Saturday, September 16, 2023

Finally Letting It All Go


   For the past two weeks, I have been feeling a bit down.  At first I thought it was just from being really exhausted after going nonstop when Josh and family, along with my cousin Jeremy were here and then missing them terribly when they all left.  I have been trying to put on a smile and pretend that everything is fine...something that I have had much practice at throughout my life.  The only person who knew that I was struggling was my husband, and even he did not know the extent of it.  To be perfectly honest, I did not realize exactly what was causing it either.  That was until yesterday...

   As I was trying to figure things out, I remembered how in the past my therapist had asked me I was happy.  My answer surprised me when the word "no" quickly came tumbling out of my mouth.  I told her that although I put on a good "front", there was always an underlying sadness.  I realized that was what was going on once again in my life and the reason I was struggling.  I also had clarity in that moment, about the source of the it, and knew it was time to just let it all go.

   Our Josh, Lauren, Tate and baby Peyton came home recently for a visit before Josh deploys and so that Chris and Josh could celebrate their birthdays together.  Josh has always gone to visit his grandparents on my husband's side of the family when he comes home, even though that side of the family has cut us all off, that is, except Josh.  His last visit to them had been when Tate was a baby.  Things have transpired over the last two years that have hurt all of us, including Josh.  Josh made the decision not to reach out again while he was here.  I could tell it was something that was weighing heavily upon him.  I let him know that I would always support him in whatever decision he made and that I understood how he was feeling.  

   It broke my heart to see my son realizing the ugly truth of this ongoing mess and why we all had been hurt so deeply.  He now understood why the most of us here had to accept that we would never see Papa again.  I was the "holdout" in the group here, not wanting to accept the painful truth that the man that I loved as my second father, had not reached out to his son, to let him know of his mother's death and had not tried to contact us in any way, shape or form for over six years.  As a parent and grandparent myself, I just could not wrap my head around NOT having a relationship with my kids and grandchildren.   So, this was the "trigger", that reopened old wounds for me and left me depressed.   

   It's a blessing that I had been through therapy in the past and learned some coping skills.  Once I was able to identify what the trigger was, it also allowed me to look at the situation objectively. I came to realize that it truly was the "end" of all hope for the situation to change because the person who we wanted to still have a relationship with, was unwilling or unable to fight for us as we had been trying to do for them.  It was another very painful reality check.  However, I found myself being able to finally let it all go...the hope, the struggles, the depression over the situation, the underlying anger, everything.  I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted off me.  I think it comes in part because I no longer have to worry about Josh being hurt any further by this "no win" situation that was thrust upon all of us.  I think he may finally have some clarity and closure, as do I now and, as my other kids and hubby already have.

   I told my hubby about my realization and that I can finally have the closure that I so desperately needed.  He looked relieved, but you could still see the sadness in his eyes about the pain we had all endured.  My hubby is a very tender-hearted man that puts his family first.  Seeing our kids, grandkids or me in pain, hurts him.  He wants to protect us all, and he, through no fault of his own and for reasons beyond his control, was not able to in this situation.   I do think that now that I will not be wrestling with trying to hold out some kind of hope in a hopeless situation, that it will also help him to have some relief knowing that I have learned to put the situation behind me and no longer let it have any kind of negative influence over me.  This has been a long and painful process and journey, but it is one that has reached its final destination, and I can finally lay it all to rest.



Friday, September 15, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up and Thrift Store Finds 9/15/23


   Here it is the end of another week!  The garden keeps on giving us tomatoes, squash, beans and blackberries.  Sometimes it is more than I can handle.  The Summer apples are winding down and the pears are busy ripening.  It has really helped us with the grocery budget.  Prices in the stores continue to rise, so we are so grateful for our garden helping us out.  Here are some of the other ways we saved money this week...

~I have been cherry picking deals and found a great deal on hamburger at Safeway.  I froze 1 1/2 pounds of it and used the other pound to make a large meatloaf using stuffing mix, one egg and some other seasonings.  Served with assorted side dishes and beans throughout the week, this made for 4 complete meals for us.  All the sides came from our pantry and the beans from the garden.

~I sent a list with Jeff and he stocked us up on cold and flu meds from the Dollar Tree and Walmart.  With the media spreading the story of medications being pulled because "they do not work", when we have been taking them for years and they have been working, we felt it prudent to stock up now!

~I found the above Brighton Christmas retired tote bag at one of our local thrift stores.  There was no price tag on it so I took it up to the counter and asked about the price, and I let them know the bags around it were marked at $5.99.  She looked at the bag and saw that someone had spilled coffee on it so she gave it to me for $4.99.  I knew that I could clean the coffee stuff off it since it was a coated bag.  Sure enough, I was able to get the coffee marks, along with other marks off it.  I am in love with this bag and will be using it this holiday season!  I really get into changing out my purses to match the season and holidays.

~I made some very smooth cinnamon applesauce.  Some was frozen and some was eaten fresh.  YUM!

~During the colder seasons, I love to wrap up in soft cotton jackets and sweaters.  I always try to get a size bigger that I wear because it like it to be very loose.  I found the soft sweater above for $5.99 minus 20% with a coupon.

~Jeff and I curled up with home popped popcorn and watched some shows on YouTube over the last weekend.

~I found some Christmas magazines, a large Pyrex bowl with cover and two books at our local thrift store that helps employ people in need or with disabilities.  The children's book is for my grandson Tate as a gift to help him know that he can always ask for a cuddle when he is sad.  With his daddy deploying in about 2 weeks for 6 months, we thought this would be a wonderful book for his daddy, our son Josh, to read with him before he goes.

~Jeff found a large pull behind luggage bag at the same thrift store and made it into a bag to haul his bowling balls and shoes in.

~Goodwill blessed me with some new house slippers, a beautiful handmade box from India, and some cat toys.  I was in need of the house slippers and they will be perfect for the winter months.  The cat toys will hopefully help get some of the kitties' energy out as they will be spending more time in the house with the days getting shorter.  The box is just beautiful and I can see it being a wonderful gift for someone.

~At a yard sale I found some like new Sketcher's shoes in my size.  I knew the person selling them and she told me she had only worn them a few times.  I got them for $2.00.

