Sunday, June 16, 2024

Frugal Friday Wrap Up Over the Past Month

   I want to first thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for my cousin Jeremy, Jeff's aunt Helen, and for us.  The loss of Jeremy has taken a huge toll on us emotionally.  We appreciate it and all of you so very much.  Jeff's aunt continues to have health struggles that we are trying to get to the bottom of and to get her the best care plan possible going forward.  We are also trying to get her trailer sold.  After a visit with my parents, we can see that my daddy is having some struggles with his balance, and we can see that he is definitely slowing down. It's hard to see him that way because he was always such a strong man physically.  He is in his late 80's now and I know just how blessed I am to still have him in my life.

   Below is a compilation of things that we tried to save money and some of the "curveballs" that life threw our way.  I know there are so many things that I missed, but given what all we were going through at the time, I'm sure that you will all understand.  I hope that you find something that will help you on your frugal journey in the post below.  


     Also four weeks ago:  Well, it is a good thing we did so well a few weeks ago with our frugality because we needed the money we saved to cover getting my car ready for long trips this summer.  New brake pads, fixing a rotor and a complete transmission flush was NOT cheap, but needed to be done.  Hopefully this is the end of car repairs and/or replacements for years to come.  UGH! This did not help with my fibromyalgia flare at all.

   Four weeks ago:

~I cut up and froze 4 pints of strawberries and 2 packages of Kalua Pig.

~Jeff built me a cucumber arch and I got cucumber seeds in and also planted more lettuce, spinach, and pok choi.

~Jeff got more well-rotted and aged chicken poop dug into more of the areas in the garden that I still need to plant out.

~ We had to go back up to work on Jeff's aunt's home, have a meeting with her care team and we also went to her physical therapy with her.  She did so well and really enjoyed having Jeff right there to help her.

~After our time with Jeff's aunt, we went out to lunch at Olive Garden.  We ordered off the lunch menu.  With our $25 gift card, we only ended up paying a little under $12 for lunch.  I did notice that they have changed their menu and there is way less on it now.

~Tuesday was a rough day for me after the really busy day before.  I ended up on the couch and in bed for most of the day.  I still managed to make dinner for us thanks to instant mashed potatoes, canned pears and chicken tenders quickly done in the air fryer.

~I fed my sourdough starter and made some sourdough discard crackers.

~The hummingbirds are back so I made some hummingbird food and filled then hung up the feeder outside for them.

~I called my cousin Jeremy and had a phone visit with him.  Please keep him in your prayers and pray for healing for him.

~We are getting our dates planned out for our trip to Utah to see Josh, Lauren, Tate and Peyton!  We will be down there for my birthday and I am so very excited.  We are already planning out things to do and see.  Josh reminded me that it will be really hot and he is being protective of me since I do not do heat well.  I think we will be going to the splash pads and the river near them.

~Jeff and I stopped into a Goodwill and found 2 brand new and fun t-shirts, some brand new tennis shoes in the exact size and brand that he wears ($7.99), a book, and some decorative ivy vines that I wanted for decorating.

~I continue to "cherry pick" the sales.  Oh my goodness, we all need to be on the lookout for deals and stock up when we see them.

~I called my dad on his birthday and we had a nice visit.

~I set up auto pay on our vehicle loan after the check we sent for a payment never made it to them.

   Three weeks ago:

Family emergency came up and we had to take a trip down to see my cousin Jeremy and pick up his dog.  We tried to be frugal on our trip, but it was still about $500 all included with gas, hotels costs, eating out, etc.  We now need to buckle down even more.

~Josh and Lauren graciously paid for our hotel room the first night of our trip.

~Instead of going out to eat all the time while on our trip, I packed snacks, we had burritos from the truck stop store on night and bought sandwiches several times. We did eat out at Applebee's one night with my cousin Andy and my Aunt Phyllis.  Andy made us breakfast one morning also.  

~The hotel that we stayed at on our way back home greeted its guests with a glass of wine.  Since there were two of us, we got two glasses of wine.  Jeff does not drink, so I had them both.  They also had a nice breakfast buffet that we took advantage of.  

~We spent one of the nights with my cousin Andy at the beautiful townhouse he rented.  I took full advantage of the big deep bathtub for a much-needed soak after a long drive.

~We took a side trip up to Crater Lake on our way home.  I asked about buying a National Park pass and they saw my handicapped parking placard. They handed me a form to fill out and I got a free lifetime pass because of my disability.

~Jeff and I stopped at 2 Goodwills, including 1 with a bins room.  I was able to find some nice and fun shirts, as well as some other home items that we had been looking for including a second pizza stone.

