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Archive for March, 2017

Doctor's Visit

March 31st, 2017 at 08:14 pm

I had an appointment with the sleep doctor this morning so that was a $50 co-pay. He says I'm doing well enough now that he doesn't have to see me again for a year. It's the Dreamwear Sleep Apnea Mask. It has made a world of difference since I am a side sleeper. It doesn't leak like most of the other masks I've used, either. I am now able to get about 6 hours of sleep before I wake up instead of 4. Also, I can usually get back to sleep for a couple more hours. But on the days I can't, I am now running on a much better amount of sleep than I was before.

While I was at the sleep doctor, I made an appointment with the weight loss doctor. I haven't seen her since November when I fell. I am about out of the prescription weight loss medicine and have no more refills, so I didn't have much choice if I want to stay on them, which I do, because I still have a long way to go.

My daughter got her blood test results emailed to her yesterday and while we don't go back to the doctor until Tuesday for official reading of the results, from what we were able to figure out based on the internet, she does seem to have an autoimmune issue. Her levels of inflammation are off the charts and those two particular tests point in the direction of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Afterwards we went to the no spray garden place and picked up some plant starts. I spent about $55 on starts and then an additional $17 on a quart of honey. Most of my stuff will be planted from seeds, but I wanted to get a jump start on some of the cold season plants. I am going to do more succession planting this year, where instead of planting 18 broccoli plants at once, I'll plant 6, then two weeks later plant 6 more, and then continue that, so that I won't have a ton ripening all at once. It's easier to deal with it whether we are eating it fresh or blanching and freezing it for future use when there aren't mass quantities.

I'll do that with a lot of vegetables, kohlrabi, lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips. I am not giving cauliflower any space in my garden this year. It takes up so much room for a vegetable I don't even like that much. And I have a hard time growing it. Every other brassica grows like a dream in the same conditions, but cauliflower hates me. I'm also not growing cabbage, I don't think, because of the space it takes up. Organic cabbage is plentiful and cheap at the grocery store.

We are repairing the garden beds this afternoon and then I can get some things planted. I have to have the netting ready to go. I've already had a problem with the squirrels trying to dig up my onion sets, so that one is covered. They don't even like onions so it was super annoying to go out there and find them sitting on the surface because the squirrels didn't like it.

We have not received the benefits package yet that Company B was supposed to send to DH. Hopefully it will show up today or tomorrow. Usually it only takes 3 days from Anchorage to here. I am anxious to go over it and see what there is. Not super anxious, but I do want to be able to plan. I am such a planner and it helps to have actual numbers to work with.

His drug, alcohol, and fitness test was on Tuesday so the results of that should be back to us soon. I have no doubt he passed with flying colors as he doesn't drink or do drugs or smoke. He was able to do all the things asked of him in the fitness test as well. It's just more waiting, which I still dislike, but I am getting used to.

I think we will go down to the farm tomorrow. I am down to one jar of canned beef and one jar of canned hamburger and would like to buy more meat to can, because having it on hand on the shelf is such a time saver for me. So that will be an outlay of about $300.

I am also keeping an eye out for organic chicken breasts to go on sale or be in the markdown bins as I am down to 8 pints of canned chicken. I still have plenty of canned salmon and canned rabbit, though. Ideally, I'd like to have at least 8 more pints of chicken on the shelves.

I'm also going to make an order for 6 #10 cans of freeze dried onion dices. Those are making a huge difference for me and should last until my onions are ready in the garden in the summer. It's quite a discount if I order 6 instead of getting them one at a time as I need them.

Well, I better wrap this ramble up. It's time to go fix the garden beds.

An Update on My Daughter

March 30th, 2017 at 07:05 pm

My daughter had another appointment with the eye doctor ($50 co-pay) and she is doing somewhat better. The official diagnosis is uveitis and it was caused by some sort of microbe. It had improved with treatment and she was allowed to stop using the dilation drops and just use the ones that killed the microbes. She has to treat both eyes now, though, but only 4 times a day instead of every 2 hours.

He sent us to the lab after the appointment and they took forever. I've never seen this lab be so slow, especially when we walked into an empty waiting room. Eventually they got their act together, though, and she had 8 vials of blood drawn. He is looking for autoimmune diseases. She already has the one that is called granuloma annulare that we are aware of, onset with her last dose of the HPV vaccine.

He is worried most about lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, because her symptoms since receiving the HPV vaccine match up pretty closely with both, worsening with each dose given. The more I research that vaccine and all of the side effects, the worse I feel. I know hindsight is 20/20, but I still should have trusted my gut.

I let her make her own decision on that one as I felt she was old enough, but I wish now I had not, because I was leaning away from it, as it had not been around long enough and was rushed through approval. The reproductive system failures and the autoimmune diseases linked to it are piling up. All of the bleeding issues, everything seems to tie back to it.

Turns out that vaccine only protects against 13 strains of HPV and there are well over 100. So it isn't even particularly effective. Nor does it seem to be particularly effective in preventing the cervical cancer from happening that it was touted to do.

I don't generally subscribe to conspiracy theories, but the one that says this is about population control is starting to sound scarily realistic. The number of young women ending up with premature ovarian death and excessive menstrual bleeding after this vaccine is piling up. Well, if you kill the ovaries there will be no babies. You have bleeding that lasts ten or twelve weeks that is so heavy you soak a pad an hour with debilitating cramps, become severely anemic, and cannot live your life, you will be happy to go on the drugs that will stop it and incidentally prevent pregnancy. There is case after case after case of this if you dig deep enough.

Yet the government and the drug companies continue to insist this particular vaccine is safe and effective. It causes convulsions in many girls when given which sometimes leads to paralysis. How is that even allowed? I am furious about this. It never should have made it through the FDA to begin with. It's all about profits for drug companies. If it weren't, we would be allowed to sue vaccine makers in this country when they damage our kids, instead of them being legally protected from litigation by the government.

I am not an anti-vaxxer by a long shot. There is such a huge benefit in so many vaccines. But in my opinion this one is worse than what it is supposed to protect against. This one is a crime against women and girls and endangers the future of the human race. And now they are pushing it on boys, too. My son wants kids some day. He will never take that vaccine. Hopefully his future wife will have been saved from its ravages as well.

Hmm...

March 28th, 2017 at 05:13 pm

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 04:57 pm

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 26th, 2017 at 05:52 am

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 08:06 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 08:10 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 10:57 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 07:40 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 17th, 2017 at 03:34 am

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 16th, 2017 at 06:56 am

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 08:04 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 07:51 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 09:45 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 06:25 pm

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 06:08 pm

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 9th, 2017 at 05:46 am



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 7th, 2017 at 04:28 am

...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 06:28 pm

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 4th, 2017 at 04:36 am

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 09:17 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 06:26 pm

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 08:07 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.