Saturday, December 30, 2023

Happy Holidays and New Year's Goals


   I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is about to have a very Happy New Year!  We had a lovely Christmas Eve day brunch with Rachel's mother and the rest of our family. We did it potluck style and had crepes with both sweet and savory fillings, sausages, fresh pineapples and both homemade huckleberry and strawberry fillings for the crepes.  It was wonderful to spend that time with our kids, grandkids and Rachel's mother who came up to spend Christmas with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven.  She has had some health challenges and I think this meant a lot to her, as it did for us!  Does that mean that Christmas is over?  Nope, we like to stretch things out around here so we are doing our family Christmas on New Year's Day in the late afternoon.  We will be doing an appetizer dinner and the sliced apples with sauces and topping again like we did for Thanksgiving.  Everyone loved that so much and asked to do it again!


   Jeff and I spent a quiet day at home on Christmas.  I made us a very nice Christmas dinner with ham, loaded potato casserole and green bean casserole.  All of these things are huge favorites of Jeff's and I really like them too.   Plus, I love the leftover ham!  Jeff spoiled me with a collapsible bucket cart that I can haul around the chairs, drinks, food and blankets that we will be using this Spring when Bradley and Isaiah are both playing on different baseball teams.  I got him a gift card to the bowling alley and a bag full of some of his favorite treats.

        Jeff had been hit with some kind of virus hard the day before and was still a bit weak on Friday morning, so he took both days off.  He was feeling better in the afternoon, so we ran into town.  Our first stop was at our Credit Union where we paid off our personal loan and our credit card in full!!!  Yes we did!  We still had more money left after paying those off with the retirement payoff for Jeff that we had been waiting for.  That got put away in savings.  Our teller was our hanai daughter Tiffany and she was so excited for us!  We shared hugs and got caught up on each other's lives.  On our way out, we ran into another one of our hanai kids and she got us caught up on what has been going on in her family too. :)  Such fun!


   Our following stops were to Walmart where we hit the after Christmas sales, got some things for the cars, a Seal a Meal for me to use to help preserve our food better and protect it from freezer burn and picked up a few grocery items including another marked down ham, some marked down salad kits and some marked down bakery items.  Safeway was another stop where I cherry picked the deals.  Our last stop was at the thrift store where all Christmas items were 75% off.  I found a few Christmas items and also got some books and magazines since it was B1G1F.  My very lucky finds there though were a Bodin Coffee Press for $2.99 and some gorgeous Haviland dessert plates for .69 each.  I was also able to finish off my gift baskets for the kids and grandkids here.

   Jeff and I spent this morning going over our budget and setting some goals for a no spend January (other than necessities) and some for the year.  Our January goals start with trying to get more organized by cleaning out our clothing closets and taking things to a local consignment store, along with some baby items that we have had here for the grandkids who have now outgrown or don't need then anymore.  Anything they do not take will be donated and will not be returning home with us. 😁  We also want to get the windshield replaced on Jeff's car.  It has horrible cracks running through it.  Our third goal is to get everything set up and in place so Jeff can semi retire and only work 3 days a week and also start drawing his Social Security.  The last goal is the most exciting one for us!

   Some of our yearlong goals include paying off our last debt (a loan taken out against my life insurance policy to pay for a surgery years ago for me), putting money away each month in a vacation fund and building up our emergency fund.  Jeff would also like to clean out the garage and reclaim that space so he can work on projects in there.  It will officially become his Man Cave. We also have a plan in place to pick one bigger thing each month to either fix, replace or add to our lives.  These are tangible assets like tools, vehicle repairs, etc..  

   As I close this out, I have the ham bone from the first ham cooking away in the crockpot with all the rest of the split pea soup ingredients.  It smells so comfy cozy in our home.  The new sheets that I bought 2 years ago on sale and put back are all washed up and ready to go on the bed.  The older sheets will be used for projects and in the garden to help protect tender plants.  Jeff hung up some family pictures for me and got the floors swept.  The next few days will be spent cooking and putting the second ham in the freezer and also freezing the ham bone for a future big batch of soup.  We will also spend our family Christmas together, something that I am really looking forward to.  Be blessed my friends, and stay prayed up and prepared for what looks like a rather rocky road ahead.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/15/23


   Hello again!  I cannot believe that I am actually posting this on Friday.  Christmas miracles do happen indeed!  😉  It has been a really good week with only one glitch, my mother had her appendix out on Sunday.  By Thursday she was up and doing way too much despite being in pain.  Yep, I am like my mother in so many ways.

