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Archive for February, 2017

Meal Planning for the Week

February 28th, 2017 at 07:36 am

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 07:30 pm

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 24th, 2017 at 07:55 am

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 23rd, 2017 at 04:49 am

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 22nd, 2017 at 07:35 am

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 20th, 2017 at 06:07 am



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 19th, 2017 at 07:29 am

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 09:17 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 11:53 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

Taxes Done, Unemployment, Cutting Back, and Helicopter Antics

February 6th, 2017 at 05:22 am

DH did our taxes today and we will be getting back $9043.02. Most of this is due to medical expenses. This will be a welcome boon to our bank account and should cover about 2 months of living expenses. DH only gets unemployment until the middle of March and then it ends. I never imagined he'd be unemployed this long.

The interview he had earlier did not pan out. He was too over-qualified and it was an entry level position. He said he would work it no matter what it was, but that's not what they wanted. It is frustrating.

He put in for some upcoming stuff at Hanford, so maybe something there will pan out. At this point I don't care where we have to move, though I'm not thrilled about some of the possibilities.

It feels like everything is grinding so slowly. I just want to get back to some kind of normal life where we don't have this hanging over us anymore.

After today's transfer we are down to just over $35,000 in savings. Today's transfer will pay for all of February's expenses with a little left over towards March. I try to make only one transfer a month.

I am going to try to belt-tighten some more, but it is getting hard to find places to do so. I don't want to cut out all fresh fruits and vegetables for canned, but I may have to until it is warm enough to grow lettuce and spinach. I'm making bread and rolls now and that is helping a bit. We were spending a lot on that. I always forget how expensive it is in comparison to making it and with the Kitchen-Aid it is not hard at all to make it.

Oh, my goodness that freaking helicopter just flew too close to the house. I don't think that was the Med-Evac as it is still flying around and didn't land. Med-Evac is supposed to fly above a certain height and is supposed to circle around and come in over the freeway, not the neighborhoods. This was so low it shook the house, the windows were rattling, things fell on the floor. I wonder if there is a man-hunt going on? Excuse me while I go double check that the doors are locked.

Oh, it's back... Dang, that helicopter barely cleared the neighbor's ham operator antenna. It's not Medi-Evac, no cross on it. I can't tell if it is a police chopper or a news media one. If it is news media I am going to be peeved. I can't see any markings, but they are shining a spotlight. Man, I hope I don't lose any rabbits. I've had low-flying helicopters freak them out enough that one broke her back and died. I can hear the tom turkey freaking out. *sighs*

So anyway, I'm just not sure what other cuts to make right now. I hate to take away the kids' allowances as they work really hard with the animals. They both know it might be coming, though.

Well, maybe I am just going to have to try to cut the food budget even further. I can manage with only oranges for fresh fruit. We can give up the more expensive spinach and eat more cabbage. I wish healthy food wasn't so expensive. At least I don't have to worry about buying meat, though.

I might have to cut back on my physical therapy, but it is being so effective right now, I would hate to do that. Might finally give up the DVD's on Netflix. I hate to, it's our only entertainment, but if we do, we do. That's the way the ball bounces.

Some Good News but Not That Good News

February 5th, 2017 at 02:15 am

Nothing on the job front. This good news is about my body. Last week the physical therapist tried a new treatment on me. I went in on Monday and then again on Wednesday. I felt improvement after the first time and after the second I was kind of shocked. Guys, I am walking without pain. I am sitting up without pain.

Things had gotten so bad that even going to the grocery store was getting really hard. Forget going to more than one grocery store in a day. One trip would wipe me out for the rest of the day and night. The day after the first treatment we easily went to three stores. Then on Wednesday we went to two. No limping, no pain, no having to recover from it all afterwards.

The only issue is I have very little stamina. I'm weak because I haven't been in the pool since late October when I got so sick and then hurt myself so bad in November when I fell. So while I can walk okay now, I tire very quickly. I will have to work on that. I am going to attempt to start using the treadmill again. Just 5 minutes a day to start and then add on and see how I do.