~I've found several TV series that I have not watched before on both Paramount Plus and Peacock networks.  It has been fun watching them, along with current TV shows.

~Jeff washed our big living room rug and hung it out on the big, tall chain link fence to dry.  The cats are loving having it back on the floor now since I had taken it out before Josh and Lauren got here for their visit.

   Please my friends, stock up on medications that you may need now.  Please also stock up your pantries.  Prices continue to rise, some astronomically.  If you can afford to put some extras away, I definitely would.  I see it as insurance and a hedge on future price jumps.  Be blessed all!

Friday, September 8, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/8/23


   Yes, it has been a few weeks since my last post.  We had family here and it was delightful!   I will be doing a separate post on that once I get some more of the pictures that were taken of the fun!  After all of the excitement and the go, go, go of it all, my body crashed and I have been trying not to overdo things.  I know that many of my friends reading this will be amazed that I actually am taking it slow and not overdoing it.  Well now, but it was a different story with all the family here. ;)

   We did try to stay as frugal as possible even with having all the kids, grandkids and my cousin here, so that will be included in the frugal doings.  Here we go...

~Jeff and I, along with all the kids, tried to make most of our meals either potluck or picnic style.  

~I was able to use Lauren's military discount to get tickets to the Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park for half price.  This was something that I wanted to give the grandboys as an early Christmas gift while they were all together.  They loved it and little Miss Peyton enjoyed watching.

~We took advantage of Josh and Lauren staying at a hotel to use the swimming pool there.  We also hit the free splash pad and went swimming at one of the lakes nearby.

~I've been harvesting beans, tomatoes, squash and blackberries from the garden.  

~I've been freezing a lot of the Sungold Cherry tomatoes to use in pasta sauces in the colder season when that burst of freshness is much needed and appreciated.

~I had a squash processing day.  I shredded up about 12 cups worth of zucchini and used 2 of the cups to make 2 loaves of zucchini and dark chocolate chip bread.  The rest of that batch was placed in the dehydrator to dry out so that it can be used later.  Did you know that 1/2 cup dried, rehydrated with about a cup of hot water (use more if needed) is equal to 2 cups fresh.  Perfect for zucchini bread or added to sauces, soups or to make casseroles with.  I took advantage of having the food processor out and sliced up some yellow summer squash to make a casserole with.

~Jeff and I went to the Farmer's Market last Saturday and bought some fresh fruit there.  I only bought what I could eat within a week.  They had some nice looking apples there, but our local apple orchard opened at the end of this week, so I will be buying my apples from them.  Cheaper and it supports a locally owned farm here in town.

~Jeff and I also went to a few yard sales last weekend.  I found some chick and hen plants for $2 a pot, some cookbooks including one from Whitefish Montana where Josh and Lauren were married, and western wear shirts and 3 pairs of shorts for me at the final yard sale.  Two of the shirts are flannel and will be staying with me and the other two will be a surprise for my cousin Jeremy who has been selling them in his online store.  I wanted to help him out in some way and was thrilled to find these in like new condition.

~We are continuing to "cherry pick" the sales at the grocery stores and stock up on things when they are at reasonable prices.  Sad to have to say reasonable rather than good, but that is the economy that we find ourselves in now.

~Walmart is clearancing out a lot of their Summer clothing and I was able to but matching shorts for the 3 oldest grandboys for .50 a pair.  I also picked up a robe, a shirt, and some sleep shorts for me for $1 each.  I did pick up some shorts for Jeff for $1, but sadly they did not fit him.  I am going to try and find someone who they will fit, and if not, I will donate them.  They just cost me $1.

~I bought 2 bottles of red wine that were normally $21.99 and I got them on sale for $5.99 each at Grocery Outlet.

~My sweet Heather surprised me with a phone call telling me that she had bought me a digital kitchen scale to go with the sourdough starter that she was gifting me!  We have been discussing how to get me started making sourdough everything and I have been pinning recipes to Pinterest like a mad woman.

~I picked a large bucketful of summer apples from our tree to make even more applesauce with.

~I'm seed saving from squash, flowers and tomatoes.

~We got several rounds of drenching rain so that had cut way back on the watering in the garden.

~Fall decorating has begun in my home and I could not be happier!  Soon enough I will be bringing out the Fall candles to burn at night and I cannot wait for that and the first fire in our pellet stove.


Monday, August 21, 2023

Clearing Out the Smoke, Rain and Other Blessings!

   I'm currently sitting out on my back screened in porch listening to the rain come down while soft piano jazz music is playing in the background. The rain is so welcomed as it scrubs the heavy smoke from wildfires out of the air.  I can breath again!  I am praying that the rain makes its way up to the Spokane area and beyond as they have had devastating fires up that way with many losing their homes and with 2 deaths between 3 different fires.   My neighbor's co-worker lost her home and I am waiting to hear how we can help her rebuild.

   My garden and yard desperately needed this good soaking rain.  Everything has been so dry and despite our constant watering, it seems the plants can never get enough and have been struggling in the horrible heat.  I am so very thankful for a much cooler day and rain, as I can feel it refreshing my soul once again.  It is much needed before the heat comes back on later in the week, just in time for our Josh, Lauren, Tate and Peyton's visit.  They are used to the heat and kind of like it...I can Josh be my kid and like the heat?  LOL!  Going to a little splash pad in in the plans for this coming Sunday and we will be celebrating the twins, Josh and Chris's birthday with that and a baseball game with friends and family.  I will happily be in the splash pad area with the little ones while the game is going on. 😉 I can't wait to have Josh and family home again.  They will be staying at a hotel with a pool due to the erratic sleep habits of my two youngest grandbabies.  The pool is a nice bonus and one that I plan on taking advantage of while enjoying it the grandkids.

