Sunday, April 30, 2023

A Sort of Weekly Wrap Up Post


   Over the last weekend, we were able to see my nephew Cade, who is a senior in high school, and his Jazz band perform.  He had the biggest cheering section there with his parents and brother, two sets of grandparents, two uncles, one auntie, a cousin and his cousin's wife and child.  I saw him lean over to his friend and later found out that he told them that the group of us was his bloodline.  LOL!  It also turns out that one of the girls in the band had lived in Oakesdale for years.  Oakesdale is the next town over from us going north and we know many of the same people.  She was totally delightful, and we had a nice visit with her also.  It really is such a small world!


   We all had a wonderful time together, sharing meals, hugs, and having some great talks.  I really do miss having that time with my baby brother, the world's best sister in law, and my two nephews.  Eli had so much to tell me and so did Cade.  Cade and I especially have this super tight bond and can visit for hours, never getting bored or repeating the same subject.  Yes, we are both chatterboxes.  LOL!  My brother Eric and my son Chris seemed to have some great talks too. It was so hard to say goodbye to them on Sunday morning.  Our time together was way too short, but we crammed a lot into it.

   Christie brought over a huge black garbage bag full of clothes that Eli had outgrown over the years that are still in excellent shape for my grandboys here.  Bradley may be able to fit into some now and will grow into others. Eli is very skinny, just like Bradley.  None of the clothing will fit Isaiah as he inherited the "Duerr" barrel chest and body.  After Bradly has outgrown the clothing, if they are still in good shape, they will be passed down to Steven, who is also very skinny.  Yes, this is the way we do things in our family and I sure do appreciate it.

   The weather really warmed up this week and I have been enjoying sitting out on the back porch and on the bench in the backyard where Ginny cat and I enjoy some cuddle time. Jeff and I have even been able to have dinner out there. Laundry is being hung out on the line to dry and I have been trimming plants back.  My hydrangeas are now done and I have a hanging fuchsia plant that I got for $10 since it got nipped by the frost.  I cut it back and it is recovering nicely. The greenhouse is opened up during the day so the heat does not build up in there and I will be starting seeds this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Jeff will be working on building our front porch and stairs so we can once again use the front door. 😉

   Jeff and I headed over to Potlatch on Wednesday night to watch Bradley's baseball game.  I packed us a nice little dinner and took some drinks with us.  We took Jeff's car over, since it uses less gas.  Oh my hips are paying for that.  I have no idea why, but every time I ride in Jeff's car and have to get in and out of it, I hurt my hips.  Was it worth it though...absolutely!  Getting to spend time with our family and watch my grandson play ball is a privilege that I do not take lightly.  I had some aluminum baking trays with the plastic lids that I gave to Heather for her Cinnamon Roll baking side hustle, along with some latex garden gloves for her.  I am actively cleaning out thing that I am not using, or in the case of the gloves, cannot use because I am allergic to latex.

   Jaysn and Rachel are borrowing our truck at the moment.  While dropping it off on Sunday, I spied some of the half whiskey barrel planters that Rachel was getting rid of.  I asked her if I could have them to grown potatoes in.  She was more than happy to give them to me and will be bringing them over when they return our truck on Sunday.

   Thursday was a day at home for me and I tried to make the most of it despite the back and joint pain I was having.  I washed two loads of laundry and hung it out to dry on the laundry line.  That wiped me out for awhile, so I took some time to have some brunch.  I had a bowl of the pasta salad that I had made the day before.  I then ran down to the post office to get the mail and stopped by Uncle Bob's son's house to let him know there was a relator up at the house who was having trouble getting into the garage to view it.  While there, I spotted a large oval mirror that he was putting out for a yard sale and I bought it on the spot.  I had been looking for one and this one was from Uncle Bob's house.  I got it for $10 and was very happy with that price.

