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Hmm...

March 28th, 2017 at 10:13 am

I've been thinking about Buendia's post the other day about how she meal plans at lunch as well. I've often wondered why I don't plan lunch. I know why I don't plan breakfast. I am too tired when I get up to stick to anything complicated. I tend to rotate between bacon and egg or two sausages and cucumbers. I don't eat typical breakfast foods in the morning like pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, muffins, cereal, or that sort of thing. If I did, a meal plan might make sense. Also, everyone gets up at a different time, so there is no cohesive breakfast time.

Lunches are harder to plan for some reason. There are usually leftovers, but I don't know what and how much there will be. It's fend for yourself and while there are generally always sandwich fixings, I only eat high carbs at dinner time. DH tends to eat the leftovers and the kids tend to eat sandwiches. I will usually have chicken that is either leftover from a whole roasted chicken, or a bunch of legs that I cooked up for my lunches. I eat either salad or cucumbers with it, low-carb veggies of some sort. So with everyone having something different, it makes it hard to plan there.

Dinner is much easier since we are all eating the same thing at the same time. When I plan that out I plan a protein, a starch, a lower carb veggie, and a fruit. It serves me well to have this template as I can then just plug in what each item will be, and it keeps the higher carb foods contained in one meal, which works best for my blood sugar and my attention span throughout the day.

Why do you meal plan they way you do?

Meal Planning for the Week

March 28th, 2017 at 09:57 am

Last week was bad. We barely stuck to the meal plan at all and got takeout a couple of times. Cheap takeout, but takeout nonetheless. I was feeling cruddy, very lethargic, and generally not myself for some reason. I was starting to suspect the onset of depression, though it has been years since my last episode. But I woke up feeling better yesterday. Still very tired though.

I designed my meal plan this week to be more attainable if I don't get my energy back with a lot of crock pot cooking, microwaving, or easy assembly cooking. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I've started using freeze dried and dehydrated foods from Thrive Life. It helps me immensely to have prechopped onions and peppers that I just have to rehydrate for a few minutes before using. I will dehydrate my own this year, but this is nice to have in the meanwhile and saves me so much work at dinnertime.

Monday:
Apricot Honey Pork Ribs (crockpot)
Fried (canned) potatoes with (freeze dried) onions and peppers
Broccoli (frozen, micro-steamed)
Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Rabbit Enchiladas (canned rabbit meat, frozen Enchilada sauce, precooked tortillas, preshredded cheese)
Rice (rice cooker, no babysitting) with Enchilada Sauce
Salad (preshredded) with fixings (prechopped)
Apples

Wednesday:
Beef Stew (crock pot) with home canned beef, home canned carrots, and home canned potatoes
Leftover Broccoli
Tangeloes

Thursday:
Rabbit Stir-fry with frozen, precut vegetables
Fried Rice (freezer)
Grapes

Friday:
Chicken tortellini (store bought) with home canned pasta sauce
Salad
Apples

Saturday:
Homemade pizza (frozen crust) with precut vegetables and meat
Cole slaw (preshredded cabbage)
Pineapple

Sunday:
Beef Pot Roast (crock pot)
Mashed Potatoes (instant, microwaved)
Home Canned Green Beans (microwave)
Frozen Blueberries

What's Left

March 25th, 2017 at 10:52 pm

I think, barring any further unforeseen circumstances, that we are going to come out of this whole ordeal with $30,000 left in the bank. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to still consider that the down payment fund or just make that be the Emergency Fund and start the down payment fund over from scratch.

That might be a little disheartening. I know we won't be doing anything whether the money is called one thing or the other, until both funds are to goal, but I just don't know.

I could split the difference with $15K into each or $10K into one and $20K into the other. I know it is all semantics. I just hate having to start completely over with both.

I guess I am being silly. I need to do whatever will screw with my brain the least. I just need to figure out what that is.

If It's Not One Thing

March 25th, 2017 at 01:06 am

Something is wrong with my daughter's eyes to the point that she started losing vision in the lower half of one of them today. Called her regular eye doctor who, is only an optometrist and he said take her to the regular doctor, so we did, just managing to get the last appointment of the day.

The doctor their said he could tell something was wrong with it, but it wasn't anything he had ever seen before and that she needed to go see an opthamologist and managed to get her a late night appointment with one (he came back after dinner to see her).

The diagnoses is one of two things. Either a virus that sprang from nowhere or a virus that is caused by an auto-immune disease. So she'll be going back next week during regular office hours and having blood work done to test for auto-immune diseases. The hope is it is just a virus. If it is, you treat it, it goes away. If it is a virus caused by an auto-immune disease it will go away with treatment but will reoccur.

Auto-immune diseases most likely to cause this are rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I've long suspected she had an auto-immune disease, but I figured it would be MS like Dad or fibromyalgia. I hope it isn't any of the above, though.

This could get expensive. Our insurance doesn't cover labs until you've met the deductible. Although she might be getting close on hers. Her prescriptions were $210.

In other news, I paid the 6 month premium on the car insurance of $436.01 today and a medical bill for my daughter of $130. Plus a regular co-pay of $30 and a specialists co-pay of $50. The car insurance was down about $50 from last time. Our car is over five years old now, so I think that may be why.

DH got his schedule for his drug test for work so that's moving along as expected. I really want to see the benefits packet. I do hope it comes on Monday as it is supposed to.

We spent some time putting the cabinet together. We still have to add two more shelves, the top, the back, and the earthquake guards and then it will be done. It shouldn't take more than an hour. Hopefully DH will get around to fixing the two garden bed corners that are coming apart as well.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel and It's Not a Train

March 22nd, 2017 at 01:10 am

Company B came through. DH has a job. He starts April 14th. He'll be making more than he was when he was laid off from Company A, but not as much as he was before Company A's 9% pay cut. They said they'd mail out a benefits package and it should be here on Monday, so we will know how much medical costs through them and whether or not there is 401K matching and how long it is before he can contribute.

He'll be working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off, which is not the most favorable of schedules, the 2 and 2 is much easier on the family and is easier to budget, but a job is a job and we can't afford to be picky right now. The way I did the budget in the past on a 3 and 3 is that I'd take 2 weeks, which was for one month and the third week I'd put in savings until the next month's budget. Each month's budget only dealt with two paychecks, whether it was a month that had 2, 3, or 1 paycheck.

