Friday, January 27, 2023

Staying Home and Saving Money

   Well, the start of this week was a bit scary, but it all turned out to be okay.  Jeff had been having pain in his upper leg and with the family history of blood clots,  he and I both thought it would be best to get it checked out.  They ruled out a blot clot, but thought it might be a hernia.  Since he had taken a fall at work, they also did an extra, which did not show a break thank goodness.  Then, they did an ultrasound later in the afternoon, and found nothing there either.  So it was decided that it was just a severe strain.  Thank the Lord above!  He is feeling a bit better and is back at work and doing heat treatments on it in the morning and when he comes home.

   While he was getting all of the things done at the doctor, I was home taking inventory of just about everything.  I wanted to make sure that no matter what, we would be fine if he had to take time off from work if surgery was required.  This was after he told me they thought it might be a hernia, but had not had the ultrasound done yet. I also decided that I would not be going anywhere in my car unless absolutely needed, or had a prior commitment.  I need to save money on gas anyway.

   Since I have so much time on my hands, I am trying to get some projects done around here.  I mended a seam in the loveseat before it got any bigger.  Thank goodness I have a huge array of colors of thread so that I can match just about anything. I started to seriously work on getting the pantry organized.  This is an ongoing project.  I've been trying to keep track on the temperature in the greenhouse.  It should be really interesting given that we will be going into the below zero temps at night here soon again.  

   I've been baking our usual sandwich bread and am go back to making our own mock sourdough bread again.  It is a recipe that I have used before in my bread maker.  I think I will do the English Muffin bread again too.  Homemade tortillas are on the list also to try next week.  

   While going through the pantry and cleaning out the refrigerator, I found things that needed to be used up.  I made a menu based on that and lasagna is now baking in the oven.  I will also be baking up a ham this weekend complete with mashed potatoes and green bean casserole since those are some of Jeff and my favorite sides to go with ham.  The meat sticks and cheese from Hickory Farms that my baby brother sent us are now put away in the "goody and treats" area of our pantry.  Those are so nice to have on hand to make a movie night into something special here at home.  They also come in handy if we have company.

   Hopefully this week Jeff and I will be able to get each other's hair cut.  We are both looking a bit "shaggy".  We had planned on doing it a few weeks ago, but Jeff got sick and then he hurt himself.  We are going to Bradley and Isaiah's dance recital on Saturday night and want to look nice for that.  Either before or after the dance recital, we will pick up some of the grocery items we need and try to see if we can get more free buckets from Safeway.  I use those buckets for so many things, both inside and outside of the house.  This will be my one trip outside the house this week and I want to make sure to get everything done that I am able to fit in before either Jeff or I get too tuckered out.

   Well, I should go and check on the lasagna.  It is smelling divine and I want to also get a fresh salad or something made to go with it.  Be blessed my friends and keep stocking your pantries with those sale items and keep your homes cozy and inviting.




Tuesday, January 24, 2023

My Twins, Chris and Josh's Children, Together.


Chris holding Tate, Josh holding Isaiah, and Bradley next to Josh.  The grandboys all enjoy their time with their uncles (and their aunties too) and each other.


Isaiah and Tate.  I think Tate would have come home with Isaiah if given the chance.  LOL!

Bradley and Peyton.  Bradley is totally in love with his baby girl cousin.  

 Buddies for life!

Isaiah finally got a turn holding Peyton.  I think he had to fight off his daddy and mommy to get her.  LOL!

Our little snow loving boy!  Tate is going to love living in Utah where he will have lots of snow to play in!

Cousin love!

Chris and his niece Peyton.  I wonder sometimes if Peyton thought he was actually her daddy Josh.


Chris with his nephew Tate (Uncle Chris is now Tate's favorite) and his niece Peyton.

I wish I had more pictures of Bradley with his cousins, but this is all I could find on my computer.  I know there are some on my phone, but I don't know how to transfer them yet.  Call me "technically challenged" LOL!  I am so glad that they all had a short but still wonderful visit!

Thursday, January 19, 2023


   Some days my heart just hurts.  I see people that I care about dealing with things that are just unimaginable to me.  With mass layoffs, I know that there is a good chance that some of my friends, and even some of my family, may lose their jobs and even their homes.  The rising costs of groceries is another huge concern. 