   I did not keep track daily of what all I have done, so it is going to be in list form of the things that I can remember.  We all know that my memory is not the best, but I will give it a go.  😉😁

~Jeff and I went to the thrift store in Pullman and I found the handmade basket above.  I did some research and found out that it was made by a local man down in the valley that has since passed away.  I love it and placed a metal Christmas ornament inside it along with a card containing a gift for my Jeff.  While there I also found 2 books and some craft supplies I needed to make a funny ornament for an ornament gift exchange. I can't go into detail about the ornament I made because I do have family who may be reading this and I want it to be a surprise to them also.

~ Bradley and Isaiah spent the night with us on Monday.  We had pizza, cuddled a lot and watched a Christmas movie together.  We loved having then here with us and can't wait until next month when they come again.  While here, Isaiah asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told him that I wanted more time with him and his brother Bradley this coming year.  It really is what I wanted and he and Bradley like that idea too!

~I bought the wrong sized underwear at Walmart and since they were still unopened in the package, I was able to return them and get the right size.  While there we also picked up some juice on clearance and I found my Furukaki seasoning that I use on top my rice.  They had three bottles left so Jeff told me to get all 3 since we are having a harder time finding it now.

~I made more bread and sourdough crackers this week.  Becky, my sourdough starter (doesn't everyone name their starter) is doing great and is loving her "feedings".  She expresses this through bubbling up very nicely and giving me that nice tangy fermented taste in baked goods that I make from her.

~Grocery Outlet did not disappoint when we stopped there on Tuesday.  They had pumpkin bread mixes on sale for .99 each.  I bought 3 and will be using 1 of the boxes for Christmas Eve brunch at Rachel and Jaysn's home.  They also had Beer Brats, so I picked up a package of those and we will be having them for dinner tonight.  I almost forgot, I found a 10 package of hamburger patties marked down by $4, so I picked that up also and then cooked them all up when I got home.  Some were for lunch that day and the rest went into the freezer for future meals.

~I finally got my parents and brother Fritz's Christmas gift mailed off.  I gave them some goodies to eat and a framed picture like the one you see at the top of my blog page.  They really do not want or need more "stuff" but love goodies to eat and family pictures, so that is what I got them.

~Some of the meals we had this week were grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit and cheese plate for lunch for me, homemade scrapple, pancakes with homemade syrup, leftovers, fried eggs for Jeff, sandwiches for lunches for Jeff, and we did go out to the new Denny's on Tuesday night for our "date night".

~Jeff and I watched the movie "White Christmas", as we do most years.  It is one of our favorites!

~I have continued to keep the Christmas music going via YouTube.  It offers so many different winter scenes and kinds of music.  I find that playing Christmas music has the power to calm me and/or excite me about Christmas.  It also makes me extremely grateful for all that we have been blessed with.  I love listening to it while I am working on the computer, cooking or getting Christmas gifts made.

~Speaking of Christmas gifts, I have been working on making some fun and useful Christmas gifts.  I tied ribbons around some of those wonderfully scented liquid hand soaps that I love so much and using them as part of gift baskets.  Below is one I put together with a nice Christmas tea towel (also brand new but found at the thrift store for .99).

~Instead of taking naps this week, I have been sleeping in instead.  I do feel a bit guilty about doing that though since I feed Ginny and Georgie (my outdoor kitties) when I get up and spend some time with them.  Ginny is still my lovebug and Georgie is slowly warming up to me a bit more.  He is my "work in progress" kitty.  My indoor kitties are loving having more cuddle time since I am indoors most of the time now.

~I've continued to do more purging of things that we no longer want, do not use or do not fit.  We have taken bags and bags of things to donate to the thrift stores.

