Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Bike:1 Isaiah:0, Frugal Doings and Some Thoughts


      Bradley and Isaiah were supposed to spend Tuesday night with us.  A few hours before we were due to pick them up, Heather called to tell me she was on the way to the doctor with Isaiah who had a rather bad bike crash.  She thought he might have broken his arm right above his wrist.  A trip to the doctor and then to the hospital for x-rays showed that yes, he had indeed broken his wrist.  Thank goodness it was not on the growth plate.  Since it was not a really bad break, they splinted it and will see if it is healing well without a cast to begin with.  Last night Heather loosened the splint because it was bothering him and she was afraid he would have trouble sleeping.  This morning he apparently forgot that it had been loosened and promptly told his mom, and I quote "Mom, I can already feel my muscles atrophying because my splint is loose".  LOL!  Yes, his parents are both EMTs and the boys have grown up learning things right alongside their parents.  Bradly even had his own emergency medical kit and knows how to make a splint and use a torniquet.   Isaiah is in good spirits and the pain meds are working.  He told me yesterday that this was going to get him out of writing because of where the break is on his hand he writes with.  Silver linings and the bright side of things is what he has come away with, along with the broken arm.  Gotta love his take on life. 😁 

   Last Friday Steven spent the day with us and we made it all about him.  G-pa and Steven made paper airplanes and gliders, built with Legos and even made a paper chain lei for Preston, our oversized piggy bank.  We had to run a few errands and then stopped at McDonald's for lunch, where they also have a play area for the kids.  There is an Air Hockey table there, so Steven and G-pa played a game on that, both really enjoying themselves.  We hit a few more stores and Steven got some more treats before his mom met us to pick him up.  Having G-pa home when Steven is here on a weekday is new for Steven and he was soaking it all up!  It just filled my heart with so much joy to see the two of them having such a wonderful time together.  💖

   Now for some frugal doings:

~I bought some more heavier duty thin and tall Tupperware containers to store some of my baking supplies like powdered and brown sugar in.  They will take up less shelf space and keep things dry and fresh.

~I was lacking bigger containers to store soup, casseroles and such in the refrigerator.  Dollar Tree has some of their largest containers in stock.  They were going very quickly and I was so glad that I was able to grab one.

~I found a bag of Ball brand shaker snap lids that go on canning jars so you can use them for herbs, etc. to shake on things.  The whole bag cost m $1.99 at the thrift store.  Major score!

~Some other goodies I found at the thrift stores were 2 t-shirt that had some funny sayings on them (one will be going to Jaysn), a 5 pack of brand new and soft peach colored washcloths which I will be using in our bathroom and putting the older ones in the "clean up dirty messes" basket, a large glass jar with lid for storing pasta in, and some books.

~Since we are were on a no spend January that turned into a low spend January, I have been very careful about using up what we have on hand food wise.  Our grocery bills have been under $100 for the month and yet we have had some amazing meals.  I've been using things up from the freezer and pantry.

~Breads, crackers and baked good treats were all baked and enjoyed here at home.

~I finished up making a crocheted dishcloth out of cotton yarn.  It had been sitting there unfinished since before Christmas.  It felt good to finally just pick it up and within 15 minutes, have it done!

~We found and bought a new large print study/devotional Bible for Jeff at the used bookstore.  The one we had bought previously had been put out by the Jehovah's Witnesses and had some things in there that did not align with our beliefs.  

~I gave Jeff a haircut.

~Oh, I found a fun game called 5 Second Rule, that again, say it with me folks, I found at the thrift store.  I can't wait to play it with our family and friends.  We are having a Superbowl party at Jaysn and Rachel's and I will be bringing this game for us to play.

~While cleaning out things, we came across some items that we thought Heather might want, so we offer them to her.  She was delighted and took all but 1 item, which I will now sell.

~Jeff and I watched lots of movies on Paramount and Peacock.

   Now for some thoughts...I don't know about you but the illegal migrant situation is totally out of control  in my opinion.  Just this morning I saw a video of some attacking police officers in New York.  One of the men caught has several prior arrests for  assaults and robbery since coming in illegally to our country.  And here is the kicker, the court let him go...again!  Why was he not deported? This is a man who is also getting free housing, a phone, money, and being fed by our tax dollars.  This just infuriates me! We also have a known terrorist who waltzed across the border and made threats against our country.  How many others are also here?  How many gang members, drug and and human traffickers, how many sleeper cells that mean us harm are scattered across the country?  This is what happens when our laws are not allowed, by the powers that be, to be followed and our border control agents have their hands tied so to speak. It is a disaster and a dangerous situation to ALL Americans.  I know that I have to state this again, I am totally onboard with legal immigration, but not this!  And now we have a ongoing standoff in Texas between our federal government and Texas, along with 25 other states, and many, many fed up US citizens.  I just pray that this will not lead to violence and the implementation of martial law.  I do think that is what some in power really want though...continuing to destroy our country from within.  Sadly, I have lost trust in our government and  many individuals who have proven themselves to be liars, cheaters, and self-serving bigoted people who are only in government to get rich and who have no loyalty or love for our country.  They don't care about protecting us here or our military serving overseas.   And yes, I realize that by publicly stating my opinion, I am putting myself at risk of being on some list somewhere (if I am not already on one).  So be it.  