   As you know, Jeff and I have been planning for him to be able to work part time and take early retirement.  Well part of that plan involves replacing things that need to be replaced and fixing other things, as well on stocking up on needed items.  It has also been learning new skills that will save us money, and/or enrich our lives.  I'm a firm believer that God will guide you to those needed or desired items, and He has once again come through for me in a big way.  My poor little immersion blender has seen lots of use and was one it's way out.  I had been wanting to replace it.  Well I found one at Goodwill for $5.99 and it had the blender and the milk frother attachments.  Now I needed a new immersion blender and I had been wanting a milk frother also.  Now I have both!  On that trip I also was blessed with a Home Dairy book on how to make cheese, yogurt, butter and more.  I already know how to do the yogurt, butter and a simple cheese, but I wanted to learn how to make other types of cheese as well.  My find of the day though has been something that I have wanted for a very long time.  I wanted a nice basket with handles that I can use in the garden to gather produce and I wanted it to have a washable and waterproof liner.  The only baskets that I knew about that had these attributes were Longaberger baskets, and those are way out of my price range.  Imagine my surprise and happiness when they wheeled out a new trolley of merchandise and there it was, the basket of my dreams (with the illusive liner) for $3.99!  I carefully flipped it over to see if there were any brand marks on the bottom because it was so well made and much to my delight, it was indeed and Longaberger basket.  Oh Happy Day!!!  On that trip I also found a hand blown wine glass from Italy (which is now being washed) and a movie.  Yes, it was indeed a great trip to the thrift for me!

  Our garden continues to bless us (even though the heat has definitely slowed things down) with Sungold cherry tomatoes, squash and apples.  The blackberries are just ripening and I ate the first 2 last night...I had forgotten how good they are.  I've been busy making applesauce and I need to freeze some of the tomatoes since I am getting more than I thought I would from just the 2 largest bushes and the other red cherry tomato buses are setting fruit, as are the Black Crim and Romas.  The green beans are just starting to get big enough to pick and I am sure we will have a lot of them once they really get going.  I have been sharing with my neighbor and she is anxiously awaiting for the pears to be ready to picked.  We are going to have a lot of them this year, and yes, I will be sharing them with her and with the rest of our family that lives nearby, as well as trying to put some up for Jeff.

   Well I suppose I should go and work on my "to do" list for a bit.  I have taken most of the day off to relax since Jeff and I did so much around and in the house over the weekend.  Between all that, the fires up north of us, as well as one just a few miles from us earlier last week, and just the general day to day trying to keep up on the gardens, it has left me exhausted and in lots of pain.  I have not been sleeping well, but last night, I was finally able to get into a deep sleep and slept until 9 a.m.  My body must have really needed it and I am not going to argue with that.  Be blessed my friends who are reading this and keep stocking up on those things that you need, and yes, even some nice "surprises" along the way.



Monday, August 14, 2023

I'm Melting and Still Trying to Maintain My Frugal Ways


    You see the picture above?  Well I just took it on my back porch in the shade with the blinds down to block out some of the heat.  It is not even to the hottest part of the day yet.  We are under a heat advisory for the next 4 days or so.  I think we may break some records this week.  Me, I am just trying to make it through and stay cool.  I have the swamp cooler on and my guess is that we will have to keep it running nonstop for the next 4 days.  I do not want a repeat of last year when I got heatstroke.  Nope, not doing that again!  

   Despite the heat, I am still trying to maintain my frugal ways.  Last night Jeff grilled up 6 large elk burgers, some marinated squash slices and I made a large batch of blue (yes, the potatoes are blue) potato salad.  All were yummy and we have lots of leftovers (as was the plan).  I needed more bread, so I baked 2 more loaves.  Sandwiches are on the menu this week and chicken salad will be made after I finish this post.  I need to cut up some lettuce and have that ready for a taco salad (I already have the taco meat cooked and in the freezer, and lots of tomatoes from the garden).  

   Other frugal doings are as follows:

~I "hunted" through the Walmart freezer section and found some amazing deals on apple juice concentrate (.31 each), frozen mixed veggies (.87 each and I bought 5 bags), frozen cauliflower (.69) and a few other items.  I dehydrated all of the frozen mixed veggies upon returning home from the store.

~I am currently wearing a very soft cotton dress that I bought at Goodwill awhile back.  It is very cool and comfy...just what I need in this heat.  Upon putting it on, I realized that there was some pilling on it right where a crossbody purse would have rubbed.  I got out my husband's razor (shhhh...don't tell him) and shave off the "pills".  It looks and feels brand new now.

~I made some more of my favorite squash casserole and that fed me for 4 meals.

~One night earlier this week, I cooked up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a teriyaki sauce that I added pineapple chunks to along with some of the light syrup from the can.  It made for an even lovelier sauce and I served it over rice.  I still have some leftover rice to use up now.  That will be an easy thing to add something over the top of it.  My idea of convenience food.  Having been raised in Hawaii, rice is a staple food group there and something that I can totally relate to.

~Our Summer apple tree is beginning to give us ripe apples.  I cooked up a batch of homemade applesauce in my largest crockpot and it made 12 cups of applesauce that were divided into 2 cup portions.  Some was frozen, some was shared with a dear friend and some is ready for Jeff and I to have this week.  I freeze it in 2 cup portions because that is what my favorite recipes call for and it is the perfect amount for a side dish or dessert for Jeff and I to share.

~I planted out the rest of the tomatoes from the greenhouse into the one of the dug up raised potato beds.  I know you are not supposed to plant tomatoes where your potatoes have grown, but my potatoes were disease free, so I am going to risk it.

~Jeff and I have been watering the gardens in the evenings when things cool down a bit.  We don't want the plants to burn and we want the water to be able to soak in.  I need to check tonight and see if we will need to rig up some shade over the beans.  I am worried about them burning in the hot sun.  Luckily, we have some leftover shade cloth and lots of light-colored sheets that we can use.

   Now for the heartbreaking news...the fires on Maui.  I, as many others, watched in horror as things unfolded and when I saw some of the videos of people trying to escape the flames.  It touched me deeply and I wondered if my friends there made it out safely.  As far as I know at this point, they did, but some family members of friends of mine remain missing and many lost their homes.  It brings me to tears to think of the trauma that theses precious people went through, and the lucky ones who are still alive, will live with for the rest of their lives.  The people of Lahaina lost loved ones, their homes, businesses and fur babies.  The Hawaiian culture is a close knit one where your neighbors become part of your hanai (adopted by love) family.  They have been displaced and I fear will now be preyed upon by unscrupulous people who will swoop in to try and buy their land where their homes once stood at low ball prices.  Given the desperation and state of mind some of the fire victims find themselves in, they may accept offers and once they can again take a breath and think clearly, regret it.  There is already a grassroots movement in Hawaii urging people NOT to sell their properties in Lahaina.  Please pray for all the people who have been touched by this tragedy and for healing and provision to come.  Thank you.