~Since it is the season to cuddle up more, I am finally getting around to reading some of the magazines that I bought for .25 each at, you guessed it, the thrift store.  I got an even better deal on Fridays on some others when I can get buy one get one free on magazines and books.  I looked at the retail prices on some of the magazines and was shocked to see $9.99 and $10.99 !  I'm sorry, but who in their right mind would pay that much for a single copy of a magazine?  Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that someone did so that I could get it later for .25, but still...

   Well that about wraps things up for this week.  Tonight we are going to Facetime with our grandson Tate who had his 3rd birthday yesterday!  He will be opening his gift from us while we visit with him.  Jeff was gone at bowling last night, so we waited until tonight to do it.  I still cannot believe he is 3 already....time goes way too quickly!!!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/8/23



~I slept in until almost 10 a.m. after having a rough few days with very little sleep.  Jeff, on the other hand, got up very early with Midgy cat, who could not understand that it was a weekend day and that Jeff did not need to get up at 4:30 a.m..  After Jeff made some toast with my homemade sourdough bread, he headed back to our bedroom to take a much needed nap.

~I finished off the last of the homemade cheese crackers and some creamy wild rice soup (from a mix) for my brunch.

~While going through my rather large stash of Christmas cards to pick some out to add to our boxes we are sending off to the troops overseas, I found a bunch of address labels from years gone by.  Since we have not moved, they are still all good to use!  No need to get anymore.

~I had some things that I needed to get sent to Lauren and the kids, so I got those packed up and ready to be sent off this coming Monday.

~Jeff and I made a list of things that we needed to get done before the economy tanks ever further.  These included things like eye exams, stocking up on wood pellets for NEXT year's heating season, building up a good-sized emergency fund, some home and car repairs, getting some medicines from Jase Medical, and tackling some gardening jobs.  Since we have paid off our house and car, it has freed up more money to both add to our savings and to get things done that need doing.

~I popped up a large bowl of popcorn and Jeff and I enjoyed that while watching the newest Indiana Jones movie on Disney+.


~Jeff's cousin Alan called and we had a wonderful visit with him.

~Our Ruck for the Fallen group packed up 42 Christmas boxes to send overseas to our troops.  All the items were donated by our wonderful community and members of the Ruck team.  It touched my heart so deeply to see all the goodies and the hand made cards and letters that children in our community made to send to our men and women who are serving our country.


~My sweet Uncle Gary and his wife April sent us a 2 pound box of Esther Price chocolates.  This is something that I look forward to every year.  He usually sends me a 1 pound box, but spoiled us rotten this year with a 2 pound box.  I will be sharing these with our family here.

~After wrapping all those gifts for our troops on Sunday, I was exhausted so I took a nap.

~Dinner was frozen pizzas that I cooked up.  While getting those out of the freezer, I also grabbed a package of Sweet Italian sausage for dinner the following night.

~I mixed up some Parmesan cheese/sourdough cracker dough and put it in the refrigerator to ferment for 2 days.

~Jeff and I watched the movie "Holiday Inn".  Jeff and I both love old musicals that we grew up watching with our parents. We have so many movies here and can always find something to watch!

~I had a pair of jeans that needed to have the waistband fixed and finally got around to doing that.


~Jeff picked up my prescriptions and a few items after he got off work.

~I packaged up some acorn squash seeds that I had dug out of a squash before cooking it and then dried. These will be planted in the Spring.

~Another nap was needed today.  I decided to just go with it since we have another "peopley" event tomorrow night.  Being around a lot of people, no matter how fun the event, can really drain me.

~Dinner was sweet Italian sausages cooked on a sheet pan along with sweet potato wedges seasoned with Tajin seasoning.  This is a super easy one pan dinner and I use a piece of parchment paper on the pan to make clean up easier.  I served fruit with it on the side.  


~I bought 2 calendars from our library with photographs of the beautiful area we live in.  One was sent out in Josh's Christmas box today and the other will be used by us.

~I also finally got Lauren and the kids package sent off.

~Leftovers were for my lunch.

~I picked up more priority mail boxes from the post office to have on hand here.  I need them when I mail things off to Josh.

~The last of the laundry (for now) was finished.  I know there will be more tonight, but at this moment in time I am feeling pretty darned proud of myself.