   Later that afternoon, I went down to our commodities distribution and was able to visit with several friends that I had not seen in quite awhile.  We shared hugs and one of them, who had recently lost her husband, looked at me and told me she had something to tell me.  She told me to treasure all the moments that Jeff and I had together.  I gave her a hug and promised her that I do and would continue to do so.  I came home from there with a full heart and lots of groceries including fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, lots of cereals, powdered milk, pancake mix, baked goods, small bags of chips, rice, beans, split peas, and frozen fish, a huge pork loin, teriyaki chicken, ground beef and sausages, peas, and shrimp.  I also got some HBA items.  My freezers are once again packed full.  Since I was worn out from everything, I grabbed a pizza out of the freezer for dinner and had a Blue Hawaii frozen wine drink that I found from last summer in my freezer.

   Jeff got paid Friday morning, so I ordered more supplements that we use on a regular basis from Vitacost.  I had a coupon for 20% off and I got free shipping.  That really helps since it was a big order.  My friend Carol's sister shared her obituary on Facebook, and it really helped me understand why Carol was the beautiful and feisty person that I loved so very much.  God laid on my heart to pray for healing of hurts on the heart of another friend.  I do not know what the circumstances are of why she is hurting so much, she has not even shared that she is hurting, but God knows.  I messaged her and she thanked me because she is going through a lot at the moment.  Please, if God lays someone on your heart to pray for, do it.  

   My big job for the day was getting the tomato plants and the squash plants going.  As I opened packages of seeds and labeled pots, all was going well until I open a package of Grey Zucchini squash seeds from Ferry-Morse.  There was exactly one, yes that is right, one seed in the package. UGH!  I got out some other seeds from a different company and finished getting all those seeds potted up and watered in.  Everything went into the greenhouse.  I then contacted Ferry-Morse about the problem and they were very helpful.  They sent me a link to a form to fill out and will be sending me a replacement package.  Apparently, the machine that packages their seeds has had a few glitches and I was not the only person who contacted them.

   And so went my week.  I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful week and is enjoying this weekend.  Cheers!






Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/21/23


~I spent the part of the day watching Bradley play baseball.  He had two games and they won both!  Jeff had to work so I went into town with him, dropped him off and then went to the morning game.  Later, I dropped the car off with him and Heather picked me up and took me to the afternoon game.  Jeff joined us there after he got off.

~Heather's parents, whom I love dearly, came to the afternoon game and we had a great visit.  We talked about the state of the world and how we feared it will be for our children and grandchildren.  We realized that we are going to have to be the ones to help teach them the skills they will need to make it through the upcoming very difficult years and that we may also have to help them out in various ways.

~I got part of the shopping done between games.  I picked up some Yukon gold seed potatoes and 2 bunches of Walla Walla sweet onion starts for my garden.  I will pick up some of the Huckleberry Gold seed potatoes on Friday when I go back into town and the new shipment comes in since they were out of them.

~Jeff and I got some of the things on my "stock up" list bought.  More light bulbs, things needed to service our cars, health related items and cleaning supplies are now bought and crossed off my list.  I am trying to purchase some of the needed items each time I go shopping.

~I really did not need much grocery wise but did pick up some extra boxes of snack crackers to have on hand since we will be having my parents and my baby brother's family coming at the end of this week.  I am so very excited to see everyone and watch my nephew Cade perform with his band at the U of I Jazz Festival!

~Jeff and I grabbed a long sandwich from the Winco deli to have for dinner and ate it on the way home from shopping.  It was $4.98 and fed both of us.

~It was a very long and exhausting day for me.  I was in bed by 7:45 pm.  It did not take me long to fall asleep once my head hit the pillow.  Jeff stayed up until about 10:30 p.m. . 


~Jeff got out in the morning and busted up the crumbling cement stairs that leads to our front door.  He broke his sledgehammer  while doing it and then decided to use the back of his axe to finish it.  Hopefully we will be able to find him another good sledgehammer at a yard sale this Summer.

~Jeff replaced the rotting boards in front of our front door to get the stairs and decking built.

~I made us a nice comfort meal.  Creamy scalloped potatoes with ham cubes baked together, green beans for Jeff and broiled asparagus for me, and the rest of the fresh pineapple with mandarin oranges as a fruit for me.  Jeff did not want any fruit.