Monday, August 7, 2023

Sometimes We All Need A Little Help

      Yes, that is my middle grandson Steven above.  He apparently needed his kitty to help him play one of his games on his tablet.  I looked over to see him like this and quickly snapped a picture before he noticed. 😉 I think it perfectly sums up what I have been thinking about lately and that is that we all need a little help in many areas of our lives.

   Jeff and I have been trying to get ourselves set up the best we can to weather the hard economic times that we find ourselves in.  As you know, our family works together to try to find the best deals, share our garden produce and share what is gotten while hunting and fishing.  Jeff and I are now trying to extend that to also shopping locally here in town at our Farmer's Market.

   Above is a dinner I cooked last week.  It is elk backstrap steaks with rice pilaf.  We also had apple slices with it.  The elk backstrap steaks were from our kids Chris and Heather and we are so very grateful for them.  The steaks were absolutely delicious!  I had found the rice pilaf mix on sale and had stocked up on it.  The apples were sale priced items too.  

   Yesterday we went to Jeff's company picnic down on the river in Lewiston, Idaho.  It was a really fun time and the food was amazing.  We had never been to Hell's Gate Park before, so we checked out the camping area and the visitors center.  On our way out of town, Rachel called and said they were going to Costco and did we want then to pick up some razor blade refills for Jeff.  I told her we were in Lewiston also, so we met them there at Costco.  It turns out that they were also at the park at the opposite end of the day use area with their church group. 😀

Anyway, we got the razors and had a good look around the clothing area.  I had Jeff try on some of their Sketcher shoes that were on sale, but they did not fit his foot correctly.  Bummer.  Anyway, thanks to Jaysn and Rachel, we now have over a years' worth of razor blades for Jeff for half the price if we had bought them anywhere else.  

   Backtracking even further, Saturday was our family birthday party for Isaiah.  He requested that I make his favorite homemade macaroni and cheese, which I happily obliged.  The minute we arrived at his house, he came running out, checked under the lid of the crockpot to see the said macaroni and cheese and then picked up the crockpot and carried it inside.  Heather made some homemade pizzas to go with it and the most delicious "Death by Chocolate" dessert because, according to Isaiah "G-pa likes it too"...  Why yes he does and he was thrilled to have it.  Chris and Heather had a surprise early birthday present in store for Jeff also.  Chris was feeling bad that his father had to wash all our dishes by hand since our dishwasher broke.  Some friends of his were remodeling their kitchen and were selling their older but still in good working condition, dishwasher.  He bought it for his daddy. Jeff was so very moved by this generous gift!

    Continuing the theme of moving backwards, we come to the next money saving, while helping out our community and family moments.  Friday we went down to our local in town Farmer's market.  It is very small with just a few vendors.  We bought pickling cucumbers from one vendor and 2 small baskets of the sweetest apricots.  We also bought dinner from the "Tipsy Heifer" (yes, that is the name of their company) who was selling tacos.  I have no idea what they marinate their chicken in, but my oh my was it good!  Jeff and I rarely eat out anymore, but had heard so many good things about the tacos and at 2/$5, we thought it was a pretty good deal.  Plus we were supporting a local business (who's owner is also one of the EMTs that responded when we had to call the ambulance for Jeff about 2 months ago) and some local farmers.  No gas was spent going out of town either so it was a win/win all around.


   Other money saving things we have done recently were participate in our town wide yard sale where we made $121.00 and donated all the leftovers items (with the exception of three things) to a Christian thrift store that helps people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.  Isaiah sold huckle berries that he had picked and gave me the extra bag that did not sell.  He is so sweet!  Heather made huckleberry cinnamon rolls and they sold out quickly!  She made $61 on those alone.  

   Jeff made a deal with his boss at work to buy out some of the excess stock of nails, screws, bolts, etc. that they had sitting around from when they bought the business from the previous owner.  All of this was on a large pallet and shrink wrapped.  It is a huge amount of inventory and Jeff was able to get it all for $50.  The boss also asked him if he wanted one of the old wooden and metal spin around and sectioned off holders for storage of those hubby said yes!  I don't know what the price on that will be, if any, but Jeff got a place all cleared out in the garage next to his workbench for it. (turns out it was $100 and it was so worth it)  Our kids and neighbors will not need to go shopping for some of these items now since we will have them on hand and happily share them.  Jeff is also planning on starting a side business once he retires of fixing furniture and then selling it.


      Our garden continues to bless us.  Above is the last of the raspberries.  I had them on cereal along with some very juicy and sweet blueberries.  It made for a lovely breakfast.  Steven and I dug out the last of the potatoes and he helped me harvest tomatoes and squash.  I made my favorite squash casserole and cut up some of the sweet Sungold cherry tomatoes to put on quesadillas.  Yum!  They added the burst of freshness that just took those quesadillas up over the top!  The beans are putting on their blossoms in the front garden bed and the tomatoes are growing like weeds.  I have had to trim branches on the plants so they can have their energy go toward making fruit and need to finish staking up the Black Crim tomatoes.

   I stocked up on a 50 pound bag of flour and a 20 pound bag of rice.  Prices continue to go up, so I am hedging my bets a bit and trying to buy at the lower prices.  More canned pineapple was added to my pantry since Jaysn took some home with him the other day.  Yes, I let my kids shop my pantry...that is what is  there for, our family to use.  As prices continue to rise, I take advantage of sales when I see them and I am also forgoing certain items because the prices have gone too high for my liking. I know that many of my friends and family are doing the same.