~Jeff and I stopped at the Dollar Tree while in town.  We picked up a picture frame, some scented liquid hand soaps, candy I needed to make peppermint bark, and some hair spray that I really like.

~Our highlight of the evening was going to see Bradley in his last dance recital.  His teacher, and other grandmother Tammy, has now sold the business to pursue another creative family endeavor.  It was so much fun to see how far all the kids have come in their dance abilities and to see them honor Tammy in a very special and touching way at the end of her last dance recital as their teacher.

~When we got home from the recital, I made up some chicken salad and we made sandwiches.  The indoor kitties enjoyed the broth from the can.


~I made a rather large pot of penne pasta with spinach (from our garden), sweet red bell peppers, alfredo sauce and some homemade seasoning salt.


~I headed into do some stock up shopping since Jeff got paid and I needed his "muscles" to help me load up a 25 pound bag of flour.  I was shocked to see how much prices have gone up on some items even within a week's time.  I noticed a lot less sales both at Winco and Safeway than normal for this time of year and this close to Christmas.

~I stopped at a thrift store that helps local people with special needs and found a funny ornament and some craft supplies that I needed to make another ornament.  We are having a funny ornament/white elephant gift exchange on Christmas Eve and Jaysn and Rachel's home.  I was proud of myself for just picking up the things I needed and not buying anything else.

~Grocery Outlet had some fun surprises waiting for me including a large bag of macadamia nuts.  Guess what I got myself for Christmas. ;)  I also picked up some supplements, seasonings, 2 bottles of wine, and a few other gift items there.

~Dollar Tree got more of their liquid hand soaps in that I am in love with.  I was able to pick up 3 different scents and will be using some of these as gifts, as well as keeping a few more on hand for us.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/01/23


  Yes, I am still here.  All I can say is that life happened.  I got overwhelmed and needed to draw into myself for a bit and recover once more.  I've been keeping myself very busy when not resting.  Right now it is snowing outside, there is Celtic Christmas music playing and I have sourdough bread rising on the pellet stove to pop into the oven once it has a good rise on it.

   Decorating for Christmas has been fun this year.  I went with a Harry Potter inspired theme.  We had to buy a smaller tree that would fit on Grandma's hope chest, and luckily we found that at a thrift store.  The owl on top of the tree, along with the other birds, were all from the Dollar Tree.  The poinsettias were from an estate sale, along with the stuffed animal owls.  The cute little knomes were from Ikea, and the Dollar Tree.  The mirror behind the tree on the Wall is one I bought this Summer and used to hang in Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma's home.  On top of my teacup shelf, I created a bottle brush forest with a truck being worked on ornament.  These were picked up at a yard sale this past Summer also.

      I have been hitting Goodwill to both donate a bunch of stuff and also to shop.  One day I told Jeff that I felt like we needed to stop in...then I looked at the clock when we got there and it said 2:22.  That number is very significant to me and I knew it meant that I would be finding something very special.  Indeed I did when I found 2 copies of one of my favorite cookbooks from Hawaii, along with another one put out years later by the same organization.  The artwork on the covers is by one of my favorite artists, Peggy Hopper.  I was surrounded by her artwork as a child and finally found a print by her at another thrift store.  That was a huge find for me.  Peggy is a friend of my father's, so it makes it all the more special.  I will give the 2 copies of the book I already have as gifts to some special people who I know will treasure them.

   I also found some puzzles that I know my youngest grandchildren will love and that we will take down to them when we go to visit in May.  Other great finds at Goodwill were 2 shirts for me (not pictured), a bag full of Christmas things, a new Christmas towel, and some other books (not pictured).  At Walmart, I found some pajamas for Tate for $3 on clearance.

         On a sadder note, my cousin Amy's husband Bobby died yesterday morning.  He was baptized about a week prior, along with my cousin Amy and 2 of Bobby's cousins.  I am so very thankful that they all were.  Bobby and Amy shared 10 wonderful years together before his passing.  He was her soulmate and best friend and showed her the kind of love that everyone dreams of having in a marriage.  My heart aches for my cousin and Bobby's family.  Please keep them all in your prayers.