That's another thing I'll need to find out, whether the pay is weekly, every two weeks, or once a month. The norm up there has always been weekly, but who knows with this company?

DH ran the numbers for me so I could figure out the new budget. At least what the numbers will be before they start taking out health insurance and retirement. I should be able to start rebuilding the Emergency Fund, though not at the speed I'd like. My goal for it is going to be $30,000, because $20,000 was not enough. If it wasn't for the Farm Down Payment Fund, we'd be living on credit right now. So $30,000 with perhaps $60,000 as a longer term goal.

$60K would cover a year's expenses with health insurance for the four of us. Although I'm hoping that if there is a next time, my kids will be on their own and it would only be the two of us, which would be much cheaper to cover. Or at least working jobs where they can pay for their own health insurance.

My earnings from youtube and AdSense and Pinecone will go into the EF. And if I do publish my novel (which is coming along) after I finish it, any earnings from that will go to rebuild the EF as well, I think, though I would like to start an IRA for myself also. Plus the old coin jar and $1 bills trick, which always serves me well.

Once the Emergency Fund is rebuilt, we can start adding to the Farm Down Payment Fund again, although somewhere along the line, I'd like to purchase half a beef.

We have learned to live on so much less, but with income again we'll be paying my mother $1000 a month again for 3 years and that's a big chunk. Maybe buying a farm is a pipe dream. Maybe it'll be something I have to give up. Or scale down. I know we can be pretty self-sufficient on two acres, but I have always wanted five with at least two acres in trees so we'd have our own renewable wood supply and not be dependent on propane.

I don't know. We'll have to see. The important thing is that DH has a job and we can at last get things turned around and going in the right direction again. Thank you all for your prayers. They have meant the world to me.

Monday Meal Planning Week 12

March 20th, 2017 at 03:57 pm

I am starting to see a major dent in the deep freezer. There is still plenty of rabbit and hamburger, but the pork from our pork share is down to ribs. I think there is one package of beef steaks. There isn't much chicken, but there is some. There are still plenty of frozen berries from last summer, mostly blueberries, and plenty of frozen plums.

I am also seeing a big dent in our home canned items, though we still have quite a bit left. I am not sure we will quite make it all the way to full on garden production, but I think we will be getting lettuce, broccoli, and kale (we already have some kale) before we run out of green beans. I should be able to plant broccoli any day now according to the planting chart, but I haven't seen it out for sale yet.

Anyway, here is the meal plan for this week, based largely around what we already have on hand.

Monday:
Pasta Romana with Garlic Parsley Sauce
Salad
Apples

Tuesday:
Garlic Butter Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Wednesday:
Apricot Pork Ribs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Oranges

Thursday:
Rabbit Stew (potatoes, carrots)
Green Beans
Apples

Friday:
Homemade pizza with onions, bell peppers, ham, sausage, and pepperoni
Salad
Canned Pineapple

Saturday:
Homemade Chili
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade French Bread
Salad
Apples

Sunday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Yesterday was Our Anniversary

March 19th, 2017 at 12:40 am

22 days ago on the 18th, DH and I got married in a little church that is no longer there, because they sold it, became a mega warehouse church, and completely changed into something they were not before. But I digress.

The plan for our anniversary was to go see Beauty and the Beast. It was our movie when it came out in the 90's when we were engaged and going to college. He was working at the movie theater and he had several free passes a month. Sometimes it was the only time we got to spend together, since I went to class in the mornings, then worked Noon to 8 in the restaurant.

After I got off work I'd drive to the theater and hang out with him in the projection room and we watched Beauty and the Beast many times. So we were going to see the movie, but I woke up with those extreme muscle cramps you get in your calf muscles and I figured sitting still for 2 hours without being able to stretch them would be a nightmare. And DH was tired anyway. We may go for today or we may wait for the following weekend.

So instead we celebrated by building me a new corner desk out of pallet wood and presswood cubes that I have had since I was a kid. We had to sand them down to get all the scribble marks and stickers that my kids put on them over the years off. We did not paint it as it is too cold yet to be painting outside, but we will eventually paint the whole thing white.

Here's the set up:



It's on the short side of the L. It holds my cooking magazines that I sill need to transcribe recipes out of and some homeschool consumable activity books. Then my box of tools that others are not allowed to use because they never bring them back. Then my sewing box.

The next cube holds all the OTC cold and allergy medicines for me and the kids. Then a shelf of the granny squares I've completed so far. Finally the last shelf holds our firesafe lockbox. We don't actually lock it though because the idea behind it is that it is just there for if there is a fire. I can get all the documents again, but it would be very time-consuming. Then up on top I've got my basked full of tape, sticky notes, and staples, emergency goat milk replacer, and the coin jar.


This is the long area of the L where I will do my computer work and writing I won't have much else on this section. Maybe an inbox. I will put up a painting on the wall overhead, though.


This is the set up at the other end of the long part of the desk.


The area beneath the long side at the far end of the desk is set up for homeschool paperwork, tests, and quizzes.


The area beneath the short side holds my yarn for crochet and loom knitting and the file boxes that contain our medical information for the past five years that we need to retain for tax purposes.

All in all I'm very pleased.

Odds and Ends

March 16th, 2017 at 08:34 pm

Well, after my little rant last night I got an email from AdSense today saying my payment should be deposited in 4 to 5 business days. So I guess I finally got everything filled out right with no more hidden boxes to check or secret codes to enter. So I feel better about that.

DH still hasn't heard back from Company B. He's going to give the guy a call tomorrow and try to get an update on the situation. He's still applying for other jobs. I just with there were more available. The previous administration's policies really damaged the industry in the last several years and it is taking some time to turn the old dinosaur back around now that some of those restrictions have been lifted.

We went to Costco and did a major stock up. We bought a lot of cheese, butter, toilet paper and Kleenex. I also got $52 worth of razors. We also picked up vitamins. I'd say half our dollar amount was non-food items. We got spices as well. Mostly several bottles of salt and pepper now that they are no longer out of stock. We spent just over $300, $157 or so of which was food, the rest household goods.