   I had better end this here.  Between this energetic boy and a very busy weekend, I have very little voice left and am dead tired.  My heart is full though and I am so very grateful for all God has blessed us with, including an answer to prayer concerning my oldest son Josh and a change to where he will now be deploying to.  I need to now go and finish the laundry, make some bread and get a elk roast going in the crockpot for dinner.  The rest of my list can wait until tomorrow.  A much needed nap sounds so much better than completing my list. 😌

   Be blessed my friends who are reading this post.  I pray that you all are safe, keeping cool, or warm (depending on where in this big world of ours that you are reading this from), and that you are stocking your pantries with food, medical needs and whatever else you may need.  Don't forget to stock up on clothing needs too!  Now is the time in my part of the world to do so. 



Thursday, July 27, 2023

Rescuing Dogs and Digging Potatoes


This is Todd.  Todd was rescued from being hit by semi-trucks on the highway north of our town.  Shannon, our very tenderhearted hanai sister saved him while trying not to get hit and killed by the semi-trucks herself.  She brought him home to me and asked if I could help her find his family since she had just come off a 12 hour shift at the hospital and desperately needed to get some sleep so she could do the same long shift again that night.  Steven and I put out posts on Facebook groups and tagged people in the area where he was found along with taking Todd to a local vet to see if he was microchipped.  He was not.  We took him to some local families here who farm up that way to see if they recognized him.  Finally we found out that Todd's family was desperately searching for him and we got into contact with one another.  Todd's very grateful family came to pick him up and brought us a bouquet of flowers as a thank you.  I am so glad we were able to find his family as he is a total sweetheart and the young children in that family were so sad when he ran off.

   In addition to reuniting dogs with their families, we have been busy in the garden digging up potatoes.  The last batch to come out were our all blue potatoes that are supposed to stay blue if you do not overcook them.  I would say I dug up about 25 pounds out of that raised bed.  We also finished digging up the Huckleberry Golds and got another 20 pounds of those in addition to the 20 pounds or so we already dug up out of the half whiskey barrel. The Yukon Golds yielded us about 25 pounds.  All in all, I would say our potato harvest has been very successful and I still have a small patch of volunteer Huckleberry Golds to dig up once they are ready.  It has been hard work digging them all up, especially when you are dealing with health issues like I am, but it has been so worth it and I love the "treasure hunt" aspect of it!

      The garden has kept me busy.  I've been harvesting raspberries, which are thankfully winding down, along with blueberries.  I have also been getting the first of the zucchini and yellow squash and some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  I replanted one of the raised beds that had the Yukon Gold potatoes with bush beans and some spinach.  The beans will help fix nitrogen back into the soil and who does not like fresh beans?  Am I right? 😉  My front garden bean patch is growing like crazy, as are the rest of the tomato plants.  I had to put tomato cages up around more of the cherry tomatoes and it looks like I will need to be staking the Black Crim tomato plants up to the trellises soon.  I still need to do some seed saving on some flowers that I love that have their seed pods filled to the brim.  The apples will be ready in about 2-3 weeks, and I will be busy making applesauce like crazy.

   Meals around here have had to be quick and easy.  Homemade steak fries, coleslaw, green beans and chicken stir fry, mashed potatoes and ham steaks, and potato cheese soup made with the leftover mashed potatoes, have all made their way onto our dinner table in the past few weeks.  Tonight will be taco salads, using up some of the bottom of the tortilla chip bag broken chips.  The taco meat is already cooked and in the freezer, and the cheese is already shredded.  Thank goodness because today I am continuing to work on getting things ready for our town wide yard sale.  I have gone through my closets, drawers, etc. and am continuing to go through my costume jewelry, our dvd collection, cds, kitchen cabinets and drawers. etc. .  Jeff has already gone through the garage and gotten things ready to go there.  I still need to wash down the high chairs and strollers, along with a nice wood dining room table and some toys that our grandkids no longer play with.  If I have the energy and time, I will go through books also.

   Our Isaiah turned 10 years old on Monday and to celebrate, went on a camping trip per his request.  We will be celebrating with him next weekend with a big family dinner and I will of course be making his favorite homemade macaroni and cheese. 😊 Steven, Rachel and Jaysn are on a trip at the moment visiting Rachel's cousin in North Carolina.  Steven was so excited to get to go on an airplane for the first time! ✈  I asked him to bring me home a pretty shell from Myrtle Beach that he finds while beachcombing.  

   I continue to be astounded by the rise in prices for groceries.  Going through the sales ads yesterday, I noticed that the sale prices are double what the sale prices were on some items just a few months ago!  It is beyond ridiculous.  How on earth are families supposed to be able to afford to feed their families at this rate?  I talked to Chris yesterday and he also shares my concern.  He is really hoping to be able to fill their freezers with venison and elk this Fall, as well as fill our's and Jaysn and Rachel's. With four of them hunting this Fall, they have lots of tags they can fill.  

   I had better end this post here and get dressed and ready for the day.  I have a long "to do" list and will try to get through as much as I can.  I am in a major Fibro flare and my arthritis and back are also in full attack mode today.  I don't think there is a part of my body that is not sore at the moment. Even typing this up is painful, but I wanted to get it done.  Enough of the whining on my part.  😜  Let's all try to focus on the positives in our lives and less on the negatives right?  


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

There is Always Something to Do Around Here


   I thank those of you who read my blog for being so patient with me.  Things have been super busy around here and it seems like there are not enough hours in the day for us to get everything done that we need to.  So today, I am making time to do an update on things that are going on in our world.

   Above you will see 2 pictures of a salad that I made for dinner one night and then the filet mignon that Jeff grilled and I served with mashed potatoes made from Yukon Gold potatoes harvested from our garden.  In addition to the Yukon Gold potatoes, we also harvested the first batch of Huckleberry Gold potatoes that we grew in our half whisky barrel.  That barrel was a wonderful place to grow the potatoes and we got a good yield from it.  We still have more of the Huckleberry Golds to harvest that were grown in a row on the ground near the whisky barrel.  We will see what kind of yield we get from that also.  I gave some of the Yukon Gold potatoes to our neighbor/hanai sister Shannon this morning and she was super excited about it.

   The raspberry bushes have been going gangbusters on us and I am picking gallons of berries off them.  I have also been getting a handful of blueberries off those bushes every few days.  The strawberries are at the end of their season here and did not do as well as I had hoped.  Jeff and I are going to put down a lot of compost and work it into the soil this Fall.  The rhubarb also struggled and we got nothing off it.