~I switched out the Winter themed pictures for wall hangings that my mother made and a signed print from one of my favorite Hawaiian artists Herb Kane.  I think it is such a little thing to do, switching out decor that is, but it makes such a huge difference to the feel of your home.  I always try to surround myself with pictures and wall hangings that mean something special to me.


~I took half of a package of Krab and made a nice Krab salad with it.  This gave me 2 meals.

~Bad pain day and comfort food was needed.  I made meatloaf and rice pilaf for dinner.

~Chris, Heather and Isaiah came over to pick up the freezer that I bought for the kids and a few other items (Bradley was at a horse riding lesson with his Grandma Tammy).  While they were here, I also loaded them up with frozen blackberries and raspberries (grown in our garden) and an onion chopper.  I still have so many bags of the berries for our use also.

~I called my mom and we had a lovely visit.  I can't wait to see her and my dad on Wednesday!  


~I spent the day cleaning like a mad woman! Yes, I wore myself out.

~Jeff made us grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner since I could barely move.


~My parents arrived!  Yay!!!!  They came to my house on the way to their hotel.  I had a nice lunch all ready for them and orange juice for my mother, who has a cold.

~Mom and Dad brought me my Grandmother's cedar lined hope chest.  It is HUGE!  They also brought me a wool rug that my great grandmother designed and made herself.  What a treasure.  Inside the chest was my grandfather's christening outfit, my mother's tam-o-sham little hat that was given to her as a child because of her Scottish heritage, some long kid leather gloves of my grandmother's, crocheted lace placemats, and some other wonderful things.

~Jeff went to our bank to straighten out a mess in person.  I had been locked out of my account and his credit card has been declined.  This raised huge red flags for us.  Turns out someone had been trying to drain our account.  They transferred money off our credit card and put it into our checking account, took money out of our savings account and again transferred it into our checking account.  It was just a matter of time before they had that money transferred to their account.  UGH!  The bank got it all straightened out and we now have new security measures in place.  Our son Chris said that this scam is just people using random numbers until they get a hit on someone's account and they will just move onto the next victim now.


~I made a huge pot of cheese sauce for homemade macaroni and cheese.  We had a big family dinner with my parents, Heather's Grandma Sandra, Chris, Heather and my grandsons Isaiah and Bradley.  We were celebrating Isaiah getting his braces off so he got to pick the dinner and he chose Grammie's macaroni and cheese.  I used 1 1/2 pounds of noodles and my biggest baking roasting pan to hold it all!  Isaiah got to keep the leftovers.

~I still had half of a pot of homemade cheese sauce left so I will be making broccoli cheese soup with it.

~I spent the afternoon with my parents at their hotel (they like to stay at hotels where they can spread out).  We shared memories of the resort that my father worked at and was my second home growing up.

~I was able to get more seed potatoes at half the price of where I got my Yukon Golds.  I picked up some all blue potatoes that stay blue inside if you do not overcook them.  They are good for potato salads and I thought they would be a fun addition to family gatherings.  I also got the Huckleberry Golds that are low on the glycemic index.  I thought these might be really good for my father, who is diabetic.  They are also delicious!  I grew some last year and we loved them!  I am tripling my potato growing patch this year.


~I was up early as usual.  I tried to track down my FIL, whom we are estranged from, and who had a stroke.  My sons, who live here, wanted to visit him in the hospital, but he is no longer there.  I was unable to find him, so we assume he is home with Jeff's sister again.  We know we will all be blocked from seeing him now.

~I spent the majority of the day just resting.  I am beyond tired and know that I have a very busy weekend ahead.  We will be spending time with family and going to see my nephew Cade perform at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival with his high school jazz band.  Cade's other grandparents will be coming over with my brother and family, and possibly my SIL's brother too.  We have a ALL family pizza party planned for Saturday afternoon at Jaysn and Rachel's.  I really enjoy spending time with my SIL's parents...I have never met her brother, but I am sure we will get along with him too. :)

~I called Jaysn and got permission to pick Steven up from school since he had an early release day so he could spend some time with his great grandparents. He, and they, enjoyed their time together.