I was disappointed in the oranges. They were either partly green or moldy. Yuck. I know they are now out of season, so probably wouldn't be that good now anyway. I was hoping they'd have Bartlett pears, but they only had D'Anjou and I don't like those nearly as well. They did have Asian pears, but I didn't like the way they looked either. So no fruit purchases were made. I guess we'll be eating canned fruit this week and apples I already had in the fruit drawer.

I was going to look at the cookbooks, but they had an entire herd of people parked in front of the books and they don't have a large book section anymore since they moved to the new store. I do like to look over the cookbooks for something promising as I make so much food from scratch. Although I haven't seen any good ones at Costco in over a year, so I probably didn't miss out on anything.

We didn't do anything else today. Well, I crocheted a granny square. I have to do one more to meet my goal of doing two a day until I have enough to make my blanket. I was hoping to get the desk built today, but that didn't work out. Maybe tomorrow.

Frustrated

March 15th, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Google AdSense is frustrating the crap out of me right now. Every time I think I've dotted every i and crossed every t so that I will actually get my payment from them, turns out there is yet one more box to check hidden somewhere in the remotest recesses of their website. While creating ad blocks is easy, everything else is soooooooo user unfriendly. They are straight-forward about nothing, important info is hidden, and I have to watch numerous videos to try to figure everything out.

And are those videos on the AdSense page? Oh, no, nothing so easy as that. They are on youtube and they are done by other users that have figured stuff out. Of course you have to make sure the video is from not too far in the past because they change stuff all the time. Ugh.

Youtube itself is a little easier to figure out, but not by much. They don't hide the info, but it is not particularly easy to interpret. I am trying not to bang my head against the wall, but it would feel better than dealing with all this rigamarole.

We haven't heard anything further from Company B. They only called on Saturday. They said they'd call back in a couple days. I am assuming business days. It is possible the guy meant a few days when he said a couple of days. I wish people would be more precise with their speech. A couple is two. Which means all day Monday, all day Tuesday, they should have called today.

I have very little faith that this isn't some cosmic joke they are playing just to screw DH over again, but I am particularly pessimistic at the moment. He probably meant a few. I am rational enough to realize that.

It would be nice to be able to buy a plane ticket if necessary before the prices go way up for last minute purchases. But no one operates on my time table or my budget, so whatever.

We lost Leo on the night of the 13th. He died of old age. He was the last of the original rabbits we brought home. We bred him with Ella on the 6th so maybe there will be one last litter from him. His kits always had the sweetest personalities. This puts us down to 2 bucks, our New Zealand white Starbuck and our broken black New Zealand Zander. Starbuck is three and Zander will be one April 9th. I am hoping either Zander's breeding with Ruby or with Bonfire will produce a NZ broken red buck. We won't know until around the end of the first week of April.

This week has been a little topsy turvy. I have gotten stuff done, though. We built an open cabinet and are working on sanding more wood for the second canning cabinet. We got a bunch of boxes taken to storage. I dehydrated more garlic. I cleaned up the garden a bit. The kitchen needs a major spring cleaning, we need to butcher, and I need to transplant and divide my aloe plants.

Today was a no spend day. At least there is that.

Always Posting After Midnight

March 14th, 2017 at 01:04 am

It seems like I always end up posting after midnight. So when I say today, I mean the previous date to this entry, but it's still part of my today even though it is technically the next day.

DH got his last unemployment check on the 9th. My Pinecone check came in the mail. It was $12. Our safe driver's refund check came as well. It was $22.74. I had $26 in rolled coins as well, so I deposited it all into savings at CU #2. I am not sending it to C1-360 just yet. It may or may not be the start of refilling the Emergency Fund.

I don't want to jinx things, but yes, we might have a reason that we can start rebuilding the Emergency Fund. Waiting for offer paperwork to be signed off on before DH receives it. But it is with Company B (you remember Company B, don't you?) so I won't believe it until I see it. If it all works out, he could be back on the slope by the 22nd. Please pray for us like you never have before that this thing actually goes through.

If it does, then I will officially start the Emergency Fund over and will add my Youtube/Google Ad Sense paycheck if it ever comes as well. Hopefully there will be no screw ups this month, because it seems they only issue payments once a month. I think payment is supposed to happen on the 15th. I guess I'll find out in 36 hours or so when I wake up on the 15th.

Meal Planning for the Week

March 14th, 2017 at 12:51 am

Monday:
Birthday Dinner Out at Olive Garden (DS turned 17)

Tuesday:
Langostino in Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce
Ginger Rice
Broccoli
Oranges

Wednesday:
Beef Brisket
Baked Potatoes
HC Green Beans
HC Pears

Thursday:
Apricot Honey Glazed Chicken Legs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Pineapple

Friday:
Pasta Romana in Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce
Cole Slaw
Opal Apples

Saturday:
Hoemade Pizza with ham, pepperoni, onions, bell peppers
Cole Slaw
Oranges
(That is for the kids. DH and I are going out for Mexican for our 22nd Wedding Anniversary)

Sunday:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Salad
Opal Apples

Stocked Up on Soup and Dermatologist Visit

March 12th, 2017 at 01:45 am

Today was not a no spend day as we went to Winco and stocked up on more soup. I will be glad when cold and flu season is over, because about all my kids are eating right now is soup. They are, at least, adding eggs into it to increase the protein content. If I were making it from scratch, there is no way I could keep up with their consumption right now.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the dermatologist. Apparently I have three different things wrong with me, two of which are treatable and one that is not. He gave me a cream for the patch under my nose (and I sometimes get it by my right eye, too) that will not heal and an ointment for the rashes on my fingers. Already there has been tremendous improvement and they don't itch all the time.

The non-treatable thing is called knuckle pads. It's a thickening of the skin over the knuckles and is generally hereditary. It is also a sign of insulin resistance, which I've had for years, and diabetes (which I don't have and have never come close to having).

On the bright side, he does not think I am actually allergic to nightshades, but getting nightshades on the rashes can aggravate them. Just like chopping onions and garlic and getting their juices on the rash can aggravate them. Mostly because the juice of these things cause pain if left on the skin. Once the rashes heal I should be okay if I get it on my skin.