I can sit in a chair now for more than 5 minutes without having to shift my position. Or throw my legs over the arm while sitting half sideways. It is really remarkable. I hope it lasts. So far it seems to be. I will get another treatment on Wednesday. If I can start walking again when the whether warms up I will be such a happy person.

It may be a few days before I start up the regimen, though. My PT had a cold that she said she was over, but she coughed in both sessions and I came down with it Thursday evening. It feels like the plague, I swear, though it is probably just a very bad head cold. I am treating with elderberry tincture, elderberry syrup, honey/lemon/ginger/garlic tea, and the lovely orange, pseudophedrine, mucus relief pills, and blue/green cold pills. That allows me to function enough to eat, shower, and dress myself, but not much else. Hopefully it will pass soon.

So my PT is on both my good and bad list this week. I think walking wins, though.

Gross, Yahoo

February 3rd, 2017 at 05:20 pm

Just a warning. If you don't want to start your morning off with a full frontal of a naked obese man, stay off your Yahoo News Feed today. It links to a Huffington Post article. Of course. No way to flag the stupid thing, either. It cannot be unseen. Yuck.

Some Small Kitchen Purchases

February 3rd, 2017 at 12:40 am

Today I made some kitchen purchases that I have been putting off for a while. I decided to go ahead and get what I needed today as in the long run it will lower my costs and/or be helpful to my cooking from scratch to keep food prices lower.

First I bought a new extra large pizza crisper pan. The old one had warped and taken on a really bad patina that seemed to causing the crusts on my pizzas to burn in that area. The pan was very old. It isn't the oven because the small pizza pan that is the same brand and type, but does not have the patina on it, did not burn.

Since we frequently make homemade pizza and calzones and pierogies, only having the smaller pan was meaning cooking in multiple batches, which means the over is on longer and nothing is done all at once.

Second, I bought a microwave popcorn popper. We eat a lot of popcorn and microwave popcorn is expensive, especially for the kind with no additives. Popcorn kernels are cheap. I can get a 1 pound bag of organic popcorn for $2 and a regular bag for $1 (at Dollartree). It was $15 means that I'd have to buy six boxes of organic microwave popcorn 3 packs to equal the cost. So that would be 18 bags worth. Halfway through the first bag of kernels I will break even. Since I already had 2 bags of popcorn kernels on hand, I didn't have to buy that.

I did make some popcorn when I got home. The instructions have it go too long, but I know what it needs to be now. The popcorn tasted so much better with fresh butter and a bit of salt and I only ate one salad bowl full and was satisfied. With microwave popcorn there is an urge to eat the whole bag. Even with the organic, there has to be something in the butter spray to encourage eating more. So that was an unexpected bonus.

Third, I bought a good bread knife. Now that I am baking our bread and rolls again, I needed a good serrated knife for that. It makes a big difference in cutting homemade bread evenly and to the correct size without tearing the loaves.

Fourth, I bought a metal mixing bowl for my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. It is light weight. The bowl that came with my mixer is made of glass and it is really heavy. With the ligament damage in my wrists it is really hard for me to deal with the heavy glass bowl. I also have a tendency to drop things sometimes. The damage seems to have cross-wired some nerves so sometimes my hands just lose their grip randomly.

It is hard for me to maneuver it in the sink to clean it, so I generally had to rely on someone else to clean it and it can sit a day or two until someone gets tired me asking and they get around to it. With this lighter weight bowl I can clean it easily myself and get it back into production without nagging. There have been times when I simply haven't made something I might have otherwise, because I couldn't clean the bowl. Now that issue will be gone. If the color stand mixer I had wanted hadn't only come with a glass bowl I would have got one that came with a metal bowl to begin with.

All in all, I feel good with my purchases. Even with keeping costs down as much as possible, I felt these were things that help and were worth the extra cost at this time. It is weird to have to weigh each purchase so closely. It has been a long time since I've had to do that.