   We are still getting cherries off our tree, but those too are coming to the end of their season and to be honest, I am really glad they are. 😉  We have harvested and given away so many of them.  This year was a bumper crop year for cherries all over our part of the country.

   Oh yes, an update on the doctor's appointments for Jeff and I.  Let's start with Jeff.  He is going to have to do a follow up on the spot they saw on his kidney.  He will be having another more detailed CAT scan sometime soon.  We are still waiting to hear from the hospital on scheduling it since they only do it there once a month.  Now it has now been discovered that I have some arthritis in my right hip as well as in my lower back (which is really a mess according to my doctor) and I have degenerative disc disease as well.  Oh joy...NOT!!!!  I am now taking Aleeve twice a day to help with that pain, in addition to all my other medications, and it seems to be helping.  It's funny how the Pregabalin does not touch that kind of pain, but helps with my Fibromyalgia pain.

   Back to the things we have been doing around here.  Jeff got the chest freezer all cleaned out and reorganized.  It was a big job, but we both are very happy to have it done.  Now he and I both know what is in there.  We still have to upright freezer to do, but that will have to wait until sometime in August since we are getting ready for our town wide yard sale at the end of this month.  Jeff did get the garage all cleaned out too and we have some of the yard sale things in one area ready to be set out in our driveway when the sale happens.

    I taught a class on frugal menu planning at the library last night.  I only had 2 people show up, but they were a lovely couple that are still fairly new to our area and did not know the places to get the best deals on things.  We had a wonderful time and are very like minded.  They both said that my interactive class was really good and that more people should take it.  They want me to do a follow up class the Fall. Since they were the only ones there, they got the door prizes and we so surprised that I would still not only give them a door prize, but give them all three.  I gave then a book by a local author that is loaded with all kinds of recipes, ideas for free places to go to and enjoy (many of them not well known) in our area, gardening and sewing ideas, etc.  It really is a beautiful book.  I also gave them the :More With Less" cookbook and some of my Tuscan Herb Salt that I make.

   Our weather has been either delightful or way too hot for me.  Luckily, up until now, it has cooled off enough at night for us to just run the vent on our swamp cooler to bring in the cooler night air as we sleep.  That is now ending and we have a heat dome coming upon us once more.  I try to do things early in the mornings since it heats up quickly in the afternoon and I have to retreat into the house and turn on the cooling part of the swamp cooler.  If it gets really hot, I will go over and get the extra air conditioner that Shannon has and she saves for me to use when needed.  That time may come by this weekend unfortunately.  Yes, I realize how very blessed I am to have such a wonderful friend who is so gracious with me.

   I'd better get going and try to get a few more things done before the heat gets to me.  I have my laundry on the line drying but still need to get out into the gardens and check and see how things are coming along.  Be blessed my friends, stay cool and stay safe.


Sunday, July 9, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up


   Jeff and I were supposed to have our doctor's appointments this Wednesday, but got a call early that morning saying they had to be rescheduled unless we wanted to see the PA.  Knowing which PA it was, I declined and said we would like to reschedule.  So hopefully next Monday afternoon we will actually get to see our doctor.  Mine had already been rescheduled once before so praying that third time is a charm.

   Again I have not been good at keeping track of things, so I am going from memory here...

~Jeff and I went to the thrift store in Pullman and found 2 more seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD.  We also found another movie that I love.  In the housewares section I found a double sided melons baller, a beautiful china plate with chickadees on it (I found it selling for $49.?? on, and another old fashioned potato masher.  The craft area had some acrylic paint that I needed for a project and we got those for .50 a bottle.

~We went to three yard sales where I found a chickadee glass hanging picture (this matched the chickadees on my plate) $1, a garden kneeling pad (free), 2 Bath and Body Works brand new sprays in a peach scent and Dalia scent for $3 each,  more paints for $1 for the set, and 2 cute wooden puzzles for our sweet Peyton for $1 each.

~I stocked up on cheap vodka and gin at the Grocery Outlet to make my fruit infused liquors.  They had the cheapest prices on it.  I ended up making a quart jar of raspberry gin and a quart jar of raspberry vodka with some freshly picked raspberries from our garden.

~Grocery Outlet also had the best prices I have seen on different large heads of lettuce.  I picked up some green curly leaf lettuce and a large head of Romaine.  They had their bags of peppers with 6 good sized peppers for $2.98, so I got one of those and a few other items.

~We grilled some marinated boneless, skinless chicken thighs after Jeff got the big barbeque grill out and set up in it's spot for the grilling season.  We also grilled some marinated potato slices.  YUM.  We had 2 of the grilled thighs, the potatoes, baby carrots and a nice big salad for dinner.  I save one of the thighs for another meal.

~It was Heather's father Bruce's surprise birthday party over the weekend.  It was so much fun!  They had a taco and baked potato bar so we had dinner there.  They also had a huge amount of taco meat left over, so they sent us home with a big bag of it.  We made taco salads with some of it.

~The Fourth of July is also our neighbor's birthday so they invited us over to celebrate with them.  I made a big pasta salad to share.  I had everything on hand to make it.  Their grill was not working, so I offered to grill the steaks and burgers here.  We had a wonderful meal and then watched all the fireworks from their porch.  They have a great view of them all, whereas we do not.  It was a fun evening but boy were our freaked out cats happy to see us when we came home.  Poor babies were terrified of the fireworks and Patchy cat slept between Jeff and I that night making sure she was touching both of us.  I think Midgy stayed hiding under the bed.

~Chris, Heather and the boys came over on Wednesday afternoon to pick raspberries and cherries.  Soon enough, Chris and the boys were spitting cherry pits at each other.  I told them to all knock it off, but the shenanigans continued and both Heather and I gave up trying to get them to stop.  Yep, there were some stained shirts after that.  They did manage to pick a lot of cherries and raspberries and the boys are going to try to sell some of them to help finance buying a gun that they want. It is not a cheap gun, so they are going to share it.  Heather and Chris will pay for half of it and they boys will pay for the other half.  Since they do hunt (and are pretty good at it), they do need another gun since they are currently sharing another one.

~Two more loaves of fresh bread were made.