So I decided to try eating them again and was very careful not to get them on my hands or the skin above my lips. No reaction. I am still going to be careful about reintroducing peppers, but it's nice to think I may get to have all the Mexican foods I love back.

I've had to switch out all my products. Even though they were all supposedly safe for my skin, they aren't. One lotion that claims to be good for eczema has alcohol in it, near the start of the ingredients. Alcohol dries the skin out and has no business being in skin cream.

So I've bought Kiss My Face olive oil soap, the only ingredients of which are saponified olive oil, water, and salt and am to use it on my face, not just my hands. I have Neutregena Norwegian hand cream and am supposed to use it every time after I wash my hands. Just a tiny amount though, not slopped on like most people do with lotion. I've got Bio-Kleen laundry soap that is unscented. I was using citrus, but no scents at all. I already used the free and clear Bounce.

I have Seventh Generation free and clear dishwashing liquid, but I have to use rubber gloves from now on every time I do the dishes. Dishwashing liquid is not good for hands (not even the Palmolive, you're soaking in it one) and I am not to get it on my hands.

I washed all of my bedding yesterday and I think it is already making a difference there, too. Between the co-pay and all the soap, lotion, prescriptions, and cleaning products, I spent about $125. Better than I'd hoped, but more than I wanted to spend. Still, if it heals my hands, I'm all for it.

Great Little Cookbook

March 9th, 2017 at 10:25 am

I read a great little cookbook this week called Good and Cheap: How to Eat Well on $4 a Day by Leanne Brown. I was very impressed. There's hardly any bean recipes at all in it. It's a lot of fresh vegetables, less expensive meats, salads, soups, homemade sauces, and even has a short section on how to make your own flatbreads, pasta, and pizza dough from scratch. It even threw in how to make your own dill pickles, ricotta, and salsa.

The idea behind the book is that she designed it to fit on a food stamp budget of $4 a day. It has breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It even had a few inexpensive to make deserts and smoothies.

I got my copy out of the library, but I will be buying it if I can find it used. I did copy down a couple of the recipes in case I can't find one and have to wait to get it out of the library again. It had a big waiting list, so I couldn't check it out again without putting it on hold and waiting several weeks.

Normally I would buy it new, as every time you buy a new copy a second copy is donated to the people who receive food stamps or go to food banks. One or the other, I can't remember which. I think that is a great idea. But right now we are watching our pennies a little too much for buying books.

I did a more thorough review on my youtube channel if anyone wants to check it out. You'll be able to see better what the book has to offer in the way of recipes. [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMGbzoYTgwU[url] I would really recommend it for people trying to eat cheaply and still eat real food. I would also really recommend it as a book to give to someone just starting out, like a college student or a person fresh out of college who has never really had to cook much before. It is explained so well that beginners would have an easy time following it.

Meal Planning

March 9th, 2017 at 10:08 am

Again, I forgot to post my meal plan this week. Well, I'm going to go ahead and post it now because I keep losing the notebook I wrote it down in on Sunday. I am notorious for misplacing the thing, which is why I usually copy it into my blog, so I have an easy place to go and look for it. HC stands for home canned.

We tried a new recipe this week, the Filipino Chicken Adobo. Everyone really liked it, but I think I will add onions next time I make it to sweeten it a little. The rice vinegar gives it a very sharp quality that I find a bit too...astringent to both my nose and tongue when I eat the juices on the rice.

Monday:
Beef Brisket
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
HC Pears

Tuesday:
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Rice
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Wednesday:
Rabbit Stew (carrots, potatos, parsnips) HC
Green Beans Home Canned
Oranges

Thursday:
Soft beef tacos (HC tomatoes, onions)
Homemade tortillas
Salad
Apples

Friday:
Picnic Ham
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Pineapple

Saturday:
Braided Sloppy Hoppy Loaf (Has veg in it)
Oranges
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Sausage Penne Pasta Dish
Cole slaw
HC Pears

Learning New Skills

March 8th, 2017 at 09:46 pm



As I mentioned on the 19th, I have been learning to crochet. I have made some serious progress and I am very pleased with the results so far. I think I'm going to make a king size blanket out of the above pattern. DH is going to do the math to figure out how many squares I will need to make one.

Eventually I would like to learn how to spin. I think I would need to work with alpaca fiber, though I might try wool. A spinning friend of mine said that often times people who think they are allergic to wool are actually allergic to the residue left on wool by the chemical process used to strip off the lanolin.

So when I do get around to learning to spin (and you can build a spinning wheel out of pvc pipe and an old bike wheel and a few other things for cheap). It's also quite easy to make a drop spindle out of two old CDs, a dowel, a cup hook and a rubber grommet. So getting started wouldn't be too expensive, though I would have to get carders. An acquaintance of mine has a sheep's dairy and has tons of fleeces he's trying to get rid of right now. But I'm not sure I am ready to pick up this new skill just yet.

DH and I are building another cabinet. Not a canning one, but one that can hold the dehydrator, the Aerogarden, the printer, the food processor, the crockpot, the blender, and the waffle maker in a tall column. This one won't have a back to it, which it doesn't need.

DH and I are also going to make a corner desk for my room. I have been wanting one for ages, but they are too expensive. So we will build one out of pallet wood and some plywood cubicles I already have. The cubicles will be in place of the legs of the desk. I have three so we can do one on each corner. Then we can build shelving onto the corner section of it as well. I will finally have a place to sit and write. Right now I do it on a TV tray sitting on the edge of the bed.

I am learning so much about carpentry. It's really neat. We always feel like we are accomplishing so much when we build something new.

The next thing on my agenda, I think, is to learn to sew. I can do hems and buttons, but that is it. I want to learn how to read patterns and make clothing. Nothing fancy at this point, but I'd like to design some tops that actually fit my body right. I'd also like to make some halter style tops I can wear in the summer, but that don't have a bare mid-drift. I don't care if my back shows, but I really don't want my stomach out. Most halter tops are designed for girls who have not got much on top, not women who do. I just need DH to find my sewing machine in storage, so that may take a long while.