~Later we all went over to the hotel my baby brother Eric and his family were staying at.  While there, I got to meet my sister in law Christie's brother Daniel.  We went out to dinner and Rachel joined us.  Jaysn had to work later, so he was unable to come.  Cade, my nephew who was participating in the Jazz Festival, was with his band, so he was staying with them.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/14/23


   Here we are, on another Friday morning that started out bright and early for me.  I was up by 5:30 a.m. once again.  My brain was going in all directions as I tried to think of more ways to cut costs.  Everything is getting more expensive, and our budget just cannot handle too much more.

   I did not keep a running list by day of all I did to save money these past 2 weeks, so I am going by my "Swiss cheese" like memory so please bear with me...

~Jeff's work is changing their health insurance company and offerings for the employees.  It was way too expensive for us so I contacted the Washington Health Care Exchange and asked if I could get him on the same plan that I am on with the subsidies from our state.  They said they could and I got him added right away.  His plan will start on May 1st.  We will be paying less than half the price for both of us than we would for the lowest priced plan that his company was able to offer for him alone.  Since he will not be having the money for the company plan deducted from his paycheck, we will be ahead financially there.

~I mended a heating pad thingy that was leaking buckwheat.  Jeff uses this particular pad since it has a strap so he can secure it on his back on a daily basis.

~We had breakfast for dinner one night this week.  I used half a package of precooked sausage patties that I had bought on sale previously, some syrup I got free from Safeway and 2 small packages of pancake mix that were 2 for a dollar at Grocery Outlet.  The entire meal cost me $1.50 to make.  I thought I would have some leftover pancakes but Jeff was very hungry so he finished them off.

~Other dinners this week included teriyaki chicken over rice, stew over rice, chicken and herb sausages baked with salt and pepper seasoned potatoes in the oven, and a cheese, crackers and meat tray that I bought at the Grocery Outlet for $2.99.  I wish I had bought a few more of those now. I honestly cannot remember the meals from the week before.

~I stopped by a local thrift store in the next town over and found 3 pairs of jeans with the elastic waistbands, for $2 each.  I cannot have metal touching my tummy or I get a raw spot there.  They are so comfy and are just the right length.

~Jeff used some of the pavers, that we were given from Uncle Bob's home, to make a nice little area in front of my greenhouse door.  I think Uncle Bob would definitely approve.

~I continue to hang a good portion of our laundry out to dry on the clothesline when the weather cooperates.

~I crocheted another washcloth.

~I have been shopping around for different life insurance policies for both Jeff and I.  The ones we have now keep going up in price and are getting rather expensive.  Life insurance is something that we feel we need to help the surviving spouse out, or if both of us pass away together, then it will be divided equally between our children.  We have carried it through most of our marriage.

~Our town librarian, Sarah, asked me to teach a class in May on frugal cooking and meal planning.  I have done something similar in the past for the University of Idaho extension service.  This is something that I am really looking forward to as there are so many people who don't know how to make a basic white sauce that can then be turned into a cheese sauce or a cream of whatever soup.  They have also not been taught how to make homemade soups, chili, stew, French fries, etc.. They don't know how to stock their pantries with ingredients that will allow them to whip up quick and nutritious meals.   They also do not know how to stock those pantries and freezers when they see the items on sale. I want to help people learn these, as I see them, essential skills.  I also want to stress the importance of having a small garden or even a few herb, tomato and lettuce plants in containers on a porch or balcony. I will touch on food preservation too.

~One of the most important things I have learned in my life is that I am never too old to learn new skills.  On that note, I have been learning more about how to make homemade fertilizers for my garden along with when to use those fertilizers to get the best crop yields.

~No update on my echocardiogram results yet.  I will check again later today to see if I got a letter from my doctor, but I think he may still be on vacation.  If that is the case, hopefully he will be back this coming week and I will hear back from him.