~Jeff and I finally got my hair cut.  It was driving me batty!

~I planted a replacement tomato plant (from my greenhouse) out into the garden where another one had failed.  I also used a strong dried out blackberry cane to act as a barrier to keep the hose from running over the tomato plants that are planted by the trellis when I am out there watering.

~More hummingbird food was made.  I am loving watching the hummingbirds.

~Speaking of birds, I have a robin building a nest in one of my hanging baskets.  I had to carefully water around the nest and was afraid the bird would not come back.  She did thankfully. I think she is getting ready to lay her eggs there soon.  It may be the same one that built a nest next to the garage door last year because it never attacked us as we came and went right past it and is not trying to come after us at this point with the new nest either.  Watering may become a problem though because I don't want to upset her when she is sitting on eggs or after the babies are born.

~Dinner Wednesday night was soft tacos for Jeff and grilled chicken Caesar wraps for me.  Yes, that is the leftover grilled chicken thigh from earlier in the week and leftover taco meat that Heather's mom sent home with us.

~I froze the rest of the taco meat.

~Jeff took another big bag of cherries from our tree into work with him for one of his co-workers that loves cherries.

~I snacked on fresh raspberries, strawberries and cherries from the garden while I checked on how things were going out there.


Monday, July 3, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/30/23

~Steven was here with me and we did that watering in the morning in the garden. 
~I did a load of sheets and towels and hung those up outside to dry.
~After lunch, Steven and I headed into town to run some errands.  First stop was the thrift store where they had their buy one book get one free.  I found some wonderful books for the grandkids and also for myself and my father.  I also found a rolling 3 tiered metal cart that I had on my "want list" for $9.99.  It now houses my garden seeds and other garden related stuff in the house.  Steven also found a nice lego like building set that he and his Daddy and/or Mommy can work on at home.
~Next stop was Grocery Outlet where we got Gummie Bears (I bought enough for treats for Steven for the Summer), some sugar cookie mix for .99 for a large package (Steven loves to make sugar cookies), some garlic and a few other items.
~Dinner was a pot roast and Air Fryer roasted potatoes along with carrot sticks.

~Jeff had to work until 2 p.m. so I worked in the garden for 3 hours.  I was really tired, but I got a lot of work done.
~I picked some cherries, strawberries and raspberries from our garden.
~A large load of laundry was done.
~Jeff and I decided to have a fun "snacky" kind of dinner.  We had Mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers and herb salt crusted potato wedges.  We enjoyed them while watching the movie "80 for Brady" on tv.

~Our morning was a leisurely one.  Jeff made us pancakes for breakfast and I had mine with blueberry syrup.  YUM!
~We decided that we were going to have a "date day" so we got ourselves ready and headed to 2 yard sales first thing.  At one of the sales Jeff scored a really nice hydraulic car jack in a hard shelled carrying case for $15.  That was a steal of a deal!
~We went to a botanical garden that used to be well kept and were sad to see that it was not being well cared for anymore.
~Jeff took me out to lunch at one of our favorite places and we then walked across the street to a used bookstore.  I love just looking at all the books and seeing if I can find a new treasure.  I did not find one this time, but it was still fun to look. 
~Our last stop in town was up to Walmart where we ran into some good friends that we had not seen in ages.  We shared hugs and got caught up on each others lives.  Dave, our friend, was able to share with Jeff how to repair one of his tools that he thought was broken.  
~At Walmart, I hit the clearance aisles and found bath towels for .73 each and bath sheets for $2.00 each..  Some of our towels have been looking really "ratty", so picking up a few more new ones sure made me happy!  I also found Fushia plants on sale for $2 each, so I bought 4 of them.

~I got up early in the morning and got a load of linens going in the washer and then hung them out to dry.
~I finally got the kale all transplanted.
~I used a hanging basket that I had here and loaded it up with some potting soil and the 4 Fushia plants.
~I repotted about 25 cherry tomato plants into larger pots.  I am still trying to figure out where to plant them all out.  I already have about 17 plants in the front raised garden bed.
~All the watering for the day was done bright and early.
~Hamburger was pulled out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.
~Meatloaf and rice, along with fresh fruit from the garden made up dinner.

~Raspberries, cherries and a lone strawberry were harvested from the garden.
~Two loaves of homemade bread were made.  It has been at least 3 weeks since I made bread since we have had bagels, hamburger and hot dog buns that needed to be used up.
~It was a hot day so I closed the curtains to keep the cool air in the house and keep the heat out.  I also put on some soft jazz music with rain sounds on YouTube.  It helps trick my mind into thinking it is actually cooler.
~Dinner was chicken salad sandwiches on my homemade bread.

~I picked raspberries and gave them to my neighbor Shannon who loves them.  I just wanted to bless her.
~More strawberries were picked.
~The watering of the gardens was done in the morning.  While doing that, I was delighted to see that my bean plants are coming up.
~The rest of the chicken salad was finished for my brunch.
~Jeff picked 5 gallons of cherries super fast.  I had to finally tell him to stop because he was hurting doing it up over his head.

OK here is where things went sideways fast...Early Thursday morning, Jeff woke me up.  He was in severe pain in his back and chest.  So much so, that it was making it hard to breathe.  He asked me to call Shannon and an ambulance.  Yes, it was that bad.  Shannon came over and the ambulance arrived within 5 minutes.  Jeff took the ambulance to the hospital and Shannon and I followed along behind.  After many tests, a heart problem was ruled out and it was determined that it was in his muscles.  That made sense since he had been speed picking those cherries.  They did however find something on one of his kidneys which may just be a cyst, but we are following up on that this Wednesday.  I was able to add Jeff to my appointment time, so we will be able to just do it all together.  Thursday was spent sleeping and yes, Jeff was home with me per doctor's orders.  Friday he also stayed home since he was still really sore. but doing better.