   Recently, I gave someone the benefit of the doubt.  I thought they had truly changed and turned over a new leaf upon a crisis in the family.  I was there to support them every step of the way.  I am now feeling like a total fool for having believed that they had changed.  Their actions have shown me otherwise. You would think I would have learned my lesson since I have gone through this numerous other times.  My problem is that I feel bad for anyone hurting, even if they have hurt me in the past.  I also believe in giving second chances and that people are capable of changing.  Some really do, and others...well, maybe not.

   I talked to my baby brother yesterday.  He works for Microsoft and with this latest round of layoffs, I messaged him to check on him and make sure he was ok.  He survived this last round yesterday, but many of his co-workers did not.  He said it was brutal (his words, not mine).  He is hoping he will survive the next round.  He has gone through this 4 times now within this company.  He and I talked about what his plan was, just in case the worst happens.  He is 7 years younger than I am and we were exceptionally close growing up.  My mom and I used to joke that he was my baby because I was like a little mother to him.  I still feel that way in a sense.

   As I worry about the cost of groceries going up here and having to seriously consider every item that I am buying while trying to continue to build a "cushion" in my pantry, I realize that we are not facing the insane prices that some others are.  One of my friends in Hawaii told me they are paying $12 for a dozen eggs and $15 for a gallon of milk.  They were already living on the edge financially.  They have moved to a smaller and cheaper apartment and cut costs to the bone within the past few years.  How they are going to afford groceries is just beyond me. 

   Yes, I am a "worrier."  I am also an empath who feels other's pain deeply.  I know, I know, some of you reading this are going to say that since there is nothing I can do about it, I need to just let it go.  Well, that is not something that I am able to do.  Seriously, I really can't.  I wish I could, but that is not how I am "wired" and honestly, even though I can't seem to just let things go, maybe, by being able to do that, I would lose some of the best parts of who I am.  I'm an extremely loyal person who is fiercely protective of those I love.  I feel deeply for others and am very nurturing.  I root for the "underdogs" and the people who are sometimes pushed to the side.  I am compassionate, sometimes to my own detriment.  But, and there is always a but isn't there...this is who I am.  I am not going to change and I am okay with that.  I'd rather be this way than not. So I will pray for all those I love and for others that are going through things that are very hard.  I will check in with those going through tough times.  I will let them know that I am here for them and have an ear to listen if they need to talk.  I will do all I can within my power to help, because that is who I am and what I can do.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Holy Cow! Have You Gone Grocery Shopping Lately?


   Oh my goodness!  I went grocery shopping yesterday and was shocked at how much prices are going up.  Eggs were $3.68 for a dozen large eggs.  Milk has gone up (I left it there and we will be using some powdered milk I have in the pantry instead), and butter prices were totally ridiculous!  Winco finally got their tortellini back in the bulk section.  I filled up about 3/4 of a produce bag and it cost me $26 for that alone!  YIKES!  I needed to restock that in my pantry and will now consider it a luxury item to be used sparingly.  I noticed that all the prices have gone up on flour, sugar, oats, and other baking supplies.  I did buy a 25 pound bag of flour to put back for later because I can see that there are going to be further increases in cost for that. Since I make all our bread, I need to make sure that I have a good supply on hand.  Canned veggies have gone way up in price and I am so glad that I bought cases of them when they were just .50 a can.

   I did manage to find some marked down meats, frozen foods and fresh veggies.  All of these were found at the Moscow, Idaho Walmart.  Italian sausages were marked down to $3.68.  I found a 12 pack of them at that price.  The rest of the packages were 6 count.  I think the person marking things down made a mistake marking it at the same price.  However, I am not going to complain.  I repacked the sausages into bags with 4 each and then froze them.  I found frozen pizzas for $3.98 each.  I bought 2 of them and cooked one up when I got home and then packed the pizza slices into 2 bags for Jeff to take for some of his lunches at work this week.  I also found apple dessert pizzas for $1 each.  They are now in my freezer for a nice treat later.  The 2 packages of marked down stir fry veggies will be used in a nice Yaki Soba dinner brimming with veggies for dinner tomorrow.