~I had a mango mimosa when Jeff took me out to brunch after my echocardiogram.  It was really good and got my wheels a turning in my head.  I have prosecco and some champagne here at home, so I bought some guava nectar at the Dollar Tree.  I already have orange juice concentrate in my freezer and can make some blackberry juice with some of my homegrown blackberries.  I am thinking a mimosa station would be fun at our next family gathering.

~Jeff and I took some of my clothes, purses and wallets to two different consignment stores.  Between both of them, they took on about half of what I brought in.  That is not bad at all!  I am hoping that most of it sells so that we can make some money off of them.  My closet is now much "lighter" and I am more than happy about that.

~I gave one of my suede leather purses to Heather's grandmother Sandra who wanted to make some mittens with leather palms.  It was a purse that I got at a thrift store at some point very cheaply and had planned on selling, but I felt this was a much better use of it.  I always want to help family out whenever possible.

~Jeff and I stopped in to see a dear friend that is at the end stages of her life after a long battle with cancer.  She is in a nursing and rehabilitation home right across from the hospital where I had my echocardiogram.  She was very surprised to see us and asked how I had found her.  I told her I loved her and asked around.  Jeff and I were able to help comfort her and get ahold of her family, as she wanted them to come and see her.  We shared some laughter, hugs, stories and I love yous.  Now that is priceless!

~Loss leaders at the grocery store continue to be bought when needed and for stocking up the pantry and freezer.  I did not have to get much at all these past two weeks, so that is good!

~I've been busy making a list of all the things that we use on a regular basis around or home.  Toothbrushes, razor blades, Q-tips, Zote soap, laundry detergent, clothes pins, light bulbs, an extra thermostat and rope gasket for the pellet stove, wide mouth canning lids, socks and underwear all made the list.  I want to stock up on these things ASAP so we have them on hand and I can get them now while they are still available and reasonably priced.  My goal is to have at least a 2 year supply of these things on hand.

   I know my life may sound boring to some people, but it is mine and is filled with so much love and appreciation for all that Jeff and I been blessed with.  Yes, there are many challenging times and situations that we have been faced with, but we face them head on knowing that we have God, our family and close friends  surrounding us.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Ginny and Joy.


   I've been thinking about how the littlest things in life are the ones that mean the most.  The picture above is of Ginny.  She is the beautiful kitty that has adopted us as "her people".  She is a total love bug and, I will admit, is spoiled rotten by Jeff and I.  Ginny is also one of my links to our beloved Uncle Bob.  He loved her and she divided her time between us and him.  She stayed with him when he took a bad fall and passed out.  She would get up in his lap to be pet.  Uncle Bob was not a cat person to my knowledge, but he sure adored her. 

   Ginny is an ever present companion when either Jeff or I are outside working on a project.  She keeps a close eye on all that is going on.  When we take a break and sit for a moment, there she is wanting to get her lovies.  Some mornings I will sit outside on our front walkway bench, sipping on my coffee and Ginny will either be in my lap or cuddling up by my side.  She greets us in the morning and afternoon feeding times wanting not only her food, but some nice scratches as well.

   I am slowly working on getting my indoor kitties, Patchy and Midgy used to her.  I will let them have some time out on the screened in back porch with Ginny on the other side of the screen door.  We went from lots of hissing to genuine curiosity on all parties.  Now Patchy and Ginny can both be out there, with the screen keeping them apart, and not being bothered at all by the other's presence.  Midgy is slowly coming to that point, but she is a much more cautious and skittish cat around people and animals that she is not very familiar with.

    I am not planning on making Ginny an indoor cat.  She has been free to roam for all her life and I don't want to change that.  Jeff has made her a cozy kitty house which she is finally starting to use and enjoy.  She has also claimed the hot tub area as her own domain.  If and when we get the hot tub fixed, I am sure that she will be jumping up and walking around the sides of it when we are using it.