DD had her appointment at the ENT. That was a $50 co-pay since they are specialists. He put her on prednisone and an antibiotic and then in 3 weeks we go back and he'll do a scan of her sinuses and see where things are. He said the lower part of her septum looks straight and chances are pretty high she'll end up going to an allergist/immunologist, but he want to rule out polyps or deeper inside the septum that he can't see from just looking up her nose.

Nothing on the job front. We still have $35,000 in savings and are currently living on the tax return. DH is going to try to find some freelance work. He didn't pursue it before, but with no one hiring him, it may be the way we have to go.

Hello, Murphy, My Old Friend...

March 6th, 2017 at 08:28 pm

...you've come to walk with me again. Yes, totally singing it to the tune of The Sound of Silence (Disturbed's version, not the original Simon and Garfunkle).

The hot water tank exploded. Well, not literally, but the water coming out of it did. It made quite a mess and we have had no hot water in our part of the house for two days. There is still hot water in the main house, but it is on a different hot water heater.

The one that exploded feeds the laundry room, the outdoor hot water hose, and our bathroom and shower. It is freezing out, snowing for 3 or 4 days now, so when you come in from doing something outside and have to wash your hands in cold water it is very hard to warm up.

They came to look at the tank today and it is still under warranty, so the tank itself will be replaced for free. The labor, however, will cost $700. Ugh. And they will be starting work early in the morning. Double ugh.

We have washed all the towels used to soak up the water on cold and dried them, but that was just so they weren't sitting around mildewing for a couple days. They will have to be rewashed in hot water as soon as we have it again.

I am using paper plates, bowls, and plastic cups for the most part so we don't have to deal with dishes. Right now having hot water involves heating it up in the microwave and mixing it with some cold so it doesn't burn you.

It reminds me of one of the Little House books, where Pa would bring in buckets of cold water from the well and then Ma would heat water in the kettle on the wood stove to add to the bathwater to get it to the right temperature. Only no bath, just the sink.

Oh, well, I can shower tomorrow after the workers leave.

It's Discouraging, but I am Trying to Keep My Chin Up

March 4th, 2017 at 10:28 am

Well, DH didn't get the job, though they strongly encouraged him to apply for anything that comes up in the future. It's positive, in that they clearly liked him, but it is very discouraging over all.

It has been six months. We get one more unemployment check and then he's maxed out his benefits. The longest DH has ever been unemployed in his life since he was 15 years old was six weeks.

He's worked really hard at finding a job. He's learned an entire new software program to update his skills. Now I am starting to think we might have to look at him getting his Bachelor's Degree now. School is just so expensive.

The oil jobs don't seem to be recovering as quickly as everyone claimed they would. We really wanted to wait until he was working before he started taking a class towards his degree. There is another option of taking this big test that basically gives him a degree based on his experience and hours worked if he can pass it and document his time spent in the field. I think he is going to pursue that first.

I worked on my novel some more last night. Insomnia does have one benefit if I'm not too tired to write. Hopefully I'll be awake enough to work on it some more today. I may need caffeine, though, to get me through the day.

I sent for my Pinecone check. I earned $12 in February from them. So between the rabbit sale and this I earned $37 this month. And one $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. And I earned my google/youtube money, but they still haven't sent it. That would be January's earnings that were supposed to be paid in February, but because my bank account wasn't verified in time it didn't come.

Or at least that is what I am assuming. Normally they only issue payments once a month, but I figured they'd issue it once the account was verified. It was only 3 days after the regular payment date. So if I don't get January and February's earnings when the day comes in March, I guess I have to follow up some more. It would be nice to actually get that money, although it is not enough to make too much of a difference, it could pay for a few weeks of groceries.

We're Due for ANOTHER Snow Storm

March 3rd, 2017 at 08:36 pm

It is supposed to start snowing around 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I am less than pleased and I know the chickens will be ready to mutiny. Quite frankly, I'm ready to mutiny if I see anymore of the white, flaky stuff. At this rate my son may have snow on his birthday this year. That has only ever happened twice in almost 17 years. I am so ready for spring. I want to be planting in the garden, not seeing another foot of snow filling the garden boxes.

I am sending DH to get a few things before we have to snuggle in for a few days. My prescriptions for one. That'll be $20 for the 4. I don't want to run out of my sleeping medicine, especially. As an insomniac, it is never fun to run out of the drug that at least ensures you get 4 hour of sleep every night.

I can make bread as long as we have power and I have an entire loaf of French bread in the fridge and 6 rolls on the table, so I'm not worried about that. We have had very little milk in the last few months, but I do happen to have a half gallon of whole and a pint of cream for some upcoming meals. There is really nothing else we need. One of the nice things about having all of my home canned items, my stash of bottled water, and my freezer full of meat, is that if we can't go anywhere for days at a time, we will be okay.

We have plenty of animal feed on hand. We also have plenty of hay and straw. The heat lamps are set up and so are the heated water founts. The heater is in the rabbit shed. We run it just low enough to keep the water bottles from freezing unless we have kits and then we keep it at at least 50 degrees in there.

On tomorrow's agenda is making cinnamon twists. I think they'll be easier than making cinnamon rolls, which is a pain in the neck. These twist just like Kaiser rolls, which I make all the time, so they should be easy enough, just have a different dough recipe. Being trapped in the house for the better part of the week I can handle. Being trapped without sweets, on the other hand, is a totally different story.

It's in the House

March 2nd, 2017 at 01:17 am



Well, it took some doing, but we got the first bookcase emptied and out of the pantry and then brought the new cabinet we built into the house. I thought it was only going to hold jars 5 deep, but it actually holds them 6 deep, so even more than I thought.

You can see from the picture how much space was wasted in the bookcases because of how far apart the shelves are in comparison to the canning shelves. I will be happy to get the second cabinet built. I think we can put everything that is on the two bookcases into one more cabinet.

We plan to build 3, or possibly even 4 total, if the pallet supply holds out. I think on the next one I will have one shelf that is big enough for 1/2 gallon and gallon size jars as well as #10 cans. Then we can put our dehydrated stuff on that shelf.