   Lasagna is on the menu this week.  I could not justify buying Mozzarella cheese at the high prices, so I am going to substitute some Colby Jack cheese that I already have instead.  It will change the taste, but I'm sure it will still be delicious.  I did pick up some mushrooms and will be using them in a chicken stroganoff.  I have everything else here that is needed and the sour cream in my refrigerator needs to be used up.  Since I will be using mushrooms in this dish, I will only be using one boneless, skinless chicken breast.  The mushrooms will really bulk things up.  I may throw some fresh spinach in it also right at the end of the cooking time.  I bought a bag full of that too.

   I am realizing that there are many things that we will not be buying in the near future due to prices increasing.  We live on a single income that by all accounts in very low.  If we had to pay a mortgage (or rent) right now, we would be applying for assistance for heating, food, and other things.  We actually qualified for heating assistance, but did not take advantage of it since there is a limited amount of money to go around in that fund, and we knew there were people that needed it more than we did.

   Going forward, our plans are to double the amount of food we grow in our garden and put even more of it up this coming harvest season.  We will continue to provide berries from our garden to our family and friends.  I will not be growing plants that take up a huge amount of space and provide little in return.  Our greenhouse will be put into use as soon as Spring arrives to start and even grow early crops in.  I have been monitoring the temperatures in it even now to see if it would be possible to grow things in there during the Winter.  So far it is a no go.  

   I am curious to hear how others are faring with the increases in costs of grocery items.  My heart goes out to all that are really struggling right now and I know that many more of us may be in that same position soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 1/6/23


  Saturday:  We finally got to celebrate Christmas!!!!

~We had a lovely meal with everyone bringing a dish to share.  I made a huge crockpot full of homemade Macaroni and Cheese (per my grandson Isaiah's request).  There was a bunch leftover so I had Heather divide it between their family and Jaysn.  We had ham, scalloped potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cookies for dessert.  Later in the evening we had some locally made herb cheese, and smoked salmon dip on crackers.

~Heather and Chris sent us home with freshly laid chicken eggs and some more of the locally made cheese.

~We were blessed with so many lovely gifts of food, homemade ornaments, a vintage Raggedy Ann doll for me from Heather's mother, warm fleece jammie pants for Jeff and a framed picture that I have treasured growing up of my father, two of my uncles, and three family friends including Arte Johnson (some of you may remember him as the short German soldier on the show Laugh In that always said "very interesting"). It was taken at the International Billfish Tournament awards ceremony many many years ago.

~I gifted our children and grandkids with homemade Cranberry Orange Bread.  I had to laugh when I first walked into Chris and Heather's house and Chris immediately asked if I had brought him some. 😆  There was one year that I did not make it and boy did I hear about it!  Our grandkids got wonderful presents from us...a Tonka tractor for Steven (found at the thrift store), a nice fuzzy reading bed pillow that Bradley had been begging for (thank you Target) and a nice soft and warm mummy sleeping bag for our Isaiah who hates to be cold (thrift store again).  They loved their gifts!

~Our grandkids really cracked me up!  They were running around handcuffing each other (yes, my oldest grandson has his own pair of police grade handcuffs since his daddy is a police officer and he was fascinated by them from a young age).  I had them all line up with handcuffs on and act like they had gotten caught doing something bad...this is how the picture turned out...

  The look on Steven's face just cracks me up...he is definitely the ring leader!  LOL! And yes, there are three pairs of handcuffs.  Chris got out his work pair plus his spare pair for the kiddos.  


~Jeff and I stayed home and I took a very long and much needed nap.

~Jeff made us nachos for dinner.

~We had a nice visit via Facebook camera thingy with my parents.


~I used some of the leftover cheese sauce from the homemade macaroni and cheese dish that I took over for our Christmas dinner to make a chicken, rice, broccoli and cauliflower casserole.  Oh it was so good! It also gave us leftovers for another meal.

~I used a saved cereal bag to crush the buttery crackers that toped the casserole above.  The bags are thick and don't break open.  I also used them to flatten or tenderize meat in.

~My sister and I had a lovely and long visit via Facebook's camera thingy.  I miss her terribly!

~I got caught up on laundry, washed our sheets and towels, vacuumed the floors and cleaned all the pictures and frames in the hallway.  I use the hallway as my family picture gallery, so there were a lot of frames to clean. I was so sore after doing all of that, but it was nice to get it done.

~I met my hanai sister/neighbor at our shared fence to give her our Christmas gifts for her.  We gave her a loaf of the cranberry orange bread (it has become a Christmas tradition and she loves it) and a really nice candle that I got for half price right after Christmas.  It smells divine.  I liked it so much that I got one for myself also.


