate actually said hi and bye to us, showed us his tummy, eyes, mouth, nose and ears and even his feet when asked to by us and interacted much more with us this time.  He is a funny little thing who is extremely happy most of the time, but man, when he is not, you hear and see it.  He is just like his father was at that age. LOL!  

~I dehydrated some fresh strawberries that I sliced up.  I love these!


~Two loaves of sandwich bread were made.

~I had some of the leftover soup for lunch.

~Dinner was what I called "Thanksgiving Casserole".  It was a total experiment that came out great! I combined a small can of chicken with its broth (much to the disappointment of the cats who wanted the broth), a can of green beans with their liquid, and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I seasoned this with a touch of salt and some black pepper.  I then added a box of prepared chicken stuffing to the top of the mixture that I poured into a greased baking dish and covered the dish.  It cooked for about 45 minutes at 400F and I then lowered the heat to 375F with the lid off for another 15 minutes.  The stuffing soaked up most of the liquid in the bottom half of the dish and made for a very delicious meal!  My hubby loved it and so did I!

~Jeff picked up some free ice cream at Safeway on his way home so we had some of that for dessert.  I had downloaded the coupon for the free ice cream onto my Safeway card.


~I had the leftover casserole for lunch.

~Another "nudging" came over me to get more food set aside and I am so glad that I listened.  I headed into town and was able to find saltines for under $1 a box (I bought 4 boxes), cereals on clearance for $1 a box, big containers of Ricotta cheese for $1 each (I got the two that they had), more canned meats, 10 pounds of white rice, pork loin roasts on sale and some other items to stock the pantry and freezer.

~Safeway's bakery had a bunch of food grade buckets that they gave me for free and the super sweet guy working there said to come bake anytime for more since they have a lot throughout the week.  I use these for gardening, bulk food storage, etc. and I also will be sharing some with my girls.

~Dinner was leftover chicken noodle soup since I was totally wiped out after all that shopping.

~I got 2 more pounds of frozen corn going in the dehydrator.

~Jeff got some compost worked into the front raised garden bed so that it is ready for me to plant lettuce.


~Safeway's digital coupons were not that great, but I still uploaded the few I could use.  Their sales ad however was pretty good, so I will be making a list and have Jeff pick up some of the items on his way home from work either Friday (after he gets paid again) or early next week.

~I got the 2 pounds of dehydrated corn put way and started another 2 pounds going in the dehydrator.

~One of the $1 containers of Ricotta cheese was used, along with some Parmesan cheese and the last of a block of Mozzarella cheese, to make a nice big lasagna for dinner.  We had this with a side dish of homemade applesauce.  There were leftovers for at least another meal for both Jeff and I.  

~I froze the last of the homemade chicken noodle soup for another meal in the future.


~Jeff took some of the lasagna for his lunch at work and a sandwich to have for dinner before his bowling league.

~I had some of the lasagna for lunch.

~Dinner for me was homemade mashed potatoes along with a asparagus and ham stir fry and some strawberries.

~I worked on the pantry some more and found even more split peas and things. They are a great source of protein and luckily Jeff and I both enjoy split pea soup.

~The dehydrated corn was put away.  I had Jeff try some (dried) and he really liked the taste of it.  It will be handy to have on hand to eat dried and rehydrated.  I would really like to do more of it.


~Jeff took the last of the lasagna for his lunch.

~Towels and sheets were washed and hung out on the laundry line to dry.

~I took the kitchen scraps, along with the used coffee grounds out to the compost bin.  I uncovered the bin from the plastic cover we had on it, turned the compost and then left the cover off so that it can get some of the incoming rain on it this weekend.

~Shannon (my much loved hanai sister/neighbor) and I had a lovely visit over the fence.  It was so nice to catch up with her and share hugs.

~Leftover mashed potatoes were my lunch.

~We had pineapple and teriyaki meatballs, along with rice, green beans, and some fresh apple slices for dinner.

~Dessert was more of that Java Chip ice cream that Jeff got for free from Safeway.