We are almost out of onions. I think I have 6 left on my onion braid. These are the Cobra Keeping Onions. I did not lose a single yellow onion to rot or sprouting. I will be planting these again this spring. I saved seed so I just need to get them started and under the grow light. The purple onions, on the other hand, did not make it more than a couple of months, but I don't think they were a storage onion. I did find a purple storage onion and I am hoping to get sets for it and see how that does this year.

I will pay more attention to watering this year. These were great onions, but they were small and strong, because I didn't water them as much as I should have and it didn't rain more than 2 or 3 times all summer. I want some bigger ones that will last longer. Meanwhile, I ordered some freeze dried onions from Thrive to get me through once these ones run out. I'll still have to buy purple ones for my salads, but the yellow ones will be covered.

One day I'd like to own a freeze dryer. They do make them for homes now, but they cost a lot, so right now with no income it is a pipe dream. Plus there is no place to put one while we live here. The cheapest model is $2595, so that is way down the road. There are a lot of women I know who would be interested in renting it, if I had one. I wouldn't let it leave my home, though. They'd have to bring their stuff over all prepped and I could dry it for them and they could pick it up afterwards. For now, I'll just have to be happy with my dehydrator.

C1-360 Interest Income

March 1st, 2017 at 10:26 am

The interest from what is left of our savings account hit today. It is $20.99. I haven't really been recording the interest the last 6 months since we can't build any funds or rebuild any funds until DH is working again. But I figured I'd put it up anyway. It is still income earned.

Didn't Do Much Today

March 1st, 2017 at 12:07 am

Honestly, it was a pretty boring day. I spent most of it reading my library book Nourishing Traditions. Which is kind of a cookbook and kind of an old take on good nutrition and where government mandated nutrition went really, really wrong and basically caused the obesity problem in this country with its guidelines. I think it is related to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Anyway, it is a good read so far. She's really done her research.



I don't think I mentioned it, but we sold Jasper on Sunday. I got $25 for him. This puts our rabbit herd down to 12 adults and 11 grow outs. I hated to see Jasper go, he is such a love, but we didn't need 4 bucks, especially when 3 of them are whites. I have been debating on whether or not I want to keep a broken doe, but if I do it won't be from the current two litters.

I'd like a broken red. So we'll see if a Zander/Bonfire cross or a Zander/Ruby cross will produce one. As much as I'd love an offsrping from Cinnabun, she has cataracts and I can't risk her passing that on. I don't want to be treating the eyes of more than one rabbit daily. She's still good for producing meaties, though.

Zoe died. I can't remember if I mentioned that or not. Also on Sunday. She was one of our ducks and she had a staph infection in her foot. We tried pretty hard to save her, but I knew in her last couple of days that she probably wasn't going to make it. You get a sense of it with livestock after a few years. It's sad, but we were prepared. That brings our duck population down to 6. At least all the other ducks are healthy.

I think one of Mom's chickens is sick. It's one of the ones she got from the pound and she's never been the healthiest bird, but she's limping real bad. I checked her feet and she's got bumblefoot. That is not fun to treat, but it needs to be done, and then she'll have to go in a hospital cage to keep her from running around on it for at least a week. Not looking forward to that.

DH did run up to Winco and picked up some more soup. The kids have been eating it like crazy. They add eggs to give it more protein. He bought $26 worth. At least it is cheap soup.

Oh, and there was a $50 co-pay for my daughter at the dermatologist. I had DH make an appointment for me while he was there. I have an extreme rash on my hand that won't go away. I was thinking it was eczema, but now I'm starting to wonder if it isn't something else. I'll find out next week.

Meal Planning for the Week

February 27th, 2017 at 11:36 pm

I made a new recipe tonight, although I deviated quite a bit from it, because I felt like it needed an added ingredient, and I didn't have heavy cream so used sour cream. It turned out really well, though. It was a sausage and penne pasta skillet dish. So good. My husband had 4 helpings, although he didn't eat lunch as far as I know. I already changed things around from what I originally wrote down, because my daughter got sick to her stomach and didn't want to miss some of the other food I am planning this week.

Monday:
Sausage Penne Pasta
Watermelon
Broccoli

Tuesday:
Baked Potato Soup
Ham
Cole Slaw
Watermelon

Wednesday:
Belgian Waffles
Ham
Cucumbers
Canned Pineapple

Thursday:
Pasta Carbonara (Has Bacon as well as egg in the sauce for the protein)
Broccoli
Oranges

Friday:
Homemade Pizza (sausage/ham/onions)
Cole Slaw
Canned Pineapple

Saturday:
Cheeseburgers
French Fries
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Sunday:
Beef Pot Roast
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Apples


DH Thinks Things Went Well

February 25th, 2017 at 11:30 am

DH's job interview went really well. It was a four person interview so it turns out going down was a much better decision than doing a phone interview. They sent him 3 follow up questions by email when he got home and would like them answered by Tuesday. DH is going to work on them this weekend and so he can have them waiting for them on Monday to show promptness and meeting a deadline early.

Turns out that the job would not be located where they are, but will be moving about a series of temporary offices as each section of the work is completed. He would probably only have to go to the main office once a month for a meeting.

They are hiring for 4 different jobs, same position, and it sounds like one of them is perfect for DH's experience, though he could do all of them. They said he would hear back from them either way in a week and a half to two weeks.

They were very happy that DH was able to come in immediately for an interview, too. He applied on Monday, they called him on Thursday, and he interviewed Friday. DH feels the interview went very well for the most part, though his mind blanked right at the very beginning. Fortunately he was able to get through it and things went smoothly after that.

This would be a very good company for him to work for. Everything I have ever heard about how they are as employers is good. They have great benefits and a stock purchase option that is not available to the general public, but is to employees. I have wanted to buy stock in this company for two decades. Once you have it you can DRIP it even if you are no longer employed so can't buy more. But this company would be an excellent one to stay with.

They haven't mentioned salary, but won't unless he gets hired. But we know the typical salary for the position and it would be enough to live on and allow us to start paying my mother again. And build our Emergency Fund back up again, and start saving our money towards a down payment again, and DH could start taking one class at a time online for his Bachelor's Degree.

I would really appreciated prayers these next two weeks for DH to get this job. It would be so perfect now that we know the details. I know I will be praying hard.