~I overdid it on Monday so today was a day of minimal effort.

~I had some of the leftover casserole for lunch.

~I never got a bill for my health insurance that changed this month.  I finally got ahold of a representative (who was in India) and found out that I had a previous credit that covered the first month's premium.  I will get a bill next month though.  At least I know that my new insurance is active and I am covered.

~YouTube has been a wonderful source of finding info on the vote for Speaker of the House and the Idaho murders of the four college students. I guess we have to wait for at least a day to find out who will be the next Speaker of the House.

~Ravioli was pulled out of the freezer, cooked up and pasta sauce added for dinner.  We had crescent rolls with it.


~Jeff took some of the leftover casserole for lunch.

~Josh sent me online links to the houses they are looking at in Utah to possibly buy.  It was fun to look at all of them.

~I uploaded digital coupons onto my Safeway card.  I also looked at the ads online and only found about 2 items that I thought were a good price.  I will have Jeff pick up some of the Cosmic Crisp apples that are on sale at one of the stores that is on his way home from work.

~Leftovers for dinner.

~I seem to have an eye for art.  I was researching some prints and oil paintings that I bought at thrift stores.  Yep, I did very well thank you!

~We are planning a family camping trip in June with our kids and grandkids that live near us.  Our son Chris called today to offer us their tent trailer to use and they will use their large tent.  They wanted us to be more comfortable since they know that both Jeff and I have issues that can lead to some very rough nights and days.  I thanked them and told them if the grandkids wanted to bunk in with us, they could.  Yes, we are very blessed by our children who watch out for us.


~Jeff took the rest of the leftover chicken/rice casserole for lunch and a sandwich for dinner since he has bowling league on Thursday nights.

~Jeff picked up some produce that was on sale for me before he went to bowling.

~I made a salad with the same flavor profile as one I had at a restaurant.  I used items that I had on hand so it was a bit different, but still good.  I used some coleslaw mix (minus the dressing), crasins, a sliced up apple, some feta cheese, and some pecan pieces.  I made a quick raspberry vinaigrette to pour over the top.  YUMMY!

~I was doing a search on some jewelry that I was given by both my grandmother and my mother.  The pieces date back to the Victorian era and apparently are quite valuable.  I sent a picture off one of them to my mother in hopes that she would know more about the history of the one necklace.  My grandmother gave it to me when I graduated from high school.  I wore it on my graduation day and then again on the day I got married.  My granddaughter Peyton will be given these one day.


~My plan was to go in to town early in the morning and get things done.  However, there was black ice on the roads, so I decided to wait until things warmed up a bit and the ice melted.  Being in an accident definitely would not have been frugal. 😉

~I got the shopping done and was not happy at all with the price increases.  I crossed several things off my list that were wants and not needs because there was no way I am going to pay $2.00 more for a product than I did the last time I bought it.

~I stopped at a local thrift store and got a big woven basket for $6.99 to store fleece throws in the living room.  I like to have extra throws there for people to grab when they come over.  They also had books on sale buy one and get one free.  I was able to get a book for myself, one as a future gift, and two books for my grandson Isaiah that I think he will enjoy. Candles were $2.50 each.  I found two brand new large jar candles that I absolutely loved the scent of.

~Walmart had their fleece throws on sale for .75 each on clearance.  I bought 3 of them in a winter plaid pattern.  I like to use these for Christmas tree skirts.  They also had packages of cold medications for both night and day use for $3 each.  I bought 3 of them since that was the limit. Oh, I also bought some Christmas ornaments for 75% off.

~Dollar Tree was another stop and I got more cold medications there as well as decongestants.  I am trying to make sure that my cold and flu meds are once again topped off.  While there I also picked up more canned pineapple (it's the cheapest place to get it now).

Monday, January 2, 2023

Thank you and Thrift Finds from before Christmas


   Thank you for your kind comments, thoughts and prayers as our family goes through the grieving process for Uncle Bob, along with dealing with illnesses here on the home front and for beloved family members who are battling cancer, including my sister.  It is a lot to deal with all at once.  But onto happier things...

   I thought I would share some of the thrift store finds that brought me joy leading up to Christmas. Most of the Christmas items were half price.  Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all!