~I made a meatloaf one night for dinner and served it with some beans that I had grown and frozen last season, and some mashed potatoes.

~The next night I took the leftover meatloaf and made a macaroni , beef and cheese bake.  The sauce was a canned spaghetti sauce that had leftover red wine, more spices and cheese in it.

~I bought Maggie 3 large bones from our local meat shop here in town.  I gave her 1 and froze the other 2 for later. Talk about a happy dog.

~Maggie and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.

~Jeff fixed the lawnmower yet again.  He is a very handy hubby!

~We brought home food and canning jars from Jeremy's house.

~I've been talking to Jeremy every day and sending him pictures of Maggie and her adventures.  Being stuck in a hospital bed, he has really enjoyed seeing these pictures of her.

~My parents have offered to pay for our gas for our trip over to see them and all of our expenses will be covered while we stay with them also.  They have graciously agreed to let us bring Maggie with us too.

~I cashed in my points at Safeway for a free 2 lb brick of cheese.  I picked the most expensive item that we use on a regular basis to use my points on.

~I noticed that I have several volunteer tomato plants coming up in the front raised garden bed,  I think most of them are cherry tomatoes, but there is one that may be a Roma.  These will be transplanted to another spot.

~We had two nights of frost warnings so we covered up some of the raised garden beds with old sheets and a large tarp that went over the strawberry, rhubarb and blueberry patches.

~I picked, stripped, blanches and froze a 5-gallon bucket full of spinach that had overwintered.

~Heather, Chris, Bradley and Isaiah came over and brought dinner on Thursday night.  She made tacos with homemade sourdough tortillas (yum).  It was wonderful to have time with all of them.  Maggie (dog) enjoyed bounding around the backyard with the boys as they chased each other.

Three weeks ago:

~We took a trip over to see my parents and my brother in Montana.  Maggie came with us and Shannon took care of the cats.  It was so nice to be there with them and we got to visit with our friends Burl and Maggy also.

~While visiting my parents, we were invited to go to the dress rehearsal of the musical "Beauty and the Beast" at the Bigfork playhouse that was going to be opening to the paying public the next night.  It was absolutely wonderful and we were so blessed to have been in the right place at the right time to get the invite.

~Yes, you know it, we checked out the thrift store and I found a few things there.

~I called the hospital where Jeremy was at on Tuesday morning and got the sad news that he had passed away about an hour prior to my call.  Oh my heart hurt.  Since we were with my parents and brother, we all contacted family members to let them know.

~We stopped at the Care Center where Jeff's aunt is on our way home from Montana.  We took Maggie in to meet her and the staff and other residents there all spoiled Maggie rotten with treats and lots of petting.

~We ate out of the pantry, fridge and freezer upon our return home.  

~We ate out of the pantry, fridge and freezer upon our return home.

This past week:

~My new car, yes my new car, has developed transmission issues  UGH!!! Luckily we had bought a warranty for it and hopefully the cost, minus the $250 diagnostic test, should be covered.  Jeff, Steven and I took it down to Lewiston to the dealership.  Still waiting to hear what they come up with.

~I bought some shorts, a few shirts and soft summer dress at a few thrift stores.  I also bought some baskets and a few books.  Steven picked out a magic set.

~Steven helped me pick out a new collar for Maggie and we made her a nice new info tag (her jewelry) so if she gets lost, people can contact us.  We also picked up a huge 44 lb bag of dog food.  It was about half the price by unit than the smaller bags.

~I made a big tuna pasta salad.  It provided two meals for us.

~My doctor sent in a prescription for 3 month supplies of all my meds.

~Jeff brought home the leftover popcorn from the big popcorn machine on Saturday since they would be closed on Sunday.

~I made two loaves of bread.

~We got stocked up again on fruit and veggies since there was not a lot in our house.  I have been planning meals around them since we are trying to eat healthier.

~I picked my first strawberry off our new strawberry patch in the side garden.

~After getting a tetanus shot, I got really tired.  I don't know if there is a connection there because of my fibromyalgia or not.  I decided to take a nap and put off my afternoon plans of working in the garden. I later found out that it did the same thing to my grandson Bradley.

~I found a book that I had been looking for at a small little store across the street from my doctor's office.  I had been looking for a copy of "Five Little Peppers Grown Up" for years.  I found one there that was given as a gift from an aunt to their niece for Christmas of 1918.  How cool is that?  I love old books and was thrilled to find this treasure for just $12.

~I booked a hotel in Boise for our upcoming trip (it is the halfway point for us) through Priceline and got a great deal on a hotel with a pool and free breakfast.  I also was able to Use Rakutan, which will get me more money back.