DH Has a Job Interview

February 23rd, 2017 at 11:55 pm

DH has a job interview tomorrow in Kent, which is in between Seattle and Tacoma. That is a long way to go. I guess they offered him an in person interview or a phone interview, but he felt it was better to do one in person. He didn't check with me first, though, so I had to rearrange my appointment for tomorrow, but thankfully I could.

Normally he could take his dad's truck if there is a conflict, but he wanted the GPS in the van. I don't blame him. It gets us to unfamiliar places easily and it also tells us where there is heavy traffic, accidents, or standstills coming up.

While I can drive the truck, I have a really hard time getting into it. I have to use a step stool to get in, because his dad has the tires jacked up so high and the grab bar is located in the wrong place for pulling yourself up. There is no running board. And that's on the passenger side. On the driver's side, the steering wheel does not lift up high enough, so I have to twist in a way that generally tweaks my back and leads to muscle spasms for days. It's fine if I am sitting there driving, though I prefer a higher set steering wheel, but it is hard to get in under. If it was lower, I could just step in instead of climbing in and having to twist. *sighs*

So he'll be back at least two hours before my appointment so that should build in plenty of time for traffic jams. Heaven forbid there are protests on the interstate, because it is Seattle and it is Friday and that's what they do there. A lot. They've started charging people though, so it is starting to taper off.

I'm not terribly keen on Kent, though. Housing is in the $600K range and there is pretty much nothing available. Everything listed is under contract. It would be a bear of a daily commute from here. I don't see how we could afford to live there. I don't think he'd get paid enough. I'd rather move to Arkansas than to the Seattle area.

I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.


A Few Quick Errands

February 22nd, 2017 at 08:49 pm

Today we spent most of the day working on the new canning shelves that we are building, but in the late afternoon we did run to Costco for eggs (we are not getting enough from our birds and organic eggs are cheapest there) and picked up a few things for my mother. We stopped by Winco to pick up a case of the soup my daughter likes and to get Mom Kraft Singles because they were out at Costco. They were also out of salt and pepper grinders at Costco or I'd have picked those up since we are low on both. We spent $12 at Winco.

After Winco we ran to Dollartree to get 2 cases of the soup my son likes and spent $24 there. It is just a couple buildings away from Winco. It'd be a lot easier if both kids liked the same type of soup. I am not sure how much we spent at Costco as the receipt appears to have gone on walkabout, but it wasn't much.

We have to do some more work on the shelves tonight. I have done so much sanding in the last few days that I feel like I'm developing serious upper arm muscles. Thankfully it is an electric sander and I don't have to do it all by hand.

My physical therapist cancelled today's session as she is sick again. She has tentatively rescheduled me for Friday, but I'm not holding my breath. I need to be finding a new one soon anyway as she will be moving in October when her lease is up. Which is a bummer, but I'm sure I'll find someone else. We are close friends though after all these years, so we have determined we will write letters the old-fashioned way to each other when she goes. I don't need to go as much as I used to, fortunately.

Not much else to go on. DH did apply for a job where they've looked at his resume a couple of times. The people who are recruiting for that tell you how many times your resume has been viewed by each job you apply for. Hopefully an interview will come out of it.

I got a bit more writing done on my novel yesterday. It's coming along. Actually, I'm working on two, but this is on the classic romance novel, not the epic fantasy one. I'd like to finish this one in a couple of months and self-publish on Amazon. I just need to stick to the writing schedule I've set. Then hopefully we'll have one more income stream.

I Forgot to Post My Meal Plan

February 21st, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Monday:
Herb Roasted Chicken-Baked Potatoes-Salad-Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Leftovers

Wednesday:
Beef ribs-Sweet Potatoes-Broccoli-Oranges

Thursday:
Pasta Romana with Pesto-Salad-Apples

Friday:
Meatloaf-Sweet Meat Squash-Cole Slaw-Canned Nectarines

Saturday:
Nightshade Free Tacos-Salad-Canned Pineapple

Sunday:
Carbonara (w/bucatini)-Meatballs-Cole Slaw-Oranges

Two New Projects Underway

February 19th, 2017 at 10:07 pm



My new project is teaching myself to crochet. I can do the chain stitch (which is easy and I've known how to do since I was a kid) and the crochet stitch so far. It took me a good five hours to get the crochet stitch down. I kept crocheting and unraveling and starting over again. I think I've got it fairly well, so now I have to learn a new stitch.

I got bored with loom knitting and someone in my family kept posting cool crochet projects, so I thought it was time to try again. It's a great thing to do while I'm listening to my internet Bible study. Job is a little hard to get through (although it feels very relevant), so it helps to have something to occupy my hands while I listen. But I digress. I want to eventually make some blankets and then move on to cute toys.

My husband's project is that he is finally building the canning shelves out of all those high quality pallets we scored earlier this fall. He put the prototype shelf together today and tomorrow he (with some help from me) will put together the first unit. The bookcases we are using now are only 3 jars deep and 7 jars wide, so 21 quart jars per shelf.

The new cases will be 5 jars deep and 6 jars wide, so 30 pint jars per shelf. There are five shelves on the old cases, and this will have quite a few more shelves, so I ought to be able to fit a lot more jars on them.

It will also have the shelves spaced so they are the height of the jars, plus one inch. No wasted space. When our living space is so limited as it is, this will make a big difference. And they will have a lip on each shelf to keep the jars in place if there is an earthquake. I am excited to see this finally come to fruition.

Most of the wood in it will be free. We have to buy four 2 x 4's per unit (people don't give away good 2 x 4's) and DH bought a two pound box of screws for $20. We bought the first four 2 x 4's, so that was $10. We are hoping to only put about $15 worth into each set of cases. Since we have a steady supply of pallets, this might be something DH can put together for other people as well and sell them. It would be a nice side income stream if it panned out. We'll have to see how long it takes to put one together and also how long it takes to disassemble all the pallets before deciding on a price.

He can also build spice shelves and regular bookcases, too. You can't find solid wood bookcases for less than $150. Just plywood and press wood with veneers on them. So if we priced them right, they'd probably sell decently. We'll have to see, though. Right now, I want my cases and my spice rack that can hold my gazillion jars of spices.