Friday, January 19, 2024

Polar Vortex, Frozen Pipes and Incoming Freezing Rain


   My poor birdbath has been through the ringer.  First we had a Polar Vortex that left the water in it frozen solid and then the snow came, lots of snow.  Now we are expecting freezing rain, right in time for the afternoon/evening commute.  Just lovely....not!

   We had the Polar Vortex cause us to have below zero temperatures here on the Idaho/Washington Palouse.  Many people had water pipes that froze and burst.  Luckily, we just had the hot water pipes going to our master bathroom freeze.  The cold water pipe still worked though.  Thank goodness the pipes in the rest of the house were okay and we have a second bathroom that we had hot water in so we could still shower.  The kitchen hot water also remained working.  Yesterday the hot water pipes to our master bathroom finally thawed out so I was able to use the shower in there this morning.

   During the Polar Vortex, we were going through 2 bags of wood pellets a day to keep the house warm.  We did plan ahead and bought a Buddy Heater in case we lost power.  We also have our generator if needed.  Even with Jeff home for 10 days, we did not get a lot done because we spent most of our time cuddled up under cozy throws and blankets near the pellet stove keeping warm.  Jeff also had a sinus infection (which he finally went to the doctor for), so he was not feeling all that great before he got his meds.  

   Jeff is back at work today and will also work tomorrow, then start his new work schedule next week.  He will be working 3 days one week and 2 days the next, rinse and repeat. 😉  We are still waiting to hear from Social Security on his claim, but we do know that they are processing it.  We planned ahead, so financially we will be fine if it is delayed a bit.  Since we are also doing a "no spend January" other than needed things, it is saving us a lot of money.  We are eating out of the pantry and the freezers for the most part, just supplementing here and there for some fresh fruit, veggies and a few other items.  I'm glad we are because 1 1/2 bags of groceries the other day was $70, and we did not get that much!  The only meat we bought was some salad shrimp, and those were marked down.  I divided that package up into 3 smaller portions and froze them to use in salads.  Each portion is about $1.10 this way.  

   Earlier this week, we had our friend Roni, who is like a sister and is also our kids "other mother", up for dinner.  I made some lemon chicken pasta with chicken that our Chris and Heather grew and processed.  She brought a nice bottle of wine.  Both the wine and the dinner were really good, but the company was even better.  We talked for hours and laughed about so many things. 😆  She is one of those friends that you can always pick right back up where you left off, no matter how long it may be between visits.  Hopefully we can make those visits happen more often though...we have all missed each other.

    I had better get going, Chris just called and I need to talk with him.  He has a lot going on and just needs to talk.  Poor guy is so busy and just exhausted.  Be blessed all.

Friday, January 5, 2024

It has Finally Come to Fruition!

                 Come Celebrate with Us!!!! 

   After years of dreaming and planning, buckling down and paying off debt, we have finally been able to do it.  Jeff talked to his boss got the thumbs up from them and we filed the paperwork to get the ball rolling with Social Security.  Yes, Jeff is going to semi retire!  He will start part time at work on Monday! 😁

   I cannot even explain how happy this makes both him and I.  I can see a huge weight has been lifted off of him.  He has worked hard for 50 years and yes, he deserves to be able to relax a bit, pursue some hobbies and spend more time with our kids, grandkids and our extended family, along with our friends.

   In typical Jeff fashion, he has already made a list of things he wants to accomplish here at home before Spring hits.  At the top of that list is clearing out the garage and making that into a nice woodworking workshop.  He plans to build outdoor benches and chairs from wood pallets and sell them.  He would build them and I would paint them.  He has built them for us and for our kids who live near us and everyone who sees them comments on them.  I do think they would sell well.

   Of course I am beyond thrilled that I will have my best friend home with me more often.  To be perfectly honest, I desperately need help with keeping up on the house and garden (when it is gardening season) and I will need help with canning in the upcoming canning season.  I also really miss him when he is gone at work.  Yes, I also enjoy and need some "me time", and I will still get that.  

   We have already started a list of things we want to get accomplished, places we want to explore, and people that we want to go and visit.  I see many more camping trips, picnics, going to visit Josh, Lauren and the 2 youngest grands, spending time watching the 2 oldest grandsons playing baseball in the Spring, G-pa and Steven time during the Summer when Steven is here once a week, more grandson sleepovers,  and going to spend time with my parents and brother at the lake.  We are looking forward to more time spent BBQing and then spending Summer days having lunch and or dinner out on our screened in porch.  We will also be able to go for boat rides up the St. Joe River with Chris, and I think hubby might enjoy doing a ride along with him one day or evening at work. 

   So yes, we are continuing to buckle down financially and will be trying to live on just Jeff's part time work or his Social Security checks alone.  I know we can do it.  We have run the numbers and, with having all but one debt (which we will be paying off within 4 months) gone, it is possible to do this.  Our frugal ways have served and will continue to serve us well into retirement.  Oh I am so happy and so is Jeff!