   Ginny has brought so much joy to our lives, especially mine.  She is the reason that I get up on days when my pain levels are high or my anxiety and depression try to take over.  Seeing her sweet face and hearing her rather loud greeting remind me that she depends on me to take care of her.   Seeing her brings a smile to my face as I talk to her, care for her and give her lovies.  Not forgetting about Patchy and Midgy, as they get the majority of my time since they are my sweet indoor kitties who spend lots of time in Jeff and my laps and sleep with us.  All three of our fur babies mean the world to me and I cannot imagine my life without them.


Monday, April 3, 2023

Homemade Turkey Soup and Monday Musings 4/3/23


   I did not do a Frugal Friday Wrap Up for this past week.  It was a really bad week for me pain wise due to my Fibromyalgia acting up with all the weather changes and my back continuing to bug the $%#& out of me.  I spent a good deal of time in bed and was so happy when I was actually able to sleep through the pain.  Even with that though, Jeff and I were able to get some things done around here. 

   I went down and got commodities from our local food giveaway.  They had so much food there and were telling people to take as much fresh produce as they wanted.  I ended up with pears, apples, tangerines, tons of oranges, potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots from the produce table.  I also brought home lots of cereals, canned meats, veggies and fruits, rice, dehydrated potato flakes, dried milk, beans, peanut butter, frozen meats and fish, HBA items, bakery items and some other things that are slipping my mind at the moment.  Jeff and I got that all sorted out and put away. I left a package of frozen pork stew meat out to thaw in the refrigerator and made a nice creamy pork stew with that and served it over mashed potatoes the following night.  The items that I got there allowed me to cross all but 3 items off my shopping list.  It's a good thing too, because Jeff went out this morning to take my car to work and the battery was dead.  He had to buy a new one today to replace the dead one.  I was able to just shift some of the money in our budget to take care of that expense since I did not need much for groceries.  The other HUGE hit to the budget was having to file our Federal and Idaho taxes and owing way more than we had imagined on our Federal taxes.  That is all filed now and taken care of also.  Next big hit will be the property taxes.  It sometimes feels like we are just bleeding money.  I did make a very frugal dinner after all of that with the last of the Yaki Soba noodles and sauce that I had in the refrigerator.  I added veggies and some ham to it and had a nice glass of wine with it.  The wine was from my neighbor/hanai sister Shannon.

   Over the weekend, I made a very nice turkey dinner for Jeff and I.  I needed the room in the big chest freezer so I put the turkey in a cooler on the back porch to thaw.  It took 4 days to defrost that sucker!  And yes, the space that the turkey had occupied was quickly filled up with some wonderful fish, hamburger and pork chops, along with some of the taco soup I made last week and froze.  The turkey was a little over 11 pounds, but out of that, we will get many meals.  In addition to the turkey dinner with the trimmings, we also have turkey slices for sandwiches, turkey cubed up for enchiladas and a casserole (these will be frozen to make later), and a HUGE pot of turkey noodle soup.  I am really looking forward to having some of it tonight, some later in the week and freezing some for another meal at a later date.

   I finally got some good news, my echocardiogram was finally approved!  It has only taken about 6 months, multiple attempts and switching health insurance companies (which means we had to start all over again) to get this thing going. My appointment is for this coming Saturday and Jeff can be in there with me holding my hand.  I have terrible PTSD from having to do most of the tests, imaging, and bloodwork, along with getting super painful penicillin shots monthy all alone as a child due to heart issues then as well.  It left me scarred emotionally for life.  I have had therapy to help me deal with those issues, but I still need to have Jeff with me.  I am praying that whatever is going on, that it is just something minor that we can just monitor or is an easy fix (and is not going to be too expensive).  I would hate to add another large medical bill to our debt.  If it is going to be a big expense, then I will apply for some help through the hospital's financial aid program.

   Anyway, that is where we are right now.  I am hoping that our weather will get better so that I can finally get some things started in the greenhouse.  It has been snowing here today, but I am so grateful that we are not experiences the horrendous storms that some of my friends and family are getting hit with.  My hearts go out to everyone who has lost loved ones, homes, businesses and been affected by all of this.  My prayers are with you also.