I Got a Lot Done Today

February 18th, 2017 at 11:29 pm

I did some cooking for the freezer today. I made up a big batch of pork fried rice and one of rabbit fried rice, so I now have 9 bags (7 from today, 2 from last time) of that in the freezer. It would be one more but my husband decided he had to eat some. It used up leftovers nicely.

I also made up some calzones. These are much easier to make than pizza snacks. The calzones are for my son's lunches. It saves me from having to cook something for lunch for him every day and he likes it much better than eating sandwiches. I can vary the filling in these from pepperoni, ham, or sausage or put in onions and peppers. These ones all get tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I also have made some in the past using leftover taco meat, leftover chili, and leftover sloppy hoppies.

Then I made a huge loaf of French bread. Usually I make two loaves with this recipe, but I was tired and so just made it into one big one. It turned out great, just had to bake it for an extra five minutes. I am so happy with this recipe. The bread is nice and soft inside, but a good crunch to the crust. It toasts beautifully for making garlic bread, but untoasted it makes good sandwich bread, albeit not the typical shape.

Then I made a huge batch of pancakes. So I had my hands in carbs for most of the day, it felt like. I barely eat this type of carb myself, but I do have to feed everyone else.

I am back on my diet for 3 days now and have lost 4.6 pounds. This is good because I really needed to get back on that wagon. I've gained back almost all of what I lost in the past year, so ugh. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going. I went off the weight loss drugs as I didn't feel any benefit from them after the first couple of months and I think they were screwing with my sleeping pattern. It's been more normalized since I quit them.

I will be getting my first paycheck from the Google AdSense/Youtube stuff soon. Just waiting to have my checking account verified for direct deposit. It is just for 20 days, but I am pretty happy with it. I can't disclose how much, it's against the terms and conditions. It's not going to be something we can live on, but as a side income, it isn't something to sneeze at, either. Once DH is working again, I could build our savings back up and then after that start on an IRA. It's nice to have the possibility.

Sick, Sicker, Sickest

February 17th, 2017 at 01:17 am

Yeah, so I've been quiet, but I'm alive. I had a very bad virus, or possibly the flu, that put me down hard for about a week. I came down with it the night of the 2nd, but it didn't hit hard until the night of the 6th and then I was down for the count. Oh, it was a rough one. I slept for about 4 days straight at that point and then finally began to feel human again on my birthday, the 12th. Human enough to make a cake anyway. I'm 47 now.

On the 13th I felt up for going to Costco. We were out of a lot of staples like flour, sugar, salt, cheese, and were almost out of toilet paper. I also bought some chicken, fish, and frozen broccoli. I had planned to pick up my birthday present, too, a food processor, but they didn't have them anymore.

On the 14th I felt like I was relapsing so I went back to bed and took it easy. On the 15th I had physical therapy and went to Walmart and bought a food processor there. Now we can give MIL back her ancient one that travels all over when you use it and shakes so bad I was always afraid it was going to fall apart in front of me.

I also went to see if I could find some tennis shoes because all I have now are loafers and flip flops. I found some Dr. Scholl's that actually fit in width, so I could buy a size 9 instead of a size 11. They have great gel insoles, too. I bought two pairs of the same shoe and will put one up in the closet until the first pair wears out. It is so hard for me to find shoes that fit. And I picked up two new nightgowns as I had to toss one that got eaten by something and all torn up and the other is wearing so thin it is practically see-through and not at all appropriate to be wearing in front of my teenage son.

As much as I don't like spending right now, I don't feel bad about these purchases. The food processor helps so much in shredding cheese, cabbage, and onions alone. It saves me so much work and makes it so much easier on me to cook at home. It also saves money to do these things at home as cheese is cheaper in blocks, cabbage is cheaper not pre-shredded, and onions are cheaper not pre-chopped. And the shoes and nightgowns were needed. Well, maybe only one pair of shoes was needed, but as hard a time as I have finding them, I felt it prudent to get the second pair now.

DH got me a single red rose for Valentine's Day. We usually don't bother with the holiday at all, feeling it's a commercial made up holiday, but he bought me one and I do like having it as it slowly opens. I also got a Fragrant Jewels bath bomb for my birthday that had an amethyst and silver ring inside that I used on Valentine's Day. Very pretty piece of costume jewelry and a very nice soak in the tub full of purple water.

I'm still running low on my reserves from the virus, so I have to be careful not to push too hard. I am back to eating nutritionally (i.e. more than ice cream, soup, and tea). My son is over the virus, my husband is a few days behind me, and my daughter is still in the middle of it, but at least on the upswing.

I'm going to try to make the rest of the month be no spend except for medicine and milk.

Menu Planning Week Six

February 6th, 2017 at 03:53 pm

So I bought some oranges and some cabbage as it is cheaper than lettuce and will last a lot longer and we will be having cole slaw instead of salads when I want those at dinner time. I did get the purple cabbage so it will be pretty as well as have more vitamin content. Everything else is food we have on hand and I am going to try to be keeping to that as closely as possible.

I made Wednesday an easy crockpot day. I will make the Kaiser rolls the day before. They are easy.

Monday:
Beef Stew--All home canned beef potatoes, carrots, and parsnips
Home canned green beans
Home canned pears

Tuesday:
Leftover Casserole--Frozen turkey and stuffing from Christmas, sour cream, cheese, poultry seasoning, cream of chicken soup, tater tots
Frozen Broccoli
Home canned nectarines

Wednesday:
Pulled Pork Sandwiches--Pork roast from our pig share with homemade Garam Masala (nightshade free)
Homemade Kaiser rolls
Canned Pineapple
Cole slaw

Thursday:
Homemade Pizza--frozen ham, frozen sausage, pepperoni, onions, home canned sauce, cheeses
Cole slaw
Oranges

Friday:
Mild Curried Rabbit with homemade curry powder (nightshade free)
Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Frozen Plums

Saturday:
Picnic Ham
Sweet Potatoes
Home canned green beans
Home canned pears

Sunday:
Belgian Waffles
Leftover Ham
Oranges
Frozen Broccoli


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