I am beyond thankful for our town's EMTs who arrived so quickly, to the staff at the hospital, Jeff's coworkers and most of all to our neighbor/hanai sister Shannon.  Shannon helped Jeff and I get through something very scary and, with her medical background, was able to reassure us and explain what was going on.  She became my rock in a very scary situation and I cannot thank her enough for that.  I honestly thought I might lose my husband to something heart related and all I could do in that room was look at him and rely on God to make things right again.  Jeff is still a bit sore but is so much better now.  He reluctantly agreed that yes, he and I are getting older and we cannot do all that we used to do.  He, in particular, is going to have to ask for help from our boys to get certain things done.  This is not easy for him to accept, but it did get him thinking more about how he wants to spend the rest of his life and is having to make some hard changes.  Hopefully there will be no more ambulance rides in our future and that spot on his kidney will just be a cyst.   Now I need to come down off my high stress alert and calm back down so I can get our of this horrible flare.

So there you go...that is what our week was like.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up


   Hello all my beautiful friends!  Steven will be here tomorrow, so I decided to write this post a day early and get it up.  I know I will be too tired tomorrow evening to do so. Having him here with me is wonderful though and I so enjoy our special time together. 😊

   This week has been a very busy one and I forgot to write things down daily that I got accomplished.  Therefore, this post will be a list of the things that I can remember.  Hopefully I have included most things.  I did have a good nap earlier after pushing myself way too hard yesterday in the garden.  Was it worth it???  Yes!!!  I got so much done between seeding things in, transplanting and getting buckets full of compost to where they were needed.  I am super sore today and was encouraged by my husband to take it easy today.  I am more than happy to take his advice. 😁

   So here is my list...

~Remember all those strawberries that I had cut up?  Well they are now divided up between 3 storage containers and are in the freezer.

~Speaking of strawberries, I have been harvested some of our own from the garden.  They are absolutely delicious!

~We bought 1  1/2 cubic yards of compost in bulk from Jeff's place of work for $28.00.  Jaysn picked it up for us since he had our truck and was returning it to us anyway.  That compost has been making its way all over our yard .  

~Those 2 huge bags of spinach were taken care of by doing the following.  I gave some of the fresh spinach to Shannon and we had 2 big spinach salads.  I also blanched and froze 3 packages of it.  Two of the packages were chopped up so they could be used in a spinach artichoke dip and the other will be used when I make Kalua Pig.

~I made a simple applesauce cake.  It is so easy and one of our favorites.  It is a great way to use up canned or fresh applesauce.  This time I used canned applesauce and I will say I like it with our homemade applesauce better.  Both are really good, but there is a bit more appley flavor with my homemade stuff.  Judging by all the apples on our apple tree right now, I will hopefully be able to make a bunch of homemade applesauce again this year.  Last year was NOT a good year for our apples, so I was only able to make one batch.

~I had a family pack of chicken drumsticks.  I divided the chicken into some for making Jeff favorite baked chicken and put the rest into a crockpot with some water to cover them and some chicken bouillon.  The baked off chicken was served the first night with mashed potatoes and some sliced up crisp apples.  We still had some drumsticks left over and those made 2 more meals for Jeff.  The chicken in the crockpot was left to cook overnight.  The next morning, I took the broth and refrigerated it separately from the chicken legs.  Later that day, I took the meat off the bones and froze a portion of it and then put the rest back in with the concentrated broth, some water, carrots (left over from our camping trip), some diced onion (from our onion harvest last year that I had processed and froze) and celery,  I simmered that all together for about 30 minutes and then added in some "misfit noodles" (leftover dry pasta from packages that only had a bit left in them).  That made another 2 meals for us.

~I've been picking flowers out of my garden and making small bouquets and putting those in vases.  I love how my home is filled with the sweet scent of roses.

~Jeff put compost onto the front garden in areas where I wanted to grow even more food.  He mixed it in well with the dirt and dug it about 13 inches down. 

~I planted two types of bush beans , flowers, the rest of the squash plants that I had started in the greenhouse. more tomato starts and transplanted some basil into the garden beds as well as potted some more up in a larger pot.  I want to see where the basil does the best.

~More hair detangler spray was made with a sample sized hair conditioner and warm water all mixed together in a leftover spray bottle that used to hold leave on hair conditioning spray.  I am making my own with just the cost of the water.

~For Father's Day, we used a Safeway gift card to buy 2 frozen pizzas (I also had a digital coupon to make them cheaper), some sushi and a large iced tea.  I had the sushi on the way home (I had not had breakfast or lunch and was really hungry by 2 p.m.) and we cooked up the pizzas once we got home.  We then watched the movie "Avitar, the Way of the Water" while we ate our pizza.

~We bought a nice stepladder for $10 at a yard sale.  I have been asking Jeff for one for about 6 months now and I told him I would find one at a yard sale.  I finally did!  This will live in the pantry so I can reach things on the higher shelves.

~Dollar Tree had some of the Goli brand vitamins so I bought 2 bottles of them.  These are usually pretty spendy!  I also got 2 bottles of foot powder (Jeff goes through a lot of this in the Summer), some cotton rounds that he uses to clean his cpap mask, and some more garden seeds.

~We found a brand new with tags large hummingbird feeder at Goodwill when they brought the new bins out to restock the shelves.  I bought it and put it aside as a gift for someone who loves feeding hummingbirds.

~The laundry was hung out to dry about part of the week when my back could handle it.

~I mixed up more cinnamon sugar.  I needed this to sprinkle on top of the applesauce cake.

~Another years worth of my Tuscan Herb Salt was made with herbs from the garden.  My mother requests this as her Christmas gift every year, so I keep her supplied.

~We bought Jeff's cpap machine outright which will save us all kinds of money in the long run instead of renting it.

~Jeff used some of our stored gas in our gas cans that we keep here to fill up his car.  We wanted to make sure to rotate the gas in the gas cans, so we will be refilling them once more.

~Now that I have rediscovered the joys of napping, I am trying to get a few in a week.  They are a frugal luxury that cannot be beat! 😉

   Well that is all I can remember at the moment.  It has been a great week for me thus far and I have gotten a lot done.  I have pushed myself further physically than I would have thought I could (which led to a 3 hour nap the following day) and Jeff and I sat down and made a list of our financial goals for the year.  Seeing those goals in writing really helps motivate me to stay home more and spend less.  It also forces me to get more creative, and that is a challenge that I gladly take on.  Now I need to get off the computer for awhile and take care of my floors which are filthy between the cats shedding and us tracking stuff in from the gardens.