~I chatted online with my cousin Andy (Jeremy's brother) for a bit.  He flew back over from Thailand to be with his mother and to spread Jeremy's ashes in a place that is special to my aunt.  Oh how my heart aches for them.  He asked about Maggie and I sent him a picture of her with her new collar and her chewing on a bone.

~ I found more volunteer tomato plants coming up in another raised bed where I grew them two years ago.

~We have been eating lots of leftovers for lunches.

~I finally got all my summer clothes and winter clothing switched out in my dresser.  I now have 3 bags full of clothes to try and sell at our yard sale.  I still have the closets to go through.

~Jeff and I broke down and bought some cantaloupe plants for the garden since only one of the seeds I planted came up.  We found two containers that had 3 plants in each of them so that saved us a ton of money right there.

   Life continues and we are adjusting to our new "normal" of having both Remi (Helen's cat) and Maggie (my cousin Jeremy's dog) living with us.  Maggie gets along well with all our cats, except Remi.  Remi is the cause of that though and she does not get along with any of the other cats either.  Maggie has also made friends with Whiskey, Shannon's youngest dog.  It is sweet to see both of them looking for each other when they are out in the back yard.  Please forgive me the lack of pictures.  I have not taken many lately.  Hopefully that will change with my next post.  Be blessed my sweet friends!



Friday, June 7, 2024

My dear cousin Jeremy has passed away


   My dear sweet cousin Jeremy has sadly passed away.  Jeff and I got a phone call about 2 weeks ago from my cousin Andy that Jeremy was in bad shape and were we still able to take his dog Maggie to live with us.  Jeff and I packed our bags and headed down that same evening.  It was a 12 hour drive.  We drove part way and spent the night and headed out early the next morning.  We got to spend some time with Jeremy, my cousin Andy and my Aunt Phyllis.  We said our heartfelt goodbyes the day after we arrived and brought his precious Maggie home to live with us.  Within a little over a week, Jeremy was gone.

   Jeremy left this life on Tuesday, passing away peacefully after a courageous battle with a very aggressive form of cancer that took over and ravaged his body.  My heart is breaking for my cousin Andy and for my Aunt Phyllis.  My heart is also breaking for my hubby, my kids, my grandkids and for me too.  Jeremy was one of the most generous, kindhearted and loving people that I have ever been blessed to have in my life.  His time here on earth was way too short and we cherish the time that we had with him.  We feel so very blessed to have connected with him and having been able to build a very close relationship with him.  He was more than just my cousin, he was also one of Jeff and my closest friends.  He loved our kids and grandkids and took great delight in spoiling us all.  

   Jeremy's final "gift" to us was bringing my cousin Andy, my Aunt Phyllis, Jeff and I together.  He wanted us all to meet.  The last time I saw my cousin Andy and my aunt was when I was 2 years old.  He loved seeing us together and getting to build those close family bonds that were so needed in a time like this.  All of us spent time together and I hope it brought joy to Jeremy knowing that his wish for us all had come to fruition, even though the circumstances were not what any of us wanted.

   Jeff and I got the sad news when we were in Montana visiting my parents and brother Fritz.  Jeff and I took some time to go into Bigfork and we found a beautiful piece of art that spoke to me and represented to me the bond that Jeremy, Jeff and I shared.  Jeff bought it for me knowing that I needed something beautiful to look at remember our sweet Jeremy by.

   Maggie Mae, Jeremy's faithful companion is now happily living with us.  I kept the promise I made to my cousin when he first brought Maggie home to meet.  I named her and told him that if anything ever happened to him, I would take Maggie and make sure she lived a happy life.  None of us could have ever imagined that within 5 or 6 years, I would be keeping that promise I made to him.  Maggie is the sweetest red nosed pit bull and loves other dogs and cats.  She has bonded big time with my hubby Jeff and is his shadow when he is home.  She is very smart and learns quickly.  I love her so much and am so happy to have her here with us,  Jeremy told me on our last visit that his main concern was making sure Maggie was taken care of.  It brought him great comfort to know that she was with us, people who loved her and would take good care of her.

    I'm still processing my grief over the loss of my dear cousin.   I know that I will break down at some point, but for now, I have too many other things and people that I feel I need to stay strong for.  I feel his loss so deeply and I fear he will not be the only family member we lose this year.  Plans are being made for us to travel to Tahiti to spend time with my sister who has been given a "timeline".  She is flying Jeff and I down and wants us to stay 2 weeks.  He first grandchild should be born around that time and she wants us there for that.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers also.